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Hall in the Kitchen



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Updated: 2016-09-20T12:19:23.971-04:00

 



Cosy

2016-01-24T14:22:49.197-05:00

I love cosy winter mornings hanging around the kitchen drinking tea and reading the paper.It's a perfect time to have something in the oven that warms up the room.This breakfast brunch recipe I recently came across in my collection I had forgotten about.It's so easy to throw together and pairs well with bacon or sausages.You can decide what type of cheese to use depending on your preference of taste. I used extra old cheddar and Asiago here. Happy Sunday !                                                      Sunday Brunch Bake1/2 loaf of French bread sliced and buttered then cubedAbout 3 cups of shredded cheese of choice7 eggs beaten2 cups of milkTeaspoon each of mustard powder and worcheshire sauce1/2 tsp of curry powderPreheat oven to 350FPlace buttered bread cubes and cheese in ungreased casserole dishCombine remaining ingredients and pour over the bread and cheese Bake in the oven until puffy and golden.Cheers![...]



Perfect Pesto

2015-09-23T21:27:44.272-04:00

My basil plant grew like mad while we were on vacation this year so I took the opportunity to make pesto, a favorite in our house.You can vary the ingredients from the ones I have used here. (I am not a fan of pine nuts so I substituted walnuts.)I also add spinach to soften the favour a bit.I haven't really made specific amounts here as it depends on how much you want to make and how much basil you have. My recipie made one large and one small mason jar.We love pesto tossed with gnocchi or pasta, but spread on warm Italian bread is the best!Enjoy the basil while it is at its peak for the frost will soon be here .Basil and Spinich PestoApproximately 2cups of basil1/2 cup or so of  spinach A few cloves of minced garlic 1/4 cup of walnuts1/2 cup of asiago cheeseOlive oil1 tsp lemon juiceSalt and pepper to taste.Blend basil, spinach, walnuts and add  olive oil in blender or food processor until desired consistency is reached.Add salt,pepper, and lemon juice and mix well.Place in jar and cover tightly.Enjoy![...]



Rush

2015-09-23T08:03:32.947-04:00

 It seems like the minute Thanksgiving and Halloween are over we are bombarded with Christmas.I'm still trying to get through the Halloween candy and leftovers from Thanksgiving in the freezer. I just came across two cans of pumpkin pie filling that never got used this Thanksgiving so, not wanting to make pie I searched the Internet and my cookbook library for a recipe for soup.I came up with nothing as all the recipes called for pumpkin purée which is unsweetened (my cans contained sugar).I decided to wing it and make my own creation. We were all really pleased with the end result. The sweet pumpkin really paired well with the middle eastern spices. Really quick to prepare this would be perfect after a long day rushing to do get Christmas shopping done in the cold.Curried Pumpkin SoupSplash of olive oilSmall onion diced1 minced garlic clove 6 cups chicken broth2 cans pumpkin pie filling 2 tsp curry powder1 tsp cumin1/2 tsp cayenne pepperHeat the oil in a heavy soup pot.Add onion and garlic and sautée until soft.Add remaining ingredients and mix well.Bring to low boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.Use an immersion blender to purée onion if you wish.Serve and enjoy!Wine suggestion: Gewürztraminer Cheers![...]



Learning Curve

2014-07-02T18:10:46.005-04:00


We are on holidays this week and getting a lot done around the house. Today was rainy so we ran errands and then I found myself puttering around the kitchen afterwords. A visit to our local Italian bakery and deli inspired me to try making my own olive tapenade, something I've never done before.
I am pleased with the result and plan on making different variations.
By the way I installed blogger on my iPad.  This is my first posting using it. It may look different..please bear with me while I get the hang if it! 

Black Olive Tapenade

I cup pitted sliced black olives
2 tbs parsley
1/8 cup of olive oil
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs capers
1 garlic clove minced
2 anchovy fillets
1tsp Dijon mustard 
Salt and pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse until blended.
Serve on bread or crackers. Will keep in fridge in a jar  for about two weeks.


