Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Puttanesca Sauce & Pasta

I wasn't familiar with Puttanesca sauce, so when watching a cooking show one day, I was really intrigued.  I watched Jamie Oliver make a puttanesca sauce with the addition of canned tuna, I hurried to get my paper and pen so I could jot down the ingredients while he made it.  Funny thing was, it was super simple, fast to prepare and I already had everything in the pantry to make it.

Puttanesca is a funny sounding word, I like to say it.  It's name comes from the Italian word Puttana, meaning a woman who sells her body for money.  The sauce is wonderfully spicy and has a delicious aroma, it's not for everyone but it's right up my alley.  Speaking of alley...the origins of the sauce is debated a bit, you can find a few different stories on line if you search.

I've read that the sauce was made by street walkers in Naples to entice perspective clients through their doors, there is also the one where respected married women used to throw their sauces at the street walkers as they passed below their windows while making their way through the streets (someone calls that respectable?).   It has been said, that street walkers were restricted to only doing their shopping during specific times and therefore would fill their pantries with goods that were packaged to prevent spoilage.  It is suggested as well that the sauce was a quick and easy meal to prepare between customers.  Whatever the origin...it is a delicious sauce to accompany your favorite pasta.  I used spaghetti : ) And...this time, no tuna...

Pasta Puttanesca
(adapted from Joy of Cooking)


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (more or less to your preference)
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped (you can also use black olives)
6 anchovy fillets, packed in oil (use a good brand)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 small container of grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons minced parsley (I only had dried, so used that)
Salt and Pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in a large pan
Add red pepper flakes and garlic, stir together for 30 seconds
Add anchovy fillets, olives and oregano (anchovies will dissolve while cooking from the heat)
Stir together and cook for 30 seconds
Add tomatoes, simmer for 5 minutes.  Crush a few of the tomatoes while stirring to help thicken the sauce
Add capers and parsley
Season with Salt and Pepper

Add pasta to sauce and blend together, serve and enjoy : )  Delicious!

Monday, 26 March 2012

An Award and a Decadent Dark Chocolate Ganache

To my surprise and joy I awoke last Thursday morning to find I had been nominated to receive the Versatile Blogger Award from my new and good friend The Cooking Actress.  I was tickled to have been thought of and proud to have been nominated.  Thank you Kayle for awarding me this award, I am very honored : )

So, what is the Versatile Blogger Award?  "It is a great way to introduce different bloggers to each other and to promote quality blogs that awardees and their readers may not have discovered otherwise."

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award.  Here are the rules:
  •  Thank the person who gave you this award.  Thank you Kayle!!!!
  •  Include a link to their blog.  The Cooking Actress
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself. 
There are also a few add-on rules:
  • In the same post, include this set of rules. 
  • Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.  

Here are my nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award (I have 12)

http://bitebymichelle.com/  Great smile & personality, yummy recipes, great photography and fun to read.
http://americaneater.com/ Series of photographs chronicling their daily life from the perspective of their plate, just never know what you'll see and the photos are fun.
http://www.azgrabaplate.com/ Patricia is a gem, awesome recipes, great photography...lives in a beautiful place I once called home, The Valley of the Sun, Arizona.
http://www.hapabento.com/  Healthy and appetizing boxed lunches that never fail to make me hungry just by looking at them.  A nice variety is offered for all palates.
http://www.crunchyrock.com/ Fun recipes ranging from super healthy to decidedly decadent.  She writes with a sense of humor and quite often has made me chuckle.  It is a collection of recipes and photos.
http://cookinwluv.blogspot.ca/ A wonderful collection of recipes and lick your screen inspiring food photos.  Offers a unique selection of daily posts that are a joy to read and keep you going back for more.  Recently awarded this same Versatile Blogger award but deserves another mention : )
http://foodandthriftfinds.blogspot.ca/ Delicious recipes, great photos...such a selection offered here, you could spend most of your day searching through them.
http://damndelicious.tumblr.com/ An awesome offering of cookies and muffins to make your mouth water.  A fun place to visit and browse yummy baked goods.  Not to be considered just a baker, there a lots of recipes here for delicious dinners and much more.
http://www.thethreelittlepiglets.com/ One of my newest finds I have started following and am so glad I have.  Tasty recipes with lovely photos along with budget friendly meals and money saving tips.
http://www.lizziemariecuisine.com/ I ran across Lizzie awhile back and was very impressed with her skills, her writing and her versatility.  I immediately started following her blog and have enjoyed her recipes, thoughts and adventures, I think you will too, she definitely deserves this award.
http://healthyfoodietravels.net/ I have just met Kiri, but love her recipes, her photos and her charm.  She is a lover of food and travel, two things I can certainly relate to.  She works hard at keeping it healthy and does a great job.
http://www.littlegraybird.ca/ An interesting place to find information on anything Manitoba.  Her site offers funny captivating stories and fun facts as she finds her way in a place she now calls home.

7 things about myself : ) Hmmm...

