Welcome to the Polyphagous Dragon!

Hearty greetings from the Rainbow Dragon to all visitors to my digital kitchen in the blogosphere!

As my blog title suggests, these pages contain a wild mix of recipes which sample a wide range of flavours and cultures. I won't even try to apply an over-arching theme to this project other than to say that every dish is about creating good food!

The Polyphagous Dragon offers multiple options for site navigation in the sidebar panels. Use the Contents box to search for recipes by dish type, the Blog Archives to search for a specific recipe by title or the Ingredients Index to pull up all recipes that feature a particular ingredient. See also my Cooking Philosophy notes for further insights.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

I just cannot get enough of thick, hearty soups in the winter time! This soup provides a double dose of heat from its warmth and its spice. It's perfect for chasing away the winter chills!

If you cannot get a hold of fresh habaneros, substitute a favourite, flavourful hot sauce such as Susie's Calypso.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

  • 1 buttercup squash
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 5 - 6 habanero peppers
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 garlic
  • 2 inch piece ginger root
  • olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon each ground: cardamom, anise, cloves, turmeric & cinnamon
  • 1 mango
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter*
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • juice of one lime
  • sour cream
  • fresh cilantro


* Real peanut butter is made from peanuts and nothing but.


Wrap squash in tin foil and bake at 400°F for an hour (or more if needed).
Peel onion, garlic and ginger.
Remove stalk and seeds from habaneros.
Dice habaneros, onion, celery, carrots, garlic and ginger.
Sauté in oil until soft.
Peel and dice mango.
Cube squash, discarding skin, stringy pulp and seeds.
Place vegetables, spices, honey, mango and stock in a large pot and cook until squash is soft.
Purée soup in a blender or food processor and return to the pot.
Bring to a boil.
Stir in peanut butter, cream and lime juice.
Simmer soup for 1/2 hour or more to allow all flavours to blend nicely.
Garnish with sour cream and fresh cilantro leaves.

Jalepeño Cheddar Soup

This recipe makes a hearty, delicious, brightly coloured winter soup. The jalepeños give the soup a nice flavour, but are not the hottest peppers available. Add some of your favourite hot sauce or a few habeneros for a spicier soup.

Jalepeño Cheddar Soup

  • 2 x 796 ml tins no salt added tomatoes
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 3 cups carrots
  • 9 jalepeño peppers
  • 1-2 yellow onions
  • 2 heads oven roasted garlic
  • 1 lb aged cheddar cheese
  • basil
  • oregano
  • olive oil


Peel onions and carrots.
Remove seeds and stalks from peppers.
Cut onions, carrots and peppers into large pieces.
Toss with olive oil in a large oven proof dish.
roasting veggies for jalepeño soup

Roast at 400°F for 40 minutes.
Transfer roasted vegetables to a large pan or stock pot.
Add tinned tomatoes and their juices.
Add flesh of oven roasted garlics.
Season generously with basil and oregano.
Stir all ingredients together and heat to a gentle boil.
Simmer until vegetables have softened.
Purée soup in a food processor or blender.
Return puréed soup to the pan.
Finely grate cheddar cheese.
Stir cheese into soup and heat until melted.

Enjoy this soup as a meal on its own, or with a salad or a flavourful bread such as my Ancient Grains Focaccia.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Ancient Grains Focaccia

This hearty and delicious focaccia is fragrant with olive oil and herbs. Omit the feta or substitute a soy-based "cheese" for a vegan alternative.

Best enjoyed still warm from the oven. If you have any leftovers they can be enjoyed the next day, lightly warmed.

Ancient Grains Focaccia

Note: The focaccia did originally fill this pan. A good chunk of it got eaten before I had a chance to take a photograph!

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons "Quick Rise" instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups very warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 + 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup stone ground whole grain amaranth flour
  • 1/2 cup stone ground whole grain quinoa flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary + additional for topping
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • kalamata olives
  • tomato
  • onion
  • feta cheese


Combine yeast with 1 cup white flour, sugar and salt.
Stir in very warm (hot to the touch, but not scalding) water.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, whole grain flours, and herbs.
Knead dough for 10 minutes, adding up to 1/2 cup additional flour as needed if dough is too sticky. (Dough should be smooth and elastic after kneading.)
Allow dough to rest ten minutes in a warm, draft-free environment.
Coat a 10 x 15 inch baking sheet with 1 teaspoon olive oil.
Gently press dough into baking sheet to fit dimensions of sheet.
Cover with non-stick parchment paper and a tea towel.
Allow to rise in a warm, draft-free environment until doubled in size (approximately 30 minutes).
Pit and chop olives.
Slice tomato.
Slice onion thinly.
Crumble cheese.
Brush surface of dough with final teaspoon of olive oil.
Sprinkle olives, tomato, onion, feta and reserved rosemary over top of dough.
Bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned.

