25 January 2015

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup for the Soul ( Avgolemono Soup with Orzo)

Soup for the soul
Today is a good day to be inside puttering away in the kitchen. With an upcoming trip to the Yucatan only weeks away I am dreaming of my first real sojourn many years ago. Greece is thousands of kilometres from the Yucatan but it was the vision of sun-drenched beaches and the need for something soothing with what I had on hand that instigated my endeavours. Today in my own kitchen I am taking an armchair journey and replicating an iconic Greek soup that can be found in almost every taverna in Greece; at least that would be my expectation. I remember as if it were yesterday being in a taverna in the mountainous regions of Greece in the tiny town of Metsovo in the northern most part of the Zagoria region. I was in the central square near the orthodox church nursing a lingering cold with a tasty version of this soup. Early evening had been a wonderful time to arrive. As we descended through the mist, dazzling lights twinkled in the ravine. Stone houses with grey slate roofs and sharply projecting balconies lined the steep serpentine alleyways. An oasis off the square promised a tasty bite or two to nourish my soul and my weary body while savouring every bite of the local version of Avgolemono. A frugal soup that can be made in a pinch with what is on hand. 

Sniffling I observed the elderly men sitting on a bench lined up like crows in black flat caps, dark baggy pants and wooden shoes. The older women coming from the market with their freshly picked garden greens wore dark blue or black with embroidered trim and brightly coloured aprons, jackets and scarves. 

Best Blogger Tips

20 January 2015

My Best Bites in the Valley

Another year has come and gone and I look back fondly on the past year and on all of the memorable eating experiences we have had in 2014. Although it may be difficult to name just a few I will attempt to name my favourites among them. Some are just a memory without any photographic evidence but savoured on the tongue, some cannot be replicated, duplicated, or reinvented, but all of these food memories have left their footprints in my memory card; shared with good friends these memories will linger forever. The journey does not stop here.

Apple Doughnuts with Caramel Sauce and Rosemary Ice Cream
Technically this is not a dessert I tried last year but it was so perfect, it just had to be added to this list. I will consider it my first monthly choice for 2015 of the Best Bites in the Valley...Apple Doughnuts with Caramel Sauce and Rosemary Ice Cream at Local Lounge • Grille in Summerland. Now if that wasn't perfection….
Best Blogger Tips

7 January 2015

Continue the Celebration with Late Night Tapas and a Cocktail for the Virtual Supper Club

Kibbeh Meatballs with Spiced Yogurt Sauce and a Pomegranate Gin Sling
It is that time of the year when we think of new beginnings and look at the world through rose coloured glasses with hope for another great year. We join the gym, make New Year resolutions, and change our eating habits. But we are here to tell you that you can still enjoy all the great foods you love in moderation and still be true to your goals. 

This months theme for the Virtual Supper Club was chosen by our very own Susan of The Spice Garden.  The celebrations continue without all the trimmings and gravy of the holiday season and move over to the "light side." We always appreciate you joining us for this monthly event where a group of ladies and one gent in two neighbouring countries get together on the first Wednesday of every month to create a delicious event with a theme in mind. We can look back nostalgically as 2015 marks the beginning of our fifth year of tasty dishes here at the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club.  This is a team effort where we will continue to share a love for healthy eating and living into 2015. We look forward each month to strengthening our bonds, and enjoying each others company virtually. Here at the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club we have dreamed up a menu on the healthier side without giving up any of the comfort you find in delicious food. 


Best Blogger Tips

28 December 2014

Celebrate The Art of Cheese with a Twist on a Retro Cheese Fondue with Herbed Crostini and Apples


#castelloart @castellousa

This post is part of “The Art of Cheese”, a partnership between Honest Cooking and Castello Cheese.

As seen on Honest Cooking - Retro foods like macaroni and cheese, tuna casserole, chicken pot pie and crepes Suzette have made a much needed come back in recent years. Dishes that last saw the light of day when comfort foods ruled the roost have been reinvented with new twists and flavour profiles. If you thought prawn cocktails had vanished into the netherworld along with shoulder pads and Bananarama chart hits, think again.

Retro foods are having a moment in culinary circles, as gourmands and trend-setters delve into the past to breathe fresh life into timeworn classics. Handed down from generation to generation on stained recipe cards and in tattered notebooks, comforting retro foods are staples for anyone wanting a hearty meal and a little taste of home. Decadent foods can and will always be a part of our future but you can still be magnetically drawn to the table by recreating tasty, heart healthy versions of these retro foods such as a heartwarming cheese fondue. 

Best Blogger Tips

27 December 2014

Churro Waffles with Whipped Cream and Chocolate Sauce

Churro Waffles with Whipped Cream and Chocolate Sauce

In the summer one of my favourite food trucks offers a version of what I have come to think of as a warm weather treat. I have savoured these special treats straight or spiral-shaped, with or without a dusting of cinnamon and sugar, dipped in chocolate or straight out of a greasy paper bag on the streets of Mexico.  Churros, in all their creative variations, will continue to be one of my summertime favourites but I am here to tell you that you can enjoy their incredible flavour reinvented for breakfast during the winter months too and no deep fryer in sight. 
Best Blogger Tips

23 December 2014

Christmas Dinner...Keeping it Simple

We're coming Christmas day…. my heart leaps with joy….We're bringing a turkey…..

