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Posts Tagged ‘Sauce’

Lemon Miso Sauce

Many of our dear friends have dietary restrictions, be it taste, choice or health restrictions, which makes having a dinner party quite challenging. We had such friends over last month and I decided that I wanted to remake the wonderful dinner we made in Lyon; halibut wrapped in prosciutto with an olive sauce. The problem was that said friends are 1. vegetarian and dairy-free and 2. hate olives (go figure, he is Greek!!!)! Yes, I could have chosen another dish but we really had the taste for the prosciutto-wrapped halibut. So I checked with our guests and the fish could be cooked with the prosciutto but served without and I had to re-invent the sauce.

Many years ago we celebrated New Year at home with a lovely seafood dinner consisting of lobster and I had wanted a garlic butter sauce that wasn’t as rich because the lobster was rich enough without adding the butter. I tested a miso broth with garlic and it was a hit. The miso gave the same creamy mouth-feel that melted butter did and the saltiness mimicked the salted butter flavour. I drew from that experience to create a creamy, briny butterless sauce to go with the fish.

Lemon Miso Sauce

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes about 300 mL sauce

Ingredients:

  • 300 mL water
  • 30 g garlic confit, puréed
  • 30 g white miso
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Combine water and miso and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and add garlic confit purée and the lemon slices. Allow to stand for 10 minutes. Strain and reserve lemon slices for the fish garnish.
  3. Serve warm or room temperature.

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Béarnaise Sauce

Happy Canada Day!

JT celebrated a birthday in mid-June and we always do something special. This year, instead of going out for dinner, he requested a Steak Dinner with a Baked Potato, Grilled Caesar Salad and Béarnaise Sauce; I also I baked him flourless chocolate cake with cherry sauce and whipped cream. JT cooked up the steak on the Big Green Egg while I made the baked potato, Caesar Dressing and Béarnaise sauce. It was a huge success and the Béarnaise was so tasty against the earthy meat.

Béarnaise Sauce

Ingredients:

114 g unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
30 g minced shallots
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
30 mL Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 large egg yolks
15 mL (or more) fresh lemon juice (we used 25 mL)
15 mL finely chopped fresh tarragon

Directions:

  1. In a small, heavy bottom saucepan, melt 15 g butter and add the shallots, a small amount of salt and stir to coat. Add the vinegar and reduce heat and cook until the vinegar has evaporated (about 3-4 minutes). Reduce the heat and continue to cook until the shallots have softened (about 5 minutes). Transfer shallots to another vessel and allow to cool.
  2. Warm the blender vessel with hot water and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and heat until foamy. Transfer to an easily pourable vessel, like a measuring cup.
  4. Pour the water out of the blender and dry well. Add the egg yolks, lemon juice and about 15 mL water and purée the mixture until it is smooth. Continue to run the blender and slowly pour in the hot, melted butter in a thin stream, omitting the milk solids at the bottom of the container. Blend until you get a smooth, creamy sauce (about 2-3 minutes). Taste for seasoning, I added more lemon at this point and blended a bit more.
  5. Pour the sauce into the shallot reduction and stir well. Serve at room temperature.

Note:

  • The egg yolks cook somewhat with the hot butter but to avoid any issues, it’s best to use pasteurized eggs.

German Chocolate Cake, isn’t German at all!!

Later that week, we had dear friends for dinner so I baked a cake for JTs birthday. I saw this German Chocolate Cake on my friend Liz’s blog and knew I had to make it. It has a lot of ingredients but the recipe is easy to follow and it’s delicious. But be warned, it has 3.5 cups of sugar and 3/4 lb of chocolate, so you really need a crowd to share it with.

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Recently I purchased too many strawberries because they were 3 packages for three dollars! We ate most of them, but I had one package left over that I needed to do something with. My dear cousin and her family were scheduled to come for dinner and they had requested vanilla ice cream for dessert so I decided to make a strawberry sauce as a garnish; who doesn’t love home-made strawberry sauce?

Strawberry Sauce

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes 300 mL

To print the recipe, please click here.

Ingredients:

  • 340 g strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
  • 47 g coconut sugar
  • 3 mL freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Stir the ingredients together in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 3 minutes.
  2. Lightly blend with an immersion blender, leaving some bits. Cool. Refrigerate or freeze until required, bring to room temperature before use.

A quick and easy recipe if you have too many strawberries.

The bits of strawberries in this sauce, sets it apart from the store-bought strawberry sauces.

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Just prior to Christmas, I did a couple of jobs which had me buying a lot of garlic. When I say a lot, I mean literally dozens of heads! Of course, I gave away as much as I could but the majority came home with me. I am not one to toss perfectly good food in the bin, so I decided to roast the heads and freeze them for quick additions to sauces and soups. Now, I must say that this idea is genius because roasted garlic is so tasty and having some quick at hand makes it easy to add another level of flavour without the harshness of raw garlic. Over the holidays, we got together with our wonderful neighbours and I made this delicious roasted garlic dip.

Now there is that cold winter light!

Roasted Garlic Dip

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Serves 6-8, makes about 300 mL

To print recipe, please click here.

Ingredients:

  • 200 g roasted garlic (about 4 heads)
  • 125 g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 50 g Greek Yogurt
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl large enough to accommodate a stick blender, combine all of the ingredients and purée until smooth and silky.
  2. Serve at room temperature.

Notes:

  • I roast garlic by cutting off the bottom of the head (the root end) and setting it in about 30 mL of olive oil. I like to cover the garlic I roast so it steams and roasts at the same time. I roast the garlic in a 350° F oven for about 45 minutes or until they are very soft.
  • To extract the garlic, simply squeeze each clove into a container.
  • Some people add freshly grated Parmesan to this dip but I find it rich enough without it.
  • Save the cut ends of the garlic for soup stock.

This dip would also be a tasty cream sauce for pasta.

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strawberryjam_first

On a recent trip to Europe, our dear friends Paul and T met us in Almeria to spend a few days together at my cousin Lucy’s flat in San José, Spain.

We stayed one night in Almeria because the flat was already booked. We stumbled upon Joseba Anorga Taberna quite by accident and had one of our most memorable meals in Spain (not counting the one star Michelin, but that’s another story). The Tapas were excellent and beautifully presented. It was a ridiculously hot and humid evening in Almeria so we didn’t want a heavy meal to weigh us down so sharing tapas was the perfect solution.

