Delicious Potato Leek Soup and My First Brioche!

As soon as I woke up this morning, I was ready to get baking my first brioche. It turned out very very good considering it's only the second bread I've ever made myself. We ate half the loaf almost today! Mark had been bugging for a roast chicken, so I made one for supper. I just stuck it in a big casserole dish with some onions garlic cloves and bay leaves on top and seasoned it with just salt and pepper. Keeping the cover over the casserole keeps the chicken from drying too. It was juicy and super tasty! Nothing is better than chicken!





I also made my first potato leek soup from the Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I must say it was super delicious and I think it was the easiest soup I have ever made in my life. I think everyone in the whole wide world needs to make this at least once! I can't wait to have more for lunch tomorrow..
I also altered the recipe. It said to put butter or cream, I put butter and some 1% milk to make it creamy. 

To make the potato leek soup, you will need -
3 cups leeks, chopped (3 leeks, the whites and the light green)
3 1/2 cups potatoes, chopped & peeled
7-8 cups water
tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp milk
salt and pepper. 

Put water, potatoes, leeks and salt into big pot. Bring to a simmer and simmer 40-50 minutes covered until veggies are soft. Mash potatoes and leeks with masher, then use hand blender and puree the soup. Season with salt and pepper, add butter and milk. Stir and serve.









I hope you enjoy this delicious soup!

Until next time, 
Jacqueline

Vegetarian lasagna without noodles

Last night I had supper at my parents house. We had duck stew with molasses beans and I made a flour-less chocolate cake. When I came home, I just threw together this meal and stuck it in the fridge because I knew Mark would want to relax tonight, instead of making me supper since I had to work until six.

This recipe is just something I made up. I just had a zucchini, an eggplant and some mushrooms in the house. I had Mark make me some gorgeous marinara sauce. I just roasted up the eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms layered it with the sauce and put some Cheese on top, lots and lots of cheese! Sometimes I roast peppers when I have them, and layer them in too. Just use what you have and this will turn out fine! Hope you like what I had for supper! What did you have?





It didn't come out of the pan as planned, but it sure was delicious!

Tomorrow I am cooking something fabulous! So make sure you come back to see!

Until next time, 
Jacqueline


I've already blogged about Classic Indian restaurant on Wissler Road in Waterloo, but if any restaurant in the Kitchener-Waterloo area deserves a second post, it is this one. One of our most favourite spots here in town, we have never had a bad experience at Classic Indian. The food speaks for itself, but it's worth noting that the staff is always friendly, enthusiastic and accommodating with regard to the menu. There is a MASSIVE vegetarian section on their menu and if you want no dairy, they make sure you have no dairy. If you want it extra spicy, they will make it extra spicy. Everything is made in-house and they are always so great about making the meals according to our specifications.

The staff at Classic Indian always makes us feel welcome and at home, and every time we order more food than can fit on our table, which is actually every time we go in there, they have no problem sliding an extra table over to make sure we are comfortable.

The main reason I wanted to post about this restaurant again is to show you the coolest menu item of them all, pictured above. For the first time ever at Classic Indian, we ordered a "Dosa". The one pictured above is the "Masala Dosa" and it is a crispy rice and lentil crepe, filled with spiced potatoes and green peas. The Dosa comes on a platter - as you can see it takes up half the table - so definitely come hungry or find someone to share with. I've never had anything like it!



My most favourite menu item and regardless of whatever other things we order I just cannot visit Classic Indian without getting the chenna masala! For those of you out there who have never tried chenna masala, it is a chickpea dish and the sauce is a thick onion gravy - just spicy enough! It is a little bit of heaven, I am telling you. I've tried making it at home and it is just not worth it, it is nowhere near as good as this one.



And finally, coconut rice (basmati rice with coconut and raisins) - a new favourite of ours!

Although that was more than enough food for lunch (we definitely didn't eat for the rest of the day), we decided to take a bit of the restaurant home with us in the form of a jar of the famous Classic Indian mullugtwanny soup.



The first time I tried this soup was a couple months ago when I had come down with a pretty mean head cold and had absolutely no appetite whatsoever. Work sent me home and I knew I needed to eat something before passing out for a few hours and so Paul went and got me some of this soup. It was so warm and flavourful and with all those lentils and pureed vegetables it surely provided my immune system with a boost. It was definitely the silver lining to an otherwise pretty crappy day.

I am so happy that they sell it in just-add-water jar form - made for some pretty awesome weekday lunches last week!



Although we normally dine in, I also want to comment on their amazingly efficient online takeout ordering system. I always panic a bit when using online ordering systems for the first time. I think it comes from being vegan and the concern that animal products are somehow going to make their way into my order when I can't tell an actual person what I need. The really cool thing about Classic Indian is that after we placed our last takeout order via the website they actually called us to verify! Maybe I am getting overly excited about it but seriously, in this day and age such amazing customer service can be so hard to come by. You can tell that Chef Thiru and the staff at Classic Indian really want to make sure their customers have an enjoyable experience, regardless of whether they enjoy their menu options in the restaurant or at home.

