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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Tuscan Chowder

Okay after receiving so many requests in the past few days for this recipe, I decided to post it for your enjoyment. To story goes like this, friends decided to take Dianna and I to lunch one day and they chose a chain restaurant. Seeing the soup of the day called "Tuscan Chowder" I thought it sounded good and ordered some. It was terrible but I liked to idea and returned the next day to my restaurant and recreated as follows. Nothing new under the sun, but who says you can't rework it a little.


2 tbsp olive oil
2 minced garlic cloves
1 diced green bell pepper
1 diced onion
2 diced celery stalks
4 oz sliced mushrooms
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp basil leaves
½ tsp oregano leaves
½ tsp thyme leaves
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne
3 lbs peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes

In a sauce pan heat the oil. Sauté the garlic, green pepper, onion, celery and mushrooms until tender. Add the seasonings and tomatoes. Simmer for 3 hours or until desired thickness. Use as required.


½ lb Ground Beef
½ lb ground pork
1/4 lb ground veal
2 tbsp Milk
1 Egg
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup Onion -- chopped
1/3 cup Bread Crumbs -- Dry
2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp Garlic, very finely minced
1/2 tsp Oregano
3/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper

Mix all the ingredients together. Shape mixture by Tablespoonfuls into 1 1/2-inch balls.

TO COOK IN A SKILLET: Heat 1 Tbsp salad oil in a large skillet.Cook the meatballs over medium heat until brown, about 20 minutes. Drain off excess fat.

TO COOK IN THE OVEN: Place the meatballs in a lightly greased baking pan, Bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree F. oven until light brown, about 20 minutes. Drain off the excess fat


½ lb. diced Italian sausage (mild)
1 large onion finely diced
3 large carrots finely diced
3 stalks celery finely diced
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
4 cups chicken broth
1½ cups cream
1 lb cooked diced chicken
2 tbsp fresh chopped basil
2 cups tomato sauce
16 meatballs
salt and pepper to taste

In a large kettle fry the sausage, add the onion, carrots and celery and sauté until tender, drain all excess fat. Add the butter and flour and cook over low heat for 3 minutes. Pour the chicken broth over and simmer until thick. Add the cream, chicken, basil, tomato sauce and meatballs and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if required.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

2007 It's Here

Have you ever wondered what could happen if you actually knew what was about to happen, therein lies the mystery of numbers. Every year we celebrate the passing of an old and spent year while welcoming a new and unused one. But what within this new year lies in store, maybe more than we hope for and less than we desire, but will it be all we want it to be.
Looking at the year itself could help us set the course we choose to steer through it, 2007!

2 has the meaning of balance, balance of course could mean many things, balance in lifestyle, balance in justice received or given out, balance in what we see and do.

0 often referred to as a symbol of perfection, a double 0 then would symbolize an opportunity to get it right should we fail the first time, do what’s right, do it because it’s right and then do it right, so to speak. The 0 speaks to us of having no bounds, something limitless and complete, never ending.

7 of course is the number of perfection, but it is also the number of goodness and completeness.

So then 2007 should be a year of balancing what will be prefect for our lives leading us into what is good and bring to completion the same. This then would be my hope, wish and desire for all my reader, Happy New Year.

What’s For New Years Dinner

Tomato Basil Soup
4 cups fresh tomatoes - peeled, cored and chopped
4 cups good chicken stock
10 (about) fresh basil leaves
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 pound unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

Combine tomatoes and stock in saucepan. Simmer 30 minutes. Puree, along with the basil leaves, in small batches, in a blender or food processor. Return to saucepan and add cream and butter, while stirring over low heat. Garnish with extra basil leaves and serve with your favourite bread.

Smothered Beef Short Ribs

1/2 cup olive oil
4 pounds beef short ribs
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 cup red wine
8 cups beef stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Season the ribs with salt and pepper to taste and dredge them in flour. Fry the ribs in the oil in small batches, adding oil as needed, to sear the meat. This should take 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Set ribs aside.

In the same pot, add the onions and saute for 2 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and saute for 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and then stir in the garlic, bay leaves and thyme and cook for 1 more minute.

Deglaze the pot with the red wine, scraping up all the bits on the bottom. Add the stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer. Add the ribs and continue to simmer for 2 hours, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the parsley and serve.

Red Potatoes and String Beans

2 1/2 lbs. Red Potatoes
2 lbs. frozen String Beans, thawed
1 lb. Red Onions
4 oz. Olive Oil
3 oz. White Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 tablespoon Salt
1 teaspoon White Pepper

Wash potatoes and cut in half. Place in large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until soft. Drain and place on a flat pan. Cool in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, bring quarts of water to a boil. Add string beans and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and cool in refrigerator.

Peel onions and cut in half. Slice halves the long way into 1/4 inch slices.
Combine cooled potatoes, string beans, and onions in a large bowl. Mix remaining ingredients as a dressing, and pour over all. Mix well being careful not to break potatoes.

Life With Chocolate

1 (18.25 ounce) package German chocolate cake mix
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 2/3 cups milk
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
6 (1.4 ounce) bars chocolate covered toffee bars, frozen and crushed

In a 9x13 in pan, bake cake according to package directions. Cool and crumble. Make pudding, according to package directions, with milk.

In a large trifle or other glass serving bowl, place half of the crumbled cake. Pour half of the coffee over the cake, and spread half of the pudding over that. Top with half of the whipped topping, sprinkled with half the crumbled candy bars. Repeat layers in the same order.

Refrigerate until serving.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

On The Road Again!

There comes a time, or times, in everyone’s life when a tough decision has to be made, and about mid-October that time came for myself, and my wife Dianna.

After 3

½ years in Penticton running our restaurant, Chef K’s on Main, we decided in May that we must make a move and close up the restaurant as our lease was expiring anyway.

In the meantime, a new development was being planned for Penticton which included three new restaurants of differing tastes, and I was contracted to manage the food service operation once the complex was complete.

Then, in mid October, the bomb dropped.

The project was being seriously delayed, or possibly even cancelled, and I was left holding a worthless piece of paper in the form of a contract which the developer has chosen not to honor although he hold himself up as a man of honor. We had to make a decision once again, and move on!

By early November, I had located a Head Chef position in Cambridge, Ontario (my home province), and by the following weekend I was ‘on the road again’. This time to Ontario and The Riverbank Mill Restaurant in Cambridge Sure are lots of stairs here though, but they’re helping to me to become slim and trim.

To all of our friends, customers, and acquaintances in the Penticton/Summerland area, we are sorry to leave, but hope we may one see you again if you have an opportunity to visit me at The Riverbank Mill here in Cambridge, Ontario.

I’d also appreciate receiving messages, or comments, from you right here on the Blog (just click the link below). It’s a way we can keep in touch, as we do miss you all. A very special thanks to Rick & Gail Riddall and Gary West for all thier help over this period, watch next week for exciting Christmas recipes.