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Black Olive Tapenade

20 Minutes

Makes 3 cups

Olive Tapenade

1½ cup pitted black olives, such as Niçoise or oil-cured olives
    (canned pitted black olives work just fine too)
3 tbsp. drained capers
6 drained oil-packed anchovy fillets
9 medium cloves garlic, crushed
15 basil leaves (optional)
3 tbsp. loosely packed fresh oregano, marjoram, or thyme leaves
3 tsp. Dijon mustard
3 tsp. fresh lemon juice
extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, if needed

Method: Combine olives, capers, anchovies, garlic, basil (if using), other herbs, and mustard in the work bowl and process, scraping down the sides, until a finely chopped paste forms. Add lemon juice and process. With the processor running, drizzle in just enough olive oil to loosen to a spreadable paste, about 2 tablespoons. Season with salt and pepper only if needed (olives and capers may already be very salty).

If using a mortar and pestle: Roughly chop olives, capers, anchovies, and garlic, then add to mortar with basil (if using) and other herbs. Tap, crush, and smash with pestle until ingredients have been reduced to a thick paste (a little chunkiness is okay). Using pestle, work in mustard and lemon juice, then drizzle in just enough olive oil to form a spreadable paste, about 2 tbsp. Add salt and pepper only if needed.

Transfer tapenade to a covered container, smooth down the top, and pour a thin layer of olive to cover. To serve, tilt to spoon out tapenade without oil layer. Lasts up to 6 weeks in the fridge as long as it is oil covered — Freezes well.

Olive-based Tapenade from Serious Eats

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Provençal Caper Tapenade

20 Minutes

Makes 3 cups

Banana Pecan PancakesBased on the 1880 original, created by a chef named Meynier at the Marseilles restaurant La Maison Dorée — hence the fact that tapenade takes its name from capers (tapeno in the Provençal dialect). Traditionally this recipe includes tuna to add protein, but that is up to you.
 

Ingredients:

6 ounces (about 2 cups) pitted green olives (bottled green olives with pimentos are fine, drained) or pitted black olives, such as Niçoise or oil-cured olives (canned pitted black olive work well too)
6 ounces drained capers (about 1 cup)
3 ounces drained oil-packed anchovy fillets (about 9-11 fillets)
5 loosely packed teaspoons fresh oregano, marjoram, or thyme leaves (optional)
1½ tsp. Dijon mustard (optional but recommended)
extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
1 tsp. Cognac, whiskey, or rum (optional)
3 ounces drained oil-packed tuna (100 ml / 8 tbsp. - optional)

Caper Tapenade serving

Method:
In the processor work bowl, combine olives, capers, anchovies (and tuna if using); add herbs and mustard. Process, scraping down the sides, until a finely chopped paste forms. With the processor running, drizzle in just enough olive oil to loosen to a spreadable paste, about 2 tablespoons. Process in Cognac, whiskey, or rum (if using).

Transfer tapenade to a covered container, smooth down the top, and pour a thin layer of olive to cover. To serve ,tilt to spoon out tapenade without oil layer. Lasts up to 6 weeks in the fridge when it is oil covered — Freezes well.

If using a mortar and pestle: see method above for black olive tapenade above.

Serve with crackers or baguette and cold white or rosé wine

Caper-based Tapenade from Serious Eats


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Paella à la Valenciana

30 Minutes prep, 1 Hour cooking

Serves 6-8

There are many different varieties of Paella. In certain regions artichoke hearts and/or calamari (squid rings) are added.

Ingredients:

400g short grain rice (spanish or italian)
6 cooked langoustines or crayfish (optional)
300g uncooked calamari rings
2 dozen or so mussels (optional)
1 small chicken, cut into pieces
250g pork filet / loin (or 3 saddles of rabbit)
150g chorizo sausage, cut into rounds (or more if not using mussels or crayfish)
300g large prawns (or more if not using mussels or crayfish)
1 red pepper, cut in thin strips
1 yellow pepper, cut in thin strips


150g petit peas (fresh or frozen)
2-4 garlic cloves, depending on size
1-2 onion, depending on size
4 tomatoes, sliced
10 cl / 3.5 oz olive oil
10 cl / 3.5 oz white wine
4 chicken stock cubes
small bunch parsley
1 pinch saffron (for rice)
salt and pepper
      Goes well with Rioja Red

Method:
Carefully scrape or brush the mussels clean. Put them in a large casserole with the wine, 1 clove of garlic (peeled and crushed), and salt and pepper (to taste). Cover and cook over medium high heat checking from time to time until all the mussels become opened. If you don't use mussels, keep the wine for cooking the other seafood. Drain the cooking liquid and save it. Reserve 6 mussels in their shells and shell the others, setting them aside.

