Food 65 results

Tahini Shortbread opens sesame

Recipe: Tahini Shortbread Cookies The pale, nutty paste is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, but tahini's smooth, creamy consistency also makes for a dreamy cookie full of good stuff By Louise Crosby Here on this side of the Atlantic, we know tahini best as an ingredient in hummus and baba ghanoush, or as a sauce for falafel and shawarma sandwiches. But in countries of the Middle East, the Mediterranean and beyond, this lovely stuff has been a staple for thousands of years, an indispensable ingredient in countless dishes savoury and sweet. They even put it on ice cream. Just to refresh, tahini is pure sesame paste made from white sesame seeds that are soaked, then hulled, gently roasted, and ground to a silky smooth, creamy consistency. The paste, blended with garlic, lemon juice, salt and cumin, and thinned with a bit of water, becomes tahini sauce, also used in countless ways. The best sesame seeds come from the Humera region of Ethiopia, and the best tahini is emulsif...

Packing your pestle for a perfect pesto

Recipe: Pesto A simple but wonderful thing awaits when you gather pine nuts, parmigiano and your best olive oil into a mortar and start pounding, or in Italian: pestare! By Louise Crosby It’s one of the many rituals of summer, like going for ice cream on a warm evening, or eating watermelon at a cottage. When bundles of local basil start appearing, it’s time to gather up the pine nuts, some new garlic and Parmigiano, and your best olive oil, and whizz it all together into a sauce. It’s a simple but wonderful thing. Classic pesto originated in Liguria, the northern coastal region of Italy that includes the city of Genoa. It is traditionally prepared using a mortar and pestle, as the pounding is believed to bring out the full flavour of the basil. (The word “pesto” comes from the Italian verb pestare, to grind or crush.) It is also traditionally tossed with trenette, a long slender noodle, as well as cooked string beans and sliced small potatoes. This recipe, tweaked ...

Summer cobbler takes the cake

Recipe: Brown Butter Nectarine Cobbler/Cake Part cobbler, part cake, part pudding, a bit crispy around the edges and juicy in the middle, this rustic dish is just as delicious for breakfast as it is for dessert By Louise Crosby My refrigerator is bursting at the seams. It’s summer, and after waiting so many months, locally-grown fruits and vegetables are finally ripening. I can’t help myself – it all tastes so much better than produce that’s been shipped in – so a trip to the farmers market requires a carry cart to lug it home in. Trouble is, I don’t know how we’re going to eat it all. Let’s tally it up. Along with all the other stuff one keeps in one’s fridge, there’s a huge bundle of chard and another of basil, a bulging cauliflower, a bag of green beans, six pints of BC blueberries (on sale) and half a dozen ears of sweet corn. Meanwhile, taking up counter space, is a three-litre basket of ripe field tomatoes and another basket of ripe Niagara peaches....

Whatsa Masala? Chicken Tikka loses the sauce

Food Recipe: Chicken Tikka Indian cuisine knows how to handle the heat, and grilled chunks of ginger-marinated chicken bathed in a cool yogurt chutney makes a perfect summer treat By Louise Crosby As you will know if you like Asian food, Chicken tikka masala is one of the most popular items on Indian restaurant menus, grilled chunks of meat that have been marinated in yogurt and spices, garlic and ginger, then baked in a clay oven (tandoor) and bathed in a creamy, spicy tomato sauce. Chicken tikka, without the masala sauce, is another version of this dish, just the yogurt-marinated meat grilled or baked in the oven, if a tandoor isn’t available, and served with various chutneys. That is how Meera Sodha presents it in her book Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen, and that is what I offer you today, with a few minor tweaks. Obviously if you aren’t fond of hot food, cut back or eliminate altogether the fresh or dried chili. But spicy hot or not, Sodha’s ...

Vanilla is exotic, the proof is in the pudding

Food Recipe: Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding These days, when people say 'vanilla' they often mean boring, but the Mexican orchid flower responsible for the long, fragrant bean is anything but average -- and the same goes for this vanilla bean rice pudding By Louise Crosby This is turning out to be the summer of vanilla rice pudding. I’ve made this recipe – from food blogger Molly Wizenberg featured in bon appétit magazine – three times in the past two weeks, and as I write these words, another batch is burbling away on the stove. Eaten warm or icy cold from the refrigerator, it is rich and creamy and bursting with vanilla flavour, and we can’t get enough of it. I’ve made the pudding twice with a vanilla bean and once with a generous tablespoon of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon vanilla bean paste, which makes an excellent substitute if your store runs out of beans. I also threw in a fat cinnamon stick during the cooking of the last batch, making the flavours even more ...

