Saturday, August 29, 2009

Barbecued Vegies

Prepare the vegetables in advance and refrigerate until ready to cook.

-2 red peppers cleaned and quartered

-2 small zucchinis cut on and angle 3/4 inch wide

-1/2 a butternut squash cut into 1 inch pieces 1/4 inch thick

-1/2 pound asparagus spears

-8 medium quartered button mushrooms

Use a zip lock bag and add ~1/4 cup olive oil, a little less balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Seal the bag and mix the liquid in the bag. Add vegies and mix very well. The vegies should be refrigerated in the liquid at least 24 hours. Barbecue an medium heat for ~ 15 minutes...Frank knows when they're done!


Mexican Rice

This is a recipe from "Cooks Illustrated" which I have modified somewhat. It has a little zing to it and goes well with the chicken and ribs!

  • 2 cups long grain white rice

  • 4 medium plum tomatoes sliced in half lengthwise

  • 1 chopped medium onion

  • 2 seeded jalapeno peppers

  • 1/ cup olive oil

  • 2 cups chicken stock

  • 4 cloves minced garlic

Grill the tomatoes and peppers on the barbecue so they are a little blackened. In a food processor process the onion and tomatoes until pureed, set aside. You should have 2 cups. Process the peppers and the garlic and set aside. In a sieve, rinse the rice under cold running water until the water clears. Shake out as much moisture as you can. In a dutch oven heat the oil, add the rice and cook until it is transparent and golden, usually about 5 minutes. Add the pepper and garlic mixture, combine and add the reserved tomato mixture. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes, stirring once. When ready to serve add lime wedges and a squeeze of 1/2 a fresh lime. This can be prepared in advance and reheated in the microwave just before serving.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Grilled Rosemary Chicken Thighs

This recipe is from one of my favourite magazines... "Fine Cooking" Sept 2007 variation. I prepare this chicken in advance and freeze it until the day I need it. I have even frozen the thighs on the skewers!

Clean and trim 14 chicken thighs. Cut them in half, as evenly as possible for the skewers. Use a zip lock freezer bag and add 2 tbsp of olive oil, 2 tsp kosher salt, 2 tsp dark brown sugar, 1tbsp minced rosemary, 1 tsp freshly grated black pepper and 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes. Add the thighs and mix evenly. You can marinate them for a few hours or freeze and thaw when you're ready to use. Thread the thighs on wooden skewers when you are ready to use them and grill on medium heat for ~15-20 minutes. Move thighs to a platter and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with sweet and sour dipping sauce.
Heat 1 cup orange marmalade, 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar and 1 tsp of minced rosemary. Sweet and sour dipping sauce should be heated and served in individual bowls. I like to drizzle a little sauce on the skewers first before serving.

Informal barbecue dinner

Saturday we're having friends for a boat ride and an informal barbecued dinner. We're hoping the weather cooperates... oh well, my motto is, you make your plans and the weather comes along for the ride! It's now Thursday and it's time to get some advance prep done. I still believe summer is not over and have planned cold hor's doeuvres.

The menu is as follows:

Hummus on cucumber slices topped with yogurt
Smoked salmon on kettle chips
Crab bites (frozen and leftover from the last get together)

Shrimp salad

Rosemary barbecued chicken thighs
Fall off the bone ribs
Grill roasted vegies
Mexican rice

Peach pie and ice cream

I like my hummus very lemony and not as "tahiniy".
In a food processor mince 1-19 ounce can of drained chick peas (reserve a couple of Tbsp of the liquid), 4 garlic cloves, zest of 1 lemon, juice of 1 and 1/2 lemons, 1 tsp of cumin, 2 Tbsp of tahini, 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Add the reserved chick pea liquid if mixture is too thick. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice cucumbers thick enough that it will hold the hummus. Use a melon baller and put a dollop on each slice, top with a little yogurt and a tiny piece of dill. I serve mine on a bed of fresh chives (the herb garden plays a role again)!

Smoked salmon on kettle chips

This recipe is on the cover of "Food and Drink" Summer 2009 issue. It's simple and very tasty! The sauce can be prepared in advance and refrigerated until serving on the chips.

