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artichoke pesto

artichoke pestoMaking use of what’s in your cupboard before expiration date always feels good.  I am guilty, at times, of having to throw food out.  According to Second Harvest, Canadians waste $31 billion of food every year of which 47% is wasted in the home.  Over 30% of fruits and vegetables are rejected by supermarkets because they aren’t attractive enough for consumers. The primary contributor to consumer food waste is high expectations—demand for high-quality, aesthetically-pleasing food is a key factor behind the volume of food waste among consumers. I reject ugly-looking fruit or veggies when there are visible signs of spoilage.  I don’t know why I expect my food to last longer.  The refrigerator is meant to prolong the life of fruits and vegetables and perhaps psychologically I have time on my side and, regrettably, that isn’t always the case – mea culpaContinue Reading →

pizza smoked mozzarella and lemon slices

pizza with smoked mozzarella and lemon slicesIf I were to take a poll to find out what toppings people like to see on their pizza, I’ll bet tomato sauce, cheese, and some sort of meat would be at the top of the list.  Pizza is a centuries old snack although 2,000 years ago it looked more like a flatbread with olive oil and cheese.  Hard to believe, though, that tomatoes introduced to Europe from the Americas in the 1600’s were considered poisonous by the locals.  It wasn’t until the 1700’s when the Napolese added tomatoes to their flatbread; the birthplace of pizza. 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 →

fried olives stuffed with cheese

fried olives stuffed with cheeseWhat is your favorite snack? Do you go back to the same one time after time or do you like to venture out and try new ones? If you have not tried fried olives, you must! They are a crunchy flavor bomb!  I’ve made these a few times now and each time it’s with a different stuffing.  I first stuffed the olives with blue cheese and while they were yummy, I felt the saltiness from the cheese was too much for my palate.  So, next I stuffed with sausage meat combined with cheese curds…whoa!  That was one amazing combo! Continue Reading →

antipasto salad – a cinch to make

antipasto saladAntipasto (Italian – before the meal) simply refers to the dish that precedes all the others to come. It should be colorful allowing the senses to awaken and gets the palate ready for the meal that follows. It is there to whet the appetite and not be too filling. A typical antipasto dish consists of cured meats such as prosciutto, salami, coppa, speck, mortadellaContinue 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 →

maple glazed nuts – an edible gift

maple glazed nutsAnother edible gift from yours truly! Maple glazed nuts are super easy to make and a delectable hostess gift.  They’re perfect for casual entertaining or tossed in a salad.  Homemade edible gifts are always well received especially for those who are hard to buy for (i.e. teachers, employers).  Continue Reading →

broccoli affogato crostini

broccoli affogatoAffogato in Italian means drowned.  Most are familiar with the dessert version using a scoop of vanilla ice cream and topped with a shot of hot espresso; simple and really quite scrumptious.  Broccoli affagato is a simple Sicilian recipe that can be used on toast (crostini), in pasta or on its own as a side.  It’s a forgiving dish as you really can’t mess it up.  It can be prepared a few hours before serving…just reheat.  In this Sicilian recipe, the drowning bit is where a glass of red wine is poured over the steamed broccoli. 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 →