Saturday, June 29, 2013

Salmon, leek and artichoke bake

This recipe was the result of a happy merger of two sets of leftovers. Leeks, artichokes and salmon came together for a light and summery casserole. My Mom suggested the milk and cream cheese filler. This recipe serves 4. 

To make, sauté four thinly sliced leeks and two cans of coarsely chopped artichoke hearts with a little olive oil over medium-low heat until soft, about 10 minutes. If the leeks start to brown, you can reduce the heat or cover the pan for a couple of minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan. Transfer the leek mixture to a 9" casserole dish. Add 12-16 flaked baked salmon. 

In a separate bowl, heat 1 cup milk, then add 4 heaping tablespoons of cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Add 1/4 cup fresh dill, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper to milk mixture, then pour over casserole and stir to combine. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Sprinkle liberally with lemon juice before serving. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Quinoa and sausage stuffed bell peppers

I've been trying to use up what's in the fridge before we go on holidays next week. We've had a jug of V8 juice in there for a suspiciously long time. I decided to substitute it for water when preparing quinoa to add a hint of tomato flavour to some stuffed bell peppers. This recipe is my own; it serves 2-3 people. 

Pour 1/2 cup of quinoa and 1 cup V8 juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once mixture boils, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes. 

While quinoa is cooking, cut the cap off 4 bell peppers and remove core. Dice the remaining bits of pepper from the caps. Dice 1/2 white onion and 1 rib of celery. Remove stuffing of three sausages from their casing and coarsely chop (my sausages were ham and maple flavoured). Heat 1T vegetable oil in a large frying pan, then add sausage and diced vegetables. Once quinoa is cooked, add it to the frying pan as well. Add a generous quantity of fresh dill and fresh thyme, then stir to combine. 

Spoon mixture into bell pepper shells and bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes. I added a sprinkle of Panko bread crumbs on top before popping the peppers into the oven. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

All-out colour

I was waiting for a sultry night to wear this cutout top. One Saturday evening earlier this spring delivered, with hot humid weather after a day of rain. I was hitting up a fashion show fundraiser held at a local brewery (can now check 'Attend fashion show' off my bucket list) with friends D and J. I went for all-out colour with matching shoes, a lemon yellow skirt, turquoise earrings, and a pistachio-coloured beaded bracelet. I also had my first taste from a new gourmet food truck which was underwhelming, but I have high hopes for street food in Boston this week! 


Top - Violet and Claire via Winners (also here and here)
Skirt - Thrifted (Carroll) (most recently here)
Sandals - Guess via Winners
Clutch - Consigned (Bob Mackie)
Bracelet - Aakriti Designs
Earrings - Le Chateau

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lemon-rosemary roasted baby potatoes

This year I got an early start on the potted herbs on my balcony and so far they seem to be thriving. It's great to be able to step outside and pluck some basil leaves to toss into a tomato-and-bocconcini salad, or to liberally sprinkle fresh dill over a fillet of salmon. 

This recipe is a classic, elevated with duck fat. Cut 2 lbs baby potatoes in half and parboil. Pat dry, then toss in 4T melted duck fat. Spread potatoes out on a baking tray, then sprinkle with the juice of one lemon and a generous quantity of fresh rosemary. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Tuck additional lemon slices amongst potatoes. Broil until potatoes are nicely browned, then serve with additional lemon slices. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Structured sheath with ribbon belt

Growing up, my sister was the bigger tomboy in our family, but I also enjoyed lots of pursuits more typically associated with boys: building things with power tools, racing matchbox cars, collecting snails in my pockets and pretend-shaving my 'beard' next to my dad. I was also the only kid in the neighbourhood who ever wanted to play with our croquet set, so maybe I've got a posh elderly lady living in me too. 

This outfit has some subtle hints of menswear: a neutral brown/grey palette, a fabric that's reminiscent of a suit, a slightly androgynous watch. The dangly earrings and bow-tied belt reflect the girly side that's an equally big part of my identity. Tell me: Where do you fall on the tomboy/girlie girl spectrum?


Dress - Calvin Klein via Winners
Bag - Leo Monk
Shoes - Thrifted (Aldo)
Ribbon - from a F21 dress
Earrings - Claire's

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Braised red cabbage

I love the versatility of vegetables like cabbage, that are equally good rolled over a meat filling, basking in a tomato sauce, or perked up with other crunchy vegetable and a tart coleslaw vinaigrette. This braised red cabbage was delicious as a side to pork and potatoes. The recipe is very close to this one

To make this dish, decore half a head of red cabbage. Carefully slice into long thin strips (I did not do a very good job of this). I skipped salting and draining the cabbage as I didn't care about loss of colour. 

