Sunday, May 7, 2017


After spending some time reviewing the recipes in a new cookbook I got - Moosewood Restaurant Favorites, I decided to make a caramelized onion tart for supper. The tart or pie consists of caramelized onions, eggs, milk, five thin strips of chopped cooked bacon, about 1/4 cup shredded goat and vegan cheese baked in a pie shell. I made a few adaptations from the original recipe. I added chopped cooked bacon and left out a cup of cheese. I didn't have the hard cheeses suggested in the recipe and secondly, I am trying to decrease the amount of cheese and dairy I consume. Instead of first layering the onions and cheese on the bottom of the pie shell followed by adding the egg mixture, I combined the egg mixture, onion and bit of cheese together in the mixing bowl and added it to the pie shell. 

The tart turned out well and the DH went back for seconds. 

Top photo of onions starting to cook and bottom photo of onions after 25 minutes.
Ready to be served.


one pie crust for a 9 or 10 inch pie plate

Pie Filling

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil or other oil for sautéing
4 cups thinly sliced onions
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
4 large eggs
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp black pepper (I use less)
1 1/4 cups of milk (I use almond milk)
1 cup shredded sharp cheese
1/4 cup shredded smoked cheese


Make the pie crust dough or use a prepared bought pie dough

In a large frying pan, heat the oil on medium high heat. Add the onions, 1/2 tsp salt and dried thyme. If using fresh thyme, you will add it later. Sauté the onions for 5 minutes while they become translucent. Reduce the heat to low and cook the onions until they are very soft, browned and caramelized. They should cook for about 30 minutes and every few minutes stir the onions. If they are sticking add a little bit of water. Scrape the bottom of the pan if the onions are sticking. 

While the onions are cooking, mix the eggs, flour, mustard, the remaining 1/4 tsp of salt, the pepper and milk. Set aside. In a separate bowl combine the cheeses and caramelized onion.

Place the pie crust into the pie plate. Add the mixed cheeses and onions to the bottom of the pie plate. Spread over the pie crust. If you are using fresh thyme, place it on top of the cheese onion mixture. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese onion mixture. 

Place in a preheated 400 degree F oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the crust is crusty and golden. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6. 

Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


I have been reading a wonderful cookbook by Mark Bittman "How to Bake Everything". There are some many delicious recipes that it is hard to choose at times what to bake. In each of the recipes, Mark Bittman offers variations and where possible, how to make it vegan. I decided to make a recipe called 'fresh fruit and nut bread'. A number of interesting options are suggested for both the fruit and nuts. You can use fresh or dried fruit. I decided to use a fresh apple and pecans. It was also convenient that I had apple juice. I decreased the sugar and used 1/2 cup of Splenda. After mixing the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients (before I added the nuts and apple), I found the batter too dry to mix so I added about another 1/4 cup of apple juice. The batter is not supposed to be as liquid as cake since it is a bread style loaf but I thought it needed more liquid. I also added about 1 1/4 cups of chopped apple versus the 1 cup called for in the recipe. The apple I chopped was a generous size. Since I bake using a convection oven, the bread was done in 45 minutes.   

The apple and pecan loaf was scrumptious. It had chunks of apple, the pecans provided a nutty taste and the loaf was not too sweet.  The DH had to sample more than one slice. 

Chopped pecans and apple.

Top: Flour mixture with butter blended into it. Bottom: mixed batter.

Ready to bake in the oven.
Baked and ready for sampling.


2 cups of flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon 
4 tbsp cold butter
3/4 cup of apple juice or milk
1 tbsp grated orange or lemon zest
1 egg
1 medium size apple, chopped (makes about 1 cup)
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped 

Note: If you use apple juice, reduce sugar to 3/4 of a cup.  


In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, salt and cinnamon. Cut the cold butter into bits, add to the flour mixture and cut into the dry ingredients using a fork, 2 knives or a pastry blender. See aside.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg, add the juice or milk and zest. Continue to beat to mix the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients. You don't need to overmix it. Add the apple and pecans and fold into the batter. The batter will be drier than a cake batter.

Add the batter to a greased 9 X 5 inch loaf pan and place in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees F. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown. Cool on a rack before serving. After 15 minutes, you can carefully turn the loaf upside down to release it from the pan and onto the rack.  

