Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Creamy white sauce

This sauce is a combination of a few different recipes in my search to find a good dairy-free alternative to a cheese sauce.

1/4 cup coconut oil or margarine
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups of liquid; either chicken broth, water, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk or some combination of them
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar or lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon paprika

(1) Melt oil in a medium sized sauce-pan, add onion & garlic. Cook until fragrant (2~3 min)
(2) Whisk in flour until a thick paste is formed with no lumps. Cook 1~2 minute, stirring continuously
(3) Slowly add the liquid, whisking the whole time until smooth.
(4) Whisk in the remaining ingredients, stirring until smooth.
(5) Bring to a boil, stirring often to prevent lumps from forming.
(6) Continue to simmer until desired thickness is reached.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

::Pear & Cabbage Slaw::

Toss vegetables with mayonnaise the night before.

2 Asian pears
3 tbsp (45 mL) lime juice
1red pepper
1small red onion
1small head Napa cabbage (6 cups /1.5 L shredded)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Option: I added Rice wine vinegar to taste.

Chili Mayonnaise
½ cup (125 mL) mayonnaise
1 tsp (5 mL) Asian chili sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) granulated sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) grated ginger

1. Thinly sliver Asian pears and toss with 1 tbsp (15 mL) lime juice. Very thinly slice red pepper and red onion. Thinly slice Napa cabbage.

2. Toss vegetables together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

3. Combine mayonnaise, chili sauce, sugar, ginger and remaining 2 tbsp (25 mL) lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with vegetables.

::Spiced Roasted sweet Potatoes::

{via Food & Drink}

I love the licorice flavour of fennel. My kids do not tend to appreciate black licorice, but even they loved these potatoes. These potatoes can be made ahead of time and reheated in the oven for 10 or 15 minutes just before serving.
6 sweet potatoes, peeled
1 tbsp (15 mL) coriander seeds
1 tbsp (15 mL) fennel seed
½ tsp (2 mL) chili flakes
¼ cup (50 mL) vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp (25 mL) melted butter
¼ cup (50 mL) chopped chives

1. Preheat oven to 450ºF (230ºC).

2. Cut sweet potatoes in half and slice each half into thirds lengthwise to make long French fries.

3. Combine coriander seeds, fennel seeds and chili flakes in a plastic bag. Crush seeds with the back of a pot or a rolling pin until coarsely cracked. Alternatively, place spices in a coffee grinder and pulse until just cracked.

4. Place potato slices in a bowl and toss with cracked seeds, oil and salt and pepper.

5. Lay potatoes on baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes. Turn over and bake another 10 to 15 minutes or until golden and tender.

6. Place in a serving dish and drizzle with melted butter and extra salt if needed. Sprinkle with chives.

::Pear & Gorgonzola Tart::

2 pears (peeled and cut in half and cored)
2 cups sugar
2 cups white wine
1 cup water
4 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
4 ounces gorgonzola (room temperature) OR Goat Cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon thyme (chopped)
1 large egg yolk
1 walnut pie shell (fitted in tart pans and pre-baked)

1. Place the pears in a large sauce pan with cut side down followed by the sugar, wine, water, peppercorns, and bay leaves and simmer covered until the pears are tender, about 10-30 minutes. (Note: The simmer time can vary depending on how ripe the pears are.)
2. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature in the liquid.
3. Slice the pears thinly.
4. Mix the gorgonzola, sour cream, honey, thyme and egg yolk inf a food processor until smooth.
5. Spread the filling out over the tart crust and top with fanned sliced pears.
6. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the filling is set, about 10-15 minutes.

Walnut Butter Pie Crust :

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground walnuts (toasted before ground)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter (cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
4-5 tablespoons water (cold)

1. Pulse the flour, ground walnuts, salt and sugar in a food processor to mix.
2. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, about 6-8 times.
3. Add a tablespoon of water at a time pulsing in between until it starts to clump together.
4. Place the dough on a clean surface and shape it into a disc.
5. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
6. Roll the dough into a 12 inch circle about 1/8 of an inch thick on a lightly floured surface.
7. Place the dough into a 9 inch diameter spring form pan with the edges going up the side of the pan.
8. Place a piece of parchment paper in the pie and fill it with rice or beans to hold it down.
9. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 15 minutes.
10. Remove the parchment paper and weight and poke the bottom of the crust with a fork a few times.
11. Bake until a light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

