Tag Archives: Cheese


I had one of those days recently where I just felt like a hearty and indulgent brunch, but I couldn’t decide wether I wanted an omelette or crepes….so I decided to stick an omelette inside of a crepe.  Why not just have both?

I started by digging out some veggies and cheese from my fridge to make up the omelette…

…then I sautéed some leeks…

Sautéed Leeks

and poured a few whisked eggs on top…

Red Pepper and Leek Omelette

While that mixture simmers away….whip up a bit of crepe batter!

Crepe Batter

Then fry up some of that batter in a bit of butter….mmmmmhhmmm

Cooking Crepe

Allow it to get golden brown.


When it’s good and golden, sprinkle with a bit of old cheddar…

Cheesy Crepe

…then that omelette thing we were working on earlier.  Oh, and crumbled bacon.

Crepe, Red Pepper and Leek Omelette and Bacon

Then comes a bit more cheese and another crepe.  The cheese acts as glue here, so don’t be shy with it.  Not that any person with taste buds would ever go light on the cheese.

Omelette Stuffed Crepe

Cut up into four sections, and serve!


Omelette Recipe

3 Large eggs
1 Leek, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/4 cup grated asiago
salt and pepper
2 strips bacon, crumbled or finely chopped
Grated cheddar cheese

Crepe Recipe

Equal parts milk and flour
1 Egg
Butter for frying

  1. Chop up some veggies, (leeks and red pepper for example), then sauté them in a bit of butter.  Whisk 3 eggs together and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Pour egg mixture over veggies into hot pan.  Turn heat to medium and allow eggs to bake into solid omelette form.  Tilt pan from side to side to drain uncooked eggs to the edges, if necessary.
  3. Mix 2 cups each milk and flour with and add egg.  Whisk thoroughly to combine.
  4. Melt a bit of butter into a frying pan and add a laddle full of the crepe batter. Tilt from side to side to spread the batter out evenly, and cook until golden brown.  Flip and repeat.
  5. Top a crepe with grated cheddar, and slide the omelette on top of the crepe.  Add crumbled bacon and more cheddar, then top with another crepe.
  6. Cut into quarters and eat!

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Filed under Breakfast

Veggie Quesadillas

This is a great dinner for a summer night when it’s just too hot to eat anything huge and heavy.  Or a fancy party snack! It’s just veggies, cheese and flavour; light, simple and satisfying!

I took some veggies that were laying around – peppers, zucchini, corn and sautéed them with garlic and a few other spices for a few minutes on a high, hot heat.  This just seared them a bit, so they kept a bit of crispness.  Nothing worse than soggy veggies 😦

Quesadilla Filling

So, just lay a tortilla flat and top with cheddar cheese and a few scoops of the veggie mixture. Heat a frying pan up on medium heat, add some butter and let it get sizzly. Then, add the tortilla and top with more cheese and a second tortilla on top. If you cover this with a lid for a few minutes, you will ensure maximum cheese melty-ness.  This particular trait is essential if you’re looking for a high quality quesadilla!

Fried up Quesadilla

When the cheese is melted and the tortillas are crispy (don’t forget to flip once the first tortilla is golden brown), chop into sections and serve with sour cream.  🙂  Bring a fork to clean up the extra filling!

Veggie Quesadillas

Veggie Quesadillas Recipe

4 tbsp olive oil, divided
4 big cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tsp dried vegetable seasoning
1/2 tsp onion salt
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 cups assorted veggies, chopped (sweet peppers, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, etc.)
¾ cup black beans (optional)
1 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
8 Tortillas (Flour and corn both work)
Sour cream for dipping

  1. Stir together 2 tbsp olive oil, vegetable seasoning, onion salt and salt and pepper.
  2. Mix together vegetables and black beans, and stir in olive oil mixture.
  3. Heat remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan until hot and add garlic.  Cook on medium heat until golden brown and intoxicatingly aromatic.  Throw veggies in, and turn heat up to high.  Cook for 3 minutes, stirring pretty regularly to avoid burning.  But don’t be afraid of a little delicious charring!  Remove mixture to a bowl.
  4. In same frying pan, add cooking spray or a bit more olive oil and heat.  Add one flour tortilla, a handful of cheese, and a few scoops of the veggie filling.  Then add some more cheese and another tortilla.  Cover the frying pan with a lid to allow the cheese to melt fully.
  5. When bottom tortilla is golden brown, flip and cook the second tortilla until it is golden brown as well.
  6. Remove to cutting board and cut into sections.
  7. Serve with sour cream and guacamole for dipping!

