Monday, December 22, 2008

Tomato Garlic Starter paired with Bharat Mary

Mike from Sub Rosa Spirits sent us 2 recipes, here's the first one, paired with cocktails he makes at the distillery:

2 medium sliced Tomato
1 medium Onion [yellow, white or sweet Walla Walla is best] chopped coarsely
3-4 jalapeno. Seeded and chopped
2 cloves Garlic, crushed and sliced or diced or run through a garlic press
1/4 teaspoons - Cayenne pepper powder
2 Cardamom pods [seeds removed if you like]
4-5 Cloves
Salt as per taste
2 Tbs. Butter
2-3 Mint leaves, coarsely chopped. Chiffinod if you want to get fancy.

Here's what you do:

1) CRUSH Cardamom and cloves with a mortar and pestle. Grind to a coarse powder. I often remove the seeds from the pod, but it's not essential.

2) HEAT butter in a pan and add vegetables [tomato, onion, peppers] and fry for 5 minutes on medium flame, stirring occasionally. Take care not to break or excessively mash tomato slices.

3) ADD garlic. Let it warm and mix with the heated vegetables. Do not overcook the garlic, lest it turn bitter. Maybe 3 minutes additional time for the combined mixture.

4) ADD spices and salt and adjust the taste. Remove from flame, top with mint leaves

5) SERVE hot with roti [traditional Indian flat bread] or with a side of rice.

For a cocktail, serve with this variant on Blood Mary using Sub Rosa Saffron vodka. This Saffron vodka contains a bit of toasted cumin, coriander, ginger, galangal, cayenne pepper, black pepper and of course saffron. Very aromatic and heady. Makes a killer Bloody Marry.

Bharat Mary
2 oz. Sub Rosa Saffron vodka
3 dashes Worcestershire
1 dash Peychauds bitters [or orange bitters]
3 dashes hot sauce (or more)
Tomato juice (to fill)
Celery salt (to taste)

Stir in mixing tin with ice. Strain into a Rocks or Old Fashion glass over ice. Garnish with Indian pickled carrots and peppers. This is basically a Bloody Mary without the horseradish.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A new take on "The Real Pasta Primavera"

Earlier this year I blogged about The Real Pasta Primavera. I have heard many good things about the recipe and it was even reproduced on a site called
So I decided to experiment with that same recipe adding more vegetable variety.
This recipe is vegan.

Ingredients for 2 persons:
Fresh fettuccine, enough for 2 persons (I got mine at St. Lawrence Market, I bought the red pepper flavoured one, I would have preferred the basil flavoured but they were out).
One bunch of basil, chopped.
1 bunch rapini.
1 pound fresh small tomatoes, very finely chopped (I did not use grape or cherry tomatoes, the ones I used were slightly bigger than cherry tomatoes, like the size of a golf ball).
Baby spinach (I used about 2 cups, but note that it wilts and reduces its size).
6 cloves of super finely chopped garlic.
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced.
About 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or you can substitute salt+garlic powder for garlic salt, but I didn't have any).
Salt and pepper to taste.

Boil salted water and prepare it for the pasta, I added a little bit of cooking oil to the boiling water.
Slice rapini diagonally, use the whole thing, including both stems and flower. Pieces will be thin since they have been sliced diagonally. In a smaller pot, boil salted water. When boiling, "blanche" the rapini for 3 minutes.
Discard any tomato "juice" after chopping them, you want them on the "dry" side (non-juicy).

The following step involves "semi-heating" the sauce but not cooking it. I just didn't want the sauce to cool the pasta (as it usually happens with the pasta primavera). At low heat, combine the tomatoes, garlic, rapini, olives, spinach, basil and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and garlic powder. Heat it up for approximately 4 minutes, you don't want it to "cook" any of the ingredients, just to warm them up.

