Category Archives: Recipe Box
My Ultimate Holiday Side Dish- Roasted Carrot Souffle
Looking for something a little more interesting than plain old boiled carrots to round out your holiday dinner table? I’ve got just the think for you.
Roasted Carrot Souffle.
I’m always looking to create a new, delicious spin on vegetable sides, and this one was perfect next to our Thanksgiving ham and mashed potatoes. The beauty of this recipe is in it’s infinite variations. You’re only limited by your own creativity and of course the possible mockery from your friends and family. Give it a go with my recipe first, then next time you can tweak and twist it into your own creation, earning you the respect and admiration of culinary icons worldwide.
Or it’ll just be so good you’ll eat a whole batch in front of the tv while drinking wine straight from the bottle. (more likely)
Roasted Carrot Souffle
1 lb carrots, peeled and diced
1/8 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 3″ sprig fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp honey
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp flour
2 tsp baking soda
pinch of cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and melt 1 tbsp butter in oven safe sautee pan. Add carrots and sautee until slightly browned. (2-3 minutes)
Put pan in the oven and roast the carrots until soft. Approximately 45 minutes.
Remove carrots from the oven and add brown sugar and the remaining tbsp of butter. Turn down oven to 375 degrees. Either mash or whip with handheld mixer. Whip in the remaining ingredients, holding back 1 egg white.
Beat the remaining egg white to a stiff peak and fold into the carrot mixture.
Spoon into a greased and floured casserole dish and bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
I love it the way it is, but if you double the sugar and add a tbsp of vanilla and maple syrup you’ve got a pretty tasty pudding for dessert. Don’t like sweet with savory? Omit the sugar and add in your favourite herbs. Make it lighter by beating both egg whites, or make it more dense by not beating either.
I’m not usually one to say “I told you so”, but I’m pretty sure I already mentioned that you can do just about anything with this recipe depending on what you’re craving at any particular moment. And it turns out that, at this very moment, I’m craving another scoop!
Lentil Arancini- The Canadian Food Experience Project
When Edmonton food blogger Valerie Lugonja asked me to participate in her Canadian Food Experience project, I have to admit my first thought was “Oh no, you mean I have to post something at a specific time each month? Like on a deadline?” This fear of possible legitimacy and/or respectability sent me into a month long tailspin of stress eating and beer drinking on my deck in the warm summer sun.
Full Disclosure: Closer diagnosis of this phenomenon has revealed its cyclical nature, re-appearing every spring, and seceding each fall like clockwork.
Following a specific timeline and theme each month and creating a post in-line with that theme will be a challenge for me, but I’m looking forward to creating some interesting content and reading a lot from the other participants. July’s theme is “A Regional Canadian Food”, so I immediately starting wondering how loosely I could interpret “regional”.
Look at me, trying to cheat already!
I have to admit that given my location in Edmonton, I had real difficulty identifying a truly “Edmonton and area” ingredient, but unless I wanted to write a post on snow, mosquitos, or last place hockey teams, I’d have to figure it out.
I decided to create something I had never heard done before with an ingredient that I was surprised to learn that Western Canada is a powerhouse in producing.
Did you know that the province of Saskatchewan produces an astonishing 60% of the entire world’s lentils, and that the humble lentil is naturally low in fat, but high in fibre and protein? Of course you do… you just read it. So what better regional Western Canadian ingredient to focus on for this challenge than Prairie Rice?
To that end I submit for you enjoyment…….
Start off like you would any other risotto: cook your lentils in a tasty broth.
When you’ve reached lentil-risotto perfection, the messy part begins.
Because everything is better stuffed with cheese.
Time to powder your balls.
Into the flour they go, followed by an egg drenching and a coating of panko.
A few minutes in a hot oil bath, and you’ve got yourself some salty, crispy balls!
The great thing about this recipe is that if you already have a kick-ass risotto recipe, just substitute lentils for the rice and you’re next dinner party will be more Canadian than a Mountie riding a moose over a beaver dam.
