Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Buffalo Mozzarella My Love



This was by far one of the best salads I have had in awhile.
Simon will argue as he preferred the salad we had for dinner (stay tuned for the next post kiddies!)

I went to La Bottega on the market and bought this huge chunk'o'fabulous'cheese, Full Fat Water Buffalo Milk. So soft. Lightly salty. I am a bit shy to say... sexy. Yes, sexy cheese.


On the plate: Buffalo Mozzarella, swiss chard from our garden, heirloom tomato, oregano leaves, piment d'alep, garlic, olive oil.


Stunning heirloom tomatoes that I could not resist at the Farmer's Market even though I have a ton in the garden...

Monday, August 30, 2010

White Bean Dip - remix



My go-to dip this summer has been white been & herb.
Then I tried doing this dip for a recent potluck. I liked it lot, and as usual, I reworked it and reworked it...

We snacked on this with spiced&baked pitas. I first fell in love with baked pitas at Delish (a fantastic little shop that used to be in Ottawa, then moved to Hull...). I never knew what spices they used, and I never really have made up my mind on how I like them most, so it varies.

I usually mix about 1/4 cup canola oil with spices (not all of these at the same time, mix and match!): chili flakes, espelette, piment d'alep, curry powder, garlic powder, ground cumin, paprika, smoked paprika, turmeric, celery salt, freshly ground pepper and salt. Cut your pita bread, smother with the spice mix, bake at 350 and watch closely - they tend to change color fast!

Roasted Yellow Pepper and White Bean Dip
(my version of the FoodiePrints Dip)

1 can of white beans (Or if you are soaking your beans, one very large handful of dried)
1 yellow bell pepper, roasted, skin removed
1/3 cup cashews, roasted
1/3 cup canola oil
Espelette Pepper
Juice of half a lemon
2 cloves of garlic
Siracha to taste
Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
(I also added some leftover smoked tomato compote from last night and it was heavenly!!!)

Cod Cheeks and Chorizo


It has been a chorizo summer for us.
Ever since we discovered William J Walter, a little sausage shop right next to our house, it is hard to resist. I love that I can bike over and leave my beloved old bicyclette right outside. I love that the ladies at the shop recognize me.

I went to the farmers market with my mum yesterday too. I enjoyed seeing familiar faces, farmers, chefs. I loved dumping onions and garlic and potatoes in my fabric bag - no weighing, no scanning beep, no plastic bag.

I love that we eat well at home. I am so thankful to have the energy and drive to cook good meals for my man and I (and whoever drops in...).


On our plate: Fingerling potatoes with arugula, garlic, black olives, capers/grilled miniature bell peppers, spicy chorizo/espelette cod cheeks with a smoky tomato and yellow pepper compote.

Cod cheeks remind me of scallops. Very delicate. I seasoned both sides with salt, pepper and espelette and seared them delicately. Then added a splash of white wine and finished with a good dollop of the smoky tomato-pepper compote.

For the compote. Prepare a smoke pouch for the bbq (Thanks Jenna! You are the bbq queen!) and let it do the magic on your veggies... Do a batch of peppers and tomatoes, the smoky taste is a plus for dips & sauces! Tomatoes you can wrap lightly in foil (so that they don't ooze all over the place) or put in a foil baking tray. I did a nice mix of sauteed onions, tomato, peppers, piment d'alep, paprika.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tomato Sorbets


On my plate: roasted mini two color squash, patty pan, baby eggplant, orange and red bell peppers, heirloom tomatoes from the Castlegarth farm + some from our garden, arugula, lemon goat cheese, smokey golden tomato sorbet, herbed pink tomato sorbet.

Remember that I received beautiful heirloom tomatoes?

A lot of them were eaten raw, I find it is how I enjoy them most.
Some of the large misshapen ones were made into sorbet. Such intense flavor, a fantastic addition to any plate.

