Cider Glazed Lamb Chops

February 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

These lamb chops are quick and to prepare, absolutely delicious, and don’t require too many ingredients.

I made this for my wonderful friend Heather for Valentine’s Day- she’s a fabulous cook but mentioned she had never cooked lamb! It’s just like steak. But much easier. Honestly. Try it! Right now! OK, you’re at work right now, but for dinner? I PROMISE you won’t regret it.

What you’ll need

1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger*
3 tablespoons soya sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar (I didn’t have any this time around – I used red wine vinegar, still delish)
1 rack of lamb chops (about 3 pieces per person)
1 green onion

I like the garlic and ginger better when it's roughly chopped

Put the cider, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, and honey in a pot and lightly boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove about 2 tablespoons for glazing. While it’s cooling, prep the lamb.

Preheat the broiler, setting up a rack so the pan will sit about 3-4 inches from the heat. Take your rack of lamb chops, and slice them til they are 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch (just between each bone). Pat them dry, sprinkle with a bit of salt, and arrange them on a broiler rack. brush one side with the glaze. Broil for 3 minutes, take out, turn, brush the other side, and broil for another 3-4 minutes. Voila.

Transfer to a plate, cover with remaining glaze, and keep tented under foil until everything’s ready to be served. Serve with chopped green onion on top.

Eat, enjoy, and wish you made more (I know I did).

peeling ginger with a teaspoon!

*did you know ginger is easiest (for me, at least) to peel with a teaspoon?

Cacio y pepe

September 7, 2011 § 1 Comment

Cacio y pepe

Cacio y pepe is a comfort meal, but also a happy meal, a lazy meal, a girlfriend meal, or a meal for one. It is so simple- success is based on both method and quality of ingredients.

Wendy (who really needs no introduction if you’ve met her once) has a weak spot for anything involving carbs and cheese. I love her for it. She told me about this dish she ate almost every night when she was in Italy and we endeavored to re-create it together.

A few notes- do as I say and not as I do and get everything prepared before you start cooking the pasta. Find the right cheese- try a cheese shop, the deli on Granville Island, Whole Foods, or a decent grocery store. Measure the ingredients the first few times to get a feel for what the ratios should be. And be careful if you’re planning on saving some for leftovers- it’s impossible to resist and really much better fresh.

The original recipe is from the May Bon Appétit magazine. If you enjoy watching good looking men make pasta as much as I do, there’s a great video on bonappetit.com here

Ingredients

Salt

6 ounces pasta (I use spaghetti)

3 tablespoons butter, divided

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper (good quality pepper actually makes a difference)

3/4 cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan

1/3 cup finely grated Pecorino

Method

Bring water to boil in a large pot. Season it with salt – it should be a bit saltier than the ocean (I’ve always wondered exactly how salty it’s supposed to be). Take out a large mug and place near the pot so you don’t forget to reserve the pasta water.

Grate the Granda Padano and the Pecorino into separate bowls.

Add pasta to the water and cook until two minutes before tender. Reserve about a cup of water, then drain the pasta in a colander.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large heavy pan over medium heat. Add pepper and cook about 1 minute.

Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to your heavy pan and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Reduce heat to low and add Grana Padano, gently stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Remove the pan from heat and add Pecorino, again stirring and tossing until cheese melts, the sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve.

Sausage Carbonara

May 28, 2011 § 3 Comments

Do you ever eat an amazing meal and wonder if it was actually the food? Sometimes it’s the atmosphere, the company, or the wine that can make a meal memorable. I feared that may be the case with this dish – so I made it again. And again.  And it was still exceptional.

This is a foolproof pasta (I made it at 2am once- still worked perfectly) that is a welcome variation on a traditional tomato or alfredo sauce. The ingredients are pretty easy to find and you can get it all together in 30 minutes or less.

I absolutely love Jamie’s Italy– it was a gift from the boss at Christmas this year and I have cooked over 10 recipes in it, all of which I love. You’ll see more from the book later, but for now, here is a phenomenal pasta dish that’s quick, easy and so damn good.

Recipe instructions are from http://www.jamieoliver.com/ with a few notes.

