Sunday, June 1, 2008

Coq au Vin... day two.

Whether due to wine or exhaustion, my mind was buzzing with the various things that you could do with the Coq au Vin on its second and third and fourth days.
How about...
Slicing a baguette on the diagonal, so you have long slender platforms. Rub each piece with raw garlic. Both sides! Lay the slices on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil (just a touch). And crisp slightly in a 250 - 350 F oven.

Use either as a garnish to a warm bowl of Coq au Vin. Or, use as a crostini and top with some of that meltingly tender chicken, mushroom and 'au jus.'
Make an open face sandwich. Using some nice bread, top with Coq au Vin (reserving the juices, so your bread doesn't become a sponge), cover with slices of brie or swiss or gouda or whatever cheese makes your mouth water. Set under the broiler or in the toaster oven for a few minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and, hopefully, colouring slightly.
What else??

Pretty Poached Pears

Yay, alliteration! hahah. Apparently, poached fruit is a tradition at Ukrainian Christmas dinner (as my Momma told me at dinner that night)… though, I was ignorant of this when I decided to tackle this recipe, I was thrilled that this “test run” could be seen as great foresight and impressive culinary work. Or something. hah.

This is a recipe that I have wanted to try for so long… but I have to say that I was completely intimidated. Now that I have done it, I’m annoyed that I never took the chance sooner, as it is so EASY! And, I mean easy… it’s almost the same amount of work as the tabbouleh. So, if you tried that recipe, you’ll realize that this dessert is equally attainable and not be put off giving it a test run of your own.
Putting it into perspective…
Think of this like a Christmas sangria! You’re wondering where I got the reference… well, in this recipe, basically, you make a mulled wine, then cook your fruit. Any of us can handle that. You could also make two pots of the wine, one for your pears and one for you. Now, that’s my idea of good cooking.

As much as I am a foodie, I am a realist too… somewhat. I’ve fallen into the trap of buying really good vanilla, but I know that the likelihood of my stocking allspice berries or cardamon pods is slim. Just use what you have, add what flavours you enjoy… you can’t go wrong.

Coq au Vin... according to me.

This couldn't be easier to make... or more impressive sounding. It's a beautiful chicken (traditionally, rooster) stew and requires very little fuss beyond choosing some high quality ingredients. The prep time on this was less than 20 minutes. (And it is probably fair to say that I wasn't working too quickly.) After that, like any stew, you can decide how long you would like to cook everything together. Obviously, as all of the ingredients have a chance to hang out and ask the other for a date, the flavours will mingle and intensify. You can easily make this recipe in advance and heat it gently before you are ready to serve. It's all up to you!
Lovely. Pretentious. Comfort food. :)

Saturday, May 31, 2008


The overindulgence of the holiday season has likely more than caught up with everyone… Well, even if you don’t want to admit it, I will do that for all of us. I have gone on a salad kick for January. Partially in one of those futile New Year’s resolution type pledges and partially due to the fact that I was getting tired of taking the easy road and eating out… constantly.

This is a make-shift Tabbouleh recipe to help you with your post-holiday detox. I’m not AT ALL fussy about measurements with this recipe. I find that your personal tastes will dictate the ratios of the vegetables, grains and herbs. This is an easy salad to experiment with. I’ve had a good base in the fridge for the last week. I can have it as is… or, if I am bored, I can add tomatoes, more cucumber, green peppers, feta or whatever suits the mood of the evening!

Asiago Cheese Puffs

Well, this foodie fanaticism has been in the works for quite some time now… and something like this was bound to happen. I knew that the time was near when I looked at the Christmas photos and there were more photos of than food than of the family. I must immortalize the holidays in some way and it seems that food will be the means…

The inaugural recipe is the Asiago Cheese Puffs. These were such a hit that their presence was requested at subsequent parties. Who could ask for better guests than these?!
Meet the Cast…
Asiago Cheese - Asiago, a cow’s milk cheese, has been produced for centuries in the Veneto region of Italy. Puff Pastry - Puff pastry is a light, flaky pastry made from layers of specially prepared pastry dough. The pastry puffs when baking causing the layers to separate.

Two notes about the puff pastry…
The puff pastry, which is frozen when purchased, must be thawed in order to be workable. Defrost at room temperature for two hours or in the fridge overnight.
Note: The puff pastry should always be cold to the touch. Once it begins to warm, it becomes difficult to work with. If the pastry becomes too warm, wrap it gently and return to the refrigerator until it is firm.

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