Friday, October 12, 2012

Cook Book Chronicles: Rob Feenie's Casual Classics

I love cook books. I actually have been known to peruse cook books in bed before I fall asleep. Kinda weird, I know.

My newest cook book on the shelf is Rob Feenie's Casual Classics featuring everyday recipes for family and friends. For those who don't know who Rob Feenie is: He's a local celebrity chef who was born in Burnaby, trained in Vancouver, who then worked high end local restaurants, and travelled working in some top international kitchens with renowned chefs. He's now living and working in Vancouver as the Executive Chef for Cactus Club Cafe, where he's known for designing "signature dishes." He's also noted for defeating Chef Masaharu Morimoto on Iron Chef America. That is a pretty big deal.

For my family Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to try cooking his recipe for Butternut Squash and Fava Bean Farfalle, his home cook spin on his Cactus Club signature dish Butternut Squash Ravioli. This is one of the restaurant chains more popular dishes and pretty darn delicious. The flavours are simple but rich and delicious.

The recipe isn't complicated but it takes a bit of effort and planning. I had to make a few substitutions.
One step is chopping and oven roasting butternut squash and onion with olive oil, salt and pepper. The next step is boiling water and cooking pasta to not quite al dente. Next, you'll prep a sauce with butter (I subbed with vegan margarine because there were vegan diners at the Thanksgiving table), sage (the recipe calls for fresh leaves- I had to use dry because I couldn't find any stores selling fresh sage). Then throw everything together with fava beans, garnish, and add additional seasoning and garnish. I added a lot of tomatoes from the garden (because I had a lot around) and spinach. The results were delicious but I do think the tomatoes and spinach muted some of the sage, garlic flavour and if I were to cook it the same way next time, I'd be heavier handed with the seasoning and maybe add chili flakes.

There are some recipes that are a bit rich, meaty, and complicated/ a bit intimidating but here are some mouth-watering options. They look delicious and fairly straight forward, much like this Butternut Squash pasta.

Cod tacos with salsa, sweet and sour cabbage and sambal mayonnaise
Pan-seared halibut with morels
Spaghetti with spicy chicken and chanterelle mushrooms
Marinated calamari salad
Roasted cauliflower salad with sweet and sour vinaigrett
Ponzu and spicy ponzu sauce
Bbq duck spring rolls
Spot prawn and avocado blt sandwich

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