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Beet carpaccio

Beets provide that blood-lusting sanguine appeal that vegetarians crave.

This recipe is a classic version of a raw meat dish made using beets instead. It makes a bloody great starter or can be bulked up with more garnishes to make a main course platter.

There's a joke a joke in there somewhere about 'beeting' your meat but I'm not going to, oops, I just did.

 

ingredients 

4 small to medium red beets

salt for boiling the beets

2/3 cup sour cream or crème fraîche

1 Tbsp prepared horseradish

1 tsp white wine vinegar

5 chives, thinly chopped

salt

1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, crushed

orange zest

drizzle of olive oil

a pinch of flaky finishing salt

 

Place the beets in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Depending on the size of the beets, they may take anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes of boiling. To check for doneness, stick a skewer into the middle of a beet; when you let go of the beet it should slide off easily.

Run cold water on the beets to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, rub away the skin, under running water to avoid bad hand stains.

Put the beets in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

In a bowl, combine the sour cream or crème fraîche, horseradish, vinegar, a pinch of salt, and half the chopped chives.

The trick to this carpaccio is to slice the beets as thinly and uniformly as possible. Use a mandoline or a long knife to carefully cut perfect thin rounds.

Use the largest plates you have because carpaccio likes to spread out. Start in the middle, and overlap the rounds slightly in a circular pattern so they eventually cover the entire plate.

Now it is time to sparingly apply the flavour toppers. With a spoon, drizzle the horseradish cream all over like it’s a minimalist Jackson Pollock painting.

Sprinkle on the rest of the chives and the toasted hazelnuts. Using a zester (ideally a Microplane), just give the orange a couple drags from way up high, so you get just a hint of orange zest all over the plate. Finish with a quick drizzle of olive oil and a crunchy smattering of fancy, flaky finishing salt.

 

Serves 2 moderately hungry people, but you can stretch it to 4 as a starter.

 

Check out the brand new Dead Beet t-shirt!

 

Cupid's Flaming Hearts

Cupid is far from the adorable little curly-topped chubby love-bug we know from Valentine cards. He is the love child of Venus, the goddess of love and Mars, the god of war. His singular reason for being is to fight the never-ending war on love. He knows all too well that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, so he is armed to the teeth with a bow and quiver of love inducing arrows to help the opposites attract. But even a natural born thriller like Cupid has his back to the wall around Valentine’s day, so arm yourself with these love inducing flaming skewered hearts with sweet and hot honey mustard glaze.

All’s fair in love and war, so skip the predictable rose and bring home a dozen chicken hearts.

 

CUPID HOT, SWEET FLAMING SKEWERED HEARTS

12 chicken hearts*

honey mustard glaze

1/2 cup grainy mustard

¼ cup honey

¼ cup Mead**, or beer

 

6 small red potatoes

handful of green beans

3 Tbsp butter

salt and pepper

 

Fire up the barbecue to get it nice and hot.

Get the potatoes in a pot of cold water over high heat on the stove.

Whisk the mustard and honey in a medium bowl. Whisk in the mead to thin out the glaze. The rest of the mead is for drinking.

Set aside the glaze while you skewer the hearts. Metal skewers are ideal, but wooden skewers are fine and always benefit from a 20 minute soak.

Line up three chicken hearts on the end of each skewer with a centimeter between each heart to allow proper heat circulation.

Place them on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Grab your honey mustard glaze, a basting brush, your hearts and do a sexy sashay over to the barbecue.

Quickly give the hearts a little brush of the honey mustard glaze just before you toss them on the grill. Place the hearts on the grill with the handles sticking off the side, so they stay out of the line of fire to make flipping easy. Flip them every 3-4 minutes and apply a good slathering of glaze before each flip. Total cooking time might take up to 20-25 minutes. Pinch them for doneness, they should be firm, but not hard. No one wants a heart of stone. It’s okay if the outside gets charred, it adds a great flavour.

When the potatoes are tender (poke them with a skewer and if there is no resistance in the middle, they are done) toss in the green beans for one minute and drain the whole mess into a colander.

Serve two heart skewers with boiled potatoes and sautéed green beans with butter and loads of salt and pepper. Don’t forget to pour two brimming mugs of mead.

It’s a hearty dinner for two.

 

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Apple Ribs

Sweet blushing apples are so sweet and innocent until you heat things up and transform them into sinfully delicious finger licking good ribs.

Enjoy these ribs at a garden party when you’re wearing nothing more than a leaf or during the winter when the snow is falling and you need something to stick to your ribs. 

RECIPE HERE.

 

WIN a trip!

BC Tree Fruits wants you to win an Okanagan Getaway for 2. Plus, when you cast your vote for the best apple month recipe you help determine which charity will win $1,000.
I'll be competing to win $1000 for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

 

Vote for my Apple Ribs recipe here!

