Friday, 2 December 2016

 Seafood Salad

 With the Holidays so close by I feel I must share this Italian Seafood Salad with my dear readers.

Although this can be enjoyed any time of the year~
This delicate salad is usually made specifically as an appetizer during special occasions.

Generally my mom makes it on Christmas Eve when Roman Catholics observe the "no meat" guidelines.

I can't wait for Christmas Eve to enjoy all of my mom's delicious Seafood dishes.

Tasty, low in fat and can be made even up to a month in advance if, it is fully submerged in vegetable oil to prevent spoilage, similar to quick preservation methods.

I like to make large batches, enjoying "dipping" into it when I want, to top my salads or just on its own, before it is used for my special occasion.

Here's what you'll need:

Seafood Salad

1 kg of frozen calamari rings
700 g frozen shrimp*
2 ribs of celery or fennel, washed, diced
1 carrot, peeled, diced
1 cup parsley with stems, finely chopped
2 green onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp pepper flakes
2 cups white vinegar
1 tsp each salt & pepper
vegetable oil or EVOO

Chop all of the vegetables and herbs.

In a large saucepot of 4-5 cups water add vinegar and bring to a boil

Drop in seafood.
Bring back to a boil and then cook for 2 min.
Taste it to see if you like the chew texture.
Al dente.

Do not overcook or calamari will get rubbery

Run under cold water to stop the cooking

Place all of the ingredients into a large bowl and toss together.

Add approximately 1/4 cup of oil, toss.
Adjust the seasonings if needed.

Pack into a non-reactive container.
If you are using it within 2-3 days use EVOO, cover and refrigerate.

~If you are storing for a longer period.
Pack tightly into a glass jar, cover completely with vegetable oil submerging the seafood by 2" of oil at the top level. Seal the jar with a tight lid.~
Refrigerate until consumed; 2-3 weeks only.
Serving Suggestion: Drain oil

*I did not use shrimp at this time but,
I usually do...this is a small batch for me*

*If you "dip" into it...use clean utensils and submerge in oil again, topping with more oil if necessary*

Enjoy with love!

Friday, 18 November 2016

Rosemary Lentil & Lamb Shank Stew

My family loves Lamb and I love slow cooking during the colder months.
How easy is it to braise food in the oven?
It enables me to walk away while food lovingly cooks on low heat, tenderizing and melding all of my tasty ingredients together.
I have never made Lamb shanks and wanted to try this under appreciated cut of Lamb for quite a while.
We tend to stick to what we are familiar with when cooking and that can become monotonous and uninspirational.
As a conscientious consumer, I am trying to use all parts of the animal as a growing movement to get back to basics and emulate what farmers have been doing for centuries, using a farm to table mentality that reduces our Carbon Footprint. Essentially, not wasting any part of an animal that has been sacrificed for our consumption. 
Lesser known cuts of meat are less costly and just as delicious which, fits perfectly with me since I always try to reduce costs when feeding a largish family.
I have decided to add Canadian Lentils to my dish.
Lentils are full of fiber and protein.
They absorb whatever flavours and spices you add to the dish and are very inexpensive.

This enables me to,
feed my hungry family and s t r e t c h the budget,
giving me a 1 pot meal with a side!
The slow cooking of this meal made these lentils so creamy and the Shanks so tender!
It was quite unexpected since I have never prepared them this way.

I served this for guests and family and all were taken aback at how delicious this rustic meal was.

The  New Zealand Lamb shanks which were so
small to start with plumped up, became fork tender and really were a large portion!

This dish is definitely going to be a Cold month Show Stopping dish added to my repertoire of meals.

You'll Need:
2 pkgs or 8 New Zealand Lamb shanks
1 large onion
2 tbsp. EVOO
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into coins
1 celery stalk, cleaned and chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary
1 tsp each salt and pepper
1/4 cup Merlot or full bodied wine
2-3 bay leaves

2 cup green lentils, picked through

Cover the lentils with water, bring to a boil.
Cook on med. high heat for 10 min. Drain

Preheat the oven to 350F
In a saucepan, brown all of the shanks in the oil.
Place into large Dutch Oven or Casserole dish.

Sauté the onions, celery, peppers and carrots for

1 min. add to the casserole.

Add precooked lentils to the casserole

Add wine to pan

reduce for 1 min. pour over casserole dish

Add 2-3 cups of water
Add remaining spices and herbs.
Cover and cook for 1 1/2 - 2 hrs until
Lamb shanks are fork tender.
No need to uncover and peak when cooking unless
you need to add more liquid.

Enjoy with Love~


Wednesday, 9 November 2016

After a long needed Summer Hiatus I am back
writing, developing recipes and snapping
colourful pictures of my food!

