The Only Frittata Recipe You’ll Ever Need

Frittata

So since we are still in the period known as the Nine Days (see more about this by checking out two of my earlier posts from last year, here and here, or by visiting Chabad.org by clicking here.) I thought I would give you a quick and easy meatless supper idea that has an easy base, that can then be customized to meet your family’s personal tastes. A frittata fits the bill on all those counts! It’s meatless, it’s easy, it’s quick and it is totally customizable! In fact, you can make two different flavours! Or you can just make a lot of frittata, ’cause to be honest, it tastes even better cold/room temperature the next day!

The recipe below will give you the basic technique along with a few winning flavor combinations. These are great starting points for those who are new to frittatas, but they’re definitely not the end. The whole point of a frittata is that you can make it anytime, with almost anything. Just keep these few tips in mind.

Keep the size of your dish in mind:
Any 2-quart baking dish works well for this frittata. (For a classic look, bake your frittata in a cast-iron skillet.) Larger dimensions will work, too, but will yield shallower frittatas and require shorter cooking times.

Be kind to your eggs:
Beat the eggs only enough to blend the whites and yolks. Overbeating will cause the frittata to poof in the oven, then fall into a denser layer when cooling.

Mix-in moisture:
While just about anything can be stirred into the egg base, you should stick to ingredients that are already cooked. For anything with excess moisture, such as sautéed greens, be sure to squeeze out any liquid first, otherwise it will make your frittata soggy.

Ingredients:
4 ½ tablespoons olive oil
¾ cup diced onions
12 large eggs
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ teaspoon pepper

To customize:
Provençal:
1 ½ cups sautéed diced red bell pepper
1 ½ cups sautéed zucchini
⅓ cup finely chopped fresh basil*

Italiano:
12 ounces vegetarian Italian sausage, browned and crumbled
¾ cup cooked broccoli rabe, cut in 2 inch segments*
⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese

Springtide:
3 cups sliced cooked asparagus*
6 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
⅓ cup chopped fresh chives*
⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley*

Greco:
1 ½ pounds baby spinach, wilted and squeezed dry*
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill*
3 tablespoons sliced scallions/green onions*

* Click here to learn how to clean basil, broccoli rabe, asparagus, chives, parsley, baby spinach, dill and scallions/green onions.

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a 10” oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil, then add the diced onions, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together your eggs, along with the milk, salt and pepper. Add whatever mix-ins you wish, any of the above suggestions, or one of your own creation.

Pour the egg mixture into the skillet, stir and cook, until the edges start to pull away from the pan, about 5 to 7 minutes. Bake at 350°F until set, about 16-18 minutes.  To serve, cut into wedges and serve with a nice side salad.

If you are using a baking dish instead of an oven safe skillet, you can start the frittata on the stove-top, then very lightly grease a 2 quart baking dish and carefully transfer the frittata to the dish, to finish baking in the oven. It won’t be as pretty, but it will do the job in a pinch.

Chicken Katsu with Tonkatsu Sauce

Chicken Katsu

So in our schnitzel tour around the world, how about a stop in the Far East? Katsu is one of Japan’s favourite Western-style foods. So, what is it? Simply, it’s a bread crumbed cut of meat, usually served with shredded cabbage and a thick, salty and sweet sauce called tonkatsu sauce.

Now for a little bit of history… Pork katsuretsu (cutlet) was invented in Japan in 1899 at a Tokyo restaurant called Rengatei. Originally considered a type of yōshoku (a Japanese version of European cuisine) the dish was called katsuretsu or simply katsu. The term “tonkatsu” (pork katsu) was adopted in the 1930s.

Before tonkatsu, katsu was traditionally made from beef. During the Meiji era (1868-1912), Emperor Meiji – in his bid for Japan to become a more modern country and lead the way in terms of development – encouraged Western influence. It was this Western Influence that introduced pork and deep frying into the mix, and since then the dish has gone on to evolve into many variations that include chicken (torikatsu), fish and vegetables.

Ingredients:
For the chicken:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
6 chicken breast fillets
3 cups panko breadcrumbs
¾ cup plain flour
3 eggs, lightly whisked
olive oil spray
½ – ¾ cup Chinese cabbage, shredded to serve*
½ – ¾ cup red cabbage, shredded to serve*
¼ cup mayonnaise, to serve
lemon wedges, to serve

For the tonkatsu sauce:
¾ cup tomato sauce
⅓ cup water
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce**
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
1 ½ tablespoons grated fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, crushed
⅓ teaspoon ground allspice

* Click here to learn how to clean different types of cabbage.
** Click here to learn about using Worcestershire sauce with meat dishes.

