SPANISH FRITTATA

Here is a simple brunch or dinner recipe that really is both economical and yummy to make. What differs this frittata recipe from others is the addition of potatoes reason why it is called the Spanish frittata. You get your carbs, vegetables and protein in one meal which makes meal planning even easier. I like to serve this with store bought salsa and a nice light salad.

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 375 Degrees F.

Ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 cup potatoes, sliced thin (about 3 small potatoes)
  • 1 cup asparagus, cut into thirds
  • 1 cup zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp vegetable seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-6 basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • chunky tomato salsa (to serve along side the frittata)

1. Put on a pot of boiling water in a medium sized saucepan and salt the water. Add in the sliced potatoes and cook them until almost tender. You want to be able to finish cooking the potatoes on the stove. Drain the potatoes and set aside for now.

2. Cut all of the vegetables. Then get a medium sized bowl, crack the eggs and add in the milk. Using a fork beat the eggs for a minute so the egg mixture is nice and fluffy. Get a oven proof non-stick skillet and preheat the pan on medium heat.


3. Once it comes up to temperature drizzle in the olive oil and add in the potatoes, asparagus pieces and the zucchini. Season the vegetables with salt, pepper, vegetable blend seasoning, and the smoked paprika. Saute the veggies for about 5 minutes until the potatoes are tender, then pour in the egg mixture. Tear the basil leaves and slowly let the frittata cook for a few minutes.

4. Using your spatula go around the edges of the skillet a couple times to make sure that the eggs stay a bit loose from the pan. Once it starts to brown around the edges, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top of the frittata and put it into the oven to bake at 375 F for 10 minutes. When the eggs just set on top of the frittata and it starts to brown on top it is ready to eat. Serve either warm or room temperature.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

MATT'S WINE NOT! LAPLACE MADIRAN 2005 FRENCH RED WINE

Well dear reader, our tour of France continues with yet another red (no matter how much I'll like certain whites, I'll always be a red fan), this time a 2005 (at least that's what the website says, I've since thrown out the bottle and receipt - whoops!) called Laplace Madiran.

The gold label is pretty spiffy, but the magic pretty much ends there for this wine, at least for these taste buds. (No, I did not taste the label, I'm just saying, work with me here!)

Naturally corked (yay), the familiar deep, rich red splashes into the glass and says "hello" to the nose in a very strong fashion.

This wine can go down smooth, but is bodied quite heavily and fully.

It is a definite dry red whose aftertaste is heavy and lingers.

I must not have picked up any strong notes of taste, because, well, I didn't write any down at the time! I guess this was just a good, basic red, nothing terribly to write home about I suppose, but still not bad.

**3/4 out of 4

Purchased from a Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) store for C$12.60 (US$11.54).

From LCBO.com:

PIERRE LAPLACE MADIRAN 2005, 750 mL bottle
LCBO/Vintages #103705
Wine, Red Wine
13.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content: XD
Made in: Southwest France
By: Pierre Laplace Prop-Viticulteur
Read Full Post >>

Print This

MATT'S BEER WE GO! AMSTERDAM POMEGRANATE WHEAT BEER

Well dear reader! Expecting a wine today? - guess again! My first venture into beer tasting (although this is by far NOT my first beer I've ever had...you'd have to go back over ten years for that important milestone) on foodtastesyummy.com is Amsterdam Pomegranate Wheat Beer.

Ah, pomegranate: that powerhouse fruit of eras gone by, has made a come back (did it ever go away?) due to its antioxidant properties. So, some genius thought if it's so great, why not mix it with BEER! Why not, right? After all, if there are chocolate beers, coffee beers, HEMP beers, then why not pomegranate?

So I picked up a single bottle (thankfully...I'll tell you the gory details shortly) and thought, "Gee, this should be lovely as a fruity, delicious Summer beverage!" Then again...maybe not; let's just say looks can be deceiving.

First, the twist top cap is not: you need a bottle opener for this baby or else risk bleeding and blisters (perhaps that's a bit overdramatic, but it's fun). This beer has a deep, golden-bronze colour and definite fruity nose, that much I'll give it, and does not produce a lot of foam when poured properly. Remember beer-a-philes, pour into a glass at an angle!

Upon first taste - brace yourself - a very striking hoppy, grainy taste slams the taste buds, although with distinct background tastes of fruit (must be the pomegranate). Although somewhat smooth, it has a definite full grainy body and taste, and is VERY dry, leaving your mouth not unlike the Sahara.

The bitterness of the hops simply overwhelms this beer, giving the fruit nearly no chance to come forth. What I thought would be a refreshing, fruity tasting beer turned out to be a bitter hop fest, leaving me not awfully "hoppy" (sorry folks) with the results.

If you're a fan of hoppy, heavily grainy, bitter beers, this one might please you.

For me though? This one left me going "Amster-DAMN."


*1/2 out of 4

Purchased at a Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) store for C$2.75 (US$2.52).

From LCBO.com:

AMSTERDAM POMEGRANATE WHEAT BEER, 500 mL bottle
LCBO #96669
Beer
4.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content: 3
Made in: Ontario, Canada
By: Amsterdam Brewing Company
Read Full Post >>

Print This

SCONES WITH RASPBERRY JAM FILLING


If there is one thing that I really enjoy eating with a nice cup of tea it's most definitely tea biscuits or scones. I have been making scones for years and I used to roll out the dough, have flour all over the place and then with my cookie cutter shaped each scone into nice little circles. Well I have to say that I don't enjoy taking out my rolling pin unless I have to make pie so I created this recipe so I can eat scones with no fuss or muss. The raspberry jam is a natural pairing since we all spread it generously on our scones anyway, so I thought why not just add it into the scones while baking. I think with this recipe all of you will be making more of these for years to come.

Makes 6

Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees F.

Baking time: 15-18 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1-1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg, beaten (and another to use for the egg wash)
  • 6 tbsp raspberry jam (or substitute your favourite)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

2. Take your cold cubed butter pieces and add them into the dry ingredients and using your finger tips incorporate the butter into the flour mixture. The mixture should resemble coarse breadcrumbs when you're finished. Add in the buttermilk and the beaten egg and mix it gently into the scone mixture. The scone dough should be a bit sticky and wet.


3. Take either a small ice cream scoop or a dinner spoon and scoop 6 equal portions onto the lined baking sheet. Dollop 1 tbsp of the raspberry jam into the middle of each scone then scoop a small scoop of the scone mixture on top of the raspberry jam to cover.

4. Crack an egg into a small bowl, add about 1 tbsp of water and beat it together with a fork. This will be your egg wash. Take a pastry brush and lightly brush the tops of each scone. Put it into the oven and bake the scones for about 15-18 minutes or until lightly golden on top. Best served warm.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

PIZZA MONTE CRISTO


I created this recipe really by accident. Like many of you home cooks out there I was looking to make a typical sandwich for lunch. I had looked over and over again in my fridge for some type of "magical" ingredient that would perk up my every day sandwich, then it came to me. I saw some leftover tomato sauce that I had used for my beef stew the night before and thought why couldn't I make a pizza sandwich. For me the topper was when I decided on pan frying it well wooo all I can say is yum!

