January 31, 2008

egg and leek "flat" omelette

salami and leek _flat_ omelette

Sorry about the nibble. I couldn't help myself :)

It smelled so tasty, it was hard to wait to get my camera out! Come lunch time, I like something warm and this quick and easy egg sandwich hits the spot.

And this is really soooo good. Salami sauted up with the leek gives this omelette a salty goodness that makes you want to nibble it before you set it down on the plate! Salami may not be good for the hips but sure is good on the lips. It's easy recipe for me since I usually have a bunch of diced frozen leek sitting in my freezer from summer and always have some sort of salami in the fridge since it lasts a good time.

I also call it a "flat" omellete because I flip the it to cook both sides and I don't fold it at the end. I guess it's like a thin fritatta.

Hmmmm, I think I'm going to be making this for lunch today. Yum.

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salami and leek "flat" omelette
serves 1-2

splash of oil

1/4 cup diced leek
4 slices, your choice of salami, diced
2 eggs, beaten

sprinkle of cheese

Saute up salami and leek in a hot small non-stick pan for several minutes. Add the beaten eggs and mix together. As the egg edges begin to set, lift the edges of the omelette up with a spatula and tilt the pan so the uncooked egg runs underneath for several minutes.

Since the omelette is small, I usually flip the omelette over with the spatula to cook the top side. Cook for several more minutes. Top with cheese and remove from heat.

Serve portion of omelette over a toasted bread. I like to sprinkle hot sauce on it too :)

January 29, 2008

turnip, carrot and apple salad

turnip, carrot and apple salad

I like turnips. They're a freaky looking root vegetable that I would never think to buy in the store. But my parents grow their own and often make this salad. I remember saying "what did you put in that salad, it's very tasty" and I was very surprised to hear it was turnips because I think I turned my nose up to them before. Yes, what a snob, indeed.

What I like about turnips is that they have this nice sharp taste and I find it goes well in salads. Sometimes I cut thin slices and add them to a mixed salad (people always think it's an apple until they bite into it! tee hee). But, I find that grated up with carrots and a tasty apple is a nice change. Try it, don't be a turnip snob like I was.

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turnip, carrot and apple salad

1 small sized turnip, grated
2 -3 carrots, peeled and grated
1 apple, peeled and grated (use any variety but granny smith gives a nice bite)

4 tbsp (1/4 cup) vinegar OR lemon juice (use 1-2 Tbsp of water to cut down the acidity if using vinegar)
1-2 tbsp oil
1 tsp sugar (or more if you like it sweeter)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Mix the grated turnip, carrots and apple together. Toss in the dressing and serve.

January 27, 2008

find a face in an unlikely place

I've been toying with the idea of posting pictures (food related or other) on the weekends here for some time. I want to try photo challenges and just post pictures of life around me. The thing is that I really want to practice my photography more and by posting it here, it will give me incentive to take more photos.

This morning I checked out Andrea's first challenge on the blog Shutter Sisters, (I been silently reading some of the contributer's blogs for a very long time - can you say shy about commenting!) and not even 10 minutes after reading her blog did I "find a face in an unlikely place". It's was so odd that it jumped out at me!

find a face in an unlikely place

We had a dinner party last night and of course, I didn't get around to doing all the dishes until this morning. Last night I made a mixed salad and put a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and alfalfa sprouts into it. And this morning, as I was about to wash my salad bowl, Mr. Frown appeared to me. How perfect is that!

January 24, 2008

ginger green beans

ginger green beans

Who needs ginger beef when you can have ginger green beans! Yeah, I know, not quite the same, unless you're a vegetarian. But hear me out.

The thing with green beans is that I never know how to make them differently. I usually just eat them steamed. This picture is from late summer (still cleaning out the photo archives!), when we had a great BIG crop of green beans. I think this is my third green bean recipe on this blog. That's a lot of beans (just imagine how many batches I ate and didn't post!).

I had this recipe for ginger beef and I LOVED the sauce so I thought it would go well with green beans. And it does. Since my hubby doesn't really like things "plain" (he loves his sauces) this seemed like a great way to get him to eat his greens and have sauce left over to mop up with bread or rice. I refused to fry battered-up green beans (like you do with ginger beef) cuz that just sorta kills the purpose of eating healthy green beans, if ya know what I mean.

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ginger green beans
serves 4

1/2 kg (~1 pound) fresh green beans, ends snipped (oops, I forgot in the above picture!)


