Category Archives: Main Courses

Artichoke and Pine Nut Pesto Ravioli

Right before Christmas some family came to town, and we had a night in at my place where we cooked dinner.¬† Artichoke and Pine Nut Pesto mixed with some ricotta cheese and stuffed inside homemade ravioli, to be exact. ūüôā I had some pasta dough in the freezer, so all we had to do was make the filling and assemble everything.¬† Everyone pitched in and we created an insanely delicious meal.¬† Fun stuff!

We played around with the best way to make ravioli, and settled on using a round ravioli stamp.  Cutting them by hand was messier and just not as pretty.  Since they were big, the trick was not to over-stuff it, and find a good balance of pasta and filling.  I think we nailed it!

Raviolis

Raviolis

We cooked everything up and topped with a lemon brown butter sauce, fresh basil and Parmesan.  No leftovers in sight!

Artichoke and Pine Nut Pesto Ravioli

Artichoke and Pine Nut Pesto Ravioli

Artichoke and Pine Nut Pesto Filling Recipe

1 cup artichoke heart, cooked (canned would be fine, and roughly chopped)
1/8 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
pinch coarse salt
a few grinds of fresh black pepper
1 -2 teaspoon fresh tarragon leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 – 3/4 cups ricotta cheese, to taste

  1. Pulse the first 7 ingredients together in a food processor. Stir in the ricotta and the tarragon and season to taste with more salt and pepper, if needed.

Note: Omit ricotta and serve pesto mixed with spaghetti or spread on some grilled bread for a tasty snack.

Fresh Pasta Recipe:

2 organic large eggs
10 organic large egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and dusting

  1. Whisk together the whole eggs and yolks in a bowl.  Put the flour on a large board or in your biggest mixing bow, make a well in the centre, and pour the eggs into the well.  Slowly bring in the flour using a fork and then knead by hand just a few times or until a nice dough forms.  Add  a bit more flour if the dough is very sticky.  Let the dough rest under a tea towel for at least 10 minutes before proceeding.
  2. Take out your pasta machine.¬† Cut the dough into 8 pieces and roughly form into rectangles.¬† Dust each rectangle with a bit of flour.¬† Starting on the widest setting, put one piece through the machine, dusting with more flour if it’s at all sticky.
  3. Fold the dough over itself and go through again on the same setting (you are essentially kneading and stretching the dough). Repeat this process on each setting, going from widest to thinnest, until you are left with a long, thing sheet of pasta. Be gentle during the process and careful not to tear your sheets.
  4. Repeat the whole process with all the pieces  of dough, laying them on tea towels or your clean counter. Cover with plastic wrap or a barely damp towel.
  5. Add a few tablespoons of filling every few inches to the top of a sheet, and top with another sheet of pasta.  Stamp or cut out your raviolis, making sure the edges are sealed so none of the filling escapes.
  6. Top with sauce of choice.¬† I used a brown butter sauce with a bit of lemon, but I bet this would be great topped with something creamy, as well.¬† Don’t forget the Parmesean, basil and fresh ground pepper to finish it all off!

From:¬† My Father’s Daughter

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Filed under Main Courses, Pasta, Vegetarian

Drunken Soba Noodles

Waaaaay back in December I tried the Drunken Soba Noodles from Sidedoor restaurant and they definitely left a lasting impression.¬† I loved everything about this dish; the perfectly cooked steak, the balance between the cool noodles and the heat from the sauce, the crunchy fried shallots and the flavourful herbs.¬† So when I picked up an issue of McLean’s magazine one day that featured “Canada’s Top 50 Restaurants”, imagine my delight when not only was Sidedoor one of them, but they published their recipe for Drunken Soba Noodles!¬† Rejoice!¬† I wasted no time in trying to recreate this for myself – take a look ūüôā

Drunken Soba Noodle Ingredients

Drunken Soba Noodle Ingredients

At the restaurant they use steak, but since I didn’t have any on hand I saut√©ed up a nice chicken breast instead.¬† No complaints about how this turned out!

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Sautéed chicken

Boil the soba noodles for about 4 or 5 minutes and allow them to cool.  Then pile them in a bowl and top with veggies.

Noodles and Veggies

Noodles and Veggies

Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce (soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil) and toss with the noodle/veggie mixture.  Then just top with chicken or steak!  And some black sesame seeds for visual interest.

