Tuesday, May 29, 2012

White Chocolate Strawberry Blondies

White chocolate gets a bad rap. My childhood memories of it are overly sweet candy bars that my mom would try to push off on me because it was less likely to give me a headache. It wasn't until well into adulthood that I discovered how delicious on its own good white chocolate is. It's even better once you add fruit to it. Raspberry is a natural companion, but I think I had discounted the opportunities for strawberries. It's not quite strawberry season here yet, but luckily I still have a stash in the freezer from the peak of last season. I'm glad I didn't wait to make these, they're well worth it and very summery even on a stormy day.

White Chocolate Strawberry Blondies (from Love and Olive Oil)

5 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup strawberries, hulled and halved (I used closer to 2 cups)

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line the bottom and sides of an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang (this will help the blondies come out of the pan later). Butter parchment.
2. In a double boiler or a bowl set over (but not touching) a pot of gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter, stirring constantly, until smooth. [You might be able to do this step in the microwave if you have grocery store white chocolate.]
3. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. At this point your batter should have cooled slightly to just above room temperature. Don't worry if it appears to separate.
4. Whisk in eggs and vanilla until smooth.
5. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and stir until just incorporated and no dry flour remains.
6. Fold in strawberries. Pour into prepared pan.
7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until top is lightly golden and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely.

Sauteed Bay Scallops with Rosemary, Capers, and Israeli Couscous

My infatuation with Melissa Clark's Cook This Now continues. I've run out of ways to describe her dishes and seem to just default back to quick, easy, and delicious. I also share her apparent love of Israeli couscous, so I'm happy to finally have located some again (even if it had to be imported from Ottawa). This simple dish will be ready in less than 15 minutes, so plan accordingly.

Sauteed Bay Scallops with Rosemary, Capers, and Israeli Couscous (from Cook This Now)

1 cup dry Israeli couscous
2 rosemary branches
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
450g bay scallops, patted dry (or regular scallops or shrimp)
1 tbsp drained capers
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped parsley (I would consider omitting, it didn't work for me)

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add couscous and cook 3 minutes; drain.
2. Using flat side of a knife, light bruise rosemary.
3. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
4. Pour in wine and increase heat to medium-high. Simmer until reduced by half, 2 minutes.
5. Stir in couscous, scallops, capers, and salt. Cook, stirring, until scallops cooked through, 2 - 3 minutes.
6. Stir in lemon juice and parsley and serve.

Pork with Cassis and Currants

This recipe comes as part of a general attempt to cook down the freezer. It's a fruit sauce, but not overly sweet and works quite nicely with the pork.

Pork with Cassis and Currants (from Stop and Smell the Rosemary)

1/3 cup dried currants
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup beef broth
1 pork tenderloin
all-purpose flour
2 tbsp + 3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup creme de cassis
3 tbsp red wine vinegar

1. Soak currants in warm water 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Combine broths in medium saucepan. Boil until reduced to 1 cup, 12 minutes. Set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 375.
4. Coat pork with flour, shaking off excess.
5. Melt 2 tbsp butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown on all sides.
6. Transfer pork to roasting pan. Bake 15 - 20 minutes or until meat registers 145F. Tent with foil to keep warm and set aside.
7. Drain grease from skillet. Add currants, creme de cassis, and vinegar. Boil until liquid is reduced by 1/2, 5 minutes.
8. Add reduced broths. Boil until mixture is syrupy, 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
9. Whisk in 3 tbsp butter. Season with salt and pepper.
10. Cut pork into slices, top with sauce, and serve.

Houston-Style Flour Tortillas

It figured that I would finally solve the mystery of why other tortillas didn't taste quite right with a recipe called "Houston-style". The secret ingredient? Lard. It makes all the difference. It gives you a soft, richly flavoured tortilla. The dough itself is also amazingly soft. Not for vegetarians, but so good.