Joseba Anorga Taberna is a contemporary restaurant rated as one of the top ten in Almeria, what luck we had finding it! These are just a few of the tapas we enjoyed our first night in Spain. Buen Apetito.

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Just before we left for Europe, I found the last of the Ontario strawberries at my local grocer and they weren’t even overpriced! I bought a few pints and decided to make strawberry jam out of them to enjoy over the winter. I used a pectin-free recipe using a 3:1 ratio, three parts fruit to one part sugar. The jelling will take longer than a full-sugar version but it’s worth it. It’s not a sickly sweet jam, which is just fine by me!

strawberryjam_3

The jam is rich with strawberry flavour, just like Mom’s!

Strawberry Jam

Yield: 500 mL or 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 936 g strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 309 g sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, about 1 good size lemon
  • zest of 1 lemon

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of your 10-cup food processor. Plus until desired consistency is achieved (see notes).
  2. Pour content into a non-reactive, heavy bottom pan (I used my Le Creuset). Slowly heat until the sugar is dissolved and bring very slowly to a boil. Remove foam as it appears (see notes).
  3. Boil until the jam reaches 105° C (220° F) and has thickened up and reached the jellied stage (test a small amount on an ice cold plate and if you can wrinkle the jam, it’s done!)
strawberryjam_2

We like this jam a lot.

Notes:

  • I reduced the sugar according to this website (see last paragraph). To get to the jelly stage will take a little longer than the full sugar version, but it’s worth it.
  • I do not have a potato masher, instead of pulsing you may mash the berries with said masher, add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  • Apparently, foam contains a lot more air than the actual jam so leaving it may reduce the shelf-life of your jam (source here).

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SrirachaSauce_First

Recently, I was given a small basket of a variety of chili peppers. I don’t know about you, but these days I don’t like to tempt fate with overly hot things so incorporating them into a dish was out of the question. In the bunch were scotch bonnets, serranos, poblanos, jalopeños and Thai chilies so it was a basket of epic heat! Since I’ve already made Sweet Chili Sauce with Dried Apricots and Hot Sauce I decided to make a version of the very popular Sriracha Sauce because it is a staple in my pantry.

I love hot sauce, but sadly my innards, not so much so I wanted to  tame the heat without compromising flavour. The solution was grilling the peppers to a blistery/blackened stage, peeling and cleaning the seeds and veins out to temper the heat, the smoke flavour was a bonus! This recipe is roughly based on the link below.

Hot sauce.

Hot sauce.

Homemade Sriracha Sauce

Makes roughly 225 mL sauce.

Adapted from Leite’s Culinaria

Ingredients:

  • 400 g variety of hot peppers
  • 10 g garlic, minced
  • 25 g granulated sugar
  • 5 g sea salt
  • 125 mL white vinegar or to taste

Directions:

  1. Grill the hot peppers until their skin is blistered and black. Set hot chili peppers into a glass bowl and top with a plate to further steam the peppers (this makes peeling much easier, but if you have issues, just microwave them on high for 10-20 seconds). Peel, remove seeds and veins (the sauce will be hot enough even with this step) using gloves to protect your fingers (these are extremely hot peppers).
  2. Combine all ingredients except the white vinegar in a food processor and pulse until you have a paste. Scrape into a glass jar and tightly seal. Allow to sit on the kitchen counter (bench) for 1 week, stirring once daily. The mixture will ferment so if you see bubbling action, it is par for the course.
  3. After one week, transfer the chili mixture to a saucepan over medium heat and add the vinegar and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer 5 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool slightly and then purée it again using an immersion blender. Push through a fine sieve, taste and season with sugar, salt and vinegar as desired.
  4. Store in the refrigerator in a glass jar with a tight lid. The original recipe indicates that this sauce is good for six months.
SrirachaSauce_8696

Perfect timing because I’m going to need a small bottle for the cottage!

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*First ArugulaPaste

So far, winter hasn’t been horrible (dare I say it out loud?). In the last week, we’ve only had a couple of super cold days (-23° C or -9.4° F) but we’ve only had one snow storm and although it was super wet, it wasn’t that bad (shovelling was awful!). The one thing I will complain about is the lack of sunshine November and December was…gloomy, gloomy, gloomy! Although January’s start has been chilly, it has been sunny! So if I have to give up warmth for sun, so be it.

Have you made a New Year’s Resolution? JT and I decided that we need to get back on track and eat more vegetables and limit eating out (oh dear, we do eat out a lot). So, I have determined that the next month or so I will dedicate the blog to super healthy, clean eating, roughly based on a ketogenic diet. I say roughly because I’m going to allow myself one day per week to ‘cheat’ (TBD)! I will comb through your lovely blog pages and get my inspiration there.

We’ve also decided to eat our main meal at noon instead our norm of 6 or 7 in the evening. We’re hoping that these changes will result in some shedding!

This condiment came about as I stared blankly in the refrigerator…so many vegetables but no inspiration! The bag of baby arugula called out to me…pesto, it whispered. Now I know many of you are pesto traditionalists and only basil, garlic, EVOO, pinenuts and parmesan will do…but what if you wish to limit calories? Yes, there is the argument that you should only use a little, but I wanted to start the week off right so I created this unique paste that resembles pesto (notice I didn’t call it pesto?). I received a solid thumbs up from JT, it has texture, a slight kick and it’s bright and beautiful green. A little sunshine on these gloomy winter days.

ArugualPaste_7953

The raw cauliflower gives makes a good substitute for the nuts, providing the slight crunch needed.

Arugula Paste

Makes a 125 mL (1/2 cup) sauce

A Kitchen Inspirations Original Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 60 g raw cauliflower (either stems or florets or both)
  • 60 g baby arugula
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable stock (home made)
  • sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Add the raw cauliflower to a small processor bowl, process until it becomes a fine meal.
  2. Add the arugula (may need to be added in smaller portions), garlic, vinegar and stock and process until a desired consistency is achieved (I wanted it relatively fine).
  3. Season with sea salt and process until totally combined.
  4. See serving suggestions in notes.

Notes:

  • Serving suggestions: pasta, sautéed vegetables, zucchini noodles, drizzled on tomatoes, meat or fish.
  • Add a spoonful or two into a simple oil and vinegar salad dressing or greek yogurt for a dip.