When my wife Robyn and I taste-tested the arancini, we both loved the crispy, salty coating. Her suggestion was to try some other cheeses (like Sylvan Star gouda, for an even more regional flair), and that the risotto could benefit from a bit of freshness in the form of some chopped basil or parsley added to the mix at the end.
The beauty is that the recipe is totally open to your tastes, and it’s so easy to customize to your own likes.
- 1/2 cup dried lentils- I used red split lentils
- 2 cups hot beef stock
- 1/4 cup of your favourite red wine
- 1/4 onion, finely minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup AP flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 3-4 tbsp grated parmesan
- 2 ounces of a melty cheese (I used cream cheese and goat cheese)
- 2 tbsp butter
- salt and pepper to taste
Melt 1 tbsp of butter in saute pan over medium heat. Add in onions and garlic and fry a couple minutes.
Stir rinsed lentils into the pan and saute a couple minutes to coat with butter.
Add red wine and stir constantly until mostly absorbed.
Ladle in about a 1/4 cup of hot beef stock and continue stirring until absorbed. Continue this process until the stock is all absorbed. When you get near the end of the stock you may want to start tasting for texture. If you like a more firm lentil, you may not use all the stock. If you like your lentils more soft, you might use more stock. I found the 2 cups to be right for me.
Stir in the lemon juice and the second tbsp of butter. Tighten up the mixture with 2 tbsp of grated parmesan.
Let the mixture cool until you’re able to handle it with bare hands.
Prepare your dredging station with a container for each of the flour, egg, and panko. I also added 1-2 tbsp of parmesan to the panko.
Scoop a spoonful of lentils into your hand and push a piece of cheese into the center. I found cheese approximately the size of dice worked well. Form the lentils around the cheese to cover it completely.
Roll the ball in the flour, then the egg, and finally the panko coating. Place them on a plate and refrigerate to let them firm up for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat up your deep fryer to 325-350 degrees.
When ready, drop the balls into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Be careful not to overcrowd the fryer as it will drop the oil temperature too much and you’ll end up with oily balls.
And everyone knows, there’s nothing that’s more unappetizing than oily balls.
Well there you have it folks, a Western Canadian spin on a traditional Italian favourite that you’re sure to enjoy.
Now, if anyone needs me, I’ll be on the deck.
Spicy Thai Egg Drop Soup- 10 minute dinner
You know those days where you just don’t seem to be able to find time to make a healthy dinner? Or any dinner at all? Those days often end up with a trip through the drive- thru. Well it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t always have to resort to fast food.
These are the days when a smart utilization of the pantry can save you a few bucks and a whole bunch of calories. Using just a few ingredients that most of us typically have on hand, you can create this quick, low calorie Spicy Thai Egg Drop Soup.
Use the recipe as a guideline, and tweak according to what’s in your pantry. You don’t have a thai chili? Use red pepper flakes. Or a pinch of cayenne. Or even a squirt of sriracha. Got some leftover chicken? Throw it in! No-one’s going to know. You’re the boss here. Make it your own.
Here’s the recipe to make 1 large bowl.
2 cups chicken stock- if your stock is a bit thin, bump up with a couple tsp of concentrated chicken boullion
1 tomato- diced
1 celery stalk- diced
1 thai chili- seeded and diced
1tsp thai seasoning
1tbsp chopped parsley
1 green onion- chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Bring all ingredients except the egg and green onion to a boil for approximately 10 minutes. Blend with immersion blender.
Whisk the egg in a separate bowl and drizzle into the soup while slowly stirring.
Garnish with green onion
Poutine Meat Loaf
If you’ve been sitting around just waiting for someone to invent Poutine Meat Loaf, your wish just came true.
After the success of my Poutine Burgers a few weeks ago….
….I thought I’d try making a meatloaf version, complete with crispy potato crust. Check it out.
Poutine Meat Loaf
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
2 cups diced cheese curds
8 cloves roasted garlic
1 small onion, grated
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup of your favourite bread crumbs (I used sourdough)
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
3 sprigs of fresh basil (when chopped, approx. 3 tbsp)
2 russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly on a mandoline
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Grease your large casserole dish and layer potatoes on the bottom
- Mix remaining ingredients and put on top of potatoes
- Bake 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees
- Strain out fat and flip out onto a parchment lined cookie sheet
- Roast under the broiler, potato side up until browned. Approx. 5 minutes
- Remove from oven and rest 15 minutes, covered with foil.
