Monday, October 25, 2010

A Change

A few weeks ago I was attempting to update my photos on the blog and I discovered that there is a new template...sadly I pressed one too many buttons and voila, my old page is gone and now we have a new one...desperately needs work and I desperately need a patient soul to help...will work on it!
For now I must back track.
Thanksgiving has come and gone and with it a lot of turkey. I tend to buy big birds simply for the fun of leftovers afterwards. In fact, sometimes the leftovers are even better than the actual dinner!
I did make the turkey casserole in this months Fine Cooking and loved it. Here it is:
4 tbsp butter; 3/4 c dry breadcrumbs; 2 tbsp olive oil; 1 tbsp parmesan; 1tbsp freshly chopped sage; 1lb assorted fresh mushrooms; cleaned andsliced to 1/8 inch thick; 3 tbsp minced shallots; 2 medium cloves of garlic, minced; 1/2 c flour; 6 cups milk; 1 1/2 c grated old cheddar; 3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley; 8 oz pappardelle pasta; 3 cups shredded or diced turkey.
Heat oven to 350.
Butter a three quart baking dish. Bringe a large pot of well salted water to a boil over high heat.
Mix the breadcrumbs, 1tbsp o fthe olive oil, parmesan and sage in a bowl with a little salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining tbsp of olive oil to the pan and then add the mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently, until softened and golden on the edges, about ten minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots and garlic; cook, stirring until softened, about two minutes. Season to taste with s and p. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a four quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly until it colours a little, 2-3 mins. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually whisk in enough of the mild to form a thick smooth paste. Set the pan back over the heat and whisk in the remaining milk in a steady stream. Add t tsp of salt. Bring to boil and whisk constantly. REduce the heat and simmer for three minutes, whisking constantly. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheddar and parsley.
Cook the pasta until al dente and drain.
Spread the pasta in an even layer on the bottom of the buttered baking dish, sprinkle the turkey and mushrooms over the pasta. Pour the sauce on top, using a fork to distribute it evenly.
Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the entire casserole. Set the dish on a baking sheet to catch drips and bake until it is golden. About 50-60 minutes. Let it rest for 15 or so minutes before serving.
While writing I realized that everyone is done with their birds..I think this could work well with chicken or if you buy a turkey breast you could use that too...just bake and roast and then slice or dice!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Just when...

I was ready to pitch twenty five cook books the other day...I have too many that i just do not use any more. And that is for a variety of reasons. Some I bought to support a charity. Some are low-this and low that...not great either. And some are just dull. The smart thing would be to go through all of them and remember what is good, because there are some treasures buried in there but the reality is that I am not going to do that any time soon. And I am not going to pitch them either, I am way too sentimental to do that.
But I have not felt inspired to cook anything new and interesting from these books for a long time so when I was given the most beautiful new cookbook today from my very dear friend I nearly cried.
It is beautiful and full of interesting food, that is carefully prepared with the simplest of methods.
Stay posted!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Perogies are just one of those foods that you really love or really do not love. My kids love them. And they really are an easy dinner when you need an easy dinner.
I have not actually made them, one day maybe. But for now, I am buying them frozen ever so happily.
And the best part is what goes on top. I have been buying the good old potato perogies and here is a list of toppings that I put in bowls to choose from: chopped tomatoes, chopped green onion, chopped crispy bacon. Sour cream and spinach are also good.
Any way you dress these divine little dumplings they will taste oh so good!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Welcome to Autumn

I find this time of year to be a thoughtful one. We are starting to stay indoors just a little bit longer. Being close to those we love a little more often. It is that time when cooking takes on the smell of cinammon and sage after an August full of basil.
The house smells like dinner (in a good way) long before you sit down at the table.
I made something today that I have not made in years, stuffed pork tenderloin. It had all of the qualities that I mentioned above and it tasted so good with steamed brocoli and carrots.
I took two pork tenders and sliced them down the centre, but not all the way through. Just opening them up so they are flatter and twice the width. Place in a casserole. In a saucepan melt 1/4 c butter and add half of a chopped onion and 1/4 c of chopped celery. Add a little sage and savory, salt and pepper. Turn the heat off and add two cups of finely chopped bread crumbs, a handful of raisins and one chopped apple, skin removed. Mix together and place and or pack on top of the first tenderloin. Plunk the second tender on top. Wrap four pieces of bacon around the two tenders, almost like a ribbon and secure with toothpicks. Bake for about twenty minutes...Enjoy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dinner...turning in to lunch

I realize that this is a very practical way to eat, eating leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day. And so many clever fold do it. I remember a lovely lady I worked with at the TD Bank years ago would bring the most divine leftovers, the lunch room always smelled so good. And as recent as this summer I was given some great advice to eat what I had made the night before. It is practical and such a good way to keep that refridgerator clean...not to mention economical!
Having said all of this it is a challenge to do day after day for your family.
Last week I started well because we had a group of ten kids for lunch the first day back. My kids were thrilled because there were leftovers all week!!! It did get me thinking how great it is to have a choice in the morning, be it leftover chicken or blackforest ham or salami. Peanut butter is a weekend only treat but sunflower butter is a great substitute...amazing with creamed honey!!!
Leftover rice with peas and carrots or leftover mac and cheese are both good for lunch. My next challenge will be to make sure there is enough food in there because I have one in particular who is eating not only a lot but very frequently!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy September

It really is the start of the year for those of us who have school age children. With September comes fall which is a heavenly time of year for food. I have been buying a lot of tomatoes and basil and making a lot of tomato sauce and pesto, two favourites. Both are easy to make and taste soooooooooooooooo much better than what you have to settle for when you buy it. It is also the time of year when we think of comfort food, ways to make us feel good after a long day at school or a miserably rainy day. It being Sunday my husband is making dinner, and he is preparing his specialty, roast chicken. His method is to simply stuff them with lemons and rub the outside with a little butter and herbs de provence. The taste is wonderful but your house smells heavenly!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Potato Salad

This quite possibly could be the best of all summer salads, at least one of the top five.
My favourite way to make it is to use small potatoes, scrubbed with the skins still on. Cut them in half, ensuring all are the same size. Boil them just until they are firm, not mushy. Do drain them well, potatoes retain so much water. Once they are drained pour on your very favourite vinaigrette, use tarragon as the herb. And add as many shelled peas as you feel like!!!
This is so good paired with any bbq and green salad...or...for lunch the next day!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Favourite Food

The truth is that pizza is my most favourite food, really and truly. And we have one place in town that is excellent, wood fired, thin crust, divine. But making pizza is pretty much the best way to go, it tastes so good and every time I make it, my husband always says, this is the best pizza ever...!!!
And you can make enough for your family at a fraction of the cost, not to mention you can add exactly what you want with the best ingredients possible.
So go crazy tonight, add whatever you want whether it is goat cheese or feta, pesto or tomato sauce, pepperoni or pancetta, just have fun and pour a little red to go with, will definitely taste even better that way!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Something new...for us

We had never bbq'd a whole chicken before. This was something my husband was dying to try, so off I went to find the perfect little chicken, turns out I found an eight pounder, which is very good for us. My husband took the back bone out, sounds awful really, did not watch the process. He made a dry rub for it and let it sit overnight in the fridge. The flavour was incredible but the biggest delight of all was how juicy it was, which is why we should always buy bone in chicken...I often get lazy and this was the perfect reminder! Totally worth the effort!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

No sooner....