Classic Indian
150 Wissler Road
Waterloo, ON N2K 3C6
(519) 746-1976

Suprême de volaille aux champignons a la Julia Child

Today I made something so rich and delicious I feel like sharing it to the whole world! Chicken breasts with mushrooms and cream. Now I never ever will call this health food, because as you will see, it definitely is not! But what it is, is deliciously rich and flavourful. You do not need to overly season and you will not feel the need to over-eat either for that matter, the richness helps the portion control! I was planning on making braised leeks with this meal, but I had an extra potato I had laying around that I decided to bake. I had just got off work at six thirty. No need to play around in the kitchen too much when you're starving!

For the chicken you will need -
5 tbsp butter (I only used 3!)
1 tbsp minced shallot
1/4 lb sliced mushrooms (I used mini bella)
sprinkle salt
4 chicken breasts (I used 2 big ones and cut them into pieces)

The sauce -
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup whipping cream
salt and pepper

Preheat oven at 400F. Heat butter in large casserole until frothy. Add shallot and stir for a minute or two. Add mushrooms, cook one minute. Add chicken breasts. Coat both sides in butter. I cooked them on each side for about 30 seconds or so. Put in oven with cover on for 8-9 minutes. It really only takes that long. I couldn't believe it, but I guess we're used to eating over-cooked chicken! Take out chicken, and put on warm plate.

Put casserole back on heat, high heat. Add broth & wine. Boil down until syrupy. Add cream & boil down until reduced about half. Season with salt & pepper. Serve over chicken!
Simplicity at its best with this recipe, and it was SO good. We rated it 9 out of 10! I hope you guys enjoy!











I have also become a proud mommy to my first enameled cast iron dutch oven. There was a huge Kitchenaid sale happening at Canadian Tire earlier this week and I snatched it up! $30 from $70! Who can resist that deal?!


Until next time,
Jacqueline

P.S. -
This is the delicious bread Mark made for me today! It is so good!

TALKING A LEEK (PUN INTENDED)

Last week Matthew came back from Ikea  with a stuffed toy vegetable set to match the fruit set that we have for the kids play kitchen.  As William pulled all the vegetables out of the basket, Kere did a double take, Matthew looked confused and I burst into laughter.   We think it's supposed to be a leek.



I think I'll hide it away in my drawer.


After quite an adventuresome time with sour dough starter feeding and bread-recipe trying, I'm delighted to report that at last, this rather large and splendid boule was turned out of the oven yesterday! I have a friend who is very clever with graphics so he made me this little sign using a rather tight close-up photo I took of a wonderful sour dough artisan-style boule. The Big Boule is what I named this one! My son really has jumped in on this adventure of trying to get a sour tasting, nicely risen, quite holey loaf of artisan bread. My graphics buddy (MW) made a nice little French-looking logo including a tagline which, translated, means "Mother and Son." Perhaps I shall get this image blown up and framed and hang it in the kitchen! Boulangerie Moxey, indeed! Oo la la!

This same graphic designer friend is also an expert baker of breads and has been coaching us along the way. After 6 days of nursing the sour dough starter, we tried baking several loaves with just the starter. Lumps of unrisen, yet crusty and tasty monstrosities emerged. My son kept urging me to add some yeast into the dough and I refused, thinking I was doing something clever and authentic. Visions of cowboy cooks - hauling their sourdough starter in a Conestoga wagon to bake bread in a cast iron pot over a campfire out on the plains for cowboys herding cattle - had seized my fertile imagination. I knew they didn't have little jars of instant quick-rise dried yeast in their kits back in the day!

I was told to put away that romantic cowboy notion, that there was no need to suffer from the disappointment of unleavened bread. All I needed to do was to add the powdered yeast along with the sourdough starter to the recipe. As you'll see from the food porn pics above, we followed the good advice and came up trumps!

There is snow blowing sideways outside my window as I type. It doesn't seem to be sticking to the ground. I think it's time to put the kettle on for a nice hot cuppa (PG Tips tea, of course) along with a piece of Big Boule toast and jam.





I am buzzing with so many ideas (aren't we all?).... but at least it is with a purpose.  I have an opportunity to put some work up in a hospital here in Alberta and want to create something that might be contemplative.  I am now making 20 (or more) of these little cup  shapes.  They are like 3D mandalas.  Or prayer mats you can sink into.... They are only a couple of inches across. They remind me of those brass prayer bowls... where have I seen those.  This is just a beginning for these Sweet Dishes.


Bit of a busy day today.  Ella and I went skating this morning.  She is doing so much better now that she uses both feet.  Then we headed to Pembroke to go to the Bulk Barn and a few other things.

Colin and Dad are busy combining some more corn.  The meltdown last week cleared enough snow from the field for the combine.  It's really dry now.  Boy, it sure was throwing heat in the corn stove last night.  Colin should save this corn for when we get cold again in March.

