Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

First CSA Vegetable Basket

Lamb Chops with Lemony Rice and Vegetables

We made lamb chops for the first time. The lamb was marinated in fresh oregano, lemon juice, lemon zest and white wine. Once you use fresh oregano, you can never go back to the dried up stuff. The lamb had a stronger taste than beef or pork and went perfectly with the marinade. The oregano and lemon taste really came out.

It was served with a rice, sweet potato, oregano and lemon salad.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Roasted Trout with Ground Cherries

We were visiting family in Bromont and they gave us ground cherries that they grow in their garden. Not only does it make any dish look fancier but it also adds a subtle sweetness. It goes perfectly with trout. You could make a puré or salsa with the cherries, they taste great. Many people are afraid of them or think they will taste bitter.

We served the trout with a cucumber, tomato and feta salad. We also added baby carrots coated in a balsamic glaze. Simple and delicious.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wine and Food Pairing at JanFest 2010

Last weekend we were invited to a wine and food pairing. Different courses were assigned to teams of 2 or 3 people and a suggestion was made on the type of wine that would best go with the course. The dishes served were all excellent. We were assigned dessert and we prepared it with one of our friends who was on our team.

Here are the courses that were served.

Course #1

Roquefort stuffed dates, prosciutto wrapped melon, pâté served on French baguette. It was accompanied by a glass of Reynac Pineau des Charentes (France) which is a fortified wine (mistelle or vin de liqueur), made from a blend of lightly-fermented grape must and Cognac eau-de-vie

Course #2

3 choices of salads:
couscous with peppers, tomatoes, parsley, olives to name just a few of the ingredients

2 different spinach salads with caramelized onions, eggplants, mushrooms, feta, peppers, mandarins, dried cranberries and much more.

These were served with 3 different rosés: Jackson-Triggs Proprietors' Unity rosé (Canada), Mateus (Portugal) and a Casal Mendes (Portugal).

Course #3

Homemade tortilla chips and chicken quesadillas served with a salsa verde and guacamole. It was accompanied by a Riesling Réserve Willm Alsace 2009 (France).

Course #4

Lamb mini burgers with fresh herbs and goat cheese and beef mini burgers with cheddar and prosciutto on mini pitas. A Bourgogne Pinot noir Réserve Chèvre noire Boisseaux-Estivan 2008 (France), the only red wine served throughout the evening, went perfectly with this meal.

Course #5

A cheese platter served with nut bread and French baguette. The 4 cheeses served were Le Douanier which features a horizontal stripe in the middle known as the "morbier." Originally, this mark was left by ashes from the fireplace that served to protect the cheese before the curd was added from the next batch. Today, the stripe is made from vegetable ash and included for decorative purposes. The other cheeses included raclette cheese, a vacherin and a goat brie. These were paired with 2 white wines:

A Gewurztraminer Hugel Alsace 2008 (France) and a Les Baronnes Sancerre 2008 (France).

Course #6

Peach fool with chocolate truffle and dulce de leche cookie. The fool is composed of 2 layers of whipped cream mixed with meringue chips and a layer of peach jam in the middle. Dulce de leche is the most common name for milk caramel in Spanish. The dessert wine was a Château des Charmes Late Harvest Riesling Niagara-on-the-Lake 2007 (Canada).

The truffle recipe can be found at the following link:


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thai Cod Burger

Burgers are great but fish burgers are even better. We mixed cod, garlic, basil, shredded coconut, fish sauce, hoisin sauce and chilli flakes in the food processor. You can add an egg but it is not necessary. You could use any type of fish as long as it is a fairly thick fish.

The dressing sauce was made by mixing hoisin sauce and ketchup. We topped the burgers with mango, tomatoes and escarole. A very nice alternative to ground beef.

Salade Lyonnaise

Trying new salads is great in the summertime when it's just too hot to cook anything in the oven. This was the first time we made a Lyonnaise salad. We recently made Nicoise salad and this is a lighter version.

We chopped up and cooked bacon and onions in a bit of olive oil and Dijon mustard on low heat for about 20 minutes. We topped the bed of escarole with the mixture bacon and onions and then added a poached egg.

