Balsamic Glazed Chicken Sandwich with Roasted Red Peppers and Goat Cheese

Balsamic Glazed Chicken Sandwich with Roasted Red Peppers and Goat Cheese

The other day I had the Food Network on in the background and the Ina Garten was making a roasted pepper and goat cheese sandwich . The sandwich sounded tasty! I really like both roasted red peppers and goat cheese. I decided to take the base idea of a sandwich with roasted red peppers and goat cheese and go from there. I thought that grilled chicken would go really well in the sandwich. I also thought that the sandwich still needed some more flavour and a bit of moisture. Then a great idea hit me. How about balsamic glazed chicken? The reduced balsamic sauce would add lots of flavour to the sandwich and any extra sauce would be soaked up by the bun. The sandwich still needed a bit of green and I though that fresh basil leaves would be the perfect fit. As for the bread, I went with my favorite sandwich bread, ciabatta, which I toasted lightly so that is was slightly crunchy and nice and warm. The balsamic glazed chicken sandwich with roasted red peppers and goat cheese turned out to be really tasty!

Beef and Barley Stew

Beef and Barley Stew

I was looking for tasty ways to use some of my leftover roasted beef and freshly made beef stock when I remembered barley. I had been wanting to try using barley for a while and I though that a beef and barley stew would hit the spot. I also liked this recipe because I would get the chance to use rutabaga which I had kept passing by in the grocery store. Since my beef had already been roasted I skipped the browning of the beef in the recipe below. The beef and barley stew turned out pretty good. It was nice and tasty. The beef was so moist and tender and fall apart in your mouth good. The barley had a really nice texture. It was chewy and had a bit of a bite to it, almost like al dente pasta. The rutabaga fit in nicely with the other root vegetables. I saw several recipes that called for frozen corn or frozen peas but I wanted to try sticking with the more seasonal root vegetables. I served the beef and barley stew with some grated white cheddar cheese for garnish.

Beef Stock

I just had to use the bones from my prime rib dinner to make beef stock. I rarely get to make my own stock and so whenever I get the chance I do so. Home made stock just adds that extra bit of flavour to whatever you are using it in. Making stock is a great way to finish off those extra vegetables and herbs that you have lying around. I tend to just toss in whatever I have. I was thinking that it might be a good idea to add some roasted mushrooms to the stock but I was a bit worried that it would become more of a mushroom stock. Maybe I will try it next time. Of course one of the first things that I did with my newly made beef stock was to use it and some slices of the roast beef to make some beef ramen .

The Perfect Prime Rib

The Perfect Prime Rib

I really enjoy a nice prime rib dinner and I have been wanting to try cooking my own for a while now. I had bookmarked Peter's post on how to cook a prime rib of beef when I saw it a while ago. I could not find prime rib with both the bone and the cap at regular grocery stores but I was able to find it at the St. Lawrence Market. The instructions seemed pretty easy but I did not pay close enough attention and the internal temperature of the roast had shot way up above 140F by the time I caught it. It was over done for my tastes... I prefer a nice medium-rare with lots of pink but mine had little or no pink. It still tasted good but it was not what I had been hoping for. Oh well, this just means that I will have/get to try making it again some time soon. Before then I still have a lot of prime rib to finish off and a few bones to use.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

It's time for another Daring Bakers challenge. This month the challenge is a lemon meringue pie. A lemon meringue pie is a pie with a lemon filling and a meringue topping. I was particularly looking forward to this challenge as I have never had a lemon meringue pie and I like using lemon in sweet dishes.

Of course, I procrastinated until the very end. In fact I made the lemon meringue pie on the very last day. I completely forgot to pick up a pie plate and I had to use what I had on hand. I ended up using some mini spring form pans and a small circular baking dish.

Ham and Egg Burrito

Ham and Egg Burrito

One of the best things about the ham dinner that I made over the holidays was the leftovers. I still had some ham left in the freezer and I pulled some of it out this week. This is a really simple dish and yet it is full of flavour. It is also quick enough to make on weekdays. The first time I made this I had some salsa and sour cream on the side. These breakfast burritos were tasty enough and the salsa was not required.

