Wednesday, 27 December 2017

French Bistro Salad

A great salad that includes bacon and eggs!

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp mustard (I like Dijon)
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 large eggs
12 thick slices bacon
6 cups spring mix salad
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

  • For dressing:  combine lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper in a blender.  With motor running, slowly add olive oil.   Remove and set aside.
  • For salad:  Poach eggs then place in ice water until ready to use.
  • Saute bacon until nicely browned and crisp.  Drain and set aside.
  • To assemble, toss spring mix with the dressing and divide evenly on 4 plates.  Sprinkle with bacon and cheese.  To quickly reheat eggs, immerse in simmering water for 30 seconds. Place one egg on top of each salad.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Zucchini Alfredo

An old school sauce with zucchini noodles.  You can top with chicken breast or leave it a vegetarian meal.  From Food and Drink Winter 2017.  I don’t have a spiralizer so I just cut long thin slices of zucchini.

1 cup 35% cream
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
Black pepper to taste
4 large zucchini
1 tbsp olive oil

  • In a medium saucepan over medium low heat, pour in 2/3 cup cream; stir in garlic, butter and salt.  Simmer for 5 minutes, allowing the sauce to slightly thicken while making sure it never boils.  Add remaining cream and simmer for 3 minutes more, then stir in cheese and simmer until sauce is noticeably thicker, about 2 to 4 minutes.  Taste to adjust seasoning and add pepper if need be. Set aside.
  • Wash zucchini and trim both ends to make them flat.  Place onto the spiralizer glider, making sure the centre of the zucchini is aligned with the circular centre blade.  Push the glider towards the from blades as you turn the handle and watch as your spiralled zucchinis materialize.  Keep a bowl nearby to collect noodles and clean out the pulp and cores as you go.  Toss with olive oil.
  • Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Add zucchini and cook in several batches, stirring often until just cooked and tender, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add Alfredo sauce into pan with hot zucchini noodles, toss to coat and serve hot with a few grinds of fresh black pepper.
Serves 4

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Asparagus Crunch

I love both the asparagus and the fried chickpeas in this recipe.  A great side or a whole meal depending on your preference.

Pour 2 tbsp olive oil into a skillet (I like cast iron best) and heat over medium high heat.  Add 1 can (398 ml) chickpeas, rinsed and drained.  Cook, in a single layer, stirring occasionally until golden and crispy, about 15 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove chickpeas to a paper towel lined plate.  Pat with paper towels.  Turn warm chickpeas into a bowl.  Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.  Coarsely chop one carrot.  Thinly slice 1 large or two small radishes.  Arrange 1 serving of blanched asparagus over a serving platter.  Squeeze a wedge of lemon overtop.  Scatter with sliced radishes and fried chickpeas.  Sprinkle with carrot.

Sunday, 17 December 2017


An easy salad to create and a great light option to hold you over between the big heavy meals of the holiday season.  Recipe based on one from Food and Drink Spring 2017.

1/2 cup Bulgur
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup diced tomatoes
Freshly ground pepper
2 cups finely diced celery
2 cups diced English cucumber
1 cup chopped green onion
2 cups roughly chopped Parsley (Italian works well)
1/2 cup roughly chopped mint
1/2 cup roughly chopped celery leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon

  • Cover bulgur with boiling water and lemon juice.  Let sit for 5 to 7 minutes.  Drain any excess water.  In large mixing bowl, stir hot bulgur with diced tomatoes.  Season with pepper.  Cool.
  • Add celery, cucumber and green onion to bulgur mixture.  Sprinkle over parsley, mint and celery leaves.  Toss with oil, lemon rind, allspice and cinnamon.  Season with salt and pepper.  Taste, adding more lemon juice if needed.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Baked Potato with Corn, Pepper and Bacon

A great side dish to any meal.  The crisp bacon pairs beautifully with the corn and pepper for a decadent topping.  Based on a recipe from Food and Drink Autumn 2017.

4 large baking potatoes (Red if you are able to get them)
2 tbsp canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 slices bacon, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup diced roasted red pepper
1 tbsp chopped thyme or oregano
2 tbsp butter

  • Preheat oven to 350F and arrange rack in centre.
  • Place potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with oil; season to taste with salt and pepper (I omit the salt entirely). Place directly on rack and bake for 65 to 70 minutes or until tender.
  • Meanwhile cook bacon in a large skillet over medium low heat until lightly crisped, about 8 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set bacon aside.  Measure out 1/4 cup drippings and return to pan; discard excess.
  • Add garlic and corn to skillet, season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 4 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Stir in roasted pepper, thyme and reserved bacon; cook an additional 4 minutes, stirring often, or until corn is tender.  Remove from heat, add butter and stir until melted.
  • Split top of potatoes and fluff flesh with a fork; divide corn mixture between potatoes.
Serves 4

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Maple Apple Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal seems more like a treat than a breakfast!  This recipe calls for apple but you could substitute it with any fruit.  I have used blueberries and I think strawberries would also work well.

3 cups old fashioned oats
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
2 cups fat free milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large apple, chopped
1/4 cup sunflower kernels or pepitas

  • Preheat oven to 350F.  In large bowl, mix first five ingredients.  In small bowl, whisk eggs, milk, syrup, oil and vanilla until blended; stir into dry ingredients.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Stir in apple.
  • Transfer to an 11x7 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with sunflower kernels.  Bake, uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes or until set and edges are lightly browned. 
8 servings

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Roasted Pepper, Bacon and Egg Muffins

A quick recipe for breakfast (or breakfast for dinner).

1/2 medium sweet red pepper
1/2 cup sweet onion, coarsely chopped
1 tsp butter
6 large eggs
1 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp pepper
2 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
2 tbsp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 whole wheat English Muffins, split and toasted

  • Remove and discard seeds from pepper half.  Place cut side down on baking sheet.  Broil 4 inches from the heat until the skin blisters, about 6 minutes.  Immediately place pepper half in small bowl; cover and let stand for 15 to 20 minutes.  Peel off and discard charred skin; chop pepper.
  • In small skillet, sauté onion in butter until tender.  In large bowl, whisk eggs, milk and pepper.  Pour into pan.  Add bacon and chopped pepper; cook and stir over medium heat until eggs are completely set.  Remove from heat.  Sprinkle with cheese; cover and let stand until cheese is melted.  Spoon onto English muffins.  Serve immediately.
Serves 2

Friday, 8 December 2017

Indian Iced Chai

I made 1/2 of this recipe but if you have a group over for the holidays this would be a great iced tea cocktail to enjoy.  Based on a recipe in Food and Drink Spring 2016

3 cups water
1/2 cup honey
8 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves, crushed
3 cardamom pods, crushed
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 cups cold milk
14 Chai tea bags
1 cup white rum

Garnish: Cinnamon Sticks

  • In a medium saucepan, bring the water and honey to a boil, stirring to dissolve the honey.  Add cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom pods and black pepper.  Cool mixture to room temperature and strain into a glass pitcher and stir to combine.  Refrigerate overnight.
  • Next morning remove the tea bags, squeeze them over the pitcher and discard.  When ready to serve, stir in the rum.  Add ice and stir to combine.  Garnish with cinnamon sticks.
Serves 8 to 10.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Blueberry Chai

A wonderful warm drink for a cold night.

1/2 oz Brandy
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/4 oz Amaretto
1/4 oz fresh orange juice
3 1/2 oz Chai Tea
Orange wheel

Pour brandy, Cointreau, amaretto and orange juice into a warm brandy snifter  Fill to taste with hot tea.  Garnish with orange wheel and blackberries.

