Tag Archives: dinner

Baby Potatoes with Normandy Butter and Roquefort …at midnight?

Roquefort and Fingerling Potatoes

It midnight–past midnight.  And I was checking email when I found this picture on my desk top.  It’s from a Lazy Gourmet piece I did a few weeks ago for the Globe.  OK, I may not make at 1 am in the morning but I am seriously thinking I might make it tomorrow night for some girlfriends coming over.   YUM.

Ingredients

Red fingerling potatoes (four to five per person)

Normandy butter (about a teaspoon, melted, per serving)

Fleur de Sel

Roquefort (about 100 g, crumbled)

Screen Shot 2013-03-23 at 12.47.44 AM

Method

Try to find red-skinned fingerling potatoes – they add a burst of colour to the plate. Allow for four to five whole fingerlings per person and drop them into a pot of salted cold water, then bring to a simmer. Cook until fork tender and drain. Cut in half lengthwise and arrange on a platter. Drizzle with enough melted Normandy butter to flavour each wedge (about a teaspoon per serving) and sprinkle with Fleur de Sel. Crumble room temperature Roquefort over the dish (about 100g for four people, adjust to your own cheesy taste). Serve immediately.

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Ribs as Fast Food–when it’s Tuesday night and you’re panicking

Quick ribs with baby new potatoes (dill and olive oil) and arugula salad.

I love ribs.  You love ribs.  We all love ribs.  Last time I made them (last summer) we ate at 10:30 at night.  I thanked the rib-Gods that the guests I had invited over for my homemade smoked ribs had cancelled last-minute.  Whatever they ended up doing was probably more fun than politely pretending, “oh no, this bag of chips with salsa is totally filling us up until the moon comes out, a wolf howls and your Weber grill spits out its slow-cooked creation.”

But–I will say the ribs kicked ass.

Still, I was curious (as a rib craver) to try a new product from Mastro.  They held a tasting at St. Lawrence market in June and I got to take home some of their prepackaged ribs.  Ready in just 15 minutes!

I finally pulled them out a few nights ago when I came home to a starving family and not a minute to spare before we settled on  a meal of Triscuits and some old mum-mums from Felix’s teething days.

My hesitance with the pre-cooked ribs is kind of a guilt/snobby/ foodie annoying thing.  Ribs should be made with a secret sauce, over a smoky charcoal grill, basted at regular intervals, internal temperature monitored, sweat wiped from the brow, anticipation building…..yada yada yada.

But–when it came down to a meal of ribs or a meal of stale carbs, I chose ribs.  I opened the package, popped them on a cookie sheet (on foil) and baked for 15-17 minutes, flipping them halfway.  You can also heat them on the grill (which is where you put them 5 minutes before guests arrive and then fake some perspiration on the brow I imagine).

The ribs were great.  I tried the balsamic and fig (my fave) and spicy fire-roasted tomato (had a good hit of spice) — there is also a roasted garlic and tomato flavour.

They are about $14.99 and I think could serve 4 people–or 2 super hungry people.

So, I’m passing on the info, you can decide for yourself if it’s possible to come terms with pre-packaged ribs. I think I would have to make my own on a weekend or if friends came over (dury calls and all that) but let me tell you, in a pinch?  Hit the spot and timeline.

Enjoyed with a little of this.  I must admit the bottle came in my gift bag from the tasting event, but I keep a couple of these bottles around for some weeknight sipping so I was pretty content with the match.

Ascheri BARBERA D’ALBA 2008

Here is a bit more info from the company about ingredients and make-process:

Mastro starts with lean, top-quality pork ribs, seasons them with Italian herbs and spices, individually oven-cooks them, and then smokes them over hardwood hickory.

The ribs are always shipped to your grocery store fresh, never frozen. You don’t have to thaw them – don’t have to pre-cook them – and don’t have to sauce them.  They are available at Sobeys, Metro, Royal Canadian Super Centres, and No Frills.

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Art of the Danforth: Feast in the East (and no knead pizza dough)

If you’re already thinking about the weekend (yes, that started Tuesday I know) you might want to check out some of the Art of the Danforth activities.  On Saturday night is an event called Feast in the East which will combine music, art and culinary art.  There are three such events over the course of the festival.  Last week the theme was British/Scottish.  This Saturday, May 26 is Italian and (I am excited about this one) June 9 is Ethiopia.

Meanwhile I am going to finally try the no-knead pizza dough recipe by Jim Lahey, owner of the Sullivan Street Bakery.  It ferments overnight so I will let you know how it goes, but I find pizza is the perfect quick dinner for a Friday night.  Especially if I can whip together the dough today.  I have an easy, favourite recipe but this will apparently “exceed my wildest expectations”.  We shall see.

If you want to do this along with me (in fact, can you do this and I’ll come over and pick up half of the dough tomorrow) here is a link to the recipe from Bon Appetit.

Also, if you make this and then tomorrow on the drive home you’re like, “screw it, I’m ordering Thai” the dough can sit for three days.   A procrastinator’s dream.

Otherwise we can compare notes bright and early Saturday morning.  No, of course not, Saturday is for sleeping in until your spouse does not get up when your toddler is clearly making loud wake-up noises from his bedroom at 7am and someone needs to go get him….

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You ain’t seen nothin’ yet Coleslaw

It’s a little bit coleslaw, a little bit art. Maybe it’s for dinner tonight?  This recipe is the Sweet Winter Slaw from the cookbook I am obsessed with, Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi.  I made this for the first time in Omaha when visiting family and then again on Saturday to go with the Black Pepper Tofu (from the same book) which is irrationally loveable.  If I figure out where I saved the photos from that preparation I will post them soon too.