Houston-Style Flour Tortillas (from The Homesick Texan Cookbook)

1/4 cup lard
1 cup water
2 cups flour
1 tsp kosher salt

1. Place lard and water in a pot on medium heat and cook until melted.
2. In a bowl, stir together flour and salt. Pour in melted lard and stir until a loose ball is formed.
3. Place ball on floured surface and need for 2 minutes until smooth and supple. Cover dough and let rest for 1 hour.
4. Divide dough into 8 pieces. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
5. Place each ball on floured surface, pat into 4" circle and roll until thin, about 8". Keep covered until ready to cook.
6. In a dry cast-iron skillet heated on high (I had to reduce to medium), cook each tortilla for 30 seconds on one side, flip and cook for 1 minute until starting to puff, flip and cook for 30 more seconds. Place in basket lined with cloth and keep covered until ready to serve.

Pasilla Tomatillo Braised Short Ribs

These short ribs smell so good cooking that you might not want to wait until they're done, but it is worth the time investment. I used bone-in meat because I've never seen boneless short ribs here. I also cut the sauce recipe in half and found that the amount of tomatillos called for was about one 400ml can.

Pasilla Tomatillo Braised Short Ribs (from The Homesick Texan Cookbook)

2 dried pasilla chiles, stems and seeds removed
1.8kg boneless beef short ribs
salt and pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil, lard, or bacon grease (I used bacon grease)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
450g tomatillos, husks removed and quartered
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 bottles of beer
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 cup chopped cilantro, divided
2 tbsp lime juice
flour tortillas or red chile rice to serve

1. In a dry skillet heated on high, toast pasilla chiles on each side for 10 seconds or until they puff. Fill skillet with enough water to cover chiles. Once water boils, turn off heat and let chiles soak until soft, 30 minutes. Dice rehydrated chiles.
2. Sprinkle short ribs with salt and pepper. In large pot, heat oil on medium and brown short ribs, 3 minutes on each side. Remove ribs and set aside.
3. Add onions to pot and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add tomatillos to pot and cook for 2 minutes.
5. Add garlic to pot and cook for 1 minute.
6. Add short ribs, beer, diced pasilla chiles, cumin, cayenne, and 1/2 cup cilantro to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 1.5 hours.
7. Remove lid and stir in remaining cilantro. Simmer, uncovered, for 1.5 hours.
8. Add lime juice and serve with flour tortillas or over rice using pan juices as gravy.

Roasted Pork Belly with Fennel Seeds

I tried this recipe with a smaller piece of pork and ended up horribly overcooking it, BUT the spice rub was too good not to be pass on and the crackling formed with this method was also amazing. The authors note you can also make this recipe with pork loin if you reduce the second cooking time from 2 hours to 35 minutes.

Roasted Pork Belly with Fennel Seeds (from Moro)

1.5kg pork belly, skin on and scored every 1 cm
2 garlic cloves, crushed with a pinch of salt
1 tbsp ground fennel seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
150 ml fino sherry or white wine
sea salt and black pepper

1. Mix garlic with fennel seeds and rub over flesh of the belly.
2. Preheat oven to 450F.
3. Place pork on large board, skin-side up and dry skin. Sprinkle scored skin with 1 tbsp fine sea salt. Leave for half an hour and then dust off excess salt.
4. Transfer pork to roasting pan greased with olive oil and place in hot oven on top shelf. Roast for 30 minutes until hard crackling has formed.
5. Reduce heat to 375 and transfer meat to clean roasting pan. Roast for 2 - 2.5 hours until meat is soft and tender. Let rest for 15 minutes before cutting.
6. Meanwhile, Pour off excess oil and place roasting pan on low to medium heat. Deglaze with sherry, scraping pan. Simmer for a couple of minutes to reduce alcohol.
7. Serve pork sliced and topped with sherry gravy.

Roasted Asparagus with Gingered Rhubarb Sauce

I can't tell you how excited I was to see two of my favourite spring foods in one dish. I had high hopes for this recipe and it did not disappoint. It's not the most visually appealing dish, but the tart rhubarb works wonderfully with the asparagus.

