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Monday, 27 October 2014

Green Beans with Spicy Cheese Sauce

I've never been much of a fan of vegetables.  My preference is corn.  It's the only vegetable I would say I actually fully liked.  However, I can't live my life - or dare to call myself a "foodie" - just eating corn, so I will experiment with other vegetables.

Sometimes, those vegetables need a little jazzing up.  So while making dinner one night I thought I would make a simple cheese rue. After making it, all I could think of was "been there, done that", so I decided that the simple sauce needed some spicing up.  So I did just that - added spices, and gave it just the kick it needed.

This is a little on the "mild" side, so if you prefer spicy, go ahead and add more.

Spicy Cheese Sauce for Vegetables

Recipe by Fluudbloggler
  • 1 cup Half & Half cream or whole milk
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp goat cheese (yes I said goat cheese, my favourite of the cheeses)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • pinch salt
Cooking Directions
  1. In a small pan mix the flour and cream until smooth.
  2. Cook over medium/low heat until warm, add butter until melted.
  3. Continue cooking until sauce boils and thickens.
  4. Add all spices.
  5. Add both cheeses and whisk until fully melted and creamy.
  6. Pour over any cooked vegetables such as fresh green beans, broccoli, cauliflower.
  7. Keep warm until ready to serve, however, if left on its own it may form a coating on top.  If this happens just use the whisk until creamy again. 
  8. This recipe is enough for at least 4 servings because a little goes a long way.  Any left-over that you can't use right away, can be refrigerated and added to mashed potatoes the next day!
In this particular instance, I used fresh green beans as my vegetable.  I prefer my green beans a little on the crunchy side.  So I usually just pan fry them for about 10 minutes in a little bit of olive oil, with salt & pepper.

Served with Lemon Baked Tilapia and Coconut Rice. 

Lemon Baked Tilapia

I love fish and seafood.  But usually only when somebody else is cooking it because I don't have a lot of success. I decided to try baking some tilapia for dinner tonight. This recipe is easy, and full of flavour and I will definitely make it again. Tonight I served it with coconut rice and green beans with a spicy cheese sauce. (Recipe on another blog post.)

Lemon Baked Tilapia

Recipe by Fluudbloggler
  • 4 Tilapia fillets
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp dill weed
  • 1/2 lemon thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese
Cooking Directions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Melt 1 tbsp butter and place in the bottom of a baking pan (big enough to hold all the fish).
  3. Dredge one side of the fish in the butter, and turn over (butter side up).
  4. Melt second tbs butter and pour over the fish.
  5. Sprinkle all spices over fish evenly.
  6. Sprinkle cheese over fish evenly.
  7. Put one slice of lemon on each piece of fish.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes until flaky.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Basic Apple Crisp

Sometimes you just need an amazingly good dessert that takes no time at all.  This apple crisp, that I learned how to make in Grade 7, fits that bill.  It's so easy and quick, and everybody you serve it to will love it.

I have to give credit to my middle school Home Ec.  teacher for this recipe.  I wish I could remember her name, but now it's mine and I'm happy to share with you.

Everybody's Favourite Apple Crisp

Recipe by Fluudbloggler
  • 3 apples, cored and paired
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp soft butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal
Cooking Directions
  1. Peel & core apples.
  2. Place apples in the bottom of a baking dish.

  3. Sprinkle water and sugar over top of the apples.
  4. Make crisp topping:
  5. Mix brown sugar, butter, flour and oatmeal together with a fork (or with your hands) until crumbly.
  6. Spread over top of the apples.
  7. Bake in 375 oven for 35 minutes.
  8. Serve warm either plain or with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. 

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside Rum Cider

Full disclosure, it's not quite "cold" outside where I am yet, but there's a definite chill in the air, and I'm not in the mood for cold drinks anymore.  My liquor cabinet is, to put it simply, not very full.  The only thing I have in it right now, other than wine, is spiced rum.

So I thought I would see what I could do with it, while making a different kind of drink for a cool night.

This is pretty simple, and really yummy. With 2 oz of rum in each serving, it can be a bit potent, so go ahead and use less rum and more cider if that's your preference.

Warm Rum Cider

Recipe by Fluudbloggler


  • 4 cups pure apple cider
  • 1 cup (8 oz) spiced rum (I used Captain Morgan's)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 tsp honey (or 4 tsp brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
Cooking Directions

  1. Mix together all ingredients except rum.
  2. Heat in a pan on medium heat (or slow cooker) until warm.
  3. Remove from heat and pour into heat proof glasses.
  4. Add 2 oz of rum to each glass, and stir, then garnish with cinnamon stick or orange peel curls if desired.
  5. Makes 4 servings (2 oz alcohol each) 

How to make orange curls: 
  1. With a potato peeler, slice a thin strip of peel from an orange.
  2. Cut into skinny strips.
  3. Using your finger or a cinnamon stick, curl around and hold for a few minutes.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Blender Hollandaise Sauce

Sometimes the food you're making just needs a bit of oomph.  Like adding a little creamy sauce.
Hollandaise is often considered one of the best - higher echelon - go to - type of sauce.  It's also considered difficult to make because if you aren't careful it will "break" - meaning the lemon and eggs will separate and instead of having a nice creamy sauce you have a gloppy mess.

I found this easy recipe for perfect Hollandaise sauce, using a blender, in the Julia Child cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" - the basis for the book/movie Julie & Julia (both names that I go by).

