Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus Spears with Balsamic Reduction

These little appetizers are so delicious and very simple to make. Some how I lucked out at the store and they had small, thin, tender asparagus instead of the normal stalks that can be quite woody. Try and get these if you can...

With only 3 ingredients this is such a great last minute cocktail party treat. You will need a bunch of asparagus, 12 slices of prosciutto and balsamic vinegar. I used this recipe from the Chef's Pencil and followed their Method as well. I did try to make the balsamic reduction but it didn't work (cheap vinegar perhaps?) so I used this balsamic glaze that I happened to have in the fridge. It's actually perfect if you don't want to worry about making the balsamic reduction.

It is a President's Choice product and available in Canada at the Loblaw stores (Zehrs etc)


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Smoked Salmon Blini with Caviar & Dill

These were very good, not too complicated to make if you buy store made puff pastry and look quite pretty and sophisticated.  Some people might not like the idea of caviar but you could always make some with and some without. A great little appetizer for New Year's Eve with some champers!

I basically followed this recipe although instead of creme fraiche I had to use plain Greek yogurt as the store was sold out just before Christmas. I thought the yogurt was just as tasty and slightly better for you too.

For the record, I am calling these blinis but they in fact are not traditional blinis at all! From OChef: "Blini are small, yeast-leavened, buckwheat pancakes that originally come from Russia. Classically they are served with sour cream and caviar or smoked salmon". Also, one is a "blin" while 2 or more are "blini".

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

Hope you all have a lovely holiday with friends and family.
Eat, drink and be merry!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Spanakopita Triangles

Click pic for more detail
I made these last weekend for a Greek inspired menu for a dinner party (along with Chicken Kabobs, Oregano & Lemon Potatoes, and Cucumber Salad). These are amazing...I could eat them all night!  I am posting about this recipe today as I am making these for an appetizer for Christmas Eve dinner at the in-laws house.  It's a pretty simple dish to make, can be reheated easily and is quite impressive. A little dollop of Tzatziki goes a long way with these!

I followed this Fantastic Recipe from David Lebovitz because he has the best pictures, great step by step instructions and some cute anecdotes.

Here is what you will need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and minced
  • 12 ounces (325g) fresh spinach, well-washed and towel dried
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper
  • 8-10 ounces (230-250g) feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely-chopped flat leaf parsley
  • pinch of freshly-grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • lemon juice
  • 16 sheets filo dough (about 12 ounces, 350g), thawed, if frozen
  • Melted butter (2-3 ounces, 60-90g)
Follow David's recipe here.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Travels to the East Coast

Heading out to fish

Lone player, Halifax

My Aunt's famous white chocolate cheesecake - recipe forever a secret;)
I've taken a writing and cooking hiatus. In its place is a new love of chowder. Just returned from a week in Nova Scotia. Beautiful place, lovely people, colourful landscapes and fantastic seafood. I had my fill of chowder, lobster rolls, moussaka & dolmades & white chocolate cheesecake (family recipes), mussels, grilled calamari, a greasy spoon breakfast sandwich, the best peanut butter cookies in Mahone Bay, crab bisque, scallops and some Nova Scotian wine. The only thing I snapped photos of before eating was the cheesecake. Sorry 'bout that!

Peggy's Cove Lighthouse

Peggy's Cove

A sign after my heart
Lobster Traps
Ocean Safe?

Colourful Doorway, Lunenburg


House in Peggy's Cove

Fishing Village

Small, Medium & Large

Lunenburg, NS - A Unesco World Heritage Site
Red Doorway

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Peaceful Scenes
Rocks at the cove

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadians out there!

Lots of food posts to should see the menu we have set for Monday! Just getting the table ready for the big day:)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Greek Style Potatoes with Oregano and Lemon

These potatoes will knock your socks off! I have always loved the moist lemony/garlicky potatoes you get in the Greek restaurants along the Danforth in Toronto. This recipe will give you a replica of those delectable treats and they are so easy to make and go with many entrees.  If you are bored of baked, mashed, and boiled add these to your potato repertoire!

Ingredients and Preparation: Serves 4
Recipe from The Curious Cook at Home by dee Hobsbawn-Smith
  • 1 lb round potatoes (Yukon gold, Russet etc.)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (I use more - about 1.5 tbsp)
  • 1 lemon, juice only (I use 2 lemons - love the lemony taste!)
  • 1 cup water (more as needed)
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375F.  Peel potatoes and cut into quarters. Put remaining ingredients in a bowl and whisk.  Toss the potatoes in the liquid mixture. Spread on baking sheet uncovered at 375F until tender about 90 minutes (less time if using convection). Stir often, so that all the potato surfaces are coated. Add more water as needed - there should always be moisture in the pan.

Serve with skewered meat, grilled calamari, braised lamb or what ever is for dinner!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Eggplant Parmigiana

We went to Yosemite National Park this summer and while there we ate at the Curry Village dining room at our campsite which has a buffet style restaurant.  I had never really tasted eggplant parmigiana before as it always looked sort of soggy to me. Since it was one of the only vegetarian entree options that night I decided to give it a try and it was very good! Last night was my second time trying it and I have to say, mine was much better;)
Italian Eggplant

I compiled a few recipes from Bobby Flay to Mario Batali to Martha Stewart but didn't really follow any of them.  If you want very specific instructions (not my strong suit!), google one of their recipes.  I did get some tips on a message board and someone posted this blog fxcuisine as it gives a tutorial on how to prepare the eggplant. A good read.
Sweating the eggplant slices
It is a very important step to sweat the eggplant slices with salt for 30 minutes to one hour before you fry them up to get all the excess water out. Don't skip this step.

Ingredients & Preparation: Serves 4
  • 1 large Italian eggplant
  • kosher salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • oregano and parsley, to taste
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 - 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • grapeseed oil, for frying (use enough to cover the bottom of your pan and then a little more)
  • 1 jar good quality pasta sauce
  • mozzarella cheese
  • spaghetti

Wash the eggplant and chop off the ends - no need to peel it. Slice the eggplant lengthwise (should yield about 8 slices).  Cover the front and back in kosher salt and leave in a colander to drain for 30 mins to one hour. Wash the salt off the eggplant and press dry with paper towels. Preheat the oven to 375F. Whisk the eggs up with your herbs. I used the prepare herbs that come in the squeeze tubes so it would blend well when whisked. I'm sure fresh herbs would work as well, just chop them up into fine pieces so they stick.  Add some paremsan to your breadcrumbs.  Next, dredge each slice in the flour, then the egg mixture and then the breadcrumbs.  Place carefully into your hot pan with the grapeseed oil. Keep it hot to fry but not enough to burn and smoke. Once they are brown on each side transfer to a baking dish lined with papertowels to soak up the excess oil. You will have to do this in batches. Remove the papertowel and eggplant slices and pour some of the sauce into the bottom. Next layer the eggplant (fan the slices out so it covers the dish) and in between each slice add some more parmesan cheese and tomato sauce. Top the entire thing with mozzarella cheese. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes and then broil the top for a couple minutes after that.   In the meantime, boil water and make some spaghetti noodles to serve with it.

Once the eggplant is baked, serve one or two slices with the steaming spaghetti, add some more tomato sauce and enjoy!