Archive | April, 2012

thai green curry

28 Apr

I’m white.  I’m extremely Caucasian.  There you go, that’s a little bit of personal trivia for you.  So it goes without saying that I’m not even remotely Thai, therefore, I make no claims about the authenticity of this green curry.

That being said, it is super tasty, healthy, and easy to make.  Works great if you’re feeding lots of people too.

Makes 4 servings

4.85$ per 2 servings

green curry

ingredients

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 small carrots, sliced into medallions
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3/4 c snow peas, tipped and tailed
  • 1 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 green onions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp thai green curry paste
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 12 shrimp, shelled and deveined or 1 c firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 c rice
  • fresh cilantro (optional)

preparation

Cook the rice.

When rice is almost done cooking, heat oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic, ginger, green onion and curry paste.  Sautee until curry paste is fragrant – 30 seconds.

Add carrots – sautee 30 seconds – add peppers and broccoli – sautee 30 seconds.  Add coconut milk, fish sauce and juice of half a lime and bring to a simmer.  Once the mixture is simmering add snow peas and shrimp / tofu.  Cook until the shrimp is pink and firm and vegetables are just tender – 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve vegetables, shrimp and liquid over rice.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges.

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zucchini cornbread + poached eggs

27 Apr

A good friend of mine is moving to Belgium very soon… and I express my emotions with food.  So we made brunch, and it was messy, and it was the envy of all other brunches.

Thanks to the JDSB for dreaming up the idea for this wonderful meal and lots of love + best of luck Richie.

Serves 4

$4.45 per 2 servings

ingredients

zucchini cornbread

adapted from Bon Appetit July 2011

  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 1 large zucchini, grated
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 c medium-grind cornmeal

eggs + toppings

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 c salsa
  • fresh cilantro

preparation

zucchini cornbread

Preheat oven to 350°F and butter a 9 inch cake pan.

Melt 1/2 c butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until butter solids separate and turn golden brown – about 3 minutes.  Let the butter cool in a medium bowl and then whisk in eggs, buttermilk and zucchini.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, red pepper flakes and cornmeal in a bowl and stir to combine.  Add zucchini mixture and fold together.

Transfer batter to buttered cake pan.  Bake for 45-55 minutes or until top is golden brown and tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.

eggs + toppings

Mash together avocado, garlic & lime juice until mostly smooth to make guacamole.  Heat water and vinegar in a large deep saucepan until almost simmering but not bubbling.  Poach eggs in 2 batches.  Cut 4 wedges of cornbread.  Top each wedge with guacamole, 2 poached eggs, and salsa.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and cracked pepper.

A simple salad on the side is great as the egg yolk, salsa and guacamole turn into a delicious dressing.  I made an arugula and roasted red pepper salad with a little bit of lemon-balsamic vinaigrette.

frozen peas

26 Apr

Orson Welles does not mix well with frozen peas or misplaced emphasis.

And to brighten your day, here’s Pinky and the Brain doing a parody of the above clip…

leftover risotto? pancakes!

25 Apr

Risotto is fantastic.  I love it dearly.  But I have to admit… I kind of get more excited about the leftovers.  Risotto pancakes are little bites of perfect crispy golden-on-the-outside-creamy-on-the-inside awesome.

They make a wonderful appetizer, lunch, snack… I eat them for breakfast.  What I’m saying is, there is no time that is not a good time for risotto pancakes.

I’ve also included a simple tomato basil sauce that I like to dip the pancakes in.

Makes 16 portions

Basic risotto recipe here.

risotto pancakes with quick tomato basil sauce

ingredients

sauce

  • 1 400ml can good quality crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 8 large basil leaves, chopped

risotto pancakes

  • 16 heaping tbsp risotto (about 2 c)
  • 1 1/2 c panko
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided

preparation

sauce

Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic, sautee until onions are soft.  Add tomato, basil and lemon juice.  Simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes.

risotto pancakes

While the sauce is simmering, get three plates.  Put the flour on one, egg on another and a mixture of panko, oregano, salt and 2 tbsp olive oil on the other.

Take a heaping tablespoon of risotto and roll it into a ball.  Dredge it in the flour, then egg, then in the panko mixture.  Set aside on a plate and repeat, making 16 balls.

Cook the pancakes in 2 batches.  Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat.  Place 8 of the risotto balls on the pan and press down gently on them to flatten slightly.  Cook until they’re golden brown then turn over and cook the other side to the same golden brown.  Repeat with the second batch.

Serve warm with sauce.  You can pour the sauce over them if you like, I prefer to serve it on the side so the crust on the pancakes doesn’t get soggy.

basic risotto

25 Apr

It’s risotto.

It’s delicious.

Make sure you have leftovers because this

Serves 8 as side dish

$3 per 2 servings

basic risotto

ingredients

  • 750g arborio rice
  • 1/2 c (50g) grated pecorino romano
  • 1/2 c (50g) asiago
  • 6 c vegetable broth
  • 2 glasses dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 c (about 4) shallots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 nub of butter

preparation

Heat broth to just below a simmer.

In a separate pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat.  Add shallots and garlic.  Sautee until soft.  Turn heat up to medium high, add rice and cook until most of the rice gets clear around the edges.

Reduce heat to medium-low, add white wine and stir gently and constantly (sort of ‘massage’ the rice) until white wine has been absorbed.  Add hot broth by the ladle-full, continuing to stir gently.  Each time liquid is mostly absorbed add a new ladle-full.  Do this until broth is used up and/or rice is tender.

Add asiago & romano cheeses.  Add butter.  Stir until melted and creamy.

