Monday, November 23, 2009

It's time for tortieres

This recipe was given to me many years ago by George Chauvais who at the time was the President of the Federation of Chef's du Cuisine in Canada. It is a traditional French Canadian version of these wonderful pies and the nice feature is, they can be prepared in advance, cooked and frozen... All you have to do is thaw, and pop them in the oven to reheat.
Make enough crust for 4 tortieres. I use my standard recipe posted earlier and make the adjustment for 4 cups of flour.
The filling is as follows...
  • 4 pounds lean ground pork
  • 6 ounces of finely chopped onion
  • 8 ounces grated potato
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large frying pan or dutch oven, add 1 large tbsp of butter and cook onions stirring constantly until they are transparent.

Add pork at high temperature, stir constantly for 5-7 minutes, add garlic. Add water when pork turns grey not brown.

Add grated potato and salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cinnamon. It takes ~ 5 minutes for the potatoes to work in.

Cool the filling.

Prepare crusts, fill the unbaked pie shell with pork mixture. Add top crust, brush with a little egg wash and bake at 350 F for ~50 minutes or until the crust is golden.

I serve this with my sister Marcie's home made beans... mmm mmmm good!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Quick and easy chicken dinner for two

All you need is 2 chicken breasts 2 red potatoes quartered and 1 onion coarsely chopped.

Mix together 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 3 tbsp of Dijon mustard, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp olive oil, freshly ground pepper and 1/2 tsp salt. Put the chicken potatoes and onions in a foil lined pan (you know I hate big clean up jobs)! Mix with the sauce and bake at 350 F for 50 minutes.

I sliced a small pepper squash in half, scooped out the seeds and added 1 tsp of butter and 1 tsp of brown sugar to each half and put it in the oven with the chicken.

It all cooks at the same time...

Serve with a tossed salad ... like I told you... quick and easy but pretty tasty!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mini eggrolls...another munchie - and the leftovers was supper!

Many years ago when I was living in Ottawa, I took Chinese cooking lessons from Eliza Ko...Twenty years later I still pull out those original faded 8 by 12 inch sheets of recipes and cook up a Chinese storm!! This time it's just one item though..

Egg Rolls

You will need:
  • 1 cup of shredded cabbage and 1 cup shredded celery
  • 1/2 cup shredded bamboo shoots
  • 5 mushrooms shredded
  • 8 medium sized shrimps chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 1/2 lb minced pork (now I know why I had leftovers, I used 1 lb...duh)!!

Marinate for pork

  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp light soya sauce
  • a few drops of sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

Mix well and add to pork.


  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok over high heat, add garlic for a few seconds then add the pork stirring until meat has nearly all changed colour. Add the wine and shrimp and cook until shrimp is just pink. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Add 1 tbsp of oil to the wok over high heat and add celery and cabbage. Stir fry for 3 minutes, add bamboo shoots and mushrooms. Mix thoroughly. Return pork and shrimp mix to the pan and stir until well combined. Strain excessive liquid.
  3. To assemble, put 1 tbsp of mixture on an egg roll wrapper. Bring one side over the other and seal with water, then press the ends together sealing with alittle more water.
  4. Deep fry quickly in hot oil until lightly browned and drain on a paper towels.
  5. The recipe makes 20 egg rolls.

HOWEVER...I used wonton wrappers (way more work) but it makes ~60 mini egg rolls, great for a party. I freeze them, reheat in a 325 F oven for 5 minutes and serve hot with your favourite plum sauce!

Now dinner?? Because I had leftover pork mix(and shouldn't have), I added more mushrooms, cabbage, the leftover bamboo shoots, sliced a carrot and put it back on the stove. I added some more soya sauce, a good squirt of hoisin sauce and added a little pepper sauce too... Cooked up some basmatti rice, green beans with lemon and butter and presto... dinner. Good thing, I cooked all day and had nothing left for making dinner. It wasn't fancy but the leftovers didn't go in the garbage can either!

Monday, November 9, 2009

More hors d'oeuvres

Sun dried tomato purses in phyllo pastry and mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes in puff pastry.
For the mushroom hors d'oeuvres...
Roll 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry to 10 by 15 inches rectangle. Cut lengthwise in 4 equal pieces. Then cut width wise into 6 even slices so you have ~ 2 1/2 inch squares.
Prepare the filling...
1 shallot
10 oz button mushrooms
Pulse in food processor, do not puree!
In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of oil and fry mushrooms and shallots until dry ~6-7 minutes. Add a little salt, and a dash of hot pepper sauce and 2 tbsp of minced sun dried tomatoes and 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Cool filling.
Place 1 tsp filling in centre of pastry. Beat 1 egg and dot the edges of the pastry with the egg. Pinch the corners together. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the pastry with remaining egg wash and bake in a 425 F oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. I freeze them and reheat for 6 minutes in a 350 F oven.

