Monday, October 3, 2016

Spiced Warm Apple Juice

- 1 litre unsweetened and unfiltered apple juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves
- 1 small cube peeled ginger

Pour all ingredients in a medium size heavy based pot and bring to a light boil.  Lower the heat to a minimum and simmer, covered, for twenty minutes.

Pass through a fine sieve and serve immediatly. 

For a different flavor, you can use one star anise instead of ginger.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Beer-Steamed Mussels with an Asian Twist

When I found organic mussels, lately, at Costco, I immediatly thought of making that recipe I found years ago in the Montreal Gazette (and to which I made some slight modifications).  You can serve these asian-style ale-steamed mussels over steamed rice and a vegetable stir-fry for a main course or just by themselves as an appetizer.

- 5 pounds (2.3 kilos) fresh mussels
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp sriracha
- ¾ cup (180ml) beer (I used a dealcoholized red ale.  Blonde or brown ale works also perfectly.)
- 1½ tbsp soy sauce (or tamari)
- 3-4 green onions, chopped

Clean mussels carefully and throw away any mussel that stayed open after you gently tapped on it.

Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic, ginger and sriracha and cook about 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Add beer and soy sauce and bring to a boil.  Add mussels, cover and cook just until the mussels open, between 3 and 5 minutes.

Transfer mussels to a large serving dish, spoon cooking liquid on top and garnish with the green onions.

Have you tried this recipe?  Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Roasted Pepper and Sundried Tomato Salad

Inspired from a recipe posted in the Montreal Gazette years ago, this salad is your perfect appetizer. You can also bring it to a putlock or a picnic and cause a sensation among the invited guests!  It tastes great served at room temperature on crusty bread.

- 4 red belly peppers (for a colorful touch, you can use a mix of red, orange and yellow peppers)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3-4 stems flat parsley, finely chopped 
- 1 tbsp capers
- 4-5 sundried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- Very good quality olive oil, to taste
- Balsamic vinegar, aged at least ten years, to taste
- Spicy olive oil (optional), to taste
- Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Preheat oven at 400F (200C).

Roast peppers whole on a baking sheet until they begin to char and blister on all sides, turning regularly.

Remove from oven and allow to cool until safe to handle.

Peel, seed and slice peppers into strips.  Gently toss with remaining ingredients.

Have you tried this recipe?  Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Quinoa with Small Vegetables

A great healthy side dish for a weeknight meal.  You can serve it with scrambled eggs, an omelette or grilled meat or fish.  Also makes a perfect leftover to bring for lunch the next day.

- 1 cup (170g) quinoa

- 1¾ cup (440ml) chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 or 2 carrots, diced
- One small leek (white and green parts), finely sliced
- 1 medium red belly pepper, diced
- A generous handful frozen green peas
- Olive oil
- Finely ground pepper

Rince quinoa under cold water and drain.

Transfer to a medium size pan, add 1 tsp olive oil, broth and pepper to taste.

Bring to a vigorous boil, stir a little, lower heat to a minimum and cover.  Cook until there is no liquid left at the bottom and quinoa is tender (although it should stay slighly al dente). Remove from heat and keep aside.

While quinoa is cooking, heat some olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the carrots for 3-4 minutes.  Add leeks and peppers and sauté until carrots are cooked (but still firm, not mushy).  Add peas and cook another 4-5 minutes.

Transfer quinoa to the skillet and mix with the veggies.  Serve immediatly.

Have you tried this recipe?  Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Goan Beef Curry

Since the cow is considered a sacred animal by hindus, there aren't many indian recipes with beef.  This one is from the region of Goa, where there is an important christian community.  Cooked in coconut milk, it is a pure delight.

