Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A LOBSTER BARBECUE AND ALL THE SIDES


We hosted our second annual lobster barbecue last night - a smorgusboard from the sea, including fresh oysters, mussels and lobsters on the grill, and a smattering of apps and sides. Good friends gathered, drank, laughed, ate, splashed lobster juices on each other, and ate some more.

In anticipation of feeding 15 hungry adults, menu planning was a must. I did a bit of research leading up to the night, trying to hone in on the perfect side dishes to complement the lobster. In hindsight, the lobster alone would have totally been sufficient -- but really, who doesn't love a good ol' feast every now and then!

APPETIZERS //

oysters with homemade horseradish
soft pretzels with rosemary (recipe below)
beth's homemade pickles

DINNER //

corn on the cob
stu's pineapple lobster roe fried rice
classic coleslaw (recipe below)
perfectly crusty bread (for soaking up all that delicious mussel both)
grilled lobsters

DESSERT //

a super indulgent, i can't believe i made this, ice cream sandwich cake





SOFT PRETZELS WITH ROSEMARY // makes 8

Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 T brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 package)
6 T unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp kosher salt
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 T fresh rosemary, chopped
oil, to grease the bowl
12 cups (3 quarts) water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg + 1 T cold water, beaten
kosher salt, for sprinkling

grainy or dijon mustard, for serving

What to do:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, combine the water, sugar, yeast and melted butter. Mix just until combined, then let sit for 5 minutes.

Continue to add the salt, flour and rosemary and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue to knead the dough until smooth, and it begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl (3-4 minutes). If the dough is too wet, add additional flour 1 T at a time.

Lightly flour a clean area of your counter. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on the floured surface and knead into a ball with your hands. Pour about 1/2 T of oil into a large bowl, and swirl the bowl to coat all sides. Add the dough ball to the bowl, cover with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot for about an hour - until the double at least doubles in size.

Preheat oven to 425.

Remove the dough from the bowl and place it back on your lightly floured counter. Divide it into 8 equal pieces and roll each into a long rope. To form the pretzels, cross the right end over the left, twist once, then lightly press the ends (if you're struggling, helpful video here). Form all 8 pretzels.

Bring the large pot of water to boil, then slowly add the baking - be careful as the water will start to bubble rapidly! Boil the pretzels in the boiling water, 2 at a time, for 30 seconds, lightly splashing the tops with water. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pretzels and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Place 4 pretzels on each baking sheet, giving them enough room to expand in the oven (I swear mine looked more like pretzels before they went in the oven).

Brush the tops with the egg wash, season with flaky salt and transfer to the hot oven. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack before serving. Serve with mustard for dipping.


CLASSIC COLESLAW // makes a lot

Ingredients:

1 large carrot
1/2 head white cabbage
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup + 2 T vegetable oil
1/2 T mustard powder
1/2 T celery salt

What to do:

In a food processor fitted with the grating blade, grate the cabbage and carrot. Transfer to a large bowl, and toss with the sugar.

In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, oil, mustard powder and celery salt. Bring to a boil, stir and pour over the cabbage. Stir to combine and coat all the vegetables evenly.

Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving to absorb all the flavours. Tastes even better a day or two later and will keep for a week.

*Note: As you eat away at the slaw, you will notice there is more liquid then you need. Feel free to keep adding shredded cabbage to the liquid over the course of the week.

Bon Appetit!

Friday, September 12, 2014

MAPLE ROASTED PLUMS WITH ALMOND SESAME OATS


Temperatures have totally dropped this week; there's a chill in the air and it smells like Fall -- time to pack away my sandals and break out the boots (honestly not sure if that terrifies me or excites me).

Colder temps have me craving warm, comforting breakfasts. On a good week, I'll motivate myself to make toasted oats, or maybe even baked oatmeal, but sometimes, all I want is warm fruit and granola. This recipe swings all the ways -- breakfast, mid day snack or dessert -- the plums can easily be reheated throughout the week, and are complimented beautifully with yogurt or ice cream. Ontario stone fruit is still abundant at the market, but if you can't find good plums, try apple compote instead, I imagine it would be equally satisfying and hearty.




