Monday, May 31, 2010

Poutine with Duck Gravy

So the other day while I was getting my now 10 month old lunch together, I was attacked by a frozen container of duck broth.  It literally jumped out of the freezer and fell to the floor.  It was like it was saying I'VE REACHED MY SHELF LIFE, USE ME OR LOSE ME!

I put the broth aside to thaw and tried to come up with some kind of idea on how to use it.

On Sunday I had a wicked craving for my grandmothers fried chicken, so I made fried chicken that would even put Mr. Saunders to shame (I'm not emotionally ready to share the recipe yet).  It even tasted better the next day.  Since I had cheese curds in the fridge and lots of potatoes I figure I could make poutine.  The catch was I would have to make my own gravy.  I usually use Benny BBQ sauce, but we didn't have any in the house.  Then I remembered the Duck Broth!  Granted it would make for a decadent sauce, but it's in the poultry category so I figured it should work.

I reduced 4 1/2 cups of the broth with 1 pod of garlic and a half a sliced onion to 2 cups.  I seasoned the broth with salt, pepper and a 1/4-tsp. msg., a dash of dried oregano and basil, then thickened the sauce with cornstarch.

I washed and soaked russet potatoes until there was no visible starch in the water.  Dried the potatoes thoroughly and fried them in peanut and canola oil.

As soon as the fries were done, I plated them, added the cheese and drowned them in the bubbling duck gravy. YMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!  The poutine was amazing!

One thing I respect more now than ever is carcass.  Yes carcass.  After the hard work of boning your meat, there are two rewards.  1. The boneless meat 2. The bones.

Don't waste the bones of your meats, poultry and fish.  Save them and make broth and use it for sauces and soups.  It really makes a difference.

The Cookbook Addict

Sweet Potato Fries with Mayo Dip and Beef Ribs -Yummm

Okay...I made this dish without a recipe and it turned out pretty good.

I've tried making sweet potato fries a few times, but they never seem to be as crisp as the ones in the restaurants.  So I did a bit of research.

Sweet Potato Fries

  •   The trick is to slice your potatoes
  • Soak them in cold water for 5-10 minutes to remove any excess starch
  • Thoroughly dry the potatoes and then lightly dust the potatoes with cornstarch or potato starch.
  • Deep fry immediately in hot oil 350 degrees.
  • Remove when golden brown
Mayo Dip - This was yummy

1cup of Mayonnaise (Hellmans)
1 tsp lemon rind
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Chipoltle powder ( I use a full tsp. Taste as you go.  Some like it hot and some not)
 splash of tobasco sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Baked Beef Ribs

2-3lbs of Beef Ribs
1/3 cup Soy Sauce
3/4 cup Red Wine
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp Flour
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
4 Cloves minced garlic
1 pinch of curry powder

Season the ribs with salt and pepper.  Dust ribs in flour and brown in 1/4 cup of olive oil.

Once the ribs have been browned place in a deep baking pan and add the rest of your ingredients.  Bake at 425 degrees until tender.  Strain the sauce and reduce the sauce until it's nice and syrupy. Add sauce back to the ribs and serve.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chuck's Day Off - Salted Roasted Prime Rib, Oven Roasted Potato Fries with Mayonnaise

Although Chuck Hughes does not have a cook book......sad, sad, sad. No worries though, Chuck does have a few recipes on his blog.  Since I tried out his rib recipe 3 times and everyone absolute loved them, I figured I better try some more of his creations.  How could they be bad...the guy is from Montreal of course! But to be on the sure side, I'll test out a few of his meals just to be on the safe side (giggle giggle).

Salted Roasted Prime Rib and Oven Roasted Potato Fries seem simple enough and it looked fantastic when he made it on the food network. So this will be the menu for tonight.

So I made the prime rib and oven roasted potato fries.  The prime rib was good.  I used a 2 1/2 lb prime rib.  I think this recipe would have been more successful if 1. The prime rib was at least 8 - 10 lbs like it called for in the recipe 2. was cooked on the BBQ.  Although I cut the recipe down to meet the size of my prime rib, I found the meat a bit to salty and the ground peppercorn was a bit too intense.    I love the fact that it was med rare, but I have to say I like my prime rib with either plain and simple or seasoned with  finger licking flavor, such as: mustard, garlic and fresh herbs.

The potatoes were great!  I had to fight my husband and my son for them.  They were way too easy to make and even though they weren't deep fried in old, saturated fat like in Montreal they were still fantastic.

I passed on making the Mayonnaise with Horseradish.  I didn't have any fresh horseradish, and I wasn't about to hit the store with a 22lb sleepy baby on a rainy day.  So I made the cream corn instead.  OH MINE A GOD!!!!  This dish is so dangerously delicious that I've put it in my geriatric food log as one of the foods you can puree for me when I'm 100 and have no teeth and I can't eat solids.  It's SO good that you can kid yourself into believing that it's healthy because your using fresh corn off the cob.  Hmmmmmm!  Who needs meat and potatoes when you have this side dish.  Bravo Chuck! Bravo!

Here are the recipes I tried from Chucks Day Off Web Page.