Pan Seared Salmon on Spinach in Tarragon Sauce

Pan Seared Salmon on Spinach in Tarragon Sauce

I don't need much of an excuse to try an new salmon dish but for this one I had plenty. When I read Peter's glowing review of this seared salmon on spinach recipe I knew that I would be trying it. Salmon has to be my favorite fish and I have been eating it fairly often lately. I was particularly looking forward to this dish because of its use of tarragon which is an herb that I have not used very often. Tarragon have a nice anise like flavour when raw though it mellowed out nicely when it was cooked. The pan seared salmon with tarragon creamed spinach turned out to be really good. The salmon seared up so that it was nice and crispy on the outside and yet it melted in your mouth. The tarragon sauce was nice and flavourful.

Peas with Pancetta and Shallots

Peas with Pancetta and Shallots

Peas are a vegetable that freezes really well so you have access to good peas year round. Frozen peas are great for throwing into dishes like soups and stews for some colour and flavour. They are also good by themselves as a quick side dish. I enjoyed this version of peas with pancetta and caramelized shallots. The saltiness of the pancetta pairs well with the sweetness of the peas.

Shiitake Mushroom and Blue Cheese Crostini

Shiitake Mushroom and Blue Cheese Crostini

I was looking for a mushroom dish when I came across a recipe for shiitake mushrooms and blue cheese crostini . Shiitake mushrooms are one of my favorite mushrooms. They are tasty and most of the time they are fairly easy to find. I really enjoy mushrooms fried in butter and garlic. Blue cheeses have quickly become some of my favorites cheeses. The though of combining the butter and garlic fried mushrooms with a blue cheese sauce sounded really good. The shiitake mushroom and blue cheese crostini were amazing! They were full of flavour and the sauce was nice and creamy. Another great mushroom dish to add to my list.

Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken

Lemons are pretty versatile. Despite the fact that they are tart they go really well in sweet dishes. Lemons can also be used in savoury dishes though I have not had all that many. When I came across the concept of an Asian style lemon chicken dish I had to try it. Most of the recipes that I found for lemon chicken called for coating the chicken in corn starch or flour and frying it in oil. Since the chicken would then be placed in a lemon sauce and become soggy I was not too sure why it was deep fried in the first place. I decided to come up with a way of making lemon chicken without frying the chicken. In the end I decided to marinate the chicken in a lemon marinade and then saute the chicken and reduce the the marinade into a sauce. Although the dish did not turn out to be too photogenic the lemon chicken was really tasty. It had a really nice lemon flavour and it was tart but not too tart. The cilantro and green onion along with the lemon flavour made the dish taste really fresh. I think that the next time I make this I will add more chili heat to it. I will also have to try making the version with the breaded and fried chicken to compare.

Shrimp Quesadillas

Shrimp Quesadillas

These shrimp quesadillas are really easy to make and so tasty! Shrimp has quickly become one of my favorite foods and I am always looking for new ways to enjoy them. When I saw this recipe for shrimp quesadillas I knew that I would have to try them. With the juicy shrimp bursting in your mouth, and the heat of the jalapeno, and the fresh herb flavours and the melted stingy cheese these quesadillas are really amazing! I enjoyed them with some sour cream, avocado and salsa on the side.

Minestrone Soup with Sausage and Squash

Minestrone Soup with Sausage and Squash

I had been wanting to make minestrone soup for a while when I came across this version which looked really good. This minestrone soup included sausage, squash and a ton of fresh herbs. I knew that I would use spicy Italian sausage and I though that the sweet butternut squash would go nicely with the sausage. The minestrone soup turned out really good! It was full of flavour and super tasty. The spicy Italian sausage and the red pepper flakes gave the soup a nice heat. I enjoyed the ministrone soup with this cheesy garlic toast.

Cheesy Garlic Bread

Cheesy Garlic Bread


Garlic bread is an easy and really tasty garlicky treat. Although garlic bread can be made with powdered garlic I prefer it made with fresh. This time I tried adding some grated parmigiano reggiano on the top. The cheese melted and turned nice and golden brown. Garlic bread goes well with pastas, soups and stews. This time I enjoyed the garlic bread with this tasty ministrone soup.

