Monday, 26 June 2017

Goat Cheese & Chive Twice Baked Potatoes

Potatoes are my favourite food. My potato obsession was elevated to an even greater level when I discovered that I could slow cook baked potatoes. I haven't used the oven to make baked potatoes since.

White potatoes have had a bad rap nutritionally over the past couple decades, but they are high in fibre, packed with potassium, and they are the highest ranked food on the satiety index (a measure of how long a food keeps you feeling full). Potatoes are your friend.

To make the twice baked potatoes, use the slow cooker potato recipe listed above first. Remove them from the foil, and place them on a cooling rack for an hour to cool down. It's fine if they are lukewarm when you start making the twice baked potatoes.


3 Russet potatoes, baked and cooled
140g goat cheese (small package)
Fresh chives, sliced small, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and pepper, to taste


Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the potato flesh, leaving a 3mm border alongside the potato skin to maintain the structure. Place the scooped out potato flesh into a medium sized bowl. Use a potato masher to break up the potato chunks. Add goat cheese, chives, olive oil, and salt and pepper to the bowl, and mash again. Scoop the goat cheese mixture back into the potatoes, packing it in. Top with additional chives and black pepper.
Place on the top rack of the barbecue to crisp up the potato skins and melt the cheese, or place in the oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, until tops are lightly browned. Serve immediately.


Monday, 8 May 2017

Spiralizer Chicken & Zoodles with Pesto Alfredo Sauce

I love my spiralizer, and I love making zucchini noodles ("zoodles") to replace some pasta with veggies, but the downside of it is that the zucchini noodles don't hold their heat for very long. I also really love pesto, but it shouldn't be heated either. A few months ago, I made zoodles with pesto, and it was lukewarm at best. Anna recently introduced me to the wonders of Pesto Alfredo Sauce. Who knew you could even mix these? I didn't until now, but it tastes amazing. This way, I could heat the alfredo sauce, and then I stirred in a few tablespoons of pesto before pouring it over the dish. I also like to mix in a small serving of actual pasta, not just zoodles. Using zoodles means I can eat a giant heaping plate of "noodles." Anna sliced the zoodles for me this time, and she used the larger slider on the spiralizer, which paired really nicely with the wider fettuccine noodles.

I didn't really measure anything on this, so use fettuccine, garlic, olive oil, etc. as you see fit. I also used jarred sauce, because it was a weeknight. Feel free to make homemade if you like!

Makes 2-3 servings


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into bite sized pieces
3 zucchinis, spiralized with the larger spiral blade (slice onto a paper towel to drain off some water)
Fettuccine noodles, boiled as per instructions on package
Minced garlic, to taste
Olive oil, for greasing pan
Sea salt & black pepper, to taste
Jar of alfredo sauce
Jar of pesto
Parmesan cheese, for topping


Cook fettuccine noodles according to directions on package and drain.

Heat alfredo sauce in a saucepan over medium heat.

In a large wok, add olive oil and garlic and set to medium heat. Add sliced chicken pieces, season with salt and pepper, and mix occasionally until chicken is fully cooked. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Add more olive oil and garlic to the wok, and turn heat up to high. Add spiralized zucchini to wok, tossing continuously. Season with salt and pepper.

When alfredo is hot, remove from heat and stir in a few tablespoons of pesto sauce, to taste.

When zucchini is cooked, but still slightly firm, remove it from heat. Place fettuccine and zoodles in a a serving bowl and add chicken. Top with pesto alfredo mixture, and add parmesan cheese, to taste.


Saturday, 6 May 2017

Zesty Lime Shrimp Salad

Me, today: "Simon's in Europe right now, Anna is at her mom's...I CAN EAT SEAFOOD!" Seriously, have you ever noticed there are no seafood or fish recipes on this blog? It's because both of them think any kind of seafood or fish is absolutely disgusting, so I can't make it for dinner. I love seafood. Every time I got off the ship in Katakolon, Greece (near Olympia), I'd go to restaurant there and order grilled squid stuffed with feta, tomato and basil. It was probably the best thing I've ever eaten. For everyone who is grossed out by squid tentacles, they are the best part. They get really crispy on the grill.

I didn't feel like cooking anything (being home alone, and all), and all this recipe requires is vegetable chopping (side note: I highly recommend listening to true crime podcasts while chopping vegetables, see below for my recommendations). It's like Pico de Gallo and a Cobb salad rolled into one. I didn't measure everything, I just added things to my taste, so feel free to add or subtract things as you see fit.

This would make a great recipe for a side salad at a barbecue, and it can sit in the fridge to take to work the next day for a cold lunch. And please don't be that person that heats fish in the microwave at work.