Roasted Asparagus with Gingered Rhubarb Sauce (from Cook This Now)

450g thick asparagus, ends snapped
1 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp grated ginger
125g rhubarb, thinly sliced
1 - 2 tsp honey
chopped chives

1. Preheat oven to 450F.
2. On large, rimmed baking pan, toss asparagus with oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out stalks and roast until tips are golden brown, 10 - 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until deep golden brown and nutty, 5 minutes.
4. To butter, add garlic, ginger and pinch of salt and pepper and cook until garlic opaque, 1 minute.
5. To butter, stir in rhubarb and cover pan. Cook until rhubarb dissolves into sauce, 5 minutes.
6. Stir in honey to sauce to taste.
7. Serve asparagus covered in rhubarb sauce and topped with chives.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Jalapeno Mustard Roast Chicken

This is a simple recipe to throw together if you plan ahead. The marinade comes together in under 5 minutes. I opted to marinate overnight rather than massage it onto the bird in the morning before work. The skin came out nice and crispy. The mustard while prominent was not overwhelming and the jalapeno adds just the right hint of heat.

Jalapeno Mustard Roast Chicken (from The Homesick Texan)

1/2 cup yellow mustard
1 - 2 jalapeno chiles, stems and seeds removed, chopped (I used 2 and left in the seeds)
1/4 cup lime juice
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp honey
1 chicken

1. In a food processor, mix together mustard, jalapeno, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, ground ginger, cumin, and honey until well combined. Add salt if needed.
2. Rinse chicken and remove giblets. Remove the spine from the back with poultry or kitchen spears.
3. Salt chicken all over. Rub mustard marinade on chicken, gently lifting the skin to spread it under as well. Place in plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 8 hours (I went ahead and did overnight).
4. Preheat oven to 400F and line baking sheet with foil.
5. Lay chicken flat, breast side up on sheet with legs on the outside. Let it come to room temperature (20 minutes).
6. Cook in oven for 45 - 50 minutes or until 170F with internal thermometer.
7. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Turnips with Garlic and Black Cumin

I've been meaning to make this recipe for a while to help take care of the last of the CSA turnips. This is a simple recipe that would be great as a vegetarian main, but does require a bit of simmering time. The flavour of black cumin is a bit different than regular cumin (less sweaty old man tasting), so I'm not sure how well a substitute would work, but you're welcome to try. The sauce is thin, so be sure to pair it with some rice.

Turnips with Garlic and Black Cumin (from 660 Curries)

1 tsp black cumin seeds
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 dried red Thai or cayenne chiles, stems removed
2 tbsp canola oil
680g turnips, peeled and cut into 2" cubes
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 cup firmly packed mint leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

1. Combine cumin seeds, garlic, and chiles in a mortar and pound into a pulpy, gritty paste.
2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add paste and stir-fry until garlic browns and chiles are pungent, 1 - 2 minutes.
3. Stir in turnips, reduce heat to medium, and cover skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until turnips brown, 5 - 8 minutes.
4. Pour in 1 cup water, salt, and turmeric. Scrape skillet to deglaze. Once liquid boils, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally until turnips are tender-crisp, 20 - 25 minutes.
5. Fold in mint and cilantro and simmer, uncovered, for 5 - 8 minutes. Serve.

Shrimp with a Peanut-Garlic Sauce

Other than the half hour of letting the shrimp absorb the turmeric, this dish is quick and easy. And as always, the combination of shrimp, peanuts, and coconut milk is a winner. The sauce on this is relatively thin, so make sure you have rice to scoop it up with. The chiles here also add a pleasant amount of heat without being overwhelming.

Shrimp with a Peanut-Garlic Sauce (from 660 Curries)

450g large shrimp, peeled and deveined but tails left on
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 cup peanuts
4 garlic cloves
3 red Thai or cayenne chiles, stems removed
2 tbsp canola oil
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

1. In bowl, toss shrimp with turmeric, refrigerate, covered for 30 minutes.
2. In food processor, combine peanuts, garlic, and chiles and pulse until you have a chunky, pea-like blend.
3. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add peanut mixture and cook until garlic browned, 2 - 3 minutes.
4. Pour in coconut milk and salt and bring to a boil. Cook 1 - 2 minutes.
5. Add shrimp and bring to boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are cooked through, 3 - 5 minutes.
6. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Beef and Lamb Meatballs Baked in Tahini

This isn't the most visually appealing dish, but between the flavour of the meatballs and the delicious sauce, I don't think anyone will be complaining. Best of all, this dish might even qualify for the title of quick and easy. The whole thing comes together in under 30 minutes, but tastes like so much more time and energy was spent on dinner.

