The holidays are busy, prior to this pandemic I would be entertaining hand over fist. Sure entertaining has slowed down, but you should always have elegant, quick and easy appetizers in your kitchen repertoire. Here is one that looks elegant but start to finish takes 15 minutes.
12 slices of prosciutto but you can use Serrano ham too
1 ball of cranberry and pepper Boursin
24 pecan halves (toasted in a fry pan)
1 cup of arugula
1/2 cup of balsamic (I used a white cranberry balsamic) put it in a pan and reduce it until it turns into a thick syrup- takes about 5 to 8 minutes on low. – you should have 2 tablespoons once it is reduced
2 tablespoons of dried cranberries
Now it’s time to put it together. Lay the slices of prosciutto out on a cutting board. Section the Boursin into 12 each portions ~ 3/4 tbls. Put the cheese on one end, top with 2 pecans and a generous pinch of arugula. Roll them up and slice in half. Then drizzle the top with the reduced balsamic glaze and a few dried cranberries.
Mixing up the usual … these are gloriously delish 🤤
The slight crunch of the cornmeal make a perfect backdrop for blueberries, which burst as they bake, creating pockets of juice that keep the muffins tender. Serve warm with a pat of butter 💥
Ingredients: 3/4 cup milk 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal 3/4 cup sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries 2 large eggs 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 stick or 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
Set oven to 350, 325 for convection bake.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Place the blueberries in a small bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon of the flour mixture. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients, along with the melted butter. Stir until just blended; and then stir in the blueberries. Do not overmix. The batter comes together in about 5 minutes.
Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup very full and please use liners as the blueberries will make everything very sticky. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are set and golden around the edges. Cool the muffins for a few minutes in the pan, then serve warm with butter or transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
I have always dreamed of having a backyard with a huge stone pizza oven. But I’m afraid it’s going to be baby steps for me to get to my dream, so I started my journey on Mother’s Day when I treated myself to an Ooni Koda gas pizza oven from Capital BBQ.
This pizza oven has changed my life. It is portable, meaning I can pack it up and bring it to a friends house for dinner. It weighs 12 pounds, the design is sleek, I can store it in the off-season in my kitchen. It is powered by a propane tank and it only takes 15 minutes for it to come up to 930° and it cooks delicious Neapolitan style pizzas in 60 seconds.
The high temperatures help pizza dough quickly transform to a perfectly chewy-but-crispy crust, all while drawing any excess moisture out of any sauce, cheeses & toppings you have on your pizza. The result? Crispy crust, with no sogginess. A pizza lover’s dream!
I do have a couple of tips I have learned in the 5 times I have used my pizza oven.
Use only quality ingredients – I make my own dough and sauce and boy does it make a difference!
Use a wood pizza peel to put the pizza in the oven and the metal one to pull it out
Do not multi task when you are making the pizzas, they take 60 seconds and every 20 seconds you turn the pie in the oven
The less toppings the better. Since this cooks quickly you need you keep the toppings light
Try new things! I created a Flammkuchen style pizza that is the 💣
It is not just for pizza! With a cast iron pan you can look steaks and chicken in it too!
The cost. My Ooni koda cost me 499$ CDN plus tax. I would say it was the best money I ever spent.
Continuing my pandemic weigh gain I deciding to dabble in bagel making. They are crazy easy to make and even easier to eat. Make these today!
NEW YORK-STYLE BAGEL RECIPE Makes: 8 medium-sized bagels Total Time: ~2 hours
Optional Toppings: Everything seasoning, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds. (Everyone in my house prefers plain bagels, so I went with 3 Everything and 5 plain) 😉
Preparation:1. In ½ cup /120ml of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let it sit for five minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture, until it all dissolves in the water.
Ingredients: 2 teaspoons active dry yeast 1 ½ tablespoons (4 ½ teaspoons) granulated sugar 1 ¼ cups / 300ml warm water 3 ½ cups (500g) bread flour or AP flour what I used (you will need extra for kneading) 1 ½ teaspoons salt
2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.
3. Pour 1/2 cup / 90ml of the remaining warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. Depending on where you live, you may need to add anywhere from a couple tablespoons to about ¼ cup/60ml of water. You want a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it. I had to use all the water.
4. On a floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Try working in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough.
5. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
6. Carefully divide the dough into 8 pieces (I did not have a scale so I made a ball and cut it in half and half again and again until I had 8 pieces). Shape each piece into a round. Now, take a dough ball, and press it gently against the countertop (or whatever work surface you’re using) moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until a perfect dough ball forms. Repeat with 7 other dough rounds.
7. Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.
8. After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet or granite or wooden board, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425ºF.
