This is one awesome dish! The puff pastry gets rolled out and baked first, then comes a layer of goat cheese, with egg to thicken it, is added and baked. Finally, the vegetables are piled on, topped with more goat cheese, and then finished under the broiler. A little bit of freshly cracked pepper finishes it off before it gets devoured. I brought this to a potluck while ago and it was a big hit. People have been patiently waiting for me to post the recipe… so here it is, finally.
The mushroom/leek/fennel part can be done ahead of time if you want to have everything ready to go before you prepare the tart. You need to defrost the puff pastry ahead of the time; following the instructions, I put it in the fridge over night, but you may also defrost for just two hours before cooking.
I found the recipe here, and I believe I used the recipe without changing a thing (except the freshly ground pepper on top) – a rare occurrence! Oh, I did do one thing differently; I burned the crust ever so slightly. But it was still delicious. To avoid this next time I will rotate the pan part way through baking, and have some tin foil on hand to cover any parts of the pastry that seem to be getting too dark.
What you need:
- 1 small bulb fennel
- 2 medium leeks, halved lengthwise and rinsed carefully
- 16 medium white mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 package puff pastry (I used Le Baguette et l’Echalotte’s), defrosted according to package directions
- 3 eggs
- 225 grams (8 ounces) goat cheese (substitute cream cheese if you dislike goat cheese)
What you do:
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Trim the green top and root off the fennel; quarter it from top to bottom. Using a mandoline or knife, slice the fennel, and then the white and light-green parts of the leeks, as thinly as you can.
- Clean and slice the mushrooms.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat; add the fennel and leeks and sauté until they are just tender, about 6 minutes. Place the fennel in a bowl and set aside.
- Heat the remaining teaspoon of oil in the frying pan over medium-high heat; add the mushrooms and sauté until they are browned, about 5 minutes. Combine the fennel mixture with the mushrooms and cook briefly. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from the stove top.
- Lightly flour your countertop and unfold the pastry onto it. Cut the pastry in half lengthwise to create two long rectangles. Roll out to about 12 x 30 cm (5 x 14 inches) and place on baking sheets. Trim about 1cm off the edges all around. Break one of the eggs into a small bowl and beat it slightly. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg, then use the trimmed pieces to create a raised border around the edges. Brush the whole surface of the pastry with the egg. Prick the inside surface of the pastry all over with a fork, then bake for about 10 minutes until it is a pale gold colour.
- While the pastry is in the oven, use a fork to beat 170 grams (6 ounces) of the goat cheese with the remaining two eggs. If the pastry has puffed up, press it down gently, then spread the goat cheese mixture onto the interior of the pastry. Bake for about 4 minutes, until set.
- Spread the vegetable mixture over the tart, then crumble the rest of the cheese on top. Broil for a few minutes just before serving, watching carefully so it doesn’t burn. Top with freshly cracked pepper and serve immediately.
This is a really great salmon burger recipe, tender and full of flavour. Add a little salad and you’ve got a great little meal. I served them with a refreshing cucumber salad. They were pretty quick to whip up for a weeknight dinner.
I like the idea of making my own patties, partly so I know the fish is really fresh, and so I can adjust the spices, depending on the preferences of the people eating them (including e!). It’s easy enough to chop up the salmon, but you could buy ground salmon if you prefer. I thought the patties would fall apart when frying, but they stayed together nicely.
I found the recipe here; I just added lime zest, used a little less curry paste, and made a lime mayonnaise to serve the burgers. You could also add a little tomato or other toppings to the burger as you see fit. I like my buns toasted, and just a little lime mayo and a slice of tomato.
Enjoy! This recipe serves two people.
