How to: Simple Homemade Cheese

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Life is unpredictable, and sometimes messy, and often glorious, and occasionally insane. What it is not, is simple.

When life feels all jumbled up, it’s important for me to find a place I can feel grounded…  see the big picture and all that.

Spending time in the kitchen, cooking, does the trick for me.

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You should really try it.  The results are generally quite delicious.

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This is as basic a recipe as you can get.

Who knew making cheese at home could be such a cinch? 3 Ingredients!

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Cheesecloth can be found at any major supermarket.  I never find it in a specific aisle though, so you may have to ask where the store’s supply is.

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This recipe comes courtesy of Mark Bittman’s – How to Cook Everything Vegetarian iPhone app.  It’s a great investment if you’re looking for some new inspiration, and features hundreds of veggo recipes.

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Oop, here’s a peak at my grandmother’s hand.  Slash my old ass looking hand. Damn that thing is wrinkly.

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This is what I used to let my cheese rest and set.  The finished product is mildly sweet and has a slightly chewy yet crumbly texture.

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I used my finished cheese in the easiest way I could think of – with Ontario greenhouse tomatoes, basil, excellent quality extra virgin olive oil and s&p.

Keep it simple, folks.

Erin

Simple Homemade Cheese

Serves 1 pound
Cook time 2 hours
From book How to Cook Everything Vegetarian - Mark Bittman

Ingredients

  • 2l 2% or whole milk
  • 1l buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

1. In a heavy bottomed pot heat milk over medium high until it starts to bubble up around the edges (about 10-15 minutes).
2. Meanwhile, line a large strainer or colander with 3 layers of cheese cloth. Have a long piece of string or twine ready.
3. Once the milk starts to bubble, add buttermilk and stir constantly until the mixture separates into curds and whey. Remove from heat and add salt.
4. Slowly pour mixture through the cloth so the curds collect at the bottom and the whey drains off. Gather the corners of the cloth and twist the top and work the curds into a ball. Run the ball under cold water so you can handle it while twisting and squeezing out the whey until the budge feels firm.
5. Tie a string around the top of the bundle and the other end to a long spoon, stick or something that can be suspended over the sink to drain. Let rest undisturbed to cool and set, about 90 minutes. Remove cloth and serve immediately or wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

How to: Recipe Makeover – Corn and Cheddar Chowder

 

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I’m kind of on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

This winter is killing me and I’m down to exactly zero patience with bundling up for subzero  temps.

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Thankfully, tucking in to a bowl of the this chowder has temporarily pulled me back from the brink.

It’s a little bit of summer in a bowl.

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I’ve cooked up the original recipe for this chowder by Ina Garten a few times and while it’s insanely delicious, it is not insanely (or even remotely) healthy.

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Here I’ve tweaked it to drastically reduce the amount of fat by cutting out the bacon (and it’s rendered fat), halving the butter and cheese and replacing the half & half with 2% evaporated milk.

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I cross my heart it still tastes luxurious though.

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Enjoy,

Erin

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Corn and Cheddar Chowder

Serves 5-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Website Adapted from Ina Garten's Cheddar Corn Chowder

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium yellow onion (finely chopped)
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon tumeric
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 medium yellow or white potatoes (about 3 cups, diced)
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups frozen or fresh corn kernels
  • 340 mL can 2% evaporated milk
  • 1 cup finely grated old cheddar cheese
  • additional salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped parsley or chives for garnish

Directions

1. Heat butter and canola oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 7-8 minutes until translucent.
2. Add flour, turmeric and pepper and sauté for an additional minute.
3. Add chicken broth and potatoes and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer for about 15 minutes until potatoes are tender.
4. Add corn, evaporated milk and cheddar and cook for another 2 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.
5. Season with additional s&p as needed and garnish with parsley or chives.

How to: Recipe Makeover – Creamy Mushroom Soup

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I’ve been polling.

It turns out 100% of all How to Eat followers polled want to see a new soup recipe.

OK, perhaps that’s a bit misleading.

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I polled one person and she wanted a soup recipe, which I thought it was a really good idea.

So I stopped polling and made soup.

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A knock your socks off delicious and dare I say, healthy, cream soup.

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Using loads of meaty mushrooms practically makes this soup a meal in itself.

Subbing evaporated milk for what would normally be heavy cream or half and half also gives it a much less indulgent finish without even knowing it.

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It’s the small details in this recipe – the dried porcini mushrooms, the balsamic vinegar and the fresh parsley that really make it stand out as a ‘recipe makeover’ you would never realize was made over.

