1/2 large onion, chopped
5 Sweet Basil Sausages
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp paprika
6 cloves garlic
14 ounces chickpeas
14 ounces diced tomatoes
1 bag spinach
2 cups rice, cooked
marble and parmesan cheese, grated
Monday, November 17, 2014
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, quartered
2 serrano or jalapeño peppers, halved and seeded
8 large tomatillos
3 cloves garlic
10 skinless chicken thighs
15 oz crushed tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
3 bay leaves
juice of half a lime
3 cups hominy, corn, black beans, or a combination of these
2 avocados, chopped
a handful of fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 fresh corn tortillas
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Toss onion, tomatillos, and peppers in 1 Tbsp of oil and roast on baking sheet for 25 - 30 minutes turning halfway through cooking.
3. Combine roasted vegetables with garlic and 1 cup of chicken stock and puree in a blender or food processor.
4. In a 6 quart slow cooker, combine skinless chicken thighs, blended vegetables, crushed tomatoes, remaining 5 cups of chicken stock, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Cook on low for five hours.
5. Add hominy (or corn or beans) and lime juice and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
6. Remove the chicken from the cooker and shred using two forks. It will be very tender and fall apart. Return it to the soup.
6. Serve soup with avocado, cilantro, and tortilla chips. Enjoy!
For the tortilla chips:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Brush corn tortillas with oil.
3. Cut tortillas into strips, place on baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt.
4. Bake for 6-8 minutes.
1. Hominy is a white corn that is treated with lime and salt. It is chewier and starchier than regular corn. It can sometimes be found in regular grocery stores, but I buy it at the Mexican grocery store a block from my house. If you are not using hominy in this recipe, use half corn and half black beans.
2. Fresh corn tortillas will be found in the deli section of the grocery store. They are very different from the flour tortillas in the bakery section. If you would like to make homemade tortilla chips, simply cut them in quarters. They are great with salsa.
Monday, November 3, 2014
Anyway, they are quick and easy to make and taste great. I topped mine with pulled pork and kimchee for a kind of Korean carnita, but they are great just dipped in sambel olek and soy sauce, too. You can make these with green onions or leeks. You can also add fresh herbs such as rosemary, oregano, or thyme.
Makes 16 - 20 cakes.
3 cups flour
2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups boiling water
one bunch green onions, slices and dried
peanut oil (or other cooking oil)
1. Mix flour, salt, and water together with a fork. Knead for a few minutes until it comes together into a soft ball. Place back into the bowl.
2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 - 60 minutes.
3. Divide the ball into quarters. On a lightly floured surface, roll one quarter into a circle, brush with oil, and sprinkle with green onions.
4. Roll into a log with the green onions on the inside (just like you would for cinnamon rolls).
5. Cut the log into five pieces and pinch the ends shut.
6. Place each roll on its pinched end, and smush with the palm of your hand (yes, smush is an official culinary term).
7. Using a rolling pin, flatten each cake until desired thickness.
8. In a frying pan on medium-high heat, warm 2 tsp oil. Fry cakes until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. While they are cooking, roll the rest of the cakes. Enjoy!
Monday, October 27, 2014
I'm six weeks away from finishing my Master's degree in education (yay!) and have a big presentation to do on Reader Response Theory tomorrow. It was no surprise, then, that there was no time to cook dinner! Supper tonight was a quick but delicious four-ingredient warm hummus dip. Served with pita triangles, this was ready in fifteen minutes and hit the spot. If you've never eaten hummus warm before, now is the time to start!
1 1/2 cups garlic hummus
two rounds of goat cheese (chèvre)
3 cocktail tomatoes, diced
Fresh basil, chopped
Pita, to serve
1. Preheat oven to 35o degreed Fahrenheit.
2. In an oven-proof dish, place the two goat cheese slices on top of the hummus. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until warm throughout.
2. Remove the hummus from the oven and top with fresh, diced tomatoes and fresh basil. Serve with pitas. Enjoy!
1. You can use your own hummus or a store bought one. There are millions of recipes for how to make hummus on the internet. If you are making your own, the key is to rub off the chickpea skins before pureeing them.
