Archive for February, 2009

Adapted From Martha Stewart

Makes 16.



  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup bran cereal, ground
  • 1/4 ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup natural crunchy peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with 2 crisscrossed rectangles of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang at 2 opposite ends. In a large bowl, combine oats, ground bran, flax seed, wheat germ, almonds and cranberries.
  2. In a small saucepan, whisk together oil, brown sugar, peanut butter, cinnamon, allspice, salt and 1 tablespoon water over low heat until sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly; whisk in egg whites. Pour over at mixture; stir until moistened. Spread evenly in bottom of pan; smooth top.
  3. Bake until top is firm, about 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Lift out of pan, using paper as handles. Let cool completely, cut into bars with serrated knife.

I found this cool site that can calculate the nutritional facts of your recipes. I will try to do this for all of mine going forward. This is not as healthy as it seemed.


*Note that all nutritionl facts may not be accurate and are a guideline ONLY.

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We are now officially addicted to Jim Lahey’s no knead recipes. JT is the executioner of all of these recipes. Of course I am jealous, he has taken away my role as chief cook in the relationship, now I am the executive chef, sometimes overseeing, mostly just on the board, giving advice when asked. We came across this recipe today, and even while I type this entry, the love of my life is downstairs making up our first batch of this dough. Supper was very tasty tonight.

As seen on Martha Stewart.




Makes one 12-inch pizza

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface (need about 1/2 cup more!)
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2/3 ounce Gruyere cheese, broken into 4 or 5 pieces
  • 1 ounce young pecorino cheese, broken into 4 to 5 pieces
  • 1 1/8 ounces buffalo mozzarella cheese, broken into 4 to 5 pieces
  • 2 pinches freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 or 4 thin slices garlic
  • 1/4 pound fresh spinach, stems removed
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for serving


  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt, yeast, and 1/2 cup water. Stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and rough. Let dough rest in a warm place (about 72 degrees) until doubled in volume, about 3 hours.
  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel. Let stand until doubled in size, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Place a pizza stone (we use our trusty Chicago-land cast iron pizza pan) on the lowest rack of oven and preheat to 550 degrees for 25 minutes.
  4. Flatten dough into a disk that is thicker in the center than at the edges. Using your fingers, gently pull on the edges of the dough to form a 6- to 8-inch circle; dough should still be thicker in the center. Drape dough over both hands, and using your knuckles, work dough out from the center into a 12-inch circle.
  5. Carefully transfer dough to hot pizza stone. Working quickly, top dough with cheeses, pepper, garlic, and spinach; season with salt. Bake pizza until spinach is wilted and slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  6. Using a pizza peel, remove pizza from oven and drizzle over olive oil; serve immediately.


*Note that all nutritionl facts may not be accurate and are a guideline ONLY.

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“Shrove Tuesday is a term used in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Canada…” We missed out on pancakes for breakfast mainly because I forgot, but we had some for dinner and they were YUM, so I thought I would share the recipe I created on the fly last night. These are slightly darker than normal pancakes because of the ingredients and have a slightly coarser texture, but we really enjoyed them.

Whole Wheat, Bran, Oatmeal, Flax Pancakes (makes 12 – 13 6″ diameter pancakes)

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup bran
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal (any kind will do)
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 -1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp dark molasses
  1. Add all wet ingredients including the egg into a large blender.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the bran and oatmeal until ground coarsely (not a fine powder).
  3. Add to the wet ingredients, including everything BUT the baking powder.
  4. Blend for a few minutes, scraping down the sides. Add additional milk if too thick.
  5. Allow to stand for about 15 minutes.
  6. Add baking powder and blend again (adding a bit more milk if necessary).
  7. Preheat your oven to keep finished pancakes warm.
  8. Heat a griddle until hot, spray with pam.
  9. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop one scoop and with the rounded edge push the batter out into a circle about 6″ in diameter.
  10. Cook for a couple of minutes each side, until golden. Keep finished ones warm in the oven
  11. Continue until all the batter is used.

Serve with fresh fruit, a dollop of yogurt and real maple syrup. Check it out on Foodista.

