Friday, 29 February 2008

Creole Shrimp

8 ounces fresh chorizo, sliced
1/3 cup flour
1/3 tablespoons oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded
   + chopped
1 (14 ounce) can stewed
1-2 tablespoons creole
   seasoning, depending
   on your taste
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 (12 ounce) beer
1 1/2 pounds raw shrimp,
   peeled + deveined
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
steamed white or brown rice,
   for serving

  • In a medium size soup pot, brown the chorizo over medium high heat. Remove from the pot and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
  • To the same pot, add the oil and flour, whisking until combined. Cook for 10 minutes or until the roux is lightly golden.
  • Add the onion, garlic, celery, green pepper. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add tomatoes, 1 tablespoon creole seasoning and the smoked paprika, cook another minute.
  • Slowly pour in the beer, add back the chorizo and bring the mixture to a low boil, simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium high heat. Once hot add the butter. Toss the shrimp with the cajun seasoning and place in the hot skillet. Sear on both side for about 4 minutes per side or until pink and cooked through. Remove from the heat.
  • Now add the shrimp, Worcestershire, hot sauce and sugar to the creole mixture. Simmer another 5 minutes.
  • Serve the shrimp over a bowl of hot rice.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Roasted Carrots with Orange

1 medium orange, halved
6 large carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1/2-inch by 1-inch chunks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Black pepper
  • Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F.
  • Cut one of the orange halves into 4 wedges (keep the peel on). 
  • Slice the wedges into thin triangles. 
  • Place in a medium bowl, add the carrots, olive oil, salt, and chili powder, and toss to combine.
  • Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet and spread into an even layer. 
  • Roast 15 minutes. 
  • Flip the carrots, then roast until the carrots are tender and the edges are browned, 20 to 30 minutes more.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl. 
  • Squeeze the juice of the reserved orange half over the carrots, add the parsley and pepper, and toss to combine.

Cobb Salad

Torn Romain lettuce
2 large hard boiled egg, sliced
3 ounces grilled chicken, cut into bite size
5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 ounces blue cheese (or other pungent
   cheese), crumbled
small red bell pepper, sliced
4 medium-large radishes, sliced
1 ripe avocado, sliced
Garlic & Herb Vinaigrette (or your favourite
  • Hard boil your eggs, cook your bacon to the point where it can be crumbled, and grill your chicken.  I like to do this the day or morning before. 
  • Tear apart your romaine lettuce and place in serving bowls to decide how much you want.  
  • Then place torn lettuce in a big bowl to toss it with the dressing. 
  • Add the dressing and toss to coat.
  • Place the lettuce in the serving bowls.
  • Slice the avocado. Slice the red bell pepper. Peel and slice the egg. Slice the radish. Crumble the blue cheese.
  • Arrange all the ingredients in a pleasing pattern on top of the dressed lettuce.
  • The above is meant to serve 2.  

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Sauerkraut is Surprisingly Easy to Make

1 large head of cabbage
2 tsp sea salt
Non-chlorinated water

Equipment Needed: 
1 Quart or larger mason or screw top jar
Large metal bowl
Potato masher

  • Peel off any older, discoloured cabbage leaves.
  • Cut cabbage into appropriate sized pieces and run through food processor.
  • Place all cabbage into large metal bowl, add salt, and wait 5 minutes.
  • Mash with potato masher until cabbage starts to expel water and becomes flat and soft (about 5 minutes or more of mashing).
  • Once this is done, put cabbage into jar. 
  • Push down hard onto cabbage, until cabbage juice covers sauerkraut. 
  • If there is not enough liquid from the cabbage itself, add non-chlorinated water until cabbage is fully covered.
  • Close lid tightly and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 1 week, but better for 6 weeks for full flavour.
  • Give at least one inch of space at top of jar to allow for expansion from gassing from fermentation.
  • Once your 6 weeks have gone by, put into smaller jars and it'll keep almost indefinitely in the refrigerator.  
  • You can also freeze this Sauerkraut until needed. 

Kimchi and Kimchi Noodle Soup


2.5 lbs. Napa* cabbage, stemmed and cut lengthwise
6 to 8 cups water, filtered or distilled (i.e. not chlorinated)*
1/4 cup + 1 tbs. kosher or sea salt
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 daikon radishes, trimmed and cut into matchsticks
1 bundle scallions, trimmed, cut into 1-inch sections
1 tbs. fresh ginger, grated
3 to 5 tbs. coarse red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 nori sheet, torn into small pieces*

Notes on ingredients*:

  • You can use regular cabbage if Napa unavailable.  
  • The amount of water used is dependent on the size of your mixing bowl. A bigger bowl requires more water.
  • You can use regular radishes if daikon unavailable. 
  • Many kimchi recipes call for fish sauce, which adds a savoury dimension to kimchi known as unami. Dulse or nori, saltwater vegetables made from kelp and seaweed respectively are good substitutes.
  • Rinse and prep cabbage. Cut cabbage into strips and place in mixing bowl. 
  • Add 1/4 cup salt and gently massage salt into leaves while using gloves. 
  • Pour water into bowl until cabbage is just covered, about 10 minutes. 
  • Place plate on top of cabbage to weight. 
  • Set aside for at least 3 hours or overnight, folding once or twice. 
  • Chopped up ingredients for kimchi
  • Pour cabbage into a strainer and rinse under cool running water. 
  • Set strainer aside to allow cabbage to drain, about 20 minutes. 
  • Dry mixing bowl and set aside for reuse.
  • Combine sugar, pepper flakes, nori and sugar in a small mixing bowl. 
  • Add 1 tbs. filtered water and stir contents until a thick paste forms. 
  • Combine 2 cups water with 1 tbs. salt and stir. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, rinse and prep radish, ginger, scallions and garlic. 
  • Combine ingredients with cabbage in mixing bowl. 
  • Add paste and fold until the cabbage is evenly coated with paste, about 2 minutes.
  • Pack kimchi into mason jar. 
  • Add just enough brine from step three (if needed) to cover ingredients. 
  • Seal and place jar on a shelf out direct sunlight for 24 hours. After 24 hours, open jar to release gasses, it should be stinky. 
  • Leave for up to 7 days, checking each day, until stinky level is to your satisfaction.
  • Then reseal and store kimchi in fridge for up to 1 month. 
  • Add to soup, as a side dish, or with veggie burgers.

Kimchi Noodle Soup

16 ounces of Chinese egg noodles 
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces pork cut into bite size pieces
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
6 -8 cups water
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Beef flavoured soup bullion
2 teaspoons ginger, grated
2 cups cabbage kimchi, chopped in big pieces
4 ounces shiitake (or regular) mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
salt and pepper and sriracha sauce 

  • In a large pot add vegetable oil and garlic and sauté until soft. 
  • Add pork and cook until it is slightly browned. 
  • Season with salt, pepper and rice wine vinegar and stir for 2 minutes. 
  • Add kimchi and sauté for 3 minutes.
  • Add the water, soy sauce, beef bullion, and ginger. 
  • Stir and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes. 
  • Add the mushrooms and turn up the heat to medium. Cook for 3 minutes.
  • Carefully add the egg noodles and just enough water to cover all of the ingredients. 
  • Stir gently and scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure the noodles are not sticking. 
  • Season with salt and pepper and sriracha sauce to taste.
  • Simmer for 3 minutes.