Serves 1 (just double up on the recipe if serving more)

Ingredients:
  • 2 Rye bread slices
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 ham or chicken deli meat slices
  • cheddar or mozzarella cheese slice
  • onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 heaping tbsp of tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil

Preheat a non-stick skillet on medium heat. Meantime, take a slice of rye bread and layer it first with cheddar cheese, deli meat, and onion. Then take a heaping tablespoon of tomato sauce and spread it around on the other slice of bread that will go on top of the sandwich.

In a medium shallow bowl, beat an egg and add in the 2 tbsp of milk. At this point drizzle in the olive oil into the preheated skillet. Take the sandwich and carefully dip it into the egg mixture on both sides. Make sure that the bread soaks up all of the egg mixture. Fry it on the pan and flip it over when the egg soaked bread has nicely crisped up. This should take literally a minute or two per side. Slice the sandwich in half and enjoy.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

BEEF STEW


We all have meat and potato dinners certain days of the week. It is definitely a meal that both kids and adults love to eat so I felt I had to pay my dues to this traditional weekend stand by, beef stew. The one thing that I did was shorten the cooking time by cutting the stew beef into smaller chunks, which literally cut the time by half. I say the best part about this meal is that there is hardly no clean up, after all it's a one pot dish!

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb stew beef (should be in chunks)
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 6 cloves garlic, each cut in half
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bottle of dark ale beer (around 341 ml) - Guinness recommended
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce or ground tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 8 small potatoes, cut in half or 4 medium potatoes, quartered
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into thick 1" pieces
  • 8 large cremini or button mushrooms, quartered
  • handful of chopped parsley

1. Take your beef chunks and trim some of the fat off. Cut the beef in half and lightly season the meat with salt and pepper. Preheat a deep pot on high heat, drizzle in the olive oil then go ahead and add in the beef chunks. You should start hearing the searing sound. Don't move the meat around let it brown for a couple minutes before turning them.

2. Add in the onions, garlic, dried thyme, bay leaf, and chili powder to the pot and stir for a minute then quickly add in the beer. Scrap all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pot to add more flavour to the stew. Bring the temperature down so the stew can simmer. Then stir and combine in the worcestershire sauce, yellow mustard, tomato sauce and the beef stock. Put the lid back on and leave it on gentle simmer for about 10 minutes to give the beef a head start.

3. Meantime, cut all of the vegetables. Take the lid off of the pot and add in the rest of the vegetables, season with a little more salt and pepper and stir. Put the lid back on and gently simmer for about 45-50 minutes. Check to see if the meat and potatoes are tender. If you find the stew too thick then add more stock to thin it out. Turn the heat off and sprinkle in the chopped parsley and serve.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

HERB CRUSTED CHICKEN


My inspiration for this recipe came from the whole idea of crusting chicken pieces with herbed breadcrumbs. Most cooks do this method and either deep fry or oven bake the chicken but I thought why not take out the breadcrumbs and just keep the herbs and pan fry the chicken. Let's just say the chicken turned out to be flavourful and I didn't have to even add a sauce.

Serves 2


Ingredients:
  • 2 chicken breasts, pounded thin and cut in half
  • coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped (or you can use some chives)
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 4 tsp dijon mustard

1. Put your chicken breasts on the cutting board and slice each in half. Put saran wrap over the chicken pieces and pound them thin. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken and set aside for now. Remember to wash your hands after touching the chicken.

2. In a medium sized bowl, add in all of the fresh herbs including the chopped green onion and drizzle in the olive oil and mix through. Take a non-stick skillet and preheat the pan on medium heat. Once the pan comes up to temperature add in the 2 tbsp of butter.

3. Add in the 4 tsp of dijon mustard onto the chicken breasts. Then take a pair of tongs and pick up the chicken pieces and start to coat each side with the dijon mustard. Quickly dip it onto the herb mixture on both sides and place them into the hot skillet.

4. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes on each side making sure not to touch the chicken too much. You want to make sure that the herbs adhere to the chicken breasts. Once it is ready serve it along side the couscous with raisins. See below for the link to the recipe:

http://www.foodtastesyummy.com/2009/08/couscous-with-raisins.html

Read Full Post >>

Print This

COUSCOUS WITH RAISINS

Here is a five minute side dish that I frequently make when I want to make a quick supper. Quite literally I boil the water in the kettle, pour it into the bowl with the couscous and cover for 5 minutes. Let's just say if you like rice you will like this side dish too. The addition of the sweet sultana raisins really add a nice chewy sweet bite to the plain couscous.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup couscous
  • 1/2 cup sultana raisins
  • 1/2 cup boiled water
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • juice of half a lemon (or more if you like)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

In a heat proof bowl, add in the couscous, raisins, onions, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Lightly mix it altogether. Add in the 1/2 cup of boiled water and quickly cover the bowl for 5 minutes with either a lid or with saran wrap. Uncover the bowl after 5 minutes and you should see the couscous and the raisins all plumped up. Fluff the couscous with a fork and drizzle in the olive oil and squeeze in the lemon juice. Chop a handful of parsley and mix it through. You can serve this warm or at room temperature.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

MATT'S WINE NOT! DOMAINE DE LA BASTIDE 2007 FRENCH RED WINE

Well dear reader, here we are again, another weekend gone by, another work week upon us, and another bottle of wine to review. That's the great thing about work: it gives you such a good impetous to drink wine and then write about it!

Up under the wine taster's microscope (mine is very shoddy, hence my inability to pick out nuanced tastes) is this French red, also from the Cotes du Rhone (in a previous article I raved about another red from this area), and not unlike it's cousin, this too does not disappoint much, although is not as spectacular.


Naturally corked, it presents yet another deep crimson colour and a full bodied nose. However, it almost yields a light to medium taste in the beginning, and is smooth, easy, and not too complex in its dryness.

A grapey, winey taste, this wine is simple to drink and is a good, basic drink. Perhaps not as amazing as the other Cotes du Rhone I reviewed, the Bastide is still tasty and worth a try, if not merely for the escape. Ah, France...

*** out of 4

Purchased at a Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) Store for C$13.95 (US$12.85).

