Kate's Cuisine

Jul 29 2014

Pea Pod Soup

Pea Pod Soup

There’s more than one way to make pea soup, and this way doesn’t involve working with dried peas at all. All you really need is the pods that fresh peas come in. That’s right, those things that would be headed for your trash bin anyway. The idea came to me one day when I spent hours shucking several pounds of fresh peas, and got to thinking that there had to be something I could do with the humongous bag of pods I was left with. People said it couldn’t be done, but now, I have proved them wrong.

2 tablespoons olive oil $0.06
1 onion, roughly chopped $0.47
3 cloves garlic, smashed $0.03
8 – 10 cups pea pods Free with your peas!
4 – 6 cups vegetable stock $2.50
4 sprigs fresh thyme $1.00
20 fresh peas $0.05
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $4.13
Cost per serving $0.51

1.) In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and the garlic and saute just until both are softened, about 5 minutes.

2.) Add the pea pods and turn to coat them in the oil as much as possible. Add the vegetable stock (enough so that the stock just covers the pods.) Add in the whole thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes, until the pods are very soft.

3.) Remove the soup from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove thyme sprigs, then transfer everything to a blender and blend, in batches, until it’s as smooth as possible. Don’t worry about making it entirely smooth. Pea pods, even cooked, are incredibly tough to break down, so just blend as much as possible.

4.) As each batch is finished blending, place a mesh colander over the soup pot and strain the soup back into the pot, using a wooden spoon to mash the pods and soup down to get as much through as possible. Continue doing this until all the soup has been strained through the mesh colander. Discard any solids that remain.

5.) Once all the soup has been strained back into the pot, taste and add salt and pepper so the seasoning is to your liking. Warm the soup through entirely. Ladle into bowls, garnishing with a few fresh peas if you wish.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Jul 28 2014

Vegetable Stock

Vegetable Stock

Welcome to “Waste Not, Want Not Week” here on the site! All week long I’ll be showing you different things you can do with leftovers and food scraps so that nothing is wasted, and you’re not left wanting more. Today we begin with vegetable stock.

Here’s what you do to get started. When you cook, have a large bowl (or resealable bag) for vegetable scraps. Every time you peel an onion or a carrot, the scraps can go into the bowl. When you chop off the ends of celery, they too can be placed into the bowl. So can broccoli stems, asparagus ends, turnip roots, and any other scraps that you chop or peel off and that would otherwise be headed to your garbage bin. When you’re done collecting all your scraps, place the bowl in the fridge and leave it for the next time you’re about to chop, dice and peel and end up with more scraps. Once the bowl is full, those scraps are ready to be thrown into a large pot and simmered until you have a beautiful stock ready on your stove. For this stock I went with a classic mirepoix, but you really can use whatever you have on hand. There are also no costs attached to this recipe, as I consider scraps to be free with all those yummy veggies you’ve already bought.

About 6 cups onion skins, and whatever else you took off when peeling them
About 3 – 4 cups carrots skins
6 or 8 celery ends
Salt
Pepper

1.) Place everything into a large pot and add enough water so that it covers more than two inches of the vegetables.

2.) Place over high heat on the stovetop and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling rapidly, lower heat to medium so that the stock just simmers. Simmer for 3 or 4 hours, tasting along the way and ensuring the seasoning is to your liking. Remove after the stock has simmered for the length of time indicated, and until it is a beautiful golden brown.

3.) Strain out the vegetable scraps by placing a colander in a very large bowl and pouring the stock into it. As the bowl becomes full, throw out the scraps (you can’t use them again, sadly) and empty the large bowl into smaller freezable containers so you can store them and have stock for a very long time. When all the stock is strained and all your containers are full, place lids on them and place most in the freezer, making sure you keep at least a container or two in your fridge to use quickly.

4.) Use, serve, and enjoy!

