Chorizo, Avocado and Poached Egg Sandwich

Ingredients

4 eggs
4 x 2-inch lengths of chorizo sticks, cut in half lengthwise
olive oil, to drizzle (or butter, to spread, if preferred)
4 slices soda bread or crusty wholemeal/ whole-wheat bread, lightly toasted (or a base of your choice – toasted English muffins also work well)
2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted/stoned and peeled
black pepper, to season

Method

  1. Poach the eggs to your liking. Drain just before serving.
  2. Put the chorizo slices into a dry frying pan/skillet and set over medium heat. Fry for a minute or so on either side to release the oil and to warm through. Remove the pan from the heat.
  3. For each open sandwich, drizzle a little olive oil on the toasted bread (or spread with butter, if you prefer). Crush half an avocado onto it using a fork, then layer two chorizo slices on top of the avocado. Place a poached egg on top, sprinkle some black pepper over and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: 100 ways with eggs

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Pan-roasted Quail with Figs and Port

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium onion, cut into medium dice (about 1/2 cup)
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme plus 4 large thyme sprigs
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/2 cup demi-glace (sold refrigerated or frozen in gourmet markets), or 1 cup low-sodium, store-bought beef broth reduced by half and thickened with 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour combined
1-1/2 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium, store-bought chicken or beef broth
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons high-quality port
8 (4-ounce) quail (sold fresh and partially boned, 4 to a package)
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 fresh figs, halved (8 to 10 halved, dried white figs can be substituted)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup pine nuts or pumpkin seeds

Method

  1. Set a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat to warm it. Pour in 2 tablespoons of the oil and heat for 2 minutes. Add the carrots, onion, celery, bay leaf, chopped thyme, and garlic to the pan and pan-roast, turning occasionally, until everything is well browned, about 12 minutes.
  2. Pour in the demi-glace and broth, return to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer until reduced by half, about 30 minutes.
  3. Pour the port into the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. The sauce can be made up to this point, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat gently over medium heat before cooking the quail.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  6. Season the quail inside and out with salt and pepper. If there is a metal frame inside the quail (often included by the purveyor to hold the shape while cooking), leave it in and remove it before serving.
  7. Pour the remaining 1 tablespoon oil into a large, heavy-bottomed saute pan and heat it over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the thyme sprigs and quail, breast side down. Cook the quail until dark golden brown, about 3 minutes, then turn them over and cook the back until well browned, about 4 more minutes.
  8. Remove the quail from the skillet, set them on a cookie sheet, and keep them warm in the oven while you finish the dish.
  9. Add the figs to the pan in which the quail were cooked and roast over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Use tongs to pick out and discard the thyme sprigs. Add the warm port sauce to the figs and whisk the butter into the sauce to enrich it and give it a silken sheen.
  10. Divide the quail among 4 dinner plates, top each serving with figs, and spoon some port sauce over the top. Scatter some pine nuts over each quail and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Nightly Specials

Fish Tagine with Raisins and Honey

Ingredients

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon powdered saffron
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 pounds firm white fish fillets, such as sea bass, flounder, cod, ling, monkfish, grouper
1 large mild red onion finely diced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup wine vinegar
3/4 cup raisins, soaked and drained
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Method

  1. Combine 5 tablespoons of oil, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, cayenne pepper, saffron, and salt in a small bowl. Rub into the fish fillets on both sides. Place on a plate, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours for the flavors to penetrate.
  2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and sear the fish on both sides until lightly colored. Remove immediately and set aside.
  3. Add the diced onion to the pan and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the black pepper, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, honey, vinegar, raisins, and parsley.
  5. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Return the fish to the pan, spoon some sauce over the top, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes, basting occasionally with sauce.
  7. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Modern Mediterranean Cooking

Apricot Amaretto Torte

Ingredients

1 tablespoon lemon juice
5 medium-size apricots (about 1 lb total)
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar, divided
4 to 5 tablespoons almond-flavored liqueur, divided
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted and cooled slightly
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup apricot nectar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Method

  1. Pour lemon juice into a medium-size bowl. Quarter and pit apricots. Add to bowl and turn to coat with juice. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, whirl almonds until finely ground. (Or finely chop almonds with a knife, then place in a large bowl.)
  3. To almonds, add eggs, 1/2 cup of the sugar, 1 tablespoon of the liqueur, and almond extract. Whirl or beat with an electric mixer until thick and well blended.
  4. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and butter. Whirl or beat until well blended.
  5. Spread batter in a greased, floured 9-inch cake pan with a removable rim. Decoratively arrange apricots in batter, overlapping as needed. Press fruit lightly into batter.
  6. Bake in a 375°F (190°C) oven until cake just begins to pull away from side of pan and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean (about 25 minutes; pierce cake, not fruit). Let cool slightly on a rack.
  7. While cake is cooling, stir together cornstarch and 6 tablespoons of the sugar in a small pan. Whisk in apricot nectar and orange juice. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until mixture boils and thickens slightly (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and remaining 3 to 4 tablespoons liqueur. Keep warm.
  8. Sprinkle cake with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Remove pan rim and cut cake into wedges. Serve with apricot-orange sauce.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Low-fat Italian Cookbook

Simmering Beef Salad

Ingredients

1 sirloin steak, about 7 oz and 3/4 inch thick
peanut or corn oil, for brushing
salt and pepper
1 red bell pepper, cut in half, cored, and seeded
1 yellow bell pepper, cut in half, cored, and seeded
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 zucchini, cut into 3-inch pieces
3-1/2 oz canned straw mushrooms (drained weight), rinsed and thinly sliced
3/8 cup bean sprouts
2 kaffir lime leaves, sliced
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro, and some sprigs for garnish

Sweet Chili Dressing

1/2 to 1 fresh red chili, to taste, seeded and finely sliced
4 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp fish sauce

Method

  1. Heat a skillet over medium—high heat. Brush both sides of the steak with oil and season. Cook for 3 minutes on one side. then flip it over and continue cooking for 2 minutes for medium-rare, then set it aside for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Put all the ingredients for the dressing together in a large serving bowl.
  3. Thinly slice the steak on the diagonal and add to the bowl. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the vegetables, adding each one to the bowl as it is sliced using a vegetable peeler.
  5. Run the peeler along the cut edges of the bell peppers to make thin, narrow strips.
  6. Thinly slice the carrot and zucchini lengthwise, then stack the slices and cut lengthwise into short thin sticks.
  7. Stir the mushrooms, bean sprouts, lime leaves, and cilantro into the dressing, then cover and let chill.
  8. Put the noodles in another bowl, pour over enough lukewarm water to cover, and let soak for 20 minutes, until soft. Drain and let chill until you are ready to serve.
  9. When you are ready to serve, toss the noodles into the salad. Arrange the salad on 4 plates and garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Noodles