Savory Breakfast Pastry

 

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An easy breakfast to please any guest. Both my first and second house guests in my new digs loved the tomato and avocado puff pastry, they even said it was restaurant quality!

Ingredients 

  • Store bought puff pastry
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cherry tomatoes (or 4 tomato slices)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tbsp goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup parmigiano reggiano
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar

Preheat oven to 400F.

Two blocks of pastry came in the Tender Flake box I purchased. After thawing one block overnight in the fridge, I cut it in half and rolled out two rectangles of dough.

Brush about a 1/2 tbsp of olive oil on each rectangle, then drop on a few dabs of goat cheese (again about a 1/2 tbsp worth). Cut cherry tomatoes in quarters and avocado in slices. Arrange on each rectangle of pastry, keeping about a 1/4 of an inch of free space on all sides. Roll up the sides.

Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden. Sprinkle parm on top and place in oven for another 2 minutes to melt.
Serve with poached eggs, done here in my previous post. The golden oozing yolk not only provides a great colour contrast, but is also fatty and delicious against the sour roasted tomatoes and buttery puff pastry.
Done.
(I have served this dish with sides including: halved grapefruit, a parfait of fruit and whipped cream, and spinach salad)

Baked brie with cherries

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Best way to celebrate permanent residency status? Colour coordinating your food with the colours of the Canadian flag of course! Patriotism at its best.

No fancy recipe here. Just gooey brie with tart cherries and an ample amount of bread.

Ingredients 

  • Double cream brie
  • 1 cup fresh cherries
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp raspberry jam
  • Dippers: crusty bread and apple slices

Oven needs to be at 400F.

Wash cherries and cut in half. Throw into a sauce pan with butter. My cherries were quite tart so I needed the jam to add a bit of sweetness. The cherries just need to be lightly coated in the butter/jam sauce.
Shave off the rind from the top side of the brie. Place cheese in brie baking dish or use a regular baking pan.
Top the brie with the glisteny cherries. Bake until cherries are bubbling and brie is oozing, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Now get those cheese dippers ready!
Done.

Honey glazed pear with toasted quinoa and yogurt

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Or what I like to call “honey glazed pear with crunchy and creamy bits.”

I’ve been watching a lot of Masterchef Australia lately (perhaps that deserves its own blog post) and the Master Classes have emphasized stimulating all five taste sensations in one dish. This is my take (3 out of 5): a sweet and sticky pear slightly shriveled from the heat of the oven, salty nuttiness from the toasted quinoa and plain Greek yogurt as a sour contrast.

This makes 4 servings.

Ingredients 

  • 2 Bosc pears, washed but skin left on
  • Honey
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cut Bosc pairs in half, scoop out centre. Glaze each half with a teaspoon of honey. Bake for about 20 min, so the pears are soft and you’re able to cut into it with a spoon. The cooking time will depend on the ripeness of the pears.
Crunchy bits: Spread quinoa and coconut (can use sweetened or unsweetened) on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle coconut oil over top. Roast for about 10 min in oven, or until golden brown. Watch closely as they will easily burn. The coconut oil really enhances the essence of coconut in the topping.
Plate warm pear halves with a sprinkling of the crunchy bits and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt (with vanilla extract mixed in). Garnish with mint leaves.

Done.

Roast rack of lamb

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Dead simple.

I massaged a dry rub into the lamb just before picking up my friend from the bus station. Seared it off while we caught up over wine, and roasted it in the oven while putting together the rest of a weeknight dinner.

Ingredients 

  • rack of lamb
  • 1 tsp olive oil (for searing)

For dry rub

  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.

Rinse lamb and pat dry. Trim off any excess fat. Massage in dry rub. Let sit for 20 minutes.

Heat 1 tsp olive oil in pan over high heat. Sear off each side (and ends) of the meat so all the juices are trapped inside. Roast in oven for 18-20 minutes.

Let rest for 10 minutes.

For jus: deglaze pan with a 1/2 cup carbernet sauvignon (something full bodied with spicy notes) and let it pick up all the flavour-filled crispy bits from when you seared the lamb. Add a tablespoon or so of butter. Spoon over lamb lollipops.

Done.

(Pair with Israeli couscous and sauteed swiss chard with mushrooms…and wine of course)

 

Campfire Korean short ribs

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When we camp, we don’t go hungry.

Ingredients 

  • 3 lbs beef short ribs (thinly sliced, I told my butcher I was making Galbi)

For marinade

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup mirin
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp candied ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Mix ingredients for marinade. Marinate meat overnight in refrigerator.

