Friday, November 7, 2014

Coconut Mmmmacaroons

The holidays are fast approaching so here's a quick and easy cookie recipe that tastes and looks like you spent a lot more time on them than you'll actually have to. They are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. This recipe can be halved, or adjusted to taste and the cookies can be frozen. So versatile, so easy, so delicious!


Coconut Macaroons 

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Dark chocolate, melted (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, coconut and salt, then stir in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until well blended.
For a messier cookie, drop mixture by large spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Or, chill the mixture in the fridge for an hour to make a firmer dough that you can roll into balls. This will make a smoother cookie, which is slightly easier to dip in melted chocolate.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until coconut is toasted. Remove from oven and cool.
Once cookies have cooled, drizzle with or dip into melted chocolate.

Alternative: Substitute the vanilla with almond extract and top with sliced almonds before baking.

Buen Provecho!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Quinoa, Pear & Spinach Salad with Moroccan Spiced Lemon Dressing

Here's a quick and easy recipe that I've been asked for a few times, and instead of giving it just to those who've asked, I'm sharing it with everyone! (Good things should be shared, right?)
It's chock-full of healthy, seasonal fruits and veggies and tastes fresh and delicious!
And since I forgot to take pictures I'm including some factoids on some of the super-foods that are included in the recipe. Enjoy!

Moroccan spiced lemon dressing

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about half a large lemon) and zest, minced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (if using water or unsalted chicken broth)
  • Moroccan spiced lemon dressing
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • 1 pear, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ small red onion, finely sliced
  • ¼ cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds), toasted
  1. Prepare quinoa. Bring stock to a boil (with salt) and add quinoa, stir to prevent lumps. Reduce heat to med-low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff quinoa with a fork and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes. 
  2. While quinoa is cooking, prepare dressing: whisk lemon juice, yogurt, honey, cumin, cinnamon and ginger in a small bowl until blended. Slowly whisk in oil so the dressing becomes smooth and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer the quinoa to a medium bowl and toss with ½ of the prepared dressing. Let cool.
  4.  Just before serving, toss the spinach with the remaining dressing and top with quinoa, pear, tomatoes, onion, and pepitas. Toss to combine and serve.
  •   Make Ahead Tip: This recipe makes 2/3 cup dressing (Step 2). Prepare through Step 3. Cover and refrigerate the quinoa, salad and remaining dressing separately for up to 2 days.
Buen Provecho!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Tom Kha Gai ~ Thai Coconut Soup

Last night I hosted our Amazing Race night and was told by one of our racers, Sarah, that "this is the best soup I have ever tasted, and I'm not even exaggerating!". Well, after a long lapse in posts, I thought that a comment like that deserved its own blog post. She also made the pottery in the pictures; doesn't she sound like a lovely friend to have?
This one's for you, Sarah!

Tom Kha Gai

½ Tbsp coconut oil
½ white onion, thinly sliced
1 hot Thai chili pepper (or more, depending on your spice preference), minced

2 cans coconut milk (full fat makes for a richer, creamier soup)
1 cup chicken stock
2 inch piece of galangal or ginger, thinly sliced
1 stalk lemon grass, slightly bruised/flattened with a mallet or cleaver and chopped diagonally into 4 pieces

8 kaffir lime leaves
4 Tbsp fish sauce

1 or 2 chicken breasts, very thinly sliced
½ cup fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup white button mushrooms, sliced
juice of ½ a lime (approx. 2 Tbsp)
½ Tbsp coconut sugar or honey
10 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup fresh spinach
fresh cilantro, scallions/green onions and 
coconut rice for serving

Melt the coconut oil in a large soup or stock pot. Add the onion and cook for 1 minute then add the chili and stir 1-2 minutes more until fragrant.

Shake the cans of coconut milk before opening to redistribute the separated cream and milk. Pour into the pot and bring to a boil. Add the chicken stock, galangal, lemon grass, kaffir leaves, fish sauce and chicken and simmer for 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Then add the shrimp, bell pepper, mushrooms, lime juice, coconut sugar, tomatoes and spinach and simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the vegetables are tender but not mushy and the shrimp is bright pink.

