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Showing posts from 2010

Cheesy Beer Butter Bacon Soup

OK..... Let's get this party started. What could be better than the beer/butter/bacon combo? How about a little sharp cheddar cheese?. Throw in some buttery, Parmesan croutons to the mix, and you are in for a real treat.  Let's end this year with a bang!

Cheesy Beer Butter Bacon Soup - makes 4 servings

4 strips of bacon, sliced into 1/2 inch strips
3 small onions, julienned
3 small apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/3 cup butter
3 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 bottle amber ale
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups chicken stock
hot sauce to taste
3 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese

In a large saucepan, cook bacon over med-low heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Add butter to pan, with onions and apples. Cook over med-low heat until onions are golden brown and very soft-about 45 minutes. Stir in flour and let cook for one minute. Add thyme, paprika, dry mustard and bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce a…

Roasted Garlic Mac and Cheese with Broccoli and Cauliflower

The other day we went to a good friend's house for dinner. We had a whole fondue experience- cheese fondue, meat fondue and chocolate fondue for dessert. It was all sooo delicious, especially the cheese fondue. That is what inspired me to create this dish. The next time you have a cheese fondue, try it with roasted garlic- it is an amazing combination. I also added broccoli and cauliflower because they  are also perfectly paired with cheese sauce.

Roasted Garlic Mac and Cheese with Broccoli and Cauliflower

3 cups broccoli and cauliflower florets
16 oz uncooked small pasta such as macaroni
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 heads roasted garlic, peeled
1 tsp dry mustard
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups milk
4 cups grated cheese, I think a mixture is best-Swiss, Gruyere, Parmesan, provolone etc
pinch of grated nutmeg
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425*F. In a large pot of boiling, salted  water, blanch broccoli and cauliflower for 30 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon and put in ice bat…

Balsamic- Red Wine Caramelized Onions and other Edible Gift Ideas

Balsamic-Red Wine Caramelized Onions, Bell Pepper Relish, Roasted Garlic Wine Mustard

Well, I have been a busy little bee this year, preserving everything I can get my hands on. I have made salsa,  relishes, mustard, caramelized onions and pickled beets. When I made the pickled beets the kitchen looked as though a chainsaw massacre had taken place, but they were so delicious it was worth the mess.

Preserving  conjures up images of grandmothers and church bake sales. It really is a dying art, especially among my generation. I think people are under the impression that it will be really scary and complicated, and it really isn't. That isn't to say that it isn't hard work, because it sure can be. The best part of the whole process is that you actually have something to show for all of your hard work.

Bell Pepper Relish- I made a batch of this and my husband loved it so much that we ended up making another double batch, sharing the chopping duties. It is awesome in san…

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas ~ Chewy Ginger Snap Cookies ~

I am totally having a Martha Stewart moment. As I write this, I am baking a batch of chewy gingersnap cookies. I can't even tell you how good they smell baking in the oven. I am packaging these babies up and giving them to a couple of friends as  a homemade Christmas present.

I first had these cookies at my mom's house, and I just loved them. They have a really nice, chewy texture. You will notice they contain (gasp) margarine, not butter. Now, you all know how I feel about butter. I normally would  never,ever, specify margarine in a recipe, but I think that it is the secret to the chewy texture.

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas....

Chewy Gingersnap Cookies

1 1/2 cups margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups flour
2 tsp each:
baking soda

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream together margarine and sugar. Add egg and molasses. Sift in dry ingredients. Mix. Roll balls ( about one rounded tablespoon) in white sugar. Arrange on a lightly grea…

A Meatball Party

I think the secret to a good meatball is moistening the binding agent (breadcrumbs) with a flavourful  liquid, which results in a light, tender meatball.

I made a big batch of meatballs the other night. It made enough for a couple of nights worth of dinners as well as a few days worth of  lunches. I would  highly recommend doubling this recipe, and freezing the remainder. Throw the meatballs into your favorite pasta sauce, soup, sub or pita for a quick and delicious  lunch or dinner.

Basic Meatball Recipe
(makes 45-50 small meatballs)

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. lean ground pork
1 onion, grated  or pureed in food processor
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs or cracker crumbs ( I used  rice crackers)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
about 1 1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, mix together beef, pork, onion, garlic..In a small bowl beat egg. Add bread crumbs, Worcest…

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner ~~~Roast Chicken with Candied Sweet Potatoes~~~

Yep, this one's a winner.

