Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes is a popular American dish. Many Americans experience this dish when they were a kid. In my case, I never experience Sloppy Joes as a kid and neither Quebecers have heard of it also. I saw many Sloppy Joes recipe online and, they all look sloppy and delicious. I decided to make this dish because my Brazilian friend is leaving Montreal in 2 weeks. She needs to experience some great North-American dish before her departure. I also brought a friend from Vermont to approve my dish. It seems that her mother usually put Corn Flakes in her Sloppy Joes.

Serves 8
Preparation Time : 5 mins
Cooking Time : 20 mins


2 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red or green bell pepper, cubed
1/2 cup ketchup
1 28oz. can crushed tomato sauce
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp mustard
2 tbsp sugar
salt and pepper
Hamburger buns


1. In a large skillet, brown ground beef over medium-high heat and set aside.

2. In the same skillet, saute diced pepper for 5 mins, then add onion and celery, saute until tender for 5 more mins.

3. Add garlic and saute until fragrant.

4. Add the remaining ingredients except for the ground beef. Simmer for a few mins and stir frequently.

5. Return the ground beef and let it cook for a few mins. Serve on hamburger buns.


We usually have collective cooking on Friday, but we postponed to Sunday, due to great festivals happening in Montreal mainly during the summer. If anyone out there thinking of visiting Montreal for the summer. There is the Jazz Festival coming up on June 30 to July 12, celebrating its 30th anniversary. This will be BIG!

This week, my Taiwanese friend made a Russian soup known as Borscht. He used to live with a family of Russian when he arrived in Montreal and Borscht was mainly served. Borscht is a hearty vegetable soup in which beets is the main ingredient. This soup can be served hot or cold so it is good any time of the year.

Serves 6
Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : about 60 mins


3 new potatoes, peeled
2 beets, peeled
1 celery stalk
1 carrot
1/3 of a large cabbage
4 cups of vegetable stock or water
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
Salt and Pepper


1. Thinly slice potatoes and beets.

2. Shred cabbage and dice carrot, onion and celery.

3. Place potatoes, beets in a large soup pot and vegetable stock. Cover and cook for about 15-20 mins over medium heat.

4. Meanwhile, in a skillet, saute onion until transparent over medium-high heat.

5. Transfer onions, celery, carrot, cabbage to soup pot, cook until all the ingredients are tender, about 10-15 mins.

6. Add the remaining ingredients and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 mins. If too thin, let it simmer uncovered. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I have been very busy the past few days working on my scientific article and preparing my trip to Seoul. I got invited a few months ago to assist a conference at the end of June for four days. However, it is not about food but related to my research. Basically, the top 26 scientists in my field of research are assembled in one place to give a 45 mins talk. Long story short, my school is paying me to go to this conference and I'll take my vacation there also. I'll probably post some Korean food here.

It is summer and it is hot outside, a refreshing drink would help. I'm pretty sure you all know how to make lemonade, even a 5 year-old kid sells a small glass of lemonade for a quarter in front of their house. This is no fancy recipe.

Preparation Time : 5 mins


8 cups water
4 cups sugar
1 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 4-6 lemons)


1. In a pitcher, add ice and stir in water, sugar and lemon juice.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cherry Clafoutis

It is finally cherry season!!! Cherries are usually one of my favorite fruit ingredients to use for desserts. I even worked in an orchard as a cherry picker three years ago in the Okanagan Valley before having an academic research position. One of my favorite dish is the famous French dessert known as Clafoutis. This is not your typical cake or pie, it is basically a batter enriched with eggs and cream. In most clafoutis, cherry and apricots are used.

Serves 4
Preparation Time : 20 mins
Baking Time : 20-25 mins
Printable Recipe


1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup 15% cream
3 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
cherries enough to fill the baking pan
icing sugar for dusting


1. Sift flour and sugar in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk, cream and egg yolks until smooth, then add vanilla extract. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, beat egg whites until it forms soft peaks in clean bowl.

3. Preheat oven to 400F.

4. Rub an 9-inch round baking dish with butter and lightly dust with flour.

5. Pit cherries by cutting it in half and put the opening face down on the baking dish.

6. Pour batter through a strainer onto the egg whites and fold through until combined. Pour mixture over the cherries.

7. Bake for 20-25 mins until the edges are puffed up and golden brown, and the center is just set. Dust with icing sugar. Serve warm.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Chicken Pinwheels with Basil and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

We invited two new guests from physics for our usual Friday cooking. One of them is from Poland and he never cooks in his apartment since his arrival in Montreal. It is a great opportunity to teach him a thing or two for quick and simple dishes. The other one is from France, he is just curious about what we usually do on Friday. To impress the new guests, I made chicken rolls stuffed with cheese, sun-dried tomatoes in oil and basil. These are cooked in tomato sauce with white wine reduced. This recipe can found in the Kitchen Bible cookbook. Some of my favorite cookbooks are listed at the bottom of this blog.

Serves 4
Preparation Time : 20 mins
Cooking Time : 25 mins
Printable Recipe


4 chicken breast halves
16 large basil leaves
12 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
8 slices of swiss cheese
olive oil for brushing
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
8 oz. of your favorite pasta


1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Lightly pound each chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap until the breast is 1/4in. thick.

3. Place chicken beasts smooth sides down, on work surface. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange 2 slices of swiss cheese, 4 basil leaves and 3 sun-dried tomatoes over each piece of chicken.

4. Roll up the chicken and secure with wooden toothpicks.

5. Line the aluminium foil on a 13'' by 9'' baking pan. Lightly oil the foil and then place the breasts. Brush with oil. Pour wine and crushed tomatoes around the breasts.

