Monday, 31 October 2011

Pork Sausage Stuffing with Apricot

1 box or bag of dried bread cubes
1 pound ground pork sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2-3 cups chicken broth
6 dried apricot, chopped into small pieces
2 pads of butter for sauteing vegetables
Ground sage
Pinch of salt
Fresh cracked Black pepper to taste

Cook pork sausage till cooked through, crumble with a wooden spoon while cooking.  Season with ground sage, salt and pepper.  I don't let it brown too much, just cook till it is done.

Saute onion and celery in butter, season with salt and pepper.

Mix in a large bowl; bread cubes, cooked sausage, vegetables, apricot and season with a few shakes of ground sage.  Pour chicken broth into mixture wetting the bread cubes till moist but not sopping wet.

Place into a 9x13 casserole dish and cover with foil to avoid excess browning while it bakes at 350 degrees.
Occasionally mix stuffing with a spoon and add chicken broth as needed to avoid stuffing from drying out too much.  If you roasting a chicken or turkey, you can baste the stuffing with the juices from it.  This stuffing is also great for stuffing your bird.  The stuffing will bake within an hour and be ready to eat and enjoy : )

What I have learned over the years never using a recipe for my stuffing is that ratio is everything.  A balance between the bread cubes and the yummy filling you mix into it is important. 
If you would like the stuffing to be moist throughout and on top then leave covered with foil, if you want a light crust on top, uncover stuffing for ten minutes or so of cooking and the inside will be moist and the top will develop a nice crust.
Everyone was worried the apricot would be chewy as this was my first year throwing it in, but...they softened in the stuffing and added a wonderful taste as well as a nice visual appeal.

A few days later when I wanted to have more stuffing with Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, I loosely repeated this recipe, substituting bacon that I sliced into small match like pieces, it was so delicious I will make it again with bacon even though I have always been a pork sausage stuffing girl : )

Apricot makes a nice addition to stuffing!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Blue Cheese and Garlic Sauce

Heavenly, if you love blue cheese as much as I do...

1 cup heavy cream
1-2 thinly sliced garlic cloves (dependent on how much you love garlic)
8 oz crumbled blue cheese
Fresh cracked black pepper

Heat cream and garlic on medium heat until it reaches a boil, lower the heat and simmer until mixture is thick, approx. 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, add blue cheese and season with black pepper

Beautifully served with Prime Rib or Pasta...

Choose your favorite blue cheese : )

photo thanks to

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Coquilles St. Jacques Au Gratin

Sea Scallops in a lovely wine and mushroom cream sauce nestled within an island of Mashed Potato

Easy and quick to make

My favorite way to eat Sea scallops is seared, I love them, but when added to a nice sauce such as this, they are just as divine.

This is a wonderful site (the link below the photo above) to learn more about scallops...

Crumb Mixture

2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon thyme
Pinch of salt
Set aside until needed

Cream Sauce

1 small minced onion
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup cream
Sea Scallops
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Cook onions and garlic in butter until soft, add mushrooms and cook until soft.  Add white wine and simmer until liquid is almost gone.  Add cream and bring to a gentle boil and cook until sauce has thickened.  Add scallops and cook until done, 3-4 minutes or so (scallops will lose their translucent appearance) Be careful not to over cook the scallops as they will become rubbery.
When finished, squeeze lemon juice into sauce.  Place mixture into your dish and top with crumb mixture, place under broiler until golden brown.

Mashed Potato? Pipe mashed potato around the edge of your dish, place scallops in cream sauce in the center, sprinkle with crumb mixture and place under broiler.

I whip the potatoes well so as to avoid any lumps for this dish.

I found myself this morning feeling a bit like Oliver Twist...Please sir, I want some more...

Recipe adapted from 75th Anniversary Joy of Cooking

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Chicken Stock

     Not feeling like cooking last night, a roasted chicken was brought home from the store, Voila! Dinner is served. 
     Homemade stock slated for the freezer for the long winter months ahead is the added bonus, I love homemade soup.  Why get it from the store when soup can be so easily made at home?

Chicken Stock

1 chicken carcass
2 carrots
1 medium onion (don't peel it, just cut in half or quarter)
1 celery stalk including the top leafy part
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of fresh parsley
1 tablespoon dried thyme (dried is all I had)
Black Pepper to taste
I don't salt the stock, I salt/season my soup : )
Found a handful of almost sad spinach, so I tossed that in too

Fill the pot with cold water, enough to cover everything.

