Category Archives: dinner

White bean cassoulet

White bean cassoulet

As Christmas day approaches, we have already been stuffing ourselves with the abundance of desserts, drinks and rich meals over the holiday season.  It , therefore, only seems appropriate to have a cleansing meal before the gluttony of Christmas day begins. Bean cassoulet has been a tradition in our family for several years but I wanted to take out the fat component  of traditional  bean stews composed of duck confit and pare it down to its flavour and hardiness.  I combined several recipes to come up with this tasty and relatively fast meal which is really a show stopper its own right. I like to buy chorizo lamb merguez for its spiciness , flavor and leanness but you can substitute any sausage you like.  What makes this cassoulet particularly unique  is it’s spinach walnut pesto and parmesan crostini instead of the traditional bread crumb topping.

 

White bean cassoulet
 
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Author:
Recipe type: french
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbls olive oil
  • 20 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 4 stalks of celery diced
  • 1 herb bouquet tied with string: 4 stems of fresh rosemary,4 stems of fresh oregano( or 1 tsp of dry)8-10 fresh stems of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups drained cooked great northern white beans or any firm white bean(approx. 3 cups dried soaked beans overnight and cooked for an hour)
  • 8 cups of chicken stock
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 4 links of spicy merguez or chicken sausage
  • ½ cups spinach pesto
  • 6 slices of diced bacon
  • 4 diced tomatoes
  • Garlic crostini:
  • 1 baquette
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • spinach pesto:
  • ½ bunch spinach
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts
  • 11/2 cups olive oil
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place the rack in the middle
  2. Heat up creuset or dutch oven pot on the stove and add diced bacon to cook until crisp
  3. Add diced onion, garlic, carrot,celery, herbs
  4. Add cooked beans along with 8 cups of chicken stock and white wine
  5. Stir in diced tomates and bring to a simmer on the stove
  6. Once bubbling, place in preheated oven to bake at least 2 hours until liquid reduces by at least half
  7. Grilled sausage:
  8. Lay out sausage and prick with a fork and cook under broil for approx. 10 mins. for colour.
  9. Cut sausages in half and place on top of stewing beans an hour into baking time.
  10. Spinach pesto:
  11. Chop spinach and add to blender
  12. Gradually add olive oil until well blended
  13. Add garlic,walnuts, cheese , salt and pepper
  14. Combine all ingredients in a blender until pureed smooth.
  15. Put in a bowl and leave to rest
  16. Garlic parmesan crostini:
  17. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  18. Slice baquette into 24 slices
  19. Drizzle bread with olive oil
  20. Spread crushed garlic onto each slice and sprinkle with parmesan cheese
  21. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until bread is browned but not burnt
  22. Remove from the oven and set aside until beans are ready
  23. Continue to check beans until almost all the liquid has been absorbed.
  24. Sometimes this can take up to 3 hours depending on how well cooked the beans are.
  25. Remove creuset pot from the oven and serve beans with sausage placed on top, a dollop of pesto with a crostini placed on top.

watersoup

Watermelon Gazpacho

Ever wonder what to do the rest of the gigantic watermelon you bought that doesn’t fit in the fridge and you can’t seem to consume fast enough ? The trend has been watermelon gazpacho and what a delight. It is such a nice flavor and perfect for the summer heat when served chilled. This recipe is modified from several I found online and really works well with a grilled main course.

Watermelon Gazpacho
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 large tomato rough chopped
  • 1 tsp dried chilis depending on preference
  • 4 cups rough chopped seeded watermelon or whatever fits in your blender
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 TBLS minced onion
  • ½ cucumber seeded and rough chopped
  • 2 TBLS minced fresh or dried dill
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into blender. Pulse until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and as many chilis as you like depending on the heat you like. Pour into bowls and serve with crumbled feta and minced cucumber and watermelon to garnish. It's even better served chilled.

