Monday, 9 February 2015

Tomato, Avocado Cheese Salad

This simple salad is a crowd pleasure.  Perfect for a dinner party or for lunch on a busy day.  Take five minutes out of your day and your taste buds will thank you.  Sometimes the simpler an item is the more surprising the taste maybe.

1 Avocado diced 
2 Vine Tomatoes diced 
1/3 cup Mozzarella cheese diced 
1 tsp Fresh lemon juice 
1 tsp Fresh ground black pepper 

Dice avocado, tomatoes and cheese put into a bowl.  Pour the lemon juice over the top and fresh ground black pepper.  Stir until well mixed.  Serve with some nice crusty bread or just by itself.  Eat up and enjoy! I hope you start your culinary exploration with this simply delicious salad.  

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Fresh homemade pasta is one of the simple joys in life.  This pumpkin gnocchi is the perfect way to impress your guests.  This pasta will taste like you worked on it for hours but in reality it only take a few minutes to make the dough and a couple of hours to freeze.

Once the dough is made it is just a few simple steps to from and shape your gnocchi.  The first thing I do is break the dough down into thirds.  I take each third and I roll it out into a snake like shape.  This makes it easier to create the small bite sized pieces.  

 Once I have created the logs I will cut the snakes into small bite sized pieces.  Once the piece are cut it is important to roll the gnocchi on a gnocchi maker or a fork.  This will create ridges in the pasta.  The ridges in the pasta are for the sauce to stick.  Without the ridge you would not get much sauce in your bite as it would slide of.  I find to always have gnocchi work, you need to freeze the bite size pieces for 2-3 hours before boiling.

The recipe
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 egg
1.5 tsp nutmeg
1 3/4 cup flour

Combine all ingredients until a dough forms.  The dough will be soft but not sticky.  Divide dough into three parts and roll out three long snakes.  Cut the dough about every 1/2 of an inch to create bite sized pieces.  Rub each piece over a fork or gnocchi maker to create ridges.  Place on a ungreased baking sheet and place in the freezer for 2-3 hours or until the dough is frozen.  Add frozen gnocchi to boiling water.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until gnocchi floats to the top.  Drain liquid and serve in your favourite sauce.  My personal favourite is brown butter sage sauce as it creates very nice flavour for the gnocchi.  Even butter and Parmesan cheese works well.  Find a flavour that works for you and enjoy this gnocchi.

Uncooked gnocchi can stay in the freezer in a ziplock bag for up to one month.  

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Apple Squash Soup

There is nothing like a warm bowl of soup on a cool day.  This soup is like the essence of fall.  The flavours melt together to form a stick to your ribs thick vegan soup.  The cold weather has come at least here in Canada.

This soup is perfect as a starter and can be used as a meal.  This soup is thick, flavorful, and sweet. This soup can also make great leftovers.  It could be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up five days and froze in an air tight container for a couple of months. 

By cooking the apples, onions, garlic in the oil it brightens the flavours and makes the soup as flavourable as possible.  By taking the time to take the steps it will make your soup way better. 

By roasting the Squash with apple juice, it brings out the caramelization of the vegetable.  A common misconception is that squash skin cannot eaten, but roasting the squash first makes the skin soft sweet.  

The easiest step is combining all the ingredients and letting them sit on the stove and bubble together.  This lets the flavours come together and the soup to get the levels flavour.  The more patient you are the better the soup will taste. 

The Recipe 
1 Butternut Squash 
1 litre (4 1/4 cup) of Apple Juice 
1 litre of water (4 1/4 cup) 
5 small Apples 
1 onion 
2 cloves of garlic
2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of nutmeg 
1 tsp of cumin

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Celsius place 1/2 cup of apple juice in the cleared out seed section,  Roast for 45 minutes.  Chop into pieces, set aside.  Saute the diced onion, peeled and diced apples and garlic.  Saute until slightly brown in colour. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin and saute for 5 more minutes stirring occasionally.  Add in remaining apple juice, water and squash.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover and let boil for 45 minutes.  Blend soup until blended.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream.  Serve hot!      

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

A Cross between a Sticky Bun and a Cinnamon Bun

** Recipe Adopted from Canadian Living

My family is anything but traditional for thanksgiving we decided to do a breakfast instead of a traditional turkey dinner.  By doing this it caused a gathering of family enjoying a delicious breakfast. Sometimes the best memories are made from the unexpected.

