A collection of pictures and recipes from my culinary journey

Watermelon salad with mint and feta

Watermelon salad with feta and mint

1 small watermelon cut into bite size cubes
1 200 gram package of feta crumbled
2-3 TBSP of fresh mint chiffonade (I used a combination of spearmint and orange mint but you can use whatever you have on hand)
2 cups sunflower sprouts to top (You could use other sprouts or arugula also, the key is to get something that is earthy or peppery to play off the sweet of the watermelon and saltiness of the feta)
1 1/2 cup balsalmic vinegar reduced to a syrup

Cut watermelon in even slices
Remove rind from watermelon and cut into bite size cubes
Place mint leaves one on top of the other and roll, slice thinly to create a chiffonade
In large bowl add watermelon and mint, stir to combine
Add crumbled feta and lightly toss to combine
Sprinkle sprouts on top to garnish

In a small saucepan heat balsamic vinegar over a medium heat until it begins to bubble and then reduce to a simmer. To reduce the vinegar to a syrup it will take approxinately 15 minutes)

Just before serving drizzle the balsamic syrup over top of the salad

Strawberry Grand Marnier granita

Strawberry Grand Marnier granita

1 pint fresh strawberries hulled and cut into quarters
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
1 cup sugar

In a food processor blend berries until smooth
Add remaining ingredients and blend to combine
(If you want a smoother granita you could strain the mixture but I love the vibrant bits of strawberry )
Pour mixture into a glass baking dish and put into the freezer
You want to freeze the mixture for 4 hours in total. Each hour run a fork through mixture to break up the ice crystals.

Serve with or without whipped cream and garnish with mint.

This recipe would also be excellent with a little grated lemon zest

For the love of lamb
I LOVE lamb, so versatile and rich in flavour but often find myself frustrated that most of the product in grocery store is brought in from New Zealand, and while tasty I can’t help thinking of how far it has travelled and the environmental impacts. Ontario has some gorgeous lamb if you can source it out. While shopping at one of my new favorite farmer’s market Trinity Bellwoods, I have discovered a wonderful producer of grass fed beef and lamb Twincreeks farm. Producing Certified organic grown vegetables and meats they showcase their produce and meats at 3 different farmers markets and offer 6 month CSA programs. For the past few weeks I have been indulging in their grass fed beef and lamb and have to say it is some of the best I have ever had. Food you can feel good about. Get to know and support your local farmers. Get Fresh Get Fabulous, Get local!

Dijon and herb crusted rack of lamb with Ontario Chard

Mustard and herb rack of lamb with Ontario chard

1 rack lamb
2 TBSP dijon mustard
1TBSP fresh chopped mint (I used orange mint from the matchbox seed company)
1 TBSP freshly chopped thyme
1/2 cup organic clover honey
2 TBSP olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
In an oven proof skillet heat oil
Season lamb with salt and pepper
Combine herbs, mustard, dijon, and honey in a small bowl
Add to skillet and sear fat side down (approximately 2 minutes)
Turn lamb rack over and evenly spread dijon mixture over lamb
Put skillet in oven and cook for approx 20 min for medium rare

Remove from oven and tent with foil and let meat rest for approximately 10 min to allow juices to return to meat.

While meat is resting steam the chard

Grass Fed lamb chop with wild blueberry, balsamic, and thyme sauce

Grass fed lamb chop with wild blueberry, balsamic, and thyme sauce

2 TBSP oil oil
2 lamb chops
1 pint blueberries
3 cloves of garlic
2 TBSP freshly chopped thyme
1 cup balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Herbs or sprouts to garnish ( I used sunflower sprouts)

preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat combine balsamic vinegar, bluberries, garlic and thyme. Reduce heat to simmer when sauce starts to bubble and let reduce by 1/2. Remove from heat

In an oven proof skillet, heat olive oil
Season both sides of chops with salt and pepper
Sear on each side approximately 2 minutes per side
Place skillet in for 20 minutes for medium rare
Remove skillet from oven and place chops on a cuttling board, tent with foil and let sit for ten minutes.