2. The goat cheese comes in a short log. You can use herbed goat cheese or plain. Slice two thick rounds for this dish.
3. If you have left over bruschetta topping, it's a great replacement for the fresh tomatoes.
Monday, October 20, 2014
If you've never had enchiladas before, they are remind me of a Mexican lasagne. This is a vegetarian version, but could be "beefed" up with the addition of shredded roast chicken.
Enchiladas are great party food because you can divide the responsibilities between each person. It is great date night food because it is low stress (I am writing this blog post while I am cooking it). And it is great make ahead food because the quinoa and salsa verde (tomatillo sauce) can all be made ahead of time so that all you have to do is reheat, assemble, and broil when you are ready to eat.
If you have never had tomatillos before, you will really enjoy their bright tang and freshness. The avocado sour cream and fresh tomatoes are optional but really complete the dish.
1 1/4 cups quinoa, rinsed well
1 cup V8 juice
1 cup water
1 serrano chile, cut in half and deseeded (or leave the seeds in if you want it spicy)
1/2 red onion, quartered
1/2 cup water
1 tsp honey
pinch of salt
one garlic clove
squeeze of lime juice
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro
15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
12 small corn tortilla shells
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded and divided
1/2 very ripe avocado
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup fresh, diced tomatoes
fresh cilantro, to garnish
1. In a small saucepan, bring the V8 juice, water, and a pinch of salt to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Set aside.
2. Remove the husks from the tomatillos. Rinse and dry. Place the tomatillos, serrano, and onion into an oiled baking dish. Broil on high heat for about 15 - 20 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking. They will be brown and soft when done.
3. In a food processor, combine the cooked tomatillos, serrano, onion and juices with the water, honey, salt, garlic, lime juice, and cilantro. Process until everything is combined.
4. Combine the quinoa with the black beans (and chicken if using).
6. Pour the tomatillo sauce over the enchiladas and top with the remaining cheese. Broil for about 2 - 4 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.
7. Blend the avocado and sour cream together in the food processor and serve on top of the enchiladas. Top with the fresh tomatoes and cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!
1. Tomatillos are sold in most grocery stores. I found them in two of the three grocery stores I visited.
2. Corn tortillas are sold fresh, so they will be in the refrigerated section, usually in the deli. They are preferable because they add to the authentic flavour and don't get soggy as quickly as flour tortillas. Use flour tortillas if you have to, though.
3. Serrano chiles look like large jalapeños. They are green and milder than jalapeños, so even though you are using a whole one here, the dish will not be spicy unless you include the seeds.
Monday, October 6, 2014
Although this pasta can be frozen and cooked at a later time, a word of warning: Upon my return from cooking school, I phoned up a close friend and asked her if she wanted to get together for an evening of pasta-making. Always up for a cooking adventure, she agreed. Unfortunately, we set our sights a little too high and attempted to make two kinds of hand-formed pastas and two kinds of filled pastas. We didn't end up finishing until nearly two in the morning, and I don't think she's made fresh pasta since! Making one batch at a time, which serves four people, is definitely enough. However, if you do want to make the pasta ahead of time so that you can just throw this together at the last minute, it can keep covered in the fridge for about 24 hours or frozen for even longer.
1 cup light spelt flour
1 cup semolina
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
warm water as needed (about 1/4 cup)
Approximately 40 fresh brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
75 grams pancetta or bacon, cubed
1 small onion, sliced
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
freshly grated parmesan cheese
1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, semolina, and salt. Add the egg and oil and stir with a fork. Add as much warm water as necessary to just bring the dough together into a ball. It should not be tacky.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about ten minutes. The dough should be shiny and smooth.
3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.
4. After the dough has rested, divide it into four pieces. Working with one piece at a time, follow steps 5 to 8.
5. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. If you are using a pasta machine, just roll it on setting zero.
6. With a knife, cut the dough down the middle and trim the sides so that each piece is about three fingers wide.
7. Cut each strip into pieces about the width of a stick of gum, maybe slightly fatter.
8. Place your finger on the far side of the strip. Push down as hard as you can with your fingers and pull the dough towards you while pressing against the counter allowing the dough to roll under your fingers.
