Kate's Cuisine

Sep 23 2014

Carrots Vichy

Carrots Vichy

I love books, and cookbooks rank somewhere at the top of the list. But a cookbook having great recipes and beautiful illustrations just isn’t enough for me – I need more! I like cookbooks that bring something different to the table. That don’t just tell me what to put in the pot when, but also give me insight to food and the kitchen as a whole. That’s exactly what Professional Cooking by Wayne Gisslen does, and it’s done in such a unique way. It is truly unlike any other cookbook that I’ve ever seen. Just as the title suggests, this book is for someone who’s not just looking to feed their family, but who is looking to feed a crowd from a restaurant kitchen.

Professional Cooking takes you through the entire restaurant kitchen, breaking down everything from how modern cooking evolved, the rank of chefs (and if you don’t think there’s a ranking order, you’re kidding yourself,) to the organization of the modern kitchen today – and that’s just in the first chapter! And the recipes! Of course there are recipes. They might give you 25 portions but hey, we’re talking professional cooking here. And of course you can always pare those down if you’re just looking for a side dish or a meal for your family. That’s just what I did last night when I made these Carrots Vichy – really just a glazed carrots dish, but one that uses a completely different technique than what I’ve been doing in the past (and would you believe it’s easier, too?) The carrots were softer and a little roughed up along the edges, giving that glaze lots of nooks and crannies to fall into, and it was tastier than the old version I was using. My kids loved them, so I’m sure we’ll make the switch from glazed carrots to Carrots Vichy, and that they will appear on our menu more often.

And this post wouldn’t be complete without a huge thanks to Sous Chef Rob, for loaning me a book that I’ll have my nose in for weeks.

6 medium-sized carrots, trimmed, peeled, and cut on a bias to make chunky triangles $1.00
Water Free!
2 tablespoons butter $0.06
2 tablespoons sugar $0.02
1 teaspoon salt $0.01
White pepper $0.01
2 teaspoons chopped parsley (this is what the book calls for but, with none in my fridge, I used chopped rosemary instead) $0.10

Total cost $1.20
Cost per serving $0.30

1.) Place the chopped carrots into a straight-sided saucepan and add enough water to just barely cover them. Add the butter, sugar, and salt.

2.) Set the pan over high heat on the stove and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a rapid boil, lower heat to medium and simmer until the carrots are tender and nearly all of the liquid has evaporated. (According to the book, “If this is done properly, these should happen at the same time.”) Toss the carrots with the glaze that is left in the bottom of the pan.

3.) Add a pinch of white pepper and the chopped herbs and toss.

4.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 22 2014

Julia’s Puree de Pommes de Terre A L’Ail

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Leave it to Julia Child to take something as simple as garlic mashed potatoes (which is all the above fancy French term translates to,) and make it a thing of pure joy to eat. This recipe is taken from what I like to think of as “The Food Bible,” but most people know it as Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1. All this time, there I was, just plopping some garlic cloves into the pot of potatoes as they boiled and mashing everything together. And once again, Julia showed me that I have been doing it wrong.

2 heads of garlic, separated but not peeled $0.30
4 tablespoons butter, plus 4 tablespoons, softened $0.48
2 tablespoons flour $0.02
1 cup boiling milk $0.28
2 1/2 pounds potatoes $1.25
3 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream $0.35
4 tablespoons minced parsley $0.35
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $3.05
Cost per serving $0.76

1.) Drop the garlic cloves into boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and peel.

2.) Place 4 tablespoons in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat and add garlic. Cook the garlic slowly in the butter for about 20 minutes, or until they are very tender but not browned.

3.) Sprinkle the flour over the butter in the saucepan and stir over very low heat until it blends and froths with the butter. Cook for 2 minutes without browning.

4.) Take the pan off the heat and beat in the milk, about 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper.

5.) Peel and quarter the potatoes. Drop in boiling salted water and boil until they are tender. Drain immediately, and mash with a ricer or masher. Place the mashed potatoes back into the saucepan and continue to beat with a spatula or wooden spoon for several minutes over medium heat to allow any moisture to evaporate. As soon as the puree begins to form a film in the bottom of the pan, remove from the heat and beat in the softened butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat in a little more salt and pepper to taste.

