Tag Archives: dinner

Sausage & Tortellini Soup

14 Jul

This dish is a total home run. Adapted from a Kitchn recipe, it takes about 30 minutes to cook, holds really well over a few days and is devoured by everyone who’s eaten it. I make mine with mild Italian sausage to keep it edible for the foodNURDling but it would be tasty with a spicy sausage, too! Another bonus: it freezes well so you can toss some in the freezer for another meal down the road.*

Serves 2-3 with leftovers.

Ingredients

Splash of canola oil
3-4 hot or mild Italian sausages
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2c dry red wine or chicken stock
1 28oz can whole, peeled tomatoes
2c low-sodium chicken stock
1tb balsamic vinegar
1ts brown sugar
Parmesan rind or a few heaping tablespoons of grated parm
1 package fresh or frozen tortellini
2 cups roughly chopped spinach
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Red pepper flakes, optional

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pan to medium high. Add in the sausages and sear, 3-4 minutes. Flip the sausages over sear the other side for 3-4 minutes. Once the sausages have browned a bit, start breaking them up with a wooden spoon into small pieces. This allows the sausages to caramelize instead of steam. Once broken up and cooked a bit more, remove the sausages with a slotted spoon to another bowl, leaving behind the fat.

2. Reduce the heat and add in the onions and generous pinch of salt, sauteing until soft, roughly 6-8 minutes. Toss in the garlic and cook til fragrant, 15-20 seconds. Add the red wine (or chicken stock), turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Scrape up the delicious little bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pot.

3. Add in the canned tomatoes and their liquid. Using kitchen scissors, cut up the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Toss in the stock, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and parm. Stir all together and then add a pinch of salt and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Bring the whole thing to a boil and add in the tortellini. Reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add the spinach to the pot and stir. Once the spinach has wilted, taste your soup and add any salt and/or pepper to taste. (If you’re using the parm rind, you can remove it at this point.) Serve with a bit more parm and a drizzle of olive oil.

*if you find that the leftovers are a bit thick, you can add a bit of water when you are reheating.

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Eating With My Hands at Lamesa

23 Oct

Any chance I get, I love to eat my food with my hands. Bacon? I eat with my hands. Scrambled eggs? Piled on toast and eaten with my hands. I have been known to eat gooey, rich chocolate cake with my hands and no one can convince me otherwise that it doesn’t make for a more joyful experience. (You people and your cutlery-for-pizza ways? I do not understand you.) So when I was invited to take part in a kamayan dinner at Lamesa last night, I was genuinely excited. Sitting down at a table draped with banana leaves and eventually adorned with brightly coloured, intensely flavoured food is my idea of a great dinner. Every Sunday, Lamesa is offering this kamayan (translated, means “hand to mouth”) dinner for a very reasonable $40/person that would be great for everyone: a group of friends, a family, a date. Best to make reservations and to know that this is not a fast meal: the idea is to sit with those you care about to share and enjoy a meal together. It’s a Filipino tradition that the owners and chefs want to bring to our awesome city and I think it’s a fabulous addition. It’s a feast for the senses.

Refreshments in hand, our table watched (and drooled) while head chef Rudy Boquilla and chef de cuisine Joash Dy elegantly placed the four different sauces on top of the banana leaves. First was the bagoong caramel, a fermented shrimp paste, followed by a soy garlic puree, sawsawan gel and housemade hot sauce. The sawasan gel was a table fave: thick, sweet and salty, it was made with soy, vinegar and garlic. Every once in a while, I would find another little pocket of it hidden under rice and I’d swipe whatever bite of food I had in my fingers through it. They could bottle and sell this stuff.

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Next to be served was a salad comprised of sour mango, arugula, radish and pretty heirloom carrots paired with mango chutney. This was followed by a sisig lettuce cup: iceberg lettuce piled high with chopped chicken, pork and beef cooked with chili, garlic and onions. Light and crunchy, these were light bites that helped to balance the rich meats that were to come.

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In the middle of the table, chef Dy spread out generous heaps of garlic fried rice topped with crispy garlic bits. On top of the rice, mussels and clams cooked in a broth of coconut milk, ginger and garlic. In between the shellfish, smoked, boneless bangus (marinated milkfish) were artfully placed. The smokiness of the fish and the brininess of the shellfish were making our mouths water. Next to come was the hands-down winner of the night: the crispy chicken adobo wings. This is not to say that the kare kare oxtail (braised in a peanut garlic sauce) wasn’t succulent and beautiful, because it was; but, this chicken was incredible. Maybe the best fried chicken in the city. A grand statement, to be sure, but it has to be tasted to be believed.

