Jalapeño-Cheddar Biscuits

  • 3 c soft white flour
  • 4 1/2 t baking powder
  • 2 t kosher salt
  • 1 7/8 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 lb very sharp cheddar, cut into small cubes or coarsely grated
    • plus an extra 1/4 c (opt.)
  • 2-4 jalapeños, minced, about 1/4-1/3 c total, depending on your preference

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Add in the cubed cheese and jalapeños. Be sure to check the chilies’ heat level and decide how much of the inner membranes you want to leave in, if any. Make sure the cheese and chillies are evenly distributed throughout the flour mixture. Add in the cream and mix with a large wooden spoon until it just comes together in a shaggy ball. Be very careful not to overmix or else they will become tough instead of tender and flaky. Using either a dough/batter scoop or a large spoon, scoop balls of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with more shredded cheese if desired. Bake until golden brown at 450°F for about 12-15 minutes. Let cool and serve.

Makes 24 1 1/2″ small biscuits or about 12-16 large ones.

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Vietnamese Shrimp and Pork Shu Mai

Shu Mai Filling

  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb raw, peeled, deveined shrimp (smallest size you can find)
  • 2 red thai chillies, scraped of seeds and membranes and minced
  • 2 T garlic-ginger paste (or 1 T each of grated ginger and minced garlic)
  • 2 T very finely minced lemongrass
  • 2 T fish sauce
  • 1/2 C minced cilantro
  • 1/4 C minced scallion

Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 C light soya sauce (I use a Japanese seasoned soya sauce that is infused with seaweed, mushroom and various kinds of fish for extra flavour)
  • 1/2 t garlic-ginger paste
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T mirin

Place thawed shrimp in a small food processor and pulse until about the same consistency as the ground pork, OR mince finely. Add all ingredients together and gently but thoroughly mix together with wet hands. Let sit for at least an hour for the flavours to meld.

Spoon a small amount of the filling into a round dumpling wrapper and gather it up in a slight twist so the wrapper pleats around the filling and just a small amount of the filling is visible. Repeat for all of your filling.

Place in a steamer basket lined with a couple lettuce or cabbage leaves. Steam for 6-7 minutes until the filling is just cooked through. Serve with dipping sauce.

Tomato & Lentil Salad

Lentils

  • 1 1/2 C Lentils du Puy, rinsed and picked for debris
  • 1 small onion, halved with the skin on
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 dried red chillies

 Add all to a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25-35 minutes until the lentils are just tender. Remove from the heat and salt the water generously and let the lentils sit in the salted water for 10 minutes more. Remove and drain, discarding aromatics. Let cool to room temperature.

 Salad

  • 1 T whole grain or coarse ground mustard
  • 2 T capers, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, pounded to a paste
  • 1/3 C good extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 red onion, very small dice
  • 3 heirloom tomatoes
  • 8-10 large basil leaves

Smash the garlic cloves with a meat pounder or the side of your knife several times, sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and smash further, scraping together the paste and running your knife through it until a paste forms. Add to a small bowl along with the mustard and minced capers. Add the vinegar and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil whilst whisking to form the vinegarette. Put the lentils in a large bowl and add the onion. Slice the tomatoes into 1″ cubes and add to the lentils. Chiffonade the basil leaves and them and the dressing to the salad and mix well. Taste and add salt and pepper (and more vinegar and olive oil) as needed. Let sit for at least half an hour for the flavours to meld.

Onion Dill Bread

  • 1 T active dry yeast
  • 2 c bread flour
  • 1 c white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c warm water
  • 1/2 c finely chopped onion/leeks/scallions
  • 1/4 c fresh chopped dill weed OR 2 t dried dill weed
  • 1 T dill seed
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 c small curd cottage cheese or whole milk yoghurt
  • 2 eggs: 1 for the dough, 1 for the eggwash

Combine water, honey and yeast in mixing bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except flour and salt and mix well. Mix salt into the whole wheat flour. Add in the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the bread flour and mix together.  Gradually add in the last cup of bread flour bit by bit, mixing until each addition is fully incorporated before adding more. The dough should be stretchy and tacky, but not sticky.  Knead for 10 minutes and then return to the cleaned, oiled bowl and allow to rise until doubled. Punch down and then let rise until doubled again. Form into desired shape or place in oiled loaf pans. Beat a second egg with 1 t of water and glaze the top(s) of the loave(s) and then top with either coarse salt, dill seeds, or a combo of the two.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, or until reads 200°F internally with an thermometre inserted in the centre.

Note: I like to form my loaves into either a boule or a bâtard and bake on a baking sheet instead of in a loaf pan. In addition to being great with a homemade soup (especially tomato), it’s fantastic toasted, buttered and topped with fresh sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, or with cheeses like Gruyère, Emmentaler, Jarlsberg, or sharp Cheddar.

Smoked Trout Pâté with lemon and herbs

  • 2 cans smoked trout in olive oil, ~4 oz each
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (OR 3 sage leaves, 1 teaspoon rosemary)
  • 1/2 teaspoon capers

Drain the oil from the fish, and add everything else to a food processor and process until smooth. Let sit in the fridge for a few hours to allow flavours to develop and the pâté to harden.

Quick Pickled Red Onions

2 red onions, sliced as thinly as possible
juice of 2 lemons and 2 limes
2 t kosher salt
1 1/2 T white sugar
white wine vinegar

Slice the onions as thinly as you can possibly manage and place into a large, non-reactive bowl. Add salt and sugar. Juice citrus over the onions and then add just enough white wine vinegar so that the onions are just barely covered with liquid. Stir well, cover, and set out at room temperature for 3-4 hours. Drain and serve, reserving the lovely pink liquid to pickle/dress more onions or any number of vegetables: jicama, carrots, cucumbers, kohlrabi, etc.

Serve as the topping to any sandwich, on tacos, alongside or in coleslaw, on fish, in a green salad, and so on. This is also great with any citrus: orange, tangerine, kumquat, even grapefruit.

Thai Chicken Wings

6 lbs chicken wings, cut into wings and drumette pieces and tips reserved for making stock.

Marinade:

3 lemongrass stalks, white parts only
3 coriander roots, or 1/2 bunch of coriander/cilantro including stems
1 1/2″ piece of galangal, peeled. Replace with ginger if unavailable, or use both.
4 garlic cloves
4 shallots
zest of 1 lime, juice of 2
sriracha or thai chillies to taste
1 T coconut cream (from top of coconut milk can) to help a paste form. A little vegetable oil will also work.

Place all in a food processor and blend until a fine paste forms. Rub thoroughly onto chicken wings and then add 1 C coconut milk and stir to coat well. Let sit overnight or at least 2 hours.
Grill on medium heat until well browned and slightly charred on each side, about 15 min. per side. Do not over cook or you will dry out the meat. Feel free to baste the wings with the remaining marinade as they grill, making sure you cook them thoroughly to avoid any contamination.

Though these taste great on their own, you could also make a peanut sauce to dip them in.

Serves 6-8