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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Elk Osso Bucco

I made this yesterday using a beautiful piece of Elk Osso Bucco. Its adapted from Tyler Florence's recipe but instead of veal shank, which I'm not crazy about using, I used Elk that is raised quite locally in Stonewall, Manitoba. The wine that he recommended using was Amarone. Personally, I'd really rather enjoy drinking the Amarone and have used a less expensive version, Il Bastardo, a poor-man's version that is quite lovely. The One Hundred Milers can use the local Raspberry wine which matches beautifully with the elk.

I also neglected to photograph this lovely dish. I served it with baguettes. You can reduce all of the ingredients for fewer pieces of meat. I made one piece that served 2 people.

It makes an elegant winter comfort meal.

Osso Bucco:
1 cup all-purpose flour
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 pieces Beef, Bison or Elk for osso bucco
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 lemon, zest peeled off in wide strips with a vegetable peeler
1 head garlic, cut horizontally through the middle
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bottle dry red wine
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can low-sodium beef broth (I had homemade chicken broth on hand instead)
1 (28-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes, hand-crushed (I used 6 frozen garden grown Roma Tomatoes)

Put the flour in a large shallow platter and season it with a fair amount of salt and pepper. Dredge the meat in the seasoned flour and then tap off the excess (extra flour will burn and make the dish off-tasting).

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat and hit it with a 3-count drizzle of oil. Add the butter and swirl it around the pan to melt. Sear the meat, turning carefully with tongs, until all sides are a rich brown caramel color. Drizzle with a little more oil, if needed. (Do this in batches if the shanks are big and look crowded in the pot.) Remove the browned meat to a side plate. There will be a lot of flavor left over in the bottom of the pot. You're going to use that to create your sauce.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Using the same pot, sauté the onion, celery, carrots, lemon zest, garlic, bay leaves, and parsley over medium heat. Cook the vegetables down until they start to get some color and develop a deep, rich aroma. Season with salt and pepper; add a little oil if needed. Nestle the meat back in the pot. Pour in the wine and let it simmer down for 20 minutes, until the wine has reduced by half. Reducing is key for intense flavor. Add the beef broth and tomatoes and stir everything together. Cover the pot and put it in the oven. Braise for 1 and a 1/2 hours. Then remove the cover and continue to cook for another 30 minutes. The sauce should be thick and the meat tender and nearly falling off the bone.
Remove bay leaves.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Kerala tender green beans

Tender Beans (Achinga) Vattichularthiathu

Taken from Kerala Cookery by Mrs. K.M Mathew, a celebrity chef in Kerala.

(Photo by Karen)

3 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half to up to 2" long
2 tbs. vegetable or olive oil
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
1 medium onion, sliced thin and long
1 red chili crushed or 1/2 tsp. chili powder
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 pepper corns crushed or 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 - 1 tsp turmeric powder

Fry the mustard seeds in hot oil. When they turn lighter colour and begin to pop, add onion slices and sauté over medium high heat. Add turmeric, chili and pepper corns then garlic. Sauté. Add the beans and sauté until al dente. Season with a pinch of salt. Serve hot.


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Eggs, Potatoes and Cauliflower

Eggs, Potatoes and Cauliflower
(photo by Karen)

I adapted this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s Cookbook, World of the East, Vegetarian Cooking (1983). I made this dish yesterday and loved it so I thought that I’d share it with you. There are a number of steps in preparation but its really worth clearing the preparation space, getting the mise en place all ready and going ahead with this recipe. This dish can easily be made ahead of time and reheated. Vegans can enjoy this recipe without the eggs.

1 head cauliflower
1 cup UNSWEETENED coconut (original recipe called for freshly grated)
1 teaspoon salt
4 Roma tomatoes, cubed
1-inch cube of fresh ginger, cut smaller
1 head garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil (original recipe called for vegetable oil)
1 tsp fenugreek seeds *
1-inch stick of cinnamon
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1-3 fresh hot green chilies, minced
1 tsp ground turmeric
6-12 fresh curry leaves ** (use more if using dried curry leaves)
2-4 yams, cubed (original recipe called for boiling potatoes)***
4-6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garam masala*

*Available at Halal Meats & Specialty Foods - 206 Maryland Street 204-774-8095, Winnipeg and Dino's Grocery Mart, 460 Notre Dame Ave, Winnipeg, (204) 942-1526
**Available at Dino’s
***Available at F.O.O.D.

1. Put the coconut into a blender container on high and slowly add 1 cup very hot water. Let blend for more than a minute. Strain through a cheesecloth or fine sieve, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. This is the first coconut milk. Set aside.

Put the coconut that remains back in the blender and repeat with another cup of very hot water. Strain in another container and set aside. This is the second coconut milk.

2. Hard boil the eggs and cool, peel and cut in half. Set aside.

3. Cube yams or potatoes and boil until fork tender. Drain and set aside.

4. Break the cauliflower into flowerets or bite-sized pieces. Parboil for 30 seconds in salted water, place in an ice cold water bath and drain. Set aside.

5. Put the ginger, garlic, and chilies in a small blender cup and add 1/4 cup water. Blend until it makes a smooth paste.

6. Heat the oil in a large cooking pot over medium heat. When hot, first put in the fenugreek seeds. After a couple of seconds, add the cinnamon stick. Add the onion and fry for about 2 minutes. Add the ginger-garlic-chili paste and fry for another minute.

7. Add tomatoes, turmeric and curry leaves to the pot. Keep stirring and frying for 2 minutes. Now add half of the second coconut milk., cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

8. Uncover, add the yams or potatoes, cauliflower, 1 tsp salt and the remaining half of the second coconut milk. Stir gently and bring to a simmer.

