Monday, 31 July 2017

Baked Sweet Potato “Mac” and Cheese

An excellent vegetarian take on this classic.  I don’t have a spiralizer but I just used a coarse grate and it worked fine.  From Food and Drink Winter 2017.

4 large sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups (500 mL) 2% milk
1 cup (250 mL) half & half (10%) cream
1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
Cracked black pepper
1 lb (500 g) sharp cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup/250 mL reserved)
2 egg yolks, beaten
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

2. Butter a large 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33-cm) baking dish and set aside.

3. Trim both ends of sweet potatoes to make them flat. Place onto the spiralizer glider making sure the centre of the sweet potato is aligned with the circular centre blade. Push the glider towards the front blades as you turn the handle and watch as your spiralized sweet potatoes materialize. Keep a large bowl nearby to collect “noodles” and clean out the pulp and cores as you go.

4. In a large, preferably nonstick pot over medium heat, sweat the sweet potatoes for 6 to 8 minutes, alternating between keeping pot covered and stirring so that potatoes don’t stick to the bottom. Turn off heat. Stir in cornstarch until well incorporated.

5. Add melted butter to the pot of sweet potatoes. Stir in milk, cream, mustard, salt and pepper. Toss in all but 1 cup (250 mL) of the grated cheese and stir well. Add egg yolks and give it one more big stir. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake uncovered in preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining cup (250 mL) of cheese and broil until top is bubbly and darker brown. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Serves 8 to 10

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Black Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk and Diced Mangoes

This is an unusual take on the traditional rice pudding.  The black rice pairs well visually with the mango and the contrasting flavours are a perfect match.  This is from Food and Drink Winter 2017 - I did not have Thai Basil but a regular basil works just as well. I substituted brown sugar for the coconut sugar.

1½ cups (375 mL) black rice
2½ cups (625 mL) coconut milk
3 cups (750 mL) water
⅓ cup (80 mL) coconut or brown sugar
⅓ cup (80 mL) dried blueberries
Pinch salt
1 cup (250 mL) diced mango, about 2 small mangoes
2 tsp (10 mL) lime juice
½ tsp (2 mL) chili flakes (optional)

8 Thai basil leaves
1. Rinse rice in a sieve then place in medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add coconut milk, water, sugar, dried blueberries and salt. Bring to boil uncovered. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until rice is very tender and has absorbed most of the liquid.

2. Sprinkle mango with lime juice and chili.

3. Spoon rice into serving bowls. Top with mango and garnish with Thai basil leaves.
Serves 4

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Apple Strudel

A dessert that is sure to impress and will not take you all day in the kitchen!

5 medium apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
6 sheets phyllo pastry, thawed
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs

  • Combine apples with sugar and cinnamon.  Stir in nuts; set aside.  Place 1 phyllo sheet on damp tea towel, keeping remaining phyllo covered with damp cloth.  Lightly brush with butter; sprinkle with about 1 tbsp bread crumbs.  Repeat with remaining pastry, butter and crumbs.
  • Spoon apple mixture down centre of pastry.  Fold sides over top of apples.  Fold under ends.  Place, seam side down on greased 15x10 inch jelly roll pan.  Brush lightly with butter.  Cut 4 horizontal slits, evenly spaced, on top of strudel.  Bake at 375F for 30 to 35 minutes or until apples are tender.  Serve warm sprinkled with sugar, if desired.  Makes 8 servings.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Nori Tempura Crisps with Tamari Dip

A great starter for any meal, these have a delicate sea flavour that is not overpowering.  Make ahead and warm up for visitors if you have a group.  From Food and Drink Holiday 2015.

2 sheets of nori, each 8 x 7½ inches (20 x 19 cm)
¼ cup (60 mL) tamari or reduced-sodium soy
1 tbsp (15 mL) balsamic vinegar
½ tsp (2 mL) sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely grated ginger
Vegetable or peanut oil for frying
1 egg yolk
1¼ cups (310 mL) ice cold water
1 cup (250 mL) cake and pastry flour
½ tsp (2 mL) baking powder
Sea salt, preferably black
1. Tear each nori sheet into roughly 16 equal-sized pieces. In a small bowl, whisk together tamari, balsamic vinegar, sugar and ginger; set both nori and dipping sauce aside.

2. In a large saucepan, pour a depth of oil to 1½ inches (4 cm). Heat to 385°F (195°C).

3. While oil is heating, whisk together egg yolk and water in a large bowl. Add flour and baking powder; stir until just combined.

4. Working in manageable batches, dunk individual pieces of nori into batter, shake off excess and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, turning over mid-way through, until light golden; remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with remaining nori (you may not need all of the batter). Crisps may be made up to 6 hours in advance and held in a single layer on a rack, uncovered, at room temperature. Heat for 3 minutes in a 400°F/200°C oven to re-crisp and heat through. Serve hot crisps alongside dipping sauce.
Serves 6 to 8