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

I have been craving banana bread for a while. Unfortunately I had to wait for over a week for the bananas to properly ripen. This weekend I finally got the chance to make the banana bread. I started with a basic banana bread to showcase the bananas. It turned out really well. It filled my apartment with an amazing aroma when baking in the oven. It was nice and moist and had a great banana flavour. Of course it was best when still warm from the oven. Now I am looking forward to trying some variations. I am thinking of adding nuts or chocolate chips or maybe some sour cream or apple sauce or yogurt. Luckily I now have a stock of ripened bananas in my freezer.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal was one of my favorite breakfasts though I had not had it in a long time. I ate the instant oatmeal for breakfast pretty much every day throughout university but eventually I had had enough. I was taking a really long break from oatmeal until I came across this post about steel cut oatmeal. One of the reasons that I had continued to not eat oatmeal after university was that I knew that the instant oatmeals were not all that healthy. The steel cut oats with almost no processing promised to be pretty healthy so I had no excuse not to try them. I am glad that I did try the steel cut oatmeal as I enjoyed it and I have been eating fairly often since.

Crunchy Asian Salad

Crunchy Asian Salad

I saw this recipe for a crunchy Asian salad on Michael Smith's Chef at Home on the food Network the other night. The salad sounded pretty interesting. The base of the salad was crunchy snow peas, bean sprouts and carrots rather than the more standard lettuce. The dressing sounded really tasty being made with peanut butter and chili sauce. I decided to add some mint to the salad and changed the dressing proportions a bit. The salad was really good. It was refreshingly, crunchy, creamy and spicy all at the same time. With the peanuts hidden in the salad I had to chew each bite fully to find them meaning that I got to enjoy the flavour a bit longer. The dressing was a nice balance of sweetness, saltiness, sourness and heat. I really like using peanut butter in spicy and savoury dishes like this.

Wild Mushrooms Sauteed in Butter, Sherry and Lemon

Wild Mushrooms Sauteed in Butter, Sherry and Lemon

When I was at the farmers market on the weekend I noticed some nice looking mushrooms and I remembered having seen a recipe for sauteed wild mushrooms with sherry and lemon . I really like mushrooms sauteed in butter and addition of sherry, lemon and parsley sounded really good. I ended up getting up some hedgehog, chanterelle, shiitake and oyster mushrooms. The recipe was quick and easy and the mushrooms were really tasty. The mushroms were nice and caramelized and the lemon and parsley added a nice feeling of freshness and lightness. Move aside mushrooms sauteed in butter with dill I now have a new favorite way of cooking mushrooms!

Ebi Yakisoba (Shrimp and Fried Noodles)

Ebi Yakisoba (Shrimp and Fried Noodles)

Yakisoba (????) is a Japanese stir fried noodle dish. Despite the fact that the name includes "soba" it is commonly made with ramen style noodles rather than with soba noodles. I have made yakisoba with soba noodles and they also work well. The noodles are stir fried in a yakisoba sauce with meat and vegetables. Yakisoba sauce, like tonkatsu sauce, is a Japanese sauce that is similar to Worcestershire sauce and HP sauce. I was able to find some yakisoba sauce at a nearby Japanese grocery store. The meat can be pork, beef, chicken, etc. This time I though I would try shrimp. The vegetables are commonly cabbage, onions, carrots, etc. One of the reasons that I like this dish is that it is great for using up those extra vegetables in my fridge. I also like this dish because it is quick and it tastes good. This dish reminds me of eating yakisoba in Japan when I was there on vacation.

Pan Seared Salmon on Thai Curried Spinach

Pan Seared Salmon on Thai Curried Spinach

Not too long ago I came across this post about salmon and coconut spinach which sounded really good. I was planning on making some teriyaki salmon to go with the coconut spinach but just as I was about to start I had an idea. The coconut spinach recipe reminded me of a Thai curry so I though why not make it Thai curried spinach? I ended up making a dish of pan seared salmon with Thai curried spinach. The salmon seared up really well! It was nice and crispy on the outside and melt in your mouth on the inside. It went really well with the curried coconut spinach. The curried spinach was super tasty! I really like it when I find green vegetable side dish that is as good as if not better than the main dish. I have a feeling that I will be making this spinach fairly often. The best part is that I am still looking forward to trying the original recipe.

