Thursday, October 22, 2009

Roast Loin of Pork with Sage

The mornings are quite frosty, we even have to scrape off the car windows, but believe it or not, the sage in the herb garden is still growing strongly.
Actually besides being an extremely hardy herb it also multiplied and grew like a weed! Ron had a great idea of using a bunch of this lovely herb on the pork roast. He started by seasoning the pork roast his usual way, by studding it with garlic and cloves, covering it with Dijon mustard and seasoning it very well with just freshly ground pepper and kosher salt.
The new twist then was to utilize the abundant sage.

He covered the entire roast with the sage leaves and then roasted it in the oven at 375 degrees. For about a titch over an hour. (You will have to adjust the cooking time to the size of your pork roast). What a wonderful juicy roast this turned out to be! Seriously I can't rave enough about how great this tasted, absolutely fantastic! We usually have left over pork roast for sandwiches but this time everybody had seconds.( Sorry no pictures of the finished roast we were all too anxious and hungry to take photos, it smelled so good we just wanted to EAT!)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Naturally if you are lucky enough to have a wood burning stone oven, you have it made for making pizza's. However, most of us don't, so the next best thing would be a PIZZA STONE that can be found at most kitchen specialty stores. The trick is to make sure that your stone is very hot before you use it. ( Again, this recipe is from the Random House ,"Earth To Table" book that I previewed a few weeks ago.

When I know the kids are coming home for dinner, or even a great party idea, I like to set out a bowl of ingredients both fresh from the market and store bought (mostly organic if you can get it.) and let every one make their own pizza.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. and heat a pizza stone for at least 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured cutting board roll out one batch of pizza dough into 4 eight(8) inch circles, letting it rest about 3 minutes if it is too elastic to work.

Working quickly remove hot stone from oven and slide dough on to stone. Arrange toppings on dough. Brush edges of dough with extra virgin olive oil. Return stone to oven and bake until edges are golden and crispy, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the choice of topping ( the more topping the longer it will take).


TOMATOES: Use this versatile fruit to give inspiration. Try tomato confit( will blog this recipe at a later date) or sliced cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes. sun-dried tomatoes , smoked tomatoes or spicy tomato sauce.

CHEESES:local cheese not only makes delicious pizza, but you can introduce your guests and family to interesting flavours right on their doorstep. Try mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, gruyere,hard cheeses such as pecorino, or cheddar and cream cheeses.

MEATS: Aside from ham and pepperoni, all forms of charcuterie make excellent pizza toppings. Try smoked fish, salami, prosciutto, sausage, smoked turkey and smoked chicken.

EXTRAS:Add even more flavours with capers, lemon zest, chili peppers, hot sauce, anchovies, olives, and condiments such as La Bomba( recipe to follow in future blog , similar to an an anti pasto).

HERBS: Fresh herbs and lettuces add a real zing to even an ordinary pizza, We like arugula, Thai basil, tarragon and lemony sorrel. Add fresh herbs after the pizza comes out of the oven.








1 tsp. HONEY

Combine flour , yeast and salt in a standing mixer bowl.

Add 1 cup of the water oil and honey.

Attach the flat beater and mix on low speed until all is combined.

Remove the flat beater and attach the dough hook Gradually add the remaining water, mixing on low speed, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes.

Turn onto lightly floured surface knead until dough is smooth and elastic , about 3 minutes.

Place in a large greased bowl, turning dough to grease all over. Cover with a clean damp towel and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour or so.

Dive dough into 4 balls. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking them under the bottom of the ball. Repeat about 4 or 5 times.

On a clean surface, roll each ball under the palm of your hands until smooth and firm.

Cover with a damp towel and let rise until dough has relaxed and started to rise again , 15-20 minutes.

The recipe says that you should be able to fit 4 small pizzas on one stone, but to tell you the truth, my stone only really holds 1 large pizza, and no matter how I placed it I couldn't get even 2 small doughs on it, so I don't know how big of a stone they are using, but I could only fit 1 on it small or large!

( see top of blog for further instructions for finishing and baking the pizza. )

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I have been feeling a little under the weather, it seems that everybody is either sick already or like me feeling achy . I am not a big tea drinker but felt like I wanted something warm and soothing.

Last month I was asked to preview the book by Random House Canada called "EARTH TO TABLE" Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm, by Jeff Crump and Bettia Schurmann. In their Fall Section of recipes was this lovely Mulled Cider recipe. Having just recently purchased some apples and cider from the Market , it was practically a no brainer that I would make this at some point.

Not only did this drink soothe , but as an added bonus it filled my kitchen with a lovely aromatic.

