Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

May 29, 2009

Last Saturday was the opening of the Trout Lake Farmers Market, so a friend and I hopped on our bikes and rode out to see what we could find. The selection consisted mostly of spring greens and seedlings, but I did manage to pick up some rhubarb. Strawberry rhubarb pie was in order. I pulled out my Granny’s foolproof pie crust recipe and went to work.

strawberry rhubarb pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Yield: 1 pie
Adapted from Granny

Granny’s Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix these ingredients together well. Then add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water and mix all together.

Put on board and roll out half of the dough. Lay out on pie plate.

Roll out the remaining dough for the top.

Filling:
2 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped
2 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch

Mix all filling ingredients together in a large bowl. Then pour into the pie plate.

Place the top round of dough over the filling. Seal the edges with a little bit of water. Prick top of pie with a fork to let out steam.

Bake at 425F for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350F for another 45 minutes.

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Simple Mussels

May 27, 2009

You know how some people always have “a guy” – a handyman guy, a deal on a stereo guy, a financial guy. Well, turns out I got a “fish guy.” A really good fish guy who will deliver you 10 pounds of the freshest most delicious mussels you have ever eaten in your life. My fish guy is really my friend Kris who got a summer job delivering fish to all the poshest restaurants in Vancouver and sometimes there are leftovers. Last Sunday there were leftover mussels and we were the lucky recipients. So we invited a bunch of people over and had a clam mussel bake.

mussells

Simple Mussels

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion
6 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 teaspoons fresh oregano
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup white wine
Roughly 5 pounds mussels
4 tablespoons butter

In a large pot over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic until the onion softens.

Add the wine, herbs and mussels and cover the pot. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Steam until the mussels open, roughly about 8 minutes.

Spoon the mussels into a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Strain the remaining liquid into a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, add the butter and stir until melted and then a minute or two more.

Drizzle sauce over the mussels. Garnish with some parsley and serve.

mussells_shucking

De-bearding the mussels

Oh yeah and there were live spot prawns too!! Beheaded and then thrown on the barbeque for a quick minute or two. Peel and eat. Ahhhh!

spot_prawns


Peanut Noodles with Vegetables

May 8, 2009

This is my favourite lunch recipe. I posted it a while back, but in my many batches since, I have tinkered with the recipe and thought it merited a re-post.  I whipped up a batch on Monday night and had it for lunch everyday this week.  My office doesn’t have a kitchen and only a bar fridge, so these noodles are perfect since they don’t need to be heated up and can go without refrigeration until lunchtime. For a delicious and non-boring lunch, these noodles are the answer!

peanut noodles

Peanut Noodles with Vegetables

Adapted from Orangette
Yield: 4 servings

Sauce:
1/2 cup light peanut butter
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon sambal oelek (chili paste)
1 teaspoon sriracha (thai-style hot sauce)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon reserved pasta water (or plain water)

340 grams (dry) whole wheat spaghetti

1 red pepper
3 green onions
3-4 baby bok choy
2 carrots

Melt the peanut butter for 30 seconds in the microwave. Mix with the remainder of the sauce ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Cook the pasta in boiling water.

While pasta is cooking, slice all the vegetables very thinly. Add to the sauce in the large bowl.

Drain pasta and add to sauce and vegetables. Mix thoroughly.

Serve warm or refrigerate and serve later. (Great for lunches!).


Baked Spinach and Artichoke Dip

May 6, 2009

I had a big jar of artichokes to use up and a party to host, so artichoke dip seemed to be in order. It is a favourite of mine at restaurants, but I had never actually made it. I looked at a bunch of recipes online but they were either too complicated or too boring, so I decided to wing it. Result: Yum yum yumminess. Proof: Scraped clean dish (which was huge, I still can’t believe all that dip got consumed so rapidly).

spinach-artichoke-dip

Baked Spinach & Artichoke Dip

2 to 3 cups marinated artichoke hearts
1 package frozen spinach
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup milk or cream
pepper
dried chiles

Rinse the artichoke hearts and pat with a towel to get rid of any excess moisture. Squeeze any excess moisture out of the spinach as well.

Place all ingredients into the food processor. Pulse until blended. Be careful not to blend too much, you still want to have some decent size pieces of artichoke. If the mixture is too thick, add a bit more cream.

Spoon into an oven-proof dish and place into a 450F oven for 3o minutes. Serve hot with tortilla chips.