Now it's time to boil the pasta. Cook it al dente, take it out immediately, drain it and put it back in the pot (without the water). Pour the sauce on top and keep it at low heat for 2 minutes. This will distribute the heat.
Serve immediately.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pescado al mojo de ajo (fish in toasted garlic)

Bill Moran sent me the following recipe from his book Cocina Ranchera, a book on Mexican ranch cooking. In fact, he has 4 different cookbooks, and they all sound super delicious. Click on this link for more information.

Loyal readers may remember a post from almost 4 years ago now, "Mojo de ajo prawns (crayfish)". This is a similar recipe except with fish, but the basics are the same, you can use mojo de ajo for shrimp or other seafood as well.

Here is what he wrote about the recipe:

I enjoyed this dish very much at Restaurante René in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico in the state of Tamaulipas. When I went back to get the recipe, on another visit, it wasn’t on the menu, so here is my version. At Restaurante René the menu read Trucha al Mojo de Ajo, however, perch, catfish, red snapper, or other similar fish may be used. “Trucha” means trout.

And here it is:

6 to 8 Large Cloves Garlic, coarsely chopped
4 Catfish Fillets, 4 to 6 oz. each, sliced thin
3 to 4 TBS. Oil 1 TBS. Butter or Margarine
1 - 2 TBS. Cilantro, chopped 2 - 3 TBS. Fresh Lime Juice
Salt to Taste 1/2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Corn Flour

Rub fish fillets with lime juice coating thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove fish from refrigerator, dry with a paper towel, and dredge with the flour/corn flour mixture. Heat oil and butter in medium hot skillet. Add garlic and saute 30 or 40 seconds then add fish and fry until brown on both sides. Place cooked fish on platter and keep warm. Remove garlic from oil, add lime juice and cilantro and cook until cilantro is wilted. Pour lime juice, cilantro, and oil over fish fillets and serve.
Good with a tomatillo salsa on the side.

Delicious, I say!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Joy of Cooking and The Joy Kitchen

Last week I got an email notifying me about the Joy of Cooking and its new website, The Joy Kitchen. My mother used to have The Joy of Cooking and I used to consult it a lot in my early days of learning how to cook.

The Joy of Cooking is celebrating is 75th anniversary (in 2006, actually) and it is credited to Irma S. Rombauer (the original author), Marion Rombauer Becker (her daughter), and Ethan Becker (their grandson and son, respectively).
It is Ethan Becker who took care of this latest edition includes a note from Julia Child dated 2004, who was consulted as an authority for this revision and helped with the revisions. A letter from Ethan Becker dated 2006 explains all this and also tells about the sampling of the recipes, the work it took to bring this 75th anniversary edition to print, etc.
I do not have my mom's edition with me to compare, and I don't remember exactly what it included, but this edition has a lot of helpful information and ideas, including A History of the Joy of Cooking by Anne Mendelson. Apparently the first instruction that the original Joy included was to stand facing the stove and that's how Anne Mendelson named her book published in 2003. It is an appropriate addition to this edition of Joy.

The book also includes information about nutrition, and an explanation of the Nutrition Facts sticker and how to read food labels. I'm pretty sure this is something recent in the book, since the inclusion of food labels and nutrition facts is quite recent (definitely less than 75 years).
It also includes a heading about vegetarian diets. Too bad it says "in the United States, some vegetarians happily eat chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy products", ah well, people who eat chicken and fish are definitely not vegetarian, they may not eat red meat but they should not label themselves vegetarian. Too bad a misconception like this is included in such an important book.

There is a section about entertaining, including details that go beyond the menu, such as table decor, table setting, seating, etc. It also includes suggested menus for holidays, special occasions, 30 minute recipes, etc. All with recipes that can be found in the book. A suggested menu for a vegetarian event includes:
  • White bean dip with rosemary and garlic

  • Tuscan bread and tomato soup

  • Gazpacho

  • Mushroom barley soup

  • Wonton soup

There are, of course, lots of other recipes for vegetarian dishes throughout the book.

The beverages menu has section has a great explanation about coffee and different types of coffee pots, including recipes for different types of coffee beverages. The section also includes explanations for juices, punches, and other soft drinks. But, and this is what is super exciting, there is a section for wine and beer, and a section for cocktails and party drinks. No more fiddling around to find the perfect margarita or martini recipe, everything is clearly explained with measurements and everything.

