Join Me in My Addiction!

Thank you for visiting my blog...and for allowing me to share with you my addiction. I love to collect recipes. I love to read cookbooks. I have been collecting recipes for as long as I can remember, and on any given day there are one or two (or more!) cookbooks residing on my nightstand!

This blog is chronicling my adventure as I fulfill my resolution of trying (at least) one new recipe each week. I hope that you enjoy!

I invite you to join me in my journey, simply by clicking the "Join this Site" link below. And please feel free to comment on any of the recipes, and pin away. Thanks, I look forward to sharing with you!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kung Pao Pork

When it rains, it pours.  I've been reading so many old and new recipes lately that I'm getting quite the stockpile of new ones to try.  I'm *almost* getting worried that when I go back to work I won't have the time to be cooking all these recipes.  I guess I covered my bases when I made my resolution to try ONE new recipe a week, and on those weeks that I am able to try more, I will be blogging more.  Plus I'm pretty organized, so I'm hopeful that I'll continue with multiple blog entries each week!

Last night it was time to try Kung Pao Pork.  We love stir fry and trying variations of stir fry...and this one caught my eye.  I've adapted it to suit our taste. 

Here is the recipe:

LOVE LOVE this, Kung Pao Pork
1 pound pork (I used pork loin), cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cloves garlic, minced (separated)
1 cup chicken broth (I used organic)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
½ cup fennel, thinly sliced
1 medium red pepper, seeded, cut into thin strips
Snow peas
Broccoli, chopped

In a small bowl, make marinade by whisking together soy sauce, fresh ginger, cornstarch, 1 clove of the garlic and the chicken broth.  Add the sliced pork to the marinade, toss to coat.  Marinate for 1 hour in the fridge, stir occasionally.

Over medium-high heat, warm the oil in a large saucepan.  Add onion, pepper and fennel; cook, stirring constantly, until tender, about 3-4 minutes.

Add remaining 1 clove of garlic and cook, stirring often, another minute.

Add broccoli and snow peas to the saucepan and cook, stirring frequently, approximately 4-5 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low and pour pork and marinade into skillet and cook, stirring often, until pork is no longer pink and sauce is warmed through and thickened, approximately 7-8 minutes.

LOVE LOVE LOVE. This was delicious! We served the dish over fried rice noodles, which was a nice change from our usual rice.  From the first bite we were all in love.  The pork was soooooo tender, it nearly melted in our mouths.  The flavour was awesome, and my husband said right from the start that there wouldn't be any leftovers.  We liked it THAT much!  His only complaint was that there should be more broccoli (he loves broccoli).  That's an easy addition! I might throw some cashews into the mix next time, just to give it a try, but really, we enjoyed the meal just as it was!

Linked to   A Little Nosh  The King's Court 4     This Chick Cooks     Not JUST a Housewife     Chef In Training     Mom on Timeout     Eat Pray Read Love    Tip Junkie

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Salmon with Sundried Tomatoes and Capers

We are a family that loves salmon.  We are always looking for new flavours to add to our salmon dishes.  This week I found a recipe that I found in 2001 (yes, I have had the recipe for 11 years and never made it!).  Yesterday was the day! I picked it because my husband has been on a sundried tomato kick lately. 

My husband came home from work last night to me prepping dinner, to which he commented "Wow, looks fancy!" and "I thnk this blogging thing is the best, we are getting spoiled by all these new meals."  I think my responses were along the lines of..."It's not as fancy as it seems" and "Remember I'm going back to work this summer, we might not be as spoiled once I'm working again".  I think I also asked him to win the lottery for us, then I could stay home and cook "fancy" meals all the time, LOL!

Here is the recipe:

Salmon with Sundried Tomatoes and Capers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
8 sun-dried tomatoes, oil soaked off, chopped
1 tablespoon capers
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste (freshly ground)
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
4 salmon fillets, about 4-6 ounces each

Preheat the broiler (on high) or grill.  I had the rack in the middle of the oven.