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Filed under Apps & Sides, Vegetarian

Pulled Pork Tacos

I’m always on the look out for an excuse to eat something in taco form, when inspiration came from a recent Food Network magazine which listed 50 different ways to serve tacos, pulled pork being one of them.  Then, Flow, an excellent restaurant in my hometown shared their recipe for pulled pork in the local newspaper, and I thought I should probably go ahead and make this whole pulled pork taco thing happen.   Basically, the equation for this recipe breaks down to:

pulled pork recipe from Flow + general taco awesomeness = pulled pork taco dinner heaven

So here’s how the pork went into the oven.  In tenderloin form (healthy!), after marinating in a rub of paprika, garlic powder, dry mustard, tomato paste etc., for a few hours.  Then into a roasting pan with carrots, celery, onion and broth.

Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

Roughly 4 hours later it came out looking like this:

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Separate the meat from the broth (and reserve the broth to use in other recipes if you like, it’s tasty stuff) and pull the whole thing to shreds using a couple of forks.

Pulled apart pork tenderloin

But while the pork is in the oven, you can prepare the sauce.  Mix all these things together in a pot and heat on a stove for about 10 minutes.  Super easy, super delicious.

Pulled Pork Sauce

It doesn’t look like much, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste like much.  It turned out to be a delicious and tangy-sweet sauce.

Simmering Pulled Pork sauce

Next, stir the sauce and the pork together.  At first i thought pulled pork would be better the longer it simmered in sweet saucy goodness, but I wanted to try this just like Flow does it, so I followed the recipe and mixed them together right before serving.   Let me tell you, there was NOTHING wrong with this pulled pork.  Not one single thing.

Saucy Pulled Pork

As for turning it into a taco, I started with a flour tortilla (after being unable to find corn ones :(, but in the end the flour ones were great), then a layer of refried beans with the pulled pork piled high on top of that.

Sidenote: very difficult to take an appetizing photo of refried beans swiped on a tortilla.  Let’s skip that picture and go straight to this one:

Re-fried beans and pulled pork

Next you’ve gotta fry them up.  Use just enough vegetable oil to make them turn golden brown, but not get too greasy.

Fried Pulled Pork Tacos

Then it’s time for standard (but awesome) taco fare.  Guacamole, pico de galo, cheese, sour cream, etc. etc. etc.

Dressed up Pulled Pork Tacos

I also decided to top one of them with homemade apple coleslaw, just to see how it tasted when it was more liked a pulled pork sandwich on a tortilla, rather than a taco with pulled pork on it.  The coleslaw combo was great and I would have it again, but overall I preferred the traditional taco toppings.  In other words, my third taco that evening had traditional toppings on it 🙂

Taco Combo

I basically cut their recipe in half since I used a smaller tenderloin instead of a 5 -7 pound pork shoulder which Flow recommends for this recipe.  Below is their exact recipe, so adapt it as you see fit!

Pulled Pork Tacos Recipe

The Rub:
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons coarse salt
1 tablespoon of canola oil
2 tablespoons of tomato paste (or ketchup)

The Stock:
1 cup diced onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1-2L of beef stock (to fill roasting half way)

The Sauce:
1/2 cup of pork shoulder stock reduction
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cup yellow or brown mustard
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Mix all rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend all over the pork and marinate for as long as you have time for, as little as 1 hour or up to overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  3. Put the pork and stock in a roasting pan and bake for about 6 hours, flipping the roast at the half way mark.  Roast the pork until fork tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 170 degrees F.
  4. To make the barbecue sauce: combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until smooth.
  5. Remove the pork roast from the oven and transfer to a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes. While still warm, take 2 forks and “pull” the meat to form shreds. Using 2 forks, shred the pork by steadying the meat with 1 fork and pulling it away with the other. Put the shredded pork in a bowl. Pour 1/2 of the sauce on the shredded pork and mix well to coat.
  6. *To serve, spoon the pulled pork mixture onto the bottom 1/2 of the hoagie bun, and top with the slaw. Serve with your favorite leafy salad.

*I obviously ignored this part of the instructions and served it in taco form.  Pile pork on a tortilla, along with your favourite taco toppings, and eat!

From: Flow Café & Catering, Elmira Observer

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Filed under Comfort Food, Main Courses

Bacon, Apple and Cheddar Quesadillas

I’ve noticed that a lot of my posts lately have been meat/bacon-centric….and this one is no different!  I guess I’ve fallen into a pretty heavy bacon phase, but I’m not fighting it. I made these fancy quesadillas  for dinner with a salad on the side, but I would have them as appetizers as well (and breakfast too probably, if presented with the opportunity, but that’s beside the point).  Salty, sweet, crunchy, cheesy flavour heaven here I come!

Start with everyone’s favourite ingredient….the bacon.


Meanwhile, chop up some apples and add the bacon and some caramelized onions to make the quesadilla filling.  Add a bit of BBQ sauce to the mixture too so it isn’t dry.  Extra flavour too!

