The best sauce ever


Well at least here and now, with the weather hitting sub-zero, mussels on the mind, and doable with ingredients that are always handy..


Like with my favourite veg or smell, my favourite anything is always changing - a fleeting love affair, but this sauce, in all it’s variations is a keeper no matter what - so old school in essence, so versatile, so comforting, impossible to forget for long..


This week, I was craving mussels, so I made the sauce and while it was on the stove, I went out for mussels, it usually easy to find fresh specimens at this time of year, but didn’t find any worth buying, and so ate it with veal, the next night over pasta, delicious. I eventually got my mussels and made another batch – yum. Since, I’ve eaten it with bread and butter, rice and veg, ham and pintade. I know I’m a sauce girl, but wow does this one make me sing. It really hits the spot when you’re eating alone on a cold night, but it would equally fit in over a sexy dinner for two.


It’s more ‘cuisine de grand mère’ than modern, definitely bordering on classic French, which no doubt explains why you can’t go wrong.. I’m sure many of you have one like it in your arsenal, and if not, well you definitely should. In French cooking speak, I guess it would be a velouté, a riff on a poulette, but who cares, this is how it goes..


Keep in mind that many ingredients can be omitted or added; the basics are onions, white wine, stock, cream, mustard, plus aromatics of choice, a bit of bacon is always a good idea. You could always add more stock and make soup. Add potatoes and clams or corn, you have chowder.. You could bake chicken or pork in it too. Some tomato added in is a nice addition if in the mood. And yes, you could omit the bacon, add more veg, maybe some broccoli, and serve it with a nut studded pilaf for a winner meatless meal. As you can see, the options are endless.


Regardless of how you serve it, I recommend a green salad on the side for crisp, refreshing crunch to balance all that savoury richness.




The best sauce ever

For mussels, poultry, veal, pork, or just about anything


8 p+

 2 c mirepoix (1 small onion, 1 stick celery, 1 small carrot, 1 small leek), chopped

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and/or butter

3 strips bacon, chopped

200 g button mushrooms, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp each thyme, fennel seed, chilli flakes

1 bay leaf, 1 clove

1 c white wine

1 L duck or chicken stock (or water), even beef or veal stock

½-1 c heavy cream

3 Tbsp old fashioned mustard or Dijon

s.q. (to taste):

lemon juice

Tabasco or hot sauce

Fresh herbs optional: dill, parsley, chives

Grated nutmeg

Salt and pepper


Sweat vegetables with fat, bacon and mushrooms in a big sauté pan or pot, ok to caramelize slightly too, then add garlic and dry herbs and spices. After a minute or two, pour in wine and reduce down. Add stock and simmer 10 minutes, add cream and reduce slightly, another 10 minutes or more depending on the consistency you desire. Season to taste with mustard and other seasonings. Depending on your stock, how much cream you used, how finely you chopped your veg, your pot and etc, the consistency will vary – you can adjust it by reducing down (watching the taste) or adding a little cornstarch slurry, although I don’t usually find it necessary. If you are using it to sauce fish or meat, then you might want it on the thick side, but if you are using it for mussels, then keep it on the brothy light side, throw your mussels in (make sure your pot is big enough) and crank it for 5 minutes or until they open. Enjoy.



Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 12:56PM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , , | CommentsPost a Comment



With Thanksgiving thoughts lingering, and the Christmas holidays right around the corner, some turkey talk seems over due..


For a good overview of turkey basics, different theories and methods with links:

There’s always Judy’s bird, a dry-brined hit you could try: (Russ Parsons, LA Times),0,4842837.story



I have an upcoming date with Ange and American Thanksgiving, at the same time as a slew of bird slaughters here at Morgan farms, which means I will have some pintade, Muscovy duck and wild turkey waiting for me to play with – stay posted for more bird talk..

Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 12:54PM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment

Canning tomatoes

Tomato Q&A

Been reading your blog and thought you could perhaps lead me in the right direction in terms of 'canning'  40lbs of tomatoes from my greenhouse.
Most are still green and I have rolled most of them in newspaper to rippen.  The others I have set on the window sill.  When enough red ones are ready I stew them (peeled) with some fresh herbs, thyme and basil usually, some onion and green peppers.  I then put them in mason jars and stick them in the freezer.
Ok so you're probably going 'Deb, Deb, Deb, get with the program woman.'    Can you help me Nance?
I appreciate it.
Good shroom hunting.

Hi Debbie,

What you're doing sounds fine if you have the freezer space, and plan on going through it in a matter of a few monthes.  Since I do hundreds of pounds, I can them.  Plus I love the look of mason jars in the dining room, on the counter and in the cupboards; they make good hostess gifts too.  I make tomato sauce because that's what I eat, and it allows for swifter processing.  Many people put up whole tomatoes or tomato purée which is more versatile. The thing is, the product needs to have sufficient sweetness, salt and acidity, as well as be processed properly in order to successfully seal, which is why those kind of recipes require salt, lemon juice or vinegar and some heat processing.  A sauce is cooked, naturally more concentrated (more salty, sweet and acidic) than pure tomatoes. 

Anyway, what I do is:
Wash, peel and seed tomatoes (at least half - a few seeds never hurt anybody).
Make tomato sauce with onions, garlic, herbs & spices, wine, etc, reducing down. I finish it with fresh basil, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, a pinch of sugar (depending on tomatoes).. 
Meanwhile, I put the clean mason jars through the dishwasher rinse cycle, then line them up on a baking tray in a 200F oven for at least 30min.  I put the caps in a pot of boiling water.
I set up my station, making sure I have clean tongs, a funnel, towels etc., then pull out the jars one or two at a time so everything is boiling hot, fill them up with hot sauce, wipe the rim and seal with a top and screwcap (don't screw in tight until after the seal has 'popped').  An assembly line for this is best.
Then I set the jars aside and wait til I hear the magical popping sound of success as they cool and naturally seal.  At this point, the ones that no longer have a nipple (now a sunken dimple) can be secured tight.  The ones that don't' I put in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, remove and wait for the pop. 
So far, thousands of pots later, I haven't had one faulty jar (knock wood).
Hope that helps, happy canning!


Posted on Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 06:22PM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , | CommentsPost a Comment


Pavlova, and a side of rhubarb

Now this is a cook’s dessert, ie. Oh so simple and delicious!

Defining Pavlova loosely: Meringue, some whipped cream plus fruit.

rhubarb vanilla grass pavlova and sorbet, clover strawberry shortbread

fresh rhubarb from the garden








It’s rhubarb season, and I love rhubarb, a tart veg-fruit of which I have an abundant supply in the back yard, so no-brainer – rhubarb pavlova goes on the menu. Besides, I have cooked rhubarb just about every other way in the past few weeks.. In the process, I have also drank quite a bit of fresh rhubarb juice, yum (just chop rhubarb, toss with a bit of sugar, let sit in fridge or freezer, drain and drink, while using the rhubarb in recipe!) Which made me think I should be doing a rhubarb post.. But since everyone else in the food media has rhubarbed out the rhubarb thing before it even really came into season here, I will focus on the pavlova, especially after seeing so many plates licked clean on the weekend. This dessert was the hit of my rhubarb series. It can only get better too, as the first Quebec strawberries, rhubarb’s favourite partner come into season.. To think that I had temporarily forgotten about Pavlova or the usefulness of meringue altogether; it came back to me when I had to test a meringue recipe for my cookbook judging.. I am happy to have rediscovered it but because it is just so darn good, and a terrific vehicle for summer fruit.. It is versatile, open for inspiration and it is one of those desserts that is actually doable at home, or for cooks who aren’t necessarily pastry chefs like me.

When layered, the three simple components of sweet and crispy (the meringue), soft and rich (the Chantilly ), and sweet and sour (the fruit garnish) come together to dance and sing spring once assembled. The result is something greater than the sum of the parts – Pavlova is decadent, but it tastes light.

Now to make it..

First off, try not to choose a rainy day. (I hope this is not a recipe deal breaker for you..)

Then you make your meringue, cook it, let it dry out.

Make a fruit compote or salsa… I made both, and a coulis and gelée too, to have contrasts of fresh and cooked flavours, smooth and jiggly textures, but that’s not necessary.

What is necessary is fruit is some form, even fresh is fine, and making a Chantilly , or whipped cream flavoured with vanilla or flavour of choice. I used vanilla-grass, you can do whatever you want, even add a shot of liqueur.

Pile it all on the meringue, dig in.

It can look as nice as you want it (if you make mini meringues and pipe your toppings), or you can go free form and make one big one family style- but most importantly, you can trust that it will taste great and wow your guests, be they sophisticated gourmands or little ones.


For 8-12


4 egg whites

1 cup of sugar

pinch salt

pinch cream of tartar

Whip whites with pinch of salt and cream of tartar to foamy, soft peaks, add sugar and continue beating to stiff peaks. Pipe closed coils with a rim 2-3’’ in diameter onto a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cook for 1 ½ hr- 2 at 200F or until dry, not coloured. Let cool in oven. Store in an airtight container if not assembling right away.


1 c whipping cream

2 Tbsp sugar or to taste

1 vanilla bean or drops of aroma of choice

Rhubarb compote

Cube a bunch of rhubarb stalks, 4-5. Stay away from the leaf ends (toxic). Toss with 1 cup or so of sugar. Let sit for an hour or so.

Remove the accumulated juice and reserve to adjust the consistency (reserve rest for another purpose). Cook up half the rhubarb, add a couple of handfuls of strawberries and some of the juice, cook down to compote (10min). Season with a pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon and honey (or Labrador tea syrup) to taste.. Allow to cool, stir in the fresh rhubarb (the other half).

