Archive for Fall Harvest

Phyllis’ Mouth-watering Buttermilk Waffles

The batter for these waffles can be made the night before, an especially good thing for brunch entertaining!  I have included two fruit sauces that are delicious on waffles and we often add a few dollops of yogurt.  We also like using fresh fruit and some maple syrup.

DSC_7722 nx2Make the Waffles:

2 cups sifted unbleached flour**
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ cups buttermilk, well shaken
½ cup butter, melted**

You can use 1/2  cup whole wheat flour & 1 1/2  cups unbleached flour.

Equipment:  A Belgian waffle maker

Preheat waffle maker.

Sift & measure the flour; sift again with baking powder, baking soda, salt & sugar. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until light & lemon coloured. Slowly mix in the buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients and blend well. Mix in the melted butter. Place ¼ of the batter on the waffle maker, close & bake until lightly browned & crisp. Remove and place on a large baking pan and put in a preheated 180 F oven to keep warm while finishing the rest of the waffles. Continue baking the rest of the batter in the same way.

NB:  the waffles freeze very well.  Just thaw, pop in the toaster on medium heat until they crisp up.

Here are two of my favourite fruit sauces that I try & make when the fruit is in season to serve with the waffles but you can use really good frozen berries.  Or…you can just throw some fresh, in season berries on top. I like to top off the berries with some plain Greek style yogurt. However, if I were making these for my Mom….nothing else will do but heaps of whipped cream with the berries.

Both sauces will keep, in the fridge for about 1 week.  Otherwise, freeze for using later.

Strawberry Sauce – can be made up to 4 days ahead & you can reduce the recipe by half.  Make sure to use in-season, local strawberries.  They simply cannot be beat for both taste & colour!

Makes 6 Cups

8 cups halved fresh or frozen strawberries
¼ cup water
1 tsp. orange peel, finely grated
1 cup sugar*
½ cup corn syrup*
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
* If you think this would be too sweet for your taste, reduce the sugar accordingly.

In a large saucepan, bring strawberries, water & orange rind to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat to medium low & simmer, covered for 10 minutes. Stir in sugar, corn syrup & orange juice, return to the boil, turn heat down a bit and continue to boil, uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning. Remove from heat; place in a bowl & chill until ready to use.

Blueberry Sauce – can be made 4 days ahead & you can reduce the recipe by half.

Makes 8 Cups

8 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 ½ cups apple juice
1 Tbsp. lemon rind, finely grated
1 ¼ cups sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
¼ cup lemon juice

In a large saucepan, combine blueberries, apple juice & lemon rind; cook over medium heat stirring & mashing berries a bit, leaving some whole, for about 15 minutes or until mixtures comes to a boil. Gradually stir in sugar and corn syrup and lemon juice. Return to a boil and turn heat down a bit and boil stirring often, for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat; place in a bowl and chill until ready to use.

** If the sauce is a little too thin for your liking, combine 1 Tbsp. cornstarch with 2 Tbsp. cold water, then slowly stir into the boiling sauce for a minute before removing from the heat.

**If you think this would be two sweet for your taste, you can reduce the sugar accordingly.

To see how to melt butter in the microwave, click Melting Butter in the Microwave.

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Coq au Vin – Chicken Braised in Red Wine

My husband invited friends over for Sunday lunch. He suggested we make Coq au Vin and because we haven’t made this “French bistro favourite” for quite some time, I agreed! It’s definitely coming back into our repertoire! Over the years, the recipe from “Joy of Cooking”  has evolved. I figured adding some demi-glace to enrich the sauce sure couldn’t hurt either. Our lunch guests loved it! We started with an orange, red onion and fennel salad using Domencia Marchetti’s excellent dressing recipe. I used a combination of cara cara, navel and blood oranges. Slices of avocado would also be delicious addition. A crispy baguette is all you need to wipe up all those scrumptious, dark, winey juices!

Makes 4 – 6 Servings

DSC_2237 nx23 ½ to 4 lb. roasting chicken, cut into 10 pieces (4 pieces of breast, drumsticks, thighs & wings)
1 ½ Tbsp. each butter and EVOO
¼ lbs. salt pork, cut into 1/8” dice
¾ cup chopped onions
1 ½ cups small Cipolline (or other small onions), peeled
1 medium or large carrot, sliced
3 minced shallots
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3-4 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. minced parsley
1 Tbsp. fresh chervil or marjoram, minced
½ bay leaf
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
½ to 1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 – 2 Tbsp. brandy
2 cups dry red wine (decent enough to drink)
2 Tbsp. veal demi-glace (I make my own veal stock but you can buy demi-glace)
½ lb. sliced Crimini mushrooms

We have found that removing the chicken from its vacuum packaging, setting it on a rack & placing it in the fridge overnight makes a real difference to the texture of the chicken. The next day cut the chicken into 10 pieces, saving the back for making chicken stock.  This drying technique works well for roast chicken as well.

