Archive | Lunch

Pear and Blue Cheese Tartine with Black Truffle Oil

Pear and Blue Cheese Tartine with Black Truffle Oil   

Calling all blue cheese lovers!

I feel bad even calling this a recipe, but every once in a while you come across something so simple yet delicious that it would be selfish not to share it with all of you. Like truffle oil and Parmesan cheese on French fries, some flavor combinations should not be ignored. 5 ingredients…and completely addictive. 

Pear and Blue Cheese Tartine

I believe this tartine could be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or even make a light dinner. You may even entertain the idea by serving it in bite size pieces as an elegant appetizer at your next holiday party. It could also be a jumping off point to a quiche or a salad (I’ll elaborate on some of these ideas a little further down).

Let’s get real, tartine is just a fancy way of saying a toasted open-faced sandwich. This is similar to how we use the term crostini to simply say small pieces of toasted bread with toppings. Like the word hors d’oeuvre to really say appetizer (small bites of food that you’re not typically supposed to fill up on before dinner but inevitably do). All 3 of these words lean on the pretentious side, yet we can all agree that tartine sounds so much more appetizing.

Pear and Blue Cheese Tartine

This particular ‘recipe’, a term I use lightly, stemmed from a recipe for truffled goat cheese and pear (which is also a brilliant idea, btw). You start with slices of ripe but slightly crisp pear, a drizzle of honey, black truffle oil (or white truffle oil works too, but I prefer the earthiness of black truffle oil for this particular recipe), and a smattering of crumbled blue cheese topped on freshly toasted bread. Obviously, there’s a lot of room for your own creativity. If you’re not a big fan of a strong blue cheese, a cambozola or gorgonzola could easily serve as a substitution. Both are milder (and creamier) but provide enough earthiness and tad of sharpness to compliment the sweetness of the pear and honey. If you choose to go with a creamier variety, you’ll want to put a thin slice of cheese on first, then layer with pears, honey and then oil. I like to bake mine slightly to melt the cheese before drizzling with honey and oil. 

Pear and Blue Cheese Tartine with Black Truffle Oil
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 4 slices of your favourite bread
  2. 1 ripe pear
  3. blue cheese of choice
  4. honey to drizzle
  5. black truffle oil to drizzle
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F if you are choosing to heat and soften the cheese slightly. This is optional. Toast the bread using a toaster or do it in the oven. Place a layer of sliced pear on each slice of toasted bread. Add chucks of crumbled blue cheese on top of the pear slices. Place the slices on a cookie sheet and bake until cheese is starting to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the tartines from the oven and drizzle with honey and black truffle oil.
  2. In a snap you could skip the whole oven process but I do find that the flavors seem merried better when slightly heated through.
Notes
  1. If you are using creamier styles of milder blue cheese, you may want to put the cheese onto the bread first, melt it in the oven slightly, then proceed to adding the pear slices. Return the cookie sheet to the oven and heat for another 2 minutes. Remove the tartines from the oven and drizzle with the remaining ingredients.
The Restless Palate http://restlesspalate.com/
Pear and Blue Cheese Tartine

Before I leave you, I’d like to address the cost of truffle oil, since it’s worth a mention. Great quality truffle oils are quite expensive. Don’t let that deter you from this recipe or versions of it. There are different grades of truffle oil and the cliché ‘ you get what you pay for’ is true here too. However, finding a  mid-grade oil is an affordable option and does the trick nicely. I buy a 50ml bottle from a couple different olive oil specialty shops for about $7. That’s expensive considering you are only getting 50ml, but a little goes a long way. I’ve been using the same bottle for just over a year and I still have a 1/3 of a bottle left. I can’t suggest strongly enough that A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY. Start with just a thin drizzle and add more if need be. Truffle oil carries a strong flavor that can easily overpower even the flavor of blue cheese. Yes…even blue cheese. I’d like to mention that I’ve found if you add it at the very end, it preserves the flavor. It seems that the flavor diminishes during the cooking process, forcing me to use even more to attain the same intensity.

Pear and Blue Cheese Tartine

Please experiment if you enjoy this flavor combination as much as I do. It pairs well will spicy salad greens such as Arugula, or with something saltier such as chopped beet greens. You could do something hardier such as cooked barley tossed in a honey mustard vinaigrette and even get a little fussy by adding in fresh tarragon. The next recipe would make for a unique brunch idea. A frittata with baby potatoes and blue cheese would be lovely. A thin layer of sliced pears on top, finished in the oven for 15 minutes, skip the honey and simply drizzle with a black truffle oil.

