Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘creamy’

Falls

Beulach Ban falls

A few weekends ago, I visited Cape Breton with my sister and my friend Alex.  The colours were just past their peak, although still vibrant.  We stopped a few places along the Cabot Trail to take in all her splendour.  The skyline trail led us through spruce groves before opening to a magnificent view of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  At MacIntosh Brook, we strolled through maple forests beside a babbling brook to a waterfall. We ventured down a small gravel road to the beautiful Beulach Ban Falls.  Ever searching for the perfect picnic spot, we lunched at the rocky headland on Green Cove, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  At Franey, we climbed like mountain goats to a small look-out perched on a steep cliff, with lovely views of the Clyburn River Canyon and the coast.

Towards the Atlantic Ocean at Freney

We spent the night in Pleasant Bay, a lovely fishing village halfway around the Cabot Trail.  Having dallied to arrive, the only restaurant still open was the Pleasant Bay motel.  The dining room was modest, but the kitchen was a delight with delicious, yet simple Maritime fare.  We each started with a bowl of chowder – creamy with a generous serving of seafood.  La piece de resistance, however, was the fish and chips: crispy batter around succulent haddock, cooked to perfection served with tangy coleslaw and home fries.

Since visiting Pleasant Bay, I have tried to recreate my taste experience.  I’m still brainstorming on how best to create homemade fish and chips without a deep-fryer, but with winter descending, this has given me the perfect excuse to experiment with chowders.  Inspired by cans in the pantry, this corn and salmon chowder was hearty, yet refreshing with the added dill.

Salmon and corn chowder

Salmon and Corn Chowder

(serves 6 bowls)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

2 onions, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

4 potatoes, peeled and diced

2 cans kernel corn, drained and rinsed

4 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 cups milk

2 tablespoons flour

Generous dash of tobasco

2 cans of salmon, drained and finely mashed (I like my soup infused with salmon – if you wanted to let the corn shine through, one can would suffice)

1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped plus more for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Saute the onions and garlic in the butter.  Stir in the potatoes and saute for another five minutes, and then stir in the broth, corn, and bay leaves.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Throughly mix the flour into the milk before adding it to the chowder base. Return the soup to a simmer and allow to thicken, about five minutes.  Add the tobasco, salmon, dill, and salt and pepper. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.  Serve, garnished with extra chopped dill.  Delicious served with a crusty piece of bread!

– Catherine

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I had a love/hate relationship with dairy when I lived in France.  The French are very serious about their dairy products: whole aisles in superstores are dedicated to yoghurt, and the cheese section was often larger than the fresh produce section.  While I loved the infinite yogurt choices (Canada really needs to get on producing rhubarb and cappuccino yogurt!) and the tasty cheese (nothing makes a tomato-based pasta shine like freshly grated Parmesan), I avoided their milk like the plague. The “low-fat” milk was often creamier than whole milk and it just tasted slightly funny.  I quickly discovered, however, the beauty of crème fraiche.

Crème fraiche has twice the butterfat as sour cream, without the sourness.  It is a delight to use because it does not curdle and is surprisngly versatile. A spoonful added to any sauce infuses a delicious creaminess, while crème fraiche served with fresh berries and sugar is just divine.

This week, I had a craving for creamy  mushroom pasta.  With crème fraiche sadly unavailable in my local Halifax superstore, I resorted to using full-fat sour cream.  To avoid curdling, I made sure to cool the sauce before adding the sour cream.  This is one of my favourite comfort foods, taking less than 20 minutes to cook.   While the sour cream substitute was almost as good as its French cousin, I am still searching for crème fraiche in Canada!


Creamy Mushroom Linguine

(about 3 dinner-size portions)

Ingredients:

1/2 pound whole-wheat linguine

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 clove of garlic, minced

Thyme

1 pound of mushrooms, coarsely chopped

2 tomatoes, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

Large splash of cooking sherry

Salt and pepper

Dash of Tobasco

About 1/4 cup crème fraiche (or substitute sour cream)

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Cook the linguine according to the package directions. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil.  When transluscent, sprinkle in the thyme.  Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, and red pepper and saute until soft.  Add the sherry and cook for two more minutes.  Season with the salt and pepper and tobasco.

Remove the sauce from the heat and allow to cool for a minute or two, before adding the crème fraiche.  Add the drained linguine to the frying pan and stir to coat the pasta evenly. Before serving, sprinkle with a generous amount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Delicious with a bitter green salad.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

Read Full Post »

For me, the splendour of cooking during the summer stems from an abundance of fresh herbs.  Be it basil or thyme, chives or parsley, dill or mint, the immediate burst of flavour is ever a delight.  As a child, I petitioned my mother for years to plant a herb garden, which she did.  Ever since, it has been a feature in our garden and we are spoiled throughout the summer by our potted herbs.

Spoiled by a selection of herbs from our garden: parsley, garlic and common chives, blooming thyme, dill, and green and purple basil!d

This week, Ottawa has been steamy – hitting over 30 degrees celsius most days.  After my daily 30 km commute, I am often ready for light fare that is simultaneously filling and tasting of summer.  Inspired by Silverpalate, my family has long enjoyed this pasta recipe that screams summer.  Delicate angel hair pasta is coated in a creamy bechamel, infused with a medley of fresh herbs and complemented by spring asparagus and soft peas.  The beauty of this dish comes from its versatility – any combination of herbs will do! So on Monday, craving a summery meal, I walked around our garden picking a generous handful of fresh herbs to whip up this dish.  Served with ripe tomatoes and the last-of-the-season strawberries in a spinach salad, this was truly a meal to savour!

