Tuesday, 25 April 2017

North African Merguez

In this modern world where people can work remotely from anywhere on the globe and therefore move to a place of their choice, there are major pluses as well as minuses. When moving from one area to another, the experience is fascinating but there are frustrations that come along with it. Yes it is always fun to discover new places, meet other people, learn another culture, add an additional language to your repertoire and discover new dishes. This is the thrill of moving away and you don’t have to move far away to experience changes.

Just moving out of Québec to Ontario was a big adaptation on many levels… well back there it was. Clubs in the 80s’ were closing at 1am instead of 3am in Québec. Drinking age was 19 versus 18 (I moved when I was 23 so I was okay). Everything was mostly closed on Sunday in downtown Toronto whereas in Montréal it was another crazy day to go out. People were dressing very conservatively in comparison to the ones from Montréal which back then the city held the reputation of being North America’s Fashion Destination next to New York City. With only 5 hours of driving between Toronto and Montréal, I couldn’t understand why there were so many food items from Québec we couldn’t find in Ontario.

Nine years ago, I fell in love and moved with David here in British Columbia. I didn’t move from Canada to Asia although sometimes it feels like this here in Vancouver… lol! Almost the same thing happened then when I moved in Ontario back in the late 80s’. I won’t pinpoint all the differences except food again – of course, this is a cooking website… lol! When I just moved in Ontario when visiting family and friends in Québec, I always had a cooler in the car so I bought food items, filled the cooler and brought them back home to Toronto. Now it is quite difficult to do that considering that I would have to drive 4 days non-stop going through the Rockies (this is if the weather is nice) just to have my fav food items. So the solution was to make my own!

There’s one food item that is incredibly delicious and till this day, I still don’t understand why butchers don’t carry it. It is Merguez sausage! I used to buy it often when living in Montréal. This sausage has so many earthy flavors and the spiciness in it is perfect! After inquiring at over a dozen butcher shops around and getting that puzzled look on their faces when asking for it, I’ve decided it was time for me to try making merguez sausage. This North African sausage is not for the faint of heart… it is spicy! If you like spice in your food and are not afraid to try something new then you definitely need to add this to your “must try” list.
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit
 
 


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I always like going out to restaurants and I love the whole experience of it. From dressing up to sitting down at the restaurant table, ordering, relaxing and enjoying flavorful meals cooked by amazing chefs plus sharing a nice bottle of wine along with great company and conversation, to me this is a lovely way to spend an evening! I’m very social and this is something I really enjoy in my life.

Back in the 80s’, on average I would say that I was going out for dinner 4 nights a week. I was definitely a “Restaurantaholic”! – if this word doesn’t exist, I just created one… lol! I always love trying new dishes from the menu, new wines while wearing a new outfit – did I ever mention that I love shopping? The same scenario in the 90s’ with me and restaurants but much lesser since the turn of the century and definitely less since I’m on the West Coast unless we’re travelling.

One dish that appeared in a lot of restaurants was Chicken Cordon Bleu. For some strange reason, restauranteurs removed it from their menus and I don’t remember seeing it since the late 90s’. A few years ago I got a flashback from that dish and decided to replicate it at home. My first attempt was pretty good but I wanted more flavor so I thought outside the box by adding a few new ingredients and with humbleness (… lol!), I have to admit, this is the best Chicken Cordon Bleu I ever had!

If you like classic dishes and want to impress your guests with a flavorful and well-presented dish, this one is absolutely perfect! I like to serve this recipe along with my Moroccan Couscous – click here for the link: Moroccan Couscous Salad– and some veggies. You can prep your roulades ahead of time (1-2 hours), tightly wrap them and when you’re ready to cook, bread them, sear them and transfer them to the oven… voilà! If you’ve never tried this dish, I highly suggest you do… you’ll be amazed how incredibly tasty it is!
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit
 
 

Monday, 17 April 2017

Tiramisu

I can proudly say that I’m a person who likes almost everything. I don’t have a narrow mind and I’m willing to try food, ingredients, etc. that I’ve never had before. Some people without trying it, will lift their nose and refuse to taste it – can’t understand them… sorry! At least try it and if you don’t like it THEN you can make a legitimate comment about it.

Although as mentioned I like pretty much everything, there are certain dishes, food that I’m not crazy about. That doesn’t’ stop me from giving them another try until perhaps I might eventually like it. Well here’s a perfect example… Between David and I, I am the most adventurous one although he came a long way since we’ve met and now, we both try “new stuff” together. Though there is one dish that I never really enjoyed and it is David’s fav! It’s Tiramisu! WHAT? Yes… I’ve never been a big fan of that classic Italian dessert even though I like all the ingredients in the recipe. It reminds me of “baby food”. You know that big round cookie that moms pour hot milk over to make it soft for babies without teeth (or barely any). This is what the texture reminds me of and for some reason, it was not enjoyable in my mouth.