9. Cover and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice.

10. Uncover again and put in the halved eggs, cut side up, the first coconut milk and the lemon juice. Mix very gently, spooning the sauce over the eggs. Cover and simmer another 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the garam masala. Mix gently.


Per serving: 196 Calories; 7g Fat (32% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 27g Carbohydrate; 135mg Cholesterol; 452mg Sodium

Friday, October 26, 2007

Winter treats - Oolong Chicken Liver Pâté

Oolong Chicken Liver Pâté
(Photo coming soon)


I adapted this recipe for a large event for Cornelia Bean. The herbs and fragrant tea make this a cozy treat or lovely for entertaining.

This silky-smooth pâté is inexpensive and simple to make. The chicken livers are briefly simmered in Oolong tea with aromatics before they’re blended with butter in a food processor.

1/2 pound chicken livers, well-trimmed
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 small garlic clove, smashed and peeled
1/2 tsp. Ground Sage
1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves
Kosher salt
1/2 cup Oolong tea (infuse _ tsp in 1 cup boiling water)
1/2 - 2/3 cups butter
2 shots Scotch whiskey
Freshly ground pepper
Toasted baguette slices, for serving

In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken livers, onion, garlic, sage, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the Oolong and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the livers are barely pink inside, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the livers, onion and garlic to a food processor; process until coarsely pureed. With the machine on, add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, until incorporated. Add the Cognac, season with salt and pepper and process until completely smooth. Scrape the pâté into 2 or 3 large ramekins. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pâté and refrigerate until firm. Serve chilled.

If using gelatin sheets to top the Pâté, Grind 2 tsp. Oolong tea and cook in 1/2 cup water. Add 2-3 Gelatin sheets and melt. Pour over Pâté and chill over night. If using melted butter, make sure that the Pâté is completely covered. This can be enjoyed from the refrigerator for 1 week or can be frozen for up to 2 months.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Guinea Fowl with Port Cherry Sauce

Milk fed Guinea Fowl Breast in pancetta with a port cherry sauce

Certainly a very special treat for an entrée, this very tender and moist fowl is available on request from DeLuca’s. One package was a nice size for two entrées. This recipe includes the cherry port sauce which can be used in a variety of dishes. As this is an expensive delicacy, try the recipe substituting the Guinea Fowl for Duck, Goose or Turkey Breast or rabbit pieces, also available at DeLuca’s. Please note, this recipe is for a boneless piece of meat. If using meat with bones in, please reduce heat and increase cooking time. For the port, try a tawny or ruby variety. I used a De Bortoli 8 year old Tawny Port for this recipe.

1 pkg Milk Fed Guinea Fowl Breast.*
100 grams pancetta slices*
1 tbs butter
1tsp olive oil*
Freshly ground pepper
port to deglaze pan

For the Sauce:
1/2 cup dried sour Okanagan Cherries*
3/4 cup + port
2 shallots, finely chopped*
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 small sprig fresh rosemary, rosemary*

Wrap the Guinea Fowl breast in pancetta and then wrap in plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator for a few hours. When ready to cook, heat skillet on medium high heat and add butter and olive oil. Place pancetta wrapped meat in the centre of the pan and brown. Add freshly ground black pepper to dish. Turn after a few minutes and season with pepper again. When cooked through, add port to pan on top of entrée. Allow to reduce and turn breast again, adding another splash of port. Remove entrée from pan and allow to rest. Plate entrée and spoon some of the cherry sauce on the plate.

Soak the dried cherries in port for at least 30 minutes. Heat a small saucepan on medium heat and add butter and olive oil. When butter has melted, add chopped shallots and chopped rosemary. When softened, add cherries with port and cook to reduce. Add salt and pepper. With an immersion blender or in a blender, puree sauce until smooth. Return to saucepan and add more port if sauce is too thick.

*Available at DeLuca’s

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Chilled Roasted Golden Beet Soup with Creme Frâiche

Soup served with a portion of cold smoked Goldeye. Goldeye is available year round at Gimli Fish on Dufferin or Pembina Hwy.
(Photo by Desmond Burke)

Chilled Beet Soup

4-5 large Golden Beets
1 head roasted garlic
1 large yellow onion, medium chopped
2-3 tbs good olive oil
1/4 cup champagne or sherry vinegar
1/2 - 2/3 cup orange juice
2-4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

On a hot BBQ, roast peeled beets wrapped in foil until soft, turning to prevent burning. Roast garlic at the same time.

In a large skillet or soup pot, sauté onion in olive oil on medium heat until soft and translucent. Add cut up beets and squeeze out garlic into pot. Sauté until vegetables have softened. Add soup stock and season with salt and pepper to taste. If using golden beets, use white pepper.

Remove soup from heat and add orange juice and vinegar. Using an immersion blender or food processor, purée until smooth. When soup has cooled, chill in refrigerator at least over night. Top with a dollop of Creme Frâiche and sprinkle with a few threads of saffron.

OPTIONS: If using Chiogga beets, the soup will be a light pink colour. If using red beets, it will take on a deep velvety red colour.

Creme Frâiche

Last week several people independently asked me how to make Creme Frâiche or where to purchase it. It is very simple to make but has to be made in advance of when you want to use it.

500ml Whipping Cream
1 tsp lemon juice

Stir lemon juice into whipping cream and set aside in a warm place out of the way such as on top of a refrigerator. Let sit for 2-4 days and then place in refrigerator. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Coming Soon to Shaw - Bison Burgers on Naan

Its been a while since my last posting. A very busy summer indeed. Starting next week on Shaw cable we'll be showing a BBQ event for which I am supplying the recipes. Here is the Bison Burgers served on Naan with caramelized onions. Makes 5 burgers.

