Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fried Zucchini Blossoms

I've seen a lot of people blog about how amazing zucchini blossoms are. I've always wanted to try them. Last Saturday I was going to work, I'm working at the Rose Theatre in Brampton. Every Saturday there is a farmer market on the street next to the theatre. I was early so I decided to walk around. I finally came across zucchini blossoms. I was really excited... the only problem was that I would have to carry it around with me all day and then carry it home. Be it they aren't heavy but I was worried that they would start to wilt before I got home. Oh I should also explain that I'm Stage Managing Romeo and Juliet and it happens to be an outdoor show. Another reason why I didn't want to pick them up. Like I said in my farmers market post there is a market up the street from me every Saturday. I went and came across the most amazing looking zucchini blossoms. I got them and a pint of patty pan squash for $7.00. In total I got 25 zucchini blossoms. Some I made yesterday the rest I made today.

I stuffed the blossoms with a ricotta cheese mixture, dipped them in batter and fried it. I found that some of the cheese came out of a couple of them. But overall they where really good.

You will need:
12 Zucchini blossoms
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
6 basil leaves sliced
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese grated
1 clove of garlic minced
Salt and pepper

1 cup flour
1 cup tonic or soda water

Oil for frying

1) Cut the stems off the blossoms. Peel back the top half of the blossom so it looks like a open flower. 2) In a bowl mix together the ricotta, basil, Parmesan and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
3) Mix together the flour and soda water.
4) Using a pastry bag fill the blossoms with the filling. Each blossom will hold about 1 tablespoon of filling. Fill about 2/3 of the way. Then twist the top leaves together to seal.
5) Heat oil, dip the blossoms in the batter and let the excess batter drain off. Gently place in the oil and cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.


BBQ Steam Buns

I'm become addicted to these buns. They are so good. You can get them at Chinese bakeries and they are pretty inexpensive. The one that I go to whenever I'm in Chinatown sells them 3 for $2.00. They also have buns with bbq pork, hot dogs, tuna, cheese etc that they sell for 3 for $1.00. Now me being a natural glutton I always get a vast selection of buns when I go. I was there late last week, I was looking for fake knives for the show I'm working on. I didn't find the knives in Chinatown but I did get my self a "meat pie" filler. I'm planing on using it when I make my ravioli and perogies.

I ate most of the buns on the first day, I think I had 2 steam buns left. One I had for breakfast the other I thought about all day. I was on the train home and trying to curb my massive craving, it was bad. I decided that I would make my own steam buns. That way I'm not on the mercy of Chinatown. I looked at several recipes online, I even spoke to my friend Natalie. You know what I found out! You can use Oyster sauce and Hoisin sauce interchangably. You can also add seasme oil to the dough when you are mixing it or brush some of it over the dough before you add you filling. Also I keep forgetting to take pictures of stuff after it is made. So the next time I make these I'll add a picture of what it looks like steamed.

You will need for 20 medium sized buns

2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons sesame seed oil optional
20 wax paper squares, about 3"x3"

1) Add yeast to 1 cup of warm water, let rest for 5 minutes until foamy.
2) Add 1 cup of flour to the yeast mixture and mix to combine. Let rest for 1 hour.
3) Mix the sugar, and oil together, add to the yeast and flour mixture.
4) Mix in the remaining flour, knead for 10-15 minutes until smooth. Let rest for 2 hours or until double in volume.
5) Divide the dough in two. Roll each peice into a log and cut into 10 peices.
6) Roll the dough in 3 inch circles

7) Add 1 tablespoon or so of the BBQ Pork. Bring the dough together at the top to seal it. Make sure it is completely sealed or filling will leak out while steaming.

8) Place on a wax paper square and let rest for 30 minutes.
9) Using a bamboo steamer or a vegetable steamer, steam the buns for 15-20 minutes. I used a pot with 2 inches of water with a vegetable steamer ontop. I steamed 4 buns at a time.

To re-heat, steam the buns of 10 minutes or so.

BBQ Pork

2 tablespoons oil
1 green onion -chopped
1 clove garlic- minced
1/2 pound pork cut into small peices
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce or hoisin
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons

1) In a pan heat the oil add the green onions and sautee for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
2) Add the pork and cook for 2-3 minutes.
3) Add the soy, oyster sauce and sugar. Stir everything together and cook for 1 minute.
4) Add the cornstarch and water. Cook until the sauce becomes thick. If it gets to thick add some water or stock to thin it out.
5) Set aside and let cool before filling the buns.


