Recipes

Appetizers

  • True Confessions of an Island Foodie’s Love Affair with Local Prince Edward Island Foods February 7, 2014

    Happy Valentine’s from Prince Edward Island!

    As many of you know, I am part of the year-long Canadian Food Experience Project.  Each month, food blogger participants are prompted by a prescribed theme upon which to base a posting on their individual blogs.  The February theme is “My Canadian Love Affair”.

    What follows is the menu and description of my Valentine’s dinner 2014, using several of my favorite Island food products. In order to meet the timelines of the Project, I have prepared my dinner a week early so it can be included in the Project’s monthly round-up.  My Canadian Love Affair is all about the great local food produced on Prince Edward Island, Canada’s smallest province.

    When I think of foods that I love, well….there are many!  But, coming from an Island blessed with rich red fertile soil and surrounded by the sea, I would have to say that seafood and potatoes would rank high on my list.  So, for my Valentine’s dinner, I have incorporated both but the potatoes in one of the recipes may be presented in a form that could surprise some of you.  Here’s a taste to whet your appetite ….

    The following is the four-course menu for my Valentine’s Dinner which features some of my favorite Island products:

    Starter

    Island Mussels

    (steamed in apple cider and herbs and dipped in Island-churned butter)

    Soup

    Jeff McCourt’s PEI Seafood Chowder

    (a rich, smooth, and creamy chowder filled

    with a variety of PEI seafood and Island potatoes)

    Main

    Lobster Newburg served in a patty shell accompanied by a crisp green salad

    (lobster and mushrooms in a rich sherry and cheese sauce)

    Dessert

    Chocolate Potato Cake

    Wine Pairing:  Rossignol’s Little Sands White Wine (PEI)

    PEI Mussels
    PEI Mussels

    It would be hard to surpass PEI mussels.  They are shipped all over the globe and are world renowned.  There are many ways to prepare mussels and there are many different liquids in which they can be steamed, each of which will give a slightly different flavor to the mussels.  The important thing about steaming mussels is to use very little liquid. Using too much liquid will diminish the flavor of the mussels. It is the steam from the liquid that forces the mussel shells open, not the amount of liquid itself.  These delicacies take very little time to cook – they are cooked when the shells open, a process that generally takes about 5-7 minutes.  Be sure to discard any shells that have not opened during the steaming process.

    Today, I have steamed the mussels in a small amount of apple cider enhanced by a sprinkle each of lemon thyme, parsley, and basil all dried from our garden last summer.  How much liquid is needed is based, of course, on how many mussels are being steamed.  Because I was only steaming about 15-20 mussels for these two appetizers, I only used about 2 tbsp of apple cider.

    While mussels are used in various recipes, including mussel chowder, the most common way to eat mussels on the Island is dipped in melted butter (oh-là-là!).  Mussels are a common food found at many get-togethers because they are quick and easy to prepare and are so very tasty.

    For the second course, I couldn’t bypass an all-time favorite of mine – a good seafood chowder.

    Seafood Chowder
    Seafood Chowder

    This recipe comes courtesy of the Culinary Boot Camps at the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown.  This award-winning recipe was developed by Chef Jeff McCourt who was the chef instructor at the one-day “Island Flavors” Boot Camp that I attended a couple of years ago.  This chowder was one of the dishes that participants made at the Boot Camp.  The Culinary Institute kindly gave me permission to share the seafood chowder recipe as part of the story I was writing on the Boot Camps.  If you find yourself on PEI during the summer/fall seasons when the Culinary Boot Camps are operating, this is a fantastic way to learn about cooking with local Island products and flavors.  Click here to see my story on the Boot Camps and to get the PEI Seafood Chowder recipe.

    I have made many seafood chowder recipes but have not found any that I liked better than this one.  It is filled with a great variety of delectable Island seafood along with PEI potatoes and has a rich, tasty chowder base.  Seafood chowder is a great way to sample several different kinds of local seafood all in one dish. This recipe suggests a variety of seafood that includes lobster, oysters, clams, mussels, scallops, and crab.  On PEI, we would typically serve the seafood chowder with crusty rolls, biscuits, or baguette slices.

    For my main course, I simply had to choose lobster!  Lobster is still the seafood king on the Island and Islanders love their lobster.

    Lobster
    Lobster

    The most typical way Islanders enjoy their lobster is straight out of the shell, dipped in melted butter, and served with potato salad, coleslaw, and rolls.  A jellied salad and slices of tomato and cucumber are also often  included.

    There are numerous enterprises around the Island that, seasonally, serve lobster suppers that generally consist of mussels, seafood chowder, lobster in the shell, salads, rolls, and a selection of pies and other desserts.  There are three main lobster supper venues on PEI.  Saint Anne’s Church Lobster Suppers in Hope River, not far from Cavendish, PEI, began in 1963 when a priest came up with the idea to have lobster suppers as a means to raise money to pay off the $35,000 mortgage on the church.  New Glasgow Lobster Suppers in New Glasgow, in operation since 1958, and Fishermen’s Wharf Restaurant in North Rustico also serve full lobster suppers as well.  A traditional lobster supper at one of these establishments is a must-stop for lobster lovers visiting PEI.  In addition, most restaurants on the Island will feature lobster in one form or another on their menus.  Last summer, I crisscrossed the Island in search of the best lobster roll on PEI since these are a common menu item for many restaurants.  Click here to read about which one was my favorite.

    The popularity of lobster is somewhat ironic.  Today, it is a high-priced food, often considered by many a luxury and reserved for special occasions.  However, on PEI, that was not always the case.  I remember speaking with an Island woman who grew up about 65 years ago in an Island fishing community where her father was a lobster fisherman.  She remembers being embarrassed opening her lunch at school and revealing a lobster sandwich since lobster was associated with poor people!  My, how times have changed!

    As a child, I had no interest in eating lobster.  In fact, when my family was having a “feed of lobster” at home, my mother always roasted me a chicken!  They would coax me to try the lobster but it just didn’t appeal to me.  Finally, as a young adult, I gave in and tried a bite of lobster….well, let’s just say that’s when my love affair with lobster began and I’ve been making up for all the years I didn’t eat it!

    So, it would be a logical choice that I would choose lobster as the main course for a special Valentine’s dinner.  I have opted to go with a traditional Lobster Newburg served in light and airy patty shells accompanied by a crisp green salad.

    Lobster Newburg
    Lobster Newburg

    Lobster is fished in PEI from spring through to fall so we have no winter lobster fishing season on the Island.  Many of us freeze lobster meat when it is in season to enjoy in recipes, like Lobster Newburg, throughout the remainder of the year.  My recipe for Lobster Newburg can be made with either fresh or frozen lobster meat.

    Lobster Newburg
    Lobster Newburg

    Lobster Newburg, although it is often considered an elaborate menu item, is really quite easy to prepare.  It’s also a good way to stretch lobster to increase the number of servings you can get from the meat of a lobster.  What makes Lobster Newburg so tasty and silky in texture is the sauce.  This is a rich, creamy cheese and sherry sauce so large portion sizes are not necessary.  I traditionally serve Lobster Newburg in patty shells.  However, it can also be presented over toast points or served over a bed of steamed rice.  Or, it may be served in small individual casserole dishes with a side of steamed asparagus spears.  The recipe for my Lobster Newburg follows at the end of this posting.

    Much as Islanders have an enduring love affair with food that comes from the sea that surrounds us, we also have a special fondness for our famous PEI potatoes.  For the past two years, I have followed a couple of potato farmers from the planting of the crop to the harvesting process.  To read these stories and get a couple of my favorite potato recipes, here are the two links to the postings for Smith Farms of Newton, PEI and Eric C. Robinson Inc., of Albany, PEI.

    I have chosen to serve a Chocolate Potato Cake as a finale to my Valentine’s dinner.  Yes, potatoes in a cake!  It’s amazing how many different ways potatoes can be served.  Earlier this week, I posted my recipe for Chocolate Potato Cake on my food blog.

    To make this feast truly a PEI dinner, I chose a white wine from PEI’s Rossignol Winery in Little Sands, PEI.  The Island has three wineries – the other two are Newman Estate Winery in Gladstone and Matos Winery in St. Catherine’s, PEI.  Each makes fine wine that is a great accompaniment to any meal.

    Rossignol's Little Sands White Wine
    Rossignol’s Little Sands White Wine

    To compliment the tablesetting, I chose locally-grown tulips from Vanco Farms’ greenhouses in Mount Albion, PEI.  Aren’t they beautiful flowers!

    Vanco Tulips
    Vanco Tulips

    So, this is my local flavors Valentine’s dinner for 2014, featuring some of my favorite and most loved local PEI foods and wine.  I hope you enjoy them, too!

    Lobster Newburg

    Ingredients:

    4-5 oz cooked lobster (either fresh or frozen)

    1 tbsp butter

    3 oz mushrooms, sliced

    1 tbsp butter

    1½ tbsp flour

    ⅛ tsp paprika

    pinch nutmeg

    ¾ cup whole milk or half-and-half

    2 tbsp grated cheddar cheese

    1 egg yolk, slightly beaten

    ½ tbsp sherry

    1½ tsp brandy

    1 tsp liquid chicken bouillon

    salt and pepper, to taste

    Method:

    Assemble ingredients.

    Melt first amount of butter in a medium-sized saucepan.  Add and sauté mushrooms for approximately 2 minutes.  Set aside.

    In separate saucepan, melt remaining tablespoon of butter.  Add flour, paprika, and nutmeg.  Whisk in the milk until mixture is smooth.  Add cheese.  Stir mixture constantly until slightly thickened.

    Add approximately 2 tbsp of the hot sauce to the egg yolk to temper the egg so it won’t curdle when added to the hot sauce.  Add the tempered egg to the sauce in the pan.

    Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, then add the lobster meat and mushrooms.

    Add the sherry and brandy and cook and stir slowly for 1-2 minutes to heat the lobster and mushrooms.  Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

    Serve immediately in baked patty shells or over toast points or steamed rice.

    Yield:  2-3 servings

    Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

    Be sure to visit my Facebook page at My Island Bistro Kitchen.  You may also wish to follow me on twitter @PEIBistro, on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”, and on Instagram at “PEIBistro”.

    Continue reading → Happy Valentine’s from Prince Edward Island! As many of you know, I am part of the year-long Canadian Food Experience Project.  Each month, food blogger participants are prompted by a prescribed theme upon which to base a posting on their individual blogs.  The February theme is “My Canadian Love Affair”. What follows is the menu and description ...
  • The Bistro’s Best Deviled Eggs Recipe March 20, 2016
    The Bistro's Best Devilled Eggs
    The Bistro’s Best Devilled Eggs

    Devilled Eggs are so tasty and easy to make.  They are perfect for potlucks, picnics, snacks, and even appetizers or hors d’oeuvres.  And, of course, they are often found at many Easter gatherings.  To top it off, they are showy, too.  I have never taken a plate of these to any function and had any left over!

    The Bistro's Best Devilled Eggs
    The Bistro’s Best Devilled Eggs

    There are many versions of this timeless food but I like them plain and simple and not too seasoned or spicy.  I do use a pastry bag and decorating tip to pipe the filling into the egg cavities.  However, you don’t have to have these tools. Simply spoon the filling into the egg cavity and swirl it around with the tip of a knife. With a sprinkle of paprika, some green herbs or green onions, you will have an attractive looking plate of devilled eggs.

    The Bistro's Best Devilled Eggs
    The Bistro’s Best Devilled Eggs

    I recommend not sprinkling the eggs with paprika until serving time as, sometimes, the paprika can “bleed” and the eggs can have a smudgy red cast to them.

    The Bistro's Best Devilled Eggs
    The Bistro’s Best Devilled Eggs

    (Printable version of recipe follows at end of posting)

    The Bistro’s Devilled Eggs

    Ingredients:

    5 hard-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled, and sliced in half lengthwise
    2 – 2½ tbsp mayonnaise
    1 tsp sour cream
    ½ tsp prepared mustard
    1½ tsp onion, minced
    ¾ tbsp sweet pickle relish
    2 tsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated
    Pinch garlic powder
    ½ tsp fresh dill, chopped fine
    ¾ tsp fresh parsley, chopped
    Pinch cayenne
    Salt and pepper, to taste

    Paprika
    Fresh parsley, chopped
    Sprigs of fresh herbs (optional)
    Method:

    Gently scoop out egg yolks and place in small bowl. Set egg whites aside.

    Mash egg yolks with fork. Add all remaining ingredients. Mix well.

    Fill egg white cavities with the devilled egg mixture using either a pastry bag fitted with a large decorative tip (I use a Wilton 6B tip) or, alternatively, use a spoon.

    Refrigerate devilled eggs at least 1 hour before serving. At time of serving, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and/or paprika. Garnish each with a small sprig of a fresh herb, if desired.

    Yield: 10 servings (1 devilled egg each)

    The Bistro’s Best Devilled Eggs

    Yield: 10 servings

    Serving Size: (1 devilled egg each)

    Always a crowd pleaser, these devilled eggs are both tasty and easy to make.

    Ingredients

    • 5 hard-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled, and sliced in half lengthwise
    • 2 – 2½ tbsp mayonnaise
    • 1 tsp sour cream
    • ½ tsp prepared mustard
    • 1½ tsp onion, minced
    • ¾ tbsp sweet pickle relish
    • 2 tsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated
    • Pinch garlic powder
    • ½ tsp fresh dill, chopped fine
    • ¾ tsp fresh parsley, chopped
    • Pinch cayenne
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
    • Paprika
    • Fresh parsley, chopped
    • Sprigs of fresh herbs (optional)

    Instructions

    1. Gently scoop out egg yolks and place in small bowl. Set egg whites aside.
    2. Mash egg yolks with fork. Add all remaining ingredients. Mix well.
    3. Fill egg white cavities with the devilled egg mixture using either a pastry bag fitted with a large decorative tip (I use a Wilton 6B tip) or, alternatively, use a spoon.
    4. Refrigerate devilled eggs at least 1 hour before serving. At time of serving, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and/or paprika. Garnish each with a small sprig of a fresh herb, if desired.
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    The Bistro's Best Devilled Eggs
    The Bistro’s Best Devilled Eggs
    Continue reading →Devilled Eggs are so tasty and easy to make.  They are perfect for potlucks, picnics, snacks, and even appetizers or hors d’oeuvres.  And, of course, they are often found at many Easter gatherings.  To top it off, they are showy, too.  I have never taken a plate of these to any function and had any ...
  • Summer Garden Vegetable Dip August 28, 2014

    I love late August because there is an abundance of fresh garden produce available.  Vegetable and dip platters make a great snack for any occasion.  Vegetables are so colorful that they make any platter look outstanding plus raw vegetables are healthy food.

    I like to use a variety of vegetables, colors, shapes, and textures on a veggie platter, making it pleasing to both the eye and the palette.  Like these colorful dragon tongue beans, for example.  These beans are actually best eaten raw because, if cooked, they lose their color.

    Dragon Tongue Beans
    Dragon Tongue Beans

    I like the crunchiness of raw cauliflower which now comes in a variety of colors – purple, green, or this bright orange.

    Orange Cauliflower
    Orange Cauliflower

    Make sure a variety of veggies are included so there is something for everyone’s taste.

    I love the many varieties and colors of cherry tomatoes available including these pear-shaped and tiger-striped ones.

    Variety of Cherry Tomatoes
    Variety of Cherry Tomatoes

    It’s easy, I know, and sometimes tempting to buy bottled dip from the supermarket but the downside is those dips/dressings may contain ingredients that aren’t necessarily so healthy.  That’s why I like to make my own dip.

    Summer Garden Vegetable Dip
    Summer Garden Vegetable Dip

    The dip recipe I am sharing today actually does double duty in a couple of ways.  First, it contains fresh veggies so, not only do the vegetables get dipped into it but the dip itself also has radishes, onion, green pepper, and cucumber as ingredients in it.  Second, this dip may also be used as a salad dressing on your favorite green salad.  The dip doesn’t contain any unusual or hard-to-find ingredients.

    This is an easy dip to make.  Other than mincing up the veggies, it’s simply a matter of mixing all the ingredients together in one bowl.  It’s best if it chills for at least a couple of hours before serving which also makes it convenient as it can be prepared and refrigerated earlier in the day.  The veggies can also be prepared earlier in the day as well which makes it one less thing to do before a gathering.

