Kate's Cuisine

Sep 26 2015

Paige and Maddie’s Strawberry Tart

Strawberry Tart

The girls and I had so much fun making that pizza the other night that it wasn’t long before they were back in the kitchen, aprons on and ready to help. Actually this strawberry tart was supposed to be made the same night as the pizza but we had too much fun and ran out of time.

It was worth the wait, sweet but not too sweet, and a nice light dessert that finished off our meal once we actually got around to making it. The thing I love the most about this kids’ cookbook we’ve been using is that everything is so simple. Who would’ve thought that just brushing a little bit of strawberry jam onto the inside of pie crust could turn it into something so magnificent?

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour    $0.28
  • 1 pound strawberries     $3.99
  • 6 tablespoons butter    $0.36
  • 6 tablespoons sugar    $0.06
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten    $0.60
  • 6 ounces strawberry jelly    $0.24
  • A pinch of salt    $0.01

Total cost    $5.54
Cost per serving $0.92

1.) Sift the flour into a bowl and rub it in with the butter, sugar and salt, to make a crumbly mixture.

2.) Add the egg yolks and mix them in well with a knife. Squeeze the mixture with your hands, to make a smooth ball of dough. The dough should be soft but not sticky. To make it easier to roll, and to give the butter a chance to firm up again, put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

3.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

4.) Roll out the dough until it is fairly thin. Cut out one large circle, about 9″ in diameter, if making one large tart. If making individual strawberry tarts, cut out small circles with a round cutter. Once dough has been cut, press into a large tart pan or individual tins.

5.) Prick the pastry cases with a fork, then line them with parchment paper. Lay dried beans or pie weights on top of the paper, to keep the pastry from puffing up.

6.) Bake the pastry for 15 minutes, then take out the paper and beans. Bake the cases for five more minutes, until they are light brown, then cool them on a wire rack.

7.) Wash the strawberries, cut them in half, and remove their stalks.

8.) Melt the strawberry jelly in a small pan over low heat, to make a glaze. (To loosen the glaze a bit, I had to add a bit of water while melting.) Remove from heat.

9.) When the pastry is cool, brush the insides with a thick coat of strawberry glaze. Arrange the strawberries in the pastry shell and brush them with more strawberry glaze. Allow to cool completely so the glaze can set.

10.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 25 2015

Simply Sauteed Veg

Simply Sauteed Veg

Sometimes you just need to get a quick side dish on the table so you can say you gave your kids some veggies that night. You don’t have time for something involved like a gratin, you just need something green on the table now! These vegetables will give you just that. Do yourself a favour and keep the beans and carrots blanched in the fridge and the rest of it will come together in under five minutes. Easy peasy.

  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed and halved $3.99
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced on a diagonal $0.51
  • 1/4 cup butter $0.16
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.02
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped $0.10
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $4.98
Cost per serving $1.25

1.) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the carrots and green beans and blanch for just two minutes before removing to an ice bath. When vegetables are cold, drain.

2.) Place butter in a frying pan set over medium-high heat. When hot add garlic, beans, carrots, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Cook for just two minutes, then remove from heat.

3.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 17 2015

Teaching Kids How to Make Pizza

Pizza

So here’s the thing. As a parent, I have visions of me and my grown girls in the kitchen, preparing a big family feast together and chop-chop-chopping while we giggle away. And I’d like to think that one day, they’ll bring me breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day. But before any of that can happen, I have to teach them. I have to show them how to cook. And truthfully, I just don’t want to. Or at least, I didn’t think I did.

See, the kitchen was my place. It was where I could go and know that, for at least half an hour, time was mine. I could forget about all the other stuff that had to be done, and get lost in risotto or put all my focus into making that perfect pasta dough. How exactly was I supposed to do that when I was explaining every move, or waiting for tiny little hands to level out a cup of flour? It couldn’t be done. And if I allowed it to happen, the kitchen would turn into just another place where chores were done.

But the time had come. My girls are getting older and, it was probably time to start teaching them at least a few kitchen basics. I mean, I’ve cooked for a good portion of my life. If they can’t at least make themselves a proper meal when it comes time for them to leave home, I’ve basically failed as a mother, right? So, I bought The Usborne First Cookbook while on our family trip to the annual town fair. We put a plan in place that every Thursday, we’d get into the kitchen and they’d cook while I instructed. They were excited. I could see the beginning of the end.

That Thursday will turn into many more Thursdays – I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun making dinner. So maybe pizza isn’t the most sophisticated dish to make. And yes, maybe I did have my doubts about the simply-too-simple sauce in the book. But I can’t tell you how much fun it was to watch their noses scrunch up when they smelled the yeast as it started to bloom. And watching their eyes widen in amazement after the dough rose was a feeling that I had almost forgotten existed. See, when you get kids in the kitchen, you not only get to teach them a life skill everyone should have, you get to relive the joy of cooking that brought you to the kitchen in the first place. And you get to take the time to once again discover that sometimes simple is best – that sauce was gorgeous.

