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Posts Tagged ‘delicious’

As our time in Spain was dwindling in late May, I began to think more about using up pantry items. Here is another recipe that was created to use up pantry ingredients I purchased for our time in Spain. I wanted to use up the flour, sugar and a lime that I had sitting around. Unfortunately, I had only a little butter that I needed for the remainder of the week so I improvised and used reduced table cream. I figured if you could make cookies using olive oil, then you should be able to make cookies using cream, but I only had table cream which is generally about 18% fat so I reduced it about half in volume which I was hoping would give me about 36% fat or at least more than 18%. The cookies turned out delicate, not crumbly and slightly chewy. JT thought some coconut would be lovely in them so perhaps I’ll try that next time. I would have liked a little more lime flavour so I upped the zest in the recipe below because I only had one lime, two I think, would be perfect.

A deliscious, chewy cookie.

Lime Sugar Cookies

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes about 24 cookies about 5 cm in diameter

Ingredients:

  • 270 g all-purpose flour
  • 5 g baking soda
  • 2.5 g kosher salt
  • 251 g granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 78 g reduced table cream (see notes)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2.5 mL vanilla extract
  • 15 mL lime juice 
  • Zest of 2 limes

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  2. Combine the sugar, table cream, eggs, vanilla, lime juice and zest and mix well.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and just fold in so that there is no visible flour. Set in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Drop about 15 mL cookies (about a tablespoon) onto a parchment-lined sheet bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Notes:

  • For the table cream in this recipe, pour 250 mL table cream into a heavy bottom saucepan and reduce on high heat until about half (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally so it doesn’t over boil. Cool completely.

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Sometimes it’s just the simplest things that are the best. While we were in Spain, we had a lot of tapas, they serve tapas every time you order a glass of vino. Sometimes it is as simple as delicious olives, or sometimes it’s a little ham sandwich. While we were in Granada, we slipped into this adorable little bar and ordered a couple of glasses of vino with some tapas. Before we even had our first sip, they brought out a good quantity of homemade potato chips and these little round sandwiches (about 7-10 cm in diameter). If we hadn’t already ordered a selection of cheeses and charcuterie, we would have been done! And they would not have been offended. This is Spain, where a glass of good quality wine is €3.50 (less than $5) AND it comes with food! And there is no expectation of tipping, most restaurants add a small service fee per person so you needn’t worry about it.

We were sitting at home one evening when we decided to have a glass of vino and JT asks what we were having for hors d’œuvres! I had to scramble a bit because I hadn’t pre-made anything for the freezer but I did have some incredible peppers (did I mention how wonderful vegetables taste in Spain?) so I sliced them thinly and sautéed them and presented them with some toasted Spanish pine nuts. They were fantastic! So simple. If you’re serving a crowd, you might want to add a splash of red wine and some sliced chorizo, served with crusty bread of course. This is definitely going into my repertoire because I always have peppers at home.

I haven’t stipulated quantities because it’s what you have on hand. I used about a half of pepper each of the red and yellow and about 1/4 of an onion.

These are some of the sweetest peppers we’ve ever tasted.

Sautéed Peppers with Pine Nuts

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

 Ingredients:

  • Red peppers, deveined and seeded, cut into strips
  • Yellow peppers, deveined and seeded, cut into strips
  • Onion, thinly sliced
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Pine Nuts, toasted
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 Ingredients:

  1. Sauté the onions and peppers in a splash of olive oil. Add the chorizo and red wine, if using
  2. Sprinkle with pine nuts, salt and pepper and serve with crusty bread.

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I always create a menu plan for every week and when we arrived in Spain, it was no different. I like to schedule meals out in a restaurant but if they don’t work out, I also like to have something easy to fix on hand, dried cheese tortellini was one of these things. We had been out for lunch at one of our favourite Italian places and the couple at the table next to us ordered the fried cheese tortellini and I was inspired, they looked so delicious. I have made fried pasta before but used North American dried pasta and it wasn’t good, they were too thick and ended up really hard and difficult to eat so I didn’t bother posting about them. These little gems are different, they are crispy, chewy little parcels filled with cheese! They are wonderful. I tested up a batch of 18 and found them quite successful so I fried up the entire package! I froze them for when we reunite with our dear friends Paul and T from Arizona, they came for a visit in early May. Just pop them onto a parchment-lined baking pan and bake at 350° F for about 10-12 minutes. Serve with salsa, romesco sauce or any one of your favourites. Make sure you make a bunch because they are addictive.

They are crispy and chewy little parcels of deliciousness.

Crispy Fried Cheese Tortellini

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes as many tortellini as your package has.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package dry cheese-filled tortellini, cooked through
  • 500 mL high flash-point oil
  • dipping sauce, your choice

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil to 350° F
  2. Fry only 5-6 at a time until golden, place on an absorbant cloth to soak up any excess oil.
  3. Serve warm with your favourite dipping sauce.

Notes:

  • Cook your pasta to slightly overdone, this will provide the best crunch.
  • Cook your pasta in advance so that you can totally drain them and allow them to slightly dry out on a paper towel or parchment (this will prevent the oil from splashing when the water hits it).

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You may have noticed from my other socials that we have escaped Toronto and finally headed to Spain. Our first trip in February was cancelled by you know what. We are here for 51 days. The sun and relative warmth have been life-altering. I wake up just to see the sunrise on the Mediterranean (it’s not that bad, 7:30-ish during our stay).

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Our kitchen in the flat (my cousin’s flat) is challenging from a size point. I have fitted it with most of my favourite tools so I can do most things but finding a place to do them can be a challenge. Most people who rent do take away or go out to one of the many restaurants in this little village. The Spaniards like to eat late (9pm would be considered an early dinner) but I find it difficult to eat that late, so we end up going out for lunch and having a light dinner around 7pm. Although the first few attempts to lunch were failures as many places don’t open until at least 1:30 (we don’t eat breakfast) and they close between 2-5pm for Siesta. Don’t get me started on Siesta, it is a beloved ritual in the smaller centres. This little recipe was developed to take us through cocktails one evening. 

Retro Olive Balls

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes 8 pastry-wrapped olives

Ingredients:

  • 15 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 60 g cheese, we used manchego
  • 60 g flour
  • 15 g roasted garlic purée
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • water to bind
  • 8 olives

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine everything but the olives in the small bowl of a food processor and process until combined. If the dough still doesn’t come together, add a few drops of water and pulse until it comes together.
  3. Divide the dough into eight equal portions. Roll each portion into a small circle and wrap around each olive, rolling in your hand until it is smooth. Repeat until all of the olives are wrapped.
  4. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet until golden, serve warm.

A delicious buttery pastry enveloping a Manzanilla Olive.

Notes:

  • I used unpitted Spanish Manzanilla Olives because it is what I had at home, black olives or even pimento-stuffed olives would be lovely with this recipe. Make sure you mention to your guests that the olives are with pitts.
  • Double or triple this recipe for more tasty little balls.

 

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Sometimes we need a little more fibre in our diets. We’re in Spain! Woohoo! We have been here for about a month now, enjoying the sunshine and warmth. In fact, as I type this post (around the 19 of April), Toronto had some snow! Yes, my dear friends messaged me about it! But we have been watching the weather on our security cameras anyway. Snow. I haven’t worn socks in a month!

I’ve been developing this recipe for a couple of years and I think this is it. It’s a lovely combination of sweet, salty and crunchy. 

A lovely combination of sweet, salty, and crunchy.

High Fibre Granola Bars

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes one 23 cm (9 inch) square pan

Ingredients:

  • 100 g Rolled Oats
  • 100 g Wheat Bran
  • 100 g Sunflower seeds
  • 50 g pumpkin seeds
  • 100 g sliced almonds
  • 105 g honey
  • 105 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 g salt

Directions:

  1. Toast everything but the honey, butter and salt at 250F for 30 minutes, stirring 3-4 times.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the honey, butter and salt and mix well.
  3. Increase the oven temperature to 350F. Transfer the oat mixture to a bowl and pour the honey mixture into it. Mix well to coat everything. Press the mixture firmly into a parchment-lined 9” x 9” baking pan and bake until golden 13-15 minutes. Cut into bars while warm. Cool on parchment. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or freeze for longer.

Notes:

  • This recipe doubles very well.
  • If you don’t toast the mixture first, you’ll probably get a chewy bar instead, although I haven’t tried it yet.

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Truth be told, I re-invented some leftover devilled eggs into this deluxe egg salad. The creamy egg yolks made perfectly rich and luscious creamy egg salad. I upped the ante by adding a small, ripe avocado. Winner, winner, egg salad!

I think I’ll make egg salad this way all the time.

