3 September 2013

Hello Again!


I know... I know... It's been a while since I've posted something on my blog but things have been so crazy lately.  Wait till you hear this....

First off: I'm back to Montreal!  After 9 years I finally decided to take the plunge and come home.  I was finding it harder and harder to be so far away from my family and friends.  So in late June I sold my condo and quit my job in Toronto.

I was incredibly lucky to quickly find an amazing job in Montreal and I also bought THE perfect condo.  Wait till I post pictures of my new kitchen...  It was of course the main reason why I bought it (that and the HUGE closet!)

Things have been so crazy lately that I've barely found time to cook (I miss it dearly!).  Yesterday I emptied the last box and decided it was time to say come back to La Gourmande and say a quick hello to everyone and give you an update.

With a brand new kitchen, appliances I only dreamed of and my mom only a few blocks away to inspire me to start cooking again, I'm ready to fill this blog with many, many more recipes!

Sorry to everyone that was reading this blog religiously... I promise I will be back very soon with delicious and (as always) easy to prepare dishes!

In the meantime enjoy what little of summer is left and we'll be cookin' together again soon!

25 March 2013

Homemade Mushroom & Leek Raviolis

Warning:  this post may disappoint you... 
Although this recipe is title “homemade” raviolis, I took a few shortcuts…  The homemade part refers to the filling as I used wonton wrappers for the dough and didn’t venture in preparing my own dough for the pasta.
Firstly, I have never made fresh pasta and I wouldn’t know where to start (it’s on my “Need to learn how to make this” list). 
Secondly, as I mentioned many times on this blog I’m lazy and these little squares of already-made dough are the perfect size, thickness and quick to prepare.

So all that to say I’m sorry this is not a post to prepare delicious ravioli completely form scratch but I promise you that the end result is really delicious! 

You can make these raviolis in advance and freeze them. 
To serve, you can top the raviolis with your favourite sauce: tomato, rosé, a creamy mushroom sauce, or a fresh basil pesto. 

I personally like to heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and sauté two chopped cloves of garlic.  Add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss to coat each piece with the olive oil & garlic.  Top with freshly ground Parmesan cheese.

19 March 2013

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I found a recipe for paleo carrot cupcakes that I definitely wanted to try.  Although the cake part may be a low carb alternative to the traditional carrot cake, the frosting is far from being low carb...  But frankly I can’t imagine eating carrot cupcakes without the delicious cream cheese frosting; it’s the best part!

18 March 2013

Chicken Caesar Salad with a Twist

Now here’s the thing about classic dishes:  You crave the flavours of the dish but they can become boring after a while.  This was my problem with chicken Caesar salad:  Love the taste, tired of the same old salad.

Here’s my recipe for the Chicken Caesar Salad with a twist.  I’ve kept the same essential ingredients (Romaine lettuce, chicken, bacon, Caesar dressing, and croutons) but changed things up a bit.  Instead of the traditional croutons to top the salad, why not coat the chicken breast with breadcrumbs?  I’m not reinventing the wheel here, but this little substitution is a fun twit on the classic.

You can use regular breadcrumbs or mash up some croutons to coat the chicken.  Because I love to lower my carb intake when possible, I replaced the breadcrumbs with almond meal.  It was as delicious but with way less carbohydrate!  Yay!

For the chicken, you can buy already cut scaloppini but regular chicken breasts will work great too.  Simply cut the breasts in half lengthwise and pound the chicken to flattened.

13 March 2013

Coffee Dry Rub Ribs

A new restaurant opened in my neighbourhood: AAA.  The menu includes pulled pork sandwiches, smoked brisket and these amazing smoked dry rub ribs served with Bourbon BBQ sauce.  Last time we visited this amazing establishment Mr.C and I ate 3 baskets (yes… 3 baskets - the owners gave us free shots to commemorate this moment of pure gluttony…).  Ever since that delicious dinner I’ve been obsessed with recreating these incredible ribs.

