Thursday, July 28, 2011

Strawberry Buckwheat Tea Cake

I saw this cookbook while in Vermont for the weekend and resisted the temptation to buy it ... and then obsessed over it and a recipe that seemed made for me. I had been searching for things to do with buckwheat and seem to be becoming enamored with the flour and of course, strawberry season is here and I seem to be eating them constantly. Despite the wait and the build-up, this cake was worth it. The original calls for more strawberries and whipped cream as a topping, but I skipped that to make it more of a breakfast dish. It would be good with the additional strawberries and cream, but is also wonderful without.

One year ago: Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

Strawberry Buckwheat Tea Cake (adapted from Farmers' Market Dessert)

115g (1/2 cup) butter
110g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
60g (1/2 cup) buckwheat flour
170g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup yogurt or sour cream
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter an 8" square or 9" round baking pan.
2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling the pan once the butter has melted until it turns a deep gold and releases a nutty aroma, 4 - 6 minutes. Pour into a heatproof medium bowl and let cool.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. To the butter, whisk in yogurt/sour cream, eggs, and vanilla.
5. Stir butter mixture into flour mixture until just combined.
6. Using a spatula, gently fold in 1 1/2 cups of the strawberries.
7. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Scatted remaining cup of strawberries on top.
8. Bake until toothpick comes out clean, 40 - 45 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

Charred Broccoli with Chilies and Garlic

After a trip to Jean-Talon, I ended up with two large heads of broccoli for only $1. The first was turned into broccoli pesto for a pizza and I was left trying to think up ideas for the second. I decided to try a simple side dish. This comes together quickly and packs a surprising amount of flavour. The only downside is it doesn't reheat very well, so scale down if you're cooking for fewer than 4 people.

One year ago: Spaghetti Carbonara (still one of my favourites!)

Charred Broccoli with Chilies and Garlic (from Radically Simple)

2 large head of broccoli
6 tbsp olive oil
3 large garlic cloves
2 red Thai bird chilies
1 tsp Thai fish sauce

1. Preheat the broiler with rimmed pan in the oven.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
3. Cut broccoli into florets with 2 inches of stem. Add broccoli to boiling water and cook for 2 minutes.
4. Drain and refresh under cold running water, pat dry.
5. Toss broccoli with 2 tbsp of oil and arrange on hot pan.
6. Broil 7 minutes, rotating the pan twice, until the broccoli is charred.
7. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 4 tbsp of oil in a small skillet over medium heat.
8. Thinly slice garlic and chilies and add to skillet. Cook until garlic is crispy and golden, 2 minutes.
9. Add the hot oil and fish sauce to the broccoli and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.

Pork Vindaloo

While trying to make room in my freezer for entirely too many strawberries, I rediscovered some cubed pork meat lurking inside. Intent on not going to the grocery store this week, I decided to try to make a meal out of what I had on hand. This recipe fit the bill and the sauce was delicious. It does take a bit of time to cook, but for most of it, you don't need to be paying attention to the stove. The original suggests 1/2 - 1 tsp of cayenne pepper with a note that it would be more traditional to add 4 tsp. I ended up doing 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper (the last of my supply) and 1 diced Thai bird's eye chile. I found the sauce to still be a bit mild, so use your judgement.

One year ago: Braided Raspberry Bread

Pork Vindaloo (from Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking)

1 1/2 tbsp grainy mustard
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 - 4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, peeled and sliced finely
6 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed into pulp
570g pork stew meat (shoulder, cubed)
2/3 cup coconut milk
1 cup water

1. In a cup, combine mustard, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, salt and vinegar.
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions. Stir-fry until medium brown.
3. Add garlic. Stir-fry for 30 seconds.
4. Add meat. Stir-fry for 3 minutes or until browned.
5. Add coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce heat to low.
6. Cook for 60 - 70 minutes or until meat is tender.

Monday, July 25, 2011

General Tso's Chicken

I find myself falling back on Asian food fairly often simply because I generally have most of the ingredients on hand and this is no exception. I stuck with the recipe. The end result was a bit stronger tasting than some of the takeout that I've had, but I think that was a good thing. I doubled the sauce for two extremely large chicken breasts because I was too lazy to weight them. I don't think the deep frying added much to this dish as there's not much of a coating on the chicken so to make it a bit quicker and healthier next time, I'll likely just skip it!

