My niece who is doing her post graduate degree in Law at the University of Western Ontario was visiting family up in Peterborough over the holidays. She had given her boyfriend tickets to the latest Cirque de Soliel in Toronto so they were coming to the city on Thursday night. We met up with them for drinks as they had to have an early dinner (we’re not seniors, yet), but then they came back to our house for the night so they wouldn’t have to drive home in the middle of the night! I made Cheddar, Green Onion and Prosciutto Scones for breakfast and they turned out extremely well so I thought I would share the recipe. We may have stayed up late chatting and drinking wine…or not. I mixed all the dry ingredients together and the wet separately, leaving the cheese, prosciutto and onion separate. In the morning I just mixed it all up, rolled it out and baked it. I had to make sure it was really easy since I wasn’t sure how hungry (ya, that’s it ;-)), we would be!
Particularly good if eaten hot out of the oven
The recipe is originally from Company’s Coming Muffins and More by Jean Paré, but of course, I changed it up a bit by adding the green onion and prosciutto.
Flaky scones with bits of prosciutto and green onion, the cheddar gets all melty inside (I should'ave photoshoped the prosciutto in this front one, it was there, really!)
Cheddar, Green Onion and Prosciutto Scones
Makes about 15 to 18 Scones, depending on the size you make them.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter (you can use frozen butter grated on the largest grater)
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 cup milk plus 2 tbsp
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup finely chopped green onion
- 2 slices Prosciutto, cooked until crisp, blotted for oil and then broken up into little bits
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Sift flour, sugar, baking powder together with the salt.
- Cut in the butter until crumbly.
- Fold in the green onion, cheese and Prosciutto
- Mix together the egg and milk and beat until slightly frothy.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Mix well.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured board, and knead a few time (we don’t want the butter to melt, so careful if you have hot hands).
- Roll out to about 1 cm or 1/2 inch thick and cut with your favourite round, square or traingular cookie cutter.
- Brush the tops with the 2 tbsp milk.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the tops are golden.
- Enjoy with unsalted butter.
I had rounds, squares and triangles! They all taste the same, silly!
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I still have one more cookie to bake, but I had to take a break. I did cut down and made only made 7 things this year. We’ll see how it pans out.
The sale of alcohol is controlled by the Government in Ontario. The LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) is the single largest alcohol buyer in the world! Crazy, but true. Recently, the Auditor General conducted a study (see article in the Toronto Star) that found Ontarian’s pay too way much for booze since the LCBO is the single largest purchaser in the world! We’ll see what happens with that! The LCBO has an enormous marketing budget and they produce some very classy promotional material. One such promo is their Food & Drink magazine. This magazine promotes booze, of course, but it also contains a huge number of recipes that are exceptionally beautifully photographed.
Entertaining season is in full swing and I always like to have a quick something that I can easily serve in case friends drop by; the recipe below is a delicious dip of sharp cheddar, caramelized onion and goats cheese. I noticed our local grocer had old cheddar bricks on sale, so I stocked up (I usually grate the cheese and freeze in a zip-lock baggy — it’s great for baking and cooking). Click here for the original recipe.
Freezing the dips in the shape of the ramekin for later use
Caramelized Onion and Cheddar Dip
Makes about 3 3.5 oz ramekins or one really big one!
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) cider vinegar or beer
- 1 tsp (5 mL) butter
- ¼ tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper
- 4 oz (125 g) goats cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 cup (250 mL) shredded aged cheddar cheese
- ½ tsp (2 mL) dry mustard or Dijon
- 1 tbsp low fat mayo
- 1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh thyme, or ¼ tsp (1 mL) dried
- Thick pretzels or crackers, for dipping
- Preheat the oven to 450ºF (230ºC) or barbecue to medium-high.
- Combine onion, vinegar, butter and pepper in a shallow baking pan (for oven) or in a foil pan (for barbecue). Roast, stirring twice, for 15 to 20 minutes or until soft, translucent and starting to brown. Let cool slightly.
