a place to share recipes, photos & our love of cheese

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fettuccine with Roasted Cherry Tomato & Onion Sauce, Chicken, Roasted Red Peppers, Swiss Chard & Goat Cheese

This is the type of dish you can throw together with almost any vegetables you have on hand.  Basically any bell pepper / tomato / zucchini / eggplant / mushroom / caramelized onion / balsamic / garlic combination works really well with the goat cheese.  The sauce is so simple: roasted cherry tomatoes & roasted onions mashed together and it's so good

Fettuccine with Roasted Cherry Tomato & Onion Sauce, Chicken, Roasted Red Peppers, 
Swiss Chard & Goat Cheese

You'll need (serves 2):
fettuccine for two
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
handful of cippolini onions (peeled, tops & bottoms cut off)
1 chicken breast
1 red pepper (seeds removed & cut in quarters)
6-8 swiss chard leaves (washed well & dried)
1/2 c goat cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the cherry tomatoes with a bit of olive oil, season with s&p, roast until skins burst.  Remove, discard skins, cover & set aside.  Place onions & red peppers in a tin foil pouch, drizzle with olive oil, s&p.  Roast until the peppers are soft & onions are very soft & beginning to brown.  When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the skins & slice.  Chop the onions into small pieces, combine with the tomatoes, gently mash & set aside.  Heat a bit of olive oil over medium heat, lightly fry the swiss chard, season it with s&p.  Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente, drain & reserve about a cup of starchy cooking water.  Toss the cooked pasta with tomato & onion sauce and starchy cooking water continuously for about 2 minutes.  Add in the red peppers, chicken & swiss chard & garnish with goat cheese.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Homemade Poutine with Smoked Gruyere Cheese

Let's face it:  This isn't the healthiest meal out there but we haven't had much take-out lately and we bought some awesome looking russet potatoes at the market that just needed cooking.  Justified?  I think so.  Delicious?  Oh yeah.

Not too long ago, Luke and I were watching an episode of No Reservations where they featured the "best" of some classic dishes.  The restaurant that was featured for best steak & chips had some pretty good looking fries that we said we'd try making sometime. 

Well, we've tried fries a few ways before but these are by far the best so far.

Homemade Poutine with Smoked Gruyere Cheese

You'll need (serves two):
2 russet potatoes (peeled & cut into fries)
1 c beef gravy
1 c smoked gruyere cheese (shredded)
2 green onions (sliced)
deep fryer
sea salt

We made our own gravy using the beef stock we made for the french onion soup but you can use whatever gravy you like best.

For the Fries:
Pre-heat the deep fryer to 260 degrees.  Soak the cut fries in cold water for 5-10 minutes to remove some of the starch.  Dry off well with kitchen towel and cook for about 10 minutes in a pre-heated fryer, remove & drain excess oil.  Crank the fryer up to 340 degrees and fry the fries for a second time until golden & crispy (about 5 minutes).  Remove and place in a large bowl with kitchen towel to drain off any excess oil.  Remove the kitchen towel & season well with sea salt.

It wasn't all fries gravy & cheese around here tonight.  I served the poutine with a big green salad with beautiful lettuce from the market, sliced apples & shallots.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Autumn Lasagna with Butternut Squash, Bechamel Sauce, Sausage & Buffalo Mozzarella

I roasted up my first batch of pumpkin seeds this afternoon and they were extra-special because I added in the seeds from tonight's butternut squash too.  The first batch of the season is always kept nice and simple, tossed with a bit of olive oil & seasoned salt.  It's just the start of pumpkin season, there will be plenty of time to experiment with seed recipes like sweet&spicy or even green tea flavored?

This lasagna was incredible.  Even Luke, who is not a big fan of squash cleaned his plate.  Layers of butternut squash puree, sausage, bechamel sauce & buffalo mozzarella make this lasagna the perfect Sunday fall meal.