Heat on medium heat just to a boil, lower heat to simmer and let simmer for 3-4 hours.  Skim any fat or film that floats on top when needed.  The longer it simmers the more flavorful your stock will be. 
Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer a few times.  After cooling your stock and placing in the refrigerator, skim any fat off the top again, you can now freeze it for making soup later.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011



Slice 1-2 eggplants lengthwise, set in a colander or on a broiler pan

Sprinkle liberally with salt, I used Kosher.  Let slices sit for 30 minutes. 

The salt sucks moisture out of the eggplant and it won't be long before you'll see the water start to bead up on the slices.

Prepare your sauce

Chop 1 medium onion
Chop 2 cloves of garlic
Gently cook your ground lamb (or ground beef), drain if needed, place into a food processor and pulse until minced (if needed)
Not paste, just a nice mince : )

Saute onion until soft in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Add chopped garlic, saute for 1-2 minutes
Add lamb
Add 1 large can of tomatoes with juice
Add 1 large tablespoon tomato paste
Add seasonings,
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground Allspice
1/2 teaspoon White sugar
1 Bay leaf
Salt and Pepper to taste
Add 3/4 cup hot water

Cover and simmer sauce for approx. 45 minutes, uncover the last ten minutes or so until the liquid has been absorbed and evaporated, you want it to be thick.  Set aside and let cool slightly.

Rinse eggplant slices, pat dry with paper towel, smooth olive oil on both sides and place into the oven at 450 degrees to bake for 10-15 minutes-till soft.  Set aside, lower heat in oven to 350 degrees.

Lay 1/2 of your eggplant slices in the bottom of a greased/buttered or sprayed 9x13 glass casserole dish.

Mix 1/2 cup fresh parsley and 1 beaten egg into the sauce mixture and layer all of it atop the eggplant slices.

Cover the sauce mixture with the remaining eggplant slices and bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Remove from oven and top with bechamel sauce, sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and bake an additional 25-30 minutes or until the top is bubbly and lightly browned.


I only used one eggplant as they are scarce here.  I almost didn't get to make the Moussaka (would've been Shepard's Pie) because the main grocer here didn't have any nice ones Sunday when I shopped.  Through persistence, there was one to be found (only 1) at a second much smaller grocery.  So, if I had been using more it would of course be taller, which is lovely.  You can also add slices of potato to Moussaka. I think I will next time...I will also try a yogurt/egg mixture I have only read about as I think this will give me a nice thick layer of white on top, although I do adore the Bechamel.

Original recipe from the 75th Joy of Cooking

I can't get fresh ground lamb so I have the store special order in...well...what they will : ) They don't normally carry it.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Turkey Stock

Turkey stock for soup


I love to have turkey sandwiches after Thanksgiving, but nothing beats homemade soup made with what's leftover from the great roast : )  The way the house refills with the smell of Thanksgiving turkey is just awesome.

When all is said and done and everybody has feasted and you have gotten all there is to get from that awesome bird you made, set aside any meat and save the rest!

In a large pot, throw it all in, I mean everything! The carcass, any wings or legs not devoured, save any meat you can for soup later but the rest?  Throw it in the pot.

I added some onion I had leftover, a few mini carrots, fresh parsley-stems and all...celery tops.  I added the celery stalks I cooked the turkey on in the pan and threw the neck in for good measure.

Cover everything with cold water and simmer for 4 hours (I was hungry for soup so I only waited 3.5 hrs).  During the simmering process if any film develops on top or deposits of fat or foam...just skim it off.  After the simmering is finished, strain the mix through a fine mesh strainer a few times and discard the solids.

You can let the stock cool and skim any fat off that has floated to the top and make soup with it right away or refrigerate it, just be sure to remove the top layer of fat before using or freezing.  Freeze all or a portion of the flavored stock for later use.  It makes the best soup and is well worth the effort of throwing it all into a pot, covering with cold water and walking away for a few hours. 


I ended up with enough for a pot of soup to serve 4-5 servings right away and two packages with 2.5 cups of stock each to save in the freezer : )

Basque Eggs

Soft basted eggs with Red and Green peppers, onion, and tomato nestled in thin slices of ham.

