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Monday, September 13, 2010

Risotto Milanese with Spinach

I've been really busy with school. I hope to catch up on my blogs soon!
This risotto is good but time-consuming.

20 ml. veg oil
20 gr. butter
½ minced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
125 gr. Arborio rice
500 ml. stock
Pinch of Saffron

Up to 30 ml. 35% cream
1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese

20 gr. baby spinach leaves (tear if necessary)

Sweat onion and garlic in oil/butter in a pot over medium heat. Heat up stock in separate pot; don't boil it, just so it's warm. Add uncooked rice to onion/garlic and stir to coat. Add saffron to stock.  Add 1/3 (~175 ml) of stock to risotto and stir. Reduce till 1 Tbsp of stock is left in pot. Then add next 1/3 of stock. Reduce again to 1 Tbsp. Add last 1/3 of stock and reduce down to 3-4 Tsp. Season.
Add spinach and stir. Add cream and cheese and stir.
What makes this risotto 'Milanese' or 'Milan style' is the inclusion of saffron. Saffron is THE most expensive spice in the world. It costs around $1500/lb. However it is very flavourful and a small container will last you a really, really long time. You will likely never need more than a couple strands for any recipe.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


If you don't like scones there is something really wrong with you and I don't know if we can be friends.

Makes approx. 18 x 2”scones
Bake at 385f in a convection oven for approx. 8 ~ 10 min. or at 425f in a conventional oven for approx. 10 ~ 12 min.

3 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. sugar
2½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
6 oz. cold butter
1 c. (approx.) buttermilk
3 oz. raisins (optional)

1 egg
1 tsp. cream

Sift dry ingredients together. Cut up the butter into pieces no smaller than ¼". Make sure the butter is cold! Using the very tips of your fingers, literally rub the butter in to the flour mixture. You want to squish the butter between your fingers. Add raisins here if wanted. Add in ¾ of buttermilk to start and mix with your hand. Add rest of buttermilk as needed and mix. Gather in to ball and add more milk if necessary. Place in saran wrap or a Ziploc bag and place in fridge for approx. 20 min.
Dust your work area and roll it out to ½ inch thick. Cut out with circular cutter, or just shape with your hand. Place on lined baking sheet. Brush eggwash on. Bake.

Scones are so versatile. You can really put anything in them. You can make them sweet or savoury. If you want something sweet, add raisins, or currants, any sort of dried fruit would work. For savoury, chives and cheese are amazing.  Just watch that you don't over bake. They shouldn't be a dark golden brown, more of a just browned colour. I would say the ones in the picture are fairly close to being over done.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New England Clam Chowder

15 gr. butter
20 gr. salt pork
50 gr. onion, finely minced
30 gr. flour
650 ml. fish stock (150ml should be cold, 500ml should be warmed)

100 gr. potato, small dice
100g (1/3 small can) of clams with the juice
(Up to) 200 ml milk
50 ml 35% cream

Add butter to pot with salt pork over medium heat. Place in onions and stir occasionally until the onions are translucent (a.k.a. sweating). Turn heat off and add flour to the pot, and mix to mashed potato consistency. Place flour mixture in a new bowl and add in cool stock. Whisk well; there should be no lumps. When all is dissolved add in the warmed stock and mix. Place back in pot on high, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Turn on to low for 15min; after 10, add potatoes and clams. Turn heat up and season with salt and pepper. Add ~150mls milk to start but do not let boil. Add cream. Season to taste, and add the rest of the milk if you want.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cranberry Pumpkin Loaf

It's almost pumpkin season!

Makes 1 -  23x13x8cm (9x5x3”) loaf pan
Bake at 330f in a convection oven for approx. 35-45 min. or at 350f in conventional oven for approx. 50- 60 min.

1 + 2/3 c. all purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
½ c. sweet butter (also known as unsalted butter)
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 c. pumpkin puree/canned pumpkin
¼ c. orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla essence
1 c. fresh/frozen cranberries
Butter and flour your loaf pan. Cream butter and sugar in your mixer. Sift dry ingredients together. Roughly chop the cranberries (squish first for easy chop). Add egg to the mixer slowly, in small amounts (should be at least 4-5). Remove bowl from mixer; add pumpkin, OJ and vanilla and fold in. Add dry ingredients but do not over mix; so mix until you don't see any flour and stop. Add in cranberries before dry is fully mixed.
For a neat garnish, mix ½ cup icing sugar with a little bit of water and stir. It should drip off your spoon in a nice steady stream. Drizzle over loaf.

