Crepes – 4 Ways!

Crepes

So the 9 Days are wrapping up, but I thought I would give you one last menu idea to add to your repertoire that like the frittata, once you know the base, you can fit to match your own taste buds. Crepes! Or for our Yiddish followers, blintzes! Despite what you might think, crepes are easy and they are not just for dessert.

I’ll start you off with the basic crepes recipe, as well as give you an egg dish, some vegetarian options, and  a salmon dish to end. With each case, you will have to prepare the crepes first, and then make whatever filling you choose. While the crepe recipe below is not a sweet one, you can also use it with sweet fillings easily, such as ice cream, fresh fruit, or chocolate-hazelnut spread. The choices are really endless.

The Basic Crepes Recipe

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs
¾ cup milk
¾ cup water
⅓ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually stir in the milk and water and continue stirring until combine. Add the salt and butter, and beat until smooth. For best results, cover and place in refrigerator for one hour.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, brush with oil. Pour ¼ cup of the batter into the heated pan. Quickly lift and tilt the pan, swirling the batter to coat the bottom of the pan evenly.  Leave on the burner for about 2 minutes, or until the crepe is just firm and begins to brown at the edges. Use a spatula to gently release from the pan, flip onto a plate and repeat until all the batter is used. For crispy crepes, cook a little longer on the second side until bottom is browned.


Egg Crepes with Pico de GalloSavoury Scrambled Egg Crepes with Avocado Pico de Gallo

Ingredients:
Scrambled Eggs:
8 large eggs, beaten
½ cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Pico de Gallo:
2 avocados, pitted and diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 tablespoon jalapeno, minced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced*
2 tablespoons lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

* Click here to learn how to clean cilantro.

Directions:
To prepare the eggs:
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat the oil in a nonstick medium skillet over medium heat. Pour the eggs into the skillet and gently fold the eggs as they begin to set. Once the eggs are cooked, remove from the heat and keep warm.

To make the pico de gallo:
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.

To assemble the crepes:
Fill the crepes with the warm scrambled eggs, and fold crepes into quarters. Serve the crepes with pico de gallo on top.


Mushroom, Spinach and Parmesan CrepesMushroom Spinach and Parm Crepes

Ingredients:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 large shallots, small dice
5 medium garlic cloves, minced
¾ tablespoon dried thyme
kosher salt
1 ½ pounds mushrooms, sliced thin
8 cups baby spinach leaves*
2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 green onion/scallion, sliced thin, to serve*
12 (9-inch) crepes

* Click here to learn how to clean baby spinach and green onions/scallions.

Directions:
Prepare the crepes first and set aside. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet or nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, dried thyme, and a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring frequently, until the shallot has softened, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the skillet, turn the heat to medium-high, and sauté, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Due to the volume of mushrooms, you may want to brown them in batches, so that they get browned evenly and nicely. If so, you might need to add a little more butter to the pan to brown the second batch of mushrooms, as they tend to soak up the oil pretty quickly.

Once all the mushrooms have been browned, if you did them in batches, return everything to the pan, and add the spinach and cook it until it wilts, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside. In your oven, turn the broiler on and arrange a rack about 6 inches from the heating element. Smear a baking dish with the remaining tablespoon of butter and set aside.

Lay the crepes out on a work surface. Distribute the mushroom-spinach filling between the crepes, arranging it in a line along the diameter of each one. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top of the filling, leaving some to top the crepes with. Carefully roll up the crepes to form cylinders. Place the rolled crepes in the buttered baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Place the crepes under the broiler to brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer the crepes to a warmed plate, top with sliced green onion/scallion, and serve each person two.


Summer Vegetable CrepesSummer Vegetables and Cheese Crepes

Ingredients:
½ cup sour cream
¾ cup chopped fresh chives, divided, plus more for garnish*
4 ½ tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 ¼ teaspoons salt, divided
1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups chopped zucchini
2 cups chopped green beans
1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels
1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
¾ cup shredded monterey jack cheese
⅓ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 (9-inch) crepes

* Click here to learn how to clean chives.

