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Roasted Butternut Squash, Shiitake Mushroom and Kale, Kimchi Bibimsoba

Roasted Butternut Squash, Shiitake Mushroom and Kale, Kimchi Bibimsoba
I was tired of all of the heavy eating and needed a break so I was thinking that a slight twist on bibimbap, a Korean style mixed rice bowl, using soba noodles instead of rice, along with plenty of fall vegetables would hit the spot! Soba noodles are made from buckwheat and it is a nice alternative to rice and hey, who doesn't like slurping noodles? For the vegetables I went with diced butternut squash that I coated in gochugaru chili flakes and roasted until tender and caramelized along with some sauteed kale and mushrooms and fresh homemade kimchi. The whole thing is of course finished off with a spicy gochujang hot sauce sauce before mixing and enjoying! This is perfect for a light meal and you can easily add meat or even better, a fried or poached egg with a runny yolk to make it more substantial! What a tasty way to detox from all of that holiday food!

Ham and Eggs au Gratin

Ham and Eggs au Gratin
Are you looking for a special breakfast for the holidays? This is it! Until recently I had actually never heard of a ham and egg au gratin but when I saw it on pinterest recently, via Scrumptious South Africa, I knew that I would have to make it! The ham and egg au gratin is essentially slices of ham and hard boiled eggs that are made 'gratin' style, covered in a creamy sauce and baked until golden brown and bubbling! Besides the fabulous ham and egg combo what really makes this recipe work is the super tasty sauce, which is pretty much a basic bechamel sauce that is seasoned with dijon mustard, lemon juice and parsley and I could not help but throw in plenty of cheese!

In addition to being one of the tastiest breakfasts that I've had in a long time the recipe is actually really easy! You pretty much just need to make the hard boiled eggs, make the sauce and then assemble and bake it. With the ham and egg combo I immediately thought of this as a breakfast dish and it is perfect for days when you have a bit of time in the morning like the weekend or a holiday but if you assemble everything the night before you can easily bake it on a busy weekday morning!

Shrimp Saltimbocca

Shrimp Saltimbocca
I recently came across the idea of shrimp saltimbocca by tide and thyme on pinterest and when I did I immediately knew that I would have to try it! Saltimbocca is a tasty Italian dish where veal is cooked with prosciutto and sage that is either pinned to the outside or wrapped up in the middle. I like a chicken version where the prosciutto is wrapped around the chicken with the along sage leaves and both the prosciutto and the sage get nice and crispy on the outside of the chicken as it cooks. You really can't go wrong wrapping chicken in crispy fried prosciutto and sage and I knew that a shrimp version would be just as good if not better!

The shrimp version takes a bit more time to make since you have to wrap all of the shrimp up with small sage leaves but other than that it is super easy! Once the shrimp has been cooked the bottom of the pan is covered in those little brown bits of flavour which you just cannot let go to waste so I made a quick pan sauce with some browned butter, wine and lemon juice along with the crumbled bits of some crispy fried sage. This shrimp saltimbocca along with the buttery lemony pan sauce would be perfect tossed with pasta for a meal but I decided t go a different route and served it as appetizers along with the pan sauce for dipping.

Split Pea Soup

Split Pea Soup
As with a lot of roasts I sometimes think that I have more fun with the ham leftovers than the initial meal and I always like to start off with that precious ham bone! The ham bone is perfect for simmering for hours in soups and stocks to bring out all of its flavour imparting it into the soup. You can use a ham bone in a lot of different soups but my favourite has to be the classic split pea soup which is a bowl of comfort food on a chilly day. With the days getting colder I knew that I would be using the bone from the gingersnap crusted ham that I made last week and it was the perfect opportunity to update my split pea soup recipe with some new photos!

This split pea soup is super easy to make where you really just need to saute some vegetables, throw everything into the pot along with the ham bone and then simmer for a few hours letting all of the flavours come out while the split peas cook. I like to go with a ham broth for this soup but chicken broth or vegetable broth also work. If you have any leftover ham meat, it makes a great addition and I like to finish everything of with a hit of grainy mustard and lemon juice.

Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes

Thanksgiving Recipes

The Thanksgiving dinner is a truly amazing thing and one of the parts that I enjoy most is just getting started when the dinner comes to an end and that is thinking about creative ways to use all of the leftovers. In fact I tend to plan on making more than I believe that will be finished to ensure that there will be enough leftover to experiment with. Although I would be probably be perfectly happy using all of the leftover turkey in my favourite roast turkey sandwiches, I see it almost as a challenge to do something new and creative with the leftovers every year to keep things interesting. There are just so many things that you can do with roast turkey and if you also consider using some of the other leftovers in the same dish like the cranberry sauce or the sweet potato casserole things really start to get really fun. If you roasted a full turkey, don't throw the carcass out as you can use it to make some turkey stock and that opens up a whole new load of doors for turkey soups and stews. I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some ideas for using your Thanksgiving leftovers in creative ways and so I present to you some of my favourites!


Thanksgiving Appetizer Recipes

Thanksgiving Appetizer Recipes

While everyone is waiting for the big dinner you cannot let them starve and this is where the snacks and appetizers come in. The appetizers or hors d oeuvres, are always one of my favourite parts of planning Thanksgiving and they are a great way to make your Thanksgiving day stand out. There are just so many different things that you can do with appetizers from a simple platter of meats, cheeses and fruit, to cookies, to dips, to chips, to crostini or even finger sized pies. Although I always enjoy sticking in season with pumpkin and cranberry dishes, I don't let it constrain me too much and I am not afraid to mix it up with combinations of sweet and savoury. The only thing that you need to be careful about really, is that you do not ruin your guests appetite for the big meal!


Thanksgiving Breakfast Recipes

Thanksgiving Breakfast Recipes

Having a couple of days off for Thanksgiving means that you can spend a bit more time on breakfasts giving you the perfect opportunity to make something a bit fancier and to share it with family and loved ones. Here are a few tasty breakfast ideas for your Thanksgiving holiday!


Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

Although the turkey is the star of the show, it is definitely the dessert that gets all the attention. I often like to go all out with the dessert and with falls harvest around there are plenty of options. My biggest problem is trying to decide which dessert to make as there are just too many amazing options. Despite the fact that I want to go all out on dessert I recognize the fact that the Thanksgiving meal is already a huge production and so I appreciate a dessert that can be made a day or two ahead of time.


Loaded Smashed Potatoes

Loaded Smashed Potatoes
Looking for something new to do with your potatoes? How about 'smashed' potatoes? I have been wanting to try smashed potatoes ever since I saw them on Pioneer Woman and it was past time that I gave them the 'loaded' treatment by topping them with all of the classic loaded baked potato toppings including bacon, cheese, sour cream and green onions. The basic idea behind smashed potatoes is that you take small cooked potatoes and you 'smash' them, by pressing down on them with a glass or something, into thin pancakes and then you bake them until they are golden brown and crispy! There is very little that can compare with potatoes that are nice and crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside, think french fries, fritters, etc. and these smashed potatoes are no exception! Of course you can top smash potatoes however you like from simple things like herbs to more elaborate like these but no matter how you top them, they will disappear quickly!

If you use really small potatoes, they work as a really nice 1-2 bit appetizer!

Love fully loaded baked potato flavours? Check out below the recipe for more recipe ideas!

Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Although the turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving meal, I find that I spend more time planning the side dishes. There is only so much that you can do with the turkey so I spend a lot of my creativity coming up with exciting and tasty side dishes. I do try to restrain myself a bit though as the Thanksgiving dinner is already really big and it requires a lot of time and effort to make. As a general rule of thumb, I try to go with one green vegetable and one potato or squash side dish and then maybe one or two others and the sky is the limit for the extras! Sometimes it is nice to go with old favourites or maybe a new take on a classic and I like to try at least a few completely new dishes every year.


Bourbon Gingersnap Crusted Ham

Bourbon Gingersnap Crusted Ham
Whether you are tired of turkey or you are you want a second roast in addition to the turkey you really cannot go wrong with a tasty ham! Ever since I tried this bourbon gingersnap crusted ham by Alton Brown I have been hooked and I keep coming back to it when I am looking for a ham recipe. Like most hams this one is super easy to make where you bake it, pull it out, remove the skin and fat, brush on some mustard, sprinkle on some brown sugar, spritz it with bourbon and then press on the crushed gingersnaps before baking it for a bit longer. The tangy mustard combined with the sweet brown sugar and the gingery cookies is simply amazing! One variation that I like to do is to bush the ham with some maple syrup before applying the mustard which adds another tasty layer of complexity.

