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Pollo Stefania

12 Jul

Another retro restaurant recipe clipped from a 1990s newspaper:

To die for’ Pollo Stefania requires monthly fix

If Italian food is your particular weakness, then you’ve probably long since discovered Chianti Cafe & Restaurant.

Pat Stokes wrote us to say that the Pollo Stefania is ”to die for.” Stokes can be found at Chianti’s ”at least once a month,” getting her fix of Pollo Stefania. ”I have to have my chicken and pears.”

And is Pollo Stefania, in fact, a dish to die for? ”It is,” confirms Barb Masterson, assistant manager at Chianti’s on 17th Avenue S.W. — the original Chianti’s location. In fact, the whole menu is exceptional, she says.

”We have been voted the #1 Italian restaurant in The Herald’s Readers’ Choice Awards for the last seven years — that says a lot about us.”

Daily specials go up on the chalkboard, and there’s something new to try every day of the week. ”Mondays and Tuesdays are our $5.95 Pasta Frenzy nights at all three locations,” says Masterson (there’s also a Chianti’s on Macleod Trail South, and a new location at Crowfoot Crescent N.W.). The best-seller for Pasta Frenzy is usually Fettuccine Supremo, an irresistible combination of smoked salmon and scallops in a curried cream sauce. ”At this location only we offer Saturday lunches from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at $5.95, as well.”

Some customers have become like family, says Masterson, always dropping in. ”We have such a loyal following with some people in here four times a week.” Not surprisingly, the staff is loyal to Chianti’s, too. Masterson has been on deck for eight years (after years as a regular customer herself), ”chef Quan has been here from Day One; our other chef, Yen, has probably been here for 11 or 12 years. The two of them are fabulous,” she says.

“Staff tend to stay because it’s such a great place to work,” says Masterson, and customers tend to come back time after time because it’s such a great place to eat.

The dining experience goes well beyond the impressive menu. ”Everybody seems to love coming here. People love the upbeat, busy atmosphere,” combined with the decor of a Euro bistro. “A lot of people come in here to people-watch. A lot of local celebrities eat here, they tell us this is their favourite restaurant.”

Pollo Stefania
Chianti Cafe & Restaurant

4 4 oz. chicken breasts, skinless and slightly tenderized

6 canned pears cut lengthwise and 3 tablespoons of pear juice

3 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola cheese

2 teaspoons parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons curry powder

1 cup 32-per-cent cream

2 oz dry sherry

Salt and pepper to taste

Dust the chicken in flour, saute both sides with olive oil until meat is cooked (about 2 minutes).

Drain the oil and add the pears and 3 tablespoons of pear juice, then add the parmesan, gorgonzola, cream, curry and sherry. Stir for 3-4 minutes, or until sauce is well reduced, add salt and pepper to taste; serve with top sprinkled with parsley and with a side of spinach fettuccine in tomato sauce. Serves 4.


Savoir Fare Meatloaf

2 Jul

More for the meatloaf files:

Calgary Herald
Sun May 11 1997

Grayson Sherman is one chef who can add high style to almost anything.

At his restaurant and catering company Savoir Fare (with partner Octavia Melanosky) Sherman is putting new twists on old favorites — food he’s dubbed ”21st Century Diner” cuisine.

This new age home cooking ranges from old-fashioned roast chicken and mashed potatoes or an open-faced tuna Nicoise sandwich to lemon meringue pie. But you won’t see that pie the same anymore once you’ve had Sherman’s creation — a lemon curd-topped meringue with a towering cone of pastry on top.

And you’ll always find meatloaf on the menu, but you can count on it being just a notch more exciting than Mom’s.

Herald editor Beth Burgess says it’s the best meatloaf she’s ever tasted and asked us to uncover Sherman’s secrets.

”The secret is using regular ground beef, not lean,” says Sherman who has updated his grandmother’s recipe by adding such things as marjoram and fennel to the mix and serving it with a sundried tomato gravy.

