Thursday, May 13, 2010

Juan Colorado Leftovers

I'm not a big fan of leftovers in their original form so I tend to trick them out in different recipes.

This week I made two dishes; one from left over scallop fajitas and one from leftover beef enchiladas from our local Mexican place, Juan Colorado.

Scallops with Gnocchi in a Wine Veloute Sauce

Makes 2 servings

20 homemade gnocchi
6 scallops
1/2 c mix of onions,peppers, mushrooms from fajitas
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs flour
1 c unoaked Chardonnay
1/2 c milk
1/c grated Trader Joes white semi-hard cheese with potatoes
fresh chiffonade of basil

Boil salted water in large pot. Add gnocchi cook until they float to the top of the water.

In small saucepan heat oil, add flour and stir until bubbling and frothy. Add milk slowly, then add wine slowly stir until thickened into a sauce. Add pepper mix, cheese and scallops until heated through. Toss gnocchi in sauce, plate and add basil on top.

Enchilada Panakoeken

Serves 4

Leftover beef enchilada, black beans, rice and salsa
4 eggs
1/2 c flour
4 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp chili powder

Heat oil and chili powder in a cake pan in a 425 F oven for 4 minutes.
Meanwhile mix the other ingredients together in a bowl.
Pour into hot pan, return to over and bake for 20 minutes.

Cool, cut into wedges and serve with yoghurt chili sauce.

1/2 c no fat yoghurt
1 tbs pico pico hot sauce
2 tbs fresh oregano

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Purple Cauliflower Curry

2 tablespoons curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup olive oil
2 medium onions , chopped fine (about 2 cups)
12 ounces potatoes , scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
2 heads of roasted garlic ,
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 serrano chiles , ribs, seeds, and flesh minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 medium head purple or white cauliflower , trimmed, cored, and cut into 1-inch florets (about 4 cups)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes , pulsed in food processor until nearly smooth with 1/4-inch pieces visible
1 1/4 cups water
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas , drained and rinsed
1/2 cup heavy cream or coconut milk


Roast all vegetable for 40 min at 400 F, dusted with curry powder, cumin, salt, pepper and olive oil

Toast curry powder and garam masala in small skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until spices darken slightly and become fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove spices from skillet and set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized and potatoes are golden brown on edges, about 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium. Clear center of pan and add remaining tablespoon oil, garlic, ginger, chile, and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add toasted spices and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute longer.

Add tomatoes, chickpeas, potatoes, cauliflower and 1 teaspoon salt; increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to boil, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Simmer briskly, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are heated through.

Serve with rice, I used Uncle Ben's 90 sec. Brown Rice, and a sliced cucumber salad with mint yoghurt dressing.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkin Beer Bread

I just made this tonight to go with a home made Tomatoes From The Garden Soup. Very tasty.

I wanted to try pumpkin beer, as I had it on hand and it's a bit sweet. It went very well with the soup but was sweet enough to use for bread pudding or shortcake. This is very easy and smells and just like home-made yeast bread, without the kneading. In fact, the key is not to stir it very much so the beer bubbles remain inflated. Make sure to pick a beer with lots of CO2.

I think I may try a Lambic raspberry beer for a dessert treat, and Rogues Dead Guy Ale for Chili.

3 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 bottle (12 ounces)pumpkin beer, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Add the beer all at once, mixing as little as possible; the batter should be lumpy.

Pour the batter into a 9-x-5-x-3-inch loaf pan and brush with the melted butter. Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack to cool.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lime Ginger Pineapple Upside Down Gingerbread Cake

You can use a 9-inch pan with sides that are at least 2 inches high. Alternatively, a 10-inch ovensafe skillet (either cast iron or stainless steel) can be used not only to cook the pineapple but to bake the cake as well. If using a skillet instead of a cake pan, cool the juices directly in the skillet while making the batter; it's OK if the skillet is still warm when the batter is added. I like it with Whipped cream that has candied ginger and lime zest folded in, ice cream is good too. This is best served warm and I heat up the left over slices in the microwave for about 10 sec.

I recommend pairing this with an amazing Erath 2008 late harvest Pinot Blanc that I was fortunate to taste yesterday at the winery. This is a sweet wine with enough acid and complexity to stand up to the pineapple''''''s acid. The wine is only available at the winery but what beautiful weather for a bit of a road trip.


Pineapple Topping
1medium fresh pineapple (about 4 pounds), prepared according to illustrations below (about 4 cups prepared fruit)
1cup firmly packed light brown sugar (7 ounces)
1tablespoon grated lime zest
1/4cup fresh squeezedlime juice
3tablespoons unsalted butter
teaspoon vanilla extract
teaspoon grated ginger root
1 1/2cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
1 1/2teaspoons baking powder
1/2teaspoon table salt
3/4teaspoon ground ginger
8tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), softened but still cool
3/4cup granulated sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
teaspoon vanilla extract
tablespoons molasses
2large eggs at room temperature
1egg white at room temperature
1/3cup whole milk at room temperature


  1. 1. Lightly spray 9-inch round, 2-inch deep cake pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

  2. 2. For the pineapple topping: Combine pineapple, brown sugar, ginger, and lime zest in 10-inch skillet; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally during first 5 minutes, until pineapple is translucent and has light brown hue, 15 to 18 minutes. Empty fruit and juices into mesh strainer or colander set over medium bowl. Return juices to skillet, leaving pineapple in strainer (you should have about 2 cups cooked fruit). Add lime juice to skillet and simmer juices over medium heat until thickened, beginning to darken, and mixture forms large bubbles, 6 to 8 minutes, adding any more juices released by fruit to skillet after about 4 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla; pour caramel mixture into prepared cake pan. Set aside while preparing cake. (Pineapple will continue to release liquid as it sits; do not add this liquid to already-reduced juice mixture.)

