Monday, June 29, 2015
This past weekend, we had the kind of summer weather where all you can do is tape old sheets over your unadorned windows and sit, panting and sipping sun tea, because you are just too exhausted from all that effort.
Luckily, on Sunday, we managed to escape our dark sauna (that is, otherwise lovely 103-year-old home where most windows are painted shut) to visit our friends and sit in their shady backyard while they plied us with drinks and flourless chocolate cake with saskatoon berry compote and ice cream.
When we arrived, Niall had the drinks set out on the counter, and even a little list of all our options.
Megan pointed out the Martini Rosso bottle and said how her German friend had introduced her to it years ago. It was a simple, squat bottle that looked unmistakably Italian. Who was I to resist?
Niall mixed it with 7UP, dropped in a few ice cubes, and my drink was ready.
It was beguiling. I thought I could taste herbs and maybe fruit. Even with the 7UP, it wasn't too sweet, just cool and refreshing. This, I thought, would certainly help me survive the sauna that is our home.
It turns out that Martini Rosso is a sweet vermouth that has been made in Turin, Italy since at least 1863. (So at least history is on my side, although I'm not sure if 7UP has such an illustrious pedigree.) It's a kind of fortified wine with herbs and barks and spices to flavour it. The nice thing for a hot day is that it also only has 15% alcohol content. Mixed with a good amount of 7UP, that means it's refreshing instead of walloping.
I'm now on the look out for my own bottle. We often have ginger ale at home, so I think I'll try mixing that in next. I hope you, too, can have many cool drinks on hot summer days.
one year ago: quick zucchini sauté and summer salad template: warm asparagus kale salad
two years ago: chewy granola bars and longest day link love
three years ago: hop & go fetch it: pacific rim edition and penne with sausage and greens
four years ago: tomato cheddar soufflé with asparagus and kathleen claiborne's hot cakes
five years ago: chocolate peanut butter oatcakes and chilli pasta
this is an idea for a rough outline of a recipe – just pour and you'll be fine
1 part Martini Rosso
4 parts 7UP or ginger ale
Stir the Martini Rosso and 7UP together. Taste and adjust if necessary. Add ice. Sit under a tree in the backyard and take a long sip.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Here's what I like about this recipe. You blend some peas – and hold some peas back – with yogurt, olive oil and garlic until it makes a smooth, pale-green sauce. Which is something I never would have thought of.
Later, you add coarsely-crumbled feta cheese and ripped basil leaves. Which, frankly, make everything better.
At the end, you spoon little dribbles of red-chiled-olive oil and golden pine nuts over your pasta.
And that's it. You eat it, and you thank Orangette and Jerusalem for both creating it and letting you know about it.
one year ago: buttermilk cookies en route to calgary and pasta with smoked trout and asparagus
two years ago: asparagus and cheese sauce on toast
three years ago: mango love on oahu and chinese-canadian lettuce wraps
four years ago: dutch marzipan cookies and oregon hazelnut salad
five years ago: chocolate nut balls and ripe bean soup
pasta with yogurt, peas, and chile
slightly adapted from Orangette and Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
makes six servings
500 g. (1 1/2 c.) whole-milk Greek yogurt
150 ml. (2/3 c.) olive oil, separated to 90 ml + 60 ml.
2 medium garlic cloves, chopped
500 g. (1 lb.) fresh or frozen peas, thawed
450 – 500 g. pasta shapes
50 – 60 g. (1/3 – scant 1/2 c.) pine nuts
2 tsp. Korean, Turkish, or Syrian chile flakes, or red pepper flakes
1/2 c. – 1 2/3 c. basil leaves, coarsely torn*
240 g. (8 oz.) feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
Get out your food processor. Blend the yogurt, 90 ml. (6 tbsp.) olive oil, the garlic and 100 g. (2/3 c.) peas. Process until it's a consistent pale green and pour into a large mixing bowl.
Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water. Cook until just al dente. Drain.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a small frying pan over medium heat. Warm the remaining olive oil, then add the pine nuts and chile flakes. Cook for about 4 minutes – keep an eye on it to make sure neither the nuts nor the chile flakes burns. When the pine nuts are golden, take the pan off the heat.
Cook the remaining peas in water for a couple minutes in the microwave until they're not raw, but just slightly cooked. Drain.