- Use 4 tbsp beef fat for the gravy. Add 2 tbsp flour and make a roux. Mix in 2 cups of beef stock, and season with salt/pepper.
- Slice and serve with gravy
Making butter at home is a lost art. I know it’s so easy to just plunk down your 5 bucks at the grocery store for butter and be done with it, but that doesn’t come with the same satisfaction and pride in making something yourself. Plus, on top of having some top quality butter, you’ll be left with a couple cups of great buttermilk, which you can use to make me some crazy good pancakes or fried chicken.
Email your invites to email@example.com.
It’s really not that hard, or time consuming to make a batch of butter yourself. Truth be told, half the job is just sitting around doing nothing… which is probably what you were going to do with your free time anyways, right? Slackers.
The ingredient list is admittedly daunting….
- Whipping Cream (1L)
- See above.
Ok, so maybe you’ll add 1/2- 1 tsp of salt at the end if you want salted butter, but that’s it.
Before we get started, I must tell you that my inspiration for doing this in the first place was Stephanie, whose own blog post on the joys of butter making you can find at Clockwork Lemon. She used a food processor instead of the mixer that I’m using, but it seems to work about the same.
Start by pouring your room temperature cream into your mixer and attaching the whisk.
Turn the mixer on medium speed. You can go slower, but it’ll just take longer. Too fast and you’ll be splashing all over the place.
At this point not much is required of you. Take a seat, and let the mixer do all that labour for you.
You’re going to watch the cream go from the initial stage, and gradually get thicker. It’s going to get to whipped cream stage and you’ll be tempted to throw in some sugar and eat the entire bowl over the sink like a jilted cat-lady, but you must resist. You may however scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
Continue beating the cream and quickly that whipped cream will start to coagulate and look more like curds.
At this point you might be thinking you’ve ruined it, but don’t panic. Just keep mixing. At this stage I’d recommend watching carefully or else this will happen…
Eventually all the butterfat will start to glob together and separate from the buttermilk. When that happens, stop the mixer and drain the buttermilk into a container.
At this stage you have your butter, but if you rinse it a few times with ice cold water to remove any remaining buttermilk it will last much longer. I tried mixing it again and splashing it with cold water, but that was a pain in the butt. I found just kneading it in ice water to rinse was an easier process. I think next time i’ll use the mixer, but put on the dough hook instead of the whisk for the rinsing process. Whatever method you want to use, the more buttermilk you rinse out the longer it’ll last.
The final step is to squeeze out as much moisture as you can. You can do this with cheesecloth, or j-cloths. This last batch, I just got my hands ice cold and squeezed with them, sans cheesecloth.
If you so desire, mix in a half tsp to a full tsp of salt.
The yield should be about a pound of butter.
Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
I figured this past weekend was as good a time as any to finally try my hand at roasting a stuffed Pork Tenderloin.
I wanted to be able to roll it like a London Broil, and slice it so you can see all the tasty stuffing and pork swirled like a pinwheel. For a first attempt, I think it came out pretty well. Next time I’d probably have the pork pounded a little thinner, and make the stuffing a little less chunky, but the flavour and juicy-ness was about perfect.
Here’s how it went down…
I started off the process by heading over to Acme to pick up a nice tenderloin. Since we live in a condo, I asked Corey the butcher if he could filet and pound out the loin for me, thus sparing our downstairs neighbours from having to hear me pound the pork at home.
You know how sometimes you write something, and when you read it you realize it sounds really dirty? Then you don’t change it because it makes you giggle?
Aaaaaanyways, I seasoned the pork, and spread a layer of apple stuffing, spinach, and dried cranberries on the pork. After that, it’s just roll, and wrap with a few slices of bacon, and you’re ready for cooking.