Of course one of the best things about a ham is the leftovers, including the bone, and all of the exciting that you can do with them! Check out some ideas below the recipe!

Thanksgiving Main Course Recipes

Thanksgiving Main Course Recipes

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching I thought that it was about time that I dusted off and updated the roundups of all of my favourite Thanksgiving dishes starting with the main course. I have to say that a simple roast turkey is my favourite main course and I am always looking forward to it! Although you could get all fancy with your roast turkey, you really don't have to as a long as you roast it properly, that turkey is going to shine all by itself. Since I generally serve Thanksgiving diner to a small group of people I often opt to just go with a large turkey breast which is much easier to roast but you do miss out on all of the dark meat and the bone that you can make turkey stock from. If turkey is just not your thing or if you are just bored with it or if you are serving to a large group of people and want a second roast, you cannot go wrong serving a ham, a roast beef or even a roast lamb. Without further ado, on to the recipes:


Kanafeh/Künefe (Sweet Cheese Pastry)

Kanafeh/Künefe (Sweet Cheese Pastry)

A few months ago I got an email inviting me to explore Israel, it's people and it's cuisine on a project called Taste of Israel put on by a group called Stand With Us. At first I was a little leery about the offer but after a bit of research it seemed legit and it was an opportunity that I simply could not pass up and so I went! It turned out to be an absolutely amazing experience filled with lots of great people and of course plenty of amazing food! I enjoyed a lot of dishes in Israel and I just had to try making a few of them at home and sharing them with you!

Flat Bread topped with Garlic Butter and Roasted Tomatoes
The adventure started as soon as we got off the plane, after almost 20 hours travel time from Toronto, as we were whisked away to the beautiful Dan Hotel Tev Aviv where after checking in we headed out for dinner at Yaffo Tel Aviv restaurant by Haim Cohen. The meal that we had there was filled with plenty of tasty dishes including a flat bread that was covered in melted garlicky butter and roasted cherry tomatoes but the one dish that really stood out for me was a dessert, the kanafeh.

Kanafeh
I had never heard of kanafeh before but as soon as I heard that it was warm cheese in between two layers of light flaky pastry, I was sold! I mean you really cannot go wrong with cheese and I loved the idea of using it in a dessert! This particular künefe was made with goat cheese and it was topped with a sweet apple sauce and the combination of sweet and savoury was phenomenal; I knew immediately that I would have to make kanafeh when I got home!

Kanafeh (aka Kunafeh, aka Künefe, aka...) is a pastry that is common to countries in the Levant region including Turkey, Israel, Greece, etc. and and there are as many different ways of spelling it as there are of making it. It's commonly made with the shredded phyllo like pastry, with the same name as the final dish, and it is usually filled with a neutral, non-salty, stringy cheese and it is baked until the pastry gets nice and golden brown and crispy and it is then smothered in a simple syrup. (Imagine something like a single layered baklava with a cheese filling instead of nuts.)

Moussaka Patty Melts

Moussaka Patty Melt
With the cooling weather I have been thinking about cold weather dishes more often like moussaka, a Mediterranean casserole consisting of layers of meat in a tomato sauce, eggplant and a bechamel sauce. During the summer I made some burgers inspired by moussaka and given my fascination with grilled cheese sandwiches I could not help but think that a moussaka patty melt would also be great! For this sandwich I start out with patties of ground lamb seasoned simply with a bit of garlic and cinnamon, topped with a layer of grilled eggplant, a simple and yet tasty tomato sauce and of course plenty of melted cheese! Speaking of cheese, I went with a Greek cheese, graviera, which melts well so it is perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches. When I made the moussaka burgers I used a bechamel sauce which is a bit to wet to go inside a grilled cheese sandwich but it does go great as a topping along with some extra tomato sauce!

