August 31, 2008

Brunch and Birthdays

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!

Brunch -
Peach, Mango and Blueberry Fruit Salad with Granola
Crispy Bacon
Pomegranate Orange Juice
Birthday Party - (see recipes below)
Lentil and Black Bean Dip
Cherry BBQ Chicken Wings

Lentil and Black Bean Dip

2 cups cooked lentils, drained and cooled
2 cups cooked black beans, drained and cooled
1/2 c green onions, sliced thinly
2 medium tomatoes, diced
S & P, to taste
1 T lemon juice
In a jar, shake together:

1/2 c sugar
2 t celery seed
2 t salt
1 t paprika
1 t dried mustard
1 c ketchup
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
Combine bean mixture with dressing. Serve with nacho chips.

Cherry BBQ Chicken Wings
1/4 c butter
1/2 c + 1 c cherry bbq sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
3 lb, chicken wings
1 c dry bread crumbs
2 T brown sugar
2 T white vinegar
1/4 c water
1/2 T minced ginger
1 T hot sauce
Melt butter on baking sheet in oven (preheated to 400 F). Stir together 1/2 c bbq sauce and garlic and use to coat wings. Then roll the wings in bread crumbs and place in pan, turning to coat with melted butter. Bake for 30 minutes.
Combine 1 c bbq sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, water, ginger and hot sauce. After wings have baked for 30 min. turn them and then pour sauce over top. Bake for 25 minutes longer or until chicken is tender.

Cooking Club II - Hawaiian Food

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.

Suzanne -
Mai Tai
Chi Chi
Macadamia Nut Crusted Coconut "Shrimp"
Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Milk
(see below)


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
1 cherry

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.


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

Food in the News

Besides the Detroit Coney Dog, here are 5 hot dogs that will make you keel over - Al Dente

A debate, should you hide the veggies or just teach your kids healthy eating habits? - Epicurious

What makes a perfect taco, burger, pizza or pad thai? - 7x7 San Francisco

With only 1 weekend left before Labour Day, here is the perfect cottage meal - National Post

Something I want to join in on, an Underground Dinner Party - Globe and Mail

The gourmet comfort food trend is not over - rethinking the corn dog - National Post

August 18, 2008

Food Network Canada Articles

Over the weekend, Food Network Canada's blog posted two of my most recent articles on Essex County Wineries and The Chatham Street Grill. Check them out!

August 11, 2008

My recent culinary adventures...

...and not one of them has to do with me cooking anything!

Over the summer I intended to cook every recipe from a particular cookbook. Sort of like the Julie and Julia Project. It was a romantic notion -- it never happened.

Some things that have occurred - food wise - this summer, besides our trip out West.

1. My husband and I took a day to compare the Coney dogs of four different diners.

Look for my upcoming article about the amazing Detroit Coney Dog on the Food Network Blog. In the meantime check out this article about the competition between the original American and Lafayette Coney places.

2. I ate at friend's and family's houses. They served pear and watercress vichyssoise, seared lamb chops, mango chicken stir fry, barbecues chorizo and one of my favourite indulgences - party potatoes (so gross and SO GOOD!)

3.My husband brought home every local fruit and veggie he could find from stands on his way home from work. What a good boy.

4. I experienced my sister's baking. She is not a cook, just has no interest, yet she concocted these two gorgeous cakes for her step-daughter's birthdays. I am utterly impressed.

August 5, 2008

Mamo Bistro - Windsor. Ontario

Mamo Bistro, an adorable resto right here in Windsor, is closing its doors on Aug. 23, 2008. The intimate eatery is located in the area where I grew up and has been serving fantastic fare for almost four years.

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.

(Added Aug. 18, 2008)

Lucky for my husband and I, we will be able to enjoy the culinary concoctions of Ryan Odette twice before he closes. On Aug. 16, we celebrated my mother-in-law's birthday there, and will be heading back next Saturday to celebrate mine.

Grilled Quail with Tuscan Bread Salad

Berkshire Pork Tenderloin with Cherries, Sweet Potato and Collard Greens

Food in the News

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

Recipe Review

I usually save cauliflower for the fall, but I can't resist this fried recipe - Seasonal Ontario Food
Sliders are the best way to eat ground beef - period. Here's Chowhound's recipe - CHOW
If I've said it once, I've said it a million times - ice cream is my weakness and having an ice cream maker helps not at all. Here 947 recipes from Epicurious - Epicurious
Summer is time for canning all those gorgeous local fruits and veggies. The Globe shows you how - The Globe & Mail