Sunday, June 23, 2013

St. Jean Baptiste Cookies

So this year I made some cookies to share with friends and my hubby's co-workers. I thought I would share some unexpected photos. 

Of course there are these pretty photos of the results. 

However there are a few things that went wrong, that I thought why not share!? The uglier side! 

 The mess!

This idea I had at about 1 am was not the greatest idea. I had made frosting and thought I had another big bag of powdered sugar to make a blue batch. Not such a thing. The cookies were for the next day and nowhere is open here at that time. Such a mess. I ended up having to do something different. Paint on the cookies with blue food coloring. It took forever to dry, and was not a great idea.

 So Don't do that! :D 

At about 1 am I made a stencil. It was not that bad. I think it would have been better with frosting. But still a useful tool I have kept for later use. 

This also was a horrific trial. So I only made 2 of each.

Regardless, it was a fun experience and the cookies were still yummy! 

Enjoy and Bonne St. Jean! 

Pâté Chinois- Shepherd's Pie from Québec

So this is the first Québecois dish I learned to cook for my husband when we got married. There aren't that many super traditional meals, but this is one that is rarely in restaurants, however always in the family. Every family has their style of making it, their stories attached and their favorite preparations. For us, I had to memorize the order (which made my Quebecois husband chuckle because I was like the girl from a TV show, "La Petite Vie" that always forgot the order of the Pâté Chinois). So it is (From the bottom up): 

Steak Haché (Ground beef) 
Blé D'Inde (Corn)
Patates (Potatoes)

Ours usually is topped with some cheese  and sometimes I jazz up the mashed potatoes w some bacon or chives, or whatever looks good at the time. The meat is fried à l'Iranienne :) So the spices I use in my meat are moderately Persian. It isn't identifiable, or I would have been outed by now :D

Also, traditionally cream of corn is used, but I never knew that and so now that is just "my" recipe. 

As far as practicality this is a great make-ahead-meal. You can freeze it, leave it ready to bake in the fridge a few days earlier. Even pre-fry your ground beef and leave it in a zip top bag ready to make your Pâté-Chinois later. I do that often. Especially when my cooked meat has been in the freezer for a bit and I need to use it quick. 


The origins of Shepherd's Pie/Pâté Chinois, are not known 100%. So my sources are stories I have heard here, and a bit confirmation of both from various sites online. Some say that it was made by the Chinese  on the East Coast. My favorite explanation is the one also on Wikipedia, is that it originated in Maine from the French settlers of Quebec that were in a city called South China. Whatever the origin, the result is a family tradition here in Quebec.


Ground beef
Ground beef - about 2.5 lbs
Onion - 1 large
Turmeric - 1 Tablespoon
Cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
Salt and Pepper

Frozen Corn - about 750 grams 

Mashed Potatoes
Potatoes- about 8 sm/medium
Butter - 3 table spoons
Cream/Milk - about 1.5 cups (enough to make your potatoes nice, light, and creamy
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cheese to top (optional)


Put your potatoes in water to boil while getting ready everything else. You can peel them and decrease the water so it cooks slower. and then you can just mash once finished.

Fry your beef with the turmeric, cinnamon salt and pepper

Once your potatoes are nice and cooked through, peel and mash, or if they are already peeled, just mash! I had my special helper do it. :)

In a 11x8 Pyrex layer your cooked beef with the frozen Corn. If you plan on eating it right away, be sure to have run your cold/frozen corn under hot water to bring temperature up. Or if you are not in a rush, just put on top of the beef frozen. 

Layer with the mash potatoes and the cheese of your choice. I used cheddar, mozzarella, Gouda, whatever is on sale/I have. 

Let it bake,  and get golden brown. If your pieces are all warm already, you can just set under the broiler to brown the top. 

If you are baking it all (because you had pre-made it and had it in the freezer so everything is cold) then it needs to go in a 350F oven for at least 30 min up to 60 min. 

