Breakfast is by far my favourite meal of the day. Breakfast skillets are probably my favourite type of breakfast. Beware though, it’s not a healthy breakfast. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure, Saturday morning with the paper kind of breakfast. Get ready.
Southwest Breakfast Skillet serves 4
8 eggs, poached
4 russet potatoes
green onions, sliced thin
Cut the potatoes into half-inch cubes, leaving the skin on. Heat butter in a pan and add potatoes, cooking on medium-high heat until they develop a golden brown colour and start to crisp up. Throw them in a 400°F oven to finish cooking, tossing a few times during cooking. Near the end, season with salt and pepper and add grated white cheddar cheese and let it melt in the oven. Divide the potatoes into 4 small skillets and top with sour cream, salsa, and tabasco sauce to taste. Top with two poached eggs and green onions. If you don’t know how to poach an egg, check out this earlier post with a recipe in which I explain the process. Serve with thick cut toast and some fresh squeezed OJ. Hungry yet?
Chili is THE ultimate comfort food. It’s hot, filling, savoury, fatty, and it sticks to your bones. Generally when I make a pot of chili I just freehand the ingredients and fix it as I go. In the end it ALWAYS ends up tasting great. For your sake I’ve made a recipe you can follow for it, but feel free to use less or more of ingredients like cayenne, chilies, or really anything. Oh, and do yourself a favour and make a double recipe and freeze some of it up so you can use it later when you need that comfort food fix.
Oops. Just noticed you can see me in the spoon. Oh well.
Spicy Chili yields approx 4 litres
3/4 lb lean ground beef
1/4 lb ground pork
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne Pepper
5-10 crushed small dried chillies
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon all spice
Basil to taste
Thyme to taste
Ketchup to taste
Worcestershire sauce to taste
Salt to taste
Sweat your onions and garlic with olive oil and salt in a large thick bottomed pot. Add spices, herbs, and peppers and cook out for a couple minutes. Add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, ketchup, and worcestershire sauce. Add ground meat and water and mix together. Cover and let simmer for 1 hour. Top with grated cheese (I like to use Asiago cheese) and sour cream. Sit down on the couch with your chili and some crackers and enjoy.
This is one of my favourite lunches because it’s filling, easy to do, and healthy. It’s great for breakfast or dinner as well. All you have to do is poach an egg, make a simple vinaigrette (a guideline of 3 parts oil to 2 parts acid always works), toss the greens in it, and layer it up. In this particular recipe I add apple slices, goat cheese, and a truffled honey vinaigrette. If you want to know how to poach an egg you can find the directions in another post by clicking HERE.
Truffled Poached Egg Salad on Rye with Apple and Goat Cheese serves 4
100 ml olive oil
50 ml white or black truffle oil
25 ml honey
100 ml white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
soft goat cheese
4 slices of dark rye bread, thick
Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the greens with the vinaigrette to lightly coat. Poach the eggs and toast the bread. Thinly slice apples with the peel still on. Place salad on top of the toast, apples and crumbled goat cheese on top of the salad, and top everything with a poached egg. Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on top of the egg. Enjoy.
Ricotta is a cheese that I usually avoid at the grocery store. The problem with generic ricotta is it is usually drastically under seasoned, very grainy, and really lacks depth. Enter homemade ricotta.
This weekend at the restaurant we need some ricotta so I decided that I would make a batch and make it good. This was my first try but I had heard it was really easy. If you’re interested in starting to make your own cheese, this is a great place to start.
**Please excuse the photos, all I had was my phone.
Whole Milk Ricotta yields 1 pound
3.75 L whole milk
125 ml whipping cream
1 teaspoon citric acid powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
In a non-reactive pot combine the milk, cream, citric acid, and one teaspoon of the salt. Mix with a whisk to combine. Over medium-low heat, slowly bring the temperature up to 185°F. Stir the milk frequently and gently with a rubber spatula. Once the milk nears the desired temperature you will notice that the curds start to separate from the whey (the clear-ish yellow liquid). Run your spatula around the edge of the pot to loosen the curds and make them rotate. Once the milk reaches the right temperature, remove from the heat and cover. Let stand undisturbed for 10 minutes. Line a strainer with cheese cloth over a bowl and gently ladle the curds into the strainer. Gently toss the remaining teaspoon of salt in the curds. Bring the corners of the cheesecloth together and hang over a bowl in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Andddddd you’re done! Enjoy the best ricotta you’ll have ever had.
I absolutely love a nice fresh, soft goat cheese. The creaminess, tartness, slight saltiness, and depth of flavours in a good goats cheese make it one of the most enjoyable cheeses to eat.
A while ago while preparing for a catering event I had the idea of mixing goat cheese with a bit of dried lavender I had purchased while in Maui. The result, when paired with a bit of honey, was magical. The lavender brought a beautiful floral quality to the cheese and the honey really just set everything off.
This recipe is a great one to use for an appetizer or just for a snack with friends. Enjoy!
Lavender Goat Cheese Tart with Cranberry Port Compote serves 4
16 six-inch circles of phyllo pastry
600 g soft goat cheese
1 tablespoon dried lavender ground into a powder
1 cup fresh cranberries
100 ml port wine
1/2 cup sugar
In sets of four, layer the phyllo pastry circles with a brushed coating of clarified butter in between each layer. Line 4 greased four-inch round skillets or baking dishes with the pastry like you would for a pie crust. Mix the goat cheese with the lavender and divide between the four pastry lined skillets. Bake in a 360°F oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown slightly on the top and the pastry is golden.
For the compote, simply add all the ingredients to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until it is a thick, jam-like consistency. Let it cool and spoon on top of the finished tarts. Drizzle with a bit of good quality honey and serve.
Confit. Meat cooked slowly in it’s own fat until it melts under your fork. Yes please.
Today’s recipe is one of my ultimate comfort foods. The best part is that you can cook a lot of the confit, and if you store covered it in it’s own fat in the fridge it will last for months. Here we go.
Confit of Duck with Rustic Potatoes serves 4
4 duck legs
2-3 litres of duck fat (use pork fat if duck fat is too expensive)
6 cloves of garlic, smashed
10 sprigs of thyme
1 cup rock salt
4 large potatoes
mixed salad greens
Rub the duck legs with rock salt, garlic, and thyme. Let the duck sit with all of the previous for an hour and a half in the fridge. Melt the fat in a pot. Rinse off the duck legs and place them in the fat along with the garlic and herbs, making sure they are completely covered. Place in a 250°F oven and cook for about 4 hours or until the skin on the drumstick near the joint shrinks back towards the thigh. Alternatively you can cook on the stovetop at a medium-low temperature, making sure the oil never boils. Once the legs are cooked you can store them in the fat (fully submerged) and they will keep in the fridge for months.
In a saute pan, heat up some of the fat to quite hot and add the potatoes, cut into rough chunks. Continue to cook on high heat to get some good colour and crispness on the potatoes. Put into a 400°F oven to finish cooking, tossing a few times through the cooking process. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat up a bit of the fat in a pan and place the duck leg in, skin side down. Keep the skin pressed to the pan and cook until the skin is crisp. Serve with the potatoes and a bit of mixed greens tossed with olive oil and a bit of lemon juice.
So the last post was an Ingredient Focus on Guanciale, a type of bacon taken from the cheek of a pig. I promised a recipe to use it in, so here it is. I decided that a great way to showcase the texture and flavour of Guanciale would be in a nice risotto. Check it out.
Roasted Garlic Risotto with Guanciale and Soft Egg serves 4
1 cup arborio rice
1 litre chicken stock approx. (can be substituted for any other type of stock)
50g shallots, fine dice
1 head of garlic
100ml white wine
100g Guanciale, skin removed and cut into matchsticks
50g unsalted butter
50g parmesan cheese or aged gouda (In the picture I used a 3 year aged Gouda. Money.)
Roast your garlic head (wrap in foil with some oil and salt and cook for about 30 minutes in a 350°F oven) and remove the garlic from it’s skin. Smash it into a paste. Fry Guanciale in a pan until crisp. In a large sauté pan, sweat the shallots gently for a few minutes in the fat rendered from the Guanciale. Add the rice to the pan and toast it for a few minutes over medium heat. Add your roasted garlic paste and fried Guanciale to the rice. Pour the white wine into the pan and stir until it is absorbed. Add your hot stock a ladle at a time and stir constantly to work the starches out of the rice. You’ll know it’s time to add more stock once about 80% of the liquid in the pan has been absorbed. Patience is the key to a beautiful risotto. Cook the rice until it is cooked but still has a slight bite to it. Once the rice is done, mix in the butter and grated cheese to add a richness to the dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To poach the egg, bring a pot of water with a couple tablespoons of white vinegar to a simmer. Create a whirlpool in the pot with a whisk and drop your egg into the middle from as low a height as possible. Cook for 3 minutes and refresh it in an ice bath to stop the cooking immediately if you aren’t going to eat it right away, otherwise just serve it straight out of the pot.
I hope you enjoy the recipe! Leave a comment and let me know how it works out!