Posted on Sunday, June 8, 2008 at 03:29PM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , , | CommentsPost a Comment


What's cooking - The ingredient:

Asparagus! First%20asparagus%20at%20Cormier.jpg












André Cormier (our local guy) had his first asparagus out on May 9th, exceptionally early this year; normally they come after, not at the same time as the fiddleheads.. But what an exciting time the first Quebec asparagus sighting is! Just about every night since, I’ve eaten asparagus in some form (and so yes, my pee smells). My favourite way with asparagus is sautéed in a hot pan (or grilled) with olive oil, then deglazed with a good balsamic or lemon, salt and pepper. Sometimes gratinéed with a hard cheese afterwards (like Valbert, Tomme de Kamouraska, Alfred, Piave or Parm..) I also like it steamed or blanched with a bit of butter for a more ‘au naturel' taste, maybe with a poached egg and tomato.  Or in vinaigrette with EVO, lemon zest and almonds, or yet another favourite, thrown into a sauté of mushrooms at the end. Now that the green is a given, I'll be moving on to Daigneault's white asparagus this week.

Daigneault's white asparagus

More asparagus recipes from the web:

Jamie Oliver’s potato asparagus tart, Jamie Kennedy’s classic asparagus vinaigrette..

Butter braised asparagus with peas, oyster mushroom and tarragon

Easy Asparagus with lemon and parmesan

Potato Asparagus frittata

Tons of asparagus tips and recipes from the NYTimes:


And a couple of 'non-asparagus', but timeless recipes ..

Taking out the ‘Q’? Try Beer can chicken from America ’s Test Kitchen

Also from Cooks Illustrated :

Almost no knead bread


More spring recipes (for nettles, ramps, morels, asparagus..)


Posted on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 01:02AM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment


What's cooking - The ingredient:  Fiddleheads!


The season kicked off the first week of May, and now it’s peaking, I have hundreds of pounds in my fridge, I’m pumped, overwhelmed to be honest. I will be cooking them in a myriad of ways in the weeks to come. Because it’s early in the season, and green is fresh and exciting, I will tend towards cold, light and fresh recipes, but the truth is I like them better cooked, even a long time(!), or pickled. As a cook, keeping a green vegetable crisp and bright green is something that has been ingrained in me, but I have since come to appreciate the long cooked green, a different flavour all together, more deeply savoury and long en bouche (unami rich I'm sure). Think sag aloo or sag paneer or stewed collard greens. I’m still timid in serving them this way at the restaurant, but at 848659-1578208-thumbnail.jpg
cleaned fiddleheads
Fiddlheads and ham
home I’m sold. When you’re sweating them in butter maybe with some garlic and tamari or meat jus, just let them go a little longer, you’ll see. Or try the old Quebecois recipe below, and let it cook some after reheating. They are also great in a punchy vinaigrette, although again the colour goes if you toss them in sauce early; but if you sauce à la minute, the taste doesn't penetrate, so somewhere in between is best, say 20 minutes before serving. Fresh fiddle talk aside, it’s time for me to get preserving. Mason jars of my pickled fiddleheads will soon be available at the market (alongside the fresh of course). 

François told me that from his two days at the market, he has gathered that most people don't know how to cook fiddleheads (some reaching for them raw - a no no!) despite them being a popular rite of spring, which of course is why a few morons get sick every year, and the government issues an annual warning, advising people to cook them 15 minutes.  This long cooking is hardly necessary especially if you get them from a good source, but in any case, a first cooking in boiling water is a must.  We do a double blanch (2-3 minutes each time), changing the water in between.  Refresh and they are ready to cook or eat.  Proceed to sweat them in butter with garlic and seasonings of choice, or to dress in vinaigrette to serve cold.

rabbit two ways, fiddleheads, crinkleroot

fiddlheads, fennel vinaigrette, Alfred cheese

Pickling fiddlheads







Quail and fiddlheads, wild ginger and sesame

Piglet loin, fiddlheads with ham, Rassambleu potato cake

nordic shrimp, fiddleheads, wild ginger, sesame






My two favourite recipes for fiddleheads – oh so simple..

Fiddleheads in an Asian inspired vinaigrette

with wild ginger mustard, chili and sesame

Yield: 8 servings

6 c (1 lb) Fiddleheads, cleaned and double blanched


1 French shallot, minced

30 ml wild ginger mustard (or 1 tsp minced ginger and 15 ml Dijon )

1 tsp minced garlic

1 red pepper, finely diced

30 ml Tamari

50 ml cider or rice wine vinegar

30 ml maple syrup

10 ml toasted sesame oil

125 ml olive oil

s.q. salt, pepper

s.q. chilli paste


2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds


1. Clean fiddleheads, removing dark tip. Blanch twice in lots of boiling salted water for 2 minutes each time. Refresh each time. Reserve.

2. Make vinaigrette by blending all ingredients.

3. Toss fiddleheads with vinaigrette and sesame seeds and serve. As an accompaniment or entrée. Would go with tofu, shrimp or seafood, chicken duck or pork..



Façon Bas du Fleuve (ie long cooked with salt pork and onion)

(adapted from Yves Cloutier’s family recipe)

8 portions

1lb (6c) fiddleheads

1 chopped onion

1 bouquet garni (thyme, bay, parsley and/or celery leaf)

1 c salt pork strips (200g)

2 c water or chicken stock

s.q. salt, pepper


1. Wash fiddleheads well in several changes of water, trim ends.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add fiddleheads and blanch once for 2-3 minutes, chill in ice water.

3. Meanwhile, bring the onion, water, bouquet garni and salt pork to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the fiddleheads, turn off the heat and let sit overnight. Refrigerate.

4. Shred the salt pork or remove, reheat and serve.


Posted on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 12:52AM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment

Snow crab and nordic shrimp

What's cooking - The Ingredient: 

Snow crab and Nordic shrimp! 848659-1575672-thumbnail.jpg
crab salad bouchée

nordic shrimp asparagus radish salad with wild shoots

Now in season and widely available (not to mention a local, sustainable choice)..

I like both with just a drizzle of my Pettinicchi chili oil, or my black olive Belle Excuse oil, a squeeze of lemon and sea salt. With some good bread or garlic bread and a salad. For the first part of the season, it’s straight up.

Once the novelty fades, I’ll dress them up, mix and match. I most often make a composed salad, say with celery, dill and red pepper and lemon zest (my fave), and to make a meal, I’ll add a bed of tomato, asparagus, greens, olives, couscous, almonds, something like that… Or on a different slant, I might go for ginger, coriander and sesame, then add some peas or green beans, kimchi, egg, rice or rice noodles.

In any case, I find both Nordic shrimp and snow crab best eaten cold. I don’t really understand why people fry or serve these hot at all, unless out of the shell. Nordic shrimp are only available cooked but you can get the head on (great snacking food), or peeled and neat. Crab is best fresh and very alive, it takes about the same amount of time as lobster to cook in simmering salted water. This is obviously the best option if you want to eat them hot with butter crab-boil style where everyone gets messy cracking their crab. If you’re serving it cold, you’re still best cooking it yourself, but you can also buy it cooked. It’s a pain to clean, messy and labour intensive, but well worth it, especially if you have someone who likes doing it like my François des bois. Figure 140g of meat per crab and 1 crab per person, or as an entrée 2 portions per crab.

Just make sure you’re buying absolutely fresh (of the day, not frozen and thawed) from a reputable fish monger like La Mer or from the Gaspé stalls or fish stores at the markets (Jean Talon, Atwater).

A recipe for crab salad I posted last year around this time..


Posted on Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 12:44AM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment


What's cooking

The dish - Gravelax

It’s spelled so many ways I don’t know which is right. But what it is, is cured salmon, (or any fish nowadays) that gets a salt/sugar/spice treatment and is eaten as such, somewhere between cooked and raw, silky and toothsome, easy to love.

This was one of the first recipes I gravitated towards and attacked as a young cook; my first experiments date to even before cooking school. So it was also one of the first dishes I felt I mastered because I made it so much, and maybe because my boyfriend at the time LOVED it. The original recipe involved a cure of fine salt and sugar, some brandy, pepper and allspice, lots of dill of course, pressed for three days. Served with some mustardy homemade mayo with dill and some blinis or toast (at the time), I didn’t think it could get any better.

Nonetheless, as I grew as a cook, I had a lot of fun playing around with the recipe and eventually did get bored.. In fact, I broke up with the dish when I broke up with the guy, suddenly having no desire to go there anymore. It also happened that at that time in nineties restaurant food trends, ‘smoked’ was coming back in, as was everything raw, and so all the restaurants I was working in were into smoking their salmon or serving it fresh in tartare, cured was out. I was all about it. To shake it up every now and again, I’d riff on the smoked, even go to gravelax, but with gin and juniper, with mirin, soy, ginger and coriander, with vodka, citrus and fennel, with maple, cider and tea, with coarse salt and brown sugar instead of regular salt and sugar, I’d go for a shorter intense cure, a longer un-pressed cure, anything but the classic I once loved. Most were successful, but somehow, none measured up to that first taste memory. I suspected it had more to do with matters of the heart than my evolution as a cook, but no matter.

Fast forward ten years. In parallel with my current tendency towards tradition and simplicity, and because enough time has elapsed that the original association with that ex-boyfriend is dead, I am ready to revisit that old recipe.

