Sunday, 31 March 2013

Pasta Primavera - a good spring break deserves a good spring dish

Happy Spring Break of 2013! 

Primavera is the Italian word for "spring", so I thought this would be the perfect way to end spring break.
i recommend using boxwood basil in this recipe. I think it gives it a special something.
You can use any kind of pasta for this dish, but i think Penne or gnocchi is the best choice. 
Tomorrow, i will post a potato gnocchi recipe to go with this. 
okay, well any pasta you happen to stumble upon will work for this.

1 cup pasta of choice
9-10 stalks white or green asparagus
1 cup English peas 
pinch salt and pepper
1 bunch of herbs (not rosemary or thyme or mint)
2 carrots
1 extra small head of broccoli

cook pasta according to package directions.

cut up asparagus into equal sized pieces.
Blanch with cut up broccoli head, for 3-5 minutes or until tender. take out of boiling water and put into a bowl of ice water.
shuck the peas and cut the carrots into small pieces.
when pasta is tender, drain well and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.
add asparagus and broccoli and splash of heavy cream.
put the carrots and shucked peas into the mixture, followed by the herbs.
serve hot with a dusting of Parmesan cheese or Gruyere.
Bon Appetit and enjoy.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Twice baked potatoes- why bake it once when you can bake it twice?

  I love making twice baked potatoes. The best part is, I think, carving the potato.
This recipe is more of a way of telling you how to make twice baked potatoes since there is no such thing as an "exact recipe". Actually, I'm not even posting a recipe. I'm just writing the instructions.
So  if you are looking for the best side dish for your Easter lamb, (That reminds me, I will post a recipe tomorrow for crusted rack of lamb. I'll call it some thing else  though) you came to the right place.
Okay, so here are the steps for making twice baked potatoes:

Makes 3  potatoes

3 small russet potatoes
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp melted butter
2 tbsp cheese (Parmesan, goat  etc,)
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350°f.
Wash and poke your potatoes with a fork.
Place in oven for 40/45 minutes or until fork tender.
Once cooled enough to handle, cut of the top 1/4 of potato.
scoop of flesh and reserve. once all potatoes are empty, add the ingredients. mix well.
scoop back into potato skin and bake for 20-30 minutes or until brown.
enjoy and bon appetit!

Monday, 18 March 2013

How to: Poach an egg.

I'd like to wish you all a Happy St. Patrick's Day. 

  You can use any type of egg you want for this, but I have never done it with anything else but white chicken eggs.
You will need rice or champagne vineger for this. With my experience, they are the best possible choice. You can use any other kind besides balsamic and apple cider vinegers because you will end up with dyed eggs. Do you want orange poached eggs? Well, whatever egg you happen to find, this recipe will work.

1 egg
2 quarts of water
1 tbsp rice or champagne vinegar

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.
Crack your egg into a small, glass bowl.
Put vinegar into the water. Once the water comes to a simmer, turn the heat down to medium- low.
Carefully place the bowl with the egg in it into the water. Let cook for 3-5 minutes depending your personal taste.
Let cool and take out of bowl.
You should have a perfectly round egg.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Apple pie- in honour of π day

            Happy pi day every one. Probably every one who reads this is like " what's pi day?"
Well it is a day to honour the number π or 3.14. That's why it's today, 3-14.
What better way to celebrate pi day than making pie.  (:  Apple pie is a personal favourite. I'm sorry every one, but I am not posting the recipe for my crust today, but I will tomorrow or in the future. If you must, you may buy frozen premade crust. But it is super easy to make at home.   Here is the recipe:

4 large apples (1 Granny Smith, 1 Braeburn, 1 white transparent/ golden delicious, 1 Fuji or any other apple combination.)
1 tbsp butter cut in small pieces.
1 tbsp water
2 tsp flour
Pinch salt
1 tsp cinnomon ( optional)
1 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350°f.

Roll out pie crust. Fit it into a pie dish.
Mix ingredients together in large bowl. Let sit in refrigerator for one hour, or until the apples are slightly soft and there is juice in bottom of bowl.
Place apples in pie pan. Smooth out.
Roll out other half of pie crust.
Cut into thin strips. Weave over top of apples.
Seal edges. Bake for 20 minutes or until brown.
Serve warm.
Enjoy (:

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Butter under the skin chicken- because I could think of anything better to call it.

