kasha and bows

Kasha (toasted buckwheat) and Bows

In Accompaniments, Entrees, Recipe On January 21, 2015 0 Comments

This recipe brings back a lot of childhood memories for me (thanks to my Mom who was a great cook and teacher). It involves two ingredients that are not commonly used: bow tie shaped pasta and buckwheat groats (kasha in Yiddish). Buckwheat has been cultivated for centuries in Europe and was one of the first crops brought by Europeans to North America, particularly by Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants that called it kasha. Buckwheat is gluten free.

Method to make Kasha and Bows: In a large frying pan on medium-low heat, combine buckwheat with egg and 1 tsp salt. Stir constantly until all the grains are dry and separate (about 3 to 5 minutes). Add the boiling water, stir and cover. Cook on medium heat until all the water is absorbed, about 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside. Heat up frying pan on medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil and heat oil. Add onions and mushrooms and sauté until lightly browned (about 2 to 5 minutes). Set aside. Cook pasta as per the instructions below. Drain pasta. To cooked kasha, add pasta, sautéed onions and mushrooms and 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil or unsalted butter. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish serving bowl or plates with chopped fresh parsley. Serve as a main course or as a side dish. Add a salad and rustic bread and you’ve got a complete meal.

Note on Cooking Pasta: To cook 250 grams or 1/2 a pound of pasta: bring two litres of water to a boil. Add 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp olive oil and pasta. Reduce heat so that water is at a rolling boil (but doesn’t boil over) and stir occasionally. Fresh pasta will take 3 to 5 minutes to cook and dry pasta about 8 to 10. Always cook pasta ‘al dente’ or firm to the bite. Drain and place back in the pot. If not using right away, toss a bit of olive oil into the pasta to prevent it from sticking.

*Buckwheat/buckwheat groats can be purchased at most health food stores. Andy’s IGA on 142 Street has it toasted in fine and medium granulation as well as whole groats.

vegetarian chili with spoonbread topping

Vegetarian Chili with Southwestern Spoonbread Topping

In Entrees, Recipe On January 21, 2015 0 Comments

Everyone has a version of vegetarian and now you have mine! Make some chili and top it with the spoonbread to create a new casserole.

Method for Vegetarian Chili: In a heavy saucepan, heat oil and sauté onions, carrots, bell pepper, tomatoes and garlic together for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ingredients and stir in well. Bring to a slow boil. Turn heat down and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

Cooking Tips:

  • Turn up the heat in this recipe by adding 1 or fresh Jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped and add to recipe as you sauté other vegetables;
  • For a smoky southwestern flavour add 1 to 2 tbsp of Chiptole Adobo (these are roasted chili peppers in a red sauce containing chilies, herbs and spices). This ingredient is found in speciality shops and specialty sections of grocery stores;
  • By sautéing 1 to ½ lbs. of chicken or turkey (diced or ground) or ground beef or stewing meat in ¼ cup of vegetable and adding this to the chilli, you can create a heartier dish. Allow an extra ½ to 1 hour cooking time.

Serving suggestions: Top with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, finely diced green onions, cilantro leaves; serve over cooked pasta or rice;

Method to make South-western Spoonbread topping: Scald milk with butter and salt. Gradually add cornmeal while stirring. Cook until thickened (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in cheese and eggs. Pour chili into casserole dish and top with cornmeal mixture. Bake at 375 F for 30 to 35 minutes or until topping has set and is lightly browned.

lemon mousse

Lemon Mousse

In Desserts, Recipe On January 18, 2015 0 Comments

This is a traditional French lemon mousse, that does not use gelatine. It was taught to me at Pierre Dubrulle’s Culinary School and has become one of my favourite recipes to teach at my cooking school. Enjoy!

Lemon Syrup:
Combine  lemon juice, water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from heat, cool and reserve.

Combine egg yolks, syrup and grated lemon peel in the top of a double boiler. With a wire whisk, stir mixture until it thickens enough to form a ribbon as it falls from the whisk. Cool completely. It is now a curd. Gently fold the whipped cream into the chilled and thickened curd. Pour into serving glasses and refrigerate for two hours. Decorate with whipped cream, sliced strawberries or chocolate shavings. Chill. Keeps for two days covered and refrigerated.

*Remove the grated rind (zest) of 1 lemon before juicing it for the syrup.