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Archive for February 24th, 2008

Spring Break 2008

Unfortunately, this trip was postponed until March 28…but we’re still really really really looking forward to it…we’ll have to have a few martini’s in anticipation!!!!

Countdown Clock.

Paul and T are coming to Toronto!!! We’ve had to scramble (well, not really scramble, but we were putting off buying the bed and mattress for a sale, and Ikea had one, so we bit the bullet! AND what better reason than our great friends coming up for Spring Break?). We completed “The Guest Suite” and and it looks fabulous, if I do say so myself!!!! I still have a bit more art to add.

guestsuite1.jpg

guestsuite2.jpg

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flowersfromtoddtina.jpg

Flowers from Tina and Todd.

We had very good friends, the Evans’s and Todd and Tina (lead carpenter from reno) over for dinner this Saturday (Todd is working with Rob on HGTV).

Here is the menu:

Round 1: Champagne and Hors D’oeuvres (3 tiers hors d’oeuvres)

  • Smoked salmon, crème fraiche on chive biscuits with caper
  • Bacon wrapped dates
  • Vegetable platter (for those of us watching our girlish figures)

Round 2:

  • Roasted Red Pepper, Boconcinni & Arugula Salad with balsamic reduction dressing

Round 3:

  • Caesar Shrimp shots (home roasted tomatoes, onions and garlic, puréed with a dash of vodka, tobasco and horse radish) in a cute little shot glass

Round 4:

  • Medallions of Beef Tenderloin with a balsamic glaze, and hors radish dots
  • Puréed roasted celery root and cauliflower
  • Asparagus spears

Round 5:

  • Chocolate Panna Cotta with balsamic reduction, dallop of cream and strawberries
    Coffee / Tea

The smoked salmon on chive biscuits can be found on the Valentine’s Day menu.

Bacon wrapped dates (these are too yummy, and so easy, you have to try them!):

  • 1 package regular plain ordinary bacon (chose less fat if at all possible)
  • 1 package honey dates (dried and pitted)
  • toothpicks
  1. Cut bacon slices in half width-wise.
  2. In a standard microwave, par cook these half slices for 2-3 minutes (you want to render a lot of the fat out). The bacon will shrink and curl somewhat. You don’t want crispy bacon because it’s impossible to roll around the dates!
  3. Remove bacon and wipe with paper towel to remove more fat. Allow to cool.
  4. Wrap 1 bacon slice around 1 date and skewer with toothpick. You may freeze at this point.
  5. When you want a quick hors d’oeuvres, take the quantity of frozen dates out of the freezer and follow step 6.
  6. Bake in a hot 425°F oven for about 8-10 minutes (bacon should render completely and turn a bit crispy).
  7. Serve. Careful, these are extremely hot.

Puréed Celery Root and Cauliflower (These are going to be a replacement for mashed potatoes, a little better for carb watchers)

  • 1 large head of celery root, cleaned, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • bowl of water with 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large garlic bulb (roasted to soft and squishy)
  1. Pre heat oven to 400°F
  2. Put cleaned and cut up celery root and cauliflower into the bowl of water with olive oil, remove and drain (this process will coat the veg with a little olive oil in a healthier way than drizzling all over. Pour veg into a roasting pan and roast for about 45 minutes.
  3. You may want to roast veg separately since they may cook at different rates. Roast until they are mushy soft.
  4. Pour all veg into a food processor, including roasted garlic (remove cloves from skin).
  5. Purée until very smooth (could take 10 minutes), adding a little bit of water to loosen (not to make soup!)
  6. Remove from processor and strain through a fine sive (this is very important, it will make the purée silky smooth).
  7. Keep warm over a bain marie, and serve like mashed potatoes (use leftovers as soup – just add stock!).

Chocolate Panna Cotta (italian milk jello) adapted from May 2005 Page 108 delicious magazine. Serves 6 (here is a how to video, using a slightly different recipe)

  • 3/4 cup light cream (this is important so jello does not separate)
  • 1 cup milk (whole is best, skim has too much water)
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar (or to taste)
  • 200 g good quality dark semi sweet chocolate (I like it a bit denser, so I add more chocolate!)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (you don’t want to taste it, just enhance the chocolate flavour)
  • 2 packages gelatin
  • 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar, reduced to 1/4 cup
  • 24 strawberries, hulled and cut into halves
  1. Place cream, sugar and chocolate in a sauce pan on medium heat. Stir until everything is dissolved and melted (about 4-5 minutes)
  2. Then bring mixture to just about to boil and remove from heat.
  3. Use gelatin packs according to directions and whisk into chocolate mixture.
  4. Pour through a fine sieve into 100mL ramekins (I used silicon as they are easy to remove) and chill for 4 hours or overnight.
  5. To serve, run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen and dip each ramekin into boiling water (careful not to let water come into contact with jello) for a couple of seconds. Turn out onto a plate.
  6. On each plate, decorate the equivalent of 4 berries and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Enjoy!

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