Advertisements

Blog Archives

Greek Moussaka

In the process of cleaning out our freezer and realized I had 500 gm of ground lamb. What to do? I have always liked moussaka in a Greek restaurant, but never made it at home. Good old Pinterest to the rescue, for what appeared to be an easy recipe and without the potatoes on top….less calories. The recipe looks complicated, but I decided to prepare the ground lamb ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator until I was ready to make the complete dish. It gave me time to prepare the eggplant while I was cleaning up from the lamb prep. The dish turned out perfectly, with our guests taking home this recipe! The photo below is from the Pinterest pinner…we got so carried away enjoying the dish that I forgot a photo. Check out Sniff It Out on Pinterest for more tantalizing recipes!

Moussaka

Greek Moussaka

About 500g of lean minced (ground) lamb
2 Aubergines (Eggplants) medium to large in size
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 heaped tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 rounded tablespoons tomato purée
3 fl oz. (75 ml) red wine or more
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the yogurt topping for the Greek Moussaka – I used a large CorningWare casserole dish and ended up doubling the yogurt in order to cover the top.

150ml Greek yogurt (double if necessary)

1 medium egg, beaten

50g feta cheese or more

25g freshly grated parmesan or more

 

  1. Preparing the Aubergines

Leave the skins on and slice the Aubergines into approximately 10mm thick slices.

Put the slices into a colander and sprinkle them with about 1 level dessertspoon of salt. Stand the colander on a plate to catch the water which comes out of the Aubergines and put another plate on top of the aubergine slices.

You now need to weigh this plate down with something heavy (I find that a couple of tins of soup works quite well) and leave them for about an hour to let the juice come out.

After an hour, squeeze out any of the excess juice from the aubergines and dry them well in a clean cloth.

Spread the aubergine slices on a baking sheet and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over them tossing them around to get a good coating.

Put the baking sheet in a pre heated oven (around 200 degrees) and roast the aubergines for 30 minutes or until they are browning at the edges.

I usually roast the eggplant simply because the baking tray is much bigger than the frying pan and I can get the slices done all in one go, but, if you would rather sauté the eggplant to use in the moussaka you can do that too.

 

  1. Preparing the lamb for the Moussaka recipe (I did this step first)

    Because the mince can have quite a lot of fat come out of it I usually dry fry the mince until it is nicely browned then remove it from the pan and put it to one side then discard any of the fat which has come out of it before using it to make the moussaka.

Then heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions, garlic and thyme gently, without colouring, for about 10 minutes.

Stir the minced lamb back in and add the parsley, cinnamon, tomato purée and red wine and stir to combine the ingredients. Season the mixture well and cook gently for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  1. Prepare the topping for the Greek Moussaka recipe

    It’s true that Moussaka isn’t the most healthy dish on the planet, that’s why I prefer a yogurt topping for my moussaka recipe because it is a bit lighter than others I have tried but that is purely my preference. Mix the yogurt with half of the cheeses and the beaten egg and season with ground pepper.

 

  1. Putting everything together for the Greek Moussaka!

    Line the bottom of a casserole dish with slices of aubergine, then spoon over some of the meat mixture. Build the layers of the moussaka up until all the meat and aubergine has been used.

Cover with the topping mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC / 350ºF for about 1 hour until golden and bubbling.

Let the Moussaka stand for about 20 to 30 minutes before cutting and serving and this will ensure that it keeps its shape when you serve it.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Fragrant Fall Red Cabbage with Apples and Bacon

This has to be one of my favourite fall recipes and it would be great with your Thanksgiving Dinner! The origin of the recipe was the Dallas News way back in 2008. When I searched online it is nowhere to be found, either on Google or Pinterest as far as I could check. Fortunately I had a copy! You’re going to love serving this fragrant dish with your dinner.

Fragrant Fall Red Cabbage with Apples and Bacon

4 slices bacon cut into 1 inch pieces

1 large head red cabbage cored and thinly sliced

1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 apples, halved, cored and sliced

¾ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon allspice

Salt and pepper to taste.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the bacon until lightly browned, but NOT crispy, about 4 minutes.

Add the cabbage, onion and apples. Stir well to coat with bacon drippings. Cover and cook until the vegetables and apples are limp, about 15 minutes.

Add the vinegar, maple syrup and spices. Stir well, then season with salt and pepper.

Serves 8 to 10

Lamb Liver and Bacon Casserole

Before you even get started on me, yes I love liver, but not the way my mother overcooked it after dredging it in flour! Quite a few months back we found a lamb store here and we purchased this lamb liver to try. Where else would I turn but Pinterest? The recipe could be made with any liver…well maybe not chicken…cluck cluck. Leftovers were great for breakfast with  fried eggs on the top. Trust me!! Let me know if you try it…Chuck? LOL

Lamb Liver and Bacon Casserole

Ingredients:
– 500 g lamb’s liver, trimmed and cut into small pieces ( try baby beef)
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 230 g rind less smoked bacon rashes, cut into pieces
– 2 small onions, chopped
– 2 cups mushrooms, cut into quarters
– 2 tablespoons plain flour
– 150 ml hot water
– 1 teaspoon smoke sweet paprika powder
– 1 tablespoon soy sauce
– salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a casserole dish and stir-fry the bacon until crisp. Add the onion and continue frying until the onion is soft. Add the mushrooms and fry for another 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon (to make sure that oil and bacon fat will stay in the casserole dish), remove the bacon and vegetables and put aside.
Add the liver to the remaining fat and cook over a medium heat for about 4 minutes, turning so it’s seared and cook all around. Remove from the dish and keep warm.

Classic Scalloped Potatoes

Easter Sunday dinner with 16 friends. Menu of spiral ham (from Costco of course), scalloped potatoes and BBQ green beans. Salads courtesy of our guests along with desserts. Larry was chef for the day. To make life simpler, I put the ham out in its foil for about an hour to warm it up. After uncovering it, I sliced off a fair amount and put the slices in our slow cooker. I added one cup of Fresca  soft drink to keep the ham moist and set the timer on low for 1 and 1/2 hours. When the potatoes and beans were ready, so was the ham. A great way to serve ham for a buffet! And now for the potato recipe courtesy of Canadian Living Magazine with Larry’s modifications.

Classic Scalloped Potatoes (Canadian Living Magazine)
• Prep time 25 minutes Total time 2 hours Portion size 8
Ingredients
• 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter
• 3 cloves garlic, minced or more
• 1/4 cup (60 mL) all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh thyme
• 3/4 tsp (4 mL) salt
• 1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
• 2-1/2 cups (625 mL) milk **
• 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, (about 2 lb./900 g)
• 1 small onion, sliced
• Parmesan and old cheddar cheese shredded to taste
**or use ½ milk and ½ media crema if you are in Mexico!
Preparation
In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; cook garlic, stirring, for 1 minute. Add flour, thyme, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Gradually whisk in milk; cook, whisking constantly, until boiling and thickened, about 8 minutes.

Peel and thinly slice potatoes. Layer one-third in greased 8-inch (2 L) square baking dish or casserole dish; spread half of the onion over top. Spread some of the cheese over each layer. Repeat layers. Arrange remaining potatoes over top. Pour sauce over top, using back of knife to ease sauce between layers. Top with any remaining cheese.

Cover and bake in 350F (180C) oven for 1 hour. Uncover and bake until lightly browned and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. If necessary cover with foil to keep warm.

Pan Roasted Pork with Rosemary Applesauce

Michael Dixon Smith is a Canadian chef and writer, host of The Inn Chef, Chef at Home, Chef at Large, Chef Michael’s Kitchen, Chef Abroad, and Chopped: Canada (all of which have appeared on the Canadian Food Network). Some of Michael’s recipes have been used by me for many years. One of his best is the French Onion Soup which was posted on this site in January 2012. For more of his great recipes, follow the link below.

http://chefmichaelsmith.com/

And now here is today’s great fall recipe!