Sherman says he’s ”done 10 different kinds of meatloaf” at Savoir Fare, from Cajun-flavored loaves to Mediterranean meatloaf with cracked wheat or Indian meatloaf flavored with raisins, cumin, cardamom and cloves.

You can also try his food until June 1 at the Designers’ Showcase home at Elbow Drive and 29th Ave. S.W. (a fund-raiser for the Kid’s Help Phone) where Savoir Fare on the Park is set up with a 48-seat outdoor restaurant.

Here’s his recipe:

Savoir Fare Herbed Meatloaf with Sundried Tomato Gravy

Serves 8


1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup celery, finely diced

21/4    cups onions, diced

13/4    pounds regular ground beef

11/2    cups bread crumbs

1/4 cup barbecue sauce

1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

3 eggs

1   tablespoon sausage spice (Sherman’s mixture of salt, pepper, garlic and fennel) or Clubhouse Pepper Medley

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 tablespoon beef soup base

1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper

1/2 tablespoon fennel seed

1/2 tablespoon marjoram

Heat oil in a large saute pan and add onion and celery. Saute until vegetables are translucent and tender.

Cool slightly and puree in food processor. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients and work with your hands until a smooth paste-like texture is achieved. Form mixture into a 6-inch wide by 12-inch long domed loaf (like a biscotti). Cover with parchment and bake about 30 minutes at 325 degreesF until firm but not overcooked. Drain fat and cut into 8 portions.

Sundried Tomato Gravy:

Makes 4 cups

1/2 cup oil from sundried tomatoes

6 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, minced

2 cups water

4 tablespoons beef soup base

1/4 cup sherry

1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 tablespoon basil

4 tablespoons thick tomato puree or tomato paste

1/2 cup fresh basil, shredded

Place sundried tomatoes in the water in a measuring cup and heat in microwave for 4 minutes. Remove tomatoes, reserving liquid, and set aside. Heat the sundried tomato oil in a saute pan and stir in the flour, cooking to form a roux. Stir in the tomato water, tomatoes, soup base, sherry, pepper, garlic, dry basil and tomato puree. Stir over medium heat to form a smooth gravy. Stir in milk and fresh basil. Serve over meatloaf.


Savoir Faire’s mushroom, pancetta, grain soup

2 Jul

Calgary Herald
Sun Jun 18 2000

I had the most heavenly soup at Savoir Fare,” wrote Sophia Lang. ”Could you get and publish the recipe?”

Lang, a psychologist whose office is near Savoir Fare, had recently had wisdom teeth removed, and the soup — made with tomato, pancetta, grains and wild mushrooms — left a lasting impression.

The owners of Savoir Fare must be used to compliments by now.

About four months after the Savoir Fare restaurant opened, John Gilchrist, food critic for the CBC and a Herald food columnist, reviewed the restaurant on the radio and give it 9 1/2 out of 10 — the highest score he’d ever awarded.

”You can’t imagine how that felt,” says Peter Fraiberg, who heard the review in his car on the way to work. ”I play the review every now and then for the kitchen people so they don’t forget that people who dine here are expecting a lot,” says Fraiberg.

Of course, Gilchrist’s rave review kick-started the new restaurant. ”The place exploded,” says Fraiberg, who owns and operates Savoir Fare catering and the restaurant with Octavia Malinowski. ”Everyone wanted to come to Savoir Fare.”

It was a dream come true for the partners but it also put the restaurant ”under the microscope,” in the sense that everyone who comes in is expecting 9 1/2 out of 10, says Fraiberg. So, he adds, that’s just what they get.

”We’re going for 10. That’s our philosophy — service, taking care of people.”

”A lot of people think Savoir Fare just happened four years ago” when the restaurant end of the business was opened.

In fact, Savoir Fare has been a going concern for about 12 years, says Fraiberg. It started as a catering business operated from the apartment of one of the owners.

