Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Soaking Up More Recipe Ideas Via My Stomach!

I'm away for a couple of days but will return soon!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Halibut en Papillote with (optional) Garlic Tarragon Cream Sauce

I remember seeing all these commercials on TV from some frozen food company that now had "en Papillote" meals from France. Oooh la la! Frozen food and France for me however don't go together.....en Papillote means, in parchment; so tonight I'm cooking in season halibut, moi fav fish, in a parchment cooking bag that I picked up at my local IGA. You can make your own bag using parchment or go to a cooking store and pick up already made bags. Tonight my hubby is working, so I'm preparing this halibut meal for one.

1 halibut steak, 1/4 cup of chopped red onion, 2 tbsp. of capers, 1/4 cup of black olives, 1/2 sliced red pepper and 1/2 sliced orange pepper, three slices of lemon, 1 capful of olive oil and 2 capfuls of balsamic, salt and pepper. Salt and pepper the halibut and put into the bag. In another bowl, mix all the ingredients together then put it into the bag with the halibut. Fold up the paper and pop into a 350 degree oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. You'll be able to see through the bag that the fish is white, that's how you'll know it's done. I'm adding a smattering of Garlic Tarragon Cream to mine though it's perfectly delicious without it. Can you say fabulous!?


Garlic Tarragon Cream Sauce

1/4 cup of butter, 2 sliced garlic cloves, 1/4 cup of chopped white onion, about 10 tarragon leaves, 6 Laughing Cow soft cheese wedges (or use cream cheese), 1/4 cup of milk, 1/3 cup of white wine, 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. **I'm trying to stay away from flour so I'm using cream cheese and Parmesan as the thickener.

Melt butter in a pot over low/medium heat and sautee onion and garlic (don't burn). Then add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until smooth and simmer. Feel free to adjust the ingredients with more seasonings, more soft cheese, etc. I'll be serving this tonight over my Halibut.


Edible Parmesan Salad Bowls!

OK - these are just simply gorgeous, easy to do and most impressive. Of course when trying anything unusual like this, you might worry that it won't work out. Well, keep practicing and eventually it will look like a bowl. It took me a couple of tries...I made some of them too big so they looked a little floppy. But I fixed that and broke off the uneven pieces and ate them! Also, if it looks more like a plate than a bowl - who cares! Just put the salad in the bowl. Now here is the secret to making a successful Parmesan Bowl. Cut individual squares of parchment paper to put the cheese on. That way when you take them out of the oven, you only have to pick up the parchment paper with the cheese on it and lay it over an inverted bowl. Easy removal. That was my mistake. I used a spatella to remove the cheese and it bunched up (though it was still amazing). Serve these salad bowls when you have people over tonight for dinner - they will think you are amazing!

1. grate about 1 1/3 cups of fresh Parmesan (not the powdery canned cheese).

2. cut up four parchment paper squares and put onto a cookie sheet

3. Put 1/3 of a cup of grated Parmesan on each parchment paper square and make into a nice even circle (if you need to grate more cheese then do).

4. Put into a 325 degree oven and let it just melt (about 2-3 minutes - maybe even longer if need be...don't worry)

5. When it's a nicely melted consistency, pull the cookie sheetout of the oven and lift one of the parchment paper squares up and lay the cheese side over an inverted 5inch bowl or rounded coffee cup which I think might be better. Repeat the process with three more bowls/coffee cups and with a paper towel, blot the excess oil and shape the bowls with your hand.

6. Let cool for five minutes or so take a deep breath and gently remove each Parmesan salad bowl from it's mold,put onto invididual plates and fill with your favourite salad. There you go, easy, takes about 10-15 minutes total, and you'll be a star! My whole family loved them and they said they "looked fancy!"

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Pizza Toppings for Pan Fried Pizza a la James Barber

Pancetta, Hazelnuts, and Garlic Pizza: In a small skillet over low heat, cook 1 cup diced pancetta (Canadian Superstore has nice perfectly salted pancetta) in one tbsp. of olive oil for 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup skinned, chopped hazelnuts and 2 cloves of thinly sliced and chopped garlic. Heat gently until nuts toast lightly. Then add 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, salt, and pepper. Brush dough with 2 tbsp. of fat from the pan, and top with 6 ounces grated mozzarella and the pancetta mixture.

Smoked Turkey and Fontina Pizza: In a skillet, saute 3 large thinly sliced yellow onions in 1 tbsp. each butter and walnut oil until lightly browned. Spread over dough and top with 1/3 pound each julienned smoked turkey breast and diced Italian Fontina cheese, salt, pepper, 1 tbsp. of additional walnut oil.