Makes 1 drink

Monday, 4 December 2017

Matcha Mint Profiteroles

Matcha brings this recipe to a different level.  This is from Food and Drink Spring 2016.

1 cup (250 mL) water
⅓ cup (80 mL) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar
⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
4 eggs

1¼ cups (310 mL) 35% whipping cream
¼ cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
5 egg yolks
2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) matcha green tea
2 tsp (10 mL) finely chopped fresh mint
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

1 tbsp (15 mL) coarse sugar
Pinch of matcha green tea
Mint sprigs
1 Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).

2 Combine water, butter, sugar and salt in a medium-size, heavy-bottom saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add flour all at once. With a wooden spoon, stir until incorporated. Cook, stirring vigorously, for about 2 minutes or until a ball of dough forms and comes away from the sides of the pan and a film covers the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat.

3 With wooden spoon, beat in eggs, 1 at a time, stirring vigorously until incorporated and until dough is smooth, paste-like and shiny. (Alternatively, transfer dough to a warmed bowl of a stand mixer and beat with paddle attachment to incorporate eggs.)

4 Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a piping bag fitted with a ½‑inch (1-cm) tip, pipe mounds about 1½ inches (4 cm) in size, onto prepared baking sheets, at least 2 inches (5 cm) apart, to make about 24 profiteroles. With moistened fingers, smooth surface. If you don’t have a piping bag, use moist spoons to drop mounds of dough onto sheets.

5 Bake in top and bottom thirds of the oven for about 20 minutes, switching the position of the baking sheets on oven racks halfway through, until puffed and golden and they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Turn oven off. Remove baking sheets from oven. With the tip of a paring knife, poke a slit in the side of each profiterole. Return to oven; let stand for 15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. (Profiteroles can be stored in a cookie tin at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

6 For custard, heat ¾ cup (175 mL) of the cream in a small, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat until bubbles form around the edge. Whisk together sugar and egg yolks in a heatproof bowl until well blended. Whisk in flour. Remove cream from heat and whisk in matcha. Gradually pour hot cream mixture into egg mixture while whisking constantly. Return to pan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, for about 3 minutes or just until thick. Pour into a clean shallow bowl and stir in mint and vanilla. Place plastic wrap directly on surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until chilled, or for up to 1 day.

7 Whip remaining ½ cup (125 mL) cream in a chilled bowl until stiff and fold into custard until almost blended, leaving a few white streaks. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, until set, or for up to 12 hours.

8 To serve, combine coarse sugar and matcha in a small bowl, stirring until sugar is partially coated with matcha. Cut profiteroles in half crosswise, almost, but not all the way through. Brush tops lightly with water. Spoon the filling into profiteroles and replace lid. Place 3 on each serving plate, sprinkle with matcha sugar and garnish with mint.
Serves 8

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Rhubarb and Ricotta Tart

An elegant dessert that is tangy and rich.  From Food and Drink Spring 2016

1 lb (500 g) fresh rhubarb stalks, trimmed
½ cup (125 mL) water
¼ vanilla bean
¼ cup (60 mL) granulated sugar, plus more for crust
1 cup (250 mL) full-fat ricotta
1 large egg, beaten, 2 tsp (10 mL) set aside to brush crust
6 tbsp (90 mL) icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp (5 mL) finely grated orange zest
Frozen pre-rolled puff pastry, a 10-inch (25-cm) square, thawed, or ½ lb (250 g) frozen puff pastry, thawed and rolled into 10-inch (25-cm) square
1 Preheat oven to 400°F (200°F).

2 Cut rhubarb into 2-inch (5-cm) lengths. Arrange in a single layer inside a large roasting pan, convex side up. Pour water into pan. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into a small bowl with granulated sugar. Mix thoroughly and sprinkle over rhubarb. Bake until the tip of paring knife slides in easily but the rhubarb still holds its shape, 10 to 12 minutes. (Watch carefully—it’s a short window between perfect and mush.) Remove from oven and cool. Carefully transfer rhubarb to parchment-lined baking sheet. Pour juices into a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat; reduce until syrupy, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.

3 In a medium bowl, beat ricotta, egg, icing sugar and orange zest. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

4 Preheat oven to 425°F (220°F).

5 Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place rolled puff pastry on sheet. With the tip of a pairing knife, score a ¾-inch (2-cm) border. Brush border with reserved beaten egg and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar. Spread ricotta mixture over tart, staying within border. Arrange cooked rhubarb overtop, trimming pieces to fit. (There will likely be more rhubarb than you need.) Bake on bottom shelf until puffed and brown, 20 to 25 minutes. (Move tart to upper shelf if crust is browning too quickly on bottom. If rhubarb is weeping a lot of liquid during baking, dab overflow with paper towel so crust doesn’t get soggy.) Remove from oven and cool completely. Brush rhubarb generously with reserved syrup and serve at room temperature.
Serves 6

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Salmon Kabobs with Baby Bok Choy

A wonderful way to enjoy salmon!  The sauce is sweet and the bok choy flavourful.  I really enjoy cooking with sesame oil as it has a very distinctive flavour.  Serve with a side of rice or Quinoa.  From Canadian Living/The Barbecue Collection

4 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp each lemon juice and sesame oil
1 top liquid honey
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
4 skinless salmon fillets, each about 170 g, quartered crosswise

1 tbsp butter
1 shallot minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
4 baby bok choy, halved lengthwise
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil

  • In a shallow dish, mix together soy sauce, oyster sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil, honey and hot pepper flakes.  Add salmon, turning to coat; marinate for 10 minutes.
  • Thread salmon onto skewers.  Grill, covered on greased grill over medium high heat, turning once, until grill marked and fish flakes easily when tested, 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in skillet (I use a cast iron), melt butter over medium high heat; sauté shallot, ginger and garlic for 1 minute.  Add bok choy, 1/4 cup water and salt; cover and steam for 2 minutes.  Uncover and cook until tender crisp, 2 to 3 minutes.  Drizzle with sesame oil.  SErve with salmon.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Ancho Turkey Waves

A different way to have turkey!  This is a nice blend of sweet and spicy.  From Canadian Living The BBQ Collection.

450 g Boneless Skinless Turkey Breast
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch granulated sugar

  • Slice turkey crosswise into 1/4 inch thick strips.  Mix together oil, vinegar, garlic, ancho chili powder, oregano, salt and sugar, toss with turkey until coated.  Cover and marinate, refrigerated for 2 to 6 hours.
  • Thread into wave shoes on skewers.  Grill covered on greased grill over medium high heat turning once until no longer pink inside, about 6 minutes. 
Makes 4 main course servings.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Banana Cream Cake

Another fabulous dessert from Food and Drink Winter 2017.  I love the Banana filling and the rich flavour of the cake.  This is one of the best Banana Cake recipes I have tried.

¼ cup (60 mL) unsalted butter
1 cup (250 mL) sifted cake flour
¾ tsp (4 mL) baking powder
¼ tsp (1 mL) baking soda
⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) salt
1 overripe banana
¼ cup (60 mL) buttermilk, at room temperature
¼ tsp (1 mL) vanilla
6 tbsp (90 mL) packed light brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature

1 cup (250 mL) whole milk
1 overripe banana
¼ cup (60 mL) sugar
2 tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch
1 egg
1 yolk
1 tsp (5 mL) butter

1 ripe banana for assembly

1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream
2 tbsp (30 mL) icing sugar
¼ tsp (1 mL) vanilla

Bittersweet chocolate and dried banana chips
1. For the banana cake, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and continue cooking until the butter foams, turns golden brown and has a nut-like fragrance. Transfer the butter to a small bowl and chill until solid, about 1 hour.