 

cod

Crusted cod with mustard caper sauce

Although I’ve cooked cod and other white fish a multitude of ways including battered fish and chips,  I find the best results come when it’s breaded and seared. This gives the fish a nice crunch and also holds it together better.  The easiest and pretty fool proof way is breading it first in flour, then egg and then a Panko bread crumbs. I modified the recipe to gluten free using rice Chex cereal and found the results to be equally tasty. Rice Chex cereal works well as a Panko replacement. Just grind it up in the blender and you have your crumbs ready to go.  Try serving this with quinoa and steamed chard as  a great summer dinner.

Crusted cod with mustard caper sauce
 
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Author:
Recipe type: gluten free dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 6 oz fillets of cod
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup rice Chex cereal
  • salt and pepper
  • Mustard caper sauce:
  • 2 TBLS whole grain mustard
  • 1 TBLS capers, drained
  • 1 TBLS chopped or dried tarragon
  • 4 TBLS olive oil
Instructions
  1. Take out fillets and dry completely with paper towel
  2. On three separate plates, place flour, beaten egg and ground Chex cereal
  3. Add a small amount of salt and pepper to each plate
  4. Heat pan to medium high heat
  5. Place fish first in flour and then completely in egg
  6. Let egg drip off and press firmly into Chex crumbs until completely covered
  7. Place oil in pan and place fish crumb side down
  8. Cook approx 4 min until crispy brown
  9. Gently turn over and cook another 2 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets
  10. Carefully remove the fish from the pan.
  11. In a separate bowl, mix together mustard capers, tarragon and olive oil
  12. Place heated quinoa as your base , stack with steamed chard and top with breaded fish
  13. Add mustard caper sauce over the top of the fish and your done.

 

glutenfreepasta1

Gluten free pasta dough

I’ve tried many gluten free pasta recipes online, and this recipe from Epicurious is by far the most authentic. The corn flour adds the tooth and flavour of semolina flour and the xanthan gum and guar gum hold it together. I’ve tried it without xanthan gum but it really needs it if you want to put it through a pasta machine.  You can mix and match your gluten free flours( is. brown rice instead of quinoa) but I would keep the potato starch for it glutinous properties.  You can purchase all your flours from Bob’s redmill and remember it’s fine corn flour NOT corn meal which will not work at all. Serve with some puttenesca sauce or meatball sauce and you’re done. Delicious!

Gluten free pasta dough
 
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Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup corn flour
  • ½ cup quinoa flour
  • ½ potato starch flour
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp guar gum
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 yolks from large eggs( keep the whites for merigue or sponge cake)
Instructions
  1. Sift all flours
  2. Add xanthan gum, guar gum and salt and stir in
  3. Put eggs and yolks into the bowl of dry ingredients
  4. Mix by hand until well blended (about 3 minutes)
  5. The dough should be firm yet pliable like play dough
  6. If you are using a pasta machine , cut the ball of dough into quarters and roll out each piece of dough to about ½ inch thickness. If you cover the rolling pin in potato starch flour , you can roll directly. Otherwise, you can use 2 sheets of parchment and roll it in between
  7. Once rolled flat, run it through the pasta machine and keep increasing the setting.
  8. I didn't go to the lowest setting as I found it was just too thin
  9. For fettuccine, using the fettuccine setting on the pasta machine. You can also handcut
  10. For ravioli, cut the rolled out pasta into 2 inch squares pieces
  11. Add a dollop of filling to each and brush the edges with egg wash. Put a square on top and crimp the edges. A ravioli cutter can be useful
  12. Keep the drying pasta on a sheet of parchment with potato starch mixed in so it doesn't stick
  13. Add to boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes
  14. Gently remove from the pot..no need to rinse and add your favorite sauce.

glutenfreepastaglutenfreepasta3

brocht

Easy borscht soup

Beet borscht is such a delicious, colorful comfort soup packed with vitamins and flavour.  I like to buy the whole beets with leaves and stems for more flavor and texture. If you can’t find them with the leaves, you can always add some diced kale for a little green. My son loves this soup which is a good sign. It’s delicious every time.