Caramel Espresso Cheesecake Brownies with Salted Caramel Sauce*

1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/2 cup milk chocolate
1/2 cup dark chocolate
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1-2 tbsp espresso
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

3/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp flour
3 heaped tbsp caramel*
1 small egg

  • Preheat the oven to 180C | 350F. 
  • Line a deep pan (11x7in) with baking paper letting the paper hang over the edges. You also can use a square pan (9x9in).
  • Chop the two types of chocolate into small chunks. Place the chocolate and butter into a microwavable bowl and microwave on high, stirring after each minute.
  • Set aside to cool.
  • Put the eggs and sugar in large bowl and use a hand whisk to mix together. 
  • Add a little of the melted chocolate into the eggs and gently whisk together. Gradually add all the chocolate and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa, espresso and salt into the chocolate and fold together with a spatula.
  • Add the chocolate chips and fold them in.
  • Mix the cream cheese, flour, egg, icing sugar and caramel* together until smooth.
  • Pour the chocolate batter into the prepared pan. 
  • Spoon the cream cheese in three parallel lines across the length of the pan. 
  • Drag a knife across the cheesecake lines across the with of the pan to create swirls and gently mix the two batters.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or up to 40 depending on pan size. 
  • The brownies are ready when mostly firm on top with a slight 'give'. 
  • Test after 30 minutes – a skewer inserted in the centre should come out with a few moist crumbs attached but if batter is still too wet bake for a further 5 mins.
  • Turn the oven off, open the door and pull tray part way out. Leave the brownies there until tray is cool enough to handle.
  • Put the tray on a drying rack to cool completely. 
  • Lift the brownies out of the pan using the paper overhang and refrigerate for a couple of hours. 
  • Cut neatly into squares. 
  • Drizzle with a little extra caramel as desired.

*Salted Caramel Sauce

1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup cream
1/4 - 1/2 cup Baileys or Coffee liqueur or what-have-you?
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt (more or less to taste)

  • Combe the cream and liqueur in a cup.
  • Put the sugar and water in a medium heavy-bottom pan.
  • Bring to the boil and cook, swirling the pan, until the sugar dissolves and the colour changes to amber.
  • Remove from the head and pour the cream carefully into the caramel.  Caution:  This will cause the caramel to bubble.
  • When the bubbling stops, add the butter and whisk till combined.
  • Return the saucepan to the heat and cook the caramel for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the salt and taste (very carefully - it's hot!!!)
  • Strain the caramel through a fine sieve into a bowl and cool.  
  • You can thin the caramel by adding more liqueur or cream.
  • Keep in the fridge in a lidded jar.
  • If it sets you can heat it gently in glass jar (without the top!) in microwave until it's pouring consistency again.  

Monday, 25 February 2008

Honey Cake

1 teaspoons instant coffee or instant
1/2 cup hot water
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup neutral oil
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted

  • Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350° F. 
  • Prepare the loaf pan: Coat a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray. Line the pan with parchment paper and coat again with vegetable oil spray. 
  • Add the instant coffee to the hot water and mix until the coffee has dissolved. Allow to cool (place in the refrigerator to hasten the cooling). 
  • In a large bowl, put together the flour, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Set aside. 
  • Add the egg whites to another bowl and whip until they form firm peaks.
  • Add the sugar and egg yolks to the flour bowl, together with the baking powder, oil, honey, and coolish coffee.  Mix thoroughly.  
  • Fold in the beaten egg whites into the rest of the cake mixture.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. 
  • Sprinkle the almonds on top of the loaves and bake for 30 minutes. 
  • Tent the cake with aluminum foil and bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, or until a metal tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. 
  • Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool for at least 20 minutes. 
  • Go around the edges of the cake with a butter knife and turn out and continue to cool. 

Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Focaccia Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup water, warmed to manufacturer's directions
2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce packet)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
one 8.5-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, julienned or sliced thin
generous pinches dried basil
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, loosely packed when measuring

  • Combine flour, water, yeast, oil, sugar, optional salt (remember the tomatoes are salted and so is the cheese), and knead for about 5 minutes, or until dough is soft, smooth, and has come together in a firm mass. If hand-kneading, you may need to knead a few minutes longer. 
  • Turn dough out onto bare countertop. 
  • Roll the dough into a large oval or rectangle (shape doesn't matter) so it's about 1/2-inch thick and covers about two-thirds of a standard baking sheet.
  • Place rolled dough onto a cooking-sprayed baking sheet.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 25-40 minutes.
  • While dough rises, preheat oven to 350F. Tip - keep baking sheet with rising dough on the stovetop (make sure the top's off) because the yeast will benefit from the carry-over heat from the preheating oven.
  • After 25 (or so) minutes, using your fingertips, create dimples evenly over the surface of the dough. It's okay to press almost all the way down because the dough will re-inflate quickly.
  • Evenly top with sun-dried tomatoes and excess oil. Some of the oil may run off, that's okay.
  • Evenly top with dried basil.
  • Evenly top with cheese.
  • Bake for about 25 - 40 minutes, or until bread is cooked through and the cheese is melted and golden. Baking time will vary based on how juicy or oily your tomatoes are, how much cheese was added, and oven and climate variances. Watch your bread and not the clock.
  • Garnish with more dried basil and serve immediately. If during baking your bread rose and it's quite puffed and you prefer the cosmetic look of flatter bread, use the blunt end of a wooden spoon to create dimples, thereby flattening the bread. 
  • Bread is best warm and fresh, but will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Before eating leftovers, heat for 5 seconds in microwave to soften.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Orange BBQ Meatball Appies

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
1/2 cup finely chopped green
1 large egg
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2/3 cup barbecue sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange
1/4 cup orange juice

  • Using your hands, mix beef, chips, the green onion, egg, cumin, oregano and garlic in a medium bowl until well combined. Form into 30 balls (about 1 tbs each)
  • Coat a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray; heat over medium heat. Add meatballs; increase heat to medium-high and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, turning frequently, until browned and cooked through.
  • Add barbecue sauce, orange zest and juice to the skillet. Cook, tossing, over low heat until meatballs are coated and the sauce quite thick.
  • Transfer to serving bowl and serve with toothpicks.