Directions:
Prepare the crepes first and set aside. Stir the sour cream, ⅓ cup chives, milk, lemon juice and ½ teaspoon salt in a small bowl until combined, and then set aside.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, green beans and corn and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the ricotta, monterey jack, and the remaining chives, plus the remaining salt and pepper. Cook, stirring gently, until the cheese has melted, about 1 to 2 minutes, then remove it from the heat.

To roll the crepes, place one on a piece of parchment or wax paper. Spoon one-sixth of the vegetable-cheese mixture (about ¾ cup) down the centre of the crepe. Use the paper to help you gently roll the crepe around the filling. Place the crepe seam-side down on a dinner plate. Repeat with the remaining crepes and filling. Serve each crepe topped with 2 tablespoons of the sauce you set aside earlier, and more chives, if desired.


Salmon Crepes with Mornay SauceSalmon crepes

Ingredients:
1 pound fresh salmon filets, skin removed
1 large leek, cleaned and sliced in thin rounds*
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
¼ cup dry white wine
1 ½ cups whole milk
½ cup grated gruyère cheese, divided (you could also use parmesan or swiss)
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper
12 crepes

* Click here to learn how to clean leeks.

Directions:
Prepare the crepes first and set aside, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt the butter in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until they start to soften – about 3 minutes. Add in the salmon filets, flaking the fish into small pieces as it cooks. When the fish is cooked through, sprinkle on the flour and stir to mix completely with the fish and leeks. Pour in the wine and milk and cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture boils and thickens – about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in ¼ cup of the cheese. Let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes, then stir in nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.

For each crepe, mound a generous ¼ cup of the salmon mixture in a log shape in the centre of the crepe. Fold over about ½ inch of the side edges to hold in the filling, then roll the crepe up. Place the crepes seam-side down in a greased baking dish, and sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup of cheese. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Copycat Recipes – Famous Mains!

So it was kinda hard to choose which mains to find recipes for. I actually googled, “Most Popular Restaurant Dishes” to see what would come up, and low and behold, I got a few of the beauties below. I did go for some Canadian flavour though, and threw in Swiss Chalet’s famous rotisserie chicken and dipping sauce. Surprisingly, not a kosher issue (other than, you know, the establishment itself not being kosher). I hope you all enjoy!


Bonefish Grill Bang Bang Shrimp“Bonefish Grill” Bang Bang “Shrimp”

So with this recipe, the only real change is the obvious, using imitation “shrimp” instead of the real McCoy. Other than that, this recipe is pretty kosher friendly!

Ingredients:
1 cup vegetable oil, or more, as needed
2 cups buttermilk*
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons hot sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 pounds imitation “shrimp”

For the Sauce:
½ cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons rice vinegar

* Don’t have buttermilk? Check out my cheat tips here.

Directions:
To make the sauce, whisk together the mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, honey and rice vinegar in a small bowl and then set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, flour, cornstarch, eggs, and hot sauce. Add a bit of salt and pepper to taste, and set this aside as well.

In a large bowl, combine the panko, onion and garlic powders, basil, oregano, and some salt and pepper, to taste. Working one at a time, dip a “shrimp” into the buttermilk mixture, then dredge it in the panko mixture, pressing to coat.

Working in batches, add the “shrimp” to the skillet and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Serve immediately, drizzled with the sweet chili sauce.


“Cheesecake Factory” Louisiana Chicken PastaCheesecake Factory Louisiana Chicken Pasta

So with this recipe, there were quite a bit of changes needed, as there was a lot mixing of dairy and meat in this recipe. I think I’ve found a happy balance, omitting somethings, and substituting others. I hope you agree!

Ingredients:
For the Chicken:
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 cup breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup non-dairy milk

For the Cajun Sauce:
1 tablespoon margarine
1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
¾ small red onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
3 whole garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 ½ cups non-dairy creamer
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly sliced*
1 (12 ounce) packages bow tie pasta
salt, to taste

* Click here to learn how to clean basil.

Directions:
For the sauce, melt the margarine in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the yellow and red bell peppers, mushrooms, and onion to the skillet, and sauté until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper to skillet and sauté for 3 more minutes. Add the non-dairy creamer, as well as the chicken stock, and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add half of the basil, stirring to incorporate, and season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer. The sauce will continue to reduce and thicken.

