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Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

When I hosted brunch a few weeks ago, I had visions of serving my favourite brunch fare, quiche.  Our start time, however, was too ambitious for me to make a homemade pie crust.   I was determined however to have my egg fix, so I decided to switch tactics and embrace a frittata.

As a quiche lover (and who wouldn’t want to enjoy tender flaky crusts when possible?) I have very little experience making a frittata. I was looking for a bright, fun vegetarian recipe.  A quick google search brought me to this mouthwatering dish from Gimme some Oven – cheesy eggs infused with roasted red peppers, pesto, and arugula sounded like a delicious combination to try.

I loved the fresh flavour combination, along with the ease of assembling!  And I may have to bring this dish out at Christmas given the gorgeous red and green colours.

Roasted Red Pepper, Pesto, and Arugula Frittata
Baked Frittata with Roasted Red Peppers, Arugula, and Pesto

Serves 9-12

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil plus extra to grease pan

1 white onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

8 eggs, whisked

1 (12-oz) jar of roasted red peppers, drained and diced

2 large handfuls of baby arugula, roughly chopped

2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup pesto

Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch pie plate with olive oil.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. Stir in garlic and saute an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat.

In a separate large bowl, combine the eggs, roasted red peppers, arugula, cheese, pesto, salt and pepper. Add in the onion mixture, and stir until combined. (Note – it will resemble vomit at this point, but I promise you, persevere as it will taste delicious!)

Pour the filling into the prepared pie pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. The frittata will rise while baking, but should settle back down once you remove it from the oven. Allow the frittata to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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I don’t know about you, but for me there are very few things that beat waking up to the smell of muffins baking in the oven. Now that I live alone, I have to make-do with waking up early enough to make them before it can be enjoyed, but it’s still worthwhile, especially with such an easy, delicious recipe as this one. I can pop it in the oven, have a quick shower, and have delicious hot muffins when I’m done.

I came across the recipe on the back of the package of 10 Grain Bob’s Red Mill cereal, and have spruced it up to my taste. I’ve made it with both 10-grain and 7-grain mixes from Bob’s Red Mill, which I often have as hot cereal as well. I hope you enjoy, and I really hope you will surprise a loved-one with them one day!

IMG_20150129_143757

Ingredients: makes 12 muffins 
-1 1/4 cups sour milk/buttermilk (just add 1-2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar to milk, it will go sour!)
-1 cup 10 grain breakfast cereal (or 7 grain), I use Bob’s Red Mill (that’s where the recipe comes from)

-1/3 cup butter, room temperature (original recipe calls for margarine, so I’m sure it works well too)
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 large egg

-1 cup unbleached white flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp baking soda

-1/2 cup dried cranberries (I like to use the dehydrated kind that is unsweetened, but I’m sure craisins are delicious too)
-zest from 1 orange or 2 clementines
-1/2 cup pecans (optional)
-12 muffin tin liners

Directions:

Put milk and 10-grain cereal in a bowl and stir. Let stand while you prep the rest. Preheat oven to 400F. Line each muffin pan with muffin liners (this will help a lot!).

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Once creamed, add the egg. Mix well, then add the orange zest. In another bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

Add dry ingredients and milk/10 grain cereal mix to the big bowl, and stir well. Add the cranberries and pecans.

Pour into a muffin tin either lined with muffin paper (my preference with these muffins as they are a bit sticky) or greased and floured.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, then remove from the muffin tin onto a cooling rack and enjoy warm!

-Sitelle

PS I can’t believe Catherine and I have been adding to this blog for 4 years today! That’s a lot of recipes 🙂

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The last few months have been crazy – as a clinical clerk (senior medical student), I’m often required to be at the hospital well before sunrise.  I’ve needed a hearty breakfast to keep my energy levels up, and critically, one that easy to prepare in a semi-asleep state!  For years I was under the illusion that granola was tricky to make – thank goodness my roommate helped show me the light.

Homemade granola is simple to prep and far more delicious than any grocery store variety I’ve ever purchased.   I love how I can control what I put into it (no longer do I need to put up with raisins…) and how little sugar goes in compared to the bought variety.  This recipe is Jamie Oliver’s and its incredibly versatile: simply mix and match the nuts, seeds, and dried fruits to what’s in your cupboards and to your favourite flavours.

