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baked squash slices – easy to make!

delicata squashAs a youngster, I never really cared for squash; it was so nondescript when boiled and mashed and usually ended up either too wet or too dry.  That has since changed and I’ve come to enjoy it whether in a salad, casserole or soup.  My kids love my grandmother’s baked squash casserole, however, this is reserved for our Christmas turkey dinner.  There are over 300 varieties of squash and some of the most familiar can be found here.  My baked squash recipe is simple enough to make and the best part is that I don’t have to peel the skin!  Continue Reading →

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turkey pot pies

Thanksgiving dinner in a pie.Canadian Thanksgiving was last weekend.  Four hundred and forty-two years ago an English explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient, established a settlement in what is now called Newfoundland.  He held a formal ceremony to give thanks for surviving the long journey. This is considered the first Canadian Thanksgiving.  There have been several dates which Canada celebrated Thanksgiving but in 1957 parliament proclaimed that it is to be observed on the second Monday in October.   This long weekend is highlighted by a turkey dinner which my family has done so for four generations.  Continue Reading →

Ciro’s stracchino cheese crostini

, Ciro's crostini with his homemade stracchino cheeseWhat makes a delicious crostini?  Two words; fresh ingredients.  And when my farmers’ market has an Italian vendor selling his own cheese, I am ONE happy camper!  Ciro Comencini moved to Nova Scotia with his wife, Alessia and their six children (soon to be seven!) in 2013.  His dairy experience started with his family’s farm, just outside Verona, when he was 6.  When Ciro and his family moved to Nova Scotia, they wanted a farming life. Everyone in the family lends a helping hand.  Continue Reading →

local plum hand pies

plum hand pies - easy to makeSeptember signals the slow end of a glorious summer but with it comes the bounty of the harvest.  Stone fruits in Nova Scotia are in full swing now and I CANNOT get enough of peaches and plums!  I recently purchased a bag of plums from Noggins Corner Farm Market and wanted to make hand pies out of them.  Plum hand pies are a cinch to make.  I was nostalgically reminiscing about a time when my kids were still in school and how I would try to make their lunches interesting.  When you consider how many that is over the course of a school lifetime, it’s easy to see why parents dread the thought.  Continue Reading →

poached shrimp in olive oil

poached shrimp in olive oil & butterIf there’s one staple I always have in my freezer, it’s a bag of frozen shrimp.  They’re so versatile and many shrimp recipes out there are easy to prepare, economical and perfect for a mid-week meal.  I recently poached shrimp in olive oil with a bit of butter as a last minute snack; I wasn’t in the mood to make a dip.  Defrosting shrimp is simple when you don’t have time to leave overnight in the fridge; empty into a bowl of water and allow to sit 10 minutes or until thawed.  Continue Reading →

fried Brussels sprouts

fried Brussels sproutsWhen thinking about what appetizer to serve, most cooks don’t consider using cabbage and even less think about Brussels sprouts!  As a kid, you would NEVER hear me say, “oh yes please, may I have more!”  I disliked them for years.  It wasn’t until I was and at my great aunt’s home when she served them with a meal.  The secret to a delicious-tasting Brussels sprout is not to overcook them!  Sorry mom, but yours were too soft and mushy for my liking.  Fast forward three decades and they’re a regular item in our fridge. Continue Reading →

what makes a good salad?

tips to make the best homemade saladsWhat makes a salad stand out? Last night, fondly enough, as I was preparing a salad (it was a scorcher of a day) I pondered the same thing.  I looked at the ingredients laid out before me:  avocado, leftover grilled steak, cherry tomatoes, fresh sugar snap peas, leftover grilled broccolini, and chilled lettuce leaves picked the day before from my garden.  This was the foundation for what my salad would look like.  But how does a salad go from plain Jane lettuce leaves to something tasty enough, you cannot wait for the next mouthful? Continue Reading →

oysters and mussels (PEI’s own merroir)

oystersOysters and mussels get their flavour from the sea much like wine gets theirs from the land (terroir).  The chefs and fishermen of Prince Edward Island are coining their own treasures from the ocean by calling it merroir (from the sea). PEI is famous for its Malpeque oysters all due to a Paris exhibition in 1900; they were judged as the world’s tastiest oysters. Continue Reading →

5 cool foodie things to do in PEI

5 cool things to do this summer in Prince Edward IslandThe culinary media tour I participated in last month resulted in my knowledge of Canada’s food island getting a good kick in the backside!  I was relying on my memories of more than three decades ago!  I pigeon-holed Prince Edward Island as a place to eat lobster in church basements, go camping, take in the tourist attractions, spend time soaking up the sun at their awesome sandy beaches, but not really giving a second thought to the diverse foodie haven it has become…or perhaps always was but my youthful mind couldn’t see it back then.  I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to see PEI through the eyes of The Culinary Institute of Canada and Tourism PEI.  I was like a child discovering something for the very first time. Continue Reading →

PEI – Canada’s Food Island

Prince Edward Island - Canada's food islandEarlier this month I received an email from Mark DeWolf of The Chronicle Herald asking if I would be interested in attending a 3-day media tour on Prince Edward Island.  I said sure, send me the details.  PEI holds fond memories for me (lobster suppers/camping) and has a special place in my heart so when Mark proposed this opportunity, I had to say yes!  It’s the smallest province in Canada and most are familiar with its red soil, Anne of Green Gables, and the Birthplace of Confederation.  As of 2017 according to Statistics Canada, PEI population was estimated to be 152,021 (I wasn’t kidding when I said it was a tiny island!) and you can drive tip to tip in 3-hours. Continue Reading →