Category Archive of Recipes

Hubby’s Favourite Weekday Chicken: Curried Mustard Chicken

The say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach but I’m not entirely certain of that. My husband comes from a family of great cooks. He, himself, survived a year of chef school. So I was downright nervous the first time I cooked for him, in that tiny kitchen of my upper duplex apartment in Little Burgundy, Montreal. My friend assured me her ‘foolproof’ recipe for chicken would cast him under my spell with the first bite (that Best of Bridge recipe with mustard, curry powder, honey, and butter). Would you believe I managed to blow the recipe? It was the worst chicken I have ever made! He ate every bite like a true gentleman and fell in love with me anyways.  I’ve created our own healthier version of Curried Mustard Chicken that he now adores. (Honey, this link is for you – a little trip down memory lane or should I say 2222 rue Coursol. I still love that little, white dormer kitchen window).

As easy as this recipe is, it is well worth searching out a few special ingredients. Based in Mississauga, Ontario, Arvinda’s makes artisanal, premium Indian spice blends, using Canadian grown spices whenever possible, like mustard seed and coriander. I love Arvinda’s Curry Powder; it is a rich, fragrant blend of spices – so fragrant that I often pop the lid just for a whiff. Definitely my favourite curry powder, outshining any others I have tried to date. Use Arvinda’s Curry Powder and not their Curry Masala for this recipe. You can find Arvinda’s finely crafted range of Indian spice blends in fine food stores throughout Ontario. Check their website for a store near you.

I really don’t like typical grocery store garlic salt. Get yourself a bottle of The Garlic Box Roasted Garlic & Sea Salt and bring your recipes up a notch. Made with roasted Ontario-grown garlic; finely crafted in Hensall, Ontario. Check their website for where to buy.

Use whatever chicken you prefer. We eat skinless; my husband prefers thighs, so I cook both thighs and breasts. For a treat, Burton Meats sells a beautiful, restaurant-style Chicken Suprême: a boneless chicken breast with the skin and upper portion of the wing bone attached. Gently force your fingers under the skin to rub a little of the sauce both under and over the skin – the end result will be incredibly moist and flavourful (you can choose to discard the skin after cooking). Check their website for two Mississauga retail locations.

Olive’s Curried Mustard Chicken
Serves 3 – double the recipe to serve 6

Sauce (makes 10 tablespoons – enough for 3 servings):
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Arvinda’s Curry Powder (mild curry powder)
1 teaspoon Garlic Box Garlic Salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper

3 chicken breasts or 6 chicken thighs or 3 Chicken Suprêmes


  1. Preheat oven to 375F. In a medium bowl, whisk sauce ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  2. Arrange chicken in a single, evenly-spaced layer on a parchment-lined, rimmed baking tray. Spread sauce thickly and evenly on all sides of chicken. I like to throw the lemon halves on the baking tray to caramelize while the chicken roasts. Bake until chicken is thoroughly cooked, about 35 to 40 minutes depending on what cut you use. Using tongs, carefully squeeze the lemon over the chicken (juice will be very hot).
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My #GuiltyPleasure: Duck Leg Confit from Di Liso’s Fine Meats

Di Liso’s Fine Meats has the best legs in town – duck leg confit, that is! Tender, moist, meaty duck legs are rich and flavourful; the crispy skin my #guiltypleasure. Chef-prepared for this butcher. Priced in range with other duck leg confit available in the burbs but Di Liso’s quality makes the drive to St. Lawrence Market absolutely worth the trip. Definitely my go-to-guys for duck leg confit in our region. Can’t wait to try their duck sous-vide, chocolate and caramel pork tenderloin, and Mennonite-prepared stuffed boneless chicken legs.