Autumn Lasagna with Butternut Squash, Bechamel  Sauce, Sausage & Buffalo Mozzarella

You'll need (serves 2 + some leftovers):
1 9x5inch baking dish
12 whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 small butternut squash (peeled, seeded & cubed)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 hot italian sausages (or whichever type you prefer, casings removed)
1 large ball of buffalo mozzarella
1 medium onion (diced)
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 c milk
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
freshly grated parmesan (about 1/2 c)
olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Toss the cubed butternut squash with olive oil, smoked paprika, s&p and roast in pre-heated oven for about 45 minutes, flipping once or twice.  Once the squash is cool enough to handle, place in a food processor & puree until smooth.  Cook the lasagna noodles in salted boiling water until just shy of al dente & set aside.  Heat the butter with a bit of olive oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet & cook the onion until soft & translucent.  Add in the garlic, cook for another minute or two & stir in the flour.  Let the flour cook for about a minute before whisking in 1 cup of the milk, season with nutmeg, s&p.  Reduce the heat, stir in the last of the milk & allow the sauce to bubble & thicken until it reaches the desired consistency.  Put a layer of the squash puree into the bottom of a baking dish.  Next, layer the lasagna noodles with squash puree & sausage alternating layers with more white sauce & a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  Top the lasagna with noodles & buffalo mozzarella (you can also put another level of mozzarella half way if you like it extra cheesy).  Garnished with some roasted pumpkin & squash seeds & fresh thyme leaves.

Served with a baby arugula salad with toasted walnuts & shallot vinaigrette.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dark-Ale French Onion Soup with Homemade Beef Stock, Toasted Baguette Cubes, Gruyere & Fontina

We woke up early this morning and headed to the Hamilton Farmer's Market with some friends.  It's become a Saturday morning ritual over the past month or so and I like it.  I knew two things going into that market:  
I wanted to make french onion soup for dinner & I needed to find a pumpkin.

Not only did we get some amazing ingredients for the french onion soup and a pumpkin, we also left with a butternut squash, rainbow chard, cippolini onions, buffalo mozzarella, fresh sausage & raw green olives.  That's right, raw.  I had never seen olives in their raw state and had to grab a bag even though I didn't have a clue how to deal with them.  The nice woman at the booth explained to me two different methods of making the olives.  It sounds like it could be more trouble than it's worth, but at least she told me how to do it (...after I paid).
We figured since we've done french onion soup a few times on here, it was time to step it up.  We picked up a bunch of beef shoulder bones from the market & made a homemade stock.  I'm not going to lie and say it's not extremely tedious but it's definitely more delicious than any stock-in-a-box.

 Dark-Ale French Onion Soup with Homemade Beef Stock, Toasted Baguette Cubes, Gruyere & Fontina

You'll need (serves two):
5 c beef stock (recipe below)
1 c dark ale
2 large yellow onions (cut in half & sliced into 1/4" slices)
8 1" baguette cubes (toasted)
1 c of shredded gruyere cheese
1/2 c shredded fontina cheese
fresh thyme for garnish
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of flour
pinch of sugar
olive oil

 Melt the butter with a bit of olive oil over medium-low heat in a heavy-bottomed skillet.  Add the onions, cover & cook until translucent (about 20 minutes).  Remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, add a pinch of sugar, season the onions with s&p.  Cook, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan until the onions are deep brown & caramelized (about another 10-15 minutes).  Stir in the flour, cook for a minute or so & whisk in 1 c of stock.  Add in the rest of the stock & dark ale, simmer for 30 minutes or so to combine the flavours.  Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Place several toasted cubes of baguette in the bottom of each dish.  Top with onion soup & a big handful of cheese (both gruyere & fontina combined), cook until browned.  Garnish with chopped fresh thyme.

