Chicken apricot tajine

A simple dish. I can see myself tinkering with it. I’ll write my notes as such in the steps. Not overly spicy but still flavorful and satisfying.

Ingredients
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 onions, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cup chicken broth
20 dried apricots
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
2-3″ of fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 pinch saffron
50g sliced almonds
salt and pepper
olive oil
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 325F.

In a stainless steel skillet, heat the oil. Add the chicken to sear on both sides.
sear chicken

2. Transfer to a tajine pot (or, if you don’t have one, a large enamel cast iron dutch oven, like I did). Add salt and pepper.
transfer chicken

3. In the skillet, add the onions and spices (except the saffron). Cook for a few minutes until the onions are starting to soften and the spices become fragrant, Scrape up as much of the stuck chicken bits as you can.
onions

4. Transfer the onions to the tajine pot. I added the ginger here because I had forgotten it, but for better results add it with the rest of the spices.
transfer onions

5. In the skillet, add the chicken stock, lemon juice, saffron and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and scrape up anything left at the bottom of the pan.
liquids

6. Pour over the chicken. Spread the onions a bit to make sure all the meat is covered. Cover the pot and put in the oven for 40 minutes.
transfer liquids

7. Add the dried apricots and return to the oven for 20 minutes.

* I would probably cut the apricot up a bit and add them a touch sooner to they become a bit softer and impart their flavor to the broth.
apricot

8. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for a few minutes. In the meantime, lightly toast the almond slices.
cooked

9. Serve with couscous and sprinkle the almonds on top.
serve

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Almond Berry Pizza

The second of the pizza dishes. A sweet dessert pizza! Awesome warm, but somehow equally amazing cold and eaten for breakfast.

Ingredients
1 ball of pizza dough
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter (room temperature)
2 eggs
3/4 cup almond powder
2 table spoon amaretto
1/2 cup dark chocolate
4 table spoon almonds slices
nutmeg, to taste
1 package of the berries of your choice.
sweet-ingredients

***

1. Toast the almond slices and set aside.
sweet--toast-almonds

2. Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
In a mixer, combine the butter and sugar.
sweet-cream-butter

3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each.
sweet-add-eggs

4. Add the almond powder, nutmeg and amaretto. Mix well.
sweet-add-almond

5. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and brush with olive oil. Roll the dough to the size of your baking sheet and transfer unto the foil.
sweet-roll

6. Spread the almond cream over the dough, getting as close to the edges as you can.
sweet-smear

7. Add the berries (I used strawberries but any berry would work). Make sure you push them into the almond cream a bit.
sweet-add-berries

8. Bake for 25 minutes on the lower rack in the oven, until the crust is golden.
sweet-cooked

9. While it’s baking, melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
sweet-chocolate

10. Set up a piping bag system by sticking a ziploc bag in some kind of container, then filling it with the molten chocolate.
sweet-piping-setup sweet-pipingbag

11. When you’ve taken the pizza out of the oven, snip a corner of the bag and drizzle the chocolate over the pizza.
sweet-drizzle

12. Add the toasted almonds, slice and serve as soon as possible (before the chocolate sets) or cool and eat in the morning.
sweet-final

Triple Chocolate & Almond cookies

Also known as my “death by chocolate” cookies. Very rich, dense and sweet but not cloying.

One recipe makes for 4 dozen cookies or more, so plan to share them.

Ingredients
2 1/2 cup flour
2 table spoon almond liqueur
3/4 tea spoon baking powder
3/4 tea spoon baking soda
3/4 tea spoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 tea spoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
100g of slivered almonds

ingredients

***

1. Pour the almonds into a cake mold or on a small cookie sheet.
almonds1

2. Set the oven to broil and cook the almonds until brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and transfer immediately to a cold bowl. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
almonds2

3. Pre-heat the oven to 375F.

4. Cut the room temperature butter into chunks and put in the bowl of the mixer (or large mixing bowl)
butter1

5. Beat the butter until it is a bit lighter and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
fluffy

6. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each. Add the almond liqueur and the vanilla extract.
liquids

7. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
flour

8. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 4 steps, until everything comes together.
dough

9. In a very large mixing bowl, combine the almonds, chocolate chips and mini chocolate chips.
particules

10. Transfer the dough to this bowl and knead until all the chocolate chips and almonds have been incorporated.
knead

11. Pinch off a bit of the dough (about a large tea spoon to a small table spoon worth) and roll between your hands until smooth. Lay the dough balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
raw

12. Bake for 9 minutes. They should barely be firm around the edges. Allow to rest for 30 seconds to a minute once out of the oven to firm the cookies then transfer to a plate or cooling rack.
baked

Chèvre Chaud

A delicious appetizer, with just enough variation on the theme to be interesting, yet simple enough that it can be scaled up with ease.

The pictures and quantities below are for one portion, scale up as you require.