6.) Just before serving, vigorously beat the hot garlic sauce into the hot potatoes. Beat in the cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, but do not let the potatoes become too loose. Beat in the parsley (I actually used thyme, as I was out of parsley,) then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 21 2014

Nigella’s 40 Cloves of Garlic Chicken

40 clove chicken

The French are really just a meat and potatoes kind of people, aren’t they? It’s funny, because whenever French cooking comes up (with just about anyone,) talk usually turns to how difficult it is, how much butter is used, and for goodness sakes – all those different sauces! But when you take a minute to really look at French cooking, you can see it for what it is – meat, potatoes, and simple cooking. That’s exactly what this recipe for 40 Cloves of Garlic Chicken turned out to be – so simple, so delicious, and so so juicy (even without a fancy sauce to serve alongside it.) This particular recipe comes not from someone who’s actually French, but from Nigella Lawson, that super sassy Brit that also makes simple food, but makes it really, really well and with just the tiniest bit of flare. I do urge you to actually count out the garlic cloves as you go. Not because I think it will make a difference if you add 39 cloves or 41 cloves, but because it’s just a lot of fun.

4 chicken legs with back attached $6.39
2 tablespoons olive oil $0.06
1 onion, thinly sliced $0.47
8 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme $0.45
40 cloves of garlic, separated but unpeeled $0.40
2 tablespoons dry white wine $0.40
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $8.19
Cost per serving $2.05

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop over high heat. When hot, season the chicken with salt and pepper and place into the hot pan. Sear for a few minutes, until the skin is golden brown and crispy then turn and cook for another few minutes until the other side is also golden brown and crispy. Remove the chicken from the pan and place in a large shallow bowl or platter.

3.) Add the thin slices of onion to the pan, along with some of the leaves from a few sprigs of thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper, and quickly stir and cook just for a minute or two. Then, turn off the heat and add 20 cloves of garlic to the bottom of the pan. Place the chicken back into the pan and top with the remaining 20 cloves of garlic. Add the white wine to the juices left in the bowl by the chicken, swirl it around to mix it up a bit, and then pour into the pan. Add the remaining sprigs of thyme throughout the pan, and cover with aluminum foil.

4.) Place the chicken into the oven and cook until chicken is juicy and nearly falling apart, about 1 1/2 hours. When chicken is finished cooking, remove from the oven and let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

5.) Serve, with crusty bread, and enjoy!

Sep 19 2014

Chicken and Ricotta Quiche

Chicken and Ricotta Quiche

To make a really good quiche, it needs to meet three criteria: it needs to be creamy, it needs height, and it’s got to have a crust. Let’s face it. “Crustless Quiche” may have had its day, but it has come and gone. This dish meets all of my self-made criteria. Ricotta and cream ensure that even after it’s fully cooked it will still be creamy when you cut into it, and that buttery pie crust brings everything together (not to mention makes it a quiche and not an egg bake.) Beating the eggs to their ultimate finish is easiest to do in a stand mixer, but if you don’t have one use a whisk or a hand mixer and just make sure to beat the heck out of them.

1 pie crust, rolled and placed into a pie dish $0.22
2 tablespoons butter $0.12
1 onion, diced $0.47
4 cloves garlic, minced or grated $0.04
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped $0.15
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped $0.12
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces $4.39
1 cup zucchini, grated with moisture squeezed out $0.50
2 small tomatoes, seeded and diced $0.56
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese $2.50
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated $1.49
1/2 cup mozzarella, Havarti, or Monterey Jack cheese, grated $0.62
4 eggs $0.80
3/4 cup heavy cream $0.66
3/4 cup milk $0.21
4 slices bacon, cut in half and par-cooked (not crispy) $1.20
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $14.07
Cost per serving $2.34

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) Melt the butter in a skillet set over medium heat and then add the onion and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the rosemary and the dill, season with salt and pepper and stir while cooking for about one minute (this allows the fresh herbs to bloom and flavour the dish.) Remove from heat.