 

Toasted Granola

Toasted Granola

(makes enough to fill a large jar)

 

Ingredients

2 cups quick cook oats

1 heaped cup mixed nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts), coarsely chopped

1/2 cup mixed seeds (sunflower, poppy, pumpkin, sesame)

3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots, cherries, prunes), coarsely chopped

5 Tbsp. maple syrup

5 Tbsp. olive oil

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix all the dry ingredients except the dried fruit in a large bowl.  Drizzle with the maple syrup and olive oil and stir to coat evenly.  Transfer granola to a sheet pan (optional: use parchment paper). Toast for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring the granola with a wooden spoon every 5-10 minutes to ensure it cooks evenly.  Remove granola from the oven when it is golden and fragrant. Mix in the dried fruit and let it cool down.

Once cooled, transfer to an airtight container.  Delicious served with milk or over a dollop of yogurt.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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Don’t let the time discourage you, but do read through carefully and plan accordingly!

Let me start by saying this is one the things I am proudest of baking, entirely from scratch!

Although I’m very busy, I find that it’s being busy with a whole variety of activities many of which are organized to keep everyone up here sane through the long, dark, and cold winter. People are very creative in the North, since there are few opportunities for leisure outside of the realm of your imagination. In the fall we took on the challenge of making our own sourdough starter. This week, we took on 36-hour sourdough cinnamon buns as a fun challenge.

On one of the coldest mornings in Hay River, I realized we had the rare chance of being home enough over the next two days to give these 36-hout cinnamon buns a try. As the recipe starts with a warning that these are very time-consuming (and coming from an author-chef who makes her own phyllo pastry) I was a bit worried because my time did have a finite limit (going to see Les Miserables) the following evening at 7pm. I had to try it, though, as this was my only window in the foreseeable future.

Inspired by the northern climate, I decided to add some creativity to this dessert with pecans, and exchange cranberries for raisins as they are more of a local product. The result was dangerously tasty.

DSCN4240_NRW

 

Ingredients:

 

Starter, Day 1: AM

-1/4 cup starter

-1/2 cup flour and equal parts warm water

 

 

Starter, Day 1: PM

-1 cup flour and equal parts warm water

 

 

Day 2: AM

Dough

-1/4 cup butter

-1/2 cup sugar

-2 eggs

-1/2 cup buttermilk

-4 cups all-purpose flour (approximately)

-1 1/2 tsp sel

 

Filling

-1/2 cup butter

-1 1/2 cups brown sugar

-3 Tbsp heavy cream

-2 tsp ground cinnamon

-1 cup dried cranberries

-1 cup chopped pecans

 

Glaze

-1/8 cup melted butter

-1/8 cup cream

DSCN4245_NRW

 

Directions:

 

Day 1, AM: feed the starter the flour and water. Cover loosely and let rest.

Day 1, PM: add to starter: flour and water. Cover loosely and allow to sit in a warm place overnight.

Day 2, AM: Allow the butter, eggs and buttermilk to warm to room temperature. Cream the butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes, and then add one egg at a time. Finally, add the buttermilk and mix well. After this, I added the starter, and mixed in 2/3-3/4 of the flour. I added a little more flour over time, until you have incorporated it fully, and proceeded to knead for about 10 minutes.

After that, let the dough rest covered with a damp tea towel for 20 minutes.

Add the salt gradually, and continue kneading for another 8 minutes until the dough feels very uniform. I recommend to keep the surface on which you’re working and your hands nice and floury while you work.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, and mix it around so it is fully covered in oil. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise in a warm place until it’s doubled in volume – for me it took around 6 hours, but it can take usually between 4-8 hours.

While the dough is rising, melt the butter over medium-low, and watch it bubble until the bubbles get very small and the colour changes from a white to a faint golden colour. Remove from heat immediately. Add the remaining ingredients, return to heat, and cook for a few minutes over medium heat. Cool and beat the mixture until it is a good consistency for spreading.

Once the dough has reached twice its original volume, punch it down and roll it out to a large rectangle between two pieces of slightly floured parchment paper.

Remove the top parchment paper, and spread and push the filling evenly into the dough, leaving about 2 cm around the edge. Roll it up lengthwise tightly, and pinch the edges closed. Slice it into 16 rolls, and place into a baking tray lined with parchment paper. This is a bit of a delicate job, but I managed with my fingers and a knife.

