Closet Cooking Logo

Asparagus and Walnut Phyllo Pie (aka Asparagus Baklava) with Avgolemono Sauce

Asparagus Phyllo Pie (Baklava) with Avgolemono Sauce

Not too long ago I came across this truly inspired recipe for a savoury asparagus baklava on innBrooklyn that sounded so amazingly good that I just had to try it! This asparagus phyllo pie is constructed like baklava with layers of light, flaky golden brown phyllo alternating with the layers of a walnut and asparagus filling and a cheese filling. Given the layers of cheese in this pie, it also reminds me of a lasagna, only made with phyllo instead of noodles. The combination of the cheese and the asparagus also made me think of spanakopita, a Greek spinach and feta pie that is another savoury pie made with phyllo and I could not resist swapping some feta into the recipe replacing some of the mozzarella. Continuing to be influenced by spanakopita I wanted to use some fresh herbs and dill seemed like the perfect choice.

Baklava is normally drenched in syrup and this savoury version does not forget about it but in this case the 'syrup' is an avgolemono sauce. An avgolemono sauce is a Greek sauce made with eggs and lemon. Although avgolemono sauces normally use a whole egg, I decided to stick with just the egg yolks to give the sauce a richer yellow colour.

Although this recipe is pretty easy, assembling all of the layers is a bit time consuming but it is definitely worth it! The asparagus phyllo pie was everything that I had been hoping for and more! You really cannot go wrong with light flaky pastry filled with asparagus, cheese and nuts! I had been a little worried about how all of the walnuts in the recipe would work out but they were quite nice and the contrasting textures added a lot to the dish. I really enjoyed the dill and lemon flavours and the lemony avgolemono sauce finished off the dish perfectly! What a great way to enjoy some of the in season local asparagus!

Asparagus and Walnut Phyllo Pie (aka Asparagus Baklava) with Avgolemono Sauce

(makes 6-9 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 pounds asparagus (trimmed and cleaned)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 lemon (zest)
1 handful dill (chopped)
1 cup walnuts (toasted and chopped)
1 1/2 cup mozzarella (grated)
1/2 cup feta (crumbled)
1 cup ricotta
* olive oil
8 ounces phyllo pastry (thawed as directed on package)
3 egg yolks
1 lemon (juice)

Directions:
1. Cook the asparagus in boiling water until it just turns dark green, about 2 minutes.
2. Drain the water, reserving 1/2 cup of it.
3. Rinse the asparagus under cold water to stop the cooking process.
4. Cut the asparagus into pieces roughly the size of the walnuts.
5. Mix the asparagus, garlic, lemon zest, dill and walnuts in a bowl and set aside.
6. Mix the cheeses.
7. Brush the top of a sheet of phyllo pastry with olive oil and place it in a greased 8 inch square baking pan. Repeat 5 more times.
8. Spread half of the asparagus mixture over the phyllo followed by half of the cheese.
9. Repeat another layer of phyllo, asparagus and cheese and top with a final layer of phyllo.
10. Cut the pie into pieces shaped as you like.
11. Bake the pie in a preheated 350F oven until golden brown on top and bubbling on the sides, about 30-45 minutes.
12. Pull the pie out of the oven and let it cool.
13. Whisk the egg in small sauce pan until frothy.
14. Slowly whisk in the lemon juice followed by the reserved asparagus water.
15. Whisk the mixture over medium heat until it thickens, about 5-10 minutes.
16. Plate the phyllo pie and drizzle with the avgolemono sauce when ready to serve.

Similar Recipes:
Baklava
Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)
Kolokithopita (Greek Zucchini Pie)
Asparagus with a Poached Egg in a Dill and Caper Avgolemono Sauce
Mushroom and Feta Phyllo Pie
Lamb Exohiko (Lamb Stuffed Phyllo Parcels)

Use leftover phyllo dough in:
Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)
Mushroom and Feta Phyllo Pie
Kolokithopita (Greek Zucchini Pie)
Agginaropita (Greek Artichoke Pie)
Mushroom and Goat Cheese Strudel with Balsamic Syrup
Tomato Tart
Baklava
Apple and Cheddar Quiche
Galaktoboureko (Greek Custard Pie)
Chicken and Date Pastilla
Roasted Pumpkin Quiche with Caramelized Onions, Gorgonzola and Sage
Strawberry Goat Cheese Banitsa
Lamb Exohiko (Lamb, Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Phyllo Parcels)
Fiddlehead and Gruyere Tart

Asparagus with a Poached Egg in a Dill and Caper Avgolemono Sauce

Asparagus with a Poached Egg in a Dill and Caper Avgolemono Sauce

Although hollandaise sauce is amazingly good, it is a guilty please given that it has a half a cup of butter in it. While I was enjoying the asparagus with a poached egg in hollandaise sauce earlier in the week, the lemony nature of the sauce reminded me of another lemony sauce, avgolemono sauce. An avgolemono sauce is a Greek egg and lemon based sauce that is really tasty without all of the butter. In addition to the egg and the lemon juice, avgolemono needs a liquid and that liquid is commonly the liquid of dish that you will be adding the sauce to, though you could always use a broth or a stock. Since I would be serving my avgolemono sauce on asparagus I used the water that I cooked the asparagus in as the liquid in the sauce. Normally an avgolemono sauce would be finished with this but I commonly associate dill and capers with lemony sauces and I could not resist adding some to this one. Of course you can turn this from a side dish to a light meal that is perfect for breakfast or brunch by topping it off with a poached egg.

Asparagus with a Poached Egg in a Dill and Caper Avgolemono Sauce

Asparagus with a Poached Egg in a Dill and Caper Avgolemono Sauce

(makes 2 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound asparagus (trimmed and cleaned)
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1/2 lemon (juice)
1 tablespoon dill chopped
1 tablespoon capers
2 eggs

Directions:
1. Cook the asparagus in boiling water until it just turns dark green, about 2 minutes.
2. Drain the water, reserving 1/2 cup of it.
3. Rinse the asparagus under cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside.
4. Whisk the egg in bowl until frothy.
5. Slowly whisk in the lemon juice followed by the reserved asparagus water.
6. Heat in a small sauce pan while whisking until the sauce thickens, mix in the dill and capers and remove from heat. (Do not bring it to a boil.)
7. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and reduce the heat to medium.
8. Swirl the water in the pot.
9. Crack an egg into a bowl and pour the egg from the bowl into the water. Repeat for the remaining egg.
10. Let the eggs cook until the whites are set but the yolks are not, about 2-3 minutes and fish them out.
11. Split the asparagus between two plates, top with the poached eggs and the dill and caper avgolemono sauce.