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the sun dried tomatoes and capers, season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook until it has reduced to a syrup, abour 5 minutes, and set aside.

Meanwhile, season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper.  Broil or grill the fish on each side until it is cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Please each fillet on a plate and spoon the tomato and caper mixture over it.

We served the salmon with rice and peas.  We enjoyed the flavour of the salmon with the tomato mixture on the salmon, but not mixed with the rice.  The salmon balanced out the flavour of the sauce, but with the sauce on the rice the flavour was overwhelming.  I made the recipe with 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar (which is what the original recipe called for) but my husband and I both agreed that we would reduce the balsamic to 1/3 cup and I would also add a little more salt and pepper.  It was good, and we will have it again, with our modifications! 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Banana Caramel Cream Pie

I thought it was about time I posted a dessert recipe!  This afternoon I thought I would whip up a little pie for tonight's dessert.  I had bananas on hand, and my husband loves banana anything.  He also loves caramel, so I decided to throw together a little pie that had both banana and caramel.  Really easy, really light and of course, tasty.  There are a few parts to the recipe, and it might seem like a lot when you read it, but there is nothing too hard and the pie really took very little time at all to whip together.  Here is the recipe:

Graham Cracker Crust
A nice twist on the classic Banana Cream Pie
1 1/4 cup  graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

Combine crumbs, brown sugar and butter in a pie plate. Press firmly into plate.  Bake in 350F oven for 8 minutes.  Cool before adding fillings.

Caramel Sauce
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Reduce to low and add brown sugar.  Simmer on low for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until sugar and butter are completely incorporated.

Add the whipping cream and let cook (on low), for another 5 minutes. Stirring constantly.  Once done, turn off heat and allow the caramel sauce to start to thicken.

Vanilla Pudding
Feel free to use whatever version of vanilla pudding that you prefer.  Because I was doing this on the fly, I only had Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding in the cupboard, so that's what I used!

Whipping Cream
I don't use any measurements when I make whipping cream, just a little of this, a lot of that.
Whipping cream
Vanilla (to taste)
Sugar (to taste)

Pour whipping cream into deep metal bowl.  Whip with electric mixer on high until the cream starts to thicken.  Add a little vanilla and sugar.  Continue whipping until you attain your desired consistency. 

Note: Be sure to put your deep metal bowl and beaters into the fridge or freezer for at least 15 minutes prior to whipping the cream.  Just makes the job that much easier! 

And finally, put it all together!!

A nice twist on the classic banana cream pie!
Banana Caramel Cream Pie
2 bananas

Line cooled pie crust with cut bananas (you'll probably use 1.5-2 bananas, depending on the size of your pie plate).  Drizzle the cooling caramel sauce over the bananas.  Pour/spoon the vanilla pudding on top of the bananas and caramel sauce.  Top with whipped cream.  Store in fridge.  Enjoy!

Hubby had two pieces for dessert, that's always a good sign! It was a nice, light dessert and easy to make!

Linked to Tip Junkie     A Well Seasoned Life    Flour Me With Love       Things That Make You Say: Mmmmm       Mandy's Recipe Box     Sweet Temptations

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chicken Asiago Dijon

For dinner tonight I made a pasta favourite of ours that we discovered last summer when we had an abundance of tomatoes in the garden - and I needed to find new recipes for those tomatoes.  Typically we serve this dish with grilled chicken, but my husband was in meetings until late tonight so I had to come up with a "Plan B".  A little digging and I found a new recipe...what a surprise!

Before I get into tonight's new recipe, I have to share.  My oldest son is getting in on this project too.  I have my "binder" of collected recipes out and I have been tagging some of them to try.  This afternoon he called me into the living room as he was going through the binder, tagging all the recipes that he wants me to make for our family.  Sooooo cute and so funny, he was very serious about his choices.  I'll have to take a closer look and see if any catch my eye!

