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Archive for the ‘Zucchini’ Category

Roasted Northern Pike

As many of you know, for the past year Sitelle (chef extraordinaire and my partner in crime when it comes to writing Gourm(eh?)) and her partner have been living in Hayriver, a small community in the North West Territories.  After their year-long placement, they embraced the incredible opportunity of paddling the whole of the MacKenzie River, Canada’s longest.  It runs from Great Slave Lake up to the Arctic Ocean. 

 

Along with four other friends, I had the pleasure of joining S&G during the first leg of their journey.  Over 13 days, we paddled 80 km along the south shore of Great Slave Lake and 300 km down the Mackenzie River to Fort Simpson.  Our journey was special – despite the multitude of mosquitoes and bulldogs, we loved every second we spent in the North.

Image

Sun setting over the MacKenzie

 

Our paddling days were long – ranging from 30 to 55 km each day.  We thus needed ample delicious food to keep us going.  The menu was surprisingly varied, given we carried most of the food we needed for the 13 days (although we did have one opportunity in Fort Providence to bulk up on some fresh foods and GORP).  While we had not planned on catching fish, we were secretly hoping we would be lucky enough to supplement our meals.

 

Our first opportunity to fish came a few days into our journey.  After paddling until nearly 2am in the midnight sun, we stopped at Dog’s Island at the mouth of Mill’s Lake.  On the island, we wisely decided to take a rest day.  We caught four fish for the seven of us (including my first-ever fish!) – all beautiful Northern Pike ranging 16 to 24 inches.  

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Catching the Pike!

 

We served the fish in the simplest way possible.  Mere hours after catching the fish, they were grilled over the fire and served sprinkled with salt. We hungry paddlers quicly devoured all four of the succulent fish!

 

 Roasted Northern Pike  

Each fish serves 2 generous portions

Image

Roasting our beautiful Northern Pike over the campfire

 

Ingredients

1 whole fresh Northern Pike, gutted and cleaned (or any whole fish of your choosing)

Salt to taste

 

Directions

Cook on grill over campfire.  Flip after 10-15 minutes depending on strength of flames.  Remove from fire when fish is cooked through and skin is charred.

 Serve hot, sprinkled with salt to taste.  A delicious camp meal 🙂

 Bon appétit!

 

Catherine

 

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I apologize for the number of sweet recipes I’ve posted of late. I’ll admit I’ve got a fairly good excuse: I’ve just moved to a new place, so my kitchen is totally barren, I did not bring any cookbooks except one, I don’t have easy access to the internet, and perhaps most importantly I’ve moved somewhere where the grocery store carries only half of the things I would normally use (let’s face it, I am actually totally blown away by what I can find in the grocery store in Hay River, although I hear it gets pretty dreary in a few months after the fall vegetables start going bad).

I simply don’t have many of the ingredients necessary to cook interesting savoury dishes, whereas I can bake many, many things simply with flour, butter, and sugar, and the odd other exciting thing such as apples although that’s not necessary, just a perk.

This time, though, we decided to invest in a few more spices, one of them being chili seasoning. With the cold weather approaching, everyone’s cravings have gone towards stews and soups. I’ve had beans done countless ways since I arrived, many times accompanied with bannock. Yesterday, we sat down and made enough chili to last us for a few weeks. What I love about chili is that it’s easy to make and is flexible depending on whatever you might have laying around. What always challenges me, though, is that my pots, no matter how big, are never big enough.

Ingredients – one large pot of chili

1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp canola oil

2 carrots, diced
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
2-3 Tbsp chili powder

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans (well rinced)
1 can chick peas (well rinced)
1 cup dry lima beans (soaked overnight and skins removed)
1/2 can crushed tomatoes

2 stalks celeri, diced
1 zucchini, diced
4 mushrooms, diced

1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 cup pickle juice (Catherine’s trick)
2 tsp brown sugar

Directions

Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot with a lid. When the oil is hot, cook the onions until they are soft and then add the garlic and spices. Stir, and once fragrant add in the carrots and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Once cooked, add the beans, and finally, add the tomatoes. Increase heat a bit, cover, and bring to a boil. Simmer for another 20 or so minutes while you chop the remaining veggies. Add in the pickle juice, soy sauce, and the remaining veggies, as well as the sugar if you want to include it. Simmer for a minimum of 2 hours with the lid almost fully on, and serve alone, with bannock, toasted bread, or on a bed of rice. My favourite is to top it with shredded cheddar!

-Sitelle

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Patty pans, also known as scallopini / button squash, are one of my favourite elusive treats of the early harvest season. This year I was seduced by a small box of them available at the market in Ste. Annes de Bellevue, although they were not even on my shopping list. They’re so delicate, and yet have so much attitude at the same time. I love them steamed, blanched (which is how they are made in this recipe), or roasted. Which ever way, as long as it is done for the shortest possible amount of time, results in a delightful and unique taste.