Cheers! 








Real Men Do Eat Quiche

2014-05-22T11:29:34.235-04:00

Although its been around forever..quiche had its heyday years ago back in the 80's and 90's. It was popping up in cookbooks and restaurant menus everywhere.I must admit I have forgotten about it until last weekend when I was looking for something different to make for brunch, instead of my usual frittata.I created this hearty layered version using leftover potatoes from the night before.It took no time to assemble. I know I should have made my own crust but I had a ton of yard work to get too so I cheated and used a store bought I had in the freezer.This could be served for supper as well with a salad.My husband loved it and asked for it to be served more often.So there you go...contrary to that popular 80's book, real men do eat quiche! Layered Ham and Potato Quichepie crust cold sliced potatoessliced cooked hamshredded sharp cheddar cheesesliced green onions5 beaten eggs for each quiche with cream and parsley mixed in.  Preheat oven to 425FLayer ingredients in pie crust in order given.Bake for 15 minutes at 425FReduce oven to 350F and cook until golden and eggs are set (about 20 to 30 minutes)Cheers! [...]



Buried Treasure

2014-05-01T21:19:49.065-04:00

While rooting around in my deep freezer the other day I found a bag of small packages of roasted tomatoes  from last fall. I was very pleased as I thought they got all used up.  I thawed a bunch and created this Mediterranean inspired dish.If you don't have any on hand you can roast any type of small tomato in the oven quicker than I did previously...just turn the oven up to 375F and roast for about 30 minutes.They will be a little more moist but that is fine for this recipe.I chose quinoa for my starch here however, couscous, rice or a short pasta would work well here too.It  really does pay off to tuck things away in the freezer to enjoy when certain vegetables or fruit are out of season.Roasted Tomato Chicken over Quinoa  ~olive oil4 boneless chicken breasts2 cups of roasted tomatoes1 tsp Italian seasoning4 green onions sliced1/4 cup red wine vinegar1/2 cup sliced black olives1 1/2 cups chicken brothIn a large deep skillet heat a bit of olive oil and brown the chicken.Remove to plate and set aside.Over medium high heat deglaze the pan with the red wine vinegar.Add remaining ingredients except quinoa and combine.Arrange the chicken breasts on top of the mixture in the pan.Bring to a low boil then reduce to a medium low.Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thickened a bit.Meanwhile cook quinoa or starch of choice according to package directions.Serve chicken over quinoa.Wine Suggestion: ChiantiCheers![...]



Life as we know it...

2014-02-28T12:09:11.464-05:00

Life has been a bit crazy so I took a bit of hiatus from Hall in the Kitchen..but wow... four months go by fast don't they?The hot topic of conversation these days is the long harsh winter we are having. Has anyone heard of the term Polar Vortex until this year? I know I haven't!All I want to do is either sit in front of my warm fireplace or cook comfort foods in the kitchen.That said here are two hearty dishes to help us get through the last few weeks of the "Polar Vortex" winter we are having.Savory Veal ScaloppineOver Rice ~olive oil1 pound of thin sliced veal1  can of diced tomatoes 1 diced onion1 diced red pepper1 tbsp minced ginger1/4 cup of hoisen sauce1/2 cup of beef brothrice In a large deep pan  heat a few glugs of olive oil and brown the veal lightly on both sides.Add remaining ingredients except rice ,cover and cook on medium low heat for about 45 minutes to an hour. Veal should be fork tender.Meanwhile cook rice according to package.Serve veal over the hot rice.Sausage Penne  ~olive oil1 lb of mild Italian sausage 1 orange pepper chopped1 onion chopped2 tbsp minced garlic2 tbsp Italian seasoning 1/4 cup of olive oil1/4 cup of flour1 cup each of  milk and creamsalt and pepper to taste1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese penneIn a large deep pan  heat a few glugs of olive oil and cook the sausages until browned. Remove and slice. Add the vegetables to pan and cook until softened.add the sausages back to pan with Italian seasoning and toss together.Cover and cook on medium low until sausages are cooked through and no longer pink in center.Meanwhile boil the pasta according to package directions while you make the cream sauce.In a small saucepan  heat the olive oil.Add the flour whisking until smooth .Add the milk or cream whisking until the cream sauce is to your desired consistency. Add the cheese and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.You can add oregano or basil if you wish.Drain the pasta.Add the sausage mix and then the cream sauce, toss together and serve with fresh ground pepper and Parmesan cheese on top.Wine suggestion for both dishes: MalbecCheers! [...]



