Sunday, January 29, 2012

Beef with Cumin

After being tempted by this cookbook for entirely too long, I finally caved and bought it. Dunlop's Land of Plenty is one of my favourite cookbooks, so I had high expectations going into it. The finished product was excellent, spicy with a lovely texture. Best of all, it comes together quickly. Instead of thinly slicing the meat myself, I followed my usual trick of buying fondue meat and just made the strips a little bit smaller. I also substituted corn starch for the potato flour as Land of Plenty frequently includes that substitution.

Beef with Cumin (from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook)

340g beef steak
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
2 fresh red chiles, seeds and stems discarded, finely chopped
2 - 4 tsp dried chili flakes
2 tsp ground cumin
2 scallions, green parts only, finely sliced
1 tsp sesame oil
1 3/4 cup peanut oil for frying (I used less)
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp potato flour
1 tbsp water

1. Cut beef across grain into thin slices, ideally 1.5"x1.25". Add marinade ingredients and mix well.
2. Heat peanut oil to about 275F. Add beef and stir gently. As soon as pieces have separated, remove from oil and drain well.
3. Pour off all but 3 tbsp oil. Over high flame, add ginger, garlic, fresh chiles, chili flakes, and cumin and stir-fry until fragrant.
4. Return beef to wok and stir well. Season with salt to taste.
5. When ingredients are fragrant, add scallion greens and toss briefly. Remove from heat.
6. Stir in sesame oil and serve.

Beetroot, Orange, and Black Olive Salad

A couple of weeks ago, I tried making an orange, olive, and red onion salad and it was a miserable failure. The onions overwhelmed everything and it just didn't meld. Based on that experience, I was slightly hesitant to give this one a try, but it was definitely worth the gamble. The beet seems to pull together the other flavours and it worked so much better. The original calls for boiling the beets for 1 - 2 hours. I roasted them. Go with whatever method you prefer!

Beetroot, Orange, and Black Olive Salad (from Plenty)

400g beets
2 sweet oranges (I used navel)
1 red endive
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp chopped parsley
40g black olives, pitted and halved
3 tbsp rapeseed oil (I used olive)
1 tsp orange blossom water
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1. Cook beets. Peel, cut in half, and cut into wedges that are 1cm thick at base. Put in mixing bowl.
2. Trim off tops and bases of oranges. Remove skins and pith. Slice into segments and place with the beets, discarding any membrane.
3. Cut endive vertically into 2cm thick slices. Separate leaves and add to salad.
4. Add remaining ingredients and toss.

Jerusalem Artichokes with Cheese and Basil Oil

You really can't go wrong with a recipes that has tomatoes, basil, and cheese. Add some roasted sunchokes and you have a beautiful side dish. I have two complaints with this dish though. (1) It calls for frying Manouri cheese which is a bit difficult to find. I substituted goat cheese, but missed out on the frying aspect! (2) It makes a lot of basil oil. I'm not sure what to do with the leftover!

Jerusalem Artichokes with Manouri and Basil Oil (from Plenty)

500g Jerusalem artichokes
juice of 2 small lemons
4 thyme sprigs
3 tbsp water
120mL olive oil
400g cherry tomatoes
400g manouri cheese, cut into 1 cm thick slices
1 red or white endive, separated into leaves
Basil oil
50g basil (leaves and stalks)
20g parsley (leaves and stalks
1 garlic clove, peeled
140mL olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 220C. Peel artichokes and slice into 1cm thick slices. Throw into water with juice of 1 lemon to prevent from browning.
2. Place artichokes in ovenproof dish. Add thyme, juice of second lemon, water, 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper. Cover with foil and roast 40 - 45 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, put basil, parsley, garlic, and pinch of salt in a food processor. While running, drizzle in olive oil.
4. Meanwhile, place a large frying pan on high flame and heat. Add 1 tbsp oil and tomatoes and char them, shaking the pan. After 3 - 4 minutes, they should be lightly blackened but retain their shape. Sprinkle with salt, remove from pan, and add to cooked artichokes.
5. If using cheese slices, fry them in olive oil.
6. Arrange endive leaves on serving dishes. Top with cheese, artichokes, cherry tomatoes, and more endive leaves. Drizzle with basil oil and serve.

Warm Red Cabbage and Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

This week's basket brought a bowling ball-sized red cabbage. I'm not the world's biggest cabbage fan, but thankfully a little goat cheese makes most vegetables better.

Warm Red Cabbage with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts (from Stop and Smell the Rosemary)

1/4 cup olive oil
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
1 head red cabbage, cored and thinly shredded
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
55g goat cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp chopped parsley

1. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cabbage. Toss until slightly wilted.
2. Add lemon juice, vinegar, and capers. Toss until mixed.
3. Remove from heat and season with salt. Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle with nuts, cheese, and parsley.

Saffron-Laced Basmati Rice

On its own, this rice is nothing special, but paired with a mild nutty curry such as Kerala Korma, it shines. The subtle flavours of the saffron and sweetness of the sugar bring the sauce to a new level. I skipped on the first cleaning phase, but have included it here in case you're feeling more ambitious!

Saffron-Laced Basmati Rice (from 660 Curries)

1 cup basmati rice
2 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp saffron threads
2 tsp white sugar
1 tsp coarse salt

1. Place rice in medium bowl. Fill with water. Rub grains, drain. Repeat 3 or 4 times. Then let soak 20 - 30 minutes and drain.
2. Heat ghee in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add drained rice and saffron and stir, 1 - 2 minutes.
3. Pour in 1 1/2 cups water. Scrape bottom of pan. Stir in sugar and salt and cook until water has evaporated from the surface, 5 - 8 minutes.
4. Stir once. Cover with lid, reduce heat to lowest possible setting and cook for 8 - 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let pan stand on burner for 10 minutes.
5. Remove lid, fluff rice, and serve.

