Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Oranges in Red Wine and Brown Sugar Syrup

1 - 750ml (3 cups) bottle red wine
1 cup brown sugar
1 short cinnamon stick
8 large navel oranges
1 tbs granulated sugar

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring wine, brown sugar and cinnamon to a boil, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until syrup has reduced in volume to 1 cup; about 50 minutes. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate.

Zest peel from 2 oranges. In a small bowl, mix peel together with granulated sugar.

With a sharp knife, remove and discard peel and white pith from oranges. Segment the oranges into the bowl by cutting between membranes. Cover segments and sugared peel separately and refrigerate.

Divide orange segments between 8 dessert bowls. Drizzle with wine syrup and garnish with sugared peel. Reserve and leftover syrup to drizzle over vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Roasted Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuit Topping

meat from 1 whole roasted chicken
¼ cup butter
½ cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 ½ cups light cream (or milk)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
½ red pepper, chopped
1 medium button mushrooms, quartered
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add flour and whisk until smooth, cooking for one minute. Whisking constantly, add chicken stock and light cream. Increase heat to medium and bring mixture to a simmer, continuing to whisk for another minute. Add onion and carrots and continue cooking, stirring, until vegetables are barely tender. Add roasted chicken, red pepper, mushrooms and peas. Salt and pepper to taste. Scrape into a medium shallow baking dish and cover with biscuit dough.

For biscuit dough:
2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup cold butter
1 large egg
2/3 cup milk
2 tbs cream

Whisk together flour and baking powder. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the centre and pour in egg and milk (lightly whisked together). Bring together loosely with a fork, then turn out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead 8-10 times. Pat into the dimensions of baking dish and place on top of chicken mixture. Pierce dough in several places, and brush top with cream.

Bake at 375-degrees for about 20 minutes, until filling is bubbling and biscuit topping is golden brown.

Potato Pavé

by Executive Chef Dean Hossack
of the Okanagan Golf Club

1 medium leek
2 tbs butter
salt pepper
5 large russet potatoes, peeled, sliced very thin
¼ cup cream
½ cup Emmenthal cheese, finely shredded
(reserve 1/3 of cheese for later)

Layer an 8-by-11.5-by2-inch glass baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.

Chop leek in half where the white part meets the green; discard greens. Slice leek lengthwise and rinse under cold water to remove any grit from between layers. Thinly slice width-wise.

In a small skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add leeks and sauté until soft and translucent. Season with salt and pepper.

Layer bottom of baking dish with a layer of sliced potatoes, slightly overlapping. Season lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with cream. Repeat, adding shredded cheese and sautéed leeks to every third or fourth layer. The very top layer should be potatoes only. Cover with parchment and then aluminium foil and bake at 350-degrees for about 1 ½ hours, until potatoes are soft in the centre of the dish and thoroughly hot. Remove foil and let cool on a baking rack for half an hour. Place a second baking dish of the same size on top of the parchment-topped Pavé as a weight to compress the potatoes (or use another dish that fits and weigh down with cans). Refrigerate overnight or for several hours.

To turn out Pavé, turn both baking dishes over so the second one acts as a platform for the potatoes. Slide onto a large cutting board and cut into servings. Top with remaining cheese and reheat on a parchment-lined baking tray before serving.

Baked vanilla custard

1 ¼ cups whipping cream
1 ¼ cups milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar

In a medium saucepan over medium-high, whisk together cream and milk. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the hot cream mixture to the egg yolk mixture slowly, whisking constantly, until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla.

Ladle mixture into four six-ounce custard cups and place them in a small roasting pan. Fill pan with enough very hot water to rise half way up the outsides of cups. Place in a 275-degree oven and bake for 50 minutes, or until the custards have set. Remove pan. Remove custard cups from the water, placing them on a baking rack to cool to room temperature, or chill and serve cold.

Chocolate zucchini cake

1 cup butter
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup sour cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 ½ cups flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
2 cups grated zucchini
2/3 cups chocolate chips

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, sour cream and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. Fold into butter mixture until smooth but not over mixed. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips. Divide batter between two prepared loaf or cake pans and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Cranberry-apple dressing

1 stalk celery, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium apples, large dice
1 tsp poultry seasoning
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup fresh cranberries
2-3 slices turkey bacon
¼ cup plus 2 tbs butter
1 medium-sized loaf artisan bread

In a large skillet, melt 2 tbs butter over medium heat. Add celery, carrot, onion and bacon. Sautee until carrot is just tender. Add apples and sauté until just tender. Add bread and seasoning and toss together with remaining butter. Transfer to a casserole dish and sprinkle with both dried and fresh cranberries, tossing lightly to incorporate. Bake at 350-degrees for 25 minutes.

Note: The term dressing and stuffing are often used interchangeably to describe the same dish. And while they may have the same shopping list, “stuffing” is always stuffed into the cavity of the bird, while “dressing” is cooked separately. Stuffed birds usually end up having to be overcooked for safety’s sake, on account of the stuffing insulating the insides.

Where to find it: To find the recipe for Mixed Grain Pilaf with Oka Cheese, visit past recipes at

Toffee crunch chocolate cheesecake

1 ½ cups graham crumbs
¼ cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
¼ cup shredded coconut
2 tbs brown sugar
¼ cup butter

2 packages cream cheese (8oz/250g each), softened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 large eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 cup Skor toffee bits

In a medium bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Melt butter and incorporate into the crumbs. Press firmly into a parchment paper-lined 8-inch spring form pan and bake at 350-degrees for 10 minutes.

Reduce oven heat to 275-degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer set to medium-low, cream together cream cheese and sugar until very smooth and fluffy (about 5-7 minutes), scraping down sides as needed. Beat in sour cream. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Fold in melted chocolate. Stir in ½ cup Skor bits.

Sprinkle 4 tbs of the toffee bits over the cake base. Scrape cheesecake batter over base, tapping pan on counter to distribute evenly. Sprinkle remaining Toffee bits over batter. Place a baking dish, 1/3 full with hot water, on the lowest rack of the oven (the water and low temp help prevent cracking). Set cheesecake on a baking sheet and set on middle rack. Bake for about 2 ½ - 3 hours, until just set in centre. Leave in oven with heat off for another hour (also to prevent cracking). Cool thoroughly, then refrigerate overnight. To slice, use a large chefs’ knife, cleaning the blade between each cut.


4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups water
3 medium beets, peeled and chopped
1 large potato (white), peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, scrubbed and chopped
½ medium onion, chopped
¾ cup fresh or frozen peas
1 ½ tbs vinegar
½ cup whipping cream
1 tbs flour
1 tbs chopped fresh dill
kosher salt/fresh-ground pepper

In a large pot or stock pot over high heat bring stock, water, beets, potato, carrot and onion to boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer rapidly for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are just tender. Skim off foam as it collects around the edges of pot.

Stir in peas and vinegar. Add flour to cream and stir until smooth. Stir into soup. Add fresh dill and season to taste with salt and pepper.

kielbasa and cheese calzones

1 ½ cups warm water
1 envelop (2 ¼ tsp) dry yeast
1 tbs sugar
2 tbs olive oil
1 ½ tsp salt
4 cups all purpose flour (approx)
1 tbs “Herbes De Provence” spice mix

¼ each yellow and red bell peppers, sliced
¼ small red onion, sliced
4 sundried tomato halves; reconstituted, chopped
1 cup diced turkey kielbasa
1 ½ cups grated mozzarella
1 cup grated cheddar or havarti
4 tbs pizza sauce
1 tsp corn meal

In a large mixing bowl, stir yeast and sugar into water and set aside until dissolved; about 5 minutes. Whisk in oil and salt. Add flour and stir to begin to bring it together into dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, incorporating a little more flour if still sticky, about 10 minutes.

Place dough in a lightly-oiled bowl, turning it over once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about an hour and 15 minutes.

Place a large pizza stone in oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly-floured surface. Knead until smooth. Divide into quarters, shaping each into a ball. Roll out to 9-inch rounds. Spread 1 tbs of sauce in centre of each. Divide other ingredients between calzones. Fold dough over filling, forming half circles. Pinch edges together to seal. Sprinkle stone with corn meal and transfer calzones to stone (you may have to do this two-at-a-time) and return to oven. Bake about 15-17 minutes, until golden brown (longer if not using a stone).

Options: Besides using your own favourite ingredients, try making eight smaller calzones. Or slice the larger ones into “fingers” for smaller portions.

Where to find it: The “Herbes De Provence” spice mix, among a garden of others, are available in specialty stores, and at Canada Post’s are the only shipping charges that apply.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Cheesy Rice & Nut Loaf

1 tbs butter
1 medium leek, split lengthwise and sliced
1 medium red pepper, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 cup finely chopped unsalted cashews
1 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
2 medium carrots, grated
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup grated aged cheddar
2 large eggs, beaten
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add leek (white part only), pepper and tomato. Cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

Process nuts in a food processor until coarsely ground. Place in a large mixing bowl, and combine with leek mixture, grated carrots, rice, cheese, eggs and salt and pepper. Mix well. Firmly press mixture into a buttered loaf pan, lined on the bottom with parchment paper. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 45-50 minutes, until lightly browned and cooked in centre. Let set for 10 minutes before turning out of pan. Slice and serve.

Monday, September 19, 2005

stuffed cinnamon swirl french toast

3 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped into ½-inch pieces
¼ cup butter
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs peach schnapps (opt)
¼ cup whipping cream
8 slices cinnamon swirl bread
3 large eggs

In a large skillet, over med-low heat, melt ½ of the butter. Stir in brown sugar until it’s dissolved. Add peaches and schnapps. Increase heat to med-high and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in 2 tbs of the cream and simmer for 2 more minutes.

