Archive for Fall Harvest

Phyllis’ Cabbage Rolls

Makes a roasting pan full! And would be great as part of a casual potluck or a buffet!

Cabbage Rolls hold a very special place in my heart. I am not sure where Mom got her recipe, probably from someone in her family. I have adapted her original recipe with a couple of my own ideas and with some ingredients  from my dear, long time friend, Mary’s recipe. They are made with love! Don’t worry about leftovers if you have any, just divide up into freezer containers and freeze. They will come in handy one night when you don’t feel up to cooking!  Here’s a link for you to read about the meaning of cabbage rolls for me.

Serves 8 – 10 People as a Main Course

DSC_6838 nx2For the Cabbage Rolls:

1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef
¾ ground pork
2 large heads of cabbage
1 large cooking onion, chopped
1 cup rice, cooked. (you can use brown rice, I always do, Mom did)
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
½ – 1 tsp, salt & fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. dried basil, crumbled
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. parsley, minced
1 large jar sauerkraut (Kuhne is a good brand), drained, or freshly made from a deli. Here in Vancouver, fresh sauerkraut is available from Oyama & JNZ Deli.
3 10 oz. tins low salt tomato soup

Make the Cabbage Rolls:

Bring a very large pot of water to a good simmer. Core the cabbages & place into the simmering water. Simmer for about ½ hour or until the leaves are soft enough to remove from the heads without breaking or tearing. Remove from the water & drain. Separate each leaf & place in a colander to continue draining until ready to use. (You can do this step the day before; bring the cabbage leaves up to room temperature before continuing).

Combine ground meats, chopped onion, diced green pepper, cooked rice, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, basil & garlic with enough tomato soup to moisten well, without being sloppy.

Grease a large roasting pan that has a lid or if you don’t have a lid, then use 2 layers of tin foil. Preheat oven to 325 F.

Place a cabbage leaf on a work surface; put a few tablespoons of the meat filling at the bottom of the cabbage leaf. If the core is too thick at the bottom just cut out that piece. Begin rolling up the cabbage by folding over once, then folding in the sides & then continue rolling up the cabbage roll. Place in greased roasting pan seam side down. Continue filling & rolling up the cabbage leaves until you have a layer in the bottom of the roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper & approximately 1 cup of tomato soup & 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of sauerkraut. This doesn’t need to be exact. Continue  filling, rolling & layering the cabbage until meat mixture is used up, sprinkling each layer with salt, pepper, then spreading with the tomato soup & a scattering of sauerkraut. Topping the final layer with a sprinkle of salt and  pepper, the tomato soup and sauerkraut.   For the step below, hold back some of the soup.

Note:  A trick my Mom always did was to put a layer of the leftover cabbage leaves over the finished cabbage rolls to prevent burning. Pour on 2 or 3 tins of water. This will help make the sauce.

Place cabbage rolls in the preheated oven, covered, bake for 1 ½ hours, then reduce the heat to 300 F & continue to bake for another 1 1/2 hours.

If you would like to buy fresh sauerkraut from a deli, click here for My Source List.

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Anne’s “Cheater” Pickled Beets

When I was working in the executive dining room, we made these every couple of weeks and now, for old time’s sake, I make them at Christmas. My Mom always made pickled beets from scratch which included growing her own beets! Molto lavoro (much work); this seems a whole lot easier to me!  I love pickled beets!

DSC_6351 nx23 tins Alymer’s Whole Rosebud Beets
2 tsp. (scant) pickling salt
1-2 Tbsp. pickling spice
1 cup sugar
1 cup white distilled vinegar

Make The Beets:

Drain off beet juice from beets, reserving 1 cup, pour into a medium sized pot. Add the distilled vinegar, sugar, salt & pickling spice. Bring to a boil on medium heat; lower the heat to simmer & simmer for 20 minutes. Get a nice big jar with a lid; wash well with soap & water, rinse well, then fill it with boiling water, let stand for 10 minutes. Drain the water & add the beets to the jar. Strain the hot beet juice over the beets. Top with 1 Tbsp. of the pickling spice. Cover with the lid. Let cool. When cool, store in the fridge. The beets will keep for approximately 3 – 4 weeks in the fridge.

Tip:  My sister places her pickling spice in a tea-infuser then adds that to the beet juice, vinegar & sugar.  When she’s ready to put the beets in the jar, she takes out the tea-infuser, leaves a couple of teaspoons of spice mixture remaining, disposes of any extra; puts the tea-infuser into the jar with the beets and pours the liquid over the beets.   That way she doesn’t have her beets filled with the bits!

