Saturday, January 22, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
A new tradition for me the last couple years, since I met my wife has been a potluck with her father’s family. I love good pot luck, and when it’s a family who all cook so well it is an honour to be a part of it. This year I wanted to do something different, I got a pasta maker and I hadn’t used it in a while now I needed something that stood out. I thought about how often do you see tortellini for Christmas? Not to mention crab and goat cheese filled?
Ok so will warn all my readers here…This is a bit time consuming and a bit of hard work but so very worth it all.
First you will need to start out by making fresh sheets of pasta. To do this you can use regular Canadian flour or the best one to use is fine semolina flour. Sorry American followers but your wheat flour is not as strong and you will probably need to use bread flour (which has higher gluten) or semolina. Semolina is the best because it has more gluten and provides a stronger final product.
Take 2 cups of flour and mound it on your work surface creating a well large enough for wet ingredients. Break 3 eggs into well and add 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and pinch of salt. Slowly start to incorporate the liquid into the flour until a dough holds together. You will have left over flour so stop when you can form a ball.
Knead dough for 10 to 15 minutes to work the glutens and creates a smooth, and slightly stretchy dough. Divide in 2 and form disks. Wrap with cling wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of an hour to relax the glutens. When ready to work with the dough, roll out one disk at a time. I suggest using a pasta machine if you have one, but you can roll the pasta by hand as well. Start off by rolling the dough thin enough to fit into the machine on the thickest setting. Roll through once take dough fold both ends into the middle, then fold over like a book (four fold method). Roll a bit to fit in machine and repeat this another couple times. This step builds strength in the dough.
Now the dough is ready to thin out. Keep running the sheet through each time changing the setting one thinner until you are at the thinnest. Once the sheet is thin enough, sprinkle with flour and then take either a circle cookie-cutter or a glass with a small opening (about a 2 inch diameter) and try to get as many circles as you can of the dough (as you can’t use the scraps). Cover what you are not working on with a moist towel so that the pasta doesn’t dry. Brush the ones that you are working with water to help seal.
Take ¼ tsp of the filling of your choice and place in the center of each round. Fold over, seal all around the stuffing. Take the 2 corners along the folded (straight) edge, and pinch together to form tortellini shape. If it doesn’t stick, moisten the area lightly and try again. If you are not eating within a couple days, the tortellini can be frozen until needed.
Crab and goat cheese filling:
1 shallot minced
1 clove garlic
2 leaves of tarragon chopped fine
½ a medium red pepper finely diced
2 cans of crabmeat
2 tbsp olive oil.
1 cup quality soft goat cheese
S&P to taste (goat cheese varies in saltiness so wait to add salt)
Soften shallots and peppers in frying pan with oil. Add the garlic, tarragon and crab meat. Allow to warm up. Stir in goat cheese then remove from heat. Season with S & P, and cool before using.
These make awesome tortellini but the possibilities are endless. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
There were a couple things I remember about Christmas at my Grandma’s and I associated those with French-Canadian traditional food. My grandparents spent many years as snowbirds (Canadians who live in the southern states during winter-Part time Americans), so I don’t remember too many Christmas dinners there. One thing that left an impression was tourtiere. Tourtiere is a meat pie made with pork and beef or veal, and as I later found out, it’s traditionally eaten for réveillon (big dinners on Christmas Eve and/or New Years Eve).
It always seemed a mystery and I had this belief that it was a lot more complex to make than it was. That was until I saw Laura Caulder do a version of it on her show. It was an awakening of sorts to realize that the hard part was the crust not the filling. Well as I was a good procrastinator I put it off year after year, until my wife’s dad invited us over for his annual tourtiere production (15-20 pies). I was now more motivated to try my own.
This year I stopped procrastinating and even researched how to make the best crust. I did try to make a crust and the first one didn’t work, I will try again, but since I was in a bit of a time crunch I bought pre-made dough at the store that worked just as good. Nowadays, you can find store bought dough, or even prepared crusts that are almost as good as homemade, and a lot less hassle. If you are short on time or just don’t want the bother it is perfectly fine to buy it.
Recipes for tourtiere vary from family to family, and well I always add my own touch to recipes. Here goes the start of the Hurley tourtiere recipe:
Makes 3 pies:
1 Kg(2 1/5 lbs) ground pork, veal and beef. *In Montreal they sell it mixed together-but you may have to buy separately. If you buy it separate be sure there is a bit more beef than pork.
2 Cups potatoes diced
1 cup fine to coarse breadcrumbs (I used panko-but any unseasoned ones would work)
4 cups Chicken stock
1 onion finely diced
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp Olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced
¼ tsp smoked paprika ( I have a good Hungarian paprika that I use)
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp sage
Pinch of cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat large pot with olive oil on Medium heat. Soften onions until translucent, and then add garlic, bay leaves and spices. Heat for no more that 20 seconds before adding stock so that garlic doesn’t burn. Add potatoes and bring to a boil, then remove bay leaves and add uncooked meat to stock. Simmer for 20 minutes (or until meat is no longer pink) skimming fat as it cooks. Stir in breadcrumbs and turn off the heat. Cool and let sit in fridge overnight before using.
If using uncooked pie dough:
Roll to a thickness of 2mm (1/16th inch) a bottom and top for 3 pie pans. And cook at 190 C (375 F) for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Using Precooked pie crust:
Follow directions on package.
This is a traditional dish but it doesn’t have to be Christmas to enjoy this dish, could be just to try making something new. What kind of traditional food did you make this year? Let me know in the comments section.
Monday, January 3, 2011
Now what I didn't get around to was updating those who are following my kitchen Hi jinx. I neglegted to keep the blog up to date while I was busy cooking up a storm, so over the next week I will be adding a few posts to catch up.
Things to come over the next week (not nessesarily in order):
Gingerbread men, trees, and decorating.
Tortellinis with crab and goat cheese filling
New Griddle and the breakfast test.
Look out for these posts coming soon, or check me out on foodista