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Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Double Chocolate, Peanut butter brownies.

Makes about 9 dessert-sized brownies

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 4 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 oz (45g) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar ( 1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar)
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmellows
  • 2 squares white chocolate melted
  1. Sift flour, icing sugar, cocoa powder, instant coffee and baking powder.
  2. Melt butter or margarine with brown sugar, add vanilla, corn syrup and water.
  3. Beat in the egg whites.
  4. Add dry ingredients and stir well.
  5. Pour into a prepared 9″ x 9 pan. Bake for 24 minutes, then add chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and mini marshmellows and bake until firm.
  6. Cool brownies completely.
  7. Melt the white chocolate, and drizzle on top. Cut into 9 portions.
  8. Serve with ice cream, Vanilla, of course!

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Home Smoked Salmon


We’ve made this recipe many times, it’s one of our favourites! adapted from Epicurious.com we have, of course, modified it to our taste!

This is one of the tastiest salmon recipes I have done so far, and each time is a HUGE success! I generally buy a large salmon fillet and serve it family style, because it is so beautiful, but you can do individual portions or steaks. You will want to marinate the salmon in the brine overnight or at least 4 hours to get the full effect.

  • 1 quart water
  • 1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar splenda
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 1 2lb salmon fillet
  • 3 cups (or more) Cedar smoke chips, soaked in water 30 minutes


  1. Stir first 4 ingredients in large bowl until sugars dissolve. Add salmon (skin side up), to brine, pressing to submerge. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove salmon from brine; discard brine. Rinse salmon under cold water. Place salmon, skin side down, on rack. Let stand until top is dry to touch (do not pat dry), about 1 hour. Prepare barbecue (medium-low heat). Using 2 layers of foil, make 12 x 10-inch foil rectangle with 1-inch-high sides. Place 3 cups smoke chips on foil rectangle. Set atop coals 5 minutes before grilling salmon allow to begin smoking. Make sure the heat is turned OFF below the salmon, you want indirect heat from the smoke to cook it. Position barbecue rack at least 6 inches above heat. Position vents on barbecue so that chips smoke and heat burn but do not flame.
  2. Smoke until salmon is firm to touch and glaze forms over salmon, adding more smoke chips to barbecue if necessary, 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on heat of grill.
  3. Transfer salmon to platter; serve warm or at room temperature. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
  4. Serve with a Horseradish Aoili

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This is a small capuccino sized serving, for 5 (about 75ml per serving). Although it seems like a lot of work, this is really worth it. The flavour is incredible AND it’s totally my recipe! Inspired no less, by our dinner at Europa in Montréal on February 15 2009.


  • 1 cup finely sliced leaks
  • 3 small new potatoes (about 2″ in diametre) sliced finely (no need to peel)
  • 13 oz water
  • 1 tsp concentrated chicken stock or miso (I used chicken for this version)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Cook leaks in butter and olive oil until soft (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add water and chicken stock and stir until dissolved.
  3. Add potatoes and cook until everything is soft.
  4. With an immersion blender, purée until everything is smooth.
  5. Strain through a fine sieve (all the peel will get caught in the sieve) into a pyrex container.
  6. Set aside.

Gruyère Crème

  • 1/4 cup carnation 2% evaporated milk (use real cream if you’re in the mood)
  • 1 cup finely grated Gruyère cheese.
  1. Heat cream, add cheese and whisk until smooth. If your cheese was cold, you may need to purée with an imersion blender to get it really smooth.
  2. Pour into a small funneled container (so that you can control the shape). Allow to cool completely and then refrigerate (this is important because you want to get the crème really thick and the contrast of the hot soup and the cold cream is lovely!)


  1. Heat soup in microwave for a couple of minutes (you want it steaming hot, but don’t boil it as it will crust up on the sides).
  2. Carefully pour into 5 demitasse cups.
  3. Pour Gruyère Crème in a circular pattern on top, and draw a sharp knife in one direction to make the pattern shown.
  4. Serve with a small spoon so the crème may be stirred within.
  5. Enjoy!

