Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pasta Salad with Pesto and Asparagus



With the arrival of asparagus at the local farmer's market, I can't resist putting together one of my favorite spring salads. Toss in some homemade pesto, small tomatoes; garnish with parsley and voila a fresh pasta dish on its own or a delicious accompaniment to your favorite grilled meat. If you have any questions about the recipe, just drop me a line and it will be a pleasure to answer them.

LES CULTURES GOURMANDES

A few shots of this weekend's Pointe-A-Calliere Museum's Cultural Feast, held in Old Montreal from May 29 to May 30th. It is a family friendly outing with activities for the kids, music and numerous booths offering a variety of foods from Montreal's diverse cultural community.



Donut Muffins

I discovered this recipe on the Food Network "Community" site. The photo submitted by one of the members looked so appetizing; that I couldn't resist making these "donut muffins'. The results are quite surprising, as you can see from my own photo above! The trick is to use mini muffin trays instead of the traditional size muffin trays. So watch out Tim Horton; you are about have some stiff competition with these baked goodies that are under the no fry zone. Much healthier version for you but with all the addictive flavors of tiny 'Timbits'. Only two small changes to the original recipe; I substituted the margarine for the natural and rich flavor of butter and doubled the recipe. The recipe makes makes 36 donut bits (mini muffins)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 11/2teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2teaspoon baking powder
  • 2cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 36 mini-muffin cups.
  2. Mix 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir in the milk, then mix in the baking powder and flour until just combined. Fill the prepared mini muffin cups about 3/4 full.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops are lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. While muffins are baking, place 1/2 cup of melted butter in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup of sugar with the cinnamon. Remove the muffins and dip each muffin in the melted butter, and roll in the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Let cool and serve.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Garde Manger Restaurant

To all the Food Network fans out there, I wanted to share a photo of Chuck Hughes' restaurant in Old Montreal. The exterior of the restaurant is simple and unpretentious, not even a sign to indicate its name, much like the charming host himself and his cuisine. Though unpretentious, the food is far from simple with its fresh ingredients and rich flavors. Upon entering the front door you embark on a memorable dining experience; enhanced by his beautiful and capable staff. Should you be lucky enough to meet Chuck himself, you discover that he is the real deal. His energy and exuberance are evident; as you see him interact with the staff in the open kitchen of his restaurant. Even without the cameras rolling, his endearing smile seems always present and upon request; manages to find a few minutes to give you his personal greeting.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fruit Tart with Lemon Curd Filling


Nothing beats a sweet and tangy fruit tart for a scrumptious summer dessert. The star of this tart is the refreshing lemon curd filling bursting with flavors. It is sure to become a family favorite.

Ingredients: 
Lemon Curd:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
4 eggs
1/2 cup whipping cream
Add the sugar, lemon juice, lemon rind and butter in a saucepan.  Stir the ingredients on medium heat  until dissolved. In a bowl beat the eggs and  gradually pour in a steady stream  the lemon mixture. This method will temper the beaten eggs when adding the hot mixture. Transfer back to the saucepan and simmer for 1-2 minutes to allow the lemon/egg mixture to thicken. Pour into a glass bowl and place a plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a crust from forming. Refrigerate for  2-3 hours.  
Fold in the whipping cream and serve.

Trout and Jerusalem Couscous


I finally managed to track down Jerusalem couscous(also known as Israeli couscous) and in celebration, broke into my tiny stock of saffron for the occasion to enhance its flavor. Jerusalem couscous is made from durum wheat semolina and readily absorbs the flavors which it is cooked in.

Focaccia



I experimented with the no-knead bread dough and lo and behold; it worked. I simply added some olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and malt (about 1 tablespoon) to the original recipe. The photos speak for themselves. The focaccia turned out delicious. If you are tempted to give it a try and have any questions, drop me a line.