Use on:
Parmigiano Reggiano Savoury French Toast

Similar Recipes:
Asparagus with a Poached Egg in Hollandaise Sauce
Roasted Asparagus with Poached Egg
Asparagus Mimosa
Pan Seared Tilapia in Avgolemono Sauce
Asparagus and Walnut Phyllo Pie (aka Asparagus Baklava) with Avgolemono Sauce
Cod Wrapped in Crispy Potatoes with a Dill and Caper Sauce
Quinoa Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Pesto, Goat Cheese and a Poached Egg

Salmon Bulgogi

Salmon Bulgogi

This weekend I got the chance to visit a Korean food festival here in Toronto and since then I have been thinking about Korean cuisine. While I was there I got to watch a chef make some bulgogi which is definitely one of my favorite Korean dishes. Bulgogi is a dish where the meat it marinated in a sweet, salty, spicy and all round flavourful marinade that uses many classic Korean ingredients. Over the last while I have made several versions of bulgogi including beef bulgogi, pork bulgogi, chicken bulgogi, and even a pineapple chicken bulgogi (which I use to make some Korean/Mexican fusion tacos al pastor). I had been thinking about trying a salmon bulgogi for a while and now was the perfect to to do so.

For the salmon bulgogi recipe I simply used the bulgogi marinade recipe that I have been using for a while now. One of the things that I like about this recipe is that it uses a Korean/Asian pear to add sweetness and help tenderize the meat. Normally bulgogi meat is cut thinly and cooked in a pan or even a grill pan but for salmon fillets, I had to go with roasting them in the oven. I could not stand to see all of that tasty marinade go to waste so while the salmon was in the oven I simmered the marinade in a pan on the stove top and then I spooned it over the salmon before serving it. When I make other types of bulgogi I often use the meat in Korean/Mexican fusion dishes like tacos, burritos, quesadillas, etc. but this time I just wanted to enjoy the salmons buttery, melt in your mouth goodness. I served the salmon bulgogi over some simple steamed, in season asparagus to make it into a nice light meal.

Salmon Bulgogi

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets (deboned)
1/4 cup gochujang
5 cloves garlic (grated)
1 inch ginger (grated)
1 small onion (grated)
1 Korean pear (grated)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 green onions (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
1. Mix everything in a freezer bag and marinate for a few hours in the fridge.
2. Bake in a preheated 375F oven until the is cooked and it flakes easily with a fork, about 8-12 minutes.

Use in:
Salmon Bulgogi Tacos with Blueberry Habanero Salsa
Salmon Bulgogi Quesadillas with Blueberry Salsa

Similar Recipes:
Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Beef)
Salmon Teriyaki
Misoyaki Salmon
Pineapple Dak Bulgogi (Pineapple Korean BBQ Chicken)
Maple-Miso Dijon Salmon

Asparagus and Spinach Quiche

Asparagus and Spinach Quiche

Asparagus and eggs go well together and they can be used to make quite a few really good breakfast or brunch dishes and I have been making more than a few of them lately. Up next is a quiche and I could not let spring slip by without making at least one quiche with asparagus in it. I've done the asparagus and mushroom quiche quite a lot so I thought that it was time for a change and an asparagus and spinach quiche sounded like a good idea. With two healthy vegetables in there already I figured that it would be alright to add a bit of flavour in the form of some bacon and cheese. The last few times that I have made quiche, I have used a brown rice crust but this time I wanted to live a little more dangerously and I went with a full butter pastry crust. I had recently come across a quiche that was made in a spring-form pan rather than the more standard pie plate and I liked the sound of a 'deep-dish' quiche so I had to try making one. Though, I was a bit worried that the middle might not set too well so I did not increase the the volume of the filling by all that much. The 'deep-dish' asparagus and spinach quiche turned out really well! The eggs set nicely all the way through, the crust was nice and light and flaky and buttery good and the quiche was just packed with flavour! Another excellent way to enjoy asparagus and spring! The quiche leftovers heat up well in the microwave and the make for quick and tasty breakfasts on work days. (The next time that I make a 'deep-dish' quiche I will have to try making it truly deep-dish. It would be nice to see a two inch tall slice of quiche!)

Asparagus and Spinach Quiche

(makes 4-6 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
4 strips bacon (cut into 1 inch slices)
1 pound asparagus (trimmed, cleaned and cut into 1 inch pieces)
2 cloves garlic or ramps (chopped)
2 green onions (sliced)
2 cups spinach
6 eggs (lightly beaten)
1 cup milk
1 cup gruyere (grated)
salt and pepper to taste
1 batch pastry dough (chilled)

Directions:
1. Cook the bacon in a pan and set aside retaining a tablespoon of the grease.
2. Add the asparagus to the pan and saute until just tender, about 3-5 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and green onions and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
4. Add the spinach and cook it until it wilts.
5. Roll out the dough and fit it into a 9 inch spring form pan.
6. Mix the eggs, milk, cheese, vegetables, bacon, salt and pepper and pour it into the spring form pan.
7. Bake in a preheated 375F oven until golden brown and set in the center, about 25-45 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Asparagus, Morel and Ramp Quiche with Brown Rice Crust
Asparagus and Mushroom Quiche
Asparagus, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Egg Breakfast Casserole
Herbed Zucchini and Feta Quiche with a Brown Rice Crust
Asparagus, Baby Artichoke, Pesto and Goat Cheese Quiche with Quinoa Crust

Asparagus with a Poached Egg in Hollandaise Sauce

Asparagus with a Poached Egg in Hollandaise Sauce

The farmers market is full of the fresh local asparagus and I certainly have been taking advantage of it. I made quite a few asparagus dishes this week and up first was asparagus in a hollandaise sauce. A hollandaise sauce is a buttery and lemony sauce that is purely decadent and so creamy and good! Hollandaise sauce goes really well with the juicy asparagus and the brightness of the lemon in the sauce makes it perfect of spring and summer. Hollandaise sauce can be a bit tricky to make, but once you get the hang of it, it is actually pretty easy though it does take a bit of time for all that whisking. Because of the time that it takes to make the hollandaise sauce this recipe is perfect for a weekend breakfast or brunch. I often like to top everything off with a poached egg to make it more of a light meal. This has to be one of the best ways to enjoy some fresh asparagus in the spring!

