“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).

Rhubarb Wild Rice Pilaf

Rhubarb Wild Rice Pilaf

So here’s a little FYI about rhubarb, were you aware that it is poisonous? Rhubarb contains oxalate, which causes illness or death when large quantities are ingested. Most of rhubarb’s oxalate is in its leaves, so trim them off and discard them, and you’re safe. There is almost no poison in the actual rhubarb stalks.

By the way, it’s not easy to die from eating rhubarb leaves. According to The Rhubarb Compendium website (at www.rhubarbinfo.com), a 150 pound person would have to eat at least 11 pounds of rhubarb leaves before suffering fatal effects. I think we’ll all be okay with this weeks recipes.

Ingredients:

¼ cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium/large sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped rhubarb (about 2 large stalks)
½ cup white wine
½ cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup cooked wild rice (about ⅓ of a cup uncooked)
1 cup cooked long-grain white rice (about ⅓ of a cup uncooked)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F, and spread out the almonds onto a baking sheet. Toast almonds in the preheated oven until golden and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Keep an eye on them, nuts burn ever so quickly! Set the almonds aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion in the oil until just translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about another minute. Add the rhubarb and sauté until slightly softened, about 2 minutes more.

Stir in the wine, raisins, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper into rhubarb mixture; cover the skillet with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until rhubarb is tender to the bite but still firm, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the honey and soy sauce, stirring everything to combine.

Lastly, add both the wild and white rice into the rhubarb mixture, stir until rice is heated through. Top with toasted almonds.

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.

 

One-Pot Thai Pasta

Thai Pasta

Love Thai food, but hate takeout? Or maybe you don’t have Thai takeout in your area? Here’s the fix for that my friends! This easy one-pot Thai pasta will serve six and cook up quickly! Wanna add some protein to the mix? Heat up some left over chicken or fish, and toss with the pasta before serving. Just note though that if you do add chicken to this dish to read up on the use of Worcestershire Sauce and meat by clicking this link. This dish will serve at least 6. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 (500g) box dry fettuccine or other long noodle
6 ¾ cups vegetable broth
2 medium carrots, julienned
1 ½ red bell peppers, julienned
6 green onions, sliced thinly*
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons peanut butter
3 tablespoons fresh minced ginger**
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce**
1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemongrass paste or minced*
¾ teaspoon fresh chili paste, like Sriracha (to taste)
¾ teaspoon turmeric
1-2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
½ – 1 lime, juiced
crushed peanuts, for garnish
chopped cilantro , for garnish*
sesame seeds, for garnish

* Click here to learn how to clean green onions, lemongrass and cilantro.
** Click here for tips on peeling ginger and using Worcestershire sauce.

Directions:

In a large pot, add the pasta noodles, breaking them in half if needed to fit, and then the rest of the ingredients except for the lime juice, peanuts, cilantro and sesame seeds. Add the broth last, pouring it over everything. Drizzle the oil over all the contents.

Cover your pot and bring the contents up to a boil. Once you’ve reached a boil, remove the lid and give the contents a good stir, to help keep the pasta from sticking together. Return the cover and reduce the heat to a steady simmer (medium to medium-low heat). Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes, until the pasta is cooked through and al dente.

After this time, the noodles should be al dente. Uncover and allow to cook for another few minutes, stirring occasionally, until there’s only about ½ inch of sauce on the bottom (or however much sauce you prefer). Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice. Serve hot and garnished with a liberal amount of crushed peanuts, chopped cilantro and sesame seeds.

One Pot Pasta Alla Puttanesca with Chickpeas & Artichokes

alla-puttanesca

So this spicy, red pasta dish is a favourite for those that like spicy, briny, salty dishes. While the meaning of the name can denote different things, depending on which part of Italy you come from, in the end it is a delicious, hearty meal that is sure to please. While some recipes call for the use of anchovies, this recipe, in its one-pot format, does not. It also does not call for cheese, however a sprinkling of parmesan over top at the end is always a hit in my book.

Two items to note in this recipe for 6, the artichokes and the amount of broth needed. There is great debate over the use of artichoke bottoms or hearts in the kosher community. Some lucky cooks can find canned artichokes with reputable hechshers, but for the rest of us, I find using the bottoms found in the frozen section a good substitute. With regards to the type of pasta used, you may find that you have to add more broth when using whole wheat compared to regular pasta. I say start with the lower amount, and as it’s cooking, you can add more if needed. Please note though if you add more broth, make sure it’s hot, so that it doesn’t delay the cooking time of the rest of the dish.

