Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Stuffed Turkey Scallopini






Today was one of those "do I order a pizza or do I actually cook something" kinda days. I've been hobbling around on a pair of crutches for the past week and haven't really felt like doing much in the kitchen. Oh, it's nothing particularly serious - I got out of the car, tore a ligament and am learning to hop on one foot pretty well. It's probably more annoying than anything but not one to be kept down I decided I would give an old recipe a whirl.

This recipe is extremely versatile and can be put together pretty quickly and never disappoints.

Ingredients:

3 turkey pieces (scallopini if you can get them)
1 heaping tbsp minced garlic
1 heaping tbsp dijon mustard
fresh thyme
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
6 asparagus spears cut to fit
6 thin slices cheese (I used mozarella but swiss would be even better)

Process:



1. If you're using turkey breast pieces as I did, you'll have to butterfly them to flatten them out.



2. Mix together garlic, dijon mustard, fresh thyme and olive oil to make a paste



3. Smear (specific culinary term) one side of turkey breast, add a little kosher salt and pepper



4. Place cheese and asparagus spears in centre and roll up scallopini



5. Smear outside with garlic, mustard, olive oil paste and add more pepper
6. Roll in bread crumb and parmesan cheese combination



7. Put a splash of olive oil in oven pan
8. Add stuffed scallopini and bake uncovered at 375 for approx 30 minutes or until golden brown. If browning too quickly, reduce heat to 350.



9. Serve with heavenly salad - so good


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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Malaysian Curry & Thai Green Curry Chicken


This post has been in the making for over a week now. But nothing but the best for Rosie and Pixie's Putting Up Event.



When I first read about this event, I thought, "ok, I'll just sit this one out". I have never made any sort of preserve in my life. I don't have any tools and I don't have storage. But, Pixie takes no prisoners. My small kitchen was no excuse. So the pressure was on. When I told Giz that I was going to be trying Kittie's from Kittens in the Kitchen Malaysian Rempah paste, she said, "Perfect - submit it for Putting It Up. So, if this paste is bending the boundaries of Putting It Up, blame Giz. In fact, I'll just go ahead and say that any mistakes I make are Giz's fault. Nothing like making sure someone else takes responsibility for my actions.

Back to the Malaysian paste...You'll recall that I recently tried, unfulfillingly, to simulate the delicious flavours of Thai food that I've eaten while out for dinner. In fact, here are some pictures from my last visit to Giz's, about a month ago (yes, I gave in and visited), when we went out for Thai food:





Since the store-bought curry is not even close to food I've eaten while out for dinner, I figured, I would need to make something from scratch. When I saw Kittie's recipe, I thought it was a perfect first attempt recipe. Sure, it's Malaysian, but I think the flavours/ingredients are quite similar to what you would find in Thai food (please clarify this for me if I'm wrong).

Purchasing the ingredients for this post was a bit of an adventure in itself. R and I headed out for Chinatown and visited a Thai grocery store. I asked a guy to help me find all of the ingredients. He could have shown me fish heads and I would have believed him. I was suprised at how available most of the ingredients were and that they were reasonably priced. Between $1 - $2/item.





What follows is a video of me making the paste. NOTES: no, I do not sound like a 12 year old dink in person....just on video.



Malaysian Rempah Paste

2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1” cinnamon stick
2 tbsp peanuts, ground to a paste
1” piece galangal – peeled, roughly chopped
2” piece fresh ginger – peeled, roughly chopped
2 small pieces fresh turmeric (or 1 tsp ground) – peeled (careful, will turn your hands yellow for several days...trust me on this)
4 garlic cloves – peeled
9 Thai shallots – peeled, roughly chopped
6 Thai red chillies – stalks removed, seeds in
2 4” lemongrass sticks – inc bulb
The zest of 1 lime
1 tsp shrimp paste
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp groundnut oil (used canola instead)
2 tbsp finely grated coconut

In a dry pan, toast coriander, fennel, cumin seeds and cinnamon until they start to release their aromas. Grind in a mortar and pestle.

Take all the fresh ingredients and grind to a smooth paste.

