Simple Orecchiette Pasta Dish with Fennel, Turkey and Broccoli

I’ve been dreading the fact that summer is slipping away and fall is right around the corner, but this week has been so hot and I am just trying to soak it up while I still can! The only issue I have with this heat is cooking in it, since I have no air-conditioning in my apartment. Turning on the oven when its already 100 degrees in my tiny kitchen isn’t ideal, so in order to embrace the heat while it lasts, I’ve been trying to do most of my cooking on the stovetop, and i’ve been choosing quick and easy recipes. That way, I am in and out of the kitchen in a flash and this dish is perfect for that.

IMG_3241 copy

I fell in love with this pasta dish when I got the Carmine’s Family Style Cookbook a few years back. If you have ever been to their restaurant in NYC you will know that it’s one flavour explosion after another. Every recipe in their cookbook is delicious, but their dishes aren’t exactly on the healthy side. Because of that, I try to modify where I can, but I won’t lie… their version of this meal is really, really, really good, so if ever you’re feeling like a cheat night and don’t mind the extra calories, go for it! You won’t regret it (well, maybe a little).

For this regular weeknight meal I wanted it to become something a little healthier, a little quicker and a little lighter.  So while their version calls for nearly a cup of olive oil, mine calls for 4 tbsp, and you know what? The flavours are close enough to the real deal! It’s still bursting with a delicious garlic, fennel olive oil flavour. This is definitely one of my go-to favourite weeknight recipes and it’s just as yummy the next day for lunch!

Simple Turkey Broccoli Orecchiette – Adapted from Carmine’s Family-style Cookbook
Serves 2 to 4

What you need:

3-4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup Orecchiette
1 small head of broccoli cut into 3-inch spears
1 lb ground turkey or if you’re feeling fancy, 1/2 lb of fennel sausage (casings removed).
2-3 cloves coarsely chopped garlic
8 fresh basil leaves sliced
1/2 tsp fennel seeds (if you went for the ground turkey)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup Romano cheese

What you need to do: 

  1. In a large salted pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to the package directions, and add the broccoli spears during the last minute of cooking. Drain and return the pasta and broccoli to the pot.
  2. In a large skillet, add 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, garlic, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, and basil, and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon until browned. 3 to 5 minutes. Then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Toss the turkey with the pasta and broccoli in the pot. Add the remaining olive oil and the 1/2 cup of Romano.
  4. Enjoy!
Advertisements

Phil and Hadley’s Wedding

A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to be assistant coordinator at Phil and Hadley’s Wedding with Shauna of Paisley Promotions. It was such a fun experience, and because of that, I am going to make sure it’s not the last time I get involved in something like it! I had a blast working with Shauna and loved how the whole wedding came together. I can’t take credit for the amazing planning that went into it, that’s all Paisley Promotions, but it was really fun to help make the dream into a reality!

The couple was adorable and down to earth and their rustic, boho inspired wedding was pure simplicity at its best. Madeline Druce captured the whole night and if you haven’t heard of her, check out her work, it is amazing! Just look at these two shots that she captured of the bride and groom.

The couple chose a gorgeous spot on Parc Jean Drapeau that is home to the Tour de Lévis, a 1930’s historical landmark, which if you can handle walking up the 157-step staircase to the observation deck, will dazzle you with its breathtaking 360-degree views of the river, downtown Montreal, the biosphere, the beautiful Jacques Cartier bridge and all the surrounding areas. I definitely felt it in my legs the next day after walking up and down those stairs several times throughout the night. Great workout!

tour_de_Lévis

When I first saw the site a few weeks before the wedding I had a hard time imagining how it would all look, which was frustrating because I am usually really good at visualizing, but aside from the tower; the piece de resistance, it was a very basic, open space that almost resembled a camp ground. As the tents began going up though, the pieces of the puzzle started coming together, and I began to see that it was going to become a very magical space, and it did. It went from nothing special, to spectacular in a few hours. It’s amazing how a lot of creativity, careful planning and hard work can do that.

