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The passion that drives me. The thrill of the grill. Call whatever you want, it’s what gets me up in the morning and keeps me going all day. The chance to do something great in the kitchen. And the best part of it all is being able to share it with people who are equally as enthusiastic about authentic, homemade meals.

Have a look at some of my personal favorites and get cooking!

SAUCES
CLASSIC TOMATO SAUCE
RAGU ALLA BOLOGNESE
SIMPLE CREAM SAUCE
COUNTRYDAISY BBQ SAUCE
NUT-FREE BBQ SAUCE

SNACKS
PERFECT BREADED FOOTBALL WINGS
No7 WING SAUCE
TUSCAN WHITE BEAN DIP
INSALATA CAPRESE
ROASTED SPAGHETTI SQUASH & CARROT SOUP
GLUTEN-FREE LOBSTER ROLLS
SANDRA & CARLOS BRUSCHETTA (SEARED TUNA BRUSCHETTA)

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OTTAWA POUTINE FEST PAIRINGS
CLASSIC POUTINE & GRINDSTONE ALE
CHEESEBURGER POUTINE & WILDCARD ALE
BUTTER CHICKEN POUTINE & LONGSHOT WHITE

PASTAS
BASIC RISOTTO
HOMEMADE MAC AND CHEESE
BACON MAC AND CHEESE
BLISSDOM CANADA PASTA *Special*

SECONDI-MAINS
POLLO ALLA ROMA
CHILI CON CARNE
HONEYBUN GARLIC RIBS
GLUTEN-FREE BURGER
PORK TENDERLOIN (SATAY)

CONTORNI-SIDES
ROASTED ITALIAN POTATOES
ZUCCHINI HASH
AWESOME ONION SAGE DRESSING
POTATO SALAD WITH BACON

COCKTAILS-BEVERAGES
THE GRINCH
THE NAUGHTY LIST

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Insalata Caprese

Ingredients:

1 pint Red cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 pint Yellow cherry or grape tomatoes sliced in half
10 Mini bocconcini cheese balls, whole
10 leaves Fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 tbsp Dried oregano
1 pinch Salt and pepper
3 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp Balsamic vinegar
¼ cup Crumbled Canadian or Bulgarian feta cheese

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large salad bowl. Add extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, tossing gently so as not to crush the tomatoes.
  2. Crumble feta cheese on salad before serving.

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CountryDaisy™ BBQ Sauce

Ingredients:

½ cup Molasses
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbsp Chocolate powder mix or Chocolate dessert sauce
½ cup Ketchup
½ cup Smooth Dijon Mustard
½ cup Root Beer syrup (or Root Beer)
¼ cup Brown sugar
¼ cup White Vinegar

To make sauce, add ingredients, one by one to a 3 quart pot and heat on medium heat. Stir constantly so sugars dissolve and all ingredients are mixed. Keep on low heat once cooked, stirring occasionally.

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Tuscan White Bean Dip with Crostini

Ingredients:

1 can White beans, drained and rinsed
2 sprigs Fresh rosemary, leaves removed
2 cloves Fresh garlic, peeled
¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
1 Fresh Italian baguette

Directions:

  1. Place rosemary leaves in a food processor and blend until finely chopped.
  2. Add garlic and pulse until diced.
  3. Add drained and rinsed white beans to food processor and start to blend while slowly adding the extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Continue to blend the mixture until you reach the desired consistency for the dip.
  5. Slice baguette into crostini or “little toasts” and lightly brush each one with olive oil. Place on a baking tray and broil until golden brown.
  6. Serve the bean dip with crostini. You can also serve the dip with freshly cut vegetables.

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CLASSIC TOMATO SAUCE

Ingredients:

2 cans Italian-style tomatoes (Roma tomatoes)
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 Small onion, finely chopped
5 cloves Fresh garlic, peeled and diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste

Directions:

  1. Using a blender, blend the tomatoes until they are a soup-like consistency. If you want the sauce to be a chunky consistency, gently crush the tomatoes in a bowl using your hands instead of a blender.
  2. Heat the olive oil in saucepan on MEDIUM heat.
  3. When olive oil is warm, add diced onions. Stir and allow them to soften, making sure not to let them brown or burn.
  4. Once onions are soft, add diced garlic and stir, allowing the garlic to flavor the oil and soften, but not to burn.
  5. Add tomatoes and stir. Raise heat to MEDIUM-HIGH and wait for sauce to boil. Continue stirring.
  6. Reduce heat to LOW and add salt and pepper to taste. You may also wish to add dried oregano to further flavor the sauce.
  7. In order to thicken, allow the sauce to cook for at least 40 minutes. Cook longer for thicker sauce. For the duration of the cooking process, make sure to stir the sauce every ten minutes.
  8. Once the sauce is cooked, allow it to cool completely before storing in the fridge or freezer. Never put hot or warm tomato sauce in the fridge or freezer.
  9. For an interesting variation of the Classic Tomato Sauce recipe, add Italian ricotta cheese to the sauce once it is completely cooked. This will add a delicate creamy flavor to your sauce.

