Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Whey Extract

Now after you've enjoyed the buttery smoothness of fresh cheese, what are you to do with all that leftover whey? While many people use it to acidify soil or feed to pets, some people also use whey in traditional recipes, me? I dry it out as a source of easy protein, a crucial source of the nutrient to many vegetarians.

After having collected the leftover whey from cheese-making, just keep heating it! The end result that you want is to turn the greenish white liquid into fine yellow powder.

1)First step, boil, boil, toil and trouble for a good while until the whey reaches a syrupy consistency and looks almost like caramel, although it looks tasty I recommend against eating it straight up, but hey, go for it at your on risk!

2)Pour it out into a glass ovenproof dish or onto tin foil and toss it into the oven on keep warm or with the pilot light on. Leave it for a few days to dehydrate until you can break it into large chunks.
3)Once the chunks are fully dry, pass it through a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.
4) Easy as that! You now have whey, that overpriced powder peddled to athletes! Add it to smoothies or other meals to boost the protein content of meals!

Fresh Cheese

To those of you who enjoy fresh cheese either in the form of ricotta or paneer, in lasagna or in jalfrezi this one is for you! The coagulant used can be any kind of acid be it lemon or vinegar. While from what I’ve read lemon seems more common to make ricotta as the traditional coagulant the use of vinegar seems to be more common in Indian soft cheeses like paneer.

This little ball of deliciousness is a vinegar based paneer.

-2 ½ L of Whole milk
-Half a liter (500ml) of heavy cream
-2 ½ tbsp. of coagulant (vinegar/lemon)
1) Heat the milk and cream in a large pot on the stove on high heat until it reaches its boiling point stirring constantly.
2)Reduce to mid heat and add the coagulant while stirring vigorously.
3)As the milk curdles, keep stirring for another 10 min. or so until the cheese separates into curds leaving behind the greenish tinged whey.
4)Strain the cheese out in a cheesecloth or butter muslin spread over a colander. Place a bowl underneath to catch any leftover whey, keep it for later, I’ll post another recipe demonstrating how to dry it and eat it.
5)Twist the cheese into a ball and hang it using a string from the sink or suspending it from a clothesline (my approach lol) and let it hang for 15 min. (or more) the longer it hangs, the harder the cheese.
6)After that, cheese is ready, cut it up and prepare!

The cheese can be used in a whole variety of foods like this tasty Indian Jalfrezi!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Mixed Chocolate Orange Brownies

These decadent little mouthfuls are an excellent party pleaser. The luscious chunks of dark chocolate with the exotic zing of orange zest are enough to upscale these brownies from traditional picnic fare to a dinner party worthy dessert! If you like dense, chocolatey brownies, these are for you, I won't even pretend that they're healthy, however this is a rather small recipe so you don't end up eating an entire 9x13 pan to yourself!

Makes a small  8x8 recipe
Prep. Time: 20min.
Bake time: 20-25min

-1 oz of dark chocolate (At least 60% cocoa)
-1 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate or chocolate chips
-1/2 cup of quality dark or bittersweet (this one is to taste) chocolate broken into chunks
-1/2 cup  unsalted butter
-3/4 cups sugar
-2 eggs
-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
-3 tbsp. cocoa powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-zest of  2 oranges
-2tbsp of fresh pressed orange juice
-1/2 tsp. vanilla (or more!)
-1/2c crushed walnuts

1)Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 dish
2) Melt the butter in a pot, preferably a double boiler, on the stove and add the orange juice and sugar, stir until homogenous.
3) Add the cocoa, orange zest and the two ounces of chocolate first listed in the recipe, stir vigorously melted and then whisk until smooth, let cool.
4) Meanwhile combine the flour and salt.
5)Beat the eggs with the vanilla until fully mixed, add to the cooled chocolate.
****caution: make sure that the chocolate is only warm lest it curdle the eggs!****
6)Mix the chocolate with the dry ingredients, mix well, add the walnuts and pour it into the pan.
7)Bake for 20-25 min. at 350, let cool and enjoy, this recipe is best enjoyed the next day...if you can last!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Lemon Bean Salad

Bean salad is a light and tasty lunch filler that has the important quality of also being a great source of good vegetarian protein. As someone who has been trying to exercise a lot all the while limiting my animal protein intake, bean salad has become an important source of protein for me. This simple recipe was once again inspired by my friend Lea, I just put a bit of a twist to it!

540ml. can of lentils (you can also use fresh legumes or rehydrated ones, I use canned by convenience)
540 ml. can of kidney beans
540ml can of chickpeas
Heaping 1/2c. densely packed fresh parsley
Zest of a lemon
5 sizeable green onions
1/3c. light olive or canola oil
1/3c. white sugar
Juice of half a lemon
2 Sweet peppers (Yellow, orange or red)
4 tbsp. Red wine vinegar
4tbsp. White vinegar
Salt/Pepper to taste

1)In a large bowl, drain and combine the three cans of legumes.
2)Chop the parsley, peppers and green onions into small pieces mixing them into the beans with the lemon zest
3)Mix the sugar and acids (lemon juice and vinegars) mixing vigorously to dissolve the sugar, don't hesitate to warm it slightly if necessary.
4)Once the sugar has been disolved, add the oil to the liquids, shake or mix until mostly homogenous, add to the bean salad.
5)Mix and serve!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Walnut Pesto

Summery and flavourful this pesto invokes the fresh flavours of summer and is excellent on fresh homemade pasta! Simple and easy to whip up fast, this pesto is great for a hot summer day where you don't want to be slaving over the stove.