-1/2 cup softened cream cheese
-1 Tbsp horseradish
-1 Tbsp minced shallots
-2 tsp minced capers
-1 tsp lemon rind
-1 small minced clove of garlic
-1 bag of kettle chips
-1 small package of smoked salmon
-2 tbsp chopped chives

Mix first 6 ingredients together in a small bowl and refrigerate until serving.
When ready to serve, top each kettle chip with a dollop of cream cheese mixture. Slice salmon and place decoratively on the cream cheese and sprinkle with chives.
Shrimp salad
I used 2 leaves of romaine lettuce to try create a "boat" and filled it with chopped romaine, a few slices of cucumber and small pieces of chopped seeded tomato. The dressing is 3 tbsp of rice vinegar, 1/4 tsp kosher salt, 4 tsp of fish sauce and 5 tsp of sugar. Dissolve in the microwave, cool and add a small minced clove of garlic and 1/4 tsp of Dijon mustard. You can assemble the "shrimp boats" ahead of time, wrap with saran and refrigerate. Drizzle the sauce over the salad just before serving. The pictures I take are pretty bad... I have to assure you, the product looks much better in real life!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back ribs for dinner

These fall off the bone ribs can be prepared in advance and "sauced" on the barbecue just before serving. I usually prepare 2 racks at a time, one for the freezer one to be sauced and eaten at a later date.

Cut each rack of ribs in half and place meaty side up on a double layer of tin foil.

Chop an onion and distribute between the 2 racks. Sprinkle with chili powder, a couple of tbsp of brown sugar per rack, a drizzle of red wine vinegar and a generous shake of Worcestershire sauce. Seal in foil and place on indirect heat on the barbecue at 350 degrees F . Bake undisturbed for 2 hours .

In the mean time prepare the glaze... The cheater sauce is as follows: I use a chicken and rib sauce and a spicy piquant prepared sauce, equal parts of each (half a cup of each works)! Add 3 cloves of minced garlic and 1 quarter cup of maple syrup and a quarter tsp of hot pepper sauce. After 2 hours remove ribs from foil and place on hot side of barbecue. Glaze each side a few times with cheater sauce. Frank says the messier the barbecue , the taster the meat!!

I serve this dish with a Canadian version of fried rice.

And now the rice:

  • microwave 3 quarters cup of long grain white rice and 1 and 1 half cups of water in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and set asidec

  • slice4 slices of bacon in quarter inch pieces

  • dice 2 stalks of celery

  • dice 1 small onion (4 green onions I just ran out)

  • dice a small piece of cauliflower and broccoli

  • chop fresh asparagus into half inch pieces

  • dice 1 carrot

  • dark soya sauce to taste and colour

In a large frying pan, cook bacon on medium high heat until almost crisp (my sister Marcie would argue that the bacon has to be crisp)! Add all the vegies and stir fry for a minute. Add a little bit of water, cover with a lid for a minute. Add rice mix and sprinkle with dark soya sauce (I prefer the mushroom soy). The bacon and the soya sauce are salty so no need to add any. Heat through and serve.

Because there are so many vegies in this dish, I only serve the ribs and rice with a tossed salad.

Peach Pie.. 'tis the season

Every year at this time, I tend to go a little overboard making peach pies for the freezer! As a matter of fact I was teased so much about the 13 pies I usually made that for the last 2 years I haven't made any... that is until today!

Here is my peach pie for the freezer recipe:

One basket of peaches made 2 pies. I like to freeze them uncooked and cook them the morning I plan to serve.

The pie crust is a recipe my friend Margot gave to me many years ago. I used to be intimidated making pie crust until this recipe came along.

Crust for 1 -8 inch pie (can be doubled)

  • 1 cup flour

  • 1/3 plus 1 tbsp of shortening

  • ice water

Use a pastry blender to mix flour and shortening until the size of small peas. Add the water a few tbsp at a time and mix with a fork. Don't handle the dough excessively or it will become tough. As soon as you have just enough water to hold the crust together form into a ball with your hands and split into 2. Roll thinly and line your pie plate. Roll second ball for the top and cover with plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out.