Ingredients

• 4 good-quality organic Italian sausages
• olive oil
• 4 slices of thickly cut pancetta, chopped (it’s cheapest to get this in the deli section instead of buying a whole package)
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 500g dried linguine (I used fresh and I liked it better)
• 4 large free-range or organic egg yolks
• 100ml double cream (aka whipping cream)
• 100g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• zest of 1 lemon
• a sprig of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
• extra virgin olive oil

How to make it happen

Slit the sausage skins lengthways and pop the meat out. Using wet hands, roll little balls of sausage meat about the size of large marbles and place them to one side. I like smaller meatballs better.

Heat a large frying pan and add a good splash of olive oil. Gently fry the sausage meatballs until golden brown all over, then add the pancetta and continue cooking for a couple of minutes, until it’s golden. While this is cooking, bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the linguine, and cook according to the instructions.

In a large bowl, whip up the egg yolks, cream, half the Parmesan, the lemon zest and parsley. When the pasta is cooked, drain it in a colander, reserving a little of the cooking water, and immediately toss it quickly with the egg mixture back in the pasta pan. Add the hot sausage meatballs and toss everything together. The egg will cook delicately from the heat of the linguine, just enough for it to thicken and not scramble.

The sauce should be smooth and silky. If the pasta becomes a little claggy (thick, or if it’s sticking together), add a few spoonfuls of the reserved cooking water to loosen it slightly. Sprinkle over the rest of the Parmesan, season if necessary, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve. Eat immediately!

Wild Salmon with Mango Salsa

May 18, 2011 § 1 Comment

We all need a little ray of sunshine right now. Salmon with mango will do it. The good news? It only takes 20 minutes.

Wild Salmon with Mango Salsa and Brown Rice

This doesn’t even really need a recipe- make it once and you’ll know how you like it. Everything can be made ahead of time, or prepared in under 20 minutes. It’s colourful and healthy and an easy go-to meal.

What you’ll need to do:

Turn on the oven to 350

Mix up a marinade:

Miso paste, one large spoonful
Sesame Oil, a few drops
Soya Sauce, a few drops
Rice wine vinegar, a few drops
Brown sugar, around a tsp

Put the marinade on your salmon fillets- if you have time, bring salmon to room temperature with the marinade for 10 minutes. If not, just put them in the oven. Set a timer to check at 10 minutes.

Put on some brown rice (I use the 10 or 20 minute par-boiled version- the nutritional information is the same and I just don’t have an hour to make rice!)

Mix up some Mango Salsa

1 alafuto mango, dice it up (any mango will do,  but alafutos are so sweet and flavourful)
1 small tomato, diced
1 avocado
1/4 of a red onion, finely diced (optional)
Handful of cilantro, chopped roughly (to taste)
Good sea salt and pepper

Check your salmon.  You want to take it out when it’s not quite opaque- it’ll keep cooking when it’s out of the oven and you want it to be moist!

Put brown rice on plate. Place salmon on rice. Place mango salsa on salmon. Eat and enjoy!

Lamb Shanks

March 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

This is a really easy, hands off recipe with outstanding results. The lamb was falling off the bone after two and a half hours, and the flavour of the swiss chard/sauce mixture was fantastic.  It’s a great dish to throw together if you have people coming over for dinner on the weekend- most of the prep and cooking happens a few hours before it’s served, and it made my apartment smell delicious!

I cooked it with three lamb shanks and kept the same amount of sauce- if you are doing six shanks, I recommended doubling the sauce (keep the swiss chard to two bunches though).

Directions slightly modified from the original recipe from Bon Appétit here

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cardamom, divided
  • 6 1- to 1 1/4-pound lamb shanks
  • Generous amount of olive oil for the pan
  • 12 green onions, chopped, divided
  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) beef broth
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled in your hand
  • Large pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds Swiss chard (about 2 bunches)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 5.25-ounce packages bulgur (about 2 cups), prepared according to package directions (you could also use mashed potatoes, couscous, or quinoa)

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.

    Mix flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cardamom, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in pie dish to blend. Coat lamb shanks in seasoned flour. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the lamb shanks until brown (in batches if necessary) about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a roasting pan – keep using the skillet.