    Summer Garden Vegetable Dip

    Ingredients:

    1 cup sour cream
    ½ cup mayonnaise
    1 tbsp sugar
    ½ tsp fine sea salt
    Fresh ground pepper, to taste
    Dash of garlic powder, to taste
    3 tbsp finely chopped radishes
    ¼ cup finely chopped green pepper
    ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
    ¼ cup finely chopped English cucumber, unpeeled

    Method:

    Assemble ingredients.

    In medium-sized bowl, combine sour cream and mayonnaise. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir well.

    Add the finely chopped (minced) vegetables and stir to blend well.

    Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours prior to serving.

    Serve with your favourite selection of garden vegetables.

    Note: This may also be used as a dressing for tossed salads.  This recipe is easily halved or doubled according to need.

    Yield: Apx. 2 cups

    Because there is sour cream and mayonnaise in this dip, it needs to be kept cold.  I use a container that has a cavity for ice and then the dip container itself sits on top of the ice to keep it cool.

    Ice in container for dip
    Ice in container for dip

    As soon as I spotted these napkins, I knew they would be appropriate for one of my vegetable and dip trays.

    Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today. There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

    Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook
    Follow the Bistro’s tweets on twitter @PEIBistro
    Find the Bistro on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”
    Follow along on Instagram at “peibistro”

     

    Continue reading → I love late August because there is an abundance of fresh garden produce available.  Vegetable and dip platters make a great snack for any occasion.  Vegetables are so colorful that they make any platter look outstanding plus raw vegetables are healthy food. I like to use a variety of vegetables, colors, shapes, and textures on a ...
  • Savory Mushroom and Quinoa Crostini December 3, 2017

    If you are like me, you are always on the hunt for tasty little appetizers or hors d’oeuvres to serve at functions.

    Savory Mushroom and Quinoa Crostini
    Savory Mushroom and Quinoa Crostini

    These easy-to-prepare savory little toasts are my latest creation and are packed full of flavor. Red onion, garlic, mushrooms, and red pepper are sautéed in butter and seasoned with nutmeg, summer savory, and thyme. The seasoned and sautéed vegetables are combined with cooked quinoa added for texture and visual appeal along with Parmesan cheese for additional flavor. The ingredients are bound together with chicken stock, cream, and maple syrup to add a touch of sweetness.

    Spooned on to olive-oiled baguette slices, each crostini is topped with grated cheddar cheese.  For mine, I used a locally produced cheese –  Appletree Smoked Cheddar Cheese produced in PEI by COWS Creamery.

    Savory Mushroom and Quinoa Crostini Hors d'oeuvres
    Savory Mushroom and Quinoa Crostini Hors d’oeuvres

    These hors d’oeuvres are easily made into a gluten-free version. Simply use a gluten-free baguette and ensure that all other ingredients are gluten-free.  One important factor to keep in mind with hors d’oeuvres is to ensure that they can easily be eaten with grace by guests – that means no huge chunks of ingredients that can pull apart when chewed into. Hors d’oeuvres should be able to be eaten with the use of only one hand.  While the mushrooms could be sliced, instead of chopped, for this hors d’oeuvre, they would need to be very small.

    Savory Mushroom and Quinoa Crostini
    Savory Mushroom and Quinoa Crostini

    [Printable Recipe Follows at end of Posting]

     Savory Mushroom and Quinoa Crostini

     Ingredients:

    1½ tbsp butter
    ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped

    1 garlic clove, minced
    1 cup white button and/or cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
    2 tbsp red pepper, finely chopped
    1/8 tsp nutmeg
    ¼ tsp dried summer savory
    1/8 tsp dried thyme

    4 tsp chicken stock
    2 tbsp heavy cream
    2 tsp pure maple syrup
    ¼ cup cooked quinoa
    4 tsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
    Salt and pepper, to taste

    ¼ cup grated Cheddar cheese

    Fresh herbs for garnish

    1 French baguette
    Olive Oil for brushing on baguette slices

    Method:

    Over medium heat, melt butter in saucepan.  Add onions and garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Add the mushrooms and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the red pepper, nutmeg, summer savory, and thyme.  Sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.

    In small bowl, combine the chicken stock, cream, and maple syrup.  Add the quinoa, Parmesan cheese, and sautéed vegetables.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and combine all ingredients well.

    Slice baguette into 16 slices between ¼” and  ½” thick.  Brush each slice with small amount of olive oil.  Divide mixture evenly between the 16 slices.  Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese.  Place crostini on baking sheet and broil for 1-2 minutes or just until cheese has melted.  Garnish with fresh herbs. Serve hot.

    Yield:  16 appetizers

    Savory Mushroom and Quinoa Crostini

    These easy-to-prepare savory little toasts are packed full of flavor.  Featuring mushrooms, quinoa, cheese, and select seasonings, these tasty bites are sure to be a favorite hors d'oeuvre at your next gathering.

    Course Appetizer
    Servings 16
    Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
    • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1 cup white button and/or cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
    • 2 tbsp red pepper, finely chopped
    • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp dried summer savory
    • 1/8 tsp dried thyme
    • 4 tsp chicken stock
    • 2 tbsp heavy cream
    • 2 tsp pure maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
    • 4 tsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
    • 1/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese
    • Fresh herbs for garnish
    • 1 French baguette
    • Olive oil for brushing on baguette slices

    Instructions

    1. Over medium heat, melt butter in saucepan.  Add onions and garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Add the mushrooms and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the red pepper, nutmeg, summer savory, and thyme.  Sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.

    2. In small bowl, combine the chicken stock, cream, and maple syrup. Add the quinoa, Parmesan cheese, and sautéed vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste and combine all ingredients well.
    3. Slice baguette into 16 slices about 1/2" thick. Brush each slice with small amount of olive oil. Divide mixture evenly between the 16 slices. Sprinkle with grated Cheddar cheese. Place slices on baking sheet and broil for 1-2 minutes or just until cheese has melted. Garnish with fresh herbs. Serve hot.
    Savory Mushroom and Quinoa Crostini
    Savory Mushroom and Quinoa Crostini
    Continue reading →If you are like me, you are always on the hunt for tasty little appetizers or hors d’oeuvres to serve at functions. These easy-to-prepare savory little toasts are my latest creation and are packed full of flavor. Red onion, garlic, mushrooms, and red pepper are sautéed in butter and seasoned with nutmeg, summer savory, and thyme. ...
  • Sausage-Stuffed Cremini Mushroom Caps January 14, 2015
    Sausage-stuffed Cremini Mushroom Caps
    Sausage-stuffed Cremini Mushroom Caps

    I was recently contacted by Laure Solange Tchamdja, President and CEO of Aldanel Authentic Foods, of Charlottetown, PEI, to let me know about her new line of tomato sauces being produced right here on PEI. I sat down for a chat with Tchamdja to find out more about the sauces.

    In October, 2013, Tchamdja began producing tomato sauce. The company manufactures five varieties of their tomato-based sauces, all sold in 240ml bottles: Tomato Celebration, Spinach Carnival, Chili Tango, Carrot Symphony, and Rouge Poivron. Over the period of some nine months in the lab, the BioFood Technology plant on the UPEI campus in Charlottetown helped Tchamdja convert her family recipe into a commercial product suitable for the retail market. As the company does not presently have its own manufacturing plant, the sauces are produced at the BioFood Technology plant on the UPEI campus in Charlottetown.

    Tchamdja wanted to create a tomato sauce product that is safe and healthy, not too spicy, and that would help working women, young professionals, and students prepare healthy meals at home. She says her products are versatile and multipurpose and one does not have to be a chef to use them. They can be used directly from the bottle as pasta sauces, added to soups and vegetables, used as a condiment for meat and fish, as a sauce for pizza, on nachos, and even as marinades for meat and fish. So, the product can be used as is without having to cook it again or it can be used as an ingredient in a recipe. Tchamdja says her products are all natural with no preservatives and are low in sugar.

    Initially, Tchamdja sold her tomato sauces at local PEI shops such as Riverview Country Market. She has since expanded her markets to include Sobey’s and Co-op Supermarkets, Pete’s Frootique in Halifax, and Winners and Home Sense stores in Eastern Canada.

    The products are sold under the Aldanel™ label, the letters for which are formed from those found in the names of her children. Depending on the retailer, prices per 240 ml bottle range from $4.49 to $5.99 (as of the time of writing).

    Tchamdja offered me some complimentary samples of her Tomato Celebration sauce to try. Tchamdja is correct – I found the sauce to be a versatile ingredient in several dishes. I have used it as a pizza sauce and found it very tasty. I have also used it in a recipe I created for  baked stuffed fingerling hors d’oeuvres. And, I have used it as an ingredient in the following recipes for sausage-stuffed cremini mushroom caps.

    My recipe for stuffed mushrooms is suitable for hors d’oeuvres or, add a tomato sauce, and they turn into an appetizer.

    I have chosen to use cremini mushrooms but white button mushrooms would also work.  As well, any kind of sausage can be used – I have chosen to use sun-dried tomato sausage from KJL Meats here in Charlottetown.  The herb and garlic Gouda cheese I used is from Glasgow Glen Farm in New Glasgow, PEI. The tomato sauce that I am featuring in both recipes is Aldanel’s “Tomato Celebration” variety but any of their other sauces would work well, too.

    Sausage-stuffed Cremini Mushroom Caps
    Sausage-stuffed Cremini Mushroom Caps

    Stuffed Cremini Mushroom Caps (Hors d’oeuvres)

    1 tsp olive oil
    ½ tsp butter

    12 medium-sized cremini mushrooms, washed, dried, and de-stemmed (reserve the stems)
    2 cloves of garlic, minced
    1½ tbsp onion, finely chopped
    2 oz. sun-dried tomato sausage, removed from casing and loosely broken up
    2 tbsp Ardanel™ tomato sauce
    2 tsp truffle aioli
    ½ tsp basil
    ½ cup fine breadcrumbs
    2 tbsp shredded Gouda cheese
    1 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
    Salt and pepper, to taste

    Method:

    Assemble ingredients.

    Trim and discard ends from mushroom stems.

    Remove the stems from the mushroom caps and place mushroom stems into bowl of small food processor. Pulse until mixture is finely chopped.

    Add garlic, onion, and sausage and pulse just until mixture is combined.

    Preheat oven to 375ºF.

    Heat oil in small frypan. Add butter.

    Add mushroom-sausage mixture and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until sausage meat is no longer pink.

    Transfer mixture to small bowl.

    Add the tomato sauce.

    Add truffle aioli, basil, breadcrumbs, and cheeses along with salt and pepper to taste.

    Place mushroom caps on parchment-lined baking sheet. Stuff each mushroom cap with mixture, slightly mounding the top. Sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan cheese.

    Bake for about 12 minutes. Garnish with fresh chives, sliced green onion, or parsley, if desired.  Serve immediately.

    Yield: 12 hors d’oeuvres

    Sausage-stuffed Cremini Mushroom Caps
    Sausage-stuffed Cremini Mushroom Caps

    Stuffed Cremini Mushroom Caps with Tomato Sauce (Appetizer)

    12 sausage-stuffed cremini mushroom caps (recipe above)

    Tomato Sauce:

    ½ tbsp butter
    1½ tbsp flour
    ½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
    ½ cup light cream or milk
    ¼ cup Ardanel™ tomato sauce
    ½ tsp Italian seasoning
    ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
    ½ cup shredded Mozarella cheese

    Method:

    Over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour.

    Whisk in the broth and milk until mixture is smooth.

    Stir briskly until mixture starts to thicken then add the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and cheeses.

     

    Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is thickened to desired consistency.

    Grease four oven-safe appetizer-sized baking dishes. Place three stuffed mushrooms into each dish.

    Pour the sauce over the mushrooms, dividing it equally between the four dishes.

    Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese.

    Broil on high for about 5-6 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling. Serve immediately.

    Yield: 4 appetizer servings

    Sausage-stuffed Cremini Mushroom Caps in Tomato Sauce
    Sausage-stuffed Cremini Mushroom Caps in Tomato Sauce

    To learn more about the Aldanel tomato sauce products, visit their website.

    This recipe is also being submitted for the Foodie Pages CHEF’S BOX Challenge.

    ———————–

    Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today. There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

    Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook
    Follow the Bistro’s tweets on twitter @PEIBistro
    Find the Bistro on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen
    Follow along on Instagram at “peibistro

    Continue reading →I was recently contacted by Laure Solange Tchamdja, President and CEO of Aldanel Authentic Foods, of Charlottetown, PEI, to let me know about her new line of tomato sauces being produced right here on PEI. I sat down for a chat with Tchamdja to find out more about the sauces. In October, 2013, Tchamdja began producing ...
  • PEI Mussels Steamed in Beer Recipe June 25, 2016
    Beer-steamed Mussels
    PEI Mussels Steamed in Rhuby Social Beer from Upstreet Craft Brewing

    My recipe for steamed mussels calls for some aromatics to build a flavor base in which to steam the tasty little morsels.  Aromatic cooking involves some type of fat or oil – I’m using butter in this recipe – combined with some aromatic vegetables and herbs.  In this case, I am using onion, celery, and garlic along with some fresh thyme. The combination of a fat product and heat help to release the wonderful aromas of ingredients and infuse dishes with fabulous flavors.  Ever walk into the tantalizing scent of a kitchen where onions and garlic are cooking in oil or butter? That’s aromatics at work.

    Preparing this flavor base at the beginning of the cooking process adds depth and complexity to the dish. Since mussels cook rapidly,  chop the vegetables up somewhat fine as they need to release their flavors quickly in order to add flavor to the dish.

    The fresh mussels should be rinsed under cold water before they are cooked.  If any of the shells don’t close up after this rinsing, tap the  shells lightly. If they still don’t close, discard them. Any “beard” on the mussels also needs to be removed.

    Once the vegetables have been sautéed and released their flavors, it’s time to add a small amount of lemon juice and some beer to the mixture. The lemon juice adds fresh, crisp notes to the broth. This helps to balance the seafood qualities of the broth once the mussels are added. Beer adds both depth and complexity of flavor to the mussels which should be steamed in a very small amount of liquid.  If too much liquid is used, it will dilute the flavor altogether. It’s the steam, not the amount of liquid, that cooks the mussels. In this recipe, I have chosen to use a craft beer that has been brewed right here on Prince Edward Island at Upstreet Craft Brewing in Charlottetown (click here for my story on this brewery).  The strawberry and rhubarb flavored “Rhuby Social” witbier with its slight tartness pairs particularly well with seafood.

    It’s important not to overcook the mussels as they will become tough. I find that 5-7 minutes is usually sufficient; however, the amount of steaming time depends on several factors including how many (and the size of the) mussels in the pot, the weight of the pot, and amount of heat over which they are steamed. The ultimate test of doneness is a peek inside the pot to see if the shells have opened.  It’s very important that, at the end of the steaming process, any shells that have not opened be discarded. If a shell has to be pried open, it is not considered safe for consumption.

    These mussels can be eaten with bread dipped in the steaming broth.  Simply strain the broth to remove the vegetables and herbs. Alternatively, they can be eaten dipped in melted butter or even with a simple splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

    (Printable recipe follows at end of posting)

    PEI Mussels Steamed in Beer

    Ingredients:
    2 lbs. PEI mussels, rinsed and beards removed

    1 tbsp butter
    1/3 cup onion, chopped
    2-3 cloves garlic, minced
    4” piece of celery with leaves, chopped
    ½ tsp salt
    2 sprigs fresh thyme
    2 tsp lemon juice
    1 cup Upstreet Craft Brewing’s “Rhuby Social” Beer

    Method:
    In medium-sized stock pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, garlic, celery and salt. Sauté, stirring briskly, just until onion has softened and has started to become transparent.  Add the thyme, lemon juice, and beer.  Increase the heat to high and bring liquid to a boil.  Add the mussels. Cover and steam the mussels for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until the mussel shells have opened.  Remove pot from heat and let mussels stand in broth for 1-2 minutes.

    Remove mussels from broth with a slotted spoon and discard any shells that have not opened.  If desired, strain the broth and use for dipping bread to enjoy with the mussels.  Alternatively, melt butter in which to dip the mussels.

    Yield: Apx. 2 servings

    Pin Me to Pinterest!

    Beer-steamed Mussels
    PEI Mussels Steamed in Beer

    Mussels Steamed in Beer Recipe

    Yield: 2 servings

    PEI Mussels steamed in an aromatic beer broth. Dip the mussels in melted butter for the ultimate treat.