ArugulaPasteNFScreen Shot 2016-01-05 at 4.31.47 PM

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AvocadoHollandaise_First

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Lorraine Elliott of Not Quite Nigella, in Toronto. We’ve been following each other for four years now and when we met in person it was like we’d known one another for ever. I wanted to do something special with her so I contacted an acquaintance who produces several Food Network Canada shows and she made it happen – we spent the morning on the set of Chopped Canada, Season 3. But you’ll just have to wait to hear all about it in the new year (don’t worry, it’ll be here before you know it!).

Eva & Lorraine behind the scenes!

Eva & Lorraine behind the scenes!

Lorraine was in Toronto with the Canadian Tourism Commission and made a special request to come to Toronto to meet me! I was flattered beyond belief. For Lunch, we met up with my dear friend Barb (Profiteroles & Ponytales) and a new friend, Trudy Bloem, a Personal Chef from Ottawa (the DIL of a lovely neighbour) at one of my favourite Italian restaurants, Bar Mercurio. We shared a number of tasty dishes that I’m sure Lorraine will blog about. The CTC sure kept her busy and she saw many of the Food significant parts of TO, but not everything so I’ve invited her back! And one of these days, we’ll travel to Australia to visit her (and Charlie, Maureen & Liz)!

Lorraine wasn’t the first positive experience with an Aussie I’ve ever had, after all there was the “gravy boat incident”.

About 12 or 13 years ago, I was trying to finish off some stray pieces to our wedding China. I checked our local supplier and as I suspected it was unaffordable, so I checked eBay. I’ve purchased many things over the years from eBay and my experiences have always been exceptional. I found the exact gravy boat, you guessed it, in Australia. It was a young couple recently married and for some strange reason were given a gravy boat to a set that they didn’t want, so she was selling it for a very reasonable price on eBay. I contacted her to make sure she would ship it to Canada and she said she would. She was not registered on PayPal so she asked for a money order. No problem, but I needed an address. She gave me an address and off we went to get a money order. We don’t often need money orders so we were inexperienced (this will make sense later in the story). The money order was mailed and we waited. And waited. Weeks went by and the girl didn’t receive it. I called the post office and asked how long a letter from Toronto should take to travel to Australia and they said six to eight weeks. So we waited in the meantime corresponding with said girl almost weekly. At 10 weeks she still hadn’t received the money order but she was tired of the game so she said she would mail the gravy boat to me anyway and hope to receive the money order. I felt bad about it, so we got another money order but when we went to cancel the first one, we discovered that we had included the receipt in the original envelope so we couldn’t cancel it (read inexperienced)! I bit the bullet and got another money order anyway (still marginally cheaper than buying the gravy boat in Toronto). I wanted to make sure I had her correct address so I asked her to confirm. You guessed it, she had given me the wrong address the first time (sweet girl but…) so the new money order was mailed and within a week the gravy boat arrived! Then two days later the girl wrote to say the second money order arrived and that she would destroy the first one if it ever arrived. I’m not kidding you, a day later we received back the first money order (with receipt) marked “unknown address, return to sender”! This drama took over three months! We were able to get a refund with the original money order, I got a deal on the gravy boat and a great story out of it! Do you have any cool stories like this? Share in the comments.

If I were serving this avocado hollandaise at home, I would have definitely used the Australian gravy boat, but I served it at the cottage for a tasty vegetarian breakfast!

Ready4Hike_6259

It’s still quite buggy in Canada’s north so we were well prepared with our bug shirts!

Vegan Avocado ‘Hollandaise’ Sauce

Makes about 3/4 cup of ‘hollandaise’ sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 small very ripe avocados
  • 1/2-3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Purée everything together until very smooth adding water until desired consistency is achieved, season with salt and pepper.
  2. Serve warm or room temperature.

Notes:

  • This is a much ‘lighter’ feeling sauce than the traditional eggyolk-butter-based version.
  • I didn’t want to add more lemon juice as I feared it might make the sauce bitter so instead I added a teaspoon of white vinegar and a tablespoon of Dijon, it was a flavourful sauce.
  • Add only as much water to the sauce to achieve the consistency that you want. I wanted mine pourable and I almost used the entire 3/4 cup, just a hair less.
AvocadoHollanadaise

I served this on Asparagus and Spinach bennies one weekend.

Screen Shot 2015-08-02 at 1.42.27 PM

This is 1/4 of the total yield of sauce

This is traditional Hollandaise Sauce made with 4 eggs and 1/2 cup of unsalted butter. Although the calories are fewer than the avocado version, take a look at the fat and cholesterol!

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BBQ Sauce_first

The Hungarians have arrived and the “to do” list is finally complete! Just in the nick of time too. We decided to start their visit off with a little welcome party but we all know it’s just my excuse to cook and feed my kin!!! I was fortunate enough to score a sizeable number of vine ripened tomatoes so I decided to make barbeque sauce because JT made a special request for Pulled Pork. The sauce turned out perfectly, sweet, piquant and zesty — cooking it with the pork tenderloin for 5 hours made the flavours all the more richer and balanced the vinegar very nicely. Like any low and slow cooked meal, I made the pulled pork a day in advance because we all know it tastes better the next day!

I’ve geared up a couple of posts for the following weeks, but I may be AWOL depending on how busy things get, so if I miss to comment on your blog or I don’t post, I apologize in advance. Thanks for understanding.

Barbeque Sauce

Makes 1.25 L (42 oz)

Ingredients:

  • 200 g onions, coarsely chopped
  • 50 g garlic, finely chopped
  • 125 mL white vinegar
  • 1.2 kg tomatoes, chopped
  • 30 mL tomato paste
  • 125 mL molasses
  • 50 g sundried tomatoes (not in oil)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp of each sweet paprika, cumin, coriander and cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. In a splash of canola oil, sauté onions and garlic until translucent, add dry spices and stir until fragrant.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Simmer for one hour or until dark and thickened.
  3. Purée until smooth and press through a fine sieve.
  4. May be kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or freeze for 3 months.

BBQ Sauce

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GlutenFreeCheeseSauce_1

Whether you’re gluten intolerant, just want to cut back or perhaps you have friends who are — this is a perfect sauce to have in your back pocket. Toss it on some pasta, zucchini ‘pasta’ or dress up some steamed cauliflower, you’ll be surprised at how good it is! I’m using my tried and true lentil purée for the thickener and boy does it thicken! And the cheese creams up with it perfectly — I used cheddar, but you can use whatever cheese you prefer. You’ll have to watch this sauce because it thickens very quickly and can become too thick when it cools down, so serve it hot. I hope you love this sauce as much as I do.

