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Recipes « Foodie and the Everyman

Posts Tagged ‘Recipes’

Tortiere Grandmere

Tortiere

I’ve been dreaming about getting my hands on my French Canadian grandmother’s tortiere recipe for years, possibly decades, now that I come to think of it.

But it wasn’t until they moved Mamere from one nursing home to another earlier this year that someone finally found a copy of the original to send out to all of the kids and the kids of their kids.  I’ve been itching to make it ever since, but the idea of a hearty, meaty pie didn’t really jive with our warmer than usual Ontarian fall.

So, now that it’s starting to be cold weather eating season, it seemed more than appropriate to give the old girl a whirl.  What you see above is a rather decimated version of Antoinette’s tortiere; I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a picture for myself until after we’d already dug in.  No matter.  It will wow you all the same.

The original made 4 pies, but I have scaled the recipe down and added bay leaf for a little extra whiff, other than that, it is as she wrote it down, many years ago.  Bon appetit!

Tortiere Grandmere

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Little Pockets Of Nom

After

After whipping up all that homemade pumpkin mash for the sweet buns earlier this week, I started looking for ways to use up the litre of excess puree that were a little more out of the ordinary.

Pondering what might be the optimal pumpkin delivery system, I settled on a filling for handmade ravioli that would combine it with creme fraiche, roasted garlic and fresh thyme; all things that I had kicking around in my fridge that also happened to sound vaguely complimentary.  Deciding on a course of action, I prepared the filling and left it to chill in the fridge for a few hours to firm up a bit.

Once I’d whipped the filling into a lather, I dug my hand crank out of a drawer and set to work rolling out gossamer sheets of dough.  Being that I don’t make stuffed pastas too often, my technique is a little less than stellar, yielding ravioli of varying shapes and sizes, but personally I think that makes them look all the more authentically handmade.

Two imperative things to note when making your own ravioli;

1) Resist the urge to over-stuff your ravioli, because it will come back to bite you later

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This Just In: Turkey Day Treats

Salted Caramel Pumpkin Rolls

Our friends to the south will celebrate American Thanksgiving tomorrow, so with that in mind, I’ve whipped up a batch of salted caramel pumpkin pie rolls that would be equally at home on a breakfast plate or a dessert platter.

It all started when I found a small pie pumpkin lurking at the back of my overstuffed fridge on the weekend.  After brainstorming and rejecting my initial thoughts on its usage (pumpkin chocolate chip bars) I settled on the idea to make cinnamon rolls (which the Everyman loves) but tinge them festive and orange with pumpkin and pie spices. After googling for a while, I came across several recipes that had elements of what I was after, but no hard and fast winner.  Instead, I decided to come up with my own.

First, I roasted the pie pumpkin cut-side down until it was collapsed and yielding.  Once it had cooled a little, I ran it through the food processor until it had the consistency of baby food.  I’ve often wondered why homemade pumpkin puree is a light ochre-ish yellow and the stuff you get in a can comes out technicolor orange.  After pondering this for a bit, I’ve arrived at the hypothesis that they grind the whole pumpkin up, rind and all to obtain such a vibrant hue.

Incorporating my puree into a basic sweet dough, I left it to bulk ferment for an hour while I roasted some things in duck fat and salad spun some other things.  Some of the rest of this pumpkin mush will be making an appearance in another dish later this week, too.

When I returned, the dough was rolled out on a floured counter, brushed with copious amounts of butter and sprinkled with a brown sugar-based spice blend.  Rolled into a tube, it was sliced and placed in a silcone pan and left to final proof on top of the oven.

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Gimme My Burrata!

Beets, Burrata, Etc

When the Everyman and I were in Chicago recently, we went to a restaurant called The Publican for dinner that we’d heard amazing things about.

One of the items they had on their menu that I absolutely had to order was a chilled beet and burrata salad, because a girl can never have too much burrata.

Imagine my dismay when the plate set before me was covered with daubs of ricotta cheese instead (and I like ricotta!)

Receiving no explanation as to why there was no burrata, I half-heartedly ate my salad, all the while inwardly sulking over the missing cheese.  Had the place been less packed and frantic, I would have said something about it, but it hardly seemed worth the fuss at the time.