Kerala Korma

I have to admit that the only reason I made this recipe is it did not require a trip to the store. Generally, I prefer curries a bit spicier, but anything with cashews and coconut milk must be good. The original recipe calls for 2 cups of coconut cream, but I decided to just go with a can of coconut milk (making it again, I'd probably scale back the sauce along with the meat and just use the coconut cream of one can of milk). I also doubled the amount of chili, coriander, and cumin which I recommend you do as well. The end result looked like gruel, but tasted delicious. It's not exactly a dish for company, but it is quick comfort food. Don't forget the rice to soak up the sauce!

Kerala Korma (adapted from Mighty Spice)

1 can coconut milk (see notes)
1/3 cup cashews
1" piece ginger, peeled
1 green chili, chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
large pinch of curry leaves
500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, thinly sliced
juice of 1 lime
cooked rice

1. Put coconut milk, cashews, ginger, green chili, coriander, cumin, and salt into food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally 6 - 8 minutes or until golden.
3. Pour in coconut sauce, mix well, and cook over medium heat 1 minute, stirring continuously. Add curry leaves.
4. Add chicken and lime juice and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 12 - 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through and tender. Serve with rice.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pot-Sticker Dumplings with Chicken Stock

In honor of the Chinese new year, I decided to try my hand at something new ... pot stickers! I decided to go all in and make the dough myself and was pleased with the results. It takes a bit of time, but the results seemed to be worth (if like me, you can sometimes find the enjoyable side of rolling out 27 dumplings). My dumplings may've been a bit misshapen, but the taste was great.

Pot-Sticker Dumplings with Chicken Stock (from Land of Plenty)

lard or peanut oil
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1" piece of ginger, unpeeled
1 scallion, white part only
150g ground pork
1/4 cup chicken stock (not hot)
1 1/2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
6 - 8 twists black pepper
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil

1. Crush ginger and scallion and soak for 5 - 10 minutes in 1/4 cup cold water.
2. Place pork in a bowl. Add soaking water and mix well until it has been absorbed. Pour in stock. Add remaining seasonings and mix well.
3. Combine flour and salt in large mixing bowl and make well in center. Bring water to a boil and pour onto flour. Mix with handle of a wooden spoon. Knead until smooth.
4. On a lightly floured surface, break dough into 3 pieces. Roll into 1" thick sausages. Break off teaspoon sized pieces, flatten, and roll out into circles at least 2.5" in diameter.
5. Place 1 tsp of stuffing in center of dumpling skin. Fold in half and join sides together with pinches. Give it a flat base.
6. Heat a heavy, flat-bottomed frying pan over a medium flame. Pour in enough lard or oil to coat the surface. When oil is hot, arrange dumplings in pan in neat rows. Drizzle with warm water (2 - 3 tbsp for every 5 dumplings). Cover pan with lid and steam for 4 - 5 minutes.
7. Remove lid and drizzle dumplings with oil (1/2 tbsp for every 5 dumplings). Replace lid and fry 2 - 3 minutes more, until bottoms are toasty and golden brown.
8. Remove with a spatula and serve.

Spicy Cucumber Salad

If you exclude the draining time, this recipe is ridiculously quick and easy. It's also surprisingly good. The cucumber absorbs a bit of the heat from the chiles and the numbing sensation from the peppers to cream a refreshing dish that's not overly spicy (as long as you don't eat the chiles).

Spicy Cucumber Salad (from Land of Plenty)

2 cucumbers
3 tsp salt
2 tbsp peanut oil
8 long dried chiles or 16 small Sichuanese chiles snipped into 1.5" sections
2 tsp whole Sichuan pepper
3 tsp sesame oil

1. Cut cucumber into 2.5" sections. Quarter lengthwise, scrape out seeds, and cut into batons. Sprinkle with salt, mix well, and set aside for at least 30 minutes, preferably 2 hours or more to draw out juices. Drain well and pat dry with towels.
2. Heat a work over high heat. Add peanut oil and swirl to coat. Reduce heat to medium. Add chiles and pepper. Stir for a few seconds until spicy. Don't burn!
3. Add cucumber pieces and stir and toss for about 10 seconds to coat with oil. Remove from heat, add sesame oil, and tip onto a serving dish. Let cool before serving.

Duck Confit with Leeks and Celeriac

I've been wanting to make this recipe ever since a friend gave me the cookbook for my birthday. Thankfully, I wasn't disappointed after the long wait. The author says it's a play on shepherd's pie for big nights. It's definitely the most upscale shepherd's pie I've had. Best of all, despite the upscale presentation, this dish is fairly quick and simple to put together. The original suggests using biscuit cutters as a mold, but I just stuck them in single serving ramekins.

Duck Confit with Leeks and Celeriac (from Sexy: Cuisiner pour Deux)

1/2 celeriac, peeled and cubed
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp milk
1 leek, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 duck confit thighs, reheated and shredded
cheese curds

1. In a pot of salted boiling water, cook celeriac for 25 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil and 1 tbsp butter over low heat until leeks are translucent, about 15 minutes.
3. In a food processor, blend drained celeriac with 2 tbsp butter and milk.
4. Turn on the broiler in your oven.
5. Place shredded duck confit in the bottom of two ramekins. Top with leeks, then the celeriac. Dot with cheese curds.
6. Place ramekins in oven and broil until cheese curds are golden, about 3 minutes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Carrot and Apple Salad

The boy had decided to try his hand at cooking octopus over the weekend, so I made it my mission to come up with the sides while using up some of the vegetable box bounty. Out of lettuce and salad greens, I searched for a salad that didn't need them. My efforts were rewarded with this recipe. Originally, it's paired with some spiced seared tuna, but it's perfect on its own with other Thai or Asia flavoured dishes. I was a bit suspicious that it would come together, but the crisp, clean flavours work well together. Best of all, it uses ingredients that I tend to receive in overabundance from the CSA box!

