Thursday, May 10, 2018

Limoncello Cake


Limoncello Cake

I had some Limoncello liqueur left over from Christmas when I made Limoncello champagne cocktails so I thought, why not use up the last bit for a delicious Italian cake to serve after my Pork Chop and Sauerkraut dinner. It's in the oven now and it's filling up my house with it's gorgeous citrusy fragrance. Life is good!

1 cup of plain Greek Yogurt, 2 eggs, 1/3 cup of canola oil, 2 tsp. of pure lemon extract or 1 tsp of lemon est, 1/4 cup of Limoncello, 1 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of vegetable oil. Mix together. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients, 2 cups of flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. of baking soda. Add the mixed dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just blended. Pour the batter into an 8 inch round prepared pan.  Optional, sprinkle with a pinch store-bought lavender.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until the cake is nice and brown and you can insert a toothpick into the centre of the cake and the toothpick comes out clean - which will be about 35 minutes. Take out of the oven and cool.

Then make a "glaze" from another 4 tbsp. of Limoncello and 3/4 cup of icing/confectioners' sugar. Poke tiny holes all over the top of the cake with a fork and spread the glaze over top of the cake. Absolute heaven.

Hy's Encore Cheese Bread

If you've ever been to a Hy's Encore Steakhouse, you have probably ordered their succulent and soft moan-inducing cheese bread. Last time I was at Hy's, in April, I really had a good look at their bread. How is it that you don't actually see any cheese slices on it? I turned over the bread and there were no grill marks, it just looked toasted. When I took a bite I tasted mostly "aged" cheese, cheddar yes, but something else.  Want to know the secret?  Well, the truth is, it really isn't a secret at all because the same "Hy's" recipe is on several websites and let me tell you, IT IS FLIPPIN' AMAZING! Now whether it is the actual recipe, we will never know. What I do know however is that it smells and tastes just the same. Enjoy!

Put your oven to broil, 500 degrees.

6 pieces of white Texas toast or 6 thick slices of another white bread
butter and cheese mix

Here is the recipe for the butter and cheese mix.  You will need 1/4 cup of soft butter, 1/4 cup of some good aged shredded cheddar cheese,  1/4 cup of shredded Swiss cheese and then 1/4 cup of Grana Padano cheese or authentic Parmesan cheese from a block (no pre shredded, and not powdered...though wouldn't it be funny if powdered Parm was the secret?!), 1 tsp. Worcestershire, 1/4 tsp. white pepper.

In a mixing bowl combine and blend the butter and cheese mix until smooth.  To be honest I think doubling or tripling this batch would be even better so you can really pile on the butter cheese mix. Why not make extra and do a test piece?

Toast one side of each slice under the broiler until just brown. Be careful not to burn.
Take the toast out of the oven and cool. Once it's been cooled, butter each piece of toast on the untoasted side with butter and cheese mix and once again pop under the broiler until the butter cheese mix is melted and golden brown. For the record, I only had French Bread, so will do the Texas Toast thing next time!  Enjoy!
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Cut into slices and then serve on some tin foil to make it look just like Hy's!

Enjoy!!!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Salmon Wellington

This is too crazy easy and so delicious.  I told my son last night that a person could be the worst cook, but if they wrap something, even baloney and cheese in puff pastry, you will be a star!  This for my family of 4 plus left overs so I used a whole salmon fillet.  Of course, you can serve much smaller portions and do salmon wellingtons as individual servings.  Make sure you use fillets however and get the skin off!

1 1/2 packages of ready to roll-out puff pastry.
1 carton of fresh spinach
1 large packages of already sliced mushrooms
1 large onion
the juice of one lemon
3 chopped garlic cloves, or you can use garlic powder

Alright love, saute your spinach, onion, mushrooms and garlic in a nice butter or olive oiled pan.  When everything is nice and sauteed, take pan off the stove and put aside.

