TOMATOES IN CREAM AND FRESH THYME

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The most wonderful part of walking out to the garden and  picking tomatoes is the fragrance of  their leaves.  You rub them between your fingers then inhale.   It’s an intoxicating aroma.  It begs you to pluck a ripened tomato from the vine.  You know which tomato is perfect for picking.  You gently  touch it and it falls into your waiting hand.

You fill your basket with the little darlings.   Then if you are like me you can’t resist choosing the most perfect tomato and bite into it.  You  savor the sweet flesh and juices still warm from the sun.   This is bliss.

And then when you get just a little weary of another BLT sandwich or one more tomato enhanced salad  you make this glorious, very French, so addictive,  extraordinary simple dish of tomatoes simmered in a little butter, sprinkled with fresh thyme, sea salt and freshly ground pepper and cloaked in rich cream.  Unlike most French recipes containing tomatoes you do not peel or seed the tomatoes.

This is the perfect side dish for grilled meats or roasts.  Served with savory suppertime crêpes it is positively a star.  Head out to the garden or your favorite Farmer’s Market and choose the most perfect tomatoes.

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TOMATOES IN CREAM AND FRESH THYME
Print
: side dish
Cuisine: vegetables
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: 4-6 sevings
A quick and easy side dish recipe of tomatoes cooked in butter and cream and seasoned with fresh thyme
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp. (1 oz) unsalted butter - regular butter more than acceptable.
  • 4 medium sized tomatoes halved horizontally
  • 1 very generous handful of fresh thyme leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper,
  • ½ cup (125 mL) heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Add the butter to a saute pan over high heat.
  2. Add the tomatoes cut side down. Poke the skin a few times with the tip of a knife to prevent the skins from bursting.
  3. Cook for 10 minutes lowering the heat if necessary if the butter browns to quickly.
  4. Flip, scatter with thyme, a sprinkle of salt and a good grind of black pepper.
  5. Cook 5 or 10 minutes more until soft.
  6. Pour the cream into pan and reduce to a thick sauce around the tomatoes (about 5 minutes) . The sauce will brown a bit and swirl together with the tomato juice.

 

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POLENTA WITH SOUTHERN ITALIAN PORK RAGU

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I have a favorite cooking pan.  It is the one I reach for when I am sauteing or braising meat.   It is a very large pan –  13 inches across.  You can brown a lot of meat at a time.

It is a very deep pan – 6  inches deep. The contents can sizzle and spit and everything stays IN the pan.

It is a very heavy pan – 10 pounds. But two handles make it easy to handle.   The bottom of the pan is very flat.  It cooks so evenly there are no hot spots to burn its contents.

It cleans beautifully – shiny as a new silver coin.  Amazing when you realize this same pan had been used several thousand times in our little French restaurant, Roxy’s Bistro.  I have great affection for this pan.

I use this perfect pan to make  Southern Italy dish PORK RAGÙ with polenta.  Pieces of boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)  browned in olive oil are slowly simmered in a robust rich wine tomato sauce fragrant with fresh thyme and rosemary.  Then it’s served over the creamiest, most luxurious polenta you have ever tasted.

I also use my perfect pan to make polenta.  Think of polenta  rich with whole milk, unsalted butter,  seasoned with a little brown sugar and fine sea salt.  Grate a little Parmigiano-Reggiano over it.  Sprinkle the polenta with chopped fresh parsley and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and you have polenta that is the stuff dreams are made of.   Polenta that compliments superbly your lovingly prepared Pork Ragù.

There is a secret to this type of cooking.  The Pork Ragù tastes even BETTER after it dreams away in the refrigerator for a couple of days.   This makes it the perfect dish for entertaining.  You simply carefully reheat the Pork Ragù  and  whip up the polenta.  Even the polenta benefits from a tiny rest before being plated.  If you have any left over Pork Ragù it makes a gorgeous sauce over pasta.  It also freezes beautifully.

