Tag Archives: sauce

Iraq…

Friday, April 26 –

This dinner was almost perfectly made for four people. We had WingWoman, LightsOn, BestestFianceEver, and yours truly.

I started by chopping the prunes and apricots up, putting them in a bowl, covering them with water, and leaving them on the counter for about three hours. Then I took chicken thighs, removed the skin, and fried photo(3)them in hot oil until they were browned on both sides. Then I put the drained prunes and apricots in a glass baking dish and pushed them to the sides. I added the chicken thighs in the middle. Then I fried the onion and garlic in the leftover oil and chicken bits, adding the spices, broth, honey, and cornstarch/lemon juice mixture after the onions were soft and brown. Stirring well to mix in the cornstarch and to scrape off the last chicken bits, I let the liquid boil for a few minutes. After I was sure it was all hot and mixed together I poured the liquid and onions over the top of the chicken, apricots, and prunes. Covered with foil and into a 350* oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkled with sliced almonds and served for dinner.

LightsOn made the filling for a dish that is lamb, onion, and spices cooked until done and then shoved into hand-rolled pockets of rice-dough stuff. Then we fried the rice pockets. It was extremely sticky/messy/hilarious. But the recipe we used didn’t have much flavor to it, so it turned into a way to soak up the sauce from the tagine.

Iraq
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.epicurious.com)

Chicken and Prune Tagine

  • 4 oz Prunes
  • 4 oz Dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup Toasted split almonds
  • 3 tbl Extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 Portions chicken
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 20 Grinds black pepper
  • 1 lrg Onion
  • 2 Cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp Ground turmeric
  • 3 Cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp Ground ginger
  • 2 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cup Chicken stock or half stock, half white wine
  • 1 tbl Honey
  • 2 tsp Cornstarch
  • 2 tsp Lemon juice or water

Cooking Instructions:  Several hours in advance or overnight, soak the dried fruit in water to cover. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Fry the almonds in the hot oil over moderate heat until golden brown, then drain on paper towels and reserve. Remove the skin and any visible fat from the chicken portions, thoroughly dry them, then season with the salt and pepper. Fry the chicken in the hot oil until rich brown on all sides, then lift out and drain on paper towels to remove any surplus fat. Lay the pieces side by side in a lidded casserole and surround with the drained fruit. In the same oil gently sauté the finely chopped onion and garlic until they turn a rich golden brown (keep the pan lid on for 5 minutes to soften them in the steam, and then remove it to finish the browning). Add the spices and stock and honey. Stir well to release any crispy bits adhering to the base of the pan, then bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixed with the lemon juice (or water, if wine has been used). Pour over the chicken. Cover and bake for 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Do not overcook as the chicken will soften during the reheating. Garnish the dish with the fried almonds.


Indonesia…

Wednesday, April 11 –

Did I mention that I am not very good at measuring spices and sauces and stuff? This dinner was a prime example of that, in the best way possible. I took the recipes below and made them me-ified. I will try to photo(9)recreate for you what we did. Thank you to WingWoman and LightsOn for hosting and grilling this amazing dinner!

Chicken – I cut two breasts into thin strips so that they cook evenly and quickly (no one likes raw chicken). The marinade was coconut milk (about a tablespoon), water (about 1/8 of a cup), red curry paste (about two tablespoons), and brown sugar (about 1-1/2 tablespoons).

Shrimp – WingWoman thawed them and put them in the marinade. Fortunately they were already shelled and cleaned. The marinade was tamari, honey, sriracha, garlic, and sweet WingWoman love.

Lamb – I used cubed stewing lamb meat. The marinade was Ketjap Mani (Indonesian sweet soy sauce, about half a cup), garlic (two chopped cloves), ginger (grated root, length of about an inch), brown sugar (about a tablespoon), and lemon juice (half a lemon).