1.  I always have and still do love stickers! Puffy ones, scratch and sniff, wiggly eyes, sparkly, fuzzy...all of them.
2.  One of my favorite all time movies growing up was Charlie and The Chocolate Factory w/ Gene Wilder.
3.  I love the simple things in life, individual snowflakes, the smell of fresh cut grass, dew drops on flowers, laughter, the sound of a Loon's call.
4.  I love all movies, esp. scary movies and romantic movies.  If you look close you might catch me bawling at the end though I may not admit it if you don't have proof...I love a good love story.
5.  I love to swim.
6.  I do not like and have little patience for...stuck up people, mean people, and mean spirited gossip.
7.  I have a tendency to repeat myself, I have a tendency to say the same thing twice.

Bonus : )  I love people who inspire me, who seek out chances and take chances when the opportunities arise to make someone's day extra special : ) A moment of kindness takes a moment but can last a lifetime in someone's memories.

Thank you again to The Cooking Actress for this award!

Special events deserve special treats.

Dark Chocolate Ganache

(to cover the top of a chocolate fudge cake)

1 cup heavy whipping cream
200 grams of your favorite dark chocolate
56 grams of your favorite semi-sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon unsalted room temperature butter (helps to make it very shiny)
1 teaspoon almond extract

Chop all chocolate into very small pieces and place into a heavy glass bowl.
Add butter
Heat cream in a pot until boiling, stirring often.  As soon as it is boiling, remove from heat.
Pour hot cream over chocolate pieces, leave for 1 minute to allow chocolate to soften.
Mix slowly (to avoid adding air bubbles) with a spoon until all the cream and chocolate is mixed well.
Add almond extract and stir only long enough to blend.
Let the chocolate stand a few minutes to cool slightly.
Start in the center of your cake and slowly pour ganache over the top.
Using the back of a spoon or a flat spatula, working from the center, gently push the ganache over the edge of the cake to let it run down the sides.  Continue doing this until the sides are completely covered.
Let the cake rest for a couple of hours to allow it time to set.  Decorate or leave as is for an elegant presentation.



I wanted to make it special and say happy birthday, my hands were shaking  : ) I am def. not a pro at the piping.

It did taste yummy tho!
The cake reads....Happy Birthday Heeyoon, it was a very special birthday celebration and we were honored to have been invited to share it with her : )

I made a four layer chocolate fudge cake with layers of fresh strawberry cream cheese frosting inbetween and topped it with the dark chocolate ganache : )

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Poached Eggs on Toast & an Award Nomination

It was an early morning for me today, starting the day with household chores.  To my amazement, I was very productive this morning, having most of the laundry and a few other things finished by 9am...I know right, weird, but in a good way.  Sitting down to the table with a cup of coffee and a few poached eggs, I contemplated my schedule for the rest of the day, and how far I had come in the world of poached eggs.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Pan fried pickerel cheeks

Before a few years ago, I had never heard of pickerel cheeks.  How strange that is, as I grew up in the home of a life long fisherman.  For my entire life, pickerel (as they call it in Canada) has always been my favorite fish, in the states we call it, walleye : )

Memories of fresh caught walleye, pan fried on the fire, camp-side is one of my all time favorite fishy memories.  I love a lot of different types of fish, actually probably all types, but that memory lingers in my mind and has forever left an imprint there that walleye is on the top of the list.

So what are pickerel cheeks? They are a Manitoba speciality, a true local delicacy.  Delicious, delicate, boneless coins of white meat, simply prepared is the best.  It is a part of the fish many overlook focusing mainly on the fillets...some call them the scallops of Pickerel, either way, they are tender, moist, sweet and a treat to make and eat.

Monday, 19 March 2012

That's a whole lotta Turkey!

One of the things I know, is once you defrost meat, that's all she wrote folks.  Cook it, eat it and don't refreeze it.  When faced though with a large box of turkey breasts all frozen together, I needed to come up with a plan, I wasn't going to be able to pull them apart for individual meals.  One of the ways I decided to solve this dilemma was homemade turkey breast sandwiches. (Tenderloins)

Place turkey breasts in a pan with water and a generous amount of sage, rosemary and thyme, sprinkle enough to cover the breast nicely, you can use fresh or dried herbs.  Slice a wedge of lemon, squeeze juice in to the pan and toss the entire wedge in with the turkey.  Add fresh cracked pepper and a sprinkle of salt.

Friday, 16 March 2012

A Peachy Pancake Breakfast

I love breakfast, it's one of my favorite meals of the day.  Breakfast for dinner?  Yes, please : ) Mostly though, I eat breakfast in the morning with the rest of the world.  Breakfast lends itself to a lot of very special dishes, and I admit, I love all of them.

When I get a chance to make something special for breakfast, if there's time, I try...it's a great way to show someone you care.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Thai Green Curry, A Comfort Food

Is there anything more frustrating than typing out almost an entire post/paper/article...just to realize you made the classic error of not saving because you got swept up in what you were writing, AND never looked to make sure the auto save program was working?  Ha! I did!  All I can do is laugh.........as I rub my forehead, and think...really?  As my nieces would say...really Jenn? Uh Duh! Lol...sigh...okay, marching onward : D

Hold on...let me check to see if it's saving...Aha! Were safe...