My obsession with sorbet started about 5-6 years ago.
We had a very expensive addiction to Benny's Bistro for breakfast. Their menu changes every 3-4 months, so you can stick to the same for awhile - which is exactly what I did. I had the roasted vegetable plate every single visit. On my plate were melt-in-your-mouth roasted eggplant, zucchini, peppers, some goat cheese and tomato sorbet to top it off. When it got taken off the menu I was devastated.

One day, I saw a job posting for a cook position at the Bistro. I was beyond excited.
I gathered all my courage, applied & was hired. Oh, I was soooooo happy.
It actually lasted two brunch shifts. The chef at the time really discouraged me about taking the job as he assured me that I would get bored quite quickly, the menu being the same for so long and me only being a line cook, coming in for service and that's it...

The most surprising thing he said to me: he of course remembered me as a client, and then he started laughing... I was the only one who ordered that roasted vegetable plate of the dozens of people who ate there every weekend. He wondered what odd person would order that over and over again for breakfast.



For the goat cheese

1 tiny brick of goat
herbs: chives, oregano, basil
lots of freshly ground pepper
Juice of half a lemon

For the smokey golden tomato sorbet

1 smoked yellow bell pepper
2 Tbsp caramelized vidalia onion
2 huge golden tomatoes, seeded, skin removed
1 tsp siracha
Pinch of espelette

For the herbed pink tomato sorbet

2 large pink tomatoes
1 handful of herbs (I put basil, oregano, a bit of chives)



The sorbets are really easy - whizz the ingredients and then put in a very fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth for a few minutes to remove a bit of the water. Freeze and when ready to use, scrape with a fork. Possibilities are endless, experiment, play with ingredients... Keep in mind that if you have really good tomatoes like I did, not much needs to be added!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Elderberry Ice Cream




I have not attempted ice cream often. It is simply not something that we usually crave - except for this summer. I don't know why, it has been a frozen treat filled past few months...

Our chef at work found this really simple recipe for ice cream two years ago.
Amazingly simple.
If you google condensed milk ice cream, the same recipe pops up again and again. I varied a bit, preferring to simmer the cream with a vanilla bean hoping to add some oomph.

I simmered my gift-elderberries with white sugar and honey. I do still have some leftover, lots of syrup. I saw some recipes that added water - don't. They will juice out enough with sugar.




For the elderberries

1 pint elderberries
1 1/4 cups sugar (I adjusted as they simmered...taste as you go)
Juice of a 1/4 lemon
1/4 cup honey

Simmer all ingredients for about 30-45 minutes. Chill.



For the ice cream

1 3/4 cups whipping cream
1 can condensed milk (I did not use it all! It is too sweet to my liking, again, taste as you go)
1 vanilla bean, slit open
Pinch of salt

Bring the cream and vanilla bean to a slow simmer. Cool, remove seeds from bean and incorporate into cream. Chill.

When the cream is cold, add salt, whip to a soft peak, and slowly add the condensed milk with the motor running on low. Freeze in a large pyrex for a couple of hours.

Take out the ice cream and scatter some elderberries and a bit of syrup on top. Return to freezer for one hour more. Once both have set, you can delicately mix with a wide spatula to create swirls. Do not overmix as you will create a pattern with your ice cream scoop as you serve anyways.

Leftover syrup?
Cheers to friends and food!



Mix with sparkling water, cava or ginger ale.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Time Out


Smile, be silly, have a good laugh. I know I look good with a 'stache...

Sometimes you have to stop, recharge, and go again.

I rarely speak about my job but I can say a few things: I've been busy. I love planning parties and weddings. I'm happy the most of it is over, for a few weeks at least. Then it gets crazier.

When I work much, I can't get my hands as dirty in the kitchen.
But...

We had a little shingding and it was fun. (Exhibit A & B) If only it had been sunny, I would have invited more people!

I have gotten so many fantastic food gifts lately! Nothing can make me happier.



Elderberries from Rachelle and her husband.



A big basket of breathtaking heirloom tomatoes from a fantastic chef.