Ingredients
1 coffee spoon Balsamic Vinegar
2 coffee spoon Port
1/2 tea spoon Sugar (optional)
1 Fig
Baby Spinach (to taste)
Baby Arugula (to taste)
1 tea spoon Dijon mustard
1 table spoon Cider vinegar
1 table spoon Olive oil
1 pinch Ras el hanout
1 small Baguette
Goat Chesse (to taste)
Sliced almonds (to taste)
1/2 tea spoon Honey
Salt and Pepper (to taste)

ingredients

***

1. In a small pot, pour about 1 coffee spoon of balsamic vinegar and 2 coffee spoons of port. Allow to reduce on a very low heat. To make a thicker syrup you can add about half a tea spoon of sugar.
port

2. In a sealed container mix the Dijon mustard with the cider vinegar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Shake until uniform in texture.
dressing

3. Cut the baguette on the bias. Lightly rub olive oil on both side of the bread.
bread

4. Toast the baguette slices.
toast

5. While the bread is toasting, wash and slice the figs. Grind the spices if you bought them whole.
prep

6. Assemble the croutons.

Left : Cheese topped with sliced almonds
Center : Figs, topped with the cheese.
Right : Cheese that has been seasonned on both sides with Ras el Hanout

Put back in the oven at broil until the cheese is warm and starting to melt.
assemble

7. Dress the greens with the vinaigrette. Drizzle a bit of honey over the crouton with the almonds. Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the crouton with the figs.

Serve while warm.
final

Raspberry Clafoutis

The traditional way to bake a clafoutis is with with whole cherries, but you can make it with any fruit. Berries, cut up peaches or apple, etc.

This is my trial and error version of the recipe, so feel free to adjust to your personal liking.

Ingredients :
1/4 cup of room temperature butter
1/2 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2  cup of Mediterranean yogurt
1 1/2 cup of almonds
2 table spoons of corn starch
1 tea spoon vanilla extract
1 cup raspberries (or other fruit)

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 375F.

2. Measure the almonds into the bowl of a food processor.

3. Pulse until the almonds are broken down into a powder. I like to keep it a bit chunky for the texture, but you can pulse it down to a nearly flour state. Just be careful to pulse, not blend, so you do not end up with almond butter.

4. Transfer the almonds to  bowl and mix the cornstarch with it. Set aside.

5. Cream together the butter and sugar, beating for about 2 minutes. Stop in the middle and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

6. Add the eggs one at the time, making sure they are well incorporated before adding the next. Mix in the egg yolk. Beat for a minute or two then add the yogurt and vanilla extract.

7. Pour the dry ingredients into the batter and mix until incorporated.

8. Carefully wash the berries by putting them in a bowl of cold water and moving them around. Remove from the bowl and allow to drain on a paper towel.

9. Butter the bottom and sides of an oven safe dish. Sprinkle the bottom with some sugar. Lay the berries in a single layer at the bottom of the dish.

10. Pour the batter over the berries and smooth.

11. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden. Serve lukewarm.

Lentil Soup

A staple of my lunches. I make a big batch of this and freeze it in individual portions, to bring to work. By the time noon roll around the soup is mostly unfrozen and ready to be re-heated.

This makes for a very thick, gruel like soup. If you like your soups less solid, add water.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 leeks, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 boxes of vegetable stock
1 1/3 cup red lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup rice
1 pinch of saffron
slivered almonds, toasted

***

1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the leeks, onion and pepper flakes.

2. Cook over medium-low heat for a while, until they begin to gain some color and have lost at least half of their original volume.

3. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Spoon some of the boiling stock into a separate bowl and add the saffron to that bowl to infuse.

4. Add the lentils and rice and simmer until the rice is cooked. Then stir in the saffron infusion.

5. While the soup is simmering, put your slivered almonds in an oven safe dish (I use a cake mold).

6. Put in the oven at broil until just beginning to turn brown. Keep an eye on them, they burn really fast.

7. Serve the soup topped with the toasted almonds.

Indian spiced chicken casserole

One of my current favorites. Easy to toss together even if it’s not truly a one pot dish, but filling warm and delicious. Also freezes well and does great lunches with the left overs.

Ingredients
1/2 cup raisins
100g container whole blanched almonds
9 chicken boneless skinless chicken thighs cut in bite sized cubes
1 cup of jasmine rice
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 small can chicken broth
1 table spoon curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp tumeric
oil
1/2 block of firm tofu, pressed and cut in small dices (optional)

ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 375F.

2.  In a small pot combine the chicken stock, the coconut milk, all the spices (including the garlic). Take a good look at your mixing spoon, thank it for it’s services and acknowledge that from this point on it will be the yellow spoon. The turmeric does that. Bring the liquid to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.

liquid

3. If using the tofu, cook it in a  pan with about a table spoon of oil until lightly golden. This helps with the texture.

4. In a dutch oven or other oven safe vessel heat about a table spoon of oil. Add the chicken and cook until mostly colored, about 2-3 minutes.
chicken

5. Add the rice, raisins and almonds. Stir well to coat the rice with some of the oil. If using the tofu, add here and stir well to mix with the rice.
combine

6. Deglaze with the liquid and spices mix and mix well to make sure everything is evenly distributed.
addliquid

7. Cover and put in the oven for 30 minutes.
cooked

8. Serve in small bowls. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
bowl