Kate's Cuisine

Jan 22 2015

Roasted Spicy Potatoes

Roasted Spicy Potatoes

Can you believe that to make roasted potatoes I used to just toss some potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper? Yep, before I knew about boiling potatoes and “chuffing” them as you do in Jamie Oliver’s Roasted Potatoes, or even boiling them in the oven and still calling them roasted potatoes, this is one dish that used to always be a guaranteed bore on a plate. Now though, I know all about different ways to make my roasties, and it just so happens that sprinkling steak spice on them is one of the most delicious.

3 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half $3.99
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon Montreal Steak Spice $0.31
2 tablespoons olive oil $0.06

Total cost $4.36
Cost per serving $1.09

1.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat potatoes evenly with the oil and spice. Spread them out evenly in a large casserole dish or baking sheet.

3.) Place potatoes in the preheated oven and bake for 35 – 45 minutes, until potatoes are crispy and golden brown.

4.) Serve and enjoy!

Jan 17 2015

Steak with Pepper Sauce

Steak with Pepper Sauce

There’s nothing better than a good steak with a steak sauce or spice that’s as equally good. This recipe gives you both with a great sauce that’s got just the right amount of spice. Although it’s a pepper sauce, I tend to stay away from putting whole (or even cracked) peppercorns in it. Doing so just makes it too peppery for my taste, and I also don’t enjoy biting into those big hunks of peppercorn, which are very overpowering and ruin my taste for the actual steak itself – not to mention get lodged in my gums, causing no end of discomfort. But, if you like to take your chances on letting your teeth jump around those whole peppercorns, I’m certainly not going to be the one to stop you.

1 flank steak $15.89
1 tablespoon olive oil $0.03
1 tablespoon butter $0.06
1/3 cup minced onion or shallot $0.24
1 clove garlic, minced $0.01
1/4 cup cognac $2.50
2 cups beef broth $1.00
1 tablespoon ground black pepper, plus 1 tablespoon $0.02
1/3 cup heavy cream $0.29
4 teaspoons cornstarch $0.36
2 – 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard $0.12
Salt $0.01

Total cost $20.53
Cost per serving $5.13

1.) Generously season the flank steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Let sit for 15 minutes.

2.) Melt the butter and the olive oil together in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the steak and sear on one side for about 8 minutes, until the steak is nicely seared and carmalized. Flip and cook for another 5 – 8 minutes for medium-rare. If you like your steak cooked more than that, cook for 10 – 12 minutes on each side, covering the pan with a lid after you’ve flipped the steak. I like to cook mine just slightly under the temperature I like to eat it at, as it will continue to cook for a couple more minutes while resting.

3.) Lower the heat under the skillet to medium and remove the steak to a cutting board. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm and let rest while you prepare the sauce.

4.) Drain half of the fat from the skillet and to the remaining pan juices add the onion or shallot along with the garlic. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until everything is softened. Pour in the cognac to deglaze and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the stock and the pepper to the sauce and whisk.

5.)In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and the heavy cream. Whisk this mixture into the sauce in the skillet until it is completely incorporated. Simmer until the sauce is lightly thickened. Whisk in the mustard and again, whisk to fully incorporate into the sauce. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

6.) Slice the steak into very thin strips and arrange on a platter. Pour a small amount of sauce over top to cover, and serve remaining sauce in a gravy boat on the side.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

Jan 14 2015

How to Turn Regular Oats into Quick-Cooking Oats

Oats

If you ever make Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, bake with oatmeal, or just like a nice steaming bowl of it for breakfast, you know just how many different kinds of oats are out there on the market. But do you really need to buy steel cut, quick-cooking, and regular large oats to make sure you have just the right kind whenever you need them? Nope ya don’t!

Okay, if you want steel cut oats, you’re going to have to buy them – and probably only use them for making bowls of oatmeal or crunchy granola. But if you want oatmeal for cookies, baking or cooking, you can just buy a bag of large flake oats and turn portions of it into quick-cooking oats when you need them, just by placing some into a food processor. Pulse them once or twice, don’t grind them up completely; you just want them smaller, not complete mush. That’s really all it takes to turn regular oats into those that are quick-cooking.

Even though I measure the oats before I place them into the processor, I also measure them after pouring them out. The change in texture and shape may cause the measurement to be slightly different, and so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the right amount for your recipe.

Jan 13 2015

How to Get Summer Fresh Tomatoes in the Dead of Winter

Summer Fresh Tomatoes

It’s winter. It’s cold, and now there is actually snow on the ground. And because it’s so cold, the top layer of snow has actually turned to ice. So you don’t only get to walk through it (taking three times as long as it normally would), you get to stomp with every step so that you can actually walk through the snow instead of slipping and sliding through it. Needless to say, it’s miserable. Okay, so what does this have to do with food?

