Thursday, March 19, 2009

Canadian happened, one didn't...

Canadian Pine Cone Cheese Ball
(adapted from

16 oz. (2 8oz blocks) of cream cheese, softened
2 Cups of Canadian White Cheddar cheese (aged 2 years or more)
sprinkle Goya's adobo (with pepper) to taste...Ok.. I know it's not Canadian but we're a multicultural country and besides, it's just good with everything and it's a staple in our Canadian household! 
Check out:

Wishful Deviled Eggs:
ONE (count'em ONE) diced shallot...3 is WAY too many for a dozen eggs!
Hellman's light mayonaise (about 4 tablespoons)
Dry mustard - 1 teaspoon of Coleman's- is there any other?
splash of horseradish to taste

Monday, March 16, 2009

Main (con)Course, Anytown, Ontario, Canada

The signature drink:
"Hat Trick"
Maple Liquor (4 oz)
Canadian Club rye (1 oz)
Grated ginger (2 Tbsp)
Ginger ale (1 can)
Ginger beer (1 bottle)
 add more rye to taste :) 
Loosely based on the Ginger Zydeco from Food & Drink magazine (Spring 2008)

To drink:
East Dell - Black Cab 2007
Trius - Red 2007
Mike Weir - Cabernet Merlot 2007
Jackson Triggs - Meritage 2007 (although we didn't quite get to this bottle)
Peller Estates - Icewine 2007
(I apologize for the picture quality)

The Canadian main course (recipes follow):

Bison Burgers with Oka cheese and/or Canadian Cheddar
Roast Maple-Glazed Salmon
Wild Mushroon Risotto - the wild mushrooms qualify this as a Canadian dish!
Wilted Spinach with Roasted Garlic - a good substitute for fiddleheads, since they won't be out for a few weeks!

Bison Burgers with Cabernet Onions and Cheddar

Bon Appétit |  February 2009


  2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  3 cups sliced onions (about 2)

  3/4 cup Cabernet Sauvignon or other dry red wine

  1 pound ground bison (buffalo)

  2 tablespoons chopped shallots

  1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

  1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

  4 organic hamburger buns

  6 ounces sliced Wisconsin white cheddar cheese

  Dijon mustard


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy medium skillet over medium- high heat. Add onions, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until tender and golden brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to sauté until very tender and well browned, about 15 minutes longer. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cool, cover, and chill.

Preheat broiler. Gently mix meat and next 3 ingredients in large bowl. Shape into four 1/2-inch-thick patties. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Sprinkle burgers with salt and pepper; add to skillet. Cook until well browned, about 2 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Open buns and arrange, cut side up, on rimmed baking sheet. Place cheese slices on bun tops. Broil until cheese melts and bottom halves are lightly toasted, about 1 minute. We had people top with mustard and onions at the table.


Roast Maple-Glazed Salmon

Epicurious  | May 2003

 1 2-pound piece of boneless salmon (cut from the wide end of the fish)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup rum (we used Mount Gay dark rum - my favourite)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard


The recipe suggests a 2 hour marinating time. We did about six hours...and it was wonderfully flavourful!

Set the fish, skin side down, in a plastic container or shallow baking dish large enough to hold it flat.

In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, rum, and mustard. Rub the fish all over with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, turning once or twice.

Set the oven at 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Set the salmon on the baking sheet skin side down.

Roast the salmon for 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily when tested with the tip of a knife. Remove from the oven and slide onto a platter to serve. I think I overcooked this a bit - check after about 11 mins, just in case!


Wild Mushroom Risotto

Bon Appétit |  December 1999

 3 14 1/2-ounce cans vegetable broth

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 shallots, chopped

1 pound assorted wild mushrooms (such as oyster, crimini and stemmed shiitake), sliced

1 cup arborio rice* or medium-grain rice

1/2 cup dry Sherry

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)

3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme


Bring vegetable broth to simmer in medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low; cover and keep broth hot.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter with olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped shallots; sauté 1 minute. Add wild mushrooms; cook until mushrooms are tender and juices are released, about 8 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat. Add Sherry and simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 8 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add 3/4 cup hot vegetable broth and simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining hot vegetable broth 3/4 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh thyme. Serve warm.

I doubled this recipe and didn't need to! Several of the comments for this recipe also suggested adding peas, which I did at the last minute. They were quite tasty and prevented the dish from looking like a horrible, brown blob.


Wilted Spinach with Roasted Garlic

Bon Appétit |  November 2007

 12 garlic cloves, peeled

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 6-ounce bags fresh spinach

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place garlic on foil; drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Wrap garlic in foil; roast until soft, about 20 minutes.

Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add spinach and garlic with oil from foil packet. Sauté until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer spinach to bowl and serve.

This was a VERY loose translation. I also sautéed two onions and added them to the mix (actually 4 8 oz bags of spinach - we have leftovers of that, too!).  Spinach is just a tasty side - add onions and garlic and it's terribly good!


That's it for the mains - we'll post the recipes for the apps and desserts (yes, there were two desserts as well!) soon...stay tuned.

Canada, eh?

Yes, after much debate over the countries (Cambodia, China, Congo, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Chile, Chad, Columbia, etc) at our last feast, we chose Canada as our next destination for the Alpha Gourmet Club. We do live here all year round, but since much of our cuisine is influenced by our immigrant background - how lucky we are! - rarely do we eat "traditional" Canadian fare. 