    Ingredients

    • 2 lbs. PEI mussels, rinsed and beards removed
    • 1 tbsp butter
    • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
    • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 4” piece of celery with leaves, chopped
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 2 tsp lemon juice
    • 1 cup Upstreet Craft Brewing’s “Rhuby Social” Beer

    Instructions

    1. In medium-sized stock pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery and salt. Sauté, stirring briskly, just until onion has softened and has started to become transparent. Add the thyme, lemon juice, and beer. Increase the heat to high and bring liquid to a boil. Add the mussels. Cover and steam the mussels for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until the mussel shells have opened. Remove pot from heat and let mussels stand in broth for 1-2 minutes.
    2. Remove mussels from broth with a slotted spoon and discard any shells that have not opened. If desired, strain the broth and use for dipping bread to enjoy with the mussels. Alternatively, melt butter in which to dip the mussels.
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    Continue reading →My recipe for steamed mussels calls for some aromatics to build a flavor base in which to steam the tasty little morsels.  Aromatic cooking involves some type of fat or oil – I’m using butter in this recipe – combined with some aromatic vegetables and herbs.  In this case, I am using onion, celery, and ...
  • Old-Fashioned Scottish Oatcakes April 27, 2014

     

    Old-fashioned Oatcakes served with Brie and J.J. Stewart's Cranberry Champagne and Crystalized Ginger Preserves
    Old-fashioned Oatcakes served with Brie and J.J. Stewart’s Cranberry Champagne and Crystalized Ginger Preserves

    Oatcakes are very versatile and take such basic, simple ingredients.  A cross between a cookie and a cracker, they are savory bites and are not overly sweet.  In fact, I would describe these artisan cookies/crackers as having a nice short, crisp texture.  Scottish in origin, oatcakes probably made their debut in Canada when they arrived along with Scottish immigrants.

    Oatcakes can be eaten as plain cookies or sandwiched together with jam or date filling.  They can be consumed as crackers served with various condiments such as tangy gourmet preserves and marmalades alongside cheese, such as Brie.  Here I am serving them with J.J. Stewart’s Cranberry Champagne and Crystalized Ginger Preserves made in Stratford, PEI.  You can read the story I wrote earlier on J.J. Stewart’s products by clicking here.

    This product is a bit sharp and tangy and goes particularly well with a plain oatcake and Brie cheese.   Whatever preserve, jam, or marmalade you serve with these, make sure it is not runny.  It needs to be fairly thick consistency so it will stay in place atop the oatcake. Choosing a bright red jam makes these colorful savories!

    Oatcakes can also be dipped in chocolate.  And, yes, they can even find their way onto an afternoon tea table because they taste especially good with a fine cup of tea.  In fact, I served them at my Tartan Day Afternoon Tea this year.

    Oatcakes at Afternoon Tea
    Oatcakes at Afternoon Tea

     

    Old-fashioned Savory Oatcakes

     Ingredients:

    1 cup shortening

    1 cup white sugar

    2 eggs

    1 tsp vanilla

    2 cups flour

    1 tsp baking soda

    ¼ tsp salt

    2 cups oatmeal (not instant)

    Method:

    Assemble ingredients.

    Oatcake Ingredients
    Oatcake Ingredients

    Preheat oven to 350°.

    With electric mixer, cream shortening and sugar.

    Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in vanilla.

    In separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.

    With mixer at lowest speed, gradually add the flour mixture until combined.

    Remove bowl from mixer and, using a wooden spoon, add the oatmeal.  Stir well.

    Roll out dough thin – between ⅛” and ¼” thick.  Cut into 2” circles or squares.

    Place on parchment-lined baking sheets.

    Bake 10 minutes.  Remove from oven an let set on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

    Oatcakes freeze very well.  They are a great staple to have on hand along with a good quality preserve or marmalade so, when company drops in unexpectedly, it is quick and easy to pull together some refreshments.  Set out the bottle of preserve, a stack of oatcakes, some favorite cheese, and fresh fruit and you have a savory snack food!

     

    Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.

    There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

    Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook

    Follow the Bistro’s tweets on twitter @PEIBistro

    Find the Bistro on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”

    Follow along on Instagram at “peibistro”

    Continue reading →  Oatcakes are very versatile and take such basic, simple ingredients.  A cross between a cookie and a cracker, they are savory bites and are not overly sweet.  In fact, I would describe these artisan cookies/crackers as having a nice short, crisp texture.  Scottish in origin, oatcakes probably made their debut in Canada when they arrived ...
  • Lobster-stuffed Cherry Tomatoes September 14, 2013
    Lobster-stuffed Cherry Tomato
    Lobster-stuffed Cherry Tomato

    Our garden produced hundreds of tiny cherry tomatoes this summer.  It’s always a challenge as to what to do with them and it seems everyone I know also has an abundance of them, too.  Cherry tomatoes make great bases for appetizers or hors d’oeurves.  They are particularly tasty when filled with lobster salad!  This weekend, there is a huge shellfish festival in Charlottetown, PEI, so I thought this was an appropriate time to post a recipe using one of my favorite shellfish, lobster.

    I used the same lobster salad recipe as I used for the filling in the lobster croissants that were featured for my labour day picnic.  The only thing I did differently was to chop the lobster into smaller pieces so the salad would fit into the cherry tomatoes.

    To assemble, slice off the stem end of the tomato.  With a small coffee spoon, carefully hollow out and discard the seeds and juicy pulp of the tomatoes.  Fill with lobster salad.  Garnish with fresh herbs such as chives, thyme, and/or dill.

    Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.  

    Be sure to visit my new Facebook page at My Island Bistro Kitchen.  You may also wish to follow me on twitter @PEIBistro and on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”.

    Continue reading →Our garden produced hundreds of tiny cherry tomatoes this summer.  It’s always a challenge as to what to do with them and it seems everyone I know also has an abundance of them, too.  Cherry tomatoes make great bases for appetizers or hors d’oeurves.  They are particularly tasty when filled with lobster salad!  This weekend, ...
  • Chunky Cranberry Salsa December 31, 2015
    Chunky Cranberry Salsa Hors d'oeuvre
    Chunky Cranberry Salsa Hors d’oeuvre

    By now, if you are a regular follower of this food blog, you have probably detected that I am a big fan of cranberries!  I am always developing recipes using these tasty morsels.

    Chunky Cranberry Salsa
    Chunky Cranberry Salsa

    Today, I am sharing my newly-developed recipe for Chunky Cranberry Salsa. As its base, it uses my homemade cranberry sauce for which you can find the recipe here.  You need a good thick cranberry sauce for this, not a runny, watery version as many of the canned, commercial versions are. If a watery cranberry sauce is used, it will make the salsa too runny and messy. The photo below shows what the consistency of this salsa should be – it should “hold its own” and stay in place when used on nachos or crackers.

    Chunky Cranberry Salsa
    Chunky Cranberry Salsa

    Any flavour of dry salsa seasoning available can be used in this recipe. I use the Epicure Brand, “Pico”, Salsa Mix which is a mild flavoring. If you are using another brand, or one that is quite spicy, just be aware that the amount this recipe calls for may not apply and you may need to adjust the amount you use.  Also, I use 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons of the Epicure “Pico” seasoning but that can be altered according to taste.  However, I suggest making the salsa first with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the seasoning and then adding more according to your personal taste.  As the old saying goes, you can add more seasoning but you can’t remove it if you put in too much!

    Almost any flavour of balsamic vinegar can be used, even a traditional white balsamic. I have used a honey ginger balsamic vinegar from our local Liquid Gold and All Things Olive store here in Charlottetown as this vinegar flavour pairs particularly well with the other ingredients in this salsa.

    Chunky Cranberry Salsa on Nachos
    Chunky Cranberry Salsa on Nachos

    I use this salsa on nachos but it is also exceptionally good served on gourmet crackers. Simply top each cracker with a small slice of Brie or Gouda cheese and some shaved turkey.  Add a small spoonful of the cranberry salsa and, voilà, an instant hors d’oeuvre. Once you have the salsa made, it makes a quick, easy, and tasty hors d’oeuvre.

    Chunky Cranberry Salsa Hors d'oeuvre
    Chunky Cranberry Salsa Hors d’oeuvre

    With the jewel-toned color of this salsa, this hors d’oeuvre also looks very attractive on a serving tray.

    Chunky Cranberry Salsa Hors d'oeuvres
    Chunky Cranberry Salsa Hors d’oeuvres

    This salsa often finds its way on to my charcuterie boards, too.

    It can also be used to top baked chicken breasts or grilled pork chops. It’s very versatile, especially if you already have cranberry sauce made and in the freezer.  Simply let the cranberry sauce thaw at room temperature and then mix up the salsa. It’s best if the salsa can be made and refrigerated for a couple of hours before serving to allow the flavours to blend and mellow.

    Chunky Cranberry Salsa

    Ingredients:

    1 cup cranberry sauce
    ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
    ½ cup Granny Smith apple, finely chopped
    1½  tsp sugar
    1¾ tsp lime juice
    1½ – 2 tbsp Epicure “Pico” Salsa Mix, or to taste
    2 tsp Honey Ginger White Balsamic Vinegar
    1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
    ½ orange, finely chopped

    Method:

    In medium-sized bowl, mix all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving to allow flavour to develop.

    Serve with nacho chips. May also be served as an hors d’oeuvre: Place slice of Gouda or Brie on favorite cracker. Add shaved turkey topped with a small dollop of chunky cranberry salsa. Can also be used as a topping on chicken or pork.

    Store in sealed container for up to two to three days in refrigerator.

    Yield: Apx. 1 2/3 cups

    Chunky Cranberry Salsa
    Chunky Cranberry Salsa

    —————————————————————————-

    Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.  If you enjoyed this posting and recipe, please share it on your social media websites.

    Connect with “the Bistro” through the following social media:

    Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook

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    ——————————————————————————

    Chunky Cranberry Salsa

    Yield: Apx 1 2/3 cups

    Jewel-toned cranberries transform into a versatile and tasty chunky cranberry salsa

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup cranberry sauce
    • ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
    • ½ cup Granny Smith apple, finely chopped
    • 1½ tsp sugar
    • 1¾ tsp lime juice
    • 1½ - 2 tbsp Epicure “Pico” Salsa Mix, or to taste
    • 2 tsp Honey Ginger White Balsamic Vinegar
    • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
    • ½ orange, finely chopped

    Instructions

    1. In medium-sized bowl, mix all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving to allow flavour to develop.
    2. Serve with nacho chips. May also be served as an hors d’oeuvre: Place slice of Gouda or Brie on favorite cracker. Add shaved turkey topped with a small dollop of chunky cranberry salsa. Can also be used as a topping on chicken or pork.
    3. Store in sealed container for up to two to three days in refrigerator.
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    Chunky Cranberry Salsa
    Chunky Cranberry Salsa

     

    Chunky Cranberry Salsa
    Chunky Cranberry Salsa
    Continue reading →By now, if you are a regular follower of this food blog, you have probably detected that I am a big fan of cranberries!  I am always developing recipes using these tasty morsels. Today, I am sharing my newly-developed recipe for Chunky Cranberry Salsa. As its base, it uses my homemade cranberry sauce for which you ...
  • A Visit to the Barnyard Organics Farm in Freetown, PEI September 21, 2015

    I recently paid a visit to the Bernard family at Barnyard Organics in Freetown, PEI. Sally and Mark Bernard operate one of the largest (if not the biggest) organic farms on the Island and Sally and her daughter, Lucy, were my tour guides.

    Sally and Lucy Bernard from Barnyard Organics
    Sally and Lucy Bernard from Barnyard Organics

    Sally (who grew up on a farm in New Brunswick) and Mark (from an Island farming family) met at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC) in Truro, Nova Scotia. Sally has an English degree from Mount Alison as well as a Plant Science Diploma from NSAC while Mark holds an Agricultural Business Diploma with a minor in Plant Science. In 2003, while still in college, Mark knew he wanted to pursue organic farming. His father had recently retired from farming so Mark began the groundwork for preparing the first 50 acres on his family’s farm to be taken out of conventional farming practices. The Bernards officially became certified organic farmers in 2006 and, since 2010, they have 550 organic acres on their farm and also rent additional acreage near Kensington.

    Barnyard Organics, the name of the farm, is certified under Atlantic Certified Organics (ACO), a certification body which is accredited with the Canadian federal government. This body enforces the national organic standards such as buffer zone requirements from surrounding farms using conventional farming methods and it provides a list of approved substances that can be used in organic farming. As such, the farm is required to keep records of any products or substances used. In order to remain certified organic, the Bernards are subject to yearly inspections from ACO.

    The main focus of the farm is on growing grains that include soybean, barley, wheat, oats, field peas, buckwheat, and clover. More than half of the grains are sold to small-scale organic producers in the Maritimes as a complete mixed animal feed. The remaining half goes to Speerville Flour Mill in New Brunswick and to brokers in Quebec and Ontario. Of note, 35-40 acres of the farm are dedicated to growing wheat specifically for bread. In fact, a nearby neighbour, Coral Wood, uses wheat from Barnyard Organics in her Whole Grain Bakery.

    The Whole Grain Bakery Bread made with Grain Grown on Barnyard Organics Farm
    The Whole Grain Bakery Bread made with Wheat Grown on Barnyard Organics Farm in Freetown, PEI

    In addition, the Bernards also have both meat birds and about 150 laying hens.

    The meat birds are raised on a portable pasture system which means the shelters they live in are moved each day so the birds always have fresh grass to nibble on.

    The laying hens are completely free range so they have unfettered roaming privileges in a field nearest the farm buildings. They then take up winter residence inside a barn.

    These are their summer condos!

    This is where the flock hangs out when they are not out roaming about the field.

     

    And, this is what is found on the other side of the “condos”.

    Baby chicks on the farm!

    Both meat and laying birds are raised on organic grains grown on the farm so the Bernards know exactly what their fowl are fed and customers can be assured the chickens and eggs are organic and of the highest quality.

    About 90% of their meat birds and eggs are direct marketed to customers through CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares. This is a program whereby consumers (sometimes referred to as shareholders) invest in their food system by paying, the producer, upfront, for a season of fresh farm products. In exchange, the producer agrees to employ good farming practices to ensure a food supply and commits to sharing the resulting farm produce with those shareholders. This method of farming gives the farmer operating capital to buy supplies and run the farm and, in turn, CSA customers get quality fresh produce – in this case, fresh organic chickens and eggs from the Bernards.

    Barnyard Organics currently has 100 CSA members and delivers to customers every two weeks in both Charlottetown and Summerside, alternating week about. Sally packages her fresh chickens and eggs, loads up her trolley fitted with refrigeration, and heads off with her deliveries.

    Through the CSA market method, Sally gets to know her customers directly and they get to meet with the producer of their food and have the opportunity to put money directly into the producer’s hands with no middle parties. In addition, this customer-producer interaction provides the opportunity for customers to know where their food comes from and learn how it is produced. For the producer, this method allows for face-to-face feedback on products.

    The remaining 10% of the farm’s products are sold to customers who regularly drop by the farm to pick up their farm-fresh eggs and chickens from the large cooler the family installed on the farm.

    Barnyard Organics also has a small provincially-inspected processing plant where they process approximately 60 chickens a week, ready for distribution to their customers.

    Farming organically is not without its challenges. For example, the Bernards don’t use chemical treatments that conventional farmers do so they can’t buy just any kind of fertilizer for their fields. Instead, they use mussel shell waste as well as manure from a nearby dairy farm; however, the manure needs to first be composted before being spread on the fields because it is not organic.

    The farm also has its own grain dryer and soybean roaster which are needed because the Bernards can’t take their product to any local commercial dryers or roasters because of potential cross-contamination with non-organic grains.

    Sally says their greatest satisfaction comes from knowing they have healthy soil on their farm to produce healthy food. The Bernards practice healthy crop rotation and focus on feeding the soil, not taking from it and depleting its goodness.

    Lucy Bernard
    Lucy Bernard

    In particular, Sally derives great satisfaction from seeing their children interact with farm life. Because she home schools the children, they are exposed each and every day to experiential learning on the farm. Even 7-year old Lucy is already involved with organic farming. She takes the livers and hearts of the processed chickens, dehydrates them, and sells them for organic dog food. Lucy is also helping with the chicken business on the farm, too, and happily moves about the field of hens.

    Sally jokes that Lucy could give the tour of the farm as well as she can and says their children are so acclimatized to farm life that they don’t even know that not everyone knows what life on a farm is like.

    This summer Sally started a “Rent-A-Chicken” project that was so popular, she ended up with a waiting list. Essentially, the initiative allowed people to have a couple of chickens in their own backyards from June until October, enjoy the eggs, and then return the chickens to the Bernards in the fall without having to worry about what to do with the birds in the winter. The Bernards delivered, to renters, a small, portable chicken coop, two laying hens, feed and grit, food and water dishes, and a guide for raising hens.