Here are my recommendations for true crime podcasts (in no particular order):
Sword & Scale
True Crime Garage
Generation Why
In Sight


340g (12oz) 150-200 cooked, peeled shrimp, thawed
2 Roma tomatoes diced, with seeds removed
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 to 1 jalapeno, finely diced (1/2 for mild heat, 1 for medium heat)
2 baby cucumbers, sliced and quartered
3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup canned black beans, drained
1/2 avocado, diced
Cilantro, to taste
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Crumbled feta cheese, to taste
Kraft Italian Zesty Lime salad dressing, to taste


Put thawed shrimp in large bowl. Drain black beans, and add to bowl. Dice tomatoes, onion, jalapeno and cucumbers and add to bowl. Add corn, salt and pepper, and salad dressing. Mix well to combine. If serving immediately, add diced avocado, cilantro and feta. Mix salad again. Plate, and add feta on top.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Coconut Lime Cake with Pineapple (Dairy-free, Gluten free)

Simon loves any food with coconut, sweet or savoury. I asked him what kind of cake he'd like for his birthday...Coconut, obviously. He can't tolerate dairy products, so I had recently purchased coconut milk whipped cream to try it out.
This stuff is *delicious,* as in hard-to-stop-eating level of delicious. Simon asked for a cake that had this on top, so my goal was a cake that had the right flavours to pair with coconut milk whipped cream. I used an entire containers to ice this cake, so if you want to cover the sides too, you'll need two containers.

I love working with almond flour and coconut flour because they add a great depth of flavour, and, even more conveniently, they don't rise very much. This makes them perfect for a layered cake, because they bake perfectly flat.

Ingredients for TWO layers

4 cups almond flour (2 cups each)
1 cup coconut flour  (1/2 cup each)
1 tsp salt (1/2 tsp each)
2 tsp baking soda (1 tsp each)
2 tsp baking powder (1 tsp each)
(Divide all dry ingredients equally into two large bowls)
8 large eggs
1 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Zest from 2 limes (about 2 tsp)
Juice from 2 limes

1 tbsp shredded coconut
Fresh pineapple


In two large bowls, combine dry ingredients and mix.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, convection bake. Grease two matching 9 inch round cake pans.

In a third large bowl, add eggs, and use a hand mixer or whisk until they are light and frothy. Add in maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, zest and juice.

Pour half of the wet mixture into the two bowls of dry ingredients. Fold to combine. The mixture will look grainy. Pour batter from both bowls into greased cake pans. The batter will be thick, so smooth it out flat with a spatula.

Place side by side in the oven for 28-30 minutes. Cakes will be lightly browned. Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes, then run a paring knife around the sides to loosen the cakes from the pans. Carefully flip over onto a cooling rack to cool.

When cakes are completely cooled, add a thick layer of coconut milk whipped cream (half of the container) evenly onto one cake. Very carefully, slide a large spatula under the second cake and place it on top of the bottom layer. Add another layer of whipped cream on top.

Top with coconut and pineapple.


Monday, 20 March 2017

Oven Baked "Fried" Chicken Drumsticks

Anna tried this dish and said, "I don't know what you did to this chicken, but it's really good." Noted, and will definitely make this again! This chicken is baked, but it really does have the crispiness of fried chicken.

This is actually the third time I've made this recipe, but it was slightly different each time, depending on what I had on hand. The first time, I made it with regular breadcrumbs; the second, I used regular paprika. Clearly the winner was panko breadcrumbs and smoked paprika. I mostly just tossed spices in and didn't measure, so I'm estimating on this a bit.

Makes 16 drumsticks


3/4 cup Kellogg's Corn Flakes (crush to tiny pieces by hand, or put in a food processor)
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp smoked paprika (or to taste)
1 tsp dried parsley
Black pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
16 chicken drumsticks with skin on


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (convection bake). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with canola oil spray.

Mix Corn Flakes, panko breadcrumbs, spices and herbs in a medium sized bowl. Roll drumsticks in breading mixture to fully coat. Place on baking sheet evenly spaced.

Bake for 25 minutes, then remove from oven to turn chicken drumsticks over quickly. Place baking sheet back in oven for 15 more minutes, until coating is crispy and browned.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Rosemary & Thyme Foccacia

Last weekend, I posted the recipe for German Poppyseed Crescent Rolls, which is a medium-difficulty level bread to bake. If you are new to making homemade bread, the easiest bread recipe is homemade foccacia. The dough is actually just a standard pizza dough recipe, but it's allowed to proof for a couple hours to achieve a light, fluffy bread dough. The pizza dough recipe is my dad's, who is a chef. We rarely ordered pizza when I was growing up, because he often made pizza from scratch.

