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Monday, January 20, 2014

Spanish Fare for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy

Yesterday I presented the following recipes for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy on the theme of Spanish Fare.  I chose these because they are so versatile and easy to make.

Bonnie Tulloch, Education Coordinator for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, presented on various plants indigenous to Spain, used in the cuisine.  Kelly Burton, of the MLCC, presented lovely beverage pairings with each course.
Moorish Almond Cookies.  Photo by Karen Peters

Reception Beverage:  Villa Conchi Cava, Spain, $13.99

1. Black olive Tapenade
Paired with Corazon Loco Tino, Spain, $12.88  (Really wonderful and paired each dish as well!)

1 cup black olives, pitted
½ cup softened sun dried tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ (+) cup Olive oil
Pepper, to taste

Blend all ingredients to a paste in a processor. Adjust seasoning to taste. Use on crackers, baguettes, stuffed in meats, etc.


2. Spanish Smoked Paprika Shrimp
Paired with Juan Gil Moscatel, Spain, $13.99, perfect with the Shrimp!

1 lb peeled, wild caught shrimp
1 tbs butter
Drizzle olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika
Pinch sea salt

Heat butter and oil in sauté pan. Add shrimp and toss well. Add garlic and then paprika. Serve with bread when shrimp is firm and pink. 
3. Spinach and Parmesan Frittata
Paired with El Petit Bonhomme Blanco, Spain, $13.99

3 Tbsp. olive oil
6 eggs
3 thinly sliced potatoes
1 cup (1/2 lb.) chopped raw spinach
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
pinch grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl mix all ingredients except oil.Heat oil in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet on the stove.  Pour egg and potato mixture in skillet and cook over medium heat for 5-7  minutes. Place in oven and bake uncovered for 10 minutes or until top is set. Cut into wedges and serve.


4. Almond Cookies (Moorish)
Paired with Malamado Malbec Mendoza, Argentina, $23.99 (Really a gorgeous fortified wine)
1 cup butter
½ cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups presifted flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup finely chopped walnuts (can use pecans or almonds)

*Note, if mixture dry and crumbly, add egg and/or a bit more butter.  Depends on humidity.

Cream butter, add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy.  Add vanilla, flour and salt.  Mix well.  Add in nuts.  Use 1 tsp – 1 tbs, depending on the size of crescent or cookie that you prefer, to shape in hands to make the crescents.  Bake on ungreased sheet at 325ºF for 30 minutes.  Roll in icing sugar while warm. 

These cookies take time to make but look and taste good.  They freeze well but do not pack well.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Flax veggie burgers on CBC's Weekend Morning Show!

It was my pleasure this morning to present the following on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with Host Terry McLeod. 

Photo of burger later today.  
Flax is so versatile and can be used in many dishes as a binder.  This dish can be made vegan or vegetarian and is gluten free.  Serve on naan, pita or corn tortillas.

Flax Veggie Burgers

1 medium onion, sliced
1 tbs olive or flax oil
1-2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 1/2 cups cooked chick peas
1 tbs basil pesto (optional as there is parmesan and nuts)
2 1/2 cups cooked squash (any kind other than spaghetti squash)
1-2 tbs Dijon Mustard
1/2 cup salba (Chia) Seeds, ground or whole
3/4 cup milled flaxseed ( I used sprouted ground)
1 (+/-) tbs black pepper
1/4 tsp salt or 1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp nutmeg
splash Mirin, to deglaze

Slowly caramelize onion until soft and brown.  Add mushrooms and cook until dried and then add salt, nutmeg, pepper.  Add Dijon near the end of cooking and then deglaze with Mirin.  Place in food processor with chick peas, squash, flax, pesto, Chia and pulse then purée.  Spoon onto  baking sheet with parchment or Silpat and bake in burger sized portions for 30 minutes at 350ºF.    Let cool. 

Gently fry in olive oil or flax seed oil and prepare as a burger.  Top with your favourite toppings such as yoghurt garlic tahini sauce, Kimchi, caviar, Dijon mustard, Tomato Chutney, avocado, etc.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Ukrainian food for New Year! Tuesday at the Madison Square MLCC for the Assiniboine Park

Last night I presented the following recipes for tasting at the Madison Square MLCC.  There are still spaces available for other events and you can register through the Leisure Guide, 311 or contacting the Assiniboine Park Conservancy.  
Each dish was paired with a beverage chosen by the MLCC's consultant, Stefanie Mills.  Lots of fun.
Enjoy and Happy New Year!
Reception beverage:  Slava Vodka ($30.70)with fresh dill
1. Mixed Mushrooms
Paired with Slavutich Premium Lager, Ukraine, $2.99 and Wilm Cremant D'Alsace Blanc de Noirs, France, $19.31
1 lb mushrooms (baby bella’s, cremini or button mushrooms) 
1 medium or 2 small onions 
3 tbsp olive oil 
3 tbsp sour cream 
Salt and Pepper to taste 
Chopped green onion, optional for garnish