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POLENTA WITH SOUTHERN ITALIAN PORK RAGU
Print
: one dish meal
Cuisine: Southern Italian
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: 8
A make-ahead pork ragu with tomato sauce served with rich polenta.
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds skinless, boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt) cut into 2 inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves (about 4 tbsp, finely chopped)
  • 1½ tb. fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes
  • 2 generous tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 2 14-oz cans whole peeled tomatoes (preferably Italian)
  • 6 good sized sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs(about 3 inches long) fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbs red wine vinegar for finishing
  • THE POLENTA
  • 3 cups water
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 6 tb unsalted butter
  • 4 tsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1½ cups polenta
  • Generous grindings of black pepper
  • Just-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Season pork with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat.
  3. Cook pork, turning often, until evenly browned - 10-12 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with 2 tsp salt and several good grinds of black pepper
  5. Leave the golden-brown pieces in the pan but remove any burned bits.
  6. Add a little more olive oil if need and the onion and garlic sprinkled with a little salt., the fennel seeds and the chili flakes.
  7. Saute stirring occasionally until the mixtures becomes translucent and a little brown.
  8. Add tomato paste and cook stirring occasionally until slightly darkened in colour, about 5-8 minutes.
  9. Add tomatoes crushing them as you go, then add the whole thyme and rosemary.
  10. Add the pork with any juices accumulated.
  11. Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer, partially covered, until pork is very tender. (2½ - 3 hours) Sauce will thicken.
  12. Remove sprigs of thyme and rosemary.
  13. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  14. Pork can be cooked 5 days ahead. Let cool, cover and chill in sauce.
  15. THE POLENTA
  16. In a large, heavy saucepan over medium high heat, combine the water, milk, 4 tablespoons of butter, the sugar and the sea salt and bring the whole to a simmer.
  17. Lower the heat, and with one hand, slowly shake the polenta from its cup into the simmering mixture while briskly stirring with a wooden spoon in the other hand.
  18. Adjust heat to its lowest setting, stirring constantly, and cook until the spoon will stand up by itself.
  19. Remove from heat and grind over the pepper and dot the polenta with the remaining butter.Let the polenta rest briefly to cool and firm up and bit.
  20. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and top with Pork ragu.
  21. Add the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bit

 

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HERBED PORK RILLETTES

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Rillettes of Pork.   The name sound like something you would like to take on a picnic?   You know – one of those picnics where you spread heavy blankets and soft cushions over fragrant grass.   Throw a checked tablecloth down.  Unload crystal wine glasses, linen napkins and heavy silver from an ancient picnic basket.  You open a terrine of  rillettes of pork.  Smear it generously on crusty bread.   Add some sharp, sweet gherkins.  Open a bottle of good red wine. Utter Bliss.

Rillettes of pork is a type of French pate famous around the Loire.  It’s sold everywhere in charcuteries and I even spotted it in a supermarket.  The ingredients are very basic – Boston butt and pork fat. These are the two main ingredients of divine pate the English call “potted meat”. If you can find a good butcher shop selling organic pork and organic pork fat that is the best way to go.  If that is not possible buy a very fatty Boston butt  and use fat cut from the meat.  You also can use fresh pork belly.  Since we raise our own pork I used the”fat back” in this recipe.

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Chunks of pork and fat are braised slowly until the moisture evaporates the meat is fork tender.  The meat and fat is mashed and packed into a terrine or small ramekins.   The layer of fat on the top of the terrine has been simmered with the meat and is utterly delicious.  To me the best part of rillettes.   There is a little back and forth  into the refrigerator but the recipe is easy.  Most of the time spent is the slow simmering of the meat so do plan to make this when you can pop back into the kitchen and keep an eye on things.  The rillettes will keep, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.  You can also freeze rillettes.

