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Archive for the ‘Snacks’ Category

Allow me to digress dear readers; it was the late 1980’s and we were all newlyweds, excited to begin our lives in our new homes. Part of this excitement was the possibility of entertaining, and yes I do mean all grown up, playing house! I moved directly from my parents home into our marriage home so the thought of entertaining in our new house was exhilerating! We routinely rotated dinner parties so each of the new home-makers could enjoy the entertaining aspect of our new lives.

This dip has the perfect combination of flavours

This dip has the perfect combination of flavours

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, I assisted for a Christmas magazine shoot (for 2014) and there was a seafood dip recipe that I had to make. It contained copious amounts of expensive seafood (to be honest, I don’t know anyone who would be willing to spend that kind of money on a dip! $20 lobster, $45 canned lump crab and $10 shrimp, granted you only needed 3oz of each to make that dip) but it reminded me of a delicious warm crab that one of our friends made in the late 80’s! I remember asking her for a copy of the recipe which she clipped out of the Toronto Star (our local newspaper).

We were absolutely smitten the first time we tried the original warm crab dip. The dip has crab meat, cream cheese, onion, dill and horseradish, the combination is fantastic! So when I brought home some leftover crab meat I knew I wanted to make it for the 2013 entertaining season. Imagine my HORROR when I looked for the photocopied recipe and all I could find is this corner:

This is the only part of the recipe I could find!

This is the only part of the recipe I could find!

In total panic, I posted a plea on Facebook to all my friends to see if someone else had this wonderful recipe, but sadly I was out of luck. Thank you, by the way for your wonderful suggestions — you definitely had my mouth watering but I was on a mission for my particular recipe. So I put on my recipe developer hat and got to work trying to replicate this recipe from two decades ago and by George, I think I got it! I’ve used the decadent Jumbo Lump Crab meat because it’s what I had, but plain ordinary canned crabmeat works equally well, you just don’t get the giant lumps but the flavour is the same. I’m posting the recipe in the measurements I developed but you can half it easily. I like to freeze these types of baked dips in plastic lined smallish ramekins so that if I have unexpected company I can easily unwrap the plastic and pop it frozen into the specific ramekin and bake. If you bake the dip frozen, make sure to allow extra time to defrost while baking.

Warm Crab Dip

The almonds give it extra texture

The almonds give it extra texture

Makes about 1 1/2 cups dip

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c Extra Smooth Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tsp dill (dried is fine)
  • 2 tsp horseradish (the original recipe called for horseradish cream, but I never had horseradish cream on hand)
  • 2 tbsp red onion or shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 150 g crab meat (canned is perfectly fine here). It’s about 1/2 cup, or one can give or take. 
  • 1/4 c sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. Combine the ricotta, cream cheese, dill, horseradish, red onion and milk and mix well.
  2. Fold in the crab meat; if using lump make sure you leave some chunks but it’s not entirely necessary, I just prefer the way it looks.
  3. Season with salt.
  4. If you are making this for the future, line three half-cup ramekins with plastic wrap (like this).
  5. Divide the mixed dip into the three ramekins pressing into the ramekin so it will retain the shape. Try not to have too many folds so that the plastic comes off easily. Carefully twist the plastic wrap to seal. Place the ramekins in the freezer. Once the dip has frozen to the ramekin shape, remove the frozen dip and  label it and return the shaped dip to the freezer until needed. Put your ramekins away.
  6. About 30-40 minutes before serving, pre-heat the oven to 375° F. Remove plastic wrap from the frozen dip and pop the shaped dip into the original ramekin you used to freeze it. Place on a cookie sheet (it may boil over depending on how full your ramekin was) and bake for 30-40 minutes or until dip is bubbling in the centre.
  7. Remove the baked dip and sprinkle with almonds. Return to the oven and broil for a couple of minutes until the almonds are toasted. Serve with crostini, crackers or even sliced cucumbers.

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I’ve been busy! And the next couple of weeks will be even busier! I’m so excited to tell you about an amazing opportunity that’s come up, I have been actually assisting with real food styling jobs. One of the recent jobs was for Food & Drink magazine assisting a prominent stylist; the next one will be on location somewhere up north for three days! The Food & Drink magazine is a gorgeous magazine produced by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (the single largest purchaser of alcohol in the world). They have a lofty budget to produce this gorgeous, glossy magazine; I’m also booked for about 4 additional days in December with a couple of other equally talented stylists so my life has become rather exciting. But because I’m away from my computer and not able to access my phone while on set I’m sorry if I miss a comment on your blog in the next while but I hope you’ll understand.

