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More Gourmet Recipes  

Two for One (October 30, 2014)

Crispy Beef Lettuce Wraps
Beetroot & Carrot Salad with Cashews
Choco-licious Pork Belly
Lo Mein Noodles (with or without Chicken!) with Snow Peas and Peanut Sauce
Lemon-Scented Potato, Dill and Bacon Soup
Veal Rolls with Currants, Pine Nuts and Parmesan Polenta Stacks

Sometimes a great notion is not for everyone. Take the family dinner, where too often, no two people at the table want the same thing! Spicy, not spicy... vegan, no yellow food... you know the drill! As Jane Kennedy, award winning Australian actor, director, food writer, movie producer and mom, who cooks for seven people, seven days a week says, "Feeding a family! Every night! Is hard!" So Jane set out to find a way to keep everyone happy. A way that wouldn't involve her having to eat "plain" food with the kids or required the kids to miraculously start loving "spicy!" food. A way where one base meal could be jazzed up, or down, to suit all taste buds. And she did it beautifully...

Her latest cookbook, One Dish, Two Ways, gives us delicious base recipes that can be perked up, or down, to suit all taste-buds. Thought you had to give up roast lamb, or spicy Thai dishes when the kids were there? Think again, as all her recipes in this book give us a basic, kid friendly version to which you then spice up for the grown-ups! It's a brilliant idea that works, and takes in everyone at the table; best of all, each of these recipes will instantly go on your "A" list!

Here in Toronto, Linda Haynes, after a successful career in journalism and television, founded ACE Bakery in 1993, at last providing the city with widely available superior artisan breads. Her best-selling ACE Bakery Cookbook followed, and – no surprise – daughter Devin Connell, who absorbed much of the pleasures of food and cooking in the kitchen of her mother, is co-author of their latest cookbook, Two Dishes: Mother and Daughter: Two Cooks, Two Lifestyles, Two Takes. The book is a great read, with exciting, inviting recipes from each; Mother uses timeless techniques, daughter embraces an improvisational, budget-conscious approach. They play off each other with loving comments and delicious anecdotes; you'll cherish them as much as their book!

We love One Pan, Two Plates, a new cookbook by Carla Snyder. The subtitle says it all: More Than 70 Complete Weeknight Meals for Two. Who could ask for more! Yes, says author Snyder, it is possible to make fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals and still have time to savour every bite. The best part: each recipe can be prepared in one pan. The range of foods is delicious: pastas and grains, plus protein-packed meat, chicken and seafood. Think Lemony Risotto with Asparagus, and Thai Red Curry Chicken, just to name a few. Dig out that cast-iron skillet Uncle Ralph gave you when he downsized – it's going to be your best friend for making dinner!

On today's menu:

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Crispy Beef Lettuce Wraps

Crispy Beef Lettuce Wraps

In One Dish, Two Ways, Jane Kennedy tells us that this classic Chinese dish, san choi bao, has always been a hit in their house; the tasty beef and pork version works a treat with, of course, the addition of fresh chili and herbs for the adults. We loved it too, and so will your family!

Serves 4

  • 3/4 cup (60 mL) sunflower oil
  • 9 oz (250 g) ground beef
  • 9 oz (250 g) ground pork
  • Salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1½ inch (4 cm) piece ginger, grated
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 small romaine lettuces, separated into leaves
  • 1½ oz (50 g) instant noodles, crumbled
    For the dressing:
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp light-flavoured olive oil
    Ingredients for adults:
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 green onions, chopped 1 small red chili, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

Combine the dressing ingredients and separate into two bowls.

Heat two-thirds of the sunflower oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Combine the ground beef and pork, season with salt and fry for 5 to 7 minutes until well browned. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

Using the same pan, heat the remaining sunflower oil. Add the garlic, ginger, sugar and a pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes over a medium heat. Return the meat to the pan and stir to combine well.

Dish One:
To serve the kids, scoop a little of the ground meat mixture into a lettuce leaf, drizzle with the dressing and top with some instant noodles.