Place 4 slices of bread on work surface. Using a slotted spoon, divide 2/3 of the peaches evenly between the slices, leaving a border on all sides. Top with remaining 4 slices of bread and press down gently. Set aside remaining peaches and caramelized syrup.

In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk eggs together with remaining cream. Soak the sandwiches in the egg mixture for 2 minutes per side. Melt 1 tbs butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry 2 of the sandwiches on each side until golden. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in a 200-degree oven to keep warm. Repeat. Serve with remaining peaches and caramelized syrup from first step.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Cranberry-Orange Scones

2 2/3 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup cold butter
1 large egg
2/3 cup buttermilk
¼ cup orange juice concentrate, thawed
(plus 1tbs for brushing tops)’
2/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Whisk together buttermilk, egg and orange juice concentrate. Make a well in centre of crumbs and add liquid. Bring together with a fork, then turn out onto a floured work surface and knead a few times (add a little more flour if sticky). Knead in half of the cranberries, but don’t overwork or the dough with toughen. Pat into an 8-inch circle and press in remaining cranberries. Cut circle into 8 wedges and place on a silpat-lined baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, until lightly golden.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

spinach artichoke mousse

5 oz fresh spinach, finely sliced
1 shallot, finely diced
1 tsp butter
10 marinated artichoke heart quarters
14 oz (400g tub) light cream cheese, softened

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallot and sauté until just translucent. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Transfer to a strainer and place over a bowl. Refrigerate until cold.

In a food processor, pulse artichoke hearts. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Squeeze cooled spinach mixture to remove as much moisture as possible. Add to artichokes. Fold in cream cheese with a rubber spatula. Serve with slices of crusty bread.

sour cherry pie with almond crumble topping

for filling:
1 ¼ cup sugar
¼ cup quick-cooking tapioca
pinch salt
½ tsp cinnamon
6 cups sour cherries, fresh or frozen, pitted or unpitted)
prepared deep dish pie shell

Whisk together sugar, tapioca, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. In a large, deep skillet, place pitted cherries (if unpitted, prick each cherry with a fork or skewer so juices will run). Place over medium high heat and stir until cherries are soft and juices are running. Reduce heat to medium and add sugar mixture evenly over cherries. Stir until juices are thickened, about three minutes. Remove from heat and scrape into a prepared deep dish pie shell. Top with almond crumble. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 425-degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and continue baking for about 50 minutes more, until juices are bubbling thickly in the centre. (Cover loosely with foil if topping is browning too quickly.) Transfer to cooling rack and let cool 30 minutes before serving.

for topping:
½ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 cups ground almonds
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup chilled butter

Whisk together flour, sugar, oats, almonds and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Note: It’s true, you don’t have to pit the cherries before baking with them. Some people say they give off a subtle almond flavour, but one must need a sophisticated palette to detect it. What’s sure is you can’t eat the unpitted pie in polite company, on account of the need to spit the pits.

Where to find it: Most sour cherries are processed, and fresh ones are usually only available at farmers’ markets. Buy them and freeze them for use all year.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

the last banana bread you'll ever make! (aka: my grandmother's banana bread)

½ cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup milk or buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 2/3 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3)

In the bowl of a large electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in eggs, vanilla and milk.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add to butter mixture, a little at a time, and beat until smooth (do not over mix). Fold in bananas until thoroughly mixed.

Generously butter and flour a loaf pan. Tap out excess flour. Scrape batter into pan. Sprinkle with a little more sugar. Bake at 350-degrees for one hour, or until a tester, inserted into the centre, comes out clean. Place on a rack to cool for 15 minutes before turning out. Let loaf cool before serving.

grilled corn on the cob with dijon and sweet chilli butter

12 or more cobs of fresh corn

½ cup butter
2 tbs grainy Dijon mustard
3 tbs sweet chilli sauce

For the corn: Peel back husks and remove silks. Fold husks back over the corn and place in a large container in which they can be covered with cold water (a bucket or a clean dish bin work well). Let soak for an hour (this will help prevent the leaves from burning on the grill and allow the corn to steam inside the leaves).

Place cobs on grill that’s been preheated to medium-hot. Cook until corn is tender and leaves are charred. Remove leaves and serve hot with butter.

For the butter: In a small pot, melt butter. Add Dijon, sweet chilli sauce and salt and pepper. Drizzle or brush over roasted cobs of corn.

roll kuken with watermelon

3 eggs
¾ cup cream
1 cup milk
2 ½ tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
4 ½ (approx) cups flour

Whisk together eggs, cream, milk, salt and baking powder. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add flour, a cup at time, to make a medium-soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead for another minute. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let rest in fridge for an hour.

Heat a few inches of canola oil in a deep, wide pot, to 375-400 degrees.

Meanwhile, roll dough out, one third at a time, to ¼-inch thick. Cut into rectangles, approximately 3 by 5-inches. Cut a short, lengthwise slit in the centre and fold one end through. Place, two at a time, in the hot oil, turning to cook both sides to a light golden brown. Remove to a baking sheet covered with paper towel to drain and cool slightly. Serve with spears of watermelon.

Note: Roll kuken go stale by the next day, but the dough freezes well, and can be pulled out for small fresh batches all summer.


For each s’more:
2 Graham crackers
1 large marshmallow
2 squares Hershey chocolate

Stick marshmallow on a bamboo skewer that has been soaked in water (to prevent the wood from burning). Gently toast marshmallow over flame (although, an electric stove element will do just as well). Top one Graham cracker with two squares of chocolate, and use it, along with another cracker, to remove marshmallow from the skewer. Wait a few seconds for chocolate to begin to melt.


Pretzels (makes 16)
2 cups warm water
1 tbs sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tbs butter
1 large egg, plus another for glaze
5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs active dry yeast
2 tbs baking soda (for poaching)
coarse kosher salt

For bread maker: In the mixing bowl of a bread maker that is large enough to accommodate 2lb loaves, add water, sugar, salt, butter and egg. Add flour so that the liquid is covered, then add yeast. Program machine for dough setting.

When cycle is complete, turn dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead a few times to work out air bubbles. Incorporate a little more flour if dough is too sticky to work with. Divide dough in half, then each portion in half again until you have 16 equal pieces. Roll one piece at a time into a 20-inch rope and cross the ends over twice. Fold over into a pretzel shape. Let rest about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a large pot with 2-inches of water and bring to a boil. Add baking soda and reduce to a simmer. Carefully drop in 3-4 pretzels at a time and poach for one minute. Transfer to 2 large, Silpat-lined baking sheets.

Whisk egg together with 1 tsp of water and brush over pretzels. Sprinkle with salt and bake at 450-degrees for 12 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a cooling rack.

2-bite burgers

500g wild Koho (or other) salmon fillet
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup fine bread crumbs
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbs capers, chopped
dash Tabasco sauce

Remove skin, de-bone and finely chop or grind salmon and place in a medium mixing bowl. Fold in remaining ingredients until combined (don’t over mix). Divide into 10-12 portions and shape into patties. Pan sear before grilling (this will help keep their shape so they won’t fall through the grill on your barbeque).

500g lean ground beef
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup fine bread crumbs
2 shallots, finely chopped
¼ cup grated smoked cheddar

In a medium mixing bowl, combine ingredients. Shape into 10-12 patties. Pan sear before grilling.

(Onion rings for beef burgers)
Slice one small-to-medium red onion into thin rings. Place in a small bowl and cover with buttermilk. Set aside while preparing burgers. Drain, then dredge in a mixture of ¼ cup flour and 2 tbs cornstarch. Deep fry until golden.

new creamed potatoes with baby dill

New creamed potatoes with baby dill
1 ½ lb new baby potatoes
1 tbs butter
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tbs chopped, fresh baby dill

Gently scrub or rinse potatoes and place in a large pot. Cover with cool water and add a tbs of salt for cooking. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to med-high. Cook until potatoes are easily pierced by the tip of a sharp knife. Drain potatoes and replace them to the still-warm pot (place back over element that’s been turned off if necessary). Add butter and stir gently with a wooden spoon until the butter is melted and has coated the potatoes. Add sour cream and stir to coat. Stir in dill, salt and pepper and serve.

strawberry shortcake

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 tbs sugar, plus more for sprinkling
6 tbs cold butter
¾ cup buttermilk
3 pints fresh garden strawberries
¼ cup sugar
200g container Devon Cream
whipped cream (1 cup cream, whipped with 1 tbs sugar)

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the centre and add buttermilk, using a fork to loosely bring ingredients together. Turn out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead 5-6 times. Pat into a 9x9-inch square, using a bench scraper (flat plastic tool, used to scrape up flour and pastry from countertops, available in kitchen shops the world over) to help create straight edges and eliminate waste. Cut into 9 even squares and sprinkle with more sugar. Place on a Silpat-lined baking sheet, at least 1-inch apart, and bake in a 400-degree oven for about 12 minutes, until shortcakes are puffed up and just lightly golden on tops. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

To serve, split each shortcake in half horizontally. Spread bottoms with Devon Cream and line with sliced berries that have been macerated in sugar for at least 10 minutes. Top with whipped cream and top halves of shortcake.

veggies with spiced salt

veggies with spiced salt
3 tbs kosher salt
1 tsp cayenne
¼ tsp black pepper
grape tomatoes
new radishes
cucumber spears

Stir together salt with cayenne and pepper until well mixed. Serve in a condiment dish to sprinkle or scantily dip the fresh veggies.

lemon salt
¼ cup kosher salt
zest of 3-4 lemons

Pulse together in a clean coffee grinder that is only used for spices. Use to sprinkle over chicken or fish.

Trivial Pursuits: The taste buds of chefs become desensitized after years of service. As a result, they tend to add more salt to their own servings than other people might.

fresh pasta with classic alfredo

Basic Fresh Pasta
2 cups all-purpose flour, preferably stone ground or organic
3 large eggs

Measure flour onto a clean work surface and make a well in the centre. Crack eggs into well and, using your fingers, gradually incorporate the flour into the eggs. Press loose dough together into a ball and knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for an hour.