Easy borscht soup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: soup
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 whole beets with leaves
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 large onion
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • ½ cup of French or puy lentils
  • natural vinegar
  • 1 can whole or diced tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • dill and thyme
  • chicken ,beef or vegetarian stock
Instructions
  1. Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to a heated soup pot
  2. Add minced onion and garlic and stir until browned
  3. Add chopped carrots, celery, potatoes
  4. Peel beets and cut into ½ inch cubes and add
  5. Chop up washed leaves and stems and add to pot
  6. Add 6 cups of stock
  7. Add ½ cup lentils
  8. Add salt, pepper and minced spices
  9. Add 1 can of tomatoes
  10. Add 2 or 3 TBLS of natural vinegar depending on how you like it
  11. Leave to simmer for about 40 minutes
  12. You can add cooked garlic sausage or beef if you like
  13. Finish with a little dollop of sour cream

 

chickensatay

Chicken satays

My son has been yelling for chicken satay’s lately ever since we went to a Malaysian restaurant in our neighbourhood. To get away from too much sodium and the possibility of gluten in the soy sauce, I finally made my own. Although my son says they’re not as good as the restaurant ( I suspect it’s the salt content), he still ate them ravenously off the stick including the cucumber salad that accompanied it.  Although there are a multitude of recipes off the internet, I looked for the easiest that best emulated the flavours I was looking for. These are flavourful and tender and once marinated, very fast to make.

Chicken satays
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer/dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken boneless chicken thighs
  • wooden skewers soaked in water
  • Marinade:
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon or lime juice (approx 2 lemons or limes)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 TBLS finely grated ginger
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp chili flakes
  • 1 TBLS brown sugar or honey
  • 1 TBLS low sodium gluten free soy sauce
  • Peanut sauce:
  • ¼ cup sauce from above recipe before marinating
  • 1 TBLS brown sugar or honey
  • 3 TBLS peanut butter
  • salt to taste
  • Cucumber salad:
  • 1 sliced cucumber
  • 1 TBLS juice of lemon or lime juice
  • ¼ tsp grated ginger
Instructions
  1. In a shallow dish, place 10 bamboo sticks in warm water and leave to soak 20 minutes
  2. Mix up sauce and reserve ¼ cup for the peanut sauce side
  3. Slice thighs ¾ inch strips and add to marinade
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours
  5. Using bamboo skewers, lace chicken until you have about a 3 inch length
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake chicken approx. 15 minutes.
  7. Turn on broiler and place chicken close to broiler for the last 5 or so to brown
  8. While the chicken is cooking ,add reserve marinade in pot and heat
  9. Add peanut butter and seasoning
  10. Add water if too thick and serve warm
  11. Place cucumber salad on the base or side with skewers and sauce

 

salmoncake

Gluten free salmon cakes

I’ve loved salmon cakes since I was a kid. They’re quick to make and with a few ingredients around the house, always great for the last minute dinner. My son thinks they’re great , too as long as the capers are omitted so it’s up to you.

Gluten free salmon cakes
 
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Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 210 oz can sockeye salmon
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • 2 cups grated potato ( 2-3 medium potatoes)
  • 1 TBLS dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp salt and pepper
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1 grated carrot
  • ¼ cup capers
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • toasted sesame oil
Instructions
  1. Empty tin with juice into bowl
  2. Add grated carrot, peas,eggs,mustard,flour ,baking powder,capers, 1 TBLS lemon juice and zest and seasoning and mix thoroughly
  3. Add grated potato and quickly mix (potatoes turn black so move quickly)
  4. Heat pan to medium high heat
  5. Add enough olive oil to coat pan and add large dollops (2 large TBLS) of salmon mix
  6. Once cakes look like their crispy and brown, flip to other side(approx. 5 minutes)
  7. Add a little sesame oil to flavor
  8. Spoon onto plate with paper towel to absorb grease
  9. Makes approx. 12 3 inch cakes
  10. Mustard sauce:
  11. /4 yogurt
  12. TBLS dijon mustard
  13. TBLS lemon juice
  14. TBLS capers
  15. Add a little water to thin out and serve over salmon cakes with a few chili flakes
  16. Serve with grilled broccoli or cabbage and soba noodles tossed with a little sesame oil

 

carribeanbeansoup

Caribbean black bean banana soup

Looking at my browning bananas in the corner that my son refuses to eat, I had to come up with something before they went into the compost. After freezing a few for later baking projects, I decided to use one in a black bean soup. I found this recipe online somewhere but have since modified it, increasing the seasoning and turning up the heat .

