Thursday, July 31, 2008

Coq au Riesling

Coq au RieslingCoq au Riesling, originally uploaded by beFOODled.

This is recipe # 68 in the little green notebook where I scribble recipes while watching Food Network Canada. It's Laura Calder's take on the French classic coq au vin, except that she uses white wine instead of red. I made this on Monday night for some friends and we ate it with roasted multi-coloured carrots from the market, and multi-coloured baby potatoes from SuperStore.

Coq au Riesling
adapted from Laura Calder's French Food at Home

I varied her recipe in the following ways: I used 10 pieces of drumsticks and thighs instead of 12, two cloves of garlic instead of one, ¾ cup of chicken stock instead of 1/2, two tablespoons of brandy instead of cognac. I used sour cream because I can never find crème fraîche and I added 1 tsp of dried thyme.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Ribfest inspired me to make my own pulled pork, so I tested out this recipe on my friends earlier this week. I did give them fair warning that I was going to serve them butt, which the butcher gave me instead of pork shoulder. (I didn't notice until it was too late.) But they are wonderful, they still came over :) We like big butts and we cannot lie, you other brothers can't deny ...

I followed the advice of the cookbook, which says to use whole spices when slow cooking — they stand up to the long cooking times better than ground spices. Also, because you can't brown the meat first (can't brown big butts), set your cooker to high for the first couple of hours of cooking time, and then turn it to low. One thing the cookbook forgot to mention is that you should close your bedroom door, because the whole apartment will smell of barbecue!

But it's worth it ...

Old South Pulled Pork on a Bun
recipe adapted from The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson
serves eight

1.2 kg pork butt (or shoulder), trimmed of excess fat
2 onions, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
1 cup of your favourite barbecue sauce
1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar (or cider)
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

The night before your dinner, make the sauce. Finely dice the onions and fry in a pan with olive oil for a few minutes until they are beginning to soften. Add the garlic and fry another minute. Add the paprika and the peppercorns and stir. Add the barbecue sauce, brown sugar, liquid smoke, vinegar and Worcestershire and stir, bringing to the boil. Turn the heat off, cool and store in the fridge overnight.

The morning of your dinner, place the pork in the slow cooker and pour over the sauce. Cook for an hour or two, or however long you can, on high and then turn the cooker to low before you go to work. I let mine cook for one hour on high and 10 hours on low. You could cook it on high for six hours instead. The pork should be falling apart.

Transfer the pork to a big glass bowl, leaving the sauce in the cooker. Pull the pork apart using two forks, and discard any fatty bits you find. Put the pulled pork back in the cooker and turn to coat evenly with sauce.

Spoon onto big, fluffy white buns, like onion buns or kaisers. My anaconda don't want none unless you've got buns hun ...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Roasted Multi-Coloured Carrots

Roasted heirloom carrots and balsamic chickenRoasted heirloom multi-coloured carrots and balsamic chicken, originally uploaded by beFOODled.

There is a mouthwatering episode of Jamie at Home called "Carrots and beets," where he tosses each root vegetable with a different acid and different fresh, woody herb like rosemary, thyme or sage. Then he lines up alternating veggie bunches in a big roasting pan, and cooks them in his beautiful wood-burning outdoor oven.

When Squeaky and I went to the market on Sunday, we found the amazing multi-coloured carrots that Jamie used in his recipe. For the first time in my life, I tasted a purple carrot, and it was delicious. I made the carrots with S's help, and we modified the recipe by cooking them in the pan juices of the roasted balsamic chicken that I had made earlier.

Boil the carrots for 10 minutes. Toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, smashed garlic cloves, an acid like red or white wine vinegar (we used orange juice), and pan juices from roasting chicken (optional). After tossing, roast the carrots in a 350 F oven until they are lightly golden, about half an hour.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

United Nations quesadillas

United Nations quesadillas, originally uploaded by beFOODled.

In the spirit of using what's in the fridge instead of buying more groceries, I united three nations on Wednesday night with Mexican, Italian and Japanese ingredients in my fusion quesadillas. Fresh basil took the place of cilantro, mozzarella cheese filled in for sharp cheddar, and instead of sour cream, which I was sorely tempted to purchase, I made a dip from plain yogurt, dried dill and some Japanese seven-spice chilli powder. To my surprise it turned out to be extremely edible! Too bad S, who doesn't like to waste food, wasn't here to witness my home economics.

United Nations Quesadillas
serves one

2 pita breads
olive oil
1 green onion, sliced
1/8 of a fresh red bell pepper, diced
fresh basil, chiffonaded
mozzarella cheese, grated

Take two pita breads out of your freezer and let them thaw. Brush one side of one pita with olive oil and place it on the cutting board oily side down. Add the onion, red pepper, basil cheese and a drizzling of salsa. Cover with the second pita and brush the top of it with oil, too.

Preheat a frying pan on the stovetop. Add some olive oil and let it heat up. Carefully add the quesadilla. Fry a few minutes on both sides until the pita bread has browned and the cheese has melted. Cut in half and then cut each half into three triangles.

As a substitute for sour cream, combine half a cup of plain yogurt with dillweed and some chilli powder (I used the Japanese seven-spice).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wild Mushroom and Spicy Sausage Pasta

Mushroom and sausage pastaMushroom and sausage pasta, originally uploaded by beFOODled.

In my twenties, my pasta repertoire consisted of one dish, spaghetti bolognese, which I mastered well enough to make in bulk to last the whole week. Now I have a whole bunch of favourite pasta dishes, but this is the one I make most often, always with a big, crusty rip of garlic bread on the side.

It's a Jamie Oliver recipe from one of his early websites, way back in 2005, and long before Jamie's Italy or Jamie at Home. I love this pasta because it has big, woodsy flavours, like wild mushrooms and thyme, and the spiciest sausage ever made — chorizo!

Wild Mushroom and Spicy Sausage Pasta
Adapted from a recipe in Jamie Oliver's The Naked Chef Takes Off
Serves three (two dinners and one lunch)

half an onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
olive oil
2 chorizo sausages, meat removed from the casings
a shaking of chilli flakes
400 grams of mixed wild mushrooms, such as oyster and shiitake, torn into pieces
short pasta, such as penne or rigatoni
as many sprigs of fresh thyme as you want, leaves picked
a couple of pats of butter
fresh parsley, chopped
fresh parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper

Cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve about half a cup of cooking water before draining it.

At the same time, start the pasta sauce. Slit open the sausage casings and take out the meat. Pinch off little knobs of sausage meat with your fingers straight into a frying pan with some olive oil on medium heat. Saute until cooked and set aside.

Pour off most of the sausage fat from the pan but leave behind a half a teaspoon or so for flavour. In the same pan, add more olive oil and fry the onion for a few minutes. Add garlic and fry another couple of minutes. Add the thyme, chilli flakes and the torn mushrooms, and saute until the mushrooms have given up their water and become small. Remove the pan from the heat and season. Loosen the sauce with the butter and a bit of the pasta water when you are ready to combine it with the pasta. Add half of the sauce to the pasta and mix well. Leave the other half for topping.

Ladel the pasta into bowls, top with more sauce, and add the fresh chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese. Serve with garlic bread.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

In Season for July

Now that summer is at its peak, berries are starting to come into season. Now, if I was a baker, which I'm not but would like to be, I would make a nice fruit tart with a homemade crust this month.

Some of the really healthy greens, like Swiss chard, rapini and kale are also available now. They stand up well to cooking in soups and in pastas. For example, in this fusilli recipe, you could substitute Swiss chard that's been sautéed and wilted for the spinach.

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