To peel the Cipolline onions bring a pot of water to the boil. Add the onions & boil for 1 minute, drain in a colander, rinse in cold water & allow them to cool enough to handle. Leaving the stem end intact, peel off the outer skin with a sharp paring knife & set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Dice up the “cold” salt port (it’s easier to cut that way), place in a small dish & set aside. Chop up the onions, carrots, shallots & garlic. Set aside.

Season the chicken pieces with salt & pepper. Place a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the butter & EVOO. When hot add the chicken parts, without crowding (you may need to do this in two batches), brown on both sides. Remove from the pan to a large platter & set aside.

Add the finely chopped salt pork to the pan, sautéing until it starts to take on a bit of colour. Add the cipolline & saute for a couple of minutes; add the chopped onions, carrots & shallots, saute until softened; add the chopped garlic, continuing to saute for a minute or so. Add the herbs & bay leaf, stirring to combine; add the flour, stirring & cooking for 2 minutes. Add the brandy, wine & demi-glace; bring to the boil. Return the chicken thighs & drumsticks to the pot, cover with a lid & place in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the lid & add the chicken breast & wings, cover & allow to cook for approximately 30 minutes.

In the meantime, saute the mushrooms in a bit of EVOO, seasoning with salt & pepper. Set aside.

The chicken will take approximately 50 – 60 minutes. 10 minutes before its done, stir in the mushrooms, replace the cover to finish cooking.

When done, remove the pan from the oven, remove the chicken parts to a large serving platter & place in a warming (low) oven. Let the sauce stand in the pan for 10 minutes, skim the fat. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. If the sauce is not thickened to your liking, mix together 1 Tbsp. potato starch & 1 Tbsp. cold water, stir in a little at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. Cook for a couple of minutes. Remove the chicken from the warming oven, pour the sauce over top & serve immediately.

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Braised Lamb Shanks With Dried Cherry Sauce

We love  lamb shanks! They are so almost falling off the bone scrumptious. Of course, if you can source local lamb, even better, the flavour is so delicate. We have found them to be smaller, so we adjust the cooking time slightly. Roasted veggies would be a nice accompaniment for the lamb but I have also made spaetzle to serve with them. The sauce is really delicious but don’t be put off by the large amount of garlic, it totally mellows out.

Makes 4 Servings

1 Tbsp. EVOO & vegetable oil
4 lamb shanks (about 1 lb. each) = 4 lbs. lamb shanks
2 carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
14 garlic cloves, peeled (yes, it is 14)
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
3 cups beef stock** or tinned low salt/no salt broth
3 cups chicken stock** or tinned low salt/no salt broth
1 cup dry white wine
8 large fresh thyme sprigs or 1 Tbsp. dried thyme
6 fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley sprigs
6 whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

To Finish the Sauce:

1 cup cranberry juice (sugarless would be just fine)
½ cup dried cherries**

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Heat half the oil in a large, heavy, Dutch oven, with an oven proof lid, over medium-high heat. Season the lamb with salt & pepper; brown the lamb in the Dutch oven until browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate. Heat the remaining oil in the pan; add the carrots, onion & garlic; sauté 5 minutes; add tomato paste & stir 1 minute. Add both stocks, wine, thyme, parsley, peppercorns & bay leaves; bring to a simmer; cover with lid place in the oven & cook until lamb is very tender, about 2 hours, turning lamb over after 1 hour.

Using a slotted spoon; transfer the lamb to a platter & tent with foil to keep warm. Strain cooking liquid through a sieve into a large heavy saucepan; removing the bay leaves & thyme sprigs. Puree 1 cup of the veggies strained from the cooking liquid, in a food processor or a food mill. Add puree to the cooking liquid; discard the remaining solids; add the cranberry juice & cherries to the cooking liquid & boil until sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes or so; season to taste with salt & pepper; return the lamb shanks to the pot; simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes.

