1) Always use edible looking photos. No one wants to make something that looks messy, gross, glossy, or generally unappealing.
2) Use proper descriptions so that people with little to no cooking experience can understand what is going on. “Cook it until it’s done” doesn’t quite cut it.
3) Don’t post hastily without reading the whole thing thoroughly so there aren’t mistakes in any of the recipes.
4) Never post a recipe that is largely based on pre-prepared ingredients from the store. The most disappointing recipes are the ones that say “1 Tbsp pesto”, “1 Tbsp roasted garlic paste”, or “1 Tbsp chipotle puree” without showing you how to make them yourself.
5) Generally help facilitate home cooking to help budgets, overall health, and our relationship with food improve!
Now that the blog has been running for over two months, it’s high time these rules start being broken. I have already hastily posted (Veal-y good Burger was posted in the five minutes before leaving for a weekend away, with all family members planted in the car while I desperately uploaded pictures), and now it is time to break the 4th rule- this recipe calls for prepared puff pastry. The good, organic kind, but still. It was one of those things that we found in the freezer and when we were rampaging trying to clean it out, so we threw it together with some oysters and bacon we also located in there, sprinkled it with a little cheese, and BAM awesome side has been created. How can I not share that? Oysters get along with bacon about as well as Sebastien gets along with cats—they are both interesting and neat in their own way, but put them together and you’ll wonder how you are ever going to take them away from each other. In fact, easy appy to try tonight: drain some smoked oysters from a can or defrost some smoked oysters, fry up some bacon until its just about to get crispy, wrap the bacon around the oysters, and throw in a 350 degree F oven for a few minutes until its warm throughout. That’s just easy, delicious food that only needs a couple of good ingredients to blow people away.
On the other end of the spectrum from the freezer, I recently had the joy of coming across some sorrel at work. I was checking out the produce at the end of the day, habitually tearing off tiny pieces of some of the leaves to rub between my fingers and smell, when I was suddenly hit with a pungent lemon-y scent. Not only was it not an herb, it was a vegetable that I had never eaten or even heard about. That bold scent sold me, and I snatched up the last bundle, not sure what it was going to turn into, but determined to make it as great as possible. A little wikapedia-ing told me to look into Julia Child for a soup recipe, so I pulled out my Volume I, and marched forth to make this simple, flavourful soup. Not too heavy for a creamy soup, the big taste of the sorrel combined with a few good, simple ingredients makes for a fresh meal that is perfect for a light supper. This soup had enough finesse to really take the oyster squares to a more sophisticated place, and they really complimented each other nicely. An unexpected meal, this was one of those easy, bright suppers that just needs a few simple, delicious ingredients. A lovely send off to the summer weather as we head into the rich flavours of fall!
A Julia Child recipe, this soup just needs a crack of pepper on top and it’s ready to be eaten! If you cannot find sorrel, feel free to substitute spinach by cutting it into thin shreds and skipping the puree step.
1 onion, finely chopped
3 Tbsp Butter
4 c sorrel, washed and stemmed
½ tsp salt
3 Tbsp flour
5 ½ c stock
2 egg yolks
½ c cream
optional: 1-2 Tbsp butter
1) In a large pot, bring the stock to a boil. This soup tastes best with homemade stock (which is easy in the crockpot, I’ll include a recipe later!), so pull it out of the freezer! Meanwhile, heat butter in a large saucepan. When the butter has begun to melt, add the onions and cook about ten minutes until onion is tender and not yet browned.
2) Stir in the sorrel and salt, covering and cooking at a low heat for about five minutes until its wilted and soft. Sprinkle flour over top and stir over medium heat for 3 minutes.
3) Pull the saucepan off the heat, and beat in the boiling stock. Bring to a simmer for five more minutes. At this point you can puree it to make a smooth soup, or leave some texture. I left some texture so it seemed a little heartier, but I think pureed would be very delicious. Take out a cup of your soup at this point, and put it in a small bowl.
4) In a separate bowl beat together the egg yolks and cream with a wire whisk. Drizzle this mixture, very slowly, into the cup of soup you removed and placed in a small bowl. Return this soup to the saucepan, stirring well over medium heat, but not bringing to a simmer.
5) At this point, you can add the optional enrichment of butter, by beating it in one tablespoon at a time, pulling the saucepan off the heat to do so. I added a simple teaspoon to keep this dish nice and light, but if your looking for a little decadence, you might as well go all the way.
Dynamite Oyster Squares
If you are the ambitious type, try making this with your own puff pastry! I have never made it myself, but hope to try sometime in the future!
2 oysters per pastry square
1 slice of bacon per pastry square, cooked, drained, and chopped
2tsp of cheddar cheese per square (or more…more less…don’t worry about exact quantities, follow what you feel like when you are making it)
A dash of oyster sauce
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Now, the amount of puff pastry to use will depend on the size of your oysters. You want a nice border around them, at least half an inch, so that they will puff up, and the oysters won’t fall off. Consider placing two of your largest oysters, spread out slightly, on to the puff pastry and eying how large to cut. Cut accordingly, and arrange on a baking sheet that has been greased lightly or lined with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
2) On top, arrange, oysters, chopped bacon, and cheddar cheese. Dash some oyster sauce on top, out of the bottle, or fill a soup spoon and drizzle it. You don’t want a ton, just enough to add a little flavour.
3) Throw in the oven, setting the timer for about 10 minutes. Check them, and pull them out as soon as the pastry is starting to get lovely golden and crisp. Serve hot immediately!