* If for some reason it doesn't work, it's probably because you are not pushing hard enough or your strips are too narrow.
9. Place the rolled pasta onto a floured plate or baking sheet until you are ready to cook it. If you are saving it for later, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
10. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
11. Trim the bottoms of the brussels sprouts and remove any loose leaves. Cut into quarters, toss with the oil and place on two baking sheets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 25 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking. They will be soft, brown, and crispy when they are done.
12. In a large frying pan over medium heat, sauté the pancetta until it releases some of its fat. Then, add the sliced onions, the garlic, and the red pepper flakes. Continue to cook until the onions are caramelized and the pancetta is crispy.
13. Add the capunti to a large pot of salted, boiling water and cook for three minutes.
14. Add the lemon juice to the onions and pancetta. Toss in the roasted brussels sprouts and the cooked capunti along with a bit of the cooking water.
15. Finish with freshly grated parmesan cheese, pepper, and chopped basil. Enjoy!
1. Semolina is a kind of durum wheat and should be found in the flour section. Buy semolina, not semolina flour.
2. Pancetta is an Italian bacon made of pork belly. It might come in rounds that you have to cut into cubes, or it may be cubed already. If you cannot find it, just use bacon.
If you want something saucier, you could add some cocktail tomatoes to the onions and pancetta at the same time that you add the capunti to the boiling water.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Unfortunately, this week I was forsaken by my favourite baker when I showed up in the bitter cold to find out that the last of the Mediterranean bread was gone. Alas, what was a poor, breadless girl to do? Well, the only thing she could do, roll up her sleeves and bake her own - the travesty!
This recipe is adapted from one by the bread god Peter Reinhart. The dough is super easy to make, does not require a huge commitment, can be stored in the fridge for up to four days before baking, and produces two bakery-quality loaves. If you've never baked your own bread before, now is the time to try. If you just want a regular white French loaf, omit the herbs and olives. This can also be made into buns, but will require less cooking time.
Before you begin, read through all the directions. It looks as though there are many steps, but it is actually quite simple.
Makes two loaves.
5 1/2 cups of bread flour
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp instant quick rise yeast
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 to 2 1/2 cups of lukewarm water (about body temperature)
1/4 cup chopped olives (mixed varieties for better flavour) tossed with 1 Tbsp flour
1. Mix the flour, salt, yeast, and spices together in a bowl. Add 2 cups of the water and stir with a spoon. Continue to add up to a half cup more water until the dough has formed a shaggy ball that is tacky but not sticky. Stir for one minute. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes.
2. Take the dough out of the bowl, place on a lightly floured surface, and knead for 3 minutes. While you are kneading, work the olives into the dough by adding them to the middle, folding the dough over to cover them, and kneading more. Add more flour if necessary, but keep it tacky. Do not over flour.
3. Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the bowl, which has been lightly oiled. Cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 4 days.
1. Remove the dough from the fridge at least 2 hours before you want to bake it. Gently divide it in half being careful not to burst the air pockets that have formed inside the ball. Turn each half over, fold the top and bottom towards the middle of the ball and pinch the seam closed. Turn it back over and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with the lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let rise until it is 1 1/2 times its original size.
*Note: In order for the dough to rise, the room needs to be warm. Since Scott and I are in a constant battle to control the temperature of the house (he opens the windows, I close them; he turns down the thermostat, I turn it up), I put the dough in the oven with the light on to rise. When I baked these loaves, I actually let them rise for about four hours because I did not feel that they had risen enough after two hours. Our house was pretty chilly this morning...
3. Fifteen minutes before you want to bake, remove the plastic wrap from the dough.
4. Immediately before baking, pour one cup of water in the tray in the oven, and gently make four slashes on each loaf with a bread knife. Place the loaves on the middle rack.
5. As soon as the loaves are in the oven, turn the temperature down to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. After 15 minutes, turn and rotate the pans and bake for approximately 12-15 more minutes. You will know when the bread is done because it will sound hollow when you tap the bottom of it.
7. Immediately remove the bread from the baking tray and place on a cooling rack for at least an hour before slicing.
8. The bread will keep for about a day if wrapped in a kitchen towel, but as mentioned above, I prefer to slice and freeze it for maximum freshness. (This way you also don't feel tempted to inhale an entire loaf of bread in 24 hours!). Enjoy!
