New this week

April 12, 2012

White Bean Spread and Dip

Bean spread makes a lovely appetizer spooned on top of crostini, or serve it as a dip with pita wedges or thin slices of grilled bread. Leftovers, if any, are good on a sandwich or a tartine. You can use home cooked beans or open a can of organic low sodium beans. Both would work fine. If you cook beans you may as well cook more than you need and keep the extra in the... View Article

April 12, 2012

Beans, Barley, Pistachios and Radicchio Salad with Roasted Tomato Oil and Sherry Vinegar

This salad features both grains and legumes, ingredients that I often combine. The soft beans combine nicely with the chewy barley and can be served hot or at room temperature as a substantial salad. I flavour this with roasted tomato oil that I make and often keep in the fridge. The tomato oil is so flavourful that you don’t need much more other than combining it with sherry or wine vinegar for a flavourful dressing.... View Article

April 11, 2012

Israeli Couscous with Pine Nuts and Broccoli

Israeli couscous is really tiny pasta balls but it may be easier if you think of it as a grain. To cook this couscous you sauté it first in a bit of olive oil until golden and then add hot liquid (proportion is about 1 couscous to 1.5 water), cover and cook until tender. You can add vegetables to the couscous as it cooks although I tend to cook it by itself and add it... View Article

April 11, 2012

Couscous with Feta and Oregano

Couscous is a Mediterranean grain that requires no cooking, only soaking in boiling water. It is versatile as it can be incorporated into hot or cold preparations and served as salad, main course or a side dish. This recipe is for a quick and flavorful salad made by soaking the grains in the dressing ingredients to fluff them up and then tossing in a few additional ingredients to add layers of flavours and textures. Don’t... View Article

April 11, 2012

Roasted Pears with Butterscotch Sauce

Pears lend themselves beautifully to roasting. Their natural sweetness condenses as they bake and their sugars caramelize, yet they retain a nice texture and look gorgeous on a plate. I have written about pears in the fall section of the What’s in Season page on the top bar of this blog. There are many pear varieties, and it is important to use the right variety for the right cooking method. Not all pears roast the... View Article

April 11, 2012

Crepes with Dulce de Leche

We have a few rituals when vacationing in Mexico: fresh salsa and tortilla chips after a day at the beach, whole fried snapper for dinner and crèpes with dulce de leche for dessert. I have an “assembly line” for making the crèpes in two pans, to keep up with the demand. I even flip them in the air to turn them over, and have the video to prove it. Latin American cuisine has this wonderful... View Article

April 11, 2012

Banana Pancakes with Caramel Sauce

Who doesn’t like pancakes for a leisurely weekend breakfast now and then? Light and fluffy, sweet and satisfying, weekend breakfast at my house often includes pancakes of one kind or another. The key to making pancakes is to not over mix the batter. Mix it lightly and allow some lumps to remain. You can also separate the yolks from the whites, beat the whites to soft peaks and then incorporate them into the batter. I... View Article

April 11, 2012

Roquefort Grapes

This is adapted from an old recipe in Martha Stewart’s Entertaining, a book that made her famous and launched me on my pre-law catering career back then. That book made me think about food in a different way. I use red grapes to make this recipe as I find that they are generally sweeter and pair better with the Roquefort. I pick the larger grapes in the bunch because they are easier to work with.... View Article

April 11, 2012

Country Style Crusty Loaf

This is a basic bread baked in loaves of any shape. The nice crust is the result of two factors: a hot and humid oven. The bread needs a hot, humid environment for the first few minutes, and then slightly lower temperature to finish the baking. To get the heat I bake the bread on pizza stones that I place in the oven and heat at least 30 minutes before the bread goes in. The... View Article

April 4, 2012

Some of my favourite cookbooks

My cookbook collection is very large, at least a few hundred titles collected over the years. I love reading cookbooks, looking at the images, catching a glimpse of an ingredient and a feel for a place or a season. My library shelves are full of cookbooks and there are stacks of them by every chair, by my bed, in my office, in my sunny “morning room” and in baskets around my much loved kitchen area.... View Article

April 3, 2012

Potatoes and Tomatoes Gratin

Thin layers of starchy potatoes are baked with a layer of sliced tomatoes in the middle. I sprinkle some grated cheese a couple of times as I layer the vegetables and finish with a cup of cream poured over the whole thing. The starchy potatoes absorb the cream and the tomatoes in the middle provide another layer of flavour and texture. I slice the potatoes on a mandolin type gadget (see Kitchen Gear tab), so... View Article

April 2, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash

Squashes are beautiful fall and winter vegetables (see my entry under What’s in Season)and butternut squash is one of my favourites. It has a natural sweetness that is enhance by a bit of brown sugar that softly caramelizes on its flesh. When I roast big chunks of the squash I don’t bother peeling it. The skin cooks and softens as it roasts and is perfectly good to eat. It also provides a nice ribbon that... View Article