2. Set the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line the bottom of an 8-inch (20-cm) square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

3. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the banana, buttermilk and vanilla; purée using an immersion blender. (Or mash the banana well and combine with the buttermilk and vanilla.)

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the chilled brown butter with the brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.

5. Lightly whisk the egg then add it gradually to the butter mixture and beat to combine.

6. On low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the banana-and-buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry. Stop the mixer before the last addition of flour is fully incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish mixing with a rubber spatula. Turn the batter into the cake pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool on a wire rack.

7. Turn the cake out of the pan, wrap with plastic wrap and freeze until firm.

8. For the banana cream, pour the milk into a small saucepan. Dice overripe the banana and add to the milk. Place over medium heat and bring the milk just to the boil. Remove from heat, cover and steep for 30 minutes.

9. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Add the egg and yolk and whisk until smooth. Strain the milk, return ¾ cup (175 mL) back to the saucepan and bring just to the simmer. Discard remaining milk. Gradually whisk into the egg mixture then pour it all back into the pot. Place over medium heat and, whisking constantly, cook the mixture until it begins to boil and thicken. Continue whisking for about 30 seconds more, then remove from heat and whisk in the butter. Transfer the banana cream to a bowl, cover the surface directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cool. (The banana cream can be refrigerated for 2 days.)

10. Just before assembling the cakes, dice the ripe banana and fold it into the chilled banana cream; set aside. Remove the banana cake from the freezer and, using a 2½-inch (6‑cm) round cutter, cut 9 individual cakes. Place the cutter back over 1 of the rounds and top with the banana cream, creating a layer about ¼ inch (5 mm) thick. (The cutter will hold the banana cream in place). Using a small offset spatula or small knife, smooth the top of the cream so it is flat and level with the top of the cutter. To remove the cake from the cutter, gently push it up from the bottom. Repeat with remaining cakes and banana cream.

11. In the chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the cream, icing sugar and vanilla. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe the cream over the banana layers. Grate bittersweet chocolate over each cake, then top with a banana chip or two. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Allow chilled cakes to sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before serving.
Serves 9

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Spanish Inspired Breakfast Sandwich

I actually made this as a breakfast for dinner as mornings tend to be pretty crazy in my household.  The recipe comes originally from Food and Drink Holiday 2016 but I have made a couple of changes as I was not able to find all of the ingredients in my small town.  This is hearty and I love the pairing of the tomatoes and sausage.  I used flat bread but you could switch it up for a baguette or a thickly sliced home made loaf.

Pan Con Tomate
6 flat breads like pita or naan
3 vine ripened tomatoes
Generous pinches of sea salt
1 garlic clove

6 fresh chorizo sausages
1 to 2 tsp olive oil
6 eggs
1 tbsp water
Pinch salt
1 tsp butter
2 tsp olive oil for drizzling
6 slices Havarti Cheese
2 tbsp toasted sliced almonds
Fresh thyme or oregano leaves, for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Prepare pan con tomate by toasting flat bread until lightly golden in oven.  Meanwhile, coarsely grate tomatoes into a medium bowl.  Season with salt.  Slice garlic clove in half.  When toast is cool enough to handle but still warm, rub cut sides of garlic clove over surface of toasted bread.  SEt aside until ready to use.
  3. Squeeze meat from a sausage casing and form into a patty.  Repeat with remaining sausages so you have 6 patties in total.  Lightly oil a frying pan.  Add patties and set over medium heat.  Cook until golden and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.  You may need to cook in batches.  Keep warm, loosely covering with coil on a baking sheet in oven (off but still warm) while you prepare eggs.
  4. Meanwhile whisk eggs with water and salt in a medium bowl.  Melt butter in a frying pan, preferably nonstick set over medium low heat.  Add eggs.  Cook, stirring and folding gently until softly scrambled 4 to 7 minutes.  Slow stirring towards the end allows scrambled eggs to hold together and be a bit omelette like so they are easy to serve.
  5. Divide toasted bread between plates.  Moisten each toasted bread piece with at least 1 heaping tbsp grated tomato mixture.  Drizzle with oil.  Layer each with a sausage patty, eggs and cheese. Sprinkle with almonds.  Garnish with fresh thyme or oregano leaves, if you like.  Serve immediately.
Serves 6

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Moroccan Chicken, Lentil and Barley Soup

The flavours in this soup are exotic and warm.  A simple recipe that you can adjust to your taste (as most soups are).  This is from Food and Drink Winter 2017.


2 tbsps olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs , about 1 lb in total
salt and pepper ot taste
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tbsps, diced garlic in oil
1 tbsps finely grated ginger
1 tbsp cumin seed
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 can diced tomatoes
8 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup pearl barley
2 tbsp lemon juice


Grab a large pot, add oil and heat over medium  heat.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to pot.  Cook chicken until golden, turning occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Set aside on a plate.

Add remaining oil. Add carrots, onion, parsley, coriander and salt. Cook over medium heat until veggies are tender (about 5 minutes.)  Add garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, paprika and cinnamon.  Return chicken  and any juices to pot. Stir.  Add in the lentils, tomatoes, stock and barley. Bring to  boil, then cover and gently simmer until lentils and barley are tender, about 40 minutes. Remove chicken.  Shred the chicken and return to the pot.  Add lemon juice, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of yogourt and chopped fresh cilantro. Savour the flavours and Enjoy!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Spicy Sausage, Bulgar and Kale Soup

This is a hearty and spicy soup I adapted from a recipe in Food and Drink Winter 2017.  You can lessen the heat with a mild sausage or pump it up by adding a little hot pepper - your choice.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped
1 celery stalk, including leaves, finely chopped
2 Italian sausages, spicy
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 large fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
8 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup bulgar
1 parmesan rind
1 small bunch kale
1 1/2 cups 1/2 inch diced butternut squash (acorn squash also works well)
Salt and black pepper to taste

Toasted Italian bread slice and or Parmesan curls

  • In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion, carrot and celery.  Remove sausages from casings and stir with vegetables in pot.  Stir frequently to break up and cook sausage, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and sage, then stir.
  • Add stock to pot.  Rinse bulgar then add to stock along with Parmesan rind.  Bring to a boil then cover and simmer gently, stirring once or twice for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, remove and discard ribs and stems from kale.  Stack leaves and cut crosswise into 3 inch pieces.  You should have about 7 cups lightly packed.
  • After 30 minutes, add kale and squash to pot.  Continue to cook covered for 10 more minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Ladle soup into bowls.  Top with toasted bread slice, if desired, or use only Parmesan.
Makes 10 cups.

Friday, 15 September 2017

French Mint Cake

A light dessert that goes perfectly with in season fresh fruit.

4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
dash of salt
1 cup sugar
2 Mint Chocolate Bars
1 tbsp cocoa
1 cup whipping cream

Beat egg whites to soft peaks.  Add salt, vanilla and tartar.  Gradually add sugar to stiff peaks.  Cover 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Draw a 6 inch circle on each.  Bake at 275F for 1 hour on second to bottom rack.  Turn off heat; dry for 2 hours.

Grate chocolate bars and reserve a little for the top of the cake.  Whip cream.  Add cocoa and grated chocolate.  Spread as icing cake.  Sprinkle rest of chocolate on top.  Refrigerate 6 hours or more; serve. Serves 8.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Almond Cake

This was originally for coconut but I switched the shredded coconut for slivered almonds.  You choose your favourite!