Deluxe Egg Salad

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes enough for 2 large croissant sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 4 left over devilled egg halves (see notes on how I jazzed these up), roughly chopped
  • 2 additional hard-boiled egg, roughly chopped
  • 15 mL mayonnaise
  • 5-10 mL lemon juice
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
  • ~10 cm of cucumber, finely diced
  • 1 small, ripe avocado, finely diced
  • Add salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine the devilled egg filling with the additional hard-boiled egg yolk with the mayo and lemon juice, whisk well.
  2. Stir the scallions, cucumber and avocado together, mixing well. Spoon the egg yolk sauce over the eggs and fold in, completely mixing with the eggs.
  3. Serve in a croissant with additional finely chopped scallions as garnish.

Delicious stuffed into a croissant.

Notes:

  • When I made the devilled eggs, I whipped the yolks with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and room temperature goats cheese and a little finely chopped scallions. Salt and pepper to taste.

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Salmon Wellington

I came up with this recipe for some friends we were having over at the end of January. It was so successful, I’ve made it six times since. I’ve even changed it up with a Chicken Cordon-Bleu and it’s lovely. I find 50-60 grams of protein are plenty because there is a little topping and the pastry is very filling. Depending on what’s inside, you may or may not even need a sauce.

The cracked pastry does not take anything away from the wow factor of this dish.

Salmon Wellington

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 15 g onion
  • 50 g baby spinach
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 65 g goats cheese, room temperature
  • 5 g roasted puréed garlic
  • Salt, pepper and dill to taste
  • 120 g Wild Pacific Salmon, skin removed
  • 1/2 a sheet of puff pastry
  • 1/2 egg, whisked

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F
  2. Sauté the onion and spinach in the olive oil until the onion is translucent and the spinach has wilted, set aside to cool.
  3. Combine the sautéed vegetables, goats cheese, roasted garlic and season with salt, pepper and dill.
  4. Layout the puff pastry and cut it into two rectangular pieces, roll out to be able to cover the entire fish.
  5. Divide the goat cheese mixture between the two puff pastry and spread out in about the same shape as the salmon. Lay the salmon on top and fold the puff pastry over so the side overlap and you can pinch them closed. Flip over and pinch the ends closed. Use a fork to create a strong seal on the ends and score the top. Brush tops with the egg wash and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the salmon is about 135° F.
  6. Serve immediately.

We prefer wild caugh Pacific salmon because it is brightly coloured and has great salmon flavour.

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I saw this Nigella Lawson recipe on my friend Mimi’s socials and in reading Nigella Lawson’s description of it made me want to try it. I was able to source the Aleppo pepper flakes at my favourite spice store in Kensington Market, Carlos’ House of Spice. I called it Turk-ish because I altered the recipe somewhat but you can click on the original here.

Creamy and tangy against the rich Aleppo butter sauce.

The Aleppo pepper flakes are not burning hot, there is mild heat but even I can take it so it’s pretty mild. It has a lovely fruity taste that comes through in the nutty brown butter. The tangy yogurt is beautifully mellowed by the brown butter sauce. It’s a lovely dish that is totally guest-worthy.

Turk-ish Eggs

Please click here for the original recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 200 mL Plain Greek yogurt
  • 10 g roasted garlic purée
  • 2-4 g Sea salt flakes or kosher salt
  • 30 g unsalted butter
  • 15 mL extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-5 g Aleppo pepper/Turkish red pepper flakes
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 10 mL lemon juice, divided
  • 1/2 avocado, mashed with a fork
  • Toasted bread

Directions:

  1. Whisk the yogurt and roasted garlic in a bowl over a bain-marie and gently warm the yogurt, set aside.
  2. Warm two bistro bowls.
  3. Melt the butter and gently cook until the milk solids turn golden brown, remove from the heat and stir in the olive oil, Aleppo pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
  4. Gently bring a low-sided pan, filled with water to a light boil and turn it down so there are no visible bubbles. Meanwhile, crack each egg into a fine-mesh sieve and allow the loose whites to drain away, slide into a ramekin. Add 5 mL lemon juice into each ramekin with the drained egg. Gently lower each egg into the simmering water and cook until desired consistency (we love runny yolks 3-5 minutes).
  5. To serve, divide the yogurt into the two bowls evenly spoon the mashed avocado into the centre. Place a poached egg on top and drizzle with the Aleppo butter sauce. Serve with lots of toast.

Notes:

  • The addition of avocado is not authentic in this recipe, I had a half that needed using. It was a beautiful creamy texture against the yogurt.
  • If you think two slices of toast will do, make two more, you’ll need it to soak up the yogurt-butter-egg sauce!

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I haven’t made Tiramisu in ages and when I saw my friend Lauraine’s Beeramisu pop up on her socials I was sold! Plus I needed a dessert to bring with us to a dinner party at a friend’s place. Our friends are not big coffee lovers but they love beer so I knew this would be perfect immediately! I didn’t have a chocolate porter but I did have some Vanilla Porter that I knew would work. None of us like a super-rich or sweet dessert so I cut some sugar and eggs down a bit and I still got two desserts out of this recipe. Thank you, Lorraine, for the recipe and inspiration.

Vanilla Porter Beer-amisu

For the original recipe, please click here.

This recipe makes one loaf pan about 9 cm wide x 20 cm long x 6 cm tall AND an 18 cm diametre round pan.

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 75 g sugar
  • 360 g mascarpone, placed at room temperature for an hour
  • 400 mL whipping cream
  • 5 mL vanilla 
  • 150 mL vanilla porter or stout beer, chilled
  • 28 sponge fingers (around 230g/8.1ozs)
  • 1-2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Directions:

  • Combine the egg yolks with the sugar in a double boiler and whisk until the sugar has melted and the eggs have thickened about 10 minutes. Allow to completely cool.
  • Meanwhile, whip the cream and vanilla until soft peaks form, not stiff peaks
  • When the egg mixture has cooled, whisk the mascarpone into the egg mixture until smooth and creamy. Fold in the whipped cream.
  • Prepare your pans by lining them with plastic wrap. Dip each sponge finger into the porter quickly (you don’t want it soaked). 
  • Place a smooth layer of the mascarpone on the bottom of each pan then begin lining the bottom with the dipped sponge fingers until the bottom layer has been filled. Add another layer of the mascarpone and repeat with the sponge fingers. I got two layers in each vessel. Pull up the plastic wrap and fold it over so the Beer-amisu doesn’t dry out in the fridge. Allow to rest in the fridge for 2 days.
  • When ready to serve, open the plastic wrap and tip the container onto a serving dish so that the top is the bottom and the bottom is the top. Sprinkle with cocoa powder. Serve in slices.

This is the unromantic shot in the pans. I’m going to freeze the round one for future use.

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We’re getting into patio season here in the Big Smoke and patio season means glasses of vino and cocktails with friends on our cozy covered patio. I never like to serve alcohol without something to nosh on and I had a couple of dips in the freezer that needed a little flatbread. This recipe whipped up very quickly and because it is not a yeasted dough, no rising was required. They do puff up quite a bit, so roll them on the thinner side.

Quick & Easy Flatbread

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes 4 flat breads about 20 cm (8 inches) in diametre

Ingredients:

  • 300 g “00” flour
  • 8 g baking powder
  • 2 g baking soda
  • 160 g Greek yogurt
  • 20 g olive oil
  • 45 g water
  • 125 mL olive oil for frying

Directions:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients well; combine the wet ingredients and whisk well. Combine the dry and the wet and kneed for a minute or two.
  2. Divide into four equal balls (mine were 133 g) and roll out to about.5 cm thick.
  3. Heat the olive oil to 350° F and fry each side of the flatbreads until the inside temperature is 150° F. Cool on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil. Serve warm or grilled and cut into wedges.

Notes:

  • Freeze cooked flatbreads in a ziplock bag.

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My brother loaned us his cottage for the last week of January. Yes, it is a lot colder up there but it is extremely beautiful with the pristine, sparkling snow and the occasional visit from wildlife. I needed to clean out the fridge before we left and created this tasty and satisfying soup. Pair it with a scone or grilled cheese and you have the perfect winter-time lunch. The measurements are not important here because I was just using up some less-than-perfect produce, it’s just an inspiration for future soups.

JT bought me the KitchenAid Vegetable Sheet Cutter to help me cut down our carbs so I had a lot of zucchini cores leftover which played right into this delicately flavoured soup. I was going to add cream but then I had a very ripe avocado that would meld perfectly into this winter meal.