Carrot and Apple Salad (from Mighty Spice)

1/3 cup unsalted peanuts
2 tomatoes, seeded and thinly sliced
2 apples, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
4 large carrots, peeled and grated
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 red chilies, seeded and thinly sliced
1 handful mint leaves, finely chopped
1 large handful cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar

1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add peanuts and gently toast. Transfer to plate to cool, then blitz in food processor until coarsely ground.
2. Whisk dressing ingredients together in large bowl.
3. Add remaining ingredients to bowl with peanuts. Toss to coat.

Flambéed Mangoes

I have a problem. I can't walk into the fruterie near my house without impulsively buying extra fruits and vegetables. This week's impulsive purchases were kiwis (12 for $2!) and mangoes (3 for 99 cents!). I really shouldn't be allowed to go to the store alone, but for some reason no one ever tries to stop me. I had thought the mango would make its way into a salad or maybe even a salsa, but as the weekend rolled around and still the mango remained, I decided it was time for a new plan. This recipe popped up as one of the first results on Eat Your Books ... and as luck would have it, I had all ingredients on hand. I showed it to the boy, not expecting him to be fully on board, because it did involve an open flame in the apartment, but of course I forgot, he LIKES playing with fire. The end result was a perfect end to a multicultural dinner. Tart and refreshing, be sure to pair it with some ice cream to offset the acidity of the orange. Next time, I might dial back on the orange just a little bit.

Flambéed Mangoes (from The Essential Cuisines of Mexico)

450g mangoes
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
zest of 1/2 orange
zest of 1/2 lime
1 ounce triple sec or cointreau
juice of 1/2 orange
juice of 1/2 lime
1 ounce white tequila

1. Peel mangoes, slice flesh off pits, and cut into thick strips.
2. Melt the butter in a chafing dish (or heavy skillet), stir in sugar and continue stirring until it has dissolved.
3. Add zests together with Triple Sec, heat mixture, and flame it.
4. When flames have died down, add juices and cook until reduced, about 2 minutes.
5. Add mango strips and heat until syrup begins to bubble.
6. Add tequila and heat through, flame again.
7. Serve immediately over ice cream.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tomato-Braised Meatballs with Melting Mozzarella

I feel like I've made a lot of variations on meatballs lately. Some with Indian flavours, some rich and meaty. Do I really need another meatball recipe? If it's one with melted mozzarella hiding inside then the answer is a resounding yes! I served this to a few dinner guests and was met with great approval. Even better for party planning, the meatballs themselves can be made a day in advance. I didn't have pecorino romano on hand, so I just used a good quality parmesan.

Tomato-Braised Meatballs with Melting Mozzarella (from The Cheesemonger's Kitchen)

225 stale baguette, sliced
1/2 cup (30g) fresh basil, chopped
450g ground beef
450g ground pork
1 cup (100g) grated pecorino romano cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp salt
20 bocconcini di mozzarella cheese
6 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, minced
3 garlic cloves, peeled
910g fresh or canned San Marzano or plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (I used a 798mL can of whole tomatoes)
salt and pepper
pinch of crushed red chilies
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water

1. Submerge bread in enough cold water to thoroughly soak and then squeeze dry. Tear into small pieces and place in large mixing bowl.
2. Add basil, beef, pork, pecorino, eggs, salt, and a few grindings of pepper to bowl. Mix.
3. Form mixture into 20 patties 2" in diameter. Lay a bocconcini ball on each patty and mold meat mixture around to form meatballs.
4. Heat olive oil in large saucepan over low heat. Add onions and cook 10 minutes or until translucent.
5. Turn up heat to medium, add garlic, and cook for 3 - 4 minutes or until aromatic.
6. Add tomatoes, season well with salt and pepper and add chilies.
7. Simmer sauce for 20 minutes, stirring often. Puree with immersion blender.
8. In a deep saucepan large enough to hold meatballs and sauce, heat olive oil until hot. Brown meatballs a few at a time.
9. Deglaze bottom of pan with water, scraping to release bits of meat.
10. Add tomato sauce and then meatballs. Bring to simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until cooked through. Serve.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Boneless Pork Loin with Rhubarb and Sage

I've been wanting to make this recipe since I first bought this cookbook, so when I noticed pork loin on sale, I snatched it up. Thankfully, after much anticipation, the recipe did not disappoint. The rhubarb made a delicious, tangy sauce that beautifully complimented the juicy pork and crispy prosciutto. I realize I'm cheating again by making a dish that calls for rhubarb when it's not readily available this time of year (but is hiding in my freezer!). The author indicates you can substitute plums or apples though when it's not in season, although you'll miss out on some of the tartness. I did cut the amount of rhubarb in half because I didn't want to give up too much of it. It still made plenty of sauce for the pork (full amount is given below).

Prosciutto-Wrapped Boneless Pork Loin with Rhubarb and Sage (from All About Roasting)

2 to 3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp chopped sage; 1 tsp minced sage
1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest
kosher salt
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
3 tbsp olive oil
1.1 kg boneless pork loin
4 thin slices prosciutto
680g rhubarb, cut into 1/2" pieces
3 tbsp brown sugar

1. Up to a day ahead of time, smash garlic in a mortar. Add chopped sage, orange zest, 3/4 tsp salt, and peppercorns and mash to create a smooth paste. Stir in 2 tbsp olive oil and rub over pork. Cover and refrigerate.
2. Preheat oven to 325F.
3. Arrange pork in a medium-sized roasting pan (11"x13") and drape prosciutto crosswise over pork loin. Drizzle with olive oil.
4. Roast pork for 45 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, in small bowl, toss rhubarb with brown sugar, minced sage, and a pinch of salt.
6. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to rhubarb and spread around pork in pan. Return to oven and roast until 140F (25 - 30 minutes).
7. Transfer pork to a carving board and let rest 10 - 15 minutes.
8. Stir rhubarb with pan drippings.
9. Carve pork into 1/4 - 1/2" slices and serve with rhubarb sauce.

