Saturday, February 28, 2009


I love the US deep south. After my trip to Savannah, I fell in love with y'all. I love grits, biscuits and gravy, pecan pie and sweet peach tea.

I made a simple chili (still needs work, not worth flogging) and some cornbread on the side.

It was a wonderful combination!


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • **1/3 cup olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). **Spray or lightly grease a foil loaf pan
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and olive oil until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake in preheated oven for ** 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

**The recipe calls for vegetable oil and a 9-inch round cake pan. I had neither. I also baked it for longer. The original recipe said bake 20 to 25 minutes, but mine wasn't quite ready yet.

"Golden Sweet Cornbread"<>February 2009.

Baked Maple Dijon Salmon with Tomato Rice Salad

I am definitely not a picky eater, but for the longest time, I did not like salmon. But I kept on trying it because it looks so beautiful and appetizing on a plate. One night we went to our friends' Sam and Jeff's house for dinner and Jeff cooked maple glazed salmon on the BBQ. I loved the sweet maple taste and found it toned down the strong flavour of the salmon. Amanda still laughs at me for this because when I was at her house for a bbq one summer, I poured maple syrup all over the beautiful salmon she made. Luckily the taste of salmon has grown on me a little more and I won't have to drench it in maple syrup. Here's a more sophisticated way to eat salmon with maple syrup. It's super quick and easy too!

Baked Maple Dijon Salmon

2 fillets salmon
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tsp maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp light soy sauce
freshly ground pepper
sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Lay salmon on foil lined baking sheet skin side down.
Mix Dijon mustard, maple syrup and soy sauce together in a small bowl and brush mixture over salmon.
Sprinkle with pepper and sesame seeds.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until salmon is cooked through.

Tomato Mushroom and Rice Salad

2 cups leftover cooked rice
6 small button mushrooms diced
1 tomato diced
2 tbsp minced onion
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dill
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. (If it has the chance to rest in the fridge for a little bit, all the better.) Serve alongside baked salmon. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dinner & Dessert Crepes

Today Sarah and I got together before home church and made a batch of crepes. We made savoury crepes for ourselves for dinner and then served sweet crepes to our home church for dessert.

It was a lot of fun cooking together, and since Sarah is an experienced professional pastry chef, she was able to delicately flip the crepes easily with her fingertips! I almost burned myself twice, but she made me try it anyway! I love how she is so tactile with her food. There is something much more loving about using your hands instead of utensils as much as possible when cooking (and eating!)

1 cup flour
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter

Put all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth, scraping down the sides occasionally.
Strain the batter through a sieve to remove any lumps.
Let batter rest for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Heat a non-stick skillet on medium heat and pour a small amount of batter in the centre and swirl around to coat the skillet.
When the crepes start to get golden around the edges, carefully flip the crepe.
Stack crepes on a plate and cover with foil to warm in the oven until ready to serve.
Top with your favourite ingredients...either savoury or sweet.

Ham, Asparagus, Mushroom and Havarti Cheese Filling

Ingredients (for 3 crepes):
1/2 small onion diced
9 small button mushrooms sliced
9 asparagus spears cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 tsp butter
1/4 tsp dried thyme
9 slices of Havarti cheese
3 slices of smoked ham

Saute diced onion, mushrooms and asparagus spears in butter until softened. Season with salt, pepper and thyme.
Put filling in centre of crepe, top with smoked ham and Havarti cheese, and roll.

For an extra French twist, you can top the crepes with a simple bechamel sauce, but we ate our crepes just as shown below (but rolled up) and they were still delicious!

We tried to make some smaller crepes for dessert, but it was difficult to swirl in such a large pan, so we ended up with 'abstract shaped artistic crepes.'

For the dessert crepes we topped them with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, dulce de leche, sliced strawberries and bananas.

As you can see...our home church really loved them!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Guess what I made?!!

Thank you for sharing the fried rice recipe!
Quick, easy and delicious!! I found the meal to be very light and flavourful! We loved it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Teddy Bear Mille Feuille

Having grown up in Montreal, I have developed quite the healthy sweet tooth. One of my favourite French desserts is called Mille Feuille, which translates to 'thousand sheets.' It is a delicate and delicious layered dessert of puff pastry, custard and whipped cream...sometimes with strawberries mixed in. My Grandma had an easy casual no-bake version of this recipe made with graham crackers, custard and whipped cream topped with chocolate striped vanilla glaze. She used to make this for New Years Day.