One year ago: Braided Raspberry Bread

General Tso's Chicken (from Rasa Malaysia)

283g boneless skinless chicken meat (thigh or breast), cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup cornstarch
Oil for deep frying
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
3 slices peeled ginger, finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
4-5 dried red chiles, rinsed and deseeded
2 stalks scallion, white-part only, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 1/2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing Wine
1 scant tablespoon corn starch

1. Marinate the chicken meat with the Shaoxing wine and salt for 15 minutes.
2. Mix all the ingredients for the Sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Coat the chicken generously with the 1/3 cup cornstarch. Heat up the oil for deep-frying. Deep fry the chicken until they turn light brown. Dish out with a strainer, draining the excess oil by laying the chicken on a dish lined with paper towels.
4. Heat up a wok with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Add the minced ginger, garlic, and dried chilies into the wok, stir-fry until you smell the spicy aroma of the chilies.
5. Pour the sauce into the wok. When the sauce boils and thickens, add the chicken, stir to combine well with the sauce.
6. Add the scallion and stir a few times, dish out and serve immediately.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Strawberry Yogurt Scones

I may have done enough substitutions in this recipe for it to be something entirely new. The original called for ricotta, but I had some yogurt in the fridge that was a week from expiring and an aversion to buying ricotta for only one recipe. The raspberries I had bought for the scones ended up being used in another recipe, so I decided to make use of the last bit of the strawberries (how did I go through 1.5L of strawberries so quickly?). Finally, I couldn't resist the urge to use some of my buckwheat flour instead of the whole wheat (although I resisted the urge to substitute for all of the whole wheat). The end result were deliciously moist scones that looked strangely like cookies, but tasted like scones. A bit confusing, but good!

SK warns that the dough for this is wet, but mine was ridiculous despite scaling back on the cream. I might even try going without cream next time, although the final product was tasty, just not the most presentable and a pain to work with! A little bit more strawberry and maybe a dash of lemon might've also been good for this, so feel free to play around with the proportions.

One year ago: Apricot Blueberry Cobbler

Strawberry Yogurt Scones (loosely adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1/2 cup (60g) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (60g) buckwheat flour
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams) cold unsalted butter
1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
3/4 cup yogurt
1/4 cup heavy cream (see notes)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In the bottom of a large, wide-ish bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, sugar and salt together.
3. With a pastry blender: Add the butter (no need to chop it first) and use the blender to both cut the butter into the flour mixture until the biggest pieces are the size of small peas.
4. Toss in strawberries and use the blender again to break them into chunks.
5. Add the yogurt and heavy cream together and stir them in to form a dough with a flexible spatula.
6. Using your hands, gently knead dough into an even mass, right in the bottom of the bowl.
7. With as few movements as possible, transfer the dough to a well-floured counter, flour the top of the dough and pat it into a 7-inch square about 1-inch tall.
8. With a large knife, divide the dough into 9 even squares. Transfer the scones to prepared baking sheet with a spatula.
9. Bake the scones for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges. Cool in pan for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Raspberry Breakfast Bars

It's the start of Quebec raspberry season and I couldn't resist those little baskets of raspberries. Granted, I meant for these to be turned into scones, but that would've required waiting until the weekend to use the raspberries! I remember seeing this recipe last year, but not making it because it required oats and I never seemed to have those on hand. Thankfully, that problem has been remedied. I'm only sorry that I waited so long to make these! I scaled the recipe in half, but the original is included below.

One year ago: Zucchini and Goat Cheese Galette

Raspberry Breakfast Bars (from Smitten Kitchen, originally Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)

For the crust and crumb:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
For the raspberry filling:
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
450g raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1. Make the crust and crumb: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up the two short sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. (This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.) Butter the parchment.
2. Put the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until combined. Add the butter and pulse until loose crumbs form.
3. Reserve 1 1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside. Pour the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and use your hans or the back of a large wooden spoon to push the crust into an even layer at the bottom of the pan. The crust should touch the sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the crust cool. Keep the oven on while you make the raspberry filling.
4. Make the raspberry filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and flour together. Add the raspberries, lemon juice and butter and use your hands to toss gently until the raspberries are evenly coated.
5. Assemble and bake the bars: Spread the raspberry filling evenly on top of the cooled crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly on top of the filling.
6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan every 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble around the edges.
7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve.

