Here we are at the end of our cooking classes for another season and I have a real treat for you this time. Rick the owner of Le Villa restaurant graciously agreed to do the season finale for us and teach the girls about what it is like to cook in a restaurant kitchen. We were all thrilled to watch a professional chef in action. All three of us took a lot away from that afternoon plus very full stomachs!! Our meal was out of this world fantastic and I can’t say more about this fine restaurant. Their food is consistently marvellous and new creative items are popping up on the menu. For example this out of the world Pan Fried Steelhead Trout with seared scallop, citrus hollandaise, lobster risotto and arugula with truffle oil. The girls were able to watch Rick prepare this dish emphasizing the importance of a very hot well seasoned fry pan so the fish will never stick. The fish was seasoned only with sea salt and fresh pepper. It was cooked with the skin on which turned crispy and delightful. If you know me you know I don’t like risotto but this lobster risotto was like nothing I had before. Absolutely cooked to perfection. The girls gobbled down the meal even enjoying the arugula and truffle oil which goes perfectly with the rest of the plate. The crowning glory for them was the scallop that melted in their mouths. A fabulous meal that you must try.
Secondly, what do you mean there’s more!!! Rick prepared a very classic yet divinely delicious Steak Diane. The girls again learned the importance of a very hot and well seasoned pan along with a simple application of a light dredge of flour on the beef tenderloin medallions to seal in the juices. They now got to get in closer to see all the ingredients being added to make the sauce, like brown stock, Dijon mustard and the flaming of brandy. Whooooosh!! And finally the drizzling of whipping cream that was making them lick their lips. The steak is then presented over heavenly Boursin mashed potatoes and perfectly cooked seasonal vegetable. They loved the baby turnips!!
After the girls devoured the steak with ooohs and aaahs they wanted to move onto dessert. Really??? I was stuffed but they insisted on trying a classic espresso creme brulee. They were able to watch the pastry chef tranform the plain sugar into a crispy crunchy topping and decorate it with whipped cream, chocolate bark and fresh berries. Simply decadent!! They loved every spoonful and said they had never had such a great meal. Amber asked why we couldn’t come there every night!!!
Upon asking for the bill I was shocked to find out that Rick had graciously treated us to this entire experience. We are all truly grateful and will cherish this afternoon in fine dining as one of the best experiences that FNCC has had to offer us!! I am blessed to have this time together with the girls laughing and sharing food and look forward to the next season to see what the girls dream up for us to do. Stay tuned for more to come in the fall.
Come and dine at Le Villa located at #404, 1851 Sirocco Drive SW, Calgary, AB. For reservations call 403-217-9699. Their website is www.levilla.ca.
It is week 8 into our celebration of JC100 and we are learning how to roast a chicken to perfection. I honestly think this was the best chicken I have ever made. Moist and juicy and full of flavour. You probably thought you made a pretty good chicken already but if you follow Julia’s techniques you will make an even better roast chicken. I watched Julia last night on my DVD to see if there were any thing else I was missing. She talks a lot about the much enjoyed bird. From first washing it well, to checking it over for unwanted feathers, to trimming the nubs off the wings and removing the wish bone for easier carving and finally trussing it securely. On her show she has an open counter top rotisserie and an oven one. Two things you don’t see that much of today. She also added strips of bacon to the chicken when she was trussing it up. Doing the rotisserie method you would cook the bird twice as long but she ended up with a gorgeously browned chicken. Upon studying the DVD, my assignment and a few recipes this is what I came up with and it was fantastic!!!
I love that I am continually learning on this journey.
For The Roast Chicken
3-4 lb. chicken
1/2 onion, sliced
Handful of celery leaves
2 Tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper
Herbs de Provence
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 Tbsp. pan drippings
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup beef stock
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
4 Tbsp. port
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425F. Remove giblets from inside of the chicken if necessary. Wash the chicken well inside and out and dry well. Salt and pepper the cavity and place in the 1/2 sliced onion and the celery leaves. Fold the wings under the chicken. Julia says to fold them “akimbo”, which is I am sure what she meant. Tie drumstick ends together. Rub the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle on the salt and Herbs de Provence. Oil a cast iron pan or small roasting pan with a V shaped rack with the olive oil. Place chicken in the preheated oven and baste every 10 min. for 30 min. Scatter the chopped onions and carrots around the chicken and reduce the oven to 350F. Continue to baste every 10 min. now including the vegetables. The chicken will take an hour and 10 to 20 min. to reach an internal temperature of 170F. Remove chicken from the pan and let it rest on a cutting board while you make the sauce.