Celery, Zucchini, and Avocado Cream Soup

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes 1.45 L soup

Ingredients:

  • 15 mL EVOO
  • ~ 1/2 a bunch of celery, roughly chopped
  • ~ 1 zucchini, roughly chopped
  • ~ 1 small Vidalia onion, roughly chopped
  • 5-10 sprigs of parsley
  • 1 L chicken stock
  • 1 small Avocado, peeled and pitted
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat the EVOO, add the celery, zucchini, onion, and parsley, and cook until softened. Add the stock and simmer for 30 minutes or until all of the vegetables are very soft. Add the avocado.
  2. Blitz with your immersion blender or allow to cool and purée with a Nutri Bullet or VitaMix for a smooth and creamy soup. Strain through a fine sieve to remove the celery ‘hairs’.
  3. Serve hot.

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I started watching a couple of Ontario-guys on Facebook who try to prove or disprove crazy videos they’ve seen, mostly of food but it can also be science or cleaning and such. They are a bit goofy which makes them rather charming. Their girlfriends sometimes participate in these videos by making some outlandish foods. This traditional Georgian potato, cheese-stuffed bread was one of them. The recipe looked so good, I had to do a little research and make my own. Their recipe was fairly straight forward using baking powder and not yeast bread dough, but the research showed that most of the recipes were yeasted bread dough, so I went with that. Then I found a few that had egg in them which gives the bread a wonderful, chewy texture. Then there is the mashed potato and cheese stuffed inside. OMG, so good. My recipe makes four disks about 20 cm in diametre, cut into eight portions.  The bread freezes very well. Remember to put it in the refrigerator overnight to defrost, then allow it to come to room temperature before baking. We went through two bad boys in two days and I sent a third one to a friend who was going to visit her parents! The fourth one is under lock and key in the freezer, I’m saving it for a special time! I will definitely be making this recipe again and again!

Soft, pillowy mashed potatoes with the sharp feta (or goat) and gooey mozzarella makes for a more-ish starter.

Kartofdzhyn (Cheese and Potato Stuffed Bread)

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes 4 stuffed bread rounds about 20 cm (8 inches) each

Ingredients for the Bread:

  • 6 g quick yeast
  • 8 g granulated sugar
  • 120 mL milk, at 110F
  • 460 g bread flour
  • 6 g salt
  • 215 g Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • Olive oil for the dough
  • 1 egg yolk, whisked for brushing the dough

Directions:

  1. Combine the yeast and sugar with the warm milk and allow to proof for about 10 minutes (it should froth up)
  2. Add the flour and salt to the large bowl of your stand mixer and mix lightly.
  3. Combine the Greek yogurt and eggs with the frothy yeast mixture and whisk until well combined.
  4. Add the liquid ingredients to the flour and knead with the hook for 10 minutes. Stop the mixer and allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes, then resume kneading for about 15 minutes or until the dough comes away from the bowl.
  5. Coat the dough with olive oil and allow to proof for about an hour, or until doubled in size.

Ingredients for the Filling:

  • 2 medium yellow potatoes (about 230 g), boiled
  • 30 g butter
  • 30 g roasted garlic purée
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 100 g feta cheese or goats cheese
  • 230 g mozzarella
  • 6 g salt

Directions:

  1. Mash the potatoes with butter and roasted garlic, then beat with a whisk beater until light and fluffy. Fold in the scallions, cheeses, and salt and set aside.

Directions for the dough disks:

  1. Divide the dough into four equal portions. Roll out each portion evenly to a circle about 25 cm (10 inches). 
  2. Add one-quarter of the filling to the centre of each round and pull in each side to form a sealed disk. Flip over and gently roll out to about 20 cm (8 inches). Pierce the top of the disk with a fork and brush each dough disk with the egg yolk. Set aside while the oven preheats or freeze on a baking sheet and transfer to a plastic zip-lock bag for the future.
  3. If baking at the moment, put a cast-iron pan into the oven and pre-heat the oven to 400° F. Add one disk to the hot pan and bake for 20 minutes. When done, remove from the heat and brush the top with some more olive oil. Serve warm.

 

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I usually make my scones and biscuits with my handy food processor but I have to say that these freehand scones will change my method for all my future scones. For what I save in time, I sacrifice in cleaning time and most importantly, texture of the scones. These scones are light, airy, filled with gooey cheese and scallions. They are great with soup or a stew. Serve them warm with fresh butter.

This post was created on a blistery, cold day in latter January. We just had received about 50 cm (20 inches) of snow in a period of 24 hours. We must have a VIP living on our street because the damn snowplow came down our street four times, depositing a heavy mess of snow at the end of the driveway. Honestly, the last two times were ridiculous, there was hardly any new snow on the road! This was one of the sunniest days we’ve had so far, the sun reflected in the new white snow and  I just had to take advantage with the photos.

Freehand Kefir, Scallion, and Cheese Scones

Original recipe from Jean Paré’s Company’s Coming Muffins and More cookbook

Makes 8 large wedges

Ingredients:

  • 240 g All-Purpose Flour
  • 16 g baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 150 g cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
  • 57 g cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 100 mL kefir (and extra kefir for brushing tops)
  • Parmesan, finely grated for sprinkling on top

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, with the butter and manually cut like you would pastry dough. When it is slightly smaller than pea-sized bits, add the shallots and cheese and mix.
  3. Combine the kefir and the egg and whisk until frothy. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well. Turn dough out to a lightly floured surface and knead once or twice, just enough to pull it together. Roll out to a round shape and cut 8 wedges to make. Brush tops with kefir and sprinkle the parmesan on top.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Serve warm with butter.

Tender and delicate scone with lots of cheese and scallions.

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We usually have small quantities of a lot of different produce leftover as we approach shopping day, you know, a little of this, a little of that. That is where this bowl came from — it was an inspiration to use up the small portions of veggies before they were past their prime. The recipe is just whatever you have on hand, so I have not posted actual quantities, but there is no denying that this bowl is a keeper! It’s filled with flavour, texture, crunch against the creaminess of the avocado dressing. 

Lots of flavours and textures make up this tasty bowl.

Green Goodness Bowl

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Greens, shredded
  • a handful of Chickpeas, cooked
  • about half a Mango, small dice
  • 1/2 Avocado, small dice 
  • Cheese, small cubes
  • a handful of Pearl barley, cooked
  • a handful of vinegar coleslaw
  • a couple of good pinches of Sunflower Seeds, toasted

Directions:

  1. Place the greens at the base of the bowl and add each ingredient on top, into its own quadrant, leaving the sunflower seeds to garnish after you have dressed your bowl.
  2. Dress with the avocado dressing (recipe below) and garnish with the sunflower seeds. Serve immediately.

A delicious combination that is satisfying.

Green Goodness Dressing

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes enough dressing for 2 bowls.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Avocado
  • ~ 15 mL mayonnaise
  • ~ 15 mL greek yoghurt
  • ~ 15 mL lemon juice
  • pinch of tarragon
  • water, to thin

Directions:

  1. Add all of the ingredients with the exception of the water to a tall, thin jar made for your immersion blender and blend until smooth adding water, little by little to make it loose enough to pour.

Notes:

  • It is more flavourful to have sweet, salty and savoury things. 
  • I like to toast the barley for a nuttier flavour when cooked.
  • Alternatives to mango: craisins, raisins, grapes.
  • Alternatives to chickpeas: lobster meat, crab meat, tuna, chopped ham, edamame.
  • Alternatives to barley: rice, bulgar, Isreal couscous, couscous.
  • Additions: peas, corn, diced peppers.
  • Alternatives to sunflower seeds: pepitas, roasted walnuts, roasted peanuts.

 

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Way back in January, we were getting some seriously cold temperatures. I had a ham bone leftover from Christmas Eve that I wanted to use and what better use is a rib-sticking split pea soup? I was able to get 6-8 portions out of the soup, about 250 mL or a cup each, it’s pretty thick. The soup is fairly filling so if you want to make it last a little longer, add a bit more stock to thin it down.

Fall Split Pea Soup with Ham

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • 175 g finely chopped onion
  • 100 g celery, diced
  • 100 g carrots, diced
  • 65 g pancetta, cut into small slices
  • 20 g garlic, finely chopped
  • 10 cumin
  • 1”5 g smoked paprika
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 430 g split peas
  • 175 g cooked ham, diced
  1. In a pressure cooker cook the pancetta until crispy then add the onions and until translucent.
  2. Add the split peas and sautée for a minute.
  3. Add the garlic and cumin and sautée for about 30 more seconds (or until you can smell the aroma), add the ham, water and stock. Now add the paprika and cinnamon stick.
  4. Seal the cover and cook under pressure for 45 minutes or until the split peas have softened (I use a fairly low setting). You should check the water level twice during the process to make sure it hasn’t boiled down to nothing, stir. If the liquid is too reduced, add more.
  5. Serve with a dollop of low fat Greek yogurt and home made bread.