Asparagus with a Poached Egg in Hollandaise Sauce

(makes 2 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound asparagus (trimmed and cleaned)
2 eggs
1 batch warm hollandaise sauce

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and reduce the heat to medium.
2. Crack an egg into a bowl, swirl the water in the pot and pour the egg from the bowl into the water and repeat for remaining egg.
3. Let the eggs cook until the whites are set but the yolks are not, about 2-3 minutes and fish them out.
4. Arrange the asparagus on plates and top with the eggs and the hollandaise sauce.

Use on:
Parmigiano Reggiano Savoury French Toast

Similar Recipes:
Asparagus with a Poached Egg in an Avgolemono Sauce
Roasted Asparagus with Poached Egg
Asparagus Mimosa
Eggs Benedict
Roasted Portobello Mushroom with Poached Egg in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus with Poached Egg and Hollandaise Sauce

Kiwi and Nutella Crepes

Nutella and Kiwi Crepes

I always enjoy combining nutella, a chocolate hazelnut spread, with fruit and some of my favorite fruit to pair with it includes bananas, apples and mangoes. I had not thought about combining nutella with kiwis but when I came across some kiwi and nutella crepes on Taste Space I knew that it was going to be another winner. Luckily there is still an abundance of cheap kiwis at the grocery stores and with the extra time to spend on breakfasts on the weekend it was the perfect time to whip some up. Crepes can be a little difficult to make but other than that, these treats are pretty easy to make. The kiwi an nutella crepes were really good! The sweet a juice kiwis pair beautifully with the creamy and chocolaty spread.

Kiwi and Nutella Crepes

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
4 crepes
8 tablespoons nutella
8 kiwis (peeled and sliced)
1/4 cup almond slices (toasted)

Directions:
1. Assemble crepes and garnish with walnut slices.

Similar Recipes:
Strawberry and Nutella Crepes
Banana and Nutella Crepes
Mango and Nutella Crepes
Raspberry and Nutella Crepes

Spinach Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Spinach Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Follow Me on Pinterest

Earlier on in the week, when I made the spinach, or spanakopita pesto pasta I made sure to keep some of the pesto left over for something new. I had come across the idea of using a pesto in a grilled cheese sandwich and it was the perfect time to try one. I have been experimenting with grilled cheese sandwiches for a while now. It all started when I first tried adding some jam to one then I moved on to chutneys and now it was time to try a pesto grilled cheese sandwich. Since the spinach pesto had some Greek flavours going on I decided to use a Greek cheese, graviera, in the sandwich. The spinach pesto sandwich with graviera was amazing! The flavourful pesto worked really well in a grilled cheese sandwich! Although the graviera did not melt quite as well as I had hoped for it was still really tasty and it rounded out the sandwich nicely. I can't wait to experiment with more pesto grilled cheese sandwiches.!

Cheesy Ramp "Garlic" Bread

Roasted Asparagus Soup with Cheesy Ramp

With the fresh local asparagus season just starting, the first thing on my list to make was the asparagus soup with morel mushrooms and ramps that I enjoyed so much last year. Unfortunately I was not able to find any morel mushrooms but I knew the soup would taste great even without them and besides, this time I wanted to try roasting the asparagus so there would be even more flavour from that. I was thinking that just a bowl of asparagus soup was a little light even for a light meal and I thought that some garlic bread, which is my favorite side for soup, would fill it out a bit. I had some ramps left over form the soup and I thought that the fresh ramps would make a great substitute for garlic in a "garlic" bread. One bonus was that if I included the ramps leaves then I would not need to add parsley to the "garlic" butter to add some green. The ramp garlic bread turned out so amazingly well! I really enjoyed the sense of freshness that the ramps had over the garlic and it went really well in the bread and the bread went perfectly with the asparagus soup.

Cheesy Ramp "Garlic" Bread

(makes 4+ servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter (room temperature)
2 ramps/wild leeks (chopped and mashed in mortar and pestle)
1 baguette (sliced)
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (grated)

Directions:
1. Mix the butter and ramps.
2. Spread the ramp butter the slices baguette and sprinkle the cheese on top.
3. Broil in the oven until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown.

Use with:
Creamy Asparagus Soup with Morel Mushrooms and Ramps

Similar Recipes:
Cheesy Garlic Bread
Cheesy Garlic Scape Pesto Bread
Artichoke Bread

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Last week I enjoyed the BBQ chicken with blue cheese slaw wraps so much that I just had to get more of those flavours. The flavours in the wraps reminded me of buffalo wings, pub style where the spicy hot wings are served with a blue cheese dip and some sticks of celery and carrots. Although I was not looking for a greasy meal like chicken wings, a buffalo chicken style salad would be a healthier way to get those flavours. The buffalo chicken salad is a lettuce based salad that includes the carrots and celery, a blue cheese dressing and is topped with a grilled chicken breast that is covered in hot sauce. If you have got your blue cheese dressing ready then this salad is as easy as chopping some vegetables and grilling up some chicken. This salad makes for a pretty nice light meal for a warm summer day and it is certainly packed with flavour.

Buffalo Chicken Salad

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts (about a pound)
2 tablespoons hot sauce
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon oil
1 head romaine lettuce (cut into 1 inch thick slices)
2 carrots (shredded)
4 stalks celery (sliced)
2 green onions (sliced)
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
hot sauce to taste

Directions:
1. Marinate the chicken in the hot sauce, salt and pepper for 30+ minutes.
2. Brush the oil on the grill and grill the chicken until cooked, about 4-5 minutes per side and set aside while you make the salad.
3. Assemble salad and toss in the dressing.
4. Serve salad topped with sliced chicken. (Add extra hot sauce if you like it hot.)

