Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Chocolate Mocha Sweetheart Cookies

Great for the holidays!

4 sq Unsweetened Chocolate
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup Coffee mix, any flavour
6 sq Semi Sweet chocolate, melted
Preheat oven to 350 F (or 325F) if using a glass baking dish).  Line a 13x9 in. baking pan with foil. Grease foil.
Microwave unsweetened chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on medium 2 min. or until butter is melted; stir until chocolate is completely melted.  Stir in sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.  Add flour and flavoured instant coffee; stir until well blended.  Spread into prepared pan.
Bake for 30-35 min. or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out with fudgy crumbs.  Do not overbake.  Cool in pan.
Cut brownies with a 1 1/2 in. heart shaped cookie cutter.  Dip the top of each brownie heart into melted semi sweet chocolate.  Refrigerate until chocolate is set.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Chai Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Delicious any time of the year, but definitely a Christmas favourite

½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup cocoa
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp each ground cardamom, cinnamon and salt
1 cup slivered almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  With an electric mixer, beat butter with sugars until pale and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and blend well.
  2. Sift together flour cocoa, baking powder, spices and salt.  Stir flour mixture into butter mixture until blended.  Stir in almonds.  Shape cookie dough into 2 logs and place on prepared baking sheet, leaving 3 inches between logs.  Press lightly to flatten slightly.  Bake 40 min.  Remove from oven.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 325F and line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.  While still war, slice ½ inch biscotti on the bias with a serrated knife.  Place on baking sheet.  Bake 12 to 15 min. until lightly browned around the edges.  Biscotti with firm up further as they cool.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Apricot Walnut Thumbprint Cookies

A wonderful easy holiday cookie - change up the centre with different coloured jams or change it to chocolate!
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cornmeal
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup chopped walnuts, finely chopped
½ cup apricot jam (or your favourite)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  With electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until smooth.  Beat in egg yolks and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Combine flour, cornmeal and salt and add to butter mixture until blended.  Shape teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and roll in chopped nuts.  Place cookies 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets.  Press centres of cookies down with your thumb and bake 15 to 18 min or until golden.
  3. While warm fill thumbprint centre of each cookie with little dollops of jam.  For chewier cookies fill centres with jam before baking.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Chicken or Veal in Phyllo with Orange Ginger Sauce

A very elegant dinner!

6 boneless chicken breasts or 6 scallops of veal
1/2 cup belted butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 pkg Phyllo pastry
1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds
Orange Ginger Sauce
Trim chicken or veal and rub ginger into the surface of the meat.  Stir cinnamon into melted butter.
Prepare phyllo.  Four sheets will wrap two pieces of meat.  Lay one sheet on work surface and brush with cinnamon butter.  Lay second sheet on top and brush again.  Repeat with 3rd and 4th sheets, brushing with cinnamon butter.  Cut phyllo lengthwise into oblongs, approximately 5 inches across.  Discard the piece left over.
Place piece of meat at top of oblong and fold a corner of the phyllo to make a triangle.  Continue folding triangle until you come to the end of pastry.  Trim off excess. 
Brush outside with butter and place on buttered baking sheet.  Repeat with the rest of the meat.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in a preheated 375 oven until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and sprinkle, evenly, with toasted almonds.
To serve, ladle equal amounts of Orange-Ginger Sauce on plates and place one phyllo package in the centre.  Garnish plate with bundles of julienned vegetables and sauteed cherry tomatoes.
Orange Ginger Sauce
Rind of one orange, cut into julienne strips or use a zester
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup orange juice
1 tbsp honey
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tbsp grated ginger
1/4 cup 35% cream
Blanch orange strips or zest in boiling water for 1 minute.  Drain and briefly run under cold water.  Set aside.  In saucepan, heat chicken stock and boil until reduced by half.  Add orange juice and bring to boil.  Add honey, salt, pepper, ginger and cream and bring to a boil.  Reduce until sauce coats a spoon lightly.  Taste and adjust seasoning, adding a little lemon juice if too sweet.  Add orange zest and heat through. 

