Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 31: Biscuits & Jam

Who doesn't love biscuits? You can have them for breakfast or afternoon tea.  My mother would often make them with soup which I loved because it was almost like getting to eat dessert with dinner.
This recipe is slightly sweet with a crunchy top and light and fluffy centre. Serve them with lots of butter and some strawberry jam. Enjoy!


Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup milk

Directions
1) In the bowl of an electric mixer, add all dry ingredients and mix until combined.
2) Add butter to flour mixture and beat on high until ingredients resemble a dry, crumbly consistency.
3) Gradually add milk and mix until the dough forms a ball.
4) Roll onto a floured surface to 1/2" thickness and cut with a 2" biscuit cutter.
5) Place biscuits onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for approximately 12 minutes at 450F.




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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day 30: Garlic Aioli

Today I thought I would prepare some garlic Aioli, which is basically garlic mayonnaise.  It is very versatile.  You can use it on sandwiches, with fish and it tastes great with yam fries.  It has a bit of a kick from the garlic and mustard while the lemon juice adds a fresh, lightness to the sauce. It definitely puts the store bought kind to shame.


Ingredients
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
2 large egg yolks
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T old style seeded mustard, medium
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions
1) In a food processor add all ingredients except the olive oil and mix until incorporated.
2) Slowly add olive oil to the rest of the ingredients as the food processor is on high setting.  Make sure you don't add too much olive oil at once.
3) Aioli should be kept covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Day 29: Rose Macarons

Today I am going to give you my rose macaron recipe. They have a  light, crispy shell filled with creamy rose ganache.  Make them and imagine yourself in a chic cafe in Paris.


Shells
Ingredients

1/2 cup almond flour
3 tablespoons powdered egg whites
3/4 cup powdered sugar
egg whites from 2 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons berry sugar
pink food coloring

Directions

1.In preparation for making macarons, you must separate the eggs (using only the egg whites) and let them rest in the refridgerator over night, then  take the eggs out and let them reach room temperature just before you whip them.
2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Sift powdered sugar  and almond flour into a large bowl (discard any large pieces).
4. In an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks begin to form.
Then add sugar and continue to beat on high until the eggs are very stiff. Add food coloring and mix well.
5. Pour the beaten egg white mixture into the powdered mixture and fold with a spatula until the mixture becomes a thick ribbony batter.
6. Fit a piping bag with a #10 tip and fill with batter.  Pipe 1 1/2” rounds onto your baking sheet spacing each macaron 1” apart. You can simplify this by making a template to slide under the parchment paper as a guide.
Bake for approximately 10 - 12 minutes at 290 ° F.
Once cooled, fill with rose ganache (go back to the index for the recipe).

Rose Ganache Filling
Ingredients

2 tablespoons whipping cream
4 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon rose water
red food coloring

Directions

1. Place chocolate and cream in a glass bowl and melt over a pot of simmering water stirring with a small spatula.
2. Remove from heat and add rosewater to the melted chocolate and stir until smooth.
3. Place in the refridgerator until chilled.
4. Spread onto macaron shells when the ganache is like softened butter. If the ganache becomes too hard, soften in a double boiler.




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Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 28: Buttery Garlic Shrimp & Snow Peas with Sundried Tomato Pasta

Here is a very quick week night meal that doesn't sacrifice flavour or aesthetics. It is packed full of flavours; from the sweet, starchy noodles to the garlicky shrimp smothered in butter with bursts of  juicy tomato and crunchy snow peas... you'll want to try this one.





Ingredients
tomato flavoured pasta, enough for 4 people
1 lb shrimp, peeled
2 cups snow peas, halved
1 cup yellow roma tomatoes, halved
6 scallions, finely sliced
3-4 T cilantro, coarsely chopped
4-6 T butter
salt and pepper

Directions
1) Cook pasta in boiling water for about 9 minutes.
2) While the pasta is cooking, sauté shrimp and garlic in butter in a fry pan on medium high heat until cooked. The shrimp should be pink in colour.
3) Season with salt and pepper and add snow peas and scallions and cook for 1 minute.
4) Add tomatoes and cook for 1 minute.
5) Remove from heat and serve on top of pasta with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.


