I love the Holidays! It’s a special time to get friends and family together under the same roof to enjoy a beautiful meal while sharing stories and laughter.
When I moved in with David, I not only left my friends from Toronto behind but also had a bigger distance to travel between my family and I which are from all over the province of Québec. At first I kind of felt lonely but through the years I’ve been here, David and I started our own tradition with new friends… creating “our” new extended family! These wonderful human beings that bring so much joy into our lives are the reasons for celebrating these events!
Of course I love to serve them the traditional turkey dinner but I also enjoy bringing new flavors to the table by slightly changing the menu. Each year there’s always something new and different from the “traditional dinner” as it makes dinner for my guests more interesting. Honestly who loves monotony? I sure don’t and none of our people do… Life is too short for boring food…lol!
Last year I added a totally new food item to the table and oh boy, it was gone so fast! Everyone loved it, even the ones who are not too crazy about “spicy” food – although it’s not really spicy at all…! Now that I have your curiosity hooked, let me reveal the recipe… it’s my Mexican Cornbread!
That’s right… cornbread but not just any cornbread… This amazingly simple recipe is far from ordinary! It is super yummy with a slight zip to it – I’m not kidding… it’s not “hot” at all but it has some personality to it if you know what I mean. It is easy to make – most of my recipes are like that – and it is a delicious change from regular dinner rolls. Hey! There is nothing WRONG with dinner rolls… as a matter of fact I’m sharing my Dinner Roll recipe with you next month. It’s just a fun change for your meal and surprisingly, it goes amazingly well with turkey… no joke!
Next time you want to bring some yumminess to your dinner party, this is totally a recipe to consider. David and I also love to serve it with a large bowl of warm soup… – you know those nights when no one feels like cooking but you still want something good to eat , especially when it’s yucky outside… yep those are the ones! Anyway, this is a recipe you don’t want to miss… add it to your “must have” list and watch everyone’s reactions when you put this cornbread on the table…
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!
Although my parents were amazing home cooks, there were certain food items that they never used in their cooking. Once in a while, one of them felt adventurous and prepared a new dish with ingredients they knew.
So where do I get my desire to constantly try new ingredients and make new recipes? That I really don’t know… I never had a big interest in cooking or baking as a child besides licking the spoon when my mother was making dessert. The only reason I can find is my curiosity about other cultures and desire to find out more about them…
One food item we didn’t have when I was growing up was pumpkin and it’s only later in life that I had my first taste of it. It was a pumpkin pie and I didn’t like it. Is it because the person who made it didn’t do it properly? I’m not sure but I never wanted to try it again until my girlfriend Joanne from Toronto invited me over to join her and her family for Thanksgiving.
Jo is a fabulous cook and everything I’ve tasted of hers in the past was just amazing! Of course on her dessert menu besides other goodies was a pumpkin pie. I was reluctant to try a slice but after her scrumptious meal, I thought I should give it a try… I’m glad I did! It was simply beautiful with a nice smooth texture and the right amount of spices in the background. I devoured my slice like there was no tomorrow while Joanne was watching me with a grin on her face. That night, when it was time to leave, she gave me a couple slices to take home. The next morning they were gone…
My Pumpkin Pie recipe is based on hers of course. I made a few changes to put my personal touch on it but it’s still Jo’s recipe! It became David and my favorite and almost every Thanksgiving and Christmas, I bake this recipe. Very easy to make, this incredibly tasty pie should definitely be served at your next festive dinner. I’m not a “pumpkin pie connoisseur” by no means but I know when something is excellent… and this one is!
When I started cooking as a young lady, I didn’t have any basic sauces in my repertoire but I did have many packet sauces that you just have to add water to. Please don’t crucify me… I just didn’t know how to make any. Although my mother shared a few recipes with me, for some strange reason I couldn’t ever make a good homemade sauce. The first sauce recipe she gave me was a Béchamel, then a Hollandaise sauce followed with a homemade mayonnaise. Eventually I mastered these three recipes… with time…
Back in 1988 when I went to Puerto Vallarta with my boyfriend Carlo (he proposed to me down there…), I tried dishes I never ever had before. There was one I couldn’t get enough of and it was the Enchilada with its lovely sauce. Yummy corn tortillas stuffed with meat and topped with a spicy tomato sauce. It was only later on in my life when I went back to Mexico City that I finally got a real taste of the sauce and its ingredients.
