Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Red Jalapeño Peppers Stuffed with Cream Cheese & Feta

I’m a cheese lover, so much in fact that my dear friend Richard from Toronto started to call me Minnie Mouse – that should tell you a lot. Since David and I are together, he just can’t believe how much cheese he has been eating since. What can I say…? I love cheese!

When living in the GTA, I used to do most of my grocery shopping at St. Lawrence Market (I love that place and miss it a lot). Anyway, when I moved here in British Columbia, I couldn’t find some of the “stuff” I used to buy often back East. When push comes to shove, I had to find solutions for many of my unsatisfied cravings.

One of them was Red Jalapeño Peppers Stuffed with Cream Cheese. This antipasto was absolutely delicious! Each time I was eating pasta or just a grilled chicken breast, I was eating those little guys along with my meal. As time went by without having them, I happened to come across some red jalapeño peppers and my first thought was to try making some just like the ones I used to buy back then.

On my first try, they were pretty good. I could’ve stopped right there but as my tastes have changed slightly during all these years (8 to be more specific), I wanted to add more flavor to them. Without being overwhelmed, I decided to mix a couple cheeses together, add spices to the recipe and see how it would turn out.

Now, I can seriously satisfy another of my cravings and make it even better. It is simple to make and absolutely delicious to serve along with whichever dish you feel like. When you have guests over, it is also nice to serve these along with a nice platter of cured meats, olives and artichoke hearts as an appetizer. They also keep well in the refrigerator - with just two of us and a dozen of these little guys, they don’t sit in the fridge more than 2 weeks. When they’re all gone, don’t throw the oil away…use it for cooking.
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/red-jalapeno-peppers-stuffed-with-cream-cheese-feta/


Thursday, 17 August 2017

Quick & Easy Chicken Chop Suey

I don’t know why but sometimes there are things you enjoyed at some point in your life and for some reason, they disappeared. As insignificant as that can be, I remember using this brush when cleaning my face and it felt good because of the subtle friction… it was like a gentle massage. One day when leaving for Toronto, – that’s before I finally moved there officially – I forgot to pack it. Two weeks later when I returned home, somehow I never reused it. It is until a few years ago when looking through an old bag of make-up and cleansing that I saw what used to be “my favorite” facial cleaning accessory.

Same with food and recipes… How many times did we have a favorite appetizer or main course and all of a sudden, restaurants stop offering it and we just forget about it until someone mentions it or we come across it. As well as having a favorite dish that Mom made and it slowly faded away from the family kitchen…

A few months ago, one of my subscribers kindly asked me if I had a recipe for Chop Suey. “Oh My”, I thought! Yes of course I had one but for some illogical reason, I stopped making it. I liked it a lot as did everyone who enjoyed it at my home. So why did this recipe disappear from my menu rotation?

This Chinese American recipe with uncertain origins is a simple meal that falls into the “comfort food” category. It is that kind of dish that family members sit around the dinner table to enjoy food together. What’s nice about this delicious dish is it is quick to prep and the cooking time is about 15 minutes. Now that’ a recipe you want to keep for those challenging evenings when there’s little time to cook.

I’m not too sure if my “favorite brush” and this simple but yet flavorful recipe have any connection to the time they both vanished but for sure I’m happy that I brought my Chicken Chop Suey back to my Chinese recipe list. Now when it comes to my facial brush, I let it go and replaced it with a newer version of it called Clarisonic®. I guess even your favorites can be replaced at some point…
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/quick-easy-chicken-chop-suey/


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Silk & Satin Chocolate Pie

Chocolate has been around forever! Apparently chocolate originated in South America. The Aztecs and Mayas were making chocolate beverages known as xocolãtl which means “bitter water”. Of course, when it’s not fermented, the taste is quite bitter.

Chocolate is so popular worldwide and for good reason… Besides its scrumptious taste, chocolate (I’m talking dark here so we’re on the same page/blog) may prevent cancer, reduce stroke risk and heart disease with its pentamer, flavanols and polyphenols as well as protecting against inflammation. It also helps brain function, protects your skin, improves blood circulation and lowers blood pressure. Now that’s a medicine I have no problem taking every day as long as the percentage of cocoa is high enough – something around 72% +. Don’t think the chocolate in candy bars is the answer… nope!

