December 22, 2008
The membership of our second cooking club has been revamped. Lisa and Jordana had to bail due to work and school. We were sad to see them go, but quite happy to welcome our new member Amarjot!
Jillian hosted our latest meeting and the theme was Winter. It could have been squash with the number of dishes we had that included this lovely veg. Yum.
December 20, 2008
December 14, 2008
Maple Syrup and Poutine had a great showing at the Canadian Blog Awards this year. Once again I placed 4th in the Activities Blog section. Thank you so much to all that voted. Yarn Harlot won by a landslide (She had 91% of the total votes), mind you I wasn't to far behind the 2nd and 3rd place winners (only 1% separated me from second place). Congrats to the only other food blog in the running, WindsorEats.
I am very proud of this blog and thank all of my supporters!
Hannukah, Christmas, Yule, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice and the coming of the New Year - December is filled with reasons to celebrate! Here are some helpful articles for entertaining.
Now there is Festivus (for the rest of us) - CHOW
What food can one make with the givings of a food bank? - CBC
Snowmen treats for all - Hostess with the Mostest
Sweet Potato Kugel Recipe - National Post
Maple Eggnog - this one's for you Nicole! - Seasonal Ontario Food
With 2008 almost wrapped up the "best of" and "top 10" lists are aplenty. Here are some that I find quite interesting:
Best Wines Under $10 - Toronto Life
Top 10 Wines for the Holidays - Toronto Life
Best Cookbooks of 2008 - Epicurious
Dave Lebovitz's Cookbook & Recipe Favourites - Dave Lebovitz
November 30, 2008
November 23, 2008
Right now we are in Round 1.
I have been nominated for :
November 16, 2008
In the spirit of competition, and I do like to compete - especially in things I have a chance of winning, Jillian decided to make October's theme an Iron Chef one. The ingredient was pumpkin, of course. Imogen, Rose and I were on one team and Jillian, Dana, and Mel on the other. We were all too nice to really judge each other's work. So we all ended up winning. BOOO!
(just as an aside, almost every member from my team used an actual pumpkin and not the canned stuff)
Appetizer - Baked Brie with Pumpkin Chutney (Rosemary)
I will definitely make the chutney again, and really, who doesn't like warm gooey cheese?
Main - Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage (Danielle)
A flop. Pumpkin is waterier than the potatoes and therefore I needed to add a tonne more flour. More than I brought, which meant I had to switch to whole wheat flour. I like whole wheat, but not in this recipe. Yuck!
Dessert - Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce (Imogen)
The night's winner in my opinion. I adore bread pudding and this had a great balance of warm spices and sweetness
Appetizer - Pumpkin and Shrimp Bisque (Melanie)
This had the most pure pumpkin flavour. I might have added some more earthy flavoured herbs.
Main - Pumpkin Seed Crusted Lamb with Chipotle Sauce (Jillian)
Another good one. The sauce was one I will make again.
Dessert - Pumpkin Ice Cream with Pumpkin Seed Brittle (Dana)
A flop as well, though the flavours were quite good. Dana learned that using a candy thermometer when making brittle is a necessity as opposed to a suggestion.
Recently a friend of our family asked if I would assist her in teaching a cooking class to raise money for Save the Children. "Absolutely!" was my answer and November 1 was decided as the date. I had my trusty friend Dana help me out, and the afternoon went over very well.
There were about 10 participants that chopped and chatted their way to a fabulous lunch.
The menu was as follows:
Combine a few cups of chilled cranberry juice and ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Scrape the seeds from 1 vanilla bean into the shaker. Shake well. Strain into champagne glasses, filling only halfway. Top off the drinks with sparkling wine. (Prosecco works well)
Serves 8-10 as an appetizer
1/2 pound ground pork (1 cup)
1 cup coleslaw mix or shredded Napa cabbage
2 shallots, minced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot chili oil, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil for frying, or as needed
30 wonton wrappers, or as needed
In a medium frying pan, sautee the ground pork, cabbage, shallot, garlic and minced ginger in 2 T of olive oil. When meat is almost cooked add soy sauce, chili oil and sesame oil. Allow the mixture to cool slightly.
Lay a gyoza wrapper in front of you. Wet all the edges with water. Place a teaspoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Fold the sides up to form a semicircle, and then pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the rest of the gyoza wrappers until the filling is gone.
To cook, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy frying pan over medium-high to high heat. Add 12 - 15 of the gyoza and cook for 2 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom.
Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan. Cover the dumplings and cook until the water is absorbed (5 to 7 minutes). Repeat with the remainder of the gyoza dumplings.