The only thing I’m doing differently is using arctic char, and maple brandy and some maple syrup (it is maple season after all). And I’ll probably serve it with a maple enhanced mustard condiment and something crunchy and fresh, maybe glaze it, we’ll see.. but that’s only because this is a restaurant and so a few extra touches are in order; it should be great on it’s own. With toast and mustardy mayo like in the old days.

Gravelax off to cure

cured char (end pieces ready first)

char, maple cured and smoked, root veg remoulade with crinkleroot maple mustard, amaranth and pickled daisy buds










Enough for a party (or breakfast and lunch for a week for two)


1 Salmon filet (around 3lb net), preferably wild or organic

3/4 c sea salt

1 c sugar

1/2 c maple syrup

2oz brandy

2 bunches dill

3T peppercorns, crushed

1T allspice, crushed

Clean filet if it’s not already done (debone, trim). Slice filet in two. Mix salt, sugar and spices together with brandy and maple syrup to make a slurry. Layer filets with salt mixture and dill (make a sandwich with skin outward) with some slurry and dill in between, under and over. Cover with saran wrap and weigh down with another baking dish with tomato cans or whatever you have. Let sit for 2-3 days, flipping at least once. For a thick salmon filet or a whole fish, 3 days is better. My char is thin, so two will be enough. Rinse off, dry and slice. It will keep for a week or so.


A la minute version:

Slice fresh (sushi-grade) salmon thinly on a plate. Add a generous splash of maple syrup, a scant splash of brandy, and a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Brush on (with a pastry brush) to evenly distribute. Sprinkle with sea salt, a generous amount of cracked pepper and a scant crack of allspice and some chopped fresh dill. Cover with saran wrap and press down so that there is no exposure to air. Let sit for an hour or two, serve. Squeeze with lemon or serve on side.

Posted on Friday, April 11, 2008 at 12:46PM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment


Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit

I’ve had rabbit on the mind. To my delight, François showed up last week with some fresh specimens from one of our neighbours (maybe because I had been whining that it had been a while since we’d eaten a good rabbit..). So I cooked it up a few different ways and put it on the menu. I also had to get my course outline and orders in for an upcoming class I am giving on the subject, so it helped me get into the mood.

rabbit, fiddleheads, tomato crinkleroot dressing

braising rabbit legs

rabbit two ways, wild ginger mustard sauce, root veg







Since my first taste, I have loved rabbit. I’ve cooked it many times, and when it was on one of my menus or coming from the station I was working, I paid special attention to it; it was always my fetish dish, and inevitably heartbreaking because no one ordered it. I recall one exquisite dish that involved a mousseline with truffle (stuffed loin) and another I loved in gelée with pink peppercorn that I laboured over night after night only to have it sit in my fridge. If only they knew what they were missing out on I would think and swear,  ‘!?%$%*!!!’ (multiple obscenities in both languages). So obviously, when I went out to dinner, I made a point doing the opposite - eager to happen upon the rabbit marvel that was surely hiding quietly in someone else’s kitchen MEP.

If it’ is on the menu when I’m out, you can be sure I’m having it. Which means I’ve had some fabulous rabbit dishes and some less than stellar renditions over the years. I remember being served a brilliant rabbit dish at Globe way back when Dave and Fred were there, and I also once really enjoyed a rustic hunter style dish at Da Emma; I’ve let the flops fade from my memory. The thing is, rabbit is tricky. Well, it’s just that it can easily be dry, especially when the commonly farmed breed (New Zealand) falls in careless hands.

There are meatier, more flavourful breeds like the Silver fox or the American Chinchilla making a comeback; for more info and in depth rabbit talk, see the article in the last Art of Eating (Number 76). Maybe it was that terrific piece that stimulated me (the way AofE articles do), but then there were the two bites of a tease I had on a Valentine's tasting menu at the Relais Champêtre in St-Alexis, or perhaps it’s the fact that I drive by three ‘rabbit for sale’ signs every day on my way to work, although now two are covered in snow.  One is on a make-shift cardboard hand-written sign on someone’s lawn surrounded by knick-knacks strewn about, which are presumably also for sale; another reads ' A Vandre'.  Now I hate to be judgemental, but if you don't know how to spell 'for sale' or if your home looks like a junkyard, I tend to be a bit scared you haven't read the rabbit manual.  I'm hardly jumping out of my car seat dying to buy your rabbit no matter how much I love rabbit.  In any case, I got the message, the signs were sent, it was clear that it was high time I got to cooking rabbit again.  I made sure our rabbit came from the third one, the taxidermist (see sign below).. 

a rabbit sign (on my way to work)

rabbit in the raw

proscuitto rabbit loin rolls, ready to go









It’s unfortunate that rabbit has fallen out of favour because it was once a traditional food, and easy to raise or hunt (after all, rabbits breed like rabbits and like to eat vegetable scraps). People today don’t think to cook rabbit, maybe because they aren’t readily available and only available whole, making it more work intensive than buying ready-to-go cuts of meat.

Then there’s the reality that many Quebecois (and North Americans in general) have a bunny complex, skittish about eating something cute. In a restaurant setting, you know there will always be a chick squeamish about digging into Thumper (and it doesn’t help that we have a set menu at JS..). It’s hard to convince someone who’s emotionally biased like that. Saying it’s just like chicken doesn’t work. Even though it’s true; many compare it to chicken, and indeed many recipes for rabbit and chicken are interchangeable. Of course, it’s not the same, but chances are if you like chicken, you will like properly cooked rabbit. In an old Larousse (I think) there is a note on how to distinguish it from cat, so I guess it resembles cat too (in the skinned raw state I guess)– I can’t comment there; as far as I know, I have never eaten cat. And if it tastes like rabbit, well then I’m game.

Rabbit has such a unique, delicate, delicious flavour, it's fabulous in terrines and confit, and it makes the best stock. That’s why I think it is best stewed gently, but really it’s almost necessary to separate the loin from the legs (as for most birds and beasts) for correct doneness. The legs are easy, a regular braise for a little over an hour with some wine, stock, aromats, maybe some mustard and cream, or some wild mushrooms, or with tomato, herbs and olives.. The saddle or loin is best cooked in a short time, but still gently. Because it is lean, barding (covering in fat like bacon) is a good idea for a pan-roast, but I’ve found the best results with a short but low temperature sous-vide poach for tenderness, followed by a quick sear for flavour, and a rest in the juices. This recipe is inspired from Chapeau Canada (David Hawkesworth at West) - a bit of work maybe, but well worth it.

I can't finish a rabbit speel without mentioning Thomas Keller's treatment in his famous French Laundry Cookbook.  Not only does his reverence for rabbit and enticing recipes inspire and make you a believer, but his rabbit story is a gem.  It was a defining moment in his career when he was faced with a live rabbit hours before service, and he had to kill and skin it himself, after which trauma, he knew he had to do it justice and treat it with care in making the finest dish he could, not wasting a scrap - hammering home the importance of respect for the ingredient.


Saddle of rabbit with fresh herbs and and wild ginger mustard

Yield: 2 servings

- adapted from David Hawkesworth (West, Vancouver)

40 g caul fat (optional)

1 rabbit saddle, deboned

2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, tarragon, chives..)

4 slices proscuitto

s.q. salt, pepper

15 ml olive oil

20 g butter

30 ml wild ginger mustard or wild mushroom mustard

200 ml chicken stock


  1. Lay two pieces of caul fat on counter ( 8” squares) and place the proscuitto in the middle. The caul fat helps hold the package nicely together, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Lay the rabbit loin on top of the proscuitto, then sprinkle with herbs, season with salt and pepper, roll up, wrap in plastic wrap and tie ends with string.
  1. Poach in 53C water for 30 minutes, refresh. Alternately, bring water to a boil, add rabbit rolls, turn off heat and let sit for 40 min. Cool immediately.
  1. Slice rabbit into thick medallions, remove plastic. When ready to serve, pan sear medallions to nicely brown in olive oil, (standing up on the proscuitto edges to keep the rabbit meat ultra tender). Deglaze pan with chicken stock or a little white wine or water, let medallions sit down in jus and finish in medium-low oven to warm through (5 minutes).
  1. Remove rabbit to rest and plate. Meanwhile, reduce pan juices down, whisk in butter to make pan jus, season to taste and serve over rabbit with a smear of mustard. The mustard can also go straight into the sauce if you want.


Another recipe I'll be doing with my students (with the legs this time): rabbit stew or civet revisited, a twist on a traditional recipe without the blood..

Civet of Rabbit

Yield: 4 servings

1 rabbit or hare, cut into serving pieces

1 c diced onion

½ c diced carrot

½ c diced celery

4 slices bacon, cut up

100g mushrooms, sliced

15 g dried porcini, rehydrated (keep soaking liquid, decanted)

30 ml red wine vinegar

250 ml red wine

3 ea parsley, thyme sprigs

20 g salted butter

20 g olive oil

700 mL chicken or duck stock

20 g unsweetened chocolate, chopped

s.q. flour for dredging

s.q. salt, pepper


1. Cook bacon to render the fat, add the mirepoix and cook, stirring over medium low heat. When soft, remove, leaving fat in pan.

2. Season and dredge rabbit pieces in flour, sauté and brown evenly.

3. Deglaze with vinegar and wine. Return vegetable mixture to pan.

4. Sauté mushrooms in butter and oil on the side and add to pan, along with diced reconstituted dried mushrooms and soaking liquid.

5. Add stock and bouquet garni. Bring to a simmer, and lower the heat to a low simmer. Cook until rabbit is tender (pulling off bone) and sauce is thick, about 1 hour.