For the chicken, pound the chicken breasts until they are very thin (the thinner the better). Mix together the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, lemon zest, salt and flour. Pour the non-dairy milk into a shallow bowl for dipping. Dip the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture and then in the milk and then back in the breadcrumbs.

Heat the oil in a frying pan set to medium-high heat, and fry the chicken until golden crisp and cooked through. Add more oil to the pan as needed. Remove the chicken to a paper-lined plate to drain.

Meanwhile, cook the bow-tie pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Once done, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot. Add the sauce that has been reducing and toss the pasta to coat. To plate, dish up a healthy portion of the pasta, and top with a golden piece of chicken and the remaining basil.


PF Changs Chicken Lettuce Wraps“P.F. Chang’s” Chicken Lettuce Wraps

What’s amazing about this recipe is that I didn’t need to change a thing! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
½ cup + 1 tablespoon oil
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 cups water chestnuts, minced
2 cups mushroom, minced
½ cup onions, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
12-15 iceberg lettuce leaves*

Special Sauce:
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ cups water
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons lemon juice
⅜ teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons hot mustard
2 tablespoons hot water
1-2 tablespoons garlic and red chile paste

Stir Fry Sauce:
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons rice wine vinegar

* Click here to learn how to clean lettuce:

Directions:
Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in the water in a bowl. Add the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil. Mix well and refrigerate this sauce until you’re ready to serve.  Combine the hot water with the hot mustard and set this aside as well. Eventually add your desired measurement of mustard and garlic chili sauce to the special sauce mixture to pour over the wraps.

In a wok or large frying pan, bring the oil to a high heat. Sauté the chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until they are done. Remove the chicken from the pan and allow them to cool.

Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl. When chicken is cool, mince it as small as the mushrooms and water chestnuts are. With the pan still on high heat, add another tablespoon of vegetable oil (to the oil that was left over from cooking the chicken). Add the chicken, garlic, onions, water chestnuts and mushrooms to the hot pan. Add the stir fry sauce to the pan, and sauté the mixture for a couple minutes then serve in the lettuce leaves with the special sauce.


“Swiss Chalet” Rotisserie ChickenSwiss Chalet Chicken and Dipping Sauce

As a Canadian, how can you not want just a bite of that beautifully, crispy, spinning rotisserie Swiss Chalet chicken? Well, it turns out, making it kosher isn’t that hard! In fact, I didn’t have to change a thing! Keep in mind though, that unless you have a rotisserie feature on your oven/bbq, it will not come out exactly the same as the commercials.

Ingredients:
1 (3 to 4 pound) whole chicken
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon onion salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dehydrated tomato soup mix
1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon dried savoury
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon allspice
1 cup water

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large re-sealable plastic bag. Poke holes into a whole chicken. Place the chicken in the bag and let it marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight. Cook the chicken in a rotisserie oven at 350 degrees for 2 hours or until cooked through. Serve with dipping sauce.

“Swiss Chalet” Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:
3 cups water
¼ cup tomato juice
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
1 ½ teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon white sugar
¼ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon dried parsley
¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon dried mustard
¼ teaspoon onion powder
1 bay leaf
¾ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce*
6 drops Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

* Click here to learn about using Worcestershire sauce with meat dishes.

Directions:
In a saucepan, add the water, tomato juice and all of the other ingredients EXCEPT for the lemon juice, cornstarch, final 1 tablespoon water and vegetable oil. Using a whisk, stir the sauce thoroughly, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the lemon juice.

In a small bowl mix the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water into a slurry. Slowly whisk the slurry into the sauce. While still whisking, add the oil to the sauce. Continue to whisk the sauce while it cooks for a few more minutes and it will thicken up. This will make 3 cups of sauce.

Hawaiian Poke

Tuna & Avocado Poke

So has anyone else noticed that it got pretty hot out? Like really quickly too? Whatever happened to Spring? It seems that here in Toronto we get, usually, a pretty wicked Winter, a week of Spring, and then watch out, ’cause here comes Summer! And with that, comes the heat and the dreaded humidity. Some days it feels more like you’re swimming outside rather than walking. So, having said all of that, how about some recipes that you don’t have to “cook”? No heat required? That’s right, we’re doing a raw week!