Beef Stock:
(recipe is based on the Earth to Table recipe with some of our own adaptations)

Ask your butcher for some freshly butchered beef shoulder bones with a little bit of meat still on the bones & have them cut down into smaller pieces (about 2 lbs)
1 medium yellow onion (sliced in half)
1 bulb of garlic (sliced in half width-wise so all cloves are exposed)
1 carrot (roughly chopped)
1 piece of celery (roughly chopped)
1 1/2 c dark ale (red wine works well too)
12 c water
10 black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon honey
1 dried bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme
olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a large dutch oven, toss the beef shoulder pieces with honey & roast for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Add the onion, garlic, carrot & celery, drizzle with a bit of olive oil & roast for another 30 minutes or so.  Add 1/2 c dark ale & scrape all of the bits from the bottom, transfer everything to a large pot.  Add water & bring to a boil.  Stir in the rest of the beer, peppercorns, bay leaf, cloves & fresh thyme.  Reduce heat to low & simmer, stirring occasionally for at least a few hours.  Strain through cheesecloth & store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Roasted Pork Chop with Golden & Candy Cane Beets, Apples & Goat Cheese

We bought these amazing looking candy-cane beets at the Hamilton Farmer's Market and I've been dying to cut into them to check them out.  I had never seen or heard of candy-cane beets but completely understood the name the moment I cut the tips off the beats ... perfect red & white strips inside.  Amazing!  
Unfortunately these stripes sort of bleed together during the roasting process but don't worry - they still taste fantastic.

Roasted Pork Chop with Golden & Candy Cane Beets, Apples & Goat Cheese

You'll need (serves 3):
 3 pork chops
7-8 beets, greens reserved & chopped
(we used a combination of golden & candy cane beets from the market)
1 apple (we used royal gala)
goat cheese
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon onion or shallot (as fine as you can chop it)
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the tops and bottoms off the beets, wash, rub with olive oil and season with s&p.  Wrap the beets in a tin foil pouch & roast in the pre-heated oven until soft.  When cool enough to handle, rub with paper towel to remove the skins, slice & set aside.  Chop the beet greens & spinach, wash well in a colander, set aside to drain.  In a small mason jar, combine the cider vinegar, onion, honey, mustard & olive oil.  Shake to combine & season to taste with s&p, set aside.  Heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat & sear the seasoned (s&p) pork until brown on both sides.  Transfer to the pre-heated oven to finish cooking.  Toss the beet greens & spinach with the dressing and top with apple slices & goat cheese. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Creamy Potato & Rosemary Soup

The weather has been all over the place here in Southern Ontario.  One week it's chilly fall temperatures and the next you'd think it was the dead of summer.  Even though the temperatures have risen over the past few days, it's officially fall & that calls for a good soup ... especially since we made tonnes of chicken stock after our roast chicken earlier this week!

Creamy Potato & Rosemary Soup

You'll need (serves two):
3 medium yukon gold potatoes (peeled & diced)
2 small yellow onions (diced)
2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
4 c chicken stock
2 c milk
1/2 c beer
1 sprig of fresh rosemary (finely chopped)
2 tablespoon bacon fat

Heat the bacon fat over medium heat in a large pot.  Cook the onions until soft & translucent, then add in garlic.  Cook for several more minutes then de-glaze the pot with the beer, scraping all bits from the bottom.  Add in the chicken stock, potatoes & rosemary, boil until potatoes are soft & tender.  Puree with a blender until smooth.  Add the milk, season to taste with s&p.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cedar-Wrapped Salmon with Zucchini & Potato Fritters

While I was in St. Jacob's, I picked up these cedar papers.  They're amazing!  You only have to soak them for 10-20 minutes which is nothing compared to the hours required for a whole cedar plank!  It's easy to get that smokey-flavour and you don't even have to use the barbecue!  The salmon was from the Hamilton Farmer's Market and it was so delicious (& the portions were huge)!  The crispy zucchini & potato fritters didn't take a back seat here either - they were so good and the perfect side for such a tasty piece of fish.

