Recipes – Storytelling – Delicious Photos

December 20, 2015
by sarah
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Swiss Tarts

The title “Swiss Tarts” may be a bit of a misnomer. All I know is that years ago when I first tried to make these, I was attempting to re-create a tiny frosted treat I once had. It was a firm little tart filled with soft, fragrant almond paste, topped with a sweet, snow-white glaze and the glowing dome of a perfect, glossy, half maraschino cherry. Some brief research online tells me that these are also known as Bakewell Tarts. Whatever they are, they have become a bit of a Christmas treat tradition in our house and they are only ever made for Christmas. Unfortunate, because they are very delicious. They are a labour of love if you make your own pastry. If you are at all inclined to skip that step (as I almost always do) they will turn out beautifully (and be so much quicker) if you go the route of frozen pastry shells. If you are a lover of almonds or marzipan, these little gems will undoubtedly make an appearance on your holiday dessert table.

For the pastry:

Prepare 1 recipe of pâte sucrée. Once the dough has chilled and rested, roll out  and cut into rounds the appropriate size for the tart or muffin tins you’ll be using. I used a standard mini muffin tin which meant that my rounds of pastry were 2 ½”. Your pans might be different, be sure to do a test.

Line the pan with the dough, pricking the bottom of each tart shell. Blind bake for 8 minutes at 350° or until the dough starts to appear dry and set, but uncoloured.  Remove tart shells from oven and allow to cool as you prepare the filling.

For the almond filling:

2 C blanched almonds

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp flour

1 egg

1 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract (or paste)

In a food processor, pulse together the almonds, sugar and flour until the almonds are ground down to the consistency of cornmeal. Once they are well mixed, stop the machine and add the remaining ingredients. Mix until the paste comes together and is smooth, damp and glossy.

To assemble:

Spoon a small amount of cherry jam (or your favourite jam/preserve) into the bottom of each tart shell. Cover the jam with a mound of the almond filling, filling them about 3/4 full. (how much you use will depend on the size of your tarts.)

Bake at 350° for 22 minutes. The filling should be puffed and golden.  My preference is for nice flat tops, so I usually push them down gently with the back of a teaspoon. Cool completely.

Frosting and finishing:

1 C icing sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp almond extract

maraschino or glacé cherries

Mix until smooth and pourable. The frosting should be a thick liquid, but still thin enough to slowly pool when poured. The surface will lightly crust when dried.

Maraschino cherries make a beautiful last minute decoration, but the moisture of the syrup will disrupt the smooth glaze.

Glacé cherries work well if you are decorating the tarts ahead of time.

July 4, 2015
by sarah
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Summer Garden Spaghetti

summer-garden-pasta-3

 

Summer Garden Pasta

This recipe is very flexible – make it for one, or make it for a crowd. The amounts below are based on dinner sized portions for 4 people. 

1 medium zucchini, sliced into long strips – about 2 cups (Use the julienne slicing setting on your mandolin if you have one. The coarse side of a box grater will work too)

2 C assorted cherry tomatoes, halved or sliced

200 g whole wheat spaghetti (or your favorite long pasta/noodle)

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

zest and juice of a lemon

1 Tbsp thyme leaves, chopped, some left whole for garnish

½ C finely grated Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Slice the zucchini finely to resemble the pasta. Slice or halve the cherry tomatoes. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook based on package directions. For whole wheat spaghetti this will take about 7-8 minutes.

While the pasta cooks, add the butter, oil, minced garlic and thyme to a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat so that the butter melts and the thyme and garlic become fragrant. Add the zucchini and cook until tender, about 4 minutes, increasing the heat to medium.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it well and add it to the saucepan with the zucchini. Cook together for anther 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and warm them through. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Garnish with any remaining thyme and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

June 18, 2015
by sarah
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Summer Time Salad

end-of-summer-salad1 (1)

Aren’t summer evenings beautiful? I was clicking through the archives looking for a good recipe to re-post and I came across this one. Not only is it delicious, but the picture grabbed my attention. I love, love, love the long shadows and warmth of the light on a summer evening. This is a fresh, easy salad and goes particularly well with grilled chicken. The concord grapes give it some sweet tang and the sundried tomatoes add textural interest. A sprinkling of pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) or toasted almonds would not be unwelcome either.

Summer Time Salad

makes enough for 4-6 people

2 medium zucchini (courgettes), juliened

2 C fresh corn kernels

1 C concord grapes 

2 C cherry tomatoes, halved

6 sundried/ovendried tomatoes, rehydrated in some warm water and juliened

a large handful of mixed fresh basil and parsley, torn or chopped.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. Add coarse salt and pepper to taste.

May 15, 2015
by sarah
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Garlicky Citrus Salmon Steaks

salmon steaks

A favorite from the archives. Have a delicious weekend!

 

Garlicky Citrus Salmon Steaks

 enough marinade for 4-6 salmon steaks

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 large garlic clove, grated or minced

Juice and zest of half a lemon

8 green onions (scallions) finely chopped

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

Slather generously on both sides of the fish steaks. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before grilling over medium-high heat, turning only once, 12-15 minutes total time. The fish is done when it flakes easily and is just barely opaque at its centre.

May 10, 2015
by sarah
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Fish Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

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It’s not even the middle of May and it was 25 Celsius here yesterday. When it’s warm and bright like that I want to eat dinner in the back yard, with a great cocktail or a cold beer, and let the day just fade away into the evening. Something easy, fresh, bright, lime wedges doing double duty in glasses and on plates. Laughter, sunset, the din of the city as it cools and slows down again for another balmy night; this is the landscape of perfect summer cooking and eating. But what to make?
Easy: fish tacos! Continue Reading →

May 9, 2015
by sarah
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Smoked Tomato Caesars

 

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I’m such a sucker for smoked foods. Nuts, cheese, meat, fish, if it’s been cooked over fire or better yet treated to a woodsmoke sauna and fully indoctrinated with smoky goodness, I want to eat it. So you might imagine my joy when my friend Andrew started Wholly Smoked and started churning out amazing small batch smoked foods for friends, family and Continue Reading →

April 19, 2015
by sarah
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Chili Rubbed Roast Chicken

whole chili roast chicken

How is it Sunday again? This weekend has slid by without permission or warning. Highlights include: sunshine and lots of it, drinks and snacks with some friends, one of whom is moving overseas this week, the best cannoli in the city, sleeping in one day, getting up early the other, reading, writing, a clean house and a lot of laughs. Around here, Sunday usually means a pseudo-traditional Sunday dinner. By that I mean that we all sit at the table and the meal itself is usually something that propels us into the week with some leftovers. This particular Chili Rubbed Roast Chicken makes it into the rotation frequently because it’s so easy and versatile.

chili roast chicken

 

I usually do chickens 3 at a time. With five people in the house we can easily go through one and a half chickens at dinner and then leftovers go into lunches as plain pieces, chopped and added to salads and sandwiches, or for another dinner that week, shredded and used in tacos or burritos. Sometimes, it’s just eaten cold from the fridge as a snack. That’s how we roll. The recipe is after the jump, happy fleeting weekend, everybody!  Continue Reading →

April 9, 2015
by sarah
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The Brown Cow

brown cow with straw

Welcome to Thirsty Thursday! It’s a new thing. Every week we will be posting a delicious beverage or cocktail just in time for you to make it yourself over the weekend. This week it’s The Brown Cow, a bit of a throw back to days of malt shops and poodle skirts. Somehow still, everything looks better with a cherry on top. Read on for the recipe and how-to after the jump or check out a few of these past drink features: Continue Reading →