Switch it Up

2013-10-03T10:28:57.481-04:00

Thanksgiving weekend will see many tables filled with the traditional turkey and ham.Why not switch it up this year with something different? If your gathering is small a leg of lamb is perfect and is far less work than a turkey.Grilling creates a nice crispy layer on the outside and really brings out the flavour.Place a foil pan underneath the rotisserie to catch the drippings for gravy. Anything goes on the side, potatoes, rice, squash ect.Happy Thanksgiving!Greek Style Grilled Lambleg of lamb1 head of garlic peeled and slicedolive oiloreganolemon juicepepper   Make slits in the lamb with a small knife and stuff the slices of garlic all over the lamb.Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and rub all over the lamb.(if you have time you can marinate the lamb in the fridge for a few hours.)Place lamb on the rotisserie and cook until done.Let rest for 10 minutes before carving.Slice and serve with gravy recipe below if desired. GravyIn a saucepan heat the lamb drippings. Add 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Add 1 tsp each of rosemary, oregano and mint.Season to taste with salt and pepper.Bring to low boil. In a small jar mix 1/4 cup each of flour and water and shake until smooth. Stir into boiling liquid to thicken to you liking.Wine Suggestion: ShirazCheers![...]



Indulge

2013-10-03T09:49:57.820-04:00

Every year my husband goes an annual fishing trip with the boys, so I  invite my friend over for a girls weekend.
We enjoy  treating ourselves to shopping, manicures and indulge in good food and wine.
This year I had quite a bit of  brie on hand so I created this decadent dish for Sunday brunch.
You could vary the cheese to suit what you have around such as Camembert or Gorgonzola.
I served this alongside crispy bacon and toast but  could  also be served with a green salad on the side.

Baked Brie Eggs with Herbs

  • 10 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of cream
  • small bunch of fresh chives and basil chopped fine
  •  1/4 to 1/2 a pound of brie cheese sliced
  • salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400F

Butter a baking dish.
In a bowl whisk the eggs with  the cream.
Add the herbs and salt and pepper and mix.
Pour into the baking dish and arrange the cheese slices on top.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until eggs are set and top is golden.
Slice into squares and serve.

Wine Suggestion: Champagne 

Cheers!







Gettin' Figgy

2013-08-19T12:33:44.165-04:00

Whenever I go visit my friend Adriana I try things I haven't had before such as grilled duck breast and fresh figs.
Both were amazing and I am now hooked forever.
This fig appetizer is super easy to prepare and tastes like an appetizer from a five star bistro menu.
While Adriana served me a green type fig I found black mission figs in my local grocery store for a fraction of the price. The taste is very similar.
I tucked in slices of different cheeses in a few some to mix it up a bit.


Prosciutto Wrapped Figs with a Balsamic  Reduction
  • 6 to 10 fresh figs cut in half
  • slices of thin prosciutto
  • small slices of various cheeses (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of good quality balsamic vinegar 
Preheat oven to 400F


Wrap figs with prosciutto slices and arrange on a cookie sheet.
Insert pieces of cheese under the prosciutto on a few if desired.
 In a small saucepan bring the balsamic vinegar to a low boil and reduce heat and simmer stirring until thickened.
Place in oven until prosciutto starts to crisp.
Remove from the oven.
Arrange on a platter and drizzle with balsamic reduction and serve.

Wine Suggestion: Vinho Verde

Cheers!