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
3 cups flour
3 eggs
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp lemon extract
1 cup slivered almonds

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs; beat well.  Sift flour with baking powder; add alternately with milk.  Add lemon extract and fold in almonds.  Bake in a large 9 x 13 inch pan.  This is not a high cake.  Bake at 350 F until a tester comes out clean and cake leaves sides of pan  30 minutes.  I prefer this without icing but you could put a butter icing on it if you wish.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Butter Cake

A Danish recipe I found.  It is simple and delicious.

3 1/3 cup flour
50 g yeast
1 cup milk, luke warm
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp butter

1 cup sugar
1 cup butter

Knead and place in large cake pan.  Spread out to fill pan.  Let rise for 1/2 to 3/4 hour.

Filling:  When dough has risen, punch down and spread filling over surface.  Bake 1/2 to 3/4 hour at 375 F.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Almond Meringue Cake

I used almonds but you could change those to walnuts, pecans or cashews depending on what is in your pantry  This is light and flavourful and is best made the night before and chilling.  Based on a recipe from Food and Drink Magazine Holiday 2015.

3 tbsp plus 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup roasted, unsalted almonds - I roast my own 300 F for 15 to 20 minutes
3/4 cup egg whites (about 6)

1 3/4 cups whipping cream
1 tsp instant espresso powder (or cappuccino)
2 tbsp roasted unsalted almonds chopped

  • Centre the rack in the oven and preheat to 300F.  Lightly grease the sides of three 8 inch cake pans.  Line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.  
  • Place the 3 tbsp of granulated sugar, the icing sugar and almonds in a food processor.  Pulse 8 to 10 times or just until the nuts are coarsely chopped.
  • Place the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer.  Using the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until frothy.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a slow steady stream and continue beating until the whites are stiff and glossy and the sugar has dissolved.  Test with your finger tips, you shouldn’t feel any sugar granules.  Continue beating, if necessary, in order to fully dissolve the sugar.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer and add about half the nut mixture.  Fold in with a rubber spatula just until incorporated.  Repeat with remaining nut mixture.
  • Divide the meringue evenly among the pans and smooth the tops.  Bake for 1 hour, turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven for 1 more hour.  Transfer to wire racks and cool completely.  The meringues can be made 2 days ahead and stored in an air tight container, at room temperature.
  • For the mocha cream, place the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer and place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes.  Remove from freezer and add the instant espresso powder and the icing sugar.  Using the whisk attachment, beat the cream to stiff peaks.
  • Place 1 meringue layer on a cake plate and top with about 3/4 cup of the whipped mocha cream, spreading it evenly right to the edges.  Repeat with the second meringue layer, move cream and the third meringue layer.
  • Mound cream over top. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours before serving.
Serves 10 to 12

Monday, 4 September 2017

Stove Top Potato Confit

Potatoes are always a crowd pleaser at my house and this is a good basic recipe for making them

1/2 cup chicken stock
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1.5 kg fingerling or mini potatoes
Salt and Freshly ground pepper
1 large head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
Leaves from a small bunch sage

  • In a large skillet (I use cast iron) stir together stock, lemon juice and oil.  Add potatoes to pan; season generously with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Reduce to low and cover with foil and leave undisturbed for 10 minutes.  Give the potatoes a stir, cover again and leave for another 10 minutes.  Remove foil.
  • Increase heat to medium low, add garlic and sage to pan and give it all a stir.  Cook an additional 20 minutes, stirring 3 or 4 times, or until potatoes and garlic are very tender and golden.  Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.  Keep warm until serving.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Couscous Stuffed Boneless Turkey Saddle and Tart Cherry Gravy

Another fabulous recipe from Food and Drink Magazine. A wonderful dinner for a small group this Thanksgiving. If you are hosting a larger group at least try the Cherry Gravy, it is a winner!

1 cup (250 mL) chicken stock
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter or duck fat, divided 1 cup (250 mL) quick couscous

1 cup quick couscous
1⁄2 cup (125 mL) dried sour cherries
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) shelled, toasted pistachios
1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) ground allspice
1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) ground cinnamon
1 onion, chopped
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) chopped parsley
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 boneless, skin-on turkey saddle, 4 to 5 lbs (2 to 2.5 kg)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp (30 mL) melted butter, or duck fat at room temperature 3 tsp (15 mL) chopped thyme, divided
2 tbsp (30 mL) flour
2 cups (500 mL) chicken stock
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) tart cherry juice
1⁄4 tsp (1 mL) ground allspice

1 For the stuffing, combine chicken stock and 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter or duck fat in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, remove from heat, and stir in couscous and cherries. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, add pistachios, allspice and cinnamon and give it a stir.

2 In a small skillet, heat remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter or duck fat over medium heat; add onion and fry until golden, about 7 minutes. Add onions, parsley and thyme to couscous mixture and stir to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper.

3 Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).

4 Cut 8 pieces of twine, each about 12 inches (30 cm) long. Working on a large cutting board, arrange them parallel to each other, with about 1 inch (2.5 cm) between each. Open turkey like a book, and place in centre of twine with centre seam perpendicular to twine; season flesh with salt and pepper. Spoon stuffing into length of seam. Beginning with a piece of twine nearest the centre, gather both ends together to enclose stuffing; tie and repeat with remaining twine to form a torpedo-shaped roast. Trim excess twine and place on a rack over a small roasting pan or baking sheet. Brush with butter or duck fat, sprinkle with 2 tsp (10 mL) thyme; season with salt and pepper.

5 Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F (180°C) and cook for another 18 minutes per pound, or until internal temperature reaches 165°F (73°C). Remove turkey and rack to a board and tent with foil while finishing gravy.

6 Place baking pan over medium heat on stovetop. Sprinkle flour over drippings and stir until a smooth paste forms. Pour chicken stock into pan (if using a baking sheet, scrape paste into a small pot before proceeding) and whisk until smooth; bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes to thicken and concentrate flavour. Stir in cherry juice, allspice and remaining 1 tsp (5 mL) thyme. Season to taste.

7 Carve turkey into slices and serve with gravy. Serves 8

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Asparagus with Mustard Vinaigrette

Wonderful springtime flavours, just don’t over cook the asparagus!

500 g fresh asparagus, trimmed
1/4 small onion, very finely chopped
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cups baby greens
1/4 cup toasted almonds

  1. Steam asparagus until crisp-tender.  Drain and pat dry with paper towels.  Set aside
  2. Combine onion, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.  Gradually whisk in oil
  3. Divide salad mix on plates.  Arrange asparagus on top and drizzle vinaigrette.  Sprinkle with nuts.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Ice Capp Cooler

A perfect dessert on a hot day! I used chilled coffee leftover from the mornings no but a chilled espresso would also be nice.

1 oz Kahlua
1/2  oz Vanilla Vodka
4 oz chilled coffee
1 scoop vanilla ice cream (use a good quality)

Combine Kahlua, Vodka and coffee in a large glass and add ice cream. Enjoy

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Black Bean, Grilled Corn and Watermelon Salad

A perfect salad for your summer BBQ.  Sweet, tart, cool, fresh, with hints of barbecue charring, this salad is delightful all summer long, and not just with  Grilled Chicken Breast. The flavours and colours complement fish and shellfish, pork, grilled tofu or halloumi cheese. Add feta and turn this into a vegetarian main all on its own. Cilantro or coriander is a love-it-or-hate-it herb; it can be replaced with Thai basil.  From Food and Drink magazine
¼ cup (60 mL) gold tequila
⅓ cup (80 mL) extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup (60 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
1 tbsp (15 mL) agave syrup
1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated
¼ tsp (1 mL) fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2½ cups (625 mL) or 2 cans (each 398 mL)
black beans
4 cobs of corn, shucked
3 cups (750 mL) or about ½ a mini watermelon,
diced in 1½ inch (4 cm) cubes
1 to 3 jalapeño peppers, seeds and veins removed,
brunoised or very finely diced
1 sweet long red pepper, seeds and veins
removed, finely diced
8 green onions (scallions), white and tender
green parts, finely sliced
⅓ cup (80 mL) fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
or finely chopped
1 cup (250 mL) fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves
and tender top stems, finely chopped
1 To make vinaigrette, in a large non-reactive bowl add tequila, olive oil, lime juice, zest, agave, garlic, salt and pepper; whisk and set aside.

