Sunday, 25 March 2012

White Chocolate Dolce De Leche Amond Cookies

White Chocolate
Dolce De Leche Almond Cookies

These delicate cookies are so delicious and easy to make. Even little hands can help make these.  These cookies were made from my daughter and she won The Baking and Sweets Show in Mississauga, Ontario with this recipe

3/4c ground almonds

3/4cup sugar

4 cup flour

1 1/2 cup butter or margarine

2 tsp each almond & vanilla extract

1 grated orange peel

1 egg white, lightly beaten with a fork

4 oz white chocolate

4 oz dolce de leche sauce*

In a small bowl mix almonds and 1/8c sugar and set aside. 

In a large bowl combine remaining sugar, flour, shortening, extracts, and peel.  Using your hands mix gently together.  If mixture does not come together easily add 1T water at a time to hold together.

Divide dough into 3 equal pieces.  Place one ball between 2 pieces of wax paper and roll dough into a 12"x8" rectangle, peeling off the wax paper on both sides regularly to allow dough to roll into shape. If it sticks sprinkle extra flour above and below the sheets of paper.

Use your hands or a kitchen ruler to square the dough to desired size by pushing against the dough with the edge of the ruler.

Place dough on greased baking sheet or parchment/silicone sheet.  Brush dough with egg whites and sprinkle with nut/sugar mixture, press gently into dough. 

Using a decorative pastry wheel cut strips lengthwise and crosswise creating 2"x3" rectangles.

Strips do not need to be separated. Bake for 15-20 only until lightly browned.

Melt white chocolate in microwave for 1min.  Stir to melt.  Soften Dolce de Leche in microwave 30sec.

Drizzle chocolate over cookies and dolce de leche.
*Dolce de Leche is the Mexican version of caramel sauce which you can substitute if not found*

These cookies were developed for Food Bloggers of Canada and EatinEatout Magazine

Enjoy with love!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Enjoy with love!
March Madness Giveaway

Register or like my site and you could have a chance to win this fabulous cookbook from the latest star from Canadian Living, The Best Recipes Ever

bre book.jpg

Congratulations to Bree Jenke #88
from Warton, Ontario

Kary Osmond

Recipes gathered from seasons 1 & 2 of the Best Recipes Ever Show has tons of easy recipes for any night of the week with big bold pictures all developed by the Canadian Living test kitchen. 

Enjoy with love!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 19 March 2012

Squash Gnocchi w Sage Butter

I know Italian cooking can be daunting for someone who isn't familiar with it.  But, with time and patience everything can be achieved. This recipe is particularly easy even if you skip the decoration of the gnocchi which helps the sauce cling. This recipe is extremely fast, easy and delish! Get the kids involved so they can get their hands messy and everyone will be proud and love the results of their labour.

1 cup butternut squash
1 cup  potato, cooked and riced at room temperature
1 1/2 cup flour +extra
1/2 tsp coarse ground pepper
1/2tsp salt
1 egg

1/2cup coarse corn meal approx. for dusting

1c butter
8 sage leaves approx.
1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup asparagus, tough ends snapped off and cut into 2" or 3" pieces
1/2c grated parmesan or pecorino cheese

Cut squash in half and place one half cut side up on baking sheet, add 1 large potato, pierced  with a knife several times, on the sheet as well.
Bake 375 F for 30-40min until a knife pierces through skins easily.
* This can be done 1-2 days prior to usage for the squash, this method reduces moisture  absorption instead of boiling*

When cooled enough to handle, scoop out seeds from squash, discard. Scoop out desired amount of flesh.  Peel potato and press through a food mill or ricer on fine grind. Place vegetables into a large mixing bowl.  Allow  to cool to room temp.  Add egg, stir  to blend. Add flour & pepper, toss gently using one hand and a fork, allowing mixture to fall through fingers while incorporating.

When it starts to stick together, begin to knead gently on counter dusted with flour until if forms a ball.

Cut into 4 pieces, roll into 12" ropes 3"-4" thickness approx.  Sprinkle some of the corn meal onto counter. Sprinkle some corn meal onto a cutting board and place 1  rope on board roll it around so the corn meal coats the gnocchi and begin to cut with a sharp knife. *This will prevent them from sticking together.* Cut into 3/4"-1" pieces and push onto dusted counter.