Let me tell you about my experience so far in assisting. Sometimes it means grocery shopping; I was fortunate enough to shadow a food stylist assistant as she shopped Toronto grocery stores for some rather unique ingredients. It starts with an email list and a call with the food stylist to chat about what is needed that day. Often the groceries are perishable so we buy only for what will be used that very day. After we clearly understand what each ingredient is for, we make lists and action plans. Remember my cottage lists? Let me say that my list-making abilities will come in very handy. We began our grocery journey at around 10am at the Maple Leaf Gardens Loblaw and were on the go until 3pm non-stop, visiting no less than 8 stores to pick up about $300 of various ingredients for recipe development. You may wonder what the most unique ingredient we sourced was? It was a mediterranean salt-cured fish which is also dried called Botargo (John – From the Bartolini Kitchens, please comment on what this might be used in). It was very expensive, clocking in at $79.99 for a piece that looked no more than 150 g or 5.5 oz! We also visited a very cool Asian grocer on Cherry Street called T&T where we bought fresh Galangal (Thai Ginger) and Chinese Chives (which are long, flat leaved, grass-like greens), but they had so much more. You just know I’ll be visiting that store again in the very near future. At the St. Lawrence Market we bought soft-shelled crabs, rabbit (did you know they leave the head on so you can be sure it’s not a cat?), Chorizo (raw and cured), farro and La Bomba rice (this is the same Paela rice I recently used here)! My imagination is going wild with the possibilities for these lovely ingredients. Our job is to buy the food ONLY. There is someone else called a Prop Stylist who is responsible to source all the cool props you may see included in a recipe photo.

But shopping is only half of it, the other half of assisting is advance preparation (which I haven’t done as yet) and on-site cooking where we are actually cooking the food for the camera. On my first shoot for F&D I had figured that I would be relegated to clean-up and general prep but I actually had the opportunity to cook for the actual shots — I made pesto, browned chicken, made savoury waffles to name a few! It was more than I dreamed it would be. The job is not for everyone, but I love being in the kitchen and I found it interesting and very satisfying. Working with the photographers, their assistants, the food stylist and prop stylist on-site is an amazing experience and I am excited and very grateful to be part of it. I think I’ve unexpectedly stumbled upon my dream job :-), which is pretty incredible because I thought I LOVED what I did before!

It’s definitely fall in Toronto, and while there are barely leaves clinging to the trees, while the colour of the sky has morphed into shades of grey (not fifty, let’s not go there), while the colour of the lake is more black than blue, our slow cookers are chugging away in our cozy kitchens up in Canada, brewing secret and not so secret recipes to fend away cold and flu season with the nutrition and comfort of soup. Take a look at any website, blog or even magazine and it’s about soup. I definitely have my favourites but I also like to switch it up a bit and so I’ve developed this tasty, all be it green, Broccoli Soup, without a spot of cream in it! Of course, you can add cream if you wish to your taste, but I’ll pass thank you very much.

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The polenta fries were a nice touch and a perfect colour contrast

Creamed Broccoli Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 good-sized head of local organic broccoli, cut into even florets, woody stems removed.
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1-2 medium-sized parsnips, cut into cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • Water or stock to cover
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Sauté the onion until translucent, add the garlic and parsnip and sauté 5 minutes longer.
  2. Add the broccoli and cover with water. Cook until all vegetables are fork tender.
  3. Using an emersion blender, blend until smooth adding water or stock to desired consistency, salt and pepper to taste. Press through a fine sieve. Serve hot with Cheddar Polenta ‘Fries’
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There isn’t a spot of cream in this delightful soup

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At the Delicious Food Show, JT and I happened upon a lovely vendor who makes the most beautiful savoury Shortbread Cookies. You know that I’m definitely more of a savoury person (no pun intended!) so I was excited to make these delicate little cookies as soon as I got home. I didn’t want the rosemary to be too overwhelming so there isn’t that much of it, feel free to add more. You could also brush the tops with a beaten egg and sprinkle a little flavoured sea salt on each one, but I didn’t want to fuss that much. I served these for cocktails with one of our neighbours as part of an antipasto platter. They were very much appreciated!

