Archive for September, 2011

Here’s another new find from the Autumn 2011 issue of Food and Drink. We love curry, and I especially like ones that do not use coconut milk, which I find to be very rich and oily. This recipe uses chicken thighs (another plus in my book) and is ready in about 40 minutes. All you do is throw the sauce ingredients into your food processor, brown the chicken thighs, top with the sauce and a little stock and simmer until done. On my stovetop, the thighs took longer than 4 minutes a side to brown – it was more like 8 minutes a side. I used unsalted cashews to lower the recipe’s sodium content. The recipe suggests trying the same sauce with shrimp, which I think would also be very tasty.

Combine curry paste ingredients in food processor

Cover the browned chicken thighs with the curry paste

Add broth and simmer until the chicken is cooked

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use nuts, yogurt and curry paste with no artificial ingredients. I used Astro Original brand Balkan-style yogurt and Thai Kitchen brand green curry paste.

Garnish with chopped cashews and cilantro and serve with basmati rice and Indian-spiced vegetables


¾ cup roasted cashews (salted or unsalted)

1/3 cup plain yogurt

¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro

1 tbsp chopped fresh peeled gingerroot

1 tbsp mild or hot curry paste

1 tbsp brown sugar

½ tsp each salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tbsp canola oil

2 lbs chicken thighs

½ cup chicken broth


In a food processor, blend cashews until finely chopped. Add yogurt, cilantro, gingerroot, curry paste, brown sugar, salt and pepper and process until smooth.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown chicken thighs until very browned, 4-8 minutes a side. Scrape all of the sauce over the chicken with chicken broth. Stir until blended, reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cover. Cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Serve over steamed basmati rice and garnish with chopped roasted cashews and cilantro. Serves 4.

From the Autumn 2011 issue of Food and Drink

Sometimes, you just want roast chicken. Tender, warm, comforting roast chicken. This recipe is from How Easy Is That? the most recent cookbook from Ina Garten (aka the Barefoot Contessa). The chicken is stuffed with lemon and garlic and then placed in a small roasting pan with more lemon wedges and sliced onions. When the chicken is done, set it aside to rest and then add wine, stock and flour to the plan to make a luscious sauce that includes the cooked onions. My chicken was closer to 3 lbs. and took a little over an hour, so I expect a larger chicken would take longer than the 1 hour, 15 minutes cited in the recipe. I used only one onion and 1 ½ lemons.

Place chicken in small pan with onions and lemon wedges

Let the cooked chicken rest while you make the sauce

Add wine, stock and flour to the cooked onions and lemons

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use stock with no artificial ingredients and wine with no sulfites added.

Roast chicken with onion-lemon sauce


1 (4-5 lb) roasting chicken

salt and freshly ground pepper

2 lemons, quartered

1 whole head of garlic, cut in half cross-wise olive oil

2 Spanish onions, peeling and thickly sliced

½ cup dry white wine

½ cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Remove and discard the giblets. Rinse and pat the chicken dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Place two lemon quarters inside the cavity along with the garlic. Brush the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

Place the chicken in a small (11×14-inch) roasting pan. (If the pan is too big the onions will burn.) Place the reserved lemons and the sliced onions in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Pour the mixture around the chicken.

Roast the chicken for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Remove the chicken to a platter, leaving the lemons and onions in the pan. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce.

Place the pan on top of the stove over medium-high heat. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits. Add the stocks and sprinkle on the flour, stirring constantly for a minute, until the sauce thickens. Add any juices that collect on the platter under the chicken and taste for seasoning. Carve the chicken onto the platter and spoon the onions and sauce over it. If the lemons are tender enough to eat, serve them, too. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot or warm.

From “How Easy Is That?” by Ina Garten

The Autumn 2011 issue of the LCBO’s Food and Drink is now out, and, as usual, it contains several recipes I want to try. The first was this Pan-roasted Pork Tenderloin with Spiced Cranberries. It is great. In fact, this method of roasting yielded the most tender pork tenderloin we have ever had. It is important not to overcook the pork – after 12 minutes, check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. When I roasted the pork, the smaller section was done in 12 minutes and the thicker half took another three minutes. The cranberries are flavoured with star anise and cinnamon – we found the sauce a bit tart, so you may want to add some honey.

Cut pork in half crosswise so it will fit into the skillet

You can use either fresh or frozen cranberries - save the rest of the bag for Thanksgiving!

Bloom the spices in the same skillet while the pork is resting

Simmer the berries and juice until the sauce is slightly thickened

Pan-roasted Pork Tenderloin with Spiced Cranberries

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use all-natural stock and cranberry juice.


2 pork tenderloins, about 1 lb. each

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried thyme

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 cinnamon stick, about 2 inches long

1 star anise

½ cup beef stock or broth (I used chicken stock)

1 cup cranberry juice

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

Sprigs of fresh thyme


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim tenderloin of any fat and silver skins that may be partially covering them. Use a small sharp knife to remove these thin white membranes. Slice tenderloins in half crosswise.

