" I truly think it is best to be a robin lightly dressed concocting soup inside my nest" ~Maurice Sendak

Bonne Année !

Tourtière is a savoury meat pie that originated in Quebec and dates back as far as the 18th century.
French Canadians have been making this dish for generations across Canada and the Northeast USA, and it is one of Canada's national dishes.

Traditionally served on Christmas and New Years Eve this delicious pie makes a great meal anytime through the winter. You can use a combination of beef and pork or just beef if you wish.
I used store bought crust to save time but you can make your own.

This is such a hearty dish that all you need to serve along side is a simple spinach salad and buttered brussels sprouts.


Happy New Year Everyone!


Tourtière
  • ~oil
  • 1 pound each of ground pork and beef
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 rib of celery diced
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp each of thyme leaves and savoury
  • 1/2 tsp each of ground cloves and allspice
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1 cup of beef broth
  • 1 cup of mashed potatoes
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 double deep dish pie crust
Preheat oven to 425F In a large frying pan heat the oil and cook the onion and celery until softened.
Add the ground meats and cook until all the pink is gone.

Add the seasonings and mix well, add the broth and bring to a low boil.
Reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in mashed potatoes.

Pour into bottom pie crust in pie plate and cover with the top pie crust.
Make a few vents in the top for steam to escape.

Brush with the beaten egg.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 40 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Serve hot or cold.


Wine Suggestion:Pinot Noir


Cheers!











Layers of Love

One of the Greek dishes I love is Pastitsio.

This is a super satisfying meal that is great to serve a large crowd.

Similar to Italian Lasagna it had layers of pasta, meat and a creamy white sauce known as Béchamel Sauce. The combination of allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon gives this dish a unique flavour.

It is a bit time consuming to prepare, but it is well worth the effort.



Greek Pastitsio

Meat Sauce

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp each of cinnamon and nutmeg
In a frying pan brown the ground beef and add remaining ingredients and cook for 10 minutes.


Pasta


  • 1/2 package of short tubular pasta such as macaroni, penne or ziti
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg beaten
In a large pot boil the pasta until done. Drain and add remaining ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

Béchamel Sauce
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
In a sauce pan melt the butter and then add the flour and salt mixing to form a smooth paste. Slowly stir in the milk.
Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until sauce begin s to thicken.

Remove from heat.
Mix in the egg and stir briskly.



Putting it all together.

Preheat oven to 350F 
Spray a large deep 9 x 15 or similar size pan with cooking spray.
Spoon half the pasta mixture into the bottom of the baking dish.
Layer the meat mixture over top of the pasta then follow with the remaining pasta.
Finally pour the cream sauce evenly over top so that it covers completely.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes until lightly browned.
Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


Wine Suggestion: Vin De Crete Rose


Cheers!


Get Rolling

A question to all out there with a houseful of guests this week, are you running out of dinner ideas yet?
Perhaps other's are looking for an elegant New Years Eve dinner idea?

This dish looks like you spent all day in the kitchen when really it just takes minutes to prepare.
You can substitute the stuffing ingredients with just about anything you have on hand.

Serve with steamed white rice or mashed potatoes and green beans.

Stuffed Beef Rolls with Red Wine & Tomato Sauce
  • 1 cup bread crumbs or diced day old bread
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 each red bell pepper and onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 cup of beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp each of basil, oregano, thyme and savoury
  • salt and pepper
  • ~oil
  • 4 (or as many as you need) very thin beef steaks such as flank steak
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 375F
Combine the first 7 ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well until thoroughly moistened.

Lay out the beef steaks. Place a large spoonful of stuffing on one end of each steak and roll up tightly. Tie with kitchen twine if you like.

Heat olive oil in an oven proof frying pan. Place beef rolls in pan and brown on all sides then place in the oven for 20 minutes.

Remove pan from oven and place back on stove. Remove beef rolls and keep warm.
Pour wine and tomato sauce in pan and heat to boiling stirring constantly.
Reduce heat and cook until thickened. Season with sat and pepper to taste. Return beef rolls to pan and coat with sauce. Serve with sauce over top.

Wine Suggestion: Merlot

Cheers!





Warm Me Up!

I am sure all the snow we have had over the last two weeks has all the skiers and other winter sport enthusiasts smiling.

After a day spent out in the cold there is nothing better than to come in to a hot bowl of soup.
This is a cross between chili, stew and soup and is one of the favourites in our home.
Chock full of vegetables, beans and meat it is a complete meal, just add a crusty loaf of ciabatta bread and a glass of hearty wine.

This is a great soup to serve a crowd after skiing or tobogganing.

Let it snow!

Hearty Hamburger Soup
  • ~ olive oil
  • 1 pound of lean ground beef or chicken
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 celery rib diced
  • 1 large carrot and 2 potatoes diced
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of navy beans
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 4 to 6 cups of beef broth
  • 1 tbsp each of oregano, basil and parsley
  • 1 tsp of thyme
  • salt and pepper
In a large soup pot heat the oil and add the celery and onions.
Cook until translucent.

Add the beef and cook until brown.

Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil then reduce heat and cook for 2 hours stirring occasionally, adding more beef broth if it gets to thick.
Adjust seasonings.

Ladle into bowls and serve.



Wine Suggestion: Shiraz

Cheers!


Easy Elegance

During this busy, festive season it is easy to run out of ideas for entertaining.

