Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lentils with Tomatoes and Gorgonzola

This isn't my favourite lentil dish of all time, but I love the combination of gorgonzola (or in my case auvergne bleu because Val-Mont was out of gorgonzola) and slow-roasted tomatoes. I made the oven roasted tomatoes a couple of nights before and found they needed to roast much longer than the recipe indicated (I would do them low and slow overnight). The original recipe calls for castelluccio lentils, but I just used puy. I also doubled the amount of tomatoes to match what I had bought, but the original amount is included below. Overall, a solid, satisfying weeknight summer meal that comes together relatively quickly with a little planning.

One year ago: Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew

Lentils with Tomatoes and Gorgonzola (from Plenty)

1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp fleur de sel
250g lentils (castelluccio or puy)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp chopped chervil/parsley
3 tbsp chopped chives
4 tbsp chopped dill
80g mild gorgonzola, cut into rough chunks
black pepper
400g plum tomatoes
8 thyme sprigs
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 250F. Quarter the tomatoes vertically and place skin-side down on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Arrange thyme sprigs on top of them.
2. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar over tomatoes and sprinkle with some salt.
3. Roast tomatoes for 8 hours or until dried (I prefer mine quite dried, the recipe only call for semi-dried).
4. Discard thyme and allow to cool.
5. Place red onion in a medium bowl, pour over the red wine vinegar and sprinkle with salt. Stir and let the onions soften.
6. Cook lentils in boiling water for 20 - 30 minutes or until tender.
7. Drain lentils (if you want to rush the cooling process, while draining shock with cold water) and add to sliced onion.
8. Add 3 tbsp olive oil, garlic, and black pepper to lentils. Stir to mix and allow to cool.
9. Once cool, add herbs and mix together. Adjust seasoning to taste.
10. To serve, pile lentils on large plate or bowl, integrating the gorgonzola and tomatoes as you build up the pile.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mint and Scallion Soba Noodles

This is a quick and light dish. I had one reservation about posting this, but I think there's enough potential in this dish to outweight the bad. The dressing for the dish is not quite right, so make sure you test it before pouring it on. I think there's a bit too much vinegar for the sugar levels. It might be helped by adding some mirin, oyster sauce, or a bit more soy or just cutting back on the rice vinegar.

Mint and Scallion Soba Noodles (from Gourmet Today)

340g soba noodles
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp chili oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 cup chopped mint
1 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 cucumber, julienned

1. Cook noodles according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, stir together vinegar, oils, soy sauce and sugar in a small bowl.
3. Toss noodles with dressing, mint, scallions, and cucumber.

Prosciutto and Cream Pasta

I had leftover prosciutto sitting in the fridge this week, so I decided to buy some fresh pasta to make a spaghetti carbonara. I ended up with leftover pasta from that and still a bit of prosciutto. While going through my Italian cookbook, I stumbled upon this recipe and having everything on hand, I figured why not. Also, why do I have two open and half-used cartons of whipping cream in my fridge? This recipe comes together quickly and easily and tastes like fettucine alfredo, but with prosciutto! What could be better? Original (serves 4) is included below. I roughly scaled the sauce in half while using 1/4 of the pasta.

One year ago: Blackberry Lemon Meringue Pie

Prosciutto and Cream Pasta (from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking)

115g sliced prosciutto
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
450g cooked pasta (fettuccine, tortellini, and penne all work well)
1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano

1. Shred the prosciutto into narrow strips. Put in a saucepan with butter, turn heat to medium, and cook for 2 minutes, turning until it is browned all over.
2. Add heavy cream and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce has thickened and reduced by at least 1/3.
3. Toss sauce with cooked drained pasta, add grated Parmesan, toss again, and serve.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Spring Vegetable Pasta

The Quebec growing season is a bit off from areas south of the border, so I often find myself seeing recipes and then having to restrain myself and wait until our vegetables and fruit are ready. Happily, Quebec asparagus is finally plentiful and it was the perfect time to make this dish. I was a bit loose with the proportions and substituted snow peas for regular peas (I have a pea aversion) and vermouth for white wine, but the dish still turned out beautifully. I think if I were to make this again, I would add some chickpeas so that it felt like more of a full meal, but I am of the opinion that chickpeas make most vegetarian meals better!

