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Posts tagged ‘Kale pancakes’

The Nine Course Affair

Speaking of birthdays…….

From time to time, the Chef and I like to put on “special dinners”.  Usually consisting of  a several coarse tasting menu.  He does most of the cooking, while I do the arranging, the shopping, the decor and the clean up.  And if I’m lucky, sometimes I actually am allowed to make a dish or two myself!

 

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First Course:

Seared Tuna, Avocado and Red Pepper Sushi

I have to admit, the Chef does a nice sushi, which is good because I only ever eat sushi at home, what with the shell-fish allergy, eating it in restaurants is just too high risk.

 

Sushi

 

Second Course:

Belgian Endive and Mini Kale Pancakes topped with Smoked Gorgonzola and Candied Walnuts

This was a tasty one.

They don’t show up that well in this picture, but I made mini versions of my famous Kale Pancakes.  Then to add some freshness to it all, they were alternated with leaves of Belgium endive.  Then both were topped with a small slice of smoked Gorgonzola cheese and a chunk of candied walnut.

We often enjoy this as an anytime snack.

 

endive & kale pancake

 

 

Third Course:

Beet Carpaccio Salad with Arugula, Blood Orange and Shaved Boursin Cheese

I really like beets, so I always encourage the Chef to somehow incorporate them into our special dinners.

So on this occasion, he thinly sliced both red and golden cooked beets.  Then topped them with super thing slices of Boursin Cheese, ( I’ll tell you another time about how he does that, because if you have ever dealt with Boursin, you know that slicing it in any way isn’t easy!) slices of blood orange, arugula and then drizzled with a raspberry vinaigrette.

Very refreshing.

Beet Salad

 

 

Course Number Four:

Halibut  “Fish and Chips”

This was a whimsical item.  The “fish and chips” refers to the halibut being roasted with grated yam on top and then drizzled in a balsamic dressing.   The yams form and nice crust (chips) and keep the halibut moist (fish) and then vinegar on top.

Halibut

 

 

Course Number Five:

Spinach and Pine Nut Stuffed Chicken Breast with roasted Celeriac Puree and marinated Red Cabbage

I hate to be judgemental, but I think this one was my favorite dish of the night.  The chicken was moist and flavourful, the celeriac both sweet and earthy at the same time and the crunch sourness of the cabbage just all really worked well together.  Oh and I didn’t even mention the delicious grainy mustard sauce in the title ( made it too long to look good on the page)!

 

Stuffed chicken

 

Course number six:

Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad

I actually got to make this course myself.  It is a favorite of mine to make and to eat and it often shows up on our special dinner menus.  But I can’t take the credit for it.

It is blatantly stolen from the menu at celebrity Chef Michael Chiarello’s Napa Valley restaurant, Bottega.

We tasted it there awhile back and I was determined to recreate it.  But luckily for me, they were generous enough to just post the recipe on-line!

So please do try it out for yourself.  It is surprisingly wonderful.

Brussel sprout salad

 

Course number seven:

Mediterranean Lamb & Bell Pepper Kebobs with Cous Cous and Kaffir Lime Leaf Scented Demi-Glace

It is a little joke we have with the birthday guest.  Inevitably whenever we go to her place for dinner, she serves lamb!  So it only seemed fitting that there should be a little lamb on her birthday party menu. The startlingly delicious item in this dish was the Kaffir lime leaves.

They don’t really show in the picture but they were in the sauce.  At this point in the evening ( course seven) sticking one’s fingers in the food and pulling out the lime leaves and sucking on them was clearly NOT frowned upon.  What a delightful taste, the tart lime flavour mixed with the luscious demi glaze.

 

Lamb

 

Course number eight:

Cheese & Apple

It seems we were just too delirious by this point to actually remember to take a picture.

We had retired to the lounge for a little reprieve before moving on to desert but just wanted to add this extra little treat to the mix.