Slowly business grew, until a restaurant seemed like a logical progression — a way to gain some street presence, give people a chance to sample Savoir Fare’s menu, and get out of the kitchen at home and into a great catering facility.

”Catering is what we do — that’s who we are,” says Fraiberg. ”There are a lot of restaurants in Calgary but there aren’t a lot of catering companies like Savoir Fare.”

These days, Savoir Fare has gone one step farther. ”What we’re able to do is to take the restaurant to people’s homes.” During the oil show, for example, the staff was busy doing several dinners at several different homes.

”Our food style is a North American style of cooking, using a global pantry of ingredients,” says Fraiberg. He believes the style suits the cosmopolitan city Calgary is becoming.

”Things have changed in Calgary — we can compete with the world.”

There are two menus at Savoir Fare. Lunch is casual but at night the table linens and candles come out, along with a menu better suited to a special dining experience. (However, favourite lunch items are available on request.)

”We’ve discovered this place is a special place for people — it’s a place people like to come to for birthdays and anniversaries,” says Fraiberg, mentioning there are customers who regularly fly from Edmonton to dine at the restaurant.

Whenever possible, make reservations to assure a table will be available. ”We only have 34 seats, it’s a small place. Big is not always better,” says Fraiberg. ”We work on quality, not quantity.”


Wild Mushroom, Pancetta and Seven Grain Soup

1 clove fresh garlic (minced)

1 oz (28g) pancetta (chopped)

1/2    tbsp (8 mL) olive oil

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) Vidalia onions (chopped)

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) chicken stock

3/4    cup (176 mL) chopped Italian plum tomatoes

4 oz (114 g) assorted mushrooms

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) grain rice mix (cooked)

1 tbsp (15 mL) Thyme

1 oz (28 g) cabbage

Sugar (to taste)

Chiffonade basil (chopped for garnish)

Preparation: Sweat onions for about 10 minutes. Add pancetta followed by garlic and mushrooms. Add tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and add grains, cabbage, thyme and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with basil. Serves 4.



Monterey Chicken

6 Mar

There’s good reason Chili’s removed Monterey Chicken from its menu: with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy (and broccoli) it topped the scales at a whopping 3,000 calories. Yeesh.

We managed to recreate the delicious combination of smokey sweet grilled chicken with monterey jack cheese and bacon but showered it with juicy diced tomatoes and green onion. We served it with a side of roasted vegetables (mushrooms, broccoli and mixed peppers) so tasty on their own that they needed no embellishment. Pictured below: crispy smashed baby potatoes roasted with olive oil and fresh rosemary.



Monterey Chicken

6 chicken thighs

1/2 cup barbecue sauce (We used Stubbs)

6 slices monterey jack cheese (we used deli counter slices)

1/2 lb applewood smoked bacon, baked on an elevated rack for 20 minutes at 375F, and blotted after cooking

container of grape tomatoes, diced

3 green onions, chopped

parsley or cilantro (if you have)

Grill chicken on medium heat, basting with barbecue sauce.

When done, turn heat on low and top chicken with cheese slices to melt. Remove from grill onto a warmed platter and immediately top with bacon (slices or crumbled – we put the bacon underneath the cheese the first time and learned it’s better on top). Scatter tomatoes and green onion and greens on top.


We also found this, which features a green chili cheese stuffing and a crispy parmesan/cumin breading:

Chicken Monteray

Remoulade redux

16 Jan

Two rémoulades, no waiting:


Shrimp Remoulade is in every New Orleanean’s arsenal of favored dishes for relaxed entertaining. This is our most popular dish and most frequently requested recipe. Tip for the home cook: The sauce is definitely best made a day in advance and refrigerated. Then all that’s left to do is toss in the shrimp, plate and serve. It’s a snap to make, yet it’s always impressive.