Serve warm.

crusted pork tenderloin

18 Apr

Some friends of mine made this for dinner a while ago and now it’s my go to pork tenderloin recipe.  I usually have all the ingredients in my kitchen already, it’s quick, simple and it always turns out crisp and brown on the outside, moist and tender on the inside.

Serves 2-3 as main course

$4.75 per 2-3 servings

crusted pork tenderloin

from Gourmet, December 2008

ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced3/4 cup panko
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted, cooled, and coarsely ground in a food processor
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Madeira or dry sherry
  • 2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins

preparation

Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle.

Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then sauté garlic until pale golden, about 30 seconds. Stir in panko, almonds, rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Transfer to a large plate.

Stir together Madeira, remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Pat pork dry and rub all over with mixture. Pat three fourths of crumbs all over pork, pressing gently to adhere, then sprinkle tops with remaining crumbs.

Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted diagonally 2 inches into meat registers 145 to 150°F, about 20 minutes. (Check after 15 minutes to see if crumbs are getting too dark; if they are, tent loosely with foil.) Transfer pork to a cutting board. Tent loosely with foil and let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Serve with roasted almond + apple brussels sprouts.

roasted almond + apple brussels sprouts

17 Apr

Brussels sprouts are my favourite vegetable.  I love asparagus and beets and broccoli and whatnot but I feel like brussels sprouts need my love more; they get so much undeserved scorn.

I blame the negative reaction many people have to these poor defenseless little baby cabbages improper preparation.  Too many people have had them steamed until they’re bitter mush or, even worse, boiled.

I’ve served this recipe to people who claimed unequivocally to hate brussels sprouts and they’ve enthusiastically finished every bite.  Roasted brussels sprouts get a wonderful nutty sweet flavour and with the addition of toasted almonds, crisp fresh apple and savory shallots they’re easy to love.

Stop the hate.

Serves 4 as appetizer or side dish.

$1.30 per 2 servings

roasted almond + apple brussels sprouts

ingredients

  • 4 c brussels sprouts, bottoms removed, halved lengthwise
  • 3/4 c slivered almonds, toasted
  • 4 shallots, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tart red apple such as macintosh or empire

preparation

Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in the middle.

In an ovenproof pan or casserole, melt butter while oven is heating.  Toss brussels sprouts, almonds and shallots in butter along with salt and cider vinegar.

Arrange brussels sprouts in the pan so they rest cut side down in a single layer and roast 35 to 40 minutes or until outer leaves of sprouts are dark brown but not black.

Slice apple thinly.  Arrange three slices on a plate and top with roasted brussels sprout mixture.  Serve immediately.

Goes well as a side with crusted pork tenderloin.

beet + apple soup

14 Apr

My boyfriend is not so crazy about vegetables.  His favourite food is hamburgers.  He thinks that a Manwich is a meal.

Yet, he loves this soup…

and for good reason, it’s earthy and flavourful and it looks oh so pretty too.

Makes 8 servings

$1.30 per 2 servings

beet & apple soup

adapted from Gourmet, November 2000

ingredients

  • 6 medium beets
  • 2 tart red apples such as macintosh or empire
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 c vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • goat cheese (optional)

preparation

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cut beets in quarters and roast on a foil lined baking sheet, skin side up, for 45 minutes to an hour.

Cool beets and peel the skin off with a paring knife (skin should come off fairly easily after roasting).  Cut beets into small chunks.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.  At the same time, start heating the vegetable broth in a separate pot.  Add onion to the oil and sautee until soft – 2 minutes.  Add garlic and cayenne and sautee another minute.  Add beets and hot broth.  Bring to a boil.

While the soup is coming to a boil, peel the apples and cut them into cubes.  Add to boiling broth and reduce mixture to a simmer.

Simmer for about 35 minutes or until beets are tender enough to pierce easily with a fork.

Puree the soup.  Add cider vinegar and salt & pepper to taste.  Add water if necessary to thin to desired consistency.

Garnish with goat cheese and cracked pepper.

Porchetta & Co. : porchetta sandwich

13 Apr

Porchetta & Co.

825 Dundas St W Toronto

So they take pork shoulder.  They marinate it for a whole day.  They wrap it in prosciutto.  They wrap that in cured pork belly.  They cook it so the outside gets golden and crispy then slow roast it so it’s tender and juicy on the inside.  They carve it and put it on a soft, fresh, floury Portuguese bun with hot sauce and Kozliks’ mustard.

I can’t believe it took me so long to go get one of these!!

At $6.95 each, they’re not banh mi cheap but considering the love that goes into making that golden delicious pork it’s definitely worth it.

I got the basic porchetta with mustard and hot sauce but you have the option of adding toppings like parmesan, truffle sauce, mushrooms, rapini and more.

Porchetta & Co on Urbanspoon

french onion soup grilled cheese

12 Apr

It’s week two and sandwich two of National Grilled Cheese month.  In fact, this is National Grilled Cheese day, April 12th.  Lactose intolerant?  Not today.  Not today my friend.  It’s melted cheese time!

Since the best part of a bowl of french onion soup is obviously the gruyere crust I thought I would make a grilled cheese that’s more crust and less soup.

Makes 2 servings (4 small sandwiches)

$4.85 per 2 servings

french onion soup grilled cheese

ingredients

  • 1/2 a large spanish onion, halved & thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 baguette
  • 100g gruyere cheese

preparation

To caramelize the onions, heat butter in a pan over medium heat.  Add thinly sliced onions and sautee until soft and translucent – 2 minutes.  Add sugar and continue to cook until the onions are a deep caramel colour – about 10 to 15 minutes.

Cut 8 thin diagonal slices from the baguette.  Lay sliced gruyere on one side of each piece of bread.  Toast until cheese is melted and bubbling.

Add caramelized onion and press the cheese sides together.

Serve with sauteed mushroom salad.