Dec 01

The Modern Cottage Cheese Plate: Italian

The Modern Cottage Cheese Plate: ItalianGo Greek with fresh, flavorful ingredients like cucumbers, red peppers, herbs and olives. And, when you’re craving the rich flavors of Italy, look no further than the Modern Italian Cottage Cheese Plate. Dried tomatoes, basil, garlic, lemon and pine nuts mixed with cottage cheese combine for a guest-worthy salad or dip when served with baguette slices or multi-grain crackers.

Makes 2 servings


  • 1 cup California low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 3/4 cup red and yellow grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup mixed olives
  • 6 whole grain baguette slices
  • 3 teaspoons Real California butter


  1. Spread butter lightly on baguette slices and toast. Stir together cottage cheese, tomatoes, basil, garlic and lemon zest in a small bowl.
  2. Place arugula onto two plates and top with cottage cheese.
  3. Sprinkle with pine nuts and surround with tomatoes, olives and baguette slices.



Nov 28

Gluten Free Recipes

Soft Turkey Tacos

Soft Turkey Tacos

Get creative with your gluten-free foods

(NC) Take a look at these recipe ideas, courtesy of Piller’s Fine Foods:

Soft Turkey Tacos


5 slices Piller’s Simply Free Roasted Turkey Breast, cut into strips

4 soft corn tortillas

125 ml (½ cup) lettuce, shredded

60 ml (¼ cup) carrots, cut into matchsticks

30 ml (2 Tbsp.) extra virgin olive oil

15 ml (1 Tbsp.) cilantro, finely chopped

Juice of one lime

Salt and pepper


In a large mixing bowl combine lettuce, carrots, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Lay out tortillas and divide mixture among tortillas; top with turkey breast strips. Fold in half and enjoy. Serves 2.

Gluten-Free Breakfast Sandwich


1 slice (26 g) Piller’s Simply Free Smoked Breakfast Ham*, cut in half

1 fried egg

1 slice cheese, of your choice

1 rice bun, toasted

5 ml (1 tsp.) butter

* Or equally delicious is Piller’s Simply Free Cornmeal Back Bacon or Breakfast Sausage Rounds


Place Smoked Breakfast Ham slice on bottom of toasted, buttered bun; add egg and cheese and cover with toasted bun top. Serves 1.

For more recipe ideas and for additional details on the brand go to

Nov 28

Honey Garlic Beef Stir Fry

(NC) In many households back to school time is the most frantic and exhausting time of the year. With parents at work, and kids at school it can be hard to coordinate family time during the week. Despite everyone’s differing schedules, it is important to set apart time during the week for families to participate in activities collectively. Dinnertime is the perfect opportunity for parents to spend time with their kids and learn about their new school term.

While time is not on your side during the week, it is important to prepare meals packed with healthy ingredients that support your families’ active lifestyle. Honey is a natural source of a wide range of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and natural energy. The natural energy found in honey will not only provide the entire family with an added boost, but the antioxidants found in honey will help everyone stay healthy and fight disease.

Here is a family friendly recipe that will get the whole family together:

Honey Garlic Beef Stir Fry


½ cup (125 mL) BeeMaid Honey

¼ cup (50 mL) teriyaki sauce

3 cloves Garlic, minced

2 tbsp (30 mL) Oyster sauce

1 tsp (5 mL) Sesame oil

¼ tsp (1 mL) Hot sauce or red pepper flakes

1 lb (500 g) Thinly sliced beef strips

1 tbsp (15 mL) Challenge Canada Corn Starch

2 tbsp (30 mL) water

2 tbsp (30 mL) Crisco Canola or Vegetable Oil

1 pkg (600 g) Europe’s Best Zen Garden frozen Vegetables


1. Sauce: Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Reserve. In a separate bowl combine beef with ¼ cup (50 mL) reserved sauce.2. Combine cornstarch and water. Reserve.3. Heat large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. When pan is hot, add beef. Cook until outside of beef is cooked, about 2 minutes. Add frozen vegetables and sauce. Bring sauce to a boil, cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes until vegetables and beef are cooked through. Add cornstarch mixture. Cook, stirring constantlyuntil thickened, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.Tips• Replace beef with shrimp or thinly sliced chicken.• Serve with rice or noodles.

