December 4, 2013
Let’s talk about my obsession with bourbon.
I’m not sure when it started, but it was definitely around the time I started watching Mad Men last year. Don Draper had me at hello.
And, wanting to be super cool like him, I started asking My Other Half to buy me bourbon. And then he did, and I didn’t know what to do with it.
Well, that’s only partially true. I’d never had bourbon before, but I knew an Old Fashioned was the classic bourbon cocktail. Thankfully the Mad Men website had a recipe (presumably and logically the exact recipe Don Draper drinks).
And now, many bourbons later, I’m an expert. I should also add that while on my recent cruise (and the cruise I took with my Mama in May), I had at least an Old Fashioned each day. They made awesome Old Fashioneds.
Old Fashioned Cocktail
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1.2 tsp sugar
1 maraschino cherry
1 oz bourbon
1 oz Southern Comfort*
1 orange slice
Put bitters, sugar, cherry and orange in glass and muddle (which means mash to death). Add an ice cube or two and pour bourdon and Southern Comfort over top. Splash with soda water, as desired.
*This recipe calls for Southern Comfort, but you can easily replace it with more bourbon.
December 2, 2013
If we were chatting over a cup of tea this morning, I’d be gushing about our amazing vacation! We did a cruise of the Caribbean and it was perfect. The weather was terrific, the ports were all new to me (except one) and the sunsets were breathtaking. It was easiest vacation we’ve ever done – no hiccups at all, thankfully! – and there was plenty of time to relax. We indulged in way too much delicious food and lots of drinks, though! The best part was spending so much quality time with my parents. The four of us get along so well. It was truly my dream vacation! One of my favourite days was spent in Dominica, where we did river tubing, visited the Emerald Pool (pictured below) and went snorkeling on Champagne Beach. My Other Half was in heaven. I think it’s safe to say we’ll never forget this trip.
For those who are interested, we sailed in and out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the other ports we visited were St. Kitts, St. Croix, St. Thomas, Dominica and Grenada.
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d say we’re both happy to be home and getting back into the swing of things. It seems like Christmas magically appeared while we were gone! I have to completely transform the house, get a tree and prepare to host my cousin’s engagement party in a couple weeks. It’s all very exciting and I’m really looking forward to this Christmas season.
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d ask you if you caught the two recipes I shared while I was on vacation (all my posts go up automatically and are pre-scheduled!). I made this amazing and easy Spinach, Sausage & Caramelized Onion Quiche and shared how I make veggie pasta/noodles. Yum yum yum! Also, there’s snow on the blog now. I love it!
November 29, 2013
This is a fun post because it’s not a full-blown recipe and not an “Over a cup of tea” post!
I’m writing today to tell you all about my new julienne peeler. I recently bought it from Amazon and am deeply in love with it.
I must say, my chopping skills have improved dramatically over the years, especially after working at Feleena’s and having the cook, Peter, show me how to properly do things. I’m still not nearly as good as I’d like to be, but I’m better than most. I aspire to be this guy, actually:
Seriously, how awesome is that? Google “crazy fast chopping” and you’ll have hours of entertainment.
Anyway, julienning vegetables is not fun. It’s time-consuming. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term “julienne”, it’s basically a way of describing matchsticks – long, thin pieces of something. It’s not hard, it just takes a while.
So when one of my favourite food bloggers, Oh She Glows, wrote about their new julienne peeler, I went and bought the exact same one – Zyliss brand. And I am so happy I did!
But the first thing I did with my new peeler was make veggie noodles. That’s right – I used the peeler on zucchini and carrot to make pasta! And it was delicious. For someone who craves pasta every single day, this new option is seriously going to help my waistline.
Here’s a super quick & easy recipe to make with your new julienne peeler (assuming I’ve convinced you to buy one).
Veggie Noodle Bowl (Julienned Veggie Pasta)
1 large zucchini, julienned
1 large carrot, julienned
1 cup pasta sauce
½ cup shredded cheese
Salt & pepper, to taste
Green onions, sliced (optional)
Mix zucchini and carrot noodles in a bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds, just to warm slightly. Heat pasta sauce until bubbly and pour over veggie noodles. Top with cheese, green onions and salt & pepper and mix together. Enjoy – you’ll want seconds and thirds, no doubt about it!
