Saturday, October 31, 2009

Witch Fingers

Happy Halloween! Check out these classic spooky witch finger cookies.
  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 medium size egg
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 15-20 blanched almonds
  • 1 tube red decorator gel
  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Cream butter, icing sugar, egg and extract.
  3. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Cover and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
  5. Roll dough into finger shaped cookies, press almond firmly into one end to make a nail.  Use  a fork to press into the middle of the cookie to make knuckle creases.  Squeeze red decorator gel around the crease of the almond.
  6. Place cookies on slightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Yields 15-20 cookies.

Grilled Eggplant and Apple Pizza with Toasted Walnuts and Roasted Red Peppers

There are many methods to grilling vegetables depending on the season.  I used a cast iron pan as I didn't feel like firing up the barbeque.  I use my bread machine to make pizza dough.  Works perfectly every time!
  • dough for 1 large pizza
  • 1 eggplant, sliced into rounds and grilled
  • 1 apple, sliced thin and grilled
  • 1 large, red onion sliced in rounds and grilled
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts
  • Feta
  • Mozzarella cheese
Smokey BBQ Tomato Sauce
  • 213 ml can of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1-2 tbsp BBQ Sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 500°.  
  2. Combine all ingredients for the "Smokey BBQ Tomato Sauce" into a small food processor and blend until smooth. 
  3. Cut dough in half and roll out until you have achieved 2 medium size pizza shells about 1/4 inch thick.
  4. Spread sauce over each shell and begin to add your toppings.  Finish with walnuts, Feta and finally the Mozzarella.
  5. Bake both pizza's in oven for 7 minutes then move the bottom pizza to the top and bake another 7 minutes.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Stargazer Pie

I recently made this pie for a very special birthday boy! If you want to wow your friends with a decadent treat this will do the trick. Recipe was very easy to follow and turned out perfectly.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Summer Rolls with Sesame-Ginger Dipping Sauce

Here is a vegetarian take on the traditional Vietnamese roll.
  • 6 1/2 oz rice noodles
  • 10-15 large, round rice-paper wrappers
  • Shredded green leaf lettuce
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 carrots sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 1/2 English cucumber sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 6 scallions sliced thinly lengthwise
Dipping Sauce
  • 1 tsp Asian chili sauce or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tsp natural peanut butter (optional)
  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and drop in rice noodles.  Remove from heat and let stand 8 to 10 minutes (or follow package directions). 
  2. Bring a medium frying pan with about 1 inch of water to a simmer.
  3. Drain rice noodles and rinse with cold water.
  4. Assemble each roll one by one.  Emerge a sheet of rice paper into the simmering water and quickly remove and gently shake off excess water and set on surface. 
  5. Place about 1/4 cup of rice noodles, lettuce, carrots, cucumber, scallions and cilantro at the lowest third of the wrapper.
  6. Starting from the edge closest to you, roll the wrapper up and over the filling until the half way mark and tuck in both ends and continue rolling.  
  7. Slice your rolls in half, arrange on a plate and cover with a damp towel until ready to serve.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Tarts

There is a small minority of people in my family that favor pumpkin over apple pie. This year I decided to make both and ended up revising a pumpkin pie recipe into tarts as I only have one pie plate!

  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 oz evaporated milk
  • 15-18 tart shells
  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. Combine first 9 ingredients in a large bowl, stir well.
  3. Pour mixture into tart shells and place them on a large cookie sheet.
  4. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350°, and bake for 30-40 more minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  5. Store tarts in refrigerator. Serve with whip cream.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Simply Bruschetta

It doesn't take much to make this pleasing appetizer. Simply chop up some vine ripened tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, stir in some basil and a dash of balsamic vinegar and finish off with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over toasted, crusty bread and top with Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Spinach Potato Gnocchi with Garlic Parmesan Béchamel Sauce

I just loved this recipe. Gnocchi reminds me of perogies without the shell. Serve with a nice crusty bread.

