Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day 58: Strawberry Smoothie

Today I made strawberry smoothies.  They are a delicious way to get in some extra vitamins.  This recipe makes two servings but can easily be doubled to make more. Hope you enjoy!

1 cup fresh strawberries, coarsely chopped
1 cup crushed ice
juice from two large oranges (approximately 1/2 cup)
3 T sugar

1) Add all ingredients into a blender.
2) Blend on high until very smooth.
3) Pour into glasses and serve with a straw.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Day 57: Chocolate Martini

Have you ever had one of those days where one thing led to another and pretty soon the entire day got away on you and you were left with very little to show for all of your running around?  I had one of those days and now I am at the end of it. Thank goodness!  So, for today I am giving you a simple drink recipe which I will enjoy along with a good night's sleep.
See you tomorrow...

1 oz creme de cacao
1 1/2 oz vanilla vodka
cocoa powder to rim the glass
strawberry for garnish

1) In two shallow bowls add water to one and cocoa powder to the other.
2) Dip martini rim into the water and then into the cocoa and set aside.
3) Pour alcohol into a martini shaker half filled with crushed ice.
4) Shake vigorously and pour into a martini glass.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Day 56: Lemon Garlic Chicken

Here is a recipe for all of those people who think chicken is boring.  This recipe is full of flavour and is so tender it practically melts in your mouth. Enjoy!

2 chicken breasts, cut into thirds
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 T lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dry thyme leaves
salt and pepper

1) In a small, shallow bowl add all ingredients except the chicken and mix until combined.
2) Add chicken pieces and turn to coat all sides of the meat.
3) Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
4) In a fry pan add 3 T of butter and fry the chicken on high for 2 minutes on each side.  Reduce heat and continue cooking on low temperature until chicken is cooked through.
5) Remove from heat and serve.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Day 55: Steamed Carrots with Butter Garlic Sauce

Here is a quick side dish with lots of flavour...

8 Carrots, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dry thyme
1/4 cup butter
salt and pepper to taste

1) Cook carrots in water until just tender but still firm.
2) Strain and set aside.
3) In the same pot used for cooking the carrots, add butter and remaining ingredients and heat on high until butter is melted and garlic is soft (about 2 minutes).
4) Add carrots to the butter and stir until carrots are coated with the buttery sauce. Serve immediately.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Day 54: Chocolate Creme Brulee

Hope you like this recipe.  It is creamy and chocolatey and very delicious!


8 egg yolks
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk                                                                
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons superfine sugar, for caramel top

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C)
2. In a large saucepan or kettle boil 1 to 2 quarts of water.    This water will be used for the ramekins to sit in while baking in the oven.
3. In a large bowl whisk egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy.                                                           
4. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan add cream and milk.   Heat for approximately 5 minutes or until the mixture steams and is just about to boil.  On low heat add chocolate and cook until melted. Whisk until smooth.  Remove from heat.
5. Slowly whisk cream into egg yolk mixture.   Mix until combined.
6. Remove any foam that forms on the mixture.                                                                                   
7. Using a ladle, divide the mixture evenly between 4 ramkins. 
8. Arrange ramekins in a roasting pan.   Pour water in the roasting pan to come at least halfway up the sides of the ramkins.
9. Bake until the custard  sets and is slightly jiggly in the center– approximately 45 to 60 minutes depending on the size of your ramkin.    Take care not to under or over cook.
10. Remove roasting pan from oven.    Remove ramkins from roasting pan and let cool at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes.    Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.   
11. Just before serving, sprinkle each ramkin with superfine sugar (about a teaspoon).    Using a torch, carmelize the sugar top of each ramkin making sure to  move the torch constantly to prevent the sugar from burning.
12. Garnish and serve immediately.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day 52: California-Style Pizza

At my house, we love to take frozen pizza and "doctor" it up.  My daughter invented this one and I think it is the best one yet.  It is a take on a favourite restaurant pizza we like to share.  The recipe calls for a few simple ingredients including a homemade pesto recipe that you can make ahead of time and it takes just minutes to prepare.