Veggies – I used bell pepper, onion, zucchini, and mushrooms. The marinade was tamari (I just poured and stirred the veggies until it looked right), hot chili paste (about three tablespoons), lemon grass (one fresh stalk, chopped), and garlic (three chopped cloves).

Rice – WingWoman put rice, water, coconut milk, red curry paste, and peas in the rice cooker.

Dessert – Fresh mango!

As you can see, it wasn’t very well measured. But goodness, was it good! LightsOn did all of the barbequing and they turned out fabulously. We ate like blog-kings! I think I need this dinner on the menu once a month. Mmmhmm!

Indonesia
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.indochef.com)photo(10)

Indonesian Sate’s

  • 500 gr. of Beef, Pork or Chicken

Marinade:

  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 30 ml Dark Soya sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Grass
  • 1 teaspoon Hot Chilli paste
  • 1 glass red wine (optional)
  • 30 ml water

Preparation:  Dice the meat in to 2 cm square cubes and put onto bamboo skewers (about 4 per stick). Combine all the marinade ingredients into a food processor and make into a smooth paste. Poor this over the prepared sate’s and leave to marinade for at least 2 hours. Cook the sate’s on the barbecue or under the grill for 5 -10 min. until done and serve with hot Peanut Sauce.

Babi Kecap

  • 500 gr Tender Pork
  • 1 large Onion
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 3 cm fresh Ginger
  • 30 gr dark sugar
  • ½ cup Ketjap Manis
  • 2 cups Water
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 stock cube
  • Pepper & Salt

Preparation:  Finely dice Onion, Garlic and Ginger. Cut Pork into strips. Add Sugar, Pepper and Salt. Fry in small saucepan until Onion is soft and the pork is dark. Add the Ketjap Manis (sweet Indonesian soya sauce) and water, Lemon juice and stock cube and leave to simmer on a low flame for about 30 min.


Guernsey…

Friday, February 8 –

For some reason, I keep on cooking but I forget to write it up. It’s not that I’m not interested in cooking, but my drive for this blog might be dwindling a little. But I’m so far into it now that I can’t give it up! Cheer me on, whoever is reading this…

Guernsey started off with me picking a fish and potato pie recipe that sounded good at the time. Then I got to the day-of and decided that recipe wasn’t so great sounding after all. Which left me with only a little photo(7)while to look for new recipes, and magically I stumbled onto this crab cake recipe. Any excuse to make crab cakes, in my books, is a good one.

This recipe, however, is just a little bit strange. Good, in the end, but strange. Boiled new potatoes (I removed the skins to keep the creamy texture) mixed with crab, ketchup, and spices? Hm, ok. A sauce made out of sugar and vinegar? Yeah, maybe. So I made the recipe as it is written, using good quality lump crab meat instead of the brown and white that’s listed below. Then I smooshed it altogether, made crab cakes, and fried them in butter. Served with a salad, dinner was ready!

The crab flavor, unfortunately, got completely covered up by the potato flavor. It was sad, really. I happen to love the flavor of crab, so I kind of picked out the crab chunks and then ate the potato mash separate. The sauce that got drizzled on top was a wonderful compliment to the crab flavor, and so I highly recommend keeping that part of the recipe. I also loved the blend of herbs that I used – it made the whole dish bright and flavorful.

Hopefully my drive for this project will pick back up again with the spring and the sunshine. I’m just really dragging my feet on it lately. If you are still in love with it, take a look at the country list and let me know which ones you want to come to. Having other people love it might help me find the love again in this dark, rainy season. Thanks, friends!