One year ago: Broccoli, Tomato, and Goat Cheese Pasta

Spring Vegetable Pasta (adapted from Cook's Illustrated May/June 2011)

3 medium leeks
450g asparagus
2 cups frozen baby peas, thawed (or snow peas)
4 medium garlic cloves, minced and divided
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
2 tbsp minced mint leaves
2 tbsp minced chives
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
450g penne
1 cup vermouth or dry white wine
30g grated Parmesan (~1/2 cup)
salt and pepper

1. Slice leeks in half lengthwise and cut white and light green parts into 1/2" thick slices. Roughly chop dark green portions and set aside separately.
2. Break off tough ends of asparagus and set aside. Cut remaining spears on bias into 1/2" pieces.
3. Place dark green leek portions, tough asparagus ends, 1 cup peas, 2 tsp garlic, vegetable broth, and water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, combine mint, chives, and lemon zest in a small bowl and set aside.
5. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven or deep frying pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat. Add sliced leeks and a pinch of salt. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally until leeks begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
6. Add asparagus pieces to the leeks and cook until crisp-tender, 4 - 6 minutes.
7. Add remaining 2 tsp garlic and pepper flakes to leeks and asparagus and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
8. Add remaining cup peas to vegetables and cook 1 minute more. Transfer to plate, set aside, and wipe pot.
9. Strain broth, pressing on solids to extract liquid. You should have about 5 cups, if not add more water. Discard solids, return broth to saucepan, cover, and keep warm over low heat.
10. In Dutch oven or deep frying pan, heat remaining 4 tbsp oil. Add pasta and cook until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
11. Add vermouth/wine to pasta and cook, stirring constantly until absorbed, about 2 minutes.
12. Add broth to pasta, increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed and pasta is al dente, about 8 - 10 minutes.
13. Remove pot from heat, stir in lemon juice, parmesan, half of the herb mixture, and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
14. Garnish with remaining herbs.

Big Crumb Coffee Cake with Rhubarb

My summer fling with rhubarb continues and oh my, this coffee cake is a winner. I really should know that when Smitten Kitchen raves about a dessert, I should take it seriously. When I make this again, I'm tempted to double the cake portion and halve the crumb portion as I found myself wanting a bit more cake and a little less crumb (even though the crumb is amazing). Hopefully, I'll remember to post back if I do try the change.

One year ago: Blueberry Crumb Bars

Big Crumb Coffee Cake with Rhubarb (from Smitten Kitchen, originally NYTimes)

For the rhubarb filling:
225g rhubarb, trimmed
1/4 (55g) cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
For the crumbs:
1/3 cup (65g) dark brown sugar
1/3 cup (75g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (100g) butter, melted
1 3/4 cups (195g) flour
For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (110g) flour
1/2 cup (115g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (85g) softened butter, cut into 8 pieces.

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. For filling, slice rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.
2. To make crumbs in a large bowl, whisk sugars, spices and salt into melted butter until smooth. Then, add flour with a spatula or wooden spoon. It will look and feel like a solid dough. Leave it pressed together in the bottom of the bowl and set aside.
3. To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.
4. Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon rhubarb over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over rhubarb; it does not have to be even.
5. Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from rhubarb), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

Orzo Salad with Feta, Olives and Bell Pepper

I'm more than a little behind on posting recipes. I'm also a little behind on finding new recipes, although I've been cooking a fair amount, just revisiting old favourites and for the most part, taking a more relaxed approach to food (and enjoying someone else's cooking skills as well!).