From LCBO.com:

DOMAINE DE LA BASTIDE VISAN COTES DU RHONE-VILLAGES 2007, 750 mL bottle
LCBO VINTAGES #129072
Wine, Red Wine
14.3% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content: XD
Made in: Rhone, France
By: Scea De La Bastide
Read Full Post >>

Print This

PEACHES AND ZUCCHINI SAUTE


I love to take advantage of the beautiful peaches that are in season in the summer and use them in both savoury and sweet recipes. I created this saute because I was a little bored of the usual vegetable side dishes and wanted to brighten up the dish somehow. The addition of zucchini surprisingly went well as it seemed to soak up all of the peach flavour. This would go well with any grilled fish or meat

Serves 2

Ingredients:
  • 3 peaches, cored and sliced thick (preferably unripened)
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vegetable blend seasoning

Preheat a pan on medium high heat and slice the peaches and zucchini. Add the tablespoon of butter into the pan and immediately add in the sliced peaches and zucchini. Sprinkle the vegetable blend seasoning and saute until the zucchini is slightly translucent. This should take about 3-4 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice and serve immediately.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

APPLESAUCE COFFEE CAKE

I love easy to make coffee cakes that I can serve when company comes over to the home. This applesauce coffee cake is a moist and not too sweet full flavoured cake that has satisfied many guests of mine for years. I have never heard one negative thing about this cake which is the reason why I have gone back to making this cake again and again. I hope this will be a keeper in your home as well.

I have adapted this recipe from Carol Ferguson's snacking cake recipe in her book The New Canadian Basics Cookbook.

Makes 9-12 pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F.

Baking time: 40-45 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) unsweetened applesauce (I used 2 applesauce containers at 111g each)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1-1/2 all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp apple juice or milk
1. Preheat your oven to 350 F and line a 9" square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside for now. In a large mixing bowl, crack 2 large eggs and lightly whisk to break the yolks. Then add in the vegetable oil, both sugars, and the applesauce and whisk to combine.

2. In a separate bowl, measure in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and the spices and lightly whisk through to combine. Put in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix slowly until just mixed through. Pour the cake batter into the lined square baking pan and bake the cake for 40-45 minutes. Check the doneness by placing a toothpick through the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean it is done. Cool the cake for a good 20 minutes before cutting into pieces.

3. While the cake is cooling, measure out the powdered sugar and the apple juice and whisk together in a small bowl. Drizzle on top of the cooled cake and serve.
Read Full Post >>

Print This

CINNAMON RAISIN FRENCH TOAST WITH SWEET BERRY SAUCE


I just love something a little sweet for breakfast and french toast with a generous drizzle of berry sauce on top does the trick! I created this recipe originally so I can satisfy my craving for berry pie, which I happen to love. The sweet berry sauce is not too thick which helps the french toast soak up the berry goodness. I really hope you all enjoy this one as much as I do.

Serves 4
Note: Make the berry sauce first before starting the french toast

Sweet Berry Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 1/4 cup raspberry jam
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

In a small sauce pot, add in the cranberry juice, raspberry jam, the granulated sugar and the cinnamon stick (optional). Bring the pot to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium. Let the sauce simmer for a good 15 minutes stirring occasionally. You should start to see the sauce reduce to a thick syrupy consistency. In the last couple of minutes add in the blueberries so it can slightly warm through. Once you have it at your desired consistency take it off the heat and let it cool slightly. While it cools start making your french toast.

French Toast Ingredients:
  • 8 slices cinnamon raisin bread (2 slices per person)
  • 4 eggs, beaten (1 egg = 2 slices of bread)
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tbsp butter or margarine

1. In a large bowl, crack in the eggs and add in the milk and the pinch of salt. Whisk it altogether for about 2 minute to get it nice and fluffy.

2. Take a large non-stick skillet and preheat your pan on medium high heat. Take 2 tbsp of butter and start to melt it in your pan. Meantime, take your cinnamon bread slices and one by one dip it into the eggs. Let the bread soak up the egg mixture and immediately start putting each slice onto the hot pan. This should take about 2 minutes per side. You will see when it is time to flip when the bread start to brown. Serve immediately with the slightly cooled berry sauce and enjoy!

Suggestions: You can use the berry sauce to top ice cream, warm brownies, pancakes and waffles. This is quite a versatile sauce.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

MINI TUNA FISH CAKES

These mini tuna fish cakes are great to make when you have leftover mashed potatoes. It's also a very economical dish because you just have to use canned tuna which I'm sure is always in peoples food pantries, and then serve a light salad on the side. Try making this with canned salmon to change it up a bit.

Makes around 10 mini fish cakes

Ingredients:
  • 1 can of tuna (170 g)
  • 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
  • 2 tbsp light mayo
  • 1 egg
  • half a red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • handful of fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • lemon wedges (for serving)

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine and add in the tuna, mashed potatoes, mayo, egg, diced red pepper, salt, pepper, dried thyme and the fresh breadcrumbs. You will notice here that the tuna mixture is a bit wet; I have made the fish mixture this way to ensure that the fish cakes stay moist. You will not have to form fish cakes with your hands for this recipe.

2. Preheat a large non-stick skillet, making sure that the temperature is at medium high heat. Drizzle in the olive oil and then start to spoon in the fish cakes. Let the fish cakes sear and then when you flip them over flatten the fish cakes a bit using your spatula. You will see that the round cake shape will start to form. The fish cakes should take no more than a couple minutes a side. Serve with lemon wedges and a nice light side salad.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

LEMONY HONEY MUSTARD CHICKEN BAKE

If you're coming home from a busy day at work and you are ready to make another chicken dinner but need something simple to make try this recipe! The chicken almost tastes like it's been barbequed. This is a recipe that really takes no time at all. I hope you all enjoy.

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees F.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless and butterflied open for quick cooking
  • 1/4 cup liquid honey
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and lightly spray a large casserole baking dish with olive oil to prevent sticking. Season each side of the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and dried basil then place the butterflied chicken breasts in the casserole and leave it aside while you make the sauce.

2. In a small bowl, combine and stir the honey, dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil and soy sauce. Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts and then place the casserole dish in the oven. Bake the chicken at 400 F for 10 minutes then lower the temperature to 350 F for another 18-20 minutes. Half way through baking turn the chicken over and bast the sauce on the other side of the chicken. Take it out of the oven and serve with a warm baguette and a side salad.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

PESTO MASHED POTATOES

I don't think anyone would object to having a side of smooth and creamy mashed potatoes with their dinner. What makes this mashed potato recipe over the top is the addition of pesto and the creamy grated parmesan cheese.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
  • 5 medium sized potatoes, diced (peel if you like)
  • 4 tbsp homemade or pre-made pesto
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken stock (add more if needed)
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Put on a large pot of boiling water and make sure to season the water with salt. Add in the diced potatoes with the skins on. I feel the potato skin gives more texture to the mashed potatoes and the skins are quite nutritious as well. Cook until tender.

2. Drain the potatoes and put it back into the same pot. Take a potato masher and start mashing the potatoes, being careful not to overmash. Then stir in the butter, olive oil, warm milk, chicken stock, salt and pepper. Once you have the potatoes a smooth consistency stir in the pesto and the Parmesan cheese. Make sure not to over mix to ensure that the potatoes stay fluffy and serve.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

BTT PANINI (BASIL, TURKEY, TOMATO)


Paninis have definitely become a growing food trend. You see them now in most restaurants that sell sandwiches. I love BLTs but as someone who is a bit health conscious I wanted to do one of my favourite sandwiches without the bacon. I find smoked turkey has a similar flavour and pairing it with tomato slices and basil seem to only make this sandwich better. Once you take a bite of the panini you will definitely know why this has become a lunchtime favourite!

