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Archive for the ‘Herbs’ Category

While I love my organic vegetable box, I am apt to find myself overloaded with root vegetables come winter. And as much as I love eating carrots, beets, carrots, carrots, turnips, carrots, parsnips, and carrots yet again, I find they easily become boring mid-winter. I’m always looking for new ways to make them more exciting.

While planning a dinner for friends (and trying to use up my accumulated root veggies collection…), I remembered a simple, yet delicious dish my aunt and uncle served me most recently at Thanksgiving (thanks Liz&Dan!). They make a fabulous 7-veggie roasted root vegetable mix, combining the earthy combination of onions, celergy root, turnip, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. To dress up the veg, they toss them not only in oil prior to roasting, but also balsamic vinegar, which results in a delightful glaze.

This dish is easy to prepare, but requires some time to peel and chop the root veg. My aunt and uncle usually leave out beets, as the vibrant red stains other vegetables, but beets are one of my favourites, so I tried this recipe with candy cane beets.  It worked out great if you can get your hands on some (no staining!) or golden beets would also be a good work around. I’m also a fan of roasted brussel sprouts, so included them in my mix.  Feel free to use whatever mix of vegetables you love. The leftovers are great reheated or served cold with some leafy greens.

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Balsamic-Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables

(serving size varies depending on the number of veggies you choose to include in the mix!)

Ingredients

Selection of root vegetables, peeled and cut into ~2 cm cubes:

  • Onion
  • Celery root
  • Turnip
  • Sweet Potato
  • Potato
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Beets (to avoid staining other veg, use candy cane or golden beets)
  • Brussels sprouts

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Salt & pepper to taste

Mix of your favourite herbs, dried or fresh, finely chopped:

  • basil
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • rosemary
  • parsley
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Veggies ready to roast! 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Prepare root veggies by washing, peeling, and then chopping them into ~2 cm (3/4 inch) cubes. If using, clean and trim the Brussels sprouts and leave whole or halve if large.

In a large bowl, toss veggies with oil and vinegar and herbs to taste. Transfer to a large baking dish (e.g. 8×13 Pyrex) and bake for ~75-90 mins, or until vegetables are baked through and sides are browned. Stir roasting veggies every 20-30 minutes to cook evenly.

 

Bon appetit!

 

Catherine

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I’ve been waiting for some inspiration in the last year in order to bring you some new recipes on Gourm(eh), and I’ve finally admitted to myself the reason that it’s been a slow time in my culinary adventures. The truth is, it’s not very exciting to cook for oneself. One thing that I’ve really enjoyed, however, has been long-distance meal-planning with my significant other, especially because it’s so exciting to see that despite distance, food is still able to bring us together and we often send messages back-and-forth of ideas and questions about how best to prepare things, and what produce has been good lately at the market or grocery store. Yes I’ll admit, Hamilton is a bit ahead of Ottawa, but we’ve got some good things here too now! It’s not nearly as nice as a meal together, but it will do if it’s all we’ve got for now!

I’m telling you this because this recipe was inspired by his own a few weeks ago. A tomato sauce with beets! I had one pound of delicious ground beef from my CSA box, new young leeks, fresh oregano and beets, so I decided to attempt some meatballs with spaghetti and a spicy beet tomato sauce. The spicy sauce is well-balanced by the sweet beet base, and it goes very well with flavourful beef.

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Ingredients – 4 servings

Meatballs

1 lb ground beef, extra lean
2 young leeks, cleaned and minced
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
3 tbsp bread crumbs
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed (I like to pound mine in a mortar and pestle)
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 egg
dash salt and pepper
olive oil

Spicy beet tomato sauce

1 onion, diced
2 young leeks, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 – 1 tsp dried chili flakes (to taste)
1 beet, diced into small pieces
1  good tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 can diced tomatoes (796 mL or 28 Oz)

Spaghetti or other pasta, enough for 4 (according to package)

Parmesan, for garnish

Directions

Mix all ingredients for meat balls except olive oil and egg in a bowl with hands until everything is well mixed, then add the egg. Form into small balls in the palm of your hands, and place on a plate drizzled with olive oil. Roll the meatball in the olive oil so it is coated, and repeat until you have made all the mixture into meatballs. Depending on the size, you should get 20-30 meatballs. Set aside in refrigerator while you prepare the sauce.