Mulled Cider and Cranberry

makes 6 cups

4 cups pure organic apple cider

1 cup cranberry juice

2 tablespoons of brandy, I used more

1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/4)

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

2 whole cloves (I used 4)

1 cinnamon stick

grated zest of 1 lemon and orange

apples slices and fresh cranberries to garnish

In a saucepan combine all the ingredients over medium heat just to combine the flavours do not boil. Strain and serve warm, add a few apple slices and cranberries to garnish.

WIENER SCHNITZEL/Bratkatoffel(Fried Potatoes)

Here is a late Octoberfest menu that offers you an alternative to the standard sausage and sauerkraut meal. Sometimes I get a yen for a good schnitzel and potato salad, and so today i thought I would post a common German or Austrian meal. Schnitzel can be made from both pork or veal cutlets that are pounded as thin as you can and then breaded in the trilogy(flour,egg, and bread crumb mixture) and then fried. I prepared veal cutlets early this morning, seasoned them with salt/pepper , breaded then and then fried them up.I placed them on a sheet that I later covered with foil and placed in the oven for a quick reheat at 350degrees for about 20-30 minutes.

Instead of the potato salad i made some pan fried potatoes or bratkatoffel in German. I also get some double- smoked bacon from the Polish Deli (where I get most of my meats, cold-cuts, bacon and sausages) In Ottawa that would be Adams Sausages off St. Laurent Blvd. (They are the best!!) I sliced about 6 slices of bacon, add a diced onion, scrubbed and sliced potatoes and a little oil (if necessary) and fry the potatoes up. This to can be prepared early in the day and then rehated. Season with salt, pepper and chopped parsley.

Yes , this meal has a lot of fried components (not for heart patients) I had some left over cucumber salad and thought this would be a nice refreshing addition.
The husband thought a cold beer was more refreshing and a better addition to an Octoberfest meal. After all, what would an Octoberfest be without the beer? So "Bitte ein Bitt". Which is a great German beer to try if you haven't done so yet.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving . Yes, in Canada we celebrate it more than a month earlier than our American neighbours. but other than not having the infamous "Black Friday" Sales, our Thanksgiving can be just as hectic and freaky ! I've done it all , as much as 20 people at 2 tables, to just Ron and I. To be truthful I as I am getting older I yearn for just the quiet 2 or 4 some dinner, but alas to date it is still at least 10 people squished around the table. This year we were 8 and there was a little more breathing room.
I have scaled back with the preparations. I no longer stuff the bird and turn it into a 3-4 day production. I now buy a fresh bird and just brine it the night before and then at a decent hour the next morning roast the bird, with the cavity just filled with an aromatic filling. Besides the bird we make the mashed potatoes, maple carrots, my sister brought the stuffing, Kohlrabi in a cream sauce the cranberry ring, and a refreshing cucumber salad. There was plenty of both red and white wine and of course the obligatory pumpkin pie , creme caramel, banana bread, assorted chocolates and sugar pie. ( A bit overkill in the desserts, but that's ok.)
However, back to the bird... I've been braining the bird for the past 3 years now and I must say for me it is the only way to go. There are many brine sachets you can buy, but why bother when it is so easy to make your own. There are probably many brine recipes out there and they are all good, find one that appeals to you and give ita try. I swear you'll never go back, to the old way of preparing your turkey. The bird was so moist, tender and flavourful. I used to even make an aromatic butter and rub the entire bird under the skin with this mixture, but now find that brining the bird gives it more flavour without all that extra fat!

1 gallon vegetable stock
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1tsp black pepper corns
1tsp all spice berries
1 cinnamon stick
6 sprigs of rosemary
6 sprigs of thyme
6 sage leaves
1 1/2tsp. chopped candied ginger

Simmer above ingredients , let cool . To a large tub /pail (over 5 gallon) add 1 gallon of ice cubes, the turkey and cooled brine . Place in fridge and marinate over night.

The next morning remove turkey, wipe down, rub with canola oil, season with salt/ pepper and herbs of your choice. Place the aromatic filling in cavity and roast your bird according to the weight of your bird. When internal temperature reaches 170 degrees start basting the bird every 5 minutes for an additional 30 minutes to brown the bird. Let the bird rest before carving.

In a bowl place 1 carrot roughly chopped, 1 onion quartered, 1 apple quartered, 6sage leaves, 6 sprigsrosemary, 1 stick cinnamon ,1 bay leaf, 1 cup water, microwave for 5 minutes. Remove the filling and stuff the cavity with this stuffing. You can put the water in the bottom of roasting pan or discard it.
6 springs of sage