Bulgogi (Korean Beef)

While in Ottawa, we stopped at a Korean recipe and had a few amazing dishes. I particularly liked the barbecued beef dish and went on a hunt to see how easy it would be to recreate the flavours at home. This recipe is pretty darn close to the restaurant. The marinade takes a bit of work and it requires planning ahead, but the end result it worth it. I used fondue meat to have the nice thinly sliced beef.

One year ago: Mini Chocolate Pavlovas with Raspberry Curd

Bulgogi: Korean Beef (from Use Real Butter, originally Kitchen Wench)

1 kg thinly sliced beef sirloin, sliced 2-3mm thick
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium yellow onion, peeled
1 nashi/Asian pear, peeled (I used a bartlette)
1 sweet apple, such as fuji, grated
2/3 cup Korean soy sauce (’kanjang’), but you can substitute it with Japanese tamari soy or Chinese light soy sauce in a pinch
2 tbsps toasted sesame seed oil
2-4 tbsps sugar (this will depend on the sweetness of your pear)
2 green onions, finely sliced
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. If you can’t find the beef already sliced, you can freeze the meat and then thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. Using a sharp and heavy knife, slice the half-thawed beef against the grain.
2. Squeeze juice from the grated apple over the sliced beef and set aside (I was confused by the original instructions and ended up just putting the grated apple on top).
3. Grate the onion and pear into pulp.
4. Mix the pear and onion pulp with the soy sauce and crushed garlic. If it’s not sweet enough for your tastes, add sugar and taste until it meets your liking.
5. Place the meat in a bowl or a ziploc bag and pour in the marinade. Add the sesame seed oil, sliced green onions, and black pepper.
6. Massage the marinade into the meat for about 1-2 minutes, making sure none of the slices of beef are stuck together and that the marinade has been distributed evenly.
7. Cover the bowl with plastic or seal the ziploc bag and refrigerate for at least a few hours, ideally overnight.
8. Cook over a griddle or in an unoiled non-stick frying pan. You can reserve pan juices to serve over your rice (really really good suggestion).

Pear Buckwheat Cake

After buying buckwheat flour and deciding it was quite tasty, I went on a search for more recipes that use buckwheat. I realize this recipe is more autumn summery, but it sounded so good, I couldn't resist. Also, it called for a half cup of pearsauce and guess who's had a cup of pearsauce sitting in the freezer ever since I made the more cake-like (as opposed to tea or coffee cake) spiced pearsauce cake last November. I decided to make this recipe a bit simpler by buying pre-ground almonds, but otherwise stuck fairly faithfully to the original. The end result was a substantial, but still somewhat light cake. I would save it for when the weather is just a bit cooler, but you're welcome to go ahead and try it!

One year ago: Very Blueberry Muffins (if you haven't tried these, do it now!)

Pear Buckwheat Cake (from Desserts for Breakfast, liberally adapted from David Lebovitz's Ripe for Dessert)

1 1/2 cups sliced almonds (or 140g ground almonds)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup pear sauce
1 tspn vanilla extract
4 eggs, separated
1/4 tspn salt
1/4 tspn cream of tartar, optional
4 Tbspn granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9" cake pan and line the bottom with a parchment paper round.
2. In the food processor, combine and pulse the almonds, buckwheat flour, baking powder, and cinnamon until the almonds are finely ground. (If almonds are already ground, just hand mix.)
3. In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and light brown sugar on medium for about 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Gradually add in the pear sauce, vanilla extract, and 4 egg yolks--one at a time, combining between each addition.
4. Place the egg yolks in a separate bowl with the salt and cream of tartar. Stir the egg whites with a whisk until the surface is completely covered with foam. Then, beat the egg whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar, until glossy peaks are reached.
5. Mix the buckwheat flour mixture into the butter mixture until combined. Stir in 1/3 of the egg whites until nearly combined and then carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites. Do not overmix!
6. Immediately transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for ~45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out cleanly. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for ten minutes on a cooling rack before removing from the pan. Let cool completely.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cashew Chicken with a Cilantro Sauce

I had low expectations for this recipe, but was pleasantly surprised that this was nothing short of quick, easy, and delicious. It wasn't just me appreciating it either, I had two people try the sauce at work and they insisted that I post this recipe quickly, so here it is. I cut down the amount of chicken in the recipe, but kept the amount of sauce the same. I would recommend increasing the amount of sauce if you keep the amount of the chicken the same as shown below.

