Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stemware Tree

"If you're always on the lookout for ways to make entertaining-and-cleaning up-a little easier, you'll delight in discovering this innovative Stemware Rack from Cuisipro, made for securely holding and air drying up to 8 long-stemmed glasses at a time" !!!
This is not only attractive but will save me money$$ !!! How many wine glasses have you "tipped" over while drying... Honey? Or how many wine glasses were put back in the cabinet still wet.......Honey? TOO MANY!
I need this...I REALLY WANT THIS

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My X-Mas Wish List

What to get a Foodie/Blogger/Traveller for Christmas...Hummmm let me count the ways!
Each year, Oprah comes up with her "Favourite list", well here's mine in no particular order. Enjoy!
1)Adobe photoshop Elements, just because Pioneer Women uses it!

2) Roots-Village Bag in Vintage Tribe Leather. Love this purse! Perfect for traveling and looks super durable... I need a durable purse.

3) Emilie Sloan Gabrielle Lunch Tote: Cranberry

4) A Class/gift certificate at the Urban Element in Ottawa:

Here is an exert from their website: " Hands-on Class: This class is a must for foodies and newbies alike-it's for anyone willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty! You will play an active role in preparing your own 3 to 4 course meal with the help and guidance of our featured chefs. ...Before you know it, it will be time to sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labour. From here, the Urban Element staff will treat you like a guest, pouring wine, plating and presenting you with the wonderful meal you helped create. "


5) Dinner at au Pied de Cochon in Montréal, Québec. By far my favourite restaurant, if do go, I suggest wearing elastic waist pants.

6) A good Porto, Quinta de Castelinho comes to mind... SAQ sells it.

7) Waiters Rant Book

8) Gel mat for the kitchen. Perfect for those achy tired feet and legs! Hate those hard ceramic tile floors...

9) Food Network magazine subscription...why not...

10) Scharffen Berger milk chocolate (not the dark one)... velvety smooth melt in your mouth goodness! My favourite chocolate ever! Usually I much prefer dark bitter chocolate, but this one is simply sinful.

11) Le Nordik Gift certificate. My favourite place to escape and unwind.

Nordic baths

Outdoor hot tubs, Finnish sauna, steam bath, Nordic waterfalls, cold and temperate pools, outdoor and indoor relaxation areas & outdoor fireplaces. WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE!??

12) Trail of Crumbs book

13) Gift certificate at Le Cordon Bleu for a demonstration class.

If we win the lottery:

-Kitchen aid mixer in Copper pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze PRETTY pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze

-Saaco Espresso machine. One of these would make me a happy women!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Our Wine

Hummmm...What to do on a gloomy Sunday besides laundry.....

I decided to label and cap our wine bottles! With the economy and being the wine drinkers we are, we decided it might be more economical to make our own wine. I must say, it turned out much better then I expected. I was pleasantly surprised with the complexity of the bouquet and
how robust some of these were. Very good experience overall, something satisfying about making and bottling your own wine.

New Zealand Merlot...Who knew!

Great Italian Barolo

Jesss....We're Winos

This year's line up

Friday, November 13, 2009

Life is Hard...

Eating, chasing squirrels, napping, more eating..... Tough to be a dog nowadays!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Heirloom Tomatoes

My favourite thing to do with fresh garden tomatoes;

-Slice tomatoes and fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, sprinkle with fresh chopped basil.

-Drizzle with your best olive oil & balsamic reduction and some sea salt and pepper.

Oh how I miss summer already!! I was so born in the wrong country!

Summer's over...
BYE BYE my Beauties.

My New Favourite Thing

I LOVE this thing! It really really works. Every pet parent on my Christmas list is getting one of these!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Rosemary Butter Dinner Rolls

Can you smell that??!! HEAVEN

After rising.

Look at this rosemary! it was so fragrant and fresh!

Restaurant worthy buttered soft little bundles of joy. The secret is in the pan, as in Cast Iron pan.

Buttered Rosemary Rolls
Frozen, unbaked dinner rolls
Melted butter (regular, salted)
Fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
Coarse sea salt
-Coat a medium cast iron skillet with olive oil. Place frozen rolls in the skillet, leaving plenty of room for rising. Cover and allow to rise for several hours. (I heated my oven then turn it off and put the pan with the bread in the oven with a dish cloth on top)
-After rising, brush rolls with melted butter. Sprinkle on chopped rosemary. Brush with additional butter.

-Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. I used grey sea salt, I had it on hand & it's my all time favorite
-Bake according to roll package directions (usually 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes), until rolls are a deep golden brown on top. If you are adventurous and not watching calories, brush some more butter on top... Just for fun!

-Serve skillet on the table and stand back to avoid the tramped.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Where the wild things are

Hey, we've been living this story for a while. I'll tell you where they are. They're growing in my house because whenever Friskie the cat goes outside he comes back in dragging half of the Boreal forest in his ass. Honestly, you can see where he's parked his butt just by the clumps of vegetation and dirt that he leaves behind. I don't know where he goes or what he does but its deep, dirty and thick. I'm having second thoughts about that pet vacuum ad that was going around a few years back. Remember that? Not only that, but he's been know to hide little creatures in that fur of his... yes, I have found snails, worms...or my bed.. On my WHITE down duvet...Welcome to my life.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Crisp

I have to admit, I hate anything pumpkin, always have until now.. I saw my better half eyeing this recipe and I thought I would make it for him since he loves pumpkin pie. Do yourself a huge favour this Thanksgiving, and MAKE this pie. If you have been waiting for that diamond ring from your man, this might be the pie that will make it happen..Trust me, it's that good.

Crisp Topping:
1 cup (250 mL) of Oats (I used old fashion quick oats and it worked fine)
¾ cup (175 mL) Dark Brown sugar, packed
½ cup (125 mL) chopped pecans
2 tbsp (30 mL) All Purpose Flour
½ tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, melted

1 can of Pumpkin purée (1 ½ cups/375 mL)
**Do not use pie filling, has to be 100% pure pumpkin purée**
1 cup (250 mL) Dark Brown Sugar, packed
1 ¼ cups (300 mL) Carnation® Evaporated Milk
2 eggs
½ tsp (2 mL) each; vanilla extract & salt
1½ tsp pumpkin spice.
**If you do not have pumpkin spice, substitute with ½ tsp of each of: cinnamon, ground ginger and nutmeg.

1. Preheat oven to 425ºF (218ºC).
2. Topping: Combine ingredients with a fork for topping. Reserve.
3. Crust: Make pie crust according to package directions. On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry to fit a 9” (23 cm) pie plate. OR use a frozen pie shell.
4. Place dough in pie plate cutting excess dough. Roll dough under and flute the edges with your fingertips.
5. Filling: Whisk pumpkin purée, sugar, evaporated milk, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into prepared pie plate.
6. Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350ºF (180ºC) and bake for 45 minutes.
7. Add reserved topping and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before serving.

1. I use a crust saving ring to prevent crust from burning. Foil would also work just fine.
2. Serve with freshly whipped cream if you have some.
3. I found the pie better warm then cold.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Murray Street Kitchen Wine & Charcuterie review

It was a rare hot humid evening last week and my sweeties birthday week. We were craving for a nice glass of wine, some delicious interesting food, and a quiet patio. We discussed several options and decided to head over to our favourite place. We shouldn't have thought twice about it. For the setting, food, and service Murray Street Bistro can't be beat.

We tucked into the Kitchen Charcuterie Plate to start along with a bottle of Malbec Fuerza, Mendoza, 2005 Argentina.

Most of the items in this starter are unique to the restaurant and prior to dining here we had never tasted many of them. For many of you my advice is keep an open mind and savor the flavors. Don't let the descriptions influence your choice. What actually arrives on the plate in front of you bears no resemblance to the picture you form in your mind when you first hear the description.

It keeps us coming back. Its a sampler of the in house specialties and cheeses and needs to be savoured with a finely paired red. Toby our server was well acquainted with the wine menu and its nuances and suggested the grape. Thanks Toby for keeping us hooked. We've been here several times and staff is always very knowledgeable about the food and the wine...above par.

