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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sushi Generations

I have not posted much this week, as it has been more than hectic, and I am not sure between now and the new year things will settle down. I think I just need to better organize my time, or learn to live off 4 hours of sleep. Things I have made in the last week have been nothing to brag about, much less post. Lets see I had rice krispies that were going stale, so I made peanut butter rice krispy bars, an omelete using up left overs in the fridge, a pita pizza and dined out more than once. After this weekend I hope to get back on track and get cooking and baking normal meals again.

I can't complain about having to eat out at my favorite sushi place though. I was introduced to Sushi Generations through a friend and it has become a great lunch place for a group of us girls to frequent and catch up with one another. The sushi is very fresh and flavorful, the presentation pretty and the serve always nice and polite. The presentation in the above is not representative of some of the dishes, noting I went with take out this time....told you it has been a lazy and crazy week.

On another note months ago I was tagged by Bexxie from Pies and Bass. At the time I was not blogging much and did not get around to passing on the tag. So I thought I would get going on this now.

Once you are tagged there are some rules to follow which are posted below. Then you are to tag 5 others.

Here are the MeMe rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.

2. Share 5 facts about yourself.

3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).

4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

Five Facts About Me

1. I graduated from Kinesiology (BSc. Kin) and worked as a Kin and personal trainer for 5 years. Now I work for a health and safety organization.

2. In my spare time I love to be outdoors be it running, hiking, and/or biking (or cooking of course).

3. My vice is red wine - (with bread and cheese).

4. My birthday is in November making me a scorpio - intense, determined, emotional, introvert, secretive, deep, passionate, loyal, brooding, extreme and mysterious..... seems pretty accurate!

5. My favorite season is fall as I love the fall foods, colors, the smell of the cool air and of course Halloween.

So here is who I am tagging:
1. Our Kitchen Sink
2. Apples and Butter
3. Butter Sugar Flour
4. Easy Does It
5. Feel Good Eats

Thursday, October 23, 2008

FoodBuzz 24 24 24

Here is a video of te inaugural 24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs event—which showcases 24 Featured Publisher blog posts around the globe in a 24-hour period. I think this video is really neat as it captures visually how international the Foodbuzz community is, while at the same time making us all feel so connected.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chicken Empanadas - Tapas Party

My friend is recently engaged and could not be more happy for the two of them. As they are both wordly people it is fitting that they held a taps and tapas engagement party.
The rules: each couple was to bring a taps and tapas from a country of their choice. There should be enough drink to serve 1/2 serving to each person and at least one tapas per person. In the end their was plenty of food and drink for seconds and thirds.

Immediately I had so many countries going through my head from Italian antipasti, Greek mezzes to Asian nibbles. However, in the end I went with a very traditional and savoury Spanish tapas - chicken empanadas served with Spanish wine. The other countries representing were Mexico with vegetarian quesadillas & corona, Poland with Perogies & a vodka martini, China with pork and shrimp dumplings & lychee martini, France with brie, bread & wine, Greece with fig and goat cheese puffed pastry & a ceasar.

The dough for this recipe is very unique and one which I obtained from my mother. It makes the pastry melt in your mouth once cooked. It is also easy to work with provided you have a well floured surface, as the cheese makes it a sticky dough. As for the filling I found a wonderful recipe over at Gourmet Girl's website.
The empanadas turned out really well with a golden flaky pastry and an wonderful array of flavors in the filling. I actually made a second batch for the freezer, a nice appetizer to keep on hand for last minute guests.


1 cup butter, at room temp
8 oz light cream cheese at room temp
1 cup flour

Mix all the ingredients together and form a ball. Refridgerate over night. When ready to use flour a surface (well floured as this dough can be sticky) and roll out a bit of the dough at a time to about 1/2 cm thickness. Use a cup about 5" in diameter to make circles. Continue doing this until all the dough is used up. Feel free to make them the size you wish.

