Sunday, October 31, 2010

chutney cheese vegetables

It's been a wierd week. And I've been out of sorts which was somewhat reflected in what we had for dinner this week. I found a new food blog and while scrolling through the articles I found this recipe for Chutney Cheese Roasted Cauliflower. It was a riff on our family favorite Broccoli Cauliflower Rice with Blue Cheese Sauce. So it evolved into our Tuesday night dinner. Here is how I made it.

Chutney Cheese Vegetables (adapted from Melissa Clark)

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
broccoli crowns, cut into bite-size florets
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 c frozen peas
1/4 c unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 c flour
3 c whole milk
1 c aged white cheddar cheese, grated
1/3 c mango chutney
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss cauliflower and broccoli with oil, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until almost tender and browning around the edges, about 30 minutes. Add peas to pan and stir to combine. Roast until peas are heated through, about 5 minutes more.

To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and milk, whisking to break up the lumps. Cook about 5 minutes and add the cheese, whisking until smooth. Add the chutney, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Stir in the roasted vegetables and serve. Instead of serving over rice, I served it alongside roasted potato wedges.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

ham and vegetables with corn bread

I had a lot of leftover ham from Thanksgiving dinner. And being the stingy cook I am, I wanted to use it up. I tossed around a few ideas - a kind of ham shepherd's pie with a base of white sauce and vegetables and the ham but this was last Saturday and I had already decided on the leek and cheese topped shepherd's pie for family dinner on Sunday and I thought 2 nights in a row was a bit much. So then I thought, why don't I do the same kind of sauce and ham and vegetable mixture and serve it over polenta. I was going for that, when it occurred to me that I had cornbread leftover in the fridge so in the end I made a ham and vegetable white sauce and served it alongside the cornbread for a Saturday supper - perfect after a day of soccer and gardening and errands.

Here is the recipe:

2 cups cooked, chopped ham
1 medium onion, sliced
5-6 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red pepper, julienned
1/2 orange pepper, julienned
1/2 yellow pepper, julienned
1 bunch of spinach, sliced
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
2 12 c milk (I used half milk, half stock)
1 c grated sharp cheddar

In a large saute pan, melt the butter, add the onion and ham and cook until the onion is softened. Add the mushrooms and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the flour and the milk and whisk to blend, getting rid of any lumps. Cook until the mixture bubbles, and then let simmer for 5 more minutes. Add the spinach and the cheese, stirring well to mix the cheese and wilt the spinach. Season with salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Serve with the cornbread alongside.

Friday, October 29, 2010

a week of cakes

This week started with a carrot cake. A ginger carrot cake - it was supposed to be orange ginger carrot but ended up being a lemon ginger carrot cake, from here. I baked it in my new-to-me bundt pan and drizzled a cream cheese glaze over the top. (The bundt pan was a bargain at a recent flea market at $.35!) It was the ending to a lovely family dinner last Sunday, where I served  market microgreen spicy greens topped with toasted chopped hazelnuts, thinly sliced pear and crumbled goat cheese with a balsamic vinegrette, followed by a leek and cheese topped shepherd's pie from here followed by the cake. The cake was lovely - dense and flavourful. Thankfully there were a few slices left after the supper, so we did get to have it another day.

 While I was beating up the carrot cake, I flipped through the cookbook and came up to a recipe for an easy apple snack cake, featuring additions of applesauce and diced apple. It sounded like a perfect recipe for T's lunchbox during the week, especially given the new chocolate ban for our boy (imposed by us) - especially given his thumbs up to an apple muffin sample at Starbucks earlier in the day. So while the carrot cake was baking, I whipped up the apple cake.

D and T loved it.

Tuesday night at supper, T announced that he needed me to make him something yummy for his Hallowe'en preschool party on Thursday. Having read this, I decided a wheat free version would be just the ticket. So Wednesday night, I turned on the oven and the mixer and made it.

Here is how I did it - adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Spiced Pearsauce Cake (wheat free)

1 c brown rice flour
1 c Bob's Red Mill's gluten free flour mix
1 tsp baking soda
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tspn ground cloves
1 stick butter, softened
1 c packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c unsweetened pearsauce (or applesauce)

5 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp butter, softened
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 c icing sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and spices.

