Archive for Fall Harvest

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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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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