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Showing posts from October, 2010

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…