Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Simple Southern Cusine - Jambalaya with a side of Golden Cornbread

I went searching for a good Dutch oven recipe today and stumbled upon this fiery southern comfort food.
I recently acquired a Dutch oven, a birthday pressie from my soon-to-be in-laws (thanks Ann and Jeff for the support, I know how much you guys enjoy my blog).
My dad had always stressed the importance of having this tool in my kitchen, and as this blog is dedicated to him (see my very first entry), I'm so glad I finally have one.
I really love the KitchenAid 5 quart I have; I'll be able to do roasts, chickens and casserole type dishes like the one I prepared tonight.
I know my dad, where ever he may be,  is very happy for me.

    * 1/4 cup olive oil
    * 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
    * Creole seasoning, recipe follows
    * 1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
    * 1 1/2 pounds andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    * 2 cups chopped onion
    * 1 cup chopped celery
    * 1 cup chopped bell pepper
    * 2 tablespoons minced garlic
    * 3 bay leaves
    * 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    * 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves
    * 1 cup chopped tomatoes
    * 6 cups water
    * 2 cups rice
    * Salt and pepper
    * 1 cup chopped green onions
    * 1/2 cup chopped parsley
In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium high heat. Season shrimp with Creole seasoning and saute until almost cooked through, about 4 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, remove shrimp and set aside until later.
Season chicken pieces with Creole seasoning. Add remaining olive oil to Dutch oven and when hot, add chicken pieces and saute until browned on both sides, about 8 minutes.
Remove and set aside. Add sausage and cook until browned.
Add onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, cayenne and thyme and cook until vegetables are wilted, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes and water and return chicken pieces to pot.
Season with salt and pepper and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
Add rice to pot, stir well and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and cook for 15 minutes. Add shrimp, green onions and parsley to Dutch oven, mixing carefully, and continue to cook, covered, for another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Creole Seasoning
    * 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
    * 2 tablespoons salt
    * 2 tablespoons garlic powder
    * 1 tablespoon black pepper
    * 1 tablespoon onion powder
    * 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
    * 1 tablespoon dried oregano
    * 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

    * 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
    * 2 1/2 cups milk
    * 2 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1 tablespoon baking powder
    * 1 teaspoon salt
    * 2/3 cup white sugar
    * 2 eggs
    * 1/2 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and milk; let stand for 5 minutes. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix in the cornmeal mixture, eggs and oil until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Baked Brie with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil, Creamy Cauliflower Soup and Roast Pork Tenderloin with Brandied Apples and Horseradish Smashed Potatoes

Cauliflower Soup
    * 1 Tbsp. butter, plus 2 Tbsp. for optional garnish
    * 1 onion, roughly chopped
    * 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
    * 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    * 1 head cauliflower, chopped
    * 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
    * 1/2 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
    * 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
    * 2 cups low-fat milk
    * 2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley, optional
   1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt 1 Tbsp. butter. Add onions and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat so onions are cooking but not browning, until onions look starchy and a bit creamy, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
   2. Add cauliflower, stir to combine, cover and cook 3 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook until cauliflower is tender to the bite, about 10 minutes.
   3. Purée soup with a hand-held blender. Or, whirl in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth (place a kitchen towel over blender to prevent potential burns).
   4. Stir in pepper and nutmeg. (Note: At this point the soup may be cooled, covered, and frozen for up to 4 months.)
   5. Add milk and cook over medium-low heat until hot.
   6. Meanwhile, if you want to add the parsley butter swirl, melt remaining 2 Tbsp. butter and stir in parsley.
Serve soup hot, with a swirl of parsley butter, if you like.
Makes about 8 cups soup (4 main course servings; 8 soup course servings)

Baked Brie with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Basil
    * 300 g pkg brie
    * 1 tbsp olive oil
    * 1 large garlic clove, minced
    * 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, finely chopped
    * 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
    * 3 tbsp chopped basil
   1. Preheat oven to 375F. Using a serrated knife, thinly slice off top rind of the brie and discard. Place in a brie baker or a pie plate. Bake in bottom third of oven until soft, about 10 min.
   2. Heat a small saucepan over medium-high. Add oil, then garlic, tomatoes and vinegar. Cook until mixture is reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 5 min.
   3. Spoon sauce over brie, then sprinkle with basil. Serve with crackers or bread - I used slices of olive ciabatta.
White balsamic vinegar is mild in flavour. Substitute regular balsamic if preferred.