Adapted from "How to Bake Everything" by Mark Bittman

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


After all the years I have been cooking, I recently cooked a brisket for the first time.  I have eaten brisket cooked by others but never performed the honour myself.  Cooking a brisket reminds me of cooking a more sophisticated pot roast. 

What is a brisket and where does it come?  From the website "", the brisket is the breast section of the cow beneath the first five ribs, behind the foreshank.  The brisket can be a large cut of meat.  It is an inexpensive boneless cut that requires long, slow cooking to achieve tenderness.  The cut is quite long and usually cut in half.  Each half has a different name.  The flat cut, also known as the first cut, thin cut, or center cut is a leaner piece of meat.  The point cut, or second cut, or deckle, has more flavor due to a bit of extra fat.  Which one do you use?  The first cut is more attractive, it slices up neatly and is a good choice for corned beef.  The second cut is a favorite of Jewish grandmothers, as the fatty cap helps braise the meat.  Pitmasters also gravitate toward the deckle, as the preponderance of fat makes for a juicy smoked cut that shreds nicely.  Brisket is the primary cut for barbecue, corned beef, and Jewish pot roast.  It is also the main ingredient in a number of other classic dishes - Romanian pastrami, Italian bollito misto, English braised beef or pot roast, the classic Vietnamese noodle soup pho is made with brisket, and it is curried with noodles in Hong Kong.

I spent time researching all of the variations on cooking brisket and reviewed many recipes.  I decided to use Lucy Waverman's recipe for brisket.  I made a few small changes.  The brisket I bought from the butcher was nine pounds and I cut it in half as it was long and I didn't have a pan large enough to sear it if I hadn't cut it into two parts.  I also trimmed some of the fat cap on the meat.  The fat was more on one side of the brisket.  It was more fat on it than what I thought was necessary and I thought that shaving some of the fat off the brisket would not alter the tenderness.  The recipe calls for carrots and cayenne pepper among the ingredients and I didn't add these two.  I could have also cooked the wine down more that is added to the frying pan once the meat is finished searing.  I cooked the roast for three and a half hours before adding the dates and then cooked it for another hour.  Total cooking time was four and a half hours.  I set the oven temperature at 275 degrees F for the first three hours and then increased it to 300 degrees as I was worried it was not going to be tender enough.  
I cooked the brisket the day before I was going to serve it.  After the brisket was finished cooking, I let it cool on the counter and then placed the meat into a container and put it in the fridge overnight.  It is much easier to carve the brisket when it is cold.  I put the stock with the vegetables from the roasting pan into a separate container and also put it in the fridge overnight.  I wanted the stock to solidify and to skim the fat off the top the following day.  On the second day, the DH carved the meat with an electric knife.  I heated the meat at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes in the oven in a covered roasting pan with a little of reserved stock poured over it.  I removed the fat from the top of the cooled stock, strained the vegetables and heated it in a pot on the stove.  Some people like to pour a bit of the stock over their serving of meat.  
The brisket turned out really well and everyone enjoyed it.  The meat was tender and moist.  It is a bit of work to cook a brisket but worth every bite. 
Here are some photos to show the process of cooking the brisket.

Second half of brisket being seared.

Both halves seared. 

Sautéing vegetables. 

Vegetables placed on bottom of large roasting pan. 

Seared brisket added to the pan.

Stock being cooked.

Stock added to roasting pan and ready to be covered and placed in the oven.

Carved meat, ready to be covered with tin foil and then heated. 

Brisket with vegetables and horseradish.

Saturday, April 8, 2017


About three years ago I posted a recipe for a soup with vegetables, sausage and quinoa (vegetable sausage quinoa soup).  I recently made it again but used some different ingredients.  When I buy a pack of italian sausage at Costco, there is more than enough for a few meals.  I tend to use a few sausages for soup.  I like the mild italian sausage which I find spicy enough and don't dare try the hot italian sausage.  I added about a heaping one third of a cup pearl barley and I could have easily added instead half a cup.  If you are following a paleo lifestyle, you would not be adding the barley and could add potato or other starchy vegetables.  I made this soup using an electric pressure cooker but it can also be made in a large soup pot on top of the stove.  The soup was delicious and it will make great lunch or supper options.


