We’ve all made pesto, right? Well, maybe not everyone, so here I will share my favourite recipe. You can use this mix as a dip, on toasts, as a base for pizza, a sandwich or even a dollop in the middle of a lovely creamed soup. It’s quite flavourful so you don’t need a lot of it. I usually just eyeball this recipe, but this time I got out the scale and measuring cups so I could have tangible measurements.
A delicious combo of flavours
Makes about 1/2 cup
- 30 g fresh basil, leaves removed, washed and dried
- 40 g (1/3 cup) toasted pine nuts
- 35 g (1/3 cup) freshly grated Parmesan
- 3 cloves of garlic (about 10 g) or to taste
- EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- salt to taste
- In a food processor with metal blades combine the basil, pine nuts (make sure they are cool), Parmesan and garlic. Pulse adding a slow stream of EVOO to the consistency desired (I like my Pesto a little chunky and not too wet).
- Add salt to taste, but remember that the Parmesan is rather salty.
- Serve mixed into warm pasta with quartered grape tomatoes and shaved parmesan.
Quartered Grape Tomatoes add a lovely acidity to the dish.
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Posted in Breakfast/Brunch, Cheese, Vegetarian, tagged cornmeal, galette, goats cheese, Julia Child, onion confit, savoury tart, tomato on August 14, 2012 |
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Tomorrow would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday and this is my post to celebrate this amazing woman. Julia is an American food icon who literally taught American’s how to cook. She was one of the early “foodies” before Food Network was even a thought; even before most of the chefs on Food Network were born! She was the first celebrity chef!
My friend Betsy over at Bits and Breadcrumbs suggested that we post a recipe from a Julia Child cook book to commemorate and celebrate her life and I was all over it! Betsy posted a gorgeous Clafouti recipe that’s been her dear Mother’s favourite. I also wanted to post an authentic Julia Child recipe, but unlike Betsy, I don’t have one of her actual cookbooks. Last Christmas JT gave me Dorie Greenspans Baking with Julia, a wonderful cookbook of mainly sweets, breads and such. But I didn’t want to bake something sweet, so I searched and searched until I came across a gorgeous luncheon dish, a savoury galette. I was sold. Thanks Betsy, this was a lot of fun.
For the galette pastry, you can click here for a very similar recipe, or you can check page 371 in Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan. I changed up the filling to suit our tastes and what I had in my pantry. It is an incredible crust, crispy and slightly sweet that can withstand even the wettest filling but it’s also not dry and crumbly. The cornmeal in the pastry recipe adds enough crunch to make it a little more interesting that a standard pasty. It’s really just perfect. In fact, so much so, I’ve had a special request to bake it again, believe it or not.
I divided the pastry into two portions so that I could keep one galette and give the other away. Both were resounding successes. You can keep this very simple or make it a bit more complex as I did. You can serve this room temperature or right out of the oven or even reheated, it is amazing every-which way.
Savoury Oven Roasted Tomatoes, Caramelized Onion and Goats Cheese Galette
Serves 4-6, makes 2, 15 cm galettes
The oven roasted tomatoes and caramelized onions really went well with the goats cheese. The pesto was icing on the cake, I mean galette.
- Prepare the pastry as indicated in the recipe. It needs to be refrigerated for a couple of hours, so you’ll want to plan ahead.
- Roll the galette on a piece of parchment into a circle about 10 cm larger than the size you want it to be. Spread the sweet onion confit on the bottom leaving the last 5 cm all the way around clear. Add a layer of tomatoes and dot with 1/2 of the total goats cheese.
- Fold up the edges and pleat or do some other fancy design. I wanted my galette rustic looking.
- Bake as the recipe indicate (I did our’s for 30 minutes at 176°C or 350°F) just until the crust was starting to get golden.
- Serve hot, warm or even at room temperature garnished with fresh basil and a little basil pesto drizzle.
The basil pesto was a nice touch.
