Monday, 30 December 2013

HO
HO
HOLIDAYS
 
Wow don't these Holidays go by so quickly.
I find everyone rushes around for, up to months ahead of the actual Holidays and it's
GONE
sooo
quickly!
One thing I love after the Holiday festivities, is my Turkey leftovers.
What do you do with yours?
 
Our first bite into the leftovers is just to have the same comfort foods the next day.
This for me is a delight since I don't have to cook again.
There are always the small amounts of extras afterwards.
This year I had very little leftover so I made a
 
Triple Decker Turkey Rainbow Sandwich
Hot and delish
I used my homemade Cranberry sauce and grilled it in my black iron skillet ...
no need for a pannino press...
 
Triple Decker Turkey Rainbow Sandwich
 
3 slices whole grain bread
3 tsp mayonnaise
1 pickle, sliced thin
3 tbsp. whole berry cranberry sauce
1 avocado, cut in half, boned
turkey leftovers
butter/margarine/EVOO
gravy
 
Spread mayonnaise on 3 slices of bread.
Spread cranberry sauce over mayo.
 
Top 2 or 3 slices of the bread with mashed avocado.
Top 2 of the slices with some sliced turkey leftovers
Then pickles.
Stack the filled 2 slices of bread filling side up. Then sandwich the top slice.
 
Place a tsp of your shortening in a preheated skillet and place the sandwich over it.
Cook on med. low heat to brown the bread.
Turn over and brown the other sided.
Slice and pour or dip the bread into heated gravy.
 
Enjoy with love!
 


Monday, 23 December 2013

Chocolate Coconut 
Truffle Cheesecake


This year I am going the elegant route of baking and serving desserts.

In the past I had many people to bring treats too, so I baked many many varieties of cookies.

They can be pretty time consuming and take a great deal of patience, something I don't seem to want to do this year.
So,
I have been making... I hope you'll agree..
gorgeous desserts to tempt anyone's palate this month.
In doing so, I have noticed that I or you would be just as happy to have a piece of  fabulous dessert instead of 4 or 5 cookies which may actually surpass the sugar and calorie count of a nice piece of 
1 showstopping sweet
so,
I hope you enjoy my dense and sinful

Chocolate Coconut
Truffle Cheesecake
it is dense and rich
only a small piece is needed.
This recipe makes one large cheesecake or 2 smaller ones for giving 

Crust and Topping:
400g crushed coconut cookies
1/2 cup melted shortening or butter

Filling: 
3 250g pkgs room temp. cream cheese
300ml can chocolate condensed milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp brandy extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1 lg egg

Mix the crust ingredients together and press into the bottom of a greased and parchment paper lined false bottom or spring form pan, reserving 1/4 cup for the topping. 
Add a dot of shortening between the parchment and pan to allow it to "stick" to the pan.
Press down firmly with the bottom of a glass. 
*If the crumbs stick, dip the bottom in sugar*

Place milk, cocoa, extracts and cream cheese into a mixer or food processor.
Mix for 5 min to remove any lumps.
Add egg and continue mixing only for 1 min until egg is incorporated.


Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle remaining crumbs around the perimeter

  Place in a preheated 325F oven with a Bain Marie*.
Bake for 1 hr.
Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days, covered with plastic wrap. 
This is a tart mold. Experiment with the sizes you'd like to make

*Bain Marie: place a small oven proof dish/pot into the oven filled 3/4 with water. This will add steam to the oven preventing the cheesecake from cracking.* 

Enjoy with love! 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Chicken & Sausage
Paprikash
Parprikash is an Eastern European stew.
Flavourful, hot stew is great for the cold weather. 
Sometimes when guests or family are arriving home, they tell me that they can smell the food cooking from outside!
Definitely a warm welcome coming in from the cold..
From all of my studies of different foods around the world, I have noticed sooo
many similarities.
Most foods are alike. 
The change is generally the spices and some veggies that are available around the world.
 
This stew is quite similar to our Italian stews, 
the difference?
Just the paprika...
so here is a simple stove top dinner that can simmer on low for 1hr. without any fuss...