Sharl and I had a craving for an easy homemade dessert last night, and once we crave something there's no stopping us. We didn't want to drive to a supermarket or stray further than the convenience store or Kitchen Table down the street to pick up ingredients.
I cannot believe that we couldn't find graham crackers anywhere!! We did find teddy grahams though, so we made our own version of my grandma's mille feuille.

1 box of teddy grahams
1 package of instant Jello vanilla pudding
250 ml whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp icing sugar

1. Prepare pudding according to directions
2. Whip the cream with electric beaters until soft peaks form (about 2 mins). Add vanilla and sugar to the whipping cream and give one last quick beat.
3. Line teddy grahams at the bottom of a square baking dish (Sharl called this the 'teddy bear death camp' LOL!)
4. Pour vanilla pudding over the teddy grahams.
5. Layer the whipped cream over the pudding.
6. Top with another layer of teddy grahams.
7. Refrigerate for an hour or more so that the cookies become soft and the pudding sets.

We couldn't wait an hour so we ate this with the cookies still crunchy and it was still so delicious. I didn't bother to add the icing because the teddy bears looked so cute on top! Enjoy!

Baked Salmon with Vegetables in parchment paper or Salmon en papillote

Look familar.. :)

Thank you Kimmeh for showing me this wonderful recipe on one of the most memorable nights of my life.

This dish will always remind me of that and for that I feel grateful. I felt nostalgic making this tonight and missed you.


For my dish:

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 red pepper julienned
  • 1 yellow pepper julienned
  • 1 cup of sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup of asparagus spears
  • Lemon slices
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

You can also add onion too.

To cook:

  • Preheat oven to 400f
  • Lay two large sheets of parchment paper on a baking sheet and place salmon in the centre.
  • Arrange vegetables around the salmon, creating a square.
  • Top with lemon slices, olive oil and salt and pepper
  • Fold up sides of paper to make a package
  • Cook for 20 minutes, depending on thickness of fish. You'll know its done because the packages gets puffy and brown.

Creamy orzo (sans creme)

My secret ingredient with cooking orzo is leaving the pasta water in! By not draining it and leaving the orzo once you turn the heat off, the orzo sucks up all the water and becomes so creamy!

So, cook the orzo, turn off the heat, leave it in the pot for about 10 minutes and you are guaranteed creamy goodness!!

Spicy Sausage and Red Pepper pasta

I LOVE pasta & sauce. It's so simple and so good. This one is one of my personal favourites. Sharl and I think that sausage makes sauce taste extra delicious.

450g package of the best spicy Italian sausage you can find (about 4 links)
1 large can tomatoes diced
1 small can tomato paste
1 large onion diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 red pepper sliced or diced
3 dried red chilies chopped or 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
olive oil

Remove casings from sausage and brown the meat in a large pot until no longer pink.
Drain fat.
Push the meat to the edges of the pot and pour 1 tbsp olive oil in the hole.
Add the onions, garlic and chilies and saute until softened and fragrant.
Add tomatoes and tomato paste and spices.
Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer for about 15-20 minutes or longer

Serve with your favourite pasta and top with Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Sharl says he loves my pancakes because I make them from scratch. I don't know why people bother to use mixes because there is ABSOLUTELY nothing hard or time consuming about making pancakes from scratch. I got this recipe from this old school Good Housekeeping cookbook my mom found at a used book store and it has EVERY basic recipe you could need.
My version has cinnamon in the batter and it serves 2 (about 6-7 pancakes).

1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/4 cup of milk (or add more if you like thinner pancakes)
1 egg
1 1/2 tbsp melted butter

1. Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. The mixture will be slightly lumpy, which is all good, but it should be thin enough to spread out easily in the pan.
2. Ladle portions into a hot slightly greased pan or griddle. Once bubbles form on the tops of the pancakes, it's time to flip. Both sides should be golden brown. I usually put cooked pancakes into a warmed oven at 150F until I finish the entire batch. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

I got this great curry book from my mother in law called "50 Great Curries of India" by Camellia Panjabi. It's got all sorts of recipes from different parts of India. I found this book helpful because there are pictures of all the spices.
Curries can seem like a lot of work becuase of the long list of ingredients, but once you buy all the basic spices and have them on hand, it's pretty easy.