    Sally Showing one of the Portable Chicken Coops that are part of her "Rent-A-Chicken" Package
    Sally showing one of the portable chicken coops that are part of her “Rent-A-Chicken” Package

    Ideally, each hen could be expected to lay six eggs a week so renters have a dozen fresh organic eggs every week.

    In the fall, the Bernards will pick up the birds and take them back to the farm. Cost for the package for the 2015 season was around $300. Feedback has been very positive and, in fact, some folks have already asked that the birds be banded so they can have the same ones back next year!

    To find out, from a renter’s perspective, what the chicken rental experience was like, I met with Shirley Gallant who had two birds rented from the Bernards this summer.

    As soon as she heard of the opportunity, Shirley knew it was for her as she had had a few hens in her backyard some years ago but wintering them was a problem for her. Because the Bernards will collect the two hens in the fall, Shirley has been able to have the hens for the summer and enjoy their eggs with no worries about what to do with the hens over the winter. The two hens happily roam around Shirley’s yard during the day and then retire to their coop for the night.  For Shirley, the experience has been very positive and she says she would do it again because “the hens are fun to have around” and she has fresh eggs for her organic diet.

    Shirley Gallant with one of her rented chickens from Barnyard Organics
    Shirley Gallant with one of her rented chickens from Barnyard Organics

    Barnyard Organics farm does offer tours but the Bernards appreciate advance reservations as this is a busy working farm and family. For more information on Barnyard Organics, visit their website.

    As is my standard practice when I visit a local food producer, I like to create a recipe using and featuring one of their products. I have chosen to use the brown eggs to make devilled eggs.  These eggs have gorgeous vibrant yellow yolks so they make colorful devilled eggs.

    Devilled Egg
    Devilled Egg
    The Bistro’s Devilled Eggs

    Ingredients:

    5 hard-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled, and sliced in half lengthwise
    2 – 2½ tbsp mayonnaise
    1 tsp sour cream
    ½ tsp prepared mustard
    1½ tsp onion, minced
    ¾ tbsp sweet pickle relish
    2 tsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated
    Pinch garlic powder
    ½ tsp fresh dill, chopped fine
    ¾ tsp fresh parsley, chopped
    Pinch cayenne
    Salt and pepper, to taste

    Paprika
    Fresh parsley, chopped
    Sprigs of fresh herbs (optional)
    Method:

    Gently scoop out egg yolks and place in small bowl. Set egg whites aside.

    Mash egg yolks with fork. Add all remaining ingredients. Mix well.

    Fill egg white cavities with the devilled egg mixture using either a pastry bag fitted with a large decorative tip (I use a Wilton 6B tip) or, alternatively, use a spoon.

    Refrigerate devilled eggs at least 1 hour before serving. At time of serving, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and/or paprika. Garnish each with a small sprig of a fresh herb, if desired.

    Yield: 10 servings (1 devilled egg each)

    Devilled Eggs
    Devilled Eggs
    Devilled Eggs
    Devilled Eggs

     

    —————————————————————————-

    Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today.  If you enjoyed this posting and recipe, please share it on your social media websites.

    Connect with “the Bistro” through the following social media:

    Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook

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    ——————————————————————————

    Devilled Eggs
    Devilled Eggs

     

    Devilled Eggs

    Yield: 10 servings (1 devilled egg per serving)

    Ingredients

    • 5 hard-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled, and sliced in half lengthwise
    • 2 – 2½ tbsp mayonnaise
    • 1 tsp sour cream
    • ½ tsp prepared mustard
    • 1½ tsp onion, minced
    • ¾ tbsp sweet pickle relish
    • 2 tsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated
    • Pinch garlic powder
    • ½ tsp fresh dill, chopped fine
    • ¾ tsp fresh parsley, chopped
    • Pinch cayenne
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
    • Paprika
    • Fresh parsley, chopped
    • Sprigs of fresh herbs (optional)

    Instructions

    1. Gently scoop out egg yolks and place in small bowl. Set egg whites aside.
    2. Mash egg yolks with fork. Add all remaining ingredients. Mix well.
    3. Fill egg white cavities with the devilled egg mixture using either a pastry bag fitted with a large decorative tip (I use a Wilton 6B tip) or, alternatively, use a spoon.
    4. Refrigerate devilled eggs at least 1 hour before serving. At time of serving, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and/or paprika. Garnish each with a small sprig of a fresh herb, if desired.
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    A Visit to Barnyard Organics, Freetown, PEI
    A Visit to Barnyard Organics, Freetown, PEI
    Continue reading → I recently paid a visit to the Bernard family at Barnyard Organics in Freetown, PEI. Sally and Mark Bernard operate one of the largest (if not the biggest) organic farms on the Island and Sally and her daughter, Lucy, were my tour guides. Sally (who grew up on a farm in New Brunswick) and Mark (from ...
  • A Prince Edward Island-Inspired Menu for Food Day Canada 2014 August 2, 2014
    PEI Mussels Steamed in Beer
    PEI Mussels Steamed in Beer

    It’s Food Day Canada today (August 2, 2014). This is a day to celebrate and enjoy all the great food that is grown, fished, or otherwise produced in Canada. Coming from Prince Edward Island, we are truly blessed with the abundance and variety of fresh food at our disposal.

    As those of you who are regular followers of my food blog know, my focus is on eating local food whenever possible and supporting local food producers, be they farmers, fishers, or other food producers. And, this I do more than one day a year.  It’s a regular occurrence in our household.

    Today, I am pleased to share with you the menu and photographs of what is on my table today for Food Day Canada 2014 and where the food came from. The menu includes foods that come from the waters that surround our Island and from the rich, red soil of our land.

    Food Day Canada Menu 2014

    Starter

    PEI Mussels steamed in beer
    and dipped in melted butter
    Served with Multigrain Bread

    Main

    PEI Scallops pan-seared in butter
    Boiled PEI potatoes
    Medley of steamed yellow string beans, broccoli, and carrots

    Dessert

    Haskap Shortcake
    Whipped cream and a rich haskap sauce
    sandwiched between layers of old-fashioned sponge cake
    with a drizzle of haskap sauce on top

     Wine Pairing

    Chardonnay Seyval Blanc, Newman Estate Winery, Gladstone, PEI

    Starter

    Products & Sources: Mussels – Prince Edward Aqua Farms Inc., Springbrook, PEI
    Beer – Gahan’s Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale from the Prince Edward Island Brewing Co., Charlottetown, PEI
    Bread – Multigrain from the Whole Grain Bakery, Freetown, PEI
    Butter – Amalgamated Dairies Limited (ADL), Summerside, PEI

    I love mussels! PEI mussels are world famous and my mussels today came from Prince Edward Aqua Farms in Springbrook, on the North side of the Island.

    There are many ways in which mussels can be prepared. They can be steamed in water, wine, beer, apple juice, or in just about any liquid that strikes your fancy. The key is to use just a small amount of liquid as too much liquid dilutes the flavour of the mussels. It is the steam that opens the mussel shells, not the amount of liquid used.

    While I am not a beer drinker, my preferred liquid for steaming mussels is beer. Today, I am using Gahan’s Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale, brewed by the Prince Edward Island Brewing Co. in Charlottetown, PEI (click here to read the story I wrote on the Brewery).

    While nothing other than the beer is really required for steaming the mussels, I like to add some herbs, spices, a bit of garlic, onion, carrots, and celery to the steaming liquid for additional flavour. It usually takes only about 7-10 minutes to steam a pot of mussels. The amount of liquid needed will, of course, depend on the size of the pot you are using and how many mussels you are steaming at a time. Remember to discard any shells that have not opened during the steaming process – do not pry them open. If they haven’t opened via the steaming process, they are not considered safe for consumption.

    Dip the mussels in good PEI-churned butter (I’m using ADL butter today) and they are simply delicious. Some also like to use the steaming broth in which to dip bread, soaking up the flavors. My recipe for steamed mussels follows at the end of this posting.

    Multigrain Bread from the Whole-Grain Bakery in Freetown, PEI
    Multigrain Bread from the Whole-Grain Bakery in Freetown, PEI

    The bread I am serving with this appetizer comes from the new Whole-Grain Bakery in Freetown, in the central part of the Province. This bakery uses locally-grown organic wheat which the baker grinds just at the time of the bread making. The bread on the table today is a multigrain bread that has a lovely dense texture and exceptionally good flavour. It makes a fine accompaniment to the steamed mussels.


    Main Course

    Products and Sources: Sea Scallops, fished off East Point, PEI, sourced from MR Seafoods, Charlottetown, PEI
    Potatoes – Farm of Brent Craig, Tryon, PEI
    Vegetables – Jewel’s Country Market, Marshfield, PEI

    Scallops have long been a favourite of mine. Today’s scallops were fished off of East Point in the Eastern end of the Island and were sourced through MR Seafoods in Charlottetown. While there are a host of ways in which sea scallops can be prepared, sometimes I like them simply pan-seared in butter which is how I am serving them today – sear 1½ – 2 minutes on each side, in a hot pan with butter, and this is a quick, easy, simple, and tasty way to prepare scallops.

    Pan-searing Sea Scallops in Butter
    Pan-searing Sea Scallops in Butter

    Add a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley and serve with a lemon wedge or your favourite tartar sauce, if desired.

    Pan-seared PEI Scallops
    Pan-seared PEI Scallops

    With the early PEI potatoes now on the market, they were a logical choice to serve with the scallops. Just a slather of butter is all that is needed for these! The round white Island spuds come from the farm of Brent Craig of Tryon.

    And here is the complete main course, all products of PEI.

    This time of the year, there are so many fresh-from-the-garden veggies available. I chose the yellow-orange-green color scheme to add color to the plate: yellow string beans, carrots, and broccoli, which came from Jewel’s Country Market in Marshfield, PEI.

    Dessert

    Product: Haskap berries – Farm of Lynn and Becky Townshend, Rollo Bay, PEI

    For dessert, I headed east to Rollo Bay for haskap berries to make a rich and sumptuous haskap shortcake. I recently shared my recipe for this delightful dessert and you can find the recipe by clicking here.

    Haskap Shortcake
    Haskap Shortcake

    Wine Pairing

    My wine of choice for my meal is a Chardonnay that comes from Newman Estate Winery in Gladstone, near Murray River in the Eastern part of PEI. Click here to read the story I previously wrote about my visit to this winery.


    It’s so easy to prepare a tasty meal when local foods are sourced. The ingredients are super fresh because they haven’t traveled many miles for many days before they reach the dinner plate.

    What’s on your menu to celebrate Food Day Canada today?

    Steamed Mussels – My Island Bistro Kitchen Style

    Ingredients:

    1 cup Gahan’s Sir John A’s Honey Wheat Ale
    ½ cup onion, chopped
    2 tbsp carrots, diced
    2 tbsp celery, diced + some celery leaves
    ½ tsp puréed garlic
    ⅛ tsp coriander
    ⅛ tsp fennel
    ⅛ tsp thyme
    ⅛ tsp basil
    ½ tsp parsley
    1 lb PEI mussels

    Method:

    Assemble ingredients.

    In 5-litre pot, place all ingredients, except the mussels.

    Bring mixture to a boil and boil gently over medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes.

    Add mussels.

    Increase heat to medium. Cover. Let steam for 7-10 minutes until shells have opened.

    Scoop mussels into serving bowl(s). Serve hot with melted butter and your favourite bread which may also be dipped into the steaming broth that was used to steam the mussels.

    Yield: 2 appetizer-sized servings.

     

    Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today. There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

    Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook
    Follow the Bistro’s tweets on twitter @PEIBistro
    Find the Bistro on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”
    Follow along on Instagram at “peibistro”

     

    Continue reading →It’s Food Day Canada today (August 2, 2014). This is a day to celebrate and enjoy all the great food that is grown, fished, or otherwise produced in Canada. Coming from Prince Edward Island, we are truly blessed with the abundance and variety of fresh food at our disposal. As those of you who are regular ...
  • Baked Stuffed Fingerlings December 18, 2014
    Baked Stuffed Fingerling
    Baked Stuffed Fingerling

    I love miniature potatoes. They’re fun to work with. They make wonderful hors d’oeuvres, are the perfect size for roasting, and are the ideal size to drop into soups just the way they are without cutting them up.

    Through the Food Bloggers of Canada association of which I am a member, an opportunity arose this fall to take little creamer potatoes produced by the Little Potato™ Company of Alberta and create an original recipe using the potatoes. Coming into the Christmas party season, I immediately saw them as potential hors d’oeuvres.

    Stuffed Baked Fingerlings
    Stuffed Baked Fingerlings

    The Little Potato™ Company grew their first acre of tiny potatoes in 1996. A father and daughter team, Jacob Van der Schaaf and Angela Santiago, planted, weeded, and harvested the first crop by hand. It was a success and soon Angela began marketing the potatoes at Farmers Markets and to restaurants.

    The tiny potatoes grew in such popularity that production expanded and, today, the Little Potato™ Company grows six varieties of the little gems which are available at grocery stores across North America, including at the local Co-op store in my hometown of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The produce manager at the Co-op Food Market on Walker Drive tells me that these potatoes have quite a loyal following of consumers on the Island.  To learn more about The Little Potato™ Company and their various varieties of miniature potatoes, visit their website.  You can also find them on Facebook.

    The Little Potato Company varieties of potatoes available at the Co-op Food Market on Walker Avenue in Charlottetown, PEI
    The Little Potato Company varieties of potatoes available at the Co-op Food Market on Walker Avenue in Charlottetown, PEI

    Two bags each of Little Potato™ Company yellow fingerlings and Something Blue® mini potatoes arrived via UPS at my door one evening. I was thrilled that the oblong fingerlings were sent since they are the perfect shape and size to use when making miniature stuffed baked potato hors d’oeuvres. The recipe I have created especially for these little creamer potatoes can also be used to stuff mini round potatoes as well but the shape of the fingerlings really lends them to being stuffed attractively.

    I have used some fine PEI products in the tasty filling I created for the potatoes. The sausage came from KJL Meats in Charlottetown, the herb and garlic mild gouda cheese from Cheeselady’s Gouda now being produced in New Glasgow, and a brand new product on the market – Aldanel™ “Tomato Celebration” tomato sauce made in Charlottetown.

    Any flavour of sausage can be used in this recipe. My choice is sweet Italian but, if you like hot flavours, then chipotle would be a good option. The sausage needs to be removed from its casing and it is important to break up the sausage meat really well as it is being scramble-fried because it is going to be piped through a pastry bag. Also, its purpose is to add flavour to the filling and a large chunk of sausage is not desirable in a tiny hors d’oeuvre.

    It’s also necessary to extract as much fat as possible from the cooked sausage as the fat can drip through the potato skin and make a messy hors d’oeuvre. To remove the fat, let the cooked sausage drain in a colander for about 15 minutes then wrap the meat in paper towel, repeating the process a couple of times, if necessary, to remove the excess fat.

    The little fingerlings take about 15 minutes to cook. Once they are removed from the boiling water, just barely let them cool enough that they can be handled. Slice each fingerling in half, horizontally. Then, using a melon baller, remove the potato pulp, leaving about a 1/16th inch thick wall of potato in each half to give the potato shape. Transfer the potato pulp to a potato ricer.

    Press the potato through the ricer into a small bowl. The potatoes can be mashed instead of ricing but the potato ricer gives a smoother, finer texture that is completely lump-free.

    Add the remainder of the ingredients to the riced potato and mix well.

    The filling can be transferred to the potatoes with a spoon but a piping bag and Wilton tip 8B makes the job quicker, easier, and will give a neater presentation.

    Add a sprinkle of paprika, and pop these little hors d’oeuvres into a 375ºF oven for about 12 minutes. Use either a parchment-lined baking sheet to bake the stuffed potatoes or, if you have a baguette pan, it works really well, too.

    Garnish, if desired, with a sliver of green onion or chopped chives, then serve to the delight of guests at your next party.