Chicken & Sausage Paprikash


2 tbsp EVOO
5-6 chicken thighs, bone in for flavour
2 sausages, halved
1/2 red pepper, sliced
1 leek or onion, peeled washed
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 carrot, peeled, chopped
1 cup cremini or button mushrooms
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp each salt & pepper
pinch of hot pepper flakes
1 tsp oregano or thyme
1 cup white wine
1 cup tomato puree
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp chopped parsley for garnish

Pour the EVOO into a preheated pan. Swirl 
Add the chicken skin side down and the sausages.
Sear on all sides until golden
Add the carrots and leeks, move around
Add the peppers, mushrooms, salt & pepper
When the liquids starts to evaporate and you begin to hear a sizzle...
Add wine
Allow to cook on med high for 5 min to evaporate some of the alcohol and bring to a high simmer.
Add the tomato pureeherbs and pepper flakes
Bring to a boil on med. high heat
Using tongs move the ingredients around so they do not stick as they bubble around.
Turning the meat when needed.
Lower the heat to a simmer and cover leaving the lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape.
 
Check for liquids every 10 min.
 Cook for approx. 1 hr in total or
until meat easily tears away with a fork.
Garnish with parsley.
Serve over a whole grain.
I have used quinoa and asparagus spears to complete the meal
Use your imagination: pasta, kamut, wild rice etc....
 
Enjoy with Love!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Raspberry Chocolate Hazelnut
Cheesecake

What a rosy red colour, perfect for the
Holiday Season

Daily I max out on nutritional foods recognizing the importance of their contribution to my
health!
But, my motto is
"eat well, save the bad calories for dessert"
Having said that, I still maintain that cheesecake has an element of nutrition with it's protein content.
AND
my recipe has added yogourt and raspberries
so,
don't feel toooo guilty indulging in this gorgeous
Holiday Recipe

Raspberry Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake


  • 400 grams tub Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup strawberry or raspberry yogourt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 7 drops red food colouring(optional)
  • 2 pints fresh raspberries
  •  Recipe Chocolate Hazelnut:
  • 400 grams tub Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1/8 cup cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon flour, halved and set aside
  • 1/2 cup nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  •  Almond Shortbread Crust:
  • 250 grams pkg. of almond shortbread cookies (like Voortmans)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 lg. eggs, separated
Directions
  1. In a food processor whiz the cookies to make crumbs. Add the butter and mix.
  2. Press 3/4 of the crumbs onto the bottom of a parchment lined spring form pan. Set aside the remaining crumbs for the topping.
  3. In a small sauce pot cook the raspberries with 2-3 tbsp of water until softened. Mash with a fork to speed the process.
  4. Strain the seeds by pressing through a strainer. You should have approx. 3/4cup of puree.
  5. In the same food processor cream the cheese to remove any lumps. Add the yogourt, sugar, raspberry puree, 1/2 tbsp flour and the drops of food colouring blend well.
  6. Add 1 egg to the blended mixture and pulse to mix. Do not over mix or the cheesecake will incorporate too much air
  7. Pour mixture onto the crumb crust and spread.
  8. Using the same processor (no need to wash) cream the cheese, cocoa, Nutella, remaining flour, and sugar
  9. Add the egg and pulse until mixed. DO NOT OVER MIX
  10. Pour onto the pink base and using a knife or spatula swirl the two flavours together
  11. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs around the edge to create a decorative effect.
  12. Bake in a preheated 325F oven for 1hr. Place a small sauce pot 3/4 filled with water to make a Bain Marie. This will prevent cracking.
  13. Remove from oven allow to sit 5-10min. Using the back of a knife, run the knife along the outside crust to loosen it so that the cheesecake will not crack when cooling.
  14. Refrigerate minimum 3 hrs or overnight for best results.
  15. Garnish: fresh raspberries sprinkled with icing sugar
Enjoy with love!