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Scandinavian Apple Cake

Check out this new recipe!  Deliciously comforting apple cake…great with coffee or tea and also as a dessert with, perhaps a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream!  Or if you are really wanting to live dangerously…for breakfast!  For the recipe click the “Recipes” tab at the top of the page.  And as they say on The Great British Bake Off“BAKE”

Corn On The Cob Butters

A couple of ideas to slather on fresh, fantastic, local corn!

Lime-Chive Butter

½ cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. finely grated lime peel
½ tsp. fine sea salt
¼ tsp. Hungarian sweet paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover & chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

Garam Masala-Lime Butter

1/4 cup (2 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp. finely chopped green onion or chives
1 Tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. finely grated lime peel
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 – 1 tsp. Garam Masala**
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.  Can be made 2 days ahead.  Cover & chill.  Bring to room temperature before using.

Here’s the link to making your own Garam Masala.

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Sweet or Savoury?

 Yes Please!

My mother was known to tell people that she could bake anything inside a pie crust and her family would love it!

And my Russian mama definitely had that down right! Although…it may have had something to do with the fact that MOM WAS AN ABSOLUTELY AWESOME PIE MAKER! And I don’t care if you think your mom’s pies were the best ever either…so there! And…another tidbit…my husband didn’t really like pie…that is until he tasted mom’s!!

When summer fruit is upon us…my thoughts…well, let’s say my cravings, turn to pies. Although I have to admit, my thoughts do have a tendency to turn to pies at other times of the year! As a matter of fact not long ago members of the Melton Mowbray Pie Association were interviewed on “Britain’s Best Bakery” and now I can’t stop thinking about making a savoury pie! BTW and FYI the Melton Mowbray Pie makers, all 9 of them, were awarded Protected Geographical Indication status in 2009! And…drumroll please, click HERE for the link to the 2017 winners!

So, off to the kitchen…time to crank up the oven and make a pie or two! How about blueberry?  Click HERE for my recipe.  B. C. is well known for their amazing blueberries and I think that a pie would be in order, don’t you? And this week I testing a recipe for lamb hand pies…although I may use beef instead simply because the freezer says so!

I could go on and on…pizza rustica a two crust pie filled with all sorts of goodies and absolutely scrumptious when shared with friends at a picnic…with appropriate wine of course!

Or empanadas, click HERE for the link to my recipe. Again fabulous served either warm or at room temperature. Goes down a treat on a hot day!  Make the dough and filling the day before then bake them the next morning…done and dusted!

ENJOY summer and treat yourself to a pie and not one of those frozen things from your nearest supermarket. I haven’t been yet but we have a shop here called “Pie Hole.” I wonder if it’s time for a little research?

 

New Potato Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette

Here’s a really lovely “new” potato salad.  My personal favourite potatoes to use in this salad are Sieglinde.  I think the lemon dressing adds a nice brightness.

Makes 4 – 6 Servings

2 lbs. small new potatoes, unpeeled, Siegelinde (available at Helmer’s)**
1 tsp. lemon rind, finely grated
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tsp. stoneground Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. EVO
2 Tbsp. fresh chives, chopped or an equal amount of young green onions

Scrub potatoes and leave whole. Cook in a pot of boiling water salted water,  12 to 15 minutes, lid on.** Cook potatoes until just tender when pierced with a thin metal skewer. Drain potatoes and place in a large bowl. When cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, so they can absorb the dressing.  I think they look really nice this way.

Dressing:

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon rind, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt & pepper until smooth. Slowly whisk in the EVO. Add the chives & drizzle over the still warm potatoes; toss. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Serve at room temperature of even slightly warm.

To buy Helmer’s potatoes, click My Source List.  To see my method for cooking the potatoes, click How To Boil Potatoes.

 

Zucchini “Lasagne” With Tomato Sauce

Even though the ideal, or at least my ideal, is to barbecue all summer, I suppose it’s OK to have other options!  There’s no pasta in this “lasagne.” It’s really good!  Of course this is best made with in season zucchini, especially if you can find the Italian ridged ones! The lasagne could be served with pesto risotto alongside, or in the Italian manner, make the first course risotto followed by the “Lasagne”. Or why not even a small first course of tagliatelle with pesto just in case you’re missing the noodles!  Or to make it really simple, just a loaf of good country bread would do the trick!

Makes 6 Servings

DSC_1371.jpg nx21 Tbsp. EVOO
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried basil, crumbled or 1 ½ Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
1 tsp. fennel seeds
½ lb. lean ground beef
½ cup dry white wine
1 28 oz. tin Italian plum tomatoes, chopped, juices reserved
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

6 large zucchini, each sliced lengthwise into 5 slices
8 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

I have, on occasion, mixed in ½ an Italian sausage when sautéing the beef, a nice addition, but not necessary.

