Archive for the 'preserves' Category

Honey Balsamic Roasted Cherries

Screen Shot 2014 07 28 at 6.58.23 PM 585x582 Honey Balsamic Roasted Cherries

Just when I thought straight-up cherries by the handful couldn’t be improved upon.

cherries Honey Balsamic Roasted Cherries

Applying heat to just about anything – but particularly juicy fruit – makes it better.

roasted cherries 4 Honey Balsamic Roasted Cherries

You can roast cherries, of course. They get along well with balsamic vinegar, and a sprig or two of fresh rosemary, and a good grinding of black pepper. And the heat of the oven until the slump over and into each other, and give up their juices, which then caramelize on the parchment papered-pan.

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The whole thing takes about fifteen minutes, and then you can pour the warm cherries and their tangy juices over a log of soft goat cheese and bring it out onto the deck with a bottle of wine. Yes?

roasted cherries 2 Honey Balsamic Roasted Cherries

Or cool them down and spoon them over thick yogurt and granola in the morning with your coffee. Either way. I imagine the combo would also do well over ice cream, or whirled into a milkshake.

roasted cherries 11 Honey Balsamic Roasted Cherries

Honey Balsamic Roasted Cherries

fresh cherries, pitted
honey
balsamic vinegar
extra-virgin olive oil
a sprig of fresh rosemary (optional)
freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400F. Spread the cherries out in a single layer on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Whisk together equal amounts of honey and balsamic vinegar with about half as much oil (about 1/4 cup honey and balsamic and 2 Tbsp. oil for 1 L cherries) and pour over the cherries. Add a sprig of rosemary, if you like, and toss to coat. Grind over a bit of black pepper.

Roast for 10-20 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the cherries soften and release their juices and everything gets dark and sticky. Serve warm, over ice cream or a soft log of goat cheese, on a cheese board or good bread, or over thick plain yogurt and granola.

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July 29 2014 | dessert and preserves | 13 Comments »

Grilled Steak with Gremolata and Warm Potato Salad

Steak with gremolata 3 585x814 Grilled Steak with Gremolata and Warm Potato Salad

If you live somewhere where there are actually things growing out of the ground already, lucky you. Here in Calgary, there are still small glaciers on most streets and in yards, but this weekend the temperature finally crept up past zero. Way up past ten, even! Hello, barbecue. It’s been awhile.

Steak with gremolata 4 Grilled Steak with Gremolata and Warm Potato Salad

Last week I had lunch with a local rancher (one who supplies our Calgary Co-op stores with beef that’s born and bred in Alberta), and was given a gorgeous T-bone steak to take home, which we used as an excuse to fire up the grill (which since October has been subbing as an outdoor freezer). When you get a taste of spring, even when there’s still snow on the ground, you gotta jump on it.

Gremolata steak Collage 1 Grilled Steak with Gremolata and Warm Potato Salad

Christoph the rancher says that when you have a steak like this, it doesn’t need anything but salt. I tend to agree. But I had a jar of gremolata in the fridge – a gift from Earl’s Tin Palace to celebrate their post-flood re-opening just last week – which being a mixture of garlic, lemon, parsley and olive oil, is the perfect accessory for a simply grilled steak. (I may not know how to dress myself, but I have an idea of how to accessorize food.) In fact, you can make a pretty fab potato salad by dousing warm potatoes with gremolata, then a big glob of mayo; the gremolata brightens it, adds that hit of acidity that’s usually obtained with pickle brine, and decorates it with bits of green. Springy!

Steak with gremolata 1 Grilled Steak with Gremolata and Warm Potato Salad

As for the steak, you don’t need a recipe so much as basic instructions on how to cook one. Once you’ve selected your steak and have decided it’s destined for dinner, pull it out of the fridge so that it can start cooking from room temperature. If it appears wet, pat it dry with a paper towel, and shower it generously with salt – I add freshly ground pepper, too. I like to cook ours in a cast iron skillet or on the barbecue – either way, get it smoking hot before you put the steak on, then leave it for 3-4 minutes – don’t fiddle with it or move it or (gasp!) squish it – until it develops a nice bottom crust. Flip it over and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side, then set it on a plate and let it rest for 5 minutes. This will make an inch-thick steak medium-rare; you can adjust your cooking time accordingly.

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For the potato salad, I cut russets – only because russets were what I had, but I don’t mind them in a potato salad – into big chunks, covered them with water and brought them to a simmer. (This was faster than baking them, which would have been pretty divine too.) Once they were tender I drained them and tossed them, still steaming, with a generous pour of gremolata and a fairly enormous spoonful of mayo. Salt and pepper, if it needs it, and bingo – potato salad that I like even better served warm, especially alongside a steak.

To make your own gremolata, all you need is lemon, garlic, parsley and olive oil, and a means to mash it all together. The stuff is brilliant to have a jar of in the fridge, and once you get hooked on it, you’ll find plenty of uses for it – anything from steak to fish, drizzled on fresh bread, you get the idea.

Gremolata

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1-2 handfuls flat-leaf parsley, roughly or finely chopped
a glug or two of good olive oil

Stir, whiz (in the bowl of a food processor) or mash everything together with a mortar and pestle, adding enough olive oil to create a loose sauce; store in a jar in the fridge for up to a week. (The gremolata will improve in flavour after a day or two.)

pixel Grilled Steak with Gremolata and Warm Potato Salad
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March 10 2014 | beef and preserves and veg | 10 Comments »

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