Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What's for Dinner? Salad with Chicken Scallopini and fried Zucchini Flowers

The salad had a homemade Caesar dressing watered down with a little olive oil. It was more like a "garlic vinaigrette" than anything. All the lettuce was from our CSA with Fertile Grounds.
Chicken Scallopini done VERY simply. Just a chicken breast pounded down and breaded in an egg + bread crumbs.
The zucchini flowers were picked at the FG farm just minutes before (they don't keep longer than a day) and were dipped in a whipped egg white batter (seen in 1st picture) and fried in olive oil. Fluffy and crispy!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What's for Dessert? Caramel-Filled Doughnuts with Macerated Strawberries and Cherries for Dipping

Homemade yeast dough filled with homemade caramel pieces,rolled then left to set, baked (to make sure the dough was cooked through) then deep fried and dipped in cinnamon sugar.
Sauce made of my hand-picked strawberries from the Fertile Grounds farm, as well as cherries from the market boiled down with a little sugar then purred until almost smooth.
One of my favourite desserts!

What's for Dinner? Chicken Fatteh garnished with Cilantro & Pine Nuts

Adapted from the Chicken Fatteh in Bonnie Stern's "Friday Night Dinners" this dish is a middle-easter classic that features layers of classic regional flavours pilled high in a delicious mound letting the eater pick and assemble their own dinner.
The 4 layers are:
Bottom - Rice and Lentils boiled until soft with spices and a bay leaf and onions and garlic
2nd -Tomato Sauce - Whole plum tomatoes, garahm masala, cumin, chili flakes, onion, garlic
3rd - bone in chicken thighs and breasts and wings (I just cut a whole chicken) rubbed with salt, lemon zest and olive oil roasted for a few hours at a VERY low temperature
Top Layer - Hummus: chickpeas olive oil, tahini, s&lots of p, lemon zest, cilantro and juice

Each of the layers don't have many ingredients so method is key to extract the most flavour out of each. (Ie: caramelizing the onions properly and deglazing at the right time.)


Friday, June 25, 2010

What's for Dinner? Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus, Ragu of Beef and Stuffed Zucchinis

Market Asparagus wrapped in salty prosciutto with some fresh rosemary and orange tucked underneath/
Leftover sirloin from Charles Meat's done up with ripe tomatoes, garlic, many spices, etc, etc, simmered down until thick.
Zucchini stuffed and baked with a 'tapenade' of diced cooked cauliflower, pepper-squash, vegetables and award winning asiago cheese(that we bought from a couple at the market.)

This was definitely a mish-mash of a meal, meant to use up the week's leftovers the day before going to the market to replenish our kitchen.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What's for Dinner? Lentil & Barley Soup with Cheesy Toasts for Dipping

A nice, post-meat night, vegetarian dinner.
Takes a while in the pot, but the simmering time is time you have to yourself.
The toasts are fresh market buns topped with aged cheddar and asiago.
The soup is garnished with fried chorizo and fried sage leaves
Yum Yum!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What's for Lunch? A 10km Salad...Almost

Mescaline lettuce, spinach and garlic beans brought home from our CSA share with Fertile Grounds. I poached an egg on top and drizzled with some EVOO and balsamic.
On the side, pumpernickel bread with award winning Asiago cheese,(all from the market) and potato croutes (made by thinly slicing new potatoes and roasting them till crisp with oil and s&p) with basil/lemon cream.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What's for Dinner? Leek Torte and Light Salad

Though many people wouldn't consider a torte 'light' there's something quite dainty about pressing your fork into a crisp woven shell and down through a soft pile of leeks that are barely holding together. With the addition of a little white vinegar to the pastry dough and proper refrigerating time, this crust was one of the BEST I have ever made. I will most definitely make this again, and I'd like to experiment with different fillings and different cheeses and spices. I used Parmesan and rose merry this time around, but I can confidently say that any combination of quality cheese and good crust will please me!

Monday, June 14, 2010

What's for Dinner? Shrimp and Pepper Sauté with Charred Boch-Choi and Honey/Chili Crisps

Bell peppers and plum shrimp, garlic, ginger, cashews, fresh beefsteak tomatoes, boch-choi done under the broiler and flatbread toasted with local honey and cayenne and chilli.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

What's for Dessert? Apple/Berry Galette

Along with souflees, I have a bit of an obsession for pastries.
I shame my Italian heritage with my love for French technique.
I love all the fussing about in the kitchen to turn ordinary ingredients into exquisite masterpieces!
I'm not generalizing one cuisine to be fussy, just that I personally find French food more... delicate. Both have their places. Think the simplicity of Provincial France country-side food vs. the tedious cream-based sauces of Northern Italy. Or the hours of puff-pastry making for croissants vs. a speedy bowl of hardy penne served with good Parmesan.
Both do in fact, put all the emphasis on the ingredients - which I love!
It's about a few simple seasonal flavours that are enhanced, not hidden.
In my case, the abundance of apples (it's a year-round season here) left me thinking of new ways to showcase their marvelous ability to soften and sweeten. I was inspired by a peach galette in a cookbook, but I'm waiting for summer to bring me local peaches so I substituted the apples in place.
I garnished it all with some very non-local berries and cherries that I dredged in a quick sugar syrup. I couldn't resist the appeal of making it look like a perfect Parisian tart topped with glistening fruit - something right off of Marie Antoinette's dining cart!

What's for Dinner? Honey Mustard Chicken w/ Juices, Lentil Pilaf, Baked Onions, Wilted Dandelion/Spinach Salad with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette,

7lb chicken bought from my chicken man at the market. I find that good quality, free-run organic chickens taste considerably more 'chicken-y' then a generic store bough roast. Years back, chickens were classified as Roasters, Capons, Boilers, Fryers or Hens. It let consumer know what size, what gender, and how to cook it. Today the grocery-store rarely labels their birds minus the price tag and brand name, so... you know you find a good vendor when he asks you which of the 5 sizes you want. Naturally, I brought home a roaster (the biggest) to be done up with my favourite market buckwheat-honey and grainy French mustard. After two hours in the oven and the chicken tented, I pulled out the baked onions (each a little bigger than a golf ball - bought from the Mennonites) and reduced the juices with a little flour.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What's for Dinner? Crust-less Quiche with Market Asparagus

If I can remember all the quiche ingredients: Caramelized onions, green onions, shallots, garlic, steamed and well drained broccoli, roasted potato pieces, free-run eggs (separated and the egg whited whipped to make the quiche fluffy), s&p, aged cheddar, Havarti, etc.
Market asparagus was just roasted for a few minutes with olive oil and s&p to bring out the nuttiness.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What's for Dinner? Grilled Chicken Breast, Butternut Squash/Carrot Risotto, Green Beans and Brussels Sprouts

Chicken done as simple as can be - salt, pepper, a few minutes in an oily pan - perfect!
Risotto done up with s ripe butternut squash and market carrots which were boiled and strained in cheesecloth to let the water content drain.
Love my greens on the side :)