To serve, place a scoop of coconut rice in the bottom of a bowl, spoon soup overtop and garnish with fresh cilantro and scallions.

Serves 4

Buen Provecho!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chicken Bacon Meatballs

Today is the last day of April and we got a snow storm. [cue my super unimpressed face]
This past weekend I was wearing a tank top and flip-flops and now I'm back in my winter gear braving snow and 60-90 km/h wind gusts. Spring this year has been interesting to say the least.

So how about a recipe for some healthy(ish) comfort food to tide us over until summer arrives?

I recently inherited a KitchenAid stand mixer with a grinder and pasta maker attachment (YES!!). When I went to the store to pick up the ingredients for this recipe I can't say I was terribly disappointed when they didn't have any ground poultry. Time to do things the (not-so) old fashioned way!

If you've never ground your own meat, I highly recommend it. Something about it was strangely liberating and gratifying. "Screw you store, I can grind my own meat!"

I smell sausages on the menu soon...
Anyway, back to the recipe.


2 slices bread, torn into small pieces (approx. 1 cup)
1/3 cup milk
3 strips bacon, finely diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp each, salt and pepper
1 lb ground chicken or turkey
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp hot sauce
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (or 1 tbsp dried parsley)
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
1 heaped tbsp tomato paste

Position oven rack in top 1/3 of oven; preheat to 400° F.
Soak bread in milk until soggy.
Cook bacon on medium heat for 3 minutes, add onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté until onion is translucent; cool.
Squeeze the bread to remove excess milk and discard the milk.
To the ground chicken add: bread, egg, hot sauce, bacon mixture and breadcrumbs; mix to combine. If it feels too soft, add more breadcrumbs until desired consistency is reached.
Form into 30 (or so) medium sized balls.
Incorporate tomato and oil (they won't really incorporate, but mush them together and make due). Brush paste onto prepared meatballs.
Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 20 minutes.
Serve with your favourite dipping sauce.

I prepared a spicy, sweet and sour Asian sauce and a chipotle mayo dip. Both were excellent with the meatballs.

Good luck getting them from the cookie sheet to a serving plate. El Señor and I ate quite a few before we remembered they were supposed to be for guests.
And then I barely got a picture of them with the guests before they were all gone!

Buen Provecho!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Russian Cream with blackberry, blueberry and rose petal compote

Hallelujah its spring! Happy Easter!

Apparently I went into hibernation over the winter and didn't make a single post. Sorry friends.
I've got a good one for you now though. Our Amazing Race feasts are back in full swing and tonight I'm on dessert duty which is my favourite dish to prepare (and let's be honest -eat too).
I love that our Sunday feasts are so multi-cultural, offering an assortment of foods and traditional dishes from all over the world. How appropriate for Amazing Race, no?

For example here's our menu from last week:
Beef empanadas with pickled onions, cucumbers and salsa to start. Corn, avocado, baby tomato and cilantro salad, spinach parmesan mashed potatoes, Hungarian chicken Paprikash and homemade whole wheat sourdough artisan bread as the main. Homemade chocolate and chocolate-chocolate chip cookies sandwiched around vanilla, cookie-dough or birthday cake ice cream.

Tonight I'm told that we're having beef Vindaloo with rice pilaf and naan bread. I have no idea what the salad and appy are going to be, but I'm already excited.

So to keep with the multiculturalism, here's my contribution tonight:

Russian Cream with blackberry, blueberry and rose petal compote

Serves 12

4 cups cream (whipping or half & half)
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp plain gelatin
2 cups sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups fresh berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries etc.)
2 Tbsp dried rose petals
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Fresh berries or fruit to garnish

Blend sugar and gelatin well. Add them, along with the cream to a pot. Stir over medium-low heat until the sugar and gelatin are completely dissolved. Cool to a slightly warm temperature and add the sour cream and vanilla. Mix quickly until well blended and smooth. Pour into mould(s) and chill for 3 hours or overnight.