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Dinner with Kim and Rob

We invited Kim and Rob over for dinner last night. He mentioned Todd and Tina bought a house (congrats you two!!) Here is the menu, recipes to follow in separate posts.

Hors D’oeuvres: Fresh Figs, with Goats Cheese, Arugula wrapped in Proscuitto

Amuse Bouche: Leek & Potato Capuccino with Gruyere Crème (no doubt enspired by our dinner to Europa in Montréal on Feb 15)

Main: Home Smoked Salmon (cedar and maple), New potatoes with garlic and parlsey and steamed green beans and JTs famous no knead bread

Dessert: Double Chocolate, Peanutbutter brownies.






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Friday night JT and I rode the Bullet (that’s our subway) to the Bloor-Yorkville Icefest. An easy 15 minute ride. We immerged at Cumberland and spent about 4 minutes looking at the sculptures. Now maybe there was more, but 4 mintues? They were indeed lovely, and apparently 25,000lbs of ice! That’s some ice. But 4 mintues? We had dinner at Asuka, one of our favourite sushi places a short walk from the festivities!

Here are the photos, enjoy in the warmth and comfort of your home.







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JT made this with the Naan for dinner last night. This is quite tasty but it’s not the ‘butter chicken’ I know. What’s different about it is that it has almonds and raisins in the recipe. It’s a lot of work, and not really worth it, so I won’t bother posting the recipe, but it looks pretty good, so here is the photo. Recipe came from Simply Indian by Tahera Rawji and Hamida Suleman, published 2003 by Whitecap books, page 51.

This is what we did differently than the recipe: substitute Carnation Evaporated Milk for the Cream and we also puréed the sauce so that it is more creamy and added about 1 tbsp of tomato purée and about 2 tbsp tandoori paste instead of 1 tbsp tandoori powder. In my opinion is that this is too sweet (too many raisins when puréed) and it needs about 1/2 cup to 1 cup plain yogurt for the tang.


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Easy Naan Bread


Naan Bread (adapted from several recipes)

This recipe is only good fresh from the oven…but if you need to reheat them, try steaming them to get the chewy texture back!

  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup natural yogurt at room temperature
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp flavouring of your choice (such as minced garlic, onion, cumin etc) – the one in the photo is plain
  1. Dissolve yeast in water with the sugar and let stand 10 minutes until frothy.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt in a medium sized bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture, olive oil, yogurt and flavouring and combine until a dough is formed.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes.
  4. Return the dough to the bowl and cover, allow to rise about 1 ½ hours until double in size.
  5. Preheat oven on high broil setting, preheat your cast iron pan as well.
  6. Punch dough down and turn out to a lightly floured surface and knead a further 4 minutes.
  7. Divide dough into 6 portions and pat with your fingers to form ovals about 6 inch by 4 inches and about ½ inch thick. Rub both sides with room temperature butter.
  8. Lay dough onto your preheated really hot cast surface and broil for 2-4 minutes each side, turning twice in the process to allow bubbles to form on both sides.
  9. Serve immediately, or keep warm in foil. If you are reheating, try steaming to regain the chewy texture.

Check it out at Foodista.

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Valentine’s Weekend


JT surprised me with a getaway to Montréal; we left Friday morning and returned on Monday afternoon! What an amazing romantic mini-holiday!

We rented a Toyota Camry Hybrid…totally cool. It cost a total of $65 for gas all the way to Montréal and Back that’s 1,100 km or 782 miles round trip!


We had an amazing time. Great meals, great entertainment and great shopping. We stayed at L’Hotel De La Montagne. They have recently renovated the rooms – nicely appointed, modern style.



We arrived Friday afternoon, unpacked and settled into our room, and then ventured outside for a brusque walk. The temperature wasn’t bad, but the wind was awful. We didn’t venture too far from our base dropping into stores along the way (I spotted a great pair of Italian leather boots, which I spent the next 2 days pondering). We had a Guiness at The Irish Embassy, just down the road from our hotel. On the way back, we dropped into Ogilvy’s a Montréal department store icon.