2 Rinse and drain the beans well. Set aside to dry.

3 Grill corn over medium flame, turning often, until a good amount of char forms on much of each cob—about 10 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

4 Once cool, stand the cobs up on a large chopping board and, using a sharp chef’s knife, strip the kernels off.

5 Add the corn to the vinaigrette bowl, followed by the beans, diced watermelon, jalapeño (as many as you can take!), red pepper, green onion and chopped herbs. Taste and adjust for salt.
Serves 4 to 6

Monday, 31 July 2017

Baked Sweet Potato “Mac” and Cheese

An excellent vegetarian take on this classic.  I don’t have a spiralizer but I just used a coarse grate and it worked fine.  From Food and Drink Winter 2017.

4 large sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups (500 mL) 2% milk
1 cup (250 mL) half & half (10%) cream
1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
Cracked black pepper
1 lb (500 g) sharp cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup/250 mL reserved)
2 egg yolks, beaten
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

2. Butter a large 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33-cm) baking dish and set aside.

3. Trim both ends of sweet potatoes to make them flat. Place onto the spiralizer glider making sure the centre of the sweet potato is aligned with the circular centre blade. Push the glider towards the front blades as you turn the handle and watch as your spiralized sweet potatoes materialize. Keep a large bowl nearby to collect “noodles” and clean out the pulp and cores as you go.

4. In a large, preferably nonstick pot over medium heat, sweat the sweet potatoes for 6 to 8 minutes, alternating between keeping pot covered and stirring so that potatoes don’t stick to the bottom. Turn off heat. Stir in cornstarch until well incorporated.

5. Add melted butter to the pot of sweet potatoes. Stir in milk, cream, mustard, salt and pepper. Toss in all but 1 cup (250 mL) of the grated cheese and stir well. Add egg yolks and give it one more big stir. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake uncovered in preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining cup (250 mL) of cheese and broil until top is bubbly and darker brown. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Serves 8 to 10

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Black Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk and Diced Mangoes

This is an unusual take on the traditional rice pudding.  The black rice pairs well visually with the mango and the contrasting flavours are a perfect match.  This is from Food and Drink Winter 2017 - I did not have Thai Basil but a regular basil works just as well. I substituted brown sugar for the coconut sugar.

1½ cups (375 mL) black rice
2½ cups (625 mL) coconut milk
3 cups (750 mL) water
⅓ cup (80 mL) coconut or brown sugar
⅓ cup (80 mL) dried blueberries
Pinch salt
1 cup (250 mL) diced mango, about 2 small mangoes
2 tsp (10 mL) lime juice
½ tsp (2 mL) chili flakes (optional)

8 Thai basil leaves
1. Rinse rice in a sieve then place in medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add coconut milk, water, sugar, dried blueberries and salt. Bring to boil uncovered. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until rice is very tender and has absorbed most of the liquid.

2. Sprinkle mango with lime juice and chili.

3. Spoon rice into serving bowls. Top with mango and garnish with Thai basil leaves.
Serves 4

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Apple Strudel

A dessert that is sure to impress and will not take you all day in the kitchen!

5 medium apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
6 sheets phyllo pastry, thawed
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs

  • Combine apples with sugar and cinnamon.  Stir in nuts; set aside.  Place 1 phyllo sheet on damp tea towel, keeping remaining phyllo covered with damp cloth.  Lightly brush with butter; sprinkle with about 1 tbsp bread crumbs.  Repeat with remaining pastry, butter and crumbs.
  • Spoon apple mixture down centre of pastry.  Fold sides over top of apples.  Fold under ends.  Place, seam side down on greased 15x10 inch jelly roll pan.  Brush lightly with butter.  Cut 4 horizontal slits, evenly spaced, on top of strudel.  Bake at 375F for 30 to 35 minutes or until apples are tender.  Serve warm sprinkled with sugar, if desired.  Makes 8 servings.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Nori Tempura Crisps with Tamari Dip

A great starter for any meal, these have a delicate sea flavour that is not overpowering.  Make ahead and warm up for visitors if you have a group.  From Food and Drink Holiday 2015.

2 sheets of nori, each 8 x 7½ inches (20 x 19 cm)
¼ cup (60 mL) tamari or reduced-sodium soy
1 tbsp (15 mL) balsamic vinegar
½ tsp (2 mL) sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely grated ginger
Vegetable or peanut oil for frying
1 egg yolk
1¼ cups (310 mL) ice cold water
1 cup (250 mL) cake and pastry flour
½ tsp (2 mL) baking powder
Sea salt, preferably black
1. Tear each nori sheet into roughly 16 equal-sized pieces. In a small bowl, whisk together tamari, balsamic vinegar, sugar and ginger; set both nori and dipping sauce aside.

2. In a large saucepan, pour a depth of oil to 1½ inches (4 cm). Heat to 385°F (195°C).

3. While oil is heating, whisk together egg yolk and water in a large bowl. Add flour and baking powder; stir until just combined.

4. Working in manageable batches, dunk individual pieces of nori into batter, shake off excess and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, turning over mid-way through, until light golden; remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with remaining nori (you may not need all of the batter). Crisps may be made up to 6 hours in advance and held in a single layer on a rack, uncovered, at room temperature. Heat for 3 minutes in a 400°F/200°C oven to re-crisp and heat through. Serve hot crisps alongside dipping sauce.
Serves 6 to 8

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Ginger and Blueberry Skillet Cobbler

I love using my cast iron skillet, it is by far my most used pan.  I rarely however use it for dessert and I was thrilled to try a dessert in it.  This recipe I followed pretty closely except for changing the Demerara sugar to dark brown sugar.  It is a great dessert with a home/comfort food feel to it.  From Food and Drink 2015.

This beauty can be assembled ahead and held in the fridge until you’re ready to slip it onto the grill midway through dinner. If you’re lucky enough to be making the cobbler with wild blueberries, decrease the amount of cornstarch to 3 tbsp (45 mL). Don’t sweat it if you don’t have the right skillet—a 9 x 13‑inch (3.5 L) metal baking pan can be used as a substitute.

8 cups (2 L) blueberries
¾ cup (175 mL) demerara sugar
¼ cup (60 mL) cornstarch
¼ tsp (1 mL) allspice
¼ tsp (1 mL) cinnamon
2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
½ cup (125 mL), 1 stick, cold butter, cut into chunks
⅓ cup (80 mL) finely chopped candied ginger
1 cup (250 mL) cold whipping cream,
plus extra for brushing
2 tbsp (30 mL) white sanding sugar
2 tbsp (30 mL) maple sugar

1 In a 12-inch (30-cm) heatproof skillet, at least 2 inches (5 cm) deep, combine blueberries, demerara sugar, cornstarch, allspice and cinnamon; gently toss to combine; level and set aside.

2 Add flour, salt and baking powder to the bowl of a food processor; pulse to blend. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Turn out into a medium bowl; stir in ginger. Pour 1/2 cup (125 mL) cream over and stir until just combined. Gather dough with your hands and knead once or twice to bring together.