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The array: smoked fish, mussels, corn, oxtail, chicken adobo wings, rice, kale chip, pea shoots, lettuce cup and chicken tinola broth.

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Halved calamansi, pickled egg and mango chutney.

 

Not to be left out were the grilled corn, bok choy, kale chips, sweet purple yam cornbread, pickled egg and fresh calamansi that dotted the table. To say this was an epic meal would almost do it a disservice. It was a fun meal. A balanced meal. An “I am so full but can’t stop eating” meal. An “oh my god, did you try this with that??” meal. A meal one does not soon forget. Check out Lamesa at 669 Queen St. W., just west of Bathurst. They will be putting on the kamayan dinners every Sunday night – don’t forget to make reservations!

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Before…

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…after.

 

Easy Roasted Chicken Thighs, New Potatoes & Veggies

30 Jan

With the foodNURDling around, I don’t have a lot of spare time or free hands. A few days ago, however, while he slept blissfully in the early evening I headed into the kitchen to make dinner. It felt so good to be back in there after weeks away from the stove.

I had some chicken thighs, some potatoes, sweet peppers and cherry tomatoes. I didn’t want to make a lot of dishes, so on to a large roasting sheet they were to go. In a large bowl, I made a quick marinade with olive oil, paprika, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and tossed in the chicken and halved new potatoes. In went the potatoes into a hot oven, followed by the chicken and finally the peppers and tomatoes (with just a little salt, pepper and olive oil). Forty-five minutes later I have moist, aromatic chicken, beautifully roasted potatoes that are creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside, and lovely, caramelized vegetables. There was almost no prep work and minimal clean up: perfect!

Serves 2.

Ingredients

4 chicken thighs (skin removed, if you like)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tb extra virgin olive oil
2 tb paprika
1 tb thyme
1 ts salt
1 ts black pepper
1 lb small potatoes, halved
1 sweet pepper, sliced
1 container of cherry tomatoes, scored on the top

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 425F.
2. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, oil, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. Add in the potatoes and chicken and toss to coat.
3. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spread out the potatoes in a single layer on one side. After 15 minutes, add the chicken (skin-side down if you kept it) and stir the potatoes around. Bake 15 minutes.
4. After 20 minutes are up, add the vegetables to the sheet (with their own salt, pepper and olive oil) and flip the chicken over. Bake for another 15 minutes.
5. When the  last timer goes off, remove the sheet from the oven and enjoy!

chicken thighs, potatoes, veg

Sweet Potato and Smoked Turkey Soup

26 Nov

Soup, soup. I love soup. And when it’s this tasty, basic and healthy, it’s hard not to love it. We added a few drops of hot sauce to our bowls post-cooking as we are wont to do. I thought it was much better with it, but spice is certainly subjective.

Additionally, the original recipe calls for Cajun seasoning. If you have it, wonderful. If not, just mix up the ingredients I listed below: there’s a good chance you already have them in your pantry.

Ingredients

1 smoked turkey thigh/leg (1lb)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 onions, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 ts salt
1 ts pepper
1 ts cayenne
2 ts paprika
1 ts oregano
6c water
1 tb cider vinegar

Directions

1. Trim and discard any excess fat from the turkey leg/thigh (but keep the skin).
2. Place the turkey, garlic, onions, celery, potatoes, spices and water in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
3. Remove the turkey from the soup and allow to cool. Remove and discard the skin. Shred or roughly chop the meat.
4. Place 4 cups of the soup in a blender and purée. Place the puréed soup and the turkey back into the slow cooker.
5. Add in the cider vinegar and stir. Season to taste and serve!

Mexican Pot Roast Tacos!

