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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fish Molley - an easy and delicious recipe from Kerala

This morning I had the great pleasure of presenting a Kerala recipe called Fish Molley on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with host Kerän Sanders and co-host Jan Harding-Jeanson. It is quite easy to make and so worth it.

(Fish Molley - photo by Karen)

Fish Molley - a Kerala recipe

Serves 4

4 Halibut steaks (available at Gimli Fish - or ask about other fish to try with this recipe such as white fish, pickerel, kingfish, etc.)

2 tablespoons sunflower oil
3 small pieces of cassia or 1 small cinnamon stick
4 cardamom pods
5 cloves
2 tomatoes, quartered *
1 red onion, cut in half and sliced thickly
1 green chili, 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, method follows, use whole recipe amount
~1/2 cup coconut cream, method follows, use whole recipe amount
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, and 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 chili to the same oil and stir. Add the crushed garlic and fry for 5 minutes, and then add the ginger. (Never add ginger and garlic together as the garlic needs to cook for longer.) Lower to medium-low heat and sprinkle generous 1 teaspoon of turmeric over the onions, then stir and raise to medium-high heat. 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, 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 heat 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 few shallots and add some curry leaves. Pour over the top of the fish sauce. Add the quartered fried tomatoes.

*I used frozen tomatoes for this recipe and added them at the end without first frying them.

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

To make coconut cream and milk:

Coconut Cream or First milk
1 cup unsweetened coconut (excellent dried coconut from Dino's on Notre Dame)
1 cup very hot water

In a blender, blend at high speed for a few minutes and then strain, reserving coconut. This is your first coconut milk or cream.

2nd milk

Return blended coconut to blender and ad 1 1/2 - 2 cups very hot water. Blend at high speed for a few minutes. Strain. This is your second coconut milk that is used for cooking.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lasagnas on CBC's Weekend Morning Show

This morning I had the pleasure of presenting a nice earthy lasagna on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with host Kerän Sanders. Traditional Italian lasagna does not have beef but rather a mixture of ground veal and ground pork. It is also not made with ricotta or cottage cheeses. Therefore, these are Canadian versions of lasagna, one with ground elk and one with beef and ground pork. You could also make it with all beef if you would like to leave out pork.

(Elk Lasagna/Photo by Karen)
Karen's Canadian Lasagna

1 pkg lasagna noodles (or make fresh pasta)
2 lbs ground elk
1 tbs olive oil
8 large oven roasted tomatoes or large can of tomatoes
1 head roasted garlic
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tbs brown sugar
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
salt, to taste
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (or 2 tbs dried)
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried chilies (optional)
1 tsp fresh or dried rosemary
1/2 - 1 cup red wine
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 500 ml package ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a large saucepot, brown ground meat in olive oil over medium high heat. Remove meat from pot and set aside. Add olive oil to pot and slowly brown onions. Then add tomatoes (with water or juice), spices, roasted garlic, brown sugar and red wine. Purée sauce and add dried porcini mushrooms and meat back to the sauce. Simmer until well incorporated.

In a 9x13 inch baking dish, place 2 layers of noodles on the bottom of dish; layer 1/2 of the ricotta cheese, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese and 1/2 of the sauce; repeat layers.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes; let stand for 10 minutes before cutting; serve.

Classic Canadian Lasagna

1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles (can use oven-ready variety and skip boiling)
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound lean ground beef (*Can use only beef, if desired)
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup minced onion
1/8 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 pound small curd cottage cheese
3 eggs
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside.
2. Place pork and beef in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Stir in tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, parsley, garlic, oregano, onion, sugar, basil and salt. Simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. In a large bowl, combine cottage cheese, eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.
4. In a 9x13 inch baking dish, place 2 layers of noodles on the bottom of dish; layer 1/2 of the cheese mixture, 1/2 of the mozzarella cheese and 1/2 of the sauce; repeat layers.
5. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes; let stand for 10 minutes before cutting; serve.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Warming Soups for Winter for the Assiniboine Park Conservacy

Last night I had the pleasure of presenting 5 warming soups for winter at the Madison
Square MLCC for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy. MLCC Product Ambassador, Gary Dawyduk presented pairings for each dish and Assiniboine Park Conservancy Educator, Bonnie Tulloch, presented on the plants and herbs represented in each dish.

Winter will come and having soups will make it all the more enjoyable.

