Chicken Thigh Tajine with Buttercup Squash, Dates and Almonds

Happy Last day of 2012 everyone! Boy has it been a full-on year. There’s been many highs and lows – the lows of stressful projects and family illness and the highs of becoming a Mrs. and succeeding at many of those stressful projects. I’ve learned a lot about cooking this year – mostly that I can create anything in the kitchen that I set my mind to. It’s been a fun ride. I’m excited to see what 2013 holds for the kitchen as well.

Last night I decided it was high time that I broke out the Tajine I got as a wedding gift. My Aunt and Uncle recently returned from Morocco and were raving about how amazing the food was there, and that I HAD to cook with this magical tool! So, here is my first Tajine attempt. It was marvelous.

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Here’s the Tajine. It’s basically a heavy bottom clay pot with a funky lid. The lid allows for all the steam to be re-conducted back towards the food, never letting the moisture to escape. Genius, I tell you!

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For this recipe, I used the last of the buttercup squashes from the garden harvest. I swear, they only get more delicious over time!

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The most labour intensive part of this recipe was to peel and dice the squash. the rest was easy peasy.

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First, dice up some onions and garlic and cook down with some butter and olive oil and spices in the Tajine base.

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Next, brown the chicken thighs with the onions and garlic.

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While you’re waiting, pit and cut up your dates.

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Here are the chicken thighs, all nicely browned.

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Throw all your other ingredients into the Tajine,

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Making sure to coat everything nicely,

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And pop the whole thing in the oven.

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After about a half hour at 375, you have a perfectly cooked and intensely flavourful meal.

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Serve with a little bit a of Quinoa, and enjoy, a LOT! (I had dreams about this last night, it was so good!)

Jacquie’s Awesome Chicken Thigh Tajine with Buttercup Squash, Dates and Almonds

You will need:

1 tbsp butter

2 tsp olive oil

1tbsp cumin

1 tbsp cinnamon

1tbsp curry powder

1 onion

3 cloves of garlic, minced

3-4 chicken thighs

1 medium buttercup squash

10 dates, pitted and diced

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 water

Begin by peeling and cubing your squash, set aside. Preheat oven to 375. Next, dice onions and mince garlic. Heat butter and oil in the Tajine base and add onions and garlic. Add spices and cook down. Add chicken thighs to brown. Once the chicken is browned, add all other ingredients, making sure to coat everything evenly in the oil and spices. Add water and cover Tajine with lid.  Bake at 375 for about 30-40 minutes, until squash are cooked, but still holding their shape. Serve with a side of quinoa or couscous.

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Tarte Au Sucre – French Canadian Maple Syrup Pie

For Christmas desert this year, I decided to harken back to my French Canadian Roots and try my hand at a recipe my Grand Maman left me years ago, but I haven’t had the chance to make it yet. It was very simple, and there isn’t much to it. My Grand Papa loved this pie after Christmas Dinner.DSC03801

I’ve been eating maple syrup my whole life. My family would always find creative ways to use this liquid gold – and trust me, you can put maple syrup in just about anything!

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First things first, bring the maple syrup to a low boil. Then add the cornstarch.

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I used my homemade pie crust recipe. For step by step instructions, check this recipe out.

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I marked the pie with an S for Sucre, to remember which was which in my freezer. DSC03807

I made a mini pie for me and Justin to share as well.

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The minis are always so cute!DSC03809

Here she is, all crispy and golden. DSC03810

And here’s the mini. It boiled over a bit, but tasted just as delicious!

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It was a perfect end to a great Christmas Meal!

Grand Maman’s Tarte Au Sucre (Maple Syrup Pie)

You will need:

1 homemade Pie Crust (For step by step instructions, click here)

1 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons cold water

1 tbsp butter

nuts (optional)

Make your pie crust, and roll out to fit a pie tin. Preheat oven to 400. Boil maple syrup and water together for 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch with cold water and use to thicken boiling syrup. Add butter and mix until melted. Pour mixture into pie crust. If using, sprinkle with nuts. Cover with pastry and bake at 400 until pie is golden brown, for 30 to 40 minutes. Serve with whip cream or ice cream. Enjoy!


