Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

August 29, 2009

Last weekend my mum and I went on a Slow Food Cycle, spending two days cycling to and from farms in Agassiz and Chilliwack.  We visited a herb farm, several diaries, an organic mill, goat cheese makers, pea shoot farmers, beekeepers and much more. We also added a special farm to our tour, my grandparent’s farm, Auchenway. Though they are now retired, the farm was home to a prized herd of Ayrshire cows and my grandpa still has a very impressive garden. I was lucky enough that he let me pick a bunch of his beets. Overall, it was a perfect way to spend a weekend (and may have just made me decide to run off and become a dairy farmer!)

So with grandpa’s beets and some fresh goat cheese in the kitchen, I decided to whip up this warm beet and goat cheese salad for my lunch.

beet_salad

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Yield: 1 large serving

4 large beets (or more smaller ones)
1 ounce goat cheese
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon chives
1 sprig thyme

Preheat oven to 400F. Wash beets thoroughly and cut from leaves leaving 1″ of stem.

Wrap each beet tightly in foil and place on a baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. The beets will be done when a knife slides easily into the flesh. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Once the beets have cooled slightly, remove from the foil and peel off the skin. Cut into bite-sized chunks.

While the beets are cooling, prepare the vinaigrette. Combine the oil, vinegar, honey and herbs in a jar and shake until combined.

In a medium bowl, toss the beets in the vinaigrette and sprinkle the goat cheese over top. Serve.

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Tapenade

August 28, 2009

I can vividly remember the first time I had tapenade. My mum’s friend Suzanne had invited us over for lunch. She lived in an old miner’s house with tons of character which was lovingly and eclectically decorated. There was a comfy couch, quilts and lots and lots of books – all the necessities in a cozy home. And that afternoon there was tapenade. Casually served in a little dish on the kitchen table, it was unlike anything I had ever tasted. It was delicious.

Time passed and I forgot about the tapenade until a dinner out with friends at what is now my favourite restaurant – Bistrot Bistro. To start each meal, they serve you a tiny dish of tapenade with an oven warmed baguette on a board. My love of the olive paste was revived. Remembering that Suzanne’s tapenade had come from one of the Moosewood cookbooks, I set out to recreate the dish.

tapenade

Tapenade

Adapted from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant

1 can pitted Black olives, rinsed
¾ cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons capers
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 ½ cups parsley

Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor until the tapenade is smooth but not a paste.

Serve on baguette slices or nice crackers.

This will keep in the fridge for a week. The flavours will blend and intensify with age.


Spicy Grilled Corn

August 25, 2009

Corn is one of my essential summer foods. I was lucky enough to spend the better part of my summers on my grandparents’ farm in Chilliwack – home to some of the best corn in Canada – and corn was a staple on the dinner table. My mum and I would drive down to the little drive-thru Corn Barn beside the highway run by my mum’s high-school friend Helen. She had corn-on-the-cob earrings and the most delicious super sweet jubilee corn. We would take it back to the farm in a paper bag and my cousins and I were sent out into the yard to shuck it over the fence while the cows wandered over to munch on the husks. Once we returned with a bowl full of shining cobs, Granny would fire up the pressure cooker and boil the corn. Minutes later we were all rolling our cobs in mounds of butter and lots of salt, faces covered in corn and butter and enjoying every bite.

Recently, I deviated from the boiled corn and butter method when our friend Dan showed up at a barbeque with a lime and a sour cream container filled with spices. He grilled the corn on the barbeque then dipped a lime wedge in the spices and rubbed it on the corn. It was spicy and ohh so good. I pestered him for the recipe. The boil and butter is still the best way to eat freshly picked corn, but this spicy rub is perfect for jazzing up one or two day old cobs of corn.

spicy_corn

Spicy Grilled Corn

Adapted from Dan
Yield: 4 servings

4 cobs of corn, shucked
4 teaspoons butter
salt and pepper

1 lime

Spice Rub:
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon crushed chilies
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard

To Grill Corn:
Rub each cob of corn liberally with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then wrap individually in a piece of tin foil.

Set barbeque to high and place the foil wrapped corn on the top rack. After 10 minutes, turn and cook for 10 minutes more.

Remove from grill (this will stay warm wrapped in the tin foil for quite some time).