Quesedilla Filling

Load up some of the filling on a tortilla with cheese.

Loaded Quesedilla

Better add some more cheese on top of that!

Cheesy Quesedilla

Top with another tortilla and cook until golden and crispy, then flip and repeat on the other side.

Time to dig in!

Bacon, Apple and Cheddar Quesedillas

Bacon, Apple and Cheddar Quesadillas

6 Strips Bacon
1 white onion
1 apple, chopped
1 -2 cups grated old cheddar cheese
2 tbsp BBQ sauce
8 flour tortillas

1.    Cook bacon until crispy, and remove to a paper towel lined plate and dab bacon to absorb excess grease.  Chop or crumble bacon into small pieces.
2.    Slice onion, and fry over medium heat with a bit of butter, until browned and thoroughly cooked.
3.    Mix bacon, onion and apple in a bowl.  Add BBQ sauce and stir until evenly mixed.
4.    Heat a frying pan over medium heat, and grease with cooking spray or a bit of olive oil.  Add a tortilla and a handful of cheese.  Top with bacon, apple and onion mixture.
5.    Add another handful of cheese and top with a second tortilla.
6.    Cover frying pan with a lid or plate to ensure cheese melts.  Flip after 2 – 3 minutes or when bottom tortilla has browned.
7.    Once both sides are golden and crispy and cheese has melted, remove from pan, cut into sections and serve!  Serve with additional BBQ sauce and/or sour cream.

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Filed under Apps & Sides, Main Courses

Baked Brie with Pears and Pecans

I’ve been making this recipe for years and I’ve NEVER been disappointed.  Although the original recipe (which comes from a friend’s dad who is a chef – maybe that’s why it’s so good) calls for the whole thing to be wrapped up in puff or phyllo pastry, I got kind of lazy this time and left that step out.  Guess what?  It was still amazing.  I may or may not have had this for dinner one night……OK…..I did.

To start, chop some pecans and dice some pears, and stir it into a mixture of melted butter and brown sugar. Add some salt to taste.

Pears and pecans with melted butter and brown sugar

Slice the Brie in a few places, about halfway through the wheel to open it up a bit and allow for the pear mixture to fully infiltrate the cheese.   Put the Brie in an oven safe dish, and add the pear mixture on top.  Bake it for about 15-20 minutes until melty and bubbly.

Baked Brie with Pears, Pecans and Baguette

Smear it on that baguette and prepare your taste buds for edible heaven 🙂

Sweet, Melty and Savoury Baked Brie 🙂

Baked Brie with Pears and Pecans Recipe

¼ cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup finely chopped pecans
½ cup diced Bartlett pear or Granny Smith Apples
Pinch Salt
Wheel Brie Cheese
Puff Pastry or Phyllo (Optional)
Egg Wash (1 Egg mixed with a few tbsp water) (Optional)

1.    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.    Melt butter and blend brown sugar.  Add chopped pecans and fresh pears or apples.  Add a little salt to taste.
3.    If using pastry, roll it out and place sugar mixture into the centre.  Flatten and place Brie on top.  Using the egg wash, brush the pastry and fold around the cheese, ensuring a tight seal.  Place in oven safe baking dish.
4.    If you’re not using the pastry, place the wheel of Brie into an oven safe baking dish, slice cheese in a few places, about halfway through the wheel.  This allows for the pear mixture to infiltrate and mix in with the cheese.
5.    Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown or melty and bubbly.  Serve warm.


Filed under Apps & Sides, Dips, Vegetarian

French Onion Soup

Fall is definitely upon us!  With the cooler weather come endless possibilities for belly warming soups.  I don’t know many people who don’t love French onion soup, so I won’t try and sell it to you on it, I’ll just share this solid (and relatively healthy!) recipe so you can make your own.  Happy Fall!

Throw some thinly sliced onions, garlic and salt into a big soup pot to get started.

Early Stages of French Onion Soup

Add some broth, red wine, sherry and a bay leaf, and simmer until you can’t handle the delightful fragrances emerging from your kitchen any longer.

Sizzling, Aromatic Broth 🙂

Load it up with some bread and cheese, and pop it in the oven until it’s all melty and gooey. Then dig in!

Sidenote:  I bought french onion soup bowls at the dollar store for, you guessed it, a dollar each.  No need to break the bank, and they’re oven safe!  These come in handy for way more than just French onion soup too – individual portions of pasta, baked dips, chicken pot pies, apple crisp etc.  Love these!

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup Recipe

1 tbsp canola oil
6 onions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
6 cups beef stock (low sodium works best)
½ cup red wine
2 tbsp dry sherry or cognac
1 bay leaf
½ tsp pepper
4 slices French bread
1 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese

1.    In soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Cook onions, garlic and salt, stirring often, for about 10 minutes until they start to brown.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until onions are very golden and very soft.  Add flour and stir to coat onions for 1 minute.
2.    Add beef stock, wine, sherry, bay leaf and pepper;  bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove bay leaf.
3.    Pour soup into desired bowls.  Place bread on top to fit bowls and sprinkle with cheese.  Bake in 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.  Broil for 30 seconds to brown top.