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It’s been wickedly cold here, and by wickedly cold, I’m talking -21° C or -5.8° F! I have only been able to think about soup. I love brothy soups but JT is not as much of a fan, he prefers creamed soups so I like to mix it up. I had purchased too much broccoli for Christmas day dinner so I had a small crown leftover along with a not-so-perfect-looking romaine, so this recipe was a result of these two leftovers.

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes just over a litre of soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Vidalia onion, roughly chopped
  • 15 mL EVOO
  • 1 fist-sized head of broccoli, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 romaine lettuce, shredded
  • 1 L chicken stock
  • 5 cm x 5 cm Parmigiana rind, cut into smaller pieces
  • 30 g of cheddar, shredded
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a hot pan, cook the onion in the olive oil until translucent, add the broccoli and romaine lettuce and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the Parmigiana rind and simmer for about an hour or until everything has softened.
  2. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. If using a traditional blender, allow to cool a bit so the steam doesn’t blow off the lid.
  3. Serve with some shredded cheddar sprinkled on top.

Notes:

  • The romaine didn’t end up adding much flavour but it did help with thickening.
  • Use vegetable stock if making vegetarian.
  • The Parmigiana also helps to thicken the soup.
  • I used both orange and white cheddar because that is what I had.

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For New Year’s Eve, I made several tapas to feed us through the evening and this sauce was one that accompanied some lamb Spiedini that JT barbequed on the Big Green Egg. But it would be equally as delicious with shrimp. It’s not overly minty, which I prefer, it’s just minty enough.

Herbaceous Mint Sauce

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Ingredients:

Makes about 125 mL sauce

  • 10 g fresh parsley
  • 20 g fresh cilantro
  • 5 g mint
  • 10 g roasted garlic purée
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 45 mL white Balsamic
  • 65 mL EVOO
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small food processor and process until the herbs have been chopped up but not puréed. 

Notes:

  • Do not refrigerate if serving the same day. If you wish to make the sauce in advance, refrigerate it covered but remove it from the fridge about 4 hours prior to serving so that the olive oil can come to room temperature otherwise, it congeals and it’s not pretty nor with the herbs have their best flavour.

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NOTE:

I have been alerted that there may be a problem commenting through Facebook or Twitter, I am looking into it. Thank you A.

We hosted another couple for New Year’s Eve, it was supposed to be two couples but, you know, Covid; the other couple cancelled because they were not comfortable in coming over by transit (they don’t have a car any more) not because they had it. I made a series of tapas for the evening to tried and spread out the night as much as possible and one such dish was a replica of a burrata dish with golden beat carpaccio that we have had on several occasions at a local Italian restaurant. They serve it with the lightest, fluffiest focaccia so I, of course, had to recreate it. The crust is only slightly crispy, just like theirs, which I achieved by brushing the top with water about 5 minutes before the timer finished.

A deliciously chewy and flavourful bread.

No Knead Olive Oil Focaccia

Ingredients:

  • 670 g Italian “00” Flour
  • 10 g instant yeast
  • 10 g milk powder
  • 15 g salt
  • 10 g Fleischmann’s Bread Booster
  • 500 mL warm water
  • 60 mL Extra Virgin Olive Oil (plus additional for drizzling)

Directions:

  1. Spray a 28 cm x 39 cm pan with cooking spray or EVOO and drizzle an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of EVOO on the bottom.
  2. Combine all of the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the olive oil to the warm water and mix vigorously. Pour the olive oil water into the dry ingredients and whisk vigorously with a Danish Dough Whisk until entirely combined. The dough should appear very loose and shaggy.
  3. Allow to rest in a warm dark place for about an hour or until doubled in size.
  4. When doubled, pour the dough into your prepared pan and spread it out as evenly as you can pressing your fingertips into the dough to achieve the traditional pock marks on a focaccia. Pour another 45 mL Extra Virgin Olive Oil onto the top. Allow to rest another 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F. After dough has rested, bake for 30 minutes or until golden. If you prefer a chewier crust, brush the top occasionally with water. Allow to cool slightly before slicing into it. 
    1. This is the Danish Dough Whisk I use.
    2. Use a flavourful Olive Oil.
    3. Bread freezes very well. Make sure you take out as much air from the bag as possible.

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My besty from uni is gluten intolerant and allergic to soy! It’s always a bit of a challenge cooking Asian foods because of the soy allergy but I try to be inclusive and make something special for her if she can’t eat my dish. One such occasion was Christmas day, I served Gyoza as the hors d’œuvres and I made her a special gluten-free version. Had I known how good the gluten-free version would turn out, everyone would have had it. The dipping sauce I usually serve with them has soy in it so I wanted to make a special sauce without soy so my friend can enjoy it too. This imposter has the forward saltiness and a bit of sweetness with a finish of umami from the Nori that actual soy sauce has. It turned out very well, in fact, I will make only one sauce with this soyless soy sauce that everyone can enjoy!

Soyless Soy Sauce (soy-free, gluten-free)

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes 30 mL sauce

Ingredients:

  • 5 mL molasses
  • 375 ml water
  • 2 g black garlic salt (I used this one)
  • 3.5 dried black fungus
  • 3 g dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 0.5 g Nori Seaweed

Directions:

  1. Combine everything but the Nori in a small saucepan and bring to s boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes or until reduced to about 30 mL.
  2. Remove mushrooms and reserve for another use. Strain the liquid and add salt and pepper to taste. add the nori seaweed and immerse entirely, refrigerate with nori for 1 day.
  3. Strain Nori and the sauce is ready for use.

This imposter has the forward saltiness and a bit of sweetness with a finish of umami from the seaweed that actual soy sauce has.

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I was finishing off making some spanakopita with store-bought phyllo pastry and had run out of the pastry with enough filling to make about 4 additional pieces (don’t you hate that?) so I decided to try my hand at a quick phyllo dough. It worked out extremely well so I thought I’d document the process. It’s getting dark so early these days, so you’ll need to excuse the horrible light in my photos.

Quick Phyllo Pastry

Makes about 4 sheets 15 cm x 30 cm (enough for 4 triangles)

Ingredients:

  • 50 g all-purpose flour (10.5 ounces)
  • 15 mL olive oil
  • 2.5 mL red wine vinegar
  • 1.5 g salt
  • 25 -45 g water

Directions:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together until you get a uniform, soft dough that does not stick. Knead for a few minutes. Set aside, wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Divide into two equal balls and roll out, thin enough to see through. I used my KitchenAid pasta maker to the thinnest setting.
  3. Use in your favourite phyllo recipe.

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We were having a friend over for dinner and I needed a quick and easy dessert and it can’t get any quicker or easier than this old recipe. I love it because it is per person so you can scale it up or down very easily. I’ve made as many as twelve and as few as one!

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée

Makes 1 80 mL portion (per person recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 60 mL milk or cream per person
  • 80 g sugar per person
  • 3 mL vanilla bean paste per person
  • Pinch of Tonka Bean, finely grated
  • 1 egg yolk per person
  • 5-10 g per person of sugar to brûlée

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275° F.
  2. Combine everything but the 5-10 g of sugar for the brûlée and whisk until smooth. Pour equal amounts into 100 mL bowls and set the bowls into a bain marie in a larger baking pan.
  3. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until it is set in the centre. Allow to cool completely. 
  4. When ready to serve, sprinkle the sugar onto the top and spread by tapping and twirling the bowl evenly. Using a torch, caramelize the sugar and allow to cool. Serve when sugar has hardened.

 

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I really wanted to class-up these lovely little single-bite gingerbread cakes, so I called them Petit Fours, if it’s not a celebration you want to serve them at, just call them two-bite Gingerbread Cakes. They are warmly spiced, light, somewhat chewy, little gingerbread cakes with a slightly crispy exterior which makes them perfect for ganache. They are always a hit. I made them for a few dinners over the holidays because the meals are always so filling, it’s nice to have a little something to choose one or four of (see what I did there?)!

Gingerbread Petit Fours

Makes about 36 mini muffins-sized cakes

Ingredients:

  • 37 g unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 125 g all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 3 g baking soda
  • 75 mL boiling water
  • 4 g baking powder
  • 1 g ground ginger
  • 2 g ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 72 g dark-brown sugar
  • 25 g egg
  • 80 mL un-sulfured molasses
  • 9 g finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 pieces crystallized ginger, thinly sliced lengthwise, for garnish
  • Chocolate Ganache

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously butter and flour a mini 12-cup muffin pan, tapping out excess flour; set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the baking soda and boiling water; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg, and beat until combined. Add molasses, fresh ginger, and reserved baking soda mixture; beat until combined. (The batter will look curdled but will come together once the flour is added.) Add the flour mixture, and beat until well combined.
  3. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups, filling each halfway. Bake, rotating pan halfway through until a cake tester inserted in the centre of a cake comes out clean, about 10-11 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack to cool completely.
  4. Set rack over a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of Chocolate Ganache over each cake, letting some drip down the sides. Garnish with a couple of strips of crystallized ginger. Once glazed, cakes can refrigerated, in air-tight containers, for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before serving.

