I find inspiration in your blogs, thank you! A few weeks ago, my Hungarian friend Zsuzsa prepared a very beautiful Leek and Potato soup that looked so gorgeous and creamy, I knew I wanted to make it for a dinner we had with my nephew Brian. But I was lazy because I didn’t feel like heading out to buy potatoes, so I used what I had which were parsnips (I had three left over from a chicken soup I made to help combat our persistent colds)! When ever I see leeks on sale, I buy a few bunches and slice them into thin slices and freeze on a cookie sheet and then transfer them to a plastic baggy, that way I have leeks when ever I need them, and I needed them for this!
I was surprised at how well the parsnips replaced the potato, adding just a touch of sweetness to the soup (by oven roasting them) and not compromising the creamy texture that potatoes generally add. Parsnips have slightly fewer carbohydrates than potatoes but they also contain fibre, and potatoes do not; they are also effectively lower on the glycemic index (for a similar weights, a potato can be 56-110 where the parsnip is a lowly 10!). I think I have found my new vegetable combo for this traditional soup!
Crispy fried Chorizo and grated Parmesan add just the right amount of salt to this creamy soup.
Creamed Leek and Parsnip Soup
Makes around 1000 mL or 4 quarts, depending on how thick you want the soup.
- 200 g (about 1.5 cups) parsnips, peeled and cut into relatively equal chunks
- 100 g (about 1 cup) onions, cut into large slices
- 250 g (about 1 1/2 cups) leeks, finely sliced
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp EVOO
- sea salt to taste
- 4-6 cups low sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you wish to make this vegetarian)
- non-stick spray
- 2-3 tbsp crispy fried chopped chorizo (omit for vegetarian version)
- Parmesan cheese
- Pre-heat the oven to 177°C or 350°F. Give a small pan a couple of squirts of non-stick spray and roast the parsnips and the onions until soft.
- In a small ramekin with 2 tbsp EVOO, add the unpeeled garlic and a good pinch of sea salt. Cover with aluminum foil and roast along side of the parsnips.
- Spray a couple of squirts of non-stick spray into a good size soup pot (one that will take at least 1000 mL or 4 quarts). Cook the leeks until softened.
- When the garlic is soft enough to easily push a fork through, remove and pop out of the peel (be careful, it’s really hot). The parsnips and onions are done when they are soft enough to push a fork through as well.
- Remove the leek pot from heat and add the roasted parsnips, onion and roasted garlic (including the oil) to the leek pot. To start, add 2 cups of stock and begin blending with an immersion blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add more stock until the desired thickness is achieved. Taste and salt as desired, keeping in mind that the chorizo and Parmesan will add a certain amount of saltiness to it.
- To ensure a super velvety texture, press the soup through a fine sieve. Take the bits left over in the sieve and put into the immersion blender container and add a cup or two of the strained soup. Blend again for a couple of minutes (you will be surprised at how much additional thick soup you can get out of this). Press through a fine sieve into the soup. The left over pulp can be a tasty treat if you don’t mind the texture!
- To crispy fry the Chorizo, chop into small pieces and in about 1 tsp of canola oil, fry the bits until crispy. Blot on paper towel to remove the oil.
- Warm the bowls in a low temperature oven and reheat the soup (I usually reheat in my Microwave); run the immersion blender through it one last time before serving (our chef in Lyon suggested this aerates the soup and makes it even lighter in the mouth!).
- Ladle the soup into each bowl and grate about 1 tsp of Parmesan cheese onto the centre, add about a tsp of crispy fried Chorizo. Serve while hot.
There is no cream in this soup.
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Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Breakfast/Brunch, Fish, Recipes, tagged béchamel, dill, djion, Mustard, onion, Salmon on March 25, 2013 |
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Earth Hour, did you do your part? We were the appetizer course for our third progressive dinner on our street and our course fell right on Earth Hour! We were ready, candle light, a wood fire in the fireplace, and gas cooking! It was lovely. We made Sopa Azteca (tortilla soup) but I didn’t write the recipe down (great excuse to make it again). But I did snap a cool photo of it, by candle light of course. Photo with Camera Amazing by Smug Mug and a little digital correction by Art Studio, all on my iPhone!
