My little buddy

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Guacamole Ole Ole

So, last night was my cooking class at the Superstore - Dim Sum, which is basically a bunch of Chinese appetizers, similar to Spain's Tapas. Anyway, the menu was varied and I have to say I liked everything except for the Bok Char Siu Mai - shrimp stuffed mushrooms.

Ok, as most of you know I don't like guacamole. It's the avocado. Not a big fan of the taste, but I really don't like the texture.

So we started with a little fusion cooking ... Szechuan Guacamole. Well, you can imagine how excited I was for that. NOT! It was supposed to be served up with Shrimp Chips, but the Superstore didn't have any so they subbed with "sea vegetable" rice crackers, aka sea weed rice crackers. I am sure some of you are now cringing, thinking this has got to be disgusting. I certainly had my doubts. But I was determined to try some of it.

WELL, I FREAKING LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OMG! The guacamole was soooo delicious! The rice crackers were perfect for the dip. I can't believe how great it was! Guess what everybody's having at Lesley's Epi party? LOL!

Next we had Siu Mai which was steamed dumplings .... it was supposed to be duck dumplings, however "they couldn't get" any duck (meaning it was too much $$) so they subbed with pork tenderloin. They were pretty good. Just a note. When they call for Siu Mai wrappers, best to go with them, not wonton wrappers that are twice as thick, take twice as long to cook and are a little chewier. All in all, the dumplings were good. Something I would definitely try. The chef also whipped up a quick dipping sauce which was basically soy sauce, ginger, garlic and rice wine vinegar - very tasty!

The third item we tried was Hoisin-BBQ Pork ... hmmmm ... very good. It took an hour to bake in the oven, very quick, very flavourful. Lisa chose to serve it with plain Jasmine rice (my fave) and a quick veggie stir-fry that was scrumptious.

The last item we tried was the Bok Char Siu Mai ... I like shrimp, but I just didn't like the shrimp filling that was in the mushrooms. Definitely not one I will attempt. It's best left alone.

In the New Year, there will be four classes - Thai, Indian, Chinese, and Entertaining Friends. I am definitely signing up for the Thai and Chinese. I will have to give the other two some thought. I may also look into the classes offered by the dietitian at the Southside store. I guess she is doing great, her classes are always full.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Recipes for Melanie II

This is one of my uncle's favourites, and he is the original Meat and Potatoes Man.

Impossibly Easy Bacon Pie

12 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
3/4 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tsp Fines Herbs

1.Heat oven to 400°F. Grease 9-inch glass pie plate. Saute onion in olive oil in a frying pan until they begin to turn translucent. Add mushrooms and green pepper and saute for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle bacon, cheese and sauteed vegetables into pie plate.
2.In medium bowl, beat remaining ingredients until blended; pour into pie plate.
3.Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Quiche Lorraine

1 single-crust deep-dish pie crust
12 slices bacon
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/3 cup minced onion
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups light cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

2. Place bacon in a large skillet, and fry over medium-high heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels, then chop coarsely. Saute onion in bacon grease until slightly translucent. Sprinkle bacon, cheese and onion into pastry shell.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, salt, sugar and cayenne pepper. Pour mixture into pastry shell.

4. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce heat to 300 degrees F, and bake an additional 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted 1 inch from edge comes out clean. Allow quiche to sit 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.

NOTE: To make the bacon step easier, I use kitchen shears and cut the raw bacon into small pieces, then fry in the pan. Save the crumbling-chopping step. Also, you can use a mixture of Swiss and Gruyere cheeses instead of just Swiss.

Recipes for Melanie

Sorry it's taken me so long, Mel. Been a little crazy lately. Here's the first recipe, the French Toast one:

Double Stuffed French Toast with Peaches and Almonds

8 slices Texas-style bread
3 eggs, whisked
1 tbsp white sugar
1/2 cup 10% cream

1 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup PC Cranberry Orange Marmalade or Sauce
1 can NN sliced peaches in syrup, drained and slightly dried
1 cup candied almonds

Icing sugar
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup peach slices
1/2 cup whipped cream

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the eggs, sugar and cream. Heat skillet to medium heat. Place a small amount of butter or canola oil in pan (I would use cooking spray). Soak each slice of bread in egg mixture briefly. Cook slices of bread in pan, two at a time, until a bit firm and golden brown. Set cooked slices on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Combine cream cheese and cranberry marmalade in a small mixing bowl.. Spread cheese mix on each slice of French Toast. Place first amount of sliced peaches on cream cheese on 4 slices of the Toast. Top with second slice of Toast, sandwiching everything together. Slice each sandwich in 1/2 and place baking sheet in oven to warm through. To serve, place sandwich on plate and garnish with candied almonds, dried cranberries, second amount of sliced peaches, whipped cream and dust with icing sugar.

NOTE: You can find candied almonds at the Bulk Barn or make them yourself by tossing almonds with honey, sugar or maple syrup and toasting in the oven for 10 minutes. There's no reason why you can't reduce the calorie content by using milk instead of 10% cream in the egg mixture, low-fat or no-fat cream cheese, peaches in fruit juice instead of syrup, and low-fat or non-fat whipped topping instead of whipped cream.

I will post the rest of the recipes for you later this evening after the kids leave. Gotta go get Mr. Man up from his nap right now, just heard him stir.