Dutch Baby with Apples and Apple Butter

If you’ve never had a Dutch Baby, you’re really missing out. A fluffy, baked pancake, usually cooked in a cast iron pan, this is what all breakfast foods wish they could be. When I spied both apples (from Hall’s Apple Market) and Apple Butter (from Barkey’s Apple Orchard) in my winter Farmers’ Feast basket from the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, I knew right away this was what I wanted to make. I enjoyed it with maple syrup, though my patient, taste-testing husband was really happy to slather his portion with more apple butter. Either way, it’s a fantastic breakfast treat!

The Dutch Baby - as light, flavourful baked pancake filled with apples and apple butter - is kind of the champion of breakfast foods.

The Dutch Baby – as light, flavourful baked pancake filled with apples and apple butter – is kind of the champion of breakfast foods. It’s deceptively light yet satisfying.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) butter
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) Apple Butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
  • Apple Butter and/or Maple Syrup for serving

Method

  • Preheat oven to 425.  Place butter in a 9” cast iron pan. Add apple slices then put the pan in the oven to heat and partially cook the apples minutes while you are making the batter.
  • If the apple butter is extremely thick (like peanut butter thick), heat it gently and briefly in a heatproof dish in the microwave, so it softens and becomes a little thinner in consistency. Stir and set aside.
  • In medium bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer or hand whisk then add the milk, apple butter, vanilla and sugar and beat to blend thoroughly.
  • Add flour to egg mixture and beat until smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the hot, buttered, apple-filled cast iron pan and return it into the oven.
  • Reduce oven heat to 375F and bake for about 20 minutes, until the pancake is puffed and golden.
  • Cut into wedges and serve immediately with apple butter and/or maple syrup on the side.

 

Serves 2

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Cavena Nuda (Oat Groats) Risotto with Squash

Oat Groats, Naked Oats or Rice of the Prairies … three names for one of the newest darlings of the Canadian farming scene: Cavena Nuda.  It’s an amazing variety of hull-less (naked, get it?) developed by researchers at Agriculture Canada and now grown across the country, in places where rice could never flourish. This grain looks and cooks like rice, but has a much more impressive nutritional profile along with a chewier texture and nutty flavour. High in fibre and protein, they’re gluten-free and a good source of iron. Castor River Farms at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market is a great local source – they call it “local rice”, in fact. For this winter Farmers’ Feast dish, the squash came from Bryson Farms, the shallot from Roots Down Organic Farm and the Hillbilly Cheese, a more flavourful alternative to Parmesan, came from Canreg Dairy. Use this recipe as a starting point and add in your favourite vegetables to make it your own! The omnivores, vegetarians and vegans in your life will all thank you.

Hull-less oats, also called oat groats, Cavena Nuda, Rice of the Prairies or local rice, is a delicious and nutritious alternative grain. It is great in soups and makes delicious risotto as well!

Hull-less oats, also called oat groats, Cavena Nuda, Rice of the Prairies or local rice, is a delicious and nutritious alternative grain. It is great in soups and makes delicious risotto as well!

Ingredients

  • 1 small squash, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) cubes
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups (750 mL) vegetable stock *
  • 1 large or two small shallots, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 cups (375 mL) oat groats or Cavena Nuda
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Hillbilly or Parmesan (use a non-dairy cheese for vegan version)
  • Additional grated cheese for garnish
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

* purchased, low-sodium vegetable stock is fine, but it’s really easy to make your own! Combine 1 shallot, quartered, 1 carrot, scrubbed and chopped with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Strain and refrigerate until needed.

Method

  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • In a small roasting pan, toss the cubed squash with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the olive oil. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 – 30 minutes, until squash is tender and edges are starting to caramelize.
  • Transfer roasted squash cubes to a bowl and set aside until ready to prepare risotto (can be made up to 8 hours ahead).
  • For risotto, heat remaining olive oil in a medium sized pot, over medium heat. Add chopped shallots and sauté for 2 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Add Cavena Nuda and stir to coat grains well with oil; cook for 1 minute to lightly toast the Cavena.
  • Add the vegetable stock to the pot and partially cover with a lid.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook at a simmer until oats are tender but still a bit firm (like al dente pasta) – about 45 minutes. If most of the liquid gets absorbed, add a few tablespoons of water so you can maintain some liquidity (I like to serve this dish a little on the ‘soupy’ side).
  • When Cavena is tender, add roasted squash and grated cheese to the pot; stir gently to combine well. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Serve the risotto and remaining broth in heated soup plates; garnish with chopped parsley and a little bit more cheese.

Serves 3 – 4.