Again, this is a healthy option for a salad, as long as you don't add too much bacon. There are about 100 calories per bacon slice, unfortunately.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Shrimp Soba

Soba noodles are slightly healthier than wheat pasta. They also have much more flavour. We try to use this type of pasta or we make our own.

We cooked the shrimp with the shells because we think it adds flavour. We stir fried the shrimp with vegetables and sprinkled sesame seeds. Very simple and healthy.

Beets Napoleon

This recipe is very simple but messy. We roasted the beets for an hour and removed the skin.When removing the skin from beets, you should wear gloves. The red stains on your hands could make you look suspicious.

We sliced the beets and added layers of a mixture made from goat cheese and cottage cheese.

We never thought we would like beets since the only ones we ever had before were the marinated ones. Now they have become a staple item and we use them to sweeten many salads.

Lobster Risotto Arancini

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lemony Lobster Asparagus Risotto

We adapted a recipe we found on Epicurious called Lemony Risotto with Asparagus and Shrimp. We decided to use lobster instead of shrimp because it is really in season at the moment.

The risotto is not difficult to make, it just requires a lot of attention. You have to stir it the entire time adding the liquid slowly. 

We added the smaller pieces of lobster in the risotto and served the larger pieces on the side. This dish was incredible.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day Dessert: Orange Chocolate Pie

This recipe has become a favourite. It is fairly simple to make and everyone who has tried it has loved it so far. Not the healthiest of desserts but definitely the tastiest.

The graham crust was made using graham crust mixture (2 cups), 6 tablespoons of butter and 1/3 cup of marmalade. We lined the bottom of a spring form pan with the mixture and baked the crust for 15 minutes. As it was cooling we made the chocolate mixture in a saucepan by heating 2/3 cups of whipping cream and once it was simmering we added 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier and 1 table spoon of orange zest. Once the ingredients have properly mixed together, we poured it onto the crust and refrigerated it overnight. We served it with whipping cream and orange zest. We now use a lot of orange and lemon zest in many of our recipes. It adds so much flavour.

Mother's Day Main Course: Prosciutto Wrapped Cod with Twice Baked Potatoes

This fish recipe was taken from the New York Times website in a column by Mark Bittman. ttp://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/05/dining/051mrex.html

We made a pesto with basil, olive oil and almonds and spread it on the pieces of cod which we then wrapped in prosciutto and cooked the pieces in a pan. We then baked in the oven for 10 minutes just before serving.

It was served on a bed of asparagus accompanied by twice-baked potatoes (recipe from "The Kitchn" website, http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/recipes. These potatoes are a lot of work but can be prepared in advance. We used Russet potatoes and baked them in a roasting pan covered in tin foil for about 1 hour and a half. Once they were cooked we cut them in 2 and scooped out the flesh and mashed it up with sour cream and cooked onions. We then refilled the potato halves with the mixture and sprinkled on some cheese before baking them in the oven for 20 minutes just before serving them. These were done in 2 steps. The night before we baked the potatoes and scooped them out and the following day we mixed in the sour cream and onions and baked them before serving.


Mother's Day Appetizer: Zucchini Fritters on Lemon Mustard Coleslaw

These fritters were not actually deep fried but baked. The mix was made of shredded zucchini, cheddar cheese, green onions and an egg white to make the mixture stick together when baking. Patties were made of the mixture were baked in the oven for about 25 minutes.

We served it over a mix of cole slaw, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise and lemon zest and juice.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Brunch

Brunch is a really fun meal that allows you to be really creative. It can be more of a breakfast or lunch, the possibilities are endless.

We went traditional and served roasted potatoes, poached eggs served in cups of ham with fruit salad. We served it with homemade popovers fresh out of the oven.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sweet and Sour Shrimp

This recipe always shocks people when they find out what ingredients are used to make it. The shrimp can be replaced by meatballs, chicken, tofu or anything you like.

First you mix 1 cup of ginger ale and 1 cup of ketchup...that's right...you read correctly, ginger ale and ketchup. You bring it to a boil, let simmer for 20 minutes and add your vegetables that take longer to cook like cauliflower or carrots. If you are using meatballs, add them early enough to allow time to cook. If you use shrimp, only add them towards the end as to not over cook them. We served it over rice.

