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Meatless Monday: Asparagus Gouda Bread Pudding

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Ingredients:

1 T. butter

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces

3 shallots, thinly sliced

10 cups cubed day old bread (I tried this with Challah….divine!)

2 cups shredded Gouda

10 eggs

4 cups milk

1 T. Dijon mustard

herbs of your choice – parsley, rosemary, thyme are all yummy options I’ve tried

salt and pepper to taste (lemon pepper is quite delicious in this)

Instructions:  Melt butter in a skillet and add asparagus and shallots, cooking until asparagus is tender-crisp, about 5-7 minutes.  Lightly grease a 9 by 13 baking dish and add the asparagus mixture, bread,  and half of the cheese.  Whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, herbs, and salt and pepper.  Pour over the bread mixture in the baking dish – you’ll have to press it down to get it soaked with the milk mixture.  Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least one hour or up to 24 hours.  Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 1 hour until puffy and golden – the centre should no longer be liquid and “jiggly”.  Allow it to cool about 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving. 

Easter Recipes

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Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns are traditionally served in many countries on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and often even on Easter morning.

Ingredients:

1 c. scalded milk

1/3 c. sugar or brown sugar or a blend

2 eggs

1 T. lemon juice

1/2 c. butter or margarine

1 pkg. dry yeast

4- 4 1/2 c. flour

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1 1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind

2/3 c. raisins

1 egg, well beaten (this is to glaze the tops of the buns)

Instructions: Stir together the milk sugar, egg, lemon juice, and butter until well blended.  Stir in the yeast.  Add 2 1/2 c. of the flour, the salt, spices and lemon rind and beat together well.  Cover the bowl, place in a warm spot, and leave to rise for an hour.  Add the raisins and knead into the bread.  As you knead, add as much of the remaining flour as needed to make a smooth elastic dough.  Form into a ball and place in a covered buttered bowl in a warm place to rise until it doubles in size.  Punch the dough down and form into buns.  Place the buns in a greased pan with at least an inch in between each one.  Cut a cross in the top of each bun and brush with the beaten egg.  Let rise again until double in size.  Bake in a 375 degree F oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown.  I prefer to eat hot cross buns just as is but some people like to frost them with icing.  If desired, here is an icing recipe you can use:  Beat 3 egg whites with 1 T. lemon juice.  Gradually mix in 1 1/2 c. icing sugar until a stiff icing is formed.

Cornish Saffron Buns

It is tradition to eat these buns instead of Hot Cross Buns with clotted cream on Good Friday and Easter.

Follow the recipe for the Hot Cross Buns with these changes:  Instead of the spices listed, use 2 tsp. ground nutmeg; when you combine the yeast mixture with the flour mixture, add 1/4 tsp. saffron that you have steeped in 1 1/2 tsp. of warm water for 10 minutes; mix in 1/2 cup mixed candied fruit peel; use less of the flour in total, making a softer, less firm dough than you would for Hot Cross Buns

Italian Rosemary Buns

These are essentially the Italian version of the English Hot Cross Buns. 

Ingredients:

1 pkg dry yeast

1 1/4 cups warm water

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

3/4 olive oil

4- 4 1/2 cups flour, sifted

3/4 cup golden raisins

3 T. rosemary leaves

Optional: 1-2 T. sugar

Instructions:  Sprinkle yeast over the warm water in a bowl.  Stir in the sugar and let it sit until it gets frothy.  Mix in the salt and 1/4 cup of the oil.  Slowly add in 3 1/2 cups of the flour.  Toss the raisins with 1/2 cup of the flour and add this mixture to the dough.  Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it is smooth and elastic – about 10-15 minutes.  Add more flour as needed to create a pretty stiff dough.  Put the dough in a greased bowl – turn it over until it is covered with oil on all sides.    Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm place to rise until it has doubled in size – about an hour and a half to two hours.  Saute the rosemary leaves in the rest of the olive oil until they are golden in colour.  Once risen, turn out the dough onto a floured surface.  Make a well in the dough and pour in the rosemary and oil mixture.  Knead for about 5-10 minutes to work the oil and rosemary through the dough.  Cut the dough into about 2 dozen buns and then cut a cross into the top of each bun.  Place on greased baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart, cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rise until doubled in size.  If you’d like, you can sprinkle with the optional sugar.  Bake in a 425 degree F oven for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to 375 degrees F.  Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until golden.