1/4 cup ginger, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped or minced
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp wine, red or white (I have used apple juice too)
2 Tbsp white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar

Either blanch or stir fry green beans until softened. Set aside.

In a pan with 1 tbsp oil, stir in ginger and garlic over high heat. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Add Beans. Mix well. Serve.

This recipe was handed down to me from my sister who got it from her mother-in-law. I don't know if she is the original source or if she got it from somewhere else. All I have is a pretty printout :) sorry.

January 22, 2008

pickled hot chili peppers & cheddar cheese bread

pickled chili pepper & cheddar cheese bread

The thing I love about cooking and baking is that my mind just goes into auto-pilot. I just jump in and don't think about anything sometimes. I find it very relaxing. But sometimes auto-pilot isn't so great. Like this time, when I decided to double the recipe and really ended up quadrupling it since the recipe already was set to make two loaves. I didn't read ahead and only clued in when I was adding all that flour! So these would have been the original 2 loaves with the below recipe. However, I had a lot more dough.

Soooo I made this one, all fancy and braided.

pickled chili pepper & cheddar cheese bread-fd0000

And I STILL had a bunch of dough left so I made a bunch of buns and a round loaf (with cheddar cheese sandwiched in the middle).

pickled chili pepper & cheddar cheese bread-fd0001

(You like my little homage to Pac-man. hehe)

I haven't made bread in a while and my father pickled a bunch of hot chili peppers (they are the small skinny red and green ones) and gave me a big jar. So I figured I'd try them in a bread recipe and add aged cheddar cheese. The peppers give a nice heat and the pickled peppers and aged cheddar together gave a nice flavor.

Good thing I liked it, cuz that's a lot of bread.

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pickled hot chili peppers & cheddar cheese bread

2 pkg active dry yeast
2.5 cups warm water
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp butter or margarine, melted
7 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup pickled hot chili peppers, chopped small
1 cup (aged)cheddar cheese, grated

1 egg white
1 tbsp cold water.

Dissolve yeast in warm water in mixer bowl. Add salt, butter and flour. Knead with dough hook for 1 minute on speed 2 or until blended.

Add pickled hot chili peppers and cheddar and knead for 2 minutes on speed 2.

Place dough on greased bowl and cover. Let rise in warm place for 1 hour.

Punch dough down and divide in half. Roll each half into rectangles. Roll up the dough tightly from longest side, tapering ends.

Place loaves onto greased baking sheets, dusted with cornmeal. Cover and let rise in warm place for 1 hour.

Make 4 diagonal cuts along the top of each loaf and bake for 25 minutes at 450F.

Remove from oven. Beat egg white and water wash together adn brush each loaf with it. Return to the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes longer.

Recipe adapted from: French Bread, KitchenAid Instuction and Recipe Manual.

January 18, 2008

pita pizzas

pita pizzas

So you want pizza tonight but you don't want to make the dough... well, I got a solution for you!

I introduce to you pita pizzas! My version of a "thin crust" pizza. I often buy pitas and store them in the freezer so I have it on hand whenever I want to make this or have a filled pita sandwich for lunch.

I can't remember what toppings I used for this pita pizza but really you can use whatever you like. The important part is to saute everything before you put it on the pita since you don't want to bake the pitas too long in the oven because then you would be left with hard shells. And, that is no fun to eat. It goes into the oven just to warm it all up and meld the tastes of your tomato sauce with your toppings.

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pita pizzas

Pitas
Tomato sauce - I usually buy plain tomato sauce and add extra spices and brown sugar to make my tomato sauce even tastier.
Toppings of your choice, cut into whatever sizes you like. I prefer small pieces (so I can hide all the veggies my kids don't like to eat) tee hee.
Cheese, shredded

Saute up your favorite toppings to soften them up. Add extra herbs or spices if you prefer, don't forget the salt and pepper!

Spread tomato sauce on all the pitas. Add your toppings to the pitas. Spread the tops with shredded cheese of your choice.

Put into the oven for about at 425F for 8-10 minutes. Remove, let cool. Cut and serve.

January 16, 2008

smoky roasted-potato chowder

smoky roasted-potato chowder

Sometimes I wonder why I live where it's cold. It's not like I love really hot heat (cuz I don't, I'm sure I'll complain in the summer when it's boiling) but I'm an in between type of gal, a Golidlocks if you must call me something. I like it not too cold and not too hot.

