Wednesday, 22 April 2015

SPICY SUMMER SQUASH SOUP


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 large onions, minced
6 large garlic gloves, minced
1 1/2 lbs yellow summer squash, chopped (or any summer squash, such as zucchini)
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds, ground in mortar and pestle
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
1 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (more if soup is too thick for your taste)

TOPPINGS:

Plain Greek yogurt
Chopped Cucumber
Pea Shoots (or you favourite herb)

Heat butter and olive oil over medium high heat. Sauté onions with a bit of salt and pepper until slightly browed. Add garlic and salute for about 1-2 minutes. Add the squash and sauté until soft, and staring to colour, about 10-12 minutes. Push vegetables to side of pot to clear a spot in the middle. Toast spices in the middle of pot for about 30 seconds. Add the salt, pepper and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1/2 hour. Using an immersion blender blend until smooth.

Serve, topping each bowl with yogurt, cucumbers and sprouts, if desired.

This is even better if left to cool and reheated after a few hours, or the next day.
Easy, healthy and delicious! My favourite trio.




Monday, 20 April 2015

BRAISED CHICKEN IN WINE AND GARLIC



8 bone-in chicken thighs
Flour
Salt & Pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
15 - 20 large garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1 cup white wine plus 1 cup dry vermouth (or 2 cups white wine is fine)
1/2 cup chicken broth (optional)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried lavender (optional)
1 28 ounce can tomatoes, drained and cut into large pieces
Chopped parsley

Season both sides of chicken aggressively with salt and pepper. Sprinkle both sides with flour. (I use a mini sifter for this.) 


Choose a large heavy bottomed pot. Heat butter and olive oil over medium high heat until butter melt and foams. Add chicken and sear until both sides are golden brown. You will need to do this in batches so as not to crowd the chicken. Set chicken aside on a plate.


Add the garlic to the pot and cook until golden brown on all sides. This will take about 8-10 minutes. Watch carefully, as garlic will burn easily.


Add the wine and/or vermouth and bring to a boil to deglaze pot. Add chicken broth. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add mustard, thyme, lavender and reserved chicken. Cover the pot and continue simmering until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes. Add tomatoes, stir in gently. With lid removed, cook for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.

Fantastic served with mashed potatoes and a crusty bread for sopping up the delicious sauce!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

SALMON WITH LENTILS




Lentils:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon Herb de Provence
1 can tomato paste
1 cup brown or green lentils
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Salmon:
Salt
Pepper
Dijon
4 salmon fillets

Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons liquid from lentils
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoons grainy mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
sprinkling of salt and pepper

For Lentils:

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Salute onions and carrots until slightly browned. Sauté garlic and Herb de Provence for about 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir. Let it brown for another minute or so. Then add the lentils and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until just tender. about 30-40 minutes. (Try to capture a couple tablespoons of the liquid before it all becomes absorbed.) Stir in 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar.

For the Salmon:

Preheat broiler. Set salmon on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Season salmon with salt and pepper, brush with olive oil. Brush with a bit of dijon mustard. Broil for 8-10 minutes.

For the Vinaigrette:

Mix the reserved liquid form the lentils (2 tablespoons), with the red wine vinegar, olive oil, grainy mustard, dill. Whisk thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Place lentils on a large platter and stir in about half the vinaigrette. Arrange salmon atop lentils and drizzle remaining vinaigrette over. Voila!! Delightful. And Oh So Healthy!

Monday, 30 March 2015

REUBEN NAAN PIZZA

TASTES LIKE LOVE

by Shelley Kary


What if gorgeous, full-flavoured Germany married exotic East India? And what if gregarious Italy acted as matchmaker? Well, I can tell you what. I’m the one who would fall in-love. I can tell you this for sure, because it happened to me.

This is a relationship cooked to last. Just goes to prove, we’re better together!




                             (Shown here with sautéed chard mix and potato pancakes)   


REUBEN NAAN PIZZA

3 Naan bread 
3 scant tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 cups packed and drained Sauerkraut
Sliced cooked chicken sausage or your favourite 
Regular yellow mustard
12 ounces shredded swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 450

Spread each naan with one tablespoon Dijon. Spread one cup sauerkraut evenly over each. Then add the sliced sausage and top each piece of sausage with a bit of yellow mustard. Sprinkle cheese over each pizza and bake until bubbly, about 15 minutes.


Honestly, this was a surprise. A unique burst of flavours with each bite! 

Thursday, 12 March 2015

GRILLED FETA CHEESE SANDWICH

MAD for MUSIC & MUNCHIES



I watch the Grammys for the same reasons I watch the Super Bowl. I like to eat. And I like to see outrageously talented people behaving outrageously. Happily, I've found a like-minded companion in my niece, Madi. We've committed ourselves to a lifetime of Grammy critiquing, as we chomp our way through the fashion and lip synching extravaganza known as...oh wait, I think that's the Superbowl.

