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Green Tea Ice Cream: Good and Good For You (sort of...)

My tea of choice is definitely green tea. For one thing, it is packed with health benefits; it's rich in polyphenol antioxidants, linking it to better heart health and reduced cancer risk. But the added bonus is its refreshing fragrance and grassy green flavour. True, eating ice cream may not be the most sensible method of consuming green tea, but if you're going to indulge, it may as well be a flavour that tastes delicious and at least appears healthy. It's my preferred form of green tea in the summer heat anyways.

Normally, green tea ice cream is made with matcha. The powder creates the characteristic bright green colour. I find matcha a little difficult to find and on the expensive side, so I was delighted when I came across this recipe that used tea bags (or loose tea) instead. While you don't get that vivid green, the flavour is nearly identical if you use enough tea leaves and steep overnight. I used the freshest and highest quality tea that I could find. Try to use loose tea if you can get it; the flavour will be better because the tea can circulate more easily.

I reduced the sugar a little and used a lighter honey to ensure that the delicate tea flavour remains the focus. I also cut the egg yolks down by one because the custard was already rather rich. All the sieving and chilling are necessary steps to make the smoothest ice cream (straining removes stray tea bits and possible curdled egg, and the chilling makes for finer frozen crystals). The cream and egg yolks keep the frozen goodness silky smooth. It serves very nicely straight from the freezer, whether you choose to dish it or just dig in with a big spoon.

Green Tea Ice Cream (made with tea bags)


1 1/2 to 2 cups milk (see Note)

2 Tbs. loose green tea or 6 green tea bags

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

4 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 Tbs. honey


In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the loose tea or submerge the tea bags in the hot milk. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Strain the milk through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl or remove the tea bags from the milk, gently squeezing them to extract their liquid. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine the tea-infused milk and 1 cup of the cream. Cook over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the egg yolks, sugar and the remaining 1/2 cup cream. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan and add the honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and keeping the custard at a low simmer, until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it, 4 to 6 minutes. Do not allow the custard to boil. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.

Place the bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice water, stirring occasionally until cool. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

Transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days, before serving. Makes about 1 quart.

Note: If using loose tea, you will need to use 2 cups milk; if using tea bags, use 1 1/2 cups milk.

Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Ice Cream

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Where to eat: Solly's Bagelry

Before we get to this beauty of a cinnamon bun, let's talk bagels. I'm no bagel connoisseur; I can tell a bad one from a good one, but not an amazing one from a good one. I'm just going to take the critics' word for it when they say that Solly's makes some of the best bagels in Vancouver. I had lox on their Mish-Mash bagel (or "Everything" bagel to you and me). It was exactly the way it should be: the bagel was toasty on the outside, chewy on the inside, and slathered with plain cream cheese. It was topped with fresh, silky smoked salmon, thinly sliced red onion, and a scattering of capers. Served with a pickle and chips (some sort of thick cut "fancy" type--no Lay's here), it was a perfectly satisfying lunch.

But the main event, and the reason I keep returning to Solly's year after year, is their cinnamon bun. It is perfection, even without cream cheese icing, which is no small feat for a cinnamon bun. These a huge, tall coils of thinly rolled dough so that there is a generous perfuming of cinnamon throughout. No plain boring bread bites here. The insides are chewy, buttery, and moist, while the outside stays peculiarly crisp. Their secrets will probably remain mysteries, but I supposed it has something to do with massive quantities of sugar and butter (which calls to mind the famous words of Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, "How bad could that be?"). It's surprising that they aren't so sweet that they'd give you a headache (granted, I do have a pretty tough sweet tooth). But maybe that's the alluring danger of it. You just can't get enough.Eat here:

368 W.7th Ave

2873 W. Broadway

189 E. 28th Ave

Image credit to beets and bites, and szymek s. on flickr


Operation Bakery Clone: Paper Wrapped Cake

"Paper wrapped cake" is kind of a boring name for a simple, but decidedly unboring cake. The term is a literal translation of the Chinese name for this treat. I have been looking everywhere for this recipe for years with no luck. I knew it was some sort of chiffon cake, but no recipe I tried bore any resemblance to the real deal. It is mildly sweet and eggily perfumed, baked into tall cupcakes in parchment paper wraps. The sponge is made of very fine, springy bubbles, rather than the larger, "crumbier" ones produced by Western chiffon cake recipes.

I am happy to report that I finally found a recipe that produces a cake with a flavour and texture that comes very close to the original counterparts. It only requires five (main) ingredients, but for that reason, try to use the best quality butter and eggs you can find because you can really taste them in the final product.

The finished products didn't look quite like their commercial cousins because I don't have those tall baking tins. They also do sink down a bit as they cool because there are no artificial stabilizers in them. You could try baking these in ovenproof mugs to get the right height. Either way, they taste heavenly.

Paper Wrapped Cake:

60g flour (self rising, if you've got it)
15g cornstarch
90g sugar
5 eggs, separated and at room temperature
Pinch of cream of tartar
60g butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking molds with squares of parchment paper (press down in the middle and crease the wrinkles so the cups stay in the molds. They will pop up a little, but the batter will weight them down later).
2. Sift flour and cornstarch together.
3. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks with 30g sugar until fluffy and lemony coloured. Beat in melted butter. Sift in flour mixture and beat just until smooth.
4. In another bowl, whip egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar. When you can see trails from your beaters, beat in the remaining 60g sugar. Whip to firm peaks.
5. Stir in a spatula-full of egg whites into the yolk mixture. Gently fold in the rest of the whites.
6. Pour the batter into prepared molds, about 2/3 full.
7. Bake at 400F for 5 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350F and bake for another 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 15 muffin-sized cakes (less if you use a tall mold)

Recipe adapted from ucanmake.com
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Lasagna and 9 Other Bolognese Reincarnations

Leftovers are great. They mean quick dinners and food often tastes better because flavours can mingle and mellow. But because the food police say that leftovers should optimally be consumed within four days (and it usually takes me longer than four days to want to eat the same thing again), sometimes a little leftover magic is called for.