Back to the food. For me and my sweetie theKitchen Charcuterie Plate (22$) is just the most perfect pairing of wine and meats. The plate arrives on a wooden cutting board, each portion occupying its place around the board :

Grilled Elks tongue-Marinated in wine vinegar and lightly grilled with the sear marks visible on the meat. Tender and moist. The acidity of the marinade complimented with the smoky infusion of the grill.

Shaved Beef Heart- Thinly shaved slices of beef heart, pure beef flavor no spices that I could detect. A pinch of salt and pepper is all it takes on these babies.

Pot of homemade Pork Rillette- WOW. We are rillette fans and ever since Marcus in Gatineau closed its deli counter we've been starving for a great rillette. This is one of the best. Homemade and as per tradition served in its glass jar. A generous portion that tastes superb on the toasted crostinis or rosemary flavored bread that accompanies the dish.

Poutine-Crispy hand-cut herb spatzle, shredded mariposa duck confit, roast duck gravy, 5th town Goat cheese curds.

Tuna-Wild BC Albacore tuna (seared rare), Art-is-in bread salad, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, torched Ferme Floralpe feta, Bryson Farms arugula, roast garlic-chokecherry dressing.

110 Murray Street
Ottawa, Ontario

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tapas Style Almonds

I have tons of cookbooks and sadly rarely use them. My sister in law gave me this wonderful tapas book recently. I thought I would first try the Salted Almonds recipe. They were wonderful and were a hit with everyone. Will make these puppies over and over again!

Mix almonds in pan with oil.

While still warm sprinkle with sea salt and the paprika

1 1/2 cup of whole blanched almonds.
4 tbsp olive oil or grape seed oil
Coarse sea salt
1 tsp or more of paprika (I used hot smoked paprika)

Preheat the oven to 350 F/180C. Put the olive oil in a roasting pan and swirl it around so that it covers the bottom. Add the almonds and toss them in the pan so that they are evenly coated in the oil, then spread them out in a single layer.

Roast the almonds in the oven for 20 min or until they are light golden brown, tossing several times during the cooking. Drain the almonds on a paper towel then transfer them to a bowl.
While the almonds are still warm, sprinkle with plenty of sea salt and the paprika.

The almonds are at their best when served freshly cooked. If possible cook them on the day you place to eat them. However, they can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bifstro Marin-Aylmer Québec

- Steak and Seafood-Charming, intimate restaurant in the heart of the historic old Marina area of Aylmer with deck overlooking the Parc de l'imaginaire and Lac des Chênes.

Heard good things so we decided to check it out. Arrived on a busy Friday night. Service was very good which was surprising with the number of people there.

Started with scallops wrapped in bacon. Five or six ?? Broiled scallops wrapped with nice almost crisp bacon. Cooked perfectly. Delicious!

I ordered the Rib eye rare. It came accompanied with home pommes frites and grilled vegetables. The steak was cooked perfectly and the portion seemed larger than the 12 ounce indicated on the menu. This steak was obviously procured from the local butcher. It was about an inch thick and didn't look at all like the same standard steak you get at the chains in Ottawa. It was tender moist and full of flavour from the grill. It was lightly seasoned with Montreal steak spice. The frites were home cut and superb. Crisp and flavourful. The vegetables were grilled to perfection. Not overdone, crisp and still slightly crunchy. The best steak I've had in the area.

Birthday girl ordered the linguini and it surpassed expectations. Fresh pasta al dente with 3 huge sea scallops and a generous amount of large shrimps grilled to succulent perfection in a rich creamy garlicky Alfredo sauce. The accompanying vegetables were also beautifully done. Leftovers came home for lunch next day. A great location, excellent service and great food served in generous amounts. If you want above average steak and seafood this is the place. The secrets out!

The Bifstro Rib Eye $22, 95
Seafood Linguini Alfredo $23.95
Scallops Wrapped in Bacon $9.50

Le Bifstro Marin
11 Front Street
Aylmer, Qc

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sesame Dipping Sauce

I had a craving the other night for that sesame dipping sauce you get at a teppanyaki restaurant. You know, the one they serve with your steak and wish you could "drink" when no one is watching? YEP..that ONE!