What I like about patty pans (and the green beans which I cooked at the same time) is it’s super easy to make, and so if combined with a rapid main-course recipe, dinner can be made within 20-25 minutes. Sometimes, that is just what has to happen. And, if you’re lucky enough to have some patty pans on hand, not only will the meal be ready rapidly – but it will also look quite nice.

Ingredients – 2 servings

-1 large chicken breast, filleted in two (or two if you are ravenously hungry)
-1 medium-large onion, diced
-1 clove garlic, germ removed, finely minced
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-coarsely cracked black (and red, if you have it) pepper
-pinch salt

-8-10 patty pan squash, washed, and sliced in half if they are on the larger side
-2 hand-fulls fresh green beans, stems removed
-nub of butter
-pinch salt
-squeeze of 1/4 lemon

Directions 

Slice the chicken breast in half. Dice the onion and garlic and set aside. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat until warm. Add onions, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the onions from the pan and heat to just above medium heat. Sear chicken when the pan is hot – and generously cover each side while it is not being seared with cracked pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add the onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, around 7-8 minutes per side.

In the meantime, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Quickly dip the green beans into the water, and after 1 minute add the patty pans. Rapidly return to a boil, and then strain immediately after 2 minutes. Quickly douse the vegetables in cold water for one second, before returning them to their pan with the nub of butter, the salt, and the squeeze of the lemon.

Once the chicken is cooked through, serve the veggies on the side. This can easily be accompanied with rice.

Hope you enjoy the simplicity of this recipe!

-Sitelle

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While some were escaping a falling stage at Ottawa Bluesfest, this past weekend I attended the Stewart Park Festival – a three-day musical treat in the charming town of Perth, Ontario.   Stewart Park is a long tradition in my family, complete with large family picnics.  Between good music, family galore (at last count, I visited with over 28 family members), and lazing in the sun on the cottage dock, the weekend quickly evaporated.

Cottage food combines the best of simple and delicious.  My grandmother’s stuffed zucchini is one such delicious cottage tradition.  The recipe is ever-changing, incorporating vegetables in the fridge that need eating, but always manages to taste delicious (and while a little finicky, it is super easy to make en mass) Because really, who does not love zucchini stuffed with bread crumbs and topped with bubbling cheese?

Stuffed Zucchini

(serves 8-12)

Ingredients:

6 zucchini, ends trimmed

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon olive oil

Herbs to taste (be generous – I love a combination of thyme and basil)

A vegetable or two, finely chopped (I used a tomato and half a red pepper here – also great with mushrooms)

About 1/3 of a loaf of stale bread (fresh is fine too – although your stuffing will be less crispy), cut or grated into small pieces

Splash of Worcester sauce/tobacco (if you would like to add heat)

Grated old cheddar cheese

Directions: 

Drop the zucchini in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook until al dente, about five minutes.  Remove from the water with tongs, and cut each zucchini in half lengthwise and widthwise, creating four “logs”.  Allow to cool slightly before hollowing out the zucchini seeds.  Retain and finely chop about half the zucchini innards.  Place the zucchini logs on a large baking sheet.

Saute the onions and garlic in the oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Add the herbs and vegetables and cook until soft.  Stir in the breadcrumbs, Worcester sauce, and the finely chopped zucchini innards and continue to cook stuffing for five more minutes.  Carefully scoop the stuffing into the zucchini cavities and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.

Bake in a 400 F oven for 10-12 minutes.   Broil for an additional minute or two, until the cheese is bubbling and the stuffing is crisping. Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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I had been eyeing spinach dips for a while, and finally had a good excuse to whip up a batch on mother’s day. Artichokes can only add deliciousness to food, so when I came across this recipe in Julie van Rosendaal’s Grazing, I knew I had to give it a try. The resulting dip was flavourful and smooth, perfect served warm over crackers. It also made for delicious leftovers the next day, which only seem to have intensified the flavours.

If I were to do it again, I might use cheddar on top and sprinkle it on top just for the last 10 minutes – it would be just a little sharper in flavour and softer in texture for the top. But overall, a winning dip.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip
Serves 8

Ingredients
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1-10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed with excess moisture squeezed out
1-14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped, reserving the liquid
1-8 ounce package light cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup milk
1 cup low fat sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Saute the onions and garlic in about 2 tablespoons of the artichoke heart liquid until translucent. Add the spinach and saute until all the liquid has evaporated.

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the artichokes, cream cheese and milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts. Stir in the sour cream, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and cook until heated through.

Transfer the spinach mixture to a baking dish. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Delicious serve with crackers, tortilla chips, or vegetables!

– Catherine

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During the really busy time that is exams, all I want to do is cook and bake. I can hardly handle the temptation of getting up and baking muffins, making soup, or even just home-made pop-corn.

