Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Needless to say we all like soup in this house. Nothing beats a warm bowl on a cold day. Well, maybe that warm bowl with some of that fresh bread I’ve finally been able to be baking…

Red peppers, to me, are one of those amazing vegetables. You see, I absolutely, without a doubt hate it’s cousin the green pepper, but a red one, especially a freshly roasted one? I will put in and on just about everything.

Roasting the peppers take about as long as the soup, so it’s a quick and delicious lunch…. So quick, I was very glad to have photographed it first, since the pot did not last.
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Easy Caramelized Onion and Fennel Tart

Considering it’s chilly, I couldn’t help but to think warm.
So when Jeanne, over at Cook Sister told me to go topless, I thought, well, that’s cheeky, it’s November.

All snickers aside, I grabbed for the freezer door to find my handy pack of puff pastry. So quick and flaky, it’s this stuff that will elevate any old tart to elegant center showpiece.

While my pastry thawed, I promised not to rush the onions, even after they made me cry. Delicious as they were, the addition of fennel made for a scrumptious tart with a simple depth of flavour.

So if you’ve found yourself with sudden guests or your mother in law is in the neighbourhood, dropping by for lunch, here’s something quick that never fails to impress.


2 Red Onions, peeled and sliced
1 Fennel Bulb
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Margarine
Pinch Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 – 3 Sprigs of Thyme, stems removed
1/2 Package Frozen Puff Pastry, 5″ square*

Slice the onions into thin rings.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over a medium – high heat then add the margarine to melt.
Add the onions, salt and pepper.
Sauté, reducing the heat to medium, stirring occasionally until soft; 1o – 12 minutes.
Remove fennel fronds and root end. Slice it in half and again into 1/2″ slivers.
Add the fennel and thyme to the onions, continuing to sauté until the onions are golden and the fennel is tender.
If the onions begin to stick, add a small amount of water to loosen them from the bottom of the pan while stirring.
Adjust salt and pepper, if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Roll out the puff pastry to fit an 8″ tart pan.
Spoon in the caramelized onions and fennel evenly.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is crisp, flaky and golden.

May be served warm or chilled.

* Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry is vegan.

Roasted Chestnut and Persimmon Stuffing

Stuffing is easily the highlight of most Holiday dinners. It’s what turns Sunday dinner in to a Holiday feast and there are about the same amount of people who eat it that there are ways of making it.

Here, I’ve combined a few of my favourites with a little seasonal flare, creating something scrumptious, festive and memorable.

What would be lovely on it’s own, shuffled up beside stewed cranberries, I originally thought I would stuff red onions. Upon a quick search, I found that the beautiful site, Smitten Kitchen had already done just that but with much different stuffing. Having a surplus of onions and one lonely pumpkin still left from Halloween, I decided to march forward and give you all one more pumpkin dish.

Naturally the stuffing can be baked up on it’s own, or in any other found cavity, but I really liked the moisture and the sweetness of this little pie pumpkin. It really complemented the dried persimmons and roasted chestnuts headlining the dressing.

…And I still had a little left over for a few onions after all.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Thank you for all your kind words and encouragement.
Enjoy the day, your friends, family and your dinner.

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Side, By Side, By Side.

For some, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without having a bird as the guest of honour.
For others, it’s everything else that fills the plate; your aunt’s famous stuffing, homemade cranberries or your mom’s casserole that make the meal. Bumping elbows, it’s not tough to see, for our herbivore guests, the sides become the main. However, the gravy might be out, the stuffing perhaps filled that bird or decadence won with the addition creams and cheese, making even the sides slim pickings.

Since Holidays are about the company, these few tweaks on some delicious classics are sure to be enjoyed by the entire table. Be thankful, celebrate the season… and your guests. (& I’m sure they will thank you too.)

I’ve put together a few quick and easy side dishes for Thanksgiving, and beyond. Simple and fast to prepare, these sides can easily be doubled or made ahead of time and just reheated, allowing more time for company…. and dessert.

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Asian Rice & Peas

Simple as it is delicious, this quick dinner offers aromas of the East with it’s ginger and sesame combination.

Sesame always fills my house with the most terrific scent. You can’t help but notice what you’re about to experience when you smell it and blissully it, almost always, sends diners salivating. Pair that with a wonderfully huge bag of Fall Sugar Snap Peas and thank you, my lunch is served.

Brown rice in a pressure cooker is a put it in and forget it for 25 minutes kind of easy, so fixing up an extra Sesame Bok Choy side dish was not a problem.

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Marina Di Chioggia Gnocchi

Upon returning from vacation I couldn’t help but notice one of my pumpkins from my collection. The skin of my Marina Di Chioggia had turned much darker than its original green and although I don’t know a whole heck of a lot about pumpkins and their various shades green, I do know that my prized Marina Di Chioggia is one of the most delectable of all the gourd breeds.

From the coasts near Venice, love is in the air for the pumpkin aptly nicknamed “Deliziosa”. The hard, green shell of this heirloom pumpkin may be a pain to peel, or even get into for that matter, but it’s sweet, subtle flavour and silky flesh certainly make it worth it. To claim victory over the tough to surrender peel, just make one cut around to get in and clean out the seeds, then simply roast the pumpkin in a short depth of water for about 90 minutes at 350ºF.

Of all the heirlooms gathered from the patch this season, the glorious Marina Di Chioggia is perfect for just about any recipe. It’s sweet yet delicate and can hold it’s own beautifully in pies, pasta and of course, gnocchi.

Perpetually intimidated by making gnocchi, with or without eggs, I found that this pumpkin is a great addition to the delightful dumplings. Typically worried about them being gummy and dense or at worst, falling apart in the cooking water, I found nothing of the sort. The dough was quite soft, so depending on the extent of draining you do, climate you live in and any other moisture factors, you may have to adjust the amount of flour to create a workable dough.

…And with a terrific yield, everyone can look forward to a few great pumpkin recipes to add to autumn and holiday collection.

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