Monthly Archives: June 2011

Canadian Eggs Benny’s (Recipe Swap)

I love a good savoury breakfast, you know the kind with fried eggs, good country style hashbrowns, crispy bacon and sourdough toast.  What is also essential to my ideal breakfast is sliced tomatoes. So…what does this recipe have to do with this…almost everything.

I received this recipe as a part of this weeks recipe swap from the lovely A Taste of Home Cooking, which is not only a great blog, but Sarah is a great person.  She is also the one who organizes all of these recipes swaps too, for which many of us food bloggers are grateful.  To me, cooking is all about trying new recipes, getting inspired from others and branching out, and that is exactly what these swaps do – plus it’s fun making each other recipes.

This month’s theme was “breakfast”.  I was keeping my fingers crossed for a savoury recipe and when I saw this one in my inbox, I was thrilled. It literally had my name written all over it – it had all of my favourite breakfast staples (except the potatoes, but that’s ok)!. I couldn’t wait to make it.  Sunday rolled around, I declared it my lazy, trip planning day (my parents are coming to Europe to visit!) and this breakfast was the perfect way to start to the day.  It was definitely a splurge breakfast in my books, but I really enjoyed it and I think it would be a great recipe to impress weekend company or the one you love (like Sarah does!).

The other little fun fact, I overcame my fear of poaching eggs.  I have only previously tried once to poach eggs, and it was a disaster.  This time, I went in with confidence, read and re-read Smitten Kitchen’s instructions and I came away with two, perfectly poached soft-boil eggs.  I was quite impressed with myself.

Oh – and one MORE thing – Sarah said she didn’t plan for the Canadian girl to get the Canadian Benny recipe (it was originally a RR recipe based off her visit to Nova Scotia)…I call that fate and I loved the touch of home.

This dish will definitely be on our table again soon (and I promise to get a better shot of it, I was too impatient to eat it as I really didn’t want it to get cold!).

Enjoy!

Canadian Benny’s

Yield:  1 serving (see A Taste of Home for the original)
Prep Time:  5 Minutes
Cook Time:  20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1/8 cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 2 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 English muffins, split in half and toasted
  • 2 slices Canadian bacon (or substitute regular bacon if you cannot find it)
  • Splash of red wine vinegar
  • 2 large eggs (I used farmers fresh eggs for the first time and they were incredible, I can definitely tell the difference)

Directions:

In a small sauté pan, heat butter over medium heat.  Add in the green onion and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, or until tomatoes are tender.  Lower the heat and add in the cream and milk, season with S&P and allow sauce to reduce for an additional 5 – 10 minutes.  (Note – my sauce looks a lot redder than the original post because I did not deseed my tomatoes – you can choose which way you prefer!)

Stir in the grated cheddar cheese and keep the sauce warm over low heat while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

While you cook the eggs below, heat another small frying pan over medium-low heat.  Add in the two slices of Canadian bacon and allow to cook until slightly brown on both sides and warm throughout.

See here for a step-by-step guide for how to poach an egg.

Now, prepare your eggs.  Heat a large pot of water over medium heat until it reaches a gentle simmer (very small bubbles).  Add in a generous splash of vinegar (white or red) and a pinch of salt.

Crack one egg into a small bowl or ramekin.  Gently lower the egg to the water and slip it in.  Do not panic, it will look as though you messed it up, but you didn’t, trust me. Repeat with second egg. Cook the eggs for 3 – 5 minutes for a soft-poached egg (Smitten Kitchen states “I look for an egg that wobbles, but just a little, when nudged with the spoon, about 3 to 4 minutes of cooking time.).

Remove eggs gently from the water, place on paper towels and pat dry.

Toast your English muffin and assemble.  Place the bacon first, egg second and top with a generous amount of the sauce.

Enjoy.

Recipe Adapted Slightly from A Taste of Home Cooking, Original Recipe from Rachel Ray

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Filed under Bread, Breakfast, Mains

Moules à la Provençale

Mussels are something that you either love or hate, in my opinion.  I know many people, including one of my closest friends, who despise them.  I however, adore them. They are versatile and so easy to prepare, but when you serve them to guests’, they are so beautiful and impressive.  I would order mussels at any opportunity and given I live(d) in Vancouver, where seafood (including the best salmon) are bountiful, this was quite often.

I still remember the first time I made mussels.  I had two of my girlfriends over and I decided to make mussels.  So, over I went to Granville Island (in Vancouver, BC) and I went straight to the wharf where the fishermen bring in their bounty.  I walked from stall to shall and finally chose my fisherman (lol, this sounds so wrong).  I came home with these beautiful, dark purple creatures of the sea and had no idea what to do from there.  So, google I did and away I went (as an aside, am I the only one that wonders what I did before google?!) I remember Mel and Bart, my two friends, were literally speechless when I served them and I remember Mel taking a picture and sending it to her boyfriend, saying ‘ha ha’, look what I am eating.  The recipe below is identical to the ones I served them almost 3 years ago, it hasn’t changed a bit, you just can’t mess with perfection when they are this good (and I think I may have won over a few more friends along the way with this recipe, including you Caits!).

