Monday, April 2, 2007

DIY: Hang A Garden In The Kitchen

I may be the Gourmand here at Casa Jules, but Sargeant Pepper is the Toolman(d)! He made me this lively trellis on the weekend. Even the smallest of kitchens can accomodate one. Make it as large or as small as you like by crisscrossing 1 x 1-inch slats. Use plastic chain from a garden supply center to hang it from the ceiling. Dress up the trellis with ivy, or vining nasturtiums you can include in salads. Add hooks and hang cups, dried herbs, pot holders or other kitchen paraphernalia. Hang the trellis over a table to create a garden atmosphere (and prentend you are dining el fresco!), or near the stove to hold pots. Or, make one to fit the whole kitchen ceiling and turn your kitchen into an arbor! What fun!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Smoked Salmon Tortilla Spirals

There are many variations of this ever-popular appetizer. Use a variety of fillings such as cold cuts, poultry, seafood. This is a lighter version, a favorite of my Aunt Maybelline when she has a hankering for smoked salmon! Attractive when rolls are served spiral side up on a bed of shredded lettuce.
Smoked Salmon Tortilla Spirals

1 cup pressed cottahe cheese or firm yogurt cheese
2 tbsp honey-style mustard
4 10-inch flour tortillas
1/2 lb smoked salmon, thinly sliced
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp chopped fresh chives or green onions
4 leaves lettuce, shredded

In small bowl, combine cottage cheese and mustard (if cheese is a litte lumpy, puree in blender or fod processor).

Arrange tortillas on counter and spread evenly with cheese spread.

Arrange smoked salmon on top of cheese (leave about 1-inch border at top of each tortilla just covered with cheese so rolls will stick together). Sprinkle with dill, chives and lettuce.

Roll tortillas up tightly, pressing firmly to seal. Wrap well and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until ready to serve. Trim off ends of rolls (eat them!)and cut each roll slightly on the diagonal into 8 to 10 slices.

Yields about 32 to 40 pieces.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Caribbean Vegetable And Chicken Curry

The lovely aromas and flavor of the Islands will perk you up on a gray day in winter.

Caribbean Vegetable And Chicken Curry

6 boneless chicken breasts, skin removed
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp curry powder, divided
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp ginger root, finely chopped
1 small hot chili pepper, finely chopped
pinch allspice
pinch cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 leek, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup vegetable stock, or water
1 28-ounce tin plum tomatoes, pureed with juices
2 potatoes, pelled and cut into chunks
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
2 carrots, sliced
1 1b butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
3/4 cup pineapple juice, tomato juice or coconut milk
2 plantains, peeled and cut into chunks (optional)
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, or parsley

Pat chicken dry. In a small bowl, combine mustard, sesame oil, and 1 tbsp curry powder. Coat chicken with mixture.

Preheat barbeque or broiler and grill chickem for 5 minutes per side (it will not be completely cooked). Cut into 2-inch chunks and set aside.

Heat oil in large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add garlic, ginger and hot chile pepper. Cook for 30 seconds. Add remaining 2 tbsp curry powder, alspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook for 30 seconds longer. Add onion, leek and stock. Cook until liquid evaporates.

Add pureed tomatoes, and brng to a boil. Add potatoes and sweet potato and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.

Add carrots, squash, pineapple juice, plantains (if using), chickpeas and chicken stock. Cook, covered, for 30 minutes longer.

Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Serve over couscous or rice.Yields 8 servings.

Monday, February 26, 2007

A Box of Bouquet Garni

A Box Of Bouquet Garni

Adding a bouquet garni to a soup, casserole or stock is a traditional way of seasoning and enhancing the flavour of home cooked dishes. Each recipe makes enough for one bouquet garni, multiply quantities as required. Make a boxful for a keen cook and include a favourite recipe!


1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 bay leaf


1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns


1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried dill leaf tips
1 bay leaf

Combine herbs and place in 6-inch diameter circle of muslin, or small muslin bags. For your own use, not gift giving, choose cheesecloth.Secure tightly with long piece of string to form a sachet.

Creamy Oyster Chowder

This simple, yet tasty and warming chowder with slices of Herbes de Provence French Bread, topped off with some berries in season for dessert, makes for a meal on the go-go!

Creamy Oyster Chowder

1 tbsp butter, softened
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fish stock or white wine
1 can (5 oz.) oysters
1 cup diced peeled tomatoes
1 tsp dried thyme or 1 tbsp fresh
2 1/4 cups milk
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Salt and Pepper

In a large saucepan, melt margarine over medium heat;cook onion, celery and carrot, covered, for 5 minutes. Blend in flour. Stirring constantly, gradually pour in stock or white wine. Drain liquid from oysters into pan; set oysters aside. Add potatoes and thyme; stir and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add oysters, milk and parsley; cook until just heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Yields 3 servings (1 1/3 cups each).

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Apple Fritters With Maple Cream

Apple Fritters With Maple Cream

1/2 cup Maple syrup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup whipping cream

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt

2 large eggs
1 cup beer
2 tbsp cooking oil

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3 large, tart cooking apples

Cooking oil, for frying

Batter-fried apple rings, topped with thick maple cream, fragrant with cinnamon. The height of comfort food! A Sargeant Pepper favorite!

Maple Cream: Combine first 3 ingredients in medium saucepan. Heat and stir on medium until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a gentle boil. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, without stirring, until slightly thickened. Cool completely.

Beat whipping cream in small bowl until soft peaks form. Add maple mixture. Stir. Cover. Chill. Makes 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) cream.

Combine flour, first amount of granulated sugar and salt in large bowl. Make a well in centre.

Add next 3 ingredients to well. Mix well. Cover. Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

Combine second amount of granulated sugar and cinnamon in separate small bowl.

Core and peel apples, leaving apples whole. Cut into 1/3 inch (1 cm) thick slices (you will need 32 slices). Dip individual slices into batter. Deep-fry, in batches, in hot (375°F, 190°C) cooking oil for about 2 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with cinnamon mixture. Serve with Maple Cream.

Yields 8 servings.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Amish Cake Tester

Not a broom to sweep up the crumbs, but a Cake Tester, to ensure the readiness of your cake so you'll enjoy every last morsel. Fashioned out of authentic corn-husk straws, and crafted by the Amish in Lancaster, PA. 2"L x 2"W x 5.5"H in size, it is meant to be hung by your oven as you extract one straw each time, inserting it in the cake to test for doneness. A clean straw indicates your cake is done, and the straw may be disposed. A fab, fun, find from Chefs Catalogue!