Norwegian Ski Queen cheese, is just a delightful thing to try.  Although it is a cheese, it would remind you more of a really rich version of those caramel square candies that we used to get a Halloween. Perhaps those crossed with butter or some other unbearably delicious creamy substance.  You really do need to try it.  We find it in the speciality cheese section of most major grocery stores.

So our eighth course was slices of Ski Queen matched with slices of Ambrosia Apples lightly dusted with fresh cracked black pepper.

Really nice.

( No Photo Available )

 

 

Course number nine:

Raw Chocolate Tart topped with Pomegranate accompanied with fresh chunks Pineapple and Chocolate dipped Candied Ginger.

I also got to make this one!

If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I like to startle people from time to time with my “raw” dishes.  So after a somewhat decadent night so far, I thought why not toss in something a little healthy to end the evening and leave us feeling good about ourselves!?

 

Cake

 

It was a very successful evening.  Good times all round.

Stay tuned for when the next one happens.  Who knows, YOU might even get invited!

 

Thumbs up

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Curried Kale Pancakes with Maple Glazed Onion topped Eggs!

Now I  know that all of the experts say that the key to a good food blog is enticing pictures of the dish that pull people in to read further and maybe even attempt your dish.

But I made something so delicious for brunch today, that I just had to tell you about it immediately.  I wasn’t even thinking that I would write about it because I had no idea it would be so good.   But then we gobbled it down and I never got a chance to take any pictures!

Hopefully just my description of the item will be enough to do the trick for you!

As anyone who has been following this blog for any length of time knows all too well,  I am a big fan of kale!  And that I like to use it in untraditional places.  Case and point in my kale pancakes.  But I have to say that this recipe is one of most looked at postings on this blog.  And in fact, if you Google kale pancakes, it is the first item listed!  On ALL of the interweb!!

So this morning I felt like making some eggs, but was out of bread for toast and it is a bit of a dreary winter Sunday so I didn’t feel like going out to get any.

What to make?  I didn’t really feel like anything too sweet………of course the kale pancakes!

So I whipped up a batch of the pancake batter, only I changed it up a bit and actually this version is completely Vegan.

Into the blender went:

  • 2 whole cloves fresh garlic
  • about 2 cups worth of ripped kale leaves, stems removed
  • 1 cup plain almond milk
  • 1 cup ( or more till you achieve right consistency) chick pea flour (or flour of your choice)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp curry powder

Whiz that all up in the blender and then let sit a bit.

Meanwhile, heat up your skillet ( I used two at a time to move things along quicker).

Once they are ready, add a bit of butter or oil of your choice and make your pancakes as you normally would.

Keeping the cooked ones warm in a low oven.

Once your pancakes are all cooked, use one of the skillets to caramelize an onion.

When it is well caramelized, douce it with a generous glug of good maple syrup!

Meanwhile, in the other skilled, fry up as many eggs as needed.  I did them to a nice “over easy” so that when you put them on top of the pancake and cut into them, the nice creamy yoke will ooze all over.

When ready to assemble, place pancakes on the bottom, then over easy eggs and then top with the maple covered onion!

Oh MAN was that good!

And if you were so inclined, feel free to add a little bacon or sausage to the equation and some extra maple syrup on top and you will have an impressive brunch item indeed!

I really wish I had a picture for you, cause it was THAT good!

Kale

Beet Bread – Happy Fall

I believe that once in a while a person should share their failures and not just their triumphs.

It makes one less intimidating.  And especially when it comes to cooking, for all those people who think they can’t cook things and that those of us who cook a lot always get it right!

And for those people, like me, who don’t always get on too well with recipes and just figure it is okay to “wing it”, hopefully you can learn from the mistakes.

I think this might be the case with my “Beet Bread”.

Beet Bread006

I saw some somewhere, on one of the many blogs or newsletters that I get and thought, “I could make me some o that!” as I have long been a fan of hiding innocent vegetables in places they might not otherwise be found.

