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.

Banana & Dark Chocolate Chip & Espresso Cupcakes with Cream Cheese-Yogurt Icing

  •  4-5 very ripe bananas, mashed well
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream or yogurt
  • 4 ounces of espresso (or very strong coffee)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso granules (opt).
  • 1/3 cup melted, unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 package bittersweet chocolate chips

Icing

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup full-fat yogurt
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 – 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, (add in 1/4 cup increments until desired sweetness and texture is reached. I like my icing on the tangy side)
  • pinch of salt

Orange-Anise Ice Cream

2 C heavy cream
1 C whole milk
1/2 C + 2 T sugar, divided
1/3 C corn syrup
1/4 t salt
6 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
1 1/2 t lightly crushed anise seeds (Note, this is NOT star anise)
zest of 2 oranges
1/2 t orange extract (optional)

Mix together the cream, milk, corn syrup and half the sugar in a sauce pan. Add a split vanilla bean pod scraped of all the seeds, the crushed anise seeds and the orange zest and extract if using. Heat on medium-low, stirring intermittently. Remove from heat once the mixture has reached 175°F. Pass through a fine sieve to remove the orange zest and anise seeds, retaining as much of the vanilla caviar as possible. Remove the vanilla bean.

Beat the egg yolks with the remainder of the sugar. Temper by slowly adding 1 C of the hot cream mixture to the yolks and whisking until incorporated. Add this back to the rest of the hot cream and return to the stove-top. Heat up to 180°F until thickened, whisking constantly so it doesn’t stick. If you do get a few bits that are thickened too much, you can pass this again through a sieve.

Immediately pour into a bowl and let sit on counter until no longer steaming, about 10-15 min. Transfer to the freezer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until well chilled.

Place chilled custard in ice cream maker and churn for 30-45 minutes. Place in freezer container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving. Makes approximately 1 quart.

*By using some corn syrup instead of all sugar, we interfere with the formation of large ice crystals and consequently the ice cream has a smoother texture.

Herby Crab Dip

1 1/2 C plain, full-fat greek yoghurt (or plain yoghurt drained overnight in a fine sieve or cheesecloth, then measured to 1 1/2 C)
1/2 C light mayonnaise
1/2-3/4 lb crab meat, chopped
1 T minced fresh dill
2 T minced fresh Italian parsley
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 C finely shredded very sharp white cheddar cheese
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 t worchestershire sauce
1/4 t kosher salt
tabasco sauce to taste OR cayenne
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 t white sugar if needed to balance flavours

Serve with a vegetable and cracker tray and a side dish of cocktail sauce.

This is also easily made vegetarian with the omission of the crab and replacement of traditional worchestershire sauce with a vegetarian kind or even a soya sauce like tamari.

Asparagus and Tomato Quiche

This recipe was based heavily on this one.

Crust:
3/4 C white flour
3/4 C whole wheat flour
1/2 very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/4 t salt
1 egg, beaten
1-2 T very cold water

Filling:
1 lb fresh, small green asparagus
1 T butter
1 T lemon juice
4-5 quite small tomatoes (plum or cherry size), cut in half
1/4 C chopped parsley
1/4 chopped chives
3 eggs
1 C crème fraîche or whole-fat sour cream
1/3 C grated sharp cheese (aged white cheddar, aged gouda, parmesan, etc.)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix the salt into the flour and cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter until it the butter is evenly dispersed into the flour. Add in the beaten egg and 1 tablespoon of the water. Mix very gently until it comes together in a ball, adding more water if needed. Cover with plastic wrap and put into the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.

Once the dough has rested, remove it from the fridge, and roll it out gently into a circle about 1″ (2.5 cm) larger than your tart pan. Place it over your pan and gently press it in place and up the sides of the pan, cutting off the excess with a knife. Bake in a 400°F oven for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly whilst you prepare the filling.

Wash and trim the ends of the asparagus (use one as a guide and snap it with your fingers, cutting the rest where the first one naturally snapped off). Sauté in a medium-hot pan in butter for 5 minutes, turning every so often just so the asparagus begins to just barely cook. Add the lemon juice and a sprinkling of kosher salt and black pepper. Layer the asparagus in the crust, cutting the spears down to size if necessary. Mine just barely fit with a few heads peeking out, which is fine. Cut the tomatoes in half and even distribute over the asparagus.

Mix the chopped herbs into the crème fraîche and season with salt and pepper, then add in the eggs. Mix until just combined and then pour over the asparagus and tomatoes.

Bake at 350°F this time for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and then add the cheese and return to the oven and bake for 15-25 minutes more until the egg has set and the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. If the crust is getting too browned and the cheese isn’t quite browned, go ahead and place it under the broiler for a minute or so.

Notes: I used sour cream because I couldn’t find any crème fraîche in the horrible small town I live in. Crème fraîche is preferred, but sour cream will work fine. Any sharp cheese would work on top of this, I just happened to have a nice, very sharp white cheddar on hand, so that’s what I used. I used garlic chives in this (because that’s what’s in the garden) but any chive or scallion would work, you’d just want to slice the scallions very, very thinly.

