Monday, March 16, 2015

Lobster Mac n Cheese

Most decadent dish ever from Tablespoon  I didn't change a thing but I did want to keep the recipe close at hand.

Printable Recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time:20 minutes
Serves 6

1 lb/450 g short cut pasta - I used oreccheti but elbow or baby shells works well too
9 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
 1 lb/450 g cooked lobster meat, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley plus extra for garnish at serving
1 1/2 cups crushed Ritz crackers
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk
1 1/4 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
1 cup shredded fontina cheese
4 oz/113 g Brie, rind removed and chopped
1/4 tsp mustard powder (I like Keens)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350F/176C Grease a 2.5 quart/3 litre baking dish (a little butter or cooking spray)

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil  Add pasta and cook until slightly under al dente (check your package for timing).  Remember that it will continue to cook and absorb liquid while baking.   Drain well and set aside.

3.  While the pasta is cooking, add 3 tbsp butter in a medium skillet over medium heat until melted.  Add the garlic and saute 30 seconds or until you get that wonderful fragrance.  Add the lobster meat and saute 3-5 minutes.  Add parsley and continue to cook for an additional 30 seconds.  Remove lobster mixture from pan and set aside.

4. Using the same skillet melt another 2 tbsp butter.  Add the crushed crackers and toss to coat.  Toast crumbs until golden (3 minutes or so).  Stir frequently to avoid burning.  Remove from heat and set aside.

5. In the same pot you boiled the pasta, melt the remaining 4 tbsp butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour.  Reduce heat to medium low.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring once or twice to avoid burning.  Gradually whisk in the milk and raise heat to medium high.  Bring mixture to a boil, whisking frequently until the sauce has thickened (about 3 minutes).  Remove from heat and stir in all the cheeses, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.  Stir until the cheeses have completely melted.  Stir in the pasta and about 3/4 of the lobster mixture.  Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

6. Evenly sprinkle the remaining lobster chunks and then cover with the toasted cracker crumbs.  Place on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet (to catch potential spillage - there is nothing more annoying than cleaning cheesy spills off the racks and bottom of the oven.

7. Bake for 20 minutes or until the crumbs are golden brown and the sauce is bubbling.

8. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Spicy Lime Marinated Flank Steak

I'm not actually sure if this is the photo that goes with my hand-written scribble recipe, but since all flank steak recipes seem to look alike, I thought it would do until I make it again.

Printable Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes
Marinating time: 4-24 hours in the fridge
Grill time: 8-10 minutes
Rest time: 5 minutes

Serves 2-4 (depending on your appetite)

Flank steak ( or skirt or hanger steaks), lightly slashed across the grain
1 canned chipotle chili pepper, pureed (about 1 tbsp)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4c vegetable or olive oil
1/2 c lime juice ( 2-4 limes, depending on how juicy)
3 canned chipotle chilis, pureed (3 tbsp)
1/4 c honey
2 tsp peanut, grapeseed or vegetable oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
10 tbsp lime juice
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of salt
chopped cilantro for garnish

1.  Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large zip lock baggie.  Add the flank steak and coat well.

2.  Marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours and as long as 24 hours.  Turn occasionally so that the marinade is absorbed on both sides.   I usually put the baggie on a rimmed baking sheet or large platter avoiding any drippage.

3. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.  Set aside.  (You can make it when you make the marinade or just before grilling).

4.  Grill steak 3-4 minutes a side or longer if you like it well done.

5. Let it rest for 5 minutes, tented with foil

6. Slice across the grain and serve with sauce on the side.
Leftovers (should you have any - I sometimes make an extra flank steak just for that purpose) are great with a salad or in wraps.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Swiss Chard & Potato Frittata

from FineCooking Magazine

Printable Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20-30 minutesServes 4

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced

6oz/170g Swiss chard, separate stalks from leaves, finely chop both
3 cups Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp crushed red chili pepper flakes
10 large eggs
6oz/170g (about 2 cups grated aged Gouda cheese - or your favorite)
Smoked paprika

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.

2. In a 9”/23cm non-stick skillet (if it can stand the heat or lower the heat and bake a bit longer), Heat olive oil over medium high heat.  When warm, add rosemary, stir until aromatic.  Add the Swiss chard stems, potatoes, onion, salt and pepper to taste. Saute until onion is soft (about 8 minutes). 

3. Remove from heat, stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes.  Spread evenly in the skillet. 

4. In the meantime, in a medium sized bowl, beat the eggs well with 1 tbsp olive oil. Mix in the chard leaves and grated cheese.  Pour over the potato mixture in the skillet.

5. Sprinkle some paprika and bake until the frittata is puffy and golden – about 15-20 minutes.

Let cool slightly before serving.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Tangy Chicken Kebabs with Lemon, Oregano & Fresh Parsley

Adapted from Broccoli, Love and Dark Chocolate: Because food, love, and life should be delicious!

