Friendly Food Snobs

miso garlic butter mushrooms

This summer has flown by. We just returned from a week at a cozy cottage on Buckhorn Lake. There’s something so restorative waking up beside the water to the sunrise. I’ve been cooking a tonne of vegetables this August, so much beautiful veg coming from our local farmers. Along with fresh tomatoes and zucchini, mushrooms are one of my favourites. They’re flavour packed and cook quickly.

In this recipe the mushrooms are the star. The miso paste, garlic and butter bring lots of wonderful umami flavours too. Here are my tricks for crispy, not soggy mushrooms.

  • dry the mushrooms well with paper towel, no need to wash them with water
  • leave them to get crispy and brown for a few minutes on the frying pan without flipping them
  • fresh mushrooms are key – use within five days of purchasing.

What is umami? It’s the Japanese word for pleasant savory taste. Miso is packed with it, as well as broths, shelfish, Parmesan cheese, soy sauce and mushrooms. If you don’t have miso paste at home, no worries, these mushrooms are wonderful without it too.

Ingredients:

  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 cups sliced brown or cremini mushrooms (about 220 grams)
  • 1 TSP miso paste
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TBSP toasted sesame seeds

Dry the mushrooms with paper towel and wipe off any dirt. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat and toss in the mushrooms and salt and pepper generously. Let them crisp up on one side for about three minutes before stirring.

Cook for an additional five minutes until browned. Add the butter, miso paste and garlic and stir well to combine. Once the garlic and butter is fragrant (about a minute) pour into a shallow serving dish and top with toasted sesame seeds. Happy last weeks of summer, friends!

oatmeal coconut cookies (gluten free)

Has this social distancing changed how you cook? For me working and parenting simultaneously means leftovers are mandatory for any meal I make. And every week I bake a batch of cookies or muffins to have a healthy treat when a sweet craving hits. (Usually me at around 3pm!) These cookies are chewy, oaty and coconuty and just the right amount sweet. I love having one with tea after lunch. Sometimes if the boys are hungry they only last a day or two before all 24 cookies (that’s how many this recipe makes) are gone.

Sweetened with banana, and a bit of maple syrup, there will be no sugar crash like a store-bought cookie. You can make them with what you have in your pantry. I give a few options in the recipe. Chocolate chips and pepita seeds are excellent. That is what is in these photos. Currently my favourite combo is chopped dried apricots or raisins, and chopped almonds or walnuts. They taste like comfort food and that is all I’m craving right now cooking in a time of quarantine.

oatmeal coconut cookies (gluten free)

Ingredients:

Notes: Recipe makes 24 small cookies. Feel free to use regular flour if you don’t have gluten free.

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup flour (I love Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Baking Flour)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 2 ripe bananas mashed
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips or raisins/chopped dates/apricots
  • 1/3 cup chopped nut (like walnuts or almonds)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine all wet ingredients in one bowl. Mix all dry ingredients in another bowl. Combine wet and dry and stir until just mixed. Scoop golf ball size balls of dough onto a baking sheet. Gently press down to flatten with your palm. Bake 13-15 minutes until cookies set and bottoms are lightly brown. Enjoy!

mujadara: rice with lentils and crispy onions

Hello, from living in social isolation here in Toronto. I’ve been baking and cooking loads with all the extra time at home. This mujadara, also known as rice with lentils and crispy onions is homey comfort food at is best. The recipe was taught to me years ago by a Palestinian friend. It’s a recipe I have adjusted over the years and this version I am sharing is the simplest and easiest and still gets the comforting flavours and those dreamy, crispy sweet onions.

I use canned green lentils (drained and rinsed) and I also often make the rice the day before. I often make this on the weekend for my family or for guests to serve with roasted chicken or fish. It can also be a dish on its own. Just top with any cooked veg and a dollop of hummus or plain yogurt. Hope you enjoy the recipe and stay well. xo

Mujadara

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 yellow cooking onions
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 x 540 ml can green lentils (rinsed and drained)
  • one cup dry basmati rice

Cook rice to package instructions. When done remove lid and leave to cool. While your rice is cooking slice the onions into half moons. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add your onions to the frying pan and toss in the teaspoon of salt.

Saute onions over medium heat until they start to brown and get sweet and caramelized. This takes about 30 minutes. Don’t rush them. The onions really are the best part of this dish! I will often load the dishwater or do some other food prep (chopped veg for lunches etc) in the kitchen and stop to stir the onions every few minutes.

Once the onions are brown and starting to get crispy, add the butter and cumin and stir well until butter becomes fragrant – just a moment or two. Add the rice and lentils and stir well. Check to see if needs more salt and pepper. Top with chopped flat leaf parsley or cilantro before serving if you’re feeling fancy.

