Friday, April 23, 2010

What's for Dinner? Stuffed Tomatoes, Braised Fennel, Cod Fillet, Sweet Potato Crisps

Stuffed Tomatoes: Market tomatoes loaded with a pan-fried mixture of sweet canned corn, cous-cous, roasted red peppers (homemade) and fresh parsley. Topped with semi-soft goat cheese and then roasted in the oven.

Braised Fennel in olive oil and butter and stock until meltingly soft!

Cod fillets cooked with fennel greens for extra flavour!

Sweet Potatoes made spicy with cayenne pepper and a lil' dash of curry powder then toasted in the oven.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What's for Dinner? Earth Day Special

Thursday April 22nd/10 was Earth Day and as many of you know, it takes a great supply of resources to raise a hunk a' meat: cow, chickens, pork, etc... Not including the transportation of them to the slaughterhouse and the actual machines that get the job done, and the sanitation and the transportation of the meat to the store, then the store to your house.
(And this is why you buy from the market, fresh and done by hand!!)

Eating beans/legumes is not only delicious but it is more earth-friendly. The irrigation and transportation costs of an entire crop of beans is still less than that of a few cows. Beans/legumes are a wonder-food! They have the perfect balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat, and they store well, soak easily, and it is very, VERY difficult to mess them up in the cooking process. They are filling and absolutely scrumptious!! A cup of beans has about 180 calories (about a 25 minute jog) and about 10 grams of protein (half a chicken breast).
Purchasing your beans in bulk is a fantastic way to cut the grocery bill.
It's a general rule that dried beans will grow 3 times their size when rehydrated.
I bought about 3 cups of dried beans (9 cups after finished cooking) for under 2.00$.
(I have a feeling bean-dinners will be extremely popular when I'm a university student)
That's ridiculous! I felt like I was stealing. Dad just didn't understand how I could be so astonished by the price of beans. I mean really..... 9 cups for a toonie!!!

In celebration of the earth day I made:
Navy Bean Hash with Larodons and Criminis (beans soaked overnight then cooked for 1 hour)
Layered Potato/Beet Cylinder w/ Goat Cheese
Steamed Broccoli

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What's for Dinner? Stir Fry

My Mom bought a wok back in the 80's when stir-frying was uber popular and everyone was whipping out the soy sauce and chopsticks.
We took ours out of the back cupboard and made this delightful dinner.
Bok-Choy, Baby Corn, Flank Steak, Onions, Carrots, Peppers, etc...
I served it over a nice whole grain spaghetti tossed in a spicy peanut sauce in place of rice, or rice noodles.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What's for Dinner? Barley and Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard

Healthful and Flavour-full!!

- 6 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 large animal bones or a carcase (chicken, lamb, beef, etc.)
- 3 peeled and chopped market carrots
- 1 sliced yellow onion
- 1 sliced red onion
- 4 cups washed and chopped swiss chard
- One can of diced tomatoes + juice
- 2/3 cup dried green lentils
- 2/3 cup pearl barley
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 4 cloves of minced garlic
- olive oil

Heat oil and sauté onions, carrots then garlic until golden (10min)
Mix in cumin and toast up.
Add the broth and the water, barley and bay leaves. Simmer 30 min.
Stir in tomatoes w/ juice and lentils. Simmer 30 min.
Don't forget to season with s&p!
Stir in chard and simmer until it's tender.
Serve :D

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What's for Dessert? Apple Turnovers

There's just no end in sight of apple season at the market!! There is...actually no end to the apples... they are magically in season all year! Using the wonderful invention of pre-made puff pastry, I filled rolled out squares with a sweet/cinnamon apple compote then folded them over and baked them. A lil' drizzle of dark maple syrup finished them off. I tried to take pictures of the rough process so you could see the transformation. There's an extra picture in there... someone's very proud of their maple syrup! The Mennonite was so nice, and he gave me free samples of everything. Good thing we needed maple syrup because it was coming come with me either way!

