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Monday, April 30, 2012


A sugar/water syrup known as simple syrup is ideal for sweetening lemonade
and iced tea.  You can store it for weeks in the fridge, ready for cocktails
as well.

1 cup (250 ml) granulated sugar
4 cups (1 L) water, approximate
1 cup (250 ml) lemon juice
Ice cubes

In saucepan or microwaveable pitcher bring sugar and 1 cup (250 ml) of the
water to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Let cool. Combine syrup with lemon
juice; stir in remaining 3 cups (750 ml) water.

Cover and if time allows, chill. Stir in ice cubes. Taste, adding more cold water
if desired.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

TIP: Dress up a pitcher of lemonade with a few sprigs of fresh mint and some
very thin slices of lemon and/or orange and/or lime.

-- To make Strawberry Lemonade, puree 1 cup (250 ml) hulled strawberries.
Pour into fine sieve set over bowl; press puree to remove seeds. Stir puree into
pitcher of lemonade with 1/2 cup (125 ml) or more sliced strawberries.

-- To make Blueberry Lemonade: Simply add 3/4 cup (175 ml) blueberries to


Here's a soup recipe from Jamie Olive's  Jamie's Dinners: The Essential
Family Cookbook (Hyperion). Note, the red wine vinegar gives an added zing.

1 Tbsp. (15ml) olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely grated
1 handful fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
6 Tbsp. (90ml) heavy cream
1 tsp. (5ml) red wine vinegar
2 egg yolks
2 large cans plump tomatoes, such as San Marzano
5 cups (1.25L) chicken or vegetable stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add onion, garlic, carrot and basil stalks and
saute until aromatic and onion is translucent, stirring often. In bowl, whisk
together cream, vinegar and egg yolks, and set aside.

Add canned tomatoes to pot, breaking up tomatoes with wooden spoon.
Simmer for five minutes, then add chicken or vegetable stock to mixture. Simmer
for 20 minutes with lid on.

Remove from heat and very carefully puree soup in batches. Soup will be
extremely hot, so take extra care. Once soup is pureed, return to pot and bring
back to simmer; season for taste with salt and pepper.

Just before serving, quickly whisk in cream mixture and serve immediately.
Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Serves 4.

Black-skinned chicken slow-cooked in dark soy sauce

Published On Wed Aug 29 2007

2 tbsp canola oil
1 large Spanish onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 cup Chinese sweetened soybean paste
Three frozen silkie chickens (each about 1-1/2 lb/750 g),
       thawed, head and feet discarded, cleaned, rinsed
1-inch piece unpeeled ginger, cut into 4 pieces
1-inch piece unpeeled galangal (white ginger), quartered, smashed
2 red Thai bird's eye chilies
1/2 cup dried wolfberries
1/4 cup dried Chinese red dates (jujubes), halved
3 cups dark soy sauce
1 cup cola
1 star anise pod
2 cardamom pods
Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks
1 clove

Heat oil in large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium. Add
onion, garlic and bean paste. Cook, stirring, until onion is tender. Add chickens,
ginger, galangal, chilies, wolfberries, red dates, soy sauce and cola. Stir; add star
anise, cardamom, cinnamon, clove and just enough water to cover chickens.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, 45 minutes. Remove
chickens; cut into serving pieces. Strain broth; discarding solids. Serve broth
ladled over chicken.

For a thicker sauce, remove chickens. Strain broth; discarding solids. Cook
broth over high heat until syrupy and glossy, about 20 minutes. If too salty, add
a little water. Cut chicken into serving portions, add to sauce, heat through and

Makes 6 servings.

Adapted from a recipe by Manhattan restaurateur Patricia Yeo that appeared in
the New York Times. Yeo prefers the caramel flavour of Coke to the more
traditonal rock sugar. She likes to make this braised dish a day ahead and then
reheat it. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Chicken tikka masala

Published On Thu Feb 7 2008

Chicken tikka masala is a preparation that few Indians had heard of until quite
recently. And it’s doubtful whether there is anything like an authoritative version.
Dozens of recipes exist, most bearing little resemblance to one another.

Accounts of the origins of the dish usually point to a curry house in Glasgow,
where an irate customer sent back the order of chicken tikka that he found too
dry.  The Bangladeshi chef whipped up a spicy tomato sauce (one variation
has him using Campbell’s tomato soup), poured it over the chicken and created
an instant hit.

Chicken tikka masala is now the most popular item on restaurant menus
in the U.K., where it as been hailed the country's true national dish.

Chef's on the subcontinent, initially baffled by requests from British tourists
wanting to taste the genuine item, quickly invented their own versions. Today,
chicken tikka masala is increasingly well known in its supposed land of origin.

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 inch ginger, minced
2 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup plain Balkan-style yogurt
Pinch saffron strands
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)

1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 inch piece ginger
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
2 cups whole canned plum tomatoes, lightly drained
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
Pinch saffron strands
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp toasted crushed cumin seeds


Place chicken in large mixing bowl. Mix in all marinade ingredients. Cover,
refrigerate 1 to 4 hours.

Preheat outdoor barbecue to medium.

Thread chicken onto skewers and grill 5 to 7 minutes per side until almost done.
Slide chicken off skewers and reserve.

