January 30, 2008

Cooking Club I - Soups, Salads and Sandwiches

I could probably eat soups, salads and sandwiches every night for dinner - as long as there was a variety to choose from of course. This month's cooking club, which was hosted by Rosemary, focused on just that theme. We broke in a new member this month and she was able to contribute a lovely salad.

Here are some of the recipes:

Sandwiches Danielle - Bahn Mi

Rosemary - Avocado Mint and Chicken Sandwich with Baby Spinach

Salads Dana - Fennel and Beet Salad (recipe below)

Imogen - Salad with Chicken, Avocado and Tomato Mayo

Fennel and Beet Salad with Asian Flavours (from Food & Drink)

3 medium beets , julienned

1 c julienned carrot

1c thinly sliced fennel

2 green onions, finely sliced

2 T peanut oil

1 t sesame oil

2 T rice wine vinegar

2 t soy sauce

1 t finely grated ginger

Thai garlic chili sauce, to taste

4 c baby spinach

2 T chopped coriander

2 T chopped peanuts

1. Mix together onions, carrots and beets in a bowl

2. Whisk together oils, vinegar, soy, ginger and chili sauce. Pour over vegetable mixture and toss.

3. Heap on bed of spinach and garnish with peanuts and coriander.

New Cooking Club!!!!

I love Cooking Club. I enjoy getting together with friends and chatting and drinking while we are able to focus on my favourite subject - food. I recently decided that a once a month meeting did not fix my cravings for Cooking Club, so I decided to start Cooking Club II. I emailed a few people that I have gotten to know through emails and blogs related to Maple Syrup & Poutine (one is Christine from Dinner Lately).

We met earlier this week and it looks like this will be a great group of women. This month's theme will be Canadian food and I am looking forward to learning from my fellow members!

January 22, 2008

VOTE FOR ME - again, please!

Thanks to your support I made it as one of the top 5 "Activities Blogs" for the CANADIAN BLOG AWARDS! I appreciate all of your votes. Round 2 of voting starts tomorrow (Jan. 23) and with your support I just may have a chance at winning!
Thanks again.

January 20, 2008

Recipe Reviews

Lemon Cupcakes with Bitters, Sorrel and Meringue - Cupcake Blog

Making mouthwatering meatballs - Toronto Star

Mmmmm...brussels sprouts - Toronto Star

Making steak - without a recipe - Chow

Nutella French Toast - Windsor Eats

Food in Fashion

Great food compliments anything, including clothes. YumSugar has compiled a slideshow of great t-shirts that are related to food - I covet the Johnny Cupcakes one.

January 14, 2008

I scream, you scream. We all scream for Ice Cream!

I have been wanting an ice cream maker for ages because yucky, cheap ice cream is just that - yucky and cheap. I am happy to say I received an ice cream maker as a gift recently. I have big plans for that machine and have already used it to make Banana Ice Cream which I snuck between 2 big chocolate chip cookes to make a sandwich. I am mildly obsessed with ice cream sandwiches right now so I was overjoyed to find this article, as well as a recipe for Cinnamon Toast Ice Cream. Can't wait to try them all out.

Photo courtesy of www. YumSugar.com

Food in the News

The Bubi's Burger vs. Tallest Man in the World? - Blogelicious (Windsor Star)

Review of the book Gastroanomalies - Toronto Star

Who is America's steamiest chef? - Glad Bags Promotion

Honey is a healer - CBC News

Do cookies make you want to shop more? - CBC News

Take a look at the Top 100 pictures for 2007 (see PizzaCone above) - TasteSpotting

Vote for Me!

This blog has been nominated for a Canadian Blog Award in the area of Best Activities Blog. Please continue to support Maple Syrup & Poutine by voting ! I'll let you know how it goes.

January 4, 2008

Christmas Eve Brunch

By Dec. 24 I was starting to get my ability to taste and smell back - thank goodness. It was on this date that my husband and I hosted a brunch for our families. The Frittata Stuffed Mushrooms seemed to be the most loved of all the dishes served.

The menu included:

Prosecco with Pomegranate Molasses

Minted Fruit Salad

Frittata Stuffed Mushrooms (see below)

Miniature Lobster Crepes with Bearnaise Sauce *

Port Basted Peameal Bacon (see below)

Pecan Sticky Buns *

* recipes available in Food & Drink Holiday 2007 edition, which should be available online by the end of January 2008.

Frittata Stuffed Mushrooms

24 large white mushrooms, stems removed and partially scooped out

3 green onions, finely diced

2 t dried dill

salt & pepper, to taste

1/2 c crumbled feta cheese

2 eggs, beaten lightly

Preheat oven to 325 F. Place mushroom caps on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until caps are filled with liquid. Remove from oven and drain off liquid and pat caps dry with a paper towel.

Mix together green onions, dill, S&P, and feta cheese in a small bowl. Scoop a small amount of the mixture and place into each mushroom cap. Spoon beaten eggs on top of cheese mixture until the caps are brimming over.
Bake mushrooms at 325 F for about 10-12 minutes or until egg mixture is set. Serve warm.
Port Basted Peameal Bacon
(adapted from a Canadian House & Home recipe)
2 lb piece of peameal bacon
3/4 c ruby port
1/2 c brown sugar
1 T brown mustard
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Place the bacon in a baking dish and bake, uncovered for 1 hour. Basting every 15 minutes with the port. While bacon is in the oven, combine the mustard and brown sugar. 15 minutes before the bacon is finished, spread the sugar mixture over the meat and finish baking. Let the meat sit for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Work Party

At the beginning of my two week break I came down with the flu. I never get sick so I was really annoyed, especially since I was supposed to hold a party for my colleagues at my place. Luckily my boss decided to move it to her house and I sent the food over there. I'm glad everyone was able to enjoy it.

The menu included:

Lemon Baked Olives

Sweet Potato Fries

Spanakopita Pizza (see recipe below)

Cheesy Pasta Bake

(this is a similar recipe, though I used one from Lesley Stowe)

Spanakopita Pizza

1 pizza crust (prepared or fresh dough), brushed with olive oil and baked until lightly golden

2 c spinach - cooked, drained and lightly chopped

1 c caramelised onions

1 c good feta cheese, crumbled

1 c shredded mozzarella

Brush crust again with olive oil. Spread spinach on the crust, followed by onions and salt & pepper to taste. Sprinkle cheeses on top of other ingredients. Bake in a 375 F oven until cheese is bubbling (about 12 minutes).

Happy New Year!

Happy 2008!

The holidays flew by and I am now on my last few days of vacation - boo hoo. I did massive amounts of cooking over the break and in the next few posts I will share some of my menus and recipes. Each year I like to give away one gift that I craft up as well as one that I cook up. This year it was decorated straw slippers and jars of homemade granola. The granola kicked ass if I do say so myself. I think it is a keeper.

Danielle's Fruit and Berry Granola

5 c rolled oats

2 c shredded coconut

2 c sliced almonds

1 c shelled pumpkin seeds

1/2 c sesame seeds

3/4 c melted butter

2/3 c honey

3 t cinnamon

1 t nutmeg

1 c sliced, dried figs

1 c dried cherries

1c dried cranberries

1/2 c sliced, dried apricots

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Toss the oats, coconut, almonds and seeds together in a large bowl. Whisk together butter, honey and spices in another bowl. Pour over the oat mixture and stir until everything is coated. Add dried berries and fruit and stir again until fully incorporated. Pour mixture onto a baking sheet (you may need to divide between two sheets).

Bake, stirring every 5-10 minutes until the mixture turns golden brown (about 25 minutes). Remove from oven and allow to cool.