Thursday, 29 June 2017

Ginger and Blueberry Skillet Cobbler

I love using my cast iron skillet, it is by far my most used pan.  I rarely however use it for dessert and I was thrilled to try a dessert in it.  This recipe I followed pretty closely except for changing the Demerara sugar to dark brown sugar.  It is a great dessert with a home/comfort food feel to it.  From Food and Drink 2015.

This beauty can be assembled ahead and held in the fridge until you’re ready to slip it onto the grill midway through dinner. If you’re lucky enough to be making the cobbler with wild blueberries, decrease the amount of cornstarch to 3 tbsp (45 mL). Don’t sweat it if you don’t have the right skillet—a 9 x 13‑inch (3.5 L) metal baking pan can be used as a substitute.

8 cups (2 L) blueberries
¾ cup (175 mL) demerara sugar
¼ cup (60 mL) cornstarch
¼ tsp (1 mL) allspice
¼ tsp (1 mL) cinnamon
2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
½ cup (125 mL), 1 stick, cold butter, cut into chunks
⅓ cup (80 mL) finely chopped candied ginger
1 cup (250 mL) cold whipping cream,
plus extra for brushing
2 tbsp (30 mL) white sanding sugar
2 tbsp (30 mL) maple sugar

1 In a 12-inch (30-cm) heatproof skillet, at least 2 inches (5 cm) deep, combine blueberries, demerara sugar, cornstarch, allspice and cinnamon; gently toss to combine; level and set aside.

2 Add flour, salt and baking powder to the bowl of a food processor; pulse to blend. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Turn out into a medium bowl; stir in ginger. Pour 1/2 cup (125 mL) cream over and stir until just combined. Gather dough with your hands and knead once or twice to bring together.

3 Tear an approximately 2-tbsp (30-mL) piece of dough and pat into a rough round about ½ inch (1 cm) thick. Place on top of blueberry mixture about ½ inch (1 cm) from edge of skillet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing the biscuits equidistant from one another; blueberries will not be completely covered. (Cobbler may be prepared to this point and held in refrigerator for 6 hours.) Lightly brush tops of biscuits with a little cream and sprinkle sanding sugar over biscuits.

4 Light one side only of gas grill, turn to medium, close lid and bring to 375°F (190°C).

5 Place skillet on side of grill that is off, close lid and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until blueberries are bubbling and biscuits are golden. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

6 Meanwhile, combine maple sugar and remaining ½ cup (125 mL) cream; whip only until sugar is dissolved and cream is lightened and soft (before soft peaks form).

7 Divide between 10 small bowls and drizzle each with an equal amount of cream.

Serves 10

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Eggs Baked in Toast Cups with Spinach, Asiago and Pancetta

There is lots of flavour in this breakfast sandwich!  I actually enjoyed these for dinner-but they are meant for a brunch/breakfast.  Make sure you buy small eggs for this recipe as the large eggs are too big for the cups.  From Food and Drink 2016.

1 tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 container (140 g) washed baby spinach
2 tbsp (30 mL) water
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

12 thin slices pancetta

2 tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter, softened
14 slices good-quality white sandwich bread
2 tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup (175 mL) grated Asiago cheese
12 small eggs
Hot sauce for serving

1 For spinach, heat oil in a large pot over medium-heat. Add garlic. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add spinach, water, salt and pepper. Raise heat to high. Cook, turning spinach over with tongs, until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to plate to cool.

2 For pancetta, preheat oven to 400°F (200°F).

3 Place pancetta without overlapping on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until brown and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Transfer to paper towel to drain. (Pancetta will keep, covered, layered in paper towel and refrigerated for 2 days. Microwave on high for 20 seconds to crisp them back up.)

4 For egg cups, preheat oven to 375°F (190°F). Generously butter a 12-cup muffin tin, using about ½ tsp (2 mL) of butter per cup.

5 With a rolling pin, roll 12 bread slices into squares—if the slices are rectangular, roll from long end to long end. Trim crusts. Carefully line tins with bread. (Extra bread is to patch any holes.) Brush bread edges with melted butter. Place 1 tbsp (15 mL) cheese in each cup. Make a ring of spinach around cheese so there is a well for egg. Working one at a time, crack an egg into a ramekin, then pour into cups.