Pie filling

  • Blanch 6-7 peaches in hot water for ~60 seconds, peel and slice into 1/2 inch slices, set aside in a medium bowl

  • In a 2 cup measuring cup add 1/4 cup of flour, 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 tsp Cinnamon and a few grinds of freshly grated nutmeg. Use a fork to combine

  • Add mixture to peaches and mix with a spoon

  • Squeeze 1/2 a lemon over mixture and pour mixture into the pie shell

  • Dot lightly with ~a tbsp of butter and add top of pie shell

  • Crimp and mark with a "P" vent the rest of the pie, wrap well and freeze

  • To cook frozen pie, brush with and egg yolk, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 425 F for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and continue baking for ~40 minutes or until golden brown

  • To cook immediately, follow same instructions and bake for 15 minutes in a 435 oven, reduce heat to 350 and continue to cook fro ~35 minutes or until nicely browned and peach juice bubbles through the top

  • Serve with ice cream... delicious

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Barbecued pork chop for 2 with -leftover cream sauce

You may remember the cream sauce I served with the beef tenderloin for Barbara's birthday? Well, there was a lot of sauce left over and I didn't want to waste it, so I decided to season the pork chops similarly to the beef marinade and use the tasty sauce as a gravy... It was awesome!
Fresh corn on the cob, red bliss potatoes and green beans made the dinner complete.

I seasoned 2-1/2 inch chops with 2 cloves of minced garlic and a tsp. of minced ginger and salt and pepper.

I made the nightly trip to the herb garden for some lemon thyme...lots of it! In a foil lined pie plate add fresh red bliss potatoes cut into ~ 1 inch peices and season with the lemon thyme, a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of Montreal steak spice and salt and pepper to taste.

Fresh corn on the cob was husked and seasoned with oil and chopped oregano from the herb garden (I added the bits of left over lemon thyme) and salt and pepper.

Freshly picked beans (not from my garden, I grow herbs, they're like weeds you know!), wrapped in foil seasoned with a little butter, salt and pepper...(when finished squeeze with juice of a lime).
Frank's turn now to the barbecue...

Start the potatoes on a medium high barbecue... fresh potatoes take much longer to cook even though they are cut up. ..Be sure to turn them frequently. After 40 minutes add the corn, beans and the chops to the grill . Turn the corn frequently as it caramelizes. The rest of the dinner should take~ 15 minutes on a medium high heat. The meal comes off the grill at the same time! Roll the corn in the left over herb mix before you serve... Heat the leftover creamy parsley "whiskied" sauce in the microwave and sauce the chops. Sueeze a fresh lime over the green beans and serve with a tossed salad with Italian dressing... hmm hmmm good!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sausage Tortellini

This is a great dinner which you can prepare in advance and makes full use of my herb garden! My sister Marcie passed this one on to me quite some time ago. I think it has a little variation since I first tried it.

Sausage Tortellini

  • 1 small package of 3 cheese tortellini

  • 2 medium zuchinis, 1 green, 1 yellow

  • 1 chopped onion

  • 2 cloves minced garlic

  • 4 browned hot (or mild) Italian sauage cut in 1 inch pieces

  • a handful of freshly chopped oregano leaves

  • a handful of freshly choppedItalian parsley

  • 3 tbsp chopped basil

  • 1 -28 oz can of diced tomatoes

  • 1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese

  • salt and pepper and a dash of hot chili peppers

In a skillet on medium heat, saute onions, garlic and zuchini and until soft. Add herbs, salt, pepper and hot chilis. Cook a couple of minutes for flavours to blend. Add tomatoes with sauce and 1/4 cup of water. Spread the uncooked tortellini in the bottom of a pyrex dish 8 by 11 by 2 inches, distribute the sausage amongst the pasta. add the tomato sauce, cover with grated cheese and cover tightly with aluminum foil which has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-55 minutes and serve hot with a salad and garlic bread.

The house shrimp!

It seems to me I spoke about the house shrimp when I entered my very first posting. The dish is simple to prepare, very tasty and can be partially prepared in advance for those of you who don't like hanging around the kitchen when everyone else is having a good time!
Typically I only serve 6 per person but this night was and exception.