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HERBED PORK RILLETTES
Print
: appetizer
Cuisine: French
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: 6 to 8 servings
An easy recipe for pate made with seasoned pork cooked slowly in fat until the moisture evaporates. The mixture is brought to room temperature and spread on crusty bread or toast.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound boneless Boston butt
  • 1 pound pork fat from the Boston butt or pork belly
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped fresh sage
  • l tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 fat garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper.
Instructions
  1. Cut the fat and pork meat into ½ inch pieces.
  2. Put the meat and fat in a large saucepan and add water to cover.
  3. Add the thyme, sage, rosemary, onion, cloves, coriander seeds, kosher salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a good simmer and cook for 3 to 4 hours, until the meat is extremely tender, the water is evaporated and only melted fat remains.
  5. Stir occasionally to prevent the meat from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  6. Remove the mixture from the heat and discard the stalks of thyme.
  7. Let the mixture cool for about 20 minutes.
  8. Taste the mixture and add more salt and pepper if required.
  9. Scrape the mixture in a medium sized bowl and refrigerate until a littleof the fat rises to the top and congeals.
  10. Gently scrap this fat off and put it into a small saucepan and reheat until the fat melts. Don't worry if you scrape some of the meat mixture with the fat.
  11. When the fat is melted pour through a strainer to collect meat mixture. Add these bits of meat and fat back into your bowl of meat.
  12. Put the strained fat into a tallish glass or plastic container and refrigerate until the fat sets.
  13. When the fat sets carefully spoon it up and put it into back into the small saucepan and set aside.
  14. You will find a small amount of meat juice under the congealed fat. Add this to your meat mixture.
  15. Using a fork or potato masher, mash and break up the meat mixture.
  16. Pack the mixture into small ramekins or a 1 quart terrine and refrigerate just until the fat in the mixture sets and turns white. Remove from the refrigerator.
  17. Return the small saucepan of fat to the stove and reheat until you have liquid fat.
  18. Pour the liquid fat over the meat in the ramekins so each ramekin is completely covered.
  19. Refrigerate and when the fat on the top of the meat has set cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the rillettes for at least 12 hours or preferably 2 to 3 days before serving.
  20. The rillettes will keep, well wrapped in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

 

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Posted in Appetizers and Starters, Pork | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

ROASTED RHUBARB

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Roasted rhubarb!    Doesn’t it simply roll off your tongue.  Roasted rhubarb!  How intriguing.  How absolutely delicious.  Stalks of rhubarb roasted to sugary tartness.   This simple method allows you to roast pieces of rhubarb to a delicate tenderness that stays almost intact.

Rhubarb definitely has attitude.   It can be difficult to prepare.  It demands all your skill and attention.   A few minutes to long on the heat and you have mush.   Roasting your rhubarb is the secret to perfectly tender, perfectly whole pieces of rhubarb.  It  couldn’t be simpler.  Simply sprinkle with a little sugar.  A scatter of grated zest or orange or rhubarb, pop it in a very hot oven and VOILA you have superb rhubarb sauce.

Spoon it  into a crystal goblet.  Lavish it with cream.  You have the perfect ending to a meal.   Mix it into a dish of yoghourt.  Sprinkle it with a little crunchy granola and breakfast is ready.   It’s delicious with rice pudding.     Serve it over slices of toasted pound cake with an extravagant splash of whipped cream and you have company fare.  You can serve roasted rhubarb warm, at room temperature, or chilled.  All this from a few stalks of rhubarb.   ROASTED RHUBARB … it’s the perfect summer dessert.

ROASTED RHUBARB
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: dessert
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: 4 servings
An easy to make rhubarb sauce.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound trimmed rhubarb cut into 1½ inch pieces
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Grated zest of orange or lemon
  • Honey if needed
Instructions
  1. Centre rack in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
  2. Toss the rhubarb with the sugar and zest in a baking pan that will hold them comfortably. A Pyrex pie plate is perfect.
  3. Let the mix rest for 5 minutes or just long enough for a little syrup to start to develop.
  4. Cover the pan with foil and roast the rhubarb for about 15 minutes. Check and if the sugar isn't almost completely melted, stir, re-cover the pan with the foil and roast for a few minutes more.
  5. Once the sugar is melted, remove the foil and roast for another 5 minutes, or until the syrup is bubbling.Remove the pan from the oven and let the rhubarb cool just enough for you to taste it. If you don't think the mix is sweet enough, add a little honey.

 

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SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE

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It is the attention to detail.  The little extra that pushes something over the top that take it from very good to extraordinary.    And when that extraordinary itself is truly magnificent you have pure gold.