Guernsey
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: http://blog.visitguernsey.com)

Guernsey Chancre Crab and Fresh Guernsey Herb Cakes
For the cakes

  • 400g new potatoes (0.88 lb)
  • 250g white crab meat (0.55 lb)
  • 200g brown crab meat (0.44 lb)
  • 15g chopped parsley (1 tbl)
  • 15g chopped chive (1 tbl)
  • 30g chopped coriander (2 tbl)
  • 30g chopped basil (2 tbl)
  • 10g tomato ketchup (2/3 tbl)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 100g breadcrumbs (0.43 cup)
  • 100g plain flour (0.43 cup)
  • 250ml Guernsey milk (1.05 cup)
  • 1 free range egg

For the dressing:

  • 1 fresh chilli pepper
  • 375ml rice vinegar (1.58 cup)
  • 125g granulated sugar (0.53 cup)
  • Juice of one lime

Method

1) Wash the new potatoes and simmer gently in seasoned water until tender. Remove from the heat and refresh under cold water, drain the potatoes well and lightly crush with a fork, set aside.
2) Pass the brown crab meat through a fine mesh sieve to remove any traces of shell. Pick through the white crab meat to ensure all traces of shell are removed.
3) Bind together the crushed new potatoes, brown and white crab meat, tomato ketchup and chopped fresh Guernsey herbs, season with salt and pepper to taste.
4) Divide the mixture into eight Pattie shapes or spoon into a 7cm diameter pastry ring and repeat until all the mixture is used.
5) Place in a refrigerator until firm. Once the crab cakes are firm, coat them with seasoned plain flour, followed by dipping each one in a mixture of beaten egg and milk. Finally roll in fine breadcrumbs, re-shape with a palette knife to make the cakes all uniform.
6) Gently fry each cake in a generous amount of Guernsey butter, turning each over as necessary. Heat through in a moderate oven before serving with chilli dressing and a salad of Fresh Guernsey Herbs.

For the chilli dressing:
Finely chop the chilli pepper and place with the rice vinegar and sugar into a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and simmer for 15 minutes or until mixture
has reduced to thin syrup, remove from heat and add lime juice.

Serve with a salad of fresh Guernsey herbs.


Grenada…

Monday, January 14 –

This dinner definitely won a place in my top ten dinners from this project. BestestFianceEver even agreed with me, which makes it super, extra delicious times two. If you like pork loin, you will love this recipe.photo(12)

I started with the pork roasting part of the recipe by chopping the shallots, dumping them into a mixing bowl, then throwing all of the spices on top. I put the two tenderloins (that came in one 2-3/4 pound package) into the bowl and moved them around to coat with the mixture. Most everything stuck to them without much effort. Then I put the spiced pork onto a roasting rack and put it in the oven at 450*.

Next was the sauce – mince the ginger and throw it all into a pan, let simmer. I let it simmer almost the whole time the pork was baking so that it was nice and gingery.

Finally, the salad. I threw the black beans and frozen corn into a colander and rinsed it all at the same time. Then the corn and black beans were put into a mixing bowl and I added the rest of the recipe, mixing well.

For plate presentation I put a pile of spinach leaves (torn into more bite-sized pieces) in the middle, scooped the salad on top, placed slices of avocado onto the top of the salad, then the sliced pork. It did take longer for the pork to reach 155* in the middle than the recipe said, so it is important to check it before you cut into it. Also, remember to let your cooked meat rest for a few minutes so that the juices all stay inside the meat. Slice, then serve. Drizzled over the top of the whole thing was the orange-ginger sauce. Dinner was served!

The meat was juicy, the sauce was perfectly gingery, the salad was a nice counter flavor – all in all it was amazing. I will be making this dinner and variations of it much more often now. Please, do try this at home!

Grenada
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.caribbeanchoice.com)

Roast Pork with Black Bean, Heart of Palm, and Corn Salad

Roast Pork:

  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 3/4-pound pork tenderloins

Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Also:

  • Fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, sliced crosswise
  • Minced fresh parsley

Black Bean, Heart of Palm, and Corn Salad:

  • 1 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen corn, thawed, drained
  • 1 7 1/2-ounce can hearts of palm, drained, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

METHOD / DIRECTIONS:

For Roast Pork: Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine shallots, bay leaves, salt, allspice and ginger in small bowl. Add generous amount of pepper. Rub mixture into pork. Set on rack in roasting pan, Roast pork until thermometer inserted into centers registers 150°F., about 25 minutes. Cool slightly. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Bring pork to room temperature before serving.)

