Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Heavenly Bite

This small but amazing morsel was actually from last weekend, it has been so busy that I am just getting around to writing about it now.

Some of you (and you will know who you are...) will remember me talking about this sandwich.  It all started out with a trip to the Italian Centre and finding a new ham.  Marbled Rye bread with Westfalian Ham, sliced tomatoes topped with German Edam made all gooey and delicious under the broiler.  The Edam had a perfect melting point, the broiler made the cheese melt and then go slightly crispy at the end. Delicious! Juicy ripe tomatoes, salty ham and gooey cheese... who could ask for a better bite?

The next adventure I had was Whole Wheat Carrot Muffins complete with Cream Cheese icing, only because they would not be complete without it! These are a great healthy option for Carrot Cake flavour.  You can hardly tell that there are 2 cups of whole wheat flour and only a 1/4 cup of oil the 1/3 cup of yogurt gives more moisture, they are a heavier muffin but still nice and moist.  The weird thing was that the carrot shreds turned green inside the muffins.  Not sure what happened there but they still tasted the same so I am not too worried.  Here they are for your viewing pleasure.

That is all for now... Happy Times in the Kitchen


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Merlot Lamb Stew

I believe that Valentine's day is about spending time with those that you love; husbands, wives, friends or family it really does not matter.  Fill your heart to the brim with good food, good times and wonderful people.  And that is exactly what we did tonight.

Tonight's dinner was a wonderful dark Merlot Lamb Stew.  It was quite experimental, we cooked it in the pressure cooker adding in random vegetables (carrots, celery, fennel, red onion and tomatoes) and hoping for the best outcome.  We started by caramelizing the red onions then browning the lamb.  Coarsely chopped vegetables and the browned lamb all go into the pressure cooker, add in a bit of Merlot and clamp the lid on.  Now we have about 25 minutes to bake some whole wheat scones.  You know that you will need something to clean up the dark, rich Merlot sauce.  As for a garnish we had lemon and mint infused sour cream (I had no plain yogurt!) and fresh tomatoes with a sprinkling of fresh lemon zest.  The lemon zest gave it wonderful bright citrus notes, the mint was fresh and lively and the fresh tomatoes were cool and refreshing.  It all came together so well at the end.

Here are the pictures for you to enjoy!

Have a Happy Heart Day and enjoy your Family Day long weekend!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's Day is a day of sweets and sweeties.

Here are my sweets! Red Hot Cinnamon Chocolate Crinkles (I have also dubbed these as my Iron Man cookies because of the gold dust that I coated them in).
This recipe is just the Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies from the Martha Stewart's Cookies that I have altered slightly.  I omitted the fresh and ground ginger and doubled the cinnamon, next time I think I would add more cinnamon or else find a way to make it a more prominent flavour.  I also coated some of the cookies in coarse red and white sanding sugar this gives a wonderful crystal like sparkle!

I tried to make a simple fudge... but it turned out all gooey - yes, gooey so no pics of that but I do have more ingredients so I will try it again through the weekend and hopefully it will turn out fudge-y this time. 

Have a wonderful Valentine weekend and enjoy your sweets and your sweetie!


Monday, February 8, 2010

The Pressure is On...

This dinner that I am going to tell you about actually happened last week, but with busy events and so on it has not posted itself and therefore I must do it.  So as the story goes; I have a shiny (very shiny) new pressure cooker never been used and I have been feeling the pressure to make a mighty fine dinner in this shiny new pot.  It was just begging for its debut on my stovetop stage.  And let me tell you... its debut was delightful, delicious and wonderfully tender. If you are hesitant at trying out a pressure cooker, do worry about a thing.  It was super easy and you will be pleasantly surprised.

One little side note: You will soon learn that in my kitchen we eat many different kinds of meat; there is venison (deer, moose, elk), beef, lamb, pork, poultry and hopefully some duck and goose soon as well.  I love to try different meats, they all give such unique flavours.  I believe that everyone should try all different meats before they create an opinion of them, especially venison.

In my shiny new pressure cooker I made Moose Mushroom Stew and here is what I did.
For the mushroom part of this recipe I wanted to use cream of mushroom soup, but I did not have the canned variety so easiest solution was to make my own mushroom soup!

Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large deep frying pan or medium sauce pan, fry 1 large onion (thinly sliced) until golden.  Add 250 g of sliced mushrooms and saute for another 5-6 minutes.  (Try not to over crowd the mushrooms, they will turn nice and golden if they are not too crowded.) Add in 1/4 cup all purpose flour and stir.  Pour in 2 cups of milk and 1 1/2 cups of vegetable stock (I used mushroom stock but any kind of soup stock will work).  At this point you could add on a little bit of dried herbs sage, oregano and thyme would be nice additions. Simmer this until the soup has thickened.
While the soup is simmering, make a dry mixture of 1/2 cup flour, 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder, salt & pepper.  Put all of this in a shallow plate and dredge your stew meat and pan fry until there is a nice golden crust around each stew piece.  Once the stew pieces are all golden add them to the pressure cooker pour in the soup and add in a few handfuls for chopped carrots.  Make sure that you have enough liquid in the cooker and tighten the lid on.  Each pressure cooker maybe a little different so double check the instructions for how often the pressure regulator should rock.  Be aware that your stew will cook very fast, I had to call the cooking 101 hotline (Mom) to find out just how quickly this actually does cook.  It was about 25-30 minutes and I had a perfect melt in your mouth stew.  It was like I had slaved over a hot stove all day, but in reality... no where near that amount of time or effort.  I did however find out that I could have taken my stew off the burner in as little time as 20 minutes.  Something to remember next time.  One thing that I found out that was very interesting was in order to lower the pressure quickly and safely you can run cool water over the lid and the pressure regulator will stopped rocking very quickly.  Cooking 101 hotline told me that it is very important to NOT take off the pressure regulator too early, this could cause a catastrophic explosion in the kitchen and therefore no dinner for you.

The pressure cooker is a weird kitchen gadget and not every kitchen is equipped with one.  But now I am a firm believer that once you have tried it you too will find a spot in your kitchen for this weird and yet amazing gadget.  

That is all for now, I am off to dream about my Valentine Cookies.  I am beginning to think of a new cookie recipe so stay tuned for that!