Saturday, March 13, 2010

Of Beef Bourguignon and Kick Ass Ham

I don't know what came over me tonight. A huge desire to cook both an amazing ham and beef bourguignon. No matter that I was missing part of the ingredients for both... I had stewing beef and a ham on the bone. Since it's almost impossible for me to follow a recipe anyway, it seemed like a proper approach to use the ingredients I had at hand.

For the beef, I was only missing pearl onions. And I am too cheap to part with ALL my red wine. Instead a bottle of red wine and a wee bit of water, I used the rest of my box (I know, I know. Mock me.) and the white that Wes and Linda had in the fridge, opened, for a long time. I knew it was past its prime for drinking but that it would do just fine for cooking.

For the pork, I had bourbon, but was missing the molasses the recipe calls for.  (Hmmm. Priorities?) I decided to substitute the molasses for some delicious ginger marmalade I've been loving lately. Sounds good, no? Ginger/orange/bourbon/dijon ham?

I'll let you know if it's good as soon as we try it.

The beef bourguignon, we'll eat tomorrow. I think it needs to simmer something ridiculous like 6 hours or so.

And tomorrow? Tomorrow I grill Skate

Ironically, felt too lazy to try it today. Joey and I picked it up at Neptune's this morning.

Recipes and such to follow!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lentil Vegetable Soup

It's been too long since I posted recipes here, but was inspired to start again. Since this is one of my favourite lentil soups, I thought I'd start again by posting this one. It has always been popular, whenever we've served it. 

Lentil Vegetable Soup
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp.  ground cumin (you can also use curry paste if you're in the mood)
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 c. dried red lentils, rinced
4 c. vegetable stock
¼ tsp. pepper
Salt to taste
1 tbsp. lemon juice
dash hot red pepper sauce, optional
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Heat oil in large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender and
fragrant, about 5 min. Add curry powder and cook for 30 seconds.
Add carrot, celery and potato and combine well. Stir in lentils and stock. Bring to boil.
Add pepper and salt. Cook gently, covered, for 30 min.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

New Recipes

I promised some new recipes to the people who were at our last event. I can't remember exactly which recipes right now, so as soon as I find the little cooking-stained sheet of paper on which I wrote the requests, I will add them here.

In the meantime, you can always search for a recipe... we may already have the one you were looking for!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Spicy African Peanut Soup

The popularity of this soup always kind of surprises me. I mean, we love it but I don't always expect other people to love it that much. After our last event, we had so many recipe requests that I said I would post it.


African Peanut Soup

1 large onion

3-4 cloves garlic

1 litre tomato sauce*

1 800 m. jar or can of diced tomatoes

1-2 tsp. cumin

½ tsp - 2 tbsp. chili powder (we usually use crushed red pepper flakes instead.)

1 ½ - 2 cups natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

1-2 Tbsp. soy sauce

salt to taste

1 litre water

Sauté onion and garlic until they are just beginning to brown. Add other ingredients except peanut butter. Bring to boil and summer for 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Stir until peanut butter melts and soup is smooth. Adjust seasonings and add water if it is too thick.

*use a good quality tomato sauce or make your own without basil or oregano as these herbs tend to make the soup taste Mediterranean rather than African.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Savoury Bread Pudding

I did a breakfast, all on my own this morning. It was only for six people, and had to be delivered to a friend's house, so it didn't even feel like working. Anyway, I tried a new recipe from the folks at Tall Grass Prairie.

We really love their breads and other food. When we're catering something big and can't make the bread or dessert or whatever on our own, we use their's. Anyway, we've really loved their Savoury Bread Pudding when we've gone to the Forks so when I saw the recipe in a local magazine, I thought I'd give it a whirl.

For once I actually stuck to the recipe. Except I didn't have marjoram and so I used lots of thyme instead. That is about the closest I've stayed to a recipe in years. If I made it for the home crowd, I'd probably try use milk instead of cream. That cholesterol thing, you know?

Apparently the people at the breakfast approved.

Savoury Bread Pudding

8 cups chopped vegetables (onions, peppers, mushrooms, celery, zucchini, asparagus, garlic)
1 Tbsp marjoram
1 1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp Grass Roots fresh pressed organic sunflower oil
7 eggs
2 1/2 cups cream
1 cup diced fresh herbs (parsley, basil, rosemary, dill)
12 cups cubed bread
3/4 cup grated Romano cheese
3/4 cup grated aged cheddar cheese

1. On a baking sheet, mix vegetables, marjoram, salt, pepper and sunflower oil. Bake in the oven for 10 mins at 500°F and set aside.
2. Whisk together eggs and cream until frothy. Divide in two parts and set one aside.
3. Add bread, fresh herbs and Romano cheese to one part of egg mixture.
4. Lay half of bread mixture into well-greased, 11 x 17" baking dish. Layer with half of roasted vegetables. Add another layer with remaining bread mixture. Add remaining vegetables and top with cheddar cheese.
5. Pour second part of egg mixture over bread pudding and bake at 350°F for 25 mins.
6. Cover baking dish with parchment or lid and continue baking for another 30 mins. Remove savoury bread pudding from oven and serve hot.

Yield 12 servings

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


My friends who work in restaurants tell me that January is the quietest month. And even when people go out to eat, they're eating light, and drinking light, and trying to undo all the excesses of December.

We had a busy December at Prairie Bounty, too, and true to form, January has been quiet. That's just fine with me.

We have done a bit of experimenting, though, and we made our own cheese for the first time last week. It was fun. It was easy. It uses a lot of milk. I was really surprised by the amount of milk it took to make just a bit of fresh mozzarella. It made me marvel once again at the ingenuity of people who first came up with a glorious food like cheese.

I can just imagine someone thinking... Hmmm. All this milk. No refrigerator. What am I to do? And somehow they figured out that with just a bit of rennet you could control the curdle and make it into something really tasty that had more staying power than fresh milk.

Even though our milk came out of a carton and not from our own cow (or sheep or goat) I felt kind of connected to the people who made cheese out of necessity, not because it seemed like a fun thing to do, and I thought it would be fun to do it some more.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Maple Dressing

We catered a dinner tonight and there was a lovely vegetarian there. She thanked us profusely for not making the vegetarian choice some kind of pasta. Apparently at most of the dinners she goes to, the most common vegetarian choice is lasagna.

"I like lasagna, but you can get too much of it."

I'm sure.

I never really considered cooking something completely different for vegetarians, and I didn't realize they often ended up with a pasta dish. I love the vegetarians in my life and I tend to enjoy the challenge of cooking vegetarian more than cooking for meat eaters. (Cooking meat is kind of a no-brainer. You get great meat from a butcher who gets his (or her) meat from a small scale organic farmer and you can't go wrong. You can't wreck it. Unless I suppose you like to over cook it.)

Anyway, when we prepare for the vegetarians at our dinners, we usually try to do something that's comparable to what we're making for all the carnivores. Tonight we did Mozzarella Chicken with mushrooms and onions and so our vegetarian choice was exactly that except with portobello mushrooms.

Back to the title of the post. Our lovely vegetarian really liked our salad dressing tonight. It is one of my personal favourites, but I think it's made better because it dressed locally grown hydroponic lettuce, wild blueberries and a sliver of onion. Here's the recipe. It's good on just about anything.

Maple Dressing

1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar (or your favourite mild vinegar)
1/3 cup real maple syrup (or more)


Um, that's it. Kind of embarrassing it's so easy, but it's the truth.