Archive | July, 2011

Zucchini blossom

28 Jul

How precious is that bundt cake? With the peony? We are in love.

And ever the copycat, looking for an excuse to make bundt cake.

Enter zucchini season. Our go-to bundt (full disclosure, we’ve only made them three times) is a fat-free cocoa zucchini number with prune puree.

We’d like to try adding orange zest to the batter or perhaps a lemon glaze to a classic zuchchini spice cake


Splendor in the Grass

25 Jul

We are all for picnics with lovely, elegant fare. No macaroni salad for us.

With Pimm’s Cups in crystal glasses, vintage biscuit tins and proper silver, we finally got around to those Tommy Bahama-inspired macadamia nut encrusted goat cheese balls drizzled with a sweet soy glaze (Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki).

We also busted out a strawberry salsa (chopped berries, icing sugar, black pepper and fresh basil) to top black pepper Boursin baguette slices.

An ancient (read 1980s) Seventeen magazine recipe called for a surprisingly sophisticated looking breaded stuffed chicken breast with bacon and spinach, served with pasta salad and fresh summer fruit. Still looks great.

But we are also all for cheating with pre-made chicken Cordon Bleu, sliced on the diagonal.

from Seventeen Magazine, circa 1986ish
4 slices bacon
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
2 eggs, divided
1/2 c. seasoned croutons, lightly crushed
1 clove garlic
2 whole chicken breasts, skinned, boned & split
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tsp. oil

Fry bacon; drain and crumble. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings. Saute onion in bacon drippings until soft. Remove from heat and stir in spinach, one beaten egg, croutons, garlic salt and crumbled bacon.
Place each chicken breat on a sheet of waxed paper. Cover with another sheet of paper and lightly pound each breast until flat (1/2 inch thick).
With a sharp knife, cut a pocket in thick side of each chicken breast. Divide stuffing into four portions. Stuff each breast with spinach mixture and close with wooden pick.
Lightly beat remaining egg. pour into a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, mix bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Dip each cutlet into beaten egg, then coat with bread crumbs.
Set coated cutlets asside on a plate.

Heat skillet and oil over medium high heat. Add cutlets, cover, and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
Turn once, cover and cook for 7 more minutes.
Remove and let cool slightly. Remove toothpicks. Serves two to four.

To make stuffing variation, combine all ingredients. Divide among breasts and stuff. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve chilled.


1/2 lb. fresh spinach, washed & chopped
1/2-1 c. chopped fresh basil
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 lb. ricotta cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
3/4 tsp. fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp. dried

Happy Trails

18 Jul

Another end to Stampede merriment.

There were smoked brisket buns at midnight and ginger beef.

In all the commotion, we forgot to roll out midnight mini chicken and waffles.

We also did not get around to blueberry beer floats, domuffins or candy apple muffins.

Next year, we want to be sure to make these flaky, buttery, cheddar biscuits to go with chili, barbecue or whatever.

Our most memorable Stampede fare includes enormous bison short ribs served with roasted garlic and chive mashed potatoes.

It was perfectly paired with a summer salad of golden beets tossed in a maple mustard dressing.

And these would go well with cold beers:

Smoky grilled cheese cut into squares or triangles or fingers or cookie cutter rounds, like a cheese puff?

Amy’s Bread Grilled N.Y. State Cheddar Sandwich
With spicy chipotle pepper puree, thinly sliced red onions, tomatoes & fresh cilantro. Delicious hot; grilling takes 3-4 minutes; It’s worth the wait!

Spiced-Up Grilled Cheese
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
3 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chilies*
1 tablespoon mild-flavored (light) molasses (mandatory, otherwise this just tastes like tomato paste.

12 3/4-inch-thick slices sourdough bread

18 ounces extra-sharp New York cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
4 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature

Read More


Spaghettini fit for a (future) Queen

12 Jul

“My spies saw Kate, 29, who will marry Prince William next month, tucking into a dish of spaghetti at Riccardos on Londons Fulham Road with her sister and chief bridesmaid Pippa. They told me: Kate was having a great time. She giggled with Pippa all night.” Mirror UK

Pasta on the Riccardos’ menu includes their Spaghettini alla Checca. (Though slim Kate doesn’t appear to eat much at all, and less likely to resort to ordering off a menu when chef could send over a special offering other than linguine with fresh clams, white wine, garlic, parsley, cherry tomatoes and chili.)

Long strands of pasta with sundried tomatoes, garlic and olive oil (£7.95). Although checca is an uncooked tomato sauce, we wonder what roasted tomatoes would taste like mixed in with summer fresh ones.