Ingredients:

Dough:
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons light virgin oil

Tomato topping:
 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half  and juice squeezed out
1 garlic clove finely minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin oil
2 tablespoons grated parmigiano reggiano
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 -3/4 cup mozzarella,diced
salt
pepper


METHOD 

DOUGH:
The night before:

In a mixing bowl add the flour, the yeast and the salt. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, blend the dry ingredients.



Pour in 1 1/2 cup of water, 3 tablespoons of light virgin oil, and mix. Pull together the dough using your hands or a wooden spoon. 




Scrape any excess flour from the bottom and sides of the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well incorporated and form into a ball.  The dough will have a stringy texture.



Place a piece of plastic wrap on the bowl to avoid the dough from drying out. Allow to rise in a warm dry, and draft free place for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. The photo to the right is dough that has risen overnight.

The next day: 
Transfer the dough to a greased and floured 12 " pizza tray. Dust the dough  lightly with flour, and with your hands spread out to the edges of your pizza pan, forming a disk. Drizzle with oil and season with salt.  Sprinkle fresh or dried rosemary on the top.  Place in a draft free place to allow to rise a second time for 1-2 hours
.

Topping:
While the dough is rising, prepare the topping by adding the prepared tomatoes in a bowl and tossing in the olive oil, parmigiano reggiano, the smoked  mozzarella, the minced garlic, oregano and seasoning with salt and pepper.
Once the dough has risen a second time spread  the tomato cheese topping gently on the focaccia dough.



Bake in a pre-heated 500ยบ F oven for 15-20 minutes.



Thursday, May 20, 2010

Haricots Verts Amandine


Haricots verts are smaller, slender, green beans; with a more complex flavour and tend to be more tender than the traditional string beans we are accustomed to.


Haricots Verts Amandine
In a sauce pan or double boiler cook a pound of haricots verts for about five minutes. They should still be crunchy. Strain the beans and place them in a bowl filled with ice water; to help retain their vibrant green colour. Once again, strain the beans and set aside. In a saute pan heat about three tablespoons of butter. Add one third cup of sliced almonds and toast. Toss in the beans ; season with salt and continue to cook for a minute or two. Squeeze one half of lemon juice over the beans and garnish with chopped parsley. Serves 4 to 6

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Hallelujah"

Just before calling it a night; I made a last attempt to retrieve my lost data and low and behold, it worked.
Hi everyone,
This is not a new recipe post, but rather a plea for patience and understanding as I attempt to work out the glitches on my blog site. I swear that if there is any truth to reincarnation, I will request to come back as a computer geek and (though unrelated) with a fabulous singing voice. To get back to my computer woes, I was in a total panic this morning; when either through a will of its own,(much like the car Christine in that movie, or through Google's unwanted divine intervention of modifying its templates, or my own unbridled enthusiasm to push another button,(like Alice in Wonderland), my blog template was changed in shape and size. So the adventurous but naive me, decided to enter deeper into the virtual labyrinth of the computer world and rectify the situation; only to find myself in a new realm, beyond my control. Similar to a good Star Wars movie, you lose some warriors along the way as did I. My Followers were annihilated as was my intro to the blog. Even the ads, my new e-store and my fish bit the dust. I am in total mourning, but through my grief will find the courage or the idiocy to go where no computer illiterate dare to go and attempt to avenge their demise. So please continue to log on to see where this unwanted adventure transports me to next. Unfortunately, there appears to be no instant solution; no ruby slippers to take me home to Kansas, at least for now.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Zelinda's Medley....Pasta with Marinara Sauce, Meatballs and Rapini



This was a familiar combination at my parent's dinner table. Even with the test of time, it remains not only a great standby but one of my own family's favorite dishes. Nothing beats my mom's meatball recipe, so tender and tasty, that it is hard to just have one.To complete the dish , rapini with its slightly bitter taste is a nice balance to the sweetness of the tomato sauce.