In a stand mixer, beat the sugar, vanilla and butter until light and fluffy (~ 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then add the pearsauce. At low speed, mix the flour mixture in until all incorporated.

Scrape into a greased 8x8 baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 deg F. Cool.

For the icing, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla with the mixer until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and cinnamon and beat until all incorporated, adding more sugar to achieve the icing consistency you want. Ice the cooled cake.

(The icing also works on the earlier apple snack cake).
And to round out the week, when I picked T up on Thursday afternoon, he announced that there was another party on Friday and we needed to bring apple juice and cupcakes for it. Once I pointed out that I had neither, he deep sixed the idea of apple juice but clung to the idea of cupcakes. I was fairly wrung out by the week in general (including two nights of frantic shark costume makery) and couldn't face making another cake. T really was hoping for the box of gluten free chocolate cake to be make either into cake or cupcakes but I couldn't face breaking the chocolate embargo (ridiculous given the looming Hallowe'en treat bags) - so I whipped up apple banana wheat free muffins and frosted them with orange buttercream. Done. And I think I'm over cake for the moment.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

wheat free corn bread

T's friend C is wheat intolerant so when she comes over to eat, I try out wheat free or gluten free recipes. I was looking for a corn bread recipe to serve with the turkey chili I made and cobbled this together from a variety of recipes on-line and in some of my favorite recipe books. It worked really well - it was delicious!

Wheat free corn bread

1 c brown rice flour
1 c corn meal
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp salt
½ c sour cream
1 small can creamed corn
¼ c maple syrup
1/3 c milk
1 egg, beaten
4 tbsp butter, melted

In a large mixing bowl add the flour, corn meal, BP, BS, xanthan gum and salt together and mix to blend. In another bowl mix the beaten egg with the sour cream, creamed corn, maple syrup, milk and melted butter. Mix well. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Pour into a greased 8x8 baking pan (or a close proximity) and bake at 400 deg F for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick (knife) in the center comes out clean.

turkey chili

This week we hosted T's first sleepover - his friend C came to stay for one night. The kids were very excited and funny. It was fun to have a daughter for a wee moment in time but we'd have to buy lots of earplugs if we had 2 all the time. The volume was amazing!

C's mum and sister came over for dinner the other night and I made this turkey chili and it was a success so I'm passing the recipe along.

Turkey Chili
1 lb ground turkey

1 medium onion, diced
1 handful of baby carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 roasted red peppers, diced (you can use raw)
1 c corn kernels
1 small can (398 mL) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (540 mL) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large can (796 mL) , whole tomatoes in juice, (I squished the tomatoes)
1 jar prepared pasta sauce
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
¼ tsp dry mustard powder

Add a bit of olive oil (1 tbsp) to a large sauté pan. Saute the turkey, breaking up as it browns. Add the onion, celery, carrots, pepper and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the corn and the beans. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sauce and seasonings and stir. Turn down the heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes. (This can simmer on low heat for a while if you want to make a bit ahead). Serve with grated cheese and sour cream.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

lasagna with meat sauce

When I was 14 (or so), I visited my rellies in the UK by myself. Ok, so my parents made me take my sister along with me. And my aunt made lasagna with meat sauce while we were there and as it wasn't something that we ate at home I watched her very closely and she taught me how to make it. And when I came back from our trip, it became one of my signature dishes. Over the year's I've tweaked it many ways, so much so that my aunt, after my brother rapsodized about it on one occasion (he must have been somewhat intoxicated), asked me where I got the recipe. She didn't remember teaching me. Last weekend, after a day of coaxing a small boy out on the soccer field after racing to get him soccer shoes and shin guards, and then running numerous other errands, I wanted some comfort food for supper. I had lasagna sheets in the freezer left from the yam and chard lasagna a few weeks ago so I made lasagna with meat sauce, which is fairly close to my aunt's original recipe.