    Stuffed Baked Fingerling Hors d'oeuvre made with potatoes from The Little Potato Company
    Baked Stuffed Fingerling Hors d’oeuvres made with potatoes from The Little Potato Company

    Baked Stuffed Fingerlings

    Ingredients:

    1 – 4 oz sausage (e.g., Sweet Italian, Sun-dried Tomato, Chipotle, etc.)
    1 tsp olive oil

    12 Little Potato Company fingerling creamer potatoes
    ½ tsp liquid chicken bouillon
    ½ tsp minced garlic
    1 green onion, finely chopped
    1½ tsp truffle aioli
    2 tbsp sour cream
    3 tbsp Cheeselady’s Herb & Garlic Mild Gouda cheese, finely grated
    1½ tsp Aldanel™ “Tomato Celebration” tomato sauce
    ⅛ tsp basil
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    Paprika
    Slivers of green onion tops or chopped chives for garnish

    Method:

    Heat olive oil in small frypan. Remove sausage from casing and crumble. Add to hot oil. With the end of a flat, heat-resistant lifter or spatula, continue to break up the sausage as it cooks. Scramble fry until sausage is brown, approximately 7-10 minutes. Transfer sausage to a colander and let fat drip out for about 10-15 minutes. Then, roll the cooked sausage in paper towel to remove any remaining fat. Set aside.

    Cook fingerling potatoes in boiling water for about 15 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from heat.

    Preheat oven to 375ºF.

    As soon as the potatoes are just cool enough to handle, cut each in half, horizontally. Using a melon baller, remove the potato pulp from the skin, leaving about a 1/16th inch thick wall of potato in each half to give the potato shape. Transfer potato pulp to a potato ricer. Press pulp through ricer into small bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix until incorporated.

    Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with Wilton tip 8B. Pipe filling into each fingerling half. Sprinkle with paprika. Place mini stuffed potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet or in the cradle of a baguette pan. Bake in preheated oven for about 12 minutes. Remove and garnish with a sliver of green onion or chopped chives. Serve hot.

    Yield: 24 hors d’oeuvres

    Disclosure:  The potatoes used in this recipe were provided to me, free of charge, from The Little Potato™ Company for the purposes of sampling them and creating a recipe with them.  The recipe for Baked Stuffed Fingerlings in this posting is an original recipe developed by me in my home kitchen.

    ——————————–

    Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today. There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

    Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook
    Follow the Bistro’s tweets on twitter @PEIBistro
    Find the Bistro on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen
    Follow along on Instagram at “peibistro

    Continue reading →I love miniature potatoes. They’re fun to work with. They make wonderful hors d’oeuvres, are the perfect size for roasting, and are the ideal size to drop into soups just the way they are without cutting them up. Through the Food Bloggers of Canada association of which I am a member, an opportunity arose this fall ...

Beverages

  • Strawberry Slush July 11, 2016
    Slush
    Strawberry Slush

    Strawberry Slush is my newest summer drink creation and it has quickly become a favorite!  Strawberries take center stage in this beverage but there is also a mix of other fruit juices that include rhubarb, pineapple, lemon and orange juices, and some pink lemonade.  The addition of Epicure’s “Summer Berry” sweet dip mix deepens the flavor and adds some interesting speckles throughout the slush. Because I know Epicure products may not be available everywhere, I have included this as an optional addition as the slush will still taste quite fine without it. My recipe calls for gin and any brand may be used.

    Slush
    Strawberry Slush

    Slush takes 2-3 days to reach the desired consistency. Be sure to store it in the coldest part of the deep freeze and stir it once or twice each day while it is freezing.  This helps to ensure that all the ingredients continue to be mixed. For other tips on making slush, visit my posting on making Rhubarb Slush by clicking here.

    Strawberry and Rhubarb Slush
    Strawberry Slush

    Mix this slush with your favorite clear soda. There is no set ratio of how much slush to serve to the amount of soda. I use the slush to fill between 1/3 and 1/2 the glass and top up the remainder with soda. I prefer lemon-lime soda with this slush but seven up or gingerale also work well, too.

    This is a lovely, colorful, and refreshing drink on a hot summer afternoon.

    Slush
    My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Strawberry Slush

    (Printable recipe follows at end of post)

    Strawberry Slush

    Ingredients:

    1½ cups water
    1½ cups granulated sugar

    7 oz rhubarb, chopped into ½” pieces
    Scant ½ cup water

    1/3 cup pineapple juice
    ¼ cup freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice (1 small lemon)
    5 oz (apx. ½ can) frozen pink lemonade, slightly thawed
    5 oz (apx. ½ can) frozen orange juice, slightly thawed
    10 oz strawberries puréed to equal approximately 1 1/3 cups purée, mixed with 1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1½ tbsp Epicure’s “Summer Berry” sweet dip mix (optional)
    1½ cups gin

    Strawberries, lemon slices, or pineapple chunks for garnish, if desired

    Method:

    In medium-sized saucepan, combine the water and granulated sugar to make a traditional simple syrup. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to medium-low heat and boil gently for approximately 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sugar has completely dissolved and liquid is clear.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then chill.

    In separate medium-sized saucepan, combine the rhubarb and scant half cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to medium low and cook gently for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until rhubarb has broken down into a soft sauce-like consistency.

    Pour rhubarb and its liquid into a fine sieve/strainer placed over a bowl or large measuring cup.  Let juice drip from rhubarb, periodically pressing the rhubarb pulp with the back of a large spoon to extract as much juice as possible.  This should yield approximately ½ cup of rhubarb juice. Chill.  Discard rhubarb pulp.

    Into a freezable container that can hold at least 8 cups of liquid, pour in the simple syrup, chilled rhubarb juice, pineapple juice, lemon juice, pink lemonade, orange juice, strawberry purée, Epicure Summer Berry mix, and gin.  Stir well.

    Place airtight cover on container.  Freeze in the coldest part of the deep freeze, stirring 2-3 times during the freezing process.  Be patient as this will take 2-3 days for it to reach the desired slush consistency.

    To serve, fill glass between one-third and one-half full of slush and top up with a clear soda such as lemon-lime.  Garnish with a lemon wheel, strawberry, or pineapple chunk and serve immediately.
    Keep remainder of slush stored in the coldest part of the freezer so it will maintain its consistency.

    Yield:
      Apx. 7½ cups of slush

    Strawberry and Rhubarb Slush
    Strawberry Slush

    Strawberry Slush

    Yield: Apx. 7 1/2 cups

    A delightfully refreshing drink made with strawberries, rhubarb, fruit juices, and gin.

    Ingredients

    • 1½ cups water
    • 1½ cups granulated sugar
    • 7 oz rhubarb, chopped into ½” pieces
    • Scant ½ cup water
    • 1/3 cup pineapple juice
    • ¼ cup freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice (1 small lemon)
    • 5 oz (apx. ½ can) frozen pink lemonade, slightly thawed
    • 5 oz (apx. ½ can) frozen orange juice, slightly thawed
    • 10 oz strawberries puréed to equal approximately 1 1/3 cups purée, mixed with 1/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 1½ tbsp Epicure’s “Summer Berry” sweet dip mix (optional)
    • 1½ cups gin
    • Strawberries, lemon slices, or pineapple chunks for garnish, if desired

    Instructions

    1. In medium-sized saucepan, combine the water and granulated sugar to make a traditional simple syrup. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to medium-low heat and boil gently for approximately 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sugar has completely dissolved and liquid is clear. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then chill.
    2. In separate medium-sized saucepan, combine the rhubarb and scant half cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to medium low and cook gently for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until rhubarb has broken down into a soft sauce-like consistency.
    3. Pour rhubarb and its liquid into a fine sieve/strainer placed over a bowl or large measuring cup. Let juice drip from rhubarb, periodically pressing the rhubarb pulp with the back of a large spoon to extract as much juice as possible. This should yield approximately ½ cup of rhubarb juice. Chill. Discard rhubarb pulp.
    4. Into a freezable container that can hold at least 8 cups of liquid, pour in the simple syrup, chilled rhubarb juice, pineapple juice, lemon juice, pink lemonade, orange juice, strawberry purée, Epicure Summer Berry mix, and gin. Stir well.
    5. Place airtight cover on container. Freeze in the coldest part of the deep freeze, stirring 2-3 times during the freezing process. Be patient as this will take 2-3 days for it to reach the desired slush consistency.
    6. To serve, fill glass between one-third and one-half full of slush and top up with a clear soda such as lemon-lime. Garnish with a lemon wheel, strawberry, or pineapple chunk and serve immediately.
    7. Keep remainder of slush stored in the coldest part of the freezer so it will maintain its consistency.
    Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
    http://myislandbistrokitchen.com/2016/07/11/strawberry-slush/

    Slush
    Strawberry Slush

     

    Continue reading →Strawberry Slush is my newest summer drink creation and it has quickly become a favorite!  Strawberries take center stage in this beverage but there is also a mix of other fruit juices that include rhubarb, pineapple, lemon and orange juices, and some pink lemonade.  The addition of Epicure’s “Summer Berry” sweet dip mix deepens the ...
  • Sangria on the Verandah on a Saturday Afternoon in July July 14, 2012
    “Island Sangria”

    It has been some years since I have had sangria.  The last time would have been in London, England.  I have never made sangria before but the gift of a couple of bottles of a friend’s homemade Pinot Noir prompted me to make it and it has now become my 2012 signature summer drink.

    Sangria is really nothing more than a wine punch.  It is typically associated with Spain, Portugal, and Mexico but is also popular now in other areas of the world as well, particularly as a summer time drink.  While it can be made with white or rosé wines, classic sangria is made with red wine.  A small amount of brandy is also a common ingredient.  Chopped fruit — often citrus —  is also a usual ingredient and what you add to it basically consists of what you have available.  Lemonade or orange juice can also be added and the addition of a sweetener, such as sugar or honey, is included in the list of ingredients, too.  These ingredients get mixed together and left for an hour or two to allow the flavours to blend.  Sangria can be drunk without the addition of a carbonated soda but adding lemon-lime soda, Sprite, 7-Up, or gingerale, certainly adds fizz and spark to the drink and I think makes it more refreshing.

    Sangria – A Refreshing Summer Drink

    Mix the sangria in a lovely glass pitcher so that you can enjoy the deep burgundy-red color of the drink as well as the mixture of fruits floating in the punch.  I like to serve the sangria over ice in tall pedestal flutes.

    Glass of Island Sangria

    Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today. There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

    Join My Island Bistro Kitchen on Facebook
    Follow the Bistro’s tweets on twitter @PEIBistro
    Find the Bistro on Pinterest at “Island Bistro Kitchen”
    Follow along on Instagram at “peibistro”

    Island Sangria

    By Barbara99 Published: July 14, 2012

    • Yield: 4 Servings
    • Prep: 1 hr 30 mins

    A deep, rich burgundy-red wine punch

    Ingredients

    Instructions

    1. Chop fruit. Set aside.
    2. Pour wine, orange juice, and brandy in to a glass pitcher. Add sugar and salt. Stir.
    3. Add chopped fruit. Let stand for at least an hour at room temperature to let flavours blend. Then, refrigerate for 30-60 minutes to cool. Add the carbonated soda at time of serving. Serve over ice in pedestal flutes. Enjoy!

    WordPress Recipe Plugin by ReciPress

    Continue reading →It has been some years since I have had sangria.  The last time would have been in London, England.  I have never made sangria before but the gift of a couple of bottles of a friend’s homemade Pinot Noir prompted me to make it and it has now become my 2012 signature summer drink. Sangria is ...
  • Rhubarb Slush July 14, 2015
    Rhubarb Slush
    Rhubarb Slush

    I love to develop summertime drinks! This recipe uses rhubarb as the base for this tasty slush drink. The addition of a mix of freshly squeezed citrus juices, sweet pineapple juice, and frozen lemonade concentrate make this a flavorful beverage. This is an alcoholic beverage as it uses gin. There is no fixed ratio of slush to soda but I generally fill a tall glass about a third to half full of the slush and top it up with a clear soda such as lemon-lime. Serve with a lemon wheel or wedge and it’s a refreshing drink on a hot summer day.

    Rhubarb Slush
    Rhubarb Slush

    I do have some tips to share for making this slush:

    • Use the the brightest red rhubarb stalks you can find as this will give the slush color.
    • Use freshly-squeezed citrus fruit juices, not bottled (fresh is always best!).
    • Strain the citrus juices twice to remove all traces of seeds and fruit pulp.
    • Chill the rhubarb and citrus juices, pineapple juice, simple syrup, and gin. The colder the ingredients are to start with, the quicker and better the freezing process for the slush.
    • Plan ahead to make this slush as it will take at least 2-3 days for it to reach the optimal “slush” stage.
    • Stir the slush 2-3 times during the freezing process to ensure ingredients remain mixed during the freezing stage. It will not freeze rock hard solid as it’s not meant to.
    • For best results, store the slush in a tightly sealed container deep in a deep freeze (as opposed to a refrigerator’s freezer compartment). Otherwise, the slush may remain in a fairly liquid form and not freeze, and stay frozen, at the slush stage.
    • Once mixed with the cold soda, serve immediately as the slush melts quickly.

    This is a pale, pastel drink that is packed full of flavour. Sometimes, I add some lemon balm leaves and edible pansies to add color and interest to the drink. I think this would make a lovely bridal shower signature drink.

    Rhubarb Slush
    Rhubarb Slush
    Rhubarb Slush

    Ingredients:

    1½ cups water
    1½ cups sugar

    3 cups rhubarb, chopped into ½” chunks (enough to yield 1 cup rhubarb juice)
    ⅔ cup water

    Juice of ½ pink grapefruit
    Juice of 1 orange
    Juice of 1 lemon
    Juice of 1 lime
    1¼ cups pineapple juice, chilled
    ½ can frozen pink lemonade concentrate, slightly thawed

    1 – 375 ml bottle gin (I used Beefeater London Dry Gin), chilled

    Method:

    Assemble ingredients.

    Ingredients for Rhubarb Slush
    Ingredients for Rhubarb Slush

    In medium-sized saucepan, combine the 1½ cups water and 1½ cup sugar to make a traditional simple syrup. Over high heat, bring to a boil then reduce to medium-low heat and boil gently for approximately 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally,  until sugar has completely dissolved and liquid is clear. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then chill.

    Making the Simple Syrup
    Making the Simple Syrup

    In medium-sized saucepan combine the rhubarb and 2/3 cup water.

    Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to medium low and cook gently for about 10 minutes until rhubarb is broken down into a soft sauce-like consistency.

    Pour rhubarb and its liquid into a fine sieve/strainer placed over a bowl or large measuring cup.

    Let juice drip from rhubarb, periodically pressing the rhubarb pulp with the back of a large spoon to extract as much juice as possible. This should yield 1 cup of rhubarb juice. Chill. Discard rhubarb pulp.

    Prepare the citrus juices and strain twice to remove any seeds and pulp. Chill.

    Squeezing Citrus Juices
    Squeezing Citrus Juices
    Straining the Citrus Juices
    Straining the Citrus Juices

    Into a freezable container that can hold at least 7 cups of liquid, pour the cooled simple syrup of sugar and water.

    Add the chilled rhubarb, citrus, and pineapple juices along with the semi-thawed lemonade concentrate and the gin. Stir well.

    Place airtight cover on container. Freeze in the coldest part of the deep freeze, stirring 2-3 times during the freezing process. Be patient as this will take 2-3 days for it to reach the desired slush consistency.

    Slush Starting to Freeze
    Slush Starting to Freeze
    Slush Freezing
    Slush Freezing

    To serve, fill a tall glass about a third to one-half full of slush and top up with a clear soda, such as lemon-lime.

    DSC_0297-001

    Garnish with a lemon wheel or wedge and serve immediately. Decorate with a sprig of lemon balm and/or an edible pansy, if desired.

    Yield: Apx. 7+ cups

    Note: There may be some slight variations in colors between different photos in this posting due to different lighting used.