I am all about using what you have on hand to cook, so I modify recipes all the time. I had cauliflower in the fridge, so I decided to make a cauliflower curry called aloo gobi (maybe you'll remember this dish if you've seen Bend it Like Beckham). It's supposed to be cooked with potatoes, but I fancied chickpeas instead. I also modified the recipe slightly to accommodate the spices I had on hand. Here was my version of this vegetable curry. It was spicy and flavourful and tasty!

1 head of cauliflower broken into florets
1 can of chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 can coconut milk*
3 onions diced finely
4 garlic cloves minced
2cm of ginger grated or finely chopped
5 dried red chilies
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1/8 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 peppercorns
1/8 ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

*I didn't have any coconut milk on hand so I substituted 3/4 can of Half-fat sodium reduced Campbell's cream of mushroom soup. Yes, I know this probably sounds weird and completely unauthentic, but it was really good, I promise! It helped create a rich creamy sauce to the curry. (I have a feeling my father-in-law would cringe at this substitution.)

1. Heat some cooking oil in a pot and saute the onions, garlic, chilies and ginger until the onions start to become golden but not brown.
2. Push the onions to the edges of the pot so that there is a little hole in the middle. Pour a little more oil in the centre and add in the spices together, allowing them to fry for about 30 seconds. Add about 1/2 cup of water to form a paste.
3. Add the cream of mushroom soup or coconut milk and simmer for about 6-7 mins. Season with salt to taste.
4. Add the cauliflower and chickpeas and cook until done.

Serve with basmati rice and/or naan.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bread Pretzels

Whenever I think of bread pretzels, I think of Amanda. We used to commute to work together and on the way home, there was a Pretzel Maker right outside our train stop. We'd often stop in and share some pretzel bites and warm jalapeno cheese dip for our trip home. This recipe is close to my heart and since I was feeling ambitious and a little nostalgic last night, I decided to make some for my home church.

This recipe makes 6 large bread pretzels, but this time I cut 4 of the ropes into thirds and made 2 large pretzels and 12 small ones.

1/2 package yeast
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cups warm water
2 cups flour
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp melted butter

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water (slightly higher than room temperature from the tap is good), brown sugar and salt until the yeast starts to activate. (5 minutes or so) Stir in the flour and knead for 8 mins until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl and cover to rise for 1 hour.

2. Combine 1 cup water in a bowl with baking soda.

3. When dough has risen, cut into 6 pieces. Roll each piece into pencil-thin 3 ft ropes. (Sometimes the ropes seem to shrink back. To combat this, start rolling the first 3 ropes and let them 'relax' while you roll the next 3 ropes. Re-roll the first 3 ropes and you'll find that they'll stretch out much easier.) Dip the ropes into the water with baking soda and twist into a pretzel shape. Place on a parchment covered cookie sheet and let stand for 15-20 minutes to rise some more.

4. Bake at 450 F for 8-10 minutes. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt or cinnamon sugar or any other toppings you prefer.

Monte Cristo Sandwiches

I LOVE sandwiches, and i could probably dedicate a whole blog to the delicious and endless combination of ingredients that can go in between 2 slices of bread. Sharl thinks I make the best sandwiches and it warms my heart every time he tells me so as he bites into one of my creations.

I had a sandwich similar to this in Paris in le Marais (called a croque monsieur), but the one I loved most was actually served at Fran's on College St. in the TDot. Basically it's french toast made into a sandwich. It's super easy and really delicious. I decided to re-create it to the best of my memory for dinner last night and it took less than 15 minutes. It's gooey, melty, cheesy, crispy eggy goodness. My recipe serves 2, naturally...;)

4 slices Bread (I used whole multi-grain bread)
Dijon mustard
6 slices Black forest ham (you could also use turkey)
2 or more slices of cheese (I used marble cheese, but you can use what you like)
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp of butter

Assemble sandwiches with mustard, ham and cheese.
Dip the sandwiches into the beaten eggs so that both sides are well coated.
Melt 1tsp of butter in a skillet under medium-low heat and brown the sandwiches until eggs are cooked, cheese is melted and bread turns golden (about 4 minutes per side)

I served this alongside a simple salad of arugula, tomatoes and cucumbers in a homemade honey-dijon vinaigrette.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Breaded Zucchini- Snack, side dish or entree!