Pour a bit of the drained pasta into the big bowl with the green sauce and mix. (If you add it all at once, the sauce could separate.) Repeat with the rest of the pasta. Stir in the warm peas, basil, feta and 1 tsp. kosher salt. Gently toss. Put into serving dishes, and spoon a bit of oil and pine nuts over top. Serve.
* This is a huge variation. If you've got tons of basil growing in your garden, do use the higher amount. But if you have to buy very expensive basil at the grocery store, it's still very good with the smaller amount.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Heading east this summer?
Think locally-roasted coffee, scallops, haddock, and teeny-tiny-blueberry cobbler for dessert.
Think more locally-roasted coffee, burgers, fried chicken, and meringue-orange curd sundae for dessert.
I've just updated hop & go fetch it with my favourite places to eat in Halifax, Charlottetown and Calgary. Scroll down to find the province and city you're looking for – there are sections for British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Meet my new favourite snack: the cheddar oatcake.
It is crisp and cheesy with little nubbins of steel-cut oats, and I ate the last one this morning and I'm going to have to fix that soon. Very soon.
The recipe comes from Lucy Waverman, who says she first tried a cheesy oatcake at a farm store on the Isle of Mull. She recommends Mull cheddar, but, of course, sharp Canadian cheddar works, too.
The technique is ingenious: mix the oats, flour and cheese, and then drizzle melted butter and water in. At that point, it looks like wet oatmeal.
But after 10 or 15 minutes, the quick oats have soaked some water in and everything starts to come together into dough. To cut them into circles, I used the biscuit cutter my Scottish aunt gave me when I was 14.
In the oven, the oatcakes don't spread, but instead crisp up and puff just a bit. Once they have cooled, they are firm but a little crumbly, and all together the nicest mid-morning snack you could have. Or mid-afternoon.
P.S. If you're curious about the plate, it's my great-grandmother Henrietta McGaw's wedding china. She was from another Scottish island, the Isle of Skye.
One year ago: lentil soup with chorizo croûtes
Two years ago: rhubarb syrup and cauliflower and mull cheddar soup (must be something about this time of year that calls for mull cheddar!)
Three years ago: gouda and roasted pepper dip and grilled chicken sandwiches
Four years ago: sour cream coffee cake
Five years ago: swedish tea cookies
slightly adapted from Lucy Waverman, Globe and Mail
bakes about 30 oatcakes
2/3 c. steel-cut oats
1 1/2 c. quick-cooking oats
1/2 c. wheat flour
30 g. millet flour
20 g. sweet rice flour
20 g. potato starch
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp. regular salt)
4 oz. (about 1 1/2 c.) sharp cheddar, grated
3/4 c. butter, melted
1 – 2 tbsp. water
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Stir both kinds of oats, flour(s), salt and cheddar together in a large bowl. Drizzle the melted butter and water over top. Stir until well mixed. Let stand 10 – 15 minutes, until it's firmed up and can come together. If it still feels too crumbly, add a little more water and stir it in.
Flour your working surface with wheat flour or, if gluten-free, sweet rice flour. Get out a 2 1/2 inch cutter and rolling pin. Knead the dough into a ball. Roll out with floured rolling pin until about 1/4 inch thick. Flour cutter and cut out biscuits. Put biscuits on baking sheets. Bake 25 – 30 minutes, until they have a little colour and are lightly golden around the edges. Let cool on baking sheet.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Over the past ten days, we have made three different kinds of chicken soup.
We've made them all to help cure a dreadful cough that's kept us up at night and breaking into hacking fits during the day. Oh, and because chicken soup tastes good.
This is soup number two. (I might also tell you about soup number three soon.)
I've been making it for at least five years now, ever since I saw Giada waxing on about it in her pretty way while I was on a plane to Toronto. I'd never seen Giada before, and the recipe struck me so much that I bought her cookbook when I got home again. For this soup alone, the book is worth it.
While I believe in the power of chicken bones in broth, I also get tired and lazy when I have the plague. Giada calls for a rotisserie chicken, which – if you can brave going to the grocery store while you're having a coughing fit at the very busiest time of day – makes it dead easy. (Just pack a couple cough candies for the trip.)