And as it turns out, 7 and 9 year-olds can giggle just as well as their future 20-something selves.

1/2 cup water    Free!
1 teaspoon sugar    $0.01
1 teaspoon quick-rise yeast    $0.25
1 3/4 cups white bread flour    $0.40
1/2 teaspoon salt    $0.01
1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes    $1.19
1 tablespoon tomato paste    $0.15
1 1/4 cups grated mozzarella cheese    $3.50
1 teaspoon dried oregano    $0.30
Additional toppings such as pepperoni, bacon, green peppers, mushrooms, etc. (optional)    $5.00

Total cost    $10.81
Cost per serving $2.70

1.) Following the directions on the package of yeast, add the water, yeast, and sugar to a container.

2.) Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, then mix in the yeast. Mix in just enough water to make a soft bowl of dough that leaves the bowl clean.

3.) Dust flour over a clean work surface. Put the dough onto the floured surface and knead it for about 5 minutes. When the dough is smooth and stretchy, put it into a greased bowl.

4.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Put it in a warm place for about an hour to rise.

5.) When the dough has doubled in size, take it out of the bowl and knead it for five more minutes.

6.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease two pizza trays.

7.) Break the dough into two balls and put one into each pan. Press them with your fingers until they fill the pan, then pinch the edge to make crusts.

8.) Place a sieve over a large bowl and drain the tomatoes. Push the tomatoes through the sieve with a wooden spoon. Stir in the tomato paste and a pinch of salt and pepper.

9.) Spread the tomato sauce over the pizzas, but don’t spread it on the crusts. Sprinkle the cheese and seasoning over the sauce.

10.) Bake the pizzas on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and brown.

11.) Carefully lift out the pizza. Cut them into wedges or slices.

12.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 10 2015

An Eggplant Parm Celebration

Eggplant Parmesan

I had one of the best meals of my life this summer. While visiting in Niagara, my mom wanted to take everyone out to celebrate my birthday. We went to Johnny Rocco’s, a gorgeous Italian restaurant in Niagara Falls that I fell in love with the moment I stepped inside. We sat close to the open concept kitchen, which was perfect for me as I could watch the many chef jackets run around and prepare different dishes. I didn’t see them make the eggplant parm, but I’ve tried to recreate it as best I could here. One of the things that I was really striving for was to get that eggplant crispy, crispy, crispy, as it was one of my favourite things about Johnny Rocco’s version. In the end it wasn’t at all soggy, but still not as crunchy as I would like. Next time I think I’ll deep-fry it to get that crunch I’m looking for.

(As a side note, mom was so excited about this eggplant parm, she knew she was having it before we even got there. And once I told her I was making it in my own kitchen, I had to freeze some to bring home with me on my next visit.)

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour $0.07
  • 2 eggs $0.40
  • 1/2 cup water Free!
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs $0.69
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal $0.23
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning $0.55
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder $0.33
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided $1.50
  • 2 medium-sized eggplants, or 1 large eggplant $2.40
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded $0.75
  • 2 pounds of spinach $4.99
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil $0.03
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese $3.00
  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce $2.07
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $17.03
Cost per serving $2.83

1.) Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.) Heat olive oil in a frying pan set over medium-high heat. When hot add the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Cook just until wilted, about 3 – 5 minutes, stirring and turning often. When finished, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

3.) Slice the eggplant very thinly. You can slice it in rounds, or you can slice it in long rectangular slices and then slice it in half. Either way you want the eggplant to only be about 1/4″ thick.

4.) Set up a breading station using 3 baking dishes. In the first add the flour and season with salt and pepper. In the second dish whisk the egg with 1/2 cup of water. In the third dish combine the panko, cornmeal, dried Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5.) One by one dredge the eggplant in flour and then shake off excess. Completely drown them in the egg wash, and then place them in the panko mixture. Really press the panko mixture into the eggplant so that it holds.

6.) Arrange the eggplant on the prepared baking sheets. Place in oven and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, turning halfway through, until the eggplant is nice and crispy. When done, remove from oven.

7.) Onto half of the eggplant slices, spoon a tablespoon or two of spaghetti sauce. On top of that place about 2 tablespoons of spinach and top with a tablespoon or two of ricotta cheese, covering the spinach. Place another, undressed, eggplant slice over top of each slice covered with spinach and ricotta cheese. Add two tablespoons of spaghetti sauce on top of each stack and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of mozzarella cheese.

8.) Turn broiler on. When hot place baking sheet inside and broil eggplant for about 2 minutes, just until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.

9.) Serve, with pasta tossed in your favourite sauce, and enjoy!

