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Haddock and Shrimp Empanadas with Honeydew Salsa

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Ever since amanda and I did our first wine tasting when we reviewed Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World's Best Bar Wines, we've been having monthly wine and food pairing evenings. The experience was so amazing that we had to recreate it again and again.

We've already looked at wines from the 4 corners of the world, including South Africa, Portugal, Australia, and Canada. Argentina was up next on the list and I was to bring a meal paired with white wine. I picked the Etchart Cafayete Torrentes (suggested by either the SAQ or LCBO quarterly magazines - honestly can't remember which one). The SAQ website suggested pairing this wine with the empanada recipe that I'm about to describe. With a few adjustments to make it healthier, as well as to use up ingredients I already had at home, the following is what delighted all guests:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped cooked shrimp
  • 1.5 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
  • 1.5 cups cooked haddock, shredded
  • 2 heaping tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb pie dough
Salsa
  • 2 cups chopped honeydew
  • 2 tbsp each: red onion, parsley, cilantro - finely chopped
  • 2 tsp lime juice (add more if you like it very tangy)
  • pepper to taste
Method:
  1. In a bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients and set aside
  2. In a smaller bowl, mix the yogurt and 1/4 cup of milk until you get the consistency of cooking cream (add more milk or yogurt if necessary)
  3. Mix in 3 tbsp of the yogurt mixture to the fish stuffing
  4. Pre-heat your oven to 375 F
  5. Roll out the pie dough and create 8 circles approximately 6 in. in diameter
  6. Put fish stuffing on one side of the circle and fold the other half on top. Seal your dough using a fork. Use the same process for the remaining 7 circles and place on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet.
  7. Brush the empanadas with the remaining milk and bake for 20-30 minutes (until the crust becomes golden brown)
  8. While your empanadas are baking, mix your salsa ingredients and place in the fridge until ready to serve.
This is an excellent recipe for left over white fish + it's great comfort food! I served these as an appetizer to our meal (1 empanada per person). You could also serve these as a main course (2 per person). Amanda had prepared a delicious pesto that she served with fettuccine, paired with a Pascual Toso Malbec.

Although I haven't tried, I bet these empanadas would be a great freezer meal. I'll keep you posted on how that goes :)

Enjoy!

- CK

Salted Caramel Apple Pies

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We were having some friends over for a fondue the other day. I had the meal aaaaaall figured out: we were going to have a variety of meats, shrimp, veggies, as well as some cheese and black olives to roll the meat around (if you've never tried this - it's a MUST. Melted cheese inside your meat...absolutely delicious!!).

For dessert, I was planning my usual Toblerone chocolate fondue - until I remembered that one of our guests was allergic to nuts! I had to come up with SOMETHING since most chocolate contains nuts and I wasn't sure which kind he was able to have. So, I pulled out a pie recipe that I found at Just a Taste and adjusted it slighty.

Admittedly, it was a long process to make the individual pies, but the result was definitely worth it!!

Ingredients
For the dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup cold sour cream
For the filling
  • 2 cups small diced granny smith apples (peeling is optional) - they shouldn't be bigger than corn kernels
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • store-bought caramels, cut in half (the ones you get on Halloween work perfectly)
  • Salt
  • Egg wash (1 lighty whisked egg + 1 tsp water)
Make the dough
  1. Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl
  2. Add the cubed butter to the bowl and use your fingers to work the butter into the flour until the mixture feels like wet sand
  3. Add the sour cream and knead the dough a few times until it comes together adding more flour (1 tsp at a time) if it's too sticky, and more sour cream (1 tsp at a time) if it's too dry.
  4. Roll the dough into a rectangle and dust both sides with flour. Fold it in thirds, rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll it our into a rectangle again. Do this 2 more times. 
  5. On your last fold, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes while you make the filling.
Make the filling
  1. In a small bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar and flour, stirring until mixed.
Assemble the pies
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F
  2. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out to about a half inch. 
  3. Using a cookie cutter, cut out pairs of circles into your dough and place half the pair onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Make sure you end up with an even number of pies. 
  4. Add filling to the circle that's on the cookie sheet and top with a piece of caramel. cover with the second circle and crimp the sides together with a fork
  5. with a sharp knife, cut two or three vents on top of each pie.
  6. Bake the pies for approximately 15 minutes, or until they're golden brown
Enjoy!

- CK

Spicy Egg Scramble with Fresh Tortilla

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When you try to live frugally, you try to find any opportunity you have to use up the food you have before you do the groceries again. That was the case for me a few days ago. I had a few left overs in my fridge and decided to put them together.