    Add half of your green onions to same skillet. Reduce the heat to low and stir for two minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Add tomatoes with juice, broth, raisins, tomato paste, remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon cardamom, saffron, and cloves (it makes sense to mix these all together beforehand). Increase heat and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Pour the mixture over lamb, or add the lamb to the skillet if it’s oven proof and large enough.

    Cover roasting pan/skillet with foil and place in oven. Braise lamb until tender, turning every 30 minutes, about 2 1/2 hours. Remove the lamb and set it aside aside.

    Meanwhile, cut center rib (including stem portion) from each chard leaf. Cut chard ribs crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide pieces. Stack several leaf halves at a time and cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips.

    Tilt roasting pan/skillet and spoon off all fat from top of sauce that pools at lower end. Set roasting pan/skillet over 2 burners. Add chard ribs and remaining green onions and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Return lamb to roasting pan. Cover and return to oven. Braise until chard ribs are tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover; mix chard leaves into pan juices. Return pan to oven and roast uncovered until chard softens, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.

    Transfer lamb to rimmed platter. Season chard mixture in pan to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon chard mixture over lamb. Sprinkle with parsley; serve with bulgur, mashed potatoes,  couscous, or quinoa.

    Turkey Burgers

    February 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

    So easy, so delicious, and pretty lean. I served them with caramelized onions, a quick olive feta tapenade, dijon mustard, and ketchup.  Oh, and homemade burger buns, but you don’t have to go quite that far. 

    Ingredients

    Ground turkey (1.5 pounds for 4 large burgers – I got about 7 burgers out of that)
    2/3 of a red onion, finely chopped
    A handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
    1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce (eyeball it)
    1/4 cup crumbled feta
    1/4 cup chopped kalmata olives 

    What to do

    Mix the above ingredients in a bowl with a spoon or your hands. Shape into patties.  (If you are having trouble keeping them together, add up to a 1/4 cup breadcrumbs).  Put them on a rack on a baking sheet, and bake at 400 for about 15 minutes. Voila.
    Side note- It’s also great to make a few burgers for dinner and make the rest of the meat into meatballs to save for pasta, salads or a meatball sub later in the week.

    Salmon Tikka

    February 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

    This is delicious, really fast, and healthy. Meets all of my weeknight requirements. I have cooked it with a aloo gobi (an Indian potato and cauliflour dish made with tumeric)

    The recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution cookbook. It’s got great photos and really good, basic food. You can buy it here- http://www.amazon.ca/Jamies-Food-Revolution-Rediscover-Affordable/dp/1401323596, or just keep reading my blog 😉

    Ingredients

    Salmon fillets (wild!) – around 200 grams per person (chicken would work too)
    1 tablespoon (or to your linking) Tandoori curry paste
    1 fresh red chilli (I bought a bag of these and keep them in the freezer)
    ½ a cucumber
    4 tablespoons natural yogurt (Greek yogurt works well but any will do!)
    1 lemon
    Cilantro
    Naan bread (I made my own because I thought $5.99 was way too much to spend on a bread product. I’ll post on that next!)
    Preheat the oven to 350°F

    Make the salmon:

    • Spoon the heaped tablespoon of tandoori paste and cover the salmon
    • Put in the oven, and allow 4-6 minutes per half inch to cook. Salmon is done when it flakes and is opaque the whole way through. It will keep cooking outside of them oven- it should look just barely done.

    Make the yogurt:

    While the salmon is cooking:

    • Halve, scoop out the seeds (discard- very hot!) and finely chop the chilli
    • Peel and halve the cucumber lengthways, then use a spoon to scoop out and discard the seeds. Roughly chop and put most of it in a bowl, saving the rest to garnish.
    • Halve the lemon and squeeze the juice from one half into the bowl
    • Add the yogurt, a pinch of salt and pepper and half the chopped chilli
    • Pick the coriander leaves and put to one side

    To serve

    Place a warmed naan bread on each plate (put it in the oven for one or two minutes just before the salmon is done)

    Top the naan with a piece of salmon and a good scoop of cucumber yogurt

    Scatter over a little of the reserved cucumber, chilli and coriander leaves and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice

    Eat and pat yourself on the  back.

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