Bison Burgers
1 lb Ground Bison*
1 Hot Italian Sausage**
1/2 pkg. Onion Soup mix

Mix burger ingredients well together by hand. Divide into 1/4 lb burgers and keep chilled. Cook on hot BBQ at 4 minutes a side, turning at 2 minutes to get the important grill marks.

*Ground Bison available through Oak Island Goat Dairy and the Forks Meat Market in Winnipeg.

**Hot Italian Sausage available at DeLuca's Specialty Foods - Cooking School & Restaurant at 950 Portage Ave. in Winnipeg (204)774-7617.
** More sources - Oak Island Goat Dairy - to order a variety of meats.

Caramelized Onions
1-2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 tbs olive oil
1 bottle Sleeman Original Draught beer
pinch salt and pepper
1/4 tsp dried chipotle chilies, optional

Slowly sauté onions in olive oil over medium low heat until golden, up to 30 minutes.
When dark golden in colour, turn up the heat to medium high and add about 1/4 to 1/3 of bottle of beer, stirring to incorporate the sugars. Continue to add the beer to the onions until most of the liquid has cooked off. Keep caramelized onions aside to top the grilled naan bread for the burger.

Grilled Naan Bread***

1 Naan Bread per burger***

Just prior to eating, place naan bread directly onto hot grill for 1-2 minutes per side. Top with caramelized onions and burger that has rested for a few minutes. Try with different cheeses and mustards as well.


***Many varieties of Naan bread are available in the freezer section of Dino's Grocery Mart at 460 Notre Dame in Winnipeg and at Halal Meat Centre & Specialty Foods at 206 Maryland.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

100 Mile Dinner Winnipeg Manitoba Canada

Last night I had the pleasure of preparing a meal using only Manitoba products. It was a challenge but this is the result. Thank you to Sheila Nash from the MLCC for her help in finding nice Manitoba beverage pairings for the meal.

sautéed in notre dame butter & manitoba birch wine,
seasoned with house garden herbs,
garnished with home grown pea shoots and manitoba caviar

(flour from tall grass prairie bakery)

smoked & barbequed

in a saskatoon berry reduction

(photo by Karen, Fettucini and Bread by Desmond, Ceramic bowl by Manitoba Ceramic Artist, Kevin Stafford from Stoneware Gallery)
(tall grass prairie bakery flour, local eggs & fresh pressed sunflower oil)
tossed with burnt notre dame butter, roasted garlic, manitoba cheeses &
rainbow chard chiffonade

from local farm fresh eggs
topped with a curd from manitoba strawberries

4 kinds from the winnipeg brewer

from killarney,
served to the queen on her jubilee tour

from winnipeg,
birch & strawberry ice wine varietals

Friday, July 13, 2007

Cedar Plank Smokey Salmon

Salmon on plank photo by Karen

Salmon on platter photo by Karen

Cedar Plank Smokey Salmon

1 cedar plank – soaked for a few hours*
1 large wild caught salmon filet*
1 cup Lapsong Suchon tea **– steep strongly
1 drizzle sesame oil
1 heaping tsp. Ground ginger
1 drizzle chili oil
1/4 cup Mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 tbs. Sugar or honey
1/8 tsp. Ground white pepper

Mix last 8 ingredients in a bowl. Place salmon filet on a platter and pour marinade over fish. Wrap and chill in refrigerator for a couple of hours.

Preheat outdoor BBQ to medium-high heat. Place cedar plank on middle of grill and close the cover. Allow to smoke for 3-4 minutes. Turn plank over and place salmon filet in the middle of plank. Close grill and let cook up to 15-20 minutes or until filet is done, depending on the thickness of the filet.

Garnish with scallion flowers (Green onions cut and put in cold water to make flower shapes).


* Available at Gimli FishMarket at 596 Dufferin Ave. and 625 Pembina Hwy.
** Available at Cornelia Bean

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Manitoba 100 Mile Oato Risotto

Manitoba 100 Mile Oato Risotto - 8 servings
Photo coming soon.
I’m testing out some ideas that are both within the 100 mile diet for people in Manitoba and that are friendly for people living with diabetes. The fat content comes from an oil that has the omega fatty acids that fight the high cholesterol fats. From the test kitchen and in progress:

3 tbs fresh press local Canola oil (available at F.O.O.D.)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups stone cut Manitoba Oats (available at DeLuca’s)
1 cup dry white wine (there is only one, unfortunately unpleasant, Manitoba white wine available that can pass for cooking but I won't be quoted on that)
About 6 cups of hot chicken stock or vegetable stock (easy to make stock from scratch)
Two cups sautéed local mushrooms (great varieties available) *
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (try some Manitoba hard cheese varieties)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (Notre Dame Butter)

In a medium-size heavy saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring continuously, just until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the oats and continue to stir, using a wooden spoon, to coat the oats with the oil.
Add the white wine and continue cooking, stirring often, until it has been absorbed by the oats. Pour in enough stock to cover the oats completely, about 3 cups, and continue to cook, stirring often, until all the liquid is absorbed.
Pour in 1 cup more of the remaining stock and stir and cook until it has been absorbed. Repeat with 1 more cup. Add the remaining cup and cook, stirring, until the oats are al dente, tender but still very chewy, and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Stir in the sautéed mushrooms and reduce the heat to very low so that the risotto doesn't simmer anymore. Stir in the Parmesan and butter to give the risotto a nice, creamy finish. Spoon it immediately into heated shallow serving bowls.

* Try local asparagus, squashes, or your favourite vegetables for different types of risotto.
**Butter step optional for Diabetes friendly food.

Per serving: 427 Calories; 18g Fat (40% calories from fat); 14g Protein; 48g Carbohydrate; 22mg Cholesterol; 1410mg Sodium

With Butter Per serving: 373 Calories; 12g Fat (31% calories from fat); 14g Protein; 48g Carbohydrate; 6mg Cholesterol; 1409mg Sodium


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

New Produce from Wiens Shared Collective Farm!!!

