Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Panko Covered Soft Boiled Eggs

One of my absolutely most favourite salads ever is served at The Grain Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver.  It's called The Grain Steak Salad and it is served with slow roasted Prime Rib, roasted tomatoes, crispy onions and these gorgeous panko eggs that spill out over the prime rib and bed of crispy romaine lettuce.  I get mouth cramps thinking about it.  Today I made these eggs and while they were beyond amazing, I think I will try for 4 1/2 minutes boiling time instead of 5 next time.  I mean, I want yolk to spill out like a fountain!
They still rocked however.  I found a recipe online that has been the best so far.

You will need:  4 eggs (maybe 8 to practice with a few!), 1 beaten egg for dipping, 1/2 cup panko crumbs, 1/4 cup flour, 2 cups vegetable oil, or canola like I used, and any seasonings that you might like...say a little pinch or two of Parmesan, a pinch of truffle salt and a few grains of pepper.

Once your eggs are boiled for the appropriate time (4 1/2 to 5 minutes), put eggs into ice water for at least 15 minutes.  Remove and gently tap shell to peel carefully.  Set aside.

Then set up a plates to dip soft boiled eggs, first into a little flour, then dip into a beaten egg, then finally into panko.  I actually used a spoon to help sprinkle these ingredients over the egg.

Heat up a pot of oil.  Once nice and hot, add the eggs and remove with a slotted spoon when perfectly brown.  Drain on a paper towel and serve over salad!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Toad in the Hole

OK, this is so seriously delicious!  Every bite has the moan factor and it’s a cozy meal that you can serve on a cooler fall night, or really anytime.  This British classic is a classic for a reason.  It’s comforting, savory and can be served with a salad but I’ve added kale to this casserole, so you could make it just a one dish night.  The technique of making and baking Yorkshire pudding is part of this recipe.  The spicy Italian sausages, with the nutty toasted kale and the sweet Yorkshire make this a really delicious meal.

6-8 hot Italian Sausages, 3-4 handfuls of soft kale leaves, 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of water, 4 eggs, 1 tbsp. smoked paprika, 1 tbsp. yellow mustard, salt and pepper.

Yorkshire with a kick:  2 cups of flour, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of cold water, 4 eggs, 1 tbsp. of smoked paprika and 1 tbsp. of yellow mustard and a little salt.  Mix together in a bowl and put into the refrigerator for at least an hour to get cold.  You want a cold batter to pour into a hot pan.

Cook up between 6-8 hot Italian sausages – the nice long ones in a 350 degree oven until almost cooked through.

In a brand-new pan 9 by 11 casserole dish, melt ¼ cup of unsalted butter.  Swipe the sides before going in to grease it up for batter.

Once the butter is melted and hot, add the sausages and a few handfuls of soft kale (I used the kale in a carton since it’s usually soft) and put back into the oven for a minute or so.

Take the Yorkshire batter out of the refrigerator and pour into the pan with the sausages and kale.  Cook on middle rack for about ½ an hour at a 375 degree oven.  To brown the top if need be, put directly under the broiler on top rack, at 450 degrees for about 1 minutes.  Keep an eye on it.  This is a very impressive looking dish and as I mentioned, absolutely DELISH!  Enjoy.  P.S.  The pictures are so so because we already started eating out of the casserole before I could take a picture...so GOOOOOD!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Merlot Sauce for Juicy steaks or Roast Beef

So my hubby and I just got back from a month long vacation in Europe.  It was spectacular to say the least!  In fact, in spending time overseas and fulfilling my life long dream, it was apparent that the longing for something I had deep within was easily fulfilled by the cultures, the ways of life and the joie de vivre over there.  One thing I noticed was that people CONVERSE with one another and I never saw anyone text at a table.  Also in Paris, there are no TVs in the bistros or restaurants, so yes, you must talk to the person you came to dinner with!  In addition to regular walking and counting our magnanimous steps that we got accustomed to as tourists, the other thing I couldn't wait to keep in my life and practice at home was the tradition of England's, Sunday Lunch.  So this past weekend we did just that!  We invited a small mix of family and friends together to partake in a simple and casual gathering.  We had the roast (I forgot to season it can you believe it!  I did however marinate it in some wine and will do that next time but for a whole day) and the Yorkshire puddings.  But what I loved the absolute most was the Merlot sauce for the beef instead of the traditional gravy.  Now I love my traditional gravy, but because I roasted veggies with big bad Bob, all the drippings seeped into the potatoes and carrots.  Last week we were in Las Vegas for a wedding and one night I ordered up a steak (well actually 2 nights) and it came with this gorgeous and divine Merlot Sauce.  I think you will LOVE it!  Serve with juicy steaks or roast beef and Yorkshire Puds if you like too!