Since then, I’ve been unable to get that combination off my mind.  So, after a trip to Cheese Boutique this week, I decided to recreate it myself.

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The Unsung Hero Of Saturday Morning Breakfasts Of Yore

Galette

There are a lot of things I don’t remember about my childhood.

The names of favourite candies, toys, friends and places, etc elude me, owing (I assume) to me having blocked out a fair number of memories after my parents got divorced.  Or maybe they just weren’t worth remembering… who can say?

At any rate, one thing I do remember is learning to make galette.  The provenance of said recipe is debatable depending on whether you ask me or my dad.  I seem to recall being gifted with it after going on one of those super boring but educational field trips that are all too common during your formative years; the ones where you learn how pioneers darned socks and churned butter, etc.  My dad, on the other hand, seems to think this recipe came about during the years I was in Brownies (the Canadian equivalent of the Girl Scouts and younger feeder group for the Girl Guides of Canada).  Both stories are plausible, but where the recipe comes from doesn’t really matter.

In either case, once my dad got hold of the recipe, it became a tradition in our small household, one that he also recalls from when he was a boy and my grandmother would make galette for her 12 hungry children.

Every Saturday morning hence, my dad would get up, put on his stovetop espresso pot and start to work on making galette.  The quick bread ingredients were all tossed together in a zippered plastic bag and then water was added to moisten them, then the bag was sealed and passed off to me for a good bit of kneading.  Once he thought the ingredients were suitably combined, the bag was turned inside out and the contents mooshed onto a foil lined cookie sheet.  After 20 minutes or so of me impatiently peering into the oven, he’d deem them to be ready, and I’d eagerly split mine apart, not minding that I was burning the tips of my fingers.  I’d generously cover both sides with margarine (the only thing my dad would keep in the house) or occasionally jam and then dig in until my belly was contented and full.

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This One’s For You, Kid!

Japanese Cotton Cake

A favourite girlfriend from my office is in the middle of rather exuberantly expecting her first child right now.

And while I am sad that she will be leaving us at the end of this month, I was more than willing to use her departure as an excuse to shower her with well wishes and presents from the lot of us.  But man, keeping all of those bits and pieces in the air but still a secret for a few weeks sure was a ton of work!

Because she is special to me, I wanted to make sure that everything about the shower was just perfect, right down to the sugary confection I was planning to serve.  Not knowing her to be much of a dessert person though, I had to enlist the help of another kindly coworker to do a little low level industrial espionage in order to ascertain her preferences without sending up red flags.

The combination he reported back to me was cheesecake and pudding and I’ll admit, when he first ran it by me I was a little concerned about pregnancy cravings gone awry.  But, the more I thought about it, the more it started to come together into some semblance of a plan.

Since it’s summer, I decided not to do a traditional cheesecake, which is typically heavy (albeit creamily orgasmic) and a bit of a downer for a party scheduled right after lunch.  Instead I opted to make a Japanese (cotton) cheesecake, which is kind of like cheesecake and angel food’s awesome lovechild.  It’s puffy, light and airy, with a soft crumb and a pleasant hint of cream cheese that I envisioned would be well matched with a few of my homemade compote/jams.  To top it all off, I remembered a bottle of raspberry chocolate truffle creme that the Everyman had bought me around Mother’s Day that coincidentally had a texture similar to pudding, and thought that would make the guest of honor’s cheesecake complete.

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A Collaborative Effort

Veggie Risotto

Though it didn’t start out that way, this week’s Meatless Monday dinner ended up being an incongruous amalgamation of several ideas and recipes.

Firstly, I wanted something relatively quick that wouldn’t heat up the kitchen too much.  That immediately put my original plan of revisiting last week’s awesome potato salad out of the running because the spuds needed to be oven roasted.

Next, I considered peas because I’d spent all that time shucking 2 quarts of them on Sunday, so I might as well use them before they went bad.

From there my mind wandered to risotto, and initially settled on a light spring pea and parmagiano version.

But before long I started to recall the delightfully nutty braised fennel I’d made courtesy of a Serious Eats recipe (initially sampled for a pared down version of the pizza minus anisette cream, which by the way makes one outstanding pie!).

