Category Archives: Vegetable

Caramelized Mire Poix (Root vegetables)

Mire Poix is the basis of all French stock making and the foundation of most soups: a dice of carrot, celery, leek, and onion. This vegetable dish takes that combination and adds a couple of additional flavours to make a great winter vegetable dish. For a vegan preparation, use olive oil and vegetable stock.

2 leeks
4 carrots
1 celery root
2 parsnips
1 rutabaga
2 tbsp butter or olive oil
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp freshly chopped parsley

Wash and trim leeks, and peel carrots
Cut into 1/2 inch rounds
Peel other root vegetables and cut into a large dice (1/2 inch)
Sauté vegetables in butter or olive oil until lightly coloured
Cover with stock, season, and bring up to a simmer
Cover lightly, and braise in a hot oven until tender, 1/2 hour or so
Remove from oven, and add chopped parsley before serving

Steamed White Asparagus with Cara Cara Orange Sabayon and Toasted Almonds

1 lb white asparagus
2 Cara Cara oranges (or blood oranges)
1/2 cup orange juice
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup toasted chopped almonds

Peel white asparagus and trim ends
Peel and section oranges, reserving juice
Place two pots of water on stove:
one 3/4 full of salted water (for cooking the asparagus) and bring to a boil,
the other 1/4 full of warm water (for making the sabayon) but don’t turn it on yet.
Place orange juice in a medium bowl and add egg yolks and a pinch of salt
Place bowl over the pot of warm (not hot) water and turn onto medium high heat
Whisk continually until light, airy, and very hot to the touch.
Add butter, 1 tbsp at a time, whisking until well incorporated
Turn off heat, but leave bowl remaining on top to stay warm until asparagus is cooked.

Place asparagus in boiling salted water and cook until tender, 3 minutes or so
Place 4 spears asparagus on each plate, and top with 1/4 cup of the sabayon
Top with 4 orange segments and 1 tbsp chopped almonds.
Serve immediately

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Seared Beef Tenderloin with Shiitake Mushroom Ragout

4 portions beef tenderloin (5-6 oz each)
steak spice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

Season tenderloin well with steak spice and rub with chopped garlic and olive oil.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (may be left overnight)
Bring back to room temperature before cooking
Season steak well with sea salt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Heat a cast iron pan over high heat until very hot
Place tenderloin into pan and sear until nicely browned on one side
Turn over, brown lightly on second side, and place entire pan into the preheated oven
Cook for 5-7 minutes, until pink in centre and temperature registers 130 degrees for a nice pink
Remove pan from oven (and steaks from pan) and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.


2 Tbsp. butter
2 shallots, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 cup beef or veal demi glace

Melt butter in a frying pan on medium heat. Sauté shallots and garlic until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add mushrooms and sauté until golden, 5 to 6 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with sherry.
Add demi glace and simmer until hot.
Season to taste and reduce to adjust consistency if required.

Hiding from the storm

Living in the Pacific Northwest means mild winters, not too hot and humid summers, pleasant springs that mean short sleeves in February sometimes, and ALWAYS rain once October hits. Last Sunday was no exception. The last day of September, perhaps the last weekend to hold onto any hope of an extended Indian Summer, and the first heavy rainstorm of the year. The morning started out mild enough, cloudy but not too bad, and I decided it was time to bring out the ladder and harvest the apples from our two trees. With the rainy spring we had, germination had been poor, so there was nowhere near the volume of last year’s bumper crop (200 lb), but I still managed to take about 25 lb of decent apples off of the trees, with a comparable amount of cracked and scruffy ones left for the birds, the squirrels and the compost.

One look at the pool proved the day had come that I dread all year: For some reason, (in all likelihood the same fleeting hope) I always insist on waiting until it’s been three weeks since the last swim, and the temperature has plummeted to single digit temperatures (Celsius) before deciding it’s time to winterize the pool. This means, among other things, a trip inside the frigid water to remove the stairs and a thorough scrub of the walls. Sensing the impending black clouds rolling in and knowing that the task wouldn’t be any more pleasant with rain pelting down as I struggled to pass the awkward stairs up to the rest of my clan, I dove in, and tried to make as hasty a retreat as possible.