Cherry Fudge Ice Cream
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1 c homo milk
¾ c superfine sugar
8 oz. chocolate fudge, cut into chunks
½ c chopped maraschino cherries
Put the mascarpone, milk and sugar in a bowl and beat until smooth. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream machine and churn until almost frozen. Add the fudge pieces and cherries and continue churning. Put the mixture into a freezer proof container and freeze until solid.
Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce
6 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water melt the chocolate with the water and the cream, stirring until the mixture is smooth, and stir in the kahlûa. The sauce may be made 1 week in advance, kept covered and chilled, and reheated. Makes about 1 cup.
October 27, 2008
October 25, 2008
A grilled cheese party! Why didn't I think of that?? - CBC Food Bytes Blog
Toronto has a few parks with bake ovens. Why do more cities not do this? - Toronto Star
Other things to order, besides pho, when eating Vietnamese - Toronto Star
What is a sandwich really? - Jumbo Empanadas
Top 10 worst first date foods - not sure if I agree with soup though - Baltimore Sun
Creemore is a lovely town in Ontario, that happens to have a 100 mile store. Seasonal Ontario Food went for a visit - Seasonal Ontario Food
A guy tries to pay for his Big Mac combo with weed and someone calls 911? Puleez! - YumSugar
October 24, 2008
October 4, 2008
The return of sherry. I never knew it left! - Saveur
In a shaky economy $10 - $20 wines give the best bang for your buck - NY Times
Q tonic, some Hendricks and a squeeze of lime, just may be the best drink ever - National Post
Mission Hill Oculus, a gorgeous wine - Vancouver Sun
September 28, 2008
2. Ketchup flavoured chips
3. Wild Rice Pilaf
4. Caribou Steak
5. Gourmet Poutine
7. Beaver Tails
8. Maple Baked Beans
9. Bison Burger
10. Bumbleberry pie
11. Nanaimo bar
12. Butter Tarts
13. Cedar Planked B.C. Salmon
14. Wild Blueberries
15. Pure Local Cranberry Juice
16. Chocolate from Ganong or Purdy’s
17. A cup of warm cider from your local orchard
19. 4 of the following types of apples (Cortland, Empire, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Spartan, Greensleeves, Liberty, Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Golden Russet, Idared, Gala)
20. Freshly foraged mushrooms
21. Dinner cooked by Michael Smith, Susur Lee or Rob Feenie
22. Fondue Chinoise
23. Dish created from a Canadian Living Magazine recipe
24. Peameal Bacon Sandwich from St. Lawrence Market in Toronto
25. Lobster bought directly from a boat in a Maritime harbour
26. Handmade perogies from your local church or market
27. Alberta Beef at an Alberta Steakhouse
28. Leamington Tomatoes
29. Roasted Pheasant
30. Wild Game hunted by someone you know
31. Ice Wine
32. Habitant Pea Soup – entire can
33. Any Canadian Artisinal Cheese
36. Flapper Pie
37. Jellied Moose Nose
38. Saskatoon Berries
39. Fish and Brewis
40. Screech Pie
42. Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich
43. Flipper Pie
44. Montreal Bagels with Smoked Salmon
46. Jam Busters
47. Bakeapple Pie
48. Bridge Mixture
49. Canadian Style Pizza (bacon, pepperoni. Mushrooms)
51. A cone from Cow’s Ice Cream
52. Lumberjack or Logger’s Breakfast
53. Jigg’s Dinner
54. Rappie Pie
56. Lake Erie Sturgeon Caviar
57. Belon Oysters
58. Brome Lake Duck
59. Beer from a stubby bottle.
60. A beer from Unibroue or Phillips Brewery.
61. Salt Spring Island Lamb
62. Fry’s Cocoa
63. A bag of Old Dutch Potato Chips
64. Every Flavour of Laura Secord Suckers
65. Chicken Dinner from St Hubert’s or Swiss Chalet
66. Hickory Sticks
67. An entire box of Kraft Dinner
68. Candy Apples (NOT caramel apples)
69. Corn from a roadside stand
70. A meal at Eigensenn Farm
71. Okanogan Peaches
72. Berkshire Pork
73. PEI Potatoes
74. Something cooked in Canola oil
75. Figgy Duff
76. Blueberry Grunt
77. High Tea at the Empress Hotel
78. Fresh maple syrup hardened on the snow
79. Oreilles de Christ
80. Nova Scotia Beer Warmer
81. A cheese plate containing Bleu Bénédictin, Friulano, St. Maure and Oka.
82. Black or red currant jam
83. Maple glazed Doughnut from Tim Horton’s with a Large “Double Double”
84. A glass of Mission Hill’s “Oculus”
85. Alberta Pure Vodka
87. Canada Day Cake
89. Canadian Iced Tea
93. Local honey
94. Creton on toast
95. Glen Breton Rare
96. A whole box of Smarties, where the empty box is then used as a kazoo
97. Grilled cheese made with Canadian Cheddar
98. A meal from Harvey’s
99. Lake Erie Perch
100. Red Rose Tea
September 27, 2008
This month's meeting was a bit of a bust. Two people had to cancel, two were late and one had to leave early! We did get some cooking done in there.