Back to today's new recipe.  I don't BBQ (had a bad experience once when I was much younger...I leave the grilling to our resident grill master, aka my husband!), so the grilled chicken was out.  I found a recipe using Panko, which I adjusted to compliment the pasta dish we were having.  Here is the recipe:

Chicken Asiago Dijon

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/2 cup Panko
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese (dried)
2 tablespoons asiago cheese, grated
1 tablespoon parsley flakes

In a bowl, mix melted butter, garlic and mustard.  Set aside.

In a pie dish, mix Panko, parmesan cheese, asiago cheese and parsley.

Coat chicken in mustard sauce on both sides; dip chicken in crumb mixture to coat (all sides).  Lay chicken in baking pan (I used a foil lined baking pan with a light layer of olive oil).

Bake at 400F for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked.

What a delightful surprise!  Warning though, if you are not a fan of stronger cheeses, asiago cheese does have a stronger flavour, you may wish to substitute with a less potent cheese.  We all enjoyed the chicken, it was very tasty, crunchy, and yet seemed light.  We were fighting over the lefotver bits!  Unfortunately the picture doesn't do the meal much justice...but at least it's an idea of what it looks like when cooked!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Coming Soon!

I am pretty excited with an upcoming venture.  Starting in March, I will be a "Mommy Blogger" with Okanagan4Kids, a local online resource for all things kids in the Okanagan!  I am looking forward to this new challenge - my blog (Adventures in Cooking) will be food related but I will be posting different recipes than the ones here.  You'll have to check out both sites for all my good eats! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Baked Egg Cups

Breakfast at our house is quite boring, I am happy eating my oatmeal with raisins and our oldest son likes to have pancakes, french toast or waffles.  Every.Single.Day. Not kidding!  So I have been trying to "shake it up" a bit to save myself from endless pancake flipping (one can only get so creative with pancakes!) and I have found a few new recipes to try.  One of my former co-workers made something like these for us at work one morning, which everyone enjoyed.  I totally forgot about them until I saw a photo of something similar come across my Pinterest screen, so of course I had to add them to my list to try.  With my mother-in-law visiting this past weekend, we had my Mom over for brunch on Saturday (neither my Dad or father-in-law were in town), and I made them for everyone.  Adjust the quanitites based on how many people you are serving, I'm going to include the numbers I used on Saturday.  Here is my adaptation of the recipe:

Easy breakfast, especially with a house full of company!
9 eggs
9 slices of deli meat (I used Schneider's Country Naturals Ham)
Shredded cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice)
Diced green onions
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400F.  Spray muffin tin with cooking spray. Lay a piece of ham in each muffin hole, creating a ham cup. Crack one egg per muffin hole. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs cooked.  Remove from oven, top with green onions and cheese.  Enjoy!

This is a SUPER EASY recipe and a great way to change up breakfast.  We served these eggs with hashbrowns, toast and cantaloupe and the meal was well received by everyone!  Next time I might try to add a few more veggies to the egg cups, maybe some peppers (or whatever I happen to have in the fridge), maybe some fresh parsley, and maybe a different cheese. Yum!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lobster Fettucine

After his initial "teasings", my husband is quite on board with my resolution to try one new recipe a week, and is even helping with suggestions.  What's funny is that he and I both came across the recipe for Lobster Fettucine within days of each other - he came across it at work and I at home.  Yes, I know, we are meant to be.  So it seemed suiting that I make it for us for Valentine's Day :-)  And...we even hit a sale on lobster, how fortunate was that?! (really...meant to be!).

This recipe is for a dinner for two, so be sure to adjust accordingly.

Here is the recipe:

Valentine's treat! Rich, tasty lobster fettucine
1 cup thinly sliced fennel
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons flour
1/4 cup dry vermouth
3/4 cup whipping cream (35%)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 lobster tails, shelled and coarsely chopped
1/2 of a 350 g package fresh fettucine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Chives, chopped
Fresh pepper to taste

Heat a frying pan over medium.  Add butter and fennel.  Cook, stirring frequently, until fennel is soft, about 4 minutes.