That was one tasty galette. Photo by my friend, neighbour and boss, Kim with her iPhone 4Gs.
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Posted in Cheese, Gluten Free, Recipes, Vegetable Sides, Vegetarian, tagged eggplant, fresh mozzarella, healthier, parmesan, ricotta, Vegetarian on August 10, 2012 |
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This post was written at the cottage including the photos taken on my lowly iPhone 3GS! Hopefully Apple’s September announcement will be about the iPhone 5, for which I am anxiously awaiting the release.
Do you have to create a meal plan for the weekends at the cottage? I do, I have to. We have no decent stores anywhere near our cottage. I once forgot cream cheese and had to settle for a cream cheese and chive dip from a 7-11. It was pathetic. I have to have everything figured out because to forget an ingredient would be devastating (well, for me anyway).
I had a menu plan for this past weekend which was our Civic Holiday long weekend (each first Monday of August is the Simoe Day, in honor of our first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe) and it was good and it was well thought out. I had shopping lists and everything. And then I read a couple of posts which made me switch my plan. Yes, you read that correctly. I revised the meal plan to include these wonderful recipes that inspired me.
My first deviation was because of Karen at Backroad Journal Posted a healthier version of Eggplant Parmesan that I just couldn’t resist; plus it gave me an opportunity to use my adorable cast iron individual square frying pans! It was incredibly delicious!
(only slightly modified from Karen’s lovely recipe)
Serves 4-6 for lunch as a main
- 4 baby eggplants, sliced 1 cm (0.5″)
- 1/2 lemon
- 2-3 tbsp EVOO
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- salt to taste
- 300-400 mL basic homemade tomato sauce, or your favorite marinara sauce
- a handful of chopped fresh basil
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large ball fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 20 cm (8″) square pan plus individual serving dishes
- Non-stick spray
- After slicing the eggplant, rub each side with lemon juice to prevent ‘rusting’.
- Mix the olive oil with the garlic and brush each side if the eggplant slices liberally. Grill on a hot grill until slices are soft. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Set aside (may be made in advance).
- Mix the ricotta with one clove finely minced garlic, salt to taste.
- In an oven proof 20 cm (8″) pan, line with parchment and spray with non-stick spray. Line the bottom with one layer of eggplant, top with half of the ricotta. Dot with roughly torn fresh basil. Drizzle with the tomato sauce, add another layer of eggplant. Top with the remaining ricotta, roughly torn fresh basil and the remainder of the tomato sauce.
- Add the sliced fresh mozzarella evenly on top. Bake on indirect heat on the BBQ until fully warmed through and mozzarella has melted. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan and broil until bubbly.
- Serve in individual serving dishes garnished with fresh basil and green onions.
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Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Cheese, Recipes, Vegetarian, tagged EVOO, Extra virgin olive oil, fresh bufalo mozzarella cheese balls, grape tomatoes, pink sea salt, varigated basil on July 22, 2012 |
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Today is my birthday, and in normal Pamela fashion (from Downton Abbey Cooks), I plan to continue the celebrations as long as I possibly can, so I’ll be celebrating all week long with luncheons and dinners and of course, the obligatory trips to the gym to offset the effects of said celebrations!
JT is actually taking me out for a special “Iron Chef” dinner which will require a post of its own. Stay tuned.
We were out Friday night at a relatively new place and I had the Caprese salad which was drizzled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil without balsamic (this place is notorious for sticking to authentic Italian food and if it is NOT authentic, it’s simply NOT done) and it was delicious. Although I do love balsamic with tomatoes, this version allowed the subtle flavour of the bufalo mozzarella and the acidity of the tomatoes through. It was a very lovely experience, so I decided to create this simple hors d’œuvres the same way.
We were able to find mini Bufalo Mozzarella Cheese balls for this delightful hors d’œuvres. Mind you, we had to put a second mortgage on the house to buy them. When I asked JT how much they were, he said, “Don’t ask.”