People are always so impressed by a fresh baked loaf of foccacia, because most people have never attempted to bake bread, they think it must be quite challenging. This recipe is quite simple, and it doesn't include eggs or dairy like a lot of other bread doughs, so it's allergy friendly.

I top my foccacia with dried rosemary and thyme to match the flavours in my homemade chicken & rice soup (scroll down for the soup recipe here). If I don't have a turkey carcass with which to make soup, I just buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, we eat the breast meat for one meal, allow the chicken to cool, then I pick the dark meat off the bones and save some of the larger bones to make soup. It's a bit of a cheat, but it makes a great soup! The foccacia is a perfect pairing to a bowl of homemade chicken soup on a cold winter day.

1 dough=1 foccacia or 2 thin crust pizzas


8g packet of dry instant yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1.5 oz olive oil (measure in a shot glass)

To top bread:
1 tbsp olive oil
Dried rosemary
Dried thyme
Sea salt


In 1 cup of warm water, pour packet of dry instant yeast and add granulated sugar to the water and yeast. Allow yeast to sit for 5 minutes.

During that 5 minutes, measure out AP flour, salt and olive oil and add to stand mixer bowl or large mixing bowl. Add water and yeast mixture to flour mixture and knead with stand mixer or by hand. If using a stand mixer, put on lowest setting with dough hook for 5-7 minutes. Dough should form into a smooth ball.

Place the dough ball into a medium sized bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Place the covered bowl in a warm place (on sunny days, I place it on the windowsill) for one hour to proof.

After one hour, punch down dough and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil greased with canola oil spray. Using hands, press dough out into an even oval shape on the baking sheet. Cover the dough once more with the kitchen towel and place in a warm spot to proof for one more hour (if the kitchen is cold, turn the oven light on and place in the oven for 1 hour--the heat from the light will help the dough rise).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Drizzle olive oil on top and use the back of a spoon to spread oil evenly to coat the dough. Sprinkle with rosemary, thyme and sea salt.

Bake for 16-17 minutes, until dough is lightly browned. Cut into squares and serve with olive oil and balsamic for dipping.

Note:  Fresh bread does not stay fresh for long, so if you are not planning to eat it the day it was baked, store in a tupperware container or an extra large freezer bag to maintain freshness.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Mohnhörnchen (German poppyseed crescent rolls)

Fresh, homemade bread is my favourite pairing alongside a pot of soup. This crescent roll recipe from the cookbook, Classic German Baking, is a little more involved than the usual Rosemary and Thyme Focaccia I make with chicken and rice soup, but easier than other bread recipes.

Anna *loved* the mohnhörnchen. I made them yesterday and I think there is only one left! If you have never baked bread from scratch before, be prepared for them to get stale very quickly. Prepackaged bread seems to last weeks in a plastic bag, but homemade bread is stale the second day. I recommend putting any bread left by the end of the day they were baked in a freezer bag and freezing them, even if you plan to eat it the next day.

Makes 10 crescent rolls


4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup minus 1 tbsp whole milk
1 large egg (at room temperature)

For topping:
1 egg yolk
1 tsp whole milk
1 tbsp poppyseeds


Combine flour, sugar, salt and instant yeast in a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Set aside.

In a small pot, melt butter and add whole milk. Heat until lukewarm. Remove from heat, then whisk in egg.

Immediately pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Begin kneading, or use the bread hook attachment on your stand mixer for 5 to 7 minutes on low. The dough should look flakey. Knead by hand until the dough forms a ball.

Place the ball of dough in a clean, medium sized bowl and cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm spot for 1 hour to proof.

After 1 hour, punch down the dough and press into a circle. Use a rolling pin to achieve uniform thickness. When the dough is rolled into a 15 inch diameter circle, the correct thickness has been achieved.

Use a dough cutter to cut circle in half, then each half into five triangles, for a total of ten dough triangles.

Roll the dough, starting with the flat side (not the tip of the triangle). Tuck the tip under, to the bottom of the roll. Curl the sides slightly, into a crescent. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or aluminum foil sprayed with canola oil spray). Repeat with remaining triangles.

Place kitchen towel back over rolls, allow to proof for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F for convection ovens, 425°F for regular.

In a small bowl, combine egg yolk and milk to brush on top of crescent rolls. After brushing with yolk, sprinkle poppyseeds on top evenly.

Bake for 12-13 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from pan and place on cooling rack carefully. The rolls will be quite soft to the touch immediately out of the oven. Allow to cool.