Archive for January, 2008

Drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette, this fresh salad is an amazing accompaniment to any meal. Make sure you have the ripest tomatoes (not the mealy kind the normal grocery stores sell…really really red tomatoes that smell like tomatoes!!!)



1 fresh mozzarella ball
2-3 medium sized tomatoes or about a dozen strawberry tomatoes
fresh basil (torn into strips)
1/8 cup of good quality balsamic
2 tbsp rich dark olive oil (I add less than you are supposed to, 2:3 ratio, where 3 is oil)
1 clove garlic (minced or chopped really finely)
sea salt


  1. For dressing, mix oil and balsamic together, salt to taste and add minced garlic, set aside (not in refrigerator)
  2. wash and slice tomatoes into 1/2 cm slices, or if strawberry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  3. Slice mozzarella into 1/2 cm slices (about the same diameter as the tomatoes)
  4. Arrange in shallow bowl, so that there is a mozzarella beside each tomato
  5. Strain dressing through a fine sieve, and drizzle over the salad (this way you don’t have chunks of garlic, just a dressing infused with garlic).
  6. Let stand at room temperature for a minimum of 1/2 hour.
  7. Enjoy!

I served this salad last night with haddock rolls stuffed with a home made pesto and roasted golden beets. It was lovely!

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It’s the middle of January and I have been purposely absent. I may have put on a couple of pounds during the holidays…we’ll I did, about 10! But fret not, I went back to the old Dr. B and I’m almost done. 2 weeks, 10lbs and most importantly, back on track. We’re working out regularly and I’ve controlled my portions again! I’ll be back to entertaining and cooking in no time.

It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, but it’s been, how shall I put it nicely, rather bland! No olive oil, no butter (not that I used that much, but a little for taste never killed anyone) and no balsamic (one of my staples!). We’ve still been eating great, just not as tasty as usual! The sacrifices we make…speaking of which…we haven’t had a drop of booze for 2 weeks! I can hardly believe it myself! That first martini sure will taste good! I can hardly wait…1 more week to go!

I was put onto a very cool, healthy product called Shirataki Noodles. These are soy based noodles with little to no calories or carbs! I’m allowed 4oz per day (which is a good portion since they expand and fill your belly really well) so I’ve been eating fake pasta this time! Yahoo! They are a bit chewy so if you don’t like that type of texture, these are not for you, but if you do you’ll be in heaven! Try Whole Foods in Toronto to get them (across from the Deli Meat section in a cooler).

We’re doing Winterlicious again and I’ve got two places lined up for next weekend: Maro (Chef David Adjey’s place (Restaurant Makeover) and Rosewater Supper Club.I will do my best to post a review!

JT is moving his Dad and Mary into a retirement home. Very posh, non the less, still jarring. So, we’ll be selling a condo at Yonge and Sheppard in the next month or so. Interested? You know how to get in touch!

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This recipe came from Chef Michael Smith on the Food Network Canada. I’ve been making this delicious recipe for years. It’s great because you can make it ahead and just pop them in the oven just before you want to serve dessert (8-10 minutes, max!).

Molten Chocolate Cake (Note that this recipe may be cut in half or into 1/4 successfully! Use smaller ramekins for 4 servings!)

Molten Chocolate Cake

Molten Chocolate Cake

Yield: 6
Timing Hints: The batter can be made several days in advance and refrigerated. Make sure the cakes come to room temperature before you bake, makes for a better cake and faster baking. Makes 6 to 8 cakes



  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter and sugar 8 individual (do not use muffin pan) muffin cups or ramekins.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in the top of a double boiler or in a microwave, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from the heat and sift in the cocoa, whisk until smooth.
  3. Meanwhile beat the egg whites in a stand mixer or by hand until they form soft peaks, add the sugar and beat a few moments more.
  4. Fold one third of the egg whites into the chocolate with a rubber spatula, thoroughly incorporating. Gently fold in the rest. You may make the batter to this point and refrigerate it for several days.
  5. Fill the cups about two thirds full. Bake until they have risen and cracked on top but are still a bit runny in the center, about 7 or 8 minutes. They’ll take a moment longer if you made the batter in advanced and refrigerated it.
  6. Let the cakes sit for a few minutes then turn them out and serve immediately with lots of whipped cream.


