Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Russian Dressing

From last week’s Beef Stroganoff recipe, I decided to share another “Russian” recipe with you although it did not originate from Russia despites its name and it is my Russian Dressing! This East Coast American creation is an incredible condiment and quite versatile as it can be used in many other recipes besides salads. I use it as a spread in Reuben and Tripleta sandwiches. There’s also another way I use this dressing and it is when I make my “Oeuf à la Russe” (Russian Eggs) as well as in many other recipes… I have to keep your curiosity going…

My first taste experience of this great dressing was when I ordered a green salad at Desjardins Seafood Restaurant located right in downtown Montréal on Mackay Street. It was my father who took me to this prestigious restaurant for the first time. In the 70s’ and 80s’, Desjardins Seafood Restaurant was one of the finest places to enjoy any fish or crustaceans that the sea/ocean could offer. It was quite an expensive place to dine and as a high school student, this was definitely not a restaurant I could have afforded. Later on though when I started dating, I went there regularly – if a guy was asking me where I would like to go that was the restaurant I suggested… Poor them! I can just imagine how much it cost…

If you’ve never had this kind of dressing, it is incredibly delicious! If I may, it’s similar to Thousand Island dressing except for a few ingredients. Thousand Island uses hard-boiled eggs, orange juice (you can always substitute lemon juice instead) and cream while the Russian dressing don’t. Now if we compare Catalina and Russian dressing, what sets them apart is that one is sweet and the other is spicy. I’m not going into too much detail here as this blog is not based on differences between these three dressings. What I’m trying to say is Russian dressing is awesome! With horseradish and hot sauce just to name a few, this is a flavorful recipe to have around.

For some incomprehensible reason, it seems that it disappeared from restaurant menus in the 90s’ therefore forcing me to make my own – homemade always tastes better anyway… Vanishing at the same time as shoulder pads and the last episode of Dallas, this lovely condiment hasn’t come back yet. I believe it is our culinary duty to bring it back by spreading the recipe around… or at least on our Reuben sandwich! Give it a try, you’ll understand why this Russian Dressing should still be popular…
Bon Appétit!


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

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Beef Stroganoff

Last month I heard so many different languages while David and I were sitting at the Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) airport waiting for our departure to Puerto Vallarta. I’ve always liked going to airports as there’s a lot of action going on… people coming and going, travelling for business or pleasure. Long or short trips, everyone seems in a rush to catch their flights. When I look at the flight board, I daydream about all the places I can go and visit someday… yes I’m an adventurous dreamer! You should see my “bucket list”…

There are a lot of places that I find quite intriguing and one of them is definitely Russia. With its fabulous points of interest such as Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Winter Palace, The Kremlin, Lake Baikal, Hermitage Museum, Peterhof Palace, Stroganov Church, the famous Red Square and so on, this is a place I really want to go! It is a huge country with 11 (eleven) time zones, shares borders with 14 different countries and more than 160 different ethnic groups. Russia brings a vast cultural diversity with an enriched, complex history and deep folkloric traditions.

The month I’d like to go there would have to be in July because I can clearly say that I wouldn’t be able to handle the weather during its cold months unless I hang out in Sochi by the Black Sea coast… On the other hand, there’s one of its traditional dishes that I can definitely handle all year round and it is Beef Stroganoff! World famous, this is a lovely meal to enjoy; sautéed beef strips in a creamy mustard sauce and sour cream… it is incredibly delicious!

Beef Stroganoff has been in their culture since the 19th century but since its first appearance outside of  Russian borders, the recipe has many different variations depending on the country that’s making it. Now I’m sure that my version is also quite different and westernized from the original but noneless it is very delicious! By preference, I use red wine instead of white,I don’t use paprika but I’m not shy on the mustard and I do use mushrooms and onions as well which are 2 ingredients that are not from the original version. In this recipe I use sour cream but the real deal would be to use crème fraîche which I will eventually post my recipe to how to make it. I like to serve the meat and sauce over a bed of buttered egg noodles. It is such a great comfort food recipe that I enjoy making often.