For Sauce: Combine first 6 ingredients in heavy small saucepan. Season with pepper. Simmer until slightly syrupy, about 10 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

For Salad: Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. (Salad can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Line platter with spinach. Mound black bean salad in center. Slice pork. Alternate pork and avocado slices around salad. Discard bay leaves from sauce and drizzle sauce over pork and avocado. Sprinkle with parsley.


China… {potluck!}

Friday, May 4 –

To tell you the truth, I thought that there would be more interest in this potluck. Maybe Chinese food is so accessible in this city that it wasn’t as interesting? I don’t know. We had five people this time: ZombieMode (lychee vodka drinks), BestieExtraordinaire (shrimp and veggie stir-fry), GingerNuts (crab rangoon), and NoPoots. I made general tso’s chicken and rice.

Making the general tso’s chicken was an interesting process. First, you coat the chicken in an egg and cornstarch mix. Then you fry them, cool them, and then fry them again (just like regular fried, battered chicken). It was a little deceiving though, because the recipe tells you to watch for it to turn light brown the first time and then deep brown the second time. The cornstarch didn’t really turn light brown the first time, but the chicken did. The second time the cornstarch and chicken both turned a nice golden brown color, so it was easier to tell when it was done. If you aren’t used to frying chicken, that’s definitely something to pay attention to. The sauce was incredibly easy to make, following exactly as the recipe is written. I did change the amounts a little, however, and would probably recommend doing the same. The recipe calls for 1.5 pounds of chicken for one batch of sauce and I made 2.5 pounds of chicken for two batches of sauce – and it was barely enough. I would recommend making double the sauce it says for the same amount of chicken (if you like yours gooey and saucy like I do).

The lychee vodka drinks were a little sweet for me, but I’m not such a huge fan of lychee flavor. ZombieMode and GingerNuts seemed to like them quite a bit. BestieExtraordinaire was drinking sake and NoPoots and I drank wine. The crab rangoon was good, but by the time we got to eat it they were a little soggy. Unfortunately, GingerNuts lives pretty far from us, so sitting in a Tupperware for the drive wasn’t very kind to them. If they had been crispy, they would have been amazing. Real crab meat in them makes a huge difference! The shrimp and veggie stir-fry was really good. He used rice noodles to make them gluten free, and the texture of the veggies and the shrimp was a perfect combo. And finally, the general tso’s… was AMAZING. That recipe makes the flavor exactly like the best I’ve had at some of the restaurants around here. If you like the flavor of the sauce, I would highly recommend saving this one. I will be making it again soon with sauteed chicken rather than fried. Double yum!

Like last week, I was taking these photos as quickly as I could so people could eat. I apologize for them being so hurried. Food quality before photo quality in my house, so if you want to enjoy the full experience you will just have to come over! The next dinner will also be a potluck for Columbia (Sat. 5/12). Hopefully more people will come to keep the potluck idea alive for some of these dinners. Stay tuned for more amazing dishes!

{general tso’s chicken}

{shrimp and veggie stir-fry}

{crab rangoon}

{crab rangoon with sauce, shrimp and veggie stir-fry, general tso’s chicken, and rice}

China
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.allrecipes.com)

General Tsao’s Chicken II

  •     4 cups vegetable oil for frying
  •     1 egg
  •     1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  •     1 teaspoon salt
  •     1 teaspoon white sugar
  •     1 pinch white pepper
  •     1 cup cornstarch
  •     2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  •     3 tablespoons chopped green onion
  •     1 clove garlic, minced
  •     6 dried whole red chilies
  •     1 strip orange zest
  •     1/2 cup white sugar
  •     1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  •     3 tablespoons chicken broth
  •     1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  •     1/4 cup soy sauce
  •     2 teaspoons sesame oil
  •     2 tablespoons peanut oil
  •     2 teaspoons cornstarch
  •     1/4 cup water

Directions:

Heat 4 cups vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Beat the egg in a mixing bowl. Add the chicken cubes; sprinkle with salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and white pepper; mix well. Mix in 1 cup of cornstarch a little bit at a time until the chicken cubes are well coated.