Divide dough into four equal pieces. Working with one at a time, knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Flatten, and roll through pasta machine set on thickest setting. Fold in half, and roll again. Repeat folding and rolling several times until dough is very smooth and elastic, dusting with a little flour as necessary.

Roll dough through pasta machine, adjusting setting to a little thinner with each pass, dusting with a little flour as necessary. Continue rolling through machine on smaller adjustments until a desired thickness is reached. To make fettuccine, roll dough through fettuccine cutter, dusting with a little flour to keep from sticking. Hang fettuccine on a pasta rack until ready to cook, or dust with flour and set aside in nested bundles. Boil in plenty of water for a few minutes, until cooked. Serve with your favourite sauce, such as the ever-popular, very rich, Alfredo (so plan for your atonement at the same time!).

Classic Alfredo Sauce
Melt 8 tbs butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain pasta and add to the skillet, along with 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Toss over low heat until the pasta is well coated. Serve immediately.

carrot cake with coconut cream cheese frosting

1 lb carrots, trimmed, peeled, grated to make 3 cups
2 cups sugar
¾ cup butter
8 oz can crushed pineapple in juice (don’t drain)
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
4 large eggs
1 tbs vanilla extract
½ cup each flaked coconut, chopped walnuts & raisins
1 tbs cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour

Prepare a 12-cup bundt pan (do not try this in any other pan, or it won’t cook through). In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together sugar and butter. Add pineapple with juice and applesauce and beat until well incorporated. Add eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and carrots and beat on high for 1 minute. Whisk together flour, baking soda and cinnamon. Reduce mixer to low speed and gradually add dry ingredients. Beat 2 minutes, until well blended. Scrape into prepared pan and bake at 350-degrees for 65-70 minutes, until a tester inserted in middle of cake comes out clean. Cool completely in pan, on a rack. Invert onto a serving plate and frost with cream cheese frosting.

Coconut cream cheese frosting
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 tbs butter
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ tsp grated orange zest
1 tbs fresh orange juice
½ cup flaked coconut

In a medium bowl, with mixer on medium, beat all ingredients, except coconut, until smooth and creamy. Fold in coconut and frost cake. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Where to find it: If you’re shopping for a bundt pan for this cake, consider a silicone model. They’re flexible and naturally non-stick, so don’t need to be buttered and floured before being battered (just peel them away from the baked cake). Place the soft silicone pan on a baking sheet for support, and bake according to the same directions. Got mine at Superstore.

seared buffalo salad wity papay-mango vinaigrette

½ cup each chopped fresh papaya and mango
¼ of 1 red onion, finely chopped
2 tbs fresh papaya seeds
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup champagne (or white wine)
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp soy sauce
salt/pepper to taste
striploin buffalo steaks, 1 per serving
mixed organic greens

In a medium bowl, whisk together first 9 ingredients. Set aside to let flavours mingle for about an hour.

Grill or oven-cook buffalo steaks to desired doneness. Slice and fan over a bed of mixed organic greens. Drizzle with papaya-mango dressing and serve.

Notes: Being, as it is, leaner than beef, choose quality cuts of buffalo, such as striploin or tenderloin, and don’t overcook. If you’re accustomed to well-done, you may find buffalo toughens up, so consider trying it a little pinker than usual. You’ll find, whether buffalo or beef, that a rarer finish equals more flavour.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

roasted red pepper and smoked turkey frittata

1 medium red pepper, roasted (or use equivalent from jar), diced
½ red onion, thinly sliced
300g deli smoked turkey breast, cubed
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
(substitute goat cheese or feta or any favourite)
8 large eggs, well beaten
2 tbs whipping cream
1 tbs butter

Preheat oven to 400-degrees. In a large, oven-proof skillet, melt 1 tsp of the butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden; about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, toss together with diced roasted red pepper, and turkey; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs together with cream, salt and pepper. Melt remaining butter in skillet over medium heat. Add onion, red pepper and turkey mixture. Flatten down with a spatula. Pour egg mixture over top, tilting pan to distribute evenly. Sprinkle with cheese.

Place in oven and bake until set, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve in wedges.

grilled chicken with mushroom ragout

(courtesy of Chef Willi Franz, Grey Monk Estate Winery)

4-150 gr. boneless skinless chicken breasts
60gr butter
60gr. shallots, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
10gr. dried Morel mushroom, diced
200gr. (total) fresh shitake, oyster, and portabella mushrooms, diced
2 cups veal stock
two sprigs, fresh thyme
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
20 gr. onions, finely chopped

For the ragout:
Reconstitute Morel mushrooms in hot water for one hour. Melt 40gr. of the butter in a saucepan and sauté shallots and garlic until golden brown; add morels and diced fresh mushrooms and sauté for four minutes. Add ½ cup of Cabernet Sauvignon and simmer to reduce by ½ . Add 1 ½ cup of veal stock and simmer until stock is reduced by 2/3. Season with salt, pepper and sprigs of fresh thyme

For the chicken:
Trench chicken breast in flour and pan fry with a touch of oil. Once chicken breast are cooked, set aside and discard oil. Add 30gr of butter to frying pan along with finely chopped onions. Cook until onions are brown; deglaze frying pan with ½ cup of Cabernet Sauvignon and simmer to reduce wine by ½. Add ½ cup of veal stock reduce again. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Notes: Chef Franz suggests pairing with Gray Monk's 2002 Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon, and notes that the chicken from the recipe may be substituted for veal, beef, or pork. I’m also pretty sure he’ll forgive anyone who wants to substitute beef stock for the veal, for the sake of convenience. Just know that the veal stock has a gentler, more subtle flavour, and that bones for stock can be purchased from your butcher.

blueberry-apple crumble

7 medium apples, peeled, cored, sliced
¼ cup brown sugar
2 cups frozen blueberries, thawed, drained

½ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup rolled oats
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ cup butter

Toss apples with ¼ cup brown sugar. Add blueberries and toss. Arrange fruit in one medium, or individual baking dishes.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, oats and spices. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake at 350-degrees for about 30 minutes (depending on size of baking dishes) until topping is lightly browned and fruit is tender and bubbly.

cheese-filled crepes with blueberries

1 ½ cups flour
1 tbs sugar
½ tsp baking powder
2 cups milk
2 large eggs, beaten
½ tsp vanilla
2 tbs butter, melted, plus more for cooking

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and baking powder. Add milk, eggs, vanilla and melted butter. Whisk until smooth.

Heat a crepe pan, or a small (6-inch), well-seasoned skillet, over medium heat. Brush pan with a small amount of melted butter. Pour 2 ½ tbs of batter into skillet, tilting pan to spread evenly. Cook until lightly browned on bottom. Turn over and cook second side for a few more seconds. Turn crepe out onto a plate and repeat with remaining batter, brushing pan with butter as needed.

Fruit filling:
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup Saskatoon jam

Place in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for five minutes. Cool. Set aside.

Cheese filling:
1 pound large-curd cottage cheese
1 large egg
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon

Place cottage cheese in centre of a kitchen towel and squeeze out excess moisture. Transfer to a food processor and add egg, sugar and cinnamon. Pulse until almost smooth. Transfer to a bowl.

To assemble:
Place 2 tbs cheese filling and 1 tbs fruit filling in centre of each crepe. Fold bottom over filling, then fold sides in; roll to enclose filling (or lift sides into a purse and close with thin slices of citrus peel). Transfer to a parchment-lined dish. Repeat. Place filled crepes in a buttered skillet over medium-low heat, seam side down. Cook until bottoms are golden, shaking pan a few times. Turn over and cook second sides. Serve with remaining blueberry filling.

paprika chicken

½ cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tbs paprika
1 tsp pepper
8 pieces of skinless chicken
4 tbs vegetable oil
2 ½ cups chicken stock
1 cup sour cream

Mix together flour and seasonings. Coat chicken pieces with seasoned flour.

In a large skillet, heat oil and brown chicken. Add stock and simmer 40 minutes. Remove chicken and keep warm in a serving dish. Swirl the sour cream into the skillet with the stock; simmer 5 minutes. Pour sauce over chicken. Serve over buttered egg noodles.

mango fool

1 medium ripe mango, peeled, pitted and chopped
(reserve a few slices for garnish)
3 tbs sugar
2 tsp freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1 cup heavy cream
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup prepared custard
star anise powder for garnish

In a blender, combine chopped mango, 2 tbs of the sugar and grapefruit juice. Blend until smooth.

Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine cream, remaining sugar and vanilla. Whip until peaks form. Remove ½ cup of the whipped cream and set aside. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the mango puree into the remaining whipped cream. Divide custard, mango cream and whipped cream into glasses or dessert bowls. Dust lightly with star anise powder.

chocolate pot de cremes

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup sugar
5 egg yolks
6 oz quality chocolate, chopped

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat cream and milk until scalded (small bubbles on the side of the pan). Add chocolate and continue to heat, stirring, until melted and combined.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, slowly whisk sugar into the yolks. Temper the egg yolk/sugar mixture by adding a small amount of the hot chocolate mixture, whisking constantly. Slowly add remaining chocolate mixture. Whisk in vanilla.