During our restaurant years every evening I made a gorgeous caramel sauce.   We would liberally pour it over the house-made ice cream.  The recipe was time consuming and demanding.  So I started  the hunt for a caramel sauce that one could whip up quickly and without too much stress.

Making caramel sauce is rather like the fairy tale Brothers Grim Rumpelstiltskin.  You turn water and sugar into a deep burnished rich golden colour.  And you do not have to give up your first-born child to do it.

 

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This caramel recipe has just the right balance of caramelized sugar to butter and cream.  The recipe is easy.  You put water and sugar into a pan.  Watch it turn a deep golden brown.  Whisk in butter.  The aroma smells like McIntosh Toffee.    Add a little cream.  Cool.  Taste.  Sprinkle in  flakes of  fleur de sel  and faster than you can say Rumpelstiltskin you have the most decadent salted caramel sauce.

Pour it over ice cream or a slice of cake.  Add a generous dollop of whipped cream and you have a dessert worthy of a four star restaurant.  The very best part of this recipe for caramel sauce.  It refrigerates beautifully.  I must admit I occasionally remove the chilled sauce, dip a spoon into its silky goodness and swoon over this stealthy treat.  The sauce will keep two weeks refrigerated.

SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE
Print
: dessert sauce
Cuisine: French
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: 1½ cups
Ingredients
  • l cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (125 ml) water
  • 6 tbs (3 oz 85 g) salter butter, cubed at room temperature(if you use unsalted butter you may need to add a little extra salt).
  • ½ cup (125 ml) heavy cream
  • sea salt, kosher salt or fleur de sal crystals
Instructions
  1. Spread the sugar in a large skillet or wide saucepan and pour the water over it.
  2. Heat the sugar over medium heat, swirling the pan very gently, JUST ENOUGH to moisten the sugar evenly with the water.
  3. Once the sugar is moistened and starting to cook swirl the pan ONLY IF THERE ARE DRY SPOTS of sugar that aren't melting.
  4. Continue to cook the sugar until it begins to darken. Watching carefully, gently swirl the pan ONLY if necessary so it cooks evenly.
  5. If the sugar starts to crystallize, continue cooking stirring ONLY if you see very dark or burnt spots appearing, and the crystals should eventually smooth out.
  6. When the caramel is a deep amber colour and begins to smoke remove the pan from the heat.
  7. Whisk in the cubes of butter one at a time. Do not rush this as the butter emulsifies better if you whisk the butter in gradually.
  8. Gradually whisk in the cream, stirring until the sauce is smooth.
  9. If there are stubborn bits of caramel stuck to the bottom, loosen them with a wooden spoon, and stir them in.
  10. If they refuse to melt, rewarm the sauce over very low heat.
  11. Once the sauce is cool enough to taste, you may want to add the salt to taste. Or not - your choice.
  12. The sauce will keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator and can be reheated before serving.
  13. If cooled and rewarmed it may need to be thinned with a bit of cream or milk.

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Posted in Christmas Food Ideas, Desserts, Desserts and sweets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

RHUBARB UPSIDE-DOWN BROWN SUGAR CAKE

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This unprepossessing plant.  So humble in origin.  A grow anywhere especially in back lanes plant.  This long awaited harbinger of spring type of plant.  This new darling of avant-garde young chefs.  This wonderful rhubarb is the upside-down topping on the most delicious of brown sugar cakes.

I discovered this scrumptious recipe in a new cook-book by one of my favorite cook-book authors – Doris Greenspan – “Baking Chez Moi”.    It is perfection on its own as a snacking cake or one could lavish it with whipped cream or crème fraíche.   Add a few very ripe strawberries and it would be a spectacular finish to a meal.

This is an easy recipe to put together.  You don’t use a stand mixer – just your favorite balloon whisk.    The cake stays moist and delectable for up to three days.  Simply keep it covered at room temperature.

The original recipe calls for fresh rhubarb but you can also use frozen rhubarb.  Just be sure to allow time for your frozen rhubarb to defrost and drain (gently pressing on the stalks to help remove the moisture.