In batches, carefully drop the chicken cubes into the hot oil one by one, cooking until they turns golden brown and begin to float, about 3 minutes. Remove the chicken and allow to cool as you fry the next batch. Once all of the chicken has been fried, refry the chicken, starting with the batch that was cooked first. Cook until the chicken turns deep golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Stir in the green onion, garlic, whole chiles, and orange zest. Cook and stir a minute or two until the garlic has turned golden and the chiles brighten. Add 1/2 cup sugar, the ginger, chicken broth, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and peanut oil; bring to a boil and cook for 3 minutes.

Dissolve 2 teaspoons of cornstarch into the water, and stir into the boiling sauce. Return to a boil and cook until the sauce thickens and is no longer cloudy from the cornstarch, about 1 minute. Stir the chicken into the boiling sauce. Reduce heat to low and cook for a few minutes until the chicken absorbs some of the sauce.


Canada…

Tuesday, March 20 –

From one week to the next everything changes, that’s for sure. This week there were ten of us: me, Wonderful Boyfriend, Roommate Extraordinaire, Mr. Hero, Hot Momma, BabyBear, Amine Chef, BeatBox, MoneyShot, and SlotMachine. That’s a full house!

I started with the dessert so that it would be ready to go after dinner. I made the scone mix as it was written, except for the maple sugar. I couldn’t find it at either of the two stores I went to, so I just used regular white sugar it its place. I also think that when I rolled them out I made them too thin, so they browned by nine minutes instead of fifteen. They were light, fluffy, and wonderfully buttery. Without the maple flavor I wish that I had thought to put vanilla in instead, but it worked just fine with the strawberries and cream. I quartered sixteen strawberries and let them marinate in sugar and the red wine I was drinking (works just as well as port, if not better!). Then I blended the other strawberries with the sugar and lime juice. (I didn’t have lemon, but it worked just as well.) I put the strawberry puree and marinated strawberries back in the fridge until dessert time.

Because there were so many of us, some with food allergies, I had to make the burgers in several different steps. First, I took the bison and I added salt, pepper, garlic, and rice to it and mixed it together. Then I separated out seven different patties (because at the time that’s how many people I thought I was feeding!) and kept two off to the side. Then I mixed the other five back together with the bbq sauce, paprika, and mustard. I left the smoked Gouda cheese out as something that people could put on top if they wanted to. Then I re-made the five patties and let them sit until we were ready to go. The two late-comers brought extra beefalo, and I didn’t have more rice for them but I did put in the same spices. I put them to the side as well.

Next came the poutine. Heaven help me, I’m pretty sure my arteries were clogging up just looking at that hot mess. I took frozen “fast food fries” and I baked them as per their packaging. I heated the gravy from a jar on the stove, and then I mixed the chopped up cheese curds into the gravy so they would melt. Then I poured the gravy/cheese meltiness onto the fresh-out-of-the-oven fries. I had people dig into the mess right in the kitchen so that they wouldn’t get cold. Holy good god. Even though I used turkey gravy instead of beef gravy, it was still amazing and I pretty much never want to ever see it again because I won’t be able to say no. If you are even considering being on a diet – don’t go near this stuff!

I also made sweet potato fries (also frozen and then baked) for the people who didn’t want to die a happy, fat mess from the poutine. They were a great addition in my opinion, but then again I will always love sweet potato anything. I didn’t take a photo of them because they disappeared so quickly.