Heat 1T butter and 1/2T olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and stir until well-coated with oil and butter. Add 1/2 cup red wine, 2T red wine vinegar, 1T brown sugar, 1T balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, a pinch of allspice and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat and cover for 20 mins. Stir in 2T port-cranberry jelly (or similar), then cook for another 25 mins. Season to taste, and serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt if desired.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Blush top and white skinnies

Work's going to continue to be busy at least through the next couple of weeks but B and I are now counting down the days until our summer holiday. I finally revealed our surprise destination on his birthday a few weeks ago: a road trip to Boston, a city he's long wanted to visit. But before we reach the city, there are a couple of stops. We'll spend a day at Six Flags amusement and water park (he's a huge water park enthusiast) and one at the premium outlets. The outlets are for me, but I have nearby gyms scoped out for when he gets fed up ;) I've found an archaeology museum and JFK museum in Boston which are right up his history-buff alley. After the usual touristy haunts, we'll cap off the week with a ball game at Fenway Park against his favourite team, the Blue Jays :) and a night in Salem. Seeing his reaction to the trip reveal was priceless. I've taken care of as many reservations, bookings and other details as I could ahead of time, so as long as we don't hit any more animals en route, we should have a great, fun-filled week! 

Before then, I've got a family-only engagement party at my parents' today and a whirlwind (domestic) work trip starting tomorrow. I can't wait to see everyone before I take off!

Anyways, on to the outfit. I recently fell in love all over again with these white ripped skinnies. I dressed them up for a - slightly daring - casual Friday outfit with a shiny chocolate brown blazer and a blush-coloured sequined top from the plus-size section at Winners (why not?)


Jeans - Dynamite
Top - Kische via Winners
Shoes - Thrifted (Aldo)
Bracelets - Aakriti Designs, hand-me-down and Toronto boutique
Earrings - ?

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Jalapeño-cheddar cornbread

I am strapped in and ready to ride the southern cooking bandwagon. Even our local liquor store chain is getting in on the action, promoting 'Taste the Spirit of the South' cocktails. I had some leftover buttermilk from my cheddar-olive-chive scones and eggplant and chicken pizza, so I decided to try another recipe from the Double Trouble Kitchen Edition blog: jalapeño-cheddar cornbread, which we ate with chicken wings and greens. The only changes I made to the ingredients, itself adapted from, was to double the amount of cheese, use an old sharp cheddar, and substitute pickled hot pepper mix for raw jalapeño. I also found my cornbread took considerably longer in the oven than the original recipe, probably closer to 25-30 minutes. The cornbread is best straight out of the oven. It's got that delightful granular texture and the distinctly sweet and spicy flavours play off each in every bite.

To make, lightly whisk one egg in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add 1/3 cup sugar, 1T honey and 1/4 cup melted butter and stir. In a separate bowl, sift together 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal and 1/4 tsp salt. Fold cornmeal mixture into egg mixture without overmixing.Fold in 3T-4T chopped pickled hot pepper mix and 1/2 cup grated old sharp cheddar.

Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Good riddance to you, May

This post comes as we turn the page on a month I wasn't sorry to leave behind. From  cancelling Brad's 30th birthday celebration when he came down with the flu to our car repairs to many, many long hours at the office dealing with difficult files, resulting in skipped workouts and 10pm dinners, I'm hoping June has better things in store. Then Friday I learned of a terrible tragedy to befall a beautiful family. Please think a good thought for them. It had me rattled and it's times like these when your own problems are put in glaring perspective. I hugged B pretty tight that night and remembered how many things I DO have to be thankful for.

This outfit is from a couple of months ago; I wore it to a bachelorette. The photos are pixelated and the colours are off, but you can blame my brilliant idea to take photos in a dark, windowless restaurant bathroom. This dress been a favourite for going out and running errands ever since I bought it about 3 years ago. I love the lace detailing and it makes a fantastic layering piece.


Dress - Forever 21 (also here, here and here)
Fur collar - Thrifted (most recently here)
Shoes - Thrifted (Aldo)
Clutch - Coach
Watch - Kenneth Cole
Bracelets - Hand-me-down, Toronto boutique