Lasagna with meat sauce
1 lb ground pork
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 tbsp roasted garlic
1 tsp each oregano and thyme
1/2 tsp dry mustard
salt and pepper
handful of mushrooms, sliced
1 medium red pepper, sliced
1 jar of prepared tomato sauce
1 pkg fresh spinach, roughly sliced (optional)
6 or more lasagna sheets (I used frozen fresh)
5 tbsp butter
5 tbsp flour
700 mL milk or milk/stock mixed
grated fresh nutmeg
1 handful of grated parmesan cheese
1-2 c grated mozarella cheese

Brown the pork over medium high heat. When somewhat brown, drain off some of the fat and add the onion, garlic and seasonings. Saute until the onion is somewhat soft and add the mushrooms and pepper. Cook until soft and then add the tomato sauce. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Add the spinach and heat until the spinach is wilted.

In another pan, heat the butter until melted. Add the milk (or milk/stock mix) and the flour to the pot and whisk together until no lumps are present. Heat until the sauce begins to thicken and bubble and lower the heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with pepper and nutmeg and add the parmesan cheese. Stir to incorporate.

To assemble - spoon a bit of the tomato meat sauce (1/2 c) in the bottom of a 9x13 pan and spread all over the bottom. Add lasagna sheets over the sauce in a single layer, covering as much of the pan as possible without going up the sides. Add 1/3 of the remaining tomato meat sauce, spread evenly, add 1/4 of the bechamel (milk) sauce and spread evenly and then sprinkle with 1/4 of the mozarella cheese. Repeat twice more , then pour the remaining bechamel evenly over the top and sprinkle with the remaining mozarella cheese.

 Bake at 350 deg F for 40-50 minutes until bubbly and the cheese is golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, October 18, 2010

a boy's funny bone

Our boy has discovered the joy of telling jokes. His joy, our groan. But he's so cute when he thinks he's funny. So I've been trying to remember the jokes of my childhood to pass on to him so I don't get his one knock knock joke more than 100 times a week.

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Banana who?

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Banana who?

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Orange who?
Orange you glad I didn't say banana to you.

So I told him one I remembered from my kid brother's joke book.
Q: What time is it when an elephant sits on your fence?
A: Time to get a new fence.

T came up with variations on this one - what time is it when a giraffe sits on your roof?, etc.

And I found this one:
Q: What do call a fairy who doesn't take a bath?
A: Stinkerbell.

And last week T came home with this one -
Q: What is the best day to eat french fries?
A: Friday.

Of course, T is his funniest when he doesn't mean to be. He has D and I in stitches lately with his new word - "ridikilus". And I love his pronunciations of ambulance - "ambilamce" and excavator - "exkigator".

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

yam and chard lasagna

When I got my new KitchenAid, (which makes it sound like I had an old one - not!) I also got three pasta attachments, a roller and two cutters. I've been a bit slow to use them but a couple of weeks ago, I made some pasta sheets and used them to make lasagna. Here is the pasta drying.

For filling, I used some left over roasted yam mixture I had in the freezer after making pierogis. And I added some sauted chard and a bechemel sauce to the mix. I should have made more sauce as the homemade pasta soaks up a lot of moisture in cooking. So here is what I would do next time:

 2 c roasted yam mixture (mine was mixed with sauted leeks and smoked gouda cheese)
1 bechemel sauce recipe
lasagna sheets
1 large bunch of chard, stemmed and sliced and sauted until wilted
shredded parmesan

4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
760 mL milk (or milk and stock mixed)
grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and milk and whisk until the flour is incorporated. Heat for 5 minutes and season to taste. Lower the heat and cook for another 10 minutes to cook the flour.

Pour 1/4 of the sauce into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. Add 1 layer of lasagna noodles over the sauce, cutting to fit if required. Add 1/3 of the yam mixture and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the chard over the yam and then sprinkle some parmesan over this. Pour about 1/4 of the remaining sauce over this layer and spread evenly. Repeat the layers 2 more times. Add a layer of pasta and pour the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle generously with more cheese.

Bake at 350 deg F until the cheese is golden brown and the casserole is bubbly.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

green tomato pie (with sausage!)

Summer didn't last very long here on the wet coast - started in July and ended in late August so my garden was a bit behind on growing. The tomatoes are ripening now after weeks of being on the vine and green. I found this recipe after Willi asked for green tomato recipes and I made it up using green romas last weekend.