Drunken Soba Noodles

Drunken Soba Noodles

Then all you have to do is work your way through this flavour heaven of a dish.  Enjoy the journey!

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Drunken Soba Noodles – Halfway through

Drunken Soba Noodles Recipe

 1 3/4 lb (340 g) package buckwheat noodles
Canola oil
2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
3/4 lb. strip loin or rib-eye steak
Salt and pepper1 cup julienned cucumber
1 cup julienned bell pepper
1 cup julienned napa cabbage
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
Fried shallots, to taste
Thai basil, to taste

  1. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.  Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook soba noodles according to package directions, about four to five minutes.  Drain and transfer to iced water.  Drain once chilled.
  3. Toss noodles very lightly with canola oil in a large bowl to prevent sticking.  Reserve.
  4. Whisk soy sauce with rice wine, sugar, chili garlic sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  5. Preheat grill to medium high.
  6. Season steak lightly with salt and pepper.  Grill steaks to medium rare.  Remove from heat and let rest.
  7. Divide the noodles between four bowls.  Arrange the cucumbers, peppers and cabbage on top of the noodles in separate piles.  Top with a small mound each of green onion and fried shallots.
  8. Slice steak thinly and add to bowls.  Top with a sprig of Thai basil.
  9. Divide the sauce into four small ramekins and serve with the bowl.  Let guests pour the sauce on top of the noodles and mix with chopsticks.

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July 24, 2013 · 11:55 PM

Chicken Souvlaki

Chicken souvlaki is one of the easiest things to make and is always so, so delicious.¬† It’s the staple of any good Greek feast, there are few things I love more than a giant Greek feast. I recommend serving the souvlaki alongside some tzatziki, lemon rice pilaf, perfect roasted potatoes and a big, fresh salad with lots of feta and a zippy dressing.¬† Try and get your hands on some Loukoumades to really round things out.¬† For the souvlaki, I like to just chop up some boneless skinless chicken breast, mix it with a marinade of olive, lemon juice, chopped garlic, some kosher salt and black pepper and about a teaspoon each of dried oregano, basil, rosemary, parsley, thyme and dill.¬† If you have fresh herbs on hand, even better.

Souvlaki marinade

Souvlaki marinade

You can throw the mix in a frying pan or skillet…

Chicken Souvlaki

…or thread it on some skewers for the BBQ!

Souvlaki skewers

Souvlaki skewers

Get some other Greek goodies prepped too.

Greek Feast in progress

Grilled veggies would also be amazing with this.

Grilled Veggies

Grilled Veggies

Get ready for your feast!

Greek Feast

Chicken Souvlaki Recipe

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp rosemary1 tsp parsley
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp dill
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

  1. Mix chicken breast with olive oil and spice mixture.  Use right away or let marinade for up to 24 hours.  Fry in a pan or skillet, bake in the oven at 350 degrees, or BBQ skewers until chicken is no longer pink inside, about 10 Р15 minutes.

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Filed under Greek, Main Courses

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

This is easily one of the most flavourful curries I’ve ever made.¬† I have my go-to curry recipe, but thought I’d spice it up a bit and try a curry recipe from Jamie Oliver.¬† I had some sweet potatoes that needed to be used up so his sweet potato and chick pea curry called to me.¬† I made a few minor adjustments based on what I had in the fridge, and man oh man, this turned out great!¬† What I loved most was how rich the curry tasted, and how the sweetness from the potatoes was a perfect balance.¬† Fresh cilantro, salty cashews and Greek yogurt really put this curry over the top.

It all starts with a solid base of onions, garlic and curry paste.

Onion and garlic curry base

Onion and garlic curry base

Then add your veggies and some coconut milk and let it simmer until the sweet potatoes are cooked through.

Veggie and coconut curry

Veggie and coconut curry

Once the sauce has thickened up and you are about to serve, throw in some spinach.  Stir, let sit for a few minutes until just wilted.

Spinach curry

Spinach curry

Then serve it up with cilantro, cashews and Greek yogurt. Prepare for your taste buds to rejoice!

Sweet Potato and Chick Pea Curry

Sweet Potato and Chick Pea Curry

Dang.  Just try this.  So good.

