Monday, January 31, 2011

redwater grille's shrimp - delicious!

A few weeks ago, we went to Redwater Grille to celebrate a friend's birthday.  I started my meal with an appetizer of Pan Roasted Wild Shrimp in a garlic chili butter.  The dish was so amazing and I thought about it for days.  I had to find the recipe. 


Thanks to Google, I discovered the menu was created by Ned Bell, who was the corporate chef of the Vintage Group who owns Redwater Grille.  I happen to come across the recipe on someone's personal website, under a different name - I was thrilled!  I made the shrimp for our Progressive Dinner and my husband commented that the sauce would go great with pasta.  This past weekend, I pulled out my new pasta machine and tried my hand at fettucine.  The wholewheat noodles were perfect to sop up the tasty sauce.


Ned Bell's Wild West Prawns

3 TB olive oil
30 peeled jumbo shrimp
2 TB minced garlic
1/4 cup dice red bell pepper
1 cup cherry tomotoes, quartered
2 TB chili powder
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup cream
8 ounces butter, cut into cubes
salt
pepper
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

Heat oil in a pan until almost smoking hot.  Add the shrimp and sear for 30 seconds or until they start to turn golden brown.  Remove the shrimp and add the garlic, red pepper and tomatoes to the pan.  Saute for about 1 minute or until the garlic browns slightly.  Stir in the chili powder, cook 30 seconds and add the wine.  Bring to a boil and add the cream and butter.

Reduce the sauce for about 2 minutes, or until it is thick enough to coat a spoon.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix in green onions and cilantro.  Return the shrimp to the pan, warm through, and serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

progressive dinner party

We had a wonderful dinner party this past weekend. After watching Giada's Progressive Dinner, I thought it would be such a fun thing to do!  A three course meal at three different houses - it was a perfect event to do with our close friends who live minutes away.

It was bound to be an interesting evening since we weren't coordinating our menus.

We started with appetizers and cocktails at our house. Hubby was in charge of the cocktail and came up with an orange / nectarine mojito.  With all the citrus and the mint, the drink was delicious and so fresh.



It was hard to decide on just one appetizer so I made a few.  Rosemary almonds were placed on the table for people to munch on.  It was nice to see that these were a big hit.


Since I had just had my lesson in making butternut squash ravioli, I definitely had to make a batch.  Everyone was served one big ravioli with a serving of greens.

The idea of the progressive dinner came shortly before we visited Kayne's a few months ago.  I knew after tasting their brie, I had to have something similar.  I didn't want to fry anything so I baked some panko breaded brie which was served on top of red pepper jelly.


The final appy was a shrimp dish.  Sauteed shrimp in a red pepper cream sauce served with baguette.   It's a dish that I had at a restaurant recently and I was happy to find the recipe online.


We hopped into our cars and drove a few minutes to the next house for dinner.  S and P had made an amazing thai dinner with both green curry and a spicy red curry.  This was served with rice and was enjoyed by all, even the kiddies.


We then headed around the corner to S and G's house where we indulged in two desserts.  Molten lava cake served with ice cream was the chocolate contribution of the night.  The other dessert was a concoction prepared by S with lemon pound cake, custard and strawberries - delicious!

It was a fun evening and a nice way for everyone to contribute without doing a potluck. Looking forward to many more of these dinners!

Monday, January 24, 2011

gluten-free peanut butter cookies

January 24 is Peanut Butter Day!  This month, Lauren of Celiac Teen is hosting the monthly event, Go Ahead Honey It’s Gluten-Free (GAHIGF).  A theme is chosen each month and based on that theme, bloggers create gluten-free dishes.  Lauren's theme is "Follow the Calendar", where you pick a food holiday and make a recipe celebrating it.

I just happened to have made peanut butter cookies the day I read Lauren's post and thought it would be the perfect thing to blog about.  This is the easiest cookie recipe with no flour and no butter.  Only 4 ingredients are needed and the cookies turn out delicious!  You know something is good when my 2 year old asks for more.


Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda

Beat the peanut butter and sugar until the 2 ingredients are incorporated and fluffy.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg with the baking soda.  Add to the peanut butter mixture.  Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Makes about 30 small cookies.

Friday, January 21, 2011

making butternut squash ravioli from scratch

Last year, at one of our family dinners, my cousin AJ made us butternut squash ravioli with sage butter sauce from scratch.  It was so rich and flavourful and ever since, I order butternut squash ravioli anytime I get a chance. When I bought my pasta machine this past Christmas, I knew the first thing I wanted to learn and make was my cousin's pasta.

AJ came over yesterday and taught me how.  I couldn't believe how easy it was.  I found it amazing how the pasta machine could take a ball of dough and turn it into something so long and thin.  Amazing that all it took was flour and eggs.  The word of the night was amazing.


The dough was just 1 1/2 cups of flour, 3 eggs and a little bit of olive oil.  It came together pretty easily and then we kneaded it for over 10 minutes.  We let the dough rest while we prepared the filling.



I had roasted the butternut squash earlier in the day with some olive oil and salt and pepper.  It was really tasty and it was hard to not eat the whole thing before pasta making time.  For the filling, we heated up some oil and sauteed a shallot with one clove of garlic.  We then added the squash and 150 grams of goat cheese until it was all incorporated.  We took it off the stove and mashed.  We then filled up a ziploc bag, our makeshift piping bag.


The dough was put through the pasta machine a couple times on each thickness.  By the time we got to the thinnest plate, the dough was long, thin and pliable.  We piped the squash on one half of the dough and folded the dough over.  Air pockets were removed and the dough was cut with a pizza cutter into squares.  We boiled the ravioli for only 3 minutes!



We topped the pasta off with a sauce made with browned butter and sage ,and some parmesan cheese.  So simple and with so much flavour!


I had so much fun making pasta. The end result was a very tasty, rich pasta.  Amazing!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

shrimp wonton soup

I have always wanted to try wonton soup but it seems like every restaurant has their wontons with pork, which I don't eat.  I came upon a few recipes that had shrimp wontons and I knew I just had to try it.  I combined a few different recipes and came up with this.  I don't think greens are normally in the broth but I added spinach for more nutrients.  The first time I made, we loved it but since we hadn't tried it before, we had nothing to compare it to.  The next time, we had friends coming over that had tried wonton soup before.  They loved it and went back for more - always a good sign.  This will definitely be a regular at our house.

Come join SoupaPalooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by KitchenAid, Red Star Yeast and Le Creuset.

Shrimp Wonton Soup

Wontons:
1/2 pound shrimp
2 green onions
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp sesame oil

Broth:
4 cups chicken broth
1 TB soy sauce
splash of fish sauce
2 green onions
spinach

Friday, January 14, 2011

a night at NOtaBLE

My husband has a new job.  For the past few years, hubby has been a construction project manager, working on office buildings, supermarkets and large box stores.  I am excited about his new venture with LUX Group where he will be in charge of building restaurants and coffee shops.  Yes, food establishments.  Hooray!

Hubby's new boss B and his girlfriend M (who it turns out I went to high school with!) were kind enough to take us out for dinner at NOtaBLE, Michael Noble's restaurant located on Bowness Road.  I had heard and read great things about the restaurant and was excited to check it out.

We weren't able to make reservations for the day we went and the restaurant was busy - we did have to wait about 30 minutes for a table.  We were quite hungry by the time we were seated and went straight for the main course.  I ordered the char-grilled and braised lamb shank served with chanterelle mushroom and asiago risotto.  It was a great choice.  The lamb was moist and the risotto was creamy and delicious.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.


Hubby ordered the whole grilled sea bream with lemon, thyme, and red wine butter sauce.  Our server offered to debone the fish for him, although he didn't take her up on the offer.  The fish was moist and very tasty.



There weren't a lot of vegetarian options for M but the kitchen was kind enough to make her gnocci with assorted veggies which she seemed to enjoy.  B ordered the New York steak which looked juicy and tender.




