Roasted Root Vegetable Chips

roasted root vegetable chips - trust in kim

Even though I know they are so bad for me, I really really love potato chips. I never ever buy them unless it’s a special occasion because I know I will not be able to leave a single chip in the bag. I’ve tried some of those fancy root vegetable chips, and loved them too.

Looking for a healthy alternative, I figured I could make my own root vegetable chips at home, using much less oil than the store-bought bags of chips. The trick is getting them very thinly and uniformly sliced. To do this I used a mandoline.

The picture of the roasted chips above was taken before I decided I needed to put them back in the oven to get a little crisper. They should look more browned than in that photo.

What you need:

  • 1 small potato
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 beet
  • olive oil
  • salt

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Slice the vegetables as thinly and uniformly as you can.
  3. Place the vegetables in a bowl and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, and some salt.
  4. Spread the vegetables in one layer on a baking sheet. Keep each type of vegetable together; the roasting time varies between the vegetable types.
  5. Roast for about 15 minutes, then check the chips. If some are done, remove them, then let the rest continue to roast, checking every 5 minutes until they are done. They will get crisper as they cool.
  6. It’s best to eat these the day you make them, as they will get a little soft.

sliced root vegetables - trust in kim

Spanish Rabbit Stew

rabbit stew - trust in kim

 

This Rabbit Stew is surprisingly delicious. I say surprising because I’ve never eaten rabbit before, and because it can be difficult to cook properly. From what I have read, rabbit can easily become chewy or mushy with improper cooking, but this recipe brings it to the right texture and taste. The rabbit is stewed with wine, brandy, vegetables, jamon and herbs. The recipe suggests serving it with potatoes, but since we were in Paris, we served it with a baguette.

This meal was made while staying with my friends Julie and Jeremy in Paris last summer. I was very excited to have a kitchen in which to make a few meals using local ingredients, and a friend who was interested in cooking with me. Rabbit isn’t something I see in markets at home very often, so Jeremy and I decided to make a rabbit stew.

The recipe is from The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook by Tess Mallos. It feeds 6 people.

What you need:

  • 1.5 kg rabbit, cut into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 125 gram piece jamon, serrano or prosciutto ham, diced
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 125 grams small mushrooms
  • 425 gram can of pureed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley, plus a little more for garnishing
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

What you do:

  1. Rinse the rabbit and dry it well with paper towels.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven and brown the rabbit on all sides. Remove the rabbit pieces to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and cook the onion in it on low heat until it is transparent, for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and jamon or prosciutto and cook for 2-3 minutes. Return the rabbit to the dish.
  4. Pour the brandy over the rabbit. Ignite the brandy and shake the pan until the flames dies down.
  5. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Tie the herbs into a bunch, then add them along with the tomatoes, wine, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer with a lid on for 1 to 1 & 1/2 hours. Test the rabbit after about and hour to to see if it is tender enough; keep cooking until it begins to fall off the bone.
  6. Remove the lid from the pot in the last moments so that the sauce can reduce. It should become quite thick. Taste to see if you need to add more salt and pepper.
  7. Remove the rabbit to a serving dish and garnish with parsley.

 

Long Leek Pie

P1040972

This is a really great appetizer, with a picture that doesn’t do it justice. But trust me, it’s yummy and it’s easy.  A winning combination.

It’s puff pastry topped with leeks that have been simmered in white wine and herbs, then topped with goat’s cheese or crème fraîche. Did you know that some people don’t like goat’s cheese? It’s true, and crème fraîche isn’t a bad substitute for those people.

The recipe is from Yvette van Boven’s cookbook, Home Made. It serves 4-6 people. Mine was smaller, but a lot for two people.

What you need:

  • 4 sheets all-butter puff pastry
  • 3 leeks 
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • butter
  • a few thyme sprigs 
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup aged goat cheese, grated or crumbled, or 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 egg white, loosely beaten  

What you do:

  1. Cut the leeks into three sections, removing the bottom and the dark green leaves. Wash the leeks, then simmer in the white wine, butter, thyme, salt, and pepper for about 20 minutes. Remove the leeks from the simmering liquid and pat them dry.

