Friday, July 27, 2012

Grilled peach salsa from the new Certified Good Food Fighter

Hey yall. Just wanted to wish you all a great weekend and let you know about an awesome organization I will be blogging for called the Good Food Revolution. This photo is from my very first post for a delicious summer grilled peach salsa. Chow for now! xo j. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gastropost: Memories of summers past - Salsa Verde Potato Salad

This week I'm thinking about a summer BBQ favorite also know as my sisters mayonnaise nightmare aka #Potato Salad. As a kid my mom never kept mayonnaise in the house, leaving my sister and I totally clueless about potato or macaroni salad. It wasn't until going to a family friends bbq's one summer when I first laid eyes on this heaping bowl of lumpy piled high creamy potato hell. I knew I wasn't missing anything and for the life of me couldn't understand what everyone was raving about.  The so called salad looked pretty pitiful, it kind of reminded me of what came spewing out of my sisters mouth after going to a birthday party where she had gorged herself on pizza, birthday cake and ice cream (sorry for all the nasty details TMI for sure). Until this day the sight of mayo sends my sister into a tailspin, clammy hands, cold sweats, you name it... it totally grosses her out. I've since gotten over my own nightmares of my first potato salad sighting and have learned to accept the eggy dressing here and there mostly on french fries or a club sandwich. This refreshing take on the classic potato salad is for Courtney my amazing little sissy and it contains absolutely no mayonnaise. 

Salsa Verde Potato Salad -  INGREDIENTS: 
yukon gold potatoes - par boiled & chopped 
radishes - thinly sliced 
red bird chilies - thinly sliced 
fresh mint - leaves for garnish 
fresh (or frozen) peas 
Greek yogurt 
salt & pepper - to taste 

green onion
2 garlic cloves
handful capers 
lemon - juice & zest 
olive oil 
salt & pepper - to taste  
cumin - pinch 

PREP: In a blender (or hand blender) pulse equal parts mint, parsley, cilantro, green onion with garlic, lemon, pinch of s &p & cumin. While blending drizzle olive oil until you get the perfect fluid texture. Par boil potatoes (about 10 mins) then chop. Thinly slice radish, chillies & thaw out peas if frozen.
COOK: Toss potatoes in olive oil a pinch or s &p and roast (or fry) until slightly crispy and creamy inside. Toss hot potatoes & peas in the salsa verde with a big dollop of Greek yogurt, then add in radishes & red chilies. Adjust seasoning as needed.
SERVE: Along side your favorite BBQ dinner. The salsa verde is delicious on anything... meat, fish, corn you name it!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gastropost: Just Peachy - Summer crumble

 We are super lucky this summer since peach season has started early. Thanks to our super hot & sticky summer no doubt a direct cause of global warming. At least it's good for something - yes I'm looking on the bright and sarcastic side of things. This local array of fruit makes a delightful summer crumble which is easy as pie to make... well easier cause it's crumble - pies reliable & modest cousin. One of my all time favorite desserts that really needs no measuring, just love and a scoop of ice cream doesn't hurt either.

peaches - rough chopped 
blueberries - whole 
yellow plums - rough chopped
honey or sugar or maple syrup for sweetening 
cardamom - a pinch 
cinnamon - a pinch 
salt - a pinch 
butter - handful chopped
flour - a few spoonfuls 
oats - a few handfuls 
love - as much as you can part with 

PREP: Pre heat oven to 350. 
FILLING: Chop fruits adding a few spoonfuls of something sweet to the fruit mixture, 2 spoonfuls of flour, pinch cardamom. Mix well.
TOPPING: Combine chopped butter, cinnamon, spoonful of flour, handful of oats & some more something sweet (few spoonfuls of honey is nice)
BAKE: Spread topping over filling and bake for 45 mins. 
SERVE: Warm with vanilla ice cream

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Purple Potato Perfection

I just had to share this photo with you all. I was so intrigued when I cut into the very last potato in my farmers market basket and found this...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gastropost: Chill out treat = watermelon slushy

I don't know what it's been like in your neck of the woods, but in Toronto it's been a scorching summer. Pretty stunning actually, with a few periods of extreme heat and humidity conveniently when the AC in my building wasn't working (obviously). Torontonians are funny about the weather, maybe it's even Canadians in general but we complain no matter what. It's too hot, it's too cold, it's too dry, it's too rainy - we find fault in every season. For my second GASTROPOST I'm going to let you in on a delicious heat wave treat - The Watermelon Slushy. I recently saw a recipe like this somewhere I don't remember where but I remember the easy details... freeze watermelon & blend was the gist of it. For my version add some lime, mint, a splash of white rum if you're of the age and feeling frisky and voilà a perfect chill out beverage. 

seedless watermelon - cubed & frozen
1 - 2 limes juiced
mint leaves or basil - for garnish
pinch of fresh cracked pepper
1.5 oz (per 1 cup of slush) white Jamaican rum

