Friday, February 27, 2015

Hardy-Stout Beef Stew

Hardy-Stout  Beef Stew

Thinking of creating something flavourful for dinner? Hardy Stout Beef Stew is a classic recipe that will warm your bones against the winter chill. This recipe is paired with a VQA Pinot Noir in order to complement the richness of this tomato-based dish. For a vegetarian alternative, marinade pieces of portobello mushroom instead of beef, and for celiac allergies; you can substitute an equal amount of Lapsang souchong brewed tea instead of the stout and remove the flour. This tea adds an incredible smoky flavour to the stew. 

Alcohol Pairing: Konzelmann Pinot Noir

What do you Need:

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs stewing beef
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
1 tsp. ground pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
½ c Sinha Stout
1 cup tomato puree
½ c water
1 tsp. coarse salt
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
3 medium sized potatoes, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 tbsp. Pinot Noir
1 tsp. flour
2-3 tbsp. parsley, coarsely chopped

How to Make it Happen:

1. Cut beef into bite size pieces and place in a medium bowl. Marinade the meat in the stout beer and add dark brown sugar, black and cayenne peppers. Place in the fridge to marinate for a minimum of one hour. 

2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute the onions and garlic until the onions become translucent. Next, add the meat and brown the pieces on all sides. Then, add the tomato puree and cook for 5-7 minutes.

3. Pour the remaining marinade into the skillet and bring its contents to a boil, allowing all of the caramelized meat juices to lift from the skillet.

4. Transfer the contents into a saucepan, adding water, carrots, potatoes, salt and a drizzle of olive oil. 

5. Cover the contents with a lid and simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the red wine while the stew continues to cook and simmer for 1.5 hours. Once the meat is tender, add flour to the dish to thicken the stew and continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes. 

6. Season the stew to taste and scatter the top with chopped parsley.

Monday, February 16, 2015

French Toast Casserole


 French Toast Casserole

I can remember my father making us signature brunch classics on long weekends when we were all kiddlets growing up. French Toast was a favourite that would incorporate his special dash of icing sugar and strawberries for presentation. The dish always looked beautiful. This French Toast Casserole is a new twist on a brunch classic recipe! The smoky nuttiness from the toasted pecans with warm, Canadian maple syrup is simply magical. The crunch from the pecans with the softness of the egg soaked bread incorporates a wonderful mix of taste and texture that can be enjoyed with a Stiegl Grapefruit Radler.

Alcohol Pairing: Stiegl Grapefruit Radler

Yields: 6-8 Servings

What you Need:

8 slices of Brioche bread (thickly cut)
7 eggs
1 tsp. Almond extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
¼ cup toasted pecans
¼ cup of Maple syrup
1/3 cup milk or heavy cream
1 peach (sliced)
1/3 cup blackberries
3-4 tsp. butter

How to Make it Happen:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and toast the pecans in a separate pan for 8-10 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, mix all seven eggs together with the almond extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup and milk or heavy cream and set aside.

3.  Prepare the casserole dish by using 1-2 teaspoons of butter and spreading an even layer into the pan (reserve the remaining portion of butter for later). Place the pan in the oven for 2-3 minutes to warm the dish before arranging the bread.

4. Soak each individual slice of bread into the egg mixture and organize the pieces into the casserole dish, ensuring pieces are tightly arranged with limited space between slices.

5. Once the bread is arranged in the dish, pour the excess egg mixture into the pan to ensure all slices are coated. Arrange the fruit on top of the casserole and add the toasted pecans.

6. Take the reserved portion of butter (1-2 teaspoons) and cut into small pieces, arranging on top of the French Toast to ensure the dish remains moist as it cooks.

7. Bake the French Toast Casserole for 35-40 minutes or until toast is golden and fruit is warmed. Set aside to cool before serving. Serve with warmed maple syrup and remaining toasted pecans.    

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Food Pairing with Whiskey at the LCBO

Nicole here again, as you know I have a serious passion for cooking. This week's activity: Food Pairing with Whiskey at the LBCO with Chef, Jamie and Mariah from Algonquin College. The event was held in Ottawa to showcase Canadian Rye and highlight the flavours in creative food pairings. The first complementary pairing was a Cranberry Bread Pudding with Brie & Whiskey Glazed Bacon. It was paired with a Maple-Rye cocktail made with cider and ginger beer. I enjoyed the combination of the sweet bread pudding with the savoury, smoky bacon and the creamy brie. The flavours in this dish were enhanced by the maple rye that was used to glaze the bacon.