Cedar-Wrapped Salmon with Zucchini & Potato Fritters

You'll need (serves two):
2 portions of salmon
cedar papers
1 small zucchini
1 small yukon gold potato
1 tablespoon fresh dill (chopped)
1 shallot (chopped)
1 tablespoon flour
1 egg yolk
sour cream
fresh lemon juice
olive oil

Pre-heat oven or grill to 400 degrees.  Rub the salmon with olive oil, season with s&p, wrap with soaked paper & fasten with twine (which is provided with the cedar papers & needs to be soaked as well).  Baking time will vary depending on the size pieces of salmon.  For the fritters, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan & cook shallots until soft.  Remove from pan and add to a large bowl.  Using a box grater, grate the zucchini & potato wrap in heavy kitchen towel & squeeze to remove as much excess moisture as possible.  Add to the bowl with the cooked shallots & stir in fresh dill, egg yolk, season with s&p.  Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in the same saucepan used to cook the shallots over medium-high heat.  Add spoonfuls of the fritter mixture to form little pancakes.  Press down on each and do not touch for a few minutes.  You want to let the bottom get crispy so when you flip the fritter, it doesn't fall apart.  Once both sides have are browned, transfer to a pre-heated oven to cook for another 10 minutes or so to cook the insides though.  Combine sour cream with a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of fresh dill, season to taste with s&p.  Top the potatoes with a dollop & garnish with a sprig of fresh dill & a slice of lemon.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Roast Chicken with Roasted Root Vegetables, Wilted Spinach & Warm Herb Vinaigrette

Today, it's this little blogs' birthday. 

One year ago, we decided to start capturing the dinners we'd already been making for years.  It started as a place to log all of these recipes for future reference but after over 260 meals, it turns out we don't actually repeat a lot of meals around here.  Always being inspired by new things at the grocery store or market, it always seems like there's just too many possibilities to always make the same thing for dinner.  Don't get me wrong, we have our staples around here as you've probably noticed if you've been following for a while.  We loved bacon and now we love pancetta & prosciutto, we love any and all variations of pizza / mac 'n cheese / grilled cheese and tend to eat a lot of whatever's in season.
On, and we really really, really, love cheese.

We're going to continue to post new recipes but I think we'll also try to re-visit some of this past year's faves & make them even better.  Sort of like this roast chicken dinner which is another serious staple around here.  Every month or so we roast up a chicken & make some homemade chicken stock.  I try to switch up the sides & this time I think they were the best yet.  I used this recipe but used freshly dug white potatoes, heirloom carrots, parsnips, shallots & thyme tossed in the warm herb vinaigrette.  All cooked under the roasting chicken on the egg.  I also wilted down some spinach with a bit of garlic, olive oil (garlic discarded once soft & oil has been flavored) with a bit of freshly grated nutmeg, s&p to taste.

Roast Chicken with Roasted Root Vegetables, Wilted Spinach & Warm Herb Vinaigrette

The perfect fall Sunday supper.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Farmer's Market White-Sauce Pizza with Crispy Prosciutto, Spinach, Cherry Tomatoes & Fresh Mozzarella

We celebrated our good friend Diana's birthday last night and boy did we have a great time.  The food at Pepperwood's was excellent & the gelato from Crema Di Gelato was even better.  I had the pear & caramel combination which it was a little taste of heaven.

Luke & I woke up early this morning, loosely planned our week's meals and headed off to the Hamilton Farmer's Market.  We got SO many great things, this is definitely going to be a good week around here. 
Ever since I had the white sauce & prosciutto pizza from The Bauer Kitchen I have been wanting to make it so Luke could try it too.  We picked up all of the ingredients we needed at the market (literally, everything down to the flour for the dough) to make one amazing pizza for dinner.

Farmer's Market White-Sauce Pizza with Crispy Prosciutto, Spinach, Cherry Tomatoes & Fresh Mozzarella

You'll need (for one large-sized pizza):
 fresh dough
1 small yellow onion (diced)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of flour
2 c milk
pinch of ground nutmeg
handful of baby spinach (washed & torn)
handful of cherry tomatoes (washed & sliced in half)
freshly grated parmesan cheese
6 slices of prosciutto
1 ball fresh mozzarella

We used the egg because it can get up to ridiculously hot temperatures & we have a great pizza stone for it but you could easily put this pizza on a sheet pan in the oven.

