Thursday, 30 May 2013

How to:
 Shape Panzarotti or Calzone
It's fun to make smaller size foods!
They are easy for handling, can be frozen and stored or transported to any function you are running too.
When I have time on the weekend I mix up a batch and the kids have lunch ready.
When they were smaller I had snacks for after soccer, dance or hockey.
These "fast foods" really help out parents who are looking for  easy foods but don't want to compromise the health factor.
1 raw uncooked pizza dough
corn flour for sprinkling
any fixin's you have:
mozzarella cheese,
salami, sausage, pepperoni
mushroom, peppers,
Be adventurous
Cut the dough into portion sizes
Remember the dough will be stretched or rolled to a larger size.
Using your hands, stretch the dough to the desired size for each person
Cut, chop or grate the desired fillings
 Place filling in the center of the dough
Fold the dough over to cover filling
Twist edges over to create a decorative seal.
Sprinkle a baking sheet with corn meal to prevent the dough from sticking to the pan.
Alternatives: grease and flour a baking sheet
or place on parchment paper or silpat
You can brush the tops with: an egg wash or oil.
Pierce the top with a fork to allow steam to escape.
Bake in a preheated 350F-375 oven bake until golden on top and bottom.
Alternatives: you can fry them in 2" of preheated 365F canola/vegetable oil until golden on both sides.
Of course this version is higher in fat calories
If you are counting
"just sayin"
Enjoy with love!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

How to...
Make Pizza Dough
No Fat Version
There are many types of pizza dough recipes
try some and see which suit your tastes best
This one is particularly crunchy
Be adventurous!
Change the topping to suit your needs or just add whatever ingredient's you have in the refrigerator.
2 cup lukewarm water
3 tsp traditional yeast
pinch of sugar
3 cups all purpose flour + extra
1 1/2 cup durum wheat flours
course ground corn meal for sprinkling on counter
Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature 100F for 5 min. Turn off heat. If you have a gas stove the pilot light will be warm enough to allow the dough to rise.
Add water to a large bowl. Sprinkle sugar over the water, then the yeast. Swirl with your finger do disperse the yeast. Allow to sit for 10min until yeasts bubbles and floats to the top like puffs of clouds.
Drop in flours, 1 cup at a time mixing with a fork. When you can no longer stir because the mixture is thick and sticky begin to mix and blend with one hand, using the other hand to turn the bowl.
When mixture is a rough ball.  Scrape mixture onto a clean, lightly floured surface and continue to knead with both hands adding flour if the mixture becomes sticky. You will see and you use your palm to push and fold the dough over itself it will begin to become elastic.  Continue adding flour until it is no longer sticky but is firm to the touch, like a babies bottom.

Place in the same bowl, no need to dirty another dish. Cover with a tea cloth. This will not stick to the dough but plastic wrap will.
Allow to rise in the warm oven until double in size approximately 1- 1 1/2hrs.
Remove from oven and on a clean, lightly floured surface with your hands, begin to shape dough to you baking sheet or stone.  Adding dough if it becomes too sticky. If it will not yield allow to rest in between stretching.
Allow to rest and rise again for 15-20min.
Spread or fill with desired toppings and bake in a 350F-375F preheated oven until edges are brown and underneath is golden brown when lifted from the sheet.

If you stretch the dough out on a large sheet you will get a thin crust. If you spread it out on a smaller sheet you will get thicker crust pizza.

Your choice!

Friday, 24 May 2013

CutCo Spring Event

Baby Endive with Baby Mission Figs & Blue Cheese
I had the pleasure of being one of the lucky food bloggers invited to a Cutco demo and dinner at the Liaison College in downtown Toronto. My two guests, who are great friends and supporters of my blogging, cooking and baking site accompanied me. We were in foodie heaven as we had elegant hors d'oeuvres, cheeses, fruit and Canadian wine by Chateau du Charmes founded in 1978 and produced in our very own Niagara Region, run by 5th generation family members...

Left to Right
Guest Silvia, Marisa; Tasty Delights, Guest Sandra

Toasting with Chateau du Charmes

It was a glorious evening, casual, friendly and full of information about a high quality product that has been in business since 1948. Although I had never heard of this company before this seminar, I was pleasantly surprised that they sell very good quality knives sold personally home to home much like Avon, Pampered Chef and Tupperware.