¾ cup chopped celery

¾ cup chopped scallions (white and green parts)

½ cup chopped curly parsley

1 cup chopped yellow onion

½ cup ketchup

½ cup tomato purée

½ cup Creole mustard or any coarse, grainy brown mustard

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, or to taste

¼ cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons Spanish hot paprika

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ cup salad oil

4 dozen jumbo (15 count) shrimp, peeled, boiled, and chilled

1 small head of iceberg lettuce, washed, dried and cut into thin ribbons

Mince the celery, scallions, parsley and onions in a food processor. Add the ketchup, tomato puree, Creole mustard, horseradish, red wine vinegar, paprika and Worcestershire. Begin processing again and add the oil in a slow drizzle to emulsify. Stop when the dressing is smooth. Chill for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Correct the seasoning with additional horseradish, if desired, after the ingredients have had the opportunity to marry.

In a large mixing bowl, add the sauce to the shrimp and toss gently to coat. Divide the lettuce among 6 chilled salad plates. Divide the shrimp evenly atop the lettuce and serve.

GALATOIRE’S rémoulade blanc

1 cup mayonnaise

2 tbsp. Creole mustard

2 tbsp. dry white wine

12t tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp. grated horseradish

2 tsp. minced parsley, plus more

14 tsp. cayenne

14 tsp. freshly ground white pepper

4 scallions, minced

Kosher salt, to taste

2 lb. medium cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed, chilled

12 head iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced

Stir mayonnaise, mustard, wine, juice, horseradish, parsley, cayenne, pepper, scallions, and salt in a bowl; stir in shrimp. Divide lettuce between plates; top with shrimp and garnish with parsley.


12 cup mayonnaise

2 tbsp. high quality olive oil

2 tsp. white wine vinegar

1 tsp. Creole or Dijon mustard

1 tsp. small capers, rinsed, drained, and finely chopped

12 tsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

12 tsp. kosher salt

18 tsp. freshly ground white pepper

3 green onions, finely chopped

1 lb. jumbo lump crab meat

12 large leaves butter lettuce

4 slices tomato, halved

Whisk together mayonnaise, oil, vinegar, mustard, capers, parsley, salt, pepper, and scallions; add crabmeat and fold gently to combine. Place 3 leaves lettuce each on 4 salad plates. Divide crab mixture evenly among plates and garnish with two half slices tomato.


2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
2 tablespoons petite nonpareil capers, drained
Salt and white pepper

In a medium size-mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, Dijon, lemon juice and vinegar until they are incorporated. Slowly pour the vegetable oil into the mix in a thin steady stream while continuously whisking until a mayonnaise is created. If the mayonnaise gets too thick before all of the oil has been incorporated whisk a tablespoon of room temperature water into the mix and then resume with the oil. Fold in the dill relish and capers. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Chill until needed.

Cooking in the movies

13 Nov

four seasons

We are on a weird nostalgic 1970s/80s California cooking and gourmet revolution kick. There’s a scene in Alan Alda’s The Four Seasons movie (1981) where the husbands in a group of married friends are cooking Chinese food for their wives at a cabin. They make a big show out of having packed proper woks, obsessively sourcing Asian eggplants and two pounds of fresh ginger root.

Bean thread noodles explode into a cloud and the men are nearly smoked out of the kitchen trying to get a char on the chilies for the hot garlic sauce.

“The oil’s not hot enough. You cannot cook Chinese food properly unless the oil is 480 degrees. It’s a scientific fact.”

“Who said that, Einstein?”

“Newton. Isaac Newton, inventor of mu shu pork.”


The scene takes up only a few minutes of the movie but it has stuck with us all these years. Thanks daytime television. The group’s excitement and pleasure over their exotic creation of Chinese chicken salad starter with shredded iceberg and rice stick noodles, szechuan eggplant, shrimp, and what looks like a red bell pepper and beef makes us appreciate the exploding gourmet food trends and exotic cooking craze of the 1970s and 80s. And bauhaus stoneware plates!