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Cranberry Focaccia

A sweet delicious bread - wonderful anytime!

1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 envelope instant quick rise yeast
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup coarse sugar
  1. Dough:  Combine warm water and sugar in a large bowl.  Sprinkle yeast over mixture.  Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in next 7 ingredients.  Add 2 1/2 cups flour, stirring to combine.  Stir in additional flour a bit at a time to make a soft dough.  Knead 10 minutes by hand on a lightly floured surface or 5 minutes in mixer on low speed.
  3. Place dough in a lightly buttered or oiled large bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  4. Punch down dough on a lightly floured surface.  Knead in cranberries.  Shape into a flat round about 8 “ diameter.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Cover lightly with plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  6. Topping:  Gently brush with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden.  Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Cheesy Breakfast Buns

A Great idea for brunch!
½ cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 envelopes instant quick rise yeast
1 ½ cups warm evaporated milk
¼ cup canola oil (or vegetable oil)
2 tsp kosher salt
5-6 cups bread flour
1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, cubed
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg beaten
½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
  1. Combine warm water and sugar.  Add yeast and let stand until mixture bubbles up.
  2. Combine milk, yeast mixture, oil and salt in large bowl.  Add flour to form a dough that is soft but not too sticky.  Knead 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes in mixer on low speed.
  3. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume; 1-1 ½ hours.
  4. Punch down and knead in cubed and grated cheese.  Divide into 18 pieces.  Shape into rounds.  Place on parchment paper lined baking sheets.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled; about 45 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 375F.
  6. Glaze:  Carefully brush rolls with egg.  Sprinkle with grated cheese.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes until well browned.  Remove from baking sheets and cool on wire rack.

Cheddar Cheese Scones

If you prefer to switch it up - why not try Swiss, a smoked Cheese or any of your favourites?  These are a wonderful accompaniment to chilli or stew.

2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
¼ cup cold butter
1 cup shredded cheddar or gruyere cheese
1 cup milk
Topping (optional)
½ cup shredded cheddar
  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • In large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne.  Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.  Stir in cheese.  Pour in milk; stir with fork until soft, sticky dough forms.  
  • Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and shape into ¾ inch thick square.  Cut into 2 inch squares or rounds and place, touching each other on ungreased baking sheet.
  • Topping if using: Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake for 12 to 15 min or until golden

Monday, 21 November 2011

Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins

A dense hearty muffin - feel free to substitute the blueberries for your favourite fruit.

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Pour buttermilk over rolled oats in a medium sized bowl.  If other than quick cooking kind is used, let stand for 15 to 20 minutes.  Add sugar, egg and oil.  Beat well.  Sift flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together.  Blend with oat mixture.  Fold in blueberries.  Spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin cups.  Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.  Makes 1 dozen large muffins.

Butterscotch Tea Biscuits

An old recipe from my teens!  These are really simple pinwheels that are fabulous.

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Place 1 tsp butter and 1 tsp brown sugar in the bottom of 12 muffin tins.  Melt together slightly.
  3. Sift together into a bowl:  1 3/4 cups once sifted all purpose flour, 4 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt.
  4. Cut in with a pastry blender or two knives 1/4 cup chilled shortening.
  5. Add and mix lightly with a fork 2/3 cup milk.
  6. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead lightly 16 to 20 times until dough holds shape in soft ball.
  7. Roll out to 1/4" thickness in a 12" by 6 " rectangle.
  8. Spread with softened butter and sprinkle with 1/2 cup brown sugar mixed with 1/4 tsp cinnamon.
  9. Roll up as a jelly roll.  Cut into 12 one inch slices.  Place one slice in each muffin pan.
  10. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.  Turn out onto a cooling rack.  Serve hot.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Quickie Croissants

A quick and simple recipe that is very versatile.  Make them sweet or savoury depending on your tastebuds.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar (use only if you are making sweet croissants)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp melted butter

(choose one)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs
2 tbsp cinnamon sugar
1/4 cup grated chocolate