Today’s recipe is for Poke, a traditional Hawaiian dish that combines the freshest of fish, usually either tuna or octopus, with some asian flavours such as soy, sesame and onion. The trick to this dish is not to make it too much in advance. You want to combine the flavours just before eating, only about 15-30 minutes before everyone comes to the table. This way you don’t loose the fresh, delicate taste of the fish. My suggestion? Try serving this as a starter one Shabbos instead of gefilte fish! It will be a hit!

Ingredients:

½ pound sushi-grade salmon
½ pound sushi-grade ahi tuna
1 large avocado, cubed
4 green onions/scallion, thinly sliced*
½ jalapeno chili, thinly sliced (optional)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 ½ teaspoons lime juice
½ tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste
cooked white rice, to serve

* Click here to learn how to clean green onions/scallions.

Directions:

Check over your fish for any small bones or pieces of skin left on. Using a very sharp knife, slice the fish into ½” cubes. Set your fish aside for now. To toast your sesame seeds, heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds, and cook until toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Make sure to stir often to prevent burning.

In a medium bowl, mix together the green onions/scallions, jalapeno, toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, lime juice and ginger. Save a little onion and sesame seeds to top your finished poke. Add the fish and avocado to the bowl with the marinade, and toss to coat.

Fill a large bowl with ice, and then place the bowl with the poke in it into the larger ice filled bowl to keep the poke nice and fresh until you are ready to serve it. Taste the poke, and adjust the seasoning as needed, with salt and pepper to your own taste.

Serve the poke on top of some cooked white rice with thinly sliced green onions and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Enjoy!

“Crab” Stuffed Filet of Sole

Stuffed Sole

At Queen Victoria’s dinner she was served “Les Filets de Soles farcis à l’Ancienne” which roughly translates into Filets of Sole stuffed and garnished with a Cream Sauce of Shrimps, Mushrooms and Truffles. Now while I was not able to find an actual recipe for this dish, I did find a partial description in a book outlining some of the dishes served at royal affairs throughout the ages. This dish was described as the following:

Filets of sole spread with a stuffing of whiting mixed with breadcrumbs, herbs and beaten eggs, folded in two, coated in egg and breadcrumbs and cooked in butter. The fillets are then arranged in a circle, alternating with little poached shapes of whiting stuffing and sprinkled with brown butter. The centre of the dish is filled with shrimps, mushrooms and truffles in a cream fish sauce flavoured with Madeira.

Personally, just give me the brown butter and truffles on anything and I’m in heaven!

Ingredients

⅓ cup butter
¼ onion, minced
½ cup minced/shredded imitation crabmeat (about 4 sticks)
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley*
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
20 buttery round “Ritz”-type crackers, crushed
6 (6 ounce) sole filets
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
3-4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
toothpicks (to help keep the fish rolled)

* Click here to learn how to clean parsley.

Directions:

Preheat oven to  375°F. Lightly coat a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Melt butter in the frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the crabmeat, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute more. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in ¾ of the crushed crackers.

Spread the mixture over the filets, and then sprinkle them with lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. Roll up filets, seal with toothpicks and place in the prepared baking dish. Dot each roll with butter and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 17 minutes, with the last 5-7 minutes uncovered, until the fish fully opaque and flakes.

Alternatively, instead of rolling the fish, you can lay the fish pieces on the bottom of your pan and then spread the filling mixture out on top of the fish. Bake until the fish fully cooked and the topping is nice and golden brown (taken the cover off for at least 7-8 minutes rather than 5-7 at the end).

Roasted Salmon with Rhubarb and Red Cabbage

Roasted Salmon with Rhubarb and Red Cabbage

Okay, after touting both the virtues and dangers of rhubarb, not to mention some delicious recipes, I don’t really have much more to say on the subject. But I will leave you with this one last bit of trivia: Did you know though not often used today, the word ‘rhubarb’ can also mean ‘a heated argument or dispute,’ according to Merriam Webster.But don’t get into a rhubarb about dinner, maybe try this dish out instead?