Carroty Mac and Cheese

I have to admit that when I first tried this dish, I wasn't overly impressed. It was good, but not what I want from macaroni and cheese. I'm one of those people who loves a rich bechamel sauce, but this is not that dish. This is more of a custard, less cheesy. It reheats nicely though (especially if pork juices get all over it while it's reheating). It's also an amazing way to use up excess CSA carrots, so up it goes.

Carroty Mac and Cheese (from Cook This Now)

2 cups macaroni
2 1/2 cups coarsely grated carrots
3 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 400F and grease an 8" square baking pan.
2. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Add carrots 3 minutes before pasta is done. Drain.
3. Stir in all 2 1/2 cups cheddar and butter to pasta.
4. In a bowl, whisk sour cream, milk, eggs, salt, and seasoning. Fold into pasta.
5. Scrape pasta into pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar and parmesan.
6. Bake until firm and golden brown, 30 minutes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Osso Buco a L'Arman

I couldn't resist the pork osso buco available at the grocery store. This recipe was a great mix of flavours and resulted in super tender meat. Best of all, it reheats wonderfully for perfect leftovers.

Osso Buco a L'Arman (from Around My French Table)

4 navel oranges, rinsed and dried
2 cups water
1/3 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
2 tsp herbes de Provence
1 798mL can whole tomatoes
5 medium tomatoes, sliced
2 chicken bouillon cubes, dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water
salt and pepper
4 veal shanks (or pork), sawed into 2 - 3" lengths
4 large carrots, trimmed, peeled, and thinly sliced

1. Remove zest from oranges with a vegetable peeler. Pour water into saucepan, drop in zest, bring to boil, and boil 5 minutes. Lower heat to simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Set aside.
2. Heat Dutch oven over medium heat and pour in 2 tbsp oil. Add onions, garlic, and herbs and cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes, bouillon, and 2 tbsp of zest water. Bring to boil, season with salt and pepper, reduce heat and let simmer gently.
4. Preheat oven to 325F.
5. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and pour in 3 tbsp of olive oil. Brown veal. Place in sauce.
6. Pour off fat from skillet and pour in zest water, reserving the zest. Turn up heat and cook for a minute, stirring to release the bits of meat. Pour into Dutch oven. Add 8 - 10 strips of zest. and mix together. Scatter carrots over veal.
7. Place parchment paper over carrots. Simmer for 5 minutes. Top with lid and slide into oven.
8. Cook for 2 hours or until meat is fork-tender. Skim off fat and serve.

Chocolate Nemesis

Easily the best chocolate dessert I've ever made. It looks like chocolate cake, but the chocolate melts in your mouth almost like pudding.

Two years ago: Vegetarian Chili

Chocolate Nemesis (from Real Chocolate)

1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
4 large eggs, separated
9 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2/3 cup butter, cut into small pieces
pinch of salt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1. Heat oven to 350F and line base of 8" round cake pan with parchment paper.
2. Put 2/3 of sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan with 5 tbsp water. Heat until sugar dissolves.
3. Over low heat, add chocolate and stir until it melts.
4. Stir in butter. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Whisk remaining sugar with egg white, salt and vinegar and beat until soft peaks.
6. Beat egg yolks into chocolate.
7. Fold chocolate mixture into meringue.
8. Bring a large kettleful of water to a boil and pour into a roasting pan. Pour batter into round pan and lower into roasting pan. Water should come up to the rim of the cake pan.
9. Place in oven and bake 30 minutes or until set (firm jelly).
10. Cool completely and serve.

Brie with Ligurian Olive Paste

I can't think of a better combination than this olive paste and brie. This recipe makes extra paste, but it will keep for weeks in the fridge.

One year ago: Bolognese Risotto
Two years ago: Savoury French Toast

Brie with Ligurian Olive Paste (from The Cheesemonger's Kitchen)

225g Brie
225g taggiasca, nicoise or other black olives, pitted
2 tbsp capers, drained
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
zest of 1 lemon

1. In small frying pan, cook garlic with olive oil over medium heat, turning until garlic is golden.
2. Combine all paste ingredients in food processor and pulse until smooth.
3. Cut brie in half lengthwise. Spread 2 tbsp of olive paste evenly on bottom piece of brie and replace top piece. Serve.

Torta di Gorgonzola

This recipe can be scaled up or down easily. Any leftovers can make a pasta sauce!

One year ago: Whole Wheat Jam Muffins
Two years ago: Cauliflower and Camembert Soup

Torta di Gorgonzola (from The Cheesemonger's Kitchen)

455g mascarpone
1 kg Gorgonzola dolce latte cheese
115g pine nuts, toasted

1. Mix mascarpone with spoon until creamy.
2. Cut Gorgonzola into four equal slices horizontally.
3. Spread a quarter of the mascarpone over the first slice. Place second layer on top and repeat ending with mascarpone on top.
4. Top with pine nuts and serve with focaccia.

Goat Cheese and Roasted Garlic Beehive

A late impulse purchase right before the holidays resulted in a book focused on cheese. Although the entire book intrigues me, what most amazes me is the entire chapter devoted to cheese plates. I was hosting a baby shower and decided it would be an excellent time to test the cheese plate recipe. I was not disappointed ... except for the fact that there were barely any recipes.

This recipe scales easily, so feel free to reduce the amounts. If you mess up (like me) and decide to purchase another goat cheese other than Bucheron (or the super crumbly one whose name I can't remember), don't worry. This dish works even with the creamier version of goat cheese, although you lose a bit from not incorporating the rind.