For more family friendly recipes, visit

Nov 25

Give baked Brie a festive turn with grapes

Baked Brie with Grapes

Baked Brie with Grapes

(NC) Brie baked in puff pastry (Brie en croute) is a cocktail party classic.  The cheese comes out warm, easily spreadable and delicious.  To make this appetizer even more festive, stuff it with fresh grapes – in season from California through January.  The result is simply luscious, not overly sweet, the grapes still juicy, savoury with fresh herbs and colourful to boot.  If you can, substitute French brie with a brie-like cheese from a local producer.  Either way, the dish is easy to prepare and the results dependable and gratifying.

Baked Brie with Grapes


1 mini brie wheel (8 oz.)

1 cup California seedless grapes

1 teaspoon thyme, fresh minced

1/2 teaspoon rosemary, fresh minced

1 sheet (10 square) puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, beaten


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Slice Brie wheel in half horizontally. Press grapes onto cut side of lower half of cheese. Sprinkle grapes with herbs. Press top of Brie onto grapes, sandwiching them in between the two halves. Set aside.

On lightly floured surface, roll puff pastry into a 16×10 rectangle. Cut a 6 round and an 8 round from puff pastry. Brush smaller round of puff pastry with egg. Set brie/grape sandwich onto pastry. Brush larger round of pastry with egg and place egg side down over Brie. Press out any excess air and crimp edges to seal. You can decorate top with puff pastry scraps if desired. Brush outside of the pastry with beaten egg. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Tent loosely with foil and return to oven for 10-15 more minutes. Brie should be golden brown and puffy looking.

Remove from oven and let cool for one hour before cutting into Brie.

Nutritional analysis per serving:

Calories 201; Protein 10 g; Carbohydrate 9 g; Fat 14.5 g; Saturated Fat 8 g; 64% Calories from Fat; Cholesterol 73 mg; Sodium 268 mg; Fibre .4 g.

Nov 25

Belgian Endive with Dried Cherry Quinoa Salad Recipe

Belgian Endive with Dried Cherry Quinoa Salad

Belgian Endive with Dried Cherry Quinoa Salad

Tips for hosting a holiday party that shines

(BPT) – Entertaining with family and friends is one part of the holiday season that we all look forward to. But holiday hosting can sometimes be harried. To keep you and your guests merry this season, consider hosting a wine party that shines.

David Mirassou, wine expert and sixth generation of America’s oldest winemaking family, believes that food and wine enhance one another and are best shared with family and friends. His secret to hosting a stress-free soiree is planning for a creative, small-bite menu with wine pairings that highlight the flavors of each dish.

“The wine you select should complement the food, look beautiful on the table and inspire toasts,” says Mirassou. “The right wine can add elegance to any holiday occasion and it can play an important role as both a gift and entertaining staple at celebrations throughout the season.”

Here are a few wine entertaining and gift-giving tips to get you in the holiday spirit:

* Offer small bites and festive fare. Prepare an assortment of appetizers and small plates for entertaining, allowing your guests more sampling opportunities and letting you out of the kitchen to mingle more.

* Create a cozy setting. Consider setting up food stations in your home to allow guests to congregate in different areas. Floor cushions around a coffee table and coasters on the mantle will encourage mingling.

* Plan to offer your guests both a red wine and a white wine. A Chardonnay has wide appeal because it has fruit-forward flavors to maximize food pairing options. A Pinot Noir also has great versatility in food and wine pairings.

* How much wine should you serve? A general rule of thumb is to plan on about one glass of wine per person for each hour of the gathering.

* Stretch your wine dollar. Now is the time to take advantage of price breaks for purchases of six or more bottles at many supermarket chains. For an event, the savings can really add up.