Do I say that it hasn't felt like summer yet and boom, it has hit us now too. There is a heat wave right across the country and on one hand it is heavenly to feel the warmth of July and the sun shining in a clear blue sky. It would be so easy to say that on the other hand it is just too damn hot. But no, I am not going to say that. I am going to embrace the weather and hope that all of the sweating might just melt away a few totally unnecessary pounds!!!
The last thing any of us want to do when the kitchen is over thirty degrees is turn on the oven...So I made my version of the rebar salad which includes greens, grated carrots and grated beets, chopped cuc's and tomatoes, sprouts, chick peas and feta. Heaven I tell ya...I did have some candied salmon and hummous and pita to go with, cold and easy. Not a traditional dinner in the least, but good and filling and not bad for you...until of course the Drumsticks came out!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Spaghetti Carbonara

In that it just hasn't felt like summer yet I had to make this decadent treat. Well, actually my husband made it...and I gotta tell you it was really good. I do not know if it is the pancetta or if it is the smooth flavour of eggs and freshly grated parmesan...but it was excellent. Now I am going to have to run twice as far tomorrow because this was rich and for sure I ate more than I should have!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Last weekend my husband and I went for a drive and stopped at half a dozen local farms along the way. Actually, we started off at the most wonderful bakery to pick up sticky buns for our kids (which was the intention), and these were not just any sticky buns. They are made with whole wheat flour that has been grown and milled on the island and then the flour is used at their bakery to make these and many other incredible goodies.
We also bought rasberries, tomatoes, at least four varieties and it is only June, honey, nugget potatoes, green onions, carrots and three different colours of beets. We then stopped and bought bison sausage. Had never tried it before but had to today because they were new to us and of course... they too are local...
They were heavier than our favourite turkey sausages but were good and flavourful. Together with a warm salad of beets, greens, nugget potatoes and carrots with a little goat cheese on top, it was a wonderful meal!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

School's out so...back to business!!!

Excuses, excuses! I have actually fed my family even though have not found the time to write about it...why I do not know. But now that school is over and summer has started and most importantly, the sun is shining it is time to get cracking.
And really what could be better than an awesome salad? I am going to try the tabouleh and chickpea salad from my favourite book that i told you about, Whitewater Cooks. It is full of veggies plus bulghur, feta and green olives, sounds like heaven. I have not made it before and will give you the recipe if I love it...that is if you have not bought the book yet!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sooooooo Nice!!!

I have just heard that there is a very kind soul out there who misses reading this, thank you for letting me know tri girl! I have had a very frustrating computer that has finally been unplugged and is en route to a new home...the good news is that it's replacement is now up and running and so I am able to write again.
Sadly tonights meal was not that interesting. But in a way it was. My husband and I were out so I threw together a dinner for my three very busy kids to have when they were all home. Many years ago if I thought of fish and chips it would mean battered and fried. Believe me, I loooooove it that way with lot's of malt vinegar. But the reality is that it is just so hard on the body that we can only eat it once in a while. Tonight's version included baked tilapia and sweet potato fries...and lots of veggies and hummus...inhaled by all...always a good sign.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stir Fry

I absolutely love stir fry's. So many good flavours and textures all in one bowl! Found the best sauce in an old book by Rose Reisman.
What I did was saute all of my veggies in the wok and I started with onion and then added peppers, asparagus and spinach. Once they were all ready to serve I poured on this sauce...and served over brown rice.
Hoisin Marinade:
2T soya sauce; 2T hoisin sauce; 2T rice vinegar; 1T brown sugar; 1T veg oil; 1/2t minced fresh ginger; 1/2 t crushed garlic. Mix them all well in a jar and use when ready!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


While out for a run with a friend this am the conversation turned to food, as it seems to do quite regularly. We talked about favourites in our household and a mutual favourite is burgers. Girls like burgers but honestly it is the boys who love them, at least in my house, and in hers too. So, grabbed some lean ground beef from that cow of mine, remember that freezer full in my basement and am going to make them tonight. I do not have a recipe but know that pepper, worcestshire sauce, a little tobasco will go in and probably not much more. We used to faithfully stop at a burger joint en route up north and they stuck to the basic toppings which I happen to think is the best. So this is dinner tonight with that spinach salad from whitewater that I told you about a little while ago.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tomato Sauce

Our grocery store offers "case lot" sales and most of which I do not even look at. But the other day they had cases of tomatoes on the vine that looked lovely, smelled divine and were priced well. So, I bought one. So, tonight I am going to make a huge batch of tomato sauce...can always find a use for tomato sauce.
I am going to chop two onions and saute them in olive oil with four cloves of garlic for at least thirty minutes. They will be really soft and fragrant. To that I will add my tomatoes, there are probably two dozen small tomatoes that I will quarter. This will cook for another thirty minutes. It will reduce and become quite thick...add a little salt and pepper and use it or pour it in to a jar and keep it in the fridge or freezer.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cous Cous

If ever you have leftover veggies or are bbq'ing, like we did...again tonight, couscous is an amazing accompaniment. Of course it is pasta so be careful not to inhale too much of it. But toss in asparagus, green onion and lemon juice and you have a wonderful side to whatever comes off the grill.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mashed Potatoes

Mondays have not been my favourite day recently. So I thought hm, today is the day that I am going to make that change. The sun is out, will take my dog for a nice long walk, do some laundry and make a nice comforting dinner. This will of course include mashed potatoes. And not just any mashed potatoes. I am going to throw in some sweet potatoes to make them even better. For some reason, mashed potatoes make everything all right.
And I have some chicken breasts on the bone that are defrosting as I write. We will bbq them, that is I will marinate them with some lemon juice, oregano, olive oil and garlic and my husband will cook them!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sauteed Tilapia over Swiss Chard with Tarragon Butter