Remove vegetables from the pan and all the drippings but 1 Tbsp. Heat the pan on the stove and add the chicken and beef stock. Bring up to a rapid boil and reduce slightly. Add the fresh thyme leaves. Stir the cornstarch and port wine together and add to the sauce stirring constantly. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If too thick adjust with more stock.
Slice chicken and serve over mashed potatoes with cooked green beans (or veggie of choice) and the roasted carrots and onions. Pour the sauce over and serve immediately. Gorgeous!!
Excerpted from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child. Copyright © 2000 by Julia Child. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
Today I am very lucky to be able to guest post at Addicted To Recipes. Dawn has a lovely blog and she is a fellow Canadian out of Kelowna. So come on over to see this scrumptious recipe I have featured on her blog and maybe learn a little more about me. Here is what I featured. Enticed? Check out the recipe at Addicted To Recipes.
I have been inspired by all the smoothies and shakes I see on the various sites and really enjoyed doing Cupcakes and Kale Chips Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie. So the other morning I was thirsty and wanted a breakfast smoothie but more thinned out so I came up with this recipe and it was great!! Lovely way to start off your day. Cherries are just starting to show up on the shelves and when I saw them I had to grab a big bag!! Try your hand at making this shake or come up with another seasonal fruit shake or smoothie today, they are so very good!!
1/2 heaping cup of pitted cherries
1/2 heaping cup of Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. light cream cheese
1/2 heaping cup of ice cubes
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. honey
Place all ingredients in a blender and using the ice crush setting blend until smooth. So easy and satisfying!!
I love to watch The Chew everyday and I am totally smitten with Michael Symon. I always have it PVR’d, so not to miss an episode. Ken has to endure listening to me go on and on about Michael. For the most part I don’t think he really minds as they have some great ideas and delicious food. Amber pops in once in a while and watches to. What she does like is Clinton’s Craft Corner (you have to sing it and do jazz hands). Anyway one day she say the bunch of them making little terrariums and she really wanted to make one. I had bought the jars that you see below in a case to make pickles in and they have become very handy for so many things. They are a nice big size for poppycock or cookie mix or a terrarium. First you start off with some rocks, nice ones if you have them. Then Clinton suggested charcoal if you are going to seal the jar to keep mold away. Then a nice layer of potting soil and the plant of your choosing. Amber thought the hens and chicks were cool so we went with them. They may not be the best choice as they don’t like it too moist so we are keeping the lid off for most of the time. If you go to your local greenhouse I am sure they can suggest a bunch of plants that would work well in a terrarium setting. This is a fun and easy craft for kids to do and then they can watch it grow and maintain it. Try this one today!!
You will need:
A suitable sized jar
I am very grateful to be nominated for this award from two different sites and will combine them here today. First off a big thanks to Caity from an Awkward Kitchenette. She has a lovely site and lots of great recipes. I love her Taco Egg Rolls of today!!
I have also been nominated by Ormond of Eating With My Family. Another big thank you Ormond!! He also has a great site and I enjoyed this post of one of his Progressive Dinner Parties something I have never done but it sounds like so much fun.
The rules of the award are as follows:
- Thank the Blogger who nominated you.
- Include a link to their site.
- Include the award image to your post.
- Include the award image on your blog.
- Give 7 random facts about yourself.
- Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
- When nominating other bloggers, include links to their sites.
- Let those bloggers know they have been nominated.
Seven Random Facts About Me Are:
1. I love our guinea pigs very much
2. I love to travel and have been to many places in the world
3. I just discovered I really like salted black licorice again
4. I love sitting on the front porch with my hubby
5. My world lights up with a smile from my daughter
6. I love being at home on rainy days
7. A multitude of things make me happy!!
And finally the 15 blogs that I am nominating for this award are:
1. Addicted to Recipes
2. Bev Cooks
3. Gregs Kitchen
4. The Fountain Avenue Kitchen
5. Pass The Sushi
6. Crunchy Creamy Sweet
7. The Roasted Root
8. The Country Cook
9. Crispy Bits and Burnt Ends
10. Bakeaholic Mama
11. Hot Eats and Cool Reads
12. Chat ‘n Dish
13. Peanut Butter and Peppers
14. Seaweed and Sassafras
15. Spicy Cinnamon
Come and check out all these great food blogs!!
