Ratatouille Gratin

August 11th, 2014

4 medium Ontario tomatoes, chopped IMG_2338
1 small eggplant, salted and chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 red, orange or yellow sweet peppers
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chopped basil
1 cup grated Gruyere Cheese
Salt and Pepper

Cube and lightly salt the eggplant and place between paper towels to absorb the moisture for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan and add a tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the tomatoes with a pinch of salt and sauté for about 5 minutes. Remove from pan.

Then add the eggplant in the pan with a tablespoon of oil and cook for about five minutes till soft. Remove from pan and place on plate with tomatoes.

Add the final tablespoon of oil in the pan and sauté the rest of the vegetables for 5 minutes; add eggplant and tomatoes into the pan and simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes. Mixture should be slightly thick now. If not, keep cooking a bit longer. Add in the chopped basil, salt and pepper to taste.

Place the entire mixture in an ovenproof glass dish and sprinkle with Gruyere cheese. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees till cheese is a golden brown colour.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

County Mushrooms with Spinach & Chevre

April 28th, 2011

15-20 cremini or white mushrooms (Wellington Mushroom Farm)
1 cup soft goat cheese (Fifth Town Artisan chevre – Plain Jane)
2 cups finely chopped fresh Spinach (Vicki’s Veggies)
1 small sweet onion (finely diced)
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tbsp. fresh chopped basil
1 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley or chives
1 tbsp. Ontario maple syrup
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
Ground pepper and salt to taste

In a fry pan, saute the onion in butter and oil till golden brown (about 10 minutes on medium heat). Add the spinach and cook anther few minutes, till soft. Add maple syrup and stir. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool.

In a bowl, place the goat cheese and herbs. Mix in the spinach mixture and stir till it is thoroughly incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. It’s best to cover this and place in fridge for a few hours for the flavors to incorporate (but you can use it right away)

With a damp paper towel, wipe off each mushroom. Remove the stem and with a small knife cut off the top of the mushroom a bit to make a flat surface for the cheese.

Scoop about one tablespoon of the cheese mixture on each mushroom and shape it so it looks like a small dome on top.

Place mushrooms on baking tray and cook in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Serve on its own or on individual plates, place three on a bed of baby spinach and drizzle with some balsamic vinegar for a great appetizer.

Mushroom, Spinach & Goat Cheese Crepes with Béchamel Sauce

November 16th, 2010


1 cup soft goat cheese – chevre (Fifth Town Artisan Cheese)
1 large onion sliced thin
4 cups fresh Ontario Spinach
4 cups cremini or mixed mushrooms (stems removed)
Handful of chives or other fresh herbs, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Sauté onion till golden brown. Add in spinach till cooked, season with salt and pepper. Place in a bowl and mix in chevre and herbs.


2 large eggs
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk
½ cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons green onions

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, and salt in a bowl until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Whisk in the milk and ½ cup water to blend well, and then add the flour and whisk just till its mixed. Whisk in the scallions. The batter should be the consistency of heavy cream. If too thick, add a bit more water.

Lightly spray a 5-inch crepe pan with oil. Add 2 tablespoons of the batter to the pan and gently tilt and rotate the pan to form a thin pancake. Return the pan to the heat and cook till lightly browned on both sides, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Makes about a dozen crepes. Freeze leftovers with wax paper in between for future use.

Or dip the electric crepe pan in the batter and cook till the crepe is done.

Béchamel Sauce

1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a saucepan, heat the butter till melted over medium-low heat and then add in flour. Stir and cook for about 1 minute. With a whisk slowly add in room temperature milk till thickened on low heat. Strain and return to the pan and add in salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush and oven proof baking dish with soft butter or oil.

Roll up the crepes with the filling, place side by side on the baking dish.  Pour white sauce over crepes and sprinkle the cheese on top. Heat for 15 min in oven. Place the dish under broiler for 1 minute to toast the cheese. Watch carefully.

Serve hot.

Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi with Pesto

October 18th, 2010

1 container of whole milk ricotta (475 g)

1/2 cup fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 to 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt, some cracked black pepper

1 large egg, beaten slightly in small bowl

Drain Ricotta cheese over a bowl for at least 30 minutes before using.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, except 1/2 cup of the flour. Mix together with hands until it forms a ball. Put dough on a wooden board and sprinkle with the remaining flour, and knead until no longer sticky.

Break out into four balls, about a handful. Roll into ½ inch thick ropes on a floured surface, and cut into 1-inch pieces, then roll with thumb on gnocchi board (optional).

Sprinkle with flour and spread onto a platter until ready to boil.

Cook in salted boiling water until floating. Doesn’t take long at all – about 2 minutes. Then wait one more minute before removing.

Drain and serve with your favorite sauce.

Pesto Sauce

2 cups of fresh basil or arugula (finely chopped)

½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano cheese

2-3 garlic clove, minced (or garlic scapes if in season)

¼ cup pine nuts

Juice of half a lemon

Handful of parsley and or chives

Salt and pepper

6 tbsp. olive oil

Blend all the ingredients in a food processor, minus the oil. When well blended drizzle in oil through the top funnel till a smooth paste forms. Heat up half the mixture in a pan and place the “just boiled” gnocchi in the pan with a few tablespoons of the boiling water. Coat well and add more pesto if preferred.

Sprinkle with a bit more cheese (never can have too much cheese) and fresh cracked black pepper!

Vicki’s Veggies Bread Salad (Panzanella)

September 9th, 2010

To make the croutons…… We cut crusty french bread into chunks and toss it with garlic, olive oil and herbs… usually basil or rosemary and toast till crunchy.

Cut up 3 to 4lbs of all different colour tomatoes.
coarsley chop 1 red onion
cube 1/4 lb of mozzarella
12 pitted olives
Loads of fresh basil
Put all of this in a big mixing bowl and add croutons…
then the dressing…

Dressing…. Basil Vinaigrette.. in the food processor
2 garlic cloves, 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, 2 tbls dijon mustard, 2 tbls of honey,
1cup olive oil, loads of fresh basil, some salt and pepper.
Blend until smooth and pour over top of everything and let sit for 10 mins and serve.

I wait for this all year long and then long for it after the tomatoes are over.