4 Nov

I finally got around to buying a Dutch oven, something I’ve been promising myself for months. (Yes, I promise myself kitchen toys.) The great thing about Dutch ovens is that they function like a giant cast iron pan: they retain heat beautifully. You can get them nice and hot so you can sear your meat properly, but then you can turn the heat way down and make all sorts of tasty meals in just one pot. I lugged that sucker home and picked up beautiful beef blade roast from a wonderful butcher just a few blocks from the house. (Royal Beef – check ’em out if you’re in the neighbourhood!) This is a great cut of meat for low-‘n’-slow cooking and so it was perfect for these tacos. I adapted the recipe from Tyler Florence, a foodNURD fave, and it was delicious as usual. We had enough leftover for snacks the next day, always a bonus!

Serves 2.

Ingredients

1lb shoulder/blade beef roast
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tb extra virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 14oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tb chile powder
2 tb cayenne pepper
2 tb cumin
3 bay leaves
2 dashes hot sauce, optional

Directions

1. Generously salt and pepper all sides of the beef.
2. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven (or heavy duty pot with a tight lid) on high. Add in the garlic and sear the beef, getting a nice crust on all sides.
3. Toss in the onions and cook til they’re softened and lightly browned, roughly 3-4 minutes.
4. Add in the tomatoes, 1 can of water, spices and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add in enough water (again) to cover the beef.

Happily simmering away…

5. Cover the pot, lower the heat and let simmer for 3-4 hours, until the beef is tender. Allow the beef to cool in the liquid.
6. Shred with a fork and serve with warm tortillas, guacamole, cilantro, pickled red onions and salsa.

Ready to be eaten!

Penne w/ Braised Beef & Rosemary Sauce

1 Oct

Having a big ol’ kitchen to mess around in has inspired me to get back in there and try some new recipes. We had a friend over for a Dinner ‘n’ Dexter night and I wanted to make something hearty and comforting. I know our friend is a big fan of pasta (as am I) and I have lots of herbs kicking around, so I opted to make a braised beef and rosemary pasta sauce. Not too fancy but definitely comforting, aromatic and flavourful. I recommend making this in the slow cooker as you’ll be using stewing beef. The longer you let it go in the pot, the more tender it will be.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

1.5lb stewing beef, cubed
2 tb veg oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 tb dried rosemary
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 ts dried oregano
2 tb balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 ts dried thyme
1 ts salt
2 ts pepper
2 ts fresh rosemary, chopped
Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Directions

1. Pour the vegetable oil into a pan and set to medium-high heat. Brown the beef in batches being careful not to overcrowd the pan, roughly 1 minute per side. Season with salt & pepper. Place browned meat on a plate and continue with next batch.
2. Lower heat to medium and add in the onion, dried rosemary and a pinch of salt & pepper. Sauté 3-4 minutes until onions soften.
3. In the slow cooker, combine the onions and rosemary and the crushed tomatoes, vinegar, oregano, thyme, 1/2 cup of water and season with salt & pepper to taste. Put the beef and any of the juices that have accumulated into the pot and stir. Set to low and simmer for 4-6 hours until the beef is tender, stirring and tasting occasionally.

Simmering away…

4. With a few minutes to go, add in the fresh rosemary and stir.
5. Cook pasta to al dente and ladle sauce over. Top with parmesan cheese.

Lemon Curry Chicken

25 Jun

I have a seriously awesome husband. Since we found out that we’re expecting a little foodNURDling in December my moods and energy have fluctuated a lot and he’s rolled with the punches (metaphorical punches, to be clear…my mood swings aren’t that intense!). I’m often too tired to cook, to clean, to make it past 9:30pm without a nap. So, to thank him for picking up the slack, I headed off to Kensington to pick up some delicious, fresh ingredients for a yummy dinner! This is Tyler Florence’s recipe, as is the mango-basmati rice with which it’s served. This recipe calls for a chicken in 10 pieces: if you go to the butcher, they will be happy to do this for you! You can also get chickens broken down at the grocery store…or you can try it at home yourself.

Ingredients

1 3lb chicken,  cut into 10 pieces
2 c plain yogurt
2 tb curry powder
1 lemon, zest & juice
1 tb sesame oil
salt & pepper

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Rinse and pat chicken dry.
2. Stir together the yogurt, curry powder, lemon zest and juice, sesame oil and salt & pepper in a big bowl.
3. Add the chicken and toss gently with the yogurt marinade.

Prepped & read to go in the oven

4. Place chicken on a baking sheet and roast, basting twice with the remaining marinade as it cooks. (Roughly 45 minutes.)


5. Serve with Mango Basmati Rice.

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