Ingredients:

1 (500g) box whole wheat or regular long noodle pasta
½ – 1 cup sliced black olives, such as Kalamata
1 ½ bags frozen artichoke bottoms, mostly defrosted and chopped (total amount of 21 ounces)
¾ (540ml) can canned chickpeas, low sodium
3 tablespoons capers
1 medium white or yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ (796ml) can diced tomatoes, low sodium
1 ½ tablespoons dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
¾ teaspoon dried thyme
¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes (reduce to ¼ teaspoon if sensitive to heat)
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper (reduce to 1/3 teaspoon if freshly ground)
4 ½ – 6 cups vegetable broth (you may need to add more broth depending on what type of pasta you use)
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

Directions:

In a large pot, add the pasta noodles, breaking them in half if needed to fit, and then the rest of the ingredients, pouring the broth over everything last. Drizzle the olive oil over the whole dish.

Cover your pot and bring the contents up to a boil. Once you’ve reached a boil, remove the lid and give the contents a good stir, to help keep the pasta from sticking together. Return the cover and reduce the heat to a steady simmer (medium to medium-low heat). Cook for an additional 8-10 more minutes, stirring every couple of minutes, until the pasta is cooked through and al dente.

If you find that there is a bit too much liquid in your dish, let the pasta sit for a little bit off the heat, and the pasta will absorb the excess liquid. If you have leftovers, I suggest tossing them with a little olive oil before storing in the fridge.

One-Pot Pasta Primavera

One Pot Pasta Primavera

This creamy, saucy pasta overflows with spring green veggies and cooks up in a single pot! You can definitely play up which veggies you use in this dish, just remember some might have longer cooking times, so you’d want to par cook them first, by either boiling them a bit first on their own or nuking them in the microwave for a minute or two before adding with the rest of the vegetables. To see what is fresh and in season, you can check out your local food guides. Here is a link to the availability guide in Ontario, showing you which fruits and vegetables are freshest each month. This dish will serve at least 6 people, so enjoy!

Ingredients:

6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
12 ounces linguine, uncooked
1 large onion, halved and sliced thin
1 ½ pounds broccoli, cut into large florets (about 3 cups)*§
2 ¼ pounds asparagus, ends snapped off and cut into 2-inch pieces*
6 ounces sliced white button mushrooms (about 1 ½ cups)*
6 large cloves garlic, minced
⅓ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (less for milder heat; more to increase heat)
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ¼ cups frozen peas
1 medium handful fresh parsley, chopped (about ¾ cup chopped)*
⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest**
Additional salt and pepper to taste
Additional Parmesan cheese for serving, if desired

* Click here to learn how to clean these vegetables and herbs.
** Click here for my tips on zesting lemons.
§ If you are using frozen broccoli florets for this dish, then add them about halfway through your 7 minute “tossing” window, instead of at the beginning (see directions below).

Note: If you want to make this pasta dish non-dairy, you can substitute the heavy whipping cream with non-dairy creamer and leave out the parmesan.

Directions:

Add the broth, pasta, onion, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to a large pot set over high heat. Drizzle the olive oil over the top.

As soon as it comes to a boil, set the timer for 7 minutes and start tossing with long-handled tongs. Continue boiling and tossing it every minute or so (You’re doing this so that they noodles do not stick and clump together). As soon as the 7 minutes is up, add the peas, parsley, heavy whipping cream, Parmesan, and lemon zest and continue cooking, tossing constantly, for 1-2 more minutes, until the pasta and veggies appear tender. Remove from heat.

Note that much of the liquid will have evaporated, but not all. And that’s okay! Let the pasta sit for a couple of minutes to cool; the sauce will continue to thicken during that time. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese.