6. Near the end of cooking, stir in chocolate. Taste and adjust seasoning.

7. Serve with rice lightly spiked with cinnamon, and/or roasted root vegetables or sweet potatoes.


Some other recipes, classic and not so..

First, one note: I find the cooking times often on the short side for the legs, probably because they don't want to overcook the saddle when the rabbit is cooked whole. Don't be afraid to throw the legs back in or use only legs for a ragout type recipe and cook longer. If you're cooking a large quantity (as I do), you can figure 2Hr (as opposed to one) for the legs to be perfect, ie. melt in the mouth, easily coming off the bone but not pasty.


Jamie Oliver’s Rabbit stew with dumplings

Chef Simon’s Lapin à la moutarde (with detailed pictures, but in French)

From Gourmet:

Braised rabbit with egg noodles

Paella with rabbit and artichokes

From BBC:

Rabbit with calvados, port, thyme, bacon and juniper

Posted on Thursday, April 3, 2008 at 03:30AM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment


What's cooking - Ingredient

The holy egg

duck eggs

To follow up on my Ode to the egg for Easter (last year),

Lets get cooking..



Here are some of my favourite ways with eggs at home: see recipes below for.. 

  • Gaby’s cheddar scrambled eggs
  • Oeuf en cocotte with truffle and tomato
  • Frittata
  • Bread pudding with berries and chocolate


And some other Easter recipes..


Gaby’s cheddar scrambled eggs

Gaby is a wonderful lady I worked with many years ago before I went to cooking school. She was a jolly great cook, putting out 30+ home style lunches back in the day of the Grumpy’s power lunch all by herself. She made the best soups, but her cheddar scrambled eggs stuck with me because she amazed me by making them in the microwave (you only dirty one dish). I think they are better in the pan, but in a jiff, I will occasionally pull out her trick. The key is too use a low power (50%) for 3 minutes (for 3 eggs), a little less or more depending on the quantity. She would just mix all the ingredients together, cover and zap, stopping to stir once or twice. But still, I think the only way hers were so good even in the microwave had a lot to do with the generous amount of cheese and butter. I make them quite a bit lighter, so I find I have more control in the pan.

Gaby's cheddar scrambled eggs

2-4 portions

6 eggs

a squirt of milk

salt and pepper to taste


Butter 2 Tbsp or more

1/2 cup of grated Medium aged cheddar cheese

Whisk eggs with salt, pepper and a squirt of milk or cream. Add a tablespoon of butter to pan and once somewhat hot, add eggs. Lower heat and cook gently, stirring regularly (the more you stir, the creamier they will be). I like curds, so I don’t stir too much, just enough to keep it from caking. When the curds are formed, but still very moist ( a minute or two later), add the cheese and remaining butter and shut off. Allow to sit to finish cooking to desired doneness.


Oeufs en cocotte

oeuf en cocotte with tomato and smoked salt, fiddlehead salad

8 p

8 duck (or hen) eggs

1/2c heavy cream

drops truffle oil

salt and pepper

Tabasco or chilli paste

2 tomatoes, blanched, peeled seeded and diced

salt and pepper

pinch sugar (if necessary)

1 Tbsp good olive oil

drops good balsamic vinegar

Combine cream with truffle oil, salt and pepper, Tabasco or chilli paste. Break eggs into ramekins. Top with a teaspoon of truffle cream. Cook covered in a water bath at 300F for 20-25min until set but still giggly.

Serve with coarse salt and tomato fondue. Fresh tomato salsa or roasted tomato (confit) would be good too. For an extra decadent garnish, add crumbled bacon, sliced ham or smoked duck. This makes an elegant appetizer, or a light lunch or dinner with baguette and salad.. Sometimes I add sautéed mushrooms or some surprise in the bottom before baking for another layer of flavour.



I can’t possibly write one recipe for this. I’ve never made the same one twice. Basically, it’s just an omelette with stuff, baked into a round or square format so that you can cut it into wedges or little squares and serve warm, at room temperature or even cold, eaten out of hand.

You start with eggs, calculate 1-2 per person. Then you choose the stuff, ie. the garnish and some cheese. When it comes to garnish, I would say onions are a must, plus some other vegetables to liven up the mix, and maybe some salty meat like bacon or pancetta or proscuitto or chorizo (although optional). For vegetables, anything in season, anything you like is good, sweet peppers are one of my favourite additions. Something green like spinach or asparagus is nice too. Cooked potatoes are the classic Spanish tortilla (omelette) garnish. I even use toasted bread as a base sometimes, making it good finger food once room temperature. Flavour wise, tomatoes are always welcome, although best added late.

One of my favourite old time catering items was a ratatouille frittata. In another restaurant I worked in, we used whatever good leftovers we had on hand to make the frittata of the day (grilled vegetables, caponata, tuna, smoked salmon, pizza toppings, you name it) always for delicious results. Onions and olives, Broccoli and sun dried tomato, ham and swiss chard, the options are endless. Just keep the amount of garnish to less than half that of the eggs or it won’t hold together. Cheese is not absolutely necessary, but it helps the structure wise and even a bit really boosts the oomph factor. Choose a good melting cheese, ie. something firm like an aged Quebec cheddar or Fetard or Baluchon or a Gruyere or a little Parm. Goat cheese is good too, but in that case you would use less or maybe in combination with a hard, mild cheese. Figure about 20g a person or per 2 eggs (say a good pinch of grated cheese), a cup for a medium pan.

In any case, you need to stew, roast or sauté (in other words, cook) the vegetables or meat garnish you will be using first. Then in a greased pan or baking dish, you place the vegetable garnish, then the mixed eggs, top with the cheese and bake. For a small party (say up to 8), the fastest, easiest way is to sauté your onions and peppers or whatever veg or meat in a fry pan until cooked, then add the egg mix, stirring a little; when it starts to set, you add the cheese and stick it in a 325F oven (or less if you’re not in a rush) until it’s set (anywhere from 10-30 min depending on the size and temp). Pull out, let cool slightly and slice up. Serve with a salad and some good bread. An 8” pan will hold 6 large eggs, a 10-12’’ pan with hold twice that. For anything bigger, use a baking dish.

I hate writing ‘real’ recipes, but maybe you’re dying for a proper one, there are plenty out there, so here you go..

A tasty frittata (potato, onion and sausage)

Asparagus frittata

Frittata with bacon, fresh ricotta and greens


Bread pudding with chocolate and blueberries

12 x 3oz portions

8 yolks

1 cup of sugar

2 cups of milk

2 cups of heavy cream

1 vanilla bean or flavouring of choice

1 small loaf of dry country bread (or day old baguette)

125 g blueberries

½ c couverture chocolate pistoles (or chocolate chips)

pinch salt

squeeze lemon and/or orange

Cube bread. Gently heat cream, milk, pinch of salt and half of sugar with vanilla bean or flavouring of choice. I like to use Labrador tea or wintergreen or spices like star anise, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg or almond paste.. When scalding, shut off, let sit for a few minutes. Meanwhile, break eggs, whisk yolks with remaining sugar and slowly whisk in hot cream mixture, strain. Pour over bread cubes and mix. Let sit for an hour or overnight (refrigerated) until the bread has soaked up most of the liquid. The mixture should be thick but pourable or at least scoopable. Add a little extra milk or cream or maple syrup to loosen up if necessary. Mix in blueberries and chocolate pieces, spoon into buttered ramekins (or a buttered baking dish). Place ramekins on a cookie sheet and bake in a 325F oven for 30-40min or until set.

making bread pudding

bread pudding ready to bake


Posted on Sunday, March 23, 2008 at 06:43AM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , , , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment

Polenta fries

What's cooking

The dish - Polenta fries

While everyone else is in a rush for spring, I’m holding on to winter.. This week though, I had no choice but to get thinking ahead. The Voir needed my thoughts on maple, so I pumped out my menu for the sugaring off season, and then for another upcoming media event, I had to deliver my spring menu.. I let myself get all dreamy and put myself there momentarily. Knowing me, I’ll want to change it all when the time comes – I hate making menus so far in advance.

Besides, the reality is that it’s still full-on winter, which I actually have no problem with. I’d rather stay put and celebrate that, make the most of it. There are so many winter activities I haven’t yet fully taken advantage of, and many favourite winter dishes I never got around to cooking. One of those is Polenta..

polenta fries (oven baked)

venison two ways, wild mushrooms and polenta fries

I love polenta, aka cooked cornmeal mush. It’s one of my comfort foods in every form, whether soft like porridge, firm and fried, creamy and rich with cheese, or layered with roasted veg and mushrooms in casserole form.. Every time I make it, I end up eating a ton before the dish is even done; burning my fingers and tongue with my over eager taste tests is always a part of the polenta process.

However, I’ve noticed that polenta is generally not a winner menu item, so I don’t make it as often as I would like. Even if I know that I could turn people around, the fact is, polenta is never going to be as likeable as mashed potatoes here, so why fight it too much. I do need to put it on my menu every now and then though, and since its perfect winter fare, I decided to go for it before the snow started melting, but to put it out there in one of its most approachable forms – as fries!