If grilling indoors, preheat oven to 400F. Line baking tray with parchment, place
grilling or cookie rack over top. Coat with non-stick spray. Evenly spread
marinated chicken in single layer. Bake 10 minutes. Turn over with tongs to
cook on other side, 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl, reserve.

Mince garlic, ginger and onion in food processor, transfer to bowl. Puree
tomatoes in food processor. Set aside in separate bowl.

Warm oil in non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced onion mixture,
sauté 4 minutes, reduce heat to medium. Add tomatoes, cook 4 minutes, stirring.
Add ground coriander, ground cumin, ground black pepper, garam masala, salt,
saffron, cayenne and kasoori methi.

Cook 2 minutes, add whipping cream and water. Cook 5 minutes on medium-
low heat, stirring.

Add chicken, cook 5 minutes, fold in lemon juice and toasted cumin, serve.

Serves four

Sanjeev Chandra is a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of
Toronto with a keen interest in history. Smita Chandra is a Mississauga-based
freelance food writer. Email

Moroccan chicken skewers

Published On Thu Jul 10 2008

The labyrinthine streets of the ancient city of Fez seemed to lead me in circles.
I was eager to taste authentic Moroccan cuisine,  and was searching for a
restaurant that had been highly recommended for specializing in
traditional fare.

Despite its popularity, it was not easy to find. The restaurant dispatched a guide
to fetch us, who led us through a dizzying succession of narrow alleys that
magically opened into the courtyard of a beautifully restored 700-year-old
palace. The food was wonderful and evoked a wave of nostalgia, for it
reminded me of home.

The ingredients were very similar to those used in Indian cooking: coriander,
cumin, ginger, cilantro and chili powder. I had traveled a long way for food
that turned out to be surprisingly familiar.

The flavours of Moroccan food and its resemblance to desi cooking are a
testament to the spice trade that has flourished for centuries between the two regions.

Pepper and cardomom from Kerala, cinnamon from Sri Lanka, nutmeg and
mace from Indonesia, all found their way to Moroccan cooks, who used them
to create the magnificent cuisine we savour today.

Kebabs are as popular in Morocco as in India. Walk through any marketplace
and the aroma of grilling will lead you to stalls where marinated meats of all kinds
are skewered and grilled over open charcoal fires. There are chicken skewers,
ground beef skewers, lamb shish-kebabs and even grilled camel meat!

These chicken skewers combine the best of Moroccan and Indian spices and
herbs. I have added smoked paprika to give them a pronounced smoky
If you don’t have all the herbs available, use whatever is at hand. They are even
more flavourful when left to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.  Leftovers
make a delicious lunch wrapped in soft flour tortillas.

Serve them over a bed of fresh mint as they do in Morocco.

1 1/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed into 1 inch pieces
6-7 ten-inch bamboo skewers
2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp vinegar, such as white balsamic, white wine or rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp finely chopped onions
1 tbsp each: finely chopped fresh coriander, mint and parsley
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp smoked Spanish or regular paprika
1/4 tsp saffron strands
1 tsp each: ground coriander and ground cumin seeds
1/2 tsp each: cayenne pepper, ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt to taste

Mix marinade ingredients in large bowl. Add chicken, toss to coat. Cover and
refrigerate four hours or longer.

Soak bamboo skewers in water for 1 hour. Preheat outdoor grill to medium.
Lift chicken pieces out of marinade and thread onto skewers, about 4 pieces to
a skewer.

Place on grill and cook covered for about 8 minutes a side or until cooked
through, turning over once. Uncover grill, brush chicken lightly with oil and cook
2 minutes to brown lightly. Transfer skewers to platter and serve.

Makes 6-7 skewers

Got a question about South Asian cuisine?
Write to desi foodie Smita Chandra at

Sunday, April 29, 2012


For a quick restaurant-steak experience at home, use thick-cut beef grilling
medallions or tenderloin steaks, pan-seared and served with this simple sauce.
You'll be surprised that it's so easy to do!

1 1/2 lb. (0.68 kg) beef tenderloin or strip loin grilling medallions/steak
1-inch (2.5 cm) thick (about 6 medallions)
1/2 tsp. (2 ml) EACH salt and pepper
4 tsp. (20 ml) vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. (15ml) chopped fresh sage (or 1 tsp/5 ml crumbled dry sage)
1 cup (250 ml) sodium-reduced beef stock
1/3 cup (75 ml) Port or red wine
1 cup (250 ml) canned whole berry cranberry sauce
1 tsp. (5ml) finely grated orange rind

Season medallions with salt and pepper. Heat oil over medium-high heat in
heavy skillet; add medallions and cook until golden-brown, about 6 to 7 minutes
per side for medium. Remove from pan; keep warm.

Reduce heat to medium, fry onion and sage until softened, about 2 minutes.
Add stock and Port; bring to boil to deglaze pan, stirring up any browned bits
from pan with wooden spoon. Stir in cranberry sauce; bring to boil and cook
until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in orange rind. Serve with medallions.

Makes 6 servings



Slivers of garlic infuse the meat with rich, garlicky flavor in this recipe
while slow-roasting delives delicious restaurant-style roast beef.

7 lb. (3.15 kg) prime rib premium beef oven roast
8 cloves garlic, cut into thin slivers
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup (125 ml) coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup (50 ml) Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) EACH herbes de Provence or dried thyme and vegetable oil
Shallot Gravy (recipe follows)

Cut shallow slits all over roast; insert garlic slivers into slits. Rub all over with
Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Combine parsley, mustard, herbes de
Provence and oil in bowl. Set aside 2 tbsp (30 mL) of the mixture for Shallot
Gravy, rubbing remainder all over roast.