Caprese Salad Bites
Serves 4, or two really hungry people!
- 16 grape tomatoes
- 8 mini bufalo mozzarella cheese balls
- 16 small basil leaves (I used both Italian basil and variegated basil)
- 1-3 tbsp EVOO
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 16 wooden toothpicks
- Slice the bufalo mozzarella in halves.
- Skewer one tomato, one smallish basil leaf and the bufalo mozzarella; continue until you have them all done.
- Serve at room temperature, in a little bowl, drizzled with EVOO and Himalayan pink salt
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First I’d like to apologize, my Armenian Nutmeg Cake post was inadvertently published on June 10 yesterday (which was June 15) I was sure I had it set up for June 20. I hastily reset the publish date to June 20 without realizing all the comments attached. I am hoping the comments remain but if they don’t I apologize in advance and by no means expect you to comment again. WordPress can be such a pain in the !@## sometimes! Now back to our regular programming.
I am soooo excited with my vegetables this year! I grew green onions for the first time this year on the garage roof (best sun ever), and I also filled a pot with lettuces on our back deck. The first harvest was amazing. I haven’t bought my tomato plants yet, these weekends have been crazy hectic and this one is no different.
The onion might have been left in the ground a little long
Crisp Green Lettuce, YUM
It’s cocktail season on the back deck and you know how I love my little hors d’œuvres whenever I serve booze. So I decided to make French Onion Gougeres, little cheese puff stuffed with the deliciousness of sweet onion confit and gruyère cheese. The cheese is all melty and the puffs are reminiscent of the crouton within the French Onion Soup and the caramelized onions are of course the onions within the soup. The only thing that’s missing is the rich beef broth, but I didn’t want my gougeres soggy so it was omitted.
I made the puffs a couple of months ago and froze them. They freeze incredibly well. For the Cheese Puff recipe, please click here.
A perfect little bite with a perfect martini. Cheers!
I filled these beauties with the onion confit I also made some time ago and froze (I freeze small batches in little zip lock bags so I can pull out a small amount or two and use as needed). (Yes, Norma, I also cook for my freezer!).
The sweet onion, the oozy gruyère and the crisp pate a choux is making my mouth water.
Please click here for the Sweet onion confit recipe.
French Onion Gougeres or Pate a Choux
Serves 2 for hors d’œuvres
- 4 pre made cheese puffs (they defrost very quickly)
- 4 tsp Sweet Onion Confit
- 4 1cm squares of good quality gruyère
- Pre heat oven to 375°F
- Cut the tops about 3/4 off the cheese puffs leaving them attached at the back.
- Stuff each of the puffs with 1 tsp of the onion confit and one square of the gruyère.
- Press the tops back down. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until the cheese has melted and the puffs are firm to touch (we like them a little crispy on the outside).
- Serve immediately with Vodka Martinis, shaken and not stirred.
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The long weekend a few weeks ago proved to be as beautiful as the weatherman promised, if not more so. Other than the bites from the black flies and mosquitos, it was darn near perfect. High 20°C during the day, and cool enough to sleep in without having to turn on the heat. Perfect I say!
You may recall that I posted Sawsan’s recipe a while ago for feta and basil flat bread, but frankly my omission of the olive oil did not do it justice, at all. I had frozen about half the dough waiting on a perfect opportunity to try it again (the olive oil was to be added when rolling out the flat bread, so I was good to go!).
You see how flaky the flat breads became with the olive oil? We cooked them on a well oiled griddle on the BBQ because it was too hot to turn on the oven.
The long weekend presented the perfect time because we were in need of hors d’œuvres for cocktails; this time I did not skimp on the olive oil. Sawsan, I MUST say it was marvelous! JT said the BEST he has had. I had a hard time not sampling them (I did try a couple, OK, maybe a few, but that’s IT!). We shared them with JT’s sister (known as Sid) and husband and the Ceement Boy (nephew Brian — I’ll get into that story sometime soon). We had polished most of it off when Ceement Boy dropped his wine glass onto the side of the dish and it broke into smithereens! He was trying to keep up with me as I broke a wine glass the night before! The cheddar dip can be found here.