Ancient Grains Focaccia

Chocolate Hazelnut Yule Log

This recipe is very rich but not sickly sweet like the cheap sugary Yule log knock-offs sold in most grocery stores in my area.

It takes some time to make a real chocolate Yule log, but it's well worth the effort!
(This one is definitely another of my "invite lots of friends to share it with you" recipes!)

Chocolate Hazelnut Yule Log

For the cocoa genoise:
  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup flour

For the chocolate hazelnut cream:
  • 2 oz. fine dark chocolate
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup half & half cream
  • 1 tablespoon Frangelico liqueur
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 100 grams ground hazelnuts

For the Frangelico Syrup:
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Frangelico liqueur

For the ganache:
  • 8 oz fine dark chocolate
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon Frangelico liqueur


Prepare cocoa genoise:

Line 10 x 15 inch baking sheet with non-stick parchment paper.
(Butter and flour paper if non-stick variety is unavailable.)

Mix eggs and sugar together in a large bowl.
Place egg/sugar bowl into bath of very hot tap water.

Boil water in small pot.
Mix in sifted cocoa to form a paste.

Melt butter in a small bowl.
(Microwaving at 40% power works well for melting butter, or use a heavy sauce pan over low heat.)

Whip warmed eggs/sugar mixture until thickened.

Add one cup of egg/sugar mixture to cocoa paste.
Mix until smooth.

Add one cup of egg/sugar mixture to melted butter.
Mix until smooth.

Sift flour into remaining egg/sugar mixture.
Fold in cocoa and butter mixtures.
Cocoa Genoise Batter

Pour batter onto baking sheet and smooth out to fill sheet.
Bake approximately 20 minutes at 400°F.
Baked Cocoa Genoise
(When cake is done, it should be springy in the centre and come away from the sides of the pan easily. Be careful not to overcook the genoise and dry it out!)

Cover baked genoise with a fresh sheet of parchment paper and allow to cool.

Begin preparing chocolate hazelnut cream:

Chop chocolate into small pieces.
Chopped Chocolate

Whip yolks and 3 tablespoons sugar together until smooth and light.
eggs and sugar

Beat flour into eggs until smooth.

Mix remaining sugar with cream and bring to a boil.
heat cream

Temper eggs by slowly adding half of hot cream to egg mixture, one spoonful at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Pour tempered eggs into pan with remaining cream and heat to boiling.
Stir constantly and continue to heat until custard is thickened.
Thickened Custard

Remove from heat.
Stir in liqueur.

Add chopped chocolate and mix until smooth.
adding chocolate to custard

Set cream mixture aside to cool.

Prepare Frangelico syrup:

Bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.
Remove from heat and stir in Frangelico.

Begin assembling cake:

Turn genoise out onto parchment paper on flat surface.
Trim any dried crusty edges off the cake.

Brush cooled Frangelico syrup over genoise.
Genoise brushed with Frangelico Syrup

Finish preparing chocolate hazelnut cream:

Cream butter until fluffy.
Add to cooled chocolate hazelnut cream and mix well.
Stir in ground hazelnuts until well blended.

Continue assembling cake:

Spread chocolate hazelnut cream over genoise, leaving a one inch strip along one short edge uncovered.
Genoise spread with Butter Cream

Starting at the uncovered edge, roll up the genoise.
Wrap rolled log tightly in parchment paper.
Place on flat tray and chill in refrigerator.

Prepare ganache:

Chop chocolate into small pieces.
Chopped Chocolate

Bring cream to a boil.
Remove from heat and stir in Frangelico.

Pour heated cream/liqueur mixture over chopped chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Chocolate Ganache

Allow ganache to cool, uncovered at room temperature, until a spreadable consistency is reached.

Finish assembling cake:

Remove rolled cake from parchment paper.
Place onto serving platter.
Spread ganache around circumference of cake, leaving ends exposed.
Draw fork tines across the ganache, lengthwise along cake, to create the bark effect.
Immediately prior to serving, dust icing sugar onto cake to represent snow, and decorate as desired.
Serve THIN slices. (This is a rich cake!)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Savoury Fresh Cheese Tart

My favourite savoury pie. Excellent as an accompaniment to chicken or shrimp or as a main dish itself. Serve warm or chilled. Leftovers (if there are any) will keep in the refrigerator for a few days. (Serve leftovers cold or re-heated in an oven. Avoid re-heating in the microwave as this will make the pastry soft and mushy.)

