Archives for category: Recipe

It’s the Canada Day long weekend and local strawberries have, appropriately made their way onto the scene. The weather is supposed to cooperate beautifully and at brunch this morning the waitress informed us that only 1 in 3 Torontonians remain in the city this weekend. We are in that minority staying in town but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be a relaxing, celebratory weekend.

But back to the real stars of the weekend…strawberries. I’m not Canada’s biggest strawberry fan, there are other fruits that I prefer, but the other week when local strawberries started appearing in the grocery stores I actually gasped and made this “ooooOOoooo” sound. (As an aside, I have no ability to stop myself from making this sound when I see something I like. It’s proved to be a helpful tool for my Man of all Men who uses it to track me down in a store if he’s wandered off…though he would probably argue that I am the one that wanders, lured by shiny things, cleaning supplies, and plants.)

So we bought the strawberries and, even though eating them on their own would have been enough to honour their existence, I wanted to do something more. So I did what any girl would do, I scoured my favourite blogs and epicurious to find a recipe that would take these berries to another level. I narrowed down my search to a strawberry-shortcake-esque dessert and finally decided on this shortcake recipe with a few changes. It was everything a tribute to strawberries should be and tasted like summer. I ate it for 3 meals straight.

Strawberry Shortcake (adapted from epicurious.com)

Shortcakes ~

2 cups less 2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp pecan flour/meal (of course you can just use all regular flour like the original recipe asks for)
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 large egg yolks
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp sugar

  • Preheat oven to 375°F
  • Mix flour, pecan flour, baking powder and sugar. Add the butter, quickly crumbling it in with your fingers until it all looks like fine bread crumbs. (Before doing steps like this where you don’t want the butter melting, I usually wash my hands with cold water to bring down their temperature. I am cold blooded so often this isn’t necessary but it can’t hurt.)
  • In a different bowl mix the cream, yogurt, and yolks. Add to the dry mix using a fork. Stir “until the dough just holds together”.
  • On a floured surface (otherwise known as a countertop), knead the dough until it is smooth. Do not overwork.
  • Roll out your dough until it is around 3/4 inch thick. Using a glass or cookie cutter of the size you desire cut out as many rounds as your dough will allow. Briefly knead together any scraps and roll out again before cutting as many more rounds as you can.
  • Put the rounds on a baking sheet with a bit of space, as they will puff up and out. Brush them with the melted butter and sprinkle with the last tbsp of sugar.
  • Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until the biscuits are slightly browned.

Filling ~

1 small green basket of strawberries
drizzle of balsamic vinegar
~1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp icing sugar

  • Mix together and let macerate for about an hour at room temperature

1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
drizzle of honey (depending on how sweet you want it)

  • Mix together!
  • Finally, halve a shortcake and spoon strawberries onto the bottom half. Top with vanilla yogurt and sandwich together with the top of the shortcake.
  • Devour in much less time than it took to make these, but enjoy enough to make it well worth the effort!

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

I am finding it a bit strange adjusting to the weather patterns of Toronto when I am so used to the predictable rain of Vancouver. It’s been sunny for what feels like forever; while part of me is rejoicing over this fact, another part of me feels a bit suspicious of this lack of rain. It has however been getting a bit chilly, perfect weather to curl up with a bowl of soup and some reading (though I do wish it wasn’t Economics for Business, especially when I have Nigella Lawson’s new cookbook Kitchen sitting, temptingly on my desk).

Last week I came across this recipe for tomato soup on deliciousdays.com and while I’ve changed it slightly based on what I have on hand, it is everything I want a soup to be on a chilly evening. You know a recipe is fabulously easy and the results are delicious when I make it twice in one week. Astounding really when you consider that these days I am only cooking for me, myself, and I.

2 tbsp butter (the original recipe uses ghee, but I didn’t have any so I substituted)
1/4 tsp cumin
a dash of cayenne and 1/4 tsp chile flakes (the original recipe uses 2 chiles, freshly ground but again I think this is flexible)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1/3 cup red lentils
15oz. can of diced tomatoes, including juice
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt
fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped (optional garnish)
plain yogurt or sour cream (optional garnish)

1. Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add cumin, cayenne or chiles, garam masala, and diced garlic. Let this cook about a minute, the spices will start transferring to the butter, making it change color.

2. Add the lentils, tomatoes, and stock. Bring to a boil before adding the turmeric and salt.

3. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, this isn’t a very fussy recipe so if you get tied up doing something else for a few minutes it’s fine. Test to make sure the lentils aren’t hard and see if the seasoning needs adjustment.

