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baked brie with onion jam – make it tonight!

baked brie with onion jamI am not mathematically inclined, but I do like to figure out how things work and have always had an inquisitive mind.  If a shortcut works, well, I’ll take that route.  It stems from childhood.  When a problem arose, I would try to sort it out on my own before approaching my parents. I would come up with a solution and present it to them.  They may not have always liked what I came up with but at least it was there for them to say yea or nay.  Continue Reading →

chicken noodle salad cups – entertain with ease

salad cupsSalad cups are one of my favourite ways to serve as an appetizer.  You can take pretty much any salad recipe and instead of serving it on a plate, shrink the portion to fit onto lettuce, endive spears, Tostitos scoops, mini fillo shells, wonton cups and so on; you get the picture.  December is a party month and that usually means at some point you’ll be entertaining in your home.  It’s a time when entertaining can be a drain on one’s pocketbook and free time or both.  But it doesn’t have to be if one makes a plan and eliminates any last minute running around (wasting time and money).  Continue Reading →

greek yogurt labneh balls

DIY yogurt labneh ballsHow to turn Greek yogurt into a delightful soft cheese?  It’s quite easy and so simple!  Labneh is strained yogurt and found in Middle Eastern cuisines.   Serve it with a drizzle of olive oil and top with za’atar or do what I did by rolling into balls and place in a jar with olive oil.  Continue Reading →

focaccia di Recco (stuffed Italian flatbread)

focaccia di recco (Italian flatbread)Most people have eaten focaccia famous around the world from Liguria, Italy but I’ll bet a pound to a penny few have tried the version from Recco (a town near Genoa).  Yours truly is one of those who most defintely haven’t sampled and what a tragedy!  I was checking my Instagram feed and saw a photo of someone eating focaccia di recco.  At first, I thought it was a pizza.  After searching the web I found a few recipes.  I wasn’t pleased with the first attempt as I felt the extra-virgin olive oil amount was too much.  Continue Reading →

hummus (with a surprising ingredient)

hummus - with a suprising ingredientMost of us have, at some point, enjoyed hummus either as a dip with pita bread and veggies or as a condiment slathered over a falafel.  The recipe is simple;  grab a can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), garlic, tahini, lemon or lime juice, coriander and process in a blender.  Hummus is a healthy substitute for mayonnaise or butter.  That said, I went off it for a period of time as I found it boring until I decided to add anchovies…blame it on the anchovy butter I made a couple of weeks ago.  Sure, you can jazz it up by adding sumac or cumin but nothing quite took hold of my taste buds the way anchovies did. Continue Reading →

avocado and shrimp wonton baskets

When entertaining, I like to make appetisers that err on the side of healthy.  I also make sure there’s a mix of food while being cognizant of the dietary restrictions our guests might have.  Last month I made wonton noodle soup but only used half the wonton wrappers; the rest I froze.  There’s always a bag or two of shrimp in the freezer and I usually have an avocado on hand.  This recipe is easy to make and in roughly 10 minutes you can have the filling completed by the time the wonton baskets are cooked and cooled.   Continue Reading →

lime & cashew fish rolls

lime and cashew fish rolls This is the second time I’ve made this dish. The first was the week of the new year and I was in search of something different from the food I usually make during the holidays.  Lime and cashew paste smeared over the fish sounded so good – it was delicious!  But…I struggled with the rice paper!  I’ve made fried Vietnamese spring rolls oodles of times but for some reason, the rice paper was not co-operating (both times!).  Continue Reading →

bruschetta with white anchovies

bruschetta with white anchoviesBruschetta (pronounced bru-sketta) is a classic Italian appetizer consisting of toasted bread slices topped with fresh ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil.  There are oodles of variations and I’ve named a few here for you to consider: smashed avocado with chopped tomatoes; zucchini goat cheese bruschetta; smoked salmon with mascarpone cheese. Continue Reading →

homemade quince paste

quince pasteQuince is a yellow fruit that looks like a cross between an apple and a pear.  It is high in pectin and was typically used in jam and jelly making.  It’s too tart and hard to eat on its own but cooked it turns sweet with a slight floral taste.  My mom used to have a quince bush in our back yard which she used when it came time to make her jellies. Continue Reading →

roasted vegetable stacks with goat cheese

roasted veggie stacks with goat cheeseI am in veggie heaven with these roasted vegetable stacks and in one recipe I get the daily recommended servings of vegetables; my kind of dish.  Although the end of Summer means goodbye to warmer days (sigh), its departure signals the bounty of the harvest (yay!).  It’s the perfect time of the year to grab all the locally grown goodies from markets and farmers roadside stands.  Continue Reading →