Chicken Empanadas

8 oz. chicken breast, diced into 1" cubes
2 T olive oil
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tsp (2 cloves) minced garlic
1 T tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
2 T chopped cilantro
2 T chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped pimento stuffed olives
3 T raisins
1/2 cup white wine
salt and freshly ground black peppe

1. In a large skillet over medium heat combine olive oil, chicken, onion and bell pepper. Saute a few minutes until onions start to become soft. Add cumin, salt, pepper, and tomato paste and stir. Add garlic, cilantro, raisins, and olives and sautee for 3 minutes.

2. Add wine and scrape around edges of pan to de-glaze - this adds so much good flavor. Continue to cook stirring occasionally until all of the wine is absorbed. Set aside to cool.

3. . When filling has cooled, place about 2 tablespoons of it on one side of the pastry circle. Brush edges of dough with water. Fold in half and crimp with a fork.

4. Can store in fridge or freezer until ready to bake. Place empanadas on non-stick baking sheet (spray with non stick spray). Brush egg wash over each empanada so they do not dry out and so they get that nice golden look.

5. Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 375F.

Makes about 24 empanadas.

Picture Directions

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Spicy Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

I have been pretty sick this week with my throat being so sore soup is/was all I could swallow. Luckily I had some homemade soups - broccoli and potato leek in the freezer. However, when those ran out I went to the store and bought some sort of vegetable and rice soup, as I had no energy to even consider making anything. I was quickly reminded that these soups are tasteless and infused with so much sodium I could feel my blood pressure rising. Today I found out I have strep throat and have been put on antibiotics...however I do have a bit more energy so I was determined to make more homemade soup. I posted this on Two For Tuesdays Blog Hop, check out the link and post your own recipes.

While sick I have had the opportunity to browse some of my favourite blogs and stumbled upon an event I have been meaning to participate in No Croutons Required hosted by Holler of Tinned Tomatoes. This months event is Hearty Vegetarian Soups. With all the soups I have been making and eating lately I felt like this event was made for me. It was also good timing that on Thanksgiving I was fortunate to have my dad give me a butternut squash and a jalapeno from his lavish garden, both perfect vegetables for soup. The squash certainly looked better than my poor pumpkin, which the squirrels have slowly carved into a Jack-O-Lantern. Verdict on the soup is that it turned out to be silky smooth in texture with spicy warm flavors, exactly what my throat needed.

Spicy Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

1 large butternut squash (about 3 cups of 1" cubed pieces)
1 T butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 carrots peeled and sliced
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup whipping cream 35%
1/3 cup parsley for garnish
pepper to taste

Prepare all vegetable first by peeling and chopping them.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cayenne. Cook until onions are soft.

Add apples, carrots, squash and 3 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until vegetables are soft.

Transfer in batches to a blender and puree mixture. Once pureed return to pot and place on stove on low to med heat. Add cream and pepper. Adjust taste as desired.

Serve in bowls and top with parsley.

Try these great soups:

Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
Potato Leek Soup
Roasted Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Foodbuzz Publisher Community Launches

I am excited to spread the news about “the official launch of the Foodbuzz Publisher Community, which is comprised of more than 1,000 global food bloggers, known as “Featured Publishers.” On October 13, 2008 the Foodbuzz team posted this blog announcing their official launch:

“At launch, the Foodbuzz community successfully broke into the top ten rankings of internet destinations for food and dining, according to Quantcast, a global internet rating service.

In addition, the inaugural 24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs event—which aims to showcase 24 Featured Publisher blog posts around the globe in a 24-hour period—kicked off on Sept. 20 and successfully displayed to online food enthusiasts an international, virtual street festival of food and diversity.”’24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs’ captures the quality and unique local perspective of our food bloggers and shares it with the world,” said Ryan Stern, Director of the Foodbuzz Publisher Community. “It illustrates exactly what the future of food publishing is all about—real food, experienced by real people, shared real-time.”

