Archive for the ‘Main Dishes’ category

Shepherd’s Pie with Lamb

December 3rd, 2011

Shepherd's pie with lamb

I love lamb.  This puts me quite alone in my family – my father refuses to eat “the cute little baa-lambs” and my mom isn’t a fan of the “strong” flavour.  However, in my very humble opinion, there’s nothing quite like a steaming bowl full of lamb casserole on a cold winter night.  A shepherd’s pie treatment is the ultimate, with the saucy lamb smothered in a toasted layer of mashed potato.  Just the perfect combination of flavours and textures when you need a warm serving of comfort food.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground lamb
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, diced
8-10 white mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp white flour
3 roma tomatoes, diced
3/4 cup white wine
1 tsp dried oregano
salt & pepper

4-5 potatoes, peeled and chopped into small chunks
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk

In a large, deep frying pan, cook the lamb in the olive oil over medium heat.
Once the lamb is no longer pink, add the onion, garlic, celery and mushrooms.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the veggies have softened and the lamb has started to brown.
Sprinkle over the flour, stirring quickly to incorporate.
Add the tomatoes, white wine and seasoning.  Simmer over medium-low heat until the liquid has reduced to a gravy thickness.
While the lamb is cooking, boil the potato chunks in salted water until soft enough to mash.
Drain the potatoes, return to the pan and mash along with the butter and milk.
To assemble, spoon the lamb mixture into individual ramekins or one large casserole.
Top with the mashed potato, leaving it nice and lumpy for browning purposes.
Stick in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes, until the top of the potato layer is nice and browned.
Allow to cool slightly before serving – it will be very hot!

Tofu Saag Paneer

November 7th, 2011

Okay, so I know that this isn’t technically a proper saag paneer, what with the complete lack of paneer.  But for the sake of searchability and easy naming, I’m sticking with the title.

Tofu saag paneer

This is a veggie version of one of my favourite Indian dishes.  I came across this tofu version in a great new seasonal veg cookbook, Eat Greens. I’ve become a big fan of tofu in the past few years, grilling it on the barbecue, giving it a quick stir fry with some ginger and hot sauce, but I had yet to try baking it. Turns out it’s a great way to get puffy, crisp squares of spiced tofu, perfect for tossing with a pile of greens for a winter veggie dinner.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp salt
1 block of extra firm tofu, cut into cubes

2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp hot chili sauce (or more to taste)
1 bag baby spinach, roughly chopped
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup plain yogurt

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the olive oil and spices.  Toss with the tofu cubes until completely coated.
Spread the tofu cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer, with some space between all the cubes.
Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350, until slightly crisp and puffy.

When the tofu has almost finished baking, heat the garlic, ginger and chili sauce in a large frying pan or wok over medium-low heat.
Once the garlic has softened, add the spinach.  Stir gently until wilted.
Stir in the tomatoes and yogurt and cook for another 5 minutes.
When the tofu comes out of the oven, stir it and any extra spiced oil through the spinach mixture.
Serve over rice – I like this with brown rice, but Basmati would be a more traditional fit.

Watermelon and Arugula Salad with Toasted Halloumi

July 21st, 2011

Halloumi with arugula and watermelon salad

I have been dying to grill up some halloumi ever since I saw package of it at the Creative Cleaver.  I’ve only ever had it in coastal restaurants before now, and it’s great to be able to toast some up at home.  I can see myself serving smaller squares as appetizers at my next party – or maybe skewering grilled cubes on toothpicks along with watermelon and tomatoes.

For my first homemade halloumi dish, I paired the cheese with a simple watermelon and arugula salad.  The crispness of the salad really set off the warm crunch of the cheese.

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper

a few handfuls of small arugula leaves
1/8 of a seedless watermelon, cut into small cubes
1/3-inch thick slices of halloumi

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the mustard into the lemon juice and vinegar.
In a thin stream, slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking madly to incorporate.
Toss in the arugula and watermelon.
Season to taste with salt and pepper

In a small frying pan, without oil, grill the slices of halloumi over medium heat.
After two minutes of frying per side, serve over the salad.

Garlic Scape Pesto

July 18th, 2011

Garlic scapes

Imagine my delight on Saturday morning, while cruising through the farmers’ market, when I saw a big bin full of garlic scapes.  Imagine the increase in that delight when I read the tag on the box that said they were free for the taking!  I grabbed a big bag full, not entirely sure what I would do with them all, but knowing it would be wonderful.

Garlic scape pesto

My first inspiration for the scapes was Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for garlic scape pesto.  After a few minutes standing over a whirring blender, I had the most beautiful spring green sauce, ready to spoon over some spaghettini.  Later this afternoon, I’ll be making an even bigger batch of the pesto to freeze.  This way, I can enjoy the crisp taste of the fresh scapes through the rest of the year, long after they aren’t giving them away at the market.

1 cup garlic scapes, cut into inch-long pieces
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup olive oil
salt & pepper

In a blender or food processor, pulse together the ingredients until they resemble an almost-smooth paste.
If the blender stalls, and the pesto stops turning, slowly pour in more olive oil through the hole in the lid.  Once there is enough liquid, the pesto will start to churn and chop again.
Once the texture is to your liking, taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
Spoon over pasta to serve, or use as a sauce with fish or chicken.

Salmon garlic scape spaghettini

The pesto will keep, refrigerated, for about a week.  I keep mine in a small glass mason jar.
To keep the pesto for longer, freeze spoonfuls of the sauce in an ice cube tray.  Once solid, dump the cubes into a freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, and return to the freezer for future use.

Summer of Pizza

July 10th, 2011

Breakfast pizza

This summer is shaping up to be the summer of pizza.  I can’t get enough of its cheesy, toasty goodness.  I’ve had it for dinner, lunch, and now, breakfast.  The egg topping was inspired by a re-read of Jamie Oliver’s Jamie At Home and I can’t wait to try it again as it was quite easily the best breakfast (or brunch) I’ve had in ages.

I rolled out the dough, smoothed on a bit of olive oil, laid out tomatoes (with a whole basil leaf underneath each slice), sprinkled on cheese, and then topped it all off with a fresh farm egg.  A few minutes in a very hot oven, and voilà – a breakfast pizza, ready to eat.

Pizza party mosaic

Another Jamie Oliver inspiration was that of hosting a pizza party.  I whipped up some dough using my KitchenAid mixer and my friends brought over the toppings.  We ended up with various mixtures of sliced sweet peppers, Capicola, green olives, mushrooms, fresh spinach and basil leaves.  Mine is the one in bottom right – it spent the most time closest to the lit barbecue burner.

Related Posts with Thumbnails