Basically, you make a rather neutral and stiff polenta (between 2 to3:1 ratio of liquid to polenta), cool it, cut it and fry or bake. The polenta sticks could be breaded (flour, egg wash, breadcrumbs) before frying for extra textural crunch, which is probably best if you’re making it on the creamy side. Polenta is a blank canvas, in that you can use the amount of liquid you want depending on the desired texture, vary the type of liquid, and add whatever flavourings depending on your inspiration. The more liquid, fat and added ingredients, the softer it will be. For a stiff polenta (the kind of inedible roll you see in stores) something along the lines of a 2:1 ratio of fine cornmeal and water is at play. A decadent molten version in a high end restaurant may involve something closer to a 4 or even 5:1 ratio, including perhaps stock, cream, butter, truffle oil etc. Because polenta is bland, it’s tempting to load it with cheese, fat and flavourings, and to push the 3:1 ratio, which is fine if you’re serving it soft, but then it gets trickier to make fries.

First of all, a fine to medium polenta (cornmeal) is best for this kind of recipe. For straight up polenta, I prefer a coarsely ground type. For the liquid, I personally like to use a mixture of water and milk because the taste is clean, not too rich, it lends a firm texture without being ultra stiff. I use a little cheese, just enough to pump up the umami, not enough to make the mixture rich or difficult to work with. After all, it is a side to be served with meat and sauce. I might take a different approach if it was in a starring role. But then again, I don’t really like flavouring my pasta dough either, leaving that to the sauce, both for the sake of practicality and for contrast. Same goes here.

Either way, making polenta is easy, but you can’t stray too far from the stove. Bring your liquid to a boil, add some flavourings, stir in the polenta in a steady stream while mixing constantly with a whisk. I generally add some butter or good oil, a pinch of chilli, maybe some sautéed garlic and some thyme or not. Switch to a wooden spoon once it thickens up. Keep stirring regularly over low heat for 10-20 minutes or until the polenta pulls away from the sides of the pan. Then you add the cheese and season to taste and pour it out into a container to cool.

Polenta is great with meat and meat jus, so to accompany a juicy steak, a braised dish or stew, also with sausages, anything tomato based, mushrooms or just on it’s own. It’s fun to play around with too.. Polenta, a true comfort food, and a dear winter companion, is there for you.

Polenta fries

4 p

1 c fine cornmeal

1 1/2 c water

1 1/2 c milk

pinch chillies

pinch salt

1 Tbsp butter

½ c grated Parmesan or other sharp aged cheese

s.q. lemon juice

Prepare an oiled or buttered 8x10’’ baking dish. Bring liquid to a boil, add butter, chilli and salt. Slowly pour in polenta while whisking. Lower heat and stir regularly for about 10 minutes. When polenta has lost its gritty texture, is holding together and pulling off the sides of the pan, add the cheese and season to taste with a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper. If it’s unmanageably stiff, add a touch of milk or cream, but it should be thick. Pour quickly into a greased hotel pan, cookie sheet, or glass dish, cover with saran wrap and smooth surface with a spatula or another baking dish on top. Put in the fridge until cool and solid. Cut into sticks 1cm wide. Dredge in flour and fry at 350F or space out on a baking sheet with a little extra olive oil (or boletus oil) and put in a hot oven (400F) for 20min or so, turning once or twice until crusty and golden.


Other polenta recipes :

  • Increase the liquid and add extra, butter, cheese, or heavy cream to make a soft purée to replace mashed potatoes with a meat dish.
  • Or add 1/2 cup cream or milk, some sautéed mushrooms, roast vegetables or sausage in a casserole dish, top with extra butter and cheese and bake for a hearty vegetarian meal.
  • A mushroom polenta dish I posted last year:

Posted on Tuesday, March 11, 2008 at 03:09AM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment


What's cooking

The ingredient - Tongue

tongue before and after first cooking

tongue and cheek, with jerusalem artichoke, mustard balsamic sauce

tongue salad, crinkleroot, tomato and crisp onion








My strongest early ‘bad food’ memory involved tongue, circa age 8 or 10. We had been invited over to a friend of my parents’, and ever thrilled to be ‘eating out’, I showed up with a healthy appetite, only to have my mood abruptly change when a big slab of rugged beef tongue was placed before me. It looked like a giant tongue, felt like a giant tongue and was awfully chewy. I remember trying so hard to politely get it down, being brought up with the strictest of table manners, but I was gagging at every bite. The tortuous meal lasted for hours the way I remember it, with much time devoted to contriving strategies to make it disappear without having to ingest it. Whatever - I survived (and ate it all), but didn’t feel the need to taste another tongue for a while.

When I entered cooking school, I knew that as a cook I would have to put any squeamishness aside and bravely taste anew with an open mind. Tongue was easy enough to avoid for years, since as a chef you have to hunt it down, and it has never been a Montreal menu staple. However with offal all the rage, that might soon change. In any case, I’m already a convert. It turns out that the quality of the ingredients and proper cooking make all the difference in the world. I still can’t figure out what my mother’s friend did to make it so horrible, I suspect that it was an old tongue from an old cow and that she cooked it for too short a time.  Or she boiled it vigorously for two days, I don' know.  I think too that lamb and calf’s tongue are a better bet, sweeter tasting, more tender and more approachable than beef tongue. Venison tongue is delicious too. It all just tastes like a delicate braised meat with the bonus that it is traditionally served with zesty sauces that I naturally gravitate towards like ravigote or gribiche. I went on to serve it myself to many trusting friends and special clients who just swooned until they found out what it was. I even turned a few students around with a lamb tongue demo in crinkleroot mustard vinaigrette tiède.

The tradition of tongue is strong in Europe , especially in Britain and in France , and so it must have been here too until relatively recently (before industrial food, nose to tail eating was THE only way in any meat eating culture). The French put it in pot au feu and in sausage, the British in their boiled dinners and bar treats; it is easy enough to find either pickled or smoked, the Basque simmer it in wine and stock with tomato and onion in ‘ Lengua a la Tolosana’ , the Austrians serve it up with bacon, paprika and cream, and in Brazil, they put in in black bean stew.  It really isn’t so weird after all, and the possibilities are endless.

So, while writing up my Valentine’s menu last week, I was musing about sexy foods, and tongue seemed like an obvious choice; maybe as a part of a duo with the cheek (tongue and cheek), how clever I thought.. I knew some people might balk at the idea, so it would have to play a minor role, slipped in alongside other winner tastes. Anything scary sounding flies better as a small bouchée, entrée or part of a duo or trio, so that people can take it or leave it. They taste one thing, two things, like them and hopefully try that sketchy third thing, only to be pleasantly surprised. With a tough sell you believe in, it’s always best be careful with wording too (crepinette sounds better than caul fat, Lobster mushroom better than Dermatose de la Russule), and to throw winner ingredients around it (scallops, lobster, foie gras, proscuitto, homemade pasta etc) – oh the strategies of making a menu subconsciously appealing.. Anyway, I was determined to pull it off and put in on my menu without too many tricks. We have a devoted customer base, generally attract adventurous eaters, and plus I was convinced that people would love it if they tried it.

François, the easy going gourmand, surprisingly didn’t agree; he knew it was going to be rough going. Sure enough, customers have been ewing and opting out since the menu appeared. The phone is ringing off the wall with people fretting over the tongue. Many people just don’t want to try it. If people didn’t come because of a little tongue, then we had a problem. And even if they do, there is bound to be much discussion at the table, some reluctance, demands for menu changes, ie. juice, weeds, headaches.

Maybe I shouldn’t have written it on the menu, but then why bother serve it at all. My initial enthusiasm is now fading, and I’m beginning to regret my stubbornness. I hardly want to be fighting with customers. But now, it’s too late; it’s on the menu for better or for worse. It’s only an itty bitty tongue garnish, c’mon. I even added an extra amuse on the house, and will arm myself with a substitute for the staunchly fearful, and hope for the best. If anything, it will add some excitement to the night. I’ll report back with customer reaction next week.

In the meantime, to the kitchen I go, because tongue takes a couple of days.. Here is the plan of attack.

First locate a tongue or two. We get them directly from the slaughterhouse, but many butchers also carry them. Maison du Roti on Mount Royal always has veal tongue, lamb tongue occasionally. You must degorge it (soak it in several changes of cold water) and clean it first. Then it is simmered in water or court bouillon. Some people just cook it in water quickly (until it can be peeled), and then put it into their braise. It is easier to cook it entirely and then peel and slice, at which point you can and finish in sauce, a pot au feu or stew, or allow to cool in cooking liquid to serve cold.

I plan on serving mine warm in a boletus mustard veal jus spiked with some aged sherry vinegar, thyme and rosemary, alongside a meltingly tender veal cheek in a softer sauce, some Jerusalem artichoke purée, with some tempura pine mushrooms for textural contrast. However, I do really like it sliced thin and served cold in vinaigrette. I actually have a proper recipe to post because I had to elaborate one for my students last year..


Lamb’s tongue in vinaigrette (modified Ravigote)

Yield: 4 servings

1 lamb’s tongue, prepared

1 onion

1 clove

1 bouquet garni

1 L veal stock

15 ml white vinegar



15 ml Dijon mustard

60ml cider, sherry or good wine vinegar

1 shallot, minced

30 ml maple syrup

s.q. salt, pepper

40 ml extra virgin olive oil

30 ml chopped fresh herbs: parsley, tarragon, thyme

30 ml capers

½ thinly sliced red onion



1. Soak tongue in cold water overnight, renewing the water 2 or 3 times. Rub with rock salt and rinse. Or soak in lightly salted water for 1 hour. Scrub and rinse. Trim base, removing fatty parts.