For the sauce, dice the onions first, and heat up the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onions for a few minutes, then add the minced leek. Cook for a few more minutes and then add the garlic, chili flakes and basil. Stir until the onion is soft and everything is fragrant. Add the beet, and then the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a strong simmer and then reduce the heat and cook for 15-20 minutes, while you prepare the meatballs and the pasta.

For the meatballs, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium-high heat in another frying pan. Once the oil is hot, cook the meatballs, turning them carefully so all sides brown. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, until they are cooked through (you should not see any pink inside).  Set on a paper-towel lined plate once cooked.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and cook pasta to your liking. Pour a ladle-full of water into the beet sauce to make it a little saucier if you like. Serve the meatballs tossed in the sauce, over the pasta, with grated parmesan and enjoy!

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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.

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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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By March, I’m tired of winter food: the root veggies, onions, and garlic are at the end of their time, and the new spring crops are far from being ready, unless Maple Syrup falls in the category of a proper food!

Instead I’ve been leaning to dried pulses: beans and lentils, which seem to be timeless. This week, I’ve been inspired to create new dishes inspired by Latin American flavours. This dish came together on its own, from simple ingredients, and requires little effort other than remembering to soak the beans in advance. The result is a delicious bean stew, which can be eaten with tortillas, over rice, or even as a soup if you cook it in large volumes of water or broth!

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Ingredients – 4 servings

-1 cup dried kidney beans, soaked for 1 day or boiled, rinced, boiled again, and soaked for 3 hours
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-1/2 red onion, diced
-1 jalapeño, finely diced (seeds removed if you don’t like it too spicy)
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-2 tsp chili powder
-1 stick cinnamon
-1/2 to 1 tsp salt (to taste)
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-juice from 1/2 a lime
-1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce (omit if vegetarian, and add 1/4 vegetable bouillon cube to replace)
-1/2 red pepper, small dice
-2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
-1L water

Directions:
Soak the beans in advance. When ready, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions until they become soft, then add the garlic, jalapeño, cinnamon stick and the spices. Sprinkle the salt over the top, and stir, until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.

When the onion begins to brown, add the water, and bring to a boil. Add the Worcestershire sauce and the lime juice and simmer on low for 1-2 hours, covered.

Increase the heat to medium and add the red pepper. Remove the cover, stirring and crushing a few of the beans. Allow to simmer uncovered at a mild boil until most of the liquid is either absorbed or boiled off. The beans stew should become a bit thicker, and there should not be more than a ‘sauce’ when it is ready. Finally, add the cilantro, and if you like the lime feel free to add another spritz or two of lime before serving!

-Sitelle

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Since I’ve recently moved to a new city – Ottawa – I’ve quite enjoyed exploring the new market and food scene here. I love how I can also cross the river and end up in Québec, where food is inspired by ages of artisan craft. In homage to la belle province de Québec, we recently cooked a feast using local ingredients, featuring a Maudite beer and a plump, gnarly and bright orange hubbard squash. This risotto is perfect for those cold evenings we’ve been getting recently; and the smooth and rich pieces of roasted squash mixed in keep it lively.

Maudite risotto with squash_Ed

Ingredients – 6-8 servings

1 onion

1 large clove garlic

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 well garnished sprig of fresh thyme

8-10 cups homemade (or packaged if you don’t have any) vegetable stock

1 cup dark beer (we used Maudite)

1/3 cup parmesan

1/2 tsp salt plus any more to taste

1 1/4 cups arborio rice

1/2 kuri (hubbard) squash, cubed, roasted (400F) in 2 Tbsp olive oil + 1/8 tsp salt + 1 tbsp fresh thyme + 1 minced clove garlic

Directions

To prepare the roast squash, preheat the oven to 400F and peel and dice the squash into 1 inch cubes. Mince the garlic and combine the olive oil, salt and fresh thyme with the garlic in a large bowl. Place squash cubes into bowl and toss with all ingredients. Arrange the squash cubes on a baking dish, making sure none are touching so they roast best. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until the edges become golden and the squash is tender. Remove from oven and reserve.

Heat the stock in a pot and keep it simmering with a lid on while you cook the risotto in another pot.

Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion with the fresh sprig of thyme until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Once the onion is ready add the garlic and cook for one minute, and then add the arborio rice and stir to coat. Cook the rice grains in the oil/onion/garlic mixture for 3-4 minutes, until they become translucent as well. When the rice is ready, add the beer and stir to mix it all in. After this, add the stock one cup at a time, stirring, until the stock is absorbed. You don’t need to be stirring constantly, but it does require a lot of stirring for best results.

Continue adding stock one cup at a time, until the rice is cooked through and the risotto is creamy. Season with salt. When just about ready to serve, stir in the parmesan and the cubes of squash. Serve in bowls or deep plates, and garnish with a pinch of parmesan and fresh thyme if you like!

Bonne appétit.

-Sitelle

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Farmer’s markets are one of my favourite places to visit. I enjoy how markets allow me to meet the people who grow the greens, raise the laying hens that produce eggs, and who produce anything else that catches my eye.

There’s another important reason why I enjoy markets so much: I draw inspiration from everything I see, and I like to challenge myself to cook  vegetables or fruit I am less familiar with. This past weekend I attended the Sweetwater Music Festival in Owen Sound, and since I did not have any concerts to attend in the morning G. and I went to the farmer’s market to explore what local products were available.

At one of the vendors, a basket of tomatillos caught my eye, and I remembered a bunch of cilantro in my refrigerator in Ottawa.

Back home, I drew inspiration from the beautiful sunny weather, despite the cold, whipping up a tangy spicy green salsa for a lunch BBQ at my neighbour’s place. In the end, I was invited to play some board games another time, “as long as [I] make that salsa again!” I’ll leave it to you to try it, and see if it measures up to its reputation as an immediate “invite-granting” commodity!

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Ingredients – An appetizer for 8, as long as there are enough tortilla chips!

-1 lb Tomatillos, peeled and washed

-3 Shallots, peeled and quartered

-2/3 Cup fresh cilantro leaves

-Juice from 1 lime

-4 Dried red chilli peppers (or more or less to taste)

-Tiny pinch salt

-Tortilla chips

Directions

Preheat the broiler while you peel and wash the tomatillos and prepare the shallots. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, and place 2/3 of the tomatillos and two of the shallots on the sheet. Make sure none are touching (they roast better that way). Broil for 7 minutes, then turn the vegetables and broil on the other side for another 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the remaining raw tomatillos and shallot, and place in a food processor (or blender). Wash the cilantro and place in the food processor as well with the hot chillis and juice from half of the lime.

When the veggies are done roasting, place them in the food processor as well, then coarsely blend it all. Add a pinch or two of salt, and some additional lime (to taste).

Place in a bowl and serve with tortilla chips – or alternatively, serve on burgers hot off the grill!

-Sitelle

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It’s always been my dream to eat from near-by as much as possible. It gives us variation through the seasons, simplicity, and always freshness. Freshness is especially salient up here in the Northwest Territories, as we do receive some imported fruits but all too often they are spoiled by the time they arrive, and they cost a pretty penny.

Living on the shores of the Great Slave Lake means we get a lot of fresh fish. Whitefish and Jackfish are the common ones, but there are others as well. As one of the deepest lakes in the world and being situated where few people live means there still is a good stock.
As winter settles in, and the cold envelopes everything, the fish is changing too. It gets fattier – more full of omega fatty acids – it’s reserves for getting through the cold winter months.

The whitefish from this lake is absolutely delicious. This recipe is one of my favourite. Rapid, simple, and delicious, it’s pretty well perfect.

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Ingredients

4 whitefish fillets
1 onion, diced

2 carrots, quartered lengthwise and thinly chopped

4 sprigs fresh thyme

olive oil

4 medium yukon-gold potatoes

butter

fresh parsley, shredded

salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400F. Finely chop onions and carrots. Cut 4 squares of parchment paper. Wash the fish fillets, and then drizzle with 1tsp olive oil. Place diced onions and carrots on top, season lightly with salt and pepper, and top with thyme sprig. Fold the parchment paper over it all. Repeat for all 4 fillets.

Place in oven and bake for 14-18 minutes, until cooked (time depends on thickness of fillets).

Meanwhile, place water on to boil. Boil the potatoes for 15 minutes until just tender. Drain and slice in half. Serve potatoes next to fish with butter and parsley. Enjoy!

-Sitelle

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