Archives for posts with tag: cook

Recently, circumstances conspired so that I had the means to create a new recipe, using ingredients I don’t usually have on hand. I had a package of thawed smoked salmon (thank you, friend who moved and cleaned out her freezer into mine!) The other day I noticed that goat’s cheese was on sale at my local supermarket. I had some fresh dill-infused olive oil leftover from a salad dressing from a few nights ago. Grape leaves are easily available at my local Community Gardens. Naturally, thinking of these ingredients, I made some Altered Dolmades.

I have never made a dolmade before, but from my fully adequate experience in eating them, I know they usually have rice inside. I am trying to eat fewer carbohydrates, so I thought to replace the rice with cheese. Yes!

rolling up the yumminess

So, here is a delicious treat to fix up in very little time. Please note everything is changeable, and you can add anything you want (hot peppers, olives, capers, other cheeses, little bits of bacon…) If you like your rice, you could mix some cooked brown or white rice into the cheese mixture. One thing I really wish I’d had for this was some lemon. I would have squirted it overtop before baking…

*Cheese mix: 1 tube of goat cheese (I used “herbed”), two sprigs of green onions chopped up fine, two tablespoons of crushed almonds, a sprinkle of salt

*Olive oil/dill mix: a couple of sprigs of Dill, settled into a small bowl (about 1/4 cup) of olive oil, and a few grinds of pepper. (Please note in the photographs, I’d used too much oil. Try about 1/4 cup, or even a little less.)

*1 small packet of wild smoked salmon, thin slices

*about 20-30 grape leaves (smaller ones, still clear and bright in colour and translucency)

METHOD: I laid out the grape leaves so that about four to six of them were on my work surface, overlapping. I then took a piece of the fish, and rolled it around a spoonful of the cheese mixture. Then I blobbed a little more of the cheese mixture onto the outside of this fish-tube, and rolled it up in the grapeleaves.

I used a little casserole dish to lay them out in. Once then were all there (I had enough to make about six dolmades) I drizzled the olive oil/dill overtop.

I used the leftover oil afterwards for yet more salad dressing.

BAKE in a moderate oven ’til done (about half an hour? or more or less… everything is edible raw so you can’t undercook.) When I say done, I mean the smell is unbearably delicious, and the grapeleaves are very dark.

If I’d had any leftover grapeleaves, I’d have simply added them to my salad.

I’ll be doing this one again!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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Roasted Garlic

mmmm, roasted garlic!

This is my “go-to” dip of the season. It is inspired from a recipe I found in the Rebar Cookbook.  I like this dip because it is vegan-friendly, as well as both dairy and gluten free.  This makes for an inclusive dip that most everybody can love.  Oh, did I forget to mention that it is cheap to make and tasty too?  If you cannot tolerate beans, then substitute the soaked beans for three cups of raw cashews that you soak overnight, but do not cook.  Actually, you should try this version and be surprised by the deliciousness of cashew-based dips.

Ingredients

2 cups of dried navy beans (Cook the beans by soaking overnight in a large quantity of water, then simmering in a large pot of water until they are soft.  The simmering takes anywhere from 1/2 hour to 1 hour.)

2 bulbs roasted garlic (Remove exterior paper skins and dirt, cut off the tops of the bulbs and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place bulbs in a small baking dish with a lid.  Bake at 400′ F for 40 minutes.  Let sit until cool enough to handle and then pop the cloves out of the skins.)

juice of 1 or 2 lemons (this depends upon personal taste)

2 scant teaspoons of dried sage (the better the quality, the better the taste)

1 – 2 teaspoons salt

pepper

1/3 cup olive oil

Take the above prepared ingredients and place in a bowl or a food processor.  Mash together until it resembles a dip.  Some years I have mixed this together with a potato masher, other years with a hand-held blender.  Now I have a food processor, so I use this.  It can be prepared using various tools and it will still be a smash. haha.

Happy New Year!

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

A few years ago I discovered a cool little book called Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning written by The Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante.  I was intrigued by this book because it outlined traditional techniques using salt, oil, sugar, alcohol, vinegar, drying, cold storage and lactic fermentation.  These types of food preservation were basically unheard of in my family.  By the time I came around in the 70’s, nobody was preserving food with these methods. Where I grew up, there were two ways to keep food (lots of vinegar or lots of sugar) and both involved subjecting foods to plenty of heat. So, for me, this type of book is controversial.  It goes against the advice and intelligence of my first community.  I feel though, that this intelligence was under the influence of a particularly recent trend.  My grandparents parents likely knew some of these methods.

Many of the recipes outlined in this book would make perfect gifts; dried fruits, sun dried tomatoes, homemade vegetable bouillon powder, harissa, herbs in oil, marinated rosehip jam, fruit syrups, chutneys, and fruits in alcohol.  The recipes for crocks of lactofermented fruits and vegetables look delicious to me, but… these might not be everyone’s idea of a perfect gift.  I will try to stick to the recipes that I know will be a hit, like steeped fruits.

I once made two varieties of the most delicious steeped fruits; plums and cardamom and pears with vanilla and black pepper.  I picked out perfect fresh fruits (this is important) and a little spice, filled two clean canning jars with them, added one cup of sugar to each and filled the jar with alcohol.  I let it steep a couple months before I opened the jars.  If my grandma knew how easy it was to “can” something, she might be shocked.  It is extremely easy to make fruits in alcohol and it makes a very decadent gift.

Right now you will likely not find any perfect fresh fruits.  But you can make this with dried fruits.  It is not exactly the same, but it is still a very special treat.  A very small quantity (like a tablespoon) of this with a little cake or ice cream is a nice occasional treat.  You can also use these little fruits in baking such as butter-tarts and cakes.

Today I am steeping fruits for Christmas cake and pudding. Over the years, we have actually developed a taste for these foods.

Here are some combinations that I have heard of:

  • dried apricots, vanilla, brandy and a little sugar
  • raisins and currants in Pedro Ximénez sherry
  • prunes, red wine, brandy and a little linden tea
  • golden raisins in Grand Marnier
  • raisin with rum or raisins with gin.
  • sun cooked cherries, brandy, a little sugar

An easy gift that does not involve alcohol is the “Compote Bonne Maman Ceries – Cherry.”

Make it DIY by decorating the jar!

This is a lovely gift!

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

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