ALMOND SESAME OATS // makes 3 cups

Preheat oven to 325.

Ingredients:

2-1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup coconut flakes
2 T sesame seeds
pinch of cardamom

2 T maple syrup
2 T brown sugar
2 T water
1/4 cup olive oil

What do do:

Toss all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients. Pour the wet over the dry and mix to evenly coat all the oats. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 10-20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.

MAPLE ROASTED PLUMS // serves 4

Preheat oven to 375.

Ingredients:

4 plums, halved and pits removed
2 T maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp ground ginger

What to do:

Place the plum halves on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Combine the maple syrup, vanilla and ginger in a small bowl and whisk to eliminate any clumps. Brush the plums with syrup, allowing a small pool to form where the pit was, yet conserving some of the liquid for serving. Roast for 25 minutes, with an optional extra 2-5 minutes on broil.

Serve the plums warm, with a smattering of oats, a drizzle of leftover syrup, and an optional scoop of vanilla ice cream or yogurt.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

ROASTED HEIRLOOM CARROTS WITH CUMIN, PAPRIKA AND A FRESH HERB DRIZZLE

roasted heirloom carrots with cumin, paprika and a fresh herb drizzle // sevengrams

When one of your oldest and dearest friends, who happens to live across the ocean, comes to town, you must take full advantage. If she so happens to also be the face behind a fantastic food blog, fifty percent (if not more) of that visit, should probably revolve around food. Challenge accepted.

We devoured bowls of Panang curry while drinking pints of Singha from a beer tower (yes, a beer tower!!), we perused the Brickworks farmer's market stocking up on produce for the weekend, we scrutinized the dessert menu at Bar Isabel, soaked in a few too many rays while digging into our picnic, concocted our very own ice cream sammies, and wrapped up the weekend with an afternoon in the kitchen and a Sunday evening harvest feast (see below).

It was truly a fantastic weekend... JK, thanks for the hugs, laughs, time in the kitchen, blog wisdom & encouragement and much needed, long overdue catch up. Can't wait for February. Much love xx

roasted heirloom carrots with cumin, paprika and a fresh herb drizzle // sevengrams

roasted heirloom carrots with cumin, paprika and a fresh herb drizzle // sevengrams

roasted heirloom carrots with cumin, paprika and a fresh herb drizzle // sevengrams

Our joint inability to say no to fresh produce, meant that we came home from the market with an abundance of beautiful veggies, perfect for Sunday's feast. The menu went something like this:

  • Roasted fingerling potatoes with dill, green onions, grainy dijon and apple cider vinegar;
  • Green and yellow steamed beans with blistered cherry tomatoes, lentils and purple basil;
  • A simple greens + seeds salad;
  • Corn on the cob; and
  • Roasted heirloom carrots (recipe below)

ROASTED HEIRLOOM CARROTS WITH CUMIN, PAPRIKA AND A FRESH HERB DRIZZLE // serves 4

Preheat oven to 400.

Ingredients:

10-12 carrots, rinsed thoroughly
half a lemon, juice and zest
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
drizzle of olive oil
s+p

fresh herb drizzle //
half a lemon, juiced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1 T olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp dijon

What to do:

In a large bowl, toss together the carrots, lemon juice, zest, paprika, cumin, oil, salt and pepper.

Transfer to a roasting pan, and roast for 20-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the carrots. I like might still crunchy, but test with a fork and use your judgement.

While the carrots are roasting, combine all the dressing ingredients in a glass jar. Seal and shake well to combine.

Remove the carrots from the oven and dress with herby drizzle. Let sit to soak up all the flavour until ready to serve.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

ZUCCHINI CHICKEN BURGERS WITH A SUMAC SPREAD


Apparently its September. I'm not really sure how that happened, but August is no longer. The summer seems to have flown by in a whirlwind of weekend getaways and summer produce -- as many peachescobs of corn and tomatoes as we could get our hands on. I refuse to bid adieu to my sun filled morning walks to work, the balmy nights that lure us outdoors, and the overall summer mentality. I'm not ready for hibernation.