Buffalo Chicken Recipes:
Easy Crispy Baked Buffalo WingsBuffalo Chicken DipBuffalo Roasted Cauliflower
Buffalo Chicken Potato SkinsBuffalo Chicken Deviled EggsBuffalo Chicken Chili
Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese SandwichBuffalo Chicken Stuffed Zucchini topped with Melted Cheddar, Bacon and an Avocado Blue Cheese DressingBuffalo Chicken Chowder
Buffalo Chicken Club SandwichBuffalo Chicken Quinoa FrittersBuffalo Chicken Burgers
Bacon Wrapped Buffalo Chicken Jalapeno PoppersBuffalo Chicken SaladBuffalo Chicken Sushi

Similar Recipes:
BBQ Chicken with Blue Cheese Slaw Wraps
Jerked Chicken with Mango and Avocado Salad
Parmesan Chicken Salad
Buffalo Wing Dip
Tequila Lime Grilled Chicken
Thai Grilled Chicken Satay Salad
Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Bacon Double Cheese Burger Salad
Strawberry and Balsamic Grilled Chicken Salad
Chicken Souvlaki Salad
Pan Seared Chicken Breasts in a Mushroom, Tarragon and Mustard Pan Sauce

Blue Cheese Dressing

Blue Cheese Dressing

I very often make my own dressings, though they seem to get lost in the shuffle and I rarely write about them so every once in a while I like to highlight one. Given my total addiction to blue cheese it is not surprising that a blue cheese dressing is among my favorite dressings to make at home and it is quite simple to do so. Your basic blue cheese dressing is very similar to a blue cheese dip where you simply give it more of a dressings consistency by swapping in some buttermilk for some of the thicker ingredients. You can easily tailor this recipe to give you your favourite consistency by replacing some of the sour cream with butter milk to make it thinner or replacing some of the buttermilk with sour cream to make it thicker. The main trick to a nice and smooth blue cheese dressing is to start with a softer blue cheese and to let it come up to room temperature before you mix it in. A blue cheese dressing also likes to sit around for a while to let the flavours meld together so making it a day ahead is recommended. I also enjoy adding a chopped fresh herb like dill every so often and it is always a nice way to change things up.

Blue Cheese Dressing

A creamy and tangy homemade blue cheese dressing!


Servings: 1 cup

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Printable Recipe
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (~1/2 lemon)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Mix everything and optionally let sit in the fridge for a few hours.


Light Blue Cheese Dressing

A lighter blue cheese dressing made with Greek yogurt that is just as creamy and tasty!


Servings: 1 cup

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (~1/2 lemon)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Mix everything and optionally let sit in the fridge for a few hours.


Use in:
Buffalo Chicken Salad
BLT Salad with Avocados and a Blue Cheese Dressing
Black and Blue Steak Sandwich
Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins
Bacon Wrapped Buffalo Chicken Jalapeno Poppers
Buffalo Chicken Burgers

Similar Recipes:
Avocado Blue Cheese Dressing
Blue Cheese Dip
Blue Cheese Cole Slaw
Lemon, Honey and Mustard Vinaigrette

Maple Dijon Grilled Chicken

Maple Dijon Grilled Chicken

With maple dijon flavour combo already on my mind with the maple dijon roasted asparagus I was thinking about some grilled chicken using the same flavours. During the summer, one of my favourite quick, easy and tasty meals is to simply marinate some chicken breasts and then throw them on the grill. Add some sides like the asparagus and a salad and you have a nice, flavourful light meal. This maple dijon chicken is as easy as marinating the chicken in the maple and dijon mustard and then grilling it up. I served the chicken with some of the maple dijon vinaigrette left over from the maple dijon roasted asparagus to get even more of that maple dijon flavour combo including a nice hit of the grainy mustard. Note: Asparagus also grills up well so feel free to grill the asparagus rather than roasting it in the oven.

Maple Dijon Grilled Chicken

(makes 2-4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound chicken breasts
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Marinate the chicken in the maple syrup, dijon mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper for at least 30 minutes.
2. Grill the chicken until it is cooked, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Similar Recipes:
Maple and Mustard Glazed Chicken
Curried Honey Dijon Roasted Chicken
Maple-Miso Dijon Salmon
Honey Dijon Pretzel Chicken

Maple Dijon Roasted Asparagus

Maple Dijon Roasted Asparagus

I know that I have said it before but, my favorite way of cooking a lot of vegetables is by roasting them and asparagus is no different. Roasting the asparagus seems to concentrate its flavour while at the same time making it nice and tender. Thinner asparagus will roast up very quickly but thicker asparagus can take its time. Once you have the asparagus roasted, it is easy to add flavours from simple to more complex and one of my favorite ways of dressing up roasted asparagus is to toss it in a home made vinaigrette. Recently, I have been into grainy mustard and the first thing that came to mind for this roasted asparagus was a maple dijon vinaigrette with a healthy dose of grainy mustard. The maple dijon vinaigrette pairs particularly well with asparagus as the juicy asparagus can easy cut through the intense flavours of the dressing balancing everything out perfectly.

Maple Dijon Roasted Asparagus

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 pounds asparagus (trimmed and cleaned)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 small clove garlic (grated)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup almond slices (toasted, optional)

Directions:
1. Toss the asparagus in the oil, salt and pepper.
2. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet.
3. Roast in a preheated 400F oven until tender, about 10-30 minutes. (Note: Roasting time can vary greatly depending on how thick your asparagus is.)
4. Mix the oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustards, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
5. Toss the asparagus in the maple dijon vinaigrette and serve garnished with the almond slices.