Per 1 cup of frozen watermelon add 1 juiced lime. Blend on low until the slushy consistency is to your liking, about a minute. If you are lucky enough to have a Breville blender there is actually a "shave" setting which is perfect for this. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Gastropost: What does Canadian food mean to me? A refreshing clam beverage known as the Bloody Caesar

For my first Gastropost mission I'm going to tell you about an amazing cocktail that always makes me think of home. The iconic Bloody Caesar goes back to 1969 in Alberta, Calgary.  Restaurateur Walter Chell concocted this masterpiece in honour of a new Italian restaurant launch. The Caesar is said to be inspired by the famous Italian dish spaghetti alle vongole which in English means spaghetti and clams. Mmmm pasta & seafood. In the last 40 some odd years the Caesar has become one of Canada's most exclusive and beloved elixirs. It is virtually unknown by the rest of the world, which makes it a perfect candidate for my contribution to a Canadian food post. When I think of a bloody Caesar I think of summer, sitting up north at a cottage with good friends enjoying Ontario's beautiful weather. It's really one of the most perfect aperitifs since it is both both a drink and a snack. I've really kicked up this aspect of the cocktail in my version which uses the clamato juice to poach a stunning jumbo shrimp. Definitely the perfect garnish along side a pickled bean & some celery shavings.  Not too shabby for a pre dinner snack. I like to use the regular clamato juice and use my own spice blend of horseradish, Montreal steak spice, Frank's Red hot & worcestershire sauce of course.

Motts clamato juice
2 oz (frozen) vodka - your preference 
2 tbs fresh grated horseradish 
pinch Montreal streak spice - for the rim & to the drink as well 
splash of pickle, olive or bean "juice" 
dash of Franks red hot sauce 
lemon wedge - for garnish
lime wedge - for garnish
celery - shaved with a vegetable peeler 
raw jumbo zipper back shrimp - for garnish
Matt & Steve's "The Extreme Bean" - for garnish

TO POACH THE SHRIMP: Cut the spine of the shrimp to remove the shell leaving the tail behind. In a small pot bring a cup or so of clamato juice to the boil then turn off the heat. Place the raw shrimp in the liquid for 3-5 mins until they are firm and pink. Remove from the liquid & place in a small bowl in the fridge until ready to assemble your beverage.

This refreshing clam beverage beats out the bloody Mary any day! Try using the clamato poached shrimp in a salad with a citrus vinaigrette for a light tasty summer dinner. Chow for now!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

In honour of Spain lets make some churros

Holla amigos, buenos dias. Hoy me voy a escribir halgo sobre un postre increíble de verano...los churros. I bet I just threw you all for a loop there eh. My Spanish may be limited but my love of the food, people and soccer team knows no bounds. I hope you all enjoyed your long weekend. Happy Canada day to my Canadian readers, Happy 4th of July to the yanks & a HUGE felicidades to everyone who rooted for Spain in the Euro cup. It really was an unbelievable win against Italy on Sunday. In honour of Spain's legendary win I'm going to let you all in on my amazing churro recipe. It took me a while to perfect these delicious donut sticks and it's my absolute pleasure sharing my secret with you.  Churros are popular in pretty much every Spanish speaking country in the world. In Spain and other parts of South America they are an extremely popular street food eaten with dulce de leche - a delicious caramel like sauce made from boiled sweetened condensed milk. In Mexico churros are enjoyed along side a spicy hot chocolate drink. Either way they taste absolutely delicious. You will need a pastry bag and large star tip to make the churros as well as a hell of a lot of muscle to fold the dough (choux paste) until perfectly smooth.

1 cup water 
2 tbs white sugar + more for dusting
1/2 tsp salt 
1/3 cup unsalted butter 
1 cup a.p. (all purpose) flour 
2 eggs - beaten 
1/2 tsp vanilla 
pinch ground cinnamon - for dusting
pinch ground nutmeg  - for dusting 
vegetable oil or shortening to fry (you need about 4 inches of oil in a medium pot)

STEP 1: Whisk eggs and vanilla together and place off to the side. Combine sugar, a pinch of cinnamon & nutmeg in a dish and place to the side for dusting.
STEP 2: Pre heat fryer oil on high (you will test the oil before frying churros by dropping a small amount of dough)
STEP 3: In a medium pot bring water, sugar, salt & butter to a boil. Turn heat off before step 4.
STEP 4: Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon until combine (will form a large ball). 
STEP 5: Add egg/ vanilla mixture and continue to work into the dough until everything has come together. 
STEP 6: Place the star tip inside the pastry bag and fill with 1/2 the churro mixture. 
STEP 7: Test the oil by squeezing a small dollop of dough and if large bubbles form around it the oil is ready.  Squeeze 6-10 churros into the oil and fry for about 5 mins until a deep  golden colour.
STEP 8: Place the churros on to paper towel and then into the mixture of cinnamon sugar.