Dish Two:
To the remaining beef, add the fish sauce and stir for 1 minute. Add the lime zest and juice and mix well, then stir in the green onion. Remove from the heat.

Add the chili, coriander and mint to the dressing and sir. To serve, spoon some meat mixture into a lettuce leaf, add a splash of dressing and garnish with some red onion.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Beaujolais crus (names village wine), Valpolicella Ripasso



Beetroot & Carrot Salad with Cashews

Beetroot & Carrot Salad with Cashews

This is so easy, so pretty and so utterly delicious, and it goes perfectly with meat and fish dishes. So the munchkins get the simple version, and grown-ups enjoy the rest! Everyone wins with this salad from One Dish, Two Ways! Thank you Jane Kennedy, are there seconds, please?

  • 4 carrots, grated
  • 2 beetroots, grated
  • 1/3 cup (60 g) sultanas
    Ingredients for adults
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) unsalted cashews
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) olive oil
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp chopped mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the carrots and beetroot in a bowl, then remove half to another bowl.

Dish One:
Stir half the sultanas through one bowl of the beetroot and carrot mixture and serve to the kids.

Dish Two:
Combine the garlic, vinegar and remaining sultanas in a large bowl. Let the mixture sit for about 30 minutes, then remove the garlic and discard.

Meanwhile, toast the cashews in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat, stirring frequently, until the nuts have just started to brown, about 2–3 minutes. Remove the cashews to a plate and let them cool.

To the remaining bowl of carrots and beetroot, add the vinegar mixture, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, mint, chili flakes, cashews and salt and pepper to taste. Combine well and serve.

Tony's wine recommendation:
red Burgundy; cool climate Pinot Noir



Choco-licious Pork Belly

Choco-licious Pork Belly

You love pork belly, we love pork belly, but it's not been the dish to serve when the grandkids come over... until now! This dish takes its cut from the great Mexican "mole" sauces; the word chocolate evokes excitement from kids, and the word chili does it for us grown-ups! From One Dish, Two Ways!

Serves 6

  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 2 onions, gartered
  • 4 large garlic loves
  • 1 2 lb-3 oz (1 kg) boneless pork belly, skin left on and scored
  • 1 tsp salt
    Choco-licious sauce
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 Tbsp blanched almonds
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1¾ oz (50 g) dark chocolate (85% cocoa)
  • 4 store-bought soft corn tortillas
    Ingredients for adults
  • I whole dried chipotle chili
  • 1 whole dried ancho chili
    Coriander and lime rice
  • 2 cups (370 g) steamed white rice
  •  Handful chopped coriander leaves
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 small red chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • Salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Put the carrot, onions and garlic in a roasting tin. Rub the pork all over with salt, and place it on the vegetables. Pour enough water into the tin so the level, rises to just under halfway up the pork belly. Cover the tin with the foil and bake for around 1¼ hours.

Remove the foil and increase the heat to 430°F (220°C). Cook the pork for about 15 minutes, or until the skin crackles. Remove the pork to a tray and rest. Reserve 2 cups (500 mL) of the roasting tin juices for the choco-licious sauce. Discard the solids.

In a frying pan over a medium heat, toast the cinnamon stick and almonds, stirring constantly for about 5–6 minutes, or until the almonds are golden and the cinnamon is fragrant. Allow to cool, then finely chop in a small food processor or blender. Add the sugar and chocolate then pulse again. Divide the mixture and set half aside.

Choco-licious Pork Belly for kids

Dish One:
In a saucepan, bring 1 cup (250 mL) of the reserved roasting juices to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Add one portion of the chocolate mixture and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Serve slices of the pork in warmed corn tortillas and drizzle with the chocolate sauce.

Dish Two:
In a saucepan, bring the remaining roasting tin juices and the chillies to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 4 minutes. Add the remaining chocolate mixture and simmer, stirring occasionally until the chocolate melts. Cook for a further 3 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Strain the sauce and keep warm.

