Saturday, December 26, 2009

Baked Brie with Blueberry Shallot Relish

1 large shallot, finely sliced
1 tbs olive oil
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup red wine
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar

In a small pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot and “sweat” until softened. Add berries, wine, vinegar and sugar. Bring to a simmer.

Strain out berries and onions, reserving the liquid. Return liquid to pot and reduce down to a syrupy consistency (about 10 minutes). Add berries and onions back into liquid. Cool and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the baked brie:
Place a whole 125g wheel of brie in a brie baker or on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place into a 350F oven for about 30 minutes, until cheese is gently warmed and softened. Serve with a pot of the blueberry relish and slices of baguette.

Warm 3-Cheese Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 tsp butter
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach, torn
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 package cream cheese
1 cup shredded provolone
2 cups chopped, marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup marinated roasted red pepper, drained and coarsely chopped
kosher salt/fresh ground pepper

In a skilled over medium heat, melt butter and saute garlic until soft. Add spinach and continue to cook, stirring, until wilted. Remove from heat and stir in ricotta and cream cheese. Add artichokes and roasted pepper. Season.

Transfer mixture to a creme caramel or lasagna boats. Place in the oven under the broiler and heat until cheese is bubbly and golden. Serve warm with crackers and sliced baguette.

Globe Bruschetta by Ross Derrick, Chef, Globe Cafe and Tapas Bar, Big White/Sunpeaks

Tomato tapenade
2 tbs sun-dried tomato oil
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 calamata olives, pitted, and chopped finely.
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

  1. Chop the tomatoes finely.
  2. Add olives, vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper.
  3. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Basil Puree
1/4 pound fresh basil, chopped
125 ml olive oil
salt and pepper

  1. In a food processor, puree basil and slowly add olive oil.
  2. Season.

1 loaf of soft ciabatta bread sliced 1/2 inch thick.
Toast bread on a panini press or in oven.
Brush on basil puree, top with a healthy tablespoon of tomato tapenade.
Drizzle with balsamic reduction. Top with slices of shaved parmesan.

Simply Cranberry Sauce

3 cups (12 oz bag) fresh cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
fresh lemon peel
Using a vegetable peeler, peel a two inch length of lemon zest (yellow part only, no pith). Slice thinly.

Bring water, sugar and lemon peel to a boil. Add cranberries, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking about 10 minutes. Makes about 2 1/2 cups. Serve at room temperature.

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies by Julie

3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup molasses
2 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
(granulated sugar for rolling)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and molasses. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add to butter mixture and beat until combined, scraping down sides at least once.

Shape into 24 equal balls. Roll dough balls in granulated sugar. Place on two baking sheets and bake at 350F for about 12 minutes, until cookies are crackled.

Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days, with a brown sugar keeper, if necessary. If refrigerated or frozen, allow cookies to return to room temperature before serving.

Note: Don’t flatten cookies before baking.

Cream Cheese-Glazed Mini Pumpkin Bundts

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
4 large eggs
2/3 cup milk
3 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and brown sugar. Add pumpkin puree, eggs and milk.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and spices. Add to pumpkin mixture and beat until just combined. Do not overmix.

Divide batter into 8 mini bundt moulds (about 3/4 cup batter per mould, depending on size). Bake at 350F for 28 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Cool completely before glazing.

Cream Cheese Glaze
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla
5-6 tbs milk

With an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until very smooth. Add vanilla and icing sugar; beat until well combined. Beat in milk, 1 tbs at a time, until the consistency will allow glaze to flow from a spoon in a continuous ribbon.

Drizzle generously over cakes that have been set on a rack over a a baking sheet.

Berry Scones (makes 16)

4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter
1 1/2 cups milk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups dried berries

Whisk together flour, sugar and baking powder. Cut in butter. Whisk together milk, eggs and vanilla. Make a well in the centre of flour mixture and add milk mixture. Bring together with a fork until combined. Do not overmix. Add dried berries.

Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto Silpat-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 325F for 30 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges.

Cottage Cheese Patties (makes 12-14)

3/4 cup 1% cottage cheese
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) grated aged cheddar
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
3/4 cup cooked white or brown rice
4 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp kosher salt
about 12 turns of the pepper mill

Tear up about 3 slices of bread or two buns and add into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until you have coarse crumbs.

In a medium bowl, combine first 5 ingredients. Add eggs and seasoning.

Heat a large, non-stick, pan over medium heat and add a little oil. Drop mixture, about 3 tbs at a time, into pan. Cook about 2 minutes on each side, until golden, turning gently.

Note: This recipe, which harkens back to my vegetarian days, is served just as well by the addition of cooked rice as it is cooked, riced or finely diced, potatoes. Serve the patties in sandwiches, as a main course with side dishes, or use them like latkes, topped with sour cream and chives or salmon roe.

Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup Pepsi
2 cups fresh, pitted, Medjool dates
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1 cup plus 2 tbs packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 tbs whole milk
1 tbs kahlua
1/4 cup chopped semisweet chocolate

for the soaking liquid/sauce:
1 1/4 cups butter
1 2/3 cups whipping cream
1 2/3 cups packed brown sugar
2 tbs kahlua

Preheat oven to 350F and butter 15 4-oz ramekins or line 24 muffin cups with silicone liners. Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Into a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and spices. Set aside.

Bring the Pepsi, plus 1/3 cup water, to a boil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add dates, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 7 minutes, until tender. Add 1 tbs water to the baking soda and stir into the dates (mixture will foam and darken). Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce to low and add eggs, incorporating one completely before adding the next. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Add milk, kahlua and chopped chocolate, mixing until just combined.

Remove dates from liquid (reserving liquid) and chop. Return to liquid and let sit a few minutes before stirring into batter. Spoon batter into ramekins, filling 3/4 full. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Let cool.

For the sauce:
In a medium pot over medium heat, combine butter, cream and brown sugar. Boil for 1 minute, then add kahlua. Set aside.

To assemble the puddings, when puddings are cooled and still in their ramekins, slice off and discard tops. Using a wooden skewer, poke full of holes. Spoon about 3 tbs of hot toffee sauce over each pudding, pressing gently to help them absorb the liquid. Reserve remaining sauce for serving. Let puddings sit for one hour or overnight.

To serve, gently warm puddings in a 350F oven for about 5 minutes. Release around edges with a knife and turn out onto serving plate. Reheat the sauce and drizzle over pudding. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream.

Note: To store, tightly wrap unsoaked puddings, and freeze for up to 2 weeks.

French Epis

1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
13 fl oz warm water
about 3 3/4 cups bread flour
2 tsp kosher salt

Dissolve yeast in water. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour and salt. Add yeast mixture. Using the end of a wooden spoon, bring ingredients together. When dough begins to form, turn out onto an unfloured surface. Knead until dough is elastic.

Form into a ball, place in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled. Do not punch down. Scrape dough onto a floured countertop. Cut in half and flatten gently with the heel of your hand into an elongated oval. Fold one side (lengthwise) into the centre and seal with your thumb. Repeat with the other side. Fold in half and seal along the seam. Roll a bit to shape lengthen and move to a towel-lined baking tray. With a pair of scissors held at a 45-degree angle to the dough, start at one end and snip deep Vees 3/4 into the dough. Push point to either side, alternating. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Preheat oven and baking stone to 450F.

Transfer, one at a time, to a floured baking peel or wooden cutting board. Working quickly, slide epi from cutting board to hot baking stone. Repeat. Generously mist inside of oven with water (about 12 sprays). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Potato Leek Soup (parentheses mine)

recipe courtesy of Christa Breuggermann

500 grams potatoes, peeled (I used Yukon Gold)
250 grams pound leek, white and light green parts, only
1 stalk celery
1 medium carrot
1 liter chicken stock
100 ml cream or whole milk
100 g butter (half that works very well)
1 tsp dried lovage leaves (or celery seed)
1 tsp dried marjoram leaves
salt/pepper (at least 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt)

Dice potatoes into medium cubes. Roughly chop carrots, celery and leeks. Heat butter in a pan over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté until soft. In a large pot, add potatoes, sautéed leeks, celery, carrot and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are very soft.