Ingredients:
  • mini baguettes or kaiser buns
  • fresh basil
  • good melting cheese (i.e. cheddar, mozzarella)
  • smoked turkey deli meat, sliced thin
  • tomatoes, sliced
  • butter or margarine

1. Preheat either your panini press or if you don't have one like me preheat a non-stick skillet on medium high heat while you're making your panini.

2. Slice open your mini baguette and layer on first the cheese slice, turkey meat, tomatoes and then basil, finishing with another slice of cheese on top. You want to make sure the cheese goes on the bottom and the top layer of the sandwich to ensure that it glues the panini together.

3. Close the sandwich and then butter both sides of the baguette, then place the panini on the preheated panini press or skillet. If you're doing this in a skillet press down with something heavy i.e. another pan, then flip it over and do the same on the other side. Once you see the cheese melting you're done. Slice the sandwich in half and serve immediately while it's still warm.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

PIZZA BAGELS

I remember when I was little and my mom used to buy those frozen miniature pizza bagels for me and my sister Ruby. I loved eating them because of the soft chewy texture of the bagels; it was kind of like having little pizzas all to myself. I decided to play on that idea and make more bigger and tastier pizza bagels, keeping it still "kid-friendly".

Serves: as many as you want

Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees F.

Ingredients:
  • Plain or whole wheat bagels, sliced in half (1 bagel per person)
  • Tomato sauce
  • shredded cheese (your favourite melting cheese)
  • mushrooms, sliced thin
  • pepperoni or deli meat, sliced
  • fresh spinach, chopped
  • fresh basil, sliced
  • sweet peppers
  • red onions, sliced thin
  • olive oil, to drizzle on top
  • salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and line your baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut each bagel in half and place it open on the baking sheet. Put it into the oven to lightly toast for a minute or two. Take it out and start placing your toppings.

2. Spoon on the tomato sauce (as much as you want) and start layering on your toppings on the pizzas putting the cheese last. Add salt and pepper and drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top of each pizza.

3. Put it back into the oven for around 10 minutes until the cheese has melted and the other ingredients have melded together. Serve with a nice side salad.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

DESSERT CREPES WITH APPLE PIE FILLING

This picture was taken a few days ago when my husband's auntie came over for a nice visit for lunch. I love making desserts that take minimal effort and can be prepared mostly in advance. I had made the crepes and the filling the night before and was able to quickly pan fry the crepes in a little butter and grand marnier. This is sure to wow all of your guests, and I'm sure they won't be expecting anything as elegant as this.

Makes about 8-10 crepes

Crepe Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tbsp oil or melted butter
  • pinch of salt

In a medium sized mixing bowl, add and mix in the flour, sugar and the salt. Then in a small bowl, mix the rest of the wet ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients to the dry and combine all of the ingredients using a whisk. Let the crepe batter stand for about 5-10 minutes so the batter has a chance to loosen up before frying.

While you're waiting for the crepe batter to loosen, preheat your medium non-stick skillet on medium heat. Then once it has come up to temperature go ahead and ladle in the crepe batter. If you want to make sure that the crepes do not stick to the pan try brushing a bit of vegetable oil on the pan before each ladle. It should only take a minute or two on each side.

Apple pie filling ingredients:

  • 4 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
  • 3 tbsp butter or margarine
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • powdered sugar (dusted on when serving)
  • maple syrup or cane syrup (to drizzle on when serving)
  • Vanilla ice cream (optional)

On medium high heat, in a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter and add in the sliced apples and the lemon juice. Stir the apples for a minute then sprinkle in the ground cinnamon and the brown sugar. Coat all of the apples with the spice. In a small bowl, pour in 1/2 cup orange juice and whisk in the 2 tsp of flour until combined. Pour this mixture into the skillet with the apples and you should see it start to slowly thicken. At this point your kitchen should smell like apple pie. Once it has combined take it off the heat.

Take a crepe and add in the apple filling fold it as you see in the picture, then dust the crepe with powdered sugar. This is optional of course but to go over the top drizzle some maple syrup and put a scoop of vanilla ice cream and serve, delicious!

Read Full Post >>

Print This

TASTY TOMATO AND SMOKED TURKEY BRUSCHETTA

One of the easiest and gratifying dishes a person can make is definitely the classic bruschetta. You can see this on most any restaurant menu as either an appetizer or an easy lunch choice because of the popularity of this simple dish. This recipe has all of the same flavour components that you love about the classic bruschetta, and you will love it even more with the addition of the smoked turkey meat.

Serves 4

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F.

Ingredients:
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 green onions, sliced diagonally
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil (or use 1 tbsp of fresh basil)
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • 3-4 slices of smoked turkey deli meat
  • Good quality Parmesan cheese, grated (not from a dispenser)
  • Fresh Baguette (or use pre-made garlic baguette)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees F. Slice the baguette in half and then slice the bread into quarter pieces. You should have a total of 8 slices. Drizzle the baguette with a little bit of olive oil and put it into the oven for 2 minutes until they are lightly browned. Take it out of the oven and leave it aside for now.

2. In a medium sized bowl, add in the rest of the ingredients except for the Parmesan cheese which will be sprinkled on top.

3. Spoon the bruschetta mixture on top of each baguette slice and then sprinkle the Parmesan cheese. Put it back into the oven for a couple minutes and serve.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

BROCCOLI CHUNKY TOMATO SALSA SIDE


If your kids hate broccoli I suggest giving this recipe a try. I cook the broccoli to still keep it's texture and pan frying it as opposed to steaming it brings out a nice nutty flavour. The addition of the mild chunky tomato salsa adds a nice zesty taste to this traditional side.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 heads of broccoli florets
  • coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/2 cup mild chunky tomato salsa

On medium high heat, in a non-stick skillet, drizzle in the olive oil and add in the broccoli florets. Season the broccoli and saute for a good 5-7 minutes until you start to have the nutty smell come through. Squeeze the lime juice then add in the tomato salsa. Stir until all of the broccoli has been coated then turn off the heat and serve immediately.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

MATT'S WINE NOT! BAREFOOT CALIFORNIA CHARDONNAY

Well dear reader it's been a while! Have I been busy? No. Gone on some exotic trip with my wife? No. Have I been lazy? Yes. But let's not let that get in the way of wine reviews any longer!

As I noted in one of my previous columns, most whites tend to share many many qualities and tastes, and this one is no exception. That isn't a bad thing per se it's just...well, it is what it is (or it just shows that my taste buds have not progressed too far yet).

The label notes that their wine (which has won some sort of critic's gold medal - it's right on the bottle, they want you to know this!) is "...bursting with flavours of green apples, ripe peaches and a hint of honey."