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Sunday Meat Sauce for Spaghetti

OK - this is too delicious and one of my absolute favourites!

Saute in a pot one chopped large onion in 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium heat until the onion is just clear. Then add 1 lb. of lean ground beef and 4 chopped cloves of garlic to the onion and olive oil and saute for about 5 or so minutes or at least until the meat is brown. Then add 6 chopped up tomatoes to the pot together with 2 tbsp. of tomato paste, 1 divine cup of red wine, 1 cup of beef broth (use a carton of already made), 2 bay leaves. Stir until all is well blended and cook, uncovered on a low heat for 1 hour, stirring frequently. Salt and pepper to taste then toss over tortellini or spaghetti and top with fresh Parmesan.

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Linguine with Clam Sauce or Linguine Alle Vongole

Yum yum! I've made this clam linguine so many times and to rave reviews. It really is delicious and I first started making it back in the 1980's when I was just a young cook (weren't my 19 year old friends lucky to get this meal served up when they visited me?). This is an Umberto Menghi recipe and one that I'm sure he teaches his students at his cooking school in Tuscany. Well, today, you're getting it for free!

1 lb. of linguine cooked al dente: 3-5 minutes for fresh pasta and 5-7 minutes for packaged linguine.

Clam Sauce: Add one 12 ounce or 350 ml can of clams with clam liquid to a pot with 2cups of cold water, one onion diced, 1/4 cup of white wine, and 1 bayleaf. Boil for a few minutes and then drain pot except of course for clams and 1/2 cup of the liquid. In a separate pan, saute 1 1/2 garlic finely minced in 6 tbsp. of unsalted butter over medium heat...careful not to burn the garlic. Then add clams, clam liquid and 3 tbsp. of parsley to garlic and stir until blended and reduce by simmering for 4 minutes.

Then add an additional 1/3 cup of white wine to garlic, clams, clam liquid and parsley and reduce by simmering on medium heat for 2 minutes.

Finally season with salt and black pepper to taste! Love it!

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Favourite Bread Machine Focaccia Bread

There are a few kitchen tools I absolutely adore: my mixture, my meat thermometer and my gorgeous tried and true trusty old bread machine maker. They were huge back in the 1990's and when I got one for my wedding, my hubby and I made fresh bread every day while on our honeymoon, at our cabin in Kelowna. I've made this focaccia so many times for luncheons at my house and it is positively divine. Seriously consider a bread maker if you don't already have one because it brings so much joy to life for so little work. Besides, the smell of fresh bread next to the smell of a little baby is God's way of reminding you how damn good life is!

For one pound of focaccia bread: 3/4 cup of milk, 1 tbsp. of olive oil, 2 cups of bread flour, 1 tsp. of dried oregano, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. of active dry yeast, non stick spray coating.
Additionally you will need more ingredients for the toppings: 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan, 3 tbsp. snipped parsley.

Add first six ingredients to machine according to manufacturer's directions. Select dough cycle. When cycle is complete, remove dough from machine then cover and let rest for 10 minutes....this is just so you can get your head around the fact that you're making bread! Spray a square cake pan with non-stick spray and press the dough into the pan. Then take a few of your fattest fingers and make "dimples" in the bread dough, in a row and evenly...say four dimples across and all the way to the bottom. If you don't have fat fingers, not to worry, too much focaccia will surely fix that. Then brush your bread with olive oil, and sprinkle the remaining ingredients over the dough and pop into a 300 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes or until bread is the colour brown that you like. Serve with balsamic and olive oil and a nice bowl of soup. Warning: You may have people dropping in more than usual with the hope that you are making bread.


Hero Rick Hansen's Chili

Hey, here's another recipe I got from another great Canadian, it's called, Rick's Chili and it serves 10-12.

1 lg can kidney beans, 3 lbs. lean ground beef, 1 large onion, chopped, 1 large green pepper, chopped. Cook the above ingredients together until beef is done.


1 tsp. paprika, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 tbsp. of chili powder (to taste), 1 lg. can stewed tomatoes, 2-3 cans whole mushrooms, 1 can tomato sauce, 1 bay leaf.

Adjust the spices depending on the crowd. Simmer as long as possible before serving, 4-6 hours. Remove bay leaf before serving. This chili freezes well.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Poor Man's Pan Fried Pizza

This pizza is so cool and I got the recipe from the renowned Urban Peasant the late James Barber. Years ago I was putting together a cookbook to raise money for charity and thought a recipe from my favorite on TV cook would be amazing. If you can believe it I took a chance and looked up his phone number in the phone book and there it was! I called him and he answered. "Can you wait for one moment dear, I've got some soup on the stove and I've got to turn it down." He was so nice and gracious and had one of his assistant's to fax over to my office a variety of recipes I could use. I love this pan fried pizza and it's so easy!

