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Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Chocolate Soufflé for 2 or 3

 Chocolate Soufflé

On New Year's Eve, my daughter requested something special for breakfast.  As I was already doing 5 other things, sure! 

This recipe for chocolate soufflé is relatively easy to prepare, if you get everything ready first.  Nature's Farm egg whites whip up so wonderfully, this recipe makes 3 ramekin soufflés.

Chocolate Soufflé

1+ tbs melted butter, for brushing inside the ramekins and as an ingredient

2 tbs white sugar

2 ounces dark chocolate callets (chips, or broken pieces)

1 tbs flour

4 1/2 tbs milk

pinch salt

1 large egg yolk

2 large egg whites

pinch of cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Have a baking dish that fits 2-3 ramekins.

Brush the insides of the ramekins with melted butter, and then coat with white sugar, keeping the extra sugar poured off for the soufflés.

Place chocolate in a metal bowl over a water bath.  Do not let the bowl touch the water or come to a boil.  In a separate saucepan, use melted butter and whisk in flour.  Cook and stir until thickened and incorporated, for about a minute.  Transfer to the melted chocolate.  Add salt.  Add egg yolk and keep the bowl warm over the water bath.  

Whip egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar, until a soft peak, adding the sugar, 1/3 at a time.  

Mix almost half of the egg whites with the chocolate mixture.  Then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.  Divide mixture into the ramekins.  Place in the baking dish and bake for 12-15 minutes, until the soufflés have risen.

Serve, and enjoy immediately.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Easy Vietnamese Lemongrass Cornish Game Hen (but you can also use Chicken)

 A Cornish Game Hen seems to be just the right size for two.  It takes less time to cook, and, in the sharing, adds a romance to the meal.

This Lemongrass marinade can be used on chicken, parts or whole.  The ingredients are readily available, and, if you have people that don't like cilantro, there is none in this recipe.

Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

1 Cornish Game Hen (Or chicken)

1/4 cup lime juice

3 tbs fish sauce

pepper, to tastes

2 tbs brown sugar

2 tbs canola oil (I admit to using olive oil)

1 tbs soy sauce

4+ cloves garlic

2+ stalks white parts of the lemongrass, chopped (I used frozen, chopped lemongrass)

1 shallot, or half of a red onion

Blend all of the marinade ingredients and let the hen marinade for a few hours, in a non-reactive container.

Grill, or sauté hen, on medium heat, turning to brown on both sides, until tender throughout.

Serve with salad, and a wedge of lime, to squeeze over the hen at the plate.


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Light Rye Bread, not to be taken lightly

 A similar recipe has been posted to my refrigerator for years.  Finally, I've made it, loved it, and made it again.  This is adapted from the Robin Hood recipe, for the flour ratios. 

Light Rye Bread


 4 tbs honey

1 tsp sugar

2 1/2 cups warm water (test on inside of wrist)

5 tsp dry yeast (I used Instant yeast)

1 tbs salt

2 tbs oil

6 - 8 cups flour (1:1 ratio of white to dark rye flour)

4 (ish) tbs cornmeal (optional, for baking sheet)

Glaze (optional)

2/3 cup cold water

1 tsp cornstarch

Dissolve honey and sugar in the warm water in the mixing bowl.  Sprinkle yeast on top and let stand for 10 minutes.  Mix in salt and oil and slowly add the flours, mixed together, in the mixer with the dough hook.  Knead on low spead until the dough is soft, leaves the sides of the bowl, and is not sticky.  

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter or board, and knead a few minutes longer.  Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled. 

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. (200ºC)

 Punch the dough down and turn out the dough.  Cut into two equal pieces and form loaves, tightly, so as to not have large air pockets or spring apart.  Place loaves onto the cornmeal on a baking sheet, cover, and let rise until doubled.   Make slashes into the loaves and let rest for a few minutes. Glaze, if wanted.

The Glaze:  Combine the water and cornstarch in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, whisking and let cool.  Brush the entire surface of the loaves with glaze just prior to baking.

Bake at 400ºF  (200ºC) for 25 minutes or longer.  Test bread by knocking on the bottom of the loaf.  If there is a hollow sound, the bread is ready.  If not, bake for a longer time. Cool on a wire rack.


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Duck, Duck, Duck

 Last weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving.  As we are all having smaller gatherings in the time of Covid -19, I prepared a duck instead of the traditional turkey dinner.  I did make Bubbat though, as a part of tradition.

I will definitely do this again!  Just perfect!

Brined Duck three ways

1. Brine, breast, and sauce.

  I made Oolong tea and cherry juice in a large container, salt, sugar, with thyme, savoury, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, and bay leaves. And ice and water to cool down. You can use the smokier Lapsang Souchon tea, and the tannin will cut the fattiness of the duck.

Then I added the duck that I had cut the neck and spine out of, and scored the
meat. I let that chill for a day.

Then, pat it dry and I pieced it. I slow roasted the drumsticks and I seared the breasts in olive oil, on both sides until firm. I removed them from the pan to rest and added the fat to the drumsticks.

In the wiped out pan, I sautéed a sliced shallot in olive oil, and added cherry preserves, Dijon mustard, port and a little red wine,rosemary, and butter. Salt and pepper.

Sliced the breasts on a bias and it was awesome!

2. Legs/drumsticks

In a 250ºF oven, I placed the brined duck drumsticks in a casserole dish, with rosemary, thyme, and a little olive oil.  I roasted these until the meat started to come off of the bone.  I let it cool and rest.  This can be enjoyed with lentils as a cassolet,  with duck stock in risotto, polenta, wonton soup, etc.

3. Duck Stock

Roast remaining duck bones with good tomato paste until browned.  Place in a large stock pot with onion, carrots, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper, star anise, and carrots.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  Simmer for several hours, all day.  Let cool and strain.  Enjoy with polenta, risotto, wonton soup, etc.