Good Friday Soups

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Soup De Sante

Brown the following in 2 T. butter:  1 cup shredded celery, 1 cup endive, 1/2 cup chervil, 1 cup cabbage, 2 onions (minced), 3 carrots (chopped).  Add enough water to cover and cook over medium high heat until tender.  Shake together 1/2 T. flour with 1/4 cup water and stir in to soup until smooth.  Add 4 cups of vegetable or fish broth, 1/2 cup white wine, salt and pepper to taste, and 1 tsp. chopped parsley.  Place French rolls in soup tureen (or one in each soup bowl) and cover with soup.  Allow soup to soak into bread before eating.

Tomato Lentil Soup

Place 2/3 cup of lentils in 4 cups of water in a pan.  Bring to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer.  Add 8-10 cloves of garlic (peeled and minced), 2 stalks celery (chopped), and 3 carrots (chopped).  Simmer until tender.  Stir in 1 tsp. tamari sauce, a 6 oz. can of tomato paste, 1 T. chopped parsley and 1/2 tsp. marjoram.  You can also add in more water if needed for the desired consistency and thickness.  (For a spicier variation, add 1 T. chili powder and 1/2 tsp. of cumin).

Meatless Monday: Roasted Beet Salad

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Ingredients:

12 small beets

1 fresh pear

1 tsp lemon zest

2 T. fresh lemon juice

1 cup whipping cream

2 T. fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp. each fresh finely chopped: thyme, basil, rosemary

Salt and pepper to taste

1 head Boston or butter lettuce

1-2 cups baby spinach or arugula

1/4 cup red or sweet onion, thinly sliced

3 oz. goat or feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Instructions:  Trim leafy ends and root off beets.  Wash beets and pear.  Place both in a baking dish (I usually cut the pear in half) with about 1/4 cup of water.  Cover with foil and roast for about an hour, until tender.  Meanwhile, whisk together the lemon juice and cream, adding in the zest, herbs, salt and pepper.  Place in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes and up to one day to thicken.  Let beets and pears cool and peel the beets and slice the pear and beets into strips.  Toss lettuce and spinach and top with the pears, beets, onion, cheese, and pecans.  Drizzle the herbed cream dressing over the salad and serve.

Meat Free Friday: Vegetable Channa Masala

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Adapted from the 2012 Milk Calendar

Ingredients:

1 T. butter

2 carrots, chopped

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 T. minced gingerroot

3 T. mild curry paste

3 c. small cauliflower florets

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes  (original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomato but I can’t eat fresh tomatoes or tomatoes in that quantity so I used this instead)

1 19 oz. chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 cups chopped green beans

2 T. flour

1 1/2 cups half and half cream

salt to taste

Yogurt, raisins, and fresh mint for topping, pita bread is delicious as an accompaniment

Instructions:  Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Saute the carrots and onions until onion is softened.  Mix in the garlic, ginger, and curry and continue to cook for about a minute until the garlic softens.  Add in the cauliflower and water; bring to a boil, cover and boil until vegetables are tender, about 8-10 minutes.  Add in chickpeas and green beans (and fresh tomatoes if you are using those instead of the sundried ones)  and simmer for a few minutes until heated through.  Combine flour and cream – you can whisk but my preferred method is to put both into a shaker and shake them together.  Add this to the pot and stir frequently, continuing to simmer until a thick sauce has formed.  Stir in the sundried tomatoes and add salt if needed.   Top each bowl with a dollop of yogurt, raisins, and fresh mint.  Yum!

