Wednesday, November 23, 2011

recipe: ultimate grilled cheese

My favourite things about autumn include:  plush warm sweaters, my mom’s Thanksgiving dinner, warm apple cider, a trip to Shantzholm to pick up pumpkins with David and Johnny, Halloween-sized Snickers bars, and getting to watch new episodes of my favourite T.V. shows.

I’m currently enjoying a couple new series. One that’s particularly fun is called “Man vs. Food”.  It airs on the Travel Channel, and is hosted by Adam Richman. His passion, humour and knowledge of food industry makes him perfect for this show – that and his ability to pack away a TON of food.  

This series is somewhat like Food TV’s “Diners, Dive-ins and Dives” in that Richman tours mom & pop shops from coast to coast, however, every episode of this show ends with an eating contest of sorts (hence the show’s name).

Some of the contests are shocking, a few mouthwatering, but all are somewhat disturbing (my Aunt Deb and Mom can’t even watch the show).   A recent episode (although this was a repeat) featured the “ultimate” grilled cheese sandwich, from a bar in Cleveland called “Bar and Grilled”. The sandwich featured fourteen cheeses, three-and-a-half pounds of it in total.  

I was surprised to be craving a grilled cheese sandwich by the end of that episode, considering it could have just as easily turned me off grilled cheese for life, given the magnitude of the sandwich.  Anyway, here’s my version of the ultimate grilled cheese, toned-down considerably from the Man vs. Food version.

Dana’s Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich


·        2 (two) slices of whole grain bread
·        1 (one) tablespoon Dutch apple pie jam, or your favourite apple or pear jam
·        1 (one) ounce St. Agur blue cheese
·        1 (one) ounce old cheddar cheese
·        ½ (one-half) apple or pear, thin slices with skin on
·        2 (two) slices cooked bacon, crisp
·        a small handful of spinach
·        1 (one) tablespoon butter, softened


1.      Spread jam onto one slice of bread, top with both cheeses, apple or pear slices, bacon and spinach.  Top with second slice of bread and press down.
2.      Spread each (outside) slice of bread with ½ tablespoon of softened butter.
3.      Heat frying pan over medium heat until hot, add sandwich and cook until golden brown on both sides and cheese is melted, turning once, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

recipe: banana butterscotch muffins

MMMuffins.  Do you remember that chain of coffee/muffin shops, often found in the food court of the local mall?

Because of that franchise, to this day I’m a sucker for chocolate chip muffins.  Yes, I’m aware that they contain more fat and calories than your average donut…

I also loved their butterscotch pecan muffins, which looking back, were probably equivalent in fat and calories to TWO donuts.  But who cares, I only indulged in them from time to time and it was worth it.

My three year old son John and I love to bake together, and I thought that he would enjoy the butterscotch flavour of these muffins. I added bananas because yes, I’m still a mom and we have to include at least something nutritious in them.

I omitted pecans because John’s pre-school is a nut-free zone (add ½ cup to the batter if you so choose).
This recipe is adapted from “muffin mania’s” banana muffin recipe.

Banana Butterscotch Muffins
(makes 12 muffins)


·        2 (two) cups mashed bananas, about four-five medium sized bananas
·        ½ (one-half) cup granulated sugar
·        1 (one) egg, lightly beaten
·        1 (one) teaspoon vanilla
·        1/3 (one-third) cup melted butter, slightly cooled
·        1½ (one-and-one-half) cups all-purpose flour
·        1 (one) teaspoon baking soda
·        1 (one) teaspoon baking powder
·        ¼ (one-quarter) teaspoon salt
·        ½ (one-half) cup butterscotch chips
·        ½ (one-half) cup chopped pecans, optional


1.      Preheat oven to 375 F.
2.      In a large bowl, mash bananas.  Stir in sugar, egg and vanilla.  Add melted butter and stir. In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients together.  Add to banana mixture and stir only until just combined to make a thick batter.  Fold in butterscotch chips and pecans, if desired.
3.      Fill each cup of a muffin tin about 3/4 full.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until a pick inserted in the centre of the muffin comes out clean.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November 2011 Newsletter - 7th Anniversary Sale Friday November 4th