  • 1 lb spinach, boiled, squeezed dry and chopped
  • 2 1/2 lbs potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups flour

Béchamel Sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 3 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  1. Combine spinach, potatoes, egg yolk, 1 cup flour, salt and parmesan in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands kneed into a soft dough; adding flour as needed. You are looking to achieve a dough that forms a nice ball without sticking to your hands.
  2. Sauté garlic and shallot in butter over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add flour and whisk constantly for 2 more minutes. Slowly add milk while whisking constantly. Allow sauce to thicken over medium heat whisking regularly.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  4. Flour a surface and roll dough out into 8 long ropes about 1" wide. Cut ropes into 1" squares. Using your thumb flatten each square to form a shell.
  5. Drop about 20 shells into boiling water. Once they float to the top remove with a slotted spoon. Repeat this process until you have cooked all shells.
  6. Serve gnocchi with béchamel sauce and parmesan sprinkled on top.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Apple & Grape, Feta Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

It's that time of year that the Okanagan valley graces us with it's bountiful fruits such as the delicious Gala apples used in this salad.

  • Romaine leaves, rinsed and spun dry
  • Red seedless grapes, cut in half
  • Gala apple, sliced
  • Feta
Maple Dijon Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup Grapeseed oil or other mild tasting oil
  • 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp parsley

  1. Whisk together all ingredients for the vinaigrette and set aside.
  2. Toss romaine, grapes, apples and feta.
  3. Drizzle dressing over salad.
Tip: Toasted, chopped walnuts would make a nice garnish for this salad.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Veggie Stir-fry with Almond Sauce

This is another recipe that comes from "Vive le Vegan!" by Dreena Burton. I served over Udon noodles but you could make this dish with brown rice, Soba or Asian stir-fry noodles. I ended up freezing half of the sauce as it makes quite a bit.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup with Chipotle Chili and Orange

If you like chipotle then this is a soup for you. The unique smoky flavor of the chipotle chili is a perfect combination with sweet butternut and tangy orange. Serve with crusty bread or rustic crackers.

  • 1 medium Butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium russet potato, diced
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp pureed chipotle chili (be cautious chipotle is very spicy,  add 1 tsp at a time until you reach desired heat)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • cheddar cheese, grated
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Sauté onion until translucent. Add squash, celery, garlic and potato. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Cover with lid and simmer at medium heat for about 15 minutes or until squash is soft.
  3. Blend mixture with a hand blender until smooth. Add organg juice and chipotle chili. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
  4. Serve with toasted pumpkin seeds, scallions and cheddar sprinkled on top.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Garlic-Parmesan Focaccia Bread

I use a basic bread-machine Focaccia recipe and topped lots of olive oil with Parmesan, garlic and sea salt. Turns out perfect every time! There is an endless possibility of toppings you can use for Focaccia bread. Here are a few ideas:

  • Tomatoes
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Caramelized onions
  • Cheese - Parmesan, Asiago or Feta
  • Herbs - Thyme, Basil, Oregano, Chives, Parsley
  • Sunflower seeds or other various seeds
  • Olives
  • Roasted peppers
  • Mushrooms

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pesto Potato Salad

  • 1 1/2 lbs red potatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives or 1.5 tsp dried

  1. Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside to cool.
  2. Combine sour cream, pesto and mayonnaise in large bowl. Add potatoes and red onion. Toss
  3. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and chives

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Veggie Spring Rolls

I was very impressed by this recipe. The rolls were easy to make and turned out nice and crispy despite the fact that they are baked instead of fried. I liked that they were not only healthy but more flavorful then any spring roll I have ever tried. This recipe can be found in the "Vive le Vegan!" cookbook by Dreena Burton.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Vegan Date Bars

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup dates, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Melt butter in small saucepan. Add almond butter and stir until smooth. Remove from heat.
  3. Combine oats, flour and sugar. Add melted butter and press half of the oat mixture into a greased 9x9" baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile combine water and dates in small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat stirring frequently until water evaporates.
  5. Spread date mixture over top of baked crust and cover with remaining oat mixture.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Napa Cabbage Salad with Peanut-Ginger Dressing

  • 1 small Napa cabbage
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts


  • 1/2 cup peanut oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped basil or 1 tsp dried
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  1. Prepare dressing by whisking all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Shred cabbage by chopping into strips. Toss with carrots, cucumber and scallions.
  3. Roast peanuts on high heat in a small frying pan. Shake consistently for even browning should take no more then 8 minutes. Careful not to burn!
  4. Add nuts and drizzle dressing. Toss before serving.