Remove from heat and puree using a hand blender. Return to heat and add seasonings, adjusting to your preference. Just before finishing, add cream or milk.


2 1/2 lbs vine ripened tomatoes,
7 shallots, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 red bell pepper, seeded
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
1/2 red onion, peeled
4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbs, or to taste, red wine vinegar
1/2-1cup cold water
kosher salt/fresh ground pepper

Chop produce into 1-inch chunks. Place in processor and blend to a coarse puree. Drizzle in olive oil and water, adding enough water to obtain a pourable consistency. Adjust seasoning, adding salt/pepper. Chill in a non-metal container overnight to let flavours develop. Serve chilled.

Chef’s Note: Unless tomatoes are fresh off the vine and bursting with fall flavour, this recipe will fall flat. Visit your favourite grower for the last of the best of this year’s crop.

Autumn Apple and Pear Crisp

2 1/2 pounds gala apples, peeled
2 1/2 pounds bartlett pears
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbs all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup cold butter
1 cup slivered almonds

Core apples and pears and slice into about 10 wedges each for the apples, and 6 wedges each for the pears. In a large bowl, toss apples and pears together with the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Transfer to a shallow, 3 liter baking dish.

In a large bowl, whisk together the rolled oats, flour, brown sugar and kosher salt. Cut butter into small pieces and incorporate into the dry mixture with a pastry blender until coarse, pea-sized, crumbs form. Mix in the almonds.

Squeeze the topping into marble-sized balls and sprinkle on the fruit. Bake in a 350F oven for 45-55 minutes, until the apples are tender to the tip of a knife and the juices are hot and bubbling.

Vegan Banana Bread

adapted from "babycakes: vegan, gluten-free, and (mostly) sugar-free recipes from New York's most talked-about bakery" by Erin McKenna.

2 cups gluten-free (“celiac”) all-purpose baking flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut oil, plus more for the pan
2/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup rice milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 medium bananas, peeled and mashed

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, agave nectar, rice milk, and vanilla. Beat into the dry ingredients until the batter is smooth. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the bananas until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Scrape the batter into an oiled 7x4x3-inch loaf pan. Bake for 60 minutes, or until a cake tester or bamboo skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let loaf cool in pan for 20 minutes, then gently run a knife around the edge and turn out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or cool completely before storing.

Where to find it: All of the alternative ingredients are available at Nature’s Fare.

Wild Sockeye Salmon Tartare with Spicy Guacamole

Recipe by: Yan Thereian

When preparing the salmon tartare, cut the fillet into the smallest pieces possible without turning the fish to mush, and let it stand in its marinade for no longer than 10 minutes before serving, or the acid in the lemon juice will “cook” the fish.

Spicy guacamole

2 lemons

3 ripe Haas avocados

1 sweet red pepper, seeded and finely diced

1 jalapeño, seeded and minced

2 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salmon tartare

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 egg yolk

2 Tbsp drained, minced capers

2 Tbsp minced red onion or shallot

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dillweed

1 Tbsp smooth Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp liquid honey

3/4 lb wild boneless, skinless sockeye salmon fillet

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Finely chopped cilantro for garnish

Spicy guacamole: Squeeze juice from lemons into a medium bowl. Peel, pit, then finely chop avocados, immediately adding pieces to lemon juice. Toss to coat. Add red pepper, jalapeño, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir gently. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes for flavours to blend (a couple hours will make it taste even richer).

