Archive | November, 2011

Diced Tomato Cucumber Salad

30 Nov

A refreshing diced tomato cucumber salad.

  • 6 small delicious tomatoes, finely diced (use good quality, fresh, vibrant tomatoes since they are one of the main ingredients of the salad; the tomatoes pictured above are kumato (brown) tomatoes from Canada).
  • 1 english cucumber,  diced into a similar size as the tomato
  • juice of one lime, roll the lime before cutting in order to release more of lime’s juice
  • a generous sprinkle of sea salt
  • a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Kumato variety tomatoes, english cucumber, lime and olive oil.

Combine together all the above ingredients and serve immediately. I like to use this salad more as a topping rather than a side to a main course.  For example, as a cool, refreshing veggie garnish on tacos or on top of some warm fluffy plain brown rice.  This is also an ideal salad to serve during the holidays because of the red and green colour combination.

Crunchy beef tacos garnished with a plain yogurt and a homemade diced tomato english salad.


23 Nov

A 946mL carton of plain Kefir, $3.99 (CDN).

I would describe  Kefir as a drinkable yogurt. Kefir tastes a lot like plain yogurt and has a thicker consistency than milk.  I enjoy Kefir as a richer and more flavourful alternative to drinking a glass of milk or soy. It is also packed with healthy bacterias, vitamins and minerals. I often have it with savoury phyllo pastries (such as tiropita, spanakopita, or burek) or mixed with cereal, fresh fruit and/or granola.

Kefir is more common in Europe than here in North America and it usually isn’t available at a regular grocery store.  This bottle was purchased at a specialty store (Vincenzo’s) that supplies foreign products and brands.  If you’re looking to try new foods, Kefir is an unique, healthy, versatile and inexpensive choice.

Banana Maple Cookies

16 Nov

A pile of banana maple cookies in a bowl.

The following recipe makes approximately 27 plump banana maple cookies.

  • 1 or 2 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup of white sugar (brown sugar is okay too)
  • 3/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 cups +2 tbsps of flour
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt

In a  bowl, sieve the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Combine well.

In another large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and mashed bananas. Mix well and then add in the beaten egg, maple syrup and vanilla.While mixing, gradually add in the dry ingredients.  Combine well.  The dough will be softer than a regular cookie dough.  Place in the fridge covered for 45 to 60 minutes to firm up the dough.

Unfinished banana maple cookie dough.

Finished banana maple cookie dough. Chill first for easier handling.

Once the dough has been sufficiently chilled and hence, easier to handle, roughly form the dough into 1.5 inch diameter balls and place about 1 inch apart on a lined baking sheet. Place in a preheated 350º oven for 13 to 14 minutes.  Cool before eating.

In addition, feel free to add a bit of crunch to the cookies.  I had some peanuts handy so for the last few cookies, I sprinkled them in.

Banana maple cookies with peanuts.


9 Nov

I was at a Zehrs grocery store the other day and happened to walk past the floral department where an associate offered me a carnation.  I hesitated and she said with a warm smile, “it’s free!” and that is when I noticed a sign by her that read “random act of kindness”.  This was such a nice gesture and after accepting my carnation, I noticed many other shoppers happy with their beautiful flower.

Recipes Inspired by my Favourite Chefs

2 Nov

The following are some recipes inspired by watching, reading and/or listening to some of my favourite chefs.

Carbonara inspired by a post on GOOP from Mario Batali.

At Italian eateries, I often order the carbonara because I found it so difficult to make at home.  I read a very simple carbonara recipe from Mario Batali courtesy of GOOP but only had half the ingredients required so I improvised and learned not to.

Homemade perogies from a recipe on Fresh with Anna Olson.

I have watched every episode of Fresh with host Anna Olson who on one particular occasion was making perogies (from the “Thanks Grandma” episode). She made it look so easy and I had all the necessary ingredients in my kitchen and was feeling adventurous so I thought why not. It was a lot more work than I anticipated; albeit, it was my first time.  For the most part they turned out quite well but a little doughy.

Simple roasted potatoes courtesy of Martha Stewart.

I have a super easy roasted potato recipe that I often make which I learned from an episode of Martha Stewart from long long ago.  She had a British special guest on the show who revealed some tricks for crispy potatoes is to score the potato with a fork before placing in the oven and then adding salt after the cooking process.

A salad with tomatoes, peppers, feta and bread. This recipe is inspired from one on Weelicious.

Weelicious has a simple, easy and fresh tomato bread salad on her site.  I had some stale bread lying around which I did not want to waste and I thought this recipe was a great way to use it up.

Many of my everyday recipes and cooking methods are inspired by the chefs I watch and read about.  Some of my favourites are (in no particular order) Anna Olson, Martha Stewart, Catherine McCord, Giada De Laurentiis, Rachael Ray and Jamie Oliver. I hope they inspire you as much as they inspire me.