3 Tear an approximately 2-tbsp (30-mL) piece of dough and pat into a rough round about ½ inch (1 cm) thick. Place on top of blueberry mixture about ½ inch (1 cm) from edge of skillet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing the biscuits equidistant from one another; blueberries will not be completely covered. (Cobbler may be prepared to this point and held in refrigerator for 6 hours.) Lightly brush tops of biscuits with a little cream and sprinkle sanding sugar over biscuits.

4 Light one side only of gas grill, turn to medium, close lid and bring to 375°F (190°C).

5 Place skillet on side of grill that is off, close lid and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until blueberries are bubbling and biscuits are golden. Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

6 Meanwhile, combine maple sugar and remaining ½ cup (125 mL) cream; whip only until sugar is dissolved and cream is lightened and soft (before soft peaks form).

7 Divide between 10 small bowls and drizzle each with an equal amount of cream.

Serves 10

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Eggs Baked in Toast Cups with Spinach, Asiago and Pancetta

There is lots of flavour in this breakfast sandwich!  I actually enjoyed these for dinner-but they are meant for a brunch/breakfast.  Make sure you buy small eggs for this recipe as the large eggs are too big for the cups.  From Food and Drink 2016.

1 tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 container (140 g) washed baby spinach
2 tbsp (30 mL) water
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

12 thin slices pancetta

2 tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter, softened
14 slices good-quality white sandwich bread
2 tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup (175 mL) grated Asiago cheese
12 small eggs
Hot sauce for serving

1 For spinach, heat oil in a large pot over medium-heat. Add garlic. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add spinach, water, salt and pepper. Raise heat to high. Cook, turning spinach over with tongs, until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to plate to cool.

2 For pancetta, preheat oven to 400°F (200°F).

3 Place pancetta without overlapping on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until brown and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Transfer to paper towel to drain. (Pancetta will keep, covered, layered in paper towel and refrigerated for 2 days. Microwave on high for 20 seconds to crisp them back up.)

4 For egg cups, preheat oven to 375°F (190°F). Generously butter a 12-cup muffin tin, using about ½ tsp (2 mL) of butter per cup.

5 With a rolling pin, roll 12 bread slices into squares—if the slices are rectangular, roll from long end to long end. Trim crusts. Carefully line tins with bread. (Extra bread is to patch any holes.) Brush bread edges with melted butter. Place 1 tbsp (15 mL) cheese in each cup. Make a ring of spinach around cheese so there is a well for egg. Working one at a time, crack an egg into a ramekin, then pour into cups.

6 Bake on lower shelf until whites are set but yolk is still runny, 20 minutes. Briefly cool, then transfer to serving platter. Crumble pancetta over eggs and serve with hot sauce.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Spiced Squash Salad

I love anything squash and this salad is no exception.  I was unable to find Kabocha squash in my rural store so I substituted an extra acorn squash.  From Food and Drink Holiday 2016.

½ cup (125 mL) olive oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
1 tsp (5 ml) honey
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cumin
½ tsp (2 mL) ground ginger
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
Pinch chile de arbol or cayenne

1 delicata squash, about 1 lb (500 g)
1 acorn squash, about 1 lb (500 g)
½ butternut squash or 1 small one
½ kabocha squash, about 1 lb (500 g)
3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 small head of radicchio
1 tsp (5 mL) olive oil
3 tbsp (45 mL) finely chopped green onion
1 Whisk together oil, lemon juice, honey, cumin, ginger and cinnamon. Add a pinch of chile de arbol or cayenne. Reserve.

2 Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

3 Peel squash if you don’t want to leave skin on. Remove and discard seeds. Cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces. Toss with olive oil and season
with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring the squash around occasionally to ensure it cooks evenly. The squash should be tinged with gold. Remove from baking sheet to a plate and season again if needed. Squash should all be combined.

4 Cut each radicchio leaf in half through the centre stem. Heat a skillet, preferably nonstick, over high heat and add olive oil. Stir in radicchio leaves and toss until hot but still crisp. Place a large spoonful of mixed squash on a plate and garnish with radicchio leaves.

5 Drizzle vinaigrette over everything. Scatter with green onions.
Serves 4

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Oven Fried Flank and Cauliflower Steaks with Leek Ash

Vegetable Ash is a new trend for me and I wasn’t sure about it, however it is well worth the work.  It first appeared at Noma Restaurant in Copenhagen and is a great way of using up vegetable pieces that might otherwise be thrown out.  This recipe is from Food and Drink Winter 2017.

2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped garlic
1 tbsp (15 mL) soy sauce
1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh herbs of choice (we used tarragon) 
1 flank steak, about 1½ lbs (750 g) 

1 head cauliflower
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 soft-boiled eggs
1 tbsp (15 mL) Leek Ash (recipe follows) 
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
½ cup (125 mL) melted butter

Leek Ash
Maldon or other finishing salt
¼ cup (60 mL) microgreens
1 tbsp (15 mL) tarragon leaves
1. Combine oil, balsamic, Dijon, garlic, soy and fresh herbs and brush over steak. Marinate for 2 hours on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator. 

2. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). 

3. Cut cauliflower in half through the stem. Cut each half in half again to make 4 steaks. Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast on a parchment-lined baking sheet, turning halfway through, for 30 minutes or until crisp-tender and golden at the edges. Reserve. 

4. Blend eggs, leek ash and lemon juice using a stick blender in a high-sided bowl. Slowly drizzle in melted butter. Season with salt and pepper and reserve at room temperature. (If you make ahead and refrigerate, return it to room temperature before serving.) 

5. Raise oven heat to 450°F (230°C). Place a baking sheet in the oven and leave for 10 minutes. 

6. Place steak on baking sheet and return to oven. Bake for 5 minutes. Flip the steak and bake 5 to 7 minutes longer or until medium-rare. Remove from oven and place on carving board. Let rest for 10 minutes. Reheat cauliflower in 450°F (230°C) oven for 5 minutes or until heated through. 

7. Dust serving plates with Leek Ash. Place a cauliflower steak on each plate and spoon leek ash emulsion around base of cauliflower. Slice steak thinly against the grain. Lay slices overtop of sauce and cauliflower. Sprinkle with a little Maldon or other finishing salt. Garnish with microgreens and tarragon leaves.

Serves 4

1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Separate and thoroughly rinse the green tops only of 1 leek. Dry well. Place in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until greens are dry and deeply browned. Let cool completely. Place leek greens in a blender or food processor and process into a fine powder. Sift ash to remove any large pieces.
Makes 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 mL

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Nut Cake

This is an old Danish recipe that goes well with coffee!

1 cup butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup nuts
6 or 7 egg whites
1 to tbsp rum or frangelico

Stir butter and sugar well together.  Put nuts through grinder once and add them.  Add flour, rice flour and baking powder.  Whip whites of eggs stiffly; fold into batter carefully.  Bake in a well greased baking dish with a detachable bottom for about an hour.  Turn out while still hot; sprinkle with rum/frangelico.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Zucchini and Corn Salad

A great summer salad!

1 tbsp canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
2 lbs zucchini, thinly sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1/2 cup corn kernels
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
3 to 4 tbsp water

  • In large skillet over medium heat, heat oil.  Add onion and pepper.  Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring, until onion is soft.
  • Add Zucchini, corn, salt and chili powder; mix well.  Cook 5 minutes or until zucchini is softened.  Add 3 to 4 tbsp water, cover and cook 2 minutes more, until zucchini is soft and tender.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Acorn Squash with Spiced Applesauce

Squash is one of my favourite vegetables and this is a nice variation.

