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Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Poached Eggs in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Roasted Portobello Mushroom with Poached Egg in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce

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It has been a while since I last made a really nice mushroom dish and consequently mushrooms have been on my mind a lot lately. The one idea that kept coming up was to do a version of eggs benedict where the English muffins are replaced with roasted portobello mushroom caps. Since I was going with a mushroom theme I figured that a tasty mushroom sauce would be a nice replacement for the hollandaise sauce and spinach seemed like a better fit than the ham. With this idea in place I took the opportunity over the weekend to satisfy my mushroom cravings by making these roasted portobello mushrooms with poached eggs in a creamy mushroom sauce for a lazy Sunday morning brunch.

Roasted Cauliflower and Aged White Cheddar Soup

Roasted Cauliflower and Aged White Cheddar Soup

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Although the winter has been pretty mild so far I have still been enjoying some hearty soups with the most recent one being this roasted cauliflower and aged white cheddar soup. It never ceases to amaze me how simple vegetable soups like this one can be so good with so few ingredients and that might be why I keep coming back to them. The main vegetable in this soup is of course the cauliflower and it is roasted before being added to the soup to concentrate its flavour and to get a bit of caramelization going. Up next is the basics with the onions and garlic followed by the herb of choice, thyme and finally the cheese. For the cheese I went with a white cheddar and one trick to keep in mind when adding cheese to soup like this is that if you use a stronger flavoured cheese like an aged cheddar then you will not need to use as much of it to get the same flavour. This soup can be amazingly creamy if you use heavy cream for some of the liquid but you can keep it on the lighter side by using milk.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas with Swiss Chard Pesto

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas with Swiss Chard Pesto

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It has been my experience that most things that make good taco filling also make good quesadilla filling and so whenever I make tacos I try to make sure that there are some leftovers to make quesadillas. I mean, you really cannot go wrong taking an already tasty filling and covering it with ooey gooey melted cheese, placing it in a tortilla and grilling it until it is golden brown and crispy! It was with this in mind that I made these sweet potato and black bean quesadillas with swiss chard pesto with the leftovers from the tacos. I kept things nice and simple and filled the quesadillas with the chipotle roasted sweet potato and black beans along with some of the swiss chard salsa and of course, plenty of cheese. As is sometimes the case, these sweet potato and black bean quesadillas with swiss chard pesto turned out to be even better than the tacos that inspired them!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Swiss Chard Pesto

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Swiss Chard Pesto

Sweet potato and black beans is an amazing flavour combination especially when seasoned with chilies for a Mexican style dish so I could not resist using the swiss chard pesto is some sweet potato and black bean tacos as inspired by Bev Cooks. The sweet potatoes are tossed in some smoky chipotle chili powder along with some cumin and then roasted until nice and tender and for the beans I went with a slight modification of my refried beans recipe where I used black beans instead of pinto beans and I did not mash them after cooking them. Once the sweet potatoes and beans were done all that remains is to place them into some tortillas and top them with the swiss chard pesto, some cool and creamy avocados and crumbled queso fresco. These sweet potato and black bean tacos with swiss chard salsa are so tasty and fulfilling that you will not not be missing the meat and it will be hard to resist going back for seconds!

Swiss Chard Pesto

Swiss Chard Pesto

Swiss chard is a green leaf vegetable that I enjoy but I feel that I do not use it nearly often enough so when I came across the idea of a swiss chard pesto on Bev Cooks, I was immediately intrigued and knew that I would have to try it. This pesto is pretty simple with a base of fresh swiss chard which is pureed with some garlic, jalapenos and pepitas (otherwise known as toasted hulled pumpkin seeds). I was thinking that this pesto is really more like a cross between a pesto and a salsa with its use jalapenos and I took that idea and ran with it a bit adding lime juice and plenty of cilantro. I have to say that this swill chard pesto/salsa is one of the best pestos that I have ever had and I found myself having to resist eating the whole batch by the spoonful before I got to use them in some tacos!

Taco Stuffed Shells

Taco Stuffed Shells

Taco stuffed shells have been on my to try list for a long time and when I recently came across some taco stuffed shells on Inspired Taste I could not put off making them any longer. The basic idea of the taco stuffed shells is that large pasta shells are stuffed with the flavours of tacos and then covered in cheese and baked. For the taco inspired filling I started out with ground beef that I flavoured with a homemade taco seasoning blend along with some onions and garlic. I then filled the mixture out, and made it a bit healthier, with some tomatoes, corn and black beans before finishing it off some hot sauce and creamy goat cheese. The shells are then stuffed with the filling and placed in a baking pan with a layer of salsa on the bottom and then cheese is sprinkled on along with some bread crumbs for a crunchy topping.