Savoury Fresh Cheese Tart

  • 1 quantity whole wheat pastry
  • 300 g chevre, room temperature
  • 1 yellow onion
  • olive oil for frying
  • 1 oven roasted garlic
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • ground thyme
  • 3 or 4 tomatoes


Partially bake pie shell blind for 10 minutes at 450°F.
Slice onion thinly and fry in olive oil until caramelized.
Beat together chevre, cream and sour cream.
Stir in thyme, garlic and onion.
Pour filling into partially baked pie shell.
Slice tomatoes thinly and arrange on top of cheese mixture.
Bake at 400°F for 30-45 minutes.

Crostini à la Dragon

My own take on garlic bread with the works. This is a favourite appetizer at my dinner parties, but the recipe is hearty enough to serve as a meal in itself!

Crostini à la Laura

  • 1 fresh baked, hearty whole grain baguette
  • 1 oven roasted garlic with roasting oil
  • 140 g chevre, room temperature
  • fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • sun dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • roasted red pepper, cut into small pieces
  • feta cheese, crumbled
  • fresh grated parmesan


Slice baguette in half and place both halves, cut side up, on a baking tray.
Drizzle oil from the oven roasted garlic over the bread.
Spread bread with chevre.
Pile on basil, tomato, pepper and feta.
Top with parmesan.
Place under broiler on low heat until parmesan turns golden brown.
Enjoy immediately.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Oven Roasted Garlic

Oven roasted garlic is soft, sweet and delicious! The slow-roasting process really brings out garlic's wonderful flavour!

These take some time to cook, so plan ahead: I usually set my garlic to roasting first, then prepare the remaining ingredients for my recipe. Oven roasted garlic is well worth the wait!

  • 1 garlic
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. water


Slice the top off a head of garlic.
Remove outer papery skins.
If shorter cloves remain with points intact, slice these off.
Oven Roasting Garlic 1

Place garlic into ovenproof custard cup or other small ramekin.
Spoon oil and water over top of garlic.
Oven Roasting Garlic 2

Cover custard cup tightly with tin foil.
Oven Roasting Garlic 3

Bake for 75 minutes at 325°F.
Uncover and baste with any remaining oil.
Bake uncovered until golden (~ 15 minutes).
Spoon flesh out of skins and incorporate into your favourite recipe.

Pumpkin Crème Brulée

This is a classy dessert but it's very rich. Use small custard cups and/or plan to share each one!

Pumpkin Crème Brulée

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 + 1/2 cups puréed pumpkin
  • 1 + 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. Cointreau
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar


Beat sugar and egg yolks together until creamy.
Add spices and pumpkin and mix well.
Stir in cream and Cointreau, incorporating fully.
Divide mixture evenly between eight custard cups.
Cover each cup with tin foil and place in large deep baking dish such as a lasagna pan.
Pour boiling water into the baking dish, filling to 1/3 the height of the cups.
Bake at 325°F for 35-40 minutes (until custard is set).
Remove from heat and remove foil.
Sprinkle brown sugar over the top of each custard.
Place under broiler until sugar caramelizes.
Serve immediately.

Whole Wheat Pastry

I prefer this heartier and healthier pastry to its white flour cousins.
Makes base for one 9" deep dish pie. Double quantities for a covered pie.

  • 1 + 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg


Mix butter into flour with a fork.
Beat egg and stir into flour mixture.
Knead pastry with hands until it forms a soft ball.
Roll pastry out until it is sufficient in size to line bottom and sides of a 9" deep dish pie plate.
Grease and flour pie plate.
Line pie plate with pastry.

For pies with unbaked fillings:

Line pastry with tin foil and fill with dried beans or other baking beads.
Bake blind 25 minutes at 450°F.
Fill as desired.
Bake as per recipe for filling.

For pies with baked fillings:

Partial baking blind may be required.
See individual recipes for instructions.

Cheddar & Herb Scones

Cheddar & Herb Scones

  • 8 oz. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 oz. butter
  • fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • flesh of one oven roasted garlic
  • 1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
  • 5 fl. oz. milk


Mix flour, salt and baking powder together.
Incorporate butter until mixture is crumbly.
Add basil, garlic and cheddar. Mix well.
Add just enough milk to hold dough together, forming dough into a ball with your hands.
Roll dough out one inch thick.
Cut into rounds with cookie cutter.
Place scones onto greased baking sheet.
Brush tops of scones with milk.
Bake for 7-10 minutes at 425°F.