    Rhubarb Slush

    Yield: Apx. 7+ cups

    A pastel-colored refreshing drink using rhubarb

    Ingredients

    • 1½ cups water
    • 1½ cups sugar
    • 3 cups rhubarb, chopped into ½” chunks (enough to yield 1 cup rhubarb juice)
    • 2/3 cup water
    • Juice of ½ pink grapefruit
    • Juice of 1 orange
    • Juice of l lemon
    • Juice of 1 lime
    • 1¼ cups pineapple juice, chilled
    • ½ can frozen pink lemonade concentrate, slightly thawed
    • 1 – 375 ml bottle gin (I used Beefeater London Dry Gin), chilled

    Instructions

    1. Assemble ingredients.
    2. In medium-sized saucepan, combine the 1½ cups water and 1½ cup sugar to make a traditional simple syrup. Over high heat, bring to a boil then reduce to medium-low heat and boil gently for approximately 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sugar has completely dissolved and liquid is clear. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then chill.
    3. In medium-sized saucepan combine the rhubarb and 2/3 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce to medium low and cook gently for about 10 minutes until rhubarb is broken down into a soft sauce-like consistency.
    4. Pour rhubarb and its liquid into a fine sieve/strainer placed over a bowl or large measuring cup. Let juice drip from rhubarb, periodically pressing the rhubarb pulp with the back of a large spoon to extract as much juice as possible. This should yield 1 cup of rhubarb juice. Chill. Discard rhubarb pulp.
    5. Prepare the citrus juices and strain twice to remove any seeds and pulp. Chill.
    6. Into a freezable container that can hold at least 7 cups of liquid, pour the simple syrup of sugar and water. Add the chilled rhubarb, citrus, and pineapple juices along with the semi-thawed lemonade concentrate and the gin. Stir well.
    7. Place airtight cover on container. Freeze in the coldest part of the deep freeze, stirring 2-3 times during the freezing process. Be patient as this will take 2-3 days for it to reach the desired slush consistency.
    8. To serve, fill a tall glass about one-third to one-half full of slush and top up with a clear soda, such as lemon-lime. Garnish with a lemon wheel or wedge and serve immediately.
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    Rhubarb Slush
    Rhubarb Slush
    Continue reading →I love to develop summertime drinks! This recipe uses rhubarb as the base for this tasty slush drink. The addition of a mix of freshly squeezed citrus juices, sweet pineapple juice, and frozen lemonade concentrate make this a flavorful beverage. This is an alcoholic beverage as it uses gin. There is no fixed ratio of ...
  • Rhubarb Cordial June 24, 2013

    Oh, those lazy, hazy hot days of summer!   They sure can work up a thirst.  One of the most refreshing summertime drinks in my repertoire is Rhubarb Cordial.  Not only is it refreshing, but it is tasty and a very showy drink with its bright orange/red color.

    Rhubarb Cordial
    Rhubarb Cordial

    Making Rhubarb Cordial is also another great way to use up rhubarb from the garden but make sure you pick the brightest red stalks as that is what gives this drink its superb color.

    Making the concentrate for the Cordial is a bit time-consuming but the end result is worth the time and effort.

    Here is what you will need to make the Cordial:

    6 cups red rhubarb, cut into 1/2″ pieces

    3 cups water

    (This will yield about 5 cups of rhubarb juice)

    1 cup sugar

    1 – 295ml can frozen pink lemonade, thawed

    juice of 1/2 pink grapefruit

    juice of 1/2 lemon

    juice of 1/2 orange

    (These three citrus juices together will yield apx. 1/2 cup liquid)

    Lemon-lime soda (or 7-Up, Sprite, or Gingerale)

    Yield:  Apx. 7 – 7 1/2 cups (depending on the water content of the rhubarb used as well as how much juice is extracted from the citrus fruits)

    Method:

    Cook rhubarb and water for apx. 15 minutes, until rhubarb is soft and mushy.

    Strain rhubarb through a fine sieve into a large pot to extract the juice.  Discard the rhubarb pulp.  You should have about 5 cups of rhubarb juice from this process.  I like to strain the juice a second time to refine it further and remove any traces of rhubarb pulp.

    Squeeze and strain the grapefruit, lemon, and orange juices.  Discard fruit pulp.  Add the citrus juices to the rhubarb juice.

    Stir sugar into rhubarb and citrus  juice mixture.   Heat over medium-low heat to dissolve the sugar.  Do not boil.  Remove from heat.  Strain lemonade concentrate into the juice.  Chill.

    Pour into large pitcher if serving immediately or pour into sterilized bottles, seal, and freeze for later use.

    Mason jars also make good containers in which to store the Rhubarb Cordial.

    To serve:

    For individual servings, fill glass 1/3 full of chilled Rhubarb Cordial.  Fill remaining 2/3 glass with chilled lemon-lime soda.  Stir.  Add ice cubes and a sprig of mint.  Decorate glass with rhubarb curls if desired.

    To make multiple servings, such as in a punch bowl, for example, follow the 1 part Rhubarb Cordial concentrate to 2 parts soda rule.

    This is a great drink to sip on a warm, sunny day while sitting under the cover of the front verandah or on the back deck.  It also makes a great picnic beverage as well.

      DSC_0481

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    Rhubarb Cordial
    Rhubarb Cordial

     

    Continue reading →Oh, those lazy, hazy hot days of summer!   They sure can work up a thirst.  One of the most refreshing summertime drinks in my repertoire is Rhubarb Cordial.  Not only is it refreshing, but it is tasty and a very showy drink with its bright orange/red color. Making Rhubarb Cordial is also another great way to ...
  • PEI Juice Works Ltd. Produces High Quality Wild Blueberry Juice August 29, 2012
    PEI Wild Blueberries

    It’s late August and wild blueberry season on PEI.  These wonderful little indigo-colored berries grow wild in certain parts of the Island – in particular, in the Tignish area in the Western part of the Province and in the Morell-St. Peter’s area in the Eastern end of PEI.  While it may be wild blueberry season for most people, for the folks at PEI Juice Works Ltd. which produce wild blueberry juice, it’s wild blueberry season year-round.  Today, I’m in Bloomfield, near Alberton, PEI, in the Western part of the Island, visiting the PEI Juice Works Ltd. production plant.  My tour guide for the day is Ryan Bradley, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing.

     

    Juice Works Logo

     

    Fresh PEI Wild Blueberries Arrive on PEI Juice Works Ltd.’s Loading Dock…ready to be processed into Wild Blueberry Juice

    As I arrive mid-morning, a local farmer from Tignish, about a half hour away, has just arrived with a truckload of fresh wild blueberries for processing and is backed up to the loading dock unloading large containers of berries.  One taste of these sweet little wild blueberries and there is no comparison to the larger cultivated ones that, while they have great presentation, I find so often lack flavour.  No doubt about it, wild blueberries are tastier and sweeter than the cultivated high bush variety and, as an added bonus, they also have a much higher antioxidant profile.

    Crate of Wild Blueberries, Fresh from the Field

     

    PEI Juice Works Ltd. began producing juice from wild blueberries just two years ago when four shareholders from the agricultural sector decided to do something with the wild blueberries growing in their area to add value to them other than shipping them as raw food to be used or processed into a product elsewhere.  The production facility is located in the Bloomfield Industrial Park just outside Alberton and presently employs seven staff year-round.  The company has worked closely with Bio Food Tech in Charlottetown to develop the proprietary process PEI Juice Works Ltd. uses and Ryan tells me that Bio Food Tech set up a small scale plant in their lab to test and help PEI Juice Works Ltd. get the best wild blueberry juice product possible.   The food production industry is heavily regulated and food safety standards are strictly adhered to by PEI Juice Works Ltd.  In fact, on my visit, I could only view their production facility from a window as only authorized personnel are allowed in the room where the juice is being produced.

    PEI Juice Works Ltd. Production Facility and Test Kitchen

     

     

    Two Flavours of PEI Juice Works Ltd. Wild Blueberry Juice

    Currently, the company produces two flavour blends of their signature wild blueberry juice – Wild Blueberry and Tart Cherry and Wild Blueberry and Rhubarb.  Ryan tells me that their most popular flavour is Wild Blueberry and Tart Cherry (and it’s my favourite, too!).  He tells me there is over one pound of wild blueberries in every 375ml bottle they produce and the product contains no preservatives – so it is the goodness of an all-natural product!  When you think of how small the low bush wild blueberries are, that’s a lot of blueberries!  Their product comes in one-size, a 375ml bottle, that has a two-year shelf life, unopened.  After opening, the product will maintain its quality for about three weeks, refrigerated.  Ryan tells me the juice can be drunk cold or at room temperature but he says the flavour will be more intense if it is consumed cold.  PEI Juice Works Ltd. recommends a daily serving size of 2 oz/60ml of the wild blueberry juice which is about ¼ cup.  Following this recommended serving, one 375 ml bottle will last you just about a week.

    Wild Blueberry Juice
    Recommended 2oz/60ml Serving Size of Wild Blueberry Juice Per Day
    PEI Juice Works Ltd. Warehouse

    To the extent possible, PEI Juice Works Ltd. uses local product.  In this way, it provides a ready market for local Island wild blueberry growers.  In the off-season, PEI Juice Works Ltd. buys its supply of wild blueberries from a sorting facility to which local growers have sold their crops and where the berries have been quick frozen.  So, how is wild blueberry juice made?  Ryan tells me PEI Juice Works Ltd. uses an ancient European process that was originally developed by Mennonites in Eastern Europe over 100 years ago.  This involves a heat process to break down the skin membrane of the wild blueberries that will release the dark, rich pigments that give the juice both its color and flavour.  The solids are then separated and filtered out and the blending of other fruits – either the cherries or rhubarb – then occurs.  For consumer safety, the product is pasteurized and bottled, hot, which gives it its two-year shelf life.

    Currently, the juices are sold in all four Atlantic Provinces (check the “Where to Buy” section of the PEI Juice Works Ltd. website for locations in those areas) and the 375ml bottles retail for around $10. each.  However, no worries if you are not in the Atlantic Provinces because, through FoodiePages, you can now order PEI Juice Works Ltd. products online.  The company is currently exploring markets around the world and have participated in trade shows and trade missions at home and farther afield.  In February, 2012, they attended a food show in Japan and, in March, were at the Canadian Health Products Show in Vancouver, BC.  In September, they are travelling to China as part of the PEI Premier’s trade mission.

    The farmer delivering the wild blueberry shipment to PEI Juice Works Ltd. on this day graciously agreed to allow me to follow him to his blueberry field to see how they harvest the crop because I think it is important to see where our foods come from and how they are harvested. 

    Wild Blueberry Harvesting Process

    I learned a fact I did not know before and that is that a wild low bush blueberry field will only yield a maximum harvest every second year so the field they are harvesting today will not be harvested again until the year after next.  Wild blueberries, of course, cannot be planted so are completely dependent on Mother Nature as to where the wild blueberry barrens are and the fruit they yield.  I asked if, this year being a very dry year on the Island with very little rain, provided good growing conditions for wild blueberries.  The farmer told me that it is not and he showed me some berries that, in fact, just dried up and did not yield useable fruit because of the dry conditions.  Using the machine in the photograph above, the farmer can harvest over one acre of fruit per day.  It is from this field that today’s production of PEI Juice Works Ltd. wild blueberry juice is being made.  It doesn’t get any fresher than that!

    In recent years, there have been a number of studies conducted around the world with regards to the health benefits of wild blueberries, often dubbed a superfruit, which have steadily been gaining a reputation for their health benefits.  Wild blueberries are low in fat and sodium and provide a good source of fibre and both Vitamins C and K.  While research and testing on the health benefits of wild blueberries continue on an ongoing basis, the berries and their products, such as wild blueberry juice, are reported to have positive health benefits.  High in antioxidants, wild blueberry juice is reported to have properties that may improve cognitive function, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce inflammation, inhibit urinary tract infections, and combat diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, and memory loss.  There is even some research that suggests wild blueberry juice may slow the aging process!  So, with the chances of improved memory and learning functions, slowing down the aging process, and combating a number of other diseases, what’s not to like about wild blueberry juice!

    Visit the Juice Works website to find out more about their blueberry juice products.

    While the wild blueberry juice is wonderful to drink on its own I decided to try some recipes using the juice as an ingredient.  The first recipe is for Steamed Mussels with Blueberry Vinaigrette.  You can find the recipe for this appetizer on the Saltscapes magazine website. Traditionally, on PEI, we serve steamed mussels with melted butter; however, this recipe sees the mussels drizzled with a blueberry vinaigrette which can also be used as a dressing on a green garden salad or on a watermelon, goat cheese, and basil salad.  For the vinaigrette, I chose PEI Juice Works’ Wild Blueberry and Rhubarb Juice and I also used PEI-produced maple syrup.  Adding the syrup gave the dressing a touch of sweetness and it paired well with the mussels in the appetizer and the watermelon in the salad.

    Steamed Mussels with Blueberry Vinaigrette

     

    Steamed Mussels served with Blueberry Vinaigrette

    To make the watermelon, goat cheese, and basil salad, I simply cubed watermelon, added some crumbled goat cheese, red onion, and a sprinkle of fresh basil and parsley.  Since we had a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes in our garden this year, I included some of those as well.  Drizzled with a wild blueberry vinaigrette, this is a refreshing and colorful summer salad.

    Watermelon, Goat Cheese, and Basil Salad Drizzled with a Wild Blueberry Vinaigrette

    My third recipe is one I developed —  a Blueberry Juice Sangria (recipe follows).

    My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Blueberry Sangria

    I hope you will try PEI Juice Works Ltd. wild blueberry juices.  They are a tasty product, good for you, and made right here in Prince Edward Island.  It’s a true flavour of the Island!

    My Island Bistro Kitchen's Blueberry Sangria

    By Barbara99 Published: August 29, 2012

    • Yield: (3-4 Servings)
    • Prep: 1 hr 30 mins

    A refreshing drink made with PEI Juice Works' Wild Blueberry Juice

    Ingredients

    Instructions

    1. Assemble all ingredients.
    2. Chop lime, lemon, and orange into quarters. Into medium-sized glass pitcher, hand-squeeze fruit. Drop in the fruit. Add blueberries, if using.
    3. Add sugar and a small sprinkle of fine sea salt. Let sit, at room temperature, for about 30 minutes to release juices from the fruit.
    4. Add blueberry and orange juices, wine, and brandy. Stir. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to chill.
    5. Add soda at time of serving.
    6. Serve chilled, over ice, in tall glasses and garnish with a slice of orange or lemon. Enjoy!

    WordPress Recipe Plugin by ReciPress

    Continue reading →It’s late August and wild blueberry season on PEI.  These wonderful little indigo-colored berries grow wild in certain parts of the Island – in particular, in the Tignish area in the Western part of the Province and in the Morell-St. Peter’s area in the Eastern end of PEI.  While it may be wild blueberry season ...
  • Lemonade July 27, 2014

    Hot, lazy days of summer always send me off looking for thirst-quenching cold drinks.

    One of my favorites is old-fashioned homemade lemonade.  It’s cool and refreshing.

    Making the concentrate for the lemonade is really easy and I think it tastes ever-so-much better than bought lemonade.

    Cool, refreshing homemade lemonade
    Cool, refreshing homemade lemonade

    Lemonade Concentrate

    Ingredients:

    1 cup water
    ¾ cup super-fine sugar (aka caster sugar)
    1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (apx 3-4 lemons), strained
    1-2 tbsp grated lemon rind

    Lemon-flavored sparkling water to top up

    Method:

    Squeeze lemons and strain juice.

    Assemble ingredients.

    Boil water and sugar for 3-4 minutes. Turn off heat and cool for apx. 30 minutes.

    Add lemon juice and grated lemon rind. Stir.  Let sit at room temperature for at least 3-4 hours to allow flavour to strengthen.

    Strain lemon rind from concentrate.

    Pour into bottle.

    To serve: Pour ½ to ⅔ cup of lemon concentrate into tall glass and top up with lemon-flavored sparkling water.

    Add ice cubes or crushed ice if desired and decorate with a sprig of mint and a slice or two of lemon.

    Keep concentrate refrigerated.

    Yield: Apx. 2 cups

    Lemonade is a very versatile drink – it’s great for picnics, sitting on the front porch,  at afternoon tea, at the beach, or anywhere for that matter.

    Is lemonade part of your summer?

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    Continue reading → Hot, lazy days of summer always send me off looking for thirst-quenching cold drinks. One of my favorites is old-fashioned homemade lemonade.  It’s cool and refreshing. Making the concentrate for the lemonade is really easy and I think it tastes ever-so-much better than bought lemonade. Lemonade Concentrate Ingredients: 1 cup water ¾ cup super-fine sugar (aka caster sugar) 1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon ...
  • Island Summer Blush Cocktail May 18, 2018
    Island Summer Blush Cocktail
    Island Summer Blush Cocktail

    My newly-created Island Summer Blush Cocktail is packed full of flavours that speak of springtime and early summer — rhubarb, lime, clementine, elderflower liqueur, and fizzy Prosecco.

    Island Summer Blush Cocktail
    Island Summer Blush Cocktail

    One of the key ingredients in this drink is my homemade rhubarb cordial.  I have been making this cordial for many years and I continually find new ways to use it.  We have a good-sized patch of rhubarb and, each spring, I make batches of this cordial and, what I don’t use at the time, I freeze for use at other times of the year.  Click here for my rhubarb cordial recipe.

    Rhubarb Cordial
    Rhubarb Cordial

    My choice of elderflower liqueur was inspired by the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19, 2018. Prior to the wedding, it was announced that the flavours of the wedding cake would be lemon and elderflower.  I combined those two flavours and developed my own recipe for a lemon and elderflower cake, the recipe for which you can find by clicking here. I then thought I would create a cocktail, using elderflower liqueur, to commemorate the royal event and thus was born the Island Summer Blush Cocktail.

