Skip to content

A Culinary Collage

Happy New Year from Nourishing Vancouver to you, wherever in the world you are living, cooking and nourishing those around you!

While I have had a brief hiatus from posting, I was busy in the kitchen over the holidays, connecting with family and friends, and collecting a few recipes to share ~ connecting…collecting…collaging, from my kitchen to yours.

First up, two appetizers which are new takes on old favourites: Devilled Eggs and Gougères.

Caesar Salad Devilled Eggs

I still love Caesar Salad, its punchy flavours and textures: crunchy croutons and romaine, a hit of garlic, lemon, salty Parmesan and a hint of anchovy.  I also love eggs of any kind so I have been delighted to notice that devilled eggs are making a comeback, and with this version in particular, with thanks to Deb of Smitten Kitchen.

6 large eggs
12 small romaine lettuce leaves
2-3 T. mayonnaise (I used Hellman’s Light)
2 t. Dijon mustard
1/4 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. lemon juice
2 T. chopped parsley
salt and pepper
1 T. olive oil
1 anchovy fillet, minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 t. grated lemon zest
1/4 c. panko bread crumbs
2 T. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain eggs and cover with cold water and set aside to cool.

Arrange romaine leaves on a serving platter. Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and mash them in a bowl with the mayonnaise, Dijon, Worcestershire, lemon juice and 1 T. of the parsley. Season well with salt and pepper.

In a small pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the anchovy and garlic and cook, stirring, until the anchovy begins to dissolve in the oil, about 1 minute. Add the lemon zest and bread crumbs and sauté until golden. Stir in Parmesan and set aside.

Spoon or pipe the yolk mixture into the egg whites, mounding slightly in the centre. Sprinkle with the crumb mixture and garnish with chopped parsley.

Gougères with Prosciutto, Parmesan, Pesto and Pea Shoots

Gougères are delicious on their own or can be filled with various ingredients. They freeze well either baked or unbaked – just place in the freezer on a cookie sheet, then bag them once frozen. The following is a combination of recipes from Dorie Greenspan and from Julie of Kitchen Culinaire.

1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. water
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 t. salt
1 c. all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 c. grated gruyère cheese
1 egg whisked with 1 T. water, for egg wash

Position oven racks into thirds and preheat oven to 375º. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a boil over high heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Lower the heat, add the flour all at once, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring for about 2-3 minutes, smearing the dough against the sides of the pan to dry it slightly and to make it smooth. Continue by hand, or turn the dough into a food processor. Add the eggs one at a time and beat or process after each addition until the dough is thick and shiny. Beat in the grated cheese.

Using a scant tablespoon of dough for each gougères, drop the dough onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2″ between each mound. Wet your index finger with some water and smooth the dough to make a nice round top, then brush each lightly with the egg wash. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate sheets from top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking until they are golden and firm, about another 10-15 minutes. Makes about 36 puffs.

For the Filling
10 1/2 oz. thinly sliced Prosciutto
3/4 c. basil pesto
5 oz. Parmesan cheese, shaved into thin slices with a vegetable peeler
1 oz. fresh pea shoots

Slice the puffs open and fill each with a teaspoon of pesto, a small portion of Prosciutto, a shaving of Parmesan, and a few pea shoots. Put the tops back on and place on a serving platter.

Next up, two salads (1 first course and 1 main course) using hazelnut oil, a very flavourful addition to a salad dressing…use only a small amount since it packs a punch, and keep it in the refrigerator after opening. You can substitute walnut oil and fresh walnuts in both recipes, if you like.

Butter Lettuce with Apples, Fennel, Cambozola and Hazelnuts

1 head butter lettuce
2 apples, peeled, halved, cored and thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
4 oz. Cambozola cheese
1/3 c. hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and coarsely chopped
1/4 c. chopped parsley

For dressing: Mix 3 T. cider vinegar, 2 T. hazelnut oil, 1 T. vegetable oil, 1 t. honey with salt and pepper to taste.

Place lettuce on individual plates. Toss apples and fennel with dressing to taste and mound on top of lettuce. Top with crumbled cheese and hazelnuts and garnish with parsley. Makes 6 servings.

Bacon, Eggs and Asparagus Salad (slightly adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table) This salad, served with a crusty baguette and cheese, makes a quick main course.

1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1 T. sherry vinegar
1 T. olive oil
1 T. hazelnut oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Put all of the ingredients in a small jar. Shake well and set aside.

4 large fresh eggs
20 spears asparagus
6 strips of bacon, cooked crisp, drained and chopped (reserve 1-2 T. of fat in pan)
4 c. each baby spinach and arugula
salt and pepper
1/3 c. chopped toasted hazelnuts

Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil and slowly lower eggs into the water. Allow to boil for 6 minutes, then run eggs under cold water and leave them to cool until needed.

Cook the asparagus in salted water just until tender, then remove to paper towels to drain. Using the same pan, fry the bacon until crisp, then drain on paper towels, and chop. Be sure to leave 1-2 T. of bacon fat in the pan to heat the eggs just before serving salad.

Carefully remove the shells from the eggs, rinse them and pat them dry. Warm the reserved bacon fat. Toss the spinach and arugula with about 3/4 of the vinaigrette, salt and pepper to taste, and arrange on 4 plates. Toss the asparagus with remaining vinaigrette and lay the spears over the greens. Roll the eggs in the warm bacon fat to heat them slightly and place them on top of the asparagus. Sprinkle with bacon and hazelnuts. Makes 4 servings.

And lastly, our Christmas dessert: Pomegranate Ice Cream

Pomegranate Ice Cream
From Sue Riedl who shows how to seed the pomegranates using the underwater method and to make Nigella Lawson’s ice cream here.

Here is my photo of the seeding process:

…and here is the recipe, with a few suggested changes*

2-3 pomegranates
juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 c. icing sugar
2 c. whipping cream

Seed the pomegranates by sectioning them, immersing the sections in cold water and carefully removing the seeds. As you can see in the photograph, the seeds sink to the bottom and the pith floats to the top. Remove the pith and drain the seeds. Reserving a few seeds for garnish, process the rest briefly in a food processor, then strain. You should have at least 1 c. of juice. Add the lime juice, icing sugar, and whipping cream and beat well until thick. At this point, you can put it into a plastic container and freeze it, or you can freeze it in an ice-cream freezer using the manufacturer’s instructions. (*The original recipe suggests the former and that’s what I did, but next time I will use the latter method, since I found the end product a bit too crystal-y.)

*Once it was frozen, I thought it could use even more flavour, so I boiled some pomegranate juice with a splash of balsamic vinegar and reduced the mixture to a syrup. I scooped out the ice cream, then garnished it with pomegranate seeds and the reduced juice. It made a pretty and refreshing end to Christmas dinner.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. I wanted to thank you for mentioning my post but also to write that I agree the ice cream did get a little crystal-y—though funnily for me it was ok for the first 24 hrs when I served it to friends (thank goodness), but having quite a bit leftover I found it wasn’t quite the same a few days later. Also, Your syrup idea sounds great.

    I also thought it would be a nice topping or dessert just with angel food cake or sponge cake UNFROZEN. I ate quite bit that way!

    January 7, 2012
    • Thanks for your comments and I like the unfrozen idea too. I really enjoy reading your columns and blog as I, like you, am an avid cheese and everything-else eater and your insouciant writing style is a delight.

      January 8, 2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: