Monday, February 21, 2011

Roast Beef with Roasted Vegetables on Rye.

I have always been a big fan of a good roast beef sandwich, and on homemade rye bread, it is almost as good as a Rueben. My favourite bread growing up was rye. There was this bakery that had a great rye bread, although it was a good walk (about 20 minutes each way), I would probably go once every couple weeks or so for my parents, when ever we had stew. Once I started making my own bread, it wasn't long before I learnt how to make rye bread. Well when you have a good bread, you have a great base to experiment with sandwiches.

I find that good sandwiches aren't always easy to come by, with the exception of a new sandwich only shop opened up near my work. Its a small chain that has put the focus on sandwiches and doing them well, but they are a little expensive. I love a good sandwich and since they are not always easy to find, I experiment with my own.

This experiment went well. I normally wouldn't have made this roasted vegetable sandwich with beef but my wife and I had roast beef for dinner yesterday. I took a gamble and well as long as you don't forget the mustard its a well balanced sandwich. I find that it balances the sweet caramelized vegetables well.

What you will need:

Roasted vegetables:
3 bell peppers ( I used 2 red and 1 orange)
1 med onion sliced into thing rings
1 Eggplant (aubergine) sliced
1 head of garlic
olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 F. Slice eggplant (aubergine) into about 1/4 inch slices, and place on cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt to bring out the excess moisture. Slice each of the peppers into 4 flat pieces. Slice onions carefully across the top to make thin circular slices (try to keep in tact) and place on a large foil lined cookie sheet with peppers(you may need separate trays). Take a sheet of foil out big enough to wrap head of garlic, slice top of garlic so each clove's top is cut off. Place garlic open part up, brush top with olive oil, season with S&P and wrap in foil. With a paper towel wipe off eggplant, then brush both sides with olive oil. Season with S&P and place back on cookie sheet. Bake for about 1 hour or until caramelized, the onions go from nothing to burnt rather quick so keep an eye on them. Eggplant needs only about 45 mins and turn everything (except the garlic) about 1/2 way in.
Let cool and chop. mix all vegetables together with garlic.

For sandwich:
2 slices of your favourite rye bread (you can substitute any bread you like)
3 Tbsp (or more) of the Vegetable mix
3 or 4 thin slices of Roast beef
Cheddar cheese
favourite mustard to taste
mayo (optional)

Adding grilled vegetables is a great way to add some flavour to any sandwich, I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The 10 for 5 Finale: Chocolate Lava Cakes

Let me start of by saying that I have had plenty of requests for these little gems. These are perfect for all chocoholics, and so easy to make. Now my original recipe calls for six ingredients and after a painful sacrifice I dropped the only ingredient I could, vanilla. This was tough because vanilla is like salt of the desert world, and I don't think I make anything that a little vanilla wouldn't make better. But for the sake of the challenge I dropped it, and it worked out pretty good. I do recommend adding a splash of vanilla but as I was pleasantly surprised it can hold up without it.

This was a great challenge and I am happy that I got a chance to participate, as I said in a previous post it got me in touch with some old favourites. But another thing that this challenge did for me was to think about simplifying my new favourites and really appreciate what each of the ingredients bring to the dish. Thank you Julie (Rosie + Tart) for putting this together, it has been a lot of fun.

Enough of the blabbing, this is what you will need: (4 portions)
8 oz dark chocolate (make it as good as you can afford)
1 Stick (1/2 cup) Butter (I never said it was low-fat)
4 eggs
4 Tbsp Brown sugar
4 Tbsp Cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 400 F and butter 4- 8 oz ramekins and then coat with white sugar. In a double boiler melt chocolate and butter together. Meanwhile, whisk together the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl. Let chocolate cool a bit but not harden, then mix together with egg mix. Using a deep sided baking dish place the ramekins in and fill 1/2 way with water, then bake for about 12 minutes from room temperature, or about 20 from the fridge.
When you pull these out of the oven slide a knife around the edges (while still hot so use oven mitts or a cloth) and invert on a plate. Enjoy, and whoever you make these for will invite themselves over for dessert.