2. Cover tongue with cold water or veal stock, add an onion with a clove, a bouquet garni, and 1 Tbsp vinegar per litre. Gently simmer tongue for 1 1/2-2 1/2hrs (lamb about an hour, calf’s tongue 2 1/2hrs) or until tender. The cooking liquid with make a broth that will be later transformed into a vinaigrette.

3. Remove tongue. Peel by making an incision at the base and skinning it towards the tip. Remove skin. Trim any gristle and/or small bones from root end of tongue . Slice and return to cooking liquid to cool or put straight into vinaigrette.

4. Make vinaigrette with Dijon mustard, cider vinegar, maple syrup, salt, pepper, fresh herbs and extra virgin olive oil. Emulsify with some of the veal tongue stock (100ml). Add capers and and onions. Pour over tongue and allow to marinate at least an hour or two, best overnight.

Serve cold or at room temperature in vinaigrette with some crusty bread and salad. Could be served warm too (maybe just use less cider vinegar), with potatoes, cabbage, beets or root veg. And don’t forget, when in doubt add bacon.


Other tongue recipes:

Alternatively, here are some creative recipes from chefs in NYC:

Pickled beef tongue with fried mayonnaise by Willie Dufresne (WD50) inspired by his dad’s pickled tongue, mayo and red onion sandwich.

Pickled Tongue torchon with porcinis and marcona almonds by Chef Akhtar Nawab of The EU in New York , NY

And some more traditional recipes:

Tongue with mustard horseradish sauce

A corned tongue recipe:

Tongue confit from Paula Wolfert’s Cooking of the Southwest of France

Posted on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 01:59PM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , , | Comments2 Comments

Duck gnudi

What's cooking

The dish - Duck gnudi

'Gnudi' means ‘nu’ or ‘naked’, and here, it refers to a naked filling. I forget when and where I came across this; it went from a scrap of paper to the back of my mind a while ago now. When I saw it, I remember it consisting of greens with ricotta and egg, as in a ravioli without the pasta wrapper. I believe it was poached and then pan-roasted, but anyway, I loved the idea and decided I wanted to try it out one day with sea spinach. It’s not as if it’s anything revolutionary; like I said it is filling. More accurately, it’s a dumpling; add some flour or starchy potato and it is gnocchi, add bread and it’s fancy turkey stuffing, add meat and it’s a meatball. In any case, there was something about the naked name, so catchy and cute, and the appealing notion of straight stuff with no excess dough, most appropriate for certain dishes.

However, good ideas come and go, and I never got around to doing it, almost forgot about it. Until I was composing my duck event menu and looking for something to float in my soup, which of course is a duck broth. I love consommé au naturel, especially if extracted from duck carcass, but customers might find it boring. I have done the traditional stuffed pasta, noodles of all kinds, wild rice, the royale garnish, various vegetable garnishes, blah. I considered making duck egg noodles (but that’s still noodles) or doing a stratiatella with duck eggs, maybe some sea spinach and parmesan, but although delicious, what a mess it is to look at, and what a waste of consommé really. Since meatballs are the rage, I thought of doing duck balls, maybe even duck-matzo balls. No, that would be too heavy. What I wanted was for the consommé to remain intact, clear and flavourful, with a small separate package of flavour to surprise the guests. In came the gnudi idea. Maybe, I could deliver spinach, egg and parmesan without muddying my consommé.

So I mixed the wilted greens (plus some cooked garlic and shallot) with the ricotta, and added the eggs. Seeing that it is a duck menu, I decided to add some ground duck meat to the mix, and a little parmesan to bind. I dusted them in flour and poached them. They turned out just as I had imagined - a cloud of spinach, cheese and duck. If I whipped the egg whites separately, I could perhaps make them even lighter, more like a mousseline.  Even as is, I could brown them in a bit of butter for extra umph, or poach them in my broth. But to keep the flavours clean and my broth grease free, I prefer to poach them on the side and add them to my soup. I sautéed a few up on the side for myself with a drizzle of boletus oil – wow. They would be terrific as a main course, topped with some extra cheese, some more duck, or ham and tomatoes, or some lemon zest, parm and olive oil.

shaping the gnudi

tasty floaters

If you want to make my gnudi, go ahead; you could use ground pork or veal or even leave out the meat altogether and add more cheese. The moral of the story is - next time you’re making meatballs, consider lightening them up with some ricotta and greens, or if you’re making ravioli or manicotti, maybe skip the pasta making and stuffing steps. Naked is kind of fun, and easy.


Duck gnudi

12p  (or 6 main)


1 cup wilted greens (spinach, chard, kale, mustard greens ..), 6 cups fresh

s.q. butter/olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 French shallot, minced

2 cups ricotta

2 duck eggs (or 3 eggs) 

200g ground duck (or chicken, veal, pork..)

¼ c freshly ground parmesan

salt and pepper

pinch nutmeg


Sweat garlic and shallot in olive oil or butter over low heat for 5 min or so. Optional: Deglaze with a splash of white wine or lemon. Cool.

Blanch greens in lots of salted water, refresh, drain and squeeze dry. Chop.

Drain ricotta in a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to get rid of excess moisture.

Mix all ingredients together.

Form into little balls, dust in flour.

Poach in boiling water (gently) for 3 minutes. Lift out and put on a greased tray or in a casserole dish (don’t stack).

Serve as is with a pat of butter, in a broth or sauce, or pan fry in with butter, topped with herbs and parmesan.

Posted on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 02:23AM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment

Confiture de lait (Dulce de leche)

What's Cooking

The Dish - Confiture de lait

You may have heard of Dulce de leche. It’s been a flavour in fashion with North American chefs and in cooking magazines for some time, because it has been adopted as an American favourite thanks to the Latin American influence. Mexico , Argentina , Paraguay , Chile , Uruguay , Cuba , etc etc – they all have their versions. Haagan daz even has a Dulce de leche ice cream on the market.

When I first heard of Dulce de leche five or six years or seven years ago (I can’t remember), I was intrigued. Before I had a chance to taste or experiment with this flavour, I came across a Québecoise girl, the girlfriend of one of my fellow cooks at l’Eau, who spoke to me of her mom’s ‘confiture de lait’. With some further exploration, I realized that Quebec culture had its own dulce de leche. It turns out that it’s pretty much the same thing – caramelized milk, or milk reduced down to a caramel. A little more digging indicated that it all likely stems from Normandy and people forgetting their morning hot milk on the stove.

To make confiture de lait or Dulce de leche, some sugar is added to milk to help the process unless you are using condensed milk as they do in many Latin American countries. It is reduced down to the point of color change. Often some butter or white chocolate is folded in at the end to add complexity, but this last step is a modern addition as far as I can tell. Maybe because the milk we have now is less complex in itself. Or maybe because we can’t help but improve on old recipes; we want to do more things with it besides butter toast, or because we typically don’t have condensed milk in our cupboards. In any case, its milk and sugar = caramel that tastes like toffee. Even the English incorporated into their tradition in the form of Banoffee pie!

Why confiture de lait? Well, a little while ago, I was reviewing some old inspirational menu-notes of mine, when I came across the confiture de lait thread on my ‘things to try’ list – I had totally forgotten about it. Yet, it’s just the kind of thing I love – so humble, yet so exciting, because it’s so widespread but not understood, there’s a story behind it and plus, I’ve never done it. It was time to give it a go.

Since I had recently done a cooking session with Patrice Demers where he made a white chocolate yogourt mousse to top a grapefruit Campari hibiscus salad (with litchi granite), I thought I might combine some of both in my dessert for the weekend – I loved the idea of cutting the sweetness of white chocolate with tangy yogourt. I had also seen a very appetizing modern version of the millefeuille somewhere (that until then, I always associated with that horrible Vachon cake), so now I had all the components I needed: Confiture de lait, crispy pastry, some fruit on the side; add some wild flavours, and I’d be all set.

I made a confiture de lait à la Québecoise (as opposed to Mexican) well because I am Québecoise. Then I added white chocolate at the end and whisked in some yogourt. White chocolate is already so sickly sweet, add milk caramel (it’s almost redundant actually) therefore the yogurt was mandatory (Thanks Patrice). I flavoured it with vanilla grass (foin d’odeur), an aromatic wild herb that I often use in dessert preparations. I suppose you could use any flavouring that you would in a flan or crème anglaise, a shot of liqueur like Amaretto or Frangelico comes to mind, chai spices, or ginger. Anyway, I then layered it puff pastry with a tart compote of wild berries (partridgeberry, blueberry, blackberry, elderberry ) and served a sorbet of the same berries on the side. It was a hit, maybe not like a chocolate hit, but still, I was encouraged.

So I kept it it around for another week but refined it a little. I used phyllo for a crisper element, less like a traditional millefeuille, but more reasonable for me (since puff pastry is super labour intensive if you want to make it yourself) and plus, phyllo tastes lighter so I figured I could layer it more, play around some with the presentation. It ended up being 3 (x5) layers, very delicate and crisp and assembled à la minute with confiture de lait and berry coulis holding it all together, I was happy.

plating millefeuille of confiture de lait and wild berries

confiture de lait-vanilla grass millefeuille with wild berries and sorbet

As you can see, I’m having fun here, but it’s just a fling; I will have moved on to something else by next week, but still I like the whole Dulce de leche thing. My conclusion however, is that it is best on its own - on toast, with pound cake, kind of like jam or icing. Even if it tastes great everywhere, it’s too subtle to be mixing with all kinds of things – it just becomes indistinguishable. I could have made pastry cream and served a caramel sauce alongside, and no one would have known, maybe it would even have been better. That doesn’t mean that confiture de lait or Dulce de leche is not a great thing. Not only is it extremely versatile, but it has history, and it’s dear to so many people around the world. I just love that Quebec has a common recipe to Latin America, all thanks to our careless, yet adventurous French ancestors or conquerors. To me, that makes it that much more interesting, worth trying and worthy of a post.

