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Showing posts from March, 2011

Crispy Potato Cakes with Bacon and Cheddar

The other day I got the idea in my head to make a batch of potato gnocchi. From what I have read, the secret to the lightest, fluffiest gnocchi, is to dry the potato as much as possible and to use very little flour, just enough to bind the whole thing together. So that's what I did. I mashed the potato with an egg, salt, pepper, and a bit of nutmeg, and then added a bit of flour. The dough was still very soft, so I added a little more flour to it. The dough was still pretty soft at this point, but I was afraid of making heavy, little dough balls, so I just went on to the next phase; rolling, cutting and then rolling over the back of a fork to put little grooves in each piece. I tossed the whole batch in to a large pot of boiling water and let them cook for 4-5 minutes.

Meanwhile,  I started working on the other components of the dish. I grated cheese, I cooked up some bacon, I started making a roux. I had big plans for these babies. OK, time to drain the gnocchi. After the steam …

Sweet and Savory Pecan Cheese Roll

This cheese log recipe has been a favourite in our family for many years. It often makes an appearance at family gatherings and it is always a big hit. I think it fits all the requirements for a good appetizer recipe - it's simple to make, it only requires a few ingredients, it is best made ahead of time, and it is packed with sweet and savory flavour - hence the name.



Sweet and Savory Pecan Cheese Roll

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans, finely chopped


Form cream cheese into a log shape on parchment paper. Chill one hour or up to 2 days. In a small saucepan, stir together the next 5 ingredients. Cook over medium heat until bubbly and thickened, about 2 minutes after it starts to boil. Stir in one cup of chopped pecans. Transfer pecan mixture to parchment paper. Spread to 6 x 10 inch rectangle. Cool slightly to partially set. Place cream cheese log in…

Spicy Chorizo Hash topped with a Poached Egg

I have said it before and I will say it again - I LOVE POTATOES!  They are not only delicious, they are also incredibly versatile. On their own they are pretty bland,  but they absorb other flavours like little sponges. I made this hash the other day, and  it is now one of my new favorite dishes.

 I had a bit of Chorizo in the fridge that I needed to use up. I also cooked up some potatoes, leaving half diced and mashed the other half. I also added grated onion and garlic, smoked paprika and a bit of dry mustard, diced red bell pepper, parsley, lots of salt and pepper and topped the whole thing with a couple of poached eggs. WOW!  This dish will rock your socks off!

This would also be good with crispy cooked bacon, ham or Italian sausage in place of the Chorizo. An icy, cold beer also goes really well with this. Just sayin'.



Spicy Chorizo Hash topped with a Poached Egg
( serves 4)

4 cups waxy potatoes, diced
1/2 yellow onion, finely grated
2 cloves garlic, finely grated
6 oz. coo…

Super Fast Shrimp and Rice Noodles

I really, really loo-oove Vietnamese food. It is just so fresh and light, yet super flavourful and satisfying at the same time. The Vietnamese food that I have experienced seems to consist mostly of rice or rice noodles, lots of raw or just lightly cooked veggies, a small amount of lean protein, and flavourful additions like chopped peanuts, cilantro, fish sauce and hot chili garlic sauce such as Sambal Olek or Sriracha.

I came up with this dish one night when we had been out for the day, it was already past our usual dinner time and we were starving. I soaked some rice noodles in hot water, and  ran some cold water over some frozen cooked shrimp, to quickly defrost them. I also quickly sliced up some veggies and chopped up some peanuts and cilantro. I drained the noodles, tossed in some fresh veggies, drizzled it with a little soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and Sriracha, and garnished it with  chopped peanuts, cilantro and sliced scallions. Honestly, this only took about 5 minutes to…

Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce

These little guys are loaded with flavour, especially when they are paired up with a cool, garlicky tzatziki sauce.



Greek Meatballs
1 lb. lean ground beef or lamb
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely grated zucchini
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. cumin
1/3 cup crumbled feta
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients and mix gently. Cook a small meatball (flatten it so it will cook faster) in a skillet. Taste and adjust seasoning. Roll into  bite-size meatballs and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Serve as an appetizer with tzatziki sauce or stuff in a pita with tzatziki, diced tomatoes, red onion, shredded lettuce.

Tzatziki Sauce
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
grated zest of one lemon
1/2 cup grated cucumber
1 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp E…

Onion, Cheese and Bacon Tart

I have a collection of food magazines that I flip through from time to time. Bon Appetite, Cooking Light, Food Network Magazine and Fine Cooking are among my favourites. As a kid, I loved looking through Bon Appetite, and while I still enjoy reading it, I  have noticed that practically every recipe calls for at least one strange, difficult-to-find or expensive ingredient. Just to prove my point, I just flipped through an issue of Bon Appetite,  and I came across this recipe ~ Salmon and Sea Scallop Soup with Caviar. Some of the ingredients include : smoked salmon, fresh salmon, Champagne, sea scallops, dry vermouth, fresh herbs and each serving is garnished with a little black caviar. Seriously, Bon Appetite! That had better be a pretty tasty soup, you could probably buy a used car for less money.


I came across this recipe the other day, and SURPRISE, it didn't call for any weird ingredients. Caramelized onions, crispy bacon, Gruyere cheese, all melting together in a flaky, butter…