  2. While the leeks are simmering, stack the puff pastry and roll it out lengthwise. Use the back of the knife to score a rectangle just a few centimetres inside the edge; this will form a border. Place the leeks next to each other inside the border of the puff pastry.

  3. Top the leeks with goat cheese or crème fraîche, and brush the outer edges with lightly beaten egg white. (I put a little bit of freshly grated parmesan on top of the crème fraîche)

  4. Bake for about 25 minutes at 400°F. The edge will rise and become browned.

Enjoy it while it’s hot!

Seared Sea Scallops on Greens

seared scallops on greens - trust in kim

This

is

my

favourite

food

in the world.

Awesome! So delicious. I can die happy now. Hopefully I will live to eat these again, though.

Yes, I love papaya, blueberries, duck confit, lemon tarts and chocolate croissants. But this, the sea scallop, is my all-time favourite. And because of that I never cook them. They are so precious that I fear I will ruin them, and a ruined, over-cooked scallop is an atrocity.

So when I set out to cook this I did my research, found the very best scallops I could lay my hands on, and carefully crafted this dish. I got some beautiful fresh large sea scallops at Seafood City on Granville Island, for those of you in Vancouver. Fresh, not frozen scallops are a must here. If you want an awesome meal, that is.

Simple is the key – the scallops speak for themselves, so you have to do very little with them, except season and cook them carefully.

What you need:

  • the freshest sea scallops you can find, 2-3 per person depending on their size
  • good quality olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • salad greens
  • 1 lemon

What you do:

  1. Make the salad dressing before cooking the scallops. Grate a little lemon zest, then combine some lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the amounts of the ingredients to your liking.
  2. Salt and pepper one side of the scallops, using a little more salt than you think you should, as some will come off in the cooking process.
  3. Get your salad greens ready on the plates. You want to be able to plate the scallops and eat them immediately.
  4. Heat a frying pan on high, but not a non-stick one. Add some olive oil to the pan and wait until it gets very hot – if the pan isn’t hot enough the scallops will stick to it. Add the scallops with the seasoned side facing down. You should hear quite a sizzle; if not the pan isn’t hot enough. Season the top side of the scallops. Let them sear for about 1 & 1/2 minutes (less time if they are smaller) ; it’s better to undercook them than overcook them. Turn the scallops over and sear the other side; the cooked side should be nicely browned. You will see they are no longer translucent, meaning they are now cooked.
  5. Place the cooked scallops on top of the salad greens and serve as soon as possible. You could add a little squirt of lemon to the scallops if you want, but I didn’t because the dressing was lemony enough.

Enjoy the best food ever. Hope you love it!

 

Healthy Air-popped Popcorn with Olive Oil and Nutritional Yeast

healthy popcorn - trust in kim

This is one of my absolute favourite snacks. I know, butter on popcorn is delicious. But so is this! And olive oil has so many health benefits. One that I just found about is that it can help prevent osteoporosis because it aids in calcium absorption. As well, nutritional yeast has many nutrients, including B vitamins. You can adjust the amount of salt in this homemade popcorn, if that is a health issue for you.

Many a savoury craving have been done away with by this bowl of goodness. Right now I’m using a Tuscan herb infused olive oil to drizzle on it, but I’ve typically used a nice extra-virgin olive oil. There are a lot of infused olive oils out there these days, so you could experiment with them.

I used to make popcorn in the microwave – throw the kernels into a paper bag, fold the top over a little and nuke it, turning the microwave off as soon as the popping stops. This was an excellent method until one day when the bag caught on fire and melted the inside of my microwave. Now I use the stove top method.