Gluten Free Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cooked puréed lentils
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 60 g grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cook milk and puréed lentils until smooth, thick and creamy.
  2. Add cheese and stir until smooth and melted.
  3. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.
GlutenFreeCheeseSauce

This is a really creamy sauce

Serving suggestions:

  • Serve over cooked macaroni garnish with Parmesan and broil for a minute until cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with chopped green onions and enjoy!
  • Pour over steamed broccoli or cauliflower.
  • Use as a base on pizza.
  • Make this into cheddar soup (although that would be very decadent!)
Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 11.16.26 AM

Based on 4 servings

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 11.17.40 AM

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I picked up some tamarind paste when we visited Chgo John (from the Bartolini Kitchens) last summer and he took us to his favourite Asian shops. I’m sure this paste can be purchased in any number of Asian stores in Toronto, but the romance of bringing back an exotic ingredient was just too strong to ignore. Everytime I use this paste (and any number of other amazing ingredients I procured during that visit) I think fondly of our visit with John that day.
If you haven’t tried tamarind, I strongly urge you to do so, it is quite a flavour experience unlike anything else you’ve ever tried.
The tamarind paste was used as a sauce for the onion bhajis I made for the recent Indian feast for our neighbours.

Tangy, sour and sweet all at once.

Tangy, sour and sweet all at once.

Tamarind Chutney for Onion Bhajis

Makes about 1/3 cup

  • 1 teaspoon concentrated tamarind paste
  • 2-4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 3 dried apricots (original recipe called for papaya powder which I did not have)
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

  1. In a small heavy bottom sauce pan, add the tamarind paste, apricot and sugar. Add about 1 cup of hot water to it and heat to a boil until the tamarind paste dissolves and the apricot is mushy. Blend well with an immersion blender. Strain out any hard bits from the tamarind paste.
  2. Add chili powder and mix well. Boil until all of the water evaporates and you are left with a thick rich sauce.
A perfect pairing to the onion bhajis

A perfect pairing to the onion bhajis

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We’ve been up north for a few days finishing off the mini reno; it sure doesn’t get easier as one gets older! A quick synopsis: wood panelling painted white, ceilings and gaping holes were caulked. Laminate floors installed and waiting for one more box (how did that happen? We are 6 pieces short, damn it! We both did the math, TWICE!) Baseboards have been cut but not fully installed (need to finish the floors under the couch first). New kitchen shelving installed with task lighting. New porch blinds installed with bottom hooks! Garbage packaged and stored for handy man removal. A few more décor items and we’re done! Just in time for closing ;)!
With all that standing up, sitting down it feels like I’ve completed a marathon, but not really, I’m just a spectator of sports. And we all know what a crazy sports fiend I am, I just can’t get enough of it ;-). In fact, I have every single tuner in the house tuned into different sports channels or talk radio channels just to keep on top of it; then there are the push notifications every time a player does something worthy — like fart, for instance! OK, I may be BS’ing a little but I do get a little drawn in particularly when the sport is baseball and we’re talkin’ about our beloved Jays! Blue Jays that is!

My good friend Jed from Sports Glutton asked me to do a guest post as part of his MLB Series (except that I kept calling it the MBL whenever I talked about it, drove poor JT nuts!) and I couldn’t resist. Thank you Jed, I’m not only honoured to do this guest post, but I am flattered beyond belief and I hope to have done your lovely gluttonous blog worthy with this post.

Our beloved Jays are due for a world series win; no — really, I’m serious. I’m told (and god knows I’m no authority) that this year the Jays have the most expensive players and one would think that with that kind of ‘quality’ we would get some wins…except it’s taking a bit of time — you see, those poor Jays had a bit of a rough start, but we’re back on track and as of writing this post, we’ve worked ourselves back within striking distance of first place in the division! Woohoo!
Even with the Jays resurgence the Jays should be hungry for more, I am 100% sure they would want a highly gluttonous meal like Canadian Whiskey BBQ Sauce Pulled Pork Benny and Homerun-fries, don’t you? I developed this recipe for Jed and there are a few things I would have done differently if it was for kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com, but because Jed was a little concerned; that I would make it too healthy, I really stepped it up a notch, within reason, of course! Thanks again Jed, I am truly honoured.
Please head on over to Jed’s blog to check it out, you will be surprised and delighted with what you see.

Plated1_2470_Blurred

The Dijon Béchamel was just the perfect gluttonous addition.

MLB Series Guest Post — Canadian Whiskey BBQ Sauce Pulled Pork Benny and Home-run-fries

Makes enough for 10-12 Bennies if you want to use it all on that, but the pulled pork is wonderful as leftovers in sandwiches, pizza and wraps.

Ingredients for the Pork and the Rub:

  • 1lb or ~500 g Pork Tenderloin
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic (not garlic powder)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the slow cooker on high.
  2. Combine the spices and mix well, set aside.
  3. In a very hot skillet, heat about 1 tbsp canola oil and sear the pork well. Set the pan aside — DO NOT WASH.
  4. Carefully rub the spice mix on all sides of the pork and set into the slow cooker.
Searing_0306

Searing the tenderloin; it’s so loud, I can’t hear the talk radio!

Seared_0307

The beast has been seared, you can tell because the talk radio is fully audible.

Ingredients for the Canadian Whiskey BBQ Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup of Canadian Whiskey
  • Scant 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup strong black coffee (I used espresso)
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion

Directions for the BBQ Sauce:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in the same pan you seared the pork in and bring to a boil, scraping off any of the bits left behind by searing the pork.
  2. Pour the sauce over the pork in the slow cooker, cover and set the heat to Low and the timer to 4-5 hours.
  3. Turn pork in the BBQ sauce occasionally.
  4. The pork is done when you can take two forks and start pulling it apart.
WhiskeyBBQ

Giving the BBQ sauce a good boil

SlowCooking_0309

The pork and the sauce are all cozy and ready for their 4-5 hour rest in the slow cooker

Ingredients for the Homerun-fries:

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch (2.5cm) cubes.
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp canola oil

Directions for the Homerun-fries:

  1. Boil or roast the sweet potato cubes until very soft.
  2. Heat canola oil in a pan, pan-fry the sweet potato cubes, smashing them with a fork. You want a slight crispy texture on the exterior of the smashed cubes.
  3. Stir in the chopped green onion.
  4. Serve warm.