PaellaTop and tail the green beans. Cook them with the petit peas for 10 minutes in salted boiling water. Drain them and set aside. Boil 1.5 litres / 6.5 cups of water and crumble in the bouillon cubes, stir and keep on very low heat.

Cut the pork or rabbit into dice or strips. Wash the tomatoes and peppers and cut them also into dice. Peel and chop the onion. Put 4 tablespoons of olive oil into a large skillet or paella pan and brown the pieces of chicken on all sides over a brisk heat.

Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon to a large plate or bowl and replace with the pieces of pork (or rabbit), browning them too. Remove pork/rabbit and add to plate with chicken. Do the same with the chorizo, and then with the prawns and the langoustines / crayfish (if using). Reserve the langoustines with the mussels in their shells.

In the same pan, put the onion and the second clove of garlic, peeled and crushed along with the tomatoes and peppers, the green beans, and the peas. Salt and pepper them and simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Remove all the vegetables to the plate with the meats and seafood. In the same pan, heat the rest of the oil, add the rice and stir during a few minutes just until the grains become translucent.

Add half the hot bouillon, the saffron and, optionally, the filtered juice from cooking the mussels. Continue cooking over a very low heat, stirring frequently until the liquids are absorbed by the rice. Add more of the bouillon, little-by-little, as needed.

In mid-cooking, return all the ingredients reserved on the plate or bowl, salt and pepper to taste. Stir and continue to add, little by little, the bouillon until the rice is completely cooked. Serve hot, decorated with the mussels in shells, the langoustines the chopped parsley.

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Thai Salad

30 Minutes

Serves 6-8

Thai SaladThe salad is in the tradition of Thai Phla salad, and has lots of possible variations, so use your imagination (and your taste buds). Instead of, or in addition to, the prawns and chicken in this recipe, you can also use crab meat, calamari, pork, or beef.  If you cannot buy the nems sauce (nuoc mam cham), it is simple enough to make (see recipe below)

 

Ingredients:

Vary the amounts of each ingredient below to suit your taste.

— lettuce, coarsely shredded
— 2-3 medium carrots, finely grated (carrot rapé)
— 4-6 green onions (green parts only), chopped
— coriander leaves (cilantro), chopped
— mint leaves, chopped
— 100g unsalted roasted peanuts
— 2 skinless chicken breasts, diced in 1-2 cm pieces (and/or pork, beef)
— 200-300g small to medium prawns, shells and tails removed (or cooked prawns)
— 100g white/yellow rice noodles of medium thickness (i.e. not the very thin vermicelli)
— soy sauce, for cooking chicken / prawns (optionally for drizzling on salad
— nem sauce (spring roll dipping sauce), for drizzling on after serving (see recipe below)


Method:

Put the rice noodles into boiling water and cook for about 4 minutes or until soft. Drain the noodles and put them in a bowl of cold water to rest.

If using raw prawns, cook them  in a sauté pan in a small amount of oil and soy sauce. Spoon the prawns from the pan into a dish, and then cook the diced chicken with some more soy sauce until cooked through, tossing to cook evenly. Remove the chicken to the same dish as the prawns.

Coarsely shred the lettuce. Finely grate the carrots, and (if using) the white cabbage. Chop the greens of the green onions, and the coriander/cilantro and mint. Roughly chop peanuts into smaller pieces.

Drain the noodles and add all ingredients into a large bowl in layers, noodles on the bottom, then meat/seafood, then the nuts and herbs with the lettuce on top. If possible, refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

You can prepare the dish earlier and then keep the bowl in the fridge overnight or for some hours before serving. If preparing early, layer the ingredients as above, but do not mix all the ingredients together (toss) until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, toss all ingredients to thoroughly mix and serve in a large salad bowl.


Nem Sauce (Nuoc Mam Cham)      For a vegetarian / vegan sauce recipe go here

Makes 3/4 cup / 175 ml
    3 tablespoons / 45 ml  lime juice, approx. 1 lime (see Note below)
    2 tablespoons / 30 ml  white or brown sugar
    1/2 cup / 120 ml  water
    2 1/2 tablespoons / 38 ml  Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam)
Optional additions:
    1 small garlic clove, finely minced
    1 or 2 Thai chilis, thinly sliced or 1 teaspoon / 5 ml  homemade chili garlic sauce or store bought (tuong ot toi)

Combine the lime juice, sugar and water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Taste and ask yourself this question: Does this mixture taste good?  Adjust the flavors to balance out the sweet and sour.