To make the coriander and lime rice, combine the rice, coriander, lime juice and chili and season with salt. Serve the rice with slices of pork, drizzled with the choco-licious sauce.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Amarone, Zinfandel, Primitivo



Lo Mein Noodles (with or without Chicken!) with Snow Peas and Peanut Sauce

Lo Mein Noodles (with or without Chicken!) with Snow Peas and Peanut Sauce

Hey, two ways for those that do or don't! Peanut butter and pasta go together like... well, peanut butter and jelly... only much less sweet. This favourite gets sassed up with soy sauce and other yum ingredients including spicy chili garlic sauce; it all comes together with that signature tart-and-spicy flavour we've come to love. Any meal, any time is a great time to munch on this Asian-inspired noodle dish. Thank you Carla Snyder and One Pan, Two Plates!

Serves 2

  • 3 Tbsp smooth or chunky peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce or red pepper flakes
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut crosswise into very thin slices
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz (225 g) dried lo mein noodles or linguine
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded with a julienne peeler or grater
  • 1 green onion, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  1. Fill a 12-inch skillet with water up to about 1 inch (2.5 cm) from the top. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, rice vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili garlic sauce. Using a fork, stir to mix. The mixture might not blend together that well, but that's OK. Set aside.
  3. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on all sides and set aside at room temperature.
  4. Add 2 tsp salt to the boiling water and toss the lo mein noodles. Stir gently once or twice to the noodles don't stick. Cook until the noodles are about a minute shy of being completely tender, about 3 minutes. (If you're using linguine, the pasta will need about 6 minutes. To check, fish out a strand and bit into it. It should still be chewy, but not tough.) Scoop out about 1/4 cup (60 mL) of the noodle-cooking water and set it aside.
  5. Quickly add the chicken (or not) and snow peas to the boiling pasta and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the snow peas are crisp-tender, about 30 seconds. Immediately drain the contents of the skillet into a colander and set in the sink. Return the mixture to the hot pan and stir in the peanut sauce, carrot, green onion, and about half of the reserved pasta-cooking water. Toss with two wooden spoons or tongs until the pasta, vegetables and chicken are all well coated with the sauce. Add a little more of the pasta water if it seems dry and or sticky. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  6. Mound the hot noodle mixture onto warmed plates. Garnish with cilantro and peanuts and serve hot.

Extra hungry? Use two chicken breasts instead of one, and cook the meat an extra 30 seconds to be sure all the pieces are cooked through.

Tony's wine recommendation:
oaked new world Chardonnay; Gewurztraminer



Lemon-Scented Potato, Dill and Bacon Soup

Lemon-Scented Potato, Dill and Bacon Soup

Devin Connell loves her mom Linda Haynes's celery root soup with chestnuts and bacon, and told us that "My creamy soup has a similar end result but is easier and more accessible. Just potatoes, dill, lemon and bacon, all ingredients that you can find at your local grocery store!" She goes on to say that this soup is a perfect base for a hearty fish chowder! Devin, you're an artist on a lot of levels! Ron is over at the fishmonger's as we speak...

From Two Dishes: Mother and Daughter: Two Cooks, Two Lifestyles, Two Takes.

Serves 6

  • 5 slices bacon, cut in 1/2- inch pieces
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, (about 1½ lbs/750 g), peeled and cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp lightly packed grated lemon zest, preferably organic (about 1 medium)
  • 1/2 cup 35% (whipping) cream
  • 2 tsp lightly packed chopped fresh dill
  • 1 lemon, cut in wedges, for garnish

Cook the bacon in a small skillet over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned and crisp. Drain on a paper towel and set aside. Combine the stock, garlic, potatoes, celery, salt and pepper in a large pot and bring to a low boil. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Purée the soup until smooth.

Return the pot to the stove over medium heat and stir in the lemon zest and cream. Simmer for 5 minutes to incorporate all the flavors.

Just before serving, stir in the dill and garnish each serving with bacon.