But, I'm stuck here for now. On the flip side, one thing about cold weather that is good is the wonderful comfort type of foods you can make when it's cold. Stews and chili, ciders and hot cocoa. Mmmmm.

I have to say, I thought this potato chowder was really tasty. I was licking up the spoon because of the wonderful roasted vegetables. I have to admit though, I felt I would have preferred it with some chunks throughout the chowder versus a complete puree. It almost reminded me of something I fed my kids when they were babies, except this was a LOT more tasty.

Even though it had great flavor, I just couldn't eat it the next day. I think it was filling and hearty but I just couldn't do the texture again another day.

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smoky roasted-potato chowder
makes 5 cups

10 baby red potatoes*
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 small red onion, cut into quarters
1 red pepper, coursely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp smoked paprika or 1/2 tsp regular paprika
pinches salt and pepper
10 oz (284 mL) can undiluted chicken broth

Preheat oven to 400F. Combine all of the ingredients (except for chicken broth) and spread into large rimmed baking sheet. Roast in oven until potatoes are very tender, about 30-40 minutes.

Put all roasted vegetables into large saucepan. Add chicken broth and add 2 soup cans of water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium heat. Simmer and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes.

Puree soup in small batches with a food processor. Return into a clean saucepan and add more salt and paprika to taste, if needed.

* I didn't have enough potatoes so I used a small sweet potato, equivalent to 5 baby red potatoes.

Recipe from: Smoky roasted- potato chowder, Chatelaine Magazine, March 2007 Issue.

January 14, 2008

black bean dip

black bean dip
Bored of the usual "salsa with sour cream" or "woot, let's spice it up and add some guacamole"?

Yeah? Then try this out!

Goes great with fresh or (oven toasted) pita triangles and even tortillas. What I really like about it is that it's very healthy without tasting healthy, unless you just don't like beans. It's got a great fiber count because of the beans and we all know that fiber is a good thing to have in a diet, right?

No? Well, if you are rocking back and forth on the porcelain throne, then you need to be putting away the salsa and scooping up the black bean dip. Just think of how all the friends that you called over to watch sports or some movie will be that thanking you for adding some fiber to the diet.

tee hee!



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black bean dip
makes 2 cups

1 can (19 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup minced onions
2 Tbsp chopped, fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp each cumin and black pepper
1/3 cup low-fat sour cream

Combine all ingredients (except sour cream) into blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in sour cream. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from: Black Bean Dip, The Crazy Plates Cookbook

January 10, 2008

pumpkin soup

pumpkin soup

Another bountiful harvest. My hubby grew 3 lovely pumpkins and we enjoyed this soup twice already. Pumpkins aren't just for carving at Halloween, you know :)

In fact, my hubby made the soup and even took the picture above! (I did tweak it a wee bit).

I find pumpkin soup to be less sweet than butternut squash soup but they are both rich in texture. It's a nice change from the "mushroom soup, mushroom soup, mushroom soup" chant I get from the kids.

"Pumpkin soup, pumpkin soup, pumpkin soup!"

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pumpkin soup

6 cups vegetable stock
3 1/2 lb. pumpkin, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 tsp nutmeg
coarse salt, and freshly cracked black pepper
2 tbsp sour cream

Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a medium pot. Add the pumpkin, onions and garlic. Simmer 20 minutes or until soft. Puree soup in a blender until smooth.
Return soup to the pot to reheat. Season the soup with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Pour the soup into bowls. Swirl in some sour cream.

Recipe from: Pumpkin Soup, Food Network Canada

January 8, 2008

oven roasted tomato sauce

oven-roasted tomato sauce

Another recipe back from the fall! We had lots and lots of tomatoes, from our own garden and also tomatoes from my parents. I always get stressed when they are all getting too ripe and you have to use them all up before they spoil. I hate wasting food. I think it's wrong.

So, I thought I'd try my hand at tomato sauce. And any tomato sauce that has roasted vegetables and bacon in it is begging to be made! ROAST VEGETABLES! BACON! I kid you not. It was quite delicious.

But, I still think I'd buy the canned stuff. Takes less time using a can opener. But, if you got big ole bummer crop of tomatoes, it's well worth the effort :)

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oven-roasted tomato sauce
serves 4

2 pounds tomatoes, quartered
1-1/2 cup chopped red onions
4 slices raw bacon, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1-1/2 tsp each dried basil and oregano

2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each black pepper & crushed red pepper flakes

12 oz uncooked penne pasta
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Spray a roasting pan with non-stick spray. Add tomatoes, onions, bacon and garlic. Roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes at 400F. Remove from oven and add vinegar, basil and oregano. Stir well and return to ove for 15 more minutes.

