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What do you think of this menu?

Sure, here's my franken-recipe, adapted from David Lebovitz and two other recipes I found online. I went with the traditional layering technique (Lebovitz just stirs everything together). There's a layer of chicken, then the egg, then a double layer of phyllo, then the ground almond mixture. In my picture, you can't see the separate chicken layer because the egg had sort of tumbled down to cover it, but it was a very distinct layer.

Note that I skipped the orange flower water this time, as I didn't have any on hand. I've never made it with the water, so I can't say what it adds, but I can say that the dish was completely delicious without it.

Chicken Basteeya
Serves 8

• 2 pounds (and a bit) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
• Salt and pepper
• 4-6 tablespoon clarified butter and/or olive oil
• 2-4 onions, diced
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
• 2 t ground ginger
• 1 t ground turmeric
• 1 t of saffron threads, crumbled
• .5 c chicken broth
• 6 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1/4 cup (15g) chopped parsley
• 1/4 cup (15g) chopped cilantro
• 2 cups blanched and toasted almonds
• 3-5 T powdered sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1-2 tablespoons orange flower water
• Package of phyllo, thawed
• 5 tablespoons (70g) melted unsalted butter

Additional powdered sugar and cinnamon for dusting the finished basteeya.

Salt and pepper the chicken. Sear in the butter/oil. Remove the chicken from the pan. Add the onions and sauté until turning translucent. Add the chicken back into the pan, along with the garlic and spices. Stir to combine, then cover and simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove the chicken from the pan and let cool. Reduce the juices in the pan by 1/3 to 1/2. Pour the lightly beaten eggs into the warm liquid in a steady stream, stirring as they hit the liquid. Keep stirring until the mixture resembles softly scrambled eggs, about 3 minutes. Add cilantro and parley. Remove from heat and transfer the egg mixture to a bowl or storage container.

Shred the chicken meat and transfer to a bowl or storage container.

Grind the almonds in a food processor until they are a coarse consistency, almost to the point where they are about to become a paste. Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and orange flower water and pulse a couple of times. Transfer to a bowl or storage container.

You can store the ingredients overnight at this point.

To assemble the basteeya, follow the instructions at this link: http://moroccanfood.about.com/od/tips...

Note that I used a 9” springform pan to shape the basteeya. I removed the ring to layer on the final, outer layer of phyllo before putting the ring back on and freezing the whole thing. I removed the ring from the frozen basteeya before baking. From frozen it took over 1.5 hours at 350 to bake through. I used my thermapen to check the internal temp to make sure it was hot.

What do you think of this menu?

Reporting back! Dinner was on Saturday and the company was wonderful and the food was a hit.

As mentioned upthread, we had wine and hors d'oeuvres mid afternoon, then had dinner several hours later. There was tennis and jogging during/in between, so everything had worked up an appetite by dinner.

I made some changes to the dinner menu I originally planned. I ended up doing:

First course: a bit of arugula topped with grilled corn, blistered yellow cherry tomatoes, fresh OSU blue tomatoes, and chunks of avocado, drizzled with a sumac vinaigrette and topped with a couple of garlic sauteed shrimp.

Intermezzo (not really the right time, but I didn't care): cucumber, aquavit, lime granita

Family-style dinner:
- Chicken basteeya
- Whole roasted cauliflower coated in a spiced yogurt before roasting, then topped with garlic scape pesto, pomegranate seeds, and pine nuts
- Ottolenghi's grilled zucchini, basil, and hazelnut salad

Dessert: lemon meringue tarts (meringue shells filled with lemon curd and topped with raspberries) and raspberry Chambord sorbet.

The basteeya was incredibly delicious and it was inhaled, with multiple servings had by all. I loved all the textures and flavors! The phyllo was shatteringly crisp, the chicken and egg layers were moist and savory, and the ground almonds were crunchy and savory/sweet. I look forward to making it again, even though it's rather time consuming (though not difficult). Our friends have requested future orders (I've requested a home-cooked Lao dinner in exchange for a basteeya!).

