Recipes – Dana Shortt Gourmet

Recent Recipes

Tofu with Leeks and Peanut Sauce

This is by far my favourite “meatless meal”. I know it sounds a little strange, but it is so delicious!

Credit goes to Nettie Cronish (author of “The Idiot’s Guide to Being a Vegetarian”). When I was attending chef school, I also worked at Dish Cooking Studio and Upstairs at Loblaws Cooking School, assisting chef’s in the kitchen.

Nettie taught classes at both of these venues, and through working with her, I gained an appreciation of the wonderful flavours of vegetarian and vegan cuisine.

You’ll see that the recipe calls for “arame” which is a sea vegetable (a type of seaweed). It is a good introduction to seaweed because of it’s mild taste. It is high in calcium and zinc, and has cancer fighting properties. You can findit in health food stores or well stocked grocery stores. The dish is still delicious without the arame, should you wish to leave it out.

Again, you’ll have to trust me on this one! Even a meat lover enjoys this dish.

Tofu with Leeks and Peanut Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 2 leeks, white part, sliced and well-washed
  • 1 each red and green pepper, slices
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup arame, soaked in 1c cold water,
  • 5 mins, drained
  • 1 lb firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 tbsp. natural peanut butter (not sweetened)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp tamari (you can substitute soya sauce)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Method

 

  1. Heat 2 tbsps sesame oil in large skillet over medium/high heat.
  2. Stir in leeks and peppers, stir fry for 3 minutes.
  3. Add carrot, ginger, and stir fry for another 2 minutes.
  4. Layer arame over the stir fry  vegetables.
  5. Cover with a lid and remove from heat.
  6. In medium bowl, whisk together remaining sesame oil, peanut butter, honey, vinegar, tamari and cayenne pepper.
  7. Add tofu to sauce and toss to coat.
  8. Add tofu mixture to vegetables and return to heat.
  9. Stir fry for 3 minutes (until heated through) 

“Spa” Granola

The more my business grows, the more I make it a goal to take better care of myself. I had a handful of spa gift certificates tucked away and I was determined to use them up! I am happy to say that I had a few wonderful spa experiences – part of the spa experience (at least for me, anyway) is lingering in the lounge afterwards, sipping tea and munching on granola.

Here is a low-cal, low-fat spa granola recipe from chef Kate Dowhan of Guelph. I assisted chef Kate back in 2000 when she was teaching a low cal spa class in Toronto. This granola is delicious with milk, yogurt or on it’s own as a light snack.

“Spa” Granola

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup whole, unblanched almonds
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 2 cups cherries, pitted
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • yogurt, for serving

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 225 F.
  2. Toss all of the granola ingredients (except the fresh fruit) in a mixing bowl.
  3. Spread thinly on a baking sheet and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring often so that the mixture browns evenly.
  4. When the granola is golden and the texture starts to become crunchy, remove and let cool.
  5. To serve, place yogurt in a bowl and top with granola and fresh fruit.

Banana Cream Pie

I had my parents over for dinner to thank them for all of their support. I had good intentions of preparing a fabulous 5 course meal…..but the work week got away from me (so I ended up serving something a little simpler).

I did, however, manage to bake one of my Dad’s favourite desserts – banana cream pie. This is a very simple recipe and it’s great when there isn’t a lot of fresh fruit in season.

Thanks again Mom and Dad!

Banana Cream Pie

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

Filling

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or 1.5 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3-4 ripe bananas,
  • peeled and sliced
    toasted coconut, optional
  • fresh whipped cream, optional

Method

Crust

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Melt butter in a microwave safe dish. Add mashed banana, graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Mix well until moist.
  3. Press onto bottom and sides of a 10″ diameter glass or tin foil pie dish.
  4. Bake crust until golden and set – about 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Filling

  1. Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in heavy medium saucepan to blend. Gradually whisk in whipping cream, milk, and egg yolks. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean (or add 1.5 tsp vanilla extract).
  2. Whisk over medium-high heat until custard thickens and boils, about 5-7 minutes. Be careful – it can scorch/burn very easily!
  3. Remove custard from heat. Whisk in butter (preferably unsalted butter). Discard vanilla bean, if using. Transfer custard to large bowl; cool completely, whisking occasionally, about 1 hour.
  4. Stir custard to loosen, if necessary. Spread 1 cup custard over bottom of prepared crust. Top with half of sliced bananas, then 1 cup custard, covering bananas completely. Repeat layering with remaining bananas and remaining custard. Chill banana cream pie until filling is set – a couple of hours or up to one day.

Notes

Optional – When I’m feeling decadent, I like to top the pie with freshly whipped cream and toasted coconut.

Dana’s Irresistible Egg Salad

Ingredients

  • 10 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • ¼ cup shallots, minced
  • ¼ cup celery, finely diced
  • ½ cup red or orange bell peppers, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise, use more if you like a lot of mayo
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha (optional, if you like it spicy)

Method

  1. Using a box grater, grate the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add the other ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Notes

Serve on artisan baguette, olive bread or croissants. For a low carb option, use rice paper or lettuce wraps.

