Category Archives: Recipes

Uncle Ben’s Rice & Grains Recipes

The UNCLE BEN’S® brand serves up new RICE & GRAINS – Uncle Ben’s Rice & Grains

UNCLE BEN’S® brand now offers Rice & Grains, a combination of rice with ancient grains, such as quinoa and couscous and we’ve got some great recipes from local restaurants to inspire you to add more than just rice to your plate.

uncle ben's rice & grains

“Our team is always looking for ways to create gourmet flavours everyone can enjoy, and Rice & Grains has been a strong addition,” says Sommai Gordon, owner and head chef at Super Thai Food. “Canadians will be able to get creative in the kitchen with this product, just like we did with our recipe.”

The UNCLE BEN’S® Rice & Grains product comes in seven flavours:

  • Brown Rice & Quinoa – Roasted Red Pepper
  • Basmati Medley – Savory Herb
  • 5 Grain Blend – Savory Quinoa Pilaf
  • Brown Rice Medley – Roasted Garlic and Herb
  • Spicy Wholegrain & Quinoa – With Chili
  • Wholegrain & Wild – Garden Herb
  • Wholegrain & Quinoa – Garlic Flavour

super thai food

Super Thai Food

img27

le tigre

img21

img23

meet2eat

img16

img19

*Sponsored by Uncle Ben’s Rice

Roasted Eggplant Dip

Grab Locally-Grown Eggplants and whip up this Roasted Eggplant Dip

On the weekend we went strawberry picking and on Sunday night were ready for a BBQ. We love dips and served a trio of them this night. Green garbanzo, hummus and this awesome roasted eggplant dip made with locally-grown eggplant.

roasted eggplant dip

5 mini Windset Farms Baby Eggplant
3 garlic cloves, minced;
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice;
1 Tbsp Maille Dijon Mustard;
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil;
1/4 cup cream cheese
3-4 dashes hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste;
4 Tbsp chives plus a few for topping

maille

Preparation

  1. To roast the eggplants, prick the skin with a fork and roast for about 35 minutes in a 400 F oven.
  2. Put the roasted eggplants in a bowl of cold water, wait a bit and then peel off the skin.
  3. Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.
  4. Cool in the refrigerator and serve with extra olive oil on top and fresh chives

Spot Prawn Boil Tips from Chef Glavas of The Donnelly Group

Spot Prawn Boil Do’s and Don’ts

We were lucky enough to gobble up some of the first spot prawns of the season last month at The Blackbird Pub. The Donnelly Group’s head Chef Glavas put on a massive spot prawn boil and it was superb! We asked for his tips to share with you.

spot prawn boil

Spot Prawn Boil Tips

spot prawn boil
Always pick up your prawns day of the boil so they are still alive. Go to Granville island and buy right off the pier.

You can any blanch your potatoes in heavy salted water ( almost like sea water ) first as they take the longest, then add your corn on the cob.

Add green beans only for 90 seconds.

Grill the chorizo sausage separate as it does have a strong flavour profile .

Once you have all your potatoes, vegetables and sausage ready , drop your prawns last. Put everything in a big bowl and pour out on your plastic covered table.

The spot prawn blanching water
Water amount depends on size of your pot, and heavily salt. Add rough chopped onions, carrots and celery . Then a tablespoon of peppercorns and 3 bay leaves. Bring to a boil then your ready to add your spot prawns. The prawns take 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Once the have curled up there ready. Using a wired strainer remove your prawns .


Try different flavour butters on the side. I make a Cajun butter , lemon dill butter and a garlic basil butter.  They compliment the boil without overpowering the star of the dinner the spot prawn.

Mike Glavas Regional Operations Chef Donnelly Group
Follow him on twitter @MgGlavas

Arts Club Cooking Class with David Robertson of Dirty Apron Cooking School

What to cook this spring? We take some lessons from Dirty Apron

We updated this post from 2012 as it’s still so very relevant. Especially with spot prawn season starting this week! The Arts Club Theatre Company is known for it’s theatrical productions, but each spring they produce more than just theatre and host cooking classes.  Each class is put on by one of Vancouver’s renowned chefs at a gorgeous private home and raises money for the company. Over three hours guests enjoy cooking demonstrations, some hands on options and a four-course dinner paired with wine. Unfortunately they aren’t doing these in 2016 but I hope they bring them back!

A few years back we climbed up into the British Properties and joined David Robertson of Dirty Apron Cooking School for a spectacular meal, complete with views, charming guests and left with some new cooking tips up our sleeves and a Dirty Apron Cooking School apron.