1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 carrots, thinly chopped
1 can of sliced mushrooms, drained or 1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
2 cups of frozen chopped green beans
1/2 package of frozen spinach 
1/3 cup heaping pearl barley
6 tomatoes, pureed or diced
2 italian sausages, chopped into small pieces
8 cups broth - vegetable, chicken or beef
1 tsp of italian seasoning
salt and pepper, optional


Add all of the ingredients to either a large pot on the stove or an electric pressure cooker.  If using the stop top method, heat to a boil and let simmer, covered, for 90 minutes.  If using the electric pressure cooker, cook on medium pressure for 16 minutes.  Makes 6 to 8 servings. 

Monday, March 13, 2017


Recently I saw this recipe from Karen Barnaby in my local newspaper and it looked so delicious that I had to make it.  It is a great combination of bananas and coconut.  I made a few changes to the recipe.  I used Splenda instead of sugar and almond milk instead of full fat coconut milk.  I baked the loaf in a silicon loaf pan, didn't line it with parchment paper and it took 60 minutes to bake in a convection oven.  The loaf turned out to be delicious and was enjoyed by the myself and the DH.

A wedge of the loaf ready for sampling.

You can see the sliced banana and coconut sprinkled on top. 


1½ cups  all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, divided 
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
½ cup coconut oil, melted
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed, ripe bananas, (3-4)
½ cup full-fat coconut milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ripe banana sliced into 1/4 inch slices


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F . Grease a 9 x 5-inch (23 x 13 cm), loaf pan. Line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. 
2. Whisk together flour, ¾ cup coconut, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. Beat the coconut oil and sugars until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Beat in bananas, coconut milk and vanilla
4. Add flour mixture to banana mixture and mix until just combined. Scrape into the prepared pan and top with the remaining 1/4 cup coconut and banana slices. 
5. Bake for 70-90 minutes. Test readiness by inserting a toothpick into the centre and it comes out with moist crumbs.  Let it cool before slicing.

Monday, February 20, 2017


I like to do some cooking on weekends in preparation for the week ahead when there is less time to cook supper.  I had some zucchini in the fridge and other vegetables along with some frozen ground beef.  I decided to make a lasagna without the noodles.  I didn't have any ricotta or cottage cheese nor mozzarella but I had frozen shredded herb cheddar along with parmesan in the fridge.  I knew that skipping the ricotta cheese would not be a hardship.  I used both fresh and frozen tomatoes to make the tomato sauce.  I added a bit of corn starch to thicken it.  Instead of fresh tomatoes you could use a can of tomato sauce.

In making this lasagna I had some ingredients leftover after assembling it in the large pan.  I used what was left and made a mini one layer lasagna in a small pan and froze it without baking for a future supper.  For a future supper, I will just need to bake it frozen and will pat myself on the back for planning ahead.

Sliced zucchini and mushrooms

Beef and vegetables sautéing. Then the tomato mixture was added to the pan.

Zucchini layer, followed by spinach and mushroom.

Second layer of meat, then zucchini followed by two kinds of cheese. 

Just out of the oven.


1 pound lean ground beef
1-2 tbsp oil, e.g. olive, avocado
1 onion diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 coloured pepper, chopped
I small can tomato paste
5 tomatoes
1 tbsp corn starch
1 small package of frozen spinach, thaw and drained in a colander
3 zucchini, cut into thin slices
5-6 mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp of dried oregano and 1/2 tsp dried basil or 1/2 tsp mixture of Italian herbs
6-8 ozs shredded cheese
1/3 - 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle the sliced zucchini with some salt and place in a colander to drain.  Let it sit while you assemble the ingredients and do the initial cooking.  In a large frying pan, heat the oil to high, add the ground beef and reduce the heat to medium.  Sauté the meat breaking it up into small pieces and cooking it until the pink is gone.  Sprinkle with pepper.  Add the onion, celery, coloured pepper and oregano/bail or blended herbs.  Cook until the vegetables are softened.  Add salt if so desired.

