Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cook Around the Globe - December 2011 Roundup

Welcome to the December 2011 roundup of "Cook Around the Globe". As always, I am very excited and curious to see the recipes of other participants (and I will try to look at and comment on all of them!). This month, I explored a cuisine that I had absolutely no prior knowledge of. Which is a little embarrassing as I have been to Canada twice. I ended up preparing most of my chosen recipes from "The Canadiana Cookbook" by Madame Jehane Benoit. It's full of traditional recipes. As a potato lover, I especially enjoyed the wide variety of dishes using these tubers. Not all recipes turned out as good as I had hoped they would be but that's part of this event. Out of all the recipes I prepared, my favorites were the Canadian Maple Walnut Pancakes, Salmon Patties, Quebec Pork Pie (Tourtière), and I just love the Alaskan Shrimp Soup. I am curious what other Canadian dishes are out there, so if you prepared a Canadian dish this month or if you have an older one that you would like to share, feel free to add the link to the blog hop. I hope all of you enjoyed this event and will be back in January (announcement will follow). Also, if you liked the event, grab a button and spread the word. You can add the blog hop to your own blog if you like. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page, click on the link, and choose the appropriate code for your type of blog. I will conclude by saying a thousand times "thank you" to all participants and enjoy the recipes!

Canada (Québec): Plum Perfect Duck

Here is the last the recipe for this month's Cook Around the Globe. I love a good duck recipe although I don't prepare duck very often. I also love plums/prunes, that's why I couldn't resist trying out this recipe. The original recipe called for plums but as I prefer prunes, I used those instead. The sauce was absolutely great, the duck meat was tender and had that slightly game-y taste to it - perfect match for the sauce. The leftover sauce will be great with some chicken or pork.

Six months ago: Chicken Strawberry Salad


Friday, December 30, 2011

Alaskan Shrimp Soup

This is my only Alaskan recipe for this month's Cook Around the Globe. When I found this recipe, I just knew I was going to prepare it. I love soup, I love potatoes, I love shrimp - and I really enjoyed this soup. It was so easy and quick to prepare and had a great taste. Although simple, it has lots of different tastes and textures. The only thing I will change next time? I will make at least twice as much of it! (I did change the preparation steps as the original recipe calls for cooking the potatoes in the thickened water, which isn't very practical as the flour tends to stick to the bottom of the pot.) 


Friday, December 23, 2011

Canada: Two-Cheddar Macaroni from Ontario

Here is another Canadian dish for this month's Cook Around the Globe. I like to try different mac&cheese variations, especially those with vegetables. This one had a really nice taste. The original recipe had the sharp cheddar mixed in with the pasta and the mild cheddar on top. I reversed it because I had grated mild cheddar and a block of sharp cheddar. I must say, though, that I think the original way would be better. The sharp cheddar would give a more distinctive taste and "edge" to the dish, which it lacks a little. Other than that, I think it's a great family dinner and a healthier version of the classic rich and heavy mac&cheese dinner.

Six months ago: Pot Roast with Gravy


Sea Life Butter Cookies

...recipe coming soon...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Canada: Corn Fried Chicken from Saskatchewan

Here is yet another recipe for this month's Cook Around the Globe. This was one of those recipes that immediately put on my "to do" list when I found it. It just sounded so delicious and interesting. As indeed it was. HubbyGrouch and I both liked this dish. The onions are a great contrast to the rich and creamy chicken. This will most likely show up on my meal plan again some time. The original recipe uses chicken pieces, but I find it easier to use boneless thighs (or breasts). If you do use bone-in pieces, the cooking time should be 1 hour.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Canada: Ontario Mild Cheddar Soup

This is a Canadian soup for this month's Cook Around the Globe. I love to eat soups - hot ones in the winter and chilled ones in summer. I haven't had cheese soup in a very long time. So when I found this recipe, I knew I was going to include in this month's exploration of Canadian cooking. It is very simple and easy to prepare. You can serve it as an appetizer or, as I did, as a main dish. You can choose any cheese you like, although the original uses Ontario cheddar cheese. You can serve the soup with a nice crusty bread or add a little rice to the bowl or add some small meat balls to the soup or... As most simple soups, there are lots of possibilities to adjust the recipe to your own preferences.

Six months ago: Grapefruit Tarte


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Canada: Wagon Wheel Dinner from Alberta

This Canadian dish is similar to a baked meatloaf. In general, we are not very keen on meat loafs but I thought this recipe might turn out to be different. I thought with all the onion in it, it might be lighter, more like my German meat patties. Well, it was not. However, if you like meatloaf, this can be an interesting version. The ketchup mix and corn on top add and interesting taste to the dish. (This recipe will also be linked up to this month's Cook Around the Globe event.)