We got to do a "hands on demo" with all of their line as we peeled, cut, diced and chopped our own kale, quinoa and fruit salad for dinner!
Our prep table featuring CutCo knives + ingredients

I wasn't shy to use these knives!
I must admit, they were a good weight in my hand and very sharp. Impressive!

I loved the long serrated bread knife as it cleanly cut thin slices of baguettes.

10" Serrated Blade, cuts thin perfect slices

This peeler can peel both ways. Towards you and away, giving you a shaving effect so easy that you can add carrot ribbons, to your salad without pulling out another gadget!.
What peeler does that?
Great for left and right handed people.

 It is sharp, precise and the peels don't stick to the gadget slowing you down.

Since I was the seasoned "cook" of the group I looked around the well stocked professional kitchen for other items that I could "test" this particular tool with...we found, apples and potatoes and they equally peeled efficiently.  As a skeptic, I didn't want to just use their ingredients. I wanted to "see" if their product really worked with other fruits and vegetables that weren't part of dinner.

Happily it is a great item. I am not being paid to endorse this or any other product from this company. This is my opinion an no one elses.

Ross our sales rep was informative and had a great deal of product knowledge. These high quality stainless steel knives have a lifetime guarantee against damages and are sharpened for free!
They also have an extensive stainless steel cookware line available.

Our Prep area, making a delish raw Kale Salad with lemon juice and segmented orange slices
Sales Rep Extraordinaire, Ross and
 Rancha Connell National Sales Director
 caught quickly walking by!
More Treats!
Bite Sized Delights
Bite Size Caprese on a Stick
Bite size Polenta & Mushroom 

Mini Blini with Smoked Salmon & whipped cream with

Pickled Red Onions


Cheese Knives
displayed on the Appetizer Table

The 10" Serrated Bread Knife
easily cut away the Pineapple peel and core 
for this refreshing Poppy Seed Fruit Salad

 Promotional Giveaways
As if we weren't treated Royally to begin with
More goodies to be raffled off!

I won 3 Cookbooks from Rose Reisman
a well known Canadian Chef.
If that wasn't enough our swag bags contained
the wonderful Chateau du Charmes
wine, a knife, cookbook and my much loved peeler!
Thank you to Cutco
for a fabulous and informative evening.

That's not all!
Here is your chance for 1 lucky winner to win
WIN CUTCO Studio + 4 Set with Block $570 value.
Canada only giveaway, ending Friday June 21st 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Dorset Cereal
I have been one of the lucky bloggers chosen to sample this fabulous cereal/granola/musli
Dorset Cereals
I discovered this cereal/granola in the quest to find healthy cereal alternatives years ago. We love extra fibre and flavours with our breakfast cereal or add in's to our meal and now I get to write a review about it!
 I love baking and cooking;
I don't always have the time or want to make granola!
I feel this brand has the same ingredients minus the fillers, fat and sugars that I would not add to my own homemade granola.
This brand however, has way more ingredients than I would have at any given time in my pantry, so nutritious, delish and wholesome, The choice is easy.
It is vegetarian, vegan and has no preservatives
You should find it displayed in the health isle at your better grocers.

As you all know Breakfast is the most important meal of the day to kick start your morning. Dorset cereals are high in protein and low in fat, helping get the metabolism on the right track, by keeping your blood sugar level.

This wholesome product comes from Poundbury, England.
Here are the 7 tasty combinations:
  • Simply Nutty Muesli: a blend of multi-grain flakes with whole almonds, oat flakes, dates, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds
  • Honey Granola: a lovely blend of crunchy oats, sunflower seeds, flaked almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds (This is the first box I opened and everyone just ate it with their hands!)
  • Simply Delicious Muesli: blend of raisins, sultanas, sunflover seeds, dates, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts & multi-grain flakes
  • Really Nutty Muesli: crunchy mix of cashews, Brazils, hazelnuts, almonds, sultanas, dates, flame raisins and multi-grain flakes
  • Super Cranberry, Cherry & Almond Muesli: cranberries, cherries, almonds, raisins, sultanas, sunflower seeds, flame raisins & toasted cereals (see the Bread Pudding below)
  • Super High Fibre Muesli: blend of toasted cereals, flame raisins, dates, sunflower seeds, toasted coconut and chopped roasted hazelnuts
  • Fruits, Nuts & Seeds Muesli: blend of raisins, flame raisins, dates, sultanas, banana, pumpkin & sunflower seeds, flaked almonds, whole hazelnuts & multi grain flakes (my personal fave)
My Decadent way to use Dorset Cereal!
This is a great "do ahead" breakfast/dessert for any Brunch
Pot Luck
1 (400g)loaf cinnamon bread
250 ml cream cheese
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup nutella
1 cup prepared lemon curd (ED Smith) (jam can be substituted)
500 ml 10 % cream
3 eggs