Left photo credit: Angela Mondou

Confit is a traditional French method of preparing duck: legs are covered in duck fat and cooked slowly at low temperatures to tenderize while retaining flavour and moisture.  All you have to do is warm up the prepared duck confit under the broiler until skin is crispy and meat is hot. Here is how I served it for my girlfriends on our fabulous weekend getaway: on a bed of greens, with fresh fig, tiny dabs of fig goat cheese, and fig vinegar (all available at the market). High in fat but during an active weekend of night snowshoeing, dancing until 2:00 am, and yoga in the morning I figured we girls deserved a treat! Such a satisfying indulgence and so easy and special for entertaining.

To avoid the crowds at the market, get there very early on a Saturday morning or just after morning traffic on a Friday. If you look for it, you can find public parking dirt cheap within two blocks of the market – if I tell you where I’d have to kill you after. 😉

Di Liso’s Fine Meats
91 Front Street East
Toronto, ON
M5E 1C4
(St. Lawrence Market)

Contact info, map, website, and hours here:

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Small Plates: Fall Fruit & Cheese Tartine with Honey Drizzle


A few snapshots of a wonderful fall weekend I spent with friends,

Front Porch

on a beautiful farm near Lake Erie, Ontario.


And a recipe for an easy nibble, perfect for sharing with your own treasured friends this winter.


My contribution to the evening was my take on tartine: little open-faced French sandwiches that I layered with fruit and cheese, sprinkled with nuts and thyme, and drizzled with honey.

Eleonora Gattesco Roberts

Photo thanks to Eleonora Gattesco Roberts

We arrived at the farmhouse late so I threw the tartines together too quickly and sloppily as you can see in the photo. But they tasted delicious – feel free to be as sloppy or as artful as time permits. Serve with a salad for lunch or as a substantial snack to share with a glass of wine.

A few tips:

  • Ask your bakery to slice your baguette for you (the slices will be uniform thickness).
  • Prep all your ingredients ahead (except for the fruit) and store separately in airtight containers.
  • For larger crowds, double the recipe and make a variety, using all cheese and fruit listed. Stick with one type of fruit and cheese per tartine.
  • Because I knew I would be short on prep time when arriving at the farm, I used some pre-sliced cheese: Les Tranches Cremeuses des Pays de Loire (Coeur de Lion, France) as brie/camembert.

Fall Fruit & Cheese Tartine with Honey Drizzle

Serves 4


1 recipe of Toasted Baguette Crisps (recipe below)
170 g to 200 g of your choice of thinly sliced, good quality cheddar, brie, camembert, or soft ripened goat cheese
2 pears or 2 apples or one of each
¼ cup shelled and roughly chopped, raw walnuts or pistachios or a combination of both
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves (removed from their stems) plus extra thyme sprigs for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
Your best honey for drizzling


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange baguette crisps in a single layer on baking sheet.
  2. Quarter, core, and thinly slice fruit.
  3. Top each baguette crisp with cheese and fruit of choice, in alternating, peek-a-boo layers (from two to four layers total, depending on your quantity of slices). Sprinkle with nuts, thyme leaves, and black pepper.
  4. Bake for a couple of minutes, just until cheese melts. Remove from oven, transfer carefully to serving platter.
  5. Drizzle with honey. Garnish platter with extra thyme sprigs. Serve warm. Gather your friends around, tuck in, and enjoy.

Toasted Baguette Crisps


1 baguette, sliced into thin rounds (about 1 cm thick)
Olive oil for brushing
Sea salt for sprinkling


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush each slice lightly with olive oil. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  2. Toast about 3 minutes, just until slices are beginning to become golden at the edges.
  3. Sprinkle very lightly with fine sea salt. Cool. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
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Summer Steakhouse Dinner Casa Charky: Grilled Steak and Caesar Salad

We try to eat red meat less often. So when we do, we make it worthwhile by buying the best beef we can afford.  Recently we splurged on two huge, well-marbled, boneless rib eye steaks from Black Angus Fine Meats & Game and shared them. They were tender and juicy with rich, full-on beef flavour. Black Angus has a beautiful selection of fine meats such as beef (Kobe, dry-aged, and Angus), local lamb, and free-range chicken. If you are hunting for game meat, this is your spot: bison, elk, kangaroo, game birds, crocodile, etc.  Shop on-line or in-store.