To Start:
Scarlett O’Hara cocktail
2 oz. Southern Comfort Liqueur (#105601, $21.99)
6 oz. Cranberry juice
dash of lime juice
mix ingredients into an ice-filled glass, add dash of lemon juice

First: Vietnamese Sour Soup
1) Sauvignon Blanc Wairau Valley 2008 – Wither Hills (#3620) $17.95
1a) Ossian Bitter Beer (500ml, #9602) $3.84

Second: Curried (Butternut) Squash Soup
2) Pinot Gris 2008 – Sandhill (#626002) $16.99
2a) Great Lakes Brewery Pumpkin Ale (650ml, #9656) $6.33

Third: Leek and Potato Soup
3) Pinot Grigio Alto Adige 2009 – Santa Margherita (#2125) $16.74

Fourth: Roasted Red Pepper Soup
4) Negra Modelo Lager (325ml, #5615) $1.83
4a) Earth, Zin & Fire Zinfandel 2008 (#5301) $18.51

Fifth: Yellow Split Pea Soup with Rosemary
5) Château Saint-Germain Bordeaux Superieur (#152587) $14.99

To Finish:
6) Agent Orange cocktail
1 ½ oz. Southern Comfort (#105601, $21.99)
1 ½ oz. Bailey’s Cream Liqueur (#5959, $18.39)
1 oz. Kahlua Coffee Liqueur (#389, $26.99)
Fill a tumbler with ice, add all ingredients; stir and serve

Vietnamese Sour Soup (makes 6 servings)

1 can pineapple rings, in juice, drained and cut
4 cups vegetable broth (from stock or low-salt bouillon)
3 tomatoes, canned with juice
4 tbs white vinegar
2-4 tbs hot sauce (Vietnamese Ot Toi e.g.)
2 tbs brown sugar
3 tbs Mirin
2 tbs Black Vinegar (for vegetarians, fish sauce for non-vegetarians)

Filling Options:
1 pkg tofu, cubed and fried or plain
2 cups bean sprouts
1-2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 lotus root, green shoots sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced on the bias
Water chestnuts

Garnish with 1 bunch fresh Thai Basil

Non-vegetarian filling options:
Shrimp, scallops, grilled chicken, etc.

Drain pineapple juice into soup pot and reserve pineapple for later. Mix broth, juice, vinegars, hot sauce, tomatoes, brown sugar and Mirin. Bring to a boil. 5 - 10 minutes prior to serving add filling options and bring to boil again. Serve and garnish with basil.


Curried (Butternut) Squash Soup

1 Squash, seeded and baked (small to medium sized)
1 medium onion, diced
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
2 tbs curry spices (add a pinch extra ground cinnamon and ground cloves)
4-6 cups broth (test thickness of soup)
1 cup yoghurt
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Sauté onions in a soup pot until soft. Add ginger and curry spices. On medium heat, mix in baked squash and add broth. Bring to a gentle boil. Stir in yoghurt. Remove from heat and let cool. Using an immersion blender or in a food processor, purée soup. Garnish with a bit of yoghurt.

Leek and Potato Soup

3-4 Leek whites, sliced
4-5 medium white or yellow potatoes, peeled and diced (keep in cold water to prevent browning)
1 head roasted garlic
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground white pepper
1 tbs dried tarragon or 2 tbs fresh
Salt, to taste
1 litre broth (low-sodium chicken or vegetable, e.g.)
1 cup whipping cream
1 tbs olive oil

In a soup pot, sauté the sliced leek whites with the olive oil on medium heat until they are softened and begin to turn translucent. Add diced potatoes and stir. Add seasoning and broth and bring to a boil. When the potatoes are soft, add the cream. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender or in a food processor, purée the soup. Return to stove and serve hot.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

4 red peppers, roasted, seeded and peeled
1 large oven roasted yam or sweet potato
1 head roasted garlic
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated
1 can tomatoes
2-3 cups broth
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
Optional: 1 pinch saffron

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add butter and olive oil. Sauté onions until light brown in colour and add remaining ingredients. Cook until well incorporated and purée using an immersion blender or transfer to a blender or food processor.

Garnish with crouton or crème fraiche and/or crispy fried herbs.


Yellow Split Pea Soup with Rosemary

1 large onion, chopped
1 tbs olive oil
2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, whole
2 cups yellow lentils (try varieties such as green split peas, red lentils, etc.)
1 tsp salt (to taste)
Pepper, to taste
4-6 cups water or broth

For meat based soups, try: 1/2 peeled Farmer's Sausage, 1 cup whole pancetta, thick slab bacon, ham, or any of your favourite smoked pork product)

Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat and add olive oil, onion, carrots, celery, rosemary and optional meat. Sauté until soft. Add lentils and stir through. Add water or broth and bring to a boil. DO NOT ADD SALT YET!

When lentils are soft, remove rosemary sprigs and optional meat. You may, at this time, choose to purée the soup and adjust the liquid content. Lentils will continue to expand so allow for that when adjusting for thickness of soup. Chop up meat and add back to soup if using meat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy on a cold day with some hot toast on the side.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Truffled Eggs and preparing for Thanksgiving

I had the great pleasure this morning of presenting delicate and decadent scrambled eggs topped with local golden caviar on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with host Kerän Sanders. Try this with either farm fresh eggs or the wonderful Vita Omega 3 eggs, produced near Steinbach.