Meal Plan for December 17 - 31, 2011

This is a 2-week meal plan as we will be traveling for several days. The plan features more Canadian recipes for this month's Cook Around the Globe as well as several days with leftovers that have accumulated in the fridge/freezer.

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Wagon Wheel Dinner from Alberta

Monday: Ontario Mild Cheddar Soup

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Corn Fried Chicken from Saskatchewan

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Two-Cheddar Maccaroni from Ontario

Saturday: Homemade Pizza

Sunday - Thursday: NYC/NJ

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Alaskan Shrimp Soup (from Recipes Wiki)

Saturday: Plum Perfect Duck from Quebec

Go to Menu Plan Monday to check out lots of other meal plans and ideas for this week's dinners.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Canada: Québec Pork Pie (Tourtière)


Here is another great Canadian recipe for this month's Cook Around the Globe. When I started looking for Canadian recipes for this month, this was not only one of the first that I came across, but also one that I found many, many times in lots of different variations. I decided on this particular version because it had a more complex combination of herbs and spices than the other recipes I had found, and the addition of oats (instead of breadcrumbs as in most of the other recipes) sounded very interesting. The reason I chose puff pastry instead of pie crust is very simple: I just love the taste and texture, and it is easier to eat than pie crust. I loved this pie. The taste of the filling actually reminded me of "Gekochte Mettwurst" (cooked & canned ground pork) from Germany. The only thing that prevents me from putting it back on the meal plan right away is that it is by no means a low-calorie dish. It is a great comfort food for the winter, though!

Six months ago: Greek Salad with Gyro-Style Pork

Family Recipe: Green Bean Salad

I had been thinking about this dish during the summer because I wanted to start putting more German dishes on my blog. I really like this salad. We often had it as a side when I was a kid. The problem: HubbyGrouch doesn't like green beans. He says that they don't have any taste. Today though, when I was contemplating over which side dish to prepare to go along with the Quebec Pork Pie, I thought green beans would be great. The infusion of the beans with the vinaigrette would - hopefully - resolve the "no taste" problem. Naturally, when I told HubbyGrouch that we were having green bean salad, he gave me his "you-know-I-don't-like-them-so-why-do-have-to-prepare-them-?" look. He reluctantly took the first forkful of salad and the unexpected reaction was: "Wow, they are good! Why haven't you made this before?" Yes!!! (Imagine some fist pumping here.) I finally found a way to serve green beans that we both like. You can eat this salad cold in the summer or lukewarm / warm in the winter.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pasta with Creamy Pea-Walnut-Sauce

I had made a similar dish a few years back. When I was looking for a pasta dish to include in this week's meal plan, I came across this recipe again. I had all ingredients already - so this was a no-brainer. I like flavor combination of this dish. The wine, the creaminess, a little crunchy bacon and the soft peas. The original recipe calls for 250 ml heavy cream, but you can easily use half-and-half or anything from skim to whole milk. If you replace all or part of the cream, I recommend to thicken the sauce, though. I love sauce but it has to have a certain amount of viscosity.

Six months ago: Shrimp Saganaki

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Canada: Chocolate Bread Pudding from Nova Scotia

Here is a Canadian dessert for this month's Cook Around the Globe. I had never made or eaten bread pudding until I found this recipe. I liked the idea of having bread pudding with chocolate. The pudding was ok, not really as good as I had thought it would be. I think the taste was fine but the texture reminded me too much of porridge or rice meal and baby food in general. Maybe the bread should be cut into cubes instead of being "pulverized". In addition, I would let the bread soak 5-10 minutes only next time, so it keeps its structure better.


Oven Roast Vegetables and Potatoes

This recipe is very versatile. You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand. Besides those mentioned in this recipe, I have used red/green bell pepper, zucchini, tomatoes. I have also added bacon, breakfast sausages, feta. You can also choose the herbs according to your personal preference. Just keep in mind that some vegetables need a shorter baking time. Bacon and sausages only need to bake 30 minutes, feta and tomatoes 15 minutes.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Canada: Salmon Patties from Montreal & "Best Mashed Potatoes" from Prince Edward Island

Here is another Canadian dinner for this month's Cook Around the Globe. I knew was going to prepare at least one salmon dish when I chose Canada & Alaska for this month's event. These patties (or rather little balls, as they were supposed to be in the original recipe) sound too good to be omitted. Admittedly, they are a bit more complicated than the usual "mix-everything-together-and-form-patties" recipes. This was the first time I made choux pastry but it worked out just fine. These patties have a great taste, though later at night HubbyGrouch lowered his evaluation because the fish smell lingered for quite a while (we really have to replace our vent). The mashed potatoes were very creamy (and low cal!). I don't think they  can compete with my recipe for garlic mashed potatoes, but I'd say they are second or third.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Meal Plan for December 10 - 16, 2011

This week's meal plan features the some Canadian food for this month's Cook Around the Globe, plus several dishes that use things from my freezer.