Do you have other ideas for how to use this julienne peeler? Leave a comment and let me know!
November 27, 2013
A few weekends ago I made my first quiche!!!
This is another classic thing I’d surprisingly never made before. The list gets longer and longer lately… recently I made my first chili, lasagna, manicotti, pumpkin pie… and now quiche!
Oddly enough, I grew up eating quiche. After church on Sundays we had one of two things – soup or quiche. My mother still makes it all the time, especially for her friends who play bridge.
That’s probably because quiche, if you’re using bought pastry (yes, I’m still not making my own… I apologize) is a super quick and easy meal. As long as you have cheese, milk & eggs, you can put whatever you want in it! This one turned out particularly well, especially for a first try. My Other Half loved it. I say quiche is pretty hard to screw up!
Spinach, Sausage & Caramelized Onion Quiche
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup packed fresh spinach, chopped
1 spicy Italian sausage, casing removed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 large eggs
1.5 cups of milk
Salt & pepper
1 9-inch pie crust
Bake pie crust according to package instructions and let cool. Meanwhile, fry sausage meat until cooked through. Remove from pan. Fry onion in sausage fat until caramelized and golden. Arrange onion, sausage, and spinach in pie crust. Top with shredded cheese. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Pour, gently and slowly, over the sausage, onions, cheese and spinach. Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until centre is firm.
November 25, 2013
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, well… we wouldn’t be, actually. Because The Domestic Blonde is on vacation!
I am currently sailing the ocean blue with My Other Half and my parents for a week. I’ve been looking forward to this vacation for months. I call it my “dream vacation” because it’s with my three best friends in the world! Every day I’m going to smother all three of them to death with kisses. And obviously bask in the glory of five-star food. And drinks. And sun.
I’ll still be posting two recipes this week, as per normal (fun fact – ALL my recipes are automatically posted and scheduled far in advance). I’ll be back on December 2nd with a recap of our trip!
November 22, 2013
I have over a dozen recipes waiting to be posted on the blog… but this would just couldn’t wait. And it’s Friday, and I love you.
The best potato skins in the world come from the Mic Mac Tavern in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Any other potato skins fail in comparison. I’ve ordered them everywhere, and they always disappoint me. That’s why every trip back east MUST include a trip to this amazing family restaurant. The value, service and food is unbeatable. Trust me – you need to go!
My family has been going regularly since I was a very little girl. It’s a simple residential-looking building with tables crammed in every nook and cranny. There is a lineup any day of the week and every plate is steaming hot with something delicious from the grill. And their brunch?! Unreal. I could talk about this place is all day. It’s the kind of spot you’d find on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives or another Food Network show. Seriously, it’s that good.
Every single time I go, I order the same thing – potato skins. I physically cannot walk into the tavern without ordering them. But since I am in Ottawa, more than 1,000 kilometres away from them, I decided I had to try and re-create their famous dish at home.
The results were almost perfect! Definitely good enough to fulfill my cravings. In addition to trying to duplicated their delicious seasonings, I trashed them up with all the good stuff – bacon, cheese, green onions etc.
These are as close as us folk in Ontario are going to get to the Mic Mac Tavern’s loaded skins!
Crispy Loaded Potato Skins (Mic Mac Tavern Copycat Recipe)
10 medium-sized potatoes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp chili powder
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
½ lb uncooked bacon
4 green onions, sliced
Sour cream, for dipping
Wash all potatoes thoroughly and pat dry. Peel the potatoes using a regular peeler, reserving all the skins and saving the potato for something else (suggestions below). Boil a large pot of water. When boiling, add skins and boil for exactly four minutes (no longer!). Drain and run cold water over the skins to cool completely. While potatoes are boiling, fry bacon and reserve all fat. Crumble or cut bacon and let cool. Transfer skins to a large bowl and drizzle with bacon fat. Sprinkle with all spices and toss to coat (I use my hands to make sure everything is well mixed, but make sure the bacon fat is cool enough). Transfer to a large baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes. Flip and bake for 20 minutes more, or until deeply golden and crispy. Smother in cheese, bacon and green onions and broil on high, watching constantly, until cheese is bubbly. Serve with sour cream.