Dinner on Friday night was at Globe Restaurant. We started with two raw oysters (just to get the romantic mood going…JT is such a trooper!) I had the appi sizes of Bizon tartar (YUM and very generous portions) and stuffed grilled calamari (Calamari stuffed with chorizo, Beluga (black) lentils, tomato confit). JT had the Cole Slaw and Crab, and the Roasted Grain Fed Chicken, yukon mash and oyster mushrooms with Alexander sauce (he said it was very tasty!). I would definitely recommend this place. I would have gone back on Sunday, but our friend’s Denis and Lynda had another suggestion!

Saturday, Febrary 14th

We woke relatively early and had breakfast at Eggspectations – we shared a mexican style omlette with rye toast and Café au Lait – YUM.
Then we had a chilly walk to the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts. We enjoyed their permanent collection, but I was surprised at how small it was.

We took the Metro for free (was it because it was Valentine’s Day? Who knows) down to Montréal’s Old City and had lunch at one of our old favourites Crêperie Chez Suzette, and had a ham, gruyere and béchamel sauce crepe, with a lovely glass of wine. JT had beer from a local brewery (sorry, couldn’t find it on the net).


We were so full from lunch, Valentine’s dinner was take out Onion Baja’s from one of Montréal’s top restaurants, Le Taj!

Sunday, February 15

We ate breakfast at Dundees Bar and Grill, just up the road from our hotel. We were bad and I had eggs benny and JT had smoked meat hash both with just about the BEST crispy fried potatoes I have EVER had!

We took the Metro to the Montréal Botanical Gardens and spent the next hour and a half walking through some of the loveliest exhibits (we saw lemongrass, nutmeg, vanilla, cardamom to name a few!) We passed on the insectarium (for obvious reasons, if you know me).

Another short Metro trip and we’ve arrived at Montréal’s China Town. It’s a lot smaller than most Chinatowns – just a couple of streets. We popped into a few gift/dishes stores, but they were no Tap Phong!

We did come across a great Pho place, but damned if I can remember the name of it. After searching on line was unsuccessful – it’s the modern asian restaurant just down from the Japanese Fondu place! (it also has a takeout area right beside it – if you know the name, kindly let me know!).

With a stop along St. Catharines to Simons (a fantastic shop, reasonably priced) where I bought some great cami’s and a new sweater; and of course a great shoe store J Bloom, where I bought a rocking pair of boots I’ve been thinking about since Friday afternoon! That’s double, right?

Sunday night dinner was at Europa with Denis and Lynda (we went to their wedding about 2 and a half years ago.) The three of us had the chef’s tasting menu, and fortunately for John, he was able to enjoy all the extras!

  • Teaser I: Lobster cream Cappuccino with truffle shavings
  • Appetizer: Lightly seared and smoked King salmon, celeriac and Alaska king crab salad, granny smith apple caviar
  • Teaser II: Jellied shot of something fruity, but I cannot recall and the menu on line doesn’t say
  • Amuse Bouche: Spoon of bizon tartar
  • Main Course: I had the Pétoncle Géant: Roasted U10 scallops, “Blanche de Chambly” beer beurre blanc emulsion, barley risotto, rice lettuce espuma
  • Main Course: John had the Slowly braised veal cheeks, fondant potatoes and parsnip purée
  • A selection of desserts from our pastry chefs (these wonderful mini-cookies were served on the three-tier platter AND pink cotton candy!)
  • Dessert: Chocolate macaron presented on a crispy feuillantine, chocolate ganache (unfortunately, I was not able to taste this, as JT gobbled it before I had a chance!)

Wow…That was Delicious!

Monday, Feburary 16 (Statutory Holiday, Family Day in Ontario):

We rose relatively early again and had an amazing breakfast at Reuben’s Deli on St. Catharines. I had the Montréal Bagel with Smoked salmon and cream and JT had Smoked Meat Hash – both delicious. The egg dishes were quite reasonably priced. As we were walking back to the hotel, a few snow flakes started to fall!