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Mushroom Leek & Asparagus
Risotto
Steaming Risotto made easy in the
Bellini Kitchen Master

 
Now that the cold weather is hear, we tend to hibernate a little.
I take great comfort in hot stews, soup and slow cooked foods.
They keep me warm and comfortable after a long day.
This dish was prepared using 1 pot with the
Bellini Kitchen Master
It blended the rice to an almost porridge consistency, which was really smooth and delish!
Risotto can easily be a one pot meal for lunch or dinner.
I like to use it as a side with a hearty protein and the Bellini helped me take my mind off of stirring this generally sticky finicky dish so I could take care of the other dishes I had to prepare.
 
Mushroom Leek & Asparagus Risotto
 
1 leek washed well, sliced into coins
1 tbsp. EVOO
1/3 cup white wine
1 cup brown rice
1/3 cup kamut grains
1 cup Arborio rice
6 cup broth
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 tbsp. flat leaf parsley, minced
 
Place the oil and leeks into the bowl with the blending blade on.
Cook for 3min. @ 100c on speed 2
Add the wine, and grains. Lock the lid on again.
Cook for 40 min on speed 3 @100c with the cap off to allow steam to escape.
*Every 6-10 min pour in 1 cup of broth until grains are al dente*
 
10 min before all grains are cooked add herbs.
 
Topping:
 
2 tbsp. EVOO
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 large cremini mushrooms
1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends off
1/4 jalapeno
pinch of salt
1/4 cup parmesan
 
In a small saucepan 10 min before grains are cooked add oil, jalapeno and garlic to a small preheated skillet. Cook until lightly golden in colour.
Add mushrooms and asparagus, sauté for 5-7 min. until slightly brown with crisp edges on med. high heat.
Season with salt.
Layer or stir into risotto and top with cheese.

My Thoughts about the BKM

I have come to the end of my experimental period using this machine. I have to say it was a great help in the kitchen. Being a seasoned cook, I enjoyed it taking away some of my prep and cooking time.
Yes,  I love to be creative in the kitchen and love to see and smell my foods as I cook and bake
but...
if my recipe is a repeat during the weeknight dinners I know what it will taste and smell like when sautéing or cooking
so....
I really enjoyed it being able to cut down on some of my work load. As baking is a science, I really enjoyed experimenting with this top quality machine.
1.  It pulverized my hard parmesan pieces which I would have had to through out.
2.  It cooks my Risotto to a cream state.
 
3. My bread was kneaded in 30 seconds.
 
4. My pie crust was mixed in 30 seconds with     minimal water.
 
5. I enjoyed using the steam basket for a 2nd side dish.
 
6. My kids were able to easily use it for smoothies.
 
7. Hubby (my dishwasher) commented how easy the clean up was! That's saying something...tee hee
 
 

As I discussed it's advantages with my readers and friends,
this machine's price is cheaper than the total combined price of appliances in your kitchen.
 
It is sturdier and far more powerful than the "cooking" appliances I have seen on the market.
On the whole, I was quite pleased with this appliance and would enjoy using it on a weekly basis.
 
Enjoy with love!


Thursday, 21 November 2013

Apple Cinnamon Crumble

Apples, Apples, Apples
 
What's your favourite pie flavor?
 
Mine is apple...
 
I love fall
The leaves turn a beautiful array of warm reds, oranges, yellow and rust.
With that comes apple picking time.
 
When the kids were small, I enjoyed bringing them to our local farms for a wagon ride into the vast rolling acres for apple picking, during the cooler months.
 
Dressed with their rain boots; for the mud, hats, gloves and scarves...what a glorious time we had.
 
They ate and picked their favourite apples.
Mine were always Mac's as they disintegrate when cooked. My husband's fave were and still are Red Delicious, crispy and tart..but not good for cooking.
 
Matsu were so huge and had a wonderful crunch. But, really all apples are tasty and have that wonderful snap in your teeth when biting.
 
So pick your favourite baking apple or a mixture of apples to make my...

 
 Apple Cinnamon Crumble 
 
8-10 cups washed: diced, cored apples, peel on 
(granny, mac, golden, spy)
4-5 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
 
Crumble:
 
1 cup oatmeal flakes
1 cup flour
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup margarine, coconut oil, or butter
1 tsp cinnamon
 
 
Place diced apples into a casserole dish large enough to hold mixture.
Drizzle with honey


Sprinkle with spice!

