Caraway-Apple Braised Cabbage

Hey! I’m back! Sorry I haven’t posted in so long. Unfortunately work took over my life for quite a while. I felt like I was in a reality TV series, Kitchen Confidential or something. Things got crazy and hectic, leaving me without time for blogging. The dust seems to be settling now – thankfully. I finally have time and energy to get back into this. Time to share some more recipes with you!

Since we’re into fall now, I thought I’d share this great recipe for a seasonal side dish. So far this is my favorite way to eat cabbage. It’s sweet and sour and goes very well with roasted or braised meats.

Caraway-Apple Braised CabbageIMG_20141102_004253

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 medium cooking onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 slices bacon, cut into small strips
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 honeycrisp apple (or another crisp type), peeled and diced
  • 1/2 head cabbage, thinly sliced.
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

IMG_20141101_231643Heat the cooking oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add the bacon, onion and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent. Add the caraway seeds and saute another minute to toast the seeds. Add the apples and cook until they soften slightly.

Add all the remaining ingredients. Bring up to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for about an hour, or until the liquid thickens slightly and just coats the bottom of the pan.

This recipe yields about 4 portions and is super cost effective. I got my cabbage at the farmers’ market for 1$ 🙂 Each portion costs about 90 cents. The most expensive part of the recipe was actually the honeycrisp apple. If you’re looking to substitute – any crisp type will do. Gala, pink lady, and fuji are some good examples. Happy cooking! I promise I won’t wait so long before my next post 😉

Crushed Red Skin Potatoes

Mashed potatoes get a slight update in this recipe. I paired these with my meatloaf for dinner this week; so satisfying. Great for keeping warm during harsh winter weather. I like them this way for a few reasons. The texture is more interesting; rich and creamy but with chunks of potato and bits of the skins here and there. Keeping the skins on also means a stronger flavor and more nutrients: win, win. It’s super easy and delicious.

Sour Cream & Mustard Crushed PotatoesIMG_20140202_225938

  • 8 medium sized red skin potatoes (about 2 lbs)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard

Cut the potatoes into quarters and place them into a large pot. Cover with cold water and season lightly with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender when tested with a fork. Drain out the water and crush the potatoes lightly with a masher leaving chunks. Add the butter, sour cream, and mustard and season with 2 tsp salt and some a little pepper. Taste test and serve up!

Related Post: Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

Baked Tomato & Eggplant w Friulano Cheese

I love the rich flavor eggplant gets when you roast it. This is a dish I like to make in winter, sort of a comfort food – but healthy. It’s very simple and can easily be made ahead and enjoyed throughout the week. I like to serve it over quinoa but pretty much any grain, lentil or bean would work. This recipe uses japanese eggplant which are long, thin, purple and slightly less bitter than the standard italian variety. Their small size makes them a good choice to pair with with cocktail tomatoes in this dish.

Baked Tomato & Eggplant  IMG_20140113_223357

  • 3 japanese eggplant
  • 1 lb cocktail tomatoes
  • pinch chili flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups grated friulano cheese (fontina or mozza also work)
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs, or your own coarse crumbs

Slice the eggplant into 1/2cm rounds and toss them with 1 tsp salt. Let them sit for 1 hour to draw out some of the water. Drain out the water and toss the eggplant with the oregano, chili flakes, garlic and shallot.

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Slice each of the tomatoes into 4. Place the eggplant and tomatoes into a baking pan. Pack them in fairly tightly since they will shrink alot while cooking.

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Drizzle the olive oil overtop of the veggies. Bake at 400F for 1 hour. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over top of the tomatoes and eggplant and top with breadcrumbs. Bake another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the breadcrumbs are toasted.

If you’re making quinoa to go with it you’ll need 3/4 cup. Place it into a small pot and cover with 1 1/2 cups water. Add a pinch of salt and bring up to a simmer over high heat. Once simmering, cover and reduce heat to low. It takes about 20 minutes to cook. It’s done when it is light and fluffy and all of the water has been absorbed.

This recipe makes 3 portions, costing 2.25 each including quinoa. Enjoy this delicious light vegetarian dish!

Buttermilk Brussel Sprout Slaw

Yup! A salad made of brussel sprouts. It’s a great way to make them  more approachable. It’s super simple and will chase away any memory you  have of gross overcooked steamed brussels. This slaw has a good crunch and nice tangy flavor. It makes a super healthy and light side dish for your hearty winter meals.