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We bought three types of cheese, three types of meat and served it with grapes, grilled tomatoes on the vine, roasted almonds, bacon jam and the Ice Wine Syrup

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The light is beginning to fade to winter.

Cheddar Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Makes about 72 little single bite cookies. Original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 227 g Old Cheddar Cheese (or any other sharp cheese that would pair well with rosemary)
  • 1 tsp salt (or less if using a saltier cheese)
  • 2 1/2 cup Flour (cake and pastry)
  • 227 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

Directions:

  1. Sift together salt and flour; set aside. Using electric mixer with cookie dough hook, cream together cheese and butter until well blended.
  2. Gradually add dry ingredients: if dough becomes too thick, use a wooden spoon to stir but don’t work it too much, this is shortbread so you don’t want to activate the glutens too much. Divide dough in half and shape into rounds; wrap well in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour or freeze for another time.
  3. Preheat oven to 350° F (177° C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough quickly into 2mm or 1/4″ thick sheet and cut with a small cookie cutter (I used 4 cm or 1 3/4″ round for these, they do shrink a bit). Put dough into refrigerator while waiting to bake batches.
  4. Bake just until slightly golden, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from baking sheets and cool on a wire. Store in an air tight container or freeze, as I do. To serve, thaw desired amount at room temperature and serve.
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The rosemary is very subtle in this tender savoury shortbread cookie.

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Bircher Muesli

Muesli was invented by a Swiss physician to help his patients recover from surgery. It originally was a wet version (unlike the dry ones you buy at the grocery store) with raw oats, a grated apple and nuts and dairy such as milk or yogurt but it can be made using whatever you prefer. I love making a large batch to have over the weekend when we go to the cottage, it’s a delicious and nutritious breakfast particularly when you have projects to finish up like we did. I served it with a half a grapefruit and it satisfied us even working hard!
The first time I had this lovely breakfast was in Zurich in the late 80’s; JT had a business meeting with a wonderful Swiss gentleman (with whom we are still friends) and his wife was kind enough to take me around. I couldn’t wait to introduce JT to it. Years later, I’m still making it even though I confuse the name quite often!

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The variety of textures is a pleasant way to start the day.

Bircher Muesli

(makes about 4 cups)

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple, grated
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 mixed in salted nuts (I used the Turkish honey and nuts my friend Barb of Profiteroles and Ponytails gave me)
  • 16 grapes cut into halves
  • 1 cup raw rolled oats

Directions:

  1. The night before you wish to eat this breakfast, mix everything together and refrigerate.
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The honey nuts make a lovely addition to this old favourite.

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You could add a piece of toast, but I find the oats filling enough.

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Today I celebrate another benchmark birthday. All I could think of is, I can’t really be THAT age! But what the heck, like wine, we only get better with age, right? — that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

JT organized a beautiful little cocktail party of our closest friends and family yesterday and it was lovely. Of course, I prepared a lot of the food and I’ll be posting about a few new things soon. In the meantime, here are a few great recipes from the Canada Day long weekend. Cheers!

An early morning paddle shows the sparkly lake.

An early morning paddle shows off the sparkly lake.

The old boathouse built by JTs grandfather in the late 1800's

The old boathouse built by JTs grandfather in the late 1800’s

I’ve mentioned before that our cottage is rather remote and we don’t have very good grocery stores close by, in fact the closest is about 45 minutes away and it takes about 20 minutes just to get out to the main highway to get there so planning is essential. Recently we had our lovely friends Rae and Monica up for the weekend and so I put together a great menu plan that allowed for reinventing left overs. One such left over was a combination of several of the meals that resulted in 4 fantastic flat breads that we used as hors d’œuvres on Sunday night. Each of these flatbreads are fantastic on their own, but the variety is also quite lovely. Plus, all of the ingredients are available ready made if you aren’t as fortunate to have left overs.