The ceremony took place in a clearing in front of the tower that was surrounded by trees, brush and grass. Bohemian carpets were laid down for people to sit on and rose petals formed an aisle for the bride and groom to walk down. Phil and Hadley stood under two cherry trees that drooped to form a canopy under which they said their I do’s. Dinner was served in a large tent with huge rustic wood tables and chairs, simple wild flower centrepieces and magical string lights that warmed the tent with a gentle yellow glow. After dinner and some dancing the cake was cut in front of the tower and the bridal party made their way up the many stairs to the observation deck. There, they all had  the perfect view of the fireworks going on at La Ronde that night. It was all very romantic. The rest of the evening was spent dancing the night away under an open tent adorned by more magical string lights and a bar that kept the drinks flowing.

Wedding_collage
Once everyone had danced enough to feel hungry again, dessert was served inside the medieval tower. The rain held off until the early hours of the morning when no one cared about the way they looked anymore, they were just happy to feel a nice breeze and some cool, wet drops on their faces. Everyone seemed so happy and carefree and the night really couldn’t have gone any better from my point of view.
wedding_night

Often it’s the simpler things in life that end up being the best things and this wedding was a testament to that! I love how so much work went into making the night feel effortless, relaxed and simple. It just proves a job well done.

Congratulations to Phil and Hadley

Special thanks goes to Dansereau Traiteur for the incredible food that night. Every little thing was beyond delicious and the presentation was phenomenal, and to Eventex for going above and beyond their mandate that evening. Amazing work.

Side note: My photos were all taken on the fly with my iPhone camera so while they aren’t of the best quality, they do manage to give a good idea of the vibe of the night!

Rustic Plum & Apple Crumble

plum-apple-crumble-2

It’s really starting to look and feel like fall around here. The trees are bursting with vibrant colours and the ground is crunchy with their fallen leaves. All of this is making me really excited to go apple picking and make my favourite comfort foods including this delicious apple and butternut squash soup. I love apples, but my all-time favourite is the Lobo which is actually from the Macintosh family, but grown locally in Quebec. When I go to the orchards I am sure I eat almost half a bags worth before actually filling my bag up. They are tart and crisp and a great choice for snacking and baking. For this recipe I had to go with Macintosh instead, since I am clearly not the only one who loves Lobo’s, they were sold out!

plum-apple-crumble-5

I had an idea in the back of my mind that I wanted to bake something using  apples, but while walking through the market the other day I saw the most delicious looking plums. They were a beautiful deep purple and perfectly ripe. I thought about how yummy they would be along side the apples, so they ended up coming home with me. After a very food filled weekend in Toronto (celebrating the Jewish New Year) I decided I wanted something a little bit healthier to satisfy my sweet tooth. So here it is! My Plum & Apple crumble. Simple, delicious and on the healthier side (for a dessert). I decided to omit any refined sugars by using maple syrup and swapped out butter for coconut oil. You could even replace the flour with whole grain flour, spelt, kamut, wheat etc… if you want.

plum-apple-crumble-4

plum-apple-crumble-3

This recipe would be delicious using any seasonal fruits you desire. Peaches, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, rhubarb… the list goes on, but apple is a true classic, and tis the season!

For the Fruit Mixture

5 Cups of Sliced Apples (I used Macintosh but any cooking apple will do)

5 cups of Pitted and Sliced Plums

2/3 cup pure maple syrup (you can reduce this if your fruits have their own sweetness)

The Zest of 1/2 an Orange

The Zest of 1/2 a Lemon

1 1/4 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg (or allspice)

For the Crumble

1 Cup of Old Fashioned Oats

1 Cup of All Purpose Flour

2/3 cup of maple syrup

1/4 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 cup Plus 1 Tblsp Coconut Oil

The Zest of 1/2 an Orange

The Zest of 1/2 a Lemon

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees

2. Peel, core and slice up your apples. Pit and slice up your plums and put them in a large mixing bowl. Add to this the maple syrup, lemon and orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg. Combine it all together until all the fruit is well coated.

3. In a separate bowl combine the oats, flour, maple syrup, baking powder and soda, orange and lemon zest and coconut oil together until well combined. The mixture should stick together when pressed into the palm of your hand.

4. Put the fruit mixture into a large casserole dish, then with a spoon or your hands (if they are very clean) evenly distribute the crumble so that it covers the whole surface of your dish. This s a rustic looking dessert so don’t worry too much about making this part perfect.

5. Bake for about 50 min or until the top is nice and golden brown and the fruits are soft and caramelized.

6. Enjoy on its own or with a nice big scoop of vanilla ice cream!

What is your favourite fall recipe?