Inspired one day by a show I watched on television, French Food at Home with Laura Calder, I tried this recipe not too long after and I am happy to say that it is now a go to breakfast, it really is pretty to look at, delicious and easy to make.

Basque Eggs

Pepper and onion mixture
Served 5

2 Red pepper sliced thinly/julienne
2 Green pepper sliced thinly/julienne
1 onion sliced thinly
1 large can of tomato, whole (I use a  San Marzano Type or so the can says)
1 clove of garlic minced
Extra virgin olive oil enough to saute veges
Salt and pepper to taste

Eggs to order, I served five people, probably around eight eggs, some had one, some had two.

2 slices of thinly sliced ham per serving for nesting the pepper and egg mixture into.

Using Olive oil, saute onion and peppers till soft, add garlic, saute for 1-2 minutes and add tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper and cook this mixture until the liquid is evaporated and everything is soft and blended.

Make a well in the center of your pepper and onion mixture and crack your eggs into this space
Cover and cook until the yolk is to your liking, I love them soft.
Make a nest with the ham on the serving plate and lay your pepper and egg mixture in it, beautiful and very tasty.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Our Weekend Thanksgiving Menu

     A time for feasting is how I think about Thanksgiving, and this holiday was no different.  I was careful though this past weekend as I was wanting to focus on the people we were sharing our Thanksgiving with.  Hence...not very many pictures, but, a slew of yummy dishes, and tons of fun to make and share with friends we feel are really more like family.

Friday Dinner, Thai Green Curry with chicken served with Basmati Rice
Saturday Dinner, 20oz Ribeye steaks with Jumbo Shrimp, Corn on the Cob with grilled Portobello Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions

20oz Ribeye Beauties

Sunday Morning before our trip to the waterfalls
Breakfast of Basque Eggs on a Nest of Ham and Homemade Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

Sunday Dinner
Starter of Grilled Cedar Plank Maple Glazed Salmon with Lemon & Dill with Caesar Salad. (It was the best I have had, thank you to our friends who brought and made it, yumO!).

Roast Turkey stuffed with Apricot, Pork Sausage & Sage Dressing, Oven Stuffing, Homemade Cranberry Sauce, Steamed Whole head of Cauliflower with Brown Butter and Lemon Sauce with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Uh, Hello! Can you believe we didn't even get a shot of the turkey! grumble-grumble-grumble, I thought if nothing else at least a pic of the turkey!  : ) Oh well...There is always American Thanksgiving!

Monday Breakfast
Fresh Fruit
Fresh Baked Strawberry Muffins
Scrambled eggs (made the best way) (The Gordon Ramsay Way! He's awesome even when burning toast) with chopped scallions  (If you have watched the video...just so you know, I don't do the Creme Fraiche as it is too um, impossible to find but you can find recipes online to make it, I just haven't yet)

To Go   : (
For our dear friends for their trip home, why Turkey Sandwiches of course!!  I forgot the mini chocolate bars : ( Whoops! Sorry guys!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Canada

Wow, what a whirlwind weekend.  Packed full of fun, food, friends and of course....feasting.  The weather was nice and afforded us a great day to see waterfalls and rainbows.  The skies were busy at night showing off their Northern Lights display and I really do not think it could have gone any better.  Sharing your table with close friends, good food and tons of laughs has a way of just leaving a grand smile on your face for days afterwards.  I have tons to share with everyone, lots of new recipes, adapted recipes and fun photos.  So be sure to check back this week to find out the goods on how we celebrated the holiday and all the fun that was had.

In the meantime, I have to take the time out to say Thank you to those who stop by and visit and who have also taken the time to "like" the page.  It was a challenge honestly learning how to use the social plug ins and after a few failed attempts, I finally think I managed it (er, could be a work in progress, not sure why it gives me such a hard time : )  Soon though, I will have to delete the Facebook Button that shows that 26 people stopped by and "liked" the page as it is not linked up properly.  But THANK YOU to all 26 of you : )

I have had visitors from all over the world so far and since I am still so new at this, I am amazed at the reach this new food blog has already had.  Thank you and hello to Canada, The United States, The United Kingdom, Russia, France, Germany, and just recently Australia! Hello-Hello-Hello! And Welcome to my new food blog, be sure to keep checking back.  We can only get better from here : )

Check back every Friday for our new Poll Question, A little bit of fun for the end of a long work week! 

