Thursday, April 26, 2012

Risky Business

Caesar salad. Oh so simple, not something one would generally consider dangerous... I guess it depends how much raw eggs scare you!
Personally, I have no fear, but if you are immune compromised, I totally get not wanting to take the chance.
According to the Great Wikipedia's file on eggs, there really isn't much grounds for the fear of raw eggs.

It showed that of the 69 billion eggs produced annually, only 2.3 million are contaminated with Salmonella—equivalent to just one in every 30,000 eggs—thus showing Salmonella infection is quite rarely induced by eggs.
What can I say, I like to gamble. This is my take on a classic

Caesar Salad

1 egg yolk
1/2 garlic clove
2 anchovies
1 tsp dijon
juice of one lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese
1 head romaine lettuce
Croutons (as many as you like)

I carefully separate the yolk from the white by hand in order to minimise contact with the shell (potential Salmonella contamination source). In a large bowl, I whisk the yolk, lemon juice, dijon, minced garlic and minced anchovy. Then I gradually whisk in the olive oil until I reach desired consistency. Add romaine, Parmesan and croutons. Eat. Rob goes mental for this salad and quite often insists I make it several days in a row.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Edible Canada

I have been wanting to check out Edible Canada since they opened and the opportunity presented itself when my mom was in town. We brought my nephew and grabbed a table on the patio. My mom ordered the grilled cheese sandwich with maple bacon, brie and apple. I ordered duck confit hash with wild mushrooms and poached eggs. We both had a cocktail with tea and Okanagan Spirits Eau de Vie.
While the food was tasty, the service detracted from our experience. It took a very long time to place our order, our server lost our order and had to return to our table ten minutes later to ask us what it was again. The bacon was missing from my mom's sandwich so she had to send it back. I don't know if it was an off day or just the way it is there...
On a side note, food nerd alert
That is my mom in the background, Duck Hash in the foreground.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Growing Chefs

One of the things I look forward to every year is Growing Chefs. If you follow the link, you can read all about it - it is one of the things I do that I am really proud of. Today, my team had our class planting herb seeds and planning experiments to go along with that. Next time they will be learning about pickling and preserving.
Participating in Growing Chefs has helped me to uncover a new passion - teaching children about food....
My wonderful team

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

New potatoes with thyme and black pepper

In the vein of "simple is good", here is one of my favorite ways to eat nugget potatoes.
Toss hot cooked potatoes with olive oil or butter, salt, cracked black pepper, and fresh thyme.
I served the potatoes with steamed broccoli and chicken with chimichurri.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Flat Iron Steak

I love flat iron steak. It is a cut we use frequently at work and I enjoy the combination of flavour and tenderness that it offers. Apparently it is also known as Top Blade.
I picked a couple up for dinner tonight and decided I wanted to do a chimichurri with it. A quick google revealed that I am not inventing the wheel. In fact, just days ago, Kalyn posted an updated recipe for it.
Flat iron Steak with Chimichurri - Kalyn's Kitchen

My chimichurri recipe is without a doubt not authentic, but It  IS delicious.

1 bunch parsley
1 bunch cilantro
olive oil
white wine vinegar
1/2 red onion
citric acid (optional)

I pulse the parsley and cilantro in the food processor with some olive oil, about 1/2 cup of vinegar, salt. sambal, chopped garlic and a pinch of citric acid. I use the citric because I like my chimichurri to stay green, but it is totally unnecessary. Adjust seasoning and oil and vinegar amounts to your taste. Stir in minced red onion. Serve over steak.
Here are a few other chimichurri recipes that look great (and more authentic than mine).