4 seasons chinese dinner


4 seasons table

It makes us imagine NYC’s szechuan craze, and the treasures to be found at Williams and Sonoma, New York’s Silver Palate, Berekely’s Chez Panisse, Gourmet magazine, but especially inside Barbara Tropp’s China Moon Cafe:


The shrimp and the marinade:

1 tablespoon egg white
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or quality dry Sherry
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 pound medium (25 to 30) shrimp, shelled and deveined

The sauce:
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
1/8 cup Chinese rice wine or quality dry Sherry
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon Chinese chili sauce (Koon Yick Wah Kee brand recommended)
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water

The noodles:
1/3 pound Chinese egg noodles (or any thin, fresh pasta)
1 1/2 tablespoons chili oil
The minced zest from half a lemon

The vegetables:
3 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 small yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rings
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
1 cup 1/4-inch-thick slices fennel bulb
4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
4 teaspoons minced garlic
2 slim scallions, the green and the white part cut in very thin rounds
1/2 teaspoon dried hot pepper flakes
The julienned zest from half a lemon
2 teaspoons thinly sliced rings of hot fresh chili pepper, such as Fresno or Serrano (optional)
2 cups 1/2-inch-thick strips of Napa cabbage

The garnish: Fennel sprigs 2 scallions, the green and the white part cut in very thin rounds.

1. Mix together the ingredients for the marinade in a medium-sized bowl until thoroughly combined. Add the shrimp, toss so they are coated with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 8 to 36 hours.

2. Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients, except the cornstarch and water, in a large bowl and reserve. Whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and reserve.

3. Bring four cups of water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan over high heat, then remove from the heat and add the shrimp. Leave them in the hot water just until they turn pink, about 20 seconds. Drain and reserve.

4. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the noodles and stir to separate, then cook until al dente. Drain, run under cold water to cool them and drain well. Toss in a large bowl with the chili oil and the minced lemon zest. Reserve.

5. Heat one tablespoon of the peanut oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Stir-fry the onions just until they turn golden at the edges, about one-and-a-half minutes. Add the bell peppers and stir-fry until they become slightly limp, about two-and-a-half minutes. Add the fennel and stir until it begins to turn limp but is still crisp, about three-and-a-half minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a plate and return the skillet to the heat.

6. Add the additional oil to the skillet and, when the oil is nearly smoking, add the ginger, garlic, scallions and hot chili-pepper flakes and lower the heat to medium so they foam without browning. Cook just until they release their fragrance, about 30 seconds. Add the lemon zest and the hot pepper slices, stir, then add the Napa cabbage and stir-fry until it becomes glossy and is slightly cooked, about 30 seconds. Add the cooked noodles and stir-fry just until they are hot, about two minutes, then add the cooked vegetables and toss until all of the ingredients are mixed. Increase the heat to high and add the sauce mixture. Cover and bring to a boil, then add the shrimp and toss until they are incorporated into the mixture. When the mixture returns to a simmer, add the cornstarch mixture and stir, then cook just until the sauce becomes glossy and slightly thickened, about one minute. Transfer to a serving platter or bowl, garnish with the fennel sprigs and scallion rings and serve immediately.

Yield: Four servings as a main course.

Parsing Parsley Salad

13 Nov

Outtake: American writer Joan Didion prepares a meal in her Malibu kitchen

Joan Didion was definitely ahead of the kale curve with her parsley salad.

Eight bunches of flat leaf parsley to feed 35-40 people. Not knowing what vintage her recipe is from and how big the bunches were compared to today, we suspect this bold-bite salad was served as a garnish or small scoop as part of a larger buffet.

In a word, it’s fantastic. A great change from the typical tart lemon and onion tabbouleh/tabouli you associate with Mediterranean parsley salad. This is richer and more sophisticated. Even still, we couldn’t help meddling with the recipe to add small bits of kale, chopped seeded tomato and toasted breadcrumbs.