Beef Bourguignon

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 lbs sirloin tip roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • vegetable oil, as needed
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 cups dry red wine (optional: additional wine for the chef)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 lb button mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 4 cups pearl onions, peeled
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Method

  1. In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until browned and fat has rendered. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a bowl stir together the flour, salt and pepper. Toss beef in flour mixture.
  3. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the bacon fat for 3-5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides and adding a little oil as needed. Do not crowd the pan or the meat will steam instead of sear.
  4. Stir in chopped onions, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until onions are softened.
  5. Stir in garlic and reserved bacon and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add carrots, beef stock, wine, bay leaves, thyme and mushrooms.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 1 to 1½ hours or until meat is tender.
  7. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, melt butter over medium heat; stir in sugar and pearl onions.  Cook until browned.
  8. Once meat in the stew pot is tender, stir in pearl onions; simmer stew another 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  9. Serve over buttery mashed potatoes and sprinkle with parsley.

Toasted Almond Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 cup slivered almonds, well toasted and finely ground
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons liquid honey
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (I use canola oil)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place the almonds on a baking sheet and roast the nuts until they are tobacco colour. The nuts will begin to have the aroma of coffee beans roasting.  Remove from the oven and cool.
  3. Once cool, place almonds into the work bowl of a food processor and finely grind.  Set aside.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, add the vinegar and dissolve the salt and pepper into the vinegar.  Whisk Dijon and honey into the vinegar.  Slowly whisk in the oil.  Adjust seasoning to taste.
  5. Mix in the ground nuts until well combined.

Notes

Drizzle dressing over chopped romaine, baby spinach, arugula, or mixed greens. Add sliced vegetables such as carrots, cucumber and tomatoes, if desired. Or try serving with fresh or dried fruits and crumbled goat cheese.

Store any unused dressing in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Pasta Bar + Kid-friendly Avocado Fettuccine

Ingredients

FOR SAUCE

  • 1 large (or 2 small) ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • Juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1 egg, raw *
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, if your kids like it (mine don’t unfortunately!)

*if you’d prefer not to use raw egg or want to keep the recipe vegan, substitute a few tablespoons of good quality extra virgin olive oil for the egg (and omit the cheese and bacon as well, when assembling).

FOR PASTA

  • 1, 454 gram box fettuccini (I buy the high fibre kind – my kids like the “Catelli Smart” brand because it tastes like white pasta)
  • ½ cup cooked, chopped bacon pieces
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, or more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper and fresh chopped herbs, optional

Method

  1. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, pulse the garlic on high until minced. Add all other ingredients and pulse until smooth.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions. Once pasta is cooked, drain quickly and then toss with avocado sauce until well coated. Add in cooked bacon and parmesan, top with additional black pepper and fresh herbs (slivered basil, chopped parsley or chives), if desired.

Baby Spinach Salad with Aged Cheddar, Apples + Walnuts

Oil + Vinegar Pairing – Apple Crisp

LEMON olive oil

MAPLE balsamic vinegar

Baby Spinach Salad with Aged Cheddar, Apples + Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons Dana’s Lemon olive oil (Blood Orange or unflavoured olive oil can be substituted)
  • 3 tablespoons Dana’s Maple balsamic vinegar (Traditional or Fig balsamic can be substituted)
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 package (5 oz) baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup aged cheddar, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup red grapes, halved

Method

  1. To make the dressing: mix first 3 ingredients together in a bowl and whisk until well blended.
  2. Toss spinach with dressing until well coated. Add in cubed cheese, walnuts, apple and grapes. Toss gently. Portion onto 4 plates and serve.

Notes

To make 4 entree salads, double ingredients and add grilled chicken.

Spicy Mexican Hummus

Take your hummus game up a notch with Mexican Flavours olive oil!

Spicy Mexican Hummus

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup Dana’s Mexican Flavours olive oil (Persian lime, Lemon, Garlic, or unflavoured olive oil can be substituted)
  • 3 tablespoons Dana’s Sicilian lemon white balsamic vinegar (1/4 cup fresh lemon juice can be substituted)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1, 16 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped (parsley or chives can be substituted)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Put the garlic into the bowl of a food processor and pulse for a few seconds until finely chopped. Add all other remaining ingredients except for the olive oil and pulse for about 1 minute.
  2. With the machine running slowly, add olive oil in a steady stream until smooth.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with tortilla chips, pita and fresh cut vegetables.

Notes

For extra spice, drizzle additional Mexican Flavours olive oil over the hummus before serving.

Asparagus Cigars with Prosciutto & Asiago

Ingredients

  • 24 asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed
  • 6 sheets phyllo pastry
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 12 slices prosciutto, cut in half crosswise
  • 4 ounces asiago cheese (or parmesan cheese)

Method

  1. Blanch the asparagus in a pot of boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes until just al dente and bright green.  Drain in a colander and run cold water over the asparagus.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Place 1 sheet of phyllo on a dry surface.  Keep the remaining sheets covered with a clean, slightly damp towel.  Brush lightly with melted butter and cut into 4 rectangular pieces, each 5 x 7 inches.
  4. Place 1 piece of prosciutto on the phyllo, lining it up along 1 short edge of the rectangle.  Arrange an asparagus spear on top of the prosciutto along the same short edge of the rectangle, letting the tip lay exposed beyond the top edge of the dough by ¾ inch or so.  Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of asiago.  Roll up and secure the edge of the dough with additional butter, if necessary.  Repeat with the remaining ingredients, transferring the straws onto the prepared baking sheet.  The straws may be made 1 to 2 hours ahead up to this point, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated.

To bake preheat the oven to 450°F.  Sprinkle the top of the straws with the remaining cheese.  Cover the asparagus tips with foil to protect them from the heat.  Bake until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes.  Serve warm, either whole or sliced into bite-size pieces.

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