Here’s the recipe:
Pork Tenderloin Roulade
Pork Tenderloin- approx 1.5 pounds, pounded thin
1 1/2 cups cubed bread (small cubes)
1 apple, peeled and diced
1/2 onion, minced
3/4 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1 handful of fresh spinach
3-5 slices of bacon
1/4 cup white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
Sprinkle a pinch of salt on the inside of the pork.
Combine the bread, apple, onion, sage, pepper, and the remaining salt and spread evenly onto the pork.
Add the spinach and dried cranberries and roll your pork tightly, being sure to leave about an inch of bare pork at the top edge.
Wrap the loin with strips of bacon, leaving the seam at the same spot for each. Sear the pork over high heat in a cast iron fry pan on the seam side first, so that when you roll it over the bacon stays together. At this point you can use toothpicks to ensure it stays together.
When you have it seared on all sides, put it in the oven for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
Let it rest at least 15 minutes, and slice.
Put the pan with the meaty juices on the stove on medium heat. Add the wine and lemon juice and reduce by about half. Taste for seasoning and salt and pepper as necessary. Pour over sliced pork.
Oven Roasted Creole Baby Back Ribs
I may have tried making ribs at home before, but I can’t even hear the words Baby Back Ribs without thinking about this…
As usual, when making something for the first time, I decided to stick to my comfort zone. In this case, that means spices that I know kick ass with pork. I wish I could tell you that I developed some uber-technical recipe and super complicated cooking method, but it really wasn’t required. What can I say? You really just need meat, seasoning, and heat.
Sometimes simple is the way to go.
Besides, what am I going to do, go to some restaurant where the “chef” is going to boil your ribs and slather them in some nasty neon sauce so I can’t even taste the meat anymore? I don’t think so.
I used a blend of 1 part creole seasoning mixed with 1 part brown sugar. I rubbed the ribs liberally (around 3-4 tbsp) with the mix and wrapped in tin foil. I baked them on a sheet pan at 275 degrees for 3 hours. Then I removed the foil, set the oven to broil, and let them go until browned (about 10 min).
After pulling the ribs out to rest, I basted with the juices from the foil pack. Some of that juice absorbed back into the meat and made the ribs nice and moist.
The result? Although I’d probably up the sugar content of the rub a bit next time, I got juicy, spicy, tender ribs with a nice spice bark at a fraction of restaurant prices. Give them a try.
Salted Caramel Sauce
Who doesn’t like salted caramel?
Weird people, that’s who.
Ever since Carmen got me addicted to the amazing Salted Caramel Ice Cream at Village Ice Cream, I’ve wanted to make this gooey caramel myself at home.
It’s not as hard as you might think. Pro’s would probably use a candy thermometer, but I found just melting the sugar until a nice golden brown. worked just fine for me. Rules be damned.
Here’s how you do it.
– 1 cup white sugar
– 6 tbsp butter, cubed
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1/2 tbsp fleur de sel
Heat the sugar in a heavy pot over medium heat, and whisk occasionally until lumps begin to form.
Stop whisking, and let the sugar melt completely. Swirl pan gently once or twice to melt evenly.
When the sugar is completely melted and has reached a rich, golden brown, add the butter quickly and swirl to melt. If you wait even a few seconds too long to toss in the butter, your caramel will be a smokey, smelly, disaster.
Trust me on this one.*
Whisk in your salt and cream at this point. The sticky, messy sugar will turn into delicious, silky caramel right before your eyes.
P.S. This stuff makes a pretty kick-ass caramel popcorn. Just be sure to invite me over when you make it.
* It’s very important to be quick here when the right colour is achieved. I burned my second batch and the whole house filled with smoke and smelled worse than Willie Nelsons headband.
Pork Chili Verde that will make you Green with Envy
I’ve been to 2 different chili cook-offs in recent months, and not a single competitor has even attempted one of my favourite varieties of chili- Pork Chili Verde (or Green Chili to you anglophiles out there).
It seems that P.C.V. (yeah, you know me) is a completely unknown delicacy up here in Alberta. Really, can you name a place that makes it?
Sadly, I cannot.
