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Posts Tagged ‘sauce’

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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A year and a half ago I was browsing through my mother’s books in her living room and I came to “The Boreal Gourmet – adventures in northern cooking”. It caught my eye, and I was soon going through it, savouring the stories and their accompanying recipes. The book is written by a woman who grew up in Toronto, was deeply influenced by her mother’s delicious cooking, spent time in Greece learning to cook traditional Greek food, and who finally ended up in the Yukon Territories cooking up a storm.

When my mother came in and found me reading the book she was very disappointed – somehow I’d managed to pick through her entire book collection to land on the ONE book I was not supposed to see – it was intended as a birthday present later that year for me. I quickly put it away and basically forgot its existence until my birthday a few months later.

Alexandra Falls gorge covered in 1.25m of snow!

Soon after I was given the book, though, I stepped into an adventure taking me to Gambia, and my exploration of the recipes in the book was postponed until this year when I have somehow managed to walk myself right into the Northern refrigerator. There is over a meter snow on the ground, the boreal forest is scraggly at best, and I live on the very Northern end of the Canadian Railway in the Northwest Territories. G. and I brought one cookbook with us: “The Boreal Gourmet”, and we’ve had a great time taking a crack at many recipes already.

Spirited cranberry sauce is great with everything from cheesecake to pancakes to meats… and probably many other things I have yet to try!

We’ve got a large mound of buffalo in the freezer, along with several whitefish fillets, and 10 cups of rosehips we’ve planned to transform into preserves. What fun! All these ingredients come from the land around us. I was hoping to harvest cranberries to make this sauce but the snow came unexpectedly fast, and so I was forced to buy a bag of fresh ones at the store (I was lucky enough to find some!).

Ingredients

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

3 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp raw honey (I used wild honey from Gambia with a smoky flavour since that’s how they collect it by smoking the bees out!)

Juice and rind of two oranges

2 Tbsp rum

Directions

Put all ingredients into a pot, and add a Tbsp of water if the liquids are too low to get a simmer going. Simmer covered for 20 minutes, until thick. Use a fork to mix it up and puree the cranberries a bit.

Serve with roast meat or turkey, or with cheesecake (as I will post soon!)

-Sitelle

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The last few weeks have been busy.  My good friend Dora came to visit from Toronto, and we had a lovely time exploring Halifax and environs. We even had an opportunity to peruse Nova Scotia’s Ice Wine Festival, including a sampling with chocolate.  Then I was off visiting my sister in Montreal – and while it was fabulous to visit with her, the bronchitis that followed has kept me from the kitchen (needless to say having an appetite).

My friend Dora loves all things peanut – but lives with a brother who has an anaphylactic peanut allergy.  When she came for dinner, I decided to make a peanut-inspired dinner menu.

This peanut sauce from Rebar formed the basis of the pasta.  Intensely flavourful, this sauce was a cinch to blend together and absolutely delicious.  I’ll be looking around for more items to dip in it soon!

 

Peanut sauce with ginger, lime and cilantro (from rebar: modern food cookbook)

(makes 3/4 cup sauce)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon peeled ginger, minced

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup minced cilantro leaves

juice and zest of 1 lime

1 tablespoon sambal oelek (an Asian hot chili sauce)

1/4 cup smooth, natural peanut butter

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

 

Directions:

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add all of the ingredients from the garlic through to the sambal oelek.  Blend until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients, blend and season to taste.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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With the first frost approaching, I thought it would be likely this recipe would come in handy! Before moving to Montréal, we harvested all our tomatoes (even though it was just the end of August), and made pots and pots of sauce to put in the freezer. Our tomato harvest this year was phenomenal.

The oxheart variety we planted was particularly spectacular. You can see the tomatoes truly resembled a heart (with the ventricle and atrium larger on one side than the other!). Many of the oxheart tomatoes were over one pound, some almost two, and we couldn’t keep up with eating them as fast as they ripened.

Having too many tomatoes is definitely a blessing. And if you’re wondering what to do with yours, well, here’s a possibility!

Ingredients – 10-12 servings

-10-14 tomatoes (I measure the quantity by seeing how many fit into my big pot I’m going to make the sauce in, and then use all of them)
-2 onions, diced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-3 Tbsp olive oil + more for brushing
-1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 1.5 Tbsp dried
-1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried
-2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried
-2 bay leaves
-1 tsp salt (or to taste)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper (optional, but I find it makes cleaning up a lot easier). Slice tomatoes in half or quarters, brush with olive oil, a dash of salt, and roast in the oven for approximately 35-45 minutes, or until they begin to have brown spots on them and taste sweet.

Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions,then reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook them until they become translucent. Stir in the garlic, and cook for another minute or so but try not to let garlic brown.

Add in all roasted tomatoes and any of the juices from the bottom of the pan if it is not burnt. Stir, and then add in bay leaves, thyme, oregano, and basil. Increase heat to medium-high and wait until it is simmering. Then stir, reduce heat to medium-low or low, letting it simmer away for 40 or so minutes. Taste, and add salt accordingly.

To store, place in containers and freeze. If you use jars, make sure to freeze this with them open and then close the lids after it is solid! The sauce itself stores around 5 days in the fridge without being frozen.

You can also alternate the herbs in this with parsley, herbs de provence, rosemary, and hot pepper flakes.

-Sitelle

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