Spicy Prawn and Pineapple Fried Rice

For the prawns:
1 pound medium (21/25 count)
   prawns, shells and tails
   removed, deveined,
2 tablespoons Ginger-Garlic
   Paste, recipe follows
2 teaspoons Asian chilli-garlic/
   hot sauce
1/2 cup  soy sauce
1 teaspoon corn starch

For the Shredded Egg Crepes:
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Peanut oil

For the Fried Rice:
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup  finely diced celery
1 tablespoon Ginger-Garlic Paste, recipe follows
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 cups cold cooked white rice
1/2 cup  frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup  frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 cup  diced  fresh pineapple
1 cup  bean sprouts
1/4 cup  soy sauce
2 tablespoons Asian chilli-garlic/hot sauce
3 spring onions, chopped

For the Ginger-Garlic Paste:
1/2 cup  garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup  fresh ginger, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons oil

  • For the prawns: In a large bowl, combine the prawns with the soy sauce, Asian chilli-garlic/hot sauce and cornflour. 
  • Mix well to coat the prawns. 
  • Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes
  • For the egg crepes: In a bowl, whisk  together the eggs, soy sauce and 1/4 teaspoon water. 
  • Set a medium nonstick frying pan over medium-low heat and coat it lightly with peanut oil. 
  • Pour in half the egg mixture and swirl the pan so the egg coats the bottom. 
  • Cook over low heat until firm, then carefully turn with a spatula and finish cooking on the other side, about 45 seconds per side. 
  • Transfer the egg crepe to a plate to cool. 
  • Repeat with remaining egg mixture. 
  • When the crepes are cool enough to handle, stack, roll and slice  them into thin julienne  strips. Set aside until ready to use.
  • For the fried rice: Set a large wok or large nonstick frying pan over high heat and swirl in 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil. 
  • Add the marinated prawns and stir fry until slightly pink, about 2 minutes. 
  • Transfer the prawns to a plate and set aside. 
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 2 tablespoons peanut oil. 
  • Add the onions, celery and Ginger-Garlic Paste and stir fry until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. 
  • Add the sesame oil and the rice and stir fry until hot and a little crispy, about 2 minutes, breaking up the rice with a wooden spoon as you go. 
  • Fold in the peas, edamame, pineapple and bean sprouts and continue to stir fry until the vegetables heated through, about 2 minutes more. 
  • Stir in the soy sauce and Asian chilli-garlic/hot sauce. 
  • Fold in the cooked shrimp and the sliced egg crepe. 
  • Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with chopped  spring onions.
  • For the Ginger-Garlic Paste: Pulse the garlic and ginger in a food processor. 
  • With the processor running, stream in the oil and process to a paste. 
  • (You'll need 3 tablespoons of the paste for the above recipe. Refrigerate remaining paste for up to a week.)

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Slow Cooker Honey Soy Sriracha Pulled Chicken

4 pounds boneless skinless
   chicken breast
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons sriracha
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 tablespoons cold water
3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • Add chicken to a 6-quart slow cooker.
  • In a large jar with a list mix together soy sauce, honey, hoisin sauce, sriracha, grated ginger, minced garlic, and rice wine vinegar.
  • Pour the mixture over the chicken and put the top on the slow cooker. 
  • Cook on high for 4-6 hours or until the chicken starts to pull apart naturally.
  • Once it has reached this stage you can start pulling the chicken in the slow cooker until it's fully shredded. 
  • If the sauce is still pretty watery you can mix together the cornstarch and water (mix until the cornstarch has fully dissolved in the water!) and pour into the slow cooker. Stir to combine, put the lid back on the slow cooker and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • At this point, the mixture should have thickened up nicely.
  • You can serve the chicken over top of rice, on on a bun or straight from the slow cooker.
  • We add cucumber & tomato salad as topping and serve on a bun.  

Slow-Cooker Corn Chowder

 6 - 8 cups of sweet corn kernels
   (frozen, canned, fresh -- what
   have you?) divided
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 medium-size russet potatoes,
   peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
4 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 thick-cut bacon slices, cooked
   and crumbled
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 cup heavy cream

  • Cut corn kernels from cobs using a sharp knife.  
  • Remove liquid from cans but reserve the liquid. 
  • Also reserve 1 cup corn kernels. 
  • Place remaining 6 - 7 corn cups of kernels in a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker.  
  • Add a total of 2-1/2 cups of corn milk & chicken stock.
  • Add potatoes, onion, thyme sprigs, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  • Cover and cook on high until potatoes are very tender and chowder has thickened slightly, about 4 hours.
  • Meanwhile, stir together reserved 1 cup corn kernels, bacon, chives, and lime juice and chill until ready to serve, up to 6 hours ahead.
  • When potatoes are tender, remove half of the chowder to a blender and process until smooth.  This may have to be done in batches.
  • Add pureed chowder to the slow cooker. 
  • Stir in heavy cream. 
  • Continue cooking for about half an hour.
  • When serving top evenly with fresh corn topping.


1 pork shoulder (or butt) - about
   4 to 7 pounds. 
1 onion - roughly chopped
8 whole peeled cloves garlic
1/2 cup of orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 12 ounce bottle cola
3 cups of water
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Depending on weight of meat,
   about 10 - 20 corn tortillas

  • Remove meat from around bone. Cut into large chunks - anywhere from 3 to 6 inch pieces. Thick and meaty pork country style ribs (not the thinner short ribs) are a "no chopping needed" substitution, along with pork stew meat. 
  • In a large pot or slow cooker add meat. You can add or discard skin. 
  • Roughly chop one whole onion. 
  • Add onion and garlic to pot. 
  • Pour in 3 cups of water, orange & lemon juice, and a bottle or can of coke. 
  • Sprinkle on a tablespoon of dried oregano, plus 2 whole bay leaves. 
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • On your stovetop, bring the cooking pot to a boil. Once it's boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer (low/medium heat) and cook covered for 2 hours, then uncovered for about another hour until meat separates easily with a fork.  If using a slow cooker, cook on high for several hours (4 - 5) until meat separates easily with a fork.  
  • Cook the Carnitas uncovered for one more hour so the broth reduces and intensifies and the meat becomes more flavorful.
  • The meat will contract and shrink as the broth cooks down by half, so you shouldn't have to add more liquid. Just make sure to rotate the meat and bone a few times during simmering so all sides evenly cook through.
  • When Carnitas are tender & the broth has reduced turn off the heat and allow the meat to just sit in the broth for 5-10 minutes.
  • Traditionally Carnitas are fine chopped and piled into tortillas. Just take pork pieces and chop them into small 1/4 inch pieces. You could also do the "pulled pork" method of using 2 forks to pull the tender chunks apart into strands. 
  • You can drizzle on some of the "pot liquor" or broth if you are storing the Carnitas to serve later. Or if you are keeping them warm in the oven, make sure to drizzle on plenty and cover, so Carnitas don't dry out. (Save the chopping until the last minute.) And save a couple cups of pot liquor. It's great drizzled over Mexican Rice or as the base for soup.
  • Place on soft or hard tacos, add chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce and salsa.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Chocolaty Chocolate Chip Bars

Filling Layer:
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cookie Layer: 
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper, allowing enough overhang on the long side to lift the bars from the pan.

2. Prepare the chocolate filling: Place the chocolate chips and condensed milk in a small saucepan over the lowest possible heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture has thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, add vanilla, and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

3. Prepare the cookie dough: Place the butter and sugars in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Beat well. Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add to the butter mixture. Beat until everything is well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. Prepare the bars: Using half of the batch of cookie dough, place dollops into the prepared pan and press down lightly to even it out. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture over the dough and then add small dollops of the remaining dough on top. Don't worry if the dollops don't completely cover the chocolate mixture. Just spread it together as much as you can, and let some chocolate peek through.

5. Bake until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside to cool completely, then cut into 32 bars.

*These are easiest to cut when they have chilled for a while. You'll be able to get nice, clean cuts when they're firmer, then they'll soften up a bit when they're at room temperature again.