With that in mind, before all my recipes turn to apples, squash and pumpkins, I'll leave you with these zucchini and chicken burgers, holding onto the last bits of summer, while embracing the warm comfort foods that are slowly creeping their way in. Enjoy!

PS. The one good thing about it finally being September, is that I get to spend this coming weekend with the happy hearted kitchen, and I couldn't be more excited!! More on that later...




ZUCCHINI CHICKEN BURGERS WITH A SUMAC SPREAD // makes 8 patties

Preheat oven to 425.

Ingredients:

burgers //
1 lb ground chicken
1 large zucchini, grated (roughly 2 cups)
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 egg
2 T fresh mint, chopped
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
pinch of s+p

grape seed oil, for frying

sumac spread //
1/4 cup mayonaise
1 tsp sumac
1 tsp mustard powder
1 T lemon juice

bun (or collard greens), avocado and mixed greens, for serving

What to do:

In a large bowl, combine all the burger ingredients. Using your hands, mix until just combined, then shape into 8 evenly sized patties.

Over medium heat, fill a frying pan with just enough oil to cover the bottom. Once the oil is hot, working in batches, gently place the burgers in the pan. Sear for 2 minutes, each side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate while you fry the remaining burgers.

Transfer all the burgers to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for roughly 15 minutes until cooked through.

To make the sumac spread, whisk all the ingredients and set aside.

Serve the burgers warm, inside a bun stuffed with avocado, greens, and a slather of sumac spread.

For a daytime lunch alternative, split the burger in half, and stuff all the ingredients into a collard green, wrap and enjoy cold.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

CLASSIC WAFFLES WITH WARM STONE FRUIT


This time last year, I was huddled around my computer for a better part of the long weekend, choosing fonts, colours and layouts. Slowly but surely, and only taking minimal breaks for cider and cycling, I was able to breathe life into this site. I can't believe its been a whole year since then, and to celebrate, waffles seemed appropriate. We had a simpler iteration of this breakfast last weekend for N's birthday -- apparently waffles have become the go-to way to kick off celebratory mornings. To take advantage of lazy long weekend mornings and the abundance of stone fruit while it lasts, whip up a batch of these waffles this weekend (if you can). Happy Labor Day folks!




CLASSIC WAFFLES WITH WARM STONE FRUIT // serves 4

Waffles adapted from i am a food blog

Ingredients:

1 cup white flour
1 T white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

3 T butter, melted
1 T white vinegar
1 cup nut milk
1 egg

4 pieces stone fruit (nectarine, peach, plum, aprium, apricot, ...)
1 T butter
1 T orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

vanilla ice cream or plain greek yogurt, for serving

What to do:

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

Place 1 T of white vinegar in a 1 cup measuring cup. Fill the reminder of the cup with milk, and let sit. (This is a foolproof way of making non-dairy buttermilk, as the vinegar will cause the milk to curdle).

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. Add the egg and curdled milk to the bowl and whisk gently to combine. Pour the wet mixture over the dry and mix just until incorporated and lump free.

Allow the mixture to rest while you heat up the waffle iron and prepare your fruit. Slice all the fruit into thin segments, about 8 slices per fruit. Set aside.

In 1/2 cup intervals, scoop the batter onto the waffle iron, and allow to cook as per waffle iron instructions. Allow the cooked waffles to rest on a wire rack, to avoid getting soggy.

While you're making the waffles, warm the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the fruit, juice and vanilla, stir gently, and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes. Stir only minimally to avoid breaking up the fruit.

