Tuesday, August 08, 2006

brown sugar sauteed peaches with cream

(serves 2)
2 medium ripe peaches
1 tbs butter
4 tsp brown sugar
whipping cream, whipped

Slice peaches. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Melt butter. Quickly add sugar and stir just once or twice to combine. Add sliced peaches and toss or stir occasionally, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Remove peaches with a slotted spoon and set aside. Continue to cook sauce until it caramelizes, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Divide peaches into two dessert dishes and drizzle with caramel. Top with whipping cream and serve immediately.

warm beet salad

10 medium mixed beets
3 shallots
6 slices bacon
1 tsp olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt/fresh ground pepper

Place whole, unpeeled beets in a large pot and cover with cool water (note: cook red beets separately). Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue simmering for about an hour, depending on size, or until beets are tender to the tip of a knife. Drain. When just cooled enough to handle, squeeze beets, they should pop out of their skins; otherwise, peel with a knife. Slice into wedges.

Slice shallots and bacon. Heat skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tsp olive oil. Add bacon and cook. Add shallots and cook until translucent. Add beets and toss until warm. Transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with red wine vinegar and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Note: For this recipe, candy-stripe, golden, white and red cylinder beets were used.

Where to find it: Look for designer beets at local vegetable farms and farmer’s markets.

lavender ice cream

(courtesy of Okanagan Lavender)
1 tbs sugar
¼ tsp vanilla
½ cup half-and-half or table cream
6 sprigs fresh organic lavender (or 1 tbs dried buds)
3 tbs coarse or pickling salt
Lots of ice cubes
sandwich-size Ziplock freezer baggy

Stir together sugar, vanilla, cream and lavender in a small bowl. Let steep in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Strain out lavender. Transfer cream mixture to baggy and seal.

Fill a 2-liter thermos ¾ full with ice cubes and sprinkle with the salt. Place baggies inside and close container.

Roll container around for about 10 minutes. Check to see if ice cream is frozen. If not, keep rolling for another 5 minutes. Remove bag from container and rinse off salt to keep from contaminating the ice cream. Serve garnished with sprigs of fresh lavender.

Notes: This can also be done in an ice cream maker. Multiply the recipe until you have the desired amount, then follow machine manufacturer’s directions.

Where to find it: Make sure you use lavender that’ve been grown without pesticides. Plant your own next spring, or visit Okanagan Lavender. Dried buds are available by mail order at www.okanaganlavender.com

favourite flavours for the grill

(Blends from the Canadiana Spicery)

Chicken - “Red Pepper and Garlic”
Lamb - “Herbes de Provence”
Steak - “BBQ Blend”
Burgers - into a standard hamburger mixture of beef, eggs and breadcrumbs add “Garlic and Herb Medley”
Pork - “Asian Stir Fry”
Duck - “Chinese 5 Spice”
Venison - “Hunter’s Blend”
Salmon - “Spicy Seasoned Salt”
Corn on the cob - “Country Pepper:
Zucchini - “Herbes de Provence”
Eggplant - “Italian Herbs”
Potatoes, carrots and onions - “Unique Greek”

Prepare meats for the grill by rubbing on all sides with vegetable oil. Season with salt and spice blends. For zucchini or eggplant, toss with vegetable oil salt and spice blends. Place corn on the cob or a mixture of potatoes, carrots and onions on parchment paper-lined sheets of aluminium foil. Dot with butter and season with salt and spice blends; seal foil into packets. Place on preheated grilling surface and cook until desired doneness (note: vegetables take longer to cook than meats).

Where to find it: Canadiana Spicery blends are available online at www.countrypepper.com

seasonal berry parfaits

½ cup cream, whipped
1 tsp vanilla sugar
2 small chocolate sponges
2 cups ice cream
2 cups seasonal fresh berries
1 ½ oz Framboise

Whip vanilla sugar into whipped cream. Into each of two large parfait glasses, drizzle ½ oz of the Framboise. Crumble 1/3 of the sponge cake and layer into the glasses, followed by 1/3 of the berries, ice cream and whipped cream. Repeat until ingredients are used, drizzling the remaining Framboise over top.

