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Friday Night Dinners

Friday Night Dinners

Menus to Welcome the Weekend with Ease, Warmth and Flair
also available: Hardcover
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100-Mile Diet Dinner

Serves 8

Although I always buy local meat and poultry, and I try to buy local produce as much as possible, I had no idea what I was in for when I agreed to host James MacKinnon and Alisa Smith (authors of The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating) at my book club. We take a lot for granted when we use rice, sugar, olive oil and lemons, for example. In the end even James and Alisa found it hard to believe that we had cooked the entire dinner with local ingredients (though I have to admit we extended the range to 150 miles at times).

It was an eye-opening exercise. We managed to chase down local canola and soybean oil, learned that the largest salt mine in the world is in Goderich, and found a great flour mill in Arva – all close to Toronto.

The challenges of eating locally vary depending on where you live. Everyone has to make compromises, and don’t forget, “almost” all local is good, too.

My biggest tip for cooking locally? Keep your ingredient lists short. Or have a 100-mile potluck dinner, so everyone can share the fun and aggravation!

Except for the kale, which should be sauteed just before serving, this entire menu can be prepared ahead.

Smoked Trout Spread

In southern Ontario, trout is the only local fish that is commercially available year round, although fresh whitefish, pike, perch and pickerel are also sometimes sold (Rick Blackwood of Mike’s in Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market is a great source of information about local fish).

We made our own mayonnaise using local oil, but you could use yogurt, instead.

Serve this with bread or crackers.

8 oz (250g) smoked trout, bones and skin removed
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 tbsp (25mL) chopped fresh chives
2 tbsp (25mL) chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup (125mL) mayonnaise or yogurt, approx.
Salt to taste
Apple cider vinegar to taste
Sprigs fresh dill or chives for garnish

1. In a food processor, combine trout, celery, chives, dill and 1/4 cup (50mL) mayonnaise. Process on/off until mixture just holds together, adding more mayonnaise if necessary. Add salt and/or apple cider vinegar to taste.

2. Serve garnished with fresh dill.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups (375 ml)

In a food processor, combine 2 egg yolks, 1 tbsp (15mL) apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp (5mL) dry mustard and 1/2 tsp (2mL) salt. With machine running, very slowly add 1 1/4 cups (300mL) vegetable oil through feed tube. (You can also do this in a bowl with a whisk, adding the oil drop by drop at first and graduating to a thin stream.)

Makes about 1 1/2 cups (375mL).
Braised Lamb Shanks with Wine and Herbs

Although this recipe contains tons of garlic, the long cooking time makes it unexpectedly mild and sweet. You can serve the lamb shanks on the bone or remove the meat in chunks (to avoid scaring guests with what looks like a huge hunk of meat).

Peel fresh tomatoes by cutting out the core, cutting a cross on the bottom and blanching for 20 seconds in boiling water. Cool under cold water and remove the skins, or use a soft skin peeler.

8 lamb shanks, trimmed
1 tbsp (15mL) salt
2 tbsp (25mL) vegetable oil
3 onions, coarsely chopped
12 cloves garlic, peeled
2 cups (500mL) dry red wine
2 lb (1kg) fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 128-oz (796mL) can plum tomatoes, with juices
1 tbsp (15mL) fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp (2mL) dried
2 tbsp (25mL) coarsely chopped fresh parsley, optional

1. Pat lamb dry and sprinkle with salt.

2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown lamb well on all sides, in batches if necessary (this will take about 10 to 15 minutes). Remove from pan.

3. Add onions and garlic to pan and cook for a few minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until liquid is reduced by about half.

4. Add tomatoes and thyme and bring to a boil, breaking up tomatoes with a spoon. Return shanks to pan. Place parchment paper directly on surface of lamb. Cover with lid and cook in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until meat is very tender.

5. Remove shanks from pan. Skim any fat from surface of sauce and discard. Puree sauce in a food processor or blender and return sauce to pan.

6. Remove lamb from bones in large chunks and return to sauce. Heat thoroughly. Garnish with parsley, if using.

Makes 8 servings
Caramelized Apple Crêpes with Maple Syrup

Local maple syrup and apples are legendary in Ontario. If you don’t have maple syrup, use honey, which is available locally in most places. I find most apples are good for cooking if they are very apple-y and not too tart or crisp.

2 tbsp (25mL) butter or vegetable oil
6 cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut in wedges
1/2 cup (125mL) maple syrup
10 cooked crêpes (pages 272—273)

1. Heat butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.

2. Add maple syrup and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until apples are tender and caramelized.

3. To assemble crêpes, place crêpes, nicest side down, on a work surface. Divide apple mixture among crêpes. Roll up and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

4. Before serving, warm crêpes in a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

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30-Minute Pantry

30-Minute Pantry

Recipes for What's on Hand
tagged : quick & easy
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Fresh with Anna Olson

Fresh with Anna Olson

Seasonally Inspired Recipes To Share With Family And Friends
also available: Paperback
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I am often asked, “What is your favorite dish to make?” And my answer is always the same: “It depends what time of year it is.” I am a seasonally motivated cook. It is the foods available at their peak, the cooking techniques of the season, and my own personal cravings that dictate what I make to satisfy myself and others. And the things I make shape my culinary identity. Everyone who cooks has one. It is something that constantly changes and grows just as a person changes and grows. A long list of things influences the food we end up making, hence shaping our culinary identity. Some of the most basic influences are

•?our cultural heritage •?the time and place in which we live •?our access to ingredients •?how much time we have •? our personal tastes and dietary needs

Like our personalities, or even dna, a culi- nary identity is unique to each one of us. But we are undeniably linked to and bonded with one another, and food forges that bond. When we come together to eat with family and friends, we share not just conversation over the table but also an enjoyment of what we are eating. How many of our fond memories are tied to occasions where food is involved, and are of helping to put together a meal? If you’ve watched my show of the same name, Fresh with Anna Olson, you know that I often share some of the “meal memories” I have enjoyed with family and friends. What has always made eating together even more special to me is the journey from idea to reality—the process of getting delicious creations to the table. I get so excited about planning a meal, finding the ingredients that I know my guests will like, and spending time in the kitchen cooking and creating. A valuable aspect of creating these meals has been thinking about how to best capture the season. And it’s always about cooking with fresh, local ingredients—which is not just a trend. It is the way we used to cook and eat in the days before our modern food industry made it common for food to be transported long distances. To cook with the seasons makes menu building simple, since food that grows together, goes together makes flavor pairings logical. And shopping for locally grown or locally produced ingredients means buying food at its best, meant to be eaten right away. Wherever you may live, there are opportunities to source out local and seasonal ingredients. It’s not just limited to shopping at farmgate stands. Many towns and cities now offer farmers’ markets, and the number of inde- pendent producers of cheeses, meats, preserves, and even ice cream continues to grow. I hope you enjoy this cookbook. I will take it as a personal compliment if even just a few of these recipes work themselves into becoming part of your culinary identity.

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Easy Roasting

Easy Roasting

Choice recipes from Company's Coming cookbooks
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Food That Really Schmecks

Food That Really Schmecks

by Edna Staebler
foreword by Rose Murray
introduction by Wayson Choy
also available: Paperback
tagged : canadian
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