Browsing Tag

fruits and vegetables

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

My Leek, Carrot, Turnip and Celery Soup Recipe

leek, carrot, turnip and celery soup

Every few weeks, I fill up a Le Creuset Dutch oven with fresh vegetables and make a big batch of soup. I basically redo the same soup except that I change the vegetables. I usually mix vegetables that inspire me at the store with what is in my fridge. Being French means that my soup always starts with a roughly chopped mirepoix (celery, onions and carrots). Since I will puree my vegetable soup, I don’t need to be fancy on my cutting board.

This week, my soup took shape from a big pack of leeks and 3 turnips that I bought a few days before. Here is this week recipe.

Ingredients for my Leek, Carrot, Turnip and Celery Soup:

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large leeks, cut
  • 3 turnips, pealed and coarsely chopped
  • 6-7 large carrots, pealed and coarsely chopped
  • 3 crisp, leafy stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
  • optional (I put it because I had one in my fridge): 1 orange pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 handful of minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of origano or thym
  • 1 teaspoon of savory (my favorite herb)

Step by step instructions:

  • On low to medium heat (2 on my gas stove), heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a Dutch oven or a large soup pot.
  • Add the leeks, carrots and celery to pot. Cook for 5 minutes with the cover. Stir from time to time
  • Add the turnips and orange pepper. Season the vegetables with the herbs, salt and pepper.
  • Stir. Add more olive oil. Continue to cook for 12 minutes with the cover. You want the vegetables to sweat.
  • Add the chicken stock. I want the flavour to mix together, which takes about 15 minutes of cooking.
  • Puree the soup directly from the pot with an immersion blender.
  • Enjoy now and later!

In My Freezer

I let the soup cool for 30 minutes and divide it into 12 single and double portion containers. I always store the soup in the freezer. As a mom with a young child, having a homemade soup ready to serve brings me peace of mind. I reheat it on the stove or the microwave and serve it to my hungry toddler boy while I cook dinner. Some nights, I eat a bowl of soup with him.

Feel free to experiment with my soup recipe. Possible variations would be to switch the herbs for ground ginger or ground fennel. I prefer to use fat-free chicken stock but you could use water or a vegetable stock instead. Like I said at the beginning, get inspired by what is in your pantry and your fridge.

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

The Best Pineapple Marmelade Recipe

pineapple marmelade with croissant

josee robitaille et kim vallee
photo of Josee Robitaille and Kim Vallee

Yesterday I attended a Proctor & Gamble media event where the star was Josee Robitaille, a consulting chef. I enjoyed so much her recipes that I translated them especially for you. The first recipe is a pineapple marmelade that will become the talk at your next brunch.

pineapple marmelade with croissant

It is simple to make. No special skills are required. All you need are 4 ingredients (pineapple, sugar, lime and fresh vanilla), a heavy-bottomed pot, a Microplane grater, and a food processor. I ate some this morning with a warm French croissant. Delicious! You could serve the pineapple marmelade with crepes, French toasts or on a plain yogourt.

What I like about this marmelade recipe is that it is not too sweet. If you decide to serve at a brunch, I suggest that you make a bigger batch. Your guests will be delighted to take home a small jar.

Pineapple Marmelade Recipe by Josee Robitaille

marmelade cooking
on the left side: see what is look like once it is fully cooked, on the right: get an idea of the cube size

  • After you removed the skin, split the pineapple in two lengthwise. Further divide each half lengthways and remove the heart. Then, cut into 1-inch cubes.
  • Put the pineapple cubes inside a heavy-bottomed pot.
  • Add 125 ml (1/2 cup) of raw sugar and the zest of one lime to the pot.
  • Cut the pod of your vanilla bean in halve, lengthwise with a paring knife. With the sharp edge of the paring knife, remove the seeds from the pods. Add the seeds to the pot. Then, cut the pod in half. Add the empty pods to the pot.
  • Bring to boiling and cook without a cover at medium temperature for 25 to 30 minutes. It will be ready when the water from the pineapple is almost all evaporated. Mix a few times during cooking.

pineapple marmelade
you aim for a puree with some textures.