Ingredients:

4 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 ¼ cups orange juice
1 cup sugar
⅓ cup water
2 tablespoons finely grated orange peel*
4 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger*
3 cups 2-inch-long ¼ inch-thick matchstick-size strips rhubarb (from about 2-3 stalks trimmed rhubarb)
8 cups thinly sliced red cabbage** (from about ½ medium head)
½ cup Sherry wine vinegar
½ cup dry red wine
6 (6-7 ounce) salmon fillets with skin
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups arugula**
¾ cup plain Greek-style yogurt

* Click here to get tips on zesting oranges and peeling fresh ginger.
** Click here to learn how to clean arugula and cabbage.

Directions:

Stir the mustard seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat until they begin to pop, about 3 minutes. Transfer them to small bowl and put aside for now.

Bring the orange juice, sugar, water, and orange peel to boil in large skillet, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium and add the pre-cooked mustard seeds, coriander seeds, caraway seeds and ginger.

Simmer away until it becomes syrupy, about 10 minutes. Add the rhubarb and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until rhubarb is tender but intact, about 2-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rhubarb to microwave-safe bowl and put it aside for now.

Bring syrup in skillet back up to a simmer and add the cabbage, vinegar, and wine, bringing everything up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat back down to medium, partially cover, and simmer until cabbage is soft and most of liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently, for about 45 minutes. Season the cabbage to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the cabbage from the heat.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the salmon until it is just opaque in centre, about 11 minutes. Rewarm reserved rhubarb in microwave just until warm, about 1 minute or so.

Divide the warm cabbage among 6 plates. Scatter the arugula atop and around the cabbage. Place 1 salmon fillet atop the cabbage. Spoon a dollop of the yogurt atop the salmon, and then the rhubarb.

Creamy Pasta with Salmon and Dill

Salmon Dill Pasta

Hi everyone! I realize that it’s been a long time since I last posted, but I need to get back on that horse! Here is a quick recipe that I’ve been making lately. It’s a dairy pasta dish, so it’s rich and comforting, but the fresh dill and lemon zest keep it from being too heavy. You can also switch up the fresh salmon for canned or for a twist, use smoked salmon instead! This recipe will serve 6. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

12 ounces uncooked linguine pasta (or any other pasta of choice)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thin
2 shallots, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ¼ pounds of fresh or frozen (defrosted) salmon, cubed
¾ cup cream cheese
¾ cup fresh dill, chopped finely*
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest**
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

* Click here to learn how to properly check fresh dill.
** Click here for my tips on zesting.

Directions:

In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Once the pasta is done, drain it, saving the water to add to the sauce.

In a large sauté pan, add the olive oil and heat on medium-high temperature. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, shallots and garlic. Toss to coat in the oil and season with salt and fresh pepper. Allow to cook, softening and getting some colour, but not turning completely brown, about 5-7 minutes.

Once the onions are mostly done, add the salmon to the pan, and again, toss to coat. Let the fish and onions sit for a minute or two, to allow the salmon to begin to cook. Add the cream cheese to the pan, and move it around the pan, so that the heat begins to melt the cheese. At this point, add some of the pasta water to the pan to mix with the melting cream cheese and make a sauce. Add as much water as you feel necessary to get the consistency that you like. Once the cheese has completely been thinned out, add the dill and mix to combine.

In a large mixing or serving bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the sauce and then sprinkle with the lemon zest and additional dill, salt and pepper, to taste.

 

Soy-Glazed Arctic Char (Yukon)

Arctic Char

Starting with Canada’s western-most territory, the Yukon is the smallest of Canada’s three territories, but has the highest mountain in Canada (Mt. Logan at 19,551 feet). I should mention though, even though I said it’s the smallest territory, it is in no way small! Meaning “Great River” in the Athapaskan language, in reference to the Yukon River (at 3,600 kilometres/2,237 miles long), the Yukon is 483,450 square kilometres (about 186,661 square miles), which is larger than the State of California and larger than Belgium, Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands combined.

