Wednesday, June 30, 2010

nostalgic noshing on some grownup s'mores - recipe: grownup s'mores

I was recently asked to be a guest on a future episode of Global TV’s cooking show, Foodies.

I’ll never forget my first television appearance — it was on the program Daytime with host Susan Cook Scheerer and former host Mark Paine. Was I ever nervous! Fortunately, Susan and Mark both did a fine job of making me feel at ease.

Since that first show in 2004, I’ve had the pleasure of being a guest on a few different television shows. I love the rush and thrill of live TV — strangely enough, it’s actually addictive.

After much thought (perhaps too much), I sent the Foodies producers and host some ideas for an episode based on “nostalgic nosh with a twist” (think: grown up s’mores, beef sliders with blue cheese and fried onions, macaroni and goat cheese croquettes, one-bite savory French toast with baked brie and pepper jelly). Hopefully they’ll like the concept for the show and you’ll see me on an episode in the not-too-distant future.

Here’s the recipe for my grown-up s’mores – guaranteed to have your guests swooning at the cottage or around the campfire!

grownup s'mores

ingredients for marshmallows

  • 1/2 cup white corn syrup
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • icing sugar

additional ingredients

  • 8 graham crackers, each cut into quarters
  • 2 cups dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coffee liqueur (such as Tia Maria)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

method for marshmallows

  • Place gelatin and water in a medium saucepan (off the heat) and let sit for about eight minutes until the gelatin softens. Add sugar and heat the mixture over medium-low heat to gently dissolve all of the ingredients.
  • In a large bowl, combine the corn syrup and the vanilla. Pour in the warm gelatin-sugar mixture. Beat with an electric hand mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes or until the mixture is white, thick and glossy with stiff peaks.
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with icing sugar. Pour the marshmallow mixture onto the sheet and spread quickly until the depth is about an inch high. Smooth the top and allow it to set — this will take at least six hours or overnight. Once set, cut into one inch by inch pieces using a wet knife. Note: marshmallow recipe adapted from Food and Drink magazine.

to assemble

  • Dip marshmallows into coffee liqueur, set aside. Meanwhile, melt dark chocolate in a medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water. Stir until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
  • Repeat process with white chocolate.
  • Dip graham crackers in melted dark chocolate until coated on all sides and set on a piece of parchment paper.
  • Dip marshmallows in dark chocolate until coated on all sides.
  • Set each piece of marshmallow on top of each graham cracker square.
  • Drizzle squares with melted white chocolate and dust with a sprinkling of crushed graham cracker crumbs for garnish. Set in fridge to cool.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

banana rice goes great with barbecue - recipe: banana-rice

published: june 16, 2010

A few weeks back, my brother Adam, and sister-in-law Michelle, decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and host an impromptu barbeque for a few friends and family. It was a potluck of sorts, and luckily, I had already stocked-up on fresh vegetables at the market that very morning.

I brought roasted asparagus with a bacon-shallot vinaigrette to the gathering. My husband and I are firm believers that “everything tastes better with bacon” although I do love asparagus au naturel too. Kim came with a delicious tossed salad with oranges, cranberries and a balsamic vinaigrette, while Jess’s contribution was a lovely mixed green salad with olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and a sweet-onion dressing. For the entrĂ©e, Adam made pork tenderloin two ways: with a dry spice rub; and with an orange-garlic wet rub. Quite some time was spent debating the merits of each.

Of all of the various offerings, by far the most popular was Adam’s “banana basmati rice”, a tribute to the former Uptown Waterloo restaurant, Hannah’s Bella Bistro. Adam and Michelle loved Hannah’s and found themselves in withdrawal when it closed. This popular side dish is one of the items they particularly missed.

Adam did an amazing job recreating the flavours, and even added his own spin on the dish by adding raisins. This rice is delicious served alongside grilled meats and vegetables, or try it “Hannah-Style” with chicken satays and spicy peanut sauce.

banana basmati rice


  • 1 cup high quality basmati rice
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed well
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Soak the rice in cold water for 30 minutes. Alternatively, if you are pressed for time you can soak the rice in cold water, stir until the water is cloudy, drain, and repeat until the water is no longer cloudy (this takes about 5 or 6 repetitions). Don't skip this step – it’s what gets the starch out of the grains and produces a nice fluffy rice.
  • Prepare rice according to package directions.
  • Add banana, raisins, coconut extract and gently stir to combine.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

more world-famous salmon & scrumptious salad - recipe: sesame-crusted salmon on greens

I was at a community garage sale this past weekend, and while scouting out backyard play items for little John I got to talking to one of the homeowners. When she found out who I was she requested a copy of a salad recipe that she recently lost.

Which brings me to my point — I’m continually amazed at the number of people who tell me how much they love one of two recipes: Tina Robert’s award-winning blueberry drizzle salad and Julie Garner’s famous brown sugar salmon.

It’s not that both recipes don’t deserve so much praise, it’s just that I’m pleasantly surprised by how often people tell me they prepare them. One customer informed me that the brown sugar salmon recipe is the only thing that she will ever make for company. It’s easy, delicious and never fails to please.

I can’t count the number of people who’ve told me that they make the blueberry drizzle salad over and over and over again. By the way, both recipes are available on my website.

I have two items of good news! The first is that I’ll soon be sharing another famous salad recipe from Tina Roberts — stay tuned for her summertime pasta salad with fresh tomatoes, brie and basil.

The second is that I’m about to share another incredible salmon recipe, courtesy of Bonnie Stern. I love this salmon salad. I have a feeling that you will too. It’s perfect for this time of the year when asparagus is in season.

sesame-crusted salmon on greens
(from Bonnie Stern’s Simply HeartSmart)

makes 6 servings

ingredients for salmon

  • 6 four-ounce fillets fresh salmon,
  • skin removed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey-style mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

ingredients for orange-ginger dressing

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce

ingredients for salad

  • 12 cups mixed greens
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cooked and cut into two-inch
  • pieces 1 sweet red bell pepper, cut in strips
  • 1 orange, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or green onions


  • Pat salmon dry. In small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce and mustard. Rub over salmon. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Brush non-stick ovenproof skillet lightly with oil and heat skillet over high heat. Add salmon and cook for 1 minute per side. Transfer to preheated 425 degree oven. Cook for 7-8 minutes or until just cooked.
  • To make orange-ginger dressing, whisk together garlic, ginger, orange juice, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, honey and hot pepper sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  • Toss dressing with greens, asparagus, red pepper, orange, cilantro and chives. Serve salad topped with salmon.

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