Archive for Fall Harvest

Rigatoni With Lentil Ragu

When my friend Deb. Mele posted a recipe for Lentil Bolognese I have to say, it got my attention!  As I am always on the lookout for interesting pasta sauces, for vegetarian meals and lastly but by no means least, I’m that woman who stuffs Castelluccio lentils into her luggage when packing to come home from Italy. Castelluccio lentils are grown in Umbria and are tiny, brownish jewels with a delicate flavor and a wonderfully tender texture. And like Lentil du Puy, they don’t disintegrate in cooking, which makes them ideal for salads.  This is my version of Deb’s. recipe!  You may not be able to get your hands on Castelluccio lentils, if not, substitute other Italian lentils.  There are some nice ones from Puglia available.

Makes Enough Ragu for 1 lb. Rigatoni

Precook the Lentils:

1 cup Castelluccio lentils, picked over for any debris or stones, or other Italian lentils
1/3 cup finely diced carrots
1/3 cup finely diced celery

Make the Sauce:

1/3 cup finely diced onion
4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 fresh bay leaves or 1 dried bay leaf
5 Tbsp. EVO
¼ – ½ tsp. peperoncino (aka chili flakes)
½ cup dry white wine
2 ½ cups tinned Italian plum tomatoes, diced & crushed with your hands
1 Tbsp. tomato paste.
1 – 2 tsp. sea salt or Kosher salt

1 lb. Rigatoni or other tubular shaped pasta

To Finish Dressing the Pasta:

5 – 6 leaves of fresh basil
2 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
EVO
½ – 1 cup finely grated Pecorino

Place the picked through & rinsed lentils in a medium sized pot with the carrots, celery, bay leaves & 3 cups cold water. Bring to a boil; turn the heat down, cover & sinner 15 – 25 minutes or just until tender.

Meanwhile, heat 5 Tbsp. EVO in a large saute pan. Saute 1/3 cup of the onion & the garlic slices until softened & slightly golden but not browned. Clear a spot in the pan & add the tomato paste, stirring for about 1 minute. Add the chili flakes (peperoncino) to the pan, stir for 30 seconds. Add the white wine & reduce by 1/3rd. Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer; cook until slightly thickened. Drain the lentils, reserving the liquid & add the lentils to the pan with the tomatoes, season with salt, keeping in mind that the sauce will reduce somewhat. Simmer this mixture uncovered for approximately 25 minutes of until it’s a good consistency to dressing the pasta. If the sauce is too thick, thin it with some of the lentil cooking water. Keep sauce warm.

Cook the rigatoni until al dente. Check it approximately 2 minutes before the suggested time on the package. Scoop out some of the cooking water & set aside, then drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the pan containing the warm sauce tossing to combine, adding a bit of the pasta cooking water to reach the desired consistency if necessary. Tear up and add the basil leaves & parsley, tossing to combine. Remove from the heat, add the Pecorino, toss to combine.

Place the pasta in a warm serving bowl & drizzle with the remaining EVO, sprinkle with a bit more Pecorino & serve immediately.

Ottolenghi’s Sort-of-Waldorf

Another winner from from Yotam Ottolenghi! This recipe is from his cookbook “Plenty More”…I’m a huge fan of his stuff! My husband and I even paid a visit to his shop in Nottinghill the last time we were in London! It’s a deli that has the most amazing looking things available and so beautifully presented!

Makes 6 – 8 Servings

1/3rd cup shelled hazelnuts (see below on how to toast them)
4 ¼ cups red cabbage, finely shredded
6 celery stalks, cut into (1/4”) 5mm thick slices
2 Granny Smith apples, (or other green or red apples) thinly sliced
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 – ½ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
Rounded ¾ cup (100g) dried sour cherries (or cranberries), optional but very good
Salt & black pepper

For the Mayonnaise:

1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1/3 cup (90ml) sunflower oil
1/3 cup (90m) canola oil (or use all canola)

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

Scatter the hazelnuts in an ovenproof dish, roast for 30 minutes Remove, set aside to cool down, then crush or chop roughly.

Make the Mayonnaise:

Put the shallot, egg yolk, mustard, maple, vinegar & half a teaspoon of salt in a food processor. Mix the ingredients together, then with the machine running, add the oils in a very slow stream, until you have a smooth, thick mayonnaise. Set aside.

Put the red cabbage, celery, apples & onion in a large mixing bowl. Add the sour cream, dill, mayonnaise, sour cherries or cranberries (if using), some salt & black pepper. Use your hands to mix everything together thoroughly (don’t worry if you break the apple slices; it’s all part of the look). Taste & adjust the seasoning accordingly, transfer to a serving bowl or individual plates; scatter the hazelnuts nuts on top before serving.

End of Summer Zucchini Casserole

We’ve headed into fall and the remaining Romanesco zucchini need to be used…now what? I’d pretty much run through the  “zucchini repertoire” and I needed to come up with something for dinner.  There’s that leftover barbecued corn from the night before…hmmm.   Here it is…kind of macaroni and cheese without the macaroni using zucchini and corn instead! We made oven-fried chicken to have with it but it could easily be a main course. Leave out the bacon if for a vegetarian version.

