Monday, August 31, 2009

mishka's visit

On Friday, my dear friend Mishka drove from Toronto to Windsor in the rain. And, when she arrived it was still raining and cold. Talk about dreary. The weather warranted a special meal for a special friend.

Homemade pesto with buffalo mozzarella and roasted red peppers
~Throw a few handfuls of basil leaves, a small handful of toasted pinenuts, some shredded parmesan, juice from 1/2 lemon, pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper in a small food processor. Pulse. Eat.~
To warm us up, I decided to make Jamie Oliver's Chicken and Leek Pot Pie (you can find the recipe in his book Jamie's Dinners). Unfortunately, I forgot to take the puff pastry out of the freezer (and I don't bake!) so we decided to eat the filling as a stew served on top of mashed red potatoes. I wish this would have photographed better because it was damn tasty.
A rainy day is a perfect day for comfort food. I'm sure you can agree.

Friday, August 28, 2009

how appropriate!

As I was downing my morning coffee, I noticed a little package on the kitchen counter. To my surprise it was a present from the Thank You! I Love It! blog. The gift geek wanted me to have MenuManiac appropriate stationary. Thank you! I love it! For an inspired and unique gift guide take a peek at the

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

food blogger friends

One of the fun things about having a food blog is connecting with other bloggers. This week, I'd like to share two great posts from two local blogs!

When Mardi from Toronto's eat, live, travel, write blog found out that she needed to be in Windsor, she asked me where to eat. Due to her downtown location I recommended one of my favourite Windsor restaurants, Mazaar Lebanese cuisine. Check out her photos and review here.

Maria from Fresh Eats is based in Detroit, Mich. A couple of weeks ago, she and her husband traveled to Pebble Beach, Calif. Maria's writing style is so incredibly pleasant plus her most recent post includes of a photo of McDreamy (who kissed her twice on this trip!). Take a look at her California Cruisin' .


3-5 lbs

Last night hubby and I went to Smoke & Spice for dinner. We started with Cameron's Cream Ale and a pulled pork poutine. I then proceeded to order a pulled pork sandwich topped with coleslaw on the softest white bread bun. Perfection. Undeniable perfection. Note to self: go back with camera to do a proper post.

Did I mention that I've been trying to lose 3-5 lbs lately?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

summer italian

My inlaws are wonderful people. They are funny, generous and just generally great to be around. Many summer Sundays are spent at their home taking a dip in the pool and gathering around the table for grilled lamb chops, tomato salad, and local corn on the cob.

This week, we wanted to say thank you for everything they've done for us lately. We invited them over for an Italian summer meal...truly inspired from a number of Jamie Oliver cookbooks.

Fava been and fresh pea crostini
~Grill a dozen slices of baguette. Brush with a clove of garlic and drizzle with the best extra virgin olive oil on hand. Top with a puree of canned fava beans, freshly shucked green peas, parmesean cheese, salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.~

Peach, prosciutto (in this case, Serrano ham), fresh mozzarella, mint salad

Our pasta needed a little extra "something", so I pulled out an amazing/outstanding/out-of this-freaking world extra virgin olive oil that our interior designer gave us. It's from a small property in France and is made by his friends. What I love about this olive oil is the pungency. It tastes like olives. And, it was the perfect complement to our meal.Buon appetito!

P.S. If you want my interior designer's name, you'll have to wait. Just a few more weeks, I hope.

friday night dinner

Friday nights aren't given enough credit. Most people avoid hosting dinner after the work week but, in my opinion, it's a fine night to enjoy good food and wine with friends. It's even better if your friend is Julie and she wants to bring homemade challah.

Challah is a traditional Jewish egg bread and it's often served at Shabbat dinner (Friday nights!) and at holiday time. Truly, it's a bread to be enjoyed at anytime.

Last Friday I introduced challah to muhammara, a Syrian roasted red pepper and walnut spread (I found the recipe in Bon Appetit). The slighty spicy dip paired beautifully with the sweetness of the homemade bread. Best of all, muhammara is a cinch to make if you have walnuts and a jar of roasted red peppers handy and it's a great substitute for hummus.

