Mother’s Day Menu Ideas

10 05 2009

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Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!  

Today is mom’s day off and an easy menu will get the whole family cooking so she can relax and eat well. Here are a few suggestions for some relatively simple dishes that the family can make – and don’t forget to do the dishes!  

I’d like to wish my mom a very happy mother’s day – I hope you have a great day.

Menu Suggestions:

 

Bon Appétit and Have a Happy Mother’s Day!





Crustless Asparagus Quiche

9 05 2009

egg being beaten up

Quiche is a savory pie that makes a great dish for breakfast or brunch.  A classic French dish, quiche is made from a rich custard in a pastry shell.  However, leaving out the crust simplifies the process – just mix the ingredients together, pour into a pie plate and bake.  It’s very versatile so you can add what you have on hand such as leftover roasted peppers, some grated cheese or a bit of cooked ham.  Because it’s asparagus season, I decided to use it for this easy and quick version of a classic quiche. 

Click here to read my Suite 101 recipe for Crustless Asparagus Quiche.

Easy Crustless Asparagus Quiche

Easy Crustless Asparagus Quiche

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!





Chive Cream Cheese with Smoked Salmon

8 05 2009

 

Chives are perennials and will reappear each spring in your garden

Chives are perennials and will reappear each spring in your garden

Chives are one of the first fresh herbs to appear in the spring and their mild and delicate flavour works well in many dishes such as eggs, salads and potatoes.  Chives are extremely easy to grow in a garden or herb pot and require no real maintenance. 

Smoked salmon is a favourite of mine and pairs beautifully with chive cream cheese. Spread the cream cheese on a bagel and top with the salmon for a tasty breakfast. It’s an easy but elegant idea for mother’s day or special occasions.  The cream cheese can be made in advance and kept in the fridge.  

As an alternative, make appetizers by topping crackers or toast rounds with the cream cheese and salmon. Garnish with chives and serve with a dry sparkling wine or champagne.

Chive Cream Cheese with Smoked Salmon

Makes about 2/3 cup cream cheese – recipe can easily be doubled

  • 4 oz. (1/2 package) cream cheese or light cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon cream
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives + extra for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced shallot
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3-1/2 ounces smoked salmon (about 4 to 6 slices)
  • 4 bagels, split in half – optional
  1. In a mixing bowl, add cream cheese and cream.  Using a hand mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat on high until the cream cheese and cream are combined and smooth, about 1 minute.  Stop periodically to clean the beaters with a rubber spatula if necessary.
  2. Add chives, shallot and salt and beat together on high for about 2 more minutes, until the mixture is creamy.
  3. Toast the bagels and let cool slightly.  Spread each bagel with cream cheese and top with the smoked salmon.  Bagels can be made ‘sandwich’ style or as open-faced halves.  Garnish with chopped or whole chives.

Variation: to make into appetizers, spread cream cheese on crackers or toast rounds and top with a small piece of smoked salmon.  Garnish with chives.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

 

Chive cream cheese with smoked salmon on a toasted bagel

Chive cream cheese with smoked salmon on a toasted bagel





Potato and Wild Leek Gratin

8 05 2009

 

Wild Leeks - also known as ramps - at the market

Wild Leeks - also known as ramps - at the market

 

The season for wild leeks (aka ramps) is in full swing at the moment.  These delicious, pungent plants taste like a mix of onion and garlic.  They are becoming increasingly popular as cooks discover their unique flavour and versatility.  Ramps can be cooked in countless ways including in soups, roasted, grilled, sautéed or pickled.  They won’t be available much longer so seek them out soon if you’d like to give them a try.  They can be found throughout Eastern Canada and the U.S. and are very popular in West Virginia.  Check with farmer’s market or independent grocers – large supermarket chains are not likely to have them.

This gratin is a great way to try ramps for the first time.  They add a unique flavour to the dish but green onions and garlic can be used if you can’t find ramps.