Turnip the champ

Ireland has strong traditions when it comes to potatoes and to fighting. Traditional Irish Champ is made with mashed potatoes, spring onions, and butter. So when you introduce a dish that takes the potato out of a national Irish dish, there’s going to be some fisticuffs. But turnip, the great white hope, is poised to knock out the spud and take the belt as the new reigning champ.

 

6 turnips

salt for boiling the turnips

2 spring onions or 4 green onions

1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided

salt and pepper

 

Peel the turnip, cut in half, and place in a pot. Cover with plenty of cold water and lots of salt (enough to make the water taste like the ocean). Bring water to a rapid boil over high heat, and boil until the turnips turn tender.

While they boil, thinly slice the spring or green onions all the way from white to green.

Drain the turnips in a colander, and transfer back into the pot. Mash immediately, and add half the butter and all the white and half the green parts of the onion, mixing it in evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Scoop them into a big bowl or directly onto individual plates. On each plate, make a small well in the top of each pile. Plop a bit o’ butter into each well, and allow it to melt before gobbling. Top with the remaining spring or green onion for garnish.

 

Serves 4 and gets along well with salmon and lemon juice.

Tongue to tail soup

These are gateway subprimal cuts to introduce you gently into a world of delicious pieces of animal that you might not otherwise get a chance to enjoy.

Bohemian Fries

Potato French fries are too old school to be cool. Sweet potato fries are selling out like a Miley Cyrus concert. If you're looking for the next Bohemian fry craze it's right here. Bohemian Squash, (aka Delicata Squash) is a Harlequin printed winter squash with a thin skin that does not require peeling. It has some of the sweet jammy notes of a sweet potato and a really lovely speckled skin. Cut the squash into long strips or crescents and toss in any combination of spices before baking them to golden perfection. This is where you get to showcase your Bohemian uniqueness by creating spice rubs to flavour your fries. A stop at the trés bohéme Silk Road Spice Merchant in Inglewood will give you plenty of inspiration for spice blends.



DELICATA FRIES

Ingredients
1 Delicata (Bohemian) Squash
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Written by Pierre Lamielle — October 01, 2013

Yukafluxed Watermelon salad

Summer is a great time for eating, drinking and getting responsibly yukafluxed. This is a foncy upscale version of a boozed up watermelon that you can make for your next backyard BBQ, take along with you to picnics, or on your next camping adventure.

 For the Boozy Soak you'll need:

1 water melon, peeled and diced into bite sized pieces
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 ounce of gin
1 ounce of vodka or rum
big pinch of salt

For the Green Dressing you'll need:

small bunch of fresh mint (about ½ cup of loosely packed leaves)
Small bunch of fresh cilantro leaves (about ½ cup of loosely packed leaves)
¼ cup of olive oil
1 jalapeno, seeds and stem removed
1 shallot, grated using a microplane
salt, pepper to taste 

Salad Toppers:

2 cups thick, full fat greek yogurt
½ cup of assorted black olives torn into small pieces. 

 

Peel and dice the water melon into bite sized pieces.

Place the pieces into a large Ziploc bag or container. Add the booze, salt and lime. Leave it in the fridge to permeate for at least an hour.

Meanwhile, combine the cilantro, mint and olive oil in a blender with the jalapeno,  oil and shallot and puree until smooth. You may need to help it get started or add a little more oil to get the wheels spinning.

Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, strategically place little blobs of yogurt randomly on a plate. Smear some for visual pizzazz and leave some as blobs. Place pieces of boozey watermelon around the plate and drizzle little trails of the green purée around the plate.

Finish with black olives wherever you think they should go. Serve this deluxe version of a yukafluxed watermelon at an upscale dinner party or an outdoor barbecue.

Here is a shirt that you can wear to your next summer barbecue...

 

Fancy Schmancy Asparagus

Asparagus officinalis has been cultivated and coveted by gastroristocrats since the days of Ancient Greece. Throughout history it has been prized as a difficult to grow, luxury vegetable. If you feel like flashing a little culinary bling you can razzle dazzle some guests with grilled asparagus doused in fancy-pants orange-enhanced Béarnaise. The grass doesn’t get any greener.

 

 

grilled asparagus with lemony Béarnaise

15-20 small to medium asparagus spears

Lemony Béarnaise
3 egg yolks
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 pound cold butter
pinch of salt
2 sprigs of tarragon, leaves only, finely chopped
serve with a grilled porterhouse and some boiled new potatoes

 

PROCEDURE

Fire up barbecue and get it screaming hot. Boil some new potatoes while you get going with everything else. 

 

To make the Béarnaise: Put the yolks, lemon juice and butter into a cold medium-sized pot. Get out your whisk and put the pot over medium-low heat.

Stir dilligently—you don’t have to stir hard, you don’t have to stir quickly, you just have to stir constantly. Don’t think you can walk away for a second.