Bread Pudding

 

Bread Pudding is one of my favourite deserts. What’s great about it is that it is not too sweet, but can be so delicious and luscious. I made one for Christmas Eve dinner with my family. It was a huge hit. DSC03830

I used up all the old bread I had leftover from my annual fondue party. (That post is coming shortly!)DSC03831

For the pudding, mix together a french-toast-like mixture.DSC03832

Don’t forget the cinnamon and nutmeg!DSC03833

I diced up the bread, and added some apples, for a nice flavour. DSC03834

Arrange the bread cubes and apples in the dish, and pour the liquid over them, and let it sit for 10 minutes. DSC03835

I decided that an extra little pistachio crunch on top would go a long way. DSC03836

So I crunched up some pistachios for the topping. DSC03837

Here’s the pudding before going in the oven.DSC03842

And here it is once it’s come out. photo(1)Serve with a dollop of homemade whip cream, and you’re good to go!

Jacquie’s Awesome Bread Pudding (Courtesy of The Pioneer Woman)

You will need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 1/2 to 5 cups sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (or any other bread you have laying around!)
  • 1 apple, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup pistachios, chopped finely

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat together eggs, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and milk. Add sugar and mix until sugar is dissoved. Arrange bread cubes and apples tightly in a nine-inch baking dish. Pour liquid over the bread and apples and let sit for 10 minutes before baking. Sprinkle pistachios all over and bake for 55 to 70 minutes, or until crust is golden brown all over the top. Serve with homemade whip cream. Enjoy, a lot!


Devils on Horseback, Revised

Here’s a super simple appetizer recipe that will have any crowd you’re with begging for more – or for the recipe. I’ve made this three times over the holiday season, each time it was a huge success! I got the idea from the Three Boars restaurant on 109 street, who serve Devils on Horseback. Their dates are stuffed with blue cheese instead of goat. To make it more all around friendly, I opted for goat cheese. These were delicious. DSC03843

There are only three ingredients to this recipe – Dates, Goat Cheese, and Bacon.

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First things first, pit the dates. This may prove a little more tricky than you’d imagine. The dates are sticky and hard to pit with a cherry pitter; so often, I had to stick my finger in the date and push the pit out the other side, leaving me with really sticky fingers. DSC03845

Pit as many dates as you can stand. You can also cut the dates in half, if you’d like more bite sized appies. DSC03846

Next, I put some spreadable goats cheese into a plastic baggie and cut off the tip. This is a great idea for when you don’t have a pipping bag!DSC03847

Fill the dates with goat cheese.DSC03848

Here they are, all filled with goat cheese goodness!DSC03849

Next, cut your bacon strips in half and wrap them around the dates. DSC03850

I made mine the day before christmas, which turned out great because all I had to do the next day was pop them in the oven!DSC03851

Arrange the bacon wrapped dates on a baking dish…DSC03852

And bake them at 375 for about 20-25 mins, until the bacon is crispy. DSC03853

Et Voila! The best appies you will ever serve!

Jacquie’s Awesome Devils on Horseback, Revised.

You will need:

30 dried dates, pitted and cut in half

1 500g container of spreadable goat cheese

1 pack of bacon

Pit the dates and cut them in half. Next, put the goat cheese into a plastic baggie and pipe the cheese into the hollow space within the date. Cut bacon strips in half an wrap them around the dates. Bake at 375 for 20-25 mins, until bacon is crispy. Enjoy, a lot.


Pistachio Ice Cream

Every once in a while, my little sister asks me to make her something special. Seeing as her 21st birthday was a few days ago (she turned 21 on doomsday, scary, eh?), I couldn’t resist when she asked me to make her some homemade Pistachio Ice Cream. She claims it is her favourite ice cream in the whole world, and that she can’t seem to find it anywhere – Not even at Marble Slab. So, the Garneau Kitchen came to the rescue. 🙂DSC03812

This is a pretty simple recipe. Doesn’t take too long to make either. The most labour intensive part is shelling the pistachios. They are so pretty once they are shelled, all green and red. Very festive!

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Take all those lovely pistachios and blend them up into a fine powder in the food processor.

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Next, heat up the mixture on the store.

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I made a custard base for this ice cream, because I always find that custard based ice creams are always much more rich and creamy and delicious than ones without eggs. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks until it looks like mayonnaise. Next, add warm milk to the eggs slowly, whisking all the time.

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Transfer back to the pot on the stove and cook until it become slightly thick (do the back of the spoon test). DO NOT bring to a boil. You will break you custard if you do!

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Transfer back to the bowl and let cool overnight in the fridge.

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Once cooled, pop the liquid into your ice cream maker.

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And let it do it’s thing for about 20 minutes.

