Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Roasted Veggie Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce

Roasted Veggie Lasagne with Bechamel Sauce

I have to be honest. This dish is definitely worth making. That said, there are a few steps involved and many pots and pans will be used. I typically avoid recipes that have lots of clean up, but this one is worth it, especially if you’re having vegetarian friends over for dinner!

Start making the tomato sauce first so the flavours can develop while you finish the recipe. Or better yet, make the tomato sauce the day before.

Roast any veggies you like for this recipe. Feel free to use what’s in your refrigerator or what’s in season. For example, you could swap out the eggplant for zucchini, or add cauliflower and asparagus. I’ve substituted a béchamel sauce, a typical white sauce, to replace the ricotta layer usually found in lasagne. It lends a smoother, creamier feel. 

Roasted Veggie Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce







Roasted Veggie Lasagna with Béchamel 


Serves 6-8

Tomato Sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced small
1- 27 fl oz can crushed tomatoes
1 - 6 oz can tomato paste
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
Salt and pepper

Roasted Veggies:

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped fine
1 onion, chopped into wedges
1 fennel bulb, top and bottom and core removed, cut in half and thinly sliced
2 carrots, cut into half and thinly sliced
1 medium-sized eggplant, peeled and cut into about 1/2” cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Béchamel Sauce:

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk, slightly warmed
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
9 lasagne noodles
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese for the top

Method

Tomato sauce:

Heat oil in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add onions and garlic. Sauté until translucent about 5-7 minutes. Add tomatoes and herbs. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally while preparing other ingredients.

Roasted veggies:

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Toss veggies with oil and salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake 15 minutes. Toss and cook 15 more minutes until veggies are cooked and nicely roasted.

Béchamel Sauce:

In a small saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir until clumpy. Slowly whisk in the warm milk. The sauce will slowly become thicker. When the sauce has a nice creamy texture stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Noodles:

Cook noodles in boiling water according to package. Drain and rinse under cold water.

Assembly:

Lower oven heat to 350° F. In a 13x9x2.5 inch baking pan lightly base the bottom with a small amount of tomato sauce. Cover with 3 cooked lasagne noodles. Spread half the roasted veggies over the noodles. Then spread with half the tomato sauce. Spread half the béchamel sauce on top of the tomato sauce. Spread 1/2 the mozzarella cheese on top. Repeat ending with lasagne noodles then sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese on top.

Cook 30 minutes until heated through and cheese is nice and gooey.

Let sit a few minutes before serving.

Roasted Veggie Lasagna
Veggie Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce

Other Recipes You May Enjoy:







Kid Friendly Chili Macaroni










Salmon and Corn Chowder

Fish and Corn Chowder
When I was a kid, I often fished with my father. He’d wake us up just before sunrise, throw us into a small, orange wooden boat and putter out to his special fishing spot. Sitting there shivering in our oversized life jackets, he’d pass out the rods. We pulled out the lines and sat, waiting for the sun to wake and warm us up. We’d always come home with one or two six-pound fishes. I’m grateful for this memory because today it just wouldn’t happen. The fish sadly, are slowly disappearing.

Prepping Veggies for Salmon and Corn Chowder


This is a simple chowder with a hint of dill. The celery and fennel give it a nice crunch and the cooked bacon sprinkled on top gives it an extra hit of yummy.

Serves 4

4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery stick, cut into small dice
1 fennel bulb, top and bottom and core removed, split in half and diced small
2 boiling potatoes, scrubbed and diced small
1 cup corn frozen or fresh
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups whole milk
1 pound skinless boneless salmon, cut into 1inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook bacon in a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir frequently until crisp. Drain off the fat and cover in a paper towel.

Add 1 tablespoon butter to the same pan and sauté onions, celery and fennel until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in chicken stock and potatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer for about 15 minutes until potatoes are almost tender soft. Add corn, fish, milk and dill and simmer 6-8 more minutes until fish flakes. Be mindful not to boil. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with bacon sprinkled on top.

Salmon cut into cubes



Other Recipes to Try:

Crusty Pepper Salmon
Fish Tacos




Monday, September 21, 2020

Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

The peaches in Vancouver this year were plentiful and scrumptious.


They were a little late showing up, but well worth the wait. Their arrival takes me down memory lane to the peach tree that grew on the sunny south side of our family house. As a young girl, I was convinced it was a big secret because no one ever went to that side of the house. But I did, and there they were, plump and delicious peaches growing on a white trellis. It was like a hidden treasure.
Fresh Peaches Cut Up on Chopping Block





Did you know that peaches originated in China many thousands of years ago? Now, they grow all over the world, even in the backyards of Vancouver.