In an earlier blog ( Homemade Lemonade) I mentioned about doing business in Mexico and therefore staying there for an extended time. Although it wasn’t a YWCA, I stayed in a lady’s hostel for weeks and the “madre” of that establishment was in charge of looking after us. She is the one who taught me this video recipe… enchilada sauce! When I came back home, I made that sauce quite often because it was so easy and yet so tasty!
It is a very quick sauce recipe to make and the results are incredibly delicious! Although most will use it in the classic enchilada, this sauce can also be added to casseroles, mac & cheese, lasagna, soups, burritos and so on. This is the kind of sauce you can try as a beginner and you won’t feel overwhelmed by the technique. After you give this sauce a try, you will definitely not go back to any store-bought ones… it is exceptionally flavorful!
FOOTNOTE: I either use a very good quality of tomatoes or San Marzano if I can find it at my supermarket.
This delicious easy Mexican sauce is a very versatile recipe to have in your repertoire. Besides the classic enchilada, it can be used in many dishes such as mac & cheese, casseroles, soups, burritos, lasagna and so on.
Summer is long gone but if you are like me, you probably bought some fresh produce during their peak and froze them…
Each year I go crazy and buy more produce than I should just in case we don’t have enough until next summer which of course, we have more than enough. One item that we have a lot of in our chest freezer is berries. There are so many recipes we can incorporate them in; from sweet to savory. I have berry recipes for spicy sauces, marinades, desserts and jams but the easiest ones are when they go in beverages…
David and I are not really breakfast people although we should be… Maybe a couple times a week we’ll have something in the morning but with our busy schedules, it has to be quick because we are always on the “go”. The perfect breakfast we can bring along with us is a smoothie. With a tasty combination of fruits, my Berry Fusion Smoothie is a great recipe to have around when there’s so little time to enjoy breakfast in the morning. Simple, fast and nutritious, this smoothie will start your day “berry” well! lol
I remember my first date with someone I didn’t know from school or through friends. He was a handsome guy I met at a night club that bought me a couple of drinks, danced and laughed with. At the end of the night, he wanted to take me out for dinner and asked me out on a date. I accepted and we exchanged phone numbers. A few days later, I met him in a very upscale Italian restaurant in downtown Montréal. This 30 something year old man looked pretty sharp in his suit and let’s face it, I was nervous!
It was the first time I was on a “fancy date” with a “man”. He was so well-mannered and even asked me to choose the wine which I politely declined, so he did – c’mon I was only 19… I was drinking Black Tower back then… yuck! After the sommelier poured us a lovely Barolo, we said cheers, clinked our glasses, tasted this awesome wine and I knew that this man could show me some new culinary sensations therefore I asked him to surprise me with the menu. That was the night that I ate my first Veal Piccata… oh my! With a side of pasta with tomato sauce, the meal was so scrumptious! For years to come, this is what I was ordering each time I saw it on a menu…
A few years ago after I moved in with David, we went out for dinner and there it was on the menu… my Veal Piccata! Without any hesitations, I ordered it but it was such a disappointment! It was anything but Veal Piccata – the sauce barely had enough lemon in it, the veal wasn’t pounded enough and didn’t have that specific taste you get from veal… it tasted more like beef to me. Most things happen for a good reason and that sad culinary experience led me to give it a try at home.
Right from my first attempt, mine was far superior to the one from the restaurant and let’s be honest… much cheaper! From there, I’ve kept making this dish at home, getting it the exact way I want it. It is quite simple to make and the results are just amazing! This is a meal you can serve for any special occasion… it’s that gooood!
P.S. If you’re curious about what happened to him and I, here it is… nothing! We had a great time, went out on a couple more dates together and both realized that we didn’t have the same views on life at that time. He wanted to get married and have kids while I just started my adult life. If I was a few years older, perhaps things could have been different. Oh well, c’est la vie!