Everyone has someone on their Christmas list that has everything/wants nothing. The Unrefined Olive, located at 151A Second Avenue in the Glebe and 499 Terry Fox Drive in Kanata, has the answer for just those people. You can check out their website and also find them on Facebook and Twitter.
With the holiday season fast approaching and lots of entertaining to do, most of us have at least one vegetarian to feed. This Roasted Cauliflower recipe was in Chatelaine magazine and can be a great main course for the veggie at the table and a side for the meat eaters.
The ingredients are cauliflower, red pepper, onion, diced tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, thyme leaves, Parmesan, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, sugar, salt and cider vinegar.
Prep time is about 20 minutes and cooking time is an hour. This is an easy meal that is unbelievably filling and will serve lots of people. The recipe calls for the tomato mixture to be puréed before serving, but I skipped that step to make it even easier.
The recipe can be found on page 158 of the Autumn 2015 issue of the LCBO’s Food & Drink magazine, or check it out online here – Autumn Sangaree.
For each drink the ingredients are 1 oz whiskey, 2 oz Merlot, 1/2 oz simple syrup, 6 pitted cherries, lemon and pepper. Luckily we had both simple syrup and pitted cherries from a class we took at the LCBO a while back. Their classes are great and also make great Christmas presents! You can find out more about them here – LCBO Learn.
What is almost more remarkable than the fact that I made pumpkin pie and pastry from scratch, is the fact that I carried all the ingredients home on the bus.
Note to self: you cannot carry a pumpkin on your back, not even if it’s in your knapsack, because it’s too round.
After carrying all that home, and because the pastry recipe calls for carbonated liquid, I started off with a glass of champagne.
5 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 lb. lard
1 cup 7-Up, Gingerale or Sprite
Mix the ingredients in a bowl that has a lid. Start by mushing the lard with a fork and then add the other ingredients. Put the lid on the bowl and shake vigorously until it forms a ball – about 5 – 6 minutes. So this is a bonus – you get a little exercise to help address that pound of lard. This recipe makes 6 – 8 pie shells.
Note to self – you won’t last 5 minutes, so get out the wooden spoon and stir.
2 cups puréed pumpkin (add more if needed)
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar (loosely packed)
1/8 cup pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup evaporated milk
Unbaked pie shell(s)
Slice the pumpkin into wedges and bake at 350° for 1 hour. When cooled, peel the rind and purée the pumpkin. You might need to add a bit of water to it. Blend the sugar, salt and spice into the purée.
Heat the evaporated milk until just about boiling then set aside and let cool for 2 minutes. Add the eggs to the milk and beat. Then blend the milk/egg mixture to the pumpkin purée. Pour into an unbaked pie shell (or shells).
Bake at 450° for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300° and bake for another 45 minutes.
Here’s the recipe in pictures with some notes about what went wrong.
Note to self: pastry shrinks while it’s being cooked so add a little more to the edge, but not so much that the lard drips out, forms a small pool of grease on the bottom of your oven and sets off your smoke alarm.
Note to self: started cooking at 3:30…took first pie out of oven at 7:30…4 hours for a piece of pie? Really?
With all that pumpkin purée I made 3 pies, 12 tarts and 6 mini pumpkin cheese cakes (just add the purée mixture to some cream cheese, put into mini ramekins and refrigerate). And I’m quite sure I will never have the urge to do this again.
We’ve been on holiday for the last couple of weeks, so we’re re-posting one of our favourite cooking posts. We’ll be back soon!
Creative Cooking from Sydney’s Kitchen…
Our recipes are from The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods cookbook, by Sara Forte. Sara puts a lot of her recipes online at Sprouted Kitchen, so you may choose not to buy the book. But you absolutely should buy the book – it has lots of information about cooking for both beginner and experienced cooks, with a lengthy section about ‘Ingredients and Tools’. And you’ll find out about variations on different foods in the recipes.
We made the Stacked Watermelon Salad, Roasted Tomato Soup and White Sangria – great recipes for this time of year.
The fixins’ for the watermelon salad…
The second recipe is the Roasted Tomato Soup, which is on Sara’s website.
Putting together the white sangria….
You can follow Sara on Twitter @sproutedkitchen and she sends out a tweet when she puts a new recipe on her website.
The meal was great, especially the sangria which we got into before dinner was served, and that rarely happens…
Because Irene had such a long and dry week and complained about it, I made her dinner. The recipe is from the Chubby Soul food blog that my friend Lisa introduced me to. There are lots of recipes to choose from and I picked the Squash, Potato & Goat Cheese Gratin with fresh herbs for this post. The recipe is easy to throw together in a few minutes but, to speed up the process Kalen, the creator of Chubby Soul, recommends using a mandoline slicer. I don’t have a mandoline so I used a chef’s knife which worked just fine. Be sure to go to the Chubby Soul website to to see all the recipes.
Together with a green salad, this is a perfect vegetarian meal!
Another Ottolenghi, Plenty More Recipe!