  I've been busy washing eggs and dishes.  The chickens seem to be picking up production and the new chickens seem to be laying well.  Their eggs are getting much bigger.  Even the new banty eggs are getting up to 'regular' size.  This is from two days.

I was just thinking I hadn't shown you what the new chickens look like now that they aren't balls of fluff.  This is our rooster.

Yes, I know he looks like a Barred Rock but he isn't, this what the Harco Black S-x Link rooster is supposed to look like.  He has a much nicer personality than the Chantecler roosters.

And here is one of the ladies.  Some of them are much blacker, but it's even harder taking pictures of chicken than of children  :)  As it was I had to take 5 pictures of this one to get one fairly clear picture.

I am seriously considering getting some meat birds this year.  There would certainly be no question about selling the birds, we are always being asked if we have chicken.  What I need to find is the easiest way to raise them.  Colin doesn't have any more time, so I need to find a method that Ella and I can handle -keeping in mind I'm a city girl and Ella's 5  :)  I'm not worried about 'finishing' the birds as we have a guy that goes from farm to farm taking care of that end of the process.
Ella's mountain took a real hit in the mild weather and now it's too soft to play on, that and she'd be landing in the muddy yard.  But I think we are supposed to be getting more snow in the next few days.  I'm sure she'll be out climbing mountains in no time.  Hopefully the new snow will be a little wetter and Ella will be able to make a snowman this year.

Rôti de porc poêlé avec purée de pommes de terre à l'ail et pois

Today was my first day of cooking with my new favorite read; "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." I must say that I probably should have read these recipes and memorized them step by step, because there are so many steps to trace back to. What I decided to make was a casserole-roasted pork, that has been marinaded for a few hours, garlic potatoes and snow peas. The snow peas were just steamed with salt and pepper, you can't afford to put anymore butter after you see how much butter there is in the potatoes! Mark and I rated the recipes as we ate them, giving the pork a 9.5 out of 10 and the potatoes 9 out of 10. It was a pretty good start to this French cooking journey.

Our super delicious meal!

I chose to make a simple marinade with lemon juice and herbs. I only had a 1 1/2lb boneless roast, so I just made the measurements the recipe called for. If you have a bigger roast, I would suggest to double it for optimum flavor. What you need for the rub is:
Salt & pepper
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
parsley (I used dried)
1/4 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
clove of garlic, mashed

You rub the salt and pepper all over the meat. Mix everything else together and drop the meat in and turn the meat all around a few times. Marinade for 6 hours or so. I only marinaded it for 4 and it was fine. 
When you go to cook your meat, it says to use pork fat. Well all I have is olive oil, and I'm honestly not going to go buy pork fat. Preheat the oven to 325F.You heat oil in a pan, or whatever you're cooking the meat in. (I do not have a dutch oven, or a casserole I can put on the stove so I used a frying pan.) You brown the meat on each side to sear it. Then you take out some oil, leave about a tbsp and add a tbsp of butter or so. Add 1 cut up carrot, 1 cut up onion and 2 cloves garlic with skin on, some thyme and a bay leaf. Stir this,cook and cover for 5 minutes. Put all this mixture into a casserole and cover and cook for an hour and a half or so. Mine only took an hour and 15 minutes, but it was smaller.
When the roast is done, just stick in on a plate to rest. You take all the juices & veggies from this, put it in a pot and take the skins of the garlic too. Put in on the stove, and bring it to a simmer. Add 1/2 cup white wine or so. Simmer for a few minutes and mash up the veggies and you have some super delicious but strange gravy. It was so good, Mark kept trying to eat it!'




 Remember to pat the roast dry and remove any excess marinade!







Now the potatoes are a little different. I just used two big potatoes, and it made quite a bit of leftovers, so I'll tell you how she has her recipe and if you have to, you can halve it like me. 

Just make some plain mashed potatoes with about 2 1/2lb potatoes, and add some salt and pepper and some butter if you want. You might not want to after you make the garlic sauce.
For the garlic butter sauce you need-
2 heads of garlic
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup boiling milk
salt and pepper

Cook the garlic and butter on low heat for 20 minutes, covered until garlic is soft, but not brown. Blend in the flour into the butter and garlic, cook for about 2 minutes or so. Turn off the heat and add boiling milk and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil again for about a minute. Blend it in a blender or puree it if you like. I just mashed it with a masher because the garlic is so soft. Add to potatoes. Mix and then add some cream to them if you like. I added a bit, because Julia said so! 

We definitely don't cook like this anymore. I'm not a person who eats fried food. I honestly can't remember the last time I had a french fry, but I think french cooking is fabulous with all its fat and flavor. No wonder the french stay thin, you can't make this rich and flavorful food and pig out. Enjoying it in moderation is definitely the key. And it's always moderation for me, I always eat everything off a small plate unless it's pasta, because it's messier.
 The garlic butter sauce!
The delicious potatoes!

Bon appetit!

I hope you all enjoyed the beginning of my french cooking. Of course it wont all be french cooking. Mark loves his Italian cuisine after all.

Until next time, 
Jacqueline









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