10 for 5: Leek and Potato soup

The weather lately has been gloomy and mucky, and when it gets that way, I love digging into a nice bowl of soup or stew. I had 4 cups left of my own chicken stock, that I recently made, I wanted to use for something good. To keep in spirit of the “10 with 5” challenge, I came out with a soup just for the challenge, but it has made it on our list of favourites. When you see how simple this was you will be making this one of your favourites too.

What you will need:

Oil (enough to coat leeks)

1 large leek chopped and rinsed very well

4 med potatoes chopped

4 cups chicken stock

4 cloves Garlic minced

Small handful fresh chopped parsley

S&P to taste

In a large pot take leeks and sauté them in a little oil. Add potatoes and soften. Add garlic and chicken stock. Cook until potatoes are mashable (about 20-30 minutes) and then puree the mix. Season with S&P and add chopped parsley at the end for a fresh finish.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

10 for 5: Rice Pilaff

Coming to an end on the 10 for 5 challenge and I have got to say it has been fun. I have been able to take a more simplistic look at my favourite recipes, and push my creativity further than I normally would. I even reintroduced old favourites to my table, that I had forgotten about in my search of trying new things.

Rice Pilaff is what I made before I knew about risotto. The only real difference in the recipe is the cooking method, and of course the final result. Rice pilaff is a lower maintenance rice dish that cooks fluffy and tasty every time.

All you need for a simple pilaff is:
1 cup long grain rice
2 cups chicken stock (use vegetable stock for vegetarian dish)
1 clove garlic
1 medium size onion diced
2 tbsp butter (an a bit of oil so the butter doesn't burn)
S&P to taste

In a large skillet heat oil and butter together. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add rice and saute until evenly coated in butter, then add the stock and bring to a soft boil. Meanwhile lightly grease a baking dish and crush the garlic. Combine garlic and rice mixture in baking dish, cover tightly with foil and then place in oven for 40 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, taste and add S&P.

* Little trick * If you have a glass baking dish you can see when the liquid is absorbed so that you don't lower the temperature of your oven by opening it often.

This works as a great weekday side dish. There are many add-ins and variations you can do with this, like adding peas or your favourite vegetable. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

An unbelievable 10 for 5:Mushroom Risotto

A while ago, I made a mushroom risotto for a dinner party and discovered that it is one of my wife's favourite dishes. I think I got it out of one of my Jamie Oliver books and I was surprised when I counted and was easily able to cut it down to 5 ingredients.

Risotto is an Italian way of cooking the rice (Riso) that makes for a creamy rice dish, that when cooked proper still has a bit of a bite. Risotto can be made with other grains, so feel free to substitute with barley or quinoa (quinoa however soaks up a lot of liquid, make sure to use low sodium stock or mix half and half with water). For an authentic Italian version use Arborio rice.

Risotto is actually not difficult to make it just takes your undivided attention and a good stirring arm. Although easy, keep in mind you need to make sure your stock is hot, and that you keep stirring. Best thing to do is get everything ready and measured (Mise en Place) before you start, so that you don't need to divert your attention. This includes sauteing the mushrooms.

You will need:
3-4 cups hot chicken stock
2+1 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp Vegetable or Olive oil (to mix with butter to prevent from burning)
1 cup mushrooms
1 cup arborio rice
3 tbsp parmesan cheese
S&P to taste.

In a medium sauce pan, saute mushrooms with 1/2 oil and 1 tbsp butter. Remove mushrooms and set aside to be added later. Use left over oil to saute the rice, just until coated in oil. Then start adding the stock, 1 ladle full at a time. Let the stock absorb before adding more, then keep stirring and adding stock until the rice is a creamy texture and looks like porridge (about 30 mins total).
At that stage turn off the heat add mushrooms, butter, and Parmesan cheese. Serve quickly, as risotto is best shortly after it's made and not for long after. Once you get the hang of it, there are many variations that you can try. Let me know how it goes, and let me know what other types of risotto you make.