The House Shrimp

-1-1/2 pounds tail on large frozen uncooked shrimp (I use Costco's 20-25 per bag, peeled, tail on)
-1 small finely chopped shallot
-1 minced clove of garlic
-1/4 cup butter
-1 Tbsp lemon juice
-1 oz hot cognac (it's easier to flame when it's hot)!
-1/2 cup white wine
-1/2 cup whipping cream

Thaw shrimp in cold water, remove tails and pat dry with paper towel.
Saute the shallots in the butter on a medium high heat for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 1 more minute. Add shrimp and cook for 1 minute only. Remove from heat, heat cognac and light. Add to shrimp toss shrimp in flames. Shrimp must be undercooked at this point!!
Remove shrimp from pan and set aside. Return skillet to medium high heat, add wine, lemon juice and cream. Reduce to 1/3 quantity. Add shrimp and heat through (~ 2 minutes). Serve immediately garnish with dill or parsley zest of a lemon or anything you have which will add some colour.

If you prepare this dish in advance. After you toss the shrimp in the cognac and remove them from the pan, refrigerate the shrimp. You can reduce the sauce and refrigerate the reduced sauce until serving time. Bring the shrimp to room temperature, reheat sauce and add shrimp to hot sauce for 2 minutes and serve!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The birthday dinner continued!

Yes, you're right, the party is over and the dinner was tasty (according to Kyler and Jorja though, it didn't stack up to "Bob's" burgers)!

There was some more advance prep that took place before the dinner that I'll share with you.

I prepared the potato baskets earlier in the day...

On a box grater, grate 1 new potato for each basket. Assemble the shredded potato in the bottom of a 5 inch sieve that has been dipped in canola oil. Place another oil dipped sieve the same size on top of the potato and deep fry in canola oil until golen brown. I just used a small pot for the oil. They were reheated in a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes.

I sauteed fresh green beans from the market in a skillet with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Make sure they are quite crispy! I made a sauce with 2 tbsp butter, 1 minced shallot and 1/2 a squeezed lemon. I reheated the beans in the microwave then added the shallot butted just before serving.

The meat was removed from the marinate and left on the counter so it could be room temperature when cooked.
The salads were prepared and covered with plastic wrap. This is when you appreciate having a basement refrigerator! The dressing was added just before serving. I forgot to take a picture... oops!

We were all ready to go now...

Hor's doeurvres served and the courses began. I turned on the oven right after the soup was served.

The tenderloin was cooked for 35 minutes in a 325 degree oven. While the tenderloin rested covered with foil, I added the potato baskets to the oven, reheated the beans, the shallot sauce and the cream sauce for the tenderloin in the microwave. I sliced the meat quickly and plated the dinner on hot plates garnished with minced parsley and small pieces of seeded tomato. The whiskied cream sauce was the final addition to the plate and the main course was served. Whew! It was hot so I couldn't stop to take a picture!
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dinner party Thursday, prep time today!

The process begins. I do as much in advance as possible so I'm not tired the day of entertaining and I'm not stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is having a good time! The dinner Thursday evening is is very special. We are celebrating my very close and longest friend Barbara's birthday! She liked the menu, house shrimp is one of her favourites... good thing because I serve it often enough!!

Here is the menu!

Onion cheese wafers
Puffy crab bites
Smoked salmon stuffed cherry tomatoes

Roasted butternut squash soup

Mescalin salad with garlic dressing

The house shrimp!

Lime sherbet

Sliced beef tenderloin in a potato basket with creamy sauce and green beans with lemon

Angel food cake with strawberries and lemon cream

The butternut squash soup was made a couple of days ago and frozen. The recipe is from Fine Cooking magazine and it goes something like this. You fry a few slices of 1/2 inch cut bacon, remove it with a slotted spoon and then add the squash and stir for ~10 minutes. Add a little chopped fresh sage, chicken broth and simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Add 1/2 the bacon to the pot and swizzle with an imersion blender. The reaining bacon is for garnish. Freeze for future use!

Today I made the hor d'oeuvres, cheese wafers, crab puffs and smoked salmon filling for some cherry tomatoes.

Onion Cheese Wafers

This recipe was given to me many years ago by my friend Margot. It makes a lot and it freezes well so you have something on hand for unexpected company.

-1/2 cup butter
-1/2 lb. grated old chedder cheese (2 1/2 cups)
Mix in food processor until thoroughly blended
-Add 1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup flour
-1/2 pack onion soup mix
Blend thoroughly. Shape into 2-3 rolls 1 inch in diameter. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate or freeze. When ready to serve, slice roll into 1/4 inch slices (must be cold to slice not frozen)and bake on an ungreased pan at 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. I doubled the recipe and have 6 rolls in the freezer for the future!