For this recipe (follow the link and you’ll find it on the Ottolenghi website) you’ll need a pomelo, star anise pods, brussel sprouts, cinnamon sticks, lemon juice, sugar, shallots and cilantro.
I used a honey pomelo and it was white, not the pink colour shown in the recipe. Neither of us had ever heard of, or used a pomelo before and were happy to find them here in Ottawa. I got one at Cedars & Co. Food Market in Old Ottawa South and it cost $2.50.
Cedars & Co. by the way, is a great little store and they sell absolutely everything, from fresh fruit and vegetables to all kinds of nuts and spices, like you’d find at Bulk Barn, to pet food and environmentally friendly cleaning products. They even have wiper blades at the front! Check them out online and definitely drop in next time you’re in the neighbourhood.
Since then I’ve seen pomelos at the larger Independent Grocer I often shop at, so maybe they are becoming more readily available.
There’s not a lot of taste to it at all by itself, but combined with the syrup it’s yummy. In a pinch, grapefruit might be worth a try as a substitution but it would definitely change the taste of the dish.
It took some time to get the pomelo ready – you really do need to tear it apart – cutting won’t work, but cutting the inside membrane off makes it easier. I got the hang of it but it’s a bit time consuming. As we’ve discovered, Ottolenghi recipes aren’t necessarily what you’d call a quick meal.
Once the syrup is cooled, it gets added to the pomelo.
Then it’s time to roast the sprouts and shallots. I used fewer shallots because I’m not a big fan of onions. Yotam loves onions so he often puts lots in his recipes. Into the oven they go –
This already looks sssoooo good!
Once the sprouts are cooked and cooled, you’ll discard the cinnamon and star anise pods from the pomelo and add the roasted sprouts and shallots and cilantro. And voilà!
This dish is really best to eat the day you make it. That being siad, I happily ate the leftovers for the next two days.
In December we went to an evening seminar at the Rideau Street LCBO to learn about mixed drinks. (The LCBO has great classes at great prices for anyone interested in food and drink – you can check them out here.)
Our guide/guru/bartender for the evening was Union 613 co-owner, Ivan Gedz. We learnt so much from Ivan that night that – mostly that making a good drink is not a simple process, so let someone else do it.
If Ivan looks familiar, that’s because when you look up the word ‘hipster’ in the dictionary, you’ll see his picture there. No definition – just a picture of Ivan.
One of the best tips of the night was Ivan telling us to use big ice cubes because they don’t melt as fast as regular or small ice cubes, so they don’t water down the drink and they keep it colder longer. As luck would have it, Chapters is carrying some dandy large ice cube trays these days. They come in a package of two and cost $12.
Union Local 613 is owned by Ivan Gedz, Matt Fantin, Darren Flowers, opened in July 2012, and is located at 315 Somerset St. West (corner of O’Connor). The atmosphere is perfect – dimly lit with lots of candles in mason jars everywhere and very cool light fixtures. Bessie Smith was playing when we arrived.
The drinks are small masterpieces and they take a while to prepare. Between the five of us, we had Dark ‘n’ Stormy, Reading Week, Bourbon Lemonade, Hibiscus rum punch, Round Midnight, The Dwight Schrute, and Viva la revolucionne, all in the $10 – $13 price range. These are not small or weak drinks and they taste like nothing you’ve ever had before. Well worth the price.
There’s a speakeasy at the bottom of a flight stairs which is open from Wednesday through Saturday – very tiny and discrete and seats about twenty.
We loved the fact that the water was flowing all night and we never had to ask for refills. There was always two bottles on the table and Ivan and our server, Jessie, kept coming by to pour it for us.
The place was packed on a Tuesday night (in sleepy Ottawa) – reservations are probably a good idea. We sat in the window seat and there was quite a draft coming into the seat closest to the door. If you’re sitting in the window seat, you’ll want to use that spot to pile up some coats.
Great cocktails, great service, great place!
Plenty More Cooking
Not only did we have a great meal, but we discovered that ‘pithivier’ is a french word (Sydney was right about that) and so it’s not pronounced ‘pith-i-ver’ – as we were calling it – it’s pronounced ‘pi-ti-ve-ay’. (And we’d like to take this opportunity to apologize the Francophones and linguists in Irene’s family.)
Starting with lots of different kinds of mushrooms.
…plus crème fraîche, ouzo, parsley, tarragon.
Time to make the salad with pomegranate seeds, parsley, tomatoes and lemons.
You need to blanch the lemons and then toss them with oil and sage and then roast them. So our first picture is of the lemons after the martinis, but before we read the recipe thoroughly.
Our second photo is of the properly-prepared lemons coming out of the oven.
And we weren’t entirely sure if we were supposed to eat the lemons in the salad, or if they were just for adding flavour. So we each ate a few (rind still on), and we all agreed the flavour was amazing.
A glass of California Ridge wine and dinner is served!
This was an incredible meal! So our invitation (wish) is to Chef Ottolenghi – next time you’re in Canada, come to Ottawa so we can cook together! It would be so much fun and we’ll bring the wine 🙂