Sunday, October 28, 2012

Indian Chicken Tomato Curry- You'll Love It!

Indian Chicken Tomato Curry with vegetarian and chickpea curries.
This curry is an old standby.  Rich, creamy, as spicy as you like and so easy to make.  Perfect as the centerpiece for an Indian dinner or to bring to a potluck.  Your friends will be asking for this recipe!

The thing is, you could use boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe, dredge them in flour and brown.  But I think that, in exchange for convenience, you miss out on flavour from the bones and the skin.  But, the chicken skin is also fatty.  So, I have added an extra step which is outlined below.

Sweet Potato Shrimp Cakes

Two varieties of Sweet Potato Shrimp Cakes- one is Asian and the other is Mexican (served with salsa verde)

I love making salmon cakes, crab cakes, shrimp cakes... all kinds of fishy cakes.  Everybody loves them, they are easy to make and they freeze well.

I made my first crab cakes in 2005 when I moved to Vancouver from Ottawa and I was hooked (pun intended)!  This sweet potato and shrimp cake offers up bold Asian flavours.  Make them small to use as finger food or bigger to serve as an appetizer or main course. I try to have them on hand to serve unexpected guests.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Not Your Usual Lasagna- this one's impressive!

This lasagna is my absolute favourite- you can go noodle free and, bonus, it's vegetarian!  Grilling the vegetables is well worth the effort and the puttanesca sauce injects another layer of flavour.  I often double the quantity of sauce and freeze it to use later with spaghetti.

The basic recipe for Grilled Vegetable Lasagna with Puttanesca Sauce was provided by Emeril Lagasse.  I've made it my own, with great results.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Support Okanagan Farmers! Buy Local!

The Kelowna Farmers and Crafters Market has been going strong since 1995.  It's one of the biggest in British Columbia, attracting producers from throughout the Okanagan.  Open Wednesday and Saturday mornings, it's perfect for eating local and in season!

There's something for everyone at the Market. Shoppers rub elbows with local chefs and tourists from all over. More than half the stalls offer up fresh, local produce and an opportunity to get to know our farmers.  Or you can also bring home prepared foods.  Choose from homemade samosas, Aussie pies, Asian dumplings and dishes, breads and cakes, cookies, preserves... or locally made soaps, jewelry, metal sculptures for the lawn, hand crafted wood furniture, clothing.  - it's all there!

This year has been a good one for our local producers and it shows.

Friday, October 12, 2012

For an easy WOW dessert- try Tarte Tatin, with a Canadian Touch

I'm always on the lookout for great apple or pear desserts.  Years ago, in a professional baking class, we made apple tarte Tatin.  Looked great, tasted amazing and it was so easy to prepare- provided you used store bought puff pastry.  In class, we made our pastry from scratch, but that's another story.  This dessert "stuck" with me- who wouldn't like "tarte Tatin"? I confess that I also like the sound of the name!

I was invited to Suzanne's for Thanksgiving dinner.  A tarte Tatin was the perfect dessert to bring along.  Traditionally, it is made with apples but pears work equally well.  Both fruit are in season now and available at the local farmers' market.  The Canadian touch?  Maple syrup, of course.  Here's the recipe:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Apples and Pears- From the Orchard to your Kitchen...

When there's a chill in the air and the days get shorter, I start thinking pears and apples: pies, crisps and  cakes. Hazeldell Orchards is my first (and usually my only) stop in the search for the best and the freshest fall fruit.  Located just minutes from downtown Kelowna, Hazeldell offers fabulous fruit, in many varieties: Flemish, Anjou, Bosc pears; ambrosia, gala, silken apples.  There's fresh, made on-site apple juice for sale and plenty of great advice and suggestions for free.  The staff know their fruit! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hooray for the Pantry- It's Plum Chutney

This plum chutney is a pantry workhorse- and not just an accompaniment to Indian dishes.  Serve this sweet and sour condiment with your favourite roast, with chunks of cheese, on a sandwich... And bonus, in the Okanagan, you can buy plums at the farm gate, fresh off the tree, red plums, yellow plums, purple plums.  Amazing!  Here's the recipe:

Oh Mama, there's no ham in the pea soup!

My mom always made her traditional French Canadian pea soup with a great meaty ham bone.  The meatier the better for that great smoky flavour.  The ingredients (and the quantities) in this recipe are totally flexible and a few are unconventional, for a French Canadian.  Here's how I played with the ingredients to satisfy my vegetarian taste buds:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thank You Madhur! Aloo-ki-tikiya- well almost!

Cooked potato patty on the bottom
Uncooked and ready for the freezer on the top

I love making savoury cakes: fish cakes, crab cakes, veggie burgers- they're great to have in the freezer, portion packed and ready for the oven whenever you are.  The base recipe for these potato patties is provided by Madhur Jaffrey.  I've made it my own and got to use one of my newest toys- a slider maker.  Its really an 8' x 8' pan with a kind of a cutter to make twelve perfectly square patties in one "shot".  Perfect size, everything "clean" and ready in no time.  Here's my recipe:

Cantonese Shrimp Dumplings

I like to stock my freezer with great finger food. These dumplings are easy to make and taste amazing, always better than store bought.  The filling is "flexible" so you can make it your own.  Here's the recipe.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hot and Spicy and oh so easy- Vegetarian Chili

Need to feed a hungry crowd in a hurry?  This vegetarian chili is chock full of vegetables, flavourful and delicious and quick and easy to prepare.  I don't use canned "anything" very often, this is the exception.  Canned beans and tomatoes get this chili started in no time.  You just have to focus on the vegetables.

I'm using the basics: onions, red pepper, celery, garlic and adding squash (zucchini and butternut) and corn.  Many different flavourings are added to give the chili layers and layers of flavour.  You don't have to include them all.

This recipe will serve 6-8 and doubles easily.

Chana Masala- my favourite Indian chickpea curry

Chana Masala served with brown rice, cucumber and garlic chutney

Hey! I'm French Canadian so this is the French Canadian version of an Indian chickpea curry - Chana Masala.  It's my comfort food- full of rich tomato coconut sauce, warm spices (yes, there will be heat), coriander and, of course, chickpeas.  And the aroma in the kitchen- hummmm.

Now, you can go ahead and make this on the stove top.  You know, the old fashioned way and it's delicious.  Today, I'll make it in an electric pressure cooker.  It's a wonderful appliance, time saver and I don't worry about watching the pressure gauge, it's all done for me.  Just set it and walk away.

The quantities are approximate because I encourage you to taste, adjust and to make it your own.  Here goes...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Something Different for my Pantry- Garlic Chutney

This fall's preserving frenzy included quite a few new condiments, including this chutney.  Its main ingredients are two of my favourites: garlic and eggplant.  Kind of pungent and kind of mellow, it is a great accompaniment to curries.  Or, mix into cooked rice or quinoa.  This recipe is from a cookbook "Sensational Preserves" by Hilaire Walden.