Foodbuzz is proud to be the only online community with content created by food bloggers and rated by foodies, offering over 20,000 pieces of new food and dining content weekly. Members can vote for their favorite pieces of content (recipes, photos, blog posts, videos, restaurant reviews) by “buzzing” them up to the top of the daily menu of submissions. “Food bloggers are at the forefront of reality publishing and the dramatic growth of new media has redefined how food enthusiasts access tasty content,” said Doug Collister, Executive Vice President of Foodbuzz, Inc.Foodbuzz

While the site is logging over 14 million monthly page views and over three million unique monthly visits, the Foodbuzz blogger community is concurrently growing at a rate of 40 percent per month, driven by strong growth in existing partner blogs.

“Our goal is to be the number-one online source of quality food and dining content by promoting the talent, enthusiasm, and knowledge of food bloggers around the globe,” said Ben Dehan, founder and CEO of Foodbuzz, Inc. “Foodbuzz is like the stock of a great soup, allowing bloggers to contribute content and subsequently interact in a rapidly growing, online niche-specific community.”

I have been a member of Foodbuzz since May 2008 with almost 100 posts. During this time I have become acquainted with foodies from all over the world. This international community has inspired both my love of international cuisine as well as put me in touch with foodies who share similar ethics about locally grown food and sustainability. I have learned so much about food, cooking, culture and perhaps as or more important is what I have learned about people. Foodbuzz has also played a pivotal role in the growth of my blog. They even sent me these cute mini business cards advertising my blog and Foodbuzz. I absolutely love them!

Thank you Foodbuzz and congratulations on your launch.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Grilled Rack of Lamb & Ginger-Garlic Carrots

It is nice to see so many bloggers enjoying fall as much as I am. I have seen some beautiful soups, gratins, and desserts. I think the cooler weather makes us all enjoy cozy harvest foods. Being in a harvest mood myself I bought some market fresh baby carrots which I thought would compliment a rack of lamb and some roasted potatoes. I have never eaten a french cut rack of lamb and was excited to try this with either a marinade or red wine reduction. Although the red wine reduction sounded delicious, I was a bit of a lush and kept the wine for my own self indulgence and went with a grainy mustard and thyme marinade. It turned out very nice providing savoury flavors to this grill rack of lamb.

As for the carrots I wanted to do something a bit unique with more flavor. Thinking back to my green beans with lemon and garlic. I decided to go with garlic and ginger flavored carrots. For even more flavor I had herb seasoned potatoes. Overall a very tender and palate pleasing dinner which was served with a 2 year old wine which I have been waiting to open since my wedding. It was full bodied and a perfect match with the gamey lamb.

Lamb Marinade
2 french cut racks of lamb (1lbs)
1/8 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove
1/2 T grainy dijon mustard
1/2 T thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp rosemary

Mix all the ingredients together and rub on the lamb. Let sit for 4 hours in the fridge.

Preheat grill to med high and grill for 10 min per side for medium. Let rest for 10 minutes under foil so juices settle.


1 bunch of baby carrots with tops on, peeled
2 cloves garlic minced
1 T butter
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 T fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp salt

Steam carrots in steamer for 10 mins. Heat the butter in a large non stick pan over med heat. Add garlic, ginger and cook 1 min. Remove from heat. Add carrots, cilantro and remaining ingredients. Serve immediately with lamb.


Take 10-12 baby potatoes, and cut into wedges. Place them in a bowl and toss with 1 T of olive oil and season with pepper, herbs (rosemary, thyme), chili powder and a pinch of cayenne and paprika. Bake in the oven for 25 min at 375F.

Friday, October 10, 2008


You do not have to be in Cuba or Mexico to enjoy this nice tropical beverage (although I wouldn't mind relaxing by sitting on a beach anytime soon). In fact after a long day working around the house or hiking/biking, or just after a long hard week at work it is nice to retire to the deck and sip on this refreshing drink. I am not one to try many drinks, I like wine and beer and love to try endless types of both, but when it comes to alcohol I do not really drink it with the odd exceptions - like this again refreshing mojitos.

