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Archive for January, 2013

You’re probably thinking “she’s gone mad” bacon and eggs for a Super Bowl appetizer? What could she possibly be thinking? Well, once you taste these babies, you’d wish you had made more of them. Just the perfect size to pop in your mouth (or for more delicate mouths, ehem, one may need two bites). I bought quail eggs for an appetizer for our friend’s Paul and T (post to come soon and I don’t want to spoil it) but I had a few of these gorgeous little eggs left over, so I came up with this breakfast for appetizer treat, and since Super Bowl is on Sunday, why not serve it to your discerning guests?

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You can see how small the quails eggs are in comparison to the large Grade A egg.

We spotted this sign walking up to a restaurant on Bloor for lunch last Sunday. Since this post had bacon in it, I thought it appropriate.

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A sandwich board sign in our hood which seemed appropriate with this post.

It’s really not a recipe, you can easily see all the ingredients, so I’ll just describe it. You’ll need 1 large slice of German seedy bread (we usually use this brand’s 7-Grain bread), 4 slices of Pancetta, sliced about 3.5 mm or 1/4 inch thick and four quail eggs.

First you want to fry the bacon until crispy, set aside in a warm oven, reserve bacon grease. Then cut four rounds of bread about 4-5 cm or 2.5 inches in diametre, and fry each side of the bread in the bacon fat until slightly toasted, but saturated in the bacon fat (you can hear your arteries bursting, no, wait, those are mine bursting), set aside and keep warm. In the remaining bacon fat, fry up each egg, trying to keep as circular shape as possible. Serve immediately, you want the yolks a little runny. To serve: take one slice of the bread round, put the bacon on top and then the egg, garnish with parsley or cilantro leaves. Serve with a napkin because you will have creamy yolk running down your chin.

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A one, perhaps two bite morsel

They turned out so pretty, I had to take two photos.

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Oh, you have a little dribble on your chin, let me get that for you.

Go Jays Go!

Oops.

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We can’t have Christmas dinner without pumpkin pie, but it’s two weeks into January and most of us were trying to catch up from all the over eating we did during the holidays, so instead of making a giant pie, I decided to make mini tarts and that way one can have one or many, it’s up to the individual! Of course, I had this idea to brûlée the tops, just for a little difference and it worked out very well; the only thing is that you can’t do it too far in advance otherwise it gets mushy.

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This is an optical illusion, they are actually really mini!

Pumpkin Brûlée Mini Tarts

Makes 18 mini tarts and 4 4oz or 100 mL ramekins

Original recipe from Five Roses Flour Cookbook page 132

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You can see the hard brûléed tops as they shine in the sunlight!

Ingredients:

  • 18 mini tart shells, unbaked
  • 375 mL or 1 1/2 cups pure pumpkin purée (I used Ed Smith)
  • 250 mL or 1 cup warm milk
  • 75 mL or 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 50 mL or 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 25 mL or 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 mL or 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 mL or 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 mL or 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 2 mL or 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 brown sugar, air dried (spread brown sugar on a cookie sheet for a few hours to air dry)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 230°C or 450°F .
  2. Combine all of the ingredients and pour mixture into tart shells until they just reach the rim.
  3. For the ramekins, prepare by smearing a good amount of butter on the sides and bottom and then dust with granulated sugar. Fill ramekins to top rim.
  4. Tarts should bake at 230°C or 450°F for 10 minutes and then at 160°C or 325°F for 10-15 minutes (they bake much faster than the ramekins). Ramekins will need to bake for 15 minutes at 230°C or 450°F and then at 160°C or 325°F for 15-20 minutes (a cake tester should come out clean when tested).
  5. Sprinkle a good solid but not thick coating of the brown sugar one each tart and ramekin, brûlée with your kitchen torch until sugar is melted and solidifies when cool. Serve with whipped cream.
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Shhhhh, they’re baking….

You caught my lie, I didn't have whipped cream!

You caught my lie, I didn’t have whipped cream!

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Creamy centre with a crunchy topping. But still no whipped cream!

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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!