1 frozen thin crust pepperoni pizza
12 jumbo shrimp, cooked
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup basil pesto (recipe here)
1 tsp dry thyme
Coarse cracked black pepper

1) Place frozen pizza on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with thyme and parmesan.
2) In a piping bag, drizzle pizza with pesto in a zig zag pattern.
3) Arrange shrimp on pizza and season with pepper.
4) Place pizza in a 450F oven for approximately 20 minutes.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Day 51: Cranberry Scones with Meyer Lemon Glaze

Today is a very rainy day and I thought I would bake some scones.  My favourite are cranberry scones so, I thought I would share my recipe for them.  These scones are a must with tea and should be served the day they are made.


2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into pieces
1/2 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk

1) In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all dry ingredients and mix until combined.
2) In a small bowl, add all wet ingredients and mix well.
3) Add butter to flour mixture and mix until it becomes crumbly.
4) Add milk mixture and mix until dough comes together to form a ball.
5) Divide the dough into 16 pieces and form into roughly shaped balls or place in a scone pan.
6) Bake in a 400F oven for approximately 15 minutes.
7) Let cool slightly and spoon Meyer lemon glaze on top of each scone.  Let sit until glaze is set and serve immediately.

Meyer Lemon Glaze

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Juice from 2 Meyer lemons
Zest from 2 Meyer lemons

1) Combine powdered sugar, lemon juice and 1/2 of the lemon zest and mix well.
2) Spoon over desired baked good  and sprinkle with remaining lemon zest. Let set for a few minutes before serving.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Day 50: Fresh Basil Pesto

Pesto is a staple.  You can use it for pasta, on sandwiches or appetizers... you can use it for so many recipes.  This recipe can also be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for about a week or it can be frozen.

3 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

1) In the bowl of a food processor, mix all ingredients except the olive oil and blend until finely chopped.
2) With the food processor on, slowly add the olive oil to the mixture from the hole in the lid until mixture is combined and resembles a thick paste.
3) Serve immediately or store in an air tight container in the fridge or freezer.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 49: Wild Mushroom Soup

Here is a hearty soup that is creamy and savoury and warms you from the inside. Try it with some nice french bread and cheese and enjoy.

2 heads fennel, halved
3 T buttler
2 T olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb each brown, chantrelle and oyster mushrooms, coursely chopped
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup cream
2 T fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste


1. Place fennel halves face down on an oiled baking sheet and roast in the oven at 300º for approximately 45 minutes - 1 hour until very soft.
2.In a medium stock pot,heat butter and olive oil until hot.
3. Add garlic and onions to the pot and cook until translucent.
4. Stir in all of the mushrooms and thyme and cook until soft and brown.
5. Chop 3 of the fennel heads coursely and add to mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes.
6. Cover with chicken stock and cook for 20 minutes.
7. Puree with a hand blender and stir in cream.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Day 48: Mushroom Pasta with Shaved Parmesan and Cherry Tomatoes

 I like to have quick healthy recipes to fall back on when otherwise I might just order pizza.  This one takes about 15 minutes to make and is really delicious. I hope you enjoy!

1 small package spaghetti
3 cups mushrooms, chopped
2 cups tiny tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped or 2 teaspoons dry basil
shaved parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

1. Follow cooking directions for pasta.
2. In a medium fry pan, sautee mushrooms, basil, salt and pepper in olive oil until mushrooms are soft and brown.
3. Add tomatoes and cook for 1 - 2 minutes.
4. Pour mushrooms over pasta and serve with some fresh parmesan and extra salt and pepper if needed.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Day 47: Crepes & Fresh Berries with Rose Ganache

Crepes are an example of what wonderful things can be created from the simplest of ingredients.  These paper thin pancakes filled with fresh strawberries and creamy rose ganache are a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.  They are great for dessert, for breakfast or anytime as a treat.
Note: Don't be surprised if notes by Reinhardt and Grappelli and visions of river boat rides along the Seine start to fill your head and you suddenly feel the urge to book a flight to Paris.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
3 eggs
2 T butter, melted
1 tsp orange zest, grated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil

1) In a bowl mix flour, milk and eggs and whisk until combined.
2) Add butter, orange zest and vanilla and mix until combined.
3) Cover bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4) Lightly oil a non-stick fry pan and heat on high.
5) Pour a small amount of batter into the fry pan to create a very thin crepe.
6) Cook both sides until golden brown.
7) Fill with rose ganache (recipe here) and fresh berries.
8) Fold or roll crepes and serve.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Day 46: Endive salad with Goat's Cheese, Pecans and Fig Preserve

1 head endive lettuce, leaves peeled off and trimmed
1/4 cup goat's cheese
10 - 12 pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup fig preserve

1) In the centre of each endive leaf, add a small spoonful of goat's cheese.
2) Sprinkle with cranberries and pecans.
3) Add about 1/4 tsp of fig preserve to each leaf.
4) Arrange leaves on salad plates or on a large serving platter.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Day 45: Chocolate Pudding

Happy Valentine's, everyone! Hope you are all having a great evening.  I am in the midst of making a very nice dinner with family and I've stopped to share a dessert recipe with you. Enjoy!

2 cups whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 T cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
Whipped cream for garnish

1) Heat milk on medium high heat until simmering.
2) Add chocolate to warm milk.
3) Whisk eggs, cornstarch, sugar and salt.
4) Slowly add egg mixture to milk mixture stirring constantly.
5) Return pudding to stove and cook for about 5 more minutes or until thickened.
6) Pour pudding into serving dishes, cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
7) Garnish with whipped cream and a mint leaf.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Day 44: Homemade Waffles

I have to admit that I really haven't made homemade waffles in a while.  But my sister is visiting and I thought I would make my mom's recipe.  This waffle recipe takes a bit of time to prepare but I guarantee you won't look at a frozen waffle for months after you try these!

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 T sugar
3 egg  yolks
4 T melted butter
1 1/2 cups milk
3 egg whites, beaten until stiff

1) Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.
2) In a separate bowl gradually add melted butter to egg yolks.
3) Add milk to egg yolk mixture and combine.
4) Add wet ingredients to dry until combined.
5) Gently fold egg whites into batter, making sure not to over mix.
6) Cook waffles in a hot waffle iron for approximately 2 minutes.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Day 43: Smoked Salmon Rolls

Here is a simple recipe that is great to serve for lunch or you can slice them into 1/2" rounds and serve as an appetizer.

4 soft tortilla rounds
1 8 oz pkg smoked salmon
1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
salt and pepper

1) Spread cream cheese over tortilla shells.
2) Arrange pieces of the smoked salmon on 1/2 of each tortilla shell.
3) Sprinkle with fresh dill and salt and pepper.
4) Roll each tortilla starting with the salmon side then cut in half and serve.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Day 42: Peanut Butter Cookies

Today I am going to give you my recipe for peanut butter cookies. These are great to serve right away or freeze for a treat later.

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

1) Preheat oven to 325F.
2) Beat peanut butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer until combined.
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 floured fork for decoration.
6) Cook for approximately 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown in colour.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Day 41: Chicken Parmesan with Penne

Tonight I made Chicken Parmesan with Penne.  It is a great dish to feed a crowd or save for leftovers the next day.

6 chicken breasts, cut in half
1 24 oz jar of tomato sauce
3 T dry thyme
1 tsp herbs de provence
salt and pepper
1 T olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
3 cups penne pasta, prepared as directed on package

1) Season each side of the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, thyme and herbs de provence.
2) In a large fry pan, heat oil on high and brown chicken breasts for approximately 2 minutes each side.
3) Turn temperature to medium and cook covered for 10 minutes.
4) Add tomato sauce to chicken and let simmer for 10 minutes.
5) Sprinkle chicken breasts with parmesan, cover and cook for approximately 5 minutes more.
6) Remove chicken breasts from pan and set aside.
7) Add sauce from fry pan to penne and toss.
8) Slice chicken and serve on top of penne.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Day 40: Ham & Cheese Panini with Baby Greens

This post is coming late in the day but better late than miss a day of my challenge!
This is my Ham and Cheese Panini with Baby Greens. Enjoy.