Arrange 6 small ramekins in a baking dish with deep sides. Divide mixture into ramekins. Fill baking dish with water to halfway up the sides of the ramekins and cover the whole dish with foil. Bake at 325-degrees until just set; 25-50 minutes, checking early as baking time will depend on the thickness and depth of your ramekins. Carefully remove baking dish from oven and let ramekins cool in the water bath. Remove ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Serve pot de crèmes as they are, in the ramekins. They can, but needn’t, be garnished with mint or berries. Whipped cream is just superfluous.

spaghetti millanaise

12 oz spaghetti
2 cups cottage cheese
1 can sliced mushrooms, drained
¼ cup chopped pimentos
1 can tomato soup
1 18-oz can pasta sauce
½ tsp onion powder
12 oz grated cheddar

In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook pasta until it is nearly done, but still firm in the centre (not quite al dente). Drain and transfer pasta to a very large bowl. Add cottage cheese, mushrooms, pimentos, tomato soup, pasta sauce, onion powder and ½ of the cheese. Toss to evenly coat the spaghetti. Scrape into a large casserole dish, top with remaining cheese and bake at 350-degrees for 1 hour. Or use several individual dishes and bake until cheese is bubbly and pasta is hot throughout.

What’s in a name?: This recipe came to me from my mother-in-law and is oddly called “millanaise”. Millanaise, according to The Food Lover’s Companion, is actually this: “A term meaning ‘in the style of Milan,’ referring to food (usually meat) dipped in beaten egg, then into a bread crumb-Parmesan mixture and fried in butter.” So don’t ask me how this pasta got it’s name.

maple vinaigrette

1 shallot, finely diced
½ cup grape seed oil
¼ cup olive oil
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
¾ cup maple syrup
2 tbs grainy Dijon mustard

Whisk together in a medium bowl until ingredients are combined. Transfer to a salad dressing bottle. Shake before serving. Keep refrigerated.

slow oats

1 tbs butter
2 ½ cups extra thick rolled oats
3-inch cinnamon stick
4 cups cold water

In a medium pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add oats and toss or stir until oats are toasted and fragrant; 3-4 minutes. Add water and cinnamon stick, increase heat, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to low and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick. Serve oatmeal with milk (and/or a drizzle of cereal cream), dark brown sugar and stewed fruit.

beef stir-fry

2 celery stalks, sliced
1 crown broccoli, separated
1 medium onion, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
4 baby bok choy
8-10 sugar snap peas, cut in halves
½ each yellow and red pepper, sliced
2 clusters oyster mushrooms, separated
2-10 red chillies, halved
2 tbs sesame oil
4 tbs teriyaki sauce
1 tbs hoisin sauce
1 tbs black bean sauce
1 tsp soy sauce

16 oz lean beef, slices and marinated for 20 minutes with:
2 tbs finely-diced onion
2 finely-diced cloves garlic
1 finely-diced, thumb-sized piece ginger
1 tbs sambal oelek
fresh-cracked pepper to taste

Heat 1 tbs of the sesame oil in a wok over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the marinated beef and cook, stirring and turning over quickly to separate the slices; about 2 minutes. Remove beef and marinade and set aside.

Heat remaining sesame oil in wok. Add vegetables and sauces and stir-fry until slightly tender but still crisp (use chillies with discretion according to your taste for heat). Add the beef back into the wok and toss together with vegetables for about 10 seconds, until hot. Serve over sticky rice or Chinese noodles and with favourite side dishes such as gyoza or egg rolls.

pistachio cranberry torrone

3 large egg whites
1 cup honey
3 cups sugar
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 cups shelled pistachios
1 cup dried cranberries

Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine honey and sugar. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to simmer. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot to monitor temperature.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add confectioners’ sugar and combine. When honey/sugar mixuture reaches 315 degrees Fahrenheit, remove honey mixture from heat (the temperature will continue to rise a bit). Stir until the reading drops to 300 degrees.

Turn on mixer and slowly pour hot honey into egg whites. (The mixture will double in volume. Let stand to return to normal.) Resume beating until mixture is thick and starts to stick to paddle. Fold in nuts.

Lightly butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. Line with parchment paper and butter that as well, very lightly. Pour torrone mixture into lined baking dish and cover with another layer of buttered parchment paper. Let cool, then refrigerate a few hours. To cut, let torrone warm for just a few minutes. Place a very sharp, heavy knife under hot running water. With the warm knife, cut torrone into sections. Repeat with hot water for each new cut. Place sections back onto buttered parchment and store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a couple of weeks.

baked brie

1-125g wheel of brie
¼ cup pine nuts
2 tsp sambal oelek

In a small bowl, toss pine nuts together with sambal oelek to coat. Place brie on a baking sheet lined with a small square of parchment paper. Top with pine nuts and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, until hot and bubbly and lightly toasted. Serve immediately with slices of French baguette.

the best chocolate chip cookies ever

¾ cup butter
1 ½ cups brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
2 oz solid chocolate
¾ cup chopped pecans

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat to combine.

In a food processor fitted with a blade attachment, blend 1 cup of the oatmeal into a coarse powder. In a large bowl whisk together flour, all of the oatmeal, baking soda and baking powder. Add dry mixture, 1 cup at a time, to butter mixture, beating to combine.

Using a serrated knife, finely shave solid chocolate. Add, along with chocolate chips and pecans, to cookie batter and combine. Chill for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Form 1oz balls of cookie dough (about the size of golf balls) and place on a Silpat-lined baking sheet (do not press down). Bake for 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining cookies. Let cool for a few minutes before removing cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Notes: Chilling the dough keeps the cookies from spreading out too much during baking. Also, resist the urge to let the cookies bake a few minutes longer. They’ll continue to cook for awhile once out of the oven, and will be soft and chewy as a result of not over-baking. If you really don’t think they’re done after 10 minutes, it might be a good idea to test the temperature of your oven. And only ever use good quality chocolate which contains both cocoa butter and cocoa liqueur.

special k roast

2 cups cottage cheese
½ cup finely chopped or ground walnuts
3 large eggs, beaten
1 tbs butter, melted
1 pkg onion soup mix
½ cup water
3 cups Special K cereal
1 ½ cups cooked rice

In a very large mixing bowl, stir ingredients together to combine well. Scrape into a buttered baking dish and bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with side dishes you enjoy with meat loaf or roast beef: mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables, or whatever.

tandoori chicken wraps

2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/3 cup tandoori paste
juice of ½ lime
¼ cup yogurt
2 tbs finely diced onion

1 English cucumber, seeded, diced small
1 tbs finely diced onion
1 cup yogurt
½ tsp mild curry paste
dash each salt/pepper

½ cup snow peas, jullienned
½ cup mixed sprouts
4 large flour tortillas

Combine tandoori paste, lime juice, yogurt and onion in a medium bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat in marinade. Refrigerate one hour. Grill or cook in oven until cooked through. Slice.

Meanwhile, combine cucumber and onion with yogurt, salt/pepper and curry paste.

Warm wraps on a flat griddle to soften. Place chicken together with snow peas and sprouts, along with raita (dressing) on one quarter area of each wrap. Fold over in half, then half again to form triangles. Serve extra raita as a side salad.

vegetable rice casserole

¼ cup butter
1 medium onion
1 bell pepper
1 ½ cup frozen peas
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 ½ cups cooked white rice
1 ½ cups cooked brown rice
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
3 tbs cream
salt/pepper to taste

In a heavy skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add onion and bell pepper and sauté until tender. Add peas and tomato and sauté another few minutes. Add rice, half the cheese and cream and stir until cheese is melted and mixture is heated through. Transfer to a casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until casserole is hot and cheese is bubbling and browned.

Note: to quickly turn this side dish into a main course, add 1½ cups of cubed, cooked chicken into the casserole and serve with a fresh green salad.

meringue macaroons

2 large eggs whites
½ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups fancy shredded coconut

Place egg whites and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until frothy. Continue beating and gradually add sugar. Increase speed and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in coconut. Drop by spoonfuls onto a Silpat-lined baking sheet and with your fingers (moistened a bit with water) shape macaroons into peaked mounds. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until peaks turn lightly golden.

honeyed muesli

1 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
¾ cup rolled spelt
¾ cup rolled Kamut
¾ cup rolled rye
1 ½ tbs vegetable oil
½ cup honey
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup chopped dried apricots
1 tsp cinnamon

In a large bowl, toss together rolled grains. Gradually drizzle with oil and honey while continuing to toss. Spread on a silpat-lined baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes, stir, return to oven for 10 more minutes, until golden and toasted. Return to bowl and toss in remaining ingredients. Sprinkle on yogurt or cereals that need a bit of embellishing.

Friday, May 20, 2005

peppermint hot chocolate

4 oz good quality dark chocolate, semi-sweet
2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup whipping cream
3 tbs peppermint syrup
1 tbs crushed candy cane for garnish
whipped cream for garnish

Chop chocolate using a serrated knife (or use chocolate chips). Set aside. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, bring milk and cream to a bare simmer, stirring constantly. Add peppermint syrup and chocolate and stir until chocolate is completely melted.

Serve with whipped cream and a sprinkle of crushed candy cane.

If you have any left over, chill and add it to your coffee tomorrow for a decadent mocha.

Where to find it: I used the peppermint syrup available at Starbucks. But get it quick because it’s only available over the holidays and while supplies last.

3-cheese scallopped potatoes

1 ½ lbs potatoes, scrubbed, thinly sliced
1 small onion, finely diced
2 tbs flour
salt, pepper to taste
¼ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 cup grated aged cheddar cheese
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup whole milk

In a large bowl, using your hands to coat evenly, toss together potatoes and onion with flour, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Arrange half in a baking dish and sprinkle with half of each of the cheddar and blue cheese. Arrange remaining potatoes on top.

Bring milk to a simmer over med-high heat. Pour milk over potatoes. Cover baking dish and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Uncover and top with remaining cheese. Bake for another 20 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through and cheese is bubbly and browned. Remove from oven and let set for 5 minutes before serving.

mandarin cheesecake trifle

6 - 284ml cans whole mandarin orange segments, drained
(or you can remove the peels & skins from half a box of fresh fruit!)
2 pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup sugar
¼ cup plus 3 tbs orange juice or orange liqueur
3 cups whipping cream, whipped
1 pound cake, in ¼-inch slices

With an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar until very smooth. Add 3 tbs orange juice or orange liqueur. Fold in whipped cream.