Once in a while I crave a chocolate dessert so the other day I couldn’t make up my mind about which dessert to make between Chocolate Satin pie and French Silk pie. What? C’mon I’m sure you had a chocolate pie before. What about French Silk pie? What’s the difference? Not a whole lot besides one is creamier (French Silk pie) and the other one is richer with its dark chocolate (Chocolate Satin pie). What I did was basically take the chocolate mousse recipe from my French Silk pie and combined it with my dark Chocolate Satin pie… et voilà! This is what happens when a woman is perimenopausing and can’t make up her mind! Besides my hormonal situation, the results were amazing. It was the best of both… pies! Not too creamy and not too custardy, just perfect!

I won’t blame this on my hormonal situation but I needed more impact so instead of using a regular graham pie crust, I decided to use my Chocolate Honey Graham Cracker Pie Crust . As I was ready to serve it later on, I got another brilliant idea… let’s garnish it with some homemade whipped cream and shaved chocolate – talk about the ultimate dessert… it was the ultimate chocolate overdose!

Luckily, my idea turned out amazing and in the future, I might come up with more recipe combinations! The result is a beautiful combination of two decadent chocolate desserts. If you are serious about chocolate, this pie is definitely for you…
Bon appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/silk-satin-chocolate-pie/


Thursday, 10 August 2017

Sweet & Savory Homemade Ketchup

I grew up in a suburb of Montréal. The house was sitting on a nice property and the backyard was the playground for the kids in the neighborhood. It was also the playground for my father who enjoyed his garden. We grew many vegetables and herbs along with tomatoes. At one point, he had five different varieties of tomatoes. For every meal there were some tomatoes on the dining table. When family and friends were coming to visit my parents, they were all leaving with a bag filled with tomatoes.

My mother made so many recipes with them and always tried to add more to her list. When the season was over, the kitchen counter was covered with tomatoes along with other fresh produce from the garden. One recipe my mother made each year and barely lasted until Christmas was her Homemade Ketchup. This was and still is my favorite condiment using tomatoes. We were using it on pork chops, grilled chicken breasts and even on fish… that’s right! This ketchup is that good!

Years ago I asked my mother for the recipe and somehow she couldn’t find it but was able to give me a rough list of the ingredient amounts and directions. My first attempt was good but still not close to what I remembered from my childhood. It took me a few more tries before it finally came out the “right way”. Eureka!

Without a garden of my own, I was making my Sweet & Savory Homemade Ketchup every fall. It was some sort of “family tradition” I wanted to keep alive. I also started – which I should have never done – giving some to my friends. What a big mistake that was!!! Each year, the orders for these little jars filled with yumminess got bigger and bigger. At one point I had to stop making them… it was getting ridiculous!

When David and I started our little garden, my first thought was to make some homemade ketchup so he could try it. At first he was hesitant – most of the time he’s like that! – , but when he finally tried it on hot dogs, he said “Wow!”. He totally loved it! Of course, the ketchup disappeared as fast as it always did in the history of this particular condiment and in the middle of winter, I had to make another batch.

Besides David eating this condiment like no tomorrow, he called it “relish”. Oh sweet Lord! It was almost blasphemy to me! Until recently when I forced him to google it and read what the difference between ketchup and relish is, this argument was going on for several years… I finally won! What a stubborn creature he can be sometimes… lol! Anyway, it really doesn’t matter what you want to call it unless you are standing in front of me… then we’ll have a debate! It is different from the regular Heinz Ketchup but I can guarantee that you’ll really enjoy it compared to the commercial one!
Bon Appétit!


Warning… if you start giving jars away, please be mentally and physically prepared for huge orders in the future!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/sweet-savory-homemade-ketchup/

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Ceviche de Pescado (Fish Ceviche)

Every summer, there’s at least a week that I won’t cook because it’s way too hot for that. Of course I enjoy cooking otherwise I wouldn’t have started my Club Foody website, but I just don’t like cooking when the mercury rises beyond the comfort zone.

It’s insanely hot outside – I usually don’t complain – and along with my hot flashes, I cannot stand myself in my own skin! The AC is running and still, I’m lacking energy… I’m drained! Don’t get me wrong, I love summer… I just don’t like summer with my condition… So what to do?