Monday, February 7, 2011

10 with 5: Buttermilk Biscuits

I love biscuits (scones) and I make a variety of them, the usual ones that I make are not a 5 ingredient recipe, but I was able to tweak them a bit to fit. The original recipe came from Anna Olson. I was trying to find an impressive dessert for a dinner date (for my now wife), and I wanted something light to serve with my fresh berry compot. It was a succes and I kept making that version. But when I counted the ingredients in my raisin biscuits, and found I was 2 ingredients over. I just bought some buttermilk for muffins, and pancakes and thought maybe I can make a more savory scone if I drop the sugar, and raisins. The buttermilk and a bit of extra salt made the difference as well as a very tasty biscuit.

One thing to mention when making these really easy biscuits, keep the butter really cold and the less you work the dough the flakier the biscuits. The butter should not be fully incorporated as it creates little air pockets, and refrigerating the dough before use will also help. After all it’s mostly the butter doing the work here.

So you will need:

3 Cups Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Baking powder
¾ Cup cold butter cut into cubes
1 cup Buttermilk (an extra 2 Tbsp for brushing-optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix dry ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl, and then mix in butter (until consistency of course meal). Slowly add buttermilk until dough forms. Lightly flour work surface and rolling pin and roll out to about ½ inch thick and cut in ½ and then each 1” wide. Place on a lightly floured cookie sheet, each spaced by 1” and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Take them to the next level by incorporating (a sixth ingredient)½ a cup of grated cheddar. Hope you like them as much as we did…

Sunday, February 6, 2011

10 for 5: Salsa

The 10 for 5 Challenge is tougher than I thought at this time of the year. The ingredients are not as inspiring in the heart of a Canadian winter. I was really excited to find tomatoes that looked red and some great fresh cilantro. Now my usual salsa recipe has a few more ingredients the challenge of 5 ingredients or less was that of sacrifice (which I don't do well). I had to be a little more creative to cut ingredients but still make it worth having.

I normally have shallots and garlic in my salsa, so I gave on shallots and kept the garlic. Now another thing I did differently was I used lemon juice instead of lime and zest, which works, but do yourself the favour and go for a sixth ingredient, add the zest of a lime in addition to the juice and you will be in heaven. Although I did miss the shallots, it was a fun experiment.

You will need: (makes about 2 cups)
6 roma tomatoes diced
1 clove of garlic purée
juice of 1 lime or 1/2 of a lemon
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 0r 2 jalapeño ( or other hot pepper to taste)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Start by dicing up the tomatoes and then add the rest to the same bowl. Let rest for min 30 minutes to allow the flavours to mature. Then get your favourite tortilla chips and enjoy.

How hot do you like your salsa? For my salsa I sometimes use habanero peppers.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

10 for 5: Tartar Sauce

I was making breaded fish sticks from scratch, and thought what a good 5 or less recipe. When I was a kid I found out that tartar sauce was pretty much relish and mayo, which I never forgot. Now that my tastes have developed, so has my version of tartar sauce. I really don’t have the same one twice as I get different inspirations or have different things in the fridge. Sometimes I add capers, or even roasted red peppers, chopped dill, or whatever catches my eye. This time for the sake of 5 ingredients I kept it simple.

You will need: (for 2 people)

2 Tbsp Mayo

1 Tbsp sweet relish

Juice of ½ a lemon

Clove of garlic (grated or puréed)

Your choice of either hot sauce or paprika, to taste

S&P to taste

For the super simple directions: Mix all the ingredients together. That’s it! Try adding different things mix and match, add more relish, or mayo, add chopped dill pickles instead. It is a very forgiving and personal sauce.

Be Creative and let me know what different variations you come up with.


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