Sunday, May 30, 2010

What's for Dinner? Braised Vegetable/White-Bean Medley served with Pan Fried Tilapia and Shrimp


So both the Tilapia and Shrimp were from Thailand - eek! Food Mileage not to good...
(*I never include olive oil in the distance count-up because that reigns as necessity.)
But... almost all the vegetables were local, from the market. They and the beans were steamed/roasted in a casserole dish with a bit of stock and s&p and a bay leaf, and lots of garlic.
The fish was done in a pan until they formed a nice crisp outer-layer.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What's for Dinner? Stuffed Rib Roast, Market Potatoes, Button Mushrooms and Kabocha Squash Puree



Rob-Roast bought from the market from my favourite meat man, where, coincidently, we saw Howie Mandel picking out his vegetables. Haha.
I cut out a spiral, rolled it out and pounded it flat. Stuffed it with caramelized onions, shallots, mashed turnips and lots of fresh parsley from out garden.
Potatoes were boiled and cut and half and coated in salted butter.
Button Mushrooms were so teeny tiny that I sautéed them whole in a lil' oil and butter. I did them in batches so they would get a nice brown.
Puree made of a basic mixture of: Kabocha squash, stock and cream (essentially, plus spices and a single potato)

*Images of the stuffed and tied roast in the dutch oven, and one of the final product.

A nice preview of summer flavours to come!

What's for Lunch? Just One of My Daily Salads


Here goes: Organic greenhouse green-leaf lettuce, spinach from the same farmer, sauteed cubes of medium-firm tofu, crusty chunks of Italian bread, hothouse tomatoes, greenhouse cucumber, imported apricots (ouch!), ground nuts, dressing of balsamic, olive oil, spices, s&p

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What's for Dessert? Rhubarb/Cherry Trifle



Delicious! This dessert had the right balance of sweet but not too sweet.
Layer Orders:
1. Shortcake - made from a dough, not a batter
2. Devon Cream
3. Cherry/Rhubarb Reduction Syrup - All the Rhubarb came from my Grandma's back cottage Garden. It's best when plucked straight from the ground and dipped in sugar and eaten sour!
4. Sweetened Whipped Vanilla Cream and Mascarpone Cheese
5. Fresh Cherries and Rhubarb Sauce (Not seen in picture because I drizzled it just before eating)

Dinner for Nine at the Cottage!








For the May 24 weekend, the extended family was recruited to paint the main floor of the cottage.
Menu:
Twice Baked Potatoes - made properly with a load of butter, cheese, sour cream and bacon - OH MY GOODNESS - (5km run with the brother after - no worries)
Roasted Chicken - individual pieces in a homemade sweet bbq glaze
Trout Salmon (a new breed) - with a parsley cream
Asparagus - picked about 5 minutes before I bought it at the local organic farm, 100 mile diet - I THINK SO! Roasted peppercorn goat cheese for a garnish
Spring Greens Salad w/ side vinaigrette
Steamed Carrots

Friday, May 21, 2010

What's for Dinner? Homemade Beef Burgers with Eggplant Slices & Portabellas, Tomato/Cucumber Salad with Balsamic Vinagrette


So what's this thing called "Man Meat?"
Both my brothers seem to think that unless a meal is at LEAST 70% meat, it does not qualify as man meat.
I think I came close with this dinner, because despite the fact that the picture doesn't show it, these beef patties were humungous! Served on toasted & buttered buns (treat). Alongside were thin slices of roasted eggplant.
Salad made of cucumbers, tomatoes, olive oil, romaine, balsamic vinegar, s&p. Simple and never gets old!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What's for Dinner? Salmon with Maple/Ginger Glaze, Parsnip/Celeriac Mash, Broccoli


I love pairing subtle root vegetables with fish. The sweet roasted flavour makes for such a wonderful compliment to the meatiness of the fish. Parsnips and Celeriac are both ideal for this. I roasted the vegetables and them mashes them and served it like mashed potatoes.
The fish had a stick glaze that was made of: grated fresh ginger, soy sauce, pure maple syrup, garlic, s&p, paprika, cayenne pepper, olive oil, etc.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What's for Dinner? Twice Baked Potato, Lupini Beans and Spring Fiddleheads in Saffron Cream


Twice Baked Potatoes made from Russets.
Lupini beans sauteed in garlic and olive oil and spices then eaten by squeezing them out of the skin to reveal lovely tender flesh.
Using up my fiddleheads :) - Done up in a saffron cream made of chicken stock, egg yolks, saffron from Zanzibar (Thank you Curtis!) and lemon zest and juice.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What's for Dinner? Fennel Pork Chop, Creamy Polenta, Butter Carrots and Sauteed Fiddleheads


Dinner just for my brother and I.
We bought a nice bit of meat from the butcher.
I brined the pork chops for hours in salt water then dried and rubbed them with fennel, sage and lots of fresh cracked pepper. A sprinkle of salt and a nice fry in a sautee pan. 3 minutes on each side, then 8 minutes to finish cooking through. The bone-in gave the meat great flavour and I was careful not to overcook it because pork will get tough and flavorless if well-done. Mediem rare -medium is just perfect!!
Polenta made of cooked cornmeal finished with milk, s&p, butter, parmigiana reggiano and a little lemon zest to cut the richness. This was a good alternative to risotto.
Carrots were steamed and finished with butter and s&p.
And my favourite! Spring Fiddleheads are baby ferns that have not yet bloomed. They have a wonderful, mild, green flavour that is unlike anything else! You just have to try them when you get the chance. Bonus is that they cook very quickly - just five minutes.
I made some crusty dinner bread that was started in the morning and finished before dinner/ It was baked with caramelized onions on top.