Ingredients for the Dijon Béchamel:

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp white flour
  • 2-3 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2- 3/4 cup of milk
  • salt to taste

Directions for the Dijon Béchamel:

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook but don’t brown it.
  2. Slowly stir in the milk, whisking to incorporate the flour butter mixture so it’s not lumpy. Keep whisking until you reach your desired thickness (it will thicken more as you cook it).
  3. Add the Dijon and blend well.
  4. Keep warm.

Assembly and serving for one:

  • 1-2 perfectly poached eggs.
  • 1-2 Whole wheat English Muffins per person, torn in half and toasted.
  • 2-4 tbsp braised red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup sweet potato
  • Dijon Béchamel
The pork after it has been pulled

The pork after it has been pulled

Notes:

  • I seared the pork in my favourite cast iron pan and therefore could not use it for the BBQ sauce as the acidity of the sauce strips off the seasoning from the pan. Had I done it in my enamel cast iron pan, I would not have had an issue.
  • We added the braised purple cabbage for more gluttony with the benefit of texture, colour and flavour, feel free to omit.
  • To perfectly poach an egg, heat 10cm or 3.5 inches of water to a gentle boil. Add 1 tbsp vinegar (this helps to set the egg white so it doesn’t get all stringy) salt. Break eggs into individual cups or small bowls. Gently turn the egg into the hot water allowing the water to flow into the small cup or bowl, once the egg is setting, gently turn it fully out and giving it a summer-salt. Repeat with all eggs and set the timer for 2 minutes. The water should be gently boiling not roughly bubbling. When the timer goes off, remove each egg onto a paper towel to dry. Serve immediately.

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We’re celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and JT and I traditionally head up to my brother’s cottage in the Muskoka’s. We’ve had all sorts of weather during this weekend over the years, from swimming in Lake Rosseau to a little snow. But what ever the weather, there is always lots of food, reconnecting with family and lots of wine. We wish you all a very happy Canadian Thanksgiving and safe travels. Remember, it’s never smart to drink and drive (Hungary has a Zero tolerance rate and France is 0.5!) Just choose a DD and give them lots of dessert instead! Happy holidays friends.

For this post, I’ve had to change my plan and divide Lyon and Paris into two posts so that I don’t bore you too much. I also figured out how to add a slide show (boy, that was painful!) but it’s done. So if you have a moment, please visit with us in Lyon.

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A little history of why we chose Lyon; it is said to the Gastronomic Capital of France. I’ve read that there are over 30 Michelin star restaurants in the city. The people clearly love food and since we do too we thought it would be a perfect match. And it was…for the most part. We had read that we must experience the traditional Bouchon in Lyon and I’ve read many blogs advising that, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately Bouchon’s are generally small places and serve only a fixed menu of three to four courses, and unless you reserve well in advance you simply cannot get in (they only cook for the number of seats in the restaurant, and there is only one seating!). I simply cannot eat three to four courses and feel good, so we decided to just go to a bistro specializing in the cuisine of Lyon and order one course. We did this on night one, the day before our trip to Geneva to meet our friend Ted and his partner Ji. I ordered the andouillette of Lyon (warning…this may be offensive to the ultra sensitive) it is a ‘sausage’ of various ofal particularly some kind of tripe. Now I can eat practically anything, but this dish had an odor (Charles described his experience that he thought someone left the W/C door open, but now I’m getting ahead of myself) I thought it smelled of barn yard, very earthy and very strong. I didn’t take a photo as the lighting was really bad (and I’d rather not be reminded of the experience). It was served in a cream sauce (very rich) and a gratin of potatoes (quite yummy). I could barely eat it, but I persevered and had about a quarter (JT finished the rest). I did not have a good night that night and didn’t recover until lunch the following day! JT had smaller, more traditional sausages that reminded me of bratwurst, without a heavy sauce. Neither were high on my favourite list. But we were entertained for the most part by a street entertainer who was quite funny mimicking people and making rude balloon objects! We figured he could take 100E per set, and given an evening, he probably does 3-4 sets in different neighbourhoods.

Also, you can bet a tomato will taste like a tomato in France. They still care.

Note: if you click on the first photo in the gallery below, it will enlarge and you can click through them like a gallery!
Sorry, but it doesn’t work on your iPhone.

Geneva trip 1:

We made arrangements to meet up with our good friend Ted whom we haven’t seen for at least 10 years. He and his partner Ji traveled by train from outside Zurich to make this possible. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch in Geneva’s oldest restaurant/hotel in the historic district. I may have even sat in the same chair as George Clooney; check out their guest book. Geneva is a beautiful city whose population is manly made up of people from somewhere else; there are many company head offices in Geneva as well. We had hoped to meet up with other blogger in Geneva too, but sadly she had to travel for work on the date we could make it. We shall have to return one day.

Geneva trips 2:

We had booked a tour at C.E.R.N laboratories so that we could see what all the fuss was about. This was a very bad weather day; traveling on the highways, it rained so heavily that at times we were unable to see the hood of the car! The tour itself was lead by a physicist and was interesting but we both felt that since we were in Lyon for such a short time, this little side trip could have been avoided without much loss. Plus it was a gorgeous day in Lyon which we missed entirely! And we had to rush back for our cooking class! Not-withstanding the tolls which over the two days were in excess of 100E! Oh well. Live and learn.

Upon our return to Lyon we tried to return the car with the tank empty but they would have charged us 175E to fill it themselves so we opted to find a station and fill it ourselves for 52E. It took over an hour (mainly waiting for people to fill their cars) and return…only minutes to spare for our cooking class. Chef Villard was ready for us waiting in the lobby of our hotel! I barely had time to change and freshen up!

Cooking Class with Chef Jean-Marc Villard

Winemakers notes: “The color is a brilliant light straw. Aromas of intense acacia, yellow peaches and exotic fruits. On the palate the wine is very elegant and harmonious. Its freshness allows the fruit to fully develop. A seductive wine to be enjoyed with appetizers and hors d’oeuvres”.