Ham and Cheese Paninis
2 mini focaccia loaves
6 slices black forest ham
4 large slices monterey jack cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper
oregano, dried

1. Cut the focaccia loaves in half horizontally.
2. Drizzle olive oil over the insides of each piece for moisture.
3. Sprinkle each half with salt, pepper and oregano.
4. Place 3 pieces of ham folded over onto the two bottom pieces and top with two slices of cheese.
5. Fold the top half of the focaccia loaves onto the bottoms and place in a panini grill until cheese has melted.

Baby Greens with Balsamic Vinegrette
2 cups prepared baby greens
2 T dried cranberries
4 T olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a medium sized bowl, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper and stir.
2. Add greens and cranberries and toss.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Day 39: Carrot Soup

I love this recipe for carrot soup.  It is nice to prepare ahead of time and reheat or freeze to serve later.  I like to make it and serve it with some nice, fresh bread or as a light course before a roast.


1/4 cup butter
2 onions, sliced
2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 cups water
1tsp sugar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chives

1. Melt butter in a sauce pan, add onions and sautee until transparent.
2. Add potatoes, celery and carrots and cook for one more minute.
3. Add water, sugar, garlic and pepper.  Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Puree with a hand blender and garnish with a spoonful of cream and a few chopped chives.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Day 38: Classic Creme Brulee

Today I thought I would share my classic creme brulee recipe. This would be a great recipe to make for Valentine's Day. You can make it the day before and create the candy top just before serving.


6 large egg yolks
1 ½ cups heavy cream 
1/3 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons superfine sugar for caramelizing

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C)
2. In a large saucepan or kettle boil 1 to 2 quarts of water.    This water will be used for the ramekins to sit in while baking in the oven.
3. In a large bowl whisk egg yolks, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. 
4. Using a ladle, divide the mixture evenly between 4 ramekins. 
5. Arrange ramekins in a roasting pan.   Pour water in the roasting pan to come at least halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
6. Bake until the custard  sets and is slightly jiggly in the center– approximately 45 to 60 minutes depending on the size of your ramkin.    Take care not to under or over cook.
7. Remove roasting pan from oven.    Remove ramekins from roasting pan and let cool at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes*.    Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.   
8. Just before serving, sprinkle each ramkin with superfine sugar (about a teaspoon).    Using a torch, carmelize the sugar top of each ramkin making sure to  move the torch constantly to prevent the sugar from burning.
9. Garnish and serve immediately.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Day 37: Homemade Strawberry Milkshakes

Milkshakes are a favourite treat of kids and adults alike and apart from the extra calories, these milkshakes are really quite healthy.  It is a very palatable way to get more fruit and dairy into your diet.  I don't add any extra sugar to this recipe as I find that the ice-cream is sweet enough.
Serve them as a treat or along side a cheeseburger and fries. Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, coarsley chopped
1 cup vanilla icecream
1/2 cup crushed ice
1/2 cup 2% milk

1) In a blender combine all ingredients and mix on high until smooth.
2) Serve in a glass with a straw.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Day 36: Cajun Shrimp

Here is a recipe that you will love.  It is fast and simple without sacrificing any flavour.  Serve it with your favourite pasta for dinner or on it's own for an appetizer.