My trip to the farmers market

Every Saturday there is a farmers market in the parking lot of the mall by my house. I finally got the chance to go to it. I had originally gone with the hope of finding heirloom tomato's and zucchini blossoms. But I found so much more....and no heirloom tomato's. I'm hoping I'll get to go back next Saturday, but it may be unlikely. I'm Stage Managing one of the stages at Brampton's Art of Jazz Festival. So I'll be pretty busy. Here are some pictures from my trip.

Patty Pan Squash

Zucchini Blossoms

Green Onions

Red Onion


Purple and Yellow Pepper

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Crispy Pork Chops

This is a simple recipe there are only 4 ingredients really...well 5 if you count the oil I used to cook it in. I found that these where a perfect picnic food, they transport really well and are super easy to make. You can change up the way it taste by using pre seasoned bread crumbs or adding your own herbs and spices to it. Feel free to experiment. I used pitas to bread these, but you can use bread crumbs, crackers or just plain flour.

You will need
2 pork chops
1 pita, slip in half and toasted.
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg beaten
2 tablespoon oil- for cooking

1) Pre-heat the oven to 350.
2) Using a food processor make bread crumbs out of the pitas.
3) In bowl or plate spread the bread crumbs out, add the cheese and mix to combine.
4) Dip the pork chops in the beaten egg, then dredge in the breadcrumb mixture. Set aside
5) Heat the oil in saute pan, you may need to do two batches depending on the size of you pan.
6) Add the pork chops and cook on each side until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
7) Remove from the pan and place on a cookie sheet, cook in the oven for 15 minutes or until cooked.


Fattoush ( Tomato and Cucumber Salad)

I've made this many times, it's really nice and light. The good thing about it is all the ingredients are available year round, but the summer is really the best time to have this. I used Sumac in this recipe, but that it optional. It is kind of hard to find and a little pricey. I've wanted to buy it for a while because Nigella has a could recipes where she uses it. When I was working on a show in Niagara Falls there was a bulk food store just down the street from my hotel. I was there one day and saw that they had it so naturally I had to have it.

You will need
1 cucumber peeled and diced
1 lb cherry tomato's cut in half or quarters
1/2 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
2 pitas
juice from 1/2 lime
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon sumac (optional)

1) Pre-heat the oven to 350. Split the pitas in half width ways and toast until golden. Careful not to burn, I've burned a lot of pitas in my time.
2) In a bowl add all the other ingredients. Mix.
3) Break the pita halves into bite sized pieces. Add half of them to the salad and stir everything together.
4) Just before serving add the remaining pitas.


Pigs in a blanket

Alright so like I said in the post before, I made these using a Nigella recipe. It is from her newest book Kitchen. I was really excited for these, mainly because she talked about going to a party and falling in love with them. Then when the party was over she ate all that was left. I think in the future I'll play with this recipe a bit. Maybe try different kinds of hot dog, veggie dogs, sausages etc.

You will need
1 sheet puff pastry
6 hot dogs, veggie dogs etc
1 egg beaten

For the dipping sauce
2 tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sour cream

1) Pre-heat the oven to 350. Roll out the puff pastry, cut it in half length ways.
2) Brush the beaten egg on the pastry.
3) Place one hot dog at the bottom of the pastry, roll it up until the hot dog is covered. Cut off the extra pastry. Repeat until all the pastry is used.
4) Cut the hot dogs into bit sized pieces and place on a cook sheet.
5) Brush the tops with the beaten egg and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Mustard Dipping Sauce

1) Stir the mustard's and sour cream together


A regular Sunday Picnic

Today Adam and I went down to the park by our apartment. We live right by Lake Ontario so the park is on the edge of it, it also has this amazing splash park. I decided last week that I wanted to go on a picnic...I also decided that Adam had to make something for it. Which he did and I was very happy. He made potato salad, I made pork chops, pigs in a blanket, custard tarts and a tomato and cucumber salad. When we where making everything we both where pretty excited, I was very excited about the pigs in a blanket because I tried a Nigella recipe. Overall we thought the best things where the pork chops and the potato salad. I was a little disappointed in the pig in a blanket, they are served with a mustard dipping sauce. Maybe it was the type of mustard I used but I found them meh. The tomato and cucumber salad I thought was ok, I added sumac to it which I sort of liked but I think I preferred it the way I normally make it. Either way I'll be posting the recipes for everything here.....I may even get Adam to do the post about the potato salad. We shall see.