This is the most complete cooking book you'll ever find, and what better than getting this new updated edition instead of going back to your mom's recipe books. It is published by Simon & Schuster and retails for $35 in the US and $39.99 in Canada. Definitely an investment worth making.

On a further note, I am proud to say that they spell "portobello" for the mushrooms, which is how I've been spelling it all along. And if such an authority in cooking spells it like that, I very well take it that such is the correct spelling.

Monday, October 20, 2008

How to Make Garlic Infused Olive Oil

The following instructions for garlic infused olive oil were written by Jamie Sward. I think it is really important to have it here on Garlicster, since I've been asked a few times how to prepare the garlic olive oil.

With the weather getting colder, and guests on the way, I wanted to make some delicious garlic dipping sauce for some homemade bread sticks. I'm a big fan of dipping bread in olive oil, with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. So tasty! I thought this would also be the perfect time to use some brand new stainless steel kitchenware that I purchased last weekend. While I was researching recipes, I learned something very important about the process of making garlic-infused olive oil. One might think it's as simple as dropping a few cloves of garlic into a bottle of oil. WRONG! Do it this way and you risk botulism poisoning which can be deadly!

Clostridium Botulinum is a bacterium found in most soil and since garlic, being a root vegetable, is ripped from the ground, traces of this deadly bacteria are still left clinging to it. Since Botulism is an anaerobic bacteria (meaning that it thrives in an environment lacking oxygen), it dies in the presence of oxygen. Olive oil essentially seals out oxygen and when you mix food in with the oil, you have an ideal breeding ground for these potentially deadly bacteria. It is absolutely essential that you sterilize any food you plan on mixing with oil, including garlic. It's recommended that you heat the oil to around 200F, sauté your garlic in the oil. The creator of Emerilware kitchenware and cookware, Emeril Lagasse actually recommends sautéing the garlic over medium heat for between 3 and 5 minutes. Do not...I repeat do not soak your garlic in the oil prior to cooking it. While there's something to be said for planning ahead, when it comes to safely making garlic-infused olive oil, it pays to wait till the last minute.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

End of summer pesto

Ann sent me this recipe:
I have been diligently awaiting this moment all summer long. While I have been up to my elbows in pears, and shortly apples, there it was. Chastely waving in the breeze, tempting my senses. So today I rewarded my summer of hard efforts with PESTO!
Is there anything more heady than that aroma of warm basil, freshly picked, filling the whole house with that lovely green scent? I have been fiercely guarding this patch against marauding snails~~~ who wanted it as much as I did. The leaves were as big as my fist. Pesto turns even humble macaroni into something extra ordinary! If you don't remember pesto, you should reacquaint yourself with the emerald delight. If you haven't tried it yet, here's the recipe:
Pesto Sauce
2 Cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
3/4 Cup grated parmesan cheese (the real stuff, not that powdered junk!)
3/4 Cup good olive oil
2 Tablespoons pine nuts (or walnuts)
4 cloves garlic
Put all ingredients into the blender, and blend on medium speed, stopping blender occasionally to scrape the sides, until sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes. Serve over your favorite hot cooked pasta.

Now I would probably remove the parmesan cheese, but for sure I want to make this deliciously herby garlicky pesto.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Los Tules Chicken Sandwich

Don sent me this recipe of the chicken sandwich they had in Puerto Vallarta. It looks super delicious, the combination of sweet pineapple and cheesy mozzarella, mmh mmh (damn milk allergies). OK, for everyone's enjoyment here it is.


Two chicken breasts (boneless)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1-8-oz. can of crushed pineapple with juice
½ cup slivered almonds
6 sandwich rolls or hamburger buns
Tomato slices
Tabasco, hot pepper or buffalo sauce of your choice

Bake two boneless chicken breasts wrapped in foil to keep moist. Approx. 30 minutes at 350 degrees (F) until tender. Shred the breasts into a layer in a twelve inch frying pan.