On the side for the burgers I had a plate of lettuce, tomato, and onion. I also put out ketchup, mustard, dijon, mayo, relish, bbq sauce to put on the buns. I also made the sauce that is on the recipe, and let me tell you what, it was AH-mazing. I think it might be my most favorite burger topping ever! Mayo with bbq sauce, relish, and horseradish. Sound weird? It wasn’t. It was so good I want to just make a jar and keep it in the fridge to use during the summer when we are bbqing all the time. Epic yumminess!

I cooked the burgers on the stove this time (the bbq had been loaned out to friends) but that didn’t stop them from being delish. The burger that I had (meat, bun, sauce, tomato, lettuce, and onion) was moist and amazingly delicious, but very, very crumbly. I don’t know if it was the fact that it was bison or that it had rice in it, but it made for a very, very messy dinner. Worth every bite, but messy.

Next came the desserts. I made fresh whipped cream with sugar and vanilla. Then I put on each plate two scones (remember I rolled them out too thin), scooped some marinated berries on top, drizzled the unstrained coulis next (why strain it when it’s all yummy goodness?) and then I scooped some whipped cream on top. This dessert was probably one of the best strawberry shortcakes I’ve ever made. Even Mr. Hero, who is the strawberry dessert expert in our group, said that they were the right texture, flavor, and richness. They weren’t too sweet, too crumbly, too dry, or too drowned in sauce. They were the perfect blend of all the right aspects of a strawberry shortcake dessert.

Things I have learned: When serving a messy, hot disaster like poutine it is just easier to put it onto a large plate and let people pick from it as finger food. It would have been too hard to get it all onto separate plates for people. It did, however, make it so that everyone was crowded into my walking space in the kitchen – so next time remember to move it out to the table so people flock over there.

Canada
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.delish.com and www.food.com)

Manitoba Smoky Bison Burger

  • 1 pound(s) ground bison (buffalo; see Shopping Tip)
  • 1/2 cup(s) cooked wild rice (see Kitchen Tip)
  • 1/2 cup(s) shredded smoked cheese, such as Cheddar, gouda, or mozzarella
  • 2 tablespoon(s) smoky barbecue sauce, divided
  • 1 tablespoon(s) paprika, preferably sweet Hungarian
  • 2 teaspoon(s) Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon(s) minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/4 cup(s) reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon(s) sweet pepper relish or pickle relish
  • 2 teaspoon(s) prepared horseradish
  • 4  whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted
  • 4 slice(s) tomato
  • 4  thin slices sweet onion, such as Vidalia

Directions

  • Preheat grill to medium.
  • Place meat, rice, cheese, 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce, paprika, mustard, garlic, pepper, and salt in a large bowl. Gently combine, without over-mixing, until evenly incorporated. Form into 4 equal patties, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.
  • Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, relish, and horseradish in a small bowl.
  • Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the burgers until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 155 degrees F, 5 to 6 minutes per side.
  • Assemble the burgers on toasted buns with the barbecue mayonnaise sauce, tomato, and onion.

Tips & Techniques

Kitchen Tip: Be sure to plan ahead for cooking the wild rice — it takes 40 to 50 minutes. To cut down on cooking time, look for “quick” wild rice, a whole-grain rice that cooks in less than 30 minutes, or “instant” wild rice that’s done in 10 minutes or less.

Tip: To oil the grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs, and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) When grilling delicate foods like tofu and fish, it is helpful to spray the food with cooking spray.

Poutine

  • 1 quart vegetable oil (for frying)
  • 1 (10 ¼ ounce) can beef gravy
  • 5 medium potatoes , cut into fries
  • 2 cups cheese curds

Directions:

1 Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep heavy skillet to 365°F (185°C).