One of the rules of thumb for a healthy relationship is to not be too self-centered, selfish and compromise once in a while. So having said that, one day I decided to make David’s favorite dessert – I’ve been procrastinating to make it for years but it was the decent thing to do… I have to say, the guy is patient… lol! Each time David ordered it, he always wanted me to have a taste and as a good sport, that’s exactly what I was doing “A” taste, not more just one taste! I knew which ingredients I would need to make it so opening up my memory box located somewhere in my brain, I put ingredients together and adding my favorite liqueurs in it which were Tia Maria and Marsala Wine. A little confession to make – I was drinking Tia Maria in my coffee while making it and truly hoping this dessert will turn out okay. It is hard to have confidence about something you’re making when you don’t like it…

Well, well, well what a surprise this Tiramisu was! Not only was it amazingly delicious BUT I LIKE IT! Okay, I like it more – I’m still working on the “baby-cookie-mushy-texture” issue, it’s a work in progress! Is it because I used Tia Maria or because I made it and somehow the “ego” department of my person decides it was more acceptable? Who knows! The important thing was that David really loved it and since then, I’ve been making it more often.

The moral of this recipe is don’t lift your nose to something you never had before until you try it and if after that, you still don’t really like it, keep trying, your taste buds might surprise you!
Bon Appétit!

 

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

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Popovers

In a couple of weeks I’ll be sharing my Roast Beef with Fresh Herbs for Easter dinner. Now if you’re like me, I love my roast beef medium-rare and next to it, the other goodies! Besides mashed potatoes, au jus, horseradish and fresh steamed veggies, I am a big sucker for Popovers. They are similar to the famous British Yorkshire Pudding except they’re no beef drippings in the popovers. Why choose these guys over Yorkshire puddings? Because they are more versatile… let me explain.

If I’m 100% certain that all the Yorkshire puddings will be paired strictly with my roast then I will make it with the beef drippings “buuut” if I want to use some of them along with other food, I make popovers instead. They are more flexible because I can enjoy them for breakfast as well and spread jam on them. Honestly I cannot see myself spreading jam over Yorkshire pudding first thing in the morning… something about the drippings don’t fit my taste buds!

I really like them! They’re light, fluffy and hollow. They’re also good looking… yes they are! It is a nice touch to add when serving roast beef or any other meat dish. If you have leftovers, you can always enjoy them for breakfast, spreading pâté over or making some sort of a sandwich… why not!
Bon Appétit!

 

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

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Smoky Buffalo Wing Sauce

People love going to pubs! It’s a casual place to go where beer flows, the atmosphere is energetic as well as enjoying great food at a reasonable cost. One of the most popular pub foods which is also considered finger food is… chicken wings!

It originated in Buffalo, New York right across from Fort Erie, Canada – if you’re not sure where Fort Erie is, it’s just slightly south of the famous Niagara Falls. Apparently in 1964, the owner of Anchor Bar was the initiator of coming up with the idea of frying the wings from the chicken. Back then, this part of the poultry was kept for stock or simply thrown away. When I was living in Toronto, a friend took me to this place and guess what we ate… WINGS!

Since then, these little guys spread their wings – literally… lol! – and became famous not only in North America but also in many countries around the world. Wings are fun because you can choose many different flavors for your sauce. This dish usually comes with celery and carrots sticks and a dipping sauce which can be blue cheese or ranch.

Last year, I posted my Baked Chicken Drumettes (or Wings) recipe (click on this link: http://clubfoody.com/recipe/baked-chicken-drumettes-or-wings/).  I’ve decided to come up with a “healthier” way to eat these celebrities! The results are as excellent as if they were fried. If your guests don’t know they’re from the oven, they won’t see the difference besides having fewer problems with their vascular system (wink). To go along with this recipe, I also shared with you my Hawai`ian-Style Teriyaki Sauce which is awesome (click on this link: http://clubfoody.com/recipe/hawaiian-style-teriyaki-sauce/)! Yeah it’s okay to pat yourself in the back once in a while… lol! To complete this popular dish, I evidently had to post my Zippy Ranch Dressing as a dipping sauce for the wings and the crudités (click on this link: http://clubfoody.com/recipe/zippy-ranch-dressing/)

Now it’s time to share with you another delicious sauce for your wings… my delicious Smoky Buffalo Wing Sauce. This is my take on this famous sauce from the 60s’. It’s spicy but not overly so and if hot is what you’re looking for, add more cayenne or chili powder. I prefer my sauce to have a zip to it but not at the level where I’m sweating and my head is spinning. Anyway, this recipe is a good base and you can always adapt from there to your liking.
Bon Appétit!