Mix in the slivered almonds and set the heat to medium. Pour the crushed pineapple and juice into a bowl and blend in the hot sauce to taste. Note: you will probably add more sauce the next time. Pour the mixture into the chicken and stir together.

When the mixture is warm add one cup of mozzarella cheese and fold together until mixed and the cheese is melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly so the cheese holds the mixture together.

Butter the buns and season with garlic salt and place in the oven to toast. Serve with a slice of tomato and a little Miracle Whip or mayo. Makes six servings. Leftover chicken is excellent in a tossed salad.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Vegan caprese-inspired salad

This is an unconventional caprese salad, since it is vegan so it does not contain any cheese, it also includes non-traditional ingredients like onion. I titled it caprese-inspired salad. It is super-garlicky and delicious!

1 package firm tofu
1 bunch of basil
2 beefsteak tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 red onion
2 TBS sliced kalamata olives
1 TBS imitation bacon bits
1 TSP honey
1 TSP mustard
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 TS Maggi seasoning (if desired for the dressing)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Use the garlic press or chop one clove of garlic very finely, mix it in 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to the mix.
Chop the tofu in half an inch cubes and put them in a container covered with the garlic-balsamic vinegar. Set aside.

Chop the tomatoes in 1/2 inch squares and basil. Set aside.
Slice the red onion really thin. Set aside.
This is how I prepare the dressing:
Chop very finely or use the garlic press with 2 or 3 cloves of garlic. Mix in the olive oil with approximately 1/2 tsp of salt. Add the mustard and mix until it emulsifies a bit. Then add the honey and keep mixing (I use a fork but if you prefer you can use a whisk). Add the Maggi seasoning, if you want, and finally the balsamic vinegar. Try it for taste and add more oil or vinegar according to your preferences.
Now, the trick to make delicious onion for the salad, onion that is not too strong for eating raw: Add the fine slices to the dressing and cover it all with it. Let stand about 45 minutes to an hour (you can do 15 minutes, but it is less effective). The onion will "cook" with the vinegar. It will leave a delicious flavour in the vinaigrette and it will not be too strong for eating raw.
When it's time to serve, just mix all the ingredients together. Delicious, nutritious, low calorie and vegan. And most importantly... plenty of garlic!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Been very busy

Sorry guys for the lack of posting. I've been really busy doing stuff... summer and all. But I have been cooking and will post recipes soon.

Meanwhile I got an advance copy of The Complete Book of Garlic, by Ted Jordan Meredith. It is, according to their tagline, "a guide for gardeners, growers and serious cooks". I've taken a look and it looks great. It is indeed more a guide for gardeners and growers. And it has no recipes, but some tips on how to use it when cooking. I'll have a more complete review in a few days. All you need to know now is that it is coming out in August and will be available at Amazon and other retailers. And yes, sadly, we Canadians will end up paying more for the same product, it retails for $39.95 in the US and for $45.95 in Canada. That's 15% more in Canada, when at today's rate it should retail at $40.83 in Canada. Shame on publishers, shame!
OK, rant over. Happy garlicking!

Friday, July 11, 2008

White bean salad (ensalada de alubias)

OK, so this recipe has no garlic, but is delicious anyway, and has lots of onion. It is also vegan.
I wanted to make an "ensalda de alubias" like the one I had a long time ago in an Argentinian restaurant called La Taba in Mexico City.

I was looking for alubias, the white beans that is used in Spain to make fabada, apparently they are called fabes in English, but I couldn't find them anywhere. Even at St. Lawrence Market, where there is a guy who has every bean and rice imaginable, when I asked for fabes they wanted to give me fava beans, which are not the same. And when I looked up fabes on the internet it always took me to a generic beans page, so I tried to look for substitutes. I ended up buying baby lima beans. They were good enough.