Quick and Easy Flat Bread Hors D’œuvres

Italian Delight: Gorgonzola, Parmesan and Parsley with Walnuts

The sharp Gorgonzola was a lovely contrast to the candied walnuts

The sharp Gorgonzola was a lovely contrast to the candied walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 naan
  • 1 oz gorgonzola
  • 1 oz grated parmesan
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts candied with balsamic
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat leaf Italian Parsley
  • 1 clove garlic

Directions:

  1. Peel the garlic and cut it in half. Rub one side of the naan with the cut side until it leaves the naan fragrant.
  2. Add cumbled gorgonzola and grated parmesan. Sprinkle with the candied walnuts. (To candy the walnuts, simply add the walnuts to a saucepan with about 2-4 tbsp of balsamic and boil until the balsamic has thickened, cool on parchment and break apart to use)
  3. BBQ until cheese has melted and then add the parsley. Cut into portions.
  4. Serve warm.

Mediterranean: Caramelized Onion, Roasted Red Peppers and Goats Cheese with Pine Nuts

Sweet and tangy Onion against the creamy goats cheese was a lovely foil for the sweet red peppers

Sweet and tangy Onion against the creamy goats cheese was a lovely foil for the sweet red peppers

Ingredients:

  • 1 naan
  • 1/2 a large caramelized onion
  • 1/2 roasted red pepper, skin off, sliced reasonably thinly
  • 3 tbsp crumbled goats cheese
  • 1 tbsp toasted pine nuts

Directions:

  1. Evenly distribute the roasted red peppers on the top of the naan.
  2. Add the crumbled goats cheese and sprinkle with the pine nuts.
  3. BBQ until cheese has melted. Cut into portions.
  4. Serve warm.

Mexican: Salsa and Cilantro

The sassy flavours of Mexican  saturated the Naan well

The sassy flavours of Mexican saturated the Naan well

Ingredients:

  • 1 naan
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 2-4 tbsp chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Evenly distribute the salsa on the Naan.
  2. BBQ until warmed through. Cut into portions.
  3. Serve warm.

Greek: Red and Yellow Peppers, Green and Yellow Zuchinni, Kalamata olives and feta

Tangy flavours and lots of texture

Tangy flavours and lots of texture

Ingredients:

  • 1 naan
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt with 1 garlic chopped into it
  • 1/4 red pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 yellow pepper, sliced
  • Green and Yellow zucchini sliced
  • 2 tbsp Kalamata olives, sliced
  • 3 tbsp crumbled feta
  • pinch of dry oregano

Directions:

  1. Spread the greek yogurt and garlic on the Naan.
  2. Lightly sauté the red, yellow peppers with the green and yellow zuchinni strips (not too soft)
  3. Evenly distribute the peppers and zuchinni on the top of the Naan, dot with the feta and Kalamata olives.
  4. Sprinkle the oregano evenly.
  5. BBQ until warmed through. Cut into portions.
  6. Serve warm.

I’ll leave you with two amazing shots of the sunset from two different nights. This is what makes the drive worth it!

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The sunset on Friday night; red sky at night, sailors delight!

SunSet

Sunset on Sunday night, very surreal

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You’re probably thinking “she’s gone mad” bacon and eggs for a Super Bowl appetizer? What could she possibly be thinking? Well, once you taste these babies, you’d wish you had made more of them. Just the perfect size to pop in your mouth (or for more delicate mouths, ehem, one may need two bites). I bought quail eggs for an appetizer for our friend’s Paul and T (post to come soon and I don’t want to spoil it) but I had a few of these gorgeous little eggs left over, so I came up with this breakfast for appetizer treat, and since Super Bowl is on Sunday, why not serve it to your discerning guests?

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You can see how small the quails eggs are in comparison to the large Grade A egg.

We spotted this sign walking up to a restaurant on Bloor for lunch last Sunday. Since this post had bacon in it, I thought it appropriate.

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A sandwich board sign in our hood which seemed appropriate with this post.

It’s really not a recipe, you can easily see all the ingredients, so I’ll just describe it. You’ll need 1 large slice of German seedy bread (we usually use this brand’s 7-Grain bread), 4 slices of Pancetta, sliced about 3.5 mm or 1/4 inch thick and four quail eggs.

First you want to fry the bacon until crispy, set aside in a warm oven, reserve bacon grease. Then cut four rounds of bread about 4-5 cm or 2.5 inches in diametre, and fry each side of the bread in the bacon fat until slightly toasted, but saturated in the bacon fat (you can hear your arteries bursting, no, wait, those are mine bursting), set aside and keep warm. In the remaining bacon fat, fry up each egg, trying to keep as circular shape as possible. Serve immediately, you want the yolks a little runny. To serve: take one slice of the bread round, put the bacon on top and then the egg, garnish with parsley or cilantro leaves. Serve with a napkin because you will have creamy yolk running down your chin.