::Pecan and Warm Apple Salad::


1 cup (250 mL) pecans
1 head romaine lettuce
2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) cider vinegar
½ tsp (2 mL) liquid honey
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
2 to 3 grindings black pepper
2 oz (60 g) old cheddar, shaved about ¾ cup (175 mL)
3 red apples such as Cortland, Braeburn or Spartan, divided
1 tbsp (5 mL) butter
1 tbsp (5 mL) granulated sugar

1. Spread pecans in single layer on baking sheet. Toast in a preheated 350ºF (180ºC) oven 8 to 10 minutes or until very fragrant; cool. Meanwhile, tear or cut lettuce into bite-size pieces; there should be 8 to 10 cups (2 to 2.5 L). To make dressing, whisk oil with vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Use a vegetable parer to shave cheese. Set both aside.

2. When ready to serve, core and slice 2 unpeeled apples into wedges about ¼-inch (5-mm) thick. Heat butter in a large nonstick or well-seasoned frying pan over medium heat. When hot and bubbly, add apple slices. Stirring frequently, sauté for 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; sprinkle apples with sugar. Turning frequently, sauté apples another 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly golden.

3. Meanwhile place romaine into a large salad bowl; toss with dressing. Set aside 8 perfect pecans. Core and slice remaining raw unpeeled apple for garnish.

4. Add hot apples and remaining pecans to lettuce; toss. Serve immediately, garnishing each serving with raw apple slices, cheese shavings and reserved pecans.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Homemade Flour Tortillas

I will never go back to store bought tortillas after making this recipe

Thursday, September 8, 2011

::Ontario Bean Soup with Basil::

Caelah and I made this recipe while studying the pioneering days. It is autumn comfort food. I made a few changes: I used celery salt, instead of celery. No potatoes. And just navy beans.

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 large onion (Chopped )
  • 1 garlic clove (Chopped )
  • 4 medium potatoes (Cubed )
  • 4 medium carrots (Chopped )
  • 2 stalks celery (Chopped )
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes (Chopped )
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 bunch fresh basil (Chopped )
  • 1 cup peas
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans romano beans
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans white kidney beans
  • 1 cup pasta shells
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (Chopped )
  • romano cheese (Grated)


  1. Saute onion in butter for 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, potatoes, carrots, and celery.
  3. Saute for 5 minutes.
  4. Add stock, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and basil.
  5. Boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add green beans, peas, both beans and pasta.
  7. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Add parsley and serve sprinkled with cheese.

Montreal Style Bagels

I have been making my own bread/buns for the last 6 months or so and now that I have that down to an exact science I decided to branch out into other types of yeast-breads.  Josh LOVES montreal-style bagels so when I found this recipe I thought I would give it a try.  It is amazing! and they really taste exactly like Kettleman's bagels.  I halved the recipe and did all the mixing/kneading in my food processor for 3 min. beacuse I don't like hand-kneading and my processor cannot handle more then 3-4 cups of flour at a time.
Here is the recipe

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

:: Bruschetta with Garlic Cream::

I innovated a recipe! Every now and then I get it right.

Garlic Cream
In a food processor, mix:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large clove garlic
fresh shaved Parmesan, to taste
fresh basil
salt & pepper

Tomato Mixture
2 tomatoes
1 large clove garlic
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
fresh basil, shredded
freshly shaved Parmesan
salt & pepper

What To Do: Cut a baguette into rounds. Brush with olive oil. Broil until golden. Top with garlic Cream, followed by Tomato Mixture.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

::Rustic Strawberry Tart::

This is a spinoff of my Rustic Apple Tart. Same crust. Different Filling.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 sticks (8oz) chilled butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 lb strawberries, hulled
  • 1⁄4 cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1⁄8 tsp ground nutmeg


Combine water, salt, and sugar in measuring cup. Stir and put cup in fridge for at least 15 min. (to chill water and to dissolve sugar and salt). Chill mixing bowl and paddle if possible.

Combine flour and butter pieces in mixing bowl. On medium speed, cut butter into flour till butter pieces are the size of chickpeas. With the mixer running, pour the water into the butter mixture. Mix till the dough comes together.

Separate dough into 4 discs. Wrap each with film and chill.