- Mash softened cream cheese with the mayo, mustard and thyme in a bowl. Add onion mixture and cheddar cheese stirring until well blended. Pack into an ovenproof ramekin or serving dish or a foil pan. Cover and refrigerate. To freeze, line your individual ramekins with plastic wrap and freeze. Once frozen, remove the little package from the ramekin and store in a zip lock bag. The dip freezes in the shape of the ramekin and all I need to do is remove the plastic wrap and tuck back into the ramekin and it’s ready for baking. (Make sure you try to remove the folds in the plastic wrap, otherwise you may not be able to get it all off).
- To serve, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) or barbecue to medium-high.
- Heat dip, uncovered, in oven or on grill, for about 15 minutes or until hot and bubbling around edges. Stir and serve with thick pretzels or crackers for dipping.
Of course, we had to have a wee taster. YUM!
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Croissants. Sawsan over at Chef in Disguise inspired me to take on the lofty croissant. Usually I don’t feel intimidated by a recipe, but come on, these are like the French National Treasure! Could I possibly do them justice? Sawsan also posted a Julia Child video outlining each step. OK, I thought, I think I can do this! Well, I also thought, I don’t HAVE to blog about it if it failed (HA!)! So, I started the recipe on Thursday night, letting the dough rest in the fridge at each interval. I didn’t document the steps, there are too many more accomplished croissant makers out there, including Sawsan whom you can reference in the link above. I’ll just present the final photos.
They didn’t actually turn out too bad. I think they could have been a bit flakier but all in all, 3.5/5.
Needless to say, I’ve got another batch going for a second trial (don’t fret, they don’t go to waste!). I found this recipe at The Fresh Loaf where the author overhauls Julia Child’s recipe. I preferred the baking times a bit better than the first batch, the author recommends to Bake at 425°F for 10min, 375° for 15min. The recipe is also made for an electric mixer version, which I also prefer (I am having shoulder issues and the kneading really kills it!) We baked them off last night, but I made the mistake of proofing the last proofing on the kitchen counter and sadly the butter had started to melt within the croissants (we had been using both ovens for dinner and the kitchen was a little warm!). The overall texture is more flaky on this batch, but they looked awful (my tummy doesn’t care, though). We had them for breakfast this morning and they were really good :).
I am going to try one more batch this week, and hopefully they will be good enough to take to my brother’s cottage for Thanksgiving Weekend (this weekend).
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October first was Nuit Blanche all over the world and we are very fortunate to participate every year in Toronto. It is a wonderful festival of all kinds of performance and installation arts all over the city. It starts at sundown (around 7pm-ish) and goes until the wee hours of the morning, should you choose. JT and I usually start our expedition in the south part of the city, near City Hall and walk a meandering path north exploring as many exhibits and installations along the way to Bloor Street. It was a chilly night in Toronto, around 7°C so we visit ed a few indoor exhibits along the way. We had a small snack before we started out, so we weren’t starving by the time we had dinner around 10pm. We always take the subway down so we don’t need to worry that we left the care a 45 minute walk away! I’ll took a few photos to blog about, but it’s usually very dark. Charles, I hope you had a chance to venture into Paris for this momentous event (it takes place in many major cities all over the world) — we’ve always found it such a blast in TO. Not sure if anyone reading lives in New York, but it’s happening there too! Toronto is expecting over a million people out in the streets tonight – it’s so cool walking around Toronto in the night with thousands of other people – it makes the city come alive with energy. Woo hoo! Let the festivities begin!
If you know me, you will know that I never serve alcoholic beverages without some type of food. I inherited this from my dear Mother, and I love it. I am always looking out for small nibbles that are tasty, not too filling (don’t want to spoil dinner, do we?) and easy to serve, with a martini or two! This is a dip that is commonly served in Hungarian households, I have modified it to my taste (and health…my Mom used to put softened butter in it!).
Korozot (Hungarian Fresh Cheese Dip)
Hungarian Korozot Dip
This is a modified recipe to suit my taste and to be a little healthier.
- 4-6oz Goats Cheese (at room temperature) (the real recipe would use a soft unripened fresh cheese called Quark)
- No fat yogurt (for desired consistency)
- 2 tablespoons paprika puré (hot or sweet, your choice) (this is a Hungarian product that comes in a tube) OR tbsp paprika powder – try with smoked paprika for a totally different flavour
- 1 Shallot, very finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic (minced on a fine grater)
- bunch of chives, finely chopped
- Blend the goats cheese, shallot and garlic in a food processor until well mixed, adding the yogurt a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved.