To plate top with wild blueberry sauce and fresh herbs or sprouts

Lemon cupcakes with strawberry butter cream

Lemon cupcakes with strawberry butter cream

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs … See More
2 teaspoons lemon extract
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

Cream butter and sugar together

Add eggs and extract and mix until throughly combined

In a mixing bowl Combine flour baking powder and salt

With mixer running, Add flour mixture alterately with milk until throughly combined

Line cupcake pans with paper cupcake liners and fill 2/3 full

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through

Let cupcakes cool and frost with strawberry butter cream

Strawberry butter cream

1 1/2 sticks butter
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup fresh strawberry coulis
approx 2 cups icing sugar

Whisk butter, cream and strawberry coulis together (for strawberry coulis I took about 20 fresh strawberries and quartered them and heated them with 3 TBSP sugar until juices start to release, when cool enough, puree in a food processor)

Add icing sugar a little at a time whisking in between until desired thickness

This was an experiment so play with the icing sugar measurement

Garnish with fresh strawberry

Chevre and Thyme souffle

Chevre and thyme souffle

While the earth rumbled in Toronto with a 5.5 earthquake and the helicopters circled overhead I was dreaming up my dinner. Souffle as light and airy as clouds on the sunniest of days, that would make the ground tremble beneath my feet in a good way. Pairs well with reisling, pinot grigio, pinot blanc. Super easy, and airy. This souffle will have you sighing Fabulous! with very little effort

2 tbsp butter (plus more to grease rammekins)
4 egg whites
2 egg yolks
2 TBSP flour
6 oz chevre (roughly crumbled)
1 TBSP fresh thyme (plus more for garnish)
Salt and pepper if desired

I like to get all my ingredients for this together in little bowls so I can work quickly and have everything measured and ready to add

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease rammekins with butter and coat insides with bread crumbs or nuts. I used a hazelnut and thyme combination…tap out excess

Seperate egg yolks and egg whites. Place whites in a mixer or mixing bowl. Place yolks in a a seperate bowl , whisk and reserve

In a medium sauce pan over medium low heat melt 2 TBSP butter

Add flour and whisk constantly for about 3 min (this step cooks out any raw flour flavour)

Increase heat to medium and add in milk whisking constantly for another 5 minutes (mixture will be very thick)

Whisk in 1/2 the goat cheese and the thyme and stir until smooth.

Add salt and pepper if desired (I am trying to watch sodium and skipped them as the chevre and thyme are very flavorful as it is)

Whisk in egg yolks and remove from heat

Let cool for about 5 minutes

While mixture is cooling beat or whisk egg whites until they form stiff peaks

After mixture has cooled for 5 minutes fold 1/4 of the whites into the saucepan to lighten your mixture

Add combined mixture into the mixing bowl and fold in the remainder of the whites

Fold in remaining chevre

Divide mixture into rammekins (this made two for me in medium rammekins)

Place rammekins in a metal backing dish and fill with hot water until half way up the sides

Bake in a 350 degree oven until they rise above the top of rammekin and are golden and slightly crispy on outside

Garnish with fresh thyme and serve in their rammekins immediately

Fashionista tip if you are not cooking for two you can refrigerate and then rebake the second one for 10 minutes at 350 for a second delicious meal

Steak with Merlot dijon thyme sauce with chevre, strawberry salad

1 tsp butter
1 TBSP olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup merlot (I used a local 2007 Lailey Merlot)
1 TBSP dijon mustard
2 cups washed lettuce torn into bite size pieces
2 TBSP chevre
2 TBSP toasted pecans
5 strawberries cut into quarters

Preheat oven to 350
Heat butter and olive oil in an oven proof skillet
Season steak on each side with salt and pepper
When pan is very hot add steak and sear on each side for approx 2 min per side
Place skillet in oven and cook for 10 more min
Remove steak from pan and tent in foil to let meat rest and juices return to meat
Place skillet on stove top and immediately add wine to deglaze pan ensuring to scrape up and brown bits as they will add alot of flavour to your sauce.
Add dijon mustard and whisk until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Reduce heat to simmer and let sauce reduce.

While your sauce is reducing and your meat is resting. Toss your lettuce in a bowl with dressing ( I used a homemade balsamic vinagrette) add chevre and toss in strawberries and pecans.