Place roast, bones down, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert oven-safe meat
thermometer into centre of roast. Roast, uncovered, in 450F (230C) oven for
10 minutes. Reduce heat to 275F (140C); roast until thermometer reads
135F (57C) for medium-rare to medium, about 2-3/4 to 3-1/4 hours.

Remove from oven. Cover loosely with foil and let stand for 15 to 30 minutes
before carving. Drain off all but 2 tbsp (30 mL) drippings from roasting pan and
make Shallot Gravy.

Makes: 8 to 10 servings

SHALLOT GRAVY: Place roasting pan over medium heat; add 3 shallots
(coarsely chopped) and reserved herb rub. Cook, stirring until shallots soften.
Stir in 2 cups (500 mL) beef broth and 3 Tbsp (45 mL) Worcestershire sauce;
simmer, stirring up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Combine 1 to 2 Tbsp.
(15 to 30 ml) cornstarch with equal amounts cold water, making smooth mixture.
Gradually stir into broth; bring to boil, stirring until thickened, about 3 minutes.

Green curry chicken

Published On Mon Jun 16 2008

Green curry paste is available in most supermarkets.  Fish sauce is sold in
supermarkets and Asian grocery stores.

2 tbsp sesame oil
2 large chicken breasts, cut in bite-size pieces
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 large green pepper, sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp green curry paste
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
1-14-oz (398-ml) can coconut milk
1/2 can chicken broth
Salt + pepper
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp flour, optional

1 cup plain yogurt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped

Heat sesame oil in a large skillet and add chicken.

Fry for about five minutes, stirring frequently. Add onion, green pepper and
garlic and fry for a few minutes.

Add curry paste, stir. Pour in fish sauce, coconut milk and chicken broth.

Add salt and pepper to taste and parsley. Bring to boil and then cook on
medium heat for about 10 minutes.

For a thicker sauce, put a few tablespoons of liquid into a bowl and add a
tablespoon of flour. Mix and return to skillet, stirring.

For sauce, mix yogurt with garlic and mint.

Serve with yogurt sauce and basmati rice.

Makes 4 servings

Liz Monteiro, Waterloo Record

Mappila biryani

Published On Thu Feb 7 2008

This rich, flavorful biryani shows how to give Arab rice dishes Kerala 
flavors. You only need to add raita (yogurt relish), crisp papad and lime pickle
to make a satisfying meal. Assorted vegetables may be substituted for the chicken
if desired. For coconut cream, chill a can of premium coconut milk for 30 minutes;
use cream skimmed off top

Chicken curry
Walnut-sized piece of seedless tamarind
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 inch piece ginger, halved
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves and tender stems
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
40 fresh curry leaves, divided
2 hot green chilies, stemmed
6 large canned whole plum tomatoes, lightly drained
2 tbsp plain Balkan-style yogurt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp ground cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp ground fennel seeds
Salt to taste
1/2 cup coconut cream
10 boneless skinless chicken thighs, quartered
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
20 raw cashews
1 bay leaf

1-1/2 cups basmati rice, washed and drained
6 cups water
Salt to taste

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, sliced into thin half-circles
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 tbsp unsalted butter

Put tamarind and water in microwave-safe bowl and cook on high for 2 minutes.
Mash with fork, let rest 5 minutes. Pour into fine-mesh sieve set over bowl.
Squeeze out liquid and discard fibrous residue. Set tamarind extract aside.

In food processor, mince garlic, ginger, onion, fresh coriander, mint, 20 curry
leaves and green chilies. Add tomatoes, yogurt, spices, salt, coconut cream
and tamarind extract. Process, transfer to mixing bowl. Add chicken, coat with
marinade. Cover, refrigerate 1 to 4 hours.

Warm oil and ghee or butter in non-stick skillet on medium-high. Add mustard
seeds, fenugreek, cashews, remaining curry leaves and bay leaf. Sauté 30
seconds. Add chicken and marinade. Stir, cover and boil. Reduce heat to
medium-low and cook 30 minutes until chicken is done. Uncover, increase heat
to medium and thicken sauce 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring rice and water to a boil, then
simmer 8 minutes. Drain and spread on tray to cool.

For garnish, warm oil in non-stick frying pan over medium-high. Sauté onions
until golden, 10 minutes. Cut each egg into 6 pieces.

To assemble biryani, preheat oven to 350F. In a large, flat, ovenproof dish,
spread half the rice thinly on bottom. Using slotted spoon, lift chicken pieces
out of sauce and spread evenly over rice. Cover with a layer of remaining rice
and drizzle sauce evenly all over. Spread fried onions and eggs (yolk side up)
on top and sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves. Dot evenly with butter. Cover
tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes. Let biryani rest another 10 minutes before
transferring to platter.

