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Archive for March, 2009

We’re having birthday month girl Pam and her new beau Don with Barb and Kevin for dinner tonight. I would have like to make a really supper fancy dinner, but work has been a bear this week (pulled a mid-nighter on Wednesday, which, I have to admit is not too bad – maybe one or two a year – but, I’m not 21 anymore! Really, I’m not. Oh, just stop it!!!!).
It’s exciting because tonight is Earth Hour between 8:30 and 9:30 where you make every effort to turn off ALL your lights. So we will be eating by candle light (thank goodness I have a gas stove!)
Here is the menu:

leekpotcapuccino2

  • Salad: Boston Bib with Pears Poached in Spiced Balsamic Vinegar, Candied Spicy Walnuts and Crumbled Stilton with a Balsamic Raspberry Vinegrette

poachedpearwstiltonwalnuts1

  • Main: Mushroom and Chestnut Barley Risotto with Seared Giant Scallops and a Lemon Sage Butter Sauce
  • Dessert: Birthday Normandy Apple Tart, complete with a candle.

normandyappletart1

Not sure if there will be new photos, but I will surely post new recipes shortly.

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My Pantry Storage Dilemma

The kitchen is about 2 year’s old now (that is unbelievable) and I’ve been struggling with dry goods storage in my pantry and my baking drawers. I hate irregular packaging that make things look messy and unkept; I really like things squared and ordered.

This past weekend, I found the greatest glass jars in Dollarama (I know, China and all, but they have been the ONLY thing I’ve found that works, and guess how much they were?). I’ve labelled and organized them and now I am quite happy again.

Pantry

Pantry

Baking Drawer

Baking Drawer

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Several years ago, our good friends Barb and Kevin came up to the Upper Deck for a long weekend (pre nupitals and kids) and Barb made this delicious Grilled Cheese Lunch from Cottage Life Magazine. Now I don’t have the exact recipe, but it’s not rocket science so I wing it and I’ve been making it ever since. It’s really easy, and you only put into it what you like! I like a little tomato salsa with my grilled cheese, and since we ran out of the store bought kind, I whipped up one I refer to as Kitchen Sink Salsa, because I threw everything I had in the fridge into it. Oh, by the way, it’s adult grilled cheese because there is booze in it (no wonder I like it so much!). For this version, we used JT’s No Knead Olive Bread.

Adult Grilled Cheese

Adult Grilled Cheese

Adult Grilled Cheese

  • 2 slices of artisan bread per person (this is a heavy lunch, our slices were about 3″ x 4″ x 1/2″ thick) buttered one side
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (you can use gruyere or any full bodied cheese, except the processed kind – YUCK!)
  • 1 medium green onion sliced thinly and chopped
  • 2 tbsp cognac or scotch (we used Palinka) – anything with a good full taste will do
  • 1/2 clove garlic minced finely
  1. Mix cheese, green onion and garlic well. Add cognac and mix again.
  2. Spoon 1/2 the mixture onto 2 slices of bread on the non buttered side and compress with the back of a spoon.
  3. Put the second slice of bread on top, butter side out.
  4. Heat cast iron skillet to medium high. Carefully place sandwiches into the pan and press down. Brown side one and flip.
  5. Turn heat off and cover skillet and allow the other side to brown, and the cheese to melt.

Kitchen Sink Salsa

  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 sundried tomatoes in oil
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic minced finely
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or the oil in the sun dried tomatoes)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tsp heat (cayanne, hot paprika, anything you have will do)
  • 2-4 tbsp chopped cilantro (I didn’t have any at home, but it would have been tasty!)
  1. Add all of the above into a small processor and pulse a few times (you don’t want a smooth paste, but a chunky salsa)
  2. Season to your taste. Enjoy with the grilled cheese.

Adult Grilled Cheese on Foodista

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Matar Paneer

I was blog surfing a couple of weeks ago and came across this recipe from An Indian Kitchen in France. It is SOOOO good and not nearly as bad for you as the restaurant variety. I made the paneer exactly as Chandra’s recipe, but I admit I made a few modifications to the gravy recipe. Here is a link to Chandra‘s version. Check out her blog, she is a very interesting woman.

Serves 4 (unless your husband loves it as much as mine did and then it serves only 3!)

matarpaneer

For the Paneer:

  • 1 liter of whole milk
  • 125 g of whisked yoghurt (I used no fat)
  • 3 tablespoons of lime juice
  1. To make the paneer, boil the milk in a thick-bottomed pan. When it has come to a full boil, turn the heat down very low, add the yogurt and the lime juice, and stir these in thoroughly till the paneer begins to form.

  2. Drain the paneer through a sieve that has been lined with a large, fine piece of cloth. Keep some of the whey by collecting it in a vessel placed under the sieve. You can use this later to add to the curry; some say it adds to the taste, and it is full of good things anyway.
  3. Place the cloth with the paneer in it carefully on a large chopping board, and form it carefully in to a large square shape. Fold the cloth over this, and press the paneer down with a heavy weight (typically a large vessel full of water) that places uniform pressure on all parts of the paneer’s surface, for 20-30 minutes, so that all the excess water drains out and the paneer becomes firm. When the panner seems set, cut it in to 1/2 ” or 1″ squares. Mine turned out a bit loose, so I asked Chandra for some advice, and she elaborate so:
    “To drain the paneer well, I keep the block of paneer pressed under a heavy weight for about 20 minutes on a large chopping board (and wipe/mop away the whey as it drains out on to the board), then turn it over press the other side for another 10 minutes. Over 3-4 attempts, one figures out the balance between not pressing it for long enough, and pressing it too long such that the paneer tends to then go a bit dry.”