Similar Recipes:
Roasted Asparagus with Poached Egg
Parmigiano Reggiano Crusted Oven Roasted Asparagus
Maple Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Asparagus in Gorgonzola Sauce

Rhubarb Compote

Rhubarb Compote

While I was at the farmers market on the weekend I came across some of the first local field rhubarb that I have seen this year and I picked some up. With rhubarb not being on my meal plan this week I decided to go with a very simple, but very good classic, a rhubarb compote. A compote is dessert where fruit is simmered in a simple syrup optionally with some spices and in this case I simmered the rhubarb in some orange juice along with some sugar. The key to a good rhubarb compote is to balance the natural tartness of the rhubarb with the sweetness of the sugar without completely overwhelming it as you want some of that tartness to come through. An easy way to achieve this goal is to add the sugar a bit at a time and taste test as you go, adding more as needed as it cooks. Compotes are normally served chilled but I tend to find it hard to wait for it to cool down and then chill and besides, it goes so perfectly on vanilla ice cream or frozen vanilla yogurt. The still warm compote melts into the ice cream combining warm and cool with sweet and tart so beautifully! After letting it chill it goes well on a nice thick Greek style yogurt and surprisingly enough, on cottage cheese.

Rhubarb Compote

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 pounds rhubarb (trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
1 orange (juice and zest)
1/2 cup sugar

Directions:
1. Simmer everything until the rhubarb is nice and soft. Serve while still warm or after chilling.

Use in:
Rhubarb Fool with Gingersnap Crumbs

Similar Recipes:
Rhubarb Syrup
Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Forced Rhubarb Crisp
Rhubarb Muffins
Rhubarb Soda

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Paprika Grilled Chicken

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Paprika Grilled Chicken

Armed with my shiny new spinach and feta pesto I needed to try it out on something and of course the first thing that came to mind was pasta but I was looking for something a little more this time. One of the easiest ways to make a pasta a bit more of a meal is to add chicken and I was thinking that some contrasting paprika grilled chicken would go nicely with a spanakopita pesto pasta. I garnished the pasta with some walnuts and feta, mirroring the flavours already in the pesto.

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Paprika Grilled Chicken

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
2 chicken breasts (pounded thin)
2 teaspoons paprika (I used hot and smoky)
salt and pepper to taste
1 batch spinach pesto (aka spanakopita pesto)
1 handful walnuts (toasted)
1 handful feta (crumbled)

Directions:
1. Start cooking the pasta as directed on the package.
2. Season the chicken with the paprika, salt and pepper.
3. Grill the chicken until it is cooked all the way through, about 5-7 minutes per side.
4. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the water and toss the pasta with the pesto and the reserved pasta water.
5. Slice the chicken, serve it on the pasta and garnish with the walnuts and feta.


Similar Recipes:
Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pasta with Feta and Kalamata Olives

Take a look at the Presto Pasta Nights roundup on The Well-Seasoned Cook.

Spinach Pesto (aka Spanakopita Pesto)

Spinach Pesto (aka Spanakopita Pesto)

The other week when I made the asparagus and ramp pesto pasta I realized that even though I use spinach in pestos a lot, it always plays a supporting role and it is never the star. This got me to thinking and one thing led to another and I soon found myself remembering spanakopita, a Greek spinach pie, and before I knew it I was coming up with a way to include all of the flavours of spanakopita in a spinach pesto. One of my favourite things about spanakopita is all of the fresh herbs so I had to include some fresh dill, mint and parsley in the pesto. Pestos often include a nut and the walnut seemed like the natural choice as thoughts of baklava danced through my head. Of course the cheese just had to feta! The spanakopita pesto turned out great! It has all of the flavours of spanakopita including an amazing freshness that just screams spring.

Spinach Pesto (aka Spanakopita Pesto)

(makes 1 cup)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup baby spinach (packed)
1/4 cup fresh herbs (chopped, I used a combination of parsley, dill and mint)
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons walnuts (toasted)
1/4 cup feta
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lemon (juice and zest)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Place everything into a food processor and blend.

Use in:
Spinach Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Spinach Pesto Pasta with Paprika Grilled Chicken

Similar Recipes:
Asparagus and Ramp Pesto Pasta
Wild Leek Pesto
Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)
Spinach and Feta Quesadillas
Swiss Chard Pesto
Roast Zucchini Salsa

Nutella and Caramelized Banana Sandwich

Nutella and Caramelized Banana Sandwich

Even though I have been enjoying the banana upside-down cake all week, I was craving more of that caramelized banana-y goodness. The chocolate and banana flavour combo in the cake reminded me of an oldie but a favorite, the nutella and banana sandwich and with that thought, I had to try the caramelized banana version! This little treat is quick and easy to whip up and it is so addictively good! Caramelizing the bananas makes them sweeter and more intense and the fact that they are still warm means that they melt right into the nutella making it even better.

Nutella and Caramelized Banana Sandwich

(makes 1 sandwich)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 banana (peeled and sliced)
1 or 2 slices of bread
2 tablespoons nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)

Directions:
1. Melt the butter and sugar in a pan.
2. Add the bananas and cook until golden brown and caramelized on both sides, about 3-5 minutes per side.
3. Assemble sandwich.

Similar Recipes:
Nutella and Banana Sandwich
Banana Upside Down Cake with Chocolate Chips
Nutella and Banana Crepes
Peanut Butter, Banana and Honey Sandwiches

Pistachio and Gorgonzola Risotto

Pistachio and Gorgonzola Risotto with Asparagus

One day, not too long ago, I was minding my own business as I surfed the web looking at food when I was stopped dead in my tracks. What did that just say? Pistachio and gorgonzola risotto? I have done gorgonzola risottos before so I know how good they can be, but I never would have thought to add pistachios and they just happen to be my favorite nut at the moment. This pistachio and gorgonzola risotto is pretty much a standard risotto where the more regular cheese, the parmigiano reggiano is replaced with gorgonzola dolce, a soft blue cheese, and of course some pistachios are added. Other than taking a bit of time to make, as all risottos do, this one was pretty easy and it turned out great! The risotto was so nice and creamy with the blue cheese adding a pleasant mellow tanginess and the flavour complimented the pistachios fantastically. The pistachios also added a nice contrast in texture and toasting the pistachios ahead of time aided their crunchiness. You could serve this amazing risotto as a side dish or as I did this time, as a light meal. With asparagus in season I could not help but serve some, simply steamed, with the risottos and it was the perfect combination with the juicy asparagus refreshing your palate after each bite of the rich and creamy risotto.