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F and lightly grease a cookie sheet.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar (if you're using it), baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the chunks of cold butter: Either cut in using a pastry blender, or process in a food processor until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.  Add the yogurt and mix just until it forms a soft dough that sticks together.
  3. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead once or twice.  Divide the dough into two equal lumps.
  4. Working with one lump of dough at a time, roll out on a floured surface into a fairly even circle 9 in across and 1/4 in thick.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle evenly with half of whatever filling you've chosen to use.  With a sharp knife or pizza wheel, cut into 6 wedges.  Roll each wedge up, starting at the wide end and rolling toward the point, pressing lightly so it sticks.  Place point side down on the prepared cookie sheet and bend slightly to form a crescent.
  5. Continue with the remaining wedges.  Repeat with the second lump of dough.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, just until lightly browned on the bottom and beginning to colour slightly on the top.
Makes 12 croissants.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Three Onion Soup

You can't beat soup when it gets colder out!  This is a lighter delicious onion soup.  Give it a try!

2 tbsp olive oil
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 red onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
Salt and coarsely ground pepper
1/4 cup red wine
4 cups beef stock
3 cups water
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped green onions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add leeks, red onion, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper and saute for 2 minutes or until starting to soften.  Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring often, for about 45 minutes or until golden.
  2. Increase heat to high.  Add wine and stir to scrape up any brown bits stuck to pan.  Cook until almost evaporated.  Stir in stock, water and bay leaves and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered for about 30 minutes or until reduced by about one quarter and flavour is rich.  Discard bay leaves.
  3. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle into warmed bowls and sprinkle with green onions.

Dark Chocolate Whiskey Cake

The original recipe called for Irish Whiskey but my taste buds are not refined enough to know the difference so I used Glenfiddich - a Scottish Whisky that I already had.  A wonderful rich desert, don't go cheap on the chocolate as it will ruin the desert.

1/2 cup whiskey
6 oz bittersweet (70%) chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp instant coffee powder dissolved in 1/3 cup hot water
1/3 cup toasted ground almonds
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, separated

2 oz dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp whiskey
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter and flour an 8 inch springform pan.  Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, bring 1/2 cup whiskey to boil over medium high heat until it reduces in half, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to metal bowl and add chopped chocolate and coffee mixture.  Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes.  Remove bowl from on top of water and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together almonds, flour and salt.  Set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Fold in chocolate mixture.  Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg white in bowl until stiff peaks form.  Fold one third of the whites into the batter with one third of the flour mixture in 3 additions.  Transfer batter to prepared pan, gently smoothing top with spatula.
  5. Bake in the centre of the oven until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 40 minutes.  Cool in pan on rack for 30 minutes and then remove pan collar to cool completely.
  6. For icing, in a small bowl, combine chocolate and whiskey.  Place over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until smooth.  Add butter piece by piece waiting until each piece is melted before adding the next.  Let thicken slightly and drizzle over cake. Decorate with berries
Serves 12

Friday, 11 November 2011

Whole Wheat Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg

Blueberry Maple Syrup
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp water
1 tsp cornstarch

  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda until well mixed.
  • In a smaller bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, vegetable oil and stir until combined (a few lumps are ok - don't over stir).
  • Pour a thin film of vegetable oil into a large skillet or griddle (never mind if yours is nonstick).  Heat on a burner set to medium; its ready when a drop of water begins to sizzle in the pan.  Spoon the batter into the pan, by tablespoonfuls - depending on the size of your pan, you may be able to cook 6 to 8 little pancakes at a time or 3 medium sized ones.  Cook about 2 minutes per side, turning over once, until browned on both sides and cooked through (the batter should not be gummy in the middle).  Transfer to a heatproof plate and keep warm in a 200F oven until you've cooked all the pancakes.  
Blueberry Maple Syrup

  • In a medium sized microwave safe bowl, combine the blueberries and the maple syrup.  Microwave on high power 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  • In a small bowl stir together the water and cornstarch.  Stir into the blueberry mixture and microwave for another 30 seconds.  Remove from microwave and transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  Let cool for a few minutes before serving with pancakes.

