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Posts Tagged ‘quick’

PaellaBake_First

Cottage season is almost over and we’re heading right into the holidays: Canadian Thanksgiving, Halloween, American Thanksgiving and then Christmas! My how time flies. This “recipe” has become a “go to” recipe for brunches and lunches at the cottage where refrigerator space is at a premium and standard grocery items are difficult to find (to say the least). It’s the perfect recipe to reinvent ‘leftovers.” For the last couple of years, whenever I make a one pot rice dish like Paella, Jumbalaya, Risotto or even a pasta dish like JT’s Mediterranean Pasta, I ALWAYs make 2 extra servings. The trick is to set aside the two extra servings so that you’re not even tempted to finish off every last bite and lick the plate clean ;-p! The two extra servings combined with eggs and a little flavouring bake up into the most delicious dish, you will be tempted to make the recipe just to rebake it for brunch the following day! And the best part is that it freezes very well, so even if there is only two dining on leftovers, freeze the rest cut into single portions in a ziplock bag, ready for a quick lunch or a fancy brunch.

LimerickLake

On some mornings the lake is so very still.

PaellaBake

Bits of the seafood, chicken and chorizo dot the delicious egg bake.

Paella Bake

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Serves 8

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (177° C). Prepare a square baking pan with perpendicular sides (some square cake pans have angled sides). Line with parchment so that it extends up two of the sides. Spray lightly with nonstick spray.
  2. Combine eggs and La Bomba and whisk well. Fold gently into the leftover paella being careful not to squish the rice into a mushy mess.
  3. Pour into the prepared pan and jiggle around making sure that the proteins are distributed evenly. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
  4. Cool slightly and cut into 8 portions with a very sharp knife. Serve with lemon slices and a light salad.
PaellaBake2

Would you care for a slice?

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Our Paellas are always full of flavour.

LimerickLake_Sunset

Red sky at night, sailors’ delight!

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Cocktails inside the screen-in porch, so peaceful.

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Sunday was my dear Dad’s birthday, he would have been 91, Happy Birthday Dad!

Mom and Dad 1959

Mom and Dad 1959

What does your grocery shopping map look like? Ours is called the Golden Horseshoe which means we shop the outer edge. Here in Canada it usually means that we enter the store in the vegetable section, round over through the deli/specialty cheese then bakery then fish/meats and finish off in dairy.
We don’t do a whole lot in the aisles. Recently I did a couple of assisting jobs that took me deep into un chartered territory: the middle aisles! I had to pick up groceries for a Canadian lifestyle TV show for two segments and I have to admit that it was an eye opener! What I found enormously frustrating was that a number of items that could be in more than one spot. Even the staff didn’t know for sure. Gluten free is a great example because a number of GF products are also organic, so now you’ve hot two completely opposite locations for the same product. Or if it’s flour and it’s a national brand, it could be in the normal baking section on the same shelf as the regular glutenated versions! Yes, it’s frustrating. What does your grocery store layout look like and do you shop the aisles?

I was making polenta the other day and as I was stirring the polenta and it began to thicken I was suddenly reminded of Pâte à Choux  just after you add the flour to the butter and water mixture, and the idea came to me so I spent the following day developing a gluten free Pâte à Choux that you could not tell was Gluten Free. I must tell you, this is it. Many Gluten Free recipes just don’t cut it for me, it’s either the weird flour smell (garbonzo bean flour), taste or the crumbly texture, so you know this recipe must have checked positive on all of these points.

My first attempt used superfine corn meal (I blitzed it in a coffee grinder a few times) and even though it puffed up as well as the glutenated version it was just too corn mealy (think corn muffin texture even though the corn meal was superfine) the texture wasn’t right at all and so the experimentation began. Perhaps if I had used corn flour instead of meal, it would have been a different story, but I’ll leave that for another time.

GF ChouxPastry_2158

This is the 100% cornmeal version, it’s just too corny, if you’ll pardon the pun.

After some research I decided a pastry made only with cornmeal was not the answer so I went searching for home made gluten free flour recipes so I didn’t have to waste time hunting down a GF flour in the grocery store. Many of them had similar ingredients but I was limited to what I had at home and the volume of each ingredient I had on hand which determined my home-made GF flour recipe; a combination of 6 parts superfine corn meal, 3 parts potato starch and 1 part tapioca flour was the result and I’m rather pleased how it worked out in this recipe. The texture and mouth feel of these choux resemble the texture and mouth feel of the glutenated choux cheese pastries that we know and love! I was so happy because my BFF is gluten intolerant and my brother has chosen to omit gluten from his diet to manage an illness. The last time I asked him if he wanted me to make a gluten free item for him he said it’s just not worth it. He’ll surely change his mind with these.

