Archive for ‘Main course’

May 6, 2011

Rustic Salmon Pie

My daughter baked this one while I was at work, so when I came home, it was all done and ready to eat.

As soon as I set foot in the doorway, I was floored. I just could not believe the smell that was emanating from my oven. I tell you, chocolate cake itself has NOTHING on that one. It was UN-BE-LEE-VA-BLE! I thought I had just died and went to heaven. Seriously, I never thought salmon pie could smell THAT good!

I think it has a little bit to do with the crust. This one is now my official alternative to pie crust. The fact that it was my daughter who made it probably helps too… you see, I think she has a special gift when it comes to making pie crust. Hers is always soooo much better, and this time was no exception. I mean, the thing was almost flaky, despite the fact that it contains close to no fat! I don’t know how she does it, but I sure wish she would share her secret! 😉

As for the filling… oh my yum! All those chunks of tender potatoes, and big pieces of salmon, the subtle taste of the cheese, the occasional crunch from the peas and corn, all this brought together by the creaminess of the potatoes that were mashed with buttermilk and plain yogurt. OOOOH! Wow. I’ve never tasted salmon pie that good before. From now on, for me, THIS, is salmon pie. Let’s just say that never again, I will wonder what to do with that leftover salmon!!!

And you know what the best part is? I think even Mr. Shy Salmon realized just how good a dish he had just served in creating, because this time, he accepted to pose proudly for the camera! YAY!!! (although my batteries did die half-way through the shoot and I had to give them a quick charge… did anybody say jinx?)

I chose to serve this with a super quick and easy fennel salad. I shall give you that recipe in a separate post.

 Ingredients
Serves 6

Crust

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 700g (about 6-7) Yukon Gold potatoes, skin on, quartered
  • 500g cooked salmon
  • 1 cup low fat plain yogurt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 100g sharp cheddar cheese, grated

 

Instructions

Crust

  • Whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk oil, milk and egg; pour over flour. Stir to form fairly smooth dough. On floured surface, knead until smooth, 2 minutes. Press into disc; wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Filling

  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Cook potatoes in salted boiling water until nice and tender. Drain and transfer them to a large mixing bowl.
  • With a potato masher, give them a quick smash but don’t over do it. You want really chunky mashed potatoes.
  • Add plain yogurt, buttermilk, salt, pepper, parlsey, peas and corn. Stir gently until well combined.
  • Very delicately fold grated cheese and cooked salmon into the potato mixture. You want to have nice big chunks of salmon.

Assembly

  • On floured surface, roll out dough to form a 18 inch disc. Fit into greased (brush with olive oil) 9 inch cast iron skillet, letting excess hang over edge.
  • Mound filling in center; lift pastry up over filling, letting it fall naturally into folds and leaving 2-3 inch opening in the center. Brush dough with egg white, sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Bake in bottom third of oven until pastry is golden and filling is steaming, about 45 minutes. Let stand for 10 – 15 minutes before cutting into wedges.

April 28, 2011

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I must admit that I am fairly new to the world of grains. Up until recently, I would only eat white rice and well… more white rice. Basmati, Jasmine, Arborio, shushi, or the very popular guy known as Uncle Ben’s. All of them white!

Then I’d throw the occasional barley in my soup… and I’d have bulgur maybe once a year!

I have to say that the more I discover grains, the more I like them. They have so much taste and texture to them, I am hooked: I want to try them all.

My latest discovery, wheat berries, ranks pretty high on my nomness scale. It’s just so chewy and flavourful, unreal! While it does take a long time to cook, it’s so low maintenance that you can easily make it ahead of time without really disrupting your schedule.

Basically all you need to do is soak it the night before, then cook it in the morning as you get ready to go to work. You don’t even need to attend to it, just let it simmer away while you work at your hair and make-up…  Just don’t forget to put it in the fridge before you leave! Mind you, it just smells soooo good as it cooks that there is very little chance of this happening!