This yummy bun is a cinnamon bun topped with a sticky buttery pecan layer.  This bun is above and beyond what people expect.  It will make people's taste buds dance.  By doing something different you get to experiment with food and break down the walls of expectations. These buns are what go beyond.

The biggest secret to buns is the dough.  The dough is what is going to hold in all the flavour together.  Make sure to get an arm work out by kneading the dough until it is soft and tender.  The better the dough is kneaded the better it will rise and stick together. 

The melted butter, sugar, cinnamon and pecans in the bottom of the dish is what makes the top of the buns so delectable.  These bun come out like upside down pineapple cake.  By flipping the buns out it creates a sweet sticky topping but the dough of the buns is perfectly cooked. 

The tighter the buns are rolled the better they will rise and cook. By making sure the buns are rolled tight the prettier the buns will be.  As first people eat with our eyes then we eat eat with out mouths. Make sure to take the steps to ensure the beauty of your dish. 

The Recipe 

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast, or 2-1/2 tsp 
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour about 


  • 1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

  • Dough:
  • In a large bowl add the warm water, 1 tsp of sugar and the yeast.  Let the the yeast dissolve and get frothy. By adding the sugar it helps the yeast to become active as the yeast thrives in a sweet environment.  
  • In a sauce pan heat the rest of the granulated sugar, milk, salt and butter.  Heat the mixture until the butter is melted.  Let stand until the mixture is lukewarm.  Stir into the yeast mixture and add the eggs. 
  • Add two cups of flour to your bowl. You can mix it with a wooden spoon, personally I like to use my hands. Once combined add the remaining flour. Mix until a soft slightly sticky dough forms.  Make sure if you are using your hands to remove your rings, or else you will spend a long time cleaning them. 
  • On a slightly floured surface knead your bread dough adding more flour if needed.  Your dough will become smooth and elastic.  Place in a greased bowl and turn the dough to cover all sides.  Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place for an hour and a half.  If you are wanting warm fresh buns in the morning the dough can also rise in the fridge overnight for 8 hours.  The dough will double in size. 
  • Filling:
  • In a sauce pan melt 3/4 cup of brown sugar and 3/4 cup of butter.  In a greased 9 by 13 inch add the mixture to the bottom.  Sprinkle half the pecans on top of the butter sugar mixture. 
  • Melt the remaining butter and set aside.  Mix the remaining sugar, pecans and cinnamon set aside. 
  • On a floured surface roll the dough to about a 18 by 14 inch sheet.  Spread the butter except 2 tsp on the dough leaving a small boarder around the edge.  Sprinkle with the sugar pecan mixture until all but the edge of the dough is covered. 
  • Start at the long side and start rolling tightly.  You want to ensure to roll the dough tightly so it does not open.  When rolling pitch the sides to make sure the filling doesn't fall out.  When the dough is almost fully rolled rub the remaining butter on the edge of the dough to seal the buns.  With a sharp knife cut the log into 15 buns. Place cut side down in the butter sugar lined pan.  Cover and let rise for an hour until the buns are doubled in size. 
  • In a preheat 375 degree F oven bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and when tapped it sounds hollow.  Let sit for 3 minutes and then place a baking sheet or serving tray on top of the baking dish.  Flip over so the buns are on the baking sheet top with the remaining stickiness from the pan.  
  • * if someone has a nut allergy or doesn't like nuts you can make this recipe with raisins.   

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Caramel Pecan Chocolates

Sometimes the simplest homemade treats can truly impresses your friends and family.  By taking three easy ingredients and combining them to create a delicious candy.  People's taste buds will light up.

These could be served with ice cream or on their own.  They are delicious sweet treat.  By taking pre-made caramels these chocolates are easy to make and could be made for any occasion.

By placing the pecans on the melted caramel they will stick together so that you will get every flavour in every bite.  On the melted caramel you will push the pecans in so that they will not fall off. The pecans will be the centre of this sweet sandwich.  Caramel on the bottom pecans in the middle and chocolate on top. Happy eating! Enjoy these sweet treats!