Linguine with Roasted Red Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Brie

Pasta with Roasted Peppers, Sundried Tomatoes and Brie

So for the past 10 days, my home was filled to the brim with guests. While it was a good thing, and for a good occasion, all of that cooking, cleaning and preparing to host a plethora of people takes a lot out of a person. My mother gets the credit for the mitzvah (good deed) as it was her house and she is definitely the hostess with the mostess. Now that it’s all over though, the thought of cooking is enough for me to go on a starvation diet. My stomach however does not agree. So what to do? How about a delicious one-pot pasta meal that takes almost no time to make, and is good to the last slurp? So, with that in mind, this week is going to be one-pot pasta week. Recipes that are all made in one pot, in one go. Easy to cook, easy to clean. Today’s recipe will hit all the right notes with rich and creamy brie, the smokey tartness of roasted red peppers, and the earthy richness of sundried tomatoes. This recipe will serve 6. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

500g box of linguine, broken in half
1 ½ cups packed basil leaves*
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped roasted red peppers**
¾ cup sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
4 to 5 large garlic cloves, pressed
6 ¾ cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth***
3 tablespoons oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes (or regular olive oil)
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
340g brie cheese, rind removed and cut into pieces
grated parmesan, for serving
good-quality olive oil, for serving

* Click here to learn how to clean basil.
** Click here to get a great easy recipe for roasted red peppers.
*** If you are using broth instead of water, make sure to get the low-sodium version, as there is already a lot of salt in this recipe and with the tomatoes. If you cannot find low-sodium, then reduce the amount of salt added in the recipe, and use olive oil, rather than the oil from the jar of tomatoes.

Directions:

Combine linguine, basil, roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic in a large pot. Add the water/broth, sundried tomato oil/olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, and a generous amount of black pepper and bring to a full rolling boil over high heat.

Using tongs, stir and turn the pasta frequently to prevent sticking. Cook until al dente, approximately 9 to 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. (If there is still a little bit of cooking water, pour some — but not all — into a separate bowl.)

Add the brie and toss with tongs until creamy and melted. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. The sauce will naturally thicken up after a couple of minutes. Serve with grated parmesan and a swirl of good olive oil. (If the pasta does seem to need liquid, add back a few splashes of reserved cooking liquid.)

Wheat Berries with Charred Onions and Kale

Wheatberries & Kale
So today’s final grain is the wheat berry. For those of you not familiar with this one, it is the entire wheat kernel (except for the hull), composed of the bran, germ, and endosperm. The grains, or berries, are a tan to reddish brown colour. What I love about them is their al dente bite and yummy taste. They are a great alternative to rice or other grains, and can be easily found in health food stores and some of your larger supermarkets. They are great as the base for a cold salad, mixed with diced veggies and feta. For this recipe we’re using them in a hot side dish, along with that trendy green kale! Be sure to check out my tips on how to de-stem and slice up the kale for best eating! The recipe below will serve six as a side dish and is definitely what should be on your table tonight! Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups wheat berries
2 medium onions, halved, divided
5 sprigs thyme*
2 garlic cloves
½ teaspoon red chilli flakes, divided (to taste)
1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more
8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch kale, stems removed, cut into chiffonade/ribbons (about 8 packed cups)* §
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

* Click here to learn how to clean thyme and kale.
§ Click here to learn how to destem and chiffonade kale.

Directions:

Combine wheat berries, ½ of 1 onion, the thyme sprigs, 1 garlic clove and 1 tablespoon salt in a large saucepan; add water to cover by 2″. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until wheat berries are just tender but still firm to the bite, about 35 minutes. Drain; discard onion, thyme and garlic clove. Place the wheat berries in a large bowl and allow them to let cool.

Cut remaining 3 onion halves crosswise into ½” slices. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add the onions. Mince the remaining garlic clove, and add half of it to the onions, along with ¼ of a teaspoon chilli flakes. Season the onions lightly with salt and pepper. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until onions are charred in spots, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the onions to the bowl with the wheat berries.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to same skillet. Working in 3 batches, add the kale and the remaining garlic and chilli pepper, and cook, tossing occasionally, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Add oil as needed between batches, until the kale is charred in spots, about 1-3 minutes per batch. Add the charred kale to the bowl. Drizzle the wheat berries and vegetables with the lemon juice and any remaining oil; tossing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Butternut Squash with Cumin Couscous

Butternut Squash Couscous

When people are talking about alternatives to rice or potatoes as a side dish, they often list couscous along with grains such as barley, bulgar and buckwheat. But yes, I know, couscous is not a grain. It just looks like one ’cause it’s all cute and tiny. In reality couscous is actually grains of semolina, which is durum wheat, and is the same stuff that makes up pasta. So technically couscous is just unformed pasta? Well, that is something I’ll leave up to the food debaters (yes, there are such things as food debaters). For our purposes, this yummy dish will serve 6-8 people. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon cayenne
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
⅓ cup dark or golden raisins
4 ¼ cups vegetable broth
1 (540ml) can chickpeas, drained
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 ½ cups couscous
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves*
¼ cup (1 ounce) almonds, chopped

* Click here to learn how to clean parsley.