Sprinkle pork generously with salt and pepper. Rub into the meat. Sprinkle with thyme. Heat a wide ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and coat the bottom. Place pork in pan and turn often until lightly browned on all sides and the ends, 3 to 4 minutes.

Place skillet in oven and roast, uncovered, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the centre of the meat reads 150 degrees, about 12 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat. Turn pork several times during this roasting. Remove to cutting board and tent loosely with foil.

Return skillet to burner. Break cinnamon stick in half and add with star anise. To toast spices, stir about 2 minutes over medium heat. Then add the broth and scrape up the lovely brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour in the cranberry juice and add berries. Boil gently until cranberries break down a little and sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Slice the pork and arrange on serving plates. Spoon berries and juice overtop. Scatter with a few fresh thyme sprigs. Serves 4 to 6.

From the Autumn 2011 issue of Food and Drink.

We are now back at our Toronto apartment for the fall and winter, so have sadly bid farewell to our barbecue. However, the good news is that we are now able to get fresh fish. For our first meal here, I made Roasted Halibut Tagine from Lucy Waverman’s Matter of Taste cookbook. The fish is coated with a paste of herbs, garlic, lemon juice and spices, placed on top of a sauce of tomatoes and preserved lemons, and roasted. The fish is flavourful, moist and delicious.

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use fresh lemon juice and preserved lemons, canned tomatoes and green olives that do not contain artificial ingredients. Preserved lemons are easy to make, and they add an incredible flavour. However, if you do make them yourself, the process takes about six weeks. I was able to find some at Pusateri’s that contained only lemons and salt.

The fish is marinated in a paste of herbs and spices and then roasted on top of a tomato-lemon sauce

Roasted Halibut Tagine, served with couscous and sauteed zucchini


¼ cup coarsely chopped coriander

¼ cup coarsely chopped parsley

1 tbsp coarsely chopped garlic

¼ cup lemon juice

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp paprika

¼ tsp cayenne

Pinch ground cinnamon

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 halibut fillets (about 6 oz. each)

3 fresh or canned tomatoes, pureed

¼ cup sliced preserved lemon rind

½ cup green olives

Fresh coriander sprigs


Combine coriander, parsley and garlic in food processor and process until chunky.

Add lemon juice, oil cumin, paprika, cayenne and cinnamon and process until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Reserve 2 tbsp spice mixture for sauce. Spread remaining mixture over fish fillets and marinate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine tomatoes, preserved lemon rind and reserved spice mixture.

Spread tomato mixture in baking dish just large enough to hold fish in a single layer. Top with marinated fish.

Bake fish for 12 to 15 minutes, or until white juices appear at edges. Serve fish with sauce and garnish with olives and coriander sprigs. Serves 4.

From Lucy Waverman’s Matter of Taste

This grilled chicken dish from the July 2011 issue of Everyday Food makes a great late-summer lunch or dinner. It calls for chicken cutlets, but I used skinless boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to an even ½-inch thickness. The grilled chicken and vegetables are drizzled with a tasty vinaigrette of vinegar, oil, currants, marinated artichoke hearts and parsley, which looks great on a platter.

If you don’t want to char the peppers over a flame, use the broiler instead. To do this, cut the top and bottom off the pepper. Cut down one side of the pepper so that you are left with a long, unbroken piece. Remove the seeds and ribs. Place the top, bottom and long piece of pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet, skin side up. Place under the broiler and broil under the skin turns black – this can take 10-20 minutes, depending on how close the pepper is to the broiler. Remove from oven and fold the foil up from the baking sheet to cover the peppers. Let steam for 10 minutes. Peel the skin from the peppers and continue with the recipe.

Cut top and bottom from pepper and then down one side. Seed and place on foil-wrapped baking sheet

Broil until the skin turns black

Remove blackened skin and slice into strips

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use red wine vinegar without sulfites, such as Eden Organic brand and marinated artichoke hearts without artificial ingredients, such as Unico brand.

The vinaigrette includes currants, marinated artichoke hearts and parsley

Grilled chicken and vegetables with parsely vinaigrette


2 red or orange bell peppers

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grill

1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into ¼-inch strips

Coarse salt and ground pepper

4 chicken cutlets (1 pound total)

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons dried currants or raisins

1/3 cup marinated artichoke hearts, coarsley chopped

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley


Over a high gas flame, roast peppers until charred, 16 minutes, turning frequently. Transfer to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let steam for 20 minutes. To char peppers under the broiler, see directions above.

Meanwhile heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. Toss zucchini with 1½ teaspoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill zucchini until browned, about 4 minutes, flipping once. Drizzle chicken with ½ teaspoon oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill until cooked through, about 6 minutes, flipping once.