Our cooking class was amazing and I would definitely recommend it. Chef Villard is fluent in English and is a kind instructor. His kitchen in tidy and calm, but then again there were only two of us. I shall list the menu, but as you can well imagine, I shall be blogging about it in future blog posts! Chef Villard kindly created a little hors d’œuvres of sausages wrapped in home-made brioche (he served the meal with a lovely local wine made with a Viognier grape), we then had a wonderful creamed pumpkin soup fragranced with vanilla bean, drizzled with hazelnut oil (OMG, you MUST smell this!) and served with three seared scallops. Chef Villard mentioned that it depends where you are in France with the fat is that they use…not everyone cooks with butter! Our main course was a Monkfish wrapped in bacon with a delightful veal sauce with green olives (the sweetness of the veal stock and the saltiness of the olives really went well with the fish, and the bacon wrapping was not too salty at all), with olive oil sautéed fingerling potatoes and some lovely snap peas with an arugula (rocket) pesto. For dessert we made a pear and chocolate clafoutis with a glorious caramel sauce. Yes, this will be a dinner for several friends over the next month or so. Of course, I will try to make it marginally healthier (although for a French Chef, he didn’t use as much cream as I thought he might!). This was a very enjoyable dinner. If you are in Lyon, you must try to get into one of his classes, you will not be disappointed. We ate with Chef and Mme Villard and chatted as if we were long-time friends. It was a very enjoyable evening.

We’re off to Paris next on the TGV! See you soon.

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I’ve been following a blog called Cooking with Corinna who has been doing the Ducan diet (you know, the French diet). Corinna has been very successful in losing weight following this diet and has decided to try and healthy up some of her favourites so that she doesn’t fall back into old bad habits and jeopardize her success. The first recipe she ‘healthed up’ was pulled pork. JT loves pulled pork but it’s not something I ever make at home, mainly because it is so unhealthy, or so I thought. Corinna’s method was relatively simple and frankly quite obvious but, for some reason I never thought of it myself. She simply chose a leaner and healthier cut of pork — pork tenderloin instead of pork shoulder. Genius! I was inspired to make this pulled pork for dinner the other night and boy was it a success! Corinna used a slow cooker, but I chose to get my roasting pan on the grill outside (it was so hot and humid that day, I couldn’t bear even the slow cooker!). The trick is low and slow; I cooked our 300g tenderloin for almost four hours on 121°C (250°F). I turned it a few times and made sure it was always covered in BBQ sauce. You can use a store bought BBQ sauce, or you can throw one together in minutes like I did. Soooo easy. You will be surprised that you won’t be able to tell the difference from the unhealthy version! And if you want to keep it even healthier, choose a BBQ sauce based with fruit instead of sugar.

Thanks Corinna, this one will be a keeper, that’s for sure!

A Healthier Pulled Pork

Serves 3, 100 g portions

BBQ Sauce Ingredients:

Original recipe can be found here.

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup vinegar, preferably red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp prepared mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp espresso coffee powder

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the flavours have blended well. Remove from heat and set aside.

Pulled Pork Ingredients:

Original recipe can be found here.

  • 300 g pork tenderloin with silver skin and excess fat removed. This is a great video on preparing pork tenderloin. I removed ALL of the fat to keep it healthier.
  • 1-2 tbsp canola oil (or an oil with a high flash point)
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce, home made or store bought.
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

  1. Preheat BBQ to 121°C (250°F).
  2. Heat the roasting pan on the stove with the canola oil until almost smoking. Sear all sides of the tenderloin. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for a minute or two. Add the BBQ sauce and make sure that the tenderloin is brushed evenly with it. Place the covered roasting pan on the BBQ and turn off the heat directly below it. You’ll have to watch your BBQ so that the temperature maintained for the 4 hours is around 121°C (250°F).
  3. Turn the tenderloin 3-4 times making sure it is always covered well with the BBQ sauce. I kept about 1 cup of water near the BBQ and added water as the sauce became thicker and evaporated. Eventually around 3.5 hours, the meat will literally fall apart and you will be able to mix it well with the BBQ sauce and cook it for the last half hour.
  4. Serve warm or cold, on a salad, on a bun, or even in a fajita shell. Garnish with chopped cilantro and finely chopped green onions.

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Firstly, I would like to add a disclaimer that Kristy from Eat, Play, Love Our Family Food Adventures is not paying me to blog about her recipes (unless she wants to, of course ;-)). It’s just that there are some recipes that click for me, and her choices are often those kinds of recipes. Recently she and the kids made a Piri Piri Shrimp, in a post called Heating Things Up that really caught my interest for a few reasons: garlic and lemon juice, heat and shrimp! Of course, JT and I are still on the low carb, sugar, fat diet for another day or so I’ve had to modify the recipe (not that it wasn’t unhealthy to begin with, it just did not fit the chemical profile we are restricted to). So Kristy, I hope you don’t mind, but I did change it up a touch, hopefully not altering the recipe’s taste. Thanks again for a another flavourful dinner (and incredible lunch the next day!).

Roasting the hot peppers doesn’t really take ALL the heat out of them.

Piri Piri Shrimp My Way

Serves 3 (dinner and 1 lunch, each 100 g protein)

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Serrano chiles
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/3 cup low sodium vegetable stock (I used vegetable stock as it is slightly sweeter than chicken stock, because I replaced the wine vinegar with white vinegar)
  • hand full of roughly chopped parsley
  • hand full of roughly chopped cilantro
  • 300 g (10.5 oz) uncooked, deveined, and peeled shrimp
  • lemon wedges (oops, I forgot)

I forgot the lemon wedges.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven on high broil. Cut the chile peppers in half (don’t bother removing the seeds and stems, they come off easily after roasting). Place the chiles on a lightly sprayed (with fat free cooking spray) baking sheet and roast until blackened, Kristy says about 10 minutes (I didn’t time it).
  2. Trim the stems and remove the seeds (the seeds are the really hot bits)
  3. In your immersion blender container, combine the chiles, garlic, paprika, lemon juice, vinegar, vegetable stock, parsley and cilantro and purée the ingredients until smooth.
  4. Pour 1/4 of the marinade over the shrimp, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 20 minutes, or up to 24 hours (see note).
  5. Heat a large cast iron grill pan on the BBQ (had to involve JT in the cooking, you know how it is). Spray lightly with fat free cooking spray and when hot enough, cook shrimp until done (pink both sides).
  6. Serve over greens with a few sweet red peppers drizzled with a bit more of the sauce (but reserve the remainder of the sauce because I have a GREAT IDEA for it for Saturday!)