Tasty Tuesday: Oprah’s Roast Chicken with Smashed Potatoes

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I found this recipe in a recent issue of O magazine – it was adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe and I added a few of my own touches to it.  This chicken was the moistest most succulent roast chicken I’ve ever had – the milk really helps with that.  The addition of lemon zest, cinnamon, and other seasonings gave it a really lovely depth of flavour too.    If you love roast chicken, you should give this one a go!

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken (around 4-5 lbs)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 T. butter

1 1/2 lb. (about 15-20) of the small baby potatoes or fingerlings

Zest of 2 lemons

10 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

1 cinnamon stick, broken into a couple pieces

pinch of nutmeg

2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Instructions:  Place potatoes in a large pan of water and bring to a boil.  Once at a boil, I let them simmer while working on the chicken.  This gets the potatoes started prior to going into the oven where they will finish cooking.  Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and pepper as desired, inside and out.  Use a large oven safe pot on the stove over high heat – melt the butter in it and use this for browning the chicken on all sides, about 10-15 minutes.

Once brown, place breast side down and add the milk to the pot.  Add in the potatoes as well (reserve the cooking water). Bring to a simmer and turn off the heat.  Add in the remaining ingredients.  Cover the pot with a lid or foil and roast in a 375 degree F oven for 45 minutes.  Remove the lid and continue roasting for another 30-45 minutes until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F.  The meat should pretty much fall right off the bone!

Remove the potatoes from the pan and gently smash them – if need be, use a bit (perhaps 1/4 cup to start with) of the reserved cooking water if potatoes seem dry.  Serve the sauce from the pan over the meat and potatoes.

Meatless Monday: Eggs Over Asparagus with a Parmesan Gremolata; Dill Flatbread

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Eggs Over Asparagus

asp1pic

To make the Parmesan Gremolata:   Mix together 2 tsp. finely chopped parsley, 2 tsp. grated Parmesan, 1/4 tsp grated lemon rind

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Roast the asparagus – I did this by putting a bit of butter and olive oil into a roasting pan.  I put the asparagus in and gave it a good toss.  Placed the pan in a 450 degree F oven for 20-30 minutes until nicely browned (you can even go for a char on it) and tender crisp.

asp3pic

For the eggs, I heated up some water to just below boiling.  To a medium pot of water, I added 1 T. of vinegar (I used balsamic because I love the flavour but you can use any kind) and then cracked in the eggs gently.  Simmer for about 3 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon carefully.  I spread the gremolata over the asparagus, drizzled on a touch of olive oil, then topped with the eggs.  I added some shaved Parmesan to top it off.  You can add salt and pepper to taste – I only used pepper because I find the cheese makes it salty enough.  DELICIOUS, quick, and easy!

Yogurt Dill Flatbread (adapted from Anna Olson)

Ingredients:

  • 11⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1⁄2 tsp baking powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 3⁄4 cup plain yogurt (not low-fat)
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • sea salt for sprinkling (if desired)
  • fresh coriander, chopped (if desired)

Instructions:  Mix together the dry ingredients (including the dill) in a large bowl.  Add in the yogurt and stir until a soft dough forms.  Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it feels elastic, 2-3 minutes.   Place dough in a bowl, cover, and let sit for half an hour to rest.   Separate the dough into 4 pieces and then roll each one out to form an oval about 8 inches in size.  You can cook these in a couple of different ways.  You can cook them one at a time in a skillet with some butter – you want them to bubble and brown.  It takes about 4 minutes on the first side and a couple more on the second.  You can also grill the breads over medium high heat for approximately 4 minutes per side.  Serve fresh or make ahead and then just before serving, warm them in a 300 degree F oven for about 5 minutes.  As a yummy extra touch, brush them with some melted butter and top with sea salt and fresh chopped coriander.

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