rustic, indulgent, healthy, home cooking

   

Pepper Crusted Chicken Breasts, Stuffed with Chèvre and Fresh Herbs

Pepper Crusted Stuffed Chicken

Main | September 16, 2016 | By

There are no two ways about it, this is Jim’s favourite dinner that I make for him.  I usually save it for special occasions: anniversaries, a special date night, a reward for putting up with me as we cleaned his office… you know what I mean!

The first time I made it (almost 20 years ago) I just thought it would be another Wednesday evening dinner.  Or was it Thursday? The recipe seemed basic enough: pound out some chicken breasts, stuff them with goat cheese and herbs, wrap and secure with toothpicks, and then sprinkle with pepper.  Sear, and then let them simmer in wine and stock.  But the end result was way more than I was expecting.

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Apple Pie with a Cheddar and Thyme Crust

Apple Pie

Baking, Dessert | September 10, 2016 | By

It’s September.  I don’t care what the weather forecast is, it is time to start thinking about Autumn baking!  Yes, I know we have still been enduring some sweltering days.  Yes, I know everyone still wants to drink margaritas poolside and wear shorts or sundresses. Yes, I know that the idea of packing away the flip flops and beach towels is depressing.  Me… I’ve moved on!

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Green Risotto of Bamboo Rice and Sea Asparagus

Green Risotto

Vegetarian | September 9, 2016 | By

There is something so relaxing and in-the-moment about making risotto.  I’ve probably waxed poetically (or not poetically to the true poets out there) ad nauseam about how much I love making a risotto.  Standing there at the stove, stirring a pot, slowly helping the rice go from raw to a creamy pot of goodness.  Focus must remain on the pot, no multi-tasking with a good risotto.

This risotto is made extra special with the use of bamboo rice.  Have you guys tried bamboo rice yet?  

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Polvorones, Basque Spice Cookies

Polvorones

Baking | September 5, 2016 | By

For August we were exploring The Basque Country, A Love Letter in Recipes from the Kitchen of Txikito, by Alexandra Raij and Eder Montero, for the Rainy Day Bites Cookbook Club.

At first I thought, oh, a book that will be similar to Spanish tapas cooking, with southern French/ Mediterranean influences.  But I was so wrong.  Basque cuisine is rich, earthy, vibrant, and most unique to itself.  

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Plum Torte with Roasted Plum and Cardamom Ice Cream

Roasted Plum Ice Cream

Baking, Dessert | August 29, 2016 | By

Plums are the little nerdy cousin in the fruit world.  They’re not as glamorous as figs, dragon fruit or mangos.  They’re not as popular as apples, peaches or strawberries.  They’re not as feisty as cherries, blueberries, or blood oranges.  They are the stone fruit sitting in the library with their study group, rhubarb, gooseberries and currants.  Deep, thoughtful, intelligent, and the fruit that all the others want to have write their essay papers.   Yes, I’ve given this a lot of thought.  Unnecessary thought, but thought nonetheless!

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Red Lentil and Tomato Curry over Basmati Rice

Red Lentil Curry

Main, Vegetarian | August 26, 2016 | By

This is one of those recipes that I pull out when I don’t want to think.  Add it to my ‘brain dead’ meals collection.  When we’re in a rush, or when I haven’t gone grocery shopping, or when I know we should have something healthy and meatless, but I don’t have anything impressive in mind.  Step in red lentils.  With the added tomatoes and spicy flavours of a good curry, this meal always comes through for me.  All the ingredients are always in the fridge or pantry.  So, it’s a cooking life-saver kind of meal.

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San Francisco in August

Golden Gate Bridge SF

Travel | August 25, 2016 | By

I guess I could call this post, “I left my heart in San Francisco”.  A little obvious?!  I do like Tony Bennet though. 

It was our first time visiting this special city.  We really wasn’t sure what to expect.  I probably had a more romanticized expectation of the City by the Bay.  Don’t get me wrong, it is a lovely, memorable, iconic city.  So much of what I expected it to be.  The hills, the trolley cars, the painted ladies, the fog, the docks, the bridges, Chinatown… everything I had been anticipating totally lived up to my expectations, and beyond! And from all those Film Noir movies, like Dark Passage with Bogie and Bacall.

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Plummy Plum Butter

Plum Butter

Sides | August 24, 2016 | By

This is a treat that totally reminds me of my mom.  Growing up, one of my favourite things to put on toast was ‘pflaumenmus’ or plum butter.  So thick and spreadable, a slight tartness mingled with the sweetness of the plums, with that rich, deep colour.  I was hooked!  Whenever we would go grocery shopping, six year old me would ask my mom if the store we were in is where we get the pflaumenmus (all my words in english, except for the key word!) “No”, she would reply, “we need to go to a special store for that.”  By special, she meant the German deli!

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Fig and Rosewater Frangipani Tart with Honey and Pistachios

Fig and Rosewater Tart

Dessert | August 22, 2016 | By

First the tomatoes hit the markets.  Right about the same time, the plums show up.  And then figs start popping up everywhere.  Those late summer treats, that tell us, enjoy this time, because ‘You know what’ is coming next.  Yep, Autumn.  Which is fine, because I actually quite like Autumn!  Really, I adore it, if one can adore a season.  But that does’t mean that we can’t revel in all the bounty of late summer fruits and veggies, before we accept the fact that these will be replaced with apples, pears, root veggies, broccoli, squashes etc soon enough.

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Peach and Little Gems Salad, with Grapes and Walnuts and a Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

Peach and Little Gem Salad

Sides, Vegetarian | August 19, 2016 | By

This salad was absolutely amazing.  On our whirlwind San Francisco trip, we ate well.  Pretty well every restaurant we visited gave me so much inspiration for what I wanted make at home.  In some cases I wanted to totally emulate the dishes we enjoyed.  This is one of them!

NOPA, a rustic and yet urban, farm to table institution in the Panhandle neighbourhood of the city had us totally mesmerized.  It has a bustling, modern flair with an energy and attention to detail that is stellar.  Priding itself on showcasing the hard work of local purveyors, it is a perfect example of California cuisine.  The menu changes constantly, depending on what is in season, so every visit will be a new adventure.

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