Notes: Substitute 1 tsp sugar and ½ tsp vanilla extract for the vanilla sugar. To make vanilla sugar for future use, place one vanilla pod into a jar of sugar and allow the scent to infuse. Some people, myself included, may prefer the parfait without the addition of the chocolate sponges. However, leftover cake of almost any kind may be used in their place. For an excellent substitute visit www.foodpage.blogspot.com to find a recipe for grapefruit pound cake.

Where to find it: Framboise is a raspberry liqueur. Elephant Island Orchard Winery in Naramata makes Framboise using Fraser Valley raspberries. Look for it while visiting the winery, or in select liquor stores.

peasy purses

2 cups shelled fresh peas
1 tbs virgin olive oil
1 ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ tsp honey
1 ½ tsp minced cilantro
1 ½ tsp minced mint leaves
6 sheets phyllo pastry
salt/pepper to taste
olive oil for brushing phyllo

Place peas in a food processor. Pulse a few times until peas are evenly coarse in consistency. Transfer to a skillet and add olive oil, ginger, garlic, lemon juice and honey. Place over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in cilantro and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Divide into 12 equal portions.

Dampen a clean kitchen towel and place over sheets of phyllo to keep from drying out. Starting with one sheet, brush half (width wise) lightly with oil and fold over. Cut in half to form two squares. Spoon pea mixture into centre of pastry. Bring corners up and twist into purses. Repeat with remaining sheets. Place on a Silpat- or parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake at 350-degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot.

saskatoon-berry jelly roll

¾ cup cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ cup milk
2 tbs butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs
½ tsp almond extract
1 cup Saskatoon-berry jam
1/2 cup cream, whipped to stiff peaks

Grease an 11 by 17-inch baking sheet. Line with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Spread out a large square of parchment paper on your work surface. Onto it, sift the cake flour together with the baking powder three times. Set aside.

Add milk and butter to a small saucepan and place over oven vent to melt the butter.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar, eggs and almond extract. Whip with the whisk attachment on high speed until mixture is the consistency of soft-whipped cream (about 3-4 minutes). Transfer to a very large mixing bowl. Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour mixture over the egg mixture and gently fold in. Repeat twice.

Meanwhile, bring milk and butter to a simmer over medium heat. Pour over batter and mix thoroughly (about 6-7 strokes). With a rubber spatula, scrape into lined baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake in centre of the oven for about 8 minutes, until sponge is lightly golden and springs back to the touch.

Spread out a sheet of aluminium foil the same size as the baking sheet. Release cake from edges with a knife and turn over onto foil. Leave parchment on cake and allow to cool completely. Peel away foil (the darker top of the sponge will peel away with it). Spread sponge to edges with jam and whipped cream, leaving ¾-inch along one of the long sides. Gently, but firmly, roll up lengthwise, using the parchment paper to help roll. Wrap in aluminium foil. Place on a baking sheet and refrigerate to set for several hours before slicing.

warm orzo salad

500 g pkg orzo, cooked to al dente
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup tarragon white wine vinegar
juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp lemon zest
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp lemon pepper
¼ medium red onion, finely diced
½ medium red pepper, finely diced
leaves from 3 sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
½ pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup crumbled feta

Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and zest, Tabasco sauce, brown sugar, salt and lemon pepper. Drizzle over drained, warm pasta and toss. Chop vegetables and parsley and toss into dressed pasta. Add crumbled feta and toss. Serve warm or cold.

Serving suggestions: Serve orzo salad with soft rolls or buttered slices of baguette. Combine in a picnic with other cold summer dishes including roasted chicken, a selection of excellent cheese and sliced avocados.

