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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter weekend is come and gone and the traditions surrounding it are still very present in certain families. A tradition that has been going on for many many generations in my family is the big Good Friday dinner. What does the meal consist of? Well not much, but just enough of everything. Theres 3 major elements to be made;
- Tarte Aux Patates (Potato and Salmon Pie)
- Sauce Aux Oeufs ( Egg Sauce)
- Tarte Aux Oeufs (Egg Pie)
So all in all, a lot of pie dough and many many dozens of eggs, and the grocery shopping is done. Here's how to make my family's traditional Potato Pie. Easiest part is, theres no recipe to follow. Simply a few ingredients and instructions. You'll need,

- A large amount of potatos, which you will have to peel, cube, cook and mash.
- A few cans of Sockeye Salmon
- Pie dough prepared with Tenderflake Shortening and recipe from the box.

First off, make your dough and roll it out. You will need enough dough for the bottom and the top of the pie. Prepare all your pies with the dough in the bottom of the pie plates. 

      If you happen to have a few helping hands in the kitchen, why not ask politely for someone to prepare the potatoes at the same time. Peel, diced and boil the potatoes until they are ready to be mashed. 

Next step is to mash your potatoes with as much butter as you feel necessary. After that, add in your salmon. For canned salmon, take it out of the can and remove the spinal column or mash it in. You want to mash the salmon really well before mashing it into the potatoes. Keep some of the oils from the can and pour it into the mashed potatoes instead of the usual milk when making mashed potatoes. 

You'll want your potato mix to have a light pink color to it. Then simply add salt and pepper to taste and onion powder and garlic powder. 

Fill all your pie shells, making sure that the filling is nice and packed in. Then place your disks of dough on top to close up the pies.

Only thing left to do is brushing the pies with milk and placing the pies in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven to cook the dough, just until a light golden color is reached.

Now here's the traditional part. This is how it ALWAYS has been and should ALWAYS be for generations to come. A nice big bowl of home made canned tomatoes beside your plate, and the piece of pie completely covered with the white egg sauce (just a plain white sauce with hard boiled eggs placed inside). 

You absolutely MUST try out this recipe. It is a BIG favorite and a HUGE treat in our family, since it's only served once a year. Really easy to do and very filling! If you'd like any more tips on how this pie is assembled of made, do not hesitate to leave a comment under this post! Thanks!

If you have leftover dough, do not through it away! Roll it our thinly and spread on it, some butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. Roll the dough up and cut the cylinder of dough in 1 inch long pieces. Press them down on a sheet pan with parchment paper. Bake until dough is just hard, almost no color on it. These, traditionaly called "Pètes de Soeurs" are a family treat whenever there is leftover pie dough in the kitchen! Hope you can get to try these out for yourself!

Eat well, sleep well and till next time!


Monday, April 18, 2011

Cheat Day Cinnamon French Toast

Getting ready for the beach? A lot of people are in the same boat this time of year. We start cutting our portions of carbohydrates and always watching how much sugar we're digesting. All that combined with the rigorousness of your work out plan, can get overwhelming at times. So whether you feel like having a cheat day, or you simply have almost expiring cream in your fridge, fresh toasts for breakfast is always a good start to your day!

Growing up, I remember this dish being something very special to have, mostly on weekends. I also remember there being no recipe. One thing is sure, the recipe consisted of eggs, milk, vanilla extract and fried in margarine. In order to have a real cheat day and really try to eat as must fat contents as possible follow this following combination of ingredients is the way to go.
Combine in a bowl;
- 3 eggs
- 1 Cup Half and half Cream
- Vanilla extract
- 1 dash of ground Cinnamon
Whisk to obtain smooth and uniform mixture.
You then take your favorite type of bread, which ever kind you prefer, and press the slices one by one in the mixture to soak up as much as possible.
With a good amount of butter in a medium heat, heated pan, place inside the slices of "Pain Doré" and cook to golden perfection.