Easy Breezy

2013-07-16T20:50:34.051-04:00

Well here I am again in the middle of summer and feeling lazy.I have to admit when it comes to cooking I am a cold weather gal.I love making those cosy oven or stove top dishes that simmer for hours that warm you from nose to toes.I get lazy in summer...throw a steak or burger on the grill...toss a salad...voila dinner is done. Well I decided that has to change and am challenging myself to be more creative in the warm months. So I give you today a roast with a dry rub that can put together quickly and be put on the BBQ.Anything goes on the side such as baked potatoes, beans or seasonal vegetable.So here is to an easy breezy lazy summer!Sirloin Dry Rub Roastone 2 to 3 pound sirloin tip roast2 each tbsp chili powder and paprika1 tbsp cracked black pepper1 tsp each oregano and thymeCombine all seasonings in a bowl. Rub the roast on all sides with the spice mixture.Roast on the BBQ on medium heat until thermometer reaches desired doneness. Turn occasionally.   Remove and let rest for 10 minutes.Slice and serve.Wine Suggestion: MalbecCheers! [...]



Mayday

2013-04-30T22:59:40.344-04:00

So the calendar says it will be May next week. Did Mother Nature forget about giving us a spring this year?We really need some spring weather around here, as I look out my window it is windy and pouring. Yesterday we had snow if you can believe that!I am really looking forward to sitting on the patio soon so here is a summery easy appetizer that can be served at anytime of the year. This recipe was given to me by my cousins friend who was visiting from Germany last summer. It is light, healthy and takes minutes to assemble. Bocconcini cheese is found in the deli section. You can substitute any mild  soft cheese if you cant find it.Try to use the best quality olive oil and balsamic you can find for the best flavour.Hey Mother Nature ...enough already! Bring on Spring... please?Cheese and Tomato  Canapes1 container of bocconcini cheese drained and sliced1/2 a dozen or so of ripe cocktail tomatoes sliceda bunch of fresh basil leaves extra virgin olive oilbalsamic vinegarblack olives  salt and pepper  On a platter arrange the tomatoes. Top each tomato with a basil leaf and a slice of bocconcini cheese.Scatter black olives on the platter.Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.Season with ground course pepper and sea salt.Wine Suggestion: ChiantiCheers![...]



When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

2013-03-07T10:55:55.731-05:00

I'm so glad that March is here.For me that signals that spring is just around the corner and for many, Spring break.St. Patrick's Day is also coming up soon, and for that I have an authentic Irish stew recipe to share.The stew's key ingredient here is Guinness.  This beer is made from Guinness brewery a  brewery founded in 1759 in Dublin Ireland  by Arthur Guinness.It is very dark and full of body and helps give the gravy a rich taste.Browning the meat in small batches slowly allows the meat to become golden brown on the outside and not grey. By over crowding the pan the meat will cool down the pan and release too much water. So take your time it is well worth the effort.I started the stew on the stove and then slow cooked it in the oven for a few hours.By thickening the broth with cornstarch instead of flour  keeps the gravy color nice and dark. Serve with Sourdough or Irish Soda bread.Happy St. Patrick's Day!!Guinness Beef Stew~ vegetable oil1 to 2 pounds of stewing beef or blade roast cut into 1 inch cubes1 onion diced3 carrots and parsnips cut up5 potatoes cut up4 cups of beef stock1 cup of  Guinness Beer2tbsp molasses2 tbsp each of thyme and parsley2 tbsp Worcestershire saucesalt and pepper to taste3 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water to thicken gravyPreheat oven to 300F In a dutch oven heat a couple of good glugs of  the oil and brown the meat slowly in batches until golden brown on all sides.Remove to a plate.Add the vegetables and cook for a few minutes until the onion softens.Return the meat to the pot and add the liquids and spices.Combine and bring to simmer.Cover and place in the oven for about 3 hours.Remove and place on stove top bring to low boil add the cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened.Serve with warm bread.Drink Suggestion: Guinness Original or ShirazCheers![...]



Matchmaker

2013-01-24T13:25:35.605-05:00

I am a big fan of pairing foods with wine.