The bolognese recipe from Monday made a pretty generous vat of sauce. After freezing some of it, I still have one dinner's worth of sauce left. And while serving it over piles of pasta again is fine, I decided to make a lasagna instead.

I used half whole wheat and half white pasta sheets. Although I want to make a nutritious dinner, I must admit that I'm not a fan of the brittle graininess of whole wheat pasta. So, a compromise had to be made.

Rather than buying a hunk of mozzarella cheese and having even more leftovers sitting in the fridge, I layered bechamel sauce (same recipe as in the moussaka!) with the meat sauce. I sprinkled the top with some parmesan (freshly grated, please) and it browned very nicely. I liked the milky creaminess of the bechamel against the meatiness of the bolognese, but if you prefer the stringy gooeyness of an extra cheesy lasagna, then by all means, go for it.

And if you don't want to have anything pasta-ish and you aren't a bolognese purist, then I present...

9 More Dishes to Make with Leftover Bolognese Sauce:

1. Pizza: Delish with store-bought or homemade crust
2. Calzones: Stuff a half-moon of pizza dough with it
3. Stuff bell peppers of zucchini with pasta sauce and rice
4. Serve over soft polenta (one of my favourites)
5. Serve over rice
6. "Shepherd's Pie": Top with mashed potatoes and cheese
7. Chili con carne
8. Hot sandwich: Spread over crust French bread, top with cheese and broil
9. "Enchiladas": Roll up in a tortilla, top with cheese and bake

and of course...

Lasagna Bolognese:
Serves 8

Leftover bolognese sauce (about 5 cups)
1 lb dry lasagna noodles
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Bechamel Sauce (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cook lasagna noodles until very al dente (should still be a little crunchy in the middle). Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce on the bottom of the dish. Lay out 1 layer of noodles. Spread about 1 1/2 cups sauce over and pour over 1/3 of the bechamel. Repeat with two more layers of noodles and end with a layer of bechamel. Cover the top with parmesan cheese.

Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Bechamel Sauce:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Pinch ground nutmeg
2 large eggs

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk, salt, and nutmeg. Return to the heat and while whisking constantly, bring to a boil. Simmer 2 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and stir to cool. When the sauce is cool, whisk in the eggs.

Recipe adapted from Food Network Kitchens
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Acropolis Not Included: Souvlaki Salmon with Greek Orzo

Today, we travel to Greece for this light and refreshing summer supper. On the menu tonight: souvlaki inspired salmon, served alongside a Greek orzo salad. Orzo is rice shaped pasta. I love it because you get the approximate effect of rice, and it's much easier and faster to cook. The small "grains" soak up flavour really well too. The Greek vinaigrette doubles as both salad dressing and marinade. Two birds, one stone.
For a little extra oomph I roasted the bell pepper. And rather than grilling it outside, I did it over the gas burner. Don't worry, the skewered blackening pepper isn't going to burst into flames.

How to roast a pepper indoors on a gas burner:

-Skewer the stem end of the pepper with a two-pronged fork (the kind you use to carve a roast). Make sure you get it centered the first time, or else the pepper will wobble on the fork

-Do not oil or season the pepper

-Turn on the gas burner (the small one) and hold the pepper over the flame. Hold the pepper fairly close, about a half inch from the flame. It will pop and sizzle a little. Once one side is blackened, rotate the pepper until it is charred all over.

-Pop the pepper into a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Steam for 5-10 minutes. Take out the pepper, peel it, and remove the seeds. Avoid running the pepper under water as you peel it so that you don't rinse off the flavour.

Souvlaki Marinated Salmon with Greek Orzo Salad:

2 lemons
Olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
3 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons honey
Freshly ground black pepper

4 salmon fillets (~6 ounce portions)

1 1/4 cups orzo (cooked, drained and rinsed with cold water)
1 bell pepper (roasted, peeled, and diced)
1/3 cup cucumber (diced)
2 roma tomatoes (seeds scooped and diced)
1/3 cup feta cheese
3 green onions (chopped)
(Add red onion and olives, if desired)

In a small bowl, combine juice and zest of the lemon, garlic, oregano, honey, and pepper. Gradually whisk in olive oil (use three parts oil to one part lemon juice).

Reserve about 1/4 cup of the dressing, and pour the rest over the salmon. Marinade at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss together orzo and diced vegetables. Crumble in feta in large chunks. Season the reserved 1/4 cup of dressing with salt and pour over orzo. Toss to combine. Chill while cooking salmon (even better if made a few hours in advance).

Remove salmon from the dressing and shake off the excess marinade. Season both sides with coarse salt. Heat olive oil in a frying pan until very hot (oil should shimmer, but not smoke). Cook salmon skin side up until browned, then flip and cook until done (about 2 minutes per side, depending on fillet thickness).

Serves 4.