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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!

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Christmas dinner wouldn’t be complete without the traditional crackers. No one but me wore the stupid hats.

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Quinoa Stuffing

Serves 8-10 (yes, I made way too much!)

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Quinoa stuffing, trying to keep the carbs down.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. Cook the quinoa according to the directions, plus add 1/2 cup more water.
  2. Melt the butter in a small frying pan, and cook the onions until translucent. Add the mushrooms and sauté until soft.
  3. Mix quinoa, onion, mushrooms, chestnuts, chorizo and dried cherries together. Add herbs and eggs and combine well.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 350°F
  5. Press the stuffing mixture into a well greased baking pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Top off with the toasted, sliced almonds and bake an additional 15 minutes.
  7. Serve warm.

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Hello everyone! I must apologize that I have missed a couple of posts, not because of anything other than laziness. I thought I had ‘banked’ enough to last me through the weekend but I hadn’t so my blog remained inactive over the weekend. Our wonderful friends Paul and T paid us a visit, arriving on Friday and going back home on Monday. We had a great time, did lots of fun stuff (yes, I’ll blog about that soon) and ate and drank excessively! Now we are recovering until next time!

I’m inspired by many of the blogs I follow, if not for the recipe, but perhaps an ingredient or even a plating, but I know when an inspiration hits me over the stuffed-up head and it resonates throughout the day with a burning desire (no, not THAT!). Kelly over at Inspired Edibles presented this soup at the beginning of the year and it stuck in my head like that song (sorry about that, peeps) and I knew I had to make it, or something like it. I adore the Asian flavours in a soup, add some rice noodles and I’m in Seventh Heaven. It turned out that I didn’t have some of the ingredients for Kelly’s soup, so I had to improvise, but let me tell you it was YUM. That’s Y. U. M. It was like a lemongrass, sweet and sour, vegetable soup, all of the things that make you happy. That’s right, the epitome of Happy Food.

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Sweet, sour, tangy, delicious

Asian Inspired Soup

Serves 1  in a large bowl (ingredients are just rough, you can use your own taste to determine your version)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Sesame oil and a splash of canola oil
  • 140 g mushrooms (about 3/4 cup), quartered
  • 100 g shrimps and scallops (3 large shrimp and 1 scallop), cleaned and sliced down the middle
  • 60 g onions, sliced finely (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 10 g garlic, roughly chopped (2-3 cloves)
  • 10 g fresh ginger, roughly chopped (about 2-3 tablespoons)
  • 10 g lemongrass, roughly chopped (about 2-3 tables spoons)
  • 5 g Galangal
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp Hoisin sauce
  • 3 Kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 roma tomato, quartered
  • handful of rice noodles

Garnish:

  • 1/4 cup finely sliced green onion
  • pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. Heat the water in your kettle until boiling. Pour over the rice noodles and allow to sit until they are totally reconstituted, 10-15 minutes. Do not over soak, you want a bit of a bite to it.
  2. In a large soup pan, heat the two oils until hot but not smoky (the sesame oil has a very low smoke point). Add the onions and stir until slightly translucent. Add the shrimp and scallop and cook lightly. Turn the heat down to a simmer and add the mushrooms. Sprinkle the coriander on the shrimp and onions and stir quickly until aromatic.
  3. Combine the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and galangal in an infuser (mine is like this) and put it into the soup pan. Add all of the stock and water and add the lime juice, fish sauce, and hoisin saucekafir leaves, galangal, fish sauce, lime juice, and hoisin sauce. Stir well.
  4. Bring to a very light boil and allow to simmer for about 5-6 minutes (be careful so your shrimp and scallop don’t over cook). Add the tomatoes but don’t overcook, just heat them up.
  5. Put one third of the cold noodles into a large decorative white bowl. Add ladle-fulls of the soup and garnish with the green onion and pepper flakes. Enjoy.