Cherry Almond Cake

1 pound cherries (about 3 cups) plus additional for garnish if desired
1/4 pound blanched whole almonds
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
confectioners' sugar for dusting the cake
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of a buttered 9- by 2-inch round cake pan with a round of wax paper, butter the paper, and dust the pan with flour, knocking out the excess. 
  • Pit 1 pound of the cherries, reserving any juice.
  • In a food processor grind fine the almonds with the flour, the baking powder, and the salt. 
  • In a bowl with an electric mixer cream the butter with 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, and stir in the flour mixture, the vanilla, the almond extract, and the reserved cherry juice.
  • In another bowl with the electric mixer, beaters cleaned, beat the egg whites until they just hold stiff peaks, stir one fourth of them into the batter to lighten it, and fold in the remaining whites gently but thoroughly. 
  • Turn the batter into the pan, smoothing the top, arrange the cherries evenly on it, pressing them into the batter slightly, and sprinkle them with the remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. 
  • Bake the cake in the middle of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean, and let it cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack, invert a cake plate over it, and invert the cake onto the plate. Dust the cake with the confectioners' sugar and garnish it with the additional cherries. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Chia Pudding

¾ cup of almond, chocolate, strawberry or
   what-have-you milk (¾ cup is close
   enough to what is in a single serving
   size box)
¼ cup of chia seeds
2 teaspoons of maple syrup
¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract

  • Place chia seeds in container with lid. 
  • Add vanilla extract.
  • Add maple syrup.
  • Add milk.
  • Place top on container and shake. 
  • Refrigerate overnight.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Chicken Pasanda

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1-1/2 tsp medium curry powder
1 tsp chilli powder
Pkg of chicken thighs, chopped
   into bite size pieces
2 cm piece of fresh ginger, minced
1 tin coconut milk
1 small can of tomato paste
30 g ground almonds or (what
   have you) nuts

  • Fry the onion in a little oil until soft, then add the garlic and cook for a minute more, then add the spices and fry for 1-2 minutes more until fragrant, before putting it in the slow cooker.
  • Add the chicken, ginger, coconut milk, tomato paste, and ground almonds. 
  • Stir well.
  • Cook for around 6 hours on low or 3-4 on high. 
  • Serve with rice or naan bread.

Cherry Lamingtons

3 large eggs, separated
1 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp butter,
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups plain flour
4 tbsp cornstarch
3 tsp baking powder
scant 1 cup milk

Filling and topping
5 oz cherry jam or your choice
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1-3/4 cups icing sugar
3/4 cup boiling water
1-3/4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
about 7 oz desiccated coconut

  • Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and line the base and sides of a deep 20-23 cm square tin with baking parchment.
  • In a spotlessly clean bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites with one third of the sugar until soft peaks form. 
  • In another bowl, again with the mixer, beat the remaining sugar with the butter, egg yolks and vanilla extract for about 3 minutes until pale and fluffy.
  • Sift the flour, cornstarch, and baking powder together then gradually beat it in to the butter and egg yolk mixture, alternating with the milk, until smooth.
  • Beat one third of the meringue into the batter to loosen it, then carefully fold in the remaining meringue until fully incorporated, do not over-mix.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 45-55 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for a couple of minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and leave until completely cold.
  • Whisk together the cocoa powder, icing sugar and boiling water in a large bowl, whisk in the chocolate until melted and smooth, set aside until cold. 
  • Once the cake is cold, use a sharp serrated knife to level the top and trim the edges so that they are straight. 
  • Slice the cake into 16 evenly sized squares.
  • Slice each square in half and sandwich the two halves back together with a dollop of jam.
  • Place the coconut in a shallow dish.
  • One at a time, dip each square in the chocolate mixture, making sure that it is completely coated, use a couple of forks to help you turn it, then roll it in the desiccated coconut until all sides are covered.
  • Place the finished lamingtons on a wire rack and leave for a couple of hours until set.

Banana Plus Ice Creams x 3

Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

4 large bananas, frozen
4 cups strawberries, frozen
2 tablespoons sugar (or powdered stevia)

  • Place strawberries in a bowl or measuring cup, sprinkle with sugar and toss to combine.  
  • Place bowl in microwave at 30 second intervals until the strawberries soften slightly and the sugar dissolves in the juice.
  • Add bananas and strawberry mixture to the blender and blend until they reach the perfect consistency.
  • When your ice cream stops moving in the blender, you will want to stop and scrape down the pitcher of the blender and stir a few times.  About 2-3 minutes total blending time. 
  • Your frozen fruit may separate into tiny frozen chunks before it becomes a fabulous creamy consistency, so be patient.
  • Serve and enjoy! You can also transfer to a freezer safe container and allow ice cream to firm up in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours.

Chocolate Banana

6 ripe bananas (3 fresh and 3 frozen)
3 tablespoons cacao powder (or cocoa powder)

  • Place bananas in a blender.  
  • Blend until mixture starts to get creamy, scraping down sides as necessary.  
  • Add cacao powder and pulse until completely combined. 
  • Transfer to a resealable container and place in freezer for 3-4 hours. 
  • Scoop and serve or scoop and place scoops into a container for later use.  
  • If you decide to leave it in the freezer, just allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or so, to soften before serving.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate 

3 frozen ripe bananas
4 tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Place bananas and peanut butter in a blender.  
  • Blend until mixture starts to get creamy, scraping down sides as necessary.  
  • Add chocolate chips and pulse until chocolate has speckled your ice cream.  
  • Transfer to a resealable container and place in freezer for 3-4 hours.  
  • Scoop and serve or scoop and place scoops into a container for later use.  
  • If you decide to leave it in the freezer, just allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or so, to soften before serving. 

Homemade Nutella

Makes about 2 cups

To roast and peel the hazelnuts:
1 1/4 cups hazelnuts
2 cups water
3 tablespoons baking soda

To make the Nutella:
1 1/4 cups hazelnuts, roasted and peeled
5 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the hazelnuts out on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, stirring every five minutes.
  • When hazelnuts have finished roasting, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. 
  • Prepare a separate bowl of cool water and set aside on the counter. 
  • Once the water on the stovetop is boiling, add 3 tablespoons of baking soda, followed by the hazelnuts. 
  • Boil for three minutes, drain, then add the hazelnuts to the bowl of cool water. 
  • Peel hazelnuts and discard skins.
  • Blend hazelnuts in a food processor or blender until they form a thick, smooth paste. This should take approximately five minutes. It will be crumbly at first but the crumbs will begin to come together to form a butter.
  • Add the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and extracts. 
  • Continue to blend until smooth, approximately one to two minutes.
  • Melt together the chocolates and heavy cream in microwave.
  • Remove from heat and let cool for five minutes.  Once cooled slightly, add it to the food processor or blender and blend until just combined (around 15 seconds).
  • Transfer to jars and store in the fridge. (The Nutella will firm up slightly in the fridge, so let it sit out at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes to soften the consistency.)

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Cranberry Cookie Bars

3 cups flour
3 cups powdered Sugar
3 cups of ground toasted pecans
   or walnuts or combination
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups cranberry sauce
  • Heat the oven to 375° F. 
  • Place parchment paper or tin foil in a 9 x 13 pan, so that after baking it will serve as handles to help lift the bars. Spray with vegetable spray.
  • In a large bowl stir all the ingredients except the cranberry sauce together, mixing well, but making sure that are some lumps and pieces to give it some texture.
  • Pour all but 2 cups of the dough into the pan and flatten it out using the heel of your hand or a cup. 
  • Bake for 15­ - 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
  • Cover with the cranberry sauce.
  • Crumble the remaining dough on top, keeping various sized chunks and leaving some open spaces. Bake for 20­ - 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Cool then remove from the pan using the handles and cut into pieces. 
  • Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar if you wish.  