Pre-heat the oven to about 400 degrees.  In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter & cook onions until soft and translucent.  Add in the garlic, cook several more minutes before stirring in the flour.  Cook the flour for a few minutes, then whisk in the milk.  Season with a pinch of nutmeg, about 1/4 c freshly grated parmesan, s&p.  Allow the sauce to bubble & thicken until desired consistency.
Roll out the dough to the size & thickness of pizza you like, spread the white sauce & top with spinach, tomatoes, cheese & prosciutto.  Bake until the cheese is brown & bubbly and the crust is golden.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

BBQ Chicken Panini with Cracked Pepper Oven Fries

I've been craving a panini lately and since we don't have a panini press we had to get a little creative in the kitchen tonight.  We heated one cast iron pan over medium-high heat and used another to press on top of the sandwich, flipped it half way and it worked out perfectly.

BBQ Chicken Panini with Cracked Pepper Oven Fries

You'll need (serves 2):
2 multigrain ciabatta loaves
1 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 red bell pepper (sliced in half)
1/2 red onion (sliced into 1/4" slices)
handful of baby spinach
1/2 c blue cheese (crumbled)
1 yukon gold potato (sliced into thin fries)
barbecue sauce
olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the potatoes with olive oil, season with a bit of sea salt & lots of black pepper.  Roast them in the oven, flipping them half way until browned & crisp.  Rub the red pepper & red onion slices with olive oil, season with s&p.  Roast until onions are slightly charred & peppers are soft.  Remove from the oven and when the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the skins, discard & set the peppers aside.  In a saucepan, heat a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat & cook the seasoned (s&p) chicken breast until seared on both sides.  Brush with barbecue sauce and finish baking in the oven.  Once the chicken has cooked through, remove, brush with a bit more barbecue sauce & tent with tin foil.  To assemble the sandwich, slice the ciabattas in two and spread the blue cheese on the bottom half of each.  Top with roasted red peppers, spinach, sliced chicken & charred red onions.  Spread a light layer of mayonnaise on the top bun and press quickly in a panini grill or between two cast iron pans over medium-high heat.  Served with carrots & ranch dip.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Carrot, Parmesan & Toasted Walnut Risotto

I had some amazing meals in St. Jacob's but it sure is good to be home and eating home-cooked meals again.  I went to The Bauer Kitchen on Sunday night for dinner and it was amaaazing.  The atmosphere was totally my style and the food was so good (the white sauce prosciutto pizza was to die for).  The second night, we ended up going to one of The Bauer Kitchen's sister restaurants, Wildcraft.  I had been there once before and both times the food & service have been spot on.

I felt like making a fall risotto tonight and seeing as how Luke doesn't love butternut squash (which probably would have been my first option) I decided to try it with carrot.  I did some browsing and found this Martha Stewart recipe which I halved and made some adjustments to.  I have to say, it was so delicious!  I'll probably still try the squash version sometime in the very near future because I've been dying for the first batch of toasted seeds (I love both squash & pumpkin!)

Carrot, Parmesan & Toasted Walnut Risotto

You'll need:
3/4 c arborio rice
3 medium sized carrots (peeled & grated)
1 medium onion (diced)
1/2 c parmesan (grated)
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/4 c dry white wine
chicken stock (have at least 6 cups on hand but you probably won't use it all)

Lightly toast the walnuts over low heat until fragrant & set aside.  Heat the chicken stock in a small pot to a simmer & keep hot until later use.  Melt about a tablespoon of butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook the onions & carrot until tender (about 5-7 minutes).  Add in the rice & wine, stir until absorbed.  Add 1 c of chicken stock & stir frequently until absorbed.  Add 1/2 c of stock at a time, allowing it to fully absorb before adding the next 1/2 c until the rice is cooked & creamy.  Remove risotto from the heat, stir in parmesan, another teaspoon of butter & toasted walnuts, season to taste with s&p.