DSC_4933 nx2Makes 4 Side Dish Servings

1 lb. zucchini, sliced into 1/8” rounds
1 Tbsp. EVO
1/8 tsp. each salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ – 2 cups corn kernels, if frozen corn is used, drain well
2 – 3 slices bacon, preferably double smoked
1 small onion, chopped fine
½ cup Panko crumbs
1 Tbsp. melted butter
2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley

Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven & put a large shallow rimmed baking pan on the rack, then preheat the oven to 475 F. Toss the zucchini with the EVO, salt & freshly ground black pepper in a medium sized bowl; place the zucchini rounds in one layer onto the preheated baking pan & roast for 5 minutes; turn zucchini rounds over & continue to roast for another 4 or 5 minutes until the squash is just tender. Set aside. Reduce the oven to 400 F.

Fry the bacon until almost crisp; remove to paper towels to drain; drain off excess bacon fat, leaving 1 Tbsp. Sauté the onion  in the bacon fat until softened, about 5 – 7 minutes, set aside. While the onion is cooking, chop the bacon into bits & set aside. Mix the grated cheeses together.   Set aside 1/3 cup of the cheese mixture for the Panko topping.

Combine the Panko crumbs, melted butter, 1/3 cup reserved cheeses, the bacon & the parsley; set aside.

For The Cheese Sauce:

2 Tbsp. each unsalted butter & unbleached flour
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 ½ cups milk, preferably 2%
1 cup grated extra old cheddar (I used 2 year old  Balderson’s)
½ cup each of grated Gruyere or Monterey Jack & Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp. paprika
¼ tsp. Tabasco sauce

In a microwavable bowl, melt the butter, covered.  Whisk in the flour, return to the microwave & cook at level 5 for 1 – 2 minutes, until bubbly; remove from the microwave & whisk in the milk very slowly. Microwave the mixture, in 1 minute intervals, whisking each time, on med- high heat, until it has thickened & come up to the boil. Remove from the microwave; whisk in the sauteed onion, cheeses, salt & pepper to taste, paprika & Tabasco sauce; set aside until ready to use.

Grease a 9” shallow baking dish. Place the zucchini rounds in the dish; scatter with the corn; pour the cheese sauce over the veggies & scatter with the Panko crumbs. Place in the oven & bake 15 – 20 minutes until bubbly & lightly golden on top. Let rest for approximately 5 minutes & serve.

Phyllis Signature_01

Beer Braised Beef Stew

When fall and winter is upon us, there is nothing like a comforting, tummy warming stew. This is one of my all-time favourites. You can make it as spicy as you like and if you like to put potatoes in your stews,(I much prefer serving stew with mashed potatoes) you can change out the turnips for 4 or 5 small red potatoes cut in half. Once you know the technique for making stew (or braising) it is really simple and it perks away nicely while you read a book!

Makes approximately 4 servings

dsc_2664-jpg-nx21 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp + 1 ½ tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. EVOO (approximately)
2 ½ lbs. beef stew meat, cut into 1 ½” chunks, preferably chuck
1 large onion, cut into wedges
½ green pepper, cut into chunks
1 bottle dark beer or stout (half for the stew & half for the cook)
1 ½ Tbsp. tomato paste
¼ to ½ tsp. dried chili flakes
1 – 2 cups beef stock or tinned low-salt broth**
3 medium sized carrots, thickly sliced on the diagonal
½ a small turnip, cut 1” cubes, about 2 cups

In a small bowl combine the garlic, 1 ½ tsp. brown sugar, the cumin, salt, pepper & cinnamon. Mix together. Pat the meat dry of excess moisture & rub all over with the spice mixture. Put the meat cubes on a large platter, cover & leave for about 1 hour at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Heat a heavy, deep skillet or dutch oven & add the EVOO. Place some of the beef cubes into the pan and brown them on all sides. Don’t crowd the meat or it will not brown properly, so perhaps ½” between the cubes. Continue browning the remaining beef cubes in the same manner, removing them to a platter as they are browned & adding more EVOO if necessary. When you have finished browning the meat, turn down the heat under the pan. Add the onion wedges & green pepper & sauté until the onions are wilted a bit, approx. 5 minutes, stir in the chili flakes & cook for 1 minute.

Meanwhile, stir together the beer, tomato paste & remaining 2 Tbsp. brown sugar. Return the beef to the pan & add the beer mixture. Add 1 cup of beef stock/broth to the pan, stir everything together & place in the oven for 1 ½ hrs. Add the vegetables & more stock if you think there should be more (½ cup to 1 cup) as you want the vegetables to have some liquid to braise in. Continue braising the stew for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Carefully remove the pan from the oven & place on a stove top burner on medium low heat. Stir together approximately 1 Tbsp. potato starch & 2 Tbsp. beef stock; adding half to the stew and cook until thickened. If you would like it a bit thicker, add a bit more of the mixture and cook until the stew is nice & shiny (just a couple of minutes should do the trick).

All you need now is a baguette!

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

Phyllis Signature

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.

Phyllis Signature

 

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!

Phyllis Signature

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.

Phyllis Signature

 

 

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.