  • 12 cups coarse salt
  • 1 cup cracked black peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary and thyme (combined)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 egg whites, lightly whisked
  • 3 cups water
  • 8 - 10 pound prime rib roast


  1. In a bowl stir the salt and water together and add flour for some extra binding. Froth up the egg whites with a fork, add them and blend until mixture forms a stiff paste resembling wet snow while holding it’s shape when you squeeze it together.
  2. Spread the mixture to form a salt bed in the bottom of a large roasting pan, and lay roast on top fat side down.
  3. Cover it all over with herbs and cracked black peppercorns., pressing into the roast to make sure it adheres well.
  4. Coat it completely with the salt dough, patting it well so that when it roasts it will solidify into a solid casing. It needs to be about ¼ inch thick.
  5. Roast the beef in the middle of a preheated 325 degree (165 C) oven for 20 minutes per pound to get medium rare.
  6. Transfer to a cutting board, let it rest for 15 minutes and then, cut the casing open and slice in between the bones for nice manly servings. You can also remove the bones and slice thinner if you want


  • 3 cobs of corn
  • 1 cup 35% cream
  • 1 big nub of butter
  • A pinch of coarse salt
  • A grinding of cracked black pepper


  1. Husk the corn cobs and slice the kernels off the cobs and place into a medium saucepan.
  2. Add the cream and bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and let it cook and reduce till the liquid is thicker, the corn is plumped up and the volume of liquid is reduced by about half. About 10 minutes.
  3. Take it off the heat. Stir in a good nub of butter, add some coarse salt and pepper to taste. The finished result will still be a little firm to the tooth but sweet and creamy, as well.



  • 4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
  • 3 – 4 tbsp olive oil
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • A grinding of fresh ground black pepper
  • A few sprinkles of smoked paprika
  • A few sprinkles of steak spice


  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees (220 C).
  2. Cut potatoes into nice thick ‘handcut fry slices’.
  3. Place in large bowl and cover with cold water. You can do this in advance if you want – for up to 24 hours. It helps to remove excess starch.
  4. Drain and Pat dry on paper towel. Arrange in single layer on a baking sheet.
  5. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Bake till tender and golden crispy outside - about 40 minutes.
  6. When out of the oven hit them with some dashes of steak spice.
 The Cookbook Addict

Micheal Smith - Greek Potato Salad

I had to blog about these potatoes.  Everyone I've made them for rave about how great the are.  What's even better is they are addictive (true sign of a great dish).

These potatoes ROCK!!! I think they are the perfect side dish for this summer and you can make them ahead of time sweeeeeeeeeet.

Here is the recipe:
NOTE:  I leave out the spinach so the kids and husbands won't run from this dish LOL!


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons, 4 ounces or 1/2 cup)
  • 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 12 pieces each
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled into cloves
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 1/2 cup more of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 10 ounces baby spinach (optional)
  • Sprinkled sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Place a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add the first olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted and begins to sizzle, add the potatoes and brown slowly and patiently for 15-20 minutes, turning them as necessary until they have evenly browned on all sides.
  2. Meanwhile finely chop or puree the garlic. Whisk the lemon, second olive oil, garlic and oregano into a small bowl and whisk until emulsified. Put browned potatoes into a salad bowl and toss with garlic dressing, salt and pepper and spinach.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chuck's Day Off - "Barbecued" Baby Back Ribs

The other day I went to the bookstore to buy Chuck's cookbook and had a rude awakening!  He doesn't have one at least in Chapters or in Cole’s bookstores.

I was watching him on TV the other day and he was making BBQ Ribs in the oven.  I figured since he's a Montrealer, they have to be good.  So I gave them a try.

They were out of this world good!  So good that Mark ask me to make them again in a few days.  The second batch was great too even though I couldn't find another tin of Chipotle Peppers.  I had to use Chipotle chili powder instead, which turned out just as good, maybe even better since I had more control over the heat/spice of the dish.

My Uncle and his wife were over for a visit, but the were unable to stay to try the ribs.  So I promised to put the recipe on the blog so he can test him out himself.

From Chuck's web page;


  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 heads garlic, halved, skins left on
  • 3 apples, halved, unpeeled
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 racks baby back pork ribs
  • salt and pepper
  • Flour for dredging
  • 1 cup Worchestershire Sauce
  • 1 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tin of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
  • A clump of fresh thyme sprigs
  • A clump of fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 1 bottle red table wine
  • Water to cover
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Cut your vegetables into nice thick chunks. Halve the garlic and quarter the apples. Don’t worry about skins, seeds etc. All will be strained later.
  3. Take your racks of ribs, cut in half and season with S & P.
  4. In a large bowl, dredge the rib racks with flour on all sides.
  5. In a large wide pot, on high heat, add oil, let it get hot, and sear the ribs until brown on all sides. Don’t tamper with them. Let their surface maintain a nice contact with the hot pan. Will take about 4 – 5 minutes per side.
  6. Remove meat and drain excess oil leaving behind all of the solid meaty bits that are stuck to the bottom.
  7. Add all vegetables, apples and herbs to the pot.
  8. Let them caramelize by leaving them to sit without tossing, for a few minutes, then toss them and let sit a bit longer.
  9. Return the ribs to the pot on top of vegetables.
  10. Place all sauce ingredients in a bowl to combine: Worchester, ketchup, cider vinegar, soy and maple syrup. Add chipotle peppers with their Adobo Sauce. Stir.
  11. Add liquids to cooking pot. Add the wine and top up with water if needed to ensure the ribs are just barely covered.
  12. Bring to a boil.
  13. Cover with foil and place in a 300 degree oven for 1 ½ hours or until barely fork tender – but not so tender they are falling off the bone
  14. Remove meat from pot. Cut into rib sections and set aside.
  15. Strain solids out of the liquid.
  16. Return liquid to the pan and reduce by half to make the barbecue glaze (about 15 minutes.)
  17. When nearly done, place a half cup into a dish, add potato starch and whisk till smooth. Add back to pot, whisking as you do. This will help thicken the glaze and give the shiny look and syrupy texture.
  18. Toss ribs back into glaze to warm and get coated. Mound up on a platter, garnish with a handful of baby greens or sprouts, and serve with Warm Potato Salad.