I served it with a simple baby spinach salad with this walnut vinaigrette.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Chili with Blue Cheese Nachos & Veggies

As I've mentioned, fall is here and I love it.  I have been craving chili and while browsing online for new chili ideas I found this RR recipe for Buffalo Chicken Chili.  It was so yummy, extremely easy to make and the blue cheese nachos were perfect for dunking.  I added chopped green onion, a bit of blue cheese dressing on top of the chili and fresh veggies.  

I'm leaving way too early tomorrow morning for work in St. Jacob's for a few days so Luke will be left to fend for himself in the kitchen.  If you're lucky, he might just post his amazing jalapeno cigar recipe while I'm away - they're to die for.

Buffalo Chicken Chili with Blue Cheese Nachos & Veggies

Again, you can find the recipe here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thai Yellow Curry Vegatbles & Rice

When the temperatures start to drop, all I can seem to think of are warm spicy foods.  Fall is the perfect time for soups, chili, roasts & anything with a bit of heat.  It's my favorite season & I'm already getting excited.  
This curry is the perfect dish to warm up a chilly night & can be adjusted to add almost anything you like.  You could easily add some fish or chicken or substitute the veggies for snap peas, baby corn, bell peppers, broccoli or cauliflower.

Thai Yellow Curry Vegetables & Rice

You'll need (serves two):
1c uncooked white or jasmine rice
1 medium onion (diced)
2 teaspoons yellow curry paste
1 red chili pepper
1/2c chicken stock
1 can light coconut milk
1c carrots (diced)
1c baby bok choy (cut into 1" strips)
1c fresh peas
1/2c potato (diced)
handful of fresh basil
olive oil

Cook the rice to package directions & set aside.  In a saucepan over medium heat with a bit of olive oil, cook the onions, curry paste & chili pepper until onions are soft.  Whisk in the chicken stock & coconut milk.  In a separate pot, steam the carrots, peas & potato.  Once tender, add them to the curry along with the bok choy.  Simmer to combine all flavours & wilt the bok choy.  Remove from heat, add in basil & adjust seasoning to taste.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dijon & Dill Chicken Pot Pie

Who doesn't love a good pot pie?  I know we sure do & we hadn't had one in a while.  I tried to switch it up a bit for this blogs' sake but it's true that I love a traditional pot pie.  I've made it a bit 'lighter' by using lots of fresh veggies & herbs, only homemade chicken stock in the sauce, eliminating the bottom layer of pie & using a multi-grain dough.  I didn't even come close to missing any of the frozen, boxed or extra ingredients the usual recipes call for.

Dijon & Dill Chicken Pot Pie

You'll need (serves two):
8" cast iron pan or small pie pan
1 package pre-made pie shells or try your own here
(I actually used a package of multi-grain Pillsbury Crescent Rolls rolled out into a large rectangle & cut into long strips for weaving)
1 boneless skinless chicken breast (cubed)
1 c carrots (peeled & chopped)
1 c fresh peas (shelled)
1 medium onion (diced)
1 clove of garlic (diced)
2 c chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh dill (chopped)
1 egg white
olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a saucepan over medium-high heat with a bit of olive oil, cook the cubed chicken (seasoned with s&p) until browned.  Remove & set aside.  In the same pan, add the butter & cook the onions until soft.  Meanwhile, steam the carrots & peas with a bit of chicken stock until tender, drain & set aside.  Add the garlic in with the onions, cook for several more minutes before adding the flour.  Cook the flour for a minute or so then whisk in the chicken stock, dijon mustard & bouillon cube.  Let the sauce bubble & thicken, add back in the chicken & steamed veggies.  Season to taste with s&p then you can either fill a pie crust with the filling or put the filling right into the pan & top with strips of the dough.  Brush with egg whites & sprinkle with a pinch of coarse salt.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Autumn Charcuterie with Homemade Pickled Vegetables

I have been waiting for this day ever since I made the first batch of pickled heirloom carrots nearly two months ago.  I knew that they would make the perfect addition to a fall charcuterie plate.  Autumn sort of crept up on us here in Southern Ontario with temperatures falling quickly over the past few days.  
This Labour day was a slow day of pickling & eating.