Into a blender, add the tomatoes and puree. Add the can of tomato paste and blend well. Add the corn starch and blend for another 15 to 20 seconds.  Add the tomato mixture to the frying pan with the beef.  Mix well and let simmer for a few minutes.  Turn the heat off on the frying pan.

Oil a 9 X 13 casserole dish.  Layer about half the beef tomato mixture into the bottom of the pan.  Add a layer of zucchini slices using half of the zucchini slices.  Layer all of the spinach and sliced mushrooms over top of zucchini.  Sprinkle with half of the shredded cheese.  Layer the remaining beef tomato mixture followed by the remaining zucchini.  Top with the rest of the shredded cheese and finish with the parmesan cheese.  Bake covered with foil at 325 degrees F for 45 minutes.  Remove the foil, increase the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.  It is good to let the lasagna sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 6.

Friday, February 3, 2017


With the turkey leftover from the number of meals over the holiday season, one of the things I made was turkey wild rice soup.  I had already froze the carcass and I had about two cups of leftover chopped turkey to use.  My options were to make soup or freeze the meat.  I had already made a turkey shepherd pie and froze it and had also froze part of a turkey breast after the first meal.  Freezing more turkey was not a preferred option.  I also had three sour cabbage rolls to use.  Using them would add some tang to the soup.   

I used a pressure cooker to make the soup.  My electric pressure cooker has a sauté option which I used to sauté the vegetables before cooking the soup.  I cooked it in the pressure cooker for 14 minutes on medium pressure.  The soup is delicious and the tanginess made it stand out as a soup.

Vegetables sautéing in the pressure cooker.

The wild rice and parsley added to the sauteed vegetables. 

Ready for sampling.


2 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil

1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 small coloured pepper, chopped
2 tbsp corn starch
1 cup water
4 cups water
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup milk - regular or plant based milk


Add the oil to a large pot and heat to a high temperature.  Add the garlic and onions and reduce the heat to medium.  Sauté for about 3 minutes and stir so that the onions and garlic don't stick. Add the celery, carrots, pepper and continue to sauté for about 5 minutes.  Add the wild rice and combine.

In a separate jar with a lid, add the corn starch and 1 cup of water and shake the jar to mix the starch with the water.  Add this to the soup pot.  Mix everything together.  Add the turkey, 4 cups of water, parsley, lemon juice and salt and pepper.  Combine everything and raise the heat back to high until it boils.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cooked covered with a lid for about an hour.  If the soup is too thick, add some water.  When done, add the cup of milk.  Serves 6 to 8 depending on portion size.

Adapted from all

Sunday, January 15, 2017


In thinking about what to make for supper, I decided to take the ingredients that you would use to make a Vietnamese spring roll or an egg roll but not use rice paper wrapper nor any deep frying.  I would sauté the meat and vegetables and serve it with rice or wrapped in large lettuce leaves to resemble a spring roll.  You can serve it with sweet chili sauce which adds some flavour.

It is a versatile recipe and you can substitute ground turkey, chicken or pork instead of the lean ground beef that I used.  You can also include other vegetables than those that I included.  I didn't have any mushrooms or water chestnuts to add to the sautéed vegetables.  To finely chop the carrots and cabbage I used a small food processor.  You could also use a grater to create finely chopped vegetables.  I didn't finely chop the celery and if I was using rice paper wrappers, I would have chopped the celery a lot more.  Both the DH and I enjoyed the dish and I would make it again.  

Ground beef browning in the frying pan.

Chopped celery and green onion.

Carrots and cabbage added to the pan.

Just about finished cooking.

Served with a small portion of rice.


1 pound lean ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 green onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
6 baby carrots, finely chopped
1/4 head of cabbage, finely chopped
salt and pepper
dash of sesame oil
dash of soy sauce or alternative
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large non-stick frying on the stove to high and add the lean ground meat.  Reduce heat to medium and sauté the meat until the pink is gone from the meat.  If you are using extra lean ground meat, you may need to add some avocado or other frying oil to the pan to sauté the meat.  Add the garlic and ginger and mix well. 