This recipe arose out of a need to use up some bell peppers. While searching epicurious, I stumbled across this one and thought it could only be a sign as I also had some feta and olives sitting in the fridge that were nearing (or slightly past) their expiration dates. I passed on the green onions, capers, and pine nuts as I didn't want to make a trip to the grocery store and subbed some red wine vinegar for white as well as adding some Parmesan to supplement the feta, but the recipe is quite forgiving. Think of it more as suggestions for a perfect summer dish that comes together quickly, doesn't heat up the apartment, and is light and fresh. Next time, I wouldn't mind adding some fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes. The only thing I didn't like about this recipe was the inclusion of dried oregano. It seemed to throw off the texture slightly for me and I would've preferred some other fresh herb!

One year ago: Potato Pesto Pizza

Orzo Salad with Feta, Olives and Bell Pepper (adapted from epicurious.com, originally Bon Appetit)

340g orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups crumbled seasoned feta cheese (or plain, or Parmesan, or a mix)
2 cups chopped bell pepper (I used red, original suggests red and yellow)
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
4 green onions, chopped (opt)
2 tablespoons drained capers (opt)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (or red)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano (see notes)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (opt)

1. Cook orzo in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Transfer to large bowl.
2. Toss orzo with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add crumbled feta cheese, chopped bell peppers, Kalamata olives, green onions and capers.
3. Combine lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, oregano, mustard and cumin in small bowl. 4. Gradually whisk in remaining 1/2 cup olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Add dressing to orzo mixture and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
6. Garnish salad with pine nuts; serve.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fudgy Mocha Cake

If I hadn't eaten chocolate nemesis, I would likely think this was near the pinnacle of chocolate desserts. Rich and fudgy with a hint of coffee, it is up there.

One year ago: Sausage and Goat Cheese Macaroni

Fudgy Mocha Cake (from Reader's Digest)

1 tsp instant espresso or coffee
1/3 cup boiling water
90g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs separated
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup (60g) cocoa powder
1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour
pinch salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 8" springform pan, set aside.
2. Dissolve instant coffee in boiling water.
3. Stir in chocolate with water until melted.
4. Stir in vanilla in chocolate.
5. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup (170g) sugar.
6. Beat into sugar the evaporated milk, cocoa, flour, and salt until smooth.
7. Beat chocolate mixture into sugar mixture.
8. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
9. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar until stiff peaks form.
10. Fold 1/3 of egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining whites.
11. Spoon into prepared pan.
12. Bake 25 - 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rhubarb-Lamb Stew

I was excited to see a recipe with a savoury application for rhubarb in a new cookbook I had gotten. Unfortunately, I think this recipe calls for a little too much rhubarb! I found myself avoiding the rhubarb pieces in the leftovers. I think if you cut the rhubarb in half, this would be about right, but proceed at your own risk. Even with too much rhubarb, the lamb pieces were delicious ... and this comes together quickly and easily.

One year ago: Jalapeno-Cheddar Scones

Rhubarb-Lamb Stew (from Seductions of Rice)

1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 small or 2 medium onions, finely chopped
450g boneless lamb shoulder or eye of round, trimmed of fat and cut into 1" cubes
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of grated nutmeg
1 cup packed parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup packed mint leaves, finely chopped
2 cups water
225g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2" lengths (~1 1/2 cups, see notes)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
cooked rice

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent.
3. Raise heat, add meat and cook, stirring frequently until well browned, about 6 minutes.
4. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, parsley, and mint and stir well.
5. Add water and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer covered for 45 minutes or until meat is tender.
6. Add rhubarb and simmer for about 10 minutes until tender.
7. Serve with rice.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bourbon Lemonade with Maple Syrup

I've had this at two different parties now since seeing it on Smitten Kitchen. The recipe below is doubled to make a full pitcher. This recipe also works well with Jack Daniels if you want to pass on the more expensive bourbon.

Bourbon Lemonade with Maple Syrup (from Smitten Kitchen)

2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (14 - 16 lemons)
5 cups cold water, plus additional if needed
1 cup maple syrup
Bourbon (or Jack)
Lots of ice

1. Mix lemon juice with 5 cups water and 1 cup maple syrup.
2. Fill a glass with ice. Pour 1 to 1 1/2 shots of bourbon over the ice and fill the glass the rest of the way with maple lemonade.

