Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tagliatelle (pronounced tah-lyah-TELL-eh)



This week's recipe features a round-eight word in Thursday's Scripps National Spelling Bee finals. I know that's a bizarre way to plan one's meals, but what can I say, tagliatelle was fresh in my mind when I visited the pasta shop yesterday.

Here is the recipe that was inspired by watching 3 hours of the world's best middle school spellers:

TAGLIATELLE WITH POPPY SEEDS

Ingredients

1/2 lb fresh tagliatelle
1/4 cup butter
Coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp toasted poppy seeds

Instructions

Boil the pasta in salted water for about 5 min.

Drain and place in a large warmed serving bowl. Add the other ingredients and toss well.

Serve immediately.

Fun fact: "Tagliatelle" refers to the width of the noodles — 1/2 inch. (Pappardelle is 3/4 inch and tagliarini, 1/2 inch.)

Can you use it a sentence please?

Best,

kh

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Friday, May 29, 2009

There's nothing wrong with a little public shaming...

...when it's done for a good cause.

A family member tipped me off to the fact that a number of popular local restaurants were being shamed into dropping foie gras from their menues. You can read about it here.

Needless to say, this came as really good news to me!

Not only is foie gras born of cruelty and (IMHO) kinda gross, it's also sooo eighties! Seriously, it's time for it to take its place in the archives of eighties cuisine alongside quail eggs, cornish hen, tomato aspic, and Black Tower. (I'm suddenly overcome with memories of all those weird foods from my childhood [chef's daughter].)

You can't stop progress!

Best,

kh

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tip of the week: Top your chili with lime sour cream


Here's how to take your chili to a whole 'nother level:

LIME SOUR CREAM 

Mix together:
1 lime (zest and juice)
1/2 cup sour cream
Pinch of salt

People will think you're a genius.

Best,

kh

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mexicorn!


How could I not have posted this staple before now?!

It's sweet, it's spicy, it's healthy! Not to mention it's easy to make and goes particularly well alongside fish.

MEXICORN


Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
1 pkg frozen corn
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup salsa
1 bunch green onions, white and green parts chopped
Lime (option)

Instructions

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add corn and garlic. Sauté for about 8 min, or until the corn just starts to brown. Remove from heat and stir in the salsa and green onions.

Plate and season with a squeeze of lime, if desired.  

(Makes mucho mexicorn.)

Best,

kh

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Tip of the week: Don't believe everything you see on T.V.



It's not that I don't know you already know this, but sometimes it bears repeating. Case in point: President's Choice Free From® meat products.

The commercials, which feature CEO ad brand spokesperson Galen Weston touting the virtues of their new line of antibiotic and hormone free meats, have in heavy rotation over the last few weeks. He is often accompanied by a folksy looking farmer who "cares about" his product, and packages too bear the farmers' pictures.

These commercials would lead us to believe the following:

This new line is more "organic" than regular meat.

President's choice is supporting small farmers.

From what I've read, neither of these claims appears to be true. And, the "free from" label really rubs me the wrong way — too close to "free range" which this product certainly is not.

Here's the press release on the launch of the line. It said remarkably little, so I went digging for information on the farmers on the packages to find out more about their farming practices.

I found this article, where you can read about Dr. Rae Fischer and his consumer-driven decision to vaccinate the chickens on his factory farm rather than feed them antibiotics.

Doesn't sound very organic does it? I guess PC isn't quite ready to leap to truly "free from" farming...

Bonus: Here is a pretty funny spoof of PC commercials for those Canadians who suffer along with me.






Best,

kh

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cherrios not a drug????


A friend of mine sent me this link last week. We were both fans of this past season of the Biggest Loser, which was heavily sponsored by Cherrios, so much so that we had a running joke about the contrived product placement in each episode.

Turns out that Cherrios is not the panacea it proclaims itself to be. The FDA is concerned that it's overstating its cholesterol lowering claims on its packaging.

Curiously the ad that is currently running on the page of this story is for Cherrios and it's ability to naturally lower cholesterol...

Best,

kh

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Jamie's scallops



The most appealing scallops recipe I could find came courtesy of Cook with Jamie. I've nicknamed this dish "Plate full 'o calories" because that's the first thing that came to mind when I looked at the finished product.

I was looking for something that would highlight the freshness scallops rather than disguise it, so I chose this recipe for its assortment complimentary flavors. It's also typical Jamie, as he tends to do the fish-bacon-lentils thing a lot.

Here's my adaptation:

PAN-FRIED SCALLOPS WITH LENTILS, PANCETTA AND LEMON CREME FRAICHE

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup du puy lentils
2 cloves garlic
1 tomato
1 potato, peeled (cut in 2 if thick)
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tblsp herb vinegar or red wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
5 tbsp creme fraiche or thick, natural plain yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch asparagus
12 slices bacon or pancetta
1 lb scallops

Instructions

Season the creme fraiche with lemon juice, pepper to taste and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; set aside.