Friday, May 14, 2010

What's for Dinner? Breast of Chicken with Crimini Jus, Salad and Mini Corn Souflees





So I relapsed! Back into souflees!
I saw Jacque Papins on the television making this and I had to give them a go.
(I have a picture of the egg/roux mixture being folded into the egg whites with sweet corn.
I think the final product looked like mini chef hats!
The salad had a light Caesar vinaigrette.
A nice clean and simple breast of chicken with a crispy outside.
Dessert = cantaloupe, strawberries and blackberries (totally out of season - I know!) with a little dollop of plain yogurt and some market honey.
YUM!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What's for Dinner? Spicy Caribbean Stew on White Rice


So I went a little overboard with the hot chili peppers.
Generally, the smaller the pepper, the spicier it is.
My rational was that if I added two (BIG MISTAKE) it would give my brother and I a kick in our daily run. Chili peppers are known to boost the metabolism, and so I figured.....
Okay so, four hours after dinner, my eyes were beet red after itching them with spicy fingers, and the skin underneath my nails was burning. My tongue was numb with pain and the leftover stew in the fridge was taunting me every time I had to open the door.

It was delicious! Everyone agreed. Though just one pepper next time.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What's for Dinner? Cream of Leek & Cauliflower Soup with Spinach/Phyllo Triangles


2 heads of cauliflower roasted with 3 leek whites (just the bottom).
While those were roasting, I steamed the leek greens in some homemade chicken stock.
Removed the leek greens and added in the roasted vegetables to over-soften.
Purred the lot and added a touch of milk, cream and a small stick of butter.

Phyllo triangles had a spinach mixture on the inside: Cooked spinach, a few sliced leek greens, walnuts, sour cream, s&p, garlic, wrapped up in well buttered phyllo dough.

I sprinkled a lil' aged Canadian cheddar on the soup for a salty touch!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What's for Dinner? Pan Seared Basa, Asparagus, Tomatoes au Gratin, Roasted Parsnip Matchsticks


Basa sauteed in butter and finished with Lemon - MMMMMMM. (The crispy crust and delicate, flaky interior was absolutely FANTASTIC!)

Ontario asparagus cooked in a lil' EVOO in a pan. (First of the season!!)

Tomatoes cut in half sprinkled with my seasoned breadcrumbs and drizzled with EVOO and popped in the oven.

Parsnip and Carrot matchsticks roasted in the oven.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What's for Dinner? Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff


Today I had a quick changeover between then end of school and my young driver's lessons. (That's right! I have my G1 and am determined not to be a terrible driver, much to the belief of my family). Tennis practice ended at 4pm, home at 4:30, lessons at 6pm.
Game Plan:
Started a hearty beef stroganoff in the slow cooker the night before, when I got home, transferred the lot to a saucepan to reduce. Added the sour cream and flour.
Boiled pasta on the side and when it was halfway done, added the noodles to the meat pot and let them soak in the lovely juices. Finished with good Parmesan and cracked pepper and Italian parsley.
Just 20 minutes after walking in the door, dinner was ready and I had time for homework before driving lessons.
Mission Accomplished!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

What's for Dessert? Earl Gray Chocolate Pots de Creme with Sea Salt


AWWWE! It's mother's day, and my mom does LOOOVE chocolate, so this was ideal.
Imagine spooning into a cold, luscious, dark chocolate creme brulee with a crusty shell on top and the texture of the centre of a lindor chocolate truffle in the middle. The sea salt on the top was magnificent. The recipe didn't call for it, but I knew it would be an unexpected savory twist to the dessert. It enhances all the rich flavours and adds a bit of crunch. The earl gray tea worked with the chocolate in the same way that coffee would.

This is the recipe that I kind of made up/ used traditional technique.
- 1 bar of 70% or higher dark swiss chocolate
- 1 cup of 35% cream
- 1/2 cup of 2% milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 tbs sugar
- loose leaf earl gray tea (the best you have)
- Pinch of fleur de sel

Bring the cream and milk and tea leaves (an an infuser) to a boil in a saucepan, immediately turn down to low and the tea to its work. Break up the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour the hot cream over (remove the tea). Let it sit to melt while you do the rest. Separate the egg-yolks into a bowl and whisk in the sugar until it looks pale and ribbony. Whisk the chocolate and cream mixture to blend and a third of that into the egg mixture. Whisk to prevent the eggs scrambling, then add that back into the chocolate mixture. Mix everything. and pour into 4 buttered ramekins. Set those in a casserole dish with 2 inches of water (to keep the custard moist while cooking) and cook in a preheated 300 degree oven for 35 minutes. In the last five minutes, give each dessert a sprinkle of fleur de sel and white sugar and broil it until crisp.
Let it cool at room temp for an hour, then 3-4 hours in the fridge. Serve with ripe berries!

One of my favourite desserts.... EVER!

Friday, May 7, 2010

What's for Dinner? Chicken Pot Pie - Reinvented


Here are the layers in order:

Bottom - Sauteed Chicken, Onions and Leeks
Middle - Sliced & Cooked Zucchini
Top - Butternut Squash mashed with a bit of red Ontario potatoes
Bechemel - ( I cheated on this one...) stock & milk thickened with flour (no butter - surprisingly) and some good mozzarella cheese and pureed soya beans (trust me on this one). The mixture was poured over everything to set.
Crust - Leftover pastry from Thursday rolled with some rosemary & basil pressed in.

Baked in the oven for 40 minutes. * Crust was added in the last 10 min.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What's for Dinner? Italian Piggy in a Blanket w/ Braised Cabbage and Roasted Beets


A spicy Italian sausage pan fried to render some of the fat off, then wrapped in a blanket of pastry and finished in the oven. Served with grainy French mustard and local maple syrup.

Savoy Cabbage boiled, then finished in the pan with the sausage juices.

Roasted beets and turnips with a li' rose-merry.