Cover with a damp cloth and let rise again until nearly doubled, between 2-3 hours. Preheat the oven (finally!) to 400F and bake for 20-25 minutes. I had a drip-catching tray underneath, as recommended in the recipe, and that was really good to avoid oven fires or a smoky house.

Immediately out of the oven I brushed each with a mix of 1/8 cup melted butter and 1/8 cup cream mixed together. These were divine!

Good luck, it’s not the easiest recipe but it is amazingly delicious.

-Sitelle

 

 

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A year and a half ago I was browsing through my mother’s books in her living room and I came to “The Boreal Gourmet – adventures in northern cooking”. It caught my eye, and I was soon going through it, savouring the stories and their accompanying recipes. The book is written by a woman who grew up in Toronto, was deeply influenced by her mother’s delicious cooking, spent time in Greece learning to cook traditional Greek food, and who finally ended up in the Yukon Territories cooking up a storm.

When my mother came in and found me reading the book she was very disappointed – somehow I’d managed to pick through her entire book collection to land on the ONE book I was not supposed to see – it was intended as a birthday present later that year for me. I quickly put it away and basically forgot its existence until my birthday a few months later.

Alexandra Falls gorge covered in 1.25m of snow!

Soon after I was given the book, though, I stepped into an adventure taking me to Gambia, and my exploration of the recipes in the book was postponed until this year when I have somehow managed to walk myself right into the Northern refrigerator. There is over a meter snow on the ground, the boreal forest is scraggly at best, and I live on the very Northern end of the Canadian Railway in the Northwest Territories. G. and I brought one cookbook with us: “The Boreal Gourmet”, and we’ve had a great time taking a crack at many recipes already.

Spirited cranberry sauce is great with everything from cheesecake to pancakes to meats… and probably many other things I have yet to try!

We’ve got a large mound of buffalo in the freezer, along with several whitefish fillets, and 10 cups of rosehips we’ve planned to transform into preserves. What fun! All these ingredients come from the land around us. I was hoping to harvest cranberries to make this sauce but the snow came unexpectedly fast, and so I was forced to buy a bag of fresh ones at the store (I was lucky enough to find some!).

Ingredients

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

3 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp raw honey (I used wild honey from Gambia with a smoky flavour since that’s how they collect it by smoking the bees out!)

Juice and rind of two oranges

2 Tbsp rum

Directions

Put all ingredients into a pot, and add a Tbsp of water if the liquids are too low to get a simmer going. Simmer covered for 20 minutes, until thick. Use a fork to mix it up and puree the cranberries a bit.

Serve with roast meat or turkey, or with cheesecake (as I will post soon!)

-Sitelle

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Yesterday, the bright blue sky pulled me out of bed, inviting me on a lovely run along the Don River. The crispness in the air couldn’t help but remind me that somehow we’re over at leaset half the summer, and my craving for harvest food officially began. I know many will criticize me for speaking of the end of summer, but come on – I haven’t seen any other season for about a year and a half, and I’m excited for the glorious Canadian autumn. Then the downpours began. So what could possibly be better than hiding away from the rain by baking delicious savoury muffins? That, and I also wanted to make a snack I love to show my friend who’s scoping out people’s snacking secrets…

In honour of my craving for harvest food and the change in weather, I decided to bake savoury sweet corn muffins, with herbs from our tiny balcony garden. Looking around for recipes, I decided my best bet would be to inspire myself from a variety of recipes and then make up my own, judging by the importance that left-overs are playing in the creation of these I didn’t have much of a choice in terms of ingredients or quantity, and it turns out that was not a problem at all.

Enjoy these savoury treats warm with butter for breakfast or a delicious afternoon snack!

Ingredients – makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cup roasted corn kernels (or frozen corn, if you don’t have roasted)
1 leek, white an light parts, finely diced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp honey
1 cup buttermilk, or milk with a tbsp of cider vinegar or lemon juice added
1/4 cup melted butter (you can substitute 5-6 Tbsp oil if you prefer)
1 large egg

1/2 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar (optional, but highly delicious)

Directions

Dice the leek, and then heat the oil in a frying pan and gently sauté the leek for about five minutes. Add the corn, the salt and pepper, and the thyme leaves, and continue to cook for a further 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F.

Mix all dry ingredients thoroughly together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, beat the milk, the egg, melted butter, and honey.

Combine wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until incorporated. Add the corn mixture, and the cheese if you are using it.