We usually shred half the chicken for this soup, and shred the other half for the freezer to ponder for a future meal. Otherwise, it's simple. I added the step of frying the onion, carrot and celery because I think it helps the soup come together better, but after that, all you do is add broth and lemon juice, and eventually cook some broken-up spaghetti.
It might seem odd to top a chicken soup with parmesan cheese, but – trust me – it is lovely and salty against the freshness of the lemon in the soup. Altogether: very pleasing and welcome at this invalid's dinner table.
one year ago: spicy salmon broth
two years ago: stinging nettle soup
three years ago: paska and zeppelin pancakes
four years ago: gumdrop cookies
five years ago: butterscotch pudding and chocolate cheesecake
lemon chicken soup with spaghetti
adapted from Giada at Home by Giada di Laurentiis
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 big carrots, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
9 – 10 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1 bay leaf
1 c. broken spaghetti* (1 – 2 inch pieces)
2 c. cooked rotisserie chicken, shredded or diced
1/4 c. parsley, chopped
salt to taste
1 c. parmesan or asiago cheese, grated finely
Heat a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Melt the oil and butter. Add the onion, carrot and celery and fry until somewhat softened and the onions are glossy and starting to look clear, about 10 minutes. Stir every so often.
Add the broth, lemon juice and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer until the vegetables are tender, 10 – 15 minutes. Add the spaghetti and cook until the noodles are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Add the chicken and heat through. Stir the parsley in. Taste for salt, knowing you will also add salty cheese to your bowls of soup soon.
Ladle into bowls, and let everyone top their bowl with a good helping of cheese. Eat!
*We use gluten-free corn spaghetti by La Veneziane
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
This is the kind of food that satisfies all my cravings, and doesn't even have a speck of butter or cheese. What it does have is peanut butter, which seems to make everything – sweet or savoury – much better.
Deb with Smitten Kitchen calls this "Single Girl's Dinner." I could imagine it would be good eaten alone, since it tastes much like take out (but about a zillion times better). But I can't call it that because Scott likes it just as much as I do.
That's a good thing, because we served it for his birthday last year and it was great party food that stretched and stretched (along with some Mexican meatballs in tomato-chipotle sauce) for seconds and thirds and even leftovers.
The peanut dressing alone, with ginger and soy and rice vinegar and honey, is the kind of thing where you feel compelled to either lick the mixing bowl or get out a spatula to get every last drop.
And that's before you've mixed it with stretchy buckwheat soba noodles, peppers, carrots and sesame baked tofu . . . and showered sesame seeds on top.
It all comes together into the most pleasing peanut butter noodle dish. I could eat it again right now.
one year ago: brigadeiros
two years ago: night circus mice
three years ago: lemon gumdrops
four years ago: up island
five years ago: sophisticated marshmallow squares and a soup among friends
peanut sesame noodles
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
1/4 c. soy sauce*
1/3 c. warm water
1 tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp. Asian toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. Korean red pepper flakes or a splash of your favourite hot sauce
noodles and veg
340 g. (3/4 lb.) soba noodles*
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 small yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
4 carrots, julienned or thickly grated
1 batch sesame baked tofu (recipe follows)
3 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
Get the sesame baked tofu going (see below).
Blend the dressing ingredients together until smooth, ideally with an immersion blender. Set aside.
Bring a big pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the soba noodles 6 – 8 minutes, until tender with a hint of a bite. Strain them and rinse well with cold water.
Stir the dressing, noodles, green onions, peppers, carrots and sesame-soy tofu together. Mix well. Serve and top each with a liberal coating of sesame seeds.
sesame baked tofu
via Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook
2 tbsp. soy sauce*
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 block firm tofu, chopped into cubes
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
Whisk the soy sauce, sesame oil and pepper together in a medium bowl. Toss the tofu in the dressing. Spread the tofu cubes onto the prepared baking pan. Bake for about 15 minutes.
*If you are making this meal gluten-free, make sure the soba is 100% buckwheat with no wheat and that your soy sauce doesn't contain wheat.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
If you come visit us over a weekend, we will probably make you buttermilk pancakes for breakfast.
Or maybe buttermilk waffles. They're both from the same master recipe and equally good but completely different.
