Hannah of Rise and Shine was our October 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to bake our own double crusted savory pot pies. Using any from-scratch crust and filling we choose, we were allowed to get completely creative with our recipe, showing off the savory flavors and fillings from our own home or region.
A few days after Thanksgiving, I found myself with an abundance of two things in the kitchen: leftover turkey and green tomatoes, salvaged from my weather-beaten-and-dying tomato plants. I kicked off Operation Leftover Turkey with a batch of turkey enchiladas with green tomato salsa (I used this recipe, doubling the salsa and subbing the tomatillos for green tomatoes – it was extremely delicious), but I still had more turkey to use up. Thanksgiving: the meal that keeps on giving.
Last weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving, which meant turkey, turkey, turkey (I finally froze the leftovers because I just couldn’t face them any more!). We hosted my parents for dinner and again, I cooked the turkey… but not just any turkey. This year, I took the opportunity cross an item off The List by de-boning*, stuffing, and rolling the turkey. The results were amazing!
While the prep for a de-boned, stuffed, and rolled turkey is a little more time consuming than a regular stuffed bird (it took me forty-five minutes to de-bone it, and another thirty minutes to stuff, roll, and truss it), it pays off in ease of cooking. No estimating cooking times based on weight/stuffed/unstuffed/previously frozen/fresh, etc – just two to two-and-a-half hours! No basting! No specialty gigantic unwieldy roasting pan!
On Saturday I went to the Duncan Farmers Market with $20 and came home with this:
That’s $10 worth of fresh, locally-grown veggies and $10 worth of wild chanterelle mushrooms. Yes, a bit of a splurge at a dollar per ounce for the mushrooms, but when you get an entire tree of brussels sprouts for $2.50, you can be spendy in other categories! (The brussels sprouts have already gone into this pasta with bacon and feta and will undoubtedly be skillet roasted as well.)
Summer is finally here. After a long, wet June, July has brought the sunshine: five straight days (and counting!) of temperatures in the high 20s, plus over the weekend I a) went swimming in the lake, and b) bought a pint of fresh raspberries. That pretty much settles it.
It also means that it’s prime tomato growing season. This weekend in addition to a) and b) above, I planted some tomato plants in a very sunny spot beside the house, and hopefully towards the end of August, I will be rewarded with juicy, red, succulent fruit (says the girl who doesn’t usually like tomatoes all that much). In the meantime, I’ll be brushing up on my best tomato recipes.
Did you know that a true lasagne bolognese contains neither ricotta nor mozzarella? Just bolognese sauce, béchamel sauce and parmesan cheese (and pasta sheets, of course), and it is delicious.
We didn’t eat spaghetti and meatballs in my house when I was growing up – we ate lots of spaghetti with meat sauce, but not with meatballs. I didn’t make my first batch of meatballs until I was well into my twenties, and since then it seems I’ve been making up for lost time, because I could quite happily eat spaghetti and meatballs almost every day. In my recent quest to cut down on the amount of processed white flour in our diet, I looked for an alternative to the pasta part so that I could still get my fill of meatballs, and spaghetti squash seemed like the most obvious choice.
Every couple Fridays, Nate and I make homemade pizza for dinner. This is one of the rare times we are actually in the kitchen making dinner together (something I would like to do more often), me stretching out the dough, Nate shredding cheese and slicing toppings, deciding together what to put on each pie. We always do one Blue Hawaiian, and the second is usually a mish-mash of whatever else we have on hand – salami, olives, sautéed mushrooms and onions, chopped bell peppers… Last week at Aaron’s birthday pizza dinner, Nate and I shared the pizza special of the day, which was topped with crumbled homemade Italian sausage, fresh sliced Anaheim peppers, and cherry tomatoes on a creamy, cheesy base. It was such a good, simple combination of flavours that I knew I wanted to add it to our homemade pizza topping arsenal. I feel a bit silly posting an actual “recipe” for a pizza because I never follow one myself, so instead here’s the basic rundown for this cheesy sausage, jalapeño and fresh tomato pie.
Stretch out your favorite pizza dough onto a lightly oiled baking sheet (I love this pizza dough – I use a little bit of whole wheat flour and freeze half the dough for our next pizza night). Drizzle it with a few tablespoons of heavy cream (spread it around) and shower it with a good amount of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a few shreds of mozzarella.
Scatter it with some cooked and crumbled homemade Italian sausage, some sliced fresh jalapeños (or Anaheim peppers, if you can find them), and a few quartered grape or cherry tomatoes.
Sprinkle with a bit more mozzarella (less is more in this case – I find too much cheese keeps the crust from cooking properly) and bake in a hot oven until the crust is golden and the cheese melted and browned. Let it rest for a few minutes, then sprinkle with more parmesan and some black pepper before cutting into wedges.
A few years ago I had lunch with my Mum at an Ethiopian restaurant in Vancouver. Never having had Ethiopian food before, I had no idea what to expect, other than my Mum telling me that we would be eating “injera” made from “teff”, which really didn’t do much to clear things up.
What arrived at our table was a giant, crèpe-like flatbread covered in dollops of several kinds of thick, curry-like stew, to be shared between the two of us. Eating with our hands, we tore off pieces of the crèpe and used it to scoop up the stew, which was spicy and flavourful and incredibly delicious. The crèpe, as it turned out, was called injera, and it was made from a grain called teff (which happens to be gluten-free). It had a pleasant, almost spongy texture and slightly sour flavour, due to it being made with a sourdough starter of sorts. Along with being one of the most unusual eating experiences I have ever had (it’s not everyday in Canada that an edible part of your meal serves as both plate and eating utensil), that lunch was also one of the most memorable and delicious.
Don’t you hate it when you are in the middle of making something delicious and you reach into the pantry to grab that one last (rather important) ingredient, only to discover that you are, in fact, out of chickpeas for your chicken, potato, and chickpea curry? Yeah, I hate it when that happens. (Also, I’m terrible at mis-en-place.)
Luckily, this curry is still plenty good chickpea-less, although they are kind of my favorite part. I love them and could eat then straight out of the can. Nate, on the other hand, actually preferred this dish without chickpeas, and thinks that it should be made with either potato or chickpeas but not both. However this is my blog so I’m going to suggest that you make it with both – chickpeas in particular.
Just pretend there are chickpeas in there too…
Happiness is a bowl of pasta.
Top it with rich, cheesey tomato sauce spiked with homemade Sicilian sausage and you’ve got euphoria, as far as I’m concerned.