6 Bake on lower shelf until whites are set but yolk is still runny, 20 minutes. Briefly cool, then transfer to serving platter. Crumble pancetta over eggs and serve with hot sauce.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Spiced Squash Salad

I love anything squash and this salad is no exception.  I was unable to find Kabocha squash in my rural store so I substituted an extra acorn squash.  From Food and Drink Holiday 2016.

½ cup (125 mL) olive oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
1 tsp (5 ml) honey
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cumin
½ tsp (2 mL) ground ginger
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
Pinch chile de arbol or cayenne

1 delicata squash, about 1 lb (500 g)
1 acorn squash, about 1 lb (500 g)
½ butternut squash or 1 small one
½ kabocha squash, about 1 lb (500 g)
3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 small head of radicchio
1 tsp (5 mL) olive oil
3 tbsp (45 mL) finely chopped green onion
1 Whisk together oil, lemon juice, honey, cumin, ginger and cinnamon. Add a pinch of chile de arbol or cayenne. Reserve.

2 Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

3 Peel squash if you don’t want to leave skin on. Remove and discard seeds. Cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces. Toss with olive oil and season
with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring the squash around occasionally to ensure it cooks evenly. The squash should be tinged with gold. Remove from baking sheet to a plate and season again if needed. Squash should all be combined.

4 Cut each radicchio leaf in half through the centre stem. Heat a skillet, preferably nonstick, over high heat and add olive oil. Stir in radicchio leaves and toss until hot but still crisp. Place a large spoonful of mixed squash on a plate and garnish with radicchio leaves.

5 Drizzle vinaigrette over everything. Scatter with green onions.
Serves 4

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Oven Fried Flank and Cauliflower Steaks with Leek Ash

Vegetable Ash is a new trend for me and I wasn’t sure about it, however it is well worth the work.  It first appeared at Noma Restaurant in Copenhagen and is a great way of using up vegetable pieces that might otherwise be thrown out.  This recipe is from Food and Drink Winter 2017.

2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped garlic
1 tbsp (15 mL) soy sauce
1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh herbs of choice (we used tarragon) 
1 flank steak, about 1½ lbs (750 g) 

1 head cauliflower
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 soft-boiled eggs
1 tbsp (15 mL) Leek Ash (recipe follows) 
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
½ cup (125 mL) melted butter

Leek Ash
Maldon or other finishing salt
¼ cup (60 mL) microgreens
1 tbsp (15 mL) tarragon leaves
1. Combine oil, balsamic, Dijon, garlic, soy and fresh herbs and brush over steak. Marinate for 2 hours on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator. 

2. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). 

3. Cut cauliflower in half through the stem. Cut each half in half again to make 4 steaks. Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast on a parchment-lined baking sheet, turning halfway through, for 30 minutes or until crisp-tender and golden at the edges. Reserve. 

4. Blend eggs, leek ash and lemon juice using a stick blender in a high-sided bowl. Slowly drizzle in melted butter. Season with salt and pepper and reserve at room temperature. (If you make ahead and refrigerate, return it to room temperature before serving.) 

5. Raise oven heat to 450°F (230°C). Place a baking sheet in the oven and leave for 10 minutes. 

6. Place steak on baking sheet and return to oven. Bake for 5 minutes. Flip the steak and bake 5 to 7 minutes longer or until medium-rare. Remove from oven and place on carving board. Let rest for 10 minutes. Reheat cauliflower in 450°F (230°C) oven for 5 minutes or until heated through. 

7. Dust serving plates with Leek Ash. Place a cauliflower steak on each plate and spoon leek ash emulsion around base of cauliflower. Slice steak thinly against the grain. Lay slices overtop of sauce and cauliflower. Sprinkle with a little Maldon or other finishing salt. Garnish with microgreens and tarragon leaves.

Serves 4

1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Separate and thoroughly rinse the green tops only of 1 leek. Dry well. Place in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until greens are dry and deeply browned. Let cool completely. Place leek greens in a blender or food processor and process into a fine powder. Sift ash to remove any large pieces.
Makes 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 mL

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Nut Cake

This is an old Danish recipe that goes well with coffee!

