Thursday, 31 May 2012

Cantaloupe Sorbet

When I was a child my father owned a perfume and cosmetics store in the Arcade Building in Downtown Toronto. I used to have to hand out pamphlets for his store and he would pay me by buying me a Orange Sherbet cone from The Laura Secord shop in the front of the building.

Obviously, I could be bought for cheap!

 I can still see the white interior of that store, the rows of chocolates in glass cases and  the distinct smell of fresh ice cream cones (there was only the regular kind) and the taste of that cold Orange treat.

This recipe is the exact colour of those cones although the flavour is like a ripe cold melon.

In case you were wondering, Sorbets are typically made without milk or cream and Sherbets sometimes have milk or buttermilk in them.

You will need:

  • 1 ripe cantaloupe melon
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup sugar (depending on how sweet the melon is)
  • 1/2 lime squeezed
  • 1 tsp rum (optional)
*you can also add 1/4 cup coconut almond milk to make it more of a sherbet.

Step 1: start with a ripe melon. Remove the seeds and the rind.

Step 2: put fruit, sugar, lime and rum or a bit of white wine in the blender and puree until smooth. Put in fridge for at least one house.

Step 3: put in an ice cream machine and turn for approx 10 minutes. You can just put this into a plastic container and freeze. If you do it this way them stir it every 1/2 hour until frozen.

Step 4: leave in a freezer a few hours until ready to scoop. It's fresh and delicious.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012


This is perfect on a hot day when you don't feel like cooking. You must have really ripe tomatoes and the whole thing takes a few minutes in the blender. Hey, you could add vodka and it would be the perfect Bloody Mary too!
You will need:

The recipe can be pretty flexible in amounts. I made enough for two.

  • 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 3 mini English cucumbers (peeled) or maybe 1/2 regular sized English cucumber
  • 1 sweet red pepper
  • 1/2 onion (white or red)
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic chopped rough
  • 1-2 tbsp sherry or red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper (tomatoes can take lots)
  • fresh lime juice
  • fresh basil
  • fresh parsley
  • fresh chives
  • fresh cilantro
  • 4 shakes Tabasco sauce (hot sauce)
  • 3 shakes Worcestershire sauce

Use fresh ingredients

Step 1: in a blender add chunks of onion, cucumber and  red pepper. Mix well so you do not have big chunks of onion or pepper. 

Step 2: in a saute pan on low heat cook garlic and olive oil for a few minutes to take away some of the harshness that is in the fresh. Before it starts to brown remove and add to the blender.

Step 3: add all remaining ingredients to blender. Blend the mixture well to make sure there are no lumps. Taste it. Adjust salt and pepper, hot sauce and lime. Leave in fridge or on counter for at least 1 hour to improve.

If you like a thinner gazpacho add some tomato juice but I like it as it is. Serve with some nice bread and a drizzle of your best olive oil.


Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Strawberry Coconut Frozen Yogurt

I remember the first time I ever had frozen yogurt. It was at the first Pickle Barrel Restaurant on Leslie Street in Toronto in the early 80's. My friend Andrea took me there and I went nuts for the Strawberry Frozen Yogurt. It was so new and different!
Tasting this yogurt brought me instantly back to those days. There are 5 ingredients in this recipe. 

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh ripe strawberries (you can also use frozen fruit thawed)
  • 1/2 cup -3/4 cup sugar (depending on the sweetness of your berries)
  • 2 tbsp kirsch or strawberry vodka
  • 1 1/2 cups of coconut yogurt 
  • 1 tsp lemon or lime juice
*ice cream maker

5 ingredients, that's all!

Step 1: in a small bowl mix strawberries, sugar and kirsch. Let sit for 15 minutes.I have used a coconut palm sugar but, you can use white sugar.

Step 2: pour strawberries, yogurt and lemon juice in a blender and blend until smooth. You can strain but, I leave it as it is. Chill in fridge 1 hour.

Step 3: pour mixture in ice cream maker and freeze according to your machine. Mine takes 15 minutes.

Step 4: once the frozen yogurt is made add to a container and put in freezer for a few hours to solidify.

