Thursday, 22 June 2017

Summer Creamy Coleslaw

Everyone has their favorite season and mine is definitely summer although I really enjoy autumn with its beautiful colors and fresh, cool air. There are so many reasons why summer is my favorite of all; nice hot weather, my open-toed sandals (yes I realize I’ve mentioned them quite a few times… hey I love them!), outdoor activities such as golfing, cycling, swimming, hiking and so on, plus the food! Everything seems to taste better. The freshness of produce and the availability make me want to eat more of it. Although I serve salad with almost every meal throughout the year because it’s healthy – I have a healthy conscious – I really enjoy having it more during the summer months.

There is one particular vegetable that I was never really fond of and it’s cabbage. Growing up, everyone in my family loved it except for me; something to do with the taste, smell and texture. Ironically, I fell in love with David who is German. Should I continue? Yes, that’s right! Germans and their cabbage… it’s like French with their cheese! Fair enough! LOL!!!

Last year I posted my or should I say “His” German Red Cabbage recipe. It is an amazing recipe and this is when I went out of my way to give cabbage another chance to prove me wrong. Guess who won? Since then, I’ve been eating cabbage. I still have a slight problem when cabbage is cooking because of the smell but the taste though is perfectly fine with me – keep in mind that our tastes do change with time… or is it because of my feelings toward my partner???

Now it was my turn to do something with cabbage. I came up with this Summer Creamy Coleslaw recipe and here are the reasons for it… First, I love David and second, I wanted to create a recipe that I wouldn’t ever imagine that one day I would enjoy! Back then I was working for this American Food Website as a Food/Recipe Analyst and I submitted this recipe to them. They posted it and I actually bragged about it to my family members and friends. I know, it’s childish but I was so proud of me. C’mon… Frankie creating a recipe with cabbage… impossible!

Anything is possible… well that’s what I’ve heard, don’t quote me on it! I love the combination of the dressing with the freshness of the ingredients. If this doesn’t scream out loud summer than I don’t know what does! It is bright, colorful, sweet & savory with a nice fresh crisp bite to it. This coleslaw salad is perfect with any meal and unless there’s a picky little brat like me (when I was young) around, everyone will love it!
Bon Appétit!


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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Coconut Waffles

How’s your morning? I’m sure it can be quite crazy, trying to get everybody up in the morning let alone getting the kids ready for school; feed them quickly, make their lunch and then off to school.

I wake up very early each day and once in a blue moon I sleep in but that doesn’t happen too often. Although I’m up and about mostly working on this site and anything related to it, I’m not really a breakfast person. I have to have my coffee… black please… but once in a while I do eat breakfast. It’s not because I don’t like it… I LOVE breakfast food, but I think it’s more the fact that I drink so much coffee that by the time I should sit and enjoy my breakfast, I’m not hungry anymore. That’s probably why there are not so many recipes posted in the breakfast section on Club Foody website. Now when I do have breakfast, it has to be gooooood!

David loves his waffles and don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them as well. One morning though I thought I should put a twist into this popular breakfast item and… voilà! This recipe has the nice delicate taste of coconut in it and I wanted that way. I didn’t want it to be too overpowering but still enjoy the flavors. It didn’t stop me from going over the top and pour some coconut syrup on my waffles that I purchased when we were in Kauai, Hawaii.

Now that summer is here, there’s more time to enjoy breakfast with family members so here’s the perfect recipe to serve them. If and only if you end up with leftovers – I highly doubt it – they freeze very well. Lay them on a single layer on a baking sheet and transfer to the freezer. When frozen, place them in a re-sealable plastic bag and back to the freezer until needed. When you’re ready to enjoy them again, reheat your waffles in your toaster… is that’s easy!
Bon Appétit!


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Thursday, 15 June 2017

Twice Baked Potatoes

Barbecue season is officially here although most of us grill all year round. I love the smell of grilled food on the BBQ… it stimulates my appetite! I would say that one of the most popular foods that grill masters love to cook on the “Barby” is steak! It doesn’t matter if it’s a T-bone, New York strip, Filet Mignon or Ribeye, steak on the BBQ is to die for…. With some seasoning and BBQ sauce, there’s nothing more delicious than a juicy medium-rare steak. I’m a carnivore, can you tell?