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Ragù alla Bolognese

Ingredients:

2 tbsp Olive oil
1 Small onion, diced
3 cloves Fresh garlic, peeled and diced
4 Italian sausages (sweet), meat removed from casings
5 Slices of thick-cut bacon, diced
5 Slices of pancetta, cut into ½ inch thick strips
Salt and pepper, to taste
Classic Tomato Sauce (see recipe above)

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil on MEDIUM heat.
  2. Once oil is warm, add diced onion and soften. Add garlic and stir until softened.
  3. Add raw sausage meat to the skillet, while crumbling it into small pieces. Allow raw meat to cook while adding diced bacon.
  4. Add pancetta and stir slowly. Leaving the meat in warm pan will allow it to brown slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste (make sure meat is cooked before tasting).
  5. Once meat is lightly browned, add Nonna’s Classic Tomato Sauce and reduce heat to simmer. Allow sauce to absorb the meat flavor.
  6. Add cooked and drained pasta to pan with cooked meat sauce. Mix gently and coat pasta with sauce.

 

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CHEF CHRISTOPHER’S NUT-FREE BBQ SAUCE

The following recipe was created so those with nut allergies could also enjoy the great taste of BBQ goodness. Each ingredient was selected based on its labeling of being nut-free. As always, be sure to read labels carefully of products you are using to ensure that they contain no nuts.

Ingredients:

2 cups Ketchup
2 cups “Grandma’s” brand molasses (it’s nut-free)
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tbsp No.7 Mexican Hot Sauce (it’s nut-free)
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Chili powder
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp finely diced garlic
1/3 cup Red wine, preferably dry
Salt and pepper to taste

The sauce will be a bit tart, with a bit of heat and a lingering sweet kick. Rub it on chicken or pork or any of your favorite BBQ dishes.

To make sauce, add ingredients, one by one starting with the garlic and vinegar, to a 3 quart pot and heat on medium heat. Stir constantly so sugars dissolve and all ingredients are mixed. Keep on low heat once cooked, stirring occasionally.

 

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No.7 WING SAUCE

For an added bonus, here is a more traditional wing sauce that can be used not only classic buffalo-style chicken wings, but as an added kick for your regular chicken.  Simply tossed cooked wings in the sauce before serving. For this recipe I am using a locally made hot sauce known as No.7 Mexican Hot Sauce.

Ingredients:

1 cup No. 7 Mexican Hot Sauce
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

  1. Over medium heat in a sauce-pot, add the butter and begin to soften.  Add garlic once butter is melted
  2. Once garlic is soft, mix in all remaining ingredients and slowly whisk.
  3. Reduce heat and continue to mix.
  4. Add more hot sauce or cayenne pepper for hotter variation of the wings
  5. Add ladle of sauce to bowl of cooked wings and toss in bowl to coat

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SIMPLE CREAM SAUCE FOR PASTA

Ingredients:

1 part butter
1 part flour
cream, 10% or 18% for richer taste
pinch of nutmeg
Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1) Melt butter in a hot saucepan

2) Add flour slowly and begin mixing to make the butter into a “paste” thickness (similar to that of toothpaste) If the flour doesn’t absorb all the butter right away, add more. The goal is to create the paste, known as “roux”.

3) Slowly add in the cream, whisking as you pour. Keep the stove on medium heat and allow the cream to mix with the roux to become a sauce.

4) Add no more than a pinch of nutmeg. This will create the musky taste that Alfredo sauce has.

5) Once the sauce is thicker, add a little more cream, then whisk in the Parmesan cheese. (It is acceptable to use the “powdered” kind of cheese, such as Kraft for this.)

Notes: The real trick is making the roux, so be patient with the butter and flour. If you use a half cup of butter, then add the flour accordingly. Really, it comes down to eyeballing it and knowing when the texture and consistency is right.

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PERFECT BREADED FOOTBALL WINGS

The following is for roughly three pounds of average sized wings. If you’re making more, double the recipe accordingly.

For The Breading:

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

For The Sauce:

5 Tablespoons Franks Red Hot
4 Tablespoons white vinegar
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoons cornstarch plus 3 Tablespoons cold water (to thicken the sauce if desired)
1 Tablespoons sour cream

Make the Sauce:

1) Melt butter in sauce pan over medium low heat and add the Franks Red Hot, and white vinegar. Then add the sour cream.

2) Separately, mix the cornstarch and cold water. (This is your thickener) Once the sauce is warm, then add the now-mixed thickener and once everything is mixed really well, remove from heat. The sauce will have thickened by now and be a familiar shade of orange.

When coating the wings, my personal tip is to use two and a half ounces of sauce for every pound of wings, (usually six to eight wings, depending on size) unless you like them really saucy. But remember, the more sauce, the more heat.
Prepare the Wings:

If the wings come “whole”, then cut the wing at the joint but leave the wing flap on. Also, leave the skin on for extra crunch. Dry with paper towels.

