Archives for posts with tag: Olive oil

… and the apartment sized harvests. Within one hour I picked basil, parsley, tomatoes, stevia, chamomile and lavender. I then planted some greens for the fall – a little late, we will see. After that I made a pesto and documented it. Okay, on with the rest of the day!

parsley and basil pesto

a nice big jar of pesto nearby an experiment in pickled jalepenos

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal.

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

A very simple, easy and delicious (oh yes, and nutritious) salad was my fast lunch today.

lunch today!

 I used prewashed, organic arugula greens from my local grocery, accompanied by delicious stuff I had in my cupboards. I “mixed” it all on the plate I ate off of. It took about a minute to make lunch, and about three to eat. My kind of fast food!

*Take a handful of arugula

*sprinkle with your favorite crumbly old cheese and almonds

*drizzle a couple tablespoons of organic olive oil on top

*throw on some ground pepper and dried dill

Ready!

Delicious!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

are you trying to make me pose with the secret ingredient?

parmesan, artichoke, shallot and thyme frittata

Try this recipe if you want to bite into perfection!

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 can of artichokes (398 ml), rinsed, drained and chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

salt and pepper, to suit your taste

6 eggs

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/4 cup water

1/4 to 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 385°F.

2. Fry the shallots in olive oil in an oven-proof frying pan until they are nicely browned.

3. In a separate bowl, as the shallots are frying, whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, water, thyme, salt and pepper.

4. Add the artichokes and the egg mixture to the pan.  Allow to sit over medium heat for 4 or 5 minutes.

5. Distribute a nice handful of parmesan over the pan of eggy-artichoke goodness.  Transfer the frying pan to the oven and bake for 8 minutes.  Remove from the oven, cut into 4 slices, perfecto!

I'll pose!

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

a pan of these lovlies, ready to pop into the oven for a quick appetizer

One of the quickest, easiest things to make with savory, sweet, salty, or miscellaneous ingredients is a plate of mushroom caps. True, you do need some fresh mushrooms, but besides the necessity of that one ingredient, pretty much anything else you have on hand can stuff them. I love how the natural moisture of the mushroom comes out, stewing whatever is stuffed in them into a little pocket of taste. When I was a child, it was an old standby in our house to have mushroom caps as an appetizer: Mom would use orange cheddar and a “seasoning salt” to fill them. I’ve been trying out a few different options, lately.

mushroom caps stuffed with hot peppers, hot peppers stuffed with mushroom stems

Some of my personal favorite combos are:

-any sort of pepper (green, jalapeno, spicy, etc) with a drop of cheese on top and maybe garlic too. Sprinkle on some black pepper and any range of herbs such as oregano or basil or rosemary or dill or…

-the stems from the mushrooms mixed in with tomato and a bit of honey and/or soy sauce or any other type of “sauce” you like and have. Or skip those sauces and mince up some olives.

cheese and black pepper. Any type of cheese.

salsa of any type, with or without leftover vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, sweet potatoes.

bok choy with spicy chilli pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

sour cream and broccoli and paprika.

rosemary and goat cheese.

leftovers… any type of leftovers that can fit into a mushroom.

even in the heat of summer, these are worth turning the oven on for

Really, most any mixture works. I normally would “see what I have” then adjust my plans accordingly. I like to mince the ingredients up finely, then stir them together and spoon into the ‘caps. Sometimes, though, I don’t. This is a great type of recipe: there really aren’t any rules. Alright, one rule: if you use cheese, put it on top. That way it will melt and be a sort of “lid” for the rest of the ingredients in your little mini-casserole dish.

Cook at about 300-350 degrees ferenheit, for about 20-30 minutes… ’til “done”!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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

Cooks remove racks of herring from a tradition...