What you need for two salmon burgers:
- 2 boneless, skinless salmon fillets, about 275g in total
- 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
- 4 cm piece fresh root ginger, grated finely
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- zest of one lime
- 1/4 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 tsp vegetable oil for cooking
- two buns
What you need for the mayonnaise sauce:
- a few tablespoons of mayonnaise
- a tablespoon or so of lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
What you do:
- Finely chop the salmon. Add the curry paste, ginger, soy sauce, lime juice, and finely chopped cilantro and mix until well combined (or use a food processor). Refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
- Prepare the mayonnaise sauce by combining the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and a little salt and pepper.
- Add the oil to a pan on medium heat, then fry the patties 4-5 minutes per side.
- Enjoy them while they are hot!
We are finally having our first warm days in Vancouver, so I thought it was the perfect time to post a recipe featuring ice cream. I’ve made this hot fudge sauce a few times, but never got a photo I liked. So here it is. Easy to make, and a crowd-pleaser. It was served on vanilla ice cream, but it’s also delicious on a brownie or this amazing chocolate rum cake. There was a little bit of the eating it right off the spoon going on too.
I found the recipe here, and the only change I made was to cut the recipe in half. It will keep in the fridge for a few weeks, but even this portion was more than eight people used for one dessert.
What you need:
- 125mL cocoa powder (1/2 cup)
- 125mL granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
- 125mL whipping cream (1/2 cup)
- 70mL salted butter, cut into pieces (2 tablespoons)
- 7mL pure vanilla extract (1& 1/2 teaspoons)
What you do:
- In a medium-sized pot whisk together the cocoa and sugar. Whisk in the cream, then turn the heat on to medium.
- Whisk the mixture as it warms, then add the butter. Stir until it melts.
- Remove from the heat, then add the vanilla and stir to combine.
- Let the sauce cool for a few minutes, then pour it into a jar.
- You can store this in the fridge for a long time, but before using it, scoop out the amount you need and either microwave it for a few seconds, or heat it in a small pot until it is warm.
These cookies are a delicious detour en route to finding the perfect cookie. My friend John set me on a mission to recreate the Avocado Chocolate Chip Cookie from Hello Toast Restaurant in Kamloops, BC. After one big fail (which people said was good, but too different from the original for me to be happy with it), these are a crunchier version of what will eventually be the perfect cookie. They are seedy and filled with dark chocolate chips. But I’m looking for a cookie that is crunchy on the outside, and softer on the inside…. and the experimenting is fun and delicious.
So these are awesome, just not what I was looking for. So if you are looking for a crunchy, seedy power cookie, these might be just what you’re looking for.
The recipe I based these on is found here. I replaced some of the flour with ground seeds, used darker chocolate, and omitted the raisins and nuts.
What you need:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup milk or almond milk
- 4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup ground pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup ground sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons ground flax
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup large-flake rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons whole flax seeds
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup whole pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
- 3/4 cup good quality dark chocolate chips
What you do:
- Pre-heat your oven to 375°F (190° C). Line baking trays with parchment paper.
- Melt the butter in a small pot on the stove or in the microwave. Let it cool to room temperature.
- Add the sugar to the cooled butter and mix. Whisk in the egg, then add the milk and the vanilla extract, and mix until it is combined.
- Add the flour, ground pumpkin seeds, sunflower seed and flax, as well as the salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and oats to the wet ingredient mixture. Mix to combine evenly.
- Mix in the whole flax seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut and chocolate.
- Use an ice cream scoop to portion the batter on the parchment-lined baking tray. Using a fork dipped in water, gently squish the cookies until they are about two centimetres thick.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookies are slightly golden. Place the cookies on wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container, or freeze for a few weeks.
For this gorgeous loaf I made a few minor modifications to my stand-by European style bread recipe. This time I coated the outside of the bread with oil, giving it a crisper crust, and baked it in parchment paper. It contains 1/3 whole wheat flour. It’s still made using the same method, mixing the dough the day before and letting it sit for 12-18 hours – this slow fermentation is what gives the bread so much flavour. Very easy, very delicious, and economical too.