This Christmas I received a bottle of wine as a gift.
It said on the label that the wine went well with Hoisin Steak.
So I set out to find the perfect recipe to go with this wine however most of the recipes I researched had the steaks being grilled outside.
Well, we all know that right now it is way to cold to be outside grilling so I made up my own version using the oven.

Hoisin sauce is found in the Asian section of grocery stores. It is made from soybeans and spices.

I was so pleased with how this turned out and with the wine it was a match made in heaven.



Oven Hoisin Steak
  • 1/2 cup of hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce
  •  1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 4 strip loin steaks
 Mix first 4 ingredients and place in a zip lock bag.
Add steaks and marinate in fridge for 2 to 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 375F
Place steaks and remaining marinade in baking dish.
Cook in the oven until streaks are done to your liking. (about 20 minutes for medium)
Let rest for a few minutes and serve with rice and broccoli. 


Wine Suggestion: Red Velvet by Cupcake Winery


Cheers!






Rerun

2013-10-06T20:52:42.492-04:00

Now that the cold weather has finally descended upon us our thoughts once again turn to warm comfort foods.I have previously posted this recipe before however I recently made it again and revamped the ingredients. I think it is much better so I am posting it again.Hungarian Goulash has been around since the early 19th century. It was very popular among herdsmen who worked in the fields. They cooked this cross between a soup and stew over an open fire in a cast iron pot.This hearty dish can be served on its own with crusty bread, over potatoes or rice as I have done here.I guarantee this dish will warm you from the inside out.Hungarian Goulash~olive oil2 pounds of diced stewing beef3 onions sliced2 red bell peppers diced2 carrots diced 1 tbsp minced garlic1/2 cup paprika2 tsp caraway seeds2 tsp oregano2 cups of beef stock2 cups of red wine 1 can of tomato paste1  cup of strained tomatoes1/2 tsp cayennesalt and pepper to tastePreheat oven to 325FIn a dutch oven heat the oil and saute the onions and peppers until light brown.Add the beef and cook until browned.Add garlic and seasonings and continue to cook until a few more minutes. Add the remaining ingredients bring to a low boil.Cover and place in the oven.Cook until meat is tender and stock is reduced.About 3 hours.Serve over potatoes, noodles or rice.Wine Suggestion: Cabernet SauvignonCheers![...]



Sidekick

2013-01-08T10:28:02.846-05:00

Its that time again. Time to get back to reality. No more over indulgence. Time to get back to healthy eating and exercise  to work off all those holiday treats.This side dish is made with one of the labeled "superfoods",  sweet potatoes.Ive mentioned before that they are chock full of nutrients and goodness. I am always looking for different ways to prepare them.This dish is pretty easy to get together and goes well with just about any meat, especially pork and chicken. You can vary the amount of bread crumbs and cheese you put on top to suit your liking.So there you have it, comfort food that is also good for you!What a way to kick start the New Year! Two Potato Layered Gratin1/2 a garlic cloveolive oil1 pound of Yukon gold potatoes sliced thin (peeled if you wish)2 sweet potatoes peeled and sliced thin.3/4 cup of milk3/4 cup of light cream  ( or you can use all milk)1/4 teaspoon nutmegbreadcrumbsgrated old cheddar cheese salt and pepper  Preheat oven to 350Rub a shallow baking dish with the garlic clove and then brush with a layer of olive oil.Arrange Yukon gold potatoes slices in the bottom.Drizzle with olive oil.Arrange sweet potato slices over top.season with salt pepper.Continue layering in this fashion until you have used up the potatoes.Heat the milk, nutmeg and cream if using together in a saucepan. Pour over the potatoes . Top with bread crumbs and grated cheese.Bake in the oven for about 60 to 70 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.Cheers![...]



