The Kitchen

Butternut Squash Soup

I was recently stuck on a liquid diet for a week after having my wisdom teeth removed. How did I get away with waiting so long to get them out! I feel too old for this!

The steady bowls of mashed potatoes and glasses of chocolate milkshakes got old quick (well less so for the milkshakes.) Healing up on the couch when it is so cold outside required a comforting soup. Martha always knows best so I headed to her website to find a recipe for some liquid comfort. I love butternut squash at this time of year so when I saw this recipe I knew it would be perfect.

I recommend topping the soup with crumbled blue cheese or sour creme. It also pairs well with an afternoon on the couch watching a Cary Grant movie, my favourite is Talk of the Town.

Pasta Pie

I saw this recipe for pasta pie and could not wait to try it out! The pasta is baked standing on end stuffed with tomato and bolognese sauce and of course smothered in cheese!

I am a huge pasta lover!  This recipe is a great alternative to the standard pasta bowl or bake. I served it up by cutting the pieces out like a cake, it actually kept it shape with some help from the upper cheese layer.  When eating all the ingredients mix together in a gooey tomato pasta mess that is completely scrumptious.  The pasta is particularly flavourful because it is placed in the pan cooked al dente.  It finishes cooking while baking in the oven, it absorbs up the tomato sauce surrounding it, providing a spicy herby flavour.



Blue Potatoes

I remember having blue (to me they look purple) potatoes growing up in Ontario.  It didn’t happen often and they usual appeared as a gift from someone who grew them in their own garden.  I never see these colourful potatoes in grocery stores, and have not eaten/cooked one in years.  I was super excited to see some at a farmer’s market last week. I roasted them in the oven with some rosemary and italian parsley.

The leftovers ended up in a colourful frittata for breakfast the next morning.


Grandma’s macaroni and cheese

The weather has turned rainy lately.  I have a cold.  Haaachooo. This situation calls for some serious comfort food. For me this means one thing: my grandmother’s homemade macaoni and cheese.

This was my most requested meal when I went to visit my grandmother as a kid and probably the first meal I ever learned to make.  I have long ago lost the recipe but I will never forget how to make this dish.

Three elements created my love for this dish: bacon, mushrooms, and lots of gooey cheese sauce.  That plus macaroni is basically the recipe.  Some of the most beautiful things are so simple.

Start with lots of cooked macaroni. I have no measurements for this, I make massive amount because I like my casserole dish to be bursting with macaroni.  Then cook bacon and mushrooms separately. Grandma always used white mushrooms, I decided to add in some oyster mushrooms this time. Even though this recipe is a classic I still like to experiment the ingredients. So far grandma has always made it best.

For the cheese sauce make a roux of equal parts melted butter and flour in a sauce pan, slowly add milk to desired constancy and then add grated cheese slowly while stirring so it melts into the sauce. Next add more cheese, and then even more cheese.  If you choose at this point you can add more cheese.

Combine all elements in a cassarole dish to bake, I often add more grated cheese into the mix as well.  Top with bread crums and more cheese to give it a crusty crunchy top. Heat in oven at 350°C for 35-45 minutes.  Let cool before eating, otherwise you will burn your tongue, I know from experience.

Thank you Grandma!


Sweet Potato Perogies

When I was in school I always had one of those big bags of frozen perogies in my fridge for a quick easy filling dinner.  I decided to give home-made perogies a try, it was the complete opposite of quick though it was fairly easy.

I often shy away from recipes that require making dough, this recipe proved to me I should trust my instincts.  Rolling out the dough for each individual perogie and moulding them in to shape took way to long! I am seriously never repeating this recipe!….Well give me a couple of  months to forget how annoying it was and I may reconsider that statement.

Most recipes I looked up for perogies had the basic potato and cheese filling.  I decided to add some sweet potato to the filling and I am very happy with the result.

These perogies were seemed to get better with age.  I found them a bit tough and the dough tasted a little starchy.  When I had some leftovers for lunch the next day they were perfect and soft.  My theory behind this was that they sat in oily sautéed onions overnight or maybe they just needed some time to rest, I know I did, What ever it was I now know to make lots for leftovers in the future.


Chorizo & Prawn Jambulaya

I bought a Voodoo spice mix in New Orleans a couple years ago.  I have no idea what is in the mix, there are garlic flavour and possibly cayenne cause it has a bit of  a kick (which I love.)  This mix has sat in the back of the cupboard for a couple years.  Finally today I decided to test it out in a classic Lousianna dish: Jambulaya!

What every Voodoo magic was used on that spice mix worked because this dish tastes smells like warm southern comfort.


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