Friday, October 17, 2014

Turkey Day!

Cranberry sauce:

-Bag of cranberries
1 orange
3/4 cup sugar
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Add bag of cranberries to saucepan, reserve 1 cup and set aside. 

Peel an orange and add the peel to the cranberries. Slice the orange and juice it. 

Add 3/4 cup sugar to the cranberries and about 2 tbsp orange juice to the pot. Simmer on medium low stirring for 10 minutes. 
 Increase the heat and cook until cranberries burst, then add the rest of the reserved cranberries and reduce the heat until they are just about to burst. Remove from heat and season with salt and black pepper. 

You can set it in the fridge until ready to serve (the next day for instance) and simply let it come to room temperature before serving. 

Roasted vegetable casserole:

Use all the vegetables you prefer, I had

Brussel sprouts, sliced in half 
small candycane beets, sliced in quarters
Heirloom carrots, cut accordingly
Parsnips, sliced
Sunchokes (or Jerusalem artichokes) chopped

Red onion, chopped in quarters
small pearl onions, peeled and set whole

Drizzle all with a good olive oil and season with salt and black pepper or Herbamare

Bake on 400 F until tender. You can toss with butter, if you choose. 

Sweet potato casserole with mini marshmallows was a new dish on our table this year, it's as simple as candying the yams by baking cubes or slices of yams in a casserole tossed with a bit of oil (400 F oven) Once roasted season with salt and black pepper then drizzle some maple syrup and brown sugar over top. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes and then when ready to serve add baby marshmallows to top and broil until toasty.

Pear and walnut stuffing: 

2 cups celery heart, fine dice
2 cups yellow onion, fine dice
1 cup leek white, fine slice

2 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
2 tbsp fresh sage, minced
2 bay leaves

to taste flaked sea salt
to taste fresh ground black pepper

1 cup walnut halves
1 cup D'Anjou pears, core, fine slice

4 tbsp butter
Chicken stock

Favourite bread, I use a loaf of rye, chopped in cubes and left out overnight or you can drizzle with a tiny bit of evoo and toast in a 400 C oven for about 10 minutes. 

Sautee chopped veggies (leek, celery, onion)  Add herbs and season with salt and black pepper. 

Chop pears and mix with walnuts, add to the pan. At this point you can mix all this with the bread and set aside in the fridge until ready to use. 

When you're ready to bake simply set it all in a casserole dish and drizzle the stock over top, dot with butter and bake on 350-375 F for about 20 minutes.
 If you want to add an egg to bind it a bit, you absolutely can. 

Dessert: Easy Italian Plum Clafouti 
1 pound Italian prune plums (freestone, from your farmers market) 

1/2 cup flour

3 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon sugar (reserve the 1 tbsp) 

Pinch of salt

2 eggs

2 heaping tablespoons sour cream

2/3 cup milk

Freshly grated rind of 1 lemon

butter (to butter your baking dish)

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the prunes into quarters and remove the pits. Do not peel them.

In a bowl, combine the flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, salt, eggs, sour cream. Mix until smooth. Add the milk and lemon rind and mix well.

Butter a 9″ pie plate. Pour approximately 1/3 of the batter into the pie plate and bake it until it’s set, about 10 minutes. You do this so that the fruit won’t sink down and stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove the dish from the oven when the batter is set and arrange the fruit, in concentric circles on top of the batter. Sprinkle the fruit with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and then pour the remaining batter over the fruit. Return to the oven and bake until set and lightly golden, approximately 40 minutes.

The rest of the recipes are here in my harvest dinner post

Friday, October 3, 2014

Molokhia Leaves

When you come home and realize they shop keeper has accidentally given you frozen Molokhia leaves instead of ground what do you do? 

Well you cook it anyway! 
As you all know by now I'm part Egyptian which means I enjoy Egypt's rustic national dish the Egyptian way, which means ground leaves simmered in a chicken (or pigeon, or duck, or rabbit) stock... 

I pretty much used the same principle of cooking, starting with the chicken, frying it up nice and simmered it to cook in it's juices. 

Meanwhile set a pot of quinoa on. 

Removing the chicken aside I used the same pot to heat a bit of olive oil, saute a lot of smashed garlic on medium low and add the molokhia leaves frying/sauteing it briefly.  Seasoning with salt and it all comes together on the plate, quinoa, chicken and delicious molokhia leaves which was a nice change from the usual. 

I'm looking forward to trying molokhia in different ways in the future, including the dried leaves!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Roast Duck

There is a first time for everything, and it was my first roasting a duck!  Just like everything I was a little intimidated but just treated it like a chicken with the exception of the excess fats dripping off and it was a breeze!