I used a hybrid of Rick Bayless’s Sopa Azteca and the one I previously posted.
Now you must be thinking that I’m obsessed with Ebelskivers. No, please don’t think THAT — it’s pretty harsh, don’t you think? Well, I have been making a lot of these wonderful Danish treats (see this recipe and this recipe), but I just can’t help myself. Allow me to explain: Way, way back in time, it was Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday. Of course, that cold February day, I sleepily stood in front of the freezer wondering what we should have for dinner. Completely forgetting about Pancake Tuesday and I took out two 100 g servings of Salmon.
Fast forward to dinner time, and AHHHHHK! It finally hits home that it’s pancake Tuesday and we NEED to eat pancakes. But what about the salmon? We had plans on Wednesday so I couldn’t put it off; I had to create the savoury Ebelskiver Salmon with Spinach and Dill! Quite clever, don’t you think? Without tooting my own horn too much, I really MUST tell you this is one of the BEST versions of this Danish pancake I have made so far. It’s the BEST JERRY, THE BEST!
And now for something completely different: A precariously perched squirrel.
Savoury Ebelskiver: Salmon with Spinach and Dill with a Dijon Dill Béchamel Sauce
Makes 8-10 round Ebekskivers
The Salmon was perfectly paired with the subtle spinach and earthy dill.
- 40 g onions (few tablespoons)
- 20 g spinach (a good handful)
- 2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
- 200 g Fresh or canned Salmon without skin, roughly chopped into 1-2 cm bits)
- 1 tsp EVOO
- Ebelskiver batter (below)
- Dijon dill béchamel sauce (below)
- Heat the EVOO and cook the onions until soft and translucent, add the spinach and wilt. Set aside to cool completely. In the meantime make the batter.
Basic Ebelskiver Batter Ingredients:
- 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 large egg, separated
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1/2 tsp salt
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, set aside.
- In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolk, then whisk in the milk and melted butter. Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and, using a wooden spoon, stir until well blended. The batter will be lumpy.
- In a clean bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. Using a spatula, fold about one-third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the rest just until no white streaks remain.
- Fold the cooled wilted spinach, onions, dill and chunks of salmon, and mix thoroughly.
Ebelskiver cooking directions:
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Spray the ebelskiver pan with a good squirt of non-stick spray and place over medium heat. Add about 1/4 cup batter to each round as soon as the pan is quite hot. Maintain the heat at medium, you don’t want to burn the ebelskiver edges before the insides get a chance to cook.
- Cook until the bottoms of the pancakes are lightly browned and crisp, 3-5 minutes. Using a fork, gently push the ebelskiver until it entirely turns around in the pan and the uncooked portion is now facing the bottom.
- Transfer the finished spheres to a platter and finish baking in the oven while you repeat to finish the batter (about 10-12 minutes).
Serve hot with a Dijon Béchamel.
The Dijon Dill Béchamel was a sophisticated change to Maple Syrup.
Dijon Dill Béchamel
makes 1/2 cup
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp flour
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup milk
- Melt butter in a small sauce pan. Add the flour and stir until well combined. Cook this flour paste but don’t allow it to brown. Add the Salt and pepper.
- Slowly add the milk whisking to combine and cook this mixture until smooth and thick, stirring constantly. If it’s too thick, just add a bit more milk and stir until hot.
- Remove from heat. Add the mustard and the dill and whisk until smooth.
- Serve warm over Salmon Spinach and Dill Ebelskivers.
They are rather filling, so you only need two, but believe me you’ll want FOUR!
We purchased this salmon well before the hoopla about Canadian Salmon having a fish influenza virus.
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Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Recipes, Soups, Vegetarian, tagged Celeriac, celery root, croutons, focaccia croutons, onion, Roasted garlic on March 14, 2013 |
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This is a wonderfully creamy soup that has no cream in it. The Hungarians know only celery root, they really don’t eat the stalks like we do (the stalks are an amazing snack, I ALWAYS keep some washed in a sealed container in the fridge for snacking. I once read that it takes more calories to eat one that the calories in the stalk!). I do add a bit of Olive Oil (EVOO) to the soup and I used butter to toast the croutons, but there is no other fat in this dish.