Super Bowl: Vegetarian Curry Laksa

Food: Vegetarian Curry Laksa Recipe Whether it's pho, bibimbap or a bucket of ramen, a meal in a bowl offers a mysterious delight, and this recipe for Vegetarian Curry Laksa is a culinary treasure you can eat with a spoon By Louise Crosby There’s something appealing about a meal in a bowl, everything contained in one space, relaxed, easy eating. Think of the Vietnamese dish pho – fragrant broth, rice noodles, vegetables and herbs. Or Korean bibimbap – sizzling rice with meat and assorted vegetables, chili pepper paste and a raw or fried egg served on top. But wait, there’s much, much more. I just got my hands on Lukas Volger’s new (vegetarian) cookbook, simply titled Bowl, and realize that when it comes to this kind of eating, the possibilities are endless. I want to cook this entire collection but for starters settled on this Vegetarian Curry Laksa, laksa being a popular noodle dish sold at hawker stalls in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. Although there are ...

Carbonara won’t kill you

Food: Recipe - Carbonara Little crispy bits of smokey bacon mixed with creamy egg are what make Carbonara feel decadent, and thanks to new research that reassesses the dangers of saturated animal fats, you can eat it without angst over your arteries By Louise Crosby I used to think bacon was the worst thing you could eat, all that saturated animal fat clogging up the arteries, bringing on heart disease. Maybe it’s dawning on me that life is short, maybe it’s the recent thinking that saturated fat is not the killer we thought it was, but I’m eating bacon now and I don’t feel bad about it. Indeed, there is increasing evidence that the anti-saturated fat campaign underway for so many decades hasn’t worked, that the low-fat, high carbohydrate diet we’ve been advised to follow has only led to soaring rates of obesity and diabetes, while heart disease has not declined. Meanwhile, recent studies have found that saturated fats found in meat and dairy products are not as bad ...

Snack in a Snap: Cherry Almond Bars

Food: Recipe - Cherry Almond Bars When it's too early for rhubarb and too late for fruitcake, pick this cherry almond treat to feed your appetite for something fresh, fruity and dessert-y By Louise Crosby I wanted to do a blog on rhubarb this week to signal the arrival of spring, but alas, there was no rhubarb to be found. Spring is dragging its heels in these parts; warm weather is that elusive thing that could arrive next week, or the week after. We are waiting for so many things: crab apple blossoms, fiddleheads, green grass. We’re right on the verge but not quite there. Badly in need of something fresh and bright and new to eat, I found this recipe for cherry almond squares, ran up the street to our neighbourhood grocery to buy a bag of frozen cherries, and got to work. Now that’s coming to terms with reality. There’s nothing wrong with frozen cherries, in fact they work perfectly in these rich, crumbly squares. Combined in a pot with some sugar and lemon, they ...

Minestrone makes it homey

Food: Recipe - Minestrone It starts slowly with a pot of simmering white beans, but minestrone grows into a bowl that feeds the soul By Louise Crosby You could say the measure of wealth is not how many cars you have in your driveway, or how many holidays you take each year, but whether you have a batch of home-made soup in your refrigerator at the beginning of the week. Right now I’m thinking of minestrone, that thick, substantial Italian vegetable soup that will keep you going in good health for several days. We should all be so lucky. Minestrone is something you make when you have plenty of time and want to enjoy the process. It starts out slow and quiet with a pot of simmering white beans. As they are turning soft and creamy, you take a soup pot and start to build your vegetable base, sautéing onions, garlic, carrot and celery in plenty of olive oil and bacon drippings, should you go for bacon, then adding more layers of flavour with zucchini, green beans and potatoes, ...

Trading potato chips for cauliflower?

Food: Recipe - Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower If you're one of those self-abusing salty-greasy chip addicts, there's hope on the horizon in the form of a roasted, old cruciferous favourite: cauliflower baked to perfection with garlic and parmesan By Louise Crosby I have a terrible habit of eating potato chips while I’m getting dinner ready, just because I’m starving and can’t wait for dinner, and because they are so good. They’re not the best option for healthy snacking, obviously, so I make an effort to alternate with other foods like roasted, salted cashew nuts, hummus, cheese and crackers, and smoked salmon spread. All good, but the call of a potato chip is very strong. Then I discovered roasted cauliflower. Yes cauliflower, a star of the healthy cruciferous family. It is delicious divided into florets, tossed with olive oil and salt, and roasted in a hot oven until the edges are caramelized and crispy and the centre is soft. It’s also good with Indian spices like ...