 

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RHUBARB UPSIDE-DOWN BROWN SUGAR CAKE
Print
: Baking
Cuisine: French
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: 8
An easy and quick cake perfect for brunch or afternoon tea. It tastes even better the next day. A perfect cake for the week-end
Ingredients
  • RHUBARB TOPPING
  • About 1¼ to 1½ pounds rhubarb trimmed and rinsed
  • ¾ cup (150) sugar (1/2 cup for rhubarb, ¼ cup for caramelizing)
  • 1½ tbsp (3333/4 oz;21 grams) unsalted butter
  • FOR THE CAKE
  • 1 cup (136 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange(optional)
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 8 tbsp (4 0z; 113 grams)unsalted butter,melted and cooled
  • FOR THE GLAZE (OPTIONAL)
  • left over rhubarb syrup
  • strawberry jam
Instructions
  1. RHUBARB TOPPING
  2. If your rhubarb is not young and thin peel it. Cut the stalks into 1 inch lengths and toss them with ½ cup sugar and set aside for 30 minutes.
  3. Drain the rhubarb and reserve the syrup to make the glaze.
  4. Butter a 9 inch round cake pan with sides at least 1½ high.
  5. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat then stir in the sugar.
  6. When the sugar has melted and is JUST changing colour add the rhubarb.
  7. Stir sparingly for about 3 minutes or until the sugar is slightly caramelized.
  8. Scrape the rhubarb and syrup into the cake pan and leave to cool.
  9. TO MAKE THE CAKE
  10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  11. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl,
  12. In a large bowl whisk the eggs and brown sugar together until thick and smooth.
  13. Whisk in the zest and vanilla.
  14. Pour in the butter in 3 additions. Whisk well.
  15. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions whisking gently.
  16. Scrape the batter into the pan over the rhubarb and put the pan onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  17. Bake the cake for about 25 minutes, rotating it after 12 minutes.
  18. Bake until it is golden brown, springy to the touch and just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  19. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let rest for about 2 minutes, then run a table knife around the sides of the cake.
  20. Place the serving plate over the cake and turn the cake over onto the platter.
  21. Wait for a minute then lift off the pan.
  22. THE GLAZE (OPTIONAL)
  23. Bring the reserved rhubarb syrup to a boil then reduce to a simmer until it reduces and becomes syrupy.
  24. Add a few spoonfuls of strawberry jam and stir well.
  25. Gently spoon the glaze over the top of the cake.
  26. USING FROZEN RHUBARB
  27. Put the desired amount of frozen rhubarb into a colander and let defrost and drain over a bowl.
  28. Discard the liquid.
  29. In a large bowl gently toss the rhubarb with ½ cup of sugar.

 

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ROASTED CAULIFLOWER AND LEEK SOUP WITH CHEDDAR CROSTINI

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I feel very strongly about soup.  Soup satisfies the body and the soul.   There is simply nothing more wonderful then enjoying a beautiful bowl of home-made soup.  For me the benchmark of good cooks and  good restaurants is the quality of their soup.  Soup should be treated with great respect.  It should be lovingly and carefully prepared.  The ingredients carefully chosen then prepared and cooked to absolute perfection.

The basis of most soups is the stock.  It should be home-made.  There are some exceptions.  House-made stock from a fresh food supplier is a good substitute.   This soup recipe calls for home-made chicken stock.  When you buy chicken stock in cans or vacuum packages you are buying flavoured water.  You should be able to reduce a good chicken stock down so that it becomes  thick and syrupy.  Try reducing the canned or packaged chicken down and you will be left with nothing but flavoured powder.

Roasting cauliflower changes this plain Jan white vegetable into something so deeply flavoured, so rich and wonderful you’ll find yourself stealing a few florets to nibble as you prepare the soup.  Don’t be afraid to let the cauliflower turn a very deep golden colour.

For a vegetarian version of this soup substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.

This soup has a hands-on time of just 30 minutes to prepare.  Add a tossed salad and your dinner is on the table before you can finish a glass of wine.    Bon Appetit by friends.