Pan Roasted Pork with Rosemary Applesauce
Ingredients
for the applesauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
4 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
4 of your favourite apples, cored and cut into chunks (I used Granny Smith)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper
For the pan-roasted pork chops
4 thick centre-loin pork chops
2 tablespoons Butter
1 tablespoon any vegetable oil
a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Procedure
For the applesauce, heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add the onions and patiently cook them, stirring occasionally until they are caramelized and turn golden brown. Add the apple chunks, apple cider vinegar, rosemary and salt and pepper. Stir well. Simmer until the apples are very soft. Serve warm, or refrigerate and serve chilled.The applesauce will keep for several days.
For the pork chops, preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Splash in the oil and toss the butter into the centre of the oil. This will help keep the butter from burning. Pause until the butter begins to brown.
Meanwhile, pat the chops dry using paper towels, then season them with salt and pepper and carefully place them into the hot pan. Sear for 2 minutes or so on each side. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for another 10 minutes.

Serve with the warmed applesauce.

Traditional Flemish Waterzooi

Dont you just love that word, waterzooi ? We came across this on our trip to Brugges in 2010 when we ate at De Halve Maan Brewery and again at a very nice little restaurant called  Vlaamsche Pot. Its traditionally a fish soup/stew.

IMG_0005abcdefghijSince I had some mussels and clams left over from a meal the day before, I sought out a recipe. Behold…Pinterest again. Their recipe called for several types of fish. I like fish but did not want to search out different fish, so I altered their recipe as I usually do to some extent. My version is below.

Flemish Waterzooi
Ingredients
• 10,5 oz. (300 g) potatoes, peeled
• 2 tbsp (30 g) butter
• 1 celery stalk, finely sliced
• 1 carrot, finely sliced
• 1 onion, finely sliced
• 1 leek, finely sliced
• 7/8 cup (7 fl oz./200 ml) fish stock (I used chicken stock)
1 fish filet of your choice (I used tilapia) cut into 1 inch pieces
• 3,5 oz. (100 g) mussels, cleaned
• 1 egg yolk
• 2/5 cup (3,5 fl oz./100 ml) cream
• 3,5 oz. (100 gm ) peeled shrimp
• 1 tbsp chives, finely chopped
• Salt & freshly cracked pepper
Heat the butter in a frying pan. Add the celery, carrot and onion and cook the vegetables for 3-5 minutes, or until they are soft and glazed. Now add the leeks and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the stock to the vegetable mixture and allow it to infuse for 3 minutes.
Gently poach the fish fillets in the broth for 3-5 minutes. Add the mussels after 1 minute.
Remove the seafood from the pan once the mussels have opened and set aside. Strain the stock into a saucepan. Set the vegetables aside to use later.
Whisk the egg yolk with the cream in a bowl.
Put the stock back on the heat and, once it reaches boiling point, add the cream and egg mixture to thicken the stock and create a sauce. Now mix well with a whisk and make sure the sauce does not come to the boil again. Add the peeled shrimp and half the chives and stir.
Place the fish pieces and seafood in a serving bowl along with the vegetables and potatoes. Pour the sauce over it. Garnish with the remaining chives.

Serve with a crusty bread and cold beer…preferably Belgian.

Thai Jicama Salad

Pachyrhizus erosus, commonly known as jicama or Mexican yam, Mexican turnip, or Mexican water chestnut is the name of a native Mexican vine, although the name most commonly refers to the plant’s edible tuberous root. Jícama is a species in the genus Pachyrhizus in the bean family (Fabaceae). Plants in this genus are commonly referred to as yam bean, although the term “yam bean” can be another name for jícama. The other major species of yam beans are also indigenous within the Americas.

imagesChopped, cubed, sliced into fine sticks, raw or cooked, jicama is versatile and great in stir-fries, salads, slaw, soup, and with other veggies and fruits like oranges, apples, carrots, and onions, as well as meats and seafood. A favorite Mexican recipe is chilled jicama slices sprinkled with chili powder, salt, and lime juice.

Our friend Lynda is a great Thai cook, having lived there for many years. This salad is awesome. FYI…yes jicama is available in Canada and the United States.

Thai Jicama Salad
Ingredients
2 green onions finely sliced
1 jicama sliced match sticks (2 to 3 cups)
1 cucumber chunk or match sticks
1 red pepper sliced
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup Thai basil (or any basil)

Salad Dressing
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsp. soya sauce
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 tsp sugar
1 minced red chili or 1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes

Combine all dressing ingredients and stir to dissolve sugar.
Place all salad ingredients in a bowl. Pour dressing over & toss well.