Jul 27 2014

Recipe Roundup

Recipe Round Up

I spend far too much time checking out new recipes and pics of scrumptious-looking goodies online. I share them on Facebook, I retweet on Twitter, and I spend hours on Pinterest browsing and repinning all the food art that can be found there. This week, I’m taking all my pinning, sharing, and tweeting to the next level by creating something new right here on Kate’s Cuisine – a recipe roundup. Each Sunday I’ll share with you the best recipes I’ve found across the web this week and hopefully, we’ll all be introduced to some new food blogs, and new dishes that will become regulars at our own dinner tables.

Breaded zucchini is something that I’ve wanted to try for awhile and right now is the season for it! Head on over to What’s Cooking America to check out how easily it’s done.

I’ve made gnocchi before, but the Trova Ricetta blog has a recipe that looks so interesting and puts a new twist on it, it’s something I’ve definitely got to try.

From Val’s Kitchen has a post up that just looks plain good – that is, if you’re like me and love pasta, love cheese, and love sun-dried tomatoes (oh, and she’s got some sausage in there too!)

I don’t know what “finger wings” are, but I’ve often said that chicken wings are my very favourite food – and that’s what these look like (and so easy too!) Head on over to Cook Lime to check ‘em out.

Julia Child often said Jacques Pepin was the best cook in America, so I’ve always wanted to try one of his dishes. I think I’ll start with this one found on the Food Lust People Love blog, a cucumber salad that sounds much like my grandma’s, and uses sour cream.

Ever since I made those sweet and sour cucumbers they’ve been a favourite side dish of mine. And now I have a recipe for sweet and sour tomatoes too! It’s brought to you by G & R Publishing.

And for a sweet finish, this chocolate cream pie from Frugal Antics looks divine. And who knew it was that easy?

Jul 26 2014

Flaky Berry Delight

Flaky Berry Delight

This dessert started as something that would allow me to use my brand new stand mixer, one given to me by my mother-in-law. I was itching to use it and had thought that it would turn out to be something pavlova-like, a dessert that always goes over very well in my house. Turns out, it was nothing like pavlova, with my husband comparing it more to a Flaky. I’ve seen him happily scarf down many a Flaky in our time together, so who was I to argue?

3 egg whites, room temperature $0.60
1 teaspoon cream of tartar $0.69
3/4 cups icing sugar $0.24
1 cup frozen mixed berries, thawed and drained (or just one type of your favourite berry) $0.49
1 good quality white chocolate bar $2.00
1 good quality milk chocolate bar $2.00

Total cost $5.78
Cost per serving $1.45

1.) Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahreneheit.

2.) Melt the white chocolate bar in a microwave or over a double boiler. Allow to cool slightly.

3.) Start making the meringue. Place egg whites into a bowl of a stand mixer and begin whipping quickly at about 7 or 8 until they become frothy. If you’re using a hand mixer, this can be done at high speed. Add cream of tartar and lower speed to 4 or 5 (or low or medium on a hand mixer) until the egg whites begin to form soft peaks. Little by little, add the icing sugar and continue to whip until the egg whites have formed stiff peaks.

4.) Add the berries and half of the melted white chocolate to the egg whites and gently fold everything in.

5.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and secure it down with a bit of the meringue. (You can do this by just placing a bit of meringue at each corner of the baking sheet and then pressing the parchment right down onto it. It will help keep the paper in place while you spoon the meringues out onto it.) Use a large spoon to scoop some of the meringue onto the paper so you end up with about 8 meringues that are a bit larger than cookies.

6.) Place the meringues into the oven and bake for about 2 hours, until they are crispy and still white on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. After the baking time, turn off the oven and crack open the oven door for about 30 minutes. This will help the meringues cool gently and lessen the chances of them cracking.

7.) While waiting for the meringues to cool, melt the milk chocolate in either a double boiler or the microwave and then allow to cool slightly.

8.) When ready to serve, place each meringue into a serving dish and drizzle the remaining white chocolate, along with the milk chocolate, over top of each.

9.) Serve and enjoy!