1/2 bottle of red wine
1 bouillon cube of chicken for broth
3 cups of water

1/4 cup of flour
2 tbsp. of butter

Add the wine, water and bouillon cubes to a pot and let come to a light boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer for about an hour.  After about an hour I added a little more red wine and some extra water because mine was a few grains salty, but not too much.

Then when you've tasted your mixture, make a paste with flour and the liquid and add a little at a time to the pot to thicken up the sauce.  Whisk well and of course keep tasting and adjusting as needed.  This is sooo delicious.  Keep warm and pour over steak or roast.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Blue Cheese and Rosemary Shortbread

OK, these were just soooo delicious!  A savoury shortbread with just a hint of sweet and some good blue cheese.  I hosted a Julia Child Dinner Party recently and popped these cookies into coffee mugs my hubby made for my friends to take home.  The cookies are great for an appie with wine in the summer or winter.  Bon Appetite!

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  1 cup of salted butter, softened, 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup of blue cheese, 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary.

I like to use my mixer for this stuff, so basically beat the butter until fluffy first, then add the sugar until everything is blended.  Then stir in the blue cheese and rosemary.  You are going to have to put this shortbread into the freezer to harden somewhat before baking.  Divide dough and make two logs.  Wrap in plastic wrap and pop into the freezer for about 1/2-1 hour.  Mine froze really fast.  When about to bake, take out of freezer, slice into 1/4 inch slices.  Put parchment paper on a cookie sheet and put about 1 inch apart on cookie sheet.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Just keep checking to make sure they don't get too brown.  Then take out and cool on a plate.  Oh these are flippin delicious!  Makes about 3 dozen.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Meatball Lunch with Chucky Tomato Sauce

I go to a pub here in Vancouver and can't get enough of this lunch.  I absolutely love the simplicity of dish because it is not overpowered by too many spices.  It is just an easy and sublime marriage of three good meatballs and a basily summer sun tasting chunky tomato sauce.   I usually make my own tomato sauce, but in this case, I used just two cans and one jar to cover lunch.

Obviously you can go more fresh using fresh basil, garlic, oregano, Parmesan.

1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef, 2 eggs, 1 cup of panko, 1 cup of Parmesan cheese (I just used your basic pantry powder), 1/3 cup of melted butter (I've seen butter put into THE BEST BURGERS), 2 tbsp. of onion, 1 tbsp.  1 Tbsp. garlic powder, 2 Tbsp. of any Italian spices, or just oregano.  Mix well.  Form about 12 medium-sized meatballs in a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Now for your easy peasy tomato sauce:  2 small cans of diced tomatoes with Italian spices (or just plain if you like) and then one jar of Paul Newman's tomato basil.  Put all three in a pot, warm and stir.  Arrange meatballs in a beautiful serving dish and pour the tomato sauce over.  Garnish with parsley and serve.  Easily warmed up if you bring it to a pot-luck.

Cucumber Feta Cheese Crostini - Delish!

Summer is smoky here in British Columbia but prior to being smoky I managed to make a few appetizers in the great outdoors for a few glorious summer parties.  Here is an appetizer that is so delicious, so addictive and so easy to make.  If you are going to a party or having one, these babies are easy to whip up in advance and are a hit!

1 baguette, 8 tsp. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1 small package of feta cheese, 1/2 tsp. of lemon juice, salt and pepper, 1 small cucumber thinly sliced.

Slice baguette into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces.  Brush one side of each baguette piece with the olive oil and sprinkle with little bit of salt and garlic powder.  Put into a 400 degree oven on a cookie sheet and bake for about 5-8 minutes (or until you like the crispness of it).

Take out and cool down.

In a bowl mix together feta cheese, lemon, salt and pepper and a little more olive oil if you like.  Spread over each baguette and top with cucumber and a bit of salt if you like.  Always make sure you taste your concoction to add whatever more you might like.  XO

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Pork Cassoulet and Chocolate Almond Orange Cake aka French Soul Food

It's snowing here in beautiful British Columbia and I am cozied up with a few people watching the Super Bowl.  While I have some good appies (chicken wings, scallops and bacon) roasting away in the oven to stay within the bounds of a traditional Super Bowl fare, I am also cooking our family Sunday dinner.  I defrosted a pork roast and had lots of brown lentils so I am slow cooking a pork cassoulet in the crock pot, accompanied with Yorkshire puddings and Nigella Lawson's recipe for almond flour and orange chocolate cake.  Of course this is perfect for those who are gluten free and it is seriously sublime.  Rather than using regular olive oil in the recipe however, I make sure I have orange flavored olive oil for this cake which you can get at most Italian delis and all those cool olive oil and vinegar specialty stores popping up.  Here's to some delicious French Soul Food!