It’s creamy and rich without a drop of cream!
Serves 4 (one cup portions)
- 1 celery root, cleaned, peeled and cut into relatively equal cubes.
- 1/2 a large sweet onion, cut into quarters
- 1 small head of garlic, bottom chopped off and excess skin removed.
- 3 tbsp EVOO
- Vegetable stock
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Left over onion confit focaccia cut into diamond shapes
- 1 tbsp butter
- sea salt
- Spray a large cookie sheet with non-stick spray and distribute the onion and celeriac cubes evenly. Roast in a pre-heated oven set at 350°F until soft.
- Add the EVOO to a small ramekin and place the garlic cut side down. Salt with sea salt. Cover with aluminum foil and bake with the rest of the vegetables until soft.
- In a large pyrex bowl, add the cooked vegetables with the olive oil from the roasted garlic, and squeeze the roasted garlic into the same bowl. Add vegetable stock and purée with your immersion blender until very smooth. Press through a fine sieve to make sure your soup is very creamy.
- Melt the butter in a small frying pan and toast the focaccia so that it is crispy on all sides.
- Reheat the soup to serve; pour into your rimmed soup bowls, garnish with the focaccia toasts and enjoy.
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Posted in Christmas Baking, Desserts, Quinoa, Recipes, tagged celiery, chestnuts, chorizo, dried cherries, onion, quinoa, shitaki mushrooms on January 24, 2013 |
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As most of you already know, my family Christmas was cancelled due to illness, both my niece and nephew came down with the stomach bug (in the olden days, we called it the 24 hour bug). Fortunately they both recovered, but we had to postpone the festivities so they wouldn’t spread the nasty virus.
Our Do-over Christmas was Sunday, January 13 and I made a full Turkey dinner along with stuffing, celeriac and cauliflower mash, Cherry Soup, Cherry Squares and Pumpkin Brûlée mini-tarts! Needless to say, it was a grand success and everyone went home with their bellies filled and their hearts happy. We may have to make this another tradition!
Even though we had already taken down our real Christmas tree, I put up a small, artificial tree so that the kids would have their presents underneath it!
Christmas dinner wouldn’t be complete without the traditional crackers. No one but me wore the stupid hats.
Serves 8-10 (yes, I made way too much!)
Quinoa stuffing, trying to keep the carbs down.
- 1 cup quinoa (we had a mix of red and white)
- 100 g celery, cubed
- 50 g roasted chestnuts, roughly chopped
- 100 g onion, finely chopped
- 100 g chorizo, finely choppedd
- 100 g shitaki mushrooms, sliced thinly
- 50 g dried cherries, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp butter, melted
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2 eggs well beaten
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- Cook the quinoa according to the directions, plus add 1/2 cup more water.
- Melt the butter in a small frying pan, and cook the onions until translucent. Add the mushrooms and sauté until soft.
- Mix quinoa, onion, mushrooms, chestnuts, chorizo and dried cherries together. Add herbs and eggs and combine well.
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F
- Press the stuffing mixture into a well greased baking pan and bake for 30 minutes.
- Top off with the toasted, sliced almonds and bake an additional 15 minutes.
- Serve warm.
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Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Indian, Recipes, Vegetarian, tagged Appetizer, baked, delicious, hors d'oeuvres, Indian, onion on December 5, 2012 |
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I am very excited to tell you that THIS post will tip this blog over the 100,000 views! I can hardly believe it. My humble little blog from Bloor West Village. Go figure. I was going to do some sort of prize, but I have no idea how to measure who my 100,000 visit was. So I’ll have to think of something else. WOOO HOOO!
Oh Christmas Tree
We decorated the tree a few days after we got it home. Now I know it’s probably a lot larger than many cultures, but for Canadians this tree is small; even by our standards it’s a wee bit puny, we had to put it up on a table to get the height we needed! But I’m OK with that, because that just gives us more room for presents!
These delicious little bites were baked, believe it or not, and you will be surprised at how soft and chewy the centre is and how crispy the exterior becomes when you reheat. I don’t think I will deep fry my bhajis ever again.
