If you haven’t tried hedgehog mushrooms, give them a try. They have short seasons and are usually only available in spring or fall. They’re similar to chantrelles both in colour and flavour. They’re a visually appealing mushroom, so minimal effort is needed to prep them- let the mushrooms be the star of the show! Like all mushrooms, they must be well cleaned and dried before cooking, so make sure to get all the dirt out of their crevices before you begin.
To showcase my beautiful hedgehog mushrooms, I prepared them two ways- a mushroom cream sauce to compliment my gorgeous steaks, and tossed with thinly sliced red peppers and cherry tomatoes for an earthy, simple side.
Because strip loin is already tender and flavourful on its own, it needs very little work done to it to make it perfect. I pan-seared my steaks, but they also work very well on a BBQ. In either case, all you need to do to get these steaks ready is brush them lightly with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Make sure your grill or pan is really hot and clean before you begin searing. Sear for about a minute on each side, just until a nice crust has developed on the surface of the steak. If grilling, flip once or twice and leave the steaks on the grill until the desired finish is reached. For cross hatching marks, rotate the steaks 90 degrees on both sides, so that the grill marks create a cross hatched impression. My basic rule of thumb for testing the meat is to check its firmness. An easy way to do this is to use the palm test- make a light fist with almost no pressure, and use your other hand to press on the palm of your fisted hand. That feeling is the equivalent to a rare piece of meat. A tighter fist produces the feeling of a medium piece of meat, and the tightest fist you can make is the equivalent to a well done steak.
I prefer my steaks to be very rare, so I only sear the outside and then allow them to rest, producing a bright red interior. However, if pan-searing and seeking a more well-done steak, pop the seared steaks into a 350F oven for a few minutes to continue cooking. Just remember, steaks need a good 15 minutes at least to rest, and in that time they do continue cooking. Remove the steaks before you think they’re done, so they will be perfect by the time you eat them.
Because I used a pan to sear my steak, I deglazed that same pan with a bit of white wine and some chicken stock, and allowed the liquids to reduce until the pan was nearly dry again. This is the pan I used to make my mushroom cream sauce. Of course, if you are grilling your steaks, you can make this sauce using a clean pan, and just begin at this next step. Start by melting a bit of butter over medium heat, and sautéing ¼ onion that has been finely diced. Add the mushrooms, along with a pinch of salt, and allow the onions and mushrooms to cook down for a few minutes. If you missed the deglazing step, now would be a great time to throw in about a tablespoon worth of white wine, and just allow the alcohol to cook out and all the flavours to combine for a few minutes. Add the cream, and lower the heat, allowing the whole thing to reduce to the desired consistency. The end result is a creamy, chunky, rustic mushroom sauce that will complement your dinner perfectly.
The other mushroom side doesn’t take long at all, so do it right at the end. In a clean pan, heat butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms, finely sliced red peppers, and cherry tomatoes, along with a bit of thyme and some salt and pepper. Saute just until everything has cooked down lightly, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Steak and mash are natural partners, and I happened to have three big potatoes that needed to be used. A good trick for perfect, fluffy mashed potatoes is to mash them without any butter or cream being added, and then whisk the butter and cream into the mash for a smooth finish. A finely minced garlic clove will punch up the flavour to create garlic mash, although this is completely optional.
Once all the elements of the meal are ready, plating is simple. Start with a scoop of mash, followed by a generous helping of veg, and place the steak lightly on top of both, to showcase it as the star of the show. Because the mushrooms were also my stars, they are spooned carefully over the meat, but if a bit of the sauce falls onto the mash and veg, all the better!
Strip loin steaks
You will need
2-4 good quality strip loin steaks
¼ cup vegetable oil (for brushing)
Salt and pepper
Hedgehog mushroom cream sauce
You will need:
1 tbsp butter
2 cups hedgehog mushrooms (or chantrelles), chopped lightly
¼ onion, finely diced
2 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp chicken stock
¼ cup 35% cream
1 stalk of thyme, leaves removed
Hedgehog mushrooms, sautéed with red pepper and cherry tomatoes
You will need:
1 cup hedgehog mushrooms
½ red pepper, sliced thinly
8 cherry tomatoes
1 stalk of thyme, leaves removed
1 tbsp butter
I’ve been craving citrus flavours lately, which is the inspiration for this week’s recipes.
