Friday, January 27, 2012

My First Ice Day

Dearest Sally,


I woke up this morning feeling joyful and ready for an exciting day in the world of kindergarten. I had wonderful plans for a letter N craft to be followed by a night scene

craft. My dreams were shattered when I got the phone call at 6:30 that is was an ice day. I always wondered what it would feel like to have a snow day as a teacher . . . . it is better than when you are a kid.

Last night was Jesse’s birthday (he is now 26) and I made him a feast! On the menu was Fig and Roasted Walnut Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette, No-knead Cranberry Focaccia, and Chicken Wellington with Mushrooms and Spinach. I had to work all the cooking

in and around a meeting at the school, which kept the evening exciting. I combined the recipes from two different Food and Drink magazines and it turned out quite well.

Since I have the day off today I will most likely be bothering you to talk about your wedding and such. Have fun! I know I will.

Fig and Roasted Walnut Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette


¼ cup walnut pieces

12 dried figs, but into eighths

8 cups spinach

½ cup sliced red onion

¼ cup crumbled feta cheese (I used soft goat cheese)


3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp honey

1 ½ tsp Dijon Mustard

1 clove garlic

Preheat oven to 350F

Place walnut pieces on a baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes or until nuts are golden brown and fragrant. Remove from heat and cool.

In a large salad bowl, toss figs, spinach, onion, roasted nuts and feta cheese.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, honey, mustard and garlic.

Drizzle salad with dressing and serve immediately.

No-knead Cranberry Focaccia

1 tsp instant or traditional yeast

1 ½ cups water, just warm to the touch

2 ¾ to 3 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp salt

1 cup sweetened dried cranberries

½ cup raisins

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tbsp coarse sugar (organic)

Proof yeast by sprinkling it over water in a large mixing bowl and setting it aside for 5 minutes. Then stir to dissolve yeast. Meanwhile, line a 9-inch round or square cake pan with aluminum foil, extending up and slightly over the side.

Add 2-¾ cups flour all at once to the proofed yeast; stir with a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon until flour is absorbed. Dough should be sticky, but not wet. Stir in additional flour if needed. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let rest for 1 hour until doubled.

When dough has doubled, sprinkle salt evenly overtop; stir thoroughly. Let rest 10 minutes then add cranberries and raisins; mix well into dough.

Brush some melted butter over pan bottom and sides. Scrape dough into pan. Using buttered fingers, pat our to cover the pan bottom completely; top is rough in appearance. Brush with remaining butter.

Adjust rack below over centre; preheat over to 375F. Loosely cover pan with plastic wrap. Let rise for 30 minutes in warm spot on top of or near warm stove. Then uncover; sprinkle top evenly with coarse sugar.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until richly golden. Cool on rack for 5 minutes. Using foil edges, lift loaf from pan. Remove foil and continue cooling bread on a rack. Cut warm loaf into wedges or slices to serve.

Chicken Wellington with Mushrooms and Spinach

8 cups packed baby spinach

½ cup water

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic

¾ cup garlic and herb cheese (I used goat cheese)

2 tbsp breadcrumbs

2 cups chopped mushrooms

1-½ tsp herbs de Provence

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Pinch of salt and pepper

1 pkg. puff pastry

1 egg beaten

Bring spinach and water to a boil in large nonstick skillet, stirring for about 3 minutes or until wilted. Drain and press out excess water; place in bowl and set aside.

Return skillet to medium heat and add half of the oil. Cook shallots and garlic for e minutes or until softened. Add spinach and cook for 1 minute. Return to bowl and add cheese and bread crumbs. Stir until well coated; set aside.

Heat remaining oil over medium-high heat in same skillet and cook mushrooms and herbs de Provence for 5 minutes or until liquid starts to appear in skillet. Add chicken and cook, stirring for about 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

On a floured surface, roll out pastry to a 26x12 inch rectangle; place on large piece of parchment paper. Spread spinach mixture in centre of pastry leaving about 4 inches on long sides and 2 inches on short sides. Top with chicken mixture. Brush edges with egg and fold up short sides over filling, then overlap 1 long side over filling and lift remaining pastry to reach pastry on top, overlapping slightly, and pinch seam to seal. Brush all over with egg and let stand for 5 minutes to dry slightly

Preheat over to 425F

Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and puffed. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

I have so many things to share with you and I can't wait to see/talk to you.


No comments:

Post a Comment