A lot, because in the middle of January, there are no Farmers’ Markets. There are no vegetable stands that you can run out to just before dinner to get your farm fresh vegetables. And those tomatoes you see in the grocery store? They’ve come from some unimaginable place like California or Florida – a place where a bright orb still shines in the sky, and they’re actually able to grow fruits and vegetables. Right now. Unfortunately, if you’re still daydreaming of snow shoes instead of sunny skies, the tomatoes you eat won’t taste nearly as good as they do when they come right off the vine. But, there is a way to make our grocery store tomatoes taste almost - almost – like the ones grown in the middle of summer. And all it takes is a little bit of sugar.

First, cut up your tomatoes. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using plum tomatoes, vine tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes. Just chop them up however you’d like, making sure that there is a bit of surface area showing the flesh of the tomato. Place them in a bowl and sprinkle a bit of sugar over top; I used about a teaspoon for every cup of tomatoes. Turn and toss the tomatoes so that the sugar is evenly distributed throughout and then set the bowl aside for about 15 minutes. Just like when you macerate strawberries, doing this will release some more juices from the tomato and sweeten them all up. You can then drain the tomatoes and use them for whatever you need, or spoon the entire thing over a Spring Mix Salad and it acts as its own ready-made dressing.

It might not be a skyrocketing temperature, a sunny hot beach, or an afternoon perfect for bike riding, but when it’s this cold, I’ll take any taste of summer that I can get.

Jan 09 2015

Meatballs in a Mustard Cream Sauce Over Buttered Noodles

Meatballs in a Mustard Cream Sauce

I’ve had a lot of luck lately, choosing to fly by the seat of my pants in the kitchen rather than follow a recipe. Last night, I pulled out a pound of ground beef from my fridge and thought I’d turn it into meatballs that were similar to Meatloaf with Bacon Gravy. While I did include bacon and onions, the resulting dish was something different entirely. That might be because I took suggestions from my girls as I went along, turning the original thought of rice to buttered noodles (thanks, Paige!) and topping everything with fried onions, as per Maddie’s request. Everything ended up working really together, just as we do once in awhile.

For the meatballs:

1 pound medium ground beef $3.87
1/2 cup bread crumbs $0.21
1/4 cup milk $0.07
1/2 onion, diced very finely $0.23
2 slices of bacon $0.60
1 egg, lightly beaten $0.20
1 tablespoon garlic powder $0.39
1 tablespoon paprika $0.48
1 tablespoon dried or fresh dill $0.51
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce $0.08
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

For the mustard cream sauce:

1/2 onion, finely diced $0.23
1/2 cup dry white wine $1.25
1/2 cup heavy cream $0.76
2 slices bacon, cooked very crisp and crumbled $0.60
2 tablespoons of your favourite mustard $0.24
2 tablespoons honey $0.20
1 tablespoon paprika $0.48
1 tablespoon garlic powder $0.39
2 cups water, plus 2 tablespoons Free!
2 tablespoons cornstarch $0.54
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

For the noodles:

1/2 pound of any pasta you’d like (I chose spaghetti broken in half for the slurp factor) $0.99
1/2 cup butter $0.44
Salt $0.01

For the fried onions:

1 onion, cut in half and sliced thinly $0.47
2 tablespoons butter $0.12
1 tablespoon olive oil $0.03
Salt $0.01

Total cost $13.44
Cost per serving $3.36

1.) Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll need it to keep the meatballs warm while preparing the rest of the meal on your stovetop.

2.) Start by preparing the meatballs. Heat a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat. When hot add the two slices of bacon and lightly cook for about 5 minutes, turning once. You want the bacon to be slightly cooked, but not crisp. The fat content will help keep your meatballs moist. Remove bacon from skillet and set aside. Into the hot pan add the finely diced onion. Stir them around in the bacon fat, cook for about 2 minutes until soft, and then set aside with the bacon. Allow ingredients to cool and turn pan off while preparing the rest of the meatballs.

3.) In a large bowl place the ground beef, cooked onion and bacon, bread crumbs, milk, egg, garlic powder, paprika, dill, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix everything together very thoroughly. I know there’s a lot of fuss about not over-mixing your meat but I find that if you use enough ingredients to keep it moist (slightly cooked bacon, milk) you don’t need to worry about this and that thoroughly mixing them can actually be very beneficial.

4.) Form the meat into two-inch balls and roll lightly in your hands, setting them aside on a plate as you do.

5.) Heat the cast iron skillet over medium heat and when hot, place meatballs into the bacon fat. Cook for about 5 minutes to develop a nice sear, then turn over and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Repeat this process with all sides of the meatballs. When they are finished cooking, transfer them to a casserole dish, cover with aluminum foil, and transfer them to the oven.

6.) While meatballs are cooking, make the fried onions. Melt the butter and olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced onions, turn them in the fat, and cook for about 10 – 15 minutes, until they are completely softened and carmalized. Remove from heat, place in a round casserole dish, and place in the oven to keep warm with the meatballs. Don’t worry about overcooking them; the oven is just warm enough to keep everything hot, but not cooked.

7.) Once the meatballs have been transferred to the oven, keep the heat under the skillet turned to medium. Add the other diced half onion and turn in the fat to coat. Cook for about 2 minutes until just softened, then add the white wine. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the bits stuck to the bottom of the pan and allow the wine to boil for 2 minutes to burn off the alcohol. Add the paprika, garlic powder, pepper, and a pinch of salt and stir everything together.