Cooks tips:

  • Store your fresh ginger knobs in the freezer in a resealable container; grate on a fine micro-plane grater when required, you need not peel it! Keeps indefinitely.
  • I usually buy a large quantity of lemongrass and chop them finely in my food processor, and then I freeze them in a reusable container. I can usually break off what I need.
  • If you are taking the left overs to work, I recommend storing the cooked noodles in a separate container to the soup so that they don’t absorb any more liquid. When you reheat the soup, do so to just before boiling (so the chicken doesn’t cook further) and that way when you put the chilled noodles in, they will cool it down to a palatable level.
  • Fish sauce is used in thai cooking instead of salt.
  • To save time, I have sometimes used Rosa’s Lime Cordial instead of lime juice, but you have to remember NOT to add the hoisin sauce as that is also sweet.
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Still tastes the same, just in sheeps clothing

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It’s not a swear word. I swear. It just sounds like one. “What the Ebelskiver were you thinking?” or “Where in the ebelskiver were you for two and half hours?” You see? But I can assure you, it’s much more delicious than a swear word. It’s actually a little spherical pancake! I know you’ve seen this over at my friend Barb’s when she posted about it last May but I just had to write about my experience because this pan was her wonderful, thoughtful Christmas present to me!

My first attempt was half of Barb’s recipe for the ebelskivers was Christmas day, a few hours after I brought it home and I kept them simple. But as you can see by my deformed little ‘balls’, it takes some skill to be able to prepare them as perfect little balls of joy. I had some practicing to do.

First attempt Christmas Morning

First attempt Christmas Morning

Still no where near perfect, my second attempt I added blue berries to the batter. Still some practicing to do before I could serve them to guests.

Second attempt when we returned from NOTL.

Second attempt when we returned from NOTL. Poor JT had to be the guinea pig for the second batch too. A very sunny day indeed!

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After practice, I was able to make more perfect little balls of joy.

Batch numbers 3, 4 and 5 were much better. In fact, most of them turned out very well. And I had the opportunity to experiment with some additional flavours. I did cruise the net to see other recipes and they varied quite a bit, but since I had some experience with Barb’s lovely recipe, I decided to stick to it, with minor modifications. I found this recipe on squidoo and the batter was much thicker (if you scroll down, there is a video of a young lady successfully making ebelskivers one Christmas Eve), so I decided to add a bit more flour to Barb’s version to thicken it up. They were much easier to flip or turn without the batter running out from the centre of the ebelskiver.

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Brown sugar, cinnamon and butter are swirled into the batter

If you pile them while they are hot, you will cause indentations. Mind you, I doubt your tummy will care either way.

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A little twist Ham, Cheese and Dijon but still breakfast food

Ebelskivers

Original recipe from Barb at Profiteroles and Ponytails

Each batch makes about 24 ebelskivers, I divided the batter into two portions for the ham, cheese and cinnamon bun versions. If you wish to make the entire batch for one flavour, double the flavour ingredients but not the basic batter.

Basic Batter Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-½ teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract (omit for savory ebelskivers)

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, set aside.
  • In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks, then whisk in the milk, melted butter and vanilla extract (if using). 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.
  • Use the batter right away.

Ham, Cheese and Dijon Ebelskiver Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 finely diced ham
  • 1/2 cup old cheddar, shredded

Directions:

  • For the savoury Ebelskiver, whisk in the Dijon and then gently fold in the diced Ham and cheddar cheese, cook using your lovely ebelskiver pan.

Cinnamon Bun Ebelskiver Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 40 g chopped walnuts

Directions:

  • Mix the brown sugar, butter and cinnamon well. Fold in the walnuts into the basic ebelskiver batter, then drizzle in the brown sugar mix into the batter and fold gently. Since the batter is quite cold, it will seize the butter/sugar mixture allowing you to fold in the swirls. You don’t want to entirely incorporate the butter/sugar mixture, you want swirls throughout the batter. Continue until you have used up all of the mixture.