I made this the other night and was so happy with the result. Tilapia is such a mild white fish, and so easy to cook. This recipe is from Fine Cooking Magazine.
When I made it I tripled it for the five of us. The recipe below is for two people. And maybe it might just be made by two friends of mine, one who loves to cook and one who will love fish if she tries this!!!
1T olive oil; 2 cloves of minced garlic; 1 bunch of swiss chard, stems and ribs discarded and the leaves coarsley chopped, washed and dried; s&p; 5T butter; 2 tilapia filets (at least 6oz each); 1 shallot that has been chopped; 1T fresh lemon juice and 1.5T chopped fresh tarragon.
Heat your oil in a nice big non sticking pan over med/high heat. Add the garlic and cook until it smells heavenly, 30-45 seconds. Add a big bunch of the chopped chard and toss it so that it is coated in the oil. Continue adding the chard until it is all well coated and a little wilted. Add s&p and divide it on your plates. Then add 1T of butter to the pan and add your fish. Saute on both sides, total s/b 4-6 minutes. Place your fish on top of the chard. Now add the shallot to the pan and let it soften and then add the lemon juice and then take the pan off the heat. Add to it the final 4T of butter and tarragon, put it back on the heat and stir till the butter melts. Pour over your fish and chard and oh my, enjoy!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

Just when you think spring is here, the weather turns cool and rainy. And what a way to use up the extra two pounds of ground beef that you did not need for the spaghetti sauce you made on the weekend but took out of the freezer...
Browned some onion and garlic and add the cooked beef. To that add some flour, beef stock (or chicken because I have no beef) thyme and savoury, worcestershire sauce, frozen peas and s&p. Boil and mash some potatoes.
Place the meat in a baking dish and spread your mashed potatoes on top. Bake for 15-20 mins at 400. This is a welcome dinner after a day of school and sports!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chicken Fingers

More fun and easy food. This is not exactly chicken fingers, more like the best baked chicken you have ever tasted. I cut the boneless and skinless breasts in to long narrow pieces, just because. This recipe is actually one my mother in law gave me. She does not cut up the chicken, hers is the "grown up" version. Either way, it is so good.
Mustard Chicken
8 T unsalted butter; 2 T veg oil; 6 T dijon; 3 T minced shallots; 2 T fresh thyme or 1 t dry; 1 t pepper; 1 t crushed red pepper flakes; 8 boneless and skinless chicken breasts and 4 c fresh bread crumbs.
1. In bowl number one add 6 T butter oil, dijon, shallots, thyme and s&p. 2. In bowl number two add your bread crumbs. 3. Mix ingredients in bowl number one and dip your chicken pieces in it first and then dip in bowl number two which is full of bread crumbs. 3. Place chicken pieces in shallow pan and bake at 425 for 10-20, depending on the thickness of the chicken.
You can double and freeze half or even better is to make wraps with any leftovers for lunches the next day, always a help first thing in the morning!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mac and Cheese

Every so often you just have to make it. First of all, it is a pretty reliable dinner. Most of us like it. You should always double the recipe because this is definitely one of those meals that is easy to double. And my oh my it is a treat to find the second one in the freezer on a night when you really need it. It can be as healthy as you want it to be. I use whole wheat pasta pretty faithfully now, so even though it is still pasta I do have the satisfaction of knowing it is a little better for us. And I always use old cheddar because frankly it just tastes a lot better. As far as milk or cream goes, I use milk and a little butter and dijon mustard to make the sauce and then add the cheese. Make a green salad and you are ready.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fun Food

I made fajitas for the first time in ages. They are ridiculously easy, fun and healthy too. Grill chicken or steak, and slice it very thin. I also sauteed some sliced peppers and browned some onions. Throw some salsa in a bowl and some slivered iceberg lettuce in another bowl. Don't forget to grate some cheddar cheese too. Then heat up your tortilla wraps.
Once you have everything ready, just lay it out starting with the wraps, then meat/chicken, lettuce, peppers and onions. Lastly you can add the salsa and cheese and roll up. Hope they are a hit!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tandoori Chicken

This is actually a quick meal too. The key is to make the marinade first so that the chicken can sit in it for a little while, first thing in the morning or if you forget, when you come home before you make the rice.
Grab a mixing bowl and in to it add: 1c of plain yogurt; 2 T fresh lemon juice; 1 T minced fresh ginger; 2 t minced garlic; 1 t ground turmeric; 1/2 t ground coriander; 1/2 t ground cumin; 1/2 t garam marsala; s & p;
Add 8 skin on, bone-in chicken thighs to the above bowl and mix it all around. Cover and refrigerate while you heat your grill.
When the grill is hot, remove the chicken from marinade and place skin side down on the grill. Cover until skin is browned, 4mins approx. Flip the chicken and grill another 4mins. Cook until chicken is cooked through...should not take much longer.
This is great with jasmine rice and a, yes, green vegetable.

Friday, April 2, 2010


This is a funny mushroom because they look like sponges. But my oh my do they smell good when you make a risotto with them. I was taught how to make risotto by a very dear family friend who I had been told makes "the" best risotto in the world. While in town for a concert he came for dinner and then...lucky us...made us dinner! I was given a shopping list and could not wait to see him. The stories that accompanied the recipe were better than the food, but then, they usually always are. My son loves morels so I made the risotto tonight with morels instead of porcini's, it was good but was definitely lacking the italian and musical flare of my teacher.
Saute some onion in olive oil and add your arborio rice. I think I used about a cup and a half of rice and 2 or 3 table spoons of oil with one chopped onion. Pour boiling water over your dried mushrooms and let them steep. Heat a good three cups of chicken stock on the stove. Once the rice is well coated start to add the hot stock, 1/2c at a time. Constantly stirring. Rinse the mushrooms and chop BUT keep the liquid, it is gold! Do add it as well to your rice, it adds a lovely earthy flavour. Keep adding stock to your rice until it is cooked...and continue to stir...and then add the mushrooms, some peas and freshly grated parmesan. Divine!!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easy "Spring" Pasta

I know it is pasta, this is definitely one of my try not to eat too much of's but, oh, sometimes it is just way too convenient. Especially when you have had flu go through your house and some are sick and some are on the other side...just easy. So here is my favourite spring pasta. Another recipe where I kind of "wing" it.
Boil your favourite short pasta, and just before it is ready add a bunch or however much you like of asparagus that you have cut up in to one inch pieces. Now, only cook for thirty seconds, seriously, there is nothing worse than mushy green veggies. Drain together in the colander. And then add, some good olive oil, lemon juice, lot's of ground black pepper and parmesan. Amounts totally vary, add more of what you like and less of what you do not...easy and good and fast...enjoy!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Quick Meals

During the week this is what is ideal. A friend of mine asked me yesterday for some ideas...she is definitely needing healthy but wanting it to be fast. I on the other hand had one of those weekends where we did not eat properly at all so tonight will hopefully satisfy her "quick" request and my attempt at holding off scurvey!!!
In Fine Cooking this month there is a great looking veggie dish on page 33.
Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta.
1 med fennel bulb with fronds attached (pretty hair on the tips); 1 med orange pepper, cut in to approx four pieces, seeded and stem removed; 1 med red onion but into 1/4 inch slices; 1 med zucchini, again, 1/4 inch slices; 1/4c olive oil; salt and pepper; 3 T red wine vinegar; 1 1/2 cups of grape tomatoes, halved; 1/2 c crumbled feta cheese; 3 T loosely packed thinly sliced fresh basil. Cut stalks off fennel, remove 1/4 c worth of fronds and set aside. Remove outside piece and quarter the bulb and then slice the quarters lengthwise in to...yes...1/4 inch pieces. I am not bbq'ing so will brush all of the veggies and toss in the oven. You can grill them if you are able...I am not...sad I know. Idea is to char them with o oil and a little salt. Cool and chop in to pieces and transfer to a bowl. Make the dressing out of the remaining 2 T oil, vinegar, 1/4t salt and 1/4t pepper. Toss with veggies and add fronds and tomatoes. Sprinkle the feta and basil on top and voila! A quick and healthy and of course, very pretty dinner awaits!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Swiss Chard

I stopped at my favourite farm stand, Madrona and scooped up some fresh swiss chard and cauliflower. So excited to make a lentil salad with them tonight. I think I will saute some onion and garlic in olive oil and add some turmeric and cumin. Then I will chop the cauliflower quite small in to bite size pieces and toss them in. Lastly will go the chard, again, chopped in to ribbon like pieces. I have these lovely small black lentils that can be cooked in water with a bay leaf or thyme for flavour. Drain them and add to the veggie mixture. Will be easy, check, healthy, check and will taste really good, big check. Still have lot's of greens so will make a nice big green salad and bought a warm baguette, which I have not touched (!) and cheddar cheese to round it out.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tis the Season

In our part of the world March is the beginning of halibut season. It is such a versatile fish that you can add so many flavours to, not to mention cook it in a variety of different ways. I bought a filet today and baked it for honestly, 14 minutes. Ready and inhaled. I put a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. I made a dressing of liquid honey, soy sauce, lemon juice, fresh ginger and wasabi.I then cut the filet in to pieces and poured it on top, flipped the pieces over and flipped them back again. Heat the oven to 425 and bake away. Enjoy it, will try some other combos in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

That was amazing, can we have it again tomorrow?

Music to my ears at the dinner table. I made "Vietnamese-Style Caramel-Braised Chicken" tonight from Fine Cooking. It was really good with brown jasmine rice and bok choy. Here is the recipe:
1/4 c fish sauce (I used Oyster sauce); 2 large shallots, finely chopped; 2 medium cloves of garlic, minced; 1/8 t crushed red pepper flakes; ground pepper; 1/4 c granulated sugar; 6 - 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 3/4 inch strips; 1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro.
In a small bowl, mix the fish sauce and 1/4 c water. In another small bowl, mix the shallots, garlic, chili and 1/2 t pepper.
Put the sugar and 2 T water in a 10 inch straight sided saute pan over medium heat and cook, swirling the pan until the sugar dissolves. Let the melted sugar come to a boil and cook, swirling the pan occasionally at first and more frequently as the sugar browns, until it has caramelized to a deep amber colour, about 5-8 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and, standing back to avoid splatter slowly add the fish sauce mixture to the pan. Swirl the pan to combine, return to the heat and bring to the boil. Add the shallot mixture and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the shallots soften, 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken pieces to the pan in a single layer, reduce the heat to medium low and cover, cooking at a simmer and stirring occasionally until the chicken is cooked through 8-10 mins. Serve sprinkled with cilantro, I did not because I forgot to buy it...but still tasted great.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More and Less

It is again leftover night tonight, made a ridiculously huge lasagne. I am going to make a nice big green salad to go with. But while standing in the kitchen I started to think about how to replenish my pantry, now that it is looking a little better. A friend of mine coined the above phrase at the beginning of January while we were discussing new years resolutions. I loved this, loved loved loved it. I have thought of more fruit, less sugar; more water, less wine (sometimes!); more lipstick, less chapstick. You get the idea. So while checking out my pantry I started thinking like this. More rice, less pasta. More whole grains, less cereal. More beans, less potatoes...all in time but a goal none the less.

Monday, March 22, 2010

March Break

When you have kids this is one of the highlights of the year...a true break after the winter term of school. Another fun part for me is the change in routine. Different foods if you are away, more casual meal times or just more time to make new things. Any way I look at it, this is an indulging time with my family that I enjoy immensely.
But now, back to normal and I noted that my pantry has to have a bit of an over haul. Just so you know, I loooooooooooove to purge. This includes my closet, my kids' rooms, really, any where that I deem necessary at the time. Of course, there are areas that need it desperately but are not that back to the pantry. I noted that for some bizarre reason I have yet another box of lasagne noodles. This means a veggie lasagne tonight and I use a recipe loosely from the French Laundry Cookbook. I know that I do not have everything but am going to wing it...I am sure Thomas Keller has done that once or twice.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Thank heavens for my family and my friends. My great friend Beth Hayhurst took some pics for the blog and my sweet and technically savvy son put them up for me, I hope you enjoy them. We included a pic of asparagus because spring is here and nothing says spring like asparagus!
We are going to have a roast chicken to go with, in fact we are having two roast chickens because one just doesn't do it any more. And I am going to make some herb rice. This is a recipe that my mother in law makes and it is heaven.
Melt 3 T butter in pan and add 1 cup of uncooked brown rice and 1 cup of chopped onion. Stir until onion turns golden. Add 2 cups of hot chicken stock and 1/2 t marjoram, 1/2 t savoury and 1/2 t salt. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


It has been a while since I made spaghetti so tonight is the night. I do not follow a recipe for this. What I do do is start with onions and garlic, just like yesterday and then add extra lean ground beef. I know that there is more flavour in lean but I would much rather eat fat elsewhere than in my beef. So, from here I add tinned tomatoes and ideally fresh oregano or basil. Do not forget lot's of freshly ground pepper and a little salt. I will probably make a spinach salad to go with, gotta get those greens in!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

From Soup to Salad

I am going to make a huge salad tonight...lot's of colours and textures over quinoa. It will include sauteed onions and garlic, always a good start. Add celery, peppers, and corn. If you have mushrooms, carrots or brocoli, add away. And just to make sure, add a tin of black beans, great source of protein. In another pot, heat a little oil and add some paprika and then your quinoa and water. When all is ready, chop some parsley and add a little lemon juice.
This is a version of the quinoa salad from Whitewater. I did not have all of the ingredients so I used what I did have. And it was fabulous!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup

I was advised today to make this for dinner tonight. When two of my kids came down with a miserable flu my third child declared this should definitely be our dinner tonight. Now, the day did not leave a lot of time for preparation. So here is what I did. I bought a roast chicken from the grocery store. Could not be bothered to defrost any chicken broth so I bought a quart of it. And threw in some egg noodles and a little green onion. Heated up a baguette and voila, dinner was ready and loved by the sickies and by those who are still feeling pretty fine!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Mother Grain

Ruth Reichl, former editor in chief of Gourmet tells us that Quinoa is the "mother grain of the Incas because it is loaded with essential amino acids as well as lot's of minerals and vitamins". Add to that the fact that it is so good and so ridiculously easy to make, it is a no brainer dish. Tonight I am going to make it with peppers, green onions, corn, lime juice, and a little olive oil. If you want, you can grill some pork chops, happy little carnivores will love that or instead, just throw some black beans in the salad for something a little different.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"We need to eat more fish!"

We all do I think. I love to eat fish but can get a little lazy about making it as often as I should. So today I went shopping with the intention of buying it, which is a start. Ages ago I mentioned one of my favourite new cookbooks and tonights dinner is coming from the second one which I also bought, Whitewater Cooks at Home. There are two amazing recipes that I really like for fish, one I will make tonight with the sole and the other with the ling cod, which is now in the freezer, it is on page 127.
The first is a Sole Gratin with tomatoes, capers and olives, page 114.
1 1/2 lb of sole or red snapper; 1t salt and 1t pepper; 1 28oz can of plum tomatoes, drained and chopped; 1/3c olive oil; 1 small onion, diced; 1/4c pitted kalamata olives, chopped; 1 T capers (I usually double); 1/2c breakcrumbs or panko; 1/2c flat leaf parsley. chopped; 2 more T olive oil.
Preheat your oven to 400F. Lightly oil an oven proof gratin dish. Season the fish with s&p and roll them up and place them in the dish. Combine the tomatoes, olive oil, onion, olives, capers and 1/4c of the parsley. Spoon this mixture over the fish. Combine the breadcrumbs, the rest of the parsley and the 2T olive oil, scatter over the tomatoes on top of fish. Bake for about 25mins until the crumbs are crispy and brown and the fish is baked through. Serve with mashed potatoes or rice, heavenly!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


They are such a versatile food. But finding good quality sausages can be a challenge. After much sampling I have found a great local, organic, turkey sausage. I think it is very important to choose where you buy them carefully, based on what can/should go in them. When you do find that great source, make the following Penne with Quick Sausage Sauce. It is the favourite of a very good soccer player I know!
2T olive oil; 2 small red onions, peeled and chopped; 5 Italian spiced, fresh pork (I use italian spiced turkey) meat removed from skins and crumbled; 1 1/2 T chopped fresh rosemary; 2 bay leaves; 2 small dried chillies crumbled; 1 x 800g tin of peeled plum tomatoes, drained and chopped; sea salt and freshly ground black pepper; 250g penne rigate; 150ml double cream; 120g freshly grated parmesan.
In a large saucepan heat the oil and fry the onion until light brown. Add the sausage, the rosemary, bay leaves and chilli. Fry together over a high heat, stirring to mash the sausages. Remove all but 1 T of the fat and continue to cook for 20 minutes. The meat should be brown. Add the tomatoes, stir and return to the boil. Remove from the heat. Cook the penne in salted boiling water and drain. Stir the cream in to the sauce along with the penne and half the parmesan. Serve with the remaining parmesan. This is from The River Cafe Cookbook, a fabulous book given to me by a superb cook and even better friend.

Monday, February 22, 2010


These wonderful little soybeans are a wonderful green to use in stews, stirfries or straight in the shell. It was not that long ago that they were a newfound treat. Now I find myself grabbing a bag from the frozen food section on a regular basis. I have some cooked chicken that I am going to cut up and add to a white sauce that will include sauteed onions and thyme. Instead of using peas for this version of chicken pie I am going to use edamame. For a crust you can use frozen puff pastry or make your own, the best I think is out of the Canadian Living cookbook.
Put your sauce, chicken and edamame in your pan, do not forget to add parsley, makes it taste and look better and then roll out whichever pastry and fold it on top.
The soybeans are a little different than peas and add more nutritionally and taste better I think!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Good Old Fashioned Casserole

The actual meaning of the word casserole is "a kind of stewpan" in the Oxford English Dictionary. But when I think of it, I think of the fifties and the Leave it to Beaver family life. I also recall a famous tuna casserole from the seventies in Welcome Back Kotter. The point is it is a way to combine foods together to make life easier for the cooker of the household. And I have a recipe for your that I am quite sure was written in the fifties by a very old family friend.
Chicken and Rice Casserole.
2lb chicken breasts; s&p; 2T butter; 1/2c chopped onion; 1T chopped garlic; 1/3lb mushrooms; 1 Bay leaf; 1/2c dry white wine; 1/2c uncooked brown rice; 1c chicken broth. Brown chicken in butter and sprinkle with s&p. In casserole place the rice, wine and broth. Sprinkle onions, garlic, mushrooms and bay leaf. Add the chicken. Cover the casserole and cook for one hour at 350 or until rice is tender.
Make a vegetable and you are ready to eat!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


For so long I have had a craving for meatballs. I do not know why, I do know that it is not what you are thinking. It might be the smell or the simplicity or the simple fact that they are loved by all. There are so many recipes that I have found, including beef, pork and turkey but I have yet to find a a really good one. So this is one of those dinners that I call a "cheater" dinner, and this is why. I have been buying them, and either making tomato sauce for spaghetti and meatballs or, I have thrown them in the saucepan with a honey glaze and then boiled some potatoes and brocoli. Either way, they are good and as easy as your day allows.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ju Jubes

Now, I realize that this is not a dinner, nor is it an ingredient that I might add to make dinner. But it is definitely a food (?!) that conjures up very strong memories for me. A long time ago, nearly thirty three years ago in fact, I was introduced to jujubes. Did you know that you can eat jujubes in bed quietly if you take them out of their bag and spread them out on the bedsheet? And if no one sees you eating them, they do not count? Well, I did not know that either but I discovered it one evening while having a sleepover at my new friend's house. We went to see the movie Fame, yes, the original. But before going to bed we said good night to her Mom who of course wanted to see us and hear all about the movie. What did we discover upon sitting down on her bed? Little lumps under the duvet! What fun we had talking and eating jujubes with her while recounting all of the details of the movie.
That evening and many more memories of her will stay with me, she was beautiful and funny and even tolerated our attempts at hair colour in her kitchen. Some foods really do have powerful emotions associated with them, even ju jubes.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winter Food

