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

Tres Bon

I am a huge fan of classic traditional dishes that have been around for years.
Coq au Vin is one of them. This French dish has been around for centuries.
Everybody has a different version and this is my spin on it. I prefer to use white wine instead of red as I find the red overpowers the delicate taste of the chicken.

This dish pairs beautifully with mashed potatoes and a warm baguette.

Coq au Vin Blanc
(Braised Chicken in White Wine)

  • ~olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 celery rib diced
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 1 head of of garlic peeled and diced
  • 3 slices of bacon diced
  • 1 chicken cut into 8 pieces with skin removed if you wish
  • 3/4 bottle of white wine
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp each of rosemary, thyme and parsley
  • 3 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper
In a dutch oven heat the oil and add the first 5 ingredients. Cook until bacon is starting to brown and vegetables are soft.
Add the chicken and brown on all sides.
Add the remainder of the ingredients and bring to a low boil , reduce heat to medium. Cover partly with a lid and cook for about an hour and half. The liquid should be reduced by at least half.
Remove bay leaves and serve

Wine Suggestion: Chardonnay


The Mexican Way

Another weekend, another snow storm.
It is a crazy winter this year, one day it feels like spring the next day we get a foot of snow.

I am envious of all who are going south for March Break.
I would love to go somewhere like Mexico or the Caribbean but it was not in the stars for us this year due to our schedule and budget.
So, like they say "when life hands you lemons, make lemonade!"
I took advantage of being snowed in yesterday to create a slow cooking dish that filled my house with the aroma of Mexican cuisine.
This is a variation of Beef Chili but with cubed pork instead of the ground beef. You can use boneless chops or a boneless blade or loin roast diced , the cheaper cuts work well here because of the long cooking time.
The addition of salsa, cumin and coriander give this stew a Mexican flair.

Serve over steamed brown rice.
So for those of you who can't get away, throw a Gipsy Kings CD on the stereo and get cooking and bring a bit of the sunny south to you!

Mexican Spicy Pork Stew

  • ~olive oil
  • 1 pound of cubed pork
  • 1 each onion and green pepper diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 dried hot chili peppers minced
  • 2 tbsp of cumin
  • 1 tbsp of oregano
  • 1 tsp of coriander
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1/2 a jar of salsa
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
In a dutch oven heat the olive oil and add the onion and green pepper. Cook until softened.
Add the cubed pork and brown on all sides. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours until pork is fork tender.
Serve over steamed hot brown rice.

Wine Suggestion: Gew├╝rztraminer


Lighten Up!

At this time of year a lot of you may be giving up on your New Years weight loss resolutions. That is not hard to do in the middle of a cold dreary winter when all you want to do is eat carb rich hearty comfort foods and are perhaps fighting those nasty viruses going around.

I have previously mentioned how much I adore making pasta sauce.
There is a bit of a twist to this one. Here I given the traditional ground beef style a healthy makeover.
I have replaced beef with extra lean ground turkey which is much lower in fat and higher in protein and regular canned tomatoes with the salt free.
I also have added red chilies which boost the metabolism, lots of fresh garlic and oregano which all strengthen the immune system, anchovy fillets which contain Omega fatty acid rich fish oil and fresh tomatoes to add extra Lypocene.
Replace the white pasta with whole wheat for extra fibre and complex carbohydrates.

Finally pour a glass of heart healthy red wine and add a slice of whole grain high fibre baguette.

There you have it, great tasting comfort food that is good for you.

Healthy Pasta Sauce

  • ~olive oil
  • 1 pound of extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 4 large cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 can of unsalted tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp each of basil and oregano
  • 1 dried hot chili minced
  • 5 anchovy fillets sliced
  • handful of cherry tomatoes
  • pepper and sea salt to taste
  • whole wheat pasta of choice

In a large deep pan heat the olive oil and add the onion, garlic and red pepper. Cook until softened. Add the ground turkey and cook until brown.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
Meanwhile cook pasta according to package.
Ladle sauce over hot pasta and serve.

Wine Suggestion: Syrah


A Taste of Summer

Oh joy of winter...
Our barbecue is somewhere buried under a huge pile of snow on our patio.
What's one to do when a craving of grilled summer style steak hits?
Why I just pull out my cast iron stove top grill of course!

Cast iron is an excellent way to cook food. The iron transfers from the pan into the food which is better than getting it in supplement form. If you don't have an indoor grill you can use the barbecue or use an ordinary pan. The steaks could also be cooked under the broiler.

Portobello mushrooms are so meaty they can be used in place of the steak for a vegetarian meal. Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs as it so flavourful and is also very high in calcium and iron.
Either dried or fresh work well here.

This dish will have you feeling like you are sitting on a patio on a warm summer night somewhere in the Mediterranean.

Grilled Rosemary Steak with Marinated Portobello Mushrooms

  • 4 eye of round steaks
  • 4 very large Portobello mushrooms cleaned and sliced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp rosemary
Between two shallow glass dishes divide the olive oil, vinegar, wine, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Add the rosemary to the one that will hold the steaks. Mix both well.
Place Mushrooms in one and Steaks in the other.
Coat well and marinate for 1 hour turning frequently.

Brush a large cast iron stove top grill and cast iron pan with olive oil and heat to medium.
Remove steaks from marinade and place on grill. Cook until desired. (For rare it should feel soft when pressed, firm for medium and very firm for well.)
Pour mushrooms with marinade into the frying pan and cooks until soft and marinade is reduced.

Wine Suggestion: Yellow Tail Shiraz


Super Fish

Fish is one of the "superfoods" and is one of the most nutritious form of protein you can neat.
It is full of Omega 3 fatty acids which is one of the hottest supplements right now.
Food manufacturers are adding it to just about everything like orange juice , bread, milk and yogurt.

In my ongoing effort to try new types of fish, I came across this one on sale this week.
It is called Steelhead Trout. It looks a lot like Salmon but with the richer flavour of Rainbow Trout.

I simply baked it in the oven and made a simple, spring like sauce to drizzle over top.
Serve small boiled potatoes and green beans along side.

How can something taste this delicious and yet be so good for you?

Steelhead Trout with a Lemon Butter Herb Sauce.

  • 4 Steelhead Trout portions
  • salt and pepper or lemon pepper (optional)
  • lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1 tsp each of chives and basil
  • 1/4 cup pf white wine
  • 4 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp of cream

Preheat oven to 350F
Spray a glass baking dish with oil and place fish fillets in skin side up. Drizzle lemon juice over top.
Place in the oven and cook until skin peels off easily in one piece.
Remove skin and discard.
Season with salt and pepper or lemon pepper if using.

Meanwhile in a small saucepan melt the butter add remaining ingredients and bring to a low boil.
Reduce heat to medium low and whisk until slightly thickened. Pour into a gravy boat and pass along side with the fish.

Wine Suggestion; Sauvingon Blanc