Fresh picked plums from Shari.

ps. I said nothing could make me happier than food, but, if I could get a sponsor for new pans to cook better food and a new camera to take better pictures of food, that would be swell.
ha ha.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Grilled Peach and Maple Syrup Pudding




My mum came by last night and was snooping around the kitchen. 'What are those peaches for, any luck with peaches so far this summer?'

No luck with peaches so far for me, they are simply not there yet. The ones on my counter last night were such a beautiful color, very orangey-pink. Then, they were grilled. Cubed. Made into a delicious breakfast.

Grilled Peach and Maple Syrup Pudding

5 grilled peaches

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup milk
Pinch of salt

1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 3/4 cups boiling water

Peel and cube peaches. Put into a 9x9 pyrex pan.

Heat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mix the second set of ingredients. It will be very gooey. Put on top of the cubed peaches. Mix the third set of ingredients in another bowl, pour over the dumplings and peaches.
Should be ready in about 40 minutes!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Halibut with Corn, Crispy Capicollo




This all came together because

a) I was inspired by Scott's grilled corn soup.
b) I saw halibut on sale, had to buy.
c) I had to use the jalapenos and tomatoes that are overflowing in my garden.

I pan seared the lightly floured halibut until golden. Crisped up the capicollo in the oven. Did the soup recipe but left it chunky. Did the basil oil drizzle also.

After dinner, the leftover corn soup was passed through a sieve, and I just cannot wait to eat it for lunch!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Spring Pea Soup


This color is amazing.

Spring Pea Soup

1/2 sweet onion
oil
Vegetable stock
2 cups shelled peas
2 sprigs mint (or more, to taste)
Salt
Yoghurt (to taste, I put about 1/2 cup)
Lemon juice

Cook the onion until translucent in a bit of oil. Add about 3 cups of stock. Bring to a boil. Add peas, cook until tender (less than 2 minutes!). Puree with some mint and pass through a sieve. Cool. Add yoghurt, a bit of lemon juice, more mint and salt. Serve cold.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Spicy Watermelon Soup



Melons are so inexpensive right now, I simply cannot resist buying them.
One of my favourite things to do is chilled soup. Slightly spicy. Full of herbs.

Chili Watermelon Soup

1 small melon, seeded
2 garden cucumbers, peeled
1/4 cup red onion
Mint
Thai basil
1 lime (more if not so juicy...)
2 Tbsp chili oil (or more, to taste)

Blend it!

Fresh coriander leaves are also great for this soup, sadly, I did not have any on hand...

Food as a gift



Rachelle and her husband gave us these greens. They are called Sandfire Greens, or, even better in French, 'tétines de souris'!

First of all, these are so beautiful. Like nothing I had seen before. They smell fresh, like the ocean. Like a just-shucked oyster. They are also soft to the touch, delicate but very much alive.

I asked a cute little girl from the East what she would do with them... oh yum! she said, fry them!

So I did.



We ate the lightly battered greens with halibut (dill, lemon zest, noilly), Swiss Chard (white wine, butter, lemon), yellow beans, fried daisy berries.

Food as a gift. Nothing makes me smile more.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Corn, Jalapeno and Green Tomato Fritters



What was important on this plate was not that...

...the chicken was marinated in lime, garlic, cumin. Then rubbed with lime zest, freshly ground pepper and grilled to perfection.

...the sweet peppers, rubbed with espelette, were so colorful.

...the avocado was so silky smooth, mixed with lime juice, garlic and cumin.

...the cute multi-colored garden tomatoes were a devilish mix of sweet and spicy.

The all important elements on this plate were the fritters. I think my man automatically makes a connection: tiny jalapenos trees in garden = spicy corn fritters. He is genuinely happy when I say that we have a lot of jalapenos ready to be picked.

I came home today and was so tired. When I am tired, I feel like eating too many things at once. That is when plates like this happen. Overload.