Directions:

Halve and peel the squash. Remove the seeds and cut the squash into 1-inch chunks. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ½ teaspoon of the cumin and cook for another minute. Stir in the squash, tomatoes, raisins, broth, chickpeas, and 1 ½ teaspoons of the salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook until the squash is tender, another 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring 1 ½ cups water and the remaining cumin and salt to a boil. Stir in the couscous. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Once the liquid has absorbed into the couscous and it is tender, fluff it gently with a fork.

Divide the couscous among individual bowls and ladle the squash over the top. Sprinkle with the parsley and almonds.

Israeli Hot Sauces – Zhug & Amba

So as we round out Condiment Week, I was trying to decide what today’s final recipe should be. We did the classics of mayo, mustard, ketchup and relish…. but what would be a good final note? So I thought to myself, what do you see on tables at restaurants? I know! Hot sauce! But no one is really going to make their own Tabasco or Texas Pete sauce at home (well, some people will, but most of us won’t).

But then I remembered one of my mom’s favourites! Amba! A slightly pickled, slightly spicy, savoury mango sauce that she just loves on her laffa! And of course, when you’re ordering up your laffa, you can always ask for it to be cha’reef (hot in Hebrew), which means the addition of Zhug, a spicy herb paste that really kicks it up a notch. So for today, we get two recipes, Amba and Zhug. Remember, you can always adjust the heat level by adding more or less chilies to the recipes. Enjoy and MAKE SURE TO WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE TOUCHING YOUR EYES!

Zhug

Zhug – Israeli/Yemeni Hot Sauce
Makes about 1 ¼ cup

Ingredients:

10 to 14 fresh green chilies or jalapeños, seeded if you like and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 to 8 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground caraway seeds
1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seeds
½ teaspoon freshly ground green cardamom
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro*
½ cup packed parsley leaves*
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 to 4 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice

* Click here to learn how to clean cilantro and parsley.

Directions:

Place the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender and pulse several times, until you get a smooth paste. You will have to scrape down all the bits and pieces that stick to the sides of the bowl.

Pack in a jar and store in the refrigerator. Zhug will keep for one to two weeks. You can also freeze it, but it will lose some of its garlicky flavor.

Amba

Amba – Spicy/Savoury Israeli Condiment
Makes about 1 one-cup

Ingredients:

2 ½ green mangoes
1 ¼ tablespoons salt
½ tablespoon corn oil
2 ½ tablespoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seed (whole, not ground)
1 tablespoon dried red pepper (about 2 ½ tiny ones, or more to taste)
½ tablespoon ground fenugreek
1 tablespoon hot paprika
½ tablespoon turmeric
½ head garlic, peeled and finely chopped (HEAD, not cloves)
¼ cup corn oil (more or less, for finishing)

Directions:

Wash the mangoes well and cut them up (including the peel) into slices the size of your pinky finger. Coat with the 1 ¼ tablespoons of salt, and place the slices into a large jar. Close the jar and shake it to evenly distribute the salt. Place the jar in a sunny spot for 4 to 5 days to release all the liquid in the fruit. At the end of this time the mangoes should be a very light, yellow colour.

Drain the mangoes, but make sure to save the liquid. Allow the mango slices to dry, preferably in the sun, for 3 to 4 hours. Heat the ½ tablespoon of corn oil in a pot, and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, peppers, fenugreek, paprika and turmeric. Cook and constantly stir for a few seconds, until the spices begin to pop and make tiny explosive noises.

In a separate small pot, boil the saved mango liquid and then add it to the heated spice mixture. Add the mango pieces and the chopped garlic. Stir, and continue cooking for 5 minutes on a low flame. Make sure the mixture does not dry out too much. Remove from the flame and let cool completely. At this point you can leave it chunky, or use a blender to purée it smooth.

Pour the mixture into a clean container with a lid and cover with the remaining corn oil, and then seal. The amba will keep in the fridge for at least six months.