When the pancakes are crisping and bubbling on the griddle, I'll lay that paper-thin slice of fruit right onto the pancake. It gets a little caramelized when the pancake is flipped and the whole shebang ends up feeling and tasting like a proper weekend breakfast.
These are slices of apple-pear that someone has been keeping in cold storage just for me to put on pancakes. (Also to add to fennel salad.)
The pancake recipe comes from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham and the idea for adding sliced fruit (like peaches! and nectarines!) comes from Smitten Kitchen.
Buttermilk pancakes with apple-pear tops for the weekend. Only three more days . . .
|These buttermilk pancakes with apple-pear tops are served with a |
dollop of yogurt and saskatoon-currant preserves.
one year ago: gluten-free crêpes and salted butter break-ups
two years ago: spiced red lentil stew with greens and lemon
three years ago: cheddar corn chowder
four years ago: grand forks borscht (the most popular recipe on this blog!)
five years ago: dahl for dinner, dahling and canadian boterkoek
buttermilk pancakes with apple-pear tops
adapted from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham
griddles up about 24 pancakes, serving 4 – 6
2 eggs, separated
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. thick plain yogurt
2 c. (280 g.) wheat flour
92 g. tapioca starch
92 g. potato starch
96 g. brown rice flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter, melted plus more for frying the pancakes
1 - 2 apple-pears, pears, apples, peaches, nectarines, sliced thinly
Heat your griddle to medium-high.
Beat the egg yolks. Whisk them into the buttermilk and plain yogurt. Set aside.
Mix the flour(s), sugar, salt and baking soda together well. Add to the yolk mixture and mix well. Stir the melted butter in. Set aside.
Beat the egg whites until stiff but still moist. Fold them into the batter.
Lightly grease your griddle with butter. Dollop batter onto the griddle to make pancakes that are about 3 inches in diameter. Carefully place thinly-sliced fruit right on the batter. Look for little bubbles to show the pancakes have set and flip them over for another minute or so. Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
In her headnote in Dinner Chez Moi, Laura Calder says this jelly is both sexy and wobbly.
That description was enough to draw me in. Two years later, I must have made this jelly ten or twelve times, and it still comes out sexy and wobbly, and just exactly the way jelly must have been before commercial Jell-o came along.
It also tastes pleasingly like a creamsicle with the delicate taste of real oranges and a very soft chantilly cream settling into its wobbly nooks and crannies.
It's a very forgiving recipe for having just four ingredients – as long as you do the gelatin right. Sometimes, I don't have enough oranges and I throw in some freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice, and that also makes a lovely orange jelly.
Lately, it has also occurred to me that these jelly ratios would work with almost any fruit juice. Come summer, I am most looking forward to trying Saskatoon berries and black currants. Oh, and what about rhubarb juice in the spring? Imagine a pale pink wobbly spring jelly. Sigh.
But for now, it's winter and oranges are abundant. This particular jelly used a combination of navel and tangelo minneola oranges, as well as one lonely Seville that didn't make it into this year's batch of whisky marmalade.
It set softly into its wobbly self and makes me dream of sunshine and places where oranges grow.
one year ago: eating out in japan
two years ago: panna cotta with red wine syrup
three years ago: caramel chocolate mousse
four years ago: turnip puff to the rescue!
five years ago: olympic mint nanaimo bars
orange jelly with chantilly cream
from Dinner Chez Moi by Laura Calder
2 1/2 c. (625 mL) freshly-squeezed orange juice (from about 8 oranges)
4 tsp. (20 mL) gelatin
1/4 c. (55 g.) sugar
Lightly sweetened vanilla-scented whipping cream, loosely whipped (for serving)
Set out a 3-cup (740 mL) bowl.
Strain your freshly-squeezed orange juice through a fine-mesh sieve. Set aside.
Get out a small glass bowl and pour 1/4 cup water into it. Sprinkle gelatin over. Set aside to soften.
In a small pot, stir the sugar into another 1/4 cup water. Boil about 3 minutes to dissolve. Whisk the sugar syrup into the orange juice. Set aside.
Boil an inch of water in a small saucepan and turn the heat off. Set the small bowl of gelatin in the hot water for a few minutes. Stir to melt it into liquid. Once it's fluid and clear, whisk into the orange juice mixture. Strain and pour into your serving bowl. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.
Serve in small bowls with runny chantilly cream.