What are you looking for?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tourtière du Québec (French Canadian Meat Pie)

Painting By Pauine Paquin capturing the joy of winter in Quebec

For French Canadians, this is the time of year when we prepare the Tourtière that will be eaten during the Holidays.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (to serve with Tarte Tatin)

Homemade vanilla ice cream with salted butter caramel sauce

Out of habit, I bought some apples at the grocery store.  The girls used to eat them every day and we went through them quickly.  Now that we are just two, they don't really get eaten.   With a few apples in the fridge that I didn't want to throw away, I decided to make tarte tatin for desert one night.

Three Takes on Tarte Tatin (with vanilla ice cream of course)

For Family

For Friends -  with ice cream on the side
Fabulous with Vanilla Marscapone Cream and
Salted Butter Caramel

Tarte Tatin is basically an upside down apple pie.  What makes it so good is that the apples cook in a salted butter caramel.  It is a fairly easy desert to make and here is a take on how to present it three ways.  The only thing is that it really should be served with a good quality vanilla ice cream (see the post on vanilla ice cream that follows to make your own).

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cauliflower, Bacon and Mushroom Gratin

Bacon and/or mushrooms are optional but make this really good

I'm not a huge fan of plain cauliflower but my mother-in-law makes a great cauliflower with cheese sauce.  It is always a hit so I started making it at home.  We now have this probably once a week at the height of cauliflower season (which is late Summer and Fall).  I was watching a British cooking show the other day (say what you will about food in England, but all their cooking shows are fantastic), and they added bacon (makes everything taste good) and mushrooms to the béchamel.  Then, they sprinkled the whole thing with breadcrumbs.  It was really good and made a great meal with a salad.  Mike says he has become a big fan of the cauliflower dish and this is also one of Kat's favorites (she hasn't had it with the bacon and mushrooms yet though).

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Arancini with Smoked Mozarella and Tomato Concassé

Left over risotto makes a very good stuffed arancini
I often make an extra large quantity of risotto (it doesn't matter which kind) so that I can make some arancini with the leftovers.  It then becomes an amazing blend of flavors and textures.  The crispness of the outer shell accentuates the creaminess of the risotto and the melted mozzarella core.  Served with a light tomato concassé (chopped tomatoes with onion and garlic) and some good quality olive oil, this makes a great, easy leftover meal.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Warm Potato Cream with Pata Negra Shavings and Truffle Oil

Thick and creamy with lots of potato flavor

This is kind of a take 2 of the Gratin Dauphinois.  Basically, the ingredients are very similar, it is just a different presentation and cooking technique.  This is really not complicated but because of the ingredients, makes a really out of the ordinary dish.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thai Chicken Noodle Salad with Mango

Lots of flavor!
This is probably my favorite salad.  It has so many great things in it and is a good combination of salty, sweet and acid flavor (like most Thai dishes).  I had something similar with Kat at one of our favorite lunch places and we both loved it.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gratin Dauphinois with Caramelized Onions

Gratin Dauphinois or Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onion
This is a classic and can be served with any type of meat but my favorite is with glazed ham.  This is a really easy recipe to make ahead of time and it can be cooked just before serving.  The key is to precook the potatoes in the milk/cream to ensure that they are cooked evenly and properly.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tomato Gazpacho with Mozarella Ice Cream and Spicy Tomato Jelly

This is a little more complicated but the wow factor is high.  Not much cooking required and everything can be prepared ahead of time - definite plus.    This can  also be served as a really cool appetizer in a small shot glass (omit the tomato jelly).

Tomato, mozarella salad with pesto coulis, balsamic glaze and dried heirloom tomato

Another great easy idea which does not require any cooking.  It's all in the way it is put together.  This is great as an entrée.

One Bite Cherry Tomotoes with Baby Mozarella and Fresh Basil

This is any easy one and is great as an appetizer because its easy to eat.  No cooking involved, but just putting together some fresh, good quality ingredients.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Great Tools to Have

Here are some tools I could no longer live without.  They just make cooking easier and help to save on effort and time.  The ones indicated are not too expensive and worth the investment.

'Corn' or Scraper
This is called a ''corne'' in French - but not sure about the English name.
I use it to scoop up chopped ingredients and transfer them to a bowl
 or pan, to scrape out batter from a bowl, to clean the cutting board
(when making dough), etc.
 Really useful!  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A three way Tomato, Mozzarella

 1. One bite cherry tomatoes with baby mozzarella and fresh basil

2. Tomato mozarella salad with pesto coulis, balsamic glaze and dried heirloom tomato

3. Gazpacho with mozzarella ice cream and spicy tomato jelly

Tomatoe, mozzarella is a classic and is a wonderful summer dish.  Here are three different takes on the dish.  You could even bring this into winter by preparing a tomato soup with a mozzarella and herb crostini!  I'll work on that one.  ☺☝

Vegetable Rice Pilaf

This side dish is very good with a variety of meats or fish.  The vegetables cut into brunoise (very small dice) takes a little longer but its well worth the effort.  It brings a little crunch and color to an otherwise delicious but plain rice.  Its easy as it will cook in the oven.

Loaded Banana Bread

Sprinkle when warm with some shaved
 chocolate and pecans (the pecans will
stick to the chocolate)

OK Sarah, here it is.  This Banana Bread recipe is very popular with the family and  because it is not too sweet is often eaten for breakfast.  It also makes a great afternoon snack and goes a long way as a hostess gift.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Beef Strogonoff with Vegetable Rice Pilaf

Beef Stroganoff was always one of those easy prepare-ahead dishes that is easy and good for when you are having people over.  No need to spend all your time in the kitchen, you can heat it up slowly and enjoy spending time with your guests.  I always made it with a lesser cut of beef and let it cook in the sauce which in turn made it a little tough.  I have since learned how to make it so it is delicious and tender and still just as easy.