To halve the recipe, just use 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp balsamic, and 2/3 cup parmesan. Eyeball the parsley needed for the dressing and the kale/parsley combo.


(serves 35–40)

8 bunches Italian parsley
Blend 16 T olive oil with one head parsley until smooth
Blend in 4 T balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper
When ready to serve place parsley in 1 1/3 C grated parmesan in bowl, toss with dressing


Our inspiration for tweaking Joan Didion’s parsley salad. This kale concoction started as a garnish at Una. It’s been the No. 1 seller at Una ever since.

Caesar dressing

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup olive oil

Kale salad

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more, if needed
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto, julienned
  • ½ cup panko crumbs
  • Maldon salt and black pepper
  • 2 bunches kale, leaves only, julienned
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 2 soft-boiled eggs, peeled and halved (optional)

Caesar dressing

Using a fork, crush garlic and anchovies against the inside of a large bowl. Add mustard, lemon juice and zest and olive oil and whisk until well emulsified. Pour the dressing into a glass jar and set aside.

Kale salad

Line a plate with paper towels. Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan on high. Add prosciutto and pan-fry until crispy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the paper towel — lined plate and set aside. Reduce the heat to low.

Add panko crumbs to the pan, adding a little oil if required, and toast until golden, about 2 minutes. Scrape the panko into a small bowl, season to taste with salt and set aside.

Place kale in a large bowl, pour in the dressing and toss well. Season with salt and black pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with Pecorino Romano, toasted panko and crispy prosciutto. Serve with the boiled eggs, if desired.

Serves 4.

1980s Earls appies

1 Nov

The Earls cookbook is a time machine. These 1980s recipes are in the running for some retro Grey Cup party fare.

Jack Sticks 

1 lb jalapeno Jack (whole block, or havarti or cheddar), cut into 3 1/2 inch lengths that are 1/2 inch thick
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups panko
Vegetable oil for frying.

Mix batter (milk, flour, bp and salt) in a shallow bowl. Fill another bowl with panko.
Dip cheese sticks into batter and let excess drip, then roll in panko, shaking loose crumbs.
Repeat, coating each stick twice. Set on parchment-lined sheet and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Deep fry (375F) for 45 seconds to a minute until sticks are light golden brown. Drain on paper towel. Serve with salsa.

Potato Skins

preheat oven to 425F.
Clean 3 medium russet potatoes and rub skins with oil. Bake for an hour until tender.
When cool enough to handle, cut potatoes into quarters lengthwise. (TGIF makes two lengthwise cuts through each potato, resulting in three 1/2- 3/4 inch slices. Discard middle slices; this leaves you with two potato skins per potato) Scoop flesh leaving 1/4-1/2 inch layer. (TGIF brushes entire surface inside and out with melted butter). Season with salt and pepper and bake until crisp and golden (about 10 minutes). (TGIF broils for 6-8 minutes or until edges begin to turn dark brown).

Top skins with cooked, chopped bacon (5 slices worth) and a mix of 1 1/4 cup each of grated sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack. Return to oven for five minutes until cheese is bubbly. (TGIF tops with 2-3 tbsp of cheese first, then bacon, then broil until cheese is thoroughly melted).

Garnish with 1/3 cup cold sour cream mixed with chopped green onions or chives.

Parmesan Dip for Hot Wings

1 1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
3 tbsp malt vinegar
3 tbsp milk
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Whisk together. Store in airtight container and refrigerate.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

8 oz (225 grams) wilted and drained spinach, finely chopped
1/4 finely diced white onion
115 grams cream cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup diced canned artichoke hearts
1/2 cup diced water chestnuts
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp hot sauce
3/4 tsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Saute onions until soft. Let cool.
Mix other ingredients and add spinach and onion to combine.
To serve, heat in microwave for one minute. Stir and heat for another minute. Serve with grilled toasts.

Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza

6 Jun



the home job:




The lure of a cozy, leafy tree sheltered restaurant patio is a great hideaway on a drizzling spring evening.