    Island Summer Blush Cocktail
    Island Summer Blush Cocktail

    Elderflower liqueur is made with the delicate starry white elderflower blossoms. It has complex notes and a somewhat seductive fragrance.  I would describe this liqueur as a layered fusion of floral, tropical, and citrus notes. It certainly has exotic character and  reminds me of a floral summer bouquet with fruity notes.  Its light, floral profile makes it a great match for sharper flavours like rhubarb and citrus fruits. It marries well with sparkling wines and lends itself to a multitude of cocktail concoctions.

    Island Summer Blush Cocktail
    Island Summer Blush Cocktail

    This cocktail is easy to make. Simply combine the rhubarb cordial (no substitutes), clementine and lime juices, and elderflower liqueur in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice cubes then shake the mixture for 15-20 seconds or until condensation forms on the outside of the shaker indicating the mixture is super cold.  Strain the mixture into your fancy glass of choice then add the Prosecco.  Carefully tilt the glass slightly and slowly pour in the grenadine along the side of the glass. The grenadine should sink to the bottom of the glass giving the cocktail that lovely layered look.  Garnish with a wedge of clementine.

    Island Summer Blush Cocktail
    Island Summer Blush Cocktail

    The beautiful natural color of this cocktail reminds me of a blushing bride so, made with my Island rhubarb, flavoured with the elderflower flavour made trendy by the 2018 royal wedding, this is my Island Summer Blush Cocktail.  A perfect spring and summer cocktail to leisurely enjoy.

    Island Summer Blush Cocktail
    Island Summer Blush Cocktail

    [Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

    Island Summer Blush Cocktail

    Ingredients:

    1.5 oz Rhubarb Cordial
    1 oz freshly squeezed clementine juice (about 2 clementines)
    ½ oz Elderflower Liqueur
    1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
    2 oz Prosecco
    2 tsp Grenadine

    Method:

    Pour Rhubarb Cordial, clementine juice, Elderflower Liqueur, and lime juice into shaker and fill with ice cubes.  Shake for about 15-20 seconds then strain into glass.  Top with Prosecco.  Tip glass slightly and slowly pour Grenadine in down the side of the glass.  Garnish with a clementine wedge. Serve immediately.

    Serves:  1

    Island Summer Blush Cocktail

    This Island Summer Blush Cocktail is a beautiful balance of sharp and sweet flavours. With a blend of rhubarb cordial, elderflower liqueur, citrus fruit juices, grenadine, and Prosecco, this is a lovely cocktail to especially enjoy in summer.

    Course Drinks
    Cuisine American
    Servings 1
    Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

    Ingredients

    • 1.5 oz Rhubarb Cordial
    • 1 oz freshly squeezed clementine juice (about 2 clementines)
    • ½ oz Elderflower Liqueur
    • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 2 oz Prosecco
    • 2 tsp Grenadine

    Instructions

    1. Pour Rhubarb Cordial, clementine juice, Elderflower Liqueur, and lime juice into shaker and fill with ice cubes. Shake for about 15-20 seconds then strain into glass. Top with Prosecco. Tip glass slightly and slowly pour Grenadine in down the side of the glass. Garnish with a clementine wedge. Serve immediately.

    Recipe Notes

     

    For my recipe for Rhubarb Cordial, follow this link: http://myislandbistrokitchen.com/2013/06/24/rhubarb-cordial/

     

    Pin Me to Pinterest!

    Island Summer Blush Cocktail
    Island Summer Blush Cocktail
    Island Summer Blush Cocktail
    Island Summer Blush Cocktail
    Continue reading →My newly-created Island Summer Blush Cocktail is packed full of flavours that speak of springtime and early summer — rhubarb, lime, clementine, elderflower liqueur, and fizzy Prosecco. One of the key ingredients in this drink is my homemade rhubarb cordial.  I have been making this cordial for many years and I continually find new ways to ...
  • Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur Recipe December 14, 2016
    Irish Cream Liqueur
    Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur

    Making homemade Irish Cream Liqueur is very easy – it’s a matter of simply combining all the ingredients in a blender and blending on high for 25-30 seconds.  Easy-peasy.

    This liqueur will keep, tightly sealed in a sterilized bottle, in the refrigerator for the length of time the fresh cream used in the recipe will stay fresh as noted on the cream carton or bottle.

    It’s important to shake the liqueur well before using . This liqueur serves well over ice or mixed with eggnog (1 part liqueur to 2 parts eggnog).  Of course, it can also be used in a multitude of other ways as well, such as a flavorful coffee creamer.

    Irish Cream
    Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur

    Presented in decorative bottles, this makes a wonderful host or hostess gift.

    [Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

    Irish Cream Liqueur

    Ingredients:

    1 cup 18% fresh cream
    1 – 300ml can condensed milk
    1½ cups whiskey
    2½ tbsp chocolate syrup
    2 tbsp cold strong brewed coffee
    2 tsp pure vanilla
    ¾ tsp almond flavoring

    Method:
    Combine all ingredients in blender and blend on high for apx. 25-30 seconds, just until ingredients are blended.  Transfer liqueur to sterilized decorative bottle.  Seal tightly.

    Store in refrigerator for the length of time the fresh cream used in the recipe is “best before”.  Shake liqueur well before serving.

    To serve, pour liqueur into glass and add ice.

    Yield:  Apx. 1 litre

    Serving Suggestion:  Pour 1 part liqueur into glass and top with 2 parts eggnog.  Add ice and serve.

    Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur Recipe

    Yield: Apx. 1 litre

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup 18% fresh cream
    • 1 – 300ml can condensed milk
    • 1½ cups whiskey
    • 2½ tbsp chocolate syrup
    • 2 tbsp cold strong brewed coffee
    • 2 tsp pure vanilla
    • ¾ tsp almond flavoring

    Instructions

    1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend on high for apx. 25-30 seconds, just until ingredients are blended. Transfer liqueur to sterilized decorative bottle. Seal tightly.
    2. Store in refrigerator for the length of time the fresh cream used in the recipe is “best before”. Shake liqueur well before serving.
    3. To serve, pour liqueur into glass and add ice.
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    Click on this link for my recipe for Irish Cream French Toast.

    Pin This Irish Cream Liqueur Recipe To Pinterest!

    Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur
    Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur

     

    Irish Cream
    Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur
    Continue reading →Making homemade Irish Cream Liqueur is very easy – it’s a matter of simply combining all the ingredients in a blender and blending on high for 25-30 seconds.  Easy-peasy. This liqueur will keep, tightly sealed in a sterilized bottle, in the refrigerator for the length of time the fresh cream used in the recipe will stay ...
  • Blueberry Lemonade Recipe September 4, 2016
    Lemonade
    Blueberry Lemonade

    Lemonade is a wonderful refreshing drink on a hot summer’s day.  Sometimes I like just plain old-fashioned lemonade and, other times, I like to flavor it using whatever berries are currently in season.  My latest lemonade creation uses high bush blueberries to make blueberry lemonade concentrate.  Fill a glass about one third full of the concentrate and top it up with lemon-lime soda for a tasty drink. You can, of course, top up the concentrate with lemon-flavored sparkling water instead of the soda.

    Lemonade
    Blueberry Lemonade

    This recipe begins with a simple syrup which is infused with freshly squeezed lemon juice, grated lemon rind, and blueberry purée.

    I am sometimes asked if it is necessary to use a simple syrup when making lemonade.  In my view, it is essential and here is why.  Ever try dissolving sugar in cold liquid?  If you have, then you know the difficulty in getting the sugar to completely dissolve. Stir, stir, stir or shake, shake, shake and the sugar just does not want to completely dissolve and the mixture will appear cloudy. This is because sugar is not very soluble in cold liquid.  At some point, you may have experienced a drink that had a nasty gritty sugar taste and texture and you may have noticed some undissolved sugar that fell  to the bottom of the glass.  This would have been the result of sugar mixed with cold liquid.

    Lemonade is meant to be a bit tart but it does need some sugar to sweeten it a bit.  So, how do you get the sugar successfully incorporated into the lemonade?  It’s simple – you make a simple syrup. And, it’s called simple for a reason.

    Simple syrup is nothing more than water and sugar heated until the sugar is perfectly dissolved.  There are various formulas for simple syrup, depending on how thick you want the syrup and for what purpose it will be used. I tend to use 3/4 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water for simple syrups for beverages.  My preference is to use super-fine sugar (aka caster sugar) because its fine texture means it dissolves easier than standard granulated sugar. Simply combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat over medium heat to the boiling point, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved.  Let the syrup boil gently for about 3-4 minutes, reducing the heat if necessary so the mixture does not boil too rapidly.  Don’t boil the mixture rapidly or leave the liquid on the heat too long because you’ll lose some to evaporation.  Remove the liquid from the heat and let it cool for about 30-40 minutes before adding any additional ingredients such as lemon juice, lemon rind, or puréed berries. Easy-peasy! And, you will have a much more refined drink that has a smooth, silky, velvet-like finish than you will get by trying to dissolve the sugar in cold water. It’s all about the quality in the end result.

    Lemonade
    Blueberry Lemonade

    I used about 6 oz of high bush blueberries (the really nice big berries like the ones in the photo below) for this recipe and, with my potato masher, I loosely broke up the berries.

    Blueberries
    High Bush Blueberries

    By gently mashing the berries, their juices get released quicker when they are heated. The  berries were combined with 2/3 cup of water and cooked over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, just until they were softened and their juices were extracted.  The mixture was cooled for about 30 minutes then puréed with an immersion blender.  I added the blueberries, lemon juice, and lemon rind to the cooled simple syrup and let it sit for a couple of hours so the flavors would infuse the syrup.

    To get the smooth liquid,  strain the cooled mixture through a very fine mesh sieve twice to remove the pulp.

    This concentrate will keep in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for three to four days.

    Lemonade
    Blueberry Lemonade

    [printable recipe follows at end of posting]

    Blueberry Lemonade

    Ingredients:
    1 cup water
    ¾ cup super-fine sugar (aka caster sugar)

    ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1 – 2 tbsp grated lemon rind

    6 oz high bush blueberries
    2/3 cup water

    Method:

    For the simple syrup:  In small saucepan, combine the water and sugar together.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved.  Reduce heat slightly and boil gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature (apx. 30-40 minutes).

    For the blueberry purée: In pie plate, gently mash the berries with a potato masher to release their juices.  Combine the berries and 2/3 cup water in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until berries are softened and the mixture is quite juicy.  Remove from heat and cool for about 30 minutes. Purée the berry mixture in a blender or with an immersion blender.

    For the lemonade concentrate: Add the lemon juice, lemon rind, and puréed berry mixture to the cooled simple syrup.  Stir well to fully combine the ingredients.  Let mixture stand for at least an hour (or up to three hours) to allow the flavors to blend.  Strain mixture twice through a fine mesh sieve to remove the pulp.  Discard the pulp and pour concentrate into a bottle.  Cover tightly and store in refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

    To serve:  Fill a glass approximately one-third full of lemonade concentrate.  Top up with lemon-lime soda or lemon-flavored sparkling water.  Add ice cubes. Garnish with a lemon wheel, a sprig of lemon balm, and fresh blueberries, if desired.

    Yield:  Approximately 2 cups concentrate

    Lemonade
    Blueberry Lemonade

     

    Blueberry Lemonade

    Yield: Apx. 2 cups concentrate

    This lemonade combines two complementary flavors to make a delightfully tasty and refreshing drink for a hot summer's day.

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup water
    • ¾ cup super-fine sugar (aka caster sugar)
    • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1 – 2 tbsp grated lemon rind
    • 6 oz high bush blueberries
    • 2/3 cup water

    Instructions

    1. For the simple syrup: In small saucepan, combine the water and sugar together. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved. Reduce heat slightly and boil gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature (apx. 30-40 minutes).
    2. For the blueberry purée: In pie plate, gently mash the berries with a potato masher to release their juices. Combine the berries and 2/3 cup water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until berries are softened and the mixture is quite juicy. Remove from heat and cool for about 30 minutes. Purée the berry mixture in a blender or with an immersion blender.
    3. For the lemonade concentrate: Add the lemon juice, lemon rind, and puréed berry mixture to the cooled simple syrup. Stir well to fully combine the ingredients. Let mixture stand for at least an hour (or up to three hours) to allow the flavors to blend. Strain mixture twice through a fine mesh sieve to remove the pulp. Discard the pulp and pour concentrate into a bottle. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
    4. To serve: Fill a glass approximately one-third full of lemonade concentrate. Top up with lemon-lime soda or lemon-flavored sparkling water. Add ice cubes. Garnish with a lemon wheel, a sprig of lemon balm, and fresh blueberries, if desired.
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    Lemonade
    Blueberry Lemonade
    Continue reading →Lemonade is a wonderful refreshing drink on a hot summer’s day.  Sometimes I like just plain old-fashioned lemonade and, other times, I like to flavor it using whatever berries are currently in season.  My latest lemonade creation uses high bush blueberries to make blueberry lemonade concentrate.  Fill a glass about one third full of the ...
  • Blueberry and Tropical Fruit Smoothie August 13, 2017
    Blueberry and Tropical Fruit Smoothie
    Blueberry and Tropical Fruit Smoothie

    Smoothies are such a great and tasty way to eat fruit and yogurt, making them healthy choices.  And, they are very filling. They are great for breakfast, summer barbeques, as a transportable breakfast-on-the-go, or just anytime as a nutritional drink.

    Blueberry Smoothie
    Blueberry and Tropical Fruit Smoothie

    I am not far from Tryon Blueberries U-Pick, a high bush blueberry farm in central PEI and, when they are in season, I have a steady diet of these blueberries.

    Blueberries
    High Bush Blueberries

    I freeze a quantity of them for use in smoothies throughout the year.

    Blueberries
    High Bush Blueberries

    Basically, any fruit you like can be combined into a smoothie.  For this recipe, I have chosen to feature the local blueberries but I also add in some other fruits that pair particularly well with blueberries. These include mango, papaya, and banana.  The great thing about smoothies is that they can be made with fresh or frozen fruits. I often bag up fruits when they are in season locally and freeze them in just the right sized portions for smoothies. This makes it quick and easy to prepare the smoothies which is great because, as we all know, if something is overly laborious, well….it often just does not happen.

    Blueberry Smoothie
    Blueberry and Tropical Fruit Smoothie

    Smoothies are so easy to make. A blender is needed for this recipe. Simply combine all the ingredients into the blender and process the mixture until desired smoothness is reached.

    For sweetener, I use 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup.  This natural liquid sweetener blends better than sugar. Reduce the amount of maple syrup if you like a less sweet drink.  I also add in about 1 1/2 tablespoons of ground chia seeds. Whole chia seeds may be used but the ground seeds make for a smoother drink and are a better alternative for those who can’t easily digest seeds. Chia is loaded with good health benefits like fibre, omega 3 fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

    Blueberry Smoothie
    Blueberry and Tropical Fruit Smoothie

    The yogurt I have used in this smoothie is a Mediterranean-style lavender yogurt.  Lavender pairs very well with blueberries. Don’t be put off by this flavor thinking it will be like perfume.  This yogurt is very gently flavored with lavender and it is not at all strong in either the lavender flavor or scent. It does, however, add a subtle layer of flavor to the smoothie.  Plain vanilla yogurt can, of course, be substituted but, if the lavender yogurt is available, I recommend giving it a try.

    Blueberry Smoothie
    Blueberry and Tropical Fruit Smoothie

    Any kind of fruit juice can be used in this smoothie.  I have made it with plain orange juice which is very good but it is super tasty if made with a mango-citrus blend of juice or a tropical fruit juice.  If possible, I try to add juice that has the flavor of at least one or more of the fruits I am blending into the smoothie.  I don’t add any ice cubes to this smoothie because I find they can dilute the flavor.  Make sure the fruit juice is good and cold and the smoothie will be just the right temperature for drinking without adding any ice.

    Garnishes are optional but they do dress up the smoothie.  If using garnishes, choose fruits that are in the smoothie as I have done here with the blueberries, mango, and papaya.

    Blueberry Smoothie
    Blueberry and Tropical Fruit Smoothie

    This smoothie recipe will yield approximately 4 cups  which is about two good servings or, for smaller portions, four 1-cup servings are possible.  This really is a meal in a glass – it provides servings of fruit, yogurt, and liquid content.  This smoothie is best served as soon as it is made because it has banana in it and it can produce quite a strong flavor if left to sit and it can take over and become the predominant flavor in the drink.

