Monday, August 29, 2005

eat yer veggies!

It is very definitely veggie season. We've been eating a lot of them. They are yummy. Here is a great recipe that uses up the gazillions of tomatoes that appear in the kitchen (I swear there is a tomato-generating troll in a cupboard somewhere.)

Spaghetti Squash & Tomato-Bean sauce

1 spaghetti squash
1-2 lbs tomatoes
couple tbsp olive oil
1/2 - 1 can/jar cannellini beans
1/2 onion
couple cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
sploosh red wine
salt & pepper
as much basil as you can scare up (within reason)
grated parmesan

Chop the stalk off the squash, stab it and throw it in the oven at 350-375. It will take about an hour or so to cook, but it needs no tending whatsoever.

Dice the onion and slowly soften it over low heat in the olive oil, with the bay leaves. When it is nice and transparent and squishy, add the garlic (minced) and soften that up nicely. Add the tomatoes (diced) and the wine, and simmer, covered, until it looks like sauce (about 45 minutes or so is good). Remove cover, add rinsed beans and reduce sauce until it is nice and thick (about 15 minutes). Rip or chop your basil (yes ripping is preferable but chopping is faster) and stir it in the sauce. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Cut the squash in half & remove seeds. "Fluff" squash with a fork into stringy spaghetti-like strands, but leave it in the rind, which should be good and hard. Top with the tomato-bean sauce and some grated parmesan. (Optional - stick under broiler for a minute or so to make parmesan bubbly.)

Given that the in-laws are going away for a month and abandoning their tomato plants to our tender ministrations (mwa ha ha), and spaghetti squashes are cheap and plentiful, I expect we will be eating variations on this quite a lot over the next month. I may update with a "how to get more protein in this meal" post later.

Friday, August 26, 2005

blackberry-lime-gin sorbet

This is the ultimate summer sorbet - intense and fruity, but extremely refreshing.

1 gallon fresh, ripe blackberries (that's an ice-cream pail full)
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
3 limes
2 shots gin

Make a syrup with the sugar, water, and zest and juice from the limes (ie, put it all in a pot and bring to a boil so the sugar dissolves.) Let cool.

Smoosh the blackberries (a food mill is easiest) then pass the resulting mess through a seive or chinoise to strain out the seeds, into a large bowl. Pour the syrup through the seive, over the remaining blackberry goo, into the same bowl, to extract a little more flavour and get rid of the zest bitties.

Add gin directly to the juice.

Chill in fridge for 4-6 hours, then pour into an ice-cream maker. Once the ice cream maker has done its thing, the sorbet will need to set in the freezer for another few hours.

This makes 2 litres of sorbet, so if you have only a 1-litre ice-cream maker, you'll need to do 2 batches or cut everything in half.

The sorbet tends to be a bit soft if your berries are really ripe, so I would recommend placing it in your deep freeze to set it or turning your freezer down as low as it can go.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Spicy Prawn Caesar

Since Sarah isn't posting much these days, I thought I'd add a post or two. I am currently trying to burn a cold out of my sinuses and thought that a nice spicy dinner would help. I had some leftover caesar salad dressing from a few days ago and some prawns in the freezer that I figured would make a nice meal. I was right. The caesar dressing was made by cooking the egg yolks and most of the other ingredients except the oil over a bain marie so no worries about raw eggs (I can't really include that recipe because I don't remember the proportions at all - egg yolks, lemon juice, dijon, worchestershire sauce, salt, pepper, crushed garlic, anchovy paste and both olive and grapeseed oil). It was a bit thick, but I think it was pretty good. For the spicy prawns I put about a teaspoon or two of sambal oelek in with two cloves of crushed garlic, a splash of white wine, salt and pepper, and some tomato sauce I made last night (just canned whole tomatoes roasted in the oven a bit to reduce the water, a couple of cloves of garlic and a touch of basil and oregano, all whizzed in the blender = nice sauce). I let in marinade for about an hour, then put it on skewers and tossed it on the barbecue for just a couple of minutes. Then I took some romaine lettuce, tossed in the dressing and put the prawns on top. It was really good, although not quite hot enough to clear my sinuses.

I'd also just like to mention the delight that is Vignetti Zanatta's Damasco. A lovely and inexpensive white wine, slightly petilant (bubbly) that feels like a bit of a nip on your tongue, zesty with bright lemon/lime, gooseberry and elderflower flavours. Really, really nice. I had to stop myself from drinking the whole bottle by myself (I hear that doing so indicates you have a 'problem'). Well I guess I did drink it all myself, but over a few days, not in one sitting.

Another white wine that is absolutely lovely, but unfortuately only available in Ontario is the Cave Springs Reserve Dry Riesling. If you ever get out to the Niagara Region give it a try. Lovely fruit, apple, lemon, fresh and crisp. None of that nasty cheap white taste in this or the Damasco. Cave Springs had three dry Rieslings of varying quality and price. I took home two bottles each of the cheapest (~$12) and the middle (~$15) which is the Reserve that I am talking about here. Both are very nice, and I was most impressed with the Reserve. They also had a pricy (~$30) bottle, but I tasted it and actually liked the Reserve better, although I imagine the $30 would have been well suited to cellaring for a while and was a bit richer. But I really like the drinkability of the Reserve Riesling. Excellent, excellent, excellent! Too bad you can't get it outside of Ontario.

Must go watch Dr. Who...