Mix all of the fresh ingredients with the ground spices and sauces. The paste will keep in the fridge for up to two months – store in a glass jar, with a layer of oil to prevent oxidization.



Also, thanks to Kittie's advice and great use of the paste, I also found inspiration from her Thai Green Curry with Chicken.

4 bnls skls chicken breasts, diced
1 red pepper
1/2 courgette (zucchini)
1/2 aubergine (eggplant)
3 lime leaves, shredded (didn't have)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1" piece ginger, grated
3 tbsp curry paste
1 400ml tin coconut milk, or two small ones
Oil to fry
Thai basil leaves

Heat oil in a hot wok, add 2 tablespoons of curry paste and fry for about 30 seconds. Add a few tablespoons of coconut milk. Add the chicken and fry until opaque. At this point add the ginger, garlic, lime leaves, and the remaining paste. Fry for another couple of minutes.

Stir in the remaining coconut milk and the red peppers, then turn to a simmer. Allow to simmer uncovered for about 6 minutes - until the peppers are slightly softened, but still have a good 'bite'.

Add the aubergine and courgette, simmer for another couple of minutes and serve over steamed rice. I didn't use aubergine (eggplant). Instead, I added a variety of peppers. I also added extra Thai red chillis - but didn't eat them because they were too spicy. In fact, I had residual stinging from holding the chillis.





Overall, both the paste and chicken are very good. It doesn't taste like the Thai food I eat in restaurants, so that seach continues. But, this paste is a good addition. I have about 3/4 of a jar remaining, so I'm looking forward to trying other variations. One note, is that I would probably add more vegetables next time and cut the chicken pieces smaller. It also needed a touch of salt/sweetness. I added soy sauce and that did the trick. StumbleUpon

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Not for the Faint of Heart


I've been priviledged this week to have the company of a very dear friend from the western provinces. We don't see one another often enough but when we do it's a total foodie extravaganza. I actually think she's more insane than I am and certainly a far more adventurous soul than I am.

When "L" arrived, we created a plan to visit the food hot spots of our great city, to tour the areas of interest and to try new things. She's been here for 3 days and we're both dead exhausted but having a terrific time. It's fun to have a like minded person around who likes spending time in fresh markets, grocery stores, spice stores, fish stores, cheese stores, ethnic markets and not least of all chocolate shops. "L" is a bit of a dark chocolate maven. The unfortunate thing is that good dark chocolate is hugely expensive and like good wine is something to be savoured. So when I say let's get a chocolate bar and I pick up a Mars bar "L" goes into facial twitches. I am learning. You don't break off a chunk of chocolate and say "mmm that was good".... I'm learning to break a small square into a gazillion pieces and to allow each piece to teach me something. So far I'm still trying to get over spending $12. on a chocolate bar which apparently is a moderate price range. I'm sorry, I've already digressed.

On one of our excursions, we stopped into a Vietnamese Pho restaurant - one I had never tried and judging by how busy it was, we suspected it would be a good find. We were right. Absolutely incredible Pho soup. "L" had the seafood noodle pho




and I had the wonton noodle pho



This is where the "not for faint of heart comes in". While we were sitting in the restaurant thoroughly enjoying our experience, a truck drove up and parked directly in front of our table just outside the restaurant. (of course - it's not going to park inside the restaurant). A man came around the side of the truck, threw open the doors and much to our shock, here's the site that greeted us.




I mean we all know that pork doesn't just appear but somehow when it becomes this up front and personal, it seems to take on a whole new meaning. After I got over the initial shock of it all, I just couldn't resist taking this shot:



I wondered a bit about how the man was planning to transport his stock. Well...here you have it:

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Matza Brie


Ok Kate, this post is for you... A kosher for Passover recipe.

For as long as I can remember, Giz would make me and actorboy matza brie (a.k.a. fried matza) around Passover. It's kind of like the kosher for Passover version of french toast. I like to eat it with sugar sprinkled on top. But, it's flexible because matza doesn't have a very strong flavour on it's own, so feel free to make adaptations (adding meat, vegetables, herbs, etc.).