Ebelskiver cooking directions:

  1. 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.
  2. Cook until the bottoms of the pancakes are lightly browned and crisp, 3-5 minutes. Using a fork, lightly push the ebelskiver until it entirely turns around in the pan and the uncooked portion is now facing the bottom.
  3. Transfer the finished pancakes to a platter and keep warm in the oven while you repeat to finish the batter.
  4. Serving suggestions: dust the warm pancakes with the confectioners’ sugar and serve right away. Or serve with warmed maple syrup and fruit.

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For the same dinner as the previous post, I made this wonderful German Purple Cabbage Slaw. I’m not exactly sure how authentic German it is, but it did indeed have flavours from German slaws that I’ve had and it was so pretty against the Candied Salmon and Rösti potatoes. It made for a very festive dinner. I was inspired by this recipe, but since I already had purple cabbage at home, that’s what I used and not the white cabbage in the recipe. What I really liked about this recipe is that the dressing is added hot which will slightly wilt the cabbage, but cabbage is strong enough that there will still be a slight crunch to it. They normally add caraway seeds but since I hate them, I omitted them!

Pretty like jewels. Sparkling, pretty jewels.

Pretty like jewels. Sparkling, pretty jewels.

German Purple Cabbage Slaw

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small purple cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 140 ml cider vinegar
  • 100 ml vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Parsley for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a glass micro-wave safe container, combine oil, vinegar, stock, salt, mustard and sugar and heat until sugar has dissolved, stirring often.
  2. Add the shredded cabbage to a non-metallic bowl and pour vinegar-oil mixture over cabbage and combine thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. To serve, check seasonings, adjust, drain dressing and serve in a decorative bowl. You may want to let the slaw sit in a colander to drain completely, otherwise you will have purple cabbage stains on your table cloth. I guarantee it.
  4. Garnish with parsley.

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Way back in December we had our good friends Lee and Stefan for dinner. JT and I decided to make Barb’s Salmon that’s like Candy (with a few minor alterations, will blog soon about it) with Swiss Rösti potatoes, German Red Cabbage Slaw (coming soon) and John’s Yogurt Dill Sauce. It was a huge success and the best part is that these potatoes may be made in advance and reheated. The Swiss usually have this for breakfast, and I know I’m breaking all the rules by serving it for dinner…so arrest me (did you say you had hand-cuffs ;-)?)

These famous potatoes can be purchased ready-made that you just slip them into the frying pan and reheat, but I wanted to make them from scratch; how hard could that be? I searched and search the web and came across several variations on the preparation of this classic side dish, and after much deliberation I chose my method. Some of the recipes par-boiled the potatoes and some did not; I chose to par-boil to cut down the finishing time (plus I had read that not par-boiling makes the interior of the rösti a little starchy tasting).

Swiss Röstli Potatoes

Crispy yet soft on the inside

Crispy yet soft on the inside

Serves 4-6 (depending on how hungry you are)

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 Medium Sized Yukon Gold Potatoes (actually, you can use any potato you would use as mashed potatoes)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Peel and chop potatoes in half (you want a chunk large enough to grate without grating your knuckles).
  2. Put the potatoes into a pot with cold water and salt (this step was prevalent in many recipes, something to do with cooking evenly) with salt and bring to a boil. Keep on the boil until there is still some resistance when you poke the pieces with a fork or cake tester — you definitely DO NOT want to cook them 100%.
  3. Remove from the pot and allow to cool completely.
  4. On a large grater, grate the potatoes entirely.
  5. Heat a large cast iron skillet with a few tablespoons of oil (err on more than less). Add the potatoes so that they evenly fill the pan, and lightly compress. Cook until it is crispy on one side.
  6. If preparing ahead, allow to cool and set aside now.
  7. To reheat: Flip. If you are brave, use this method, if you’re like me, then two dinner plates will do the trick very nicely. Cook the underside of the Rösti until crispy and the potatoes have heated all the way through.
  8. Serve by cutting into wedges. I served this dish in the cast iron pan I cooked it in because I wanted it to maintain the heat on the table.
  9. Service with Yogurt Dill Sauce.

We had barely enough leftovers for breakfast the following day — that’s how good they were. In fact, this is a meal I will make again; it’s rustic yet has a certain sophistication with all the flavours going on.

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