Even more comforting is this pear and gorgonzola flatbread pizza that’s been on the menu since 1988.

The creamy cheese and black pepper crunch match perfectly with soft pear. Brushed with dill pesto and sprinkled with toasted pinenuts, it’s a perennial favourite.

It can on occasion be too wet, so take care not to crowd the pears.

Recipe from Best of Bridge

12-inch pizza crust (see Fast and Easy Pizza Crust – That’s Trump – pg.96) or purchased pizza crust
olive oil to brush on crust
1 14 oz. can pears, drained and sliced in thin strips
2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts
3 oz. Cambozola cheese, sliced or crumbled
freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven (or bbq) to 450F. Brush crust with olive oil, arrange pears on crust in pinwheel pattern, sprinkle with pine nuts, top with cheese and sprinkle of pepper. Bake 10-15 minutes, until crust is golden.


Ho Lee Chow

18 May

Our love of PF Chang’s China Bistro is not exactly the height of sophistication, we know. But certain dishes enjoyed on holiday leave lasting memories.

Recently, our happy group delighted in chicken lettuce wraps and dynamite shrimp, followed by coconut curry vegetables with crispy silken tofu and peanuts in a coconut curry sauce, shrimp with candied walnuts tossed in a creamy sauce (which we fear is mayo-based) and honeydew melon balls.

We’d returned from southern California for one day before a craving struck. And that craving was for orange peel chicken. The menu describes it as tossed with chili peppers and fresh orange peel for a spicy, citrus combination. We tried this recipe, and it is bang on.

Top Secret Restaurant Recipes Volume Two

1 T oil
2 T minced or sliced garlic
4 green onions, sliced
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar (we’ve been using brown)
2 T chili garlic/Rooster sauce
1 T soy sauce
juice of half an orange
1/2 cup oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup cornstarch

peel from 1/4 orange, julienned into 1/8 in. strips

Prepare sauce by heating 1 T of oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute garlic and green onions. Add tomato sauce and water quickly before the garlic burns. Add sugar, chili sauce, orange juice and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Simmer 5-6 minutes or until sauce thickens, then turn off the heat.
Prepare the chicken by heating 1/2 cup oil in a wok over medium heat. Slice chicken breast into bite size pieces. Coat each piece with cornstarch. Arrange chicken on a plate until all chicken is coated. When oil in the wok is hot, add half the chicken to the oil and cook for a couple of minutes or until brown on one side, then flip. When chicken is golden brown, remove the pieces to a rack to drain. Repeat with remaining chicken. When all chicken is cooked rinse the oil out of the wok with water and place it back on the stove to heat up.
(Note: I used a frying pan and only two tablespoons of oil to nicely brown and crisp the chicken chunks. Then I added the orange peel, followed by a few ladlefulls of sauce, which boiled furiously and was left clinging to the chicken.)
When wok is hot again add orange peel and chicken. Heat for 20-30 seconds, stirring gently. Add sauce to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Stir to coat. Cook until the sauce thickens then serve with rice on the side.

Note: Martin Yan’s version calls for 1/3 cup fresh orange juice, 2 tbsp rice wine or sherry, 1 tbsp hoisin, 2 tsp sugar, and 1 tsp chili garlic sauce


8 dried Shiitake mushrooms
2 teaspoons cooking sherry
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite size pieces or ground chicken
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
2 chopped green onions
8 oz can bamboo shoots, chopped up
8 oz can water chestnuts, chopped
2 small dried chilies (optional)
1 package of Chinese cellophane rice noodles, cooked according to instructions on the package
Iceberg lettuce leaves