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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day 27: Freeform Apple Pie

Today I am going to give you my apple pie recipe.  It has a not-too-sweet filling paired with a flakey, buttery crust.  It's the perfect way to end the weekend. Hope you enjoy.









































Recipe
Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
6 - 8 T ice water

1. In a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar and pulse until mixed.
2. Add butter to flour mixture one piece at a time while pulsing.
3. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough begins to stick together in the processor.
4. Remove dough from the mixer and divide in two pieces.  Shape each half into a disk shape and wrap with plastic wrap.  Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Filling
6 apples, peeled and sliced to 1/4" thickness
2 T lemon juice
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp honey

1. Coat apple slices with the lemon juice so that the fruit won't turn brown.
2. Mix all ingredients together to coat the apple slices.

Pie Assembly
1. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll on a floured surface to 1/4 " thickness.
2. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
3. Fill the centre of the pie crust leaving a 2 1/2" border.
4. Fold crust over the pie filling.
5. To get a golden crust, brush with a bit of egg yolk and then sprinkle with sugar.
6. Bake at 375ºF for 35 - 40 minutes.
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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day 26: Anjou Pear Salad with Tunisian Dates and Warm Walnut Vinaigrette




This morning I was thinking about what to make for today's blog post.  So, I took a look at what I had on hand and ended up with a salad that is a new favourite of mine. It's light and subtly sweet while satisfying at the same time.


Ingredients
2 ripe anjou pears, thinly sliced
4-6 Tunisian dates, chopped
1 small shallot, finely chopped
goat's cheese
1/3 cup walnut oil
2 T red wine vinegar
cracked black pepper
lemon juice, to prevent pears from turning brown

Directions
1) Coat pear slices with lemon juice and arrange on plates.
2) Arrange tiny pieces of the goat's cheese on top of the pears and add walnuts and dates.
3) In a small pan, saute shallots in oil on medium heat until shallots are softened.  Do not heat on high.
4) Remove pan from heat and transfer to a small bowl. Add vinegar and pepper. Whisk until combined and spoon over pears.













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Friday, January 25, 2013

Day 25: Buttery Brussels Sprouts

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best.  This applies when making brussels sprouts.  As a kid I hated these little cabbages with a passion.  However, I have grown to like them more as an adult.  The key to perfect brussels sprouts is not to over cook them.  You want to just cook them long enough to make them tender but still a bit crunchy.  Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 lb brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 T butter
salt and pepper

Directions
1) Place brussels sprouts in a pot of boiling water with a teaspoon of salt. Cook for approximately 4-5 minutes.
2) In a fry pan add butter and shallots and cook for about 1 minute on medium high heat.
3) Add brussels sprouts to buttery pan and cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
4) Season with salt and cracked black pepper and serve.








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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day 24: Banana Muffins

This morning I decided to whip up a batch of my mother's banana bread.  Last minute I decided to make muffins instead.  They take half the time of a loaf and they freeze well. It's the perfect snack or breakfast to go.



Ingredients
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 large bananas
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp baking soda

Directions
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together.
2. Add bananas and egg to butter mixture.
3. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.
4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until ingredients are incorporated.
5. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. I recommend buttering and flouring your tins instead of using muffin pan liners to create a  crustier muffin base similar to the muffin top.
6. Bake in a 350ºF oven for approximately 25-30 minutes. 
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Day 23: Roast Chicken Sandwich with Green Apple and Balsamic Glaze

Today's recipe is going to use yesterday's balsamic glaze.  It is a delicious sandwich that is a little different than your regular deli variety. The crisp, tart apple slices paired with tender, savoury roast chicken smothered in sweet, tangy balsamic glaze; mmm...