Salmon tartare: In a small bowl, stir together lemon juice, egg yolk, capers, red onion, dillweed, mustard, and honey until well combined. Set aside. With a sharp knife, cut salmon into 1/4-inch strips, then dice strips crosswise. Add salmon to lemon juice mixture. Stir gently. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for 5–10 minutes before serving (no longer or lemon juice will “cook” the fish).

To serve, spoon a little guacamole on 1 plate, then top with a layer of taro chips. Spoon a little salmon tartare on top of chips, then repeat this layering twice to create a tower. Repeat with remaining ingredients and 3 more plates. Garnish with cilantro.

Notes: For the complete recipe, which includes Taro Chips, see Island Lake Lodge: The Cookbook, by Keith Liggett.

Butter Chicken Curry for the Tandoor-less cook

about 12 large chicken breasts, thighs and drumsticks (skinless and boneless or otherwise)
6 tbs Pataks brand Tandoori Paste
1/2 cup coconut milk
fresh cracked black pepper (several turns of the pepper mill)

Whisk together tandoori paste, coconut milk and pepper. Place chicken in a glass baking dish, poke several times with a fork and coat thoroughly with marinade. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

1/4 cup clarified butter (ghee) or canola oil
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 tbs fresh gingerroot, grated
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 can (798ml) diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups homemade chicken stock
1 tbs brown sugar
kosher salt/freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup sour cream (not light or fat-free)
1 tbs finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbs almond butter (available in Superstore)

Heat oven to 425F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place marinated chicken parts in a single layer and bake until cooked through (do not over bake).

For the butter chicken sauce, while the chicken is cooking, add ghee or oil into a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are tender. Add ginger, chilli powder, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon and cumin. Stir to coat onions with spices. Cook for 1 more minute, until spices are fragrant. Add drained tomatoes, stock, brown sugar and salt and pepper.

Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Transfer 2/3 of the sauce to a blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to the pot with the remaining sauce and mix well. Return to heat. Stir in sour cream, cilantro and almond butter. Add chicken, stir to coat well. Continue cooking just until chicken is hot. Serve over hot cooked basmati rice.

Stuffed Squash Blossoms

12 fresh squash blossoms
1 cup ricotta
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
1 tbs finely chopped parsley
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 large egg, beaten
kosher salt/fresh ground pepper
oil for deep frying

Mix together ricotta, feta, parsley and lemon zest. Fold in egg. Season. Using a piping bag (no tip is needed), fill squash blossoms about 1/2 full with mixture. Dip each filled blossom in tempura batter. Deep fry in hot canola oil until lightly golden. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 large egg
2/3 cup iced soda water

Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt. Beat together egg and water. Add to dry ingredients and stir until mixed.

Pear and Camembert Panini with Rhubarb, Rosemary & Honey Jam

4 ciabatta buns (those big, yummy, triangular ones from Costco), halved
2 ripe pears
125g wheel camembert (or oka, if you’re more adventursome)
4 tbs Rhubarb, Rosemary & Honey Jam

Preheat panini press. Halve and core pears. Thinly slice lengthwise. Slice camembert (best done cold and with a serrated bread knife). Spread the bottom half of each bun with jam, top with sliced pears and camembert. Replace top half of bun and place sandwiches, one or two at a time, in press. Cook until cheese is gooey, then remove panini to a cutting board and slice into fingers. Serve immediately.

Where to find it: For Rhubarb, Rosemary & Honey Jam, either dash down to Okanagan Falls to the Meyer Family Vineyards, (250) 497.8553, or email for mail orders.

Waldorf Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese

4 cups cubed roasted or poached chicken breast
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, sliced
2 cups halved seedless red grapes
2 tbs finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
3/4 cup light mayonnaise
3 tbs tarragon vinegar
kosher salt/fresh ground pepper

In a large bowl, toss together chicken breast cubes, chopped walnuts, celery, grapes, tarragon leaves and blue cheese. In a separate, smaller, bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, tarragon vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss salad together with dressing, adjust seasoning, and serve.

Note: The original Waldorf salad calls for apples instead of grapes. Finely sliced apple wedges may be substituted with