Thursday, December 19, 2013

Polpette! and the Ile d'Orleans

I didn't know what I wanted to make for dinner until I stumbled upon Staffan Terje's (Barbacco) polpette recipe in 7x7 magazine. Having never made meatballs in my life, I decided now would be a good time to start. Now, I may have never made meatballs myself but I have definitely consumed my fair share and I will say, these were yummy. Terje's recipe is for a Sicilian-style meatball made of pork and complemented by some sweet raisins, bringing a nice lightness to a food that can often be heavy. 
A charming window at the museum, Le Manoir Mauvide-Genest
Some of the charming architecture on L'Ile d'Orleans
I made a half recipe which I think easily would have served 4, there were two of us and we had ample leftovers. To begin, whisk together an egg and a half cup milk in a large bowl, throw in a half cup panko and set the mixture aside for 10 minutes. I then added 1 pound pork along with 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon red chile flakes, 2 cloves minced garlic, a half a bunch of parsley finely chopped, a half cup grated parmesan, a generous half cup of golden raisins, 1/2 tablespoon salt and a generous sprinkling of pepper. 
The sheep and garden at the B&B Dans Les Bras de Morphee
The view of Quebec City from the Ile
 Form the meat mixture into large round patties and then fry until browned on the outside in some olive oil. Once browned, set aside and make the tomato sauce, I made a version of Terje's, found here. Put the meatballs in a baking dish and cover partially with the tomato sauce. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. I served mine over linguine and sauteed chard finished with some fresh lemon zest for a little brightness. (Note: The original calls for pine nuts but I chose to omit those, up to you)

The final course of the deliciously decadent breakfast at Dans Les Bras de Morphee
View from Dans Les Bras de Morphee

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Oh Canada - Une Tarte Tatin

Mont Royal Park in Montreal
The boat house in North Hatley
It's been much too long since I've posted anything but better late than never, I guess. I just wanted to share a few photos from the first leg of our Canada journey and to accompany the photos I made a yummy autumnal tarte tatin. I hope you enjoy the photos and the recipe (adapted from Smitten Kitchen). 

Casa Bianca - our lovely b&b in Montreal

North Hatlley in the Eastern Townships

I think the key to this tarte tatin is making your own dough - it is so buttery and flaky and caramelize-y and just YUM. The original recipe uses a food processor but as I don't have one of those I turned it out by hand and it came out just dandy. To begin mix 1.5 cups flour and 1 tablespoon sugar together. Cut in 10 tablespoons of chilled butter until the mixture resembles very coarse meal (with some butter pebbles). Then drop in 3 to 6 tablespoons ice water (I generally end up using 5ish) just until your dough comes together (don't overwork it). Roll out the dough so that it will cover whatever pan you are going to cook your apples in (I go with my grandma's cast iron skillet). Then cover with plastic wrap and set it to chill while you make the filling. 

The beautiful fall colors in North Hatley
For the filling:  Cut up a pan-full of apples (peeled, cored and quartered) I used 4 enormous honeycrisp apples and then 1 extra for later, so 5 total. Melt a stick of salted butter (I like the salt factor in this sweet dessert) in your skillet of choice. Remove pan from heat and stir in 1 cup granulated sugar. Spread the sugar mix evenly in the pan and then arrange your apples in the pan so they are snug up against one another (they shrink in their initial cooking so you can later fit in your extra apple, or two). Once positioned, return the pan to high heat and let bubble away for 10 to 15 minutes, until you get a nice dark caramel color. Then flip all your apple slices (so each side gets nice and caramel-y) and add in your extra apples to fill out your tarte. Cook over high heat for another 5. 

Notre Dame du Montreal
To finish: Place the chilled pie crust on top of your apples and tuck in the edges. Pop into a 375 degree oven for about a half an hour or until your crust takes on a nice golden hue, et voila! Let your pie rest for a half hour or so and then turn out onto a plate and admire.

Lake Massawippi

Monday, July 22, 2013

Fresh Corn Griddle-Cakes

A simple salad to accompany the corn cakes

Returning from a night away, I wanted a simple meal, so I threw a pork shoulder in the oven with some roughly chopped veggies and a can of beer and let it cook away for the rest of the day. Then, I complicated things by not just cooking up the fresh ears of corn but deciding to make corn cakes instead - the good news: they were tasty. 

To make corn cakes: Shuck and shave off the kernels of 3 ears of corn. Saute half of an onion, diced, in a little bit of butter until translucent and then add in the corn. Cook for a few minutes until just barely tender. Set aside. Combine 1 cup cornmeal, 1/2 cup flour, 1 tbsp honey, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp baking powder and a crack of pepper.  In a separate bowl whisk together 1 1/4 cup of buttermilk and two eggs. Add the dry ingredients to the wet until just combined. Fold in the corn mixture and one fairly finely chopped jalapeno. Batter done! Drop the batter by the teaspoonful into a hot pan coated with a smidge of butter. Fry until crisped and golden. Goes well with pork, avocado, salad and a beer. 
Included are a few shots of the lovely beach cottage we stayed in in Santa Barbara.