We’ve finally started seeing signs of spring. The sunshine has been glorious, adding a bit of color to the typical grey tones of Chicago winter. The forsythia bush outside my kitchen door is just starting to bud and the crocuses are peeking up through the frosty ground. Soon they will be vibrant green, pink and purple. I can’t help but focus on the colors of superfoods. I’m writing this post on a Friday during Lent. Since we don’t eat meat on Fridays todays post is somewhat vegetarian… if you eat fish. It’s really two meals but we were hungry for both so this is what we ended up with in my crazy kitchen. There’s plenty of protein and nutrients in this meal regardless. And, anytime I can add an egg with warm runny yolk, I’m in!!!
The main dish is a multi grain salad with quinoa, lentils, micro greens, apple, almonds, and currents. We also prepared a tartine of brioche piled high with thin slices of smoked salmon and my favorite condiments; pickled red onion, and crème fraîche. A Tartine is simply an open faced sandwich.
What’s the difference between crème fraîche and sour cream? One taste and it will be obvious or look here for a few facts. Why brioche, why not brioche? Brioche is a type of bread that comes up often in recipes, particularly recipes where you might want to add some extra richness to the finished product. But what sets brioche apart from, regular sandwich bread? Brioche is an enriched French bread, meaning that the dough contains a high proportion of fat it in. Adding ingredients like milk and oil will enrich a dough. In the case of brioche, the dough is enriched with lots of butter and egg yolks. This gives the bread a very fine, soft crumb and an almost flaky texture, in addition to turning the crust a dark golden color after baking. Brioche is often used in sweet dishes, leading to the perception that the bread is sweet. Actually, the bread does not usually contain much sugar at all; it is featured in sweet dishes because of its rich texture and buttery flavor. Brioche does just as well in savory applications, where its butteriness can really shine. Have you ever had a PB&J on brioche. It’s life changing. Just don’t check the calories. Once in awhile, as a treat, just not every day. Everything in moderation…right!?
The pickled onions are great in salads, on meats, on eggs and right out of the jar. I’ve tried several recipes but my favorite comes from my friend Aran
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon natural cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 star anise
- 1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 2 medium red onions, peeled and sliced into thin rings
- Combine the first eight ingredients in a medium saucepan.
- Add the onion rings and bring liquid to a light boil over medium high heat.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until tender, but do not let the onions fall apart.
- Remove the onions and liquid, which by now will be pink, into a bowl and cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for up to a couple of weeks.
Aran also taught me how to boil an egg properly. Seems like something everyone should just know how to do. Once you have a properly cooked fresh egg you’ll understand. The best eggs are always fresh.
Take the eggs out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes earlier if you can so they are not so cold. You can still make it when they are cold, but the time indicated here are for room temperature eggs.
Fill a small saucepan with about 4-inches of water and bring this to a boil over high heat. When the water begins to boil, make circular swirls in it with a spoon. Gently drop in the eggs and continue to swirl the egg around for a few seconds. This will ensure the yolk stays in the center.
Have a bowl with ice water ready.
Cook the eggs for 5 minutes. Remove the eggs from the boiling water and transfer into the ice bath. This will stop the cooking process. I don’t like my eggs too cold, so don’t leave them in the ice for too long.
Gently crack the shell and peel. Cut the egg in half and you should have a perfectly cooked white and a soft yolk.
Quinoa Lentil Salad
1c Quinoa prepared according to the package
1c Lentils prepared according to instructions.
note: I do this a day ahead making dinner really easy to throw together
1/4 finely chopped green pepper
3 green onions finely chopped
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup dried currents or white raisins
1 apple finely diced
1 avocado sliced for serving
mixed greens for serving
6 soft boiled eggs for serving
- 1/2 cup Canola oil
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 TBS orange juice
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients. Serve with sautéed vegetables, sliced avacado and mixed greens.
- Top each serving with a soft boiled egg.
I hope you’ll give it a try! Enjoy!