Friday, January 13, 2006

sweet potato fritatta

1 large sweet potato
150 grams smoked salmon
¼ red onion
4 large eggs
3 tbs half & half cream
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 cup shredded aged cheddar

Peel sweet potato and cut in half lengthwise. Cover with water in a medium pot and bring to a simmer. Cook until sweet potato is easily pierced with the tip of a knife. Slice into ¼-inch thick pieces and layer half into a baking dish. Cover with a layer of half of the smoked salmon, half of the red onion. Continue layering with remaining sweet potato, salmon and onion.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, tarragon, salt and pepper. Pour over layers. Cover with cheese and place in a 375-degree oven to bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and eggs are cooked but still moist.

Let set for a few minutes before serving.

Cooking Tip: For easy removal of the frittata from the baking dish, line with parchment paper before adding in ingredients, then simply lift out the finished frittata once it’s set.

two-bite baked alaska

8 2-oz scoops “After Eight” ice cream
8 “Two-Bite Brownies”
2 large egg whites
a few drops lemon juice
½ cup sugar

Place brownies on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Using a 2 oz ice cream scoop, top each brownie with ice cream. Place in a very cold deep freeze (you may need to adjust the temperature of your appliance for this step). Allow ice cream to harden for several hours or overnight.

Pour lemon juice into a glass or stainless steel mixing bowl. Place egg whites into bowl and whip, using an electric mixer on high speed, until soft peaks form. Reduce speed and gradually add sugar. Resume high speed and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Working quickly and using a small offset spatula (available in finer kitchen and cake decorating stores), spread meringue over top and sides of ice cream, leaving the brownie base exposed. Using a butane torch, gently toast the meringue by waving the flame over the surface of the Baked Alaskas. Serve immediately.

beef bourguignon

30 pearl onions, peeled
20 small brown button mushrooms, quartered
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 pounds tender lean beef
5 slices bacon
2 tsp dried thyme
2 cups beef stock
2 cups dry, full-bodied, red wine

Cut beef into one-inch cubes. In a large Dutch oven (cast iron pot) over high heat, sear beef in at least two batches, on all sides. Remove beef from pot and replace pot over heat. Add bacon and allow to render until fat is melted. Add pearl onions and cook until they begin to caramelize. Add mushrooms and garlic to sear, then add in red wine, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to deglaze. Allow wine to simmer and reduce a little, then add seared beef, thyme and beef stock. Cover and place in a 350-degree oven to braise for about an hour, until beef is very tender and sauce is thickened (but not gravy). Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over hot buttered egg noodles.

Notes: Don’t confuse pearl onions with pickling onions, they’re not the same thing. If using a commercial beef stock (or broth), you shouldn’t need any extra salt. Consider picking up some beef bones at the butcher and making a stock. The results will always be better.

irish cream

4 cups half & half
4 cups whipping cream
6 large eggs
4 tbsp instant coffee
2 cups Irish whiskey
5 tbs chocolate syrup
2 cans condensed milk

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and blend with a hand blender until frothy. Transfer to a punch bowl for your New Year’s Eve party. Keep any leftovers refrigerated.

Note: Raw eggs should not be used in food or drinks prepared for pregnant or nursing women, young children or people whose health is compromised. But then, it’s pretty much the same deal with the whiskey.

eggnog mousse

2 cups eggnog (not light)
3 large egg yolks
2 tbs brown sugar
1 ¼ cups heavy cream, whipped
1/3 oz (6 sheets) gelatine

In a large bowl set over a pot of simmering water over medium heat, whisk together eggnog, egg yolks and brown sugar. Continue whisking, vigorously, until mixture has tripled in volume and is very hot.

Meanwhile, soften gelatine in hot water according to package directions, for about 2 minutes. Squeeze out excess water and thoroughly whisk in to eggnog mixture. Float bowl in a sink partially filled with cold water and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.

Whip cream until it is stiff. Fold 1/3 of the cream into the eggnog mixture with a rubber spatula (this is to lighten the mixture), then fold in remaining 2/3. Spoon into individual dessert dishes or into one large decorative bowl. Refrigerate until set; several hours or overnight. Garnish with extra whipped cream and chocolate shavings

Christmas korma

Christmas Korma ~ serves 4-6
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tbs ghee or vegetable oil
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, diced
2 tbs Patak’s brand Korma paste
2 yams, peeled and diced
½ cup cream
¾ cup spiced cashews, coarsely chopped

In a large saucepan, heat ghee or vegetable oil. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add diced chicken and toss to sear and seal in flavour. Add Korma paste and stir to coat onions and chicken. Add yams and cream, then transfer to a baking dish. Place, covered, in a 350-degree oven and bake until yams are soft and chicken is cooked, about 40 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over cooked basmati rice and garnish with spicy nuts.

Notes: Visit and enter the search words “spiced nuts”. Use the recipe there for pecans, but substitute cashews for an Indian flavour.

Simple Dhal
1 can lentils (do not drain)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbs Patak’s brand mild curry paste

In a small saucepan, cook lentils and onion over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft. Add curry paste, salt and pepper. Puree using a hand-held blender and serve with curry and rice.

venison and portabelle brochettes with sweet chili dipping sauce

1 lb venison loin, trimmed, cut into 1” cubes
2 portabella mushrooms, cut into eighths
2 cloves garlic, slivered
2-inch piece ginger, peeled, slivered
2 tbs teriyaki marinade
½ tsp chilli flakes
fresh cracked pepper

Whisk together garlic, ginger, teriyaki, chilli flakes and pepper. In a large bowl, toss together with venison and let marinate in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Thread onto 8 large skewers that have been soaked in water for an hour (to prevent them from burning), alternating venison with pieces of mushroom. Grill until meat is done to your preference, or sear in a hot heavy skillet and finish in the oven.

Dipping sauce
1 cup Okanagan’s Finest Ginger Soy Vinaigrette
1 cup sweet chilli sauce
1 tsp Thai red curry

Whisk together and serve with venison brochettes.

apple puff pie

2 large Ambrosia apples
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ginger
pinch allspice
1 tbs butter
1 square puff pastry

Core and slice apples. Toss together with sugar and spices. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add apples and sauté, stirring, for about five minutes, until apples are hot and partially cooked.

Preheat a large pizza stone in oven at 400-degrees. Roll out puff pastry into a 12-inch square. Cut in half. Roll edges to hold filling and divide apple mixture between the two crusts, reserving liquid from the apples. Using a large spatula, transfer pies to a stone and bake until crust is golden.

Continue simmering the sugary liquid from cooking the apples, stirring constantly over medium heat, until it has reduced and thickened to the consistency of caramel. Drizzle over servings of hot apple pie.

cheese dip

1 - 500 g package Velveeta cheese
¼ cup milk
4 Roma tomatoes, small dice
1 cup salsa
1 tbs canned jalapenos, finely minced

Cut Velveeta into cubes and place in a non-stick medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add milk and stir with a rubber spatula until cheese is melted and hot. Stir in tomatoes and continue cooking until tomatoes are softened but not overcooked. Stir in salsa and peppers until thoroughly heated. (Use less or more peppers to taste, and/or serve more on the side for people to adjust themselves). Serve hot in individual bowls, with tortilla chips.

note: Transferring cheese dip to a crock pot, set on low heat, after it’s made will keep the dip warm as long as needed. Double or triple the recipe for larger crowds.