Where to find it: Orzo is available in the pasta isle of most grocery stores. For the most excellent varieties, visit specialty markets.

bruleed quark tark with berries

400g Quark
2 eggs
½ cup honey
2 tbs Demerara sugar
½ tsp lime juice
1 cup of mixed berries, fresh or frozen
24 - 3” tart shells
granulated sugar for bruléed tops

Place tart shells on a large baking sheet. Parbake for 8 minutes at 375-degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine quark, eggs, honey, sugar and lime juice. Beat until smooth. Fold in berries. Divide mixture among tart shells and continue baking at 300-degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool completely.

Lightly sprinkle granulated sugar over the tops of each of the tarts. Using a kitchen torch, gently wave the flame over the sugar until it melts and caramelizes.

Where to find it: For incomparable quark, visit Gort’s Gouda Cheese Farm in Salmon Arm. Torches for use in the kitchen are available in kitchen supply stores and department stores.

marinated lamb chops

4 lamb chops
2 tbs finely chopped onions
1 tbs finely chopped cilantro
1tbs “Canadianna Spicery” BBQ Blend
2 tbs canola oil

In a small bowl, mix together marinade ingredients. Coat both sides of lamb chops and let marinate for a ½ hour. Cook on a BBQ or heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Pan sear both sides of the chops, then place skillet in a 350-degree oven for five minutes, turning once. Serve with fresh cooked vegetables.

Where to find it: Spice Mixes from the Canadianna Spicery are available in select stores, including butcher shops, and online at www.countrypepper.com

avocado soup with salsa and croutons

contributed by St Vincent’s Susan Toy
Serves 4-6

3 tbsp butter
1½ large onions, coarsely chopped
2 medium garden cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed in a garlic press
½ tsp dried oregano
kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and cayenne to taste
4-5 cups vegetable stock
6 ripe (California) avocados, peeled, seeded, chopped
Salsa and croutons to garnish (recipes follow)

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onions and sauté for about 10 minutes, until soft and caramelized. Add cucumbers, garlic, oregano and cayenne and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Add 1 cup of the stock and cook 5 minutes. Puree using a hand blender. Add avocados and puree, adding vegetable stock to achieve a light creamy consistency. Return to a pot and reheat and season to taste with salt and pepper. This soup is also excellent served cold.

For salsa: chop and combine 1 onion, 1 green pepper, 2 tomatoes, 1 jalapeño pepper, 3 green onions.

For croutons: sauté white bread cubes in butter until golden brown.

Note: Picture printed in eVentLife and Kamloops This Week was a baguette slice drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with “Red Pepper and Garlic Spice Mix” from the Canadianna Spicery, topped with shredded smoked Gouda from Gort’s Gouda and toasted in the oven). Salsa show is a mixture of finely-diced yellow watermelon, red onion, tomato, asparagus, lime juice, sweet chilli sauce, salt and pepper.

new orleans-inspired mixed nut pralines

2 cups of mixed, unsalted nuts
(1 cup pecans or walnuts, ½ cup pine nuts,
½ cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts)
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
4 tbs butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
dark chocolate, for drizzling (optional)

In a 350-degree oven, toast nuts on a baking sheet, stirring occasionally until nuts are very lightly browned; about 5 minutes or so.

In a very large, heavy pot, add sugar, brown sugar, buttermilk, baking soda and salt. With a wooden spoon, stir over low heat with a until sugar is dissolved. Use a pastry brush that’s been dipped in water to brush down the sides of the pot. Add butter and stir until melted completely. Increase the heat to medium and place a candy thermometer into the pot. Without stirring, cook until mixture reaches 236-degrees F (the soft ball stage - it will be marked exactly on the thermometer). Note that the mixture will froth and drastically increase in volume as it heats. Remove pot from heat and stir in vanilla and toasted nuts, beating with the wooden spoon until the sugar mixture begins to become thicker and less translucent. Working quickly, drop from tablespoons onto 2 Silpat-lined baking sheets, so that each praline is about 2 inches in diameter and 2 inches apart. Let cool completely for about half an hour. Do not store in the fridge.

campfire roasted chicken and vegetables with fettuccini

For the roasted vegetables:
1 medium carrot
½ red pepper
¼ red onion
½ lb asparagus
1 tbs vegetable oil

Slice carrot into long strips; chop pepper into three pieces, chop ¼ onion in half; trim asparagus. Drizzle vegetables with oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on camping toaster and roast over an open flame until tender. Chop into bite-sized pieces.

