Monday, October 26, 2015

Halloween Chocolate Chip Spider Cookies

Halloween Chocolate Chip Spider CookiesThese creepy chocolate chip cookies are a quick and creative way to get into the Halloween spirit. We forgot we needed to send something to our kids' classes for Halloween so this was an easy go to recipe that was a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

The Ingredients: Halloween Chocolate Chip Spider Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup packed brown sugar (you can use a little less if you want for both white and brown sugar)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325F. I like to use either our clay cookie sheets or silpat to keep the cookies from burning and they also make the cookies chewy. if you need to use a cookie sheet, watch the bottoms very close, so they do not burn, as there is a lot of sugar in this recipe and they can burn easily. 

In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, olive oil, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy.  Sift in the the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the sifted ingredients until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. 

I like to do very small cookies, about a tablespoon each, but you can change the size, just adjust cooking time accordingly. To ensure you can make spiders from the chocolate chips, ensure you have at least one chocolate chip on the top of each cookie.  Bake for 10 - 15 minutes in the preheated oven.

When the cookies come out of the oven, move to a cooling rack.  While the cookies are still warm, drag a toothpick through the melted chocolate chip 3 times on each side to create spider legs.  

Enjoy your creepy Halloween chocolate chip cookies!

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Potato & Leek Soup

With the colder weather upon us, soups are a great way to warm up from a cold autumn day outside raking up leaves. This one was a great hit tonight with even our 3 year old asking for a bowl of his own.
The Ingredients: Potato & Leek Soup
Makes 6 - 8 servings

2 tbsp butter
3 diced leeks
4 finely peeled and diced medium / large potatoes (I used white potatoes)
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup sherry
4 1/2 cups stock (I used chicken stock)
2 tsps cumin
2 tsps sea salt
1 tsp (or more to taste) freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tbsp fresh thyme)
Finely diced or grated cheddar cheese

Prep time: 10 - 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

Finely chop and clean 3 stocks of leeks. Put a stock pot on high heat for 2 minutes and add butter. Once melted, add leeks and sea salt. Reduce heat to medium (depending on stove). Saute leeks for 10 minutes stirring frequently to avoid leeks turning brown. Add 1/2 cup of stock and minced garlic. Turn heat back up to high and cook until stock is reduced (approx 3 - 4 minutes). Add sherry and potatoes along with the cumin, black pepper and thyme. Cook over high stirring frequently until the alcohol has cooked off (until no strong odor our alcohol is left). Add stock and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for approx 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Time will depend on the type of potato used. A starchier potato will hold it's shape better.

Remove half of the potatoes and puree in a blender (HOT BLENDER WARNING! hot liquids in a blender will expand so leave room at the top, hold the top down with a tea towel and start with short bursts. Speaking from experience, you'll only learn this lesson once!).

Serve and top with cheese (if desired).

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Recipe: Turkey Parmesan with Noodles

Turkey Parmesan with NoodlesI haven't made a post in a long time. I haven't stopped cooking but after this dinner, my wife made me share this one. This recipe is an alternative to Chicken Parmesan but overall a traditional Italian recipe. It's a great Friday night dinner that everyone loves. We enjoyed Penfold's Hyland as a nice pairing to this meal.

The Ingredients: Turkey Parmesan with Noodles
Serves 4 - 6, prep time 1.5 hours

Turkey Parmesan:
6 turkey cutlets
1 egg
¾ cup bread crumbs (old French bread ground up in the food processor>
¾ cup Parmesan
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Slices of mozzarella (enough to top each cutlet)
2 tbsp Olive Oil

Tomato Sauce:
2 large cooking onions (thinly sliced)
1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
Salt & pepper
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried parsley
½ tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Olive Oil

Dried or homemade Italian pasta

Makes 4 – 6 servings (depending on size of cutlets)Tomato Sauce
Preparation time: 1.5 hours

Saute onions in olive oil at med / high heat. Stir frequently for approx 10 min. Add garlic, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar to onions. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to med / low. Add spices and simmer for approx 1 hour until sauce is thick. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Turkey cutlets, depending on their thickness, will take approx 7 – 10 min once breadcrumbs and egg are prepped hence you will need to time your pasta accordingly.

Turkey Cutlets
Turn broiler on. Heat a pan with olive oil over med / high heat until up to temp. On a plate, combine bread crumbs, shredded parmesan, salt & pepper. In a bowl, beat the egg. Dip turkey cutlets one at a time into the egg and directly into the breading. Place in frying pan and continue process. Note you may need to do several batches as all cutlets won’t fit into most frying pans. Sear each cutlet 30 seconds on each side until golden brown. Remove and place on cookie sheet.

Once all cutlets are complete, cover with thin slices of mozzarella cheese and place under broiler until cheese is bubbly. Note that depending on the thickness of your cutlets, you will want to ensure they are fully cooked. This can be done by searing them longer on each side ensuring not to burn the bread crumbs or placing lower in the oven under the broiler for an extended period of time.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Orange & Chili BBQ Chicken

My Orange Chili BBQ dish is Asian-inspired with the sweet flavouring of orange combined with the chili pepper to add a touch of heat.
The Ingredients: Orange & Chili BBQ Chicken
Makes 6 - 8 servings

1 whole 6 lb chicken, broken down into 12 pieces (breasts in half, the wings split and the thighs & drums separated)
Orange juice (squeezed fresh from 1 orange)
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 fresh chili pepper, minced
1 tsp fish sauce (can substitute 1 tsp salt if necessary)
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp olive oil

Mix the following ingredients to make a marinade:
Orange juice (squeezed fresh from 1 orange)
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 fresh chili pepper, minced
1 tsp fish sauce (can substitute 1 tsp salt if necessary)
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp olive oil

Marinade the chicken in the above mixture for 1 hour in the fridge.