February can be a very long month with very cold weather. I no longer have to cope with snow in February on a daily basis but I do get to drive to it on occasion. And when we do go to the snow it is to ski. Skiing is an activity that requires hearty fare (love that expression) and lot's of it (food that is). So if you are skiing and having dinner with friends (get excited v) and find yourself wanting to make something that will be enjoyed by all make a Beef Bourgignon. It is a meal that combines winter veggies like carrots and leeks but will also fill you up and warm you up after a day spent outside on a ski hill. Have a good bottle of red ready to enjoy with it!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Love Lucy

On Saturdays there is a column in the Globe and Mail newspaper that I look forward to reading every week by Lucy Waverman. This past weekend her theme was a Chinese Feast to celebrate the Chinese new year. Her recipes work, they are good and easy to follow. One that caught my eye is Chicken with Seaweed. She does write that she does not use seaweed but uses kale...I was hooked, I love kale and love finding new ways to use it.
Try this chicken, you make a marinade first throw the cubed chicken breasts in and then add the most incredible seasoning sauce while it is cooking. I have some leftover rice that will go along side with the kale that has been cooked until it is crispy...excellent!
Check out her columns at the Globe's website, you will not be disappointed!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cleaning out the Fridge

I did promise that I would spend the weekend thinking of what we are going to eat this week but before we tuck in to anything new I absolutely must clean out my fridge. I often get over excited when veggie shopping. Things can look so good and I have visions of making fabulous things while staring at beautiful eggplants for example. But the reality is that fresh vegetables need to be eaten quickly to ensure you get the most out of them.
So today we are going to do a massive stir-fry which will include all of the veggies that have been either leftover from other meals or just looked too irresistable to pass by. I think I will also include some tofu...the key is to saute it in your wok (or pan) with a lot of garlic and ginger in a little canola. It will absorb the flavours so it will taste good and provide your dinner with a good helping of protein. Another fun flavour to add is Ponzu sauce. Great friends of ours introduced it to us while eating the fresh catch of the day, it is a soy base with a citrus flavour.
Serve with brown rice and if you have any other leftovers, go crazy and add them too. Your fridge will look great and you will be ready to fill it up again tomorrow.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Eating locally...out

Today I had the supreme pleasure of having the most divine cup of coffee with a friend at Discovery Coffee, having lunch with my husband outside in the sunshine at Red Fish Blue Fish and we are now off to have pizza at Pizza Primastrada...pretty wonderful way to spend a Friday!
Seriously, we are fortunate to be in a place where you can find good food, great service, all of which is locally "grown".
Today was unique, I have not cooked at all, other than cookies. Will spend the weekend thinking of great food for us to eat next week!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Double Up

I have been told by three very good cooks to double up when you can. For example, when you are making pancakes, double the recipe. When your kids are little you will have enough for two or three breakfasts. But when they become teenagers you just have to keep your fingers crossed that you will have enough for one breakfast! Or when you are making macaroni and cheese like I did for dinner tonight, make two. Everyone will be so happy to come home and first of all smell dinner but second of all, whether they love ketchup or straight up, pretty much everyone loves mac and cheese. All you have to do is double the cheese sauce and double the amount of pasta, mix them together and then toss one of them in to the freezer. It will be a welcome surprise when you panic one day in the next couple of weeks when you do not have a second all day to make dinner!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Senator's Meatloaf

I read a review the other day about the new chef at The Senator restaurant. But while reading the article all I could think about was the meatloaf recipe that I clipped from the paper on March 15, 1989. The Senator's Meatloaf is legendary. It is easy to make and if your family likes mushrooms you have to make the mushroom sauce!
2T butter; 1med onion, minced; 1stalk of celery, minced; 1lb lean ground beef; 1 egg; 3 T ketchup; 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce; 3 dashes tobasco; 1t oregano; s&p.
Melt butter in a frying pan and add onion and celery, cook until tender. Combine with remaining ingredients. Spoon in to a loaf pan and bake for 45min at 350 degrees F.
For the mushroom sauce you will need: 1C thinly sliced mushrooms; 2T butter; 1T flour; 1C chicken stock; dash of soy sauce. Brown mushrooms in butter, then add flour. Cook until golden and then add remaining ingredients. It will thicken and you will love it over a slice of the meatloaf!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Thighs or Breasts

This is quite the debate. Chicken breasts are absolutely perfect for things like chicken pot pie but I gotta give thighs the benefit for butter chicken. I guess I must concede that thighs do have a tad more flavour...and when you are marinating them in a yogurt and spice mixture they really do work.
The spices that you use here include cumin, turmeric, coriander and lot's of fresh garlic and ginger. It is a wonderful dinner because you can make the marinade early in the day and let the chicken soak up all of the wonderful flavours. Make some basmati rice, heat up some naan bread, always a hit and blanch a little broccoli for some colour.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Today held one too many unexpected surprises. This has led me to posting at this very late hour with half of the fridge sitting out on the counter. All of the veggies are going to be eaten raw and I am making some brown rice to go along with the dregs from the weekend
I do promise to get it together for tomorrow!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Honey and Maple Syrup

Making salad dressing has sometimes been a bit of a struggle for me. Why I have no idea. The result is always, always worth the effort. There are two salad dressings in the book that are so incredibly good that you have to try them. One of course has honey in it and the other maple syrup...two winning ingredients for all.
Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing:
1T maple syrup; 2T balsamic vinegar; 1T soy sauce; 1 Minced clove of garlic; 1 T sesame oil; 1t pepper and 1/2c olive oil.
Place all in mason jar or mayo jar or any jar with screw on lid and shake away. This is great with green salad.
Honey Curry Dressing:
1t paprika; 1t curry powder; 1t dijon; 1/2t turmeric; 1/2t celery seed; 1/2t salt; 1/3c cider vinegar; 1/2c honey; and 1c safflower oil.
Again, shake all ingredients together in a jar, this one is great with spinach or any other darker greens.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Something a Little Different

I really like making the Moroccan Chicken Phyllo Pie because it is something different to do with chicken. The flavours are unique and it is kind of fun to say that we are having pie for dinner!
3T veg oil; 1 chopped onion; 1 garlic clove chopped; 6 chicken breast, diced (really easy to do when the chicken is partially frozen); 1t cumin; 1t cinnamon; 1t harissa (do not have therefore do not add) 2t tomato paste; 2t honey; 4T lemon juice; 1/4 c chopped blanched almonds; 1 1/2 dried fruit soaked for a couple of hours in 1/2c boiling water (I use dry apricots because they are liked by all and find you don't really need to soak for that long); 8 sheets phyllo pastry and 1/c melted butter.
Saute onion and garlic in oil. Then add chicken and cook till brown. Add cumin and cinnamon and saute for two minutes. Stir in harissa and t paste, honey and lemon juice. Cook for 5mins. Then add almonds and fruit. Place one sheet of phyllo in springform pan. Paint it with some of the melted butter and do the same with 5 more sheets. The phyllo will drape over the sides of the pan. Pour the chicken mixture in to the springform and then fold the phyllo back on top and use the last two sheets which need to be brushed with butter too to top it off. Bake at 350 for 40 mins until it is lovely and brown. Slice it up and serve with tzatziki left over from the burgers and a green salad!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pad Thai at Home