I soaked 1.5 cups of dry baby lima beans overnight in the fridge.
Then I cooked them in the pressure cooker for 10 minutes with the heart of one celery, 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil, half an onion, 2 cloves of garlic slightly crushed and 3 bay leaves. I let the pressure cooker cool naturally and then I opened it.

Meanwhile I chopped about 3/4 red onion and covered it with the juice of 2 lemons and about 1 teaspoon of sea salt. I did this to marinade the onion and make it less strong for eating.

When the beans were cooked, I removed the celery, the garlic, the bay leaves and the onion and drained the beans keeping about 1/4 cup of the cooking water. I let the beans totally cool (or you can rinse them in cold water as well, but they are delicate and may peel if you do that, I recommend just letting them cool down). I then added the cooking water and beans to the lemon+onion concoction. I then used 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil and (here's the secret ingredient) 1 teaspoon powdered dry oregano. Mix everything and add salt and pepper to taste.

The salad was delicious!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Spinach and sundried tomato linguine

I'm still around. I've just been really busy with work and life and stuff... no, no good gossip, nothing new, just busy.

OK, so today I have the recipe for spinach and sundried tomato pasta. This was a delicious recipe I made a couple of weeks ago. I used Catelli Healthy Harvest (whole wheat) Linguine.
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups chopped fresh plum tomatoes
2 cups chopped sundried tomato (in oil)
Club House Garlic Plus
Club House Garlic Plus
1/2 a cup chopped Kalamata olives
1 cup fresh basil
3/4 package fresh spinach
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Dried cayenne pepper

For the sauce:
Chop the garlic and fry it in the olive oil.
Fry garlic

Then add the fresh tomato, oregano, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper, as well as the Garlic Plus seasoner. Sautee for a few minutes.
tomato bits

The sundried tomato and olives go now.
Sauce ingredients

Meanwhile, cook the pasta to two-thirds of the time indicated in the package, for example if it says to cook for 8 minutes, cook it for only 5. You want the pasta to be kinda hard.
When the pasta is cooked (sorta), add it to the sauce along with the spinach and the fresh basil. Salt and pepper to taste. Leave it for approximately 2 minutes, covered. The spinach will be wilted but not totally consumed.

Serve in a pasta bowl and enjoy!
Spinach tomato fettuccine

(For those of you non-vegans or non-allergic to milk products, you can add some grated parmiggiano here).

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Comfort Food, by Kate Jacobs

Comfort food book
When I first heard of this book, I thought it was a cooking book, because of the title. But it is a novel, by the same author of The Friday Night Knitting Club. I didn't have a chance to read that book but some of my knitting friends said it was good, so I was glad to have the opportunity to read her next novel.
It is the story of Gus Simpson, the most famous cooking celebrity in the Food Channel. Gus is going through some changes in life and is forced to evaluate who she is and what she has done so far with her life, including her family and her professional life.
It is nice and agreeable read. Jacobs's style is best-selling type, easy to read and entertaining to follow. It has a lot of pop-cultural references and I wonder if she based any of her characters on real people, not that I would know who they are, but sometimes insiders recognize someone they know in this type of books.
The book has really good character development and an easy to follow story. It is in the chick-lit style but I believe it appeals to a wider demographic, from mothers and grandmothers to young women.
I have to confess that I developed a fondness for the characters and I even shed a couple of tears when I was reading their story. I read the whole book in less than a week and I kept looking forward to reading, I wanted to know what would happen to these people.
I really recommend this book as an easy, agreeable read.
Although it talks a lot about food (and a lot about Spanish food, which I looooooove!!) it has no recipes.
Kate Jacobs has a website and a blog.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Derlea garlic products do not disappoint

Last week I got a batch of Derlea garlic products, including Minced Garlic, Garlic & Ginger Puree, Roasted Garlic "Crunch" and Roasted Garlic Puree.

I have to admit that I didn't know what to expect, although I had seen some of the jars at Sobey's on Front St., I had never got them always preferring fresh garlic. But as loyal readers know, I've had problems keeping the garlic, mainly I think my apartment is too humid or something, and it sometimes sprouts or gets soft.
These jarred garlic products came to solve the problem. The minced garlic is just your regular minced garlic but in a quite convenient format. It retails for approximately $2.25 and is worth it if you have the "sprouting garlic" problems I've talked about.