Continue to cut all ropes, working quickly as the moisture in the potatoes will soften and gnocchi may become sticky. Place a fork face down onto counter, place one gnocchi onto the top of the tines and using your finger gently but firmly press into the center of the gnocchi and roll down towards the counter, imprinting  and rolling away to make a well into the centre of the dumpling, creating a cylinder inside and indentation of tines on outside.  *This is where the sauce will  adhere to the gnocchi.* Continue until all dumplings are finished.
Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle with extra corn meal if sticking together.  *It can be frozen at this point*


In a small saucepan or skillet melt the butter and begin to brown gently.  Add mushroom and asparagus stir and saute for 5min approx.  When milk solids stop foaming the bits will start to brown.  Don't skip this step as it is when you add lots of flavour to the butter.  Add sage leaves and season to taste.

 Bring a large pot of salted water 3/4 full to a rolling boil.  Tip gnocchi one at a time working quickly, into water.  Stir gently with a wooden spoon so gnocchi do not stick to bottom.  Cover pot with lid, stay close by, and bring to a boil.  Do not let water boil over. When gnocchi begin to rise, cook for 1-2 min more tasting for doneness (al dente).

Drain gnocchi and place back into pot, do not drain fully.  Add sage sauce & parmesan. Stir to coat

Serves 4

Enjoy with love!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Classic Osso Bucco

Osso Bucco in Beer

Osso Bucco literally means "bone with a hole". The marrow inside the bone when cooked well becomes fluffy and is considered a delicacy. This cut of beef has a great deal of muscle and therefore it needs liquid for braising.  The liquid you choose can range from stocks to alcohols.  I have chosen beer to give it a twist! You choose the brand you like! This is perfect for a Sunday meal when the schedules are easy going. Mid week this would equally work in a slow cooker, gently simmering, enveloping you with aroma when you arrive home from a busy day.

*6 pieces of Osso Bucco*
2tbsp vegetable oil
flour for dredging
1 each celery stalk, onion, carrot  cleaned, chopped
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 small eggplant, diced, peel on
4 stalk asparagus, ends snapped off
2-3 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2cup black olives
3 sprigs parsley chopped, + extra for garnish
1 tsp each garlic powder & black pepper
pinch of pepper flakes
2-3 bay leaves
2 340ml lager or stout beers
4 cups millet or other grain of preference, cooked
Dredge pieces of beef in flour and brown in oil on both sides in a large preheated skillet. Push aside some of the meat and sauté celery, onion and carrot for 1-2min. more.  Add spices and herbs and salt to taste.
Add beer to just below the top of the meat and bring up to a boil. Reduce heat to a bare simmer(#3 or 4) and continue to cook 1hr. Turning meat every 1/2 hr. Place eggplant, potato and pepper into pan, season, cook for 15min more. Add asparagus and continue to cook until meat is tender approximately 30-45min. more. You will know when the meat breaks with a fork. When the vegetables begin to cook they will mix around the pieces of meat.
Meanwhile 1/2hr before Osso Bucco is tender bring a small pot of salted water to a boil.  Add millet and cook until tender, it will have a slight crunch and the water will taste bitter.  This is the outer covering of the grain.  Drain and if not serving immediately use 2tbsp of the meat gravy to moisten the millet to prevent sticking.
*When buying osso bucco, ask the butcher to show you  each piece underneath as sometimes the bone is small on top and  on the underside the bone is very large, yielding a small amount of beef per serving. If you want more bang for your buck look for uniform bone sizes.*
Serve millet over Osso Bucco and distribute the vegetables.
Serves: 6 or 3 hungry men!
Enjoy with love!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Porcini & Asparagus Quinoa Risotto

Porcini & Asparagus Quinoa Risotto

1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1cup arborio or carnaroli rice
1/2cup quinoa
1/2cup  white wine
1/2 yellow onion diced fine
750 ml chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2cup prepared tomato sauce
1 bunch asparagus, washed ends snapped off
2 cloves garlic, chopped
sea salt & pepper
*1 leftover rind of parmesan (opt)*
Extra Virgin Olive Oil        
Parmesan for Grating                                                       

 Rehydrate mushrooms in a small bowl with 3/4 full of boiling water for 1/2hr. ~This can be done hours in advance.~  When mushrooms have softened, scoop them out with your hands and squeeze out excess water.  Chop and set aside.  Drain mushroom flavoured water through a cheesecloth or coffee filter to remove any sandy grits and reserve liquid.