First course – Citrus Olive Oil Spot Prawns with Crab Cakes

IMG_2588

Citrus crab cakes, olive oil poached spot prawns, pressed avocado

Citrus Olive Oil Poached BC Spot Prawns

Spot Prawns

1 lb BC Spot Prawns (shelled & deveined)
1 Lemon (Zest & Juice)
1 Orange (Zest & Juice)
1 Lime (Zest & Juice)
6 cloves Garlic
Fleur de Sel
Black Pepper
500 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil (poaching)

Heat the olive oil slowly with all zest and citrus juice to 135F.
Season the spot prawns with fleur de sel and black pepper. Poach the prawns in the olive oil until just cooked through. Remove them from the olive oil and allow to cool.

Crab Cakes

6 oz Dungeness Crab Meat
2 tbsp Plain Yogurt
1 tbsp Chives (finely sliced)
2 sprigs Italian Parsley
1 sprig Tarragon
¼ Lemon Zest
Pinch Espelette Powder
Salt & Pepper
¼ cup Flour
1 Egg (beaten)
¼ cup Panko (coating)

Pick through the crabmeat and discard any bits of shell or cartilage. Put all ingredients into a bowl and gently mix together and season with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into two patties.

Prepare to dredge the patties by placing 3 bowls side by side. In the first bowl place the flour. In the second bowl whisk the egg. In the third bowl, the panko. Dredge the patties in the flour, and then dip into the egg and finely coat with panko.

In a medium sized pan heat the oil over medium-high heat. Carefully place the cakes into the pan and sear each side until the panko turns golden brown on all sides.

Serve immediately with a salad and Lemon Yogurt

1 cup yogurt
1 lemon

Mix the lemon zest and yogurt together. Keep cold until needed.

IMG_2634

Chef Robertson preps beets

Apple cider marinated beet salad. Herb goat cheese, toasted brioche

Golden Beet Salad

3 Medium Beets
1 head Frisee Lettuce
½ bunch Watercress
½ head Radicchio
1 Whole Apple (thin slices)
60 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
30 ml Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt & Pepper

Place beet in a large saucepot and cover the beets with water by at least 2 inches.  Bring to a boil; reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until a small knife inserted into the beet comes out with little resistance (about 40 minutes).

Drain and let sit until cool enough to handle.

Trim both ends of the beets and rub off the skins with your fingers.  Dice the beets into 1/2 inch dice size.  Toss the beets in a bowl with sliced apple, watercress, radicchio frisee lettuce, olive oil and apple cider vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.

Rainbow

Spectacular View from the private residence where this class was held

Sumac roasted lamb loin, celeriac purée, red wine braised shallots

Sumac Roasted Lamb Loin on Celeriac Puree with Red Wine Sauce

2 X 4 oz Lamb Loin
1 clove Garlic
30 ml Olive Oil
1 Lemon (zest)
1 tsp Sumac
1 tsp Cumin (grinded)
1 tsp Coriander seed (grinded)

Preheat oven to 400°F
Coat the lamb with the marinade and marinate until needed. Before cooking, season with salt and pepper.
Sear in a pan over high heat until the meat is browned on all sides then place the pan into the preheated oven for 4-5 minutes to achieve a rare to medium-rare doneness. Allow the lamb to rest before serving.

Celeriac Puree

300 g Celeriac (peeled & chopped)
2 Tbsp Butter
300 ml Milk
1 small Bay Leaf
2 sprigs Thyme
Salt
White Pepper
300g

Place the celeriac into a sauce pan and sauté with the butter.  Do not brown the celeriac.  Add the milk and herbs to the sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Gently simmer for about 25 minutes until the celeriac is very tender.
Drain the celeriac and discard the herbs, reserving the milk.  Put the celeriac into a blender or food processor.  Blend until very smooth, adding enough of the reserved milk to give a creamy consistency.  Once the puree is nice and smooth then season with salt and white pepper.
Keep hot until needed.

Red Wine Sauce

1 Shallot (finely diced)
1 clove Garlic (minced)
80 ml Red Wine
80 ml Beef Stock
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (cold)
Salt
Black Pepper
Vegetable Oil

In a small saucepot sauté the shallots and garlic in vegetable oil until soft without browning, approx. 2 minutes. Add the red wine and beef stock and reduce to mixture to 1/3. Add the chilled butter, whisking in a little bit at a time and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and keep warm until needed.