I do have to add that the splash park was amazing. Truth be told I think it was for kids but Adam and I ran around it and had an amazing time, even though the water was a bit cold. We wanted to take pictures of us getting wet but never got around to it. So we took one when we where getting ready to leave.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Panzella Tomato, Basil and Bread Salad

It has got to be one of the tastiest things I've ever made. The best part is if you make it once you will never forget the recipe. I adjust the quantity of the ingredients every time I make it. I like mine to have extra basil and balsamic vinegar, sometimes I want an extra punch of garlic. I'll be taking some to work tomorrow. That's the wonderful thing about a dish like this, it transports really well. I don't even have to worry about keeping it cold. I'll just pop it in my bag on my way to the bus and take it out when I get hungry. 

Fresh tomato's are one of my most favorite things about summer, really I know it sounds silly but it's true. I'm always so interested in those heirloom tomato's that you find at farmers markets, or even super markets now for that matter. They always look so much better then those boring old red ones, who doesn't want a green tomato with strips or a bright yellow one?

I strongly believe that everyone should try this go ahead make it.

You will need
1 stale loaf of bread cubed
1 bunch of basil sliced
2 medium sized tomatoes diced
1 small onion sliced
2 garlic cloves minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
salt to taste

1) Pre-heat your oven to 350. Place the cubed bread on a baking sheet and place in the oven until golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2) In a large bowl add the garlic, onion, vinegar and oil. Let sit until bread is ready.
3) Add the tomato's and basil to the onion mixture, reserving 1/4 cup or so of the basil.
4) Add the bread, using your hand toss to combine. Season with salt.
5) Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
6) Just before serving sprinkle over the reserved basil.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Chocolate Pudding

Adam had asked me to make him pudding about a week or so ago. He reminded me about it a couple days ago so I decided that I would in fact make it for him. It's pretty easy to do, it reminded me of making Creme Brulee. The recipe that I read said to cook the pudding until it became the consistency of mayonnaise. Which is totally true, in fact that is pretty true when making any kind of custard. You can eat this pudding hot or chill it in the fridge for a couple hours. I tried both ways but I found that eating it cold with a little whip cream on top taste the best. If your a fan of pudding skin don't cover it plastic wrap before you chill it. However you do want to cover it once it is cold.

You will need for 4 generous servings

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour or corn starch
1/3 cup cocoa powder- sifted
pinch of salt
2/12 cups milk
1/2 cup whipping cream
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate
Vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter

1) In a large bowl mix the sugar, cocoa powder, flour and salt. Add 1/2 cup of milk and mix until combine
2) Meanwhile heat the milk and whipping cream until boiling.
3) Add one egg yolk at a time to the cocoa and milk mixture.
4) Slowly add the heated milk to the cocoa and milk mixture, stirring the whole time ( I used a whisk to combine everything).
5) Once all the hot milk in incorporated into the cocoa, pour into a pot and let cook until thick. Stirring constantly.
6) Once thick remove from the heat, add the vanilla, chocolate and butter, stir until chocolate is melted and everything is combine.
7) Pour into a bowl or into individual serving dishes. Cover and chill in the fridge.

1) Place a dollop of whip cream on top and some grated chocolate....or perhaps a cherry.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Onion, Tomato and Basil Frittata

Last night I was watching cooking videos on YouTube when I same across a British show called "Two Fat Ladies". It is basically a show from the mid/late 90's where two ladies would travel across Britain cooking different foods. Foods which more often then not contains loads of oil and butter. Most of their food was old British food, odd pairings made in molds. I do have to admit that I would try some of there stuff. Which is how this frittata came about. To be honest I'm not even the one that made was all Adam. I basically turned to him this morning and said that I wanted him to make me that for breakfast and that we had everything expect Parmesan cheese. He did really well, it turned out amazing. I kind of wish he would cook more often.

