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April 13, 2012

About Gnocchi

Every culture has its dumpling and they form an integral part of their peasant cuisine. They are inexpensive to make, hearty, filling and bring home cooked comfort to your palate and your soul. Jewish mazzo ball soup is made with mazzo ball dumplings (kneidlach), Hungarians make their delicious spatzle, grated directly over a pot of boiling water, Chinese have their pot stickers, Ukrainians their perogies and Italians have their gnocchi. All these little treasures begin... View Article

April 13, 2012

Soft Goat Cheese Polenta with Mushrooms and Spinach

The tangy goat cheese adds a wonderful element of flavour to the polenta and combines nicely with the mushrooms and spinach. Serve this as a main course vegetarian dinner followed by a roasted vegetables salad or a green salad for a lighter meal. A glass of crisp white wine is in order here. Ingredients: 1 recipe basic polenta but using goat cheese instead of Parmesan (see posting in this category) 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons... View Article

April 13, 2012

Soft Polenta Primavera (Polenta with Spring Vegetables)

Here is a twist on the traditional pasta primavera. Same topping, finished with cream is served on top of a bowl of steamy, creamy polenta. A few shavings of Parmesan or pecorino finish this up nicely. Polenta is so easy to prepare and so versatile, I am surprised it hasn’t caught on more in every day cooking here. Ingredients: 4 cups water 1 teaspoon coarse salt 1 cup cornmeal 2 tablespoons butter 1/2 cup grated... View Article

April 13, 2012

About Polenta

Polenta is simply cooked cornmeal of various textures (fine, medium or coarse grind). Traditionally it was cooked in a large copper lined pot over the hearth and when ready, the polenta was spilled onto a wooden board near the fire to be scooped into your bowl together with the meat or vegetables it was served with. As romantic as this sounds, polenta can be easily cooked on top of the stove in a regular pot.... View Article

April 13, 2012

Roasted Delicata Squash and Chestnuts with Lemon Sauce

This is a delicious but less familiar winter squash. If you haven’t tried it I suggest that you do. It is easy to handle, cook relatively fast because it is smaller and the rind softens as it cooks and becomes an edible part of the squash, unlike any other. For this dish I combine the roasted squash with roasted chestnuts and parsnips. The deep flavours were similar and complimentary. I drizzled over a wonderful little... View Article

April 13, 2012

Roasted Baby Carrots and Parsnips

A match in flavour, colour and texture, carrots and parsnips are a treat to cook together. I leave the carrots whole and then cut the parsnips to match. Try and match the shape and size of the vegetables so they cook at the same time. If you don’t have baby carrot use regular carrots and cut them in half lengthwise, keeping some of the green tops if possible. I especially like to roast them as... View Article

April 13, 2012

Skillet Cabbage, Kale, Broccolini and Corn

Vegetables are so fun to cook. Most of us cook and serve them on their open but mingling them can produce a fun unexpected and delicious combination of textures and flavours. Cabbage can be combined with potatoes, grains and other vegetables. It is a part of almost every international cuisine and is good flavoured with Mediterranean, Asian or eastern European flavours. I slightly undercook the cabbage and kale because I like to retain their colour... View Article

April 13, 2012

Red Lentil Soup with Brown Rice

Red lentils make a wonderful soup. They cook to a creamy consistency creating a hearty, full-bodied soup. I usually add some grain to this soup, often brown rice but sometimes barley. This recipe has tomatoes but I don’t always use them. The red lentils also lend themselves to a variety of spices, as you see here. Ingredients: 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 small onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1 /2 teaspoon cumin 1/2 teaspoon... View Article

April 13, 2012

Tartine with Bean Spread and Purple Basil

I make this bean spread often as an appetizer to spoon onto small crostini. Here I use it to top grilled bread for a lunch or a light supper. Serve accompanied by a small salad with crisp vinaigrette. For a vegan version leave the pecorino out. Ingredients:   Long slices of country bread Olive oil Parmesan or pecorino, shaved or chopped  roasted peppers Purple basil   Bean spread:   4 tablespoons olive oil 1 small... View Article

April 13, 2012

Tartine with Roasted Fennel and Goat Cheese

For this tartine I roast the fennel first and then pile it on a long slice of Poilane bread between layers of crumbled goat cheese. I then bake it in the oven for a few minutes to lightly melt the cheese and warm up the tartine. The fennel can be roasted a few hours in advance and kept at room temperature until you are ready to proceed. Save some fennel fronds for garnish, or use... View Article

April 13, 2012

Lentil Soup with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

A hearty lentil soup is comfort food for anyone with a Mediterranean palate. I make it in many different ways but it’s all variations on the same theme of aromatics (onion, garlic, carrot, celery) sautéed in olive oil and then the lentils are added with stock and cooked until softened. I sometimes add a grain such as rice or barley. Sometimes I add roasted peppers or another vegetable and sometimes I even add thin pasta,... View Article

April 13, 2012

Barley and Bean Soup

Barley and beans is a nice combination for either soups or salads. See the salad category for the salad version of this pair. I often have cooked grains in the fridge and it’s easy to make a quick and delicious soup with them. Barley however cooks quickly so this soup can be prepared on a short notice. You can use vegetable stock but I find that chicken stock gives it a wonderful flavour. Ingredients: 3... View Article