Thoroughly chilled to a temperature fit for a white wine, I hopped into the hot shower and began to think about dinner. First something warm for a snack with a coffee, and since I’d been promising that with my newfound schedule of being home more would translate into more baking, decided on some pecan sticky buns. As I do with most things, I consulted a few well respected texts, examined the common traits to the recipes and then made a recipe using the recurring themes and ratios.

Out came the Kitchen Aid, a nice soft egg and butter dough was prepared and set to rest, covered gently. The glaze was quickly boiled together using half honey and half maple syrup, as I didn’t have a great deal of either, and poured into a large pyrex pan. I had just over a cup of pecans in stock, so they were lightly toasted, chopped, and 2/3 used for a scatter on top of the glaze, the remainder set aside for the filling, creamed quickly with butter, sugar, and cinnamon. I rolled the dough out into a large rectangle, spread the filling, and sliced into thick slices which were then arranged nicely onto the glaze. I wrapped the project up and left it to rise, and headed out into the rain to scour for the rest of the dinner.

Being a week before Thanksgiving, I came across a nice half ham and decided that would be fitting for such a miserable day, and provide for ham and eggs on Monday, sandwiches for the rest of the week, and maybe a soup the following. What else, but candied yams to accompany, and I figured I’d make baked potatoes as well. A few beans that were looking decent at the market were procured, and since the morning’s harvest had yielded a bushel of fruit, a deep dish apple pie for dessert.

Back at home, fresh coffee in hand, the buns were ready for the oven, so in they went, giving me a bit over a half hour to make the pie. My favourite traditional pie crust (made with lard) was assembled, a few pounds of the apples selected, peeled, and sliced, and a double crust pie came together rather quickly. By this time, the aroma of yeast, nuts, butter, and several different sweeteners was filling the kitchen, and the pie graciously traded places with the sticky buns in the oven. One always has to remember that no matter how much the temptation, the glaze on the bottom of the bun pan is an extremely hot and volatile mix of sugar and other deliciousness, and must be allowed to settle for a few minutes before inverting them onto a tray to be torn apart and devoured quickly.

The coffee and buns having done the trick and restored regular body temperature, I prepared the sweet potatoes, pricking them with a paring knife and settling the tray in the oven to bake. About an hour, until they are soft and little bubbles of caramel are oozing from the knife wounds should suffice, to be scooped out (it’s actually more like squeezed out) and mashed with brown butter and nutmeg. The ham was lightly scored on top, and a quick glaze prepared, basically something slightly acidic (I had white wine sitting there), something sweet (honey in my case) and a bit of mustard. It makes a rather thin glaze, which is nice, as it then coats the ham as it bakes with a thin veneer of sweet and spice.

Once the pie was out, the ham again filled the void in the oven and set out on its journey from the ordinary to the sublime. I usually will give it an hour before the glaze starts to go on, to prevent it getting too dark, and then apply it in thin coats every 15 minutes, until it’s gone. The whole process usually takes a couple of hours, and then once it’s had a good half hour rest, thin slices across the grain are enough to satisfy completely.

Duly satisfied, at least an hour was required before tucking into the pie, and more than worth the wait. The sound of the rain pounding on the back porch, warm cinnamon and soft fruit in the mouth, it doesn’t seem to matter that it’s half a year before the start of another spring and summer.

Candied Yams

The flavour of yams baked in their skins and then mashed with brown butter and maple syrup is like caramel candy; nutty, sweet, and delicious. The vegetable referred to as a yam in North America is actually correctly identified as an orange sweet potato. Slaves, on encountering the tubers in the South, were reminded of the true yam, a tuber found in central Africa, and bestowed the name upon the variety of sweet potato they commonly used.

Preheat oven to 375 F

6 medium yams (orange sweet potatoes)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch nutmeg

Bake yams for 1 hour, until tender.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then cut in half and scoop flesh from skins and transfer to a bowl
Heat butter until golden brown and pour over yams
Add maple syrup and nutmeg
Mash together until well combined
Season to taste