Roll out puff pastry long and wide enough to wrap our salmon fillet in it.  Put uncooked salmon in centre of your rolled out puff pastry and top the salmon with the sautéed veggies with squeezed lemon juice over top.  Now go and fold all the pastry around it and pinch any areas that look like juices could seep out and plunk onto a roasting pan that you've sprayed with a little Pam.  Whisk an egg in a dish and then brush the egg over the puff pastry and pop into the oven at 375 degrees or whatever the puff pastry package says to put the temp at.  When it's done, you will be too!  It is so flippin' delicious.  XO

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Panko Covered Soft Boiled Eggs

One of my absolutely most favourite salads ever is served at The Grain Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver.  It's called The Grain Steak Salad and it is served with slow roasted Prime Rib, roasted tomatoes, crispy onions and these gorgeous panko eggs that spill out over the prime rib and bed of crispy romaine lettuce.  I get mouth cramps thinking about it.  Today I made these eggs and while they were beyond amazing, I think I will try for 4 1/2 minutes boiling time instead of 5 next time.  I mean, I want yolk to spill out like a fountain!
They still rocked however.  I found a recipe online that has been the best so far.

You will need:  4 eggs (maybe 8 to practice with a few!), 1 beaten egg for dipping, 1/2 cup panko crumbs, 1/4 cup flour, 2 cups vegetable oil, or canola like I used, and any seasonings that you might like...say a little pinch or two of Parmesan, a pinch of truffle salt and a few grains of pepper.

Once your eggs are boiled for the appropriate time (4 1/2 to 5 minutes), put eggs into ice water for at least 15 minutes.  Remove and gently tap shell to peel carefully.  Set aside.

Then set up a plates to dip soft boiled eggs, first into a little flour, then dip into a beaten egg, then finally into panko.  I actually used a spoon to help sprinkle these ingredients over the egg.

Heat up a pot of oil.  Once nice and hot, add the eggs and remove with a slotted spoon when perfectly brown.  Drain on a paper towel and serve over salad!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Toad in the Hole

OK, this is so seriously delicious!  Every bite has the moan factor and it’s a cozy meal that you can serve on a cooler fall night, or really anytime.  This British classic is a classic for a reason.  It’s comforting, savory and can be served with a salad but I’ve added kale to this casserole, so you could make it just a one dish night.  The technique of making and baking Yorkshire pudding is part of this recipe.  The spicy Italian sausages, with the nutty toasted kale and the sweet Yorkshire make this a really delicious meal.

6-8 hot Italian Sausages, 3-4 handfuls of soft kale leaves, 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of water, 4 eggs, 1 tbsp. smoked paprika, 1 tbsp. yellow mustard, salt and pepper.

Yorkshire with a kick:  2 cups of flour, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of cold water, 4 eggs, 1 tbsp. of smoked paprika and 1 tbsp. of yellow mustard and a little salt.  Mix together in a bowl and put into the refrigerator for at least an hour to get cold.  You want a cold batter to pour into a hot pan.

Cook up between 6-8 hot Italian sausages – the nice long ones in a 350 degree oven until almost cooked through.

In a brand-new pan 9 by 11 casserole dish, melt ¼ cup of unsalted butter.  Swipe the sides before going in to grease it up for batter.

Once the butter is melted and hot, add the sausages and a few handfuls of soft kale (I used the kale in a carton since it’s usually soft) and put back into the oven for a minute or so.

Take the Yorkshire batter out of the refrigerator and pour into the pan with the sausages and kale.  Cook on middle rack for about ½ an hour at a 375 degree oven.  To brown the top if need be, put directly under the broiler on top rack, at 450 degrees for about 1 minutes.  Keep an eye on it.  This is a very impressive looking dish and as I mentioned, absolutely DELISH!  Enjoy.  P.S.  The pictures are so so because we already started eating out of the casserole before I could take a picture...so GOOOOOD!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Merlot Sauce for Juicy steaks or Roast Beef

So my hubby and I just got back from a month long vacation in Europe.  It was spectacular to say the least!  In fact, in spending time overseas and fulfilling my life long dream, it was apparent that the longing for something I had deep within was easily fulfilled by the cultures, the ways of life and the joie de vivre over there.  One thing I noticed was that people CONVERSE with one another and I never saw anyone text at a table.  Also in Paris, there are no TVs in the bistros or restaurants, so yes, you must talk to the person you came to dinner with!  In addition to regular walking and counting our magnanimous steps that we got accustomed to as tourists, the other thing I couldn't wait to keep in my life and practice at home was the tradition of England's, Sunday Lunch.  So this past weekend we did just that!  We invited a small mix of family and friends together to partake in a simple and casual gathering.  We had the roast (I forgot to season it can you believe it!  I did however marinate it in some wine and will do that next time but for a whole day) and the Yorkshire puddings.  But what I loved the absolute most was the Merlot sauce for the beef instead of the traditional gravy.  Now I love my traditional gravy, but because I roasted veggies with big bad Bob, all the drippings seeped into the potatoes and carrots.  Last week we were in Las Vegas for a wedding and one night I ordered up a steak (well actually 2 nights) and it came with this gorgeous and divine Merlot Sauce.  I think you will LOVE it!  Serve with juicy steaks or roast beef and Yorkshire Puds if you like too!

