IT IS AN ICE DAY!
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.