One year ago: Beer Cheese Soup (how appropriate!)
Two years ago: Black Bean Soup

Goat Cheese and Roasted Garlic Beehive (from The Cheesemonger's Kitchen)

2.3 kg whole garlic heads, unpeeled
1/4 cup olive oil
1 kg fresh goat cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Spread out garlic on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until deep golden brown.
3. Let cool and cut heads in half horizontally.
4. Squeeze out roasted garlic pulp into bowl. Mix with a whisk until smooth.
5. Line a 1 qt bowl with cheesecloth or plastic wrap. Bring goat cheese to room temperature.
6. Press small amount of cheese into cloth-lined bowl, forming a 1" layer. Add enough garlic puree to make a 1"layer. Repeat until beehive is built. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
7. An hour or so before serving, place upside down on bowl and remove from bowl, peeling off the cover. Drizzle with honey and serve with bread.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Maple Blueberry Tea Cake with Maple Glaze

According to the cookbook it comes from, I shouldn't be cooking this right now, I should be waiting for July. Instead, I decided to take advantage of some of the blueberries sitting in my freezer. The recipe notes suggest trying it with corn flour instead of whole wheat and I think next time I might just have to. This is a great coffee cake that uses maple syrup instead of sugar to sweeten it. The end result has just a hint of maple flavour. I passed on the maple glaze so that I'd feel less bad about eating it for breakfast, but am sure it'd only make the dish better.

One year ago: Texas Red Chili
Two years ago: Walnut Pesto

Maple Blueberry Tea Cake with Maple Glaze (from Cook This Now)

3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup fresh blueberries
3 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp unsalted butter
pinch kosher salt
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease 8" loaf pan.
2. In large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together syrup, egg, milk, and melted butter.
4. Pour syrup mixture into flour mixture and fold together until just combined.
5. Fold in blueberries.
6. Pour into prepared pan and bake until golden brown, 50 - 60 minutes.
7. For glaze, in small saucepan over medium heat, stir together syrup, butter, and salt until combined. Stir in sugar and cook until dissolved. Pour over cake.

Watercress, Pistachio, and Orange Blossom Salad

I was flipping through this cookbook wondering why I don't cook from it more often when I spotted this recipe. I took the fact that I had all the ingredients in the title as I sign that I should make it. I didn't have all of the herbs in fresh format, so I subbed some arugula. I'm sure it would be better with all of the herbs, but I still found the final result completely refreshing and light. Seasonally inappropriate? Perhaps when there's a blizzard outside. Delicious? Yes!

One year ago: Cook's Illustrated Chili
Two years ago: Scrambled Eggs with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Cheese

Watercress, Pistachio, and Orange Blossom Salad (from Plenty)

90g watercress
20g basil
20g coriander
10g dill
10g tarragon
40g shelled pistachios, lightly toasted and coarsely crushed
4 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp orange blossom water
salt and pepper

1. Place watercress and herbs in large mixing bowl and set aside.
2. In small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients.
3. Pour dressing and pistachios over leaves, toss and serve.

Pasta and Tomato Pesto

This recipe was recommended to me a while ago and I've been waiting for my CSA basket to provide some delicious fresh tomatoes so I could make this. The basket finally decided to cooperate with some tomatoes that were entirely too good for early January. I made this dish on a seasonally completely inappropriate day. It was good. Even better, it comes together ridiculously fast. (As in the boy was confused that dinner was already ready.)

One year ago: Sun-dried Tomato and Olive Muffins
Two years ago: Tomatillo Sauce

Pasta and Tomato Pesto (from Cook's Illustrated)

1/4 cup slivered almonds
12 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 medium garlic clove , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
1 small pepperoncini (hot peppers in vinegar), stemmed, seeded, and minced (about 1/2 teaspoon) (or 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar and ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes)
Table salt
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound pasta , preferably linguine or spaghetti
1 ounce Parmesan cheese , grated (about 1/2 cup), plus extra for serving

1. Toast almonds in small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until pale golden and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. Cool almonds to room temperature.
2. Process cooled almonds, tomatoes, basil, garlic, pepperoncini, 1 teaspoon salt, and red pepper flakes (if using) in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. With machine running, slowly drizzle in oil, about 30 seconds.
3. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook until al dente. Reserve ½ cup cooking water; drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot.
4. Add pesto and ½ cup Parmesan to cooked pasta, adjusting consistency with reserved pasta cooking water so that pesto coats pasta. Serve immediately, passing Parmesan separately.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Red Pine Chicken

With ground pork and chicken breasts sitting in the freezer and some chard in the CSA box, this recipe jumped out as an obvious choice. This dish was a little bit salty to me, but rich in flavour and surprisingly different. I kept mentally expecting it to be a rolled dish and when it finally clicked that it wasn't, I expected a major headache with pork filling going everywhere. Somehow, though, the filling stayed in place easily and everything came together.

One year ago: Double-Shot Mocha Cupcakes
Two years ago: Chocolate Souffle

Red Pine Chicken (from All About Braising)

170g ground pork
2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp coarse salt
3/4 tsp sugar
4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 680g total)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp dark mushroom soy sauce
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 tbsp sugar
4 whole star anise
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp peanut oil
680g spinach (I used swiss chard)
salt and pepper

1. In medium bowl, combine filling ingredients. Set aside.
2. Pound out chicken breasts to 1/2" thick (or if you have giant breasts, slice in half). Dust top of breasts with cornstarch.
3. Scoop one quarter of pork filling onto rough side of each breast, spreading to edge. Sprinkle with cornstarch and pat down filling lightly.
4. In small bowl, combine soy sauces, ginger, stock, wine, sugar, and star anise.
5. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Lower chicken breasts chicken side down into pan. Sear until lightly golden on bottom, about 4 - 5 minutes. Turn breasts filling side down and cook for 1 - 2 minutes to set pork filling.
6. Reduce heat to very low and pour in braising sauce. Baste every few minutes by splashing sauce on top of each breast until chicken and pork are cooked trhough, about 35 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach a handful at a time and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper, set aside, and keep warm.
8. Serve chicken on bed of spinach with braising liquid on top.