Ingrid Hoffmann Simply Delicioso

You may have noticed that it took me a bit longer to get through this cookbook.  Don't let it that cloud your judgment on this book.

Simply Delicioso is just that! Delicious.  I love this book.  I call it my great after work/busy day cookbook.  When I've been running the streets all day and I'm freaked out about what to make for dinner and I don't want to spend too much time in the kitchen, I run to this book.

The recipes are fast and tasty.  I enjoy my dinner at home best when it taste like it came from a great restaurant and it took little effort to prepare. This book never let me down yet.

Ingrid you did a great job on this book and my family is happy to have this book in our home.  For this reason my.

VERDICTIngrid Hoffmann Simply Delicioso -Passed the Test!

The Cookbook Addict

Day Four - Ingrid Hoffmann Simply Delicious - Mushroom-stuffed chicken breasts with tomato-cumin sauce

The mushroom-stuffed chicken breasts with tomato-cumin sauce once again was an easy recipe.  You know I like easy, and it tastes great.  The only thing about this dish, which could have been totally my fault was, I found the chicken a bit dry.  But then again, I'm not much of a chicken breast girl.  I will certainly try this recipe again, but I will use chicken thighs next time.  The only catch is you may need to pound two thighs together to get the same effect (size) with chicken breast.

Here is the recipe.

Ingredients for the Chicken:
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ small red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
Two 8-ounce packages sliced white button mushrooms (about 4 cups)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon dry sherry
½ teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon ground coriander
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, tenderloin removed (reserve for another use) and trimmed of excess fat
2 teaspoons achiote powder
Thyme sprigs, for garnish

Tomato-cumin Sauce:
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons paprika
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
(serves 4)
Here’s a technique that gives you a restaurant-ready presentation without a lot of effort. The thin chicken cutlet is rolled around a yummy mushroom stuffing and then tightly rolled in a sheet of plastic wrap, and then again in aluminum foil. Even after cooking and unwrapping, the chicken remains in a perfect cylinder, making the prettiest round medallions after chopping. Achiote is the turmeric of the Latin kitchen, and it adds a soft, musky flavor and intense color to foods like chicken and rice.
1. To make the sauce, place the tomatoes, vinegar, garlic, tomato paste, cumin, and paprika in a food processor and pulse until well combined. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream and process until combined. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside on your counter or in the refrigerator.
2. To make the chicken, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring a couple of times, until the mushrooms release their moisture, about 10 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Add the sherry, thyme, and coriander and continue to cook until the mixture is dry, another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
3. Place 1 chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and, using a flat meat mallet or rolling pin, pound until the chicken is ¼ inch thick. Repeat with the other 3 breasts. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the skin side of the chicken evenly with ground achiote powder and turn it over (this will be the outside of the roll). Place 2 heaping tablespoons of the mushroom mixture in the center of the chicken breast and wrap the top and bottom flaps tightly around the filling. Fold the sides around to make a nice little package. Tightly wrap the stuffed breast in a 12 x 18-inch sheet of plastic wrap, twisting the ends like a candy wrapper. Knot the ends and wrap the roll in a sheet of aluminum foil. Repeat with the remaining breasts and filling.
4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the chicken packages and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer the chicken for 18 minutes. Carefully remove the rolls from the water and set aside to cool slightly.
5. While the chicken cools, place the tomato-cumin sauce in a small saucepan over medium-high heat to warm through. Using kitchen shears, cut the ends off of the foil packets and carefully remove the foil and plastic from each rolled breast (use tongs if it’s still hot). Slice each breast into ½-inch discs. Place the sliced rounds on a plate, drizzle with some sauce, and serve.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day Three - Ingrid Hoffmann Simply Delicioso - Arroz Con Pollo

Arroz Con Pollo -This recipe is the reason I purchased the book.  My girl friend Joanne made this one day and told me to taste it.  It was delicious and refreshing.  She offered to give me a copy of the recipe, but of course I had to buy the book.  There is nothing like having the actual book.

Anyway, I went home and tackled this recipe.  The ingredient listing looks long and challenging but its pretty quick.  I purchased the Adobo Seasoning which I found at Loblaws.

This may sound crazy, but what makes this recipe so tasty is the subtle sweetness of ketchup.  This helps you sell the dish to your kids, even with the vegetables looking back at them. LOL!

My husband and son loved this dish and they have requested that I make it everyday.  However, as good as it is, the recipe does yield a large amount.  We'll be eating left overs for days, so I guess they're getting their wish.

The photo below is from Ingrid's web page.  My camera needs batteries.  I didn't add the olives since my husband doesn't like them, which is actually fine with me since I found the taste of the olives a bit too intense.