Caribbean black bean banana soup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 cups cooked and rinsed black beans or 2 15 oz can of rinsed beans
  • I medium onion minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 diced red pepper
  • one ripe banana mashed
  • 1 mango pealed and chopped into large chunks
  • 2½ tsp cumin
  • 1 TBLS grated fresh ginger
  • 1 TBLS tabasco
  • 1 tsp chilis
  • 3 cups chicken broth( or vegetable)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup minced red pepper for garnish
  • lime juice
Instructions
  1. Put a dollop of olive oil and add chopped onions, garlic and 1 diced red pepper to a hot pot
  2. Cook until transparent
  3. Stir in black beans, cumin, grated ginger, mashed banana and chilis and hot sauce
  4. Add coconut milk and broth
  5. If too thick, add a bit more chicken stock
  6. Bring to a boil and reduce heat
  7. Simmer for 45 minutes
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste
  9. I like to add a lot of black pepper to give it some heat
  10. Using a stick blender give it a few pulses to blend a bit but not totally pureed
  11. Serve with a few diced red peppers and lime juice

 

kalesalad2

Black kale with parmesan and garlic

This easy salad truly represents winter as  kale and other root vegetables are still available and in season in the markets. This new variety of  black kale is tender and can be eaten fresh. Once you wash and cut the center vein away from each stalk, add lemon juice, garlic , grated parmesan with a little salt and pepper and you’ll be hooked. This is high in iron and my son even likes it now and again.

 

Black kale with parmesan and garlic
 
Author:
Recipe type: salad
Ingredients
  • Bunch of black kale
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ½ cup grated parmesan
  • ½ cup gluten free crutons
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Wash and de-vein kale( cut out any of the thicker stalks from the leaves)
  2. Pat dry
  3. Cut or tear up kale into 2 inch squares
  4. Add ¼ cup parmesan
  5. Add a dollop of olive oil
  6. Salt and pepper
  7. Parmesan crisps:
  8. Put a piece of parchment onto and pan and sprinkle ¼ of parmesan as a thin layer
  9. Let melt at 350 degrees
  10. Once cool, break up parmesan into pieces and add to salad
  11. Add toasted seasoned gluten free crutons for a little extra crunch if you have them.

 

porkchops

Apple glazed pork chops

If you’re looking for something festive for the holiday season when company is coming, I find this recipe to be a winner. It’s easy to make, can be prepped before the guests arrive and tastes fantastic. I rarely eat  pork but since the butcher is now bringing in happy hormone free pig  from the region,  I like to try it now and again. Pork has such a mild flavor that this vibrant sauce really picks it up and the flavours linger in your mouth long after the bones have been sucked clean. I also like to serve the chop with a parsnip puree base which really compliments the apple glaze. Along with crispy roast potatoes and grilled red and yellow peppers, you really have a classic holiday favorite.

Apple glazed pork chops
 
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Gluten free
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 bone in pork chop loins
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 cups natural apple juice
  • ¼ cup natural apple cider vinegar(I use Braggs)
  • 1 tsp minced rosemary
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 pinch pepper flakes
  • 1 minced green apple
  • ¼ cup craisins(dried sweetened cranberries)
Instructions
  1. Season chops with salt and pepper on either side
  2. Heat large frying pan to medium/high heat and add a little olive oil and 1 TBLS butter
  3. Add chops and sear each side 5- 7 minutes depending on thickness of chop until nicely browned and crispy
  4. Once cooked through, remove chops and place on plate with foil
  5. Pour out any burnt oil or fat from the pan and turn down the heat
  6. Add minced garlic and stir for a few minutes..you don't want them to catch
  7. Add vinegar to deglaze the pan and turn up heat
  8. Whisk in apple juice, mustard,salt and pepper along with apples and craisins
  9. Continue to cook until juice starts to thicken(about 20 minutes)
  10. Add back the chops to sauce and turn over and reheat about 2-3 minutes
  11. Serve with roasted potatoes and grilled red and yellow peppers