Bulgur and Walnut Salad

This recipe made me exceedingly happy that I keep frozen chopped up herbs in my freezer. I'm sure it would've been slightly better with completely fresh, but this was so much easier (not to mention it reduces herb waste!). This salad was amazingly flavourful and filling. We were out of walnuts, so I used a mixture of hazelnuts and almonds. I also substituted arugula for romaine lettuce.

One year ago: Tomato, Pesto, Mozzarella Salad
Two years ago: Barley Risotto with Greens and Beans

Bulgur and Walnut Salad (from Sultan's Kitchen)

1 1/2 cups bulgur
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup tahini
2 medium tomatoes, finely diced (1 cup)
1/3 cup finely chopped scallions
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped mint
2 tbsp finely chopped basil
1/2 tsp Turkish red pepper or ground red pepper
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
romaine lettuce
lemon wedges

1. Place bulgur in large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Cover bowl and let bulgur stand for 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, process walnuts into paste. Mix with tahini.
3. Stir bulgur with a wooden spoon. Add tomatoes, scallions, herbs, red pepper, lemon, and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add walnut-tahini mixture and stir well. Cover and refrigerate 15 minutes.
4. Serve at room temperature on a bed of lettuce with lemon wedges.

Lamb with Celeriac

Although I love Middle Eastern food, I haven't had much luck with cooking it. For some reason, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food never worked for me even though it came highly recommended. With trepidation, I decided to try a recommended book focused on Turkish food. After trying two recipes for dinner one night, I'm cautiously optimistic. This dish came out surprisingly rich, despite it's lack of cream. The only thing I'd change with this recipe is skipping the flour thickening. I found that I needed water to thin the recipe back out. I've included the original though in case your sauce doesn't thicken as easily as mine! The instructions for this recipe were a bit cumbersome, so I've simplified somewhat to save on dirty dishes.

One year ago: Espresso Black Bean Stew
Two years ago: Cranberry Winter Stew

Lamb with Celeriac (adapted from Sultan's Kitchen)

6 tbsp flour, divided
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 celeriac
1 lemon, cut in half
1/4 cup unsalted butter
900g boneless lamb shoulder or shank, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1.5" cubes
1 large Spanish onion, diced
2 cups lamb stock
1 tbsp finely chopped dill
salt and pepper
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp cornstarch

1. Blend 3 tbsp flour with 3 tbsp lemon juice and 1 quart cold water. Peel celeriac and cut into 1" thick slices. Rub slices with half of cut lemon and place in water. Set aside.
2. Melt butter in heavy saucepan and brown lamb chunks, stirring frequently. Stir in onion and cook for 1 more minute. Add stock, cover pan, and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 50 minutes.
3. Shake off excess water from celeriac and slide under lamb. Add dill and season with salt and pepper. Cover lamb mixture with parchment paper and place lid on top. Simmer over low to medium heat for 20 minutes or until lamb is cooked and celeriac is tender.
4. Ladle out lamb and celeriac to a serving dish and keep warm. Blend remaining 3 tbsp flour with 3 tbsp water and add to saucepan if sauce is very liquidy. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring and lower heat to simmer 1 minute.
5. Blend egg yolks with juice of remaining half lemon and cornstarch. Pour into saucepan, stirring and continue cooking for 2 minutes or until it thickens. Do not boil. Pour over lamb and celeriac and serve.

Braised Rabbit with Roasted Red Pepper and Merguez Sausage

I wasn't going to post this recipe because the effort to reward ratio just seemed off, but that was before I tasted the leftovers. After I little time with the flavours melding in the fridge, this dish was nothing short of amazing. It may not be the easiest thing to make, but I've changed my mind and decided it's worth it. Recipe below is scaled in half from the original. Feel free to double it back up!

One year ago: Green Curry Shrimp with Rice
Two years ago: Almost Eggs Benedict

Braised Rabbit with Roasted Red Peppers and Merguez Sausage (from All About Braising)

1 rabbit
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp sherry vinegar
3/4 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 medium yellow onion (3 ounces), thickly sliced
1/2 medium carrot, thickly sliced
1 garlic clove, unpeeled, smashed
small handful parsley stems
3 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
coarse salt
1 1/2 cup chilled chicken stock or water
1 large red bell pepper (6 - 7 ounces)
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion (3 ounces), finely chopped
1/2 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp pimenton or paprika
1/2 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp sherry
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1/4 pound merguez sausage, cut into 1" pieces
salt and pepper
For liver and kidneys
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp sherry
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450F.
2. Butcher the rabbits so that you have the saddle and 4 legs separated from the rest of the rabbit (the book does an excellent job of describing this). Set liver and kidneys aside. Chop remaining carcass into 2 - 3 inch chunks.
3. Place chopped up carcass and belly flaps in lightly oiled roasting pan and roast until lightly browned and sizzling, 30 - 35 minutes.
4. Marinate rabbit legs and saddle with marinade ingredients for at least 2 hours.
5. Place roasted bones in small stockpot. Deglaze roasting pan with 2 tbsp water and add to pot. Add stock ingredients and simmer for at least 1.5 hours.
6. Roast red peppers, peel, and cut into 2 by 1/4" strips.
7. Heat oven to 300F.
8. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a shallow braising pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear rabbit pieces until a golden crust forms on each side, 5 - 7 minutes. Return to bowl.
9. Drain pan of all but a few teaspoons of fat. Add onion and celery and cook until softened and tinged brown, 6 minutes. Add garlic, pimenton, and tomato paste and cook until you smell the garlic, 1 - 2 minutes. Add 2 tbsp sherry and bring to a boil until reduced to a wet paste. Add strained rabbit stock and boil at a strong simmer until only 1/2 cup liquid remains, about 15 minutes.
10. Add rabbit legs to simmering liquid along with half of parsley. Place saddle on top. Cover with a piece of parchment and place lid on top. Slide into oven and braise for 1 hour.
11. Meanwhile, heat 1/2 tbsp of oil in large skillet. Cook sausage and transfer to a plate. Drain excess fat. Add pepper strips, remaining 1 tbsp sherry and stir until heated through. Return sausage to pan and set aside.
12. Separate liver into 3 lobes. Season liver and kidneys with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in small skillet and sear organs on each side until cooked through. Transfer to plate. Deglaze pan with sherry and reduce to glaze. Pour over organs.
13. When rabbit is almost tender, remove from oven and add in sausage-pepper mix. Stir to blend. Return parchment paper and lid and slide back into oven to braise until rabbit is fork tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover, stir in liver and kidney and sprinkle with remaining parsley. Serve.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Grilled Sausages with Celery Root Salad with Hazelnuts and Arugula