I tried making these the quick and easy way that my normal food processor choux is made (like this) but did not have as good luck with them, they were not as elastic as a good choux should be, so I reverted to the old fashioned way with the hand mixer and it worked out perfectly.

Gluten Free Cheese Choux Pastry

Makes 25, 4 cm or 1.5 inch puffs

GF ChouxPastry_2162

As the three bears put it, “this one is just right”

Ingredients:

  • 65 mL soda water
  • 30 g unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 40 g gluten free flour*
  • 1/4 tsp zanthan gum (see notes)
  • 1/4 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 30 g grated sharp cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200° C/400° F.
  2. Combine the gluten free flour, zanthan gum and gluten free baking powder and stir well.
  3. In a saucepan with high sides, melt the butter into the water with the salt over medium heat. Add the flour mix all at once and cook this mixture until it clears away from the sides of the pan.
  4. Remove from heat. Using a hand held mixer, whip this mixture for about a minute. Add the egg and beat for about 2 minutes, add the cheese and beat the pastry until it is elastic and smooth.
  5. Prepare a baking sheet by measuring a piece of parchment to cover it, soak the parchment in running water and squeeze out excess water. Smooth the wet parchment over the baking sheet. (see notes)
  6. Using a pastry bag with a 2 cm (3/4 inch) nozzle, pipe very small rounds (see note) onto a the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  8. Serve warm or freeze once cooled and reheat in a warm oven at 177° C/350° F for 12-15 minutes from frozen.

*Gluten Free Flour Recipe

Makes about 120 g of flour, enough for 3 batches if these puffs

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbsp superfine corn meal
  • 3 tbsp potato starch
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch

Directions:

  1. Mix well until combined. Store in an air tight container until required.

Notes:

  • Zanthan Gum is used as a binder in gluten free baking, if you omit it your baking may end up crumbly. It is also used as a thickener but I’ve never tried it that way. It has no perceivable smell or taste. The general consensus is that you add 1 tsp Zanthan Gum to 1 cup GF Flour so that is how I determined how much to add in my recipe.
  • I found that piping about 2 cm or 3/4 inch balls onto the damp parchment and slicing it from the piping tip made the task very quick and quite neat. It also regulated the size of the rounds so that they were more or less equal.
  • I used soda water because I thought it might make an airier pastry, not sure if it helped or not but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
  • Years ago I had read a recipe for choux that the author lightly wets the baking sheet in order to create a humid environment which helped the choux puff up even more. It was so long ago, I don’t know where I read it but my wetting and wringing the parchment is different enough.
GF ChouxPastry_2164

The outside is crisp while the inside is soft and airy like it is supposed to be.

Based on 2 per serving

Based on 2 per serving

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! You may think that I’m referring to Christmas, but then you’d be wrong. It’s Halloween, of course! JT and I traditionally have a pumpkin carving contest, and this year is no different. We scour the net for unusual pumpkin patterns and when we find one we get down to the dirty job of carving. Carving is made easier with the right tools, but then again isn’t everything? I bought a set of pumpkin carving tools at an end of season sale last year and wish I had bought two sets! So in light of the grand tradition, I’m going to ask you to vote on your favourite pumpkin! May the best pumpkin win!

WitchyPumpkin_1262

Vote for me. Vote for me!

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Vote for me. Vote for me!

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Hope the decorations and the scary music doesn’t frighten the wee ones too much!


We were craving a unique hors d’œuvres so I remade a traditional polenta recipe into a delightful orange snack: polenta “fries”! The orange is strictly from the sharp cheddar. And the best part is that you can easily freeze these babies for those lovely drop-ins during the holiday season.

Cheddar Polenta “Fries”

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They are crispy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fine cornmeal
  • 2 cups stock (vegetable, beef or chicken)
  • 150 g grated old cheddar cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • Pinch of chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped chives

Directions:

  1. Bring stock to a boil and add the smoked paprika and chili flakes.
  2. Slowly add the cornmeal, whisking quickly as you add it.
  3. Add the grated cheese and mix well.
  4. Turn heat right down to low and cook for 10-15 minutes until it no longer feels as hard grain.
  5. Turn into a parchment lined square Pan about 22 cm x 22 cm or 9″ x 9″ and press down evenly and firmly. Allow to cool.
  6. Cut into 1cm or 1/2″ wide “fries” about 5 cm or 3″ long. Fry each side until golden in a light oil.
  7. Serve warm with marinara sauce or salsa.