OMG... this side dish is soo good. We made it last night with bruschetta and broiled chicken thighs covered with mustard, rosemary, and salt. But the showstopper of the night was the breaded n' baked zucchini chips . I made it really quickly because I was hungry, but I bet if I took my time it would be even better! Initially, I questioned the 1/4 slices but it makes sense because you can really taste the zucchini. The best part about it is that it's so crunchy on the outside but soft and hot on the inside...and its so healthy.

The thing about the zucchini chips is that you feel like you're splurging, but you're not. I would have to rate it as one of the best healthy alternatives to fried food I have ever had. I was thinking that a dip would be so good with this. Blue-cheese? Ranch? The zucchini chips leave you with some calories to spare. I could eat this as a side, snack, or main entree.



  • Preheat oven to 450°.
  • Combine egg, milk and garlic in a shallow dish and set aside for about 15 minutes to let flavors combine.
  • Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley and pepper in another shallow dish.
  • Dip zucchini slices into egg mixture, then into crumbs and place on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then turn over and bake for 5 minutes more or until brown and crispy.

"Breaded 'n Baked Zucchini Chips".<> February 2009.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fried Rice

Fried rice is probably one of Sharl's favourite comfort foods that I make. I usually use whatever I have on hand to make fried rice. Today it was shrimp, eggs, asparagus, celery, carrots and onions. You can always use chicken, Chinese BBQ pork (cha-siu), ham, shrimp, or any combination of meats and vegetables that you like.

To make Chinese food at home, you should always keep the following key items (at a minimum) in your pantry:

Light soy sauce (I use Pearl River brand)
Chinese cooking wine
Oyster sauce
Sesame oil
Red Vinegar (not used in this recipe)

10 small shrimp defrosted
1 celery rib diced
6 baby carrots diced
6 asparagus spears cut into 1cm pieces
1/2 small onion diced
2 cups cooked rice (day old rice is best)
2 eggs lightly beaten

Chinese food is cooked on high heat, so ensure that all of your ingredients are prepared and set aside ready to throw in the hot wok/pan.
Heat 1-2 tsp cooking oil in a large frying pan or wok on high heat until smoking.
Throw in the chopped veggies and stirfry until softened. (2 mins)
Add shrimp and cook until they turn pink (1 min)
Add about 1 tbsp of chinese cooking wine and continue stiring until the wine starts steaming and evaporating.
Add rice and mix everything together.
Pour eggs over the rice and keep stirring so that everthing gets coated and the eggs cook through.
Add soy sauce to taste (about 1 tsp)
Add about 1 tbsp of oyster sauce.
Mix well and season with salt if needed.
Turn off heat and drizzle with sesame oil before giving the fried rice a final stir.

Monday, February 16, 2009

French toast with Banana Rum sauce for Valentine's day

I was going to get Steve something for Valentine's day but there is really nothing he would appreciate more than food. :)

So, I decided on making french toast with a banana rum sauce. The sauce was amazing and I would like to try it on ice cream.. banana foster? The smell was amazing!! I'm sorry Kimmeh. I know you can't eat bananas. :( But I bet the recipe would work with strawberries too. That tastes soo good.. strawberry sauce on waffles..

The french toast didn't work out as well as I wanted too. I didn't have butter in the house and it stuck to the pan. I actually didn't realize how long you have to cook it.

Banana Rum sauce:
  • 2 bananas sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of rum
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar

I know the recipe called for butter but we didn't have any and it tasted just as good. I poured the rum and sugar first and then put the bananas in and simmered for about 10 minues. It was delicious.

Dave Lieberman."French Toast with Rum Bananas".<>. February 2009.