The cauliflower was a fun, beautiful presentation, but I won't do it again. I loved the flavors, but I much prefer roasting florets because of how the pieces get browned and caramelized and the interior is almost creamy. The whole head was cooked, but really bland and uninteresting on the interior. We had to slather garlic scape pesto over every piece to get any flavor.

The salad was delicious, though I wish I had sprinkled a bit of sea salt on it at the end. But our guests really enjoyed it.

Dessert was simple and light and devoured. I ended up bringing out the container of unused lemon curd and parking it in front of the friend who loves lemon. He just ate it out of the container with a spoon. :)

For wine, we had a dry rose Cremant de Loire, a dry local Gewurtztraminer, and a gorgeous white blend.

Thanks for everyone's suggestions here. My dinner was a much better place for all of your input.

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

Made some meringue tart shells and filled them with a lemon curd that was based on Ina Garten's recipe but that I made in the Vitamix (mind blown at how easy that was). Filled the shells with lemon curd right before serving and topped with fresh raspberries. Was too busy having fun to take a picture. :)

Anyone have a good cheddar potato soup recipe?

Or just pull out the potatoes before adding the thickener and cheese, then add the potatoes back in at the end. This is a common approach for soups, especially for those where you want to puree some, but not all, of the veggies. You could actually take this approach with your soup to make it easier. Skip the roux, pull out half (or whatever portion you want) of your potatoes, then puree the potatoes in the pot to thicken the soup, then add the intact potatoes back in. Best of both worlds.

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

Yep, a bit of Maldon on top!

Aug 27, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

OK, this is a bit of a cheat, since I actually made these chocolate coconut cookies a couple of weeks ago. But I had some leftover cookie dough in the freezer, and since I had made a batch of Vietnamese coffee ice cream, I decided that ice cream sandwiches would be just the thing. I refuse to concede that summer is drawing to an end.

Ice cream sandwich, anyone?

FRESH CORN SIDE DISHES! Home Cooking Dish of the Month (August 2015)

Ooh, that looks delicious!

Aug 26, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

You can freshen them up in a 325F oven for 5 minutes.

Aug 25, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Mouth watering appetizer and light dessert recipes please!

The BLT cherry tomatoes in the center of the attached photo are easy, delicious, and a lot easier when a bunch of people are pitching in. Slice about a third off the bottom of a cherry tomato (you want the "top"/stem end to become the bottom so it doesn't roll). Scoop out the inside with a melon baller or small spoon. Mix chopped bacon, chopped lettuce, minced scallions, and salt and pepper to taste. Fill tomatoes with the bacon mixture. Garnish with chopped parsley or minced chives.

Puff pastry is super versatile and can be used to make flat breads, individual tartlets, or turnovers. Topping/filling combinations are endless. Some tried and true combos: caramelized onions/blue cheese, fig jam/brie/bacon, sauteed mushrooms/caramelized onions/gruyere, prosciutto/asiago.

Sauteed shrimp are easy and always a hit. I like either a classic butter/white wine/garlic shrimp or a tequila/lime shrimp.

You can see a bunch of other apps I did for a party last year here:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1000539

If you have any questions about any of them, I'm happy to answer. Some easy ones to tackle from that spread are gougeres, the mini stuffed potatoes, and the caprese salad skewers.

Good luck! If you provide a bit more guidance around you and your friends' skill level, we can give you more tailored suggestions!

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

I'm not nothingswrong, but which recipe did you make? nw's yeasted coffee cake does not have walnuts in it.

Aug 24, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

No, I haven't. I really love the CI recipe and haven't found the need to try anything else! It hits all the right notes for me: flavour, texture, aroma.

Aug 24, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

It's a great recipe, bc -- you should definitely make it soon!

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

Warm and slathered in butter. With or without a drizzle of honey. I can eat an entire pan by myself, which is why I don't bake it anymore. :)

BTW, the girls loved the coffee cake. The recipe has now been passed on!

Aug 23, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

Best sauce recipe for bland, mealy tomatoes?

Adding to the chorus: roast 'em! In this case, I would slow roast 'em. Cut in half, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, cut side up, in a 250F oven until they are shriveled. This usually takes 4-6 hours, more for large tomatoes.

Aug 20, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

A beauty! That recipe is my perfect carrot cake. I actually like it with no icing at all.