 Very simple, but very good.

 I roasted a chicken the other night.  I sprinkled the whole thing with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. I stuffed  whole garlic cloves, bay leaves and thyme in the cavity of  the bird.   Then, I draped a couple of slices of bacon over the breasts, to keep them nice and juicy.  * Insert dirty joke here*  I then  put the bird on a bed of sweet potatoes.

The sweet potatoes ended up  soft and sweet as candy, soaking up all of the  delicious drippings  from the chicken and bacon. I was really impressed with this one, although, I think I would make a couple of changes.   1.) I would cut the sweet potatoes in to larger chunks. I had to take these out before the chicken was cooked because I was afraid they were going to start to turn to mush.  2.)   I would only add two slices of bacon instead of three, because I found there was a little too much grease in the pan.

Roast Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

cooking spray
1 3 1/2 to 4 lb..…

Retro Classics ~ Beef Stroganoff ~

Retro Classics.

It is funny how food goes in and out of style. Beef Stroganoff was hugely popular in the 70's and hasn't been popular since. A few years ago, I was the chef of a small restaurant, only open at lunch time. We would have a different special every day. A few times, we made Beef Stroganoff. Out of all the specials that we made, it was  hands-down the most popular special we ever had. It turns out people LOVE Beef Stroganoff. I was pretty surprised.  I know  there are a lot of Beef Stroganoff lovers out there. You know who you are.

Beef Stroganoff
(serves 4)

a couple of tablespoons butter
8 oz. tender, lean steak, sliced in 1/2 inch x 2 inch strips across the grain
2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
1 large shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp, paprika
2 Tbsp. chopped sweet gherkins
2 Tbsp. Tomato paste
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2  cups beef stock
2 tsp. cornstarch, blend with a little of the beef stock
1 cup sour cream

hot cooked pasta, such as egg no…

Baby it's cold outside~ Staying warm with Ham, Potato and Cabbage Soup

Ham, Potato and Cabbage Soup
(6-8 servings)

Ham Stock
1 large, meaty ham bone
12 cups of cold water
1 Tbsp salt
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
1 Tbsp whole peppercorns
1 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves

In a large pot, bring mixture to a boil, Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered 2 hours. Strain and reserve ham bone and stock. Pull ham off bone, discard fat and chop into bite-size pieces.

1/2 onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
4 small russet potatoes, peeled and grated
1/2 small green cabbage, finely chopped
2-3 cups diced cooked ham
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
8 cups Ham Stock
Salt and Pepper

In a large pot, heat a small amount of vegetable oil. Add onions, carrots and celery. Saute over medium-low heat until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat and cook for 2 hours, or until vegetables are very soft and potatoes are broken up.Season to taste. Serve with…

Cranberry Maple Rice Pudding with Candied Pecans

When I was a kid, my Dad didn't do much cooking. He did have one specialty.....Rice Pudding. I have memories of him standing over the stove, stirring a big pot of the stuff. His version was pretty basic ... milk, rice, sugar, and vanilla, but sooo good. When the pudding was finished cooking, he would pour the whole thing in a huge yellow bowl and then we would wait.....and wait for the rice pudding to get ice-cold. Out of the five of us,  my Dad, my brother Dean and I were the only ones that liked  rice pudding.  My mom and my brother Darren wouldn't touch it if their lives depended on it. They didn't know what they were missing.

Cranberry Maple Rice Pudding
3/4 cup white rice, uncooked
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
4 cups Vanilla Almond Milk
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup dried cranberries

In a medium heavy-bottom pot stir in water, rice and salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cook until most of the water h…

Bacon and Potato Frittata

I made this frittata the other day for breakfast, and I liked it so much I made it for dinner the next day.  I like the fact that everything is cooked together in one pan, so clean-up is a piece of cake. I put a home-made bell pepper relish in mine, other good substitutions would be sun dried tomato pesto or basil pesto, salsa or a spicy chutney or roasted red peppers. This is also a great way to hide leftover cooked vegetables or meat, such as turkey.