For the Manitoba 100 mile dieters, the new produce is in for people who bought a farm share from the Wiens Shared Collective Farm. The produce is also available on weekends at the St. Norbert Farmer's Market. (from the newsletter)This week we got beautiful:

LETTUCE; Romaine, and Red leaf. Salad it up while it lasts. The +30 heat has stressed some of these babies to begin to flower. Chop up, dunk in cold water, dry, and refrigerate to last you for the week.

ONIONS are green, the bottoms are onions. Imagine that. You will see them get bigger week by week.

DILL, mmmm potato salad and dips.

BASIL, the grasshopper’s love it too, wash before making pesto.

GARLIC SCAPES, the curly stalk that is delicious to chop up and fry up in a stir fry. These are the flowers to your fall garlic. Exceptional flavour indeed.

CILANTRO, there is plenty to yummy cilantro taste in the stalk. Chop up fine and add to your dish.

Enjoy your veggies.

Friday, June 15, 2007

For Hot days - Gazpacho

There are as many recipes for Gazpacho as there are chefs and households that enjoy it. Here is one with some variations. In season, try a blonde gazpacho with yellow tomatoes and no sugar needed! Use green pepper instead of red pepper and a nice fruity white wine instead of red wine.

(photo by Karen Peters)


5 cups chopped tomatoes
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 scallions
1 red pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 –1 1/2 cups red wine (try orange juice for a nice fresh flavour but use less)
2 tbs good fruity olive oil
2 English cucumbers, peeled, seeded and grated
1/3 cup fresh basil
1/4 tsp dried chilies
1 tbs oregano
1/3 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
1/2 tsp dried chipotle chilies (optional)
1 tbs brown sugar (to cut acids)
Salt and pepper to taste

Using a blender or immersion blender, mix ingredients until smooth. Chill and serve with baguettes. Garnish with fresh basil.

Up to 20 small servings:
Per serving: 28 Calories; 0g Fat (9% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 87mg Sodium


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Fine Dining Vancouver

I was recently working in Vancouver and had the great opportunity to enjoy a couple of fine dining experiences with my good friend Mirabelle . We went to celebrity chef Rob Feeney's restaurant, Lumière.

The service was exceptional and the choices were all tantalizing. Depicted is the Fresh Green Pea, mint and Riccota Ravioli over seared scallops.

(photo by Karen Peters)

Also of exceptional quality was the Duo of Quebec Foie Gras which is pan seared with rhubarb and vanilla compote, foie parfait and warm orange blossom brioche as shown.

(photo by Mirabelle Rohatgi)

Friday, May 18, 2007

From Gastronomy to Friendship

I had the great pleasure on Wednesday evening to be the guest chef for a fine group of gentlemen, the local chapter of Les Marmitons (see link). Our menu for the evening was:

1. Bison Tenderloin Carpaccio (see recipe and image from March 20th blog entry)
2. Crab Cones (see recipe and image from April 12th blog entry)
3. Moroccan Vegetable Tajine with Bulgur Timbales (see recipe and image from Feb. 6, 2006 blog entry and recipe follows)
4. Morel Mushroom Soufflé (Recipe to follow)
5. Kerala Shrimp (see recipe and image from March 26th blog entry)

They divided into teams, each responsible for one recipe from start to finish. We then sat to dine on each course, one course at a time and enjoy a matching wine. The team leader then discussed the making and plating of the dish and the guest chef then gives comments.

The camaraderie of the group was delightful and their skills ranged from beginner to accomplished Red Seal Chefs. Perhaps that is why the cooperation and good feelings of the group left such an great impression. It was truly an honour to be part of this event.

(photo courtesy of Les Marmitons)
1.Morel Mushroom Soufflé

5 eggs separated
3 tbs butter
1/2 cup flour
1 scant cup milk
Salt and Pepper
1/4 + tsp grated nutmeg

1 cup mushrooms (options are morels, button, shitake, oyster, crimini or combination of any)
1-2 tbs butter
salt and pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts (optional - almonds)
splash(es) of vermouth
drizzle truffle oil

(Save some morels whole for sautéing and garnish of soufflés in ramekins)

Preheat oven to 400º. Butter and flour a soufflé dish. In a metal bowl over a saucepan with boiling water (1/4-1/2 inch water), make a basic bechamel sauce by whisking butter and flour together in bowl and adding the milk. Whisk until thickened, removing from heat as needed to prevent lumps or separating. Add salt and pepper and nutmeg. Stir in blended mushrooms and blended egg yolks. Beat egg whites to a stiff peak and fold in to the cheese sauce. Pour into soufflé dish and bake for 30 minutes. (less time for individual soufflés) Serve immediately.

(photo courtesy of Les Marmitons)

2. Vegetable Tagine with Bulgur Pilaf
(see top photo)
2 red peppers
3-4 carrots
1 head garlic cloves
1-2 Japanese eggplants (or 1 large globe eggplant)
1-2 yams
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup olives
1/2 pickled lemon RIND ONLY
2-3 tbs olive oil
2-3 tbs Ras el Hanout
splash rose water
1 tbs turmeric
salt and pepper and some water

2 cups bulgur
1 onion
2 tbs. olive oil
1/3 sliced almonds
1/2 cupAfghani Tut
good pinch Saffron in a few tablespoons milk
3 cups Water
salt and pepper

Thinly slice eggplant and salt if necessary. Seed and chop peppers into medium sized pieces. Peel and slice carrots. Slice onions into thin slices. Peel garlic and cut into large chunks if cloves are very large or keep whole if smaller sized. Peel and cube yams. Pit dates and olives if necessary. Remove lemon flesh from the peel and chop peel finely. Discard lemon flesh. Combine vegetables, dates, olives, lemon, olive oil , Ras el Hanout, rose water, turmeric, salt and pepper and about 1/4 cup of water in a large bowl. If you have salted the eggplant, rinse in cold water and squeeze out slices. Place vegetable mixture in a casserole dish or tajine. Cover and cook on stove top over medium heat, checking and stirring occasionally.