Hazelnut orange chocolate pâté

Hazelnut orange chocolate pâté

Chocolate Pate

500 g Dark Chocolate
½ cup Unsalted Butter
330 ml Heavy Cream
Fresh Raspberries (for garnish)
Roasted Hazelnuts (for garnish)

Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler.  Add the ½ cup butter to the dark chocolate.  Stir the chocolate until smooth and take the bowl off of the heat to let cool to room temperature.
In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form.  Using a spatula, fold the cream into the dark chocolate.
Put a layer of saran wrap in the bottom and sides of the pan.  Spoon the dark chocolate mixture into the loaf pan.  Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Remove from fridge before serving and carefully remove the pate from the loaf pan.  Then slice the pate with a hot knife and put onto dessert plate.  Serve with Raspberry coulis, fresh raspberries and toasted hazelnuts.

IMG_2678

Martha Perkins

Diners Enjoying the night 

[flickr album=72157630090138774 num=30 size=Thumbnail]

Hot Pepper Recipes with Quesada

Hot Pepper School

We headed out to Quesada in Burnaby to sample some burritos and caught up with founder Steve Gill who demoed his hot pepper recipes and made some spicy salsa!

20160428 142033

Their chicken burritos were fantastic and their burrito bowls a great way to get your veggies in.

13087839 10157104839695354 7823297227698282922 n

Check out our video below for the salsa method!

29555 chili marinade2

Steve’s Top 3 Hot Pepper Recipes 

Steve Gill, Founder and CEO of Quesada Burritos & Tacos is constantly in the kitchen experimenting with different flavours. To help recreate fresh and flavourful Mexican-inspired recipes at home, Steve shares his tips & tricks to cooking with hot peppers with his recipes for Ancho Adobo Marinade, Chile De Arbol Oil and Salsa Roja. Enjoy! 

Ancho Adobo Marinade

Ingredients

 

4          Garlic cloves

10        Ancho Chiles

2          Pasilla Chiles

2 tsp    Salt

1-inch  Cinnamon Stick

2          cloves

1 tsp    Coriander

1 tsp    Cumin

2 Tbsp. Oregano

½ cup  White Vinegar

 

Method

 

1.     Roast garlic in foil at 350F for 30-40 minutes until soft.

2.     Peel skins.

3.     Rehydrate chiles in hot water for 30 minutes. Remove stem and seeds.

4.     Grind spices.

5.     Combine all in ingredients in blender and process to form a paste.

Chile De Arbol Oil

Ingredients

 

½ oz.   Chile de Arbol

2          Garlic cloves – smashed

¾ cup  Extra Virgin Olive Oil

½ tsp   Coarse Salt

 

 

Method

 

1.     Heat oil over medium heat until about to boil.

2.     Add garlic to oil until browned.

a.     Remove, set aside

3.     Add Chile de Arbol to oil until slightly blackened.  30-45 seconds.  Watch closely.

a.     Remove, set aside

4.     Remove pan from heat and allow oil to cool until just warm

5.     Add all ingredients to blender and blend on high until thoroughly combined.

6.     Add salt to taste and blend some more.

 

Once cooled, store in refrigerator.

 

 quesada

Salsa Roja

Ingredients

 

4          Tomatillos

3          Medium Tomatoes

⅓ cup  Water

10-20   Chile de Arbol (Depending on desired heat level)

1          Garlic clove

1 tsp    Oregano

½         Small onion

½ tsp   Salt

1/3 cup water

 

Method

 

1.     Pre-heat oven to 450F.

2.     Bring small pan of water to boil

3.     Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse to remove soap-like film.

a.     Place tomatillos in boiling water and boil for approx. 10 minutes until soft but not broken.

b.     Remove from boiling water, set aside

4.     Place Chile de Arbol on baking tray into heated oven and roast for 60 seconds until slightly blackened.

a.     Remove and grind the chiles.

b.     Be careful to avoid contact with eyes.

5.     Wash and score the tomatoes with an X pattern across the top.

a.     Place on baking sheet in oven and roast for 10 minutes until soft and slightly charred

6.     Combine roasted tomatoes, blackened chiles, boiled tomatillos with garlic, oregano, onions, salt and water in container and blend on high until desired consistency.

7.     Place salsa in small pot and simmer for 10 minutes to smooth out flavours.

About Quesada

Quesada is a homegrown Canadian success story started by an active guy with a passion for snowboarding and Mexican food. Steve Gill loved a good burrito after a day on the hill. In 2004, he finally decided to leave his well-paying tech job to open the first Quesada in Toronto on Wellington Street. People thought he was crazy. He proved them wrong! There are now nearly 59 locations and growing across Canada and Steve vows that nothing at Quesada will ever come from a can.