Its population however is just 31,881! A majority of this population is made up of members of different First Nations tribes, such as the Southern and Northern Tutchone, the Tlingit, the Tagish, Kasha, Tanana, Han and Gwitchin. In addition to wild game, a large part of the diet of the First Nations people revolves around fish. A popular fish from this region is the Arctic Char. Similar in taste and texture to salmon, it is extremely versatile, and can be eaten raw, frozen and dipped in soy sauce, or as in today’s recipe, with ginger soy glaze. Today’s recipe will serve around 6 people and is delicious and simple to prepare. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 skin-on Arctic Char fillets, (about 2 ¼ pounds total)
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger*
1 tablespoon liquid honey
¾ teaspoon pepper

* Click here to see my tip about peeling fresh ginger.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Rinse off your fillets, and check for any missed bones. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and then place the fish on it, skin side down. If you are using a barbeque instead, either use a fish basket or make sure to pre-grease your barbeque racks, and well as rubbing a little oil on the skin side of the fish, to help it from sticking.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, honey and pepper. Brush the sauce over the fish and allow it to bake/grill for about 8-10 minutes. It will be done when the fish flakes easily.

If you like you can prepare extra sauce and cook it down slightly in a small pot on the stove-top. The sauce will reduce and create a nice sticky flavourful glaze to serve at the table.

Acadian Cod Pancakes (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Fish Cakes with Applesauce
Newfoundland and Labrador is Canada’s most easterly province, and is made up of the island of Newfoundland and the mainland portion of Labrador. In 1583 Newfoundland became England’s first North American possession when it was claimed by Sir Humphrey Gilbert for Queen Elizabeth. While Labrador was part of the Portuguese Empire (going back as far as 1500). The French formed a colony in Newfoundland in 1655, and went to war in the 1690’s, destroying nearly every English settlement on the island. The French however ceded their claims to the British and to the French possessions in Acadia (hello Acadian connection!) in 1713. For the next 150 years or so, the land goes back and forth between the French, the Spanish and the English… To be honest, it is all very confusing!

In the end however they became a part of Canada, and we are happy to have them! With all that history and culture, you know the food is going to have its roots steeped in some pretty interesting traditions! One of the biggest yields from this area though is its fish, particularly cod. Traditionally what was not sold right away was salted and preserved. Today, salt cod is still a popular ethnic ingredient. For today’s recipe though, we’re going to use the unsalted version, either fresh or frozen, to make Acadian Cod Pancakes. If you want to be a real Newfie, make sure to eat them with apple sauce! This recipe will make enough cakes for 6. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh or frozen cod fillets
6-8 potatoes, cooked and mashed (about 3 cups)
2 small onions, diced
¼ cup water
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of pepper
oil, for frying
apple sauce, for serving

Directions:

Peel and boil your potatoes, until cooked through, then drain and mash the potatoes, allowing them to cool enough to handle. Thaw your fish fillets if necessary, then break them apart and chop the fish very finely. In a small pan, cook the onions with the water, so that they become translucent, but do not brown. Once the onions have cooked through, set them aside and allow them to cool enough to be handled.

Beat the eggs so that they are well blended. In a large bowl mix together the fish, mashed potatoes, cooked onions, eggs, flour, parsley, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Make sure to combine the ingredients well. If you find the mixture is too loose, you can add a bit more flour. If you find the mixture to dry or not forming cakes well, you can add another egg.

Heat the cooking oil in a large non-stick pan, until very hot but not smoking. Using a ⅓ cup as a measure, form small cakes or patties. Place the cakes onto the pan in the hot oil. Do not over crowd your pan, or you will find it difficult to flip them. Fry the cakes for about 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown. If you find your cakes browning too quickly, lower the heat. Flip the cakes over with a spatula, and then fry for another 3-4 minutes. Once cooked, remove the cakes to a piece of paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Serve the cakes hot with apple sauce for a true Newfie treat, or with cocktail or tartar sauce.

