Saturday, 25 April 2015

LOTW Lodge Lemon Squares

My mother will be the first to admit that my love of cooking and baking did not develop under her tutelage, but largely in the kitchens of two different fishing lodge owners, Ruth and Jenny. During university I spent two summer's working as a cabin cleaner/server/cook on Lake of the Woods and Pipestone Lake in the wilds of Northwestern Ontario. It was there that I really developed my love of cooking from scratch, and became addicted to the wonderful feeling that results when you feed hungry people hand made meals. 

As with many of my most treasured recipes, this one comes from the weekly rotation of items we'd make for the fishermen. I can't say where this recipe came from originally (comment please if you recognize it), but Ruth provided it to me when I left Lake of the Woods Lodge in the fall of 2004. For a period of time I actually lost the recipe and tried out a few different variations floating around, but none compared to the intense lemon flavour and perfect ratio of crust to curd that this one produces.

You know a recipe is good when it's requested by someone each time you bring it to a shower or celebration. Lindsay - I'm writing this post largely so I can refer you to this link when you semiannually ask for the recipe. I don't normally buy organic, but apparently when using the rind of a fruit, it's wise to buy organic to avoid the pesticides in the rind. For this I bought organic lemons. To each his own, as it could just be one of those internet urban legends that is not backed up by science in any way. I would recommend good, fresh eggs though, as they make up a large part of the square. 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Leek and Gruyere Tarts

Having enjoyed a couple of 20 degree days I think we can start cautiously proclaiming that spring has arrived. Today on my morning walk with Steeler I didn't just see geese passing over head, but three white swans. The potluck gals will recall seeing two swans on the Rennie River last October, how amazing that they're already heading back for the summer! Pretty magical way to start a Tuesday. 

Leeks scream spring. Huge shocker: puff pastry, onion and cheese for dinner was a winner. This made an insanely quick and easy week night dinner. Likely considered a brunch or lunch recipe by most however as soon as the snow melts I don't mind having a smaller dinner so long as my glass of wine isn't downsized accordingly.  This rich tart should've been accompanied by a salad, but that wasn't in the cards given what we had in the fridge. I didn't make the puff pastry from scratch. When it comes already rolled out in parchment from Safeway or Sobey's freezer section, why bother. 

Friday, 10 April 2015

Spinach and Eggs en Cocotte

We just returned from an extravagant and fun filled week in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. After an overnight flight home, it was slim pickings in the fridge when we woke up early Easter Sunday morning. Thank goodness for eggs, rye and a chunk of leftover pecorino.

It wasn't exactly grilled langostino on a private yacht (shameless braggy trip photos below)... but these baked eggs made a great comforting post-all-inclusive breakfast. Dave and I generally go to church two times a year - Easter and Christmas - after spending the past two Easters sitting in the pew with a growling stomach aching for breakfast - this year I made sure to go in full.

Eggs en Cocotte are essentially eggs baked and served in a heat proof dish. I have an obsession with  recipes made in individual servings. Any ramekin or heat proof container will work. If you've had the baked eggs at Stella's you already know the comforting heaven that is two eggs slowly baked with cheese. I use this recipe at least once a month when I have totally random things in the fridge. You can use any cheese, and any other additions (I've previously used smoked gouda, goat cheese, sliced tomatoes, leftover carmalized onions, avocado).