In either a single large glass trifle bowl or 10-12 individual dessert dishes, assemble trifle beginning with ½ of the cake slices (adjust slices of cake for individual desserts). Drizzle cake with 2 tbs orange juice or liqueur, then top with 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture and ½ of the mandarin segments; make sure the mandarins are visible against the side of the bowl. Repeat, reserving a few mandarin segments. Top with remaining cream cheese mixture and garnish with reserved mandarin segments. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

gingerbread house

(notes: you’ll need to bake at least a few days ahead of construction for the dough to dry completely. This is not a particularly good recipe for eating, but is marvellous for building with)
1 pound honey
½ cup water
1 ¼ cups sugar
juice of one lemon
2 eggs
4 ½ tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
600g (approx 4 cups) whole wheat flour
600g (approx 4 cups) rye flour
1 ½ tbs baking soda
3 eggs yolks, beaten

In a saucepan, combine honey, water, sugar and lemon juice. Stir, over medium heat, until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature, then pour into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add eggs and spices. Mix.

In a large bowl, whisk together wheat and rye flour. Remove about 1/3 of the combined flour and set aside in a smaller bowl. Add baking soda to the larger amount and whisk to combine. Fold, about 1/3 at a time, into honey mixture until a soft dough forms. Scrape onto a floured surface and knead in remaining 1/3 of flour. Divide into four parts and wrap each in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Roll out dough, working with ¼ at a time, between sheets of parchment cut to the same size as baking sheets, to ¼-inch thick. Peel off top parchment, brush surface with beaten egg yolks, and transfer dough and bottom parchment to baking sheets and bake at 325-degrees for 10 to15 minutes. Cool, then cut out construction shapes using a template (you should have plenty of dough to cut doubles in case of breakage). Return shapes to pans and set where they can dry completely over several days.

To assemble, use royal icing to glue together pieces and to attach decorations. Gather an assortment of candies and other accoutrements to decorate with. Shreddies are particularly good roofing material, and gelatin sheets make excellent windows.

Where to find it:Create your own template, or enter keywords “gingerbread house templates” into your computer’s internet browser to find designs to work from.

tossed pasta for two

6 oz good quality pasta, cooked to al dente
2 tbs olive oil (not extra virgin)
2 tsp basil pesto
2 tsp sundried tomato pesto
1 tsp sambal olek
2 plum tomatoes, diced
2 sundried tomato halves, finely sliced
2 oz feta or goats’ cheese
1 tbs pine nuts

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add pestos and sambal, then tomatoes and sundried tomatoes (note: sundried tomatoes will need to be reconstituted in hot water if not packed in oil). Toss a few times to combine, then add pasta and toss to heat and coat with ingredients. Crumble cheese over pasta and sprinkle with pine nuts. Toss a few more times and serve.

cinnamon-raisin toutons

(breadmaker version)

In the bowl of your bread maker, place ingredients in the following order and program machine for dough setting:
1 cup plus 3 tbs milk
5 tbs butter
3 tbs sugar
1 large egg
1tsp salt
4 ½ flour
2 ½ tsp yeast
2 tsp cinnamon

After the first kneading, add:
½ cup raisins

When machine has finished cycle, pinch off small balls of dough (about half the size you would for buns) and roll into balls. Place on a buttered griddle over med-low heat and flatten slightly. When golden brown on one side, turn over and continue cooking until centre is no longer doughy. Serve warm with butter and maple syrup.


2 cups plain yogurt (not low-fat or nonfat)
1 medium English cucumber, peeled, halved and seeded
3 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs fresh-squeezed lemon juice
salt, to taste

Line a large strainer with 3 layers of cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. Spoon yogurt into lined strainer and set aside at room temperature for 3 hours to drain (there should be room at the bottom for the liquid to collect). Discard liquid and transfer yogurt to medium bowl.

Meanwhile, coarsely grate cucumber. Place in a second strainer and let stand at room temperature to drain, about 3 hours. Discard liquid. Squeeze any excess moisture from cucumber.

Combine cucumber, dill, garlic, lemon juice and yogurt. Add salt to taste. Serve within one day.

Note: Here’s a little secret. If you don’t have cheesecloth, line the strainer with a triple layer of good quality paper towel. It will wick away the moisture and let it drain away without absorbing the yogurt itself.

ricotta with pine nuts and honey

1 cup ricotta cheese
3 tbs pine nuts
4 tsp honey

Place pine nuts in a small baking dish and toast in a 350-degree oven for about 4 minutes, until lightly golden. Divide ricotta between four dessert dishes. Sprinkle with pine nuts and drizzle with honey.

hubbard squash soup

3 lbs cubed hubbard (or other) squash
3 apples, peeled, cored, quartered
1 medium onion, peeled, quartered
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs brown sugar
6 cups water
salt, pepper to taste

In a medium roasting pan, place squash, apples and onion. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with brown sugar, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast at 375-degrees for 30 minutes; or until lightly coloured. Transfer to a large pot and cover with 6 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Purée using a hand-held blender and season to taste. Serve each bowl with a dollop of sour cream.

For Curried Squash Soup: Add 1 tbs (or to taste) of Pataks mild or medium curry paste to the soup while it simmers.

okanagan mushroom salad

¼ lb Chicken of the woods
¼ lb Morel
¼ lb Pine
¼ lb Lobster

You can substitute different varieties of mushrooms, in season, such as chanterelles, shitake or oyster mushrooms.

¼ lb Red pepper
2 oz Green onion
½ bottle Okanagan’s Finest Ginger Soy Vinaigrette
2 tbs Olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

In a large fry pan, sauté each variety of mushroom separately in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Let cool. Slice green onions and red peppers and add them to the cooled mushroom mixture, add ginger soy dressing and season with salt & pepper. Let marinate 1 hour before serving.

Note: If you aren’t able to find four varieties of fresh wild mushrooms, substitute a one or two of them with dried. They reconstitute to almost fresh.

apple-fennel slaw

2 medium apples
1 medium bulb fresh fennel
¼ medium onion
½ cup white vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup apple juice
2 tbs liquid honey
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 dashes Louisiana hot sauce
¼ tsp seasoning salt
salt to taste

Quarter and core fennel bulb, also removing stem end and stalks. Slice very finely into long shreds (like in coleslaw). Finely slice onion. Core apple and slice into very thin wedges. Toss together.

Whisk together remaining ingredients and toss into salad. Refrigerate for at least a few hours to let flavours develop and to let the salad absorb the dressing.

marinated artichoke and chicken salad

1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, diced
2 cups chicken breast, diced
2 tbs Golden Italian Dressing
salt/pepper to taste

Toss together artichoke hearts and chicken with dressing. Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for half an hour to allow flavours to develop. Serve with slices of baguette or other artisan bread.

Where to find it: The best ever marinated artichokes are from Costco, I kid you not. Sure, the jar is huge. But put them on pizza, pasta, toast. Eat them with a fork or you fingers. Buy a jar with a friend. Whatever. Just buy them. It’s worth it, I tell you.

"After all the trouble you go to, you get about as much actual ‘food’ out of eating an artichoke as you would from licking 30 or 40 postage stamps." ~ Miss Piggy

nanaimo bars

(official nanaimo bar of namaimo, B.C. - reprinted with permission)

Bottom Layer
½ cup unsalted butter (European style cultured)
¼ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs
½ c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut

Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8" x 8" pan.

Second Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder
2 cups icing sugar

Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.

Third Layer
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.

Recipe notes: When combining the ingredients for the bottom layer, I found it useful to use a pastry blender. Simply stirring didn’t seem particularly effective Also, just for fun, I used a small, round springform baking pan of similar size to the 8 by 8-inch square.

beef stroganov

1 tbs powdered mustard
1 ½ tsp sugar
4 tbs vegetable oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 lb mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 lb beef tenderloin (or other lean, tender cut)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups sour cream
egg noodles

In a small bowl, combine mustard, sugar, a pinch of the salt and 1 tbs water to form a thick paste. Set aside to allow flavours to develop while preparing the remaining ingredients.

Heat half of the oil in a heavy skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add onions and mushrooms, cover pan and reduce heat to low. Cook 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft. Drain off liquid and return to skillet, covering to keep warm.

Cut beef into ¼-inch strips. Heat 2 tbs oil in a heavy skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Drop in half of the meat, tossing constantly for 2 minutes, until lightly browned. Using tongs, transfer meat to skillet with vegetables and repeat searing with remaining beef, transferring to vegetables when done.

To the combined vegetables and beef, add salt, pepper and mustard paste. Add sour cream, a few tbs at a time. Simmer over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Serve over warm egg noodles.

pecan pie

(for a 10-inch tart shell, or an 8-inch pie shell)

4 eggs
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup corn syrup
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla
2 tbs unsalted butter
3 cups pecan halves

Whisk eggs, for about one minute, to break them up. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, vanilla and butter until the sugar is completely dissolved (not grainy). Add to beaten eggs.

Arrange pecans into a baked tart or pie shell and pour sugar mixture over top. Place on a Silpat lined baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until filling is set. Cool completely before serving.

pea pilau

1 cup basmati rice
2 tbs butter or ghee
2 tsp fennel seeds
5 cloves
1 tsp dried red chilli flakes
1 bay leaf
1 med onion, finely sliced
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1 ½ tsp turmeric
1 ½ tsp salt
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
2 cups water

Rinse rice with changes of cold water until water remains clear. Let soak for 15 minutes. Drain well.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter or ghee. Add fennel seeds and cook until seeds lightly brown. Stir in cloves, chilli flakes and bay leaf. Add onion and sauté until soft and lightly browned, stirring frequently. Stir in cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric and salt. Add rice, peas and water. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover and continue simmer for 12 minutes, until water is absorbed. Fluff pilau with a fork. Serve with your favourite Indian curry dish.