By on November 30, 2015 in Appetizer, Blog, Brunch, Cheese, Lunch, Main Ingredient, Pear, Recipes, Vegetarian 1

Tomato Fennel Sausage Stew

Tomato Fennel Sausage Stew

The back story.

Eating processed food or eating out too often takes a huge toll on my energy levels and my clarity of thought. It also enjoys tipping the scale and turning my digestive system into an MMA match. Needless to say if the motivation was a bird, I’d have enough for a flock. Guess what? I still can barely muster giving a goose. As a result, my weekly lunches are often Sunday’s stew which I force myself to make. Maybe that’s the norm for some of you, but for a food blogger, that’s horrifying. My breakfasts and dinners come from simplicity and laziness. However, there are some benefits. I’ve held onto the simple yet tasty recipes and those easy enough to put together even when I’m catatonic. In other words, life savers. Over the course of the next few months, I’ll be sharing these with you. Hopefully, you enjoy these as much as I have until I get back into my cooking and blogging groove.

Today’s story starts with a Pig.

IMG_6880

Recently I’ve had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with a family that raises Berkshire pork. The kobo beef of pigs! Get in my belly! What a score.
With some convincing I was able to get my hands on enough meat to last me through the year. Moving to a new city means finding all new sources of sustainably raises animals, a CSA, farm fresh eggs and local dairy. It’s been a process, to say the least, but getting access to Berkshire pork far exceeded my expectations of finding quality local products. It’s like a won the jackpot and it’s living in my freezer.

Being asked for feedback on the sausages prompted me to get into the kitchen and that’s how this stew was born.
I feel a warning is in order. I can guarantee that your stew will end up tasting different from mine no matter how closely you follow the recipe. The flavor of your sausages will undoubtedly be different. Your tomatoes might be a different variety, grown in a different climate or maybe they came from a can. Your fennel bulbs might be larger, your garlic more potent. In the end, none of that will matter because this is one of those foolproof recipes. I’ve included the variations I’ve made in the past that have been successful, but feel free to play around. This stew can handle it!

Tomato Fennel Sausage Stew

My favorite addition to date is a drizzle of black truffle oil. If you want to serve lasts night’s stew to some special guests, this is the way to go. Garnish with fennel fronds and feta, crumbled goat cheese or parmesan pedals. The color contrast ads visual interest and layers of flavours. I love that this stew is so pliable.

Tomato Fennel Sausage Stew
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 onion, roughly chopped
  3. 4 galric cloves, minced
  4. 6 cups of roasted tomatoes or 2 756ml cans of whole tomatoes
  5. 1 cup of chicken stock
  6. 1 can tomato paste (156ml)
  7. 2 fennel bulbs, core removed and sliced
  8. 2 tsp dried thyme
  9. 3 Tbsp of honey (or more to taste)
  10. 1 Tbsp Hungarian or Spanish paprika (sweet or bitter)
  11. 6-8 sausages (approximately 2 lbs)
  12. Chopped fennel fronds to garnish
  13. Drizzle with black truffle oil (optional)
  14. Additional toppings: cheese such as feta, goat cheese or Parmesan.
Instructions
  1. Preheat pven to 350 F. In a cast iron pan or oven proof pan, brown the sausages on all sides. Place the sausages in the oven and cook until no pink remains and their juices run clear. Depending on the thickness of the sausages, this will take 20-25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven, cook onions with olive oil over medium heat until they begin to soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except the sausages and stir to combine. Simmer for 25 minutes or until fennel becomes tender.
  3. Once the sausages are cooked, add all the juices and fat from the cooked sausages into the stew and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more honey if the stew is too acidic (depends on your tastes and the tomatoes).
  4. Serve stew with slices of sausage and top with your favourite garnishes.
The Restless Palate http://restlesspalate.com/
The basics:
-Add 1 1/2 cups (or 1 can drained and well rinsed) white beans and serve it over angel hair or spaghetti. Garnish with Parmesan petals.
-Add 1 1/2 cups (or 1 can drained and well rinsed) of cooked chickpeas, garnish with feta and serve with crusty bread and butter
-Add shrimp and cooked diced chicken and 1 can of drained and rinsed clams and chilis flakes to taste. Serve over rice with grated aged cheddar.
-Add 3 cups (approximately) of chicken stock and serve as a soup with grilled cheese sandwiches
-Add 1/2 cup of sour cream  and serve with Pappardelle and toasted Panko crumbs