Back to the kitchen: Think about all the possibilities.. We could flavour it with traditional flavours like vanilla or cinnamon or coffee or exotic flavours like tonka bean, passionfruit or licorice … We could use brown sugar instead of plain sugar. We could kick it up a notch with some booze (in Latin America , rum would be a natural), but any brandy or liqueur would be good. We could use cream, a combination of milk and cream, or just milk. We could use coconut milk. We could make it thick and spreadable, light and fluffy, or thin it out to make a sauce. We could use it as icing on a cupcake or as jam on toast. We could use it as a filling like pastry cream… Or we could make ice cream with it by just adding it to cream - you don’t even need yolks – see epicurious recipe


My recipe for Confiture de Lait (Milk caramel or Dulce de leche), based on various others and tests:

1 L of milk (or 3 cups of milk and 1 cup cream –better!)

1 1/2 cup sugar (300g)

1 vanilla bean (or a generous pinch of cinnamon, or I used 20g vanilla-grass)

1 tsp baking soda

a good pinch of salt

Combine all and reduce slowly (1+ hrs) until it looks and smells like a light caramel.


At this point, you can whisk in a pat of butter or a spoon of honey, or some chocolate depending on what you think you want taste-wise, what texture you are in the mood for, and what you are using it for. The butter or chocolate will make it more decadent as well as thicken it up once cold, which is good for a spread, but if you want a sauce, then thin it down with cream after. If you add yogurt like I did, wait until it cools slightly. Keep refrigerated. On my last night of service, I folded in barely sweetened Chantilly (whipped cream) to it and loved the results (very mousse like), would make a terrific crepe filling or trifle component.

Serve with toast, crêpes or croissant. Or serve in a bowl with berries or with pound cake or butter cookies and berries or a fruit coulis.

Posted on Thursday, December 6, 2007 at 02:37AM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , | CommentsPost a Comment

Winter squash

What’s cooking

Ingredient – Winter Squash

assorted winter squash


pink banana

squash salad: raw, marinated and fried, some greens, cheese and pickled day lily buds, cider crinkleroot vinaigrette









It might seem late for squash to be a source of inspiration, but not really.. You see, now that winter is here and nothing fresh and local is coming in at all, I have no choice to look to the piles of winter squash and roots from the last harvests waiting to be transformed. Because our winter is so long, I often wait to the last minute to start my long affair with the stuff that keeps. When the squash first come out, there is still plenty of other stuff around, so I’ll use them a little, but save the royal treatment for when they can be the star. Once the squash is knocked off, the roots will get their turn at being the center of attention veg wise, and by the end of winter I will be quite tired of both, yearning for crisp and green. Let’s forget about that for now..

Over the past month, I’ve made slaw, salad, mash, polenta, latkes, soups and several desserts with a variety of winter squash. Here are some simple examples with guidelines:

Squash slaw : Raw, marinated butternut squash (or acorn or pink banana) in a salad:

Julienne the squash and toss it with a pinch of salt, of sugar, a good cider or white wine vinegar, and a shot of olive oil and or nut oil. Serve it in a salad with almonds and herbs, or as an accompaniment. .

Spaghetti squash comme ça

Slice in two, seed, cover and microwave for 10 min. Scrape the ‘spaghetti’ off with a fork. Sauté in butter and garlic, a few chilli flakes. Or add a touch of cream and grated cheese and cook as a gratin..

Pancake, latke or roesti: Buttercup, Pink Banana or something starchy works best.

You could actually use any squash, but with a watery one, you would need to add potato or more flour. With a starchy variety like this, you get the full squash flavour and no gumminess. Grate it, mix it with a handful of flour, a pinch of salt and spice (I like curry and chili), some grated onion (squeezed dry) or minced shallot and a scant pinch of baking powder. Add a few beaten eggs just to bind. Drop into a hot pan with oil and sear on both sides cooking it like a pancake. Finish in oven if necessary. Serve as an accompaniment or as an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre topped with something like sour cream and smoked salmon or chutney and yogurt.

buttercup polenta, sautéed spaghetti squash

marinated pink banana

Fried pink banana

Soup: Use Hubbard or any combination of winter squash

Halve or cut into big pieces, seed and roast the squash in an oven at 400F until tender. Meanwhile, sweat a mirepoix (chopped onion, carrot, celery, leek if you want) in a little butter or oil. Add some garlic, some ginger, a pinch of chilli. Deglaze with a splash of white wine, cider, cider vinegar or sherry vinegar. Scoop out the squash meat and add, along with poultry stock (and/or water) to cover, but barely. Cook for another 20-30 min. Blend. Add a little cream or milk or water to rectify the consistency. Add salt and pepper, a spoonful of honey or more likely a squeeze of lemon to taste. Strain if you’re feeling fancy.

Purée : A starchy one is best, otherwise, add some mashed potato.

Roast in the oven, scoop out the flesh and pureé in a food processor (or pass through a food mill), adding a good measure of butter, maybe a splash of stock or milk or cream (not usually necessary especially if you have a squash with some water content). Season to taste (salt, a squeeze of lemon, a shot of Sambal or Tabasco ).

Fried: The starchiest ones again are best. If it’s too sweet, it will burn. You can always give them a water rinse or soak (but dry well) if you want to cook as fries. Squash is great in pakora, tempura works well too, but you can also just coat in flour and/or cornstarch and fry at a lower than usual temperature (275- 300F ). Too high a temperature and they will darken too much (and lose their sweetness), too low and they won’t be crisp. You also have to be able to leave them in long enough in order for them to crisp up.

Dessert : A firm, sweet one works in a dessert where you use them as you would fruit, as in a pie filling or crumble. The softer ones are best used puréed as in pumpkin pie, in compotes, or flan mixtures. Flavour wise, squash or pumpkin pairs well with apple, pear and spice.

My colleague, Isabelle brought in an apple-squash crisp as a staff treat, and I was then inspired to make a chausson. Either way, you want a squash that you can cut up raw, that cooks up well and somewhat retains its structure. Butternut works well. Almost any squash will work, you just may need to add a tablespoon or two of flour to the mix. You just add the diced squash to your apple mixture. At least that’s what I would do at home. But at the restaurant, you want everything to be cooked just so, so I sautéed the apples and squash cubes separately to make sure they were both cooked properly. I was looking for something aldente because the chaussons would finish in the oven. I added butter, sugar, honey, lemon, spices like cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger among some other wild things, some almond powder to bind (a good pinch of flour would have been fine too) and stuffed my phyllo pastry, cooked it at 400F for the first 10 min. and another 20min at a lower temperature. You could also just top the mixture with crisp topping or biscuit dough for a cobbler type thing.

I’m sure it would make a good ice cream too (in purée form), as it certainly makes good crème brulée, mousse and pannacotta.

Posted on Thursday, December 6, 2007 at 02:33AM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment

Snow crab (or lobster salad)

Snow Crab Salad

Yield: 8 appetizer portions


2 2 ½ lb crab (or about 400 g crabmeat)

6+ L water

2 Tbsp salt

1 celery stalk, minced

½ small red pepper (no pith), brunoise

2 green onion, minced

1 Tbsp chopped chives

1 tsp chopped dill

pinch chili or tabasco or Sambal or cayenne

50 ml homemade mayo (2 yolks, dijon , lemon, extra virgin olive oil)

s.q. lemon

s.q. extra virgin olive oil

s.q. salt


1. Bring plenty of salted water to a boil, submerge crab and lower heat. Cook for 8-12 minutes (until bright orange and legs come off easily). Refresh.

2. Make mayo.

3. Blanch salicorne if fresh. If frozen, just thaw (it’s already been blanched). Set aside for garnish.

4. Remove crab meat from shells, being careful not to get any bits of shell, especially when extracting the meat from the body.

5. Combine meat with seasonings and season to taste.


Serve as is, in a bun or as an hors d’oeuvre stuffed into a tomato or zucchini slice..

I like it straight up alongside a crunchy sea asparagus or green salad and some toasted baguette (with ramp butter).

You can change it up by lightening up by omitting the mayo (using just lemon and olive oil), or by changing the flavour combination by using ginger, soy or fish sauce, lime and coriander for an Asian slant, instead of the Greek lemon, dill combo.  You could also go tomato, tarragon, and horseradish for that cocktail sauce taste or just garlic and olive oil, whatever you feel like really.. Just be sure not to overdo the garnishes and seasonings so that you can taste the seafood!


Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2007 at 02:46PM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , , | CommentsPost a Comment

5 Ways with Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads – 5 recipes

Oh so simple, with butter and garlic. 

Pickled, as a condiment or to jazz up a compound salad, as in a shaved fennel salad with dill and smoked salmon. 

Hot with shallots, bacon and meat jus, sherry vinegar for a nice side dish to accompany meat, fish, eggs, cheese or pasta. 

With Bercy butter for the veg wary carnivore. 

In an Asian inspired vinaigrette with wild ginger mustard, chili and sesame for a sure crowd pleaser. 

For an elegant, hearty entrée, dress them up with duck confit, balsamic glaze, black pepper and shaved parmesan.


