Pages

"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


AOL Ad

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sour Cherry & Saskatoon Berry Tart


Summer fruits are here and I love it!  At the farmers market the other day I saw two things I can't find too often around here: Saskatoon berries and sour cherries.


Saskatoon berries look a lot like blueberries, but they taste completely different. When they're raw they are a little bitter, but baked in this tart they taste nutty and delicious, and go great with the sour cherries.  They also keep their shape really well when cooked.


Sour cherries are amazing. I love sweet cherries but I've never used sour cherries before.  They are bright red on the outside but their juice is clear, not dark like sweet cherries.  They need to be sweetened but they have such a great cherry flavour.  I can't wait to bake more with them!


This is a super easy puff-pastry galette, but you can use the filling for a regular pie if you prefer.

I have a cherry pitter to pit the cherries, but you can use a knife if you don't have a pitter, and it's a lot less messy with sour cherries than sweet. 




Ingredients:
1.5 cups Saskatoon berries
1.5 cups sour cherries, pitted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 sheet frozen all-butter puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (raw sugar) or granulated sugar

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix the berries, cherries, sugars, lemon juice and corn starch in a large bowl until well combined. 

Roll out the puff pastry on a sheet of parchment on a baking tray and poke it with a fork all over.

Mound the berry mixture in the middle of the pastry and fold the edges roughly up over the filling.

Brush the outside of the pastry with the beaten egg and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and crisp.  If juices leak from the tart, that's ok! 

Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Instant Pot Risotto


After months of wanting one, I bought myself an Instant Pot on Amazon Prime Day! 

I've never, ever used a pressure cooker before so I was really eager to give it a try.  

For my first test run, I decided to work with this recipe from Serious Eats for Miso Risotto in a pressure cooker.  I adapted it a bit with the ingredients I had on hand.  And, although the recipe is written for an electric or standard pressure cooker, I didn't find the instructions intuitive for my first time using the Instant Pot. But the results were fantastic.  



I would never make risotto the traditional way in the middle of summer.  It just makes the kitchen too darn hot.  But this method makes it very quick and easy, and doesn't heat up the kitchen!

The first thing I learned about the Instant Pot is that the actual cooking time can increase and even double when you add time to preheat and release the steam.  In this case, the risotto was still very quick and worth the effort.  



The second thing I learned, which was a big surprise, was that the saute feature gets very hot!  Never having used an electric pressure cooker, I was very surprised how hot it got.  You'd need to keep a close eye on it not to burn your garlic.


Ingredients

6 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Arborio rice
3/4 cup dry sake or sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup miso paste
4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt
chives or green onions



Directions for Instant Pot

Have all ingredients measured, prepped and ready to go before turning on the Instant Pot. 

Press the "Saute" button and wait until preheated (less than a minute).  Add the oil, then the onion and saute about 2 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and saute one minute more.  The pot insert will move around, but you can hold on to the edge with a kitchen towel to keep it steady. 

Add the rice and cook, stirring for about 4 minutes until the rice is toasted and coated in oil.

Add the sake or sherry and cook, stirring until mostly dry. Stir in soy sauce and miso paste. 

Add stock.  Make sure all ingredients are submerged and there are no grains of rice or pieces of onion stuck to the sides of the pot, and make sure the rim of the pot is clean.  

Put the lid on the Instant Pot and click it closed.  A little tune will play to indicate it is properly closed. 

Push the "Manual" button. Push the "Pressure" button until the Low Pressure light is on. The timer will default to 30 minutes.  Press the minus - button until the timer says 5 minutes. 

After 10 seconds, the program will start.  It took about 5 minutes to come up to pressure, then the timer started counting down.  Once 5 minutes was up, the pot went into "Keep Warm" mode.  To quick-release the steam, press "Cancel" and turn the steam nozzle to "Vent". Depressurizing took about 2 minutes for this recipe. 

