Monday, May 26, 2014

Cauliflower Steaks with sauteed mushrooms and Poached Egg

Lately, I've been reading great things about cauliflower steaks, something new to my repertoire.  For a vegetarian, this is an intriguing use for cauliflower.  My recipe is based on one from Anne Burrell.  Well worth a try.

Forty minutes in the ovens transforms the cauliflower into a soft and silky vegetable.  There's new flavour in there!  Then, you add a couple of generous spoonfulls of mushroom ragoĆ»t and top with a beautiful poached egg! Heaven!

To serve four

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Curried Chickpea Rolls- Indian in a puff pastry!

Chickpea Curry- what a great filling for a puff pastry roll!  Another riff on rolls.  These are great portable snacks!  and they make great appies!  No puff pastry? - use fillo.

This recipe isn't an exact science.  I throw in a handful of this and a handful of that... whatever you have on hand to make the best curried chickpea filling ever.

This recipe makes 2 10-inch rolls or 5 filo pastries "ish".

More Chickpea Rolls- Moroccan and Delicious!

Take a basic recipe and make it your own with a new flavour profile.  I've made two different varieties- Moroccan and Curried Indian.  Here is the Moroccan version.

I love the warmth of cinnamon and cumin, the sweetness of dried apricots, the crunch of almonds... all rolled into flaky puff pastry or, for a change of pace, filo dough.  These freeze well- something to look forward to when you want something quick and tasty...

 When I create a new recipe like this one, I don't always measure.  For this filling, just add, taste, adjust and you'll be fine.  If your Moroccan includes something different, go for it!

Makes two 10-inch rolls or about five filo pastries...

Sicilian Caponata- the quicker version

There is definitely no definitive version of caponata in Sicily.  This is version number two, for when you want it to be relatively quicker (it will still need about 45 minutes to cook) and with fewer ingredients than the first version.  This recipe is based on one provided by David Rocco in his Made in Italy cookbook.  Version number three, coming this summer, is the one I've been canning for over a decade.  Still a favourite!

Serve this at room temperature on a piece of baguette, or warmed up, in a small bowl "on the side" or even as a topping for an omelet...

Be prepared- your kitchen will smell heavenly!

Consider the quantities flexible.  If you don't have red pepper, just add more celery.  Have a lot of zucchini, throw it in!

To make enough to serve six!

Monday, May 19, 2014

These are Heavenly! Marshmallows...

Homemade marshmallows... once you've made these easy treats, you'll never, ever be tempted to buy the grocery store variety.  Not even close!  This is a great project to do with kids...

I found the basic recipe in a Gourmet magazine.  After making up a batch of the marshmallow mixture, I "consulted" with my granddaughter for the flavours.  Here is what we decided: plain with toasted coconut coating, then a cocoa covered, nutella swizzled variety (you have to try this one) and a colourful purple variety (food coloring swirled through the marshmallow) with a plain sugar coating.  These marshmallows are amazingly light, fluffy, exactly what a real marshmallow should be.  All of our varieties were amazing, especially the nutella one!

Go ahead and try our varieties then experiment.  I bet you can come up with more favourites.

This recipe makes approximately 3 dozen marshmallows.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Menu- That's Italian!

The International Dinner Group (IDG) has been meeting bi-monthly to share great food and even greater company for about twenty years.  Everyone takes a turn hosting the evening- the hostess picks the theme for the evening and the rest of the gang volunteer to bring a dish.  Some of us love to cook and all of us love to eat, laugh and share our stories. 

Most everyone has worked at the Royal College in Ottawa over these many years, most are now retired but we still share that unconditional friendship and camaraderie that is so precious...

I am honoured to share our menus and our recipes!

April 2014- Italian Dinner at Joanne's

Our menu:
Bruschetta- traditional tomato and basil; blue cheese and toasted walnut; roasted peppers

Chicken Cacciatore  (Marvel)

Pasta Putanesca (Joanne)

Gisela's amazing Spring salad with honeyed nuts

Louise's Tiramisu

Bruschetta with Roasted Peppers

Looking for a great appie?  Easy and quick?  You can even make a big batch and freeze some for later...  This is a crowd pleaser!

Will make four people very happy....

Pasta Puttanesca- It's Quick and it's Fabulous!

Need to entertain in a hurry?  Pasta puttanesca is my "go to" for a healthy, quick and easy dish that will truly impress your guests.  When I think puttanesca, I can taste the brininess of the Kalamata olives, the saltiness of the capers, the background heat from the red pepper flakes- it's a great dish.

If you want to keep it strictly vegetarian, just omit the anchovies.  The sauce also freezes well so portion pack and you'll always be ready to go...

Makes enough sauce to serve eight. 

A Fabulous Summer Salad- Spring Asparagus Tabbouleh

I love tabbouleh and I also love to experiment.  Asparagus, that harbinger of spring, is one of my favourite vegetables.  Why not combine them both?  Now you have traditional lemon, parsley and mint flavours married with beautiful, tender asparagus.

This recipe serves four.

I Love These Burgers- Chickpea and Walnut-

Summer is fast approaching and thoughts are turning to burgers and BBQ.  That's the time my vegetarian soul starts yearning for the great flavours of a myriad of my veggie burgers.  I've even converted a few carnivores!

I got my inspiration for this chickpea burger recipe from an old Gourmet magazine recipe.  The toasted walnuts add great texture and the rest of the flavours work on a burger bun or over salad greens.

This recipe makes four substantial burgers or nine smaller ones.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

You'll Fall in Love with Chickpea Rolls!

My mission today: prepare a delicious, flavourful vegetarian "fast food" that's easy to freeze and easy to serve. Chickpea rolls are kind of like a fallafel, wrapped in puff pastry and baked in the oven.  These rolls highlight the goodness and texture of the chickpeas, supported by the herbs and spices and a little bit of kick from the hot pepper.  It's really goodness wrapped in puff pastry.

Is it fast food?  Well, I made the rolls and froze them.  Need supper in a hurry?  Crank up the oven and pop these goodies in for about 12 minutes and you're ready to go!  It doesn't get much better than this.  Perfect for the house or the cottage!

Watch for variations- coming soon...

This recipes makes two ten inch rolls, cut into four pieces each.