Host with the Most

2012-11-22T13:25:15.259-05:00

If you are hosting this  holiday season  it is good to have a few recipes on hand that you can put together quickly so that you have more time to enjoy your guests.  This is an easy brunch dish that takes minutes to assemble yet looks like it took hours to prepare. The ingredients can be varied, such as substituting the crab for smoked salmon or cooked baby shrimp. This serves 4 to 6. The recipe can be doubled if you have a crowd.Serve with a crisp green salad and warm baguette.  Crab Brunch Bake2 cans of crab meat drained2 cups of large croutons6 eggs 1/4 cup milk 1/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese1 cup of shredded old Cheddar cheese1/2 each diced onion and red pepper1 tsp each of savory, parsley and thymebutter for greasing the pan Preheat oven to 375FGrease an 8x8 baking dish with the softened butter.Arrange croutons on the bottom of the dish.Arrange crab on top of the croutons.In a bowl beat the eggs with the milk then combine with spices and vegetables.Pour over the croutons and crab. Sprinkle cheeses over top.Bake for about 30 minutes until eggs are set and cheese is bubbly.Slice into squares and serve.Wine Suggestion: Champagne Cheers![...]



Impress

2013-09-07T18:31:56.737-04:00

Another long weekend is approaching and with it comes family gatherings and dinner parties.This dish is sure to impress. It looks more complicated then at really is.I have served it twice now and it has drawn rave reviews every time. You can vary the vegetable you mix with the cream cheese. I used chopped baby spinach here but mushrooms, roasted peppers or dill work well too.Puff pastry is a great item to keep on hand in the freezer. It transforms anything into something truly elegant.This dish can be served with just about anything on the side, salad, rice, risotto, potatoes, roasted vegetables ect.  Just remember to sit back and enjoy those compliments.Happy Thanksgiving and long weekend everyone!Salmon Wellington1 pkg of frozen puff pastry thawed1 l to 1.5 pound salmon filet skinned1 tub of plain cream cheese3/4 cup of either chopped spinach, mushrooms , roasted peppers or 1 tbs dill1 egg beaten  Preheat oven to 400F Roll the pastry out on a floured surface so that it is a little wider than the salmon, and the salmon can be completely rolled in the pastry. Mix the cream cheese and vegetable of choice  together in a bowl. Season with salt and  ground black pepper.Place the salmon in the center of the pastry. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the salmon. Roll the pastry around the salmon leaving a slight overlap of about an inch. Seal up the ends. Place on an oiled cookie sheet.Brush the outside of the pastry with beaten egg and place in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes, or until golden-brown and the fish is cooked through.Slice and serve.Wine Suggestion: PinotCheers!  [...]



Back at It

2012-09-04T09:41:04.490-04:00

Another summer has come and gone. Where does the time go?Seems like yesterday my daughters were just finishing exams and now they are back at it again.When teenagers come home from school they are hungry. It is all to easy to crack open a bag of store bought snacks laden with sodium and preservatives.  We recently discovered how to make your own potato chips in minutes. I whipped up a dip while the chips were cooking . They were a huge hit and we agreed they are tastier, cheaper and healthier than store bought chips and dip. We used the microwave but I plan on trying the oven next time."Chips and Dip" 2 medium potatoesolive oilsalt and pepperWith a mandolin thinly slice the potatoes.Place on a microwave safe plate and brush with olive oil on both sides.Microwave on high for 6 minutes or until crispy and golden.Place in a bowl and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.Dip1/2  tub of sour cream1 tsp each (or to taste) of dill, onion powder,  seasoning salt, parsley and pepperCombine in a dish and serve with the chips.Cheers![...]



Making Do

2012-08-12T14:36:05.454-04:00

Its been a very busy summer around our house. Between some minor house projects and traveling I haven't had the time to post anything new. To be honest I really haven't been cooking anything exciting...just kinda throwing stuff on the BBQ and tossing up a salad. 