*sponsored by Quesada

Canadian Cheese Recipe – Cod You Believe It’s Shmoked Mac n’ Cheese

Canadian Cheese stars in a Seafood-based Mac n’ Cheese

We’ve always got some sort of Canadian Cheese in our refrigerator and pasta is never complete without a grating of a little extra atop.

Last week four top chefs and foodies from across Canada took to the stage in an attempt to create the ultimate comfort food using Canadian cheese, pasta and a little imagination.

tran

Alexandra Feswick, Chef de Cuisine at the Drake Hotel in Toronto, today emerged victorious in one of Canada’s highest profile culinary comfort food battles, Dairy Farmers of Canada’s (DFC) Grate Canadian Cheese Cook-Off.

With Mac & Cheese again as its theme, the biannual showdown took place at DFC’s Canadian Cheese Counter at the Toronto Food & Drink Market.

From BC Chef Thompson Tran from The Wooden Boat, in Port Moody, BC represented our province with the Cod You Believe It’s Shmoked Mac n’ Cheese and we recreated it at home and suggest you do the same.

British Columbia is well-known for its abundance of fresh sustainable seafood and quality hand-crafted products. Tran combined the bold, elegant and earthy flavours of smoked fish with the unctuous, sharp salty characteristics found in some of my favourite Canadian cheeses.

Cod You Believe It’s Shmoked Mac n’ Cheese

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: about 16 minutes
Baking time: 10 to 12 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

½ lb (250 g) gemeli pasta
½ cup (125 mL) dry white wine
¼ cup (50 mL) fish stock
1 cup (250 mL) milk
¾ cup (175 mL) 18% table cream
1/3 cup (75 mL) unsalted butter, divided
Grated zest of 1 lemon, divided
4 to 6 drops truffle oil
2 slices sourdough bread, cut in ½-inch (1 cm) cubes
1½ tbsp (22 mL) all-purpose flour
1¼ cup (300 mL) shredded Canadian Emmental cheese, divided
¾ cup (175 mL) shredded Canadian 4-year-old Cheddar cheese, divided
2/3 cup (150 mL) 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubed smoked BC black cod or any smoked mild white fish
½ cup (125 mL) roughly chopped cabbage
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely sliced, de-seeded serrano chili pepper or to taste
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped fresh tarragon

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Butter an 8 or 9-inch (20 to 23 cm) square oven-proof baking dish.

In large pot of boiling, salted water cook pasta according to package directions, about 7 minutes. Drain half of the pasta in colander, rinse in cool water and drain; combine with remaining unrinsed pasta. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in small skillet, combine wine and fish stock; cook on high heat until half of the liquid has evaporated, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in milk and cream. Set aside.

20160415 181141

In small skillet, melt 2 tbsp (30 mL) of butter over medium heat. Add half of the lemon zest, truffle oil and bread cubes, sauté until bread is light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

In large pot, melt remaining butter over medium heat, until frothy. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in reserved milk mixture. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 3 minutes or until thickened, whisking occasionally.

20160415 182542

Remove from heat; stir in ¾ cup (175 mL) of Emmental cheese and ½ cup (125 mL) of Cheddar cheese. Add drained pasta, smoked cod, cabbage, serrano chili pepper, and remaining lemon zest. Pour into prepared dish. Top with bread cubes, remaining Emmental and Cheddar cheeses. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with tarragon and a very light squeeze of lemon.

We poured ourselves a nice glass of NZ Sauvignon Blanc!

Skipper Otto’s Cortes Island Oysters #UglytoAwesome

Taking Skipper Otto’s Cortes Island Oysters from Ugly to Awesome

If you are an oyster lover, you know oysters come in all sizes and shapes. Some are best slurped fresh, right out of the shell, some dressed up with a bit of mignonette, and some of the bigger ones are better in stews or baked. Recently we were offered a sample of Skipper Otto’s Cortes Island oysters, a gnarly bunch of creatures that aren’t exactly supermarket shelf pretty as they cling to each other and are wildly misshapen. However ugly these may be deemed, they are absolutely delicious, and at $9 a dozen, an amazing deal. Fantastic recipe and looks delicious! If people are interested in CSF, memberships start at just $100 and get you $100 worth of Ocean Wise, fisherman-direct, fair trade seafood anytime throughout the year at a variety of pick-up dates and locations. Join by May 31st at www.skipperotto.ca

Skipper Ottos

They can be picked up down in Granville Island at Fisherman’s Wharf and around Vancouver. Check the schedule here.