Serves four to six

Sanjeev Chandra is a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of
Toronto with a keen interest in history. Smita Chandra is a Mississauga-based
freelance food writer. Email

Pan-grilled chicken with sun-dried tomatoes

Published On Thu Oct 16 2008

For the dressing:
1 shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed and peeled
1/2 to 3/4 cup basil leaves
2-1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 6 oz
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 cups mixed salad greens
Sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil), soaked in hot water for 5 minutes, then
     drained and finely chopped
Shavings of parmesan cheese (optional)

In a food processor or blender, process the shallot, garlic and basil until the
mixture turns to a paste, stopping once or twice to scrape the sides with a
spatula. With the motor running, add the vinegar and then the olive oil in a steady
stream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Flatten the chicken breast halves slightly to about a 1/2-inch thickness. Brush
with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a cast iron grill or skillet on medium-high heat. Place the chicken breast
halves on the grill or in the skillet. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until
cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let sit loosely covered for
5 minutes.

Place the mixed salad greens in a large bowl. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and
about a third of the dressing and toss to combine. Place greens on individual
plates. Cut the chicken on the diagonal into thin slices, keeping each breast half
together. Fan the chicken pieces on top of the greens.

Drizzle some dressing over the top and sprinkle with the cheese shavings, if
desired. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the remaining dressing on
hand at the table.

Makes 4 servings

Adapted from the cookbook Spices of Life by Nina Simonds.

The Hamilton Spectator

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Turkish creativity really shines in this simple, elegant dessert.

1 lb. (450g) dried apricots, about 26-28
1/2 cup (125ml) sugar
1 cup (250ml) water
2 Tbsp. (30ml) butter
1/2 cup (125ml) coarsely chopped walnuts or slivered almonds
1 cup (250ml) whipped cream

Wash and drain apricots. Place in a medium size metal skillet. Sprinkle with
sugar and 1 cup (250ml) water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and
simmer, covered for 10 to 20 minutes, checking after 10 minutes to see if liquid
has been absorbed. Keep checking every few minutes until all cooking liquid
has been absorbef. Remove cover and stir in butter. Cook for a minute, shaking
skillet carefully from side to side to make sure butter coats all of apricots.

Cover pan again, remove from heat and let stand for five to 10 minutes.
Arrange on a serving platter and sprinkle with nuts. Serve with whipped cream.

Serves 6.


To serve this recipe as elegant hors d'oeuvres, skewer each meatball
with picks made from cleaned stalks of lemon grass. Serve on a platter
with purchased Thai chili or sweet and sour sauce in a small bowl for dipping.

2 lb. (1 kg) lean ground beef sirloin or round or lean ground beef
1 cup (250 ml) dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup (50 ml) unsweetened canned coconut milk
1 egg
3 Tbsp. (45 ml) EACH sweetened dessicated coconut and soy sauce
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) EACH minced ginger root, green onions and cloves garlic
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) salt and pepper

Combine beef, bread crumbs, coconut milk, egg, coconut, soy sauce, vinegar,
ginger root, green onions, garlic, salt and pepper in large bowl; mix lightly but
thoroughly. Using 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) measure, shape into 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls.
Place in single layer on lightly oiled, foil-lined baking trays.

Cook in 400F (200C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until completely cooked and digital rapid-read thermometer inserted into centre of several meatballs reads 160F (71C).

Makes: 23 servings

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cooked meatballs can be frozen for up to 3 months and
reheated in microwave to serve.

Herbed pork roast

Published On Wed Aug 30 2006

Adapted from Kitchen Sense:  More Than 400 Recipes to Make You a Great
Home Cook (2006, $50) by New York food writer Mitchell Davis, who
prefers to sear the roast, then "roast" it in a tightly covered pan on the stove at
the lowest heat possible. You can use Berkshire.

2 leaves sage
Leaves from 1 sprig rosemary
Leaves from 4 sprigs thyme
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 to 3 lb (1 to 1-1/2 kg) pork loin roast, tied
Freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

On cutting board, mince sage, rosemary and thyme together. On same board,
mince garlic. Pour salt over garlic; mince. Push together sage blend and garlic
blend. Add fennel; mince well.

Rub herb mixture all over pork. Wrap roast in plastic. Refrigerate 1 hour to 2
days. Discard plastic; season generously with pepper.

Heat oil in ovenproof deep skillet or dutch oven over medium-high. Add roast.
Brown well on all sides, about 8 minutes.

Transfer to preheated 375F oven. Cook until thermometer inserted in centre
reads 150F. Remove to cutting board; cover loosely with foil. Let stand 10
to 15 minutes. (Temperature will rise as it stands.)

Slice as desired.

Makes 6 servings.
Star tested by Jennifer Bain.

Mexican sausage and peppers

Published On Sat Jun 14 2008

Exquisite fresh chorizo, homemade in a dozen varieties, can be found at
Segovia Meats (218 Augusta Ave., 416-593-9904). Don't use cured chorizo.

3 poblano peppers, seeded
2 large shallots, halved lengthwise
1/4 tsp each: kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 fresh chorizo
2 oz (60 g) manchego cheese, shaved with slicer

In large mixing bowl, combine poblanos, shallots, salt, pepper and olive oil.
Grill, along with chorizo, over medium heat, turning so all sides blister, 8 to 10
minutes. Slice into bite-size chunks, toss together and sprinkle with manchego.

Makes 2 servings.

Smoky Pork Pappardelle

Smoked salt, which has been cooked in a smoker or has had artifical smoke
flavour added to it, can be found in specialty grocery stores.

Pappardelle is a wide noodle but you can substitute another long, flat pasta.