We rented a cottage up north for a week. While we had some nice days to be out on the lake we also had lots of rainy days that sent us packing a day early.
I hadn't planned a lot of indoor meals that week as I thought the weather was going to remain dry and warm and the cottage had a great grill on the deck overlooking the lake. Well after two rainy days ( and I mean heavy downpour rain with winds!) by the third I was going to have to be creative and find a way to prepare the pork chops I bought for grilling outside in the cottage. I didn't have very much in the way of spices with me so I made do with what we had left.  I came up with a spicy sauce made from a can of beans and a few things in the fridge. We really liked how it turned out and will definitely make it again.

Cottage Pork Chops

  • 4 boneless pork loin chops
  • 1 can of brown beans
  • 1/2 each green pepper and onion diced
  • 1/2 a bottle of original bbq sauce
  • 1tbs Tex Mex Seasoning
  • 1 tsp each salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 325F
Combine all ingredients except pork chops in a 9 x 11 baking dish.
Nestle the pork chops in the sauce and spoon some over top.
Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.

Wine Suggestion: Riesling

Cheers!





Fresh

2012-05-30T20:28:21.426-04:00

We all love to cook in our house. Every once in a while we haul out our pasta maker which was a wedding shower gift many years ago and get to work creating an authentic Italian dinner.Everyone pitches in creating the long sheets of pasta and preparing a delicious sauce. The last time we did this we made a stuffed ravioli.It sounds labor intensive but well worth the effort.Here is how we put it all together. ( The pasta recipe is from Ricardo Larrivee on Food Network Canada)Stuffed Fresh Ravioli with Capriccio  Sausage SaucePasta4 eggs2 1/2 cups pf flour1 tbsp olive oil Place the flour on a flat surface. Make a well in the centre. Break the eggs into the well and add the oil. Using a fork, lightly beat the eggs and oil, gradually mixing them with the flour. When the dough becomes too thick to work with the fork, continue with your fingertips and then your hands. Do not use too much flour. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes. The dough will become smooth and elastic. If the dough is sticky, dust it lightly with flour and continue kneading. Let stand for 30 minutes before rolling.  If you have a pasta machine, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for rolling and cutting.Filling2 cups of baby spinach leaves4 large mushrooms diced2 tbsp minced garlicsalt and pepper  In a skillet heat a bit of olive oil and add garlic, mushrooms and spinach. Cook until all is wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Set asideSauce1 jar of tomato puree1/2  can of diced tomatoesoregano and basil to taste1 diced capricccio sausage.Combine all in saucepan and heat slowly. Let simmer while preparing pasta and filling. AssemblyAs shown in the photos, lay out the sheets of pasta.  Place the filling on the one side pasta spaced evenly apart . Add a mozzarella cube on top if you wish. Dip your finger in water and run around each filling. Fold over the other half. Press to seal each section.Cut with a zigzag cutter into squares. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta for two minutes or until they float to the top. Lift out with a slotted spoon and serve with the sauce over top.Wine Suggestion: SangioveseCheers![...]



Ham It Up

2012-04-03T13:44:35.561-04:00

I love Easter because for me it means Spring has finally arrived. Although I have had turkey and roasts on Easter to me this holiday is all about ham.You can use whatever ham you like here, bone in, boneless, precooked or not. Just follow the instructions on the wrapper for cooking instructions.I used an uncooked bone in ham here. I created a delicious glaze from ingredients I had on hand including some sherry I had to use up.Nothing goes better with ham then scalloped potatoes or potato gratin if you add cheese.A Mandoline makes slicing the potatoes and onions thin super easy. Just remember to use the safety holder between you and the vegetable!Happy Easter! Roast Ham with a Brown Sugar Sherry Glaze with Potato Gratin3 to 6 pound bone in ham1 cup of brown sugar2 tbsp Dijon1/2 cup of sherry1 tsp cinnamon1/2 tsp of nutmeg 1/4 cup of apple juicePreheat oven to 350 FPlace ham in roasting pan and place in the oven.In a sauce pan combine the rest of the above ingredients. Heat over medium heat until thickened.During the last half hour brush the ham periodically with the glaze.Cook until internal temperature reached 160F.Slice and serve with Potato Gratin. Potato Gratin2 pounds of potatoes sliced thin.2 onions sliced thin4 tbsp olive oil 1/4 cup of flour1 1/4 cup of milk1/2 cup of cream 2 tsp minced garlicparsleysalt and peppershredded Parmesan cheese Preheat oven to 350F.Wash and slice potatoes as thin as possible.Slice onions thinly as well.In a saucepan heat the oil. Add the flour to make a smooth roux.Add the cream and milk while  whisking until you have a creamy sauce.Add the garlic and salt and pepper.Rub a casserole dish with softened butter.Layer the potatoes and onions.Pour the sauce over top.season with parsley and salt and pepper and add cheese over top.Bake in the oven until bubbly and golden (about an hour)Wine Suggestion: RieslingCheers![...]