Peach Cobbler


I made this peach cobbler three times to get it just the way I like it. Everyone but me liked all three versions, I hope you enjoy this one.


Making Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

Serves 4

6-8 medium-sized peaches, ripe, peeled and sliced (about 5 cups)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping:

11/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons white sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cups butter
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Mix peaches, brown sugar, and cinnamon together and spread in a 13x9x2 inch pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

For topping:

Mix flour with 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest and vanilla. Using fingertips rub in butter until it resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir. Spoon batter over hot filling in mounds and bake for 30 minutes until golden.



Other Fruit Desserts To Try:             

Cranberry Crumble With Fall Fruit
Cranberry, Crumble
with Fall Fruit



Cranberry Loaf
Cranberry Loaf

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Comforting Lentil Soup

comforting lentil soup

This is a perfect soup for the whole family. Its mild flavour is comforting and soothing. A recipe that will ease you into the fall season. 

Serves 4-6

1 tablespoon oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 1/2 cups lentils, rinsed well
1/3 cup pearl barley, rinsed
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot chili peppers
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, grated

In a medium-sized pot, heat oil at medium high heat. Add onions, garlic and celery and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add carrots, lentils, barley, stock, water, basil, oregano, soy sauce and red pepper flakes.

Bring to a boil and simmer 45 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve and pass the Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top.

Other Soups You May Enjoy:



Homemade Tomato Soup in a Pot on the Stove






Kale, Squash and Bean Soup
A bowl of Kale, Squash and Bean Soup






Cheese and Potato Soup



Saturday, September 19, 2020

Moroccan Lamb Stew With Apricots and Dates

Moroccan Lamb Stew With Apricots and Dates

This easy Moroccan dish freezes well. It cooks into a thick, comforting and tasty stew.  I suggest serving it with couscous.

Serves 4

1 1/2 pound boneless lamb leg, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup whole dates, pitted
1/2 cup whole apricots
1-14 fl oz can tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350° F.  In a small bowl combine spices. In a medium size oven-proof pot with a lid, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and sauté until browned. Remove and set aside. Add remaining oil and sauté onions, garlic, and carrots. Cook onions until soft, about 6 minutes. Add spices and stir 30 seconds. Return meat to pot with remaining ingredients. Cover and cook in oven for 1 1/2 hours.  Serve with cooked couscous. 

Prepare spices ahead of time
Prepare spices ahead of time

Lamb in Packages
Cut Lamb into Cubes

Friday, August 7, 2020

Pear, Apple, and Blueberry Cobbler

Pear, Apple, Blueberry Cobbler
Pear, Apple Blueberry Cobbler
This is a perfect summer dessert to make. You can always change up the fruit and use what’s in season. Feel free to use frozen blueberries instead of fresh.

Serves 4

3/4 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons chilled butter
1/3 cup yogurt
4 apples, peeled, cored, sliced
4 pears peeled, cored sliced
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Add butter and with fingertips rub until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add yogurt and blend until dough forms ball. Set aside.

Arrange fruit into a 9 x 9 or a 13 x 9 inch pan. Mix in lemon juice and sugar with the fruit mixture. Flatten dough out and tear off small piece about 1 1/2 inches and place on top of fruit mixture. Cook 40 minutes or until nicely browned on top.






Other Fruit Desserts To Try:


Cherry Clafouti


Vanilla Pudding with Blueberry Topping

Cobb Salad With Grilled Balsamic Chicken

Cobb Salad
 Cobb Salad



This salad does involve a little bit of planning, but it’s worth the effort. Here's some suggestions on how to simplify the steps.

Start marinating the chicken before getting all your other ingredients together. You can even marinate and cook the chicken the day before. Cook a bunch of bacon for breakfast and keep 6 pieces for the salad. Hard boiled eggs last 5 days in your refrigerator so make up a bunch, snack on them during the week and keep two for the Cobb salad. The dressing can also be made ahead of time as well.

Serves 4

2 boneless chicken breasts (about 1.5 pounds)

Marinade:

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic minced
2 tablespoons olive oil

Salad:

4 cups Romaine lettuce, rinsed and shredded
4 cups Butter lettuce, rinsed and shredded
6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped1 ripe avocado, halved and sliced
2 tomatoes chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, halved and quartered
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled

Salad Dressing:

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2/3 cup olive oil

Arrange chicken in a square baking pan.

Whisk together the marinade, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, garlic and olive oil.

Spoon marinade over chicken and coat both sides. Place in refrigerator for at least a 1/2 hour or longer and turn once in a while.