Adding a little silver ball on top really classes them up.

Notes:

  • You can visit the original recipe here, it makes 12 regular-sized muffin cup cakes.
  • These cakes absolutely require the buttering and flouring the pans, without this step, the cakes will stick. I was lazy about 2 months ago and only sprayed the pans and they stuck.
  • Seriously only add enough batter to fill half of the mini muffin cups, they will rise beautifully. You don’t want them overflowing on the top of the muffin pan because they will stick.
  • These little cakes freeze well before you cover them in Ganache.

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Back in the 80’s, when I was first dating JT, his parents would occasionally invite me to dinner at their home. JT’s Mom didn’t love cooking but she really made an effort. She focussed on areas she could master, like soups, salads, and pies (she made awesome pies). She let the experts deal with the proteins for the most part and one of her favourite proteins was, Chicken Cordon Bleu. She had her local butcher make up these delicious little parcels and she just popped them into the oven and baked them. Honestly, I hadn’t thought about these bundles until about a year ago when I was really trying to make our meals more of an event, since we weren’t doing much else (thanks Covid). They didn’t disappoint!

I created a very easy way to parcel the chicken breasts with the ham and cheese so they would stay together. I didn’t bother putting the little chicken crown over my version but it was still beautiful and delicious.

The trick is to even out the chicken thickness by pounding with a flat pounder, I like to put the chicken into a zip lock bag so that it doesn’t splatter when I’m pounding it. You don’t want it too thin but you do want it even. You can pound it thinner and roll the ham and cheese but I’ve always found that the cheese eventually melts out so I make a pocket the length of the breast without cutting through and stuff the ham and cheese into the pocket. I use a metal skewer to hold the opening shut which will be removed just before slicing.

Flash-back to the 80’s Chicken Cordon Bleu!

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Serves 2 (ingredients may be doubled or tripled easily)

Ingredients:

  • 1 @ 200 g (or 2 @ 100 g) chicken breast, deboned and skinned
  • 100 g Gruyère, grated
  • 1-2 slices of Serano ham
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp mayonnaise
  • 80 g AP Unbleached Flour
  • 15 g granulated garlic
  • 15 g dehydrated onion
  • 100 g panko
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Place the panko, granulated garlic, onion, and salt into a spice grinder and pulse until it is relatively fine. Toast the panko mixture gently in an oven-proof, dry frying pan until golden. Set aside to cool. Save the pan to cook the chicken in.
  2. Add the flour to a flat pan (I use small baking sheets about 20cm x 30 cm).
  3. Prepare your breading station by combining the egg and mayo and whisking until smooth. Pour into a second flat pan.
  4. Pour the cooled panko mixture into a third flat pan.
  5. Prepare the chicken breast by placing it into a zip lock bag and pounding it until it is relatively even thickness. Remove it from the bag and slice a thin slice through the breast to create a pocket (I try to keep the opening as small as possible to avoid losing the filling during the baking process).
  6. Place the Serano ham into the pocket and spread out as evenly as you can. Fill the pocket with the cheese. Taking a thin metal skewer, “sew” the opening up so that it remains closed during the baking process.
  7. Place the chicken bundle into the first pan, and coat evenly with the flour.
  8. Transfer the bundle to the egg station and roll to coat evenly.
  9. Finally, roll the bundle in the flavoured panko and make sure that it is well coated. Return the bundle to the zip lock bag and fill it with the remaining panko mixture. From the outside of the bag, press the panko into the chicken bundle. Roll tightly and refrigerate until required.
  10. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Heat the oven-proof frying pan (previously used for the panko) with a little oil and fry 3 of the 4 sides of the chicken bundle until golden. When all three sides are golden, place the unfried part of the chicken bundle down onto the pan and place the pan in the oven and bake the chicken until the internal temperature is 165° F at its thickest part.
  11. When the chicken has reached the temperature, place the cooked chicken on a cutting board and cover for 10 minutes. Slice it in even slices and serve with your favourite veggies.

 

I served the chicken with cauliflower mash.

Notes:

  • I add the mayo into the egg because it really helps to crisp the breading, because it is baked and not fried.

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Prize Butter Tarts

This is the second year in a row that we have’t escaped to Arizona (you know why). But fortunately, November wasn’t too bad this year, meaning we had a lot of sunny days. I can definitely live with that. December has been quite the opposite, mostly we have grey, dull, dreary days. Some days with snow. These are the type of days you don’t even want to get out of bed. At least, I don’t.  But eventually, you have to shop for groceries and you drag yourself out of bed. 

On one such occasion, I found myself in the baked goods aisle at our local No Frills an aisle I do not frequent. I picked up a packet of ordinary grocery store butter tarts. Why? Why? It was the lack of sunlight, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I snapped out of it and decided to come home and bake a batch. This Five Roses recipe has been my goto recipe for 40 years. 

A delicious Canadian tradition.

Prize Butter Tarts

Original recipe is from page 135 of Five Roses, A Guide to Good Cooking, 25th Edition (Revised 1983), Published by Lake of the Wood Mills Ltd.

Makes 12 large butter tarts

Ingredients:

  • 200 g brown sugar
  • 100 mL melted butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 30 mL milk
  • 15 mL vanilla
  • 50 g walnut pieces
  • 12 large tart pastry (muffin cup size)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment (in case the filling overflows).
  2. Add everything but the walnuts and the pastry to the bowl of a food processor. Process until well combined.
  3. Fill each tart with a few of the walnut pieces and add about 15 mL of the tart filling to each tart pastry, filling only about 2/3 full (these will bubble up during baking quite a bit). Bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden.
  4. Allow to cool completely before serving.

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I saw this recipe on Celia’s Instagram account and was instantly curious. I have an old blondie recipe that is completely different so I was intrigued by Celia’s recipe that creamed the butter instead of melting it, I wondered what kind of textural differences are there? To my absolute delight, I loved Celia’s recipe, it makes more of a fudgy cookie bar than a crispy, chewy blondie as my ancient recipe does but I loved the addition of the chocolate chips. Even though there is an entire cup of brown sugar, it is not as sickly sweet as my recipe is which really surprised me. Although this recipe takes a bit of planning (bringing the butter to room temperature), it is worth it. It makes a nice treat on a chilly winter’s day.

Butterscotch Blondies

For the original recipe, please click here.

Makes one 23 cm x 23 cm (9 inch x 9 inch) pan

Ingredients:

  • 300 g AP) flour
  • 5 g baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 250 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 215 g brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 125 mL milk (I used hazelnut almond milk, because I had it)
  • 10 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 360 g mixed chocolate chips (I use Belgium dark and milk)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300° F.  Prepare a 23 cm x 23 cm (9 inch x 9 inch) pan by lining with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and brown sugar until light and creamy then beat in the egg, milk and vanilla.
  4. Mix in the flour and then fold in the chocolate chips. This makes a rather stiff batter.
  5. Turn into the prepared pan and spread evenly to the corners and sides with a stiff spatula.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.
  7. When completely cooled, cut into desired bars or squares with a clean, sharp knife.

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Let me begin by saying that this is not an authentic Thai pumpkin soup but it is a sophisticated blend of Thai flavours that make a super creamy and flavourful dish. I used a small white pumpkin which makes this beautiful lightly pumpkin flavoured, pale celery coloured soup. I garnished it with lightly toasted pumpkin seeds but lightly toasted coconut shavings would be gorgeous as well.

We recently had friends over for brunch and I had expected that it would be cold out and that soup would be a well-received course. We lucked out and had an exceptional November day so we sat outside for hors d’oeuvres and then retreated inside for the main course and back outside for dessert. Even though it wasn’t cold at all, particularly on our heated patio, the soup was very well received. This recipe is a keeper.