2 lb boneless rib roast
1-1/2 tbsp smoked sea salt, plus more to taste
2 tbsp canola oil
1 Granny apple, cut into 1-inch dice
1 medium onion, 1-inch dice
1 carrot, 1-inch dice
1 celery stalk, 1-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup Champagne vinegar
3 tbsp honey
3 tbsp ricotta cheese
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound pappardelle
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Season pork with 1-1/2 tablespoons smoked salt; brown all sides in oil over
medium heat in an ovenproof pot, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Add apple, onion, carrot, celery, garlic and thyme and cook over medium heat
until the mixture begins to brown, about 6 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook,
stirring, about 2 minutes. Add wine and bring to boil. Add broth, vinegar, honey
and bring to simmer. Add pork and transfer to 300F oven; braise about 3 hours,
turning halfway through, until tender.

Transfer pork to plate. Strain sauce into large bowl, pressing on the solids. Pour
sauce back into pot. Shred pork with two forks; add to sauce. Stir in ricotta.
Season with smoked salt and pepper; cover and keep warm.

Cook pappardelle in large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain and toss with
sauce and parsley in pot until coated, about 1 minute. Transfer to warm bowls;
drizzle with oil and season with smoked salt and pepper if desired.

Makes 6 servings

Adapted from Food and Wine magazine.

Star-tested by Kim Honey.

Friday, April 27, 2012


The combination of goat cheese and sundried tomatoes creates a tasty
cheese that could not be more ideal for entertaining. If you’re having just a
few guests, half the recipe using a small log of goat cheese.

1 300 g pkg goat cheese, at room temperature
1 lemon
1/4 cup (50 ml) sundried tomatoes, patted dry and finely chopped
1/2 tsp. (2 ml) black pepper
3 Tbsp. (45 ml) each finely chopped parsley and minced chives
1/3 cup (75 ml) finely chopped peanuts, preferably toasted


In a medium bowl, mash goat cheese. Finely grate peel from lemon and add to
goat cheese along with sundried tomatoes and pepper. Stir to combine. Form
goat cheese into a log measuring about 9 inches (23 cm).

In a small bowl, stir herbs with peanuts. Place peanut mixture on a piece of
plastic wrap large enough to roll up goat cheese. Roll and sprinkle goat cheese
log with herb and peanut mixture to coat, then seal in the plastic wrap.
Refrigerate about 1 hour. Serve with sliced baguette or crackers.

Makes 1 log.

Here are a few general holiday entertaining tips from Christine Picheca that may
be helpful:

Create a festive atmosphere and let the party reflect your taste

Arrange an attention-grabbing centrepiece, illuminate with candlelight, play

Consider a party theme

Make it a holiday open house or holiday decorating party

Keep the menu simple, but tasty

Consider serving dishes you’ve made before, or that you can prepare in
advance. You can assemble them right before your guests arrive.

Ask if the party is child-appropriate.

If your holiday party includes children, consider creating a child-friendly
zone with toys, holiday movies, and healthy munchies to keep them occupied.

Recruit a helper

Consider asking a close friend or family member to assist you with the
entertaining duties, especially if someone offers to help. This person could come
over a couple hours earlier to help you set up as well as serve food and drinks,
and clear dishes during the party.

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Butternut Squash and Sage


1/4 c. (50 ml)butter
1 large cooking onion, diced
1 small clove of garlic, minced
4 cups (1L ) of cubed, butternut squash
4 tbsp. (50 ml) chopped fresh sage
2 c. (500 ml) vegetable stock
1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
3/4 lb.(375 g) of whole wheat spaghetti or penne
2 tbsp. (25 ml) finely chopped parsley
3/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. (50 ml) finely chopped toasted walnuts (optional)

1. Heat the butter in a large sauté pan or a wok, over medium-high heat until it
starts to turn light brown. Add the onion and cook until starting to soften.

2. Add the garlic and sage and cook for about 1 minute.

3. Add the squash and cook stirring for about a minute. Add the stock and salt.
Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, until the stock is evaporated
and the squash is tender.Season generously with freshly cracked pepper and
additional salt if necessary. Reduce heat to low.

4. While the squash is cooking, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the
pasta until just al dent. Reserve 1 cup (250 ml) of the pasta water and add to
the squash mixture.

5. Drain the pasta. Add to the pan with the squash and toss well to combine.
Add half of the cheese. Toss again.

6. Transfer to a pasta bowl. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, and crumbled
walnuts if using. Serves 4. Enjoy!


* For a non-vegetarian version, crumble 1/2 c. (125 ml) of cooked prosciutto
over top before serving. Be sure to reduce the amount of cheese so that the
dish is not too salty.

Cochinita: pork shoulder with tomato chipotle sauce

Published On Sat Jun 14 2008

Achiote paste can be found in Mexican markets such as Perola's (247 Augusta
Ave., 416-593-9728).


4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup grapefruit juice
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp achiote paste
3 tbsp kosher salt
3 to 4 lbs (1.4 to 1.8 kg) pork shoulder

In large mixing bowl, combine garlic, juice, vinegar, achiote paste and salt.
Place pork shoulder in bowl, cover and refrigerate 3 hours, turning pork halfway.

Preheat barbecue to low heat (about 300 F). Remove pork from liquid; reserve
marinade for Tomato Chipotle Sauce (recipe follows). Wrap pork in foil and
place on grill. Cook until flesh shreds with a fork, about 3 hours. Cool. Shred,
discarding bone and fat.