Notes:

  • Citrus can cook seafood quite easily (ceviche is based on this) so if you do leave the shrimp marinading for more than a few hours, check it to see if it’s cooking (starting to turn pink). Otherwise you may end up with rubbery shrimp.
  • The Piri Piri sauce was INCREDIBLE — perfect for my taste, JT said it was OK, but perhaps he was just uninspired because the shrimp was served on greens (I live on greens so it was second nature to me) next time, I’ll serve his on Quinoa or Whole Wheat Couscous.
  • Roasting the peppers did not minimize the heat, so beware. I adore it and JT found it tolerable, but it could be too hot for some.
  • You may wish to add a teaspoon of agave nectar (or some red pepper coulis) to help subdue the heat, I did for JTs dressing but not for mine.
  • The sauce is definitely better the next day so you may wish to make it up in advance and let it sit. I used this sauce in a dish I prepared last Saturday for Cinco de Mayo.

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The birds get up really early in these parts, even before the sun rises around 4:15am! Has no one told them about daylight savings???? The robins are the noisiest, but I don’t mind; it’s just so nice to have the windows open.

When I made the chick pea béchamel, I got to thinking about thickeners, and I thought if chick peas thickened the cheese sauce so well, would there be another bean that would work better? Navy beans came to mind, plus I could control the sodium (yes, I used canned chick peas! Shame on me!). I made the White Bean Paste and kept it in the fridge all week, using it in this and that (recipe for Quinoa Risotto turned out extremely well) but I had a bit left over and on Saturday I needed an appi for cocktails, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

While torturing myself on the elliptical at the club I watch TV (actually, I listen to my tunes and have the closed captioning on) and most days I can catch Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals. While most of his recipes inspire me, I virtually never make them verbatim; on top of that I’m told that there is a secret club who swear one is unable to make any of the recipes in 30 minutes! The other day he was making a Mediterranean dinner with all sorts of things, but what struck me was his presentation of a store bought Baba ghanoush. I’d never seen it presented as such before and I loved it. It was casual and approachable. He simply spread it on a plate and drizzled EVOO on it. Well, I knew I just had to use this technique and soon!

Fast forward to Saturday, we had spent the day downtown doing errands, and were at Yonge/Dundas Square (our Times Square) at 3pm to watch a flash mob promoting What to do Toronto (a relatively new web site highlighting current events in Toronto. The video isn’t up yet, but there are a couple of photos in the link; I’ll post the video when it’s up). The flash mob wasn’t an actual mob…not enough people to count as one, but they did dance in a lively choreographed manner which was entertaining. Sadly, it took place across the street from the Square, which meant JT and I missed the first half, by the time we noticed it was all the way over the other side of the busy street. It was close to 5 when we got home; we were cranky, tired and thirsty (did I mention that cocktails are held at 4pm in our household, drop by anytime, we always have lots!) It was also No Car Saturday, so we ran around using our Metro (I wore my hot pink patent leather stiletto BCBGs, I told you I wear inappropriate footwear, why are you surprised?). I needed an appi for cocktails, pronto. Back to the navy bean paste sitting in the fridge…hmmmm, so I put my Jamie inspiration together with a quick recipe and we were enjoying our cocktails with a lovely appetizer in no time. Cheers!

Not sure why the photo is so hot.

White Bean Hummus

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup navy bean paste
  • 1 tsp tahini (or peanut butter)
  • 2-4 tbsp lemon juice (or to taste)
  • 1 small clove garlic finely minced (I use my handy microplane)
  • 2-4 tbsp Chipotle Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Put everything into a small bowl except the olive oil and mix. Since the bean paste is already processed into a smooth paste, you need not mess up your processor for this recipe, just mix well.
  2. Spread on a pretty plate and drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with the chopped fresh cilantro. Serve with crackers such as these: Gluten Free Almond Sesame Crackers or my Whole Wheat Flat Breads

Flashback to those hideous readers' digest recipe photos, mine is just missing the inappropriately placed gaudy shower curtain.

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To correct or not to correct? As I read through your lovely and flattering comments, the first thing I do is correct any typos that I notice. Is that OK? I usually ask you to correct mine, if I notice. Auto correct on my iPhone is great, but it can be a drag too, often correcting to words I do not want (it does ‘do’ for ‘so’ often, ARGH!). Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Breakfast on the weekend usually has a bit more pomp and circumstance than the weekdays, mainly because I’m not rushing to get ready for work. I was dying to try an idea I found on Dara’s Generation Y Foodie and Kelly’s Inspired Edibles blog; Dara made a pizza with a white bean paste base instead of a white béchamel that I thought was pure genius and Kelly took an old favourite of Mac and Cheese and pulled the proverbial rug right out from under it and made it healthy using chick peas instead of noodles. And it got me thinking…a bean paste as a thickener…

You will recall that we had a half a tin of chick peas left over from our Moroccan Mussel recipe the other night and the bean paste béchamel was really itching to get out of my head, so I came up with this lovely cheese sauce. You can pour it over crèpes like I did, or you can use it as a base for pizza as Dara did or better yet, pour it over cauliflower or broccoli! The possibilities are endless. Thank you Dara and Kelly for this inspiration.

Gluten Free Cheese Sauce

Serves 2-4

Cheesy Goodness poured all over that Crèpe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chick peas, drained and rinsed (you can use any canned bean for this recipe, but I would stick to the lighter ones, like navy beans, or black eyed peas or white beans)
  • 1/2-1 cup low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup finely grated flavourful cheese like Parmesan and Gruyère or sharp cheddar
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Add the chick peas to your immersion blender container (usually a tall thin cup), add 1/2 cup broth, salt and purée until smooth and about the consistency of crèpe batter adding the stock as required. Remember you will be adding cheese to this so it will thicken up.
  2. Pour contents into a sauce pan and begin heating up slowly. Add the cheese and stir until the cheese has melted. The cheese won’t stick to the beans as well as it would the béchamel, so you will likely have to emulsify again so that it’s not grainy.  Return to the heat and stir. You may need to add a bit more stock at this point, depending on how thick you would like your sauce.
  3. Serve over crèpes or what ever you wish.

 

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This velouté was part of the 5 course dinner we served to an old friend and his fiancée. He had suffered a heart attack about a month earlier, so I wanted to make sure the dinner was super healthy. No saturated fats, few carbs, not too filling, but really satisfying. The mushroom velouté is a creamed mushroom sauce that I poured over the roast loin of pork. It was earthy, flavourful and simply delicious. But warning, you really must love the earthy taste of mushrooms, this really has it.