This comes to us from California and is produced by the Ernest and Julio Gallo Vineyards of the Ernest and Julio Gallo fame. ...indeed! With a synthetic cork, a light pale yellow fills the glass and strikes the sniffer with a light, fruity nose.

Upon first slug, it presents an apple-y (is that a word?) taste that is sweet, yet the wine itself is dry - it does make sense, try it and you'll know what I mean! With a good solid kick in the booze department, Barefoot is not bare in the body department, leaving you satisfied after putting a few of these down the hatch.

A very good affordable white and, along with the other chardonnay I have reviewed earlier, is surely worth having on hand chilled for when friends or loafers arrive at your door without prior notice.

*** out of 4

Purchased at a Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) store for C$8.95 (US$8.10).

From LCBO.com:

BAREFOOT CELLARS CHARDONNAY, 750 mL bottle
LCBO #97121
Wine, White Wine
13.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content: 1
Made in: California
By: E. & J. Gallo Winery
Read Full Post >>

Print This

RASPBERRY AND BALSAMIC VINEGAR SAUCE ON CHICKEN


What is more fresh in the summer than raspberries? I love to take advantage of the availability of the fresh raspberries in the supermarket and use them even in savoury dishes like this one. You can serve this as a romantic dinner for two or double it up and invites some guests over. This will take no time at all enjoy.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 green onions, sliced diagonally
  • 3 tbsp raspberry jam
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries (to go in the sauce)
  • 1/4 cup fresh raspberries (for garnish)
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon

1. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with the salt, pepper and the dried tarragon. Then take a non-stick skillet and preheat it on medium high then drizzle in your olive oil. Sear the chicken breasts for about 5 minutes per side. You should have a nice crust on the chicken. Then set it aside on a plate putting foil over it to keep in the heat.

2. Quickly pour in the chicken stock and scrap up all of the brown chicken bits from the bottom of the pan to layer the flavour in the sauce. Add in the chopped green onions and then add in the balsamic vinegar, and the raspberry jam. Whisk the ingredients in and let the sauce reduce by half. This should take several minutes.

3. In the last couple minutes of cooking, add in the fresh raspberries and also add back in the chicken to heat through. Add in the 1 tbsp of butter and swirl it around in the pan to make the sauce glossy. Turn off the heat and serve. Garnish the chicken with the 1/4 cup of fresh raspberries.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

LIME DIJON VINAIGRETTE ON A GREEN SALAD

I love a nice simple salad but what makes this a bit different is the vinaigrette which has the same components as a honey dijon dressing but I added lime juice instead. It adds a nice bit of zip to the salad recipe.

Yields around 1 cup

Ingredients for the salad:
  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • fresh baby spinach
  • green onions, sliced diagonally
  • cucumbers, sliced thin
  • barlett pears, sliced thin
  • mushroom slices (optional)

Ingredients for the dressing:

  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • juice of one lime
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp liquid honey
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a large salad bowl, add in all of the salad ingredients and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, whisk in all of the dressing ingredients with the olive oil being drizzled in last. It should be all emulsified together. If serving the salad later put both the salad and the dressing separately into the fridge to serve cold.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

MINI MOCHA BROWNIES WITH GRAND MARNIER

What's better than chocolate brownies? I say adding flavours of coffee and grand marnier does. Need I say more?

Makes 24 mini brownies
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.

Baking time: 13-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (on top)
  • 2 tbsp grand marnier or any orange liquor
  • 1 tbsp coffee granules
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and either grease of line a mini muffin pan and set aside for now.

2. In medium sized pot, add in the 1/2 cup of butter and melt it slowly on low heat. Once you have done that take it off the heat and stir in the two sugars.

3. Add both eggs in and stir quickly to ensure that you won't scramble the eggs. Stir in the cocoa powder, baking powder and the flour until all of the flour has dissolved. You should see a smooth chocolate batter here. Then pour in 2 tbsp of grand marnier and the coffee granules. Stir it in completely.

4. Take a small ice cream scoop and scoop in the brownies into the mini muffin pan. This recipe should make 24 mini brownies. This is optional: if you wish sprinkle the white chocolate chips on top of the brownies at this point. Bake it in the oven for about 15 minutes, then let it cool about 15 minutes before taking it out to serve.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

BRAISED CHICKEN WITH GARLIC AND ROSEMARY SAUCE ON RICE

This is a one pot family meal that is easy to make. The sauce has a light taste of garlic and rosemary that goes well with the chicken and veggies. I put in the whole garlic cloves so they can braise in the sauce and sweetened in flavour. I like to serve this dish with rice so the rice can soak up all of the good flavour from the sauce.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
  • 8 chicken legs or thighs, skinned (2 chicken legs per person)
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 8 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 large carrots, 1" diagonal slices
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, washed and trimmed
  • 2 tbsp of corn starch
  • 1/4 cup water

In a large pot, on medium high heat, drizzle in the olive oil and take the skinned chicken legs and sear both sides making sure to season the chicken. After a minute quickly add in the cranberry juice and the chicken stock and scrap the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.

Then add in the soy sauce, sugar, onion slices, whole garlic cloves and the fresh rosemary sprigs. You do not have to take the rosemary off the stems for it will just naturally fall off while cooking. Drop the heat down to low and simmer for a good 25 minutes until the chicken looks like it is coming off the bone. This would be a good time to make the rice (find the recipe below)

In the last 5 minutes of cooking add in the sliced carrots and the asparagus. Make sure the asparagus is not drowned in the sauce rather have it sitting right on top of the chicken. Season again with salt and pepper then close the lid to steam. Meantime, in a small bowl, get the corn starch and stir it together with the 1/4 cup water. Open the lid of the pot and drizzle in the corn starch mixture. Stir once more and let the sauce thicken for about 2 minutes. Once the sauce has thickened turn off the heat and serve.

Ingredients for Rice:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 sprigs of green onion, sliced diagonally

In a medium sized pot put in the 2 cups of water, put on the lid and bring it to a boil. Add in the salt, butter and the rice and stir bringing the heat down to low. Put the lid back on and simmer for around 18-20 minutes. Check the rice at this point to make sure that it has cooked through. Turn off the heat and let stand for a good 5 minutes so it will be easier to fluff up the rice later on. Add the green onions and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve with the braised chicken and veggies and enjoy.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

WILD SALMON AND VEGGIE PASTA


This is a pretty budget friendly recipe cause even though the title of the recipe may sound pricey the wild salmon in the recipe actually comes from canned salmon. You could add or take away vegetables in this recipe and the pasta will taste just as good. This should take tops 30 minutes to make. I hope you all enjoy this one.

Serves 4 or 3 generously

Ingredients:
  • 1 can (213 g) of wild salmon, drained
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1-1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of olives, sliced thin (or more if you like)
  • 1 zucchini, sliced diagonally
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach/arugula
  • 1 cup white button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Cooked Scooby Doo pasta (spiral shaped pasta) - enough for 4 people

1. First make a huge pot of boiling water, salt it then add in the scooby doo pasta. Follow the instructions on the back of the package. Cook until al dente.

