Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tasty Chicken Salad with Asian Flavors

With salads on everyone's mind this week, due to the really hot weather we have been having here in Southern California, I remembered this great which is essentially grilled brushed with a soy-spice mixture, then served on bed of spinach and drizzled with a vinaigrette.

At only 478 calories per serving, and easy to make, why not give it a try?

Ingredients (serves 6)

Soy Vinaigrette:
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 9 cups torn fresh spinach
  • 1 11-ounce can mandarin orange sections, drained
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 medium skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 avocados, peeled and sliced
  1. First make the soy vinaigrette. In a small bowl, combine the red wine vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic. Whisk in the olive oil, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, oranges, and onion; toss to mix.
  3. Rinse the chicken in cold water; pat dry with paper towels.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, oil, honey, five-spice-powder, garlic and ginger. Brush the chicken with the soy-spice mixture.
  5. Grill the chicken in an uncovered grill directly over medium coals or 6 to 7 minutes. Turn and brush with the soy-spice mixture and cook for 6 to 7 minutes more.
  6. Divide the spinach mixture among 6 individual plates. Slice each chicken breast into 1/2-inch thick slices. Place the chicken on the spinach. Arrange the avocado slices around the chicken.
  7. Drizzle each salad with some of the vinaigrette.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:

478 calories; 27 g protein; 20 g carbohydrate; 34 g total fat (5 g saturated); 60 m cholesterol; 989 mg sodium; 1,185 mg potassium.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ready Made Paella Meals at Gourmet Fusion

After attending a seminar at one of the food shows recently, I learned that many people would like to do more cooking, and prepare interesting midweek meals for themselves and their families, but there just isn't the time. New technology has meant that everyone is on call 24/7, and with mobile phones, emails, and text messages with you all the time, no wonder we all feel frazzled!

With this in mind, I searched for some time saving products to add to the Gourmet Fusion store, and found these two ready-made meals.

One is a seafood paella, and one is vegetable paella. Both are fully cooked and ready to serve.

They come in a ready to heat, easy-open tin that is in a microwave safe dish. To prepare the meal you can either place the contents of the tin into the enclosed microwave-safe tray and heat, place the tin as-is in boiling water, or simply empty the contents into a pot on the stove.

They are made from all natural ingredients with no added preservatives or coloring. They are both available in the Gourmet Fusion online store and our Solana Beach store in Leaping Lotus, and definitely worth a try!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Gnocchi, Zucchini, Tomatoes & Olives Salad

I saw this recently in an Australian magazine, Vogue Travel and Entertaining, and thought it was an ideal recipe for Spring or Summer, as it uses lots of colorful vegetables, and is great as a side dish with barbecued fish or meat. It is a recipe by Australian chef, Daud Kendall, and served at his Byron Beach Cafe in Byron Bay, New South Wales, which looks like it would be just as at home right here in Southern California.

The recipe below gives the ingredients and instructions for making your own potato and goat's cheese gnocchi, but if you don't want to do that, or you simply don't have the time, you can buy potato gnocchi in the pasta and frozen food section of most specialty food markets. It is also available online at stores such as Gourmet Pasta and Cheese.

Goat's Cheese Gnocchi with Zucchini, Tomatoes, Olives and Pesto
(Serves 4-6)