Obviously going to Russia I would definitely order Beef Stroganoff (бефстроганов befstróganov) so I can enjoy the “real thing”. In the meantime, I’ll keep making my version of it until I’m sitting at my gate waiting to board the plane to Moscow!
Bon Appétit!… – Хороший аппетит!


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

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Breakfast Sausage Muffin Cups

Always on the go! Running here, running over there, trying to get there on time, picking up the kids, being on time for an appointment, meeting deadlines… oh my oh my! It’s crazy when we really think about it. Whose fault is it? Our society, the media, or are we just a bunch of lunatics that want this kind of pressure? I don’t know… I just want to slow my schedule down and the more I try it seems the less successful I am at it!

I work mostly at home but I can just imagine how it is in certain people’s homes in the morning. Trying to get everyone ready can easily turn chaotic! Get everybody moving so kids are on time at school and the parents get to work… Besides dragging the family members out of their beds, shower, getting dressed and so on, I understand why many families skip breakfast in the morning. Most of the time not by choice but by not having enough time to do it all…

I’m not a breakfast person as I mentioned many, many times but I DO enjoy its food. I just don’t take the time to eat… that’s all! Give me a carafe of coffee and I’m good to go! Yes, yes , yes and yes… let’s not go there! I know about how important breakfast is and yadda-yadda-yadda! On the other hand, I believe David is better than me when it comes to eating breakfast in the morning although he doesn’t have anything to eat until a few hours after he’s up. Now that he’s back working at his warehouse doing production for the season, the most convenient food item for him to have is something he can just reheat in the microwave at his work place.

I have an amazing breakfast recipe that would help any family on the go or the ones who don’t really have an appetite until later in the morning. Here’s my Breakfast Sausage Muffin Cups! Very easy to prep, this recipe is perfect for those frenzied mornings when everyone is running in a panic! If there’s no time to enjoy these delicious muffin cups, bring them to work or school and reheat them. Another big plus with these yummy cups is you can make them ahead, freeze them and serve them later on… now that’s very convenient! This is also a perfect brunch item to serve along with a garden salad and some fresh fruits. Go ahead, get disorganized in the morning because now you don’t have to worry about skipping breakfast anymore…
Bon Appétit!


For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/breakfast-sausage-muffin-cups/

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Wonton Soup

Anywhere above the 49th parallel in the middle of February is cold… Brrr! Snow storms, frigid and blustery weather or damp and rainy, there’s nothing about the second month of the year that says “cocktail umbrellas & sunscreen”… unless you are far below the 49th. I’m a fair-weather outdoor person which means that during winter, I mostly hibernate unless a nice sunny day tempts me to venture outside…

One of the best dishes David and I enjoy during winter is a hot bowl of soup. We either eat it as an appetizer or as a main course depending on the kind of soup as I have many recipes in my repertoire. Tomorrow is Chinese New Year and I thought it would be the perfect time to share with you my version of Wonton Soup! Being one of North America’s favorite Chinese take-out foods, this popular soup is so easy to make. With a few ingredients, you can put this comfort food together in no time!

I think the reason why many won’t even try to make this delicious soup is because of the folding which honestly is quite easy. Although I’m not an expert at it, in this video I will show you 2 ways on how I fold mine – if I can do it, you sure can as well! When it comes to the filling, I make a simple version of it using only pork but there are many other ways of making this soup. While doing business in Shanghai and Beijing back in 2001, I had what they call San Xian Wontons which is basically three proteins combined together; shrimp, chicken and pork although the last one can be replaced with minced fish. I also make a simple broth but if you want to add more spice/herbs to it, go ahead. When I have some on hand, I like to add lemongrass to my broth, it gives a nice flavor. I also like to add vegetables to my soup as well; my preferred choice is bok choy. If you opt for this option, boil some in the broth for 2 to 3 minutes and then transfer them to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain and place 1 or 2 blanched bok choy per serving bowl along with 6 wontons.

As I said, making Wonton Soup is not complicated. It’s a dish that warms you up inside out! So next time there’s a blizzard or a rainstorm outside, don’t worry, you can still enjoy one of the most popular take-out soups in North America in the comfort of your own home!
Bon Appétit!