  3. 3. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and ginger in medium bowl; set aside.

  4. 4. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with flat beater, cream butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, add vanilla and molasses, and beat to combine; one at a time, add whole eggs then egg white, beating well and scraping down bowl after each addition. Reduce speed to low; add about one-third of flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Add half of milk and beat until incorporated; repeat, adding half of remaining flour mixture and remaining milk, and finish with remaining flour. Give final stir with rubber spatula, scraping bottom and sides of bowl to ensure that batter is combined. Batter will be thick.

  5. 5. To bake: Working quickly, distribute cooked pineapple in cake pan in even layer, gently pressing fruit into caramel. Using rubber spatula, drop mounds of batter over fruit, then spread batter over fruit and to sides of pan. Tap pan lightly against work surface to release any air bubbles. Bake until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on wire rack, then place inverted serving platter over cake pan. Invert cake pan and platter together; lift off cake pan. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours; then cut into pieces and serve.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cooking With All Things Trader Joe's

Here at Taste we are very, very fond of Trader Joe's. When I was living in Canada, I didn't buy shoes or clothes when I visited the USA, I bought Trader Joe's staples and declared mango salsa and eggplant tapenade at the border. My husband, who has a sweet tooth, can't go very long without Gingeroo cookies, or a little box of something chocolate.

Of course, as a wine writer, TJ's has a killer selection of reasonably priced wines with a focus on the regional store's local wines.

It's no wonder that my husband spotted a Trader Joe's cookbook at the library, and brought it home for me.

So this morning , over Trader Joe's coffee, I took a look at Cooking With All Things Trader Joe's, by Deana Gunn and Wona Miniati. Colorful, easy to read recipes and filled with pictures and wine suggestions, this book had me perusing my TJ pantry items for cooking projects.

Cooking With All Things Trader Joe's is pretty enough to leave on your coffee table and easy enough to get anyone cooking. And that's the beauty of Trader Joe's; quality products at fair prices that can spice up your cooking life without a lot of work.

And now Gunn and Miniati have made it even easier!

Have I made olive tapenade by hand? Yes. But I save time by buying Trader Joe's products; throwing tasty meals together in record time. For instance on page 10 of this book, only a few recipes in, I was stopped by the Apricot Baked Brie recipe. Simple, elegant and fast! The authors suggested, "a big, creamy and oaked Chardonnay, like Toasted Head, which stands up to the richness of the Brie, and has complimentary notes of nectarine and apricot." My kind of pairing note!

I am so taken by the photography, I wanted to know who food stylist was: the authors are! They made the recipes in their home kitchens with real food. As they say in the introduction, "No mashed potatoes covered in motor oil posing as ice cream....and yes, we ate it all after each photo was taken!" So if they can make food so pretty, I can too and so can you.

If you are a Trader Joe's regular this book will help you make the best use of their products. Are you a TJ newbie? Use this book to familiarize yourself with the versatility of TJ products. If you want to learn more about food and wine pairing this is a good introduction. And if you are unlucky enough not to live near a Trader Joe's, these recipes aren't so TJ specific that you can't substitute ingredients.

When my husband and I moved back to the USA, we were happy to discover that Trader Joe's wasn't more than 10 minutes away.

You can buy the book directly from the authors' site or at

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Web 2.O A Taste of Social Media Ethics

Here at Taste! I reach out to the web through my joy of food and wine! This is one of the best ways to find new and old friends and share a world of discoveries through my line of sight, smell, taste, ears and sensations.

Am I the final word on food and wine? - Hardly. I'm a traveller, a voyeur, a seeker, a good listener and a scribe. You make the difference by exposing me to what a chef in Vancouver expresses, or how a tea can transform my morning.

Thank you for finding me, and I'll continue to search for you using the ethics, business model and insight embodied by Web 2.o.

Bon Appetit: lets create some RSS feeds!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fresh Oysters and Irish Whisky

I love oysters on the half shell. I have had amazing oysters that looked like art at C restaurant in Vancouver B.C. I've had them big and small, from all over the world. I found my favorite combination at a small Ottawa, Ontario Canada restaurant called the Whalebone Oyster House, recommended by Norman Hardie Winery in Southern Ontario.

I was touring the local Prince Edward County Wine region and came upon Norman Hardie in his vineyard. He came out of the vineyard and led us down to his cellar tasting room that was carved out the rock. In the mineral smelling cave I tasted his amazing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Cuvee. He then suggest dining at his favorite Ottawa restaurant, The Whalebone.

Now I'm getting to the "top it off well" part of the day. The chef had filled an old-fashioned glass vinegar bottle with single-malt scotch. Two of my favorite indulgences in one mouth-watering muse bouche, Ahhhhhh.

So as a twist for St. Paddy's day, get some fresh oysters and a dram of Irish Whisky; for a smoky option try the peaty Connemara, or for a sweeter note try a 16 year old Bushmills.

(photo from Whalebone website)