Serves 4-6

- About 3.5 pounds (1.5 kilo) stewing or braising beef, cut into large cubes
- 10-12 green cardamom pods (crack pods open and scrape out the seeds, discard shells)
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
- 3 tsp coriander seeds
- 3 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 heaped tsp whole peppercorns
- 10 cloves
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 2-3 tsp chili powder
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- A 2.5 inch (6-7cm) piece of ginger, grated
- 1 can regular coconut milk (14oz or about 400ml)
- salt

Mix together the cardamom, fennel, fenugreek, coriander and cumin seeds with the peppercorns and cloves.

You can either:

- Grind them in a spice grinder until they form a fine powder.

- Put them in a mortar et crush them a few minutes with a pestle until you get a coarse spice mix (which I did).

Heat the oil in a large heavy based pan over medium heat and fry the onion, garlic, ginger and cinnamon stick until the onion is lightly browned.  

Add the meat and fry until brown all over.  Add the spice mix, the turmeric and the chili powder and fry for 1-2 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and the salt and bring slowly to the boil.  Cover, reduce the heat to a minimum and simmer for about 2 hours (or until the meat is very tender).

If the liquid evaporates during cooking, add half a cup (125ml) of water and stir.  If the sauce is too liquid at the end of the cooking time, simmer with the lid off until the sauce is thick.

Serve on basmati rice.

Adapted from a recipe found in: THE FOOD OF INDIA, a journey for food lovers, Whitecap edition, 2005.

Have you tried this recipe?  Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences!

Vietnamese-style Tofu and Shrimps

For those of you who are not crazy about tofu, here's an excellent recipe to give it another chance.  Mixed with shrimps and coated with a flavorful sauce, this is really worth the try.  Serve with jasmine rice and some sauteed veggies.

Serves 4

- A half block of tofu, cut into cubes of ½ inch (1cm)
- About 24 tiger shrimps, shelled (I left the tails for the look)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2-3 garlic cloves, passed through a garlic press
- 1 small cube of ginger, grated
- 1 small fresh red chili pepper, finely chopped (or red pepper flakes, to taste)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp tamari sauce
- ¼ tsp cane sugar
- Small bunch of fresh coriander, chopped

In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium heat and sauté the garlic, ginger and pepper 1-2 minutes.

Add tomato paste, tamari sauce, sugar and 2 tbsp water.  Keep stirring for 2 minutes.

Add tofu and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add some salt.

Add shrimps et sauté until cooked (beware not to overcook them).  If needed, add another 1 or 2 tbsp water.

Garnish with coriander and serve.

Have you tried this recipe?  Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Savoury Artichoke and Sundried Tomato Cake

Savoury cakes are perfect for picnics.  This one is particularly flavourful; the harmony between artichoke, sundried tomatoes and basil is simply perfect.

Yield: one loaf

- 3 eggs
- ½ cup(125ml) olive oil
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp (155ml) milk (preferably whole milk)
- 1 cup (115g) unbleached flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- a generous pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup (approx. 40g) grated gruyere cheese
- 3-4 large artichoke hearts, cleaned, trimmed and cut into dice (or 5-6 frozen artichoke hearts)
- ½ cup (125ml) sundried tomatoes in olive oil, coarsely chopped
- 1½ tbsp pine nuts
- 5-6 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- sea salt, freshly cracked pepper

Preheat oven at 350F (180C).

Line a 8X11 (20cmX28cm) baking pan with baking parchment.

On low-medium heat, sauté artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes in some olive oil for at least 5 minutes.  Add pine nuts and basil, salt and pepper, and sauté for one minute.  Keep aside.

In a bowl, sift the flour, the baking powder and the salt.  Stir in the cheese and mix well.

In another bowl, beat the eggs.  Add olive oil and milk and whisk together.

Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture.  Mix with a fork just enough to combine.

Add the artichokes and sundried tomatoes mixture and stir just enough to blend everything.

Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool completely before serving at room temperature.

Have you tried this recipe?  Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Easy and quick Aloo Gosht (lamb and potato curry)

For those of you who have never cooked indian curries and are still hesitating, I really recommand this recipe. Of all the indian curries I have cooked so far, it was the easiest and it's flavors are not too disorienting for the indian food neophyte.  The meat was incredibly tender and coated with a rich and thick sauce enhanced with the spices.