Make the Breading:

1) Mix together the breading ingredients in a large bowl.

2) Put the wings in the breading and ensure that they are well coated. You can also put wings (roughly 8-14) in a large freezer zipper bag and then add a cup or so of mixed breading. Zipper the bag closed and shake the wings so that they are all coated. Make as many bags as you need, but make sure you have ample amount of breading and the wings are well coated.

3) Put the wings in the fridge and let them refrigerate for 20 minutes. This will ensure the breading sticks when deep fried.

Make The Wings:

1) Deep fry the wings in vegetable oil for 12 minutes until golden brown at 355°F. I recommend deep fryers for this, but it can also be done stove top, in a cast-iron skillet or cast-iron casserole pot. Again, make sure the oil is hot and has reached 355°F before submerging the wings.

2) Drain from oil once cooked and put in large bowl. Toss the wings with 2.5 oz of sauce and ensure they are coated. Add more sauce if you want. (Pictured below, the wings with the sauce, prior to being “tossed”.)

To make them hotter (aka spicy), add Cayenne pepper to the sauce and some extra Frank’s Red Hot as well Cayenne pepper to the breading. About 3 tablespoons should give you enough heat. Add more for stronger, more bold taste.

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The FoodFella’s Poutine n’ Pints Pairing Series:

Classic Poutine and Broadhead Grind Stone Amber Ale

In honor of the upcoming Ottawa PoutineFest (May 1-3, 2015), I was asked to come up with a series of poutine recipes and pair them with brews from Ottawa’s very own Broadhead Brewing Company.
I hope you enjoy the first installment of The FoodFella’s Poutine n’ Pints Pairing Series.

One classic deserves another. For the first installment of the series, I paired a traditional style poutine with Broadhead’s signature, rich-colored amber ale.

The flavorful caramel overtones of the beer compliment the savory taste of the Sauce Espagnole gravy that is the star of this poutine. The sweet finish of the ale also pairs nicely with the saltiness of the hand-cut fries and the soft cheese curds.

Classic Poutine (serves 4 to 6 people)

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Ingredients:

French Fries
4-6 Large russet potatoes (one potato per person)
Vegetable oil (enough to cover the fries while cooking)
Water
Cracked sea salt (to taste)

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Toppings
2 small bags of traditional cheese curds

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Sauce Espagnole Gravy
2 oz. Vegetable oil
½ Carrot, diced into small pieces
1 Onion, diced into small pieces
1 Celery stalk, diced into small pieces
1 oz. Tomato paste
2 oz. Flour
1 qt. Beef stock
1 Spice bag, filled with thyme, peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley stems, rosemary and garlic clove

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Directions:
1) Prepare the gravy: heat oil in a saucepan. Add diced carrot, onion and celery and brown over medium heat.
2) Add tomato paste and combine with the diced vegetables.
3) Add the flour and slightly reduce heat while continuing to brown the mixture.
4) Slowly add the beef stock while stirring, then bring it to a boil. Throw in the spice bag. Reduce to a simmer and remove excess fat from the top of the gravy.
5) Continue to simmer for 30 minutes, while frequently skimming off the excess fat.
6) When ready, strain and keep warm. If you prefer a thicker gravy, add a dusting of flour until you reach the desired consistency.
7) Prepare the fries: Cut the potatoes into French fry-style strips, leaving the skins on. If not being cooked immediately, soak fries in water. Make sure to drain the cut potatoes THOROUGHLY.
8) Cook the fries in hot vegetable oil (heated to 355oF), either in a deep fryer or in a sauce pot for about six minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Drain excess oil from the fries and salt to taste.
9) Prepare the poutine: add the fries to individual sized bowls and top with cheese curds. Pour hot gravy over top of the fries and cheese curds. Enjoy!

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Cheeseburger Poutine and Broadhead Wildcard Ale

My cheeseburger poutine is rich and savory, packed with flavor on account of the seasoned ground beef, garlic and sharp cheddar – all designed to invoke the taste of a classic cheeseburger. So naturally, I needed a beer that would balance the flavor and for that I chose Broadhead’s Wildcard Ale.

Wildcard Ale, with a refreshing bitter taste yet has a perfectly balanced hint of citrus and is slightly sweet, seemed to be the perfect compliment as it goes very well with a savory cheeseburger. The beer is smooth and has a clean finish that works on many levels with a beef n’ cheese combo. Coupled with the rich gravy, it works on many levels.

