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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Hawaiian Luau

It’s mid-winter in Ontario and that starts to get people down. A Hawaiian Luau is a fun way to help cure those winter blahs. This week’s post is our menu and some pictures to go with it. We started with ordering in Hawaiian pizza – we concentrated on more interesting things to actually make.

Our menu was as follows:

Pizza, tropical fruit salad, mango salsa, virgin margarita, virgin piña colada, and a mango agua fresca.

Chef Karen: I made a tropical salad. I started with fresh pineapple (is there any other kind???), chopped it up into small pieces and added fresh mango and orange to it. To add some colour, I added kiwi. Just before serving I cut up some banana and put it in and also added some chopped, sweetened coconut. It was quite tasty as the sweetness went well with the salty pizza.

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Jonathan: I made the mango salsa and the tropical drinks. For the salsa, I chopped up: cucumber, mangoes, jalapeño pepper, red onion, tomato and I squeezed some fresh lime juice for a zesty spin. These go perfect with lightly salted tortilla chips. For the virgin margarita: I blended 1 can of frozen limeade concentrate, the juice of: 1 orange, 1 lemon and 1 lime, and tons of ice (this is for a slushed margarita, for on-the-rocks, stir in the ingredients and chill with ice). I then rimmed the glass with sugar, garnished with a fresh lime wedge and tropical umbrella. For the virgin piña colada: I blended pineapple juice, coconut milk and ice. For the garnish: place a maraschino cherry on the tropical umbrella. For the mango agua fresca: I chopped up 2 mangoes, blended with 3 cups water, 1/2 cup sugar, fresh lime juice and ice. Add more sugar or lime depending on taste.

Credits: http://www.laurainthekitchen.com/all/episode.php?episodenumber=376&screen=5&sortby=;http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/aguas-frescas-recipe/index.html;http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/mango-salsa-recipe/index.html

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He Said/She Said Clam Chowder

This week we each tried a different Clam Chowder recipe. These are New England Clam Chowder Recipes.

Chef Karen: I patterned my recipe after Anne Burrell’s New England Clam Chowder recipe from the Food Network website. I made several changes to it as I went along.

I used canned clams – probably a no-no but the only choice I had at this point. Here is the recipe:

I can clams – chopped in clam juice

I large onion – chopped

6 pieces of bacon – cut into pieces

1.5 pounds of potatoes – cut into bite-size pieces

1.5 C whole milk

1.5 C heavy cream

1T corn starch

1 bunch of thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Drain the clams reserving the juice. Put 1 T of olive oil in the bottom of a large pot. When heated, add the bacon and cook until crispy. Add the onion and cook until transparent. Add the potatoes (I would cut back on the potatoes. I feel it was too many.) cook for about 5 minutes.

Whisk the corn starch into the reserved clam juice. Add to the pot and stir well. Add the milk and cream and bring to a boil. Stir in the clams. Add the thyme for about 5 minutes and then remove. Cook the chowder 15 minutes or until the potatoes are done. Add salt and pepper as desired. Enjoy!

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Chef Jonathan: I used a variation of Chef Irvine’s New England Clam Chowder recipe. This chowder has potatoes, onion, bacon, and my favourite ingredient: butter, and lots of it! I added canned baby clams, and my own seasonings. I also added half and half cream (you can use whipping), to thicken the chowder, and it also gives it a nice creamy taste. I like this recipe, it is very chunky, hearty, and perfect for a cold wintery day. This chowder is also perfect served with crackers or a nice thick bread. Enjoy!

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Chopped – Desserts!

We had so much fun doing our last “Chopped – Desserts” that we decided to do another one. Here is the idea of the “game”. We each give each other 3 ingredients and we have to create a dessert with them in just 30 minutes. It’s all a trust thing as we’re in different cities. We can add stuff but we have to use the 3 ingredients given. Here are the results of this week’s creativity:

Chef Karen: My 3 ingredients were: saltine crackers, hard candy (I chose Werther’s) and grape jelly.Chopped Desserts 001

I chose to chop the candies with my food processor and then I added the crackers to make a crust. I also added a bit of brown sugar to help the consistency.

In the meantime, I added 6 candies to whipping cream and brought it to a boil until the candies were melted and I had a nice caramel topping. I then poured the caramel onto the crust. My blast-chiller was down (I wish I had one!) so I put the crust in the frig to cool.

Chopped Desserts 003Next, I creamed some cream cheese with some cool whip and added the grape jelly to it.

Chopped Desserts 004I then poured the whole thing onto my caramel topped crust and zested an orange on the top for colour (My husband’s idea 🙂 )

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This whole dessert took 25 minutes. It was salty, yet sweet – one of my favourite combinations!

Chef Jonathan: My three ingredients were: hot dog buns, pretzels, and pineapple. I decided to make a Pineapple and toasted pain brûlée with a pineapple jus. I started by buttering the buns, then spreading a brown sugar mixture, consisting also of cinnamon and the crushed pretzels, onto the buns then broiled them in the oven. Next, I spread the same mixture onto the quartered pineapple, then brûléed them with a torch. Meanwhile, I made a pineapple jus by cooking the remaining pineapple and sugar, resulting with a nice, sweet jus. This all only took me about 20 minutes, and I was very happy with the outcome.

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Bacon wrapped Green Beans……… aka: Green Bean Bundles

Chef Karen: Generally when someone says “bacon wrapped” I automatically perk up. I saw this recipe and did just that. It’s a simple recipe that Chef Jonathan made as a side for our Christmas dinner. It was very well received and very tasty. My only criticism is that it went cold a bit too quickly on my plate. Not sure what to do about that. I guess just make sure to serve it immediately out of the oven. Try it!

Here is the recipe:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/green-bean-bundles-recipe/index.html

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