Bacon and Potato Frittata
serves 4

4 slices bacon, sliced in 1/2 inch strips
1 small onion, diced
1 large russet potato, cooked and diced
8  large eggs, scrambled
1/4 cup bell pepper relish
1/2 cup grated cheese, such as Cheddar or Swiss
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350*F. Cook bacon over med-low heat in an  8 inch oven proof skillet. While bacon is cooking, add the onion. Cook until bacon is crisp and onion is softened. Remove from pan, and drain off excess grease from pan. Add potato to pan and season with  salt and pepper. Cook p…

Sesame Noodle Salad with Carrot-Sesame Vinaigrette

Well, where have you been all my life? Now THAT  is one good-looking salad, don't ya  think?

This one hits all the marks-- light yet satisfying, healthy, well balanced flavours, crunchy, fresh  and  drop-dead gorgeous, This one  just knocks it right out of the ball park.

The  pureed, cooked carrot adds a viscosity to the dressing without adding a ton of oil. It also adds a nice sweetness to it.

Try it.....I think you are going to like it.

Sesame Noodle Salad with Carrot-Sesame Vinaigrette
(This makes a mountain of salad, recipe can be cut in half.)

1 16 oz. pkg. Rice Stick noodles
1 1/2 cups shredded, cooked chicken, bones and skin removed
1 large peeled carrot, with a vegetable peeler, peel carrot into long, thin ribbons
1 rib celery, sliced very thinly on an angle
1 cup pea pods, ends and tough string removed, sliced thinly on an angle
1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
4 green onions, trimmed and sliced thinly on an angle, save a bit for garnish
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopp…

Spicy Peanut Chicken with Cilantro Rice

I think this dish is the perfect blend of sweet, salty, spicy and sour flavours.

Stir frying is  actually very simple,  but you do have to be organized. Have all ingredients ready to go before you start.

Spicy Peanut Chicken with Cilantro Rice

Vegetable or peanut oil
1 large chicken breast, boneless, cut into bite size pieces
1 large carrot, halved lengthwise and cut thinly on an angle
1 cup pea pods, ends and tough string removed, sliced on an angle into two or  three pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped or sliced
4 green onions, cut in to 1 inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced

1/4 cup peanut butter
3 Tbsp. soy sauce (gluten-free)
2 tsp cornstarch
1 or more tsp. Sriracha hot sauce
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
juice and zest of one lime

1/2 cup roasted peanuts, plus extra for garnish
Hot cooked Rice, cook rice according to instructions, stir in a handful of chopped fresh cilantro to cooked rice

Heat a small amount of oil in a  large wok over m…

Spinach and Ham topped with Poached Eggs.

I think most people fall into one of two categories: The sweet breakfast lover and the savoury breakfast lover. I definitely fall into the latter category. Which is weird, given how much I love anything sweet. I just can't deal with it first thing in the morning. This is my favorite thing to have for breakfast, I absolutely  love it!

Spinach and Ham topped with Poached Eggs

1/2 onion, finely chopped
diced ham, about 6 oz. (Canadian Bacon can be substituted, if desired)
three or four big handfuls of washed,  baby spinach, tough stems removed
salt and pepper

1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
4 eggs

Fill a pan with  at least 2 -3 inches of water. Add vinegar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. The hardest part of poaching eggs is getting the water to the perfect temperature. Tiny bubbles should be coming to the surface, but you do not want a rolling boil. Break each egg into a small ramekin. Carefully add to water. Cook until the white is set and the yolk is still soft 3  to 4 1/2 minutes.…

Beef and Root Vegetable Stew

AAAAHHHHH Halloween.......... How can you not love a holiday that is all about the CANDY! I miss trick- or- treat-ing. Dressing up in a cool costume AND all the free candy you could carry! Why is there an age limit on that kind of thing?

 Well,  now I am a responsible adult. I don't eat candy for dinner.  I know that wouldn't be good for me. I eat things like this......

