Thursday, 31 August 2017

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

I grew up as a kid with “meat & potatoes” on the family dining table. My dad loved this combination. Personally, I couldn’t stand the monotony of it. Nine out of ten times this is what we were eating. Very seldom did we have rice and obviously when it was pasta night, there were no potatoes around – perhaps that’s the reason why I love pasta so much…. My mother tried to make it fun and interesting by serving the potatoes in different ways. She boiled them, mashed them, sautéed them, scalloped them and even fried them.

Another childhood memory I have is when my mother was sending me to the basement to get a few potatoes for dinner. I went downstairs with a large bowl and picked a bunch of tubers from that big 10 lb bag – yep that big! When I moved out on my own, for the first 2 years, I probably ate rice most of the time… Don’t get me wrong, I loved potatoes but just needed a break from them!

At home we don’t eat potatoes that often because I constantly diversify my menu. When we do, just like my mother, I make sure to change them around; scalloped, mashed, etc. A few years ago, I decided to really change things up and opt for cauliflower instead of the traditional potatoes and make mashed with them. We both really enjoyed the taste of it and the creamy texture was just fabulous! Some complain about the texture being grainy… the secret is…? Well I guess you’ll have to watch the video to find out…

If you’re bored with your potatoes no matter which form they take, you definitely should try this recipe… it makes dinner more interesting!
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/creamy-mashed-cauliflower/

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Sesame Snaps

Most of my life, I’ve always been quite active physically. It is only until a few years ago that I stopped going to the gym and be more sedentary. Is it because the huge amount of hours spent in front of my computer doing editing, writing, blogging, and so on? Although it is probably the reason why, I won’t let it get to me. I need to get back into shape like I used to all my life. I miss my firm little body and I won’t blame it on Club Foody. The only person at fault here is… MOI (me)!

So I was basically at the gym almost every day since the 80s’ and if I wasn’t there, I was constantly moving and exercising. When it came to eating, I never had a weight problem until recently with my hormones going off the wall and my metabolism slowing down like a snail! Back then, I basically ate whatever I wanted without gaining an ounce. Was I a tofu-grain fanatic? Not really… I was eating from super healthy to normal but here’s the thing… I’ve never been a fan of fast food chains… their food grosses me out! When I was going to a health food store – I still enjoy going there – I always loved to try new “stuff”. This is when I discovered the sesame seed snacks/snaps/candy take your pick! They became my favorite little sweet treats especially if I needed a quick sugar fix!

One afternoon after the gym and stopping at the convenience store (yep they were there as well) to buy my little sesame snaps, I decided that I should give it a try and make them homemade… just for the kick! Well it was a hell of a kick at first trying to figure out the amounts and making sure they would be crunchy instead of sticky and gluey! It took me a few tries but I eventually succeeded!

Back then, silicone mats didn’t exist so I was using parchment paper. Oh my! So many times, the sesame seed mixture glued to the paper and I had to throw everything in the garbage then restarted all over again. Eventually I had a brain storm and greased the papers very, very well, quickly rolled the mixture out so it gets pretty thin – the thinner it is, the crunchier it gets! – and voilà, I finally made my homemade favorite treats.

From start to finish, you can enjoy them within ½ an hour – it’s a snap to make them… ummm! It is a light and tasty little treat with a satisfying crunch. They are great in lunch boxes, bring them along with your activities or enjoy them during mid-afternoon. If you decide to freeze some for later, place wax paper in between each square and place them in a re-sealable plastic freezer bag. Now with this recipe wherever you are, you and your family can enjoy these little guys!
Bon Appétit!

 

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

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Pork Tenderloin with Spicy Pineapple-Mango Sauce

David and I enjoy entertaining at home and hosting dinner parties for friends and family. It is fun to have people over, spending time together and sharing our “foody” passion with them! We like to serve our guests sumptuous as well as “not so” ostentatious dishes. Either way, the end results is what counts but it is even greater when a recipe is not that complicated!

As I mentioned in my video’s intro, many people are not too familiar with certain cuts of meat. I think I can safely say that beef tenderloin is a very popular and well-known cut of beef. Tenderloin is located near the butt which is a muscle that doesn’t really work that much therefore it is the most tender cut of beef. The actual filet mignon is from the end of the tenderloin.

The same applies to pork and its tenderloin. Now let’s not be confused with pork loin and pork tenderloin which are different cuts from different areas. One is from the backbone framework (loin) and the other from the butt (tenderloin). Also a pork loin, which is bigger in size, is a cut of meat you want to cook slowly on low temperature versus the tenderloin who’s oblong (about 12 inches long and 2 1/2-inches wide) and smaller in size, is a cut of meat that is meant to be cooked quickly at high temperature.

One quality I like about pork is that it’s a lean meat. That is probably why it is often referred to as “the other white meat”. If you are on a low-fat diet, this is definitely a meat you want to consider. Although chicken is lean as well, pork is leaner.

Here are a couple of tips… The recipe I’m sharing with you today is quick to prepare and the key to achieving success is to have your “mise en place” ready. For those of you who are not familiar with this term, it means that all your ingredients are measured, cut, juiced, etc. and your kitchen tools are out and ready to be used when needed.

Make sure not to overcook it. Cook to an internal temperature of 140ºF and when it is removed from the heat and resting on a cutting board, it will continue to cook slightly while you’re concentrating on the sauce. Also don’t be afraid of that little orange guy (habanero). Of course it brings some heat to the dish but not as much as you might think due to the juices from the mango and pineapple taming it down a little.

It is an elegant recipe that you will want to serve at your next dinner party. The combination of flavors marry really well with this cut of meat. This is the perfect dish to make when you want to surprise everyone’s taste buds!
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/pork-tenderloin-with-spicy-pineapple-mango-sauce/

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/