2. On medium high heat, preheat a large deep skillet, drizzle in the olive oil and add in the sliced onions, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and the dried thyme. Saute the onions and garlic for a couple minutes then add in the zest of 1 lemon.

3. Add in the olives, zucchini slices and the mushrooms and saute for a couple minutes. Add in the diced tomatoes and the wild salmon. Make sure to drain the can before adding the salmon into the skillet. Squeeze in the lemon juice so the fish can soak up the lemony flavour. Stir the fish and the veggies together until heated through.

4. As soon as the pasta has finished cooking, drain it and add it immediately into the fish and veggie skillet and stir to combine. Sprinkle and stir in the fresh parsley, parmesan cheese and the 2 big handfuls of spinach. Turn the heat off to ensure that the spinach does not wilt. Serve immediately. Add more Parmesan cheese if you wish.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

EASY PEAR, CHEDDAR AND ALMOND BRUSCHETTA

This is a recipe that I came up with while I was thinking about what type of salad to make. We all know the classic pairing of cheese, pears and walnuts so I thought why couldn't I do the same on toast. I tried it out on toasted cinnamon raisin bread and it turned out great. If you wanted you could also quarter the toasts and make these into little appetizers at your next party.

Makes 4
Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pear, cored and sliced thin
  • 4 slices of cinnamon raisin bread
  • butter or margarin (enough to spread each slice of bread)
  • 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
  • chopped almonds or walnuts (enough to sprinkle on top)
  • 4 tsp liquid honey (1 tsp per bread)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg or freshly grated nutmeg

Take your 4 slices of bread and butter both sides of each. Place the slices of bread on a cookie sheet and bake it in a preheated oven for a minute just to lightly toast the top then take it out. Arrange the pear slices on each and sprinkle the cheese on top. Then put on the chopped almonds, drizzle on the honey and then sprinkle a little bit of nutmeg on last. Put the bruschetta into the oven and in about 8-10 minutes take it out and cut diagonally and serve.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

THIN SEARED BEEF WITH TOMATO JAM AND POTATO HASH

If you love BBQ sauce on beef or you like ketchup on your beef burger I can pretty much bet that you will love this recipe. The thin seared beef just melts in your mouth and with the addition of the tomato jam you really don't need to marinade or season the beef in any special way. The potato hash just help to soak up any juice that there might be from the jam or the beef. Simple fare but also simply delicious.

Serves 2

Tomato Jam Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • good pinch of coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 14 0z. can of diced tomatoes or 1-1/2 cups of canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

On medium high heat, in a medium sized saucepan, drizzle in your olive oil and add in the chopped onions. Then add in salt, pepper and the minced garlic and stir for about a minute until the onions are translucent. Then add in the 2 tbsps of sugar, chopped fresh rosemary and stir for another minute then go ahead and add in the diced tomatoes and worcestershire sauce. Then take a potato masher and mash the tomatoes. Drop the heat to low and simmer the jam for about 30-40 minutes, until the jam has reduced and thickened. Then in the last second of cooking add in the red wine vinegar for a nice tang then turn off the heat. While you simmer the jam start making the potato hash...

Potato Hash and Seared Beef Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cup cubed potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt (or more if needed)
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 sprigs of green onion, sliced diagonally
  • 1/4 cup green peas (optional)
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup water (or more if needed)
  • package of sliced beef (sliced beef should be paper thin, you can usually get this at Asian markets)
  • salt and pepper

Get your potatoes and cut them into cubes, making sure that they're all the same size. On medium high heat, in a large non-stick skillet, drizzle in the olive oil and add in your diced potatoes, seasoning them as well. Coat the potatoes with the olive oil and let them cook for a good 5-6 minutes to lightly brown each side of the potato. Then pour in the 1/2 cup of water to help steam the potatoes. Leave it alone until you see all of the water evaporated. At this point taste the potato to make sure that it is cooked and seasoned the way you like. Add in the butter, green peas and the sliced green onion. Stir for another 2 minutes and then take it off the heat. Plate the potatoes and then in the same pan add in the seasoned sliced beef and sear on both sides. This should literally take a minute then plate the beef on top of the potatoes. Get your thickened tomato jam and spoon it on top of the beef and the potato hash and serve.

Substitutions: In the potato hash you could also add in cubed carrots as well. Also, if you can't find the paper thin beef then use quick fry steak.

What's great about the jam is that you could also toast slices of a baguette, spread goat cheese and spoon some tomato jam on top and eat.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

WESTERN OMELET ON TOASTED PITA

I know it looks like a lot of eggs but looks can be deceiving. This is actually a lighter take on a typical western omelet sandwich and I find using this small multi-grain pita bread to sandwich the omelet not only tastes great but it adds more fibre as well to the diet. Whether you plan on having this for a hearty breakfast, brunch or lunch I will say your tummy will be fully satisfied.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs, beaten (or use egg substitute)
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • good pinch of salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup diced red pepper
  • 2 slices of deli style ham, diced
  • 2 tbsp zucchini, chopped (or can use green beans)
  • 2 mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • tomato slices (optional)
  • Margarine/butter (to put on the pita bread)
  • 2 small multi-grain pita bread (or you can use english muffins)

In a medium sized bowl, crack the eggs and lightly beat them with a fork. Add in your milk, salt and pepper and beat for 10 seconds to fluff up the egg. Add in the chopped onion, red pepper, ham, zucchini, mushrooms and the feta cheese crumbles. Once it has mixed altogether, preheat a non-stick skillet on medium heat and drizzle in your olive oil. Pour your egg mixture and using a spatula make sure to prevent the egg from burning. Flip the egg half way through. It should be cooking on a low heat and it should take no more than a few minutes total. You will see the feta cheese crumbles melted into the egg and the omelet should be nice and fluffy.

Meantime, while your egg is cooking, split your multi-grain pita bread, lightly toast it and butter the pita. When your omelet has finished frying put half of the omelet per sandwich and then add a slice of tomato on top if you wish and enjoy.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

ROSEMARY PORK CHOPS WITH A MUSHROOM GRAVY


This recipe is a good one to use for a quick meal during the work week. There is so much flavour from the rosemary on the pork chops and the tarragon in the gravy that you will not be disappointed. If you're not a pork fan than you could use chicken breast instead it's just as delicious.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
  • 4 pork chops
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1-1/2 tbsps fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter/margarine
  • 2 tbsps all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon (or fresh if you have it)
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced thin
  • juice of half a lemon
  • handful of chopped fresh parsley

1. Season each side of the pork chops with salt and pepper, then sprinkle the fresh rosemary and pat it into the pork chops to make sure it adheres to the pork while cooking. Preheat a large non-stick skillet, on medium heat, and drizzle in the olive oil. Sear the pork chops for around 4-5 minutes per side, and make sure that you get a nice crust on each side on the chops. Then put the pork aside on a plate and cover it lightly with aluminum foil to keep the heat in.

