Mmm Canada Savory

Well there should be a picture with this, but Blogger is not letting me upload right now.

That's okay, it's not a very good picture anyways.

Jasmine asked for savory Canadian dishes. Which to me means my grandmother's meat pie, Tortiere. She used to make it as I was growing up and how I hated that pie. There was not enough ketchup for me then.

So no French Canadian meat pie for me.

And I don't think Poutine should count.

But Jasmine asked, and I made up my own....

Maple Orange Cranberry Porkchops

2 cups orange juice, divided
1/2 cup maple syrup, real stuff
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, not dried
salt and pepper to taste
8 1 inch thick pork loin chops (yes, this made alot)

Mix together 1 cup of the orange juice, the syrup and cranberries with a sprinkling of salt and pepper in a large ziploc bag. Add the pork chops, seal and marinade, turning occasionally, at least for a few hours.

Remove the chops but reserve the marinade. Bbq the chops, or broil them if there is a major thunderstorm happening over your bbq, again, and you don't want to be fried to a crisp just to improve your pork chops somewhat.

Pour the marinade into a high sided sauted pan and turn the heat to high. Add the second cup of orange juice and stir. Allow to come to a boil and boil for a good 5 minutes. It will foam, alot. Stir, helping the cranberries break down some, but still leaving a few chunks in there. After about 5 minutes, the sauce should get quite thick and sticky. That's when it is ready.

Serve the pork chops with roasted sweet potatoes (maple syrup optional on those), with a generous spoonful of the pink, thick sauce. I said generous spoonful. On the porkchops, not in your mouth. If you like it that much, have another porkchop.

Food Porn from my weekend away

We treated ourselves to a sunset dinner cruise for our anniversary.

Beef tenderloin with a red wine reduced demi glaze. Tasty and not over done.

Chef's choice for dessert, a marbled cake with a strawberry coulis.

My favorite on the rare occasion when we make it to Cora's for breakfast - Buckwheat Blessing, sausages rolled in buckwheat crepes with old cheddar and a mountain of fresh fruit. English cream on the side for dipping that fruit.

We decided to try something very different for dinner, Indian Food from a local favorite, Curry Original. This is from the Chef's Special for Two, which we did as take out so we could enjoy from the comfort of our room, relaxing and watching movies. It was an interesting experience, with some good, most iffy, and one really bad (the pickled vegetables, yuck!) Left overs are actually still in my fridge now.

Continental breakfast, delivered to our room, with still warm croissants.

Pan Chancho Bakery came highly recommended and one sniff in the door said why. This bakery was very busy but had lots of staff available to keep the line moving.

We shared this loaf of orange cranberry bread by the water, enjoying the breeze, and sharing some crumbs with some baby ducks.

Daring Bakers: Braiding and laminating

Yes, it is that time of month again, the Daring Bakers are dominating the food blogging world!

This month KellyPea and Ben chose for us a Danish Braid, made with a laminated dough that was laced with cardamom and orange.

Now normally I'd have a nice long post for everyone, with lots of little details, but not this time. No, this time I have just walked through the door from a nice, relaxing weekend away for my anniversary, with lots of goodies and pictures. Surprisingly no laptops came on this kid-free weekend, so the emails have piled up, along with laundry and, oh yes, my children are home too.

Instead, here are some pictures of my Danish braid experience to keep you busy....

Btw, the recipe for the apple filling said it made enough for 2 braids, using 4 fuji apples. I used 5 apples and had a scant 2 cups of filling - just barely enough for one braid. Wonder what size apples the author used?

So far I've only used half of the dough, making this one braid with the apple filling. The other half of the dough is currently defrosting in my fridge, to be used for a savory dinner tomorrow night. You will have to wait and see what I do with it.

Be sure to check out lots of other Daring Bakers' today, starting with KellyPea and Ben, who should also have the recipe available to them. And leave a comment please! I love comments!

TWD: Coming into Season

How can anything be bad that starts out like this....

Five cups of fresh or frozen mixed berries. Seriously, how bad can that be?

I guess I am one of the more fortunate Doranistas this week in that I had plenty of fresh berries available to me. So when Beth of Our Sweet Life chose the Mixed Berry Cobbler for her choice, I didn't worry about the price of berries. I simply looked in my fridge (which is currently devoid of berries right now.)