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry Recipe

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 white onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
3 tbsp curry paste
1 red chilli, finely chopped
3cm piece of ginger, grated
A bunch of cilantro, stalks chopped, leaves picked
1 cup cauliflower
2 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained
4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped or 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 x 400ml tin light coconut milk
1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)
400g spinach, washed
Dollop Greek yogurt
1 tbsp chopped cashews
Poppadoms and rice, to serve

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and curry paste, mix well, then cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and golden.
  2. Add the chilli, ginger, cilantro stalks, cauliflower, sweet potato and chickpeas. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and 200ml water (or broth) and bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then cover and cook for 10‚Äď15 minutes. Remove the lid, then cook for a further 15‚Äď20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potato is cooked through and the sauce thickened. Add more water/broth if necessary, 1/4 cup at a time.¬† Stir in the coconut milk and cook for a couple of minutes, then stir in the spinach and cook until wilted. Scatter over the coriander leaves, cashews, greek yogurt, then serve with poppadums and rice.
  4. To freeze the curry for another time, leave to cool in the pan, then spoon into portion-sized containers or freezer bags and freeze. The curry will keep there for up to 3 months.

From: Jamie Oliver

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Filed under Main Courses, Vegetarian

Ricardo’s Tourti√®re

This year Chris and I decided to give some of our Christmas gifts in food form, and settled on traditional, meaty¬†and hearty tourti√®re.¬† For many people it’s a Christmas-time comfort food and it’s a great one dish meal that can easily be thrown into the oven some busy winter evening. ¬† I personally¬†think it’s a great gift idea, mostly because I love it whenever people give me food as a gift.¬† It doesn’t exactly wrap well for under the tree, but I haven’t encountered anyone who will turn away a home cooked item for their freezer!

Get your recipe out and line up some of your ingredients.¬† I used Ricardo’s recipe for tourti√®re this time, and it also¬†passed¬†Chris’ french-upbringing-tourtiere-eating test.¬† This is a legitimately qu√©becois recipe!

IMG_6576

Get out a big pot for the filling (which I neglected to photograph for some unknown reason).¬† A mixture of beef, pork,potatoes, onion, garlic, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.¬† And salt and pepper, of course.¬† The spices are pretty mellow but add a nice subtle flavour to the filling.¬† Pretty traditional and highly delicious….this recipe makes enough for six pies!

IMG_6571

Cook the onions and garlic in a bit of melted butter until they get soft and golden.

onion

Then throw in the beef and pork, and cook, stirring regularly, until no more pink remains.  Then dump in the rest of the ingredients and let it cook for about 45 minutes.  Not complicated at all!

In the meantime, prepare your dough, using the crust recipe from this pot pie recipe.  Light, flaky and perfect.

crust

There is a serious lack of counter space in my apartment, so Chris McGyvered up a chair-table to fit all the pies!

IMG_6581

Scoop the filling out into the crusts, and use whatever dough you have leftover to make fancy patterns on the top!

triple tourtiereAll of these went in the freezer to be used (mostly) as Christmas gifts, so stay tuned for pictures of the cooked, finished product!

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UPDATE!

The tourti√®res turned out excellently!¬† Just like I had hoped they would.¬† The crust was light, flakey and buttery, ūüôā and the filling was exactly how I remembered it tasting when my french-Canadian babysitter used to make it when I was little. But this time, because we served one of these at our New Year’s Eve dinner party, I decided to fancy it up a little bit by serving it alongside some homemade ketchup. It was the perfect compliment, and I will post the recipe soon!

Here is the one we cooked up on New Year Eve!  Maybe in the oven for slightly too long, but not so long that it ruined it. No complaints from the dinner crowd!

Tourtière

Tourtière

Here it is alongside some homemade ketchup and poutine (also homemade :)).  Did I mention it was a Quebecois themed dinner party?  We also had a variety of beers, including 50.  Très authentic.

Quebecois Dinner Party

Quebecois Dinner Party

And here is another one we pulled out of the freezer a few nights ago.¬† The ketchup was done, so we served it with a few slices of cheddar cheese instead.¬† I’m sad there are no more of these left in the freezer, they were such a treat!

