Daily Archives: December 4, 2010

Rice Pudding

When I found out that my step dad liked rice pudding, I believe I gave him a look of disbelief. This didn’t sound like something he would eat: he comes from an old-school British background and relies on typically bland food staples, like butter on toast or boiled vegetables – rice pudding seemed too far out of his comfort zone. Apparently though, rice pudding has a long-standing place on British dinner (or breakfast) plates from as far back as the Tudor period. In fact, a little Googling revealed that nearly every culture in the world has some variation of rice pudding in their diet. I had tasted the black rice porridge version in Thailand a few years ago, called Khao Niao Dam, without realizing what it was – and it was delicious. I’ve included this “worldly” rice pudding recipe for my step dad, who in my regard has now moved slightly up the foodie rungs.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup uncooked white rice

2 cups milk, divided, or cream

1/3 cup white sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg, beaten

2/3 cup raisins

1 tbsp butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. In another saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups cooked rice, 1 1/2 cups milk or cream, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, 15-20 minutes.

3. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup milk, beaten egg and raisins. Cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly.

4. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Serve warm.


Julie’s Fudge

Ingredients:

3 cups brown sugar

1 cup carnation milk

Approximately 1/8 cup butter

 

Directions:

1. Bring mixture to a boil. Everything must be melted together.

2. Bring to “Soft Ball” stage on candy thermometer

3. Remove from heat and add 1 tsp vanilla extract

4. Allow to cool slightly then beat until fudge thickens and it loses its gloss

 


Diane’s Bacardi Rum Cake

Cake:

1 cup chopped pecan or walnuts; 18 1/2 oz yellow cake mix

3 3/4 oz package Jello Vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix.

4 eggs

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup cooking oil

1/2 cup rum (amber)

 

Glaze:

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2  cup rum (amber)

 

Directions – Glaze:

1. Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

2. Remove from heat and stir in rum

 

Directions – Cake

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Grease or flour 10 inch Rectangular or Bundt pan.

3. Sprinkle nuts on bottom of pan.

4. Mix all cake ingredients together and pour batter over nuts.

5. Bake 1 hour then cool. Invert on serving plate. Prick top with fork or toothpick.

6. Drizzle and smooth glaze evenly over top and sides. Allow cake to absorb and repeat until glaze is used up.

 


Aunt Diane’s Tourtiere

Tourtiere, or meat pie in English, like its other Quebec counterpart Poutine, has been known to have be made in hundreds of ways, ranging from chicken tourtiere (which confounds me), to the traditional pork and veal that I am familiar with, to the countless other regional variations. Many French Canadian homes that I’ve been in have a tourtiere recipe, hand written on a yellow, stained index card that has been handed down for generations like a family heirloom. I can’t say for sure if it’s a French Canadian tradition, but like many other Quebeckers I was raised to eat every dinner that’s served in a pastry shell with large dollops of ketchup. Don’t knock it till you try it. This particular recipe was given to me by my mom from my Aunt Diane.

Continue reading


Roasted Garlic

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Peel away a few of the outer layers of the garlic bulb, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Using a knife, cut off 1/4 inch off the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic.

3. Place the garlic heads in a baking pan; Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over each bulb, using your fingers to coat. Cover with aluminum foil.

4. Bake at 400°F for 35 minutes or until the cloves feel soft.

 

Eat as is or serve warm with Brie cheese or as a spread. Not recommended for a date night!

 


Shortbread Cookies

My step dad loves this recipe for shortbread cookies and I agree they’re both delicious and addictive (translation: fattening). If you enjoy this recipe, also take a look at my mom’s cinnamon shortbread square recipe.

 

Ingredients:

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F

2. Mix butter and sugar in large bowl. Stir in flour. If dough is crumbly, mix in 1-2 tbsps of extra butter)

3. Roll dough 1/2 inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut into shapes by hand. Place 1/2 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake about 20 minutes or until set. Remove from sheet to let cool.


Praline Bars

Ingredients:

24  graham cracker squares

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup chopped pecans

 

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350ºF.

2. Arrange graham crackers in single layer in ungreased jelly roll pan, 15 1/2×10 1/2×1 inch.

3. Heat brown sugar and butter to boiling in 2-quart saucepan. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.

4. Pour sugar mixture over crackers; spread evenly. Sprinkle with pecans.

5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until bubbly; cool slightly. Cut between graham crackers into bars.