Ingredients
(serves 3-4)

  • 1 cup wheat berries, soaked overnight
  • 2½ cups water
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 4 large zucchinis
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 6-7 button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Japanese soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp Sambal Oelek
  • 45g toasted hazelnuts, chopped
  • 45g low fat cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In a saucepan, bring water, salt and wheat berries to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about an hour, until all water is absorbed and wheat berries are tender yet chewy.
  3. Meanwhile, cut the zucchinis in half and scoop out the flesh/seeds with a spoon. Do not discard the flesh; roughly chop it with a knife and set aside.
  4. Place the zucchini “boats” in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  5. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and cook the mushrooms over medium-high heat until they are nice and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add onion and celery; season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking until the onions become soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Stir in zucchini flesh and cooked wheat berries Incorporate soy sauce, Dijon mustard, pepper and Sambal Oelek. Stir to combine. Add toasted walnuts, adjust seasoning and stuff zucchinis with this mixture.
  7. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the stuffed zucchinis and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the cheese starts to melt and takes a lovely gold color.
  8. Serve immediately.

April 18, 2011

Squash Coconut and Wild Rice Curry

The weather has been so crappy this week-end. Depressingly crappy. It was awfully cold and windy, plus we got rain, hail, snow and everything in between.

I went out for my first run on Saturday and it was so cold, I thought I was going to pass out. Seriously, I had a harder time dealing with the cold than I did with the fact that I was running and my heart was pacing like a maniac and I was totally out of breath. What I wouldn’t have given for a good warm hat and a pair of gloves.

That being said, I’m still fairly happy with my first run of the year. I thought I would go easy on myself and do only 4 km, which I expected would take me approximately 30 minutes. Well, I did it in 25:32! Not bad, not bad.

Now if only it could get warmer out. I’d much rather run on a hot and humid summer day than on a cold and extremely windy and humid day of what seemed like winter!

Mind you, it was the perfect kind of weather for my squash curry inspiration. That one turned out absolutely fantastic! I am not a big fan of “Indian” tasting dishes. Let’s just say curry, turmeric and the likes aren’t spices that you’ll see me use often. But they brought so much flavour to that recipe, without being overly present. I’m glad I decided to add them. The taste of the coconut milk was very subtle and delicate but contributed extensively to bringing all the flavours together, while the hazelnuts added a nice crunch, a lot of depth and, well, an extremely pleasing nutty flavour.

The recipe makes a huge pot, enough for 5 or 6 hungry people. Since there were only 2 of us eating, I have lots of leftover, which means I get to have some again later this week, or maybe even tonight!

And it will probably taste even better now that the flavours have marinated for a while…

YUM! Can’t wait!

Ingredients
(serves 5-6)

  • 1 small turnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 acorn squash, cut in half and seeded
  • 1 tbsp liquid honey
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup wild rice
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  •  75g roasted hazelnuts, chopped

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Put wild rice, salt and water in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, lower heat, cover and simmer until all water is absorbed, about 50 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, mix liquid honey through black pepper until well combined. Brush the inside of the acorn squash with this mixture and put the halves flesh side down in a baking dish with about ¼ cup of water at the bottom.
  • Add butternut squash and turnip to the rest of the spice mixture and toss to coat evenly.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil. Add turnip and butternut squash and spread to form a single layer; drizzle a little bit more olive oil over the veggies and cook in the oven until nice and golden, about 30-40 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking.
  • When squash is cooked, take it out of the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the onion in a large saucepan over medium high heat, until slightly coloured. Add garlic and season with a dash of salt and pepper. To this, add the flesh of the acorn squash and 2 cups water. Bring to boil then simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Purée this mixture in the food processor and return to saucepan (or use a hand blender); add coconut milk, cooked turnip and butternut squash, roasted hazelnuts and cooked wild rice.
  • Stir to combine and ladle into serving bowls.
  • Serve piping hot with whole wheat pita breads