Well I played around with it and it's actually almost a copy cat of the sesame sauce at Japanese Village....Maybe even better

2/3 cup (or more) white sesame seeds, toasted in a pan over med heat until just golden brown
1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon of water..or more
1/4 cup of low sodium Kikkoman soy sauce. **Do not substitute**
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 clove of garlic minced
1/2 cup white onion, finely chopped

2-3 tablespoons of sugar
2-3 tablespoon of rice vinegar
A squeeze of lemon juice
Put everything in the blender until smooth. You would normally serve this with grilled beef or shrimps, great for dipping fresh salad rolls. The possibilities are endless.
***Please keep in mind that I don't really measure all the ingredients, I just gave you guide lines and you add or modify the recipe to your liking. As an example if you did not have rice vinegar on hand, substitute with just lemon juice.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


This year for his birthday, I took my better half to Atelier in Ottawa. There is no advertisement whatsoever for this Establishment, only an address. One might have trouble finding the location, as it is relatively inconspicuous. The building is well....Butt ugly! And that is part of the whole concept. Once inside, it gives the impression of a lab. I found the design of the space to be a little on the sterile side, but that became unimportant in light of the food, the company and the welcome we received.

NOTE: Atelier is a blind tasting menu. you are presented with unknown dishes and given a autographed menu at the end. Every dish coming out of the kitchen was greeted with anticipation, surprise and amazement. Atelier is not a place for kids, fussy eaters or rookie foodies. This is a place for those who are not afraid to experience and discover new taste, new texture that will most certainly stimulate your taste buds and your mental palate.

The food is very contemporary, with liberal use of ultramodern technologies and appliances (liquid nitrogen, anti-griddle, sous-vide...) To me this was 2 in 1; Dinner AND a show!

The Dining Room

The Kitchen. See, No Appliances!!

Sour Cream & Onion Chip Flavored Bread

"Choose your weapons"

Choose Your Weapon (Strawberry and Rhubarb)

Depending on what "weapon" you picked, you received a different interpretation of this dish.
I chose the spoon that was equipped with a cork s test tube, containing ground pistachios. I received a warm custard with liquid nitrogen frozen strawberry and rhubarb noodles. To eat, you empty the spoon's contents onto the custard and dig in!


Interpretation of this dish combines both sweet and savory elements and acts as a bridge between the main course and dessert portion of the meal. It is a New York style cheesecake with a tortilla chip shortbread base, old cheddar cheese, salsa meringue, avocado purée, dehydrated olives, jalapeno powder and sour cream ice cream.

Elvis Truffle
Birthday Boy with a sore finger :-)
Banana wrapped in peanut butter wrapped in white chocolate coated in bacon crumbs...Need I say more?

Wild arctic muskox from Nunavut done sashimi style, marinated in tamari, sauteed erengi mushrooms in garlic and butter, dehydrated onion, and the green leaves on top are white lamb's quarter. As you can see, I took a few bites before I remembered to take a picture..OOPS!

Pork Belly

It was cooked sous vide at 82°C for 9 hours. Then it was marinated in a caramel sauce and sauteed. Each piece was served with a raw apple relish with jalapeno, snow peas, a piece of textured puree of snow peas, and a cube of purple potato. ...Again, this picture was taken after I attacked this plate.

The tuna dish was lightly seared Albacore tuna with Atelier’s own lovely Tagoroshi spice blend. This was served with a lime, ginger + radish gel, green beans, dried nori (seaweed), cucumber salsa, cucumber jelly, toasted Brazil nuts, fleur de sel, and pickled ginger.

Pear and horseradish soup with a dollop of whipped elderberry. Milkweed was clipped to the spoon. It was delightful! The aroma you received with every spoonful really surprised me.

Lobster with black truffle on black truffle oil pancakes, sauteed cinnamon mushrooms, the yellow lines are eggs cooked sous vide, watercress mango with dehydrated leek and topped with a chardonnay foam.

We also had ostrich, cooked sous vide, Yukon gold mashed potatoes, asparagus and marinated beet. Well, I was so excited that I forgot to take a picture of that one...

CSI; A murder scene investigation. Blood splattering of strawberry puree, strawberry dots. the murdered body was covered with a chocolate blanket. A police tape of yellow corn, sour cream ice cream, cornbread something, and cornbread puddled. Quite the imagination going on in the kitchen!

This was by far the most memorable meal I have ever had.