Its a good thing this was supposed to be a rustic dessert and not something with a fancy finish. Rustic is what I ended up with, with a craggly, crumbly top, and thick berry juice bubbling out the sides.

I've heard some other Doranistas had concerns about the cobbler. After the fact, of course, not before, but then that's about normal for me, isn't it? I had no problems with either making, or tasting the cobbler. Sure it is very different from the cobbler I usually make, which I like alot, but it was still good. A sprinkling of raw sugar on top would have been a great addition, though.

So no cobbler problems. I, personally, had berry problems. I think it was the blackberries. I really am not a huge fan of blackberries as a fresh fruit. My children love them, but I don't. It could not possibly have been the raspberries, strawberries or mountain of blueberries in the fruit mix, the three best berries there are. Never those, especially the blueberries. It had to be the blackberries. They overwhelmed the other berries with their strong flavor and big seeds. Which is why I was not fond of the berry part of this dessert.

However I seemed to be in the minority on this one. No one else in the house had any complaints at all about the cobbler, until it was gone. And all the boys had more than one serving. One even had it for breakfast, minus the ice cream.

I think I want to try this again, with peaches and strawberries maybe. And a good sprinkling of sugar on top.

For now I need to go look up the apple cheddar scones and go buy some cheese.

Mmm Canada Part 1… The Sweet Edition

No worries, Jasmine, there is still a Savory Edition to come. This one, however is the sweet, made specifically for SHF:Mmm Canada, hosted by Jennifer, The Domestic Goddess herself.

What exactly do you consider to be a Canadian dessert? Beaver tails come to mind for me, but then, I live in Ottawa, home of the controversial Beaver tail.

For those of you not in the know, a Beaver tail is a piece of pastry that is pulled into a shape that resembles a beaver’s tail, deep fried and then given a topping, usually something sweet. I personally like the cinnamon sugar, my children like the hazelnut spread and my husband enjoys the Killaloe Sunrise, cinnamon sugar and lemon. (The picture is from the Beaver Tails website, btw.)

Not exactly a gourmet, Canadian dish, but very yummy.

Still, other than those, I couldn't really think of something that I considered to be a Canadian dessert, though I could think of Canadian ingredients. Blueberries, maple, cranberries, rhubarb. All sweet things that could be used in dessert.

In the end I decided to go with rhubarb, mostly because there is an abundance of it in my backyard, and also because I had made a rhubarb dessert for Jennifer before. But this time I planned to "kick it up a notch" with some homemade ice cream for the topping. Not just any ice cream, Canadian ice cream, rhubarb ice cream!

The ice cream took some advanced planning. The recipe, found on, called for baking cut up rhubarb with sugar, alot of sugar, until it was soft and well mixed, before pureeing it in a blender. There is chilling time involved, but no ice cream machine. Instead the cold rhubarb "compote" is folded into whipped cream and then frozen, making ice cream. Easy peasy, right?

And it works out fairly well (though I admit I increased the rhubarb, and the cream.) The compote smells wonderful, the combination of white sugar and the juices from the rhubarb. I had the ice cream, now I needed the cobbler.

I used the same recipe for the cobbler as I had used the last time, my standard recipe, where I increase the amount of rhubarb but keep the sugar levels the same. The color of this cobbler is darker, more caramelized, but for good reason - look what my hubby picked up for me from a garage sale when we were up at my grandparents! For a whole $10! How many women are excited when their husbands buy them a second oven, a convection oven? Mememememememe!

I have used this little baby numerous times since I brought it home - I preferred the cream puffs baked in it to the ones baked in my kitchen oven. And while it bakes wonderfully, it does not heat up my house! Of course it doesn't hurt that it is kept in the basement, where it is cool, and put onto my freezer when I need to use it.

Back to dessert.....

I had one major problem with dessert, and unfortunately, it was the ice cream. Ice cream should begin to melt when you bring it out on the freezer. This one didn't. Half an hour later and it still didn't melt. I like my ice cream slightly melty!

Flavorwise it was a nice match, the rhubarb with the rhubarb. And it did help thin out my patch slightly. Plus gave me a chance to use my new oven.

I'm curious to see what other people come up with for their Canadian desserts, and hope my dessert makes someone think of Canada.

The case of the missing milk

Yes, milk.

Disappeared. Gone, not to be accounted for.

