Saturday, June 2, 2012

Just 4 Ingredients – Yep, 4!

4 ingredients I was at the library the other day doing my usual exploratory search for cookbooks, and I came across this book called,   4 Ingredients by Kim McCosker and Rachael Bermingham.  I have to admit I was skeptical. How could this be a book? (Which, later I discovered that there are many books on this subject.) Could there really be so many good recipes with only four ingredients in it?  Well, of course I know there are, but I kind of like the more challenging recipes to be honest.  There are times when you need a recipe that is quick and easy, or maybe you don’t have time to get to the store and you need to make something with what is in your pantry or refrigerator.  I picked up the book, along with the other 5 I had chosen, and checked them out.  I get home and I look over what I had picked out. These are wonderful looking books, I think to myself.  Which one am I going to look at first?.  There is one by Patricia Wells about salads as a meal and another by Chef Jean-George Vongerichten (remember that recipe for scrambled eggs I shared, it’s his. I hope you tried them.) But it is the 4 Ingredients book that I look at first.  I go through the pages and notice that there are no pictures of any of the dishes.  My daughter is standing there next to me and says, “If there are no pictures, I don’t want to look at it.”  Funny, how we like to look at the pictures.  I wonder how the sales of those cookbooks with pictures compares to those with none?  We all try to make the recipe look like the picture, don’t we? Anyway, I go through the book, page by page, and there really are some good sounding recipes, even if I can’t see a picture.  And there are no lengthy directions. Here are a few I’d like to try.  Maybe you would to? 

The Apricot Chicken reminds me of a recipe I used to make all the time, but it was with Kraft’s Catalina salad dressing mixed with the onion soup mix.  So easy and good, as I remember. As for the Baked Salmon with Pesto Crust, that is a topping that hadn’t occurred to me.  If you live in an area where there is a Trader Joe’s market, try theirs.  It is very good.  Though many stores have ready made pesto that are very good too. The brownies in the book seem delicious to me.  I love Nutella.  Not good for you (I hear there is a law suit against them for false advertising on nutritional claims, I think it is), but who cares!  Nutella is so good I eat it by the spoonfuls right out of the jar. Do you have a favorite four ingredient recipe that you would like to share?  If you do, post it on my Facebook page “The Inspired Table”, or leave a comment below. 

Apricot Chicken
8 skinless, bone-in chicken (I’m sure you could use skinless and boneless)
1 envelope French onion soup mix
1 onion, diced
2 cups apricot nectar

Preheat oven to 350.  Place chicken in baking dish, add soup mix, onions and apricot nectar.  Stir to combine well.  Cover and back for 1 1/2 hours. (Less time is required for boneless chicken)

Baked Salmon with Pesto Crust
4 salmon steaks
1/2 cup pesto
1/2 cup finely grated pecorino cheese
1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large skillet, sear salmon steaks on each side for two minutes.  Meanwhile, combine pesto and cheese.  Spread over salmon steaks and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top.  Bake for 15 minutes. (I think you could do this in the oven and omit the searing part in the pan.  I prefer salmon fillets.  Add pesto on top and bake.)

Brownies (I’m renaming this Nutella Brownies)
1 13 oz container of Nutella
2 eggs
10 tablesppons all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped hazel nuts (You could omit this if you don’t like nuts in your brownies)

Preheat oven to 350.  Line an 8 inch cake pan with parchment paper.  Whisk together the Nutella and the eggs until smooth.  Add flour and mix until blended.  Spoon batter in to cake pan, sprinkle with chopped nuts.  Bake for about 11 to 13 minutes. Set on rack to cool completely.

Nutella Brownies

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