For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/smoky-buffalo-wing-sauce/



Friday, 24 March 2017

Indian Butter Chicken

 

In one of my previous blogs, I mentioned about myself in my early 20s’ with my friend Mario, when we were experiencing different ethnic cuisines in Montréal. This was when I first encountered Indian cuisine. It was “love at first… bite”. The complexity of spices, herbs and ingredients combined together was something very new and scrumptious to me. Although my experience was beyond expectations, somehow I didn’t have Indian food for almost 10 years.

When I moved to Toronto, a friend of mine who was East Indian took me to a very high end Indian restaurant downtown. As soon as we walked in, the aroma floating in the air took me back to Montréal and the first time I tried Indian cuisine. My first thought was “Why did I not come back sooner?” My experience that night was even more enriched than my first time because of my companion’s background. I tried some very interesting dishes and I was very pleased with them. I made a promise to myself to return regularly to Indian restaurants.

Here in the lower mainland of British Columbia, there are some areas that have a high East Indian population and a lot of East Indian restaurants. Even my local grocery store carries many items from Asia and the Middle East. One day I decided to try and make Butter Chicken on my own. With a mix of spices and herbs, my first attempt was a great success! This dish is now on our regular kitchen menu and after you give it a try, I’m sure it will be on yours as well. It is super easy to prep and make. Served with basmati rice and naan flatbread, (which I will post one day), this is a delightful meal to enjoy!
Bon Appétit!

 

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/indian-butter-chicken/

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Tahini Mango Peanut Butter Smoothie

I enjoy trying different ethnic food items. I get excited! You might think it doesn’t take much to get me enthusiastic and you’re probably right but what happens is I love to discover new taste sensations. Since I’m curious and adventurous, tasting new ingredients such as herbs, spices and food items makes me want to create new dishes – the more new food items I come across, the more fun I have in the kitchen!

There’s an ethnic food item that English countries were introduced to about 100 year ago but has been used for centuries in the

Middle East, Africa and around the Mediterranean region. This is tahini! Western countries use this condiment majorly in hummus recipes but in other countries people use it in sauce, dessert, breakfast, toppings as well as a side dish. We are slowly incorporating this condiment in other recipes beside hummus.

Back in January I posted my smooth and velvety Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and since then my tahini was sitting in the refrigerator. The longest I keep it stored in the fridge is about 3 months, no longer! So I had to do something with it plus I had a cup of frozen mango that had been in the freezer since August so it was time to get creative.

In this episode today, we’ll actually drink tahini! Some might find it slightly earthy but adding a small amount of agave nectar or honey will bring this breakfast smoothie to a different level. What is also great about incorporating tahini in a smoothie (or other recipes) is its nutritional values. It is a great source of calcium, fiber and protein. What better way is there to enjoy tahini than to drink this healthy smoothie for breakfast!
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/tahini-mango-peanut-butter-smoothie/


Thursday, 16 March 2017

Beer Battered Fish

Great Britain is a nation with a dense population. Its foods reflect the British culture and its interesting multicultural diversity. Some of what are today British traditional recipes originated and were derived from other cultures. One of the best examples I can think of is “Fish & Chips”.

The fried fish for the popular Fish & Chips of today was initially introduced from the Spanish Jews back in the 17th century. If you are familiar with Spanish cuisine, Pescaíto Frito is a traditional recipe from the southern part of Spain and it means “fried fish”. Somehow this Spanish recipe got a twist to it and became what we know today as Fish & Chips.

This is a dish I like to enjoy once or twice a year but until recently never really made it at home. I had fresh fish and decided to give this British dish a try. It was so easy and the results met my expectations… they were just like the ones from the restaurant I like to visit in White Rock!

I let my batter sit for only 30 minutes. I tried 2 hours as well as 1 hour and frankly it doesn’t really make any difference. You don’t need a fryer to enjoy this recipe although this can make your life easier. With a deep saucepan with canola or vegetable oil, you can now have your Fish & Chips at home anytime you have the craving.
Bon Appétit!


For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/beer-batter-fish/


Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Matcha Cheesecake

St. Patrick’s Day is not just a party or drinking occasion… although it fits very well in the program! This is a Christian religious celebration in honor of the death of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland falling each year on March 17th. It is a public holiday for, obviously Ireland and surprisingly Canada. If you are living in Newfoundland and Labrador, this is a holiday for you guys! Now for the rest of the country, we still make it as a holiday but we have to go to work… oh well!

Alright, enough about the info and let’s get to what we like to do… enjoy the celebration! As many cities around the world make this event special, there are always some who will go far and beyond. Here’s my personal list (it’s okay if you don’t agree with my choices… just have a green beer) and the reason why I picked them…

Let’s first mention the city where it all started… Dublin. Its festival lasts 4 days with street performances, pub events, live music and on that special St Patrick’s Day its amazing parade! Now these Irish know how to throw a party… c’mon 4 days… I love these guys… lol! This is sooo on my bucket list!

