Category Archives: Recipe

Hummus-bi-tahini

To call this a recipe is almost a crime – there isn’t any real cooking involved, and it’s so easy our dog could do it if she had opposable thumbs. But, surprisingly few people actually know how to make hummus so we thought we’d share the recipe we use. We make this  once or twice a week, we consume it with baby carrots, sliced raw zucchini and all sorts of other veggies.

It’s a wonderful snack, and often is the one thing we grab when we walk in the door after a long day at the office.

 The history and debate behind Hummus is worth a read.

Ingredients:

1 16 or 19 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans

1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas

3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste we use half a lemon)

3- 4 tablespoons tahini (can be left out but is the best part!)

1- 2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation:

Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.

Or

Do what we do – toss the entire thing in the blender and go!

Place in serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus. Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well, add some whole pine nuts and sprinkle with paprika … because it looks pretty.

That is it!

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Endive and Blue Cheese Salad!

We can’t understand why every restaurant we go to always carries the same two “boring beyond belief” salads. The Chef salad and the Cesar salad. Especially when there are such amazing options out there! Here is one of our spring and summer favorites – we find it tasty and fresh all year round. Yes, we are big consumers of the “salad” and over the next few months will share as many of the creative variety as we can muster.

Serves 6-8

For the nuts:
1/3 cup granulated sugar (we like to use maple sugar!)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground star anise or-anise seed
3-1/2 oz. (1 cup) walnut halves (also very yummy are pecans)

For the vinaigrette:
1 medium shallot, minced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste
2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the salad:
1 small head curly endive (curly chicory) or frisée, tough outer and large inner leaves removed and discarded, tender leaves torn into bite-size pieces (to yield 3 cups)
1 small head Bibb or Boston lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (to yield 3 cups) – or Arugula – our personal favorite!
2-3 large heads Belgian endive or 2 small bunches watercress, sliced into bite-size pieces (to yield 3 cups) – again remove the thick center.
2 ripe Bartlett or Anjou pears
1/4 lb. Gorgonzola or Roquefort, sliced and crumbled

Make the spiced nuts: Heat the oven to 350°F. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, coriander, and star anise or anise seed. Put the walnut halves on a baking sheet and toast them very lightly in the oven, just 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, set a large skillet over medium heat and put the sugar mixture in it, shaking the pan to spread it evenly. When the sugar starts to melt a little, add the walnuts while they’re still warm. Shake the pan vigorously until the sugar melts completely, turns medium amber, and coats the nuts as much as possible, 2 to 7 minutes. Keep a good watch; this happens fast. You’ll need to nudge the nuts with a wooden spoon to cover them as much as possible. (This won’t be a completely smooth caramel, and the sugar will adhere to the nuts in patches.) Scrape the nuts onto a plate to cool in one layer. When completely cool, seal in an airtight container.

Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the shallot, salt, and vinegar. Whisk in the olive oil. Season with pepper and refrigerate until ready to serve. (The dressing can “age” a day or two.)

Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, toss the greens with your hands. Just before serving, whisk the vinaigrette to blend and toss it with the greens. Taste for seasoning; the salad may need a bit more salt and pepper. Mound the greens in the center of each plate. Slice the pears (we like to leave the peel on for color and nutrients). Divide the cheese and the pear slices among the plates. Garnish with the spice-candied walnuts and serve!

For a little twist add avocado and bacon!

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The Perfect Risotto? Easy!

We feel the error that most people make when cooking risotto is that they go overboard on the stirring and end up with a gummy blob not to mention making it FAR more complicated than it actually is. We have no idea why! Even our favorite chefs known for making things simple make this a tough one for no good reason. So – here is our gift to you … go ahead and wow your friends and family! Your secret is safe with us.

We have given you the Seafood version – but what is equally delectable is a mushroom risotto for those of you that like them or have a vegetarian penchant.

Serves 6-8 
7 cups hot chicken (or fish if you can find it!) stock
5 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped (leeks are a nice addition/alternative)
1 pound vialone nano or arborio rice
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
1/2 pound clean squid (calamari) with tentacles, bodies cut into 1/3 to 1/2-inch-thick rings
1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and de-veined. 
You may want to add scallops, clams etc. or even easier get 2 small bags of frozen mixed seafood!
1 cup freshly grated Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese 

Note: We get asked about salt. We find that the Parmagiano cheese is salty enough. Try it first without adding salt. If you find it needs it you can add it after and will know to modify the recipe to your personal liking for the next round. We consume too much sodium, so try and add saffron or a spice instead of salt. 

1. In a large pot, bring the stock to a simmer.

2. Meanwhile, in a large heavy bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and translucent (medium heat – you are not browning them!), 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the rice and warm it about 2 minutes. Warming the rice will prepare it to absorb the stock. 

3. When the rice is warm it will start to become translucent – that is time to add the stock. Add the stock. Stir the rice gently and return the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the stock is lightly boiling. Stir the rice from time to time to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom of the pan – but as little as possible! If the rice sticks reduce the heat a bit. Risotto should take about 20-25 minutes to become soft and most of the stock should be used. 

4. About 15 minutes into cooking the rice, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened and lightly browned about 1 minute. Add the squid and shrimp and cook, stirring, until the squid are opaque, 5 minutes. (Same sequence for mushrooms) 

5. After about 20 minutes begin to taste the rice. Risotto is ready when the rice grains are soft, but still a little firm to the bite, not mush and not chalky. When the rice is ready add the seafood and cook 2 minutes more. 

6. Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and the Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese until well mixed. 

Transfer to serving plates and serve!!See?? Easy!!! 

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Trout and Artichoke Sandwich!

The sorry truth is that most people don’t eat enough fish – and when they do there is an unfortunate tendency to overcook.

This must be one of our all time favorite recipes and this crowd pleaser comes form an all time favorite Chef Jamie Oliver.

Its shockinlgy easy and old and young will dig in and ask for seconds. Whatever left over’s you have are easily frozen and warmed up for lunch another day.

What you’ll need:

•extra virgin olive oil

• 8 x 200g/7oz trout fillets (There is only 2 of us so we only get two fillets)

• 1 good handful of almonds, blanched

• 1 bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked

• 1 ciabatta, preferably stale (If you can’t find ciabatta find a good French country bread)

• zest and juice of 2 lemons

• 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

• 16 marinated artichoke hearts, drained and sliced

• 4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon (any bacon really – Canadian or other)

• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (we skip the pepper, there’s a delicate stomach involved)

• 1 small handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked

Preheat your oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7 and rub a roasting tray with a little olive oil.

Lay 4 of the trout fillets, skin side down, on the tray, with two bits of string under each fillet. Make sure they are not too high or too close to the center.

Lightly toast the almonds in the oven for a couple of minutes – watch them carefully as they don’t take long – then bash them up using a pestle and mortar (or a metal bowl and a rolling pin). Try to get some powdery and some chunks. Put the almonds into a bowl and rip in the mint. (You can use pine nuts as well – or both!)

Take the crusts off the ciabatta and set it aside (you don’t need it – we tend to eat it dipping it in humus to keep us patient) . Take the “soft” inside and break/chop it up. Add the lemon zest, chopped garlic, artichoke hearts, and 5 tablespoons of olive oil to the bowl with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix it up well (use your hands it’s fun!) and sprinkle a good handful of the mix over each trout fillet.

Place the other 4 fillets on top, skin side up, laying a bacon rasher along the top of each one, and secure with the string. Sprinkle the thyme over the top and any excess filling (bread mix) around the tray.

Place in the middle of the preheated oven and cook for about 15 minutes, until the trout is golden and crisp. When the fish is ready, cut the string and serve the fillets with a nice green salad. We remove the skin for guests, although we don’t mind it many people do. It’s easy enough although you may need to put it all “back together” for presentation. Give everyone a lemon half on their plate so they can squeeze the juice over their fish.

Enjoy!!

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Bouillabaise

yumminthetumTHE DISH  know as bouillabaisse was created by Marseille fishermen. Rather than using the more expensive fish that would bring in a larger profit, they cooked any fish and shellfish that they pulled up with their catch that were too bony to serve in restaurants, cooking them in a cauldron of sea water on a wood fire and seasoning them with garlic and fennel. Tomatoes were added to the recipe in the 17th century, after their introduction from the America.

In the 19th century, as Marseille became more prosperous, restaurants and hotels began to serve bouillabaisse to upper-class patrons. The recipe of bouillabaisse became more refined, with the substitution of fish stock and the addition of saffron. Bouillabaisse spread from Marseille to Paris, and then gradually around the world, adapted to local ingredients and tastes.

Three of the best-known restaurants in Marseille for traditional bouillabaisse are Le Miramar, on the Vieux Port; Chez Fonfon, at 140, Vallon des Auffes, and the Grand Bar des Goudes, Rue Desire-Péléprat.

The name bouillabaisse comes from the method of the preparation – the ingredients are not added all at once. The broth is first boiled (bouillir) then the different kinds of fish are added one by one, and each time the broth comes to a boil, the heat is lowered (abaisser).

But we have found an amazing way to make this wonderful dish in the slow cooker!

Here are the ingredients (serves 8):

1/2 cup of olive oil

1 carrot, chopped

2 onions, chopped

2 leeks cut small

1 clove of garlic, crushed

3 filets of fish cut in 3 inch pieces (flounder, red mullet, whiting, sole, haddock, perch or whitefish)

2 large tomatoes cut in pieces or 1 cup canned tomatoes

1 bay leaf

2 cups fish stock, clam juice or water

½ cup shrimp, crab or lobster meat cooked or canned

1 small bag of frozen sea food (muscles, squid, octopus …)

1 package frozen mussels in the shell (optional)

Few grains of saffron

Juice of 1 lemon

And MOST important!! 1 cup of dry white wine!

1 tablespoon chopped parsley and/or fennel

Season to taste (salt, pepper and if you wish ½ cup pimientos cut small)

Toss the whole kit and caboodle into the slow cooker (except for the frozen muscles in the shell and parsley/fennel).

Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.  You can eat it as is – but if you want to make it really “authentic” before its done – add the frozen muscles.  The instructions on the bag will let you know how long they need to “open”.  Some are a little pre cooked others not.  Toss into the finished bouillabaisse in the slow cooker; put the lid back on until the shells open.

And Voila! Place in bowls and sprinkle the parsley/fennel on top and serve. 

This is a dish our guests fight over for the last drop.  We make the entire batch and eat it fresh out of the slow cooker for dinner (eating all the muscles in the shell – they don’t keep or store well) and the rest gets put in Tupperware (with screw lids) and frozen.  This is easily warmed up on the stove or microwave and tastes just as good. 

If you love seafood we know you’ll love this!  Enjoy!

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