Finely chop onions. Cut mushrooms into ¼” thick slices.In a medium, non-stick pan, sauté onions in 1-2 tbsp olive oil for a few min or until golden. In a separate, large pan, sauté sliced mushrooms in 1-2 tbsp olive oil until soft. Drain off excess juice if needed; leaving behind a small amount of juice.
Combine mushrooms and onions. Add in 3 tsp sour cream and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Beet Borsch
Paired with Trius Riesling Niagara Peninsula VQA, Canada, $13.99 and Baus Family Vineyards Pinot Noir, USA, $16.71 
3 raw red beets
1/2 cup dried mushrooms
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 large peeled and diced carrot
1 large potato peeled and diced (optional)
1/2 peeled and julienned parsley root
1 diced celery rib
3 peppercorns
8 cups water
 1/2 head shredded cabbage
2 tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1/2 cup cooked white beans (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream for garnish (optional)
More chopped dill for garnish (optional)
Cook beets in boiling water just until the skins slip off easily. Place in cold water and, when cool enough to handle, peel. Cut beets into thin strips and set aside. 

Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, pour enough boiling water to cover over dried mushrooms and let soak for 1 hour. Remove from soaking liquid and chop. Strain soaking liquid and reserve.

In a soup pot, sauté onion in oil until translucent. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute longer. Add carrots, potato (if using), parsley root, celery rib, peppercorns, mushrooms, strained mushroom soaking liquid, and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are al dente. Add shredded cabbage and cook until tender.

Add kvas or vinegar or lemon juice to give the soup its characteristic sour taste, tomato paste, dill, cooked beans (if using), and salt and pepper to taste. Cook 5 minutes longer and serve hot with sour cream and dill garnish. It is traditional to serve rolls with garlic oil on the side.

3. Chicken Shashlyk
Paired with Geisen "The Brothers" Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand, $18.99 and Galevan "Paroles de Femme" Cote Du Rhone, France, $16.40
2 Lbs Boneless chicken breast
1/4 cup Vinegar, any kind
1/4 cup Red wine
1 Large onion, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Bay leaves , crushed
Red Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes, Zucchinis, cut in 1 inch squares (optional)

Cut meat in cubes, slice the onion, then transfer into a pot. Add all remaining ingredients. Mix well. Put plate on the meat mixture and put some weight on it, so juices will come out. Cover the pot and put in the refrigerator for few hours, or overnight.
When ready to cook transfer meat onto the skewers alternating with vegetables. Preheat grill; grill on medium flame, making sure not to overcook. Not all the meat pieces will turn brown. If not sure, pierce with a knife for readiness.

Serving suggestions:

Substitute Chicken for lamb (Shish Kebab) or Pork. Perfect for the summer outdoor party.

4. Fruit Vereniky

Paired with Liefmans Fruitesse Beer, Belgium, $3.04

For most red-blooded Ukrainians, no dish is more tempting to feast on than well-filled, plump varenyky made of a soft dough and then served with sour cream.  Good varenyky should never be tough or pasty but tender and with a thin coating of dough.

2 cups flour                                   
1 tsp salt
1 egg or 2 yolks
½ cup water
Plum Filling
Plums (preferably Damson)

Mix the flour with the salt in a deep bowl.  Add the egg and enough water to make a medium soft dough.  Knead on a floured board until smooth.  Too much kneading will toughen the dough.  Divide the dough into 2 parts.  Cover and let it stand for at least 10 minutes.  Prepare the fruit filling.  The filling should be thick enough to hold a shape.

Roll the dough quite thin on a floured board.  Cut rounds with a large biscuit cutter or the open end of a glass.  For speedier work, the dough may be cut into 2 to 2 ½ inch squares.  Put the round on the palm of a hand.  Place a spoonful of the filling on it, fold over a half circle or triangle.  Press the edges together.  They should be free of filling and well sealed to prevent spilling out.  Place the varenyky on a floured board or tea towel to prevent drying.  Drop a few at a time into large amount of rapidly boiling salted water.  Stir gently if sticking and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the size and thickness.  They are ready to be eaten when well puffed.  Use a strainer to remove from water and drain well.  Place in buttered pan and keep warm until all are cooked.  Enjoy with sour cream and sugar.