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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cheesy Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

This is a great side dish with prime rib or any beef dish.

Peel a couple of pounds of Yukon gold potatoes and boil them until tender, about 15 minutes. 

Drain and mash with a few cubes of butter.

Add in some sour cream, horseradish and grated cheddar.  I used horseradish cheddar for extra flavour, but regular aged cheddar is fine too.

Mix it all together and fold in some chopped chives.

Serve with beef and Brussels sprouts. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Grilled Prime Rib for Two

It was just the two of us for Easter dinner this year and I found a tiny little prime rib roast at a very good price.  I've tried pan searing and roasting a small prime rib before (one bone, about 1kg or 2lbs), but this time we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and try it on the grill.

We seasoned the beef with kosher salt, cracked pepper.

And placed it on the hot grill to sear for about 4 minutes per side.

Because of all the fat there were some flare ups and char.  We then turned down the heat and let it cook on low for about 12 more minutes until the meat thermometer said 140 degrees.

We let it rest for about 10 minutes, cut out the bone then sliced the meat in half to find it perfectly done!

We served it with cheesy horseradish mashed potatoes (recipe coming soon) and roasted Brussels sprouts for a huge, delicious special dinner with plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Creamy Avocado Pesto

Yesterday I shared my method for making pesto or pistou.  Today I'll share a magic secret for when you've got avocados on hand but no oil and cheese, or when you want a vegan version of pesto.  Here's all you need:

You can do a lot of variations on this using cilantro and lime, mint and lemon, parsley and lemon... basically any herb and citrus combo you like.  The citrus keeps the avocado nice and green and the rich avocado takes the place of both oil and cheese in traditional pesto. 

Add basil, garlic, lemon (strained juice) and avocado to a small food processor or blender.

Blend until smooth.

Toss with cooked pasta.  I always seem to use linguini with pesto - this one is whole wheat - but you can use any pasta, even gluten-free if you must. 

Use a little pasta water to thin the sauce if necessary.

I served a small portion as a side dish to grilled chicken and grilled zucchini because I wasn't sure we'd like it, but we loved it!

A delicious change from regular pesto and very good for you too!

Monday, April 16, 2012


One of the pleasures of warm weather is delicious, fresh pesto or pistou.  It is so easy and fresh tasting.  In the summer I have a garden full of fresh basil to use up but in the early spring I can get fresh basil from the grocery store for a quick taste of summer. 

This is actually a basil plant grown in a greenhouse for extra freshness.  Pistou is a version of pesto without pine nuts.  Although this time I did add ground pine nuts to the sauce, I sometimes prefer toasted pine nuts on top of the pasta. 

Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan until light golden in colour.  Don't walk away, it won't take long.  

Grind Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano in a small food processor.

Add the basil and garlic cloves to the processor.

Add the pine nuts if desired and once again puree to mix.

Then slowly drizzle in olive oil while the processor is running to create a paste or sauce.

Once it is all mixed together it looks like this:

I like to serve pesto with linguini but any pasta is great.  

Toss the sauce with the cooked pasta and add a little reserved pasta water to thin it if necessary.

Serve on its own or top with grilled chicken and vegetables for a complete meal.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Hawaiian" Sweet Potatoes

Some people tend to get their feathers ruffled over Hawaiian pizza.  Personally, I think if something tastes good, just eat it. If all food was required to be made the traditional way, things would get boring after a while.  If pineapple on pizza isn't your thing, don't order it.  But if you enjoy salty and sweet together, Hawaiian pizza can be delicious. 

These stuffed sweet potatoes take the Hawaiian pizza premise and add some fibre to make a main dish without much meat for a lighter meal.  The recipe is adapted from Clean Eating magazine.  

You'll need two large sweet potatoes, plus the items below.

Pierce the sweet potatoes and bake them for about an hour in a 400 degree oven.

Meanwhile dice the pineapple into small chunks.

Take a cooked ham steak 

And dice it the same size as the pineapple.

Chop and add some green onions as well, reserving some chopped green tops.

Carefully slice the cooked sweet potatoes and scrape out the insides, leaving a layer of sweet potato on the skin.

Add the ham, pineapple, green onions and shredded mozzarella to the sweet potatoes and mash together.

Mix well and then stuff the sweet potato skins with this mixture.

Top with some mozzarella and put them back in the oven for 20 minutes to warm through and melt the cheese.  

Once they come out of the oven, top with the sliced green onions and serve.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Curried Pork Medallions on Watercress

This is a lovely, light, summery salad.  I made it several times last summer and pulled it out to enjoy along with the warm spring weather we've been having lately. 

Here are the ingredients: pork tenderloin, watercress, radishes, tangerines...

And for the marinade/dressing: maple syrup, sesame oil, curry paste, soy sauce and rice vinegar.

Mix the marinade ingredients together and marinate the pork tenderloin for at least 30 minutes and up to a few hours.

Grill the tenderloin and reserve the marinade.

Boil the marinade for about 5 minutes.  This will be the dressing for the salad.  

Slice some radishes.

Peel the tangerine, halve it and slice it into segments.  This is much easier than cutting supremes and just as tasty.  

Wash and spin dry your watercress.  You can also use other greens or a combination of cress and greens, which I did here.

Top the greens with sliced radishes and oranges.

Then top that with thinly sliced pork tenderloin. 

Drizzle with the warm curry dressing for a delicious, light spring or summer meal.