It is so good and covers the noodle lovers and the veggie lovers...and the rest of us too. You can omit the prawns all together or you totally add chicken if you like instead. The tofu is actually good here, the flavours it absorbs are wonderful.
16oz rice noodles; 1/2c veg oil; 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped; 1lb cooked prawns or shrimp; 1/4c pickled radish, chopped (I could not find today so am not using, oh well, will not wreck it, I will add a little chile sauce or relish instead) 1 pkg of firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes; 1/2c white vinegar; 1/4c fish sauce; 2T ketchup; 1/4c sugar; 2eggs; 1/4lb bean sprouts; 3 green onions, sliced; 1/4c roasted peanuts; cilantro and wedges of lime for garnish.
Cook your noodles. In a large skillet, heat oil and fry garlic. Add shrimp, radish and tofu. Everything should be golden, 3-5 mins. Remove on to a plate. To that same skillet now add vinegar, ketchup, fish sauce and sugar. Heat well and add drained noodles. When the noodles are completely coated spread them to the sides of the pan and scramble the eggs in the middle. Then fold the noodles over the eggs. Add the shrimp, tofu, radish, green onions and sprouts. Serve with cilantro, if you like it, lime wedges and peanuts.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Worth the Effort

This is the Whitewater Veggie Burger and it is full of good ingredients and tastes divine...
1T veg oil; 1 onion diced; 1 clove of garlic, minced; 1T cumin; 1.5T chili powder; 1 19oz can of black beans well drained, rinsed and roughly pureed; 1t oregano; 1/4c parsely or cilantro, chopped; 2T sesame oil; 1/2c roasted and chopped almonds; 1c sunflower seeds; 3c bread crumbs; 1/2c soy sauce; 5eggs; 2c grated carrots; 2c oats; flour for dredging and 2T oil.
In a really large skillet, saute onions and garlic in oil. Place in a large mix bowl and cool. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well and shape patties. Dredge lightly in flour. Heat the last 2T oil in your skillet and brown burgers on both sides. You may have to do in batches and add a little more oil. I have made up to 20 burgers and they are great with tzatziki, tomato, onion and lettuce. But the best thing about these other than they are so good is that you can freeze what you do not eat and then reheat on a baking sheet for twenty minutes once they have defrosted. Try them, you will really like them.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Whitewater Cooks

Based on the fact that I think that this really is the best cookbook I have read and used in years I thought it high time I should tell you about it. We discovered it through our great friends who had us for dinner and for this I will be eternally grateful! The food was fantastic, so much so that I thought, we need that book...but...I did not need another cookbook. Well, I did buy it and I can not tell you how happy I am that I did. This book has everything I think a good book should have. The recipes are easy, healthy and...a huge hit. So this week I am going to devote to Whitewater Cooks.
And the really good news is that they have published a second book, called Whitewater Cooks at Home, which of course I bought but, more on that one later.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Wonderful Food Processor

I love pesto, I really love pesto. I love how easy it is to make in the food processor or in a blender. I love it because you can have it on pasta, on fish, on chicken, on pizza...straight...!!! So when the perfect herb called basil is not in season and you have had a crazy day, week and all you want to do is throw some pasta together here is another way to do it...don't forget to throw some parsley on top so you have just a little green!!!
Roasted Red Pepper Pesto from Cooks Illustrated
3 med unpeeled cloves of garlic; 2 med red peppers. roasted, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces; 1 small shallot, chopped; 1 T thyme leaves; 1/4c parsley, washed and chopped; 7 T olive oil; 1/4 c parmesan or 1/8 c parmesan and 1/8 c crumbled feta; s&p.
Toast the garlic in their skin in a skillet on the top of the stove. Approx 8 mins until they are brown. When they are cool, discard the skin. Throw peppers, garlic, shallot, thyme, parsley and oil in to the bowl of the machine and process until smooth. Transfer to bowl and add parmesan. After you boil the pasta (this makes enough for one pound of pasta) you can sprinkle feta on top. So good!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The S Word

In our house whenever I mention the s word they all say, are you cooking it while holding their breaths. The word is spinach and I rarely cook it now.
My husband loves it cooked with a little vinegar and a little butter. I love it sauteed straight or with other veggies. But the reality is that because our kids love it raw I tend to follow their lead, which in this case is great. Anything raw retains so many more nutrients so I am happy to make spinach salads a lot!
And you can add so many different toppings to spinach. Sliced oranges, red onion, toasted almonds and if you want top with grilled chicken or prawns.
Or you can always go the good old bacon and egg topping.
Any way you do it, it can be a meal or a great side!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Crock Pot Conundrum

My very best friend asked me the other day for crock pot ideas. I did not own one but thought hm., her reasons for using it make so much sense. Dinner ready before your family wakes up? Dinner ready when you walk in from work? Dinner ready when your kids come home school/sports/activities and are ravenous? So off I went and bought one...
Slow Cooked Pot Roast with Mustard and Horseradish Gravy from Fine Cooking Mag sounded like a great start. I did not make the gravy because I did not get to the store to buy more horseradish and I must say, you need this, so make sure you have horseradish!!!
2 Carrots; 1 med onion, quartered; 3 cloves of smashed garlic; 3 sprigs of thyme; 1 bay leaf; 3 whole cloves; 1 c stock; 1c white wine; 2 Tomato paste (used salsa, alas ran out of t paste too; 1 boneless beef chuck roast (2.5-3lbs) 2 T olive oil s&p.
Put the carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, cloves in the bottom of the slow cooker crock. Whisk wine, stock and paste together. Put your heavy skillet on the burner and turn it to almost high. Rub oil all over the roast and then sprinkle generously with the s&p. Sear it until a dark crust forms on all sides. 5 mins total.
Reduce the heat and put the roast on top of the veggies in the crock. To the hot pan add the broth and scrape the bottom while bringing it to the simmer. Then pour over the roast. Turn the slow cooker to LOW and cook without lifting the lid for 9hours.
When fall apart tender lift the roast to a plate and then strain the cooking liquid. You can pitch the veggies. For the gravy: Pour the strained liquid in to a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Let it reduce by half, ten mins. Then whisk in 2T brandy; 1/2t horseradish and 1/2t grainy mustard.In a small bowl mix 2T sour cream and 1t flour.Whisk a little of this to the hot mustard and then slowly add all of it.
Pour gravy on top of the sliced beef with potatoes and brocoli, easy and filling!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Really Nice Treat