2 Warm gravy in saucepan or microwave.

3 Place the fries into the hot oil, and cook until light brown, about 5 minutes.

4 Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

5 Place the fries on a serving platter, and sprinkle the cheese over them.

6 Ladle gravy over the fries and cheese, and serve immediately.

Ottawa Valley Strawberry Shortcake

Maple Crunch Scones

  • 2 1/2 cup(s) flour
  • 1/8 cup(s) sugar
  • 1/8 cup(s) granulated maple sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) baking powder
  • 1/2 cup(s) butter
  • egg
  • 3/4 cup(s) milk

Marinated Local Strawberries

  • 16  in season strawberries, quartered
  • 2 tablespoon(s) white sugar
  • 2 tablespoon(s) Port wine

Chantilly Cream

  • 1 cup(s) cold whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoon(s) white sugar

Strawberry Coulis

  • 2 cup(s) sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 tablespoon(s) white sugar
  • 1 splash(es) lemon juice
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish

Directions:

  • Maple crunch scones: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugars, baking powder) into a bowl. Cut in butter until butter is pea-sized. Add in egg and milk. Blend until it is emulsified. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is about 1 inch thick.
  • Using a round 4-inch cookie cutter, cut scones. Makes approximately 12 scones. Score and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow them to cool and cut them in half.
  • Marinated local strawberries: Mix strawberries, sugar, and Port wine together and allow to marinate for 10 minutes. Reserve.
  • Chantilly cream: In a large stainless steel bowl, add cream and begin to whip it with an electric mixer or using a balloon whisk. As soon as the cream starts to thicken, add vanilla and sugar. Continue to whip until it forms soft peaks similar to that of a soft-serve ice cream cone. Reserve.
  • Strawberry coulis: Blend strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice together in a household blender and strain through a strainer. Reserve.
  • Assembly: Slice the scone in half. Place the bottom half in the center of your plate. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the strawberry coulis on the scone bottom. Arrange some of the marinated strawberries on the scone and top that with a healthy dollop of the Chantilly cream. Place the scone top on the top and garnish with a mint sprig. Drizzle some additional strawberry sauce for color and flavor. Enjoy.

Angola…

Monday, August 15 –

This week was very exciting for me because I had the chance to cook for more people (our sommelier Leigh Olson and her husband who brought the wines to go with this dinner – her notes below!), who had never had my cooking before. The pressure was on! Trusting recipes that I didn’t create or modify (very much) is hard when you want to make sure to impress people…

I started with the fennel salad, figuring that it was the least time-sensitive dish, knowing that I could just throw it in the refrigerator until it was time to eat. So I washed and thinly sliced the fennel blubs, used 1.5 lemons for the juice, threw some parmesan on top and gently mixed it together by hand. It turned out crisp, bright, and not really liquorice-like at all. The combination of lemon, fennel, and cheese was interesting and delicious. It definitely complimented the rest of the plate.

Next was the rice, which was browned and then tossed with veggies and cilantro, and then finally simmering in broth to finish cooking. I didn’t turn the heat down far enough during the simmering so mine dried out pretty quickly. I threw some more broth on top, turned it down to the lowest setting on the burner, and let it finish cooking the rice. It turned out fluffy, a little dry, and the vegetables mixed in almost seamlessly in flavor. I would be interested to see how it would turn out with cooking the rice in the rice cooker and then blending in the sauteed veggies.

As the rice was simmering I made the “raw sauce” that went with the prawns. It smelled good as soon as I started blending everything together. The recipe didn’t specify what kind of wine vinegar, so I chose red wine vinegar (because that’s what I already had in my kitchen). Definitely the right choice! I could eat that sauce on fish, chicken, stir-fried veggies, and almost anything else that likes a tart, flavorful sauce. It stole the show of the entire dinner, that’s for sure. I think most people went back for seconds just so they could have more of the sauce!

The prawns turned out good, with that smoky charred flavor that you get from barbequing, which blended in well with the rice and the sauce. I will definitely make that dish again.

Finally, the papaya with port dish. As my Wonderful Boyfriend grilled the prawns I peeled, seeded, and sliced two different kinds of papaya. I set them in a dish with a glass of port next to it so that people could choose how much they wanted to pour on top. The flavors mingled so well that you almost couldn’t tell it was wine, it just deepened the flavor of the fruit. The fruit flesh that was pink tasted sweet like dessert and the fruit flesh that was yellow tasted more like mango but was still amazingly delicious. Next time I think I’ll just pour the port over the fruit and let it sit in the fridge for a while to soak up the flavor of it.

