Search This Blog

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pesto Pesto Pesto - This weekend on CBC Radio

I had the pleasure of presenting the uses of Pesto and its variants on CBC Weekend morning with Kerän Sanders. Enjoy pesto with a variety of herbs in so many ways.

Basic Pesto
A basic Pesto recipe is so easy to adapt to many available herbs. I love Arugula Pesto as well. For Arugula, use some spinach in the mix to round out the flavour of any particularly peppery variety as well as a splash of lemon juice. For Basil Pesto, I like to use Sweet, Vietnamese, Purple, and many other varieties in the mix to make a complex flavour.

1/4 lb fresh basil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup toasted pinenuts (can use almonds)
1/3 cup Parmesan, grated
1/3 cup good olive oil
salt and pepper (cheese is salty so use very little salt)

Blend together into a paste. Freeze for later use or toss in pasta, on grilled meats, etc.

Halibut Papillote
1 fillet Halibut
Good amount of pesto (basil, arugula, etc)
salt and pepper
Parchment paper
drizzle olive oil

Preheat oven to 350º. Place filet on parchment paper and spoon a good amount of pesto on top of fillet. Seal paper as a package for each serving. Bake for ~ 14-16 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.

Pea Shoot Pesto
1/4 lb fresh, young pea shoots
1 bunch chives, chopped (or spring onion)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup toasted pinenuts

to serve:
1 lb hot cooked pasta (try Nature's Pasta!)
1/2 lb peeled, grilled shrimp (optional)(simple recipe follows)
garnish: additional pea shoots

Place the pea shoots, chives, garlic, cheese, olive oil, pine nuts salt and pepper in a food processor or blender, pulse until a thick paste forms. Toss with 1 lb cooked pasta, additional pea shoots and shrimp.

Yield: about 4 servings

One can use Pesto for a variety of applications as well. I love it in pasta but I often use it in other soups and sauces as well as stuffed in Chicken Breasts, or stuffed in Lamb Chops. When you are letting your BBQ’d steak rest, spoon a small amount onto the steak and let it melt into the grilled meat.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Your moment of soup epiphany, a query

The other day I had a terrible bowl of soup. Terrible in so far as to show that the chef didn't care. It tasted like flour. Not to dwell on that negativity, I thought of moments in soup that were truly extraordinary. I think that soup should contain a universe of flavour in the microcosm. A lot to ask out of a bowl, I realize, but there have been moments of transcendence in the experience of soup.

As a chef, I have experienced this in the creation and development of a clear porcini mushroom consommé. I want the taster to have their attention diverted to the experience and not have it as a casual experience waiting for the next course. As a diner, when I was still a vegetarian, my husband arranged for me to have a dinner for a special birthday at Mirlycourtois, a French restaurant in Winnipeg. The chef prepared the stock and soup for the event and the tasting of it gave such joy, I could have cried.

While for some of you, this may seem rather unbalanced. All the same, I am curious as to your moment of soup. Please share in the comments section.


Saturday, April 03, 2010

Penne l'Arrabiata on CBC this morning

This morning I had the pleasure of presenting Penne l'Arrabiata CBC Weekend morning with Kerän Sanders. Yes, it was prerecorded as I just had a baby and was still in the hospital. All is well and this spicy pasta dish can be adjusted to your level of comfort. Cheese can be optional for vegan diets.


Penne l’Arrabiata

1 onion, finely chopped
Olive oil
1 cup good black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
2 cups tomato puree
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs hot pepper flakes
½ - 1 cup red wine
Salt, to taste
½ tbs brown sugar
½ cup chevre
Cooked pasta

Saute onion until translucent. Add olives and cook for a couple of minutes. Add tomato, garlic and chillies. Add red wine to desired thickness of sauce. Stir in salt and brown sugar. Mix with pasta and drop in bits of chevre.