We begun our journey home around 10:30 – a little later than anticipated. The day was overcast, which is great for driving. We made good time to Belleville where we stopped at the Crabby Joes for a bite. They really should have called it Crappy Joes! I had French Onion Soup. How doe you screw up French Onion Soup? Every pub in Ontario has this soup on the menu and this one was by far the worst I have ever had the misfortune of eating (what a shame, we were scoring so high with food in Montréal!). The first thing was that they put in way too many croutons (yes,croutons and not toasted french stick), so the damn things soaked up all the liquid, AND the liquid, whatever was left seemed to be a gelatinous goop. The cheese was plentiful, but tastless. JT ordered spinach salad, and oops, the kitchen ran out of spinach…so he had a roasted turkey wrap, which wasn’t bad. Oh well. We arrived home around 4:30, returned the car, unpacked, started laundry and got into the wine. We had popcorn for dinner. We’re working out every night this week.


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  • 7-8 larg e scallops (these were about 1 oz each!)
  • 7-8 Prosciutto slices
  • 3 cups Arugula
  • 1 ripe tomato
  • 10 cauliflower florets
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  1. Dry scallops well and wrap tightly with prosciutto and hold in place with a toothpick.
  2. Preheat griddle to high, and place prosciutto wrapped scallops on. Cook until grill marks appear (about 1-2 minutes each side, depending on how large scallops are). Turn 45° to get the great grill marks shown in the photo! Note that wet scallops will not allow grill marks, scallops must be bone dry to get this to happen.
  3. Plate 1 1/2 cups of arugula on each plate, arrange with sliced tomatoes, cauliflower florets, and 3-4 scallops.
  4. Drizzle with Balsamic and olive oil.
  5. Enjoy!

Serves 2

Check it out at Foodista!

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Adapted from Epicurious

  • 1 Medium Eggplant (2lb)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 3+ tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced on a microplane
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Salt each cut side and allow to stand for about 15 minutes. Wipe off excess liquid and salt.
  2. Generously oil rimmed baking sheet. Place eggplant halves, cut side down, on sheet. Roast until eggplant is very soft, about 45 minutes. Cool slightly.
  3. Using spoon, scoop out pulp from eggplant into strainer set over bowl. Let stand 30 minutes, allowing excess liquid to drain from eggplant.
  4. Transfer eggplant pulp to processor. Add tahini, lemon juice, and garlic; process until almost smooth, adding olive oil until desired consistency is achieved.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to small bowl.
  6. Should be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  7. Serve with my whole wheat flat breads.

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There is an absolutely fabulous Italian grocery store in the concourse of the Food Network building in Chelsea, New York. They carry a lovey range of imported dry goods, canned goods, cheeses, olive oils, balsamic vinegars chocolates and candies! Whenever we are in New York City I stock up! My best find has been dehydrated chestnuts! I’m sure we have something similar in Toronto, but it’s so much more romantic going all the way to Chelsea for my chestnuts! As an added bonus, there is a fantastic kitchen wares store in the same concourse…I’ve picked up a few lovely souvenirs there!

If you are using dehydrated chestnuts, then you will need to do this few days in advance (about 5 days). Soak the chesnuts in water until they are fully hydrated.

  • 1/2 cup hydrated chestnuts*
  • 2-3 cloves roasted garlic
  • 2 tbsp onions, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp cognac
  • pinch of nutmeg*
  • pinch of all spice*
  • pinch of white and black pepper*
  1. Roast chesnuts drizzled in olive oil, in a small square of parchment wrapped in foil paper (they will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour). Roast a head of garlic at the same time.
  2. Sauté onions until caramelized. Sprinkle with nutmeg and all spice and allow the heat to bring out the spices.
  3. Crumble chestnuts into the onions and cook with a little olive oil and water. The chestnuts should be moist. Add the roasted garlic and cognac and allow the alcohol to burn off.
  4. Pour ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth, adding olive oil until desired consistency is achieved (should be relatively thick). You can run this through a fine seive for a smooth pate, or leave it chunky. If you want this more of terrine style, you may set the pate with a little gelatine.
  5. Serve with my flatbreads.