Saturday: Cilantro-Scallion Bread (from Bon Appetit)
                Lamb and Shrimp Kebabs (from Bon Appetit)

Sunday: Best Mashed Potatoes
              Salmon Patties from Montreal

Monday: Pincho Ribs with Sherry Glaze (from Food & Wine)

Tuesday: Oven-Roast Potatoes and Vegetables
               Canadian Chocolate Bread Pudding

Wednesday: Chicken Quesadillas

Thursday: Pasta with Peas and Walnuts

Friday: Quebec Pork Pie (from

Go to Menu Plan Monday to check out lots of other meal plans and ideas for this week's dinners.

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Lamb and Shrimp Kebabs

Cilantro-Scallion Bread

Friday, December 9, 2011

Canadian Cranberry Fool

Here is a Canadian dessert that I'll be linking up to this month's Cook Around the Globe. I hardly ever use cranberries in my kitchen, so when I saw this dessert, it seemed a good opportunity to change that. The recipe immediately reminded me of a family favorite dessert - Himbeertraum ("Raspberry Dream"). The original recipe was only a mix of cranberry compote and whipped cream. However, I like the texture that coarsely chopped meringue add to the Himbeertraum, so I decided to add some to this dessert as well. Incidentally, it was good to have more sugar (from the meringue) because the cranberries were a little on the tart side. I think next time, instead of leaving them whole, I will either coarsely chop them or maybe puree the compote. Otherwise, the taste was very refreshing, though in our opinion not as good as Himbeertraum.


Lentil Cakes with Raita

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Canadian Oatmeal Rolls

Here is another Canadian dish for this month's Cook Around the Globe. I absolutely loved these rolls! I decided to add orange juice-soaked dried cranberries to half the dough for variety. What a great idea, though I say so myself. The added a nice extra flavor and texture to the rolls. The original recipe was for 12 rolls, which turned out to be rather big. So next time I will make them smaller. The only thing I would do differently next time, is to reduce the salt by about half. The cranberries actually mask the salty taste a bit, but the rolls without cranberries are bit on the salty side. Maybe that would be covered by maple syrup if you eat them as suggested: Still warm and drizzled with maple syrup. For me, that would probably be too sweet. 


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pizza Night

Click to get the recipe for Salami Pizza and Feta Olive Rosemary Pizza. This time, I added some coarsely chopped turkey breast to the latter. For his slice of pizza, LittleGrouch chose tomato sauce and cream cheese. He picked the nicely browned blobs of cream cheese right off the pizza and then ate the rest. He loved this combination.

Salami Pizza

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sweet Potato-Pork Belly Hash

This is one of the recipes HubbyGrouch chose from my cooking magazines (it's from Bon Appetit). The combination of sweet potato and pork belly was just irresistible to him. I love potatoes but I do NOT like sweet potatoes - at all! They are just too sweet for my taste. But as HubbyGrouch had to put up with all my beloved Eastern European cooking last month, I thought he deserved this treat. I was not gonna be home for dinner, so I didn't have to eat the dish :-)  And, as I made enough for two servings, HubbyGrouch is will be happy about some leftovers later this week. Needless to say, he absolutely loved the dish and I will have to put it on the meal plan again.

Six months ago: Homemade Pizza

Monday, December 5, 2011

Eggplant Fries

I hardly ever prepare deep-fried food but when I saw this recipe, I just couldn't resist. I love eggplant and the dipping sauce sounded yummy. The recipe turned out very nice and quite easy to prepare. HubbyGrouch and I both loved it. I think I ate a whole eggplant. This recipe was classified as an appetizer but for me it was a great dinner (main course), whereas HubbyGrouch said it wasn't interesting enough as a main course. To cut the calories, next time I would try to bake the eggplant, though.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chimichurri Sauce (or Marinade)

It is very easy to make HubbyGrouch happy: just give him beef and rice for dinner. He even said that the chimichurri sauce interfered with the pure beef taste that he likes so much. I, on the other hand, like to have some kind of sauce or seasoning on my meat. This sauce is very refreshing and tasty - not only with beef but also for pork, chicken, even fish. Plus, this is an easy and quick weekday dinner - if you use store-bought chimichurri it is even faster. Just fry the meat or fish you want, add some chimichurri and you're done. And don't forget to add a side salad!

