Archive for Recipes: Savory

Fraser Valley Roasted Carrots

This is the second post this week where I’m focusing on the food of the Fraser Valley.

We’re incredibly lucky to have such lush farmland just a few minutes’ drive away (okay, so it might be closer to an hour, but hey, it’s still pretty local), where we can source locally grown fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and meats.

I’m going to skip the meats, but I do really support an environment where you know your farmer, and your farmer knows his or her product, be it animal or vegetable.

milner farm aged goat cheese

One of our stops on our Fraser Valley Food Tour was at Milner Valley Cheese. There’s something really cool about being able to see (and pet!) the goats that make the milk that they turn into cheese. It’s a full farm-to-table operation there. The goats are milked twice daily, and then that milk is turned into cheese right there on the premises.

milner farm chevre

That means it’s pretty much the freshest chevre you’ve ever eaten. It was delicious. I was pretty smitten with their aged goat cheese, which had a similar consistency to a parmesan or an aged gouda. Oh–and by the way–they also make their own goat gelato. Yeah! And it’s really tangy and yummy.

We came home from our Fraser Valley Foodie Tour with a bunch of beautiful, fresh ingredients–produce, cheese and berries–and then of course, I had to do something with it all!

petting goats

Petting goats at Milner Farms.

Angie’s book, Eating Local in the Fraser Valley not only profiles local food producers in the valley, but also those who make the food. There are profiles of chefs, and there are recipes that will help you use up all the yummy goodness.

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Carrots with Parsnips and Chickpeas Angie Quaale

Recipe and photo courtesy of Random House. Reproduced with permission.

One such recipe is Angie’s Sweet and Spicy Roasted Carrots with Parsnips and Chickpeas.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb small carrots, peeled
  • 1/2 lb parsnips, peeled
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained–save the aquafaba!)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Halve the carrots and parsnips lenghtwise. Place on a baking pan in a single layer, and then add the chickpeas. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle over the chili flakes and the salt and then toss to combine. Bake in oven for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven, stir well, and return to bake for another 15 minutes, until carrots and parsnips are fork-tender and chickpeas are crispy.
  4. Transfer to a platter to serve, drizzle over the pomegranate molasses, chunks of feta, and sprinkle with parsley.

Sounds good, right??? Here is my variation on this recipe.

roasted carrots

I didn’t have parsnips, but I did get some beautiful rainbow carrots at the Farmer’s Market, so I used just those. I also can’t use chili flakes because the boy can’t manage anything that’s hot or spicy, so I used za’atar instead. If you’re not familiar, za’atar is a middle-eastern spice blend made with oregano, sesame, and sumac. It’s very warming. I also didn’t have feta (basically failing at this recipe), but I did have the super tasty aged goat cheese I’d gotten from Milner farms, so I shaved that over the top. Finally, I subbed out balsamic reduction for the pomegranate molasses. Oh! and I made a pesto from the carrot tops.

We had these as a side with some veggie burgers, and they were soooo good!

Get out and explore your backyard! You never know what tasty treasures you might discover.

Pao de Queijo or Brazilian Cheese Bread {Gluten Free}

My gateway drug to any culture has always been food. I remember so clearly the first time I tried curry. The first time I tried sushi. The first time I had real Chinese food. Falling in love with the culture, for me, always starts with falling in love with that culture’s food.

Brazilian Cheese Bread

My first introduction to Brazilian food (and culture) was through my friend Lili, who made me this amazing french toast called rabanada.

I have a lot of Brazilian culture in my life, thanks to my students. The school that I teach in is full of Brazilians here in Canada studying, and with them, of course, they bring a positive attitude, and really great food.

In addition to rabanada, they make this killer chocolate candy/dessert that’s a lot like truffles called Brigaderos. And they are known for using Cassava or Tapioca flour to make a kind of crepe or tortilla which can be served with either a sweet or savoury filling.

Tapioca is also the base of the Pao de Queijo, or Brazilian Cheese Bread.

You guys, to describe them as little fluffy pillows of heaven is to not give them really enough credit. They are light and fluffy and cheesy, with a nice, crisp exterior. Served warm out of the oven?? I challenge you not to eat them all (I regularly do).

The great thing about tapioca? It’s gluten-free.

If you know anything about French pastry, you’ll be familiar with a technique called pate a choux, or choux pastry. It’s made by melting together the milk and butter on the stove, then transferring to a mixer and whipping while adding eggs. This dough can be made either sweet (it’s the base of cream puffs and eclairs) or savoury (cheese gourges), but the either way, the end result is the same: a super light, super fluffy pastry.

This recipe is very similar to pate a choux, but it uses tapioca flour in the place of regular flour.

In Vancouver, tapioca starch is easy to find at your local Asian supermarket (bonus: it’s super cheap).

If you don’t want to make your own, you can buy them in the frozen food section of many stores. Otimo and Quesava both make them.

To try them for yourself, there are only a few places in Vancouver that serve them: Quejos on Main (obvs) and Boteco Brazil. I recently had them at a tiny little wine bar in Steveston called The Porthole, but I suspect they were made from frozen, and not in house. Still tasty though! The BRoots food truck also serves them up.

There are also a few places that sell a mix called Beiju (try Maple Leaf Deli on Burrard).

But if you want to make them yourself, they’re not hard! And you get the reward of eating them hot and fresh out of the oven, which, let’s face it, is how they should be eaten.

You’ll find in many places, they are served as little balls. I prefer to make them in mini muffin tins like this one. Be sure to grease the pan generously–these little guys will stick!

pao de queijo

Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

(recipe adapted from The Kitchn–makes 1 dozen)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup neutral vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 oz tapioca starch
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cheese–Parmesan is recommended, but I actually prefer cheddar

Method:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk, oil and salt just to the boil, whisking to avoid burning.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the tapioca starch, mix well with a spatula until all the flour is incorporated. It will be gloopy.
  3. Dump the contents of your pot into the bowl of your stand mixer, and attach the paddle. Mix on medium for a few minutes until the dough is cooled and smooth.
  4. With the mixer running, add the egg and allow it to incorporate until smooth.
  5. Turn off the mixer, scrape off the paddle and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the cheese and fold in.
  6. Grease well a mini muffin tin, or line a baking sheet with silicone or parchment. Using a small scoop (like this) drop by spoonfuls into your muffin tin, or onto a cookie sheet.
  7. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Put the cheese puffs in and then immediately drop the heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 10-15 minutes, turn and then bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
  8. Serve warm.
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