Thursday, 29 June 2017

Homemade Lemonade

The best lemonade I ever had was when I was in Mexico City but first let me start from the beginning.

Back in the late 90s’ during the fall season I was working on a gig, trying to make a deal with Hudsons Bay and a Mexican company located just outside of Mexico City who were making chocolates filled with liqueur. Before I went there, I looked for a place to stay for ladies only – no it wasn’t a YWCA. I had heard about it and also I was informed that the price of a room was pretty cheap. So the first time I went there for my business venture, I booked my room for 10 days, flew from Toronto to Mexico and there I was.

When I checked in, I was happily surprised to meet a few Canadian ladies from the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). They were working in the area and tried to learn Spanish as well. Obviously being an expatriate, we kind of stuck together. When my time was up, I flew back home and by the time I arrived, Hudson Bay buyers were quite interested in that chocolate-liqueur company. I booked the same hostel for ladies and went back but this time I was there for almost a month.

It was a very enriching experience to be there that long. I learned so much about the Mexican culture (still not enough), went to many places where the locals hangout, discovered other food items and learned more Spanish.

One afternoon, one of the ladies from Toronto and I went to a local restaurant for lunch. She was off that day and I didn’t have any meetings set up. The food was incredible but what I remember the most was their lemonade. OMG! It was the best lemonade EVER! They served it in one of those thick plastic tall glasses with a straw. It was so amazingly delicious that I finished it pretty fast and quickly ordered another one. I had to restrain myself from not ordering one more.

Later that day when the other ladies got back to the hostel, I couldn’t stop talking about how incredibly tasty the lemonade was so much that a few of them decided to go the next day to have it. Well they changed their mind quite fast when a few hours later I started getting pretty, pretty sick. I caught a bug that is commonly known as “tourista”. I won’t go into too much detail but let’s put it this way, the Mexican woman who was in charge of the hostel had to call a doctor for me to get intravenous because I was getting so dehydrated… no kidding, it was that bad!

The next day, I realized what caused it – I drank a local lemonade made with local water plus I had ice cubes made with local water… the WATER was what caused my illness! Although I felt quite weak for a few days, I kept thinking how good the lemonade was. I was leaving in a couple of days but if I hadn’t gotten sick, I would’ve probably gone back for more lemonade.

The next summer I made homemade lemonade and although, it’s still not quite there, my lemonade is pretty close to the one I had in Mexico City. I wonder if the difference in taste is caused by the water. The good thing is you’ll be able to enjoy as many glasses as you want. After making this extremely easy recipe, you’ll never buy any from the store… it’s that good!

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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Smoky Porky Burgers

These days, most people barbecue all year round but summer is THE season for that! Just the smell of a BBQ triggers my appetite – my sense of smell is amazing so is the size of my stomach… lol!

So many times David and I were cycling and I was on a “detox” which means no food and drink strictly my “juice”. Then all of a sudden I get a whiff of the smell of a BBQ and that’s it… my detox was out the door! David always loves to tease me about it – “she’s back on the See Food * Eat Food diet”, he likes to say. Right from the start, it takes so much will power to be on a detox program and I know I can do it but when it comes to BBQ and the smell, I’m just powerless!

There are certain food items that are sinfully delicious! One of them and I’m sure you’ll agree is BACON! A little bit of bacon makes recipes taste a million times better! The smokiness of it brings amazing flavors to any dish. That’s why this recipe was created… so you can blame it on the bacon!

One comfort food I enjoy a lot is burgers! I like the combination of the toasted buns, grilled seasoned meat and some yummy condiments to top everything off! This is what I call “a perfect bite”! Obviously because summer is grilling season, sharing another burger recipe is something I just had to do and that is why I’m showing you how to make my Smoky Porky Burgers!

I know, I know the name is quite enticing especially if you watch what you eat. But let’s get real here. This is one of those dishes you want to indulge in… and why not? It’s summer, it’s nice outside and there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying a tasty burger such as this Smoky Porky Burger!

Next time you want to fire up the Barbie and enjoy a super flavorful burger, don’t look any further and give this recipe a try… it’s sinfully delicious!!!
Bon Appétit!


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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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