Line muffin tins with paper muffin cups. Evenly fill each cup until almost  full, and then bake in the oven for between 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven! In mine, it took around 19 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this delightful recipe inspired by a true Canadian ingredient, roast corn.

-Sitelle

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Last Saturday I took advantage of passing through Kensington Market in Toronto and picked up some fresh whole jackfish. “Do you want me to clean those fish?” the fishmonger asked me. Stunned, I took a second to reply. “Why, of course, that would be really nice” I ended up saying, while I smiled inwardly realizing how I have no problem doing so myself, but enjoyed having someone offer to help. I had sent scales flying on more than one occasion in Gambia, and I’m not squeamish. I’m not going to turn down the help though!

It’s kind of funny and ironic: some of my most common culture-shock has surrounded food (perhaps I should call it food-shock). Although I definitely felt it when I arrived in Gambia (I would have given almost anything for vegetables, fruit and sweets at first, and then it was low-oil cooking,  and finally it became meat and dairy), the real surprise has been feeling reverse food-shock as I readjust to Canadian life. I wake up craving fish, I don’t feel full unless I eat rice, and I eat as if 10 people were competing with me for my food at each meal- meaning I eat a mile a minute. Mind you I am definitely enjoying my veggies again.

This recipe is one I was delighted to discover: its spiciness I couldn’t resist on a hot, hot day, and I was forever grateful for its lack of oil.

For me on a hot steamy day there’s nothing better than a spicy but light at the same time meal.

Ingredients – 4 servings

4 jackfish or other small-ish fish, gutted, cleaned, spines removed, with slashes in their sides (jackfish have spines on the sides also)

1 red onion, finely sliced

1/2 sweet red pepper, minced into tiny pieces

1 tomato, seeds removed, pounded or crushed

2 cloves garlic, germs removed

1 jalapeno, seeds removed (medium hot), or half a scotch-bonnet, seeds removed (extremely hot)

1 cube vegetable bouillon

1 tsp whole peppercorns

salt to taste

1 1/2 cups water approximately

juice from 1/2 lemon

Fresh baguette

Directions

Clean and wash the fish. Slice the onions. Place water in a pan, add the onions, and increase heat to medium-high until it boils. Meanwhile, clean the garlic, and pound the garlic, peppercorns, hot pepper, and bouillon until they are a smooth paste.

When the water boils, dissolve the seasoning mixture into the water, and add salt to taste. Add the red pepper and tomato and stir, letting the mixture simmer, for 2-3 minutes.

Add the fish and lemon juice and poach the fish in the soup, for approximately 4-5 minutes per side.

Serve with fresh baguette in a deep plate. You can sprinkle finely chopped parsley on it if you’re feeling creative!

-Sitelle

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Looking through the last dozen posts we’ve made, I see we’re really doing well in sharing seasonal recipes! This is yet another one in that category – I can’t help but keep eating pumpkin and squash, because it is delicious and versatile; and, especially, because starting in one month I will not be eating many vegetables for the next half-year…

I’m also curious to ask what other recipes people have for squash and pumpkin? Feel free to comment and share – as I’d love to try a few new ones myself!

This recipe was a great success. It’s simple, and I made it to use up the remaining pumpkin purée from the pumpkin pie I made for Thanksgiving. Not only did it help by re-interpreting left-overs, but it made a special brunch.

Ingredients – makes 16 scones

-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/4 cup sugar (I used light brown sugar)
-1/2 tsp both ground ginger and cinnamon
-pinch of nutmeg
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-pinch salt
-1/2 cup cold butter, diced
-1/2 cup walnut pieces
-1/3 cup cream (or yogurt if you are looking to reduce your cream intake)
-2/3 cup puréed pumpkin (I like to use fresh if I can, but if not, pure canned pumpkin can be substituted)
-1 egg, for brushing

Directions

Puréed pumpkin

To make the pumpkin purée, preheat oven to 400F. Halve a cooking pumpkin, remove the seeds, and place cut-side up on a baking tray. Bake for 40 – 60 minutes (approximately), until the flesh is tender and a few brown spots appear on the pumpkin. Remove from oven, let cool, and then scoop the flesh out of the skin. Place in a blender or food processor (or use a potato-masher, if you have one), and purée the pumpkin thoroughly (if you do it by hand, make sure you really put in the effort to purée it – it does not work well if it is watery or stringy).

Pumpkin scones

Preheat oven to 375F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the spices, sugar, salt, and stir.