Recipe and image property of beets and bites


Ragu Bolognese with Pappardelle: Not Your Typical Chef Boyardee

Spaghetti and meat sauce is one of those classic dishes that everyone loves; it's simple and satisfying. I wanted to change things up a bit, so I used pappardelle instead of spaghetti. These flat, wide pasta ribbons complement the meaty richness of the sauce very well. I find it so mysterious how virtually all pasta is made of the same ingredients, yet different shapes somehow manage to taste different. If you can't find pappardelle, you can always slice some fresh lasagne sheets into wide strips instead.

The recipe below does look a bit intimidating; there are tons of ingredients and long cooking times. But there's a difference between a time consuming recipe and a difficult one. All you do is chop ingredients and open cans, then you can pretty much forget about it and the stove does the rest of the work. On top of this, you get to appear very domestic as there's something quite homey and impresive about a big pot bubbling on the stove for a few hours.

With all the work that the recipe calls for, I will admit that I was expecting something that tastes knock-your-sock-off incredible. Don't expect that from this recipe. It pretty much tastes like meat sauce is supposed to taste. This isn't to say that it isn't delicious, but bolognese sauce is about subtle but complex and harmonious flavours. This is why it needs to bubble on the stove for so long. The fragrance of the herbs, vegetables and wine combine with the meatiness of the pancetta, the sharpness of the tomatoes, and the butteriness of the cream. The recipe makes a very nicely balanced sauce which tastes about a thousand times better than anything out of a can. And with some of the leftovers parked in the freezer, future pasta dinners are almost just as easy.

Fun Fact: Unlike Aunt Jemima and Betty Crocker, Chef Boyardee is a real person (Mr. Ettore Boiardi)...

Spaghetti Bolognese

Serves 6-8


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces bacon or pancetta, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 3/4 cup diced carrots
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt (add at the end...bacon is already quite salty)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pound ground beef or ground veal
  • 1/2 pound pork sausage, removed from the casings, or ground pork (I used ground turkey instead)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes and their juice
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef or chicken stock or broth
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I omitted this; the sauce is plenty rich)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan


In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until browned and the fat is rendered, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the beef and sausages, and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan and remove any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan, and until half of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and their juices, the tomato sauce, beef broth, and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the sauce is thickened and flavorful, about 1 1/2 hours. Add the cream, butter, and parsley, stir well, and simmer for 2 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and return the water to a low boil. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking, until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander.

Add the pasta to the sauce, tossing to coat. Add 1/2 cup of the cheese and toss to blend. Divide among pasta bowls and serve with the cheese passed tableside. (Alternatively, toss only the desired portion of pasta with a bit of the sauce at a time in a serving bowl, reserving the remainder for another meal.)

Source: Food Network and Emeril Live
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Where to eat: Dutch Wooden Shoe Cafe

I've been going to the Dutch Wooden Shoe Cafe ever since I can remember, and I can still rely on them to serve up some amazing breakfasts. This is without a doubt one of my favourite restaurants in Vancouver.
(Note: Although opened by the same proprietor, the Dutch Wooden Shoe is not the same as the De Dutch chain. It has a unique menu and frankly, the food is just much better.)

The restaurant atmosphere is very cozy and kitschy. The walls are lined with Dutch posters and prints, photos of hundreds of happy customers, and cabinets boasting an impressive collection of beer glasses from around the world. The tables are pretty small and close together, and the restaurant is always packed on weekend mornings, although that isn't a bad thing. The staff is attentive and friendly. The most important aspect though, is the food. Ahh, the food...

I usually start with their "Giant Mocha," which is, as the name suggests, a fat mug of piping hot coffee with chocolate syrup, topped with a swirl of whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. This is to be sipped slowly as one peruses the extensive menu. Offerings include waffles, breakfast platters, eggs bene"dutches," but the one item I keep coming back to is their pannekoek.

Pannekoeken are large plate-sized pancakes. They are thicker than a crepe, but thinner than a buttermilk pancake, and are very well browned on both sides. They aren't fluffy, but very tender and so delicious. For 8 to 13 dollars, you can get a pannekoek with your choice from a variety of toppings, from savoury ham and eggs, to sweet grilled cinnamon bananas (one of my "usuals" as a child, and still one of my favourites). An odd but delicious combination is the pannekoek with bahmi goreng. The pancake is filled with a curry scented, stir fried egg noodle with ham and onion. The noodles are served with peanut sauce on top. Try it and you won't be disappointed.

Four Fruit Pannekoek

The Dutch Wooden Shoe is a great restaurant where you are bound to walk away satisfied. I know I will be a regular customer for many years to come (especially since I have yet to find a pannekoek recipe that even comes close to theirs).

Eat Here:

Dutch Wooden Shoe Cafe
3292 Cambie Street
Vancouver, BC
V5Z 2W4

Images property of tibbidyfibbity.com, Vancouverslop.com, horcubee on flickr.com


Return of the Soupspoons Sunset (Canneles de Bordeaux)

Once upon a time there was a cafe and a young girl. This cafe was called "Soupspoons" and served French bistro-style soups and sandwiches. They also had a well-stocked pastry case. The girl visited every so often and loved a particular dessert called "Sunsets." These little domed disks were not quite cake, nor cookie, nor crepe, but somehow a combination of all three. They had a chewy, deeply caramelized crust and a vanilla scented, crepe-y interior.

One day, the cafe closed. The girl was sad that she couldn't buy the Sunsets anymore. Being an (anonymous) foodie, she went on a search for the recipe. As it turns out, the dessert was a Soupspoons original and the recipe was nowhere to be found. Defeated, the girl gave up her search.

