I visited the Jean Talon Market here in Montreal yesterday and looking around at all the beautful produce in season I felt inspired to get a salad jam session going. This salad is so tasty but I have to give the credit to the veggies this time. The radishes were incredible; classic radish tang but these guys were a little sweet. The chicory was fresh and peppery, the fennel was bright and crunchy and the dill fresh and soothing. My dressing pairs well highlighting the flavors in the salad with orange blossom.
2 tbsp sherry vinegar 1 tsp orange blossom water 1 tsp mirin Juice of half a lemon 2 tbsp olive oil 1 small shallot- thinly sliced Salt and pepper to taste
Chicory Nicoise lettuce Radish- thinly sliced Fennel- julienne Edamame beans Fresh Dill- chopped Salt and Pepper to taste
1. In a small bowl combine sherry vinegar, orange water, mirin and lemon juice. Add olive oil while whisking to incorporate. 2. Add sliced shallot and season with salt and pepper. Allow flavors to snuggle for twenty minutes before serving.
1. Into a bowl tear lettuce into appropriate sized pieces; add remain ingredients. 2. Season with salt and pepper, toss with dressing and plate.
It is such a fantastic time where I live right now for food. After a long winter of either eating imported or going without it is so amazing to be able to enjoy fresh tasty veggies from the market. When I ate this salad I was honestly surprised by what a marked difference in flavor and all around quality I noticed in the produce I was eating. I`m going to majorly encourage you guys to try and have this experience if you can. It reminds me why I am a cook!
Second installment of delicious homemade summer drinks. This is a winner gang. Earth cherries are sweet and tart which, to me, basically screams “blend me up in a fun summer drink.” If you don’t already have rose water in your arsenal and you are all “sorry PB but I’m not going to buy that stuff just for this drink” think again. Rose water is great for baking as well, salad dressings umm I’m pretty sure it’s a really great toner/cleanser for your face. It wears many hats and it really takes this recipe to a lovely place. Don’t freak on the salt and pepper either- just trust me, don’t make me place a finger to those lips gently and say shhhhhhhh. Just go with it.
2 cups raspberry 1/2 cup earth cherries 2 tsp rose water 1/2 cup sugar cane syrup Juice of 1 lemon 1/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups ice
1. Place all ingredients, except ice, in a blender and process until smooth. 2. Strain juice through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds. 3. Pour back into blender, add ice and process.
I’m not going to push anybody into anything but I recommend cutting this with white wine. Summer!!
Up until now I have kept my recipes posted here pretty neutral in terms of the ingredients being more or less familiar to the average bear. But if you will please observe item four on your ingredients list it is..yes..torula yeast! Kablam! Some may not be familiar with this product, it is a magical powder that is an incredible source of calcium, iron and fiber and yummers to boot. Torula also adds a vaguely cheesy flavor to vegan recipes (like this one!) So don’t be scared of a little ‘torula’ friends, it only wants to make you healthy and strong! That said, get ready to be introduced to a few more ingredients that may not be on your radar. Let’s party.
2 cups fresh basil leaves 1 cup almonds- blanched, skins removed 1 small garlic clove 1 tbsp torula yeast Juice of 1 lemon 1/4 cup olive oil 1 cup vegetable stock Salt and pepper to taste
If you are serving this over pasta you can replace in part or in full the vegetable stock with the salted cooking water you strained off from cooking your pasta.
1. Place basil, almonds, garlic, torula and lemon juice in blender. 2. Start blender and steadily pour vegetable stock (or cooking liquid) in through the top of the blender as it is processing. Process until smooth. 3. To finish, drizzle olive oil slowly in through the top of the blender as it is processing to emulsify.
I served this cold over shell pasta and garnished simply with sliced tomatoes and arugula. I already had almonds with skins on in my pantry so I blanched and peeled them but I’m not going to lie- it is a little tedious. I would recommend buying prepared almonds, even those slivers will do. Usually pesto is fuelled by oil but I replaced a large part of the oil here with stock or cooking liquid just to keep things light. I also find it keeps nicely without all that oil to separate on you.
The white bean should not be underestimated. Initially a bit of a snooze to look at but get ready for a “She’s All That” moment- whatever happened to Freddie Prinze Jr. anyway? Given the right attention a white bean can really shine. With this recipe you will end up with a rich, creamy puree and the smokey, spiced relish marries well. I encourage you to take these recipes and use them in other dishes.
Baguette Olive oil Salt and pepper
2 cups cooked white bean 250 ml vegetable stock 3 cloves garlic- whole 1 tsp maple syrup Salt and pepper to taste
2 ears corn- cooked and cut off the cob (about 1 cup) 1 small red pepper- trimmed and brunoise 1/4 cup fresh cilantro- rough chop 1 small shallot- brunoise 1 tblp apple cider vinegar Juice of 1 lemon 1/4 tsp smoked paprika 1/4 tsp cumin Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cut baguette into 1/4 inch thick pieces. If you want a longer croustini, cut on a bias. 2. Brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. 3. Bake in 350 oven for 2-5 minutes until golden. Reserve.