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Like Drinking A Mud Puddle

The Mud Puddle

It was a long weekend.

Between attending 2 separate (and unequivocally delicious) food festivals, on top of our usual weekendly chores, by Sunday night I was looking for a little liquid refreshment and a well deserved wind down.

While sitting at the dinner table shucking the 2 quarts of shell peas that I’d forgotten about in the fridge and enduring the sweltering heat from a pan of oven roasted veggies destined for stock, the Everyman offered to fix me a drink that would be good for what ailed me.  I didn’t know what I was in the mood for, so I just asked him to surprise me, something I’ve come to realize he is quite adept at.

The resulting cocktail was delicious, even if it did slightly look like I was drinking a mud puddle.  Honestly, I think that might be part of the appeal, though.

Moreover, I’m really quite starting to like this Domaine de Canton stuff.  Here’s hoping that the LCBO doesn’t delist it too soon.

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The Accidental Salad

Warm Salad

For Meatless Monday this week, the Everyman was out of town on business, but flying home late that night.

I promised him I would set a plate aside for him, so the obvious question became what could I make that would keep relatively well for an indeterminate period of time?

After pondering for a little bit, I recalled 2 things.  One was the warm potato salad that we both loved at last year’s Outstanding In The Field dinner and the other was a potato and bean salad that I tested while reviewing Earth To Table.  I couldn’t remember much about either, except that a) they were warm, b) they both contained potatoes and c) they came with light, yet creamy dressings.

Given that I was in no mood to excavate my way through the stacks of cookbooks in my house to find Earth To Table (you know you have too many books, when…) I decided to improvise.

Both dishes used fingerlings but I didn’t have any, so instead I cubed a few yukon golds and quartered some shallots and tossed them in some coffee olive oil, then roasted in the oven for an hour.  When they were getting close to being done I melted a little high milkfat artisan butter in a pan until it foamed, then quickly sauteed half a pound of chopped asparagus until it turned emerald, then left it to get slightly blistered and browned.  Removing the pan from the heat, I sprinkled close to half a cup of freshly shelled peas in and let the residual heat of the pan turn them bright green, too.  Next I combined all the veggies in a bowl and tossed with a simple white wine dijon vinaigrette made puckery tart by the addition of a splash of barley vinegar.

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Chutney Is A Tasty Sauce; You Can Have It With Your Poppadums Or With Your Main Course

Kitchen Sink Chutney

It occurred to me the other day that despite the fact that I’ve spent several years perfecting my doubles technique, I’ve never really given much thought to the condiment that fits so naturally with a double; the chutney.

For a long time, chutney was just a saccharine sauce to compliment curries, top a roast or become a sticky compote on which to rest a chunk of cheese.  So, after my most recent dinner of double-y goodness, I began to consider the idea of crafting my own chutney.  Not being a huge fan of mangoes though, I knew it would not be a chutney in the traditional sense, but rather a more interpretive version.

After much thought, what I came up with was a melding of the exotic and the everyday, combining the traditional mangoes with some spring rhubarb, a spare banana and several hibiscus flowers in syrup.

It might be light years away from what any self respecting Indian would consider chutney, but I think it suits my purposes perfectly.

Foodie’s Kitchen Sink Chutney

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The Gin-zing

The Gin-zing

This past Friday brought the first of a summer’s worth of shortened afternoons at my company.

One marked improvement over my past place of employment is the option of banking 2.5 hours during the week in order to leave 2.5 hours early each and every Friday June through September.  But since the Everyman and I commute together, last year I spent most of my afternoons off shopping, running errands or checking out the local farmer’s market until he finished work.

The first one this year was true to form.  After hightailing it over to the closest passport office to get myself renewed for an upcoming trip, I strolled back to the mall and made a pit stop at the LCBO.  I relish a trip to our province’s liquor control board as much as I do my rare jaunts to the grocery store.  Wandering aimlessly from aisle to aisle taking in the newest trends in libations, I often find myself getting inspired.  Since months can go by without a visit to the liquor store, nearly every time I go I find something new.