Beef and Root Vegetable Stew
1 lb. stewing beef, cut in to equal- size pieces and trimmed of excess fat
2 large yellow onions, julienned
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
a pinch of dried thyme, or a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
beef stock, about 4 cups
2 Tbsp.  tomato paste
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
a splash of cognac or brandy
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 small rutabaga, peeled and chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2 tbsp cornstarch, mixed with cold water

In a large sauce pan, heat a small amount of canola oil over medium heat. Dry off meat wi…

Italian Sausage and Roasted Pepper Lasagna

Yesterday, I was feeling overly ambitious. I decided to finally bust out the pasta  machine that has been collecting dust on my kitchen shelf  for years and make Lasagna.  How did that turn out?  Frustrating is an understatement! The pasta machine and I had a minor altercation.  Let's just say, I actually uttered the words " I want to punch that thing in the face! "
Well, it all turned out in the end. While I finished making the two sauces, my husband very sweetly rolled out the  pasta sheets with a rolling pin. I have never made pasta with a food processor before, and I will definitely be doing that again. Who knew it is so easy to whip up a batch of fresh pasta? I think I might make ravioli or tortellini next time.
Fresh Egg Pasta Dough
( adapted from Williams- Sonoma "Pasta")

2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
4 large eggs
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

Fit a food processor with the metal blade. Add 2 cups of flour…

Shrimp, Sausage and Crayfish Gumbo

My all-time favorite comfort food is soup.  This is what I turn to when I am feeling out of sorts or under the weather.A pot of homemade soup was the first thing I ever cooked by myself,  when I was still in elementary school, and it is still my favorite thing to make.

 A couple of years ago, I was the chef of a small restaurant, that was mostly known as a lunch time spot. The first thing I would make every morning  would be a big pot of soup. I loved coming up with a new soup every day. It is not just eating the soup that is comforting, it is the whole process of making the soup that I love. Alone in the restaurant,  listening to music, chopping vegetables and daydreaming, it was  the perfect way to start the day.

I made all kinds of soup..... Cream soups, Broth soups, Chowders and  once in a while I made Gumbo. Gumbos are a very thick soup, thickened with a dark roux, okra or file powder. The roux is made with equal parts fat and flour, slowly cooked until it is dark brown. The dar…

Praline Pumpkin Dessert

Well, it's been a busy week! We decided to go to my parent's house for Thanksgiving. It was so great to see everyone, I just wish we could have stayed longer.

 Thanksgiving dinner was delicious, as usual  ..... Turkey, Dressing, Cranberry Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Honey Glazed Carrots, Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Almonds ( my recipe), mixed greens with blue cheese, candied pecans, dried cranberries, and  pear  with a maple-mustard vinaigrette and Pumpkin Praline  for dessert.

Praline Pumpkin Dessert
( adapted from a Save-On Food flyer)

1 can (398 ml/ 14 oz) pure pumpkin
1 can (370 ml/ 12 oz) evaporated milk (not condensed milk)
3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp cinnamon ( my mom used 3 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
1 box Betty Crocker  Supermoist Golden or Butter Pecan cake mix
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
3/4 cup butter  melted
Whipped cream  if  desired

1. Preheat oven to 350*F ( 325*F for dark or non-stick pan) Grease or spray bottom and sides of a 13…

Multi-grain Beer Bread with Caramelized Onions, Apple and Cheddar

A while back, I gave you a recipe for a basic beer bread. Well, today I took that recipe and played around a little bit.

WOW! This one is going to knock your socks off! Yes, it is THAT good!

I substituted some mixed whole grain cereal for some of the flour. I  slowly caramelized some onion and apple for some sweetness, and I sprinkled some cheese and whole grains on top to give it that little extratexture and depth of flavour.

Multi-grain Beer Bread with Caramelized Onions, Apple and Cheddar

2 cups flour
1 cup uncooked, mixed whole grain hot cereal ( The one I used is called Morning Glory and contains rolled oats, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, barley and rye flakes) reserve about 1 Tbsp for topping
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 large onion, julienned
1 cooking apple, cored and peeled, and diced in 1/4 inch cubes
 1 or 2 finely minced jalapeno, optional
1 cup finely grated extra sharp cheddar ( reserve a little for the top of the bread)

Shrimp Fajitas with Homemade Flour Tortillas

While browsing  through Epicurious the other day, this recipe jumped out at me. Homemade Flour Tortillas. Homemade Tortillas.....that sounds like a lot of work. After closely looking at the recipe, I realized I had all the ingredients on hand, the recipe didn't sound very time- consuming, and it received great reviews. OK, let's do it.