Other serving suggestions:

  • Serve with soup instead of crackers.
  • Cut into small rounds and serve instead of rice or potatoes with a gravies meat.
  • Cut into small rounds and serve as ‘crackers’ topping with a cold cut or a pickle round!
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Marinara Sauce or Salsa are the perfect accompaniment.

PolentaFries_1162

You sure I can’t interest you in even one?

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We decorated our lovely little Christmas tree tonight. Below is a photo of our finished tree, I put about 500 lights on the tree and it takes about 1.5 hours to do so (so I am told!). The tree is decorated in silver, gold and crystal…it sparkles like diamonds! I just love it! We chose a much smaller tree this year so that it doesn’t crowd the room too much and I think it’s perfect.

It's a small tree, about 5' tall and not very fat, but I put about 700 lights on it! JT thinks I'm nuts!

We wanted a simple dinner with not much fuss, so we’re making Kristy and Mike’s Portuguese Baked Cod; instead of Cod we’re using Tilapia because I had some at home.  I was immediately drawn to this recipe because of the flavours and that it was super easy to make. I made a few very minor alterations, Kristy, I added paprika, about a teaspoon, and JT wanted some carbs, so we added Israeli Couscous – it was bang on! Really great flavours and textures. Thanks Kristy, we loved it!

Kristy and Mike's Portugese Fish

I do hope you make it; thanks Kristy and Mike, I knew the minute I read the recipe I would love it! Both JT and I gave it a raving 4 Spoons!

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Each day our tomato plants are simply overflowing with fruit! We were at the cottage this weekend so yesterday there were three days of tomatoes to be harvested. Our home grown garlic has finally cured and the basil was looking pretty sweet as well. What to do? Bruschetta, of course! Using the different coloured tomatoes makes me think of jewels!

1 cup cherry tomatoes in various colours cut into eighths.
4-6 basil leaves, chiffonad
1-2 tsp finely minced garlic (I use my micro-plainer for this)
3-4 tbsp EVOO
Salt
6, thinly sliced whole wheat French stick
3-4 tbsp EVOO

Lightly brush EVOO on each side of the French stick. Toast each side gently in your broiler.
Mix the cut tomatoes, garlic, basil and EVOO, salt to taste.
Gently spoon the tomato mix over each toast, drizzling with the extra juices.
Serve immediately.

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It’s a long weekend in Ontario – Monday is the civic holiday, so we’re at the cottage! It’s my first time up this year, weather, social activities etc., have kept us away; but it sure is nice to be up here (minus the 3.5 hour plus traffic drive up).

It still amazes me that the first time I came up (over 30 years ago), we were totally off the grid; generator for electricity, boat access only, no telephone. Now, we drove in, have A/C, and I’m posting to my Facebook and blog! Few steps forward, and a few back! I just love being connected to the world from my muskoka chair on my porch overlooking the beautiful lake!

It’s not my gourmet kitchen at Limerick Lake, but I can whip up some tasty repasts! Or so says JT! Today’s lunch is a nod to my new blog-friend Ann of Cooking Healthy for me http://www.cookinghealthyforme.com/ she did a frittata-style quesadilla that looked scrumptious! JT had requested my adult grilled cheese (from my friend B-B Barb), so I decided to combine the two for a grilled cheese fritatta quesadilla! YUM! Serves 2.

30 g sharp cheddar, freshly grated (we used Balderson’s because they are local)
20 g Parmesan, freshly grated
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/4 jalopeño chili, finey chopped
1 tbsp whiskey
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 10″ fajita shell
Non stick cooking spray

Beat egg, add whiskey and beat thoroughly.
Add cheeses, onion and jalopeño and mix well. Set aside in the fridge for 10-20 minutes.
Take the fajita shell and cut in half.
Pre-heat cast iron skillet, spray non-stick spray into it.
Fill each fajita half full with half the cheese mixture. Fold over half.
Carefully place into the skillet for about 8-10 minutes, flip carefully when the first side begins to crust. Turn off heat and cover and cook for 4 additional minutes to allow egg to puff up.
Serve immediately with a side of slaw or salad.

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