1 acorn squash, seeded and cut into 6 wedges
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup unsweetened chunky applesauce
2 tsp butter
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup

  • Heat oven to 375F.  Brush squash with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place on a jelly roll pan lined with aluminium foil.  Bake about 20 minutes, until squash is fork tender and slightly browned.
  • In a small saucepan, heat the applesauce.  Stir in butter and cinnamon, cook 1 minute more.  
  • Serve squash with a dollop of applesauce and a drizzle of syrup.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Turkey Brunch Burgers

The slow roasted tomatoes here are the star of the show on these wonderful brunch burgers!  From Food and Drink Autumn 2016.

1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh thyme leaves
1 tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp (5 mL) balsamic vinegar
8 large plum tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, grated
4 tsp (20 mL) chopped sage
1 lb (500 g) ground turkey
4 slices smoked bacon, finely chopped
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper
Large pinch freshly grated nutmeg

6 English muffins
6 slices mild cheddar cheese
Grainy mustard to taste
1 cup (250 mL) baby arugula

1 For the slow-roasted tomatoes, preheat oven to 275°F (140°F).

2 In a large mixing bowl, whisk garlic, thyme, olive oil and vinegar. Halve tomatoes lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds. Place tomatoes in bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 2 hours. Reduce oven to 250°F (120°F). Bake until tomatoes are shrivelled but still moist, 1½ to 2 hours. Remove from oven and cool completely. (Tomatoes will keep, covered and refrigerated, for 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

3 For the turkey patties, heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add apple and sage. Cook, stirring, until moisture has evaporated and apples are al dente, 5 minutes. Transfer to plate to cool.

4 In a mixing bowl, combine turkey, bacon, cooled apple mixture, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly. Divide into 6 even balls. Form balls into patties that are 4 inch (10 cm) diameter. (Patties will keep, covered and refrigerated for 2 days.)

5 Preheat barbecue to medium-high. Split muffins in half. Trim cheese slices to 3-inch (8‑cm) squares and set aside.

6 Clean and oil barbecue grate. Grill patties until cooked through, 5 minutes per side. During last minute of cooking, place cheese on top of patties to melt. Grill muffins on cut side until lightly toasted, 20 to 30 seconds.

7 Smear muffin bottoms with mustard. Top with a few arugula leaves. Layer with patties, 2 tomato halves each and muffin tops. Serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftover tomatoes for another use.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Apple Pie with Cheddar Crumble Topping

Who doesn’t love cheddar cheese and apple pie?  This is a wonderful twist to a traditional pie.  From Food and Drink Autumn 2016.

5 medium-size apples, such as McIntosh
¼ cup (60 mL) all-purpose flour
3 tbsp (45 mL) granulated sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon

½ cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (30 mL) packed brown sugar
3 tbsp (45 mL) room-temperature butter
1½ cups (375 mL) finely grated old cheddar cheese, about 4 oz (125 g)

Easy Butter Pastry (recipe follows)

1 Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

2 For pie, peel apples, core and thinly slice. They should measure about 4½ cups (1.125 L). Place in a bowl. In a separate bowl, stir flour with sugar and cinnamon. Gradually sprinkle over apples, tossing apples with your hands to evenly coat.

3 For crumble, stir flour with brown sugar in a bowl. Add butter and use your fingers to crumble together. Add cheddar and work in until evenly mixed. Press into clumps.

4 Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll pastry on a lightly floured surface into a long rectangle, approximately 16 x 7 inches (40 x 18 cm). Lift and fit into 14 x 4½-inch (35 x 14‑cm) loose-bottom rectangular tart pan. Trim pastry even with edge of pan. Place apples in crust, spreading evenly. Do not mound. Gently press down and move slices to fill in any large gaps. Add cheese-crumble mixture, a handful at a time, to top of apples. It should look uneven.

5 Set on a baking sheet. Place in preheated oven. Immediately reduce heat to 350°F (180°C) and bake 40 minutes.

Serves 4 to 5


2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (30 mL) granulated sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¾ cup (175 mL) cold unsalted butter
3 tbsp (45 mL) ice-cold water

1 Whirl flour with sugar and salt in a food processor until blended. Cut butter into small pieces and scatter over flour mixture. Pulse until coarse crumbs form. With motor running, slowly pour cold water through the feed tube. Whirl just until dough starts to come together. Gather into a ball. Flatten into a thick round. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 30 minutes.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Soft Sage and Cheddar Pretzels

A guilty pleasure!  These are soft and have an incredible texture from simmering them in a baking soda solution.  Recipe from Food and Drink Summer 2015.

3½ cups (875 mL) white bread flour
1 cup (250 mL) whole wheat flour
2 tbsp (30 mL) sugar
2¼ tsp (11 mL) kosher salt
1½ tsp (7 mL) rapid rise yeast
2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped fresh sage,
about 15 leaves
1½ cups (375 mL) lukewarm water
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
8 cups (2 L) water
¼ cup (60 mL) baking soda
1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tsp (5 mL) water
About 1 cup (250 mL) grated sharp
cheddar cheese
Maldon salt for sprinkling

1 Combine bread flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar, salt, yeast and chopped sage in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the lukewarm water and oil, and mix on low speed until the ingredients come together and form a ball of dough, 2 to 3 minutes.

2 Increase the speed to medium and continue mixing until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 4 to 5 minutes. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl and be soft but not sticky.

3 Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until almost double in bulk, 1 to 1½ hours.

4 Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide into 10 equal pieces, about 3 oz (90 g) each.

5 Form each piece into a smooth round ball. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and rest on the work surface for 20 minutes. This will allow the gluten to relax.

6 Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using your palms and fingertips, roll each piece of dough into a strand about 12 inches (30 cm) long. As you work, place the strands on the parchment-lined baking sheet and keep covered loosely with plastic wrap. Once all the strands are rolled out, return to the first strand, and roll out again until it is at least 20 inches (50 cm) long. (Giving the dough a rest while rolling makes it much easier to work with). Continue with the remaining strands. If the dough seems dry at any point, lightly mist the work surface with water.

7 Working with one strand at a time, shape into a large U with the curve closest to you. Cross the 2 ends of the rope twice to make a twist, then fold the twist back down over the bottom of the U to form a pretzel shape. Set the pretzels on the parchment-lined baking sheets and continue shaping the rest of the strands.

8 When all the pretzels are shaped, cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until puffy, 20 to 30 minutes.

9 Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

10 To prepare the baking soda solution, place 8 cups of water in a large high-sided pot and place over high heat. Bring the water to a rapid simmer, then add the baking soda. The baking soda will cause the water to foam up the sides of the pot. Make sure the baking soda is fully dissolved, then reduce the heat to maintain the water at a simmer.

11 Lower 2 to 3 pretzels at a time into the simmering water. Simmer for 30 seconds and, with a slotted spoon, flip the pretzels over. Simmer for another 30 seconds, then lift the pretzels with the slotted spoon, allowing the water to drain off. Place them back onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pretzels.

12 Once all the pretzels have been simmered in the water, brush with the beaten egg and top with 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 mL) grated cheddar cheese. Sprinkle Maldon salt overtop.

13 Bake the pretzels, 1 tray at a time, in the middle of the oven until they are deep brown, about 20 minutes.

14 Transfer the pretzels to a cooling rack and let sit until cool enough to handle. They are best eaten fresh and warm, but can be stored for up to 1 day. Store in a paper bag at room temperature. Re-warm in a 350°F (180°C) oven for about 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 10 large pretzels

Monday, 29 May 2017

Japanese Squash Curry

The original recipe called for Kuri squash which is not available in my location.  I used a butternut squash which worked well.  This is a nice veg dish if served over some Jasmine rice.  Based on Food and Drink Holiday 2016.