The remainder of our meal included basil breadcrumb chicken, green beans, a tossed salad and a raspberry-buttermilk cake (also courtesy of our friend the bake!). Fun Friday times!

Monday, August 17, 2009

summer comfort

It was a long day. It called for comfort food. Wild salmon burgers with feta and dill
Pulse the following in a food processor:
  • 3/4 lb of wild salmon, skin and bones removed
  • 1 tbs of chopped fresh dill
  • 1tbs of honey or maple mustard
  • 1 tbs of chopped shallot
  • small handful of crumbled feta
  • small handful of panko or bread crumbs
  • 1 egg white
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Form into patties and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes
  • Grill or fry in a non-stick pan for about 5 minutes per side on medium heat (we fried tonight)

Easy "fancy" mayo for dipping

  • Combine 2 tbs of low-fat mayo, 1 tbs of maple mustard, 1 finely chopped green onion and freshly ground pepper.

Roasted fingerling potatoes with dill

  • Preheat oven to 350. Toss potatoes (sliced in half if necessary) with olive oil, kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and chopped fresh dill. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 4o minutes, flipping once.
Have a glass of Chardonnay. It's comforting.

Monday, August 10, 2009

summer birthday grill

My mom's been kind of mad at me since I publicly said that Terry taught me how to cook. So, I want to take this opportunity (on her 29th birthday!) to say thank you, I love you and you're the best mom.

On Sunday night, we celebrated my mom's special day in 36c heat! Yikes! It was so hot, we almost didn't feel like eating. But, of course, we did.

  • Guacamole & Pita Chips...that's five avocados split among three people
  • Bonnie Stern's grilled salmon and corn salsa (this meal took less than 30 minutes including prep and active cooking)
  • Store-bought but still delicious key lime pie

Happy birthday mom!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

eat, live, travel, write

"Off to Laos and in need of a guest blog," said Mardi from the Eat, Live, Travel, Write blog. She's asked a few fellow bloggers to fill in for her while she's traveling. I blogged about five of my favourite spots for good food -- four places in North America and one small restaurant in Lisbon. Click here to read.

Think of your memorable dining experiences (cheap or not) and share them with me.

Monday, August 3, 2009

reminiscent of a childhood meal

It started to rain so I knew better than to ask hubby to turn on the barbeque. Instead, I went with old-school home cooking. On the plus side, most of meal was local. The tomatoes and cauliflower were from the region and the basil and mint were grown in my backyard. I can't wait for my garden tomatoes and eggplant to be ready for harvest.
Bonnie Stern's Basil-Panko Crusted Chicken
~Chop 2 handfuls of fresh basil, 1 clove of garlic, 2 handfuls of Panko or breadcrumbs, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper in a small food processor. Pulse in a couple of glugs of extra virgin olive oil. Put the mixture on the chicken legs and thighs. Cook at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.~
Roasted Cauliflower
~Toss cauliflower pieces with olive oil, kosher salt and thyme (or other herbs of your choice). Put on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and cook at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.~
Tomatos with Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar & Fresh Mint
~Bad idea. The mint was far too overpowering. Stick with thyme and basil.~
If you haven't done it already, go buy Bonnie Stern's Essentials of Home Cooking. It will make your life just a little bit better.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

shrimp shack

Inspired by David's recent trip to Martha's Vineyard, we had a casual east coast supper on Saturday night with our friends Lisa & Greg. Greg's a meat and potatoes kinda guy; it was fun to encourage him to try something different!

Tomatoes with dill
~I grilled the shrimp and used hot-dog buns~
You can make this meal in less than an hour. And, it certainly beats the monotony of hamburgers and hot-dogs at this time of year!
P.S. We washed down this meal with St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale and Daniel Lenko's Unoaked Chardonnay. Two of our favourite summer drinks.
P.P.S. The shrimp sandwich and lime butter recipes were both from Bon Appetit! One of my favourite magazines!