Frankie needs a break from cooking… that’s all!

David is awesome for that… He’ll grill and do as much as he can to help me when I’m not feeling “that great”. Still, he needs a break as well. Standing in front of the BBQ when it’s already super-hot outside is not an ideal situation for either of us. Of course there are recipes that require no cooking at all… There are a couple of “chilled soups” that I posted already on the site which are Chilled Avocado Soup and Spanish Gazpacho . There are always sandwiches that can be an alternative solution and there’s this recipe that is absolutely perfect to enjoy during this time of year. It is Ceviche de Pescado (Fish Ceviche)!

What is that?

It’s a recipe that consists of raw fish and/or seafood marinated in citrus juice. This method helps to “cook” the fish.

How’s that?

Without going into too much detail, the acid from the lime juice (some use lemon instead) denatures the proteins in the fish and from there it turns the flesh opaque and firm. Another way to achieve this chemical process is by heat so without really cooking the fish over the BBQ, in a pan or in the oven, this South American technique delivers the same results… well almost.

Heat kills bacteria which on the other hand the citrus acid won’t achieve, so it is very and I mean very important to use fresh fish. Unless you have access to a commercial freezer which will take only a day, what I like to do is to freeze my fresh catch for at least a week and up to 10 days. I also like to “blanche” the fish for 90 seconds. Both ways will help kill any parasites.

There are two important factors that I would like to point out to successfully make this recipe. First I like to take my fish out from the freezer to my refrigerator and let it thaw for a few hours BUT not completely. When it’s time to cut the flesh into small pieces, having the fish slightly frozen helps make cutting easier, it looks neater with less mess. Secondly, don’t over marinate the fish! Personally I believe 2 ½ to 3 hours is plenty otherwise the flesh starts getting dry. The result you are looking for is to have the fish turning white/opaque.

This recipe is elegant yet uncomplicated as well as delicious! You can easily serve this Ceviche de Pescado to your guests as an appetizer but I prefer it as a main course with tortilla chips as a food vessel. In the video, I didn’t show the last ingredient I added (I blame it on my hot flashes…) which is hot sauce – it seems that everything is “hot” hmmmm? On the other hand, some of my guests loved it just the way it is so it’s a matter of taste if you’d like to add some or not. Go ahead and buy some nice fresh halibut, mahi mahi, snapper or even tilapia and enjoy this flavorful Latin American dish!
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/ceviche-de-pescado/

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Cosmocello

As you probably know I love my wine. I enjoy cooking with it, sipping it on its own and obviously pairing it with food. I do enjoy other spirits but wine, especially red, is my “thing”. In the Club Foody menu, there’s a section called “Club Picks” and that’s where I share my wine tasting notes as well as some restaurant reviews with you. If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do so… it might help you next time you need to choose a wine to pair with food at your event…

When it’s very hot outside, I need something cold to drink and red wine is usually out of the picture. Last year when the mercury went above 35ºC for over 3 months, I mixed a lot of cold cocktails. One of them was initially made with 7Up® and it was refreshing. One day though, as I started prepping my “cocktail”, I realized I was out of 7Up®. I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store although it is only a 5 minute walk to get there (it was too hot outside), therefore I had to reinvent that drink with another ingredient. To my great satisfaction and surprise, this modification made the cocktail taste even better!

In this video, I’ll share with you my Cosmocello! It is refreshing but not too sweet… I am not a fan of sweet cocktails anyway. My mixology concoction delivers that perfect balance – not too sweet with a hint of tartness. I like to make it in a red wine glass but any tall glass should work just fine. Garnished with a lemon wedge, this is a great drink to serve your friends at your next backyard party. Who knew that laziness can sometimes deliver something as good as this refreshing drink!
Cheers!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/cosmocello/


Monday, 31 July 2017

Vietnamese Summer Rolls - Gỏi Cuốn

Finger food, also called amuse-gueule in French, is a popular way to enjoy food. There are many dishes around the world that are considered finger food. Here in North America, there are chicken wings, hot dogs, hamburgers, oysters, fries, and so on. In Italy, there’s that delicious bruschetta as well as polpette, olive all’ascolana, canolli and more. In the Middle East, it’s their popular falafel balls, in Peru their cancha and let’s not forget matryoshka eggs that look like miniature dolls that you can find on the table of Russian parties. It doesn’t matter where you are in the World, people enjoy eating with their hands! From appetizers to more substantial meals along with desserts and treats, finger foods are easy, fun and convenient!