Ingredients
4 nice bakery buns or focaccia bread
4 whole chicken breasts, flattened to 1/2" thickness with a kitchen mallet
2 large green apples, cored and cut into 1/8" slices (rub each slice with a generous amount of lemon juice to prevent browning)
4 romaine leaves
2 T dry thyme leaves
salt and pepper
1/4 cup balsamic glaze

Directions
1) Season chicken breasts with thyme, salt and pepper.
2)  Roast chicken breasts in the oven for approximately 25-30 minutes at 425F or until chicken is cooked through.
3) Cut buns in half and spread each half with a bit of the balsamic glaze.
4) Place roasted chicken breasts on top of half of the buns and top with more balsamic glaze.
5) Arrange 2-3 slices of apple on top of chicken and add a bit of romaine lettuce.
6) Top the sandwich with the remaining bun halves and serve.







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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day 22: Balsamic Glaze

Today I am going to give you a sauce recipe that is so delicious, you'll want to put it on everything!
You can put it on chicken, salmon, salads, berries... just about anything.  Another great thing about it is that it's very simple to make.


Ingredients
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 T brown sugar

Directions
1) In a small saucepan, mix vinegar and sugar.
2) Cook on medium high heat until reduced to about 1/2 cup.
3) Serve immediately or store in a container at room temperature to use later.






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Monday, January 21, 2013

Day 21: Roast Chicken with Red Pepper & Orecchiette Soup

Nothing beats a bowl of homemade soup.  It is one of those dishes that warms you up after being in the winter cold and nourishes you when you are under the weather.  It is simple to make plus, it tastes great!

Day 21: I offer you my version of chicken noodle soup...
Roast Chicken with Red Pepper & Orecchiette Soup



Ingredients
4 chicken breasts
1 cup orecchiette noodles
8 cups chicken stock
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
6 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 cups new red potatoes, quartered
1 large red pepper, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2T dry thyme
1tsp herbs de provence
salt and pepper
2 T hot pepper sauce
fresh parsely for garnish

Directions
1) Season chicken breasts with thyme, herbs de provence, salt and pepper.
2) Place chicken on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in oven for approximately 35 minutes at 425F or until chicken is no longer pink. Set aside.
3) In a large stock pot, add chicken stock, pepper sauce, onions, garlic, potatoes and carrots and bring to boil.  Let simmer for 5 minutes.
4) Cut chicken breasts into 1" pieces. Add to stock.
5) Add orcchiette noodles to stock and let simmer for 8 minutes.
6) Add red peppers and simmer for 2 minutes.
7) Taste for seasoning and serve in a bowl with a few parsley leaves.




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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day 20: Kumato & Cream Cheese Sandwich with Fresh Basil

This recipe can be made with any tomato but I happened to find these pretty Kumatoes and thought they would make the most perfect little sandwiches.  Enjoy!


Ingredients
4 slices white bread, cut into 3" rounds with a biscuit cutter
2 kumatoes or tomatoes, sliced
4 slices cream cheese
15 or so whole, fresh basil leaves
butter
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1) Spread butter on each of the bread rounds.
2) Assemble kumato, cream cheese and basil on top of half of the bread rounds.
3) Sprinkle with salt and pepper then top the sandwiches with the remaining bread rounds and serve.
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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day 19: French Toast

Today I made French Toast.  When my kids were small, I made them almost every Saturday.  It was their favourite breakfast.  So, today I decided to whip up a batch and share my recipe here. I hope you enjoy!


Ingredients
1 loaf white bread
5 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
butter

Directions
1) In a shallow bowl, mix eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon together until combined.
2) Dip bread slices into egg mixture to coat both sides.
3) On a buttered griddle or fry pan, cook French Toast on medium high heat until golden brown on both sides.
4) Serve with butter and syrup.
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Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 18: Bacon Wrapped Beef Tenderloin with Dry Cherry Sauce

This is a great recipe for the weekend.  It's not that difficult to prepare and it will make up for all those sub satisfactory meals during the week. 






































Ingredients
4 beef tenderloins
4 strips of bacon
2 cans beef stock
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 port wine
1/2 cup dry cherries
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 T fresh thyme, chopped
1 T fresh rosemary, chopped
pepper
olive oil
3-4 T butter

Directions
1) Wrap each tenderloin with 1 strip of bacon.
2) Season the meat with thyme, rosemary and pepper.
3) In a fry pan add about 2 T olive oil and sear all sides of the tenderloins on high heat until nicely browned.
4) Transfer tenderloins to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 375F.
5) In the fry pan, sautee the shallots for 1 - 2 minutes then add dry cherries, stock, wine and port and cook on high until liquid has been reduced to about 3/4 cup.  Remove from heat and stir in butter.
6) Serve on top of tenderloin steaks.
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day 17: Mini Cranberry Freeform Tart

Here is a nice dessert that you can make ahead of time and just warm up in the oven when you are ready to serve it.  It can be served on it's own or with a scoop of ice cream. It is also nice to have cold  with a slice of cheese as an afternoon snack.
Enjoy!






































Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
6 - 8 T ice water

1. In a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar and pulse until mixed.
2. Add butter to flour mixture one piece at a time while pulsing.
3. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough begins to stick together in the processor.
4. Remove dough from the mixer and divide into four pieces.  Shape each quarter into a disk shape and wrap with plastic wrap.  Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Filling

2 cups dry cranberries
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp butter

1. In a sauce pan, combine cranberries, orange juice, flour and sugar and simmer on medium heat until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat.
2. Add butter to filling and stir.

Pie Assembly

1. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll each disk on a floured surface to 1/4 " thickness.
2. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
3. Fill the centre of each pie crust leaving a 1/2" border.
4. Fold crust over the pie filling.
5. To get a golden crust, brush with a bit of egg yolk and then sprinkle with sugar.
6. Bake at 375ºF for approximately 30 minutes.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day 16: Popcorn with Rosemary Butter & Fleur de Sel

This recipe will elevate movie night to a whole new level.  This is gourmet popcorn that is fancy and fabulous. Guaranteed to reform any microwave popcorn lover.  Hope you enjoy!


Ingredients
1/4 cup popcorn kernels
2 T olive oil
1/4 cup butter
1 rosemary sprig, whole
fleur de sel to taste

Directions
1) In a pan with a lid, heat oil and popcorn kernels together on medium heat keeping the lid slightly ajar. Shake frequently and remove from heat once popping slows down.
2) In a sauce pan, heat butter with rosemary sprig on medium heat for 1 - 2 minutes.  Remove rosemary and discard.
3) Pour melted butter over popcorn and sprinkle with fleur de sel and serve.
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Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 14: Lemon Meringue Tartlets

So, in continuation of yesterday's recipe, I present to you my Lemon Meringue Tartlets. These little tarts are so pretty you'll hardly want to eat them at all! But, if you can bring yourself to sacrifice one, you'll hardly be able to control yourself  not to eat a second, or third or a... Well, you get the picture.

 So, the first step in this recipe is to make the meringues from here and then follow the recipe below.
Hope you enjoy this recipe!




Ingredients
1 package of mini tart shells (available at most specialty gourmet shops)
1 batch of mini meringues (see recipe here)
6 egg yolks (strained)
1 cup sugar
juice from 2 - 3 lemons (approximately 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup butter (cut into small pieces)

Directions
1) In a medium saucepan combine egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice and cook over low heat stirring constantly until thick.  The filling should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. (Make sure the mixture does not boil)
2) Remove from heat and continue whisking until cooled slightly.
3) Stir in the butter one piece at a time until mixed well.
4) Fill each tart shell with the lemon filling and refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes.
5) Top each tart with a meringue.  Meringues will soften on top of the filling so be sure not to assemble until just before you are ready to serve.


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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day 13: Meringues

Today's recipe is for meringues.  These cloud-like cookies are delicious as a treat on their own or to accompany some fresh berries.


Ingredients
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar

Directions
1) Whisk eggs and sugar over medium low heat in a sauce pan until temperature reaches approximately 130F on a candy thermometer.
2) Transfer to an electric mixer and beat on high until fluffy and cooled to room temperature.
3) Using a 2D star tip, pipe 1/2" rosettes onto a parchment  lined baking sheet.
4) Bake meringues at 200F for about 2 hours until crisp all the way through.

NOTE: we will use these meringues as part of tomorrow's recipe as well.
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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day 12: PB&J Cookies

Here is a recipe that's great for an after school snack for the kids.  You can make up the dough in advance and roll it in some wax paper (about 1 1/2" diameter); pop it in the fridge and cut into 1/2" slices when you are ready to bake. It will keep for about a week.