Stir in flour and cook 1-2 minutes.

Add vermouth and cook until completely evaporated, about 2-3 minutes.

Whisk in cream, dijon and salt, stirring constantly until saucy, about 2 minutes.

Add lobster and simmer about 3 minutes.

Cook fettucine in boiling water, following package directions but omitting salt, until al dente, 3-4 minutes.  Drain then stir into sauce along with lemon juice.  Garnish with chives.

Thank you Chatelaine, February 2012 for the recipe.

And THANK YOU Mom and Dad for the vermouth!

It was delicious!  I had never cooked with fennel (or vermouth) before, so not only was this a new recipe, there were new things that we'd never tried before.  We all loved the smell of the fennel though our oldest son thought it tasted too strong.  Must not have been too strong because he asked to eat the leftovers for supper tonight!  Anyways, this was a relatively easy meal to make, cracking the lobster was the hardest part (and my husband did that for me, thanks hun!).  We all enjoyed the meal, along with the recommended pairing of a pinot grigio (our son had juice, that was a little Valentine's treat for him!).  I did add a little fresh pepper to the dish, but other than that, it was good!

Linked to Tip Junkie         The Sweet Details          My Favorite Finds   
From Mess Hall to Bistro

Friday, February 10, 2012

Pork Tenderloin

Actually, the full title of this recipe is "PORK TENDERLOIN SALTIMBOCCA ROASTED ON A BED OF BRAISED APPLES" about a mouthful!  And we were hoping the mouthful would be delicious!

Rather than what seems to be our usual "Pizza Friday" I opted to make today "New Recipe Friday", armed with another Whitewater Cooks recipe. The pork tenderloin spoke to me because it's made with apples (my husband loves apple sauce with his pork so this seemed like something he would like) and dijon (another thing hubby likes) and white wine (that was for me, LOL).  And everything is the recipe are things I typically have on hand at home, with the exception of the prosciutto and sage (the sage only because it's February and the garden isn't growing!).  Anyways, it was a fairly easy dish to prepare, I think slicing the apples took the most time.  Here is the recipe...verdict to come.

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/2 lbs)
2 tablespoons dijon
1 teaspoon pepper (fresh ground)
1 teaspoon salt
10 sage leaves (enough to cover top of the pork)
4-6 prosciutto slices
4-5 gala apples, thinly sliced, peels on
1 cup white wine (cookbook suggests riesling or gewurztraminer), I used gewurztraminer
1 tablespoon cold butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon dijon

Brush dijon on top of pork.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place sage leaves all along the top of the pork.  Lay prosciutto slices on work surface one after the other, slightly overlapping.  Place pork on prosciutto slices, sage side down, wrap it around the pork.  Arrange apple slices in bottom of oven-proof roasting pan and drizzle with 1/2 cup wine.  Put pork on top of apples with sage side up.

Roast in preheated 375F oven for 30-35 minutes.

Remove from oven and set pork aside on platter and cover with tin foil.  Place roasting pan on stove top at medium-low heat and add remaining 1/2 cup wine to apples to deglaze, about 2 minutes.  Add cold butter, maple syrup and 1 teaspoon dijon and simmer for 3 minutes.  Slice the pork and serve it with the warm apples.

While it was a nice change for pork tenderloin, it wasn't our favourite dish ever.  It was good, but not great.  DH wasn't a big fan of the sage, though I enjoyed the fresh sage flavour., yum! In the apples you could taste the wine and the maple syrup.  But overall it was just OK.  We might make it again, but then again, we might not.  Can't win them all!