Whole Wheat No Knead Bread



I know that some of you have been wondering about the possibility of adapting the original no knead bread recipe to whole wheat.  The answer is yes; as you can see from my finished product. Simply follow the recipe posted earlier but cut the amount of white flour in half, and add 11/2 cups of whole wheat flour.  The loaf  is then baked in a traditional loaf pan, at a slightly lower temperature.  I doubled the recipe;and baked the loaves at 475 degrees F. in two greased loaf pans. The results were better than expected. The bread freezes well and slices more easily, compared to other bread recipes.  It is great for sandwiches and of course toast.  Try making French toast, it is much more delicious than using store bought bread. Don't forget to drop me a line and let me know how your bread turns out.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Poppy Seed Lemon Loaf


Every time I add poppy seeds to my lemon loaf it makes me chuckle. I always associate it with the Seinfeld episode, where Elaine discovers her opium results were from her eating poppy seed muffins. So I must advise you to avoid consuming a slice of this loaf prior to any blood work. All to say, that the ability to laugh is also an essential ingredient in any kitchen, especially when things go awry.

Poppy Seed Lemon Loaf1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup blue poppyseeds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk

In a mixing bowl cream the butter; continue beating while gradually adding the sugar. Beat in the eggs and stir in the lemon zest. Blend in the dry ingredients (flour,salt, baking powder and poppyseeds), alternately with the milk. Do not over beat. Pour into a prepared 81/2'' x41/2'' loaf pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 50-60 minutes.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pasta with Sausage, Arugula and Spinach

Small tomatoes on the vine and a healthy amount of extra virgin olive oil, give this sauce a real taste of Italy. The wine in the recipe doesn't hurt either. It infuses the Italian sausages with wonderful flavors and allows the peppery arugula and delicate spinach to bath in its tasty juices. A simple one dish meal, both satisfying and delicious.

Pasta with Sausage, Arugula and Spinach
1/2 pound short ridged pasta (cooked a la dente)
2 Italian sausages (sliced in 1 inch slices)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 garlic finely chopped
1/2 cup of white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
8 cocktail tomatoes on the vine (cut in thick wedges)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
4 cups baby arugula
4 cups of baby spinach
Parmesan cheese

In a large frying pan add a small amount of oil and the sausage slices. Brown the meat and transfer to a dish. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the same pan and add the onion, garlic to the hot oil. Saute for about 2 to 3 minutes and add the wine. Pour in the chicken broth and continue to cook for a minute; return the sausages to the pan. Continue cooking to allow the flavors to infuse and sausages to fully cook. Add the chopped tomatoes, fresh oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for an additional 3 minutes and toss in the arugula and spinach. When the arugula and spinach have wilted, add the drained past and toss. Plate the pasta; drizzle more olive oil and grate parmesan cheese over the pasta. Serves 4

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake



I adapted this recipe from a simple streusel coffee cake recipe;by adding the almonds and the blueberries. It was a hit and no doubt the new family favorite. This recipe is quite easy and somewhat guilt free as the batter and streusel do not contain butter. This time around I opted to forgo the oil in the streusel and go for the full flavor of the butter.

Streusel
!/2 cup brown sugar firmly packed
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup soft butter
1 teaspoons cinnamon

In a small bowl add the above ingredients and work with your fingers until it resembles very coarse meal. Set aside

Batter
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/2 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries (dusted in 1 tsp. flour)

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a mixing bowl beat the egg and add the sugar, oil orange juice and vanilla and continue beating until combined. Add the flour and baking powder to the egg mixture and beat just to combine the ingredients. Pour half of the batter into a prepared 8 1/2 " x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan and spread the blueberries on top. Sprinkle half of the streusel on the blueberries and spread the remaining batter on top. Sprinkle the rest of the streusel on top of the batter and bake for 40- 45 minutes.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Dijon Mustard Brandy Sauce



 Use your imagination with this next recipe; and feel free to alter the ingredients for the stuffing. Simply aim for ingredients which you enjoy and which will complement pork. Serve it on a bed of polenta with haricots verts amandine and voila, another great meal from your own kitchen.


Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Dijon Mustard Brandy Sauce
1 pork loin, (about 1 lb)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

Stuffing
1 finely chopped shallot
2 small apples finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 cup cooked drained spinach and chopped
4 dried figs diced
2 fresh sage leaves finely chopped
pinch of cinnamon
splash of brandy
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter

Brandy Sauce
1/4 cup brandy
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard (regular)
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard (with seeds)
2 to 3 tablespoons 35 % cream

In a frying pan heat the butter and cook the shallots til transparent. Add the apples, sage, sugar and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour in the brandy and cook another 2 minutes. Set aside in a small bowl and allow to cool.
Trim the tenderloin and butterfly the meat, by slicing it in half lengthwise. Do not cut right through the other side. Place the meat on a work board and cover with plastic wrap. Pound the meat to about 1/2 inch thick. Remove the plastic wrap and spread the apple stuffing and the spinach. Fold the loin as illustrated. Place four 6 inch cooking strings crosswise on a work surface and one 18 inch cooking string lengthwise, on top of the shorter strings. Place the folded tenderloin on the strings and tie to secure the stuffing.
Heat the butter and oil in a skillet and sear the meat on all sides. Set aside the skillet with drippings for the sauce. Continue to roast the loin in a pre-heated 350degree F. oven until the meat reaches 150 degrees on a meat thermometer. Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting.
Return the skillet to the stove element and on medium heat, deglaze with 1/4 cup of brandy. Whisk in the mustard and add the chicken broth. Allow to reduce and add the cream. Finish the sauce with a dab of cold butter.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cranberry Orange Scones

These scones will make a nice addition to your next Sunday brunch feast. Also pictured are blueberry corn muffins and pecan raisin bran muffins.


Cranberry Orange Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup butter
2 eggs
1/3 cup 35% cream

Topping:
egg white
turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a mixing bowl or food processor, sift the flour, 2 tablespoons sugar,baking powder and the salt. Stir in orange zest to combine. Add the butter and cut into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in the cranberries. If using a food processor, transfer the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and cream. Make a well in the flour mixture and gradually pour in the wet ingredients. Blend to incorporate the ingredients to form a dough. Do not over work the dough. Form a ball and on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a round disk, about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into triangles and brush with egg white. Sprinkle each triangle with the turbinado sugar and place on a prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Seafood Linguine

A simple marinara sauce goes a long way. Add some seafood; and your guests will be impressed with this scrumptious main course. So who needs the high cost of a restaurant seafood dish, when you can easily whip this up at home. Some of the best meals can come out of our own kitchen. I hope this inspires some of you, to return to home cooking.

Seafood Linguine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion finely chopped
1/2 small carrot finely chopped
1/2 celery stalk finely chopped
1 garlic finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
16 ounces crushed canned tomatoes
salt and pepper

1 lb shrimp (about 4 per person)
1/2 lb scallops (8 scallops)
8 crab claws (defrosted/ pre-cooked)
2 tablespoons parsley chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 lb linguine
chopped parsley for garnish

In a saucepan heat the oil and butter. Saute the onions until translucent; add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute. Add the carrots, celery and cook until the vegetables are soft. Pour in the wine and stir. Add the tomatoes and cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
Prepare your seafood. In a frying pan with a small amount of butter or a prepared grill pan, sear the scallops, about 3 minutes on each side. Set aside. In a frying pan heat a small amount of butter and add the shrimp, garlic and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the shrimp until they turn pink, about 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overcook. Saute the defrosted crab claws in garlic butter. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water, al dente and drain. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss. Arrange the seafood on the linguini and serve. the plate with the seafood and parsley. Serves 4

Teriyaki Marinade

I have promised to post my teriyaki marinade and it is long overdue. It gives great flavor to meats and tofu. Mirin sauce, a Japanese rice wine, replaces sugar in the recipe and creates a lovely glaze on the meat when grilled. It is now available in most grocery stores.

Teriyaki Marinade
1/2 cup Kikkoman soy sauce
1 large garlic clove finely chopped
1/4 cup light olive oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons mirin sauce
1/2tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Simply whisk together all the ingredients or use a blender. Marinate tofu or meat for about an hour.