You’ll notice the sauce starting to get smooth and creamy, but still quite thin and runny. Just be patient and keep stirring. It will start to thicken up.

When it is nearly the rich, velvety consistency of hollandaise, remove it (and keep it away) from the heat source.

Stir in the tarragon. Ideally you want to use it immediately, but if that’s not possible just make sure it doesn’t sit around for more than half an hour. If it becomes too thick as it sits, whisk in a couple drops of warm water to loosen it up.

Head over to the barbecue with your steak and asparagus. Drizzle the asparagus with oil and sprinkle with salt to season before you pop it on the grill. Roll the asparagus when it starts to get charred.

Grill the porter house to desired doneness, let it rest on a clean cutting board for 5-10 minutes and slice it nice and thin. Serve up the grilled asparagus, boiled potatoes and grilled steak all smothered with loads of lemony Béarnaise sauce. 

Have a napkin handy so you can wipe it off your fingers and face and fancy dress clothing.

 

Here's a lovely napkin...

 

Green jelly salad

I'm going to a potluck this weekend. Not just any potluck... CHARpopLuck. 
The ever-abitious Con and Jonnie (Connie DeSousa and John Jackson) at Charcut have cooked up a crazy new event. A one-time pop-up potluck with 100 chefs cooking for 100 guests who paid big bones to help raise money for the Calgary Food Bank. 
The money raised is big!
The only place to host a big party like this is the Calgary Farmers Market.
Food On Your Shirt designed the invite and donated some shirts for the food bank to sell at the event, they are limited editions just for CHARpopLuck.
 
 
The cooking skill level is high, so it will be hard to impress in a room of 100 chefs.
My plan is to undersell and overdeliver with a Green Jellied Salad. Which sounds like yak, but it's a damn fine jelly. A gin and tonic lime jelly with a cucumber, apple, cucumber, lime salad. It's bound to surprise and impress.
 
I was spreading the good word of the event and the virtues of jelly on CBC Homestretch... here's a replay.

Green Jelly Salad



jelly
1 cup clear apple juice or apple cider
1 cup sparkling water
3-4 drops of lime bitters
5 gelatin sheets (or 2 packs of gelatin powder)
2 ounces of gin or calvados (optional)

salad
½ cucumber, peeled and seeded and sliced
1 green apple, peeled and seeded and sliced
10 green grapes, halved
10 fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
juice of 1 lime

topper
zest of 1 lime
1 cup whipped cream, whipped soft
 

Directions
 
For the gelatin.
For best results follow the instructions on the gelatin package.
Place the gelatin sheets in cold water to soften for 5 minutes.
Place one cup of apple juice in a small pot over medium high heat.
Remove the softened gelatin from the cold water and place in the warm apple juice whisking to dissolve.
Add the remaining apple juice, stirring constantly to ensure the gelatin remains dissolved.
Transfer liquid to a vessel with a spout and whisk in the sparkling water.
Fill 4 clear glasses half full with the liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for gelatin to set for at least 2 hours.
For the salad
Slice the grapes in half on a jaunty angle, cut the cucumber into long strips, then cut on a biase. Slice the apples into thin slices. Toss it all in a bowl.
Grate off the lime zest into a separate bowl with the whipping cream.
Whip until it is thick but pourable.
Whack the lime in half and squeeze on the lime juice onto the salad. Stir to combine and set aside to chill for 10 minutes whilst you whip the cream.
To serve, top the set gelatin with green salad and a tiny little dollop of whipped cream.
Garnish with mint chiffonade and some more fresh lime zest.
 
I love a good jelly, so here is a shirt inspired by the CHARpopLuck design in honour of the mighty jelly.

Creamy Avocado Soup


 Creamy Avocado soup

as seen on Breakfast TV

1 avocado, ripe
2 cups of light chicken stock, heated
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt to taste


garnish options
tortilla chips
salsa verde
chorizo sausage
bacon
fresh cilantro
green onions
diced cherry tomatoes
sour cream
cheddar cheese


In a small pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil over high heat.
Half the avocado and remove the pit. With a spoon scoop out the green meat and plunk it into a blender, add the lemon juice.
Transfer the hot chicken stock to a heat proof container with a spout. Pour enough hot stock to cover the avocado. 
You need to carefully blend it while it is hot to make it smooth, but you also have to be careful not to blast molten lava-cado all over your kitchen. Remove the little plastic thingy from the lid, and cover the hole with a tea towel. (This stops it from being airtight, which would cause an ugly kick at the start—although the steam can sometimes get hot on your hand.) Start on low, and build up the speed incrementally.
When the soup is looking smooth, turn it off. Add more stock if needed to make it pourable. Pour the hot soup directly into the bowls. Don't reheat the soup or you will lose all the lovely green colour.
Now top the soup with the finest tex mex selects.
This soup is like an all inclusive tropical holiday.

Here's the video.

Here's the awesome Carne shirt I was wearing during the segment. 


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