Directions:
To make the tonkatsu sauce:
Combine the tomato sauce, water, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ginger, garlic and allspice in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Set aside to cool. Transfer to a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge.

To make the chicken:
Combine the soy sauce, vinegar and ginger in a large bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover and place in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight to marinate.

Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Place the breadcrumbs on a large plate. Place the flour on a separate plate, and season it with the salt and pepper. Place the whisked eggs in a bowl. Dip the chicken in the flour and shake off any excess. Then dip the chicken in the eggs, then in the breadcrumbs, pressing firmly to coat. Transfer the breaded chicken to the lined tray. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

Preheat the oven to 390°F. Spray the top of the chicken with oil. Cook for the chicken for 6 minutes. Carefully flip the chicken and spray with oil. Cook the chicken for a further 6 minutes or until cooked through.

Thickly slice the chicken diagonally. Arrange the Chinese cabbage and red cabbage on a serving platter and top with the chicken. Drizzle the mayonnaise and tonkatsu sauce over the chicken. Serve with lemon wedges.

Bloody Mary Burgers with Horseradish Dressing

Bloody Mary BurgersSo for today’s burger, I thought I’d go for something a little different. Bloody Mary’s anyone? Admittedly, this has to be hands down my favourite cocktail. Now while I’m not too particular over the brand of vodka used (or tequila for what I call a Bloody Maria), I am quite particular that I only like hot sauce used, and NOT horseradish! Horseradish is for gefilte fish and roast beef! Which is why I make the exception in this recipe using horseradish with this beef burger. There is something about the sharp bite of the root, mixed with the dense meat of the burger that just works well together. As a bonus to today’s recipe, I’m going to throw in a quick recipe for Bloody Mary’s to accompany your meal. You can always skip the alcohol for those who are underage or don’t drink. I’m sure everyone will enjoy!

Ingredients:
For the burgers:
1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
2 ¼ teaspoons prepared horseradish
¾ teaspoon celery seeds
6 to 12 dashes hot sauce, plus more as necessary
¾ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce**
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 ½ pounds ground beef (mix of medium and lean)
A little canola or olive oil, for brushing

For the dressing:
1 (1 ¼ to 1 ¾ inch piece) fresh horseradish root, freshly grated
3 tablespoons non-dairy sour cream
1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve:
6 good bread buns, ciabatta rolls, or thick slices of baguette
A few romaine lettuce leaves*
A few tomatoes, sliced
ketchup, optional

* Click here to learn how to clean romaine lettuce.
** Click here to learn about using Worcestershire sauce in meat dishes.

Directions:
For the burgers: In a medium bowl, mix together the tomato paste, horseradish, celery seeds, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and a generous grinding of black pepper. Add the beef and mix thoroughly with your hands, making sure the seasonings are spread throughout the meat. Let stand for at least an hour for the flavours to develop. Meanwhile, make the horseradish dressing.

For the dressing: Mix the grated horseradish, non-dairy sour cream and vinegar together in a bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Break off a small piece of the beef mixture, the size of a walnut, and fry in a little oil until well cooked. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.

To serve: Heat a grill. Shape the meat into 6 patties about ¾ inch thick. Lightly brush each one with oil, then place on a grill over high heat. It’s hard to give exact cooking instructions due to variables such as the thickness of the burger, the heat of the grill, and personal preference. For a medium-rare burger, you will probably need to grill for 3 to 4 minutes, then flip over and cook the other side for a couple of minutes. If you’re cooking the burgers indoors, use a lightly oiled grill pan set over medium-high heat. Let the burgers rest for a minute or two while you prepare the buns.

Toast the buns or other bread lightly on the cut side, then top with the lettuce leaves and tomato slices. Add the burgers and smear with horseradish sauce, and a dollop of ketchup if you like. Top with the other half of the bread.


Bloody Mary Cocktail

Classic Bloody Mary Cocktail

To make this non-alcoholic, simply omit the vodka and top up with tomato juice.

Ingredients:
¼ cup vodka
¾ cup tomato juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3-4 dashes hot sauce
celery salt, for rimming the glass
salt and pepper
lemon wedge and celery stalk, for garnish

Directions:
Pour some celery salt on to a small plate. Take the lemon wedge and run it around the rim of the glass. Turn the glass upside down, and dip it in the celery salt on the plate. The celery salt will now coat the rim of the glass. Pour the tomato juice and vodka into the glass, and add the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce , hot sauce and salt and pepper. Stir to combine and add ice if desired. Garnish with a fresh lemon wedge and a celery stalk. Enjoy!