Mapo Tofu

Mapo Tofu

Mapo tofu is a Chinese dish made with tofu and ground meat in a spicy bean sauce. I first made mapo tofu a few months ago and it quickly became one of my favorite dishes. This recipe is easy to make and super tasty. I really like the flavour of the fermented black bean sauce. You can make this dish as spicy as you want by adding or removing chili sauce. The tofu adds a nice contrasting texture and it seems to be almost cool and refreshing compared to the spiciness of the rest of the dish.

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict

I have seen eggs benedict on menus before but I have never had them and I was wondering what they were. This weekend I decided to try making them. Eggs benedict are poached eggs on an English muffin with ham or bacon and covered in a hollandaise sauce. A poached egg is an egg that is cooked by simmering it in water. Making the eggs benedict was a bit challenging. You want everything to come together at the same time so that it is all still warm when you eat it. Making the hollandaise sauce its a bit tricky as well. This time my hollandaise sauce did not turn out as thick as it did the last time but it still tasted good so that was not a problem. Cooking the poached eggs was kind of fun. The eggs benedict turned out pretty good. I really liked the way the runny yolk combined with the lemony hollandaise sauce and ran all over everything. Although the eggs benedict were a bit more work than most breakfasts I will be making them again. Next I will have to look into eggs florentine.

Mango on Coconut Sticky Rice

Mango on Coconut  Sticky Rice

Over the last few months I have been exploring some Thai cuisine. It did not take me long to come across coconut milk. Coconut milk is commonly used in Thai curries and I have also discovered that it can be mixed with rice. Coconut rice is a cool and refreshing contrast to spicy dishes. I really like the amazing aroma of warm rice with coconut milk. I was looking for some new ways of using coconut milk when I came came across the concept of a Thai sticky rice dessert. This is a dessert that is made with Thai sticky rice that has soaked up sweetened coconut milk and it is commonly topped with seasonal fruit. The mango coconut sticky rice was really good and I was a bit surprised that such a simple sounding dish could be so good!

I was able to find the Thai sticky rice at a shop that specializes in carrying all sorts of rice. It seems to be pretty similar to Japanese short grained rice. I just cooked the sticky rice in my rice cooker the same as any other rice and it turned out perfect. If you want to cook it without a rice cooker you should soak it in water for an hour to over night and then steam it for 20 minutes.

Candied Carrots

Candied Carrots

My theory is that most vegetables taste better when roasted. When I saw Tyler Florence making candied carrots I knew that I would be testing my theory with carrots next. The carrots are roasted in the oven and then covered in a butter, brown sugar, orange and cumin sauce. I was also interested in this dish because I wanted to see how the cumin worked in a sweet dish. The aroma of the orange and cumin was really amazing. The oven roasted carrots were pretty good by themselves but they were really good when covered in the orange and cumin sauce. The oven roasted vegetables theory lives on. What vegetable will I roast next?

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Over the last few months I come across a few really great looking chicken tortilla soups such as here and here . Given the cooler weather I though it would be the perfect time to try a hot and spicy soup. I liked the sound of using the salsa verde or green enchilada sauce in the soup. I was not able to find any tomatillos to make my own salsa verde so I went with a can. The soup turned out to be really tasty! I liked the sweetness of the corn in the otherwise spicy soup. The crunch of the tortillas was a nice contrast in texture. I garnished the soup with some sour cream and shredded cheese.

Azuki (Red Bean) Ice Cream

Azuki (Red Bean) Ice Cream

I have seen red bean ice cream in Asian groceries stores and I have always wondered what it was like. I finally decided to just try making my own. I had made red bean paste or Tsubushian (or an or anko or azuki-an) here , so I knew what that was like. I decided that I would like to have both the flavour of the red bean paste and the texture of the whole red reads so I decided to use half mashed and half whole red beans. I started with the same base ice cream recipe that I have used before. When making ice cream I generally start with less sugar and add some more after everything has come together until it gets to the level of sweetness that I want. This time I added the red beans and red bean paste until it got to the consistency that I wanted as well. The red bean ice cream turned out well. I really liked the flavour and the texture of the ice cream. I had some of the red beans in the simple syrup (Tsubuan) left over and I spooned some on top of the red bean ice cream for some extra red bean goodness.