Maken’ it fancy:
Serve it over creamyParmesan polenta and drizzle with black truffle oil and garnish with fresh grated Parmesan and fennel fronds
Serve on top of zucchini fritters and top with grilled halloumi cheese

By on November 17, 2015 in Blog, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Low Carb, Lunch, Main Course, Main Ingredient, Pork, Recipes, Tomato 2

Eggplant Stuffed With Chai Spiced Quinoa (or Stuffed Sweet Potatoes)

Roasted Eggplant with Chai Spiced Quinoa

Cinnamon, cardamom, clove, pepper and anise, all spices that embrace you like a blanket. They whisper comfort and warmth while still being tantalizing and sexy. Maybe it’s because they feel exotic. When the weather turns grey and the air starts to nip, I turn to chai tea inspired spices. Whether it’s in a cup of tea, a bowl of quinoa porridge or a comforting bowl meaty of stew, a combination of a few of these spices are sure to make an appearance on my table. It’s no surprise that I heart Chinese 5 spice, and this braised chicken dish so darn much. I’ve since used that recipe, substituting lamb and beef. Both versions were fab! Continue Reading →

By on December 5, 2014 in Blog, Eggplant, Lunch, Main Course, Main Ingredient, Quinoa, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian 3

Tunisian Spiced Tomato Chickpea Soup

Tunisian Chickpea Soup

For better or worse, having a dog forces me to get out into weather I may not otherwise go out in. Today I’m grateful for that.

Did you know that Vancouver has a magic hour on rainy days? It does.

The catch is you gotta be willing to venture out in it.

It happens about an hour after sunset. It’s still light enough to make out the outline of the Downtown skyline and the neighborhoods’ West Vancouver. Yet, it’s dark enough that heavy sheets of rain blur out the lights. Each little light, a TV screen of thousands of private stories, all muted like lighted candles in a smoky bar. Then there’s the layers of sound-the lapping of the waves, car tires speeding through wet pavement and the staccato of each drop smacking the hood of my raincoat. The darkness provides privacy and the orchestra a soundtrack. It feels comforting and peaceful. I love the rain.

There’s the smell of salt, sea, and the vestige of hot oil coming from the local pub. And of course, there’s the added bonus of the smell of wet dog. I’m not in a rush to get home even though I’m wet to my toes. I just want to take it all in. After all, I’m just a visitor here.

Strangely, this darkness, the smell of rain and ocean and the feel of wet sand under my boots make me crave soup; a thick and hardy soup made of tomatoes, garlic and chickpeas.

Tunisian Spiced Chickpea Soup

Continue Reading →

By on November 2, 2014 in Blog, Chickpeas, Lunch, Main Ingredient, Recipes, Soup, Tomato, Vegan, Vegetarian 10

Butternut Squash, Leek and Hazelnut Gratin

Butternut Squash Leek and Hazelnut Gratin (GF)Depending which camp you’re in, fall arriving is good news or bad news. Either way, Butternut Squash Gratin is good news! Very good news. Pair the whole cheesy mess with leeks and hazelnuts and you have magic! I chose to eat this for lunch one day with a salad and then had it for dinner as a side dish. It makes about 6 servings but it can definitely be made to serve a crowd if need be. For those Canadians out there, you might even want to add this to your Thanksgiving repertoire on Oct the 14th, 2013.

I never post that much when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner here at Beyond The Peel. But here are a few recipes I like for intimate Thanksgiving dinner.  This Sumac Cornish Game Hen recipe from Bon Appetit is delish and it’s become my go to fast and easy ‘turkey’. I like making game hens because they cook quickly and 1 feeds 2 people (which works our to be fairly inexpensive and the leftovers are not too much to handle). Because I’ve made this recipe several times I have a few changes I recommend. Only brine for 2 hours and cook the hens whole in the oven. Bake at 375 F for approx 20-25 minutes. Now that’s a fast ‘turkey’.

Continue Reading →

By on October 7, 2013 in Blog, Gluten Free, Lunch, Main Ingredient, Side Dish, Squash, Vegetarian 5

Website & Logo design by ohksocialmedia.