The garlic and ginger puree is good, and convenient for cooking soups or oriental foods. But the roasted garlic..... oh my god, it is fenomenal. The roasted garlic puree was delicious over baked potato wedges (sorry I couldn't take a picture because I accidentally left my camera, and my lunchbag! at work). I just cut the potatoes in wedges (without peeling them), put them in the oven, sprinkled them with a bit of olive oil and roasted garlic puree. They were delicious. I really recommend it.

The roasted garlic crunch was a bit of a mystery, with the name "crunch" I didn't quite understand what it meant. Well, it is basically dehydrated garlic, great to toss over salads, pasta or pizza. I had it over pasta in lieu of parmesan cheese (since as my loyal readers know, I can't have any dairy products), and it added an extra delicious flavour to it. All in all, delicious garlic goodness.

Also, some readers asked me recently how to substitute jarred garlic products for fresh garlic in recipes. Well, The Derlea Foods website actually shows conversion measurements for those interested, for example, 1/2 teaspoon of chopped or minced garlic is equivalent to 1 clove of fresh garlic (more info here).

I still think I'll like to try the garlic with jalapeno product, I've seen it at Sobey's.
(Picture shamefully borrowed from Derlea Foods website).

Sunday, April 13, 2008

He said beer, she said wine, by Sam Calagione and Marnie Old

I've been super busy lately and haven't had much time to blog at all. But I didn't want to pass up the opportunity to talk about a great book I got recently: He said beer, she said wine, by Sam Calagione and Marnie Old.
I was really looking forward to this book, especially because it's published by DK which is one of my favourite publishers. I recently wrote about another book that they published, Morimoto. Well, they did not disappoint this time. The book has great pictures and a good amount of text as well, and is a great fun read.
Sam Calagione is the beer guy and Marnie Old is the wine woman. At the beginning of the book they explain who they are and why they are defending beer/wine. Then follows a short history of wine and beer, how they started to be part of culture, and who were the peoples drinking them. They also defend their choice of drink.
I particularly liked the story of wine, how it is produced, the difference between red and white. since I've been trying to learn a bit more about all of it (I am getting there, my readers may remember that I rate Educating Peter by Lettie Teague. Well, I can now distinguish some types of wines, and I now go beyond only knowing that there's red and white). It is very useful to have a reference about wine flavours and what it all means. I especially like the "travel guide" approach, which is not surprising since DK makes so many travel guides. The same approach comes a bit later with an explanation and "guide" to beer.
Later the Food Debate section comes, which explains food pairing for both wine and beer. There are sections for pairings with cheese, veggies, sandwiches, pizza and pasta, spicy food, shellfish, fish, poultry, meat and desserts. Quite interesting to learn about how beer can be paired with some food that are usually associated with wine, and viceversa. The only problem is that I believe it may be difficult to get half of the beers and wines in the book here in Ontario. We are at the mercy of the LCBO, and if they do not bring those wines, I believe we have little choice. Now I know how to do substitutions with yarns, so a similar approach may be useful for the beers and wines presented in the book. Nevertheless it is super interesting and worth a read.
At the end of the book there are a few recipes with suggested pairings of both beer and wine, the idea is to have a few friends or family over and see which drink is preferred with the foods. Lots of fun, indeed.
All in all, this is a great book that I totally enjoyed reading and having. It is a great reference and includes user-friendly and fun information for learning about both beer and wine.

Oh, one extra thing, the retail price for Canada is $28.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chickpea and spinach curry

Since I don't eat any dairy products or milk ingredients at all, I have been a bit concerned about my calcium intake. What else can I do to consume more calcium. I did some research and it happens that spinach is a really good source of calcium, so I decided to try new spinach recipes, containing garlic, of course. I made up this recipe today. The recipe is vegan.

Chop one whole onion and three cloves of garlic and sautee them in two teaspoons vegetable oil.