When we have a BBQ steak dinner, I love to make a nice salad, some fresh steamed vegetables although sometimes I like to serve it with my Tomato Provençale recipe which is coming up this summer July 2017. Other times, I like to have our steaks with  Steakhouse Sautéed Mushrooms or baked potatoes with all the traditional goodies. Other times I love making a side dish that is packed with yumminess… my Twice Baked Potatoes.

When it’s time to pair a steak with a side dish, Twice Baked Potatoes is the ultimate choice – let’ not forget a salad as well (salad should be served with most meals anyway… it’s healthy!). It is easy to make and the results are sinfully delicious! I don’t serve this every time we have a steak but when I do, the crowd goes wild… okay I am slightly exaggerating. Let’s put it this way… every time family and friends have had my Twice Baked Potato, they all want the recipe… it’s that good! Now it’s your turn to serve it and have your guests go crazy for it… here we go again with the exaggeration… or maybe not… it’s up to you to find out!
Bon appétit!


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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Easy Chicken Quesadillas

Awww summer is finally here! This is my favorite season… okay I also love autumn because of its fresh air and colors but back to the summer. There are so many things to do or should I say so many things I like to do. Although I’ve been playing golf for almost 2 months now and was fortunate to go to Rancho Mirage for a couple weeks back in April, summer is golf season… well to me it is! Besides golf, we enjoy cycling a lot. There are so many beautiful cycling trails here on the West Coast and the scenery is breathtaking!

Summer can also be very hot, so hot that I don’t really feel like cooking – yep it happens to me as well! It seems that I don’t really have an appetite and heavy meals are so out of the question. When this happens I want to enjoy light foods that are quick and easy to prepare.

There’s a dish that I like making when the temperature rises beyond the comfort zone and it is quesadillas. It’s a great dish that doesn’t take too much time to prep and by the time it’s ready, it probably took less than half an hour. I like to boil my chicken but I also enjoy this recipe with grilled chicken on the “barbie”! It’s a matter of how either of us feels that day…

Quesadillas is a great dish not only for its simplicity but also for its flavor! Personally, this dish is totally made for summer although I know some people who eat it all year round. In the video I show two techniques for making them; with a quesadilla machine or without one – the quesadilla machine was a gift I received when I was working as a food analyst for that American cooking website otherwise I would never buy one for myself. I have to admit... I have way too many kitchen tools/appliances!

If you’ve never had this popular Mexican dish before, I highly suggest you try it… for the ones who have had it, now here’s a recipe you can make at home.
Bon Appétit!


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Thursday, 8 June 2017

Spanish Gazpacho

Summer is here… well less than a couple weeks away but still, the heat has already started, we cook less inside and more outside. If you are like me, unless it’s BBQ food, I don’t really have an appetite for hot meals. I enjoy eating lighter and “cooler”.

The oven is almost banned during the summer months. It’s like sticking a banner in front of it that says “No Entry” or “Use at your own Risk “. Anything helps to reducing extra heat plus as a mature lady, I do have additional heat of my own so I really don’t need more if you know what I’m talking about!

When you hear the word “soup”, what comes to your mind is SOUP – hot, like real steamy hot. That kind of meal is so requested during the cold months. This is probably the last comfort food you want to enjoy now and in the months to come. I don’t blame you. Now let’s try this again – SOUP – but this time, let’s make it cold. Really?

There’s a soup that I was introduced to when I was in my early 20s’ by a young lady from Madrid. We met while both studying at the University of Québec in Montréal. I was so drawn to her. She was lively, colorful and so interesting! She and her family traveled extensively in Europe and she was the type of person that tells you a story with so much detail and excitement, that it seems you were there with them.