But this salad is not only easy (the chopping takes a bit of time but you can do it in advance) but the combo of papaya, mango, mint, cilantro and red cabbage (plus the candied macadamia nuts) is pretty stellar.  Your guest’s taste buds will be at your mercy–you can serve charred, dried out chicken breast right after and people will still walk away thinking you are a genius.

When we made this in Omaha we forgot to get macadamia nuts so we used pecans. The nuts are candied and then roughly chopped before being tossed in with the other ingredients.  You can use peanuts as well.

The smell of cilantro as you chop it will energize your work as you rush towards dinner hour ( especially if you’re like me and are always one side dish behind in prep because you’ve  decided to take extra time arranging the glasses on the dining room table “just so”.)

If you make this in advance, I think you can cut everything a few hours ahead except for the mint and cilantro.  If you add the herbs  an hour before serving (don’t toss yet, just add on top of the salad and put a damp paper towel on top of the ingredients) I think everything will still be fresh and fine.  Realistically, chopping the herbs does not take a lot of time–but you may be space crunched as I am though so anything done if advance helps.

The dressing can be made the day before.  You may want to steal this dressing and us it on other greens or salads.  Its addictive flavour comes from maple syrup, lime juice, lemon grass, sesame oil and chile flakes in it.

Finally just before serving, toss everything together, pour on the dressing and serve.  This will actually still taste pretty good the next day (if you have leftovers) though the herbs and nuts will be a bit moist by that time.  When I made it this weekend I reserved some of the salad without dressing for the next day, figuring I could always toss some more if we ran out.

And here it is going on the plate:

This image is from our Omaha dinner, we served it with this tomato and onion Socca.   In the book there’s  recommendation to serve this with roast chicken.  Perfection I think!

Sweet Winter Slaw  (adapted from Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi)

Serves 6

Dressing

6 1/2 tbsp fresh-squeezed lime juice (3-4 limes)

1 lemongrass stalk, chopped into small pieces  (you can substitute with zest of lemon)

3 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp soy sauce

1/4 tsp chile flakes

4 tbsp light olive oil/sunflower oil

Candied Nuts

1 1/4 cup macadamia nuts

2 tsp butter

2 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp chile flakes

Slaw

7 inner leaves of Savoy Cabbage, finely shredded ( I used 1 quarter of a green cabbage, could not get savoy)

1/2 small red cabbage, finely shredded

1 ripe mango, cut into thin strips  (How to peel and slice a mango)

1 papaya, cut into strips

1 fresh red chile, seeded and finely sliced

1/4 cup mint, leaves roughly chopped

1 1/2 cups cilantro, leaves roughly chopped (How to Chop herbs)

Method

For the dressing: Place all the ingredients except the oil into a small saucepan and reduce over high heat for 5-10 minutes until syrupy and thick. Remove from heat and once cooled strain into a bowl and add the oil.  Set aside.

(* ok, I am laughing at how I did not read this instruction and just mixed this all as if making a regular vinaigrette (no heating in pan).  I think it will be better reduced but it still worked great!  So one more time–ALWAYS READ THE RECIPE ALL THE WAY THROUGH)

For the candied nuts:

Place the nuts in a medium pan over medium heat  and roast until lightly browned.  Watch these and shake the pan occasionally so they don’t burn.

Add the butter and when melted add the sugar, salt and chile flakes.  Stir constantly so the sugar doesn’t burn and when caramelized (the sugar will be melted and gooey) remove from the heat and pour onto parchment to cool.  Chop roughly once solid.  Set aside.

Assembly:

Put the cabbage and the rest of the salad ingredients into a bowl (including the nuts).  Add your dressing and toss.  Give it a taste to see if it needs anymore seasoning and serve it up!


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swiss chard + bacon + garlic + fiorelle

Not bad for a "grasping for ideas" night....

I must apologize.  Did the “+” sign in the title make you think you were looking at a menu from Colborne Lane?  Yes, I did it on purpose.

I wanted  to make a simple night’s dinner seem more exciting.   I am posting this “recipe” as it really is dead easy and so delicious.  And I thought maybe others would want to give it a try when grasping for a quick, tasty meal one night.  It’s not exactly groundbreaking but I figure sometimes we all need a little inspiration.

I started with the bacon. About 6 slices, chopped and fried in a large skillet (use a large skillet so you can add the pasta to it later).  Drain the bacon but reserve about a tablespoon of oil in the skillet for the Swiss chard and garlic down the road.

Now grab that bunch of Swiss chard, wash it and cut out the stems.  I was inspired by Paula Tiberius’s baby Swiss chard Post.  I threw the leaves (torn into bite-sized pieces) into some boiling, salted water and cooked for a few minutes until they were tender, then I drained them.

Now crush some some garlic (two cloves to be exact in my dish) and throw it into the skillet with the bacon fat and soften it over medium-low heat.  Then add the Swiss chard and bacon back in.  A little bit of olive oil too.   Cook it just long enough to reheat the Swiss chard and bacon and infuse them with the garlic–then pull it off the heat.

Meanwhile cook your pasta in well-salted water (that’s the PC Black Label Fiorelle you see in the bowl) and drain it, reserving some pasta water for later.  Add the pasta  to the skillet and put it back over medium heat. Toss everything around to combine.  You’ll probably need to add a bit of pasta water just to keep it moist.  Add fresh pepper at the table.

The chard leaves absorb the garlic and bacon flavours and the pasta and bacon….is well….pasta and bacon.   This is my “Rachel Ray” 30-minute meal.

And I bet it would even WOW last-minute guests.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE “on-your-way-home” SHOPPING LIST:

6 slices bacon

1 bunch Swiss Chard

2 cloves garlic

350-400 g pasta

tbsp olive oil

fresh pepper

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