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.

Niagara Food and Wine Expo

I've been meaning to update for ages. I've been really busy. I'm doing a show in Niagara Falls, it ends this Saturday. A couple week ago Adam and I went to the Niagara Food and Wine Expo. It was amazing! You buy strips of tickets, 10 tickets for 10 dollars. Then you go around to booths and buy wine and food samples with your tickets. Everything was very yummy. I think I'm going to try and make these sliders we had and these really good perogies.  Here are some pictures from the expo.

Adam with his slider


Adam eating a raw oyster

Smoke salmon topped with creme fraiche and micro greens. The pearls are "fruit caviar" they where super yummy. The chef said that you take fruit juice and drop it into sodium nitrate. The sodium nitrate pickles the outside, and leaves the inside liquid.

Potato and truffle perogies topped with creme fraiche and caramelized onions.