Sesame Chicken

Sesame Chicken

A while ago I came across this recipe for sesame chicken that sounded really good. I really liked the sound of using the pineapple juice along with the soy sauce, brown sugar and ginger in the sauce. This dish was really easy to make with just a few minutes of prep, some marinating time and a few minutes of sauteing. I really enjoyed the sesame chicken! It was sweet, salty and tangy all at once! I am already thinking about new variations of this dish. Why not throw in some sliced pineapple? How about trying different sweeteners? All honey? Maple syrup? How about working in some teriyaki sauce? Maybe a little bit of chili heat?

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

A while ago I came across the concept of shrimp tacos which sounded so interesting that I tried them right away. I had never though about using seafood to make tacos before. The concept of fish tacos came up in the comments of that post which also sounded pretty interesting. I am always looking for ways to increase the amount of seafood in my meal plan. The fish tacos were pretty easy to make. The hardest part was waiting for the fish to marinate. I had the fish tacos with some lettuce, salsa verde, sour cream, cilantro and lime. The fish tacos were pretty good. I will have to try to work them into my meal plan again in the future. I wonder if there are any other tasty ways of making seafood tacos?

Panang Kung (Panang Prawn Curry)

Panang Kung (Prawn Panang Curry)


Thai curries are quick, easy and super tasty. At their core is coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce and sugar. You just need to add some meat and vegetables. This time I went with shrimp fort the meat and some red pepper and peas that I had on hand. Panang curry paste is similar to a red Thai curry with the addition of peanuts so feel free to add a spoonful of peanut butter to the sauce for even more peanuty goodness. I served the panang curry on a bed of coconut jasmine rice which helped to soak up all of the extra curry sauce.

Turkey Ramen

Turkey Ramen

I only had a little bit of the turkey stock left and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I had not had ramen in a while and I had been craving it. The flavour of ramen is greatly determined by the quality of the broth. Although you can make tasty ramen with store bought stock a good home made stock will always be better. The only problem was that I only had 1 cup of turkey stock and I needed 2... I decided to soften some dried shiitake mushrooms in a cup of boiling water and use the resulting mushroom flavoured water for the remaining liquid component of the broth. This added a really nice shiitake mushroom flavour to the broth. The final component of the broth was a tablespoon of miso paste. I decided to finish the ramen off with some baby bok choy and bean sprouts. Everything was simmered in the broth thus adding even more flavour to it. The turkey ramen turned out pretty good. The broth was really tasty! I was in a bit of a rush and I completely forgot about the green onion! It is so nice to have turkey leftovers!

Corn Bread

Corn Bread

The idea of corn bread has always fascinated me though the one time that I tried to make it, it did not turn out too well. It was a bit dry and the flavour was not too impressive. When I came across this recipe I knew that I would have to try making corn bread again. The recipe includes some sugar and honey for sweetness and corn kernels for both texture and enhanced corn flavour. If that wasn't enough some bacon is thrown on top for good measure. I made the corn bread on the weekend to go with the turkey white chili . The cornbread turned out really well. It was moist and flavorful with just the right amount of sweetness. The slightly sweet cornbread went really well with the heat of the chili. I will definitely be making this again many times in the future!

Grandma's Pirogies

Grandma's Pirogies

Very often when we celebrated the holidays with my grandparents my grandmother would make these really amazing pirogies. Out of all of the dishes served for the holidays the pirogies were always my favorite. I would commonly take a small portion of turkey and fill the plate up with pirogies. I had not had the pirogies in a while so I though that I would try to make them over the holidays. It worked out well because I also wanted to cook a ham over the holidays.

The pirogies have a fairly simple filling consisting of ham, sauerkraut, mushrooms and onions. My grandmother always fried them in butter with sliced onions until the pirogies were golden brown and the onions were nice and caramelized. For a long time I though that all pirogies were made like this. I was pretty surprised to find out that pirogies are more commonly filled with potatoes and/or cheese, possibly with some bacon. I have tried these other types of pirogies and though I like them (especially with some sour cream) they will always take second place to these pirogies.