Tag Archives: vegetarian

Chana Masala

Chana Masala

For a long time now, my good friend and I have been planning on having a cooking day where he would show me how to make some of his amazing authentic Indian recipes. When I say a long time, I mean we’ve been talking about this for close to 2 years now, but haven’t set aside a day to make it happen…..until now. This past week we finally got together and cooked up an incredible Indian feast. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing the recipes we used, starting with this one for Chana Masala.

Before I really delve into the recipe, it’s important to point out that a lot of the measurements give you a range to work with and a lot of the instructions give you an estimate of time. This is because with authentic dishes like this, there really is no recipe. There’s only a general idea of the steps involved and the ingredients used. From there you create your own dish.

The term masala refers to the base of the cooking method, which is onions, ginger and garlic, cooked beyond the caramelization point until it almost becomes a paste. This method forms the base of many Indian dishes. If you’re familiar with French or Italian cooking, masala could be considered India’s answer to mirepoix and sofritto, respectively.

This dish is incredibly healthy, full of flavour and at this time of year, it makes for some serious comfort food. Enjoy!

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

4 onions, finely chopped

2″ piece of ginger, minced

8 – 10 cloves of garlic, minced

2 –  3 tbsp tumeric

4 tbsp coriander

4 tbsp garam masala

4 – 398mL cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

water to cover

2 bay leaves

salt to taste

cayenne to add some heat (optional)

Start by heating the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions to the pot and begin to saute, adding a splash of water when the onions start to stick. Keep cooking and deglazing with water until the onions are very soft and brown, at least 15 – 20 minutes. It’s important during this phase to keep an eye on the pot to prevent the onions from drying out and to be stirring fairly often.

Once the onions are ready, add the ginger and cook for about 5 minutes, again, adding a little splash of water if it gets to dry. Then add the garlic and cook for a minute or two, before adding the tumeric, coriander and garam masala. Stir the spices into the onion mixture and allow to cook for another minute, until fragrant.

Stir in the chickpeas and add enough water to cover by at least 1 inch. Add the bay leaves and a little salt. If you’re adding cayenne, you can add that now, as well. Stir and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally until the water is reduced to a “stew”like consistancy. This is a great time to taste the dish and add more salt if necessary.

Using the back of a spoon, mash up some of the chickpeas in the pot to help thicken the dish. Continue simmering for another 10 – 15 minutes, until thickened. Serve with rice or naan.

Serves 4 – 6

I’ll be sharing this dish at the Fiesta Friday blog party. Pop by if you’re interested in finding other delicious recipes.

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Gnocchi with peas and sun-dried tomatoes

Gnocchi with peas and sun-dried tomatoes

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve found myself lacking inspiration in my cooking. I’ve been falling back on a lot of past favourites or quick, easy to throw together dinners. I’ve actually found myself feeling a little blah about cooking, which rarely happens to me. I think it’s mostly because I’ve been busier than normal. I also think that the turn in the seasons is making me feel a little more sluggish than usual. Whatever it is, it seems to have passed in the last couple of days and I’ve been playing around with a couple new recipes, starting with this gnocchi with peas and sun-dried tomatoes.

The idea for this recipe came to me last week when I had the opportunity to visit a local family farm for an incredible farm to table feast. Hosted by Hills Foods, the event was attended by notable, local chefs, food purveyors, foodies and media, and had a strong focus on local, sustainable and ethical food. You can read more about my visit here.

Although the feast was almost entirely meat-centric, there was one side dish that caught my attention; a delicious gnocchi prepared with peas and oven dried tomatoes. This recipe is my attempt to re-create the dish at home.

1 package potato gnocchi

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped

2 tsp oregano

1/4 Cup frozen peas, thawed

1/4 Cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced

salt to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and cook for about 3 minutes, until they begin to float to the top. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the shallots and oregano. Saute for a few minutes until beginning to turn opaque. Add the gnocchi, making sure to spread them evenly around the bottom of the skillet (you may need to do this step in two batches). Cook for about 5 minutes, gently tossing or stirring part way through, until the gnocchi are lightly crisp. Stir in the peas, sun-dried tomatoes and salt to taste. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings as a side dish.

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Maple Buttercream

Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Maple Buttercream

This week has been a busy one. Aside from everyday life, a lot of the week was focused on running around getting party supplies for my sons birthday this weekend, baking a batch of muffins to share with his classmates and of course,making and decorating cupcakes for the party.

Being busy and then, inevitably, coming down with a head cold, I actually hadn’t intended on writing a post this week. I did, however,  post a picture of the pumpkin spice muffins I made for my sons class, on Instagram. They were quite a hit, so I thought it would be a good idea to share the recipe. It’s really just a twist on my pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, but a little more cupcake-y. The one bite I was able to steal from my son’s muffin was delicious and seeing as there were no leftovers, I’m pretty sure all the kids enjoyed them too.