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A one, perhaps two bite morsel

They turned out so pretty, I had to take two photos.

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Oh, you have a little dribble on your chin, let me get that for you.

Go Jays Go!

Oops.

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We are trying to eat more fish these days and I’m constantly cruising the web trying to find delicious and unique ways to present said fish. The internet has been busy with peaches recently as they are in season so I created this recipe to include them. Last week we had a grill Tilapia with quinoa tabouleh (or this one) and I wanted a little something to spice it up, so I came up with a Peach Salsa that was quite tasty so I thought I’d share it with you. I’ll leave the ingredients quantities to your own taste, after all, these recipes are meant to inspire.

The small dice allows it to be used as a garnish, plus I love the way it looks

Peach Salsa

Serves 4-6,

Ingredients:

  • Peaches, finely diced 0.5cm or 1/4″ cubes (I left the skin on for texture, plus I always have a really hard time getting the skin off, no matter what technique I use).
  • Jicama, finely diced 0.5cm or 1/4″ cubes
  • Green chili peppers (seeded), finely diced 0.5cm or 1/4″ cubes
  • Sweet red pepper, finely diced 0.5cm or 1/4″ cubes
  • Garlic, finely minced
  • Green onions, finely minced
  • Thai basil, finely chopped
  • Mint, finely chopped
  • Cilantro, finely chopped
  • Rosa’s Lime Cordial, just to wet and mix everything together
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine everything in a glass bowl and refrigerate, this is much better if it can sit for an hour or so.
  2. Garnish with parsley, mint or Thai basil and serve on top of grilled white fish.

Tasty on crackers too

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I was over at Sissi’s blog last week and was intrigued by her Korean Pancake with Shrimp and Scallop. It really wasn’t the recipe that intrigued me, but her description of this unusual dish: “I was literally spellbound by this extraordinary snack” and as many of you commented I was curious to see why such a simple dish could possibly spellbind a sophisticated cook, like Sissi. So I had to make it.

When I mentioned to JT that we were having this pancake for dinner, he was skeptical, but he is open minded and will try anything once. After he finished 2/3’s of the dish, he turns to me and says “I would like you to make this again”. Now THAT is success in my books.

My first attempt was Sissi’s recipe verbatim (with the exception of the sauce, to which I added a bit of fresh ginger), but sadly the pancake broke in half and was an unco-operative subject for a photo, so of course, I had to make it again, with a twist! The texture of this pancake is really nothing like a North American pancake at all, so if you are expecting light and fluffy batter, you will be disappointed. It is dense (as if you overworked a North American pancake and the gluten’s were invigorated!), slightly chewy with a nice firm texture. There is a touch of sweetness from the corn flour. The sauce is really incredible and I would recommend it for anything, not just this dish (such as scallops on a bed of greens!).

Gluten Free South Western Korean-inspired Pancake

I didn’t notice any taste difference using the chick pea flour. Even the texture was relatively similar.

Recipe adapted from Sissi’s blog With a Glass (click here for original recipe)

Serves 2

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 stalk of green onion finely cut
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Directions:

  1. It’s best to make the sauce first so it has a little time to blend and allow the flavours to meld together. You can even do it a day ahead, adding the green onions and sesame seeds just when you are ready to serve so they remain crisp.
  2. Combine all ingredients and set aside.

Pancake Ingredients:

  • 3 spring onion stalks, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 medium hot green chili, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium hot red chili, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated
  • 50 g chorizo sausage, finely chopped
  • 30 g fresh or frozen corn
  • 40 g red pepper (capiscum)
  • 40 g crimini mushrooms

Batter Ingredients:

  • 56 g chickpea flour
  • 20 g corn flour (take fine cornmeal and run it through a food processor until it resembles the texture of regular flour)
  • 200 mL ice cold water
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 egg whites, beaten

A very tasty lunch, indeed

Directions:

  1. Combine all the batter ingredients and mix well with a whisk.
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet to medium and lightly spray with non-stick spray or olive oil.
  3. Pour about 1/3 of the pancake batter onto the pan, allowing it to fill the entire diametre of the pan.
  4. Add the pancake ingredients, distributing everything evenly so you can get a small taste of everything in every bite.
  5. Pour the remainder of the batter over the the pancake and allow it to cook through. You will see the batter become quite a bit denser looking as it cooks. Carefully flip the pancake so that both sides are golden.
  6. Serve with the previously prepared dipping sauce.