Thai-inspired Pumpkin Soup

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes about 1.5 L of soup

Ingredients:

  • 430 g pumpkin, roasted and cubed
  • 15 mL roasted garlic purée
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf
  • 5 mL galangal, finely grated
  • 5 cm lemongrass, sliced lengthwise and pounded to release flavours
  • 1 L chicken stock
  • 30 g coconut milk powder
  • 50 g creamed coconut
  • toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish

Directions:

  1. Combine the roasted pumpkin, garlic purée, kaffir lime leaf, galangal and lemongrass and sauté on medium-low until you can smell the gorgeous aromas. Add the chicken stock and bring to a rolling, gentle boil for about 45 minutes; you are trying to infuse the stock with the Thai aromatics. Taste and continue to boil if necessary to infuse more flavours.
  2. Once the chicken stock has been infused, remove from the heat and blitz the stock with a stick blender until all of the flavourings are puréed. Allow to cool on the counter for 1-2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Strain the soup through a fine sieve, pressing the pulp until you get most of the liquid out, discard the pulp. 
  4. Return the highly aromatic stock to a pot and reheat gently. Add the coconut milk powder and blitz with a stick blender until smooth. Continue to heat without bringing it to a boil. Add the creamed coconut and blend well.
  5. Serve with toasted pumpkin seeds as garnish.

Notes:

  • You may substitute a can of coconut milk including the cream instead of the coconut milk powder and creamed coconut, I forgot to buy it and resorted to things I had in my pantry.
  • Blitzing the aromatics with the stock is unconventional but it really does impart a sophisticated blend of Thai flavours that is a little more forward than just simmering the flavourings in the stock. 
  • To make this totally vegetarian, substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
  • As you know, Thai food is a carefully weighted combination of salty, sweet, sour and bitter and this recipe incorporates all of those flavours and imparts a significant amount of umami. Personally, I find coconut milk sweet enough so my recipe does not include sugar but it would be entirely up to you; if you use sugar, I would use cane sugar.

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We are trying to get back into “normal” life. Restaurants and event venues (except strip clubs and dance clubs) have been permitted to return to 100% capacity since October 16. We have ventured to restaurants, dining in but we are still rather uncomfortable in going to an event. Masks are supposed to be worn, but who is policing that? It will be quite some time before I even want to attend a large event.

Century Park Tavern is an upscale tavern that we tried for Brunch a few weeks ago. It is situated in a gorgeous century-old foundry in Davenport Village, not too far from Bloor West Village. The beautifully restored building is the perfect venue for a gastropub.

The brunch service is relatively new for Century Park Tavern and they were still waiting on their coffee machines when we dined there, but they definitely have the food part down! We ate one course and it was delicious enough to want to go back and sample a few more items.

JT had the Porchetta Hash, house porchetta, crispy potatoes, tomato, cilantro, green onion, poached egg, smoked chili hollandaise.

I had the Smoked Salmon Benny, toasted English muffin, herb hollandaise, pickled onions, fried capers, fresh greens. Both dishes were outstanding. The porchetta was perfectly crisp and quite moreish. The smoked salmon was lovely and to be honest, I would have been happy with one. We didn’t eat dinner that night.

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Jalopeño Jack Scones

Makes 9 5 cm (2 inch) scones

Ingredients:

  • 280 g AP flour
  • 50 g granulated sugar
  • 15 g baking powder
  • 6 g salt
  • 56 g cold butter, in cubes
  • 1 L egg
  • 120 mL buttermilk
  • 100 g grated sharp cheese (I used jalapeño Monterey Jack)
  • 5 mL milk
  • 10 g Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  2. In the large bowl of your food processor, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter and pulse to combine. 
  3. Whisk to combine the egg and buttermilk and slowly add it to the dry ingredients while running the processor. Change the blade to the plastic blade and add the cheese. Pulse to combine.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the scone dough to about 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick. Cut into even squares. Lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced out about 2 cm. Brush the tops with the milk and sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on the top of each scone. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.

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Ingredients:

  • Butter to coat pan
  • 4 large eggs
  • 375 mL milk
  • 2 g sea salt
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 180 g sourdough bread cut into largish cubes
  • 1/2 apple, like gala, cored and sliced thinly
  • 100 g ham, cut into ribbons
  • 70+ g Gouda or Gruyère, divided

Directions:

  1. Brush the melted butter along the bottom and sides of a 9” x 9” decorative baking dish.
  2. Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and nutmeg.
  3. Lay the bread evenly in the prepared baking dish, place the ham and apples evenly throughout, then sprinkle 70g of the cheese over it tucking it into the spaces.
  4. Pour the egg mixture over the bread, ham, apples and cheese evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. The next day, remove the prepared bread pudding from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature, about an hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake for 40-45 minutes or until set. All the bread pudding to sit for 10-15 minutes to fully set.
  7. Serve with yogurt and Dijon maple syrup.

Ingredients

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We had some friends over for a patio dinner in early September and I made a Barbequed Chicken on the Big Green Egg with Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Purée and a wonderful Fennel salad. Everyone had seconds and maybe even thirds but I still had a handful of the Roasted Garlic Cauliflower Purée leftover. I decided to make Gnocchi out of it. Any purée would work, I’ve made lentil gnocchi and sweet potato gnocchi as well as the traditional potato gnocchi before so I thought, why not? 

The grooves and divots are intentional so that the sauce sticks to them better!

Roasted Garlic, Cauliflower Gnocchi in a Simple Avocado Cream Sauce

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes about 2-4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 218 g roasted garlic, cauliflower purée (for the purée recipe, please click here)
  • 250-270 g “00” flour (depending on how wet your cauliflower purée is)
  • 15 g Parmigiana, finely grated

Directions:

  1. Combine all three ingredients and mix well. Knead into a smooth, not sticky dough.
  2. Allow to rest for 20 minutes. Roll into 1-1.5 cm ropes and cut into 2 cm lengths. Run up the tines of a fork for the traditional grooves or use a gnocchi paddle like this.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt. Boil gnocchi until they pop up to the surface and remove with a slotted spoon. 

Notes:

  • I like to freeze the gnocchi on a parchment-lined sheet and transfer them into a ziplock baggy for future use. They cook from frozen almost as quickly as the fresh ones, so timing is not an issue.
  • I bought a Danish Dough Whisk for my husband last Christmas because he often bakes his no-knead bread and I thought it would make mixing the dough easier for him…what I didn’t think was that I would end up using it more than he does, it makes stirring thick batters and doughs a snap! I used it for the gnocchi and it was so easy.

 

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I have been following fellow blogger, Lorraine Eliott over at Not-Quite-Nigella on Instagram and in August she posted a photo of the most beautiful bread knots I have ever seen. I knew the moment I saw them, I’d have to give them a go. They are not only beautiful, but they are also very tasty and quite easy to make so I’m sharing the recipe here so that I will remember to make them again.

I made 12 knots but to be honest, they were a little too big so next time, I’ll make 14!

Herbed Bread Knots

Makes about 12 -14 bread knots. For the original recipe please click here.

Ingredients:

  • 6 g instant dried yeast
  • 250 mL warm water (around 110° F)
  • 400 g flour
  • 6 g granulated garlic
  • 3 g Salt
  • 15 mL EVOO
  • 70 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 25 g roasted garlic purée
  • 100 g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Variety of herbs to make up about 20 g, chopped or julienned
  • Eggwash to glaze

Directions:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in the water, set aside. In the large bowl of your stand mixer, add the flour, garlic and salt and mix well.
  2. Add the yeasty water to the bowl with the flour mixture and knead for 2-3 minutes until it is roughly incorporated. Allow the dough to sit for 20 minutes. Then start the kneader up again and knead until a beautiful shiny dough is achieved (around 10 minutes). Grease the bowl and the dough with the EVOO and allow to proof in a draft-free location for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  3. Meanwhile, cream the butter, the roasted garlic, the Parmesan cheese and the herbs until well mixed.
  4. Once the dough has doubled in size, roll out to 35 cm x 50 cm. Spread the butter mixture all on the dough, right to the edge. Fold it length-wise into thirds (like you would making croissants) and lightly roll out to a slightly larger rectangle (careful not to put too much weight in rolling, otherwise the butter mixture will ooze out).
  5. Cut the dough into 12-14 equal widths and make an additional length-wise slit down each width without going right to the edge. Lift by each end and roll into a beautiful knot, carefully twisting each roll so that the cut sides are exposed and you can see the herbs. Tuck each end into the knot and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make all of the knots and allow the knots to rest for 30 minutes covered with a clean cloth.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Bake the knots for 18-25 minutes or until the centre registers about 200° F. Serve immediately, but they also freeze beautifully. Reheat in a 350° F oven for a few minutes until they are warmed through.

They are a cross between bread and a laminated dough, the layers are scrumptious!

Notes:

  • Any herbs would work, I used basil, parsley and thyme.
  • I may not chop the herbs as finely next time.
  • I can’t wait to try sundried tomatoes and basil with mozzarella cheese or a sweet treat of cinnamon butter and sugar.