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Brandied Apples and Horseradish Smashed Potatoes
    * pork tenderloin, about 500g
    * 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    * 1/8 tsp salt
    * 1/2 tbsp olive oil
    * 1 tbsp butter
    *  red apple, preferably Red Delicious, cored and thinly sliced
    * 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
    * 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
    * 1/8 cup brandy
   1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. Brush pork with Dijon and sprinkle with salt. Season with pepper.
   2. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high. Add oil, then pork. Sear meat, turning often, until dark golden brown, 5 to 7 min. Transfer pork to prepared sheet.
   3. Roast in centre of oven until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat reads 160F, 20 to 22 min. Transfer to a cutting board. Let stand 5 min.
   4. Melt butter in same frying pan over medium. Add apples, sugar and rosemary. Cook until apples are tender, 3 to 5 min. Add brandy and boil for 1 min. Slice pork into medallions. Serve with apple mixture.
Horseradish Smashed Potatoes
   * 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled and cut into small chunks
    * 3/4 cup milk
    * 3 tbsp horseradish, preferably extra hot
    * 1/2 tsp salt
   1. Cover potatoes with water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Continue boiling until potatoes are very tender, about 25 min.
   2. Drain potatoes and return to pan. Set on low. Smash potatoes while adding milk, horseradish and salt until combined.
 An opened jar of horseradish loses its pungency over time. Taste and adjust quantity accordingly.
      Wine Pairings:
      A scrumptious British Columbia pinot noir.  Its flavours are a bouquet of summer berries, cherry, raspberry, mint and plum. This elegant fruitiness echoes and elevates the flavours of pork and apple. Quail's Gate Pinot Noir, British Columbia, $25.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Valentine's Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Super cute, super fun to decorate, and super yummy!
I must say, not too bad a job for my first time...they look really adorable with the little do-dads stuck in there. Yay for me!!!!

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
2 oz (60 g) unsweetened chocolate
3 eggs
1 ½ cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp each  baking powder and baking soda1tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
2 cup grated zucchini ( about 1 large)
Butter Cream Icing
1 1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ½ cup icing sugar
¼ cup whipping cream
2 drops red food colouring
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Melt chocolate in double boiler.
3. Beat eggs with brown sugar – about 5 minutes.
4. Beat in oil and chocolate.
5. In small bowl whisk together  flour, baking powder, soda, and salt - stir into egg mixture.
6. Stir in zucchini.
7. Divide batter into 24 lined cups – bake 20 minutes.
1. Beat butter until pale and fluffy.
2. Beat in vanilla, then beat in sugar until very smooth.
3. Beat in cream and food colouring.
4. Decorate cooled cupcakes as desired.
My new toy

Prawn Cocktail with Marie Rose Sauce and Cognac Peppercorn Steak with a side of Grilled Asparagus

A Valentine's Night Dinner for two.

Prawn Cocktail with Marie Rose Sauce
    * lettuce/greens
    * shelled prawns
    * olive oil, salt and pepper, paprika, and dill to taste
    * 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    * Sauce:
    * 3 tbsp mayonnaise
    * 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
    * 2 tsp Worcester sauce (to taste)
    * 2 tsp lemon juice
    * lemon slice
For the sauce: Mix together the mayonnaise, the tomato ketchup, the Worcester sauce and  lemon juice. Add more tomato ketchup and Worcester sauce to taste.
1. Spoon tbsp of the sauce into bottom of glass.
2. Cut up the lettuce into small pieces and place on top of sauce.

3. Season the shelled prawns with olive oil, salt and pepper, paprika, and dill - place on the bed of lettuce.
4. Drizzle more of the sauce over the prawns and lettuce.
5. Cut the lemon into segments and use to garnish the dish.

