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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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With the school year behind us, Catherine and I are both setting out on our summer holidays. Catherine is off traveling (her turn) in South America, and I am discovering what Ottawa has to offer during the summer months, as it will be my first summer in the capital! One of the highlights so far has been receiving my first CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) box last week!  It included a wonderful medley of winter and spring veggies, pasture-raised meat, beautiful and flavourful eggs, and a hearty loaf of home-baked bread which I devoured with some friends on our way to a hike in the Adirondaks for the weekend. Needless to say, I am excited to dedicate some time to some new and hopefully inspiring recipes this summer, with the inspiration provided by my good food box, and the relative calm of the summer compared to the last few.

Today, as I begin some work from home, I took a break on the patio and read the LCBO’s Early Summer magazine in search of some new ideas. I came across the Crunchy Tangled Vegetable Salad, and immediately was inspired. While I have not made their recipe, it gave me a guide and I made a meal with what I had. The salad I made is refreshing, crunchy, filling and tangy; and it was accompanied by a fresh soft-boiled egg which provided just the right balance.

DSCN6296

Ingredients – 4 portions

Dressing
1/2 lemon (juice)
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp hot sauce (I used my favourite – Marie Sharp’s, from Belize!)
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 garlic scape, finely minced (or just one clove of garlic if you don’t have access to scapes, which are the young shoots of garlic)
dash of black pepper

Salad
2 small beets, peeled and sliced with a veggie peeler into rounds
1/4 cabbage, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely sliced (you can use a spiral veggie slicer for the carrots and beets if you have one)
4 handfuls of spring greens
1 tbsp minced mint
1/2 tbsp minced celery shoots or parsley

Directions

Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar and let stand while preparing the vegetables.

Finely slice the vegetables and herbs as directed in the ingredient list and combine into a salad bowl or arrange on plates. Drizzle with dressing, and serve with a soft-boiled or hard-boiled egg if you desire!

 

 

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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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Surprise! Welcome to my Northwest Territories Kitchen. I’ve somehow found a new place to call home, amidst the tail-end of the boreal forest treeline, on the shores of the Great Slave Lake. I think this is going to be a great year for Gourm(eh) on my end – I’ll be exploring Canadian food from the Northern perpective, something I’ve always wanted to do. There are still a few weeks of fishing left (hopefully) before we break until the ice can hold us safely. The rose-hips are lonely without their leaves, just waiting to be picked and turned into jelly. The days are getting shorter at an unbelieveable rate – and although I’ll miss the sun, I’m really excited for the northern lightshow, with a mug of hot chocolate.

I’ve been here for a week now, and while I was hoping to share a traditional dish right away, I’m going to start with this tarte la francaise, in hommage to all the wonderful francophone people I’ve met in the community. Without an internet connection of my own, I’m dependent on the public library, and neighbours around me, who have generously offered me their internet connection. Tired of going up to see them for their internet, I decided to pay them back with a warm little apple pie tonight, like my Grandmother makes in Normandy.

1 shortcrust pastry

1-2 tart apples, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced

1/4-1/2 cup whipping cream

2 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch nutmeg

1 egg

Make the short crust pastry at least 30 minutes in advance, and refrigerate. Preheat oven to 400f. Slice apples finely with a sharp knife. Dip in a dilute lemon juice solution and drain so they don’t brown.

Once oven is ready, roll crust out to 3cm wider diameter than a tart dish (or a pie dish). Place in dish, and press edges down to have a nice thick outer crust. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Freeze for about 10 minutes.

Arrange apples on cooled crust in a thin layer. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes until apples begin to soften and crust becomes lightly golden on edges.

Meanwhile, whisk the cream, egg, sugar, and spices together, and refrigerate until apples are softened.

Spoon cream mixture over apples and bake for another 25 minutes or so, or until set and slightly golden.

Enjoy with vanilla-infused whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Bon appetit,

-Sitelle

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As you can probably guess, my last two weeks have been quite an adventure. Sandwiched between two vastly different rock-climbing weekends, I spent two weeks working on some intense mind-numbing data collection in the field in the Eastern Townships of Québec. With that behind me, however, I’m thrilled to be home and to enjoy the simple things like cooking dinner together at home.

In Québec, I could well have been paid for my work in mulberries, fresh Montreal Tasty heirloom tomatoes, and zucchinis from a delicious garden in the place I stayed at. Monkeying around in the mulberry tree at 7am probably made me look like quite a character to the neighbours – but I was willing to take on the role if it meant a salad-bowl full of mulberries for breakfast every day!