Makes about 4 cups.


1 dried chipotle
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Reserved Cochinita marinade (see above recipe)

Place chipotle in bowl of hot water 5 minutes. Remove; finely chop.

In small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic. Cook
until shallots are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook 2 minutes.
Add chipotle, lime juice, zest and marinade. Simmer 5 minutes.

Add shredded pork. Simmer another 3 minutes to thicken.

Horseradish burgers

Published On Wed Jul 26 2006

1-1/2 lb (675 g) lean ground beef
1/4 cup prepared white horseradish
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 hamburger buns, split, toasted on grill if desired

In medium bowl, place beef, horseradish, worcestershire, salt and pepper.
Mix gently with fork or hands to combine; don't overmix.

Gently form meat into 4 equal patties, each about 4 inches in diameter and
1-inch thick. With thumb, make 1/2-inch deep indentation in centre of each
patty to help keep burgers flat during grilling.

On lightly oiled grill preheated to medium-high, grill patties 5 to 7 minutes per
side, until digital rapid-read thermometer inserted sideways into centre of each
patty reads 160°F (71°C).

Serve on buns.

Slow-cooker sweet and sour sticky ribs

Published On Wed Jan 28 2009

This is from the people who bring you Cook's Illustrated magazine, known for
its exhaustive testing of dishes. The slow-cooker recipe features two tricks:
The testers stand the ribs upright so more sauce comes in contact with the
meat, and they thicken the sauce on the stove afterwards.  Easy, delicious,
and a real hit with the kids (I omitted the chili pepper flakes). I used St.
Louis-style ribs (cut in a uniform 2-inch width), which I found at Loblaws.
From The Best Slow and Easy Recipes.

1 medium onion, chopped
1 red pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
6-inch piece of ginger, peeled, in 1/4-inch slices
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 250-mL jar apricot jam
1/2 355-mL can frozen pineapple juice concentrate
6 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
5 tbsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
4-1/2 lbs (2 kg) baby back or St. Louis-style ribs (4 racks)
salt + black pepper to taste
2 tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped

Place onion, pepper, garlic and ginger in food processor and pulse till finely
chopped, about 8 pulses.

Heat oil in medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add vegetable mixture
and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is softened and slightly
brown, about 7 minutes.

Stir in jam, frozen juice, soy, sugar, 1/4 cup vinegar and red pepper flakes.
Bring to simmer and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Pat ribs dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper. Stand upright in
slow cooker insert, winding them around in a spiral, meaty side toward the wall
of the cooker. Pour sauce over ribs. Cook on low 4 to 5 hours until tender.

Transfer ribs to cutting board; tent with foil and rest 20 minutes.

Let cooking liquid settle 5 minutes; pour off fat. Strain through fine-mesh sieve
into medium pot.

Bring sauce to simmer and cook down until it measures about 2 cups, about
15 minutes.

Stir remaining tablespoon of vinegar into sauce; correct seasoning.

Slice ribs between bones, toss with sauce. Serve on platter garnished with

Makes 6 servings.

Star-tested by Kim Honey

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Nothing beats an appetizer that looks fancy and doesn't require a whole
lot of work. Large shrimp size varies so the yield may vary slightly. If mango is
out of season, you could try fresh pineapple or, in a pinch, frozen mango.

1 lb. (550g) large peeled uncooked shrimp (about 24)
4 tsp . (20 ml) olive or peanut oil
2 thinly sliced garlic cloves
Pinches salt
2 Tbsp. (30ml) chopped coriander

Peanut sauce:
1/3 cup (75 ml) peanut butter
2 Tbsp. (30 ml) lime juice (1 or 2 limes)
2 to 3 tsp. (10-15 ml) hot sauce
1 Tbsp. (15 ml) soy sauce
2 tsp. (10 ml) finely grated peeled ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 ripe but firm mango
24 mini scoop shaped tortilla chips
Garnish: small coriander leaves (optional)

If using frozen shrimp, thaw and pat dry well. Discard tail shell, if still on. Heat
oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, garlic and salt. Stir
fry until shrimp is pink, about 4 minutes. Toss with coriander. Refrigerate to

Stir peanut butter with lime juice, hot sauce, soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Stir in
a little water if needed until a thick sauce-like consistency. Sauce can be made a
couple of days in advance then covered and refrigerated.

Peel mango and cut fruit from pit. Dice into 1/2-inch (1.5 cm) pieces. Just
before serving, assemble bites. Spoon about 1 to 1-1/2 tsp (5 to 7 ml) peanut
sauce into tortilla scoop. Top with a shrimp, mango piece and coriander leaf if
using. Repeat with remaining shrimp. You may have a bit of sauce leftover
depending on the number of shrimp you have.

Makes 24 bites.


Drop-in guests are the best, but it's nice to have something on hand to
serve with a drink.  These dressed up peanuts go perfectly with beer or

1 egg white
1/4 cup (50 ml) granulated sugar
1 tsp. (5 ml) kosher salt
1 tsp. (5 ml) dried thyme leaves
3/4 tsp. (4ml) EACH cayenne and garlic powder
2 cups (500 ml) peanuts

Preheat oven to 300F (150C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a
medium bowl, whisk egg white until frothy. Then whisk in sugar and seasonings
(if you only have garlic salt, add only 1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt) until blended. Add
peanuts and stir to coat.