The Results? Good. I would say that they are worth the effort. I believe that homemade almost always trumps store bought. They don't require a lot of effort, but there is a bit. Don't make these on days when you are really rushed.

Homemade Flour Tortillas
(adapted  from Epicurious)

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup lard ( I used vegetable shortening)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water

Stir together flour, with salt in a bowl, then cut in lard until mixture resembles meal. Drizzle vegetable oil over and stir in warm water with a fork until dough forms. Kneed on a lightly floured surface until smooth and pliable, about 4 minutes, dusti…

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake and Indian Summer

After an unusually cold summer, we are  currently experiencing an Indian Summer. This is what it looks like where I live. It is absolutely gorgeous weather!  I spent the afternoon walking around, taking lots of pictures.  They didn't quite turn out as well  as I had hoped, I am going to blame the camera, but it is more likely the photographer.

I love Autumn. It truly is my favourite time of year. I love summer as much as the next guy, but there is just something special about Autumn. The leaves changing colour, the crisp air, cozy sweaters, pumpkins, sitting around a fireplace, Halloween,  and apples, of course.

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake                    

2 medium apples, peeled and sliced thinly
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg  plus milk to make 1 cup
1/2 cup vegetable oil


1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp cold butter
2 Tbsp. Flour

Saute the apples in a pan with a little butter and cinnamon, until golden brown and …

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

A few days ago, we had some good friends over for dinner. I had originally planned on making some kind of stuffed chicken breast kind of thing, but I saw these beautiful short ribs at the market and decided to go in a different direction. Wow! I am glad I did. They turned out so  tender and flavourful. I cooked them the day before I served  them, because this kind of dish always gets better on the second day, and  it is a lot easier to skim the accumulated fat off the top after it has cooled down.

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Short ribs, about 4 lbs, dry with a paper towel, season all sides well with salt and pepper
vegetable oil
2 onions
2 ribs celery
2 carrots
4 tomatoes, peeled and seeded or 1 small can of tomatoes
1 whole head of garlic, separated and peeled
 a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
Red wine, about 3/4 of the bottle
2 cups of beef stock
salt and pepper to taste

Pulse the carr…

Minestrone- Eating healthy never tasted so good.

This soup is so comforting and delicious, you won't even notice that you are eating healthy. Slow-cooked for hours, the vegetables almost seem to  melt away. There is nothing better than a home-made soup on a cold winter day. It's  like you are  giving your belly a little hug.


olive oil for sauteing vegetables
1 onion, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 small cabbage, finely chopped
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
7-8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
pinch of dried thyme and basil
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
1 tsp. hot sauce
3 Tbsp. uncooked pearl barley
1 15 oz. can chick peas, drained
fresh spinach, stems removed, and chopped
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp pepper
pesto or grated Parmesan, optional

( This makes a HUGE  pot of soup, recipe can easily be cut in half or freeze left-over soup)

In a very large pot, heat olive oil over moderate heat. Add onions, carrots , celery. Saute until tender. Add cabbage, bell peppe…

Las Vegas: Firefly* Tapas Kitchen and Lounge

I am a huge fan of tapas...I love the small portions of bite-sized finger foods, so you can sample many different things. I had done a bit of research before leaving for Vegas and  read about Firefly* Tapas Kitchen and Lounge. It had received a lot of excellent reviews, and it is apparently hugely popular with the locals, so I knew that we had to try this place .At the time I didn't realize that there are actually two locations, the one we went to is a couple of miles off the strip,  the other is  at the end of Fremont Street, where we had been a couple of times during our stay. Had we known that, we could have saved  ourselves  about $ 20 in cab fare.

I would have to say the over-all experience was mostly very good,  We shared a pitcher of white Sangria ( only $13, as we were there for happy hour) There was a large variety of tapas on the menu, everything really sounded delicious. We had the ham and cheese croquettes,  the pork empanada, the shrimp tempura, and the filet mignon…

Las Vegas: Le Burger Brasserie

Just got back from one of my favorite places.... VEGAS!