Skipper Ottos

Skipper Otto's

We decided to make a version of Oysters Rockefeller with ours, but as they were a bit clingy we started them off on the barbecue so they’d pop open and be easier to deal with. We then transferred them to a shell and topped with the spinach mixture and cheese and baked in the oven indoors.

Sasquatch Stout

The result? Deliciously beautiful oysters! A bit of bread and perhaps a salad and you’ve got a meal. Don’t forget the craft beer!

Spinachy Oysters

2 garlic cloves
2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup panko crumbs

1 pound (about) rock salt
24 fresh oysters, shucked, shells reserved
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Barbecue oysters until they start to pop open and then bring into the kitchen to finish in the oven.

Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 450°F. Finely chop garlic in processor. Add spinach and green onions to garlic. Process, using on/off turns, until mixture is finely chopped. Transfer mixture to medium bowl.
Combine butter, breadcrumbs and process until well blended. Return spinach mixture to processor. Process, using on/off turns, just until mixtures are blended. Season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle rock salt over large baking sheet to depth of 1/2 inch. Arrange oysters in half shells atop rock salt. Top each oyster with 1 tablespoon spinach mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake until spinach mixture browns on top, about 8 minutes.

Cookbook – Butter Celebrates

Butter Celebrates – Rosie Daykin Shares her Fabulous Sweets

Butter Celebrates, is bakery owner Rosie Daykin’s second cookbook (Butter Baked Goods was released in 2013) and this time she is sharing a year of celebratory recipes. From Valentine’s Day to New Year’s and everything in between, Daykin has recipes for every festive occasion.

If you define celebrations as time with family and friends, full of laughter, love, witty toasts, good music, general chaos and delicious food, as Daykin does, you’ll love this book and the anecdotes that make both a great resource for baking,  and an entertaining read. Full of pretty pictures that inspired me to not only update my tableware, but also get back working on my journey in food photography, Butter Celebrates leads aspiring and advanced bakers through the seasons.

From Heart-Shaped Raspberry Pop Tarts for Valentines Day, Bunny Buns for Easter, and Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts at Halloween, you’ll likely want to bake many of these delicacies out of season.

There’s also a well written section on tips for entertaining, a list of necessities for baking and some ‘gentle reminders’, a list of tips to keep in mind when baking.

Butter Celebrates

For more on Rosie Daykin and Butter Celebrates, check out this interview on CBC’s North by Northwest with Sheryl Mackay.

We recently enjoyed these Brownies and I think they’ll be another batch on the go soon!

Butter Celebrateses

Irish Whiskey Brownies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup dark cocoa
2 1⁄2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup butter
2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
4 large eggs
1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
MAKES:  16 bars

YOU WILL NEED:  1 (9- x 9-inch) baking pan, buttered and lined with parchment paper

STORAGE:  These brownies will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. On a large piece of parchment paper, sift the flour and cocoa. Set aside.
3. In a double boiler, or a small heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt 2 cups of the chocolate chips and the but- ter, and whisk to combine. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before whisking in the whiskey (that’s fun to say!). Set aside.
4. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar and salt until very pale yellow.
5. With the mixer running on low speed, add the melted chocolate and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and beat again until well combined.
6. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the remaining cup chocolate chips.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until the brownies are firm to the touch.
8. Remove the brownies from the oven and allow them to cool completely in the pan before cutting.

Cookbook – Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes

Slow Cooker Recipes to the Rescue

I try to have something in the fridge or freezer that can be reheated for the nights where I get home later or don’t feel like cooking, but if I am really orgainzed I can plan ahead and have my slow cooker do most of the work. Hence I seek out new slow cooker recipes.
Last year I switched to a new slow cooker, one that is also a pressure cooker, rice cooker and yogurt maker! I’ve yet to get through all the functions.
The Lux Electric Multi-Cooker from Fagor is my new favourite cooking appliance, check out the LUX  Quick Guide to preparing delicious meals.
I have managed to make a few meals now out of a book I picked up last year, Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes, a reprint, in paperback this time, with 120 simple kosher dishes.

For those who observe the Sabbath, and are not able to cook on Shabbat, the slow cooker is the perfect answer to a good meal. For others, it’s a great way to plan ahead and arrive home to a clean kitchen.