Now the topping for this dish, like pancakes and waffles, are endless. In my family we have tried endless combination including; peanut butter and yogurt, peanut butter and cheese, cottage cheese with salt and pepper. Let's not forget our family favorite;  "sirop de poteau". This literally translates to "pole syrup". This is an old French expression to differentiate the different from real maple syrup from trees, and a quick syrup made from home. Ran out of Aunt Jamima at home? Simple solution; boil together 1 part water with 2 parts brown sugar. If you want more maple flavor and you have maple extract handy, feel free to add some. Let cool and use as maple syrup. Growing up, the known brand bottle in our fridge was always full of this home made syrup and we grew accustomed to its imitation taste.

So there you have it, French toast as I remember making them as a kid. Now if you're on a diet, you still would want to combine this with a plate of fruit and a big glass of orange juice to balance things out and not throw your game off too too much.

Eat well, sleep well and till next time,


First Fresh Mussels of the Year

Tis the season for fresh mussels and PEI is sending a beautiful specimens towards Montreal, and at a very good bargain. Let us not be scared of cooking the simple dish of "Moules Marinières" and let us stop thinking that we can only obtain this dish in 5 star restaurants. In only 15 minutes you can have this beautiful dish in the comfort of your own home.

Let's forget measures for this recipe because this dish is one that can easily be thrown together with great results. Simply follow these few simple steps. You first have to make sure you wash your fresh water mussels and rinse them well once or twice. Make sure you do not buy wild, salt water mussels, because then you will have to spend a lot more time preparing them.

You then proceed with preparing your base of flavors which your mussels will then absorb when opening. Achieving a good flavor base is important because combined with the juice of the mussels, it will become your sauce. Let's start cook. To a, large enough skillet to contain your mussels, add;
- Butter and small diced shallots; cook till the shallots have become translucent.
- Add; garlic, parsley to the skillet.
- Pour a generous amount of a good quality white wine in the pan ( you will taste the wine quality) and let it come to a simmer.
- Quickly add your mussels and immediately cover with the lid to trap all the steam and flavors. Do not take off the lid for about 2-3 minutes, or until you see steam escaping from the skillet. As soon as they open up, they are ready. Do not over cook them, for they will then have a very unpleasant rubbery consistency. 

As soon as they are ready, remove the mussels from the pan with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. What will be left in the skillet are amazing flavors and the juices released from the mussels. To this you will simply need to add some cream and let it come back to a simmer. You may then adjust the flavors with salt, pepper or which ever spices you wish to add.
What I love to do is have a large portion of linguine ready so I can add my sauce right in the pasta. Serve on a plate and add the mussels around the pasta. Et voilà, an amazingly simply and very delicious dish, for any weeknight dinner. What to do with the rest of the wine? Serve it at the table of course. It will automatically compliment your dish, since the flavors of the wine are already integrated in the sauce. Enjoy! 

Eat well, sleep well and till next time,


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pâtisserie Rhubarb

Pâtisserie Rhubarbe is located at 5091, de Lanaudière in Montréal, QC, Canada

Theres a new bakery in town! Nestled in a quiet residential area, just off of a main drag, is hidden Montreal's new addition to the vast scale of bakeries that Montreal has to offer. Having only been open since the fall of 2010, the Pâtisserie Rhubarbe is creating quite the buzz. It's deconstructed method of making their pastries blend in very well with the calm and homey decor that embellishes this small store. The open kitchen is small but just big enough to accommodate the 2 staff working there; the owner and an additional kitchen staff. We were kindly greeted as we entered by the owner, who is the pastry chef. She makes time to explain the pastries, make your coffee and serve you at your place. A very nice, inviting feel all around. Here are some pictures of a few of their desserts.

On the left theres a Dacquoise with Praliné cream and on the right, a caramel flavored millefeuille
A very nice presentation of a deconstructed lemon meringue pie, very tasty as well

The open kitchen and small space make it very important that the kitchen is very clean at all times, even more with the high counter with chairs, overlooking the kitchen. Small and cozy, you will want to keep your eyes peeled for their sign, which is not very big at all and can be very easily overlooked even when walking by. The big windows at the front makes it a very well lit place when the afternoon sun enters the store. A very relaxing place to meet friends, read by yourself or even study. Make sure to pass by this new Montreal gem, visit their website at or even their Facebook page by clicking here.