She was a couple of years older than me and it was her last semester. She was returning back to Spain so before she left, she surprised me by taking me out for dinner to one of her favorite restaurants. It was owned by a couple that was originally from a small village near Madrid. They were cooking food that made her feel happy and reminded her of her home town. This is when she introduced me to Gazpacho. Just the name itself enhanced my curiosity. As she explained, this is exactly how her mother and her grandmothers made that soup. It was cold, refreshing and so flavorful! She quickly told me which ingredients went in it and, of course, I just listened and didn’t take any notes.

Years ago, I tried to duplicate that recipe and alas, it wasn’t quite there. It tasted more like a “soupy salsa” and wasn’t nearly as beautiful as the one I enjoyed back then. Eventually after trying and never being successful with my Gazpacho, I, one day, remembered an important ingredient… bread! That was it! A few tries later and VOILÀ, I finally got it!

Of what I can remember, the taste is pretty similar to the one I had that evening with my Madrileño friend. I won’t be arrogant by saying it is authentic because it has been way too long since then but at least I can say that the results are scrumptious and doesn’t taste like a salsa someone has thrown in the blender. Add this fabulous recipe to your “summer must try” list… you won’t regret it!
Bon Appétit!


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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Strawberry Butter

The month of June has so much going on… it’s the last month of school for kids before summer vacation, Father’s Day, warm weather, summer solstice, harvest season along with food festivals. Going to one of these is fun and it attracts so many people. One I really enjoy is the Strawberry Festival. There are booths to buy cooked and/or prepared food items, knick-knacks to buy, games, Ferris wheel and rides, sometimes entertainment and mascots as well as displays of the star of the festival which is the strawberry. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon and bring back home some fresh goodies!

Now you’re at home and bought a lot of nice and juicy strawberries. Of course the first couple of days after washing them, you’ll probably eat the strawberries just like they are. These little guys are so awesome but they don’t keep well for too long so the next logical step is to bake or cook with them. Of course jams, ice cream and pies are a popular alternative use for them. There are also other ways to use strawberries in an unorthodox recipe that might surprise you…

Last year, my crisper was filled with strawberries. I made ice cream… I love that flavor! I also made a delicious strawberry shortcake… yum! Still, I had so many of these juicy little guys left! I used some in my smoothie but there were more and I wasn’t going to waste them – I can’t stand wasting food! So I’ve decided to think outside of the box for another use for strawberries.

That weekend, I created a few recipes with them that I never made before and the results were scrumptious! Here’s one of them… Strawberry Butter! That’s right, you read right! You won’t believe how delightful this is! The taste is simply beautiful and so perfect to spread on English muffins, scones, croissants, bagels, biscuits… you name it! Also there’s a plus to it… it freezes remarkably well! You can enjoy this flavorful butter anytime even after the season is long gone! It is also an elegant way to serve butter for your next brunch party.
Bon Appétit!


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Thursday, 1 June 2017

Greek Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves) with Avgolemono Sauce

There are certain dishes that become your favorites right from the start. When I was 19 years old, I worked for a record release event with many well-known Québécois celebrities such as Diane Tell, Robert Charlebois and Daniel Lavoie among the guests. I was the hostess greeting them upon their arrival. If you asked me who’s record release it was, I couldn’t answer as it’s been so long but there are a few things I still remember such as the location of the event and one dish that I fell in love with that night.

The event took place in a club on Prince Arthur Street in downtown Montréal. Now for those of you not familiar with that particular street, Prince Arthur has a small stretch between Square St Louis just off St Denis Street to St Laurent Street that is dedicated to pedestrians. Also there are many restaurants with outdoor patios, cafés and bars. When it comes to restaurants, Prince Arthur was and still is locally renowned for its Greek restaurants and BYOW “Bring your own Wine” service. Let’s not forget that we are talking back in the early 80s’ and the BYOW was not really legal at that time… really!

After the event was over, the employees were allowed to eat what was left from the buffet and seriously, it looked like it was barely touched. Obviously because of its location, the buffet was majorly Greek food with a few exceptions. Although I’ve dined at many restaurants on that street, there were certain dishes I’ve never tried. That night I went out of my comfort “Greek” zone and tried everything I had never tried till then. This is when Greek Dolmades became one of my favorites!