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November 2011 [image]

::: what's in our fresh fridge today? -chicken, cheddar and salsa quesadillas
-bacon, apple, cheddar and caramelized onion quesadillas
-pumpkin and black bean soup
-marks famous minestrone soup
-chicken, bacon & vegetable bake with savoury biscuits
-Asian glazed salmon rolls with mango chutney
-lots of fresh scones 

::: recipe-of-the-month
Orange Shorttbread with dark chocolate chips
We are big fans of shorTTbread around here!
This is a recipe for a delicious shorttbread that we used to sell in the shop a number of years ago.
They freeze well (use parchment paper to separate layers in a tupperware or air tight container) and would look beautiful on a Christmas cookie platter.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons (packed) grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons whipping cream
8 ounces chocolate chips

1. Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour large baking sheet.
2. Whisk first 3 ingredients in medium bowl. Beat butter, sugar, orange peel, and orange extract in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in yolk, then cream. Add flour mixture; beat until dough comes together in moist clumps. Stir in chocolate chips.
3. Drop dough by generous tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet, spacing 3/4 inch apart. Using moistened fingertips, flatten each to 1/2-inch-thick round. Bake cookies until golden, about 18 minutes.
4. While still hot, top each cookie with a chocolate chip. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Move to the refrigerator to set the chocolate chip for about 15 to 20 minutes.

::: dana's secrets
Did you know that you can substitute crushed crackers (such as saltines) for breadcrumbs in most recipes? The crushed crackers make an extremely light, crisp crust. Try crushed crackers when crusting fish fillets, chicken tenders, and baked soft cheeses such as chevre.

::: 7th year anniversary sale TOMORROW - Fri, Nov 4th from 10-7 Please join us for our anniversary sale tomorrow!
Hogtails BBQ Restaurant will be on site with their mobile smoker, sampling their delicious pulled pork.
We are now using Hogtails pulled pork and beef brisket exclusively in our:
-pulled pork quesadilla's
-pulled pork chili
-beef brisket enchilada's
-fajita style beef quesadilla's
We will be offering free samples of the above items all day tomorrow - please come by to have a taste!

We will also be offering the following anniversary specials:
-banana bread $6 (reg price $9.98)
-pesto cheese torte $11 (reg price $15.98)
-classic Indian soups $7 (reg price $9.98)
-15% off all items featuring "hogtails" bbq meats
(limit of four of each of the above items, per customer please)
Lastly, all of our holiday decor, accessories and new food items will be out and available for sale.
::: coach house shortbread!
I am thrilled to announce that we are now carrying 10 flavours (both sweet & savoury) of "Coach House Shortbread" (in addition to our shorTTbread, of course!)
For those of you who attend the "one of a kind show" in Toronto, you may recognize this brand.
The shortbread are all butter, hand-made and are sold in gorgeous, multi-coloured Christmas cracker-style packaging. There are 18-20 shortbreads per package and they retail for $13.98 - $14.98, depending on flavour.
My (personal) sweet favourites are the pecan and chocolate fleur de sel, and my favourite savoury varieties include the gorgonzola pistachio and the asiago garlic.
They are only available in 16 shops across the country and we will be the only store carrying them in this region.
Click here for their website with more info:
(we'll be sampling these all day tomorrow as well!)

::: november's special of the month
15% off our new beef "chili con carne"
The sale price is $13.58 including tax, all month long (2 lbs, about 3-4 portions) 

::: corporate & personal gift baskets
We would love to help you with your corporate and/or personal gourmet gift baskets this holiday season.
Baskets start at $40.00 and up and are filled with our made in-house items as well as customer favourites like Rheo Thompson Candies & Reid Chocolates.
Click on the link below to view our gift basket flyer:


catering, gourmet food shop, gift baskets