This loaf is amazing. If you're not a cranberry fan, either reduce the amount or omit. I find a reduced amount would work. Their tartness really adds to the loaf.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Buttermilk Pancakes

I love breakfast, don't you?

150 gr. all purpose flour
10 gr. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt                       
20 gr. melted butter, room temp.           
approx. 275 ml. buttermilk          
1 egg

Whipped butter rosette, orange sections, berries, icing sugar, syrup or mint

Combine dry ingredients and sift in a large bowl.  Combine butter, buttermilk and egg.Whisk the wet ingredients in to the dry. Let sit for 5-10min.
If you're feeling saucy, now would be the time to cut any fruit you're serving it with.
Heat vegetable oil in large sauté pan on medium heat. Using a 2 oz ladle spoon out batter in to pan. When they are ready to flip there will be gas bubbles on top and the nice brown colour underneath.

Don't have any buttermilk handy? Making your own is so simple. For every one cup of milk in the recipe, add one tablespoon of vinegar. So this recipe calls for 1 and 1/8 cups of buttermilk -- that means just over one tablespoon of vinegar. At waffly bits like 1/8 the ratio isn't that important.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Orange Date-Walnut Muffins

Makes approx. 12 muffins
Bake at 350f in a convection oven for approx. 12- 18 min. or at 375f in a conventional oven for approx. 15- 20 min.

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
2/3 c. light brown sugar (lightly packed)
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tsp. orange zest
1/3 c. orange juice
2/3 c. buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 Tsp. melted butter
2/3 c. chopped dates
2/3 c. chopped walnuts
Sift dry ingredients (cinnamon and up) together, excluding the brown sugar unless it's really clumpy. Slice dates in half and cut into quarters. Zest and juice an orange. Make sure you chop the zest if you need to, so you aren't eating long strings of orange. You can supplement with store-bought OJ if you really feel like it. Melt butter in a small saucepan over the stove and combine with orange zest/juice. Mix nuts and dates into dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients (OJ and down) and combine. Place in a lined muffin tray by the spoonful. Place into oven. Should be springy to touch when done.

Don't know what zest is? It's the coloured rind of an orange or any citrus fruit. Once you hit the white stuff, it starts to get really bitter and you don't want to eat that. It's fairly easy to remove, you can use any sort of grater with small holes or a microplane. Again, just make sure you chop it really small if you intend to be ingesting it in food. Long strings like in the picture look nice on the plate but not coming out of your muffin.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Potato Leek Soup

With fall upon us, here's a super simple soup recipe.

30 gr. butter
100 gr. onion, small dice
150 gr. Leek, sliced
400 gr. Potato, ½ inch cube
1100 ml. vegetable stock                 
Garnish with 35% cream and minced parsley

Clean and slice all the vegetables. Slice the leek as small as possible. Slice potato in half, then in to thirds or fourths lengthwise depending on the size, then dice. Place the potatoes in a bowl of water.

Place butter in pot and let melt. Add onion and leek and coat with butter. Season with salt and pepper. Turn heat down and (optional) place a cartouche over top for a couple min. Add potatoes and stock. Simmer for 30-35min. Potatoes should be squishable when done. Pour ~half into food processor using ladle or use an immersion blender straight in the pot. Blend for couple minutes and strain through a mesh strainer if you care about it being completely smooth. It should still be hot at this point so season as needed and serve. If not, heat back up on the stove.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Almond Blueberry Biscotti

Until I made this I didn't know how yummy biscotti could be. 

Bake at 330f in a convection oven for 18-25 min. or at 350f in a conventional oven for 25-30 min.