It's rare that a recipe surprises me by being quicker and easier than the name would suggest. But this is a recipe that's a full meal that can be completed in the time it takes you to preheat the broiler and cook the sausages. The side dish salad would be perfect with other dishes as well (maybe even creamy mustard pork?).

One year ago: Sun-dried Tomato Gnocchi with Porcini Mushroom Broth
Two years ago: Pear Bread

Grilled Sausages with Celery Root Salad with Hazelnuts and Arugula (from Cook This Now)

560g sausage of your choice
Mustard vinaigrette
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 tsp kosher salt plus 1 small pinch
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp sherry vinegar
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 medium celery root, trimmed and peeled
5 cups arugula or other salad green
1/4 cup finely chopped toasted hazelnuts

1. Preheat broiler. Prick sausages with fork. Lay them on a baking sheet. Broil 3" from heat until browned on both sides, 3 - 4 minutes per side.
2. Meanwhile, smash the garlic and pinch of salt to make a paste. Whisk in a small bowl with mustard, vinegar, and salt. Slowly drizzle in oil and whisk until fully incorporated. Season with pepper.
3. Meanwhile, grate celery root in food processor. Transfer to a bowl and add salad greens and hazelnuts.
4. Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss well. Season with more salt, lemon juice, and/or olive oil if desired.

Butternut Squash Pie

After returning home from vacation, the butternut squash was still sitting on the counter top taunting me. I guess I had thought that it would magically take care of itself, but no such luck. While flipping through my dessert cookbook, I discovered this recipe and took it as a sign. Why else would a recipe present itself for using up that stubborn squash? I have to admit that it didn't sound terribly enticing. I baked the pie and waited to eat it, uncertain to try. But the end result was fantastic. Maybe even better than my last pumpkin pie. It was silky smooth and rich, but not heavy. My one complaint is that there was way too much filling for my 9" pie.

One year ago: Vanilla Pudding
Two years ago: Red Pesto Penne with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Cheese

Butternut Squash Pie (from Ready for Dessert)

1 kg butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds and strings removed
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
4 large eggs
3/4 cup (170g) brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp Cognac or brandy
pie dough, prebaked into a 9" or 10" single-crust

1. Preheat over to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and smear with butter.
2. Place squash halves cut side down on baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Decrease oven to 375F.
3. In a food processor or blender, process cream, milk, eggs, brown sugar, spices, vanilla, and Cognac until combined.
4. Add squash pulp to cream mixture and process until smooth.
5. Pour warm filling into prebaked pie shell and bake until barely set, 30 - 35 minutes.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pork Tenderloin in Creamy Mustard Sauce

My plans for an elaborate Friday night dinner were foiled by a migraine and the tail end of a cold. Instead of a fancy dish that took hours, dinner became a game of what can we throw together quickly that doesn't involve leaving the apartment. This recipe fit the bill perfectly and helped finish off the scallions that had been bought earlier in the week. The original recipe calls for pounding out the pork to 1/4" thickness after it's cut, but that seemed like way too much work even though it would've cut down the cooking time some. I also substituted vermouth for the dry white wine. The finished dish was a rich dish without an overwhelming mustard flavour. Next time, I might add some pasta to soak up more of the sauce.

One year ago: Minestrina Tricolore
Two years ago: Corn and Black Bean Tamale Pie

Pork Tenderloin in Creamy Mustard Sauce (from Stop and Smell the Rosemary)

450g pork tenderloin
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp plus 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp plus 1/4 tsp ground pepper
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 to 6 green onions, white parts only, sliced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1. Cut tenderloin into 1/2" slices.
2. Combine flour, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Dredge pork in flour mixture.
3. Melt 1 tbsp butter in large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1/3 of pork. Saute until brown and cooked through. Transfer to platter. Repeat with remaining 2 batches of pork, adding 1 tbsp of butter with each batch.
4. Add green onions to skillet. Saute until tender, about 1 minute.
5. Add wine, bring to boil and boil until reduced to 2 tbsp.
6. Stir in whipping cream and simmer until thick, about 5 minutes.
7. Whisk in mustard. Return pork to skillet. Heat thoroughly and serve.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Spiced Braised Nyonya Pork

I returned from the holidays with a bit of a head cold, but thankfully some days off before I needed to return to work. With a cold and the temperature hovering around -20C, leaving the confines of my apartment was not high on my list of things to do. Luckily, I left a well-stocked freezer before leaving for vacation. Digging around, I found a thick slice of pork shoulder and a recipe that didn't require a trip to the grocery store. It was a bit difficult to cook because I couldn't exactly tell when the ingredients became fragrant, but the end result seemed rich and satisfying. Perfect for a cold winter day. I substituted kecap manise for the double black soy sauce and sugar, but included the original below.

