GREEN BEANS WITH BASIL … Haricots Verts au Basilic

 

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To quote a favorite cookbook author, Patricia Wells,  “Young, tender green beans and basil are a Provençal marriage made in heaven.” The pungent, glorious basil combines beautifully with the sweetness of fresh, tender green beans.  When you have produce as fresh and perfect a this the simplest of preparation is all that is required.   This recipe could be served as a vegetable dish or as a first course.  It should be offered warm to best enhance the pungency of the herb and for the appreciation of a discerning audience.

The recipe is easy – the freshest of the freshest green beans, a chiffonnade of fresh basil leaves, a little of your finest extra-virgin olive oil and seasonings.  You can cook the beans up to four hours ahead of time.

 

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GREEN BEANS WITH BASIL ... Haricots Verts au Basilic
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: vegetable side dish
Cuisine: vegetarian
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: 4-8
Fresh green beans, basil, and seasonings creates a vegetable dish or a first course.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup coarse sea salt
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed (both ends if desired)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, tightly packed, cut into a chiffonade
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • a few red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
  2. Fill the pasta pot with about 5 quarts of water and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Add the coarse sea salt and the beans, and cook ntil crisp-tender, about 3 - 5 minutes. (Cooking time will vary, according to the size and tenderness of the beans.)
  4. Immediately remove the colander from the water, allow the water to drain from the beans, and plunge the colander with the beans into the ice water so they cool down as quickly as possible. (The beans will cool in 1 to 2 minutes. If you leave them longer, they will become soggy and begin to lose flavour.)
  5. Drain the beans and wrap them in a thick towel to dry. (the beans can be cooked up to 4 hours in advance. Keep them wrapped in the towel and refrigerate if desired.)
  6. At serving time, place the beans in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  7. Add the basil and the oil. Warm the mixture, tossing to coat the beans, l to 2 minutes. Season to taste. Serve warm.

 

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HOW TO MAKE SUPER QUICK, SUPER EASY PICKLED RED ONIONS

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How can anything that looks this good, tastes so delicious, be so easy to create.      It took me just ten minutes and a few ingredients to make these pickled red onions that last for several weeks in your refrigerator.

Pickled red onions add zing as a condiment on barbequed  hamburger or tacos..   Rich meat sandwiches such as pulled pork benefit immensely by this intense layer of flavour.

Pickled red onions add glamor to staid potato salads and egg salad sandwiches practically beg to be included in this gorgeous combination of flavours.

Toss a few of these ringed beauties into a lettuce or grain salad.  Beguile sturdy greens such as kale with pickled red onions and some crisp smoky bacon pieces.

You may vary this recipe by adding different spices to your vinegar mixture.  For an exotic Asian flavour add such spices as star anise, cinnamon sticks, Szechuan peppers or fresh ginger.  This combination of spices and red onion  would make the perfect garnish for a stir fry or other Asian dishes.

IMG_1399Mix vinegar, salt, sugar, peppercorns and thyme in ceramic bowl.  Drain onions well.

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Add onions to vinegar mixture, toss well and put into jars.  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving.

 

 

HOW TO MAKE SUPER QUICK, SUPER EASY PICKLED RED ONIONS
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: PICKLES
Cuisine: AMERICAN
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: 6
Red onion pickles take ten minutes to make and last weeks in your refrigerator
Ingredients
  • 1 firm red onion (about 5 oz) cut into ¼ inch rings
  • 2 fat garlic cloves cut in half
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¾ cup light coloured vinegar such as rice, white wine or apple cider
Instructions
  1. Put the onion slices and garlic in a colander in the sink. Pour boiling water over the onions and let drain.
  2. Mix the vinegar, salt and sugar, thyme and peppercorns in a glass or ceramic bowl.
  3. Add the drained onion and garlic.
  4. Toss the mixture and pack into glass or ceramic jars.
  5. Refrigerate for a few hours before using.
  6. Will keep several weeks in the refrigerate.

 

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DOUBLE CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE BROWNIES WITH SEA SALT

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    This is a truly serious brownie recipe for serious brownie eaters.  It is downright decadent as a good brownie should be.  It contains walnuts, a double helping of chocolate and even cocoa. Every sinful bite of these mouthwatering … Continue reading

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HEAVENLY LEMON CLOUD TART

 

IMG_1201 The lemon filling in heavenly LEMON CLOUD TART naturally separates into two distinct layer when baked – a fluffy top layer lightened by the whipped cream, and a bottom layer of creamy lemon curd. Use my  Blue Ribbon pastry recipe  or your favorite pastry recipe, a store-bought shell  or a graham cracker-crumb base.  Just be sure your your shell will handle the volume of the filling.  If you do have any filling left over pour it into an oven proof custard cup and bake it along with your pie.

LEMON CLOUD TART
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: pie
Cuisine: baking
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The lemon filling separates into two distinct layers when baked - a fluffy top layer lightened by the whipped cream and a bottom layer of creamy lemon curd.
Ingredients
  • One single generous pie crust either purchased or your favorite recipe. fitted into a 9'inch tart pan and chilled.
  • ½ cup (4.2 fluid oz.) heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup (7 oz.) sugar
  • Fresh lemon zest from one large lemon (divided in half)
  • ½ cup (from 4.5 fluid oz.) lemon juice from 4 to 5 lemons
  • Topping
  • l cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and set the rack in the lowest position.
  2. Place the chilled crust on a baking sheet, line the crust with lightly oiled or sprayed parchment, and fill with weights.
  3. Partially blind bake the crust until it is a matte, pale golden colour, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment.
  4. While the crust is partially baking, in a chilled medium bowl, whip the cream using a whisk until soft peaks form
  5. In a separate medium bowl, combine the eggs and sugar and whisk until thick and smooth. Add half of the lemon zest and the lemon juice and stir to combine.
  6. In three batches, GENTLY fold the whipped cream into the egg mixture. It will be rather lumpy looking.
  7. Pour the filling into the warm crust. Bake until the edges of the filling slightly puff up and the center is just slightly wobbly, 30 to 40 minutes.
  8. Remove the tart from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Refrigerate the tart for 2 hours, or until firm enough to slice.
  9. When read to serve top with sweetened whipped cream and garnish with remaining lemon zest.
  10. To make your whipped cream topping chill your bowl and whip. Whip cream until soft peaks form, then add vanilla and icing sugar.
  11. Whip util stiff peaks form.

 

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FIRST PRIZE BLUE RIBBON BUTTER TARTS

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Growing up there were two very important dates in our lives  .  The first was Christmas day, and the other the Prince Albert Agriculture fair. We children lived in glorious anticipation of each date. Sister Heather and I planned for … Continue reading

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OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

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There are some who say the ultimate sweet treat is cookies and milk.  Make the cookie crispy rich with the perfect amount of old fashioned oatmeal,  bittersweet and milk chocolate chips and you have the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie that dreams are made of.  Bake with the best chocolate chips you can find or be creative and  chop a bar of good chocolate into coarse chunks.

OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
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: cookie
Cuisine: baking
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: 36
A crispy rich cookie with old fashioned oatmeal and double chocolate chips
Ingredients
  • 2 cups (10 oz) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces or 2 sticks) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2¾ cups (9 ounces) rolled oats (slow cooking old fashioned type)
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) milk chocolate chips or chunks
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper
  3. Combine the dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. Using stand mixture with paddle attachment beat the butter and sugars for 5-10 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. While mixer is running add vanilla, and eggs one at a time.
  6. Gradually add dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt) in 2-3 additions with the mixer on low speed.
  7. Combine the oats and chocolate and add them to the dough with mixer on low speed, mixing just until well distributed.
  8. Scoop the dough into balls the size of ping-pong balls (1.5 oz.) and arrange on cookie sheets, 6 per pan, then press into ½-inch-thick disks.
  9. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes. The edges of the cookies should be golden brown.