Serve a warm waffle with a heaping mound of fruit and a scoop of vanilla ice cream or plain green yogurt.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

SWISS CHARD FRITTATA


With the copious amounts of eating and drinking going down on weekends, I'm trying really hard to stay in check during the week. Problem is, busy summer weekends seem to be getting in the way of my typical sunday lunch prep for the week. That being said, I'm forced to think up lunches that throw themselves together quickly -- and frittata is just that. I'm always drawn to swiss chard's beauty at the market, but never know what to do with such a big bundle. This recipe is perfect, as it uses up the whole bunch, and really lets the chard shine through in every bite.



SWISS CHARD FRITTATA // serves 4 - 6

Preheat oven to 375.

Ingredients:

8 eggs
1/4 (nut) milk
1/2 tsp cayenne
5 green onions, sliced thinly
1 bunch swiss chard, spines and stems removed, roughly chopped
2 T olive oil
1/4 cup goat cheese
salt and pepper

What to do:

Combine the eggs, milk, cayenne and a dash of salt and pepper in a bowl, whisk to combine and set aside.

Heat 1/2 T olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Saute the green onions until milted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the egg bowl.

Heat another 1/2 T olive oil in a medium size pan, and toss in the chard. It will appear to be a lot of chard, but it will shrink once it releases water. Heat and stir chard over medium hit until it begins to wilt, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before transferring to egg bowl.

Whisk the egg mixture one final time.

Over low heat, warm the remaining tbsp of oil in a cast iron pan. Pour the egg mixture into the pan, and evenly sprinkle the goat cheese on top. Allow the frittata to cook until the edges begin to look set, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 15 minutes, until the centre is set.

Enjoy immediately, or reheated later in the week. Serve with a tossed green salad.



Saturday, August 23, 2014

RED VELVET ICE CREAM SAMMIES


There's a birthday this weekend, and birthdays always mean baking. Last year, after a sprinkle explosion, there were donuts; this year, I was asked to replicate this, then not so subtly told about a new found love for red velvet cake. I knew there had to be a happy in-between. (If I'm being an extra fabulous girl friend, I'll make him this next week).

I've made ice cream sandwiches before, and seem to always forget about the amount of time and patience they demand. So be forewarned, this recipe isn't a quick one, but its festive, celebratory and delicious! The cookies were soft right out of the oven, but hardened as they cooled, yielding a perfectly crunchy, chocolate laced cookie, totally ready to accept a slab of creamy vanilla ice cream. So good!



RED VELVET ICE CREAM SAMMIES // makes 6-8

adapted from The Food Network

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
6 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 T white sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp red food colouring
1 tsp vanilla extract

good quality vanilla ice cream

What to do:

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa and baking soda. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until combined. Continue to add the egg yolk and mix to incorporate. Finally, add the food colouring and vanilla and mix until the colour is evenly distributed. Scrape down the sides if need be.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and gently add the flour mixture; beat just until the dough comes together. If the dough doesn't stick together when pinched, add a dab of water and incorporate with your hands. Use your hands to split the dough into two 1" disks, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

Lay a piece of parchment on the counter and dust lightly with flour. Remove one disk of dough from the fridge and transfer to the parchment. Cover the dough with the leftover saran wrap and use a rolling pin to roll the dough to a 1/8" thickness. Remove the plastic and use a cookie cutter to cut the dough (round or square, ~2 1/2", is ideal). Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Put the scraps back in the fridge, remove the other disk, and repeat. Continue until you've used up all the dough and made an even number of cookies.

Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through. Let the cookies cool for 3 minutes on the tray, then transfer to a wire rack.

While the cookies are baking, prepare the ice cream. Line another baking tray with parchment paper. Place the cookie cutter on the tray and stuff with ice cream, about 1" thick. Use your hands to press down and smooth out the top. Repeat for as many times as required for the number of cookies you made. Transfer to freezer and let rest over night.

The following day, make your sammies by placing an ice cream 'patty' between two cookies. Enjoy immediately, or store in the freezer, individually wrapped in saran, or together in a tupperware.

Afterthought: We happened to go out of town just after I made these. If you have enough self control, they are even better after being left in the freezer for 2-4 days. Ice cream firms up, and cookie softens - easily sliced in half as well :)