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Enjoy,

Erin

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Serves 4-6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 small yellow onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 24oz crimini mushrooms (sliced)
  • 0.5oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 - 370mL can skim evaporated milk
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (more or less to taste)

Note

Dried and rehydrated porcini add a really nice richness and depth to this soup, but you can definitely get away without them if you can't find them.

Directions

1. In a small bowl, cover dried porcini mushrooms with warm water and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove mushrooms from water and slice them. Reserve the soaking liquid.
2. Heat butter and canola oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 3 minutes until softened. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add crimini and porcini mushrooms and sauté for an additional 5 minutes.
3. Add reserved soaking liquid and vegetable stock, bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, whisk flour into the evaporated milk until dissolved. Add the milk and flour mixture to the pot and allow to simmer for 3 - 5 until slightly thickened.
5. Add vinegar, parsley and salt and pepper. Remove from heat and serve.

How To: Homemade Bread – Pumpkin Seed and Cranberry Bread

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Homemade bread is usually not associated with words like “easy” and “quick.” That is, unless you are this delicious fall-inspired quick bread.

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This bread literally took me 7 minutes to put together. Yes, that’s right, not 5, not 10, SEVEN. How many bread recipes can say that?! The honey adds a nice sweetness, but its not too sweet that you can’t enjoy it with a bowl of warm squash soup or salad. And bonus, with half whole wheat flour, you get a little dose of fibre too.  Quick, healthy, and delicious….You’re welcome!

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As I sit here munching on a slice warm, with a dab of butter (my favourite way to enjoy it), I was drawing a blank as to what to tell you about my new favourite quick bread. (No offence to our beer bread and banana bread – both also delicious). My husband, while eating his own very large slice, looked at me and said “just say it’s GOOOOOD.”

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So make this bread, it is VERY good!

Dara

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Pumpkin Seed and Cranberry Bread

Serves 1 Loaf
Meal type Bread, Snack
Misc Freezable
Website Adapted from Eat Live Run

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Note

This bread is delicious warm topped with a spread of butter or cream cheese. It freezes great as a whole loaf or slice it up and freeze individual slices for easy eating!

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl combine flours, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Add egg, honey, and milk and stir to combine. Mix in dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds.
3. Pour battre into loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes. Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes before removing.

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How to: Appetizer – Vegetarian Quinoa Fresh Rolls


I’m really proud of something.

I also have a platform to brag about stuff.

This blog!

So here goes…

This week, a project near and dear to my heart was a awarded a very special honour.  The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook was awarded the Taste Canada/ CBC People’s Choice Award at this year’s national food writing awards.  This award was chosen by the public in an online vote, meaning…you love us, you really love us!  The book is a compilation of healthy vegetarian quinoa recipes (everything from breakfast to dessert) developed by Professional Home Economists from across the province.

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We beat out Ricardo and Lynn Crawford and Michael Smith for goodness sake!

This  cookbook contains 4 of my original recipes and was my inauguration in to the world of cookbook publishing and professional recipe development.  The editor, Mairlyn Smith took me under her wing and trusted me in helping with her nutrition related editing and has become my mentor and friend along the way.

The book is a national best seller, but you can still buy one here. Christmas is coming.

These fresh rolls are one my recipes from the book. Try them, they’re awesome.

Erin

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Vegetarian Quinoa Fresh Rolls

Ingredients

Marinade and Dipping Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons finely sliced green onion (about 4)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons liquid honey
  • 1 tablespoon Thai garlic chili sauce
  • 12oz (one package) extra firm tofu, sliced into 48 pieces

Filling

  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion (about 3)
  • 24, 6 inch rice paper sheets
  • 1 red pepper (cut in ¼ inch slices lengthwise)
  • 1 mango (cut in ¼ inch slices lengthwise)
  • 24 fresh basil leaves

Directions

1. For marinade: In medium bowl whisk together onions, vinegar, oil, soy sauce honey and chill sauce. Reserve ½ cup and store covered in the fridge for the dipping sauce. Pour remaining marinade into a large sealable plastic bag or shallow glass dish. Add tofu slices and marinate, covered, for at least 2 hours or overnight.
2. For the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil. Add cooked quinoa and green onions and toss to combine.
3. Fill a large dish (a large frying pan works well) with 2 inches of water. Soak rice paper in water for about 30 seconds until softened. Lay out softened rice paper on a clean dish towel and assemble one at a time immediately after it is softened.
4. To assemble, spoon about 1 Tbsp of the quinoa in to the centre of the rice paper. Lay two slices of red pepper, 1 slice of mango, 2 slices of tofu and 1 basil leave on top of the quinoa. Fold in both sides of the rice and roll from the bottom until sealed.
5. Store the assembled rolls in a dish lined and covered with moist paper towels or a tea towel.
6. Serve alongside dipping sauce.