Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas turkey

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It's only six days post-Christmas and you are undoubtedly maxed out on turkey leftovers. You probably have mixed feelings about this gorgeous plate of carved turkey above. That said, my Dad makes a great turkey and this year I took some serious notes that I will now share with you, reluctant and turkey-tired though you may be.

So here we go. For a seven-kilogram bird, allow four days for thawing in the fridge. You can put it in water in the sink to help it along on the last day. When thawed, rinse it, take the neck and giblets out of the cavity and rinse the cavity, too. Pat dry with paper towels. Apply a dry rub of Italian seasoning, thyme and cumin and any other herbs and spices that you like all over the turkey. Also rub it with olive oil and a cube of butter.

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Stuff the cavity with an unpeeled lime, half a lemon, cut up fennel tops, green onions, celery, a two-inch piece of ginger, garlic cloves and a whole onion. (We always do the breaded stuffing separately.)

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Close the cavity somehow — Dad uses wooden skewers and string to do this. Put on the turkey "lifter" string and put it in the pan you will roast it in if you haven't already. Cover the wing and leg tips with bits of foil to prevent them from burning. Oil the giblets and tuck near the sides of the turkey.

Put in the thermometer and cook for 20 minutes at 415, then turn the heat down to 350 for one hour, and then down to 325 for the rest of the cooking time. Baste every half hour or so.

Carve up and dig in. (Tell you what: Just bookmark this page for Easter or whenever you next cook a turkey and then let me know what you think!)

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pea and chorizo rotini

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Two nights ago when I made rösti again, it really didn't turn out. The outer part was crispy but the inside was uncooked, and after frying it for a long time I finally gave up and I ended up eating chocolate for dinner instead. The next day, to boost my ego, I made this tasty old standby that I haven't yet messed up.

Pea and chorizo rotini

serves two

1 chorizo sausage, casing removed
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp favourite dried herb
pinch hot pepper flakes
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup pasta water
parmesan cheese (optional)
1.5 cups rotini

Boil salted water for the rotini and cook until al dente.

In a big frying pan, drop in little chunks of the sausage meat and break it up while cooking. When the sausage has almost cooked, add the garlic, hot pepper flakes and herbs and cook a few more minutes. Add in the frozen peas and warm through for a minute while stirring.

Drain the pasta but reserve some of the cooking water. Add the drained rotini to the sauce and mix well. Add the ricotta cheese and half a cup of the reserved pasta water and stir until the ricotta has combined with the water to make a cheesy sauce. Top with grated parmesan and serve.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


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This has been my favourite breakfast of late, a little stack of pancakes with maple syrup, bacon, a glass of OJ and apple slices (not pictured). And you can't beat the recipe for easiness — President's Choice buttermilk pancake mix and water. These little beauties were poured out by S who has perfected the art of the circular pancake. Mine on the other hand look a bit deformed but still taste good!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rösti and smoked salmon with apple salad

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I loved the hot corner of the Pelican Grill's Battle of the Salmons, so I decided to make my own version using the smoked salmon portion that we bought there.

It was also a great excuse to finally try my hand at rösti. I love to get it at the Richtree restaurant in the Rideau Centre. It's one of those dishes that I love, but because I don't eat it often I sometimes forget that it exists. Shameful, I know.

I put the salmon portion on a plate and served it with an apple/cherry tomato salad, a dollop of plain yogurt mixed with dried shallots and thyme (because I didn't have sour cream and chives), and I made my own rösti.


one sweet potato
one russet potato
one small onion
one apple, cored and halved
shredded cheddar cheese (about a quarter cup)
salt and pepper

Over a cutting board, grate the potatoes using a box grater. Handful by handful, squeeze the excess water out of the grated potatoes over the sink. Place the squeezed potato in a large mixing bowl. Repeat with the rest of the potatoes, the onion and half of the apple (cube the other half for the salad).

Add the grated cheddar cheese to the rest of the ingredients in the mixing bowl, season and mix well with a fork.

In a frying pan on medium heat, add a couple of glugs of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the rösti mixture to the pan, patting it down to form a dense pancake.

Flip it when the bottom has started to crisp up and turn golden, about seven minutes on my stove.

Slide a spatula underneath the sides to loosen the rösti pancake. Take a large dinner plate and place it upside down on top of the frying pan. Turn both upside down so the rösti slides out onto the plate. Add more oil to the pan and slide the rösti back in to cook the other side.

It's crunchy, cheesy and delicious. Next time I'm going to experiment with some paprika and chopped herbs, and make this as an afternoon snack!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The state of my fridge

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There's a very fun thread going on right now at Ottawa Foodies called "Peek into my fridge."

This morning, I have a happy, full fridge. It's not usually this well-stocked but I just went grocery shopping yesterday. I'll have to do another post end-of-week that will show what it most often looks like: Still full of jars of food, but with nothing useful (you know how it goes ;)

Top shelf:
almond butter, mayo, tahini, near empty miscellaneous jams, ancient ketchup and mustard somewhere in the back, HP Sauce, pesto, parmesan, ricotta, cranberry juice, plain yoghurt, tamarind paste, cheddar, mozzarella, goat's cheese, tomato paste, hummus

Middle shelf:
three candy apples from the Christmas craft sale going on at Landsdowne right now (meant as gifts but I am tempted to dive in to one of them!), Leffe brun beer (on the recommendation of our friend in B.C. who is bummed he can't get any there), smoked salmon portion from Pelican Grill, apple cider, lunch yoggies, leftover smashed pea and chorizo rotini dinner from last night, eggs, white wine and leftover cooking onions.

Bottom drawers:
napa cabbage, Lebanese cucumbers, parsley, potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, red pepper, celery, hot peppers, limes (for G-and-Ts ;), eggplants

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Raclette at Ella's

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This week my friend Ella invited a bunch of us girls over for raclette. I love eating a nice big meals mid-week with friends. It breaks the endless cycle of work and sleep that can sometimes make you feel like you have no life during the week.

Anyway, this mid-week feast was delicious, a great informal way of showcasing my favourite food .... ta da ta da ta da .... cheese!

In the bottom right corner, you will see square slices of authentic raclette cheese, generously bought by Ella and carefully sliced and trimmed by yours truly. You fry veggies and stuff on the top of the raclette machine, and then put the little cheese squares in special trays at the bottom. Once the cheese has melted, you then drape the oozy goodness all over your veggies.

We fried up mushrooms and orange pepper slices and also thin slices of marinated beef and sausage. We also had a bowl of boiled new potatoes in circulation around the table. At one point I only had one potato on my plate but that didn't stop me from totally blanketing it in a whole square of cheese. So. Ridiculously. Good.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Rainbow trout with rice, red pepper and zucchini

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Last night I cooked the rainbow trout we bought from the Pelican Fishery & Grill. It was very quick and tasty meal. I made plain white rice in the rice cooker. By the way, I think everyone should own one of these — all you have to do is press a button! Then I seasoned the trout fillets and fried them in a saucepan, about four minutes on the skin side and three on the flesh side. I also made a vegetable side with cubed red pepper, cubed zucchini, diced onions and a sprinkling of dried herbs and ground chili pepper, just to give it a little zing.

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