Cheeseburger Poutine (serves 4 to 6 people)

Ingredients:

French Fries
4-6 Large russet potatoes (one potato per person)
Vegetable oil (enough to cover the fries while cooking)
Water
Cracked sea salt (to taste)

Toppings
2 small bags of orange and white cheddar cheese curds
1 Roma tomato, diced
2 stalks of green onion (scallions)
3 strips of bacon, sliced and cooked

Beef Toppings
½ Pound Ground Beef (medium or lean)
½ tbs Garlic Powder
½ tbs Onion Powder
½ tbs Dried Chives
½ tbs Smoked Paprika
2 oz Worcestershire Sauce
2 oz Barbeque Sauce
2 oz Butter
2 oz White Flour

Sauce Espagnole Gravy
2 oz. Vegetable oil
½ Carrot, diced into small pieces
1 Onion, diced into small pieces
1 Celery stalk, diced into small pieces
1 oz. Tomato paste
2 oz. Flour
1 qt. Beef stock
1 Spice bag, filled with thyme, peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley stems, rosemary and garlic clove

Make the Beef:

1) In a medium skillet on medium heat, melt the butter and slowly brown the beef making sure not to burn it.
2) As the beef is cooking, add the seasoning ingredients and continue to stir until beef is brown.
3) Once beef is cooked, add the flour and mix until beef because slightly ‘sticky’. Remove from heat and set aside for topping.

Directions:
1) Prepare the gravy: heat oil in a saucepan. Add diced carrot, onion and celery and brown over medium heat.
2) Add tomato paste and combine with the diced vegetables.
3) Add the flour and slightly reduce heat while continuing to brown the mixture.
4) Slowly add the beef stock while stirring, then bring it to a boil. Throw in the spice bag. Reduce to a simmer and remove excess fat from the top of the gravy.
5) Continue to simmer for 30 minutes, while frequently skimming off the excess fat.
6) When ready, strain and keep warm. If you prefer a thicker gravy, add a dusting of flour until you reach the desired consistency.
7) Prepare the fries: Cut the potatoes into French fry-style strips, leaving the skins on. If not being cooked immediately, soak fries in water. Make sure to drain the cut potatoes THOROUGHLY.
8) Cook the fries in hot vegetable oil (heated to 355oF), either in a deep fryer or in a sauce pot for about six minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Drain excess oil from the fries and salt to taste.
9) Prepare the poutine: add the fries to individual sized bowls and top with cheese curds and cooked bacon slices. Pour hot gravy over top of the fries and cheese curds. Enjoy!

cbp

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Butter Chicken Poutine and Broadhead Long Shot White

Butter Chicken is one of those unique flavors that really stands out. It’s savory with a hint of sweetness. It has some heat, but isn’t overpowering. Coupled with fries and cheese, I needed a beer that could hold its own, but also act as a companion rather than get washed away.

I chose Broadhead Long Shot White. I love white beers, and this one with its fresh fruit flavor seemed like an obvious choice to pair with Butter Chicken Poutine. It is sweet yet slightly spicy and is mixed with orange and coriander overtones.

Butter Chicken Poutine (serves 4 to 6 people)

Ingredients:

French Fries
4-6 Large russet potatoes (one potato per person)
Vegetable oil (enough to cover the fries while cooking)
Water
Cracked sea salt (to taste)

Toppings
2 small bags of cheese curds
1 small bunch of coriander for toppings

Butter Chicken Sauce
1 tablespoon garam masala seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
4 tablespoons butter
1 large white or yellow onion, diced
3 teaspoons finely diced garlic
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
2 cups of carrots finely diced and peas
1/2 cup heavy cream 18% or 35%

Sauté the Chicken:

1) In a medium saucepot, sauté the chicken slices until they are cooked but not crispy or brown

Directions:
1) Prepare the Spice blend: Mix garam masala seasoning, ground ginger, cinnamon and cayenne in a bowl or small dish and keep to the side.
2) Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
3) Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until onion has softened
4) Add the diced garlic, tomato paste and spice blend, and cook for 1 minute, stirring to avoid burning for about 2 minutes
5) Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and stir
6) Add the cooked chicken pieces, spoon the sauce over the top and bring to a simmer.
7) Turn the heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the chicken is warmed through and the sauce is flavorful, about 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently.
8) Keep warm when finished
9) Prepare the fries: Cut the potatoes into French fry-style strips, leaving the skins on. If not being cooked immediately, soak fries in water. Make sure to drain the cut potatoes THOROUGHLY.
10) Cook the fries in hot vegetable oil (heated to 355oF), either in a deep fryer or in a sauce pot for about six minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Drain excess oil from the fries and salt to taste.
11) Prepare the poutine: add the fries to individual sized bowls and top with cheese curds. Pour hot butter chicken sauce over top of the fries and cheese curds and top with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

bcp

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PORK TENDERLOIN SATAY

Marinade:
1 ½ cup Coconut Milk
¼ cup Peanut Butter
2 tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
¼ cup Soy Sauce
4 cloves Garlic, chopped fine
2 Thai Chili Pepper, seeded and diced
2 tbsp Cilantro, chopped
Salt & Pepper

and
1 Pork Tenderloin

Marinade:
1. Clean and prepare tenderloin, removing excess fat.

