Monthly Archives: August 2013

roasted garlic, tomato and basil soup


Delicious soup using almost nothing but fresh, local ingredients. Perfect!

Roasted Garlic, Tomato and Basil Soup
8 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, roasted
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
6 tbsp basil, chopped. Save a little extra for garnish
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt & pepper to taste

First, roast your garlic. I made the garlic this weekend and kept it in the fridge. Trim the head off your garlic, place in some aluminium foil. Drizzle some olive oil on top and wrap it up nice and tight in your foil. Roast at 375 for about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then squeeze the garlic cloves out. Voila!

Next you want to roast your tomatoes and your onions. Preheat your oven to 400F. Combine your tomatoes, onion and olive oil and lay everything out in a roasting pan. Roast for about 15 minutes, remove from the oven and add the vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Return to the oven and cook for another 15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and pour all the content into a large pot over. Add broth, roasted garlic and half the basil. Using an immersion blender, puree the vegetables and broth until smooth. Add the cream and heat to a simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finish off with the rest of the basil and salt & pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!

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penne with honey garlic sausage & tomato sauce


Pancetta and sausage. How could this recipe go wrong?

It didn’t. It was delicious. So delicious in fact that I’ve skipped making dinner tonight and we’re eating leftovers.

I had some honey garlic sausage in the freezer which needed to be used up. A quick google search and I inspired myself from this recipe. I did make a few changes; I added some roughly chopped red bell pepper, omitted the mushrooms, capers and shallots, used my own tomato sauce and used fresh basil rather than Italian parsley. The end result was superb and I highly recommend it for all you meat-lovers out there.  The honey garlic sausage could easily be replaced with Italian sausage, and I will probably use that the next time I make this recipe (because there will be a next time!)

Penne with honey garlic sausage & tomato sauce
1 lb penne pasta
4 medium-sized honey garlic sausage
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 large red pepper, chopped
100 grams pancetta, sliced
2-3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped (I used closer to 5-6 tbsps)
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned (I used dehydrated tomatoes and covered them in boiling water for about 10 minutes before slicing them)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
4 cups tomato sauce

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook your pasta as per the instructions.

While your pasta cooks, grill your sausage over medium heat until cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.

In the same pan, fry up your pancetta until it is crispy. Turn down the heat and add the onions. Cook for about 2-3 minutes and add bell pepper.Cook another 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, sausage and about half the basil to the pan. Stir and bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once your pasta is cooked, drain and add to your pan. Toss to coat and remove from heat. Add half the cheese and stir. Serve and garnish with remaining basil and parmesan.

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sesame chicken


This recipe is ridiculously easy to make. It’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal! I’d chopped up all the chicken the night before so I actually had dinner on the table in a little under 25 minutes tonight. Perfect!

Sesame Chicken
Chicken:
1 egg
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 pinch each salt & pepper
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Sauce:
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp cornstarch

In a bowl, mix together the egg, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the mixture and toss until all the pieces are coated.

Heat the oil over high heat (you want the oil pretty darn hot!) add the chicken and all the egg mixture. Cook the chicken, only gently turning it to brown all sides, for about 10 minutes. You want your chicken to be nice and golden. Pour out any excess oil from the pan.

While the chicken is cooking, mix all the sauce ingredients together. Add to the chicken once it’s cooked. The sauce will begin to thicken as soon as it hits the pan. Stir for a minute and remove from the heat. The sauce should continue to thicken to the right consistency.

Serve over rice and sprinkle with extra sesame seeds and green onion.

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I was inspired by this recipe on Budget Bytes: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/08/easy-sesame-chicken/ but decided to increase some of the ratios for the sauce.

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fresh cherry crumble


I thought it would be fun to make a dessert with cherries what with them being in season and all.  Then I realized I’d have to pit the cherries. “How hard could that be?” I thought to myself. A quick google search led me to a YouTube video which suggested using the paper clip method. Well, by the time I was done pitting 4 cups of red, overripe cherries, I was ready to stab myself in the eye repeatedly with that paper clip.

Some wise person told me you could buy fresh Ontario cherries which have already been pitted. I think that’s what I’ll do next time.

Once the cherries were ready, I didn’t much feel like baking anymore. So I settled for a pretty simple crumble recipe which I topped with some amazing homemade vanilla ice cream from a shop up the street! Sweet Olenka’s in Etobicoke seriously makes some of the world’s best ice cream. If you’re ever in town, check them out. You won’t regret it.

Fresh Cherry Crumble
4 cups , pitted cherries
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp white sugar
¾ cup lightly packed brown sugar
½ cup flour
4 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
¾ cup old-fashioned oats
4 tbsp sliced almonds
¼ tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 375F.

Spray an oven-safe baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a bowl, toss the cherries with lemon juice and sugar. Pour into baking dish.

In another large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Using your hands add the butter and mix until well incorporated. You want it to be pebbly and crumbly.

Spoon the topping (streusel, if you want to sound fancy) on top of the cherry mixture.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes until the topping is golden brown.

Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or creme anglaise. Enjoy!

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cucumber dill salad


At the farmer’s market last weekend, my youngest insisted (well, begged, plead and cried) that I buy him a massively large English cucumber. He assured me he “loooooooves cuke-umbers” and promised me he would eat it.

Guess what? He apparently doesn’t and didn’t it.

That left me with one large cucumber to consume pretty much on my own. I was a little fed up with eating sliced cucumber with my lunch and decided to whip up a salad, instead. The picture doesn’t do this recipe justice, so trust me, and make it!

Cucumber Dill Salad
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
Juice of 1 smallish lemon
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 large English cucumber

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, sugar and dill. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cucumer and toss to coat.

Voilà!

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