Menus for right meals : high-comfort, deeply satisfying and very easy.
Focus your culinary effort on what makes a meal special. With a basic larder, coming up with just the right meals, becomes more of a pleasure than a production. Which, after all, is the way weekends should be.
BLACKBERRY / BLUEBERRY CORNMEAL MUFFINS.
CRANBERRY GRAPEFRUIT JUICE
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour sifted before measuring
2/3 cup cornmeal
3 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup low-fat plain yogurt
½ cup low-fat milk
4 T. (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups black or blueberries
Heat oven. Generously butter muffin pan.
In a bowl stir together the dry ingredients. Combine yogurt, milk, eggs and melted butter and mix until smooth. Stir in to dry ingredients. Add berries and stir quickly until ingredients are combined. Divide among muffin cups. Sprinkle lightly with sugar.
Place pan in oven lowering heat. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until muffins are golden. Cool a few minutes, then turn muffins out and serve warm with sweet butter.
TOASTED PEASANT BREAD PIZZAS
GREEN BEANS VINAIGRETTE
RIPE MELON WEDGES WITH LIME
1 long or round loaf crusty bread halved lengthwise
2/3 cup shredded fresh basil
4 T. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
6 ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced
salt and pepper
12 to 16 oz. milk goat cheese or mozzarella, thinly sliced.
Line a baking sheet with foil. Place bread on foil, cut sides up and set aside. In a small cup or bowl stir together basil, oil and garlic. Set aside
Toast bread until lightly coloured. Arrange tomate slices over bread, overlapping them slightly. Season tomatoes with salt and pepper. Drizzle with basil mixture. Arrange slices of cheese over tomatoes.
Broil 2 to 4 minutes until cheese melts and begins to brown. Cut and serve.
DINNER FOR SIX
CHAMPAGNE WITH A SPLASH OF PECHER MIGNON
OLIVES AND ALMONDS
BOURRIDE WITH AIOLI
STEAMED RED AND YELLOW POTATOES
PEACH BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE
The American version of the classic Provenzal fish soup is enriched with aioli (a garlicky mayonnaise).
1 T. olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 leeks, trimmed, halved lenghtwise, washed well and sliced
2 carrots, trimmed and sliced
1 thin strip orange rind
¼ spoon saffron threads
chicken degreased broth
salt and black pepper
2 medium tomatoes, cored, halved, seeded and cut into dice
2 or 3 egg yolks
2 dozen small fresh clams or 12 sea scallops, halved, cleaned
18 medium shrimp, peeled with tails left on
2 lb. cod or other thick white fish fillets, cut into chunks
3 T. chopped chives plus a few whole chives for garnish
2 T. chopped parsley
juice of ½ lemon
In large heavy casserole place olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, leeks, carrots, salt, orange rind and saffron. Cover pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened slightly, about 10 minutes.
Add chicken broth and clam juice and bring to a boil, covered. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes.
At serving time, bring soup to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, place tomatoes in a large strainer. Sprinkle with salt and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together egg yolks and ½ cup of aioli.
Keep soup at a gentle boil. Add clams and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cod. Lower heat to a simmer and continue to cook, covered, until fish is just opaque and clams have opened, about 5 minutes longer.
Add egg-yolk mixture to soup and stir constantly over low heat, without breaking up fish, until soup has thickened very slightly. Do not boil. Remove from heat and stir in chives, parsley, lemon juice and cayenne. Taste soup, adding salt and pepper if needed. Top soup with diced tomatoes and a few whole chives. Serve, ladled over potatoes in wide soup bowls. Pass remaining garlic mayonnaise separately.
AIOLI (ROASTED GARLIC MAYONNAISE) (11/2 cups)
Aioli is equally delicious as a sauce for raw or cooked vegetables or fish.
10 large garlic cloves, peeled, with thin outer skin left on
juice of ½ large lemon
1 T. red-wine vinegar
1 1/3 cups mayonnaise
3 T. plain law fat yogurt
Heat oven to 400 °. Place garlic cloves in a pie plate and drizzle with olive oil. Toss gently. Roast until garlic is easily pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Cool briefly. Then peel a garlic and puree in a food processor with remaining ingredients.
Correct all seasonings. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
PEACH BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE
5 large ripe peaches peeled and sliced
2 T. lemon juice
1 pint blueberries
3 T. Amaretto liqueur
¼ tsp. ground ginger
3 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
½ tsp. cinnamon
few gratings fresh nutmeg
½ cup oats
1/3 cup flour
½ cup unsalted butter, sliced
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
ice-cream or vanilla yogurt
Butter oval dish. Set aside.
Preheat oven. In a mixing bowl combine peaches with lemon juice. Add berries, amaretto, ginger, brown sugar, starch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss gently and pour into prepared dish.
In food processor pulse oats, flour, butter, brown sugar and walnuts until crumbled. Squeeze into chunky crumbs. Scatter over fruit. Bake until topping is golden and fruit is bubbly (45 minutes). Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with icre-cream or yogurt.