A few years later, the girl flips open a baking book and finds a recipe for canneles. Intrigued, she reads on and realizes that the Sunsets that she so loved may have been related to these finicky French pastries. And so she begins her journey to bake the perfect cannele and perhaps recreate the Sunset...

OK, so maybe not the perfect cannele. Because, as many French pastries are, they are notoriously difficult to get right. For one thing, the tins are supposedly coated in beeswax to produce a crisp crust. Then, they often pop out of the molds while baking so the bottom does not brown properly. Apparently, some bakers in Bordeaux have given this phenomenon the charming name of "white asses" (their words, not mine). They take two days to make because the flour must hydrate overnight. There are entire forums devoted to cannele baking, from the perfect mold to use (silicon? aluminum? copper? tin?) to the best mixing techniques.

I was intrigued. These little cakes had no leavening, and each tiny portion is baked in a 400F oven...for an hour. I was also a little intimidated, but this project was more for fun than anything else.

I didn't have proper cannele molds so I baked them in some small brioche tins instead. Surprisingly, they did not blacken to a crisp after baking. Once cooled, the outside is very crunchy and caramel-y, and the inside remains a little custardy, and a little chewy.

They are supposed to be consumed within 8 hours of exiting the oven, but I tried one the next day and they actually did taste a lot like Sunsets. The crisp exterior was now chewy and spongey, and retained that wonderful deep burnt sugar taste. The recipe for the Sunset will remain a mystery, but maybe it was a version of a (stale, but really great) cannele after all.

I actually do not know what a cannele really should taste like so I don't know if my experiment was a success. I thought these were pretty tasty, but I'll pick up an authentic specimen next time I'm at a French bakery. But for your reference, this is what they are supposed to look like:

And this is a "Sunset":
Canneles de Bordeaux:

Makes 10-11 canneles:

2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
3/4 cups cake flour
Pinch of salt
1 cup less 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
4 extra-large egg yolks
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
"White Oil" (see note)

1. Heat milk in a saucepan over low heat to 183F.

2. Pulse butter, flour, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add sugar and pulse once or twice to mix.

3. Add egg yolks and process until the mixture begins to tighten.

4. With the motor running, quickly add the milk in a stream. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve and press through any congealed egg yolks. Stir in rum and vanilla. Cool to room temperature and store in the fridge for 24 hours.

5. 6-7 hours before serving, brush the molds with white oil and set crown side down on a tray. Freeze for 30 minutes.

6. Heat oven to 400F. (375F if using convection oven)

7. Place chilled molds 1 1/2" apart on the sheet. "Paddle" the batter with a spatula to recombine and fill molds almost to the top. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven 1 3/4 to 2 hours (until deep brown or, if desired, almost black) (Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes if using convection).

8. Remove molds from oven and unmold immediately (firmly rap the crown against a hard surface. If cannele sticks, return to oven for 5-10 minutes, or use a knife to help). Cool completely before serving.

Note: To make white oil: Melt 1 ounce of beeswax in a 1 pint glass measuring cup. Melt in the microwave and stir in enough safflower oil to make a whitened liquid, thin enough to coat the back of a spoon. Cool to room temperature and store at room temperature in a glass container.

Credit to Paula Wolfert

Image property of beets and bites, mimiofparis.com, and evalu8.org (in order of appearance)


The Lady's Brunch Burger (Oh Paula...)

Every once in a while, you come across a recipe that makes you go "Huh??" This is one of them.

I was talking to a friend the other day and she mentioned this heart attack on a plate: a burger served between two doughnuts. For breakfast. I thought she was kidding. Out of curiosity, I did a search for it. Apparently, it was aired on a Paula Deen "Paula's Home Cooking" episode last year (so for some of you, this may be old news...) Paula's recipes are great sometimes; they are definitely satisfying and home-y. But occasionally I wonder if some of the recipes are included for entertainment value. This is certainly one of them.

Imagine, you wake up and head to the kitchen to whip up something for brunch. What are you in the mood to have? How about a beef burger, loaded up with bacon and a fried egg, served between two glazed doughnuts. Mmmm.

(No, I didn't make this. I don't fancy consuming an entire day's calories in one sitting. Granted, the recipe does also suggest using English muffins or burger buns...but where's the fun in that??)

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present "The Lady's Brunch Burger"
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • House Seasoning, recipe follows
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked
  • 3 hamburger buns
  • 3 English muffins
  • 6 glazed donuts

Mix the ground beef, chopped parsley and grated onion together in a large mixing bowl. Season liberally, with House Seasoning. Form 3 hamburger patties.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add the burgers and cook until desired temperature, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Fry bacon in a hot pan until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

While burgers are cooking, heat a non-stick pan, over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter. Crack 3 eggs into the pan. Cook until the yolks are just set and still slightly runny and remove.

Place burger patties on English muffins or buns, and if desired, on glazed donuts, as the buns. Top each burger with 2 pieces of bacon and a fried egg.

House Seasoning
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Recipe and image source: Food Network

I-Can't-Believe-They're-Not-Deep-Fried Baked Samosas

Before you dismiss this healthier take on the scrumptiousness that is the samosa, please give it a chance. Yes, oftentimes the baked, healthier version of anything doesn't live up to its deep fried counterpart (think oven french fries and potato chips...I've even tried baked doughnuts. They weren't good.) But this is one of those times that I prefer the baked version. This is still crispy with all the flavour of the traditional samosa, but lighter tasting and much flakier.