Makes about 2 cups of thick gravy or 3 cups of thinner gravy. The photo is a velouté I made about a year ago, and used it as a creamed soup instead. Very tasty, either way.

An alternate use for the mushroom velouté

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped shallots
  • 2 cups roughly chopped cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded celeriac
  • 1 tbsp finely minced garlic
  • 2 cups mushroom ‘stock’
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • about 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup of dehydrated wild mushrooms
  • non stick spray
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp lemon thyme

Directions:

    1. The night before you make the sauce, reconstitute the dehydrated wild mushrooms in 2 cups of water. When they have fully softened, strain the liquid through a coffee filter, reserve liquid. Wash the re-hydrated mushrooms well, getting all the sand out. Set aside
    2. In a hot skillet, spray a good squirt of non stick spray.
    3. Sauté the shallots until translucent. Add all of the creminis, the celeriac and the garlic. Sauté until soft. Add a bit of the mushroom stock and the Dijon mustard, stir well to incorporate.
    4. Separate the ugly, tiny, really mushy bits of the rehydrated mushrooms and set aside. Of the lovely re-hydrated mushrooms, slice those that are a little too big to eat, remember, this is a chunky sauce.
    5. Cool slightly, pour contents into your immersion blender jar and add all of the mushroom stock, ugly little bits of the re-hydrated mushrooms and purée until smooth. Add the vegetable stock to achieve the consistency you desire.
    6. Now add all of the lovely, sliced re-hydrated wild mushrooms and stir well. Salt to taste. Stir in the lemon thyme just before serving.

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This is a piquant sauce, made from carrots, parsnips and celery root. Original recipe from this link. All of the recipes on-line indicate that if you are cooking with beef, to begin this recipe a couple of days in advance so that the beef has time to tenderize in the marinade. I did this batch with turkey scallopini, so I marinated for a few hours.  Also, for poultry, I would strongly suggest that you allow the marinade to cool to at least room temperature before you immerse the poultry in it. Also, the original recipe called for a roux to thicken the sauce, I omitted this as I felt the sauce was thick enough with the cooked vegetables.

Ingredients:

  • 1 trimmed whole beef tenderloin, 5-6 lbs (my mom used to make this with eye of round — tenderloin is way too expensive, plus, it has 2-3 days to marinate, and soften up).
  • 1/4 cup pancetta, cut in to little strips
  • 1 cup grated celery root
  • 1 cup grated parsnips
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • grated rind of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup minced sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (I did add this but strongly recommend not to, it was too sweet; the carrots make this sauce sweet enough)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt

Directions:

  1. Start this recipe 2 or 3 days before you plan to serve it.
  2. Combine 1  1/2 cups water and the vinegars in a dutch oven (not aluminum), add the vegetables and bring to a boil. This step is simply to blend the flavours, not cook the vegetables. If making this dish with poultry, allow this mix to cool completely before the next step. I also transferred this mix into a glass container with a lid, large enough to hold the liquid and the meat.
  3. Add the beef, grated lemon rind and bay leaves so that the mixture covers the meat. Marinate for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.
  4. When you are ready to cook, pre-heat the oven at 350°F.
  5. In a large dutch oven (large enough to hold the vegetables and the meat) over  heat wilt the onion in 1 teaspoon EVOO; do not allow the onions brown.
  6. Remove beef from marinade and place it on top of onions. Cook meat for 2 or 3 minutes on each side.
  7. Pour marinade over meat and place into pre-heated oven, covered until meat is almost cooked, for 2 hours.
  8. Remove the meat and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices, set aside.
  9. Remove bay leaves and discard. Using an immersion blender, blend vegetables until very smooth (you may wish to press this through a fine sieve to get the creamiest texture, as I did).
  10. I omitted this step: Brown the sugar in a small frying pan until caramelized. Add 3 tablespoons cold water and cook for a few minutes till sugar melts. Whip in the mustard. Pour the caramel and mustard into the puréed sauce.
  11. Instead, I whipped the mustard into the smooth sauce. Return the sauce to the dutch oven.
  12. Add sliced meat; keeping the slices whole. Cook at a slow simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes to allow sauce to permeate the meat (this can be done on the stove).
  13. Just before serving, combine the lemon juice and sour cream and whisk into the sauce. Serve with bread dumplings.

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//parenting.leehansen.com/downloads/webgraphics/Animations/hearts-afire.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Happy Valentine’s Day!

JT and I don’t really like going out for dinner on this occassion, our experience has been poor service and expensive menus, so we splurge at home!

Last night we started with little Mini Chive biscuits (From Food Network.com Barefoot Contessa) with Crème Fraiche (I’ve been having a difficult time finding it in the grocery stores, so I’ve made my own, see recipe below from Epicurious.com), Smoked Salmon and Capers (these are larger than normal capers and have a much milder, delicate flavour, and they are gorgeous because they have the stems on – you’ll likely need to go to a specialty gourmet store to get them, and make sure you wear padding because you WILL faint at the cost!). They are yummy in a martini too (but then again, what ISN’T?!?

chivebiscuit2.jpg

Crème Fraiche (from Epicurious.com) kind of like a really decadent sour cream!:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Preparation

  1. Combine 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass container.
  2. Cover and let stand at room temperature (about 70°F) from 8 to 24 hours, or until very thick.
  3. Stir well before covering and refrigerate up to 10 days (note from me, the longer you leave it in the fridge, the milder the buttermilk taste…this is really worth the splurge).

We also had King Crab Legs, a real treat. And in light of my trying to be good, I did a variation on Garlic Drawn Butter that was fantastic (if I do say so myself!!!!).

Heathy Drawn Garlic Butter Dipping Sauce (I’m going to try it on garlic bread and post the results soon!)

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp yellow miso paste (miso acts as an emulsifier with the butter and water)
  • 1 tsp butter (I used sweet butter because the miso has a lot of salt)
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a chef’s knife.
  1. Heat water, add miso and stir until miso is melted.
  2. Add butter and garlic cloves and return to heat for 2-3 minutes so garlic releases flavour into liquid and butter melts.
  3. Stir well (this will thicken) and run through a strainer to remove garlic bits (the sauce should be creamy, about the consistency of buttermilk).
  4. Dip what ever your heart desires into this yummy, healthier sauce!

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