Pistachio and Gorgonzola Risotto

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
1 sweet onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 cup arborio rice (or other medium or short grained rice)
1/2 cup wine
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable broth, warm)
1/2 cup gorgonzola dolce (crumbled)
1 tablespoon butter
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup pistachios (toasted and chopped)

Directions:
1. Heat butter in large sauce pan.
2. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter.
5. Add the wine, deglaze the pan and stir while simmering until it is gone.
6. Add 1/2 cup of the stock at a time and stir while simmering until it is gone. Continue until the rice is al dente.
7. Add the gorgonzola and butter and stir until melted.
8. Add the pistachios and serve.

Similar Recipes:
Pear and Gorgonzola Risotto
Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Covered in Melted Gorgonzola
Asparagus in Gorgonzola Sauce
Caramelized Onion and Gorgonzola Soup

BBQ Chicken with Blue Cheese Slaw Wraps

BBQ Chicken with Blue Cheese Slaw Wraps

The reason behind making the blue cheese cole slaw and the bbq sauce was for these bbq chicken with blue cheese slaw wraps that I recently came across on Naturally Ella. The combination of the warm, tender shredded chicken cover in a sweet, tangy and spicy bbq sauce and the creamy blue cheese cole slaw sounded like such an amazing flavour combination that I just had to make it right away. The flavour combinations reminded me of buffalo chicken wings with a blue cheese dipping sauce that that ignited the cravings. These wraps do not take long to whip up, especially since you should make the slaw and bbq sauce ahead of time so that their flavours can mellow out and I almost always have some cooked and shredded chicken in the freezer for quick meals. Despite being so easy to make, these wraps are fantastically good! The flavours work perfectly together and the crisp cabbage provides a nice crunchy contrast in texture. I think I will be making a second batch of these really soon!

BBQ Chicken with Blue Cheese Slaw Wraps

BBQ Chicken with Blue Cheese Slaw Wraps

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups cooked shredded chicken (warm)
1 cup bbq sauce
4 (8 inch) tortillas
1 cup cheddar cheese (grated)
1 cup blue cheese cole slaw

Directions:
1. Mix the chicken and the bbq sauce.
2. Assemble wraps.

Similar Recipes:
Buffalo Chicken Salad
Buffalo Wing Dip
BBQ Roast Beef and Cheddar Sandwich
Salsa Verde Pulled Chicken Sandwich
Honey-Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Sandwich
Jerked Pulled Pork Wraps with Mango and Banana Relish
Korean BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich
BBQ Chicken Pizza
BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with Slaw
Chicken Fajitas
Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich

BBQ Sauce

BBQ Sauce

Although there are a ton of bbq sauces available, I had been wanting to try making my own for a while and now was the perfect time as I had something in mind. As it turns out, making your own bbq is pretty easy and you probably have all of the ingredients that you need. Bbq sauce generally starts with a tomato base such as ketchup and adds something for sweetness, vinegar for a tanginess and some kind of heat. You can play around with the basic ingredients and you can add other ingredients to come up with whatever flavours you want. I stuck with a pretty simple bbq sauce for my first attempt and it turned out pretty good! It was a nice blend of tangy, sweet and spicy and it as full of flavour. I enjoyed the texture that the grated onion added and the smokiness that the chipotle chili powder and smoked paprika was really nice. Stay tuned to see what I use it in.

BBQ Sauce

(makes 1 1/2 cups)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 small onion (grated)
2 cloves garlic (grated)
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (a vegetarian one for vegetarian)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked hot paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Mix everything.

Use in:
BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with Slaw
BBQ Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese
BBQ Chicken with Blue Cheese Slaw Wraps
BBQ Roast Beef and Cheddar Sandwich
BBQ Chicken Pizza
BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
BBQ Chicken and Peach Quesadillas
Slow Cooker Bacon Wrapped Apple BBQ Chicken
Crispy Baked BBQ Onion Rings
BBQ Ham, Bacon and Pineapple Quesadillas (aka BBQ Hawaiian Pizza Quesadillas)

Similar Recipes:
Roasted Apple BBQ Sauce
Roasted Strawberry BBQ Sauce
Gochujang Sauce (can be used as a Korean Style BBQ Sauce)

Blue Cheese Coleslaw

Blue Cheese Coleslaw

With us being well into spring now, I have started thinking more about summer fare including picnics and barbecues. A staple of both is your basic coleslaw that can be used either as a side or as a condiment in sandwiches. One of the great things about coleslaw is that the recipe is so easy to change and it just invites you to play around with it. I recently came across the concept of a blue cheese coleslaw and being the blue cheese fanatic that I am, I could not resist whipping up a batch. This cole slaw follows a pretty simple coleslaw recipe save for the addition of the crumbled blue cheese but one other nice addition is the grainy mustard which I have been really enjoying lately. The key to this blue cheese coleslaw is allowing it to have time to mellow so feel free to make it in the morning or even the day before. After letting the flavours mingle in the fridge for a while this coleslaw is truly amazing! It is just packed with flavour and the blue cheese gives it a really nice creaminess that will have you coming back for more. You can easily doubled this recipe and feel free to use a bag of pre-chopped cabbage to save a bit of time.

Blue Cheese Coleslaw

(makes 4 side servings or 8 sandwich filling servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups cabbage (shredded)
1 carrot (shredded)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1 lemon (juice)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup blue cheese (crumbled)
1 handful parsley (chopped)

Directions:
1. Mix the cabbage and carrot in a large bowl.
2. Mix the mayo, sour cream, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl.
3. Mix everything together.
4. Cover and let mellow in the fridge for a few hours.