Corn, Jalapeno and Green Tomato Fritters

1 ear of corn
5 jalapeno peppers, most seeds removed (I leave a bit for heat), chopped
10 baby green tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg white
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 small handful coriander, chopped
Salt

Funny Misshapen Carrots



We have tons, tons, of carrots in the garden.
All the colors imaginable. All the shapes too!

I took the funny misshapen ones to do this soup.

Carrot and Orange Soup

Carrots (About three good handfuls)
1 beet
1 onion
Vegetable stock
Orange juice
thyme
salt and pepper

Cook the onion in a bit of oil. Add the carrots and beet, cook for about 5 minutes. Add about 1/3 cup of orange juice, then the vegetable stock. Let simmer until vegetables are tender. Purée in a blender, then pass through a sieve. Adjust seasoning, add a bit of thyme leaves.

We ate this soup cold with a swirl of yoghurt, delicious.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Growing in our Garden: Borlotti Beans



I don't quite remember the name that was written on my little envelope.
Borlotti? Cranberry? Romano?

You see, I am horrible with names.
They just don't stick. I have to make funny associations in my head, they often involve animals, food, colors.

This is not ideal for work. People love to chat about chefs and restaurants - It often takes me awhile to figure out who they are talking about. Maybe it is a plus in some cases though... I guess I am fabulous for people with big egos: I bring them back to earth by not knowing who they are. Just impress me with your person, not your name.



These beans impressed me by their beautiful color. If only it stayed after they cooked.

They turns to a purple brown color. We ate them tossed in freshly torn herbs, lemon and good olive oil.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Orange, Banana & Yoghurt Cake




This is a really delicious cake for breakfast, not too sweet, very moist because of the yoghurt. I love that is it quick to prepare and cook.

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 banana
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1/2 cup yoghurt
Zest of one orange
1/3 cup orange juice

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a cake pan (I used a bundt loaf pan)

Mix the butter and sugar, incorporate mashed banana. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and and baking soda. In a third bowl, mix the remaining ingredients. Slowly add the flour mixture into the banana base, alternating with orange-yoghurt.

Cook for about 35 minutes. Cooking times depend on the pan you use, check for doneness with a toothpick - it should come out crumb free.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Do What You Love



No recipes, simply a quiet hello.
I am tired, exhausted.

Life was just going a bit too fast. Too noisy. Too much.
For a moment, I even forgot that I had to help my best friend prepare some food for a crowd tonight.
I am not a forgetful person. I just have too much on my plate. A big buffet plate.

But nothing could ever get in the way of helping friends.
No day is too long if you are doing what you love.
Even if you are really tired, you still are smiling.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sweet.



We are eating a lot of cherries lately. I ate two of these little sundaes. Yummy in the tummy.

We are also eating lots of blueberries. Our breakfast, blueberry & almond crumble muffins.



As I am writing this, I am also noticing that I am eating a lot of sugar. My breakfast yesterday... Delicious, Irresistible, Almost-Driving-Me-To-Obsession Morning Buns from Bridgehead. I had to talk myself out of buying two. Sugary, melt in your mouth, slightly lemony goodness.



Two paper bags full of garden bounty for Kaitlin.
She suggested we trade. I get... sweets!




She gets herbs, and herbs, and herbs. Zucchini, Swiss chard, beets, trevisio.
I love trades.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pimms & Ginger Beer



The first time I had a Pimms drink was over ten years ago.
It was at a wedding, actually, the first of my friends to get married.

What I remember even more was my welcome drink.
Even though I was surrounded by all these people, I felt quite lonely.
My boyfriend of 7 years had just left me, no one knew yet, and we attended the wedding 'as a couple' as we did not want to draw any attention to the situation on this special day.
So I sat outside, on the back porch, my gold dress sparkling in the late afternoon sun. And I sipped this delicious drink.

The father of the groom was a butcher, so the food was perfect - I remember well sitting down with my very carnivorous plate. And I remember that the butcher's other son made me blush.

Pimms Cup

1-2 onces of Pimms
4 oz ginger beer
Lemon
Slices of cucumber
Mint
Lots of ice!
 
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