What you need:

  • popcorn kernels, a few tablespoonfuls per person
  • olive oil – good quality extra-virgin, or an infused one
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • nutritional yeast

What you do:

  1. Place the popcorn kernels in a large pot that isn’t too heavy (unless you have super strong wrists) and put the lid on it. Have a large bowl standing by.
  2. Turn the stove on high heat and place the pot on it, giving it regular shakes. As soon as you hear the first pop you have to keep shaking, so the popcorn doesn’t burn, and each kernel has a chance to pop. As soon as you don’t hear any popping take the pot off the stove.
  3. Lift the lid carefully (some of those unpopped guys like to jump out at this point) and pour the popcorn into the bowl.
  4. Drizzle a little olive oil onto the popcorn. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast. Mix it all up so the popcorn is evenly coated. Taste and add more of whatever you think it needs. Eat it while it’s still warm.

Enjoy! And know that it is as good for you as it tastes.

Mushroom and Duck Risotto

mushroom and duck risotto - trust in kimAfter roasting a duck that came from this farm, I saved some meat and made a broth with the bones. The final product even tastier than the roast duck dinner. I used the duck broth, some of the meat, white wine, lots of wild mushrooms and some parmesan to give it loads of flavour. This would also be great without the duck, maybe using some chicken, or a vegetarian dish using vegetable broth instead.

Risotto isn’t difficult to make; it just takes some attention, as you need to stir it frequently and add the liquids slowly so it ends up with a nice creamy texture.

I found this recipe on the blog ‘Bossy Italian Wife.’ I changed the recipe a little by mixing some Parmesan into the risotto instead of just using it as a garnish. I also used wild mushrooms rather than button, but feel free to use what you can find or like. Also I didn’t have gravy to add to the risotto, but it was really good without it.

This makes two generous portions, or can be used as an appetizer for four people.

What you need:

  • a few teaspoons of duck fat
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups duck stock (kept warm on the stove)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • some leftover duck meat, pulled apart with a fork or your hands
  • 150 grams or more (5 ounces) mixed wild mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus a little to garnish

What you do:

  1. Heat the duck fat at medium-high heat in a medium-sized pot.
  2. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until they begin to brown.
  3. Add the rice to the pot and stir it for about a minute, allowing it to brown. Turn the heat down to medium.
  4. Add the wine to the pot and stir until it is absorbed into the rice. Don’t rush this process. Some good music will allow you to enjoy the stirring, and you’ll end up with the best risotto.
  5. Add a ladle-full of stock to the rice, stirring until it is absorbed. Keep adding, stirring, allowing each portion of stock to be absorbed before adding more. It should take about 20-30 minutes to cook the rice completely. Towards the end of the cooking time, begin testing the rice by biting into a piece to see if it is done. If it is still crunchy, keep cooking.
  6. When the rice is done add the duck meat and Parmesan. Let the duck heat through, then serve immediately, topped with a little more Parmesan cheese.

 

 

Duck Broth (or Chicken)

P1040954

 

This the duck that keeps on giving. It began as a roast duck, then was turned into this broth which was used to make a delicious mushroom and duck risotto, as well as a tomato soup. You could substitute chicken to make this if you don’t happen to have duck.

This recipe is as simple as putting everything in a pot to simmer for a number of hours, then giving it time to cool before refrigerating it.

Thanks again Tony, the Accidental Agrarian, for the duck!

What you need:

  • 1 duck or chicken carcass
  • 1 onion, cut in half
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 or 2 carrots
  • 1 knob of ginger, sliced
  • a few cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 2 pieces of star anise
  • a bunch of parsley stems, if you have them

What you do:

  1. Put everything in a stock pot and cover with cold water. Bring it to a slow simmer and skim of any foam.
  2. Keep on a low simmer – just barely bubbling – for 3 to 4 hours, or more if you have the time.
  3. Strain off the liquid from the bones and vegetables and discard the solids. I use a fine sieve to do this, and line it with some cheesecloth if I want to keep all the fine bits out.
  4. Allow to cool to room temperature. I put the broth into canning jars and place them in a sink of cold water, changing the water when it gets warm. If it is cold enough outside I just put it out for the night.
  5. You can use it up or keep it for a few months in the freezer.
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