For the Gravy:

  • 1 medium sweet onion such as vidalia or mayan chopped
  • 1 cup of stewed plum tomatoes
  • ½ a tsp, or a little more, of grated ginger
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, grated
  • ½ a tsp of ground cumin
  • ½ a tsp or a little more, of coriander powder
  • ½ a tsp of turmeric
  • ½ a tsp of garam masala powder
  • 2 tbsp of cashew paste (or tahini) (this is an optional ingredient)
  • salt to taste
  • 3-4 tbsp of sunflower oil
  1. To make the curry, heat the oil in a frying pan, add the cumin , and when these start to release their aroma put the onions in. Fry these till they start to turn golden brown, then add the ginger and the garlic and fry for another minute.
  2. Add the cashew nut paste and fry the mixture till the onions turn a darkish brown.
  3. Add the tomato purée and cook till everything is well-blended and the puree starts to dry. Add the spices and fry for a further minute.
  4. Now add a cup or a little more of the whey or boiled water, and pressure cook the curry for 5-7 minutes. Cool and refrigerate overnight (may be skipped).
  5. Blend until smooth using an emersion blender. Strain through a fine sieve.
  6. Reheat the next day and cook the mixture until a desired consistency is achieved.
    When the cooker has cooled enough for you to be able to open it easily, add the paneer pieces and simmer the curry for a little while so that the gravy is not runny.

Serve with home made naan.

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For breakfast for Mr. Doran, I made Cinnamon Buns, something I haven’t made for years (for obvious reasons). I found this recipe in one of my old favourite cookbooks, Fanny Farmer. I just cut the recipe directly in half, and of course, I frosted them with a simple icing sugar frosting! The recipe below states it makes 16 rolls. By cutting the recipe in half and it made 7 gigantico rolls!

cinamonbuns3

cinamonbuns4

  • 1 tbsp dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 unsalted butter
  • 1/2 brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup of the water and allow to stand 5 minutes.
  2. Add the yeast to the milk and then add 3 cups of flour and blend well. Allow to rise in a warm dark place until double in size.
  3. Add the beaten eggs, granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, butter and 3/4 cup of flour and raisins and blend well.
  4. Turn out to a lightly floured surface and knead the remaining flour (3/4 cup) until the dough is easily handled.
  5. Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick rectangle (I did 1/2″ and it produced gigantic rolls, as you can see!)
  6. Mix the remaining 1/2 cup unsalted butter with the brown sugar and cinnamon until a smooth paste is formed.
  7. Spread the paste on the entire surface of the dough.
  8. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts on the surface evenly.
  9. Starting at the long end of the rectangle, begin rolling until the entire dough is rolled into one long tube.
  10. Seal the long sides of the dough by pinching it to the rolled side.
  11. Cut the tube into 2-3″ rolls. Place rolls into a lightly sprayed 9″ x 9″ pan leaving a bit of space around them (I got about 7 rolls out of 1/2 the recipe).
  12. Allow to rise in a warm dark place for 1 1/2-2 hours. The rolls should double in size.
  13. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls for about 25 minutes (you want to make sure the insides of the rolls are totally done, and not gooey.
  14. Allow to cool and ice with a simple icing sugar and water frosting (about 1/4 cup plus a couple of teaspoons of water should do it. Mix until a frosting consistency is made, pour into a mini zip loc baggy and cut the corner off about 1/8″, frost in a creative manor – I did this just before serving the next day).

Enjoy! I won’t even bother posting the nutritionals on this one, simply not worth knowing.

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Mr. Doran is coming…

…just in time for cocktails on Sunday! Unfortunately, his lovely bride T won’t be able to join us this time, but you can bet we’ll be cocktailing over the phone! I was thinking about setting up the iMac in the kitchen and toasting on-line, but I was so busy this week I didn’t have a chance to figure out how to do it safely! So I chose not to rather than compromising the security of our new iMac!

Here is the whirl-wind menu:

Breakfast will be home-made meusli muffins (good for the morning after!) – updated, I decided to make Cinnamon Buns…see next entry for recipe, but here’s a sneak peak

cinamonbuns2

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Picadillo

Adapted from Epicurious.
My friend and colleague Andy (proprietor of the new Irish Pub, The Roy – check it out) brings this in for lunch every once in a while, and the smell is incredible. Each time I think, man, I have to make that…and finally, we did. It’s basically the same as on Epicurious, except that we added cumin, which is really fragrant and one of my favourite spices!

picadillo1

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 Turkish bay leaves
  • 2 pounds  Yves Ground Round (or ground beef (15 to 20 percent fat))
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup sliced drained pimiento-stuffed green olives (from 5-ounce jar)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic, and bay leaves; sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add beef; sauté until cooked, breaking up with back of fork, about 7 minutes.
  4. Add all remaining ingredients. Simmer until picadillo thickens, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Discard bay leaves. Serve picadillo warm with rice.

Picadillo on Foodista

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