* Personalize a gift from the vine. Not hosting this season? With very little effort, wine can be a gift with a personal touch. Embellish wine gift bags or boxes with festive ribbon and trim or add a custom neck tag by writing a note about the wine you are giving. Having trouble picking the right wine to give as a gift? Visit to take their quiz and see what’s right for you, along with some wine pairing ideas. You can also visit the site or for more entertaining tips and recipe ideas.

Try this Belgian Endive and Dried Cherry Quinoa Salad – an easy-to-prepare recipe that is also festive in its presentation.

Belgian Endive with Dried Cherry Quinoa Salad

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook/stand time: 22 minutes Chill time: at least 1 hour



1 cup quinoa

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or broth

1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped

1/4 cup snipped fresh chives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

24 Belgian endive spears


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon stone ground mustard

1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste


Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve; drain well. Bring stock and quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then let cool. Whisk together all dressing ingredients and stir into quinoa with cherries, chives and thyme. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. Stir in walnuts and spoon into endive spears. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs, if desired. Makes 8 servings.

Recipe tip: This light appetizer may be prepared one day ahead. Add walnuts and spoon into endive spears just before serving. Use a tri-color quinoa blend for extra color. Pairs best with Mirassou Sunset Red.

Nov 22

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms & Broccoli & Ham Salad Recipes

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Serve allergen-free menus to family and guests

(NC) – Until you combine olives, sundried tomatoes and pepperoni as a stuffing for your Portobello mushrooms, you are going to deprive your guests of a tantalizing taste sensation. Take a look at this allergen-free recipe, plus an equally delicious allergen-free salad idea, courtesy of Piller’s Fine Foods:

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms


2 Piller’s Simply Free Pepperoni sticks, finely diced

4 medium Portobello mushrooms (stems removed)

10 ml (2 tsp.) vegetable oil

250 ml (1 cup) green onions, finely chopped

10 ml (2 tsp.) garlic, chopped

125 ml (½ cup) mushroom stems, finely chopped

125 ml (½ cup) red bell pepper, finely diced

44 ml (3 Tbsp.) black olives, chopped

10 ml (2 tsp.) olive oil


Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil sprayed with vegetable oil. Remove stems from mushrooms and dice until you have ½ cup. Place mushroom caps on baking sheet and spray both sides with vegetable oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, heat a skillet with vegetable oil spray; add oil and sauté onions for 3 minutes. Add pepperoni and sauté for 3 minutes. Add garlic and mushroom stems and sauté for 3 minutes. Add bell peppers and olives; sauté for 2 minutes. Preheat oven to broil and spoon pepperoni filling over top mushroom caps. Sprinkle olive oil over top and broil for 1 minute just until topping browns. Serves 4.

Broccoli & Ham Salad


175 gpkg. Piller’s Simply Free Smoked Black Forest Ham slices, diced

250 ml (1 cup) broccoli florets, sliced

325 ml (1 can) mandarin oranges, drained

125 ml (½ cup) roasted red pepper, sliced

125 ml (½ cup) fresh blueberries

60 ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil

125 ml (½ bunch) fresh basil, thinly chopped

Juice of two limes

Salt and pepper


In a large bowl combine all ingredients except lime juice and mix well. Drizzle lime juice over salad; season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8.

For more recipe ideas and for additional details on the brand go to


Nov 22

Chili Lemongrass Poached Hoki

Chili Lemongrass Poached Hoki

Chili Lemongrass Poached Hoki

Delight with Chili Lemongrass Poached Hoki

(NC) Lemongrass, chilies and coriander sprigs (including stems) create an aromatic broth in which to poach mild hoki. Reducing the broth after poaching concentrates the flavour.

Look for certified sustainable eco-labels on products, such as The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) which confirms the seafood product has come from a sustainable source. One of those, the delicious PC brand wild hoki, is featured in this recipe.