Make-Ahead Bread Recipes

bread in a jar

Does it seem to you that no matter what time Shabbos starts, you always seem to be in a rush? It could start at 4:30 or 8:30 and you always seem to be caught in your 18 minutes! Here’s an idea, how about some quick make-ahead bread recipes? This way all of your ingredients are measured out, and you can dump and bake, and have a delicious loaf of bread, ready for your meal? Sounds good to me! Enjoy and have a Good Shabbos!


Beer Bread Mix

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
1 (12 oz.) can beer (dark or light, but not “Lite”)

Preheat the oven to either 350°F or 400°F and grease a loaf pan(s). Combine the bread mix and beer and bake as follows: for 1 large loaf, bake at 350°F for 1 ¼ hours. For 2 small loaves, bake at 400°F for 45 minutes. Remove and let cool on racks.


California Cornbread Mix

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 ½ tablespoons shortening

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
2 eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the cornbread mix in a large mixing bowl and add the eggs, milk and butter. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour into a greased 8-inch baking pan and bake for 30 minutes, or divide into 12 greased muffin tin cups and bake for 15-22 minutes.


Focaccia Bread Mix

Ingredients:
1 package yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 ½ teaspoons dried rosemary
1 ½ cups bread flour
½ teaspoon salt

Measure all of the above ingredients, except the yeast, into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. Keep the yeast in a separate small baggie, and then place this baggie in the larger container with the rest of the mix. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
½ cup warm water
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt, dried herbs (optional)
pesto, for serving

First, remove the yeast packet from the top of the mix. Then in a large mixing bowl combine the water, 2 tablespoons of the oil, the yeast packet and half of the contents of the focaccia bread mix. Mix until smooth and blended, and then add the remaining half of the bread mix. Knead the dough until smooth, and then transfer to an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Punch the dough down and roll into a 13 x 9-inch rectangle or on a pizza pie dish.  Using your fingers, press dimples into the dough, spaced every inch or so apart. Brush the dough with the remaining oil and sprinkle with salt and any other herbs you wish to add. Bake for 5 minutes, then pop any large air bubbles that may form with a fork, and continue baking until golden, about 8 more minutes. Remove from pan and serve warm with pesto.


Olive-Walnut Country Bread

Ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 cup chopped walnuts

Measure all of the above ingredients into a re-sealable jar or bag, and seal, trying to get as much air out as possible. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

To Use Add:
1 1/3 cups buttermilk (or 1 ¼ cup non-dairy milk + 4 teaspoons lemon juice, mixed)
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sliced Kalamata olives, drained
Olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan or coat with non-stick vegetable cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk (or alternative), egg, 2 tablespoons oil and olives. Slowly add the jar contents until the dough holds together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for about 30 seconds, just long enough for the dough to become smooth rather than sticky. Do not over-handle the dough.

With floured hands, pat the dough into a round about 8 inches across and 2-inches high. Place in the prepared pan. With a sharp knife, cut a 1/2-inch deep “X” across the top of the loaf. Bake 45-50 minutes or until browned. Remove from the pan. Rub the outside of the loaf with olive oil. Place on rack to cool completely.

Make-Ahead Dressing Mixes

Make Ahead Salad Dressings

So this week it’s still just too hot to being cooking up a storm in the kitchen, but at the same time I don’t want to appear to be completely lazy. So what’s the compromise? Make-Ahead Mixes! No heat, or actual cooking, just a lot of mixing together of dry ingredients for future use. It will make you look super prepared and all Martha Stewart-y, and they can act as hostess gifts in a pinch. Just put one this week’s recipes in a nice jar with a tight lid, and attach a tag on what to add when it comes to actually making the recipe, and you look like you are super organised and put together! Oh, little do they know!

Today’s recipes are for salad dressings, and are pretty much completely fool-proof to both prep and then make when actually needed. I would suggest storing your mixes in mason jars, as 1) they’re super cute and trendy (c’mon, do you need another reason?) 2) they provide a tight air-proof seal and 3) are re-usable. You will note that these dressings call for the use of “salad oil”. This is just any neutral flavour oil, such as vegetable, canola, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, etc. You can use olive as well, but it tends to have a bit more flavour, so I would only use it in dressings that would call for a Mediterranean flavour profile, like the Caesar or Greek dressings. You can also play around with the type of vinegar used; using red wine one day, and balsamic or tarragon the next. It’s all about personal preference.So having all said that, I hope you enjoy these dressings which can be used on your favourite salad, roasted veggies or as a dip!


