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goat cheese eggplant dip + sea salt pita chips



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IMG_2459Sweet eggplant and roasted garlic mixed with goat cheese, scooped with homemade sea salt pita chips. Think baba ganoush but with an improved texture. The pita chips are better than store bought and I’ve taken to keeping a bag of them in the freezer for this exact recipe. Serves six with leftovers.

goat cheese eggplant dip + sea salt pita chips

Ingredients:
2 small or 1 large eggplant
4 peeled garlic cloves
1 tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon cumin
150 gram packet goat cheese
4 tablespoons olive oil (divided into 1 each)
salt and pepper to taste
garnish with chopped Italian parsley or toasted sesame seeds

Using a fork, generously poke holes in eggplant and salt. Bake in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until soft and dark on both sides. Flip once. Add the garlic cloves to the pan in a foil pouch drizzled with one tablespoon olive oil and pinch salt in the last 10 minutes.

Remove roasted eggplant to stainless steel strainer. Set in sink, sprinkle salt and press down to remove as much liquid as possible. Cool and drain for 20 minutes. Use the stem to pick up the eggplant, scraping as much flesh as possible into a clean bowl. Some pieces of skin are okay and add a smoky flavour. Add remaining ingredients and combine by hand or using a hand blender. Reserve one tablespoon of olive oil to pour on at serving. Let “set” in fridge for an hour. Garnish with chopped parsley or toasted sesame seeds.

sea salt pita chips

Ingredients:
3-4 pitas
salt and black pepper to taste
coarse sea salt to garnish
50 ml olive oil

Using kitchen scissors cut the pita into wedges and place on a cookie sheet. Combine olive oil and salt and pepper in small bowl and brush onto the pita. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until crisp. Flip once. These burn easily so keep an eye out. Taste and top with additional sea salt if desired. Chips stay crisp in an air tight container for three days.

herb corn salad

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herb corn salad

Ingredients:
1/2 cup packed chopped herbs like basil, parsley and chives
kernels from 3 cooked corn cobs
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Combine. Best eaten outside with meat from the BBQ. Serves four.

rosé sangria

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I know I don’t need to educate anyone on the benefits of pitcher cocktails. Too many to count really! More time with friends, less time prepping and making drinks is my rationale. The longer this sits, the better it gets. Perfect for late summer afternoons and dining al fresco. The sangria is close to the colour of rosé wine and so pretty in a glass pitcher. Enjoy!

rosé sangria

Ingredients:
1 bottle dry white wine
3/4 cup unsweetened pomegranate or cranberry juice
1 1/2 cups sparkling water/club soda
6 shakes angostura bitters
3 tablespoons grand marnier
1 tablespoon sugar
1 orange, lime and lemon

Slice orange into half moons. Drop into pitcher followed by grand mariner and sugar. Leave covered in refrigerator for two hours. Add remaining ingredients and juice of half a lemon. Serve in ice filled glasses garnished with lime wedges.

frittata with beet greens

041 057This recipe reminds me of my Polish grandmother. It takes an ingredient you might throw out, beet greens, and makes it into something delicious. I find so many people in love with food attribute it to a grandparent who got them hooked. Lucky I say.

frittata with beet greens

Serves four
Ingredients:
2 cups peeled potatoes sliced 1/2 inch thick (approximately 2 cups, it’s a forgiving recipe)
greens of one bunch beets washed and chopped (spinach works too)
1 onion chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
half of a zucchini sliced (red pepper/mushrooms also work well)
6 eggs beaten with a dash of milk
salt and pepper to taste
mozzarella cheese torn onto chunks (or feta) to taste

Boil the potatoes in salted water for five minutes. Drain well. Saute onion on low in half of the measured olive oil, with salt and pepper for 15 minutes until caramelized. Use a pan that is oven safe. Add zucchini or chosen vegetable to pan when the onion is almost done. Cook for an additional two minutes and then remove veg and onion from pan.

Add remaining olive oil to pan and fry potatoes, adding salt and pepper for 5 minutes until starting to brown. Preheat oven broiler to high. Fold in the greens to pan to wilt. Add the onion and vegetable back in. Pour the egg over top, allowing it to cover the entire bottom of the pan. Let egg “set” on stove for 2 minutes. Place the cheese on top, then transfer to oven to broil for 5 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the frittata poofs up a bit and cheese begins to melt. Remove from oven and slide a spatula around edge of pan to loosen. Shimmy onto a waiting large plate. Wonderful served with a light green salad. Slice into four large or six smaller servings.  Leftovers often fought over enjoyed in our house the next day for lunch with a little hot sauce.

killer roast chicken

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I started roasting a chicken every other Sunday a few years ago, the ultimate comfort food. The house smells amazing and leftovers abound. I simmer the bones for stock. If you don’t have time, just store in the freezer for the next time you make soup. Roasting a big piece of meat can be intimidating, and chicken is a great way to start. After the recipe see my tricks for roasting.

Back to the main event – this killer roast chicken. It might seem like a lot of garlic. It’s not as it gets sweet as it roasts. If you’re a fan of roasted garlic, add even more. Serves 4-6.

killer roast chicken

Ingredients:
1 organic chicken – approximately 1.5-2 kg
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 onion peeled and quartered
5 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs of rosemary
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly dry off the chicken with paper towel. Place the chicken breast side down on baking dish. This keeps the meat moist. Drizzle oil on top. Snuggle the onion and garlic and one rosemary stick in the chicken cavity. It will all fit. I promise. Wiggle the other rosemary stick underneath some of the skin.

Season the top of the chicken generously with pepper and a generous shake of salt. Pour water into the pan, avoiding the chicken. Roast in the oven for 1 hour at 400 degrees, basting twice. Reduce heat to 350 degrees for a final 30 minutes. Use less time at the end or more depending on the weight of your chicken. Insert a knife to check to see if cooked when the juices run clear. Let rest for 15 mins. Carve and dive in.

1. Buy the best meat you can afford. Find a butcher in your neighbourhood. Always cheaper and better quality than the grocery store. Go organic if you can, the difference in taste and texture is worth it. My favourite organic produce is from Mama Earth, and meat is from Blue Goose.

3. Let it rest. Always. 15 minutes minimum. Flavours get to know each other and all the juices redistribute. Get yourself something to drink and go chat with your guests and sit down on the couch. You deserve it after slaving in the kitchen.

2. Timing is everything. Prep the sides before and reheat them if this is the first time pulling off a roast for a crowd. This means you can focus on the meat. My strategy is always start hot (400 degrees or more) for 45 – 60 minutes and then take down the heat. Works well for pork, chicken, lamb and beef.

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