Well, you caught me. It’s true, I can’t handle it. I think I’ve made all of those in the last 3-4 days.

Now that I’ve been doing this university thing for the last 5 years, I have developed crafty ways of cooking during exam periods. I study lecture by lecture. In between each, I cook meals that I can make in little bursts of 10 minutes here and there [and I get my partner in crime to do a lot of the work, and the dishwashing is especially appreciated]. It’s my way of infusing fun into nutritional toxicology. Perhaps I can even call it studying.

This stir-fry is really fast and delicious, and can be made in maybe 3 bursts of 10 minutes each, as long as you remember to marinate the tofu in advance (the night before is best but a few hours is still ok).

Ingredients – 4 servings

Tofu marinade

-1 block tofu (extra firm is great, but sometimes I medium too for a change), sliced into 1/4 inch wedges
-3 cloves garlic, germ removed, and finely minced
-2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
-zest of 1 washed lime
-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
-2 tsp sesame oil
-juice from one lime
-1/2 cup soy sauce
-1/2 cup water

Stir-fry

-1 onion or leek, sliced
-1 Tbsp canola oil x2
-2 tsp sesame oil x2
-1 clove garlic, germ removed, and sliced
-1 carrot, cut into juliennes
-1 red and 1 green pepper, sliced
-1 zucchini, halved then sliced
-1 head broccoli, cut into florets
-1 cup sugar-snap peas, stems removed
– Salt and pepper and cayenne to taste
-1/2 washed cilantro leaves

-1 package soba noodles

Directions

To make the tofu marinade, chop the garlic and ginger, and mix in a bowl with the remaining ingredients.  Slice the tofu and add it to the marinade.  I like to use a large roasting pan because then I can cover all the tofu with marinade. Cover it and let it rest in the fridge, occasionally (once or twice) basting it with the marinade. If you can remember to marinate it the night before, your taste buds will be rewarded.

The night of, take a first 10 minutes to chop everything.  Put the onion/leek separate, the garlic separate, and then in 1 bowl keep the broccoli and peas while in another bowl keep the remaining veggies you have cut.

In a second bout of effort, heat both types of oil in a wok or frying pan over medium heat.  Add the onion/leek, and let sauté for a few minutes.  Add the garlic for one more minute and stir.  Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the soba noodles (or make some rice).

In a second frying pan, add the remaining canola and sesame oil over medium-high heat.  Add the tofu without any marinade, and sear each side for 2-3 minutes until golden.  Then add some of the marinating juices and simmer while you add the broccoli and peas to the wok, and stir, for 3 minutes.  Then add the remaining veggies, and cook for 2-3 minutes so they are hot and crisp. Pour in the remaining marinade, and bring to a boil quickly and stirring often. Then remove from heat and serve with the tofu, noodles, extra soy sauce and garnish with the cilantro.

-Sitelle

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The snow is finally all gone in Halifax.  I saw crocuses in bloom today, a sure sign spring is coming.  There is nothing like pesto and asparagus to mark one’s excitement for spring!  (I confess that unlike Sitelle, I have given into the gorgeous looking and tasting asparagus from Mexico).  Pesto pasta is one of my absolutely favorite meals, and one can always count on roasted vegetables to brighten any pasta.  When produce is plentiful, grilling the veggies over the barbecue adds another level of complexity to the dish, but until summer hits, the oven does a respectable job.

This is another dish that uses, as my mother likes to call it, “the little white sauce”.  Like its namesake, this simple béchamel is the perfect versatile base for so many dishes: Add a few cups of cheddar for macaroni and cheese, mustard to make it devilish, or mushrooms and sherry for a delicious mushroom sauce.  Usually I have a few cubes of frozen pesto that I throw into the little white sauce, but tonight I used fresh – a delicate almond romano parsley pesto!

Pesto Pasta with Caremelized Onions, Roasted Asparagus, and Zucchini

(4 servings)

Ingredients:

Roasted Vegetables:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 zucchini, sliced

1 red onion, sliced

1 bunch asparagus, bottom part of stalk snapped off, cut into 2 inch segments

2 tomatoes, cut into eight wedges

Pesto Pasta:

300 grams whole wheat penne pasta

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 generous cup milk

Salt and Pepper

¼ cup pesto (https://gourmeh.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/almond-romano-parsley-pesto/)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Toss the veggies in the olive oil and garlic, and place on a tray.  Roast for 20 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, boil salted water, cook until al dente, and drain the pasta.  In a large saucepan, melt the butter and flour over medium heat.  Allow the roux to bubble for a few minutes, until almost fragrant.  Whisk in the milk and bring the sauce to a boil.  Simmer for two or three minutes, or until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the pesto, followed by the roast veggies and pasta.  Toss until the pesto sauce evenly coats the pasta.  Enjoy!

–       Catherine

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