February 18, 2010

Tourtière, a serious Christmas tradition

I know, a post about Christmas! Yes, I am about 2 months off with this post, but whose counting anyway! Haha. This year has been the second year in a row that I have created the Christmas masterpiece called the tourtière. It is a French Canadian tradition that I have come to love. The first time I made it was back in good ol' Pontebba last year. FP insisted that he must eat tortière on Christmas morning, so I undertook the challenge. Since I had already mastered gf pie crusts the month before, I wasn't too nervous about recreating something that his mom so lovingly makes for the holiday season. FP's mom sent me the recipe, so really I was all set. However, I never thought that I would actually like to eat tourtière. It basically consists of a spiced meat pie, yuck right? Actually it is far from yuck. It is delicious!

So this year I made two huge wonderful tourtières, one for the Xmas party that we threw, and the other obviously just for us, especially since there are three French Canadians in the house this year instead of just one! Needless to say everyone loved the tourtières, even the Frenchies. You really can eat this dish for breakfast (served with beans and eggs), lunch (served with a salad), or even dinner. Or throw it in there for a snack or even a side dish as well. It truly is very versatile and absolutely delicious!!


-2 lbs meat (1lb ground beef, 1 lb ground pork)
-1 onion chopped
-2 cloves garlic minced
-1/2 cup water
-1/2 tsp. nutmeg
-1-2 tsp. cinn.
-1/2 tsp. ground cloves (optional)

Simmer meat, onion, garlic, and water in big covered pot over low heat for 2 hours or until all water has dissolved. Personally, I like to cook the meat for 1 1/2 hour covered and then remove the lid for the last 30 min. or so. I find this makes the meat more tender. After meat is cooked, add in spices, taste, and adjust if needed. It is better to add too little spices at first, then too much.

2 Pie crusts, recipe found in link below

Fill bottom of pie pan with pie crust and cook at 350 degrees for 10 min. Remove from oven and add in meat filling. Cover with other pie crust on top. Cook in over for 30-40 min. Remove when the top pie crust is a golden brown. Serve with ketchup!!!

February 16, 2010

Valentine's Day Soufflés!

Well It appears I have not written for a seriously long time, well a bit over two months to be exact. AND trust me I can explain. The past two months were very busy due to my nannying job, which took up all my evenings, therefore I was not to be found in the kitchen! Instead you could find FP cooking away in the kitchen when I arrived home. Quite a bit of a reversed role from last year! However, the mother of the children needed a full time live in nanny, and for obvious reasons, I was not able to fulfill that. So I was the temp nanny until the other one arrived, which was about a week ago. So, as of now, I have been back in the kitchen cooking up a storm and it could not feel better. I also think that FP is a bit relieved that his job as head chef has been demoted to sous chef!

With that being said I have tried to create some dishes this week that I have been wanting to create for some time. Valentines day was on Sunday and let me be the first to say it is not my favorite holiday. As a child I hated it in fact. I remember many occasions at school where all my friends or all the girls in the school, except me, were running around with balloons, flowers, candies, and all sorts of crazy pink stuff. I can't recall really having a valentine, other than the occasional kid in your class that professes your love to you, but you on the other hand have no interest in this child what so ever! Last year FP was at a game, so there was nothing special done, and this year it was going to be the same. BUT the roomies went out to eat, so I figured ok I should probably make something nice, and let's be honest it felt so good to be back in the kitchen that I had to go all out. So by now you are probably wondering what exactly did I make, well the answer is spring rolls with handmade peanut sauce, szechwan shrimp, and the dessert....duh duhhhh duhhhhh....mint chocolate soufflés!

I had been wanting to make soufflés for quite some time and well what better place to create this masterpiece than int he land of soufflés! I had originally meant to make dark chocolate soufflés, but due to the fact that it was sunday, the store was quite limited in its items. And from my past experience as a server at a delicious restaurant called the sawyer house, I knew you could really put any flavor at all into your soufflés So I found some dark mint chocolate (the lindt kind) and decided to go with it! After doing some research I found the perfect recipe for soufflés and did not change a thing, which is usually very unlike me. SO I do have to give huge credit to the person who created that recipe and all the awesome pictures to follow. Trust me, follow this, and soufflé making is a piece of cake. Ok enough about the soufflés, really I could go on all day about how delicious they are, but I won't bore you with that! Let me just get into all the wonderful recipes, which are PERFECT for a romantic dinner.

Spring Rolls

-Vietnamese rice paper for spring rolls
-carrot cut into matchsticks
-cucumber cut into matchsticks
-1-2 cups cooked rice noodles
-Ripe avocado cut into slices
-Yellow pepper cut into matchsticks
-Basil leaves
-Mint leaves
-Cilantro leaves
-Pan filled with boiling water

Dip rice paper rolls into hot water, turning onto each side, for 10-15 seconds, or until you feel the paper start to soften. Place onto clean, dry cutting board. Place ingredients in the middle, you place all ingredients together(a touch of rice noodles, 1 matchstick of a carrot, 1 basil leaf, etc,) or just a couple things, or whatever you feel like! Then roll the long side onto the ingredients, then roll in the two short sides, and finally finish by rolling up onto the last long side. This sounds confusing, so please watch a video online if you are confused. Eat plain or serve with an Asian sauce. I prefer mine with either sweet chili sauce or peanut sauce.

Peanut Dipping Sauce
Adapted from thai.about.com

1 cup fresh-tasting dry roasted peanuts, unsalted
1/3 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. gf soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. fish sauce (If vegetarian, use vegetarian fish sauce or regular soy sauce)
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, OR 1 tsp. Thai chili sauce (more or less to taste)

Place all ingredients into blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Add more water to create a runnier sauce.

Szechwan Shrimp

Adapted from allrecipes

8 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoon soy sauce
3 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup sliced green onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces cooked shrimp, tails removed
1 head of broccoli chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
1 onion chopped

In a bowl, stir together water, ketchup, soy sauce, cornstarch, honey, crushed red pepper, and ground ginger. Set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in green onions and garlic; cook 30 seconds. In another skillet cook onions, broccoli, and pepper in 1 T olive oil. Stir in to garlic skillet shrimp, and toss to coat with oil. Stir in sauce. Cook and stir until sauce is bubbly and thickened. Once sauce has thickened, pour shrimp mixture onto the veggies and serve with rice.

Mint Chocolate Soufflés
awesome website for recipes as well, and thank you to whoever did this recipe and all the pictures!!!

²Also, I used lint dark mint chocolate, instead of dark chocolate
²Use gf baking soda for cream of tartar


Creme Anglaise
The perfect topping for your soufflé!