You will need
6 eggs
2 onions sliced
2 tomato's diced
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
5 or 6 basil leaves torn
Salt and pepper to taste

1) Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan, add the onions and tomato's. Cook until soft. Remove from the pan and place in a bowl. Wipe out the pan and return to the heat. Add the rest of the butter

2) Lightly beat the eggs, add the onions, tomato's, cheese, salt and pepper

3) Spread the torn basil on top the eggs.
4) Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the edges are set but the top is still slightly runny.
5) Place the pan in the oven and cook until the eggs have set.


Sardines and a movie

Adam and I went to the grocery store yesterday where I stumbled across a bag of frozen whole sardines. I was surprised because it was only $3.99 for 12 fish. We ended up buying it and when I got home I took 4 out to defrost. Now I've never cook or had a sardine that was not from a tin so I didn't really know what to do with it. I was also not looking forward to gutting it. I highly suggest buying a cleaned fish. However if you buy them whole like I did, you want to cut the head, tail and any fins off first then remove any scales. Then slice the belly open, scrap out all the innards then rinse the fish in water. Word to the wise, the back bone is still in place if you wish you can remove it, or cook the fish on the bone. Just be careful of bones.We ate the sardines with a salad while we watched The Empire Strikes Back. It made for a very enjoyable Friday night.

You will need for 2 people
4 Sardines- cleaned
1/2 medium onion -sliced
1 tomato- diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons cilantro
1) Heat the oil in a saute pan, add the onions and tomato's saute for 2 minutes
2) Add the herbs and continue to cook until onions are soft
3) Add the sardines, cover the saute pan and cook for 10 minuets or until fish is cooked.
4) Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day Goulash!

Today is Canada Day and in celebration I made a very unCanadian dish, Goulash. About 5 year ago I went to Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. I remember going out to dinner one night and having Goulash. I kind of forgot all about it until recently when my friend Jelena and I where talking about her upcoming trip to the Czech Republic. I've had Goulash on the brain ever since. Jelena has come and gone from the Czech Republic and with her return came a photo of a very curious Goulash. A Boar Goulash to be exact. When I saw that picture I knew I had to make Goulash.

I discovered that making this dish is very similar to making my Beouf Bourguignon. It has very similar ingredients and is almost the same preparation....well with the expectation of the dumplings. I will be making this again, hopefully in the near future. I think next time I'll add some root vegetables. I know the ingredient list looks like a lot but really the majority of it is spices. The most labor you will ensue will be browning the meat. Once you have done that your everything else is easy.....well beside the wait. I woke up this morning and wanted Goulash, I'm very impatient when I want something. However in this instance the wait was worth it. A traditional Goulash is served with bread dumplings. I've included the recipe for them below.

Just a little side note. This recipe calls for Paprika. I used Hungarian Paprika, feel free to use whichever on you have at home. If your buying Paprika for this I would get Hungarian or spicy Paprika.

You will need
2 pounds or so stewing beef or pork diced
4 cups sliced onions
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon caraway seeds, toasted and ground
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
3 bay leaf
1 small can tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 cups stock (chicken, beef, vegetable whichever you like)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (If using table salt use 1/2 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1) Dry your meat. Heat a saute pan with the oil. Brown the meat in batches. Set aside.
2) Add the onion to the saute pan. Sprinkle the sugar over top. Turn the heat down and let caramelize. Stir occasionally. This should take anywhere from 20-30 minutes.
3) Add the ground caraway and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
4) Add the Paprika cook for another minute.
5) Add the thyme, bay leaves and marjoram. Stir to combine.

6) Add the can of tomato paste and stir for 1 minute.
7) Add the vinegar and stock, stir until everything is combined.

8) Season with salt and pepper.
9) Bring to a boil. When it has reached the boil, reduced the heat and allow to simmer for 1 1/2 hour or so.

Bread Dumplings

You will need
2 cups stale bread cubed
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

1) Mix the eggs and milk together in a large bowl.
2) Add the baking powder and salt to the flour and stir to combine.
3) Slowly add the flour mixture to the milk stirring to combine.
4) When the batter is smooth add the stale bread.

5) Wet your hand. Form the dough into one or two loafs.

6) Bring a pot of water to the boil.
7) Add the loaf(s) cover and let cook for 10 minutes. Flip the loaf(s) over and let boil for a further 10 minutes.

