Saturday, August 30, 2014

Gourmet Hot Dog Salad

"Chorizo" style salad

This is a halal version. Use all beef hearty meaty hotdogs, as many as desired. 3-4 is ideal.

Chop in thick rings and fry in evoo until very browned. Reserve oil.

1 head lettuce (boston or romain)
1 cup each Small tomatoes or cherry tomatoes (red and yellow)
1/2 large Red onion, sliced into rings

Layer the salad and use the remaining oil from frying the hotdogs to create the dressing by whisking in:

Juice of 1/2-1 lemon
Drizzle of honey/maple syrup or anything sweet that you desire.
Extra EVOO
Sprinkle of salt (watch out the hotdogs might already by salty)
1 small clove of garlic, crushed

Whisk until frothy or emulsified and drizzle over salad!
Enjoy as a light lunch of as a side to other dishes.

Serves about 4 people.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Farmer's Market goodness

With Summer ending and Autumn approaching, FAST I'm soaking in as much of the seasonal goodness as possible and there is no better place than the local farmers markets! Once again I hit one of my local markets and boy did everything look so good, I bought it all!

Last week I tasted some of Clement Poultry's Organic Chicken and Turkey bacon, they are out in Newcastle and I am planning to visit their farm soon. Free range organic chickens, a nice turkey for the upcoming holidays and fresh eggs, it all sounds amazing! You can tell they love their birds, those chickens look so happy (Look 'em up on facebook if you're interested!)

Visiting the market is just the beginning of the "Adventure", I love making a day out of it, from browsing, chatting with the farmers, purchasing everything that looks amazing and then sorting it all at home.  It's a very rewarding ritual, and it ends with some yummy dishes on the dinning table followed by big happy smiles.

Just a couple of tips I discovered along the way.... with veggies so fresh and beaming with summer you dont' need to do much with them. Keep it simple, let the vegetable shine.
Lately I can't get enough of beans. Cranberry Romano beans are so beautiful to look at, fun to shell and boil up in a breeze, seriously they're done in about 25 minutes and then I just shower them with a ton of delicious GOOD quality olive oil and enjoy! A bit of garlic in there too takes it to another level.

Flat green beans are probably my new favourite thing! Simmered in a thick tomato sauce or just in good olive oil with salt and black pepper, these Lebanese classics are sure to please!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cauliflower Roquefort blue cheese soup

Cauliflower & Blue Cheese Soup

A perfect autumn soup 

1 head cauliflower
Chicken stock (homemade preferably) 
Heavy cream

Roquefort blue cheese (from Country Cheese Company) 

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and add the washed cauliflower head (you can remove the florets individually for faster cooking) Cook until tender and almost falling apart. 

Drain water and add chicken stock to the cauliflower, about 2 cups. 
Add another cup of milk and this should cover the cauliflower florets.  Bring to a medium boil and simmer on very low, keep an eye on it as milk has a tendency to either burn at the bottom or overflow out of the pot.

Before serving, allow the mixture to cool slightly and add to a blender or use a hand held blender pureeing it all to a smooth puree. It should be creamy and not runny.  Add a splash of heavy cream (maybe 1/2 cup) 

Add black or white pepper to taste. 

Serve in bowls with a crumbling of blue cheese over top 


Monday, August 25, 2014

Garlic Scapes

At my local farmers market I discovered Garlic Scapes! 

I'm sure I purchased them once before from a chinese supermarket but they looked a little different because they were all super straight instead of twirly.

Today I have two recipes for you both using garlic scapes: 

Recipe #1:

Garlic Scapes & Eggs
This recipe is SO easy and yummy, perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner! You could totally turn it into a frittata too!

2 bunches of garlic scapes, cut in 1 inch pieces
2-3 eggs per person

Salt & black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 knob butter

Nice big shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Thick slices of hearty home style bread (I used spelt from my local farmers market!)

Add olive oil in the skillet and sautee the garlic scapes, season with salt and pepper add a bit of water and simmer until they are tender.

Once tender turn heat back up and allow all water to evaporate. Add butter and allow to melt.

Crack your eggs in a bowl and scramble, pour over the garlic scapes and scramble to your liking. It's better to keep the eggs perfectly fluffy, cloudy and creamy without drying them out too much.

Toast your bread slices and top with scrambled egg, add shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve!


Recipe #2:
Lebanese style beans "Loubi bil zayt or Loubi bil Tamata" 

1 big bunch of flat green beans, remove ends and chop in 1 inch diagonal pieces
1 bunch garlic scapes, chop into 1 inch pieces

1/2 large onion, peeled and diced

2-4 tbsp GOOD olive oil!  - Olive That! 

Couple of Fresh tomatoes OR 1/2 can good san marzano whole tomatoes
2 tsps tomato paste (optional)

Salt & black pepper

Start by sauteing the diced onion in oil in the skillet until translucent ... add your beans and scapes and fry around. Season with salt and pepper and add tomato, fry a little and add tomato paste (optional)

Add a little water and simmer until beans are tender, up to an hour if needed.

Remove lid and allow extra moisture to evaporate on medium heat. You want a dry consistency.

Enjoy with bread!

Farm Fresh

Cheese and more Cheese, Italian Stuffed Shells!

An amazing recipe from Chef Lidia Bastianich for stuffed shells! So simple and delicious!

Recipe here 

Instead of mozarella I used smoked fontina from Country Cheese Company