Serve with/Use in:
Beer Battered Fish (Fish and Chips)
BBQ Chicken with Blue Cheese Slaw Wraps

Similar Recipes:
Coleslaw
Sesame and Ginger Coleslaw
Blue Cheese Dip
Blue Cheese Dressing
Sesame and Ginger Coleslaw (Mayoless)
Apple Slaw in Creamy Maple Dijon Dressing

Banana Upside Down Cake with Chocolate Chips

Banana Upside Down Cake with Chocolate Chips

Whenever I have bananas that have gotten a little too ripe, I let them go until they are over ripe at which time I toss them into the freezer until the next time a recipe calls for over ripe bananas. Of course my favorite recipes that call for over ripe bananas are banana breads which are really easy to make and are always so good! The other day, I encountered some of those over ripe bananas in my freezer and I thought that it was the perfect time to make a banana bread! I had just been itching to try something new with the next banana bread that I made and this was the perfect opportunity. Banana bread recipes, and in fact all quick bread recipes, are very similar to cake recipes and I had been wanting to try making my next banana bread in the form of an upside-down banana cake topped with caramelized banana slices!

For the recipe, I decided to start with my recipe for a chocolate chip and sour cream banana bread and I simply made it in a cake pan rather than a loaf pan with a layer of brown sugar and butter topped with sliced bananas on the bottom. I also modified the recipe slightly by replacing some of the all purpose flour with some whole wheat flour. The banana upside down cake turned out really well! The brown sugar and butter on the bottom caramelized with the bananas perfectly creating a beautiful layer of caramelized banana-y goodness. The rest of the banana cake was nice a light and moist. I normally eat quick breads like this for breakfast and yet I feel a little guiltier doing so when the same recipe is called a cake. Oh well, breakfasts are looking good for the next few days while the supplies last. :)

Banana Upside Down Cake with Chocolate Chips

Banana Upside Down Cake with Chocolate Chips

(makes 6-9 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2-3 ripe bananas (peeled and sliced)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs (beaten)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 overripe bananas (mashed)
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Melt the butter in a pan along with the brown sugar.
2. Pour the mixture into the bottom of an 8 inch square baking dish and spread it out.
3. Cover with a layer of sliced bananas.
4. Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and in a large bowl.
5. Cream the butter and brown sugar in another bowl.
6. Stir the eggs, sour cream and bananas into the butter and sugar.
7. Stir the dry ingredients into the banana mixture.
8. Stir in the chocolate chips.
9. Gently spread the batter over the bananas in the pan
10. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until a tooth pick pushed into the center comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Chocolate Chip and Sour Cream Banana Bread
Bananas Foster Pancakes
Strawberry Sour Cream Bread
Curried Mango Bread

Fiddlehead Carbonara

Fiddlehead Carbonara

More of springs produce it quickly starting to show up at the markets and this weekend I came across some fiddleheads. Fiddleheads are young ferns that have yet to unfurl and they are quite edible, though they should be well cooked. I first came across fiddleheads last year and I used them to make a fiddlehead shrimp scampi that I quite enjoyed so I was looking forward to finding them again this year. Once again, I decided to use them in a pasta dish and this time I was thing that a carbonara style pasta would be the perfect way to show off the fiddleheads. I really like this carbonara style pasta because it is nice and quick and easy to make and it always tastes great! I also like this pasta as you can easily throw in vegetables like asparagus, zucchini or in this case fiddleheads. In addition to the fiddleheads, I used another of springs bounty in this dish by replacing the garlic with a ramp or a wild leak. This pasta was an amazing way to enjoy the first of the fiddleheads this year and I am looking forward to doing more with them!

Fiddlehead Carbonara

(makes 2 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1/2 pound pasta
4 slices bacon (cut into 1/2 inch slices)
1 cup fiddleheads (trimmed, well cleaned and boiled for 5 minutes)
1 ramp/wild leak or 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
pepper to taste
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano
1 handful parsley (chopped)

Directions:
1. Start cooking the pasta as directed on the package.
2. Cook the bacon in a pan and set aside.
3. Drain all but a tablespoon of the bacon grease from the pan.
4. Add the fiddleheads, ramp and pepper, toss to coat and saute for a few minutes.
5. Mix the egg yolks, heavy cream and parmigiano reggiano in a large bowl.
6. Drain the cooked pasta reserving some of the water.
7. Add the pasta to the pan and toss.
8. Remove the pan from the heat, wait for the sizzling to stop and pour the pasta into the bowl with the egg mixture.
9. Add a bit of the pasta water and toss to coat.

Similar Recipes:
Asparagus Carbonara
Zucchini Carbonara
Fiddlehead Shrimp Scampi
Ramp Carbonara
Fiddlehead Tart
Roasted Brussels Sprout Carbonara

Tandoori Chicken Quesadillas

Tandoori Chicken Quesadillas

Once the creative juices started flowing, they just kept on going and up next was tandoori chicken quesadillas. I made sure to include a bit of heat in the marinade for the tandoori chicken and of course the spicy chicken reminded me of texmex food, quesadillas in particular. I figured the spicy tandoori chicken would work well in a quesadilla but it seemed a little lonely and I thought that some sauteed onions and peppers would help round things out. After that it was just a matter of adding cheese, placing everything in between two tortillas and grilling it up. The spicy tandoori chicken worked really well in quesadilla form! It was just like a regular quesadilla except that the distinctly Indian flavours from the tandoori marinade were coming through. I served the quesadillas with a quick, finely diced pico de galo.

Tandoori Chicken Quesadillas

(makes 1 quesadilla)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup bell peppers (sliced thinly)
1/4 cup onion (sliced thinly)
1/4 cup tandoori chicken (shredded)
2 handfuls cheese (grated)
2 (8 inch tortillas)

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the peppers and onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Sprinkle on half of the cheese onto the tortilla followed by peppers, onions and chicken followed by the remaining cheese and top it all off with the second tortilla.
4. Cook until the quesadilla is golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted.

Similar Recipes:
Tandoori Chicken Melt
Pineapple Dak Bulgogi Quesadillas (Korean Spicy Pineapple BBQ Chicken Quesadillas)
Roast Beef Quesadillas
Chicken Satay Quesadillas with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
Chicken Fajita Quesadillas
Sweet Chili Chicken Quesadilla

Tandoori Chicken Melt

Tandoori Chicken Melt

You knew this was coming right? :) Just by looking at the list of ingredients in the marinade for the tandoori chicken I knew that it would be packed with flavour and I thought: Wouldn't that tasty chicken tandoori make for a great chicken salad sandwich? And wouldn't that sandwich be even better if it had cheese and it was buttered up and grilled until the cheese melted? With that thought I knew that I would have to try it out and so I doubled the chicken tandoori recipe so that I would have plenty of extra to play with. I kept the tandoori chicken salad pretty simple, adding mayo, onions, cilantro and an extra hit of chili pepper heat. The grilled cheese chicken tandoori salad sandwich turned out really well! The flavour of the tandoori marinade came through in the sandwich and it was pretty amazing when combined with the mayo and the hit of lemon juice. I could not resist serving the sandwich with a side of mango chutney which somehow seemed appropriate. I will definitely need to make sure to make extra tandoori chicken the next time that I make it so that I can make more of these sandwiches.

Tandoori Chicken Melt

(makes 1 sandwich)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon mayo
1/2 cup tandoori chicken (shredded)
1 tablespoon red onion (diced)
1 small green chili (chopped)
1 tablespoon cilantro (chopped)
1 splash lemon juice
2 slices bread
1 slice cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon butter (room temperature)

Directions:
1. Mix the mayo, chicken, onions, cilantro and lemon juice.
2. Assemble sandwich, butter it up and grill it until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden brown on both sides.

Tips on how to make the perfect grilled cheese sandwich every time.

Similar Recipes:
Tandoori Chicken Quesadillas
Kimchi Chicken Salad Sandwich
Lobster Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Deviled Ham Melt
BBQ Chicken with Blue Cheese Slaw Wraps
'Souvlaki' Chicken Salad Sandwich with Roasted Red Peppers and Feta

More great grilled cheese sandwiches.

Poutine with a Mushroom Gravy

Poutine with a Mushroom Gravy

The other day I was reading an article on the best places to get poutine in Toronto and ever since I have been craving it. Poutine is a dish consisting of french fries topped with fresh cheese curds and smothered in hot gravy. Now this is certainly not the healthiest meal around so I do not eat it very often but it is so good that I just have to have it every once in a while. With poutine, you want to use the best ingredients that you can including homemade french fries and the freshest cheese curds that you can find. The gravy is where all of the flavour is so you can go to all out on it and make a really rich and tasty one. Classic poutine uses a simple, though flavourful, gravy but I wanted to try something new this time and I went with a mushroom gravy. I started the mushroom gravy by sauteing some onions along with the mushrooms and then I started layering on flavours with garlic, thyme and a splash of red wine. From there I made a roux and then thinned everything out to the consistency of gravy with broth. The mushroom poutine was so amazingly good! I have to say that this is now my favourite poutine and given the mushroom addict that I am this is not too much of a surprise.

Poutine with a Mushroom Gravy

(makes 2 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 servings fries (see below, hot)
1 cup cheese curds (room temperature)
1 cup mushroom gravy (see below, hot)

Directions:
1. Serve the fries topped with the cheese curds and mushroom gravy.

Mushroom Gravy

(makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion (diced finely)
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces mushrooms (cleaned and sliced)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon thyme (chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup red wine (or broth)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken, beef or vegetable broth

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the butter to the pan and let it melt.
4. Add the mushrooms and saute until they start to caramelize, about 20 minutes.
5. Add the garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
6. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Add the wine, deglazed the pan and let it simmer.
8. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a sauce pan and allow it to get bubbly and start to brown.
9. Mix in the flour and allow it to simmer until it starts to brown.
10. Mix in the mushrooms.
11. Slowly mix in the broth until the gravy comes to the desired consistency.

Baked Fries

(makes 2 servings)

Ingredients:
1 potatoes, I used russet (scrubbed clean or peeled and cut into your favorite french fry shape)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste

Directions:
1. Toss the potato pieces in the oil and season with salt.
2. Place the potato pieces on baking sheet in a single layer.
3. Bake in a preheated 400F oven until golden brown and crispy on all sides, about 30-45 minutes flipping them every 15 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Corned Beef Poutine with Guinness Gravy
Sweet Potato Poutine
Green Bean and Mushroom Poutine
French Fries
Feta Fries

Grilled Tandoori Chicken

Grilled Tandoori Chicken

After watching Rob Rainford grilling up a storm Monday night, I had the itch to do some grilling as well. When I scanned through my 'to try' list the first thing to jump out at me was tandoori chicken. Tandoori chicken is an Indian roasted chicken dish where the chicken is marinated in a spicy yogurt that is seasoned with masala and chili peppers. I don't know what it is about meat on a stick but it certainly is one of my favorite ways to grill up some chicken and I figured that a skewered, grilled, chicken tandoori would be really good. I went with a pretty simple recipe adding some fresh lemon, onion, garlic and ginger to the yogurt followed by some spices including a homemade garam masala and some ceyenne pepper and hot and smoky paprika to add some heat and to give it the traditional red colouring. After letting the chicken marinate over night I pulled it out of the fridge and when I opened the bag up I just had to pause for a moment to enjoy the amazing aromatics. The chicken grilled up quickly and it was nice and juicy and full of flavour and oh so good! You can eat this tasty tandoori chicken as is, as a part of a larger meal or you could use it in a wrap or even in a curry like chicken tikka masala.

Grilled Tandoori Chicken

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 lemon (juice)
1/2 small onion (grated)
1 tablespoon garlic (grated)
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon paprika (I used hot smoked)
1 teaspoon cumin (toasted and ground)
1 teaspoon coriander (toasted and ground)
1/2 teaspoon ceyenne pepper (or to taste)
salt to taste
1 pound chicken (boneless and skinless, but into 1 inch pieces)

Directions:
1. Mix all of the ingredients save the chicken.
2. Place the chicken in a freezer bag along with the marinade and marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably several hours to overnight.
3. Pull the chicken from the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and skewer it.
4. Grill the chicken until cooked, about 3-5 minutes per side.

Use in:
Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)
Tandoori Chicken Melt
Tandoori Chicken Quesadillas

Similar Recipes:
Chicken Souvlaki
Yakitori
Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
Dakkochi (Korean Skewered Chicken)
Grilled Lemongrass Chicken
Moroccan Grilled Chicken Kabobs