I didn't realize until now, but for some reason, my brain did not see beef when I looked at this recipe. I used ground veal instead of the beef. Perhaps because that's what was sitting in my freezer. I'm sure it's fine either way, but maybe you should try both and compare.

Beef and Lamb Meatballs Baked in Tahini (from Ottolenghi)

35g stale white bread, crusts removed (I used homemade pumpernickel because that's all I had)
300g ground beef (I read this as veal)
300g ground lamb
3 garlic cloves, minced
35g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (I used cilantro)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg
olive oil
1 tbsp chopped parsley for garnish (I omitted)
zest of 1/2 lemon for garnish (I omitted)
Tahini sauce
150 ml Tahini paste
150 ml water
70 ml white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch of salt

1. In a bowl, mix together tahini sauce ingredients until smooth and creamy.
2. Preheat oven to 400F.
3. Soak bread in cold water for 2 - 3 minutes until soft. Squeeze out water and crumble into a separate mixing bowl.
4. To bread, add beef, lamb, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, and egg. Mix well.
5. Shape meat into ball, roughly the size of golf balls.
6. In an oven-safe frying pan, pour in olive oil to coat pan and heat over medium
7. Shallow-fry meatballs in batches for 2 minutes or until uniformly brown.
8. Drain excess oil and place meatballs in frying pan. Place in oven for 5 minutes.
9. Pour tahini sauce over and around meatballs and return to oven for another 10 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.
10. If desired, garnish with parsley and lemon zest.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Chickpea Salad

This is a unique little salad that's also good for using up a CSA bounty. The fresh herbs make this dish, so don't omit them! I cook dried chickpeas in bulk in the slow cooker and then freeze the extras, so I just eyeballed the amount of beans.

Chickpea Salad (from Moro)

150g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked or 2 cans chickpeas
1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with a salt
1 large green chili, halved, seeded and very finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
squeeze of lemon
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
1 medium cucumber, peeled and finely diced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved, seeded, and finely diced
1 small bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
salt and pepper

1. In a small bowl, mix together garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
2. In a large bowl, mix together chickpeas, chili, onion, cucumber, and tomatoes.
3. Mix in dressing and fresh herbs.

Venison with Sour Cherry Sauce

There are few things better than being gifted an interesting cut of meat. I hadn't made venison before, so I wanted to do something that showcased the flavour of the meat while still complimenting it nicely. This recipe won out for its ease. The original calls for grilling the venison, but due to a lack of grill, I opted to roast instead. The meat was still nicely moist. Due to a last minute change in plans, I ended up marinating this for 48 hours. It was still wonderful.

Two years ago: Shaved Asparagus Pizza

Venison with Sour Cherry Sauce (from The Olive and the Caper)

3 cups dry red wine
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves, crumbled
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1.2kg bone-in loin of venison (I had boneless)
1 cup sour cherries in syrup, drained

1. In large nonreactive dish, stir together wine, vinegar, onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add venison and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in refrigerator overnight, turning 3 or 4 times.
2. Preheat oven to 450F. Saute venison in heavy skillet lightly greased with olive oil until browned.
3. Transfer meat to roasting pan, place in oven, and reduce temperature to 375F. Roast for 30 - 35 minutes or until 140F internal temperature.
4. Meanwhile, strain marinade into medium saucepan. Add cherries, bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook briskly until reduced and thickened into a sauce, 30 - 45 minutes.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pomegranate Molasses Dressing

This salad dressing is a great mix of tart and sweet. I'm tempted to try it with some crumbled feta on my next salad.

One year ago: Rhubarb Custard Cake
Two years ago: Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Pots

Pomegranate Molasses Dressing (from Moro)

1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp water
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
salt and pepper

1. Mix garlic with cinnamon and molasses.
2. Add water and whisk in olive oil until sauce emulsifies.
3. Check seasoning and add sugar if dressing is too tart.