Here is an elegant main course idea. It is so easy, yet looks like you have been in the kitchen for hours.

Frenched pork roasts make for a very elegant presentation when carved table side.
Serve with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables.

This is a perfect dish for a holiday dinner party such as Christmas Eve or New Years Eve.


Frenched Pork Loin with A Honey Balsamic Glaze

  • 1 Frenched pork loin roast
  • ~olive oil
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp each of thyme, parsley, and rosemary
  • 1/2 a cup each of balsamic vinegar and honey mixed together
Preheat oven to 450F

Place roast in a roasting pan. Season with the olive oil, garlic and herbs.
Roast in oven for 15 minutes until roast starts to brown.
Reduce heat to 350F and continue to cook basting with the pan juices and balsamic glaze every 20 minutes or so.
Roast until internal temperature is 155F. A three pound roast will take about an hour and a half.
Let stand covered in foil for 10 minutes to let juices settle before carving.

Wine Suggestion: Pinot Grigio

Cheers!


Party Time

Holiday party season is in full swing!

I am sure everyone is looking for appetizer ideas.
Here are two for you, both are hot dip style appetizers.
The first is a vegetarian variety I made for the first time last night, the second an old standby I have been making for years.

Both of them can be prepared in advance the day before your party and then just heated just before guests arrive.

Happy Holidays Everyone!


Hot Bean and Cheese Dip.

  • 1 can of drained chick peas
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese (I used mozzarella and cheddar)
  • 1 tub of cream cheese
  • 1/2 a tub of sour cream
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp of each of oregano and basil
  • diced tomatoes
  • sliced green onion
  • salt and pepper


In a food processor or blender combine all ingredients except the tomatoes and onions.
Blend until smooth.
Stir green onions.
Spread into a shallow oven proof dish.
Cover and refrigerate at this point if serving the next day.

Heat oven to 350F.
Bake dip until light golden brown and bubbly.
Top with diced tomatoes and serve with sliced baguette or crackers.





Hot Crab Dip

Base:
  • 1 o2 2 cans of crab meat drained
  • 1 tub of cream cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp horseradish
  • 1 finely chopped onion
Add any of the following:

  • green onions or chives
  • dill weed
  • parsley
  • Parmesan
  • garlic
  • lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400F
Mix ingredients well and place in oven proof dish.
Bake for 12 minutes and then broil until bubbly.

Serve with sliced baguette, vegetable sticks or crackers.


Cheers!





Copy Cat


Have you ever wished you could re-create a popular secret restaurant recipe at home like the KFC fried chicken or Swiss Chalet Quarter Chicken dinner?

I have done a little experimenting and have come up with a sauce that tastes pretty close to Swiss Chalet Dipping Sauce. I used a mixture of barbecue sauce, chicken broth and cinnamon.

I basted the chicken with 1/4 cup of the sauce and and reserved the rest for serving along side.
My family thought it tasted the same as the restaurant version.
Serve with crispy fries, coleslaw and warm rolls.

I will let you know when I master the KFC batter recipe!


"Swiss Chalet" Style Chicken

  • 1 package of chicken breasts or quarters
  • 2 tsp each of chicken bouillon concentrate, cinnamon and Italian seasoning mix
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of plain barbecue sauce
Preheat oven to 400F
In a small saucepan combine all ingredients except the chicken.
Bring to a low boil and whisk until slightly thickened. Set 1/4 cup aside.
Place chicken in a greased baking dish.
Bake in the oven until it begins to brown then brush chicken with reserved /4 cup of sauce and continue to cook until done.
Serve with remaining sauce along side.

Cheers!



Traditions

For as long as I can remember, when I was growing up, we always had Sunday dinner and it is tradition that I have continued in our home.

There is nothing like the wonderful aroma of a roast slowly simmering in the oven all afternoon.

The secret is to cook the roast in a covered roasting pan with liquid slowly in the oven for about 3 hours. Use a cheaper cut of beef like blade or inside/outside round. The meat breaks down and becomes so tender it nearly falls apart. The remaining liquid in the pan is used to make a rich dark gravy.
Because everything cooks in one pot there is minimal mess so clean up is a breeze.

Think Mom knew what she was doing?




"Sunday Best Pot Roast"
  • 1 2 to 5 pound roast( blade or round is best)
  • onions quartered
  • 12 garlic cloves peeled
  • carrots cut into pieces
  • small potatoes peeled
  • 4 cups of dark beef broth
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tsp each of pepper, thyme and oregano or rosemary
Preheat oven to 275F. Sear roast on all sides in an oiled frying pan then place with the onions and garlic in a large roasting pan with a lid.
Pour broth and wine around roast then sprinkle surface of roast with seasonings.

Cover and place in the oven.

Roast for 2 to 3 hours.

Remove from oven and place carrots and potatoes around the roast.

Cover and return to oven. Increase oven temperature to 350F.

Roast for about another hour.
When vegetables are tender remove from oven.

Place roast on a platter and cover with foil.
With a slotted spoon remove vegetables to a serving dish and keep warm.

Place roasting pan over medium high heat on stove top.

Bring broth to a boil.

In a small jar mix 1/4 cup each of flour and water and shake until smooth.

Pour water flour mixture slowly into the hot broth , stirring well until thickened to desired consistency.
Season to taste.

Wine Suggestion: Cabernet Sauvignon

Cheers!