2. Quickly in the same skillet, add in the tablespoon of butter and saute the chopped onion for 30 seconds then add in the 2 tbsp of flour. Stir the flour with the butter and chopped onion for a minute to slightly cook the flour. Whisk in the white wine and the chicken stock until you see no lumps. Note: If you don't want to use alcohol then just add in more stock. Once the gravy has come up to a bubble bring the heat back to low. Season the gravy with salt and pepper and then sprinkle in the 1/2 tsp of dried tarragon.

3. Stir in the worcestershire sauce and the sliced mushrooms and cook for another minute. Add back the pork chops to reheat slightly. Sprinkle the fresh parsley and squeeze in the lemon juice and turn off the heat and serve immediately with your favourite side dish.

Additions: You could add another herb if you don't like tarragon. Also, if you like your gravy a bit more watered down then just add in more stock to thin it out.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

BLUEBERRY LEMON BREAD

Most people love blueberries and most people also know the health benefits of eating blueberries so I try to incorporate blueberries in recipes whenever I can. This recipe is just like making traditional blueberry muffins but it has a nice zing from the lemon juice and zest. The lemon juice really brightens up the flavour of the bread and both the lemon and blueberry flavours go perfectly with a nice cup of tea. You definitely need to try this recipe. Delicious!

Makes 12 muffins or 9 portions if baking it in a 8" square baking pan

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F.
Baking time: 30 minutes or 20 minutes if baking muffins

Ingredients:
  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • zest of 1 whole lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cups of milk
  • 1 egg (can use substitute)
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

1. Preheat your oven to 400 F and line your 8" square baking pan with parchment paper for easy baking.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add in all of your dry ingredients including the lemon zest and mix thoroughly. Then add in all of your wet ingredients and make sure not to stir the mixture until you have all of the wet ingredients in the bowl. Combine until just moistened.

3. Add in 1 cup of fresh blueberries and fold it into the bread mixture slowly, making sure you don't over mix. Pour the bread mixture into the parchment lined baking pan and bake it in the oven for 30 minutes. Check to see the doneness by poking the centre of the bread with a toothpick. If it comes out clean then you know that the bread is ready.

4. Cool the bread for a good 10 minutes or so before slicing it into portions. If you're making this into muffins then just let the muffins cool completely then serve.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

OVEN ROASTED ROSEMARY AND GARLIC SWEET POTATOES

This is a wonderful and satisfying side dish to have with pork chops or even with a nice roasted chicken. The fresh rosemary and the whole garlic cloves add a nice earthy taste to the potatoes that match perfectly with the sweetness of the vegetable.

Serves 2 generously

Preheat oven to 425 Degrees F.
Baking time about 35-40 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 3 medium sized sweet potatoes, sliced into 1" discs
  • 1 tbsp of fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 6-8 whole garlic cloves (do not peel the skin until you're ready to serve)
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 F and then take a medium sized casserole dish and add in your sliced sweet potatoes. Put in the whole garlic cloves as well and make sure not to peel the outer skin. Drizzle them with olive oil and then add the rosemary and the other seasonings. Combine all of the ingredients with your hands and bake it in the oven on the centre rack. Bake it for about 40 minutes but make sure to take it out half way and toss it with a pair of tongs to ensure even baking. Serve with pork or chicken. The garlic cloves should easily come out of it's outer skin when it has finished baking.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

OATMEAL COOKIES WITH WALNUTS AND RAISINS


When I attended University I decided a good way to make a little extra money was to sell my cookies on the side. My parents operated a store and I figured since we sell coffee why not cookies too. I made endless batches of chocolate chip, double chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies with raisins. I did this for a good 3 years straight and really can make these cookies with my eyes closed. I had a lot of loyal customers which let me know that I was doing something right. This is a never fail recipe and what's great about this is that they always stay soft and chewy. I drop the recipe down by half to make it easier for the home cook.

Makes 1 batch (about 12-14 cookies)
Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1-1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins

1. In a large bowl, put in the room temperature butter and cream it together with both sugars. Then add in the egg and the vanilla extract and stir it in until you have a smooth consistency.

2. In a small separate bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and the ground cinnamon. Once you have combined that stir it slowly into the wet mixture until you see a smooth batter.

3. Add in the rolled oats, walnuts and the raisins and slowly stir those in as well. You should stop mixing once you see it all combined. You want to make sure not to overstir to prevent the cookies from being tough.

4. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper to ensure that the cookies will not burn on the bottom. Then drop rounded dinner spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet. Make sure to space the cookies to prevent them from sticking to each other while baking. Bake them for 10 minutes until you see them turn a nice golden colour. I suggest you turn the cookie sheets half way through to ensure even baking. Let your cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before you transfer them to a cool rack and then enjoy.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

BBQ ROASTED CHICKEN AND COLESLAW SAMMY

This is a never fail sandwich that pleases all palates. The best part is you get all of the help from the grocery store which makes your life much easier at dinner time. This is a messy sandwich but a super delicious one that will bring out the kid in all of us!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Pre-cooked BBQ roasted chicken from the grocery store (you should be using around 1 cup of shredded chicken per sandwich)
  • 4 Kaiser buns, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar (or whatever you like)
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup red wine or you can omit this and add 1/4 cup of chicken stock instead
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • Whole package of coleslaw mix in a bag (washed)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup plain thick yogurt
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper (to season the coleslaw)

1. Take the pre-cooked roasted chicken and start to shred the meat. Put the meat into a separate bowl and set aside for now.

2. In a medium sized saucepan, on medium high heat, add in the ketchup, mustard, honey, molasses, seasonings, the wine or vinegar and the worcestershire sauce. Stir all of the sauce ingredients together to combine and let the mixture come up to a bubble. Keep stirring for a few minutes until all of the ingredients have come together and the alcohol has cooked off. If you are not using red wine and instead using chicken stock reduce the sauce a bit further. Take the shredded chicken and add it into the sauce to coat the chicken pieces completely. Turn off the heat and put the lid on the saucepan to keep the heat in until you're ready to serve.

3. Get a large mixing bowl, and add in the yogurt, cider vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic and the seasonings. Mix it altogether and taste it to make sure that it is to your taste. You may want to add more vinegar or more seasoning to suit your tastes. Then add in the bag of coleslaw mix, and the sliced onion. Combine the yogurt sauce with the coleslaw. It's easier to do with using a pair of tongs.

4. Take your lightly toasted kaiser buns and scoop around 1 cup of the shredded BBQ chicken on the bottom half of each and then put about 1/2 cup of coleslaw (or more if you like) on top of the shredded chicken. This is a pretty hearty and satisfying sammy you should be good with just one, I hope.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

MATT'S WINE NOT! COMTE DE LAUZE COTES DU RHONE 2007 FRENCH RED WINE

Oh baby, prepare yourself for a treat with this gem. (Can you tell what I think of it already?)

