Blog Archive

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Recipe Formula: Tarts and More

A recipe is only one piece of the puzzle.

White meat, seafood and something sweet all together in one offering. Cooking in the last week or so found me steering towards the lighter side even though our temperatures began to change towards a more seasonal Autumn in Niagara. Both Thanksgiving and Halloween have strolled by, now the shelves are being filled with Christmas decorations soon to be followed with a never ending drone of Christmas music. The season of merriment is about to pounce on us all, for now these recipes are in the most part reminiscent of warmer air and the smell of spice. One of the tarts though was a delightful presentation to a group of school children who passed by my chef's station. I had 43 seven-eight year olds given each an individual tart without being told what were the ingredients. Each of the kids devoured his or her tart till one voice asked, “what's the orange stuff?” I told him it was sweet potato. The young fella was shocked, others laughed and both parents and teachers smiled. The tarts were a hit and the look on the youngster's faces priceless.

Spicy Thai Pork

2 1/2 lb pork loin
1 bunch broccoli
2 red onions, coarsely chopped
400 g snow peas
454 g bean sprouts
2 yellow Asian pears, chopped not peeled
112 g Thai Kitchen Brand roasted red chili paste
112 g Thai Kitchen Brand green chili paste
200 ml Thai Kitchen Brand sweet red chili sauce
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Cube pork and brown on high heat in batches, then set aside.
Cut broccoli into small pieces removing all of the stem.
Add 1 tbsp of oil to pan then the broccoli and snow peas and onions.
When broccoli is soft enough add bean sprouts & yellow pear.
Mix well then add meat back into pan.
Add and mix all sauce, wine, paste & cayenne pepper.
Stir very well, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until meat is well cooked.

Can be served over rice.

(Serves 4 - 6)

Pork Ragu with Apple and Fresh Herbs

2 1/2 lbs pork
1/4 cup flour
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup apple cider
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp each: sage, salt & cayenne pepper
5 carrots, chopped into bite size
4 apples
1 green pepper, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp salt

Sprinkle pork pieces with flour till evenly covered.
Heat oil in pan and brown pork pieces in batches then set aside.
Add oil to pan, add onions and garlic.
Cook till onions are softened stirring regularly, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with remaining flour, cook for 1 minute then add cider, stirring to remove any browned bits and cook about 3 minutes.
Stir in broth, fresh thyme, rosemary, sage, salt and cayenne.
Return pork to pan, bring to boil, add carrots, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Peel and core apple cutting into wedges, add to pan.
Cut pepper and also add to pan, simmering till apples and pork are tender.

(Serves 6)

Macau Chicken & Sticky Rice

6 chicken breasts
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic
2 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
1 red pepper
1 orange pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp Hoisin sauce
2 tbsp Sriracha sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup roasted peanuts for garnish

Season chicken, heat sesame oil and cook chicken till juices run clear then set aside.
Add garlic & ginger to pan and cook till fragrant, add onions, peppers and jalapeno pepper.
Stir fry for 3 – 4 minutes.
Add chicken broth & sherry and let reduce.
Separately combine chili sauce, vinegar, ketchup, hoisin sauce and sriracha with brown sugar.
Add to pan, cook over high heat till vegetables are tender.
Cut chicken breasts into larger slices, add to pan and cook for 3 – 5 minutes.

Serve over rice.

(Serves 4 – 6)

Seafood Wrap

1 lb wild trout
1 lb haddock
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1 large sweet onion
2 yellow bell peppers, chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
4 tbsp Red Chili Jelly (Something Special)
10 small tortilla wraps

Pan fry the fish seasoned with Club House roasted garlic and pepper seasoning, as fish begins to turn colour add the chopped mint.
Once cooked set aside.
Cook onions, tomatoes and peppers,
as the onions begin to turn translucent add 2 tbsp red chili jelly.
Drain off excess juices and set aside.
Mix remaining 2 tbsp of red chili jelly with ricotta cheese and set aside.
Combine the strained vegetables and broken up fish.
Spread cheese mixture on tortilla wraps, add chopped lettuce then fish and vegetable mixture.
Wrap it up and enjoy.

(Makes 10 small wraps)

Spicy Muscle

4 lb muscles
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, freshly chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 red pepper sliced
1 orange pepper, sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded finely chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp Hoisin sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Sriracha sauce
1 tbsp Demerara sugar
1 fresh mango, cut into thin slices for garnish
1/2 cup sherry or dry white wine

Steam muscles for approximately 10 minutes, watch for all muscles to open.
Discard any unopened muscles.
Heat oil then add garlic & ginger to pan, cook till fragrant and then add onions, peppers, jalapeno and stir fry for about 3 – 4 minutes.
Add chicken broth and sherry and let reduce.
Separately combine chili sauce, vinegar, ketchup, hoisin sauce and sriracha with brown sugar.
Add to pan, cook over high heat for 5 minutes.
Add steamed and deveined muscles.
Stir well and serve over rice.

(Serves 4-6)

Sweet Potato, Maple & Pecan Tarts

2 sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped
6 apples cored, peeled and chopped
4 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

pastry for 24 tart shells (if you are making your own shells):
3/4 cup toasted pecans chopped, plus chopped pecans for garnish
2 cups maple syrup

Peel and chop sweet potato and apples, place in boiling water and boil till tender.
Cool and then mash smooth together.
Whisk in eggs, butter, maple syrup, vanilla and salt till smooth.
Either roll out pastry to make 24 tarts, 3 1/2 inch round
or you may use Tenderflake ready tart shells.
Sprinkle toasted pecans evenly on bottom of cups, then add sweet potato and apple mixture.
Bake for 20 – 24 minutes at 375° until filling is slightly puffed and shells lightly golden.
Cool and garnish with chopped pecans.

(Makes 24 medium tarts or 48 small tarts)

Northern Spy & Mascarpone Tarts

250 g mascarpone cheese
1/4 maple syrup
1/4 cup caramel sauce
8 Northern Spy apples
24 tart shells
1 cup white wine
2 cups water
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup Demerara sugar

Peel, core and cut the apples, cover with white wine and water.
Add sugar over the top then bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
The Northern Spy apples will soften very quickly.
Strain all liquid and let cool to a slightly warm state.
Add mascarpone cheese in stages and blend well with the apples
till full measure of cheese is used.
Separately over a medium heat pour the maple syrup and caramel sauce into pan,
whisk gently till the two are combined well.
Let cool to a warm state.
Gradually add about half of the syrup and caramel mixture
folding it into the apple and cheese combination.
Spoon out the mixture into tart shells and bake at 350° for approximately 10 minutes if shells are prebaked or approximately 25 minutes if they are not, or until shells show a golden colour.
Let cool and serve with freshly whipped cream on top.

(Makes 24 medium tarts)