Ingredients
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
strawberry jam for filling.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
2. Beat peanut butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs in an electric mixer until mixed.
3. Add flour, mixing by hand.
4. Roll dough into 1” balls and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
5.. Press each cookie with the back of a chop stick to form a little well and fill with a good quality strawberry jam.
6. Cook for approximately 12- 15 minutes.


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Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 11: Chicken Teriyaki Stir-fry

Here is a fast weeknight meal that everyone will love. We had it for a late dinner last night and apart from the time it takes to chop the vegetables, it is a quick dish that can also be reheated the next day.

Ingredients
2 - 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thinly sliced)
5 carrots (sliced)
1 head broccoli (cut into bite-sized pieces)
1 small white onion (chopped in 1/2" pieces)
3 small colourful peppers (cut into large pieces)
3 stalks celery (sliced)
1 bunch green onion (cut into 1/2" lengths)
1 lb brown mushrooms (sliced)
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1/2 cup low sodium teriyaki sauce
2 T soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil hot pepper sauce to taste
1/4 cup chicken stock
1T cornstarch
4-6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
4-6 cups prepared rice

 Directions
1) Prepare the sauce first by combining teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper sauce, chicken stock and cornstarch in a bowl.
2) In a large fry pan or wok, cook chicken breasts until no longer pink. Remove from pan and set aside. 3) Using the same pan, heat a bit of oil then add carrots, onions, mushrooms and broccoli and cook for   2 minutes.
4) Add 1/4 cup of water to pan, cover and let steam for 2 minutes.
5) Add garlic and the rest of the ingredients and cook for 2 - 3 minutes.
6) Add cooked chicken to the vegetables along with the sauce and cook for 1 - 2 minutes.
7) Serve on top of rice.
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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 10: Pancakes for Dinner







































Many people don't realize that pancakes for dinner are a real treat.  Of course they make a great breakfast as well. But there is something about having them for dinner that feels a bit... decadent.

I associate pancakes with so many fond memories growing up; I made pancakes with my grandfather on the farm which were always thick and fluffy thanks to the extra baking powder he liked to add to the batter along with lots of fresh cream from his cows and eggs that we had hand picked from the hen house that morning;  I made pancakes with my aunt who came to visit from New York who was more accustomed to the variety that came out of a box than a bowl,  though she still managed to keep me and my sisters spellbound as she fed our insatiable appetite for her flimsy cakes and (more importantly) fantastic stories;  but I have to say, the best pancakes of all were the ones my mother made for dinner. It didn't happen that often, but when it did, it made us all very happy-  partly because there wouldn't be any arguments with our father about the nutritional benefits of eating our vegetables or the plights of those less fortunate,  but mostly... because pancakes are just delicious and who wouldn't prefer pancakes to peas any meal of the day?

Arguably,  the best part of this "pancakes for dinner" idea  (apart from being the easiest thing in the world to prepare) belongs to the cook who is asked the ever-dreaded "what's for dinner?" and is able to sweetly reply, "pancakes." Who can argue with that?

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
1/4 cup melted butter
2 eggs

Directions
1) In a bowl mix all dry ingredients together until combined.
2) In a separate bowl beat eggs, milk and butter together.
3) In the bowl with the dry ingredients, create a well in the centre and slowly add the wet mixture to the dry while stirring. Mix until just incorporated being careful not to over stir.
4) In a skillet, melt enough butter to coat the pan over medium high heat.
5) Fry pancakes on medium high heat and serve immediately.
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day 9: Key Lime Crème Brûlée

Here is a fresh twist on a classic dessert.






































