Roast Chicken with Preserved Lemons

My preserved lemons are finally ready to enjoy. Based on some poor advice, I tried mixing the brine into a cocktail. Don’t do it. Just don’t. I might try it again using only the smallest bit of peel but not the brine.

However, they did make an awesome addition to a roasted chicken breast and a side-dish of sauteed beans and garlic scapes with potatoes (also from UBC Farm Market).

The lemon flavour is intensified into the peel and it makes this lovely super-lemony addition to any dish. To be used with some moderation, as they are incredibly salty, but beautiful with chicken and fish, no doubt.

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Dried herbs

Only on Commercial Drive, would you find a whole jar (85g) of dried oregano for only $1.99. And for comparison, those little bottles of McCormick spices that you find at the major retailers for $6-7… Yeah, they’re 11g. Screw you, Safeway. Screw. You.

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Tzatziki

So simple and delicious. The trick with tzatziki is using enough fat. Big surprise! It’s not by accident that pork belly, bacon, and pulled pork have become so popular over the past few years and infiltrated almost every dish that we once held dear.

In any case, if you do wish to use lower fat yogurt, read the labels and ingredient lists, please. Most of those low fat ones are stacked with sugar and cornstarch to make up for their lack of actual substance. Sorry, am I sounding biased? Another trick is to set it in cheesecloth in a strainer overnight to let it thicken.

750ml 8-12% MF plain yogurt
1/2 english cucumber, grated
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1tsp salt

Mix.
Enjoy as dip for veggies or chips or on bread. A nice crispy Terra Breads baguette provides a perfect chewy texture.

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Cheesecake. Deconstructed.

A few more gems from the UBC Farmers Market – fresh strawberries, blueberries and an herb they called apple mint. It has almost a hot peppermint essential oil. Really lovely but powerful. They smelled up the kitchen for days.

I mixed it up here with some Fromage Frais from Little Qualicum Cheeseworks that I found at the Kitsilano Farmers Market. Mix in one of those brownies and you’ve got a wicked yummy dessert!

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Perogies with all the fixin’s

Delicious homemade perogies with a bit of bacon, sautéed red onion with sauerkraut and bacon fat, and the perogies fried as well.

Two things – frying in some red onion with the sauerkraut take the sharpness out of the cabbage and brings in some sweetness.
Second, using thick Greek yogurt instead of sour cream means you can eat the leftover sauerkraut with a bit of yogurt which, although it’s about the same MF, it doesn’t taste or feel as weird as eating sour cream by the spoonful. Yucky.

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Cherry Dandelion Salad

More cherries! And beautiful fresh summer greens from the UBC Farm Market. The UBC farm team and volunteers do so many great things… all with almost zero support (including even having to fight to keep their land) from UBC. They’re also geographically much closer than most farms who attend the other neighbourhood farmers markets who come in from the Fraser Valley. The only trick is that you have to get there before 9:30 or they will begin to run out of things. Eggs were the first to go.

This salad was a collection of dandelion and mustard greens with toasted pecans and cherries. Dressing was a bit of sherry vinegar, olive oil, mustard and honey. I added a few chunks of smoked cheddar the following night and it was even better. Never fails. Just add cheese 🙂

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Cherry Brownies

I recently discovered that in a good cherry year, which seems to be this year as they are abundant, a cherry pitter is a good investment. Never before have cherries been so versatile and easy to add to everything. They add a beautiful, meaty, juicy sweetness to salads, chicken, pork or pretty much any dessert. These brownies were yummers.

I’ll admit, like many things, the cherries would probably be better soaked in kirsch, but they still had a lovely black-forest-cakey effect.

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
7 tbsp cocoa
4 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans (and 2 cups cherries – pits removed and sliced in two)
1 tsp vanilla

Cream sugar, butter, cocoa. Add eggs and vanilla. Add flour and fold in walnuts. Bake in greased 9″x13″ pan at 350F for about 40 minutes. Should be moist – do not overbake.

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Creamy fudge!

This recipe comes from my mom via an aunt of mine in Nova Scotia and makes a basic brown sugar fudge.

1/4 cup corn syrup
2 1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Fill sink with cold water and ice cubes.

Mix first five ingredients in pot for the stove and bring to a boil. Let boil until it reaches soft-ball stage, or approx. 235 degrees (no less than 234 and no more than 244 but sooner is better).

Place pot in sink. Let cool and add vanilla. Beat until thick.
Pour into an 8″x8″ pan.

There’s a bit of an art and some experience that tells you when to pour it. You have to catch it when it’s still warm enough to actually pour and not yet crystallized because when it goes, it goes quickly.

For chocolate, add 1/3 cup cocoa with the first five ingredients. To make it flavoured, use extract and replace vanilla.

Delicious!

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Fusilli with lox

Just a lil’ something I threw together after the gym; a twist on the old bagel with lox and cream cheese.

Organic fusilli with asparagus, sautéed red onion, lox, and capers covered in fruity French olive oil. Plus a little Balderdons smoked cheddar on the side because I just opened it a few days ago and it’s so good, I put it on everything.
Bread? Definitely. Strawberries? Sure. Meat of any kind? Melt that stuff on there. Cereal? As a side dish perhaps, but sure, why not?

True to the original idea, I should have used whipping cream as a linguine-style dish, or hey, even cream cheese melted… but I didn’t feel like it. I also would have caramelized the onions but I was too hungry.

The trick to working with lox is rinsing the pasta in cold water until it’s cool enough that it doesn’t cook the salmon. Be careful with the onion and asparagus too.

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Pizza dough!

It’s exciting to finally find a pizza dough recipe that creates a nice chewy flatbread, thin crust pizza. It doesn’t take endless time to mix and knead, and you don’t have to own a stand mixer.

And why not celebrate the diversity of our culture with a little Italian cooking on Canada Day!

Time: 3 hours. Makes three medium, 12″ pizzas.

4 cups flour
1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 tsp salt

Let yeast dissolve in water. Mix with flour and salt. Knead until fully combined and dough is elastic. Cover with plastic wrap, a damp towel, or coat with light dusting of flour (the trick is not letting the dough dry out and form a crust, as it restricts the rise). Let rise in warm place, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Punch down and divide into three. Form balls, cover, and let rest 1 hour.

Grease pan with olive oil. Stretch and shape your pizza dough!

That’s it! You just need the time. I’ll probably be experimenting with a weeknight version to see if I can speed it up at all but I’m sure it will be better if you allow the full time anyway. You could also prepare it on the weekend and it keeps up to three days in the fridge – or parbake and freeze! Also delicious on day two – light and chewy 🙂

The website also suggests that if you aren’t going to make all three, to shape and bake the leftover dough into a flatbread with some olive oil and salt on top! I would also add rosemary. Perfect appetizer.

Source: Forno Bravo