Cranberry Bread Pudding with Brie & Whiskey Glazed Bacon 

Prepping Cranberry Bread Pudding

Pumpkin-Spice Waffle with Apple flambe &
Mascarpone Creme Fresh 

The second food pairing was a Pumpkin Spiced Waffle with Apple Flambe and Mascarpone Creme Fresh. This was served with a rye cocktail made with vermouth and citrus. I enjoyed the contrast of the moist, spicy waffle with the sweet richness of the apple garnish. The citrus notes in the rye cocktail contrasted with the sweetness of the marinated apples. Truly, a sweet treat to enjoy on a crisp, autumn afternoon.  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pumpkin Spice French Toast

Pumpkin Spice French Toast

Searching for the perfect brunch to serve over a long autumn weekend? A twist on a classic recipe,  Pumpkin Spice French Toast has the essence of pumpkin pie but is light and fluffy. The secret ingredient is the fancy molasses which adds depth and tremendous flavour to the French Toast. Should you choose to enhance this recipe, use heavy cream instead of milk and roast a handful of pecans to garnish the dish with warmed maple syrup. Its the breakfast of champions!

Alcohol Pairing: Poderi Elia Moscato D'Asti (Italy)

What you Need:

8-10 slices of artisan bread
1/3 c pure pumpkin puree
1/2 c milk (1 or 2%)
3 large eggs
1tbsp. pure maple syrup
1/2 tbsp. fancy molasses
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1-2 tbsp. unsalted butter
Additional cinnamon for garnish

How to Make it Happen:  

1. Whisk together eggs, milk and pure pumpkin puree in a medium bowl. Add maple syrup, molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom and continue to whisk until all ingredients are well incorporated. Cover the mixture and chill in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.

2. Next, cut the artisan break into thick slices and set aside. Place one tablespoon of butter into a frying pan and place on medium heat until the butter has melted.

3. Once the pumpkin mixture is chilled, place the liquid in a shallow dish.

4. Then, take the sliced bread and dip each piece into the pumpkin mixture, coating each side evenly before placing them into the frying pan.

5. Cook the bread for 2-3 minutes on one side and sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Flip the slices over and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, sprinkling the second side with cinnamon.

6. Plate the Pumpkin Spice French Toast and serve with warmed maple syrup and smoked bacon.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Eggplant Spaghetti (Spaghetti bill- Brungiel)

Cooking with Auntie Mary

Cooking with family is one of the most rewarding experiences, especially when a number of different generations are in the kitchen cooking together. Today, spaghetti bill-brungiel with Auntie Mary. This is a rich tomato sauce with fresh plum tomatoes, eggplant and anchovies. While many may not enjoy the saltiness of anchovies, they are the secret ingredient in this recipe, adding a depth to this dish that enhances the tomato sauce. 

Eggplant Spaghetti (Spaghetti bill-Brungiel)

Alcohol Pairing:  Malbec

What do you Need
5 cloves of chopped garlic
1 apple, chopped
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 c cold water
8 plum tomatoes, boiled and peeled
4 tablespoons of tomato paste
1/3 c black olives, whole
4-5 anchovies, roughly chopped
3 small eggplants, thinly sliced
1 tsp. fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 cube fish stock
1 pkg. of spaghetti

How to Make it Happen

1.  In a large saucepan, add chopped garlic and apple together and sauté with olive oil on medium heat for ten minutes until the apple is tender.

2. Thinly slice three eggplants into quarter-inch pieces and set aside.

3. In a separate pan, bring eight plum tomatoes to a boil and remove from heat. Strain the tomatoes and carefully remove the skins. Slice the tomatoes in half and add to the apple and garlic mixture.

4. Next, add water, tomato paste, sliced eggplant, black olives and anchovies and let simmer for 1 hour on medium heat, stirring occasionally. 


 5. Once the sauce becomes thick, add the fish cube and freshly chopped herbs and stir until it is well incorporated in the sauce. Continue to cook on medium heat for an additional 10-15 minutes.

6. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti, following the directions provided.Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain and pour one teaspoon of olive oil to prevent the spaghetti from sticking. Plate the spaghetti and add the tomato sauce with fresh basil or mint to garnish.