May 7, 2013
If we were chatting over a cup of tea this morning, I’d definitely talk your ear off about my amazing vacation with my Mama. It was the perfect balance of sunshine, pampering, relaxation and exploring new places. I’m even happier to come home to such gorgeous weather in Ottawa – it’s almost as hot as the Caribbean! We met some lovely people and make great friends. The food, ship and company was terrific and I cannot wait for my next cruise.
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d tell you about competing in Iron Chef on the ship… but I might leave out the part about me losing. In all fairness, my dish won the taste category… and lost because of what I NAMED my dish. I know, ridiculous, right?
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d probably be detailing my gardening to-do list for you. Because it seems like Mother Nature snapped her fingers and made it summer, I was not at all ready. Yesterday I did some lawn repair and planted my annual petunia pots on the front step, but there’s a still a lot to be done, most of which has to wait for my big strong man to come home.
Speaking of My Other Half, I am counting down the minutes until our almost 3-month separation is over. Between his crazy amount of travel for work and basketball tournaments, I have seen very little of him in the last while (I think I counted and days were in the single digits). On Friday he’s finally home for the foreseeable future and just can’t wait!
If we were chatting over a cup of tea, I’d tell you I didn’t read as much as I’d hoped on my vacation. I read one book, The Forgotten Garden, which was 550 pages, but there’s wasn’t time for much else. It was excellent, by the way. Now I’m reading The Sisters Brothers and loving the writing style so far. My book club just picked Gone Girl and I am so excited to read that!
April 29, 2013
I am on a blissful vacation – from home, work and blogging!
A few people have been interested, so here’s our itinerary:
- Miami, Florida
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Philipsburg, St. Maarten
- St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
- Tortola, British Virgin Islands
- King’s Warf, Bermuda
- Cape Liberty, New Jersey
I’ll be back with new posts the week of May 5th. Talk to you then!
April 25, 2013
On Easter Sunday, I was lucky enough to FaceTime with my entire family as they sat down to dinner. I even said Grace with them! It was lovely. Made me miss them even more, though.
My Uncle Bob, who is definitely the most talented chef in the family, was there and asked what I was making for supper. I told him about this recipe – Crispy Buffalo Chicken Salad – and he immediately said “What’s with your buffalo obsession?”
Yeah, about that…
I admit we have been on a kick. But in all fairness, this is only the fifth buffalo-related recipe on The Domestic Blonde. And I’ve had the blog for 2.5 years. That’s not too much, is it? Three of the recipes have been in 2013, though…
The other buffalo recipes on the blog are:
- Buffalo Chicken Dip (Amazing. I want this every day… but I would be 300 lbs.)
- Buffalo Chicken Cups (Almost too cute to eat. Almost.)
- Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad (The easiest meal on the planet. I kid you not.)
- Buffalo Chicken Fries (This is like buffalo chicken poutine… on crack.)
And today, I am adding a fifth and it’s just as mouth-wateringly delicious as the rest of the recipes listed above.
Crispy Buffalo Chicken Salad
Adapted from How Sweet It Is
2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons buffalo sauce
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup regular breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 head lettuce
½ cup sliced cucumber
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 green onions, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
Crumbled blue cheese, to taste (optional)
5 tablespoons ranch dressing
2 tablespoon creamy blue cheese dressing
1 tablespoon buffalo wing sauce
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top, spraying it with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a bowl, whisk together eggs and buffalo wing sauce. Separately, stir together panko, breadcrumbs, onion powder and flour. Dip each piece of chicken into the egg mixture, then into the breadcrumbs, pressing gently make the coating stick. Place on the wire rack. Give the chicken a spritz with cooking spray, then bake for 25 minutes. To make the dressing, whisk together the ranch, blue cheese and buffalo wing sauce. Arrange lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, green onion and avocado on two plates. Add chicken on top. Drizzle with salad dressing and top with blue cheese.
You have endless options with the salad here. I just so happened to have those ingredients in my fridge, so that’s what I used, but I’m sure carrot, red onion and peppers would be yummy too.
Another buffalo chicken recipe for the books! More to come, eventually, I’m sure…
April 12, 2013
Some of you might have caught this picture on Instagram a few weeks back:
Yes, I was teaching myself to make gnocchi for the first time! I decided to try it out because I had an obscene amount of potatoes to get rid of. I know what you’re thinking – I’m hoarding again. But you’re wrong! This wasn’t my fault.
My Other Half wanted potatoes for a meal he was making. The conversation went something like this:
“Julia, do we have any potatoes for supper tomorrow?”
“Umm I think so. Check the pantry.”
He goes to check. I’m upstairs in my office on the computer.
“Nope, no potatoes.”
“Okay, I’ll pick some up at Costco.”
A few days later, I’m shoving the 10lb bag of potatoes into its usual spot in the pantry. I start yelling.
“What the #%&$!!! Grrrr!!!”
He comes running.
“What? What’s wrong?!”
“You didn’t check the pantry, you jerk! There’s a full 10lb bag of potatoes in here!”
“Oh… ooops. Sorry.”
“What the %&$# am I going to do with TWENTY POUNDS OF POTATOES? We are two people!”
“I don’t know… freeze them… make gnocchi or something.”
“Oh my God… you are unbelievable. Just like my Dad.”
He sheepishly disappears to the man cave. And I am left to fend for myself in a sea of potatoes.
Well… you know what they say. When life gives you potatoes… you make gnocchi. Right?
Not to disappoint, but I am going to post about my interesting gnocchi experience another time. Today I am going to tell you about My Other Half’s creative use for our abundance of potatoes.
He made Cheesy Fried Potato Balls. Of course.
They’re actually pretty awesome. He never ceases to amaze me when he cooks. Basically, you take leftover mashed potatoes and cheese and roll them into balls, coat them in breadcrumbs and more cheese and deep fry them. Delicious, actually.