The trick here is use olive oil infused with garlic. Lots of it.

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
8 ounces spaghettini or angel hair pasta
4 scallions (white and pale green parts only), coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (12-ounce container) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (1-ounce) piece Parmesan, coarsely chopped
8 to 10 fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, stirring often, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the next 7 ingredients in a food processor.

Pulse just until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped (do not puree).

Drain the pasta, reserving some of the pasta water. Toss the pasta with the tomato mixture and fresh mozzarella in a large bowl. Add some of the reserved pasta water (about 1/4 cup) if the sauce looks dry.

Cover bowl with plate and allow to stand for 2 minutes so cheese melts. Serve immediately.

Apparently, a former chef from the Old Boot Inn says “her favorite [dishes] are the pate on toasted brioche or the roast figs on parma ham with spicy apple chutney, followed by the tiger prawn and wild mushroom linguine,” he adds. “And for the [dessert], her favorite is sticky toffee pudding.”

We snooped on the Old Boot Inn’s website and photos are splendid. The Duck liver and cognac terrine with toasted brioche £6.95 looks lovely.

But the tiger prawn and wild mushroom linguine looks gorgeous.

Roasted mushrooms with shrimp and what appears to be edamame, parsley, shaved parmesan and a light cream sauce.
we may try this for the sauce
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced, tossed in olive oil and roasted
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet and cooked the onion, garlic, for about five minutes.
Add wine, prawns and mushrooms and simmer for a couple minutes. To finish the sauce, remove it from the heat and stirred in the parmesan. Pour over noodles and toss to coat.

Dining Royally/Royal Wills Power

6 Jul

Wills and Kate are in Cowtown tomorrow to kick off Stampede.

Curious as to what they’re feeding the royals, considering Kate appears to eat nothing.

When we think of quintessential Alberta fare, we think of beef, honey, rosehips, barley, corn and potatoes.

This recipe for Barley Risotto with Mushrooms and Tenderloin of Beef would be perfect (recipe at bottom).

Okanagan winery Quails’ Gate had its wines poured at a dinner attended by Will and Kate in the Northwest Territories on July 5.
Here is their Canadiana-themed menu:

Wild Rice Salad with Lightly-Grilled Arctic Char
2009 Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay or 2010 Quails’ Gate Chenin Blanc

Fire-Roasted Caribou over Baby Greens with Tarragon Red Wine Reduction
2006 Stewart Family Reseve Pinot Noir

White Fish in a White Wine Dill Sauce with Baby Greens, Blueberries and a Blueberry Dressing
2010 Quails’ Gate Chenin Blanc

Roasted Moose Meat over Sweet Potato Pancake with Juniper Berry Sauce
2008 Quails’ Gate Old Vines Foch Reserve

5-Hour Herb Garlic Cheese Bun and Bannock

For dessert, there was a wild fruit cobbler and chocolate pot de creme infused with wild rose

Barley Risotto with Mushrooms and Tenderloin of Beef
Recipe created by Cary Neff, Miraval Spa
Makes 4 servings

4 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup pearl barley
1/4 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups (about 2 ounces) assorted seasonal fresh mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, portobello, chanterelle)
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
Pinch freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 cups red wine
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
4 (4-ounce) filet mignons (beef tenderloin steaks)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs (basil, oregano, parsley and thyme)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups assorted steamed vegetables

To make risotto: In a 2-quart saucepan over high heat, bring broth and 1 cup water to a boil. Then reduce heat to maintain a simmer.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, toast 1/2 cup barley, stirring constantly, until golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium flame, heat oil. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until onion softens, about 2 minutes.

Add mushrooms and cook 2 minutes. Stir in toasted barley, remaining 1/4 cup barley, and bay leaf. Add about 1/2 cup simmering broth to barley, stirring until liquid has been absorbed. Continue cooking, adding broth 1/2 cup at a time and stirring, until all liquid has been absorbed and barley is tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Stir in thyme, oregano, pepper and cheese.

Remove bay leaf.

To make wine reduction: Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring wine and corn syrup to a boil until reduced to a syrupy consistency, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

To make tenderloin: Sprinkle filets with herbs, salt and pepper.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high flame, heat oil.

Add filets and cook until browned, about 3 minutes on both sides for medium-rare or until desired doneness.

To serve: Press 1/2 cup risotto into a 4-ounce ramekin or custard cup and unmold in center of plate. Repeat to make 3 more molds. Slice each filet horizontally into 4 round medallions. Arrange 1/2 cup steamed vegetables on each plate.

Lean beef slices against risotto. Drizzle 1 tablespoon wine reduction over beef, risotto and vegetables