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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario
Home country: Canada
Current location: Toronto, Ontario
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 04:34 PM
Number of posts: 3,207

Journal Archives

Easy Radish Greens and Basil Pesto Recipe (video)

We're getting into the season of great fresh local produce around here. We eat a lot of salads and slaws, and it's always fun when you can find something a little different to use in them. We managed to get our hands on some fresh radishes that still had the greens attached, and radish greens are delicious, so they became the base of this pesto.

When hubby still had his restaurant, he would make specials at the time of year when we could get our hands on things like radish greens. He made an amazing radish green chicken caesar salad once. Happily it sold quickly because radish greens are pretty delicate and don't last very long in the fridge. If you manage to get your hands on some, use them quickly! And make sure to give them a good wash, first.

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Simple Grilled Marinated Squid Recipe (video)

We got our hands on some really nice squid, and we decided to give it a nice little marinade and throw it on the grill! The flavours in this are Asian inspired with a bit of influence from Spanish ceviche as well. It's a bright and light flavour and goes very well with the nicely grilled squid. Just make sure not to overcook your squid! This is one of those tricky things, where a little bit overcooked and the squid will become quite chewy and rubbery, so you've got to keep an eye on it.

The squid we got came pre-cut in a format called "pineapple cut" (for obvious reasons). It lends itself well to grilling this way on skewers, but you can easily do the same with either rings or tentacles if you're careful. Do make sure to soak your skewers before putting them on the grill so that they don't catch fire and burn the squid!

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Simple Seaweed Miso Slaw Recipe (video)

Summer's coming back around, so it's time for some lighter and brighter fare on our channel! Hubby loves making slaw (we've done a lot of different slaws on the channel!) and this week is another delight. The real magic of this one comes in the crispy fueru wakame seaweed added just before serving. Those little crispy bits add a delightful texture and a delicious umami. We also added some crispy fried shallots (the type you can find in a plastic jar in most supermarkets) when we added the dressing because we like how the flavour spreads through the slaw as they sort of dissolve in the acidic dressing. If you'd prefer to keep them crispy, add them at the end when you serve, just like the seaweed.

We have access to these Asian flat cabbages, which we love. You could also use a Napa cabbage for this, but be aware that they are much more tender and will have a very different texture. The Asian cabbage really retains a lot of its crunch after sitting for some time in the dressing, but a more tender cabbage might become a little more limp over time.

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Deep Fried Bananas Foster Bao Recipe (video)

At the same time as we made those pan-fried breakfast bao last week, we decided we wanted to try deep frying some, and we wanted to fill them with something sweet! So, we made a bananas foster filling, and filled our bao dough with it. Then we steamed them as usual, and to finish them off, dropped them into the deep fryer! The inside was fluffy and light, and the outside was crispy and sweet (with a little sprinkle of powdered sugar on there).

We found a couple things that might make this recipe easier to do. Firstly, making the bananas foster filling in advance and freezing it into ice cubes will make it easier to work with, and you won't have to be so delicate with making your little dough cups. Secondly, dicing the bananas instead of mashing them may make them stand up a little better in the final product. You definitely need to make sure your oil is hot enough so that it doesn't soak into the dough, and you don't want to overdo it with the butter in your filling, or it will soak in and weight down the dough in the middle of your dumpling.

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Pan-Fried Breakfast Bao Recipe (video)

A little while ago, we made Chinese steamed pork buns (bao), and we found that the dough was very easy to make. Homemade bao can be super delicious, but also gives you the opportunity to experiment with some other fillings! These breakfast bao buns are sort of inspired by those Chinese bakery egg, ham, and cheese buns, and a pan-fried bao we had at a local Chinese resto that was really tasty. The major difference in cooking method here is that we pan-fry them before steaming. Let them get some good colour on the bottom before you pour in the water to finish steaming them the rest of the way.

We had a small amount of difficulty with the steaming portion because the bao had puffed up so much that the lid no longer fit flush into the skillet! So, our recommendation would be to use a slightly deeper pan than we did. There was just a tiny bit of undercooked dough at the very middle because we just couldn't keep all the steam in there, but they were still super delicious. Of course you can spice these up however you like. A bit of fresh herbs in the eggs, or replace the ham with already-cooked bacon or sausage patties. Replace the American cheese with some real cheese like herbed havarti or something like that.

