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Recipes from 'JK': Whitefish canape, beet borscht, bread and butter pudding

11/17/2014 09:20 EST | Updated 01/17/2015 05:59 EST
In "J.K.: The Jamie Kennedy Cookbook," chef Jamie Kennedy relates the milestones of his journey with food and takes the home cook through the seasons, with recipes celebrating local ingredients. Here are three to try from his third cookbook.

Smoked Whitefish Canape

Kennedy relates that in his search for sourcing local ingredients first for recipes, smoked whitefish was an obvious choice. This easy-to-make canape would be ideal to serve to guests at a cocktail party.

1/2 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1/4 medium white onion, thinly sliced

1/4 medium red onion, thinly sliced

2 green onions, thinly sliced

30 ml (2 tbsp) white wine vinegar

15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh dill

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter, softened

3 slices (5 mm/1/4 inch thick) artisanal sourdough bread

500 g (1 lb) smoked whitefish (or any other smoked fish), skin removed and thinly sliced

30 ml (2 tbsp) creme fraiche or sour cream

12 small sprigs of fresh dill or thin green onion slices, for garnish

In a large bowl, combine fennel, white onion, red onion, green onions, white wine vinegar and chopped dill. Mix together and add salt and pepper.

Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Spread fennel and onion salad on top of bread slices. Cover salad with slices of smoked whitefish. Using a knife, trim edges so that each slice has fish and salad right to edge. Cut each slice into 4 squares. Dollop a small amount of creme fraiche on each canape and garnish as desired.

Makes 12 canapes.

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Borscht With Creme Fraiche and Goulash Paste

Beets grow very well in southern Ontario and are readily available in a rainbow of colours and myriad shapes. This soup uses traditional red beets that are cooked first with a little vinegar, which help to fix the deep red colour that is so appealing in the finished soup.

6 medium red beets

45 ml (3 tbsp) white wine vinegar

50 ml (1/4 cup) sunflower oil

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

1/2 small green cabbage, thinly sliced

2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

3 l (12 cups) vegetable stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh dill

30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh parsley

5 ml (1 tsp) chopped lemon peel

5 ml (1 tsp) finely chopped garlic

5 ml (1 tsp) caraway seeds, finely chopped (chop the caraway seeds with some chopped parsley or dill to prevent them from jumping all over the cutting board)

90 ml (6 tbsp) creme fraiche or yogurt

In a large saucepan, place beets. Cover with water and add vinegar. Simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Drain beets and let cool slightly. When they are cool enough to handle, slip off skins and slice beets into pieces any size and shape you like.

Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, cabbage and potatoes and gently saute for about 15 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Add sliced beets and continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, to make goulash paste, combine dill, parsley, lemon peel, garlic and caraway seeds.

Lay out 6 bowls. Ladle soup into each bowl. Place a dollop of creme fraiche in the centre of each bowl. Sprinkle a liberal amount of goulash paste on each dollop. Serve.

Makes 6 servings.

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Bread and Butter Pudding

This is a homespun classic and a good way to make use of stale bread and cake. Keep a container going in the freezer until you collect about 500 ml (2 cups) of crustless cake or bread cut into small cubes. Kennedy likes to serve his restaurant's house-made maple walnut ice cream with this pudding, but a pint from your local ice-cream maker will pair nicely as well.

7 eggs

150 ml (2/3 cup) plus 15 ml (1 tbsp) granulated sugar

625 ml (2 1/2 cups) whole milk

400 ml (1 2/3 cups) whipping cream

5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

15 ml (1 tbsp) butter

500 ml (2 cups) cubed bread or cake

45 ml (3 tbsp) raisins, rehydrated in water and drained

90 ml (6 tbsp) apricot jam, melted

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and 150 ml (2/3 cup) sugar. Add milk, cream, vanilla and salt and mix well.

Grease a 2.5-l (9-inch) square baking dish with butter and sprinkle bottom and sides with 15 ml (1 tbsp) granulated sugar. Place cubed bread and soaked raisins in dish. Pour egg mixture on top and let sit until egg mixture is well absorbed.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 160 C (325 F). Bake pudding for about 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean. Spread melted jam over surface and bake for an additional 15 minutes to form a glaze. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Portion onto 8 plates. Serve with a dollop of maple walnut ice cream on the side.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: "J.K.: The Jamie Kennedy Cookbook" by Jamie Kennedy (HarperCollins Canada, 2014).

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