Enter my favourite substitute for all greasy pastry: phyllo dough! You don't need a lot of butter in between the layers and you still get flaky crispness. There's also no need to deep fry it, and they freeze wonderfully. Make a large batch, stash them in the freezer, and you're always a half hour away from fresh, golden brown and delicious samosas.

I served mine with a yogurt sauce. Just stir together 1/4 cup shredded cucumber, 1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt, and 1 tablespoon chopped mint. Season with salt and pepper and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Some tips for working with phyllo dough:
-Try to thaw frozen phyllo dough in the refrigerator overnight, rather than on a countertop
-Cover the stack of dough with a damp kitchen towel as you work with each individual sheet
-You don't need to brush every layer with melted butter. I often do every other or every three sheets
-Brush the tops of your pastries with melted butter to encourage browning
-For images on how to fold phyllo triangles, see: http://greekfood.about.com/od/makephyllosweetsavory/ig/Folding-Triangles/

Baked Samosas:

  • 2 large potatoes, peeled
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
  1. Bring a medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Stir in potatoes and peas. Cook until potatoes are tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, mash together and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, heat the oil. Brown cumin seeds and bay leaf. Mix in onions and ground beef. Cook until beef is evenly brown and onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in garlic, fresh ginger root. Season with black pepper, salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, cinnamon and cardamom. Stir in the mashed potato mixture. Remove from heat and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until cool.
  3. Mix cilantro into the potato and beef mixture. Layer 3 sheets of thawed phyllo dough and cut lengthwise into 3 long strips. Place approximately 2 tablespoons of the mixture onto one end of each phyllo strip. Fold sheets into triangles. Brush tops with melted butter
  4. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes or until golden brown (If baking frozen, bake for 30 minutes)
Makes 18

Adapted from Beef Samosas on allrecipes.com

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Moussaka: My Big Fat Greek Casserole

No, this isn't a shepherd's pie. It's actually a little more like lasagna, without the pasta. Moussaka is a traditional Greek dish composed of layers of eggplant (and sometimes zucchini and potatoes), and a spiced meat sauce. The entire dish is topped with a creamy bechamel sauce. It's a bit prep intensive, but make a large batch of it and you will not mind having it several nights in a row. I hadn't realized that it would turn out so nicely so unfortunately, I made a pretty modest sized batch. I'd like to layer up the ingredients thicker the next time I make this.

I did a fairly thorough recipe search and the following recipe is an amalgamation of what I think are the best aspects of numerous other recipes, as well as my own edits.

A couple of notes on the bechamel sauce:
The nutmeg in it is amazing. Something about the spice plays so well with the milkiness of the sauce. Try it!
The whipped egg white is a bonus step (and is not crucial to the success of your moussaka). It makes the sauce souffle a little in the oven and brown better. It will collapse when you take it out of the oven, but the result is a creamy sauce that has a subtle "bubbliness" that I like.

It's a good idea to let the pan sit for a good 20-30 minutes after you take it out of the oven for two reasons: 1) The layers will set, making it easier to slice and keep its shape on the plate and, more importantly, 2) You won't burn your mouth off.


2 eggplants, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips
2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 cups canned tomato sauce

1/4 cup butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk, warmed on the stove or in a microwave
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, separated
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 475F. Brush both sides of eggplant and zucchini slices with oil and season with salt. Place in a single layers on sheet pans and roast in the oven until browned and tender (about 7 minutes).

Meat Sauce:
In a large skillet over medium heat, saute chopped onion until soft and translucent. Add garlic and ground beef. Cook until beef is no longer pink. Add spices and saute 2 minutes longer until spices are fragrant. Add tomato sauce and simmer 20 minutes (or until the other layers' ingredients are assembled).
Bechamel Sauce:
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat. Add flour and whisk to make a roux. Cook for 1 minute, then whisk in milk, salt and nutmeg. Cook over medium heat while whisking until thickened. Simmer while whisking for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Whisk egg whites until firm peaks. Stir egg yolks into cooled bechamel and fold in egg whites.

Heat oven to 400F. Grease a 9x13 inch dish. Arrange roasted eggplant in one layer on the bottom of the dish. Spread half the meat sauce over top. Arrange roasted zucchini over the meat sauce in one layer. Top with remaining meat sauce.
Pour bechamel over the top of all the layers. Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese.
Bake moussaka until the top is puffed and brown, about 30 minutes.
Cool for 20-30 minutes before slicing.

Serves 6 hungry diners

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Istanbul, not Constantinople: Saffron Scented Chicken Pilaf

If you haven't noticed by now, I love Nigella Lawson's recipes. When piled up on a giant platter, this delicious rice dish evokes the experience of dining cross-legged on a carpeted floor somewhere in Turkey. (No, this is not authentically Turkish/Middle Eastern. Just authentically yummy.) When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it because it combined so many of my favourite ingredients: basmati rice, pine nuts, almonds, and saffron. I added a handful of raisins to the rice because I love how they plump up and sweeten the rice.

This is a very aromatic dish. The warmth of the spices in the chicken and the rice mingle with the buttery nuttiness of toasted nuts and the fresh resinousness of cilantro. It made me hungry just smelling it.

I have not tried marinating chicken in yogurt before making this, and I must say that it really works. The yogurt tenderizes the chicken and keeps it moist while cooking, and its natural sugars caramelize in the pan without the use of excessive oil.