- Remove from processor and fold in chives.
- Serve at room temperature with crostinis. This is much better the next day when the flavours have had time to melt together.
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Isn’t the best thing in the world a fresh, ripe, just picked tomato? OK, I just happened to be given a large quantity (large for me!) of incredible Ontario tomatoes so I’m all about the tomato for this blog! They even smell like tomatoes. The little ones just pop in your mouth and the sweet juices ooze out. I’m salivating just writing this post. You can’t imagine how good these are.
We’re having some landscaping done on both front and back yards of our home. The guys are working so hard, so I suggested to JT to buy them lunch today. We were going to get pizza, but one of our customers at work was kind enough to give me some of their product: ribs! I said, cook up the ribs and serve them with the tomato salad! But these guys don’t eat salad, he said. We’ll see!
I sliced the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces, added some fresh basil from the garden (both purple and mini basil), grated some fresh garlic (also from my garden), EVOO (from our neighbours Tom and Iona – it’s from his Dad’s olive grove in Greece!) and some wonderful balsamic. Wow! Incredible salad – and it’s own story to tell. I’m hoping I’m wrong and the guys really don’t eat salad so I can have it for dinner tonight (I might add some goats milk Feta!)
For dinner last night, we grilled up a loin of pork and sliced them on top of our fresh tomato salad (you didn’t think I was going to give the salad all away, did you? I’m really not THAT generous!)
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We’re invited to a surprise benchmark birthday party this weekend for a long time friend of our’s. I wanted to make an easily transported, no fuss dip. JT absolutely loves Bar Mercurio‘s white bean paste that they serve instead of butter with their focaccia, so I knew I had to make it! I wanted to make it a few days ahead to allow the flavours to really blend.
The picture doesn’t do it justice. This dip is SOOOOOO creamy, you would think there is gobs and gobs of butter in it, but there ISN’T! So incredibly good, and creamy.
White Bean Dip
- 1 cup dried navy beans (if you use canned, make sure you rinse really well)
- 5 cups LS chicken stock or a mix with water
- 2 tbsp panchetta
- 2 tbsp shallots
- 2-4 tbsp lemon juice
- Sea salt to taste
- 1 head garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp LS chicken stock
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Remove most, but not all excess outer skin from garlic bulb. Put into a tightly fit ramekin. Drizzle with the olive oil and 3 tbsp chicken stock. Seal tightly with foil and bake for 30-45 minutes or until garlic is soft.
- In a large Dutch oven, fry the panchetta until crispy. Remove from pan but reserve the fat in the pan.
- Cook the shallots in the reserved bacon fat until translucent.
- Rinse the beans (it is recommended not to soak over night as that apparently increases the propensity to cause gas, and no one wants that!). Add them with the stock into the pan with the shallots. Cook the beans until very soft and mushy (1 1/2 to 2 hours. Or you can reduce this time significantly by cooking in a pressure cooker). Allow to cool to room temperature.
- When the garlic has cooled to room temperature, squeeze each clove out of its skin into a large food processor bowl. Add the beans, the liquid from poaching the garlic and panchetta. Add lemon juice and sea salt to taste. Process until smooth and creamy. . Serve with pita chips or bread sticks.
As a note, I thought I would want to press this mix through a fine seive, but JT reminded me that those bacon bits would be lost, so I processed a bit longer so the bacon bits are a lot smaller. It has a very smooth and creamy texture.
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Posted in Appetizers/Hors D'oeuvres, Bread, Snacks, Vegetarian, tagged Appetizer, basil, garlic, hors d'oeuvres, quick, tomatoes on August 2, 2011 |
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Each day our tomato plants are simply overflowing with fruit! We were at the cottage this weekend so yesterday there were three days of tomatoes to be harvested. Our home grown garlic has finally cured and the basil was looking pretty sweet as well. What to do? Bruschetta, of course! Using the different coloured tomatoes makes me think of jewels!