8) Using a piece of dental floss cut the bread into 1/2 inch slices.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lentils and Sausages

Last year I did a show called Tuesday's with Morrie, it stared Jamie Farr....the guy that wore a dress in M*A*S*H. He is a pretty big foodie, and talked a lot about what he liked to cook and what he grew at his house. One of the recipes that he told me about was a cold green salad with warm lentils and caramelized onions. It is really good, I made if a bunch of times when we where working together but I haven't done it since. I remembered it a couple days ago when I was looking through some cook books. I decided to do a slight twist on it. I don't think it really matters what kind of lentils you use, I happened to have brown lentils at home so that is what I used. I gaged this recipe on 1/2 cup uncooked lentil per person and 2 sausages. So adjust the recipe depending on how many you are feeding. If you don't want to use sausages feel free to use caramelized onions instead.....or maybe shrimp.

You will need for 2 people

1/2 onion- diced
1 cup lentils
2 cups water
pinch of salt

4 sausages
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 cup red wine
1/8 cup water

2 Handfuls of sliced lettuce

1) Heat the oil in a pot, add the onion and saute for 2 minutes
2) Add the lentils and cook until slightly toasted.
3) Add water to the lentil and bring to a boil.
4) Turn the heat down so to a simmer and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for 25-30 minutes.
5) After the lentils have cook for about 15 minutes. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a saute pan.
6) Add the sliced garlic and the sausages. Brown the sausages.
7) Add the wine and water, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
8) In a individual serving bowl add the lettuce, the hot lentils and 2 sausages. Pour over a little of the sauce from the sausages.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tonight for Dinner Veggie Burgers and Quinoa Salad

Tonight I decided that my last dinner I would rehash a old recipe. My friend Jelena sent me a recipe for veggie burger a couple years ago. She found it on a blog called Everybody Likes Sandwiches. It is so simple to make not to mention this is another one of those recipes where you would most likely have all the ingredients on hand. I halved the recipe from the original. I ended up with 4 burgers, two we had today, one I'll take to work tomorrow and the other one Adam can eat tomorrow. I suggest using pieces of walnuts and grinding them yourself, while your at it throw in the garlic and onion instead of mincing them yourself. I also blitz the oatmeal for a couple of times. I don't like having large oatmeal pieces, I like the texture of the chopped oatmeal.

You will need: for 4 burgers
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup walnuts- ground
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cloves garlic- minced
1/2 medium onion-minced
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
2 tablespoon or so oil
1 1/2 cup vegetable stock

1) Combine all the ingredients, let sit for an hour or so in the fridge.
2) Form the mixture into patties. Heat a skillet with 2 tablespoon of oil. Pan fry the burgers.
3) Add the stock to the skillet. Cover and let cook for 20-25 minutes.
4) Serve with your choice of toppings.


Quinoa Salad
Quinoa is pretty easy to find, I generally buy it from the bulk food store but I've also seen it in the super market. You cook it basically the same way you cook rice. 1 cup of quinoa will need 2 cups of liquid to cook, it also yields double its dried measure. Feel free to add whatever fruit and vegetables you like to this salad. I put what I had in the fridge. Just do the same, there is no need to run out and buy dried figs just for this, use raisins or dried cranberries instead. Really the options are endless.

You will need
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
pinch salt

1/8 cup currants
1/4 cup asparagus cut into pieces
1 green onion diced
1/2 bell pepper diced
1/2 tomato diced
3-5 dried figs- reconstituted in water- diced
juice of 1 lime
1/3 cup oil
salt and pepper to taste

1) Wash the quinoa in warm water, drain. Add the quinoa to the water and salt. Cook covered for 8-10 minutes.
2) Fluff with a fork. Let cool
3) In a bowl add the remaining ingredients.
4) Add the cooled quinoa


I also served this with my Kale and Mango Salad

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Homemade Bread

About 3 months ago Adam and I where at a second hand book store I came across a book called "Bake Your Own Bread". It was $2.50, I figured if I bought it and made at least one good loaf of bread then it was worth it. Well fast forward to today, I have not bought a loaf of bread since April. Baking your own bread is super easy and the best part is most people will have all the ingredients in there home already. So far I have only tried two different types of bread from this book but I will be making my very own naan bread sometime soon as well as rye bread. I've very excited for the rye bread! It's a lot cheaper and far better for you to make your own bread, you also have tons of room to play around with the dough. This recipe uses oil but you can use butter instead, or sugar instead of honey. Really it is up to you. You can also add fillings to the dough before you bake it. In the past I've put cheese, herbs or hot dogs in bread. If you put a hot dog in it I highly suggest adding a dab of ketchup, bbq sauce etc to the middle. I filled a couple of the ones I made today, some had cheese and the others had honey mustard and meat or bbq sauce and meat.  I use my stand mixer to make this, I suggest using one if you have it. Depending on what you want to do with the dough you will get about 12 buns and one loaf out of this recipe.

