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Posts Tagged ‘rich’

Kuri squash soup

A well-prepared soup always pleases guests. On top of this, many soups are very easy to make, and once you have one simmering away as your guests arrive, you can easily finish assembling the rest of the meal without worrying about it. Soup is, in my mind, a perfect entrée that sets the mood for a nice evening meal (entrée translates to “opening/entrance of the meal”, contrary to the “entrees” which have become the main course name on English menues).

Here, I am sharing the recipe for a soup I had the pleasure of making not only for Catherine, but also for her parents, when we had a dinner party last weekend. Despite our busy schedules both as clinical clerks living in 2 different cities, we managed to cook a very fine meal which we’re both excited to share.

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Ingredients – 6 servings

  • 1 kuri squash (aka hubbard squash), sliced in half and seeds removed
    • 2 sprigs rosemary
    • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 leek, light part only, washed and diced
  • 1-2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper
  • 6 cups vegetable broth of your liking
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 small dollops crème fraiche
  • 100g pecan halves
  • 1/2 package fresh sage leaves
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Directions

Heat the oven to 375F and place the squash prepared with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and a sprig of rosemary in each on a baking dish.  Roast for 40 minutes approximately. This can be done even the day before you make your soup

To make the soup: prepare the leek, and heat 1 Tbsp of butter in a large soup pot with a lid over medium heat. Once the butter is bubbly, add the leek, and cook, stirring occasionally and otherwise keeping the lid on until leeks become soft. Add a little more butter if necessary if they begin to brown too fast before softening.

Once the squash is roasted, slice it and cut off the peel as much as possible (a little that remains is fine and will just increase the fibre content!). Add the squash to the leek mixture, and stir. Over this sprinkle your nutmeg, pepper, bay leaves, and a few pinches of salt.

Add the stock and bring to a slow boil, covered. Once it is boiling, reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes, leaving off the lid for the final 5-10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, and then blend the soup in a blender or with a hand blender, until fully smooth.

When you are almost ready to serve the soup, heat the pecans in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat, and toast carefully so they brown but don’t burn.  Coarsely chop the sage in the meantime, and when the pecans are almost ready, melt the other 1 Tbsp of butter in with them, and add the sage for 1-2 minutes once the butter is bubbly, just long enough for it to crisp up a bit and to flavour the butter.

Serve the soup with a dollop of crème fraiche and a spoonful of the pecan-sage-butter topping in each bowl.

Enjoy!

-Sitelle

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My efforts to empty my cupboards and fridge became highly fruitful when I discovered I had dark chocolate squares, pure cacao pieces from my trip to Belize, sugar, pecans, and butter all needing to be used asap. With a bottle of Les Trois Mousquetaires Porter Baltique, apparently “WBA World Beer Awards World’s best porter Baltic” from a friend, and four large farm-fresh eggs from another friend, I was set. Porter brownies? Washed down with a pint? Why not! While I’m definitely no beer connaisseur, I can certainly vouch for this recipe.

My last few excursions into Montréal’s microbrewery scene have shown me how introducing foody flavours into beer might be a good idea. So far, I have enjoyed a chocolate porter, a pumpkin ale, and a currant rousse. While I found the pumpkin ale a tad bitter, and the currant rousse a bit on the sweet side, the chocolate porter went down really well. So why not introduce porter into one of my all-time chocolate-craving fulfilling favourites: rich decadent brownies?

Ingredients – 9-12 brownies

-8 oz semisweet chocolate (or at least 70%)
-2 Tbsp dark chocolate powder (cocoa or even dark hot chocolate powder, if you don’t have cocoa)
-2 Tbsp coarsely ground cacao (you can substitute this for 1 more oz semisweet chocolate)
-3/4 cup butter, unsalted
-1 Tbsp 35% cream
-1 pinch salt
-1 1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
-2 tsp vanilla
-4 large eggs at room temperature
-3 Tbsp porter
-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
-1 cup chopped toasted pecans

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a brownie tray (rectangle or square, 2-inches deep) with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

In a double-boiler (or a small pot of water on it with a heat-proof bowl over top), melt the chocolate and butter. Add the cream while melting, and the cacao powder. Stir until fully melted and combined. Remove from heat and let cool 10-15 minutes.

Place sugar, vanilla, porter, and eggs into a large bowl. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is even. Pour chocolate mixture in, and then add the salt and flour and stir to combine. Finally, add in the toasted chopped pecans.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and cook for 20 minutes (or more, if necessary), until a tooth pick comes out with a few lumps still on it because that means the brownies will be really moist.

This recipe attests to how this autumn spent in Montréal has been full of many wonderful adventures!

-Sitelle

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From the moment I saw a picture of this dessert, I could simply not resist. In fact, it was so tempting that today, this was all I ate for dinner. I adapted this recipe from a fantastic book my grandparents sent me for my birthday this year. It’s called Les grosses têtes en cuisine (which literally translates to the largest heads in cooking – I’m sure you get the picture). I made this while having a skype discussion, and I’m sorry because those on the other end were unable to give it a taste, although I’m not complaining about having more for myself!

As soon as they were ready, I decided to run upstairs to my roomie and give her a present, because I didn’t want to eat all alone.

The recipe is simple. 5 ingredients – I’m sure you can guess them. Chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, and flour (yes, that order probably arranges them by decreasing weight). While did I follow the ingredients, I had to make several changes. Because the recipe is from France, all the quantities are in grams, and in my temporary home I do not have access to a scale or measuring glass, so I approximated the quantities. All I have are cup measures.  I also substituted brown sugar for white since that is all I have. Nevertheless, it was totally delicious – and I encourage you to make these as a special treat!

And if they’re not rich enough for you, feel free to complement them with whipped cream sweetened with honey or maple syrup and garnish with fresh raspberries as I did!

Ingredients – 6 individual chocolate cakes

-200g dark chocolate (I used 7 of the Semisweet Baker’s chocolate squares in the 225 g boxes) + 1 extra square of chocolate, chopped up
– 100g butter (I used just under a quarter-pound)
-3/4 cups unpacked brown sugar
-4 eggs
-1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

Directions

Cut up butter into a few chunks, and place the squares of chocolate (break it up if it is not already broken into squares) in a heat-proof bowl. Place bowl over a pot with a little water in it, and bring the water to a simmer. Carefully warm up chocolate and butter mixture, mixing occasionally. Make sure to use gloves to handle the bowl as it gets hot and sometimes steam comes out. If you have a ‘bain marie’, this is the time to use it.

Preheat oven to 350F.

While you’re waiting for the chocolate and butter to melt, mix the eggs and sugar. Once that is mixed, add the flour, and finally the melted chocolate/butter mixture.

Grease 6 muffin-tin spots with butter (if you’re using a tin with 12, make sure to space them evenly throughout). Spoon the batter into each mould, making sure not to over-fill them beyond 3/4 capacity. If you have extra batter (that you haven’t eaten already), grease up another spot and fill it too. Drop a few extra pieces of chocolate (if you kept them aside this whole time!) into the middle of each.

Cook for 10 minutes, and let cool for 4-5 minutes before serving them. If you over-cook them, they’re still good, but less gooey. While they’re cooking you can whip up some cream with a tiny bit of honey or maple syrup, and wash a few fresh raspberries if that suits your fancy. Try to serve them warm if possible, fresh out of the oven!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I have. They’re delicious and really simple to make.

-Sitelle

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