Ingredients
6 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp key lime zest
2 T lime juice
3 T superfine sugar (for caramel top)

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 325F.
2) Place 8 small ramekins in an oven safe pan and fill the pan with enough hot water to go up the sides of the ramekins but not over top.
3) In a bowl whisk egg yolks and sugar until frothy. Set aside.
4) In a saucepan combine cream, zest and lime juice and heat until mixture nearly comes to a boil.  Remove from heat.
5) Slowly whisk cream into the egg mixture until smooth.
6) Strain for a perfectly smooth batter.
7) Pour into ramekins and bake for approximately 40 min.  The time will vary depending on the size of your ramekins.  You might want to make extra to experiment with cooking times.
8) Remove ramekins from pan and refrigerate for 2 hours - overnight.
9) Sprinkle each ramekin with approximately 1 tsp of sugar and using a torch, brown the sugar without burning it.
10) Serve with a bit of whipped cream and a mint leaf for garnish.
11) Serve immediately.
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Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 7: Candied Salmon & Goat's Cheese on Pistachio Mini Crisps

Well, my first week is behind me and I thought I would start week 2 with a bite sized recipe. This is another one to add to your appetizer recipe file.  It is a favourite one of mine and I recommend using it for any party but also just as a snack while watching movies with the family.   Hope you enjoy!






































Ingredients
Goat's cheese (plain)
Candied salmon
Mini crisps ( I used pistachio raisin crisps)
Fresh chives

Directions
1) Spread about 1/2 tsp of goat's cheese onto each mini crisp.
2) Top with a piece of candied salmon and garnish with chives.
3) Arrange on a serving dish and enjoy!
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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day 6: Spaghetti Bolognese

Today's recipe is a great one to make on a Sunday.  It simmers for hours so it is the perfect thing to cook while you are tidying up or paying bills online.  At my house, we make up a large pot and freeze in meal sized portions.  It is the best thing to have on hand for those days when you just don't feel like cooking much.




Ingredients
1 lb ground beef
2 10 oz cans tomato sauce
8 fresh tomatoes (diced) -I like to use 4 vine and 4 roma
5 sun dried tomatoes (chopped)
3 T fresh basil
1 tsp. fresh thyme
2 T fresh oregano
1 T fresh parsley
4 cloves garlic
1 T olive oil
2 oz pancetta (finely chopped)
2 oz prosciutto (finely chopped)
2 shallots (chopped)
2 carrots (finely chopped)
3 celery stalks (finely chopped)
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
Salt and pepper  to taste
Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions
1) In the bottom of a large pot sauté shallots and garlic in olive oil until soft.
2) Add ground beef, prosciutto and pancetta and cook on high until meat is brown.
3) Add carrots and celery and cook for about 4 minutes.
4) Add wine and beef stock and bring to boil for 5 minutes.
5) Add tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes and bring to a boil.
6) Add sun dried tomatoes, herbs and spices and simmer until thick. (Approximately 2 1/2 hours)
7) Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
8) Serve with some freshly grated parmesan.

Notes:
- I like to let this sauce simmer for a long time - probably closer to 3 hours.  It makes for a very rich and flavourful sauce.
- I often double the recipe. If you are going to spend the better part of 3-4 hours making sauce, it just makes sense to make a lot so you don't have to cook as much later.
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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Day 5: Prime Rib Beef Dips

Here is a great idea for leftovers from yesterday's Prime Rib Roast recipe.

Ingredients
Leftover Prime Rib Roast (sliced thinly)
4 - 6 crusty buns
4 cups button mushrooms (sliced)
8-12 slices of monterey jack cheese
1 tsp olive oil
2 T butter
Thyme, salt and pepper to taste
Leftover jus from Prime Rib au jus

 Directions
1) Cut buns in half and lay open faced on a baking sheet.
2) In a fry pan heat olive oil and butter then add beef and seasonings and fry for 2 - 3 minutes. I like to add 2 or 3 T of the jus to the meat while frying to add extra flavour  and to prevent the meat from getting too dry. Set aside.
3) In a fry pan cook mushrooms in butter until brown. Set aside.
4) Top each bun half with meat, mushrooms and cheese and bake in a 450F oven for 5 - 8 minutes or until cheese is melted.
5) While the sandwiches are in the oven, warm up the jus and serve in a wide mouth dish.
6) Remove the sandwiches from the baking sheet and fold the top bun onto the bottom one and serve with the jus.