The book is divided by course and each recipe clearly indicates seasonal ingredients and if it is a meat, dairy, or pareve dish, but the book is a great resource for those no matter what their background or menu needs.

Slow Cooker Recipes
For New Year’s Eve we were out for the day so I cooked up the

LAMB TAGINE. I loved roasting up the spices so they were super fresh and having some fruit and veggies in the main course means a healthy meal is easy.

MAKES 6 TO 8 SERVINGS

This dish is perfect for a special Friday night dinner, a Sunday feast, or for any festive meal. The tagine is also economical. The vegetables and dried fruit “grow” the inexpensive cut of lamb into an exotic concoction. Using the slow cooker to prepare it helps make it a dish even the cook can enjoy. Lamb tagine can be made and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 1 month. To reheat gently, preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the tagine in a casserole and cover. Reheat in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

INGREDIENTS

3 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2 large Spanish onions, diced
6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large dice
2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored, and diced (reserve the fronds for garnish)
8 large garlic cloves, chopped
½ cup halved pitted dates
½ cup halved dried figs
½ cup halved dried apricots
2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons Moroccan Spice Mix (page 201)
2 tablespoons charnushka (optional; see Note, page 109)
3 to 4 cups Essential Chicken Stock (page 207) or water

SUGGESTED GARNISHES
Preserved Lemons (page 213), rind only, rinsed and sliced into thin strips; Harissa (page 181); chopped cilantro; Charmoula (page 187)

SUGGESTED ACCOMPANIMENT
Steamed couscous

  1. Preheat a 6½-quart slow cooker to Low.
  2. Place the lamb chunks on a sheet pan or cutting board. Pat the meat dry with paper towels; this will ensure even browning. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Brown the lamb pieces on all sides, in batches, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the lamb to the slow cooker insert.
  3. Brown the onions in batches in the sauté pan, scraping up any browned bits (sucs; see page 7) left behind from the lamb. Transfer the onions to the insert.
  4. Sauté the carrots and fennel until they are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Be careful not to let the garlic brown. Transfer the vegetables to the insert.
  5. Add the dates, figs, apricots, tomato paste, spice mix, and charnushka (if using) to the insert. Add stock to cover. Cover and cook on Low for 4 hours, until the lamb is tender and the sauce has thickened.
  6. Serve as is or with your choice of garnishes.

MOROCCAN FEAST

Making Lamb Tagine is more than making dinner. The exotic fragrances and rich texture of the tagine juices make this dish more than a meal—it is indeed a feast. With the slow cooker helping to make the tagine easy to “throw together,” I like to round out the meal by pairing the sensuous concoction with some simple side dishes. Of course, you can serve the Lamb Tagine with some easy couscous and still impress your family and friends. But why stop there? I like to serve my tagine with a variety of salads and garnishes including Sweet Potato Salad with Preserved Lemons and Olives (page 145). The bright orange potatoes and tangy olives are the perfect foil for the rich tagine. I also like to offer Carrots with Dried Currants (page 148) and small bowls of garlicky-hot Harissa (page 181) and citrusy Charmoula (page 187). These simple do-ahead condiments allow diners to customize their meal. The flavors of these dishes harmonize with the lamb and add textural interest. My idea for this feast is to dress your table with your brightest linens, scatter bowls of sauces, couscous, sweet potato salad, and, of course, the tagine on the table, and let your friends and family truly feast on an abundant and well-prepared meal. With your slow cooker by your side, you will hardly break a sweat.

Reprinted with permission from Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes by Laura Frankel, Agate Surrey, 2015.

Snickerdoodles

When asked what Michael wanted for Valentine’s Day sweets, he asked for Snickerdoodles. I think it’s just because it’s such a fun thing to say. They are basically just a sugar cookie dipped in sugar and cinnamon, and very easy to make, as well. You can refridgerate or freeze the dough too. It has a bit more baking soda in it that regular butter cookies so they puff a bit.

Snickerdoodles (or Snickerdoodleydoos if you so choose to call)

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps baking powder
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 large free range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Coat with
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tsps ground cinnamon

In a large bowl combine flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy in your Kitchenaid Mixer or with electric beaters and then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, ensuring all is combined. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough. Refridgerate for an hour and then preheat the oven to 400 F degrees.

Shape the cooled dough into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar mix and place on a silpat on top of a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and then flatten to about 1/2 inch.

Bake the  for about 8 -10 minutes. Remove from and cool.