Cheesy Fried Potato Balls
Adapted from Life’s Ambrosia
1 tsp butter
salt, to taste
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded fresh parmesan
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
high-heat oil for frying
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place mashed potatoes in a bowl. Stir in cheddar cheese and a bit of salt until well blended. Roll into balls (we did golf ball size). Beat the eggs. In a separate bowl, mix breadcrumbs and parmesan together. Dip each ball into the egg and then coat in breadcrumb mixture. Heat enough oil in a pot to cover a ball. Fry each ball in batches until golden. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to paper towel. Sprinkle with a bit more salt and serve.
I know some people use leftover potatoes for casseroles, perogies etc., which are great ideas. But I’m curious to know…
What would YOU do with leftover mashed potatoes?
February 13, 2013
Okay, okay… this is a food blog right? Or at least it’s supposed to be.
Back to blogging about something edible today!
I made this delicious Chipotle Taco Bake on the weekend and it was soooo good. Simple to whip up on a weeknight too!
I’ve made two other taco bakes in the past and this is definitely the best one. It has just enough kick to require some sour cream on the side. It’ll be a crowd-pleaser for sure!
Chipotle Taco Bake
Adapted from Canadian Living
2 cups passata (bottled strained tomatoes)
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 cup rinsed drained canned black beans
1 cup frozen corn
3 large whole wheat tortillas
1.5 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Sour cream, if desired
Green onion for garnish, if desired
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a pot, bring strained tomatoes, garlic, chili powder, oregano, chipotle pepper and salt to boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. In a large frying pan, brown beef and then remove and set aside. Cook onion in the frying pan until golden. Add black beans and corn. And stir. Return beef to pan and combine. Stir in 1 cup of sauce. Place 1 tortilla in greased 8×8 square baking dish. Top with 1/4 cup of the cheese and half of the meat mixture. Repeat layers of tortilla, cheese and meat mixture once. Top with remaining tortilla and sauce. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 15 minutes. Slice and serve garnished with sour cream and green onion, if using.
I’ve been eating this for lunch all week. I even bring a little container of sour cream on the side.
What’s your favourite Mexican bake?
October 4, 2012
I’m going to take a break from food-relating blogging to promote my father again… and my podcast, Young PR Pros!
It’s weekly podcast for the young (and young at heart) public relations professionals looking to build and advance their careers. I co-host it with my friend Kristine Simpson, who can be found over at Running a PR life.
To subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, click here.
August 8, 2012
Easy recipes that appear way harder than they actually are.
That, my friends, is what I dream of.
This is exactly that. This recipe seems so complicated and fancy, but takes no time to put together and offers impressive presentation. A winner, in my books!
My Other Half and I enjoyed these on a sunny Saturday evening, dining al fresco. It was a special Asian summer treat!
I bought big salmon fillets and cut them in half. They should definitely be no more than two inches wide. And don’t forget to take the skin off!
Another time-saving tip: use scissors for things like green onion. Way easier! (I also love scissors for bacon!) Oh, and I also buy pre-shaved carrots for salads etc. I learned a lot of these little tricks from my idol, Nigella Lawson.
Also, for the record, the bok choy is the best bok choy recipe I’ve ever eaten. Delicious! The perfect side to any Asian-inspired meal.
Asian Salmon Bundles with Sesame-Glazed Bok Choy
Adapted from Canadian Living
4 round rice paper wrappers
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
4 small skinless salmon fillets
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsps hoisin sauce
Sesame Bok Choy
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 tbsps sesame seeds
1 lb baby bok choy, quartered
Soak rice paper in hot water. Remove and pat dry. Sprinkle the carrot and green onion in centre of each round and top with salmon. Fold the rice paper over the salmon. In an ovenproof frying pan, heat oil and cook bundles until golden and crisp. This shouldn’t take very long. Brush the bundles all over with hoisin sauce. Bake at 400 degrees until slightly firm to the touch (about 7 minutes).
For the sesame bok choy, whisk together the soy sauce, sugar and vinegar until the sugar is dissolved. In a large frying pan or wok, heat sesame oil and stir-fry garlic, ginger and sesame seeds until golden. Add the bok choy and soy mixture, then cover and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.
Yum! And I’m not even a salmon fan (unless it’s sushi)!
Another note: the wine on the table is our new favourite white, Cupcake Chardonnay. Amazing!
July 17, 2012
There are a few recipes from my childhood that I hold very near and dear to my heart. One of them is my mother’s famous Blueberry Buckle.
In the summertime, especially after regular trips to Blueberry Acres, this delicious coffee-cake-style dessert was always kicking around. When I moved out on my own, I was the first recipe I asked for and the first thing I baked. Originally, my Mama was given the recipe by her Girl Guide leader, Garlene Murray. Garlene is still a close family friend, lives in Toronto and apparently taught my mom quite a few secrets in the kitchen.
I hadn’t made this dish in well over a year – long before we bought our house – so I thought it was high time I tried it again. Thankfully, it never disappoints. My favourite things about this “buckle” is the brown sugar and butter topping and how moist the cake part is. Delicious!
I have made this two ways – with frozen blueberries, which make the batter and cake purple, or with fresh whole blueberries, which keep the cake white. Both ways are equally as good, but for presentation purposes, the latter is preferred.
This is a quick and easy recipe too – no beaters/mix-master required!
Mama’s Blueberry Buckle
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps baking powder
2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together sugar, shortening and egg, and then add milk. In another bowl, mix the flour with salt and baking powder. Add to batter. It will be very thick and that’s okay. Slowly stir in the bluebrries. Spread in greased 9X9 pan. Mix topping ingredients with fingers sprinkle over top.