 
In a small mixing bowl cut shortening into flour, flakes, sugar and spices.
It's that easy!
Sprinkle over apples.

Bake in a 350F preheated oven for 40-50 min. until bubbling and golden brown.
Enjoy with love!


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Sloppy Joe's
        Mmmmm.....
My childhood memories are made of this...
 
Sloppy Joe's
Such an easy comfort food great for the middle of the week or for a fast easy lazy weekend meal.
The Bellini
makes this meal easy
and
the clean up is fast and easy too!
Slow cooker food made fast!
I was impressed with the smoothness of the beef as it was quite broken down which is needed in smooth sloppy joe's
 
Sloppy Joe's
 
1 onion
1 tbsp. EVOO
500g lean ground beef
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin or taco seasoning
1/4 cup red wine
750ml tomato puree
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
1 tsp hot pepper sauce or more
4-6 slices process cheese
4-6 toasted hamburger/Kaiser buns
 
With the blade attachment on
chop the onion on speed 5 for 10 sec.
add the EVOO and cook for 60 sec @100c
on speed 2
Add the beef, spices and herbs
cook at 100c on speed 5 for 2 min. with the cap off.
Add the wine, paste and tomatoes through the opening.
Cook for 45 min on speed 1 @100c
with the cap off to allow steam to escape.
Place cheese on buns and place in a toaster oven to melt.
Ladle the meat sauce over the cheese and top with bun.
Enjoy with love
 


Monday, 18 November 2013

Braided Apple Strudel
 with Chia Seeds
This Apple Strudel
is so flaky and fast to make with the help of store bought puff pastry.
 
This fall my mom and her neighbor teamed together to give me their apples!
I love apples it's my favourite pie filling.
This was a bit much...I had a bushel!
So, I sat at the kitchen table and peeled and peeled.
My index finger was brown for 2 days!
But for my hard working efforts, 
I have jars of apple filling.
I've made this dessert twice and still have more for pies.
Here is how I made the strudel and filling which is easy but time consuming but, you can make this in smaller batches.
 
Apple Strudel
 
1 square defrosted puff pastry
2 cups cooked apple
3 tbsp. bread crumbs
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
dash of cloves and nutmeg
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 tbsp. vanilla sugar or coarse sugar
 
Roll dough between two sheets of floured wax paper 12"x8"x 1/4" thickness
 
Add breadcrumbs and sugar to the middle of the dough leaving approx. 3" border all around.
 
Top with the filling and sprinkle the spices over.

Slash dough 1 1/2" x 3" along the length of the dough
 

 
Brush the strips and ends with egg wash. Fold one end over the
filling.
 
Begin to cross over the strips in a uniform pattern.
Repeat the end the same as the first step.
 
 

 
Brush generously with more egg wash.
Sprinkle with sugar then chia seeds.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2hrs 
 
Bake in a 375F preheated oven until golden brown,
40-50min. 
 
Filling
 
 
6lb of apples, Golden, Granny, Macintosh
peeled, cut and cored
1-2 cups sugar, depending on sweetness of apple
1/4 cup water
 
Place all of the apples, sugar and water into a large heavy bottomed pot on med. heat (#5)
 
Stir often to prevent scorching and cook for approx. 30 min until apples are cooked through, when they are easily pierced.
They will release their own juice to prevent from scorching.
Place in heat proof sterilized jars.
 
Wipe the rim and seal.
Place in a Bain Marie:
Place the jars in a large pot, fill 3/4 full with water.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a rolling simmer.
Cook for approx. 30 min, turn off heat and allow to cool in the water. You should hear the lids pop. This is a sign that the bottles have sealed and they will store safely.
*If this does not happen within a few hours the boiling process needs to be repeated.*
 
How many jars you have depends on the amount of apples and how much you cooked them down.
 

Thursday, 7 November 2013


Summer Fresh

This Autumn
I had the pleasure of touring the Summer Fresh plant at their location in
Vaughan,
where I live!