Baked Onion Bhajis
Don’t be fooled by their size, they pack a big punch of flavour
original recipe from BBC. Makes about 24 mini bhajis.
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Vidalia onion very thinly sliced
- 120 g/4 oz all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp cumin
- non stick cooking spray
- Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Pre-heat a 12 or 24 mini muffin tin.
- Beat the eggs and add the finely chopped onion rings, mix well.
- Combine the flour, ground coriander and cumin and stir well. Add to the egg, onion mixture and stir well to combine.
- Generously spray the mini muffin tin, add about 1 tbsp of the batter per cavity. Bake for 7-10 minutes, then flip each bhaji so that it browns evenly on both sides and bake for another 7-10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. To serve, pre-heat oven to 350°F and place bhajis onto a cookie sheet and heat for about 10-12 minutes, crisping up the exterior.
- Serve immediately with some onion chutney or tamarind chutney.
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Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Recipes, Tapas, tagged chorizo, delicious, Egg, hors d'oeuvres, mushroom, onion, potato, Spanish, tapas on November 27, 2012 |
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While in Barcelona, Spain we enjoyed many tapas that we’d never tried before and one particular tapa was the Potato Omelet. Now you know that I am not a huge potato eater, but for some reason I really wanted to try it. The starch in the potato makes for a very dense and slightly chewy omelet, which was usually served as a small cube, sometime with bread but most often not.
The potato omelet is the cube centre back.
We enjoyed this plate while dining along side of the Mediterranean Sea!
Now that we’re home, I’ve experimented with other ‘fillings’ for this simple treat and yesterday I think I hit the jackpot. I made this little hors d’œuvres with a shallot, finely diced chorizo and a sliced mushroom. What made it hit the jackpot for me was the texture and because I wasn’t using a potato in this version, I needed to add something to help thicken the egg. I remembered Sissi’s recipe for a Korean Pancake (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and she added corn starch to the egg batter to firm it up. So that’s exactly what I did. Thanks Sissi. It made eight 2.5cm squares (1″) that were tasty and incredibly easy to make. You can even make it in advance and reheat.
A lovely dense texture and a little spice from the Chorizo
Chorizo, Shallot and Mushroom Omelet Tapa
- 1 whole egg and 1 egg white
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 1 mushroom, sliced about 2mm thick
- 30 g finely diced chorizo (I didn’t add extra salt as I find Chorizo salty enough)
- 20 g finely chopped shallot
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Beat the egg and white together, add the corn starch and beat until all the lumps have disolved.
- Generously grease a small loaf pan 7cm x 13cm (2.75″ x 5″) or 200 mL (3/4 cup size).
- Add the chorizo, shallots and mushrooms and make sure they are distributed evenly in the pan. Pour the egg batter over it and tap a few times so that it reaches under and over all the inclusions. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until egg is entirely set. You may serve immediately or cool completely and reheat this mixture prior to serving.
And definitely don’t let my ingredient mix stop you from trying something you have on hand…for example, ham and gruyère cheese!
Ham, Gruyère cheese and a little Dijon
The possibilities are definitely endless. I do hope you enjoy this snack.
The potato and bacon omelet took a nose dive out the pan. It must have been possessed! And NO, for all the guys, the three second rule did NOT apply.
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Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Sauces, tagged Appetizer/Hors d'oeuvres, comfort food, delicious, dip, dip base, Gluten Free, jam, onion, pizza base, savoury, sweet, tangy, Vegetarian on April 20, 2012 |
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Years ago we were watching Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello and he and a friend had a pizza cook-off. I cannot recall who won, but I do know we came away with the best Onion Confit recipe EVER. I usually make up a couple of batches and freeze; they are perfect for a pizza base, sauce base, dip base, even on a salad with crumbled blue or goats cheese. And because I freeze small quantities, they defrost quite easily. Please click here for Chef Chiarello’s original recipe.
I posted my take on the original recipe here, but I never took a photo of it. Well, you’re in luck because I made some up on the weekend and I was smart enough (wink, wink) to remember to take a gorgeous daylight filled photo of it.
Incredibly sweet and tangy, these onions make an amazing topping to pizza, salads brioche...the possibilities are endless
For additional ideas on how to use these gorgeous sweet onions, please see:
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