Crush berries with sugar in a pot over low heat. Heat until mixture is syrupy. Add rose petals and lemon juice and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes. Allow to cool and then spoon over gelled cream. Allow to chill for an hour or until set.

Garnish with fresh fruit, berries, mint, pirouette cookies, crushed toasted nuts or whatever you choose!

Enjoy! I hope everyone tonight does...

Buen Provecho!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bacon Guacamole + Salsa Cruda

Every Sunday my family and friends get together for 'Amazing Race Night'. If you haven't seen Amazing Race (what rock are you hiding under?), it's an American reality TV show with several teams of 2, racing around the world for a $1,000,000 prize. Our group is fairly adventurous and well traveled so we really enjoy all the different tasks they perform and locations they go to (and the drama amongst the teams is pretty entertaining as well).

We all take turns hosting each Sunday. Whoever hosts prepares the main course, with the rest divvying up appetizer, salad, bread/side dish, dessert and drinks. Last week I brought my Greek yogo honey pops, which were a hit! This past Sunday, I was responsible for the appetizer. Since our hosts were making Pozole (a traditional Mexican soup prepared with hominy and shredded meat and served with several fresh vegetable garnishes), I wanted to bring something to fit along with the Mexican menu.

I love avocados! I love bacon! As my friend said on Sunday, you'd be hard pressed to find something that is not improved by the addition of bacon. So I made bacon guacamole! After trying it, I'm not sure how bacon is not a mandatory ingredient in all guacamole recipes, but at least for me, (and maybe everyone who tried it on Sunday) it will be from now on.

After I finished making the guacamole I felt I needed something more (we have a crew of 11 adults and 1 toddler), so I used almost all the exact same ingredients and whipped up a fresh salsa cruda (mentioned here) as well.

They were both raved over, and disappeared in minutes (I'm slightly ashamed to tell you that we even drank the juice from the bottom of the salsa cruda bowl). Fresh. Simple. Delish. A great start to the amazing Pozole that followed (and I have to mention the crème brûlée that followed that, omgsogood)!

So, here she is in all her glory:


Bacon Guacamole

6 slices bacon
4 large ripe avocados
4 Tbsp fresh lime juice from 1 large lime (and zest minced, *optional)
4 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro packed, roughly chopped
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1 medium tomato, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1  jalapeño, finely chopped (or other chilli of choice, I used an inferno chilli from my garden)
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Fry bacon until crisp, then leave to cool/drain on paper towels.
[Easy no splatter bacon tip: place cold bacon on a tinfoil lined, edged cookie sheet. Put in a COLD oven and turn heat on to 400° F. Bake for 20 minutes. Bacon:done.]
Spoon the avocados into a large bowl and roughly mash with the lime juice. Crumble the bacon and mix in along with the rest of the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Rest in fridge for 1 hour before serving to let the flavours blend. Serve with tortilla chips.
Makes approx. 4 cups.

Salsa Cruda

[aka Salsa Fresca, Salsa Mexicana, Pico de Gallo & Salsa Bandera]

3 medium tomatoes, diced
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice from 1/2 a large lime (and zest minced, *optional)
1/2 cup red (or white) onion, diced
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro packed, roughly chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small jalapeño, finely chopped (or other chilli of choice)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Add all ingredients into a medium sized bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let rest an hour, refrigerated, to allow flavours to blend. Serve with tortilla chips.
Makes approx. 2 cups.

I usually add a finely diced (yellow) bell pepper to my salsa to add more colour and texture, I just didn't have any on hand this time.

Purists will tell you that salsa cruda (pico de gallo) should only consist of jalapeño, white onion and tomatoes. This is supposed to represent the colours of the Mexican flag. I however, disagree because cilantro, garlic and all the other fresh ingredients added together make it SO much tastier! I say get creative, throw some diced jicama or mango in there. Serve it on chicken or with seafood (or with eagle and snake to truly satisfy those purists). Explore food, make it your own and enjoy!

Buen provecho!