Friday, 15 February 2008

Antipasto Salad III

For the Salad:

1 pound pasta shells, cooked
   until soft and drained
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley,
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon celery seed
4 - 1/4-inch slices dry salami,
   cut into small cubes
3 - 1/4-inch thick slices
   boiled ham, cut into
   small cubes
3 - 1/4-inch thick slices
   roasted chicken, cut into
   small cubes
3 - 1/4-inch thick slices provolone cheese, cut into small cubes
(or chopped various sandwich meats work fine as well)
pitted black olives, sliced
pitted green olives, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

For the Vinaigrette:

3/4 cup olive oil
6 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
hot sauce or Sriracha, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
shredded Parmesan to top
  • Drain pasta and place in a large serving bowl. Add onions, garlic, parsley and dried herbs. Toss to combine.
  • Add cubed meats and cheese, sliced olives, and a bit of salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
  • Combine olive oil, vinegar, Worcestershire, hot sauce, and salt and pepper. Taste and add more salt and pepper as necessary. 
  • Drizzle the vinaigrette over the pasta salad and toss. 
  • Cover and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Toss and serve chilled!

Tomato Chickpea & Coconut Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut
1 small purple onion, chopped
2 big garlic cloves, no need
   to chop
1 teaspoon sweet or smoked
   paprika (or combo of both)
salt, pepper
splash of balsamic or sherry
   vinegar (1 tablespoon or so)
1 14-oz. can of diced tomatoes,
   with their juice
a few pinches of sugar
fresh thyme - leaves from 2-3
   sprigs, & extra for garnish
1 can chickpeas/gabanzo beans
   (rinsed, drained)
1 cup coconut milk, full fat or light
1.5 cans of water (use chickpea can)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese or vegan nutritional yeast
red chile flakes

  • Heat oil in a medium pot. Add the onion, garlic a few pinches of salt and pepper, and cook until the onion is translucent. 
  • Add the paprika(s) and cook until fragrant (30 seconds or so). 
  • Add a good splash of balsamic vinegar and stir. 
  • Add the tomatoes, sugar and thyme leaves. Stir, then add the drained chickpeas, coconut milk, and water. 
  • Cover and gently simmer for 20-30 minutes. 
  • Uncover and let cool slightly.
  • Transfer to a blender and add 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of red chile flakes, parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.
  • Puree. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add water if you wish the soup to be thinner.
  • Good serve with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Waldorf-Like Salad

1⁄3 cup mayonnaise
1⁄3 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more,
   to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Salt and pepper, to taste
3⁄4 cup broken walnut pieces
3 cups diced, cooked turkey meat
1 apple, cored and diced
1⁄2 cup halved seedless grapes
1⁄3 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Lettuce leaves

  • Set the oven at 350 degrees.
  • In a baking dish, spread the walnuts.
  • Toast for 8 minutes, turning once or twice, or until fragrant; cool.
  • In a bowl big enough to hold all the salad ingredients, whisk the mayonnaise and buttermilk.
  • Gradually whisk in the vinegar, lemon juice, chives, salt, and pepper. 
  • Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice, salt, and pepper, if you so desire.
  • To the bowl of dressing, add the walnuts, turkey, apple, grapes, cranberries, and parsley. 
  • Stir to coat with the dressing. 
  • Taste for seasoning
  • On each of 4 plates, set 1 or 2 lettuce leaves torn into bite size pieces. 
  • Top with salad.


Orange Glazed Pot Roast

One 3 to 4 pound top or bottom round beef roast
1 large red onion, sliced
1 cup orange marmalade
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons five spice powder
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (what-have-you?)
2 cloves garlic, minced

1. Trim the fat as much as possible from the roast. Layer the onion slices in the bottom of your slow cooker. Place the trimmed beef roast on top of the onion.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the marmalade, water, vinegar, soy sauce, five spice, ginger, hot sauce and garlic. Pour the marinade over the beef.

3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting in a slow cooker for 8 to 10 hours.

4. Remove the beef from the sauce and slice. Serve over rice. Drizzle with sauce from the slow cooker.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuit Crust

4-5 lb chicken, cut into pieces
salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 bay leaves
Poultry herbs like parsley, sage, & thyme - be generous
2 onions
4 carrots
4 celery stalks
8 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Biscuit Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
2 heaping tablespoons of sour cream

You'll also need at least 2 large bowls & a large stockpot or dutch oven.

This is a wonderful meal to start making around Noon for an early dinner on a rainy, cold afternoon. It's labour intensive but very satisfying!

  • Cut up and generously season your chicken with salt and pepper. 
  • In a large (at least 6 qt) heavy stockpot or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add your chicken pieces and brown for about 5 minutes on each side. 
  • Roughly chop 1 small onion (skin on), 2 carrots, & 2 celery stalks (leaves on). Add to pot along with bay leaves and poultry herbs, stems and all (if using). 
  • Top with 8 cups of water, and cover the pot. 
  • Turn the heat down to medium and bring to a boil. 
  • Once the pot reaches a boil, turn the heat down to a low simmer and let it bubble slow and low for an hour to an hour and a half.
  • Remove pot from heat.  
  • Using a large colander fitted inside a larger bowl, strain out the stock. 
  • Measure out 6 cups of stock and keep any remaining for another use***
  • Set aside.
  • Let the chicken pieces cool for about 30 minutes or until you can handle them. 
  • Remove the bones and skin from the chicken and discard.
  • You can either discard the boiled veggies & herbs or combine*** with left over stock as above.  Run these through a food processor or blender and freeze to make a soup another day.
  • Pull the chicken meat into bite sized shreds and be careful to find and remove any remaining small bones. Place the pulled chicken in a bowl and set aside.
  • Wipe your pot semi-clean ~ just make sure there’s nothing in there you don’t want in the finished meal. 
  • Dice the large onion, and cut your remaining carrots and celery into small pieces.  
  • Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium high heat and add your chopped vegetables. Season with salt & pepper and cook until onions and celery are translucent and carrots are completely tender. 
  • Transfer to the bowl with the pulled chicken.
  • Back in your pot, melt the butter and whisk in flour. Cook until the flour just barely starts to brown. Slowly whisk in about half a cup of stock, making sure there are no lumps of roux. Repeat two or three times more before adding remaining stock.  Whisk out any lumps and bring to a boil, whisking regularly. When the gravy is well thickened, remove from heat, taste and adjust your seasoning if necessary. 
  • Add the chicken, cooked vegetables, frozen peas, & chopped parsley. Set aside. 
  • If the pot you’re using is oven safe you can bake your pot pie in it, or you can transfer to an oven safe bowl for a nicer presentation.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, & salt.  
  • Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse pea-sized crumbs. Form a well in the centre of the bowl and add in milk, cream & sour cream.  
  • Use a fork to stir until just moistened. Do not over mix.
  • Turn the dough out onto a counter and pat dough to 1/2 of an inch in the form of your pot or oven safe bowl.
  • Transfer your biscuit round to the top of your filling.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. 
  • Remove from oven and allow it to cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with a nice chunk of crust.