Puffy Crab Bites

-1 small packet of finely chopped imitation crab meat
-4 chopped green onions
-1 tbsp. chopped parsley
-1/2 cup shredded monterey jack or old chedder cheese
-1 tsp dry mustard
-- a few good shakes of worcestershire sauce
Mix together and set aside.
Now make a choux paste...
-1/2 cup buttter
-1 cup flour
-a pinch of salt
Bring to a boil, add flour all at once. stir together quickly to form a smooth ball. Remove from heat and let cool for 1/2 an hour.
In a food processor, add 4 eggs, 1 at a time until mixture is shiny.
Add the crab mixture and pulse until it is combined.
Drop by tablespoon onto parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

I froze these too. They will reheat quickly in a 350 degree oven.

Filling for Cherry Tomatoes

-1/2 container of softened low fat spreadable cream cheese (4 oz)
-2 Tbsp horesradish mayonaise
-1 tbsp. minced capers
-zest of 1/2 a lemon
-1 tbsp. lemon juice
-5 finely chopped slices of smoked salmon
Refrigerate until ready to stuff tomatoes
When these are prepared the day of the party, the cherry tomatoes will be cut in half and seeds removed. I hope to have some pictures when it's all ready to serve.

I also made an angel food cake for the freezer. I never realized it was so simple and it freezes well! The recipe is in last months Canadian Living magazine. You can search on their website for the recipe "angel food cake with strawberries with lemon cream".

The beef tenderloin is trimmed and marinating in red wine with garlic, ginger and peppercorns-4 cloves minced garlic, 1 inch chopped ginger and 2 tsp cracked peppercorns. Rub the beef with this mixture, place in a zip lock bag and add 1/2 bottle of red wine (I used a shiraz).

Tomorrow is another day!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A little different Turkey Cutlet...

I recently read a recipe for babecued turkey cutlets...not sure where but I remembered some of the ingredients and what I forgot, I just made up! After all, isn't that what cooking everyday is all about?!
I know the recipe called for a full skin on, bone in breast. I had 3 skinned, deboned "cutlets" from Costco.... sounded good to me.

I served this with left over rosemary baby potatoes heated on the barbecue, barbecued asparagus with lemon, balsamic barbecued mushrooms and a tossed salad with a balsamic vinaigrette.

The Tossed Salad

If you have mescalin mix that's fine... I didn't! I used a romaine heart. As usual I look to see what is available for "add ins". I usually can count on some tomatoes and cucumber, the rest depends on the fridge crisper. This time it's baby carrots and some radishes. The vinaigrette is simple... Use a 2 cup measuring cup, add ~1/3 cup olive oil and half as much balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp. dijon mustard, 1 small clove of minced garlic 1 tsp. of honey and salt and pepper. Use an imersion blender to swizzle until the dressing is nice and thick. Season the salad just before the food comes inside. Don't use all of it... leftovers are always good!

And, now the rest..

-prick the 3 turkey breast cutlets with a fork
-in plastic resealable bag, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, a good shake of worcetershire sauce and a tsp. of dijon mustard...let that marinate for 15 minutes

Make a dry rub

-1 1/2 Tbsp celery salt
-1/2 tsp. cinamon
-1 1/2tbsp. brown sugar
-1/2 tsp ground cloves
-1/2 tsp dry mustard

Remove breasts from baggie and coat with rub. Place breasts in a foil lined pie plate (you know I like easy clean up)! Barbecue at 350 degrees F for ~1/2 and hour.
before the turkey is finished. Remove the turkey breasts from the pie plate and put them directly on the gril to "crisp" them a touch.


While the turkey is cooking, wrap the leftover baby potatoes in tin foil and add them to the barbecue 20 minutes before the breasts are cooked.


In the mean time, clean 10 button mushrooms (medium to small) and season with oil, salt and pepper and balsamic vinegar. Use enough oil to moisten and enough balsamic to flavour...This too can go into a foil lined pie plate, mix well. It needs about 10minutes on direct heat on the barbecue. Put them on just before you put the breast directly on the grill.


