Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Celery saving tips

Freezer prepped ingredients or meals have saved my life and one of my favourites is this simple recipe that I like to call "soup starter" because it's so handy to just pull out of the freezer and throw a couple of beans and greens over and a little broth and you've got a meal!

Soup starter is basically a meripoix but without the onion (because my husband doesn't like onions but if it was just for me I would totally add them)

- 3 bunches of celery, use the stalks and save the tender hearts for snacking, and the bottoms are useful too for stock.
- 9 big carrots

Peel the carrots and dice. Clean the celery stalks and dice.

It's easier to do this in 2 pots so I got 2 big pots going on the stove with a little oil and then I add half of the celery and carrot to each and sautee away, the carrots will begin to soften and release a lot of colour into the oil. Season with salt or I use A.Vogel's veggie infused seasalt product which is super handy!

At this point you add a little stock or even water works, just a couple of tbsps (maybe 1/4 cup) and cover, simmer until carrots are just tender.

Once it's done remove from the heat and cool completely then you can bag it and freeze, try to break it up while it's freezing (kind of like you would do with a granita so you don't end up with a big ball of frozen veg that you can't portion)

I'm on my second batch and truly this is just such a handy mix to have around.

For the celery middles, sometimes I save them for snacking and as you see the bottoms go into a stock so every part of the vegetable is used.

Manti Revisited

I love how easy and elegant this dish is, and perfect for appetizers... not to mention EASY!  It's basically 2 ingredients, the meat and then your wrappers, we're using wonton wrappers.

Start with your filling, you could use beef or lamb mince (ground)


Wonton wrappers, about 1 package 

- 1 lb ground lamb
Salt & Black pepper to taste

Optional ingredients for filling: 
- Minced fresh mint, or a couple of flakes of dried mint

- onion or shallot, grated finely
- Garlic, minced
- Arabic Seven spice or a dash of allspice

Mix up your filling and then make tiny meatballs, a little bigger than the size of a malteser candy
It's easier if all your meatballs are made ahead and placed on a plate or your cutting board and then you begin filling.

Now grab a wonton wrapper and place a meatball in the middle then dip your finger in water and draw a line down both sides, fold in half sealing both ends and allowing the top to be open. The water keeps it sealed or you could make a slurry of water and flour as a sort of "Glue".  Hold both sides with thumbs and stand it up so that the opening is at the top and your meatball is kind of exposed.  Stand them all up in the pan as I've shown and then heat your oven to 400 and bake until tops and bottom are crispy. No oil is necessary as lamb is pretty oily in itself.
Once crispy remove from the oven and add about 1/2 cup broth to the pan and return to the oven, you want to soften up the wrappers a bit.

Serve on a place warm with the dip or topping of your choice. I go traditional with a whisked heated yogurt mixture and then a drizzle of warm garlicky olive oil with a dash of paprika and a handful of toasted pinenuts.

If you have any leftovers, just throw them in the fridge and the next day add to a pot of stock, they soften up nicely and you got a delicious wonton soup!  

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Curried Okra Fry

Curry Okra Fry

1 package fresh okra, remove tops by slicing off and cut into thick rings

Oil, about 3 tbsp, I use avocado oil or any flavourless high smoke point oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 thumb size piece of ginger, grated. Frozen is fine as I keep mine in the freezer anyway

1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp corriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp black mustard seeds
Salt and chili, to taste

1 tsp big teaspoon tomato paste
1 big or 2 small tomatoes, fresh and chopped in quarters (then you can just pick 4-8 pieces of skin out of the dish)

Fresh cilantro, for finishing and garnish

Heat the oil and add the onion, fry until edges are beginning to brown then add your spices and fry, mustard seeds may pop a bit.
Add your garlic and ginger and it will smell amazing at this point! Don't let it burn.
Add your chopped okra and finally tomato paste and chopped tomato.

If it needs a little water you can add a couple of tbsp and then cover and let it simmer for 15 minutes or so until okra is tender. At this point if there is any liquid still in it you can turn up the heat and just leave the lid off while keeping an eye out until it begins to dry up.

Add chopped cilantro and enjoy!

I serve with quick spelt rotis which I whip up using spelt flour, a drizzle of oil and enough water to create a pliable but not too sticky dough (Spelt can be sticky)
 I roll out small rounds and fry in a oiled pan (non stick works best)  flipping on both sides and removing once blisters appear.

This dish is delicious! Serve hot or room temperature!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Cranberry Orange Muffins

Cranberry Orange Muffins
Courtesy of Sally's Baking Addiction



1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup  granulated sugar
1/4 cup  dark brown sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature 

1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
zest of 2 oranges

Blend in another bowl:

1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add dry to wet and add:
2 Tablespoons orange juice
2 Tablespoons milk (any kind)

Fold in:
1 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw)

Bake in a muffin tin lined with muffin cups or an oiled and floured muffin tin. Makes about 12 

Bake for 5 minutes in a preheated 425 F oven then lower to 350 for another 18-20 minutes. Cool and glaze.
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 Tablespoons  orange juice, or half orange and half lemon juice