Brussel Sprout SlawIMG_20140103_220612

  • 10 brussel sprouts
  • 2 baby carrots, julienned or grated
  • 1 stalk of celery, very thinly sliced
  • 1 small shallot, halved and very thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds

Lemon Garlic Buttermilk Dressing

  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane, or minced
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Trim off the outer leaves of the brussel sprouts. Hold them by the stem end and thinly slice into rounds, top to bottom. Break apart the rounds and mix in carrots, celery, shallot and seeds. Stir the dressing together and dress the salad with desired amount, there will be extra. Season the slaw with salt and pepper, mix thoroughly and enjoy. This slaw will benefit from marinating in the dressing. Makes 2 generous servings.

Molasses Baked Beans – a nod to my heritage

I’ve been craving these for a couple weeks now. The crazy cold snap that’s taken a hold over Ottawa has given me the motivation to whip up a batch. I need some warmth! They’re not only a comfort food for me, they’re also homey. Molasses baked beans are a traditional food in Acadian Canada, from which my mother’s side of the family stems. I’ve been trying to replicate the flavour of my mom’s baked beans for years. The first attempt wasn’t worth writing home about. I’m now onto version 12 or so and I think I’m getting pretty darn close. She might protest since I don’t use the same ingredients, but, come on mom, ketchup isn’t an ingredient. It belongs on top of hot dogs and hamburger patties. I switched that and a couple other things out for a more “whole foods” oriented recipe. I use a bean pot in this recipe. If you don’t have one, you can use a crock-pot, a large deep casserole dish with a lid, or a covered pot on the stove top.IMG_20140102_213356

Molasses Baked Beans

  • 2 cups dried navy beans
  • 2 slices bacon, cut into small strips
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground mustard seed
  • 2  bay leaves
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup fancy molasses
  • 3 c water
  • 1 tbsp salt

Soak the navy beans, uncovered, overnight in plenty of cold water.

Preheat your oven to 350F.

In a medium sauce pot cook the bacon over medium heat until the fat is rendered. Add in the onions and garlic and cook until translucent. Add the ground ginger and mustard seed and toast 1 minute. Add everything but the beans to the pot and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, strain the soaked beans and place them into a bean pot (4 qt or larger). Once the sauce is simmering pour it over the beans and give them a stir. Cover and bake for 2 hours, stirring halfway through. Remove the lid, stir and bake for another hour, uncovered.

This recipe makes 6 small servings and only costs 5$ to make.

IMG_20140102_213145

Roasted Cherry Tomato Risotto

Risotto is a creamy Italian rice dish. There are many variations but tomato is classic. This recipe isn’t authentic since I didn’t use any wine or stock and instead opted for water, which is more budget friendly. I don’t find this particular recipe really needs either.

Roasted Cherry Tomato Risotto:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 5 cups hot water, plus a little splash
  • a heaping 1/4cup roasted cherry tomatoes (see previous post for method)
  • 1 tsp cold butter
  • a handful of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • a few leaves of fresh basil, torn into small pieces

Makes enough rice for 4 potions.

Have a large baking tray on the counter close by.

In a large sauce pot over medium heat cook your onions and garlic until softened, add in the rice and toast for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat up to med-high and add the salt and 1 cup of the water. Cook the rice, stirring occasionally until the liquid has mostly been absorbed then add another cup of water. Continue this way, letting the liquid mostly absorb before adding another cup of water, stirring occasionally, until all 5 cups have been added. Once the last cup of water has been mostly absorbed, pour 3/4 of the rice out onto the tray waiting nearby. Spread it out evenly to cool for later. Add another splash of water and the cherry tomatoes to the pot and return to the heat. Cook another 2 minutes, remembering to stir and take the pot off the heat. Add the butter, parmesan and basil and stir until it is all combined. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. Your first portion of risotto is ready!

Once the rest of the rice has cooled on the tray place it in a container and refrigerate. When reheating a portion, you can you a smaller pot or pan. Heat your portion of rice with 1/4 water and the cherry tomatoes over medium-high, stirring, of course. This should only take 2-3 minutes. Once hot, take the pot off the heat and then add in the butter, parmesan and basil.

cherry tom rizzo 2

Risotto pointers –

  1. it’s important to use a very wide pot when making the rice base. the rice should only cover the bottom of the pot and come about 1/2 to 1 inch up the side. This ensures even cooking.
  2. Stir, stir, stir, and… stir. This is what helps create the creamy texture. Your spoon will slough off some of the starch from the grains of rice and mix it into the liquid, giving you the creaminess you want.
  3. Toasting the grains before adding water helps them keep their shape and stay firm through all that stirring. Skipping this step results in mushy broken up rice.
  4. Have some white wine handy? Replace 1/2 cup of the water for wine. Add it in as the first bit of liquid in the pot.
  5. It only takes 20 minutes for the rice to be fully cooked. If making extra for later spread it out on a tray to cool at the 18 minute mark. This is called a risotto base. This way when you’re adding liquid to heat it up again later it won’t end up mushy and over-cooked.