Rehash

2012-03-14T18:26:02.446-04:00

St. Patrick's Day is on the weekend as I am sure you already know.I know a lot of you will be making corned beef dinners and the like. For those of you that don't have hours to make a large Irish dinner this  is a quick way to get your corned beef fix this weekend.Corned beef hash can be served for any meal of the day, breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. It is easy to prepare and is limitless in variations. It is a great way to use up leftovers as well. Hash was created during the war when rationing of food was in place. It was a cheap way to get a bit of meat into the diet and still be a satisfying meal.So whatever you are serving this weekend... Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!Corned Beef Hash~oil 1 onion diced 1 diced red pepper1 can of corned beef flaked 1/2 a package of frozen hash browns or a cup of cooked leftover cubed potatoes 2 tbsp parsley3 eggs scrambledsalt and pepper to taste In a skillet heat some oil and add the onions and peppers. Cook until softenedAdd the meat and potatoes and parsley. Cook until potatoes are golden and it is all heated through.Scramble the eggs in a bowl.Move the hash to one side of the pan.Add the eggs and cook until done then combine with the hash.Serve with ketchup or chili sauce.Beverage Suggestion: Guinness Beer Cheers![...]



Soup's On!

2012-02-23T13:41:12.163-05:00

It has been such a mild winter I haven't made nearly as much soup as I normally do. The other day I was thinking I miss a hearty bowl of soup, so I pulled out my soup pot and got to work.I chose to make an Italian Minestrone, something I haven't made before.It is a thick hearty stew like soup made with vegetables, pasta and beans. It is as common on tables in Italy as pasta.You can add ground beef or sliced sausages if you like. I just used a bit of Italian salami for flavor. The cheese rind is what is leftover when you get down to the end of the Parmesan cheese. It gives soups extra flavor as it melts during cooking.This makes a great weekday supper, all you need is a slice of bread and your meal is complete.Italian Minestrone Soup1 onion diced2 celery ribs diced3 carrots sliced2 tbsp minced garlic1/2 cup of diced Italian salami such as Sopressata1 tbsp each of basil and oregano1 can of white kidney beans drained1 can of chick peas drained1 can of tomatoes1 cup  of small pasta of choice ( I used bows)1 Parmesan cheese rind1 900 ml carton of chicken brothgrated Parmesan for garnish In the soup pot add the olive oil and heat over medium heat.Add the onion, garlic and celery.  Cook until softened.Add the meat, oregano and basil. Combine and cook for about 3 minutes.Add the beans, tomatoes, pasta, cheese rind and broth.Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for about and hour to an hour and a half.Season to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve.Wine Suggestion: TraminerCheers! [...]



Vote

2012-02-01T14:31:47.960-05:00

I have entered a recipe contest here in London..I submitted four recipes and they selected one for the top 10.
The 3 that gets the most votes will cook off for judges in February.
Go here to vote
Thanks so much for your support.
This is what I win..
The Recipe for Hope Contest  is a chance to share your recipes and showcase the best of the best for bragging rights, fabulous prizes and a chance to meet world renowned Chef Michael Smith!  From the Top 10, 3 finalists will be selected to have a cook-off for the judges at GCW Custom Kitchens.
Dave & Rachel will crown the winner the morning of February 27th!


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Thanks so much and pass on to friends if you wish..
Robyn