8.) Add 2 cups of water to the skillet, along with the honey, and whisk everything together. Bring to a boil then lower heat and gently simmer. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the cornstarch and whisk together until smooth. Add this cornstarch mixture to the skillet and whisk again to fully incorporate. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce is thickened. Turn heat to low, add the heavy cream and once again whisk to incorporate. Taste for seasoning, and adjust if necessary.

9.) While the sauce is cooking, make the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil then add pasta, stir, and cook for about 8 minutes, until just al dente. Drain and return to pot. Add the butter, cover to let the butter melt, then stir everything together.

10.) Remove the meatballs and fried onions from the oven and plate. Divide buttered noodles among four plates and top with meatballs. Spoon the sauce generously over the meatballs and top with fried onions.

11.) Serve and enjoy!

Jan 06 2015

Chicken Pot Pie with Phyllo Dough

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is the dish I always turn to when I have leftover chicken on hand. I turn to it so much in fact, that sometimes I need to find different ways of playing it up, to keep me and my family’s taste buds from boredom. Using phyllo dough instead of pie dough definitely isn’t my own invention, but I used it for the first time just last night and, with pie dough being my least favourite part of any pie, I was very pleased with the results. I also divided the pot pie filling among four souffle dishes, giving us each our own individual chicken pot pie. That along with the phyllo dough substitution made the entire thing quite elegant, I must say.

3 cups chicken or turkey, cooked $4.49
1 large carrot, peeled and diced $0.17
1 onion, diced $0.47
1 cup frozen peas $0.37
3 tablespoons rosemary, chopped $1.50
1 tablespoon vegetable oil $0.03
3 tablespoons butter, softened, plus more for dishes $0.36
1/2 cup butter, melted $0.44
3 tablespoons flour $0.03
2 cups chicken stock $1.00
6 sheets phyllo dough $1.33
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $10.21
Cost per serving $2.55

1.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and grease the souffle dishes with butter.

2.) Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. When hot add the onion, carrot, and frozen peas. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes, until the vegetables are just softened. Then add the cooked chicken and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper, and cook just until everything is warmed through.

3.) Add the 3 tablespoons of butter to the frying pan. Let it melt, turn the vegetables in it, and then add the 3 tablespoons of flour. Stir the flour so that everything is perfectly mixed together and let cook for about 2 minutes to cook out the raw flour.

4.) Slowly whisk in the chicken stock. Bring up to a boil, then turn heat to low and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until the entire mixture is thickened. Taste, and season with more salt and pepper, if necessary. Once the mixture is thickened, ladle it evenly into the four souffle dishes.

5.) Lay out the six sheets of phyllo dough and cut them in half. Place one half over top of one souffle dish. Brush with the melted butter, then lay another half sheet right over top. Brush this one with butter as well, and lay another half phyllo sheet on top. Brush this third one with butter and season with salt on top. Repeat this process of layering three half sheets, brushing with butter in between each layer and topping with a pinch of salt, until all souffle dishes have been covered. After each pot pie has been topped with phyllo, use a small pairing knife to cut a small “x” in the centre of each, just to let the steam escape.

6.) Place the souffle dishes on a baking sheet and place them in the oven. Bake for 18 – 25 minutes, until the phyllo is crisp and golden.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

Dec 29 2014

Mocha Nut Butterballs

Mocha Nut Butterballs

Of all the cookies I’ve made this holiday season, I have to say that these are my favourite, and not because they happen to be the most festive. They are soft and crumbly, full of chocolate and espresso, and the icing sugar they’re coated in can’t help but remind one of snow – even with the green Christmas that surrounds us this year. They come together quick, which is good, because you’ll want to make another batch soon enough.

1 cup butter, softened $1.94
1/2 cup white sugar $0.10
1 teaspoon vanilla extract $0.22
1 tablespoon instant espresso $0.12
1/4 cup cocoa powder $1.00
1/4 teaspoon salt $0.01
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour $0.17
1 1/2 cups pecans, finely chopped $1.65
2 cups icing sugar $0.66

Total Cost $5.87
Cost per cookie $0.09

1.) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the icing sugar in a bowl and set aside.

2.) Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed just until it’s completely softened, about 1 minute. Add the white sugar, vanilla extract, instant espresso, cocoa, and salt. Mix on medium speed until all ingredients are completely mixed together.

3.) With the mixer on low speed, add the flour in half-cup increments, waiting until the flour is mostly mixed in before adding more.

4.) Turn the mixer off, take out the bowl, and give the mixture a final stir. Add the pecans and stir again, trying to make sure the nuts are evenly distributed.

5.) Form the dough into one-inch balls and place them on the lined baking sheets. Place them in the oven and bake for 12 – 15 minutes, until they are completely set (some may start to crack on top, don’t worry about it.)

6.) Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.

7.) When the cookies are completely cool, roll them in the icing sugar. Do not try to do this when the cookies are still warm, as the sugar will become completely absorbed and make the cookie much denser.

8.) Serve and enjoy!

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