Oven Baked Salmon with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

An excellent and simple dish.  If you don't like the red peppers - switch it up with squash, potatoes, carrots or your favourite veggie!

4 salmon steaks or fillets
1/4 cup sun dried tomato pesto
4 medium sweet red peppers, cut into strips
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 375F.  Lightly oil a cookie sheet or shallow baking dish large enough to hold the salmon and peppers in one layer.  I put down parchment paper here.
  • Spread the top surface of the salmon steaks or fillets evenly with the tomato pesto.  Place on the prepared baking pan.
  • In a bowl toss the red pepper strips with the olive oil, salt and pepper to coat.  Arrange in the baking pan, surrounding the salmon pieces.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until the fish is opaque (poke a fork into the middle of a piece to check) and the peppers are sizzling and softened.  Serve immediately.
Serves 4

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Pumpkin "Ravioli" tossed with Bacon and Parsley

This is a bit fussy and I was nervous about using the pumpkin, but wow I loved it!  Admittedly I do love squash and the pumpkin had a great fall flavour.  Making the ravioli's takes a bit of time.  Got this out of Food and Drink Autumn 2011.

1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1 cup canned unsweetened pur pumpkin
1/2 tsp dried sage leaves, crumbled
1/4 tsp salt
pinches each nutmeg and pepper
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra smooth ricotta cheese
2 eggs
about 2/3 of a 400 g pkg wonton wrappers

4 strips bacon, thinly sliced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp chopped parsley
pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan for serving

  1. Melt butter in  large frying pan over medium heat.  Add onion and stir just until tender, about 3 minutes.  Add pumpkin and seasonings.  Cook, stirring frequently, until pumpkin loses some of its moisture and flavours develop, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, turn into a bowl and cool completely.  Stir in cheeses then 1 egg until well blended.
  2. Whisk remaining egg with 1 tbsp water.  It's easiest to work with about 10 wonton wrappers at a time.  Spoon 1 heaping tsp filling in centre of each wrapper.  Brush edges with egg mixture.  Pick up wrapper and fold together, pressing out excess air to form a triangle and enclose filling.  Squeeze edges tightly to seal.  Repeat with remaining wonton wrappers and filling (freeze any leftover wrappers).
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil to cook ravioli.  Meanwhile in a large wide pan or frying pan, cook bacon until fairly crispy.  Keep warm.  Add ravioli to boiling water.  Cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes.  Drain very well.  Add butter to bacon in pan, stirring until melted.  Then add ravioli, parsley and pepper.  Stir very gently to coat, serve with additional Parmesan.
Serves 4

Mini Chocolate Souffles with Caramel Hazelnut Sauce

These are fantastic and decadent!  I used a dark rum for the sauce that worked really well.  A rich elegant desert.

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
4 eggs
1 egg white
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1-8oz pkg cream cheese, cubed

Caramel-Hazelnut Sauce

Melt semisweet chocolate pieces and cool.  In a blender container combine eggs, egg white, milk, and sugar.  Cover; blend till smooth.  With the blender running, add the cream cheese cubes through the opening in the blender lid or with the lid slightly  ajar; blend till smooth.  Add the melted chocolate; cover and blend just till combined.   Pour the chocolate mixture into four ungreased 1 cup souffle dishes.  Bake in a 375 oven about 35 minutes or till set.  Serve at once with the warm Caramel Hazelnut sauce.  Makes 4 servings.

Caramel Hazelnut Sauce

In a small saucepan combine 1/4 cup packed brown sugar and 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch.  Stir in 1/3 cup milk and 1 tbsp light corn syrup.  Cook and stir till the mixture is thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir 2 minutes more.  (the mixture may appear curdled during cooking.) Stir in a handful of whole Hazelnuts, 1 tbsp butter and 2 tsp rum or brandy.  Remove the sauce from heat; cover surface with clear plastic wrap.  Cool slightly.

Devils Food Cake

A classic favourite, known for its red tint.  Frost using your favourite recipe - or use one of the ones from the Feathery Fudge Cake recipe posted earlier.