The flat bread could have been even better had I made my own feta, like John (from the Bartolini Kitchens) did here.
I will definitely make this lovely and tasty hors d’œuvres again
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Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Cheese, tagged Appetizer, Appetizer/Hors d'oeuvres, cheese, delicious, feta, Flat bread, fresh basil, Vegetarian on April 24, 2012 |
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As you may have noticed, I am often swayed by the recipes of my blogging friends. And this time is no different, because I fell for Sawsan of Chef in Disguise’s Fteer falahi (Cheese and anise flat bread). I had feta at home and fresh basil, so I thought I would use them (plus JT is not a huge anise fan). I had a little extra pot of the Titanic Pâté for our Sunday dinner with nephew Brian and the flat bread went very well with it.
These flat breads are soft but firm enough to hold a heavier spread, like the Titanic Pâté. Cheers!
I made only half the recipe Sawsan made because we are not huge bread eaters, and it made a lot of dough, so I froze half as raw dough and will be using it in the future. I liked the over all texture, but I did make a mistake, I didn’t brush it with oil at every fold (trying to keep the calories down). It turned out a little harder and not as chewy as I had hoped, but the flavour was certainly there. When I make the frozen batch, I will be certain to use the oil that Sawsan’s recipe recommended. As well, Sawsan recommended that I leave my dough a little thicker so it’s chewier. I can see this recipe being used for many a dips in the near future. Thank you Sawsan, you have inspired me yet again.
Makes 2 12″ flat bread squares
- 0.5 kg all purpose flour
- 1/2 tablespoon yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (I left this as the full recipe, JT said my bread was not salty enough!)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups of sheeps milk feta cut into small 1 cm cubes
- 1/4 cup of chiffonade of basil
- In a 1/8 cup of warm water dissolve the yeast and sugar (make sure your yeast is alive!)
- Sift the flour and salt into your large stand mixer bowl, add the yeast/water mixture and start kneading adding water gradually till you get a soft sticky dough consistency (I added a little over 1 cup of water but the amount varies with the type of flour)
- Machine knead the dough for 5-7 minutes, allow to rest , covered in a warm place for half an hour (I kneaded 7 minutes).
- Preheat your oven to 270°C or the highest temperature it will go.
- Gently combine the vegetable oil and olive oil and keep it next to your working area.
- Wet your hands with a little oil and cut the dough into 4 balls , brush each ball in the oil mixture and allow to rest for another 10-15 minutes. (don’t skimp on the oil)
- Brush your working surface with a little oil, start with the first dough ball you cut and spread it into a circle roughly 25 cm or 10 inches in diameter. Sawsan has some great photos on how to fold the dough, please visit her post here.
- Spread your filling onto the pressed dough and begin folding, much like a croissant dough, folding the left third over the centre, then the right over the centre, then the bottom fold up one third and finally fold the top down one third. You should have a nice folded smallish square. Allow this one to rest while you start working on the next one.
- When you have finished all of the dough balls, go back to the first square and brush it with oil and spread it into a larger square using a rolling-pin or your hands. Then do the same with the rest.
- I like using my cast iron pizza pan for this type of bread and I always pre heat it. using a rolling pin, roll up the dough and carefully roll out to the heated pizza pan. Drizzle more oil on it.
- Bake on the middle rack of your oven. Sawsan cautions to watch it carefully as it will burn very quickly.