9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Boil as many as you are comfortable with boiling. Once the bagels are in, it shouldn’t take too long for them to float to the top (a couple seconds). Let them sit there for 1 minute, and them flip them over to boil for another minute.
10. If you want to top your bagels with stuff, do so as you take them out of the water. I didn’t brush them with egg wash I just sprinkled on and voila!
11. Once all the bagels have boiled (and have been topped with your choice of toppings), transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet or in my case I oiled the parchment paper on my baking sheet.
12. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. I rotated the pan 1/2 way through.
13. Cool on a wire rack… or if you are my kids tear one open slather it with butter orschmear it with cheese cream and devour it.
An easy vegetarian Indian vegetable korma recipe with tofu, cauliflower, peas, and warming spices.
This curry took me 45 mins to make. Will anyone else in the house eat it? Hello no.. but now I have 4 make-ahead meals I can devour. It’s a win for Me!
I feel like roasting the cauliflower gives it a better taste and adds body to the dish, so I highly recommend. I also tossed the tofu in cornstarch and salt after I pressed it to (google how to do this) add a bit of bite it to, but that is optional. I am a texture wh@re when it comes to food. I need crunch and a toothy feel, if everything is soft I am out!
Carrots and cream (or coconut milk) add body to the korma curry base, while puréed tomatoes and lemon add the punch you need for balance.
Serves 4 or 2 if you are REALLY HUNGRY
2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil or unsalted butter
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp garam masala and cinnamon and garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup roughly chopped carrots run through a food processor
1 onion, peeled and put in a food processor
3 cloves garlic, and again put in the FP
1 (28 oz) can pureed plum tomatoes
1/2 – 3/4 cup of heavy cream or canned coconut milk (add the entire can for a looser, soupier korma base, if desired)
Add a handful of frozen peas
1 (350g/12 oz) pkg extra firm tofu, (pressed if you have time) cut into 1/2-inch cubes as tossed with some corn starch and a generous pinch of salt
1 small cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets (extra spices needed for this part see instructions)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint or cilantro, and toasted almonds and or cashews to serve (optional)
Cooked brown rice or basmati rice, hot, to serve (optional) or naan
1 Turn oven on to 425 and get ready to prep the cauliflower for roasting. Lay the florets in a baking sheet on parchment paper and spread them out. If they are too close put them on two different trays you do not want the cauliflower to steam you wanted to roast. Drizzle with oil, 1-2 pinches of salt, 2 tsp garlic powder and 1 tablespoon of turmeric. Toss and into the oven it goes for 15-18 mins. Cooking is fun not an exact science if you are missing the turmeric no big deal it will still be delish. You want to roast the cauliflower so you will get the all the little dark tasty spots .. that is okay. You want it to have personality not be mushy. Mushy is BAD.
2 While the cauliflower is in the oven…In a large pot, heat oil or butter over medium heat; add spices, salt, and everything in food processor. Sauté for 10 minutes, until onions are translucent.
3 Add tomatoes and cream or coconut milk, bring to a simmer, reduce to medium, cover, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until vegetables are very tender.
4 In a frying pan toss the cut up tofu in 1-2 tablespoons of oil and get it crispy.
5 Then it’s magic time. Add everything into the sauce. The roasted cauliflower, the crispy tofu, hand full of peas and lemon juice. Toss gently and keep on low heat for 5-10 mins. Here is the trick. TASTE IT. Is it missing heat? I added 2 chili’s because I LOVE it spicy, missing sweetness? I added 1 tbls of honey to it, not enough salt? Add some, add more curry powder if you need it…it’s your dish adjust how you like it! Make this 24 hrs in advance so the flavours develop even more.
6 Top with nuts and fresh herbs (optional)
7 Serve hot with brown rice, basmati rice, or quinoa or naan or nothing!
They are the curled flower from the top of a garlic plant, are abundant at farmers markets (I just picked up a bundle at the https://carpfarmersmarket.ca/Carp Farmers Market). Available in the spring/early summer they make an easy, fragrant pesto that can be spread on bread or crackers, mixed with ricotta, put on pasta, used with fish, and as a substitute for garlic, onion, or scallions!
You can also slice them on the diagonal and sauté them with other vegetables as a side dish. They are wildly delicious.
Here is how I made my Garlic Scape Pesto that I will mix with ricotta for dinner one night and top sliced steak the next. Ready in less than 3 minutes 🙌
2 cups garlic scapes cut into pieces
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup packed basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
Pinch salt and pepper
4 green onions
1/2 lemon (juice and zest)
2 inch chunk of real Parmegiano Reggiano
Toss it all into your food processor and in 40 secs viola you have pesto!