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

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Shrimp Maque Choux

I can just imagine how a teacher must feel, looking at a classroom full of children and wondering which one of these little guys or girls her/his knowledge will impact… When I went to Institut Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes which was a private school for girls offering a high school education from grade 7 to 9, I had different classes just like a regular “high school”, and my favorites were History, Geography and French. Did you know that Québec has the highest percentage of children going to private schools in North America?

All right back to my favorites which were History, Geography and French… From that first high school year, we studied the history of Acadians and the six colonial wars. Originally from France, these settlers immigrated to the Northeastern part of North America which is now known as the Maritime Provinces of Canada, including a portion of Maine in the United States. The most predominant war was the last of the six – “French and Indian War” in 1710 – which ended up deporting Acadians from the Maritimes and resulted in the dispersion of them which is also known as “The Great Upheaval” or “Le Grand Dérangement” in French. Some were deported to France, the Caribbean and England while others returned back to the Maritimes years later but there are some that actually got deported to several American colonies settling all the way to Louisiana and became known as Cajuns. Okay enough history for today…

Here’s the thing… my bucket list is quite extensive and New Orleans is one of the places on it. After studying its history and culture, now it’s time to go there physically… one day! I’ve always loved Jazz and I’m sure I’d have a heck of a good time down there! I love history… so much to see in Louisiana and to top everything off, I’m a foody… an awesome destination for a person like me, actually it’s a dream destination for a person like me! I want to visit it when it’s Mardi Gras of course, but I’ll go any other time of the year as I really want to visit it.

Although I haven’t been there yet, I’ve always been quite attracted to Cajun/Creole cuisine and have been to many restaurants that specialize in this type of cuisine. Now let’s put things in perspective… Cajun and Creole are not the same cuisine although similar. Cajun is from the Acadian settlers mentioned earlier and many of our Québec recipes are impacted by its cuisine. Now Creole is from the descendants directly from the French and Spanish upper class that were already established in New Orleans. Its cuisine is a blend of various cultures just like its people. If I can simplify it, while Creole cuisine is more “aristocratic and refined” or more “city food”, Cajun is more rural or more “homy” if I may and also has more seasoning – I’m not talking about being spicy here.

After all that history, I have an incredible recipe inspired by this lovely southern part of the United States… my Shrimp Maque Choux! It has such a beautiful combination of flavors. This is a great main course to enjoy but if you omit the shrimp, it turns into a lovely side dish. Is it Cajun or Creole? I put this dish into the Cajun cuisine section with a touch of Creole… One thing is for sure, it’s an awesome dish for you to try. This is my way of bringing Mardi Gras to my table until I’m finally able to go and visit in person…
Bon Appétit!


For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/shrimp-maque-choux/

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Chocolate Raspberry Cake with a Mirror Glaze

Most of us bake cakes on special occasions such as Birthdays, Holidays, Retirement, Anniversaries, dinner parties and even… for love! Yep, we lovers have our own celebration which is Valentine’s Day as you can probably guess.

When it comes to Valentines’ Day, there are all sorts of little things we like to do for each other. It can be anything from flowers, a lovely dinner at home or at a restaurant, balloons, a weekend gateway, romantic card, chocolate, opera or other concert and even jewelry just to name a few. I believe that it doesn’t really matter what you do on that day as long as we are together with our partner.

Almost every Valentine’s Day, David and I stay at home because we don’t want to deal with the craziness of that event. We cook a lovely dinner together, open a very good bottle of wine, play our favorite music, light up some candles and enjoy each other’s company. We don’t really eat dessert that often but occasionally we do on Valentine’s Day.

For today’s recipe I’ve decided to share my Chocolate Raspberry Cake with a Mirror Glaze with you. It is so lusciously moist and the beauty of this cake is its glaze…! By the way, not just you and your honey are a match made in heaven… so is chocolate and raspberry together! The two combined together is so delicious! Plus the finishing touch is a beautiful dark chocolate glaze… that looks like a mirror! Wow!
It’s like the cherry on top of the sundae… or in this case …the raspberries!