Cover the lentils with water by 1 inch in a medium saucepan; add the garlic, tomato, potato and bay leaf. Heat to a boil over medium-high heat; lower heat to a simmer. Cook until lentils are tender but still holding their shape, about 25 min. Drain, leaving a little of the water in the pan, stirring to combine; discard bay leaf. Transfer the potato, tomato and garlic to a medium bowl; mash with a fork. Return mixture to lentils. Stir in the parsley, vinegar and 2 tbsp of the olive oil, stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add the bacon and drizzle with 1 tsp of the olive oil. Cook, turning once, until golden and crisp, about 2 min per side; transfer to a platter. Add the asparagus and scallops to skillet; lightly season with salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally, until the scallops are golden on both sides (about 2 min per side). Transfer to the platter.

Divide the lentils among four plates; top each plate with a few scallops. Scatter the pancetta over the scallops. Serve with a dollop of the creme fraiche.

















Notes: When I made this I topped the dish off with the fried sage leaves that Jamie's original recipe calls for, but I've intentionally left it out of my adaptation — one flavour too many.

Best,

kh

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Tip of the week: It can be expensive to preserve our oceans


I guess the title is more of a warning than a tip, but I wanted to share with you a few things I learned about the $35-a-pound scallops I just bought.

I got them at the Whalesbone II*, a fish market that sells only sustainable and responsibly harvested fish and seafood (and delicious halibut burgers for lunch). I was after the fresh halibut, but they were out, so my focus shifted to the scallops.

My friendly fishmonger informed me that these scallops would be more expensive because they were hand-picked, unlike most that are harvested by a process called "dredging."

Dredges are usually nets that are dragged across the seabed to collect bottom-dwelling species (like scallops). This can be very damaging to the sea floor and to other species. My copy of Cook with Jamie adds that dredged scallops "are often damaged" and "will be full of sand and muck."

You can bet that with that price tag I have some pretty big plans for these scallops....

*The original Whalesbone is their sister restaurant around the corner.

Best,

kh

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Monday, May 11, 2009

The end of light pasta (it's only temporary)



I'm calling the light pasta series over because, well, I'm over it. I need to try some new recipes.

So here's the big finish; my favorite summer pasta from Food & Drink.

It may not look like much on paper (or computer screen) but this is an all-time best recipe. Here is the original. And my adaptation:

CHIVE, CHILI AND LEMON SPAGHETTI

Ingredients

1 large lemon
3 tbsp  olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 pkg spaghetti
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp (1 mL) hot chili flakes
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Finely grate peel from lemon and squeeze out 1/4 cup (50 mL) juice. Place in a bowl, along with 2 tbsp (25 mL) oil, Parmesan cheese and salt. Stir together.

Add pasta to boiling water. Cook until al dente, 7—9 min. Set aside 2 tbsp of pasta cooking water. Drain pasta.

When pasta is nearly cooked, heat remaining tablespoon oil in a large deep frying pan on medium-low. Add garlic and chili flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden, about 2 min. Add pasta, reserved pasta water and parmesan mixture to garlic. Toss gently 1 min. Then add herbs and toss until pasta is evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with additional parmesan.













Best,

kh

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tip(s) of the week: Steak tips


Steak tips with sweet potato mash.

I decided to go literal this week because I just tried a new recipe from America's Test Kitchen's 30-Minute Suppers.

This one's a keeper:

SPICY MOLASSES-GLAZED STEAK TIPS

Ingredients

1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 lb sirloin steak tips , cut into 2-inch chunks
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Instructions

Whisk molasses, vinegar, pepper flakes and 1/4 tsp salt in a bowl. Season steak tips with salt and pepper. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat, and cook meat until browned all over (6—10 min). Transfer to platter and tent with foil.

Add molasses mixture and any juices from resting meat to the skillet, and simmer, scraping up any browned bits, until slightly thickened (3—5 min). Spoon sauce over tips and serve.

Best,

kh

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This is new...


Looks like America's Test Kitchen is piloting a new magazine (that I couldn't resist picking up). It's a series of 64 tear-out recipe cards that each feature a 30-minute supper recipe, and this format marks quite a departure for them.

For those of you  not familiar with America's Test Kitchen, one of my all-time favorite cooking shows, you should definitely check out some of the clips here. (You have to register to see a lot of the content.) They've also put out a ton of cookbooks.

I'll just say this about ATK: if cooking shows could have personality disorders this one would have a serious case of OCPD (not always a bad thing when it comes to food).

And yet, there is no trace of its over-the-top culinary perfectionism in the new publication; no endless meat brining.

What are they up to?

Best,

kh

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

More light pasta...



While I had high hopes for it, tonight's meal was a little less than blog-worthy. Read: not great but not an entertaining disaster either.

So, I have decided to post a fail-safe recipe:

Ingredients

Salt and ground pepper
12 oz penne rigate (ridged)
1 lb asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 lb peeled and deveined frozen shrimp, thawed
8 oz snow peas, trimmed and halved on the diagonal
3 tbsp olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup crumbled feta (4 ounces)
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh mint leaves

Instructions

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook penne 5 min less than al dente. Add asparagus; cook 3 min. Add shrimp and snow peas; cook 2 min. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta mixture, and return to pot.

To pasta mixture, add oil, lemon juice, garlic, and cup reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Gently mix in feta and mint; adjust to desired consistency with some pasta water as needed. Serve immediately.















Best,

kh

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Because you may have heard about it here first....



Here is your newly crowned Doritos Guru winner.

It's cute, while being Doritos-ad appropriate.

Congratulations, Ryan Coopersmith!