Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Leek and Truffle Oil Risotto

I’m back! Sorry for my lack of posting. I’ve been cooking, but mostly tried and true recipes I’ve posted on here already like roast chicken, couscous etc. I finally managed to make the risotto I promised. It actually became a joke between Phil and I because I kept on saying I was going to make it, but never came through until last night.

I’ve made this a few times and it always comes out well. I also seem to always have the ingredients on hand – even the truffle oil! I know that seems odd, but my friend Isabella usually brings some back for me from Italy whenever she goes. She’s there right now so maybe there will be some more coming my way!

Adapted from Bon Appetite Magazine found here.


2 Large leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved, thinly sliced crosswise (about 2 cups)
¾ Cup of whipping cream (I combined a little milk too)


1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, cut into 1/4- to 1/3-inch-thick slices
1 large onion, halved, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 Tbs white truffle oil
1 Tspn minced fresh thyme leaves


4 Tbs (1/2 stick) butter, divided
1/2 a Large onion, chopped
2 Shallots, chopped
1 1/2 Cups arborio rice
1/2 Cup dry white wine
5 Cups (or more) hot vegetable broth or chicken broth
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh parsley

For leeks:

Bring leeks and cream to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until leeks are tender and cream is thick, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

For mushrooms:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss all ingredients on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until mushrooms are tender and light brown around edges, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

For risotto:

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine and stir until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup hot broth. Simmer until broth is almost absorbed, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Add more broth, 1 cup at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next and stirring often, until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes longer. Stir in leek mixture, mushroom mixture, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and cheese. Transfer to large bowl, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Red Wine Marinated Flank Steak

I was planning on making a leek and truffle risotto this weekend but I just didn’t have the time.  Not that it takes so long, but you need to have the patience to stand there while you slowly stir in the stock and wine just a little at a time.  Risotto is definitely a good dish to order when you’re eating out.  I do plan on making it this week though, so stay tuned. 

Instead, Saturday night I remembered to marinate a flank steak I picked up earlier that day so it would be ready to cook up on Sunday evening.  I had a friend’s baby shower that afternoon about an hour away and knew I would want something quick. 

When I got home I boiled some water to make sweet potato mash with maple syrup and a little butter.  I also steamed some asparagus and served with a squeeze of fresh lemon.  After finishing the vegetables, all that was left to do was to grill the steak for 10 minutes.  

Marinade for the steak:

½ Cup of red wine
½ Cup of red wine vinegar
1/2 Cup of olive oil
1 small shallot, chopped
1 Tbs of Dijon mustard
½ Tbs of fresh rosemary, chopped
½ Tbs of fresh thyme, chopped
1-2 Cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tsp of ginger, minced
½ Tbs of red pepper flakes
Freshly squeezed lemon, about half a lemon
Salt and pepper

The night before mix all the above ingredients and place in a large freezer bag or bowl with the meat and marinate until ready to use.

Take a large heavy grilling pan and heat on medium high heat with about a good glug of olive oil.  Once the pan is really hot place the flank steak and grill without turning for about 5 minutes, turn and grill the other side for another 5 minutes for a medium cooked steak.  Slice against the grain and serve.

You know what was better than this steak?  The amazing sandwiches we had today with the leftovers.  I was sitting at my desk and couldn’t stop thinking about my sandwich, and had to give in at 10 AM and ate the whole thing.  I know, it’s pretty sad. 

I served the leftover steak on crusty buns with red onion chutney, brie cheese, Dijon mustard, arugula and a squeeze of lemon.  It was amazing! 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pancetta Hash with Poached Eggs

A quick and easy weeknight meal using up leftover ingredients in the fridge. In no way should you follow this recipe exactly, as it’s supposed to use anything up from your Sunday night leftovers to some vegetables you may have forgotten about. However, just because it’s using up leftovers does not mean it's not delicious! 

What I used:
About 60 grams of thinly sliced pancetta
4 Yukon gold potatoes, already chopped parboiled from the weekend
3 Green onions, white and light green parts chopped only
1 Clove of garlic
¼ Cup of marinated peppers
½ Cup of cheddar cheese, grated
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cumin to taste
Curry to taste
4 poached eggs

Boil the water for your eggs.

Start by cooking the pancetta slices on medium heat until just starting to turn golden brown, add the potato and cook for 3-4 minutes. If the pan seems dry add a little vegetable oil. Add remaining ingredients and cook for about 10 minutes. Turn heat down to low, sprinkle on cheddar cheese and let sit until ready to serve.

Once the eggs are ready, serve potatoes in two bowls and place the eggs on top. I would recommend serving the eggs soft so you can mix the egg yolk with your potatoes.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chicken in Riesling

How was your weekend?  Mine was great.  On Saturday we had Bri and Shaun over for dinner and later Beth, Vince, Sarah and Scott joined us for drinks.  I served Chicken in Riesling and a cheese platter for when the others joined us. 

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine's recipe.


1 Whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pound), backbone discarded and chicken cut French style into 8 pieces (I asked my butcher to this)
1 tbs vegetable oil
3 Tbs unsalted butter, divided
4 Medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), finely chopped (2 cups)
2 Tbs finely chopped shallot
4 Medium carrots, halved diagonally
1.5 Cup dry white wine (preferably Alsatian Riesling)
1 1/2 Pound small (2-inch) potatoes or larger potatoes cut into quarters
2 Tbs finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbs of tarragon
1/2 Cup crème fraîche or heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350F with rack in middle.

Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and a rounded 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil with 1 tablespoon butter in a wide 3 1/2- to 5-quart heavy ovenproof pot over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then brown chicken in 2 batches, turning once, about 10 minutes total per batch. Transfer to a plate.

Meanwhile, peel potatoes, then generously cover with cold water in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan and add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes. Pour off fat from pot, then cook leeks, shallot, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in remaining 2 tablespoons butter, covered, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until leeks are pale golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add chicken, skin sides up, with any juices from plate, carrots, potatoes and wine and boil until liquid is reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Cover pot and braise chicken in oven until cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.
 Add parsley and tarragon and shake to coat.
Stir crème fraîche into chicken mixture and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, then add potatoes.

Spring! Well, almost.

Hi Friends!  Don't you just love that spring feeling in the air?  I didn't even mind that it was raining all weekend knowing that spring is just around the corner.  I couldn't resist these tulips when I was running errands on Saturday.  I have them sitting in the center of my kitchen table and I can't stop admiring them.  I just wish I was smart enough to plant some in my garden last fall.  I guess I'm still getting used to having a garden.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Celebrities are Always Running in to Me

I would like to share with you that I saw Mark McEwen on the street the other day. I was running an errand when I made eye contact, looked away, and turned back again, before I realized who it was. I’m not going to lie I was pretty excited. I didn't smile or give a nod. I didn't know what to do and I feel like anything I would have said would just come out sounding lame. Now I can add his name to my celebrity sighting list and that includes:

The Professor from My Secret Identity - does anybody remember that show?
Eugene and Dan Levy - if you live in T.O. you've seen them lots of times too.
Ron Wilson – except I didn’t know it, Phil pointed him out.
Tom Arnold – wait that wasn’t me that was Megan.
Probably all of the Degrassi Junior High (the original show) cast at one time or another. One of them used to live near Meg and my first apartment in Toronto.

Now that is one sad list. No offence if any of those people are reading this bog right now.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Rainbow Trout

Maybe because of the warmer weather this weekend it made me crave a lighter meal - very different from the pork we had last weekend. I also wanted to make something easy since I was out for most of the day.

 I picked up two Rainbow Trout fillets at Whole Foods and seasoned them with Old Bay Seasoning, a little vegetable oil, lemon juice and cooked them in the oven at 400 F until they were slightly flaky in the middle. I served the fillets with green beans with a squeeze of lemon juice and steamed fingerling potatoes with butter, salt, pepper and thyme. Done and done! In 20 minutes including preparation time you have a nice healthy meal.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Braised Pork with Fennel

I think I made this the night of the big Canada vs. USA Olympic hockey game.  I wasn’t as into the game as Phil was so I was okay with going back and forth to the kitchen to cook dinner. I had my heart set on making this dish all week so there wasn't any nachos or chili for us on Game Day.

 Adapted from Bon Appetite’s Braised Pork Shoulder with Potato Fennel Puree


1 Medium fresh fennel bulbs with fronds attached, all fronds trimmed and reserved, each bulb cut through root end into 8 wedges
1/4 Cup olive oil
1/4 Cup fresh orange juice
1 Tbs finely grated orange peel
1 Tbs fennel seeds
1/2 Tsp dried crushed red pepper
Pork shoulder
1 1/2 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Cup low-salt chicken broth
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, quartered
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

For the pork:

Chop enough reserved fennel fronds to measure 1 cup; set aside remaining fronds for garnish. Place chopped fronds in blender. Add olive oil, orange juice, orange peel, fennel seeds, and crushed red pepper; blend to paste, scraping down sides of jar occasionally. Sprinkle pork roast on all sides with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Spread fennel paste on all sides of pork to coat. Place pork on plate; chill uncovered overnight.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Arrange pork, fat side up, in large roasting pan. Cover pan with foil. Roast pork 1 hour. Add broth to pan. Arrange potatoes and fennel wedges around pork. Cover pan again and roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of pork registers 190°F to 200°F, about 2 1/2 hours longer.

Let rest 15 minutes. Slice pork and arrange on platter. Spoon some pan juices over. Garnish platter with fennel fronds. Serve pork with puree, passing pan juices.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

More about Boffo's

I really love that Boffos is so close to my house! The owner knows us now and really takes the time to help us choose the right meat. He tells us all about what the animal ate, what choice/cut of meat he thinks is best and how he would recommend cooking it without sounding arrogant. After choosing some of his homemade spicy Italian sausages, a pork rib roast and some Spanish parma ham, we decided we were in the mood for a peameal sandwich.  By the way, they cure their own peameal on site... amazing!

Jumbo Empanadas

Have you checked this place out yet? So good! Two empanadas, a Humita (ground corn and spices wrapped in a corn husks and boiled), a glass of Chilean red wine and a beer for $25.

It’s a little gem on Augusta in Kensington Market that's easy to miss. For those of you who aren’t familiar with empanadas, it’s a soft dough pocket filled with meat, a little bit of black olive, chopped boiled egg and raisin. The people are friendly and the person who I think is the owner is very sweet. It looks like a family owned and operated business where they work very hard to deliver the freshest product. I forgot to mention they serve homemade spicy salsa with the empanadas!

I like to recommend this place to out of town guests because it’s cheap and located in the market. It's a fun place to shop and people watch. Seriously, if you haven’t gone, GO!

As you know a massive earthquake hit Chile on Friday. If you would like to donate please click here.