First, you break up the matza into smaller chunks. Depending on how hungry you are, I would go with 1-2 pieces of matza/person. Put the matza into a collander in the sink. Pour hot water over the matza to soften it. Be careful to not pour too much water. You want the matza to be soft, but not mush.



Whisk approximately 1 egg/piece of matza together and put soften matzas (matzot?) into the egg. I spent a bit of time separating the matza and making sure it was all well coated with egg.



Spread out matza-egg in a frying pan that has been prepared with melted butter or vegetable oil.



Allow everything to fry until the one side is a nice golden brown. Once the desired colour is achieved, flip the matza (this may require that you cut the matza in half in order to maintain the "brie structure" post-flip.



Add whatever you want on top of your matza. Without some sort of flavour (syrup, herb, sugar, preserve, etc.), matza brie will not be very flavourful.



Personally, I like to sprinkle sugar.



Also, with the warmer weather, a nice smoothie would be a great accompaniment to the matza brie. Truth be told, R and I eat smoothies throughout the year (he loves having a smoothie after playing hockey).



My smoothie tips are:

- Use at least some frozen fruit. By using frozen fruit, you don't have to add ice, allowing for a thicker consistency.

- Our smoothies are usually comprised of frozen strawberries (we flash freeze a bunch in the summer to last us the winter) and fresh bananas. I've also added mango or blueberries to the smoothie strawberry banana mixture. Mango was great...blueberries did't do much to change the flavour. The last component is apple juice. We add about 1/2-3/4 cup of apple juice. StumbleUpon

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Citrus Double Bran Muffins





Sometimes we just have to resort to trickery. I know that statement will send shock waves to the entire blogging world but yes, it's true - I sometimes have to do things in a devious manner to make sure there's a good final outcome - hence - the end justifies the means. I'm also sure that by now you're thinking - like what the heck is she babbling about.

Well, when Psychgrad was much younger and as many of you already know, an incredibly fussy eater, I would do whatever I had to in order to make sure vegetables made it past her lips. Fast forward the clock and now I'm resorting to devious means with my own mother (baba as we call her - see side bar on right hand side of page). At the age of 86 (don't tell her I told you - she's a little sensitive about her age), her eating habits are, well, less than perfect. The one thing I do know is that she enjoys something on the sweet side with her afternoon tea or coffee. Her diet is completely fibre poor so herein lies the deceit. Baba will have her sweets but I'll definitely make sure she gets her dose of fibre.



This recipe comes from Anne Lindsay's Light Kitchen cookbook. Anne Lindsay is a well known Canadian cookbook author and this cookbook was written in support of one of the charities I support - The United Way of Canada.



Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat bran
1/2 cut oat bran
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped prunes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk or soured milk*
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Grated rind of 1 lemon and 1 orange
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Process:

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, wheat bran, oat bran, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in prunes.





2. In a separate bowl, mix egg, buttermilk, oil and lemon and orange rinds.



3. Pour into flour mixture and stir just enough to moisten, being careful not to overmix.
4. Spoon into sprayed muffin tins. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.



5. Bake in 375 F (190 C) oven for 20 minutes or until tops are firm to the touch. (mine were done in about 18 minutes)
6. Makes 12 muffins





+ To sour milk, add 1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup (250 ml) milk and let stand for 10 minutes. I found this fabulous product that I now swear by. I've never seen it in Canada but did pick it up on a recent trip to the U.S. I plan to stock up next trip across the border.




The nice thing is that each muffin has 3 g dietary fibre which is 3 g more than baba is getting now. StumbleUpon

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Scalloped Hashbrowns


First - a big thanks to Pixie for our first blogging award. Much to our excitement, she passed along this excellent award:



I also wanted to make mention of the link we added near the top of our sidebar. If you click on the Tried, Tested and True icon (pictured below), it will take you to the roundup.



The event was a great success for us. Giz and I are "in talks" about a future event.

Now...on to today's recipe.

This month's Homegrown Gourmet features potatoes.



I first tried this dish about 5 years ago. R's friend's mother made this dish for a wedding rehearsal dinner. I spent the next year following first trying this dish asking my friend for the recipe. He finally got it from his mom and sent it along. This dish reminds me of a fairly typical style of food I eat when in R's hometown. Except this tastes good.