So if Edmonton restaurants refuse to satisfy my craving, I decided I was just going to have to make it myself. And after I scarfed down my third bowl, I had to wonder- why doesn’t anyone here make this mouth-watering New Mexican staple? It’s so delicious and unique, and when our temperature drops, a bowl of this stuff on a blustery, winter day will warm you faster than hot cocoa and a fireplace.
Here’s how to do it. (full recipe at the end)
Sear the pork
The roasted tomatillos, stock, and seasonings go into the blender
Mix everything in the pot. Easy, right?
Simmer on the stovetop for 2 hours. This is the hard part.
She may not be the prettiest girl at the party, but she will make your tastebuds dance!
Robyn and I were so happy with the final product, and I’m sure you’ll be too. Try it out, and don’t forget to invite me for dinner.
Pork Chili Verde
3 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed and cut to 1″ cube
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 medium onion, diced
4 Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, and diced
3 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced.
1 1/2 pounds tomatillos
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
Canola oil and flour
Peel the husk, and core the tomatillos. Remove stem and seeds from chili’s. Roast Tomatillos and chili’s under broiler until charred and blistered. Set aside. Peel skin from chili’s when cool enough to touch.
Season the pork with salt and pepper and dredge lightly in flour. Sear pork on all sides in frying pan with canola oil and transfer to a large pot.
Sautee onions in same skillet until soft. About half way through, add garlic, diced chili’s, and diced jalapeno’s.
Put roasted tomatillos and chicken stock in blender and add the rest of the seasonings. Blend completely.
Combine all ingredients into the large pot and simmer uncovered on the stovetop for 2 hours.
Adjust seasoning near the end after it had reduced and intensified.
Serve with buttered bread.
Serves at least 4 hungry people.
P.S. It’s pretty darn good on homemade pizza too.
Happy Oinks-Giving! No Jive Turkey
Ain’t no jive turkey at our house at Thanksgiving.
Robyn is not a fan of the tasty bird, therefore, this year I decided to make an intimate Thanksgiving day dinner for 2, with a delicious Pork Shoulder Roast as the centrepiece.
I started out by blending a rub for the pork. I used a simple italian seasoning, but kicked it up with a bit of sage to invoke pleasant memories of the typical turkey stuffing. As an approximate measure, I’d say 5 parts Italian seasoning to 1 part ground sage. I let it marinate in the seasonings for a couple hours, then seared it on all sides and popped it in a 325 degree oven uncovered for 1 hour/pound. Don’t forget to baste often and roast it fat side up.
Anytime I roast meat, I want Yorkshire Pudding. I don’t care that it’s typically a roast beef thing… I want it. Yorkshire Pudding? I say Porkshire Pudding. So, I figured who better to copy a yorkshire recipe from than Gordon Ramsay? So that’s what I did.
This recipe is so simple, and worked like a charm.
Gordon Ramsay’s Yorkshire Pudding- makes 12
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups A.P. flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp oil or meat drippings
Blend all ingredients except the oil/drippings and refrigerate at least a half hour. After you pull the roast out of the oven, crank it up to 425 degrees. Add a teaspoon of meat drippings to each muffin tin and heat until very hot on top rack of the oven. Quickly fill each muffin tin 3/4 full with cold batter. Cook in the oven 15-20 minutes, until golden and crispy. Don’t open the oven door until right near the end of your yorkshire puddings will collapse.
The gravy for this roast is pretty simple, since a lot of the flavouring has been taken care of thanks to those seasoned drippings. I’m never sure how much fat to leave in the gravy, so this time I cheated. Even though there was a LOT of fat in the pan, I added a couple tablespoons of flour and made a roux in the pan. I deglazed with a half cup of white wine, and added about 1- 1 1/2 cups of water. I seasoned with salt and pepper to taste, and thickened. I then poured it into a measuring cup (yeah, that’s what I use for a gravy boat) and skimmed the excess fat from the gravy.
Don’t worry, it’s still going to taste amazing.
I spent a lot of the weekend really missing my mom and her delicious holiday turkey dinners, and all the pictures flooding my Twitter feed wasn’t helping. But this dinner, complete with Yorkshire Puddings a good English woman like my Mom would be proud of, was exactly what I needed.