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 egg yolks
1 1/3 cups cold water
3 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar

Grease and lightly flour two 9 x 1 1/2 inch round baking pans; set aside.  Stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  In a large mixer bowl beat the shortening on medium speed of electric mixer about 30 seconds.  Add the 1 cup sugar and vanilla and beat till fluffy.  Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well on medium speed.

Add the dry ingredients and cold water alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just till combined.  Wash the beaters thoroughly.  In a small mixer bowl beat the egg whites on medium speed of electric mixer till soft peaks form (tips curl over); gradually add the 3/4 cup sugar, beating till stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).  Fold into cake batter.  Turn into prepared pans.  Bake in a 350 oven for 30 to 35 minutes or till the cake tests done.  Place the cake layers on wire racks; cool for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans; cool. Frost as desired.  Makes 12 servings.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Asian Inspired Steak

Fantastic flavour!  The original recipe called for flank steak but I ended up with some rib eyes that I saw for a good price.  Either way the marinade will help a tough cut of meat or flavour a good one.

1/2 medium onion, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil (essential - do not substitute)
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp maple syrup or brown sugar
sprinkling of chili flakes

1 1/2 - 3 lb (.8 to 1.5 kg) steak - your choice
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place all the marinade ingredients in a large zip top bag and squish to combine.  Add the steak, seal the bag and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
  2. When you are ready to cook, remove steak from bag.  Discarding marinade.  Sprinkle meat with a little salt and pepper.   Cook on a grill, preheated to high for 7 to 9 minutes each side for medium rare, turning once.  
  3. After cooking, let meat rest 5 to 10 minutes to retain its juices.  Slice thinly across the grain, on the diagonal and serve with rice or stir fried veggies or on a bed of salad greens.

Firecracker Chicken Salad

A great salad that kids will enjoy because of the salsa - spice it up with a hot salsa or keep it mild depending on your taste.  The avocado in this is my favourite!

1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1 1/2 lbs (750g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 sweet onion, sliced in thick rounds
1 red pepper cut in quarters
2 zucchini cut in half
salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup salsa
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp chopped coriander
salt and freshly ground pepper

1 avocado, peeled and sliced
2 cups tortilla chips

  1. Combine chili powder, cumin, garlic, lime juice, olive oil and coriander.  Brush on to chicken breasts, onion rounds, red pepper and zucchini.  Marinate for 1 hour.
  2. To make dressing, combine mayonnaise, salsa, lime juice and coriander.  Season with salt and pepper.  Reserve.
  3. Preheat grill to high.  Season chicken and vegetables with salt and pepper.  Place chicken breasts and vegetables on grill.  Grill chicken for about 5 minutes per side or until juices run clear.  Cool.
  4. Grill vegetables about 4 minutes per side or until tender.  Cool.  Remove skin from peppers.  Slice onions, peppers and zucchini into strips.
  5. When chicken has cooled, slice it and mix with dressing.  Add vegetables and toss to lightly coat with the dressing or serve dressing on the side.  Surround platter with sliced avocado and tortilla chips.

Citrus Cool Cocktail

A nice light cocktail - the first time I have used Vermouth :)

1 oz white rum
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
Lemon Lime pop

Pour the rum, vermouth and lime juice into glass filled with ice.  Stir, then top with lemon lime pop.  Garnish with a lime or lime slice.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Spicy Pumpkin Hummus

This sounds weird but is delicious!  Make the crackers and you will never buy them again but if you don't have time just buy some.  I used an Indian Masala and they came out great! Based on a recipe from Food and Drink Autumn 2011

1 can chickpeas (540 ml) rinsed and drained well
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup each lemon juice and water
1/2 cup canned unsweetened pure pumpkin
1 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne or to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Flour tortillas, large or small
Olive oil
Indian Masala

  1. If making crackers, preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Place chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice and water in a food processor.  Whirl until smooth.  Add pumpkin and seasonings.  Whirl.  With motor running, drizzle in oil until blended.  Taste and add more lemon juice or cayenne if needed.
  3. Lightly brush surface of as many tortillas as you like with oil, sprinkle with masala.  Place in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake until crispy, 7 to 9 minutes.  Cool, then break into large crackers.