Here is what the menu looked like:
It is almost every chef's mantra to use the best quality, local and seasonal ingredients in their cooking. Our group of amateur cooking club members decided to join them in this.
Our menu included:
September 14, 2008
LISTS! Love them! Seriously, a good list where I can cross things off and see my progress is ever so satisfying. I am a list geek and proud of it.
Very Good Taste has come up with a list to determine just how many of 100 items bloggers have consumed. It is an omnivore's challenge, so veg people may feel a bit jilted - doesn't mean you can't come up with your own though.
Here are the instructions:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at http://www.verygoodtaste.co.uk/ linking to your results.
The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos Rancheros
4. Steak tartare
7. Cheese fondue
10. Baba Ganoush
13. PB & J Sandwich
14. Aloo Gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses - yum! this is on my future list though
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom Tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie Gras
24. Rice and Beans
Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper - just not worth the pain
27. Dulce de leche
30. Bagna Cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O - more often than I'd care to admit
41. Curried goat
Whole insects - I wouldn't say never, but probably not
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
Fugu - not sure I'm interested in taking the chance
47. Chicken Tikka Masala
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Pickly pear
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. poutine - of course!
60. carob chips
kaolin - um, no.
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
69. Fried plantain
Chitterlings or andouillette
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
Roadkill - yuck!
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
79. Lapsang Souchong
81. Tom Yum
82. Eggs Benedict
84. Tasting menu at a three- Michelin-star restaurant - WooHoo! Worth every penny
85. Kobe Beef
86. Hare - if it means rabbit then, yes
90. Criollo chocolate
92. Soft Shell Crab
93. Rose harissa
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
In conclusion, there are 9 items I would never eat, 24 items I have not eaten yet, and 67 I have already consumed! Not bad at all...I'll be working on those 24.
September 5, 2008
August 31, 2008
Over the past week or so I have done quite a bit of cooking for others. I provided brunch for friends and family as well as some fun food for my close friend's birthday.
Here are some of the recipes - enjoy!
1/2 c sugar
I have never really pondered Hawaiian food, so when Suzanne decided to use this as her August cooking club theme I was stumped. It seems to include many fruits and veg that are native to the island, obviously, while bringing in American and Asian influences - with a bit of Spam on the side. The menu turned out to be quite flavourful even though we only had four members attending that night.
2 oz. light rum
1 oz. Triple sec orange liquor
1 tbsp. Orgest almond liquor or almond flavored syrup (I used Amaretto)
1 tbsp. Grenadine
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 dash 151prf. rum or dark rum (optional)
(and I added Guava juice)
Shake ingredients (except the dark rum) and strain into a large glass about 1/3 full with crushed ice. Decorate with a maraschino cherry speared to a wedge of fresh pineapple. Top with a dash of dark rum for that reddish color, or for sure inebriation 151 proof rum. Put an orchid in each drink for the full Hawaiian effect.
1 1/2 oz vodka (I used way more than this!)
4 oz pineapple juice
1 oz cream of coconut
1 slice pineapple
Blend vodka, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut with one cup of ice in an electric blender at a high speed. Pour into a wineglass, decorate with the slice of pineapple and the cherry, and serve.
MASHED SWEET POTATOES WITH COCONUT MILK
1. 3 medium sweet potatoes
2. 3/4 cup "lite" coconut milk
3. 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork in several places. Microwave on High until tender all the way to the center, 10 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, place in a baking dish and bake at 425 degrees F until tender all the way to the center, about 1 hour.)
2. When cool enough to handle, peel off and discard skin. Transfer the sweet potatoes to a medium microwaveable bowl and mash thoroughly with a potato masher. Add coconut milk, ginger and salt; stir well. Reheat in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, or in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Yield: 4 servings
MACADAMIA NUT CRUSTED COCONUT SHRIMP (I made Salmon strips instead of shrimp)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 pound cleaned and deveined shrimp
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup crushed macadamia nuts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat a baking dish with olive oil. Place flour in a small bowl. Dredge shrimp in flour, then dip into coconut milk and roll in crushed macadamia nuts. Place in baking dish and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until shrimp is cooked through. Serve 3 shrimp on a bed of rice topped with orange lime sauce. Makes 4 servings
August 20, 2008
August 18, 2008
August 11, 2008
August 5, 2008
Lucky for Windsor consumers they will be re-opening with a new style of cuisine at the old locale of Bin 151 on Ottawa Street.