Cook on a BBQ (full heat) over indirect heat. For a BBQ at 600F, cook the chicken for 30 min or until meat is no longer pink (use a meat thermometer to best determine when the chicken is ready).

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Quinoa with Orange, Spinach & Peppers

quinoa with orange, spinach and peppersQuinoa is something we started adding to our dinner options last year as some of our family is on a gluten-free diet. In addition to being gluten free, Quinoa comes with a lot of other benefits making it a great vegetarian option for everyone in the family. It is a complete protein as well as a good source of dietary fibre, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.

I developed this recipe as a staple that is packed with flavour.. You can eat it as is or add any vegetable or protein you have on hand. It's a great alternative to rice or pasta and the kids love it.
The Ingredients: Quinoa with Orange, Spinach & Peppers
Makes 5 - 6 servings (as a side dish)

1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 1/2 cups Quinoa
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup orange juice
1 diced red pepper
2 cups fresh spinach
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (can substitute 1 tbsp dried parsley)
pinch cayenne pepper
1 tbsp paprika

Saute onions, red pepper, garlic & salt in olive oil for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add paprika, cayenne & Quinoa. Stir for 30 seconds before stirring in the orange juice. Add the stock, peppers and parsley. Let simmer with lid off for approx 15 minutes. You should see the Quinoa shell split open a bit when done. Stir some spinach in at a few seconds before plating to avoid the spinach from getting too soggy.


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Sunday Morning Pancakes

our favourite homemade pancake recipeLife got busy for us at Our Kitchen Island, but we're back! We thought we'd kick off our new recipe posts with an old family favourite.

Sunday mornings are always something the whole family looks forward to as we make something special for breakfast. These homemade pancakes are especially popular in our house as their quick and easy to make plus they're a light, fluffy, delicious breakfast treat. We often make a few pancakes the shape of our kids' initials or age which makes it even more fun for the kids.
The Ingredients: Sunday Morning Pancakes
Makes 18 - 3" pancakes, Prep time: 15 minutes, Cook time: approx 2 - 3 min per side.

2 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup carbonated water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp oil

In one bowl with egg yolks, mix in:
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp melted butter (whisk in slowly)
1/2 cup milk

In a separate bowl, ombine dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

homemade pancake recipeLightly stir in dry ingredients to wet. The mixture should be very lumpy and thick. Add 1/2 cup of carbonated water (I use Perrier but anything will do) and carefully fold to maintain lumps.

In a separate bowl, combine egg whites with 1/4 tsp cream of tartar. Beat egg whites until you get stiff peaks. Mix 1/3 of the egg whites into the pancake batter and then fold in remaining egg whites until mixture is uniform.

On a hot oiled griddle or frypan, pour the pancake mixture into 3" circles. The time it takes to cook will vary depending on how hot your griddle is, what type you of griddle you're using and how big you make your pancakes. For 3" pancakes, it should take approx 3 minutes to cook on the first side. You can check to see if the bottom is a golden brown. If it is, flip the pancakes over for approx another 2 minutes. Store cooked pancakes in a warm oven until you've completed cooking all of the batter.

sunday pankcake breakfastTop your pancakes with butter and maple syrup (or whatever you prefer - fresh fruit is a nice touch as well) and they're ready to enjoy!

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Decadent French Onion Soup

French Onion SoupFrench onion soup is a real treat for me, I am not sure why I do not cook it more as it doesn't take any longer than most things that I cook, but I usually only cook it once or twice a year. As with anything else, the quality of the products you start with have a huge impact on what you end up with. This version is truly a decadent soup, hence you do not need a lot to satisfy as it borders on almost too much flavour. Also starting with a homemade broth is always the way to go when it is so prominent in the soup.

The Recipe: Decadent French Onion Soup
Makes 4 servings, Prep time 20 minutes, Cook time 1 hour

4 medium sized cooking onions diced
3 large shallots diced
4 pieces of bacon diced
3 tbsp of butter
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 pinch of cayenne
1 tsp of fresh ground pepper
pinch of Sea Salt (you may want more depending on how salty your broth is)
1/2 cup of red wine or sherry (this will change the flavour but I don't always have sherry on hand)
1 tbsp of corn starch
6 cups of chicken broth
4 slices of french bread
1 tbsp of oil
1 tbsp of additional butter for the croutons
Gruyere Cheese

Heat a large skillet (large enough to hold seven cups of liquid) medium high heat for 2 minutes. Add the bacon and cook until it just starts to crisp (time will vary depending on how thick the bacon is).

Add the butter, onions, shallots and sea salt. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. DO NOT LET THE ONIONS BROWN.

Add the garlic and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Increase the heat to high, add the cayenne, black pepper and deglaze the pan with the red wine.

Add the corn starch to the broth and mix in well (the corn starch will slightly thicken the soup making it just a richer). Add the mixture to the pan bring to a boil.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Remove the crust from the bread and cut into large cubes. Combine the bread with the olive oil and butter and place in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the croutons start to brown.

In oven safe bowls, add the soup and place croutons gently on the top. Grate as much cheese as you can afford over top and place the bowls under the broiler until the cheese starts to bubble.

Remove and carefully enjoy!

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