When onion is transparent, add three teaspoons of soy sauce, three teaspoons curry powder, the juice of half a lemon and one tablespoon chopped ginger (I used the one that you buy in a jar and is already chopped). Stir well and cook for about five more minutes.

Add one can of chickpeas semi-drained, and one can chopped tomatoes. Let cook for about 10 minutes to absorb all the flavours.

Finally add one bag baby spinach and stir just until wilted (not more than 2 minutes).

Serve with rice, I used basmati and it was delicious!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pasta with white mushroom sauce

This recipe is vegetarian and vegan.

As many of my readers know, I am allergic to all dairy ingredients. This time I decided to make my own pasta with white sauce, taking special care of not adding any dairy (most people will use cream for a mushroom white sauce), and of course, very garlicky!

Ingredients for 3-4 servings:
Olive oil
One cup shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Crushed red pepper, if desired
All the sherry left in the bottle (OK, I used all the sherry left in the bottle because I didn't have much left, I suggest about 1/2 a cup)
4 to 5 cups chopped mix mushrooms, I used cremini, oyster, shiitake and portobello
Cooked pasta (enough for the number of persons), I used multi-coloured fussilli

Sautee shallots and garlic in the olive oil until brown, be careful not to burn them.
Sautee shallots and garlic

Add the mushrooms and sautee until cooked (about 4 minutes).
Mushroom mix

Add all the sherry left in the bottle (OK, about 1/2 a cup). Add a teaspoon white flour for thickening the sauce. Also, add salt and pepper to taste and crushed red pepper, if desired. Stir until flour is disolved. Simmer for about 4 minutes making sure it does not dry out.
Sherry and flour

Serve over cooked pasta.
Serve over pasta


Saturday, March 8, 2008

The real pasta primavera

This dish is so garlicky it's dangerous! This is the authentic pasta primavera from Italy. There's a huge snowstorm in Toronto, so I decided to channel spring by making spaghettini primavera, primavera means spring in Italian and in Spanish. And you don't have to cook anything (except the pasta, raw pasta is not good to eat, you guys!) There's a bit of chopping involved, though.

Ingredients per person:
One cup fresh tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup fresh basil
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
One portion of spaghettini (I used about one inch roundful per person).

Cook the pasta in boiling water, but make sure it's al dente. You don't want soft spaghettini for this. I used Catelli Bistro Sundried Tomato and Basil spaghettini. But you can use just regular pasta. Spaghettini is recommended because it is thin. Capelli D'Angelo also works really good with this recipe.

Finely chop the tomatoes, garlic cloves and basil.

When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain and immediately (don't let the pasta cool), toss with the olive oil and the chopped tomatoes, basil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. I did not sprinkle with parmesan because, as my regular readers know, I'm allergic to milk products, but everyone else can do this to enjoy this delicious spaghettini primavera.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Vegan rajas

I'm sorry about the lack of posting. I've been around, but not much cooking/posting lately.
Today I have a vegan take into the rajas con crema that I blogged about some time ago.
I used:
4 fresh poblano peppers
Two cloves of garlic
Half to a quarter of a white onion
One small can of corn
Vegetable oil
Salt to taste

The first thing to do is to roast the poblano peppers in the broiler. I cut them in two so I didn't have to turn them around. When they were charred, I put them in a plastic bag to "sweat".
1 Roast de poblano peppers

After the peppers are cooled down, peel and devein them.
2 Seed and devein the peppers

Slice in "rajas".
3 Slice in rajas

Meanwhile, slice onion and garlic and sautee them in the oil until lightly browned but not caramelized.
4 Fry onion

Add the rajas that, because of the roasting, should be kinda cooked by now, sautee for about 2 minutes and add salt to taste.
5 Add rajas

Then add the small can of yellow corn. Sautee for another 2 minutes just to make the taste uniform.
6 Add corn

That's it! Serve with a side of rice and refried beans. The corn tortilla is for making tacos.
7 Serve with rice and beans