Lettuce Wrap Sauce:
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cooking sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Pour enough boiling water over dried mushrooms to cover. Let soak for 30 minutes, then drain. After the mushrooms have soaked, remove any woody stems and chop up the mushrooms.
While waitng for the mushrooms to finish soaking, combine all of the ingredients for the sauce.
In a separate bowl, mix together the sherry, water, soy sauce, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and chicken. Stir together until chicken is well coated.
Heat large skillet over medium high heat. Add 3 tablespoons of oil. After the oil gets hots, add the chicken mixture. Fry quickly for about 3 minutes, or til chicken is no longer pink. Stir constantly to prevent burning. Remove chicken.
To the same skillet, add 2 more tablespoons of oil. Add the fresh ginger, garlic, green onions, and optional chilies, if desired. Fry quickly for 45-60 seconds, or til garlic is a golden color. Do not overcook garlic, or it will taste bitter. Add the dried mushrooms, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Fry quickly for about 2 minutes.
Return chicken to the skillet. Add the sauce ingredients to the same skillet. Cook until the sauce thickens.
Break the cooked cellophane noodles into small pieces. Spread the noodles onto the bottom of a platter. Pour the chicken mixture on top of the noodles. Spoon into lettuce leafs. Roll up chicken lettuce wraps and secure with toothpicks. See if this doesn’t taste just like the PF Chang lettuce wrap recipe to you.


For the Tofu
2 tablespoons sesame oil
12 ounces package extra firm water-packed tofu (although menu describes crispy fried silken tofu)
1 small onion, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 small red bell pepper, cubed
1 cup halved mushrooms
4 ounces (3 cups) cauliflower or broccoli florets
1 cup thinly sliced carrots or whole sugar snap peas

Coconut-Curry Sauce:
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
2 Tbl. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 – 2 Tbl. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. unseasoned rice vinegar or cider vinegar
1/2 cup peanuts

2 Tbl. canola oil for stir-frying

2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1 1/2 Tbl. cold water mixed together in small bowl.

Drain the tofu, cube and fry in 1 tablespoon oil until brown. Set aside.
Separately blanch the broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and sugar snap peas until tender-crisp in plain boiling water. Drain and flush with cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again.
Combine the coconut-curry sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust the sugar to your liking.
Heat a wok or wide skillet over high heat until hot. Add the canola oil, swirl to glaze the pan, then add the onions and bell pepper. Stir-fry until tender-crisp, 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir until hot, a few minutes more. Add the blanched vegetables and toss to mix.
Stir the sauce and add it to the pan. Bring to a simmer, tossing to combine.
Stir the cornstarch mixture to recombine and add it to the pan. Stir until the sauce turns glossy, about 10 seconds (a bit longer if you`re doubling the sauce).
Add the peanuts.
Serve with rice, noodles, or a warm loaf of bread.
Use a milder or hotter curry powder to vary the spice.
For a really saucy dish to serve over rice or noodles, double the sauce ingredients and the cornstarch mixture.
We’re not big on battered anything, so we’ll try this with a dusting on cornstarch or flour.

1 lb shrimp, butterflied
Vegetable oil for frying

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 egg
3/4 cup ice water or soda water
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda

Shrimp marinade:
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp cornstarch


1/2 cup sake or rice wine (mirin)
1/ 3 cup honey
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic

Cornstarch slurry–1/4 cup corn starch mixed with 1/4 cup water

To make batter: mix ingredients till just combined. Let rest in refrigerator for a couple of hours. Coat shrimp with seasonings and marinate in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

Pour vegetable oil into fryer or heavy bottomed sauce pot. Heat slowly to 340-350 degrees. Batter shrimp a little at a time. Shake off excess batter. Carefully place shrimp into the hot oil. Shrimp is done when golden to light brown and crisp. Remove to platter with paper towels to drain. Repeat for all the shrimp. Remember to check the oil temperature, it must remain hot.

Mix sauce ingredients in small sauce pan, bring to a boil. Add cornstarch slurry, a little at a time (you will not need all of it). The sauce will thicken, let it come to a thickness of “loose honey.” Let cook for a minute or two.

Serve sauce on side for dipping or drizzle over top.