6. Cook in the oven until the chicken is opaque, about 25 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, cook pasta as instructed.

8. Transfer the chicken to carving board. Let it stand for a few mins. Remove toothpicks and cut crosswise.

9. Arrange slices on individual plates. Add pasta and spoon the sauce on top.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sandwich Roll-Ups à la Jorge

I had an idea to have at least one theme once or twice per month. It is very entertaining and you can learn new recipes related to the theme. You can think of as writing a term paper where you want to know in depth a particular subject. This week theme is anything related to roulade, anything food that you can roll. My Peruvian friend, Jorge, made a very delicous and simple cold appetizer. His roll consists of ham, swiss cheese and white asparagus spears. You don't have to use the same ingredients as him, create your own sandwich roll.

Serves 4
Preparation Time : 5 mins
Printable Recipe


8 slices of white bread, crust removed
8 slices of ham
8 slices of swiss cheese
8-16 white asparagus spears, canned, depend on size


1. Flat slices of bread until 1/8 inch thick with a rolling pin.

2. Spread each slice of bread with mayonnaise, then add ham.

3. Place swiss cheese on top of each ham and finish with white asparagus spears. Roll the bread and slice it in half.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chocolate Cake

Like each Friday, a group of random friends and collegues go to some random place to do some cooking. This time, we did it at my Peruvian friend apartment. When we arrived at his place, there was this large freshly baked chocolate cake lying on the counter. This cake was made by my Peruvian friend cousin for her party. She was nice enough to share part of the cake with us and give out the recipe. I don't have any step-by-step pictures this time, I will have the pictures up once I made my own version.

Makes 1 cake
Preparation Time : 15 mins
Baking Time : 45 mins
Printable Recipe


3 cups flour
1 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 to 1 cup oil
4 tbsp vinegar
2 cups milk
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups white sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cake mould with parchement paper. Lightly grease the mould with butter and flour

2. Sift the first four ingredients together 3 times onto a large bowl. Set aside.

3. Combine oil and vinegar in a medium bowl. Pour little by little the liquid mixture to the flour mix, while stirring with a wooden spoon.

4. Add eggs one by one until batter becomes smooth.

5. Stir in the sugar to the batter.

6. Pour batter to cake mould. Bake for 45 mins. Insert large toothpick to check for doneness. Let it cool for at least 30 mins.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lobster with Pasta

My Taiwanese friend Chris loves to cook seafood. Some of our friends love to eat lobster so one of them bought two large lobsters so he can cook it. He found a great recipe from Chef at Home hosted by Michael Smith. This pasta dish is served with a creamy lobster sauce reduced in white wine. You will have to use the whole wine bottle.

Serves 4
Preparation Time : 15 mins
Cooking Time : about 2 hours
Printable Recipe


2 large lobsters
1 cup 35% cream
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
Salt and Pepper
12 oz. of your favorite pasta


1. In a large soup pot, boil 4 cups of water over high heat, then add the lobsters.

2. Cover and let it steam for about 8 minutes per pound. The lobster is cooked when the shell changes colour.

3. Use your powerful shears such as Cutco Super Shears to cut open the shells. Remove the meat from the tail, knuckles and claws and reserve.

4. Wrap shells in a kitchen towel. Smash shells with the back of a knife. Put them in a large saucepot and add the cream, tomatoes, wine, onions, garlic and bay leaves.

5. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, until liquid reduces by half and the colour is reddish brown.

6. Meanwhile, cook pasta as instructed.

7. Strain sauce into a clean pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce onto pasta.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Whole Wheat Focaccia Bread

I haven't bake any bread for months. The last time I made one was olive bread. I felt the urge to make bread again and I have some instant yeast left at home. Focaccia bread is a popular bread in Italy where it is usually seasoned with olive oil and herbs. It is somehow like a pizza. Feel free to use fresh herbs or toppings for this bread, be creative. Here is my own version of focaccia.

Serves 6
Preparation Time : 15 mins
Rising Time : 40 + 30 mins
Baking Time : 20 mins
Printable Recipe


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp Italian seasonings
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 envelope Rapid Rise Yeast
3/4 - 1 cup lukewarm water
2 tbsp olive oil + more for brushing
1/2 cup grated parmesan


1. In a large bowl, stir in flour, herbs, yeast and garlic. Mix in oil and water enough to form a dough.

2. Turn out onto lightly floured surface.

3. Knead for 5-6 mins until smooth and elastic.

4. Coat dough with olive oil and transfer to a large bowl. Cover with warm cloth. Put it in the oven with the lights on until dough doubles in size, about 40 mins.

5. Transfer dough onto a large cookie pan. Shape it into a rectangle. Put it back into the oven and let it rise for 30 mins.

6. Remove dough from the oven.
7. Preheat oven to 400F. Brush dough with olive oil and sprinkle with grated parmesan.

8. Bake for 20 mins or until golden. Serve warm.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

This is the last appetizer I have done for the night. Any girls would die for this dessert. It is very attractive and easy to make. This is the simplest version, you can't get even simpler than this. It only required 2 ingredients. You can figure out the procedure, I'm gonna write it anyway.

Cooking Time : 10 mins + cooling
Printable Recipe


500g riped stawberries
250g Baker's bittersweet chocolate
1 tbsp margarine


1. Wash strawberries.

2. Chop chocolate with serrated knife then place it in a small heatproof bowl over simmering water. Stir until smooth. Add margarine if it is not smooth.

3. Dip strawberries in chocolate and twist chocolate out. Place it on wax paper.

4. Cool for an hour or refrigerate for 30 mins.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...