1 cup butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup nuts
6 or 7 egg whites
1 to tbsp rum or frangelico

Stir butter and sugar well together.  Put nuts through grinder once and add them.  Add flour, rice flour and baking powder.  Whip whites of eggs stiffly; fold into batter carefully.  Bake in a well greased baking dish with a detachable bottom for about an hour.  Turn out while still hot; sprinkle with rum/frangelico.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Zucchini and Corn Salad

A great summer salad!

1 tbsp canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 jalapeƱo pepper, chopped
2 lbs zucchini, thinly sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1/2 cup corn kernels
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
3 to 4 tbsp water

  • In large skillet over medium heat, heat oil.  Add onion and pepper.  Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring, until onion is soft.
  • Add Zucchini, corn, salt and chili powder; mix well.  Cook 5 minutes or until zucchini is softened.  Add 3 to 4 tbsp water, cover and cook 2 minutes more, until zucchini is soft and tender.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Acorn Squash with Spiced Applesauce

Squash is one of my favourite vegetables and this is a nice variation.

1 acorn squash, seeded and cut into 6 wedges
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup unsweetened chunky applesauce
2 tsp butter
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup

  • Heat oven to 375F.  Brush squash with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place on a jelly roll pan lined with aluminium foil.  Bake about 20 minutes, until squash is fork tender and slightly browned.
  • In a small saucepan, heat the applesauce.  Stir in butter and cinnamon, cook 1 minute more.  
  • Serve squash with a dollop of applesauce and a drizzle of syrup.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Turkey Brunch Burgers

The slow roasted tomatoes here are the star of the show on these wonderful brunch burgers!  From Food and Drink Autumn 2016.

1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp (5 mL) balsamic vinegar
8 large plum tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, grated
4 tsp (20 mL) chopped sage
1 lb (500 g) ground turkey
4 slices smoked bacon, finely chopped
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper
Large pinch freshly grated nutmeg

6 English muffins
6 slices mild cheddar cheese
Grainy mustard to taste
1 cup (250 mL) baby arugula

1 For the slow-roasted tomatoes, preheat oven to 275°F (140°F).

2 In a large mixing bowl, whisk garlic, thyme, olive oil and vinegar. Halve tomatoes lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds. Place tomatoes in bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 2 hours. Reduce oven to 250°F (120°F). Bake until tomatoes are shrivelled but still moist, 1½ to 2 hours. Remove from oven and cool completely. (Tomatoes will keep, covered and refrigerated, for 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

3 For the turkey patties, heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add apple and sage. Cook, stirring, until moisture has evaporated and apples are al dente, 5 minutes. Transfer to plate to cool.

4 In a mixing bowl, combine turkey, bacon, cooled apple mixture, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly. Divide into 6 even balls. Form balls into patties that are 4 inch (10 cm) diameter. (Patties will keep, covered and refrigerated for 2 days.)

5 Preheat barbecue to medium-high. Split muffins in half. Trim cheese slices to 3-inch (8‑cm) squares and set aside.

6 Clean and oil barbecue grate. Grill patties until cooked through, 5 minutes per side. During last minute of cooking, place cheese on top of patties to melt. Grill muffins on cut side until lightly toasted, 20 to 30 seconds.

7 Smear muffin bottoms with mustard. Top with a few arugula leaves. Layer with patties, 2 tomato halves each and muffin tops. Serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftover tomatoes for another use.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Apple Pie with Cheddar Crumble Topping

Who doesn’t love cheddar cheese and apple pie?  This is a wonderful twist to a traditional pie.  From Food and Drink Autumn 2016.

5 medium-size apples, such as McIntosh
¼ cup (60 mL) all-purpose flour
3 tbsp (45 mL) granulated sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon

½ cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (30 mL) packed brown sugar
3 tbsp (45 mL) room-temperature butter
1½ cups (375 mL) finely grated old cheddar cheese, about 4 oz (125 g)

Easy Butter Pastry (recipe follows)

1 Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

2 For pie, peel apples, core and thinly slice. They should measure about 4½ cups (1.125 L). Place in a bowl. In a separate bowl, stir flour with sugar and cinnamon. Gradually sprinkle over apples, tossing apples with your hands to evenly coat.

3 For crumble, stir flour with brown sugar in a bowl. Add butter and use your fingers to crumble together. Add cheddar and work in until evenly mixed. Press into clumps.