Black Bean Tacos

Another vegetarian dish that is kid friendly!  Just don't tell them they are eating beans!

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 cans (19 oz/540 ml each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded fresh lettuce
2 tomatoes, diced
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
1 pkg flour tortillas, 6 in size
salsa and sour cream if desired

  • Heat the olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat.  Add chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent - 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, stir for 30 seconds, then add the cumin, chili powder and beans.  Using a fork, mash the beans in the pan, then stir in the water.  Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often until thickened - 12 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (You can prepare this filling well ahead of time and just reheat when you're ready).
  • While the bans are cooking, prepare the remaining ingredients for the tacos; Shred the cheese and lettuce, dice the tomatoes, slice the avocado.  Arrange topping ingredients in bowls so that diners can assemble tacos to their own taste.  Just before serving, wrap the stack of tortillas in paper towelling and microwave on high for 30 seconds, or until they are warmed through.
  • To serve, lay a tortilla out on a plate and spread with some of the black bean mixture.  Add cheese, lettuce, tomato and avocado (plus salsa and sour cream, if desired). Fold, eat and repeat!

Mexican Vegetarian Chili

This is a quick and easy recipe even the kids will eat.  Based on a recipe from Todays Parent Magazine February 2009

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz/796 ml)
1 can black beans or black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed (19oz/540 ml)
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste

3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp granulated or brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat the oven to 425 F.  Grease a 9 x 13 in baking dish.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, chili powder and cumin, and cook, stirring, until onion is softened - about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes (including all the juice from the can), beans corn and broth, and bring to a boil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Lower the heat and let simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. (this part of the recipe can easily be prepared ahead of time.)
  • Meanwhile, prepare the topping.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar and baking powder.  In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and oil.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  • When the bean and corn mixture is ready, transfer to the prepared casserole dish and spoon cornbread mixture overtop.  (Don't worry if there are gaps; the cornbread will expand to cover the topping as it bakes.) Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cornbread topping is lightly browned.  If desired, sprinkle the top with grated Parmesan cheese just before serving.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Oven Roasted Chicken with Prosciutto, Lemon and Sage

This is fantastic!  The lemon and Prosciutto work together beautifully.  From Food and Drink Autumn 2010.

4 thin slices prosciutto about 60 g
1 tbsp each butter and Dijon mustard
2 tbsp finely chopped sage
Finely grated peel of 1 lemon
1 large garlic clove, minced
Generous pinches each salt, pepper and paprika
3 lbs (1.5 kg) whole chicken

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.  Finely chop prosciutto.  In a medium bowl, add butter and Dijon.  Mash together to blend.  Stir in prosciutto, sage, lemon peel, garlic and pinches of salt and pepper.
  • Very carefully using your hands, pull away skin from 1 chicken breast, just enough so that you can slide about a quarter of the mixture in between skin and meat.  Using your hands on top of skin try to spread out butter mixture under skin.  Repeat with other breast and thighs spreading remaining mixture under skin.
  • Season outside of chicken with salt, pepper and paprika.  Tie legs together if you wish.  Place chicken in a small roasting pan.  Roast in centre of preheated oven, basting occasionally, until juice runs clear when thigh is pierced, about 1 1/4 hours.
Serves 4

Layered Apple Parfait

A great desert any time of the year, but especially in the fall.  The Mascarpone has great texture and flavour and is lightened up by the whipping cream.  From Food and Drink magazine Autumn 2010.