With the weather changing we tend to think about comfort foods to warm our body and soul.
I like to change the preparation as well but, try to keep my meals still light in calories but, not light in taste.
Here is a simple but delicious way to utilize the ever so perfect and pretty

Brussel Sprout

 Brussel Sprouts are under used but,
they pack a nutritious punch and prepared well, they add a wonderful side or lunch to any meal.
I hope this recipe will inspire you to add this to your valued veggie list

Let's get started~

Apple and Brussel Sprout Medley
You'll need:

1 or 2 bunches of Brussel Sprouts
2 Gala apples cored, diced
1 bunch of broccoli, florets separated
1/2 cauliflower, florets separated
1 leek, sliced into coins and washed,
light green and white stalk only
3-4 tbsp. EVOO
4 stems of parsley
1/2 tsp each salt, pepper, caraway seeds

First things first.
Slice off the browned end of the sprouts.
Cut in half lengthwise.
Lightly cover in water and bring to a boil.
After 2-3 min. add the broccoli and cauliflower .
Cook until almost fork tender.

In the same saucepan,
add the oil and sauté the leeks,
2-3 min on med. high
Toss in the remaining ingredients, reserving the apples

 Cook together, tossing to cook 5-6 min.
on med. high heat
Toss in the apples when the veggies are almost cooked. Sauté to soften the apple 1-2 min more.
Adjust the seasoning if needed.
Garnish with extra parsley

Enjoy with love!

*these Brussel Sprouts were supplied by #halfyourplate
But the recipe and opinion are mine own

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Mediterranean Lamb Stew

This rich and delicious hearty Lamb Stew
is a slow cooked meal that falls off the bone
because of how tender it is.
This meal adds a new twist to Sunday cooked meals at home with the family.
Because leg and shoulder cuts are tough
require slow cooking,
cuts are far more economical for the budget.
But, they cuts are so tender when cooked and the bone adds soooo much flavor to the dish.

Mediterranean Lamb Stew
Here's what you'll need:

1 tbsp. EVOO
3-4 lbs of shoulder or leg chops
1 1/2 cup pureed stewed tomato
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp each oregano, salt, pepper
1/4 tsp chili flakes
3-4 chopped stems of flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup white or red wine

Preheat a large skillet on med. high heat.
Add the oil.
Place each rinsed and patted dry chop into the pan.
Do not over crowd.
Brown on all sides

Add wine and reduce turning the meat over.
I had too much for this pan so I transferred the meat to a large pot.

Add tomato puree, paste and the herbs and spices.

Stir to coat.
Add 1 cup of water

Cover leaving lid slightly ajar.
Simmer on low, checking for liquids every half hour until tender approx. 2 hrs.

Enjoy with love

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Classic Tiramisu


A classic pick me up dessert.
Every Italian household has prepared or devoured this wonderful dessert that has delicate biscuits soaked in alcohol flavoured espresso.
Ready to prepare in minutes and oh so delish!
Sometimes special occasions call for special desserts.
This dessert is spectacular without the fuss.

Here's what you'll need:

1 1/2 pkg of Savoiardi biscuits or lady finger
1 1/2 cup brewed, cooled espresso
500g tub Mascarpone
3 tbsp. sugar
1/8 cup kalua, rum or amaretto liquor
2 lg. eggs separated
1 tbsp. of cocoa

Beat egg whites in a stand mixer bowl to firm peaks
Remove to another bowl.

In the same bowl beat yolks on high for 2-3 min to a light lemon colour. Pour in the sugar and continue beating until no sugar granules remain.

Add the cheese.

Beat for 3-5 min. on medium high until fluffy.

 Fold the egg whites into the cheese mixture.
Set aside.
Mix the coffee and liquor together in a vessel.
Dip each cookie and place along sides of a springform pan.
If needed cut the ends to fit the size you would like.
Use the ends to fill in the bottom and any spaces.
 Spread half of the cheese filling to the edges.

 Repeat until you reach the top of the pan.

 Sprinkle with cocoa powder.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Enjoy with love!

Saturday, 13 February 2016

How to make a
Hearty Beef Stew

In my home stews, are my comfort food.
I can stew them slowly on the stove or in the oven.
I can prepare them and toss the ingredients into a
slow cooker and when I return home...
everything is done.
If the chunks of meat are small enough I can even eat the stew with a spoon~
don't tell anyone but, when I'm home alone and we don't all eat together...
I curl up on the sofa and eat my stew nestled into my hand! Heaven!
I hope you like this rendition which utilizes
leftover gravy and leftover green stems, which
save on the budget and reduce our footprint on the

You'll need:
2-3 lbs of stewing beef or veal
2 tbsp. oil
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
2-3 peeled and cubed potatoes
1 onion chopped
1/2 bell pepper diced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
2-3 peeled broccoli stems and fennel tops, diced
1/2 pickled jalapeno pepper, chopped 
1 tsp chipotle spice
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup red wine
 2 cups leftover gravy

 In a preheated saucepot add the oil and brown beef on all sides.

Add the wine, parsley and bays leaves.

Stir to mix, reduce the liquids for 5 min.
Add gravy to the pot.

Prepare the vegetables.

 Add to the pot.

Stir to mix.
Bring to a boil.
Immediately reduce to a simmer.
Cover with lid, ajar.
Cook for 1 1/2 - 2 hrs, stirring regularly until fork tender and liquids are reduced.

Hearty Beef Stew
Enjoy with love.