Cut in the butter using a pastry knife or your hands (quickly), until mixture looks like breadcrumbs (you can also use a food-processor if you have one!).  Add the walnuts in after.

In a separate bowl, mix the cream and pumpkin purée. Add this to the dry ingredients, and mix them together with your hands or a wooden spatula until the dough begins to form into larger balls. Do not over-work.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take small amounts of dough into your hand and form them into a disc. Place on the baking sheet. Beat the egg together and brush over scones.

Bake for 15-20 minutes (check after 15, it’s best to be careful because you don’t want the bottoms to burn). Cool on a wire rack, and serve with jam, butter, or anything else you like with your scones!

-Sitelle

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The first time I tried a smoked salmon and fresh basil frittata, it was made for me. I had never thought of the combination of basil with smoked salmon – usually I associate parsley, or dill – so this seemed unusual. With the first bite, however, I realized that they go very well together.

The great thing about this meal is that it is very simple, and yet very elegant. It can easily be made for an impromptu celebration – like celebrating the arrival of Saturday, or your friend for a spontaneous brunch.

This summer, we had an abundance of basil in our garden so vast that even eating it daily and making about 4 pounds of pesto to store in the freezer did not completely eliminate it. What a tomato-and-basil summer it was in Toronto!

This recipe comes from Donna Hay’s wonderful collection.

Ingredients – generously serves 2

-4 eggs, lightly beaten
-1/2 cup milk
-1/3 cup shredded basil
-1/3 cup grated aged cheddar cheese or gruyère
-cracked black pepper
-6-8 slices smoked salmon
-4 toasted slices of your favourite bread

Directions

Place the eggs, milk, basil, cheddar and pepper in a bowl and mix to combine.  Pour the mixture into a  frying pan and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until it is almost set.
Place under a hot grill (broiler) for 1 minute or until golden.  Remove from the pan and cut into wedges.  To serve, top with the gravlax, and buttered, toasted bread.
-Sitelle

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In peak harvest season I’m always inspired to make granola, although I’m not sure why. In a blur, the kitchen becomes transformed as I bring in bags and bags in of nuts, fruits and seeds and then begin mixing in my largest bowl, which is never large enough. Then, after the first batch, I make another, and then another, and then another, until we have a supply of granola to last until Christmas.  Then it happens over again! This year, so far I have gone through 25 cups of rolled oats!

The great thing about making granola, aside from the fact that it is really easy and delicious, is that I know exactly what I put into it, and that means it’s all things I like and things that are healthy.

My recipe here is a tiny version of what happens in the kitchen at our place, so feel free to multiply it several times over if you want to make granola for a few weeks or even a month at a time. That, and also feel free to adapt the recipe with ingredients of your preference: if you don’t like the crunch of Kamut as much, substitute more oats or barley, for example. If you’re a big fan of pecans, then substitute those for almonds!

Ingredients – about 12 cups (feel free to multiply to make it even more worthwhile)

-2/3 cup honey
-1/2 cup water
-1 tsp maple extract (optional)
-1 cup canola oil

-2 cups rolled oats
-1 cups rolled Kamut Flakes
-1 cups rolled Barley Flakes
-1/2 cup sesame seeds
-1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
-1 cups wheat germ
-1 cup wheat bran
-1 cups chopped raw almonds
-1 cup chopped hazelnuts
-1 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
-2 tsp cinnamon

-1 cup dried blueberries
-1 cup chopped dried peaches
– other dried fruit if desired

Directions

Preheat oven to 275F.

In a small saucepan, bring water and honey to a simmer. Remove from heat, and once it has cooled a bit, add the extract (optional) and the oil. Let stand while mixing the next ingredients.

In your largest bowl, combine the next 11 ingredients. Using a wooden spoon (or your hands), mix it thoroughly. Then pour half of the honey/sugar mixture over the oat mixture. Mix well so everything is as coated as possible, then add the remaining honey mixture. Mix again.

In a separate bowl, mix the dried fruit. Set aside.

I like to use fruit I dehydrate in the granola – it makes it possible to have dried blueberries, peaches, and anything I like!

Pour half the granola onto two baking dishes or cookie sheets. Place in oven for 15 minutes, then stir. Return to oven for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and stir in the dried fruit. Let cool to room temperature then store in an airtight container.

Serve with milk or your favourite yogurt for breakfast or a delicious snack!

-Sitelle

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