Thursday, June 24, 2010

Big Trouble in Little Chinatown Apartment.

Yup, we moved again. This is horrible and annoying and terrible and obnoxious and a pain-in-the-ass for a lot of reasons, or so I hear. It’s also my excuse for not posting in the last three weeks (that and we don’t have an internet connection yet…). It’s gotten to the point where we tell each other, “The blog misses you.” In other words, we’ve been reduced to making mock third-person jests from the perspective of our foodblog. So weird. Anyway, we are back living right by Kensington Market, which kicks ass, especially if you like the chow and cheap produce at the Chinatown stores. And it’s world cup time (Yeah, go team Canada… I mean go Iran! No wait, I mean go Toronto City Council for letting us drink beer and vino at 10am on the patio at Amadeu’s Finest Portugeuse) and our new kitchen is closet-sized but has a hot fire gas-range and things are generally just woking out in a good way for us. You can make this recipe at half-time, or while watching footy and drinking a beer.

Extra Time Shrimp Stir-fry

11 prawns or medium shrimp

1 medium onion, diced

2 bell peppers, diced (one green and one red for Iran, or adopted Portugal)

4 cloves garlic, sliced across to a millimeter, or 1/10 an inch

2 tablespoons crushed peppercorns (Sichuan, if you can get’em)

1 teaspoon soy sauce

½ teaspoon sesame oil

½ teaspoon fish sauce

2 tablespoons frying oil

Turn the heat up high and oil your wok. Wait thirty seconds then drop in the onions, they should sizzle and snap. Toss and flip sporadically for 2-3 minutes. Add the diced peppers and continue frying for another minute.

In a bowl stir together sesame oil, soy, fish sauce and crushed peppercorns. Add the prawns and slices of garlic (in the picture you can see one stuck to the bowl in the upper left) and toss for thirty seconds, then add the sauce and fry for another thirty seconds. Serve immediately with steamed rice, or flip into some noodles. This dish will taste totally awesome and flavourful and you will be flat out amazed at how much substance there is in something so simple, especially if you take the time to find some Sichuan peppercorns, which make a huge difference.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Clafoutis de Tomate

Good tomatoes are so exciting. You can put them in the simplest dishes and they will give it a certain quelque chose that's hard to explain. As a server, I'm so confused when I clear plates with untouched tomatoes and I always try not to argue with people who try to ask for their food without tomatoes. It baffles me, really.
There's a fruit market on my way home that had a few baskets of these gorgeous tomatoes a few weeks ago and I grabbed a bunch and tried to bike home extra carefully so as not to crush them in my bag. We all made it home safe, and was it ever worth the adventure. I think we put them on a pizza that night and the next morning I thought I'd make a tomato clafoutis, which I traditionally make with cherry or grape tomatoes but this time I just chopped my vine tomatoes and it worked out beautifully.

Feel free to use different cheeses, depending on your mood or fridge and whatever you do, don't forget to butter the dish before you get started!

Recipe: Tomato Clafoutis

2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 pack cherry tomatoes- or 2 medium tomatoes roughly chopped
4 tbsp snipped fresh thyme or rosemary (dry works fine, too)
3/4 cup coarsely grated sharp cheese or crumbled goat's cheese
4 extra large eggs
1/4 cup (75 ml) all-purpose flour
3 tbsp (45 ml) sour cream or good yogurt
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 375 F and grease a shallow ovenproof dish such as an enamel cast iron casserole dish or an enamel pie dish. Place tomatoes in the dish spreading them out. Sprinkle with herbs, a dash of salt and some cracked pepper. Add most of your cheese at this point. If it's grated, sprinkle it all over, and if it's small chunks, place them around the tomatoes. Save about a quarter for on top.

Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk with the flour until smooth. Add the sour cream, then gradually whisk in the milk to achieve a thin, smooth batter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the batter over the cheese and tomatoes, and sprinkle remaining cheese and an extra grinding of pepper over the top. Bake until it's set, nicely puffed and golden, 30 to 40 minutes. Don't be alarmed if your clafoutis deflates upon cooling, it's supposed to.

Serve with some nice buttered baguette.

Be very careful if you are serving this dish to kids, as cherry tomatoes stay hot inside and can burn their tongues.