Breast of Duck with Pomegranate Molasses

The most difficult part of this recipe is tracking down the pomegranate molasses (sold in Middle Eastern specialty shops). The method below won't give you a very crispy skin and slightly overcooks the breast. If you'd like a crispier skin, heat on low in the skillet to render off the fat. This will take a while. Finish it off in the oven with just a couple of minutes of cooking.

One year ago: Cashew Chicken (yummy!)
Two years ago: Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins

Breast of Duck with Pomegranate Molasses (from Moro)

4 duck breasts, skin on
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
pinch of ground cinnamon
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Score skin of breasts in criss-cross fashion, salt well, and let rest for 15 minutes.
2. Place large frying pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Place duck breasts skin-side down and sear for 1 minute or until lightly browned.
3. Flip duck breasts and place in oven for 15 minutes or until pink (if you prefer medium rare, you might cut this down to 13 minutes or so).
4. Remove and let breasts rest, loosely covered with foil for 5 - 10 minutes.
5. Heat frying pan over medium heat and add water, pomegranate molasses, and cinnamon. Reduce for 1 minute and season with salt and pepper.
6. Slice breasts on an angle into 3 or 4 pieces and top with sauce.

Chicken Stuffed with Garlic and Coriander

Somewhere along the way this year, I lost my fear of roasting a whole chicken. This is a logical thing, because I'd roasted a turkey previously more than a few years ago with success. This is also a practical thing, because the grocery store likes to put whole chickens on sale and it really is easy to just chuck the whole thing in the oven than cut it up (although the person stuck carving may disagree). This recipe gives a very moist bird with just a little bit of something extra from the garlic and spices.

One year ago: Asian-inspired Porcini Risotto
Two years ago: Spring Time Risotto

Chicken Stuffed with Garlic and Coriander (from Moro)

1 chicken
olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 garlic bulbs
40 saffron threads
1 small bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp olive oil

1. Break up garlic cloves, but don't peel. Place in saucepan, cover with milk and simmer for 25 minutes.
2. In a small bowl, combine saffron with 2 - 3 tbsp of hot garlic milk and let sit.
3. Drain rest of milk, squeeze garlic out of each clove, and mash to a puree.
4. Add saffron and milk, coriander, cumin, and olive oil to garlic and stir together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Gently ease skin of chicken away from breast and thigh. Place garlic paste under skin until area is as filled as possible. Place any extra in the cavity.
6. Preheat oven to 425F.
7. Season outside of chicken with a drop of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in roasting tin and roast, basting, for about an hour or until juices run clear. Let rest for 10 minutes loosely covered in foil.
8. If desired, skim off fat from roasting tray and pour 100ml water in with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Place over medium heat, bring to a boil, and scrape off bottom. Serve with chicken.

Slow-Cooked Pork Ribs with Mushrooms, Fino, and Rosemary

This is an earthy pork rib dish that would be perfect for fall. I rehydrated some chanterelles from the local mushroom shop, but I'm sure it would be even better with fresh wild mushrooms. I changed the method to use the slow-cooker to make this a weeknight meal, but you could also simmer this dish for a couple of hours on the stove as originally called for.

One year ago: Macaroni and Cheese Pie (which needs to make a reappearance soon!)
Two years ago: Asparagus Pesto Quinoa with Tomatoes

Slow-Cooked Pork Ribs with Mushrooms, Fino, and Rosemary (adapted from Moro)

500g fresh, flat field mushrooms
500g fresh wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, porcini, pieds de mouton, trompettes de mort
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms, covered with 75ml boiling water
1.5 kg pork ribs
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
200ml fino sherry
200ml water
salt and pepper

1. In a large saucepan, heat 3 tbsp olive oil over high heat. Add ribs and brown on all sides. Remove and set aside.
2. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and rosemary and fry until golden.
3. Transfer garlic, rosemary, and ribs to slow cooker. Add porcini and soaking water, sherry, and water to slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours.
4. When ribs are almost finished, heat 3 tbsp olive oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add fresh mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes or until soft.
5. Remove ribs from slow cooker and pour cooking liquid into pan with mushrooms. Simmer for 5 minutes. Serve sauce over ribs.

