Monday, October 31, 2011

Spicy Garlic Pasta

This pasta will punch you in the face with flavour. I learned to make it from a special woman named Jane Porter. It's a longtime favourite in her family, and now it's a staple in mine.

It's so simple, it's laughable. This is how you make it.


Equal parts:
  • Chopped anchovies
  • Diced banana peppers
  • Finely diced garlic
  • Olive oil
Pasta noodles (we usually use spaghetti or linguini)


Combine the first four ingredients in a frying pan and simmer on very low heat for approximately 20 minutes.

Cook your noodles.

Once all is cooked, combine and add generous helpings of parmesan. Portion into pasta bowls and sprinkle with more parmesan and salt (if necessary).

Next, eat it with your mouth! Enjoy.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Intergalactic Mermaid Crab Cakes‏

These crab cakes earned me the moniker "Stellar Mermaid from Outer Space." It's a badge I wear proudly.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hearty Vegetable & Barley Soup

Okay, I've finished eating my third bowl of this soup, and I'm seriously tempted go for one more. This recipe is a winner, so I wanted it recorded here before I forget what I did!

First, it takes its inspiration from the Cook's Illustrated Farmhouse Vegetable & Barley Soup. (You'll have to sign up for 4-week trial in order to access the recipe.) That said, I changed a few things, so here, for the record, is my version.

  • 1/8 ounce mixed dried mushrooms (I used lobster, chanterelle, and morel)
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley and 4 sprigs cilantro tied together with kitchen string
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 leeks, white parts parts sliced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into cubes
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • 3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups finely chopped kale
  • 2 tablespoons lemon rind
  • 3 tablespoons butter
1. First I ground the dried mushrooms into a powder using my coffee grinder.

2. I then chopped up the carrots, leeks, and celery. I melted some butter in a big sauce post. And the veggies went into the pot with the soy sauce, wine, and some salt. I sauteed them for 10 mins.

3. Next I added all the liquid ingredients (water, tomatoes, and stock), 2 teaspoons of the ground mushrooms, the sprigs of parsley and cilantro, the pearl barley, and the smashed garlic. I brought these to a boil, then turned down the heat a bit and let them simmer for 25 minutes partially covered.

4. At that point, I added the cubed potatoes and the kale, and I let the whole thing simmer for another 25 minutes (testing the potatoes a few times for doneness along the way).

5. When everything was done, I fished out the parsley and cilantro sprigs and the clove of garlic. I also skimmed the scum off the top of the soup because I heard once that this contains bitter elements from the vegetables. I'm not actually sure if this is true or not.

6. And finally, just before serving the I mixed the rind of one lemon with the 3 tablespoons of butter and stirred it into the soup until melted. I know a lot of people would be tempted to skip this last step, but don't. It's so worth it.

And that's it. Pretty much the best vegetable soup I've ever made in my life.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Vegetarian Poutine – The Ultimate Comfort Food

I'm a sucker for poutine. And this, quite frankly, can be tough for a vegetarian. Tonight I set out to create the ultimate, from-scratch poutine. And I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with the results.

The whole thing began with this vegetarian stock recipe. It's the richest broth you'll ever taste, and I defy anyone who doesn't know better to identify its meatlessness. And, it's such a perfect opportunity to use up that last cup of red wine that's been on the counter just a little too long.

Here's how the stock began life:

When the vegetables were happily roasting, I began frying my potatoes. I filled my cast iron pan with approximately an inch of oil and on medium-high gently fried my little potato chunks. (I didn't do a regular fry shape because they break so easily and are kinda a pain to stir, shovel, etc.)

I also cut a bunch of yam into cubes. Coated them in olive oil. And threw in some chopped thyme for fun. These went into the oven until they were done.

When the stock was finished, I put it in a sauce pan, added 1/4 cup of butter, and 2tbsp of cornstarch already dissolved in 1/2c of stock. (I think, although I'm not 100% sure, that a good formula for thickening gravy is: 1/2tbsp of cornstarch for every cup of stock.)

And of course once that was done, I assembled my creation: potatoes, yams, cheese curds, and gravy.

Et voila! Veggie poutine.