What's for Dinner? Lamb Navarin Re-Invented & Market Beans

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What's for Dinner? Chicken Drumsticks, Rice Pilaf, Asparagus & Homemade Tortilla Snaps w/ Bruschetta Topping

Tortillas are surprisingly easy to make. It's really just flour, water, baking soda/or rising agent, butter/oil and seasonings. Better yet - no rising time! Just a quick nap for 10 minutes in a dry warm place and that's all. Mine crisped up nicely in a non-stick pan and were 'snappable'.
The bruschetta topping: greenhouse hothouse-tomatoes, garlic, s&p, EVOO, etc...

The chicken drumsticks were marinated in an orange/sour cream/paprika sauce that gave them a nice - almost burnt crust with delicious tender meat. The dairy in the marinade caused the black bits, but I quite liked it!! (My mom and I have a weird thing for burnt food: potatoes, popcorn, the list goes on).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What's for Dinner? Bean 'Stoup' with Fried Okra

Stoup = Stew + Soup.
Onions, garlic, celery, red pepper, green pepper, tomatoes, green beans, kidney beans, egg noodles (because I wanted some variation in colour and didn't have corn), s&p, bay leaves, stock, and a pinch of garahm masala seasoning.
On top: Fried Okra - which mom loved! Bottom and top of okra trimmed then diced into rounds and placed in ice water to reduce the sticky/slimy substance found within. Coated in egg, dredged in flour/cornmeal/breadcrumbs and fried until golden brown. This is the first friend food that I have made that has actually stayed crispy overnight after leftovers were put in the fridge. They were tasty little bites that had a nice crunch then a soft veggie flavour on the inside. Will definetly make again!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What's for Dinner? Cauliflower/Chickpea Soup with Lemon Zest and Curry

A simple base of celery, carrots, garlic and onions then added stock, fresh cauliflower ad when it was near done some canned chickpeas. Purred till smooth, a touch of cream, seasonings, lemon zest and my Penzey Spice curry powder.
An example of one of those dishes that doesn't look all that great but tastes spectacular!
Very, very simple and took about 45 min from start to finish.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

What's for Dinner? Chinese BBQ Beef on a Cedar Plank with

This was the nice cut of beef I bought from the market yesterday.
To start I soaked a cedar wood plank all morning to prevent burning on the BBQ later.
I trimmed the meat then marinated it in a combination of: garlic, shallots, star anise, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce (just a dash for the depth of flavour), stock, bashed up cloves, fresh grated ginger and a little bit of wine.
Once it hit 4:30 pm, I smoked the wood on the BBQ and when most of smoke had subsided I turned it up to high and smacked the beef right on the plank.
I roasted it for about 10 minutes then turned it down to low low to cook for just under an hour, brushing with the marinade every 10 minutes.
I let it rest then sliced it (as seen on picture).
I wish I had taken a snapshot of the roast on the BBQ - it was spectacular!
No need for a gravy of sauce because the marinade/basting soaked through.

Served with butter roasted zucchini (my new favourite) and eggplant done on the BBQ.
Alongside was a creamy root vegetable mash because I'm trying to use up all the squash and parsnips and potatoes and carrots in the house... there are just too many!!
Pictures of the zucchini before going into the oven (you can'y see the butter/oil underneath) and the vegetables before being mashed.

Dessert was simple and sweet: melon (as we have every night) and frozen grapes that never get to hard and turn into an icy/pulpy/bursting bite. They are magnificent - you must try!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday Morning Market Shop

A few snapshots from my trip to the market - seeing as I talk about it so much when it comes to getting good quality produce/meats/etc.
This is the St. Jacobs market, usually I'll go to the Kitchener one but we had a lil' extra time to doddle this week.

Some pictures of: Mennonite's maple syrup, Apples, Produce, the meat to be used in the following post, the hothouse tomatoes I went crazy for, flower market, pies, the condiment vendor from which I bought a beautiful jar of glistening red pepper jelly.

Friday, April 9, 2010

My Salmon and Dill Souffle

So to round out my souflee obsession (much to the family's dismay * sarcastically) I decided to make the biggest souflee you ever did see!
Lightly steamed Salmon and Dill folded into the egg yolk mixture, then the whites folded into that.
I probably put about twice as much batter as I should have in my casserole dish, because it puffed up to a ridiculous height and practically deflated when I so much as pierced it with a fork.