Once the pressure is released, open the lid, being careful to turn your face away from the steam.  Stir the risotto a few times until it thickens.  Add salt to taste if desired.  Mine didn't need it. 

Serve the risotto in shallow bowls, topped with chopped chives or green onions. 






Thursday, July 13, 2017

Instant Pot Duo Unboxing




I finally got something I've been wanting for a while.  The Instant Pot was on sale for Amazon Prime Day and I snapped one up.  

I got the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, 8 Quart 1200W

Check out the video for the grand unveiling.  I plan to make lots of delicious things with this! 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Happy Hour: Themyscira Wonder Punch

This post comes from Matt, the Beer Baron, who likes craft beer and creating superhero-themed cocktails.  Follow him on Twitter or Instagram @geekcanuck


Even before we went to see Wonder Woman, I was toying with the idea of coming up with a cocktail to celebrate her big screen solo debut (and director Patty Jenkins becoming the first woman to direct a superhero blockbuster). I’d had some fun ideas about rimming the glass with sugar to represent a tiara and using lemon curls as the Golden Lasso of Truth but I hadn’t quite cracked the concept for the actual cocktail -- until a quick trip to Toronto before the movie.



The Clockwatching Tart and I were meeting an old friend for lunch and enjoyed some truly fantastic D.O.P. (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) pizza, whose ingredients all come from specific regions of Italy. While the food and service at Pizzeria Libretto were wonderful, my eureka moment came when I spotted Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers Cherry Gin in a cocktail on the menu.

I’d been toying with the idea of starting off with a base similar to an Aperol Spritz, which is something the Clockwatching Tart had recently tried and enjoyed. An Aperol Spritz combines brut (dry) prosecco with bitter-sweet Aperol and club soda. To even come close to doing Wonder Woman justice, I decided to do away with the club soda entirely and add in the Dillon’s Cherry Gin.

                                           

Between my original garnish ideas, the addition of blueberries to match the colour scheme of her outfit, and the Dillon’s Cherry Gin to make the whole thing fittingly stronger and more powerful, the ingredients are as follows:

  • 4 ounces dry sparkling wine
  • 3/4 ounce Aperol or Luxardo Aperitivo
  • 3/4 ounce Dillon’s Cherry Gin
  • Yellow sanding sugar
  • Lemon curl
  • Blueberries



We used Canadian brut from Nova Scotia but any dry sparkling wine would do.


Add the Aperol or Aperitivo and gin and give it a good stir.


Garnish to bring out the Wonder Woman in your drink and then enjoy! We felt the Themyscira Wonder Punch turned out wonderfully well. It was herbaceous, lightly floral and not overly sweet, while also being alluring, balanced, approachable and strong but not overbearing, all of which seemed fitting for Wonder Woman.


As for the movie, [spoiler alert] it was awesome and unabashedly positive and inspiring. It was one of my favourite theatrical experiences of the year and I loved that there were women dressed up as Wonder Woman there and that the movie seemed to live up to their expectations. Go enjoy the movie and then follow it up with a Themyscira Wonder Punch!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Happy Hour - Homemade Gin Smash


Last year a terrific new pre-made cocktail hit the shelves of the LCBO, Georgian Bay Gin Smash.  We tried it at a food & wine show and fell in love with the fruity but not-too-sweet flavour.  We weren't the only ones.  It was extremely popular in Ontario and very hard to find for a lot of the summer.  At one point we came across a full case of 24 at the LCBO and grabbed it to stock up.  


But when it wasn't available, and we were craving the flavour, I decided I could make my own Gin Smash.  I used Bulldog gin, but it would be even more authentic with Georgian Bay gin


All you need is gin, club soda, limes, lemons, tangerines and mint. 


Muddle the mint and fruit with a shot of gin. Muddling just means to crush the fruit and herbs together to get their juice and essence into the gin.  The peels add a lot of flavour as well.  If you don't have a muddler, use a wooden spoon.  


