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Archive for October 2nd, 2008

Oven Roasted Beet Soup

Fall is the time for root vegetables, and beets are one of my favorites! Beautiful in colour, rich in nutrients and it makes a really filling meal! Roasting beets instead of boiling them brings out their natural sugars and actually will reduce the earthiness somewhat.

I picked up about 4 large red beets at my local green grocer. Peel with rubber gloves (so your hands don’t stain!)

  • 4 large red beets
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion
  • 4-6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt
  • 4 cups stock of your choice (I used miso, but chicken or vegetable would work well too)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  1. Pre heat oven to 400F
  2. Peel beets and chop into 2 cm cubes. Add to roasting pan.
  3. Peel and chop onion into 1/4’s (leaving onions larger will help them slow down in cooking)
  4. Toss the above in olive oil and sea salt.
  5. Roast for about 45 minutes or until tender.
  6. Peel outer layer of garlic so each clove is still covered in skin.
  7. Using about 30cm square of parchment paper, place garlic in centre. Pour olive oil over and season with sea salt.
  8. Wrap garlic with parchment and wrap that bundle in foil paper. Place this garlic bundle beside the roasting pan and roast along side of the beets for about 45 minutes or until soft.

To make the soup:

  1. Add the roasted beets, onion and the garlic to a glass blender (squeeze the garlic from it’s casing and don’t forget to pour in the olive oil from both the pan and the parchment!)
  2. Add about 1 cup of the broth and blend well. The beets will be an exceptional fuchia colour.
  3. Add broth as required to achieve the desired consistency.
  4. Pour the soup through a fine sieve to remove all woody bits — this makes the soup unbelievably creamy and silky — don’t skip this step!
  5. Add buttermilk, if desired — it adds depth of flavour, but if you don’t like buttermilk, then by all means omit it!
  6. Serve this soup hot or cold, both are unbelievable.

For something different, try roasting golden beets AND red beets (in different pans) and preparing each soup separately. Pour carefully into a bowl, one side gold, the other pink or better yet, if serving cold, use a clear drinking glass and pour golden soup into bottom first then carefully pour pink on top, serve with a dallop of crème fraiche or sour cream. Wow, what a presentation that would make!

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Geo my dear Mom’s widower husband (is that how you say that she’s dead, nicely?) has decided to move from his bustling metropolis condo in Scarborough (more like Scareborough) to his eldest daughter and son-in-law’s in Lindsay – his last week is this one coming up. I decided to make a special dinner! didn’t take pictures, too bad, because it was lovely, it’s just difficult to photograph with the kitchen so open and I like to serve things piping hot!

The Menu:
Cheddar shortbreads with fig compote (the compote was gift so I have no recipe)
Smoked Salmon Three Ways
Pear stuffed Roast Loin of Pork
Fall Roasted Root Vegetables
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Kalamata Olive Bread with olive oil for dipping
Apple & Pear Crisp with Walnut Stussel Topping
Coffee

Hors D’oeuvres: Cheddar shortbreads from a previous post

Appetizer: Smoked salmon three ways I served these three salmon appi’s on a long rectangular white plate, the soufflé in a mini white ramekin, the tartar on a white Chinese spoon, and the mousse on one of my flat breads in a cool shape.

Smoked Salmon Tartare With Ginger And Sesame my adaptation from Bon Appétit | August 1999

  • 2 tablespoons Rose’s Lime Cordial (this is a sweetend lime juice, which can be made to taste with fresh lime juice and simple syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi cream (or to taste)
  • 6 ounces sliced smoked salmon (not lox), finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely diced seeded peeled English hothouse cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon minced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger (see my tip about Fresh Ginger below)
  • 1 teaspoon oriental sesame oil (use sparingly, it’s stonge stuff)
  1. Mix in salmon, cucumber, cilantro,green onion, sesame seeds, ginger and sesame oil.
  2. Before serving, stir lime cordial and wasabi powder to blend.
  3. Serve in Chinese spoons as part of Smoked Salmon Three Ways

TIP: I can never use up the amount of ginger I buy at once and it’s alway so difficult to peel and slice so it’s not woody. Chef Michael Smith from FoodTV.ca recommends to freeze fresh ginger and use a Micro plane grater to grate, you don’t even need to peel because it grates so finely. This is WONDERFUL! I have not had woody bits of ginger nor have I had to discard rotting bits in my fridge!!!

Smoked Salmon Soufflé my adaptation from Gourmet | November 1994
NOTE: I have reduced the original recipe to suit my requirements – beware!
Serves 4 appetizer portions or 6 mini hors d’oeuvres.