Shrimp and Andouille Grits

Shrimp and Andouille Grits

Shrimp and grits is another classic southern dish consisting of shrimp that is cooked in a sauce and served over grits, or cornmeal. I have been meaning to share this recipe for shrimp and andouille grits for a while now and with Mardi Gras coming up it was the perfect time to do so. Don't let the long list of ingredients fool you as this recipe is actually really easy to make and it only takes about a half an hour to throw together. This is one of those recipes that I like to play around with a lot, changing things up but this version with the andouille sausage has to be my favourite. The sauce that the shrimp and andouille sausage are served in starts out with a base of onions, celery and pepper and it is seasoned with garlic, thyme and cajun seasoning before being smoothed out by some cream. Serving the shrimp and andouille over simple buttered grits is always nice but I like to add some cheese to the grits and a sharp white cheddar is particularly nice.

Recipes for Mardi Gras

Pickled Green Tomatoes

With Mardi Gras coming up next week I have been thinking about Southern Cuisine a lot and it seemed like the perfect time for a roundup of some of my favourite Southern Recipes. Last year I had the opportunity to visit New Orleans and the one thing that sticks out in my mind is all of the amazing food that I had while I was there! I came home inspired and made a number of New Orleans style dishes and I have to say that I am definitely enjoy the flavours and cooking style!

What are your favourite Mardi Gras dishes or Southern foods?

Shrimp and Okra Gumbo
Gumbo is one of the first things that comes to mind when I think about New Orleans cooking and this Shrimp and Okra Gumbo is some pure comfort food delight!

Blackened Shrimp on Kale and Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Andouille Cream
Shrimp and grits is another classic Southern dish and this Blackened Shrimp on Kale and Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Andouille Cream is a really nice twist on it.

Cajun Red Beans and Rice
You really cannot go wrong with Cajun Red Beans and Rice and the andouille sausage and smoky ham hock make this one really tasty!

Fried Green Tomatoes
Green tomatoes are hard to come by around here and I think that it is because of that, that I have such a fondness for them. Crispy cornmeal coated buttermilk soaked Fried Green Tomatoes are definitely my favourite way to enjoy them!

Fried Green Tomatoes with Crab Remoulade
Although fried green tomatoes are great to snack on all by themselves it is always fun to use them in as an ingredient in another recipe and these Fried Green Tomatoes with Crab Remoulade make a great appetizer or even a light meal.

Fried Green Tomato and Shrimp Remoulade Po Boy
Of course you cannot talk about New Orleans cuisine without mentioning the po boy and one of my favourites is this Fried Green Tomato and Shrimp Remoulade Po Boy which can also be done as a Pickled Green Tomato and Shrimp Remoulade Po Boy or a more classic Shrimp Po’ Boy.

Blackened Swordfish
One of the most memorable dished that I had when I visited New Orleans was a blackened red fish and now I enjoy making it at home but since red fish is not available here I more commonly do a Blackened Swordfish.

Maque Choux
Maque Choux is a dish native to southern Louisiana consisting of corn, bell peppers, tomatoes and onions and it makes for a great side dish or even a main if you add some meat like andouille sausage.

Fried Green Tomato BLT with Remoulade
I could not help but experiment with a Southern take on a BLT in the form of this Fried Green Tomato BLT with Remoulade which is absolutely amazing! You can also add some blackened shrimp for a Fried Green Tomato BLT with Shrimp Remoulade.

Fried Tuna Ball Po Boy
Next up is this Fried Tuna Ball Po Boy which is I could not help but mention since the crispy fried tuna balls are so good!

Blackened Shrimp on Kale and Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Andouille Cream

Blackened Shrimp on Kale and Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Andouille Cream

Mardi Gras is next week already and while I may not be attending it is a great excuse to enjoy some Southern cooking! That being said it was the perfect time to pull out this recipe for blackened shrimp mashed sweet potatoes with andouille cream that I came across on Our Life in Food a not too long ago and was saving for a special occasion. Andouille sausage is an amazing ingredient in Southern cuisine and I have been into it ever since I came across it! The andouille cream or gravy in this recipe sounded absolutely delightful and combine that with the tasty blackened shrimp and you have a complete winner! Normally I would think that the andouille cream and blackened shrimp would be served on grits but I liked the idea of serving them on the creamy mashed sweet potatoes like this. The only thing that was missing was some vegetables and I went for some winter greens in the form of blanched kale for a complete tasty meal in one bowl.

Thai Chicken Pizza with Sweet Chili Sauce

Thai Chicken Pizza with Sweet Chili Sauce

With all of the experimenting that I have been doing with pizzas over the years, the Thai chicken pizza with spicy peanut sauce is one of my favourites. I mean the spicy peanut sauce is surely one of the most addictive substances that I have come across and if you it with ooey gooey melted cheese on a pizza you get something truly irresistible! I was recently reminded of the Thai chicken pizza with spicy peanut sauce when I came across some thing similar, a Thai chicken pizza with sweet chili sauce on How Sweet Eats and I knew immediately that I would have to make it!

Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

The final component for my Valentines Day dinner, and arguably the most important part, is the dessert and it is the perfect time to go for something a little more decadent! I am a huge fan of cheesecake and at first I was thinking that a pink strawberry cheesecake was the way to go but then I was thinking that I would absolutely have to include chocolate somehow. A white chocolate strawberry cheesecake would have been nice but I was more in the mood for dark chocolate and I was thinking that dark chocolate is even better with raspberries and that was when I arrived at my final idea for this raspberry and dark chocolate cheesecake. I kept things really simple making a classic cheesecake but then I hid a layer of dark chocolate and fresh raspberries in the middle for a Valentines Day surprise. You can get an even bigger chocolate fix by serving the raspberry cheesecake drizzled with a chocolate sauce.

Fennel Gratin

Fennel Gratin

I particularly enjoy fennel but I hardly ever seem to use it and I was thinking that it would be perfect to pull some out for a special occasion like for Valentines day. Fennel bulbs have the flavour of star anise or black licorice that is fairly strong when raw but it mellows out really nicely when cooked. I had recently come across an interesting way of using some fennel, in a fennel gratin, on Simply Recipes and I simply could not resist the idea of covering some licorice-y fennel with cheese and baking it until it gets all bubbly and melted. Normally a gratin has a cheese sauce that starts with a bechamel sauce or a cream based sauce and I liked the fact that this recipe takes a pass on both of them and gets right to the cheese! Basically the fennel is blanched, placed in a baking pan, covered in mozzarella, topped with a parmesan bread crumb crust and baked. Despite being so simple this fennel gratin is quite amazing! The hint of the black licorice flavour remaining in the baked fennel pairs fantastically well with the savoury melted cheese and the crispy golden brown bread crumb topping adds a pleasant textural contrast.

Steak Diane

Steak Diane

Valentines Day is less than a week away and it was about time that I got to trying some recipes out to make sure that it is perfect. On a special day like Valentines day it is nice to splurge and to be a bit decadent and I had had the idea of doing a steak with a nice cut of beef for a while. In addition to getting some nice ingredients for your special meal you can be adventurous with the cooking techniques like in this recipe for steak diane where the brandy in the pan sauce is ignited!

Peameal Bacon Breakfast Sandwich with Maple Caramelized Onions and a Fried Egg

Peameal Bacon Breakfast Sandwich with Maple Caramelized Onions

Now that I had a batch of maple caramelized onions made it was time to make the breakfast sandwich that I had envisioned using them in. As soon as I think about a breakfast sandwich I immediatly start with bacon and eggs and this time I decided to go with peameal bacon and a fried egg. Of course I fried my egg sunny side up making sure to leave a nice runny yolk as that is really what makes any breakfast sandwich. Up next was the sweet maple caramelized onions to balance the saltiness of the bacon and I finished teh sandwich off with some tangy grainy mustard. Since I alrady had maple in the sandwich I decided to mellow out the grainy mustard a bit by adding more maple syrup to it. I have to say that this is one tasty breakfast sandwich that I look forward to waking up for!

Maple Caramelized Onions

Maple Caramelized Onions

I am a huge fan of caramelized onions and over the last little while I have been experimenting with adding different flavours to them. Some of my more recent experiments include the balsamic caramelized onions and the chipotle caramelized onions. Each of these different kinds of caramelized onions has found a home in one or more sandwiches and they have taken those sandwiches to whole new levels of greatness! For my next caramelized onions I was thinking about a batch that could be used in a breakfast sandwich and maple caramelized onions seemed like the perfect way to go!

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Cucumber and Feta Rolls

Cucumber and Feta Rolls

With all of the decadent snacks that I have been testing out lately I know that some of you are wondering: "Are there any lighter options?", and these cucumber feta rolls definitely fit the bill! When I first came across the recipe for these cucumber feta rolls on Good Life Eats I knew that I would have to make them and I have just been itching for the chance! A lot of my favourite Greek flavours are used in the cucumber rolls and they even kind of remind me of deconstructed and reconstructed tzatziki with the cucumbers, lemony Greek yogurt and plenty of fresh herbs.

Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins

Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins
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I have had the idea to do buffalo chicken stuffed potato skins for a long time now and what better time to pull out the skins than for the the big football game? The basic idea was to stuff some potato skins with chicken in a buffalo hot sauce along with cheese and baked them until the cheese melts and gets all nice and bubbly. I mean you really cannot got wrong with spicy buffalo chicken covered in melted cheese right?

Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Spinach and Artichoke Dip

With the big football game coming up I have been thinking about snacks a lot lately and dips have been getting almost all of the attention. As I reminisced about how great artichoke dip baked in bread is, I remembered wanting to try roasted portobello mushrooms stuffed with spinach and artichoke dip. I had made a portabella mushroom stuffed with a creamy chicken mixture a long time ago and I figured that the classic combination of spinach and mushrooms would be even better; but who are we kidding, it was the perfect excuse to make some more hot cheesy spinach and artichoke dip!