31 March 2009

Roast Beast

Okay, so this is quick and crazy easy... but the results speak for themselves.

This weekend, I made a standing rib roast (of beef). I was at home at my folks' place without a single thing to do, and happened to look in the freezer and found a standing rib roast. How often would that happen? The opportunity was too good to pass up. I set about defrosting it... and 9 hours later, it was set to go.

While it was defrosting, I made a concoction that became a crust. Crust, this blog 'tis of thee, sweet crust of... yummery... of thee I write.

2-3 tablespoons of dijon mustard
2 minced garlic cloves
1-2 teaspoons of herbes de provence (I used dried because that's what my folks had. Would probably be delightful with fresh)
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
tablespoon or so of olive oil or grapeseed oil
spoonful of red wine if that makes you happy
two onions, cut into quarters
a couple sprigs of thyme, if you're nasty

Mix the dijon mustard, garlic, herbes, salt, pepper, wine, and oil together well. Spread the mixture over your roast (this would probably work just fine with a sirloin tip or whatever other hunk of beef you've got hanging around), working it into the flesh a little bit.

The thyme can go under the roast in the pan, and also crisscrossed on top to be fancy. The onions should go around the roast about halfway through the cooking process.

The pan drippings wind up absolutely delicious. Best Gravy Ever.

17 March 2009

"Lemon... see through in the sunlight"

Know what always always always makes me happy when I make it?

Lemon curd.

Yeah, it's kind of unknown or unacknowledged here in Canada, but I had it first in the United Kingdom and have counted myself among its most loyal followers ever since. It's delicious - very tart, but very creamy and utterly delicious on shortbread. It's not hard to make, and it keeps well in a refrigerator. It's also a beautiful buttery colour.

Lemon Curd

6-7 tbs unsalted good butter
1 cup of sugar
2 big eggs
2 big egg yolks
2/3 a cup of fresh (that means squeeze-it-yourself) lemon juice (this is usually about 2-3 lemons' worth)
a pinch or two of grated and finely chopped lemon zest

In a big, cool glass bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs and the egg yolks. Beat with creamed mixture for about a minute or until fully combined. Add the lemon juice - it's going to look pretty rough & curdled there, but don't worry, it'll smooth out in the next step.

Pour the mixture into a heavy pot. On low, and stirring constantly, cook the mixture. You'll see that as it heats up, it loses its curdled look. Turn the heat up to around medium, and keep stirring - it needs to cook for about 13 minutes so it can thicken up. Don't let it boil, though. It should leave a coating on your stirring utensil when you take that utensil out of the mixture.

Remove the pot from the heat, and add that pinch or two of lemon zest. Stir to combine.

Now, get some jars. Pour the lemon curd into them and let cool.... or take some of the slightly warm stuff and slather it onto some shortbread. So tasty!

You can also use it for a filling for tarts or for a larger shortbread crust tart.

11 March 2009

Holi Guacamole

Today is Holi, the Indian festival of colour - Holi Hai!

My boyfriend's family are lovely, and they cook beautiful Indian food that I am only too happy to eat. However, I don't have any tried and tested recipes for Indian food of my own, so I decided to post a recipe for a colourful food instead. There's not much to it, but gosh it's tasty.


3 hass avocadoes, insides scooped out and pit removed
1/2 tomato, chopped and deseeded
1/2 jalapeno, chopped (can also use ancho chile powder if jalapenos are hard to find)
1-2 tablespoons of chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
3 squeezes of lime - it works out to be about half a lime's worth
salt to taste (usually about 3/4 of a tablespoon)

Mash all these up together to a dip-like consistency... eat with corn chips... nom.

09 March 2009

Mousse, mousse, mousse...

So I made a delightful chocolate mousse one night when I was entertaining a gluten-intolerant friend. We had post-work wine and snacks (corn tortillas and homemade guacamole), and I felt like we should have something sweet to finish... so I chose mousse. It was crazy chocolatey, but also crazy delicious.

Dark Chocolate Mousse

5 ounces of bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups really cold, heavy cream for whipping
3 large egg whites
4-6 tsp white sugar (depending on how sweet you want this to be)

In a double boiler or bain marie (I used a stainless steel bowl perched over a big pot of boiling water), melt the chocolate, stirring periodically. Once melted, turn the heat off but leave the bowl over the water to keep the chocolate in its melty state.

Whip the cream to normal whipped cream consistency - it'll stand on its own if you dip a spoon into it and draw it out.

Whip the egg whites in another bowl. When they're foamy and kind of thinking about getting a little bit more difficult to whip, add your 4-6 tsp of sugar. Then keep beating the eggs until they are quite stiff, and can stand on their own in little egg white mountains.

Combine the chocolate and the egg whites - just dump the chocolate into the egg whites in one go, and stir away until they're just about fully combined. Then add the whipped cream - I added it slowly while still mixing - mixing by hand, I should add. When completely combined, cover the mousse and let it chill out in the fridge for at least an hour, or however long you need it to be chilled for. It's a pretty good make-ahead dessert.

Serve it with whipped cream (whip the cream with sugar - it'll help sweeten things up for those who aren't giant fans of dark chocolate).

It's reliably delicious, which is kind of excellent when entertaining.

04 March 2009

I've been waiting so long...

I'm back... mostly just to tell you what I've been cooking/eating, and to say hello.


I've been running around crazily for the past few weeks, attempting to coordinate and action my workplace's presence at a stakeholder conference. I'm really glad it's over because now I have time for people and places and food. I haven't really been able to make too too much in the last little while, but my list includes:

Lemon curd
Best cheap roast beef supper
Dark chocolate mousse

Recipes for all will follow. I also had an excellent Valentines' Day Supper at Table 17 (www.table17.ca), which is just about my favourite restaurant in Toronto due to its simplicity and friendliness. It's out on Queen East, close to Carlaw, and does simple bistro-y food with delicious results. The staff are exceptionally accommodating, and will remember your face with ease after your first or second visit.

On this occasion, I enjoyed the diver scallops to start, garnished with guanciale and just the loveliest amount of bearnaise. The scallops had a delicious browned edge with a sort of sweetness that I wasn't expecting, but was very pleased to find. My boyfriend had a beetroot salad which was delicious, filled with pretty red and yellow beets. Then, I moved on to an unctuous braised short rib of beef, served over pureed parsnip. The pureed parsnip was so far beyond anything I ever hoped to find in a parsnip. My boyfriend enjoyed the striploin, cooked beautifully. We shared a bowl of frites with lemony mayonnaise, as we can't go to Table 17 without having them. The only slight disappointment for me was the lemon tart - while the lemon curd was tart and delicious, it seemed to require something more substantial than a very thin, phyllo-type of cup to hold it. However, I ate it all so it definitely wasn't a dealbreaker!

Anyway, that's about it for now. I hope that anyone reading this is well, and enjoying March so far.