Jul 25 2014

Meatloaf with Bacon Gravy

Meatloaf

I love meatloaf. I mean, I love love love meatloaf. I don’t even know why I love it so much, really. Maybe it’s because I grew up on it and my grandma knew her way around a good meatloaf. Maybe it’s because you can do so much with it, and still keep true to the basic foundations of the dish. Maybe it’s because every time I make it, I think about that old King of Queens episode where Carrie says, “The one good thing about being married to Doug is that you get real good at shaping meat into a big pile.” Truthfully, I think there’s just so much to love about it, I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t. Especially when you add bacon and gravy not just on the side, but inside the actual loaf itself.

2 pounds ground beef $11.38
1 onion, diced and divided $0.47
3 cloves garlic, grated or minced $0.03
1 cup bread crumbs $0.42
4 cups gravy, divided (I used leftover gravy from the brisket I had made the night before, but you can make your own or use packaged) $2.00
1 egg, lightly beaten $0.20
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar $0.10
2 tablespoons fresh thyme $0.30
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped $0.35
6 slices bacon, chopped $1.50
1 Portobello mushroom, diced $1.51
2 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided $0.14
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $18.42
Cost per serving $3.07

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly oil a loaf pan.

2.) Place one tablespoon vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add chopped bacon and cook until all pieces are brown and crisp. Remove to a plate lined with paper towel and set aside. Reserve bacon fat in the skillet.

3.) Place bread crumbs in a small bowl and pour 1 cup of gravy over top. Stir to combine and let sit.

4.) In a large bowl combine the ground beef, half of the diced onion, garlic, egg, balsamic vinegar, thyme, rosemary, a pinch of salt and pepper, and half of the cooked bacon. Add the gravy-soaked bread crumbs. Mix to thoroughly combine all ingredients, then shape into a loaf and place in the prepared loaf pan. Brush evenly over the top one tablespoon of vegetable oil.

5.) Place meatloaf in the preheated oven and cook for 60 – 70 minutes, until loaf has completely cooked through. Then, remove from oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. This will help keep your meatloaf from falling apart when you move it out of the pan to slice it.

6.) While loaf is resting, prepare the gravy. Heat the bacon fat still in the skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the other half of the diced onion along with the Portobello mushroom. Stir to coat everything in the fat and then let cook for 5 – 10 minutes, until mushrooms have just started to brown and onion is soft. Then add the remaining 3 cups of gravy and and the remaining bacon pieces and stir. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes, so that all the flavours can marry, and the gravy can heat through.

7.) After meatloaf has rested, slice into 1″ slices and pour a little bit of the gravy over top. Serve the remaining gravy on the side at the table.

8.) Serve and enjoy!

Jul 24 2014

What is Brisket Point?

Brisket Point

We all know brisket. It’s that tender, melt-in-your-mouth meat that’s typically smoked for hours on end and is always one of the most popular items at any BBQ joint. But what is brisket point? This is the question I was faced with while recently checking out the meat section in my grocery store. I was excited to see anything at all with the word “brisket” on it, as this isn’t typically something you’ll find around my parts (unless you go to one of the aforementioned BBQ joints.) But what I was looking at wasn’t just brisket, it was “brisket point.” And what in the heck was that? For the time being, it was something that was added to my grocery cart so I could take it home and do some further research.

What I didn’t know was that brisket is one cut of meat that’s typically separated by a thick vein of fat running across one end. One of those sections is known as “the flat,” and this is the portion most of us have stared down at some point. While still fatty, it’s much leaner than the other section, and is a flat (as the name would suggest) rectangular shape. On the other side of that section however, is the brisket point, the thing I had brought home not really knowing what it was at all. The point is more of a triangle, although mine was rolled up and tied up like a short but thick log. The point contains much more fat in it, and is the more economical of the two cuts (which, besides being some type of brisket, is what made me buy it in the first place.) So now I knew what the two different parts of brisket were. The question still remained though – what was I supposed to do with it?