This time was no different.  Just north of the Vintages section in the cabinet full of premium spirits I found an interesting and new blend called Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur.  Encased in a stylized frosted bottle reminiscent of a thick stalk of bamboo, the spicy sweet liqueur was too unique to pass up.  I’m pretty sure Canton has been sold in the US for some time, but this is the first I’d ever seen or heard of it north of the border.  It didn’t take me long to decide that it should come home with me too, though it squeezed out the purchase of a bottle of 3 Olives Rootbeer Vodka due to space and upper body constraints.

Once home, the Everyman and I collaborated on a drink I’ve christened The Gin-zing because the ginger-based bevy has an unexpectedly flavourful kick.
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Prickled Pink

Prickled Pink

This past weekend while I was out and about, I happened to notice a wall of posters announcing the return of one of my favourite mixing tequilas to the Ontario liquor market.

Hornitos, which is made by the giant Sauza conglomerate is a better than average tequila that I fell in love with during my early 20′s.  Unfortunately, several years ago the LCBO delisted it, so the only way I’ve been able to stock our bar has been to bring a few bottles back whenever we go on vacation.  In a strange but unrelated coincidence, when we bought our condo back in 2007 our real estate agent (knowing I liked tequila) presented us with a bottle of Hornitos when we closed, though he’d had no clue what a fan I was of that particular variety.  I also brought some back from duty free when we were in Aruba, but I’m excited to know that I’m free to bring back some of the other stuff I’ve been after (the elderflower flavoured St Germain, for instance) when we go to the US this summer.

Since I didn’t have to be as cautious with rationing the Hornitos anymore, when the Everyman asked me if I would like him to fix me a drink yesterday, I asked him to see what he could cobble together using the Hornitos and some pomegranate elderflower sparkling water he’d purchased for me the other day.  The resultant cocktail is the faintly tinged, headily perfumed drink you see above.  It’s a silent but deadly mix that is just the ticket for sipping on a swelteringly hot day in the sun.  Be careful though, since they go down easy before you know it you could be dancing on a table.

The Prickled Pink

1.5 oz Hornitos tequila

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This White’s Alright

The White Stuff

Around this time last year I vaguely recall coming across Annemarie Conte’s glowing description of something called white barbecue sauce over on The NY Times Diner’s Journal that apparently “transforms chicken”.

I am nothing if not an equal opportunity barbecue fanatic, so at the time I eagerly filed it away under the yummy recipes bookmark folder I keep, and then proceeded to forget all about it for the next 9 months.

On Thursday morning, I was trying to decide what I wanted the Everyman to make for our weekly dinner ritual (having already mentioned the possibility of chicken when he asked me the day before) and for whatever reason, I woke up thinking about this white barbecue sauce.  I don’t know why; honestly, I hadn’t given the recipe even a passing thought since I read it last year, but all of a sudden, only the promise of white barbecued chicken would do.  I floated the idea by the Everyman and he seemed game, so I went about retrieving the recipe.

Of course, oddly enough when I went back to the bookmark, the see additional recipe section (which contained the actual white barbecue sauce recipe) was inexplicably missing.  The only recipe I had was for the brine the chicken soaks in, while the hyperlinks to the barbecue sauce recipe had completely disappeared.  Immediately, my heart sank.  After nearly half an hour dejectedly sifting through Google, I finally came across a cached version of the recipe, followed by the discovery of several other variations on the theme.  It was then that I learned that white barbecue is a regional style characteristic of Alabama, one that is distinctly different from the ketchup, mustard or vinegar-based barbecue sauces that people are generally more familiar with from regions of their own around the south.  Sensing that there was no one true recipe, I decided to amalgamate several recipes that looked good into one and hope for the best once it was all done.

That night, the Everyman soaked a package of meaty chicken legs in Conte’s suggested brine, while I offered to tinker with the sauce.  After a few additions and taste tests, I arrived at a white sauce that was rich, tangy, creamy and fairly spicy that was unlike anything I’d ever tasted before.  At that point I knew we were on to something.  After our meat had marinated a bit, the Everyman threw the brined legs on the barbecue and cooked them until they achieved a nicely crisped and crackled crust.  Pulling the chicken legs off the heat, I immediately dunked them into the white sauce and went in for the taste test.

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