3.) Add chicken, zucchini, tomatoes, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and onion/garlic mixture into a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and combine all ingredients thoroughly. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

4.) In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs very well until they are quite frothy. Add the cream and the milk and continue beating for another minute. Season with salt and pepper and beat again for another minute. Add the egg mixture to the bowl with the other ingredients and mix thoroughly.

5.) Pour egg mixture into the prepared pie crust. Add the bacon slices around the surface of the quiche.

6.) Place the quiche into the oven and bake for 60 minutes, until it is cooked through but the centre still has a bit of jiggle to it. When done, remove the quiche from the oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes before slicing into it and serving.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 18 2014

Cauliflower and Green Bean Casserole

Cauliflower and Green Bean Casserole

The air definitely has that certain chill to it, reminding us that winter is just around the corner, and it’s time to start pulling out those comfort foods. And, I don’t know, lately I’ve really been appreciating the cauliflower and all the comfort that it brings. That’s especially true when it’s steamed until tender and then added to my very favourite vegetable – the mighty green bean – and everything is covered in a creamy cheese sauce. That’s what makes up this dish, which is really just a gratin, but calling it a casserole just seemed so much more comforting somehow.

1 head of cauliflower, with the florets removed, cleaned, and trimmed $1.77
1 pound green beans, cleaned and trimmed $2.50
1/2 onion, diced $0.24
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated $0.03
4 tablespoons butter, divided $0.24
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour $0.02
1 1/2 cups milk $0.42
1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese $3.75
3/4 cup coarse bread crumbs $0.31
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg $0.04
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $9.34
Cost per serving $2.33

1.) Preheat an oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish.

2.) Place 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. When melted, add the onion and garlic and stir. Cook for two or three minutes, just until the onion is soft and the entire mixture is fragrant.

3.) Sprinkle flour over the entire mixture and cook, while stirring, for another two minutes to cook the flour out. Using a whisk, very slowly pour in the milk, whisking as you add it and breaking up lumps. (Start very slowly at first, you’ll be able to add the milk in more quickly at the end, as the flour mixture becomes smoother and looser.)

4.) Once all of the milk has been whisked in, add the nutmeg and let cook for about 10 minutes, until mixture becomes very hot and thickens slightly.

5.) While the sauce is cooking, place cauliflower and green beans in a steamer tray set into a large pot, with about 1/2″ of water sitting in the bottom. Sprinkle the cauliflower and green beans with salt, cover and heat over high heat until it begins steaming, and then steam for about 2 minutes, until the cauliflower is fork-tender. After vegetables are finished cooking, place them into an ice bath and let sit for a few minutes, until they are completely cooled down; then drain and place into a large bowl.

6.) Once sauce mixture has thickened, turn heat off and add the Parmesan cheese a little at a time, stirring it it until it completely melts into the sauce before adding more cheese. After all cheese has been added, taste and season with salt and pepper and stir. Pour the sauce over the vegetables, and stir to coat them generously in the sauce. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

7.) Melt the other two tablespoons of butter either in a saucepan or in the microwave. Add the bread crumbs with a pinch of salt, stir to thoroughly combine and let the bread soak up the butter. Sprinkle this mixture evenly and entirely over the vegetables.

8.) Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the entire thing is hot and bubbling. If the top begins to brown too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil.

9.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 16 2014

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

Caprese salad is the ultimate dish to show how you can make something beautiful and delicious using only a few ingredients, and just letting them shine. It’s also a dish perfect for those who like to keep things classic and traditional, and also those that like to put a spin on things. I’ve kept it classic here, but you can do so much with this salad. Just a few ideas are to use cherry tomatoes and bocconcini, put the ingredients on skewers, or dress it up with a balsamic reduction. The only thing I suggest is that you always use fresh mozzarella (you know the kind, it’s in a ball in the cheese section and will cost a couple more dollars than the blocks of cheese you’ll find in the dairy section.) Don’t stray from this. It makes a huge difference, trust me.

