Archive for September, 2013

This lasagna from Martha Stewart Living takes a while to bake, but the results are well worth it. It’s also requires a simpler prep than most lasagna, because you just soak the noodles instead of boiling them. The noodles cook all the way through during the baking time. Using sausage also makes things easier, as there is no need to prepare a meat sauce. This dish takes about 40 minutes to assemble. Then you can pop it in the oven and relax for a couple of hours before dinner.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your dried spices do not contain colour or anti-caking ingredients. Many brands of sausage are now nitrite-free. Look for a brand of tomatoes, such as Unico, that are additive-free and buy cheese with no colour added.

Soak dried lasagna noodles in hot water

Grate mozzarella and parmesan cheeses

Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes

Layer the sauce, noodles and cheese and then bake

Tomato-sausage lasagna


12 dried lasagna noodles, uncooked

2 teaspoons (10 ml) olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1½ (7.5 ml) teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) red-pepper flakes

1 pound (454 g) sweet Italian sausage, casings removed

2 cans, 28 ounces (796 ml) each whole peeled tomatoes in puree

Coarse salt and ground pepper

6 cups (1.5 L) shredded shredded mozzarella cheese

¾ cup (175 ml) shredded Parmesan cheese


Fill a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33 cm) baking dish two-thirds of the way with hot tap water. Add noodles, and arrange them in alternating directions to prevent sticking. Let soak while preparing sauce.

Make sauce: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, and red-pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add sausage, and cook, stirring and breaking it up, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and their puree, breaking up tomatoes with a spoon; bring to a boil. Reduce to a rapid simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. (You should have about 8 cups of sauce.) Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Drain noodles, transfer to a baking sheet; dry dish with paper towels. Spoon 1 cup (250 ml) sauce in bottom of dish. Fit 4 noodles in dish (crosswise if using short noodles, lengthwise if using long), overlapping slightly. Cover with 2 cups (500 ml) sauce, 2 cups (500 ml) mozzarella, and ¼ cup (60 ml) Parmesan. Repeat with another layer, then top with remaining noodles, 3 cups (750 ml) sauce, and the rest of mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil, and bake 1 hour.

Remove foil, and continue baking until bubbly and browned, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool 20 minutes. Cut and serve. Serves 8.

From Martha Stewart Living

The fastest way to cook pork tenderloin is to slice it crosswise, pound the slices to a thickness of about ¾ of an inch, and quickly sauté the slices in a hot skillet. The pork remains juicy and tender and has a nice sear. I served the pork with a pan sauce of sautéed shallots, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, fresh rosemary and mustard. Both recipes are from Cook’s Illustrated.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for butter without colour or preservatives and for a brand of balsamic vinegar that contains only naturally occurring sulfites. Many brands of Dijon vinegar contain sodium benzoate or sulfites. I use PC Old-Fashioned Dijon, which contains all-natural ingredients.

Slice pork crosswise and pound to uniform thickness

Sear in a hot pan; don't overcrowd the pan

Meanwhile, saute shallots in butter

Add balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and rosemary; finish with more butter

Sauteed pork tenderloin medallions with balsamic rosemary mustard sauce



1 (5 ml) teaspoon table salt

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground black pepper

1 pork tenderloin, about 1 pound, (454 g), silver skin removed, cut into 1-inch (2.54 cm) slices, each pounded to ¾ inch (1.9 cm) with flat side of chef’s knife blade

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

Shallot-Balsamic Sauce with Rosemary and Mustard

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (60 ml), cut into 4 pieces

2 medium shallots , sliced thin, about ½ cup (125 ml)

1 teaspoon (5 ml) light brown sugar

2 tablespoons (30 ml) water

¾ cup (175 ml) balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons (10 ml) chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon (15 ml) Dijon mustard

Salt and ground black pepper



Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of pork slices. Heat oil until shimmering in heavy-bottomed pan, at least 10 inches (25.4 cm) across bottom, over medium-high heat, swirling pan to distribute oil. Working in batches of no more than six slices to avoid overcrowding, sear medallions without moving them until brown on one side, about 80 seconds (oil should sizzle, but not smoke). Turn medallions with tongs to avoid scraping off the sear; sear until meat is mostly opaque at sides, firm to the touch, and well browned, about 80 seconds. Transfer pork to plate.


Place 1 tablespoon (15 ml) butter to hot skillet; when melted, stir in shallots, brown sugar, and water. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until shallots are browned and caramelized, 7 to 10 minutes; set skillet aside off heat.

While pork is resting, set skillet over medium-low heat and add vinegar; simmer until mixture is slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add rosemary; continue to simmer until syrupy and reduced to about 1/3 cup (75 ml) , about 2 minutes longer. Off heat, whisk in mustard and remaining 3 tablespoons (45 ml) butter, one piece at a time. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serves 2-3.

From Cook’s Illustrated

I usually steam mussels in a covered Dutch oven, so I was intrigued when I saw this recipe in the September-October 2013 issue of Cook’s Illustrated. It suggests steaming the mussels in a roasting pan in the oven. This prevents overcrowding, which can prevent some mussels from opening during cooking. I tried it, and it worked very well; nearly every mussel opened and they were tender and flavourful. This would be a great way to prepare mussels for a larger group of people.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Looks for a white wine with a sulfite level below 10 parts per million and butter than contains only cream.

