February 28, 2008

Cooking Club II - Canadian Food

The first official meeting of Cooking Club II (with actual cooking) occurred on Feb. 25 at my place. We now have 6 members and the kitchen was quite busy. In CC II, the members are so darn organised! Maybe it is because we were trying to impress each other.

I was able to try soy fish for the first time and it was wonderful! I left some leftovers for my husband and it was the soy fish that he liked best as well (though he did think that it was chicken). Overall the meeting was a great success, good food and fun were had by all.

Suzanne -
Pistachio Crusted Atlantic Salmon (recipe below)

Christine -
Potato Crusted Soy Fish (see her blog for changes in the recipe)

Jillian -
Pork Tenderloin with Scallops and Blueberry Beer Sauce (recipe below)

Jordana -
Homestyle Tarte Tatin (recipe below)

Pistachio Crusted Atlantic Salmon

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
2 tsp hot horseradish
3/4 cup fresh whole-grain bread crumbs (to make: break 1 large piece of multigrain bread into chunks and place in a food processor or mini chopper. pulse on and off until soft crumbs are formed).
1/3 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 fresh, skinless salmon fillets, about 6 oz (170 g) each and 1-inch thick

2 tsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a shallow baking pan with cooking spray and set aside (or just line a pan with tin foil, if you are cooking fish with skin on).

In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, mustard and horseradish. Set aside. Using a food processor or mini chopper, grind pistachios until finely ground but not powdery. Transfer to a medium bowl and add fresh bread crumbs, parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Stir gently using a fork. Add olive oil mixture and stir again, just until crumb mixture is moistened (like you're making a crust for a cheesecake).

Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle fish lightly with salt and pepper. Place in baking pan. Press 1/4 crumb mixture on top of each fish fillet. Drizzle tops with melted butter.

Bake on middle oven rack for about 15 mins, depending on thickness of fish. Be careful not to overcook the fish. Turn on the broiler and broil for 1 minute. Crumbs should be golden brown and fish should flake easily with a fork. Serve immediately.

Medallions of Pork with Nova Scotia Scallops and Blueberries
(from The Taste of Nova Scotia Cookbook, C. Lief and H. MacKenzie)

1 T shallots
1 tsp butter
1 cup blueberries, mashed
3 T sugar
1 cup Nova Scotia beer (Keiths)
1 cup vegetable stock, thickened with 1 Tbsp cornstarch
salt and pepper
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp butter
2 lbs pork tenderloin
24 scallops

Saute shallots in butter, add mashed blueberries and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir in beer, cook for 2-3 minutes. Add stock and cook for several more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and gradually blend in cream.

Cut pork into medallions around 1 inch thick. Pound between sheets of wax paper until 1/2 thin. Saute pork medallions in butter for 5 minutes; add scallops and continue to saute an additional 5 minutes. Pour blueberry sauce, then top with scallops and pork.

Homestyle Tarte Tatin

From Bonnie Stern’s Essentials of Homecooking (page 183)
Recipe adapted by Jordana who is not a baker

¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup butter
10 apples peeled, cored and sliced (I used Granny Smith)
375 grams of puff pastry (about ¾ of a package of Tenderflake defrosted)
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp granulated sugar


1. Sprinkle ¾ cup sugar over bottom of a 10 or 12 inch nonstick ovenproof skillet. Cook on medium-high until sugar melts and turns golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not stir once sugar has dissolved. Add butter and melt.

2. Add apples and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 to 15 minuets, or until apples are tender and almost all liquid has evaporated. Do not stir very much or apples may break. Liquid in pan should be very syrupy. Cook to room temperature.

3. Roll pastry into an 11 or 13 inch circle. Place over apples. Cut out a few team slits and tuck edges of pastry inside pan.

4. Brush with egg and sprinkle with 2 tbsp sugar. Bake in a preheated 400 F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until browned.

5. While pie is hot, run a knife inside edge of pastry and invert onto a large serving plate.

February 18, 2008

Vegetarians Beware!!

There are a few people that I love that are vegetarians. As a food lover this is just not something I could subscribe to, though I do empathise with their reasoning, whether political or health related. Unfortunately for those people, I haved decided to dedicate this post to MEAT!

A recipe for Short Rib Meatballs - Globe and Mail

Who made the 222 lb. giant cheeseburger? - CNN

A Meat Ship (from the makers of Meat House) - Easy Jo

And just because I believe in being inclusive:

Do soy based meat products make the cut? - Washington Post

Crafty Foodies

Etsy is one of my favourite non-food websites to browse. I could spend hours in awe of people's crafty talents that I occasionally use to inspire my own. Sometimes I find items through random searches and other times I am looking for something a little more specific. The colour search is amazing and has produced some interesting finds.

Recently I decided to look for food related items and I found a few that were pretty exciting. They included:

February 14, 2008

Local Recognition!

The Windsor Star, my local newspaper, has published an article about a number of blogs from our city that have been recognised by the recent Canadian Blog Awards. I am excited to see that Maple Syrup & Poutine received a mention as well as our fellow Windsor food blogger - Windsor Eats.

