Osso Buco

20171015_175758.jpgBy Corinne

Osso buco is is Italian for “bone with a hole”. Traditionally this dish is made with veal shanks, but also works well with beef shanks, or even lamb shanks. It reminds me of beef short ribs, in that it’s a dish that is perfect for company as it looks impressive but is considerably hands off. You can even prep everything the day before, and refrigerate overnight, and just bring your braising liquid to a boil on the stovetop before putting into the oven.

Gremolata is a delightful, bright, garnish that I tend to only make for this dish, but every time I do I think I should use it for other things.

There are a few alterations from this and a more traditional osso buco. I don’t dredge the meat in flour before browning, because I’ve found I always end up with too much burnt flour bits. If you use a bit of oil the shanks will brown up nicely even without the flour. I also skip the step of putting my fresh herbs in cheesecloth- really, it’s pretty easy to remove them at the end of cooking so I find the step of creating a little bouquet garni to be an unnecessary step.

I always save all of the cooking liquid/veg, freeze it in containers and use it as a base for future gravy on days I’ve made something where I want gravy but haven’t made a roast or what not – think poutine ūüėČ

Time: 20 minute prep, 2 hours cook

Serves: 4

You will need:

  • 4 veal or beef shanks
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, small dice
  • 1 medium carrot small dice
  • 1 large stalk of celery, small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups of dry white wine, divided (I use chardonnay)
  • 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock – I used this veggie bouillon
  • 1 large sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 2 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper
    For gremolata
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley minced
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 small clove garlic finely minced

Preheat the oven 300F.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large dutch oven on medium high until almost smoking. Pat shanks dry (they will brown better) and season with salt and pepper on each side. Add shanks to dutch oven, browning on each side- about 2-3 minutes per side. Don’t over crowd your pot or they will steam rather than brown. You may have to do this one at a time depending on the size of your shanks and your pot. Set them aside on a plate. You may need to add the additional oil between shanks.

While browning the shanks, dice onion, carrot, celery and set aside.

When shanks are finished, add onion, carrot, celery to the pot. Cook for a minute or two, and then slowly add 1 cup of wine to the pot to deglaze, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Simmer veg in white wine until wine has almost entirely reduced and been absorbed by the veg.

Add 4 cloves of minced garlic. Stir for an additional minute, ensuring that you do not burn the garlic. Add the two tbsp of tomato paste and stir into the vegetables. Add the other cup of white wine, and 2 cups of chicken or veggie stock. Add the sprigs of rosemary and thyme and then put the shanks and any juice on the plate back in the pot. Your shanks should be mostly submerged in liquid, but if there are a few bits sticking out that’s ok. Place lid on pot and place in oven on middle rack.

After 1 hour, remove from oven and move shanks around ensuring that any bits that were above the liquid are now under it. Return to oven for one more hour.

For the gremolata, finely mince 3 tbsp fresh parsley, mix with zest of one lemon and one small clove of garlic finely minced and set aside until ready to serve.

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When shanks are done (they should be very tender) remove from oven. Remove sprigs of thyme and rosemary. Remove bay leaves. Serve over risotto. At this point, you can either spoon over some of the cooking liquid and veg as is, or you can use an immersion blender and blend into a smoother gravy.¬† Garnish with gremolata. Don’t forget that the bone marrow is supposed to be the most delicious part!

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Caprese Chicken with Balsamic and Red Quinoa

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By Corinne

Summer is the season for tomatoes and basil and caprese everything! While we are heading into fall here, my basil plants growing out on my deck are still doing well, though I think this meal will probably be the last harvest I get from them.

Chicken breasts these days seem obscenely large. If you’re using gigantic ones, half is certainly enough for a serving.