I really don’t recall the first time I ate Summer Rolls but one thing is for sure, I’ve been eating them for years now! This popular Vietnamese finger food called Gỏi cuốn is traditionally prepared with pork, prawns, vegetables and vermicelli. It is served with a peanut sauce for dipping.

Each time I make Vietnamese Summer Rolls, my ingredients are never the same… I like to mix things up and add crab meat, beef, eggs, tofu and others. It is not a type of recipe that the culinary imagination is limited! It is fresh, light, super healthy and quite satisfying! I really enjoy making this recipe during the summer when it’s hot outside. I do use peanut sauce but in this video, I’m showing you another quite flavorful dipping sauce for your rolls. It is spicy and sweet plus with the flavors from the summer roll, it is like a firework of yumminess in your month… Watching this video should give you enough temptation to roll up your sleeves and your rice paper to make this amazing recipe!
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/vietnamese-summer-rolls/


Thursday, 27 July 2017

Tabbouleh

When I was a child, I loved listening to elderly people talking about their lives, experiences, comparing their past with the actual present. To me it was a lively talking book – perhaps this is how the audio books started. I never got bored because I was learning from them through their stories. They were giving me an opportunity to see the world from another time, another perspective. That was better than any library in the world!

Things never changed as I grew up to become an adult. Meeting new people with different backgrounds was always interesting. Through the places I lived, I’ve met so many captivating individuals from all around the world who shared a part of themselves. By talking about their lifestyles, customs and so on, one common thing they all had was to make sure I tasted their food. I haven’t met anyone who was not eager to share the dishes they grow up with me. This is when I realized that food was one of the most important factors in anyone’s lives.

While living in Toronto, I met a man who was originally from Lebanon. We became good friends and like the other great people I’ve met throughout my life, he shared with me the food he grew up with. This is how I discovered Levantine cuisine. These flavorful middle-east dishes were deliciously different from any other cuisine. Richard, my Lebanese friend, showed me how to cook many of his favorite recipes. He eventually met a lady and we just drifted apart… that’s life!

Since then I never really made any Levantine dishes until a couple years ago when Club Foody became a part of my life. Before I never really wrote any recipes and realized that I should have. After a few mistakes here and there, I finally was able to make a few dishes learned from Richard with, I’m sure, a slight change to them. Like I mentioned, I never wrote recipes down until recently so as much as I try to stay faithful to the original, recipes can be different.

The one recipe that was extremely easy to remember was Tabbouleh – a vegetarian dish that consists of parsley, bulgur, mint, tomatoes, onions, and seasoned with lemon juice and oil. Not only flavorful but also healthy, this dish is so perfect to serve as a side dish along with any protein. I like to treat it as a salad although I’m not too sure if it is in the culinary world. Salad or not, this is an amazing recipe you will want to keep around…
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/tabbouleh/


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Scones

I’ve been in business for most of my life. If I worked for someone else for 7 years altogether, that’s probably it! In the late 80s’ I started my first company which was a High-end Fashion Boutique for Ladies, located on St Joseph Boulevard in Gatineau (formerly Hull), Québec. I carried big designer names such as Mondi, Marcella Priani, Le Truc, and so on as well as some very expensive lingerie such as Chantelle, Lejaby, Filodoro, etc. I also designed some clothes with my label on them.

It was quite an experience and I was blessed to have amazing ladies working for me. They worked very hard to make my boutique a successful business. Often, I was doing fashion shows and they were there helping me with them. During this time, I met a woman named Lisette who was the agent and promoter for the late Alys Robi, a popular singer from Québec. She worked as well for me promoting my store through different events. She eventually got me a spot for one of my fashion shows at The Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa. We did it during day time in the Zoe’s lounge throughout Afternoon Tea, packed with ladies enjoying their three tiered plates and sipping their favorite tea while watching my models walking in between tables showcasing the clothes from my store.