One year ago: Greek Style Penne with Lamb and Parsnips
Two years ago: Spinach and Cheese Strata

Spiced Braised Nyonya Pork (from Cradle of Flavor)

12 shallots (285g), coarsely chopped
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 piece galangal, 3" long, cut into matchsticks
2 pieces cinnamon stick, 4" long
4 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
900g boneless nonlean pork, cut into 1.5 - 2" cubes
1 cup water
3 tbsp cider or rice vinegar
2 tbsp double-black soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
2 fresh Holland chiles, cut into find matchsticks (optional, for garnish)

1. Place shallots in a small food processor and pulse until you have a smooth paste.
2. Heat oil in a 3 or 4 quart saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add galangal and cook, stirring frequently until golden and fragrant, 2 - 3 minutes.
3. Add shallot paste and saute, stirring until paste no longer smells raw and is lightly golden, 3 - 4 minutes.
4. Add cinnamon, cloves, and star anise and saute until fragrances waft up.
5. Add pork cubes and saute on all sides until they begin to brown, 5 - 10 minutes.
6. Add water, vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
7. Cover partially and cook at a steady, gentle simmer, stirring occasionally until 3/4 of the liquid has evaporated and meat offers little resistance when poked, about 2 hours.
8. Remove lid and raise heat to medium. Bring to a rapid simmer, stirring often but gently. Cook until liquid has simmered away, about 30 minutes.
9. Transfer pork to a serving dish and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes. Garnish with chiles if desired.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 Favourite Recipes

Happy New Year! I compiled this list of favourite recipes before leaving on the great holiday adventure of 2011 (aka how many people can I visit in the span of 10 days without going crazy while in the car?). For some reason, internet access wasn't a high priority on the trip, so this list got delayed. Rather than trying to narrow down this list to 10 or 20 or some other reasonable number of favourites, I'm just going to give a list of the recipes I remember the most fondly. Narrowing things down was never my strong point! The recipes below are a bit Indian heavy as I fell in love with the 660 Curries cookbook this year.

Main Dishes
Beef Enchiladas with Chipotle-Pasilla Chili Gravy - Comfort food in a pan.
Butter Chicken - It was a good year for Indian food, although sadly it's made me much more hesitant to go out for Indian food.
Butternut Squash Risotto with Pistachios and Lemon - A relatively simple and quick way to cook squash in a deliciously rich risotto.
Cardamom Scented Chicken with Garlic and Ginger - This smells amazing and tastes just as good.
Cashew Chicken with Cilantro Sauce - The only reason not to make this is if you hate cilantro, otherwise if you haven't tried it yet, you're really missing out!
Hot and Sour Rhubarb and Crispy Pork with Noodles - Pork belly, rhubarb, and plenty of greens. The meat melts in your mouth and the rhubarb provides a nice bit of tang without overwhelming the dish.
Korean-Style Salmon with Bok Choy - Quick and easy, but a full satisfying meal.
Lamb-Almond Dumplings in a Tomato Cream Sauce - Indian-flavoured lamb meatballs that are super moist.
Maple-Brined Boneless Pork Loin Roast with Rosemary and Apples - I seem to have dropped my vegetarian streak at some point this year. I was completely surprised at just how delicious and moist a piece of pork can be.
Pad Thai - The only complaint that I have with this recipe is it has ruined my appetite for cheap pad thai.
Polpettone Braised in Tomato Sauce - Giant, tender meatballs in a rich sauce.
Rabbit with Rosemary and White Wine - Cooking a rabbit dish started out as a joke. I wish all jokes were this delicious. It's now rivaling duck as my go-to protein of choice when dining out.
Saag Paneer - A restaurant classic that's surprisingly easy to make at home.
Shrimp and Avocado in Tamarind Sauce - Creamy avocado with tangy tamarind is a truly beautiful thing!
Shrimp with Basil Peanut Pesto - Quick, easy, and tasty.
Southeast Asian Squash Curry - A recipe found out of desperation to use up squash that turned out amazingly well.
Sun-dried Tomato Gnocchi with Porcini Mushroom Broth - I absolutely loved this broth and the gnocchi were deliciously light.
Texas Red Chili - Chili the way I think of chili.

Soups, Salads, and Sides
Beer Cheese Soup - It might sound less than appetizing, but think of it as cheese fondue soup. Best served in a bread bowl.
Broccoli Cheese Soup - A relatively healthy broccoli cheese soup that doesn't taste healthy at all? I keep waiting for the CSA box to send us more broccoli just so I can make this again, but so far I haven't had much luck!
Buttery Basmati Rice with Spinach and Onions - I have never been this excited about a rice dish.
Cilantro Jalapeno Dressing - I found myself wanting to eat more salads after having a bit of this dressing. The heat seems to increase over time so be careful if you don't plan on using it all within a day or two.
Sweet and Sour Red Peppers - A perfect Chinese appetizer or side.
Tomato Pesto Mozzarella Salad - Summer in a salad bowl.

Basil, Hazelnut, and Chocolate Cupcakes - One of my friend's named this my best dessert to date. The recipe looks intimidating, but it's not that bad.
Big Crumb Coffee Cake with Rhubarb - Quite possibly my favourite coffee cake to date. I made it again for the holidays with apples and cranberries, doubling the cake base and halving the crumb and it was perfect (although a bit too much cake for my pan!).
Chocolate Pumpkin Cake - A perfect holiday cake. Moist and filled with holiday spices.
Double-shot Mocha Cupcakes - Who knew vegan cupcakes could taste so good? These cupcakes also come together quickly making it a great base for last minute desserts!
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - This new dessert upstaged some of my classic desserts at a party.
Salted Peanut Butter Cookie - I may be biased towards these because they were my main source of sustenance while I was in the hospital for two days, but the fact that I still want to eat them is probably a good sign!

Bagel-Egg - If I could only have one breakfast for the rest of my life, this would be it. It has everything, runny egg yolks, delicious bagel, bacon, and of course cheese.
Buttermilk Biscuits - Finally, a biscuit recipe I love and make again and again. I picked up some Lily White flour over the holidays solely for this recipe!
Creamy Lemony Eggs with Prosciutto - Melt in your mouth scrambled eggs. It takes a bit more work, but the results are worth it.
Whole Wheat Goldfish Crackers - The hardest part of this recipe is having the patience to make cute shapes. These little crackers do not last long around me.