Thursday, 19 July 2012

Saganaki


Saganaki literally means little pan and refers to the pan the flaming cheese is served in. Saganaki can be made with several kids of cheeses. You can use Kefalotyri, Kasseri or Haloumi cheeses.  It is dipped in flour and fried then either Brandy (Metaxa) or Ouzo is poured over it and lit. In my version I also pour a simple lemon sauce over it to finish. Serve it hot and melted. Crazy yummy. 

You will need:
  • some wedges or squares of cheese (kefalotyri, kasseri or haloumi)
  • flour for dredging
  • salt/ pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • oil for frying
  • 3-4 tbsp brandy (Metaxa) or Ouzo 
Lemon Sauce
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/2 a stick of butter (1/4 cup- 4 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley

Sometimes this cheese is labelled as Saganaki instead of the name of the cheese in the store.



Step 1: either cut the cheese into triangles or cook it in one piece. Dip the cheese in water and then into flour to form a coating.


Step 2: make the sauce in a small saucepan. Add chicken broth and reduce on medium until reduced by half. It will take about 15 minutes to reduce. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper and then finally the butter and parsley. Whisk until forms a lemon sauce. Set aside until cheese is fried and flamed.


Step 3: in a pan with the oil very hot quickly fry the cheese for approximately 2 minutes on each side until browned. Remove and blot on paper towel and quickly take off paper towels or they will stick.


Step 4: heat another pan and once hot remove from burner and add cheese and a few tbsp of brandy or ouzo and light with a long lighter. Once the flame has burned off serve immediately with some of the lemon sauce spooned over top.



OMG!!







Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Potato Latkes


What's not to like? They are fried little hash browned potatoes served with apple sauce or add them to your favourite breakfast. 
You will need:
  • 2 russet/baking potatoes
  • 1 small onion (or half a regular sized onion)
  • 1 egg
  • salt/pepper
  • grape seed or vegetable oil for frying
  • applesauce or sour cream

Step 1: peel and grate your potatoes into some cold water. Leave them in the cold water 2-3 minutes to remove some of the starch.


Step 2: grate the onion. Take the onions and the drained potatoes and roll in a towel squeezing out as much of the water as you can.


Step 3: in a bowl add the potatoes, the onion, egg, salt and pepper (be generous but, you can always add salt and pepper again once they are fried)


Step 4: stir potatoes and eggs until combined. Heat oil until it sizzles when you put in a test piece of potato. Hot oil makes them less greasy because they will fry properly. I like these little so I take a handful and squeeze out the liquid again in my hands before piling in a mound in the oil. You will think they will never stick together but they will. I leave them alone until brown around the edges then I flip them and then I flatten them with the spatula. If you fuss with them too much they just fall apart.


Step 5: Once they are almost done I remove them and place them on a baking sheet and sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper. When they are all fried I pop them in a 350 degree F oven to crisp up and all be ready at once.


Eat them crispy and hot with applesauce (I made mine buy cooking apples and sugar and cinnamon until soft) or you can serve them with sour cream.












Monday, 16 July 2012

Raspberry Banana Smoothie



This is a great snack. I have added some fibre, fruit and yogurt to make a cool delicious treat. I like to add whatever fruit is in the smoothie directly on the straw. This is like having an additional fruit kebab in the drink. Kids will love this! You can use bananas, strawberries, kiwi etc..

You will need:
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 banana (mine was frozen)
  • 1 cup Almond Coconut Milk (use any kind you like)
  • 1 tsp fibre mix such as ground flax 
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 cup ice if you want it slushy and cold

Step 1: put all your ingredients in a blender. You can add ice to make is slushy. You can create any combination of fruit, yogurt and milk you like. If it's too tart add a bit of honey or Agave syrup to sweeten.



Step 2: blend it up and enjoy!!







Sunday, 15 July 2012

Bagel Breakfast Sandwich


There is no reason to go out and buy a breakfast sandwich when it takes just minutes to make. 

You will need:

  • 1 egg
  • salt/pepper
  • sprinkle of Italian seasoning
  • optional 1 tsp milk
  • small bagels (I use weight watchers whole wheat- they are the perfect size!)
  • 1 slice ham or turkey
  • 1 slice Swiss cheese
  • 1 slice tomato
  • mustard or ketchup or barbecue sauce- whatever you like!

 

Step 1: in a small ramekin add the egg and whisk for a scrambled egg or leave whole if you prefer. Add salt, pepper, a sprinkle of Italian seasoning and milk if you like.


