Archive for the ‘Side Dishes’ category

Irish Oat Rolls

March 17th, 2012

Irish oat rolls

Ever since I picked up a copy of Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen cookbook, I’ve been meaning to try her Irish oaten rolls.  After a few adventures with a cooking scale, I’ve pulled together a Canadian version of her recipe, with volume measurements instead of weights.  In this form, it’s a very speedy recipe that leaves you with a dozen steaming oat rolls – a perfect accompaniment to a bowl of hot beef stew.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups stout (not quite a full bottle)
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp canola oil
4 tbsp liquid honey

In a large bowl, mix together the first five dry ingredients.
In a big measuring jug, measure out and stir together the remaining, wet ingredients.  The milk will likely curdle because of the beer – don’t even worry about it.
Dump the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently stir together.
Spoon large dollops of the dough onto two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  You should end up with 10-12 rolls.
Top each roll with a pinch of extra oats.
Bake for 15 minutes at 350° or until the rolls sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Set aside on a wire rack to cool before serving.

Multigrain Raisin Bread PLUS a Giveaway!

November 14th, 2011

I love my kitchen – especially on cold, snowy days like today.  Its bright turquoise paint and cherry red accents make it feel fresh and summery, even in the bleakest of Novembers.  While the kitchen was already blue and white when I bought the house, the red is what really makes it feel like mine.  My Kitchenaid stand mixer was the first pop of colour, followed soon after by coordinating cafe curtains, sewn by my grandmother.  The mixer was also a present from her, for completing my Master’s degree in 2008.

Kitchenaid

Playing around in the kitchen is so much better when you have all the right tools to work with.  My mixer whips up breads, cookies and cakes without so much as batting an eye.  My knives work in tandem with the perfect cutting boards to slice, dice and chop to (amateur-acceptable) perfection.  And now, I’ve discovered another kitchen tool, one that I’ve had sitting in my basement for a while, but had yet to break out and use.

Clay baker bread

A year ago, I inherited a clay baker.  It was stashed away in its box, on the off chance that maybe, I might want to make a pot roast for one.  (unlikely)  Then the other week, the thought of using it to bake bread popped into my head.  All the cool bakers talk about using baking stones and steam to get the perfect crust – why wouldn’t a clay baker work perfectly for bread baking?  After bopping around the internet for a while, I found that yes, this was certainly possible, and had been tried by a few bakers, who mostly wrote of their findings on bread baking forums.  Enter a batch of grainy raisin bread dough, a soaked clay baker, and a cold, early winter afternoon.  The gorgeously browned results can be seen above.

KitchenAid Food Processor - Contour Silver Now for the part I know you’ve all been really waiting for - the giveaway.  Last week, I was asked if I would be interested in giving away a shiny new 13-cup Kitchenaid food processor for the holidays.  It slices, shreds, chops and purees, and comes in a couple of great Kitchenaid colours – white, black, or space-age silver.

Interested in winning the food processor? Just leave a comment telling me what you’d make if you won.  The deadline is December 1st, 2011, at which point I’ll put all the entries into a  hat and randomly pick a winner.  One caveat – you must be Canadian to win.  Good luck!

 

Multigrain Raisin Bread

1 1/2 to 2 cups white flour

1 package active dry yeast

1/4 cup honey

3 tbsp butter

1 cup milk

1 tsp salt

1 egg

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup stone ground oats

1/2 cup grainy hot cereal *

1/4 cup chopped almonds

1 cup plumped raisins **

In the bowl of your mixer, stir together 1 cup of white flour and the yeast.

In a large, microwaveable pitcher, mix the honey, butter and milk.  Warm for a minute at a time, until the butter has just barely melted.

Stir the warmed milk, salt and egg into the flour and yeast, beating at medium speed for 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then continue to mix at low speed for 3 minutes.

Swap out the paddle mixer for the dough hook.  Add the whole wheat flour, grains, almonds and raisins on low speed, a single ingredient at a time, letting the hook bring everything together into a sticky lump.

Slowly add another half a cup to a cup of white flour, still keeping the mixer at low speed.  The completed dough should be kneaded for 5-8 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

Place the ball of dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise for at least an hour, until doubled in size.

Punch down the risen dough and shape into a smooth, round loaf.  Place the ball of dough on a large rectangle of parchment paper, cover and let rise again for 30 minutes.

While the dough is going through this final rise, soak both halves of a clay baker in water, drying the inside of the base before adding the dough.