Spread peanuts out on prepared baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven, stirring
a couple of times until nuts are golden brown and mixture is barely sticky,
20 to 25 minutes. Taste, adding a little more salt if needed. Cool completely,
breaking up nuts as they cool. Store in an airtight container for a couple of weeks.

Makes 2 cups (500ml).

Grilled liver with morels and bacon

Published On Mon Jul 26 2010

By Jennifer Bain Food Editor

Want a culinary portrait of Canada’s north? Check out The Boreal Gourmet:
Adventures in Northern Cooking by Yukon-based Michele Genest.

Be forewarned that you'll have to find substitutions for things not found
here--elk, moose, spruce grouse, dall sheep and spruce tips. Even so, it’s
always inspiring to be transported to lesser-known parts of our country.

The recipe: Morels are the wild beauty of the mushroom world. I bought dried
morels at Lively Life Fine Food in St. Lawrence Market. Forbes Wild Foods
also sells them (order online or check  for a store locator).
I found some fresh foraged ones at Fiesta Farms on Christie St. and at Forbes’
stall at the Evergreen Brick Works farmers’ market, but the season is very
fleeting. Genest says use fresh shiitakes or button mushrooms in a pinch. The
original recipe calls for elk liver.

1/2 cup (125 mL) dried morel mushrooms
1 cup (250 mL) hot water
3 thick strips bacon (preferably double-smoked), diced
3 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp (30 mL) each: red wine, 35 per cent cream
Freshly ground pepper
1 lb (450 g) calf’s liver, patted dry
Kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil

In medium bowl, soak mushrooms in water 15 minutes to soften. Drain. Halve
or chop mushrooms if desired.

In large skillet, cook bacon over medium until almost crisp. Remove with slotted
spoon from pan to drain on paper towels.

Add mushrooms to pan. Cook, stirring, 4 minutes. Add onions and garlic.
Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add bacon. Raise heat to high; add wine. When it
evaporates, add cream. Cook until mixture just holds together. Transfer to bowl.
Season with pepper; cover and keep warm.

Season liver with salt and pepper. Coat lightly with oil. Wipe out skillet; heat
over medium-high. Add liver. Grill 2 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board.
Slice as desired.

Serve liver topped with morel-bacon mixture.

Makes 2 servings.

Star-tested by Jennifer Bain


Published On Tue Apr 28 2009

Supper needn't  be a big bore when you're economizing with ground beef.
his tangy Latin America dish can be served with rice or couscous, or used
as a taco filling.

Adapted from Like Grandma Used to Make:  A Treasury of Fondly
Remembered Dishes, a Reader's Digest publication.

1 lb (450 g) lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 small tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 apple, unpeeled, chopped
4 large green onions (white and green parts), sliced
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup pimento-stuffed olives, chopped
1 tbsp minced pickled jalapeno
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp each: celery seeds, ground cinnamon, ground cumin
1/4 tsp each: salt, pepper
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3 tbsp slivered almonds

In large skillet on medium-high heat, stir beef with garlic until browned, about
5 minutes.

Stir in tomato sauce, tomatoes, apple, onions, raisins, water, olives, jalapeno,
vinegar, sugar, celery seeds, cinnamon, cumin, salt, pepper and cloves. Turn
heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes.

Before serving, stir in almonds or sprinkle them over top.

Makes 4 servings.

 Star-tested by Susan Sampson

Straight red chili 1801

Published On Thu Apr 2 2009

Adapted from a recipe by Jag Singh.  She says she buys cocoa chili powder at
Sobey's.  If you don't have any, use one tablespoon each of chili powder
and cocoa powder.  Mexican chili powders made with blended chilies, varietal
chili powders (bottled by McCormick's) and Sazon Goya are sold in Hispanic
grocery stores and some supermarkets. Alternatively, you can buy dried chilies
and pulverize them in a coffee/spice grinder. If you wish, skim the fat off the
dippings and use them in place of a portion of the water.

2 tbsp sunflower oil
3-1/2 lb (1-1/2 kg) stewing beef, cut in 1-inch cubes
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded, minced
3 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp each: ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder, Mexican chili powder
2 tbsp cocoa chili powder
1 tbsp each: onion powder, garlic powder
1/2 tsp or more salt
1 packet Sazon Goya
2 cups each: beef stock, water
2 5-1/2 oz (156 mL) cans tomato paste
3 tbsp honey
1-1/2 tbsp white pepper
1 tbsp cumin
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

Heat oil in large skillet on high. Add beef. Cook, stirring, until browned, about
10 minutes. Remove and drain. Discard drippings.

Put meat in large pot. Stir in jalapeño, 2 tablespoons paprika, chili powders,
onion and garlic powders, 1/2 teaspoon salt and Sazon Goya. Stir in stock,
water, tomato paste and 2 tablespoons honey. Bring to boil on medium-high
heat. Reduce heat to medium-low or low to maintain a simmer. Cover and
cook 45 minutes.

Stir in white pepper, remaining 1 tablespoon each paprika and honey, cumin
and cinnamon stick. Cover and simmer 45 minutes.

Remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Discard cinnamon. Adjust salt.

Makes 8 to 12 servings.

