It’s a Wrap! Salmon En Papilotte with Feta and Tomatoes

Image

image

Some of the best dishes are the simplest. This salmon en papilotte only sounds fancy.  These tasty little packets come together quickly and are uncomplicated in execution.   The salmon steam cooks in its own aromatic juices creating a fragrant lemony tomato-feta sauce as it does so. (To read about papillote cooking, please click here. ) The  combinations that are possible in papilotte cuisine are endless.  Think of combining ingredients that are harmonious together and have similar cooking times.  If you want to combine ingredients which require longer cooking times, consider precooking those in advance before assembling in your wrap.   Continue reading

Italian Prune and Almond Cake

Image

Italian prunes are one of those seasonal fruit with such a short season, if you blink you might miss it. image When they appeared in the market  last week, I bought a big bag full and worried about what I would do with them later.  I had drooled over a plum-almond cake on one of my favorite blogs, Food on Fifth, in the summer.  Then as if Teresa Bkackburn was reading my mind, she published an Italian prune tart recipe.  Because I couldn’t choose one recipe over the other, I blended both to create a cake to serve at a luncheon I was hosting.  So was born Italian Prune-Almond Cake complete with the prunes soaking in Amaretto first.  Love at first bite. A prune-studded beauty with the triple layers of almond flavoring shining through.  I doubled the original recipe to serve a large group.

image Continue reading

Individual Cranberry-Apple Crisps

Image

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” F Scott Fitzgerald

image

The Canadian Thanksgiving is this weekend.  What better way to celebrate than with a cranberry-apple crisp with maple syrup drizzled on top?  These individual crisps are easy to make in ramekins.  The recipe comes from Sarah Richardson, one of Canada’s design stars.  I used fresh cranberries instead of frozen but either is fine and I increased the amount of fruit.  Boosting whole grain oats and no flour, this is a wholesome dessert that fills the kitchen with a tantalizing aroma.  Serve them warm with a dollop of whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of Greek yogurt mixed with a bit of brown sugar.  Not too sweet, these were gobbled right up!  Continue reading

Overwintering Hydrangeas in Pots

Image

“I want real flowers, perennials which not only grow and change and die, but also rise again and astonish me.  A garden should’t just bloom and look pretty;  it should develop like the rest of life.”  Emma L. Roth-Schwartz

imageVery few flowers ellicit a big dose of nastalgia as the magnificent hydrangea.  This gorgeous workhorse of the summer garden is likely still bringing beauty to your fall garden and planters.  Hydrangeas are my number 1 choice for planter flowers.  I plant them in early spring and they bloom all summer through fall.  I get tremendous bang for my buck with low maintenance appeal.  When transitioning the garden for winter, did you know you can leave any potted hydrangeas to overwinter right in their containers?  Choose frost resistant containers and you can leave the plants in the pots outside.  The leaves will die off, the soil will freeze and the shrub will become dormant just like any hydrangeas in the ground.  If your container is not frost resistant, the hydrangeas can be brought inside an unheated garden shed or garage and the pot laid on its side.  But using frost resistant pots is the easiest solution to avoid having to move heavy containers.  Who has time for another garden chore? Continue reading

Deep Dish Butternut Squash Quiche with Caramelized Red Onion

Image

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
George Eliot

Autumn cooking is my favorite.  I love the spices and all the squashes and pumpkins.  Butternut squash appears frequently and I never tire of it.  Serving it in a quiche certainly was a first and it truly worked spiced with nutmeg and paired with caramelized red onions and gruyère cheese.  Roasting the squash first brings out its nuttiness and gives it the right texture to hold up in the quiche.

image Continue reading

Torta di Riso: Risotto as Dessert

Image

“In every human being there is the artist, and whatever his activity, he has an equal chance with any to express the result of his growth and his contact with life. I don’t believe any real artist cares whether what he does is ‘art’ or not. Who, after all, knows what art is?”
― Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

We were discussing Robert Henri’s classic “The Art Spirit”.  The dynamic leader of the art book club at my library opened the discussion by asking: “What is art?  Who is an artist? ”  She had brought dessert to sweeten an animated discussion.  The cake was round in shape, perfectly golden and dusted simply with powdered sugar.   Unassuming in appearance.   But after the first bite, I was swooning.  What is in this?  What is this?  It’s sooo good!   “Torta di Riso”, answered Victoria.  La dolce vita,  I thought.  As inspiring as the art on display.  Clearly this was a woman who knows her way around a kitchen as well as around a museum!  To understand what Torta di Riso is, imagine a  not-too-sweet risotto suspended in a pillowy custardy base.  Or rice pudding in a cake.  A classic comfort food, turned into dessert.  I call it a masterpiece and its baker, an artist!

image Continue reading