One year ago: Thai Shrimp and Spinach Curry

Cashew Chicken with a Cilantro Sauce (from 660 Curries)

2 small red onions, 1 coarsely chopped and 1 cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup firmly packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
2 tbsp ghee or canola oil
570g boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" cubes
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp Punjabi garam masala
1/2 tsp cayenne powder

1. Pour 1/2 cup water into a blender and add chopped onion, cashews, and cilantro. Puree until smooth.
2. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion and cook until light honey-brown, 3 - 5 minutes.
3. Pour in puree and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated.
4. Add chicken strips and stir-fry until meat is seared, 2 - 4 minutes.
5. Pour in 1/2 cup water and scrape skillet to release the browned layer. Stir in salt, garam masala, and cayenne. As soon as the sauce comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally until the chicken is no longer pink inside, 5 - 8 minutes.
6. Uncover skillet, raise heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.

Spinach with Ginger and Green Chiles (Saag Bhaji)

For a long time, I avoided cooking many meat based dishes because I dislike needing to do a separate side dish. Vegetarian dishes seemed so much easier because there was generally only one dish to make. I'm working on conquering my fear of side dishes. As an intro, I decided to go with something quick and easy. I was pleasantly surprised by both the speed and simplicity of this recipe and the taste. I scaled this in half because the spinach box I picked up was only a half pound. The original is included below and serves 4.

One year ago: Pasta Pesto Salad

Spinach with Ginger and Green Chiles - Saag Bhaji (from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking)

1" piece ginger, grated or chopped
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/4 pound trimmed and washed spinach
2 - 3 fresh, hot green chiles, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1. Put oil in a work or large, wide pan and set over high heat.
2. When oil is hot, add ginger. Stir until ginger starts to brown.
3. Add in spinach and chiles. Stir and cook until spinach has wilted completely.
4. Add salt, garam masala, sugar, and cayenne.
5. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes.

Turmeric Rice

I seem to be drawn to flavoured rices. This one is great and fairly simple. I scaled it down quite a bit and the water amount seemed a bit low so I included slightly more. The original recipe is below.

One year ago: Raspberry Cheesecake Pots

Turmeric Rice (from Madhur Jaffrey's Quick and Easy Indian Cooking)

2 cups basmati rice
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
4 cardamom seeds
1" stick cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sliced chives or green onions

1. Put oil in heavy saucepan and set over medium-high heat.
2. Add cloves, bay leaf, cardamom pods, and cinnamon.
3. Stir once or twice and add in garlic.
4. As soon as garlic turns medium brown, add rice, turmeric, and salt. Stir gently for a minute.
5. Add 2 3/4 cups water and bring to a boil.
6. Cover tightly, turn heat down to very, very low and cook for 25 minutes.
7. Sprinkle with chives before serving.

Apricot Plum Crisp

After buying buckwheat flour, I went in search of more recipes that use buckwheat. This is a great healthy dessert, not too sweet and full of fruit. The topping was by far the best part though. I think it would work well with many other fruit combinations. Be sure you cut your fruit up small enough. I left my apricots only cut in half and they were a bit too large.

One year ago: Sausage and Balsamic Tomatoes

Apricot Plum Crisp (from Desserts for Breakfast, originally 101cookbooks)

for filling:
1 1/2 - 2 lb. apricots and plums, combined, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
4 Tbspn corn starch
for crisp topping:
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup + 2 Tbspn buckwheat flour
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 tspn baking powder
3/4 tspn salt
1 tspn cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1/3 cup 2% Greek yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In a bowl, toss and combine all of the filling ingredients. Spoon into an 8x8" baking dish. Set aside and make the crisp topping.
3. Combine all of the ingredients except the butter and yogurt in a bowl.
4. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut the butter and yogurt into the flour mixture until the butter is the size of small peas and evenly distributed throughout the mixture. Do not overmix.
5. Spoon the topping over the fruit in the baking dish, patting it down if you need to pile more on.
6. Bake for ~20-30 minutes, until the top is brown and the insides are bubbly. Remove and let cool briefly before serving.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Walnut Muffins with Coffee Glaze