Chocolate Strawberry Cookie Bars

2/3 Cup Hazelnuts,
1 Can Full-fat Coconut Milk (14 oz)
3/4 Cup Honey, Divided
2 Cups Strawberries, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp Water
1/3 Cup Coconut oil at room temperature
3/4 Cup Coconut flour
2 Tbsp Cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2/3 Cup Dark chocolate morsels

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Spread the hazelnuts onto a small pan and bake until browned and toasty smelling, about 8-11 minutes, finely chop them and set aside.
  • In a large, high-sided pot (the coconut milk rises up a lot when heated) set over high heat, whisk together the can of coconut milk and 1/2 cup of Honey, reserving the remaining honey for later. 
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. 
  • Then, turn the heat down to medium and and simmer for 16-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce reduced by about half, and you end up with 1 cup of super thick liquid. 
  • Once you've turned the sauce down to medium heat, place the strawberries, 1 Tbsp of the honey and the water in a medium pot set over medium heat. 
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the water evaporates and you can mash the strawberries. You want the sauce to be really thick - this takes 10-20 minutes depending on the size of your pot. Set aside
  • While the sauce reduces, it's time to make the crust: Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving a little bit of an overhang up the sides of the pan, to use as a handle later. Spray the sides generously with coconut oil spray (this also helps stick the parchment to the sides and bottom of the pan.)
  • In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the remaining 3 Tbsp of honey with the coconut oil until smooth and creamy. 
  • Stir in the flour, cocoa powder and pinch of salt until a wet dough forms.
  • Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. 
  • Do not bake the crust until the sauce is done reducing!
  • Once the sauce has done reducing, and you have 1 cup of liquid, set aside to cool. 
  • Then, bake the crust just until the sides darken slightly, about 8 mins. 
  • When your crust comes out of the oven, it will have risen a little bit. Use a small spoon to pack it down, making sure to not leave cracks in the crust.
  • As soon as the crust comes out of the often, sprinkle the chopped nuts on top, and lightly press them into the crust. 
  • Then, sprinkle on the chocolate morsels evenly.
  • Pour the coconut sauce evenly over the top of the surface, making sure to really get it into the edges of the bars. Then, gently shake the pan around until the coconut milk mixture begins to sink between the layers.
  • Spoon the strawberry sauce over top and use a sharp knife to swirl around, being careful not to cut into the crust.
  • Place into the oven and bake until the sides are lightly golden brown, about 27-28 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Then, cover with tinfoil and refrigerate overnight. 
  • The next day, lift the bars out of the pan and run a very sharp knife around the edge of the pan, slice into bars.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Microwave Onion Strings

2 small or 1 large onion (2 cups sliced)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Using a mandolin or very sharp knife, slice onions into very thin strips­­ approximately 1/16 inch thick.
  • Place onions on microwave safe plate, add olive oil and salt, stir with fork to coat onions thoroughly. 
  • Distribute onions in even layer on plate.
  • Microwave on high for a total of 12 to 13 minutes, stirring after 4 minutes and then 4 minutes later.
  • Run microwave in 2 minute increments after that, stirring each time(s) up.
  • Each time you stop and stir onions, use two forks to pull apart clumps and redistribute onions evenly over surface of plate. 
  • After minute 8, keep a close watch on them, as they can go from browned to burnt quickly. 
  • Stop cooking as soon as they are evenly cooked, browned, and crispy. (It's okay if there are a few "burnt" bits.) 
  • Cool completely and store in airtight container at room temperature.
  • Use strips wherever crunch and/or flavour is desired.  

Monday, 11 February 2008

Taco Cups

1 lb lean ground beef, browned
   and drained
3 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 (10-oz) can Diced Tomatoes
Diced chili peppers (jarred or
   fresh) to taste
1½ cups sharp cheddar cheese,
12 large wonton wrappers

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
  • Generously coat a 6 large size muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Combine cooked beef, taco seasoning, tomatoes, and diced chili peppers in a bowl and stir to combine. 
  • Line each cup of prepared muffin tin with a wonton wrapper. 
  • Add 1.5 tablespoons taco mixture. 
  • Top with 1 tablespoon of cheese. 
  • Press down and add another layer of wonton wrapper, taco mixture, and a final layer of cheese.
  • Bake at 375 for 11-13 minutes until cups are heated through and edges are golden.

Phyllo Chocolate Cheesecake

200 - 250 grams cream cheese,
   room temperature
200 - 250 grams mascarpone
1/2  pkg phyllo dough
3 tbsp confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

Chocolate Sauce
1 c heavy cream
1 c dark pure chocolate
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt

Whipped Cream (if desired) 
2 c heavy cream, cold
4 Tbsp confectioners' sugar

Make chocolate sauce and store in refrigerator overnight or for several hours:
In a medium sauce pan add 1 cup of heavy cream, a pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons sugar (granulated), heat well until almost to a boil, break up chocolate and add in, stirring until chocolate is melted, pour into airtight container and place in fridge (overnight or until thick like cake frosting).
Preheat oven to 350. Line cake pan with parchment paper set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine chocolate sauce, cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of confectioners sugar.  Using an electric mixer blend well until creamy.

Place a sheet of phyllo inside cake pan (I used a small cake pan but a 10 inch spring form can used or what-have-you), just fold it around so it fits and then brush with melted butter.  Continue this until you have 8-10 sheets of phyllo in place.

Next put chocolate/cream cheese mix in centre of pan and press towards edges.

Repeat the steps for the phyllo dough again on top of chocolate mix.
Place in oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until phyllo is golden brown.
Let cool completely then move to serving plate.

Make whipped topping to use on top of cooled pastry: 
In a medium chilled mixing bowl add 2 cups heavy cream, using electric mixer start whipping cream.  After it starts to get thick add 4 tbs confectioners sugar and continue beating until thick.  Use piping bag to decorate top or just dollop on with a spoon. Mix 1 tablespoon cocoa and 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar and dust over top.

Note:  I almost always simply use the canned whipped cream and just dot it around the top when serving.

Zucchini Tots

2 medium/large zucchini, sliced into tot-sized pieces,
   about 1/2-inch diameter and 1-inch long (no need to peel)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper, to taste Plus pinch Jerk or Creole
   seasoning, cayenne, chili powder, etc. optional and to taste
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Panko or homemade breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat oven to 400F, line a baking sheet with parchment or spray with cooking spray.
  • Slice the zucchini into approximately 1/2-inch diameter and 1-inch long segments and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper, plus any optional seasonings or spices, and toss to coat evenly; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the eggs; set aside.
  • In a separate large bowl, add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and stir to combine; set aside.
  • Using your hands or a slotted spoon, add some of the floured zucchini pieces to the eggs for a quick dunk.
  • Remove zucchini from eggs and transfer to breadcrumb mixture. 
  • Toss with hands or a spoon to coat evenly.
  • Place zucchini on prepared baking tray, spaced evenly and without touching. You want the oven air to circulate freely on all pieces so they get as crispy as possible.
  • Repeat battering process with remaining zucchini and place on baking tray. The process is messy and not every piece will be evenly coated and breaded - that's just fine. 
  • Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Serve with ketchup or your favourite dip or Wasabi Dip
  • To make Wasabi dip, combine sour cream and Wasabi, powder or paste, to taste.  