Eat well, sleep well and till next time,


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New Pastry Equipment!

The other day I was having lunch with former co-workers of mine and we were talking about kitchen equipment and so on. All of a sudden, my friend Danny starts mentioning a place, based in Montreal, that sells pastry and chocolate works molds and equipment ( Not knowing this company, I immediately went online and was astonished by their selection and their prices (most molds were between 15$ and 20$). Didn't take long before I called in an order and ordered a few of their molds so I could test them out. So here is my first purchase from Design & Realization, in all it's glory!

You absolutely must check out their website ( if you are interested to start doing some chocolate work from home or want to impress your friends with 5-star looking dessert. Being in the industry for  more then three years now, I still get excited when I can discover new shapes of chocolate molds, which are always evolving! You will probably see posting on my blog, where I will be featuring these molds, so you could also discover the joy of using these modern pastry tools.

After picking up my order, I went on a shopping spree for ingredients so I could right away start experimenting. On my way back home I finally decided to test out a bakery outlet which is situated right behind my condo development. This bakery factory is not only extremely popular for their lunch options but they cater most of Montreal with their pita breads and other middle eastern specialties. Though very modern looking and organized spaces inside, I was not impressed with the quality of their pastries. Their vast variety of cookies all seemed to be called "Date filled cookie", but may be because of their popularity. They were still very good cookies, I indulged myself in a couple.

I think I was mostly disappointed with the cake which I could taste just by looking at it. This dessert was called the Praliné. Covered in chocolate with bits of praline, I knew that I could expect to find a praliné buttercream layered with cake on the inside. Having made praliné flavored buttercreams many times in the past, I was sadly disappointed by the lack of taste the buttercream had, not to forget the lack of moisture in the cake. With only a few minor adjustments, this could have made me a very happy man. Here's a picture below of the pastry.

I will be posting again soon, with new dinner ideas and dessert recipes.
Eat well, sleep well and till next time,


Monday, April 4, 2011

Smoking Volcano on Cake

When came the time to make a dinosaur cake for a 5 year old, many ideas came to mind. Building a 3D dinosaur out of cake seemed like a very good idea, until I decided to really go the distance and to impress the crowds with a special effect. Then came the idea of incorporating all elements of a Jurassic era on a cake, with the most important element being a big smoking volcano. Thanks to many youtube videos and a trip to Dollarama, I came up with a pretty nice cake. Rice crispy treat mix is what I used to mold the volcano by hand and turned out pretty good. Set on a big slab of chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream. And for the smoking effect? Well after driving all around Montreal to try and find someone who would sell me something less then a 15Kg bag of dry ice, finally found someone who sold me 3Kg as a minimum amount. Ingredients and decorations, 20$. Special effects, 5$. The look on the birthday boy's face? Priceless.  

I rest knowing that I made this little boy's 5th birthday, very memorable. Only people left to prove this too? His friends at school, who to this day still don't believe it and won't, until they see it with their own eyes! 

Eat well, sleep well and till next time!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mexican night? Taco Salad!

Once again, with spring time, comes the awakening of our wantings to get fit for summer. And for all the bodybuilders out there that had been gaining over the winter months, it's shredding season. Here's another carb-less dinner idea which will give you a full spectrum of flavors and vitamins, combined with your serving of protein to fill you up. Simple and easy for a week night.

You basically have two parts to this meal; the salad and the meat topping.
For the salad, assemble a simple romaine lettuce with:
- Green onions
- Bell peppers
- Fresh tomatoes
- Dress it all with some olive oil, salt and pepper
For the topping fry in the pan;
- Chopped onion
- A Jalapeño for some heat
- Add a pound of your choice of meat, pork, beef or veal and cook thoroughly
- Season with your desired amount of chili powder
- Add half a cup of salsa to the meat to bring it all together
- Before adding the meat to your salad, add a can of red beans to the pan to heat them up

For added flavors and to complete your Mexican themed dinner, serve some nachos with salsa on the side and add some cheese on top of your salad. For the health freaks, omit the extras and enjoy a very delicious and satisfying meal.

Eat well, sleep well and till next time!