That's OK...I have a whack of tagged recipes to try...I've got a few in mind for the next week, perhaps even a special Valentine's dinner!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Toffee Crunch Lunch Box Cookies

For Christmas I received a new cookbook, "Whitewater Cooks with Friends".  I love the Whitewater Cooks series of books, for a whole bunch of reasons.  Any recipe that I've made out the books has been delicious, the books themselves are beautiful, and they are written by a BC resident - out of Nelson.  Now the third book (with Friends) is another great book, though I am having troubles with some of the recipes only because there are a lot of almonds or scallops in their recipes , and my hubby is allergic to both.  So, I'll need to get a little creative with the recipes to make some substitutions, and then all will be great!  If you have never seen these cookbooks before, I recommend you check them out.  So far there are three in the series.  Many thanks to my friend Jody who introduced them to me, and to my hubby who keeps fueling the recipe addiction by giving me the latest book!

My husband claims that he doesn't like chocolate, and when I make cookies, they are usually my Mom's chocolate chip cookies (they are my favourites!).  In the newest Whitewater book, there is a recipe for Toffee Crunch Lunch Box Cookies...complete with Skor bits, and my hubby loves Skor bits so I figured these cookies might be a hit.  Plus it's a pretty easy recipe, a perfect Mother-Son baking session (which was a lot of fun!).  Sure enough, these cookies were a big hit, with hubby and oldest son alike.  They LOVED them!  Here is the recipe:

Hubby's fave's! Toffee Crunch Lunch Box Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoom baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb butter, room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package (200g) Skor toffee bits
White sugar for sprinkling (though I left this step out)

Combine flour, baking powder and salt.

Beat together butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy in a large bowl.

Add eggs and blend thoroughly.

Add flour mixture in thirds, mixing well after each addition.

Stir in toffee bits.

Drop by rounded teaspoon onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Sprinkle with white sugar (as mentioned, I left this step out).

Bake in a 350F oven until golden brown, for about 12 minutes.

Cool on rack when done.

Easy breezy, and a hit with the boys.  I enjoyed the cookies (I AM a cookie monster), though it is hard to beat my Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies!  Thanks again, Whitewater Cooks!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hearty Ham & Split Pea Soup

What does one do with leftover ham and the ham bone?  Why, we make soup of course!  I've never tackled split pea soup before, but I figured, no time like the present.  My mother-in-law shared her split pea soup recipe with me and I combined it with the recipe that I found in my favourite cookbook series - Whitewater Cooks - to make my own recipe.  It is a hearty soup, very green, and quite tasty!  I already had most of the items in my kitchen, with the exception of the dried split peas, but a quick adventure to the grocery store and we were all set for soup making!

Here is the recipe:

Great use of leftover ham, this ham and split pea soup has added goodness!
Part 1
1 ham bone
1 onion (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
1 celery stalk (chopped)
2 bay leaves
1 ½ tsp thyme

Simmer ham bone in about 10 cups of water with bay leaves, thyme, onion, carrots, and celery for about 3 hours.  Discard bone, bay leaves and vegetables.

Part 2
1 ½ cups dried split peas, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion (chopped)
2-3 carrots (chopped)
1-2 stalks celery (chopped)
1-2 cloves garlic (minced)
¾ teaspoon chilli powder
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Pepper to taste
2 cups chopped ham
2 cups frozen peas, thawed and pureed in food processor

Add peas to stock (add chicken broth if needed to make about 8 cups of liquid) and heat to boiling.  Boil uncovered for about 2 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Saute remaining vegetables with olive oil for about 5 minutes.

Add sautéed vegetables, ham, chilli powder, red pepper flakes and pepper to stock.  Cover and simmer for about 1-1 ½ hours, or until peas are tender.

10 minutes prior to serving, add pureed peas to the soup.  Increase heat to medium-high and heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Do not overcook the soup at this point.

Serve immediately with warm bread (we had three cheese focaccia bread).

We loved the soup.  Especially my husband and I.  Our four year old ate it but pretended he didn't like it, though we know that he did.  Adding the pureed peas at the end added a little extra oomph to the flavour, as well as a nice greener colour.  The bread was great for dipping in the soup...yum yum!  I'm looking forward to the leftovers!