Ok..that was mean.

It's not the healthiest dish in the world, but I consider it a bit of a treat and only make it once or twice per year. I don't know the actual name of this dish, so I'll call it scalloped hashbrowns.

Scalloped Hashbrowns



1 - 2lb bag of frozen hash browns
1 - 500 ml sour cream (I use plain yogurt)
2 - 10 oz cans of Cream of Mushroom soup (may try to cut this down to one - 10oz can)
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
pince of salt - taste
onion flakes - to taste
parmesan cheese - to taste

Directions: Thaw hashbrowns (I don't usually do much of this). Mix first 7 ingredients. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top (I also sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese on top). Bake at 350F for 1-1.5 hours.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Hummus & Pita



I've been wanting to make hummus pretty much since I started food blogging. I first saw Katie's hummus and more recently have seen Holler's hummus and Kittie's hummus. There isn't a huge difference between the main ingredients of hummus, but I decided to go with Katie's recipe. I star so many of her recipe and look in aww at her cake decorations, I knew that her recipe would be a safe bet.

Hummus



Ingredients:
1 12-oz can chick peas
1-2 large cloves garlic
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp+ tahini (sesame paste)
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

-Drain water from the can of chick peas into a small bowl and reserve.
-In a food processor (or blender), mix together the chick peas with the remaining rest of the ingredients, being careful to add second half of lemon juice and tahini slowly, stopping to taste.



-Slowly add some of the reserved liquid from beans and a bit of water for correct consistency,(about 1-2 minutes) until a smooth, slightly fluid paste is formed.

Note: to dress the hummus up for the table, the traditional way of serving is on a plate, with an extra drizzle of olive oil on top and a sprinkle of paprika and chopped parsley.



I spent a bit of time adding ingredients and although I will need to make this a few more times to perfect the recipe, I'd say this recipe is a winner.

I paired this hummus with za'atar pita. I combined za'atar spice with olive oil, spread it on whole wheat pita and put it in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 350F. Za'atar pita is a great combination with hummus. But, then again, there are so many food options that are great with hummus.

I'll be submitting this post to Cookthink Root Source Challenge #10.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Linguine Ratatouille with Italian Sausage


I've been cooking up a storm this evening. I'm sure you'll see the product in due time. But first, I need to catch up on older posts.

A week or so ago, I picked up a cookbook I hadn't given much attention to since Giz first sent it to me.



When I'm going through a cookbook, I'll usually sit with little sticky notes to mark the pages that look interesting to me. Maybe I was hungry when I sat down to look through this cookbook, but almost half of the pages have been tagged. I'd say that makes for a good cookbook. I think the trick is attractive and plentiful pictures. Like my food blog preferences, I like to see the food. It tells me what kind of product I can expect if I make the recipe (correctly) myself.

Since basil is one of my favourite herbs (parsley is another favourite), I decided to go with Linguine with Rataouille Sauce. I added spicy Italian sausage.

Linguine Ratatouille with Italian Sausage



3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, cut into thin slices
1 green or red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 small eggplant (about 1/2 pound), cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 zucchini (about 1/2 pound), cut into 1/2 inch dice
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 2/3 cups canned cursshed tomatoes in thick puree (one 15 ounce can)
2tsp wine vinegar
3/4 pound linguine
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp thin sliced basic leaves
3 hot Italian sausages

1. Cut up sausage into smaller pieces. Cook the sausage and then remove from pan in order to cook the remaining ingredients.

2. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat (I added less oil since there was fat from the sausages remaining). Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant, zucchini, garlic, salt and black pepper. Reduce the heat to moderately low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.



3. Add the tomatoes and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar. Toward the end of the 10 minutes, stir the sausage into the tomato and vegetable mixture.



4. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the linguine (I used spaghettini) until just done, about 12 minutes. Reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta-cooking water. Drain the pasta and toss with the vegetables, the 1/2 cup basil, and if the pasta seems too dry, some of the reserved pasta-cooking water. Serve topped with 2 tbsp of basil.





I'm submitting this to Ruth's Presto Pasta Night roundup. StumbleUpon
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