Filling: Halve 1⁄2 lb of the berries (choose ones similar in size) and reserve. Quarter the remaining 1 lb strawberries lengthwise. In a medium bowl, toss 1⁄4 cup sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and nutmeg until blended; add quartered berries and butter, and toss to coat. Remove dough from refrigerator. Pile berry mixture in an even mound in center of dough within 2 in. of dough edge. Gently lift the unfilled dough edge up and onto the filling. Brush dough with egg; sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp sugar.

Bake 40 minutes, or until crust is golden and filling is juicy. Remove from oven; slide parchment onto a cooling rack. Let cool 15 minutes. Arrange remaining halved strawberries cut side down on top of cooked filling. Lightly brush berries with red currant glaze. Cool completely.

Friday, June 24, 2011

::Rhubarb Cake::

Light and tangy. The best way to use rhubarb.

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup butter
Sugar (few tbsp.)

Blend into crumbs. Press into 9 by 9 pan. Reserve 1/2 cup for topping

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 softened butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour

Mix well with beater. Add 4 cups chopped rhubarb. Spread mixture over crumbs and sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 350 F for 40-60 minutes.

:: Mango, Almond Quinoa Salad::

I was served this for dinner the other night and had three plate fulls. Really fresh and delicious.

2 cups Quinoa (cook like you would rice)
3 mangoes chopped
Generous handful of cilantro, chopped
Any nuts and seeds you have on hand (toasted at 350 F for about 8 minutes or until slightly golden); I used pumpkin seeds and slivered almonds
2 peppers chopped (I don't use green ones in this recipe)
Chopped red onion (I didn't use this last night)
Dried fruit (I used raisins and cranberries)
Option: Clove of garlic


Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Yogourt and mayo
Curry powder

Friday, May 27, 2011

:: Elisha's Pecan Pie ::

My friend, Elisha happened upon a fantastic version of pecan pie. She swapped the usual pie crust for a shortbread base. Genius! Saves time and tastes amazing.
1 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour
Optional: Drizzle in some syrup for a hint of maple flavour.

1. Blend and press into a pie plate. Prick all over with a fork.
2. Partially bake @ 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest.
3. Lower oven temperature to 275.

3 eggs
1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
6 Tbsp melted butter
1 Tbsp vanilla or coffee liqueur
2 to 2.5 cups pecans

1. Pour filling into the crust and bake for about 50-60 minutes @275, or until slightly jiggly. This is the "low and slow" method. {I, for one, rarely get my pies to really firm up the way they shoudl because I worry about ruining the crust. But pecan pie tastes great in whatever state it is in!}

Maple Pecan Option:
3 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
4 Tbsp melted butter
1 cup maple syrup
1.5 cups pecans

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

::Cucumber Boats::

A quick snack for the healthy-minded.
I found it at ::RawonTen::

Cucumber Club
serves 1 ~ $2.08 per serving

1 cucumber ($.59)
1 small onion
1 avocado ($1.49)

This is another recipe idea from Bette. It's so simple and made a great lunch that was both light and filling.

Peel the cucumber and cut in half. Using a spoon or scoop, scrape out the seed cavity and some of the flesh so that it's a hollowed boat. Keep what has been scraped out and chop finely. To that, add one chopped avocado and one finely minced onion. Mix together and use this to fill the cucumber.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

::Banana Date Cake::

I have been trying to cook and bake in a new way lately. Mostly because everyone I know is doing the same. Here is a successful cake from the "Clean Start" cookbook that can be eaten guilt-free.

10 dried dates, pitted
2 ripe bananas
1⁄3 cup maple syrup
1⁄4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup almond meal
1⁄4 cup tapioca flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease 8 x 8-inch baking dish.

Place dates in large bowl and cover with boiling water to soften. Drain well, add bananas and mash both together so that chunks remain. Add maple syrup, melted oil, lemon juice and vanilla and whisk to combine.

In separate bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Add to bowl with banana mixture and fold gently to combine, making sure not to overmix. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven, place on rack and cool completely before slicing or removing from dish.

MAKES 1 cake

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Crinkled Molasses Ginger Cookies

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable shortening (or margarine)
1/4 cup light molasses
1 egg
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar

Heat oven to 350.  In large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, shortening, molasses and egg.
Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended.
Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom & salt.
Beat at low speed until soft dough forms.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar.  
Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until set.
Cool completely before storing