Reduce the heat to medium low and add the celery and green onion and sauté for a minute.  Add the carrots and cabbage and continue to sauté for five minutes.  If the mixture is sticking to the pan, reduce the heat to low.  Add the sesame oil, soup sauce and salt and pepper.  Combine well.  Serves 4. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


I cooked a large turkey this week and of course there are leftovers.  Besides the turkey, I had leftovers of cabbage rolls, gravy, mashed potatoes and stuffing.  After having turkey three days in a row, I had had enough turkey and we needed to go to Plan B.  Plan B is making things using turkey.  I followed up with three things. I froze part of one turkey breast and decided to make soup and shepherd's pie.  I had already frozen the carcass and bones after the meat was initially carved for future soups.

Using some of the fresh cooked turkey meat, I will make turkey rice vegetable soup.  I plan to add the three leftover cabbage rolls and these will add great flavour to the soup.  But that will be done  tomorrow.  Tonight, after supper was done, I made the shepherd's pie.  I decided to add some of the stuffing to the mashed potatoes as the top layer.  I had enough leftover mashed potatoes but thought adding the stuffing would add flavour and since the stuffing was really tasty I wanted to use some of it.  This recipe is adaptable to adding different vegetables depending on what you like.  I used a medium size pan, about 9 X 13 or so inches.  If you have less leftover turkey and mashed potatoes, you can use a smaller pan.  You can also use sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.  If you don't have leftover mashed potatoes, you can cook 2 to 3 potatoes and mash them to add as the topping.  I froze the assembled pie and will bake it for a future meal in a month or two.

Assembled and ready to freeze.


2 tbsp oil 
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
peas and corn - optional
2 to 3 cups chopped turkey 
1/3 cup gravy 
salt and pepper to taste

2 cups mashed potatoes
1 cup leftover stuffing
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese


Using a medium to large frying pan, add the oil and heat the pan using a high temperature.  Add the onion and garlic and reduce heat to medium.  Sauté for 5 minutes, stir often and don't let the onions get brown.  Add some water if the onions and garlic are sticking to the frying pan.  Add the remaining vegetables and continue sautéing and stirring for about five minutes.  Add some water if the mixture is sticking.  Add the turkey and gravy to the pan and combine well.  Turn the heat off. 

In a medium size bowl, combine the stuffing and mashed potatoes.  Add 1/4 cup of the grated cheese to the potato mixture and combine.

Into a baking pan, add the cooked vegetables, turkey and gravy.  Layer the mashed potatoes mixture on top.  Cover the top with the remaining 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Wrap it up for freezing or bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes.  If it is frozen and then placed in the oven, the baking time will be longer.   Serves 4 to 5 people. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016


This recipe is a remake of the traditional shepherd's pie but uses kidney beans instead of ground beef. It uses cheese but could be made using vegan cheese or nutritional yeast. I liked using kidney beans as the bean base as they are a larger hearty bean and I think better suited to this dish than using black beans or chick peas. The shepherd's pie turned out well and it was enjoyable.  I also like mashed potatoes which goes well with everything. Well almost everything.  I haven't tried mashed potatoes and chocolate but I have tried chocolate potato chips which I liked.

Carrots and celery added to the bottom of the casserole dish. 

The kidney bean mixture is layered over the carrots and celery.

Mashed potatoes and shredded cheese provide the top layer. 

1 onion, chopped            
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or almonds            
19 oz can kidney beans, drain and rinse
1 small can tomato paste            
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 tsp soy sauce            
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp herbes de provence or add marjoram and dried basil or use fresh thyme and basil
1 cup water
2 cups diced celery            
2 cups diced carrots
5 medium potatoes            
½ cup milk
½ cup shredded cheese            
Parmesan cheese to cover top


1. Peel, cut small & cook potatoes; drain & mash with the ½ cup milk and ¼ cup of the cheese.

2. Sauté in olive oil, the onion, garlic and walnuts for 5 minutes; add kidney beans, tomato paste, water, Worcestershire, soy sauce and herbs.  Bring to boil then simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Microwave carrots and celery in small amount water until almost cooked, drain & put in bottom of a sprayed casserole dish.  I used a large Corel casserole dish.

4. Top with the hot bean mixture.

5. Spread hot mashed potatoes over top; sprinkle with shredded cheese then Parmesan.

6. Bake @ 350°F until bubbly (about 30 minutes)  Serves 6.