Now, to figure out how to add some whole wheat flour and still get the same amount of rise...
1. It is important for yeast breads to use bread flour and not all purpose flour. The percentage of gluten is higher, which results in a higher rise.
2. Select a combination of olives that taste good to you. I chose Kalamata and pink olives, which are both quite fruity, but my favourite baker uses a mixture of green and black. If they don't taste good before you bake them, they certainly aren't going to taste good after you bake them. Save yourself the headache, and buy olives that are already pitted. If for some reason you don't, simply smash each one with the side of your knife to remove the pit with your fingers before chopping them.
Monday, September 22, 2014
I assembled and baked this in the morning and then just re-heated it for supper on Sunday.
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper (it is important to season as you go)
1 large eggplant
2 medium zucchini
1 small onion
4 cloves garlic
1 clamshell of baby spinach
1 pound mixed mushrooms (not button mushrooms), chopped roughly
2 tsp Italian seasoning
700g jar pomodoro sauce (sieved tomatoes found near the pasta or pizza sauce)
1/4 cup water
1/4 fresh basil, finely sliced
1 cup raw cashews (soaked for at least 4 hours)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3 tsp cider vinegar (white wine vinegar or lemon juice would work, too)
1 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
half a 19oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
9 oven-ready lasagne noodles
1 cup of shredded mozzarella (use vegan cheese if you want this to be a vegan dish)
1. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. Season generously with salt, place in a colander in the sink and let drain for 45 minutes. After, rinse the bitter juices off and pat dry with kitchen towel.
3. Meanwhile, sauté 1/2 the onion and 2 cloves of garlic in 2 tsp of oil until softened. Add the spinach, salt, and pepper and cook until wilted. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
4. Sauté the other half of the onion and 2 cloves of garlic, salt, and pepper in 1 Tbsp of oil until softened. Add the mushrooms and the Italian seasoning and cook until the are browned and half their original size. Add the pomodoro sauce (rinse out the jar with the 1/4 cup water, and add that, too) and remove from the heat. Add in the fresh basil.
5. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Place the zucchini slices on two parchment-lined baking sheets, brush with oil, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit!
7. Place the eggplant on two baking sheets newly lined with parchment paper. Brush with oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 8 minutes. Remove and set aside.
8. Drain and rinse the cashews. In a food processor, puree the cashews, water, nutritional yeast, vinegar, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add the chickpeas and puree again. Add the reserved spinach mixture and puree again. If you have a bullet-type blender, do a half at a time in two batches.
9. Now it's time to assemble the lasagne!
a) Spread 1/3 of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9" by 13" lasagne dish.
b) Layer with three lasagne sheets, not overlapping. There will be space between them, but they will expand as they cook.
c) Layer the zucchini widthwise.
d) Add another 1/3 of the tomato sauce over the zucchini.
e) Lay 3 more noodles lengthwise.
f) Spread 1 1/4 cups of the spinach mixture on top of the noodles. (Reserve the rest of the spinach mixture for the spinach and artichoke dip recipe that follows).
g) Layer 3 more noodles lengthwise.
h) Cover the noodles with overlapping slices of eggplant.
i) Spread the remaining 1/3 of the tomato sauce on top of the eggplant.
j) Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella on top.
10. Bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Phew! Enjoy!
Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip:
Add one drained and rinsed can of artichokes to the food processor with the leftover spinach mix from the lasagne recipe above. Adjust seasoning, if necessary. If you want, you can place this in an oven-safe dish, top with shredded mozzarella cheese, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for twenty to thirty minutes for a hot dip. Serve with tortillas of pita chips. Yum!
Grilled Veggie Wraps:
If you have leftover grilled zucchini or eggplant, serve it with the remaining spinach mixture or even hummus, in a wrap with mixed lettuce. Add roasted red peppers and goat cheese for a great sandwich.
1. See here for more information about nutritional yeast.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Scott asked for something that was vegetarian and could be eaten in a pita pocket. Why? Because it would be easy to heat up and assemble on a weeknight. Sounds reasonable...