Click here to check out the recipe on Suite 101:  Potato and Wild Leek Gratin.

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

 

Potato and Wild Leek Gratin

Potato and Wild Leek Gratin





Roasted Asparagus Lasagna

6 05 2009

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As I mentioned the other day, I’ve been working on some new spring recipes with all the great local produce I’ve been getting at the market.  Asparagus is one of my favourite vegetables and during its brief season each spring I go a bit nuts and eat it almost every day.  Sometimes I simply steam it and serve with a squeeze of lemon and a little butter.  Other times I roast it with a bit of olive oil or a citrus vinaigrette. This lasagna takes roasted asparagus to a whole new level.  It’s a rich and indulgent vegetarian dish that will even appeal to the most die-hard carnivores.

Click here to check out the recipe on Suite101.com: Roasted Asparagus Lasagna

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!

 

Roasted Asparagus Lasagna with Salad

Roasted Asparagus Lasagna with Salad





Frozen Mango Margaritas

5 05 2009

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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Cinco de Mayo (“Fifth of May”) is a day for celebrating Mexican heritage. For those of us who are not Mexican, it’s still a great excuse to whip up some margaritas and break out the chips and salsa.  We happen to be in the middle of mango season right now so why not celebrate with some mango margaritas?  They are simple to make and quite delicious, especially when paired with your favourite Mexican snacks like guacamole.

There are a number of different types of mangoes available at the supermarket, including hadens, altaulfos and alphonsoes. Hadens are a popular choice but you can choose whichever kind looks ripest.  To learn how to easily peel and dice mango, check out these helpful step-by-step instructions: How to Cut a Mango.

Frozen Mango Margaritas

Makes 4 servings

  • Fruit from 3 ripe mangoes (about 2 cups of fruit)
  • Juice from one small lime, about 1 oz.
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 4 ounces tequila
  • 2 ounces Cointreau or Triple Sec
  • Sea salt or other coarse salt for the rim of the glasses (optional)
  • Orange or lime slices for garnish (optional)
  1. Put mango, lime juice, ice, tequila and triple sec into a blender.  Puree on high for about one minute or until all ice is broken up and the margarita is smooth.
  2. If using salt for the glass rims, place salt on a small plate.  Moisten the rim of each glass and dip the edge into the salt, turning the glass until the rim is evenly coated.  
  3. Pour drinks into margarita glasses, martini glasses or tumblers and garnish with fruit slices if desired.

Enjoy!





Fiddleheads, Asparagus and Ramps – Oh My!

4 05 2009
The very first local produce to hit the market: asparagus, ramps (wild leeks) and fiddleheads - May 1, 2009

The very first local produce to hit the market: asparagus, ramps (wild leeks) and fiddleheads - May 1, 2009

It’s official – there are local vegetables in the markets again! (at least in Toronto). While folks in California, Florida or other southern areas may not quite understand the significance of this, for those of us who are buried under snow five or six months of the year, it’s exciting news.  I’ve been busy at work testing some new recipes to share with you.  The change of season is reinvigorating and inspiring and I have a lot of fresh ideas for delicious ways to use the fruits and vegetables I’m seeing at the markets.  Check back often for ideas and mouth-watering recipes!

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Ontario fiddleheads were available for $7.99 a pound at the market last Friday. Fiddleheads are a tasty vegetable and can be found in many markets in Eastern Canada and the Northeast U.S.  If you’ve never had them, give them a try if you can find them.  This Asian-style salad is easy to prepare and makes a great side dish or starter to a spring meal.  Check out my article on Suite 101.com for the recipe and more fiddlehead information:

Fiddlehead Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette (the vinaigrette is also delicious with steamed asparagus or sautéed snow peas).

Fiddlehead Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

Fiddlehead Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette

Visit these pages for more on asparagus and ramps:

Potato and Wild Leek Gratin

Roasted Asparagus Lasagna

Bon Appétit and Enjoy!