Vietnamese fish sauceNow add the fish sauce and any of the optional ingredients. Taste again and adjust the flavors to your liking, balancing out the sour, sweet, salty, and spicy. Aim for a bold, forward finish — perhaps a little stronger than what you'd normally like. This sauce is likely to be used to add final flavor to foods wrapped in lettuce or herbs, which are not salted and therefore need a little lift to heighten the overall eating experience.

Notes

Fish sauce — get a good quality fish sauce (nuoc mam). Make sure it is "vietnamese style" and look for a light amber color and the words nhi or thuong hang on the label (signifying the high quality first pressing). Also look for the terms Phu Quoc and Phan Thiet signifying famous anchovy fishing regions of Vietnam. Three Crabs and Flying Lion are good brands you may find in Asian stores (I get it from T&T Supermarket in Toronto) or even at Amazon. At a pinch you can use Thai fish sauce, but use about half as much as it is stronger and more salty.

Variation — Use half lime juice and half Japanese rice vinegar for a less assertive sauce. Some delicately flavored dishes require this.

Advance Preparation — This sauce may be prepared early in the day and left to sit at room temperature.

salad recipe from Nathalie Mazars de Marazin;
sauce recipe from http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2008/11/basic-vietnamese-dipping-sauce-nuoc-cham.html

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Macarons

About 2 hours

24 Macarons

Thai SaladThis is a fairly foolproof French Macaron recipe, but it will still need some practice as you get a sense of how your ingredients and oven behave.

This particular version recipe is for Raspberry Cream Macarons, but there are many other fillings. Try other fruit juices (strawberry, blueberry, etc.), or chocolate (cocoa) powder, powdered pistachios (unsalted), etc.

 

Ingredients:

— 3 egg whites (at room temperature)
— ¼ cup / 50g white sugar
— 2 cups / 200g confectioners sugar
— 1 cup / 120g almond flour
— pinch of salt
— ¼ tsp / 2ml cream of tartar to stabilize beaten egg
    whites (if you can't find it, try ¼ tsp white vinegar)
 
For the filling: Raspberry butter-cream
— ¼ cup / 60g salted butter
— ¾ cup / 75g powdered sugar
— 1 cup / 150g fresh raspberries, worked through
    a sieve to extract 3 tbsp of juice


Method:

Preheat oven to 300° F / 150° C.

Beat egg whites until foamy, then add salt, cream of tartar and white sugar and beat for 8-10 minutes.
    TIP: egg whites should be room temp. To create room temp eggs, submerge whole egg in warm water for 5 minutes.

Whip until they form a peak that stands upright. Think CN Tower / Seattle Space needle. Then add the food coloring.
    TIP: Color does fade as it cooks, so do a shade or two darker than you want them to be.

TIP: Sift almond flour, and powdered sugar. What remains will be the larger lumps of almond pieces. Just discard those, or use them to snack on. You want a really fine powder mixture to create a smooth and pretty on top to your cookie.
    TIP: if the recipe is too sweet, cut down on granulated sugar — confectioners sugar is important to make the shells are glossy and smooth.

Fold flour/sugar mixture into the egg white mixture.
    TIP: This is where all your hard work can really go wrong. Under-mix and your macaroons will be lumpy and cracked when the bake with no feet, over-mix and your macaroons will be flat and won't have feet, the mark of a well-made macaron. In my experience 65-75 turns of your spatula when folding is about the right amount of time. But again, it can be tricky, depends on how strong you are, Ha! So it can take a few tries to get it right.

Transfer batter to a pastry bag. Pipe out 1 inch rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. TIP: tap the pan hard at least 2-3 times to release the air bubbles. This will prevent the tops of your macaroons from cracking.
    TIP: Let them sit out for 20-30 minutes, or up to an hour if you want. This will allow them time to dry out a bit before hitting the hot oven. They should be "tacky" to the touch, but not stick to your fingertips. This is another important step to assuring your macarons develop feet! When they dry out they can't spread out in the oven, and are forced to rise up. That's what creates the feet!

Place tray in the lower third of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. DO NOT UNDER-BAKE, even if they look done! Otherwise they will stick to your tray.

Meanwhile mix the butter-cream. Whip butter with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Slowly add sugar. Then place sieve on top of a bowl the same size. Work raspberries through the sieve with a spatula, pushing them through, mashing them around until you extract their juice. You want 3 tablespoons of juice.

Add juice to butter-cream, and whip until combined. Transfer to a pastry bag, fitted with a small tip (about ¼" in diameter) Reverse cookie shells on their backs, and pipe a small mound of filling on one of them. Top with the other shell et voila!

If not eating right away, keep refrigerated.

Recipe from Beth Le Manach  http://entertainingwithbeth.com/foolproof-french-macaron-recipe/

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