DSC03822This is perfect as a holiday treat, or to celebrate a champagne birthday on doomsday 🙂

Jacquie’s Awesome Pistachio Ice Cream (Courtesy of Pure and Yummy)

You will need:

1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
¾ cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)
½ teaspoon almond (or vanilla) extract

Finely grind 1 cup pistachios and ¼ cup sugar in a food processor. Bring milk and ground pistachio mixture to boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat. Whisk egg yolks and remaining sugar in a medium bowl, until it has the consistency of mayonnaise. Gradually whisk in the hot milk and pistachio mixture. Return the milk and egg mixture to the saucepan. Cook over low heat stirring constantly until custard thickens and leaves a path on the back of the spoon when your finger is drawn across, about 10 minutes (do not boil). Stir in the whipping cream and the almond extract. Cover the mixture and chill completely in the refrigerator, overnight.

Once chilled, churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions. Put in an air tight container and freeze in the freezer for several hours before serving. Enjoy, A LOT!


Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

I have another winter comfort food recipe for you today! This one is stick to your ribs good and always leaves you satisfied, but wanting more at the same time (you know what I mean!) I can’t believe I’ve never made homemade macaroni and cheese before. This one’s a keeper!DSC03677

For this recipe, I went local and bought the very best cheese possible – Sylvan Star‘s smoked Gouda and aged Cheddar. I felt like a choose combo would add a nice flavour, and did it ever!DSC03678

For an extra special flavour boost, I picked up my favourite sausages ever – Chicken Garlic and Rosemary Sausages from Sunworks farms.

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I began by making a roux with butter and Gold Forest Grain‘s Soft White Wheat. I sifted out the bran and threw it back in the bag for another recipe. I find the bran makes the roux a little tougher.

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Next, I got my trusty side kick to help me grate all that cheese!

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I melted the cheese down with the roux and some milk in a pot, and added a bunch of spices for flavour.

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We cooked up the sausages…DSC03683

And mixed them into the pot. DSC03684Top with a little more cheese, and you’re golden!

Jacquie’s Awesome Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

You will need:

2 cups macaroni

3 cups milk

2 tbsp flour

2 tbsp butter

1.5 cups shredded aged white cheddar

1.5 cups shredded smoked gouda

2 tbsp Italian Seasoning

2 minced garlic cloves

salt and pepper to taste

4 rosemary and garlic sausages

Start by boiling water and cooking the pasta according to the box’s instructions. Cook sausages in a separate frying pan. Next, cook down flour and butter in the bottom of your pot for about 5 minutes, until it starts to brown. Add milk, whisking constantly. Heat over medium-high heat. Once milk is hot enough, add cheese, spices, and seasoning. When sausages are cooked, cut into small pieces, and add to sauce. When macaroni is cooked, add to sauce as well. Top with some extra cheese, and enjoy, a LOT!


Soupe au Pois (French Canadian Split Pea Soup)

It’s interesting how when someone you love leaves this world, all you want to do is pay homage to them in any way you can. As always, my way in through food. Lately, I’ve been pouring over any traditional French Canadian recipe I can get my hands on, to honour my Grandmaman. This one was one of her favourites: Traditional French Canadian Split Pea Soup, or, as we all call around here – Soupe au Pois. It’s very simple to make, and makes my heart ache at the memories of cold winter afternoons spent with my Grandmaman eating soup.

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Start with an onion and some butter. Dice the onion up.DSC03795And cook it down in your soup pot to release all the aromatic flavours.

DSC03796Next, take a ham bone,

DSC03797and some split green peas and a lot of water

DSC03798and throw it all into a pot with the onions. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the peas are nice and soft.

DSC03800This soup brings back many memories. It’s a hearty, delicious winter soup!

Grandmaman’s Soupe of Pois (Courtesy of Crumb)

You will need:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 lb dried yellow split peas
  • 1 smoked ham hock (~ 1 lb)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried savoury
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a very large heavy-bottomed pot set over medium-high heat, sweat the onions in butter for 5-7 minute, or until onions are soft and translucent.
  2. Stir in water, split peas, ham hock, bay leaves, thyme and savoury. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 2½ to 3 hours, or until the peas are soft and begin to fall apart into a puree.
  3. Remove the ham hock. Pull the meat away from the bone, and shred or chop into small dice. Set ham aside, and discard the bone. Remove bay leaves and discard these as well.
  4. Taste soup, and adjust seasoning as needed with salt and pepper. For a very smooth soup, use an immersion blender to puree completely, or leave as-is for a chunkier texture. Stir chopped ham back into the soup, and serve immediately. Enjoy with find memories.