Another very interesting city in my opinion is not far behind Dublin is Chicago. The party always starts on a Saturday (more convenient than during the week so the majority of partiers won’t call in sick the next day) and the city dyes the Chicago River a bright emerald green color. Don’t panic! Breathe in & breathe out… this dye is EPA-approved – I know what a relief… lol! Another city where there’s some green water going on is in Savannah, Georgia which apparently is the second largest parade in the world. The route takes 3 hours and goes thru the Historic District where the fountains spew the formal color of the celebration!

Boston is another one in my book for a St Patrick’s Day party escape as the state of Massachusetts has the highest Irish population. If you are fine with bagpipes, the sound is what makes everything start. Although this musical instrument is very cultural, some of you may not enjoy it that much. There are a few famous quotes that reveal either side of the coin. You either like it or hate it… there’s no other option.

Now if you want to be in the biggest (I think) Irish pub in the world, go to London to The Porterhouse in Covent Garden. Of course get there super early because even with its 12 levels and extended space, this pub will fill up pretty fast as it is located right around the corner of Trafalgar Square where the party is.

Now here at clubfoody, we do things right as well on St Patrick’s Day. I turn a cheesecake green! “Whoop-dee-doo” you say! At least I get into the St. Patrick’s Day spirit in my way! My Matcha Cheesecake is actually quite fun and different… never saw or ate a green cheesecake until I decided to create this recipe. If you are totally into this event and are hosting a dinner party then this is the perfect dessert to make!
Bon Appétit!

 

 

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/matcha-cheesecake/

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Blood Orange Ice Cream

 

I love going to the farmers’ markets and walking thru the aisles glancing at the fresh produce showcased in the displays but it’s not the same during winter. The selection is obviously more limited during the cold months but there are few fruits and vegetable that come specifically just during winter time and disappear before summer arrives.

One of them is Blood Oranges! They are amazing and bloody good! Lol From its counterpart, this fruit doesn’t have the same flavor, its texture is slightly different and definitely the color is what sets it apart from the others. There are a few different varieties of these sanguine oranges.

Moro is probably the deepest flesh color with the strongest flavor of citrus and raspberry, making this kind slightly more bitter than others. You can also find the world’s most popular one… Tarocco. Originated from Italy, this kind of blood orange is the sweetest and juiciest one of its kind. Although red in flesh, the color is not as pronounced as other varieties.

There’s another one that comes later during the season and it’s called Sanguinelli. It originated from Spain and its properties are pretty similar to Moro. From February to May, you can enjoy this variety before they all disappear until December. There are probably more varieties but these are the only ones I know of.

What gives them their dark maroon coloration is the temperature dropping during the fall and even after harvest, they will continue getting darker in color. I have a motto when it comes to food – I will choose red grapes over green and the same with cabbage because the darker the produce, the more antioxidants they have! The same applies to blood oranges versus navel and others. They are great to cook with and the color makes your dish look fun! Next time you go to your local grocery store, buy some… you might be bloody surpised!
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/blood-orange-ice-cream/


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Waldorf Salad

I’m sure you’ve had a Waldorf Salad before or at least heard about it! This great dish was created in the late 19th century in New York by Mr. Oscar Tschirky who was the maître d’hôtel of the actual dish that it got its name from. From what I remember reading the original recipe didn’t contain any nuts.

The first time I enjoyed this succulent salad was at the well-known Waldorf Astoria Hotel where I was staying for a few days. Of course when I saw the famous Waldorf Salad on the menu it was a “no brainer”, I just had to order it! I was very pleased with the flavors and since then, I’ve tried many versions of this salad. Most of them are pretty good all with a different touch to them.

In my personal version, I tried to keep it simple so it’s easy to make at home. My initial version was to show you the recipe with celeriac and truffles but I’ve decided to take it down a notch and make it simpler but still tasty!

It is a salad you can serve as an appetizer or a main course. It is easy to make and the flavors combine well together. Although this salad is perfect for summer, I like to enjoy it all year round so this is why I’m sharing this recipe with you in March. It is the perfect salad to serve your guests along with most entrées because it’s light… well, on the light side.

I don’t use light or fat-free plain yogurt in my recipe because I don’t want a runny dressing especially when it is combined with fruits. For those of you who watch your calorie intake and want to use a lighter yogurt, I would suggest you reduce the amount to avoid the dressing being too “liquidy”.

If you can find celeriac (celery root) in your supermarket, cut in in small pieces and let it soak in cold water for 15-20 minutes to remove the bitterness (also helps to prevent browning). When it’s time to mix it with the other fruit/vegetable ingredients, make sure the celeriac is well-drained. If you want to take this recipe up a notch, you can add a couple drops of black truffle oil to your dressing… yum!
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/waldorf-salad/