I also presented some ideas for Thanksgiving for next week. Many of the steps to prepare the turkey and stuffing can be done days in advance so that the day of the feast is less stressful.

Truffled (excellent) Eggs

2 eggs per person - recipe for 2 people

4 eggs (farm fresh or Vita Omega 3 eggs are excellent)
1/4 cup cream (Notre Dame Dairies)
Options: fresh chopped chives, spice blends such as Ras el Hanout
pinch salt and pepper (try white pepper)
butter, for sauté pan (Notre Dame Dairies)
dollop of local caviar, for plating (Gimli Fish)
more options: truffle salt, truffle oil

In a bowl, whisk eggs, cream, optional spices or herbs and salt and pepper. Heat sauté pan on medium high heat and melt butter. Pour eggs into pan. If using an electric stove, keep pan on stove but turn off heat. If using gas, turn to lowest setting. Fold the eggs until almost set and creamy texture. Place on plate and top with a spoon full of caviar. Serve immediately. Truffle oil can be added on the plate or in the pan using sparingly.


Southwestern Turkey with Garlic-Ancho Chili Paste and Southwestern Corn Bread Stuffing

Garlic-Ancho Chili Paste

3 large heads garlic, roasted
3 large dried ancho chilies (dry roast, pour boiling water over in a bowl, stemmed and seeded and cut into pieces)
1/2 cup olive or canola oil
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin (toasted)
1/2 cup honey

Squeeze roasted garlic into measuring cup for 1/2 cup measure. Reserve remaining garlic. Blend into a purée. Add chili pieces, oil, cumin and honey and blend into a paste, adding olive oil and/or honey as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Can be made up to a week in advance.


1 17 - 18-pound turkey, neck and giblets reserved
1 turkey neck
2 tbs olive or canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
3-5 cups low salt chicken broth

Pat turkey dry. Season with salt and pepper. Slide hand under skin of turkey breast to loosen skin. Spread 1/2 cup of the garlic-chili paste over the breast under the skin using gloves. If stuffing turkey, spoon stuffing into the cavities. Rub two tablespoons of the paste all over the outside of the turkey. Reserve any remaining paste for gravy. Tie legs together loosely to hold shape of turkey. Place on rack set in roasting pan. This can be done 1 day in advance if not stuffing the turkey.

In a skillet, sauté turkey neck and giblets over high heat and add to the roaster. Add spices, celery, tomatoes and onions and any reserved garlic into the pan. Add 2 cups of the broth, keeping the rest for basting. Roast turkey for 1 1/2 hours at 325ºF and then tent the turkey to cook with heavy aluminum foil for about 1 hour 40 minutes for unstuffed turkey and 2 hours 25 minutes for stuffed turkey or until the thickest part of the turkey is 180ºF or until the juices run clear. Baste from time to time with the broth.

When turkey is fully cooked, remove from oven, keep tented and let rest for 15 - 20 minutes before carving.

Southwestern Corn Bread Stuffing

Buttermilk Corn Bread

Make this a day in advance.

2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup sifted all purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, diced
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Butter a 9x9x2 inch baking pan. Mix first 6 ingredients in a processor or mixer. Add butter and cut in until it resembles coarse meal. Beat buttermilk and eggs in a large bowl to blend and add cornmeal mixture to milk/egg mixture and blend. Transfer to pan.

Bake until corn bread is light golden brown on top and toothpick comes out clean when testing, about 30 minutes.


1 Buttermilk Corn Bread recipe
6 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cups chopped green bell peppers
4 large poblano chilies, stemmed, seeded and chopped
3 large jalapeño chilies, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage or 4 teaspoons dried rubbed sage
2 tablespoons dried oregano
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 /12 cups crushed tortilla chips
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
3 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 1/4 cups canned cream-style corn

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Cut cornbread into 4 equal pieces and crumble 3 of the pieces onto a large baking sheet. Reserve remaining 1/4 for another use. Bake until dry, about 20 minutes and transfer to a very large bowl.

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, peppers, all chilies, herbs and sauté until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl with corn bread. Mix in cilantro, tortillas and corn kernels. Season to taste.

If stuffing in turkey, add cream-style corn and fill cavities. Spoon remaining stuffing into dish and cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes covered and then bake uncovered for ~ 15 minutes.

To bake all of the stuffing in a pan, butter a 13x9x2 inch pan and place stuffing in and cover. Bake covered for ~ 45 minutes, uncover and bake until beginning to brown, ~ 20 minutes.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!