Now where was I? Oh Yes...

Thai Green Curry : )  One of the new favorite comfort food dishes we now enjoy in our home.  A few years ago I made the classic mistake we all warn people not to do.  When having company for dinner, don't try out new recipes on them.  It's safer to go with what you know.  Did I follow this wise advice, why no! Of course not, why be practical?  So, I decided to open a Thai Cook Book and see what looked good.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Just Some Random Things...

I'm not so much tired today, as much as I am exhausted...I haven't been sleeping well these last few days.  Today is going to be, a do nothing day I think : )  I'm normally not the lay down for a nap type of gal, but find I am seriously considering it today.  A pajama day, watching movies under the covers kinda day...maybe even a nap.

In the meantime, I thought I might just share a few happenings around these here parts that has made up this last week.
We had an overnight guest...found her playing in a snowbank out in the street.  she had broken her cable and went on an adventure.  Mom picked her up the next day, both were happy to be reunited : )

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Blackberry-Blueberry Yogurt Madeleines

My favorite Madeleine is a lemon Madeleine, I love the crisp outside and the pillowy softness on the inside.  I also love yogurt, now normally we have strawberry in the house but surprise-surprise, today we had a blackberry, blueberry yogurt, delicious! One of my favorites : )

Well, one thing led to another this afternoon and a blending of the two came to mind, sounds like an experiment to me.  One worth trying...

Blackberry & Blueberry Yogurt Madeleine's!

The URL photo credit on this above pic is copyrighted under my new name...I'm Cookin' In My Kitchen.

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Catfish Dinner

I've eaten a lot of fish over the years, and really never had the desire to eat catfish.  Nor did I ever want to order it in a restaurant, there were so many other choices, why choose catfish? Sadly to say, even with as many times as I have travelled through the southern states, catfish just wasn't a choice I made.  Shame really as it's a really nice tasting fish.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Feta Tart...Alevropita

Alevropita....A Feta Tart

I've been saving, for some time now, recipes on my browser's favorites list.  I add to it when I see something yummy...I have to admit the list keeps getting longer and longer.  I save them so eventually I can go back and try one out.  Today was that day, I'm really glad I did.  I love Feta cheese and if you mention bread, flat bread or yummy crackers, esp. homemade, well, count me in : )

It's an easy recipe to mix together, involves very few ingredients and is fun to make and eat!  I had it for lunch...I shared of course so I wouldn't eat it all, but nevertheless...there is very little left : )

Ingredients and directions written as shown on: SAVEUR


6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. vodka
1 egg
1 1⁄4 cups flour, sifted
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄8 tsp. baking powder
10 oz. feta, crumbled 
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

1. Heat oven to 500°.  Put an 18" x 13" x 1" rimmed baking sheet into oven for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together 2 tbsp. oil, vodka, egg, and 1 cup water in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, salt, and baking powder. Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and whisk until smooth.
3. Brush remaining oil over bottom of hot pan and add batter, smoothing batter with a rubber spatula to coat the bottom evenly, if necessary. Distribute cheese evenly over batter, and dot with butter. Bake, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until golden brown and crunchy, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving. 
Something they don't mention but should...Place pan in the middle (center) of the oven
I found the temperature to be awfully high and after 12 minutes, lowered it to 375 degrees.  I also did not use in the hot pan as much olive oil as they suggested, I don't think it was needed to have so much.  I made mine in a pizza pan : )

You can let this brown more on top, the sides get very brown and crisp creating a cracker type texture, the center is more like a soft flat bread if you don't let it brown/cook any longer than the time stated.

I loved it and will make it again playing with the different toppings.  I think the saltiness of the feta was delicious and I used what I had left in the fridge so it wasn't a full 10 oz. 

I may, next time...also be a little less timid and let it brown more...and allow it to crisp more throughout the entire tart.  I didn't want to overdo it my first time around, and I certainly didn't want it to burn, it was the only Feta cheese I had left!  I was NOT taking any chances : D

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Check out this great series and it's contributors, Made With Love Mondays at Javelin Warrior's Cookin w/ Luv


Friday, 2 March 2012

Chicken & Rice Soup w/ Spinach

A healthy homemade soup

Sometimes when we don't feel well, deciding what to eat when we feel hungry can end up being a huge problem.  We don't want to spend too much time on our feet, we don't want anything too heavy, and sometimes we just can't decide so we stay on the couch.  Starve a fever, feed a cold...we still must eat even when were sick I say. 

When it's someone we love that doesn't feel well...what's better than homemade chicken soup? It's comforting, it's warm, it's wholesome, it's healthy...it's everything we need when we don't feel well and when someone makes it for us...it's twice as nice.

Step it up a notch by adding fresh spinach.  It's good for you and looks quite pretty in the soup.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Spinach Mascarpone Sunny Side Eggs

I had in mind what I was going to write about today, and then something happened to completely change my mind.  Funny how that works in life isn't it?  What happened do you ask?  Breakfast! and OMGoodness was it good : )  Did I feel a little guilty? only a little in that it tasted soooo good...I'm still smiling : D

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