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appetizer

olive and anchovy bites

olive and anchovy bites

When we invite friends over for dinner, it’s always a new menu.  And after many years of entertaining, this can seem as though there’s nothing new left in the tank!  Which is what it felt like last Thursday.  We had invited our good friends over for a bite to eat on Friday and the day…

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tomato and mozzarella salad

tomato & fresh mozzarella with Caesar granita

I was trying to think of what to call this dish.  It’s not a true Caprese salad as I did not include basil.  Tomato and mozzarella salad sounds so blah but there’s an ingredient that most definitely does not make this any way shape or form, blah!  The other day I posted Caesar granita atop…

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oysters with caesar granita

fresh oysters with Caesar granita

A Caesar, a classic Canadian cocktail, is as popular as its American counterpart the Bloody Mary.  So what’s the difference, you ask?  The ingredients include Clamato juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, salt (and perhaps celery salt), black pepper and vodka.  The addition of clam juice is what gives the Canadian Caesar its umami flavor.  Canadian bartenders…

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steamed mussels with black bean garlic sauce

steamed mussels with black bean garlic sauce

One of the first sauces we tried when we moved to Hong Kong was the black bean.  The description alone made us wonder how much our senses were going to be assaulted.   After all, how could fermented black soybeans taste anything but salty and smell stinky?  That was the westernness coming out in me or…

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Ciro’s stracchino cheese crostini

Ciro's crostini with his homemade stracchino cheese

What makes a delicious crostini?  Two words; fresh ingredients.  And when my farmers’ market has an Italian vendor selling his own cheese, I am ONE happy camper!  Ciro Comencini moved to Nova Scotia with his wife, Alessia and their six children (soon to be seven!) in 2013.  His dairy experience started with his family’s farm, just…

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poached shrimp in olive oil

poached shrimp in olive oil & butter

If there’s one staple I always have in my freezer, it’s a bag of frozen shrimp.  They’re so versatile and many shrimp recipes out there are easy to prepare, economical and perfect for a mid-week meal.  I recently poached shrimp in olive oil with a bit of butter as a last minute snack; I wasn’t…

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fried Brussels sprouts

fried Brussels sprouts

When thinking about what appetizer to serve, most cooks don’t consider using cabbage and even less think about Brussels sprouts!  As a kid, you would NEVER hear me say, “oh yes please, may I have more!”  I disliked them for years.  It wasn’t until I was and at my great aunt’s home when she served…

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baked brie with onion jam – make it tonight!

baked brie with onion jam

I 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…

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chicken noodle salad cups – entertain with ease

salad cups

Salad 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…

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greek yogurt labneh balls

DIY yogurt labneh balls

How 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…

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