Fiddleheads with butter and garlic

Yield: 8 servings

400 g 1 lb Fiddleheads, cleaned and double blanched

1 Tbsp minced garlic

2 Tbsp salted butter

pinch chilli flakes

spash Tamari 

s.q. salt, pepper

s.q. water


1. Clean fiddleheads, removing dark tip. Blanch twice in lots of boiling salted water for 2 minutes each time. Refresh each time. Reserve.

2. Sauté garlic for a minute or two in butter (no color). Add blanched fiddleheads to pan and warm through, adding a few drops of water if necessary (to emulsify butter). Season and serve as is, or add garnish of choice (chopped herbs, ramps, bacon, sundried tomato...)

Fiddleheads with Bercy butter

Yield: 6 servings

300 g fiddleheads

200g beef marrow

100 g butter

1 tbsp minced shallots

100ml white wine

1 tbsp chopped parsley

10 ml lemon juice

s.q. salt, pepper


1. Wash and trim fiddleheads, discarding any that are opened or black.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch twice for 2-3 minutes at a time, refreshing after in an ice bath, and using fresh water the second time.

3. Meanwhile, poach diced beef marrow in salted water for 2-3 minutes, drain.

4. Combine marrow and shallots, sweat a couple of minutes in a saucepan, deglaze with wine, cool.

5. Add softened butter, seasonings and combine to make compound butter.

6. When ready to serve, warm butter with half as much water and reheat fiddleheads.


Fiddleheads with shallots, bacon and meat jus, sherry vinegar

Yield: 6 servings

300 g fiddleheads

100g bacon

20 g butter

1 tbsp minced shallots

30 ml sherry vinegar

100 ml meat glaze (or reduced meat stock or demi-glace or pan drippings or miso)

1 tbsp chopped parsley and tarragon

s.q. salt, pepper


1. Wash and trim fiddleheads, discarding any that are opened or black.

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch twice for 2-3 minutes at a time, refreshing after in an ice bath, and using fresh water the second time.

2. Meanwhile, slowly cook bacon in a frying pan. When just about cooked, pour off excess grease (keeping a little), add shallots, cook until translucent. Deglaze with sherry vinegar, then meat jus or stock. Reduce down until a sauce like consistency.

3. Add fiddleheads and warm through. Toss in butter, fresh herbs and season to taste.

Add softened butter, seasonings and combine to make compound butter.

Fiddleheads in Asian style vinaigrette with wild ginger mustard, chili and sesame


Yield: 8 servings


400 g 1 lb Fiddleheads, cleaned and double blanched




1 French shallot, minced


2 cloves garlic, minced


30 ml wild ginger mustard (or 1 tsp minced ginger and 15 ml Dijon )


30 ml Tamari


50 ml cider vinegar


30 ml maple syrup


10 ml toasted sesame oil


125 ml olive oil


s.q. salt, pepper


s.q. chilli paste




2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds




1. Clean fiddleheads, removing dark tip. Blanch twice in lots of boiling salted water for 2 minutes each time. Refresh each time. Reserve.


2. Make vinaigrette by blending all ingredients.


3. Toss fiddleheads with vinaigrette and sesame seeds and serve.


4. Garnish with garlic chives.. pickled red pepper, pea shoots, or even fried tofu, chicken or shrimp.





Pickled Fiddleheads

With shaved fennel salad, lemon, walnut oil


400 g 1 lb Fiddleheads, cleaned and double blanched

1 c mirepoix (chopped onion, celery, leeks)

2 c dry white wine

2 c water

1 c white wine vinegar or cider vinegar

½ c sugar

2 Tbsp salt

1 Tbsp. pickling spice

1 tsp fennel seeds

5 sprigs each of parsley, thyme and dill

1 head of fennel, trimmed and sliced finely on the mandolin

2 Tbsp freshly chopped herbs (parsley, dill, chives)

s.q. lemon juice (1-2 lemons)

¼ t extra virgin olive oil

s.q. salt, pepper

1 tsp lemon zest

2 Tbsp walnut oil

2 Tbsp chopped fresh walnuts or almonds or pine nuts

Garnish: (Optional)

120 g shaved parmesan or aged cow or sheep’s milk cheese

Note: You could remove walnuts and serve this with smoked salmon or fish..


1. Clean fiddleheads, removing dark tip. Blanch twice in lots of boiling salted water for 2 minutes each time. Refresh each time. Reserve.

2. Make a court bouillon by boiling water, wine, vinegar, sugar, salt, pickling spice and herb stems for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, slice fennel thinly and toss with lemon juice, a bit of olive oil and half the chopped herbs. Season and mix. Allow to sit so that fennel softens.

4. Strain court bouillon and reduce by 1/3. Pour over blanched fiddleheads. Toss in the lemon zest, allow to cool. Add the rest of the chopped parsley, dill and chives, and the rest of the olive oil. Season to taste.

5. To assemble salad, spread fennel mixture on plate as a bed, top with a mound of pickled fiddleheads in center, top with nuts and cheese, drizzle with walnut oil or hazelnut oil.


Fiddleheads with duck confit, Reggianno and balsamic glaze

Yield: 8 servings

400 g 1 lb Fiddleheads, cleaned and double blanched

1 tsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp minced shallot or onion

1 Tbsp unsalted butter or duck fat

8 confit duck legs (prepared/bought)

80 g shaved parmesan Reggianno or Quebec cheese of choice

s.q. chopped fresh herbs (parsley and/or chives and basil)

s.q. mixed greens

Balsamic reduction

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tsp sugar


4 ripe tomatoes

¼ c basil leaves


1. Make balsamic reduction by combining balsamic vinegar and sugar and reduce gently until slightly syrupy, cool.

2. Clean fiddleheads, removing dark tip. Blanch twice in lots of boiling salted water for 2 minutes each time. Refresh each time. Reserve.

3. Heat up duck confit in oven.

4. Meanwhile, sauté garlic and shallot gently in butter or duck fat until soft and translucent (a few minutes), add blanched fiddleheads and warm through. Season with salt and pepper and parsley, chives, and/or basil.

5. Serve duck hot with warm fiddlheads, top with balsamic glaze and shaved parmesan. Serve with a simple green salad and or a tomato salad.

Posted on Wednesday, May 9, 2007 at 02:37PM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , | CommentsPost a Comment

Garlic soup

Garlic Soup

I like to make this soup with day old bread à l’Espagnole, but I have found that it is more widely appreciated thickened with potato.

4 L

1 leek or onion, chopped

30 garlic cloves (5 bulbs)

1 tsp dry chilli powder (ancho or pasilla or any)

2 c white wine or sherry

3 L meat stock (chicken, beef, duck...)

1 tsp thyme

½ tsp rosemary or sage

2 c dried bread cubes or cubed potato

1 c cream

s.q. tabasco, worcestershire

s.q. lemon

s.q. salt, pepper

s.q. water

pinch nutmeg

s.q. olive oil

s.q. butter

Sweat the onion or leek in a bit of olive oil over low heat with smashed garlic cloves slowly for 20 min. Deglaze with wine or sherry, reduce down. Add herbs, stock, and potato if you’re using potato. Simmer for 30-45 min. Add dried bread and cream, simmer 5 minutes, blend. Finish with a pat of butter or extra virgin olive oil, thin with water or milk to desired consistency and rectify seasoning.


Chorizo. Or any sausage.

A strong tasting cheese like an old cheddar, a blue, or a goat cheese.

A chopped bitter green (watercress, arugula, endive..)

Caramelized onions.

Posted on Tuesday, December 5, 2006 at 07:51PM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , | CommentsPost a Comment

Squash soup

Squash soup

4 L

2 L squash chunks (Hubbard, butternut, sweet mama or potiron)

1 onion, minced

2 carrots, minced

1 stalk celery, minced

2 tsp minced garlic

2 tsp minced ginger

pinch curry powder

pinch chili

1 c cider or white wine

2 L chicken stock

2 c milk

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp lemon juice

s.q. salt

1 Tbsp butter

s.q. olive oil

Toss squash pieces with a bit of oil and roast on a baking sheet at 400F for 30-45 min. Meanwhile, sweat mirepoix in a bit of oil until soft. Add garlic, ginger and spices, stir-fry, deglaze with wine, reduce. Add stock and simmer.

When squash is caramelised and somewhat tender, remove and add to soup.

When everything is cooked through, blend, season, thin with milk to desired consistency and finish with butter. Top with desired garnish.


Crisp squash and fresh herbs.

Cooked bacon, ham or smoked duck.

Soft goat cheese or parm.

Mushrooms or mushroom oil.

Toasted coconut and sesame oil, coriander or basil.

Posted on Tuesday, December 5, 2006 at 07:49PM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , | CommentsPost a Comment

Leek soup

Leek soup

4 L

½ onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, minced

3 leeks, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1c white wine

1 tsp thyme

3 L chicken or vegetable stock

2 potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 c cream

2 Tbsp fresh dill

s.q. salt, pepper

s.q. lemon

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp butter

Sweat onion and celery in oil over low heat until translucent. Add leek and garlic and sweat slowly for 10 minutes. Deglaze with white wine, reduce down. Add potatoes, thyme and stock. Cook 20-30 minutes until potatoes are soft. Add dill and cream, cook 10 more minutes, blend and season, finish with butter. Thin to desired consistency with milk. Serve and top with garnish of choice.

Garnish with:

Fresh herbs like chives or parsley or dill.

Cooked seafood, steamed clams or mussels (add juice), or smoked salmon.

Stewed leeks.

Truffle oil.


Posted on Tuesday, December 5, 2006 at 07:47PM by Registered CommenterNancy Hinton in , , | CommentsPost a Comment
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