Transfer roasted vegetables to a blender or food processer. Work in batches if necessary and puree until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan and add tomato paste, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes.

Spoon sauce over prepared pasta and sprinkle with parmeson cheese.

Recipe from: Lawrence of Arrabbiata, Crazy Plates Cookbook.

January 6, 2008

Look at THESE babies!

CLICK; Dec07 Delish Winner CLICK;  Dec07 Spectra Second Place










WOW!

I'm really quite surprised! (can you feel me blushing!)

Just over a year ago, I got my camera. My husband's friend, Jason from PhotoAlberta, recommended that he get me a SLR. And I was actually coveting this camera for a while. So what a great surprise to have got it. I started playing around with it. I remember many times thinking that I'd never get out of the fully automatic mode.

I started out taking shots of my children but they move around so much and many times do not want me taking pictures of them. So, it seemed almost perfect that I move onto food. I needed practice and love cooking and baking and the food doesn't move or tell me to stop taking pictures. Perfect marriage :)

So when I saw this CLICK event, I worked up the nerve to send my picture in. I almost didn't and my husband said "come on, what do you have to lose". Well, nothing I suppose. But, I really was not expecting anything to come out of it!

I want to say thanks to all the judges for choosing my photo and also to the kind people that left me comments. You have all made my day :)

chocolate chestnut mousse

January 4, 2008

garlicky green beans with lemon zest

garlicky green beans with lemon zest

I've been cleaning up my computer to free up some space and ridding pictures that didn't turn out. I should just delete the crappy pictures right off my camera, to save myself some time, but it just never happens.

Sooooo, as I was sifting through photos, I realized I have some food pictures that I never posted recipes for that go way back to summer!

Remember my green beans fresh from the garden?

green beans from the garden

I also have another green bean recipe that I'll have to type up for another day.

Sigh, post-it notes and recipe books with the pages dog-earred. Typing out the recipes take the longest time!

But, mmmmmm... garlicky green beans!

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garlicky green beans with lemon zest
side dish for 4


2-3 garlic cloves
butter to saute
~ 1 pound of green beans, ends cut
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 red pepper, slice thin
salt and pepper to taste.
1/2 lemon, zest and juice

In a hot pan, saute butter and garlic for about 30-60 seconds. Add green beans, onion and red pepper and toss around for 2-4 minutes or until tender. You might need to add 1-2 Tbsp water to prevent mixture from burning. Zest half a lemon and add some juice and saute for 30 seconds. Serve.

January 2, 2008

iceberg salad with orange poppy seed dressing and pomegranate seeds

All Photos-fd0000

ICEBERG! DEAD AHEAD!
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Happy New Year! Hope your holiday season was relaxing and fun!
Are you all tired of the constant eating that has occured during the holiday season? I know I am. I have been uncomfortably full one too many times during this merry eating season. So let's start the new year with a salad! Yay! Great start for those who have made holiday resolutions to lose some weight (and for me it's the Christmas eating pounds! tee hee).

I'm sure some of you are thinking a variety of mixed greens would be so much better but this is all I had in the refrigerator and I really wanted a salad. It's not often that I'm craving a salad but when I do, I'm gonna have it! Iceberg it is!

But, actually, it's kind of nice and refreshing with the iceberg. It's crispy and has a lot more moisture than other leafy greens. The orange poppy seed dressing also dressed the lettuce very well and complemented the crunchy sweetness of the pomegranates.

All Photos-fd0001

I was reminded how I love pomegranates. Peeling them to get all the seeds out, not so much fun but kind of relaxing. Well worth it though. It's such an interesting fruit. The color, the crunch, the seeds bursting with sweet juice, it's all around a great tasting experience.

I may just go pick up another one this week!

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orange poppy seed dressing

1 tsp finely grated orange rind
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp white wine or sherry vinegar
1 tsp liquid honey
1/2 tsp poppy seeds
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

In a small bowl, whisk the oil into all the ingredients. Pour over salad and toss to coat.

Recipe: Green salad with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing, Holiday Celebrations: Canadian Living Fall 2007 Magazine.
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