Rub peppers with paper towels to remove skin. Stem, seed and slice into ½-inch strips. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and 2 tablespoons oil, season with salt and pepper. Stir in currants or raisins, artichokes and parsley. Arrange chicken and vegetables on a serving platter and drizzle with vinaigrette. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.

From the July 2011 issue of Everyday Food

The garden is teeming with zucchini right now, so it’s time to get creative. This new find from the September issue of Food and Wine threads paper-thin ribbons of zucchini, summer squash and prosciutto onto kebabs. The kebabs are quickly grilled and served with a mint-lime sauce. This is a tasty and attractive dish that would also work well as hors d’oeuvre.

Use a vegetable peeler or mandoline to thinly slice the zucchini and summer squash

Use two skewers for each kebab

Make the lime-mint sauce

Grill until lightly charred

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use fresh lime juice and prosciutto that is preserved with salt only.

Grilled Squash Ribbons and Prosciutto with Mint Dressing


1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest

¼ cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup chopped mint

2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 medium zucchini, very thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline or with a vegetable peeler

2 medium yellow squash, very thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline or with a vegetable peeler

6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto


Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a small bowl, combine the lime zest and juice with the mint, garlic and the ¼ cup of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Alternately thread the zucchini, yellow squash and prosciutto onto 4 pairs of 12-inch bamboo skewers. Lightly brush the vegetables and prosciutto with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.

Grill the skewers over high heat until the zucchini and yellow squash are lightly charred, about 1 ½ minutes per side. Serve with the mint dressing on the side. Serves 4.

From the September 2011 issue of Food and Wine

When this recipe appeared in an October 2010 issue of the Toronto Star, I thought it was strange that it would be featured in the fall, after the end of tomato and basil season. So I tucked it away in my August 2011 calendar and made it last week. The recipe is based on U.S. chef Scott Conant’s famous spaghetti served in his restaurant, Scarpetta.

This is a delicious dish. Canned and fresh tomatoes are cooked down and then infused with a garlic- and basil-flavoured oil. Add cooked pasta and finish with pasta water, more basil, cheese, butter and oil. Luscious!

Basil-garlic oil is added to the tomato sauce

To peel the tomatoes, immerse in boiling water for 1 minute, then plunge into ice water

Simmer the sauce for 25 minutes before adding garlic-basil oil

Add cooked pasta and finish the sauce with basil, cheese and butter

You can vary the ratio of fresh and canned tomatoes, depending on the season. To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use canned tomatoes that do not contain preservatives, and Parmesan and butter that do not contain colour.

Scarpetta's Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil


Basil-Garlic Oil

¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed

8 basil leaves

Pinch red chili flakes

Tomato Sauce

8 plum (roma) tomatoes

2 cups (500 mL) canned San Marzano (plum) tomatoes with juices

2 tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper to taste


Kosher salt

12 oz (340 g) high-quality dried spaghetti

3 cups (570 mL) Tomato Sauce

16 large basil leaves, stacked, rolled into cylinder, thinly sliced crosswise

½ cup (125 mL) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

2 tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter

¼ cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil


For Basil-Garlic oil, in small saucepan, heat oil, garlic, basil and chili flakes over low heat, 20 to 30 minutes, until garlic starts to brown. Strain; discarding solids. Reserve oil.

For Tomato Sauce, core fresh tomatoes with paring knife. Score bottom of each tomato with an X.

Fill medium bowl with cold water; add ice.

Heat large saucepan of water over high until boiling. Add tomatoes. Cook 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, transfer tomatoes to ice bath. When cool, peel by hand starting from X. Halve tomatoes lengthwise. Remove seeds with spoon or your fingers; discard. Seed canned tomatoes same way.

In medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add fresh and canned tomatoes with juices. Cook 5 minutes to soften. Smash with potato masher. Simmer 25 minutes, smashing and stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in Basil-Garlic Oil. Taste; season with salt and pepper if desired. Makes about 3 cups (750 mL). Refrigerate up to 2 days, or freeze up to 3 months, and use as needed.

To make pasta, fill large pot with water and generously season with salt. Bring to boil over high heat. Add spaghetti. Cook as per package instructions 1 minute less than al dente. Reserve ¼ cup (60 mL) cooking liquid, then drain pasta.

Meanwhile, warm Tomato Sauce in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add drained pasta and 2 tbsp (30 mL) reserved cooking liquid (to add starch and seasoning). Cook 1 minute, tossing pasta and sauce together with 2 wooden spoons (not tongs) by lifting pasta and dropping it back into pan. (This helps introduce air and create a lighter/brighter dish. You can also use the pan-jerking methods that chefs prefer.) Do this until pasta is just tender and sauce, if any oil had separated, looks cohesive. If sauce seems too thick, add remaining 2 tbsp (30 mL) pasta cooking liquid; toss until incorporated.

Remove from heat. Add basil, cheese, butter and oil. Toss until well-incorporated. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

From the October 22, 2010 Toronto Star