(Makes about 4 servings)

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Filed under Comfort Food, Soups & Stews

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes with Fresh Pasta

As I’ve mentioned before, I love carbohydrates intensely.  And for this reason, I think this might be in my top five favourite homemade recipes of all time.  But I’ve only made it the once…  It takes a long time to make pasta from scratch, it can’t be denied, but it’s also what makes this recipe so outlandishly tasty. Of course it will still be amazing using store bought pasta, but if you have a few hours to kill one afternoon (and a pasta maker), I strongly encourage you to try it.

AND this dish is perfect if you’re having company.  Impressive presentation is simple because everyone gets their own lovely roasted tomato on top of a heap of pasta!  Add a leafy green salad on the side, and tada!

So, get all your pasta making gear set up to start.

Pasta making Set-up

Make and knead your dough.

Dough Kneading

Pass it through the pasta maker a few times.

Dough through the roller

It should start to get really long, narrow and thin.  And try not to get too jealous of my gray jogging pants.

Dough rolled through the pasta maker

Next, put it through the spaghetti attachment.


Lay it out to dry.  Beware, it will take over your kitchen.

Spaghetti Invasion



Now prepare delicious stuffed tomatoes to roast, and then devour with some fresh pasta. Start with the filling.  AKA:  Panko bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, fresh parsley, fresh basil, garlic powder, coarse salt and fresh ground pepper and olive oil.

Roasted tomato filling

Scoop out of some of the tomato filling (dicing it if necessary), and stir it into  the bread crumb mixture.  Stuff everything back into the tomatoes, and roast at 400 degrees for about an hour.

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes

Toss some fresh pasta with a bit of olive oil and/or melted butter and a bit of fresh parsley.  Top with roasted tomatoes. And if you feel like getting fancy, sautée up some pancetta in a little bit of maple syrup.  MMMMMMMmmmmmmm, crazy ingredients mixing and causing intense flavour sensations 🙂  IMAGINE IF YOU ADDED ROASTED GARLIC TOO????  Why didn’t I think of this before? 😦

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes over Fresh Pasta

From another angle…

Birdseye view

Fresh Pasta Recipe

6 cups (+ more as necessary) all purpose flour
5 Eggs (Tip:  Don’t use eggs straight from the fridge!)

1.    Pour flour into large mixing bowl, and add eggs to centre.
2.    Mix eggs with a fork until completely blended with the flour.  Knead the mixture with your hands until it is completely homogenous and consistent.  If the mixture is too dry, add some water.  If it is too soft add some flour.  A good mixture should never stick to your fingers.
3.    Remove the mixture from the bowl and place it onto a lightly floured surface.  Cut mixture into small pieces.
4.    Set your pasta machine to the widest setting and pass a piece of the pasta mixture through the machine.  Repeat this 5-6 times, folding the dough over and adding some flour to the middle if necessary.
5.    When the dough has started to take shape, pass it through the smaller settings once or twice, until you obtain your desired thickness.
6.    With a knife, cut the dough crossways in pieces that are approximately 10 inches long.
7.    Switch your machine settings to the spaghetti attachment and pass the dough through to make your pasta!  Note:  if the rollers won’t “cut” this means the dough is too soft.  In this case you should pass the dough through the smooth rollers, adding some flour to the mixture.  If the dough is too dry and won’t catch in the machine, add a little water to the mixture and pass it through the smooth rollers once again.
8.    Place the pasta on a table-cloth (or hang from a pasta drying rack if you’ve got one) and leave it to dry for at least an hour.  This pasta can last a long time (1-2 weeks) if stored in a cool, dry place.
9.    Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta.  Fresh pasta cooks in just a few minutes, averaging about 2-5 minutes, depending on thickness.  Stir gently and then drain the pasta once it has finished cooking.

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes Recipe

6 Big, Juicy Tomatoes
1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
½ cup chopped artichoke hearts (optional)
¾ cups Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Toasted Pine Nuts
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup fresh basil
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp each kosher salt and pepper
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ cup pancetta, sautéed in maple syrup until crispy (optional)

1.    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.    Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out 2-3 tbsp of the innards.  Dice tomato innards into bite size pieces.
3.    Put diced tomato into big mixing bowl, and add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir until everything is thoroughly combined and stuff mixture back into tomatoes.
4.    Put in oven for 45 minutes until tomatoes are soft.  Serve on top of fresh pasta, and add sautéed maple pancetta if desired.

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Filed under Pasta, Vegetarian