Plate steak and salad and drizzle wine sauce ontop of meat. Garnish with Thyme sprigs

Plate and enjoy!!!

This meal is almost 100% local with the exceptions being the olive oil, the balsamic and dijon…the flavour can be further enhanced by pairing a nice Merlot…highly recommend the 2007 Lailey Merlot.

Steak with merlot, dijon, thyme sauce and salad with chevre and strawberries

Strawberry rhubarb mini coffee cakes with pecan brown sugar crumble.

Nothing says summer to me like rhubarb and sun sweet Ontario strawberries. My friend Carolyn Berridge Lundy had an excellent recipe for rhubarb coffee cake and this is my adaptation. Living on my own I like to make individuals cakes so I can enjoy them throughout the week or freeze them. After a gorgeous walk in the sunshine I was craving something that satisfied my sweet tooth and and tasted as summery as I was feeling. This recipe definitely did both.

Strawberry rhubarb mini coffee cakes with pecan crumble topping

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 1/2 cups flour… See More
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 TBSP lemon zest

For topping
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans
1 TBSp softened butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Combine sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla in an electric mixer until completely combined.
In a large bowl mix together flour, baking soda, and salt
Add in batches to sugar mixture alternating with milk.
Stir in rhubarb, strawberries, and nuts.
In a small bowl mix 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup peans and 1 TBSP butter until crunbly and combined
Grease muffin pans and pour in batter
Add topping on top of batter
Bake at 350 until cooked through about 30 -35 minutes
a few seconds ago ·

Strawberry rhubarb mini coffee cakes with pecan crumble topping

Love your left overs- Layered Asparagus mousse and tomato salad

Love your Leftovers- Layered Asparagus Mousse and tomato salad

One of the common complaints from my friends about cooking for one is that you have leftovers and are eating things for days. My take on this you can transform your left overs into very different dishes with very different taste experiences and presentations and make cooking for one fun. For this dish I used the left over asparagus mousse from the grassfed beef and asparagus 3 ways, and tomato from the whole tomato salad with crostini and arugula, cut the tomato and simply layered them in a martini glass. Fresh and Fabulous. A whole new gorgeous dish in minutes!

Love your leftovers- Layered Asparagus Mousse and tomato salad

Ontario Berkshire pork stuffed with beet greens, green apple, and lemon fetish cheese topped with a late autumn reisling and thyme sauce

Ontario Berkshire stuffed with beet greens, green apple, and lemon fetish cheese topped with late autumn reisling and thyme

1 pork chop (I used Ontario Berkshire)
25 grams Lemon fetish cheese (If you can’t find this try feta and add a little lemon zest)
1/2 green apple cored peeled and chopped
1 half bunch beet greens chopped roughly…about 2 cups raw
1 cup reisling
1 TBSP fresh thyme leaves
approximately 1 tbsp buerre manie (1 TBSP flour and 1 TBSP butter combined completely with fork) a little at a time until the desired thickness.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Steam beet greens and drain off excess water
Sautee apple with 1/4 cup water until tender
Combine in beet greens and apple in a bowl with the cheese
Cut pork chop in half and layer in filling
Bake in oven until cooked through…approx 20 minutes

While pork is cooking heat 1 cup reisling wine with 1 TBSP fresh thyme leaves over medium to high heat until it hits the boiling point…reduce to a simmer and stir in beurre manie a little at a time until you reach the desired thickness.

Remove pork from oven and tent with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes to allow juices to return to meat. While meat is resting cook three slices on apple for garnish in the same skillet you cooked the pork in for color and flavour until softened…about 3-5 min.

To plate layer a little of the beet greens directly onto plate. Place pork chop on top. Spoon reisling sauce on top. Garnish with sliced apples and a spring of fresh thyme

Ontario Muscovy Duck with Rhubarb, ginger and reisling sauce on a bed local spinach

Ontario Muscovy duck with rhubarb, ginger, and reisling sauce on a bed of local spinach

Grass fed ribe eye with baco noir reduction and asparagus 3 ways

Grass fed ribeye with baco noir reduction and asparagus 3 ways

Caprese Salad

Nothing is as gorgeous or easy as a Caprese salad. Incredible color of tomato and basil, soft Bononcini, gleaming olive oil and sweet syrupy aged balsamic. Get fabulous in 10 minutes or less!