Serves 6

- About 3½ pounds (1.5 kilo) lamb meat (I used cutlets, but you can also use shoulder or leg of lamb on the bone, cut into large pieces).

- 6 large waxy potatoes
- 1½ tsp coriander seeds
- 1½ tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 regular or indian bay leaves
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 14 oz (400g) tin chopped tomatoes, with the juice
- 1-2 green chillies, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1¼ inch (3 cm) fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tbsp tomato paste

Trim away any excess fat from the lamb.

Cut potatoes into large chunks.

Dry-roast coriander and cumin seeds and grind into a fine powder.  (If you don't have a grinder, just leave them whole OR replace with the same quantity of coriander and cumin powder.)

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and fry the onion and bay leaves until the onions are lightly browned.  Stir in the coriander and cumin, the turmeric and 1 tsp of garam masala.

Add the tomatoes, chillies, garlic and ginger and fry a few minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste and 1 cup (250ml) water.  Add the lamb and mix well.  Season with salt, to taste.  Bring to the boil, cover tightly, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour.

Add the potatoes to the pan and cook for another hour, occasionally shaking the pan to prevent meat from sticking.  If all the liquid has evaporated, add another ½ cup (125ml) of water.  When the meat is cooked, the sauce should be fairly thick.

Sprinkle the remaining garam masala and serve on basmati rice or with chapatis.

Source: THE FOOD OF INDIA, a journey for food lovers, éditions Whitecap, 2005.

Have you tried this recipe?  Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Roasted cauliflower with turmeric and cumin

This is a side dish that I make regularly to accompany indian dishes.  Even those who don't really like cauliflower usually appreciate it when prepared in this fashion.

- 1 large cauliflower
- Turmeric
- Cumin seeds
- Cayenne (or chili) pepper
- Olive oil
- Salt

Preheat oven at 400F (200C) and position rack in lower third of oven.

Cut cauliflower into florets, wash, drain and transfer into a large bowl with a lid.  Generously sprinkle with turmeric, add approximately one teaspoon of cumin seeds and some chili powder or cayenne pepper (optional).  Salt to taste, add ¼ cup olive oil, close the lid and mix well.

Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake approximately 20 minutes (10 minutes on each side) or until cauliflower is browned, but not cooked through (you want to keep it a little al dente).

Have you tried this recipe?  Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Daoud Basha (lebanese beef-lamb meatballs in tomato sauce)

Daoud basha, a well-known lebanese dish, can be made with beef or lamb.  Since I couldn't decide between the two, I used a mix of both.:-)  It's an easy dish to make and it freezes very well.

Makes about 25 meatballs

For the meat:

- About 2 pounds of ground beef or lamb (or, even better, one pound of each)

- 1½ tsp ground cumin
- 1½ tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp fine ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- Salt to taste

For the sauce:

- 2 tbsp olive oil

- 1 large onion, cut into halves and then into medium slices
- 5 generous tbsp tomato paste
- The juice of one regular lemon
- Salt and freshly cracked pepper
- Coriander or parsley for garnish (optional)

If you use lamb and beef, mix them well.

Add all the ingredients for the meat and mix well.  Keep aside.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and soften the onions, but do not brown them.

Make meatballs the size of a walnut and add them to the skillet, slightly browning them on all sides.

Put the lemon juice and the tomato paste in a measuring cup and add a little hot water to dilute the tomato paste.  Then, add hot water up to the 2 cup line (500ml) and stir well with a fork. Add to the meatballs in the skillet.

Add salt and pepper to taste, reduce heat to low and simmer 40 minutes, uncovered, turning the meatballs every 10 minutes or so.

Once cooked, transfer to a serving dish and garnish with chopped parsley or coriander (optional).

Serve with plain rice and green veggies on the side.

Have you tried this recipe?  Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences!