Sunday, February 21, 2010

Guinness Cottage Pie

(Adapted from Gordon Ramsay's Great British Pub Food)

2 tbsp olive oil
2 lb. lean ground beef
Salt & pepper
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 small can tomato paste
1 large carrot, diced
1 1/2 c Guinness (1 bottle)
5 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-1/4 cup chicken stock
3/4 c frozen corn niblets
3/4 c frozen peas
Sprinkle of sugar
2 1/2 lb potatoes, peeled & roughly chopped (* See note)
1/4 c butter
2 tbsp finely grated cheddar, plus extra for grating
1 large egg yolk

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat and brown the ground beef. Season with salt & pepper. When cooked, remove to a bowl & set aside. Drain if it's especially fatty.

Return skillet to heat, add remaining 1 tbsp of oil. Cook onions, garlic & thyme until onions are soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add carrots, tomatoes, tomato paste and cooked ground beef. Stir and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Add Guinness & worcestershire sauce, bring to a simmer and let cook until reduced by half. Pour in stock and stir in corn and peas, return to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer until thick and glossy, about 20 minutes. If mixture is still a little liquidy, let simmer another 5-10 minutes. Taste & adjust seasoning, adding a sprinkle of sugar if the tomato acidity is too overpowering.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350, and add potatoes to a pot of salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain, then return to the hot pan for 15 seconds or so to dry them out, then remove from heat. Pass potatoes through a potato ricer, or mash with a hand masher. Mix in butter, cheese & egg yolk. Taste & adjust seasoning.

Spoon the beef mixture into the bottom of a large pie dish, 9x13 pan or casserole dish. Spoon blobs of mashed potato over top, even out and rough up with a fork. Grate on some more cheddar, and pop in the oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.

* Note: Ramsay's original recipe calls for a floury, starchy potato, peeled. We made this with a waxy yukon gold, unpeeled, and it was a delicious, rustic alternative. Any potatoes you want, peeled or unpeeled, will surely work well in this.

Salmon Burgers

2 lbs boneless skinless salmon fillet
1 1/2 c fine breadcrumbs
4 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 lb bacon, cooked to crispy & crumbled
3/4 c fresh parsley, finely chopped
3 Tbsp maple syrup
Zest of 2 lemons

Cut salmon into 1" cubes. Pulse in food processor until coarsely chopped. Transfer to bowl, and mix salmon with remaining ingredients. Form into 8-10 patties, about 3/4" thick. Grill over medium heat, about 5-6 mins per side. Serve on fresh buns with mayo & dill.

These also freeze very well, and cook well from frozen!

Our favourite condiment on these is a spicy tartar sauce - we mix together mayo, green relish and as much sambal oelek (chile paste) as we can stand.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Best Steak Sandwiches Ever!

My husband and I came up with this open-faced sandwich when we had a bunch of steak left over from the night before. These are truly delicious!

1 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, sliced thinly in half-rounds
splash of white wine - optional
8 oz leftover steak, sliced thinly
4 slices of bread (preferably a nice crusty loaf)
1/2 stick garlic butter
3-4 oz old white cheddar, or swiss cheese, sliced thin (or grated)

Heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat in a small skillet. Add onions and saute 'til golden brown, soft and caramelized. If desired, deglaze pan with a quick splash of white wine. Remove onions to a bowl & set aside.

Return pan to heat. Let warm and add sliced steak. Stir quickly to heat through, remove from heat.

Lay bread on a baking sheet. Spread top side with garlic butter. Layer with warm steak, caramelized onions, and cheese.

Stick under broiler for a couple minutes, until cheese is melty and bubbly. Serve!

Healthy Fruit Freezie-Pops

8 oz yogurt (plain or vanilla)
2 cups strawberries
2 cups banana
1/2 cup pineapple juice

Puree all ingredients in a blender. Pour into popsicle molds, or use paper cups with a stick inserted. Freeze for 2-3 hours before serving.

This recipe can easily be adapted for any of your kid's favourite fruits!

Pancit Canton

(Adapted from Recipezaar)

3 dried chinese mushrooms (shiitake or black)
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, sliced
1 - 1.5 lbs meat (* see note)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1 cup green beans, julienned (or cut frozen ones)
2 carrots, julienned
8oz (1 pkg) pancit noodles (Chinese wheat noodles)
1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
green onions, sliced
lemon wedges

Soak mushrooms in warm water for 30 mins. Remove from water, discard tough stems & slice caps. Set aside, retaining soaking water as well.

Heat oil in a large wok or skillet. Add onions, saute until tender. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds.

If using raw meat, add now and cook until browned. If using leftovers/pre-cooked, just stir to heat through.

Add soy sauce and stir to deglaze pan. Add chicken broth & bring to a boil.

Add cabbage, green beans, carrots & mushrooms. Cook until vegetables are tender-crisp, 5-8 mins.

Add noodles, pressing into the liquid and mixing gently to avoid breakage. Cook until noodles are done and liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. At this point, keep an eye on the noodles, if they need more liquid, add some of the mushroom water.