For the bulgur, slice onions thinly and sauté in olive oil until just browned. Add bulgur and mix in well with onions. Add water, almonds, tut, and salt and pepper. When it comes to a boil, add the milk/saffron mixture. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Fluff bulgur and plate as timbales with vegetable tagine.



Paper cones to wrap the wonton wrappers around are available at the Great Canadian Wholesaler on Ellice and Route 90 in Winnipeg. Pickled lemon, Ras el Hanout, rose water and many other spices are available at Halal Meat Centre & Specialty Foods at 206 Maryland St and Dino's Grocery Mart at 460 Notre Dame Avenue. Ras el Hanout will be available in the first week of June.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cooking Classes - Entrées

Last night I again had the pleasure of leading a cooking class. We prepared a number of entrées such as Salt baked Rainbow Trout, Marinated Lamb Kebabs, Grilled Bison Rib eye steaks with two herbed butters and Cheese Soufflé.

1. Salt Baked Rainbow Trout

(image from Google Images)

1 Small Rainbow Trout*
1/2 - 1 kg Course Sea Salt
3 tbs ground Lemon Grass*
Parchment Paper

Preheat oven to 400º. Fit parchment paper on to baking sheet and place whole fish on the paper. In a bowl, mix salt and lemon grass together. Add enough water to make a paste with the salt but not too much as to dissolve the salt. Pack the salt mixture over the fish. Bake at 400º for up to 20 minutes. The salt will start to brown slightly when done. Remove from the oven and crack open the salt dome. Brush aside the salt and place on a platter. Peel away the skin of the fish and you should have very moist, flavourful fish.

Some variations can include using other fresh herbs in the salt or smoky dry teas.

*Beautiful Rainbow Trout or other fish now available at Gimli Fish, located in Winnipeg at 596 Dufferin Ave. and 625 Pembina Hwy.
** Ground Lemon Grass is available in Winnipeg in the freezer section at Dino's Grocery Mart at 460 Notre Dame Avenue.


2. Grilled Marinated Lamb Shank Kebabs

(Image from Google Images)

1 lamb shank boned out or cubed for kebabs
4 blood oranges (options are: pomegranate juice/molasses, raspberry juice, cranberry)
1/2 cup red wine
4-6 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tbs Ras El Hanout*
1/3 cup good olive oil

For the reduction:
Juice of one blood orange
1/2 cup red wine
Salt and Pepper
1 tbs butter

1-2 days prior to cooking, prepare marinade and let lamb sit in the refrigerator in the marinade. If making boneless lamb shank whole, grill on hot BBQ for up to 10 minutes a side, turning for grill marks. If making kebabs, skewer meat and place on hot BBQ, turning after 5 minutes.

In a sauté pan, heat the juice, wine and season. Let cook and reduce for a few minutes before adding the butter. When meat has finished cooking, let rest on a platter. Drizzle the reduction over the meat. Serve with flat bread, rice or couscous.

* Ras El Hanout is a Moroccan spice blend available for sale at Halal Meat Centre & Specialty Foods at 206 Maryland St and Dino's Grocery Mart at 460 Notre Dame Avenue. Literally, Ras El Hanout means "Best of the Shop". I make this blend of 25 spices that matches beautifully with lamb and vegetable tagine dishes.


3. Grilled Bison Rib Eye steaks with herbed butter

Drizzle olive oil over steaks. Heat BBQ to high heat. For 1 inch thick steaks, cook for 4 minutes a side to get medium rare. Turn steaks at two minutes to get grill marks. Always let meat rest.

For the herbed butter:

1/2 cup Softened butter
1/2 tsp dried chipotle chilies
1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Blend ingredients and chill in plastic wrap in the refrigerator. Cut off small piece per steak and place on steak when the meat is resting.


1/2 roasted red pepper
1 pinch saffron
1/2 cup softened butter

Try fruits or favourite herbs for different butters.


4. Cheese Soufflé

5 eggs separated
3 tbs butter
1/2 cup flour
1 scant cup milk
Salt and Pepper
1/4 + tsp grated nutmeg
Cheeses (1/3 cup grated parmesan, 1/3 cup grated Cave Aged Gruyere, 1/3 cup grated Crotonese Cheese)

Preheat oven to 400º. Butter and flour a soufflé dish. In a metal bowl over a saucepan with boiling water (1/4-1/2 inch water), make a basic bechamel sauce by whisking butter and flour together in bowl and adding the milk. Whisk until thickened, removing from heat as needed to prevent lumps or separating. Add salt and pepper and nutmeg. Stir in cheeses and blended egg yolks. Beat egg whites to a stiff peak and fold in to the cheese sauce. Pour into soufflé dish and bake for 30 minutes.

Serve immediately.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

New tasting menu

(Crab Cones)

Tasting Menu

Bourbon Rabbit Liver Pate with Baguettes
Crab Cones
Paired with Trumpeter Brut Sparkling

Miso Turkey Vegetable

Kashmiri Goat Curry
Moroccan Lamb Chop with Blood Orange reduction and Couscous Timbale and Blood Orange/Fennel Relish
Paired with Cuumano Nero D'Avola

Scented warmed water for hand washing

Butternut/Sage Ravioli in Brown Butter
Bison Tenderloin Medallions in creamy Morel and King Oyster Mushroom sauce
Paired with Mazzoco Chardonnay and Beyerskloof Pinotage

Cheese Course

Meyers Lemon Curd Meringue Tarts
Paired with Marnier Pineau des Charentes

(Meyers Lemon Curd Meringue Tart)

Thank you Sheila Nash from the MLCC for the wine pairings.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Keralan Shrimp

Kerala Shrimp

Another wonderful recipe from Maria from Cochin, Kerala, South India

1/4 kg small shrimp
1 tsp ground chilies
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp vinegar

1 tbs cooking oil (grapeseed oil or canola so as to not add flavour)
1 large onion, chopped
a few curry leaves
1/4 tsp. paprika or chili powder (depending on how spicy you like the food)
1 tsp coconut oil (optional)

Clean and marinate shrimp in chilies, turmeric and vinegar at least 1/2 hour before cooking.

Heat oil in pan and sauté onion until golden brown. Remove from oil and set aside. Fry the shrimp in the same oil until crispy. Then add the fried onion, curry leaves and optional paprika or chili powder on low heat. Add the coconut oil for good Keralan flavour. Test for salt and serve with rice, roti or chappati, etc.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Cooking classes

I had the privilege to teach a class in appetizers to a group of women last night. These are some of what we prepared. (Above photo courtesy of Google images of carpaccio.)

One Bite Pickerel Cheeks on Potato Pancakes

This party appetizer is simple once all the preparations are made. Pickerel Cheeks and Golden Caviar are available at Gimli Fish Market at 596 Dufferin Ave. and 625 Pembina Hwy. in Winnipeg.

3 medium potatoes, peeled and shredded
1 onion, shredded
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour or maztah meal
salt and pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp paprika (optional)

Pickerel cheeks and vermouth or your favourite clear liquor.
Crème Fraiche
Golden Caviar

Mix potato pancake ingredients together and fry in pancake size in a little olive oil until golden brown on both sides. Remove from heat and using cookie cutters, cut bite sized pieces from the pancake.
Sauté pickerel cheeks and deglaze with vermouth.

Top each latke bite with a pickerel cheek, crème fraiche and golden caviar.


(image from Google images)

Spanikopita Triangles

Recipe By: Karen
Serving Size: 48
Preparation Time: 2:00

1 pkg filo dough
2 pkgs frozen spinach
1 white onions chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 c mushroom sliced
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp paprika
3 1/2 tbsps olive oil
1 1/2 c feta cheese crumbled
1 egg
pepper to taste
1/3 c butter

Thaw pastry in package. In advance, prepare filling. Sauté onion and garlic until translucent. Add mushrooms and sauté. Add thawed spinach and spices. Cook on medium-high heat until some of the water has cooked off. Add grated feta. Mix in one beaten egg. Remove from heat and cool.

To prepare pastries: Heat oven to 350F. Dampen tea towel. Cut rolled pastry into four equal parts and lay out on cutting board. Cover with dampened towel. Melt butter and set aside with pastry brush. Fill pastries in desired shapes (triangles, pockets, in muffin or cupcake tins, etc). Brush pastries with melted butter before filo turns papery. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.


Per serving: 36 Calories; 3g Fat (77% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; 10mg Cholesterol; 76mg Sodium

Patliçan Yogürtlü

Recipe By: Karen
Serving Size: 6
Preparation Time: 0:30

1 lg eggplant sliced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 c plain yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt

Slice and salt eggplant and let sit in a bowl of cold water. If eggplant is very young, skip the step of salt and water. Rinse and squeeze out water from slices.

Mince garlic and stir into yoghurt with salt.

Sauté eggplant slices on medium high heat until golden brown on both sides. Remove from pan and let sit for a moment on a paper towel. Place on platter and top with yoghurt mixture. Sprinkle rubbed oregano and paprika over yoghurt. Top with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with baguette slices or water crackers.


Per serving: 73 Calories; 4g Fat (50% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 7mg Cholesterol; 117mg Sodium

Bison Carpaccio

Recipe By: Karen
Serving Size: 10
Preparation Time: 0:20

8 ozs tenderloin frozen
2 cloves garlic minced
1/3 c pomegranate molasses
1/3 c vinegar (shallot, raspberry, etc)
2/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp truffle oil optional
1/4 tsp truffle salt optional
1 tbsp fig preserve (or pear)

Mix last 7 ingredients together and set aside. Thinly slice tenderloin piece. You can use bison, elk or beef tenderloin. Arrange slices on a platter and drizzle vinaigrette over meat. Garnish with fresh berries or green onions. Serve with baguette slices or water crackers.


Per serving: 128 Calories; 14g Fat (99% calories from fat); 0g Protein; 0g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 0mg Sodium

Thanks also to Sheila Nash from the MLCC for the following wine parings.

For the Phyllo pastries I'd suggest St Nicolas de Bourguire ( France)
Domaine du Salvard cheverny (Chardonnay/ Sauvignon Blanc from France)
For the Bison dish: Parducci Petite Sirah (USA)
Willow Heights Sur Lie Chardonnay (Canada)
Mini Latkes : Flagstone Noon Gun ( A blend riesling, chardonnay,Pinot blanc, Sauvignon Blanc & semillion from South Africa)
Chat en Ouef Cote du Rhone (blend of Syrah, Grenach from France )
And the Turkish Eggplant
Balthasar ress Riesling ( Germany )
St Hallet Gameskeeper (Aussie)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Kerala Fish Molley

Fish Molley

Serves 2
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
3 small pieces of cassia or 1 small cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods
5 cloves
1 tomato, quartered
1 red onion, cut in half and sliced thickly
1 green chilli, sliced halfway down
4 shallots, sliced through the root( used in the end
for seasoning)
3-4 fresh curry leaves
1/2 lime(used in the end of cooking)
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut cream
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric powder

Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Add the cassia, cardamom, cloves for seasoning. When the cardamom pods swell up and absorb the flavour, add the quartered tomato and fry for a few minutes. Remove the tomatoes, add the onions and green chilli to the same oil and stir. Add the crushed garlic and fry for 5 minutes,then add the ginger. ( never add ginger and garlic together as the garlic needs to cook for longer.) Lower the flame and sprinkle generous 1 teaspoon of turmeric over the onions, then stir and raise the flame.After the garlic is fried add the white flour 1/2 teaspoon and crushed ginger and a few curry leaves ,and fry a bit then,

Add the diluted coconut milk to the pan where the onions and garlic are fried and allow to bubble up,keep on stirring till the milk bubbles or else the coconut milk curdles . Bring to the boil, stirring all the time and add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar.If
using a whole fish, make slashes on the sides ,If your pan is big to fill the fish use the same pan, Once you add the fish you can’t stir with a spoon. The fish should be just covered with coconut milk –cook gently for about 5 minutes,just swaying the dish from side to side. (If the fish sauce needs more sour taste add lime juice off the flame or else it will become bitter.)

Add the coconut cream, swirl and bring back to the boil. Taste and add more salt if necessary. The coconut cream may dull the salt.

To finish, In a different pan , put a few teaspoons of oil , add sliced shallots. Brown a little(4nos) shallots and add some curry leaves. Pour over the top of the fish sauce. Add the quartered fried tomatoes.

Eat hot or at room temperature with rice or any bread.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Kerala vegetables - Thoren

1. Thoren
Thoren is Kerala’s best known dish. Cabbage, carrots,
pumpkin and beans can be used in this Keralean
vegetable dish. Grated cabbage and carrots and finely
sliced beans can be mixed, but pumpkin should be kept

1 cup of freshly grated coconut (1/2 cup of
unsweetened desiccated coconut)
250g cabbage, thinly sliced
2 large cloves garlic,
1 green chilli
1/2tsp cumin seeds (make a paste of the above mentioned garlic , cumin and green chilli using a little water this is the masala paste)
1/4 teaspoon chopped ginger (this is used only for cabbage to remove the raw smell of cabbage.
5 shallots (8 if small), cut in half and sliced lengthwise
3 or 4 fresh curry leaves
2 or 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds

I use a stone rolling pin on a flat grinding stone to grind the cumin seeds with the garlic, cloves and chilli with a little water until it makes a wetish paste. you can use a pestle and mortar. (or small blender)

Shallots: slices 1 side first then turns it on its side

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok, add 1/2 teaspoon of black mustard seeds when oil is hot. When the seeds have finished popping lower the flame and add the sliced shallots , then add the masala that is (paste of garlic ,cumin and green chilli) and chopped ginger. Cook for a minute or two. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon turmeric on top of the shallots , not directly to the oil. Stir then mix the shallots and masala paste well, Fry the masala paste mixture for 1 minute, then add the curry leaves. Add the finely sliced cabbage and toss. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, taste and add more if necessary. Lower the flame and add the coconut. Stir well. Cover and cook over a low flame for 5 minutes.
When it is cooked, leave the lid slightly ajar.

Eat cold.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

National Geographic Ads 1934

I found these ads for Coca Cola and Corn Flakes in a 1934 National Geographic. The small print isn't too easy to read but I just loved these for what they emphasize. Click on the photo for a larger version to read the text. The Corn Flakes suggests their product as a supper for children. Also, why did the NRA endorse the Corn Flakes product? Coca Cola is so pure and natural.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Kerala Crab Curry

(Image from Google Images)
One more lovely Kerala recipe from Maria.

South Indian Crab Curry - 1kg
Clean and quarter crab
1/4 oil
2 big onions, chopped and smashed (traditionally done on a large stone)
20 curry leaves
6 green chillies, slit
10 small cloves of garlic, smashed
2 tbs. chile powder
3 tbs. corriander powder
1/2 tbs. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. pepper powder
2 tbs. garam masala

1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt to or to taste

In a large skillet heat the oil and add the onions, smashed garlic and green chili. After some time add the smashed ginger until they are soft. Chili can be added as per how spicy you like it. When cooked through, add the quartered crab and cook until done (red shelled).

Spices can be purchased at a variety of stores. Fresh curry leaves are available at Dino's Grocery Mart on Notre Dame Ave. in Winnipeg.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Kerala Recipes from Maria

(Images from Google Images)
My dear friend Maria from Cochin, Kerala, South India, generously sent me 8 lovely recipes that I'm sharing with you now.
1. Seared Kingfish or Pompfret fish, (Fish masala fry)

2 x 3/4 inch (2cm) cutlets White fish
1/2 teaspoon garlic paste
1/4 teaspoon ginger paste
1/4 teaspoon crushed pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed make paste with water (always
make paste with a little water)

Put all the ingredients onto a plate in a little pile.
Sprinkle over the vinegar and mix to a paste with the fingers.
Pat the masala evenly over the sides of the fish and marinate for minimum 1/2 an hour and better still for 4-5 hours.

When ready to Fry, Put 2 tablespoons oil in a pan on a high heat. Sprinkle the fish with a little(pinch) salt more on both the sides of fish , reduce the heat and add the fish. Dip fish in oil on one side, turn over onto the other side and back again so it doesn’t stick to the pan. Increase the heat medium flame and cook for 5 minutes on one side, then 5 minutes on the other.

Eat with rice. Thoren

2. Kerala Chicken Masala Fry

2 chicken breasts
Scant 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 level teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon garlic paste (crushed garlic)
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Put all the ingredients together on a plate and mix with the fingers. Rub into the chicken breasts (skin off, but still on the bone and slashed). Marinate for a minimum of 1/2 hour - longer is better.