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We were invited over to my friend (boss and neighbour) Sunday for dinner and an unveiling of her newly renovated bathroom. It’s quite exciting, she has been wanting to renovate since she bought the house! I must admit, I am a bit jealous as our bathroom needs renovating too (dark green tiles on the WALLS? WHY? WHY? WHY? I could have lived with white, but why dark green?), but we just did all the windows and the landscaping so it will have to wait. Or if I win the lotto.

It’s Easter Sunday and although we usually spend it with my brother’s family they have opted to head up to their cottage on Lake Rosseau in the Muskokas (you may have heard of it, Goldie Hawn had a place on this lake and Martin Short’s cottage is just down the road from him), Kim kindly invited us for dinner. Since it is Easter, I thought I would make lemony cupcakes. Now I am fully aware of my limitations; I surely do not have the patients for extravagantly decorated desserts as Lorraine, Sawsan and Charlie do (to name a few) so I selected a cupcake which was quite manageable and not overly fussy. I did have a bit of a time with the marshmallows, but that is another story. The cupcake recipe is quite spongy, so if you are looking for a dense cupcake, your in the wrong place. JT liked it well enough that he asked I hold back two (you would think it’s one for me and one for him, but sadly it isn’t, they are both for him!)

The Peeps turned out OK, but my favourite are the little nests!

Lemon Almond Cupcakes

Aren't the little nest adorable?

Original Recipe from Five Roses Flour Cookbook
Should make 12 regular muffin tin cupcake

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (depends on how lemony you would like them)
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten lightly
  • 3 egg whites

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 350°F
  2. Sift flour, baking soda and salt together, set aside
  3. Cream butter gradually adding sugar until light and fluffy; add lemon juice, rind and beaten egg yolks and almond extract.
  4. Add dry ingredients and beat well.
  5. With a clean beater, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry.
  6. Add about two tablespoons of the beaten egg whites into the batter and beat well (this is to loosen it up a bit).
  7. Fold in the remaining egg whites.
  8. Line your muffin tins with adorable muffin cups; fill cups about 2/3 full (I filled mine too much and only got 10 cupcakes that overflowed the cup a bit).
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  10. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Martha Stewart Marshmallow Frosting

This frosting is really just like Marshmallows, it even toasts up like real marshmallows. I halved the recipe because I didn’t want a lot left over and I still had a tonne left over. I’m not sure how long it will last, but I filled a zip lock baggy with it and put it in the fridge; I’m hoping to use it for the cupcakes for my family next weekend. I’ll update as soon I as I see how well it lasted.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract

Directions:

  1. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer, set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add almond extract, and mix until combined. Use immediately (or cover with plastic wrap).

Me to JT: Hey look, I branded the chargers with the logo. JT to me: Of course you did.

Oh wait, what’s that you ask? Why yes, it is the place card for the upcoming Titanic Centenary Party next weekend. Angela has gorgeous china that will make us all feel we are dining right on that elegant vessel. We’ll have to remember our manners at the dinner table!

To decorate the cupcakes, you will need:

To decorate the cupcakes was quite easy and not at all time consuming. Note: I did one test where I frosted the cupcake and then dipped the icing into the plain coconut, then I torched it with my little crème brulé torch, but the coconut caught fire before I successfully toasted the marshmallow frosting.

Test #2 was more successful I roasted the coconut in the oven (watch carefully), then I frosted the cupcake and torched the frosting a bit to get that nice golden colour (like fire roasted marshmallows). Then, I dotted a bit more of the frosting on the roasted frosting so that the coconut will stick (it doesn’t stick to the roasted bits), then I dipped them into the oven toasted coconut. I dipped the Peeps bottoms and the eggs into a bit of the frosting so they stick to the nests.

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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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder together with the salt.
  3. Cut in the butter until crumbly.
  4. Fold in the green onion, cheese and Prosciutto
  5. Mix together the egg and milk and beat until slightly frothy.
  6. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet. Mix well.
  7. 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).
  8. Roll out to about 1 cm or 1/2 inch thick and cut with your favourite round, square or traingular cookie cutter.
  9. Brush the tops with the 2 tbsp milk.
  10. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the tops are golden.
  11. 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!