Great for a potluck…

Chow Chow Relish

Chow-chow (also spelled chow chow or chow chow) is a North American pickled relish made from a combination of vegetables. Mainly green tomato, cabbage, chayote, red tomatoes, onions, carrots, beans, asparagus, cauliflower and peas are used. These ingredients are pickled in a canning jar. After preserving, chow-chow is served cold, most often as a condiment or relish. (Wikipedia)

Tis the season for lots of fresh veggies. While visiting our friend in Waterloo, we sampled her friend’s relish. It was dynamite! She graciously consented to share the recipe, so here it is. Let me know if you make it and liked it! Now that we are home again, I will be making a batch. She tells me it can make 10 to 12 jars…maybe I will sell it…LOL. Thanks again Lorna!!

Seriously, I will cut the recipe in half…

Chow Chow Relish

6 qt basket tomatoes (8-10 large tomatoes)
3 large diced onions
2 cups diced celery
2 green peppers diced
1 red pepper diced
1 or 2 hot peppers
1 ½ cups vinegar
4 cups sugar – I use 2 brown and 2 white
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/3 cup pickling spice tied in cheesecloth

1. Blanch tomatoes in boiling water; peel and chop.
2. Dice celery, onion and peppers – size as desired. (I do quick pulses in food processor for convenience; makes the chili sauce more minced than diced)
3. Tie pickling spice in cheesecloth and add to pot.
4. Stir in vinegar, sugar and spices.
5. Bring to slow boil. Simmer about 3 hours, or until desired consistency is reached.
6. Put into sterilized jars and seal. Keep in a cool place.
7. ENJOY!

Creamy Mushroom and Bacon Soup

Thanks again to Costco for selling those huge packages of sliced mushrooms…what to do? Make soup…and it was awesome! Thanks also to Taste of Home website…link at bottom. BONUS…it makes a great sauce for chicken if you have leftovers. I also added some to some rice after it was cooked…

Creamy Mushroom and Bacon Soup
Ingredients
• 10 bacon strips, diced
• 1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 quart heavy whipping cream (or Media Crema if you live in Mexico)
• 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
• 1-1/4 cups shredded Swiss (or Provolone) cheese
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
• 3 tablespoons cold water
Directions
• 1. In a large saucepan, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels; drain, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings. In the drippings, saute mushrooms and onion until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in cream and broth. Gradually stir in cheese until melted.
• 2. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, salt, pepper and water until smooth. Stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Garnish with bacon. Yield: 8 servings (2 quarts).

Read more: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/creamy-bacon-mushroom-soup#ixzz3YX0QN79F

Read more: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/creamy-bacon-mushroom-soup#ixzz3YX0QNAV9

Chicken Stew

Tired of boring beef stew? Me too! This chicken stew was great even without the prerequisite dumplings…

  • Chicken Stew
    Ingredients
    5 cups (1.25 L) chicken stock
    4 lb (1.8 kg) skinned chicken thighs
    7 small carrots, peeled (WHY?) and cut in half diagonally
    4 potatoes, peeled and cubed I used yams peeled and cubed
    2 cups (500 mL) peeled pearl onions or 1 chopped white onion
  • 1 red pepper diced
    3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
    3 chopped celery stalks
    2 cups (500 mL) button mushrooms or 1 small can
    1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
    1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) pepper
    1/2 cup (125 mL) peas, frozen or 1 small can
  • 1 platano chopped coarsely
    1/4 cup (60 mL) whipping cream I omitted this and used the chopped platano to thicken it. Can you tell I am into platanos?

Preparation
In a large Dutch oven, bring chicken stock to boil. Add chicken; cover and simmer over medium-low heat until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 30 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to plate; let cool. Remove meat from bones; cut into bite-size chunks.Better still start with boneless thighs and save some time.

Add carrots, pepper, celery and potatoes to stock; cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add (pearl) onions; simmer, covered, just until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to plate. If necessary, add more chicken stock to make 5 cups (1.25 L). OR just add more water…

In same pan, melt butter over medium-high heat; cook celery, onion and mushrooms, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes. Truthfully I just threw them into the pot with the stock and veggies. Add flour, thyme, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until thick enough to coat back of spoon. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan. Add carrot mixture, peas and cream* (if using), or the chopped platano stirring to combine.

If you are ambitious make up a batch of dumplings. They really are not necessary…This makes great leftovers!