Traditionally, brisket – any cut of brisket – is smoked, and there are purists that will tell you you’re ruining either part by braising it. But no longer having a smoker (and currently out of wood chips to turn my grill into one,) braising was really the only choice I had, and I will tell you this. Braised brisket point is one of the best pieces of meat I’ve brought to my dinner table in awhile.

1 brisket point that’s been rolled and tied $10.10
1/2 can tomatoes, with 1/2 of the juice $0.95
1 onion, cut in half and then sliced $0.47
3 cloves garlic, sliced $0.03
2 sprigs fresh thyme $0.40
2 sprigs fresh rosemary $0.40
1/2 cup white wine $1.57
2 tablespoons butter $0.12
2 tablespoons canola oil $0.14
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour $0.02
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $14.22
Cost per serving $3.55

1.) Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) Sprinkle the brisket point with salt and pepper and place a skillet over medium-high heat. Place butter and canola oil in the skillet and when both have melted together, place brisket point into the skillet. Sear on all sides to brown. When entire brisket point has been seared, move to a roasting pan and turn heat under skillet to medium.

3.) Add onions and garlic to the skillet and stir. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, just until onions have started to soften. Add tomatoes along with their juice, and white wine. Stir and scrape with a wooden spoon to remove all brown bits from the bottom. Add thyme, rosemary, a bit of salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cook for just 1 or 2 minutes and then pour over brisket point in the roasting pan.

4.) Add enough water to the roasting pan so that it comes halfway up the side of the meat. Cover, and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the meat can be pulled apart with two forks.

5.) Place brisket point on the cutting board or plate and strain the contents of the roasting pan into a saucepan. Discard larger items and place brisket point back into the roasting pan (this will make it easier to rest, as you can simply replace the lid.) Place saucepan with cooking liquid in it over high heat and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, make a slurry by combining the all-purpose flour and water in a glass and whisking vigorously with a fork. When cooking liquid begins boiling, whisk in the slurry. Stir and when it begins to thicken, lower heat to medium or medium-low.

6.) When the meat has rested for about 10 minutes, remove to a cutting board and slice across into thin strips. Place on a serving platter and spoon a bit of gravy over top to keep it moist and flavourful. Place the remaining gravy in a gravy boat to be served at the table.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

Jul 23 2014

Not Your Average Boiled Beets

Boiled Beets

Take any vegetable, boil it for a good 45 minutes, and when you remove it from the water you’re pretty much guaranteed that it’s going to be flavourless and completely boring, right? Well, that might be true for most vegetables, but when you’re talking about beets, it’s a whole other story. Especially when you (once again) skip the grocery store and head to a Farmers’ Market to get them. Trust me, it will be well worth any extra effort you took to get there once you’re sitting around your table with the most delicious produce you’ll find, and we can only do it for a couple more months before we’re back to depending on the big chains so we may as well take advantage now.

But oh yes, back to the beets. Once you take them out of the piping hot water, take a slice off one and just try it. You will have never had anything so delicious, so tender, and so sweet! I’ve had beets before but I couldn’t believe the sweetness of these particular beets! You could serve them just like that, and they’d be a perfectly beautiful side to any meal, or you can use just a few ingredients to jazz them up a little bit. Either way, these are really, really good.

6 medium-sized beets $2.00
3 cloves garlic, whole and peeled $0.03
1 green onion, chopped (I used the green and the white) $0.07
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar $0.09
2 tablespoons olive oil $0.06
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $2.27
Cost per serving $0.75

1.) Place the beets and the garlic cloves in a pot and cover with water. Place them on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a low boil, and cook for approximately 45 minutes, until the beets are tender. Remove the garlic and the beets to a plate and allow to cool slightly.

2.) Once the beets have cooled enough that you can handle them, slip their skins off (this will be very easy to do once they have been cooked.) Slice the beets in about 1/4″ to 1/2″ slices and place them in a serving bowl. Chop boiled garlic and add that to the beets, along with the green onion, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss, taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

3.) Serve and enjoy!

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