Unfortunately this past weekend was the last of my holidays before going back to work. However, on the bright side it is now Friday and I can now enjoy another one of these delicioius drinks as I relax on my now leaf infested patio. As much as I love fall it is nice to have a reminder of summer once and a while and with the temp at 20C I think this drink can be resurrected before the real frost sets in.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pan Seared Lemon-Garlic Shrimp

Well it has not been easy getting back to work after 2 weeks off. I have not had much time or energy to make the type of meals I was when I was off. In fact Monday was soup (although homemade) and Tuesday and omelette, which somehow turned into scrambled eggs. I am sure after at least a week of rest I will be up and able to cook again. But these light meals have been good noting how much food and drink I consumed over the past two weeks.

One of the dishes I made over my holidays was lemon garlic shrimp. If you are looking for a quick, savoury and attractive looking appetizer I’d recommend trying out these out. The smell of the garlic and lemon sautéed makes your mouth water. And they literally take only a few minutes.

12 large shrimp, raw
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lemon juice
1-2 T olive oil
1/4 cup parsley, fresh and chopped
salt and pepper

In a large skillet heat oil and garlic over medium high heat. Add lemon juice and parsley, Stir in shrimp until they turn pink. Season with salt and pepper while cooking.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce

My holidays have unfortunately come to an end. It was enjoyable to spend a couple weeks at home. It allowed me to get things in order in the new house such as finish the basement, as well as to see many friends and family.

This past weekend I was able to enjoy spending time with my nephews (3) at Saunders Farm. Saunders Farm in autumn offers harvest fun by day and haunting activities by night and is a great place for kids, families and those that like to get a little spooked this time of year.

With my nephews being 9mths, 2yrs and 4yrs old the daytime harvest was of course the best time to see the farm. During the daytime Saunders Pumpkin Farm offers pumpkin patches, puppet shows, harvest hayrides and mazes. There is also a haunted house available to older kids and adults during the day. I am pretty much a wimp when it comes to these things, but am always willing to try them. So clutched to my partner we made our way through the dark corridors, where things jumped out at us, screams could be heard (other then my own), chainsaws and spooky children chanting. It was spooky enough during the day that I am not sure I could endure the Field of Screams at night, which is basically a haunted field you walk through at night. Eerie!

Being in a pumpkin patch can certainly put you in the mood for fall fare. Last year was the first time I tried a spaghetti squash and just loved substituting it for pasta, that way I could indulge in more garlic bread. It makes a nice autumn dinner when topped with spaghetti sauce.

1 3/4 pounds extra lean ground beef
1 cup chopped chopped onions
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 (14 1/2 oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14 1/2oz) can beef broth
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp salt
1 large bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 can or chopped fresh mushrooms

1. Cook meat, onions, celery and garlic in a large saucepan over med-high until browned. Drain mixture. Return meat to saucepan stir in tomatoes and next 7 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 35min. Stir in parsley cook 5 min.

Aerial view of mazes at Saunders Farm.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

It was a pretty cold day yesterday and all I was craving was a hot bowl of soup to warm my chilled bones. I recently had a cream of broccoli soup at a local pub and as usual my obsessive compulsive behaviour pursuaded me to make a pot myself. I found this recipe in the first Looneyspoons cookbook, which I altered only slightly by adding more broccoli. I found the soup to be smooth and creamy without having to add any heavy cream. The recipes in these books are usually pretty good - simple, light but still loaded with flavor, perfect for your after work or school dinner.

1 cup chopped onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
4 cups broccoli florets (1 head of broccoli is good)
1 cup peeled and cubed potatoes (1 medium is good)
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
3/4 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp salt
4-5 dashes of hot pepper sauce

In a large saucepan add either non stick spray or 1 T olive oil. Add onions, garlic and celery. Cook and stir over medium heat until celery begins to soften (5min). Add broth, 3 cups of the broccoli and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 12 mins.

While soup is simmering steam the reserved (1 cup) broccoli unti tender. I microwaved it for 1 min and it was perfect. Set aside.

Transfer soup to a blender, working in batches and pulse on and off until sour is pureed but still sort of chunky. Return blended soup to pot over low heat.

Add steamed broccoli, pepper, thyme, worcestershire sauce, salt, hot pepper sauce, sour cream and cheese. Stir until smooth.

Serves 4-6