Caramel Toffee Cheesecake

May 6, 2009

Yet another part of the 30th Birthday Dinner. I was cooking ALL day. This cheesecake is really quick and easy. It is good but not like a NY cheesecake. It is much moister. But still very tasty especially when topped with copious amounts of homemade caramel sauce and crushed Skor bars.

caramel_cheesecake

Cheesecake

From Auntie Claire

Crust:
1¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon flour
¼ pound melted butter
¼ cup sugar

Mix above ingredients together and press crumbs into pie pan.

Filling:
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
½ cup sugar
2 eggs

Cream together and pour into crust. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.

Topping:
1½ cups sour cream
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Spoon together gently over cream cheese and bake another 5 minutes at 350F.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with crushed Skor bar and caramel sauce (recipe below).

Caramel Sauce

Adapted from Simply Recipes

1 cup of sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup cream

Heat sugar on medium high heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously. Stop stirring as soon as the sugar comes to a boil.

Add butter and stir until melted.

Take the pan off of the heat and add the cream. Whisk until smooth.

Let sauce cool in the pan. Serve warm.

(Keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks).


Garlic Mashed Potatoes

May 5, 2009

Mmm. I love garlic. And potatoes. So these garlic mashed potatoes seemed like the obvious choice to accompany C’s birthday roast chicken. Plus I knew I could eat them, if not the chicken.

I used the stand mixer for the mashing and they turned out so smooth and creamy. And loads of butter and cream didn’t hurt in the taste department either!

mashed-potatoesGarlic Mashed Potatoes

Adapted from Martha
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2 heads garlic
olive oil
5 large russet potatoes
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup cream (or milk)

Heat oven to 425F. Slice the top off of the garlic heads and coat with olive oil. Wrap in foil and bake for 45 minutes until tender and golden. Remove from oven and let cool. Peel.

Peel and cut potatoes into 1-inch slices. Place in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain.

Heat butter and cream in a saucepan until butter melts and the cream is hot.

In the stand mixer bowl, combine the garlic, potatoes, salt, pepper and butter/cream mixture. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until the lumps are gone and the potatoes are smooth and creamy.

Serve.


Roast Chicken

May 5, 2009

You may have noticed that there are no chicken recipes on this blog. I detest chicken. Ever since a trip to Mexico eight years ago where I witnessed gross, gross chicken atrocities that shall not be mentioned, I haven’t touched the stuff. But C was turning 30 and C likes chicken and I am a good girlfriend, so I decided to roast a chicken for his special birthday dinner.

It was an ordeal! Operation chicken began in the morning with a trip to the local organic grocery store. I went to the meat section, found the butcher and explained to him my chicken problem. I couldn’t tell if he thought I was crazy or not but he humoured me. He kindly explained that my chicken was a happy chicken. It ate healthy vegetables and roamed freely around a grassy field. Happy chicken.

The next step was to salt the chicken and let it rest. I put on my apron and thick rubber gloves and proceed to rub. The gloves didn’t work so well and had to be abandoned. I took some very deep breaths and may have uttered several “you can do its” out loud and then shoved my hand into that chicken’s butt. I rubbed it all over with salt and pepper and then had a 10 minute shower to remove all chicken juice from myself. Then I had a drink!

Hours later the chicken went into and came out of the oven. I couldn’t bring myself to carve it, so C handled that chicken task. The only thing left to do was eat it. Hmm….. I took several sips of wine. Then several glugs. Then a took…a…bite…of…chicken. I did it! I ate chicken. And it was ok. I am still here to write this post (but I wouldn’t look for many more chicken recipes here).

So I am probably not the best judge of the deliciousness of this recipe, but C really enjoyed it. In fact, he is still eating the leftovers.

chicken

Roast Chicken

Yield: 1 chicken

1 chicken
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
olive oil
handful fresh rosemary sprigs
handful fresh thyme
1 lemon
bulb garlic
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

In the morning (if possible), remove the giblets from the chicken and wash inside and out with cold water. Pat dry with paper towel. Rub the chicken inside and out with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Cover and place in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Remove chicken from fridge and rub all over with olive oil. Then pour lemon juice over top and inside.

Prick the lemon several times with a fork. Push the lemon, garlic cloves and herbs into the cavity. (Place whatever doesn’t fit around the chicken in the pan).

Put the chicken breast side down in a roasting pan and bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place breast side up. Cook for another 35 to 45 minutes. (To test if the chicken is fully cooked, place a thermometer into the thigh. If it is 180F, it’s done).

Once done, remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before carving.

Carve and serve.

chicken-dinner