At the campsite: throw ribs – 5 or 6 at a time, aligned in a single layer – in an aluminum foil plan with some cooking oil. Heat over campfire (or grill) until sticky, brown and caramelized.

Done.

(Pair with a spinach-blueberry-bocconcini salad and Gamja Jorim Korean potatoes)

Radicchio, balsamic and dates

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It might not look like much, but the taste is something inspired – bitter, tart and molasses-y.

Inspired by a chorizo – radicchio- balsamic – date dish at Woodwork Restaurant in Edmonton.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head radicchio
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 dates
  • sprinkling of pine nuts

Toast pine nuts in a pan on medium heat. Rip radicchio and add to pan. Let it wilt.

Add cut up dates. Splash in balsamic.

Done.

(Pair with dark chocolate for a late night snack/dessert)

Sour cream cheesecake

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This is what happens when your mom buys a kilo of sour cream (because it’s on sale) and a family friend brings two flats of mangoes to a barbecue.

The surplus of perishable food means it’s your lucky day!

Light and creamy, this cheesecake it perfect for summer.

(Please ignore my horrid mango cutting skills – suggestions for slicing those slippery suckers is most welcome!)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut, sweetened
  • 500 grams cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 mangoes

Preheat oven to 350 F.

For the crust: lightly grease the bottom and sides of spring form pan. Combine graham cracker crumbs, shredded coconut and melted butter in a medium bowl. Pack mixture to the bottom of the spring form pan using a spatula or your fingers.

Throw in the freezer to let it set.

For the filling: cream eggs and sugar together in a small bowl. Add vanilla extract. Transfer to medium bowl and add softened cream cheese. Whisk until combined. Add in sour cream.

Take crust out of freezer. Pour in cheesecake mixture.

Bake in oven for 35 minutes.

Cool before garnishing with mango slices.

Done.

(Edible flowers also make a great finishing touch – I just picked some from the garden)

Model Milk (Calgary)

I have been waiting to eat at Model Milk for what seems like several years now and this past Friday I finally got what I’ve been longing for.

My party of three arrived around 7:30 without reservations. We were in luck as a table inside had just opened up, otherwise the patio was a bit chilly.

First impressions: a beautiful building (Calgary’s old dairy) with first, second floor (right by the open kitchen too) and patio seating. Rustic yet elegant decor.

We started off our meal with glasses of Riesling and Pinot Gris – the waitress was spot on when we described what our palates were yearning (sweet and citrus-y, respectively).

For the appetizer we split the Dungeness crab rolls: delicious mini savoury french toasts stuffed with a light crab salad.

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The three of us were just a bit peckish so we shared one small and one large plate.

Lobster Bolognese – handmade ricotta cavatelli, pistachio and tarragon

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The bolognese was nice and creamy and the pistachio added great texture. Morsels of lobster however were minimal.

Driview Farms Lamb Rump – Eggplant puree, goat yogurt, black malt, olive jus

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Lamb was cooked perfectly (we like it on the rare side). The black malt (roasted malted barley) crust on the lamb added a nice smokiness. Eggplant puree was also very smoky, perhaps overpowered by the black malt. The bitter greens on the plate were too bitter for any of our liking.

Overall

Atmosphere: Exposed brick, unique table settings (a wood plank joins a couple of centre tables) and warm atmosphere

Food: Fresh and innovative. Sharing is encouraged. Technique was there, but taste a bit off (lamb dish specifically)

Price: large plates (entrées) range from $20-34

Would I come back: Yes, but not in a hurry. Staff were very knowledgeable and accommodating, but the price point was high for the dishes we sampled. I will be back to give it a second chance, but next time I will be sitting next to the kitchen to watch the chefs in action!

Prosciutto egg cups

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So simple. Especially for a breakfast on the go, or brunch!

Recipe makes one dozen.

Ingredients

  • 300 grams Canadian prosciutto
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup arugula

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Arrange the beautifully marbled slices of prosciutto into muffin tins.

Add 2-3 leaves of arugula into each cup. Crack an egg into each.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until yolk is soft.

Done.

(Great to pop into your mouth before driving to work!)

Cherry blueberry clafoutis

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Adapted from Ina Garten’s pear clafouti recipe.

Warm velvety custard with little fruit gems. I’ve been making this one for years and it never fails.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus a sprinkling for the pan
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour red cherries (fresh is better)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Butter a round baking dish and lightly sprinkle with sugar.

Whisk the eggs and the granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in  flour, cream, vanilla and salt.

Set aside for 10 minutes.

Pour custard mixture (should be the consistency of pancake mix) into pan. Plop in cherries and blueberries.

Bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.