 Green tomato and sausage pie (adapted from here)

1 tart dough recipe ( I used my favorite one from here)
1 lb mild italian sausage meat
6 cubed green roma tomatoes
2 c sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion, sliced
1 1/2 c grated cheese (I used cheddar and smoked gouda)

Preheat the oven to 400 deg F. Make the pastry and roll into a tart plate. From the crust and roll off the excess dough with a rolling pin. Dimple the bottom of the dough with your fingers. Spread 1 tbsp dijon mustard evenly across the bottom of the pie.

Brown the sausage and set aside. Saute the onions in 1-2 tsp of the remaining sausage grease until a bit soft and then add the mushrooms. Let the mushrooms cook down and set the onion mushrooms mix aside with the sausage meat. Cook the tomatoes (if juicy add 1-3 tbsp of flour to thicken the juice). Add the sausage, onion, mushroom mix into the tomatoes and put the filling into the pie shell. Cover with cheese.

Bake at 400 deg F for 30 minutes or until the pastry is brown and the filling is bubbly.

craving thai food

We just got back from a few days on the Oregon coast.

One of our favorite places for take-out food was a Thai restaurant in Cannon Beach but last year it was closed for the week we were there and this year, it had changed into a Tiki Hut which is not our scene. So D took a drive to Seaside to find the Thai food place he found in the Oregon restaurant guide but it was gone as well. So we ended up with Chinese take-out for supper. But the idea of Thai food had lodged itself in our brains so Saturday night I decided to make chicken and spinach in peanut sauce - which is likely has every true Thai person shuddering in horror.

Peanut Sauce (adapted from the Rebar Cookbook)
1/4 c peanut butter
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
juice of 1 lime
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c cilantro
1 tsp sweet thai chili sauce
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 c chicken stock

4 chicken thighs, roasted w skin on, cooled and chopped
1 package fresh spinach leaves

Combine the sauce ingredients in a saute pan and stir over low heat until combined and bubbly. Taste and adjust seasonings to suit your taste - more citrus, more peanut butter, more soy sauce, more heat. Add the chicken and spinach and stir until the spinach is wilted. Serve over rice.

Monday, October 11, 2010

happy thanksgiving!

I made our Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. The menu was ginger glazed ham (Nigella's Christmas), potatoes boulangeres with sage, honey roasted carrots with dill, braised red cabbage with maple and ginger, ginger squash with collards and sausage, and this pumpkin pie. My sister-in-law made a fall salad complete with greens, raisins, apples, beets - yummy. So we were all stuffed at the end of dinner. And I have a fridge full of left-overs. Including a sliver of pie. Excuse me.....

I made the pumpkin pie last week, a trial run so to speak for the market's pumpkin pie contest. Based on yesterday's pie, I don't think I baked it long enough so it was a bit gooey.

Pumpkin Pie (based on this recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

1 butter pastry crust (I used this one from Sassy Radish but added 1 tsp vanilla to the double recipe)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup plus 1 to 4 Tbsp ice water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt and pulse in a food processor. Blend in butter by pulsing until most of mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle 1/3 cup ice water over mixture and pulse until incorporated. If a dough doesn't form, keep adding water, 1 tbsp at a time, pulsing each time, until a dough starts to form. Gather the dough together, divide in half and form 2 disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.
Roll out dough on parchment paper to make 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang all around pie plate. Ease the dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Trim the overhang. Refrigerate about 15 minutes.
Remove pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil and fill with pie weights or pennies.

Bake on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Remove the weights and bake 5 to 10 more minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp.

1 1/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup 2% milk
3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 small can pumpkin puree (~445 ML)
1 cup mashed roasted yam
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon table salt

Make the filling: While pie shell is baking, whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks and vanilla together in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth and well-incorporated. Scrap into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to simmer until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat. Whisk in cream mixture slowly, until fully incorporated and transfer to warm pre-baked pie shell. Return pie plate with baking sheet to oven and bake pie for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees. Continue baking until edges are set and a bit puffy and the center of the pie jiggles slightly - 25 to 40 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. Serve, or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

I baked the one yesterday for longer (40 minutes) and it wasn't gooey and it was delicious.