Step 2: I rarely use my microwave but, in this instance it makes a perfect shaped egg in less than 1 minute. I microwave for 20 seconds, then I look at it to make sure it still needs more time, then I microwave for an additional 15 seconds and it is puffy and perfect. You might need to run a knife around the ramekin but, it should pop right out. No oil or butter is required but, for the flavour you could brush the ramekin before adding the egg.


Step 3: I like to fry the ham or turkey to get it a bit crispy. Toast the bagel and place your cheese, tomato, perfect little egg and ham on the bottom. I use mustard on the top of the bagel but, you add whatever makes you happy!

Good Morning!










Saturday, 14 July 2012

Muesli


Muesli is an oat and yogurt mix that makes a great breakfast or snack. You don't need to cook the oats and it's easy to add your favourite fruits and nut combination. I usually make the mix at night and then just add the toppings the next morning when serving it.

You will need:

  • 1/2  cup yogurt (plain is perfect to use here because you will be jazzing it up) 
  • 1/4 cup milk (almond, soy or whatever kind you like)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of oats (uncooked)
  • 1-2 tbsp of honey (you can drizzle more on top when serving)
  • 1 green apple -grated
  • 1/4 cup of sliced almonds or granola or your favourite nut or dried fruit
  • fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or bananas, mango etc...


Step 1: in a small bowl add yogurt of your choice, milk, pinch of salt, vanilla and oats. At this stage you can stir and cover overnight in the fridge or continue and serve in a few hours. You need a few hours to let the oats soften.


Step 2: take soften oat mix and add honey, grated apple (I usually add the skin but, this apple had a pretty tough skin so I decided to peel it) and I added some granola.


Step 3: this is perfect for 2 servings. You can add a bit more yogurt, honey, granola or fresh fruit to top. 

It makes the perfect Saturday breakfast








Thursday, 12 July 2012

Chimichurri Sauce


Chimichurri is an Argentinian herb sauce typically served over meats. It it fresh and herbal and it wonderful on steaks and chicken in particular.

You will need:

  • bunch of parsley (I always choose flat/Italian vs. curly)
  • 5-6 fresh oregano leaves (it's pretty strong stuff fresh!)
  • small bunch of chives
  • small bunch of mint
  • small bunch of basil
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes 
  • salt/pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp red wine/ sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Step 1: get your blend of fresh herbs. I have picked all of mine from the backyard.


Step 2: add everything to the food processor except the oil. Blend until you get a nice puree. Add the oil last and blend to combine. Taste it and add more salt or pepper or chili flakes or lemon as necessary. Store in fridge in a sealed container.



We had some grilled Chorizo and chicken breast that we served it on. Tonight I will have to make a steak to use the rest on!



Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Braised Country Ribs with Mango Avocado Relish


You can eat these as ribs normally are eaten or you can remove all the nasty bits and serve them in a sandwich with a mango avocado relish. My husband loves any kind of meal where all the nasty fat and bones are removed and only the tasty parts are left. Don't even think about giving him a lobster in it's shell or a whole fish brought to the table!

You will need:

  • 6-8 meaty country style pork ribs
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce/paste
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2- 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • buns/rolls
  • barbecue sauce

Relish
  • 1 mango- cubed in small dice
  • 1 avocado- cubed in small dice
  • 1/2 - 1 lime juiced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • salt/pepper

Step 1: chop the onion and saute in large pan until starting to brown. Add ribs and cook until meat starts to sear and get a bit of colour. You will have some browned bits of fond on the bottom of the pan which is all good flavour. 


Step 2: mix all the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the ribs. Add 1/2 cup of apple juice to start and after an hour  of cooking add more if they are too dry. I cook them on the stove for 1 hour on low, then flip them and add more juice and cook another 1/2 hour. You want them to be moist and tender.


Step 3: once cooked remove from the pan.


Step 4: strain the remaining liquids and separate the fat by using a fat separator or by putting the liquid in the fridge for 10-15 minutes and the fat will rise to the top so you can skim it off with a spoon. Return the juices to a small saucepan and reduce by half. Just cook it slowly on medium heat until it reduces and concentrates. 



Step 5: when the meat is cool enough to handle separate the bones and fat and return the lovely chunks of ribs into your concentrated juices. You can re-heat the meat in the juices before putting on a nice bun.

Step 6: chop mango, avocado and add all remaining ingredients to create your relish.


Serve hot and juicy with the cool relish on top and a drizzle of your favourite barbecue sauce.