Monday, 13 February 2012

HAM AND BRIE SANDWICH


There is something delectable about a ham and brie sandwich: just those two simple ingredients placed between a sliced baguette. Why mess with such delightful simplicity? But there’s also something nice to be said about a fresh, crispy baguette flavoured with honey infused Dijon mustard, stuffed with peppery arugula, and then topped with a creamy brie and some country ham!



Either way, go out and get the best ingredients and share with your valentine. Accompany with some nice fruit and have a quiet, cozy lunch, just the two of you!
Are you ready for strorytime?
I have to talk about the mini adventure I had while trying to purchase the berries which accompany this brie and cheese sandwich: 11 February, was mighty cold here in the Philadelphia suburbs, with a light snow falling on and off all day. Dauntless (lol!), I drove to the supermarket so I could pick up a few things. In anticipation of Valentine's Day, the market had all the "berry type" fruits displayed in large bins outside their front entrance. No way you could miss them, and no way could you resist them. How’s that for merchandising? I walked inside, chose some produce, then decided to go back outdoors to get some berries. It had gotten dark and very windy. The snow was falling heavier now, and the wind spun it and tossed it around so that it seemed the area was in the middle of a blizzard. "What a time and what a place to be buying strawberries," I thought. One of the market employees came outside to make sure the fruit bins were secure. However, as he opened the doors to exit the market, he inadvertently provided a way for the wind to tunnel inside the store and lay havoc. A beautiful display of orchid plants collapsed to the floor. Customers, me included, ran to prop them up. Eventually, the staff set up the orchids in another location, one farther away from the front entrance, and I’m certain those orchids will be sold by Valentine's Day, but after all that cold exposure they won't have a long life. Meanwhile, I wanted to get to somewhere warm and gave up my plan of buying more berries. I looked down at my container of strawberries. It was covered with something which looked like powdered sugar. I knew better: it was a soft, light dusting of snow. Ah, strawberries, the luscious summer fruit ... 
  • Here's how I made the brie and ham sandwich:

Ingredients:
1 baguette, nice and fresh
8 ounces good quality deli ham, sliced
4 ounces brie cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick
Dijon mustard mixed with honey to taste
baby arugula
a few drops of olive oil (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
some nice fruit such as apples, strawberries, grapes, blackberries, blueberries, etc.
Directions:
  • Slice the baguette horizontally.  
  • Take one piece of the bread and spread it lightly with the Dijon/honey mustard.
  • Take the other piece of the baguette and arrange some baby arugula on it.  On top of the arugula sprinkle a little olive oil. Grab your pepper grinder and give it a go, seasoning with all that delicious freshly ground black pepper.
  • Layer the ham on top of the mustard
  • Layer the brie on top of the arugula.  
  • Press the two sides of the baguette together.  
  • Slice the baguette into pieces and serve accompanied with the fruit.

A very enjoyable fruit and sandwich lunch!!!


Thursday, 9 February 2012

SPINACH AND SAUSAGE SOUP





















Yum, soup!  Good tasting soup, in a flavorful broth. Fresh vegetables, great seasonings, delicious and wholesome flavours!!! For protein, I added chicken broth and low-fat turkey sausage. Very easy and quick to make. 

Let's make spinach and sausage soup:



Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 stalks of celery, sliced
about 1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed, unpeeled, cut into bite size chunks
5 cups of chicken broth, low sodium, low fat
1 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 pound low-fat turkey sausage 

4 cups spinach, washed well, roughly chopped, thick stems removed
salt and pepper to taste
some fresh sage and thyme for seasoning




Directions:
  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the potatoes, the chicken broth and the garbanzo beans.  
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. 
  • Meanwhile, squeeze the sausage from its casing, then crumble it and brown it in a skillet.  Drain as much fat as you can and set the sausage aside.  
  • When the vegetables are tender, add the spinach, sausage, herbs, salt and pepper. Bring back up to a simmer, and let cook for another 10 minutes before serving.