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450ºF (230ºC) or barbecue to medium-high.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. To serve, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) or barbecue to medium-high.
  5. 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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. Remove from processor and fold in chives.
  3. 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.
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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!
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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.

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White Bean Dip

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. 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.
  3. In a large Dutch oven, fry the panchetta until crispy. Remove from pan but reserve the fat in the pan.
  4. Cook the shallots in the reserved bacon fat until translucent.
  5. 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.
  6. 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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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
Salt
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.
Serve immediately.

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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!

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together almond flour, salt, sesame seeds, eggs and oil until well blended
  2. Separate dough into two halves
  3. Line two large (12 x 16) stainless steel baking sheets with parchment paper
  4. Place one half of the dough in the center of each lined sheet
  5. 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!)
  6. 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
  7. Cut the dough with a knife or pizza cutter into 2 inch squares
  8. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown (watch carefully, these can burn very very easily!)
  9. 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.

Cheese Straws

Cheese Straws

  • 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

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
  2. Put all dry ingredients into a food processor and process to mix well.
  3. Add the butter and process until coarse granules form.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Bake for 8-12 minutes until golden.
  7. 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.
Parmesan Cheese Sticks on Foodista

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A relatively quick appetizer with a little planning!

Serves 2

  • 5-6 dried mushrooms (choose a variety)
  • Water to cover
  1. Immerse dried mushrooms in water and allow to sit for 4-6 hours at room temperature.
  2. 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.
  1. In a small saucepan, heat oil and butter until melted and hot. Add onions and cook until translucent.
  2. Sprinkle with flour, add garlic and cook just until you smell it.
  3. Cook flour mix until it is a medium brown colour (careful not to burn).
  4. 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)
  5. Add the cognac and cook for about 1 minute longer.
  6. 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.
  7. Enjoy.

Mushroom Ragu On Toast With Double Smoked Canadian Cheddar on Foodista

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We were invited to two BBQ’s this weekend, so I whipped up two batches of a favourite, Mexican Three Cheese Layered Dip. This dip is great because of the variety of flavours in each bite, it’s never the same.

Mexican Three Cheese Layered Dip

Serves 10-12

Mexican Three Cheese Dip

Layer 1 Cream Cheese:

  • 1 250g Low Fat Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 1 250g No Fat Yogurt (drained 12 hours to make yogurt cheese)
  • 1 cup Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup Salsa (home made recipe below)
  • 1 cup Avocado Paste or guacamole (home made recipe below)
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • ¼ tsp Smoked paprika
  • 1 Clove garlic, finely minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp Chives, finely sliced for garnish

Layer 2 Avocado Paste

  • 1 Ripe avocado
  • 2 tbsp Lime juice (or more for a smooth paste consistency)
  • 2 tbsp Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, finely minced
  • Salt

Layer 3 Salsa

  • 250 g Mini tomatoes (if you use regular tomatoes, remove seeds as they will make this salsa too runny).
  • ¼ cup Cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 Clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 Green onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup Cucumber, finely diced
  • Pinch of Cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • ¼ tsp Smoked paprika
  • Splash of lime juice
  • ¼ tsp grated lime zest
  1. Prepare yogurt cheese the night before by lining a fine sieve with coffee filter paper. Pour content of yogurt container into the lined sieve and allow to sit covered in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Whip room temperature cream cheese with yogurt cheese. Add finely minced garlic, cumin, smoked paprika and salt and pepper. Whip until evenly distributed. Set aside.
  3. Salsa, combine all ingredients and mix well. Set aside (this is best made the day before; if you find it is too liquid, strain using a fine sieve).
  4. Avocado Paste: put content into a food processor and process until you achieve a smooth paste, adding lime juice to adjust the consistency.
  5. Assembly: In a clear bowl (we picked these up from Loblaws, and I love them because they doubled as a ‘gift’), evenly distribute the cream cheese mix. Then smooth the avocado paste over it. Next is the salsa, reserve about a tablespoon, evenly spread the remainder. And last but not least, sprinkle the cheddar and garnish with a little reserved salsa and chives. Serve at room temperature with flat breads, tortilla chips or corn chips. Enjoy!