If you'd like to take an express mid-week vacation, here's the recipe for:

Saffron Scented Chicken Pilaf:

500 g boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
200g Greek yogurt
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 L chicken broth
15 g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
500 g basmati rice
(A handful of raisins, optional)
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
50 g flaked almonds, toasted
25 g pine nuts, toasted
Large handful of cilantro, chopped

1.Marinate the chicken pieces in the yoghurt, lemon and cinnamon for about an hour. Soak the saffron threads in the chicken stock.
2.Over medium heat, in a large pan with a lid, melt the butter along with 1 tablespoon oil and add the rice, stirring it to coat until glossy. Pour in the saffron and chicken stock, add the cardamom pods, lemon juice and zest and raisins and bring the pan to the boil, then clamp on a lid and turn the heat down to very low; a heat diffuser, if you’ve got one, would be good here. Cook like this for about 10–15 minutes, by which time the rice should have absorbed the liquid and be cooked through.
3.While the rice is cooking, shake the excess yoghurt marinade off the chicken using a sieve. Then fry the meat in a hot pan with the remaining spoonful or so of oil, and do this in batches so that the chicken colours rather than just pallidly stews to cookedness.
4.Use a fork to fluff up the rice. Add toasted nuts to pilaf and a strew chicken and cilantro over the top.

Serves 6.

Adapted from Nigella Lawson-Forever Summer

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When life hands you lemons...make Lemon Squares

Mmm...lemon squares. Sweet and tart, crunchy and creamy. And, with the exception of possible moments of doubt here and there, they are perfectly simple to make.

I hadn't made lemon squares in a while, and had forgotten that it takes a little faith to believe that the recipe will work itself out. (Isn't that always the case with baking? I hold my breath every time I deposit a pan of bland, oozing batter in the oven and am always amazed when it is replaced with something delicious when it emerges again...) The mixture for the topping is very runny before it is baked, and you get the impression that all that liquid is just going to make the shortbread crust unappealingly soggy. Transferring the lemon mixture from bowl to pan will also reveal a rather gooey sludge of undissolved sugar at the bottom. Don't worry, all will end deliciously. Just put it all in the oven. In 30 minutes, the lemon curd will emerge perfectly set over a crisp brown base. Success! You think you're finished. The worst is over. And then...

...you need to slice them. This is an operation that could end badly (messy edges, crumbling crust, lemon topping spilling over the sides). It will still be delicious, but if you'd like to avoid emotional trauma, here are some tips...

How to slice lemon square bars:

-Cool the bars completely so that the topping will gel and set. Park them in the freezer until they are very cold and firm (about 30 minutes).

-Remove the slab from the pan before cutting. Line the pan with parchment before baking so that it's easier to remove the bars.

-Dust the tops of the bars with powdered sugar before cutting them (so that the sugar doesn't stick to the sides of the cut bars)

-Take a sharp chef's knife and dip it in a pitcher of hot water. Slice the bars in a straight up and down cut (not sawing) with the wet knife. Wipe the knife clean and dip in hot water between cuts.

This recipe uses melted butter in the crust rather than cutting in cold butter. This makes a firmer, crunchier crust that will stay in one piece when sliced.

Lemon Squares:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup butter, softened and starting to melt
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
4 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper (allow some to extend over the edges for easy bar removal).

2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, confectioner's sugar, salt, and zest. Stir in melted butter until combined and moist crumbs form. Press into the bottom of prepared pan.

3. Bake crust in oven for 15 minutes, or until edges brown.

4. In a clean bowl, whisk together sugar, baking powder, flour, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, lemon juice, and zest. Whisk until eggs are beaten, but not very foamy (the topping should be dense, not mousse-y). Stir in sugar mixture and pour over prepared crust.

5. Bake 30 minutes until the filling is set and the edges are lightly brown. Cool completely before unmolding and cutting into bars.

Makes 32 bars.

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The Breakfast Club: Weekend Waffles

On occasion I do associate foods with certain weather. For example, I find hot chocolate to be the most satisfying when enjoyed outdoors, in the cold (rain, snow, or neither), preferably while doing some holiday shopping. Rainy day food falls into two categories: spicy warmth (curries and the like), and comfort food (think shepherd's pie). Sunshine brings fresh dishes with herbs and citrus. The golden lightness of these waffles and the berries' splash of colour make them perfect to enjoy on this sunny morning.

I am convinced that fresh berries (especially raspberries) and vanilla whipped cream is one of the best pairings the food world has to offer. Not only is the bright colour against the pristine white backdrop visually stunning, but the flavours are harmonious and scrumptious. The sweet, honeyed perfume just makes me happy.

The first waffles I made were from the recipe that came with the waffle iron. I think they're great so I have never used a different one. I suppose they're called "Weekend Waffles" because they require whipped egg whites for extra light, fluffy, crunchiness. They're so good that you could make them any time, no weekend required.

Weekend Waffles

1 cup flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In another bowl, combine milk, egg yolks, oil, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
Beat egg whites until stiff.
Add milk mixture to dry ingredients and stir until smooth. Fold in egg whites.

Pour batter into waffle iron (follow manufacturer's batter quantity suggestion). Cook until no steam escapes the iron (5-6 minutes).

Makes 4-6 waffles.

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More "Fast Food": Pan-seared Salmon with Lemon Herb Pasta

As dinnertime rolled around today, I was hungry and a little short on time. This is a light and tasty dinner you can whip up in 15 minutes flat. No joke.