Lift the risen dough on its parchment paper into the base of the clay baker.  Top with the lid and place in a cold oven.  Turn the oven up to 375°F and bake, covered, for 35 minutes.  At this point, remove the lid of the clay baker and continue cooking the bread for another 15-20 minutes, or until browned on top.

Take the clay baker out of the oven, lift the parchment paper and bread onto a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before slicing.

* I used some Daystart cereal from the Daybreak Scheresky Mill in Saskatchewan.  It’s a mix of millet, buckwheat, oat bran, flax and sunflower seeds.

** To plump raisins, toss them in a bowl and cover with water.  Microwave for 1 minute, then let sit for at least another 10 minutes before draining and adding to the dough.

Cheesy Artichoke Bread

October 2nd, 2011

Artichoke bread

A quick shout-out to Patrice, of Circle B Kitchen.  She came up with this recipe for what is probably the most amazing quick bread I’ve ever made.  A word of caution for when you make it, though – make sure there are people come over after you do the baking.  Otherwise there’s a good chance you’ll eat then entire loaf yourself.  It’s just that good.

Dilled pickles

August 22nd, 2011

First taste of this year's pickles

This year’s canning has once again expanded by a single vegetable.  The first year I taught myself to preserve veggies in jars, I started with a simple green bean pickle.  The second fall’s canning included a batch of spicy cauliflower pickles.  2011 has brought five pounds (so far) of dilled cucumber pickles, along with the usual batch of beans.  For some reason, I’ve always been afraid to make a batch of these standbys.  Canning wasn’t something I ever watched my mom or my grandma do each year, so every new batch of preserves begins with a spoonful of trepidation.

After putting up five jars of stubby Hutterite cukes, I’m not sure why I was so scared of these.  The process was just as simple as my standard bean pickles, and the results, tested early this weekend, were sour, crispy and farm-picked fresh.  I can’t wait to see how the flavours evolve over the winter and am thinking of filling another ten jars this weekend.

5 pounds of pickling cucumbers, washed but left whole
5 tablespoons of pickling salt
10 big heads of dill, gone to seed
15 cloves of garlic, peeled but whole
5 tsp whole black peppercorns
white vinegar
cold water

The night before you’re going to pickle the cucumbers, toss them in a big bowl of ice water and leave them in the fridge overnight.  This should help them stay crispier after being canned.
The day of the canning, start by sterlizing 5 wide mouth mason jars.  I boil mine for 10 minutes in my giant canning pot, but you can use a dishwasher with a sterlization setting.
While the jars are bubbling away, immerse the sealing lids into a pan of hot, but not boiling water.
Get all your ingredients ready to go so you can quickly stuff the jars while they are still hot.
Pull the jars out of the canner, pour out all the water and line them up, ready to stuff.  They’ll be very, very hot, so you’ll want to use heavy potholders or silicone oven mitts to hold onto them.
For each jar, put in 1 tbsp of salt, 2 heads of dill, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp of peppercorns and then stuff with the cucumbers.  You want to pack the cukes in as tightly as possible to stop them from floating in the liquid.
Once the jar is stuff, fill halfway with vinegar, them the second half with water, leaving an inch of headspace at the top of the jar.
Remove a lid from the hot water, screw on the band tightly and set aside while you fill the remaining jars.
Once all five jars have been filled, lower them carefully into a canner full of boiling water. Make sure the water covers the tops of the jars by at least an inch.
When the water has returned to a boil, start the timer and process the jars for 10 minutes, plus additional time depending on your altitude.  I let my jars boil for 20 minutes, them pull the jars out and let them cool overnight on a doubled-over teatowel.
If the jars have sealed correctly, once they’re cool, the lids of the jars should be sucked in towards the pickles, and shouldn’t make a popping sound if pressed in their centres.  If you have any jars that haven’t properly sealed, you can keep them in the fridge and eat them over the next few weeks.  Otherwise, solidly sealed jars should keep for ages in a cool, dark space.

For more detailed canning information, I find the Bernardin site is an invaluable resource.

Note: You’ll notice I don’t boil my brine before adding it to the jars.  This is how I’ve done my pickled beans for three years running, and I find they stay extremely crisp and have had no problems with pickles going bad.  The important part seems to be the amount of salt and the 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water in each jar.  If you feel more comfortable using a hot brine, by all means, go ahead.

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.

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