NB: The lamb can be made 1 day ahead. Cover & place in the fridge. Before serving, reheat over medium-low heat, stirring often.

If you would like to make homemade stock, click Making Stock.

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Barley Pilaf

An old favourite of mine; excellent served with roast pork loin, especially a juicy, bone-in roast . I also use it as an accompaniment to my hazelnut chicken breasts and anything else that takes my fancy! Like I said before, I love barley. If I have leftovers, they will become part of a soup.  You can easily make half the recipe if you like.

Makes 10 Servings

6 Tbsp. butter
1 ½ cups chopped leek
1 cup thinly sliced celery
2 cups pearl barley
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme, crumbled
½ to 1 tsp. salt or to you taste
Freshly ground black pepper
3 ½ cups chicken stock or tinned low salt chicken broth**
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup minced fresh parsley
¼ cup snipped fresh chives (or green onions, green part only)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Melt butter in a heavy ovenproof casserole over medium-low heat. Add leeks & celery & cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add barley & stir 3 minutes. Add bay leaves, thyme, salt & a generous amount of pepper. Mix in stock & wine. Bring to a boil; cover tightly & bake until liquid is absorbed, 35 – 40 minutes. Stir in parsley & chives. Serve immediately.

If you would like to make homemade stock, click Making Stock.

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Asian Beef Shortribs

My parents often cooked shortribs because they were one of the least expensive meats you could get from the butcher and we liked them a lot!  Those days are gone! It’s the same with oxtails. But they are so delicious that every once in a while we like to cook some for a treat. Chinese five-spice, makes these different and special. Serve with stir-fried veggies (omit the carrots from the recipe) and steamed rice.

DSC_6007 nx2Makes 8 Servings

6 lbs. beef shortribs, divided into single rib sections
2 onions, chopped, ¼” dice
¾ cup brown sugar
2/3 cup soy sauce
½ cup dry sherry
Hot chili paste such as Sambal Oelek, or to taste
1 Tbsp. Chinese five-spice powder**
1 Tbsp. minced gingerroot
4 cloves garlic, minced
(Optional) 6-8 carrots, peeled
3 green onions, sliced on the diagonal (for garnish)
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup water
Salt & pepper to taste

Place the ribs in a large pot & cover with water; bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover & simmer for 1 hour to render the fat. Remove the ribs to a platter & allow the broth to cool for 15 minutes. Line a sieve with rinsed cheesecloth & strain the broth. (You can do this the day before, cover & chill the shortribs & broth until ready to continue making the recipe). Skim the fat from the broth & measure out 3 cups; return to the pot along with the onions, sugar, soy sauce, dry sherry, five-spice powder, ginger, garlic & hot chili paste; stir to combine ingredients. Return the ribs to the pot. Bring the ribs to a boil, reduce heat, cover & simmer for approximately 40 minutes or until ribs are very tender.

If using the carrots, cut them diagonally into 1/8″ thick slices. When the ribs are tender add to the pot; cover & cook until they are tender-crisp.

Remove the ribs from the cooking liquid & set aside in a warm oven. Strain the liquid through a sieve & add water to make 4 cups (or use leftover broth from the first simmering of the ribs, if necessary to make 4 cups. Return the 4 cups of cooking liquid to the pot; stir together the cornstarch & 1/3 cup of water to make a slurry; whisk into the cooking liquid & cook, whisking, for 2 – 3 minutes or until glossy & thickened.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Return the ribs & carrots (if using) to the pot; discard any loose bones; stir gently to coat with the sauce. Remove the ribs to a warm serving platter & pour the sauce over the top; garnish with the green onions.

If you would like to make Chinese five-spice, click Chinese Five-spice.

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Tomato Beef Barley Soup

I have been making this comforting soup for a long time. I adore barley & I adore soup so… I make a large pot of soup and  freeze the leftovers.  The good news is I usually have all the ingredients on hand! It can be made the day before and stored, covered, in the fridge.  If you wish you can substitute farro for the barley.

Makes approximately 8 Servings

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped fine
(opt.) 1 clove garlic, minced
1 – 2 Tbsp. EVOO
1 (28) oz. tinned plum tomatoes, chopped
2 cups water
4 cups beef stock or low salt beef broth**
1 tin (10 oz.) tomato soup
**Whole Foods sells 365 Organics in case you don’t use Campbell’s
4 carrots, chopped into ¼” dice
1 bay leaf
3 stalks celery, chopped into ¼” dice
1 ½ tsp. fresh thyme or ½ tsp. dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup pearl barley
4 Tbsp. chopped parsley

In a large pot, on medium heat brown the ground beef & onions in EVO. Drain off any accumulated fat. Add the carrots & celery; sauté for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except parsley. If using fresh thyme, add it to the soup 15 minutes or so before the soup is ready. Simmer, covered for approximately 2 hours, or until barley is really tender.