Give this dish a try.  The recipe is below.  Enjoy  The Cookbook Addict

  • 1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8 serving pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, quartered, plus 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups chicken broth, homemade or canned low-sodium broth
  • 1 cup light beer, such as lager
  • 3 tablespoons Delicioso Adobo, recipe follows
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves
  • 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups white rice
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, ribbed and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, ribbed and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pimento stuffed olives


Place the chicken, quartered onions, 1 cup of chicken broth, beer, Delicioso Adobo, Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 of the cilantro, and garlic in a large pot or skillet over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside to cool; once cool shred and set aside. Strain the broth into a bowl through a fine-mesh sieve discarding the onion pieces.
Pour the broth into a measuring cup and add water to make 4 cups of liquid. Return it to the pot or skillet and add the rice, peas, carrots, green beans, ketchup, and salt. Stir well and bring to a boil. Let the liquid evaporate to just below the level of the rice, about 10 minutes, and then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice is tender and fully cooked, 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers and the remaining sliced onions and cook until they're tender, 8 minutes. Shred the cooked chicken meat discarding the skin and bones, and add the chicken to the vegetables. Cook until it is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and add the chicken and vegetables to the rice mixture. Stir in the olives, sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and serve.

Delicioso Adobo:

  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder or flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
  • 1 tablespoon achiote powder*
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon salt
Combine all measured ingredients in a small glass jar with an airtight lid and shake to blend. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.
Note: This recipe for adobo is a staple seasoning for many of my Latin recipes. You can make a large batch, store it in an airtight container and use it as a flavor enhancer in your favorite dishes.
*Achiote is also known as Annatto seeds
Yield: about 1/2 cup

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day Two - Ingrid Hoffmann Simply Delicioso - Arugula, Avocado, and Fennel Salad and Chicken Enchiladas with Fastest-ever Salsa

Well, I survived a few challenges over the past week or two and I am so ready to get back in the game of cooking and testing recipes.  But before I talk about the recipes I tired out, I need to tell you about the food in Montreal.  Yes I was there for a funeral, but my husband and I couldn't leave without trying out a few of our favorite foods.

The day we arrived in Montreal, my husband wanted an order of steamy's (hotdogs with a steamed bun dressed with cabbage, relish and mustard).  My husband calls these dogs sweaty's.  His favorite side dish with his steamy's is poutine.  For the record!  There is no poutine in Ontario that taste as good as poutine in Montreal and the fries are out of this world.  I've been trying to replicate the fries, poutine and steamy's for sometime.  I'm getting closer, but I'm still not there yet.

I had a Kojak Gyro the second day for a late lunch.  OMG!!! I don't know how they make their sauce, but its *%(#*$ amazing.  I almost ate the foil it was wrapped in it was so good.  I always get the garlic sauce and sweet sauce yummy yummy.  You have to have it to understand it.  Then for dinner we had Pizza. Not just any pizza, it was Miss Italia Pizza.  This Pizza is so good, that even my severely lactose intolerant cousin wanted to know why I didn't save her some.  I brought home a piece of the pizza and had it for lunch today. Hmmm hmmm, it was delicious. I savored each bite in hopes that I could identify each ingredient.  I even pulled a piece of pepperoni off the pizza, bagged it and took it to the grocery store to see if I could find a match.  No luck as of yet.  But I'm still looking.  Why can’t the food in Toronto taste as good as Montreal?

Now for tonight’s dinner: I started with the Arugula, Avocado and Fennel Salad.  It was really easy to make and it was totally refreshing.  I will certainly have this salad for lunch tomorrow.

I also made the Chicken Enchiladas.  I like making this dish because you get to use a store bought cooked rotisserie chicken and my 5 year-old son can help me make it.  I admit, the dish is a bit rich, but it's absolutely fantastic.  It's a great dinner to make if you are in a rush for dinner.  But just a word to the fat police, don’t try and substitute ingredients for low fat and high fiber, you will not get the same results.  My girlfriend tried and she was very disappointed.

The Cookbook Addict

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I'm Still In The Game

It's been a few days, which feels like weeks since I've posted my results on a cookbook.  Sorry!  I'm experiencing a death in the family, which has hit the family and myself pretty hard.  And my 5-year-old was home for a few days sick with a Sinus infection and the baby has been teething.  Needless to say, I really needed and still need a bit of a break.

I'm still testing Ingrid Hoffmann's Simply Delicioso cookbook and I have to say I haven't been disappointed yet.

I'll post my findings this coming weekend, April 11, 2010.  In the meantime, please excuse my absence.

The Cookbook Addict

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day One - Ingrid Hoffmann Simply Deliciouso - Dad's Absolutley Amazing Brandied Shrimp

As you know I usually blog from Monday to Friday.  But this weekend was so busy that I really needed a break from food and cooking.

We hosted a meet and greet for my grandmother on Sunday.  I spent Saturday cleaning, shopping and cooking and Sunday (the day of the event) cooking and cleaning and entertaining. So I took a few days to recoup. 

Today I was stumped on what to make for dinner so I figured might as well start testing another book for the week. 