  • 1 small onion, chopped fine (about 3/4 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup pound smoked salmon, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. and butter and flour a mini ramekins, knocking out excess flour.
  2. In a large saucepan cook onions in butter over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add salmon and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, about 2 minutes.
  3. In a small saucepan heat milk to a bare simmer and add gradually to salmon mixture, stirring constantly. Boil salmon mixture, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk in egg yolks, dill, and Parmesan. Transfer salmon mixture to a large bowl.
  4. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat egg whites with a pinch salt until they just hold stiff peaks. Stir one fourth whites into salmon mixture to lighten and fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Pour mixture into prepared dish and put in middle of oven.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. and bake soufflé about minutes, or until puffed and golden and a tester comes out clean. Place on a small rectangular dish to one end. Serve immediately.
Smoked Salmon Horseradish Mousse my adaptation from Gourmet | November 1992
Servings: Serves 6 as a first course (lots left over if serving like I did).

  • 3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (I used yogurt cheese)
  • 2 ounces smoked salmon, chopped (about 1/3 cup), plus 6 ounces smoked salmon, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh horseradish, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh dill plus dill sprigs for garnish
  • pumpernickel toast points as an accompaniment, if desired
  1. In a small saucepan sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it soften for 1 minute.
  2. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring, until the gelatin is dissolved, add 1/4 cup of the yogurt cheese, and cook the mixture, whisking, until it is smooth.
  3. In a food processor purée the chopped salmon until it is very smooth add the gelatin mixture, the remaining 1/2 cup sour cream, the horseradish,
  4. Remove from blender and stir in the minced dill, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pour into decorative containers which are easy to unmold (you may need to wrap the inside of the container with plastic wrap to help unmold it)
  6. Chill the mousse, covered, for 1 hour, or until it is firm. The mousse may be made 2 days in advance and kept covered and chilled.
  7. Unmold each one and place carefully on the plate as above, garnish with a sprig of dill, serve with Eva’s Flat Breads.

French Bread with Kalamata Olives and Thyme Bon Appétit | February 20 – I didn’t change anything on this recipe, it worked beautifully! Very tasty bread.

Roast Loin of Pork with Pear Stuffing my adaptation from Gourmet | June 2002

  • 4 slices bread of your choice (or 1 cup croutons)
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots (3 large)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 Bosc pears
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (we don’t love pepper so I omit this)
  • 1 (3- to 3 1/2-lb) center-cut boneless pork loin roast (3 1/2 inches in diameter), not tied
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

Make stuffing:

  1. Cut just enough bread into 1/3-inch pieces to measure 1 cup and spread evenly in a shallow baking pan. Toast bread in middle of oven, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Leave oven on (for pork).
  2. Cook shallots in butter in a large skillet over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add pears and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in bread, parsley, and salt, (and pepper).

Stuff and roast pork:

  1. Make a hole for stuffing that runs lengthwise through pork loin: Beginning in middle of 1 end of roast, insert a sharp long thin knife lengthwise toward center of loin, then repeat at opposite end of loin to complete incision running through middle, repeat to form an X.
  2. Open up incision with your fingers, working from both ends, to create a 1 1/2-inch-wide opening, then pack with all of stuffing, pushing from both ends toward center.
  3. Pat pork dry and and season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until very hot and just smoking, then brown pork on all sides, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a roasting pan and roast in middle of oven until a meat thermometer inserted diagonally 2 inches into meat (avoid stuffing) registers 160°F, 45 to 50 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 20 minutes.
  6. While loin is standing, straddle roasting pan across 2 burners. Add 1/2 cup water and deglaze pan by boiling over moderate heat, scraping up brown bits.
  7. Slice meat and serve with sauce.

Garlic Roast Mashed Potatoes this is from my test dinner menu in February 2008.

Roasted Root Vegetables: I used parsnips and sweet potatoes (red and white). The trick to perfect roasted vegetables is to chop them the same size so they all cook evenly. The other thing to keep in mind is to roast similar density vegetables at the same time (for example, onions will take less time because they are less dense than parsnips and sweet potatoes!). Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt and roast at 450F for about 45 minutes or until soft. Turn occasionally to ensure all sides are caramelized!

Apple Crisp with Walnut Steusel Topping my adaptation from Gourmet | January 1996

For topping:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

For Crisp:

  • 5 medium Golden Delicious or Jonagold apples
  • 5 Bosc pears
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice to keep apples from browning
  • 1-4 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar (taste apples, if not sweet enough, add more sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

To make streusel:

  1. In a small bowl with pastry blender, blend butter, brown sugar, and flour until smooth and blend in nuts and rolled oats. Chill topping, covered.

To make crisp:

  1. Peel and core fruit. Cut fruit into 1 cm cubes and toss with lemon juice.
  2. Toss fruit with remaining filling ingredients to coat.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. Prepare a oven proof container coating lightly with butter.
  5. Spoon apple mixture into container.
  6. Crumble streusel over the top, breaking up any large chunks.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes or until fruit is soft (you may wish to broil the topping so it is crispy).
  8. Serve crisp warm or at room temperature with ice cream (or as I did, a dallop of yogurt).

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