The other day my sous chef and I hit Costco for some basics. Milk, while it has gone up in price since I joined a few months back, is still cheaper at Costco than anywhere else. We bought two bags, which went down to the basement fridge.

Btw, yes, I have a second fridge in my basement. And I will never be without a second fridge again. If we move, one of my fridges is coming with me.

Now neither the husband or I drink milk. The kids do, but we don't. I cook with it sometimes. Both the husband and I use it on cereal, which I haven't done all week. Both kids use it on cereal, too much actually, as there is usually lots of milk left in the bowl when they are done. And they both drink it.

Oh yes, two bags of milk is 8 liters of milk. Plenty for the week, even with all of us eating cereal every day.

It's Wednesday and neither bag can be found. Not in either fridge, not in a freezer by mistake, not visible on a shelf somewhere by even bigger mistake.

So the real question is... Can two children, aged 5 and 9, drink 8 liters of milk in three days?

TWD: Is it Tuesday already?

This week the choice was given over to Caroline, of A Consuming Passion. Her choice was the Peppermint Cream Puff Ring, found on pages 290-292.

I admit, this didn't appeal much to me. It looks pretty, and I'm sure it tastes great, but I just was not in the mood for the peppermint, and that is all I could think of when I saw it. I quietly pouted about it for a short time, then remembered something important.

This is TWD, not the Daring Bakers, and I am ALLOWED to make changes to the recipe! Woot! The Cream Puff Ring was on!

Introducing the "Do it yourself Cream Puff Tray!"

Instead of making one giant ring, I made a bunch of little ones. And then I made a bunch of mini cream puff "fingers", which I personally think looked alot better than the rings. It could be because I used different ovens for them though, so I will have to go back and try this again sometime, for comparisons sake. I'm sure you understand. It is purely for comparison and not because cream puffs are yummy and easy to make.

Oh yes, these are both yummy and easy to make. Guess I forgot to mention that. Filled with whipped cream and a choice of chocolate ganaches, mint (because I felt the mint had to be there somewhere), dark and milk chocolate, everyone got exactly what they wanted. Even if what they wanted was a cream puff with only whipped cream.

Personally, I wanted the milk chocolate. I like milk chocolate.

I made and served these as part of a family Father's Day dinner, so there were lots of people to share in the cream puff tray, and surprisingly, even a few left over.

Even though the mint did not appeal, and I basically skipped that part of the recipe, this recipe is a keeper. For the cream puffs at least, which I will make again. So thanks for bringing it to my attention Caroline!

Next week we get to make mixed berry cobbler, which is perfect as I have plenty of berries that need a home.

TWD: Made so fast your head will spin!

If you are a TWD'er, or even just a lurker, you know that the next week's recipe is usually posted on Monday, the day before we post our previous weeks' recipe. Last week, the day before we posted our French Brownies, Marie chose for us La Palette’s Strawberry Tart to make for the next week, and post about today.

I had my tarts made, and completely eaten, by Monday evening. How fast is that?

I decided I preferred small sized tarts to a large one. They allow for each person to personalize their serving, and well, they just look so cute!

Turns out I had everything I needed in my pantry, so I just got to it and started in, putting my little sous chef to work shelling pistachios to add to the tart dough. (Eventually I had to jump in and help him get my 3/4 cup - he was eating more than he was putting into the bowl.)

Oh, btw, the nut ban in our house if OVER!!! Some of the Daring Baker's might recall in December we had conflicting allergy test results for our oldest son, who tested allergic to peanuts, but because he was eating peanut butter regularly, the allergist considered the test contaminated but would not follow up. He even said to keep him away from peanuts, then added in, "But keep feeding him peanut butter." A second opinion with a different allergist included a blood test as well as the skin test, both coming up negative. So nuts are back allowed into our house again!

And as a result, the first tart that the children ate had peanut butter, mixed in with a spoonful of icing sugar to smooth it out, in the bottom of their pistachio tart shells, instead of strawberry jam. Both asked for seconds (which my 9 year old assembled himself, putting both peanut butter and strawberry jam in this time.)

Personally, I do not like peanut butter, and did not feel a need to put any on my tart. The crispy, cookie like tart stood up well to a generous spoonful of strawberry jam, loaded with strawberries, sprinkled with black pepper, and topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream. I ate two. My husband ate two. And before you knew it, they were gone.