1/2 bottle of red wine
1 bouillon cube of chicken for broth
3 cups of water

1/4 cup of flour
2 tbsp. of butter

Add the wine, water and bouillon cubes to a pot and let come to a light boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer for about an hour.  After about an hour I added a little more red wine and some extra water because mine was a few grains salty, but not too much.

Then when you've tasted your mixture, make a paste with flour and the liquid and add a little at a time to the pot to thicken up the sauce.  Whisk well and of course keep tasting and adjusting as needed.  This is sooo delicious.  Keep warm and pour over steak or roast.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Blue Cheese and Rosemary Shortbread

OK, these were just soooo delicious!  A savoury shortbread with just a hint of sweet and some good blue cheese.  I hosted a Julia Child Dinner Party recently and popped these cookies into coffee mugs my hubby made for my friends to take home.  The cookies are great for an appie with wine in the summer or winter.  Bon Appetite!

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  1 cup of salted butter, softened, 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup of blue cheese, 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary.

I like to use my mixer for this stuff, so basically beat the butter until fluffy first, then add the sugar until everything is blended.  Then stir in the blue cheese and rosemary.  You are going to have to put this shortbread into the freezer to harden somewhat before baking.  Divide dough and make two logs.  Wrap in plastic wrap and pop into the freezer for about 1/2-1 hour.  Mine froze really fast.  When about to bake, take out of freezer, slice into 1/4 inch slices.  Put parchment paper on a cookie sheet and put about 1 inch apart on cookie sheet.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Just keep checking to make sure they don't get too brown.  Then take out and cool on a plate.  Oh these are flippin delicious!  Makes about 3 dozen.


Sunday, August 06, 2017

Meatball Lunch with Chucky Tomato Sauce

I go to a pub here in Vancouver and can't get enough of this lunch.  I absolutely love the simplicity of dish because it is not overpowered by too many spices.  It is just an easy and sublime marriage of three good meatballs and a basily summer sun tasting chunky tomato sauce.   I usually make my own tomato sauce, but in this case, I used just two cans and one jar to cover lunch.

Obviously you can go more fresh using fresh basil, garlic, oregano, Parmesan.

1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef, 2 eggs, 1 cup of panko, 1 cup of Parmesan cheese (I just used your basic pantry powder), 1/3 cup of melted butter (I've seen butter put into THE BEST BURGERS), 2 tbsp. of onion, 1 tbsp.  1 Tbsp. garlic powder, 2 Tbsp. of any Italian spices, or just oregano.  Mix well.  Form about 12 medium-sized meatballs in a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Now for your easy peasy tomato sauce:  2 small cans of diced tomatoes with Italian spices (or just plain if you like) and then one jar of Paul Newman's tomato basil.  Put all three in a pot, warm and stir.  Arrange meatballs in a beautiful serving dish and pour the tomato sauce over.  Garnish with parsley and serve.  Easily warmed up if you bring it to a pot-luck.

Cucumber Feta Cheese Crostini - Delish!

Summer is smoky here in British Columbia but prior to being smoky I managed to make a few appetizers in the great outdoors for a few glorious summer parties.  Here is an appetizer that is so delicious, so addictive and so easy to make.  If you are going to a party or having one, these babies are easy to whip up in advance and are a hit!

1 baguette, 8 tsp. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1 small package of feta cheese, 1/2 tsp. of lemon juice, salt and pepper, 1 small cucumber thinly sliced.

Slice baguette into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces.  Brush one side of each baguette piece with the olive oil and sprinkle with little bit of salt and garlic powder.  Put into a 400 degree oven on a cookie sheet and bake for about 5-8 minutes (or until you like the crispness of it).

Take out and cool down.

In a bowl mix together feta cheese, lemon, salt and pepper and a little more olive oil if you like.  Spread over each baguette and top with cucumber and a bit of salt if you like.  Always make sure you taste your concoction to add whatever more you might like.  XO