Friday, 8 February 2008

Chewy Microwave Peanut Bars

6 tablespoons butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped salted peanuts,
Vegetable cooking spray
4-oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

  • Microwave butter in microwave-safe bowl for 45 to 60 seconds or until melted. 
  • Stir together brown sugar, melted butter and peanut butter. 
  • Add eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup peanuts and stir until incorporated. 
  • Spoon batter into a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 8-inch square microwave-safe baking dish. 
  • Microwave 4 minutes. 
  • Check.
  • Continue to Microwave in 3 minute intervals until top is almost dry. 
  • Remove from microwave and immediately top with chopped chocolate. 
  • Let stand a bit until chocolate will spread and then spread evenly over top.
  • Sprinkle with remaining peanuts and press into the chocolate just a bit.
  • Cool 15 minutes. 
  • Cut into squares.

Sweet Potato Zucchini Lasagna

3 large zucchini
1 lb. ground pork or ground
   beef or ground what-have-
2 large sweet potatoes (4-5
   cups when cooked and cut)
1 cup milk
½ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons chili powder
1½ teaspoons salt
½ cup chopped green onions
2 cups shredded cheese
   (mozzarella and parmesan
   or what-have-you)

  • Using just a regular knife, cut the peeled zucchini into thin strips lengthwise. Lay them on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let rest while you prep the other ingredients - the excess moisture will seep out of them and you can press them with paper towels when they're ready. 
  • While the zucchini is resting, in a large skillet, brown the ground meat with 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, wash the sweet potatoes, poke with a fork several times, wrap once in a paper towel, and microwave for 5-7 minutes or until soft. You can also bake them in the oven if you prefer. Cut into chunks, transfer to a blender, and puree with the milk, chicken broth, olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon ancho powder, and 1 teaspoon salt until smooth and creamy.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Layer the zucchini noodles, sauce, sausage, chopped herbs, and cheese; repeat layers three times. End with a final layer of zucchini noodles covered with a little sauce and cheese. Cover with greased foil so the cheese won't stick and bake for 30-45 minutes. 
  • Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 15-20 minutes. This does not cut into perfectly clean squares.

Antipasto Salad II

400 grams of tri-coloured
   Fusilli corkscrew pasta
8 oz sliced pepperoni,
4 green onions
1 - 2 can(s) black olives, sliced
1/2 jar capers (small jar)
1-1/2 c mayonnaise dressing
1/2 bottle vinaigrette salad
4 sprig(s) fresh basil, chopped
8 oz mixed shredded cheeses
shredded parmesan cheese

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain in a colander, set aside, rinse in cold water and drain
  • Place the pasta, pepperoni, onions, black olives, and capers in a mixing bowl
  • Whisk mayo and salad dressing together in a separate bowl. 
  • Add to pasta. Stir until coated
  • Add chopped basil and cheese blend. Stir until blended
  • Cover and store in refrigerator overnight. Right before serving sprinkle Parmesan Cheese on the top

Red Curry and Ginger Coconut Sauce

For the sauce
1 TB toasted sesame oil
1 TB finely minced ginger
1-2 tsp red curry paste
Splash of lemon juice
1 can full-fat coconut milk
2 TB soy sauce
1 TB brown sugar
5 large basil leaves, cut chiffonade

White fish fillet or two
green beans
baby corn or frozen corn
plus whatever you have on hand

To serve (optional)
noodles or rice
crushed peanuts
lime wedges

  • To make the sauce, warm the toasted sesame oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat. 
  • Add in the minced ginger and allow to soften for 1-2 minutes, adding a little more sesame oil if it starts to stick. 
  • Add in the curry paste and stir until it liquefies. 
  • Add in the lemon juice and stir again, then pour in the coconut milk. 
  • Add in the soy sauce, brown sugar and fresh basil, stir, then increase the heat to medium. 
  • Once it comes to a small simmer, turn off the heat and give it a stir, but leave it on the burner. 
  • Quick fry your fish.  Remove from heat and cut into bite size pieces.  
  • Stir fry your veggies or cook any way you choose. If stir frying, add fish at the end and drizzling a little of the warm sauce over it.
  • Distribute rice or noodles into bowls.  
  • Top with the vegetables/fish, and drizzle with extra sauce to taste.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Chocolate Pecan Fudge Balls

1 1⁄2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped,
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Place pecans in a large skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and darkened in colour, about 5 minutes.
  • Heat condensed milk, butter, sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium, stirring constantly, until butter is melted, about 2 minutes. 
  • Add chocolate chips and cook over low, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pot to keep from sticking, until gently bubbling and thickened, about 5 minutes. 
  • Pour into a medium sized bowl and stir in 1⁄2 cup pecans. 
  • Refrigerate until thickened, at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the remaining 1 cup pecans until nearly ground. 
  • Place in a medium bowl.
  • Scoop a rounded teaspoon of the mixture and roll into balls. 
  • One at a time, roll balls in pecans to coat. 
  • Arrange in mini cupcake liners or on a serving plate. 
  • Balls can be made in advance and kept in an airtight container for up to one month in the refrigerator.

Autumn Root Vegetable Gratin

1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive
3/4 pound butternut squash
3/4 pound white potatoes
1/2 pound parsnips
Plus:  Carrots, corn, small brussel
   sprouts, grape tomatoes,
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh
1 1/2 cup grated soft cheese
1 1/2 cup grated hard cheese

  • Peel the squash, potatoes and parsnips and cut them into bite size pieces.  
  • Do the same to any other vegetables you feel like including with the dish.  
  • Chop up your thyme & rosemary and place together in a small bowl with salt & pepper.  Add chopped garlic. Mix thoroughly.
  • Grate your cheese(s) as necessary.  I usually buy pre-grated Taco mix cheese & mozzarella.  Up to you. 
  • Heat the oven to 400° F. 
  • Take a 9 x 13 baking dish or pan and spray with Pam.
  • Put a layer of your veggies in the pan and sprinkle about a tablespoon of Olive oil over them. 
  • Then half of each of your cheeses and then half of the spice/garlic mixture.
  • Add more vegetables, olive oil and spice mixture.
  • Cover with remaining cheeses.
  • Pour 1 1/2 cups of whole milk over the mixture and then place in oven for about 50 minutes.
  • If the vegetables are tender but the top isn't as brown as you'd like, turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes -- watch it carefully so it doesn't burn! 
  • Let the gratin cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.


Summer Rolls

4 rice paper for wrapping summer
16 medium cooked, deveined,
   tails off shrimp
4 lettuce leaves
3 oz cooked, rice noodles
dash(es) salt
dash(es) pepper
1 fresh lime, juiced
carrots, cut in matchsticks
jicama, cut in matchsticks (can
   use apple)

  • Prepare the noodles according to the package directions. 
  • Rinse with cool water and drain. 
  • Put noodles in a container and add the salt, pepper and lime juice to noodles. 
  • Cook your shrimp.  I put in the microwave with water for 7 minutes.  
  • Add shrimp to the noodles.
  • Refrigerate noodles and shrimp until ready to assemble.
  • Slice carrots and jicama into matchstick slices. Store in separate containers in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.
  • To assemble rolls, dip wrappers in water until soft. This will take less than a minute. 
  • Take an individual soaked wrapper and place 4 shrimp along the middle of the wrapper.
  • Now put a leaf of lettuce on top of shrimp. 
  • Place some noodles in the lettuce cup. 
  • Top with carrots and jicama.
  • Fold top down and lightly hug ingredients to hold in place. 
  • Fold in sides of wrapper. 
  • Continue rolling until all of the wrapper is used. 
  • Place seam side down in container if not serving immediately and place a wet paper towel and plastic wrap between layer to prevent them from sticking to one another.
  • You can slice rolls at a diagonal in the middle if you choose, or serve whole. 
  • Serve with Spicy Sauce below.