2. Cut tenderloin into either cubes (later to be put on skewers) or into large discs, similar to that of boneless pork chops)

3. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, then add pork tenderloin pieces and allow to chill for 12-24 hours

Grilling:

1. Pre-heat the grill. Remove tenderloin from marinade.

2. On a medium heat, brush grill with small amount of oil. Grill the pork either on skewers or as pork discs for 7-8 minutes – or until cooked throughout. Internal temperature should be over 150F.

3. Remove from grill and let stand for several minutes. Serve with grilled asparagus, wrapped with prosciutto

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HOMEMADE MAC & CHEESE

Ingredients:

4 cups Macaroni Pasta
1 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp sea salt (for the pasta water)
1/2 cup finally chopped onion
2/3 cup butter
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt (for the sauce)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
2 1/4 cups milk
4 cups cheddar cheese
1/2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
3 tbsp butter (for the bread topping)

Directions:

1) Cook the macaroni in salted boiling water, drain and set aside

2) Saute the onion in butter in a large saucepan until soft. I actually prefer using a large non-stick wok. (Woks can be purchased at any major kitchenware or department store.)

3) Sprinkle the now soft onion with flour, add second amount of salt (reserved for the sauce), pepper and paprika. Mix well. Stir in milk and cheese until it starts to bubble in saucepan.

*This is where you can make your cheese sauce as cheesy as you want it to be. Add more cheese for a thicker sauce, add more milk for a more fluid sauce. You can also use a sharper cheddar or a blend of cheese for a more pronounced taste.

4) Add cooked macaroni

5) Dump your now mixed mac and cheese into a lightly greased casserole dish, sprinkle bread-crumbles and melted butter on top and baked uncovered at 350 for about half and hour. Once baked, remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes.

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BACON AND JALAPENO MAC & CHEESE

1 Box Barilla Rotini Pasta
¼ Cup Jalapeños, roughly diced
10 Strips Bacon, sliced
1 Cup Jalapeño-Cheddar Breadcrumbs (for topping)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil cooking spray (to coat baking dish)

For the Cheese Sauce

4 tbsp Butter
4 tbsp Flour
1 Cup 2% Milk or 10% cream
4 Cups Old or Sharp Cheddar, shredded

Directions:

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1. Render bacon slices in fry pan. Set aside when cooked.

2. Boil pasta in salted water. Drain when cooked, set aside.

3. Make Cheese Sauce: Melt butter in large saucepot; whisk in flour and create “paste” consistency. Slowly whisk in cream or milk to create sauce.

4. Add shredded cheese to butter/flour/milk sauce and continue to stir, melting cheese completely creating a cheese sauce.

5. Add diced jalapeños to cheese sauce, continue to stir.

6. Add diced cooked bacon to cheese sauce and stir.

7. Add cooked pasta and mix well. All pasta should be completed coated.

8. Spray baking dish with Extra Virgin Olive Oil spray and pour in pasta and cheese.

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9. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top; spray lightly with cooking spray.

10. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Then remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes

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BASIC RISOTTO

Ingredients:

3 cups (or more) vegetable broth
3 tablespoons butter
4 shallot, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice*
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh chives

Directions:

1) Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.

2) Add chopped shallots and then onions; sauté for about 1 minute until onions are softened.

3) Once onions are “soft”, add rice and stir to coat, making sure all rice grains are coated. Increase heat to medium-high and continue to cook stirring always for another 4 or 5 minutes. The rice will start to make “cracking” sounds letting you know that it is cooking.

4) Slowly add 3/4 cup hot vegetable broth and simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Keep doing this until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy

5) Stir in Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh chives.

*I use Unico Arborio Rice, available at most Canadian supermarkets and Italian specialty stores, but feel free to substitute your own preferred brand.

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Blissdom Canada Pasta

A special pasta created with the wonderful people at BlissDom Canada in mind.  This pasta is a perfect lunch idea or something to have at the end of a busy day.  Best of all, it’s easy to make and tastes great. An excellent choice for anyone who is right in the middle of brand promotion, networking or just making new connections and friends.  *(This recipe is for two, but it can easily be doubled or tripled depending on who is coming for dinner!)

Ingredients:

1 Chicken breast, sliced into strips
1/2 cup of diced shallots
3 garlic cloves
1 Cup Sundried tomatoes, sliced
1/4 Cup Fresh Goat’s cheese
1 tbsp  Olive Oil or butter
1/2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 box of Linguini pasta
1\/5 Cups of sliced scallions (green onions)

Directions:

1)  Cook pasta in boiling water, drain (do not rinse) and set aside.  Season your raw chicken strips using salt and pepper.

2)  In a fry-pan, on medium heat, cook the chicken strips until done. Avoid overcooking and remove when done.

3)  Still on medium heat, add butter or olive oil and soften the shallots, then add garlic so as not to burn.

4)  Add sun-dried tomatoes and soften, continuing to cook on medium heat.

5) Return chicken strips to pan and toss with mixture.  Add pasta and continue to mix.

6) Add sliced scallions (green onions) for added flavor and presentation.

