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Archive for April, 2009

We are having my good friend (and boss) Kim, her hubby Rob (the TV Star as he so loves to remind us – we’ll get to that later) and their lovely daughter Chloé. I’ve had a few bad hits with dinner with Chloé (she used to eat everything and now she is 7!) so  we’re going the safe route and I asked Kim what she likes – steak and potatoes. Nice and easy at any rate. Chloé also loves oysters so we’re going to get a dozen from the St. Lawrence Market – we’re having the famous peameal on a bun for breakfast YUM!

Hors D’oeuvres: Oysters with a chimichuri style sauce, and a balsamic tomato and green onion salsa and Roasted Red Peppers and Sheep Milk Feta with a balsamic drizzle
Appetizer: Rustic mushroom ragu ‘raviioli’
Main: Steak, Baked Potatoes with all the trimmings and Caesar Salad with Garlic Bread (I may also add a healthy vegetable for me!)
Dessert: Strawberry Shortcake with Fresh Whipped Cream

Rustic Mushroom Ragu Ravioli (appetizer portion for 5)

Eva's Rustic Mushroom Ravioli

Eva's Rustic Mushroom Ravioli

I was inspired by Laura Caulder’s Rustic Mushroom Ravioli on French Cooking at Home – but I tried to do it a little healthier, of course! I made my own pasta because I wanted to use only egg whites and I wanted a very thin pasta (this recipe is about the mushrooms and not the pasta!) I eyeballed my pasta so I won’t repeat the recipe, but any simple pasta recipe will do (semolini, egg, water) – you can even use won ton wrappers in a pinch!

  • 10 x 3″ squares of pasta, cooked and drained
  • 2 cups assortment of wild mushrooms hydrated in 2 cups hot water (I love the one’s you get from Costco US) – liquid reservered
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter (a little pat won’t make you fat!)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup of carnation low fat evaporated milk (cream substitute)
  • 1 tbsp cognac
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • Parmesan shavings (about 3 per plate)
  1. Begin by sweating the onions until translucent in the tablespoon of butter and olive oil, add 1 cup of the finely strained mushroom broth and the rehydrated mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are soft (the mushroom broth will evaporate, intensifying the mushroom flavour.
  2. Add the garlic and cognac and stir until the alcohol has evaporated.
  3. Pour in the evaporated milk and 1/2 cup of mushroom broth, and simmer until liquid is reduced about 1/4 (there should be enough sauce for about 2-3 tbsps per person).
  4. Add the remaining butter and stir until melted.
  5. Place one sheet of pasta on each plate and spoon the mushroom ragu among the 5 plates with a little sauce on each – reserve a mushroom or two and some sauce per plate.
  6. Place the remaining pasta sheet over each one, not perfectly, this is rustic ravioli!
  7. Spoon the remaining mushrooms and sauce on top of the pasta and garnish with 3 shavings of parmesan cheese.
  8. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Mushroom Ravioli Rustico on Foodista

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I’ve been very bad blogging lately. We’ve been swamped at work and I guess I haven’t felt like spending any more time than I had to on my computer at home.

Check out the photos from our weekend away!

Paul and T on the hiking trail at Starved Rock

Paul and T on the hiking trail at Starved Rock

We drove down to Paul and T’s for the Easter Weekend. It was lovely. We rented another Camry Hybrid (about $85 of gas for both ways!!!) – granted it’s not the most beautiful car I’ve ever seen, but it gets unbelievable fuel efficiency and that, above all, tips it to ‘way cool’ in my books!

We had by far one of the worst boarder experiences going into the states. The Guard in our queue took about 5-8 minutes per car, compared to the other queues which were 2-3 minutes per car (add it up, 10 cars at even 6 minutes each is 60 minutes, waiting in line). And it’s not as if he was asking more detailed questions…he was just taking his sweet time with EVERY car , making a call, chatting it up with the other guard etc. Apparently we are not allowed to bring apples (2 apples as a snack) into the US – which were US apples to begin with – confiscated the apples, and then made a show of sashaying to the garbage bin which was at the front of the little guard building, opening the garbage can lid, looking back at us to make sure we see he is tossing the apples and then sashaying back. UGH. It really was terrible. We were at the crossing for one and a half hours in total. Brutal.

We had a lovely time in Chicagoland (yup, that is what they call it!). They are about 2 weeks ahead of us seasonally, so their buds and blooms were in full swing…really gave me something to look forward to.

We shopped well, ate well and drank AND we went for a very cool hike in Starved Rock State Park. WOW. What a beautiful park. We were just going to drive down and check out the lodge and head back for the Masters, but when we started walking, we just couldn’t stop. The scenery was spectacular and the paths were so easy to walk (there were lots of board walks – which was great because I had my cowboy boots on and they weren’t perfect for real hiking – gimme a break, we were just going to drive up and walk in the lodge!!!) We ended up being out for about 3 hours. Poor Paul had to TiVO the masters. We had lunch at the lodge bar  which was just OK (it was Easter Sunday so the restaurant had a brunch).

Stay tuned for some recipes – we’re having Kim and Rob and Chloé for dinner on Saturday so I get to cook!

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Doing some blog surfing I came across a great recipe for Matar Paneer which I’ve already tried and loved it. While on this blog, there was reference to a woman who inspired the writer, and a video which I have attached below. It is worth the time to watch it (particularly after seeing the movie Slumdog Millionaire!

These people have created an incredible business in India – Conserve – they use recycled plastic bags and make handbags out of them. But what’s really inspiring is that they’ve created a business that helps employ very poor people. And they seem genuine about it. Check it out and leave your comments if you think this is really cool too!

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We went to my brother’s place for dinner last night (an early Easter dinner) and I made carrot cake (in respect of Bunnies all over the world!)

This is a recipe that my mom cut out from a newspaper about 25 years ago.  I have no idea what paper and when. It’s quite a moist cake with lots of flavour. I actually added a bit too many carrots, because I had grated them and had no other use, but it was still quite tasty!

Applesauce Carrot Cake

Applesauce Carrot Cake

Applesauce Carrot Cake

  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking sode
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmet
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (or 1/3 cup packed splenda brown sugar – which I didn’t have for this one, but would sub it next time)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together eggs, applesauce, oil, and brown sugar. Fold in carrots.
  4. Gently stir the carrot mixture into the flour mixture until well blended.
  5. Divide batter equally between a lightly greased (I used Pam) 8″ round cake pan.
  6. Bake 50-55 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1/2 cup yogurt cheese (strain overnight about 1 cup of yogurt to make 1/2 cup yogurt cheese)
  • 1/2 cup low fat cream cheese
  • 3/4 – 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  1. Using a hand mixer, mix all ingredients together until a smooth, creamy consistency is formed.
  2. Generously top cooled cake with the cream cheese icing.
  3. Enjoy!

Applesauce Carrot Cake on Foodista

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