Time: 30 min or less

You will need:

  • 1C red quinoa
  • 2C chicken or vegetable broth or bouillon
  • 2 large chicken breasts, halved, or 4 small chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 3C cherry tomatoes halved
  • 3 cloves garlic minced or pressed
  • 1/2- 3/4C balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 4 generous slices of mozzarella

Thoroughly rinse quinoa and add to a medium pot with 2 cups of the broth of your choice. While quinoa is regularly touted as a super food, it’s also super bland, so don’t just cook it in water! Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. It will take about 20 min to cook. Stir occasionally. It’s finished when all liquid is absorbed.

If your chicken breasts are quite large, hold flat on a cutting board with your non-knife hand. Using a sharp knife, slice horizontally into two even pieces.

Place chicken breasts in a large frying or sauce pan that you have a lid for. If you don’t have one with a lid, you can probably cheat and place a dinner plate over top. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat 6-7 minutes on each side until cooked through, then remove from pan.

While chicken is cooking, halve cherry tomatoes. After chicken has been removed from pan, add the cherry tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes until tomatoes have just begun to soften. Add the 1/4 C chopped fresh basil, 3 cloves of minced garlic, and 3/4C balsamic. Stir for an addition 1-2 minutes.

Add the chicken breasts back to pan, and place mozzarella on top. Cover pan with lid or plate for 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted.

Divide quinoa between 4 plates. Top each with a generous amount of tomatoes and sauce and then with one of the cheesy chicken breasts. Top with additional basil for garnish if desired.

Baked Harissa and Honey Chicken Wings

 

20170923_193853By Corinne

I love chicken wings. They are one of those things that I can somehow manage to keep eating far past the point where I should have stopped. These wings are spicy and a bit sweet. Both the spiciness and the sticky sweetness can be easily altered to taste.

Time: 1 hour

Makes: 2lbs chicken wings

You will need:

  • 2lbs chicken wings
  • 1 tbsp harissa spice*
  • 2 tbsp honey

Lay wings in a single layer on a stoneware baking pan, or on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle harissa spice over top, then flip wings and sprinkle remainder of harissa spice on the other side.

Bake in a 400F oven for 45-55 minutes, flipping every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and drizzle 1 tbsp honey over wings, flip and drizzle with remaining honey. If you like them sweeter and stickier, use more honey. Return to oven for 5 more minutes.

*I’ve been using the PC brand Harissa Spice Blend. I would say it’s fairy spicy, but 1 tbsp over 2lbs of wings results in no more than sort of a ‘medium’ spice level. You can of course increase this to taste!

Split Pea and Ham Soup

By:  Julie

Serves:  Makes 8 cups

Time:  1 hour 15 min

It’s fall here. ¬†The leaves are starting to change, kids are back at school, there is that earthy smell that makes me want to rake leaves and jump in them. ¬†Also earthy, is this very delicious soup. ¬†Every time I cook a ham, I throw the bone, with a generous amount of meat on it, in the freezer until I need some comfort food and guess what? ¬†Today is the day!

My grandma only ever served one thing from a can, and that is Habitant Pea Soup with Ham. ¬†It was the only thing that my grandfather considered edible that was processed. ¬†I loved it as a kid. ¬†She used to serve it with fresh homemade bread and for desert, black tea in a small dish with brown sugar and more bread. ¬†Habitant Pea Soup is a staple here, and is a favourite with everyone I asked. ¬†Not from Canada? Sorry friends, I have learned it’s only available here. ¬†But don’t be sad, this soup takes split peas to a new level. ¬†If you don’t have a ham bone, you can just add some diced ham at the end.

 

You Will Need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 carrot – diced
  • 1 celery stalk – diced
  • 1 small onion – diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1/8 tsp cayanne
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups of yellow split peas
  • 1 ham bone – with 1 1/2 cups of meat still on or extra on the side to equal 1 1/2 cups.
  • 6 cups of stock or water or a combination of the two.

My leftovers came from a glazed ham that favored a sweet spicy glaze.  Some of that translated to the soup.  If I was using a ham with no glaze I would add nutmeg and 1 tbsp of brown sugar.