We always wait until after the meal to tell people what the sauce is made with. So far everyone has loved this recipe. It's actually fun to see people’s reaction to this meal.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Apple Pork Roast

When making roasts we often stuff them with fruit to add a nice contrasting flavour. In this case we made a pork roast stuffed with apples. The apples in the centre were still in one piece but the apples closer to the edges turned into delicious apple sauce. We served the roast with sliced apples the were pan roasted with some of the leftover bbq sauce from the ribs we made last week. We then deglazed the pan with orange juice to make sauce that we served on the roast.

The roast cooked in a 375 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours. You can use any fruit like grapes, pears, peaches etc. It adds wonderful flavour to any type of roast.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Delicious Baby Back Ribs

Lately we have been trying different rib recipes. There are so many ways to cook ribs. This time we baked them in a 300 degree oven for 3 1/2 hours in a covered roasting pan. We got the recipe from Michael Smith on the Food Network.

We covered them in a sauce made with:

156 mililitre cans tomato paste
1 cup orange juice
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup chilli powder

The recipe says to bake them for 21/2 hours but cooking them a little longer makes them even more tender. We kept the leftover sauce and used some of it in the next recipe on this blog when we pan roasted apples.

We served the ribs with mashed sweet potatoes mixed with spinach.

Fish Taco

Instead of using ground beef or tofu, we used fish to make our tacos. Tilapia, sole and haddock are great types of fish to use for this recipe. They are thick white fish that flake off in big enough pieces when cooked for a long time in a sauce. It is best to dry the pieces of fish before using a paper towel.

We never buy taco seasoning, we always make our own. We mix about a teaspoon of the following spices: cumin, chilli powder, paprika, onion salt, salt, garlic powder and cornstarch.

As for the toppings, we added cottage cheese and a mango, pepper and cilantro salsa that we made just before serving.

It's a nice alternative to ground beef or chicken and it is a great way for people who don't like the taste of fish to be able to enjoy it. Personally we love fish but we know not everyone does.

Shrimp and Basil Salad

The shrimp was butterflied and cooked with basil and orange zest. We added asparagus and caramelized onions. You can use any kind of shrimp but tiger shrimp are our favourite. We buy them fresh and cook them with the shell on to keep all the flavour in. It is more work to eat them but definitely worth it.

We served it with a strawberry and coleslaw salad as well as orange slices sprinkled with a little cinnamon. Adding wafu to cole slaw is a change from mayo and adds that great sesame oil taste. The orange slices with cinnamon are always a huge hit. It's so simple to make.

This is a very simple dish and you can substitute the basil with any herb.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Braised Maple Mustard Chicken

Using maple syrup instead of honey was a great idea. We first browned the chicken in canola oil and butter. Then we added maple syrup, dijon mustard, chicken stock, garlic and soya sauce. It cooked in a dutch oven for about 1 hour at 400°.

The dutch oven is one of  of our favourite ways to cook meat. It makes the meat extremely tender. This recipe was very easy to make and if you don't add a lot of maple syrup like we did, because we love it so much, it can also be very healthy.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Swiss, Cheddar and Goat Cheese Fondue

Tonight we made cheese fondue using Swiss, cheddar and goat cheese. The cheese was chopped into cubes and lightly coated it with corn starch to make sure it thickens when it melts. We boiled a cup of white wine and added the cubes of cheese as well as a tablespoon of Kirsch.

Instead of just dipping bread we chopped up tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, red peppers and pears. We also had an assortment of crackers which go great with cheese.

This was really delicious and you could use any kind of cheese to make it. We will definitely try this recipe again.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Shepherd's Pie

Old school Shepherd's Pie made with ground beef, corn and mashed potatoes.  Mixed in the meat was onions, mushrooms and a few spices (Montreal steak, paprika and cumin).  The mashed potatoes were made with one sweet potato mixed with regular potatoes.  We also added fresh rosemary since we had it on hand. 

The lines were made by dragging a fork in concentric circles and then putting the whole thing under the broiler for a few minutes.

