A week ago on Feb 25, we had our first cooking club challenge. Danielle from Maple Syrup and Poutine was the host and her theme of choice was Canadian Food. I’ve got to say that it was quite a tough challenge to me, a newcomer to Canada, since my assignment was to prepare a main dish for the group (there were 6 of us).
Canada is a melting pot of cultures, like Malaysia and the U.S. and being a vegetarian, seafood was sort of out of the question for me. I don’t know much about the Native people’s cuisine, and a quick search on the WWW wasn’t as fruitful as I’d thought it would be because seafood seems to be the apparent main dish choice for many Canadians. Then I thought, I could make something with my vegetarian fish, since not many non-veges know about the options that vegetarians have. The “fish” is made in Taiwan (Taiwan makes really good and yummy meat substitutes, but pricey) but unfortunately, I was only able to find them in Toronto. So, I went to Toronto to get them when I went to see my in-laws in Toronto for Chinese New Year earlier in February. I had found a yummy recipe for potato-crusted Halibut steak, whereby I could just use P.E.I. potatoes to comply with the Canadian food theme. LOL! Anyway, here’s what we had that night. Everyone went home extremely satisfied that night, and quite honestly, it was one of the best Monday nights I’ve had in a while 😛
Drinks by Danielle: Caesar and MonarchVidal from Pelee Island Winery (local to Windsor).
Apparently, Caesar is a Canadian drink… we all learned something new that night.
Pistachio Crusted Fish by Suzanne (see recipe below).
Suzanne was so nice to use zuchinni as my “fish” since I was not able to have the special Atlantic salmon that she bought for everyone.
Pork Tenderloin with Scallops and Blueberry Beer Sauce by Jillian (see recipe below).
Although I wasn’t able to taste the pork and scallops, the blueberry sauce was amazing on the pistachio crust.
Wild Rice Pilaf with Butternut Squash & Dried Cranberries by Danielle.
I will be making this soon since I have a butternut squash and dried cranberries sitting at home now…
Modified Potato-Crusted Halibut Steaks by Christine (me). See recipe changes below.
Homestyle Tarte Tatin by Jordana (see recipe below).
Pistachio Crusted Atlantic Salmon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
2 tsp hot horseradish
3/4 cup fresh whole-grain bread crumbs (to make: break 1 large piece of multigrain bread into chunks and place in a food processor or mini chopper. pulse on and off until soft crumbs are formed).
1/3 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 fresh, skinless salmon fillets, about 6 oz (170 g) each and 1-inch thick
2 tsp butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a shallow baking pan with cooking spray and set aside (or just line a pan with tin foil, if you are cooking fish with skin on).
In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, mustard and horseradish. Set aside. Using a food processor or mini chopper, grind pistachios until finely ground but not powdery. Transfer to a medium bowl and add fresh bread crumbs, parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Stir gently using a fork. Add olive oil mixture and stir again, just until crumb mixture is moistened (like you’re making a crust for a cheesecake).
Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle fish lightly with salt and pepper. Place in baking pan. Press 1/4 crumb mixture on top of each fish fillet. Drizzle tops with melted butter.
Bake on middle oven rack for about 15 mins, depending on thickness of fish. Be careful not to overcook the fish. Turn on the broiler and broil for 1 minute. Crumbs should be golden brown and fish should flake easily with a fork. Serve immediately.
Medallions of Pork with Nova Scotia Scallops and Blueberries
(from The Taste of Nova Scotia Cookbook, C. Lief and H. MacKenzie)
Saute shallots in butter, add mashed blueberries and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir in beer, cook for 2-3 minutes. Add stock and cook for several more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and gradually blend in cream.
Cut pork into medallions around 1 inch thick. Pound between sheets of wax paper until 1/2 thin. Saute pork medallions in butter for 5 minutes; add scallops and continue to saute an additional 5 minutes. Pour blueberry sauce, then top with scallops and pork.
Homestyle Tarte Tatin
From Bonnie Stern’s Essentials of Homecooking (page 183)
Recipe adapted by Jordana who is not a baker…
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup butter
10 apples peeled, cored and sliced (I used Granny Smith)
375 grams of puff pastry (about ¾ of a package of Tenderflake defrosted)
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp granulated sugar
- Sprinkle ¾ cup sugar over bottom of a 10 or 12 inch nonstick ovenproof skillet. Cook on medium-high until sugar melts and turns golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not stir once sugar has dissolved. Add butter and melt.
- Add apples and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 to 15 minuets, or until apples are tender and almost all liquid has evaporated. Do not stir very much or apples may break. Liquid in pan should be very syrupy. Cook to room temperature.
- Roll pastry into an 11 or 13 inch circle. Place over apples. Cut out a few team slits and tuck edges of pastry inside pan.
- Brush with egg and sprinkle with 2 tbsp sugar. Bake in a preheated 400 F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until browned.
- While pie is hot, run a knife inside edge of pastry and invert onto a large serving plate.
Vegetarian Potato-Crusted Soy Fish
1 cup dry white wine
1 large shallot, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce — I used sushi wine instead because Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies
1/2 cup chopped flat-leafed parsley leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For mayonaise mixture
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon chopped drained capers
4 flat anchovies, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped fine — substituted with miso paste
six 1-inch-thick boneless halibut steaks (each about 7 ounces) — substituted with soy fish steaks
3/4 pound russet (baking) potatoes (about 1 1/2) — substituted with P.E.I. potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil plus additional if necessary
Preheat oven to 400°F. and lightly oil a shallow baking pan.
- Make sauce: In a heavy saucepan boil wine with shallot until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove pan from heat and whisk in lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and parsley. Add oil in a stream, whisking until combined well, and season with salt and pepper. Keep sauce warm.
- Mayonaise mixture: In a small bowl stir together mayonnaise, capers, anchovies, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Pat fish steaks dry and season with salt and pepper. Spread mayonnaise mixture evenly on top of steaks.
- Peel potatoes and quarter lengthwise. Grate potatoes coarse, preferably using a food processor. Pat a heaping 1/4 cup potato evenly on mayonnaise mixture on each steak.
- In a 12-inch non-stick skillet heat 2 tablespoons oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Carefully arrange 2 steaks, potato sides down, in oil and cook, pressing down occasionally with a slotted spatula, about 5 minutes, or until potato is golden brown and cooked through. Carefully invert steaks as browned into oiled pan (potato sides should be up) and season with salt and pepper. Repeat procedure with remaining steaks, adding more oil to skillet if necessary.
- Bake steaks in pan in middle of oven 10 to 15 minutes, or until just cooked through.
- Serve steaks with sauce and garnish with parsley.