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potato quiche (gluten-free)

grated potato quicheThis recipe takes the rösti, a classic Swiss comfort food, and turns it into a savoury, delicious pie.  Nearly every cook I know has their own favourite version of quiche and my mom’s quiche Lorraine recipe, a family favourite, is so darn good but I have also made a few non-traditional ones, too.  After tasting this potato quiche you might consider it a contender to rival the traditional…just sayin’. Continue Reading →

baked eggs with salsa – perfect brunch food

baked eggs with salsaIf I’ve had a big lunch, dinner gets pared down to a lighter fare.  Baked eggs are simple to make and you can add just about anything to the dish that suits your fancy.  Or for something super duper easy chop up fresh tomatoes, add eggs, and pop into the oven.  There are oodles of baked egg recipes out there and I like mine with a bit of heat and spice.  My recipe is an adaptation of the Arabic dish called shakshukaContinue Reading →

overnight pancakes

overnight pancakesAccording to The Plate, ancient Greeks and Romans ate pancakes, sweetened with honey; the Elizabethans ate them flavored with spices, rosewater, sherry, and apples.  We’ve all, at one time or another, taken part in pancake day also known as Shrove Tuesday – a centuries-old tradition of making and eating pancakes before Ash Wednesday.  Historically, pancake day has been a time to load up on carbohydrates before the 40 days of fasting leading up to Easter. Continue Reading →

Braised Eggs with Pork

braised eggs & porkEggs for dinner?  You betcha!  This dish gently cooks the eggs while sitting atop a glorious, well-seasoned ground pork surrounded with dollops of yogurt and pan-seared cherry tomatoes.  Braised eggs take center stage.  This recipe is slightly adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi.  In the past I’ve cooked eggs in a chunky tomato sauce, sliced chorizo sausage with local cheese curds and baked in the oven – that’s a weekend breakfast treat for us.  Continue Reading →

Top 5 Mother’s Day Dishes

Mother’s Day is May 11th (less than 2 weeks away) and like most, we celebrate it with food. As a youngster, it was always a treat for me to be able to serve my mom breakfast in bed. I was more nervous about the possibility of dropping the tray more so than if the food was edible! I would serve the usual Mother’s Day food items such as instant coffee, orange juice, toast, scrambled egg (any other type of egg would have had disastrous results) napkin and of course, a flower. It would arrive cold, I might add, and mom would happily eat it as if a chef had prepared it. As I got older, the menu would get a bit more sophisticated (read not having to be supervised) and also I would have been sharing the routine with my younger siblings. I thought I’d share with you these top 5 Mother’s Day recipes to honor mothers around the globe.

scrambled eggsScrambled Eggs – get the skinny here on how to make perfect, moist eggs.

creamy lemon squaresCreamy Lemon Squares – easy-to-make allowing more time with the family.

blueberry-pancakesBlueberry Pancakes – every mom will enjoy these gorgeous-looking pancakes!

glazed baked hamGlazed Baked Ham – 2 types of glazes from this recipe and read Elise’s tips for a delicious outcome.

The Eggberts SunriserThe Eggbert’s Sunriser – breakfast or brunch served in one skillet…yum!

The Culinary Chase’s Note: When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. ~Sophia Loren

Salted Caramels (or so I thought)

sea salt caramels by The Culinary ChaseNew Year’s Day saw us taking a drive along the scenic route to Peggy’s Cove and stopping for a bite to eat at Rhubarb RestaurantI love the name!  It had been highly recommended by Dan from PosterBoy and he was spot on!  My sister Kris was visiting from Toronto and she had never been to Peggy’s Cove so we made a pit stop there before heading off to Rhubarb.  It was a frigid but sunny day and a pleasure to view the sea from the warmth of Rhubarb’s dining room.  As we got acquainted with our surroundings, we asked our waitress about the rooms they had above the restaurant.  She said they’re part of Oceanstone Seaside Resort (voted one of the top 5 wedding destinations in Canada).  After devouring a delicious brunch, we were given house made salted caramels.  These were scrumptious and inspired me to make some.

Making caramels seemed easy enough but candy making is not one of my strengths – patience is a virtue that I have yet to master. I should have done some research and saved me the grief of failed caramels.  The texture was that of peanut butter!  What to do?  It tasted so good I couldn’t waste it.  I could spread it on toast for the foreseeable future but I don’t think that would have been a bright idea.  And then it hit me, what about recipes that use caramel?  I looked in my pantry and came up with pecan caramel sandwich (made a couple, tasted good but too fiddly to make more than a few).  My mind drifted to caramel apple parfait; apple crisp with caramel or baked apple filled with caramel.  The latter seemed the easiest…core an apple, fill center with a dollop of the salted caramel, bake at 350f for 30 minutes.  End result?  A scraped clean dessert bowl!

apples stuffed with caramel by The Culinary ChaseSea Salt Caramels
created by the ladies of Liddabit Sweets

1 3/4 cup sugar
1 can evaporated milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt
Oil or cooking spray

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring sugar, evaporated milk, and heavy cream to a boil over medium heat. Add corn syrup and continue cooking until mixture reaches 230°.
Add butter and vanilla; continue cooking, stirring constantly, until caramel reaches 240°. Remove from heat, stir in salt, and carefully pour into a lightly oiled 9″ x 13″ baking dish (parchment paper in the bottom of the pan is helpful).

Let cool at least 1 hour. Invert onto a cutting board covered with waxed or parchment paper and cut into 1-inch pieces with a sharp, lightly oiled knife. Caramels can be wrapped in waxed or parchment paper or cellophane. (To serve candy-store style, wrap individual pieces in parchment paper and secure the ends with a simple twist.) Store airtight at cool room temperature (around 65°) or in the refrigerator; will keep up to 3 weeks.

baked caramel apples by The Culinary ChaseThe Culinary Chase’s Note: Two things I learned from this debacle: 1. calibrate my candy thermometer (say what?)  2. test caramel by dropping it into a bowl of icy cold water and checking the hardness. When it forms a solid lump that’s the texture that you like, stop cooking it and pour it into your lined pan and let it sit.  If only I had known about #2…  What’s your caramel story?