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‘Main Courses’ Category

  1. Spinach, Eggplant & Ricotta Pockets

    June 16, 2010 by TheCanadianFoodie

    This recipe is simple, quick, delicious and as long as I call them ‘Veggie Pockets’ our kids love them!

    No really – first I told the kids that they were getting a fancy spinach pastry for dinner, the reaction?

    See for yourself:

    upset child

    But I quickly recovered! “Just kidding! It’s Veggie Pockets!” it worked:

    happy child

    Don’t ask… let’s just call them Pockets. Okay? Good…

    We buy most of our vegetables at the Farmers Market when possible and therefore, in any season other than winter, we eat a lot of whatever is available. Lately that’s been Fiddleheads (now over unfortunately), asparagus, small eggplant, spring radicchio, swiss chard and baby spinach.

    This is a new recipe for us, and we love it (in fact, we’re going to repeat it tonight!) It is really easy and quick to prepare (which is important with 3.9 kids underfoot) and for a ‘fancy’ meal the kids loved it.

    Spinach, Eggplant and Ricotta Pastry Pockets

    • Prep Time: < 15 minutes
    • Cooking Time: 25 minutes
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Serves: 4-6

    Spinach, Eggplant &amp; Ricotta Pastry Pockets

    Ingredients

    1                   small onion, diced
    1 tbsp          butter
    1 tbsp          olive oil
    1                   medium eggplant, peeled & cubed
    4 cups         spinach
    2 tbsp          of your favourite dried herb
    1 cup            ricotta cheese
    1 package   puff pastry
    1                    egg; beaten with a little water

    Set your oven to 400.

    Drop the butter in your favourite deep pan and heat until bubbly.  Add the diced onion and cook until soft (5 minutes – don’t brown). Add the olive oil and then the cubed eggplant and mix. Once the eggplant is soft (it will change colour too), add your herb – tonight we used a mixture of oregano and dill, but you could add basil or lemon thyme; I’ve even made it once with cumin and coriander to give it a bit of a curry flavour.

    As soon as you’ve stirred in your herb mixture, drop in all of your spinach and heat, stirring occasionally until the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat.

    Remove your puff pastry from the package and cut into 4 equal squares. Ration out equal parts of the eggplant/spinach mixture into the middle of each square and add a healthy dollop of Ricotta cheese to the top. Use the beaten egg to dampen around all the edges of your pastry square and start folding the corners up to the middle, one at a time, pushing them together to seal any ‘cracks’.

    Place the ‘Veggie Pockets’ on a lightly greased baking pan – we use a pizza stone, which I highly recommend! – and cook for 15 – 25 minutes, or until the tops of your pastry pockets are golden.

    Eat and enjoy!

    * Update – June 17, 2010 – I made too much filling the first time around (I’m crazy like that sometimes), so we made this again last night.  This time we mixed it up a little and shredded a carrot into the vegetable filling; adding a nice balance to the colour when cutting into it with a fork!


  2. Breaded Veal with Mushroom Gravy

    May 28, 2008 by TheCanadianFoodie

    I forgot to take a picture! -ack- I must be out of practice…

    I took a few days off work to celebrate an extra long holiday weekend (and my birthday – yay me!-) and that generally means a little more time to plan a nice meal.

    And in typical fashion, I went with a few new dishes…

    Thursday night meant Breaded veal in a rich mushroom gravy (a hunters-style gravy) and lemon beans (with lemon zest and more mushrooms) .

    (more…)


  3. The Perfect Steak

    May 4, 2008 by TheCanadianFoodie

    How do you know when your steak is finished on the bbq?

    Practice.

    But in the meantime, stop asking HOW LONG… because it’s not the right question.

    (more…)


  4. Cooking Homemade Burgers…

    July 21, 2007 by TheCanadianFoodie

    Tip of the week:

    It was BBQ time here in Barrie this weekend and we had a small BYO-BBQ gathering with family and friends…

    One family member (who will remain nameless) brought a box of pre-formed pattys to cook.

    Now, if you look at two burgers sizzling away on a grill, one store bought and the other homemade, it’s pretty easy to tell which is which.

    I’ve never come across an out-of-the-box burger that doesn’t look like a thin slice off the end of a big ground-beef meat stick; and when you’re looking at the two burgers on a grill, that flat processed piece of meat looks about as appealing as it tastes, especially compared to it’s thicker hand-made counterpart.

    But the mechanically flattened factory burger does have one advantage… and that’s, consistent heating (and cooking) across the entire burger.

    Unfortunately the same is not always the case for the tastier (and usually larger) homemade burgers. Homemades tend to swell more when cooked and often end up with a much thicker center. Which means, if you want to serve burgers and not meatballs, you have to spend some of the burgers cooking time trying to flatten it out on the grill. The bigger problem is of course that, round burgers tend to have crispy outsides and barely cooked innards.

    So what to do?

    The rule of thumb here is to prepare the burger before it goes on the grill by making an indentation in the center of each patty about the size of a loonie (or a little bigger than a quarter for all you non-Canadians) and about 1/4 to 1/2 way deep.

    The thinned out center means you will always be assured of a perfectly cooked burger, and one that won’t swell as much.

    And don’t worry about anyone making comments about a thumb-print in their burger because it should swell just enough that the indent is no longer visible when it comes time to serve!