Angel Hair Pasta with Fresh Herbs

(Serves 6)

 

Ingredients:

1 box of angel hair pasta (about 350 grams) – I used whole wheat and it was delicious

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups of milk

1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

About 1/3 to 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

1 bunch of asparagus, ends removed, sliced into 1 inch pieces

2 cups of frozen peas

2 cups of any fresh herb combination, finely chopped (recommended include basil, parsley, dill, thyme, chives, oregano, and coriander)

 

Directions:

Cook the angel hair pasta al dente in a large pot of salted water.  Blanch the asparagus and peas with the pasta for the last 90 seconds of cooking.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Stir in the flour and garlic and cook until bubbly and fragrant.  Whisk in the milk.  Bring the bechamel to a simmer, reducing for 3-5 minutes.  Season to your liking with salt and pepper.  Remove the cream sauce from the heat, and gently stir in the Parmesan and fresh herbs.  Toss the pasta and vegetables to coat.  Divine served with fresh tomatoes!

 

– Catherine

 

Read Full Post »

One night over Reading Week, after a long day of skiing with my sister and cousins, we made dinner for our parents. To jazz up our salmon, we decided to cook a creamy dill sauce. My cousin Dan expertly prepared the salmon, and my cousin Annie meticulously whisked away at the stove as I threw things into the pot. The recipe itself was an experiment, but the outcome was delicious: the delicate creamy dill sauce beautifully complementing the lemon-infused salmon.

As I write this, I am eating vegetarian for the month (adventures forthcoming) – but when I return to this fish, this will certainly be a repeatable menu item!

 

Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce
(8 servings)
 

Ingredients:
8 salmon fillets
2 lemons
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 ½ cups milk
Splash of white wine
A few dashes of Worcester sauce
1/3 cup finely chopped dill
 

Directions:
Preheat the oven to broil (use the top element). Place the salmon fillets on a rack, and cover with thin lemon slices. Top with freshly ground salt and pepper to taste. Broil salmon for 10 minutes or until salmon begins to flake.

Meanwhile, create a roux in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the milk, the white wine, Worcester sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the béchamel to a boil, and allow to reduce gently for 3-4 minutes. Ideally, your sauce should thickly coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and gently stir in the dill.

Serve the salmon with the lemon slices intact – they should have caramelized beautifully. Spoon the delicate dill sauce over the salmon and enjoy!

– Catherine

Read Full Post »

After Catherine posted her Chicken Dijonaise recipe, I had to laugh because that very same night we had ‘Poulet Dable’, which is a similar recipe to hers, although still different enough that I could justify posting it a few weeks later.  Plus, when is there ever enough mustardy goodness in a main course?  Another benefit of having two similar recipes is that it allows one to see how a recipe can be altered.

I thought I’d wait a while to share my take on the recipe, or actually, Dorie Greenspan’s take (which we changed ever-so-slightly).  This is a typical meal in Normandy, where my family comes from, and when I’m missing the green moors and the salty taste of the ocean on my lips, I crave these flavours especially.

The spiciest condiment in the french kitchen gives this dish it's name - mustard

From Dorie Greenspan’s “Around my French Table”, one of my favorite cook books recently published (page 217).

Ingredients

-2 whole chicken breasts, sliced at least in two, or 4 thighs and drumsticks, skin removed (I always get bone-in because it’s cheaper and more delicious)
-1 Tbsp butter
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 large shallot, finely diced
-1 garlic clove (not too big or not too pungent), germ removed, and very finely chopped
-1/3 cup dry white wine
-1/2 cup heavy cream (whipping cream or crême fraiche, or table cream if you must)
-3 Tbsp extra strong dijon mustard (the stronger the better)
-1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (this is something that isn’t normally added in France, but I find that flavours in cream, butter, and poultry are generally less strong in Canada so this helps perk it up)
-1 pinch (1/8 tsp) nutmeg
-1 tsp thinly shredded gruyere per person (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 200F.  In a large skillet, heat  oil and butter until butter has melted.  Add chicken, and brown both sides, about 5 minutes on each side (try not to touch it while it is browning, so keeping the temperature low enough, in the middle range is key so it doesn’t burn but also browns nicely).  If there’s too much chicken to make it at once, try doing one batch and then another.  After the chicken is cooked through, place it in a covered dish in the oven to keep warm.  Ensure there’s still enough oil in the pan (if not, just add a tad), and sauté the shallot and the garlic for a few minutes, until they are soft.  Then add wine, and once the wine bubbles, add the cream, and stir to remove any bits attached on the pan.  Once this all comes to a simmer, add the mustard, stirring it in, as well as the Worchestershire sauce.  Season with a little salt if you like, and sprinkle the gruyere onto the chicken at the end and cover with sauce.  Serve this with boiled potatoes, rice, or even macaroni.  For me, this really qualifies as Normal comfort food, and always makes me think of my lovely grandmother.

-Sitelle

Read Full Post »