White Bean Puree
4. Place pre cooked white bean in a small pot; cover with vegetable stock and add whole garlic cloves, salt and pepper. 5. Simmer for 25 minutes. Strain but reserve excess liquid for blending. Remove 2 garlic cloves leaving only 1. 6. Add maple syrup and hand blend until your have a puree. Add a small amount of cooking liquid reserved in step 5 to achieve desired consistency.
7. In a bowl combine all ingredients and let rest in refrigerator for 20 minutes
It may seen redundant to recook beans. The only reason I suggest this is white beans will absorb a lot of liquid when cooking so in order to conserve precious stock I suggest cooking them in salted water (maybe throw some herbs in there- even stems will do!) to start. When they are basically cooked you can then simmer them in stock to infuse flavor. If you have stock to spare then go crazy from the start. The principle is to think of each step in the cooking process as a flavor opportunity; what can you add to introduce flavor. Why cook in plain water when you can add herbs and spices or use a flavorful stock…that’s how to hit a homer, think like a champ.
Duxelle Stuffed Phyllo Triangles with Tomato Coulis
I have not bought phyllo dough in a long time. I have never seen a vegan version and I was pretty much ready to say, “Oh well I guess I’ll never phyllo again” *single tear. But our old friend ‘Viva Vegan’ came through AGAIN and seriously guys- I’m excited. I used a spelt phyllo dough that they sell for this recipe. I saved the phyllo workshop for the end so be sure to read all the way through if it is your first time working with it. Oh yeah and by the way this recipe is totally delicious too!
230gr button mushroom - brunoise 2 leeks - only white section, halfed and sliced thinly 150ml vegetable stock 1 tsp salted herbs- this is a Quebec product - widely available salt and pepper to taste
phyllo pastry vegetable oil
3 tomatoes - seeded and rough chopped 1 tblp lemon basil oil (previous post) 1 tsp sugar salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat your pan and sauté sliced leeks with a drizzle of oil until soft, slightly caramelized. Remove from pan and reserve. 2. In the same pan, sauté mushroom until moisture has evaporated, starting to brown. 3. Add sautéed leek back into the pan with mushroom. Sauté together for 5 minutes adding salted herbs and salt and pepper to taste. 4. Deglaze with vegetable stock and cook liquid down until pan is dry. 5. Remove and place on a sheet pan to cool.
6. Spread flour on your work table. Carefully remove one piece of phyllo and place it on the table. 7. Using a pastry brush, brush the sheet with vegetable oil. 8. Place another single sheet on top of the oiled sheet. 9. Continue this process until you have stacked eight sheets. 10. Cut your sheet stack lengthwise into three even strips. 11. Take one tblp of filling and place it 1 inch from both the bottom and side margins of your first strip. 12. Take your bottom left corner and fold up to right margin to form a triangle with the filling in the middle. Now flip up again from the bottom right corner and so on until you reach the top. 13. Brush with oil and place in a 350 oven until browned.
1. Blend tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper while slowly drizzling lemon basil in as you blend.
Okay little pep talk here. Phyllo can be the worst sonofabitch to work with but as long as you play by its rules you should be fine. First- Keep a damp cloth over your phyllo sheets when you are not working with them, they dry out very easily and will break at the most gentle manipulation if dried out. Second- Oil the begeezus out of it. Don’t be shy. Third- Don’t get hung up on cracks or tears early on, you have many layers stacked so it will be covered up.
I have always been bummed out on the juice selection in grocery stores. Everything is too sweet for my taste or too expensive for my paycheck. So I have been blending up combinations of fruits, veggies and fresh herbs for some time with great results- there is nothing to it. This one is really refreshing and the lemon sugar adds something special. It also makes a delicious ‘bar mix’ if you want to add alcohol.
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves 1 cup cucumber- peeled, seeded, rough chop 1/3 cup sugar cane syrup 1 cup cold water 2 cups ice Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon 3 tbsp sugar
1. It is what it is. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until ice is crushed.
1. Zest lemon into a bowl 2. Add sugar and mix well
You lemon sugar is already moist so it will easily adhere to your glass. Run a lemon along the rim of the glass and then dip it into the lemon sugar. Try not to break a sweat.
I am seriously squeeling with joy to be able to share this recipe with you. As a matter of fact as I was making it I called a friend to tell him to ‘get ready’ because isss gon rain when I bring them over to his tonight. Bacon flavor has long been worshipped for it’s insane ability to make anything crazy delicious and thanks to some mad scientist we now have simulated bacon bits in every grocery store, everywhere. Thank you frankenbacon for your delicious contribution to the world. Once you fry these croquette what you get is bliss- crunchy outside and smooth oooh mammy (see what I did there? Like umami but funny) inside. The potato is light and creamy and the bacon+shiitake brings it home. The accompanying salsa is tangy, crunchy, sweet and savory. I absolutley love this combination. I hope you do too!