French wine naturally has this air or feeling about it: you just kinda know you're in for a treat (although I have found this to not always be true), but nonetheless, there is still a certain appeal about these wines. This one is no exception. (And for the record, I love the bottle label - very medieval and aristocratic!)

This dark ruby red wine came with a synthetic cork (which seems to be gaining in popularity), and is a definitive full bodied wine, with rich deep flavours on the nose (i.e. it smells full and flavourful!), smelling of berries and fruit.

Smooth with a slight initial kick, this red delivers a long, satisfying, lingering taste, being dry - but not overly dry, and with flavours that simply burst forth, compensating for the dryness.

I was simply delighted with this wine, and could not get enough of it. It is bold, beautiful, flavourful, rich, bursting with flavours - it is utterly delicious, and by far one of my favourite reds of all time.

**** out of 4

Purchased at a Liquor Contol Board of Ontario (LCBO) store for C$13.95 (US$13.02).

From LCBO.com:

DOMAINE COMTE DE LAUZE COTES DU RHONE 2007, 750 mL bottle
LCBO #127050
Wine, Red Wine
12.9% Alcohol/Vol
Sugar Content: XD
Made in: Rhone, France
By: Domaine Comte de Lauze
Read Full Post >>

Print This

ZUCCHINI PANCAKES WITH A LIGHT GARLIC YOGURT SAUCE

What I love to eat for brunch sometimes is a good potato pancake with some sour cream on top but sometimes I like to change it up and make a really tasty zucchini version. I like adding the fresh chopped tomatoes and the sliced cucumbers as well to give the pancakes some freshness. You can serve it as is for a vegetarian light lunch or supper or you can fry up several slices of your favourite sausage to add more protein. Either way it is a satisfying complete but light meal.

Makes about 12-14 small pancakes
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups zucchini, grated (should be around 2 zucchinis)
  • 1 egg, beaten (or you can use egg substitute)
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium sized tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup cucumber, sliced into match sticks
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

On your cutting board, grate the zucchini using a boxed grater until you have about 2 cups. Put it into a medium sized bowl and add in the chopped onion, parsley, flour, beaten egg, Parm cheese and the cheddar cheese. Add in the salt and pepper as well to season the mixture. Heat a large non-stick skillet, on medium high heat, and drizzle in the olive oil. When the pan has come up to temperature take a dinner spoonful of the pancake mixture and pour it into the pan. Since the mixture is slightly wet use your spoon to flatten and form the small pancakes. They should take about 2-3 minutes per side. After the pancakes have finished cooking put them on a plate and put aluminum foil over it until you're ready to serve. Once you have tented the pancakes start chopping up your tomatoes and cucumbers and set them aside as well in another bowl. Don't mix them together as you want to pile them high on top to feast with your eyes first!

To make the light garlic yogurt sauce:

In a small mixing bowl, stir and combine the yogurt, dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper. Then using a microplane grate in 1 garlic clove and stir. If you're planning to make the sauce ahead of time make sure to put it back into the refridgerator until you're ready to serve.


Read Full Post >>

Print This

OVEN ROASTED ASPARAGUS

This is the perfect side dish to almost any meal. I find roasted asparagus to be the most simple and the most satisfying veggie side dish to serve to your family or to a large gathering. I have a feeling that this will be a keeper in your family as well.

Serves 2

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Baking time: 20-25 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 large bundle of asparagus (make sure to cut off the end parts that tends to be stringy)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp vegetable blend seasoning

In a medium sized casserole dish put in the washed asparagus and then add in the rest of the ingredients, then toss it gently with your hands. Put it into the oven and half way through cooking take it out of the oven and toss it again with a pair of tongs to ensure even cooking. Put it back into the oven for another 10 minutes then serve along side your favourite meat.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

BREADED PORK CUTLETS WITH A WARM TOMATO SALSA

There probably has been many a times when you were served cold salsa with your favourite meats I tried making a warm tomato salsa and it turned out great. The tomato flavour is concentrated without tasting like pasta tomato sauce and the sauce is full flavoured but light which will please all palates.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
  • 4-6 Breaded pork cutlets (this usually comes pre-packaged at the grocery store for easy cooking but you could always use pork chops pounded thin and breaded)
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • a good pinch of coarse salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chunky tomato salsa
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme

In a non-stick preheated skillet, on medium high heat, drizzle in the olive oil and sear the pork cutlets a few minutes on each side. They don't take long to cook as soon as it is done take it out of the skillet and place it on a plate. Take aluminum foil and tent the plate to ensure the heat stays with the pork. Then in the skillet put in the chicken stock, the tomato salsa, and the salt and pepper. Stir for a minute then add in the chopped tomatoes and the dried thyme. Cook this for about 2-3 minutes and take it right off the heat. The salsa should be a bit thick. Serve the pork with the warm salsa immediately.

Suggestions: Serve this dish with roasted asparagus and couscous like I have shown in the picture.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

CHICKEN FRIED STEAK WITH TEX MEX GRAVY

I love the whole fried steak idea but I don't like the idea of having to cook it in all of that oil, even if most recipes recommend shallow frying the steak. I decided to try it my way to see if it would work and I am happy to say it did! The Tex Mex gravy with the addition of the mild tomato salsa really adds a rich flavour to this Southern classic.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
  • 2 quick fry steaks ( or 2 steaks that are pounded really thin)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 cup whole milk or buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup red wine (you can use white if you prefer)
  • 1 tbsp brown sauce or your favourite BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup mild chunky tomato salsa

Turn your stove to medium high heat and put a large non-stick skillet to preheat the pan. In the meantime, get two shallow bowls (ones that could easily fit the whole steak) and fill one with the milk and the second bowl with the flour, salt, black pepper, and the chili powder. Make sure to mix the seasonings into the flour well. Get your steaks and dunk the steak into the milk and then quickly put it into the seasoned flour and coat both sides. Lightly shake the excess flour off the steaks. Drizzle the olive oil into your preheated pan and quick put the steaks in and let it sear and cook on each side. It should take around 5 minutes per side. Then after the steaks have finished cooking set it aside on a plate and put aluminum foil on top to tent the meat so you can make the sauce. Quickly add your stock and wine and scrape all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, then add in the brown sauce and the chunky salsa. Put down the heat to low and let the gravy simmer for a few minutes until it has reduced a bit. Then serve on top of your steaks.

Serving Suggestions: I suggest serving this with mashed potatoes and buttered peas but I've also tried serving mashed white kidney beans flavouring them the same way as you would mashed potatoes and it paired well with the steaks as well. I hope you all enjoy this recipe.

Read Full Post >>

Print This

Send us a comment or question

Copyright © 2009 - Food Tastes Yummy - is proudly powered by Blogger
Smashing Magazine - Design Disease - Blog and Web - Dilectio Blogger Template