*Updated December 31, 2013

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We had Anna, André, Barb and Kevin for dinner Saturday night. It was a bit of a challenge because Anna is a vegetarian (no fish, but she does eat dairy and eggs). I love these types of challenges – it really tests my creative and cooking abilities.

Barb & Kevin

Barb & Kevin




  • H.D.: Roasted Red Peppers with Sheeps Milk Feta and Balsamic Reduction
  • Amuse Bouche for the carnivores: Chicken Liver Paté on Chive Biscuits and a dalop of Fig Confit
  • Amuse Bouche for Anna: Chesnut Paté on Chive Biscuits and a dalop of Fig Confit (this turned out great, I will post the recipe shortly)
  • Appi: Boston Bibb, Poached Pears, Caramalized Walnuts and Stilton Salad with Balsamic Reduction dressing
  • Main: Contemporary Chicken Cordon Bleu on a bed of navy bean risotto, drizzled with a taragon sauce (Anna will get roasted eggplant rolled with mozerella)
  • Dessert: Anna is bringing a wonderful flourless chocolate cake. Anna makes amazing desserts! Recipe to come, photo below.

Roasted Red Peppers and Sheeps Milk Feta (check it out on Foodista)


  • 4-5 Red Peppers (try to get some with heavier flesh)
  • 250 g Sheeps Milk Feta
  • Olive oil
  • Toothpicks
  1. Pre heat broiler to high.
  2. Cut Peppers in half and rub generously with olive oil.
  3. Place each pepper cut side down on a cookie sheet and place in oven in relatively close proximity to the burners. Watch carefully as you want the skins to darken but not catch on fire!
  4. Broil until the skins are black. Remove from oven and place the peppers into a thick freezer style zip lock bag (or in a glass bowl and cover with cello) for about 1/2 hour.
  5. Remove from bag or bowl and remove skins (they should easily peel away, if not, put them back and allow to sweat a bit more).
  6. Slice roasted red peppers into about 1″ x 4+” slices. Cut feta into about 1/2″ x 1″ rectangles. Roll the feta in the red peppers and skewer with a toothpick. repeat until all the feta and or red pepper are used.
  7. Display on a plate with the toothpick facing upward (for easy access) and lightly drizzle with balsamic and olive oil.
  8. This may be made 1 to 2 days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the fridge.

Anna’s Flourless Chocolate Torte


  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 150 g dark chocolate
  • 150g butter
  • 1 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 125 g ground almonds
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 300 g raspberries
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease  22 cm round spring form pan.
  2. Line base and side with parchment paper.
  3. Blend cocoa and water in large bowl.
  4. Melt butter with 150 g of chocolate in microwave.
  5. Stir into cocoa mixture, along with sugar, ground almonds and egg yolks.
  6. Beat egg whites in small bowl until soft peaks form.
  7. Fold into chocolate mix in 2 batches.
  8. Pour into prepared pan and cook @ 1 hour. Stand cake to cool for 15 minutes. Remove sides and cool completely on wire rack. When completely cool, remove all paper and transfer onto plate.
  9. Place raspberries on top of cake.
  10. Heat remaining 200 g of chocolate with cream until melted. Drizzle chocolate on top of raspberries. Leave the cake at room temperature until chocolate sets.

Serves 12

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JT’s sister and her son (nephew Brian) were over for dinner on Saturday night. This pork loin roast is a fantastic recipe that we originally saw on Martha Stewart, when she had her Mom as a guest on the show. I’ve adapted the recipe, of course, but will link to the original in the title.

The Menu

Cocktails: Spanakopita

Appetizer: Lemongrass soup with shrimp

Main course:
Roast Loin of Pork with Pan Fried Apples and Apple Cider Gravy
Braised Red Cabbage
Garlic Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes (trying to keep the carbs down, but I have two yukon golds left over in the fridge that I want to use up!)