My orange cake is actually my easiest, standard go-to recipe for a simple baked treat. The great thing about it is, once you’ve gotten the hang of making this cake, the flavours are endlessly interchangeable. For example, I’ve used this same recipe with coffee flavours, lemon and thyme, blueberry, and even an Irish cream version!
Not only is this cake very user-friendly, it requires only about 40 minutes worth of work, and basic ingredients. It is also easily doubled. Continue reading
It’s not too soon to start thinking about Valentine’s Day, which is why I’ve created the perfect dessert for a romantic dinner.
My lemon sabayon, served in a martini glass over a layer of cranberry coulis and finished with a spongy lady finger, is not only pleasing to the eye, but packs a big punch of flavor without making you feel weighed down. The smooth airiness of this dessert is what makes it perfect for a date night dinner. Continue reading
How has your New Year’s diet been going so far? If you’re anything like me, a successful healthy-eating regimen requires variety and flavour. My jerk pork chilli is inexpensive to make, low in fat, and high in fibre and protein. Best of all, it combines zesty Caribbean flavours in a new and inspired way. Continue reading
Hey everybody! I’m back for another amazing year of culinary tips and tricks. I apologize for my absence over the holiday season, Christmas and New Years had me swamped but I’m back with a bevy of new recipes for all my hungry foodies!
Now that the fun and festivities of the end of the year are over, it’s time to start a new year with a new, lighter menu. Eating healthier options is far from boring; using wholesome ingredients like vegetables and grains, and lightening up on the use of butter, cream, and cheeses, will make your waistline and your dinner guests happy. Continue reading
During party season, we often find ourselves entertaining friends and family. That being said, we usually try to find quick, easy-to-make, attractive hors d’oeuvres to feed our hungry guests. My mini crab cakes pack all the flavourful punch of a full size crab cake, with an elegant twist of coming in bite-size form. They are fairly easy to make (although they do take a while due to all the steps involved), and they freeze well so they can be made in batches ahead of time. If you choose to freeze your crab cakes, just follow all the steps in making them, but don’t fry them until you are ready to serve. Make sure they are well wrapped before freezing, and bring them to room temperature when you need them. When shaping your mini crab cakes, you may find it difficult to find a mould small enough. Continue reading
What really makes the flavours in French onion soup is the addition of red wine and brandy. If you’ve attempted to make French onion soup in the past without these ingredients, and wondered what was missing, this would be it. Continue reading
Dinner parties are an elegant way for the mature and sophisticated to socialize with family and friends. While they can sometimes be stressful to organize, the payoff of a successful dinner party is a home full of satisfied guests, and incredible memories.
A dinner party doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience for the host; it is actually very simple to organize a terrific dinner party. Here is my step by step, how-to guide for throwing your very own stellar dinner!
Dinner party dilemma #1: The guests!
Obviously, the first thing that needs to be addressed in the planning of a dinner party is the guest list. My recommendation is to keep the guest list under 10 people. After all, having dinner is supposed to be about intimacy and friendship; the more people added into the mix, the more opportunity there is for chaos. Also remember, you need to have adequate space to accommodate your guests, so only invite as many people as you can sit comfortably at your dinner table. Continue reading
Cupcakes are always a popular treat. They are delicate, cute, and can be made in almost any flavour that can be imagined.
Although I usually like to keep the cake flavours pretty basic- vanilla or chocolate are best- the frosting is an excellent vehicle for fun flavours and interesting colours. Basic buttercream can be coloured with gel food colouring, and can be bumped up with all kinds of flavours.
When making cake batter, there are a few key factors to keep in mind. The flour used must be cake flour, to create a fluffy cake. Likewise, try not to overmix the batter- mixing creates gluten development, which will make the end product tougher. Egg whites are added to incorporate air, so when folding them in to the batter use a very light touch to ensure an airy, fluffy cake. Continue reading
Mini pizzas are the perfect finger food for any casual gathering. Because of their small size, they are a much cuter and more delicate way to serve pizza, adding a level of sophistication while maintaining a laid-back feel. Most importantly, they are generally liked by children and adults, which make them perfect for a kid’s birthday party where adults will be present as well. Continue reading