Monday, January 30, 2012

Restaurant Style Roasted Potatoes

   This is a simple recipe for making restaurant style roasted potatoes at home. These potatoes are golden brown and crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. The secret is to boil the potatoes before you roast them. If you're not already in the habit of doing this you may wonder, "Why the heck would I bother cooking my potatoes before I cook my potatoes?" Try it and you'll see it's well worth the little bit of extra time and effort. With this technique you will never have to worry about your roasted potatoes turning out dry and chewy. In this recipe I season the potatoes with fresh rosemary, but you can use anything you like. Two of my favorite seasonings for roasted potatoes are Cajun spice or Montreal steak spice. 

Prep time 15 minutes Cooking time 45 minutes Serve 4  


900g (2lbs)  potatoes
50ml (1 3/4 oz) Olive oil
1/4 bunch  fresh rosemary (or 1 tbs dried)
salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 375F
1. Peel the potatoes and then cut into 2cm (3/4") cubes.
2. Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and gently simmer the potatoes until soft enough to easily crush with a fork, about 15 minutes.
3. Strain the potatoes, spread them out on a baking tray & drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt, pepper & fresh rosemary. 
4. Place in the oven at 375F and roast until golden brown, turning occasionally, about 30-40 minutes. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Braincandy Podcast

This week I went into the studios of 92.5 The Beat here in Montreal to talk to my friend Shaun McMahon about high tech toys in the kitchen. We talked about how to do a home version of "sous-vide" cooking and how to use a whip cream dispenser to aerate soups & sauces. You can listen to the podcast at

    If you want to try cooking sous vide at home, check out my recipes for bite sized roast beef sandwiches and duck breast

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Scallops with beet purée

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        I love this dish because it's about as vibrant as it gets, both visually and in flavor. It looks like something you might sooner expect to find at an expensive, high-end restaurant than at home, but I'll show you that it's not that hard to make. I've put together a little video to show you just how easy it is.
       If you look back at my previous posts, you'll find the recipe for how to make your own candied lemon as well as some more recipes that use them.

Prep time 20 minutes, cooking time 30 minutes, serves 4


720g  fresh scallops
2 large green zucchini
8 Brussels sprouts
2 large red beets
2 tbs olive oil
4 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tbs butter
20g lumpfish caviar or tobiko
candied lemon

Preheat the oven to 350F
1. Peel & chop the beets, put them in a large pot and add water until the beets are fully covered. Season the water with 4 tbs red wine vinegar and 1 tbs salt. Bring to a boil and the let simmer until the beets are very tender, about 30 minutes. Strain the beets, reserving the cooking liquid. Purée the beets in a blender with 100ml of the cooking liquid and 2 tbs olive oil. Set aside and keep warm.
2. While the beets are simmering, blanch the green veg. Cut the bottoms off the Brussels sprouts and separate the leaves. Use a melon baller to cut little balls of zucchini. Bring a large amount of salted water to a boil and have a bowl of ice water ready to cool the vegetable. Blanch the Brussels sprouts for 45 seconds and then transfer them to the ice water using a slotted spoon or a small strainer. Next blanch the zucchini for 2 minutes, then transfer to the ice bath.
3. To cook the scallops, heat a small amount of oil in a large frying pan. Add the scallops one at a time, spaced evenly apart, the add 1 tbs of butter. To avoid overcrowding the pan, sear the scallops in batches. Slide the scallops around at first to make sure that they are coated in oil and then leave them to sear, without ever turning them. Sear the scallops on one side until the are nicely browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer the scallops to a baking tray and finish in the oven at 350F for 5 minutes.

4. Quickly saute the Brussels sprouts and zucchini in the pan that you used to sear the scallops. Place a large spoonful of beet puree on each of 4 plates. Divide the green vegetables among the plates, lay down the scallops and then garnish with candied lemon and caviar.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Carrot & Coriander Soup

     Winter is in full force and Montreal is covered under a heavy blanket of snow, so we are now officially in soup weather. I like this soup because it's both rich and comforting, but also more vibrant that other typical winter soups like beef & barley. Carrot & coriander is a classic combination, so in this recipe I use both ground coriander seeds and fresh coriander leaves (cilantro.) Toasting the ground seeds with the onions gives the soup a rich, nutty aroma and the fresh cilantro brings a welcome brightness on a cold winter's day.
      When choosing the carrots, look for smaller ones, because they will be sweeter and less bitter than over-sized carrots. Carrots that are sold with the green tops still attached tend to be of a higher quality than those sold without. Leftover soup will keep well in the freezer.
Prep time: 15 min. Cooking time 35 minutes. Serves 8


900g (2lbs)           carrots, peeled & chopped
150g (1 1/2 cups) onions, chopped
2 cloves                fresh garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons          ground coriander
150 ml (5 oz)       35% cream
60g (2 1/4 oz)      butter
1/2 bunch             cilantro (coriander leaves) chopped
2L (4 pints)          vegetable stock (optional)
olive oil, salt & pepper

1. Add the onions, 30g butter and ground coriander to a large sauce pot and sauté on medium-high heat until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper, add the garlic and saute for 2 more minutes.
2. Add the carrots and cover with 2L (4 pints) water or vegetable stock. Simmer on medium low heat until the carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes.
3. Transfer the soup to a blender, add 100ml cream and the remaining butter, one tbs at a time while blending.
4. Divide the soup into bowls, drizzle with cream and garnish with fresh cilantro.