Thursday, October 31, 2013
I'm still trying to cook locally and seasonally, even as it becomes slightly more difficult as the weather gets cold. We still have lots of local cauliflower in the market though. I love to roast it, but this simple cheese sauce really makes steamed cauliflower special.
Normally, I make a cheese sauce starting with a roux (flour cooked in butter), then heat milk and remove from heat and add the cheese. But this sauce uses corn starch and evaporated milk. I used 7 year old cheddar (!) and fat free evaporated milk, but you can use the cheese and milk-fat level of your choice.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
These tostadas are wonderful! Matt went bananas for them. Tostadas are fried, flat corn tortillas topped with beans, meat and vegetables. You can be very creative in your toppings and make things from scratch or use shortcuts. These have refried beans, shredded chicken in a smoky sauce, avocado, sour cream, lettuce, onions and radish, topped with Mexican queso.
The tostadas themselves can be made or bought. I found these at our local Asian grocery store that also has a great Latin food section. I found four kinds of queso and real Mexican crema as well! Instead of these you can buy corn tortillas and fry them in oil until crispy. Or you can make your own corn tortillas and fry them. The point is a crispy, flat shell to hold the toppings. This dish was created to use up stale, leftover tortillas.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Is there anything as pretty as a seafood chowder? Chunks of lobster, potatoes and vegetables, fresh corn and bacon. So tasty!
How about a close-up?
I was lucky enough to find some frozen lobster claws at the supermarket right when the last corn of the season was available. So I snatched it up and chowder was an easy decision.
Last night we had a small dinner party for friends. I wanted to serve something relatively simple and something beer-friendly. Since we are lucky enough to have a fantastic sausage-maker nearby in The Hungary Butcher, we ordered a variety of sausages and grilled them up.
We got our favourites: Hawaiian Bacon, Spanish, Jalapeño Cheddar and Honey Garlic.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas I'm responsible for making the cranberry sauce. I usually make a very simple whole-berry sauce with just cranberries, sugar and water. Sometimes I add a little orange zest.
I had plenty of cranberries left and Natrel Organic was kind enough to send me a preserve kit with jars, tools and labels for canning.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Usually when you buy Brussels sprouts in the grocery store, they are sold as individual sprouts in a bin or packaged in a bag (or even frozen). But have you ever seen how they grow?
If you're lucky, you might find a Brussels sprout stalk for sale at a farmers market this time of year.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Friday, October 4, 2013
Am I ever going to miss fresh corn on the cob season. I combined scallops and orecchiette with frozen corn last winter, but nothing beats corn fresh from the cob. It is so crunchy, sweet and delicious.
This time I used cherry tomatoes, jalapeños and herbs in the sauce. I love these multi-coloured little tomatoes in pasta. I combined them with the smaller ones from my garden.
I like to dice them but you can halve them or even leave them whole.
Cook the pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Orecchiette (little ears) are really fabulous in this because the corn and scallops rest in them beautifully, but you could use penne, bowties or any short pasta.
Remove the corn from the cobs with a sharp knife.
Heat a little butter and oil in a large pan and add 3 minced garlic cloves and 2 minced jalapeno peppers.
Sauté for a few minutes, then toss in the tomatoes and corn.
Add about 1/3 cup of white wine to the hot pan. Let it simmer about 3 minutes until slightly reduced.
I love these little bay scallops with this. Dry them with paper towels and toss them right in to the pan. They'll steam in the sauce in about 2 minutes.
Add the cooked pasta.
Toss it all together and sprinkle with fresh pepper and herbs. I used parsley and chives. Terrific!
BONUS SECOND DISH!
This one is just as good, maybe even better! This time I used larger sea scallops and bacon.
I cooked the diced bacon until crisp then removed it from the pan, leaving the bacon fat behind.
Then I dried the scallops really well, sprinkled them with salt and pepper and seared them in the pan. Then removed them and covered with foil.
Next I added 3 minced garlic cloves, minced hot pepper, 3 cobs of corn removed from the cobs and sautéed for 3 minutes. Add in 1/2 a cup of white wine and simmer about 3 minutes longer. Add 1/2 a cup sour cream and simmer 1 minute until thickened.
Add the pasta into the pot and toss it all together. Sprinkle with chives and top with the seared sea scallops. Tangy and delicious!