2 cups rose wine
2 cups apple juice
1 cup granulated sugar
4 star anise (optional)
3 slices ginger, smashed
2 inch piece cinnamon stick
4 apples, peeled, cored and quartered
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup crushed amaretti or ginger cookies
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds

  1. Combine wine, apple juice, sugar, star anise, ginger and cinnamon stick in a pot large enough to hold apples in 1 layer.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat stirring to make sure sugar is dissolved.  Boil for 2 minutes until well combined.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low add apples, and cover with a circle of parchment to help them stay submerged.  Poach for 15 to 20 minutes or until soft and saturated with flavour.  Remove with a slotted spoon.
  4. Return heat to high and bring juices to boil.  Boil until reduced to a thick syrupy texture, about 15 to 20 minutes.  There will be about 3/4 cup left.  Return apples to pot to coat with syrup.
  5. Combine mascarpone with 1/4 cup syrup.  Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form and stir half of whipped cream into mascarpone.
  6. Layer amaretti cookies, mascarpone cream and 2 quartered pieces of apple in a parfait glass and repeat the layers.  Top with remaining whipped cream and drizzle with a little syrup.  Scatter over toasted almonds.
Serves 4

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Kitchen Sink Salad

This is a wonderful and healthy salad, don't worry about substituting ingredients in this recipe if you have some leftovers.

2 cups chopped, cooked chicken, pork or beef
1 can (540 ml) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 can (540 ml) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (540 ml) navy (white) beans, rinsed and drained
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup fresh corn kernels (or frozen corn, thawed)
1/2 cup each chopped fresh basil and parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
2 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
4 cups salad greens of your choice (I personally love baby spinach)

  1. In a large bowl, combine chicken, all the canned beans, red pepper, onion, celery, corn, basil, parsley and mint.
  2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together vinegar, Dijon, maple syrup, salt and pepper.  Pour over chicken mixture and toss gently to combine.  Let sit for 30 minutes or refrigerate for up to a day to let flavours blend.
  3. To serve divide salad greens among 4 plates, then divide chicken mixture equally overtop.

Feathery Fudge Cake

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!  What more can I say.

3 squares (3oz) unsweetened chocolate
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups cold water
1 square (1 oz) semi sweet chocolate
4 fresh strawberries
Whipped Chocolate Filling
Chocolate Sour cream frosting
Chocolate curls

Grease and lightly flour two 9 x 1 1/2 inch round baking pans; set aside.  Melt the unsweetened chocolate; cool.  Stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  In a large mixer bowl beat butter on medium speed of electric mixer about 30 seconds.  Add sugar and vanilla and beat till well combined.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well on medium speed.  Stir in the melted and cooled unsweetened chocolate.  Add dry ingredients and cold water alternately to beaten mixture, beating on low speed after each addition.  Turn batter into prepared pans.  Bake in a 350 oven for 30 to 35 minutes or till cake tests done.  Place on wire racks; cool 10 minutes.  Remove from pans; cool thoroughly on racks.

Melt the semi sweet chocolate.  Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.  Spoon melted chocolate over the bottom half of each strawberry.  Place on baking sheet; refrigerate till needed.  Halve the cake between the cake layers horizontally, making 4 layers.  Spread the whipped chocolate filling between the cake layers.  Frost top and sides with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting.  Garnish with chocolate coated strawberries and chocolate curls.  Makes 12 servings.

Whipped Chocolate Filling:  in a 1 cup glass measure soften 1/2 tsp unflavoured gelatin in a tablespoon cold water.  Place cup in a saucepan containing about 1 inch water; stir over low heat till dissolved.  Remove saucepan from heat.  In a small mixer bowl beat together 1 cup whipping cream, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder till slightly thickened.  Add the dissolved gelatin all at once; beat till soft peaks form.

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting:  
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate pieces
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar

Melt together chocolate and butter.  Cool about 10 minutes.  Stir in sour cream and vanilla.  Gradually add powdered sugar, beating by hand till frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency.  Cover and chill to store.  Frosts tops and sides of two 8 or 9 inch layer or about 24 cupcakes.

Chocolate Curls
Let a bar of chocolate come to room temperature, then carefully draw a vegetable peeler across the chocolate.  For smaller curls, use a narrow side of the chocolate; for large curls, use a wide surface.  To transfer a curl without breaking it, insert a wooden pick through one end and lift.  Arrange atop tortes, layer cakes and cheesecakes.