 I roughly used the guide from Martha Stewart here 

Really it was as simple as this!

- 1 fresh or thawed duck 
A couple of tsp of salt
- 1 large scoop of marmalade
- 1 large sweet potato

Began with draining the duck well from any excess blood or moisture. Now salting it well on the inside and out, even sticking my fingers under the breast skin to salt it well. At this point I put it in the fridge overnight to allow all that salt to flavour it (no brining like the chicken, was afraid it would make the skin flabby)

The next day I remove the duck 30 minutes before baking and allow it to come to room temperature, preheat the oven to convection roast on 425 F and add a scoop of marmalade in the cavity of the duck.

Score the top of the duck with a sharp knife in a criss-cross manner without cutting the flesh.

During baking whenever fat collects at the bottom you must drain it off. I did this several times during the process of baking below.

Baking for 50 minutes then reducing the temperature of about 400 and flipping it over for another 30 minutes. I layered the pan with slices of potato and placed the duck back on it's back and baked for almost another 40 minutes. When it's perfectly browned and the juices run clear it's done.

Serve immediately as the skin is crispy and perfect!
The potatoes are amazing as well.

Apple Pie

2 2/3 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar

1/2 lb butter (2 sticks) 

Mix with hands, Add:

3 oz vodka (or use water)
3 oz ice cold water

Divide into 2 disks, cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate until ready to use. 


Peel, core and slice apples

Toss with sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon. 

Assemble pie and bake on 450 for 10 minutes.
Reduce to 375 and bake for another 30 minutes

Finally mix 1 egg yolk with about 1 tsp sour cream and brush the top, bake for another 20 minutes until  perfectly browned. 

Let cool and enjoy! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Herb Crusted Grilled Cheese

Herb crusted grilled cheese! 

This recipe kind of evolved after my spring time Easter feast when I crusted lamb chops with a delicious herb (thyme, cilantro and parsley) Parmesan and bread crumb crust.  I had a ton leftover (makes a nice meatball filler!) but instead I used it to crust the top of the grilled cheese sammies and it was such a hit!

Your favourite bread - I used rye

Esrom havarti from Denmark from Country Cheese Company
1 tbsp of that herb/cheese mix per sandwich (recipe below)
Butter (I used homemade butter but any will do) 

Cut some nice thick slices of cheese and layer in the bread, cover with another piece and set in the panini press. I use my george forman and put the sandwich between a sheet of parchment. 
A couple of minutes before it's done slather both sides of the sandwich with butter and place it back inside the panini between the parchment. Now scoop a generous helping of that herb/parmesan mix on top and spread it out. 
Cover and let it go until it's toasty and brown (as seen in the photo)

For the herb mix:
1/4 cup grated parm (the real deal!)
1 tsp thyme 
1 tbsp parsley leaves
1 tbsp cilantro
1 splash evoo
2 slices of dried bread.

Process it all by blitzing in a blender

Serve with your favourite soup! 

Greek Yogurt

Greek Yogurt or Arabic strained Yogurt known as "Lebneh" 

4 tubs of balkan style yogurt (I buy them on sale for less than $2 each

A big bowl

2 strainers strainer
2 bowls
Paper towel (about 8 sheets connected) 
cling wrap

Begin by adding all the yogurt into the bowl using the spatula to scoop out every last bit. 
Whisk up the yogurt until it looks super creamy

Now place one sieve on top of one of the bowls and line with 2 pieces of paper towel (connected) and then another two sheets on top in the opposite direction like a cross. 

Add about 1/3 of the yogurt mixture into the paper towel lining the sieve - set this aside, it'll be your sweet version. 
Now if you want all of it to be sweet just line both sieves in the same way and cover with cling wrap and you're good to go but if you want a salty version too (for dips and recipes) then hold off.

Add about 2 tsp  salt to the yogurt and whisk in. Now pour into the other sieve lined with paper towel in the same way. 
Place cling wrap on top of both and set in the fridge for a day or so until all the liquid drains out, you may need to check on it and strain the liquid if it gets too full (otherwise it'll just soak the paper towel and yogurt again) 
You can strain it for up to two days or so and then simply remove the yogurt from the paper towel, it will kinda just roll out if you pull the moist paper towel onto it and gather the yogurt in the middle then just roll it into a zip lock container. 

Store in the fridge! 

For your sweet version create a nice dessert

- A couple of fresh figs (or favourite fruit) 

- 1 tbsp Orange blossom or your favourite local honey variety
- 1/4 cup Chopped pistachios
- Big scoop of fresh sweet greek yogurt

Layer the yogurt with all your favourite toppings and a nice drizzle of honey and enjoy!