Cedar-Planked Salmon with Maple-Mustard Glaze (British Columbia)

Cedar SalmonSo British Columbia for those of you that don’t know is our most western province, and has it’s coast on the Pacific Ocean. For those of you still not sure, it’s right above Washington State and below Alaska. It is a gorgeous province, sharing the Rocky Mountains with it’s neighbouring province Alberta, and has beautiful valleys, and AMAZING skiing. In fact, the Winter Olympics were held there, centred around Vancouver, in 2010. One of the food items that BC is known for though is their salmon! It is delicious, fresh and readily available. This recipe also calls for the use of maple syrup and mustard, two more Canadian staples. This recipe cooks up right on the barbecue, and will go great with some grilled asparagus and new potatoes. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 ½ pounds salmon fillet
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Directions:

Soak one 12 x 7 inch (30 x 18 cm) untreated cedar plank in water for 30 minutes or for up to 24 hours; place salmon on top.

In small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper; brush half over salmon.

Place plank on grill over medium-high heat, and close the lid. Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, brushing once halfway through the cooking time with the remaining maple mixture. The fish will be done when it flakes easily when cut into. Halve the salmon lengthwise, and then cut crosswise into 6 slices. Transfer to serving platter.

If you can’t do this outside, bake the planks in a 425 degree oven for about 12 minutes.

Note about planks – Make sure the wooden plank you are using is food grade compatible, and has not been treated with any chemicals. You can purchase these at grocery stores. Be wary of buying planks at hardware stores, as they may have been treated (for use in construction, not food).

Cioppino

CioppinoSo aside from the Golden Gate Bridge and the Cable Cars, San Francisco is known for quite a few food items. Top on my list (’cause it has it’s own jingle) is Rice-a-Roni a.k.a. the San Francisco Treat! Well, I can’t give you a recipe for something that comes in a box can I? Well, I mean I could, but it’s just so much easier to get a box of the stuff (or the kosher equivalent). So what else is SF famous for food wise? Cioppino and Sourdough Bread!

For the Sourdough, you need a starter or “mother” to start the dough from. You can make one yourself (though this takes some time and care) or buy some from a bakery store or online. Again, yeah, not much of a recipe for this blog. But Cioppino? Now we’re talking! Cioppino is a fish stew that originated in San Francisco in the 1800’s. It was developed by Italian immigrant fishermen, who after taking their catch to market, would put together a stew of whatever was left over that wound up to be this wonderful dish. Normally, Cioppino is chock full of shellfish, but this being a kosher recipe, there won’t be any in this dish. This recipe will make a huge pot of the soup/stew, as it is definitely a one-dish meal. I suggest buying some crusty sourdough to serve with it!

Ingredients

⅓ cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic
4 ribs celery, peeled
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 large onion, quartered
2 (2 oz.) can anchovies, drained and rinsed
1 fennel bulb, quartered, centres removed, sliced thin*
3 leeks, white/pale green parts only, sliced thin*
1 (796ml) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups dry white wine
6 cups water
4-6 bay leaves
2 good pinches saffron
2 tablespoons paprika
¼ cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon anise/fennel seeds
Good pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
4 sprigs fresh thyme*
½ pound halibut, skinned and boned, cut into 1 ½ in pieces
½ pound salmon, skinned and boned, cut into 1 ½ in pieces
½ pound snapper, skinned and boned, cut into 1 ½ in pieces
½ pound sea bass or cod, skinned and boned, cut into 1 ½ in pieces
½ pound flaked mock crab
1 large bunch flat parsley, minced*
Salt and pepper to taste

* Click here to learn how to clean these vegetables and herbs.

Directions:

In a food processor, pulse together the garlic, celery, red pepper, green pepper and onion so that it makes a coarse purée.

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil on a medium high heat. Once hot, add the rinsed anchovies and sauté so that they start to break up. Add the pureed vegetable mix to the hot oil, along with the sliced leeks and fennel. Sauté until the leeks and fennel become translucent.

Deglaze the pot with the white wine, and then add the crushed tomatoes, water, bay leaves, saffron, paprika, tomato paste, anise/fennel seeds, red pepper flakes and thyme. Reduce to heat to medium, and allow the soup to cook covered for about 30 minutes.

Once the soup has come together, add the fish and about half of the parsley. Cover and let cook for about 10 minutes, until the fish has cooked through and become opaque. Taste for salt and pepper, and then ladle the soup into bowls, topping with the remaining parsley and served with some fresh crusty sourdough bread.