1 lb shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 T of dry cajun spice
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 T paprika
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dill
3-4 T butter
2 T lemon juice

1) Place shrimp on a dish and sprinkle generously with cajun spice and paprika.
2) In a fry pan, melt butter and add hot sauce and garlic.  Cook on medium low heat for about 1 minute. Do not burn garlic.
3) Place shrimp into fry pan and cook each side for 1 1/2 -2 minutes or until shrimp is pink and cooked through.
4) Remove from heat and add lemon juice and stir.
5) Arrange shrimp on a platter and sprinkle with dill.  Serve with a little sour cream.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Day 35: Mini Burgers

Today I thought I would make mini burgers. These are a little different from most other mini burgers or sliders as I have made them using slices from a fresh baguette. Plus, I've made these a little bigger; they are about 1/2 the size of a regular burger but twice as big as a slider. They are perfect for kid's or to serve at a party. 
1lb ground beef
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1 baguette, sliced into 2 1/2" slices
romaine lettuce
swiss cheese
white onion, thinly sliced
caesar dressing

1) In a bowl, mix meat, eggs, bread crumbs, garlic and seasonings until combined.
2) Form meat mixture into small patties slightly larger than desired finished size to allow for shrinkage during cooking.
3) Cook patties in a non stick fry pan on medium temperature until cooked through (approximately 5 minutes).
4) Add cheese to burger patties and spread bun tops with caesar dressing and bottoms with mustard.
5) Assemble burgers with patties, onion and lettuce and serve.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Day 34: Crab Cakes with Garlic Aioli

As part of my contribution to the Super Bowl celebration, I made crab cakes with my garlic aioli.
It's a perfect h'orderve and an upscale alternative to the regular party fare.
Hope you enjoy!


1/2 cup butter, melted
4 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup red pepper, finely chopped
2T chives, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1lb lump crab meat
2 cups fine bread crumbs
1/3 cup cornmeal

1) In a bowl, mix butter, eggs, sour cream, parsley, red pepper, chives, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, salt and hot pepper sauce.
2) Add crab meat to mixture and stir until combined.
3) Add bread crumbs and stir.
4) Form 1 1/2" crab cakes about 1/2" thick.
5) Dredge each cake in cornmeal.
6) Fry crab cakes in oil on medium low temperature then transfer onto a dish lined with paper towel.
7) Serve with garlic aioli (recipe here).


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Day 33: Orange Blossom Martini

After spending the better part of yesterday making chocolate cake, today I felt I deserved a bit of a break and a good drink.  Here is a martini recipe to try this weekend.

1 1/2 oz gin
1 oz orange liquour
3 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp super fine sugar

1) Mix all ingredients in a martini shaker with ice.
2) Serve in a martini glass with an orange garnish.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Day 32: Petite Chocolate Cake

I am giving you this recipe early in case anyone might want to make something really special for Valentine's Day. I'm not going to lie, this recipe is quite time consuming to make but, well worth the effort.
This cake has light, fluffy chocolate layers smothered in a rich, creamy chocolate frosting. This is cupid in a cake - sure to win over any Valentine.
 If you like, you can make the cake ahead of time and freeze it until you are ready to use it. However, the icing must be made the same day you wish to serve it.  I hope you enjoy this recipe.

The Cake
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
8 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups cake and pastry flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk

1) In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter on high until fluffy.
2) Add egg yolks to butter one at a time , mixing well.
3) Add vanilla and mix well.
4) Sift flour, cocoa and baking soda then add half of the dry ingredients and half of the milk to the butter mixture and stir with a spoon until incorporated.
5) Add remaining dry ingredients and milk and continue to stir until incorporated.
6) In a clean bowl beat egg whites on high until stiff peaks form.
7) Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into batter at a time, gently stirring until just incorporated.  Be sure not to over stir.
8) Divide batter into four  4" cake pans that have been buttered and lightly floured ( you could also use two 9" pans).
9) Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes at 350F.
10) Let cool slightly, then transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
11) Ice the cakes two layers thick and garnish with edible roses.

Chocolate Icing
1 1/2 cups butter at room temperature
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup cocoa powder
3 cups icing sugar
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted

1) In the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter and mix on high until light and fluffy.
2) Add whipping cream to butter gradually as you continue to mix.
3) Add vanilla and mix well.
4) Add icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time and mix well.
5) Pour the melted chocolate into the batter and mix on high until smooth.