Caprese Salad

Medium red tomato
Medium Yellow tomato
Fresh Boconccini
Basil Leaves
Aged Balsamic vinegar (I used 12 year old)

Cut tomatoes, and Boconccini and layer alternating colors of tomatos with the cheese and basil leaves. Pour a good quality extra virgin olive oil in the center and pour balsamic in center of oil.

Voila affordable and very fresh and fabulous!

Lemon Laquered Salmon with minted peas and couscous

The sun was shining on the market at Trinity Bellwoods farmers market today and nothing says sunshine to me like lemon and mint…

Lemon Laquered salmon with minted peas and couscous

Preheat oven to 350

For laquer … See More
In a small saucepan combine 3 tbsp organic local honey, a pinch sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper, juice of one lemon and the zest of half of lemon. Cook until reduced and syrupy

Brush salmon and bake for 20 min, brushing with lemon mixture again half way through cooking

Add on cup boiling water to one cup couscous and cover. Let sit for 5-10 min until couscous has absorbed all water and fluff with a fork. Add 1 Tbsp Olive Oil and stir. Top with a bit of lemon zest and fresh mint

Shell peas and place in boiling water. Cook unti tender about 7 minutes and place in ice water to shock them, this retains the color. Drain immediately and add 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp fresh chopped mint

Scape Pesto

Gorgeous scapes are a sign of early summer in Ontario. With a delicious garlic, green onion flavour they are very versatile. One of my favorite ways to serve them so far is to make a Pesto. Recipe adapted from What Geeks Eat.

1 bunch scapes
1 cup parmasean cheese
1/2 cup walnuts
3/4 cup to 1 cup Extra Virgin olive oil

Wash scapes and cut into 1 inch pieces
Chop finely in a food processor
Add Parmasean cheese and walnuts and pulse to combine
Add Olive oil in a steady stream while processing until you get to your desired consistency. Store in an air tight container for up to a week.

Ontario Scapes

Scape Pesto

Seared Sea Scallops with scape pesto

2 large Sea Scallops
1 tbsp extra virgin oil
4 thin slices of zucchini
salt and pepper to taste

Using a mandoline slice zucchini lengthwise to create long ribbons
Cook in boiling water for approximately 2 minutes and immerse immediately in an ice bath.
Set aside and let Dry on a paper towel

Season sea scallops on each side with salt and pepper
heat oil in a skillet
Sear scallops until cooked through and lightly colored approx 3 min on each side

Wrap warm scallops in 2 slices of zucchini and lay seam down on plate on top of scape pesto (see recipe above)

Seared Sea Scallops wrapped in zucchini with scape pesto

Whole Tomato Salad with Crostini and ArugulaInspired by all the vibrant colors of the farmers market and a wedding show I saw on the weekend on the food network. This very simple salad fills your mouth with summery flavour and you will feel like you just stepped into a 5 star restaurant.

Whole Tomato salad with crostini and arugula

1 Medium size ripe but firm tomato
1 Mini sourdough baguette
1/2 cup arugula
Olive oil to brush crostini
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Slice Baguette on the diagonal into thin slices and brush both sides with extra virgin olive oil
Place baguette slices on cookie sheet and cook in a 350 degree oven until golden approximately 15-20 min (you will only need one for this dish but I recommend making some extra so you have some on hand to top with pesto, or fresh tomatoes etc.)
Wash tomato and cut a small x in the bottom
Immerse tomato in boiling water for 1 minute to loosen skin and then immerse immediately in an ice bath
Remove skin from tomato. Turn tomato right side up and remove the core.
In a small sauce pan over low-medium heat reduce balsamic vinegar until thickened and syrupy- about 15 min
To plate…place crostini on top of tomato and top with arugula and drizzle with the balsamic reduction.

Perfect and simple as this dish is, you could also stuff parmasean or chevre into centre of tomato for something extra or if you are eating this alone as a meal instead of an appetizer.

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