Friday, December 19, 2014

Mushroom and Kale Bread Pudding with Bacon

When most people think bread pudding, they think sweet and dessert-y.  And it's delicious.  I'm a fan.  But I'm also a huge fan of the savoury bread pudding, you know, with vegetables and cheese and meat.  Same premise, but instead of dessert, it can be a side dish or even prepared for brunch.  Heck, this mushroom and kale bread pudding I created for the Mushrooms Canada blog was so good I ate a giant portion for supper.  Because bacon and mushrooms were always meant to be together.  And those crispy edges - oh man.  Don't get me started.  With the holidays just around the corner, and I mean just, this is a good little recipe to have in your back pocket, if you want to switch up the sides or wow your fam at brunch, after all of the presents have been opened and the coffee and Baileys are flowing freely. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Real Life: Chocolate Chipotle Icebox Cookies

"For each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, 
for health and food, for love and friends, 
for everything this goodness sends."  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

One week ago I was certain the Universe hated me.  It's true.  Just ask my sister about the text I sent her.  In the course of 72 hours 1) My house was almost broken into in broad daylight.  I'm fine.  My ever-aware neighbours across the street alerted the police before I even had to, which was wonderful.  Still, it was unnerving to say the least.  2) The next day I had an unexpected visit from an ex boyfriend that was just sad and awkward, awkward and sad.  3) The day after that I had a root canal to try and soothe some dental issues, only to find out that there is a wayward wisdom tooth, that if erupted, will require intensive oral surgery to remove. Oh!  And this surgery could leave my face permanently numb.  That's right.  Numb. It was all a little bit much.  I wanted to crawl under the duvet with a book and these cookies and not come out all week.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Mocha Medjool Date Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

It’s that time of year when visions of sugar plums start dancing in heads.  Lists are being made on a daily basis and If you’re at all like me you’ve started thinking about desserts to serve for the upcoming holiday season.  Well, to be honest, I think about dessert all of the time, but especially at Christmas.  You want a showstopper.  And today, I have that for you, with a little help from the friendly (and delicious) Natural Delights Medjool date.  And, believe it or not, but this cake is completely vegan, and can easily be gluten free, too.  This is a great recipe to have on hand when guests with special dietary restrictions will be seated at your table.  Rather than having various desserts to accommodate this or that food issue, everyone can partake in this cake. They may even lick their plates.  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Turkey Egg Rolls with Cranberry Chili Dipping Sauce

Most of you have recipes that only come out at the holidays.  Maybe because they are more involved and time consuming, or maybe because you just want to keep them special.  If you made The Most Amazing Crab Dip every month of the year, it just wouldn't have the same significance as it does at Christmas.  Same in my family.  Around the turn of the century (how fun to say that - I sound like I should be wearing petticoats or something) my mom started making egg rolls.  Like, really really good egg rolls.  She probably clipped the recipe out of the newspaper and thought she'd give them a whirl.  Remember clipping recipes out of newspapers?  Does anyone still do that?  The first year she made them for us at Christmas, we were freaking out they were so good.  Better than many Chinese restaurants in fact.  I would tease my mom and say she must have been a Chinese grandma in a former life.  She just smiled at me.  "Oh, Renee" she would say.  

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Whole Wheat Beef Empanadas with Green Olives and Figs

'Tis the season of busy busy, rush rush.  I know.  I'm living it as well, though trying to find a bit of balance by curling up with the cats and watching A Charlie Brown Christmas.  During the upcoming crazy Christmas season it's important to plans meals ahead and eat well.  Gotta keep your strength up to fight the crowds.  For my latest article in Culinaire Magazine I made empanadas - basically a savoury turnover - with a traditional beef filling.  Don't be scared by the addition of olives and figs.  It's a winner!  I know making pastry freaks some of you out, but don't be afraid.  If I can do it, so can you.  These little turnovers are super tasty when dunked into salsa and sour cream, and they also make great on-the-go snacks to take with you on road trips or to the hockey rink.  Did I mention they freeze super well, too?  Just pop in the oven to reheat and there's your light supper.  Head on over here for the recipe.  You can pretend you're waltzing down the streets of Buenos Aires, instead of shuffling kids to the rink.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tradition: Tourtière with Cranberry Brandy Compote

Ever since I was a kid my mom would make tourtière - it's a Christmas tradition.  Not being French Canadian, we just called them meat pies - savoury pork/beef filling with cinnamon, cloves, a touch of sage, mixed with mashed potatoes in the middle of a flaky crust.  Simple enough, and so delicious.  Today on the Mushrooms Canada Blog I'm happy to be sharing my mom's recipe, though I've altered it a bit by adding crimini mushrooms.  They not only help to blend and extend the filling, but they add extra nutrition and flavour.  Tourtière freezes very well, and is perfect to have on hand when company drops in over the holiday season.  You know it's going to happen, right?  Young and old enjoy this hearty pie, and with a little cranberry compote on the side, it's just so darn seasonal.  So, head on over to Mushrooms Canada and get the recipe.  I think you'll be happy you did.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bison & Bean Stew with Wilted Swiss Chard

I love to eat bison.  Like, a lot.  If it's on a menu, my eyes light up and I get really excited.  I've always enjoyed its rich, slightly sweet, robust flavour, that's not at all wild or gamy.  But, I've never really cooked it much at work, or at home.  So when the offer came to review Jeniffer Bain's new cookbook Buffalo Girl Cooks Bison, I jumped at the chance.  Jennifer is the food editor and columnist for the Toronto Star, who happens to also be married to a bison rancher in Alberta.  She divides her time between the big city and the ranch, and over the past several years has come to love the majestic herbivore.  She's on a mission to convince everyone to love bison meat as much as she does.  This cookbook is a grand beginning.

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