A Midsummer Night’s Bream

Over the weekend, I took a quick jaunt over to London for the Rugby World Cup. Edward got these tickets almost a year ago, but with my new job back in the States, I could only take one day off. The result was a 48-hour haze of joyful reunions, fierce England sporting patriotism, and – unfortunately – a steady battle against jet lag. Like the mortals who wander through hill and dale in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, most of the time I had no idea whether I was awake or dreaming. But there are some things in life that zing you awake – perhaps it’s the limey acidity and sharp red onion in a ceviche nacho dish; perhaps it’s an elixir from cheeky Puck in the forest; or perhaps it’s the feeling of being surrounded by 80,000 people singing “God Save the Queen” in support of England’s rugby team (who, incidentally, beat Fiji!).

 

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Ceviche Nachos:

1/2 pound white fish (sea bream, sole, tilapia, halibut)

1 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed

1 red pepper

1/2 red onion

Zest of three limes

2 tsp chopped parsley (or a fresh herb of your choice)

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choosing (I used a Mexican mix)

Four heft handfuls of tortilla chips

Instruction:

1. Cut fish into quarter-inch cubes. Pour lime juice until just covering fish, then cover with cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes. The fish should be opaque.

2. In the meantime, dice pepper and onion. Toss together with black beans, lime zest, parsley, salt, and pepper. When fish is finished chilling, gently drain lime juice and add fish to the pepper and onion mixture.

3. Arrange tortilla chips on a plate, sprinkle with cheese, and microwave for about 40 seconds (cheese should be melted and bubbling). Serve immediately with ceviche.

Enjoy ceviche nachos with William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and check in at http://warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!

20,000 Leeks Under the Sea

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As brunch grows in popularity, particularly amongst twenty-somethings in big cities, booking a table becomes increasingly difficult. Reservations fill up sometimes weeks in advance, leaving many hungry and housebound on late Saturday mornings. But with very few flavors, our generation’s favorite mealtime can be easily recreated at home. Instead of organizing each guest’s individual order and trying to coordinate an assembly line in a cramped kitchen, why not make a one-stop spread in advance that packs all the flavors of brunch into one bowl.

This dip makes smoked salmon more accessible than ever. Each creamy, citrusy bite is carried by the luscious fish flavor. Like Captain Nemo in Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, you can freely explore the wonders of the sea in an up close and personal way. When you wow your friends with this easy bagel brunch, they’ll want to reserve a place in your apartment months ahead of time!

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Leek and smoked salmon spread:

3/4 cup cream cheese (room temperature)

1/2 cup sour cream

3 leeks

(Juice of) 1 lemon

~4oz. smoked salmon, in bite-sized slices

Salt and pepper

Dash of olive oil (for pan)

6 bagels

Chives to garnish

1. Chop leeks, then sauté in olive oil over medium heat until softened (about 5 minutes).

2. In food processor combine cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, leeks, and a bit of salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl, and fold in smoked salmon. Season further to taste. Refrigerate for at least half hour, then spread on toasted bagels. Garnish with chives.

Enjoy leek and smoked salmon bagel spread with Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and check in at http://warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!

Beet, Pray, Love

Every once in a while, I need to jumpstart the old metabolism and make a few dietary adjustments. Like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love, I have a committed relationship to pizza and other Italian carbohydrate-y wonders. (Although, she sees it as a three-month fling, whereas I envision pizza and me with a long-term future.)

In order to find an adequate substitute when I need to clean out the system, I look for foods and recipes that are substantial yet light, simple yet colorful. I need a bit of saltiness to curb cravings but almost no fat to make the swap worth it. With a gorgeous dressing and very fresh flavors, this healthy couscous salad can almost fill the void of a pepperoni pizza. Almost.

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Beetroot couscous salad in a lemon-honey dressing:

200 g couscous

300 ml chicken stock

2 beets, cooked and cubed

1/2 feta, cubed

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Instruction:

1. Bring chicken stock to a boil with a generous pinch of salt. Add couscous, cover with a lid, and turn off heat. Leave for 5-7 minutes, allowing couscous to absorb liquid and cook through. Remove lid and use a fork to fluff the couscous.

2. In a large bowl, whisk honey, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Season to taste. Add couscous, cubed beets, and feta. Gently toss together until entire mixture is coated in dressing.

Enjoy beetroot couscous salad with Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, and check in at http://warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!