Here is another restaurant that I recently ate at when visiting Las Vegas with my girlfriends. It was a lovely evening and we all very much enjoyed sitting on their lovely elevated balcony overlooking the pool area of Mandalay Bay. They serve “Modern Mexican” cuisine and you ask yourself what is that? Well owners Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger say it a fresh take on authentic Mexican fare and that their meals are light and healthful with a large dose of flavour. They were not wrong and our meals were fantastic. Again sorry for the poor picture quality as it is dark and it is Vegas, nuff said. Some of the pictures didn’t turn out at all of what we dined on but I will give you a little taste of what I can. First off for me was a Cadillac Margarita and it was delicious. They have a wide selection of margaritas, so try one or two. We all tried their Quinoa Fritters to start and they were crisp and delicious, something new that I had just recently seen. I then had the Baja Cerviche and it was so good and quite a large portion size. It was chocked full of flavour and served on a crispy tortilla, yum!! Next I had the Watercress, Jicama and Orange Salad which had bacon wrapped dates that were stuffed with blue cheese and chorizo, what a flavour explosion those were. Doing a starter and a salad was plenty for me as I said their portion sizes are very generous. Also around the table were scallops nestled on beans in a beautiful sauce, they were cooked to perfection!! I don’t see them on the menu online now and might have been a special. Also served up was the Grilled Fish Tacos and the Yucatan pork, rave reviews from those dishes also. We enjoyed this meal after seeing the hysterically funny “Menopause The Musical”. It was a perfect evening. Come and check out their site Border Grill.
Wow, another fantastic weekend has gone by, except for our stinky weather. Rain, rain, rain. Of course it gets sunny and nice come evening time on Sunday. Oh well, gave me lots of time for cooking. Prepping for a catering gig I have on Wednesday. Excited about some new desserts to serve!! I went half and half this week with four desserts and four savouries. Such talent out there it continually blows me away. Love it!!! Here are my picks!!
Apple Dumplings by Carolina Heartstrings – Nutella, Honey and Coconut Semifredo by Bran Appetit! - Strawberry Sherbet by She Wears Many Hats - Creamy Caesar Dressing + Caesar BLT Club Sandwich by Simple Scratch – Flour’s Country Ham, Cheddar and Tomato Quiche by What About Second Breakfast! - Mini (no yeast) Cinnamon Buns by Sally’s Baking Addiction – Avocado Fries by Blog Chef – Portobello Mushroom Stacks by Katherine Martinelli
These caught my eye awhile back when I was at The Cookbook Co. for a cooking lesson. They have a lovely store up front filled with specialty items. I love caviar and I love lentils so I knew I couldn’t go wrong. They only resemble Beluga as they are small, round and black. I wanted to make them vegetarian or even vegan but for some reason I was really drawn to put bacon with them, so I did!! After two bites Amber was asking if there were any more than the bowl she had. She loved them, which makes me happy as she is a very adventuresome healthy eater and always has been. Lentils are a great way to get your protein so we usually just pair them with a nice big green salad.
2 thick slab slices of bacon, cut into lardons
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 shallots, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 carrots, small diced
2 stalks celery, small diced
4 sprigs of oregano, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of dried beluga lentils, rinsed well and picked over
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
Parsley for garnish
Saute bacon until crisp in a large pan. Remove and drain off fat. Add the oil and saute the shallot, garlic, carrots and celery until tender. Add the oregano and saute 1 min. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the lentils and and chicken broth, cover and cook simmering until the broth has been absorbed and the lentils are tender about 30 min. Add the bacon back in and stir to heat. Garnish with parsley..
I grew up beside a wonderful family of seven and loved the daily antics of this tribe. Being an only child I didn’t have the camaraderie of sister or brotherhood. This family brought me into their fold and to this day have made me feel like part of their family. I was extremely saddened when they decided to move away. The matriarch of this fabulous family gave to me her Better Homes and Gardens cookbook collection that I have treasured ever since. I have recently added to the collection when I stumbled upon another vintage cookbook at my friend Nan and her daugher Courtney’s company, The Kitschy Chicks. Anyway, I have loved these cookbooks forever and still use them to this day, changing recipes to suit the need. This is a great recipe that I have made countless times but have changed it up. I also like to under bake this at times and then it is runny and gooey and tastes like a really good butter tart. They freeze well and can be included in your child’s lunchbox. I have also made these at Christmas time as the diamond shape adds to the cookie collection. Enjoy!!!
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 8″ square pan by spraying with cooking spray and then lining with over hanging parchment paper. Cream together butter, white sugar and salt. Stir in the 1 cup of flour. Place the ingredients into pan and pat down. Bake for 15 min. or until lightly browned.
While the crust is baking, combine eggs and vanilla. Add the brown sugar gradually, mixing until just blended. Next add the remaining 2 Tbsp flour and salt. Stir in the coconut and chocolate. Bake 15- 20 min. under baking if you like to maintain that gooey interior or completely bake until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the pan cool and run a knife around the edge that is not lined with the parchment and pull out the squares using the parchment paper. Cut into diamonds.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, Cookies and Candies