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I had a few plums leftover from the plum cake recipe and I decided to make a tasty hors d’oeuvres for cocktails the following evening. They come together quickly and are very tasty. The amount of honey needed will depend on how tart the plums are. The sweet, honey-infused goats cheese with the tart plums and salty Serrano Ham are a perfect taste sensation.

Soft, sweet goats cheese pairs very well with the tart plums and salty Serrano Jamon.

Plums with Honey infused Goats Cheese wrapped in Serrano Jamon

Makes 6 pieces (2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 3 plums (should be bite-sized)
  • 15-20 mL Manuka Honey
  • 50 g goats cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 slices Serrano Jamon

Directions:

  1. Cut plums in half, remove stone.
  2. Combine the honey with the goats cheese and mix well.
  3. Mound the cut sides with the honey and goats cheese combo and wrap with half a slice of Serrano Jamon, spear with a skewer.
  4. Serve at room temperature.

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Plum Cake

I was laying in bed one morning, waiting for the alarm to come on, looking through all the events of the day on my iPhone when my dear friend Barb (Profiteroles and Ponytails, blog on hiatus) text me this plum cake recipe. She had made it with peaches and was quite impressed and thought I might like it too. I really appreciate recommendations like this because as it happened, I was on the lookout for a dessert for friends coming for a patio dinner that Saturday, perfect timing! It turns out, the recipe is excellent with plums. They totally caramelized and sweetened up, it was a hug transformation as the raw plums were quite tart. I converted the recipe to metric measures but you can find the original imperical measures here.

The recipe has 200 grams of sugar which seems like a lot, but our plums were quite tart so they really helped balance the large amount of sugar. 

Truth be told, I forgot to take a photo until it was too late. Guests took half home.

Plum Cake

Makes 1 23 cm cake (9 inch)

Ingredients:

  • 145 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 125 mL whole milk, at room temperature
  • 5 mL vanilla extract
  • 60 g almond flour
  • 3 g lemon zest
  • 170 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 g salt
  • 8-10 plums, cut in half

Ingredients for the topping:

  • 30 g granulated sugar
  • 3 g cinnamon
  • 30 g unsalted butter, cut into 0.5 cm cubes

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375° F. Prepare a 23 cm (9 inch) springform pan by buttering all the sides and bottom, add a circle of parchment to the bottom.
  2. Combine the butter, sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla extract, almond flour and lemon zest in the large bowl of your food processor. Process until smooth. 
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the smooth batter and process only until combined. 
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly in the pan. Add the plums, cut-side up, pressing down slightly, in a circular pattern until the pan is filled with the plums.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and cinnamon and mix well.
  6. At 45 minutes, sprinkle the sugar mixture over the cake, making sure to get some onto each plum. Dot with the butter. Return to the oven and continue to bake for an additional 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes our clean. Allow to cool completely in the pan.
  7. To remove from the pan, loosen the sides with a sharp knife and spring the cake from the pan. Serve at room temperature.

Notes:

  • I added the lemon zest. Also the original recipe used some whole wheat flour which I didn’t have. 
  • The plums release a lot of liquid so my baking took a lot longer than expected, keep testing with the toothpick for doneness. The timing above is what the recipe called for, I baked my cake for an additional 40 minutes after I added the topping.

 

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I had purchased a small package of sugar snap peas from one of our green grocers in early August for a dish but I really only needed about a dozen of them so I had to find something to make with the leftovers before they expired. I decided to blanch them for a minute or so and dress them with toasted sesame oil, a splash of soy sauce with a splash of rice vinegar to serve with my prized pork Bulgogi recipe, it was lovely.

Quick Sugar Snap Pea Salad

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Serves 2, as a side salad

Ingredients:

  • A handful of sugar snap peas, blanched
  • 15 mL toasted sesame oil
  • a splash of soy sauce
  • a splash of rice wine vinegar (unseasoned)
  • toasted black and white sesame seeds for garnish

Directions:

  1. Combine the dressing and pour over the blanched sugar snap peas and coat well.
  2. Plate and sprinkle sesame seeds over the top.
  3. Serve chilled.

Notes:

  • Sesame oil can be overwhelming, 15mL was enough for this amount of sugar snap peas, if in doubt, start with a small amount and taste.
  • I blanched the sugar snap peas for about 1 minute in boiling, salted water.

 

 

 

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Our lockdown has been over for a couple of months now and we are in Step 3 which means businesses aren’t limited to a percentage of the allowable persons inside but must limit capacity to the number of people that can still maintain physical distancing of 2 metres. So, other than masks still having to be worn inside (other than if you’re eating and drinking or your own home) things are pretty much back to normal. We have been out for lunches and dinners but are still dining on patios…I’m not ready to go inside just yet. The latest variant of Covid is wreaking havoc on the unvaccinated or just single vaxed but we all in all, are doing well in Ontario where we have 63.62% double-vaxed of the total population (keeping in mind that we are still not vaccinating the under twelve-year-olds). Our borders are also now open to the US without the need of quarantine upon arrival but travellers must prove that they have been double vaccinated and show a negative COVID test within 72 hours of entering. There have already been several Americans arriving with forged vaccination papers and they have each been fined about $20,000 Canadian (about $2 US). It is really disturbing that people are forging vaccination papers, they are really jeopardizing the long-term success of eradicating this hideous virus. So, we are keeping to our ‘bubble’ and still continue to entertain outside. I feel for our Australian friends as they are just beginning the journey but hopefully, they will be better behaved than Ontarians were, keeping us in lockdown for the longest time in the world (over 360 days in total!)! Enough of my rant.

I made this delicious dish for an Indian night with Andy and Mark back in August. I’ve never made Beef Bhuna before and I won’t lie, this recipe is a lot of work, but you can divide the work over a day or two to make it more manageable. For example, make the Base Curry Sauce a day or two in advance and then make the Bhuna curry later. I found the recipe on The Curry Guy’s blog, Great Curry Recipes. I won’t repeat the recipe because I made it verbatim and it really was outstanding. The small-batch Base Curry Sauce made about 3 cups, two of which I used for the Beef Bhuna and one went into the freezer for a later date.

I highly recommend this dish, it will satisfy your craving for Indian food. The best naan recipe can be found here.

 

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I’m always on the lookout for low-carb options, not that I don’t love my carbs, they are just not as kind to me as alternatives, so I like to balance our intake with some low-carb options. I created this recipe when I had purchased too many zucchini’s and I thought it would make a nice alternative to the potato rösti that we are used to, I was wrong, it was significantly better than I expected. There is only cheese in this, no other binder! Other recipes use egg but it made a frittata-like pancake instead of rösti, which should be crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. This recipe is definitely a keeper! 

Zucchini Rösti

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes 2 dinner portions or 4 appetizer portions

Ingredients:

  • 250 g zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 50 g Parmigiana, finely grated
  • 50 g Gruyère, coarsely grated
  • 2 g salt, divided
  • Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place the grated zucchini into a bowl and toss with 2 grams of salt, allow to sit for about 30 minutes.
  2. Strain the zucchini and salt mixture and squeeze out as much water as you can. Taste for seasoning and add a little more salt if necessary, keeping in mind that some cheeses are saltier than others.
  3. Toss the strained zucchini with the cheeses and add pepper to taste.
  4. Heat a seasoned cast iron pan or non-stick frying pan to medium heat, then lower to medium-low.
  5. Add about half or a quarter of the zucchini mix to the pan and press down into a pancake about 1 cm tall. Cook until the edges are golden, gently loosen the cheese all around and beneath the patty, it may have stuck a little on the pan and flip repeat for the other side. 
  6. Serve hot as a base for fish, steak, chicken or even a poached egg.

Cheesy delicious goodness in every bite.

Notes:

  • Other cheese that would work: low moisture Mozzarella, Appenzeller, Cheddar etc. I would avoid feta, cream cheese, brie, etc.
  • There is no need for oil or butter, the cheese will render and the oils will help fry the Rösti.
  • If you don’t have time to wait for the salt to squeeze out all of the moisture from the zucchini, you may use it as is, just note that the inside will be much softer than if you had removed most of the moisture.
  • If you don’t have a seasoned cast iron pan or a non-stick pan, add a piece of parchment to the pan before adding the zucchini mixture, this will allow the cheese to caramelize and release from the pan easily.
  • I served Serrano ham wrapped cod with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

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Back in mid-July, after a full-day of working on our deck project, we needed some appetizers for cocktails one evening. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time making them because I was pooped. I saw local cantaloupe and I immediately thought of the simple, yet tasty cantaloupe wrapped in Proscuitto (we used Serrano ham from Spain). It totally hit the spot. When I was selecting the melon, I wasn’t able to smell it as I usually do because we are still mandated to wear masks so I just picked one and I was lucky, it was wonderful. We had about 1/8th of it, so I had to figure out what to do with the remainder (other than eating it for dessert). I came up with this fresh, tasty recipe to go with some fish I had broiled, it was delicious.