I fully plan to make these again. I loved the pistachio in the dough, with the flecks of green, though I recall liking this dough just fine plain as well. I can see making these tarts even smaller, filling them with a chocolate ganache and then topping it with strawberries and cream. Such an elegant and pretty, but simple dessert.

Great choice Marie!

And now I need to go find where I left my book so I can look up the latest recipe!

First trip to the Farmer's Market

It took me much longer than I wanted to make it to the Farmer's Market, held each Sunday at Lansdowne Park, as well as Thursdays starting at 2pm. Out of town trips, plus other events, were conspiring against me, but I was finally able to get there yesterday morning. Along with my basket carrying helper.

You can bet he was happy to come, especially when he got to taste test several things, including this maple cotton candy. Yes, we brought home a bag.

I'm not sure what I would do with garlic shallots, so left these behind. A bit regretfully.

I've had a Bison burger before and found it didn't taste much different than a regular, well made burger. I'm tempted to pick some up next time, though, and see if anyone else in the house notices. Same with Elk. Think I could sneak that past the boys?

In case you were wondering what exactly a Jerusalem Artichoke looks like. A cross between a potato and ginger?

A gift for a foodie friend who likes jewelery? These ingenious ladies had a table under the name of Fork N'Things, where they made different types of jewelery using old silverware. They had pendants as well as bracelettes. What a great way to recycle!

I was told these were picked daily, with whatever looked good in the garden beds that morning. Only what was in season. What a great way to plan your salad.

I'm sure most people don't know that all peppers start out green, and then change colors. We aren't fans of the green, but love yellow, red and orange. Purple is tasty too.

The first local strawberries of the season. We've had a tonne of rain, after a very long winter, so I am hoping there are lots of berries this season. We have a pick your own field up the road from us, so we plan to pick alot this year!

As tempting as these were, I found them a bit pricey, at $6 for half a small bag. Fiddleheads are beautiful though, aren't they?

We brought home a jar of this banana cinnamon jam. I'd have put it in my 9 year old's lunch today if I had been able to figure out where it went. I don't think my 5 year old had the chance to eat it all with a spoon (which he wanted to do after taste testing it) but he might have hid it so he didn't have to share with his brother.

Such beautiful daisies. If only I had the proper light in my garden for these.

We couldn't leave without a visit to the petting zoo, where we were greeted by a friendly face.

I'm looking forward to lots of other visits to the farmer's market as the season progresses. This trip did not result in alot of purchases, mainly because most of the booths were selling plants or bread, with a healthy sprinkling of condiment vendors.

What is your local farmer's market have available right now?

TWD: French Brownies

This week Di of Di's Kitchen Notebook sent us to visit Dorie in France, where a dense chocolate cake was taken for a brownie. A very decadent brownie, with rum soaked raisins in it.

Now I love brownies. And I love raisins. What I don't love is rum. I own some, a dark rum from the Dominican Republic, but I don't drink it.

Fortunately the timing of this choice coincided with my need to make something chocolate and decadent for my swim coach, as a thank you for 9 months of pushing me into becoming a swimmer. A slow swimmer, but still a swimmer. That in itself is a major achievement, so I wanted something special. Thanks Di! This was it!

I gave 3/4 of this to my coach, leaving only a bit behind for picture and my own tasting crew. They didn't really do anything for me, not bad, but not amazing. It's the rum, I'm sure. My 2 boys, on the other hand, loved them, and giggled that Mom was getting them drunk with the rum in it. And the husband said he thought the combination of raisins and a brownie was weird but it worked well together, so he liked them.

No idea how my coach liked them. I'll ask her when I see her in July.

I think I would like to try them again, keeping the raisins, but replacing the rum with something else, maybe a mint liquor? Or an orange. Oooh, maybe replacing the raisins with dried cranberries and using an orange liquor.

Next week we get to make La Palette’s Strawberry Tart. Or rather, I get to post about it. I've already made mine, making this the first TWD recipe that I made the day it was posted!

Don't forget to check out lots of other TWD posters, who are all listed over on the Tuesday's with Dorie website, found here!

Yes, we do eat more than dessert around here (and a meme)

I know it doesn't look like it lately, what with all the flour, butter and sugar seen on my blog in the last week.