1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp granola
Toast all of the bread slices.
Beat the cream cheese with the icing sugar untill combined and fluffy.
Begin to spread half of the slices with nutella and the other half with cream cheese mixture.
Sandwich the two flavours together.
Slice each sandwich diagonally in half creating two triangles. Generously spread each triangle with lemon curd on the outside and stack the triangles together. 

 Work in batches of two placing in a greased 8" x 8" casserole dish, with some points facing up to get a crusty texture when baked. Tuck the end pieces of the loaf under the other sandwiches, to get more moisture as the crusts are tough.
If there is any nutella, cream cheese or curd left over tuck it in between the sandwiches.
With a fork whisk eggs, cream, sugar and cinnamon together. Pour over bread. Press down to soak in.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hrs. to absorb liquid. Remove plastic wrap and sprinkle with granola.
Bake for 40 min in a 350F. Can be served hot or at room temperature
Serves: 6-8

Kitchen Sink Bread Pudding

Whole Grain Pancakes
Super High Fibre Muesli
 Yogourt Granola Frosting
add 1/2 cup Muesli + 1/2 cup extra liquid to your favourite pancake batter
cook as directed on package
A dollop of your favourite yogourt with a sprinkling of Muesli on top
Simply Delicious Muesli 
 Strawberries, Vanilla Yogourt &
Fruit, Nuts, and Seeds Muesli Parfait
Layer yogourt muesli & fruit for a burst of flavour to your breakfast
This can be placed in a sealed container for on the go breaks or snacks too!

Sprinkle your favourite flavour over any muffin batter 
Simply Nutty Muesli Carrot Muffins

 Overnight Muesli with Fresh Fruit

This one is fast, nutritious and delish!
I make this particular breakfast several times a week for myself

Pick your favourite muesli or granola:

1/3 cup Dorset cereal
Pour milk or non dairy milk just to cover cereal.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning:
Add any fresh berries, 1 tbsp chia seeds
Grab a spoon!
This can also stored in a portable container ready to go when you are.
I received these products from Dorset Cereals, but the review and recipes are my own opinion.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Guacamole Salsa
I have to admit, I enjoy Guacamole!
Many of us do!
But for me, if it's all mashed like many Guacamole's are I WILL eat the whole container.
Most of us are not aware of what portion sizes should be and where the hidden fats are.
Avocados are a monounsaturated fat full of Omega 3's
It is a very healthy item but, with added tortilla chips it can become an excessive caloric item.
I decided to make it into a chunky salsa so that I would spoon it over my entree like a
This way I would have the benefits of moisture to my meal with the nutritional content and without all of the extra calories
Win Win Situation
Don't you agree?
This is very simple to make and you can go wild with any flavour boosters.
Here's my version today!
3 ripe avocados
1 tbsp chopped onion
2 tbsp chopped parsley or cilantro
1/2 large tomato, diced
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced, zested if you want more citrus punch!
Cut into the avocado along the whole length to the pit. Twist the avocado and pull apart.
With one swift movement "hit" the knife blade onto the pit. It will stick to it. Twist the knife and pop out the pit. Lightly bang the pit into the side of the sink, I have a recycling basket, pop off the pit.
With the tip of the knife, run 1/2" lines lengthwise and crosswise into the avocado, do not cut through the shell. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon, giving you perfect cubes. Continue for all of the halves.
Toss the tomato, avocado, herb, oil, salt and pepper into a bowl and enjoy.
Cover to refrigerate until needed. Use within a few hours. It will darken if you have leftovers but it is still edible.
Enjoy with love!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Shrimp Diablo