When you find yourself wandering the aisles of the grocery store and end up at the fish counter and the sweet man behind the counter tells you that the freshest sole has just arrived and it is a great price, what are you going to do???!!!
Of course buy it and then go home and grab Julia Child's recipe for Sole Meuniere:
4 sole filets (she says to do them whole but not me); s&p; 1/3c flour; 2T oil; 2T butter; 2T chopped parsley; 2-3T butter; 1T capers 1T lemon juice.
Season filets with s&p and flour, heat oil and butter in heavy flat saucepan. Dredge both sides of the filet with the flour and then saute both sides of fish in butter/oil combo. Should take approx 3-4mins on either side until crispy. When the fish are done remove and place on warm platter. I use the same pan to do the sauce...but you could use a clean one. To the pan add the second batch of 2-3T butter and let it darken to a hazelnut colour. When it does, take it off the heat and add lemon juice, capers and parsley. Pour over the fish.
Make some rice and any veg, and honestly, you are going to love the lemony flavour, it is a really nice treat.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Glorious Soup

Soups can be the best dinner ever. You can make them the day before or days before and freeze. And you can pack in so many healthy ingredients in there. But they have to be hearty and substantial if that is all you are making. One of the best I have made comes from the Canadian Living Cookbook that I was given when I got married. Lot's of good and reliable treasures in this book. I am going to give you the recipe for Main Dish Minestrone, but I like the variation with sausage and lentils.
2T olive oil, 2 T butter, 1/2 lb pork sliced, 1 lg onion chopped, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1/2 cup each of celery, green pepper and carrot all chopped, 2 T parsley chopped, 1/2 t dry basil and dry thyme, 1 bay leaf, s and p, 1 19 oz tin of chopped tomatoes, 4 c of stock, 2 c of kale chopped (great way to get that in) 1.5 cups lentils.
In large saucepan, heat oil and butter and add sausage and brown. Then add onion, garlic, celery, carrot and green pepper. Cook until softened a little. Add herbs, s&p. Stir in tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil and add lentils. Cover and simmer for 45 mins. Then add kale and simmer 5 mins more...Buy a crusty loaf of bread and enjoy!!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

August in January

Just when the weather seems to be getting more miserable the sun comes out. So right after I talked about tinned tomatoes in January yesterday I am now thinking of summer tomatoes. Growing up, August meant corn on the cob, blueberries and tomatoes. Every day we would eat these three foods and a lot of these three foods. More recently my mother in law made us dinner that she called "Tortellini August". And because of the sunshine today I can not help but dream of a warm august day that is capped with this super easy and most divine of pastas.
Enough tortellini to feed your family.
Good brie cheese.
Lot's of tomatoes, I bought some small Amorosa tomatoes, not great but fine for this. Chopped in to bite size pieces.
A bunch of basil chopped.
Boil your tortellini and drain. Throw back in the pot and quickly add cheese first (so it melts on the hot pasta) then basil then tomatoes.
Cover the pot and let it sit for a good five minutes.
I hope you enjoy it, it is a favourite of mine.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Importance of Local...

Some of us are very fortunate to live near farms who produce fruits and vegetables year round. We all have our reasons for supporting local businesses of all kinds and mine are similar to most I expect. The first time I stopped at Madrona Farm I was blown away by the photo hanging on the wall behind the ledge of veggies. It was of a truck driving down a dirt road. The caption read: This is how far your food has travelled. Meaning from the field behind the hut to the hut...300 metres would be my modest guess.
Amazing to me then.
So when I have to use tinned tomatoes in January for chicken cacciatore tonight with egg noodles I will have the satisfaction of knowing that when we are nibbling on the sweetest raw carrots imaginable (my godson even ate them and he is a sworn no carrot eater) we have done a little bit to support our local farm.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Freezer

We were the lucky recipients of a chest freezer years ago...I say lucky because all I could think was wow, I can make tonnes of pesto or freeze fifty flats of berries or, what I did last fall, buy a cow. Well not a whole cow but I swear, every time I look it appears that way. I did this for three reasons. Number one, I have a family member who looooooooooooves meat. Secondly, my fabulous butcher gave me a good price. And lastly, I thought it would help on those dinner dilemna I did it. Just had to do a little rearranging of my berries that really need to be eaten anyway.
So today we are bbq'ing...well, the truth is I do not do that so tonight my husband is going to grill some steaks. I grabbed some fries and romaine lettuce at the store and actually made a great new caeser dressing from Micheal Smith. It is lighter than most and really good.
Pour the following into a Mason Jar:
1 cup olive oil; 1/2 cup lemon juice; 1/2 cup grated parmesan; 1 Tbsp minced garlic; 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce s and p to taste.
Shake and you are good to go!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Challenge of Brussels Sprouts

A friend of mine recently challenged me to come up with a way to get her child to eat brussels sprouts. So for today I would like to offer a couple of recipes that I hope will prove successful. The problem with these funny little green cabbages is that they are often over cooked which makes for a smelly and mushy vegetable, not too appetizing for anyone. I have two ideas:
The first is to clean off the outer leaves and with a sharp knife place an X in the bottom, at the core. Instead of using water, pour chicken stock in the saucepan, bring the stock to the boil and then toss your sprouts in. Watch them, and keep checking with fork...a little undercooked is what you are after...if you can smell them they are ready. Always a good rule, I think.
Drain them and add some butter and caraway seeds, great combo.
The second idea is to cook as above but then slice thinly and add some crispy bacon with the caraway seeds, no need for butter but maybe a slosh of olive oil instead. This you can toss with pasta...
I am hoping that this will be the answer!
We are going to do the first way with some leftover turkey pot pie...bought a huge bird this Christmas and this is the end of it!!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The inaugural post...

When deciding what to make for my very first post I did what I often do in the morning...I asked my kids. Sometimes I hear "whatever", "it doesn't matter" or my favourite, which comes from my husband "what do you feel like making?" Love that one!!! But today was easy because everyone is excited about the blog. I was asked to make a favourite and I think it is a perfect way to start because it has all of the important qualities in a dinner which include, healthy, easy...and... everyone loves it.
It is from Fine Cooking magazine which is a resource that I love.
Sear Roasted Halibut with Tomato and Capers. Make it and mash some potatoes and blanch some green beans, great combo and you will feel so good feeding it to your family!!!