Tourtière

Tourtière

Ricardo’s Tourti√®re Recipe

4 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
45 ml (3 tablespoons) olive oil
1.4 kg (3 lbs) ground pork
1.4 kg (3 lbs) ground veal
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
250 ml (1 cup) chicken broth
180 ml (3/4 cup) breadcrumbs
2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) ground nutmeg
2.5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper
Rolled-out pastry dough from this pot pie recipe (x 2), or store-bought crust

  1. In a large saucepan, soften the onions and garlic in the oil. Add the meat and continue cooking for about 15 minutes, stirring to crumble the meat. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring frequently, for about 45 minutes or until the potatoes begin to fall apart. Let cool. Adjust the seasoning.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until completely chilled.
  4. With the rack in the lowest position, preheat the oven to 190 ¬įC (375 ¬įF).
  5. Line six 23-cm (9-inch) pie plates with pastry. Cover with the cooled meat mixture, about 1 pound of meat per pie. Cover with a second crust, and make an incision in the center. Or top with crust pattern or shapes of your choice. Press the lip the seal with a fork or your fingers. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown.

From:  Ricardo

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Filed under Comfort Food, Main Courses

Minestrone

Needless to say, fall is prime minestrone eating time.¬† There are so many variations of this delicious and healthy soup –¬† it’s a handy recipe to have when you need to clean out the fridge, just throw in whatever you need to use up! Personally, I prefer a semi spicy tomato-Parmesan flavoured broth with a healthy serving of veggies, beans and pasta with some fresh spinach thrown in right before you eat.¬† I don’t find soggy soup soaked spinach particularly appetizing, so I usually wait until the last possible minute to add it.¬† And, if you have some crusty Italian bread on the side, you’ve hit the fall-dinner jackpot ūüôā

Fresh Sinach and Minestrone

Give it all a stir and dig in!

Minestrone

Minestrone Recipe

2 tbsp canola oil
3 slices back bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 can diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
1 can each red kidney beans and chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup short pasta (rigatoni, penne, shells, tubetti etc. etc. etc.)
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Grated fresh Parmesean, to taste

  1.  In soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat and cook back bacon for 2 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium and add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until softened and just about golden.
  2. Add tomatoes, pour in chicken stock; bring to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and add beans, chickpeas and pasta.  Simmer for about 20 minutes or until pasta is tender.  Stir in Parmesean, parsley, and basil.  Add spinach right before eating.

*Skip the back bacon and use veggie broth for an easy vegetarian meal!

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Filed under Main Courses, Soups & Stews

Honey Pancetta Pizza

“It was leftover pasta”, my coworker said about his lunch and immediately had my attention. “In a fig and honey reduction.”¬† I was instantly drooling.¬† I had to have something fig and honey related for dinner, and decided a pizza might work out deliciously.¬† (I may also have had pasta for dinner the previous two nights in a row…..)¬† A distinct lack of figs at my local grocery store forced me to adapt my plans and go with Italian smoked bacon as a replacement.¬† Not a horrible compromise.¬† I then added a bunch of other delicious toppings and drizzled with honey.¬† This hint of sweetness really put this pizza over the top.¬† A¬† most excellent addition ūüôā

I started by frying up some red onion, red pepper and the bacon, and let it get nice and browned.

Sautéed red peppet, onion and pancetta

Then I created a solid pizza base out of a large pita, tomato sauce and grated old cheddar.  Simple and delicious.

Pita, tomato sauce and cheese base

Then I threw on the aforementioned pepper mixture…

Onion, pepper and pancetta topping

And added some ricotta.

Ricottoa topping

Then it went in the oven until appropriately toasty.

Honey Pancetta Pizza

Fresh basil and a drizzle of honey finished it off.   TO DIE FOR.

Honey Pancetta Pizza Close-up

Honey Pancetta Pizza Recipe

1 tbsp olive oil
1 Large pita
1/2 cup Tomato sauce
3/4 cup grated old cheddar
1/4 sliced red onion
1/2 sliced red pepper
1/4 cup pancetta
1/4 cup fresh ricotta
1 tbps fresh basil
1-2 tsp honey, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat frying pan on high heat and add olive oil.  Once oil is heated, add onion, peppers and pancetta.  Cook for about 15 minutes, until softened and browned.
  3. Spread tomato sauce on one side of the pita and top with grated cheddar.  Top with pepper mixture and ricotta.
  4. Bake in oven until cheddar cheese is melted, then turn on the broiler for a few minutes to brown the crust.
  5. Top with basil and drizzle of honey.  Serve and enjoy!

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Filed under Main Courses, Pizza