Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I may be making a move...

Howdy readers....are there any readers out there?

Anyhow, I have been slowly trying to migrate my blog to wordpress. I THINK I may have gotten most of my content moved over...and so far, I'm liking the new layout and format.

Please head on over and check it out.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gourmet Stampede...but Christmas is starting to sneak up on us!

OMG! I've been so busy eating my way through the Stampede season that I JUST realized - Christmas time is 5 months from now. I need to get a move on things if I'm going to get everything done in time. I'll post details later we don't want to spoil the surprise in case any of my friends and family who are getting my foodie treats are reading this :)

Time is ticking to source out ingredients, hit the farmers markets and cross my fingers that I'll be able to find jars (unlike last year when I ran all over town to find the half pint size).

Places I've eaten at during Stampede include Home Tasting Room, NOtaBLE, WURST, and of course, countless BBQ lunches, pancake breakfasts...and the stampede grounds for those irresistable mini donuts. Service has been great so far at most places....but I've been reminded why I don't ever go to Ceili's by choice. 

Wurst - Sir Perry Pear Cider (England)
I had a 200mL & 1/2 litre portion
Wurst - East Coast Oysters
Horseradish cocktail sauce & champagne jelly
Wurst - Schweinshaxen
Roast Pork Knuckle with Braised Cabbage and Potato Dumpling
(Seriously, this thing was bigger than my head) 

NOtaBLE - Dungeness Crab and Scallop "Corn Dog"
Served with Chipotle Aioli, blue cheese "Ranch"

NOtaBLE - "Beef on a Bun"
Braised beef shortrib with foie gras, brioche and
cipollini onion relish

NOtaBLE - Creamsicle and Donuts
Grizzly Pop orange semi-freddo with
mini vanilla donuts

NOtaBLE - DH "Big Mikey" Burger

Home Tasting Room - Grilled Flatbread
Proscuitto, basil ricotta, roasted red pepper & arugula

* Dishes not shown:
Home Tasting Room - Cheese Tasting, Charcuterie Tasting
WURST - Chocolate Fondue for two, Black Forest Cake

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Oh my...Sweet Onion Tarts

I love parties where appetizer/hor d'oeuvres are served. There really is nothing better than standing around the kitchen (because everyone knows that the kitchen is where the party always ends up) in good company and having heavenly little bites of perfection.

There is nothing that really bugs me more than:
1) having that morsel of yumminess be super messy, and
2) trying to eat said appetizer in more than a couple of nibbles.

I mean, who really wants to stand there trying to have a conversation with sauce dribbling down their faces or hand, napkin held under the chin unceremoniously...and possibly wearing the sauce on your fabulous outfit!?

These little tarts also let me make use of a fantastic little tart tin I bought at Christmas time and hadn't gotten around to using. I had originally thought that it would be perfect vessel for making one-bite butter tarts...but who am I trying to kid? Those suckers wouldn't stand a chance in my house. My DH LOVES butter tarts...and chocolate chip cookies...and well, actually...I think he's secretly the cookie monster.

So, without further adieu... 

Sweet Onion Tarts
Makes 24 tartlets

1 cup flour
75g (2.5 oz) butter, chopped
1 tbsp bottled green peppercorns, drained and crushed
1 egg yolk
1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp olive oil
3 onions, sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp olive paste
75g (2.5 oz) feta cheese, crumbled

1. Grease your tart pan.

2. Sift the flour and 1/4 tsp salt together. Add the butter. Rub together with fingertips until the mixture starts to look like breadcrumbs. Make well in center of mixture and add peppercorns, egg yolk, mustard and up to 2 tsp of water. Mix with a flat edged knife until it starts to come together. Turn out onto a floured surface and form mixture into a ball. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 400F.

4. Roll dough out on lightly floured surface until it reaches a thickness of 2-3 mm. Cut rounds with 8 cm cutter. Place rounds in tart tin and prick with fork. (Or for a more rustic look, form 24 balls of dough and drop into the tin. Press dough along bottom and sides, then prick with fork)

5. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the pastry turns golden.

6. Heat oil in a heavy pan. Add onion and garlic. Cook, covered over low heat for approximately 30 minutes. Increase heat to medium then add sugar and balsamic vinegar, stirring until most of the liquid has evaporated and the onion mixture becomes glossy. Stir in raisins.

7. Spread a little olive paste into the base of each of the pastry shells. Spoon the onion mixture into the shells and crumble the feta cheese over it. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Not so authentic "Couscous Tabbouli"

Tabbouli is also known as Tabbouleh, Tabouleh or Tabuli. It's a salad that is traditionally made with bulgur, finely chopped parsley and mint, tomato, green onion and seasoned with olive oil and lemon juice.

What I really love about Tabbouli is that it's so refreshing. What I dislike is the amount of time it takes to prepare the bulgur wheat. Really...soaking overnight or doing the shortcut version with boiling water and waiting a hour. IMHO, that is much too long for salad prep.

