Our July 2012 Daring Cooks’ host was Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie! Sarah challenges us to learn a new cooking technique called “Cooking En Papillote” which is French and translates to “cooking in parchment”.
Papillote is another word resembling butterfly in french, the shape of parchment with the ends twisted together to form a pouch with”wings” (something I learned from another Daring Cook). Parchment is found in many grocers but I have used aluminum foil, it is always available.
Zucchini And Yellow Squash En Papillote
At the moment we are in another horrible summer with daily temps over 100 and not yet July. I suppose I could have done this on the patio table I love this challenge, I can adapt it for so many foods. My goals for this dish are:
1) A simple healthy meal
A simple combination of zucchini, and yellow summer squash with onion and chopped tomato. It’s sprinkled with a bit of thyme, dried basil, cracked pepper and drizzled with olive oil. Prep time is less than 10 minutes.
2) Don’t heat the entire house. In the summertime heat I want to avoid using my oven. It uses a lot of energy, and puts a lot of heat into the house.
Now I feel as if I have re-invented fire My stove top oven uses cast iron and a lid that just happens to fit. The glass allowed me to make sure I packed the veggies right. My vegetables had more volume than expected so I double wrapped to make sure of a good seal. Steam but no juices escaped into the bottom of the pot. I used medium low heat for 1/2 hour then turned off the heat for another 15 minutes.
3) A budget friendly meal
About a 1 lb of veggies, and 3/4 cup of whole grain dried pasta for 3 generous servings. Less than 1$ a serving.
I’ve used this combination of vegetables many times but this method added a wonderful roasted flavor that really improved the dish.
Mer de soja caillé Pasta
I’m not a vegetarian but am allergic to bi-valves (scallops). I first realized this years ago, while walking the boardwalk on Daytona Beach. Let’s just say, it wasn’t pretty. But I dearly love scallops so when I saw Sara’s Tarragon Lime Recipe, I had an idea.
It’s called Mer de soja caillé Pasta. (giggle appropriately placed here) because it means, soy patties on noodles.
Beginning with whole grain linguine:
I made “scallops” from firm tofu by slicing and using a small antique biscuit cutter:
I made a marinade with 2 Tbsp. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1 Tbsp. lime juice and… and what? ….Cilantro? I didn’t notice until putting away the spices.
My vision is really bad and now I don’t know about the result, but then, oh yea! Rosemary will add that seaside aroma and flavor. I mashed the leftover tofu, thinking of the little bits of muscle that are always floating around. Okay, there are a LOT of “muscle-y bits”.
Pasta is ready, mix the bits with the pasta and place the fauxllops on top and drain excess marinade over.
Package and cook for 30 minutes on medium low, turn off the heat and let sit for another 15 minutes
Of course fauxllops are not going to fool anyone but sea salt, lime and rosemary makes a wonderful oceany flavor and it was so good. I was happy and that’s what counts
As a matter of fact, I have cooked just about everything this way for the last month. The weather is brutal, this is simple, uses much less power and doesn’t heat the house either. As the month went on, I remembered the way we used to package cheesy sandwiches with foil to heat and melt the cheese in the oven without drying out the bread. My packages evolved:
La tomate Sauce à l’oignon (Tomato Onion Sauce)
In this is a simple onion, tomato combination with dill, basil, thyme and EVOO. Imagine substituting your favorite spices. Cumin and cayenne for a great fajita. Or a French “Four Spice” (white pepper, ginger, nutmeg, and clove). It would make an interesting bruschetta no one saw coming.
The shape of the packages have changed. I am placing my food in the middle and bringing the long ends together. I fold the ends over a couple of times, leaving space between the foil and the food. Next, I bring the sides together and fold the corners over. Roll one end loosely, then the other. Follow-up by rolling all the folds at least two times and tighten to keep juices in.
Remove the packages from the cast iron with a wide spatula and use a knife to slit along one side so the contents can slide out into the serving dish.
I’m using much less energy now than I started with. I’ve realized the food can cook for 20 minutes (10 minutes less), on low heat instead of medium. Then turn it off, allow another 20 minutes with the lid on, to finish cooking.
I cooked my brussels sprouts en papillote and put a honey mustard sauce on them , and everything else I could think of. I will be adding more recipes over time. Oh yes, did I mention? NO cleaning pots or crusty baking pans with this method. What else could you want?
This adds even less heat to the house besides saving energy. It may sound nit-pickey but it’s really that hot this summer. Every bit of energy keeps the house from getting so hot it’s hard to breathe. Other than imagining what I wanted to make next, I’ve not spent more than 15 minutes prep time on any recipe yet.