To make the :
  • 4 large potatoes, scrubbed
  • 3 1/2 oz soft goat's cheese, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil for frying
To make the Salad:
  • 3 1/2 oz soft goat's cheese, crumbled
  • handful zucchini flowers, if available
  • 7 oz green zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 7 oz yellow zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 7 oz red cherry tomatoes
  • 7 oz yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 2 oz pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • pesto for drizzling
  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees centigrade, and bake potatoes for 1 hour or until tender. Cool slightly, halve and scoop out the flesh, then press through a potato ricer or mash them.
  2. Add the goat's cheese, Parmesan, flour and egg yolk to the potato and, using your hands, knead to form a dough (you may prefer to use a food processor for this).
  3. On a floured surface, divide dough into 6, roll portions into 1-inch wide, long sausage shapes, then cut into 1" pieces with a floured knife.
  4. Bring a large saucepan of water to a gentle simmer and cook the gnocchi in 2 batches, for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, place gnocchi in a bowl of iced water to cool, then transfer to a baking paper-lined tray.
  6. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat and saute gnocchi, in 3 batches, for 5 minutes, turning, or until browned on both sides. Transfer to a tray and keep warm in the oven.
  7. Heat the remaining oil in the same frying pan over medium heat.
  8. Add zucchini and cook for 2 minutes or until lightly browned.
  9. Add zucchini flowers, if using, tomatoes and olives, and cook for another minute.
  10. Gently toss vegetables with the gnocchi.
To serve, divide gnocchi mixture among bowls, scatter with remaining goat's cheese and drizzle with a little pesto.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Teapot Sale at the Gourmet Fusion Store

We recently had a sale in the Gourmet Fusion store at Leaping Lotus, Solana Beach, and thought it would be a great time to have a sale in our online store as well.

So if you were thinking of buying a new teapot to spruce up your kitchen, check out some of our exciting styles that are on sale now through April 30th. They make great gifts and there is still plenty of time for shipping in time for Mother's Day (May 11th).

We have 24oz and 17oz i-Pots, Typhoon Tea sets for one, a selection of Asian style pots, and the Livestrong Jasmine Teapot by Chantal.

All these can be found at the Gourmet Fusion Store.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Talk About Coffee

As a big caffeine-loaded coffee drinker, I am always happy to read good news about why I should continue drinking the stuff! There were two articles that caught my attention about coffee today, one on the BBC website, which is headed "Daily Caffeine Protects Brain" that goes on to say that just one cup of per day may prevent dementia, and also have a very positive effect on reducing the harm caused by a high diet, so I can continue my daily pilgrimage to Starbucks several times a day with a guilt-free conscience.

The second article was about my favorite coffee shop, Starbucks. Now I know there are many critics of Starbucks, but I am addicted. Ever since arriving in the US, I have always loved Starbucks. It doesn't matter what city I travel to (even when I went back to England I sought out a Starbucks), I am guaranteed a great cup of coffee, some kind of interesting pastry or sandwich, and a funky, coffee shop atmosphere with whatever music they think is "in" at the moment - and the staff are always friendly, and able to give tips and advice about coffee (despite the current lawsuit between Starbucks baristas and management). Now for me this is ideal, so I am always interested to learn of protests and annoyance at the opening of yet another Starbucks.

Today's article was in the New York Times blog and talked about Starbucks opening in Little Colombia in Queens. The concern seems to be that it will take away business from the traditional coffee houses serving strong, dark coffee, and milky, sweet cafe con leche, that is drunk by the serious coffee drinkers of Little Colombia for about half the price of a Starbucks coffee. It then went on to say that the new will probably attract a different crowd to those who currently frequent the Colombian coffee houses. As a small business owner myself, I am certainly aware of the negative impact large chain stores and retail outlets can have on small businesses, and how daunting this "invasion" must feel. However, in this case I think that the local coffee houses do offer something unique, and hopefully they will find that the number of their customers increases due to more people in the area looking for coffee, and finding something special in their stores.

So with coffee on the brain, I went on to look for a simple, delicious and decadent recipe to make using coffee, and where else better to find one than in the Deen Brothers Cookbook, 'Recipes from the Road'? This recipe was found by Bobby and Jamie Deen in New York's East Village at Veniero's Italian bakery. It is a dessert called Affogato, which means "drowned". In this recipe you pour hot espresso (Gourmet Fusion's Spanish Torrefacto is ideal) over ice cream that's been drizzled with caramelized sugar, and it's super easy, too.

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream
  • 1 1/2 cups hot, strong-brewed coffee
Recipe (makes 4 servings)
  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water, and the cinnamon stick. Simmer over medium-high heat about 5 minutes, stirring until the sugar completely dissolves. Let syrup cool. Discard the cinnamon stick.
  2. Scoop ice cream into 4 large coffee cups. Drizzle cinnamon syrup over ice cream. Serve immediately.