What's your favourite Seafood?
Mine is Shrimp!
I could eat this all day long.
It is a costly ingredient which is why most of us utilize it around special occasions.
Well, this dish
s t e t c h e s
the budget making it an easy and affordable dish for "home company"
Why should we always wait to have special food for special occasions?
Aren't we worth it too?
Well follow my steps to see how easy and econimical this dish can be for any night of the week
1 lb of 12/16 size shrimp:this is how many shrimp are in each pound
500 gr pkg. of spaghettini:if you look close I have mixed two white & wheat, so that my kids gets some fiber!
1/4 cup sliced black olives
3 cloves garlic, sliced
3 salted anchovy filets, not rinsed, chopped, this is seasoning
1 jar of drained artichoke hearts, sliced
1-2 tsp red chili flakes
3-4 tbsp chopped parsley
salt & pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil
Here are the ingredients for today
Bring a large pot with 3/4 filled salted water to a boil. Add in pasta, stir to prevent sticking.
When it reaches a boil reduce the heat to #7-8, continue stirring occasionally, until al dente.
Meanwhile in a small skillet, add 4 tbsp olive oil and turn the heat to med. high #7. Drop in garlic, saute for 30-60 sec. to golden. Place in anchovies and stir to disintegrate them.  They will splatter, if that happens lower the heat slightly.
This will flavour the whole dish. Add the chili.
Continuously stir to delicately brown the mixture.
Add the shrimp, placing down seperately to evenly cook

Turn over as they begin to turn pink.
Add 3/4 of the parsley
Drop in artichokes and olives.
Stir to coat and continue cooking for another minute until all shrimp are pink.
Toss pasta back into the large pot.
Tip the shrimp mixture into the large pot.
I like to grab a handful of pasta with the tongs and "wipe" the pasta into the skillet scraping every bit of goodness from the pan.
Drizzle 3 tbsp raw EVOO overtop to dress the dish.
Toss to coat.
Garnish with more parsley.
Serves:4-6 people
Enjoy with love!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Roasted Yam & Pear Toss

One of my favourite things about Summer besides enjoying the beautiful weather to the fullest, is
I have even taught my kids to BBQ!
Why not? It's fast and easy and they feel a sense of accomplishment.
The food is delicious and the clean up is fast!
When I have meat that is slow cooking like Beer Can Chicken or Leg of Lamb
I like to accompany that with something that is going to utilize the low and slow method on the BBQ
This way it all gets cooked together making good use of the heat
I thought this sweet and starch combo would be a great side dish (with lots of leftovers!)
and something a little different for the weekday doldrums
What a beautiful contrast of colours! 
Since my family are always the Guinea Pigs for my new creations :D, I got a thumbs up for this dish for a go ahead remake this dish for company.
1 large yam, washed, skin pierced all over with a fork
1 green pear, not over ripe, cut lengthwise into thirds
1 lime zested and cut in half
1 tbsp tahini paste (sesame seed paste)
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp maple syrup + 1 tsp extra for marinade
1 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp pesto
salt & pepper to taste
Wrap yam in a sheet of foil and place directly on BBQ grill. Cook on low heat until fork tender approx. 30min depending on size of yam. Set aside and allow to cool to the touch.
Brush cut pear sides with  maple syrup and place directly on BBQ grill. Cook on low heat to caramelize until you develop grill marks 10min if pear is hard *Do not overcook or the pear will disintegrate.*
Place lime on grill cut side down. Grill for 5 min to achieve grill marks. Set aside to cool to touch

Prepare the Dressing:
Place the tahini, zest, pesto, garlic, olive oil, extra maple syrup, 1/4 tsp pepper and 1/2 tsp salt in a small ramekin. Squeeze the lime halves and stir to blend. Add 1 tbsp of water and stir together.
Peel skin of the yam.  Slice into 1/2"-3/4" round slices, then cube the yam.
Dice the pear, removing seeds. Toss together.
Drizzle with  dressing toss to coat. Can be served warm or room temperature. Readjust seasoning.
Enjoy with love

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Mexicasa Beef Ribs
Late Spring
and it is still chilly here!
So I decided to warm up our toes with nippy
Beef Ribs
Why nippy?
It has a kick with Chipotle Peppers
you read this correctly.
Both dark aromatic ingredients lend a rich flavour to this sauce along with zesty Salsa to thicken the gravy.
A touch of stickiness to sweeten the pot
with Honey.
Beef Ribs family style
Stick to the Ribs kind of meal.
Pun intended!
This hearty meal is slow and low.
One of those meals you don't have to watch closely to enjoy its final gastronomic delights.
I made this on the cook top but, you can easily follow the steps and put it in the oven or crockpot and dinner is ready when you get home from work or a busy day!