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Preparation:

In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. ¬†Add onion, carrot, celery, and cook until soft, about 5 min, stirring frequently. ¬†Add seasoning and cook for another minute. Add split peas and stir, toasting peas for about 3 min. ¬†De-glaze pan with 1 cup of the broth and scrape any brown-bits off the bottom of the pan. ¬†Add remaining broth, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. ¬†Cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. ¬†When peas is soft, remove pot from heat. ¬†Remove the ham bone and the bay leaves. Discard the bay leaves. ¬†Using a fork and knife, pull and shred all the remaining meat of the bone and set aside. ¬†Moving back to the soup, use a hand blender to carefully puree the soup. ¬†If it’s too hot it may splatter so use caution. ¬†Add the ham and stir. ¬†Garnish with parsley or cilantro (my favourite). ¬†For extra creaminess add a dollop of sour cream.

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Peach Crisp with Maple Cream

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By Corinne

I adore peaches. They are so sweet and juicy and just ooze all the goodness that is summer. I don’t do a lot of baking with peaches, usually I’m either eating them raw or making jams with them. ¬†I really, really love is peach pie, but unlike Julie, I’m still not in love with making pie crusts- though she’s getting closer to converting me. I do love a crisp though!

This crisp came to fruition (get it? pun totally intended) because I bought a case of peaches. I made vanilla bean peach jam, peach pie jam, spicy peach salsa and hot peach mostarda. Annnnd… then I still had 6 peaches left. I had already taken the skin off them to make jam, and decided that a crisp they would be.

I love nuts in my crisp topping, 1/4 cup of chopped pecans or slivered almonds would be awesome in this, unfortunately I didn’t have any in the pantry. I prefer my crisps to be light on the sugar as I like to be able to have a good excuse to have leftovers for breakfast ūüėČ You could of course increase the sugar in the crisp topping or add 2 tbsp of sugar to the peaches if you like things sweeter, though remember that the creamy maple drizzle will also add sweetness

Time: 15 min prep (possibly longer, depends on how you skin your peaches or if you choose to do so) 50-60 min cook

You will need: 

  • about 6 large peaches
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup flour (whole wheat flour is nice here too)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp room temperature butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans if desired
  • 6 tbsp whipping cream (heavy cream)
  • 4 tbsp pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350F. Peel peaches (if desired), remove stones, half and slice. Layer in a 9 inch deep dish pie pan or into another over proof dish of your choice (if you use a rectangular pan you may need to increase the amount of topping and decrease the cook time). Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the peach slices.

For the crisp topping, mix together oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Drop butter by tbsp into topping. If you have a pastry blender you can use that to mix in the butter, if not, just use your fingers (what I did since mine seems to be MIA) until butter is mixed in, and you have pea sized ‘chunks’ (you may want to add another 1/2 tbsp of butter, but to be honest, I never worry too much- crisp is forgiving) Put topping on your peaches.

Bake crisp for 50-60 minutes in a 350F oven. Crisp is finished when topping is golden and you can see the peaches have released some of their juices, it should be all bubbling on the outside. This can be served warm or cold.

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Whisk together 6 tbsp whipping cream with 4 tbsp maple syrup, set aside. While you could drizzle this on the whole crisp, I prefer to put it on individual servings to preserve the crispness of the topping. Scoop out your crisp, top with a few tsp of creamy maple sauce and serve. It would also be delightful with ice cream, because really, what isn’t?

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Small batch Raspberry Rhubarb Orange Blossom Jam

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By Corinne

I’m lucky enough to have a friend with a beautiful garden that includes a very well kept raspberry patch. And I’m even luckier that I have occasionally been told to go ahead and help myself! I’m also fortunate to have another friend with a mad rhubarb patch, so even though I’m not allowed to grow it in our yard, I always manage to have enough. This jam marries the tartness of both raspberries and rhubarb with a floral citrusy nose.

In my post on small batch blueberry lavender jam¬†¬†I waxed poetic about the virtues of canning in small batches. I love making jams, and I always try to make things you can’t just go out and buy. Making jam doesn’t have to be an all day endeavor. If you are new to jam making, I highly recommend Marisa McClellan’s website, Food in Jars, as well as her books on canning.

