Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast, Creamed Spinach, Instamash, Roasted Grape Tomato and Bread

So, this was a cheat dinner for me as I really didn't put much effort into making it really. Still good, but not especially elaborate. I do really love oven roasting tomatoes, they are explosions of flavour! The ratio of ease to deliciousness is through the roof. Statistically, they should be included in every meal. It really does work best with grape tomatoes though. They perform well under pressure and maximum performance is essential in a cheat dinner. Also, I have three bottles of unfiltered Italian olive oil that I love finding excuses to use as a flavour additive. This meal kind of happened because my mother went to the washroom at Costco before taking me home, and I bought a few things while I was waiting. Normally you can't really but small portions of things but I found a small (small for Costco) piece of Inside Round, which is pretty damn perfect for Pot Roast, and they had a delicious spreadable cheese, flavoured with Garlic and Herb de Provence called Boursin on sale, so I bought that too, and the rest kind of fell into place.


Baguette or other Crusty Bread
30 Grape Tomatoes
Unfiltered Olive Oil (Or other nicely flavoured oil)
Dried Basil

Inside Round Roast
1 lbs Spinach (Washed and Trimmed)
Instamash (Plus ingredients for instamash preparation)
100 ml Milk
100g Boursin
30ml Worsterschire Sauce
15ml Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil


Roast Tomatoes on Bread

1. Roast tomatoes under broiler element on a sheet pan until softened. Remove and allow to cool slightly then drizzle with olive oil and basil. Serve on bread.

Pressure Cooker Pot Roast, Creamed Spinach, Instamash

1. Sear inside round on all sides. 

2. Combine Balsamic Vinegar, Worsterschire Sauce, and Dijon Mustard and 300ml cold water in pressure cooker and turn on, to heat up. Add meat when pressure cooker has heated and pressure cook for 40 minutes at full pressure.

3. Wilt spinach in a dry saucepan on medium heat in batches. Squeeze spinach to remove excess liquid. Clean out saucepan then add milk and boursin, heat on medium heat and stir until combined. Add wilted spinach and  stir over heat for 3 minutes. Then remove from heat.

4. Using an immersion blender, pulse cut the spinach slightly to make for a medium smooth texture.

5. Prepare instamash according to package directions.

6. Slice roast and plate with spinach and mash, season to taste, serve with more dijon mustard.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Veal Picatta, Roast Potatoes, Dry Fried Vegetables, Roast Mushrooms. Dobos Torte.

So, technically, this is not a normal post, as this was what I made for my mother for her birthday dinner. Since my girl was still there, eating with us, it still technically counts. My mother is Hungarian, and loves Dobos Torte and I never really understood why, as for me, Dobos always seems lacklustre, and I never really understood the caramel top layer as it was thick and impossible to cut through. Now, having made the cake myself, I finally get it. It was delicious. The bitter caramel balances out the rest of the cake and it becomes a balanced slice of deliciousness. Also, controlling the thickness of the caramel layer and keeping it relatively thin and allowing it to cool slowly and soak into the top layer really helps a fork get through. Also, for some reason, my mother really loves Veal Picatta, and although, I didn't love it, she really did, so that was good. I apparently put too much parsley on things. Also, I have to give credit to SmittenKitchen for her recipe for the Dobos Torte.

Veal Picatta with Confit Garlic and Fresh Parsley 



750g Veal Scallopini
250 ml White White
150 ml Chicken Stock
40g Butter (More for Cooking) 
Juice of 1 Lemon
Capers (Mostly Drained)
Floured Plate (For dredging the Veal)
1 Head of Garlic (Peeled and Separated)
1 Handful of Fresh Parsley (Washed, Chopped Semi-Coarsely)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper


1. In a small saucepan, over low heat, add olive to 1/4 inch full and add garlic cloves. Cover and leave to confit. About 40 minutes.

2. Dredge the veal, dust off, place on second plate.

3. In a large frypan, on medium high heat, heat olive oil and butter, when just barely smoking hot, add veal in single layer batches, brown on both sides, remove to clean plate and reserve. Continue cooking remaining veal in this manner. Add butter and oil as needed when absorbed or burned off.