My girlfriend Joanne and her husband introduced me to Ingrid Hoffmann Simply Delicioso cookbook.  Ingrid Hoffmann had a show on the Food Network introducing amazing Latin food.  When Joanne came into work she would tell me about what her husband made for dinner the night before from Ingrid's show and how delicious it was.  So I decided to buy the book.  The pictures are so vivid and delicious looking that you just have to try the recipes.

Today I made the "dad's absolutely amazing brandied shrimp".  My husband couldn't stop complimenting how delicious it was.  I thought it was quite tasty and let me say it didn't take any time at all to make.  I even cheated and made the dish with precooked frozen shrimp.  I just simmered the dish on low so I wouldn't over cook the shrimp.  The dish came out perfectly.  I've posted the recipe on my blog under Shrimp, give it a try.

The Cookbook Addict

Dad's Absolutely Amazing Brandied Shrimp



  1. Melt butter with olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, until it is fragrant one to two minutes
  3. Stir in the shrimp, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, oregano, and some salt and pepper and let the mixture simmer until the shrimp are partially cooked through and beginning to curl, about 2 minutes
  4. Stir in ketchup and simmer until the shrimp are opaque and just cooked through, two more minutes
  5. Add the brandy and parsley. Stir to combine, remove from heat and serve.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day Five - Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking - Shrimp Boil!!! Yahoo

Friday I was really in the mood to spoil myself.  I wanted something decadent and something for two.  I was looking to bring in a little Friday romance.  I made the Shrimp Boil form Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking and Steamed Mussels with Fennel from the Food and Drink Magazine Compliments from the LCBO.  We had the Mussels as an appetizer and they were so delicious we almost fainted.  The shrimp boil was the same...FANTASTIC.  Both recipes took minutes to prepare and we were stuffed and in heaven after our meal.  Unfortunately my husband and I didn't get to eat together until the end of the meal, since the baby was pretty cranky for a good part of the evening which was okay.

The Shrimp Boil was easy, a few spices and then dump your veggies (potatoes, garlic, onions and artichoke) until they are cooked then add your shrimp.   I dumped it on newspaper and we ate like little piggy's.  Michael suggests fennel salt, unsalted butter or salt for dipping.  But I made a mayo and garlic dip that hit the spot. (Sorry - no pictures of this recipe. The camera died, but I did add the recipe to my blog.  Click shrimp boil underlined on this page or check under categories for shrimp.)\

The mussels?  I'm never disappointed when I make a recipe from the Food and Drink Magazine.  When you follow their recipes you can't go wrong.  I don't even test out a recipe from their book before making it for a special dinner party.  That's how sure I am about these Magazines.  If you have the time and money, you can even pair the recommended wines with the recipes.

Anyway, I'm not here to review the LCBO Food and Drink.  Again, why would I they are perfect every time.  But, getting back to the Casual Cooking cookbook.  It was a fun week trying out this book.  I was even able to keep the most finicky people happy.  The meals are perfect for make during the week.  Little time and little effort with big success.  

This book really gives you a taste of Italy but still not taking you too far away from everyday home cooking.  During the workweeks, or even for dinner parties, I'll revert back to this book.  YOU GO MICHAEL!

VERDICTMichael Chiarello's Casual Cooking -Passed the Test!

The Cookbook Addict

Michael Chiarello Shrimp Boil Recipe

Michael's Shrimp Boil
NapaStyle : Episode FLNST-104

Click here to view a larger image.

A seafood boil has been a Fourth of July tradition for host Michael Chiarello for the last 15 years. It is a crowd pleaser, and it is as easy to do for 20 as for two. Spread butcher paper on the tables, put a variety of hot sauces out (Michael's favorite is Crystal brand), plus bowls of melted butter, sea salt, and Fennel Spice. When the shrimp and vegetables are ready, dump them directly onto the table. And when everyone has finished, roll up the butcher paper and dive into the pool to rinse off.

Serves 4
1/4 cup fennel seed
2 Tbs. black peppercorns
2 Tbs. coriander seed
1 Tbs. red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
6 quarts water
2 lemons, halved
1 head garlic, sliced through the equator but not all the way through
1 cup dry white wine
1/2-cup sea salt, preferably gray salt
8 small boiling potatoes
2 onions, unpeeled, ends removed
4 medium artichokes (no need to trim)
1 lb. jumbo shrimp in the shell
melted unsalted butter
sea salt, preferably Gray salt
fennel spice
hot-pepper sauce
  1. Combine the fennel seed, peppercorns, coriander, pepper flakes, and bay leaves and tie in a cheesecloth bag.
  2. Put the bag in a large pot with the water, the lemon halves, the garlic, the wine, and the salt. Cover and bring to a simmer, then simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the potatoes, onions, and artichokes and simmer gently, covered, until they are tender.
  4. As they are done, remove them to a serving platter. The potatoes may take 20 minutes or more; the onions and artichokes will take 30-40 minutes.
  5. After you have removed all the vegetables, add the shrimp. Cook just until they turn pink, about 3 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon to the serving platter.
  6. Cut the onions in half. Cut the artichokes in half and scoop out and discard the chokes.
  7. Serve the shrimp, potatoes, onions, and artichokes with shallow bowls of melted butter, sea salt, and Fennel Spice for dipping, and with jars of hot sauce.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day Four - Michael Chirarello's Casaul Cooking

It's been a bit crazy around here with my parents visiting, plus I kept my five-year-old home from school so he could spend some quality time with his grandparents. 