Serve in a pretty container and top with some fresh berries to complete.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Eggplant Stacks

These Eggplant stacks make a nice appetizer or a main. They can be entirely Vegetarian or you can add some meat to a layer. You can make all the components in advance and then just assemble and bake before serving.

You will need:
  • 1 eggplant
  • salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • salt/pepper
  • crushed chili flakes
  • breadcrumbs (panko and regular)
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasonings
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 russet potato
  • sprinkle cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • turkey sausage (optional)
  • shredded mozzarella
  • grated Parmesan
  • fresh basil leaves
  • good balsamic vinegar

Step 1: sprinkle salt all over both sides of sliced eggplant. Leave in a strainer 30-60 minutes to pull out and bitterness. Then rinse and dry well.

Step 2: prepare the standard breading station. Flour with salt, pepper and crushed chili flakes (I just grind flakes in a spice grinder/coffee grinder) 2 eggs whisked. Breadcrumbs with parsley, Italian seasoning, grated Parmesan

Step 3: dip each slice of dried eggplant into flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Press breadcrumbs to get get a nice coating

Step 4: in a saute pan with a half inch of hot oil fry all slices if eggplant until browned. When they come out sprinkle with a bit of salt, pepper and grated Parmesan cheese.You will need to add more oil with each batch.

Step 5: in a small saucepan boil sliced potato for 5 minutes. They will only be partially cooked. Drain and allow to cool slightly.

Step 6: in a small amount of oil fry slices until browned. I sprinkled a bit of crushed chili flakes, salt and a bit of cinnamon on each slice.

Step 7: in a small sauce pan add all ingredients for sauce and cook 5 minutes.

Step 8: fry turkey sausage if you plan on adding it to your layers

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Step 9: on a parchment lined pan add a layer or eggplant, then sauce, then sausages (or not!) 

Step 10: add cheeses and more eggplant, sauce, meat, cheese. I have made mine with 3 slices of eggplant each and I have added the slices of potato to the middle layer. Topped with cheese and baked until hot, melted and bubbling.

I have served mine with a drizzle of my best balsamic vinegar and a bit of olive oil. Topped with a leaf of fresh basil it looks like it was served in a lovely restaurant and believe me it tasted wonderful!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Calzones or Panzarotti

Calzones or Panzarotti are stuffed pizzas. They can be baked or fried. I made mine with whole wheat dough.  You can stuff them with anything you like. 
I made mine with turkey meatballs and some with sausage, onions and bacon.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 tsp regular yeast
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 1 clove garlic- crushed
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 sun dried tomatoes-chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp grated onion
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 hot Italian sausages
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 onion sliced- cooked until carmelized
  • 2 tbsp bacon -chopped and cooked crispy
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley-chopped
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 clove garlic- crushed
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • salt/pepper
  • shredded mozzarella

Step 1: add warm water, honey and yeast to bowl. Wait for 10 minutes. Add flour and salt and knead until you get a smooth dough. Place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise on counter for 2 hours or leave in fridge up to 24 hours.

Step 2: prepare sauce in a small bowl. Mix all ingredients and set aside until ready to use.

Step 3: prepare toppings. I remove casings and chop sausages. Then saute to cook. Once they are starting to brown add honey to brown and coat the hot sausages with sweet honey. Set aside. Fry bacon bits until crispy. Set aside.

Step 4: prepare turkey meatballs. Add all ingredients and form balls. Saute until cooked and set aside. Shred Mozzarella or buy pre-shredded.

Step 5: divide dough into 8 even pieces. Roll out thin (but not too thin!) and fill with either the sausages, bacon and carmelized onions or the turkey meatballs and cheese. Make sure to add some of your sauce to both but, do not over fill. Fold over and crimp edges to seal shut. Use lots of flour to make sure they do not stick to counter. I bake on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Step 6: I brush the tops with garlic infused olive oil.

Bake at 475 degrees until golden. Approx 8-10 minutes.

You can use some of the small rounds to make mini pizzas or all calzones. They are both delicious.