Serve with love, (and some Ketchup per les Quebecois)


Friday, June 14, 2013

Red Meat Cubes for Persian Khoresht (Khoresh) Stews

The base of every khoresh (Persian/Iranian stews) is red meat cubes. 

Here is the recipe to make a quick link for later recipes that will be using this. You can use beef, veal or lamb. Traditionally it's lamb or beef. But make your choice. Chicken can work as well if you wish. I fry the meat cubes in big batches. I use ragout meat cut in cubes or any cut of meat that is normally "tough" because you will fry it once then stew it for minimum 3 hours later, making it tender and super good.

This is a great way to be eating less meat, but still have some protein in your food. I also love to make big batches and freeze the meat. I make my khoresh (stews) in parts and freeze it so I always have a great meal in the freezer ready to come together an become "fresh" for dinner. 

Makes about 4 khoreshts
Takes about 30-45 min to make


Khoresh is the correct way of saying it, however in Tehran, it is pronounced Khoresht (with the "T"). See you're learning Farsi already! 


Red Meat in cubes- about 4 lbs of cubed meat
Cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric - 1tablespoon
Salt and Pepper - to taste
Oil - vegetable (to tolerate the heat) about half a cup
Onions - 1 large chopped


Cut your onions.

Add your raw meat.

Add your Oil

Add your spices.

Fry a bit until no longer red, add your onions (added later so they don't burn). 
* I say that, but when I'm lazy, I just dump it all in at the same time and fry it along. 
** Traditionally you ALSO make some fried onions (like another whole onion) on the side called "Piaz Daagh". A true Iranian Foodie will taste the difference (ie: my Grandfather will know)!!! 

Fry until golden brown.

Divide the huge batch into 4. Each khoresh will get 1/4 of the meat batch. When you add that meat to your stew, you will get about 4-6 servings out of each khoresh (stew). I put the divided meat in Ziploc bags, or wrap it in plastic wrap, then in a big freezer Ziploc bag and freeze. That way I always have a quick, go to, healthy meal ready to start that is delectable! 

So you can either freeze or add one portion of the meat to your khoresh (stew) right away to start simmering and tenderizing, then of course, 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Zucchini Patties w/ Lemon Yogurt Sauce

Ok, I was craving this and had no idea how to make it. Made it up on the whim and LOVED it! My daughter liked to bunches too so SCORE! Fresh even though it's fried, the yogurt dressing makes it 100% better so it's 200% yummy! 

zucchinis- 4 medium grated
minced garlic - 5 large cloves or 4 small violet buds
eggs - 4 
wheat flour - .5 cup
potatoes - 3 small/medium half cooked
Turmeric - .5 tea spoon
Salnt and pepper to taste
Dried parsley - 1 teaspoon
High heating point oil like canola, grape seed etc. 

Organic Lemon - zest of .5 lemon
Chives - 1 tablespoon minced 
Salt and Pepper to taste
Greek yogurt - 1 cup

Takes about 45-60 min to make
Serves 4-6 people

Zucchini flowers are fabulou to eat as well, raw, fried, stuffed or as a soup like in Mexico (sopa de flor de calabaza) You can try this recipe from "The Holy Enchilada" blog. I have yet to try it though i'm sure it's fab! 


Grate your zucchini, I used the food processor takes 1 min!

Mince your garlic on a nice and sharp microplane, careful with your fingertips!

Half cook your potatoes, microwave or boil. whichever floats your boat! Grate and add to your mix.

Add your eggs

Add your wheat flour

Parsley, salt, pepper and turmeric.

Beat so it fluffs. Heat your oil and make your patties.

Mix your ingredients on your yogurt and top your patties and INDULGE! super yummy!.

I put my cold leftovers on a tortilla, (you can use a pita too, I just didn't have any otherwise I think it would be even better) Top it off with a generous portion of the yogurt dressing and