Vinaigrette Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons finely chopped dried chives
3 tablespoons salt
2 ¼ tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine the above listed ingredients into a small jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
4 teaspoons vinaigrette mix
¼ cup vinegar
1 cup salad oil

Combine the vinaigrette mix, vinegar and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


Blue Cheese Vinaigrette Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons salt
2 ¼ tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine the above listed ingredients into a small jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
2 teaspoons vinaigrette mix
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
¼ cup vinegar
1 cup salad oil

Combine the vinaigrette mix, vinegar and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


Buttermilk Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons dried minced onion
1 ½ tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
9 tablespoons parsley flakes

Combine the above listed ingredients into a small jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
2 tablespoons dressing mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk

Combine the buttermilk mix, vinegar and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. If it is not combining well, you may want to quickly hit it with an immersion blender. Refrigerate the dressing for at least 2 hours before serving.


Caesar Salad Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon finely chopped dried lemon peel
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon salt

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 2 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
¼ cup Caesar dressing mix
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice

Combine the Caesar mix, oil and lemon juice in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. If it is not combining well, you may want to quickly hit it with an immersion blender. Refrigerate the dressing for at least 2 hours before serving.


Celery Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons celery seeds
3 tablespoons salt
2 ¼ tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 tablespoon Mix
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 cup salad oil

Combine the vinaigrette mix, vinegar and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


French Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons salt
¼ teaspoon onion powder

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 5 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
¼ cup dressing mix
¾ cup vegetable oil
6 tablespoons ketchup
¼ cup vinegar

Combine the dressing mix, ketchup and vinegar in a blender and slowly add the oil through the top while the blender is on. The dressing should thicken up, but not be too thick. Chill until ready to use.


Greek Salad Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
½ cup dried marjoram
¼ cup dried oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
¼ cup dried mint leaves

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 24 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 ½ teaspoons Greek dressing mix
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¾ cup oil

Combine the vinaigrette mix, vinegar and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


“Hidden Valley” Ranch Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
8 saltines
1 cups dried parsley flakes, minced
¼ cup dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dried dill weed
2 tablespoons onion salt
2 tablespoons garlic salt
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder

Combine the above listed ingredients into a food processor or blender, and process until they are completely powdered. Pour the powder into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 30 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 tablespoon ranch mix
1 cup of mayonnaise
1 cup of buttermilk

Combine the ranch mix, mayonnaise and buttermilk oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. If it is not combining well, you may want to quickly hit it with an immersion blender. Refrigerate the dressing for at least 2 hours before serving.


Honey Citrus Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
1 ½ to 3 tablespoons grated lemon peel
3 tablespoons salt
2 ¼ tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 tablespoon dressing mix
¼ cup vinegar
1 cup salad oil
2 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon orange juice

Combine the dressing mix, vinegar, oil, honey and juices in a small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


Italian Herb Salad Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
¼ cup parsley flakes
2 tablespoons dried oregano, crumbled
2 tablespoons dried basil, crumbled
2 tablespoons dried marjoram, crumbled
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 15 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 tablespoon dressing mix
¾ cup warm water
2 ½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoons olive oil

Combine the dressing mix, water, vinegar, and oil in small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Taste and add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of the dressing mix if you want a stronger flavor. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


Mint Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon dried mint leaves
3 tablespoons salt
½ cup sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 teaspoon pepper

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 9 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
¼ cup dressing mix
¼ cup vinegar
1 cup salad oil

Combine the dressing mix, vinegar, and oil in a small cruet bottle, and shake to combine. Let sit at least 30 minutes prior to serving.


Thousand Island Salad Dressing Mix

Ingredients:
¼ cup dried parsley flakes
⅛ cup finely crushed saltine crackers (about 3-4)
⅛ cup dried minced onion
⅛ cup garlic salt
⅛ cup onion salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
½ tablespoon dried dill weed

Combine the above listed ingredients into a jar with a tight lid. This will make about 15 servings of dressing.  Attach a note with the following directions for when you want to use the dressing:

To Use Add:
1 tablespoon of dressing mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup chilli sauce (if you don’t have this, just mix 5 tablespoons ketchup with 3 tablespoons of horseradish)
¼ cup pickle relish, well drained

Blend well, refrigerate for at least an hour for the flavors to marry, and then serve with salad or veggies as a dip. This dressing will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge.