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Carrot, Turnip and Apple Salad with Maple-Miso Dressing

When many people hear the word miso, the first thing that springs to mind is soup. Although miso certainly does make for very delicious soup, it is a versatile product that can be used in so many other ways. Like white and yellow misos, red miso is a paste made of fermented soybeans, often with the addition of rice, barley or other grains. The longer it gets fermented, the darker in colour it becomes, and the flavour deepens as well. Red miso adds a terrific touch of umami – sometimes called the fifth primary taste after sweet, salty, bitter and sour – to any dish. I like to describe umami as a savoury, earthy flavour, and it’s one that appeals to my tastebuds a whole lot.  Almost all the ingredients for this raw, crunchy, flavourful salad came from the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, thanks to my wintertime Farmers’ Feast challenge. The miso and sundried daikon came from Jambican Studio Gardens; the apples and cider vinegar were from Hall’s Apple Market; Roots Down Organic Farm supplied the carrots, turnip and shallot and the maple syrup was from Maple Country Sugar Bush. This miso dressing recipe would also be great on chicken or fish; you could even dilute it with stock or coconut milk to make a very quick and delicious bowl of broth.

Who says a salad has to include greens? This crispy, crunchy bowl full of goodness dresses up winter produce with a sweet-savoury dressing that packs a great flavour punch.

Who says a salad has to include greens? This crispy, crunchy bowl full of goodness dresses up winter produce with a sweet-savoury dressing that packs a great flavour punch.

Ingredients

  • 5 teaspoons (23 mL) red miso
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) hot water
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) maple syrup
  • 5 teaspoons (23 mL) cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) freshly grated gingerroot
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) finely minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) finely minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) canola oil
  • 1 – 2 white turnips, peeled and grated (enough for 2 cups / 500 mL grated)
  • 3 – 6 organic carrots, scrubbed and grated (enough for 2 cups / 500 mL grated)
  • 2 small apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • Crispy garnish ideas: sundried daikon, or your favourite nuts/seeds

Method

  • In a small (1 cup / 250 mL) jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine miso and hot water. Stir to blend well.
  • Add Dijon, maple syrup, cider vinegar, ginger, shallot, garlic and soy sauce. Cover with the lid and shake vigorously until well blended.
  • Add sesame and canola oils; cover and shake until emulsified.
  • Put grated vegetables and apple slices into a serving bowl. Drizzle dressing over top and toss to coat salad evenly.
  • Top with crispy garnish of your choice and serve immediately.

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side dish.

With just a bit of grating, slicing and shaking, this colourful salad comes together in just a few minutes.

With just a bit of grating, slicing and shaking, this colourful salad comes together in just a few minutes.

 

 

Posted in Fruits and vegetables, Salads, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sweet and Sour Orange Marmalade Shrimp

This dish conjured up all sorts of culinary memories for me. The sticky, sweet and sour, slightly salty sauce reminded me of the westernized Chinese food I occasionally got to enjoy as a kid. Working with lovely, pink-hued Argentine shrimp brought me right back to the excitement I felt as I learned to cook seafood in my late teens. Shrimp are so easy to prepare and serve – the one caution I would offer is not to overcook them. Coating them in cornstarch before a very quick trip through the frying pan is a great way to make shrimp both tender and crispy. I encourage you to look for Argentine pink (or red) shrimp; aside from their unique colour, they have a great texture and a sweet flavour that reminds me a little of lobster. These shrimp are best served over rice.

Orange marmalade is a great base for this sweet-and-sour, sticky and slightly salty sauce - a perfect flavour combination for tender, buttery-tasting shrimp.

Orange marmalade is a great base for this sweet-and-sour, sticky and slightly salty sauce – a perfect flavour combination for tender, buttery-tasting shrimp.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3.5 mL) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) finely grated orange zest
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) finely grated gingerroot
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) dried red pepper flakes – or more, to taste
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) orange marmalade
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) honey
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) cornstarch
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 pound (454 g) Argentine pink shrimp, thawed, peeled and dried on a paper towel
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) canola oil
  • Garnishes: Sesame seeds, additional sliced green onion tops and grated orange zest
At first glance, raw Argentine shrimp might appear to be cooked, thanks to their pink hue, but the flesh will turn more opaque and shrimp will curl up as they are cooked. Note that these tender, flavourful shrimp cook more quickly than other varieties.

At first glance, raw Argentine shrimp might appear to be cooked, thanks to their pink hue, but the flesh will turn more opaque and shrimp will curl up as they are cooked. Note that these tender, flavourful shrimp cook more quickly than other varieties.