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER AND LEEK SOUP WITH CHEDDAR CROSTINI
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: soup
Cuisine: lunch or supper
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: 6
Roasting the cauliflower gives this soup a deep golden colour and a rich flavour.
Ingredients
  • 1 head cauliflower cut into 2-inch florets (about 8 cups)
  • 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 large leeks (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise
  • l large onion chopped
  • 3 cloves(about 2 tbsp) minced garlic
  • 4 cups rich home made chicken stock
  • 1½ cups water
  • ¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1¼ cups shredded old Cheddar cheese
  • CHEDDAR CROSTINI:
  • ¾ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 16 sliced sliced baguettes
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • pinch of Hungarian paprika
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. (220C)
  2. Spread cauliflower on rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with the oil. Toss the cauliflower to cover it with oil.
  3. Roast turning occasionally until deep golden, about 45 minutes. The darker the cauliflower the richer the taste of the soup.
  4. Meanwhile melt butter(add a little olive oil if necessary) in a skillet over medium heat and add the onions, leeks and garlic and sprinkle with a little salt. Sprinkling onions when you are sauteing them releases moisture and flavour.
  5. Saute until the leeks and onions are softened, about 6 minutes.
  6. Transfer the leeks, onions, garlic and cauliflower into a large sauce pan and add the chicken stock, water, salt and pepper.
  7. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are very tender.
  8. Off the heat use a hand held blender and puree the mixture.
  9. Return to the heat and on medium-low add the Cheddar cheese and mustard. Simmer until cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.
  10. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  11. CHEDDAR CROSTINI:
  12. Mix Cheddar cheese with parsley.
  13. Spread mustard over baguette slices and top with cheese mixture.
  14. Bake on parchment paper-lined baking sheet in 425F (220C) oven until cheese is melted and bread is golden, about 8 minutes.
  15. Serve with the soup

 

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SWEET POTATO AND RED PEPPER AFRICAN PORK STEW

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  There is nothing more wonderful than the heavenly aroma of a one-dish meal simmering away in the oven while you curl up in a chair with a good book.  This dish has a deliciously exotic flavour created by the … Continue reading

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ULTIMATE BLUE RIBBON BANANA BREAD

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I made my first banana bread just after the second world war.  Bananas disappeared from the produce shelves during the war.   Rationing, torpedoed cargo ships and ships used for troop transport meant that many food items were simply not available.

My first banana loaf contained no walnuts.  They were still rationed.  The recipe was rather frugal with a limited amount of sugar and butter. However to me the flavour was wonderfully exotic and I pretended those brown specks were nuts.

Through the years I baked many variations of banana bread;  coconut banana, banana prune, banana chocolate chip and so on.  They were all good but not great.  Hundreds of banana breads later I declare this is the Blue Ribbon Winner.  It is rich with butter and eggs.  Deeply flavoured with brown sugar and a smidge of cinnamon.  It is extravagantly studded with walnuts, and has a delicate crumb.

ULTIMATE BLUE RIBBON BANANA BREAD
Print
: quick bread
Cuisine: baking
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: 10
A richly flavoured banana loaf generously studded with walnuts with just a touch of cinnamon.
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp taking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 ripe bananas mashed
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups walnuts coarsely chopped
Instructions
  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder,cinnamon and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl stir together bananas, buttermilk, vanilla and baking soda. Let stand for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Using a stand mixer whip butter with brown sugar until well combined.
  4. Beat in eggs, one by one.
  5. Then beat in the banana mixture until combined.
  6. Add the flour mixture all at once and stir just until combined.
  7. Stir in the walnuts until just combined.
  8. Pour into a grease 9 x 5-inch (2 L) loaf pan. ( Do not use a smaller sized loaf pan.)
  9. Bake in a 325F oven until cake tester inserted into centre comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes.
  10. Let cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes.
  11. Turn out onto rack; let cool completely.

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Posted in Breads, Breakfast and Brunch, Desserts, Desserts and sweets | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

BLACKBERRY COBBLER

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Blackberries grow wild and unruly steps from my kitchen door.  Protecting my arms from attacking thorns and armed with a bucket I can cheerfully  spend a glorious afternoon plundering the blackberry vines.  In summer I pick them warm from the … Continue reading

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