If you are celebrating Valentine’s or not, you’ll definitely be proud to serve this Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Mirror Glaze for any occasion.
Bon Appétit!


For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/chocolate-raspberry-cake-with-a-mirror-glaze/

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Salmon Pie

We’ve all grown up with traditions from our cultures. Sometimes there’s religion, a story, a historical event behind it and other times, no one’s know where, when or why it became a part of our lives. If I refer to my own culture which is Québécois, our origins are mostly from French settlers with a mix of aboriginals from different tribes along with Irish, English and other European countries. I believe that many of our dishes are from this assortment of different cultures mixed into one recipe… oh boy I can just see right now how “unpopular” my comment can be for some… relax it’s a food blog!!!

Admitting it or not, most countries cannot proclaim that a recipe is entirely theirs because of the crusades. The mix of different countries resulted in interesting flavorful traditions that each wants to claim as their own. Of course I’m not stating that all our national dishes are unjustified and not ours… To summarize there are some “dishes” that can be very hard to track their origin because they’re a combination of a few traditional recipes all together…

Today I’m sharing with you a recipe that apparently originated from Québec… Salmon Pie! The reason why I’m not totally convinced is it’s a combination of two countries that claim its origin… Ireland and Québec. When I was at high school, a boy named Mike (not Michel…) came over to my home. We had a project to do and although we were paired with two other kids, we decided that it would be done faster if we split it in half. My mother was making a salmon pie and with the aroma floating in the air, Mike was intrigued to what was cooking in the oven. When he found out, he proudly said that this is one of his family’s traditional dishes, a great Irish recipe. My mother invited him to stay for dinner. During dinner, he explain that my mothers’ and his family’s dish were quite different from each other. How different could a Salmon Pie be?

Later on when I was living in Toronto, I went to an Irish pub and ordered a Salmon Pie, something I haven’t had for years. I was surprised to see how different it was. It resembled a Pâté Chinois or a Cottage Pie with salmon in it! Then I got it… I realized what that boy was saying about my mom’s salmon pie being unlike his family’s…

Irish or Québec origin, I’m glad that after many years of not making it, I finally brought it back to my menu. It’s a quick and easy dish to put together. David never had it before and he was surprised and happy with the results. My mother served it with a Béchamel Sauce aka White Sauce on top while I’m serving it simply with a side of steamed veggies or a fresh garden salad. For the ones who are not too keen on eating fish, this is a great way to make them eat some without that “fishy” taste. It is a simple recipe and yet quite delicious… give it a try!
Bon Appétit!


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

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Pumpernickel Spinach Dip

The 2018 Super Bowl is coming up this weekend. If you are a football fanatic, you’ll probably get together with your friends to eat and drink while enjoying the game. If you’re not into football at all (what’s wrong with you?… lol!), what the heck, it’s a good reason to throw a party anyway…!

When hosting a sporting event party, there’s no “proper” sit down dinner. There are only finger foods, finger foods and more finger foods placed in every room where there’s a TV… okay maybe not in the bedrooms or bathrooms. There’s sure to be a lot of fried food served so maybe making something not “fried” is a good add on to the menu – is there really a menu going on that day? There’s a party food recipe that I like making when I have a large group of friends over and it is my Pumpernickel Spinach Dip! Everyone enjoys it!

The first time I was introduced to it was to celebrate my godchild Emily’s baptism. My friends Isabelle and Bill from Mt Pleasant Michigan had a big reception at their place after church. There was so much food around and if it wasn’t the fact that her side of the family including myself were from Canada, this party would’ve ended up with even more food (not very convenient to bring food from Toronto to Michigan while crossing the border). This dip was sitting there on the dining room table along with others and what caught my attention were all the little pieces of bread surrounding the loaf that was the food vessel for the dip. I took a bit and right away I just had to know what it was. Isabelle told me and I took a mental note to make it for my next big party…

The last time I served this delicious dip was last year for our House Warming party at the end of September and as always, it was well received and disappeared fast! It is an easy and quick recipe to make for any occasion therefore next time you have a big party – like this coming weekend – with lots of friends, you’ll know exactly what to make.
Bon Appétit!


For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/pumpernickel-spinach-dip/