Method

  • In a small bowl, combine the orange juice and 3/4 teaspoon of cornstarch, stirring until mixture is smooth. Set aside.
  • Heat the 2 teaspoons of canola oil in medium pan or skillet over medium heat. When it is warm, add the orange zest, garlic, ginger, green onions and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
  • Add marmalade, honey and soy sauce to the spice mixture and cook, stirring, until it is bubbling (about a minute).
  • Give the orange juice and cornstarch mixture a quick stir and add it to the marmalade mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened (about 1 – 2 minutes).
  • Remove sauce from heat and cover pan to keep warm.
  • Place the 1/3 cup cornstarch in a clean plastic bag with the pinch of salt. Add dry shrimp to the bag and twist bag closed. Shake gently to thoroughly coat the shrimp with cornstarch.
  • Heat remaining canola oil in very large frying pan or wok over medium heat until shimmering. Fry shrimp for about 2 – 3 minutes, flipping once, until they are darker in colour and have curled up a bit.
  • Quickly drain shrimp on a paper towel lined plate then add them to pan with the marmalade sauce and toss gently to combine.
  • Divide the shrimp among two serving plates which each have a bed of rice on them.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds, sliced green onions and grated orange zest.

Serves 2.

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Smoky Texas-style Chili

Have you heard of Hiyak? Neither had I, until two lovely little parcels of Hiyak sirloin from Lanark County’s Tiraislin Fold showed up in my Farmers’ Feast basket, courtesy of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market. It’s a cross between Highland cattle and yak; the sirloin cuts were lean with just a nice touch of marbling throughout. I decided to transform the meat into a household favourite – Texas-style chili. What differentiates most Texan chili recipes is that cubes of meat are used instead of ground; typically beef but occasionally pork. Onions are a must; I used the biggest shallot I’ve ever seen, from Roots Down Organic Farm. While some purists would argue that tomatoes and beans don’t belong in Texas-style chili, I put them in because I love them…and because I had beautiful black turtle beans from Jambican Studio Gardens and roasted tomatoes from Bryson Farms in my bountiful basket. A packet of Applewood chips from Hall’s Apple Market sealed the deal on making my first-ever smoked chili; it’s an experiment I will definitely be repeating.

Smoking the meat prior to making the chili gave this version a great added depth of flavour.

Smoking the meat prior to making the chili gave this version a great added depth of flavour.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup (60 mL) dried black turtle beans
  • 2 cups of apple or other wood chips (for smoking the meat)
  • 1 pound (454 g) hiyak or beef sirloin
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) canola oil
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups roasted tomatoes and their juice
  • 1/2 to 1 ancho chili pepper (dried poblano), ground (to taste)
  • 5 teaspoons (7.5 mL) powdered cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) chipotle chili pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 cup (12 to 250 mL) beef broth
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons (15 to 45 mL) cider vinegar (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sour cream (to garnish)

Method

  • Soak the black turtle beans overnight in 2 cups of water.
  • Soak the wood chips for 30 minutes in a bowl of water.
  • Drain the water off the soaking beans and transfer the beans to a small saucepan with 2 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil and cook over medium-low heat for 30 – 40 minutes, until beans are tender. Drain and set aside.
  • While the beans are cooking, drain the wood chips and transfer to a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil; fold up edges to make a packet. Pierce holes all over the top of the packet. Place directly on top of burner of gas barbeque and preheat barbeque to very hot.
  • As soon as packet begins to smoke, reduce heat in barbeque to medium-low (or, if possible, leave burner under packet on medium-high and turn off other burners).
  • Put hyak or beef on the grill as far from the heat source as possible; close the barbeque lid and leave meat on until packet stops emitting smoke (probably about 30 – 40 minutes).
  • Remove meat from grill and slice into 3/4 inch (2 cm) cubes.
  • In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola over medium heat; add meat cubes and cook till browned on all sides.
  • Transfer browned meat to a bowl; add remaining oil to the same pot. Add onions and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking for 2 minutes more.
  • Return meat and accumulated juices to the pot. Add tomatoes, seasonings and 1/2 cup (125 mL) of beef broth to the meat; stir to combine well.
  • Cook chili for 1 hour, adding more broth as needed to achieve the consistency you prefer.
  • Add cider vinegar to taste, salt and pepper. Let sit for at least an hour before rewarming and serving. Like most chilies, it’s even better the next day.
  • Serve in warmed bowls with a dollop of sour cream.

Serves 3 – 4.