If you've got the patience to, brown the butter before adding it to the pasta. All you do is cook it in a pan until it turns caramel-y brown (be careful not to burn it at this point). This transforms it from golden mellowness to a nutty amber liquid, which gives an extra flavour boost to the simple pasta "sauce."

Pan-seared Salmon with Lemon Herb Pasta:

The most time consuming part of this is waiting for the pasta water to boil. Make sure you salt it well. Apparently, Italians say to salt pasta water until it "tastes like the sea."

Once the pasta is boiling, add a little oil to a frying pan and add a clove of minced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season both sides of the salmon with salt and pepper and pan fry it 3-4 minutes a side. Add lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice when it is nearly cooked through.

Drain the cooked pasta and toss with butter, lemon zest and juice, grated parmesan cheese, and finely chopped herbs (I used parsley and green onion here. Chives would be nice too!) and season with salt and pepper. Serve alongside the salmon.

Chow down.

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Oddball of the Cookie World: Potato Chip Cookies

Sweet and salty is a combination that seems strange, but strangely works. And it isn't like serving a steak with a scoop of ice cream. Some popular permutations of the sweet and salty pairing come in the form of:

Kettle corn

Trail mix

Chocolate-dipped pretzels

Peanut butter and jam sandwiches

Breakfast! (Pancakes with maple syrup, bacon, and sausages)

I guess the magic comes from the contrast. The salt makes the sweet sweeter and the sweet makes the salt saltier. Even chocolate chip cookies rely on a little salt to bring out flavours.

A couple of years ago, I heard about a company called Immaculate Baking Co. One product they make is the potato chip cookie. I was intrigued by this savoury sweet shortbread and have been looking for a box for quite a while. Perhaps potato chip cookies are a bit too adventurous for many consumers, as the company has stopped making them. I still really wanted to see what they tasted like, so I decided to try and make some.

I used a simple shortbread recipe and added some finely crushed salted potato chips. I used a thick cut chip so that the crumbs wouldn't get soggy. It was a surprising success. The cookie tastes buttery with a hint of salt, and not at all like potato. What the chips do create is a pleasantly crunchy, sandy texture. I imagine this is a great way to use up the bits at the bottom of the bag... although I wouldn't use all-dressed or barbeque flavoured chips...

Potato Chip Cookies:

1 cup unsalted butter (softened)

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup finely crushed potato chips

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add the potato chips and stir well. Add the flour and stir to combine.

Form the mixture into small balls, about 1 tablespoon each, and place on an ungreased baking sheet.

Flatten the cookies on the baking sheet with the bottom of a drinking glass. Bake the cookies until light golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes.

Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. (The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.)

Makes 3 1/2 dozen

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse-Quick and Easy

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Operation Bakery Clone: Pineapple Buns

I'm a fan of Chinese bakeries. Not surprisingly, the cakes and breads they make are distinctly different from those found in Western bakeries. The cakes are almost always built on chiffon sponges and iced with whipped cream. The sponge is unlike any other that I have had elsewhere. It is very finely textured, mildly sweet, and perfumed with an aroma that can only be described as "eggy" (in a good way). The buns, with both savory and sweet fillings, are also sweet, extremely soft, and shiny golden brown. Delicious.

For me, part of the intrigue is that authentic recipes are difficult to find (especially in English). I wanted to see if I could make my own versions of some of my favourites at home. It may be impossible to duplicate some of the recipes since I won't use commercial softeners and stabilizers, but who wants to eat that stuff anyways?

After a couple of years of sporadic searching, I finally came across a recipe for pineapple buns that seemed promising. Pineapple buns are plain sweet buns topped with a cracked cookie-like crust. They don't actually have any pineapple in them; they are named for the appearance of the topping. I wasn't aware of that before and had tried a recipe that called for crushed pineapple. Needless to say, it didn't quite work out.

This recipe is a bit more complicated than the usual bread recipe. The dough is very sticky and soft and the kneading instructions called for some stress-relieving throwing "with all your might on the work surface." The dough requires three rises, and the topping is made separately like pie dough. Of course, it would take less than a quarter of the time to go and just buy some, but the work was completely worth it. They baked up just like store bought, but without any sketchy additives. The sticky, almost runny dough yielded a very light bread, and the topping cracked to cobblestone-y perfection in the oven. And I had never had a pineapple bun warm from the oven before. It was bread nirvana.

I would love to share the recipe but I cannot post it. Send an email to beetsandbites@gmail.com and I will send it to you.

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Breakfast for Dinner...and Lunch: Asian-Spiced Kedgeree

Nigella Lawson is an absolute domestic goddess and my hero. She exudes a calm confidence in the kitchen and her recipes are always as comforting to eat as they are to make. However, as a true believer in "full fat=full flavour," she often creates recipes that are more indulgent than I would make (eg. Doughnut French Toast and Caramel Crossiant Pudding). So when I came across this recipe that looked absolutely delicious and healthy, I couldn't wait to try it.

Kedgeree is traditionally a British breakfast dish, made with fish (smoked haddock), hard boiled eggs, and rice. Apparently, it was popular during Victorian times to make use of the fresh fish caught early in the morning.

Frankly, I can't really imagine eating rice in the morning, but whenever you choose to eat it, this recipe is amazing. It took a little faith to just throw the rice and the broth in a pot and let it sit for 20 minutes without stirring it but it really worked. The golden curry scented basmati rice is perfectly balanced with the salt of the fish sauce, the tang of lime juice, and freshness of cilantro. This breakfast dish (which I made for dinner) is also great cold for lunch the next day.