  • Remove the vanilla pods and put the rest in a food processor.
  • Pulse until you obtain a coarse puree.
  • Transfer into a glass container and put it in the fridge. You can keep it for 2 weeks in your fridge.

With pineapples and citrus fruits becoming seasonal, I think that I will make my own marmelade more often.

FAMILY LIVING with kids

What to Do this Fall: Apple Picking

apple picking jerome

Part of my childhood memories is to go apple picking with my parents. I love apples! So for me, that was always a treat to grab it from the tree. I want to continue the tradition with my son. So, yesterday we went with a bunch of friends. We couldn’t had a better weather for an outdoor activity.

zack eats an apple
photo: my son shares my love of apples (and Apple…)

Zack was delighted by his day. He is a typical boy that loves being outside. My son enjoyed the tractor ride to get to the orchards, he was able to run between the trees, he ate apples that he picked himself and he played with the other children.

apple picking zack

We even spent some time at the nice play area for toddlers that is one of the activities for kids at Vergers Petit et Fils, located in Saint-Hilaire. I recommend the place if you have kids because there is a lot of free, fun activities for them to do.

apple tree

I brought home 4 apple varieties. Some to eat fresh, others to cook. Tonight, I plan to bake the apple crumble recipe from Jamie Oliver in ramekins.

I’m looking for more ways to cook with apples. What is you favorite apple recipe?

+ top photo: my husband harvested the apples at the top of the trees

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

Summer Entertaining: Five Crowd-Pleaser Watermelon Recipes

Watermelon recipes for summer entertaining

Watermelon recipes for summer entertaining
Photos: National Watermelon Promotion Board except for number 4: The Party Dress magazine

I was happy to share my summer entertaining tips for the 2012 awareness campaign of the National Watermelon Promotion Board in Canada. Since the refreshing watermelons are available all summer long, I feel that watermelon is the fruit of summer.

If you are looking for more ways to serve watermelon to your guests this summer, you will find many more recipes at the National Watermelon Promotion Board Website. I compiled my top 5.

  • My number 1. Another way to serve the Spiked Melon Balls would be on a lollipop.  Serve the lollipops speared into a wheatgrass bed or onto a watermelon.
  • My number 2. If you host a brunch on a hot summer day, replace the classic by the more refreshing Watermelon Mimosa. To make watermelon juice, you simply need to blend cubed watermelon and strain it through a sieve. Try it with a light Champagne.
  • My number 3.  Finish a grown up dinner with this lovely Watermelon Lavender Granita that contains a hint of vodka. Use watermelon or citrus flavoured vodka to enhance the flavour.
  • My number 4. I found my fourth choice on The Party Dress magazine. They got me with the stylish food presentation of their watermelon appetizer with feta and basil. The recipe is a mix between a caprese salad and a Mediterranean Watermelon Salad.

My last recipe idea is a twist on the tacos.

Jamaican Rock Lobster Tacos

  • My number 5.  For a summer picnic with family and friends, impress the crowd with some delicious Jamaican Rock Lobster Tacos wrapped in parchment paper and tied with twine. I would probably prepare my tacos with seasonal clawed lobsters since they are a local product for me.

Writing this post made me hungry. I will pour myself a glass of my watermelon and mint spa water while I cook dinner.

Note: I wrote this post on my free will; it is a not part of the program that I did for the National Watermelon Promotion Board in Canada. 

FOOD + DRINK

Windowfarms Let’s You Grow Food Inside Your Home

windowfarms

If you have a sunny window in your kitchen, this upcoming product might be for you. I like the idea to grow fresh vegetables and herbs all year round. For most of us, it means to do it inside. That’s where Windowfarms can help you. Brita Riley, a Brooklyn resident, founded Windowfarms in 2008. She wants to bring the system to a new level with this prototype. And to do it, she needs the help of potential customers. Continue Reading

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Cooking with Kids: Pear Galette

pear galette

pear galette

Galettes, which are freeform rustic pies, are not meant to look perfect. This makes galettes the ideal tarts to bake with your kids. I even prefer their rustic look to the more polished pies; this is probably due to the cozy warm feeling that I get at their sight.