Preheat barbecue:

Remove chicken from marinade and discard. Lightly oil the grill grate. Cook chicken until no longer pink, about 6-7 minutes per side turning several times. Cool slightly and cut into cubes.

Add both lettuces to a big salad bowl.

Place bacon, avocado, tomatoes, eggs, and cooked chicken on top. Then sprinkle on chives and blue cheese.

Salad Dressing:

Combine red wine vinegar, Dijon and oil together in a small container. Mix well. Pour enough salad dressing on to the salad to coat and then toss everything together. You’ll have extra dressing so keep it in your refrigerator and use on another day with a green salad.


Cobb Salad
Grilled chicken, bacon, tomato, hard boiled egg, avocado, blue cheese on shredded romaine and butter lettuce









Other Salads To Try:

Greek Salad

Spinach Salad With Feta Cheese

Caesar Salad

Watermelon, Tomato, Fresh Basil and Feta Salad

I always thought you should never refrigerate tomatoes. I suppose I read it somewhere years ago.


However, while reading my coveted 1989 copy of Anne Willan’s, La Varenne’s Pratique book I learned tomatoes should ripen on your kitchen counter and then be used right away. But, if you can’t use them, keep them in the refrigerator for later use.


It makes sense, because if left too long on the counter tomatoes will grow furry coats. To get a second opinion I went to the
 Serious Eats website and found the same answer. So from now on, I’ll tuck tomatoes into the refrigerator once they’re ripe.
Watermelon, Tomato, Fresh Basil and Feta Salad
Watermelon and tomatoes are a nice combination
Serves 6

6 cups seedless watermelon, rinds removed, cut into 1” cubes
3-4 tomatoes cut into 1” cubes
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons honey

Combine watermelon and tomatoes into a bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine salt, lime juice and honey. Mix well. Add this mixture to the watermelon and tomatoes along with the feta and fresh basil. Toss and serve.

Watermelon, Tomato, Fresh Basil and Feta Salad


Try another summer salad:




Saturday, July 11, 2020

Hermit Gingerbread Cookies

This recipe calls for nutmeg. You can buy either ground nutmeg or the whole nutmeg seed. The spice nutmeg is like the spice mace because they both come from the same evergreen nutmeg tree. Although nutmeg has a slightly stronger flavour than mace.

When the seed is split there’s a red lacy membrane around the seed. This is removed, dried, and ground into mace. The nutmeg seed is either sold whole or ground into nutmeg.

Hermit Gingerbread Cookies

Makes 30 cookies

4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, soft
2 cups brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup molasses
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger chopped fine

Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and salt.

In another large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until very smooth. Add brown sugar and beat until light, about 3 minutes. Add 3 eggs, 1 at a time; beat in molasses until smooth. Lower speed to slow and beat in flour mixture until just bended. Mix in raisins, nuts and crystallized ginger.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll 1 tablespoon of dough into a small ball, place on baking sheet, flatten slightly. Repeat. Bake in oven 10-12 minutes until lightly brown. 

Other cookies to try:








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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Fish Tacos Recipe With Easy Sauce

Fish Taco with Cabbage and an Easy Sauce
Fish Tacos With an Easy Sauce, Cabbage and Salsa

This recipe looks too easy to be tasty. Trust me though, it is. Try it and you won't be disappointed. Be warned though, these fish tacos are messy to eat because of the easy sauce, so I suggest passing out table napkins.

I'm fortunate to live close to a Mexican grocery store which sells fresh locally-made flour tortillas. I’d recommend them if you can find them, but they aren’t necessary. Any flour tortillas from the supermarket will do. 

Serves 4

1 pound flaky white fish such as cod, snapper or halibut

Marinade:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch cayenne pepper

Sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

8, 8" flour tortillas
shredded cabbage
salsa
sliced avocado (optional)
hot sauce (optional)
chopped cilantro (optional)

For Marinade: Combine olive oil, chili powder, oregano, cumin and cayenne pepper into a small bowl. Place fish in a shallow pan and cover with marinade. Leave for 20 minutes while preparing other ingredients.

Preheat oven to 420° F.

Remove fish from marinade and discard. Cook in oven until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Flake into small pieces and place in a small bowl.

For Sauce: Combine mayonnaise, sour cream and lime juice.

Wrap tortillas in foil and heat in oven for 5 minutes. Build your own taco by adding fish, sauce, cabbage, salsa and hot sauce plus any other optional ingredients into a flour tortilla.

Fish Tacos Recipe With Cabbage, Salsa and an Easy Sauce
Fish Tacos with Easy Sauce

Other Fish Recipes To Try:


Halibut with Strawberry Salsa