Chinese cooking...curry chicken

This dinner cooks up quite quickly and is very tasty...

You will need

  • 1/2 lb chicken breast cut into thin slices

Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes in 2 tsp soya sauce, 1 tsp wine (I use vermouth if there is not any leftover wine sitting around), 1/2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp cornstarch .

Next you will need

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 slices minced ginger
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/ medium onion sliced into 2 inch strips1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 bell pepper cut into 1 inch thin strips
  • cauliflower florets (enough for 2)
  • sugar snap peas (enough for 2)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tbsp water

Heat wok or frying pan with oil, ginger, crushed red pepper, garlic and onion over high heat for 1 minute. Add chicken and stir fry for 1 1/2 minute. Add bell pepper and soup stock and cook for a minute then thicken with the cornstarch solution. Serve over rice with a salad. Quick dinner!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A quick casserole

We were out for dinner last night and were lucky to come home with some leftover roast venison .

I decided to chop the sliced venison and add it to my casserole dish.

Cook 2 cups of elbow macaroni for 10 minutes and drain. Add 4 ounces of softened cream cheese and mix well.

In a skillet, saute 1 lb of ground meat with 1 chopped onion and 1 cup sliced mushrooms. Add 8 oz tomato sauce, 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes, 1 tsp of sugar, a shake of Worcestershire sauce and 2 minced cloves of garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in leftover venison and 1 cup of sour cream. In a casserole dish, add 1/2 the noodles, 1/2 the meat mixture and repeat. Top with grated cheddar if you like. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for ~45 minutes.

I served this with a tossed salad with a vinaigrette sauce and sauteed green beans with garlic, grated ginger and touch of maple syrup.

It tasted pretty good! Not as boring as a usual casserole.

Buttery almond cookies and lemon squares

The almond cookies reminded Brian of his mom's Christmas baking...
This recipe is from the Taste of Home Dec. Jan. 09/10 issue "Cookies and Bars"
Just a little note...the almond cookies don't seem like they are going to stay together because the dough is so fragile...but, don't despair ...they do!

They make ~ 4 dozen (you should see my freezer)!
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar divided
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup chopped almonds

Cream the butter and 1/2 cup icing sugar, add flour and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the almonds and shape into 1 inch balls.

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 F for 15 minutes or until the bottoms are a light golden brown. Cool for a few minutes and roll them in remaining icing sugar... Enjoy!

Lemon coconut squares

This recipe makes and another 4 dozen.

  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 3/4 cup cold butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup flaked coconut

Combine flour and icing sugar;cut in butter until crumbly. Press into 13 by 9 baking dish and bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.

Beat eggs, sugar, lemon juice and and baking powder until combined. Pour over crust and sprinkle with coconut. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes. Cool and cut into squares... Nummy little bites!!

Tiny tortieres

These are a little picky to make, but, most people enjoy the flavour.

In a large saucepan add the following ingredients:

1 lb ground beef and 1/2 lb ground pork
1 finely chopped small onion

salt and pepper

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 minced clove of garlic
3/4 cup water

Simmer for~ 15 minutes.

Use my previous peach pie crust and prepare recipe for 2 cups of flour. Roll dough and cut 2 1/2 inch circles for mini muffin tins. spoon in meat mixture to fill. Cut small circle of dough to top tortieres. Bake at 400 degrees for ~ 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Freeze. Reheat in a 325 degree F oven for ~10 minutes.

hors d'oeuvres time again Christmas is just around the corner!

I make my selection of tasty morsels from several sources but the one I defer to most frequently is Jean Pare's "Company's Coming" It's the pink book entitled, "Appetizers".

These Cheese Nut Pinwheels freeze beautifully and are quick to reheat right from the freezer...

The filling is:

  • 4 oz cream cheese at room temperature

  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar (I add a mixture if I have something special on hand)

  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 2 tbsp minced onion

  • a dash of Worcestershire sauce

Mix together and set aside.

For the pastry:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • 1/2 tsp salt

Mix together in a bowl

  • Add 3 tbsp of olive oil to 1/4 cup of water and add to the dry ingredients. Add a little more water if needed to make a soft dough. Roll into a 9 by 12 inch rectangle. Spread filling evenly. Roll up from long end to form a log. Pinch to seal. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour. Slice 1/4 inch thick pieces and bake on parchment paper at 400 F for 10 minutes until golden brown. Freeze. Reheat for 10 minutes in a 300 degree oven.