Dough: one cup of flour, 1 tsp. of baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil, 4-6 tbsp. of water, a handful of grated cheese, 1/2 tsp. of oregano.
Topping Suggestions: sliced tomatoes, fried bacon, sliced mushrooms (they're maaarvelous), canned shrimp or salmon, avocado, salami, basil leaves, Alfredo sauce (goes nice with shrimp/mushrooms) - it's up to you.

In a bowl mix the flour, baking powder, salt, oil, and water and knead until you get a stiffish dough. Add the cheese and oregano and knead for another minute then flatten with a rolling pin until it's the thickness of your little finger. Heat the oil in a fry pan, lay in the dough and cook over medium/low heat for 5 minutes. Turn it over, top with whatever you want, sprinkle on the cheese and cook another 5 minutes. For a softer bread cook with the lid on, for a crisper, dryer bread cook without the lid.


Pear Gorgonzolla Marinated and Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Sauteed Greek Inspired Spinach

I grilled an absolutely magnificient pork tenderloin Sunday night for dinner. First I scored the raw meat and marinated it in an already prepared pear and gorgonzolla vinegrette (any sweet fruity vinegrette would suffice). Vinegar tenderizes meat (a meat tenderizing secret I learned from one of my friends). I marinated the pork for about 2 hours, though you could marinate longer if you like. Then I seasoned with oh so yum, "smoked paprika"on both sides of pork Smoked paprika is very smooth mild and a little sweet with just the right amount of heat. My tenderloins were quite large so what I do is grill on all sides first on the BBQ, then I move the meat to the upper rack of the BBQ until it's cooked perfectly (a little pink inside) a total of 15 minutes on the BBQ. Always let your pork rest before serving. When you do take it off the grill, move to a platter and put aluminum foil over it. Slice and pour all the juices over meat.

Sauteed Greek Inspired Spinach: Heat a pan up with a little olive oil and a pinch of Fleur de Salt. Add 8 cups of fresh spinach, 1/4 cup of pinenuts, 1/4 cup of sundried tomatoes, 1/4 cup of feta cheese and stir around until the spinach is just wilted. Serve on the side of pork tenderloin and enjoy!


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Left Over Roast Chicken With The Works Linguine

I love easy cooking nights especially when you have unexpected dinner guests (teenagers)to feed. Of course you can perform miracles with pasta and feed a pile of hungry younins for very little dough. This is a good time to use up left over veggies and meat. Here's what I did.

Cook linguine (or any other pasta you have) until just done, drain and rinse with cool water. While the linguini's cooking pour a little olive oil into another pot, add 1 tsp. of fresh garlic (I use jarred minced), a pinch of nutmeg, a pile of spinach leaves and steamed broccoli and saute for about 10 minutes on medium heat or until just soft. Toss the cooked pasta and maybe even a little more olive oil into the pot and mix. Here is where you can season with some salt and pepper and serve as is or like I did last night, add 1/4 cup of pesto, a handful of pine nuts (yes they are quite expensive at the moment), left over roast chicken and the juice of one lemon. Mix up and serve into bowls topped with freshly grated Parmesan. It's a gorgeous green healthy pasta and yummy too!

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Best Roast Chicken

If you ever get the chance you have got to tune into Cristina Ferrare's new cooking show BIG BOWL OF LOVE on the OWN network. If you don't get OWN, just google her and you'll find lots of really amazing recipes. I love that her recipes are so easy, non-fussy, but so delicious. I made her pumpkin chiffon pie one Christmas and gave out the recipe to so many people. It's heavenly! The recipe for her chicken is very easy and my whole family loved it. Rather than buying a "fryer" chicken I got a nice plump roasting chicken, probably about 5 pounds at Thrify's.

This marinade is for two chickens but I didn't read that part until after I poured all of the marinade over one. It won't make any difference

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (I was surprised too!)

Mix together 1/2 cup of low sodium soy sauce, 1/2 cup of lemon juice (I squeezed mine then stuffed the rinds into the cavity of the chicken), and one cup of Dijon. It won't look pretty. Once you stir the marinade together, pour over the chicken in a roasting pan and stuff the chicken with fresh herbs like sage or tarragon and lemon rinds. I poured about a cup of chicken broth into the roasting pan.
Don't salt the chicken.