 On our  first night we decided to head over to Le Burger Brasserie for dinner, as I had heard many good things about the place. It was all true  If you are looking for a really great burger and cheap drinks, this is the place. You have your choice of beef, salmon, turkey, chicken, lamb or vegetarian burgers, as well as different buns to choose from.
 I had a Parisian burger with brie, caramelized onions and bacon on a Parmesan cheese bun. The Parmesan cheese bun was nice and fresh, the burger was perfectly cooked and juicy, I really love the flavour of the caramelized onions and the brie, although I realized later that something was  missing .......they forgot the BACON!  Cory's burger was a bleu  cheese, avocado and bacon burger on a caramelized onion bun. I would have to say that these were some seriously good burgers.

We also shared an onion ring tower, as the burgers aren't served with any sides.. As you all probabl…

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Almonds

The Brussels Sprout never gets any love. You might think you don't like them, but I'll bet this recipe will change your mind.

about 1 1/2 cups Brussels sprouts
2 slices of bacon, cut into 1/4 inch strips
pinch of sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
handful of whole almonds , toast almonds in a preheated 350f oven for 10 minutes
salt and pepper to taste

Peel off tough outer layers of sprouts.Cut off hard core at the bottom. Slice very thinly into coins. Some will stay intact and some will fall apart. In a large pan, saute bacon over moderate heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, leaving the bacon drippings in the pan.Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add sliced sprouts to pan, add a pinch of sugar and  season with salt and pepper. Add 1-2 tsp. water to pan. Cover and cook over moderate heat until sprouts are tender, about 5 minutes. Add  bacon and roughly chopped almonds to  pan. If desired a tbsp of cider vinegar can be added to this.

Be a lover not a hater.

Tags: Brussels Spr…

Birthday in Banff

This past weekend was my birthday so my sweet husband decided to treat me to a night in Banff. For an extra special treat we stayed at the gorgeous Rimrock Hotel. Once we were settled into our room we opened up a bottle of my favorite wine  and had a glass along with some brie and hot pepper wine jelly. Life is good!

Later on in the evening, we headed over to The Grizzly House for a fondue dinner. Wow! What can I say about The Grizzly House? The words blast from the past come to mind. Unfortunately none of the pictures I took  really did the place justice. The Grizzly House was originally opened in 1967 ( a very good year!) as a disco, the first in Western Canada. Walking into the place is like stepping out of a time machine. I don't think they have changed a single thing since the day it opened. Wood everywhere, hanging planters, avocado and gold tinted lampshades, 70's music playing. There are even old school phones at every table.

For our meal we chose the beef and chicken…

Shrimp and Potato Salad

Yes, I know I have been on a bit of a potato kick lately. What can I say, I like potatoes. I will soon move on to a new obsession, I promise.

Potato and Shrimp Salad

about 6 cups cooked new potatoes
8 oz. cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 gherkins, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 green onions, trimmed and finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 Tbsp capers
2 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped

3/4 cup light mayo
2 Tbsp. gherkin juice
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
juice and zest of one lemon
1 heaping Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp fresh dill, finely chopped
salt and pepper

Dice potatoes and put in a large bowl. Season potatoes with 1 tsp of salt. Add the next seven ingredients. In a small container blend the remaining ingredients.Toss gently.Adjust seasoning to personal taste. Add a pinch of sugar if you find it too tangy. Chill for a few hours before serving.

Tags; Potato Salad, Shrimp, Sides

Potato Gratin

Potatoes.....the ultimate comfort food. I think they are one of the most perfect foods around. Have you ever met a person who didn't like potatoes in some shape or form? Even the pickiest eater will eat potatoes. They are one of the most versatile foods I can think of. Bland on their own, they get along with everybody, absorbing all the other flavours around them. Potatoes can be crunchy or silky smooth. Steamed, fried, roasted, mashed or smashed, there are thousands of ways to cook a potato. Here is one of them.

Potato and Onion Gratin

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 lbs. red potatoes, sliced thin
1 large onion, julienned
2 1/2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk or cream
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of dried thyme
salt and pepper
2 cups  grated cheese, I use a blend of Parmesan, Mozzarella, Gruyere and Provolone,

Preheat oven to 400F. In a large non-stick pan heat olive oil over  med-low heat. Add potatoes and onion. Season liberally with salt and pepper.Cover and cook on med…

Dim Sum : Regency Palace

Let me tell you a little something about myself.....  I  looooove dim sum. I have been craving it for months, and yesterday I finally was able to fill the void that only dim sum can  fulfill.    Sunday morning , Cory and I headed on over to  Calgary's Chinatown where our old stand-by, Regency Palace resides. Interesting  fact #1--- Calgary's Chinatown is the third biggest in Canada and is celebrating their 100th  year anniversary this year.