February 12, 2008

Food in the News

Because I am obsessed with making ice cream...

A Toronto Indie Ice Cream Maker - Toronto Star

How to make Spicy Chocolate Ice Cream - Jumbo Empanadas

Because I am not a Valentines Day lover...

A Cocktail Party for Haters - Chow

Bleeding Heart Cupcakes - YumSugar

Because a good Port kicks ass...

What is LBV? - Chow

Marks & Sparks make Pink Port - yeeuk! - The Telegraph

Curry in a Hurry

Last week I decided to have my mom over for dinner, since we hadn't had any quality time together in a while. I needed to find a recipe that I didn't need to buy a tonne of ingredients for, as well as one that was fairly quick to make. After a bit of searching I was able to find a recipe for "Chicken Curry with Sweet Potatoes".

I made the following substitutions:

* 2 t grated lemon peel for the lemongrass
* 2T curry paste for the powder
* fresh cubed and boiled sweet potatoes for the canned ones
* no carrots

I served the curry over a bed of baby spinach. It was lovely and smooth with just a hint of heat.

February 9, 2008

50 Ways to Keep Your Lover this Valentine’s Day

An article from Natalie MacLean...

Ottawa (January 9, 2008) – “Want to seduce someone this Valentine’s Day?” asks Natalie MacLean, author of Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass. “Just share a glass of wine (or three) with your sweetheart.”

“Wine is liquid sensuality: Its heady bouquet stimulates the appetite and its velvet caress soothes that desire,” she observes. “What other drink is described as both ‘voluptuous’ and ‘muscular’? And when you pair wine with the mouth-coating luxury of chocolate, the combination is impossible to resist.”

The creamy flavors of chocolate go best with sweet, full-bodied, high-alcohol wines, MacLean notes. She suggests wines to complement 50 chocolate dishes in her online matching tool . Just click on “desserts” to find pairings for chocolate mud pie to chocolate cheesecake.

Natalie’s top 10 wine and chocolate matches:

1. Dark Chocolate and Banyuls, France
2. Chocolate-Covered Biscotti and Recioto Della Valpolicella, Italy
3. Chocolate-Orange Cake and Liqueur Muscat, Australia
4. Chocolate with Nuts and Tawny Port, Portugal
5. Milk Chocolate and Tokaji, Hungary
6. Bittersweet Chocolate and Amarone, Italy
7. Chocolate-Dipped Fruit and Icewine, Canada
8. Chocolate Ganache Truffles and Sauternes, France
9. Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake and Framboise, California
10. Chocolate Hearts with Cream Filling and Cream Sherry, Spain

In Red, White and Drunk All Over, Natalie discusses how to match food and wine in greater depth, including wines for a multi-course dinner. There’s also a chapter with advice on pairing wine with five challenging foods: chocolate, cheese, spicy dishes, vegetables and fast food. Got a dish or a wine to stump Natalie? Just e-mail her via her web site and she’ll suggest a match for you.

And the second blow to my ego...

I lost Best Activities Blog. I came fifth out of five blogs. I did lose to some fantastic sites that are very popular - one went on to win Best Blog Overall. Appearantly, knitting is huge! My friends and family have reminded me that I am still the fifth Best Activities Blog in Canada though. I'll remember that as I lick my wounds...

Thank you to all that voted for me. I am grateful to have been nominated and was very surprised to have made it to the finals among such great fellow bloggers. To those that volunteered their own time to create and facilitate the CBAs - great work!

The First Loss...

This year I was pumped to make chili for our Annual SuperBowl Chili Cook-Off. The last few contests have proven to me that I am not always good at cooking for the palates of a crowd. I decided that this February I would cater my chili to the masses and make one that would please others instead of myself (novel concept). My husband and I slaved over a hot stove on both Saturday and Sunday - adding spices and reducing the chili to the perfect consistency. After carting the pot to my friend's place, we placed it on the stove to re-heat it. We left it there for a short time and then I started to smell something burning. I ran into the kitchen to find that instead of turning the knob to low, I had put it on high and burned the crap out of my chili! I was hugely bummed out and decided to remove our concoction from the contest. Damn!

Scott and Imogen were this year's winners with a score of 80.5 out of 100. They received comments like" nice sweet peppers", "bbq'y", "too mild, too bbq'y", "too many peppers", and my favourite "smokey dirt". We're a kind bunch.

Next year I am going to do my recipe again but I will re-heat in a crock pot so there is no chance of burning.

Danielle's BurnOut Chili

3 lb. ground chuck
2 T olive oil
28 oz. beef broth
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
8 dashes of hot sauce
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 t Cayenne pepper
2 t beef bouillon granules
1 t chicken bouillon granules
2 t garlic powder
3T chopped fresh basil
5T brown sugar
1 t coriander seed, crushed
1 T oregano
2 T cumin
1 t pepper
6 T chili powder
salt to taste
1 can kidney beans

Brown meat in olive oil. Once cooked add onions and saute until onions have softened. Drain off half of the beef fat. Add beef broth and simmer for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, hot sauce, cayenne and bouillon. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and continue to simmer on low until the chili has reached desired consistency.