A few years later, I moved to Windsor, Ontario. One of the things I liked to do with my friends was to go out for dinner to Greek town located right downtown in Detroit, Michigan. Most of the restaurants had belly dancers and live music. It was a fun place to go! Of course the first time when I went to one of the Greek town restaurants and saw Dolmades, I ordered it without an ounce of hesitation. What a surprise when my appetizer arrived – it wasn’t with a yogurt sauce but an egg-sauce called Avgolemono. WOW! was my reaction after my first bite. Since then, I have to eat my Dolmades with that sauce.

As you will be seeing in this video, making Dolmades, also known as Stuffed Grape Leaves, is very easy but laborious. My advice is to wear comfortable shoes or flip flop, play your favorite music and you’ll see how fast time goes by. It is a big batch to make – about 50 of them – but on the other hand, you can always freeze them and enjoy those little guys weeks later. I won’t recommend doing the same with the sauce… c’mon, it’s an egg based sauce! Another plus to this dish is you can eat it hot, warm or cold so it is a perfect appetizer to serve all year round.
Bon Appétit!


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Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Chocolate Frozen Greek Yogurt

Summer is almost here which means… “it’s sandals” time! I love my sandals, I find them very sexy! With a nice pedicure, these highlight the feet of a woman! I like to wear either a bracelet around my ankle or a toe ring… it’s very feminine! What am I doing? It’s a cooking website not a fashion blog!

Back to food… Another thing that comes with summer is HOT days… yippee! I’d say that one common popular treat around the world that young and old enjoy during warm weather is ice cream, gelato, sorbet and… frozen yogurt!

I never really made frozen yogurt before until last year when I saw half of a Greek yogurt container sitting in my fridge. I didn’t want to waste it so the solution was to make something with it. That particular morning I already had a smoothie so I didn’t feel like making another one for the next day so this is when the idea of using it for a frozen treat came to mind.

My first attempt was not as yummy as I was expecting. The flavor from the yogurt was way too overpowering and left a funny taste in my mouth (it wasn’t expired… I checked). Now every time I don’t succeed with a recipe, I don’t give up – poor David…! I just keep trying until I get it. Luckily, the second time was “bang on!”

If you are looking for an interesting recipe this summer, don’t look any further and try my Chocolate Frozen Greek Yogurt! This rich frozen treat has a beautiful velvety texture and a slight tang to it. With some shaved chocolate in it, this makes a great summer treat for the family!
Bon Appétit!


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Friday, 26 May 2017

Pacific Coast Salmon on the BBQ

When I was single and dating, I realized that every guy had a “signature dish”. Each one of them was proud to make me taste their “creation”. The majority of the dishes that I tried (honestly I don’t try to be one of the judges from “Chopped”) – were okay! Considering that these poor single men with no culinary background were on their own cooking their way to impress me (or other ladies) was good enough to deserve respect! Most of them found ways to come up with some dishes by using prepared food. For example, one guy I was dating for almost 6 months was making shrimp risotto. You’ll probably think that’s not too shabby. You’re right… until I stood next to him watching his “cooking method” which basically came down to; 1 box of risotto plus frozen shrimp – which frozen was acceptable – and pre-shredded cheese (I can’t stand that kind of cheese… yuck!). The final result was fine as long as I was dismissing most of the ingredients. Of course the important thing was he made an effort to cook something for me.

One day there was a very handsome man named David from British Columbia that approached me and the connections between the two of us were unbelievable! We started dating long distance and eventually met in person in Toronto. From there, I came to visit him here in Vancouver. Like most of the men I dated before him, he had a signature dish as well but this one was quite different from others… it was really good!!!

His Pacific Coast Salmon was seasoned (although a little too salty) and cooked perfectly on the barbecue. He served it with rice and steamed veggies. That was it! I was hooked! What? Who says that women cannot be won by their stomach… lol! After we moved in together, this dish was among our favorites and still is. We had Lynn and June, friends of ours, over for dinner when we were vacationing in Rancho Mirage last month. Guess what was on the menu…? His salmon recipe! Now that we have evolved as a couple, I like to serve this dish with my  Moroccan Couscous Salad and some fresh steamed green beans. Simple and quite fast to prep and make, this is the perfect dish to serve either when hosting or when you want a quick meal.
Bon Appétit!