My dad used to cook up a very similar scramble for us when we were kids and remembered how easy it was to put together. Putting the scramble together was going to be easy enough, except I didn't have any bread. To resolve that problem, I pulled out a tortilla recipe I had been wanting to try. Best part is that it only took me 30 minutes to put together! yes yes, cooking up the scramble AND making the tortillas. Perfect recipe for a last minute meal but still full of flavour! Follow the steps below to get it just right :)

Flour Tortilla - Part 1 (yields 2 tortillas)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup warm water
Method:
  1. Combine flour, salt, baking powder in a bowl
  2. Add oil and water and mix until the mixture comes together
  3. Knead on a clean surface sprinkled with flour until you create a smooth ball
  4. Divid dough in half and roll each half into flat tortillas (note: making them very thin will make them tortillas; making them slightly thicker will make them naan bread - both delicious options!)
  5. Cover your tortillas for 15 minutes (note: don't stack your tortillas, it will make them soggy)

Spicy Egg Scramble

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg yolks and 1 egg white
  • 2 spicy italian sausages, outside their casing
  • 1 tbsp green onion
  • 1 italian tomato
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Method:
  1. While the dough for your tortillas is resting, start frying your sausage meat in the olive oil
  2. Once the meat is 3/4 cooked, add your eggs and mix well until your eggs are fully cooked
  3. Reduce the head and add the onions and tomatoes. Mix until the vegetables are warm.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste
  5. Cover and let rest until your bread is ready
Flour Tortillas - Part 2
  1. After the rest period, heat a large pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Once the pan is hot, place one dough tortilla and cook for about 1 minute - until the bottom browns slightly and bubbles start to form
  3. Flip your tortilla and cook the same way
  4. Remove from the pan and do the same with your second tortilla

These tortillas were so easy to make that I made a batch of 16 and have kept them in my fridge. They stay just as fresh for quite a long time! I would suggest you give it a try!

Enjoy! :)

- CK

Tomato Barley with Scallops

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A's mom and step-dad were coming over a few weeks ago and we wanted to host them properly. While we were walking up and down the isles of the IGA trying to figure out what to cook to make this meal special, we stumbled upon recipe cards. While I had seen them before, I had never actually taken the time to look them over.

At first, we were simply looking for inspiration. But we ended up picking up a few recipes to try out. I was a little intimidated with this recipe at first because I had never cooked barley before. It turned out to be DELICIOUS and so simple to make! We liked it so much, I have a feeling it will easily turn into a go-to dish in our household! (Plus, it's a great source of fiber!)

Ingredients (yields 4 portions)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 1 large can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp each cumin and turmeric
- 1/2 cup roasted red pepper strips, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 bag small frozen scallops (or 20 large scallops)

Method:
  1. Defrost your scallops in the fridge overnight.
  2. When you're ready to cook the meal, heat oil in a saucepan. 
  3. Fry onion 1 minute over medium-high heat, add barley and coat well.
  4. Add diced tomatoes, water, cumin, turmeric, and roasted red pepper pieces. 
  5. Salt and pepper to taste and continue cooking while stirring often until barley has absorbed all liquid and is tender.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over high heat. Melt butter and wait until hot. 
  7. Place scallops in the skillet and cook through.
  8. Serve scallops over a bed of barley.
Yummers! Try it out, let us know how it goes! :)

Enjoy!

- CK

Chicken and Plum Sumac with Herbed Feta Quinoa

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In an attempt to keep diversity in our meals (while staying healthy and keeping A happy), I picked up the free Fall issue of the LCBO magazine. Filled with recipes and wine pairing suggestions - it was definitely my cup of tea!

The recipe I'm about to introduce was definitely a winner in our home (with slight changes to adapt to my left over ingredients). It's a great recipe to welcome the Fall!

Ingredients: (Yields 4 portions)
For the Chicken and Plums
- 3 plums
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp sumac
- salt and pepper to taste

For the Quinoa
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/3 cups quinoa
- 3/4 cup cubed feta
- 1 tsp each dry parsley, oregano and rosemary
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 400F. If you have a Roast option on your stove, now would be a great time to use it.
2. Slice each plum into 6 chunky wedges. Cut each chicken breast into chunky cubes
3. Place the plums and chicken onto a foil-lined baking sheet.
4. Brush with olive oil and sprinke with sumac. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Roast in the centre of the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and plums are tender.
6. In the meantime, pour the chicken broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil
7. Add quinoa and reduce heat to a simmer. Let cook for 12-15 minutes.
8. Remove from heat and let sit for 8 minutes.
9. Using a fork, fluff the quinoa and add to a bowl. Drop in the feta, olive oil, herbs and pine nuts (if using).
10. Serve the chicken over the quinoa

The LCBO suggests serving it with a Chardonnay from the Niagara Region.

The original recipe served the chicken on couscous. I'll definitely be trying that option next time!

Enjoy!

- CK