People who've read my blog for awhile now know that I usually have a menu plan for the week. It's been a little off lately, but essentially the plan is still there, though it has been only 1-2 days ahead lately - for example I know what I'm going to make on Thursday for dinner (pre soccer game) but still don't know what I'm going to make tomorrow night.

Last week was a bit like that - I knew I was going to make some kind of "fajitas" using pork for Thursday's dinner, but that was it. If I'd have been thinking a bit further ahead, I'd have marinated my pork the day before. Instead I looked at my plan and remembered to take the tenderloins out of the freezer the day before.

Hey at least I remembered that!

I remembered to write down what I put into my marinate, and would strongly recommend that if you make this that you let the meat marinate for a good full day. I only ended up with 5 hours, and it was still good. But it would be sooooo much better if it had time to penetrate further.

I served this tasty pork on flour tortillas with Montery Jack cheese, fresh cilantro, a homemade guacamole, green onions and a bit of sour cream. The kids added salsa to theirs and skipped the guacamole.

Guacamole doesn't look pretty but sure tastes good. Especially homemade guacamole.

So bonus to everyone today - two recipes from me! But you have to read after the meme to get to them. (Is that cheating?)

My new friend Megan tagged me for this 5 Things about you meme, so here goes!

The rules: Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What was I doing ten years ago?
Sick as could be with my firstborn child. Morning sickness is a myth - try all day sickness instead. For 9 1/2 months.

What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today:

1. Write up and publish TWD recipe.
2. Get Subway orders organized and delivered for the school lunch next week.

3. Laundry, laundry and more laundry.

4. Pick up something to make for early dinner since it is a soccer practice night. And for fyi, steak sandwiches with home made sweet potato "fries."

5. Clean downstairs bathroom.

5 Snacks I enjoy:

1. chips and dip

2. asian pears

3. chocolate

4. popcorn with extra butter

5. marble cheese

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Culinary school and cooking vacations from around the world. After I’d done all the practical things first.

Places I have lived:
Calgary, Alberta; Germany (army bases); Brampton, Mississauga, Ottawa, North Bay, Pembroke, all in Ontario

Jobs I have had:
Burger King and McDonalds, as well Dairy Queen, as a teenager.

Cashier at a corner store, doing both opening and closing shifts in the same week.

Temp agencies, doing this and that, including one where I spend several days cleaning up someone’s files, and one for Canon where they paid me to load paper into printers over and over again.

Direct Mail facility. Yes, I sent out addressed and unaddressed junk mail. And learned a bit about how to deal with my children’s temper tantrums by having to deal with sales rep temper tantrums.

Stay-at-home-parent. Still mostly doing this, though with a part time job now, and a lot of volunteer work with the school. (Does laminating slave count as a job?)

Play-leader. Silly title for a preschool program. I do crafts with kids, and sing songs and do finger plays in circle with them. I get to color and play playdough as well, and I make a very good Lincoln Logs house.

Now I'm supposed to tag 5 people. Not sure if I can find people who haven't been tagged yet. So I'm going to go back to some of my first blogging friends and hope I didn't retag them.

Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict
Lis of La Mia Cucina
Mary of The Sour Dough

Helen of Tartelette
Brilynn of Jumbo Empanadas

Now for recipes!


3 ripe avacados, chunked
1/2 red onion, diced small
big handful of fresh cilantro, chopped fine
1 tsp minced garlic
big sprinkling of kosher salt
heaping tablespoon salsa (I used a fresh made kind, but use whatever you have)
juice of half a lime (zest too if you want.)

Place everything together in a bowl and mush it together with a spoon. How mushy depends on how you like your salsa. Leave it chunky if you like it chunky, or mush it fine if you like it smoother. Mine was somewhere in between.

Pork Fajitas

zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon of honey
juice of 3 limes
2 tablespoons finally chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pork tenderloins

Mix marinate ingredients together and place in a large ziploc bag. Add tenderloins and allow to marinate, turning occasionally, for at least 12 hours. The longer the better.

Preheat bbq to medium heat. Grill tenderloins, turning frequently, until desired doneness. I wanted a touch of pink left in mine for moisture.

Allow to rest for 10 minutes under a foil tent before slicing thinly on the diagonal. Serve with guacamole on flour tortillas with choice of toppings. Good toppings are more fresh cilantro, green onions, cheese, salsa, sour cream, sauted onions.