Gnocchi in a Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage Sauce

If potatoes had a hero, it would be Antoine-Augustin Parmentier. Born in France in 1737, he is most remembered for being a vocal promoter of the potato as a food source for humans in France and throughout Europe.

While serving as a French Army pharmacist during the Seven Years’ War, he was captured by the Prussians and imprisoned. Forced to eat potatoes, known to him at that point only has hog feed, he began to experiment and see the value to this small stubby root.

As a way to get the public interested in the vegetable, he conducted a series of publicity stunts, including hosting dinners at which potato dishes featured prominently and guests included luminaries such as Benjamin Franklin and Antoine Lavoisier, giving bouquets of potato blossoms to the King and Queen, and surrounding his potato patch at Sablons with armed guards to suggest valuable goods — then instructing them to accept any and all bribes from civilians and withdrawing them at night so the greedy crowd could “steal” the potatoes.

I guess you could say his techniques worked, as potatoes are not only acceptable, and as more than just hog feed, but are a staple in kitchens around the world. Today’s recipe will show you how Italians make quick work out of a bag of spuds!

Ingredients:

Gnocchi:
6 large baking potatoes (about 3 ½ pounds), scrubbed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons salt + salt for boiling water
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
pinch of nutmeg
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed

Brown Butter Sage Sauce:
¼ cup butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
8-10 sage leaves*
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

* Click here to learn how to clean sage.

Directions:

Gnocchi:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15-20 minutes. Drain, cool slightly, and peel. Season the potatoes with salt, pepper and nutmeg, then mash the potatoes with a fork, masher, or in a ricer. Place the mashed potatoes in a large mixing bowl, and stir in the eggs and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Knead in enough flour to make a soft dough. If the dough is too dry, add some more oil, too moist, add some more flour.

On a floured surface, roll dough into a long rope. Cut the rope into ½ inch pieces. Take each piece and roll it against the back of fork, along the tines. This will give you’re the classic ribbed shape of the gnocchi dumpling.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Drop in gnocchi, one by one, and cook until they float to the top, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Sauce:
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. With a slotted spoon, remove any foam that rises off of the butter. Let the butter start to get a little colour to it. Remove it from the heat, and add the olive oi. Return the pan to the heat and stir in the garlic, and cook until the garlic has softened and is beginning to turn golden brown, about 4 minutes.

Stir in the sage and salt for a few seconds, and then add the cooked gnocchi. Toss gently with ¼ cup of parmesan cheese and the pepper. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese to serve.

Chicken & Mushroom Puff Pastry Stacks

Chicken & Mushroom Puff Stacks

On to the mains! Part of the entree course of Queen Victoria’s meal was Les Petits Vol-au-vents à la Béchamel or Vol-au-Vents with White Sauce. Vol-au-Vents are French for “windblown”, to describe its lightness of a small hollow case of puff pastry. Vols-au-vent are typically made by cutting two circles in rolled out puff pastry, cutting a hole in one of them, then stacking the ring-shaped piece on top of the disc-shaped piece. This pastry is usually found filled with savory ingredients, but can also have a sweet filling. I came across a recipe that would have been served at the Queen’s table. Les Petits Vol-au-vents à la Béchamel

Now, when reading this, remember, this is just for the pastry, not the sauce or filling! I think I’m better off buying the premade pastry shells from the grocery store! Please enjoy the recipe below, which would make a lovely appetizer for any meal. If you wish to have this as a main dish, just upsize the portions by adding more chicken, mushrooms, etc.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 ½ cups mushrooms, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 chicken breasts or 4-5 boneless/skinless chicken thighs, diced
1-2 tablespoons chicken soup mix
1 cup non-dairy creamer
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme*
salt and pepper, to taste
6 puff pastry shells

* Click here to learn how to clean fresh thyme.

Directions:

In a large skillet, over medium- high heat add the olive oil and bring up to temperature. Once hot, add the onions and mushrooms, and allow to them to cook for about 5-7 minutes, so that the onions become translucent and the mushrooms begin to cook. Add the celery and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the chicken and toss to mix it with the vegetables. If you need to add a little more oil, you can. Let the chicken cook, so that it begins to brown, tossing every so often so that all the pieces get cooked. Once the pieces all look at least a little bit browned, add the non-dairy creamer, chicken soup mix, and thyme. If it is too thick, you can add some water to thin it out.

Reduce the temperature and let the dish cook until the sauce has thickened up a bit and the chicken is fully cooked through. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve on in the pastry shells.

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.

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.