Spicy Sauce

2 tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp. sriracha
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. honey

  • In a small jar with lid, shake the above ingredients until combined.  
  • Seasons with salt if desired.
  • Serve as a dipping sauce. 

Monday, 4 February 2008

Apple/Chicken Stew

1 bay leaf
Vegetable mixture:  small cubed carrots,
   peas, etc. (what have you?)
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken
   breasts, cubed into bite size pieces
4 medium tart apples, peeled and cubed
1 medium red onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/4 cups apple apple juice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar

  • In a slow cooker, layer potatoes, carrots etc. & onion.  
  • Combine salt, thyme and pepper;  sprinkle half over vegetables. 
  • In a skillet, saute chicken in oil until browned; transfer to slow cooker. 
  • Top with apple. 
  • Combine apple juice and vinegar; pour over chicken and apple mixture. 
  • Sprinkle with remaining salt mixture. 
  • Top with bay leaf.
  • Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or until vegetables are tender and chicken juices run clear. 
  • Discard bay leaf. 
  • Stir before serving. 

Hot & Cold Vegetable Salad

2 cups bite-sized broccoli florets
2 cups bite-sized cauliflower florets
1 cup of carrots sliced into bit-sized pieces
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 to 1 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups lightly packed fresh baby spinach
1/2 lemon, zested
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Place the broccoli, cauliflower, & carrots in a large bowl.  
  • Add Eggs & Parmesan and toss to coat evenly.
  • Pour olive oil in a large heavy skillet until the olive oil is 1/4-inch deep, about 1/2 cup depending on the size of your skillet. Warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. 
  • When the oil is hot, carefully add the Parmesan-coated vegetables. 
  • Do not overcrowd the pan. 
  • Cook in batches, if necessary. 
  • Let the vegetables cook until a crust forms, about 3 minutes per side. Turn the vegetables only when they easily release from the bottom of the pan. 
  • Drain on paper towels and season with salt.
  • Place the spinach in a large bowl. I
  • n a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle the spinach with the vinaigrette and toss to coat. 
  • Add the Parmesan coated vegetables. 
  • Toss and serve.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Raspberry Lemon Squares

1 (18.25 oz) box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, melted
1 large egg
zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

6 oz raspberries
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
2 cups powdered sugar (plus extra for
juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  • Beat cake mix, melted butter, 1 egg, and lemon zest to a soft dough. Press into the bottom of the prepared dish.
  • Add raspberries to a blender and puree until liquified. 
  • Beat cream cheese, 2 eggs, and powdered sugar until smooth, about 1-2 mins. And 3/4 cup raspberry puree and lemon juice, and beat until well combined. Pour on top of crust.
  • Bake at 325 degrees F for 40-45 minutes until edges are set and start to crack. Middle will still be slightly gooey. 
  • Let cool and set completely before cutting into squares. You can put the pan in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process.
  • Just before serving, top with a dusting of powdered sugar.
  • Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Chicken Croquettes

1 pound chicken breasts
1 medium onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
Pepper (to taste)
Parsley (to taste)
2 eggs
3 cloves of garlic
1 small onion to cook the
   chicken breasts
1 drizzle of olive oil
Salt (to taste)
Vegetable oil for frying

  • Place the chicken breasts in a saucepan with water seasoned with salt, a little olive oil and a small peeled onion. Bring to a boil over high heat. When starts boiling, reduce to medium heat and cook about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, drain the chicken breasts with a skimmer and let cool slightly.
  • Cut the chicken breasts into pieces. Place the chicken pieces together with parsley, the onion cut into pieces, peeled garlics, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and some salt in a food processor and pulse until well chopped. 
  • Mold this mixture with your hands in the shape of croquettes.
  • In a bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork. Coat the croquettes in breadcrumbs, then dip in the eggs mixture and finally, coat once more in breadcrumbs.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet. When the oil is hot, add the croquettes and fry them until golden. When the croquettes are fried, place them on a plate with absorbent paper.
  • Serve the croquettes with a lettuce salad or as an appetizer.  

Caprese Salad Appetizers

Grape tomatoes
Fresh mozzarella balls or any
   soft cheese
Fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Balsamic vinegar

  • Cut the tomatoes in half as straight across the diameter as you can. 
  • Insert the toothpick through one half of a tomato and slide it up the toothpick. 
  • Skewer a cheese ball and slide it up the toothpick until it is touching the tomato. 
  • Place one small basil leaf (or a piece of a large leaf onto the skewer). 
  • Then insert the toothpick as straight as possible into the second half of the tomato so that the tomato makes a base for the remainder of the toothpick.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  • Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. 
  • Serve cold.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Squares

    1 cup graham cracker crumbs
    1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
    1/4 cup butter, melted

    2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 cup sour cream
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

    24 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
    3 tablespoons shortening

  • Line a 9-in. square baking pan with foil and grease the foil. 
  • In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, pecans and butter. 
  • Press into prepared pan; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and sour cream until smooth. 
  • Add eggs and vanilla; beat on low speed just until combined. 
  • Pour over crust. 
  • Bake at 325° for 35-40 minutes or until center is almost set. 
  • Cool on a wire rack. 
  • Freeze overnight.
  • In a microwave, melt chocolate and shortening; stir until smooth. Cool slightly.
  • Using foil, lift cheesecake out of pan. Gently peel off foil; cut cheesecake into 1-1/4-in. squares. 
  • Work with a few pieces at a time for dipping; keep remaining squares refrigerated until ready to dip. Using a toothpick, completely dip squares, one at a time, in melted chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. 
  • Spoon additional chocolate over the tops if necessary to coat. (Reheat chocolate if needed to finish dipping.) 
  • Let stand for 20 minutes or until set. 
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. 
  • Yield: 49 squares.

Vegan Chocolate Truffle Cake

12 oz of good quality semi-sweet dairy free dark chocolate
1 cup plus 4 Tbs of full fat coconut milk
1/4 tsp of salt
cocoa powder for dusting

  • Chop the chocolate coarsely and put it in a heat proof bowl. Set it aside.
  • Grease a small loaf or brownie pan with non dairy (soy) margarine.
  • Line the greased pan with parchment paper. Let the paper gap over the sides by about an inch. Set it aside.
  • In a small pot heat the coconut milk and salt mixture until it just starts to boil. Steam should be coming off the coconut milk but no bubbles should be popping.
  • Pour the hot coconut milk over the chopped chocolate in the bowl and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes take a metal spoon and making quick circular stirring movements, start at the center of the bowl and blend everything together.
  • Mix it together for about 3 to 4 minutes. The chocolate should be dark, shiny and well blended when you're done. Pour the blended chocolate into the parchment lined pan.
  • Press a piece of plastic wrap down on the surface to prevent the chocolate from forming a skin and put it into the fridge to chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.