1 cup cherry tomatoes in various colours cut into eighths.
4-6 basil leaves, chiffonad
1-2 tsp finely minced garlic (I use my micro-plainer for this)
3-4 tbsp EVOO
6, thinly sliced whole wheat French stick
3-4 tbsp EVOO
Lightly brush EVOO on each side of the French stick. Toast each side gently in your broiler.
Mix the cut tomatoes, garlic, basil and EVOO, salt to taste.
Gently spoon the tomato mix over each toast, drizzling with the extra juices.
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I originally posted this recipe in November 2008, but it’s so tasty, I decided it deserved a post on its own!
Gluten Free Sesame Crackers
I’m baking them as a gift for our hosts in Calgary along with braised tomato and roasted red pepper jam. They are 100% gluten free.
Sesame Crackers (from Elana’s Pantry)
These are delicious!
- 3 cups unblanched ground almonds
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- 1 cup sesame seeds, I like black and white versions, toasted lightly.
- 2 eggs, whisked until frothy
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (I use a flavoured olive oil)
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together almond flour, salt, sesame seeds, eggs and oil until well blended
- Separate dough into two halves
- Line two large (12 x 16) stainless steel baking sheets with parchment paper
- Place one half of the dough in the center of each lined sheet
- Cut another piece of parchment paper and place it over one of the balls of dough (use the top of the first one for the second one!)
- Roll dough out between the two pieces of parchment paper, until it is ⅛ inch thick and covers the entire baking sheet; remove top paper and repeat process with the other piece of dough
- Cut the dough with a knife or pizza cutter into 2 inch squares
- Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown (watch carefully, these can burn very very easily!)
- Cool and serve
Makes ~96 crackers
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I have been making Cheese Straws since I received my first food processor in 1987 (it came with a similar recipe). I am now making a different recipe but they still taste the same! This one is adapted from The Book of Christmas Foods by Janice Murfitt, published in 1989.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- pinch of cayenne (omit if you are serving to children)
- 2 tbsp granulated garlic (or a flavour of your choice)
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (cold)
- 1 cup dry grated Parmesan cheese (I buy any brand on sale and freeze)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1-2 tbsp water
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
- Put all dry ingredients into a food processor and process to mix well.
- Add the butter and process until coarse granules form.
- While the blades are running, pour in the egg and process until a soft ball forms. If this does not happen, drizzle little bits of water until a soft ball forms.
- Remove from processor and using a small amount of flour, roll out the dough to about 1/2cm thickness. Cut into 10cm x 1cm straws and position evenly on a cookie sheet.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes until golden.
- Remove and allow to cool. This will store well in a cool, dark place.
Note: the Parmesan is generally very salty, which is why this pastry is not salted.
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A relatively quick appetizer with a little planning!
- 5-6 dried mushrooms (choose a variety)
- Water to cover
- Immerse dried mushrooms in water and allow to sit for 4-6 hours at room temperature.
Strain mushroom stockR using a coffee filter, rince mushrooms well and slice into bite-sized pieces.
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1 tsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp EV olive oil
- 1 regular white mushroom
- 1-2 tbsp fine white flour
- Optional 2 tbsp heavy cream (or carnation evaporated milk – I did not use either for this recipe)
- 1 tbsp cognac
- 8 shavings of Double Smoked White Cheddar
- Chopped fresh parsley
- 2 thinly sliced crusty bread, rubbed with olive oil and toasted one side only.
- In a small saucepan, heat oil and butter until melted and hot. Add onions and cook until translucent.
- Sprinkle with flour, add garlic and cook just until you smell it.
- Cook flour mix until it is a medium brown colour (careful not to burn).
- Add about 1 cup of the reserved mushroom broth. Add both types of mushrooms, and cook until liquid is a creamy, slightly thicker than soup consistency (adding additional reserved liquid as required – or you may add heavy cream at this point for a creamy and not so healthy option)
- Add the cognac and cook for about 1 minute longer.
- Serve on a large plate, placing bread toasted side up, spreading about half the ragu on each toast and sprinkling with 4 each of cheese shavings and freshly chopped parsley.
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