This jam is another one that plays with floral flavours. Orange blossom water can often be found in the ‘ethnic’ aisle of grocery stores, or in stores that carry other somewhat specialty items. Ensure you add the orange blossom water at the end of cooking, as the flavour is quite delicate.

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Time: about 45 minutes

Makes:¬†5-6 125mL (4fl oz, 1/4 pint) jars ‚Äď yield will depend a little on the water content of your berries

You will need:

  • 1 lb of raspberries
  • 1 lb chopped rhubarb – if using frozen, it should be thawed but not drained (as long as it wasn’t packed in any sort of extra liquid!)
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar (add an extra 1/4 cup if you think you want your jam a bit sweeter- these raspberries were very sweet and it didn’t need the extra sugar)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp orange blossom water

Prepare jars and hot water bath for canning. I always prepare one more jar than I think I will need. When you are making small batches of jam you are relying on the natural pectin present in the fruit as well as the large surface area of your cooking pan and the small amount of fruit in order to cook off enough liquid for it to set. This means the yield can sometimes be a bit more or less than you expect. See here if you are new to canning for more detailed instructions for this part.

Mix the raspberries, chopped rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice in the pan you are going to cook your jam in. If you are using thawed frozen rhubarb, do not drain the liquid.  You want a shallow sauce pan rather than a deep pot in order to help with faster evaporation. Allow the fruit, sugar and lemon juice to sit for about 15 minutes until the sugar has become syrupy.

When your jars and hot water bath are ready (it will take longer for that water to boil then you think it will!)  start cooking your jam. Over medium high heat, bring the fruit/sugar mixture to a boil. Stir constantly once your jam is boiling. It will foam up a bit at first, but then will settle down.

As it reduces and thickens, it might splat and get a little bit messy. Cook for 20-25 minutes. You will know your jam is ready when you draw the spoon through the jam it doesn‚Äôt immediately fill in the space and it ‚Äėhisses‚Äô. I have a video of this ‘test’ in the this post.¬†Here¬†¬†is a description of the plate test, another way to check for set. When your jam is ready, add the 2 tbsp of orange blossom water and stir for another minute.

Remove your jars from the boiling water and quickly fill jars to about half an inch to the top (you can go a little fuller, to 1/4 inch from the top, but don’t do less than half an inch). Place tops and fasten rings fingertip tight. Process for 10 minutes in boiling water. Remove from water and let cool, testing seal after about 12 hours. Store in a cool dry place. Any jars that do not seal (I’ve only rarely had that happen) should be refrigerated and used first.

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Layered Zucchini Bake

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By Corinne

Zucchini is one of those vegetables that I only eat in the summer when it’s in season. It’s called summer squash for a reason!

I like to use yellow and green zucchini for this as I just think it looks prettier ūüôā You can of course use whatever colour you happen to have on hand, it makes little difference in taste.

I usually do this in the amount listed below, however, in the photos I had halved the recipe since I only had 2 zucchini.

Serves: 4-6 as a side

Time: 15 min prep, about 35-45 minutes cook

You will need:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic minced or pressed
  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 10 slices of prosciutto
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary minced
  • 3/4 cup chardonay
  • 1/2 cup of fresh parmesan or asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook until softened- about 5 minutes. Add the chardonnay and reduce by half. Add the minced garlic and rosemary.  Add half of this to a 9 inch baking dish.

Cut the ends off of the zucchini and slice lengthwise about 1/4 inch thick.

If using both green and yellow zucchini, place a slice of each, and then half a slice of prosciutto. Continue in this manner until all zucchini and prosciutto are used and your pan is full. Put the rest of the onion/wine/herb mixture on top.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. At 30 minutes, remove from oven, testing doneness with a fork. I like my zucchini to stay fairly firm, but you may wish to bake for an additional 10 minutes before adding the cheese. Add the cheese for the last 10 minutes of cooking, if needed you can put the oven on broil for the last minute or two to brown them up.

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