This loaf was served with salty butter, brie cheese, and some creamy duck pâté.
For this recipe you will need a large container with a lid. I use a le Creuset oval pot or a Romertopf clay baker. You also need parchment paper and plastic wrap.
What you need:
- 1 cup whole wheat bread flour
- 2 cups white flour
- 1 & 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoons yeast (I used Fleischmann’s active dry yeast)
- 1 & 1/2 cups water
- canola oil for coating the bread
What you do:
- Combine the flours, salt and yeast in a bowl. Add the water and mix; add more water if needed until you have a wet, sticky dough.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid, and let sit for 12-18 hours in a warm-ish place, and out of direct sunlight. The dough should double in size and become dotted with bubbles. If your house is a little on the cool side you will likely need the longer rising time.
- Cut a large piece of parchment paper and lay it on your kitchen counter. In the bowl, coat the top of the dough in oil, then turn it out onto the parchment paper. Coat the top of the dough in oil, using your hands. Cover with some plastic wrap, tucking it in loosely around the edges. Let the dough sit for 1-2 hours, until it has doubled in volume.
- About 1/2 hour before you want to put the bread in the oven, set the temperature to 475 F and place your baking pot on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Let the pot heat up, and when the oven has reached 475 F, remove the pot from the oven. Remove the plastic wrap and pick up the dough by gathering together the corners of the parchment paper. Carefully (remember the pot is smoking hot!) place the dough in the parchment paper into the pot, as in the photo of the baked bread above.
- Put the cover on the pot and bake for 30 minutes while the bread forms its nice thick crust. Remove the lid from the pot and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes more. The bread should become a deep brown when it is done, and if you tap on it, it should sound hollow. Remove the pot from the oven, lift the bread out of the pot, remove the parchment paper, and place it on a rack to cool. It needs to cool for about 1/2 an hour before slicing.
- This bread has no preservatives, so if you don’t use it up of the second day, it should be frozen.
I had plans to make a delicious fried rice with veggies, and wanted to add a little chicken to it, so I found this recipe for Classic Chicken Teriyaki here. The only change I made was to use skinless chicken – I know it’s not authentic, but it’s healthier, and the sauce was so delicious that I felt it didn’t need the skin. I don’t have the fried rice recipe posted (oops, forgot to write down how I made it!), but here’s an awesome one that I posted a long time ago: Kale and Scallion Fried Rice.
The chicken just needs to marinate for at least 30 minutes, and that time can be used to prepare your rice, or whatever else you want to serve with it. Alternately, you could begin marinating the day before, or earlier in the day.
I usually keep a knob of ginger in the freezer, so that I always have some on hand, and because it is easier to grate when it is frozen.
What you need:
- 300 grams (2/3 lb) of chicken thighs, boneless and skinless (unless you prefer skin-on)
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 of a medium sized onion
- 4 cm knob of ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon saké
- 2 tablespoons mirin
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 more tablespoons saké
- 1 tablespoon butter
What you do:
- Cut the chicken into pieces and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
- In a container large enough to fit all the chicken, finely grate the onion and ginger, and mince the garlic.
- Add the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of saké, mirin, and the sugar. Stir to combine. Add the chicken and coat it completely with the sauce. Cover and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from sauce and it add to the pan. Cook until browned, then flip chicken, and turn the heat down to medium. Add the remaining saké, cover, and cook until saké is absorbed.
- Add the rest of the sauce to the pan and cook until it thickens. Add the butter and stir until it has evenly coated the chicken.
I’m really proud of this recipe – it turned out perfectly! My goal was to create a savoury pie crust using duck fat, and this one ended up being so perfectly flakey and flavourful. And the chicken and vegetable filling was super tasty as well.
I used half butter, half duck fat for the crust, because I wanted it to still have that awesome buttery flavour, which is even more decadent when paired with the duck fat.