In any case, alternately praising and mocking the spectacles before us can be quite draining. Madi and I need our sustenance, so from now on we will begin our feasting frenzy with this well-dressed, uptown goodness. Inspired by Martha Rose Schulman, it perfectly sets the stage for the night ahead.

Trust me, this Grilled Cheese sings.




GRILLED FETA CHEESE SANDWICH
   with Peppers, Artichokes and Greens

Makes one sandwich:

1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper (jarred is fine)
1/4 cup chopped marinated artichoke heart (jarred is fine)
1/4 cup packed baby spinach, finely chopped
1/4 cup crumbled feta
2 slices whole grain bread
Olive oil

Mash first four ingredients together. Place feta cheese mixture on one slice of bread and spread evenly. Top with second slice and press sandwich together. Brush both sides of sandwich with olive oil.

Toast in toaster oven until cheese melts, 3-4 minutes. 

Remove from oven, press down and slice in half.

Best enjoyed with a music loving sidekick.




Tuesday, 3 March 2015

CAULI-POWER!! Cauliflower Parmigiana


You absolutely don’t need to like cauliflower to adore this little bit of heaven. Cheesy and gooey and saucy and robust. It’s every bit as wonderful as its more popular cousins; eggplant and chicken parmigiana.



   CAULIFLOWER PARMIGIANA


1 medium size cauliflower, cut into florets
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Good sprinkling pepper and salt
Few tablespoons bread crumbs
5 cups thick marinara sauce, (you can make your own, or use your favourite store bought. I found an organic roasted garlic tomato sauce that I love!)
1 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-reggiano 
1/2 pound thinly sliced mozzarella (I used Monterey Jack instead. Good!)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

On a large baking tray, toss cauliflower with olive oil, pepper and salt. Lay it in a single layer and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Roast until browned but still crisp. About 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, set aside.

Reduce oven to 400 degrees.

Oil a 9x13” baking pan. Spread a thin layer of marinara over bottom of the pan. Sprinkle 1/3 of the parmesan over the sauce. Top with 1/2 of the cauliflower and then 1/2 the mozz. Now layer with 1/2 of the remaining sauce, followed by another 1/3 of the parm, and continue layering, ending with layer of sauce and parmesan.

Pop in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until gorgeously browned and bubbly!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

My Tagine: A Love Affair



 LONG, SLOW AND STEAMY


Tagine: The Ultimate Slow Cooker


by Shelley Kary

It may be middle age, but I find I’ve fallen madly in love with a squat, shiny headed, heavy-bottomed hottie. I can’t stop thinking about all the hours we’ve spent together, each bringing out the best in the other. My new love never rushes me, accommodates my every need, bubbles away enthusiastically at each flavourful whim.Yes, my true love is a pot. And we couldn’t be happier together.



Tagine Meatballs and Rich Tomato Sauce

The Meatballs:

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
14 cup buttermilk
1 pound ground beef (lean but not extra lean)
1/2 pound crumbled Italian sausage
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmigiano-reggiano
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper

Add bread crumbs to the milk in a large bowl. Let sit for about 15 minutes until bread has absorbed all the milk. Give a bit of stir to ensure there are no dry spots.

Now add remainder of the ingredients. Combine thoroughly, yet gently. You don’t want to over mix or the meatballs will lose that soft, tender consistency we all love so much. 

Reserve 1/4 cup of the meat mixture for making the sauce. 

Line a large baking sheet with foil and turn the oven to broil. With remainder of the mixture, form golf ball size meatballs. I love using my mini ice cream scoop for this.
Place on foil lined baking sheet.

Broil the meatballs on upper rack until well browned, about 6-7 minutes. You only need to brown the top, as they will finish cooking in the sauce.

Set aside. Can be made ahead and refrigerated at this point.



                                                                                   The Sauce:

3 tablespoons olive oil
!/4 cup reserved meatball mixture
1 large onion, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 28 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 28 ounce can pureed tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
Sprig of fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper




Now. In the bottom of your lovely lovely tagine (or Dutch oven if you must), sauté the reserved meat mixture until no pink remains. 

Add onion and sauté until softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. Add oregano and red pepper flakes, cook for about 30 seconds.

Next add all remaining sauce ingredients, breaking up the whole tomatoes a bit with you spoon. Put the lid on the tagine or the Dutch oven. Bring to gentle boil. Reduce heat immediately and simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours. If you can, it’s good to give it a couple of stirs throughout the simmering.

Add the meatballs to the sauce during the last 1/2 hour of simmering. 


Serve atop spaghetti with a shaving of Parmigiano-reggiano and some fresh basil, if desired.