4. With frypan on the heat, add white wine to deglaze and scrape the pan and stir the sediment into the sauce. Heat wine until reduced by half then add chicken stock, lemon juice, capers, and 40g butter. Stir until sauce has thickened then add the browned veal scallopini pieces to the frypan and fold them into the sauce. 

5. Cook for about 4 minutes, then add the confit garlic cloves. Reserve oil from confit garlic.

6. Remove and arrange veal pieces to serving plate, ladle sauce on and around the veal. Add parsley on top. Drizzle reserved oil from the confit garlic saucepan onto veal and around.

7. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Oven Roasted Potatoes and Mushrooms

Oven Roasting is smart.

4 Large Russet Potatoes (Peeled, Washed, Cubed)
12 Mushrooms (Cleaned and Halfed)
Italian Seasoning  Really any spices works here.
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper


1. In a large bowl, place, cubed potatoes, olive oil to coat, spices to coat. Mix to coat evenly.

2. Pour onto baking sheet and place in a 425F oven until crispy, turn occasionally to promote even browning.

3. Place the mushrooms, flat side down, on the baking sheet, with the potatoes after the first turning.

Dry Fried Vegetables
In general this is more of a technique than a recipe. And would work for most vegetables. 

People that say they don't like vegetables are cooking them all wrong.

1. Place vegetables in a dry non-stick frypan and cook over medium heat uncovered until some browning occurs then season with salt and pepper and cover. Cook until vegetables are tender crisp, turning occasionally.

Dobos Torte
This delicious cake is made from several alternating layers of very thin semi-firm sponge and chocolate buttercream; the top layer is caramelized sugar. Very simple, not really that many ingredients, but very delicious.

Ingredients and Directions

200g Egg Yolk (10 Egg Yolks)
200g Egg Whites (7 Egg Whites)
454g Icing Sugar
15g Lemon Juice
95g All Purpose Flour
Butter for Greasing

1. Pre-heat oven to 425F and prepare 2 12"x18" baking sheets with buttered parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks until pale and thickened. Add the sugar in 4 batches, beating until absorbed. Add the flour and beat until well mixed. Add lemon juice and beat until well mixed. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl and with clean whips, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

4. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture in four batches. Gently pour half of mixture onto each prepared baking sheet and gently spread evenly onto sheet to form one single thin layer.

5. Bake both sheets in upper half of oven for approximately 10 minutes, alternating shelf layer half way through. Bake until cake is golden brown on top and semi-firm to touch.

6. Remove sheets from oven, place flat side of a cake rack onto each cake layer. Flip sheet over leaving rack correctly oriented and parchment layer up. Peel parchment layer off completely, place second cake rack, flat side down, on back side of cake layer, flip again and remove cake rack from top layer of cake, leaving correctly oriented cake layer on correctly oriented cake rack. Also, apparently it works to somehow dust your cake racks with icing sugar, I didn't really see how that was possible as the icing sugar simple slips right off the cake rack.

7. Leave to cool then cut each sheet into 4 large rectangles to make 8 rectangles total. Layer each sheet with parchment in between and set aside to cool.

Chocolate Buttercream
454g Dark Chocolate
454g Butter (Softened, Salted or Unsalted)
80g Egg Yolk (4 Egg Yolks)
16g Icing Sugar
10ml (2 Tsp) Vanilla Extract

1. Melt dark chocolate in a double boiler or in a bowl over a pot of boiling water. Set aside.

2. In another bowl, beat the softened butter until smooth add the egg yolks, vanilla, and icing sugar, mix till combined. Then add the chocolate and mix again until combined. Allow to come to room temperature before spreading on cake layers.

3. To assemble the cake, place the bottom sponge layer on parchment paper and apply liberal amounts of buttercream icing on each layer, spreading with an offset spatula or knife from the centre outwards. Reserve and set aside 1 layer for the caramel top and spread buttercream icing on and around outside the cake to seal.

Caramel Top Layer
112g (1/2 Cup) Granulated Sugar
15g (1 Tbsp) Cold Water

1. Place reserved sponge layer on well lined parchment paper sheet pan.

2. Stir cold water and sugar in a cold saucepan till combined.

3. Heat on medium high heat until mixture appears medium amber then pour the mixture evenly onto the sponge layer. Allow to cool then place on top of the cake. Refrigerate before serving.

Sooooo nice!