Thursday, 26 February 2015

Roasted Tomato Garlic and Basil Soup

Roasted Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

4-6 Large Tomatoes
4-5 Cloves Fresh Garlic
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
About 2-3 Tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves
1/2 Cup Stock or water

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Slice the tomatoes about 1 centimeter thick, and arrange on the baking sheet. Peel the garlic and place on the sheet with the tomatoes.

Lightly season with salt and drizzle with olive oil. If you want you can turn and toss the tomato slices and garlic on the pan a bit to coat them better in the olive oil.

Roast in heated oven for 20-30 minutes, until browned and slightly reduced in size.

Allow everything to cool for about 10 minutes.

Transfer everything to a blender, scraping everything off the pan.

Pour a couple tablespoons of the stock onto the pan, and scrape off any well browned bits, and "deglaze" the pan. Transfer everything possible to the blender.

Add the fresh basil, and season with salt and pepper. Pulse several times in the blender with the lid securely on until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, or if the consistency isn't right add more stock to thin it out and pulse again, or add a few breadcrumbs to thicken the soup if it gets too thin.

Serve hot or cold or freeze for later.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre

Ingredients:

4-6 Quality Beef fillet like Fillet Mignon or Tenderloin or your choice
Olive Oil
Butter
Pepper (Fresh Cracked if possible)
Salt
3/4 Cups minced Pearl Onions, Shallots, or Onions
1-2 Cups Beef Broth
1/2 Cup Brandy or Cognac

Instructions:

Twenty minutes before cooking remove the steak from the fridge and let it rest on the counter to warm up a bit.

While the steak is resting, heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.

To prepare the steak, pat each fillet dry with kitchen towels and season with salt.  Press the fresh cracked black pepper into all sides of each fillet.

Heat about 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil and butter in the skillet until almost smoking.

Add the steaks to the pan and cook for 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, turn steaks and cook an additional 3-5 minutes. Remove steaks from pan and transfer to a platter. Cover tightly with tin foil. The steaks should be about medium rare when time to serve.

Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet and add the minced onions. Saute until soft and lightly cooked.  Add the beef broth and simmer for about 8-10 minutes.

Stir in the brandy or cognac and cook for about 2-4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and swirl in about 1 tablespoon butter.

Serve the steaks with the sauce poured lightly over the top and if desired, garnish with fresh chopped parsley for some color.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Seriously one of the best steaks I have ever eaten. Paying for really good quality steaks made all the difference.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Crepe Batter

Crepes

Ingredients:

2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Rum
1 Teaspoon Lemon or Orange Zest
1 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Water
1 Cup Flour
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Butter for frying

Instructions:

Heat a skillet to medium heat and add the two tablespoons of butter. Melt the butter and continue to cook until bubbly, and just turning brown. remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

In a blender combine the eggs, rum, lemon or orange zest, milk, water, flour and vanilla.

Add the slightly cooled browned butter to the blender and pulse for about 15 seconds until just combined.

Chill batter in fridge for at least one hour, or over night.

To cook, heat a skillet over medium heat.

Melt about 1/2 Teaspoon butter in the skillet and add about 1/4 Cup batter. Swirl the batter to thinly coat the entire bottom of the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes, carefully turn over and cook an additional 2 minutes.

Fill or serve with bananas, chocolate, berry sauces, whipped cream, maple syrup, cream cheese, mascapone cheese or whatever you can dream of.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

2 + Cup flour (You might a few extra tablespoons depending on what peanut butter you use)
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Peanut Butter
3/4 Cup White Sugar
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs, beaten
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1 Cup chocolate chips (I am very generous with this amount when I make them)

*sometimes I add a little bit less white sugar and make it up some with honey and cinnamon, yummy*

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°F

In a medium bowl cream together the Peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and eggs, set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, the baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar-egg mix stirring thoroughly with each new addition of flour. Stir in  the chocolate chips.

The dough should be pretty stiff now and not too sticky when you handle it. If it is still not malleable, stir in more flour. Once you are happy with the consistency of your dough, Chill in the fridge for at least one hour.

Spoon and drop it on to your un-greased cookie sheet, or roll it into balls that are about one inch in diameter and place either the spooned or rolled cookies about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.

Bake for roughly 12 minutes, and allow cookies to sit on the hot pan out of the oven for an additional two minutes before moving the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. As I said above I do recommend putting the dough into the fridge in between baking rounds, if like myself you do not have a massive oven, because this recipe makes a good pile of cookies at the end.

Enjoy!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Sourdough Bread Recipe

Sourdough Bread

Ingredients:

5/8 Cup water
3/4 Teaspoon Dry Active Yeast (Unless you have a well aged starter mine is still very new)
1 Cup Sour Dough Starter
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
2 1/4 - 2 1/2 Cups Flour

Cooking Spray

Butter

Instructions:

Dissolve the yeast into the water in the mixing bowl of a stand-mixer.

Using the Dough Hook attachment stir in the sour dough starter.

Sift together the flour and salt.

Add about 1 1/2 Cups of the sifted salt and flour blend to the bowl and beat with the dough hook on stir for a few minutes. Add the remaining flour blend in small amounts until a the dough pulls into the center and looks pretty smooth and is tacky, but not too sticky.

Lightly oil a bowl with the cooking spray and turn the dough into the greased ball. Cover with a warm damp clean kitchen towel and set to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2-2 hours, until about double in size.

Turn out risen dough on lightly floured work surface and knead gently for about a minute. Shape into a sandwich loaf or round ball.

Butter the loaf pan of your choice, either a traditional loaf or a round pyrex or other small round bake-ware also makes nice loaves.

Set the shaped dough into the prepared pans and let rise about 1 1/2 hours, or in the fridge over night.

Heat the oven to 450 °F . Once the oven is heated place the loaf in, or take the loaf out of the fridge for 1 hour, before heating the oven and then baking it.

Bake the loaf at for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 400 °F and bake for an additional 20-35 minutes, until golden toasted on the top.

Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Allow to cool at least 20 minutes before trying to slice it.

Enjoy!

Notes:

This was a dream come true! Ever since I read The Little House on the Prairie Books and how they made a sourdough starter to make bread before there was a town around them to buy things at. Sorry but I just don't know enough about trying to maintain my starter yet to try and share how to do it, but google is a very helpful place to get started.

Also worth noting, I tried the sourdough bread recipe from Emeril Lagasse and had terrible results. . . Maybe it might work better for you but I pretty much got a brick instead of bread after trying that recipe.

Side note I am unwell, and typing is and working with pictures is pretty unpleasant right now, so sloppy blogging for a few days until I till feel better, then I will fix and touch things up a bit. This bread recipe was just too yummy to lose before I saved it.