How We Prepare Our Steaks:

  1. Rub a cut garlic clove over the surface of the steak. Season generously with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add your favourite steak spices if you like (if they contain salt, cut back on the coarse salt).
  2. Bring to room temperature on the counter for half an hour before grilling.
  3. Grill to your liking according to the temperament of your grill (ours is on its last legs).
  4. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing across the grain.

We serve our steaks with nothing else but copious quantities of homemade Caesar Salad (who has room for anything else?). I like to set the warm steak right on the salad; the flavours of the juicy steak and garlicky dressing cuddle up so nicely together. It wilts the salad a bit so serve the salad on the side if you prefer.

It’s a meal fit for someone about to embark on their journey through high school, from a lovin’ mom with a secret agenda (I’m hoping the garlic will ward off the girls).

Classic Caesar Salad

I was thrilled when my friend Liz shared her delicious recipe (she is a fabulous cook). It brings me right back to my Mom’s kitchen counter, watching Mom lovingly prepare this classic dressing in her well-worn wooden salad bowl while I waited in eager, lip-smacking anticipation.

Coddling cooks the egg very slightly, just enough to warm the yoke and thicken the dressing.  Please read Eat Right Ontario’s warnings about consuming raw or slightly cooked eggs; most importantly, avoid serving to the very young, elderly, immune-compromised, or pregnant women. Serve the salad immediately after you make the dressing.


1 head of romaine, halved and sliced into bite-sized pieces, washed and dried thoroughly
1 head of curly green leaf lettuce or a 2nd head of romaine, halved and sliced into bite-sized pieces, washed and dried thoroughly

Cooked and chopped bacon

1 very fresh egg
2 cloves of garlic
½ teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3-4 drops Tabasco sauce
4-6 drops Worcestershire sauce
1 lemon
1 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided (the real stuff)
Freshly ground black pepper


Coddling the egg:

  1. Fill a small but deep saucepan with enough water to cover the egg; bring to a boil while you leave your egg to sit at room temperature.
  2. Carefully lower the egg into the boiling water using a spoon. Immediately cover the pan and remove from heat. Let the egg sit covered in the boiled water for 2 minutes. Drain immediately and run the egg under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  3. Place the container you will make your dressing in and a small bowl on the counter. Crack the shell and separate the yolk into the dressing container and the white into the small bowl; discard the white and only use the yolk for the dressing.

Preparing the dressing:

  1. Crush, mince, and purée garlic in salt; set aside.
  2. Add the mustard, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, and the juice of only half of the lemon to the bowl containing the egg yolk; whisk to combine.
  3. Slowly whisk in oil.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, stir in garlic and 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (the garlic will get caught in a whisk). Add freshly ground black pepper to taste and more lemon juice, if desired.

Dressing the salad:

  1. Pour about two thirds of the dressing in the bottom of a large salad bowl.
  2. Add the lettuce. Toss gently, scooping under the leaves and into the dressing, gently rolling the dressing onto the leaves to avoid bruising the lettuce. Taste and add more dressing as desired.
  3. Add bacon and croutons if desired. Sprinkle with remaining Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve immediately.


Black Angus Fine Meats & Game


Port Credit location:
Unit #10 360 Revus Avenue
Mississauga, ON L5G 4S4
Telephone: (905) 271-2333

Georgian Bay location:
207484 Highway 26
Thornbury, ON N0H 2P0
Telephone: (519) 599-2334

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My Favourite Guacamole and Pico de Gallo

Sometimes I wonder who I love more – my guacamole or my husband? I raise one pondering eyebrow and make him a bowl. It’s a labour of love as I chop the fragrant cilantro, juice the sweet, tangy lime, and mellow as I mash the creamy avocado. As soon as it’s ready I feed my husband a scoop and watch him swoon…and then I know it’s him I love the most, of course! Hey, does he love my guacamole more than he loves me?