Until then...Goodbye-Cheers-До свидания!-au-revoir bonne journee-auf Wiederhören-hooroo!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Meatloaf Pinwheels with Spinach Mushroom and Cheddar Cheese

     A few years ago I decided to make a romantic dinner for two.  When I was at the market visiting the meat deli, I decided on some pre-made pinwheels only because they looked so darn pretty in the case.  It was my first time buying this type of item but thought there was very little that could go wrong.  I cooked my dinner and knew while I was plating that something was not quite right, those darn pinwheels just didn't look as pretty, they didn't look moist and I was a little worried.  Well, as it turned out, it was for good reason.  They were the most horrid little bits of something I had ever put on a plate.  Today, we can laugh about it as it is a far off memory, an experience I will never repeat, yes, they were that awful.  How embarrassed was I?  Terribly!

     We all have those moments where we chose wrong or something did not come out the way we had expected, hoped or wished for.  Unpleasant as it might be at the time, it is these times in life we can look back on and laugh, giggle, sigh and make weird faces about.  Moments we know we will never repeat.

     While I was considering making meatloaf stuffed with something yummy and was deciding on content and how best to stuff it, it was those awful pinwheels that came to mind.  It was an inspiration really, instead of figuring out a way to stuff a meatloaf, I decided on rolling it and making my slices look like pretty little pinwheels.  Question was...when he saw them, would he eat them?  I still chuckle today as I write this remembering  his delight when he saw the slices on his plate.  Another yummy dinner, thank goodness. 

Chop Crimini mushrooms ( 5-7) and onions (half an onion) and saute in Extra Virgin Olive oil seasoned with Kosher salt and Black pepper
Saute until tender
Add 2.5 handfuls of fresh spinach and saute only until the spinach wilts, set aside to cool
Season 1.5 lbs (.615kg) Lean Sirloin burger in the way you choose, I used...Salt-Pepper-Oregano-a touch of garlic powder-1 egg yolk-bread crumbs and a few splashes of Worcestershire.  Flatten (not to thin) on a board
Layer the vegetable mixture on top of the meat and leave an inch or so border
Shred the Cheddar cheese, I always have aged sharp cheddar on hand
Layer the cheese above the vegetable mixture
Roll lengthwise into a log, cover with foil and cook in a preheated oven for about an hour at 350 degrees.
Brush a thick layer of your sauce over the entire log and place under the broiler for a few minutes until it is caramelized.  Remove from oven and let the meatloaf rest at least 5 minutes before slicing

Voila! Delicious....

Not the greatest photo...I was still learning about decent lighting and the camera on/off flash option BUT, it was pretty to look at and tasty tasty!   : )
You can use ketchup as a sauce or some use stewed tomatoes.  I made a quick sauce that was a little sweet and next time I think I will add a little mustard to it to help balance that out.

My Sauce

Brown Sugar
Maple Syrup
Worcestershire Sauce


Monday, 3 October 2011

Magic Masala Potato Chips

     I didn't make it and I didn't bake it, but what a find to stumble upon!  I have never seen this flavor of chips before and discovered them while shopping for green cardamom and replenishing my stock of turmeric.

     Yes, they were yummy! Also, an inspiration as I am going to try my hand at making homemade India inspired spiced potato chips.  I will post my results when I have them : )
     Have you tried this style of chip or made something like this in your own home? Let me know...

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Mom's Zucchini Bread

     For as long as I can remember my mom has made zucchini bread for the family at least once a year.  Every holiday season it was a treat to receive loaves of them from her.  Not to long ago I had an abundance of lovely zucchinis and her bread was the first thing to come to mind when I wondered what to do with the bounty before me.  Calling her on the telephone and getting the recipe first hand I immediately went to work that afternoon on a bread that has always reminded me of home.

Mom's Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. shredded zucchini
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. raisins (I used a variety mixture)
1 c. nuts (I had walnuts)
1 c. crushed pineapple (well drained)
3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt

Mix ingredients together and pour mixture into 2 9x5 loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or more until done, enjoy : )

I sift or whisk together my dry ingredients and then add all of my wet ingredients to the dry mixture before blending together.

Thanks for sharing mom!  Love you...
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