After we wrapped everything, I promised myself that one day I would return there to enjoy this British tradition. Sure enough, a couple of years later just before I officially moved to Toronto, I went there one afternoon with a friend, sat in the lounge and ordered some tea and a three tiered plate filled with sandwiches, scones and other sweet treats. This is when I first experienced these traditional English mid-afternoon tea time food items… scones… those little cakey breads. They weren’t sweet as the British served them along with jam and clotted cream… definitely the real deal! Later on, I had the North American version and they were surprisingly sweet compared to the British ones!

When I was running my event planning biz in Toronto, a lady hired me for her charity funding occasion. She wanted this to take place during the afternoon with something simple, yet elegant. I suggested a traditional afternoon tea served with what I had in Ottawa. She agreed and I went off to search for a caterer as well as a pianist, florist, etc. The event was a success… well almost because many of the guests had a real British afternoon tea experience prior to this event and unfortunately the caterer didn’t deliver the “right” scones.

There is a huge difference between British and North American when it comes to scones. Recently I gave them a try and I was pleased with the results but here was the dilemma – would my scones be a hit with the British or with the North Americans? David loved them and so did my friends… now that was a success to me! I served them with my Strawberry Butter along with petite sandwiches, a few one-bite sweets and a wide variety of tea. My “get-together” event was a success. Now if you will excuse me, I have a tea party to attend…
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/scones/

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Carnival Corn Dogs

There’s a man-made island called Saint Helen, located between Montréal and Longueil that is well known for its entertainment and amusement park; La Ronde. Initially built for Expo 67 which was the most successful World Fair of the 20th century, La Ronde continues to offer amusement rides, games, entertainment and fast-food till this day. It is open from May to October and is a kid’s dream destination.

I remember going there as a child with my parents. I wanted to jump on all the rides, play all the games with the hopes of going back home with a huge stuffed animal and eating whatever I wanted. There was one food item that I really enjoyed eating at the midway and it was called “pogo”, the Québécois given name for corn dogs. With yellow mustard on it, these battered dogs on a stick were absolutely delicious!

As I became an adult, I recall buying a box of corn dogs from the frozen section of the supermarket. They were okay but had that funny, almost metallic taste that you get when foods are frozen. Although I had cravings for them once in a while, I never bought a frozen box again.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to take a shot at making corn dogs from scratch. After mixing my batter with ingredients and spices, dipping the skewered hot dogs/sausages in it and then frying them, I was pleasantly surprised with the results. They were even better than I expected and so easy to make! I don’t have to get dizzy going on rides with a bunch of loud kids around and spend a lot of money to win a stuffed animal to enjoy my “pogo” with a good drizzle of yellow mustard on it and now… so can you!
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/carnival-corn-dogs/

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Tomates à la Provençale (Tomatoes Provençal)

Tomayto… tomahto!

Fruit… vegetable!

These little guys can be quite a controversy but worldwide, we love them! It doesn’t matter how to pronounce them or if you treat them more like a vegetable than a fruit, tomatoes are just succulent! They are incredibly versatile; used in sauces, stews as well as desserts… that’s right, you read correctly – dessert! Tomatoes are fun to cook with!

Now this trivia will blow your mind… Did you know that there are over 20,000 varieties of tomatoes in the world? It is incredible and apparently the number just keeps growing – as well as botanically… lol! It is a plant that millions of people love to grow.

Summer is here and of course we tend to cook almost everything and anything on the BBQ. David and I have a love affair with it! Our dream is to have a big backyard with a pool and a very large BBQ area for a smoker, charcoal and pizza oven. We just love grilling food!

One side dish I’ve been making for years for its simplicity but also for its amazing freshness is “Tomates à la Provençale” or if you prefer “Tomatoes Provencal” – hey I’m French… of course I’ll say it that way… lol! With a beautiful mix of fresh herbs that I grow on the patio, this recipe pairs so well with any grilled meat. There are a lot of people who cook this in the oven… I prefer it on the barbie! Why starting the oven when it’s barbecue season?

Next time you want a delicious recipe using your garden tomatoes, think about this one. It takes 5 minutes to put the mixture together and after grilling it for another 5, you’ll have a flavorful side dish with your meal. It can’t get any fresher than that!
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/tomates-a-la-provencale-tomatoes-provencal/