The best thing about the Pear Galette of Lisa Homa is that you won’t need pie plates, just parchment paper. Once it is cooked, serve the galette on a wooden cutting. Depending on how it looks when it is out of oven, you may wish to replace the parchment paper with a fresher sheet. No one can refuse a stylish food presentation that cut on cleaning at a party.

Why not introduce your kids to the joy of baking while you are cooking for your Thanksgiving or Christmas party? They will be proud to share that they did the fruit or savory galettes themselves.

You will find Lisa Homa’s Pear Galette in the Fall 2011 issue of Sweet Paul magazine on pages 40 and 41.

SOURCING:
+  photos: Alexandra Grablewski – Fall 2011 issue of Sweet Paul magazine

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

To Grow Your Own Citrus Trees at Home

tips to grow citrus trees at home on sunset magazine

tips to grow citrus trees at home on sunset magazine

If there is a thing I envy from people who live in a warm region is their capability to grow their own citrus fruits. I wish i could have my own citrus orchard since I am a huge fan of citrus fruits for cooking and eating just by themselves.

For the ones who can grow their own citrus trees at home, I invite you to read this excellent article on Sunset magazine. The gardener tips come from Todd Porter and Diane Cu, the couple behind the White on Rice Couple blog. For the rest of us, the article is an eye candy.

SOURCING:
+ Growing citrus at home on Sunset – photo by Andrea Gómez Romero
+ photo of the Oroblanco grapefruits by Todd Porter and Diane Cu of White on Rice Couple

COOKING tools FOOD + DRINK

Cool Kitchen Tools from Vacu Vin

pineapple corer tool

pineapple corer tool

One of the more practical (yet utterly unsentimental) wedding gifts my husband and I received was a humble pineapple corer in a basket of miscellaneous kitchen tools. Turns out it was actually a last minute registry addition, courtesy of my pineapple-loving betrothed.

For more than a year it sat tucked in a drawer, forgotten amongst the minutiae of kitchen tools we all accumulate. But when my craving for fresh fruit salad last week coincided with a super sale on pineapple at the grocery store, I decided to finally put our corer to the test.

Made of stainless steel with a plastic release handle, this inexpensive tool from Vacu Vin works like a corkscrew to core, peel and slice pineapple into a spiral shape that would add interest at the center of a fruit platter. It also comes apart for easy clean up. If you’ve ever avoided buying pineapple because of the added work it takes to peel and chop, this cool tool will sweeten the deal.

vacu vin kitchen tools

Netherlands-based Vacu Vin also makes several other innovative and stylish kitchen tools, such as a kiwi guard that protects the fruit from bruising and includes a built-in slicer; a salad cutter that cores a head of lettuce or other leafy greens; and an award-winning set of colorful candy/nut dispensers that help keep snacking hygienic.

What’s your favorite kitchen tool?

SOURCING:
+ Vacu Vin Pineapple Corer from Amazon $28.75
+ Vacu Vin Kiwi Guard from Amazon $9.42
+ Vacu Vin Salad Cutter from Amazon $9.61
+ Vacu Vin PopSome Fruit and Nut Dispensers from Amazon $39.45 (set of 3)

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

In Season: Kale

kale chips by honest fare

baked kale chips :: chickpea sausage and kale pasta recipe

When a leafy green vegetable shows up on food trend lists, there must be something truly wonderful about it. That’s what made me consider kale as a new addition to our fridge’s crisper during a recent weekend grocery shopping trip.

A relative to every vegetable kids (and adults) love to hate – including cabbage, broccoli and brussel sprouts – it was kale’s pretty, curly-tipped leaves and velvety, rich green color that caught my eye.