4 Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll pastry on a lightly floured surface into a long rectangle, approximately 16 x 7 inches (40 x 18 cm). Lift and fit into 14 x 4½-inch (35 x 14‑cm) loose-bottom rectangular tart pan. Trim pastry even with edge of pan. Place apples in crust, spreading evenly. Do not mound. Gently press down and move slices to fill in any large gaps. Add cheese-crumble mixture, a handful at a time, to top of apples. It should look uneven.

5 Set on a baking sheet. Place in preheated oven. Immediately reduce heat to 350°F (180°C) and bake 40 minutes.

Serves 4 to 5


2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (30 mL) granulated sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¾ cup (175 mL) cold unsalted butter
3 tbsp (45 mL) ice-cold water

1 Whirl flour with sugar and salt in a food processor until blended. Cut butter into small pieces and scatter over flour mixture. Pulse until coarse crumbs form. With motor running, slowly pour cold water through the feed tube. Whirl just until dough starts to come together. Gather into a ball. Flatten into a thick round. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 30 minutes.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Soft Sage and Cheddar Pretzels

A guilty pleasure!  These are soft and have an incredible texture from simmering them in a baking soda solution.  Recipe from Food and Drink Summer 2015.

3½ cups (875 mL) white bread flour
1 cup (250 mL) whole wheat flour
2 tbsp (30 mL) sugar
2¼ tsp (11 mL) kosher salt
1½ tsp (7 mL) rapid rise yeast
2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped fresh sage,
about 15 leaves
1½ cups (375 mL) lukewarm water
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
8 cups (2 L) water
¼ cup (60 mL) baking soda
1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tsp (5 mL) water
About 1 cup (250 mL) grated sharp
cheddar cheese
Maldon salt for sprinkling

1 Combine bread flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar, salt, yeast and chopped sage in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the lukewarm water and oil, and mix on low speed until the ingredients come together and form a ball of dough, 2 to 3 minutes.

2 Increase the speed to medium and continue mixing until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 4 to 5 minutes. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl and be soft but not sticky.

3 Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until almost double in bulk, 1 to 1½ hours.

4 Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide into 10 equal pieces, about 3 oz (90 g) each.

5 Form each piece into a smooth round ball. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and rest on the work surface for 20 minutes. This will allow the gluten to relax.

6 Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using your palms and fingertips, roll each piece of dough into a strand about 12 inches (30 cm) long. As you work, place the strands on the parchment-lined baking sheet and keep covered loosely with plastic wrap. Once all the strands are rolled out, return to the first strand, and roll out again until it is at least 20 inches (50 cm) long. (Giving the dough a rest while rolling makes it much easier to work with). Continue with the remaining strands. If the dough seems dry at any point, lightly mist the work surface with water.

7 Working with one strand at a time, shape into a large U with the curve closest to you. Cross the 2 ends of the rope twice to make a twist, then fold the twist back down over the bottom of the U to form a pretzel shape. Set the pretzels on the parchment-lined baking sheets and continue shaping the rest of the strands.

8 When all the pretzels are shaped, cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until puffy, 20 to 30 minutes.

9 Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

10 To prepare the baking soda solution, place 8 cups of water in a large high-sided pot and place over high heat. Bring the water to a rapid simmer, then add the baking soda. The baking soda will cause the water to foam up the sides of the pot. Make sure the baking soda is fully dissolved, then reduce the heat to maintain the water at a simmer.

11 Lower 2 to 3 pretzels at a time into the simmering water. Simmer for 30 seconds and, with a slotted spoon, flip the pretzels over. Simmer for another 30 seconds, then lift the pretzels with the slotted spoon, allowing the water to drain off. Place them back onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pretzels.

12 Once all the pretzels have been simmered in the water, brush with the beaten egg and top with 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 mL) grated cheddar cheese. Sprinkle Maldon salt overtop.

13 Bake the pretzels, 1 tray at a time, in the middle of the oven until they are deep brown, about 20 minutes.

14 Transfer the pretzels to a cooling rack and let sit until cool enough to handle. They are best eaten fresh and warm, but can be stored for up to 1 day. Store in a paper bag at room temperature. Re-warm in a 350°F (180°C) oven for about 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 10 large pretzels