With more walnuts than flour, these muffins are strictly for walnut lovers. I wasn't too sure about this recipe as I was mixing the batter together, but it ended up being perfectly fine. I cut the glaze down to only 1/3 of the original due to being low on powdered sugar and think that's a perfectly fine amount for the recipe. I ended up using pre-chopped walnuts to save myself some work (and they come in convenient 100g bags!). Note this recipe only makes 6 muffins.

Walnut Muffins with Coffee Glaze (from The Harried Cook, originally Muffins Galore)

100g chopped walnuts
75g butter
75g sugar
3 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp vanilla
75g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

1. In a heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter, stirring it often. The butter will froth a lot. After a little while, the frothing will stop, and the butter will start turning darker. Soon you will notice there are tiny brown specks in the butter. Once the butter reaches this point, take it off the heat. You should be able to smell the nutty aroma of the brown butter. It should not smell burn.
2. Stir in the sugar while the butter is still hot. Set aside to cool.
3. In the meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir the flour and baking powder together. Stir the walnuts into the flour and set aside.
4. Add the egg yolks and vanilla into the still warm butter-sugar mixture.
5. Stir in the walnut, flour and baking powder mixture.
6. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold the egg whites into the walnut batter.
7. The final batter will be quite thick, but soft and smooth.
8. Divide the batter into a muffin tray (6 muffins), and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden and firm to the touch.
9. Allow them to cool in the tray for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
10. Spread over the coffee glaze, and garnish with a walnut half.

Coffee Glaze
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp instant coffee
1/2 tsp butter, softened
50g powdered sugar

1. Heat the milk and coffee together until the coffee has completely dissolved. Remove from heat.
2. Add the butter, and stir until the butter has melted.
3. Add the sugar and stir until you have a smooth glaze.

Chipotle Pork Cheeseburgers

After a long weekend away, I needed a rest on Monday after work even though it was July 4th and I should be out celebrating. Instead, I went in search of a recipe to celebrate the holiday in the comfort of my own home. I was a bit skeptical of this recipe at first, but the positive reviews and my love of chipotle overcame my hesitance. I have to say this is probably my favourite dinner that I've cooked in a while. Yes, the chipotle flavour is strong, but that's what makes it so good! I doubled the amount of chipotle in the burgers and skipped on the mayo, sliced avocado, and sliced tomatillo combo in favour of a pseudo guacamole spiked with tomatillo salsa. You are welcome to use your own judgement with it. I couldn't find muenster cheese, so I just used an aged cheddar instead. I also added a teaspoon of cumin to the burgers because it just seemed odd not to have it in there. The end result, while not faithful to the recipe, was delicious.

One year ago: Vodka Cream Pasta

Chipotle Pork Cheeseburgers (adapted from

450g ground pork (not lean)
4 teaspoons minced chipotle in adobo plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1 teaspoon cumin powder
2 garlic cloves, forced through a garlic press
4 slices Muenster cheese (or cheddar)
4 hamburger buns, toasted
1 avocado
1 tsp tomatillo salsa

1. Gently mix pork, chipotle, cumin, garlic, and a scant teaspoon salt until just combined. Form into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) patties.
2. Grill or fry patties until done.
3. Meanwhile, mash avocado and mix with tomatillo sauce.
4. Assemble cooked burgers with cheese topped with guacamole.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bell Pepper Sauce with Sausages

I'm trying to cook through my cookbooks a little bit more this summer and this recipe made the cut for being quick and easy and taking advantage of the bell peppers that are on sale right now. I scaled the recipe in half and had enough for 3 servings, but the original is included below. The original calls for red and yellow peppers, but I only used red.