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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Palm Springs Date Shake

We just came back from the Palm Springs area and I’m ready to pack my bags again and return to this gorgeous oasis! As I said many, many times; if I could live there, I would! I’ve been in love with this Southern part of California since I was 16 and I came for my first visit with my father. Back in January 1981, we met down there with my Aunt Rolande and Uncle John along with my cousin Michelle. During our stay in paradise, we went to the Bob Hope tournament. Yes, I did see Bob Hope and even took a picture of him. Other celebrities that were at the tournament were President Ford, Orson Wells and Jack Nicklaus. Great memories and great fun!

Since then I’ve been back to Palm Springs almost a dozen times – definitely not enough – and intend to return each year – dreaming is okay… it keeps you going! Every trip, I make sure to add a new golf course to play and a new restaurant to try. Until this year though, I never really looked deeper into trying something that is a local favorite from the area. This is all Club Foody’s fault – food, food, food!
I found a milkshake! That’s it, you say! Yup, but this milkshake is very, very good!

We went to Indio just outside of Palm Desert and nearby La Quinta to explore Shields Date Gardens where you can apparently find the best Date Shake in Southern California! When you enter, it almost feels like you entered a time capsule that is frozen in time. There’s a bunch of gadgets from the 50’s-60’s and 70’s and on the back wall, you see a long counter just like the ones you see in a diner, with those low chrome stools that spin… that’s where the shakes are made! There are books, toys, candies, sauces, dressings as well as dates – go figure… lol! – for sale. There’s also a small area where people can sit and watch an educational movie on the “Sex Life of a Date” – really? – Yep that’s the title, I didn’t make it up! Further to the back, they have an outdoor area where you can enjoy breakfast and lunch. Is it a tourist trap? ABSOLUTELY! Still, it was fun to discover a new taste sensation…

We thought the date shake was good but not excellent and let me tell you why… we found it too sweet with big chunks of dates in it! So what did we do? We thought – “How can we make it better… well at least more to our liking? I knew we had pitted Medjool Dates in our refrigerator so it was one of the rare things I was looking forward to on our return… creating our version of a Palm Springs Date Shake!

Within a week of being back in Canada, I made the shake and we both really loved it! Here it is! A twist on an iconic food favorite with a few added ingredients! I really think that next time I’ve got the blues of not being in Palm Springs (I have that feeling at least a couple of times a month), I will make myself a Palm Springs Date Shake, close my eyes and bring the oasis back… ahhhhhhhh!
Bon appétit!

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Thursday, 18 May 2017

Powerhouse Cookies

When I was living in Toronto, I was at the gym 6 days a week… Nutrition, exercise and healthy eating were a priority for me. I had a regimen that I stuck to firmly and not only did I feel amazing but I looked great too! I recently started to get back to that kind of lifestyle. It’s hard at first but as soon as you start seeing and feeling results, it seems to get easier.

Now that the warmer weather is here and summer is close by, getting back in shape is a lot more enjoyable than the colder winter months. David and I love outdoor activities. We’re both avid golfers and enjoy cycling a lot. We also like to go for long walks and with all the beautiful parks here in British Columbia, it’s a nice excuse to step out. When we know we’ll be gone for a while, we like to bring a little snack with us. It can be fruits, cut veggies or cookies but not just any kind…

This cookie recipe is so delicious! It’s not overly sweet and the list of healthy ingredients that go into it makes these cookies even more enjoyable. David likes them so much, he even has them for breakfast with his morning coffee. I’m sure they can keep well for a week but we’re not the best people to ask. Every time I make them, they disappear fast – just keep in mind that there’s only two of us here… lol!

Next time you plan an activity and want to bring a snack along, this recipe is perfect but just make sure to bring enough for everyone!
Bon Appétit!


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