Printable Recipe

Prep time  15  minutes
Marinating time:  30 minutes to overnight in the fridge
Assembly time: 15 minutes
Grill time: 8-10 minutes

Serves 4 (or two hungry people with a little leftovers - great for lunch)

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-2" cubes
1 sweet red bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
medium cremini mushrooms whole ( 4-5 per skewer)
1 medium red onion, cut into chunks big enough not to fall apart when skewered  I use 2-3 layers (see photo)
1 green onion, (white & green parts) finely chopped
Grated peel and juice of one lemon
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fr oregano, finely chopped or 1 tsp dried ( I love to use Dionysios wild herb blend from Epices de Cru)
2 cloves garlic, peeled & minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes or - my favorite Aleppo Pepper flakes.

1. In a bowl, whisk together all the marinade ingredients.

2. Add the chicken to the marinade and coat well.  Note:  if you are going to briefly marinate the chicken, add the onions, mushrooms and red pepper chunks to the marinade as well.  if you are marinating overnight,  don't add the vegetables until 30 minutes before grilling.

3. Preheat the grill to medium high.

4. Prepare the skewers.  If you are using wooden skewers, they should be soaked in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

5.  Grill the chicken skewers for 6-10 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken cubes.   Rotate every 2-3 minutes so the chicken cooks but doesn't burn.

Slow Cooker Cheese Greens & Sausage Frittata

Adapted from Idiot's Guides: Slow Cooker Cooking

I especially love the versatility of this recipe - choose your favorite cheeses - grate your own or buy a bag of blended grated cheeses; choose a green - the book calls for kale and it was delicious, but spinach or beet greens or Swiss chard or arugula would be wonderful too; sausages - anything from breakfast sausages to Italian, Chorizo ... sweet, or spicy, the choice is yours.   And if you want to quicken up the prep process, go vegetarian and add a pinch or two of your favorite herb or spice.

If, like us you are only feeding two for breakfast, this recipe keeps well for a few days and you can just heat up slices in the microwave.

Printable Recipe

Prep time 10 minutes
Slow cooker time 8 hours

Serves 6-8

1 lb/ 450g ground sausage meat ( the book calls for pork, but be adventurous or choose your favorite.  I used Andouille sausages this time)
1 bunch of kale, roughly chopped into 1" pieces ( next time Swiss chard, or .... your favorite greens)
10 large eggs
2 tbsp milk
Cheese - the following are from the book, but as long as the total amount stays the same, use your favorites)
1 cup shredded provolone
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
Note:  I also added 1 tbsp spicy peperoncini, because I like a little "heat",  1 tbsp dried herbs would be delicious too.

1. If you are using meat, heat a large skillet to medium high and brown sausage meat in small chunks for about 6 minutes.  Most of the pink should be gone, but it doesn't need to be totally cooked through.  Remember it will continue to cook for 8 hours.

2. Add kale, turn off the heat, cover with a lid or foil and let sit for 3 min.  If you're not sauteeing meat, you still need to wilt kale.  Other greens like, Swiss chard or spinach will wilt by themselves in the slow cooker.

3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk until well combined.

4. Add the grated cheeses, sun dried tomatoes (optional, and any dried herbs and spices ).  Stir in sausage and greens.   Mix well and pour into the slow cooker.  The recipe calls for a 6-8qt/5.5-7.5l cooker, but I did mine in our 4qt

5. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours

It was wonderful to wake up to delicious aroma and ready to eat frittata.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Marinated Lamb Chops with Herbs & Honey

Adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook

Printable Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes
Marinating time: overnight in the fridge
Grill time: 8- 10 minutes
Resting time 5-10 minutes

Serves 4

1 large rack of lamb (2 1/4 lb/1 kg) cut into double chops ( each chop will have two ribs)
Note: you could use any lamb chop if there are no racks available, but the racks turn are the most tender
3/4 cup (about 2/3 oz/ 20 g, flat leaf parsley
1 cup (about 1 oz/30 g,) cilantro leaves & stalks
1 cup (about 1 oz/30 g,) mint leaves
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 oz/15 g fresh ginger, peeled & sliced
1/2-1 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
3 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup sunflower or grapeseed oil
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 tbsp water

1. Place ribs in a large zip lock baggie and set aside.

2. Place all the rest of the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blitz until well blended.  Pour over the chops in the baggie and massage well to make sure each chop is covered in marinade.

3. Refrigerate overnight.  NOTE: I like to put my baggie on a tray or large plate just in case the bag leaks.

4. Preheat your grill.  Remove meat from the marinade, shaking off any excess.  Sear well on each side.  (I like mine 3-4 minutes per side) Reserve the marinade.