If you have never been to Regency Palace, you will probably be amazed at how huge the place is. We arrived around 10:30 am. and there weren't many other people there. We were quickly seated, and the first dim sum cart  was immediately rolling on over to us. Our first item was some kind of shrimp balls with a sweet- soy glaze. After many attempts at trying to politely pick up one of the shrimps balls using my chopsticks, I finally had to resort to stabbing the thing with one of my chopsticks and hope that no one was looking. I have neve…

potatoes and eggs

Today I enjoyed a nice mellow Saturday with my hubby. For breakfast .I made slow -cooked new potatoes and scrambled eggs  with goat cheese. The potatoes were awesome. Cooked slowly, they really absorbed the flavour of the olive oil and the onion.

New potatoes and onion

4 to 6 small new potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 onion, julienned
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in pan over med-low heat. Add potatoes and onion. Season with salt and pepper.Cover with lid and let cook approx 20 min. stirring occasionally, until tender. Remove lid, turn up heat to medium and let potatoes turn golden brown, stirring occasionally.

Scrambled Eggs with Goat Cheese
4 or 5 eggs, scrambled,  seasoned with salt and pepper
goat cheese
fresh chives

Heat pan to med- high. Add a small pat of butter. Add scrambled egg mixture.Stir mixture until cooked. Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese and snipped fresh chives. Serve with potatoes. Serves 2

Tags: Breakfast, Brunch, Eggs, Pota…

Barb's Chili Sauce

If you have an abundance of fresh tomatoes and you are looking for a great recipe, try this Chili sauce. It is absolutely amazing on burgers, meatloaf and grilled pork.

Chili Sauce
(courtesy of my mother-in-law Barb)

1 1/2 cups white vinegar
2 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp coarsely broken cinnamon stick
1 tsp celery seed
5 1/2 1bs. (approx. 22 medium tomatoes)
1 Tbsp chopped onion
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cayenne (more or less to taste
1 Tbsp salt

Combine first four ingredients. Bring to a boil,  then remove from heat. Let vinegar stand to absorb spices. Peel tomatoes. Combine 1/2 tomatoes, 1/2 cup sugar, onion and cayenne in a very large cooking vessel. Boil vigorously stirring constantly for 30 minutes. Add remaining tomatoes and 1/2 cup sugar. Boil vigorously for another 30 minutes. Strain vinegar mixture and add to boiling tomato mixture along with the 1 Tbsp salt. Boil another 30 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into sterilized jars. Process jars for 15 minutes in boiling water. Store in a…

The Living Room

This past Friday, Cory and I decided to finally use a gift certificate that has been collecting dust since Christmas. Last Friday was a gorgeous summer day. We haven't seen many of them this year so you really need to take full advantage when they appear. We only live a few blocks away from The Living Room on 17 ave. so we strolled over.

The Living Room has a great outdoor patio and we were given a table right next to one of the two fireplaces. I don't think it was really putting off much heat or we would have been way too warm. Since The Living Room is known for their interactive cuisine we decided to start off with a black truffle and aged white cheddar fondue. Yum! A basket of cubed bread accompanied the fondue. Bread dipped into warm, melted cheesy goodness, with a glass of Chardonnay in hand, I was a happy girl! My only complaint was that some of the pieces of bread were cut very small and they immediately crumbled as soon at they came in contact with the fondue.

I deci…

What's for dinner tonight?

Looking for an easy recipe that doesn't require any cooking? Try this one. Fast, fresh and delicious.... what more could you ask for?


1 large seedless cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 28 oz can tomatoes
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp celery salt
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
freshly cracked black pepper
Fresh herbs such as basil or cilantro, optional

Pulse everything together in food processor, until desired consistency. Adjust seasonings to taste. Chill for at least 4 hours. To make this a little more substantial, top with cold, cooked shrimp or crab meat. Serve a good crusty bread on the side. Sounds like a perfect summer meal to me.

Tags: Soup, Vegan, Light