Serve with a lemon wedge.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Palo Cortado or dry Amontillado sherry

And here's dish two:

Devin's Fish Chowder

Serves 6 to 8

Bring the finished soup to a low boil. Add 8 oz (250 g) cleaned and deveined jumbo shrimp (about 12) and 8 oz (250 g) halibut cut in 1-inch cubes. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the shrimp and halibut are tender (Mom sometimes adds a dozen or so clams that she has cooked separately).

Kitchen Hint
Don't add fresh dill to a cooked dish until just before serving. Dill loses its flavour and colour in hot food if it sits for too long.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Chablis or dry, unoaked Chardonnay or Muscadet



Veal Rolls with Currants, Pine Nuts and Parmesan Polenta Stacks

Veal Rolls with Currants, Pine Nuts and Parmesan Polenta Stacks

Oh, my. Little veal rolls stuffed with currants, parsley, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and bread crumbs are almost too delicious to make for a weekday night. They shout, "It's time to party and have fun!" The textures in this meal roll off your tongue, from the stuffing with a mix of crunch and creamy to the polenta rounds with their soft insides and crunchy fried exteriors. And all this divineness in one pan from One Pan, Two Plates, by Carla Snyder.

Serves 4

  • 2 tsp currants
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley plus 1 tsp
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp panko bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 4 veal scallops (cutlets) about 3 oz/85 g each, pounded even thinner
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Eight 1/2-inch (12 mm) slices precooked, ready to heat polenta
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). In a small bowl, combine the currants with hot water to cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Scoop up 1 Tbsp of the currant-soaking liquid and transfer it to a medium bowl. Drain the currants and add them to the bowl along with the 2 Tbsp parsley, 1/4 cup (30 g) of the Parmesan, the panko and pine nuts. Mix the ingredients with a fork until evenly moistened.
  3. Lay the veal on the work-surface and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon equal amounts of the stuffing down the length of the veal strips. Spread in a thin layer, leaving a border of about 1/2 in (12 mm) around the edges uncovered. Starting at a narrow end, gently roll up each into a tight cylinder. Secure the rolls with toothpicks.
  4. Heat a 12-inch (30.5 cm) ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. When it shimmers, add the polenta rounds and cook until browned and crispy on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip them over with a thin-edged spatula and cook until browned on the second side, another 2 minutes or so. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup (30 g) Parmesan on four of the rounds, dividing it evenly, and then top them with the uncheesed rounds. The cheese should melt and act as a kind of glue to hold the polenta stacks together. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  5. Scrape up any polenta scraps in the pan with the spatula and discard them (or nibble them up). Add the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil to the hot pan and add the veal rolls. Cook, turning as needed, until golden on all sides, about 4 minutes total. Return the polenta rounds to the pan and transfer to the oven to reheat the polenta and finish cooking the veal, about 8 minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven (be careful, the handle will be blazing hot) and transfer the rolls and polenta rounds to two warmed plates. Cover to keep warm. Carefully return the pan to medium-high heat and add the shallot to the pan juices, stirring until softened, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, swirling the pan to melt it. Drizzle the wine sauce over the veal rolls, garnish the plates with the 1 tsp parsley, and serve hot.

Tony's wine recommendation:
Grüner Veltliner; Gernab Riesling; Beaujolais



We wish to thank the following for permission to publish material and recipes:

Raincoast Publishing, Vancouver, and Chronicle Books, San Francisco, for One Pan, Two Plates by Carla Snyder. Text © 2013 Carla Snyder. Photographs © Jody Horton.

McClelland & Stewart, Toronto, for Two Dishes: Mother and Daughter: Two Cooks, Two Lifestyles, Two Takes, by Linda Haynes and Devin Connell. © 2009 Linda Haynes and Devin Connell.

Random House Canada and Hardie Grant Books, Australia, for One Dish, Two Ways by Jane Kennedy. Text © 2014 Jane Kennedy. Photography © 2014 Mark Roper. Design © 2014 Hardie Grant Books.


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Happily enjoyed by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Helen Hatton and Ron Morris at Le Caveau des Gourmets in Gigondas




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