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (the good stuff as you’ll taste it)
1/3 cup roasted walnuts or pine nuts (I toast’em at 350 for a few minutes, watch out they burn easily though!)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced/pressed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1)In a food processor, pulse the basil leaves until they shred considerably
2)Add the toasted nuts as well with about half the oil and pulse
3)Add the garlic as well as the remaining oil and give it another round

***at this point you can freeze it and use it another day*** (I use a dedicated ice cube tray)

4)Before serving add parmesan (some toasted and powdered rosemary would be good too!) and it’s ready to go!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Churning Butter

A few days ago, I had the joy of witnessing firsthand the miracle of homemade butter as I churned it for the first time. Lushiously creamy, fresh and absolutely addictive butter is easy to make, tastes fantastic and makes a lovely gift for friends!

Yield: About 1 lb. of butter, and approximately 2 cups of buttermilk

-1L Warm Heavy Cream (35% or higher)
-About 1tsp Salt (optional)

Making butter is as easy as easy can be, two methods tend to be particularly well suited to the home environment.

The long way:
1)When settling down to watch a movie or to have a long conversation or such, pour the cream into a large jar, leaving at least 25% of the jar empty, the more space, the better.
2)Shake (very) vigorously, you're basically attempting to slam air into the fat fluffing it up, as if you're whipping it.
3)The cream will achieve the consistency of whipped cream after several minutes, let's say 10ish or so...that's not good enough...keep shaking!
4)Eventually, the cream will form into a solid ball (butter) and liquid will ooze out of it (buttermilk), at this point keep shaking until there is a large amount of liquid buildup, drain the liquid out, keep shaking the butter solids.
5)When the liquid no longer forms in large ammounts and only draws off in a fine sweat, rinse the butter in cold water, shake, rinse again.
6)After about 15-20 minutes of shaking and rinsing, tadaa!!!! You now have lovely fresh butter, add salt to taste!

Easy way:
1)Put cream in bowl, whip on highest speed with a mixer
2) Whip until buttermilk separates completely from butterfats
3)See steps 4,5, 6 of the long way, replace shaking with beating.

Mmmmm butter...

Use the buttermilk for anything, it's wonderful in pancakes or even in the Maple Pear Scones mentioned earlier!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Mango Salsa

This chunky sweet and hot salsa is perfect on chips with some good cocktails or as a topping for fish tacos. Spice and season as you wish but no matter what here's a nice and simple recipe to be had on a sweltering day!

-2 Large tomatoes
-1 1/4 c. Mango
-1/2c. Densely packed fresh coriander
-1c. Red onion
-1-2 Jalapeno Peppers
-1 Clove garlic
-1/2 Cucumber
-Juice of half a lemon
-Salt and pepper to taste

1) Crush and dice up the garlic until very fine
2) Chop everything else until very, very small, toss together, add garlic and lime juice, let sit at least 30min.

Tough stuff eh?

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Maple Pear Scones

This recipe is a modified version of a recipe that was passed on to me, it was originally featured in the Montreal Gazette and is a fantastic way to start the morning! Unlike most breakfast and brunch foods that I tend to make which necessitate waking at the crack of dawn to get the yeast rising, these scones don't use yeast. They are moist, buttery and incredibly rich and tasty, your guests might never want to leave if you pop these out!

Makes 12-15 scones

Pear Butter: 3 large very ripe pears (canned can do too!), peeled,
cored and mashed
2/3c. softened butter (no substitutions!!!)
4 tbsp. pure maple syrup

4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
  3 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/3 tsp. salt
1 cup + 2tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
1 cup + 2tbsp. buttermilk (I tend to just curdle milk/soymilk by chucking some vinegar in it)
3 tbsp. maple syrup
1 1/2 cup peeled and diced Bartlett pears
1/2 cup chopped pecans (Walnuts are good! Cheaper too!)
1/2 tbsp. sugar (for topping)
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes total
To prepare butter: Simmer mashed pear in a small saucepan over medium heat for 15 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. (Pear will start sticking to the pan at this point.) Let cool slightly; stir in butter and maple syrup. Throw in refrigerator until scones are ready to thicken. Butter can be prepared ahead, if desired, and stored in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

To prepare scones: Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine dry ingredients and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry knife until butter is the size of peas without overmixing (kind of like making pie) . Stir in buttermilk, maple syrup, pears and nuts. Turn mixture onto a lightly floured board and knead several times until dough is smooth. Press into a large circle and cut into 12-15 wedges with a sharp knife. Place wedges 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle lightly sugar. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve warm with Pear Butter.