KALE PANCAKES

I looked up a bunch of recipes and they all seemed rather involved, as bread in general can sometimes be.

Because we are after all talking actual bread with yeast and a crust and not cakey loaf like  BANANA BREAD  or what have you…..

So I decided to do it the lazy way and just use the old faithful POT BREAD tried and true recipe but toss in some beet!

Seemed a no brainer.

I started by adding to the mixer:

  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water

Then while they were getting to know each other, in a blender or food processor squish up:

  • peeled raw beets cubed  ( enough to yield about a cup of puree)
  • 1/2 cut of warm water

Beet Bread001

Now here is where  I think I got in trouble because I probably had about two cups worth of squished beet, which turned out to be all together too much.

Beet Bread002

Once the yeast mixture starts to foam, add in:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups flour

The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups warm water.   So I had 1/2 cup in with the yeast,  1/2 cup in with the beets and so then there was still a 1/2 cup to go……which I added but probably shouldn’t have.

I would say, add in the beet mixture after the flour is well mixed in and then just add the remaining water gradually making sure your dough doesn’t get too wet.

Then, as per the original recipe, plop the dough in a bowl and cover it with clean film plastic wrap and put it somewhere safe for 12 – 18 hours.  I always just pop it in the oven out of the way.

Beet Bread003

I find doing the prep in the evening gives you nice bread for breakfast!

So when it is time, pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees and only when it has reached full temp, pop your cast iron pot with the lid into the oven for 30 minutes till it gets smokin hot.

Meanwhile, dump your dough on to a well floured board and knead a little.

This is where I really got in trouble!   When I took the dough out it was literally swimming in liquid.   So I had to keep adding more and more flour to the board and rolling and turning it in, to try and dry it out.   Not really sure how good that was for it.

Beet Bread004

Then cover with plastic and leave sit until your pot has heated.

Then VERY carefully remove the pot from the oven, take of the lid and plop your dough into the pot, cover it back up and bung it back in the oven!

Bake for 30 minutes, then take off the lid and bake another 15 minutes.

I think mine needed to be baked just a little while longer because it seemed a bit gummy in the centre.

Then let cool on a rack till it is well cooled, but doesn’t have to be cold.

Beet Bread005

I was very surprised when I cut it open only to find that the tell-tale beet pink was only on the outside!  And then inside it just looked like some sort of dark, regular homemade bread.

The pictures I saw of other beet bread seemed to be pink all the way through.

Beet Bread008

I ended up toasting a few pieces before we ate it, because it just didn’t seem quite done.

But it tasted just fine.   Although not “beety” at all, just pretty much like any other homemade whole grain bread.

Beet Bread011

And it was particularly good with some cream cheese and a bowl of soup!

I do think I will have to try again.

My new favorite toy

I just LOVE this thing!!

The Chef got it for me for Christmas and now I use it all the time!

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I originally wanted it so I could make flat breads, Chapati and home made tortillas. I’d been making them in the regular skillet but sometimes it is too hard to get the lifter or spatula under them at that angle.  But this, with no real edge, makes it so easy!

But it also works just great for making pancakes, like kale pancakes, or otherwise!!

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And then, what’s really great, it that when you are done, you can pile the pancakes on the griddle  and keep them warm in the oven, because it is all cast iron, no worries about melting any handles!!

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And clean up is a snap, because we all know that we NEVER use soap on our cast iron products!!  Just give it a good scrub in hot water with a good stiff brush, dry it immediately and you are back in business!

My suggestion is you pick yourself up one of these.  You will be amazed at how handy it is!!

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Pantata?

Or perhaps we might call it a Fritcake perhaps? What we have here is a cross between a Frittata and a Pancake!

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Pancake015

Quite by chance of course. It started off innocently enough.  I was going to clean out my fridge and whip up a nice little week night supper of Frittata and salad but realized after it was too late, that I simply didn’t have enough egg.