5. Once the chops are cooked to your liking, remove from the grill and let rest covered for 5 minutes or so before serving.

6.  While the chops are resting, heat the marinade (now a sauce) in a small saucepan over medium low heat and allow to simmer while the chops are resting.

Serve the sauce in a separate bowl and the perfect sides for me, are grilled asparagus spears and Ottolenghi's awesome Saffron Basmati Rice with Barberries, Herbs & Pistachios.

Saffron Rice with Barberries, Pistachios & Herbs

From Jerusalem A Cookbook

Printable Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Resting time 5-10 minutes 
Serves 6

2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups basmati rice rinsed under cold water & drained well
2 1/3 cups boiling water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp saffron threads soaked in 3 tbsp boiling water for 30 minutes
1/4 cup barberries, soaked for a few minutes in boiling water with a pinch of sugar
1 oz/30 g dill, coarsely chopped
2/3 oz/20g chervil (which I couldn't find so I used fresh basil chopped)
1/3 oz/ 10 g tarragon (again, I didn't have, so I used mint, chopped)
1/2 cup , coarsely chopped toasted pistachio

Directions:  You can change up some of the herbs, but I highly recommend you follow Yotam Ottolenghi's detailed instructions for perfectly cooked rice and stunning presentation.  It really will look like a jewel on your table.
1. Soak the saffron threads in a small dish and set aside until the dish is ready to serve. It takes about 30 minutes.

2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the drained rice.  Coat well and add the boiling water and salt.  Mix well and cover with a tightly fitted lid.  Let cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. DO NOT UNCOVER so that the rice will steam properly.

3. Remove the rice from the heat.  All the water will have been absorbed by the rice and pour the saffron water over one side of the rice (covering about 1/4 the surface) and leaving the majority white.  Cover the pan with a tea towel and reseal tightly with the lid.  Set aside for 5-10 minutes.

4. While the rice is resting, prepare the garnishes - chop herbs, drain barberries, toast the pistachios. Set aside.

5. Prep for serving:  Use a large spoon to remove the withe part of the rice to a large serving bowl and fluff with a fork.  Stir in drained barberries,  herbs and most of the pistachios (save a little for garnish).  Mix well, but gently.  Fluff the saffron rice and fold into the white rice mixture.  Don't over mix! you don't want the white grains to be stained by the yellow.  Taste and adjust for seasoning.  Scatter remaining pistachios on top.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Espresso & Spice Rubbed Steaks

Adapted from Chef Patrick MacIsaac

Printable Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes
Grill time: 8-10 minutes (depending on the thickness of the steak and how well don you like them)
Serves 2


2 strip loin or rib eye or even flank steak (I like to use local grass fed & grass finished beef)
Dry Rub:
1 tbsp fine ground espresso
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper (or some Aleppo Pepper)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder (dry rubs are the only time I ever use powder, but it works better than fresh)
1 tbsp sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 - 1 tsp Tlalelolco (Mexican chili rub from Epices de Cru)

1. In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients together for the rub and set aside.

2. Have the steaks at room temperature (about 20 minutes out of the fridge) and rub both sides of the steaks with the dry rub.  Set aside for 5 minutes or so.  Usually that's as long as it takes to heat up my BBQ.

3. Start the grill and when it's hot (500F/230C) grill the steaks for 3-4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness and how well done you like it.

4.  Remove from grill and allow to rest covered for 5 minutes before slicing if it's a flank steak, serving if it's strip loin or rib eye.

This time I served it with a Green Salad (romaine hearts, Spring onion, cucumber slices), with my semi Caesar vinaigrette, this time without the egg or mayo.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Salmon & Green Vegetables en Papiotte

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Printable Recipe

Prep time 15 minutes
Roasting time 8-10 minutes

Serves 2

2 sheets of parchment paper 12"x17"/30cm x 43cm
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms (this time fresh shitake, next time perhaps a mix of wild mushrooms)
4-5 sprigs fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and halved length-wise, or handful of baby spinach leaves or whatever leafy green veg is in season
4 scallions/green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup good extra virgin olive oil
salt & freshly gr black or Aleppo pepper
1/2 lemon, zest & juice
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or, white wine or water
2 skinless salmon fillets

1. Preheat oven to 400F/200C.  Cut two sheets of parchment and fold in half across the width, make a crease and unfold.  Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables (if you are using spinach or other leafy greens) leave out the mushrooms initially) with the oil, lemon juice & zest, salt & pepper.

3. Lay the asparagus or greens in the center of half of each sheet of parchment.  Place one fillet on top of the asparagus or greens.   Toss the mushrooms and green onions in the remaining lemon & oil mixture.  Top the salmon with half of the mushroom mix per sheet.  Drizzle each fillet with 1 tablespoon of either apple cider vinegar, white wine or water).