In my version, I used couscous because I'm lazy (10 minutes baby...whoot!)...and that's what I have at home in the pantry. I am also a sucker for anything with garlic in it, so guess what? I added a couple cloves of garlic yumminess. Seriously, the most time consuming part about this recipe is all the chopping. Enjoy, and bon appetit :)

Couscous Tabbouli
Serves about 4 people

3 green onions (finely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1/4 Cup olive oil
1/2 Cup couscous (boiled in chicken stock)
2 Bunches parsley (preferably organic Italian parsley)
2 Medium tomatoes
1/4 Cup lemon juice
1 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 balsamic vinegar

1. Boil a ½ cup of chicken stock and add couscous. Remove from heat and cover.
2. Let couscous steam for about 10 minutes, then fluff with fork.
3. Allow to cool to room temperature.
4. Finely chop onions, garlic, parsley leaves and tomatoes. Mix with couscous.
5. Make a dressing out of lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sea salt.
6. Mix all together in a bowl.
7. If you want more spice, throw in some fresh ground pepper and/or chili flakes to taste.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rosolje - Estonian Herring, Beet & Potato Salad

Rosolje is an interesting thing to eat. I find that you either really like it, or you don't. I think it may have something to do with the fact that there is pickled herring in the salad. Pickled herring is a funny ingredient. I like to think of this particular ingredient much like I think of anchovies in a caesar salad. I suppose that if you are a herring-phobe (like my DH), you can always leave it out...but then again, it wouldn't really be Rosolje. I have heard people say that you can't taste the herring and that you can't tell that it's there (but my overly sensitive palate can, so I'm not going to say the same).

I first made this years ago alongside my best friends' Estonian grandmother. She only made this for special occasions because it was very labor intensive (took her two days) chopping all those ingredients into the perfect dice by herself. Now that she has moved onto a better place, we had a party and made this in her honor/memory. Since there were quite a few of us, we placed all the ingredients we needed to dice upon slips of paper and drew ingredients to make it a little less of a tedious task. I think Grandma would have been so proud and happy to see us all together passing on her recipe.

The flavor develops nicely with a day or two in the fridge...but if you are like my DH, and are trying it for the first time, then having it right after it's made might be a safer bet.

Rosolje (Estonian Herring, Beet & Potato Salad)
Makes a lot

1 small jar pickled herring in wine
7 potatoes - cooked and peeled
7 eggs, hard boiled
2 cans beets
1 lb cooked roast beef, cooled
1 small jar kosher pickles

2 cups mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper - to taste
Keens Mustard - to taste

1. Cut the herring, potatoes, eggs, beets, roast beef and pickles into a small dice (about 1/4").
2. Place all diced ingredients into large bowl.
3. Mix mayonnaise, mustard (to taste) and salt and pepper throughly in a small bowl.
4. Add dressing to diced ingredients and mix. Salad will be a nice pink color.
5. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Simple Marinated Carrot Salad

I love it when the weather becomes nicer and we can have people over to entertain. Whether it is a simple or elegant affair, there is just something so amazing about firing up the grill or stove and inviting your closest friends and family over to enjoy the sunshine. Having people over always means libations and nosh...and what better deal can you get when almost everything can be prepared ahead of time so that the hosts can relax and mingle too?

Simple Marinated Carrot Salad
Makes about 10 servings

This carrot salad is divine. I first tried it at a friends' birthday BBQ and begged for the recipe. I later found out that this was his grandmothers signature salad. Thank you grandma! A little rustic but a great side to complement your little shing-ding.

<pictures to come>

2 lbs. Carrots
1 large green pepper
1 large onion
1 tin tomato soup
½ cup cooking oil
¾ cup vinegar
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. each salt and pepper

1. Cut up carrots. Boil 3 minutes. Drain and let cool.
2. Cut up green pepper and onion. Mix with cooled carrots.
3. Heat remaining ingredients for dressing. Pour over vegetables and mix.
4. Refrigerate for 24 hours to improve flavour. Keeps for weeks in the frig.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Who's a maid...Marmalade?!

I've always had it in my head that making marmalade was hard. I mean...growing up, I would always look at all the little wee bits of orange and citrus peel so delicately suspended in all that tasty goodness. Visions of someone slaving away at the kitchen tediously removing pith and cutting perfect slivers of citrus peel just kept me away from ever attempting to make some. It wasn't until today when I was reading about Cara Cara Marmalade that I was inspired to make my own adaptation. Special thanks to Isabelle from for reassuring me that it is super easy to make.

First of all, I didn't have any Cara Cara Oranges. No matter - I wanted something bold, with a nice pop of colour to get me through these last few weeks of winter. Since Moro oranges are in season (and there were a couple pounds of them sitting in my fruit bowl), I decided to use these tasty little morsels in my version. The striking rich red colour is just utterly viewing a sunset in a jar.

I also loved the lovely red hue that was left on my hands. It's a small price to pay for our craft. Enjoy all!

Blood Orange (Moro) Marmalade
Makes about 4-250mL jars

2 lbs of blood oranges (Moro)
4 cups granulated sugar

  • Using a sharp knife, trim the top and bottoms from the oranges. Remove the peel and place in a large stainless steel saucepan with a generous amount of water (to cover). Bring to a boil over medium-low heat and let boil for about 10 minutes. Drain. Cover with fresh water and return to a boil. Boil for another 10 minutes until the peel starts to become soft. Drain.
  • Scrape the white pith from the peel with a spoon and discard. Cut the peel into strips and place in saucepan. Segment the oranges over the saucepan to catch any juices. Squeeze the membrane to remove as much juice as possible. Discard seeds and membrane.
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, making sure to stir occassionally. Reduce heat and gently boil, stirring occassionally until the peel becomes soft - about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the canner, jars and lids.
  • Increase the heat on the marmalade back to medium-high. Slowly stir in the sugar while maintaining boil. Boil for 12 minutes, or until your thermometer registers approximately 220F.
  • Do the plate test (Pour a small amount of jam - about a tsp onto a chilled plate. Chill in the freezer for a minute. Push the jam - if it wrinkles at the's ready)
  • Remove from heat and skim off foam.
  • Ladle marmalade into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rims, center lid and screw band down until finger-tip tight. Place jars into canner and process for 10 minutes. Let stand in canner for 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner and cool.