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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Easy bread for the holidays! Focaccia

This bread was made daily in my recent restaurant and I want to share the recipe because it is so easy and yields excellent results.

Focaccia (Rosemary)
4 1/2 tsp yeast (2 pkgs)
2 cups warm water (110ºF)
1 tbs sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tsp salt
2 tbs chopped fresh rosemary, 3 tbs chopped fresh sage, or 3 tbs chopped mixed herbs (optional)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for brushing the dough
Coarse sea salt

If using instant yeast, combine last in bowl with all of the dry ingredients and then add to the mixing bowl with the warm water and olive oil.  If using non-instant, let bloom in warm water with olive oil and sugar.

Using a dough hook on your mixer, combine the dry ingredients to the wet and mix on low until the dough is soft and pliable and comes off of the bowl to form a ball.  Turn dough out onto counter with a dusting of flour and knead.  Dough needs human hands.  Dough needs the love.

Preheat oven to 475ºF.  Let dough rise in an oiled bowl covered and in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until at least doubled.  Spread dough out onto baking sheet (9X13) and let rise for 30 minutes.  Dimple the dough with your fingertips, brush with oil and sprinkle with course sea salt and  additional optional herbs or:  nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, spring onions, chives, olives, sauteéd red onions, roasted garlic, etc.

Place dough in oven and reduce the temperature to 375ºF and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until light golden.  If baking in a ceramic dish, add up to 7 additional minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Christmas from around the world with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC

Tonight I will be presenting the following recipes for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy at the Madison Square MLCC on the theme of Christmas from around the world.  I did suggest local Golden Caviar as an option for the Latkes but, alas, it is no longer available in Canada.  It is all shipped to Europe and they won't make a local run as packaging costs too much.  

Bonnie Tulloch, of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, will be presenting on the different plants represented in the foods and Jody Twomey of the Manitoba Lotteries and Liquor will be presenting beverage pairings.  Enjoy!  Happy Holidays! 

1. Caramelized Shallot Tarts, a taste of Provence

port or wine
rosemary or thyme
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 or, combine with Okanagan Cherry reduction in tarts:

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.

2. Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

Potato pancakes are served in Germany, Russia, many parts of Eastern Europe and Israel.  They can be found in Christmas markets and homes.

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)

Optional:  Golden Caviar (Available at Gimli Fish)

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.

Top each latke bite with crème fraiche and golden caviar.

3. Spanikoptia Triangles, served as bites for entertaining or “Lasagna style”.  A taste from Greece

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 tbs 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.

4. Toasted Panettone with Barolo Poached Pears

You can cook the pears the day before and re-heat them on Christmas Day.
Barolo wine (or a Piedmont wine such as Barbera) 400ml
lemon rind (unwaxed) 2 strips
orange rind (unwaxed) 2 strips
cloves 2
bay leaf 1
caster sugar 200g
ripe pears such as Williams - do not peel just wash, then cut in half 2
panettone 4 slices, to serve

Add all the ingredients, except the pears and panettone, and 180ml water to a pan that will hold the fruit. Bring slowly to the boil and stir to dissolve the sugar, then boil for 15 minutes. Lower the heat, add the pear halves, and simmer for about 30 minutes until the pears are tender – when you can pierce them easily with a knife. Keep the liquid for later. Chill the pears and re-heat in the liquid.
Toast 4 slices of panettone and place on four plates, add 1 piece of hot pear on top and ladle over a little hot poaching liquid. Optional:  Serve with mascarpone or ice cream.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Turkish Delights for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC

Tomorrow I will be presenting the following recipes for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy and the MLCC.  That is, with one exception but I'll put both recipes up.  I just couldn't get a hold of enough eggplant for two recipes.  I will be presenting the first recipe but instead of the Toenail of a Dog, I will make Pomegranate White Bean dip.  So easy to prepare and a big flavour for people expecting bland beans.   

Karen Lind, Education Coordinator from the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, presented on spices and plants of the different regions of Turkey and Jody Twomey, of the Manitoba Liquor Marts, presented lovely beverage pairings for each dish as well as a Welcome Cocktail of Cotton Candy Vodka, Frangelico and pomegranate seeds for a Turkish Delight in a Martini Glass.

1. Patliçan Yogürtlü
Paired with Ogio Prosecco DOC $16.82

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.


2. Toenail of a dog - Köpeğoğlu

1 globe eggplant
1 red pepper
1 leek
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbs olive oil
1/3 cup tahini
1 cup yoghurt
1 tbs dried oregano
Salt and pepper

Wash the eggplant and prick all over with a fork. Drizzle oil over eggplant, whole pepper and the white of the leek. Roast in a hot BBQ, turning occasionally. Remove eggplant when soft. Remove red pepper when blackened and leek when soft and caramelized. Cube eggplant with skin on. Peel blackened skin off of pepper and chop. Slice leek into thin rounds. Mix all ingredients together and chill until serving. Serve with French bread or a baguette.


2.1 Pomegranate White Bean Dip
Paired with Efes Pilsen Lager $2.73
2 cups cooked white navy beans (aka, canelini)
1/2 cup pomegranate juice (unsweetened) or a bit less pomegranate molasses (paste)
Pinch salt, to taste
minced garlic, optional

Purée ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Serve with breads.  Top with pomegranate seeds or paprika and/or olive oil.  Enjoy!

3. Pickerel with Raki
Paired with Tukulu Chenin Blanc $12.85
4 filets pickerel
2 tomatoes
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup (less) olive oil
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup fish stock
salt and white pepper, to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 bunch dill
2 tsp raki (Ouzo)

Heat skillet and sauté the garlic and add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add bay leaves. Add the vegetables, pour over the stock and simmer for 2 minutes

Season the fish with salt and pepper and place on top of the vegetables. Simmer for about 4 minutes. Chop the dill. Add lemon juice, chopped dill and raki and simmer for about 2 minutes. Arrange the fish and vegetables on a serving dish and serve immediately.

4. Turkish Pumpkin Dessert (Kabak Tatlısı)
Paired with Longboat Chocolate Porter $5.75 and Prado Alen Rice Pudding Liqueur $29.99 (Hot tip!! try both together!)
This pumpkin dessert is a very easy-to-make popular and traditional recipe.

pumpkin or butternut squash
4-5 cloves
crushed walnuts

The ratio of pumpkin to sugar is 1 to 1/2. I used 3 cups of squash and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Peel the pumpkin, cut it into big chunks, and put in a pot. Put sugar on and let it sit over night. It will release water, so you don't need to add water when you're cooking it. The next day, add 4-5 cloves in to the pot and cook on medium until the pumpkin is soft, approximately 30 minutes. Let it cool and garnish with walnuts or grated coconut.