This summer I had the great pleasure of traveling to Sicily for a holiday. I ate so many amazing foods, and some of the best were at Resort Borgo san Rocco in Sicily, where I was able to spend some time in the kitchen. I got to make a whole lot of tagliatelle pasta (recipe to come one day!), and I also got to watch a whole lot of other foods being created.
For this meat sauce I did my best to remember what they put in and the method they used. I know that my recipe isn’t quite the same, since I can’t remember everything, and I’m sure the meat is a little different, but this turned out to be a really really tasty sauce nonetheless.
This isn’t a difficult sauce to make, but you do need quite a bit of time for it to cook down and let the flavours mingle, so I started about two hours before I was serving dinner. Alternatively, it could be made a day ahead of time.
What you need:
extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery
3 mild Italian sausages (I bought these at Bosa Foods in Vancouver)
500 grams, or so, of beef short ribs
1-680mL jar tomato Passata
1/2 bottle of a decent red wine
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan or Pecorinco cheese for serving
What you do:
Chop the celery and carrot into chunks that are about 3 cm long. Chop the onion and garlic. Heat a large pot on medium-high and add a few glugs of olive oil. Add the veggies and whole sausages, and sauté them for about 5 minutes.
Add the beef and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes.
Add the Passata and wine. Add a little water to the Passata jar and give it a little shake to get all the tomato out of the jar; add this to the pot. Heat to bubbling, then let it sit on low heat, stirring from time to time, for an hour and a half to two hours.
Remove the sausages and beef from the sauce. Use the back of a wooden spoon to crush the carrot and celery, then stir it into the sauce.
Cut the sausage into bite-sized chunks. Remove the beef from the bone and pull it into bite-sized pieces. Add the meat back to the pot and let it heat up again.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Cook your pasta and toss it with some of the sauce. Grate some cheese on top and enjoy!
Chicken Marbella is a delicious dish that you begin by marinating the day before, and then just pop it in the oven before dinner. It’s a great balance of salty and sweetness, and the sauce is awesome when mopped up with a piece of bread! The figs and prunes melt away into the sauce, and make it beautifully rich.
I have posted this recipe before, but I slightly changed the instructions. Plus I was never happy with the old photo. It’s hard to take photos of food in an apartment with very little natural lighting!
The recipe I use is from the Whitewater Cookbook, but it originally came from the Silver Palate Cookbook .
What you need:
5 lbs chicken pieces (I used bone-in skinless thighs and some drumsticks)
6 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh oregano or 1 tablespoon dried
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup prunes, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup dried figs, chopped into quarters
1/4 cup green olives (I used extra)
1/4 cup capers with a bit of juice
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup white wine
parsley for garnish
What you do:
1. Combine all the ingredients except the parsley, brown sugar and wine, and pour it over the chicken in a shallow dish. Coat all he chicken in the marinade. Cover the dish and marinate the chicken overnight in the fridge. Turn the chicken pieces once in a while to coat them, if you have time.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Sprinkle the chicken with the brown sugar and pour the wine around it. Bake the chicken, uncovered, for 50 minutes. Baste frequently. The chicken should be a deep golden brown colour when it’s done.
3. Garnish each plate with some parsley. I served mine with a fresh crusty baguette, steamed broccoli, and a salad on the side.It is also nice on rice.
I have been getting some requests to make peanut butter cup brownies again because the last time they got such rave reviews. Of course, I always feel the need to always try new recipes, so I searched for a brownie recipe that I could add my peanut butter cups to.
I first read about the Katharine Hepburn brownies on this awesome pie blog, where the blogger bakes the brownies in a pie crust – yum. I found another version on David Lebovitz’s where he uses 1/4 cup more sugar. So I used the ingredients from the pie recipe, and the baking time from Lebovitz, and addedthe peanut butter cups.
While this recipe is quite delicious, and everyone who ate it loved it, my very favourite peanut butter cup brownie is still this one that I made a little while ago. The main difference seems to be that it contains way more chocolate – you can’t go wrong with more chocolate!
What you need:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 good quality mini-peanut butter cups (I used Trader Joe’s)
What you do:
Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a 9 x 9 inch pan with buttered or sprayed parchment paper, with the edges sticking up over the edges of the pan. (I use parchment instead of the suggested foil because I can put the paper in my food scraps bin – less waste!)
Melt the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler – you can do this by putting some water in a pot and heating it, then place a bowl with the chocolate and butter on top, but not touching that water. (see photo below)
Remove the melted butter and chocolate from the top of the double boiler and stir in the sugar, then the eggs and vanilla.
Stir in the flour and salt until it is just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared, lined pan. Place the peanut butter cups on top of the batter. Bake for 30 minutes. Let the brownies cool, and then remove them from the pan by pulling up on the parchment paper. Cut into squares before serving at room temperature. Store in an airtight container.
When I visited Spain a few years ago, this Padron Pepper dish was my absolute favourite tapas. It’s a simple dish, just quickly fried and topped with salt, but so delicious. Also, there’s a little surprise sometimes, as some are hot and some are not. Most of the peppers are mild tasting, but once in a while you get the surprise of a very hot pepper – I always hope I’m going to be the lucky one who gets the hot one!
This dish is really simple to prepare, but there is a difficult part, and that is finding Padron peppers in Vancouver. The other day I was out with a friend, and as we parted ways she pulled a bag of Padron peppers out to give to me. I was so excited by this gift, and soon fried them up to enjoy with a friend.
What you need:
good quality extra-virgin olive oil
coarse salt or fleur de sel
What you do:
Wash and dry the peppers.
Heat a frying pan to medium high heat and pour in a glug of olive oil.