For the filling I began with this recipe, and made a few changes. I used my own pastry recipe, used a store-bought rotisserie chicken instead of cooking the chicken breasts, used butter instead of olive oil for frying the veggies, omitted a few items, made less sauce, and added the mushrooms, leek, and potato. I also added some thyme and a lot of freshly ground pepper.
The keys to a successful pastry are using very cold ingredients, weighing rather than measuring, and not overworking the dough. One of my guests was surprised to see rather large chunks of fat in the crust, but leaving the butter and duck fat in pea-sized pieces allows the pastry to be flakey rather than dense.
This recipe would feed 6 hungry people. I served it with a salad of arugula and spinach, with a walnut dressing.
What you need for the crust:
- 350 grams flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 140 grams cold butter
- 140 grams cold duck fat
- 6-ish tablespoons ice-cold water
What you need for the chicken and vegetable filling:
- meat from 1 small rotisserie chicken (I used a Whole Foods chicken)
- butter for frying
- 1 small onion
- 1 small leek
- 10-12 brown mushrooms
- 2 carrots
- 1 small red potato
- (frozen peas optional)
- 2 & 1/2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
- 1 cup white wine (or just use more chicken stock)
- 2 chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 3 tablespoons cream
- a little thyme
- lots of freshly ground pepper
- salt to taste
- 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water, for the pastry wash
What you do:
- Begin a few hours ahead of time by preparing the dough. In a large bowl weigh and pour in the flour along with the salt. Cut the cold butter and duck fat into small pieces, then add that to the flour. Use your fingers (cold hands are the best for this – lucky me!) to rub the flour into the fat, only working until the fat is in pea-sized pieces. Add about 5 tablespoons of the ice-cold water, and stir it in using a spatula. Add a bit more water if necessary. Turn the dough out onto the counter and push it together into a ball. Cut the dough in half (or a larger piece for the bottom crust, smaller for the top) and form each piece into a disk. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 2 hours.
- To make the filling, begin by chopping the onions and leek. Heat a large frying pan to medium, add a little butter. Cook the onions and leek, lowering the heat, for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are translucent. Clean and slice the mushrooms while the onions are cooking.
- Remove the onions to a large bowl, then turn the heat up on the frying pan and add a bit more butter. Fry the mushrooms, possibly in two batches, until they are browned. Remove them to the bowl as well.
- Cut the carrots into a medium dice. Blanch them for 2 minutes, then move them to the bowl.
- Cut the potatoes to a medium dice, blanch for 2 minutes, then move them to the bowl as well.
- To make the sauce, begin by heating the chicken stock and wine, and dissolve the bouillon cubes in it.
- Melt the butter in the frying pan, then sprinkle in the flour. Stir constantly over low heat for 2 minutes. Slowly add the liquid, stirring to combine the liquid into the flour mixture as you add it. Simmer for about another minute, until the sauce thickens a little. Add the cream, ground pepper, thyme, and salt to taste (keep in mind the bouillon cubes contain salt, so don’t over-do it).
- Cut the chicken into cubes and add them to the bowl with the veggies. Add the sauce to the bowl and combine everything. (Add frozen peas if you are using them. I had so much filling that I didn’t have room for them.)
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Remove the pie crusts from the fridge. Sprinkle a little flour on the counter and place one of the disks (the larger one) of dough on the counter. Roll the dough a little, then turn, roll, turn, continuing until you get a circle of dough that is 7-8 cm larger than your pie plate. Roll the dough over the rolling pin, being careful not to stretch it, then transfer it to the pie plate. It’s okay if it breaks in places, just pinch it back together. Roll the other crust out. Add all the fillings to the pie plate, then brush the edges of the bottom crust with the egg wash. Place the top crust over the bottom, cut off excess pastry, then crimp the edge.
- Cut slits in the top of the pastry, then brush it with the egg wash, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet, put it in the oven, and bake for 1 hour. The pie should look golden brown, and the filling should be bubbling.
- Wait about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.