You will need
2 tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup honey
4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup warm water
2 cups flour
1 1/4 cup oil
3 eggs
5-6 cups flour

1 egg beaten(optional)

1) In a bowl or stand mixer combine the honey, yeast, salt and water.
2) Mix in the 2 cups of flour. The dough will be very runny.
3) Add the oil and the eggs and mix until combined. The dough will be a golden yellow but still very runny.

4) Add the rest of the flour one cup at a time. You may need more or less depending on the humidity in the air.
5) Kneed the dough for 5-10 minutes. The dough should be silky and slightly moist. Don't add more flour, you want the dough to be a tad sticky.
6) Place the dough in a oiled bowl or a floured counter top. Cover and let rest for 90 minutes.

7) Shape the dough in bun or loaves. You can add your fillings at this time.

8) Let rest 1 hour.
9) OPTIONAL: Brush the bread with the beaten egg.
10) Cook the bread in a 300 degree oven for 20- 25 minutes, or until golden brown.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Rice Paper Rolls

I tried to come up with a fancy name for these but I couldn't think of anything. Some times you will see then listed in restaurants as Spring Rolls or Fresh Rolls. I've been making them for years, with a variety of fillings. It doesn't really matter what you put in them, I like tend to use some or all of the following : avocado, shrimp, green onion, parsley, basil, chicken, lettuce, rice noodles, snow peas and cucumber. How ever you fill it it will taste good. I dip mine in hosin sauce, sometimes I'll add chopped peanuts to the hosin or I'll take it plan. Really it all depends on your taste. In total I would think that this recipe would take about 20 minutes or so. Once again it depends on what you are putting in it and how much prep you will be doing.

You will need for 4 rolls

50g rice noodles
1 green onion diced
1 avocado sliced
1/2 cup cold chicken shredded
4 rice paper sheets

1) Place the rice noodles in a bowl or warm water. Let soften, drain and set aside
2) Fill a dish with about 1 inch of warm water. Place one rice paper sheet in the water, allow to soften and become transparent.
3) Remove the sheet from the water and place on a dry towel.
4) Place 1/4 of the noodles, avocado, green onions and chicken in the center of the sheet.

5) Roll the rice paper sheets like you are rolling a burrito. Fold one end over the top of the filling making sure to keep everything tight.Then fold the two side over and roll the sheet over onto itself.
6) Repeat until all the sheets are used

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

Tonight for dinner Adam and I had ravioli. I've made this a few times and it is pretty easy. I've changed the filling a few times but I find that I prefer it with spinach and ricotta. I was a tad lazy and used wonton wrappers instead of making my own pasta. I did this for 2 reason, besides my own laziness. One being I broke my pasta maker a couple months ago the other being using pre-made wrappers is just easier. If your a purest, unlike myself feel free to use pasta dough. This recipe isn't hard at all, the most time consuming part is filling the wrappers. I suggest having someone help. Now this recipe can be adjusted to suit your taste and needs. These can also be frozen, just put on a sheet pan and place in the freezer until frozen. Then transfer to a plastic bag or container.

You will need: for 2-4 people
1 cup cooked spinach
1 1/2 cup ricotta
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1 egg
1 package wonton wrappers
Pinch nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

small bowl of water

1) In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients expect the wrappers and the water.

2) On a work surface lay out one wonton wrapper. Place a spoonful of the fill in the center of the wrapper. Dip your finger in the water and slide is along the edges of the wrapper.

3) Fold the wrapper in half in a triangle. Using your finger press out any air.

4) Cut the excess dough off with a pastry wheel.

5) Repeat until all the wontons are filled
6) Bring salted water to the boil. Add the ravioli to the water, make sure not to over crowd the pot.
7) While the ravioli cook, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saute pan. Add 2-3 sage leaves.

8) Once the ravioli float to the top they are done. Scoop them out and transfer them to the saute pan. Saute for about 1 minute.