The Recipe
3 cups caramel squares
2 cups pecans
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a double boiler melt the caramel.  Spoon about a tablespoon at a time on to a parchment paper lined tray.  Stick two or three pecans in the melted caramel.  Press down until the caramel goes just up the sides just slightly. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and spoon on top of the pecans.  Place one pecan on top of the melted chocolate.  Let the chocolate harden.  Remove the candies from the parchment and store in an airtight container with a layer of wax paper in between the candies.  Eat up and enjoy! Pass them around and share them with friends.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Sweet Potato Soup

The cool weather is fast approaching and the school assignments are starting to pile up.  I have created a soup that is fast and easy to make.  This soup warms you from the inside out and makes your house smell delicious. As well one of the best things about soup is that the leftovers are just as good as the first time.

Soup can be made with anything.  Sometimes soup is describe as anything but the kitchen sink.  This sweet potato soup is the combination of simple ingredients that go well together.  My favourite type of soup is thick creamy chunk-less soup.  This soup falls into that category.

Soup is about taking the time at each step to bring out the best flavour and texture.  By sauteing the vegetables, apple with the spices it really enhances the overall flavour of the dish.  Although this soup basically cooks by itself it still tastes better if you take the time to perform each step.

This is what the soup will look like once it it all bubbled and cook.  It is almost time to eat.  Soup is also a dish that will impress your friends and family.  Whether you serve this sweet potato soup as a starter to an amazing meal or your serve it as your meal with some fresh bread it is bound to impress.

 The Recipe 
1/2 tbs olive oil 
1 onion 
1 apple 
2 cloves of garlic 
2 stalks of celery 
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg 
1 tsp cumin 
2 tsp hot sauce 
1 tsp fresh pepper 
1/2 salt 

2 sweet potatoes 
3 1/2 chicken stock 
1 cup milk 

In a big pot heat the olive oil.  Chop the onion, peel and chop the apple, dice the celery, grate the garlic put in the hot pot. Cook the vegetables and the apple at medium heat stirring occasionally until soft and tender.  Add the spice and hot sauce into the pot stir to coat the vegetables. Add the peeled diced sweet potatoes saute for 5 more minutes.  Add the chicken stock to the pan bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and cover with lid cook for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are soft.  While cooking stir occasionally.  Once potatoes soft add in the milk and blend the soup until smooth.  I use a hand blender but you can use a blender or food processor which ever you are more comfortable with.  Blend the soup until it is smooth.  Serve hot. Garnish with fresh sage or a sweet potato crisp.  

* If you want to make this recipe vegan use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, and use a milk alternative instead of milk.  
* Add more or less hot sauce depending on your certain tastes   

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Cranberry, Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

It is starting to become fall and with the changing in seasons there is also a change in tastes.  Fall happens to be my favourite food season with the tastes of nutmeg and cinnamon.  Fall flavours excite my palette.  Everyone loves an easy cookie to make that will impress your friends or family.  The combination of cranberry, coconut and oatmeal work together in a delicious blend. Add some nutmeg and cinnamon to really enhance the flavour.
 The ingredients are everyday ingredients that you can get at any grocery store.  It is all about mixing the right amount with the other ingredients.  With any sorts of baking you want to make sure to cream your butter and sugar very well before added the other ingredients.  This will help to create a lighter batter and to ensure that someone will not get a bunch of sugar in one bite.

  Once my wet ingredients are mixed together I will mix the dry ingredients on top instead of in an extra bowl.  This is because it saves dishes to wash and it does not effect the finished product.  In this recipe I mix the wet ingredients, then mix the flour, salt, baking soda and spices together and incorporate into the wet ingredients.  Once they are mixed together I add in the oatmeal, coconut and cranberry.
.  This is what your finished batter will look like.  Place one tablespoon sized amount onto a greased baking sheet and bake at 350 for 11 minutes.  The cookies will be slightly golden around the edges.

The Recipe 
1 cup butter/margarine 
3/4 cup granulated sugar 
3/4 cup brown sugar 
2 eggs 
1 tsp of vanilla 

1 1/2 cup flour 
1/4 tsp salt 
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg 
1/2 tsp cloves 

2 cups oatmeal 
1 cup coconut
1 1/4 cup cranberry

In a bowl cream butter and sugars until smooth.  Add in eggs and vanilla.  Stir until incorporated. Add flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves on top of the wet ingredients. Mix dry ingredients until blended together.  Combine the wet ingredients and dry ingredients to form the batter.  Stir in the oatmeal, coconut and cranberry until combined.  Place a tablespoon of dough 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.  Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 11 minutes or until slightly golden around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Enjoy these cookies, and share them with some friends or family.