Think kale is just a decorative plant for your fall garden? Think again. Loaded with antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin K, it’s also rich in iron, beta carotene and calcium. Rosie Schwartz, one of Canada’s best-known nutritionists and a registered dietitian, says these antioxidants protect against heart disease, stroke and guard your eyesight. In short, kale makes spinach seem like it has the nutritional value of candy.

Cooking Tips

kale chips by honest fare

So how does it taste? The longer you store kale, the stronger and more bitter it becomes, so it’s best to use it within a day or two or purchase, as I learned the hard way. To prepare kale, wash it thoroughly to remove dirt or sand, then trim the roots and separate the leaves.

Unlike other greens, the leaves can be tough to eat raw, so cooking them is the best way to introduce your tastebuds to this new flavour. Check out the Sourcing section below for a few recipes to get you started.

Finally, check out this adorable instructional video to learn “How to Make Kale Quiche Your Kids Will Actually Eat” from Canadian food blog award finalist Sweet Potato Chronicles. There are excellent tips for how to cook kale and get your kids in on the kitchen fun.

RECIPES TO TRY:
+ Baked Kale Chips from Honey & Jam (see photo)
Chickpea, Sausage and Kale Pasta from Bitchin’ Camero (see photo)
Pomegranate and Kale Stuffed Portobello from Making Love In The Kitchen
Kale Chips from Honest Fare (see photo)
Kale, Sausage and White Bean Stew from Cooking Books
Sautéed Kale from Best Health Magazine

HOME + GARDEN ORGANIZING

Healthier Eating in the Bag

produce bags by Credobags

produce bags by Credobags

Do your new year’s resolutions included eating healthier? If you’re stocking up on fruit and veggies, you’ll also want to stock up on Credobags produce bags.

Made of organic cotton mesh, Credobags are a practical alternative to often unnecessary plastic produce bags. Plus they help to prolong the life of produce in the drawer of the fridge – which helps reduce food waste and save money. Plus, they’re compact enough to tote along to the farmer’s market and the grocery store.

In addition to mesh produce bags, the Credobags line includes stylish options for storing bulk food items, shopping and catch-all tote bags in reusable, environmentally-responsible fabrics like organic cotton, hemp and bamboo. So you can cross “be more eco-conscious” off your list of resolutions.

Check out the complete Credobags line at www.credobags.com. They also have gift sets.

SOURCING:
+ Store locator for Credobags

FOOD + DRINK RECIPES + menus

In Season: Persimmons

Persimmons

Persimmons

Oblong and orange, a persimmon is one of those rare fruits (yes, it’s a fruit) that – unlike apples and oranges – hasn’t made it to top billing in lunchboxes or kitchens. Their bright colour always catches my eye in the produce aisle, but I’ve never been brazen enough to buy one. In season during the late fall and winter, I did a bit of recipe research to learn more about the flavour and uses for this exotic-looking fruit.

green salad with pomegranates and persimmons

Like most fruit, there are several varieties of persimmon, but the most popular are fuyu and hachiya. Versatile persimmons can be eaten fresh, dried or cooked, but unless perfectly ripe the flavour can be bitter with a chalky texture. To ensure it’s ripe and sweet, a persimmon should feel like it’s about to burst in your hand – like an overfilled water balloon.

quinoa with persimmon, pomegranate and walnuts

You can bite into a persimmon just like an apple, but check out the recipes below for a few more options to treat your tastebuds.

For inspiring recipes, look at:

Green Salad with Pomegranates and Persimmons from Brooklyn Supper
Persimmon Oat Crumble with Coconut Sorbet from Desserts for Breakfast
Persimmon Martini from Lisa Is Cooking
Persimmon Bread at David Lebovitz
Quinoa with persimmon, pomegranate and walnuts from Kosher Camembert

SOURCING:
+ Photos: Top left and the persimmon oat crumble by Stephanie Shih Photography
+ Photo: Hachiya persimmons from Pham Fatale
+ Photo: Persimmons for breakfast from Big Flavors From A Tiny Kitchen