Cecina with Beets and Almond Sauce

The wonderful thing about having a CSA box is the exposure you get to vegetables you wouldn't normally buy. Of course, some people might be a little less thrilled about the many pounds of beets received, but I love them. In an effort to keep harmony over the beets, I've looked for many different ways to cook them. This one was a great success for balancing the sweet earthiness of the beets with salty meat and almonds. The two sauces add a bit to the work, but it's worth it.

Cecina is salted, smoked beef that is air-cured for a year. I couldn't find any, so I took the authors' suggestion of substituting bresaola, an Italian meat.

One year ago: Classic Key Lime Pie
Two years ago: Berry Pie Muffins (I still love these)

Cecina with Beets and Almond Sauce (from Moro)

500g beets
200g cecina or bresaola, thinly sliced
Sherry Vinegar Dressing
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
squeeze lemon
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Almond and Sherry Vinegar Sauce
150g whole blanched almonds
8 - 10 tbsp water
25g stale white bread, soaked in water
1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 - 3/4 tsp sherry vinegar

1. Wash beets, place in saucepan filled with cold salted water, and bring to a simmer. Cook until tender. Drain and when cool, rub off skin, and cut into 1" cubes.
2. Make dressing: Crush garlic with salt to form smooth paste. Add vinegar and lemon juice and whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Make sauce: In a food processor, grind almonds. Add 3 tbsp water and process to form a paste. Squeeze bread of excess water and add along with garlic to almonds. Grind until smooth. Add rest of water and oil and mix until thick but smooth. Transfer to bowl and season with vinegar and salt to taste.
4. Toss beets with dressing. Lay cecina on top with almond sauce on the side.

Carrot and Cumin Salad with Coriander

I associate cooked carrots with overly sweet dishes and generally avoid them, but this recipe pairs carrots with plenty of spices, making a delicious salad that appeals even to people who prefer their carrots raw.

(Oh and by the way, this begins this month's foray into the cookbook of the month. I don't think it will be as used as last month's, but what I've made so far has been pretty darn good.)

One year ago: Key Lime Meringue Pie
Two years ago: Chocolate Orbit Cake with Blackberry-Cassis Sauce

Carrot and Cumin Salad with Coriander (from Moro)

450g carrots
2/3 tsp cumin seeds
1 garlic clove
juice of 3/4 lemon
1/3 tsp sugar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
sea salt

1. Peel carrots and boil whole in salted water until tender (~10 minutes for me). Drain and let cool.
2. Roast cumin seeds in small skillet over medium heat until fragrant and colour darkens, 2 minutes.
3. Grind cumin in mortar and pestle and add garlic and 1/2 tsp salt. Pound.
4. Mix in lemon juice, sugar, and olive oil with garlic.
5. Toss carrots in cumin dressing with chopped cilantro and serve at room temperature.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pork Tenderloin Drenched with an Onion Sauce

The ingredient list and instructions for this recipe may look a bit intense, but that's because this is a full meal combined into one recipe. You could also grill the pork as the original intends, but I'm going to include the instructions for roasting instead. You might consider searing it prior to roasting.

One year ago: Dan Dan Mian
Two years ago: Baked Ziti with Goat Cheese and Olives

Pork Tenderloin Drenched with an Onion Sauce (from 660 Curries)

1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
2 tsp English-Style Madras Curry Powder
1 tsp coarse salt
680g pork tenderloin
potato-spinach bed
450g russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp coarse salt
2 tbsp ghee or butter
225g fresh spinach, well rinsed
2 tbsp canola oil
1 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tsp English-Style Madras Curry Powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch

1. Combine ginger paste, garlic paste, curry powder, and salt in small bowl. Smear over meat, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour - overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 450F. Cook pork for 15 minutes on a roasting rack at 450F. Reduce heat to 300 and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 155 - 160F, 35 - 40 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and garlic and bring to boil. Lower heat to medium, partially cover pan and cook until very tender.
4. Remove potatoes and garlic with slotted spoon, reserving water. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of salt, drizzle with ghee, and mash potatoes. Cover bowl to retain heat.
5. Bring potato water back to a boil, drop in spinach by the handful, and stir until wilted, repeating until all spinach has wilted.
6. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water and drain spinach. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt, toss to mix, transfer to bowl and cover to retain heat.
7. Heat oil in medium saucepan, add onion, and stir-fry until light brown, 3 - 5 minutes.
8. Sprinkle curry powder over onion and cook, stirring to coat, 15 seconds.
9. Pour in 1 cup reserved cooking water, stirring to deglaze pan.
10. Stir cornstarch in 2 tbsp water and pour into boiling sauce. Stir to thicken.
11. After cook pork has rested 5 minutes, slice into 1/4" thick slices.
12. Spoon mashed potatoes onto plates, surround with spinach. Arrange pork over potatoes and pour onion sauce over everything.

English-Style Madras Curry

1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black or yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
5 - 7 dried red Thai or cayenne chiles
1 tsp ground turmeric

1. Place all ingredients except turmeric in spice grinder and finely grind.
2. Stir in turmeric.

Chicken Curry with Whole Spices, Cream, and Tomatoes

This isn't my favourite chicken curry in this book, but it is quick, easy, and a nice introduction curry for people who aren't quite as into Indian flavours.

One year ago: Beef Enchiladas with Chipotle-Pasilla Chili Gravy (just seeing this recipe's name still makes me hungry, if you haven't made it, make it!)
Two years ago: Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies

Chicken Curry with Whole Spices, Cream, and Tomatoes (from 660 Curries)

2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp whole cloves
4 green or white cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks (3" long)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 slices fresh ginger (2"x1"x1/8"), finely chopped
1 large tomato, cored and finely chopped
2 tsp Punjabi garam masala
1 tsp coarse salt
680g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

1. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, and cinnamon and cook until aromatic, 10 - 15 seconds.
2. Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry until light brown, 1 - 2 minutes.
3. Add tomato, garam masala, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally until tomato softens, 3 - 5 minutes.
4. Stir in chicken and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until cooked through 10 - 15 minutes.
5. Stir in cream and allow to warm, uncovered, 2 - 4 minutes.
6. Remove whole spices, sprinkle cilantro over curry, and serve.

Cashew Cheese with a Bell Pepper Sauce

You know your freezer is out of control when homemade paneer gets lost inside it for long enough that you can't remember when you made it. This dish requires a bit of simmering but very little attention. It's a bit on the sweet side, but very good.

One year ago: Thai-inspired Tacos
Two years ago: Vegetable Lasagna

Cashew Cheese with a Bell Pepper Sauce (from 660 Curries)

1/4 cup cashews
2 large red bell peppers (450g), stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1" pieces
6 green or white cardamom pods
2 - 4 fresh green Thai, cayenne, or serrano chiles, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp cayenne
8 ounces paneer, cut into 1" cubes and fried
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

1. Pour 2 cups water into medium saucepan and add cashews, bell peppers, cardamom pods, and chiles. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until fork-tender, 20 - 25 minutes.
2. Blend ingredients until smooth using immersion blender.
3. Stir in salt, cayenne, and paneer. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until warmed through, 5 minutes.
4. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Chili and Basil Scallops

This recipe is a winner for weeknight dinners. It's quick and easy, but packs a lot of flavour.

One year ago: Egg Drop Soup (my go-to soup when I'm feeling under the weather)
Two years ago: Rosemary Popovers

Chili and Basil Scallops (from Mighty Spice)

2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 red chilies, finely chopped
1 red onion, thinly sliced
500g scallops
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper
2 large handfuls basil leaves, roughly chopped

1. Heat oil in a large wok over high heat. Add garlic and red chilies and stir fry 30 seconds or until fragrant.
2. Add onion and stir-fry 1 minute.
3. Add scallops and stir-fry 1 - 2 minutes longer or until they start to turn golden.
4. Add soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and black pepper. Stir-fry until scallops are cooked through.
5. Stir in basil and serve.