4. Seal each package:  Fold the unfilled side of parchment over the salmon & vegetables.  Make small overlapping pleats starting at one end and working your way around to seal the open sides.

5. Place two packets on a rimmed baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake for 9 -10 minutes.   If you are doubling the recipe, you will need to use 2 baking sheets.  Do not try to crowd 4 packets on one sheet.

6. To serve, carefully cut open the packets with kitchen shears.  There will be lots of steam, so "carefully" is not just a suggestion.   Serve with lemon wedges.

Spinach, Basil & Pistachio Pesto

Printable Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes

Makes 1 cup

4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup toasted pistachio nuts, shelled
2 cups spinach leaves (this time I used baby spinach)
1/2-3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or more if you like tangy)

Directions:   I do everything in my food processor (FP), but rather than throw everything in together I do the following:
1. With the motor running, drop the garlic down the feeding tube.  Turn the motor off and scrape down the sides, making sure all the garlic is now at the bottom of the bowl.

2.  Add the pistachio nuts and pulse until the nuts are finely chopped.   Scrape down the bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.

3.  Taste for seasoning.

4. Some for now, some for later:  Keep what you know you'll use within a few days in an air tight container in the fridge.

Freeze the rest.  Here's my favorite way...
1. use Glad seal n press wrap...lay one sheet flat, spoon 1 tbsp portions, leaving about 1-2 inches between portions. Lay a second layer of wrap over top and seal around each portion.

2. Place the sheets flat on a cookie sheet that will fit in your freezer.  Leave for at least 2 hours or overnight. Then roll up the sealed sheets and place in a zip lock freezer bag, label and store for up to 4 months.

3. Peel off, defrost and use as much as you need.  

  • 1-2 lumps for an omelet or frittata, like the one pictured  
  • 1-2 lumps with a dollop of your favorite mustard to marinate/glaze some chicken breasts for grilling
  • 1 frozen lump directly into some soup for extra flavor
  • the rest is up to your imagination.

Roasted Sweet Potato Stacks

Printable Recipe

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Roasting time: 20-25 minutes
Resting time: 5 minutes

Serves 4

2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1-2 tbsp chopped herbs ( I prefer thyme &/or rosemary)
Grinding or two of black pepper
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese plus some to sprinkle on the stacks when you take them out of the oven
2 long slim sweet potatoes (about 225g/8oz each), peeled and thinly sliced in circles (I used my mandolin set at 1/8th inch Note: the slimmer the potato the better.  Too wide and the slices won't fit into the tins properly.

1. Preheat the oven to 400F/200C

2. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, coconut oil, herbs, pepper and Parmesan.

3.  Peel and thinly slice sweet potatoes in disks and add to the butter mixture in the bowl.  Toss well.  I like to use my hands to make sure all the slices are coated.

4. Oil large muffin tins with cooking spray or olive oil on a paper towel.   Places stacks in each tin.  They will shrink down so pile to the top.

5.  Bake in center of the oven for 20-25 minutes.  Test with a fork.  The stacks are ready when the sweet potatoes are tender.

6.  Take the muffin tins out of the oven, sprinkle with more cheese and let the stacks rest for 5 minutes or so.  The cheese topping will melt and the stacks will be easier to take out of the tins.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Kale & Roasted Cauliflower Salad

This is a great recipe from Broccoli, Love and Dark Chocolate

Printable Recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes
Roasting time: 20 minutes
Serves 4-6

Roasted Cauliflower:
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
freshly ground black pepper
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 bunch of kale, leaves stripped from stalks & chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice (I used a little more than 1 tbsp)
1 tsp maple syrup (I used 2 tsp)
freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425F/220C and line one rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, juice, garlic and pepper.

3. Cut cauliflower into bite size florets and add to the bowl, tossing well.

4. Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer on the baking sheet.  (Note:  if the cauliflower looks dry, drizzle with a little more oil).   Roast for 20-25 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces), flipping the florets halfway through.  The cauliflower should be tender crisp when done and a bit charred.

5.  As soon as the cauliflower comes out of the oven, toss with Parmesan cheese.

While the cauliflower is roasting, prepare the kale & dressing.

1. In a large serving bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, maple syrup and pepper.  Taste for seasoning.  Add the chopped kale  using your hands to massage the dressing into the kale until fully coated.

2.  Add the roasted cauliflower to the kale and toss to combine.  Serve immediately.

1. I prepared the roasted cauliflower in the morning (it's been hot here) and quickly ran it under the broiler for a couple of minutes before adding to the dressed kale before serving.

2.  This is great cold the next day and my daughter added some sunflower seeds and barberries (soaked first in hot water with a pinch of sugar & drained).   I'll have to try that next time.  No barberries... no worries.  Raisins, cranberries or currants would work too.