I posted this recipe for slow cooked BBQ ribs a few weeks ago.  They are delicious but I wanted to try a recipe for dry rubbed ribs with a side of BBQ sauce.  Since I don’t have a smoker or a BBQ, I needed an oven recipe. 

Like most of my recipes, you can prepare the ribs in advance.  Simply rub the ribs with the spice mix, warp them in aluminum foil and place them in a resealable freezer bag.  Thaw completely before cooking.

The original recipe slow cooked the ribs at 300°F for 3 hours.  Unfortunately my mind was elsewhere when I was preparing the ribs and set the oven at 400°F instead…  I noticed my mistake after an hour of cooking…  I took a quick reading with my meat thermometer and it showed that the meat was cooked to perfection.  I was afraid that the meat was going to be though and dry but instead it was moist and delicious!  So the choice is up to you; you can either cook the ribs at 300°F for 3 hours or for 1 hour at 400°F.  I’ve only prepared these ribs once but the result was a great success and I will definitely make them again! 

This spice mix recipe yields enough rub for 4 large racks of ribs.  Simply place the leftover rub in an airtight container for the next time you crave these delicious ribs!

For the BBQ Sauce, you can replace a few ingredients.  I like to use the molasses; it really adds richness to the sauce but you could substitute it for honey.  I like to serve the sauce on the side rather than smothering the ribs in it. 

12 March 2013

Cheesesteak in a Pepper

Growing up, my dad would prepare these incredible hot sandwiches we call sous-marins (French for a Sub, or submarine, for the long and narrow shape of the bread it’s served in).  His sandwiches were a mix of thinly sliced beef, slices of pepperoni, sautéed onions, peppers and mushrooms, topped with cheese and crisp lettuce.  It's somewhat similar to a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich but better (Sorry Philadelphia…) 
Now because I have no self-control whatsoever, I can no longer prepare this sandwich at home…  let’s just say that the last time I made sous-marin I ate so much I couldn’t think, speak or move for numerous hours afterwards…  Shameful I know…
All that to say that I miss the flavours of the sous-marin but I definitely need a low carb, healthier version of it.

I first found a recipe for a cheesesteak in a bowl on Health Bent.  Genius!  Remove the bread but keep the delicious veggies, cheese and meat.  But then why not replace the bowl by a half green pepper?! (thank you Bite Size Wellness for the great idea!). 

You want the beef to be very thinly sliced, similar to the meat you would use for fondue.  I would even say that the beef should be more shaved than sliced.  Your local butcher can slice the meat for you or you can simply freeze the beef for 30 minutes until it starts to harden, and then thinly slice it. Meat is much easier to slice once frozen. 
You can also prepare this recipe with thinly sliced roast beef.  For the pepperoni, you want the deli-style meat, not the cured, dry sausage-like version.

The peppers can be stuffed a day or two in advance; wrap them in foil and refrigerate them. On the day of cooking, follow the steps below.  Alternatively, you can also mix together the meat, Worcestershire sauce and vegetables (not the cheese) and freeze them in a resealable bag. Simply thaw, sauté the ingredients and top the stuffed peppers with cheese.

11 March 2013

Tomato & Ricotta Tart

This last weekend in Toronto was sunny, warm and you can almost believe that spring had finally arrived.  To celebrate the end of a long, cold and snowy winter, I wanted to prepare a dish for lunch that would be fresh, light and would taste like summer.  I found these beautiful cherry tomatoes at the market and knew that whatever I would prepare, the cherry tomatoes would play an important role.

I had found a great recipe for a quick leek and ricotta pie a few months back.  I tweaked the recipe and created a delicious tomato & ricotta tart!  Serve with a quick and simple salad, it was the perfect lunch for a perfect weekend!

You can prepare your own puff pastry but I use store bought;  it's already rolled out to the perfect size and frankly it probably tastes better than if I made it myself...