 

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Posted in Christmas Food Ideas, Desserts, Desserts and sweets | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

RETRO GARLIC BREAD

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Garlic bread  is so retro, so seventies, so easy to make,  that we forget why everyone enjoys it.  Home-made garlic bread is the first thing everyone reaches for at the table.    Five ingredients, three steps, that’s all you need to bake up an unforgettable loaf that puts grocery-store versions to shame.

EASY GARLIC BREAD
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: side dish
Cuisine: retro cuisine
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: 6
An unforgettable loaf that puts groacery=store versions to shame.
Ingredients
  • 1 loaf soft Italian or French style bread (about 12 ounces) unsliced
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 F. Slice the loaf into 1-inch-slices without cutting all the way through the bread.
  2. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
  3. Add the garlic and cook stirring often until fragrant, about one or two minutes. Let cool slightly.
  4. Add the parsley and ½ tsp salt.
  5. Brush the butter mixture between the slices and wrap the loaf in foil
  6. Bake until warmed through, ten to fifteen minutes.
  7. Oven the foil and bake until lightly toasted on top, five to seven minutes more.
  8. Serve warm

 

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DOUBLE GLAZED LEMON LOAF deleted recipe

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My dear friends.  For some reason this recipe has developed major glitches.  The good husband made it twice (and he is a brilliant baker) with disastrous results.  The cake   didn’t seem to assimilate the oil properly.  As well the centre … Continue reading

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WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU A LEMON … MAKE PRESERVED LEMONS!

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In 1988 Paula Wolfert’s cookbook,  WORLD OF FOODS,  introduced me to PRESERVED LEMONS.    The dishes in this book share common elements:  deep, earthy flavours;  richness without heaviness; and “big” flavour.  Paula Wolfert is probably America’s most outstanding food writer.    This … Continue reading

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WALNUT CRANBERRY ORANGE BREAD

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This oh so scrumptious bread  is a dynamite  combination of flavours.  The roasted walnuts are rich and crunchy, and the tart cranberries and orange zest create an explosion for your taste buds.   The recipe makes two loaves – one to enjoy fresh out of the oven the other to tuck in your freezer or share with a friend

WALNUT CRANBERRY ORANGE BREAD
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: quick bread
Cuisine: baking
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: 16
A delicious quick bread with a combination of tart cranberries, orange zest with crunchy walnuts
Ingredients
  • 3½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 2¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cups vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups buttermilk
  • zest and juice from one large orange
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1¾ cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. and lightly grease and flour two 9 by 5-inch loaf pans.
  2. Into a large bowl add the flour, salt and baking soda and whisk to combine.
  3. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat the sugar and oil until thoroughly combined; the mixture will look sandy.
  4. Whisk the eggs.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add eggs to the sugar mixture and mix well.
  6. Whisk together the buttermilk, orange zest and juice and vanilla.
  7. Add one-third of the dry ingredients and incorporate on low speed, then increase the speed to medium and mix for one minute.
  8. Add half the buttermilk mixture and mix briefly just to incorporate.
  9. Add half of the remaining dry ingredient, and incorporate before increasing the speed to medium for one minute.
  10. Repeat with remaining buttermilk mixture and the remaining dry ingredients.
  11. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  12. Fold the cranberries and walnuts into the batter with a spatula. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  13. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
  14. Bake the loaves for 60 to 75 minutes rotating the pans half way through the baking. (omit rotating pans if using convection bake)
  15. The loaves will be golden brown with cracked tops, and a skewer inserted in the center should come out clean and dry.

 

CHEF NOTES;  You might be tempted to skip roasting your walnuts  but please don’t.  A light toasting brings out the best in most nuts, highlighting their naturally rich, sweet flavours.  To toast shelled nuts spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking pan and bake in a 350F oven until the nuts are lightly fragrant and just hot to the touch.  Depending on the nut, this will take from 7 to 10 minutes.  Watch them closely, as they can go from just right to burned in a matter of seconds. Chop your nuts coarsely after baking.

 

 

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Posted in Breakfast and Brunch, Christmas Food Ideas, Desserts, Desserts and sweets | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment