Victoria home cooking - Slow roasted garlic and tomato marinara · 30.08.15 by colin newell
As Fall and harvest comes upon us, it is time to start making some of those tasty sauces that we will start enjoying throughout the fall.
Most of our best tomatoes are now ready and they are being converted to sauce for pasta dishes in the future. One of our favourite building block sauces: Marinara – it cannot be beat. It scales up well and you can add nothing to it or your favourite protein.
Necessary ingredients: Tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt and ground black pepper, 1 medium onion,
2 medium celery ribs, 1 medium green bell pepper, basil, oregano, fennel seeds, chili flakes, 1/2 cup red wine or vegetable stock,2 bay leaves, 2 Tablespoon tomato paste, bunch of fresh parsley…
Take 3 pounds of Roma tomatoes.
Boil some water. Trim the stem end of each tomato and then cut a 1/4” X at the blossom/stem end.
Drop the tomatoes a few at a time into the boiling water for 60 to 90 seconds OR until the skin starts to loosen. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes to a bowl to cool for a few minutes.
Pull the skin off of each tomato.
Preheat your oven to 225 degrees (F).
Line one or more large baking pans with parchment paper.
Cut all of the tomatoes in half. Set a fine sieve over a bowl. Squeeze out all the seeds over on and onto the sieve. Keep the juice that comes out! We will use this later.
Place these tomatoes onto the parchment paper.
Mix together 1/4 cup of olive oil and 3 to 5 garlic cloves crushed and minced.
Paint this oil/garlic mixture onto the tomatoes. Put a twist of fresh ground pepper and salt onto each of the tomatoes.
Roast the tomatoes on the parchment paper in the oven for 2 hours.
Put all of these roast tomatoes into a bowl and add the reserve juice from the earlier seed removal.
Puree this mix with a hand mixer to medium fine puree eliminating all the lumps and clumps. Personal preference kicks in around here.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot. Add onion (diced), celery (diced) and bell pepper (diced).
Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.
Add 1 teaspoon or more of basil (fresh or dried) and oregano (fresh if you have it), a 1/4 teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds (use a rolling pin — releases the aromatics), a pinch of chili flakes and cook for another minute.
Added the pureed tomatoes, wine or stock, bay leaf and tomato paste and simmer, stirring occasionally for 35 minutes or so.
Discard Bay leaves and add chopped parsley (1/4 cup chopped)
Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Makes around 10 cups of sauce.
Bon apetit! This is one of our favourites and mirrors one of our all time favourite sauces from Victoria restaurant Zambri’s. Original recipe by Eric Akis of the Times Colonist.
Grilled spicy Lamb burgers on the old Weber · 1.07.15 by colin newell
Andrea and I made these from fresh ground Island lamb and fresh herbs from the garden – much like regular beef burgers but with a kick – and they are lamb.
They are around 3/4” thick – I grilled them at around 375 to 425 for 5 minutes on the first side
and 2 minutes on the second side.
1½ pounds ground lamb
2 tablespoons tightly packed finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon moroccan spice mix
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
4 kaiser rolls, split
Thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons mayonaise
2 heaping teaspoons fresh mint sauce
Served with lettuce and red onion – and any salad on the side you might desire.
Grill with crumbled feta on top.
Pairs well with a robust Red wine.
Dinner hour - Bucatini All'Amatriciana · 31.05.15 by colin newell
This is one of my wife’s favourite meals at a local restaurant named Zambri’s – using our own tomatoes from the garden as well as many other fresh ingredients, we created the Marinara (which is basically Tomatoes, onions, finely diced celery, carrots, 1/2 cup of red wine, garlic etc – full recipe to follow). The Marinara is the foundation for many classic Italian recipes and we will give it its own blog entry shortly!
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 oz. thinly sliced pancetta (or bacon)
1/2 red onion – cut lengthwise in half – and 1/4” half moons
2 teaspoons mince garlic
1 heaping teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups home made marinara sauce
freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
2 servings Bucatini pasta
Put water on to boil with salt
Meanwhile in a saute pan combine olive oil, pancetta, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes.
Cook over medium low until the onion is softened and the pancetta has rendered much of its fat – about 12 to 15 minutes.
Drain away all but 1/4 cup of the fat from the pan.
Add the marinara sauce.
Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer.
Allow to simmer for 6 – 7 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, cook the Bucatini in boiling water for about 12 minutes or as directed by pasta cooking instructions – looking for “very firm” – drain.
Add the pasta to the simmering sauce and toss for about 1 minute to coat.
Divide the pasta among the plates (two servings) dress with grated cheese.
Good Eats - Masala Lamb meatballs. · 17.02.15 by colin newell
We shared a 1/2 lamb with my sister and brother-in-law – and with that package came from great ground lamb. This was the perfect recipe for lamb. This is a fascinating mixture of spice with an intriguing Mediterranean flavour and a nice bite. This recipe was inspired from the latest issue of EAT Magazine in Victoria B.C. Canada – but we mixed it up just a little bit. You can serve it with polenta, rice or pasta. We chose pasta. Overall, it takes about an hour to prepare so make sure you have a glass of red wine in your hand while you work!
3 Garlic Cloves chopped
1 Onion chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon Cumin seeds
28 ounce canned plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 green onions shopped
1 slice brown bread
1/4 table cream
2 pounds ground lamb
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
In a food processor, puree 3 garlic cloves with one chopped medium onion and
1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger.
Heat 1/4 cup oil in Dutch oven on medium heat.
Add 1 tablespoon cumin seeds and heat until they start to sizzle. Then add onion/garlic mixture.
Stir often until mixture softens and is translucent. Reduce heat to medium-low to prevent browning.
Cook 8 – 10 minutes.
Puree canned plum tomatoes with 1 tablespoon garam masala and 1 teaspoon ea. Turmeric, Cayenne and Salt. Pour into pan with Onion and Garlic mixture. Stir in one cup water. Simmer 20 minutes to blend flavour.
For the meatballs, in a food processor puree two chopped green onions with two eggs, one slice of brown bread torn into pieces and 1/4 cup table cream.
Turn this mix into a large bowl – add 2 pounds of ground lamb. 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground cumin and cinnamon. Add a pinch of salt. Gently mix until blended. Then shape into balls. Aim for a chubby golf ball size.
Makes about 20 meatballs.
Bake meatballs on baking (cookie sheet) brushed with oil. Broil until brown (6 – 8 minutes)
Then reduce heat to 375.
Add meatballs to sauce in Dutch oven. Cover and bake until sauce is bubbly and meat balls are cooked through. 10 – 15 minutes.
Finish with fresh mint and crumbled feta cheese.
We served over Penne pasta. Serves 4 – 6.
Thai coconut Turkey soup - it's spicy · 27.10.14 by colin newell
It is a cool October evening and what better way of heating it up a notch than with some Thai turkey soup.
Granted this is a variation on the old classic Chicken soup… but it prepares well and is mighty spicy.
Strap yourself in.
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (3-inch) stalk lemongrass, halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)
3 cups Turkey stock
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
4 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups shredded cooked Turkey breast (about 8-12 ounces)
1/2 cup green onion strips
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1. Heat a stock pot over medium heat. Add oil to pan.
2. Add mushrooms, red bell pepper, peeled ginger, garlic and lemon grass – stir constantly for 3 minutes or so.
3. Add chile paste; stir for another minute.
4. Add Turkey Stock, coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar;
5. Ease to a simmer.
6. Reduce heat to low; simmer for 10 minutes. Add turkey to pan
7.) Simmer for a few minutes. Discard lemongrass. Top with onions, cilantro, and lime juice.
Serve with bread.
French toast in the comfort of your country kitchen · 26.10.14 by colin newell
I have this thing… about French toast… and I am not even French.
I have searched nation wide and out into the Pacific for the perfect serving of French toast – and I have found it in places like Hawaii, on the Big Island… like the Holualoa Cafe .
But here in Victoria? Not so much. There are promises of a great French toast. Hints of a French toast. I have been promised French toast, but the truth is, it is rarely delivered. I feel that on some menus here in the city, that they should have a French toast offered at one price… as is… and $5 more for French toast prepared lovingly or with a little passion. Because that is what it takes. It’s not rocket science but you need to pay attention to get this item right.
Normally what I get around town is French toast prepared by people clearly angry with the French people for some inexplicable reason. I don’t get it.
All I want is French toast prepared well and tasting like it should; fluffy like a cumulus cloud or a souffle and not drier and chewier than the soles of an army boot.
So here is Andrea’s and my home country kitchen French toast recipe.
Buy one loaf of braided egg bread or a loaf of Challah bread from your local bakery.
It should be bread on the white side – fluffy and fresh to begin with with enough density to absorb the egg batter thoroughly.
Anyway – here goes…
Mix together your egg mixture which consists of:
2/3 Cup milk (which would be a blend of 1/4 cup half-half and the rest skim)
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
Put a frying pan onto medium-high heat.
Pour your egg mixture into a shallow pan (like a lasagna pan…)
Take 6 thickly sliced pieces of the bread and place them in the egg mixture – for 10 minutes soaking on each side… that is 20 minutes of soaking!
Put a large dollop of butter into the hot frying – about a tablespoon (heaping)
Put three of the soaked slices of bread into the pan.
Cover loosely with a lid that is slightly ajar – and cook for around 2 minutes each side… until each side is golden brown.
Note: Using a pan cover helps keep the toast from being undercooked or soggy in the middle.
Served with butter, maple syrup, Hawaiian coconut syrup, fresh fruit or sauteed apples in simple syrup – only limited by your imagination!
Oh yes. This toast goes great with a darn fine cup of hot black coffee!
8 years ago I wrote this blog about dairy free waffles. It turned out to be the most popular blog entry here. You can find that recipe over here – enjoy.