Serve in warm soup bowls with some crusty bread or homemade biscuits.

To make your own stock, click Making Stock.

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Curried Butternut Squash Soup

There is something so tummy warming about the combination of squash with curry! The roasted red pepper drizzle is a nice, colourful touch. There is a very small amount of milk or cream to give the soup a bit of body and a bit of richness and a bit more deliciousness.

DSC_0518 nx2Makes 6 Servings

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
1 ½ tsp. curry powder**  if you wish to make your own, see below
½ tsp. each salt & freshly ground black pepper
5 cups cubed (1” pieces) butternut squash, peeled, seeds & stringy bits removed
1 large potato, peeled & cut into ½” dice
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock** if you wish to make your own, see below
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/3 cup homogenized milk or creamo

Garnish: Red Pepper Puree (see below for recipe)

In a soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat; add the onion & saute´ until just softened; add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, salt & pepper; cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes or until all ingredients are softened.

Add the squash & potato; stir until well coated; add the stock, lemon juice & tomato paste; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover & simmer for about 20 – 30 minutes or until veggies are very tender. Remove from the heat & allow to cool for about 20 minutes.

Using a blender or food processor, puree the cooled soup in batches. (I find the blender makes a finer puree).

In a clean pot, heat the soup mixture until hot over medium heat; add the milk or creamo & heat through but do not boil, as the milk or creamo will curdle. Ladle into warmed serving bowls and garnish with a drizzle of the red pepper puree.

Red Pepper Puree:

While the soup is simmering, roast 2 red bell peppers** click here for method. When cool, peel, remove seeds & membranes; puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve if you wish. Set aside until ready to serve the soup.

If you would like to make your own curry powder, click here.
If you would like to make your own stock, click here.

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Chicken Or Turkey Salad With Pears

The first time I made this salad was for the chairman of the organization I worked for. Later in the day he made a point of taking me aside and thanking me for “the best salad I have ever had”. Well, that’s definitely one big pat on the back! By the way, we love it too! The Honey Tarragon Vinaigrette simply makes the salad. This is something you can make with either freshly cooked or leftover chicken or turkey.

Makes 6 Servings

8 cups assorted greens (I really like the greens at Farmer’s Markets, they are so very, very fresh & keep well)
2 cups julienned cooked chicken or turkey
½ red onion, very thinly sliced
2 firm ripe pears (Bosc, Anjou or red skinned pears such as Red Sensation, would look great)
3 oz. blue cheese
DSC_2463.jpg nx21/3 cup walnut pieces or halves, toasted**
Herbed croutons (recipe below)
Fresh dill sprigs

Honey Tarragon Vinaigrette

3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. minced shallot
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 ½ tsp. dried tarragon or 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
¼ – ½ tsp. salt (to taste)
1/3 cup combined walnut oil & EVOO

Make the dressing:

In a blender combine all ingredients except the oils. Slowly drizzle in the combined oils, with the blender running, until the dressing is thickened. You can do the dressing the same way, using a bowl & whisk. (Place the dressing into a jar and store in the fridge until needed, shake dressing to combine before dressing the salad).

Herbed Croutons

1 cup cubed day-old white of whole wheat bread
2 Tbsp. EVOO
½ tsp. each dried thyme, tarragon & salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Place the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet; toss with the EVO, herbs & salt. Place in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until crispy but not too hard. Set aside until ready to make the salad.

Assemble the salad:

You can place all the ingredients in a large salad bowl, but I have to say it is much prettier to assemble the salads on 6 individual plates.
Place the greens onto the plates; arrange the turkey or chicken on top of the greens. Cut the pears in half & remove the cores. Slice the pears & place them around the chicken, tucking into the greens here & there. Crumble the cheese onto the salads; top with some of the walnuts & croutons; garnish with thin slices of red onion & a sprig of fresh dill. Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately.

To see how to toast nuts, click Toasting Nuts.