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Simple Pecan-Crusted Fish Recipe (video)

Another fish recipe this week! We got our hands on some really lovely pecans, and thought that it would be a perfect time for some pecan-crusted fish. This is a simple and delicious recipe, and comes together very quickly. Fish cooks fast! Normally, we prefer to use our fish with the skin on, but we realized after we portioned the fish that it still had scales on it! Unfortunate, so we had to trim the skin on. If you leave the skin on, score it gently before dredging and crusting, and put it skin-side down in the pan. If you want to go the extra mile, flip it over and baste it in some extra butter (or a compound butter) on its way out of the oven.

We used trout for this. Trout has a pretty strong flavour, which may not be to everyone's taste. If you'd prefer something a little more neutral, you might prefer tilapia, haddock, or pollock. Also, we used a very similar butter caper sauce as we did the last time we did fish, because it's just such a perfect sauce for fish. We didn't brown the butter for this one, but we did use the leftover butter from the cast iron from the pecan crusted fish.

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Classic Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing Recipe (video)

This week we're going a little old-school! This is a classic wedge salad updated a little. We're going with a blue cheese dressing for this one, but a nice homemade ranch dressing would work extremely well as well. The real joy in this salad is the extras you toss on top. We made some nice big bacon lardons, some slightly dehydrated cherry tomatoes, some quick-pickled red onion, and some crispy bacon-y little bread cubes (too small to be considered crouton, really!).

We do a very fancy restaurant sort of presentation of this, where everyone gets a quarter of a head of lettuce in the shape of a wedge on the plate, however, you can serve this as a more traditional salad and toss it in the dressing with your mix-ins if you'd prefer. The neat thing about the wedge is that if you've made the dressing runny enough, it will flow in to fill the gaps between all of the leaves of the lettuce wedge! This is why we recommend thinning it out with a little bit of buttermilk if you find it's just a little too thick.

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Homemade Cheese Bourekas Recipe (video)

This is another one of those recipes where there are a million different regional variations. It seems to be an Israeli dish at its base, but a version of it is served all around the Mediterranean and in parts of the Middle East. We do a fairly non-traditional cheese mix for this one. We replace the feta with a soft bloomy-rind goat cheese and the ricotta with a mascarpone. The basic point is that you can replace the cheeses with whatever blend you would prefer, or what you can easy get your hands on locally.

This version uses puff pastry, but there are other versions that use things like phyllo pastry, and these definitely bear a resemblance to the much sweeter cheese blintz. Do make sure you get as much air out from the inside as you can. As you can see, we had a bit of a blowout on a couple of them, probably because we didn't quite get enough of the air from the inside and it burst out when it was hot, letting the cheese escape with it!

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Easy Pan-seared Brussel Sprouts Recipe with Crispy Cheese (video)

A very easy one this week. We did a video about deep-fried brussels sprouts a few weeks ago, and they are delicious, but not everyone can easily deep fry something on a whim. This recipe uses basically the same ingredients, but doesn't require any deep frying, and is also delicious. We used cast iron for this, but you could do it in stainless steel as well, just make sure you've got a decent amount of neutral oil, so that nothing sticks. The sprouts don't have to be swimming in oil, but it should coat the entire bottom of the pan you're using.

We used a little bit of vinegar for the acid in this one, but you could just as easily use lemon juice. You definitely want something to cut the roundness of the seared sprouts and the cheese. You could also toss a few pepper flakes in there for a little colour and a little zip. For the cheese, you definitely want to use something like a grana padano or a parmesan cheese to get that nice crispy texture when it's done. They'll be soft in the pan until you remove them, and they'll crisp up as they cool.

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Apricot Thumbprint Cookies Recipe (video)

Sorry for missing last week! Time just got away from us and there was too much happening all at once, so we didn't get a chance to film and get a video made. But we're back! This time with some delicious thumbprint cookies. We used some of our homemade apricot jam for these, but there are lots of options. You could use strawberry or raspberry jam, whatever you like, really. Rolling them in the almond flour and sugar gives them a delightful texture, as well.

You do want to keep these to about the size indicated. Too much bigger, and they will be undercooked in the middle. We also recommend that you make the hole in the cookie immediately after rolling in the almond flour, because if they sit around with the almond flour/sugar mixture on the outside, they dry out pretty quickly, and are more likely to crack. They are very easy to freeze, but again, we recommend freezing them after you've made the hole, so they're ready to go when you want them! Just fill them up and bake them. A little longer baking time if you're baking from frozen, of course.

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