Star-tested by Susan Sampson.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sugar and Spice Popcorn Snack Mix


By Sabrina Del Ben, Postmedia News November 30, 2011

8 cups (2 L) popped popcorn
2 cups (500 mL) bran flakes or multi-grain flakes cereal
16 graham wafers, coarsely broken (about 2 cups/ 500 mL)
1/2 cup (125 mL) butter
3/4 cup (175 mL) packed brown sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
2 tsp (10 mL) cinnamon
1 tsp (5 mL) ground ginger
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

Preheat oven to 200°F (100°C). Combine popcorn, cereal and graham wafers
in a large bowl; set aside.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar, vanilla,
cinnamon, ginger and salt; cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved and mixture
boils. Pour brown sugar mixture over popcorn mixture and stir gently to coat.
Transfer popcorn mixture to a greased large roasting pan.

Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and stir popcorn
mixture. Return pan to oven. Turn oven off and let popcorn mixture stand in
oven with door closed for 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack. Store
in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 week or freeze for up to
1 month. Makes about 12 cups (3 L).

Cook's Note: One-third cup (75 mL) unpopped popcorn yields a generous
8 cups (2 L) popped popcorn. We used Nature’s Path Organic Flax Plus
Multibran Cereal in this recipe.

Sabrina del Ben is a professional chef and food educator with ATCO Blue
Flame Kitchen in Calgary. For tips on energy safety, food or household
matters call 1-877-420-9090 toll-free or visit us online at

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Tomato Rice

By Nathan Fong, Special to the Sun October 14, 2010

This rice dish is from Chindi Varadarajulu's southern Indian restaurant,
Chutney Villa. The style of cuisine in the south is renowned for using whole
spices rather than ground and is usually spicier than dishes in the north. This
dish goes well with grilled fish or meats.

2 tablespoons ghee or canola oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
1 medium red onion finely sliced
1-inch piece ginger, chopped fine
2 cups tomatoes chopped
2 green chilies, halved
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
4 cups cooked basmati rice, a little undercooked
Salt, to taste

Heat ghee or oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot add the mustard
seeds. When the seeds start to pop, add the fennel seeds, cumin seeds and
cook in oil for 2 minutes. Then add the curry leaves, onion and ginger. When
onions start to brown, add the tomatoes and green chilies. When tomatoes start
to soften, add the turmeric and chili powders. Cook till the tomatoes get soft.
Add the rice and salt to taste. Turn down the heat and cover the pan; cook till
the rice gets fully cooked, and fluff it up with a fork. Garnish with cilantro and

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Apricot and cardamom puree

1/2 cup (125 ml) dried apricots

1 Tbsp. (15 ml) green cardamom pods
1 cup (250 ml) sugar
2 cups (500 ml) water

In a sauce pan, toast the cardamom pods for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the
ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes, or until apricots are soft. Process in
a blender until smooth and pass through a chinoise.

Winnipeg Sun


By Andrea Holwegner
For the Calgary Herald Calgary Herald November, 4 2010

A fresh and flavorful appetizer or serve on a pizza shell topped with cheese
for supper.

Recipe from Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. (

3 in (8 cm) wide whole wheat french baguette, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick disks
4 large tomatoes, diced into small pieces
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh basil leaves, chopped into small pieces
fresh ground pepper and salt to taste
2 green onions, diced into small pieces
2 to 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil

In a bowl combine diced tomatoes, chopped basil, salt, pepper, green onions,
garlic, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.

Optional: Meanwhile, slice whole wheat French baguette into disks and place
on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until toasted. Remove bread from the
oven and transfer to a large serving platter.Spoon tomato mixture over the
bread and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: calories 170, carbohydrates 25 g, protein 5 g,
fat 7 g, fibre 4 g.

Andrea Holwegner, the Chocoholic Dietitian, is founder and president of
Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. Visit and for tips, articles and recipes, and to subscribe to a free
monthly e-zine, or phone 403-262-3466 for nutrition counselling, seminars and

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News

Red Pepper and Italian Sausage Frittata

By Andrea Holwegner
For the Calgary Herald Calgary Herald November, 4 2010

Try this for supper with whole grain toast and a mixed green salad. Reheat the
leftovers for lunch the next day.

Recipe from Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. (

(400 g) Italian Sausage (your choice of chicken, turkey, pork or vegetarian soy sausage)
1/2 cup (125 mL) onion, chopped into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced into small pieces
8 large eggs
1/4 cup (50 mL) skim milk
1/4 tsp (1 mL) dried thyme
3 tbsp (50 mL) fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a non-stick skillet that has a handle that is ovenproof, cook sausage until
completely cooked. Remove from skillet and cut into small bite-sized pieces.

In the same skillet, cook onion, garlic, and red pepper until soft. Add cooked

In a large bowl beat eggs, milk, thyme and parsley. Add this egg mixture to the
skillet and cook over medium heat until egg mixture begins to set. Lift edges to
allow uncooked egg to flow underneath. Cook until top is almost set.

Preheat your oven to broil and broil the skillet for 1 to 2 minutes or until top is

Cut into wedges and top with salt and pepper to taste or alternatively serve
with salsa.

Makes 6 Servings.

Nutrition information per serving (analysis done with Italian turkey sausage):
calories 219, carbohydrates 7.2 g, protein 19.3 g, fat 12.6 g, d
ietary fibre 1.3 g.