What exactly are leftovers? Leftovers are the uneaten remains of a hot or cold meal after the meal is over and everyone has finished eating.
As a kid what did that mean? It meant a gross dinner was around the corner. 😬 My mom was an excellent cook but even leftover night was a food bust.
Today is Labour Day in Canada or (Holiday Monday) and all the stores are closed. So dinnertime rolled around and I had no idea what to make. So I opened my fridge and grab a ton of leftovers and made a wicked dinner.
Here is what I used:
2 cups cooked penne pasta
1 bunch of asparagus which I cooked in garlic and oil
1 clove garlic
1 smoked Serrano chili ( or a chipotle if that is what you have )
2 cobs of corn – kernels cut off
3 BBQed Italian sausages sliced
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup chicken stock
Splash of whisky
Salt and pepper
What did I do?
Melt a bit of butter in a pan, add onion and asparagus after a few minutes add garlic and corn. After 1 minutes add chili, sausage and pasta. After 2 minutes add splash of whisky and stock and cream. Simmer 3 minutes and viola. Season with salt and pepper and top with Parmesan.
This is a quick dinner that can be made on any weeknight or weekend.
All it takes is 30 mins in an Instant Pot.
1.5 kilo chicken thighs (club pack)
1/2 medium onion diced
2 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin
2 tbls chili powder
2 tsp salt
2 cups fresh salsa
2 whole chipotles in adobo sauce diced up
3 cloves garlic
Stems of cilantro finely diced *amazing flavour and even those who don’t like the cilantro flavour like this.
19 0z Can black beans
15 oz Can of corn kernels
Press sauté on your Instant pot until it registers HOT. Add 2 tsp oil and add your chicken thighs. Cook both sides of chicken for 5 mins add salt, chili powder, cumin, chipotles, cilantro stems, garlic and onions. Mix around for 2 minutes. Add canned corn with juice, add drained beans and stir. Top with salsa and DO NOT STIR. Tomatoes can tend to burn in the IP so just pour on top and spread out.
Put on IP Lid and seal the vent. Press Chili button – 30 mins. Viola
Do what ever you need to do and once the IP beeps release the steam vent to depressurize. Shred the chicken thighs, they will be soft and buttery. Mix everything together, add fresh cilantro leaves and check seasoning.
Serve on its own, on rice, spaghetti squash, top with chunks of avocado, cheese and a dollop of Greek yogurt.
When you live in Ottawa, and it’s the winter and it’s cold than Mars (true story) I crave soup. This delicious Italian Wedding soup always makes feel cozy and warm. Italian wedding soup is a combination of a killer broth, mini tasty meatballs, a small pasta, veggies and greens.
I honestly adore soup. I love it for lunch with a piece of crusty bread and it makes a great appetizer before dinner. My youngest Holly loves this soup (she loves meat) my oldest Chloe avoids meat like the plague, so I wanted to create a version that would appeal to both kids. Chloe just eats hers minus the meatballs.
This soup is made on the stove 🙂 sorry Instant Pot lovers this is old school 🙂 This soup will keep in your fridge for 5 days and freezes superbly well. Rolling the meatballs are the most time consuming part of this recipe so if you have child labor kids to assist you, use it.
Ingredients for Pork Meatballs (can be done ahead of time and frozen):
1pound ground pork (makes a tender meatball, but you can also use beef)
1/2cuponion, finely diced (about 1/2 medium onion)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (or use a rasp)
~3liters chicken broth – organic if you can (or homemade… I don’t have time for that though :)…)
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1cup orzo, seme di Melone or acini di pepi
1poundfresh tender spinach
2 tablespoons finely diced mixed herbs
In a large bowl, mix together pork, onion, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, bread crumbs, herbs, and egg until combined
Shape into tiny bite-sized meatballs, roughly 1/2 inch in diameter; place onto parchment covered cookie sheet and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Luckily if you live in Canada during the winter you can put these babies outside to freeze while you prepare your broth 🙂 * Refrigerating is important as it will keep them from falling apart in the soup. You need a minimum of 30 mins to set up.
In a large stock pot, melt butter; add onion, carrots, and garlic. Saute until tender, but not soft (about 5 minutes)
Add chicken broth; bring to a boil. Turn to simmer, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.
Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste
Drop meatballs into broth; cook 7 minutes. Add pasta of your choice and cook 5 minutes
Add herbs and simmer for 30 minutes to meld flavours, adding more broth, if needed. Add spinach for the last few minutes.
Serve with crusty bread, or garlic bread (my kids favourite) and top with additional Parmesan cheese. I also love to add a bit of Sriracha to my soup too.