Malibu Beach Recovery Diet: Chicken Toast, Peach Salad, Olive Oil Cake with Berries
There are a few things that everybody should know. You are not born a Chef like you are born Mozart. It sometimes comes at the very costly expense of strange new ingredients that don’t make their way to the Hall of Fame of cooking geniuses. If it makes the kitchen a less intimidating place, please have a laugh at our humble expense and understand that only experience will help you overcome your fear of kitchen disasters. I’ve had my share and will probably continue to do so if it means that I am still looking for ways of bettering myself.
One of my first disasters was to try to whip up some egg whites for a chocolate mousse in the tiniest kitchen of a friend’s house. I could only place the bowl in the kitchen sink as the counter space was totally taken over. No matter how hard I tried, those egg whites were incredibly reluctant to any kind of beating and, following one of my mother’s tricks, I kept adding a pinch of salt after another to help them come to hard peaks. They eventually did, only after I discovered that the faucet was slowly dripping a few drops of water at a time into my bowl. Needless to say that we ended with the saltiest chocolate mousse ever and it took many years for me to feel comfortable making that dish again.
At another time, I was entertaining guests in a new house and grabbed the first quiche pan that I could find and quickly whipped up one of my best Quiche Lorraine. After the first ten minutes in the oven, the whole apartment was suddenly taken over by a thick and acrid cloud of smoke that would not stop spreading and we all fled to the balcony, listening to the screeching sound of our house fire alarms, while I desperately tried to improvise a new appetizer. The quiche mold didn’t quite fit and let the filling seep through the crust and my quiche was burning through the oven floor and going up in flames along with my gracious hostess manners.
Sometimes, disasters are the ones that create the best recipes, and, almost out of nowhere, you are given this amazing result when you expect the worst. This is how the fabulous Tarte Tatin was created, by putting the fruit in the pan and the crust on top. Also, I suspect that the chocolate lava cake began as a not-cooked-enough chocolate cake and declared tenfold better than the original recipe.
One of the recipes that I would like to share with you today comes from such a kitchen blooper. Having purchased peaches that were rock hard and sincerely determined to stay that way up to my dinner party, I followed the suggestion offered to me to sprinkle them with salt and let them “bloom” for a few minutes. The result is a firm but incredibly tasty fruit that can hold its own in a salad. Now I catch myself looking for rock-hard peaches at the market just for the sake of making this recipe.
The second recipe uses over-ripe fruits to make an incredible olive oil cake shine even more. Super easy and extremely tasty, this will quickly become your go-to recipe for any occasion.
Lastly, I added a late-night lazy recipe for the leftover chicken that you are starring at in your refrigerator. Great on a Sunday night, it has the taste of real comfort food and will get you in and out of the kitchen in no time.
Cooking great food is a creative process that bases itself on experience and creativity. Embrace your inner Chef and become your own Domestic Goddess.
Click on “Continue Reading” for the Recipes
With much love,
2 leftover cooked chicken breasts
1 Tbsp olive oil
12 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
1 shallot finely minced
2 Tbsp whole-wheat flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese such as gruyere, Fontina, Swiss, or Monterey
1 pinch grated nutmeg
4 slices country whole-wheat bread
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the chicken into bite size pieces.
Place a non-stick pan on high heat and add the oil to the pan. Add the finely minced shallots and stir until translucent, making sure the shallots do not brown.
Add the mushrooms and sauté in the pan until they have rendered all their water. Add salt and pepper to the pan.
Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and let it cook for 2 minutes. Add the butter and let it melt slowly. Add the milk and whisk vigorously until a smooth sauce forms and bubbles. Add the chicken to the pan and slowly reheat the mixture. Taste to add more salt and pepper if necessary. If the mixture becomes too thick, add a little bit of milk, a few spoonfuls at a time.
While the mixture is heating, toast the bread until it is golden brown.
Place one slice of toast on each plate, or place all of them on a serving dish, according to taste. Spoon one fourth of the chicken mixture onto the bread slices. Sprinkle with the cheese and serve immediately when the cheese has melted.
2 1/2 pounds unripe peaches, peeled and sliced as for pie
2 Tbsp agave syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp strong-flavored extra-virgin olive oil, like Greek or Lebanese
2 Tbsp fresh mint chiffonade
Toss the peaches with the agave and salt. Let them sit for 10 minutes.
Fold in the pepper, oil, and mint.
Serve cold within a few hours of preparation, as it will become mushy overnight.
3/4 cup olive oil (extra-virgin if desired), plus additional for greasing pan
1 large lemon
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
5 large eggs yolks
4 large egg whites
1/2 cup agave syrup
1 pint raspberries
1 pint blueberries
Special equipment: a 9-inch (24-cm) spring-form pan; parchment paper
Put the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease spring-form pan with some oil, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Oil the parchment as well.
Finely grate enough lemon zest to measure 1 1/2 teaspoons and whisk together with the flour. Halve the lemon, then squeeze and reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
Beat together the yolks and the agave in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add olive oil (3/4 cup) and reserved lemon juice, beating until just combined (mixture may appear separated). Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture (do not beat) until just combined.
Beat the egg whites (4 egg whites, not 5) with 1/2 teaspoon of salt in another large bowl with cleaned beaters at medium-high speed until foamy and continue to beat until egg whites just hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes.
Gently fold one third of whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.
Transfer batter to spring-form pan and gently rap against work surface once or twice to release any air bubbles. Bake until puffed and golden and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of pan and remove side of pan. Cool cake to room temperature, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment, then transfer cake to a serving plate.
Make the berry compote
Place the blueberries in a saucepan with 2 Tbsp water and bring to a boil. Stir until the berries pop and the juice thickens. Remove from the heat, add the raspberries and mix well. Let it cool.
Cut it in half through the middle and pour the berry compote onto the bottom slice. Replace the top slice and serve.