 


Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup margarine or butter, softened

2 teaspoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

1. Beat cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla in medium bowl with electric mixer on low speed until smooth.

2. Gradually beat in powdered sugar on low speed, 1 cup at a time, until smooth and spreadable.


Carrot Cake

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 cups shredded carrots (roughly 5-6)

1 cup coarsely chopped nuts

 

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of rectangular pan. Lightly flour.

2. Mix sugar, oil and eggs in large bowl until blended; beat 1 minute.

3. Stir in remaining ingredients except carrots, nuts and frosting. Beat 1 minute by hand. Stir in carrots and nuts. Pour into pan.

4. Bake for 40-45 minutes for rectangular pan or 30-35 minutes for round pan, or until toothpick comes out clean inserted in centre. Cool on wire rack.

5. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

 

 


Simple Pie Crust Recipe

Two-crust pie

2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp shortening

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

4-5 tbsp cold water

 

Directions:

1. Cut shortening into flour and salt by crisscrossing 2 knives, until the pieces are pea-sized. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Use your fingers to combine until all flour is moistened.

2. Gather the pastry into a ball. Divide pastry in half and shape into 2 rounds.

3. Roll pastry into circle roughly 2 inches larger than an upside down pie plate, using a rolling pin. Place into pie plate and firmly press against bottom and sides.

4. Fill with your favourite fruit or filling and bake as directed.


Chicken Marbella

Daniel first introduced me to this recipe a few years ago and it’s been on my “Mike’s Favourite List” ever since. Watching him prepare this meal was the first time I had ever been privy to a slowly cooked meal (defined to me as: a meal that takes over an hour to prepare and doesn’t come out of a can). That being said, it is time-intensive only in the sense that the chicken needs to marinate overnight in a heavenly concoction that smells so good you’ll drool in your sleep and have nocturnal visions of a sun-kissed mediterranean beach.

Chicken Marbella calls for an unusual cast of characters, like capers, olives, half a head of garlic, plums and brown sugar, something that a child might dream up if given free reign in the kitchen. But what a combination! My friend Nathalie dropped off frozen chanterelle mushrooms a few weeks ago, so I made wild mushroom risotto as a side dish. If you have leftovers (unlikely), this meal tastes even better the next day.

Thanks Daniel!

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Lentil Salad with Asiago Cheese

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups green or brown lentils, rinsed

2 green onions, sliced

1 large carrot, diced

1 sweet red pepper, chopped

1 stalk celery, diced

1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

 

Dressing:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp each dried oregano and salt

1/4 tsp pepper

 

Directions:

1. In saucepan, bring lentils and 3 cups water to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

2. Add carrot and simmer until lentils are tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and let cool.

3. Dressing: In large bowl, whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, oregano, salt and pepper. Add lentil mixture, onions, red pepper, celery, cheese and parsley; toss to coat.

 


Easy Spinach Dip

For an attractive look, serve dip in a 1 pound, hollowed out Sour Dough bread loaf. Cut pieces of the bread and use for dipping.

 

Ingredients:

2 packages of frozen, chopped spinach, thawed

1 can water chestnuts, drained

1 cup sour cream

1 cup plain yogurt

1 cup green onions, copped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

1/4 teaspoon pepper

 

Directions:

1. Squeeze water from thawed spinach until dry.

2. Place all ingredients except green onions in blender and blend until desired consistency is reached. Add salt accordingly, to taste.

3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.

 


Phad Thai

If you’ve never tasted Phad Thai – or Thai Noodles – before, then you’re life has been missing something vital and imperative. It is the quintessential Thai meal, if ever there was one; like bangers and mash to the British, sushi and sashimi to the Japanese, or Swedish meatballs to Ikea shoppers. Although the best place to sample this dish is fresh from a Bangkok street vendor in Thailand itself, probably for the equivalent of 50 cents, your local Thai restaurant will undoubtedly carry this dish too, though likely for 20 times the price. Better yet, dust off your kitchen wok,  hunt down some fish sauce and other easy to find ingredients and try your hand at this very simple meal. For a bit of extra burn of the esophagus and for a more authentic Thai feel, try adding the peppers. Continue reading


Mediterranean Omelette with Pesto

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I tend to get cranky by 8:30 am if I haven’t eaten. This wholesome and delicious omelette can normally get me by until noon, easily. This has been my weekend special for years now and it is still the best way I know to way up on a Sunday, coffee in hand, before sitting down to tackle a crossword. Pure bliss.