 As promised, here is the a reason to use that compound butter I made yesterday. You could call this compound butter chicken, but that doesn't sound as good as butter under the skin chicken.

Here is the recipe:

Compound butter (see 3-12-13 post)
1 whole 3-5 pound chicken

Preheat oven to 375°f.

Place your chicken on large baking sheet lined with foil.
Split your compound butter into two parts.
Take a rubber spatula with half the butter on the end.
Carefully place it under the skin of the chicken breast. Smooth it out and repeat with other half.
Salt the top of chicken.
Place in preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°f.

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Compound butter

You can use compound butter for any thing, like chicken, toast or any thing you can think of.
Tomorrow, I will post butter under the skin chicken.
In the recipe below, I mention Himalayan pink salt. It's nothing fancy. It's just salt that is harvested from the top of Mt. Everest, pretty cool right?
Well, Compound butter is quit easy. So try it out:

1/2 stick of butter (4 tbsp)
2 tbsp of any herb of choice.
1 tbsp Himalayan salt.
Pinch of pepper.
Lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice.

Soften butter by leaving out at room temperature.
Add all flavourings and ingredients.
Incorporate well.
Enjoy on anything of your choice.
Make sure you see the recipe for Butter Under The Skin Chicken

Monday, 11 March 2013


Yesterday, I made crêpes, which are not as fancy as they sound. They are just thin pancakes basically.
Most people think you need a blender to make these, but really, you don't. If you mix it enough, you won't need a blender.

1 cup flour
1 1/4 cups milk
2 eggs
Pinch of salt.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
Let rest in refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.

Put a good amount of butter into a nonstick skillet.
Pour 1/4 cup of batter into pan.
Let cook for 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.
Repeat steps until all batter is gone.

Notes: if you would like to make them the night before, you just add another couple tablespoons of milk. This is to make sure the flour doesn't soak up all the liquid over night.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Roast carrots.

I normally wouldn't post a recipe for roast carrots on the Internet because it is so easy and there are so many recipes for them.
I just got some fresh carrots and decided I'd make a simple roast carrot recipe here:

4 whole pealed carrots cut on the bias ( on an angle)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp honey ( optional)

Preheat oven to 400°f.

Cut carrots into equal sized pieces.
Line a nonstick skillet with aluminium foil.
Place carrots in pan and season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle with olive oil and small amount of honey (optional)
Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on size of carrots.
Turn and bake for another 10 minutes or until fork tender.

Serve hot.

Notes; you can put what ever spices you want on them before they bake. I like to put cinnamon on mine. I think it gives it a warm flavour.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Just starting out, I'm new to this stuff

Hello America!

I am Elle McGrath.
I like to cook, so I am blogging about it.
I cook anything from homemade bagels to simple salads. I will allow any one to make requests on what recipes you would like me to make next. I do not do videos because I have no video camera. But, I will write the recipe on the website for all to try.

To make recipe requests: email me at

Here is my first recipe:

Home made bagels

For the sponge:
1 1/4 cups flour ( whole wheat or gluten free works)
1 1/4 cup warm water (about 110°f is ideal)
1 1/2 tsp yeast

For the dough:
1 1/2 cups flour, plus more for sprinkling on the board
Pinch of salt

For sponge:
Heat water to 110°f.
Mix yeast and flour together.
Add water gently and stir.
Let rise for 15-20 minutes, covered with foil or plastic wrap.
Mix with other cup and a quarter of flour.
Knead dough for eight to ten minutes, or until elastic.
Let dough rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Punch down dough.
Cut into six equal pieces and form each into balls.
Cut a hole in the middle of each ball to make them bagels ( or you could leave them with no hole.)
Bring a small nonstick skillet filled with water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt.
Place each bagel (carefully) into the water.
Boil for one minute on each side.
Let dry. Place on sheet pan sprinkled with cornmeal. Bake in a 350°f oven for 20-35 minutes, or until brown. Serve warm