Tomatillo Pork Enchiladas

I've been in the mood for enchiladas lately, especially after seeing this post on foodgawker. I'm not a fan of the stacked enchiladas though and I didn't want to bother with the sauce in the recipe, preferring instead to go with a classic tomatillo sauce. I made the pork as directed with just beer and a bay leaf, but think next time I would either add a bit of spices (cumin, oregano, and maybe even some chile powder) or else mix in a bit of the tomatillo sauce with the pork. It was fine without, but I wanted just a little bit more flavour with the meat.

Tomatillo Pork Enchiladas (from a combination of many places)

1 kg pork tenderloin
1 bay leaf
1 bottle of dark beer
8 corn tortillas (homemade or bought)
vegetable oil
1 recipe tomatillo sauce
2 - 3 cups shredded cheddar (~225g)

1. Place pork, beer, and bay leaf in a slow cooker and heat on low for 8 hours or until tender. (See notes above regarding seasoning.)
2. Remove pork when tender and shred with two forks.
3. Preheat oven to 350F. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with tomatillo sauce.
4. In a small skillet, heat vegetable oil. Fry tortillas individually on each side until warm and easy to bend.
5. Fill tortilla with 1 - 2 tbsp of pulled pork and 1 tbsp shredded cheese. Roll up and place fold side down in the baking dish.
6. Repeat until dish is filled with rolled tortillas.
7. Cover with remaining tomatillo sauce and top with remaining cheddar.
8. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Rhubarb Streusel Muffins

As promised, another rhubarb recipe. This is a filling breakfast that feels healthy, but still tastes delicious. The mixture seemed a bit dry when I was putting it into the cups but turned out well. I measured the stalks based on weight and think I ended up with more than 1 cup of diced rhubarb, but I certainly wouldn't have wanted to have less. I paired this with a little bit of leftover raspberry sauce for tarty muffin bliss.

One year ago: Fajitas, pico de gallo and sangria ... oh my!

Rhubarb Streusel Muffins (from Smitten Kitchen)

1/4 cup (31 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (28 grams) white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon (13 grams) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons (38 grams) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1/4 cup (50 grams) light or dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons (38 grams) granulated sugar
5 tablespoons (71 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup (approx. 120 grams) white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup (63 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup diced rhubarb, in 1/2-inch pieces (from about 6 to 8 ounces of stalks, see note above)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 12 muffin cups.
2. Make streusel: In a small dish, stir together flours, sugars, spices and salt. Stir in butter until crumbly. Set aside.
3. Make muffins: Whisk egg in the bottom of a large bowl with both sugars.
4. Whisk in butter with egg and sugar, then sour cream.
5. In a separate bowl, mix together flours, baking powder and baking soda and stir them into the sour cream mixture, mixing until just combined and still a bit lumpy.
6. Fold in rhubarb and 1/3 (feel free to eyeball this) of the streusel mixture.
7. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with remaining streusel, then use a spoon to gently press the crumbs into the batter so that they adhere.
8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean. Rest muffins in pan on cooling rack for two minutes, then remove muffins from tin to cool them completely.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Orange

This recipe isn't the most amazing thing I've ever made, but it comes together in about 10 minutes which makes it perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. The only change I made was substituting pancetta for prosciutto because I had some on hand. Serve with a side salad, a glass of white wine, and some rhubarb cake.

One year ago: Savoury Bread Pudding

Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Orange (from The Bitten Word, originally Bon Appetit)

Kosher salt
340g egg tagliatelle or fettuccine (preferably fresh)
2 Tbsp. (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
55g thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into 1" pieces
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute before al dente, about 2 minutes for fresh pasta, longer for dried. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto; sauté until browned, about 3 minutes.
3. Add reserved pasta water, orange juice, half of zest, and cream; bring to a boil.
4. Add pasta; cook, stirring, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Stir in cheese and divide among warm bowls. Garnish with remaining zest.