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!