For the chicken:
4 chicken breasts
1 tbs vegetable oil
¼ cup red wine
1 pkg (350 g) fresh Olivieri fettuccini noodles
1 pkg (300 ml) Olivieri rosé sauce

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in frying pan. Sear chicken on both sides; continue cooking then, when about half finished, add red wine. Meanwhile, drop bag of sauce into boiling water (here’s where your teapot comes in) until heated through. Remove sauce and add pasta to the same water; cook until tender. Just before chicken is finished, add vegetables and sauce. Toss together with sauce and serve.

fruit loop rice krispie wquares

2 tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla
400g pkg marshmallows
3 cups Fruit Loops cereal
3 cups Rice Krispies cereal
½ cup mini M&Ms

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla then fold in cereal using a stiff wooden spoon, until evenly incorporated in the melted marshmallow. Fold in mini M&Ms. Press into a 8x8-inch baking pan that’s been either greased or lined with parchment paper. Let cool before cutting. Turn out pan and cut into 9 squares or 18 triangles using a sharp chef’s knife (buttering the knife, or running it under hot water after each cut will help the knife to cut through the squares without getting sticky).

For fun with the kids, try pressing the Rice Krispie mixture into several animal-shaped cookie cutters.

cinnamon raisin bread

1 cup warm water (100-110 degrees)
1 cup warm milk (100-110 degrees)
2 ½ tsp active dry yeast
4 teaspoons sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbs butter, melted then cooled
5 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups raisins, Craisins or currants

for filling:
¾ cup sugar
2 tbs cinnamon
1 large egg, beaten
¼ cup butter, melted then cooled
1 large egg white, beaten
3 tbs sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine water and yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes, until yeast is frothy. Add milk, sugar, salt and butter. Add flour and, using the dough hook, mix and knead on medium-low speed for 7 minutes. Add raisins and continue mixing for another three minutes.

Transfer dough to a lightly-floured surface. Knead by hand a few times and form into a ball. Place into a large, lightly-oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 ½ hours, until doubled in size.

Generously butter two 9 by 5-inch loaf pans; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and cinnamon; set aside. Place dough onto a lightly-floured surface and cut in half. Working with one half at a time, roll into a 10 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush with half of the beaten whole egg, sprinkle with half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture, and drizzle with half of the melted butter. With the back of a spoon, rub the butter into the sugar cinnamon mixture. Roll the dough tightly, starting from a short end. Place, seam down, into a loaf pan and cover loosely with lightly-oiled plastic wrap. Repeat with second half of dough and let loaves rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour, until doubled in size.

30 minutes before the loaves are finished rising, heat oven to 400-degrees and place a baking stone on a rack in the lower third (stone is optional). Brush tops of loaves with egg white and sprinkle each with 1 ½ tbs sugar. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower temperature to 375-degrees and bake another 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for half an hour before slicing.

Where to find it: For French butter dishes, contact Okanagan Pottery in Peachland at www.okanaganpottery.com

herbal berry smoothie

3 cups frozen mixed berries
3 tea bags Tazo Passion Tea
½ cup sugar
1 cup vanilla or plain yogurt

Brew tea in 2 cups of hot water for five minutes. Discard tea bags and allow tea to cool completely. Place in blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Spiked Smoothie: Add a splash of vodka to take this mix from breakfast to nightcap.