mardi 28 janvier 2014

Jalapeño Poppers

Are you hosting a Super Bowl Party and have not yet finished your menu? 
Are you a guest to a party and don't know what to bring?
Do you hate football but love Super Bowl food?
Here's the answer: Homemade Jalapeno Poppers (so much better than frozen, out-of-the-box).

12 jalapos
4 oz cream cheese
1 cup grated cheddar
1/4 ts cayenne pepper
1/4 ts cumin
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 flour
1/2 cup bread crumbs or panko

1. Cut the jalapenos in half. Remove stem and seeds.
2. Mix the cream cheese, cheddar, cayenne and cumin in a small bowl.
3. Fill the half jalapenos with the cheese mix.
4. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
5. One by one, dip the jalapeno halves in flour, egg then panko. Place on the cookie sheet.
6. Bake 30 mins at 350 F or until golden.


mardi 21 janvier 2014

Fennel Tomato Soup

Unlike every child in the United States, I did not grow up eating tomato soup. I only recently discovered the pleasure of grilled cheese and tomato soup.

I borrowed this recipe from the latest book of one of my favorite Montréal chefs, Josée Distasio. In her "Carnet Rouge", she revisits comfort food recipes, including tomato soup.

I changed some of her suggested ingredients and quantities, and the final result was delicious.

3 tbs olive oil
2 cups onion and/or leek, diced
1/4 cup rice
2 cups fennel, diced
4 ts fennel seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth
Salt & Pepper

1. Heat the oil over medium heat, cook onion/leek for 8 minutes.
2. Add the fennel, cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add the fennel seeds and garlic. Stir. Cook for 1 minute.
4. Add the rice, tomatoes and broth. Bring to boil.
5. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
6. Season with salt & pepper.
7. Blend with a stick blender.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, shaved parmesan, croutons or fresh parsley.

dimanche 19 janvier 2014

Pistachio crusted scallops

For New Year's Eve, my friends S and L cooked a delicious meal. So good that I decided to cook it again, a few days later, when W's dad came over for dinner. And again, two weekends later. 
Perfect served with pasta (with some of the scallops dressing), a lemon and vegetable risotto or an arugula salad.

12 large scallops (3 per person)
1 tbs butter, softened
½ cup pistachio, shelled and chopped
Salt & Pepper
Zest of ½ lemon

Dressing (for the scallops)
½ lemon, juiced
1 tbs olive oil
1 ts shallot (or red onion), finely diced

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F.
2. In a small bowl, mix the butter, pistachios, lemon zest and salt & pepper. 
3. In a hot oven-proof skillet, grill the scallops for 1 minute on high heat (until they are golden brown).
3. Remove the pan from the heat, flips the scallops and top the grilled side with pistachio butter.
4. Cook the scallops in the oven for 10 minutes (or less if you use smaller scallops).
5. Plate and drizzle some dressing on top.

lundi 13 janvier 2014

Grated Apple Pie

Who doesn't love pie? This entirely homemade* version is quick to bake, and will definitely impress your guests. The grated apples give the pie a non-traditional look.

*If, like me, you had never really made your own pie dough before, this easy dough recipe will convince you that is it not worth buying a pre-cooked crust. All you need is a manual pastry blender.

  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ ts salt
  • 2 oz cold butter, diced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • cold water
1.     Using a manual pastry blender (or your fingers) mix the flour, salt and butter until it reaches pea-size pieces.
2.     Add the egg, and mix until the dough comes together. 
3.     If the dough is too dry and will not come together, add a teaspoon of water. Repeat, as needed.
4.     Shape the dough into a ball and refrigerate (in a plastic wrap) for at least 30 minutes.
5.     Before rolling the dough, let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
6.     Roll the dough on a floured surface, place in your pie dish, and cut off the extra dough.

Filling (largely inspired by a recipe from Ricardo)
  • 3 large McIntosh Apples, grated (approx. 3 cups)
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • ¾ cups of sugar or 3/4 cups of maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (if using sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
1.     Heat the oven to 375 F.
2.     Peel and grate the apples. Mix the lemon juice with the grated apples right away.
3.     If using the sugar, mix sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch in a bowl.
4.     Incorporate the sugar mixture to the apples.
5.     Pour the apples in the crust. Even out.
6.     Cook for 50 minutes.

If using the maple syrup, skip step 2 and 3 and instead mix the cornstarch and maple syrup directly with the apples. I did not use cinnamon with the maple syrup.