Monday, July 30, 2007

Lemon Custard & Blueberry Tarts

Prepared mini tart shells.
Bird's custard with lemon juice and lemon zest.
Fresh lovely sweet Ontario blueberries from the market.

Put together and eat. A cheating dessert but nice nonetheless.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Caprese Ravioli

The lovely and delightful Sandy A. came over for dinner and even though I knew she had been on a cleanse I promptly forgot when thinking about dinner and fed her all sorts of things she probably shouldn't have eaten.


I made ravioli and they turned out really well. (Surprisingly!)I was craving a caprese salad but thought that, given Guests, I ought to make a bit more of an effort, so I made Caprese Ravioli with ricotta, sundried tomatoes, basil, lemon zest and shredded chicken that I had poached in light chicken broth. For a sauce, actually more a topping, I drizzled the just cooked ravioli with olive oil, torn basil leaves, more lemon zest and fresh, chopped tomatoes.

Fresh tasting and lovely. I'm actually quite pleased with myself!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Vietnamese Chicken - a beginning

When I was little my family 'adopted' a Vietnamese family that had just moved to Red Deer. My mom would make cookies, their mom would make salad rolls. She introduced me to coconut rice and peeled mung beans, something I still make on occasion and eat for breakfast with too much brown sugar.

I think that's where the seed of my growing obsession with Vietnam began.

I've been waiting anxiously for 'In the Vietnamese Kitchen' to arrive from the library and when I finally got it I was excited to try some recipes out. This simple chicken dish was my first foray. And it was so fabulously good and simple, I had to post it.

Grilled Chicken

Chicken Marinade

1/4 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1-1/2 t pepper
1 T fish sauce
1 T lime juice 2 T oil

1/3 c lime juice
1 T rice vinegar
3 T sugar
2/3 lukewarm water
5-6 T fish sauce
2 -3 chilis
2 cloves garlic (optional- I used it but won't the next time...)

Mix everything together.

We ate it over rice noodles with finely sliced baby bok choy and green onions, with the chicken sliced on top and the sweet/sour/salty sauce spooned on top.

Warning: Fish Sauce = salty. I forget this sometimes.
Warning II: The sauce goes a long way - apply with care.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Simple Summer Squid

Squid throw in lemon juice and tabasco sauce, then thrown in a hot pan to cook quickly while it makes weird high pitched squeaky sounds, then eaten over a salsa/salad of tomatoes, red onion, avocado and chili spiked lemon juice.

Simplicity defined. Nigel Slater inspired.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Summer Eating

There's a lovely article in today's New York Times about summer eating- when it's too hot to cook and all you want is someone to spoon feed you grapes and watermelon balls.

It's 101 things to cook in ten minutes or so and I thought it was a lovely light thing to read for any time of year- especially for people who say they don't cook and who say they just haven't the time.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

This lovely breakfast is a mix of inspirations. The first is Nigella Lawson. She has a recipe in Feast for Cheesecakelets- little pancakes made with cottage cheese. The second is from my favorite restaurant, Fire On The East Side. They recently revamped their menu, adding a bunch of new items (and sadly doing away with the best meatloaf ever!). One of their new brunch dishes is Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Drunken Strawberies. For some reason I rarely order pancakes or french toast at restaurants- usually I feel like I should get something I'm unlikely to make at home. But these silly pancakes kept calling to me... so I got up and decided to try my hand at them.

Really good. Light and moistly creamy. I'd add a bit of lemon zest next time for more lemony flavour. I served them with strawberries (with a splash of rum!) and coffee. We had maple syrup on the table but didn't need it.

This is my recipe, based on Nigella's.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
3 eggs
2 tablespoon white sugar
225g ricotta cheese
juice of half a small lemon (and some zest!)
60g plain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla

Separate the eggs. Cream the yorks and sugar. Add the cheese, lemon juice, vanilla and flour. Hand whip the egg whites (just to make them foamy- don't stress out- this is breakfast after all). Fold them into the batter and then cook!

Made about 15. All were consumed.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Salmon and dill fishcakes

Yesterday our evening meal, which was a late lunch, early dinner before we ran out to met friends at the Harbourfront for a show, was salmon fishcakes. These were fabulous. Light, crispy and filled with fresh dill goodness and no potato. We ate them over salad (we eat everything over salad right now- it's too damn hot for anything else) with a yogurt sauce/dressing that was tart and light and creamy that contrasted beautifully with the crispy cakes. Nigel Slater is truly a genius.

His recipe is for three people, but since there were two of us I'll give you the amounts I used.

Salmon and dill fishcakes

300 g (about) salmon, skin removed and finely chopped. This was the hardest part.
1 large egg white
a small bunch of dill, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons flour (I used more than he said)
1 teaspoon grain mustard
juice of half a lemon

olive oil to fry

Combine all your ingredients and then mush together with a generous grinding of salt and pepper. Squash spoonfuls of the mixture together by hand and then flatten each one slightly and set aside for a few minutes. (I made twelve small patties.)

Get a little oil hot in a shallow pan. Place the patties (in two batches) and leave them about two-three minutes per side, they should be lightly cooked within and golden and crispy outside.

Yogurt Sauce

Some plain yogurt, some finely shopped dill, some grain mustard, some green onions (my addition, not Nigel's), salt and pepper. Voila- deliciousness!

Oh- and lemon wedges. For more flavour power.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Peach Iced Tea

The inspiration for this is straight out of Heidi Swanson's new book Super Natural Cooking, which I'm just beginning to pluck my way through. I already want to try agave nectar and quinoa.

Her recipe is more of a recipe. Mine is more of a suggestion...

Make a big thing of plain black tea. I use four teabags to about a litre and a bit of water. Let it cool on the counter if you have the patience (this keeps it from getting cloudy so is really only an aesthetic thing).

When it's lovely and cold, pour into a glass full of ice, about 2/3 full and top the rest up with chilled peach nectar.

I have been drinking copious amounts of this stuff. Delicious and refreshing.