Muffins:

3 Cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp all spice

2 eggs

1/2 Cup sugar

2/3 Cup vegetable oil

1 – 398mL can of pumpkin

1 Cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit

Stir the first 8 ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add in the sugar, oil, pumpkin and milk. Whisk together until smooth. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon the mixture into greased muffin cups filling about 2/3 full. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from the oven. Allow to set for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Maple Buttercream:

1 Cup butter, room temperature

4 Cups icing sugar

1/3 Cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

2 – 3 tbsp milk

Using a stand mixer, combine the butter, icing sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and 2 tbsp milk. Starting on the lowest setting and slowly increasing to medium speed, begin mixing together. If the mixture is too stiff, add more milk, 1 tsp at a time. Continue mixing, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until well combined and creamy.

 

 

 

Applesauce Muffins

Applesauce Muffins

Can you believe it’s the first day of Autumn?! What happened to September?! It’s not like I didn’t see the warning signs; apples at the market, the arrival of pumpkin spice lattes and the need to wear a cozy sweater in the morning, it’s just that I kept telling myself that it was still summer. I was convinced that everything was just early this year. Apparently I was just late :/

Since it is Autumn, though, and since I found myself with an abundance of fresh picked Honeycrisp apples from the market, I felt a strong urge to make something with them. Applesauce seemed like the best place to start. It’s hard to imagine anything more comforting than the smell of applesauce stewing on the stove. It’s basically Autumn in a pot. Once the sauce was made, I started dreaming of all the ways I could use it. I have a few ideas in mind, but because muffins are a weekly staple at our house, they’re the first thing that the applesauce was added to. They’re easy to make and a deliciously healthy option to quickly throw into my kids lunch bags. I hope you enjoy these Autumn inspired applesauce muffins 🙂

Applesauce:

1 1/2 Cups  sweet apples, peeled, cored and diced (I prefer Honeycrisp or galas)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 Cup water

Simmer over low – medium heat until softened. Remove from the heat and mash with a potato masher until desired consistency. I like to leave a few chunks in it, but if you prefer a smoother sauce, then go for it. Set aside to cool.

Muffins:

2 Cups whole wheat flour

1/2 Cup sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 egg

1 Cup milk

1 Cup applesauce

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg until frothy. Add the milk and applesauce and stir until well combined.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Pour in the applesauce mixture and stir gently until just combined.

Evenly divide the batter between 12 greased muffin cups. Bake for 20 -25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

 

 

Goat cheese and mushroom Tart

 

Goat cheese and mushroom tart

Goat cheese and mushroom tart

Goat cheese and mushrooms are two of my very favourite ingredients. I like them anytime, anywhere, in almost any combination. I love them so much that I’m actually a little surprised that I haven’t posted a recipe using them together, before now.

In my post last week, I mentioned that we had spent a week relaxing at our family cabin. Since the entire idea behind a vacation at the cabin is to relax, I usually spend some of my time working on a new recipe or two. That might sound odd to some people, but for me, being in the kitchen, creating something new and yummy is one of my favourite ways to relax. Especially with some music playing and my husband occupying the kids. Oh, and how could I forget, a glass of wine to sip on while I work away.

As far as wine goes, I tend to be a red wine kinda girl. In this case, however, I felt like this recipe was a bit too rich for red. I chose instead to sip on a delightful Sauvignon Blanc from Serendipity Winery. It was fresh and light, which was perfect for balancing out the richness of this goat cheese and mushroom tart.

Serendipity Winery 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

Serendipity Winery 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

All in all, I would say this recipe completely sums up my idea of a perfect, relaxing day. I hope you enjoy it!

397g package of frozen puff pastry, thawed

2 oz cream cheese, softened

2 oz goat cheese

1 tbsp garlic chives

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 (14g) package of dried porcini mushrooms

1 Cup portabello mushrooms, sliced and then halved

1 large shallot, minced

4 pieces of asparagus, trimmed

salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Start by re-hydrating the porcini mushrooms according to their package directions.

While the mushrooms are re-hydrating, roll out the puff pastry to form a rectangle that’s about 10″x12″. Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and set aside.

Blend together the cream cheese, goat cheese and chives. Gently spread the mixture evenly over the puff pastry.

Once the porcinis are ready, heat the butter and olive oil together in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 1 – 2 minutes, until just starting to sweat. Add the portobello mushrooms, cook for a just a few minutes, then add in the porcinis. Continue cooking for a couple minutes longer until the mushrooms are tender. Season with salt.

Evenly spread the mushroom mixture over the cheese and pastry. Top with the asparagus, cutting it into smaller pieces if you like.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the crust is golden and flaky.

 

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