7) Serve pasta portions into bowls, add crumbled goat’s cheese on top

blissdom pasta

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HONEYBUN GARLIC RIBS

Ingredients:

1 Rack of Baby Back Pork Ribs

For Rib Sauce:

½ cup Molasses
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
½ cup Ketchup
½ cup Cola (or Cola syrup)
¼ cup Brown sugar
¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tbsp Garlic Butter
5 tbsp Honey
3 tbsp Garlic Powder

For Brine:

4 tbsp Sea Salt
2 tbsp Peppercorns
6 Bay Leaves
3 tbsp Dried Chives
3 tbsp Garlic Powder
3 tbsp Onion Powder
1 tbsp Paprika
3 tbsp Cloves

Directions:

1) Prepare ribs by cleaning off extra fat and silver-skin backing from rack. Cut ribs in half or quarters for easier cooking.

2) In a large pot of water, add brine ingredients. Bring to a boil and cook ribs for 45-55 minutes.

3) To make sauce, add ingredients, one by one to a 3 quart pot and heat on medium heat. Stir constantly so sugars dissolve and all ingredients are mixed. Keep on low heat once cooked.

4) Remove boiled ribs from brine and sauce them with homemade BBQ sauce. Put ribs in slow-cooker and cook for extended amount of time (1 hour or more) on low. Sauce ribs while cooking for added flavor. If you aren’t using a slow-cooker, then simply bake the ribs at 350F on a cookie tray for 35 minutes, saucing them as needed.

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5) On a hot grill, place slow-cooked (or baked) and thoroughly sauced ribs for final grilling. Grill both sides of ribs a few minutes each, adding more homemade BBQ sauce for desired sauciness

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Pollo alla Roma

Ingredients:

Chicken:
1 Whole chicken, cleaned and tied
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tsp Mayonnaise
2 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Olive oil

Sauce:
1 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Olive oil
2 tbsp Crushed garlic

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 400 °F.

2) Liberally season whole raw chicken with salt and pepper. Brush entire chicken lightly with mayonnaise- this will help to brown it and lock in the flavor.

3) In an oven-safe fry pan (large enough to hold a whole chicken), heat the butter on MEDIUM until dissolved.

4) Keeping the heat on MEDIUM, place the whole chicken into the pan (with the round side down) and allow to cook until golden brown on one side, about three minutes.

5) Rotate chicken to brown lightly on each side, again about three minutes on each side.

6) Leaving the chicken in the fry pan (with the round side up), place it in the preheated oven and roast it for at least 45 minutes.

7) Make sure to check the chicken while it is cooking. Occasionally pour the broth that has collected at the bottom of the pan over the chicken, or for added taste, brush the chicken with additional mayonnaise.

8) Using a meat thermometer, check that the chicken has cooked to 170 °F before serving. Allow cooked chicken to rest for a few minutes before serving.

9) Slowly warm the remaining broth found in the fry pan on MEDIUM heat, adding the butter, olive oil and garlic. Heat the sauce until the garlic is soft and serve over the chicken.

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ROASTED SPAGHETTI SQUASH & CARROT SOUP

*This recipe makes a LARGE batch, so be prepared to cook it for a lot of people or freeze some!

Ingredients:

5lbs bag carrots (washed, peeled and chopped)
3 medium onions (peeled, chopped)
1 celery (washed, leafs removed, chopped)
8 cloves garlic (fresh, peeled, left whole)
2 large s paghetti squash
4 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

1) Prepare squash: Cut lengthwise, remove seeds, season with salt and pepper and olive oil and place cut-side down on oven rack. Poke squash skin with knife to make small holes and bake in oven at 350F for 40 minutes. Flip over and continue baking for another 20 minutes to ensure squash is very soft.

2) Remove cooked squash from oven and scrape out cooked insides. Put in bowl and set aside.

3) Put chopped carrots, onions and celery in a large pot and cover with water. Begin to boil.

4) Add salt and pepper and continue to boil for about 30 minutes, until vegetables are cooked. (There should still be liquid left in the pot. If it has boiled down, add more during cooking. This will create the stock for the soup.)

5) Add cooked squash and using a hand blender, thoroughly blend the ingredients. Add paprika and continue to blend until the soup is a “creamy” consistency. Make sure to blend very well as spaghetti squash can be stringy

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5) Allow cooked vegetables and stock to cool, remove from pot and puree in a blender while adding the cooked squash and paprika. Make sure to blend very well as spaghetti squash can be stringy. If you need to add more liquid (water or stock, do so) Once blended, return to pot and simmer, stirring so everything gets mixed.

6) Reduce to simmer, stirring and serve with a few seasoned croutons.