1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cutes
6 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp Japanese Curry powder
1 cup diced onion
1 cup unpeeled coarsely grated apple
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 cups vegetable stock
4 cups chopped kale or baby spinach
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

  • Preheat oven to 450F.
  • Toss cubed squash with 4 tbsp oil.  Season with salt, pepper and 1 tbsp Japanese curry powder.  Placed on oiled baking sheet and roast for 15 to 18 minutes, turning once or until squash is fork tender and tinged with gold.
  • Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion to skillet and sauté for 2 minutes or until softened.  Add half the grated apple, remaining curry powder, ginger and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes or until fragrant.  If mixture is too dry, add 1 to 2 tbsp more oil.
  • Stir in stock a little at a time until well combined.  Bring to boil, stirring.  Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes to thicken.  Add remaining apple and cook 1 minute more.  Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Add squash to skillet and cook in sauce for 5 minutes or until squash has absorbed flavour.  Stir in kale and cook for 1 minute or until wilted.  Garnish with cilantro just before serving.  Serve with rice.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Green Beans with Sun Dried Tomatoes

The combination of sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese and white wine make this an elegant side dish.

500 g green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white and 1 inch green, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and coarsely chopped
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 3/4 tsp dried
Salt and Pepper
4 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled

  • Cook green beans in lightly salted boiling water in a large saucepan until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.  Drain and cool.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add leeks and cook 5 minutes, until softened; add garlic and cook 1 minute more.  Add wine, tomatoes, and thyme.  Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.  Boil 2 minutes, until most of the wine evaporates.
  • Mix in green beans.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a bowl; gently stir in goat cheese.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Coconut Cream Puffs

Crispy creaminess defines these fancy French-style cream puffs. The craquelin layer adds sweetness, texture and, best of all, ensures that the puffs rise with a perfect dome shape. The coconut cream filling and craquelin can be made a few days in advance, but the choux pastry should be made, baked and filled the day of serving.  From Food and Drink Spring 2016.

6 tbsp (90 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 tbsp (75 mL) packed light brown sugar
⅔ cup (150 mL) all-purpose flour

½ cup (125 mL) milk
½ cup (125 mL) water
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch (1 cm) pieces
1 tsp (5 mL) sugar
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp (250 plus 30 mL) all-purpose flour
4 to 5 eggs

½ cup (125 mL) sugar
3 tbsp (45 mL) flour
6 egg yolks
2¼ cups (560 mL) milk
3 tbsp (45 mL) unsalted butter
1½ cups (375 mL) sweetened shredded coconut

1½ cups (375 mL) whipping cream
¾ tsp (4 mL) vanilla extract

1 In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light. Add the flour and continue to mix until the dough is smooth.

2 Place the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll it to be as thin as possible. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet and freeze until firm.

3 Place oven racks in the top and middle positions and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

4 In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt. Place over low-medium heat until the butter is fully melted. Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a full boil. Remove from heat and add the flour all at once. Stir immediately with a wooden spoon until the flour is fully incorporated. Place the pan back on medium heat and cook, stirring all the while, for 1 to 2 minutes. The mixture is ready when it congeals in a lump and begins to stick to the bottom of the pan.

5 Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the dough on medium speed for about 30 seconds to release some of the steam. Add the eggs one a time, mixing until each egg is incorporated. After adding 4 eggs, check the consistency of the dough. Stop the mixer and pull up the paddle. The dough is ready if it is smooth and shiny, and hangs down in a “V” shape. If the dough is too stiff, whisk the remaining egg to break it up and beat it into the dough bit by bit until the proper consistency is achieved.

6 Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch (1-cm) round tip. Fill the bag about halfway and pipe mounds of dough about 1½ inches (4 cm) in diameter, spacing them about 1½ inches (4 cm) apart. You should have 20 to 24 in all.

7 Remove the craquelin dough from the freezer and let it stand a minute or 2 until it is just soft enough to cut. Using a round cookie cutter, about the same diameter of the puffs, cut out circles of the dough and set them on top of the puffs, pushing down very gently.

8 Place in the oven and bake until the puffs rise and begin to brown, about 15 to 18 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F (160°C) and continue baking until the puffs are completely dry and golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

9 For extra crispness, cut the cooled puffs with a serrated knife, just below the craquelin line. Place cut-side up on the baking sheets and return to the 325°F (160°C) oven for another 5 to 10 minutes. Cool completely before filling.

10 For the coconut cream, combine the sugar and flour in a medium bowl and whisk in the egg yolks, making sure the mixture is smooth. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Stir half the milk into the egg mixture then pour the whole mixture back into the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until the mixture boils and thickens. Continue cooking and whisking for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter, followed by the shredded coconut. Pour the coconut cream into a bowl, cover the surface directly with plastic wrap and chill completely.

11 Just before assembling the cream puffs, whip the cream and vanilla to stiff peaks and place into a piping bag fitted with a decorative star tip. Place 1 heaping tbsp (15 mL plus) of coconut cream into the bottom of each pastry puff. Pipe a layer of whipped cream over top and finish with the craquelin-covered lid. The puffs can be filled and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Hazelnut Torte

A wonderful coffee cake with only three ingredients!  This is a Danish recipe.

3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
200 g hazelnuts, ground in blender

Beat eggs and sugar well at hight speed until light and fluffy.  Add ground nuts.  Mix well; pour into greased and floured springform pan.  Bake in middle oven rack at 400F for 30 minutes.  Serve with freshly whipped cream and berries in season.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Cranberry. Asiago and Walnut Galette

This is a simple pie with big bold flavours.  The Asiago and the Cranberry flavours are very complimentary and your friends and family will love this after dinner treat.  From Food and Drink Autumn 2016

2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (30 mL) granulated sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¾ cup (175 mL) cold unsalted butter
3 tbsp (45 mL) ice-cold water

¾ cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
⅓ cup (80 mL) all-purpose flour
½ tsp (2 mL) each ground nutmeg and cinnamon
2 cups (500 mL) frozen cranberries, thawed in refrigerator
2 cups (500 mL) grated Asiago cheese, about 5 oz (150 g)
1 cup (250 mL) coarsely chopped walnuts
1 egg plus 2 tbsp (30 mL) water (optional)

1 Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).

2 For pastry, whirl flour with sugar and salt in a food processor until blended. Cut butter into small pieces and scatter over flour mixture. Pulse until coarse crumbs form. With motor running, slowly pour cold water through the feed tube. Whirl just until dough starts to come together. Gather into a ball. Flatten into a thick round. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 30 minutes.

3 Roll dough or refrigerated pie crust into a 12-inch (30-cm) round. It will be thick. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. In a bowl, stir sugar with flour and seasonings. Add cranberries and toss until coated. Add cheese and nuts and toss with your hands to evenly mix.

4 Tumble onto the pastry round, leaving a 2½‑inch (6-cm) uncovered border of pastry. Move some cranberries to the top so they will be visible when pie is baked. Gently press cranberries into the filling. Fold uncovered pastry up over filling, overlapping edges as needed. Gently press where they overlap. About 5 inches (12 cm) of cranberry mixture will remain uncovered. Cut out a piece of parchment paper that will approximately cover the exposed filling.

5 For a shiny crust, whisk egg with 2 tbsp (30 mL) water and brush over crust. Lay parchment cut-out over filling, but don’t press onto the crust.

6 Immediately reduce oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).

7 Bake until crust is deep golden, about 1 hour. Let rest about a half hour before serving. Pie will keep well at room temperature for at least a day.

Serves 6 to 8