"At Christmas, all roads lead home. "~Marjorie Holmes  

Caldo Verde from Dragons Kitchen

Click "read more" to see my simple holiday menu…...
Best Blogger Tips

7 December 2014

Butternut Squash Sheetpan Macaroni and Cheese…Because We Still Have to Eat!!


Butternut Squash Sheet Macaroni and Cheese
 
As my kitchen moves into high gear in preparation for the holidays, as cookies are baked, iced, and frozen, and as menus are planned, I realize that there are thirty more days on the calendar in the month of December other than Christmas Day that we simply have to eat! Plain and simple. To me there is absolutely NOTHING on the planet as comforting as a delicious, homemade macaroni and cheese for which I make no apologies whatsoever for its cheese, butter and carbs. It may even help ease any stress you might be feeling with the parties and entertaining looming. So let's eat shall we.

There are many trains of thought on what makes the perfect home made macaroni and cheese. Do you make yours with a béchamel sauce? Does it come out of a box? Do you make it on the stove top or in the oven? Is it saucy or not? Do you add tomatoes, truffles or lobster? Whether smooth and creamy, stringy and gooey, or just plain cheesy, everyone has a slightly different take on what constitutes the perfect homemade macaroni and cheese. What we don't want are adjectives like gummy, grainy or oily.
Best Blogger Tips

3 December 2014

Warm Up to Winter with English Cottage Pie and the Virtual Supper Club

English Cottage Pie
As we flip over the calendar to December our thoughts quickly move to the holidays. Kitchens burst into action as we prepare for the "food fest" that is Christmas. Throughout the month of December our thoughts dwell on warm, toe curling comfort foods that delight us inside and out. Here in the valley with the temperatures dropping well below the seasonal norm we hit the "I don't want to leave the house stage." What better way to virtually wrap you in a warm blanket by having our team here at the Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club create a menu based on warm winter foods. Warm bacon-spinach salads, hearty soups, slow roasting, self-saucing puddings, and mulled wine come to mind.

We welcome you back to this months Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club where we continue our celebration of delicious food on the "lighter" side. We always appreciate you joining us for this event where we get together on the first Wednesday of every month to create a delicious meal from appetizers to dessert with a theme in mind. Ultimately our love of food, blogging and our commitment to a health conscious lifestyle is what has brought us all together. 


Best Blogger Tips

26 November 2014

Embrace Winter with a Stay at Lake Okanagan Bed and Breakfast in British Columbia


Lake Okanagan Bed and Breakfast
Traditionally considered an exclusive summer destination, the Okanagan valley, in south central British Columbia, is known for its reliably hot and sun laden summers, beaches, and sophisticated and yet laid back lifestyle. Tucked between two mountain ranges, about a four hour drive from Vancouver, the Okanagan Valley enjoys dramatic vistas and abundant outdoor adventures to occupy your time. But often overlooked in this jaw-dropping setting is its winter season. Averaging a balmy 0 to -1 °C (32 to 30°F) during the winter you can revitalize your soul.

We still receive a hearty helping of powder snow for the skiers at our ski hills in the higher elevations but before trading in your ski jacket for a grass skirt, consider a winter vacation in Canada's Okanagan region, toque optional, and stay with my friends at the Lake Okanagan Bed and Breakfast.  Enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Okanagan, city lights, memorable, vistas, and vineyards from their intimate dining room at Lake Okanagan Bed and Breakfast.  Enjoy a 4-course Italian themed dinner and winery, foodie, or cultural tours with a two or more day stay without the expense of jetting off to Italy.

Best Blogger Tips

12 November 2014

Old-Fashioned Pancakes with Apple Chutney and Maple Whipped Cream and a Visit to the Grist Mill



Old-Fashioned Pancakes with Apple Chutney and Maple Whipped Cream

On a gorgeous sunny day a few weekends ago my feet had that wandering itch. You know the feeling when a bright, sunny autumn day has you busting to get outdoors. So I hopped in the car and ventured into the southern interior to the Similkameen Valley. My destination was The Grist Mill and Gardens in Keremeos which has been a favourite of mine for several years. 

Under the leadership of proprietor Chris Mathieson the mill with its natural assets is becoming a foodie destination with visitors getting a tour of the working mill and interactive exhibits thrown in for good measure. The 12-acre site,  with six acres to grow wheat and its own restaurant facilities is perfectly positioned to illustrate both the past and future of food.

On this day my goal was their annual Apple Day celebrations and the promise of a pancake breakfast by our very own Natasha Schooten in the bright and peaceful on-site tea room.
Best Blogger Tips