Wash and debeard mussels

Bay leaves, onion and thyme flavour the broth

Bring the bay leaves, onion, thyme and wine to a simmer on stovetop

Add the mussels to the roasting pan

Cover the pan tightly with foil

The mussels are ready in about 15 minutes

Whisk in some butter

Toss with parsley and serve


1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine

3 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

4 pounds (1.8 kg) mussels, scrubbed and debearded

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) salt

2 tablespoons (30 ml) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

2 tablespoons (30 ml) minced fresh parsley


Prior to cooking, discard any mussel with an unpleasant odor or with a cracked or broken shell or a shell that won’t close.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 500 degrees F (260 C). Heat oil, garlic, and pepper flakes in large roasting pan over medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves and bring to boil. Cook until wine is slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add mussels and salt. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and transfer to oven. Cook until most mussels have opened, 15 to 18 minutes.

Remove pan from oven. Push mussels to sides of pan. Add butter to center and whisk until melted. Discard thyme sprigs, bay leaves and any mussels that did not open. Sprinkle parsley over mussels, and toss to combine. Serve immediately, with crusty bread to mop of the juices. Serves 2-4.

From the September-October 2013 issue of Cook’s Illustrated

When I saw this free-form berry pie on the cover of the August 2013 issue of Chatelaine, I knew I had to make it, even if pastry was involved. I am no baker, but this is very easy to make and received rave reviews. Fresh mixed berries are tossed with brown sugar, cornstarch and salt and then tumbled into rolled-out pastry. You just fold the edges up over the fruit and pop it in the oven. I’ve made this a few times, and each time some liquid from the filling escaped from the pastry, but it does not affect the flavour. Be sure to have some parchment paper on hand for this recipe. Special thanks to Eileen for taking the photos of the finished product!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your butter contains only cream, with no colour or preservatives, and use fresh lemon juice.

Toss mixed berries with brown sugar, corn starch and lemon juice

Roll out the pastry on parchment paper

Tumble the fruit onto the pastry

Carefully fold edges up, leaving top open

Bake until pastry is golden

It's delicious with vanilla ice cream


1 ¼ cups (312 ml) all-purpose flour

1 tbsp (15 ml) granulated sugar

¼ tsp (1 ml) salt

½ cup (125 ml) cold unsalted butter, cubed

4 tsp (20 ml) ice water

1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice

½ cup (125 ml) brown sugar

3 tbsp (45 ml) cornstarch

1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) salt

4 cups (1 L) mixed blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries (strawberries sliced if large)

1 tsp (5 ml) coarse sugar

Icing sugar (optional)


Whirl flour with granulated sugar and ¼ tsp (1 ml) salt in a food processor. Add butter. Pulse until crumbs form. With motor running, add ice water and lemon juice through spout. Continue whirling just until dough comes together. It should not be sticky.

Position rack in bottom of oven. Preheat to 375F (190C). Lay a large piece of parchment on counter. Sprinkle lightly with flour. Pat pastry dough into a ball. Dust rolling pin with flour. Roll pastry on parchment into a circle, about 12 inches (30.5 cm) wide. Pastry will be very thin and edges will be uneven. Transfer parchment and pastry to baking sheet.

Combine brown sugar and cornstarch and 1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) salt in a large bowl. Stir in berries until coated. Tumble fruit mixed onto centre of pastry, forming a 10-inch (25.4 cm) circle. Fold pastry over, just to cover edge of fruit. Centre of pie should not be covered with pastry, and edge will be uneven. Lightly brush pastry with water, then sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake until pastry is golden and mixture is bubbly, 35 to 40 min. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, or cool and dust with icing sugar. Serves 6-8.

From the August 2013 issue of Chatelaine

For brunch, lunch or a light supper—this crustless quiche from the August 2013 issue of Canadian Living would be perfect, accompanied by a green salad. You don’t have to make pastry, and this recipe will also help use up the zucchini in your garden. Be sure to wring out the grated zucchini and wilted spinach very well, so the quiche is not watery.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the whipping cream, goat cheese and Parmesan to make sure they do not contain artificial ingredients, such as colour or preservatives.

Grate a medium-sized zucchini

Saute 3 cups of spinach until just wilted

Wring out zucchini and spinach to remove excess liquid

Wrung-out zucchini and spinach

Mix zucchini and spinach with the remaining ingredients

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown

Goat cheese and zucchini crustless quiche


1 tsp (5 ml) vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups (750 ml) baby spinach

1 zucchini, grated

5 eggs

1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream, (35%)

½ cup (125 ml) milk

1 pinch nutmeg

1 pinch salt

1 pinch pepper

½ cup (125 ml) crumbled soft goat cheese

1/3 cup (75 ml) grated Parmesan cheese


In skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook garlic until fragrant, 1 minute. Add spinach; cook, stirring often, until wilted, 2 minutes. Let cool.

Wrap spinach and zucchini in clean tea towel; twist and squeeze to release excess liquid. Set aside.

In large bowl, whisk eggs just until blended. Whisk in cream, milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper just until combined. Stir in goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, zucchini and spinach. Pour into greased 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate. Bake in 425ºF (220ºC) oven until golden brown and centre is set, 35 to 40 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

From the August 2013 issue of Canadian Living