Cognac Peppercorn Steak with Grilled Asparagus
2 steaks
Bunch of asparagus
1/3 cup shallots, chopped
2 tbsp peppercorns, ground
½ cup cognac
¾ cup whipping cream
1 tbsp tarragon
1 tsp Dijon
1.Bring beef to room temperature and season with salt and pepper.
2. Grill steaks on med-high heat, 4 min per side. Grill asparagus(lightly coated in olive oil and salt and pepper) at same time. Transfer the heated platter and keep warm.
3. In skillet, heat oil over med-high heat, add shallots, cook for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add peppercorns, cognac, whipping cream, tarragon and Dijon. Boil on high for 2-3 minutes until shiny bubbles form.
5. Plate steak and asparagus – pour sauce over steak and serve immediately.

Super Bowl Sunday Bites and Tuesdays Pesto Penne with Sundried and Roasted Grape Tomatoes

I made such fun food for Super Bowl Sunday, I just wanted to tag it on to my blog this week.
Slow-cooker Sticky Chicken Wings
    * 1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
    * 4 garlic cloves, peeled
    * 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
    * 1/4 cup soy sauce
    * 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    * 4 pounds chicken wings, halved at joint and wingtips removed
    * 1/4 cup water
    * 1/4 cup tomato paste
      1. MAKE RUB Pulse ginger, garlic, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne in food processor until finely ground. Add mixture to slow cooker insert. Add chicken and toss until combined.
      2. COOK AND COOL Cover and cook on low until fat renders and chicken is tender, 3 to 4 hours. Using slotted spoon, remove wings from slow cooker and transfer to clean large bowl (discard liquid in slow cooker). Let wings cool 20 minutes (or cool briefly and refrigerate up to 24 hours).
      3. SAUCE AND BROIL Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat broiler. Set wire rack inside rimmed baking sheet and spray rack with baking spray. Whisk water, tomato paste, remaining sugar, remaining soy sauce, and remaining cayenne in bowl. Add half of sauce to bowl with cooled wings and toss gently to coat. Arrange wings, skin side up, on prepared rack. Broil until wings are lightly charred and crisp around edges, 10 to 15 minutes. Flip wings, brush with sauce, and continue to broil until well caramelized, about 3 minutes. Serve.
    * 6 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
    * 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
    * 3 cloves minced garlic
    * 1/4 cup olive oil
    * 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    * 1/4 cup fresh basil, stems removed                                          
    * 1/4 teaspoon salt
    * 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    * 1 French baguette
    * 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
   1. Preheat the oven on broiler setting.
   2. In a large bowl, combine the roma tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, basil, salt, and pepper. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.
   3. Cut the baguette into 3/4-inch slices. On a baking sheet, arrange the baguette slices in a single layer. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, until slightly brown.
   4. Divide the tomato mixture evenly over the baguette slices. Top the slices with mozzarella cheese.
Under the broiler for 3-5 minutes

Salsa verde
2 garlic cloves
¼ tsp anchovy paste
1/4 cup capers, drained
zest from 1 lemon
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped, packed flat-leaf parsley
Avocado salsa verde:
Add 2 peeled, pitted avocados along with anchovy, capers and lemon. Whirl until creamy. Continue with recipe.
1. Whirl garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add anchovy, capers, lemon zest and lemon juice. Pulse in olive oil just until combined. Add parsley and pulse just until slightly chunky, but not puréed. Use immediately or refrigerate in a sealed jar for up to two weeks. Makes 1 cup

Tuesday Nights Dinner
Pesto Penne with Tuna Sundried and Roasted Grape Tomatoes
    * 450 g pkg penne
    * 2 170g cans chunk light tuna in a vegetable broth and oil (do not drain)
    * 1/2 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
    * 2/3 cup pesto   
    * 2 550 ml containers grape tomatoes
    * 1 tbsp olive oil
    * 2 tsp brown sugar
    * 1/4 tsp salt
    * pepper to season
   1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Toss 2 550-mL containers grape tomatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp brown sugar and 1/4 tsp salt. Season with pepper. Scatter tomatoes on prepared sheet. Roast in centre of oven, shaking pan halfway through, until tomatoes are soft and golden brown, about 20 min.
  2. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water, following package directions but omitting salt, until al dente, 7 to 8 min.
   3. Drain pasta and return to pot. Stir in tuna with broth and oil, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto until combined. Toss in roasted grape tomatoes. Serve immediately.
Topped with a few sprigs of parsley and parmesan