Curried Citrus Yoghurt Chicken with Pineapple & Tomato

2 large chicken breasts, skinned and boned

Marinade:
2 C whole milk yoghurt
2 T Indian style meat rub
juice and zest of 1 medium lemon
juice and zest of 1 medium orange
kosher salt to taste

2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
4 large garlic cloves
2″ piece of ginger, peeled
1 1/2 T curry powder
1 15 oz can of pineapple
1 12 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 C chicken stock
1 T garam masala
3 T flour

Slice the chicken breasts into 2 inch long, 1/2 inch wide strips like so. Ish.

Arrange the marinade ingredients into dishes so you can photograph them. The lemon isn’t pictured because I already juiced it, and after I did so it fell apart and looked nasty, so I threw it away. But you get the idea. I used fat-free yoghurt because that’s all we had in the house, but I’d go for the full-fat stuff normally. The spice mix in the bottom left is the rub, which in this recipe isn’t actually rubbing anything/one.

Pour the yoghurt into a medium mixing bowl, add the juices, half of the zest, the spice mix, and some salt. Taste it to make sure it is seasoned well enough, but not too much (as this marinade is going to be added to the rest of the dish at a later point, and you don’t want to oversalt).

Mix the marinade together and add in the chicken, stirring to make certain the chicken is well covered with the marinade.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate from anywhere from a couple hours to a couple days. This time I just did it for a couple hours.

Now get the rest of your ingredients out.

Peel the garlic and ginger, chopping the ginger into garlic clove-sized chunks and place both into your food processor (or blender).

Chop the onions into similar sized chunks and do the same.

Grind/purée until smooth. Clearly, this isn’t there yet.

And now it is. Nice and smooth. Beauty, eh.

Heat a large dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pan and add in a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil.  Heat on medium-high until warmed and add in the chicken, being sure to drain as much of the marinade off as possible.

Fry the chicken in batches until well browned.

Once you’ve browned all the chicken, you might want to add the whole amount back to the pan just to caramelise the coating a little more.

Meanwhile, mix up your chicken stock and pineapple juice making 3 cups of liquid. I love the Better Than Bouillon product (which comes in a ton of different flavours), though it’s saltier than the broth you can buy in the carton (which I do often use), in this case I just cut back on the salt I add to the recipe.

Remove all the chicken from the pot and add in the onion, garlic, and ginger mixture, the curry powder, and a little salt.

Sauté for several minutes until it becomes well browned and a fair bit of the liquid reduces out.  Once it starts to stick too much add in the tomatoes, chicken broth, and pineapple juice.  Be careful when you add in the tomatoes and make sure you don’t accidentally dump the tomato can lid into the pot and then grab it with your bare fingers. Because you know, it’s kind of hot in there. So yeah, don’t do that.

What you should do is add in the chicken and pineapple at which point it should look pretty much like this:

Pineapple!  Also add in the leftover yoghurt from the marinade.

Don’t forget to add in the rest of the orange and lemon zest.

Add the flour and a little cold water to a mason jar, put a lid on it, and shake until completely combined. No lumps!  Add to the sauce and then simmer for about 45 min – 1 hour.

Simmering:

Once it’s thickened up nicely, add in the garam masala about 1-2 minutes before you serve it.

Yay, you’re done! Now EAT.

I served this on a bed of brown rice (becuase it has more flavour and is better for you) alongside some buttered broccoli. Not very Indian I suppose, but it’s my favourite veggie, so suck it.  This would also be fantastic garnished with some chopped cilantro. I would’ve but I didn’t have any, and I made up this recipe because I was specifically cooking only from ingredients that I had on hand.

Dilled Chicken

12 chicken thighs, skin on
1 1/2 bunches scallions
4 garlic cloves
1 C dry white wine
4 C unsalted/low-sodium chicken broth
2 cans evaporated milk
3/4 T corn starch
1 T dill seed
2 t celery seed
1 T dried dill weed
2 T fresh dill weed
kosher salt and pepper to taste

steamed long-grain rice for serving

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and place into an cold oiled large, deep sauté pan, and turn on to medium-low. You want to slowly render the fat from the skin until it becomes crispy, repeating for the other side. This can take about an hour or so. You may have to drain the chicken grease out of the pan at least once.

Meanwhile in a small, dry sauté pan, toast the dill seed and celery seed until fragrant and warm, about 5 min. Then grind to a powder using either a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder used only for grinding spices.

Remove the chicken from the pan. Slice one of the scallion bunches (about 6-8 scallions) into thin coins, and mince the garlic. Drain all of the chicken grease out of the pan, and add in a little fresh vegetable oil, and quickly sauté the scallions and garlic with a little kosher salt. Once soft, add in the wine to deglaze the pan. Once the wine has reduced by 3/4, add in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a slight simmer. At this point add in the dried dill weed, the dill/celery seed mixture, and return the chicken back to the pan. Braise the chicken on low for about an hour and a half until the chicken broth has reduced by almost half and the chicken is very tender.

Slice the remaining bunch of scallions on the bias and chop the fresh dill. Mix the evaporated milk with the corn starch and add in the dill.

Remove the chicken from the broth and set on a serving platter. Add the milk/cornstarch mixture to the broth and cook until just thickened, whisking to avoid lumps and to loosen any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, also add in the cream, if using. Check the sauce for salt and add more if needed. Pour the sauce over the chicken and top with the sliced scallions. Serve over long-grain rice.