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Red Wine Braised Oxtails

Oxtails have to be one of my favourite things! They are so tender, unctuous and just plain lip-smacking good! This is a recipe I have made for years with a tweak here, and a tweak there along the way. Years ago oxtails were very inexpensive…not any more…I guess they have been “discovered”…never mind the stories that there is only one tail per animal and that is why the prices have gone up! Great with a baguette or mashed potatoes or even some tubular shape of pasta (what I do with the leftovers). Can be made the day before & reheated over medium-low heat until hot or in a medium-low oven.

DSC_9690 nx2For the Oxtails:

4 lbs. oxtails cut into 2” pieces (have your butcher do this for you)
A combination of EVOO & canola oil for browning the meat (approx. 2 Tbsp. each)
4 medium carrots, peeled & cut into 1” pieces
1 rutabaga peeled & cut into 1 ½” pieces (or you can substitute the same amount of white turnip)
2 cooking onions cut into ¼” dice
4 stalks celery, trimmed & cut into 1” pieces
1/3rd – ½ cup dried Porcini mushrooms
3 cups beef stock**
1 cup dry red wine
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried thyme)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley

To thicken the sauce: 3 Tbsp. beef stock & 1 Tbsp. potato starch.

Make the Oxtails:

Place the dried Porcini in a small bowl & add ½ or so of warm water; allow them to soak until soft, approximately 20 minutes. Squeeze them dry, roughly chop & set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Blot the oxtails dry with paper towels & season with salt & pepper. In a large saute pan on top of the stove, heat the oils over medium heat; when hot place the oxtails in the pan & brown them well on all sides. Remove them, as they are browned, to a large plate. If there is more than 2 Tbsp. oil left in the pan remove the excess. Add all the chopped veggies & saute them for about 8 minutes, or until the onions are softened. Add the dried Porcini & stir for a minute; add the wine, beef stock, tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme & parsley; season with ½ to 1 tsp. salt & ¼ tsp. pepper. Bring this mixture to a boil; return the oxtails to the pan, cover & place in the oven to braise for 2 ½ – 3 hrs. I always think longer is better.

Remove the oxtails from the oven. Make a “slurry” with the beef stock & potato starch, stirring in half at a time until you reach the thickness you like; season with additional salt & pepper to taste & serve.

If you would like to make you own beef stock, click here.

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Mary’s Spaghetti Sauce

I’m pretty sure this was my very first experience of Italian cooking and I have to say it was love at first bite. I simply had to have the recipe so I could make it at my house.  Now…my family were not big into garlic and certainly nothing spicy…so that cayenne was quite the surprise with everyone gulping plenty of water while consuming their spaghetti! Next time I had to leave out the cayenne…not any more!  We lived a couple of doors from my friend Colleen and her family and I spent a lot of time there when I was growing up.  Her mom, Mary (a great cook), got the recipe from one of her sisters-in-law (both were of Italian heritage.) Over the years the original has been tweaked but the basic taste I fell in love with is still there!

Since learning a lot more about Italian cooking I have wondered if the long simmered chunks of beef were originally intended to be removed from the sauce, set aside to be served as the secondo (second course) with the remaining sauce tossed with spaghetti for the primi (first course).

Makes Enough Sauce for 1 1/2 lbs. Spaghetti

1 ½ lbs stewing beef, chuck is a great choice
4 Tbsp. EVOO
2 large onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 –  28 oz. tin Italian plum tomatoes, crushed with your hands, slosh tin with 1 cup water to rinse & add to sauce OR a bottle of passata
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon, or more to taste
¼ tsp. ground cloves, or more to taste
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper or peperoncino
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

 

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add EVOO & heat until hot but not smoking. Add the stewing beef and turn the meat in the EVOO until coated. Cook for 5 minutes until all the meat is no longer red. Add the onions & sauté until softened but not browned. Add the garlic & sauté for 1 minute. Add the cinnamon, cloves and cayenne pepper or pepperoncino; sauté for a minute; stir in the tomato paste & cook for 1 minute. Pour in the crushed tomatoes & the cup water from the tin; season with salt & pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot & simmer for 4 – 5 hours or until the meat is very tender.

Note: you can substitute lean ground beef or a mixture of ground beef & ground pork for the stewing beef.  The sauce will take 2 hours to cook instead of the 4 or 5 hours for stewing beef.

If you choose, you can add some or all of the following: chopped green pepper, sliced mushrooms, finely chopped celery, grated carrot, oregano, parsley & ½ cup or so of red or white wine wouldn’t hurt either.