Kitchen Round-up!

Dear followers, though few, I love you all dearly and hope that I haven’t lost your support in these past months of negligence. I have been extremely busy with work and preparing for the beginning of yet another semester of stimulating classes and labs. Nevertheless, cooking is always the purest, most effective form of therapy in my life. Now that my best friend and cooking buddy (Milena) has returned from her cowgirl escapades in Wyoming, I have been back in the kitchen, cooking, baking, experimenting and documenting.

Course 1 – Appetizer – Shrimp Bruschetta with Lemony Fennel SaladIngredients

* 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced through the root, green fronds reserved
* 1 heaped tbsp roughly chopped dill
* zest and juice ½ lemon , plus wedges, to serve
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 4 small slices rustic wholemeal bread , or widely sliced baguette
* 1 garlic clove , halved
* 3/4 lb. shrimp or prawns
* handful rocket (arugula)

1. Bring a pan of water to boil then add the fennel slices for 2-3 mins until tender. Drain well and toss with reserved fennel fronds, dill (optional), lemon zest and juice, 2 tsp olive oil and salt and pepper.
2. Brush the slices of baguette with remaining oil. Place in a hot griddle pan (or under a grill) and toast on both sides until lightly charred. Rub one side of each slice with the garlic, then divide the fennel salad between them. Top with the prawns, then the rocket (arugula) and serve.

Course 2 – Entree – Seared Sesame Tuna, Roasted Summer Vegetables with Goat Cheese, and Steamed Garlicky Asparagus Seared Sesame Tuna:
* 1 fresh Tuna Steak
* 1 tsp black and white sesame seeds
* 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
* 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
* lime juice
* dash of chili powder
* salt and pepper
* oil for searing

1. Season the fresh tuna steak with salt and pepper on all sides.
2. Combine the sesame seeds, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice and chili powder in a small bowl. Coat the tuna steak with the marinade, try to evenly distribute the sesame seeds.
3. Heat a pan with a tsp or 2 of oil and gently sear each side of your tuna steak, approximately 30-40 seconds per side (I like my tuna to be medium-rare). Roasted Summer Vegetables with Goat Cheese
* 1 zucchini
* 1 yelllow squash
* 1/2 red onion
* 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 pound bag of fingerling and gourmet potatoes
* 1 tsp cumin
* 1 tsp paprika
* dash of chili powder (or Cajun seasoning)
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 1 tbsp sherry vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cut all the vegetables into 1/2 inch slices (diced) and toss in a large roasting pan with the remaining ingredients.
3. Bake the vegetables for 20-30 minutes until tender and browned.
4. Serve over a bed of lettuce tossed with oil and vinegar and top the vegetables with crumbled goat cheese.

Steamed Garlicky Asparagus = Milena’s Secret!

~ Amidst my stress these past few weeks, Lance sent a surprise delivery of the beautiful orchids in the background of the entree photo. Fun fact: the purple variety of orchid is the National Flower of Singapore

Course 3 – Dessert – Cherry-Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (GF)
* 1 cup flour (we used Gluten-free rice flour)
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
(we substituted 1/4 butter for 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce)
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
* 1 large egg
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
* 1 cup old-fashioned oats (we used gluten-free oats)
* 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
* 1 cup dried tart cherries
* 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (optional)

1. Position racks in center and top third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift flour, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter (applesauce), sugar and brown sugar in large bowl until well blended. Mix in egg and both extracts. Beat in flour mixture. Mix in oats, then chocolate chips, and cherries.
2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies 12 minutes. Switch and rotate baking sheets. Bake cookies until golden, about 6 minutes longer. Cool cookies on baking sheets (cookies will firm as they cool). (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cherry-Chocolate-Chip-Oatmeal-Cookies-4953#ixzz0yF3LmXVa

Baking in my eclectic/hippie kitchen – although, I do love the natural light it provides.Caught licking the bowl 😉

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