9) Transfer to your plate or bowl and grate some cheese over top.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Plum Pudding

I made Plum Pudding for Christmas last year. It was a labor of love. I candied my own fruit for it and the fruit cake I ended up making.  I've read a couple different things in regards to when to make your plum pudding. Some say to make it the Sunday after Trinity, now I have no idea what that is. I've also read that some people make it around new years and keep if for the next Christmas. I kind figure if you make it anytime before December if will turn out good.

Plum pudding is twice cooked. The initial steaming when you mix up the batter, then the final steam on Christmas day. The batter is placed in a pudding mold then steamed. I however do not have a pudding mold. I used a heat proof mixing bowl. I placed a piece of parchment paper on top of the batter then covered the whole bowl in 2 layers of tin foil. Regardless of what you place you pudding in just make sure it is air tight, you don't want water leaking in while it is steaming.

Here is the recipe for the one I made this past Christmas.

You will need:
150g currants
150g rasins
150g prunes chopped
175ml Sherry
100g flour
125g breadcrumbs
150g suet, vegetable shortening or lard
150g brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs
1 medium apple- peeled and grated
2 tablespoon honey

2 sheets of tin foil
Wax paper cut into a circle large enough to fit the top of your dish

125ml of vodka

1) In a bowl add the dried fruit and Sherry. Leave to steep for several days or up to one week.
2) Butter your pudding mold or mixing bowl. Fill a pot with 3 inches of water and bring to a boil.
3) In a mixing bowl add the all the ingredients including the steeped fruit and the steeping liquid. Stir to combine.
4) Transfer the batter to your mold/ bowl. Pat down so the top is flat. Place the wax paper on top and cover in the tin foil.
5) Place the pudding in the pot of boiling water. Steam for 5 hours. Check the water level every hour or so, add water as needed.
6)After the pudding is steamed carefully remove from the pot and let cool. When cool place in a cool place until you are ready to eat it.
7) To serve: Bring a pot with 3 inch's of water to a boil. Add the covered pudding and steam for 3 hours, checking the water level every hour. When done, carefully remove from the pot. Remove the foil and wax paper. Transfer to a serving dish.
8) OPTIONAL: Heat 125 ml of vodka in a sauce pan, pour over the pudding. Flambe the pudding. Be carefully not to burn yourself or start a fire.
9) Serve with whipping cream


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sacher Torte

I think Sacher Torte is one of my favorite cakes. When I was in high school I worked at a German cafe call "Cafe Mozart". I ate a lot of cakes and pastries. I even developed a fondness for rumballs......yes they where made with left over cake. I also love Marzipan.  At Cafe Mozart they would cover the Sacher Torte in marzipan then add the chocolate glaze. I've never had a Sacher Torte with marzipan before or after the ones at Cafe Mozart. When I was 17 I went on a school trip to Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic. While in Austria I had Sacher Torte at the Hotel Sacher, the home of Sacher Torte. I love Sacher Torte. Sacher Torte is served with whip cream.

You will need for 1 8 inch cake.

9 tablespoons soften butter
1/2 cup sugar
150 grams semi-sweet chocolate
6 eggs, separated
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup flower
pinch of salt
vanilla extract
1/2 cup Apricot jam, melted

For the glaze
150 grams semi-sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon shortening.

1) Pre-heat your oven to 350. Butter and flour your cake pan. If using Bake even strips attach them to your pan.
2) Using a double boiler melt the chocolate and butter, remove from the heat and let cool for 2-3 minutes.
3) Add the powered sugar and egg yolks slowly to the melted chocolate, stirring consistently.
4) Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form, add the white sugar and whip until stiff
5) Gently add the egg whites to the chocolate mixture. Add the flour and stir to combine.
6) Pour into your cake pan and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes.
7) Let cool on a cooling rack with a baking pan underneath.
8) Cut the cake in half width ways and spread the melted apricot jam over the bottom layer. Cover with the top layer of cake.
9) For the glaze: Melt the chocolate and shortening in a double boiler. Pour the glaze on top of the cake. Using a spatula spread out the glaze so it falls over the side of the cake. Leave on the counter to set. Once set you can place it in the fridge. If you put the cake in the fridge before the glaze has set it won't set right. The top with be hard but inside the glaze will be very soft.
10) Serve with sweetened whip cream.