Get your slow cooker organized
a Pork Roast
Fav spices, I chose fennel and some Montreal Steak Spice (because it was closest in the pantry and my back was too sore to reach for something else!)
olive oil
1 1/2 cups of brown lentils
4 large carrots peeled and chopped how you like them
2 onions sliced
4 garlic cloves
6 celery chopped
maple syrup
chicken broth

Season your pork roast with your favorite spices and sear in a pan or pot with olive oil along with the onions adding the garlic in a little later so it doesn't burn.

Once your pork is seared, pop it into your slow cooker with onions and garlic, add carrots, celery and lentils.  Pour in enough chicken broth to cover half of the pork.  Drizzle with some maple syrup about 1/4 cup. 

I then put my slow cooker on high to cook the veggies for about three hours, then to low and slow so that all the veggies and the lentils would absorb all the juices from the chicken broth and pork.  Let me tell you one and all - this is DELICIOUS!

Total cooking time will be 7 hours, but of course, it may not even take that long depending on the size of your roast.  Just baby it and taste a little here and there to see how it is going.  Slow cookers are the best.

Almond Flour Chocolate Orange Olive Oil Cake

Now for the cake.  This recipe is so easy and absolutely fabulous.  The orange adds a special touch and of course the almond flour and the chocolate make it decadent. 

In a mixture or with your mixer spoon, combine three eggs, 2/3 cup orange flavored olive oil (don't panic if you've not the orange flavored, use regular olive oil), 1 cup of sugar.  Mix until primrose

coloured and thick.  In a cup mix 6 tbsp. of cocoa, 2 tsp. of vanilla and 1/2 cup of boiling water and add to the primrose mix.  Let stir for a bit, then add 1 1/2 cup of almond flour, 1 tsp. baking soda and continue mixing. 

Pour into a greased cake pan or spring form pan and bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes....or even a little more if you like.  The cake will be a tiny bit pudding like.  XO

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tom's Margaritas

Really, there isn't anything more special about these than most recipes, but this is the recipe from my hubby's 15 year old self. 

A relative sent an email to us today asking for the Margarita recipe my hubby used to make for all the adults in Kelowna when he was about 14-15 years old. Some of us from "the old days" got early bartending skills when our relatives sent us into the kitchen to fetch them a drink by pouring "two fingers" of whatever booze in a glass with some mix. Here is my husband's recipe for those fabulous Margaritas from days gone by:
1 ounce of tequila
1 ounce of triple sec...
1/2 ounce of lime cordial
Put in a blender. (This is for one serving)

Pour into prepared salted rimmed glasses
Stir with your finger

Maya Angelou's Caramel Cake

I love the late Maya Angelou's poetry, her  rich inspirational real stories as well as the way she transformed her pain into purpose.  She was also a fantastic cook.  Here is a recipe for her Caramel Cake, a cake I can only describe as being a replica of my family's favourite from The (old) Sperling Bakery - a cake that we all loved until our neighborhood bakery closed down.  It was so exciting to find a recipe that tastes just like it!

Serves 8

8 tbs. (1 stick of butter), 1 1/4 cups sugar, 1/4 cup Caramel Syrup (recipe follows), 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 cup milk, 2 large eggs, Caramel Frosting (recipe follows).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 2-8 inch layer cake pans with greased wax paper.  In large mixing bowl, beat butter, and add 1 cup sugar gradually until light and fluffy.  Beat in syrup.  In medium mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add sifted ingredients to creamed mixture, alternating with milk.  In separate medium mixing bowl, beat eggs about 3 minutes, until foamy.  Add remaining sugar, and beat until there is a fine spongy foam.  Stir into cake batter until blended.  Divide batter between cake pans.  Bake for about 25 minutes.  Remove pans from oven.  Test to make sure cake is done with toothpick.  If not return to oven for 10 more minutes.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Turn out onto rack, and remove wax paper.  Let cakes cool to room temp before frosting.  To assemble:  Centre one cooled cake layer on cake plate.  Cover top and sides with generous helping of frosting.  Place second layer evenly on frosted layer.  Repeat frosting procedure.  Cool in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Caramel Syrup:  Heat 1 cup white sugar in heavy skillet over low heat and stir constantly until melted to a brown liquid.  When it bubbles, remove from heat and slowly add boiling water, stirring constantly.  Pour into container and cool.
Caramel Frosting:  Brown 6 tbsp. butter in heavy pot over medium heat-be vigilant or it will burn.  Allow butter to cool.  In large mixing bowl, add 8 ounce pack confectioners' sugar, 4 tbsp. heavy cream, 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract and a pinch of salt and beat until smooth.  If frosting is too stiff, add tbsp. of half and half or full cream to thin.