A couple notes – you don’t have to add the cheese, bacon and green onions. These are awesome on their own or just dipped in sour cream. Also, for the vegetarians out there, you can definitely use fake bacon bits (they’re super yummy too) and canola oil instead of bacon fat. It works great, like with my buffalo fries.
Wondering what to do with all that leftover potato? Here are some ideas:
- Cheesy Fried Potato Balls
- Buffalo Fries (but skinless)
- Southwest Roast Potato Salad
- Portuguese Potato & Cilantro Soup
November 20, 2013
Bet you didn’t know amaretto is my favourite liqueur, did ya?
I am sure you didn’t. But if ya don’t know, now ya know (and yes, I just quoted Biggie’s Juicy. The rap song references are getting out of control).
Seriously though, you will have a hard time getting me to drink any alcohol straight unless it’s amaretto. I love it on the rocks. My grandmother loves it too. And when I’m at a bar (which, let’s face it, is basically never because I am an 82-year-old in a 26-year-old’s body) and I want to treat myself, I order an amaretto sour.
Sidebar – do they have bourbon at bars? Because if they do, I need to start ordering bourbon instead. Although the next time I’m a bar will likely be in 2016 at this rate. Anyway, I loooove bourbon.
Almost as much as I love this amaretto apple crisp.
I really didn’t think I’d ever be sold on apple crisp. It’s my dad’s favourite dessert so I’ve eaten a lot of it in my short lifetime, but I’ve never been fond of the texture of cooked apples. And I’m not a huge ice cream fan (except for mint Oreo DQ Blizzards, obviously) so that part never really turned my crank either. Until one of my favourite blogs suggested putting amaretto in apple crisp. Then, my friends, my mind was blown.
I can safely say this was the best apple crisp (scratch that – best apple ANYTHING) I’ve ever had. And I made it, so… kudos to me.
I think you can make any apple crisp recipe and just add 1/3 cup of amaretto… but don’t quote me on that. This recipes is tried and true.
Amaretto Apple Crisp
Adapted from How Sweet It Is
6 apples, cored and chopped (not peeled)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsps flour
1/3 cup amaretto liqueur
Pinch of salt
1 cup oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup flour
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Splash of amaretto liqueur
Splash of vanilla extract
1/3 cup softened butter
Put apples in a large bowl. Toss with brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Pour amaretto over top and mix. Pour into greased 9×9 baking dish. In another bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, almonds, flour, cinnamon and salt. Add in the vanilla extract, amaretto and butter. Use your hands to create a crumbly mix. Sprinkle it over the apples. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
November 18, 2013
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d have a lot to tell you. With last week’s post being overtaken by Remembrance Day (and rightly so – thank you so much for all your love and support), I’ve got two weeks of news to share! Here we go…
If we were chatting over a cup of tea this morning, I would have to tell you my David’s Tea addiction has been re-ignited. My friend Cat gave me a gift card for my birthday, and then I spiraled out of control, to be frank. I have invested in the large steeper (which is so much better than the small one – I have two of those) and at least a dozen more teas. Just when I was getting down to a manageable amount, too! My new favourites include pink lemonade, organic peppermint amour and movie night. Yum! Unfortunately I am heartbroken to hear that my all-time favourite, amaretto, has been discontinued! In case you’re interested, my top five are probably organic cocoa canela, honey bee and alpine punch, amaretto and organic super ginger.
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d tell you about a little walk down memory lane. A few weeks ago I saw the Anne of Green Gables movie trilogy at Costco for $30 and I just HAD to have it! Although I only just read the first novel this year, I grew up watching the Kevin Sullivan movies and almost every teacher I had compared me to Anne (it was a combination of the hair and temperament). I also played Marilla in my musical theatre debut… which is what spawned my love for the stage and acting. Megan Follows is just amazing in the movies. My Other Half watched a bit of the first movie with me and found Anne totally over-the-top, just like me! He said “well this explains a lot,” referencing how dramatic I am and was as a child. Anyway, is there any better love story than Anne and Gilbert? I cried like 10 times while re-watching the trilogy. The best.