Note: Turmeric powder is also a powerful textile dye. Be careful to keep it from your clothing, as well as pale, porous surfaces such as some kitchen countertops. If surface staining occurs, use toothpaste and a soft brush to safely remove.

rhubarb shortcakes

for the filling:
2 pounds red rhubarb, trimmed, chopped into ¾-inch pieces
½ cup sugar
2 tbs fresh-squeezed orange juice

for the shortcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbs freshly-grated orange zest
¼ cup cold butter
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup sour cream

1 cup cold whipping cream
1 tbs sugar
½ tsp orange-flower water or vanilla extract
fresh mint leaves for garnish

filling: In a large saucepan over med-low heat, combine rhubarb, sugar and orange juice. Cook, stirring gently, until mixture simmers and rhubarb is tender and somewhat jammy. Cool, then chill thoroughly.

shortcakes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and soda and sugar and orange zest. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk and sour cream. Add to the flour mixture and stir with a fork, just until combined. Scoop batter into 6 equal mounds on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and bake about 15 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a baking rack to cool.

To serve, whip cream together with sugar and orange-flower water or vanilla. Split shortcakes in half. Arrange bottom halves on plates. Spoon rhubarb filling over pastries. Garnish with whipped cream and mint leaves and replace tops of cobblers.

baba ghanouj

(makes about 1 cup)
1 lb eggplant
1 tsp salt
3 tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbs tahini
3 tbs fresh-squeezed lemon juice
½ tsp cumin
salt/pepper to taste
flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
Greek Pita for serving

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tops off eggplant(s) and slice lengthwise. Place, cut sides up, in a baking dish. Drizzle with 2 tbs of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 35-40 minutes, until flesh is soft and browned. Let cool until easy to handle. Scoop out flesh into the bowl of a food processor (discard skins). Add garlic, tahini, lemon juice, cumin and remaining oil. Process until smooth, adding salt and pepper to taste. Let rest for about an hour (overnight would be better) in fridge to let flavours mingle. Serve with lightly toasted or oven-warmed Greek pita points (that would be pita, cut into triangles).

chokecherry syrup

Place chokecherries in a stockpot large enough that it is only ¾ full. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. With a fine sieve or a jelly bag, strain off liquid into a heat-safe bowl, saving the fruit. Place the chokecherries back in the stockpot and cover with water. Simmer for another 30 minutes, straining liquid into the previous yield. Repeat a third time to utilize the fruit to its full potential, but on the third time, the fruit should be thoroughly mashed in the liquid to derive all of its juices. Discard pulp and seeds.

For each 3 cups of chokecherry liquid, add 1 1/2 cups of sugar (or to taste) and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer briskly for 15 minutes. Test consistency by drizzling a small amount of liquid onto a cold plate. Syrup should be thickened but flow freely when cool. (For jelly, continue to simmer until liquid drizzled on plate sets up. In my experience I haven‘t needed to use pectin for chokecherry jelly, although the riper the fruit, the less true this is.) Pour syrup or jelly into sterilized jars and seal according to manufacturer’s directions.

Easy pickings: Chokecherry enthusiasts recommend picking prior to 11a.m., then quickly cooling the fruit in order to preserve its colour, flavour and texture. If not being immediately processed (within a day or two), freeze cherries until ready to use.

Where to find it: Although chokecherries may be found all along B.C. highways, look to lesser used side or back roads or other accessible areas in order to keep out of traffic’s way. To be sure of a positive identification, visit for an excellent picture. Note: Like other members of its family, chokecherry pits are toxic. Do not ingest them.

summer sangria

2 peaches, pitted and sliced
1 apricot, pitted and sliced
1 cup fresh raspberries
½ cup currants
½ lime, sliced
½ lemon, sliced
¼ cup Triple Sec or Brandy
3 tbs granulated sugar
1 bottle Red Rooster Merlot or other dry red
2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice

In a medium bowl, macerate the fruit in liqueur and sugar for about an hour. In a large pitcher, combine the fruit and liqueur with the wine and orange juice. Mix well and serve in wine glasses with plenty of ice. Keep chilled.

Remix: Try sangria with the above, or any combination of fruits that pleases you. Kiwis, mangos, pears and apples, cherries, pomegranates, blood oranges, berries, cantaloupe, goose berries, plums, starfruit. Just a few suggestions.

moroccan-inspired vegetable couscous

2 tbs olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic
¼ tsp cumin
¾ tsp chilli powder
2 tsp ginger, freshly grated
cinnamon stick
1 med. parsnip, chopped
2 med. carrots, chopped
1 ½ cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
1 med. yam, chopped
2 cauliflower florets (about ¼ head), separated into small florets
1 zucchini, sliced
about 15 sugar snap peas
1- 13 ½ oz can chickpeas, drained
pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
2 tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 ¼ cups instant couscous
1 cup boiling water
1 tbs butter

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add cumin, chilli powder and ginger and continue cooking for another minute. Add the cinnamon stick, parsnip, carrots and vegetable stock. Cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until vegetables are about half way cooked. Add the yam, cauliflower, zucchini and peas and simmer for another 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender but not overcooked. Stir in the chickpeas, saffron and parsley and simmer, uncovered, for another 5 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick.

In a heatproof bowl, cover couscous with boiling water. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes. Add butter and fluff couscous with a fork. Serve with vegetables.


6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream, whipped with ½ tsp vanilla
assorted fresh fruit

Combine egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl (degreased on the inside with the tsp of lemon juice) of an electric mixer. Place over a medium saucepan, ¼ filled with water at a simmer. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warmed, about 3 minutes.

Transfer bowl to mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat, beginning on low and gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. Whisk in vanilla.

On each of two sheets of parchment paper, draw one 10-inch circle with a pencil. Place sheets, pencil-side down, on baking sheets. Spread or pipe meringue onto circles (the one for the bottom of the assembly should be somewhat concave to hold the fruit and cream. Bake at 300-degrees for about an hour, until crisp and dry on the outside and soft on the inside. Let cool.

To assemble, place bottom disk on a serving plate. Spread with the whipped cream and garnish with ½ of the fruit. Arrange second disk on top and top with remaining fruit. Note: assemble about an hour before serving. Pavlova does not keep well past the first day.

Sweet tart: Make use of both seasonal local produce, as well as tropical imports. Pavlova is as spectacular when monogamous to one theme (ie: raspberries) as it is when heaped with variety. Meringues, however, are inherently sweet. They are therefore well matched with something tart.


Chilli Garlic Rub for Chicken
4 large cloves garlic
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbs pure mild red chilli powder
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tbs butter, softened

Mash garlic together with salt in a mortar and pestle. Add chilli powder, cumin and butter and combine into a paste. Rub under and on top of the skin of a whole chicken (also inside the cavity) and roast, (or rub on drums, thighs and breast pieces and grill).

Mediterranean Marinade
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp hot pepper flakes
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp lemon zest
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 shallot, finely diced
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (or 2 tsp dried)
2 tbs each fresh basil and oregano, finely chopped (or 1 tsp dried of each)

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, pepper flakes, pepper and salt. Add lemon zest, garlic and herbs. Use to marinate meat, chicken, fish or vegetables, setting aside some for basting.

cherry sundaes

Summer Cherry Sundaes
2 pounds fresh cherries, pitted
1 ¼ cups water
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
3 tbs fresh lemon juice
½ tsp vanilla extract
dash black pepper (go ahead, live precariously!)
¾ cup slivered almonds

In a medium saucepan over med-high heat, bring to boil 1 pound cherries, water, sugar, brown sugar and lemon juice. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer for about 12 minutes, until cherries are tender. Remove cherries from sauce using a slotted spoon; set aside. Continue to simmer liquid until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon; 15-20 minutes. Add vanilla and dash of black pepper. Recombine with cherries. Cool completely, then chill.

Roughly chop remaining pound of cherries. Spoon cherry topping, chopped cherries and slivered almonds over scoops of vanilla and chocolate ice cream and serve.

"okanagan's finest" potato salad

8 medium red potatoes, peeled, cooked, diced
4 large eggs, hard cooked, peeled, diced
½ cup red pepper, finely diced
¾ cup baby dill pickles, finely diced
1/3 cup Okanagan’s Finest Dill Mustard Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
3 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp hot sauce (optional)
salt/pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss together diced, cooked potatoes, eggs, diced pepper and pickles. In a medium bowl whisk together Dill Mustard Sauce, mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad mixture and toss gently to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour (or overnight) to let flavours develop and to allow potatoes to absorb some of the dressing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

anna friesen's cream cookies

makes 4 dozen

4 large eggs
2 cups heavy cream
3 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch salt
9 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla and salt. In another large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet, one cup at a time , mixing to form a soft dough (do not over-mix). Divide dough into four equal parts. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight, until well chilled.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to ¾-inch thick. Cut out cookies using a medium round cutter. Place 1-inch apart on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper or Silpat. Bake 12-14 minutes, watching carefully in last few minutes to be sure the cookies do not brown (they should remain white, but be set in the centre). Allow to cool completely.

For frosting: Cream together 2 cups confectioner’s sugar with 1 tbs cream, 2 tbs softened butter and ½ tsp vanilla. Add a few drops red food colouring for a soft pink. Spread over cooled cream cookies. Dip each in shredded coconut.

asparagus and baked brie pizza

pizza dough
½ cup sundried tomato pesto
20 asparagus tips, sliced in half lengthwise
½ lb brie or camembert, very cold for easy slicing
¼ cup pine nuts
olive oil, to brush crusts
cornmeal, for baking

Preheat oven to 375-degrees. If using a pizza stone, preheat in oven. Roll out dough on a lightly-floured surface. Sprinkle hot pizza stone with cornmeal (to prevent dough from sticking) and arrange dough on top. Brush edges with olive oil. Spread sundried tomato pesto over surface, reserving about a tablespoon for the top. Arrange asparagus tips and slices of brie. Sprinkle with pine nuts and dot with remaining pesto. Bake for 17 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is melted (cooking time without a pizza stone may take longer).

