June 16, 2008

Detroit's Eastern Market

If you haven't been to Detroit's Eastern Market, drop everything and go! If you can't make it there, reading my article on the Food Network is a close second.

June 8, 2008

It's all about the food.

Food is the name of the game lately, though it probably always has been. In the past month my husband and I have indulged in quite a few culinary experiences, besides the cooking class and cooking club meeting I mentioned in previous posts.

They have included:

* going on a wine tour of Essex County (article to be posted soon on Food Network Canada)

* eating out at Lighthouse Cove Inn (not bad for fresh perch, better for the view), Caldwell's Grant (great alligator!) and Cafe Muse (grilled cheese really is one of the best)

* making some of the best Muttar Paneer I have ever tasted (see below)

* planting a large vegetable garden

* having a Victoria Day Party that included Sweet Potato and Yam Chips with Honey Blue Cheese Dip

The Best Muttar Paneer

1/4 c butter

8 ounces paneer, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

large piece ginger, minced

1 t salt

1 t each of turmeric, garam masala, coriander seed, cumin, chili powder

2 c frozen peas

1 large tomato, chopped

1 cup vegetable stock

1/2 c low fat sour cream

Heat the butter in a large skillet and add the paneer cubes, in 2 batches, and fry until they are golden. Remove the golden cubes to a double thickness of kitchen towel.

Leave 1-2 T of butter in the pan. Fry the onion, garlic cloves, and ginger gently for about 5 minutes with a sprinkling of salt. Stir in the spices and cook for another 2 minutes before adding the still frozen peas.
Add the tomatoes and the vegetable stock over the contents of the pan. Stir again and turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes, tasting to check that the peas are tender. Add the paneer and the sour cream and cook for another 5-7 minutes on medium heat. Serve with fresh pita.

Now that's teamwork! ( Cooking Class - Appetizers)

My friend Dana and I usually like to plan things that will get us into trouble - practical jokes, pranks and general silliness are what we are about. During the month of May we decided to use our planning skills for good instead of evil. A Cooking Class at work, with the theme of appetizers, was what we were able to come up with and it went off without a hitch.

During the class we presented the following recipes. Each one was something that we have as a "stand by" when entertaining.

Ridiculously easy. Add 1/2 c lime and 1/4 c lemon if you don't have Key limes.
Cheese Straws with Cheesy Artichoke Dip (see below)
Another "easy, peasy" recipe. Not exactly low fat but well worth the heavy caloric intake.
Great with Prosecco.
Guacamole and Strawberry Salsa with Corn Chips
Dana taught me this recipe. I have yet to find someone who dislikes these
Cheese Straws
(inspired by The Barefoot Contessa)

1 box frozen puff pastry defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
Flour, for dusting
Butter Spray
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Roll out each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured board until it is 10- by 12-inches. Spray butter spray on the surface of the pastry (or you can brush melted butter). Sprinkle each sheet evenly with 1⁄4 cup of the Parmesan, ½ t of salt, Cayenne and pepper. With the rolling pin, lightly press the flavorings into the puff pastry. Cut each sheet crosswise with a floured knife or pizza wheel into 11 or 12 strips. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffed. Turn each straw and bake for another 2 minutes. Don't over bake or the cheese will burn. Cool and serve at room temperature.

Cheesy Artichoke Dip


2 packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 6-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained, coarsely chopped
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)
3 green onions, finely chopped

Mix first 8 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Fold in artichokes, mozzarella cheese, and green onions. Transfer to 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Bake dip until bubbling and brown on top, about 20 minutes. Serve hot dip with cheese straws, nachos or your favourite veggies.

Cooking Club II - Italian Food

This post is long overdue. Cooking Club 2 had their last meeting about 3 weeks ago. Christine was absent, due to a trip to see her sister - as the rest of us fought for counter, and oven, space in Jordana's kitchen. Italian was the theme and it did not disappoint. I was able to try Italian fare that I had never experienced and it was all quite successful.

I couldn't conceptualize this at first, but it turned out better than I thought it would. The salsa was the best part I think.
Jillian added some Gorgonzola for an extra punch.
Jordana - Sogliola in Tre Modi (Roasted Sole Three Ways) from Jamie's Italy
She wasn't able to source Dover Sole so she used Atlantic Sole and it was fantastic; a nice contrast of texture, flavour and colour.
I adore Brussels Sprouts, so this suited me fine. I have never thought to add pecans before and it complimented the nuttiness of the sprouts perfectly.
Suzanne - Cucidati
This wrapped pastries were delicious! They were amazingly sweet and the mix of figs, orange zest and chocolate was something I would not have thought would work so well together.