I don't think I mentioned it yesterday, but my parents are really fussy eaters.  My mother was always a fussy eater.  She likes to wash everything twice or three times, soak it with lemon then cook it to death.  She's lightened up a bit over the years and she seems to be more adventuresome, but if you are making rice or Spaghetti your guaranteed she'll finish everything on her plate. My father on the other hand.... He use to eat everything!  Any kind of meat, fish, poultry anything.  He even hunted and fished.  Now not so much, actually not at all.  Fish, pasta, cheese and bread not to mention coffee and fruit seem to be the only thing in his diet.  Let's be clear now!  He only eats certain fish, only spaghetti and macaroni, white and orange cheddar cheese, crusty bread, black coffee, and a few varieties of fruit.  Where am I going with this?  It's really hard to entertain people who have selective eating choices.

My parents really loved the sauce from the Long-Cooked Hen in Tomato Sauce.  The problem was they wanted the same sauce on pasta the next day.  My mother understood that I needed to try a new recipe, but my Dad couldn't get his brain around it. LOL!  After lots of conveniencing and explaining, I was able to compromise and make the Spaghetti All'Amatriciana.  It was quick to cook; thank father eats really early and can be a bit demanding when he's waiting for his food.  So this was the perfect recipe.  One catch!  It calls for 1/3 lb. of pancetta.  Yessssss I made two different versions of the dish, one vegetarian and the other with the pancetta.  Both tasted fantastic and everyone had two large servings.  My husband and Mother don't fancy Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano cheese.  The recipe called for the cheese, so I just mixed it in their dish and grated more on top of my pasta. No one was the wiser.  I used Spaghetti instead of Bucatini, which are the thick long noodles that I prefer, but my guests don’t.  The book called for either one.  The dish has a great bite because of the red pepper flakes and a subtle sweetness from the reduced red wine vinegar.  It's truly an amazing dish to make when you come home from work, simple and really delicious.

Sorry I didn’t get to blog about this last night, but as I mentioned, things are a bit crazy around here.

I’m still trying to decide what to make tonight.  My parents have left to catch the train home, so it’s just the four of us.  Something light, simple and cheap sounds good to me.

The Cookbook Addict

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day Three - Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking

Today I had to do some strategic planning when it came to choosing a meal out of the Casual Cooking cookbook.  My parents were coming to visit from Montreal, the house needed cleaning and I had 6 loads of laundry to do. So I went with a meal that could pretty much cook it's self Long-Cooked Hen in Tomato Sauce. 

Because Hens are not readily available Michael suggests a 4lb chicken.  This is a one-pot meal.  All you have to do is chop a few veggies, onions and garlic. Add your tomatoes, wine and chicken and put it in the oven for two hours.  The chicken comes out tender with lots of flavor.  I served it with polenta and garlic bread to sop up the sauce.  It was delicious.  The great thing about this recipe is that you have enough sauce to freeze and serve with pasta on a later date.  It's the perfect recipe for a weekend dinner and weekend sauce making all in one.  I love it.

My father doesn't eat meat so before I added the chicken to the tomato sauce I ladled some of the sauce in a separate saucepan and simmered it down with shrimp Yummmmm  Again, a very versatile meal.

The Cookbook Addict

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking - Veal Milanese with Salsa Rosa and Potatoes "Da Delfina"

"Michael Chiarello's style embraces the rich traditions of Italian Culinary heritage and casual style and fresh flavor of the wine country" from Casual Cooking. I have to agree with the book. 

Today I made the Veal Milanese with Potatoes "Da Delfina".  I was tight on time so I didn't make the Salsa Rosa.  One thing about Italian sauces is that you really have to devote your time, patience and passion to them, and I wasn't feeling much of that today.  So I devoted what I had to offer to the Veal and Potatoes. 

The veal was simple and let me say damn good with a squeeze lemon.  I used an Italian salad mix instead of just arugula for some variety.  The meat melted in my mouth and the taste was light but very memorable.   The potatoes were great too.  I've never had this style of potatoes.  If you are a garlic lover you'll like this recipe because there is a 1/4 cup of garlic.....tasty tasty.  Michael Chiarello tells you to press the cooked potatoes gently with the heal of your hand, the potato is then fried and then seasoned.  This technique really allows the potatoes to absorb the flavor.

The Cookbook Addict

Monday, March 22, 2010

Casual Cooking by, Michael Chiarello's - Lucca-Style Roasted Olives and Asparagus with Leeks and Pancetta

Michael Chiarello's Casual CookingThis week I decided to go with Michael Chiarello's Casual Cooking cookbook.  I was really trying to find a book that looked like it had a bit more variety and had a homey feeling about it.  Michael Chiarello describes at the beginning of each recipe his personal connection to the dish.  Most people would probably say who cares.  But for me it's important that the Chef/Cook love the food they are cooking and that they are closely connected to the dishes. 

What I'm starting to realize after months of doing this blog is that no matter how simple a dish is to make, you really need to put the love in.  Which means to me, when you go out to buy your ingredients, you choose them by smelling, feeling and respecting what you are purchasing.  Great ingredients a good recipe and love will give you a great meal.

So to go back to the Weeknight William and Sonoma cookbook, the recipes were okay, but I could tell there wasn't anyone behind the book who really loved and designed each recipe with care.