Beef and Veg "Stroganoff"

A lighter take on the original stroganoff.  Add some mushrooms if you aren't feeding kids.  Got this out of Todays Parent magazine March 2010.

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
a couple of dashes hot sauce
4 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb (500 g) sirloin beef strips
pepper & salt (I didn't use any salt)
1 1/4 cups beef broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
1 cup frozen peas
3/4 - 1 cup sour cream (or substitute with 0 fat greek yogurt)

  • In a small bowl, stir Worcestershire with hot sauce and cornstarch until cornstarch is dissolved.  Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Season beef with salt and pepper.  Add half the meat and stir fry until cooked through, 3-4 minutes.  Remove to a plate.  Repeat with remaining meat.
  • Add broth, tomato paste, garlic and thyme to pan, stirring any brown bits from bottom.  Bring to a boil.  Add carrots and simmer, covered, until nearly tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add peas and Worcestershire mixture.  Stir continuously until boiling and thickened.  Return meat to pan and heat through.  Remove pan from heat and stir in as much sour cream as you'd like.  Serve over extra broad egg noodles.
  • Makes 4 servings.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Curried Sweet Potato, Carrot and Lentil Soup with Ginger

A great recipe based on one from Parents Canada magazine.  Healthy and delicious! Low in fat and loaded with fibre, vitamins and minerals.

1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup dry lentils
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tsp curry paste or powder
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup plain yogurt (greek)

  1. In a medium sized pot, heat oil over medium high heat and saute onion, garlic, and ginger for 3-4 mintues until the onion softens.
  2. Add the lentils, sweet potato, carrots, curry paste and stock, along with a cup of water.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down, cover and simmer for half an hour, until the vegetables are very tender.
  3. Season with salt, add the yogurt and use a hand held blender to puree it right in the pot.  Otherwise use a blender or potato masher.
  4. Serve hot.  Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, or cooled and frozen for up to 6 months.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

My kids won't knowingly eat zucchini but they did eat these muffins! Ha! one for the veggies....:)

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk mixed with 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/3 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 small zucchini, unpeeled and coarsely grated
1/2 cup chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a large bowl, stir together flours, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, oil, eggs and vanilla.  Add to the dry ingredients along with the zucchini and stir until almost combined; add the chocolate chips or nuts and stir just until blended.
  • Pour into muffin tins lined with paper liners.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until tops are springy to the touch.

Honey Garlic Salmon Satays

A great change with Salmon!

1/4 cup Diana Sauce, Honey Garlic Flavour
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp each grated ginger and sesame oil
1 lb (500 g) skinless salmon fillet
1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp snipped chives
Lime or lemon wedges

1.  Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high or an indoor grill to high.   Soak 25 wooden skewers in cold water.  Stir the Diana Sauce with the soy sauce, ginger and sesame oil.

2.  Thinly slice the salmon and thread onto skewers.  Brush evenly with the sauce mixture and place on a lightly greased grate.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until just cooked.  Sprinkle evenly with the sesame seeds and chives. Serve with lime or lemon wedges if desired.  Makes 20 to 25 satays.

These satays can also be cooked under the broiler for 4 minutes per side.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Crunchy Oven Baked Drumettes

The family will never know these weren't deep fried!  Delicious and enjoyed by the whole family!  Got this gem from Todays Parent Magazine November 2008

2 1/2 lb (1.25 kg) chicken wing drumettes, trimmed
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder
Barbecue sauce, ketchup, yogurt, hot sauce or whatever for dipping

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Toss drummettes with vegetable oil in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, paprika, salt, pepper and onion powder.  Add to drumettes in a bowl and toss until evenly coated.  The flour coating should be like a sticky damp batter roughly coating the chicken.

Place an oiled rack over a foil lined cookie sheet or large shallow baking pan.  Arrange drumettes on the rack, leaving some room between them so that they brown properly.  Place in the preheated oven and bake, turning once halfway through, for 45 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.  Serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce and plenty of napkins.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.