I made the smash two ways.  One was muddled in a cocktail shaker and strained, the other was muddled directly in the glass so all the fruit remained in the cocktail when served.  Both were topped with club soda.


I think I liked the strained version slightly better, for ease of sipping, but both were delicious! 

You can be creative and add different fruits and herbs to make your own smash.  I am heading to Georgian Bay for a girls weekend soon, and I'll be bringing both the pre-made Gin Smash, and ingredients to make my own. 

Cheers! 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Split Pea Soup with Ham


Sometimes when you cook a delicious Easter ham, you'll be lucky to have a ham bone left over.  That's the perfect excuse to make split pea soup with ham!

It doesn't look terribly pretty, but it tastes delicious!


Split peas come in yellow or green.  I used yellow peas for this recipe, like traditional Quebecois split pea soup.  


Like so many great soups, this one starts with sauteed carrots, celery and onions.  You can puree the soup later to make it smooth, but I like to keep the texture of the vegetables.  


Add the dried split peas, the ham bone, diced ham and water to the veggies and simmer for an hour. 


That's it!  Easy, warm and delicious. 


Here's what you need:

Ingredients
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or butter
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 ham bone and 1-2 cups diced cooked ham
500g split yellow peas
8 cups water
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper 

Directions
In a large dutch oven, saute carrots, onions and celery in oil or butter until soft. 

Add split peas, ham bone, ham and water.  Add bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for an hour until peas are soft and broken up.  Add more water if soup is too thick.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.   

Serve with fresh bread and a salad for a hearty lunch or dinner. 




Saturday, March 25, 2017

Homemade Gummy Bears


My husband loves gummy bears but doesn't always want to snack on pure sugar. So I decided to make him some fruit juice gummies in his favouite flavours!


Making gummies at home is very easy. I got these gummy bear molds that worked wonderfully, but if you don't have molds, you can set the gummies in a baking pan and cut them into cubes or shapes. I will say that the droppers really help to fill the silicone molds, and the bears come out beautifully.  There are plenty of cute mold shapes available online too. 



I decided to make most of the gummies with 100% juice and no added sugar, and they were lovely.  But I made a small batch with a small amount of added sweetener and I have to admit they were even better.  The honey brought out more flavour in the juice.   I chose wild blueberry, Matt's favourite flavour, and apple cherry juice. You can use any juice you like except pineapple, which doesn't work well with gelatin. 



The other ingredient is the gelatin. I used these standard envelopes of unflavoured gelatin available in any grocery store, but you can get large canisters of grass-fed gelatin online.  The recipe requires a lot of gelatin, but makes a lot of gummies!

Here's what you need to make gummies at home:

1 cup fruit juice
4 tablespoons unflavoured gelatin (equal to 4 pouches in the box above)
1-2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (optional)
Silicone gummy mold and dropper or metal or silicone baking pan

Place the juice (and honey, if using) in a small pot and slowly stir in the gelatin.  Let it sit for a few minutes, then warm over medium heat, stirring until the gelatin dissolves. Don't let it boil - you just want the gelatin to melt and the mixture to be thin and shiny.  



Remove from heat and use a dropper to fill the gummy molds.  If you get a lot of bubbles, you can use the dropper to suck it back up and fill the dropper with non-bubbly juice to re-fill.  Make sure you place the mold on a baking sheet before filling so you can easily move it to the fridge once full. 



If you're using a metal pan you will need to coat it with non-stick spray or coconut oil before filling.  



Place the filled molds in the refrigerator for 2 hours until completely set.  The gummy bears pop easily out of the molds!  



If you've set the gummies in a pan, carefully use a spatula to remove the set gummies from the pan, and use a cookie cutter or knife to cut into shapes.  



The gummies will keep in the fridge for a week or two.  Don't leave them at room temperature!  They have no preservatives and will get moldy quickly so they must be stored in the fridge.   

This is a fun project with kids and makes an easy, healthy snack!