After batter is made, fill cups about 1/2 full and add about a tbsp of your favorite jam, or pie filling (cherry pie filling works too) then fill the remainder batter on top.

Serving Suggestions:

Melt seedless raspberry jam, and pour onto plate. Overturn the muffin cup so cake sits in the middle of the jam, garnish with whipped cream and coco powder or powdered sugar. Add a few raspberries on the side.

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We rented a car and drove down to see Paul and T in Yorkville, Illinois, arriving around cocktail hour on Friday, December 28th. 9.5 hours! It was due to boarder complications (frankly, I think they take their time with each car on purpose, because they can!) and weather (at one point around Flint, we averaged about 30km/hr because of snow).

We shopped and shopped some more – outlet stores, more outlet stores and then there were the outlet stores. 1 pair of boots and 2 pairs of shoes later (2 for JT too!) we were almost done!! On Sunday we all ventured downtown to the Talbott Hotel a lovely boutique hotel down by the John Hancock Tower and Water Tower Place (where Oprah lives). We shopped at the infamous Filine’s Basement (which is on the second floor) and on Michigan Avenue. For lunch, Paul and T took us to the world famous Billygoat Tavern (made famous on Saturday night live – remember the cheezeburger skit?) We had burgers, yes, even me! Actually, I didn’t have much choice…the serving/cooking guy is just like the one in the skit, kinda pushy but friendly too! It was fun!


See Photos of our trip here Chicago Trip December 2007.

In the evening, Paul and T generously took us to the Signature Room at the top of the John Hancock tower. It was magnificent! I had the Cured Tuna Carpaccio and Seared Scallops (which were HUGE!). It really was lovely! Thank you Paul and T!!!

OK, so here is the menu for New Year’s Eve 2007-8. It’s An Appetite for Europe, hitting countries at we’ll be visiting in May with Paul and T (in approximately the same order!).


Course 1: Austria
Bunderfleisch mit Brot-Stöcken (air-dried beef with bread sticks)


makes 4 per person

16 bread sticks
8 slices of air dried beef, or proscuito sliced lengthwise in the centre
16 stems of baby arugula

Wrap each bread stick with bunderflieisch, adding the arugula at the very top.
Serve on a platter.

Course 2: Hungary
Töltöt Paprika (stuffed peppers) makes 1/2 pepper per person

1/2 cup cooked white rice
200g lean ground beef
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp hungarian paprika (hot or sweet)
1 tsp salt or to taste


  1. Finely chop the onion and sauté until translucent, add finely chopped garlic and continue to sauté for about a minute. Add beef and sauté until cooked. Add the cooked rice and about 1/4 of the canned chopped tomatoes.
  2. Cut tops of peppers off, and clean out the insides. Stuff each pepper with about 1/2 of the meat filling.
  3. Put peppers into a shallow oven proof dish, cover with remaining canned tomatoes and bake until peppers are soft but still hold their shape (1/2 hr at 350F).

Course 3: Italy
Confit della cipolla e pizza di formaggio delle capre (onion confit pizza with goats cheese) (not my photo) makes 1 small pizza

1 proofed bread dough, rolled very thinly
1/4 cup onion confit (slow roasted onions until golden and sweet)
1/4 cup goats cheese
4-5 leaves of arugula


  1. Bake thinly rolled dough in a very hot oven 425F until golden on one side.
  2. Flip dough and cover with the onion confit.
  3. Crumble the goats cheese on top.
  4. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until cheese is melting and dough is crispy.
  5. Rip the arugula on top and allow to wilt. Cut and serve hot.

Course 4: Italy (slightly unplanned as Paul and T had this at the Signature Room and wanted to know how to make them)
Parmesan Tuiles


About 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (the store bought kind works too, NOT lite)


  1. Preheat broiler to 450F.
  2. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a large cookie sheet.
  3. Spread the grated parmesan evenly about 2mm thick.
  4. for 8-10 minutes, broil until the cheese bubbles and turns slightly golden (if it’s not golden it will not crack). Watch this part it can burn easily.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  6. Break appart to form bite-sized pieces.

Course 5: France
Beef Bourguignon (beef stew) Martha Stewart Recipe


Course 7: Switzerland (out of order since we’ll be going to Switzerland for the day before we get into France!)
Swiss Chocolate truffles (no photo)

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