And what is traditional Canadian fare? Well, it usually involves maple something, but beyond going into our French backyard, we were really rather limited. What actually comes to mind when asked about typical Canadian dishes? I actually have an easier time coming up with traditional German meals than Canadian meals simply because of my childhood memories of rouladen, noodle soup and, I can't wait until we get to the letter "G"!

So, Kristin and Vanessa had an unfortunate mishap with their intended appetizer, the ultra Canadian dish of deviled eggs. After day out-of-town, they intended to preserve the deviled eggs in a cooler in their car...except they forgot the ice. I imagine their Ford is going to be a bit smelly for several days! Instead, we were treated to fresh shrimp and an extradinary, pinecone-shaped Canadian cheddar cheese ball (with pepper infused Triscuits). The picture is just above. 

Friday, March 13, 2009

Barbados Mains...

Here are the long-awaited main course recipes for our Bajan-themed night. I can almost still taste it....

1.Barbados hot sauce
4 oz Green onions 
3/4 lb Onion 
1/2 oz Turmeric 
1/2 oz Mustard, powdered 
1/2 oz Salt 
20 Bonnet peppers 
1/4 lb Horseradish, grated 
6 Cloves garlic 
]White vinegar 

2. All Inclusive Salad



1 cup ripe golden Apple 
1 cup cantaloupe/ honey dew melon 
1 cup grapefruit segments 
1 cup young cucumber (chopped) 
1 cup firm ripe paw-paw 
1 cup firm table guavas 
1 cup firm ripe mangoes 
1 cup firm ripe carambolas 
¼ cup slicedOnion 
¼ cup white wine 
¼ cup honey 
1 lettuce 

Make a doily around a fruit bowl with lettuce leaves. Cut all fruit in uniform pieces. 
Mix last four (4) ingredients in a small bowl. 
Shake and pour over vegetable and fruits. 
Toss and decorate with carambolas, and cherries. Chill and serve.

3.Barbados Flying Fish
When eaten with cou-cou, fried flying fish is the national dish of Barbados. A truly delicious fish which is also prepared steamed. 

1 lb flying fish 
1½ tsp salt 
Juice of large lime 
1 clove garlic (crushed) 
1 tsp fresh minced chives 
1 small onion (minced) 
½ tsp dried marjoram 
Dash hot pepper sauce 
1/3 cup all purpose flour 
½ cup cornflakes crumbs 
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper powder 
¼ tsp black pepper 
1 egg ( lightly beaten) 
Oil for pan frying 
2 limes quartered for garnish 


Place fish fillets in a shallow plate or dish, season with 1 tsp salt and lime juice and set aside for 15 minutes. Drain and pat fish dry on paper towels. In a small mixing bowl mix garlic, chives, onion, marjoram and hot pepper sauce together. Rub mixture on fillets.

Mix flour, cayenne pepper,½ tsp salt and black pepper together in a shallow bowl. Dip the fillets in flour, then egg, then cornflakes crumbs. Heat oil in a heavy skillet and cook fillets for 3 minutes on each side. Keep fried fillets warm while cooking the remaining fillets. Garnish with lime wedges and serve.

4. Barbadian Seasoning

From Recipes Wiki

1 cup vinegar
2 oz thyme 
2 oz parsley 
1 lb onions 
5 oz green onions 
2 oz [marjoram 
4 Scotch Bonnet peppers or habanero (add more to make it hotter) 
4 oz garlic 
 oz ground clove 
2 tbs worcestershire sauce 
 tsp black pepper 
4 tbs salt 
 tsp MSG (optional) 

Remove the stems from the thyme and marjoram and place in a blender with vinegar. Liquefy. 
Place the [onions, green onions, parsley, peppers and garlic in a food processor and process for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Blend this together with the seasoned vinegar in a mixing bowl. 
Stir in the salt, MSG, worcestershire sauce, ground black pepper. Bottle and refrigerate. 
Leave it to stand for one week, before using as required. 

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5. Bajan Pork Roast

 3 lbs. boneless pork loin roast 
1/2 tsp. salt 
1 tbsp. ground cumin 
1 tbsp. chilli powder 
1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander 
1 tsp. cayenne pepper 
1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper 
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon 
3/4 tsp. brown sugar


Preheat oven to 350 F. 

Make a spice rub by mixing salt and all the spices. Dry the surface of the pork with paper towels. Rub the spices all over the pork. Place pork in a roasting pan and put in the oven. Cook for about 1 hour or until the pork achieves an internal temperature of 155F. Remove pork from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve. 

A traditional Bajan dish served on Christmas Day (and throughout the year for that matter). 

6.Peas and Rice
2 cups rice 
1 tbsp margarine 
3 tsp salt 
¼salt meat 
1 medium onion 
1 pint green pigeon peas 
1 tsp lime juice 
5 cups water 
1 bunch mixed herbs (your choice)

Boil peas with seasonings and herbs, salt meat until tender. Then sprinkle in rice, lime juice and chopped onion. Add margarine. Cover saucepan and boil over moderate heat, then allow to steam over low heat until the water is absorbed and rice grains are tender.