Things I have learned: Must turn the burner down to the absolute lowest setting to simmer rice on the stove. Cleaning and cutting papaya is tricky because it gets slippery very quickly; remember to peel it over the cutting board rather than the garbage and then just scoop the peels later. Fruit soak up wine to a certain degree, but for more flavor let them sit longer in the fridge to meld together. And finally there is a fine line between fully cooked shrimp/prawns and charred. Remember to tell helping cooks that when they are opaque they are done, and it is ok to cut one open to double check. This dish would have been excellent if they were a little less black.

Recommendations from our sommelier, Leigh Olson: Angolan cuisine, which has been significantly influenced by Portuguese colonialization, combines indigenous ingredients with Portuguese-inspired ingredients such as coriander, garlic and of course Port. The resulting meal was both delicate and commanding.  Many of the ingredients showed their “greenness” in this meal so we turned to a Sauvignon Blanc.  BUT this time it was from the Loire Valley in France and is called Sancerre.

This wine exhibits a nice bright balance with some flinty characteristics ~ which wine geeks attribute to the Kimmeridgian marl soil in the area ~ they call this terroir (more on this later).  The brightness compliments the acids in the recipes and that flinty character works fabulously with the seafood.

My recommendations:

  • Every day, Easy Drinker |  Domaine Fouassier Sancerre Domaine les Grand Groux
  • Step it up | Domaine Daulny Sancerre
  • Money is No Object | Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Etienne Henri
  • If you can’t find one of these, ask your wine steward at your local grocer.  They can be great resources.  Just tell them the ingredients you are using and let them show you the wines!

Fun Facts: Sancerre is named after the region in which it is vinified ~ as are most wines in France.  These areas in France are designated as Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC).  Look for this on the bottle.

Serving Temp: Mid 40’s – 50 degrees.  No wine cooler, no problem.  Store your Sancerre in the refrigerator and pull it out 45 minutes before serving.

Vessel of Choice:  Riedel Vinum Burgundy/Pinot Noir Wine Glasses.  No budget for specialized wine glasses, a general purpose wine glass will be perfect.

Angola
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.food.com and www.celtnet.org.uk)

Grilled Prawns With Raw Sauce (Camaro Grelhado com Mohlo Cru)

  • 1 lb prawns
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 cup green onion, including tops, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons water

Make the sauce by combining all the ingredients (except the prawns!) and grinding them into a paste. Put the prawns on the skewers and brush with sauce. Grill until done (they should lose their translucent color), about 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve with extra sauce on the side.

Papaya With Port Wine

  • 1 papaya
  • 1 lime
  • 4 tablespoons port wine or 4 tablespoons madeira wine

Slice the papaya into 12 slices. Slice the lime into quarters. Arrange 3 papaya slices on 4 plates and put a lime wedge on the side of each. Sprinkle port wine over the top of each plate, or serve it on the side.

Arroz Verde (Green Rice)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g (just over a cup and a half) white rice
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 medium green pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 50g chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 900ml (just over a cup and a half) chicken broth

Heat the olive oil in a deep pan, add the rice and stir to make sure every grain is coated with oil. Then add the onion, green pepper, garlic and coriander. Season with salt and pepper then stir to mix thoroughly and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the chicken broth, stir to mix and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until the rice is done.

Lemon Salad

  • 60ml (about 4 tablespoons) lemon juice
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 50g grated parmesan cheese

Whisk together the lemon juice, oil, 2 tbsp water and a pinch of salt. Meanwhile trim the fennel and slice thinly. Reserve about 50g of the fronds, trim very finely and add to the dressing. Mix together the fennel and dressing in a bowl, sprinkle with the parmesan and serve.