For pizza dough (bread machine recipe):
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
2 tsp olive oil
4 ¼ cups flour
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbs chilli flakes (optional)
Prepare according to machine specifications. Use half the dough for the asparagus and brie pizza, and freeze the rest for next time.

honey-dipped doughnuts

makes 24
1 cups warm water
4 ½ tsp active dry yeast
4 ½ cups flour
10 tbs butter
2/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tbs vanilla
zest of 1 lemon
honey, for dipping
canola oil, for deep-frying

In a medium bowl, combine yeast and water. After five minutes, when yeast is dissolved, stir in 1 cup of the flour (set aside remaining 3 ½ cups). Cover and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes, until bubbly and risen.

In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Blend in vanilla and lemon zest. Add the remaining flour and the yeast mixture and mix until the flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Place dough in a well-buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise for 1 ½ hours. Punch down, cover, and let rise for another hour. (Dough will be soft and somewhat sticky, and not at all like bread dough.)

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat dough down to ½-inch. Using a floured doughnut cutter (or a large and a small round cutter), cut out doughnuts and holes. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment or wax paper. Set in a warm place, uncovered, to rise for ½ hour. Deep-fry doughnuts and holes in 365-degree canola oil, until golden on both sides. Let drain on wire rack.

In a saucepan, pour honey to a depth of two inches. Carefully bring to a low boil. As doughnuts finish frying, place each in boiling honey for fifteen seconds on each side. Remove to a wire rack set over a baking sheet until honey has cooled and set.

broccoli salad

6 cups broccoli florets, in bite-sized pieces
½ cup red onion, finely chopped
¾ cup sweetened, dried cranberries
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
3 tbs flax seeds, lightly toasted
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
½ cup light mayonnaise
¼ cup light sour cream
¼ cup raspberry (or red wine) vinegar
1 tbs sugar
salt & pepper to taste

Toss together broccoli, red onion, cranberries, seeds and thyme leaves. Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper until smooth. Toss salad with dressing. Let chill at least 20 minutes to allow flavours to develop.


2 cups flour
½ cup butter
3 tbs sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbs dry active yeast
1 tsp sugar
½ cup lukewarm water
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
¼ cup butter, softened

Using a pastry blender, cut first four ingredients into crumbs. Set aside. Bring milk to boil; set aside to cool. When lukewarm, whisk in egg. Dissolve sugar in water, then add yeast and let proof for 10 minutes in a warm place. Add to milk and egg mixture. Pour over crumbs and, using a fork, mix together until just evenly moistened. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in fridge overnight, or for several hours (this will create a very tender dough).

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead to form a soft dough (about a dozen turns). Roll dough into a 16-inch circle. Spread surface all over with softened butter. Cut circle into 12 equal wedges. Roll up each wedge, beginning from wide end. Place on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, about 3-inches apart. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave in a warm place to rise for an hour, or until doubled in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until just golden brown. Let cool and, using a piping bag, drizzle with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ to 2 cups confectioner’s sugar

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla on medium speed, about 2 minutes. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, ½ cup at a time, scraping sides of bowl as needed, to make a smooth, somewhat stiff frosting.

pan-seared veal medallions with sherried morel sauce

serves 4

½ oz pkg dried (or 2 oz fresh) morel mushrooms
1 lb linguini, cooked
4 portions veal loin (5 oz each)
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
¼ cup sherry
1 ½ cups cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place dried morels in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to reconstitute 15 minutes; drain.

Heat oil in a medium skillet over med-high heat. Season veal with salt and pepper. Place in skillet and sear on both sides. Place in oven and cook for about 4 minutes on each side. Place veal in a covered dish and set on the back of stove (over the oven vent) to keep warm. Reserve skillet with veal juices.

Slice morels lengthwise into quarters (check inside tips for any soil). Place skillet with veal juices over medium heat. Add butter, shallots and morels. Sauté, keeping the contents of the pan moving to keep shallots from browning. Add sherry and reduce heat to med-low. Add cream. Continue cooking until sauce is slightly thickened; about 2 minutes. Add any juices that have come out of the veal.

Heat cooked pasta in a saucepan (or microwave) with a little butter. Serve with the veal and sherried morel sauce. (Shown served with assorted sautéed vegetables: leeks, asparagus, orange bell peppers and seeded diced tomatoes).

grapefruit-glazed poundcake

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups cake flour, sifted
5 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs grapefruit zest
1 ¼ cups sugar

For Glaze:
3 tbs freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Butter and flour an 8-cup loaf pan. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and flavourings. Gradually whisk sugar into eggs. Add egg/sugar mixture to butter, 1 tbs at a time, beating until light and fluffy; 3 to 4 minutes.

Add flour in three parts, mixing on low and scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake until cake pulls away from sides of pan; 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before glazing.

Using an electric mixer, beat together grapefruit juice and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Mixture should flow easily, but not be too runny (add more sugar if necessary). With cake on cooling rack, set over a baking tray to catch run-off, pour glaze over cake, letting it drizzle down the sides. Allow glaze to set.

nut-crusted rack of lamb

4 tbs olive oil
1 tbs chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbs chopped garlic
1 lamb rack (8 bones), trimmed, frenched
2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup cashews
¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1 large shallot
2 tbs Dijon mustard

Season lamb with salt and pepper. Combine 1 tbs oil, rosemary and garlic. Rub over lamb rack.

In a food processor, process bread crumbs, parsley, nuts and seeds and shallots until nuts are finely ground. Gradually add 2 tablespoons oil; process until crumbs begin to stick together. Transfer to bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon oil; toss gently to coat.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Add marinated lamb rack to skillet. Sear, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a roasting pan. Let cool 15 minutes. Spread with mustard, then firmly press breadcrumb mixture, over rounded side of rack.

Roast lamb until meat thermometer inserted into center of meat reads 135°F (medium-rare). Let lamb rest 15 minutes. Transfer lamb to cutting board. Slice lamb between bones into individual, four-bone, servings.

spring bennys

4 large, fresh, AA grade eggs
2 English muffins, split
8 asparagus spears, trimmed
¼ red pepper, finely diced
¼ yellow pepper, finely diced
1 tbs butter (for sautéing, plus more for muffins)

For traditional poached eggs, bring a large pot of water, with a capful of vinegar (to facilitate coagulation), to a bare simmer. Carefully crack in eggs, letting them cook gently until desired doneness. Remove eggs from poaching water with a slotted spoon, using a paper towel to blot away excess water from under the spoon. (Alternately, use a poaching pan with egg cups and poach according to pan directions).

In two small saucepans, separately sauté peppers and asparagus, each in half the butter.

Toast and butter English muffins. Place two asparagus spears and one poached egg on each half muffin. Top with hollandaise and diced, sautéed peppers and serve.

For hollandaise:
(This classic recipe is adapted for a blender, saving a marathon of whisking)
3 large egg yolks
2 tsp white wine vinegar
½ cup butter, melted and very warm to hot
pinch salt

Place egg yolks and vinegar in a blender or food processor. Process on high for 1 minute. With the machine running, very slowly drizzle in melted, hot butter in a constant stream (this should take about one minute). Sauce should be thickened and smooth. If not, process 10-20 seconds more. Season to taste. Serve immediately, or keep warm by submerging the bowl of the blender in warm water.

engadiner nusstortes

For the pastry:
1 ½ cups minus 1 tbs all-purpose flour, sifted
½ tsp salt
¼ cup sugar
pinch lemon zest
2 egg yolks
½ cup butter, chilled and cut into cubes

In the bowl of an electric food processor, place flour, salt, lemon zest and chilled butter. Blend for 15 seconds, until a fine, crumbly texture forms. Add egg yolks and blend for another 10 seconds, until dough forms into a compact ball. Wrap and place in refrigerator to chill while preparing the filling.

For the filling:
1 cup plus 2 tbs sugar
2 cups whole pistachios
2 ¾ cups heavy cream
1 tbs honey

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, cook sugar, stirring until it turns a pale, golden caramel colour. Add nuts, stirring to coat them with the syrup. Add cream and combine well, then mix in honey. Set aside to cool.

Roll out 2/3 of the pastry to fit the bases of 12 to 15 tart moulds. Divide filling into tarts. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until edges of pastry are just coloured; about half an hour. Let set before unmoulding.

Meanwhile, roll out remaining dough and cut out tops using another tart mould as a cutter. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat, bake until just beginning to colour. Set aside to cool. Place tops on unmoulded tarts when ready to serve. Engadiner Nusstortes will keep well for up to a month or more, and are best if served after 3-4 days.

hot cross buns

¾ cup butter, melted, then cooled to lukewarm
1 cup milk
3 tsp active dry yeast
½ cup sugar
1 ¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp nutmeg
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
5 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups currants
1 tsp lemon zest
1 egg (for egg wash)
1 1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs milk

In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat milk to lukewarm. Pour into bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with dough hook. Turn mixer to low, then add yeast, sugar, salt, melted butter, spices and eggs. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, until a soft, somewhat sticky dough forms; about 3 minutes. Continue to knead, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl and hook, about another 4 minutes. Add currants and lemon zest and knead to combine.

Onto a well-floured surface, turn out dough knead by hand to incorporate currants; about 2 minutes. Shape dough into a ball and place in a large, buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm place to rise, about 1 ½ hours (or overnight in the fridge for a richer dough), until doubled in size.