Cantaloupe Salsa

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes about 250 mL salsa

Ingredients:

  • 150 g cantaloupe, finely diced
  • 50 g cucumber, finely diced
  • 1/2 small avocado, finely diced
  • 1 green onion, finely sliced
  • Fresh Basil and Mint, in a chiffonade
  • 15-30 mL freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients, tasting and seasoning as required.
  2. Serve chilled with fish or barbeque.

 

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Many years ago, when I was working as a design manager in a professional services firm, one of the freelancers I regularly hired invited me to a potluck house party.  It was mostly women and someone hired a fortune teller (apparently, this was the purpose of the party); everyone took turns going upstairs to have their fortune read. Everyone but me. I have never been a fan, to be honest, it’s a bit freaky to me so I stay clear. Fortunately for me, someone brought this salad and I was just as happy, sitting downstairs munching on this delicious dish. I asked for the recipe and it was quickly jotted down on a scrap piece of paper. It’s been many years since I’ve made it and I have lost the recipe so I really had to stretch my memory to come up with the dressing but I think I’ve got it and it’s a keeper. It’s important to toast the curry powder either dry or in a little oil to bring out the full flavour and subdue the bitterness that it could have. The salad is best made hours or a day before you plan on eating.

I stuffed a delicious freshly baked croissant with the tasty salad. Definitely a keeper.

Curried Chicken Salad in a Croissant

Makes enough for 2 for lunch

Ingredients:

  • 15 mL curry powder, heat level is your choice
  • 15 mL oil (optional)
  • 3 g salt
  • 125 mL yogurt
  • 75 mL mayonnaise
  • 30 mL lime juice
  • pinch of sugar
  • 150 g rotisserie chicken, cubed
  • 40 g raisins
  • 50 g celery, cubed
  • 1/2 red pepper, cut into small cubes
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 30 g pecans, toasted and roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a small frying pan and add the curry powder and salt and cook until fragrant, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, lime juice and stir well. Once the curry has cooled, add it to the yogurt mixture and mix well. Taste and add sugar as desired.
  3. Combine the chicken, celery, raisins, red peppers and scallions and mix into the prepared dressing. Stir well to coat. Set in the refrigerator for a few hours for the flavours to meld.
  4. When ready to serve, cut the croissant lengthwise in the center and open up like a clam. Stir half of the pecans into the salad, reserving the other half for garnish. Spoon the salad into the croissant and sprinkle each croissant with a quarter of the remaining toasted pecans.

Notes:

  • I had made some crispy shallots for another dish and saved the oil from frying the shallots, the oil was quite fragrant, so I used the shallot oil to toast the curry powder.
  • You don’t need to add sugar, just taste the dressing to be sure. You can make the dressing a day in advance which will help the flavours come together.
  • You can also serve this on a bed of greens instead of a croissant, but I had some at home, so why not.

 

 

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We were having the Boyz over for a trip down memory lane in May, we had just come out of a 100+ day, hard lockdown and were finally permitted to have less than five people in our backyards so we jumped on it! The Boyz are Andy and Mark, they own a lovely Irish Pub in Leslieville called The Roy. I met Andy many years ago when we both worked at a design firm and have been friends ever since. Andy and Mark love to travel and they love to travel to Spain. Way back in 2020, before the world fell apart, we happened to be in Spain at the same time so we met up in Malaga. We soon realized that our friendship had gotten a lot deeper because of our shared love of Spain. Sadly the last year and a bit has not been kind to restauranteurs and the Boyz are definitely feeling the pinch so when we were allowed people over, I thought I’d create a night of tapas for a trip down memory lane with food. And who doesn’t love an entire night of eating?

Many of the recipes I served have appeared on the blog, but this one is new and so delicious, I had to post it. This is a compilation of several recipes online and my tapas books so I don’t have a reference. When you say croquetas, I immediately think of creamy potatoes but this one is not made with potatoes (although it would have been delicious too), it’s made with a thick béchamel, and you know how I adore béchamel! As you can see from the menu, it was served later in the evening and people were getting pretty full, but not one was left on the plate! Not one.

The menu for the night:

  1. Crispy Calamari with Romesco Sauce 
  2. Bacon Wrapped Dates
  3. Sautéed chorizo with Bread 
  4. Spanish Potato Omelette 
  5. Tuna Avocado salad in Endive Spoons 
  6. Manchego and Serrano Croquettes (recipe below)
  7. Catalan Tomato Bread with Anchovies
  8. Seared Scallop on Creamed Corn 

Dessert:

  • Selection of Spanish cheeses, crackers, grapes, nuts

Croquetas de Jamon Serrano y Manchego

Makes 16 croquettes, about 26 g each

Ingredients:

  • 80 g serrano ham, finely chopped
  • 50 g shallot, finely chopped
  • 50 g manchego cheese, coarsely grated
  • 30 g butter
  • 15 mL EVOO
  • 60 g all-purpose flour
  • 200 mL milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 45 g panko
  • 20 g manchego cheese, finely grated
  • 500 mL peanut oil

Directions:

  1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a pan, add the shallots and cook until translucent.
  2. Add the flour and stir well and cook for a couple of minutes. Whisk in the milk and stir until thickened. Stir in the Serrano ham and 50 g of the coarsely grated cheese.
  3. Spread the mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and allow to cool completely.
  4. Once cool, shape into little ovals about 26 g each. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Whip the egg with a fork in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine the panko and the finely grated Manchego cheese.
  6. Dip each oval into the egg and coat thoroughly, then plunge each one into the panko mixture and coat well, storing each one on a clean parchment-lined pan.
  7. Heat the oil to at least 350 F and fry each croquette until golden. Serve immediately or hold on a baking sheet and reheat in a 350 F oven until warmed through.
  8. Serve with Romesco Sauce.

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We totally got sucked into another ATK (America’s Test Kitchen) recipe that we saw as we were trailing off to sleep one night in April: Pastitsio. What got me this time was the way they reinvented cooking the noodles, these reinventions usually turn me off (why mess with a good thing?) but this one totally got me. Get this, you par-cook the noodles in béchamel! Yep, you read that right. Par-cook in Béchamel. I had to try it. Plus I just loved the way the noodles were lined up. Of course, they didn’t use the right noodles for authentic pastitsio, but I just loved the way they lined up. So I gave it a try. It is rich, filling and ever-so-moreish. Particularly if you love Béchamel like I do. I won’t be making this every week, but once in a while, it will be a nice change to the repertoire.

Also known as Greek Lasagna.

Pastitsio

For the original recipe, please click here.

This recipe serves 4-6 people (it freezes well).

Ingredients for the meat sauce:

(this dish may be made up to 5 days before needed and refrigerated):

  • ¾ teaspoon table salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup water
  • 8 ounces 93% lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely diced
  • 30 mL pureed roasted garlic
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 65 mL red wine
  • 65 mL tomato paste

Directions for the meat sauce:

  1. Sweat the onions in the oil until translucent. Add the garlic and the meat and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Add the spices and cook until fragrant. Turn the heat down to a simmer.
  2. Combine the salt, baking soda, 1/2 cup water, wine and tomato paste and mix well. Add this mixture to the meat, stir well and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from hear and allow to cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile make the béchamel.

Ingredients for the béchamel and pasta:

  • 30 g unsalted butter
  • 45 g unbleached flour
  • 30 g roasted garlic purée
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 L whole milk, heated
  • 250 g ziti or penne
  • 250 g kasseri cheese, divided

Directions for the béchamel:

  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium/low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Whisk in the garlic and nutmeg until combined. Whisk in the milk and cook until thickened.
  3. Add the pasta and return to a simmer, stirring constantly. Once simmering, remove the pot from the heat and allow to sit, covered for 15 minutes (pasta should not be cooked through).
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  5. Assemble the pasta in straight rows on the bottom of a buttered casserole, reserving the béchamel. Top with half of the cheese and then the meat sauce, cover with remaining béchamel and the remaining cheese.
  6. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour until cheese has melted and has browned. Allow to sit for 20 minutes. Serve with a lightly dressed green salad.

Notes:

  • If you’re making this in advance, assemble cooled ingredients and refrigerate, covered for a maximum of two days. Allow to come to room temperature before baking.
  • This can be frozen in cooled assembled format or after it’s been baked.
  • Like most casseroles, this gets better the next day.

 

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