½ c. unsalted butter
¾ c. castor (aka super fine) sugar
2 large eggs
2 c. + 2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ c. sliced almonds
¼ c. dried blueberries (roughly chopped)
1 Tbsp Armagnac or ½ Tbsp vanilla

Cream sugar and butter with a mixer at about medium speed. Crack eggs into separate bowl and whisk to break the yolks. Sift baking powder and flour together. Add eggs to creamed mixture slowly, allowing to mix thoroughly each time. Add in almonds and blueberries. Add flour mixture in two stages, blending in between. Add brandy/vanilla with second stage.
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Scale out mixture and divide in half. Place half onto floured surface and roll into log. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with other half. Chill in fridge for a minimum of 20min. Place in oven.
Should be springy to touch when done and then place on a rack to cool. Slice with bread knife in to ½ in pieces. Place back on to tray and space out. Place back in to 200-250f oven for 15-20 min. This is the key to a crunchy biscotti.

Biscotti seems like something that could be hard but is actually ridiculously easy.

Biscotti uses the creaming method. How can you tell? Aside from the recipe actually using the word 'cream', it will always be combining sugar and butter, and then adding eggs.

Tomorrow will be another cooking lesson. Any requests?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Easy Fried Rice

This makes enough for at least 2 servings.

20 ml. vegetable oil
30 gr. ham, julienned
1 green onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. carrot, diced and blanched
1 Tbsp. celery, diced and blanched
2 cups cooked rice
10 ml soy sauce
1 egg

The cooked rice is simple. It can be leftover rice in your fridge or whatever rice you have hanging around in the pantry. Cook according to its own directions.

Let's process the carrots and celery. Peel and square carrot, and chop in to 1/4" cubes. Slice celery in half, in half again and slice into cubes like the carrot. Blanching is straight forward; drop celery and carrots boiling water WITH A STRAINER, a mesh one will work the best. If you don't you will be there forever scooping out carrot and celery. Blanch for ~2min. Drop into a bowl with ice water (also known as an ice bath) and cool completely. This stops the cooking process. Place into small bowl with paper towel so they dry. If you want to add peas it's the same procedure. With frozen peas, only blanch for about 30 seconds. With fresh peas, I'd say about a minute or until they're a beautiful green colour.

Square off the ham as best you can and julienne 1/8in thick. A piece of ham the size of lunch meat is the best size. Slice green onion.  Crack egg into bowl and whisk just to break the yolk.

Add oil into a saute pan and let heat on medium high. Add veggies and ham into pan. Spread around the pan with a spoon. Cook for about a minute and season with black pepper. Add rice and season with salt now if desired. Toss and stir the mixture. Create little hole in the center of the rice mixture and pour egg in. Stir egg, careful not to mix with the rice yet. When the egg is fully cooked stir through. Add soy sauce and stir.

That's it! This something I learnt the first week of my cooking classes. It was the most stressful thing in the world at the time, and now it would probably take half an hour at the most.

I'm going to alternate every day between cooking and baking recipes. Does anyone have any requests? I have about 30 weeks worth of recipies, and every week we usually made two things per class. I also know a lot about cooking terms, different cooking utensils and cooking techniques. Would those posts be interesting?
I wanted to post about pokemon but I'll go with pokeGaga instead.

Fun Fact: this is actually close to her Pokerface outfit but with fins.

Cool huh?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Morning Glory Muffins

Makes approx. 11 muffins

Bake at 325f in a convection oven for 15-18 mins. or at 350f in a conventional oven for 18-20 mins.

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt

1 cup peeled/grated carrot
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped nuts
¼ cup coconut (unsweetened)
½ med. apple - peeled/cored/grated

90 gr. eggs (approx 1½ eggs)
125 ml. canola oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla

Preheat oven and line muffin tins.
Add flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl and sift. Combine apple and carrot with nuts, raisin and coconut in a separate bowl. Can place eggs, canola oil and vanilla in to a small bowl if desired. Combine the apple/carrot/nut mixture with the dry mixture and fold lightly. Add eggs/canola/vanilla and continue to fold mixture, careful not to over mix. Measure by the spoonful into liners and bake. Let cool on wire rack ~5-10 min and remove.

These muffins are very dense but very healthy. They taste absolutely delicious and they're great for breakfast. The key is not to over mix -- mix until the flour is gone and that's it. It's okay if it's lumpy. This type of mixing is literally called the muffin mixture. The principle of it is mixing the wet with the dry until the dry is absorbed.

The first time I made these muffins, mine were greasy as all hell.  The reason was most likely because I delayed putting them in the oven. Something else to watch out for, but they were still delicious.
dat ass.