Remove from heat. Stir in fish sauce. Season with pepper, garnish with green onions and lemon wedges. Serve.

This is a great dish to eat as leftovers the second day. So yummy!

* Note: Use 1 to 1.5 lbs of pork, chicken or shrimp, or any combination of those. Leftover/pre-cooked meat is great too!

Chinese-Style Fried Rice

I've been craving fried rice from my local chinese restaurant lately, but figured it couldn't be that hard to make at home! This is adapted from several internet recipes I've found.

3 Tbsp oil (something flavourless like canola, sunflower, peanut)
1 medium onion, diced
2 eggs, beaten
splash of soy sauce
splash of sesame oil
1-2 cups cooked boneless meat (chicken, pork, even shrimp are really good in this)
1-2 carrots, finely diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
4 cups cooked rice (great way to use leftover rice!)
3-4 green onions, chopped
2 cups bean sprouts
2 Tbsp soy sauce

Heat 1 tbsp oil in wok or large frying pan. Add onions and cook until they are beginning to brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from wok.

Mix eggs with a splash of soy and splash of sesame oil. Add another tbsp oil to the hot wok, swirl to coat. Add egg and scramble, then remove from pan when cooked.

Add another tbsp of oil to the pan, add meat, carrots, peas and cooked onions, stir fry for 2-3 mins.

Add rice, green onions and bean sprouts, tossing to mix well. Cook another 3-5 mins.

Add soy sauce and stir. Fold in cooked egg carefully and cook another 1-2 minutes. Serve!

Coffee Peppercorn Steak

(Adapted from Eating Well)

3 Tbsp strong coffee
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp whole black (or mixed) peppercorns, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1 to 1.5 lbs steak (* see note)

Mix together, pour over meat & marinate for a few hours, or overnight. Grill steak to your desired doneness.

* Note: Use your favourite cut of beef! The original recipe calls for 1 lb of flank steak, but we have used this on a pound and a half of striploin with delicious results.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Nuts and Bolts

Okay this is the last recipe I am posting today :P

Nuts and Bolts

1 box plain cheerios
1 box shreddies
1 box crispix
2 boxes cheese nips
2 bags pretzels
1 bag peanuts
1 1/4 cup butter - melted
3 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp onion salt
2 tsp celery salt

• Heat oven to 250.
• Mix cereals, crackers, peanuts and pretzels in a large roasting pan.
• Mix butter and spices. Pour butter mixture over cereals a little at a time, mixing well.
• Bake for about 1 hour, stirring twice. Cool completely and store in air tight containers.
• Should be made at least 4 weeks ahead for best flavour.

Roasted Garlic and Brie Soup

1 can chicken stock
1-2 cans water
2 heads of garlic
Olive oil
1 small round of brie (about 200g)
Black pepper (optional)
Fresh cut chives (optional)

Heat the oven to 350F. Slice of the top of the head of garlic so all of the cloves are exposed. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until cloves are soft but not too brown on top - about 35-45 minutes. Allow garlic to cool. Bring stock and water to a boil over medium heat. Remove garlic flesh from peels and add to stock. Simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop up brie (including rind) into 1/2" pieces. Place half the brie and half the stock/garlic mixture in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Repeat with other half of mixture. If the mixture is too thick, add a bit more hot water. Return to pot and keep warm until ready to serve. Serve with a sprinkling of ground black pepper or fresh chives.

Parmesan chicken

1 whole chicken
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp Whorchestershire
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1 cup parmesan cheese
3 tsp dried parsley
pinch of salt

Cut up chicken in peices (breast, back, etc). Mix together melted butter, dry mustard, whorechestershire, and garlic powder in a bowl. In another bowl, mix together bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and parsley. Dunck chicken pieces in butter mixture, then in parmesan mixture. Bake on a cookie sheet or slotted roaster (so grease drips through) at 350 for about 1 hour on until done.

Chocolate trifle with marscapone & hazelnut brittle

1 chocolate cake (I just make one from a mix), cooled
2 cups whipping cream
1 container of marscapone, room temperature
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups toasted hazelnuts
chocolate to shave/grate for garnish

- first you are going to make the hazelnut brittle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the hazelnuts out on it. In a small pan, mix together 1 1/3 cups water and 2/3 cup white sugar. Cook over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook the mixture until it is a light brown color, about 8 minutes. Pour over hazelnuts and then pop the cookie sheet into the fridge for about 30 minutes or until nice and hard. Top with another sheet of parchment paper and bash into small pieces.

- grab yourself a medium pot and a glass or metal bowl can sit on top. Fill the pot with water to just below where the bowl sits and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down to med-low (enough to keep a rolling bowl) and add your egg yolks and 2 tbsp sugar to the bowl. Wisk constantly until the mixture thickens and forms ribbons when you lift the wisk (about 6 minutes). Remove bowl and allow mixture to cool - stirring often.

- Whip cream until stiff. In a large bowl, fold together cooled egg mixture and marscapone cheese. When that is properly incorporated, fold in whipped cream.

- Now all you have to do is assemble. If you so this in advance the brittle will get a little soft (but is still yummy) so if you want that crunch you should probably assemble right before serving. I start with a large trifle bowl and crumble in 1/3 of the chocolate cake,top that with 1/3 of the marscapone cream, and then 1/4 of the brittle. Repeat twice, using the last half of the brittle for the topping. Top with some grated chocolate and serve. Sooooo good.

Mushroom Risotto

I know, I know, I am posting a lot but I am trying to put all my recipes in one place and this seemed like the best option!

Mushroom Risotto (adapted from a Giada recipe)

8 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
1/2-ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onions
10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional

Bring the broth to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Keep the broth warm over very low heat.

Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms and garlic. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini mushrooms to a cutting board. Finely chop the mushrooms and add to the saucepan. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and let it toast for a few minutes. Add the wine; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes (the rice will absorb 6 to 8 cups of broth). Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Butter Tart Squares

Make these... just dooo it!

1 cup butter
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup raisins
1 T. flour
3 eggs beaten
2 cups brown sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 T. vanilla
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350.

Using a pastry cutter, combine butter with dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly (it will look similar to pastry dough before the addition of any liquid). Press the mixture into an ungreased 9x13 pan. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine raisins and flour. Mix well so that no raisins are still clumped together. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix eggs, brown sugar, baking powder, and vanilla. Slowly add melted butter. Add in raisins and stir well.
Pour topping mixture over shortbread base and bake for 35 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Note: I made the shortbread base in my food processor and it turned out fabulously. I also used room temp butter for the base.

Fiesta Shrimp

2 pounds cooked shrimp
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lime peel
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
1 anaheim pepper, finely chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons snipped cilantro or parsley
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a heavy plastic bag set in a medium bowl combine garlic, lime peel, lime juice, olive oil, onion, anaheim pepper, cilantro or parsley, sugar, salt, and pepper; mix well. Place cooked shrimp in the bag; seal bag. Turn bag to coat shrimp with marinade mixture. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

To serve, drain the shrimp, discarding the marinade.

Gypsy Soup

(Adapted from from Mollie Katzen, "Moosewood Cookbook, via International Vegetarian Union)

* 3-4 tablespoons olive oil -- up to 4T
* 2 cups chopped onion
* 1/2 cup chopped celery
* 2 cloves chopped garlic
* 2 cups sweet potatoes -- chopped & peeled
* splash of white wine (or broth or water)
* 2 teaspoons paprika
* 1 teaspoon turmeric
* 1 teaspoon basil
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 tsp cinnamon
* dash cayenne
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 chopped fresh tomatoes
* 3/4 cup chopped sweet peppers (~1/2 a pepper)
* 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 can)
* 4-5 cups stock or water
* 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
* salt & pepper

In a soup kettle or large saucepan, saute onions, garlic, celery and sweet potatoes in olive oil for about five minutes. Deglaze pan with a splash of white wine (or broth or water. Add seasonings, stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant, then add stock (or water). Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 15 minutes. Add remaining vegetables and chickpeas, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season with tamari, add salt & pepper to taste.

NOTES: The vegetables used in this soup are flexible. Carrots, green beans, parsnips, turnips, winter squash, zucchini, etc all make excellent additions or substitutions. My husband also noted that this would be a great soup to add bacon to at the beginning, or possibly cooked & sliced sausage (like italian or honey garlic) right at the very end.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Spaghetti with Roasted Red Pepper & Toasted Almond Pesto

(Recipe courtesy of America's Test Kitchen)

1 c drained jarred roasted red peppers, patted dry
1/3 c grated parmesan cheese (the real stuff!)
1/4 c slivered almonds, toasted (* see note)
1/4 c chopped fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp lemon juice
6 Tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
1 lb spaghetti (** see note)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

In food processer, process red peppers, parmesan, almonds, basil, garlic & lemon juice until smooth. With motor running, slowly add oil until incorporated. Season with salt & pepper.

Add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 c cooking water, drain pasta & return to pot. Add pesto & toss to combine, adding reserved pasta water a little at a time as needed. Serve.

*Note: To toast almonds, toss in a dry pan over medium heat until golden and fragrant.

** Note: Penne, fusilli & bow ties are good pasta substitutions for this recipe.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Butternut Squash & Pesto Penne

1 small butternut squash, peeled, and chopped into 1/2" pieces
1 tbsp butter
1 cup chicken stock
2 oz (1/4 package) cream cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tbsp pesto
Salt & Pepper
1 pkg penne
Shaved parmesan

Steam butternut squash until fork tender and drain. Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

In a deep frying pan, saute steamed squash cubes in butter. Mash gently with a spoon as you saute. Add chicken stock, cream cheese, grated parmesan, pesto, and salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Cook pasta while the sauce is coming up to a boil.

Toss warm sauce with cooked and drained pasta (add a few ladles of pasta water if the sauce is too thick) and top with shaved parmesan. Enjoy!