I had already sautéed up all of the other ingredients and was ready to go.  What to do?  Instead of the “several” eggs that I needed, I found that I only had two!

So instead I used those two eggs to whip up a batch of pancake batter, unsweetened, so a “savory” pancake, if you will.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Start by going through the fridge and taking out all the little containers of stuff and you didn’t want to waste but didn’t get around to using.  For instance, we had:

  • cooked sausage
  • cooked cauliflower
  • roasted peppers

Then I added some fresh:

  • sliced mushrooms
  • chopped onions
  • chopped green onions
  • fresh parsley

And get those all sautéed up together.

Pancake006

Meanwhile whip up a batch of your favorite pancake batter ( or try this one).

Pancake008

Once the left overs and veg are all cooked up, pour the batter all over them.  Then give the pan a good swirl and a jiggle to make sure that the batter has gotten down into every nook and cranny.

Pancake010

Cook on the stove top on medium heat until the whole thing stops looking jiggley  or look for those tell-tale pancake “bubbles”.   Now if you are highly skilled and want to attempt to turn it over.  Go for it!  But I was not that ambitious and so I popped it into the oven for a few minutes till it looked properly cooked.

Then I took it out, put the oven on broil, topped the cake with a good sprinkle of grated cheese and a some smokie paprika and shoved in under the broiler till the cheese got nice and melty!

Pancake011

Serve with a nice side salad of veggies and you are in business!!

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Pancake013

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Those of you who visit regularly or have been following along, know that I am a big fan of the savory pancake!

I just think that it makes such a more interesting side dish than plain ol rice or potato.  And I find them so particularly good when accompanied by a “saucy” dish because they suck up the juice and are so comforting.

The first ones were the KALE pancakes.   A particular favorite because I like to hide greens!

Then there were the Roasted Tomato pancakes, where was pretty much the kale pancakes with the addition of sweet roasted grape tomatoes.  Also a hit around here.

And then of course there was the Spinach Crepes stuffed with Mascarpone cheese which were just simply decadent.

This time I’ve made sweet potato pancakes.

Now I don’t want to argue with anyone, because there is much debate about which is which and this argument is perpetuated by restaurants who call “yam fries”  sweet potato fries!!

Just so we are straight:

  • YAM – big gnarly tuber with brown skin and dark orange flesh
  • Sweet Potato – looks very much like a yam only it has light ( almost yellow) skin and flesh

So I peeled, diced and boiled one large sweet potato.  Then drained it and mashed it like you would regular potatoes.  Only don’t add any of the butter and milk and what have you.

Although, if on the off chance, you ARE the kind of person who has left over mashed sweet potato in the fringe WITH all the butter and milk then those are perfectly fine to use.  I just didn’t want you to go to all the trouble.

In a blender add:

  • 2 cloves of garlic and or 2 green onions ( rough chopped)
  • mashed sweet potato once they have cooled.

Blend those together then add:

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (or whole wheat, spelt etc whatever you are into)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg (optional if eggs aren’t your thing)  just add 3 tsp of baking powder instead
  • 1 1/2 c. milk  ( I use almond but any milk will do)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Also feel free to add a little bit of  say ground cumin or chili flakes to zing it up a bit.

Then in a non-stick skillet or whatever your favorite pancake pan is, pour in dollops of batter, wait for the bubbles to appear then turn them over!

Keep the cooked ones warm in the oven until you are ready to serve.

We had them for our Sunday dinner with some roast and veg.

Yum-ee.

Salmon and pancakes

So put them all together and what do you get?

We have “What we had for dinner”!

However this would make a really good brunch or lunch too.

Start with the roasted tomato pancake as the base, top with salmon, add some healthy greens and then drizzle with a little left over salmon cooking juice and you have yourself a lovely meal.

Maple ginger salmon with roasted tomato pancakes

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