Asian-Spiced Kedgeree


  • 2 1/4 cups cold water, for poaching the fish
  • 2 lime leaves, torn into pieces
  • 4 salmon fillets (approximately 1-inch thick), preferably organic, skinned (about 1 1/2 pounds in total)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, plus more, for garnish
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced plus lime segments, for garnish
  • Fish sauce, to taste (recommended: nam pla)


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

This is because the easiest way to poach salmon for this dish is to do it in the oven. So: pour the water into a roasting pan, add the lime leaves and then the salmon. Cover the pan with foil, put in the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, by which time the salmon should be tender. Remove the pan from the oven and drain the liquid off into a pitcher. Keep the fish warm simply by replacing the foil on the pan.

Melt the butter in a wide, heavy saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid, and add the oil to stop the butter burning. Soften the onion in the pan and add the spices, then keep cooking till the onion is slightly translucent and suffused with soft perfume of the spices. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon so that it's all well coated. There's not enough onion to give a heavy coating: just make sure the rice is fragrantly slicked.

Pour in the reserved liquid from the pitcher, about 2 1/4 cups, and stir before covering with the lid and cooking gently for 15 minutes. If your stove is vociferous you may need a flame tamer.

At the end of the cooking time, when the rice is tender and has lost all chalkiness, turn off the heat, remove the lid, cover the pan with a dish towel and then replace the lid. This will help absorb any extra moisture form the rice. It is also the best way to let the rice stand without getting sticky or cold, which is useful when you've got a few friends and a few dishes to keep your eye on.

Just before you want to eat, drain off any extra liquid that's collected in the dish with the salmon, then flake the fish with a fork. Add to it the rice, egg, cilantro, lime juice and a drop or 2 of fish sauce. Stir gently to mix - I use a couple of wooden paddles or spatulas - and taste to see if you want any more lime juice or fish sauce. Sprinkle over the zest from the 2 juiced halves of the lime and serve. I love it served just as it is in the roasting dish, but if you want to, and I often do (consistency is a requirement of a recipe but not of a cook), decant into large plate before you add the lime zest, then surround with lime segments and add the zest and a small handful of freshly chopped cilantro.

Credit to Nigella Lawson

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Canada Day Special: Mojitos and Satays with Peanut Sauce

Yesterday was Canada Day. And aside from milling about with huge crowds decked out in red and white, to me, grilling is an absolute necessity. The blazing sun and cloudless skies put me in the mood for food with a Southeast Asian vibe. While the menu theme is not obviously patriotic, Canada's all about its multiculturalism, isn't it? The result was a big platter of spicy chicken satays, lemongrass shrimp skewers, grilled flatbreads, and peanut sauce.

The entire meal was pretty simple; just marinade everything and then toss it all on the grill. The shrimp were the trickiest to make and that was only because the shrimp were skewered with the lemongrass stalks. The stalks needed to be split and cut to a point in order to thread the shrimp on. The lemongrass served the dual purpose of unusual presentation and flavouring. Lemongrass is aptly named because bending or bruising the fibrous stalks releases a resiny... lemony, grassy scent.

This tropical feast was served with grilled veggies and washed down with ice cold mojitos. I'd call it a holiday well spent.


8 mint leaves, plus 1 mint sprig
1 ounce Simple Syrup
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
2 ounces white rum
1 ounce chilled club soda

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint leaves with the Simple Syrup and lime juice. Add ice and the rum and shake well. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Stir in the club soda and garnish with the mint sprig. Makes 1 drink.

Credit to Food and Wine Magazine

Chicken Satays:


  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Thai chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless chicken breast meat, cut into 1-inch thick cubes
  • Wooden skewers


Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, add pork and let marinate 2 to 4 hours.

Preheat the grill.

Remove the pork from the marinade and thread on skewers. Grill for 7 to 8 minutes or until cooked through.

Adapted from Bobby Flay-Tropical Grilling

Lemongrass Shrimp Skewers:


1/2 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup fish sauce

3 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar

1 tsp. grated fresh ginger

2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro

1 Tbs. curry powder

1 1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 lemongrass stalks

Store-bought or homemade peanut sauce
for dipping


In a large bowl, stir together the coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, ginger, cilantro and curry powder. Add the shrimp and stir to coat evenly with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Trim the top and root end of the lemongrass stalks, then carefully cut each stalk lengthwise into 2 pieces. Remove the shrimp from the marinade; discard the marinade. Thread the shrimp onto the lemongrass stalks.

Preheat an indoor electric grill on high heat. Spray the grill with nonstick cooking spray. Place the skewers on the grill and cook until the shrimp are opaque throughout, about 2 minutes per side. Arrange the skewers on a warmed platter and serve immediately with peanut sauce for dipping. Serves 4.

Credit to Williams-Sonoma: Asian

Peanut Sauce:


1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 green onion, including tender green portion,

1 piece lemongrass stalk, 3 inches long, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

Juice of 1/2 lime

1 Tbs. soy sauce

1 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. chili paste, or to taste


In a saucepan, combine the coconut milk, peanut butter, green onion, lemongrass, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, curry powder, coriander and cumin. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until well blended.

Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, thinning with water if necessary. Pour into a bowl and stir in the chili paste.

Use the sauce immediately, or cover and let stand at room temperature for up to 6 hours or refrigerate overnight. Thin with water if necessary before using. Makes about 1 cup.

Credit to Williams-Sonoma: Vegetarian For All Seasons

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