Cooks remove racks of herring from a traditional smoke house

The following recipe was adapted from one found in Nigella Christmas.  I love Nigella Lawson’s recipes because they are fun to read.  She takes the complication out of cooking.  When I follow her recipes, I end up making quick and delicious dishes.  It is the opposite of the early Martha Stewart Living recipes that seemed to assume we all have kitchen staff and abundant time to cook elaborate meals.

For the most part, Nigella’s recipes are great, but this one had a gross error in it.   My spidy senses were tingling the first time that I made it.  I already knew that I needed to make some modifications by inverting the recommended amounts of smoked fish and white fish.  The recipe recommended 300g of white fish and 750 g of smoked fish and I used the 800 g white fish and 200 g of smoked fish on the first round.  This was still too salty.  The second time, I decreased the smoked fish even more and increased the other seasonings and finally, it turned out.

Since it took a couple rounds to figure out, I am happy to share the recipe with you!

Ingredients

50 g unsalted butter

50 g flour

2 tablespoons dry white wine

1/4-1/2 tsp ground mace or nutmeg

1 tsp dijon mustard

350 ml whole milk

1 onion

75 g of italian flat leaf parsley (approximately 1 bunch of parsley)

100 g Digby smoked herrings, roughly chopped

800 g haddock or another firm white fish, fresh or frozen, cut into 2 inch pieces

400 g baking potatoes (approximately 2-3 potatoes, I used yukon gold), sliced thinly, perhaps using a food processor.

1-2 tbsp olive oil

white pepper or black pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 400’F
  • In a sauce pan, melt the butter and then add the flour.  While stirring, allow this to bubble for a minute.  Take off the heat and stir in the white wine, mace or nutmeg and mustard.  Whisk in the milk and return the pan to the heat and continue to whisk as it thickens.
  • In a food processor, mince the peeled onion and then add the parsley and pulse til minced.  Add the coarsely chopped smoked herrings and pulse once or twice to chop until the fish is in approximately 1 cm pieces.  Pour the onion, parsley and fish mix from the food processor into the sauce in the sauce pan and stir the two together.
  • Pour the combined sauce into a 9.5″x13.5″ casserole pan.  Put the fish pieces on top of this.
  • Arrange the sliced potatoes on top of the fish pieces, covering the entire casserole.
  • Pour the olive oil into your clean hands and quickly apply olive oil to the potatoes.  Grind pepper over the top.
  • Bake for 1 hour at 400’F.  Serve with buttery petits pois.

By Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

Puy lentils

lentils

5 lovely lentil recipes I want to try in the coming weeks.

Lentil and Escarole Soup

Lentil Stew With Pumpkin or Sweet Potatoes

Lentil Salad With Walnut Oil

Lentil Soup With Chipotles

Lentil and Tuna Salad

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/19/five-ways-to-love-lentils/

 
by Natasha Henderson, Montreal
 

When I moved across the country from British Columbia’s Vancouver Island to Montreal, Quebec a little over three years ago, I knew that I would experience many changes. Not the least of these changes, I felt, would be to my diet.

The view from Kitty Coleman, in the Comox Valley

I had in mind that I would indulge in new things, new foods, perhaps try French Cuisine… it is true that I experienced some change in my diet and lifestyle, and a lot of that was due to what was available in the supermarkets. Different vegetables, different prices, smaller cuts of meat, and a wider selection of new cheeses greeted me at the first supermarket I visited in the downtown core of Montreal. After a couple of months I learned about the fresh farmer’s markets in the city. I began shopping for goods that were more locally grown, and in season whenever possible. Now, three years into life here, I am signed onto a CSA programme with a local organic farm for weekly veggie and fruit delivery. While enjoying the process of transformations within my new life in a new city and province, I was developing an interest in what I was putting into my mouth… an interest beyond the question of simply flavour.