There are so many variations to this dish, the possibilities are endless. You could eat it without the pita pocket as a warm potato salad (very yummy), you could add white beans, you could add strips of sirloin steak, you could even leave out the squash and potatoes and eat the zucchini and chard as a side to any meaty or eggy dish. If you don't have swiss chard, you could use kale, spinach, or beet greens. If you can't find delicata squash (they really are great), you could use butternut instead.
You can use any kind of pita pockets you want for this, but I used Happy Camel spinach and herb pitas that I got at the farmer's market. I will admit, this makes a huge batch. For some reason, I got the most ginormous bunch of swiss chard for $3. It was so large, that I used mostly the stalks and only some of the leaves. However, if you get a reasonably sized bunch (no more than 10 stalks), you might want to just make a half a batch.
This recipe makes about 8 large pita pockets.
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (divided)
1 pound baby potatoes, chopped into cubes
2 - 3 small delicata squash (or butternut), seeded and chopped into cubes (skin on)
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 onion, chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped into cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 bunch swiss chard (see note above), chopped finely
2 tsp honey (or agave syrup for a vegan option)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Toss cubed potatoes with 1 Tbsp oil. Spread into even layer on parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Do the same thing for the squash.
3. Bake the potatoes and squash in the oven for about 18-20 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking. They should be tender and lightly browned when they are done.
4. In the meantime, in a large skillet, sauté the oil, red pepper flakes, and onion until soft, about 5 minutes.
5. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and zucchini and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.
6. Add the chard stems and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
7. Add the shredded chard leaves and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.
8. Add the honey and vinegar and reduce, about 1 - 2 minutes.
9. Remove from the heat and toss with the potatoes and squash. You can top with fresh basil, if you want. Enjoy!
1. Delicata squash look kind of like small footballs. They are a light yellow/orange colour with green stripes. Sometimes they are in the organic section. Like I stated above, if you can't find them, you can use butternut squash.
2. Swiss chard is sometimes called rainbow chard or just chard. It might have red, yellow, or white stalks. It all tastes the same. As stated above, you can always use kale, spinach, or beet greens instead.
3. If you can't find Italian seasoning, although it is pretty common in the spice section, use a combination of dried oregano/thyme/basil.
Monday, September 8, 2014
One side note, though. I forgot to tell Scott what he was eating, and he was a bit disappointed that the eggs weren't mounds of melted mozzarella. Not a bad idea, though...
Because this recipe is developed over time with the addition of more and more ingredients, it is one of those dishes that should be "seasoned as you go". This means to add a bit more salt with each addition of new ingredients in order to make sure that it is seasoned correctly.
Serves 4 - 5.
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, quartered and sliced thinly
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
a pinch - 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy you want it.
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp paprika
3 bell peppers sliced thinly (I used one red, one orange, and one yellow)
10 - 14 cocktail tomatoes
1 cup passata (or 28 oz diced tomatoes instead of cocktail tomatoes and passata)
1 tsp Italian herbs (or oregano and/or thyme)
1 pinch saffron (optional)
4 -5 large eggs
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1. In a large oven-safe skillet or pan, sauté the oil, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, paprika, salt, and pepper until the onion is soft and caramelized, about 10 - 15 minutes. This is a dish that is sticky and will develop colour on the bottom of the pan, but if it looks like it is going to burn, add a splash of water.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Add the tomatoes and passata (or diced tomatoes) along with the Italian herbs, saffron (if using), and a bit more salt, and cook for another 15 minutes, until the sauce is rich and thick.
4. Break one egg into a small bowl. Make a well in the tomato sauce and pour the egg from the bowl into the sauce. Repeat with the remaining three eggs.
5. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 10 - 12 minutes, depending on how runny you like your yolks. Finish with fresh basil. Enjoy!
1. Passata is strained tomatoes and is sold in jars near the pasta sauce.
2. Saffron, the hand-picked stigma of the crocus flower, is the most expensive spice. It adds another layer of flavour here, but is not absolutely necessary.
3. If you cannot find cocktail tomatoes, use canned diced tomatoes instead. Cocktail tomatoes are very juicy and will give this dish the liquid it needs. This is a great winter dish when made with canned tomatoes.