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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 →

grilled radicchio with bagna càuda

grilled radicchio with bagna caudo sauceSometimes less is more and in cooking terms it’s spot on.  Simple ingredients can make any dish shine. Bagna càuda is an Italian sauce made with butter, olive oil, garlic and anchovies.  The Italians eat it with fennel, peppers, carrots, cauliflower.  Fresh bread dipped in this sauce is simply scrumptious!  Or, give your taste buds a real treat by grilling radicchio wedges and slather with bagna càuda.  I’ve grilled radicchio before as well as romaine but never served it with bagna càuda.  The oil and butter help to round out the garlic while softening the salty flavour of anchovies.  It’s a sauce that is super easy to make, has minimal ingredients and loaded with flavour. Continue Reading →

garlic scapes hummus

garlic scapes hummusGarlic scapes are the flower bud of the garlic plant and are cut to force the garlic bulbs to grow bigger. Some gardeners throw these away! The flavour is less pungent than a garlic clove and has a subtle scallion flavour. How to use? Think of how you would cook a green vegetable (stir-fry, sauté, steam, grill) and go from there.  Hummus is a favourite go-to dip when I want something in a pinch. Continue Reading →

roasted peppers and gorgonzola crostini

crostini with roasted peppers & gorgonzolaCrostini (little crusts in Italian) are the easiest appetizers one can make.  There are oodles and oodles of variations and limited only by one’s imagination.  Creative ones such as smashed avocado topped with thinly sliced cucumber seasoned with chili flakes and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil or mashed fresh peas with sea salt, extra-virgin olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Consider white bean hummus slathered on a toasted slice that’s been perfumed with garlic – doesn’t that sound delish?  Continue Reading →

prosciutto rolls – an easy snack to make

prosciutto rollsEasy to make; my three favorite words.  In my culinary world, nothing pleases me more than to whip up an elegant-looking appetizer using only 3 ingredients.  Our friends, Ralph and Michelle, stayed with us last weekend and Thursday was the only night we were eating at home.  My head was spinning with food ideas I wanted to share with them and one evening meant I had to be realistic and pare down my menu list.  These prosciutto rolls didn’t make the list.  I enjoy cooking for people who share the same enthusiasm for food as we do.  My senses begin to tingle and my heart pumps a bit faster as each dish is prepared.  You cannot imagine the joy this brings to me…I love cooking for other people.  So when another foodie steps into the kitchen, I am full steam ahead, jitters and all. Continue Reading →