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Corn Flour Biscuits with Maple Butter

One of the first things I learned to bake as a child was baking powder biscuits. They remain a favourite to this day; I love them hot out of the oven, slathered with butter and jam. When I spied a jar of Heritage Corn Flour from Barkley’s Apple Orchard in my recent Farmers’ Feast basket from the Ottawa Farmers’ Market, I had a hunch that special flour would make for very delicious biscuits, and that maple butter (thanks to Maple Country Sugar Bush) would be the ideal topping. I was right on both counts. These flaky biscuits are so easy to make and keep well in an airtight container for a couple of days.

Piping hot corn flour biscuits taste even better when served with maple butter.

Piping hot corn flour biscuits taste even better when served with maple butter.

Ingredients

For the biscuits:

  • 1 cup (250 mL) corn flour *
  • 1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 5 teaspoons (25 mL) baking powder
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon (75 mL) cold, salted butter
  • 1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk

* can substitute with very fine cornmeal but NOT cornstarch

For the maple butter:

  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Method

  • Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Combine the flours and baking powder in a medium bowl.
  • With a grater, shred the cold butter directly into the flour mixture. With two forks, toss the butter and flour together until they are evenly combined.
  • Pour the buttermilk into the flour and butter and quickly stir together with a wooden spoon.
  • Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead it just enough to incorporate all the flour into the dough, which will be soft and shaggy.
  • With floured hands, pat the dough out into a rectangle about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick.
  • Using a three inch (7.5 cm) round cutter or a similar sized drinking glass, cut the dough into seven or eight rounds.
  • Place on the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 13 – 15 minutes or until tops and bottoms of biscuits are golden.
  • While biscuits are baking, put softened butter in a small bowl. Add maple syrup and stir vigorously to blend together, creating a smooth spread.
  • Serve hot biscuits with maple butter on the side. If you’re like my husband, you might also enjoy them topped with a fried egg.
These biscuits are also delicious topped with a fried egg.

These biscuits are also delicious topped with a fried egg.

Makes 7 – 8 three inch biscuits.

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Mini Cheese Soufflés

I have a confession to make. Until recently, I’d never made a soufflé. Those miracles of egg and cheese and air and lightness always intimidated me. How stiff do the egg whites have to be? Will it they collapse in the oven? How the heck do you serve from that large soufflé dish? I decided it was time to address these important questions. Armed with some handy tips from a back issue of Cooks Illustrated, I boldly ventured into my first soufflé experiment – and it was a grand success. Baking the batter in small sized ramekins solved the most vexing problem, that of serving technique. The rest of the credit for this recipe’s success goes to the fabulous, farm-fresh duck eggs from Bearbrook Farm and the delicious Hillbilly Buffalo Milk Cheese from Canreg Station Farm, both of which were in my wintertime Farmers’ Feast challenge basket from the Ottawa Farmers’ Market. Paired with a green salad, these soufflés made for a very scrumptious lunch.

Light and fluffy yet full of flavour, cheese soufflés are surprisingly simple to prepare and make a great brunch or lunch.

Light and fluffy yet full of flavour, cheese soufflés are surprisingly simple to prepare and make a great brunch or lunch.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) butter
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) finely grated cheese (Hillbilly, Gruyere, Pecorino or Gouda)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) butter
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) flour
  • Dash each of paprika, cayenne, white pepper and nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) milk
  • 1 extra large duck egg or two large chicken eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) minced fresh parsley
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) shredded cheese (Hillbilly, Gruyere, Pecorino or Gouda)
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
It only takes a few ingredients to make cheese soufflés - you probably have everything you need on hand!

It only takes a few ingredients to make cheese soufflés – you probably have everything you need on hand!

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • With the 1 teaspoon of butter, grease the inside (bottom and sides) of two 6 ounce (200 mL) ramekins.
  • Sprinkle the 1 tablespoon of finely grated cheese inside the dishes, shaking to coat evenly.
  • Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add flour, paprika, cayenne, white pepper and nutmeg to the melted butter and stir to combine well. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Slowly whisk in milk and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes, whisking often, until it is smooth and thickened.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the 1/3 cup grated cheese.
  • Let mixture cool for 5 minutes, stirring often, then beat in egg yolk(s).
  • Using an electric mixer, beat egg white(s) with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form (this takes about 4 minutes). Add the cheese, milk and egg yolk mixture to the whipped egg whites and whip until fully combined (about 20 seconds).
  • Pour the batter into the prepared ramekins; there should be at least 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) of headspace.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, until tops have puffed up and are turning golden brown. You can test for doneness with an instant-read thermometer; the inside of the soufflés should be 170F.
  • Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.
It's fun to watch the soufflés puff up as they bake.

It’s fun to watch the soufflés puff up as they bake.

Makes two mini soufflés.

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