Line an 11 by 17-inch baking sheet with parchment paper, Silpat (or use butter). Set aside. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces (a little more than 2 oz each) and shape into tight rolls. Place ½ -inch apart on baking sheet. Cover and set aside to rise for another hour, until doubled in size (the rolls will be touching). Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk egg with 1 tbs water and a pinch of salt. Lightly brush tops of buns with egg wash. With a buttered, very sharp knife (or clean razor), slice a cross into top of each bun. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

For glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice and milk. Pipe or drizzle glaze into crosses.

For bread pudding: Slice five hot cross buns into cubes. Toss with 3 tbs melted butter, then ¼ cup brown sugar. Place in baking dish. Whisk together 2 eggs, ¼ cup cream ½ cup milk. Pour over bread and leave to soak 15 minutes. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until set.

pasta puttanesca

1 pound spaghetti
3 tbs virgin olive oil
8 anchovies, crushed (optional)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
28-oz can diced tomatoes
3 tbs capers, drained
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
3 tbs fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Bring a large stock pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook to al dente. Drain. Meanwhile, over medium heat, heat oil, then add anchovies, garlic and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes (along with the juice), capers and olives to skillet. Simmer over med-low heat, stirring until a bit thickened, about 5 minutes. Add spaghetti and continue to cook until sauce is thick enough to coat the pasta, about 2 minutes. Stir in parsley. Serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

kaffeeklatch coffeecake

2 ¼ cups flour
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup cold butter
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¾ cup plus 2 tbs buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 pounds frozen pitted apricots
1/3 cup brown sugar

Place apricots in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add a couple tablespoons water and close the lid. When thawed, add brown sugar and continue cooking until fruit is thoroughly heated and the juice bubbles and begins to thicken. Set aside. Butter and flour an 8-x11 ½x2-inch glass baking dish. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture is coarse and crumbly. Set aside 1 cup of the crumbs for the topping.

Into remaining crumbs, blend in baking powder baking soda. Make a well in the centre and pour in buttermilk and beaten egg. Using a fork, pull crumbs into the liquid in the centre, mixing just to combine. Spread 2/3 of the batter over the bottom and half-way up sides of the prepared dish. Using a slotted spoon to leave behind some of the fruit juices, spoon fruit over the batter. By teaspoonfuls, drop remaining batter evenly over top of fruit. Cover with set aside crumbs and bake at 350-degrees for 40 minutes, or until a tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool on a baking rack for 20 minutes before serving. Simmer the remaining juice over med-low heat, reducing it to a sauce to be drizzled over the coffeecake.

Alternates: Stewed apples, prune plums, blueberries, raspberries and rhubarb all substitute well as filling for this coffeecake, but require that you adjust the sugar accordingly.

roasted garlic mashed potatoes

1 large head of garlic
2 tsp olive oil
2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
4 tbs butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

Slice about ¼-inch off top of garlic. Place in a small, deep baking dish. Drizzle garlic with olive oil, and cover dish with foil. Place in a 400-degree oven and roast for 50 minutes, until garlic is soft and has turned a golden caramel colour. Remove from oven and let cool a bit. Squeeze cloves from head with gentle pressure.

Peel and quarter potatoes. In a large pot, cover potatoes with cold, well salted water and bring to boil over high heat. Cook until soft, about 12 minutes. Drain.

Pass cooked potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer (or use a potato masher) into a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm butter and cream. Fold into mashed potatoes, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Gently fold in roasted garlic cloves and serve.

guinness stout bread

½ cup Guinness stout, flat & at room temp.
3 tbs maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
1 large egg
½ cup water
4 tbs powdered milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats (quick cooking)
½ cup cornmeal
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tbs yeast

This recipe is intended for use in a bread-maker, following the manufacturer’s directions. However, for a better loaf, use the dough setting on your machine. When the cycle is complete, turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead a few times. Roll dough into a square the width of a loaf pan, then roll up into a loaf. Place loaf, seam-side down, into a buttered and floured loaf pan. With a sharp knife or razor blade, cut two diagonal slits in top of dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft-free place to rise for about 45 minutes.

In a 400-degree oven, bake bread for 50 minutes to an hour. (Reduce heat to 375-degrees if the bread seems to be browning too quickly.) Remove from pan and place loaf on a rack to cool. (Bread is done baking if it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.)

Cenosillicaphobia: The fear of an empty glass.

three cheese macaroni

½ cup butter
½ loaf white bread
5 cups milk
½ cup flour
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
3 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar
2 cups grated mozzarella
1 cup grated asiago
1 pound elbow macaroni, slightly undercooked

Preheat oven to 375-degrees and butter a 3 quart casserole dish; set aside. Remove crusts from bread and tear bread into ¼-inch crumbs (about 2 cups). Melt 2 tbs of the butter and toss together with bread crumbs in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat milk to simmer. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and whisk for one minute. Gradually add hot milk while whisking vigorously until the mixture thickens and begins to boil. It should be very smooth. Remove from heat and add salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Stir in 2/3 of each of the cheeses. Stir in cooked macaroni and scrape into prepared casserole. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top, then finish with bread crumbs. Bake 30 minutes, until golden on top. Let set on a wire rack for a few minutes before serving.

chocolate cheesecake swirl brownies

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tbs + 1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup butter
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tbs dark brown sugar
2 tbs cocoa powder
¾ cup all-purpose flour

Butter and flour a 9 by 9-inch square baking dish and line on the bottom with silicone baking paper.

In a deep mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and 1/3 cup of the sugar until smooth, about three minutes. Beat in 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla until well combined. Set aside.

Bring a medium pot, filled 1/3 with water to a simmer. In a glass bowl that fits over the pot, place butter and chocolate. Stir until about ¾ of the chocolate is melted, then remove from heat and continue stirring until completely melted. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and let cool a few minutes.

Beat sugar and brown sugar into chocolate until smooth and glossy. Beat in remaining 2 eggs and 2 yolks and tbs vanilla. Sift in flour and cocoa and fold into chocolate mixture.

Spread ¾ of brownie mixture into prepared pan. Spread cream cheese mixture over top, being careful not to disturb the brownie batter. Dot on top with remaining brownie batter. With a sharp paring knife, draw blade through layers, creating a swirl pattern (don’t touch bottom of pan with knife or lift while swirling). Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes (an hour would be better). Cut into 2 ½-inch squares while still in pan and serve. These brownies are fudgy and unbelievably rich, and even improve after being refrigerated for a few hours.

ricotta and corn roulade

1 tbs butter
1 medium leek, washed, trimmed, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbs butter
1/3 cup flour
1 cup milk
4 eggs, separated
¼ cup grated Asiago cheese
For the filling:
1 ½ cups ricotta cheese, beaten until smooth
1 cup frozen corn kernels, lightly cooked

Butter a 10 by 12-inch jelly roll pan and line on the bottom with silicon baking paper. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add leek and garlic and sauté about 5 minutes, until translucent and soft.

In another medium saucepan, melt second amount of butter. Stir in flour and continue stirring over medium heat for about a minute. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in milk. Return to high heat and whisk until mixture boils and thickens. Whisk in egg yolks and leek mixture. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

In a medium bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks are formed. Fold carefully into leek mixture. Spread into prepared pan and bake in a 350-degree oven for about 12 minutes, or until puffed and lightly golden.

Spread open a clean kitchen towel and sprinkle grated Asiago cheese over the surface. Turn roulade onto towel and carefully peel away the baking paper. Combine filling ingredients and spread evenly over roulade. Then, holding one long side of the towel with both hands, gently lift and let the roulade begin to roll. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately.

Note: After trimming, slice leeks lengthwise and rinse thoroughly between each of the layers. Leeks tend to collect deposits of garden soil during growing.

Callebaut fondue for two

4 oz semisweet Callebaut, or other quality chocolate
5 tbs whipping cream
1 tbs Grand Marnier

With a sharp serrated knife, finely chop chocolate. In a small saucepan, gently heat cream over med-low heat until it reaches a bare simmer; whisking constantly. Add chocolate and Grand Marnier and stir until chocolate is melted and thoroughly combined with the cream. The mixture should be luxuriously thick and glossy.

Transfer to a small fondue pot and place over candle or burner (you can use a warm bowl if serving immediately). Serve with bite-sized pieces of fruit, dried fruit and angel food or pound cake.

Serving suggestions: Banana, kiwi, peeled fresh or canned mandarin, hulled and quartered strawberries, dried figs, dried apricots, apple, pear, pineapple, grapes and whatever else is in season, as well as cubes of cake and other sweets.

Like water for chocolate: When preparing watery fruits such as citrus to dip into a fondue, it‘s important to carefully peel each segment, rather than slice. Otherwise, the water-laden juice may cause the chocolate to seize into a gritty, grainy mess.

knepfla with potatoes and cream

2 cups flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp salt
pinch nutmeg (optional)
water to make a stiff, yet pliable dough
2 large russet potatoes, cooked and cubed
1 medium onion
vegetable oil, for frying

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt (and nutmeg if you choose). Make a well in the centre and pour in eggs. With a fork, incorporate the eggs and flour together until loosely combined, adding a bit of water as needed to make a stiff dough. Form into a ball and turn out onto a floured surface. Knead until dough is smooth. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside to rest for about 30 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. With a clean, sturdy pair of kitchen scissors, snip small pieces of knepfla dough into water and boil for 10 minutes (you’ll have to do this in 2-3 batches). Drain.

In a large, heavy skillet over medium heat, sauté onion in oil until soft and lightly coloured. Add knepfla and diced potatoes and fry, turning over with a spatula or wooden spoon, until thoroughly heated and lightly browned. Serve with cream gravy or sour cream.

Cream Gravy
2-3 tbs butter
1 cup cream
flour for thickening

In a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add the cream and carefully bring to a boil. Add flour, a sprinkling at a time, whisking constantly until gravy thickens. Continue to whisk over heat for another minute or two to be sure the flour is cooked.