Spicy Corn Rub:
Combine all the spices for the rub in a small dish. When ready to eat the corn, dip a lime wedge into the spice and rub it along the corn squeezing the lime to allow the juices to flow onto the corn. Eat and enjoy.


Reese’s Pieces Ice Cream

August 7, 2009

Okay. Time for another confession. For the past three days I have eaten pretty much nothing but Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese and this ice cream. It’s good, real good.

reeses_pieces_ice_cream

Reese’s Pieces Ice Cream

Yield: About 8 cups

2 cups cream
2 cups homogenized milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups Reese’s Pieces candy

Whisk the cream, milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat until scalding (just under a simmer).

Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl. Temper the yolks by whisking in a bit of the cream mixture. Continue slowly adding the cream to the eggs until you have added about half the mixture (2 cups). Then pour it all back into the saucepan. Continue stirring until the mixture reaches 170F – 174F.  Stir in the vanilla then remove from the heat.

Pour into a bowl and cover the surface directly with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate overnight.

Crush the Reese’s Pieces with a rolling pin. Set aside.

The next day pour the mixture into your ice cream maker (I use the Kitchenaid Stand Mixer Attachment Ice Cream maker). Add the Reese’s Pieces halfway through the mixing, about after 10 minutes. Once the churning/freezing is complete, transfer the ice cream to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap under the lid touching the surface of the ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming. Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.


Spinach Salad with Bacon & Goat Cheese

August 1, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, we headed down to Granville Island with some friends for dinner. After walking around, we settled on Sandbar for our meal. I had never been there before and was very pleasantly surprised by how good everything was. C particularly enjoyed their spinach salad, so I couple of nights ago I decided to try to recreate it as an accompaniment to our burgers. It turned out very tasty (bacon usually ensures that)! Definitely a make-again.

spinach_salad

Spinach Salad with Bacon & Goat Cheese

Yield: 4 servings

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
lots of pepper

Salad:
Large bowlful of spinach (one bag or several bunches)
6-8 strips of bacon
1/4 cup goat cheese

Cook the bacon in a frying pan until crispy. Place on paper towels and pat to remove excess grease. Cut or crumble into small pieces.

Put all the vinaigrette ingredients into a small jar and shake to combine. Toss with the spinach in the large bowl.

Crumble up the goat cheese over top of the spinach. Do the same with the bacon. Mix gently.

Serve.


Mint Chip Ice Cream

August 1, 2009

“I am an ice cream genius!” I actually uttered these words aloud (and then texted them to C) after licking this ice cream off the spatula. It really is that good. The perfect combination of mint and dark chocolate.

We are in the middle of a heat wave in Vancouver and nothing says cool like ice cream. I recently bought the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchenaid stand mixer and saw a good looking recipe for mint chip ice cream. So I raided the big pot of mint on the balcony and got to work. While it may take you 2 nights to make this, it is worth every second. Plus most of the time is spent in refrigeration and freezing. Go out and buy an ice cream maker, plant some mint and make this ice cream!!

mint_chip_ice_cream

Mint Chip Ice Cream

Adapted from The Kitchn
Yield: About 8 cups

2 to 3 cups mint leaves (or as much as you can safely take from your mint plants) (I used English Mint which has a subtler mint flavour)
2 cups cream
2 cups homogenized milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 ounces dark chocolate

Thoroughly wash the mint and pick the leaves from the stems. Roughly chop the leaves and pound with a large spoon in a bowl until they are bruised and smell “minty”.

Whisk the cream, milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it begins to steam, add the mint and remove from the heat. Cover and let steep for 2 to 3 hours.

Strain the mint leaves from the cream mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat until scalding (just under a simmer).

Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl. Temper the yolks by whisking in a bit of the cream mixture. Continue slowly adding the cream to the eggs until you have added about half the mixture (2 cups). Then pour it all back into the saucepan. Continue stirring until the mixture reaches 170F – 174F.  Stir in the vanilla then remove from the heat.

Pour into a bowl and cover the surface directly with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate overnight.

Chop the chocolate into chunks and flakes. Set aside.

The next day pour the mixture into your ice cream maker (I use the Kitchenaid Stand Mixer Attachment Ice Cream maker). Add the chocolate halfway through the mixing, about after 10 minutes. Once the churning/freezing is complete, transfer the ice cream to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap under the lid touching the surface of the ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming. Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.