Dessert: Apple Strudel with Caramel Sauce

Lemongrass Soup (spicey Tom Yum) adapted from this website (this really is not as complicated as the list of ingredients, but don’t miss one, you will know it!)
Serves 4

  • 3 cups water or chicken stock
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, cut into 4″ pieces and smashed
  • 4-6 whole (double) torn kaffir lime leaves
  • 3 slices galangal (about 1/2 teaspoon
  • 3-20 small thai chilies, to taste
  • 2 cups mixed mushrooms (straw mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, black mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms, etc.)
  • 1 tomato, cut into 8 pieces lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons white soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar (or to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1-2 stems coriander, cleaned and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 4 shrimp, cooked skinned, cleaned and tail off
  1. Add the water/stock to a sauce pan. Crush the lemongrass and cilantro root in a stone mortar & pestle or with the butt of a knife, then add them to the water. Tear the lime leaves to release flavor, and throw them in too along with the galangal.
  2. Turn on your heat to medium high, and bring to a boil. Boil your herbs for about 5 minutes or so, to release the flavors. The color of the water should be a light green when you’re finished.
  3. Add the mushrooms, and chilies and boil for 2-3 more minutes, until mushrooms are soft.
  4. Add the sliced tomato, and cook until soft, probably less than a minute.
  5. Turn off the heat. Add your soy sauce, sugar, and at the very end the lime juice. Taste to make sure the flavor is right… It should be very sour & spicy. You may need to add more lime juice depending on how sour your limes are.
  6. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with one shrimp and cilantro leaves.

Roast Loin of Pork with Apple Cider Gravy

  • 1 boneless pork loin (4 to 5 pounds), tied
  • 8 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large mayan onion, finely chopped
  • 2 jonagold apples sliced about 1/4 inch thick
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  1. Make incisions in the pork every 2 to 3 inches, and insert garlic slices. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, sugar, and marjoram, and coat the pork evenly with the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle flour over the pork to lightly coat. Shake to remove any excess flour. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add pork, and brown on all sides. Transfer pork to a large roasting pan. Add the chopped onions over the pork. Add 1 1/2 cups water to roasting pan, and roast, covered, for 1 hour, basting occasionally.
  3. Remove pork loin from roasting pan, and let rest for 10 minutes. Place roasting pan on stove, heat over medium-high heat, and cook pan juices until reduced and thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, set aside for the apple cider gravy (below).
  4. In a frying pan, melt the butter, and pan fry the apple slices until slightly browned on both sides.
  5. Slice pork, arrange on a serving platter with the apples, and serve with gravy (below).

Apple Cider Gravy (this is an adaption from President’s Choice first cookbook)

  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 cup low fat evaporated milk (not condensed) or heavy cream
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. In a saucepan, bring apple cider to a boil and reduce to about 1/2 cup (this does take some time).
  2. Remove from heat and whisk in the dijon mustard and the cream.
  3. Return to heat and simmer until reduced about 3/4.
  4. Add the juices from the roasting pan. Mix well.
  5. Season and keep warm until ready to serve.

Apple Cranberry Strudel


  • 6 Jonagold apples, peeled cored and grated coarsely.
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup ground walnuts or almonds
  • 6 sheets of phyllo pastry
  • 1/4 cup melt butter (unsalted)
  • Sugar for dusting strudel top
  1. Mix apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cranberries and lemon peel together and set aside.
  2. Take 3 sheets of phyllo pastry and drizzle with melted butter in between each sheet.
  3. Sprinkle with ground nuts.
  4. At one end, add enough apple filling to form a roll about 3″ in diameter, all the way across the pastry.
  5. Fold in edges and roll up.
  6. Repeat with second set of three pastries.
  7. Brush with melted butter.
  8. Bake at 350°F until phyllo is golden.
  9. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream, drizzled with caramel sauce, and yogurt (to cut some of the sweetness).

Caramel Sauce (adapted from Epicurious Bon Appétit | April 2006

Makes about 3/4 cup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/8 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup carnation 2% evaporated milk (not condensed)
  1. Combine sugar, 1/2 cup water, and corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
  2. Increase heat and boil without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat. Carefully add evaporated milk (you may want to stand back — mixture will bubble vigorously). Stir sauce over low heat until any caramel bits dissolve and sauce is smooth. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat just until pourable, then let caramel sauce cool to room temperature.)

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