Mujadara keeps well in the fridge for close to a week, or freezes very well. I also think it tastes better the next day. Enjoy friends.

chickpea curry with coconut milk

Hello January. Days are starting to feel a tiny bit lighter but the most of snowy winter is still ahead of us.

I feel like the best way to “get through” winter is to embrace the best of it. My mantra for the winter weekends is hibernate, moisturize and play in the snow. Lots of slowing down, making soup and curries, reading, watching movies, and arts and crafts. I am also a little obsessed with my nighttime winter skincare rituals. They signal for me it’s bedtime and my time at the end of the day. I recently went for a facial at Pure + Simple and love this vitamin C serum I picked up there. Super moisturizing and the smell is divine.

Soups and curries like this one line my freezer. I make them on the weekend when I have more time and then whip them out for super quick weeknight supper. This chickpea coconut curry is my current favourite and my kids eat it over rice.

Use a can of organic chickpeas if you can. The taste and buttery texture is much better than non-organic. Truth: most canned goods I buy are traditional, but I splurge for organic chickpeas for this recipe.

Serve over basmati rice or quinoa. Top with a bit of chopped fresh cilantro or green onions if you’re feeling fancy. Hope you love it!

chickpea curry with coconut milk

Ingredients:

  • 1 cooking onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 x 796 ml can whole tomatoes
  • 1 x 400 ml can coconut milk
  • 1 x 796 ml can organic chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

Heat a soup pot or large deep frying pan with oil. Add the diced onion, salt generously and saute over medium heat five minutes.

Add the butter, ginger and garlic, then the turmeric, cumin and curry and stir creating a paste.

Cook the paste until fragrant, just a minute or so. Pour in the coconut milk and tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes a bit with a wooden spoon. Turn heat to a simmer and stir for five minutes as sauce thickens, then add the chickpeas and brown sugar. Reduce heat to low/medium and let simmer for another 15 minutes. Stir in the handfuls of baby spinach. And taste for salt and pepper, adding as needed.

Oh, this freezes so well too. Stay warm, friends.

peach galette

Can you believe we are in the last weeks of summer? Stone fruit is still in season here in Ontario to make this dreamy and simple dessert. Technically a galette is just a rustic pie. All you have to do is make a crust, roll it out into a messy circle, fill it with fruit and fold up the edges. It is so easy and looks beautiful. I like most things in life a little undone, so no wonder I have loved baking galettes this summer. Peach shown here in photos and a blueberry + blackberry combo were my faves.

Serve it with ice cream or fresh whipped cream. Or you can slice it up and let everyone pick it up and eat it like a pizza slice. That feels like summer to me. No utensils and eaten outside or in my dining room with early evening sun beams streaking in.

Berries or peaches are my preferred fruit but anything works (apple, plums, strawberries). I sort of cheat with the filling and use a few tablespoons of good quality jam, like the new Bonne Maman intense preserves . I recommend using wild blueberry jam for a berry galette and apricot jam for this peach galette.

I love the addition of a little spelt flour or almond flour to make a nuttier and healthier crust.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 1 cup white all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour (or spelt flour or whole wheat)
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup cold tap water
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • for topping the edge of the crust: 1 tbsp milk and 1 tbsp raw sugar (or regular white sugar)

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 3 cups sliced peaches
  • 2 heaping tbsp apricot jam
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Put the stick of butter in the freezer to chill. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add vinegar to the cold tap water (leave to the side). Using a dinner knife chop up the cold butter in small chunks and sprinkle it over the flour. Add five tablespoons of the ice water + vinegar mixture to the bowl and start to mix the dough. I use a fork at first. Then I use a pastry cutter or my hands.

Rub the dough between your hands to get the dough similar to butter + flour pebbles. Don’t work the dough too much – about two minutes or less. I find it helpful to keep a bit of flour on my hands. Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap on counter and scoop the dough onto it. Create a ball pressing as you wrap up the plastic wrap around the dough and put in fridge for 30 mins. 

While the dough chills, wash and slice the peaches. In a clean bowl mix the peaches with the jam and sugar.

Spread a piece of parchment paper on your counter. You’ll prep the dough on this and then bake the galette right on it. Sprinkle flour on the parchment. Unwrap the dough and place it on the floured parchment. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough.

I like to cover the dough with a fresh piece of plastic wrap and roll it out that way, keeps it smoother and less messy. Start to roll the dough from the centre out, taking on the rough shape of a circle. It’s rustic, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Dough should be about 1/8 inch thick when you’re done. Place fruit in the middle. Begin to fold the dough around the fruit, pinching at every fold to keep the fruit and juice in.

Brush the outside of the dough with tablespoon of milk using a pastry brush or your finger and sprinkle raw sugar over the spots where you wet the dough with the milk. Lift it up and set on a baking sheet.

Bake for 45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and fruit bubbly. Let cool before slicing in. Enjoy and share it if you can! Happy last weeks of summer.

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