They took the time to showcase their
Head Office
as well as their plant 2 blocks away.

I was quite impressed with their friendly and inviting manner which I could plainly see came from the founder and President

Susan Niczowski
 
 
 
She is the creative force behind the many dips, sauces, hummus' and salads on the market today.

I was more surprised with her and her families candidness discussing their humble beginnings which paved their way to success to the present.
Rarely is a corporate setting "friendly" and
"open"
Having been in the corporate setting where everyone minds their own business, this atmosphere, I'm sure I can speak for all the bloggers, made everyone feel at ease and as if this was an extension of their home life.

There was a great deal of laughter and friendly cursing that would not be revealed if everyone didn't get along as well as they do...
however I'm veering off...

The plant which I cannot show any photos of because it is against regulations as well as they are very serious of hygiene, was extremely clean, well run and smelled wonderful because of all the fresh cut produce!

We were suited up with hair nets, gloves to cover jewelry, boots that were scrubbed underneath for any outside dirt and off we went with
Mary Niczowski

The other half of the team who is a biologist that helps get the stabilized product on the shelf.

She was so engaging and full of spunk! 
It was great watching the machinations of the food industry as she greeted each and every employee we walked by.

We also ran into their parents who in their 70's & 80's still work at the plant and are their as early as the rest of the employees!

It's quite a pleasure to see a Canadian
family run business that is successful and succeeding.

We were treated to a wonderful lunch full of their product and we had a chef that prepared some appetizers featured in their Entertaining Guide
which will be available at in the LCBO magazine available in November.
 
 
 

Chef  preparing hot appetizers

Creative Serving Suggestions

Roasted nuts in a beautiful fall display


Stuffed Purple Potatoes




Staff who designed the table setting and appy's




Mini Baba Ghanouj Shots






New Item: Individual Mousse shots






Summer Fresh
is having a contest for the attending bloggers. The winner's recipe will be featured in the next Entertaining Guide!
Here is my entry:
I would love it if you could vote for my recipe
 


https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151731574002204&set=a.409124717203.194860.92438042203&type=1

Kaleidoscopes





This sophisticated savory appetizer  is easy and quick to make!
It can be prepared weeks in advance, wrapped and frozen.
Sliced and popped into a hot oven when needed and you will have everyone grabbing for a hot flaky delight.
Even the non-veggie eaters will want to try these tasty colourful show stopping appy's
with super food Kale adding specks of green!

"Kale"idoscopes
  
Make extra you'll need them!
Recipe:
297g pkg puff pastry, defrosted
227g tub New SF Kale dip
1/4 cup finely diced red pepper
8 roasted chicken deli slices
1 1/2 cup shredded old cheddar

227g SF Greek Jalapeno Dip for dipping  (or any fave flavor)
 
Prep:
 
 
Remove the puff pastry from the package, separate the squares.
Roll each square to 8"x12" rectangle between two sheets of floured wax paper. Peel back as you roll, so as not to stick to paper.
Remove the top sheet of wax paper.
Spread 1/2 of SF Kale Dip leaving a 1" clean border around sides
and 2" border at the top

Sprinkle with 1/2 of the diced red pepper


Slightly overlap 4 chicken slices on top, leaving border


Sprinkle with half of the cheddar.




Begin to roll the edge closest to you, away from you, using the bottom wax paper to guide you, into a tight roll while wrapping
the roll.

Continue the above steps for
second square,
using the remaining ingredients.

Wrap the ends using the paper and place in a freezer for 30-60min to slightly harden, making it easier to cut*.

Remove from the freezer slice roll evenly into 1/2" slices. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet in rows, 1/4" apart with the ends almost touching the next wheel*

Bake 35-45 min in a preheated 375F oven until crispy, hot and golden in colour.

Serve hot with extra side dip of your choice

*As they puff the ends will attach to another pinwheel preventing it from opening, but will be easy to pull apart when baked*
*Freeze the rolls, wrap and place in proper freezer bags, for up to 3 months.*

Makes approx. 15-18 pieces per roll



Enjoy with Love!