New this week

April 18, 2012

Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

This is the last of the cherry tomatoes pasta “trilogy” of raw, sautéed and roasted. These are the simplest pastas dishes to prepare and are so good. This one is particularly easy as you can use tomatoes roasted in advance and kept in the fridge in a jar. Just heat them before tossing with the pasta. Roasted cherry tomatoes are one of those items I often have in my fridge. Ingredients: 1/2 lb pasta of... View Article

April 18, 2012

Around Town Calgary

The Cookbook Company A Mecca for foodies, the cookbook company has been around since the early 80’s I believe and has grown to be a leader in the Calgary food scene. Their beautiful store on 11th Ave has everything a cook may wish for. Specialty and hard to find food items, cheeses, homemade stocks, oils, vinegars and special salts are just a few of the treasures you will find there. They also stock an excellent... View Article

April 17, 2012

Tomatoes

Ahhh, tomatoes.  Red and juicy, sweet and plump, tomatoes are the sine qua non of my kitchen. Asked to choose between cream or tomato sauce, tomatoes would lure me every time. Originally named Pomme d’Amour (Love Apple in French) tomatoes have had a love affair with culture and cuisine for thousands of years. They are believed to have originated in Mexico and were taken back to Europe on the explorers ships around the 1500’s. Italy... View Article

April 15, 2012

Baked Apples with Granola and Vanilla Cream

For apple lovers only. A heart-warming country style dessert to end a fall or winter dinner. Serve it floating on vanilla pastry cream or with a scoop of ice cream and caramel sauce. 1 apple per person (gala, empress, honeycrisp or other firm apples) Brown sugar Crushed granola Butter Vanilla cream (see recipe) Or: Caramel sauce: 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons water 2 tablespoon butter 1 cup cream Cut the top off the apple and... View Article

April 14, 2012

Asparagus

Asparagus – spring One of the sure sign of spring is beautiful, crisp and green asparagus popping up at the farmers markets. It’s true that you can get asparagus almost all year but there is nothing like farmer’s market asparagus in season. Asparagus is a branch of the lily family. It is planted deep in the ground and has a short growing season limited to a couple of months, barely. Asparagus is planted in trenches... View Article

April 13, 2012

Chestnuts

Chestnuts – Winter Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Isn’t it an alluring imagery? Roaring fire, Hermes wool blankets, a good glass of wine and warm, sweet soft chestnuts. Even winter has its blessings. Chestnuts are truly seasonal and don’t really appear in the markets here until late September or even October. Thankfully, they stay until the end of January so we have a few months to enjoy this delicacy. If you are lucky and... View Article

April 13, 2012

Gnocchi with Sage Butter and Parmesan

A simple dish of white potato Gnocchi tossed with butter, sage and Parmesan. To add a touch of colour I still chop up a bit of flat leaf parsley for garnish. When making this recipe for just two people I use half to make the gnocchi with sage and Parmesan and freeze the other half, uncooked, to use another day. Ingredients: 1 recipe gnocchi made with white skinned potatoes 3 tablespoons butter 4-5 sage leaves,... View Article

April 13, 2012

Potato Gnocchi Basic Recipe

Here is a recipe for basic potato gnocchi. Some gnocchi recipes call for russet (baking) potatoes, some for white skinned ones. I prefer regular boiling potato variety. You do need the potato ricer though. It helps mash or rice the potatoes into perfect texture for making the gnocchi. See image in the general entry about gnocchi and under the kitchen Gear tap above. Ingredients: 1 1/2 lb. potatoes (about 2-3 potatoes, depending on the type... View Article

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