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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 →

pork belly bites – one helluva snack!

.pork belly bitesWell, hello 2016!  Whatever the days or weeks ahead have in store for me, I’m ready!  Mr. S and I spent Christmas in Calgary.  Over the holiday period I cooked in other peoples homes; one being my daughter’s (a first for me!), one at my cousin’s (in Edmonton) and the other at my daughter’s employers home.  I loved it and what I enjoyed most was how appreciative each was that I was in their kitchen cooking for them.  Continue Reading →

prosciutto wrapped tomato

prosciutto wrapped tomatoThe holiday season is just around the corner and it’s that time of the year when we’re out socializing and entertaining at home. The thought of entertaining can be intimidating for both the novice and the experienced.  When I know I am having friends over, I generate a plan, cook ahead, stay within my limits and remember it is only a party – a time to have fun.  Everybody loves a party where they can reconnect, celebrate and get away from the stresses of daily life.  Entertaining is also about trying new things, new ideas and new techniques.  Which brings me to this insanely delicious dish:  prosciutto wrapped tomato. Continue Reading →

savory palmiers

savory palmiersThese delicate, but easy-to-make French pastries can be sweet or savory.  Palmiers, named so because they look like palm trees or the shape of an elephant’s ear, uses puff pastry for its base.  Traditionally, simple ingredients such as sugar and cinnamon are sprinkled over the pastry then folded, rolled, sliced and baked in the oven.  The festive season is just around the corner and these delicious morsels will take center stage when you present them at your next party. Continue Reading →

mushroom pâté

mushroom pateNow that November is here, I start looking for easy-to-make snacks, appetizers, and finger food for the upcoming holiday season.  Everyone has their favorites and one of mine is pâté.  The thing is, it’s rich and calorie laden.  An easy solution without compromising taste is to use the mighty mushroom.  Not only are delicious, they’re packed with natural goodness with things like boosting your immune system (helps in cold and flu season), anti-inflammatory, antibacterial etc.  Continue Reading →

crab phyllo cups

crab phyllo cups by The Culinary ChaseThe freezer compartment of our fridge is puny!  While it has 2 levels, it’s like playing a game of Jenga.  Everything placed in the freezer has to be done with much precision and each time the freezer drawer is opened, there’s constant reshuffling.  A while ago we purchased a package of frozen crab meat (imitation, that is) from a large box store – the price was too good to pass up.  A store employee was working at a food stall dishing out crab meat salad on small paper wrappers.  To our surprise, they were good and were shown where to find the crab.  Continue Reading →

turkey meatballs – with an Asian twist

turkey meatballsThis dish transports my foodie mind back to Thailand.  One of the first things introduced to us was a welcome snack called Miang kham.  The base is a betel nut leaf and piled onto the leaf are fried shallots, ginger, toasted coconut flakes, garlic, lime, peanuts, chopped chili peppers, and topped with a drizzle of palm syrup.  Then carefully wrapped up and popped into your mouth.  Talk about an explosion of tastes!  I can easily scoff down 6 they’re that good.  Continue Reading →

radish leaf pesto

Radish Leaf Pesto CrostiniPesto derives its name from pestâ which means to pound/crush.  A typical pesto consists of crushed garlic, basil, pine nuts mixed with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.  Pesto was originally used mostly to flavor vegetable soups. It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that it was used as a sauce for pasta.  Earlier versions of pesto used parsley or marjoram instead of basil, and did not include the pine nuts. Continue Reading →