Festivities and poutine abound in Montreal

After realising how much I liked poutine, but how guilty I always felt whenever I indulged, I figured that I must find a way to make a healthier option of it… something I could do at home, too, and save a little cash in the process. The first thing that I tried was to purchase frozen fries at the grocery store, and whenever I had some leftover gravy (not that often, of course… it’s GRAVY) I would make poutine the next day. While experimenting a little more with cooking, I finally discovered the joyous root that is the sweet potato. One day I had some potatoes, so made some wedgie-fries like my mom used to make out of their delightful Yukon Gold potatoes from the home garden in Comox, BC. Butter in a pan in the oven, bake. Easy. I thought about some fried sweet potato chips a friend had treated me to a year or so before that, this seemingly exotic chip. We had dipped them in home-made mayonnaise. That’s another delightful story… I had found the intense flavour of the sweet potato a little powerful, a little overwhelming. So I made a batch of wedgies with some potato, some sweet potato. Perfect combination (for me, anyhow).

Using sweet potatoes in place of, or as well as, regular potatoes for the fries is a tasty option that makes a poutine “healthy”. Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins. Their flesh is a bright, appetizing orange, and their flavour carries a pleasant sweetness. Try to leave the skin on for your fries, like you would with regular potatoes. Just cut off the ugliest bits, and the “eyes“. Cut the sweet potatoes and potatoes into even-thickness strips, like house-fries in restaurants. One healthy option for baking the fries is to use butter or olive oil and fry them in a pan until soft, then bake until crisp. Another is to simply bake them in the oven until they are crisp, using no fat at all, or you can add a little olive oil or butter on the pan for taste. When the fries go in the oven, try sprinkling some salt, pepper, chilli pepper, garlic, steak spice, rosemary… any spice or flavouring that you like on them. You could even add some grated parmesan cheese, though with the upcoming level of cheese curds it might not be necessary. Bake them at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until done to your liking.

Options for the gravy include using butter or olive oil as a tasty start; you don‘t have to have fat drippings from a roast. To thicken and add flavour, stir into the saucepan a small handful of flour, about 2 tablespoons (depending on quantity of gravy you are making). If you’d prefer to not use flour, try using another starchy substance, such as cooked lentils or beans that have been mashed a little with a fork. Once browned, thin out the roux (browned flour or other starch) with a little veggie, beef or chicken stock. Use wine, beer, or water if you have no stock. Bring to bubbling while stirring, then simmer and reduce, adding more of your chosen liquid (or now switch to plain water) as you go. During this reduction process, I like to add a good generous sprinkle of pepper. Other spices can be added, according to your taste. Rosemary, garlic, paprika… the kitchen ceiling‘s the limit. Or, just leave it plain, and practice gravy-making to find your own favourite combo!

Poutine, the "UN-Healthy" version. Click to read CTV story...

The fries will take about an hour once in the oven, and the gravy can be re-heated once it’s made, so I would start in on making the gravy as soon as your fries are baking. That way the fries will be nice and hot when it is time to eat them, and that is quite important for full enjoyment of poutine. You can find cheese curds readily throughout Quebec, and in some regions across Canada. However if there are none in your supermarket, there are other options. A white, flavourful cheese is all right to use for this poutine (though purists would argue not.) I have used Edam, or Havarti, or Old Cheddar as a cheese curd replacement in poutine, with similarly tasty results. You could add a nice tanginess by adding some feta or parmesan, if you have it. Lately, I’ve switched to non-pasteurized, old cheddar and the results are excellent. I like to put the cheese onto the fries inside the oven, to melt a little, and even turn a light brown. Again, it’s about options and taste. It’s all up to you what you do with your meal. Some would add the curds and gravy to the fries, stir around so it is a melting mess, others like to layer their food neatly. If you are serving to guests, I would recommend placing the fries on each plate, then adding the cheese, then the gravy on top to melt the cheese a little.

Healthy Poutine. Seriously.

Now that I’ve shared a little dash of this story with you, I hope that you have fun experimenting with taking those traditionally unhealthy treats and turning them into sustenance to truly enjoy!

%d bloggers like this: