Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta

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Bruschetta is one of those things; there seems to be so many variations and everyone has their own version.  Is it cooked and served warm?  Cold and raw?  Does it have garlic?  onions?  cheese?  vinegar or not?  About the only thing I know for certain, is that usually always involves tomatoes, basil and toast as an open-faced sandwich of sorts.  I guess the same could be said for almost any recipe, but it does surprise me that there seem to be infinite different versions something so simple– and all by the same name.


And this is my style of bruschetta, and I’ve tried enough to be confident to say this is most definitely my favourite.


This unseasonably warm weather lately has me getting excited for gardening season (and pining  for fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes!)


  • 3-4 medium mixed variety heirloom tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 small onion, diced small (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped, (or substitute 2 tsp dried)
  • 2 heaping tbsp parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • small pinch of salt/pepper to taste
  • French bread, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • olive oil
  1. Preheat broiler to 425F.
  2. Brush oil on sliced bread and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Broil toasts under high heat for ~5 minutes, or until tops just start to brown then remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in small frying pan, fry diced onion in 1 tsp of olive oil just until softened and starting to brown (about 5-8 minutes).  Cooking the onions helps to mellow the strong flavour.
  4. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and toss in the cooked onions then let the mixture sit for at least 30 min before enjoying.
  5. Don’t top the toasted bread with tomato mixture until you’re ready to serve, otherwise the toasts tend to get a bit soggy.  Garnish with some fresh basil leaves if you’re feeling particularly fancy.

Mushroom Walnut Stuffing

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Just in time for upcoming holiday feasts!  This one takes a little bit more effort to put it together, but it’s well worth it.

PREP TIME: COOK TIME: TOTAL TIME: 70 min    YIELD: 8 servings
  • 2 tbsp canola or olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced small
  • 3 celery stalks (about 2 cups), diced medium
  • salt and pepper
  • 10 oz of cremini mushrooms, diced small
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage leaves, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 loaf crusty/stale bread (around 8 cups), cut into 3/4″ pieces
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups chicken or turkey broth
  • 1 egg
  1. If your bread isn’t sufficiently stale, turn the oven on low and toast the bread cubes for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions, celery and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until onions and celery soften, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside for now.
  3. Add another tbsp of oil to the pan still over medium-high heat, as well as mushrooms and finely chopped sage.  Season with salt and pepper.  Brown the mushrooms, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add wine to the mushrooms, stirring to scrape up any brown bits from the pan.  Cook until wine is nearly evaporated.
  5. Remove from heat and transfer to bowl with onion and celery mixture.  Add cubed bread and walnuts.
  6. Mix in enough broth just to moisten.  The mixture should be moist but not excessively soggy.  Beat the egg, and add to the mixture.  Toss well to combine.
  7. Now, stuff the turkey!  And/or spoon into a lightly greased baking dish to cook separately.  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake uncovered until top begins to brown– 30 minutes.

Raspberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

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This barbecue sauce-making adventure began with a salad dressing recipe, strangely enough. For the back-story read this previous post on my experiments with homemade raspberry vinegar.  A long story short, I ended up with some vinegar-soaked raspberries that I needed to find a use for.  After it was all said and done, I will admit I’m happier about the sauce than I was the vinegar.


This sauce is great on steak, burgers, probably anything else you can think to slather it on.  The berry flavour was quite subtle, and the chipotles provide a nice hum of heat.  On my first go-around with this recipe, I was a bit too bold with the chipotles and added 5 or 6 of them (they looked so small)… next time I will stick with 2.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 2 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries (and/or mix in some blackberries as well)
  • 1 can of plain tomato sauce (398 mL)
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp cooking molasses
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp honey (or coconut palm sugar, or brown sugar)
  • salt/pepper to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in large saucepan.  Add onion and green pepper and cook until onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, and puree  the mixture until a smooth consistency and there are no big pieces remaining.
  3. Over medium heat, simmer for ~30 min or until sauce thickens.
  4. Store the sauce in the fridge for up to a week and/or freeze in freezer safe containers for longer-term storage and future use.

Beef, Guiness and Mushroom Pie

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A great combination of rosemary, garlic, mushrooms, beef favours, with a thick rich Guinness sauce.  YUM.  I keep Guinness in my fridge solely for this recipe.  It`s definitely not because me or anyone else in this house drinks it…

The perfect dinner, and lunch the next day… This also makes for an easy meal when made in larger batches, and frozen for future dinners/lunches.

Thank you Jamie Oliver for this recipe as the starting point!  I made this the very first time, pretty much following the directions and it was fabulous, except that the meat I`d use was a poor cut, and a bit of a jaw work-out.  The next time I made it, I was feeling particularly lazy and decided to just throw it all in a slow cooker, then finish by baking in a pie shell.  Unfortunately it turned a bit mushy, and some of the flavours were a bit muted, as can happen with a slow cooker.  The last time I made this, I did a hybrid of slow cooker and stove top cooking, which worked out quite successfully.

PREP TIME: 20 min  COOK TIME: 4 min  TOTAL TIME: 24 min   YIELD: 2 pies
  • 1.5 lbs beef (cut into 1 inch pieces)
  • Prepared puff pastry
  • 3 onions diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 3 cloves of garlic; minced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 sticks celery – finely sliced
  • 2 carrot sticks – peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced (any kind, I used shitake and crimini)
  • 1 can Guinness
  • 1 heaping tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 2 handfuls of shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten with a fork
  • 1/2 cup peas
  1. Break out the slow cooker, turn to high and add Guinness and beef pieces.  Let that cook for about 3 hours.
  2. Sauté onions on the stove top with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until slightly browned in a deep pot.  Then stir in a sprig of rosemary.
  3. Add 1 tbsp butter, celery and carrots, mushrooms.  Cook until carrots are al dente and mushroom liquid has reduced.
  4. Add beef and all juices from the slow cooker, and minced garlic.  Season with pepper and salt as desired and stir in 1 heaping tbsp flour.  Pour in beef stock to top off stew.  Add peas to the mixture and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Stir in 1 handful of shredded sharp cheddar or monterey jack cheese.
  6. Roll out puff pastry and line the bottom of an oven safe bowl or pie pan that is about 4 inches deep and 8-10 inches in diameter with the puff pastry; pour in the stew filling.
  7. Sprinkle the other handful of shredded cheddar cheese on top of stew filling.
  8. Brush the outer edge of the puff pastry with the beaten egg (this will act like glue when you put the top on).
  9. Cover with another piece of puff pastry that has been lightly scored with a knife.  Press around the edges so the top puff pastry is sealed to the bottom puff pastry.  Fold in excess puff pastry that is draping over the bowl/pan so it has a crinkled look on the top.  Then brush top with beaten egg.
  10. Bake the pie in the oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden.  OR, at this point, cover, label, and free for a future dinner.
  11. To cook after freezing, thaw (in the fridge), then bake at 375 for about 40-50 minutes.
  12. Just one last note, I have made this recipe with pie crust (as a meat pie) instead of puff pastry, it was also very good but I will say I prefer the puff pastry!

Chicken Fricot

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This is a hearty chicken dish, that makes for an easy meal and great leftovers as well.  This recipe could also easily be adapted for a slow cooker.

PREP TIME: 20 min   COOK TIME: 1h   TOTAL TIME: 1h 20 min   YIELD: 6
  • 1 whole chicken
  • salt pork, diced (or substitute bacon), roughly 1/3 to 1/2 cup
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups Yukon gold potatoes, peeled/chopped/diced
  • 2 tsp dried savory
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 ice cubes


  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  1. Discarding back, cut chicken into 6 pieces (2 breasts, 2 legs, and 2 wings); set aside.
  2. In large dutch oven, sauté salt pork (or bacon) over medium high heat until golden, about 4 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove pork and set aside.
  3. Add chicken pieces to pan; brown all over, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate, set aside. Drain all but 2 tbsp fat from pan.
  4. Reduce heat to medium; cook carrots, celery and onion, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened by not coloured, about 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in potatoes, savory, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Return chicken and salt pork to pan, stir in water. Bring just to boil, skimming foam from surface as needed. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
  6. Place ice cubes in glass measure. Pour in enough of the cooking liquid to make 2/3 cup; let cool.
  7. Meanwhile, with slotted spoon, transfer chicken to plate; let cool enough to handle. Pull meat from bones; discard bones and skin. Coarsely chop chicken. Skim any fat from cooking liquid; return chicken to pan and bring to simmer.
  8. Dumplings: Meanwhile in bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder parsley and salt. Stir egg yolks into reserved cooled cooking liquid; drizzle over flour mixture. With fork, toss to make sticky, stretch dough. Increase heat to medium, Drop batter, evenly spaced in 8 mounds, onto stew; cover and simmer until puffed and knife inserted into centre of dumpling comes out clean, 8 to 10 minutes.