I used to mix my pico de gallo in with my guacamole but then I tasted the most delicious guacamole at La Cantina Mexicana in Streetsville. Since then, I’ve spent the rest of my guacamole-making days trying to replicate that smooth and luxurious, pure avocado dip that has a hit of garlic and is served with homemade tortilla chips and salsa on the side. Now I focus on the avocado and don’t get watered down by the tomatoes. Use firm but ripe Haas avocados; make sure the stem end yields to the gentle pressure of your thumb.

I prefer to serve my pico de gallo on the side; it’s easy to whip up since it uses some of the same ingredients. To have enough cilantro for both recipes, buy one large or two small bunches. I don’t use fresh jalapeno because I find the raw, crunchy bite of heat too jarring in a guacamole or pico de gallo. Green Jalapeño Pepper Tabasco Sauce gives me the flavour and heat I am looking for (and I ain’t ashamed to admit it) but switch out for the classic, fresh jalapeno if you like.


Makes 2 cups

This recipe is as close as I’ve come to the one we love at Cantina Mexicana. The guacamole can be made a few hours ahead, covered with plastic wrapped pressed on to the surface of the guacamole, and refrigerated.

Because the limes vary in size and taste buds vary in acidity tolerance, only add about two thirds of the lime juice initially; then taste the guacamole and add more juice as desired (I like to use it all). To get the most juice out of your limes, place your hand over the whole lime and lean down while rolling it around to soften it before you cut it open.


3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 clove of garlic
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Few dashes of hot sauce (preferably Green Jalapeño Pepper Tabasco Sauce)
Juice of 1 ½ limes
3 Haas avocados, firm but ripe


Tortilla chips


  1. Mince and mash garlic in the salt to achieve a purée; add to medium bowl.
  2. Add the cilantro leaves and a few dashes of hot sauce. Add about two thirds of the lime juice.
  3. Slice avocados in half; remove pit and discard. Empty pulp into bowl.
  4. For chunky guacamole, mash the avocado with a potato masher until you achieve desired consistency. For smooth guacamole, purée with an immersion blender.
  5. Taste and add more lime juice or hot sauce if desired.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips for scooping.



Pico de Gallo

Makes 1 cup

My Spanish sister-in-law, Marie, converted me from jarred salsa to fresh pico de gallo with the spicy and refreshing pico de gallo she lovingly prepares for our clan when we gather at her pool in the summer. It’s a real treat; your guests will feel the love. Pico de gallo can be made up to a few hours before serving; any longer and the tomatoes breakdown and release too much of their juices.

To prevent my pico de gallo from becoming too watery, I’ve tried seeding my tomatoes first but the tomatoes lost some of their flavour and broke down too much. I also tried a technique I read about on the internet: chopping the tomatoes whole (including the seeds), placing them in a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl, sprinkling them with salt, and leaving them to drain for about 30 minutes. But the results lacked a fresh tomato flavour, tasted bitter, and had a weird texture. So I just dice up the whole tomato, seeds and all, and love my pico de gallo for what it is: juicy and flavourful.

Use the ripest, locally-grown or homegrown tomatoes you can get your hands on – it doesn’t matter what size, along as you end up with 1 cup of diced tomato. If it is not tomato season, use roma tomatoes.


1 cup diced ripe tomatoes (locally-grown or roma tomatoes)
½ cup minced white onion
2/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Several dashes of Green Jalapeño Pepper Tabasco Sauce
Juice of ½ lime
½ teaspoon coarse salt


  1. Add tomatoes to a medium, non-reactive bowl.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and toss gently.
  3. Let rest for 15 minutes and then serve with tortilla chips for scooping or cover in an airtight container and refrigerate up to a few hours.
Cantina Mexicana
277 Queen St. South
Mississauga, Ontario L5M 1L9
Telephone: 905-813-1992

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