After each marination, add a bit of salt on both the sides that is a very small pinch ,as the salt that is added earlier will have been soaked in .

Heat some oil in a wok to a medium heat. Dip the pieces of chicken backwards and forwards in the hot oil so they won’t stick and continue to cook. Can be cooked in the oven also.If using in the oven just drip very little oil over the chicken piece.

3. Chicken Masala
Serves 2

4or 5 tablespoons oil
a few small bits of cassia
2 cloves
2 onions, halved and sliced
1 heaped teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 green chilli, slit
1 heaped teaspoon crushed ginger
4 teaspoons corriander powder
Small bunch of corriander leaves
1 semi heaped teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 chicken thighs
2 chicken drumsticks
2 tomatoes, sliced into strips

Ten minutes before cooking, sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon chilli powder pinch of black pepper and a little salt little 1/2 teaspoon wine vinegar over the chicken pieces , and coat well.

Put 4 or5 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. When the oil is hot add a couple of small bits of cassia and 2cloves, then add the onions and garlic paste and the green chilli. Stir for a minute or two and lower the flame. (Always lower the flame before adding any powdered spices.)

Add 1 teaspoon turmeric on top of the onions, stir, then increase the heat. (With a dry dish use less turmeric, and with a wet dish use more turmeric). Stir and cook for 5 minutes to cook the garlic. Add 1 well heaped teaspoon of crushed ginger, cook for 1 minute. Reduce heat and add 4 teaspoons of freshly ground corriander powder, stir for a few seconds then raise the flame to fry the corriander powder well so it loses its raw taste. (Chilli powder frys very fast, so only add it at the end.) Lower the flame again and add 1 semi-heaped teaspoon garam masala powder, then stir for a few seconds then raise the
heat, stir again and fry the masala for 1 minute. Lower the flame, add 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder (or 1/2 teaspoon paprika) then 1/2 teaspoon salt on top of the onions. Mix and raise the flame again.

Add the sliced tomatoes and stir. Fry to soften the tomatoes well for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken and coat well with the masala and tomato,and a little water 1/4 glass.And cook the chicken covered in medium flame , stir slowly in between when the chicken is cooked add the corriander leaves and just warm up a bit .( If you don’t want the dish to be too spicy, add 1/2 cup of coconut cream at the end.)

(If you want the chicken masala with sauce and not spicy you can add 1 cup of coconut cream in the end instead of 1/2 cup).when ready check the sauce for salt and sourness ,if needed could be added a bit.

4. Garam Masala Powder

50g fennel seeds
5 cardamom pods
6 cloves
4 flat cinnamon (cassia) sticks size of your pointed finger.

Roast in a dry pan on a very low flame. And then blend in a dry blender till powdered well. Use within 1 month. Store in a sealed container.

5. Okra Pepper fry
Serves 2-4

10 okra
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper powder
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 pinches of salt

Wash, top and tail the okra and make a slit with a knife on three sides. Mix the spices with your hands and toss the okra in the spice mixture and allow to marinade for 10 minutes. Just before serving, fry in a little butter or oil over a medium heat for 2-5 minutes. The okra will be slightly brown. Serve with fried chicken or fish fry and some potato fry.

6. Rice – cooked with spice

Serves 2

1 cup Jeera rice (like Basmati but smaller, wash to remove starch)
2 cups of hot water or a little more 1/4 cup more
4 bits of cassia
4 cardamom pods
5 cloves
1 teaspoon salt

Break the cassia into pieces. Heat a casserole on a high heat and add 1 or two tablespoon of oil . Lower the flame and add the cassia, cardamom and cloves, stir to pop. Add 1/4 teaspoon flat turmeric in very low flame , stir then add the washed and drained rice and raise flame and fry for a few minutes . Add 2 cups of hot water and 1/4 cup more, add a generous
teaspoon salt the water should be salty. Cover and cook for approximately 10 minutes in medium heat or until the rice absorbs all the liquid. Remove the lid, stir, cover and leave to relax for 10 minutes.

with Love,

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Easy Savoury Tarts

In the image shown above, tarts with chevré, sautéed button and shitake mushrooms, caramelized shallots with dried Okanagan Cherry reduction.

1. Caramelized shallots
port or wine
drizzle olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Take the skins and ends off of the shallots and place them in a shallow baking dish. Add remaining ingredients and bake at 350ºF oven for up to one hour or until the shallots are soft. Enjoy in a number of options or as a garnish to meats and vegetables.

2. Dried Okanagan Cherry reduction
1 cup tart dried Okanagan cherries *
1 cup port
1 tbs chopped fresh rosemary
2 tbs butter
1 cup dry red wine or port
Soak cherries in port over night or for several hours.
In a sauce pan, heat soaked cherries and add wine or port and rosemary. Bring to a boil and add butter. Remove from heat and purée. Use on tarts or as a drizzle for meats or poultry.

3. Sautéed Mushrooms
1 cup button mushrooms
1/2 cup fresh Shitake Mushrooms
Gently remove the stems from the shitake mushrooms and slice all of the mushrooms. Sauté mushrooms in a small amount of good olive oil or butter. Add salt and pepper to taste. Near the end of cooking the mushrooms when they are soft thoughout, deglaze pan with a healthy splash of dry vermouth.

4. Tarts
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Assemble tarts by spooning a small amount of chevré into each shell. Add sautéed mushrooms and place caramelized shallots into each tart. Top with a teaspoon of cherry reduction. Bake for about 15 minutes or until pastry is browned. Enjoy hot, warm or cold. Can be prepared in advance.


*Dried Okanagan Cherries are available in Winnipeg at DeLuca's Specialty Foods - Cooking School & Restaurant at 950 Portage Ave. (204)774-7617. For West Coast American relatives, Dried Washington Cherries are likely quite wonderful.