Mexican Three Cheese Dip on Foodista

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This afternoon we are having our good friends Rae and Mon over and they are bringing Remy and her Beau Liam. Remy is going to borrow my (mom’s) vintage brocade dress for her prom. She bought a pair of shoes in NYC and this is fitting #2! The kids will then be off to Bloor Street to walk around and then have dinner plans!
We will make a killer charcuterie/antipasto plate:
• chicken liver pate
• korozot
• boconccini
• pickles (gherkins, mini onions)
• pickled asparagus
• grapes
• Salami
• Black Forest ham
• crispy Chorizo sausage
• melon
• marinated black olives
• Blue Cheese
• St. Andre cheese
And a variety of flat breads and crackers!

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This little amuse bouche can easily be served as an appetizer or an hors d’oeuvres (or even part of a tapas dinner). I left the paté a coarse texture this time to play against the smoothness of the sauce. The sauce was a last minute substitution as JT made it for dinner on Thursday night (Roger Mookings recipe, Food Network, Everyday Exotic) – I just loved the subtle sweetness and the bang of heat at the very end. It really complimented the Asian flavours in the Paté.

Country Chicken Liver Paté on Grilled Garlic Croustini with Papaya Sauce

Country Chicken Liver Paté on Grilled Garlic Croustini and Papaya Sauce

  • 3 chicken livers, cleaned and minced finely (you may also use your food processor if this grosses you out, just pulse a couple of times)
  • 3 medium porchini mushrooms medium coarsely chopped (you may also use wild mushrooms which will add an earthier flavour)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced (we try to buy garlic grown in the States or better yet, Canada – we try to avoid Chinese garlic as they are picked too young and ripen in their container travel – no flavour!)
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice (I made my own mix, but you may use the store bought kind)
  • 1 tbsp Mirin (Japanese Rice Wine)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Melt 1 tbsp butter with the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the onions and cook about 1/2 way, add the mushrooms (mushrooms will release quite a bit of liquid, but don’t worry)
  2. Add the chicken livers and cook through.
  3. Add the garlic, Chinese Five Spice and cook until you can really smell the aromas. Add the mirin, salt and pepper and the remaining 1 tbsp butter (melt the butter).
  4. Mix thoroughly and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Line a very small loaf pan (or ramekin) with plastic wrap. Press the paté into the form tightly. Refrigerate. This paté gets better with age, so you may want to make it in advance.
  6. See assembly instructions below.

Grilled Garlic Croustini

  • Four 1 cm thick slices of the best bread in the world (JT’s, of course!)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half (make sure one half is large enough to hold onto)
  1. Grill both sides of the bread until slightly chard, but toasted.
  2. Rub garlic over one side really well, repeat to each slice.
  3. Set aside.

Papaya Puré (this is an adaptation of Roger Mookings BBQ sauce from Everyday Exotic)

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp sugar (taste the papaya, you may wish to add more)
  • 1 green chili pepper, pith and seeds removed and quartered
  • zest and juice of 1 limes
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 cups papaya, large dice
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  1. Cook onion in the olive oil until translucent and not brown.
  2. Add sugar, chili pepper, zest of limes and lemon, and stir until sugar disolves.
  3. Add water, juice from lemon, limes and vinegar.
  4. Bring to a boil and add papaya and salt.
  5. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Using a blender, puree until smooth. You may push this through a fine sieve for a creamy consistency, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
  7. Serve warm or cool.

Assembly:

  1. Drizzle the papaya sauce on the plate, making sure there is enough to be able to dip the croustini into.
  2. Slice paté into 1 cm slice and lay carefully on one croustini.
  3. Serve.


Country Chicken Liver Paté on Grilled Garlic Croustini with Papaya Sauce on Foodista

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From the LCBO Summer 2008 Magazine, Lucy Waverman

Iced Brie on Water Crackers

Iced Brie on Water Crackers

  • 8 oz (250 g) brie, rind removed, cut into pieces
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) white wine
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dry mustard
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Pinch paprika
  1. Combine brie, white wine, Parmesan, butter, dry mustard, cayenne pepper and paprika in a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Spoon mixture into a decorative bowl and freeze for 30 minutes or until firm but not frozen.
  3. Serve immediately on water crackers.

Iced Brie on Foodista

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Adapted From Martha Stewart

Makes 16.

granolabars2granolabars1

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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.

nutfactsgranolabars1

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

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