2 tomatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick (these should be slightly thick, giving you 4 or 5 slices from each tomato) $0.56
1 8 – 10 ounce ball of mozzarella cheese, sliced to the same thickness of the tomatoes $5.49
10 – 14 leaves fresh basil $1.40
1 teaspoon good quality extra virgin olive oil $0.01
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $7.48
Cost per serving $1.87

1.) Place a row of tomatoes on the end of a plate. I only used two here in a row, but you can use as many as you need.For us this was a side dish for pasta, so we didn’t need too many. Place some slices of the fresh mozzarella about halfway up the tomatoes, then layer another row of tomatoes over the cheese. Continue until you have used up all your tomatoes and cheese. Then, stuff basil leaves behind the cheese, so that you can still see them.

2.) Drizzle the entire plate with some olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. When seasoning, sprinkle the salt and pepper from a height so that everything gets seasoned evenly.

3.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 15 2014

Stuffed Meatloaf

Stuffed Meatloaf

I love my job. I work at a small restaurant here in town, and it’s not only a lot of fun, I also learn an immense amount about food while I’m there. I work under a great sous chef who recognizes my enthusiasm for cooking and he’s always asking me questions like, “have you ever made such-and-such before?” or “have you ever tried this?” And sometimes he stops with the questions and just offers me great ideas and advice on things I can make right at home – and then put on my blog, of course. The idea for stuffed meatloaf was his, and it excited me because, well, we all know how much I love meatloaf, and that I’m always looking for ways to shake up this classic dish. The idea of what to stuff it with was on me. Things always seem to work out for me when I go Italian and the best way to do that was to stuff it with some ricotta and spinach, and load up the actual loaf itself with all kinds of Italian flavour.

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef $11.38
1 pound medium ground pork $2.34
1 onion, grated $0.47
4 cloves garlic, minced or grated $0.04
1 cup bread crumbs, plus 1 cup $0.84
1/4 cup butter, melted $0.22
1/2 cup milk $0.14
1 egg, lightly beaten $0.20
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce $0.08
2 tablespoons dried basil $0.46
2 tablespoons dried oregano $0.60
1 tablespoon dried dill $0.17
2 cups ricotta cheese $5.00
1 package frozen spinach, thawed, drained, with any tough stems removed $0.99
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $22.95
Cost per serving $3.83

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease the sides of a loaf pan with oil.

2.) Place bread crumbs and milk in a small bowl, mix, and let sit for 5 minutes to allow time for the bread to soak up that milk. In a large bowl place ground beef, ground pork, grated onion and garlic, egg, Worcestershire sauce, and dried herbs. Season generously with salt and pepper and mix lightly so that all the ingredients are combined, but the meat is not overworked.

3.) To make the ricotta mixture, place ricotta cheese in a medium-sized bowl. Squeeze any remaining moisture out of the spinach, and add to ricotta. Season lightly with salt and pepper and mix ingredients together thoroughly.

4.) Lightly press half of the meat mixture into the loaf pan. Directly down the centre, leaving an inch of edge along the sides of the meat, make a small well. Do this by gently pressing the meat mixture down and up so that the stuffing has a small space to sit on. Fill this space with the spinach and ricotta mixture, mounding it slightly.

5.) Place the remaining 1/2 of the meat mixture on top of the bottom layer and the stuffing mixture. Make sure the meat covers the stuffing entirely, pressing it down over top the other layer of meat and the stuffing.

6.) Place bread crumbs into the melted butter and give them a minute or two to completely soak up the butter. After the butter has been absorbed, spread the bread crumbs over top of the meatloaf,making sure to cover the top of the loaf.

7.) Place the meatloaf into the oven and bake for 60 – 75 minutes, until its bubbling along the sides and is completely cooked through. Check on it periodically and if its browning too quickly on top, loosely cover with aluminum foil.

8.) Remove from oven and let the loaf rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

9.) Serve and enjoy!

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