Clean enough asparagus to serve 2 people; dry and season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add directly to the grill as you are "crisping" the turkey cutlets. It takes aboout 6-8 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus... Dinner should finish at the same time. Sqeeze some fresh lemon juice over the asparagus before serving.

That's dinner... ehjoy. The good thing is, there is 1 cutlet leftover. Slice it into thin strips and it will make a great sandwich or topping for a caesar salad!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Salmon Dinner for 2

The King Salmon Tyler and Aiden caught July 11th in Lake Ontario (26 pounds)
-Multigrain Rice
-Barbecued Asparagus
-Taragon seasoned baby carrots

Pour 3/4 cup multigrain rice, 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock, 1 Tbsp. butter and a few sprinkles of salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil the reduce the temperature to low for ~50 min. When finished, add the juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon. Keep covered and it will stay hot if the rest of the meal is not quite ready.

Salmon Filets

Place 2 filets in a pie plate lined with foil sprayed with cooking spray
Sprinkle ~1/2 tsp. cumin on the filets, salt and freshly ground pepper
Mince 2 cloves of garlic and 2 tsp. freshly grated ginger... rub into the filets
Drizzle with sesame seed oil
Top with 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar

Heat barbecue to 400 degrees F and cook for 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the filets.

In the meantime, clean enough asparagus for 2, dry the spears.
Use a ziplock freezer bag... add a few Tbsp of olive oil and the same amount of balsamic vinegar. Add salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the asparagus to the ziplock and season with the oil and vinegar.
5 minutes before the salmon is finished, barbecue the asparagus till crisp tender.

Just before the asparagus hits the barbecue, boil the baby carrots for 5 minutes... make that trip to the herb garden and chop some of the "wild" taragon, salt and pepper and add a drizzle of lemon juice.

Wonderful, tasty and simple everyday dinner... Enjoy!

For dessert we enjoyed Cristina's mother's lemon and coconut squares.

The Herb Garden...

I've referred to my herb garden... I need to tell you that it only a tiny spot of built up land near our fire pit. We are primarily on rock here so when I requested an herb garden and there was no good place to plant, Frank built a 4 by 6 rectangle from 6 by 6 timber and we filled it with topsoil. I grow lemon balm, rosemary, oregano, thyme, chives, parsley(flat and curly leaf), basil and the taragon has taken over as you can see! The herb garden is off to the side of the property but I have a large oregano patch that is actually ground cover in the rocks "lakeside". I make daily trips to both spots to enhance the flavour of our food.

The Kitchen

This is where it all happens... good and bad! We retired to the rebuilt cottage 5 years ago...This beautiful kitchen is where all the fun happens! O.K. it's not exactly country looking ,but after all, we are in the country!! Let me tell you, 2 ovens are very helpful when you're entertaining a crowd....

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Morning Breakfast...

So now it’s Sunday morning, Tyler and Cristina are leaving early in the day and they can’t drive on an empty stomach.

I prepared a quick baked French toast that cooked itself while everyone showered and got ready for the day.

Simply slice a baguette or French bread in ½ inch slices, place them layered in a 9 by 13 buttered Pyrex dish.

Whisk 5 eggs plus 2 yolks with 2 cups table cream, a couple of tablespoons of Gran Marnier 2 tsp. vanilla and zest of half a lemon (I only had half left in my fridge)!

Pour over the bread and sop up the liquid patting the bread with the back of an egg flipper. Let it sit for 15 minutes. It won’t all absorb. Now sprinkle some raisins between and around the bread slices and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees F.

You’re not done yet!

Topping for the French toast
-1/3 cup chopped pecans
-1/3 cup butter
-2 Tbsp. corn syrup
-2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Combine all ingredients and heat in microwave just until spread able. 15 minutes before finishing in the oven, add the topping.

Serve hot with maple syrup, “Frank’s” bacon, a fruit salad, coffee and orange juice.

Frank’s bacon is cooked on a 300 degree F skillet and turned often until golden brown. It’s an art!

Now that will fill you up until you get to your next destination!

How this site came to be...

Well... This idea came up over breakfast in Sharbot Lake with my son and his girlfriend who were visiting from Newmarket. For those of you who don’t know, Sharbot Lake is in eastern Ontario, north east of Kingston and southwest of Ottawa.