Ingredients:

2-3 eggs, beaten

2 tbsp water

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

1/2 of an onion, diced

4-5 Kalamata olives, chopped

1/3 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms, any kind

1/4 cup soft cheese (I use La Vache qui Rit)

1-2 Tbsp pre-made pesto sauce

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Shredded Parmesan, to taste

Directions:

1. Heat oil in frying pan on medium heat until hot, then add onions and olives and stir for 2 minutes.

2. Add mushrooms and tomatoes and cook together for 2 more minutes.

3. Whisk together the eggs and 2 tbsp water for fluffiness, then pour into frying pan. In a circular motion, swirl the egg thinly and evenly to coat the contents of the frying pan. As eggs begin to firm (1 minute or so), drizzle with half of the pesto and then place cut up cheese onto the cooking omelette. Add salt and pepper.

4. When the eggs are firm enough, flip the omelette in half, folded, with the spatula (you may need to use 2 utensils at the same time, to make sure it stays together). When the egg is no longer runny, the omelette is ready.

5. Drizzle with remaining pesto and sprinkle with parmesan.


Rice and Artichoke Spring Salad

Of all the recipes on this site, this one is hands down the quickest and easiest. It is a side dish that I’ve been preparing for over ten years and that I keep coming back to, no matter how my tastes change or refine. Enjoy.

 

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time of rice: varies depending on the rice

(Serves 10 as a side dish)

 

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked regular rice

4 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

1 can (10-14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and cut into half or quarter pieces

Lemon garlic vinaigrette (see below)

 

Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp lemon zest

Juice from 2 lemons

2/3 tsp salt

pepper to taste

1 tsp oregano

1 clove garlic, chopped finely

 

Directions:

1. Cook rice as directed. As it cooks, prepare the lemon garlic vinaigrette

2. Mix rice and remaining ingredients in large bowl, then toss with vinaigrette mixture. Cover and chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours before serving.


Mediterranean Pesto Fettuccine

Two summers ago when I was training for my first Marathon I became addicted to eating pasta. I was hungry all the time and needed constant carb-replenishment. It only took a week and a half of eating spaghetti, however, until I my body had enough and all of my white shirts had been stained with pasta sauce. I came up with this recipe in attempt to redeem pasta’s reputation at my dinner table; it is a lighter alternative to tomato-based sauces and will please the fussiest of eaters who normally wouldn’t eat a lot of vegetables. This has become one of my favourite dishes that I enjoy cooking up at least once a month. Continue reading


Japanese-Style Steak Sauce (for rice)

If you’re like me, you have to order a serving of rice with sesame steak sauce every time you visit your local Japanese restaurant – there is something highly addictive about it. A friend of mine passed along this recipe, which I think tastes pretty close to the real thing.

 

Ingredients:

1/3 cup raw sesame seeds

1 tsp dijon mustard mixed with 1 tsp dry mustard; mix with a little water to make a paste

2/3 cup light soy sauce

2/3 cup light oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 small clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup mayonnaise

Directions:

1. Toast raw sesame seeds in a dry heavy saucepan on medium heat. Raise the saucepan in quick intervals off and on the heat, shifting and moving the seeds until they are a uniform light brown. Stay vigilant with this…the seeds can burn easily if left in one position too long.

2. Put seeds and remaining ingredients – except mayonnaise – in blender and blend until smooth, about three minutes.

3. Add mayonnaise and blend additional minute


Dan’s Salsa Mexicana

Ingredients/Directions:

1 can whole or chopped/diced tomatoes (drain liquid and reserve to adjust texture later).

2-3  large jalapenos baked in aluminum foil at 375 for 25 minutes (cool and pull skin where possible, cut in half and scrape away seeds) and dice.

1/3 cup diced onion (sweet if available).

1/3 cup cilantro chopped fine.

Stir together ingredients, as prepared, and serve with tortilla chips

Optional: dash of lime or vinegar, and/or touch of dried oregano


Southwest Tuna with Black Beans

Ingredients:

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 Anaheim chili, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tbsp grated lime peel

3 tbsp lime juice

1 medium tomato, chopped

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

2 cans white tuna, rinsed and drained.

Directions:

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic about 2 minutes, stirring constantly until onion is softened.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until hot.