4. Ladle into bowls and, if desired, garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley and yogurt or sour cream.

And so the citrus obsession continues. I am just so thrilled to have found out that citrus has a season. Ridiculous, I know, but it’s true. It had probably never occurred to me because I’ve never lived anywhere suited to growing citrus. Instead, I’ve lived in the northern reaches where lemons, limes and oranges are available year-round at the supermarket.

We’re January babies, most of the citrus family and me. Given how much I love my birthday and try to stretch it to an entire season, usually only achieving a couple weeks before some other tangelo has a turn, it seems right for citrus and I to be kindred spirits. Citrus season is my new favorite birthday event and I’m already planning to have something involving Meyer lemon curd for my birthday cake (tart? pie?) next year.

After tracking down some Meyer lemon’s this week, couldn’t wait to make this lemon curd from Epicurious. It had numerous rave reviews and I agree completely. It was easy to make, beautiful and delicious! So good I am saving some of the remaining Meyer’s to make more.

3-4 Meyer lemons (enough to get 2 tsp. of zest and 1/2 c. of juice, it only took me 2 1/2 lemons to achieve this)
1/2 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 stick of butter cut into 4 pieces
(I had to look up how much is in a “stick”, turns out it’s about 1/2 c.)

1. Whisk: zest, juice, sugar, & eggs in a metal bowl.
You will be heating this double boiler style so if you don’t seem to have a metal bowl…ahem, Bree…then just use a pot that will fit into another one to simulate the bowl. This is also a good time to start that water simmering in the bottom pot. 

2. Add butter.

3. Put your bowl/pot over the simmering water and begin whisking.

4. Continue whisking until the curd is thick, smooth, and around 160 degrees F on a thermometer.

The next step was to push the curd through a sieve to remove the zest bits but I like their flecks of dark yellow so I didn’t bother with this. Besides who wants to waste all that curd on the sieve! If you can stop yourself from eating it all by the spoonful, straight from the pot, you should apparently cover it with wax paper, presumably to stop it from forming a yucky skin on the top.

First, an admission, I am rather prone to pigheadedness and once I get something in my head it’s exceptionally difficult for me to get it out. Lately it’s citrus. I went out and bought one of those rudimentary citrus-juicers. One glass of straight-from-the-press pink grapefruit juice and I was enamored. From there I got a bit carried away and, in true Bree fashion, ended up with 9 lbs. of citrus fruit on my kitchen counter.

I’d heard of them before, but recently I’ve read so much about preserved lemons on blogs like Sustainable Eats and Chiot’s Run that I just had to try my hand at making some. My only hurdle was that despite all that citrus I had no lemons! Grapefruits seemed rather large and maybe too bitter for preserving so I settled on using oranges. Somewhat unconventional perhaps, but if Robert Lambert can preserve Rangpur limes why can’t we do the same for oranges? Well, you can or at very least I did. We’ll see how they turn out in a couple weeks.

The beauty of these lies in how easy they are to make. I loosely based my recipe on other blogs as well as a fantastic book, Preserved by Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton.

You will need:
– about 5 oranges total (depending on how large and how juicy they are)
– salt
– spices (I used a few peppercorns and some coriander seeds, but after I was thinking some rosemary might be nice)

After washing the oranges, take 3  and slice off the ends before cutting each orange into rough quarters or sixths. Try to squish as many as you can into a sterilised pint jar sprinkling about a teaspoon of salt and some of your spices between each layer. When the jar is almost full take the remaining oranges and juice into the jar (or, if you are me, use your handy citrus-juicer and then pour into the jar!) You want the juice to cover the oranges completely. Top with some more salt/spices and twist on a lid.

Up until here most of the instructions I’ve read are pretty much the same but from here on out it seems like it’s up to you. To shake the jar or leave it? I’m a shaker, I won’t be able to just leave them alone for 3-4 weeks. To refrigerate or hide in a cupboard or leave out? I figure I’ll see how they turn out after three weeks on the counter, mostly because I love their little glimpse of bottled summer.

Now you are probably wondering what is in the other jar, and if you’ve made preserved citrus you may have lamented over the detritus of beautiful peel left from the squeezed fruit. Thanks to The Garden of Eating, I have found a solution — candied peel. See her blog for a wonderful description of how to make these but essentially you steep them in a simple syrup, drain, and roll in sugar before leaving to dry. They’ve turned out beautifully and I am very tempted to try dipping them in chocolate the next time around.