Aug 20, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

One local's guide to Niagara-on-the-Lake and surrounding area (long!)

Glad you enjoyed the food. And the space is gorgeous. I feel like they need to do a better job explaining that their plates are essentially half portions. In that context, I feel like the pricing is in line with Treadwell, Peller, and Trius. Mains at all those restaurants are in the $30 - $40 range. Backhouse has 4 oz, 60-day dry aged ribeye (or striploin, I can't recall) for $18, which feels like a really good price to me.

However, I think this is why they are offering their casual lounge menu throughout the restaurant (the pizzas and burger are excellent, btw) -- there are definitely other customers who are struggling with the perceived price issue.

I'm having the tasting menu tomorrow, which I'm very much looking forward to.

I need help on cake baking

There's definitely some weirdness in the recipe you're looking at. Here's my foolproof chocolate cake recipe in another thread that several people have had success with:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9081...

It's similar to the Hershey's perfect chocolate cake, but uses chocolate instead of cocoa powder. The nice thing is that it is best made a couple of days ahead of time, so it's great for a party.

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

Ouch! The bright side is that lunch is at your parents' house, not yours. :)

Aug 17, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

They're evil little buggers. :)

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

It's gorgeous! And I know what it takes to put those damn balls on, so major kudos to you!

Aug 16, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

What do you think of this menu?

OK, I'm going to go with menu #1. I want to take advantage of all the local produce while it's in season. Dinner is not for a couple of weeks, but I'll report back after it's over. Thanks for all the input!

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

I'm really enjoying them. I would probably add a bit more spice -- maybe some cayenne pepper to the garam masala or instead of the garam masala. They would be delicious without any spice, though. Definitely worth a try if you're looking for something new!

Aug 15, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

I liked that the coconut was unsweetened. It was akin to a coconut macaroon, but as if it were merged with a chocolate brownie cookie.

Aug 15, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

The other part of my baking today: chocolate coconut cookies. Deeply chocolately with the chew of shredded coconut and a kick from garam masala and a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt. Made with gluten free flour. The recipe is also dairy free, so it's a nice treat for some of my diet-restricted friends.

The recipe:

http://www.thestar.com/life/food_wine...

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

Happiness! I just had my first bite of nothingwrong's famous yeasted coffee cake, and I've been transported back to my childhood.

Here's her recipe on her blog: http://thecarboholic.com/2014/01/21/m...

As per our discussion earlier upthread, I eased off on the lemon extract and made it in two 8x8 pans so it would be flatter rather than a loaf. And while it's a lengthy recipe, all the steps are easy. It's definitely on my breakfast/brunch rotation from now on.

Thank you SO much, nothingswrong! Your recipe totally made my day. The only challenge will be keeping myself from eating the whole thing tonight.

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

I'm super excited, nw! I've got the dough in their two pans doing the second proof. I can't wait for them to be finished! I will post pics of the finished product later today. :)

What do you think of this menu?

Eh, I wouldn't say it's my forte. I'm a pretty good all-around home cook. I just go with Chinese a lot because there are a lot of people in the little town I live in where who haven't had good Chinese food. Prior to moving here, I usually made multi-course Western menus for dinner parties.

Having said that, I think I'll just ask our friends which direction they would prefer for dinner. :)

Aug 15, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

What do you think of this menu?

LOL! Your female friends must be very different than my female friends. My girlfriends can pack away the food -- I need to make more for them than most "normal" men. :D

Aug 15, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? August 2015 [OLD]

A friend makes an anise-scented custard and makes a glorious peach custard tart with it. I also had a peach dessert the other day with tarragon, and that was another wonderful and unusual flavor combination.

Aug 15, 2015
TorontoJo in Home Cooking
1

What do you think of this menu?

Yes, cocktail hour will be several hours before dinner. Likely with some tennis thrown in in between. And there is very little gruyere on the tartlets -- literally a few grated shreds on top. And the chevre is just a small ball in the figs and I only make enough for each person to have one or two. They would be a lovely dessert though!

I should also point out that I suffer from a serious case of FONHEF: fear of not having enough food. So I always have too much and then happily send care packages home or eat leftovers.