Then put into the oven and bake for an hour and a half. Put a meat thermometer in for best results. Cover the chicken with tin foil and baste every once in a while. The funny thing is I forgot the tin foil until the last half hour of cooking time and basted also the last 1/2 hour and it still turned out divine. The perfect Sunday or mid-week dinner.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Salads!!!!! I've Got So Many More WINNING recipes to post soon!!

I absolutely adore vinaigrette and I swear to you everybody I’ve ever served a salad to with one of my homemade vinaigrettes, always asks for the recipe (maybe because I twist their arms to admit they like it and they have to ask for it). They are quick to make and always delicious. Here are a few family favs:

Mother McIntosh’s Poppy Seed Salad Dressing
1 tbsp of chopped green onion, 1 tbsp. Of Dijon mustard, ¼ cup of honey, 1 tsp of poppy seeds, 1 cup of canned or fresh mandarin oranges, 1/3 cup of oil, ¼ cup of grapefruit juice, and 2 chopped avocados. Mix up all of the liquid ingredients, but save the oranges and avocado for when you are assembling the salad, then serve over the salad leaves of your choice. Romaine is a nice lettuce for this salad.

Blue Cheese Tarragon Dressing
1 cup of olive oil, ¼ or 1/3 cup of rice wine vinegar, 1 ¼ tsp of dried tarragon, ½ tsp of dried Dijon mustard, ¼ tsp finely minced garlic, 3 ounces of blue cheese dressing. Shake all the ingredients together in a jar until smooth. Chill for about 1 ½ hours. When you make your salad, add grapes and pecans.
Soy Lemon Vinaigrette
½ cup of vegetable oil, ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp white wine, 2 tbsp of grainy Dijon mustard, ¼ tsp of finely minced garlic, freshly ground pepper to taste.

My Mama’s Chop Chop Salad
Here is my mom’s fabulous Chopped Salad Recipe: chop 2 celery, 2 green onion, and 1 Spanish onion (mom likes this onion best), chop up red or yellow pepper or both if you want, 1 head of iceberg lettuce chopped up into very small pieces, 1 cup of cubed or shredded cheddar cheese (or add whatever cheese you prefer, but at least a cup full), put in one package of shredded fake crab, then add salad toppers like flavoured almonds. Then, wrap it up and put the bowl aside, in the refrigerator for at least a half hour to allow the flavors to mingle. It really made a difference. You basically eat this amazing salad with a spoon.

Potato Caesar Salad
This is amazing and comes compliments from my friend Marie who brought it along to our lacrosse wind up party this past summer – my mom LOVED it.
Parboil (10 minutes) 10 pealed cubed large potatoes, drain and let them cool a bit. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and Lawrey’s seasoning salt over the potatoes (there are no measurements but use your discretion for how much salt you personally like, and oil to just coat). Then sprinkle some paprika and some parsley flakes on them. Then mix them all together and place the potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes. Let cool, add Caesar salad dressing (not the creamy kind, but the oil and vinegar one), sprinkle Parmesan cheese (however little or a lot you like) then add bacon pieces (Marie used the Hormel bacon bits in a jar) or you can make your own. Then toss and serve. You can even add cut up green onions for garnish. Simply delicious!


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Turkey Breast with Sauteed Mushrooms and Cream Sage Sauce and Braised Red Cabbage

Wow! Did I ever celebrate Sage tonight! I browned my turkey breast in it (with a sprinkle of of Chinese 5 spice and sage leaves,sauteed my mushrooms in it and then made a creamy white sauce with it. Here was dinner tonight:

Turkey Breast browned in sage butter and Chinese 5 spice. I think I've already put a recipe in the blog for Turkey Breast in Sage butter - but this time sprinkle your turkey breast lightly with 5 spice because it compliments the sage butter really well (just butter in the pan with a little salt, pepper, and sage leaves). Take out the browned on both sides turkey and add sliced mushrooms to the pan and saute until soft. Add the turkey breast and mushrooms to a casserole and bake in the oven at 300 until still tender but cooked (10-15 minutes).

Sage Sauce: Make a roux by melting 2 tbsp. butter in a pan and then stirring in 3 tbsp. of flour. When the roux is crumbly add 1 cup of cold low fat milk and stir with an egg whisk to blend). Add about 6 sage leaves and 1/2 cup of dried Parmesan Cheese and keep stirring until sauce is thickened. When sauce is cooked add your pasta of choice or pour over a vegetable like squash.

Braised Red Cabbage: Slice red cabbage, 1 apple, and 1 onion and toss into a pan with 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of smokey bacon or pancetta, a handful of parsley, 1 tbsp. of anise or fennel seeds, salt and pepper stirring and cooking until glistening, soft and pretty.