It makes a perfectly smooth, creamy sauce.  Why not try it yourself and you will soon be making amazing Eggs Bennie or Herbed Hollandaise Salmon (as in the picture above.)

This doesn't make a lot of sauce, however Hollandaise is so rich, just a little goes a long way.


3 egg yokes
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt (a lot of recipes say 1/2 tsp, but I find that too salty)
pinch of pepper
1/2 cup butter

1) In a blender place egg, juice and spices.

2) Blend for 2 seconds.
3) In the microwave or small pan, melt butter until bubbling.
4) Take the centre piece out of the blender lid and while still blending, slowly pour the melted butter in. Blend for about 10 seconds.
5) Use right away.  Or if not, keep in a bowl over warm water.

Note:  If you are using as a sauce for fish, once blended you can add additional spices, such as dill, parsley, or tarragon.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Best Butternut Squash, Pear & Bacon Soup

I've heard a couple of people on TV say "Butternut Squash Soup, is old news".  And while that may be true, I don't think anybody would call this recipe, old anything.  It's literally the best butternut squash soup I've ever had.  It could be because of the bacon - let's face it, everybody loves bacon.

When I served this soup to a friend of mine who reluctantly tried it because she said "I don't like soup".  After eating it, (she practically licked the bowl) she said "Ok, I don't like soup, but I love this soup".  I think you will too.

It's a little time consuming, but it's well worth it.

Butternut Squash, Pear & Bacon Soup

Recipe by Fluudbloggler
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
  • 4 cups butternut squash
  • 2 pears (any kind)
  • 4 pieces bacon
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy or half & half cream
  • 1 tsp herbs de provence
  • This recipe is easier if you prepare all ingredients ahead of time.
  1. Peel skin from squash, and cut into cubes to make 4 cups. (See instruction below on how to cut and peel a squash.)
  2. Peel skin from pears, and cut into cubes.
  3. Cut onion into small pieces.
  4. In a large pot fry bacon until cripsy.
  5. Remove from pot and cool to touch, then crumble into small bits.
  6. Discard all but 1 tbsp bacon fat.
  7. In hot bacon fat, cook onion until brown over medium heat.
  8. Add chicken stock, squash and pears.

  9. Bring to a boil, then reduce head and simmer, covered for 30 minutes.

  10. Use an immersion blender and bled until all the squash and pears are smooth and no chunk remain.
  11. Add bacon and herbs de provence, and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
  12. Remove from head and stir in cream.
  13. Serve immediately, or store in mason jars or in the freezer.

How to cut a squash:

Slice off the bottom so that it can sit flat.  Slice a piece off the top so it lies flat.
Peel the skin.
Cut the squash lengthwise in half.
Scoop out the seeds from the middle.
Cut into bite sized pieces.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Falling for Apple Pie

It's apple season, and so it wouldn't be apple season without sharing an apple pie recipe.

I've included the full instructions for making a double pie crust since the last pie recipe I posted was for lemon meringue, and was only a single crust.

Apple pie is great first pie for novice bakers to try.

Recipe by Fluudbloggler

Fall Apple Pie

  • 1 double pie crust (recipe to follow)
  • 6 Macintosh apples (other recipes use granny smith, but I prefer macs)
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp white sugar  (4 if you prefer a sweeter pie)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar (3 if you prefer a sweeter pie)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Cooking Directions

  1. Peel, core, and slice the apples. (I always do this on a paper towel, which makes cleaning up so much easier.)
  2. If using an apple slicer than makes 8 pieces, slice them in half as well.
  3. Put cut apples into bowl and add remaining ingredients.
  4. Stir to coat the apples well.
  5. Pour into uncooked pie shell. Piled high because the apples will shrink down after cooking.
  6. Cover with top pie crust.
  7. Make small cuts/slices into the top crust to vent the steam.
  8. Decorate if so inclined.

  9. Bake for 30 minutes at 375. Increase temperature to 425 and bake another 10 minutes.
Oops, sorry had to eat some before I got a chance to take the picture. 

Double Pie Crust

Recipe by Fluudbloggler
No fail perfect pie pastry.
Easy stars
Yield: 2 pie shells
  • 2 cups white flour
  • egg
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening
Cooking Directions
  1. In a large mixing bowl add flour.
  2. Cut shortening into smaller pieces, and add to flour.
  3. Add remaining ingredients.
  4. If mixing by hand, use a pastry fork. Can also be mixed with stand mixer. If for any reason your dough is too crumbly, add a little bit more shortening.  If your dough is too soft, add a bit more flour.
  5. A lot of recipes say you have to use cold ingredients, and refrigerate the dough before using, but I never, ever do that, and always have success.
  6. Spread two pieces of plastic wrap onto the counter.
  7. Divide dough in half, and roll into 2 balls.
  8. Place one ball on plastic wrap, squish down, then place two more pieces of plastic wrap on top.          
  9. With rolling pin, roll out until slightly bigger than the pie plate.
  10. Pick up by the edges of the plastic wrap and place into pie plate - plastic wrap side up.

  11. Press down.
  12. Carefully peel off plastic wrap and reserve.
  13. Trim edges with knife.
  14. Roll out the second ball of dough, and place over filled pie.
I use the plastic wrap rather than waxed paper, and parchment paper because with the plastic wrap, you can easily see what you are doing, and the dough just does not stick.  It`s much easier manipulating the dough as well. There`s a lot less mess as well.