When the oil is hot, add the peppers, allowing them to blister but not blacken, on each side. This should only take a moment or two.
Crack salt over the peppers while they are still in the pan if you are serving them in the frying pan, or place them on a plate before salting.
These can me whipped up in a few minutes. I made the recipe up myself – three yummy ingredients, so hard to go wrong! Plus it only uses one bowl, one pan, and one spatula – so easy cleanup! I kept them in the fridge so the chocolate would be firm, and because I think the marshmallows taste good when they are a bit chewier.
What you need:
1 cups dark chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli brand)
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (not the natural kind)
3 cups mini marshmallows
What you do:
Prepare a 9 by 9 inch baking pan by coating it with butter.
Melt the chocolate and peanut butter in the top of a double boiler.
Put the marshmallows into the prepared pan. Pour the chocolate mixture on top and stir until the marshmallows are evenly distributed.
Refrigerate until set, then slice and store in the fridge in an airtight container.
This chicken and peaches dish makes really a delicious summer meal, and feels a little bit decadent. I love the balance between the sweetness of the peaches, and the salty goodness of the prosciutto and capers. The peaches are marinated before adding them to the chicken, which makes them just a little less sweet. Normally I remove the skin from chicken thighs, just so they are a little healthier, but on this one it’s really necessary to leave the skin on so it can get nice and crispy.
I served this with a baguette and salad. Delicious!
This recipe comes from “Fine Cooking” magazine no.136.
What you need for the marinated peaches:
3 medium ripe peaches
1/4 cup olive oil
2 & 1/2 tablespoons spiced dark rum
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 & 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
What you need for the chicken:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
about 30 grams thinly sliced prosciutto
3 pounds / 1.4 kg chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
To marinate the peaches, begin by slicing them into wedges about 2 cm thick.
Combine the rest of the marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and gently coat the peaches with it. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to 24 hours.
Preheat your oven to 350F.
On medium heat, pour a little olive oil into a large dutch oven or frying pan that can go in the oven. Slice the prosciutto and cook it until crisp, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Add a little more oil to the pan. Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper on all sides. Brown the chicken on both sides in several batches, about 12 minutes each batch. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot, and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook the leek and garlic for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until they begin to soften.
Add the flour to the pot and cook while stirring for 1 minute. Pour the peach marinade in and cook until the liquid thickens, scraping the browned parts from the bottom of the pan. This should take about 2 minutes.
Add the broth and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place the chicken back in the pot with the skin facing up, and bring the liquid to a boil again. Place the pot in the oven with the lid off and braise for about 25 minutes, until the chicken has cooked through.
Remove the pot from the oven and turn the broiler on high. Put the chicken skin-side up onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the oven. Broil for about 3 minutes, until the skin is crispy.
While the chicken is crisping up, continue to watch it carefully, and place the pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Stir the sauce occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. (Of course part-way through your chicken will be crisped up, so you can just switch the oven off, and maybe keep it slightly ajar so the chicken doesn’t burn).
When the sauce has thickened, add the capers and peaches, stirring with a gentle touch until the peaches have warmed. Stir in the butter and 1 tablespoon of tarragon, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place the chicken on a serving platter and spoon the sauce over it. Garnish with the prosciutto and remaining tarragon.
All the ingredients for this recipe were purchased at Vancouver’s famous Granville Island Market, which happens to be a short walk from my home. The amazing chicken was from Jackson’s Poultry. The prosciutto, plus a delicious Manchego cheese as part of an appetizer, came from Oyama Sausage. A Bread Affair makes my favourite baguette in the city. The organic Okanagan peaches were also purchased from one of the day vendors at Granville Island. I love shopping for everything in one market, and knowing that it will all be of the best quality.
Alert to chocolate lovers: I think you’re gonna like these! Three kinds of chocolate make these a dream come true: bittersweet chocolate is melted with the butter, then cocoa is added, and of course a healthy amount of dark chocolate chips. You can bake them so they are completely cooked through, or you can remove them from the oven a little bit earlier for a fudgier centre. I think my oven bakes a little fast, so I had them in the oven for 11 minutes and they were baked all the way through; next time I would pull them out a little earlier so they are still soft in the middle. I love a fudgey brownie cookie!
The recipe is from smittenkitchen.com. The only thing I changed was to add sea salt to the top, and my testers (otherwise known as friends I was having a beach barbecue with) commented on how the salt really made it a special cookie. Er, brownie.
It’s a really simple and quick recipe, starting with melting the butter and chocolate, then mixing everything else in. But notice that the batter needs to sit in the fridge for half an hour before scooping and baking.
2/3 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli brand) (more than 2/3 cup is even better!!)
sea salt for sprinkling on top
What you do:
Melt the butter and the unsweetened chocolate together in a double-boiler until the chocolate is almost melted. Take it off the heat and continue stirring until the chocolate has melted.
Whisk the sugars into the melted butter and chocolate. Now whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla.
Sift the cocoa baking soda, and flour into the bowl with, then add the salt; stir these together until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir until combined.
Place the bowl in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or up to a few days. If you only refrigerate for 30 minutes you can bake them right away. If the batter is in the fridge longer than 30 minutes it becomes difficult to scoop, so you can let it warm up a little before you start scooping.
Preheat the oven to 350F and line baking pans with parchment paper. Scoop the batter into 2 tablespoon-sized mounds – I use an ice-cream scoop for perfect mounds. Place them on the baking sheets, leaving a bit of room for them to spread.
Bake for about 11 minutes.
Let the cookies set on the baking sheet for a few minutes after removing from the oven so they don’t fall apart. I recommend eating at least one while they are still warm!