Eat and enjoy!
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Friday, January 4, 2013

Day 4: Herb Crusted Prime Rib Roast with Au Jus

As it is Friday, I thought you might like to try a nice roast recipe sometime this weekend. This recipe feeds a small crowd with enough leftovers for another meal ...something I have planned for tomorrow! Hope you enjoy.

Herb Crusted Prime Rib Roast
Ingredients
1 8 -10lb prime rib roast
5 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
10 sprigs fresh thyme (finely chopped)
10 sprigs rosemary (finely chopped)
10 cups beef stock
4 shallots (finely chopped)
salt and pepper

Directions
1) Evenly cover roast with thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.
2) Oil a large fry pan and place on high heat.
3) Brown all sides of the roast in the fry pan then transfer to a roasting pan (rib side down).
4) Place in oven at 350F for approximately 2 - 2 1/2 hours depending on desired doneness (use a meat thermometer for an accurate temperature reading).
5) Once meat has reached the desired internal temperature, cover with foil and let rest 15 minutes before carving.

Au Jus
Ingredients
1 cup red wine
10 cups beef stock
2 shallots (finely chopped)
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 whole thyme sprigs
1/2 whole rosemary sprig
2 T butter
Pepper to taste

Directions
1) In a saute pan heat garlic and shallots in butter until soft and brown.
2) Add wine to garlic and shallot mixture and reduce by half.
3) Transfer wine mixture to a sauce pan and add beef stock and herbs and place on high heat and reduce to approximately 4 cups. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
4) Remove from heat, strain and reheat before serving.
5) Serve in ramekins with roast beef.







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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Day 3: Rosemary Crisps with Fig & Goat's Cheese


Today I thought I would prepare a bite-sized recipe to add to your appetizer repertoire. It's a recipe for my Rosemary Crisps with Fig & Goat's Cheese. It is a perennial favourite of mine and I'm sure it will become one of yours as well. So, here it is...

Ingredients
1 pkg thin crisp crackers (I use rosemary flavoured crispbread)
1 pkg plain goat's cheese
1 pkg whole dried mission figs
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

Directions
1) Using a tiny spoon, drop a crumbled scoop of goat's cheese onto desired amount of crackers.
2) Thinly slice several mission figs into pretty rounds discarding the end pieces.
3) Place 1 slice of fig on each cracker perpendicular to the cracker into the centre of the goat's cheese. 4) Garnish with a rosemary leaf and arrange on a serving platter.

Be sure to make a few extra if you are preparing these to enjoy later. They have a terrible reputation for mysteriously disappearing before serving! Enjoy.
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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year Plus a New Year's Challenge!



Well, 2012 is behind us and we have a fresh new year ahead.  I love that feeling. Looking at the new year feels kind of like the first day of school after summer holidays or writing in a brand new notebook; it's an opportunity to start fresh with a clean slate. This year I've decided to abandon the usual "resolution" list (not that I don't have a list or two) and I've been cooking up a crazy challenge instead.

This year I'm presenting the 365 Challenge!  I propose to create, make and photograph one new recipe everyday for 365 days.   Each week for 52 weeks I will create 7 original  delicious recipes along with photos that I will share with you here on my blog.  It's going to be fun,  it will definitely be challenging but I hope you enjoy the recipes that you can make and share with your friends and families.

Please keep in touch and let me know if you have any questions or comments about my recipes or if you would like to share any of your own. I would love to get your feedback.

So, today is the first day of the challenge and I thought I would begin with a toast to the new year with a champagne cocktail recipe.  It's my version of a Kir Royale, my favourite drink.  Hope you enjoy!



















Ingredients
1 bottle champagne (I prefer French but you can use your favourite)
Fresh blackberries (2 or 3 per glass)
Cassis liquor ( 1 - 2 tsp per glass)
Fresh lemon juice ( 3 - 4 drops per glass)

Directions
1. Pour cold champagne into chilled glasses.
2. Add a few drops of lemon juice to each glass.
3. Carefully pour the cassis using the back of a spoon to guide the liquor down the side of the glass making sure the tip of the spoon touches the side of the glass above the champagne level.  This creates a layered effect which is quite pretty.

Note: If you want to substitute lemon zest for the lemon juice it makes for a pretty garnish as well.

Happy New Year, everyone!


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