We picked up the essentials for a perfect charcuterie plate yesterday at the market, paired with some homemade pickled  good-ness - the platter was deemed perfect before it was even assembled.

Autumn Charcuterie Plate with Homemade Pickled Vegetables

Featuring (clockwise from top left):
Homemade Pickled Beets
Pan Chancho Crostinis
St. Andre Cheese
Rosemary Goat Cheese
Pan Chancho Baguette
Crispy Dry-Cured pancetta
Hungarian Double-Garlic Farmers' Sausage
Homemade Pickled Heirloom Carrots & Spicy Pickled Green Beans
Extra Hot Capocollo
Crispy Double-Smoked Bacon

Chunk Pickles, Pickled Jalapenos & Hot Peppers

So, not only was The Bread Bar delicious - but we also decided to go back to the Hamilton Farmers' Market to stock up on even more goodies.  At The Bread Bar, we sampled the blueberry white chocolate scones, monkey bread (sort of like a glazed timbit muffin) and some of the milk & honey bread.  It was all pretty incredible to say the least.  If you live in the area and haven't been yet, you should definitely check it out.  I can't wait to go back some evening to try the pizza & brushetta.

We left the market with bags full of medium sized dills (for my great aunt's 'chunk pickle' recipe), the tiniest dills I've found this summer for another batch of dill pickles, jalapenos & hot peppers - both to be pickled as well.  I have to say, we finally got around to setting up a shelf in the crawlspace for all of the canned goodies & it shocked me how many we have already.  I'd still like to do some whole tomatoes & some sauces before the season quickly comes to an end.

I used this recipe for both the pickled jalapenos & hot peppers.  I chose it because, like the blog author, I wanted to keep the flavours clean & un-muddled so these hot peppers can be used for anything. 
I'm already thinking of using them in autumn chili, salsa, nachos...the possibilities are endless!

As for the chunk pickles, they were given to me by my great aunt and I have been addicted to them ever since.  Last season she made us 12 jars, which lasted almost the whole year.  Thankfully, she gave me the recipe to make my own this season.  They may not be for everyone:  They're super salty and crunchy & I personally think they're totally addicting.

Chunk Pickles

You'll need (makes 3-4 small jars):
5-6 medium sized cucumbers (use outside only, leave a little meat on the skin)
3 c white vinegar
1 c distilled water
3/4 c white sugar
handful of pickling spices in a closed bag made from cheesecloth or nylon
coarse pickling salt

Wash the skin of the cucumbers, cut them into chunks & place into a large pot.  Sprinkle a handful of coarse salt over them, cover the cucumbers & place a heavy weight on top so it pushes the cucumbers down.  Let sit overnight.  In the morning, drain the liquid and let the cucumbers rest while you prepare the jars.  Sterilize several small jars (250ml) in boiling water for about 10 minutes.  While jars are still hot, put 1/2 teaspoon of pickling salt in each jar & fill with the cucumbers.  Bring to a boil the vinegar, water, sugar & pickling spices.  Once the liquid boils, reduce & cook for 10 minutes.  Fill the jars with the brine, seal & process in a hot water bath for about 10 minutes.  Store in a cool dry place - best to wait 4 weeks before sampling.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Olive-Oil Marinated Feta with Honey, Grilled Asparagus & Crispy Prosciutto on Ciabatta

I often crave this breakfast I had at Pan Chancho in Kingston and decided to switch it up a bit for a dinner-time treat.  The combination of the honey, feta & olive oil is so so so good and the addition of grilled asparagus & crispy prosciutto was a pretty good take on the original.