For the Sauce: I have found that it works really well to double the sauce, as you will most likely need a bit more than the recipe makes. Good news is, leftover sauce for another meal, perhaps pasta or…

Heat the oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion & sauté until tender, adding a bit of water if the onion sticks, about 3 – 5 minutes. Add the garlic, basil, oregano and fennel and sauté 1 minute. If using fresh herbs, add them to the sauce 5 minutes before the sauce is finished cooking. Add ground beef & Italian sausage if using, cook until brown, crumbling with a fork until no longer pink. Add wine and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes and their juices and the tomato paste. Simmer until sauce is reduced to 3 cups, stirring occasionally, about 1 ½ hours. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 Tbsp. salt. Add the zucchini & cook just until tender, about 2 minutes. Remove zucchini to a colander & drain. Rinse under cold water. Transfer zucchini to paper towels & drain well.

To Assemble the Lasagne:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Spread 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of a  9×13” glass baking pan that has been oiled or sprayed with cooking spray. Place half the zucchini slices in the bottom of the pan, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. cheese; season with salt & pepper. Repeat layering, using 1 cup of sauce, remaining zucchini slices and 2 Tbsp. cheese. Top with the remaining 1 cup of sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and place in the oven. Bake until top bubbles & is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

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Farro Risotto With Tomatoes

Since our first trip to Italy I have been a big fan of farro. Farro is made from Emmer Wheat, not spelt. The first time I had it was in a ribollita at La Bottega, a little restaurant in Volpaia, a small town in Chianti. I had read that the mother of the family who own the restaurant, make the best ribollita (a thick soup), so of course we had to go there! It was great! A short time later, at Ristorante da Dalfina, a short drive from Florence, we ordered a tomato risotto made with farro. It was delicious. I simply had to buy farro to bring home! I found it!  Another discovery made from having leftover risotto is to make a soup with some borlotti beans, carrots, onions & celery and some herbs.  Tummy warming on a cool day.

Makes 3 – 4 First Course/Side Dish Servings

1 cup farro perlato (semi-pearled)**
1 Tbsp. each EVO & unsalted butter
1 ½ cups chicken stock** or tinned low/no salt chicken broth, or more, especially if using regular farro**
½ tsp. salt
2 cups tinned Italian plum tomatoes, drained & pureed in a food mill (or you can simply mash up with your hands). Don’t use a food processor,  pureed seeds makes the tomatoes bitter.
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced
2 oz. pancetta, cut into fine dice
¼ cup dry white wine
2 – 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For Finishing the Risotto:

2 – 3 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Heat the stock in a pot until hot. Cover with a lid & keep warm on low heat. Heat the EVO & butter in a medium sized pot & add the pancetta; sauté until golden; add the onion & sauté until translucent, then add the garlic & sauté for a minute or so. Add the farro & stir until coated & lightly toasted; approximately 2 minutes. Add the wine & cook until it evaporates. Ladle in ½ cup stock at a time, stirring & adding more stock as it is absorbed into the farro. Repeat until all stock is used up. Add the pureed tomatoes & continue to cook until the farro is al dente 12 – 15 minutes, adding more stock if necessary until it is ready; add the basil & season to taste with more salt if required & freshly ground black pepper. Add the cheese & butter, stirring until incorporated. Serve immediately.

**A note about Farro Perlato. I have, so far, been unable to find pearled farro in Vancouver, so I buy it in Italy & in London at an Italian Deli. You can easily find the regular farro, but for making risotto using regular farro there are two schools of thought on the preparation method.  One is to pre-soak & one is not.  Both methods follow & you can decide which one would work for you.

Soak the farro in cold water to cover for 8 – 12 hours, drain & continue with the recipe.

OR: another method if you  is to sauté the onion & garlic as above, add the unsoaked farro, stirring for a minute to coat with oil & butter, add the wine, cook until reduced, stirring constantly, then add 1 ½ cup hot broth & ½ tsp salt, stir to combine; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover & simmer about 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed into the farro. Add the pureed tomatoes & ¼ cup hot broth, boil over medium heat, uncovered, until tender adding more broth ¼ cup at a time, stirring occasionally, until farro is al dente, approximately 25 minutes, the farro should not be dry. Season farro to taste with salt & pepper to taste, stir in the cheese & butter until creamy.

 To make your own stock, click Making Stock.

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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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