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GLUTEN-FREE LOBSTER ROLLS

I was asked to come up with a Gluten-Free recipe using Udi’s Gluten-Free products that were sent to me. Keeping in mind the whole “full of taste, free of Gluten” message that Udi’s promotes, I decided on a classic meal… Lobster Rolls

Ingredients:

2 1.5 lbs lobsters, steamed, meat removed from shell
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
2 tbsp Chives, fresh, chopped
4 tbsp Unsalted butter, melted
6 Udi’s Gluten-Free hot dog buns
1/4 cup Celery, finely chopped
1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 avocado, peeled and diced into cubes
1/3 cup Homemade mayonnaise (see recipe below)

Homemade Gluten-Free Mayonnaise

2 Large eggs
2 Egg yolks
1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Lemon juice
1 tsp White vinegar
2 cups Canola oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Put all ingredients into a food processor and mix, slowly adding the oil. The longer you mix, the thicker your mayonnaise will be.

Directions for the Lobster Rolls

1) Remove the cooked lobster meat from shells and roughly chop it.

2) Lightly toast the buns, if desired, for added crispy flavor

3) Mix the homemade mayonnaise, melted butter, chopped celery and lemon juice.

4) Add the lobster meat and mix with mayo-celery mixture.

5) Add chives and season with Old Bay to taste.

6) Add diced avocado last and mix gently so as not to break the avocado cubes too much

7) Place equal amounts of lobster mix into Udi’s Gluten Free buns. (Makes four generous rolls.)

udi's Gluten Free Lobster Rolls


GLUTEN FREE CINNA-BURGER

Ingredients

There seems to be a competition that exists among chefs who work at fairgrounds to come up with an extravagant burger for their menu that features the latest food trends, while incorporating outrageous ingredients, be it donuts, waffles or mac and cheese. I wanted to create a burger along those lines, but at the same time, make it gluten free. Thanks to Udi’s Gluten Free products for making this possible.

Makes four (4) burgers

1 package Udi’s Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls
1 ½ lbs of lean ground beef
½ cup Udi’s Gluten Free Bread, any type (dried and ground fine into breadcrumbs)
1 egg lightly beaten
½ tsp salt and pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tbsp of parsley, finely chopped
4 slices of cheese (gluten free)
1 packet of Udi’s cinnamon icing (included with the Cinnamon Rolls)
Lettuce, onion and tomato for garnish

1) Add egg, all seasonings and breadcrumbs to raw beef and mix thoroughly in a bowl.

2) Form burger patties, each one should be about the size of the palm of your hand.

3) Grill burger patties over medium-high heat, about five minutes on each side, until thoroughly cooked.

4) Top each burger with a slice of cheese and continue to grill the burgers until the cheese melts.

5) Slice each cinnamon bun lengthwise, removing the tops and using them as the top AND bottom for each burger. (You can save the “stumps” of the rolls and use them as dessert for later.) Place each cooked burger between one of the “buns.” Garnish with lettuce, onion and tomato.

6) Drizzle the cinnamon icing over the completed burger before serving.

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Chili Con Carne

Ingredients:

6 slices bacon
2 pounds ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 12-ounce bottle amber beer
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth, plus more if needed
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed…more beans if desired
1 tablespoon hot sauce
Shredded cheddar cheese, sliced scallions and/or sour cream, for topping (optional)

Directions:

1) Dice the bacon and cook Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, 6 to 8. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and let cool, then crumble and set aside.

2) Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings from the saucepan (reserve the drippings).

3) Increase the heat to medium high, add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon; wipe out the pan.

4) Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon drippings in the saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes.

5) Add the garlic and 1 teaspoon salt and cook for about 2 minutes.

6) Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste is brick red, about 6 minutes (add a splash of water if the mixture begins to stick). Add the beer and simmer until almost completely reduced, about 3 minutes.

7) Stir in the beef and any juices from the plate; add the cocoa powder, tomatoes, beef broth and beans and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens slightly, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

8) Stir the hot sauce into the chili and season with salt. Feel free to add some beef broth if the chili is too thick. Ladle into bowls and top with the crumbled bacon, cheese, scallions and/or sour cream.

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Roasted Italian Potatoes

Ingredients:

1 Small bag of golden or red mini potatoes
1 tbsp Olive oil
½ tsp Garlic powder
½ tsp Onion powder
½ tsp Smoked paprika
½ tsp Fresh or dried chives
½ tsp Fresh or dried parsley
1 tsp Fresh or dried rosemary

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 400 °F.

2) Clean potatoes and cut each one in half.

3) In a large bowl, add potatoes and all additional ingredients.

4) Toss potatoes with olive oil and seasoning until all potatoes are liberally coated.

5) Lay potatoes flat on a baking sheet, lined with tin foil.

6) Bake potatoes in preheated oven until desired crispiness (usually about 20 minutes).

7) For extra flavor, toss cooked potatoes with extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese or fresh chives and parsley before serving.

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Sandra & Carlos Bruschetta (aka SEARED TUNA BRUSCHETTA)

I was lucky enough to be one of the first chefs in Toronto to sample No.7 Mexican Hot Sauce‘s newest flavor – ARBOL. It packs an awesome punch with a huge amount of flavor. So when Sandra and Carlos, the brilliant minds behind No.7 asked me to come up with a recipe, I knew it had to be something unique. I love bruschetta and right away I knew that the Arbol sauce would be perfect a new spin on an old classic. It only made sense to put their name on this new bruschetta recipe that has already become very popular!