Cooking has always been a hobby of mine and friends and family members are always asking me how I do the things that I do in the kitchen. You could say, cooking is my passion. Entertaining friends and family, with a delicious and well planned gourmet dinner, filled with multiple courses, may be terrifying for some people, but I love it. The most daunting part of that kind of enteraining for most people(I believe) is coming up with the ideas and or doing the research required to pull it off. I always put a lot of research into the dishes I make, and also do my best to ensure that I never serve the same thing twice, that is, except for the house shrimp, You'll have to come back to visit me here more often to find out about that! Before you close me off and move on, its not all about gourmet. Many of the things that are going to appear on this site are not always about gourmet dining. The recipes, presentations and uses for herbs and spices, can just as easy be applied to a casual dinner for you and your partner. Sometimes the hardest things to decide, is what do I serve my family for dinner tonight – besides Kraft dinner.

So never fear, I am here to save the day. As I was saying, all of this research is documented, just not online. I'm not very familiar with how all this works, however I am willing to give it a go and start sharing my adventures in the kitchen online with you.

Stay tuned as I have tons of ideas, and there will be many many updates to this site. If you enjoy good food, entertaining, and creative ideas in the kitchen, I think you'll enjoy living vicariously through my adventures in my lakeside country kitchen.

It was a beautiful week end, lots of sun and hot weather, a rarity for this summer. As a result, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen…. Why waste the good ole’ outdoors! Sharbot Lake was beautiful, the boat was calling and the beer was cold.

Dinner was simple and tasty on the barbecue. There were 4 of us. We had strip loin steaks, baby potatoes, green beans with hoisin sauce and a salad with oregano vinaigrette. One key ingredient is the “barbequer” – that’s Frank my husband. His most endearing quality is that he follows instructions without complaining. If the instructions aren’t clear - HE ASKS!

The strip loins (1 ½ inches thick) were marinated in

- generous amounts of freshly minced garlic

- generous shakes of Worcestershire sauce

- and a little shake of Montreal steak spice and salt and pepper to taste

Let the steaks sit quietly on your counter till room temperature, cook on a hot barbecue for about 5 minutes a side for rare beef.. Tent loosely with foil and rest for 5-10 minutes…..Succulent if I do say so myself!

Timing is everything! The potatoes were started on the barbecue half an hour before the steaks… Barbeque temperature about 400 degrees Fahrenheit - Start them low on direct heat for 20 minutes, then put them up on the rack for the remaining time. Turn them often.

Baby potatoes were seasoned as follows

-~30 baby potatoes (appetite dependent)!

-2 cloves freshly minced garlic

-a trip to my herb garden and a few sprigs of chopped rosemary were added

-just for fun I sprinkled a little “garlic plus” for good measure

-sprinkle with olive oil and mix it all up in a foil pie plate and barbecue for ~40 minutes (I don’t like a lot of clean up so I line my plate with tin foil, that way you get to use the plate over and over again)

The oregano vinaigrette can be made ahead and refrigerated. Put all of your ingredients in a 2 cup measuring cup.

-extra virgin olive oil

-red wine vinegar

- a clove of garlic

-a squeeze of honey

-1 tsp of Dijon mustard

-salt and pepper

-another trip to my herb garden for a small handful of fresh oregano leaves, wash and dry

Now, depending on how large your salad is, will dictate how much oil and vinegar to add. I always use 2:1 ratio oil to vinegar. In this case I think I used ~1/3 olive oil. I like my dressings more on the tart side. Use a hand blender and swizzle the dressing it should thicken nicely.

Toss with an assortment of romaine, mescaline mix, (combined, 6-8 cups), a few chopped baby carrots, diced cucumber and a tomato for colour. You can use radishes if you like; I just didn’t have any in my fridge!

Now the green beans were cooked inside just as the steaks were about to be turned over on the barbecue.

-Use ~3 hands full of green beans

-in a bowl, add 1 minced clove of garlic, 2 tsp freshly ground ginger, ~a tbsp. of rice wine vinegar, a few drops of sesame oil and ~a tbsp. of hoisin sauce. Combine.

In a large frying pan, medium high heat, add a few drizzles of olive oil and sauté the beans until they are tender crisp and little browned. Add your sauce and mix with tongs and empty into a heated plate.

Dinner is served, hope you enjoy it as much as we did.