Olive-Oil Marinated Feta with Honey, Grilled Asparagus & Crispy Prosciutto on Ciabatta

You'll need (serves 2):
4 slices of ciabatta loaf
enough sliced feta for the bread
a handful of fresh asparagus (ends trimmed)
4 thin slices of prosciutto
small handful of watercress
bay leaf
olive oil

Marinate the feta slices in a bit of olive oil.  Most of the olive oil ends up being drained off later, it just removes some of the brine-y taste & adds a nice olive oil flavour.  You can throw in your favorite herbs at this point too if you like.  Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees and cook the prosciutto on parchment paper for about 10 minutes until crisp.  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat with a drizzle of olive oil, cook the asparagus with a bay leaf or two, lemon slices, s&p.  To assemble the open-faced sandwich:  spread honey on all of the bread slices, top with feta, prosciutto, asparagus & a little bit of watercress tossed with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, s&p.

Speaking of Pan Chancho, my parents are down visiting this weekend & they showed up with tonnes of yummy Pan Chancho treats!  Our freezer is now stocked with tea biscuits, cranberry scones, a lemon raspberry loaf, baguette & not to mention the crostini's!

Today we're off to check out Earth to Tables Bread Bar on Locke St. in Hamilton and then to Canada's largest Ribfest here in Burlington tonight (...and most likely tomorrow too).

I sense it's going to be a delicious weekend!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Pan-Seared Orange Roughy with Ponzu, Spring Onion Rice & Edamame

This dish really is the epitome of easy and the flavours are clean & simple (but very tasty none-the-less).  I've always been a bit intimidated when it comes to preparing fish but I'm learning that it's really not that different from preparing chicken.  Of course it's a lot more delicate, which means not only do you have to be careful when handling/flipping but it also takes less time to cook.  This dish is super healthy and packed full of protein.

Pan-Seared Orange Roughy with Ponzu, Spring Onion Rice & Edamame

 You'll need (serves 2):
2 pieces of orange roughy fish (or any other light/white fish you like)
1 c ponzu sauce (citrus flavored soy sauce)
3 green onions (chopped)
1/2 c rice (white or brown)
1 c chicken stock
1 c shelled edamame
lemon for garnish
olive oil

Marinate the fish in the ponzu sauce just for a bit while you prepare the rest of the meal.  Steam the edamame beans until cooked, set aside.  Cook the rice in chicken stock until al dente, remove from heat, stir in green onions  & set aside.  Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan.  Season the fish lightly with s&p (remember the marinade is fairly salty!) and sear the marinated fish on one side for about 3 minutes.  Flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Serve the fish on top of rice & edamame with lemon slices for garnish.  Drizzle a bit more ponzu sauce over the whole dish & enjoy!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Citrus Salad with Goat Cheese, Crispy Prosciutto & Toasted Walnuts

I had the girls over tonight and we made the most delicious salad, maybe ever.  It was really fresh & light but still perfectly filling.  Not too filling though, we needed to save room for the half green apple / half caramel gelato we had for dessert.  Yum!

Citrus Salad with Goat Cheese, Crispy Prosciutto & Toasted Walnuts

You'll need (serves 2):
enough lettuce for two (we used mixed greens & arugula)
1 small grapefruit (skins removed & segmented)
2 seedless oranges (skins removed & segmented)
enough goat cheese for two (crumbled)
1/2 c walnuts (chopped)
4 slices of prosciutto

Citrus Vinaigrette:
1/8 c olive oil
1/8 c vegetable oil
1/3 c freshly squeezed orange juice (strained)
1/8 c white sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
pinch of oregano
pinch of black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Cook the proscuitto on parchment paper for about 10 minutes until crisp.  Remove & set aside.  Toast the walnuts over low heat until fragrant, set aside.  Put all of the citrus vinaigrette ingredients in a jar & shake until combined.  Dress the lettuce with a bit of dressing, top with orange & grapefruit segments, walnuts, goat cheese & prosciutto.  Drizzle a bit more dressing over the whole salad.