Brussels Sprout Hash with Sweet Potato and Bacon

Brussels Sprout Hash with Sweet Potato and Bacon
Brussels sprouts have to be one of my favourite fall green vegetables and I had been meaning to try something new with them, a brussels sprout hash. Hash is a dish that often consists of diced meat, onions and potatoes and it is typically served as a breakfast dish along with eggs. I was thinking that it would be great fun to change things up a bit and do brussels sprouts for breakfast in a 'hash' along with some bacon, onions and sweet potato served with fried eggs! Brussels sprouts can be a little on the bitter side so I went with sweet potatoes for this hash to balance things out and the bacon adds a nice smokiness and saltiness. Hash is super easy to make and it is a one pan dish as you can cook the eggs in the pan in little holes or wells made in the hash and you can transfer the pan to the oven to finish cooking the tops of the eggs.

The brussels sprout hash with sweet potatoes and bacon turned out wonderfully well and I have to say that it is fun to have brussels sprouts for breakfast! I enjoy this brussels sprout hash so much that I have been making different versions of over the last few days and although I prefer it with sweet potatoes it also works with regular potatoes and even without the potatoes!

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup with Goat Cheese

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower Soup with Goat Cheese
Soup season is definitely here and do I ever have a tasty one to share with you today, a creamy roasted cauliflower and red pepper soup! The original idea behind this soup was for a creamy roasted red pepper soup but I figured that I would keep things a little on the healthier side by using pureed cauliflower to add the creaminess and to help thicken the soup up a bit. Roasted red peppers and cauliflower are a great combo and another thing that I like to combine with roasted red peppers is tangy goat cheese which also further adds to the creaminess of the soup. Like a lot of great soups, this one is super easy to make where you really just need to roast the red peppers and cauliflower, saute some onions, add the broth and goat cheese, and heat up before pureeing. I added one final touch to the soup and that was a bit of paprika to add a hint of smokiness!

Roasted Apple and Aged White Cheddar Soup

Roasted Apple and Aged White Cheddar Soup
For my next apple recipe I continue with my apple and cheddar theme in this tasty roasted apple and cheddar soup! This apple and cheddar soup could not be easier, you start out by roasting some apples to bring out even more flavour and then the apple flavours continue with the use of apple cider as part of the soups liquid base. A ham broth goes particularly nicely in this soup as the main liquid but otherwise a chicken broth or even a vegetable broth would also work. Of course the second star of the show is a nice aged white cheddar which really packs in the flavour so you do not need a lot of it. I have to say that this soup is a truly beautiful blending of sweet and savoury and I like to finish it off with a touch of grainy mustard and maple syrup to really bring the effect home!

20 Apple-icious Recipes

20 Apple-icious Recipes

One of my favourite things about fall is that it's apple season! Apples are amazing for snacking on and they can be used as an ingredients in a wide variety of dishes both fresh and cooked. You really can't go wrong adding some fresh diced apples to a salad and they bring a nice crisp texture along with a sweet and tart flavour but that is really just the beginning. Apples are truly amazing in sweet baked dishes like apple pies, crumbles, crisps, cakes, buns, muffins, oatmeal, etc. but they are also fabulous in savoury dishes like soups, sandwiches, quiches, etc. Let's not forget about some other classic apple uses including apple juice, apple cider and apple sauce all of which are fun and easy to make fresh at home! With all of the different varieties of apples at the market these days I could not help but think of some of my favourite apple recipes which I share here with you now. No matter how you use apples this fall you are bound to enjoy them!

Roasted Green Bean Red Pepper Quinoa Salad

Roasted Green Bean Red Pepper Quinoa Salad
Just because the weather is cooling doesn't mean that salads are off the menu, especially when they are like this tasty, hearty and healthy quinoa salad with roasted green beans and red peppers! I always enjoy making salads like this and they are super easy to make! I usually like to start with a rice, whole grain or quinoa and then I add some in season vegetables like green beans and red peppers followed optionally with a bean, some cheese, nuts and a dressing and in no like you have tasty salad that eats like a meal! When it comes to the vegetables, I often like to roast them as roasting helps bring out more of their flavour and in this case both green beans and red peppers are particularly nice when roasted. This roasted green bean and red pepper quinoa salad is definitely a great way to enjoy salads this fall!