Chimichurri - E-Curry
Beet Crudo with Chimichurri

The steak I seared in a cast iron pan, 3 minutes per side, then rested for 6 minutes before slicing

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Arbutus Coffee

When I cook for the retired priests at Pandosy Place I usually head over to Arbutus Coffee for lunch. They have great coffee, but the main draw for me is the quiche. Today's special was tomato and feta, but it has always been different each time I was there. I love that the crust appears to be homemade, that the quiche is soft and creamy and that it is seriously see dish. Nothing fancy, just a great Sunday lunch.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Chocolate Cake Insanity

Yes, that is a picture of FIVE chocolate cakes - I had a request from a friend to make them, so I went for it. What a nut. I baked for five hours last night. And frosted for two today. The recipe is excellent - specially requested - it is the Silver Palate Cookbook 25th Anniversary Edition 's Chocolate Decadence Cake. The frosting is my own chocolate sour cream frosting.
Chocolate Decadence Cake

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

5 oz unsweetened chocolate
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
Confectioners sugar

Melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler. Transfer to a mixing bowl and start whisking. Add sour cream. It will look seized - DO NOT panic. Start adding confectioners sugar a cup at a time until desired texture is reached. Cover cake while as soon as frosting is made - it sets up.

Side note - my kitchen looks like a chocolate bomb exploded.....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

For Crystal

"For some moments in life there are no words." (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) )

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sometimes Simple Is Best

I'll admit to a certain amount of culinary fatigue. A couple years ago, I was excited to cook dinner every day. Now I'm excited to cook dinner once a week if I am lucky. I am not sure where the culinary mojo went, but I have learned to embrace the simple. Just because it is an easy meal doesn't mean it has to suck...

Roast chicken breast is one of those things I have perfected. No recipe, its easy to change up the flavours depending on your mood. I preheat the oven to 375F. Then I season my chicken breast well, adding my desired flavour profile. Tonight it was rosemary and garlic. A good sear for colour on the presentation side, I flip it over and slip it into the oven. I have found that they generally take 20 minutes. Of course, it all depends on the size of the breast and which way the wind is blowing from that day, so if you can't tell just by touching it whether it is done, use a thermometer. Do not over cook it. I usually take it to roughly 156F, then I rest it covered with foil for 10 minutes or so.
While it is resting, I through together a quick pan sauce. About a tablespoon of flour goes into the pan that I seared and roasted the chicken in and I cook it up in the pan juices. Splash in some white wine or beer, some chicken stock, simmer adjusting consistency as needed. Season. The sauce comes together in the time it takes to roast the chicken breast.
Tonight I served it with a simple sauteed kale seasoned with aleppo pepper and new potatoes.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Curried Halibut Cheeks

Halibut season is in full swing right now in Vancouver with beautiful fresh halibut to be found everywhere! I picked up some halibut cheeks and decided to try my hand at a fish curry...For some reason, the word Kerala was stuck in my head - must have been a subconscious thing. So I Googled Keralan Fish Curry. A million variations popped up. I had no idea which was authentic so I did a little reading up on Kerala itself. Kerala is located on the Malabar coast of south-west India and is known for its beaches, mountain ranges and wildlife sanctuaries - it is a huge tourist destination. Also, for over 2000 years, Kerala has been visited by seafarers of all ethnicities, resulting in a cuisine that is a combination of local dishes and foreign dishes adapted to Kerala tastes.

I ended up adapting a curry recipe that I found to my own needs. I have a feeling authenticity does not figure into this, but it did taste bloody good!

Curried Halibut cheeks

1 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
1-6 chilies, finely chopped ( I had one, so that is what I used)
1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate - (fish curries in Kerala commonly use black tamarind as a souring agent - I used what I had on hand)
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 or 4 tablespoon oil
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp Ground coriander
2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp fenugreek
Salt and pepper -- to taste
1 lb Halibut cheeks

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds and sauté until they start to pop. Add the dry spices quickly and stir just until they are absorbed by the oil. Do not allow the spices to burn. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilies and sweat until soft and sweet - take your time!
Mix the tamarind concentrate with the water.
Add the tamarind water, season with salt and pepper and simmer another 30 to 40 minutes to meld the flavors and reduce the liquid a little. Stir in the coconut milk. simmer 15 minutes.
Here is where I really went off the books. I used a hand blender to blitz the sauce a little, then I passed it through a sieve. I was left with this beautiful smooth gravy.
Stir in the fish and simmer slowly another 5 to 10 minutes. Serve!

I served mine with chili and cumin spiced kale stems, saffron rice and roti. Unfortunately, I was so hungry i didn't get a good photo, here's a rough one instead!