Heinz ketchup was mandatory.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Beet Soup with Red Curry Orange Shrimp Salad

Beet soup is messy but easy to make. First you boil the beets and the carrots in chicken stock with ginger for about 1 hour. Then you blend them until the liquid is smooth. A food processor is the best way but a hand blender is just as good. We served it with a dollop of plain yogurt. This soup is very delicious and hearty. Beets are low in calories which makes this a very healthy choice.

To make salad more interesting we used spinach, strawberries, radish and black olives. We added sautéed shrimp that were cooked in orange juice and red curry. Shrimp cooked with the shell on has a more intense flavour than peeled shrimp. This salad was improvised using what we had in the fridge. Like we have said before, we never make the same salad twice.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Homemade Ravioli

Making our own pasta is something we discovered a few weeks ago. Once you start making your own, store bought will never taste the same. We used semolina and eggs to make the dough which makes it a lot easier to handle than if you use regular flour. It also has about 1/3 of the calories as regular flour.

We stuffed the raviolis with a mixture made from pork, sautéed mushrooms, spinach and a splash or port. Cooking time is only 30 seconds because the pasta is fresh.

The sauce was made using 3 tomatoes, 1 can of tomato paste, garlic, oregano, rosemary, pepper and a splash of port. We mixed all of the above mentioned ingredients and cooked it for about 45 minutes.

When the pasta was ready we served it over the ravioli and sprinkled grated parmesan.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Braised Korean Beef Short Ribs... aka Our New Favorite

Today we made a new discovery.  A very delicious discovery.  We bought beef chuck short ribs which we do not see often at the grocery store.  This dish was made without following a recipe, the only important thing was to braise the ribs with liquid for a long time.

The ribs were browned in a bit of oil at the bottom of a dutch oven.  This adds a lot of flavor.  While the meat was browning, we made the braising liquid.  To make the liquid we used soy sauce, orange juice, ginger, garlic and brown sugar.  After the ribs were done browning, the liquid was poured over the meat.  The lid went back on the dutch oven and then we put it in the oven for two and a half hours at 350F.

The meat ended up being super tender and the sauce became a sort of glaze.  The were more than amazing.

We served them on a purée of sweet potatoes and carrots mixed with spinach and peas.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ham Wrapped Asparagus with Spiced Baked Apples

Today we had a light dinner.  We wrapped some asparagus in sliced ham and roasted it with cherry tomatoes.  Add the same time we baked apple slices that were tossed with curry powder, cumin and cinnamon.

The dish was very simple but all of the flavors really went well together.  It was light and original.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Improvised Indian Dinner

Today we decided to make an Indian dinner from leftovers.  The curry in the back of the picture is some pulled pork that we cooked, shredded and froze last week.  That was thawed and mixed with the rest of a jar of Tikka Masala sauce and tomato paste.  This was served on a bed of spinach.

As a side dish we made chana with chick peas, green peppers, tomato and edamame.  For flavor we added olive oil and spices including garam masala, ground coriander, turmeric and cumin.

Roasted cauliflower tossed with curry powder and olive oil is also one of our favourite side dishes.

Finally, as an experiment, we made samosas with wonton wrappers.  For the filling we used some of the chick peas and edamame from the chana.  They were then baked in the oven for a few minutes.  They were a success.  The samosas were crunchy but not too tough, perfect.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Trout Stuffed with Spinach and Cheese

We often eat fish so adding variety is important in order not to get bored. This time we got trout and decided to stuff it with 8% cream cheese mixed with dill and green onions. At the grocery store, we asked the person at the fish counter to remove the skin from the trout. This made it a lot easier to prepare as removing skin from fish can be tricky.

First we laid out the filet and added a layer of spinach. Then we added the layer of light cream cheese mixed with dill and green onions and rolled the trout. We put the roll on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. In order for the roll not to come undone while it was baking we stuck a tooth pick in it.

We baked it for about 20 minutes at 385 degrees and it was perfectly cooked. The thicker your roll is, the longer you need to bake it.

The mushrooms we served with it were sautéed in rum and curry powder. The dressing served on the salad was made from olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and dried dill.

We will definitely try this again using different kinds of fish and different ingredients in the stuffing. The fact that the cream cheese is only 8% fat and only a small quantity was used, this meal was very healthy and light.