Preheat a large saucepot on med high heat and add 2tbsp olive oil and onions.  Sauté for 1-2min. until softened on med. high heat.  Add mushrooms and continue cooking and stirring for 2min. Push vegetables over to one side of the pot and toast the rice and quinoa, stirring to coat grains with oil. If the pot is very dry add another tbsp. of EVOO. 

When the outer edge of the rice is beginning to look transparent add the wine.  Stir until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Begin to add mushroom liquid, a little at a time and continue to stir as grains begin to expand and absorb more liquid. 

Reduce heat to med. low and add stock approx. 1 cup at a time. Stirring constantly to allow rice to cook. After approx. 20min of cooking add tomato sauce and rind of parmesan.  If the rice is sticking lower the heat and add more liquids.  Continue cooking until all grains are cooked thoroughly, 30-40 min.  Adjust seasonings.

 ~"Rinse" the jar/can of tomato sauce with a small amount of water, swirling it around the container, which will give you additional liquid for the risotto~.

While the risotto is cooking, in a small skillet sauté the garlic and asparagus with 1-2 tbsp EVOO, season to taste.  Stir into the risotto when it is cooked al dente (to your bite).  Garnish with parmesan if desired.

~I like to let my risotto sit for 5-10min to allow all of the liquids to absorb, some people like it runnier~

*I save these rinds and add to stocks, stews or soups to add salty flavour.  When they are softened they are edible and add delicious flavour.

 Enjoy with love!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Tre Formaggi Lasagna

Three Cheese Lasagna

1 330g tub Ricotta (light) cheese (cottage cheese can be substituted)
1/4tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/2tsp pepper
1 cup parsley, washed, chopped
2 260g pkg. mozzarella
1 cup grated Asiago cheese (or Parmesan)
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2ltr. homemade marinara tomato sauce (recipe to follow)
1 tbsp. EVOO
1pkg. dried no cook lasagna sheets
sea salt to taste

Mix cheeses, nutmeg, pepper, and parsley in a med. size bowl. Re-adjust for seasonings.  Spread 1/2cup sauce on bottom of a casserole dish large enough for pasta sheets.  Spread large dollops of the cheese mixture over pasta. Top with 1/4 of tomato sauce. Repeat process until pasta and cheese are finished ending with tomato sauce on top layer.  Sprinkle on extra mozzarella or Asiago cheese.
Cover with foil bake 350 F for 30min.  Uncover and bake for 15-20 more minutes to crisp edges. If lasagna begins to dry out, add small amounts of water or broth to moisten.

*Using a sharp paring/steak knife poke 10-15 holes from top to bottom of lasagna before placing in oven. This allows liquid to fall through without bubbling over sides when it begins to cook*
Enjoy with love!

Marinara Sauce

2 750 bottles of tomato puree
2 tbsp. EVOO
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
pinch of pepper flakes, sea salt to taste, pinch black pepper
1tbsp tomato paste
1/2cup white or red wine (opt)
1 tsp each garlic powder and oregano
3tbsp fresh chopped parsley. basil or both if desired

In a med. sized sauce pot heat oil, add garlic and pepper flakes, cook until slightly golden and fragrant. Add tomatoes, stir.  Add approx. 1/2cup of water to each bottle swishing to "clean" tomato residue and pour into pot.
Bring to a boil, add paste, herbs and spices, and season to taste.
Reduce heat to a simmer and add wine. Cook on med. low heat for 20-25min.

*Why do I give so many options? The flavours depend upon your tastes and ingredients you have on hand or what is in season.  This is just a base, experiment and make it your own!*

Enjoy with love!