MSC is an international non-profit organization that developed the world’s leading environmental standard for independent, third-party scientific certification of sustainable and well-managed, wild-capture fisheries. Enjoy this tantalizing taste treat:

Chili Lemongrass Poached Hoki


1 stalk lemongrass

1 package (900 mL) chicken broth

1 tsp (5 mL) finely sliced hot red chili pepper

¼ cup (50 mL) roughly chopped green onions

1 thin slice ginger root

½ tsp (2 mL) salt

10 sprigs coriander

1 package (280 g) PC Blue Menu Wild Hoki Skinless Fillets, thawed

2 tbsp finely sliced green onions

2 tbsp (25 mL) coarsely chopped fresh coriander


Rinse lemongrass and place on cutting board. Using back of a knife, whack vigorously several times to “bruise” the lemongrass. Cut bruised lemongrass stalk into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks and place in medium saucepan. Pour in broth. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add chillies, chopped green onions, ginger, salt and pepper; simmer for 10 minutes to flavour the broth. Add coriander sprigs and hoki fillets; simmer uncovered for 6 to 8 minutes or until fish is cooked through. Using slotted spoon, transfer fish to plate; cover and set aside.

Return saucepan to heat. Increase heat to medium-high and boil for 5 minutes. Strain broth, discarding solids. Stir in sliced green onions and coriander.

Place one hoki fillet in each of two shallow bowls. Pour 1/3 cup (75 mL) of broth over each. Serve garnished with additional green onions and coriander, if desired. Discard remaining poaching broth.

You can learn more about sustainable seafood, on any of these websites:,, or

Nov 22

Harissa Spiced Scallops

Impress your guests with Moroccan-style seafood

(NC) Seared scallops spiked with harissa spice, a Moroccan flavour, sit atop a mélange of spring vegetables. A dish that’s fancy enough for a restaurant, but easily done at home.

Look for products carrying the Marine Stewardship Council eco-label as it indicates that it has been sustainably sourced. MSC is an international non-profit organization that developed the world’s leading environmental standard for independent, third-party scientific certification of sustainable and well-managed, wild-capture fisheries.

By choosing an MSC certified product like the PC brand of Nova Scotia sea scallops used in this recipe, you know your fish is sustainably sourced.

Harissa Spiced Scallops


1 cup (250 mL) thinly sliced carrots

1 cup (250 mL) frozen peas

1 cup (250 mL) diced leeks

2 cups (500 mL) sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved on diagonal

1 pkg (400 g) PC Blue Menu Wild Nova Scotian Frozen Sea Scallops , thawed and patted dry

1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil

2 tsp (10 mL) PC black label harissa spice blend

1/4 cup (50 mL) chicken stock

Half lemon


In a saucepan of boiling water, cook carrots for 2 minutes. Add peas, leeks and snap peas and return to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes. Drain vegetables and gently rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Remove and discard small side muscle from scallops. In bowl, toss together scallops, olive oil and harissa spice blend. Heat large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat until very hot. Arrange scallops, flat surface down, in a single layer in pan. Sear for 1 or 2 minutes, depending on thickness. Turn scallops over and sear for 1 to 2 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer scallops to a plate and keep warm.

In same pan, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add cooked vegetables and toss until hot. Transfer vegetables to a serving platter and arrange seared scallops on top. Generously squeeze lemon over scallops and vegetables.

You can learn more about sustainable seafood on any of these websites:,, or

Nov 22

Grilled Portabella and Poblano Tacos

Grilled Portabella and Poblano Tacos by Isabella Boucher of Crumb: A Food Blog

Grilled Portabella and Poblano Tacos

Grilled Portabella and Poblano Tacos

(NC) In these tacos, strips of meaty grilled portabella join up with grilled onions and poblano peppers, and then get a quick toss with smoky chipotle powder and tangy lime juice to create a taco filling so flavourful and satisfying that even the most devoted of meat eaters won’t complain.