5 sm/med size potatoes - peeled, rough chop 2 small onions - finely chopped 100g shiitake mushrooms - stems removed, sliced 2 tbsp imitation bacon bits 150 ml veg stock 1 tsp dijon drizzle veg oil salt and pepper to taste
flour egg replacer and water (see package directions for ratios) panko bread crumbs
1 cup extra fine green beans - chopped small 1 cup tomato - seeded, small dice 1 small shallot - brunoise 1 tsp dijon mustard 1 tsp rice vinegar 1 tsp mirin 1 tbsp olive oil Salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring salted water to a boil and place potatoes in to cook
2. As potatoes are cooking. Heat a pan with drizzle of veg oil. Toss in onion; caramelize 3. Add mushrooms to pan. Saute 2-3 minute. 4. Add bacon bits and deglaze with veg stock. Add a small amount a liquid at a time, allow to cook off, add more - continue until all the stock in incorporated. 5. Season with salt and pepper
6. Once potatoes are fork tender strain and hand mash them 7. Add onion/mushroom mix to potatoes and incorporate 8. Add dijon, drizzle of veg oil- taste, add salt and pepper if necessary
Now a Croquette is born
1. Take a tbsp of your croquette mix and form into a ball in your palm 2. Flatten the ball into a disc and smooth edges 3. Repeat until mix is all done 4. Place in freezer for 30 minutes
Now give him his outfit - and toss him in his bath
1. You will need three bowls- flour, egg replacer/water mix and panko - set them up in that order 2. Remove croquettes from freezer and, in this order, do the following- dredge with flour, coat with egg replacer mix and coat with panko. 3. Prepare a pan for pan fry- about 1 inch of veg oil. Your oil needs to be at 375 degrees to get a proper fry. 4. Fry until golden on both sides
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir well 2. Let stand for 20 minutes to allow flavors to develop
I always have vegetable stock on hand when I am cooking but I get that not everybody does. Wine, water, juice- almost any liquid will do the trick just be mindful of how it will affect the flavor of your masterpiece. You just want to lift the flavors off the pan and help marry everything together and liquid does a great job of facilitating these goals. Another thing, this recipe is quite large- ok it’s ridiculous, but once you have your croquettes breaded throw them in the freezer for a future snack attack. You will be overjoyed when the time comes, whether it be a lazy Sunday or a late night munchie emergency.
Sure, I could call this a salad but as we all know - you don’t make friends with salad. You know how you make friends? By serving them delicate little spoonfuls of fresh, zesty heaven and by calling it something like beet tartare. That’s how. Oh and a little bit of business here - ‘brunoise’ means very small dice, there is nothing particularly wrong with saying ‘very small dice’ but I have always been a fan of succinctness. Besides, we are all professionals here, right?
1/3 cup fennel - brunoise 1/3 cup cucumber - brunoise 1 tsp olive oil 1 tsp lemon juice 1 tsp prepared horseradish 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves - minced salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup beet - peeled, grated, minced 1 tsp olive oil 1/4 tsp dijon mustard 1/4 tsp orange juice salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine first group of ingredients in a bowl. Season and mix. 2. In a separate bowl, combine second group of ingredients. Season and mix. 3. Plate in layers. Do not mix the two bowls together.
Beets bleed their color all over anything they come in contact with. It is unstopped and unavoidable. The only solution is to keep beets in quarantine until the final plating stage. If you mix the two bowls the rapture will not suddenly descend upon us but you will have a pink mess on your hands. For presentation sake you want to keep them separated, if you don’t care about that (gasp!) then go crazy. Also I just want to mention that the plates I use in my pics are not expensive. I get my plates at ‘La Soupiere’ which is a great kitchen shop on Mont Royal here in Montreal. On their second floor they always have really pretty plates on sale and heavily discounted. Hot tip if you want to get fancy!
Putting together great meals can be in large part thanks to what you’ve got in the refrigerator/pantry that is a little special. There are so many easy preparartions that you can have around the house that will bring dishes you make regularly to the next level. Infused oils is one of these ace in the hole preparations that last ages, are simple to prepare and great to have on hand.
1/2 cup veg oil 1/2 cup chopped basil - including stems 1 whole lemon - sliced in half salt and pepper
1. Add all ingredients together in a small pot- squeezing the juice from the lemon and then adding the rind as well.
2. Bring to a boil, simmer for 3-5 minutes
3. Let stand for 1 hour at room temperature
4. Pass through a fine mesh strainer pressing firmly to get all your oil through
You may feel a little weird throwing the whole kitchen sink into that pot - stems, rinds and all but don’t hold back, live a little! They will add great flavor and will be strained out to finish. When you are infusing you are always going to strain out at the end so feel free to add elements that have great flavor but may regularly be discarded for other reasons. And when you do get to the straining phase remember to press firmly on all that gunk because it will have absorbed a lot of your precious oil. Lean on it like you’re Patty Hughes deposing Arthur Frobisher over his corporate malfeasance in Damages, Season 1 - tough and thorough.