1 Tuna Steak
2 Plum Tomatoes
5 Basil Leaves, diced
4 tbs Crumbled goat cheese
½ cup Sesame Seeds
1 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbs No.7 Mexican Hot Sauce – Arbol flavor
1 Baguette French bread, sliced into crostini and lightly toasted
Salt and Pepper

1. Rub the tuna steak with salt and pepper and sesame seeds to coat the fish

2. Quarter the tomatoes, and then remove the “insides” and seeds. Cut the tomatoes into strips and then cube them. (Creating small tomato cubes)

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3. On medium-high heat, sear tuna steak, one minute each side to create “rare” consistency. (A non-stick pan works best for this)

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4. Set cooked tuna aside

5. Once tuna is cooled, cut into strips and cube the strips (making small tuna cubes)

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6. To a mixing bowl, add the diced tomatoes, chopped basil, tuna steak cubes and No. 7 Mexican Hot Sauce – Arbol flavor and extra virgin olive oil

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7. Lightly toss to coat everything. Add goat cheese and lightly toss again

8. Place equal amounts of bruschetta mixture on each “toast”

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Zucchini Hash

Ingredients:

3 to 4 Zucchini, cleaned with tips cut off
1 tbsp Olive oil
½ tsp Garlic powder
½ tsp Onion powder
½ tsp Smoked paprika
½ tsp Salt and pepper mix

Directions:

1) Shred each zucchini using a grater.

2) Lay the shredded zucchini out on a tray lined with paper towels and allow it to dry. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper- this will not only season the zucchini, but allow it to properly drain.

3) Once the zucchini is dry, add the olive oil to a large pan or wok on MEDIUM heat. Once the pan is warm, add the shredded zucchini.

4) Add the remaining ingredients and coat the zucchini.

5) Allow zucchini to brown only slightly, making sure to not let it stick or burn. The idea is to create a look that is similar to that of potato hash.

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AWESOME ONION SAGE DRESSING

Ingredients:

1  Medium onion, finely chopped
3.5 oz  Butter
6 pcs  Chicken livers, trimmed and diced (You can substitute bacon for chicken livers)
1 loaf  Bread, small diced
4 oz  Chicken (or Vegetable) stock
6 sprigs  Sage, fresh, rough chopped
6 sprigs  Parsley, fresh, chopped
4 eggs, well beaten
2 pints, white or brown mushrooms, cleaned, sliced

Directions:

1)   Saute chicken livers in pan on warm heat, using the butter, until golden brown

2)   Add the diced onions, continue to saute until soft.  Then add mushrooms and cook until tender.

3)   Add the seasonings, herbs and bread to the onion-liver mixture. Mix well and then remove from heat

4)   Mix in the beaten eggs, chicken stock and adjust seasonings to taste. (salt and pepper as needed)

5)   Transfer to lightly greased baking dish. Cover and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes.

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POTATO SALAD WITH BACON

2 pounds small red-skinned potatoes, quartered
1 pound bacon, chopped
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 cup mayonnaise or Greek Yogurt
3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
6 scallions, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, diced
1 tablespoon sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

1) Cover potatoes in cold water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until fork-tender, about 15 minutes. In a separate pan sauté bacon over low heat until crispy, about 12 minutes. Drain and use paper towels to blot off excess fat, cut into bit sized pieces.

2) Cover eggs with cold water and bring to a boil, leave for 8 minutes then remove from the heat, cover and let stand 6 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to cool; peel and chop.

3) Drain the potatoes, without rinsingand let cool 6 to 8 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, scallions, red onion, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Combine potatoes, bacon and hard-cooked eggs; fold in the mayonnaise mixture. Serve at room temperature.

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THE GRINCH

Every Christmas, there’s one drink that has always remained a popular staple of my holiday party. Created 13 years ago, more or less just for fun, this one is a classic. Truth is, it’s very simple to make.

Ingredients

1.5 oz   Vodka
1 oz       Midori Melon Liqueur
Freshly squeezed Orange Juice (with no pulp)
Ice
Cherry, for garnish
High ball glass

Directions:
1)   Add 1.5 oz of Vodka to a high-ball glass filled with ice

2)  Add 1oz of Melon Liqueur

3)   Top with orange juice

4)   Garnish with cherry and a cocktail straw

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THE NAUGHTY LIST

One might assume, based on its name, that this drink is perfect for the holiday season. But in reality you can serve it any time of year.

Ingredients:

1.5 oz  Spiced Rum
1 oz      Sloe Gin
Pineapple Juice (fresh is always best)
Grenadine
Ice
Lemon slice (for garnish)
Highball glass

Directions:

1)     Add rum and sloe gin into highball glass filled with ice

2)     Top with pineapple juice

3)     Add dash of grenadine, garnish with lime and cocktail straw

Enjoy!