Saturday, March 28, 2015

Porcini Mushroom Risotto on CBC's Weekend Morning Show

This morning on CBC's Weekend Morning Show, with host Terry MacLeod, I presented this grown up comfort food, Porcini Mushroom Risotto.

Mushroom Risotto (can make variations such as squash, asparagus, saffron, etc.


2 Tbsp butter
2 cups flavorful mushrooms such as shiitake, chanterelle, or oyster mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and cut into half inch to inch pieces
2/3 cups dry white wine
5-6 cups stock (chicken, vegetable)
1/3 cup of peeled and minced shallots (OR 1/3 cup of yellow or white onion, finely chopped)
1 3/4 cups Arborio
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or chives

1.Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan.
2. Melt the butter in a deep, heavy, medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and shallots and saut� about 5 minutes (if using chanterelles, dry saut� first for a minute or two and let the mushrooms cook in their own juices before adding the butter). Add the rice and stir to combine.
3. Add wine, bring to a boil, and reduce liquid by half, about 3-4 minutes. Add simmering stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring enough to keep the rice from sticking to the edges of the pan. Stir the rice almost constantly � stirring sloughs off the starch from the rice, making the creamy sauce you're looking for in a risotto. Wait until the stock is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup. This process will take about 25 minutes. The rice should be just cooked and slightly chewy.

4. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or chives.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Butter-Fried Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Dates


I'm an avid reader and I usually have a book - or three - going on my Kindle app. (I rarely pick up paper books these days - it's just easier to read on my phone.) In a book I recently read, the main character was in New Orleans, and at a restaurant ordered delicious brussel sprouts, cooked in butter, with bacon and chopped dates. Intriguing!

Just after reading that, I came upon lots of bags of gorgeous fresh brussel sprouts at my grocery store. I immediately knew what I had to make for dinner and I googled until I found this recipe.  I adapted it a bit and served it with some steamed cod fillets, and it was every bit as good as I had imagined it. The combination of salty bacon, sweet dates (that are undetectable - I promise. My seriously sceptical husband went for seconds, and thirds!) and the bite of the balsamic vinegar takes away all the bitterness of the sprouts. They're just really yummy. We finished the entire bowl!

Butter-Fried Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Dates
500 g fresh brussel sprouts
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
100 g bacon, diced
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
5 dates, finely chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
125 ml chicken stock (or vegetable, or just water)

Clean the sprouts. Cut off the woody end and cut them in half. Heat the butter and oil in a very large skillet and once hot, fry the sprouts, cut side down. Let them caramelize. Add some salt.

Turn them over and let them fry for a few more minutes. Push to one end of the pan and add the bacon. Fry until fairly crisp, then add onion, garlic and dates. Fry for a minute or so, then add the balsamic vinegar. After a few more minutes, add the chicken stock and let that reduce so you are left with a thick, sticky glaze.

Season, and serve.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dinner The other night

Take four pieces of salmon fillet, in an oven proof dish. Mix creme fraiche with crumbled feta cheese, and some finely chopped capers, olives and sundried tomatoes. Spread over the fish and bake. Serve with boiled potatoes and some butter-fried sugar snap peas. Delicious, easy and quick!
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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Crockpot Chili with Pineapple


I thought this would be a nice weekday dinner that the kids might approve of since the pineapple lends a lot of sweetness - alas, they weren't interested but I sure liked it.

Crockpot Chili with Pineapple
1500 g beef, suitable for stewing - I use h�grev
neutral oil
1 onion, chopped
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 red chili pepper, minced(or more)
6-8 garlic cloves, minced
1 dried ancho chili
400 g crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato pur�e
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
black pepper
ancho chili
1/2 pineapple, finely diced

Cut the meat into large dice and brown well on all sides in some neutral oil. Add to the crockpot. Add all the ingredients except for pineapple - I haven't given you any measurements for the spices since I have no idea how spicy you like your food. You probably do know :-)

Let this cook all day, eight hours or so on low. One or two hours before eating, add the pineapple.

Serve with tortillas or tortilla chips, sour cream, avocado, tomatoes and maybe some grated cheese. And cilantro, of course. Always cilantro!
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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Squash gnudi! So easy with great results!

I tried out this recipe for squash gnudi.  The original recipe called for Butternut Squash but I had Kuri Squash.  So easy and so yummy!

Squash Gnudi
1  squash, about 3 lb. (baked and scooped out of shell)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. fine sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper, to taste
2 cups flour, sifted
8 Tbs unsalted butter, browned
10 fresh sage leaves (to taste)
1 Tbs. kosher salt
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 

 Pass the baked squash through a ricer or mash well.  When cooled, add beaten eggs and seasonings and mix well.  Sift flour into squash mixture and stir until well incorporated.  Add enough flour to make a light sticky batter.  Chill at least one hour.

Set a pot of salted water to boil.  Brown butter in another pan and add fresh sage leaves toward the end.  Turn butter off until gnudi is ready.  When water boils, drop gnudi into gently boiling water with a small spoon.  When the gnudi floats, scoop out of water, drain and add to hot butter. Let coat gnudi and plate.  Top with grated cheese.

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Charge up the BBQ's! Burger time on CBC's Weekend Morning Show!

I presented this burger for CBC's Weekend Morning Show with host Terry MacLeod.  Have fun with how you do your burgers.  This is topped with a soft egg, Pineapple Thoren and served on a toasted naan bread with Dijon Mustard and a yoghurt tahini sauce.


 Halal Beef and Lamb Burgers (Halal Beef and ground lamb are available at Millad�s on Notre Dame)

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground lamb
2 eggs (I loved to use Nature�s Farm eggs)
2 tbs Ras el Hanout (Available at Pollock�s Hardware Coop or through Chef Karen at the Farmer�s Market)
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients well and form into patties at desired size.  Freeze or prepare for the BBQ.  Enjoy with your favourite toppings.  Today�s will be options of yoghurt tahini sauce, pineapple chutney, Dijon mustard, and soft fried or poached egg, served on toasted Naan bread.


Pineapple Thoren

1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green chill, chopped
2-3 stem curry leaves (available fresh at Dino�s Grocery Mart on Notre Dame)
1/2 cup finely chopped unsweetened coconut
1 pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 tbs mustard seeds
2-3 tbs olive oil or coconut oil
1 tbs brown sugar
splash of vinegar
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt, to taste

Heat oil in pot over medium high heat and add mustard seeds.  When the seeds begin to pop, add the chopped onion, chilies, curry leaves and coconut.  Cook until onions are soft and translucent.  Add pineapple, brown sugar, vinegar, turmeric and salt.  Cook until much of the liquid has evaporated.  I often add an additional drizzle of coconut oil for taste.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Last night's dinner

Grilled chicken leg, bulgur wheat, lots of veggies and a Turkish yogurt with lemon zest, garlic and a little honey.
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