Happy Celebrations!  Enjoy! 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Pasta alla Nerano - Magical Zucchini pasta that is creamy without cream


This amazing pasta dish is creamy, without cream, and so satisfying.  I used garlic and zucchini, from Heart Acres Farm CSA.  I used a good amount of Pecorino and Parmesan Regianno cheeses.

Pasta alla Nerano

1-2 zucchini, sliced in rounds
1 -2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup, or a good amount, of grated Percorino and Parmesan cheeses
Olive Oil, for sautéeing
salt, and white pepper, to tastes
Spaghetti, and some pasta water

Have your ingredients prepared and ready for the complete dish, aka, mise en place.  

Sauté garlic in olive oil until it starts to turn golden.  Place garlic and olive oil in a small blender container.
Sauté zucchini slices until they turn light brown on both sides.  Set aside and place 1/3 or sautéed zucchini into the blender container.
Cook pasta and reserve up to one cup of pasta water.  Drain pasta from the cooking pot but keep water hot in the pot, and set aside.  Blend the zucchini with 1/4 cup pasta water, salt, and white pepper.  Add pasta to the hot pan with a little olive oil and add the blended zucchini.  Put the remaining cooked zucchini in the pasta water and cook for a few seconds before draining and adding back to the pasta pan.  Add the grated cheese and cook down until creamy.  Add pasta water as needed.  
Serve immediately, and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Turkish Treats: Fresh beans, marinated chicken, and rice pilaf

 Today is a day for Turkish Delights.  These dishes are so easy to prepare, when you simply get prepped.

Fresh green and yellow beans are in season now, and plentiful.  These are available from Fairlane Farm, on Saturdays at the Bronx Farmers Market.

Turkish Green Beans (Zeytinyağlı Taze Fasulye)

1 pound of fresh green beans or
1 pack of frozen green beans (either French style or Italian cut)
1 big onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced or chopped
2 big fresh tomatoes, finely chopped, grated, or blended or 1 can of petite diced tomatoes
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup hot water

1/8 tsp ground cumin
pepper/ crushed pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste

If you prefer beans with a bit of crunch and are not mushy, try parboiling the beans for 1-2 minutes in salted boiling water, drain and cook as follows but reduce cooking time.

-If you're using fresh green beans clean and trim them to 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces.
-Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the chopped onions and garlic until lightly brown.
-If you want to use tomato paste add it at this point and stir for a min.
-Add the beans and stir them until they slightly change color (app. 6-8 mins).
-Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 mins and then add sugar (cumin and pepper), water, and salt. -Cover the pan and cook with low heat until the beans are soft (30 mins with frozen beans - 45 mins with fresh ones).
I cook it for far less time as I don’t like very soft beans.

This is traditionally served cold, but it's good when it's warm too.



Rice Pilaf

2 cups Basmati Rice
scant 4 cups water
1 onion, thinly sliced, or shallots
pinch saffron
olive oil
1/4 cup each of chopped nuts or pumpkin seeds, dried fruit, (such as barberry, currants, raisins, Afghani Tut, or chopped apricots)
A heavy bottomed pot

Heat the oil on medium high heat and add the saffron, to let it bloom in the oil.  Add the onion or shallots and sauté until brown,  Add the rice and coat with the oil.  Add salt, nuts and fruit. 

Turn the element on high and add the water.  Bring to a boil, stirring.  Cover, and set to medium low for 20 minutes.

Grilled Turkish Chicken (Serves 2-4 people)

4 Boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tbs Turkish Baharat*
3-4 shallots, grated or one small onion grated
2 tsp lime juice
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/4 tsp paprika (can used smoked)
pinch salt and pepper

Combine Turkish Baharat, grated shallots, lime juice, olive oil, paprika and salt and pepper in a bowl. Place chicken thighs in the bowl and cover completely with the marinade. Place in fridge and let marinate for 6 hours. Grill 4 minutes a side on a very hot BBQ grill.

Optional:  Marinate a large amount of chicken pieces, skinned thighs and drumsticks, for example, and roast or grill.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Easy Steak Fajitas, local and lovely

In Manitoba, we produce such excellent beef, chicken, vegetables, etc.  I love to encourage people to get to know their producers and farmers, and fish mongers.  They want you to also have a great experience and an excellent product.

I used Sirloin Steak for this dish, but you can use many other different cuts of beef.  I purchased the steak from Fairlane Farms at the Bronx Park Farmers Market.  It was frozen, of course, so I put one steak on a metal baking sheet.  It thawed quickly.  The marinade is a quick marinade, so this can be made the same day.

Sirloin Steak Fajitas 

1 sirloin steak

1 tsp chili powder ( I didn't have any, so I used Ethiopian Berbere chilies, and added cumin and cinnamon)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp dried oregano
olive oil, to make a paste

Mix the spices, garlic, and oil together.  In a bowl, coat the steak well, on all sides.  Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the rest of your dish.

1 red pepper, cored and sliced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
drizzle oil
salt, to tastes
1/4 tsp + each of smoked paprika and ground dried chipotle
splash of Vermouth, to deglaze

Slowly cook the sliced onions in a medium heat in a saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil.  When they begin to get quite browned, add the sliced peppers and seasonings and turn up the heat to medium high.  When the peppers are slightly softer, deglaze pan with optional Vermouth.  Set aside for the assembly.

Heat pan or grill to medium heat, and cook steak, to rare to medium rare at most.  Let the meat rest.  The gorgeous steak that we used was 2" thick, so judge cooking time accordingly.  After the meat has rested, slice thinly, on the bias, to maximize tenderness.

Enjoy with warmed tortillas, onions and pepper mixture, cheese, avocado, sour cream, salsa,