Sunday, June 24, 2012

Happy Sunday!

I'm starting to plan for summer party meals and can't wait to preserve some lemons again for this summer's roast chicken.  Getting more ideas and will post as soon as possible.  Enjoy your weekend readers!  XO

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tart Pastry

This was simply the easiest most delicious buttery pie pastry I've ever made.  It is for tarts, per se, but I think I will make it for all my pies.  It's an old French recipe.  They just seem to do everything right.

1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour, pinch of salt, 5 1/2 ounce of unsalted butter chilled and diced (I only had salted and she still turned out perfect), 1 egg yolk, 2-3 tsp. of water (I see I read the original recipe wrong and added tablespoons and low and behold, still fabulous).  Cut the butter into the mixed flour and salt with a pastry cutter until it resembles breadcrumbs.  Then add yolk and water and mix with your hands until dough forms together and make a ball.  Wrap it up in saran wrap and pop into the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.  Of course the dough will be hard when you take it out, so let it soften up and then flour your counter and roll out the dough into a circle and put into the pie plate pinching the edges to a design you like.  Add your apple filling - or whatever filling you want and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Keep an eye on the pastry so it doesn't burn.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Leftover BBQed Chicken Soup

I rarely make chicken soup but have found myself to be quite addicted lately using the Soffritto method to not only bring up my regular chicken soup's flavour but make it oh so succulent. 

Left over BBQed or Roasted chicken.  I had about 5 whole chicken legs left over from my BBQ additionally I've also picked up a whole already roasted chicken and used that as well.

Tara's Soffritto recipe:  1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1 red onion (use any onion you like, I like the sweetness of red), 3 whole carrots cut into very small pieces, 3 stalks of celery cut into very small pieces, a handful of basil leaves, minced, 1/2 tsp. of sea salt, 1/4 tsp. of pepper.

Saute this for about 5-7 minutes.  Then add 2 cartons of chicken stock and chicken that has been cut up into nice pieces, bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for about 1/2 hour.

Feel free to also add diced tomatoes as I did and spinach for extra good nutrition and whatever else you have on hand that you'd like to use up. Very comforting, very delicious, and very low in calories too!  XO

The Magic of Mirepoix Cuisine

The Italians call it Soffritto, the French Mirepoix and in North American you may have heard them refer to it as The Holy Trinity.  A combination of a few simple vegetables and herbs sauteed and added to a variety of dishes, soups, pastas, stuffed in tomatoes or peppers, sauces, and stews to bring the flavours of all these dishes, "up."  Here are a few combos to get you started:

Italy's Soffritto: (as in Frances Mayes cookbook, The Tuscan Sun Cookbook):  1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 yellow onion, minced, 1 carrot, minced, 1 celery stalk, minced, 1 handful of flat-leaf parsley, minced, 1/2 tsp. of salt, and 1/4 tsp. of pepper.

Saute the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until they begin to colour and turn tender, 5-7 minutes.

France's Mirepoix:  1 cup of chopped onion, 1/2 cup of diced carrot, 1/2 cup of diced celery (use the Tuscan cookbook method of cooking).

Portugal's Refogado:  1 cup of chopped onions, 1/2  head of minced garlic, 8 chopped tomatoes or 1 28 ounce of diced canned tomatoes.  Add onions, then 10 minutes later, garlic, then 10 minutes later, tomatoes.

Cajun's Holy Trinity:  Equal parts of onions bell peppers and celery sauteed together in olive oil.  A variant of the Holy Trinity is garlic, parsley and shallots.

Do some experimenting this week.  I found it was amazing in my BBQed Chicken Soup Recipe (Soffritto method).