Canadian Maple Walnut Pancakes

This is the first Canadian recipe for this month's "Cook Around the Globe" event. I don't often make a special breakfast treat, but this recipe sounded too good not to be tried out. I really liked the addition of the orange zest in the sauce; and I love the combination of maple syrup and walnuts. HubbyGrouch thought the orange was a bit too overwhelming for his taste. Well, I'll just serve him less sauce next time ;-)


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Feta

This is one of those recipes where, as soon as I see them, I just know they'll end up on my meal plan. I never had chickpeas and eggs together - and as I love both I immediately marked the recipe. I know a lot of Americans think "breakfast" when they see a recipe with eggs. But when I grew up, we only occasionally had eggs for breakfast (and if so, it was on a weekend). But there were several main dishes with eggs that would show up regularly. So my association is not biased towards breakfast or main dish. This recipe turned out really nice. The chickpeas give a nice texture, and the feta has its distinct taste. This was a great vegetarian dinner that will turn up on the meal plan again.

Meal Plan for December 3 - 9, 2011

This week's meal plan features the some Canadian food for this month's Cook Around the Globe, plus several recipes that HubbyGrouch picked from magazines.

Saturday: Canadian Maple Syrup & Oats Sweet Rolls
                Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Feta (from Bon Appetit)

Sunday: Canadian Maple Walnut Pancakes
              Steak with Chimichurri Sauce (from Bon Appetit)

Monday: Eggplant Fries (from Bon Appetit)

Tuesday: Sweet Potato-Pork Belly Hash (from Bon Appetit)

Wednesday: Homemade Pizza

Thursday: Stuffed Cabbage
                 Canadian Cranberry Fool

Friday: South Indian Lentil Cakes with Raita (from Bon Appetit)

Go to Menu Plan Monday to check out lots of other meal plans and ideas for this week's dinners.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Announcement: "Cook Around the Globe" - December 2011

Welcome to "Cook Around the Globe"!

This is a fun monthly event where we learn about the character of different cuisines around the globe simply by cooking dishes. Each month, I will choose a country or a group of countries. Each participant prepares one (or more) dishes from these countries. On the 1st day of the following month, you can post a link to your dish on my blog. You can also link up an archived post from your blog. The dish can be anything: drink, appetizer, main dish, pastry, etc. Depending on the number of participants, we will get a great variety of dishes from a certain region of the world. For each chosen region, I will also try to post some links  where to find recipes.

(Registration is not necessary for this event. Simply post your link on my blog.)

First of all, I want to thank everybody who participated in November. I hope you had fun and will join again this month. When I was grouping countries for this event, I realized that there was one particular country of whose cuisine I am (shamefully, for I visited that country twice) completely ignorant. To my surprise, it also turned out rather difficult to even find cookbooks for that country. There are some of course, but I expected more. After all, the country is quite large (the second largest I think) - but also mostly empty. Can you guess which country I am talking about? For this month, I decided to explore the (forgotten? neglected? ignored?) cuisines of Canada & Alaska (I added the latter for geographical reasons):

December 2011 "Cook Around the Globe":
Canada & Alaska
(You will be able to post the link to your recipe on January 1.)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Marseille-Style Shrimp Stew

When I found this recipe in Food & Wine, I just had to try it out. I love shrimp and I love fennel - and who can resist a garlicky mayonnaise dip? No me! I increased the fennel and the orange zest and I used a little less shrimp. The dish turned out very yummy! This one's a keeper.

Six months ago: Mixed Tapas Platter

Cook Around the Globe - November 2011 Roundup

Welcome to the November 2011 roundup of "Cook Around the Globe". As always, I am very excited and curious to see the recipes of other participants (and I will try to look at and comment on all of them!). I just love Eastern European food and could easily have extended this event for another month. HubbyGrouch, on the other hand, was starting to look forward to the end of the month and a new region. I prepared a lot of Eastern European dishes, though neglecting desserts and cakes as we are not really into that. Or rather, HubbyGrouch isn't and I don't want to prepare a cake or dessert just for myself - unless it's something that can be frozen. This month, I cooked with vegetables that I usually loathe - mushrooms and beets. These, as well as cabbage - are very abundant in the countries I chose this month, and I did like the dishes I prepared. This event is all about discovering new cuisines, trying new ingredients or different combinations of familiar ingredients. I enjoy discovering dishes with "loathed/hated" vegetables - to find out that sometimes those veggies aren't so bad as I knew them in other dishes. I didn't cabbage because that's a "I don't want to eat that" for HubbyGrouch but maybe in the future I can work something out. I hope all of you enjoyed this event and will be back in January (announcement will follow). Also, if you liked the event, grab a button and spread the word. You can add the blog hop to your own blog if you like. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page, click on the link, and choose the appropriate code for your type of blog. I will conclude by saying a thousand times "thank you" to all participants and enjoy the recipes!