Grilled Portabella and Poblano Tacos

Serves 4


Pico de Gallo:

2 roma tomatoes, diced

½ small red onion, finely diced

¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 clove garlic, finely minced

Pinch of salt

2 tsp lime juice

Grilled Portabella Filling:

4 medium-sized portabella mushrooms (about 1 pound)

1 small red onion, cut into thick slices

1 tbsp canola oil

Salt and pepper

1 whole poblano chile

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp lime juice1/2 tsp chipotle powder

Assembly and Toppings:

8 small corn tortillas, warmed


Cilantro sprigs

Lime wedges

Shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese


Preheat a lightly oiled grill on medium-high heat.

While the grill is heating up, prepare the pico de gallo. In a small mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic, salt and lime juice. Set aside.

Next, prepare the grilled portabella filling. Remove the stems from the portabellas, and discard. Using a spoon, scrape out the dark gills from the underside of the mushroom caps.

Lightly brush the portabellas and the onions on both sides with canola oil, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Arrange the mushrooms, onion, and poblano on the hot grill, and cook for 5-6 minutes per side or until the mushrooms are softened and the onion is lightly charred. Remove from heat and transfer to a cutting board.

Remove the stem and seeds from the poblano, and discard. Cut the poblano and the portabellas into thin strips, and roughly chop the onion. Transfer to a mixing bowl and toss with lime juice and chipotle powder until well coated.

To assemble, arrange 2 tortillas per plate, and divide the mushroom filling evenly between them. Serve with pico de gallo and bowls of the different toppings so that everyone can garnish their tacos as they please.

Nov 22

Crimini Pasta Recipe

Crimini Pasta by Daniele and Nina Polidoro

Crimini Pasta by Daniele and Nina Polidoro

Crimini Pasta by Daniele and Nina Polidoro

(NC) My dad has always believed in the importance of using real ingredients in the kitchen, no matter what the dish; so if you want high quality taste, use high quality ingredients. Using real butter and real cream is essential to this dish!


• 1 ½ cups of 18% cream

• 150 g (6 0z) butter

• 1 cup chicken (or vegetable) stock

• 3 packages of fresh pasta

• 1 lb fresh crimini mushrooms

• 30 g dried porcini mushrooms

• 1/2 small onion

• fresh parsley, grated parmesan cheese

• salt, pepper (in Italian, this would be accompanied by “QB,” meaning “quanto basta” – “to your taste,” “as much as you like,” or “sufficiently”)


• Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes.

• Clean and dry the crimini mushrooms. Chop mushrooms into large enough pieces that they can be found in the sauce (avoid chopping them too finely). Place into a bowl.

• Finely chop a handful of fresh parsley.

• Gently squeeze water from the porcini mushrooms, and collect 4-5 oz of the resulting mushroom juice; don’t use the grit in the bottom of the bowl! (You could also strain with a cheese cloth.)

• Coarsely chop the soaked porcini mushrooms.

• Finely chop ½ of a small onion.

• Put on a big pot of water to boil – add a tablespoon of salt when the water starts simmering.

• Set the table. Make it look pretty.

• Melt butter in the pan on medium heat, bringing it to a sizzle.

• Add onions, frying them until golden in colour – add the mushrooms, and bring the mixture to a high temperature. Allow this to cook for about 8 minutes, stirring regularly.

• Add 3 pinches of parsley, and the mushroom juice (about 1 cup), chicken stock (1 cup – this could be substituted for vegetable stock, if you prefer), and cream (1 ½ cups).

• Stir the sauce, and reduce to medium heat.

• Add pepper to taste (or QB!)

• Let the sauce simmer for a few minutes once the cream has been added; it may look like a lot of sauce in comparison to the amount of pasta you’re using, but the pasta will soak up some of the sauce.

• Add pasta to boiling water, stir regularly to ensure it doesn’t stick (for this quantity of fresh pasta, this takes approximately 5-7 minutes to reach el dente).

• Strain the pasta and add to sauce in a serving bowl. Garnish pasta with fresh parsley, and add grated parmesan to taste.

For best results, enjoy with loved ones, and follow with espresso & a delicious homemade dessert. Buon appetito!