When I came home, we basically changed gears into preparing for an up-coming adventure (more details to come – but I will admit it will require us to move, and very far at that). That has meant planning to cook so many meals we’ve had on our list of recipes to try all summer. Tonight was no exception: we cooked Lamb Keema from the LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine (summer 2012).

We had high hopes for this recipe. Full of home-mixed spices and protein, it’s a perfect end-of-summer meal for those days that are heavy in exercise (it was also delicious without exercise too). Not only was it delicious, it was easy to make as long as all the ingredients are readily available in your kitchen (as long as you’re into Indian cooking, your pantry can probably handle it). Topped off with a sunny-side-up egg, this meal is also an eye-pleaser. Finally, I also want to mention that it is low in carbs, if you’re looking for that.

Ingredients – 4 servings (don’t be discouraged by the long list – most are spices!)

1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
salt

1 lb ground lamb (500g)
1/2 cup yogurt

2 Tbsp cooking oil + 1 Tbsp clarified butter
2 whole green cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
1 large bay leaf
1 stick cinnamon

1 medium cooking onion (or the other half of the large red onion), diced
1 Tbsp grated ginger (fresh)
4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup tomato purée
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander

2 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 cup frozen peas
2 tsp garam masala

4 eggs
1 Tbsp butter
cracked black pepper, cayenne to taste

Fresh cilantro (optional)

Directions

Slice the half onion into half-rings. Sprinkle with salt, and let stand.

Heat the oil in a pot with a lid. Once hot, add the whole spices and fry until fragrant, around 3 minutes. Add the diced onion, and fry until translucent but not browned.

Meanwhile, mix the ground lamb and yogurt in a bowl. Mince the garlic and grate the ginger. When onions are ready, add the lamb to the onion mixture and stir to break it all apart. Cook until it is no longer pink, then add in the garlic and ginger. Cook for a minute or two.

Add the tomato purée and 1 1/4 cups water, cover, and bring to a boil. Sprinkle all of the spices on top except the garam masala. Add the potatoes, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, covered. Remove the cover near the end and leave open if amount of liquid remaining is too much.

Heat the butter in another frying pan. Cook each egg separately sunny-side up, seasoning according to taste.

Finally, add in the peas and garam masala. Remove from heat. Rince the onions under the tap. Divide the keema into four portions and serve with a sunny-side-up egg on top, accompanied with some of those salted onions, and fresh coriander if you have some.

This meal is delicious alone, accompanied with naan, or salad!

The only thing I want to do is thank the LCBO for publishing such a delicious recipe in its Food and Drink magazine!

-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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One of the reasons why I love Sunday brunch is that I have a little bit of extra time to cook something special. I love quiche, but between making a pie shell and creating the filling, for the longest time I thought it was too complex for an easy meal. How wrong I was! Sitelle let me into her secret about quiche a few years back. Simply stirfry your favourite veggies, sprinkle generously with cheese, fill with egg mixture and bake away.  She also uses sour cream in the egg mixture instead of milk, giving the quiche an incredibly velvety texture when cooked!

Mushrooms and tomatoes are two of my favourite veggies, and I heightened these flavours with some crumpled leftover bacon. From there, I added Gruyère and off I went! This quiche was delicious the morning of, and made for tasty leftovers the next day for lunch. For a vegetarian version, omit the bacon. Now that I remember how easy it is to make quiche, I’ll have to try a few of my other favourite flavour combinations (dill and feta, smoked salmon and asparagus, red pepper and basil to name just a few!).

Mushroom and Tomato Quiche
(1 quiche or serves 8)

ingredients
1 savoury pie crust

Olive oil

1/2 red onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

12 mushrooms, diced

Salt and Pepper

1 teaspoon savoury (or substitute your favourite herbs such as thyme or marjoram)

4-5 eggs

1 cup sour cream (light is fine)

1 (or more) cup grated Gruyère cheese (or substitute another cheese like cheddar or feta)

3 pieces of bacon, crumpled

1 tomato, sliced

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Roll out the crust and place it in a buttered pie or fluted quiche pan.  Prick it with a fork.

In a frying pan, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until fragrant.  Add the mushrooms and continue sauteing until wilted. Season with salt, pepper, and savoury.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and whisk in the sour cream.  Spread the mushroom mixture into the pie shell, and sprinkle the cheese and bacon over it.  Pour the eggs overtop, and shake until evenly spread. Gently place the tomato slices into the quiche to decorate.

Bake the quiche in the oven until set, about 25 to 35 minutes.  Serve with a toss salad and enjoy!

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