We had to of course order dessert.  The double baked chocolate cake was served warm with a scoop of chocolate sorbet and was delicious!  B ordered the stilton cheesecake and enjoyed it even though he didn't like blue cheese.  The cheesecake was served with a rhubarb compote.




Michael Noble worked with B on the menu for Kayne's so I did get an introduction after our meal.  He was even kind enough to take a picture with me.  We had a great time at NOtaBLE - great food and great company.


NOtaBLE on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

guest blogger: sweety's quinoa and veggie salad

I'm so happy to have a good friend of mine guest blog today.  Sweety Sull Tumber is a wonderful mother to two gorgeous kids, J and S.

It's a snow day today and I was feeling hungry.  Too lazy to run out in the blistering weather to purchase some groceries, I decided to test my culinary skills and come up with something to eat with existing ingredients in my pantry.  For months now, I had been intentionally ignoring the jar of quinoa that I purchased on one of my 'today is the day that I will eat healthy and instantly lose a million pounds' type outings.  So I thought... Maybe I should learn how to prepare this, how bad could it taste? I'll just jazz it up with some fresh veggies and lemon.  On a side note, up until today I really had no idea what quinoa even was! Well, after some snooping around in my fridge and throwing some simple veggies together,  I enjoyed the most healthiest, tastiest and filling salad ever! Quinoa is an amazing grain full of fiber and all nine amino acids.  It's also a complete protein making this an excellent choice for those who are trying to lower their weekly meat intake.  It's also gluten free.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. My 2 year old sure did.


Quinoa and Veggie Salad

1 cup dry quinoa , cooked and drained
1 long english cucumber, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup of diced celery
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
5 green onions, diced
2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
1/4 cup parsley
2 cups of canned cooked chickpeas, rinse well
2-4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
I also added 2 tablespoons of low fat italian dressing that I found in my fridge just for fun

Toss together and enjoy!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

celebrating baby's upcoming arrival with cookies

We are so thrilled that our dear friends will be having their first baby in a few weeks.  We celebrated Baby L's upcoming arrival with a small dinner out with close friends.  Even though we weren't really doing a shower, I wanted to do something to make the night out special.  Of course, the idea that came to mind had to do with food!  I had purchased a gingerbread man cookie cutter a month ago and never did get a chance to use it over Christmas.  Using a sugar cookie recipe and the cookie cutter, the sugar 'baby' was created. 

Roll-out Cookies
Adapted from Wilton

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 1 cup at at a time, mixing after each addition.  Divide dough into 2 balls.  On a floured surface, roll each ball into a circle, approximately 1/8 inches thick and cut out cookies in the shape that you want.  Bake cookies on an ungreased sheet for 7 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.  Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Friday, January 7, 2011

pizza party!!

Since my sister was in town, we celebrated the holidays with our cousins by having a pizza party!   Although I was hoping to make the dough, I ended up making my life a little easy and purchased pizza shells.  Everyone had the chance to top their pizzas with homemade pesto (nut-free for those with allergies) or tomato sauce and then tons of toppings.  Meat toppings included spicy chicken sausage, beef bacon, ground beef and beef pepperoni.  Veggies included peppers (green and red), onions (white, red, green), tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, artichokes, sundried tomatoes, pineapple, roasted garlic and basil.  Everyone had a great time being creative when topping their pizzas.  It was a fun idea and we will definitely be having another pizza party!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

happy new year!

Hard to believe a new year has begun.  Instead of starting the new year with resolutions I can't keep (give up chocolate? no way!), I reflect.  Reflect upon what's important and what the new year can offer.  What's important is always the same - family.  When it comes to family, I am the luckiest girl in the world.  A loving husband, the sweetest little boy, amazing parents that I don't know what I would do without, a great sister that I wish lived in the same country, if not city, wonderful in-laws and a close-knit family (uncles, aunts, cousins and their kids) that get together at least once a month.



This month's lunch was at a local Chinese restaurant - 24 of us in total, 6 under the age of 5.  It was an afternoon filled with laughter, good conversation and a little bit of chaos.  So thankful that I have these wonderful people in my life.  Looking forward to a year filled with many family gatherings and celebrations!

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