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d tell you about our incredible experience sampling Absinthe’s new fondue night! We were invited to try it out before they launch it regularly on Monday evenings and it was delightful. There were three courses of fondue – cheese, meat and chocolate – and each course was equally delicious. The variety and portions were excellent as well as the execution. I particularly enjoyed the wine pairings, so if you go, definitely get that too. The craziest part was that we were the only “civilians” there – and what I mean by that is we were the only non-restaurant chefs there. We sat with Arup Jana, the chef at Allium, who was awesome. I recently visited his restaurant for the first time for their famous tapas Monday and it was awesome. But seriously, everyone else at the fondue night was a chef. Murray Street, Oz Kafé, Town, Atelier and The Wellington Gastropub were represented, to name a few. It was a great experience and I learned about Knives Out Ottawa, a culinary collaborative between the above-mentioned Ottawa chefs. Their events sell out on Twitter almost immediately, but I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled to grab a spot for the next one!
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d also mentioned I finally tried Fratelli in Westboro and Oz Kafé. Both were great! I went to Fratelli for lunch because I was craving Italian, and they never disappoint – solid traditional Italian menu and solid service. Oz Kafé was interesting. It’s been around for a long time and in all my years of restaurant-hopping in Ottawa, I’d never been. I really enjoyed the beef tartare (which I always order at any restaurant).
If we were chatting over a cup of tea this morning, I’d tell you about the best gender-reveal party every! Our friends Kristy & Brandon are expecting and decided to have the ultrasound technician seal the baby’s gender in an envelope (so not even they knew). They then took it to the Sens Store and had the staff package up either a pink or regular Sens jersey, depending on what was in the envelope. Then then held a party for close friends and family where they opened the package – it was amazing!!! They wanted a girl because they already have a son, so we were overjoyed to find a pink jersey in the box. I cried, obviously. I’m such a sentimentalist!
Last but not least, we leave on our cruise in FIVE DAYS!!! So I will be taking a week off from blogging (crazy, I know). We can’t wait!
November 15, 2013
… because it’s yet another classic dish I had never made. Weird.
But I am SO GLAD I did! Pumpkin pie is super easy, especially if you’re using canned pumpkin, which I did. I haven’t ventured into the world of homemade pumpkin purée just yet. Someday…
And some day I will stop using bought pie crust. Just not this time.
It should be noted I have made my own pie crust in the past… but it was too much work. I’m sorry. You can judge me.
This pumpkin pie recipe is nothing less than PERFECT. It looks perfect, tastes perfect and I swear, a monkey could make it. This monkey did, so there’s proof.
Again, excuse the crap photography. I will improve one day, I promise, but for now, please focus on making this recipe ASAP. Even if you’re Canadian and Thanksgiving has already past, because, well… pumpkin is good ANY TIME.
Easy Classic Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from Allrecipes.ca
15 oz pumpkin purée
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, spices and salt in a bowl until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce oven to 350 degrees and continue baking for 35 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
November 14, 2013
You’re getting THREE recipes this week. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Why? Because I know all my amazing American readers are preparing for American Thanksgiving and, well… you NEED to make all the recipes. Because they’re easy, awesome and delicious.
What I love most about this recipe is how you can do most of it in advance, and then freeze it. Which is what I did, so Thanksgiving dinner day was as stress-free as possible. I pre-made both desserts (coming to you tomorrow and next week) and this casserole. The day of, I just had to defrost everything and make the Brussels sprouts and green beans!
I just love how BRIGHT ORANGE this dish is, don’t you?
So, I have a secret – this recipe actually makes way too much. I would highly recommend halving it and putting it in a 9×9 dish instead. But, if you don’t halve it, you can make SOUP with the leftovers! My Uncle Bob added some chicken stock and puréed the heck out of it and voila – sweet potato and carrot soup! He’s a culinary genius.
I will definitely be making this recipe again. Pecans and sugar are my friends, especially when they’re disguising vegetables.
Sweet Potato & Carrot Casserole
Adapted from Canadian Living
5 large sweet potatoes
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsps butter
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt, to taste
1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp dried parsley
Peel and cut potatoes and carrots into large chunks. Boil in a huge pot for 20 minutes and drain. Puree in food processor in batches. Add orange juice, honey, butter, cinnamon, garlic and salt; blend well. Spoon into greased 13×9 baking dish. Freeze at this stage if not serving within next day. If not freezing, mix topping ingredients in a bowl. Distribute over the casserole and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and make for another 30 minutes.