For more details about this change, please read the article on Windsor Eats.
Salt, I have so many varieties but not a clue as how to use them all properly. Chowhound explains - CHOW
If you are one to buy most of your fresh food as organic, here are 12 in which that may not be necessary - Food Network Canada
Foolproof ways to let your guests know when it is time to go! - CHOW
Restos in Toronto are starting to grow their own produce, that's as local as it gets - Toronto Life
July 30, 2008
July 29, 2008
July 10, 2008
This month's meeting was a bit disorganised, we met a little late, we had to cancel and reschedule and - dumbo me - I forgot what the theme was.
Here are our "spicy" recipes - except mine of course.
The lychee cocktail recipe was created based on my favorite drink at home, which does not contain SOHO lychee liquer (can be found at LCBO).
4 oz canned lychee syrup
2 oz simple syrup
1 oz SOHO lychee liquer
Top with 2 oz of evaporated milk (more if you like it)
Garnish with canned lychees, a sprig of mint
Sweet Ginger Margarita
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
- 2 tablespoons simple syrup
- 2 oz white tequila
- 1/2 oz Grand Marnier
- splash of lemon juice
- Garnish: candied ginger (optional)
Heat the fresh ginger slices with the simple syrup in a pan over low heat for about 5 minutes. The syrup should thicken significantly. Combine the ginger syrup, tequila, Grand Marnier, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously for a good 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with candied ginger, if desired.
Teh (tea) Halia (ginger)
This is a very popular drink in Malaysia and Indonesia when we eat spicy food, which aids indigestion problems i.e. stomach upsets.
6 cups water
1 cup brown sugar, packed (I prefer to use palm sugar for authenticity)
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, cracked
Combine the water, sugar, and ginger in a pot and bring the mixture to a boil.
Cook over moderate heat for about 5 minutes.
Chili Grilled Salmon with Mango Cucumber Salsa
1 lb salmon , skinned
3 T vegetable oil
2T chili powder
Season fish with S & P and then rub all over with the oil. Mix chili and oregano and then rub all over fish to coat evenly. Let stand for up to 6 hours in the fridge. Cook the salmon over high heat in a skillet for 4-5 min on each side or until medium or medium-rare.
2 mangoes, finely diced
1/2 cucumber, finely diced
juice of one orange and lime
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 small bunch of mint leaves, finely chopped
Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Serve salsa with the fish.
Roasted Spicy Pineapple
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups (or more) water
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
1/4 cup dark rum
1 large banana
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 dried chiles de árbol*
1 large (4 1/2-pound) pineapple, trimmed, peeled, sliced and cored
Mix sugar and 1/2 cup water in heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla beans. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush. Increase heat; boil until syrup is deep amber color, swirling pan occasionally, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat. Add 1 cup water (syrup will bubble vigorously), then rum. Stir over very low heat until caramel bits dissolve. Simmer 2 minutes. Cool syrup 15 minutes. Pour into blender. Add banana, ginger, and chiles de árbol; puree until sauce is smooth.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place pineapple in 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Pour sauce over; turn pineapple to coat. Roast until tender, basting often with sauce and adding more water by tablespoonfuls if sauce becomes thick, about 1 hour 15 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill until cold, then cover and keep chilled.)
Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream (from the Ice Cream Bible)
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 cups milk
2 cups whipping cream
1. in a bowl whisk egg yolks with sugar until thickend and pale yellow
2. Slit vanilla bean lenghtwise and scraped seeds into medium saucepan. Add vanilla pod, mild and cream. Bring to simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes for vanilla to infuse
3. Discard pod. Bring mixture to a simmer over low heat. simmer for 5 min. Gradually whisk in egg mixture.
4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thick enough to coat a wooden spoon. (don't let it boil). Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cold.
5. Stir cream mixture. Transfer to ice cream maker and make according to manufacturer's instructions.
July 9, 2008
June was my hosting month for Cooking Club I. A theme that I had been mulling for a while was that of using alcohol in food. I like the way it enhances flavours and that one can make a drink to go along with the meal as well. The interpretations of the theme that were presented at our meeting were quite interesting to say the least. How did we end up not using wine?
1T olive oil
2 ears corn
1 small onion
1 sweet red pepper
1/3 cup cilantro
1 small avocado
3T lime juice
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 t chipoltle puree
2 T tequila
(I also added mexican cheese con fresca to make it a little less heart smart).
2. Dice all along with jalapeno, cilantro, and avocado.
3. Mix lime, garlic, chipotle, cumin, and tequilla.
4. Stir it all together. Serve in martini glasses with tortilla chips.