Back to Casual Cooking.  I tried the Lucca-Style Roasted Olives and the Asparagus with Leeks and Pancetta.  Both recipes were really good.  I had a strong sensitivity to the orange rind.  The smell was a bit much, but the taste was excellent.  I will certainly try this recipe again, but I'm going to use lemon next time.  I love the smell of lemon Hmmmmmm.  Now the Asparagus dish was great, crisp and flavorful. I would really recommend this side dish with chicken even though we had pasta. 

Looking though the book has me really excited.  I'm looking forward to some of the mouth-watering meals that keep staring back in the glossy photos.  My fingers are crossed since my mother is coming to visit for a few days and she's the hardest judge of them all.  If she cleans her plate then we've got a winner.

The Cookbook Addict

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day Five - The Weeknight Cook - Tomato-Basil Sauce

Spending a week with this book has been very challenging. I usually give the verdict of a cookbook on a Friday, but this Friday I couldn't bring myself to eating anything from the book.  It wasn't because the recipes were bad. The recipes just weren't very exciting. As I said throughout the week, the recipes will do in a pinch.  The flavors are okay, but there was definitely no WOW factor.  I think when I go back to work, that I may refer to this book when I need to cook something quick and easy, but I'll be honest, I usually cook day to day meals without a cookbook.  I suspect if I need a bit of inspiration, I'll crack the spine.

The recipe from this book that I chose to test on the last day was the Tomato-Basil Sauce.  I made it on Saturday while I prepped appetizers for a party I was going to later in the evening (Smoked Salmon Pinwheels and Smoked Salmon with capered Cream Cheese on Chips).  Anyway, back to the Sauce.  As per usual the recipe was easy and fast.  I found the sauce lacked a bit of flavor, and I had to add a bit of sugar to tame the acidity of the sauce.  I think the recipe should have called for more than 10-12 leaves of basil.  When I make my sauce I usually put a fist full of Basil leaves and stalk in the sauce.  As I said before the sauce will work in a pinch, but it doesn't leave much of an impact on your taste buds.

I would probably buy this book as a house-warming gift for someone that doesn't really cook but wants to learn. This cookbook is informative with it's shopping lists, ideas of what to stock in your pantry, how to host a get together and it's basic recipes like stocks, dough’s, and sauces come in handy.  The flavors are there, but they are a bit subtle.  So again, good for someone who eats to live and not lives to eat.

VERDICTThe Weeknight Cook -Passed the Test!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day Four - The Weeknight Cook - Lobster Roll for Lunch and Crab Salad Bites for Dinner

The Lobster Roll........

I had my first lobster roll about 6 years ago in Nova Scotia and the second one in PEI.  I LOVE lobster as much as I love garlic and butter.  Put all three ingredients together and you have heaven.  I could never be tired of Lobster and garlic butter.  I love the rich meaty taste and the texture.  I've embraced most shellfish, mainly because I'm allergic to fish with scales.  So, out of all the shellfish out there, Lobster is my favorite.  I figured that since we were in the Lobster capital of Canada, I would try my true love in all available preparations.  Of course the Lobster Roll was the first on the list, mainly because it was advertised everywhere throughout Nova Scotia to PEI.

When I made the Roll from The Weeknight Cook book, it took me back to the ones I had in the past, rich, filling and a waste of a good lobster.  Yep, you read right...lobster rolls as far as I'm concerned are a total waste of a good lobster.  The flavors of the lobster are lost in the dressing and bread.  I keep trying out various lobster roll recipes in hope that I will find one that accentuates the fine meat of the crustacean.  I haven't been successful as of yet.  There are a thousand and one ways to make a lobster roll.  Everyone seems to have his or her own version, with melted butter, or with mayonnaise, with celery or with red pepper. The recipe in this book nailed the flavors I remember out East.  The problem still stands...why waste a good lobster.

We had the Crab Salad Bites as a starter for dinner.  All I can say was they were okay. They tasted a bit plain.  A jalapeno pepper or chili pepper would have given it a bit more kick, but the dish will do in a pinch.  Just so we are clear, I wouldn't serve it to guest unless I jazzed the flavors up a bit.
The Cookbook Addict

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day Three- The Weeknight Cook - Greek Bulgar Salad and Moroccan Lamb Burgers

The weather was fantastic today! Perfect BBQ weather. So I made a nice light dinner.  I made the Greek Bulgar Salad and the Moroccan Lamb Burgers.  It felt like summer.

Of course I am not telling you anything new here regarding cooking time.  It was quick and easy.  I substituded the bulgar for Quinoa (which is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a grass. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds. Its leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, much like amaranth, but the commercial availability of quinoa greens is currently limited. Wikipedia)
 The salad turned out great although my son wasn't having any of it.  Too much green for his liking.  I added a good handful of chopped parsley because I like the fresh taste. When you combine parsley and cucumber it adds a great refreshing aroma and crisp flavor to a dish.  The combination made me want to plant my herb garden for the summer. 

The Moroccan Lamb Burgers and Yogurt Dressing
tasted better than I thought.  I cooked the burgers on the outdoor BBQ and they were divine.  The Yogurt Dressing was superb, I think mainly because I used a plain Greek yogurt which is a bit sweeter and richer that most yogurts.  You don't get that strong acidic bite from Greek yogurt.  The Greek yogurt would also be amazing with fresh fruit and nuts. It's very delicious.