Thanks again, Sawsan, this one will have a repeat performance in our repertoire, it is indeed a very easy flat bread to make. Next time, I shall substitute some of the white flour for whole wheat, just because
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To correct or not to correct? As I read through your lovely and flattering comments, the first thing I do is correct any typos that I notice. Is that OK? I usually ask you to correct mine, if I notice. Auto correct on my iPhone is great, but it can be a drag too, often correcting to words I do not want (it does ‘do’ for ‘so’ often, ARGH!). Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Breakfast on the weekend usually has a bit more pomp and circumstance than the weekdays, mainly because I’m not rushing to get ready for work. I was dying to try an idea I found on Dara’s Generation Y Foodie and Kelly’s Inspired Edibles blog; Dara made a pizza with a white bean paste base instead of a white béchamel that I thought was pure genius and Kelly took an old favourite of Mac and Cheese and pulled the proverbial rug right out from under it and made it healthy using chick peas instead of noodles. And it got me thinking…a bean paste as a thickener…
You will recall that we had a half a tin of chick peas left over from our Moroccan Mussel recipe the other night and the bean paste béchamel was really itching to get out of my head, so I came up with this lovely cheese sauce. You can pour it over crèpes like I did, or you can use it as a base for pizza as Dara did or better yet, pour it over cauliflower or broccoli! The possibilities are endless. Thank you Dara and Kelly for this inspiration.
Gluten Free Cheese Sauce
Cheesy Goodness poured all over that Crèpe
- 1 cup chick peas, drained and rinsed (you can use any canned bean for this recipe, but I would stick to the lighter ones, like navy beans, or black eyed peas or white beans)
- 1/2-1 cup low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup finely grated flavourful cheese like Parmesan and Gruyère or sharp cheddar
- pinch of salt
- Add the chick peas to your immersion blender container (usually a tall thin cup), add 1/2 cup broth, salt and purée until smooth and about the consistency of crèpe batter adding the stock as required. Remember you will be adding cheese to this so it will thicken up.
- Pour contents into a sauce pan and begin heating up slowly. Add the cheese and stir until the cheese has melted. The cheese won’t stick to the beans as well as it would the béchamel, so you will likely have to emulsify again so that it’s not grainy. Return to the heat and stir. You may need to add a bit more stock at this point, depending on how thick you would like your sauce.
- Serve over crèpes or what ever you wish.
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I need a little gift to take to dinner at friends tonight so I’ve been searching my beloved blogs to see what’s out there. I’ve been following Dara on Generation Y Foodie since Ann at Cooking Healthy for Me reviewed her self published cookbook. Dara generally cooks on the healthier side so when I saw this recipe originally posted by Ann, with a little twist, I knew I had to try it. What Dara did was change out the white flour for whole wheat and she added a bit of texture with some ground flax seeds! Brilliant, if you ask me. These little cheese nibbles are a family favourite now, thanks to Ann (my niece and nephew devoured an entire batch in 25 minutes last weekend!) and as I’m always looking to make things a bit healthier…I jumped on these.
They still have the same cheesy taste, but they have a bit of texture from the whole wheat and the flax, and they also have a touch of earthiness too. We gave it a good thumbs up. Thanks Dara for this lovely treat, I will be making it again and again.
Yummy little cheesy nibbles
You know you want one!
- 8oz sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (I had to add a bit of mozzarella as I had run out of the cheddar)
- 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tbsp ground flax seed
- 2+ tbsp ice water
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 425° F
- Add the cheese, flour, flax, sea salt and cayenne into a food processor. Process a couple of times to mix everything together.
- Add the olive oil at once as you are processing the mixture, adding in the ice water one table spoon at a time until the dough sticks together nicely.
- Refrigerate for 30+ minutes (but to be honest, I never have time for this, please see my tip below).
- Place a sheet of parchment below and on top of the ball and roll out to about 1/8″ (2mm) thickness.
- Cut using your favourite cookie cutter (mine is a 1″ (2.5cm) square with scalloped edge. It’s a perfect size because they do shrink in the oven.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes or until they have a golden bottom (this is the perfect crunch).
- Cool and enjoy.
I store my grated cheese in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. I virtually never remember to defrost it in advance, but using the ice cold cheese in this recipe allows me to skip the step of chilling the dough. Time saved on both counts!
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