Here in France, “moules frites” are very popular, especially now that mussels are finally in their prime season.  I walked by the fishmonger in the market every day, just waiting for mussels to be there.  Finally, last week, there they were – just waiting for me.  I immediately bought 1.5lbs and ran home (side note – they were so inexpensive – like 2 euros, which is a steal).  Needless to say, it was a happy happy night in my kitchen (and I made CH very jealous via Skype that night, as I devoured my mussels without him!)

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do and don’t forget to serve a fresh baguette alongside, soaking up the broth is one of the best parts!

Moules à la Provençale

Yield: About 4 servings (figure about 1lb of mussels per person, for main course)
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  10 – 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 – 4lbs fresh mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
  • 1 large leek (white parts only), minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine (I use a French muscadet or a sauvingnon blanc)
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • 4 – 5 roma tomatoes (or two large tomatoes), diced (or whatever tomatoes you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup parsley, minced
  • 2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 lemon
  • S&P

Directions:

Prepare your mussels for cooking by removing the beards and scrubbing them clean.

In an extra large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Once glistening, add the leek, shallots and garlic.  Sauté until shallots are translucent and leeks are slightly soft (2 – 3 minutes).

De-glaze the pan with the white wine and cook for 1 – 2 minutes (this will burn-off the majority of the alcohol).

Add the mussels to the pan and stir gentle to coat, then add the chicken stock to the pan and cover with a tight fitting  lid.

Cook mussels, covered, for 3 – 4 minutes.  Remove the lid and check the mussels.  If more than 2/3 of them are open, proceed.  If not, replace lid and give them another minute or two.

Add the tomatoes, butter and parsley to the pan and stir gently.  Cook the mussels for an additional 2 – 3 minutes (without the lid), until the tomatoes are soft.

When ready, place the mussels in a large serving bowl/platter, and top with the liquid (which is delicious soaked up with a toasted baguette).   Place lemon wedges alongside the mussels, to garnish as you please.

Enjoy.

Recipe Adapted From Tyler Florence

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Filed under Appetizers, French, Healthy, Mains

The Perfect Stack: Crispy Eggplant, Tomato & Mozzarella Salad

Fresh market tomatoes, basil, mozzarella cheese and crispy eggplant make for one of the simplest summer pleasures.

This salad highlights three of my favourite foods: eggplant, tomato and cheese.  This salad was so good, I could have eaten it every day of the summer.  Sadly, I ran out of eggplant – but I did eat it two nights in a row, which is very unusual for me. I don’t like leftovers or having the same thing over and over, but this salad was different.

This salad came to be kinda by accident actually.  I knew I wanted a tomato and mozzarella salad for dinner, something nice and fresh.  But when I opened my vegetable drawer, this little eggplant was looking at me sadly and was on the last stages of its life.  I knew I had to use it up quickly, but couldn’t decide how.  I realized the eggplant and my tomatoes were about the same size and that is how this dish was born.

CH is back in Canada for 3.5 weeks, however he was still able to ‘share’ this dish with me. I was chatting with him on Skype (btw – Skype is the greatest invention since the computer, IMO) and his jaw literally dropped when I came wondering into the room with this gorgeous looking creation.  He immediately instructed me to photograph it for the blog, but I couldn’t wait any longer and devoured it immediately (sorry, I know that’s so wrong of me as a food blogger!).  However, as I mentioned above, it wasn’t long before this was on my table again, and this time I made sure to nibble away before plating it, just so I could get through photographing it!

Anyways, I hope you enjoy this dish soon.  If you aren’t a fan of eggplant, simply omit it.  But with tomato season upon us, don’t omit this one from your repertoire.

Enjoy!

The Perfect Stack – Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Yield:  1 serving
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time:  5 – 10 minutes

For the Eggplant:

  • 1/2 small eggplant
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • S&P
  • 2 – 3 TBSP vegetable oil

For the Salad:

  • 1 medium tomato, sliced into 1/4 inch slices (or however thick you like)
  • 3 slices of mozzarella, about 1/4 of a ball, sliced into desired thickness
  • 3 small leaves of basil
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar reduction
  • 1 TSP olive oil (optional)

** TIP:  To make the balsamic reduction, simply heat 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Allow the vinegar to reduce by half, or until it coats the back of a spoon **

For the Eggplant:

Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices.  Rub both sides of the eggplant slices with garlic cloves (switch garlic halves about half-way through).

Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant with salt and pepper.

Place flour in a shallow bowl. One by one, place each piece of eggplant into the flour, press down lightly to coat the eggplant evenly.  Tap lightly to remove extra flour.

Heat a large frying pan (or sauté pan) over medium-high heat.  Add the oil and heat until glistening.

Add the eggplant slices and pan-fry for 2-3 minutes per side.  Keep careful watch as not to burn them.  If they brown too quickly, lower the heat.

Flip each slice over and cook the other side, until nice and crisp (and golden brown).

Remove from frying pan and place on paper towel to drain off excess oil.

To Assemble the Salad:

Place a piece of the fried eggplant on your plate, top with a slice of mozzarella, 1 leaf of basil and a slice of tomato.  Repeat the layers until all ingredients are used up.

Drizzle the salad with the balsamic vinegar and 1 TBSP of olive oil (if desired).

Enjoy!

A JBean French Cuisine Original Recipe

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Filed under Appetizers, Healthy, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetarian and Vegan