So far The Weeknight Cook doesn't seem like a difficult book and the meals are quick to pull together.  But I have to be honest!  I'm really craving a rich flavorful meal.  I'm going to hit the pages of The Weeknight Cook and see if I can come up with something that can come close to satisfying my taste buds.

The Cookbook Addict

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day Two - The Weeknight Cook - Cashew Chicken

Williams-Sonoma The Weeknight Cook: Fresh & Simple Recipes for Good Food EverydayI finally have time on my hands.  I can't believe it! I actually had time to relax and eat my dinner with the boys and watch cartoons with my 5-year-old.

Today I made Cashew Chicken from The Weeknight Cook book by Williams -Sonoma.  The dish came together pretty fast and easy and it tasted really good.  It wasn't infused with lots of flavor, but the flavors it did have hit the mark for a weeknight dinner.

Wow...what do I do with all the extra time?  Read more cookbooks of course LOL!

I may push my luck tomorrow and make a few recipes.  We'll see.  The weather is looking good these days, so I may just hit the BBQ tomorrow.

The Cookbook Addict

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day One - The Weeknight Cook, by Williams-Sonoma - Tagliatelle with Crab

Williams-Sonoma The Weeknight Cook: Fresh & Simple 
Recipes for Good Food EverydayToday I just couldn't get my act together. I needed to pick a cookbook to test this week, buy the ingredients, get dinner organized and calm the savage beast " the baby".  Not easy!  I pulled it off though.  I decided to go with The Weeknight Cook, by Williams-Sonoma. The book reads that my "efforts will yield simple, satisfying dishes ready to eat after less than 30 minutes of hands-on cooking."  Well this certainly was the book I needed today.

I'll be back at work in a few months and I'm very nervous about how I'm going to survive with two energetic kids, work and a hungry family. So I figured I better give this book a try and see if it lives up to its promise.

Today I went with the Tagliatelle with Crab.  I had crab in the fridge and I got my husband to pick up the rest of the ingredients.  No word of a lie, I finished making this dish in less that 30 minutes....YAHOOO!  I was done so early, that my husband decided to go for a walk with the baby.

The meal was good.  It was simple and tasty.  I wouldn't say it was restaurant quality, but it passed as a good weeknight meal.

If the rest of the meals come together as quickly as this one, then I'm rock'n.

The Cookbook Addict

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day Five - Flavor Rocco Dispirito - Jumbo Asparagus with Oyster Mushrooms & Fresh Pecorino Cheese

The last test day with Flavor, by Rocco Dispirito.  I have to say I really enjoyed this book.  Rocco, gives you so much visual information about ingredients and combining flavors that it makes each recipe a new discovery.  The beginning of the book provides menu ideas with the recipes he has written.  He encourages you to take on your creativity and focus on flavor and not the stuffiness of a technically flawless, picture perfect dinner, which I totally agree with.  I watch a lot...and I mean a lot of cooking shows, and I notice that with some competitive cooking shows that the Chef's/Cooks miss the mark on flavor, but the presentation is outstanding.  Yes I know food should look pleasant to the eye, but my tongue has the last say.

This book is so detailed with pictures of ingredients for each recipe, timing, wine pairing and difficulty level, that I don't think Rocco could have added anything more to make life easier for the average cook. There is even a directory of mail order suppliers, which I refuse to look at because I'll just go crazy and order everything.  For $12.00 I have to say I sure got my money's worth. 

Today I made the Jumbo Asparagus with Oyster Mushrooms and Fresh Pecorino Cheese.  Reading the recipe looked intimidating, but once I went step by step it was very easy and tasted amazing.  Rocco encourages you to season to your taste. So the book encourages you to be engaged in your cooking and take ownership in the end product.  What more can I say?  The book was great, and I had a fantastic week of great and easy cooking and yummy eating.
VERDICTFlavor Rocco Dispirito -Passed the Test!
The Cookbook Addict

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day Four - Flavor - Calamari with Coconut Curry & Green Paypaya and Peach-Phyllo Strudel with Goat Cheese Cream

So today I made the Calamari with Coconut Curry & Green Papaya.  I wanted to make this recipe since I purchased the book.  However, I was a bit skeptical about the green papaya going into the rice.  Once I made the dish, I couldn't get enough of the green papaya.  It was steeped in vinegar and sugar, which gave the papaya a sweet and sour taste.  I added a bit of the steeping liquid to the rice, and it was delicious.  Now the calamari was excellent.  It was so good, that my husband who hates and refuses to eat any kind of curry, didn't realize the dish had curry in it until I told him......after he finished eating of course LOL!  He even had seconds.  The calamari was tender and the sauce, which was in fused with lemongrass and green apples, was excellent.  This dish was certainly restaurant quality. I do have a confession though....I used frozen calamari instead of fresh and they weren't cut in rings.  The dish still came together without the extra work.  Go figure.

The Peach Strudel with Goat Cheese Cream turned out amazingly well and it tasted fantastic.  We had seconds for dessert.  I'll certainly have to walk it off tomorrow.  There are a lot of unusual ingredients in this pastry, but the flavors truly come together, so well in fact, that you can't stop eating eat.  Which means I'll have to get someone to help us eat it.  I think I'll have to bring it over to my girlfriend up the street or just have her over for coffee, this way I still get to have another piece.

The Cookbook Addict