One year ago: Arugula, Strawberry, and Caramelized Pear Salad

Bell Pepper Sauce with Sausages (from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking)

3 bell peppers (1 red, 2 yellow or all red)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp chopped onion
4 sweet Italian sausages, cut into 1/2" pieces, about 1 1/2 cups
black pepper
1 cup canned plum tomatoes drained and cut up (I used without draining or cutting)
680g penne
1 tbsp butter
2/3 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano

1. Split the peppers into 4 sections, discard seeds and cores. Peel if desired. Cut into 1" square pieces.
2. Put olive oil and chopped onion in a saute pan and turn heat to medium high. Cook and stir until onion becomes a pale gold.
3. Add sausages and cook for 2 minutes, then add peppers and cook for 7 or 8 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
4. Add tomatoes to pan and cook at a lively simmer for 15 - 20 minutes, until oil floats free of tomatoes.
5. Empty contents of pan over cooked drained pasta and toss thoroughly.
6. Add butter and grated Parmesan, toss one more time, and serve at once.

Strawberry and Rosemary-Caramel Buckwheat Tart

I fell in love with this pie as soon as I saw the photos. My version didn't turn out quite as beautiful, but it was delicious. It also came together surprisingly easily given all of the components. I passed on the strawberry syrup because I thought the Quebec strawberries were sweet enough that they didn't really need it (and the idea of adding frozen strawberry juice just seemed wrong!). My cream bit also turned out a bit loose. I think it could've used just a bit more cooking time. Even runny though, this pie was delicious. Expect more recipes featuring buckwheat in the future.

One year ago: Leftover skillet eggs

Strawberry and Rosemary-Caramel Buckwheat Tart (from Desserts for Breakfast)

for tart crust:
100 gr buckwheat flour
160 gr AP flour
50 gr sugar
7 Tbspn (99g) butter, cold and cut in pieces
1 egg yolk
3-4 Tbspn cold water
for rosemary-caramel:
100 gr sugar
~2 heaping Tbspn fresh rosemary leaves (~1 1/2 large sprigs of rosemary)
3 Tbspn (43g) butter
1/2 tspn coarse salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tspn freshly squeezed lemon juice
for cream:
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg
150 gr sugar
2 Tbspn AP flour
1 tspn vanilla extract
for strawberries and final assembly:
1 tspn lemon juice
1-2 Tbspn sugar, to taste
fresh strawberries, sliced or whole

1. Using a food processor or pastry cutter, mix the buckwheat and AP flours and sugar until combined. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until the size of small peas.
2. Add the egg yolk and gradually add the water just until a dough begins to form when you press it between two fingers. Do not overmix.
3. Form the pastry into a ball and refrigerate for at least one hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
5. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and press the dough into the tart pan. Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork, cover with parchment paper, and weigh down using dry beans or pie weights. Return to freezer/refrigerator for a few minutes if the dough has softened.
6. Bake for ~13-15 minutes until the edges just begin to turn golden. Remove the beans and the parchment paper and continue to bake for 3-5 minutes more, until the crust has completely turned golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
7. In a small, light-colored saucepan, wet the sugar with just enough water to make it the consistency of wet sand (~1 - 1 1/2 Tbspn water). Add the rosemary leaves.
8. Cook the sugar and rosemary on medium heat. Do not stir once the sugar starts boiling--swirl the pan around gently to insure even cooking. Cook until the sugar is a deep amber color, right before it is about to burn. Immediately add the butter and salt and whisk thoroughly. Be careful--this will sputter!
9. As soon as the butter has completely melted, remove from heat and carefully add the heavy cream, whisking continuously.
10. Once the cream has incorporated, pour the caramel into another heat-resistant container to cool, straining through a fine mesh sieve to remove unevenly cooked sugar, if necessary. Let cool briefly. Stir in the lemon juice. Let cool briefly, and spread a thin layer onto the bottom of the tart crust. Save any extra caramel for other uses. Let the caramel cool to set.
11. Bring the milk and cream to just a simmer.
12. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and sugar. Whisk in the flour.
13. Using the simmering milk, temper the egg mixture by adding a little bit of the hot liquid at a time, whisking constantly.
14. Return the milk and egg mixture to heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the saucepan until the mixture thickens and can thickly coat the back of a spoon. (Be patient!!)
15. Immediately remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
16. Let cool. Once cool, pour on top of the caramel in the tart crust and smooth. Refrigerate for at least an hour to let it set.
Home stretch
17. Mix cut strawberries with the lemon juice and then stir in the sugar to taste. Let sit.
18. Arrange the fresh strawberries on top of the prepared tart.