3 lb beef short ribs
2-3tbsp vegetable oil
1 leek, white part only, cleaned and sliced
1 1/2cup mushrooms sliced
1 tsp espresso granules
1 tbsp chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
1 tsp oregano
1/2 cup wine
1 cup beef, chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp  honey
1/2 cup salsa
salt & pepper to taste
Add the oil to a large preheated skillet on medium high. Place the ribs in and brown, searing on all sides.
 Remove to a platter. 
Add more oil if needed and drop in leeks, reduce heat to medium, stirring to soften the vegetables.
Add the mushrooms, and a pinch of salt to allow them to release their moisture. Continue stirring to brown.
Place ribs back into the pan pushing the vegetables so that the meat comes into contact with the pan.
Using a wooden spoon push over some ribs to make space and drop in the espresso. Stir to distribute the heat to toast the coffee. Add the chipotle stir to blend.
Pour in wine and cook, reducing the alcohol for 2-3 min.  Turning the meat over to coat with the luscious mixture.
Add the broth, sprinkle the oregano and drizzle the honey over the meat. Move the mixture around again to distribute the mixture to combine all of the meat with the gravy.
Taste for seasonings.
Cover tightly and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Cook covered for 1 1/2 hrs turning the ribs every 20 minutes to coat evenly. If the liquid reduces quickly add more water, broth or wine.
To check for tenderness see if the meat falls from the bone when pierced with a fork and gives.
If it is not tender continue cooking on low heat for another 1/2hr.
15minutes before the meat is tender make a hot spot and add the chocolate, stir to melt. This along with the coffee granules lends a dark richness to the gravy.
Remove the ribs placing over rice or potatoes.
Skim any excess fat from the gravy with a spoon, discard.
Stir the salsa into the gravy mixture stirring to blend well. The salsa will add a refreshing zestyness.
Spoon generously over the ribs and grab a fork!
Enjoy with love.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Browned Butter & Ricotta 
Delicately soft fluffy pillow like dumplings.
I have always wanted to make
Gnudi from Northern Italy
A large dumpling similar to potato Gnocchi
 originating from Rome.
However I couldn't, because I had never seen or tasted them! and since these were not from my mothers part of Italy we had no clue.
Nor can they be found on any restaurant menus I have been too!
I have adapted a recipe that I have found and had enough Ricotta to try the recipe with some tweaking before I sent it to you!
I hope since I have made these for the first time and found them easy to make, that it will
encourage you to try them as well.
The "batter" can be mixed ahead of time much like Matzo Balls, refrigerated, shaped and boiled when needed.
After cooking they can be refrigerated before browning in the butter!
Wow you can't get more versatile than that.
Follow my easy step by step method
3 eggs
1 425 tub ricotta cheese
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup parmesan cheese+ extra for sprinkling
1 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp chopped parsley, stem included
Brown Butter Parsley Sauce
4 tbsp cold butter
1/4 cup EVOO
1 tsp red chili flakes
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1-2 tbsp chopped parsley leaves
In a large bowl whisk eggs until frothy. Add ricotta and whisk vigorously. Add salt, pepper, parsley and parmesan. Stir to blend
Slowly add flours to blend. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 days covered with plastic wrap.
Using two soup spoons shape into oval or round shapes 2"-3" balls.

Drop "quenelles" into a large pot of boiling salted water.

Turn the heat down to a simmer. Allow the dumplings to rise to the top. Cook for 1 minute.
You could check one by cutting it in half to see if it is cooked through. Taste it to see if it is the right consitancy.
Drain on a baking rack and tray. This can be cooled and refrigerated for 1-2 hrs.
Add oil and butter to a skillet on medium high heat. Begin to melt the butter.
Butter foams before the milk solids brown
Add garlic, a pinch of salt, pepper flakes
Continue slowly cooking on low, allowing the garlic and butter to brown adding lots of flavour
When butter has browned
add  some chopped parsley leaves
turn off the heat and allow them to flavour
the oil
When all of the Gnudi have drained. Cook for 1 minute on each side in the butter mixture.
Browning and crisping slightly
Enjoy with love!