Sep 08 2015

Warm Brussels Sprout Salad

Brussels sprouts salad

I love Brussels sprouts. They have to be fresh, not frozen, and they need to be cooked perfectly. Unlike many, I don’t think that always means cooking them in bacon grease and then sprinkling those crunchy bits of bacon throughout the sprouts. While I have made Brussels sprouts with bacon, this is a lighter and healthier side and still extremely tasty. And with the season of warm salads just around the corner, the timing couldn’t be better.

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided $0.06
1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed $2.99
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice $0.30
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese $0.75
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $4.12
Cost per serving $1.03

1.) Cut Brussels sprouts in half and thinly slice to shred them. You can also do this in a food processor with the shredding attachment.

2.) Heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts, season with salt and pepper, and toss. Cook for 3 minutes, tossing often, until the sprouts are bright green and slightly wilted.

3.) Transfer the Brussels sprouts to a large bowl. Add lemon juice, remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. Toss well, taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.

4.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 05 2015

Bacon Cheeseburger Poutine

Bacon Cheeseburger Poutine

Wanna know how good this is? It’s won awards. Well okay, one award. And it wasn’t really an award, not like a James Beard award or anything. But it is a winner and it did score me a gift certificate at work during our poutine contest. At the beginning of July, all four of us cooks created our very own poutine. We put them on the feature menu and whoever sold the most come July 31 won. Not only was that person me, but with 47 sold and the runner up sitting at 32, I crushed it. Now you can too, and win the prize for the most compliments at dinner. And, if you wanted to fashion yourself some kind of gold star for it, I think that would be perfectly appropriate.

4 pounds of French fries (about 8 cups) $3.46
6 strips thick-cut bacon $1.80
1 pound lean ground beef $5.69
2 tablespoons olive oil $0.06
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce $0.08
1 tablespoon garlic powder $0.11
1 tablespoon onion powder $0.07
1 tablespoon paprika $0.16
1 tablespoon dried parsley $0.20
3 cups beef stock $1.50
2 tablespoons butter $0.12
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour $0.02
2 cups white Cheddar cheese curd $4.37
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $17.66
Cost per serving $4.41

1.) Start cooking French fries, however you have decided to make them, from scratch or store bought.

2.) Place bacon in a frying pan and fry over medium heat until crispy, turning regularly. When bacon is done, transfer to a plate lined with paper towel and place paper towel over top to blot grease. Then cut into large chunks.

3.) Melt butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add all-purpose flour and whisk thoroughly until all lumps are removed. Cook for five minutes while the roux is bubbling. This will give the gravy a darker colour and will also cook out the raw flour. Slowly add the beef stock to the roux, whisking as you do to avoid lumps from forming. Once the stock has been added, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, uncovered. You need to keep the gravy piping hot so it will melt the cheese.

4.) Place olive oil in a large frying pan set over medium-high heat. When hot, add the beef, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to thoroughly combine all ingredients and continue to cook until beef is completely browned. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

5.) To plate, set a large handful of French fries on a plate or in a bowl. Spoon about 1 cup of beef over top of beef and some of the bacon over top. Top with cheese curds and then generously spoon gravy over top.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Aug 26 2015

Chicken Paprikash

Chicken Paprikash

Chicken paprikash is a Hungarian dish that, as its name implies, uses a lot of paprika – a spice that I’m particularly fond of. When I first started cooking, I was convinced it was added to dishes for its bright colour only; and was so adamant about it that I even once debated the issue with a friend for longer than necessary. But, I can admit when I’m wrong (usually), and I was that time.

Paprika is a spice that has a very unique flavour, and I love that this dish celebrates that. While hot and smoky paprika is all the rage these days, sweet paprika is the traditional spice used in chicken paprikash, and it just happens to be my favourite.

1 whole chicken, cut into 6 – 8 pieces $12.95
2 tablespoons sweet paprika $0.96
1 red pepper, julienned $0.60
2 tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded, and chopped $0.56
1 large yellow onion, minced $0.47
1 1/2 cups chicken broth $0.75
3/4 cup sour cream $0.45
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons $0.09
1/4 cup canola oil $0.27
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped $0.20
Salt and pepper, to taste $0.02

Total cost $17.32
Cost per serving $4.33

1.) Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in 1/2 cup flour, shaking off excess as you do.

2.) Heat oil in a Dutch oven or very large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, turning once, until brown, 8 – 10 minutes. Set aside.

3.) Add paprika and half the peppers, along with the tomatoes and onion to pot. Cook, stirring until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

4.) Add chicken and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, turning chicken once, until fully cooked and juices run clear, about 12 – 15 minutes.

5.) In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons flour and sour cream. Stir sour cream mixture into sauce in pot and remove from heat.

6.) Transfer chicken to a serving platter and spoon sauce over top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

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