    [Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

    Blueberry and Tropical Fruit Smoothie

    Ingredients:

    1 2/3 cups fruit juice (e.g., mango-citrus, orange juice, etc.)
    1½ cups high bush blueberries (fresh or frozen)
    ½ cup mango, coarsely chopped (fresh or frozen)
    ½ cup papaya, coarsely chopped (fresh or frozen)
    ½ large banana, sliced
    ½ cup Mediterranean-style lavender yogurt
    2 tbsp maple syrup
    1½ tbsp ground chia seeds

    Method:

    Combine all ingredients, in order given, in blender and process until well blended and smooth. Pour into glasses. Garnish with skewer of fresh blueberries, mango, and papaya. Serve immediately.

    Yield:  Apx. 4 cups

    Blueberry and Tropical Fruit Smoothie

    Yield: Apx. 2 servings

    Serving Size: 2-cup

    Kickstart your day with this super tasty blueberry and tropical fruit smoothie made with lavender yogurt and mango-citrus fruit juice

    Ingredients

    • 1 2/3 cups fruit juice (e.g., mango-citrus, orange juice, etc.)
    • 1½ cups high bush blueberries (fresh or frozen)
    • ½ cup mango, coarsely chopped (fresh or frozen)
    • ½ cup papaya, coarsely chopped (fresh or frozen)
    • ½ large banana, sliced
    • ½ cup Mediterranean-style lavender yogurt
    • 2 tbsp maple syrup
    • 1½ tbsp ground chia seeds

    Instructions

    1. Combine all ingredients, in order given, in blender and process until well blended and smooth. Pour into glasses. Garnish with skewer of fresh blueberries, mango, and papaya. Serve immediately.
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    A delicious smoothie made with a blend of blueberries, tropical fruits, lavender yogurt, and mango-citrus fruit juice

    For another refreshing blueberry drink, try this recipe for Blueberry Lemonade

    Continue reading →Smoothies are such a great and tasty way to eat fruit and yogurt, making them healthy choices.  And, they are very filling. They are great for breakfast, summer barbeques, as a transportable breakfast-on-the-go, or just anytime as a nutritional drink. I am not far from Tryon Blueberries U-Pick, a high bush blueberry farm in central PEI ...

Breads and Biscuits

  • Whole Wheat Biscuits Recipe February 7, 2017 For me, one of the hallmarks of a wonderful homemade meal is a fresh batch of tender and flavorful whole wheat biscuits on the table! These are particularly good with baked beans (especially when the biscuits are slathered with molasses!) or, well, just about anything! Biscuits are a form of a quick bread so they ...
  • Tea Biscuits May 17, 2015 Do you love the smell of tea biscuits baking in the oven?  It’s one of my favorite kitchen scents. My first recollection of biscuits dates back to visiting a grandmother.  She made the best biscuits, added a good slather of peanut butter to the warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven biscuits, and served them with a tall glass of cold ...
  • St. Patrick’s Day Dinner – 2012 March 18, 2012 So, St. Patrick’s Day 2012 has come and gone.  A belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all.   We are all a wee bit Irish on March 17th, aren’t we – either Irish by heritage or Irish at heart! My St. Patrick’s Day Menu this year consisted of Prince Edward Island Blue Mussels steamed in Guinness, ...
  • Pan Rolls March 22, 2015 There is something so homey and cozy about homemade bread and rolls!  And, of course, the scent throughout the house of them baking makes the taste buds jump in anticipation of a hot roll, or slice of bread, fresh from the oven and slathered in melting butter. Today, I am sharing a recipe for traditional pan ...
  • Oat Bran and Flaxseed Bread February 20, 2012 It’s “Islander Day” on Prince Edward Island today.  What better way to celebrate on this cold winter day than with fresh homemade bread and the heavenly scent of baking bread wafting through the house.  Today’s offering is a healthy choice of Oat Bran and Flaxseed.  This iteration is an artisan or rustic style bread, characterized ...
  • Hot Cross Buns April 8, 2012 “Hot Cross Buns!  Hot Cross Buns!  One ha’ penny, two ha’ penny, Hot Cross Buns!  Remember that nursery rhyme? I didn’t grow up with Hot Cross Buns being a tradition in our home at Easter.  In fact, before I made them this morning, I had never even tasted them.  I was aware of their existence but ...
  • Homemade White Bread January 12, 2014 I love making bread from scratch.  I like working and kneading the dough, the smell of the dough as it rises, and especially as it bakes.  No commercial potpourri could ever duplicate the wonderful scent of homemade bread baking in the oven!  It just permeates the whole house and whets the appetite.  We do have ...

Breakfast

  • Valentine’s Day Breakfast in Bed February 14, 2013 Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!  Be sure to use the occasion to show special appreciation for those you love.  One of the most ultimate ways to pamper a loved one on any day (and not just on Valentine’s) is by preparing and serving him or her breakfast in bed. This is a very simple breakfast menu I ...
  • The Bistro’s Great Nut-free Granola Recipe March 8, 2016 This granola recipe features a tasty mixture of toasted rolled oats, coconut, and dried fruits and berries.  Notably missing in this recipe are any nuts or whole seeds which are often found in granola.  This is intentional.  For anyone who, for any reason, cannot consume nuts or whole seeds, this granola is especially for you! Granola ...
  • Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday February 12, 2013 Today is Shrove Tuesday, often commonly referred to as “Pancake Day” or “Pancake Tuesday”.  Shrove Tuesday always falls on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday which signifies the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period leading to Easter in the Christian calendar.  In some denominations, Lent is a period of abstaining from certain things, which may include ...
  • Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed: The Bistro’s Lobster Egg Benedict May 11, 2014 A very happy Mother’s Day to all Moms out there!  I hope you are having a wonderful day and are getting thoroughly spoiled. Today, I am sharing my recipe for Lobster Eggs Benedict with a delicious Béarnise sauce.  This makes a wonderful brunch entrée and is also perfect for a Mother’s Day breakfast in bed tray ...
  • Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed May 12, 2013 Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms! What mom doesn’t like to be pampered on Mother’s Day and what says pampering more than breakfast in bed!  Dress up an ordinary bed tray with a lovely napkin or pretty placemat and prepare a scrumptious breakfast for Mom. The Menu:  Start with a fresh fruit cup presented in the prettiest, ...
  • Easter Weekend Breakfast in Bed April 20, 2014 There is nothing that says pampering more than breakfast in bed!  In fact, there doesn’t have to be a special occasion to serve a special someone a breakfast tray.  And, it doesn’t have to be overly fancy.  Toast or a croissant along with fresh orange juice and coffee will somehow seem much more special when ...
  • Cranberry Pancakes May 9, 2015 I can find endless uses for cranberries – they are one of my favorite berries.  The berries in today’s recipe came from Mikita Farms in Farmington, near Souris, PEI.  You can see the photos of them wet harvesting the cranberries last fall by clicking here.  I bought a huge bag of cranberries because they freeze ...
  • Clumpy Almond Butter Granola Recipe April 12, 2018 Homemade granola is so easy to make and customize to individual tastes.  So long as you keep the proportions of ingredients, substitutions are perfectly acceptable.  For example, my recipe calls for 3/4 cup of dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries; however, if those don’t strike your fancy, substitute the same quantity of raisins and/or chopped dates, ...
  • Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes March 3, 2014 Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day as it is commonly known.  It’s tradition in my house to have pancakes on Pancake Day.  This year, I am serving up Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes with a delectable Blueberry Sauce.  I figure, if it’s going to be blueberries, I might as well go all out! Did you know that ...
  • Belgian Waffles with Strawberries and Chocolate Syrup February 18, 2013 Well, it’s been another stormy day here on Prince Edward Island.  Don’t know why but I have a tendency to want to make Belgian waffles on storm days.  Maybe it’s because I have the time, or maybe it’s that I know I’d have the ingredients and don’t need to shop in order to make the ...

Cakes

  • Vintage Tomato Soup Layer Cake Recipe April 26, 2016 By now, if you are a regular follower of my food blog, you have probably detected that I like vintage foods and those that could be called comfort foods. I grew up with tomato soup cake as standard fare in the household. It’s such a simple cake and, while it may seem bizarre to add a ...
  • Sultana Cake Recipe November 26, 2017 Sultana Cake, believed to be of British/Scottish origins, is so named because sultana raisins are the main ingredient.  Often served at tea time, this unfrosted cake is a cross between a war cake, a Dundee cake, and a fruitcake. More sweet than a war cake and definitely less rich than a traditional fruitcake, this is ...
  • Queen Elizabeth Cake Recipe April 19, 2017 Ever wonder about the history of old vintage recipes?  I so wish that accurate records existed about the origins of some of the old nostalgic recipes like the one for Queen Elizabeth Cake, for example. This is one recipe that has some history to it but just how much is fact and how much is fable, ...
  • Lemon Elderflower Cake Recipe May 14, 2018 The inspiration for this springtime Lemon Elderflower Cake was drawn from the announcement of the lemon and elderflower flavours for the May 2018 wedding cake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I suspect, after this wedding, that elderflower will be the trendy new flavour for many recipes – either of the eating or drinking kind. When ...
  • Gumdrop Cake November 29, 2015 This is one of my all-time favorite cakes! It’s colorful and it’s tasty.  While I make this cake at any time of the year (and it’s often a staple in my freezer because it freezes very well), it’s a great Christmas cake because of the colorful gumdrops which give it a festive appearance.  It is ...
  • Gluten-Free Queen Elizabeth Cake June 17, 2017 In an earlier posting, I shared my recipe for the regular gluten version of Queen Elizabeth Cake to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II’s actual birthday on April 21st.  Today, I have a special treat for my food blog followers who must follow a gluten-free diet! I have adapted my regular version of this cake to ...
  • Gluten Free Light Fruitcake Recipe November 19, 2017 This posting contains my newly-developed recipe for gluten free light fruitcake. This cake is so tasty that it’s hard to tell it is actually gluten free!  The flours I use in this recipe are the one-to-one gluten free flour along with almond flour and coconut flour that add lovely flavour and texture to the cake batter. As ...
  • Festive Light Fruitcake Recipe December 4, 2016 One of my favorite foods to make is the traditional fruitcake – both dark and light versions.  And, I adore the scent in my home as the cakes bake.  As I write this post, this is my 40th year making fruitcakes – where does the time go!  I don’t make both dark and light every ...
  • Dreamy Hawaiian Cupcakes January 18, 2016 Today marks my 4th Blogiversary and I’m celebrating with my newly-developed recipe for Dreamy Hawaiian Cupcakes!  These are perfect for any event, any time of the year but, with their pink swirl centers and mile high frosting, I think they would be very suitable for Valentines Day. So, they’re doing double duty as they celebrate ...
  • Dark Fruitcake December 10, 2014 Fruitcakes. People either love them or loathe them and there seems to be no middle ground. I personally favour them and they are part of my annual Christmas traditions. There are basically two kinds of fruitcakes, a light cake and a dark cake. The dark fruitcake is characterized by the addition of molasses, spices, and often ...
  • Country Farmhouse Crumb Cake February 5, 2018 This old-fashioned country farmhouse crumb cake has been a recipe in my family for years. It quite resembles a coffee cake and is a hearty dessert that is tasty and not too sweet. Its crumb topping adds a lovely texture element to the cake. Crumb cake is quite economical to make because it just takes basic ...
  • Chocolate Biscuit Cake April 21, 2018 If you are a chocolate lover, this Chocolate Biscuit Cake is for you!  What’s not to love about cookies and chocolate bar chunks encased in a rich ganache then smothered with a decadent chocolate ganache glaze!   I am giving alternate instructions for making a gluten-free version of the cake and want to point out, at the ...

Casseroles

  • Seven-Layer Dinner (aka “Shipwreck Dinner”) April 29, 2013 Okay, so my recipe is actually eight layers, but who is counting when the meal is as tasty as this one is! Seven-layer dinner (sometimes called “Shipwreck”) is really little more than a full dinner in a casserole and baked in the oven.  I grew up (as I am sure many of you have) with this ...
  • Savory Cottage Pie April 17, 2013 I first had Cottage Pie (although I didn’t know that’s what it was) many years ago as a small child at Camp Segunakadeck (Seggie) on the south shore of PEI.  I came home from summer camp raving about this yummy dish and trying to describe it to my mother.  As a seven or eight-year old, ...
  • My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Macaroni and Cheese March 28, 2012 This is my favorite Macaroni and Cheese recipe.  It uses the fine cheddar cheese produced right here on Prince Edward Island at the Cows Creamery.  
  • Hawaiian Fiesta Casserole January 11, 2016   Last week I cooked a boiled ham dinner and, despite that I had my local butcher cut me a small smoked picnic ham, it still had a lot of meat on it. You can get my method for making a boiled ham dinner here. After sandwiches and leftovers for a few nights, I decided it ...
  • Cows Creamery Field Trip March 21, 2012   I recently paid a visit to Cows Creamery at its factory location on the outskirts of Charlottetown, PEI, where I was met by my two tour guides, Yvonne and Andrea.  As I soon learned, Cows is a whole lot more than its renowned premium quality ice cream. With humble beginnings back in 1983, Cows has evolved ...
  • Chicken Chow Mein Casserole Recipe January 25, 2018 Casserole recipes are useful for the home cook’s meal planning. They are a convenient entrée for a dinner meal, can be prepared ahead of time, are often a great way to use leftovers and re-purpose them into a new entrée, and they can stretch the food dollar.  My Chicken Chow Mein Casserole is one that ...
  • Beef Pasta Casserole Recipe February 18, 2018 I am a huge fan of batch cooking and preparing make-ahead meals to freeze for easy weeknight meal preparation.  I began batch cooking over 40 years ago when I moved away from my family home and began life on my own.  I went in search of cookbooks designed for cooking for one or two and ...

Chicken

  • Maple-Orange Sauced Chicken Breasts April 30, 2015 It’s maple syrup time!  Finally, a harbinger of spring and those of us on the East Coast of Canada need something sweet after the wicked winter we have just come through! Today, I am featuring a product that is new to me and it comes from Lake Paul in Nova Scotia – PURE™ Infused Maple Syrup.  We ...
  • Homemade Turkey Stock Recipe December 26, 2017 I am always dismayed (and disheartened) at how many people toss a turkey carcass after the turkey dinner. To me, that is such a waste as there is a lot of goodness in that turkey carcass and it makes great homemade turkey stock that can be used in many recipes. A good poultry stock is a ...
  • Chicken Chow Mein Casserole Recipe January 25, 2018 Casserole recipes are useful for the home cook’s meal planning. They are a convenient entrée for a dinner meal, can be prepared ahead of time, are often a great way to use leftovers and re-purpose them into a new entrée, and they can stretch the food dollar.  My Chicken Chow Mein Casserole is one that ...
  • Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette August 1, 2017 We grow a garden and live out of it in the summer. We grow lots of different varieties of lettuce and so salads are an almost daily part of our menu. On hot summer days, I love to make what I call a main meal salad. I simply take a meat platter and lay a layer ...
  • Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent Recipe May 8, 2018 One of my favorite recipes is Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent. Some may know this as “creamed chicken”.  I actually make up a large batch of this delectable dish and freeze it in serving-sized portions.  It makes a quick and easy meal when all that has to be done is bake the frozen patty shells, heat ...
  • Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce February 26, 2017 Crepes filled with delectable fillings are one of my favorite meals. Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce are a real treat and a lot easier to make than one might think. At one time considered the fare of stylish restaurants and bistros, they can actually be very easily made at home. I often make up ...
  • Asparagus-stuffed Chicken Breasts Recipe May 31, 2016 Asparagus is one of the most versatile vegetables, both in the ways in which it can be prepared and the ingredients with which it can be paired. Locally, in Atlantic Canada, asparagus has a very short growing season in late May/early June and it is a harbinger of wonderful produce to come from the land. ...

Cookies

  • September 2013 Cookie of the Month: Peanut Butter Cookies September 24, 2013 My September Cookie of the Month is an old favourite – peanut butter cookies.  These cookies take very few ingredients and nothing out of the ordinary that would not be in most cupboards.  They have been found in many lunchboxes for decades.  Either smooth or crunchy peanut butter may be used – whichever is your ...
  • Old-Fashioned Scottish Oatcakes April 27, 2014   Oatcakes are very versatile and take such basic, simple ingredients.  A cross between a cookie and a cracker, they are savory bites and are not overly sweet.  In fact, I would describe these artisan cookies/crackers as having a nice short, crisp texture.  Scottish in origin, oatcakes probably made their debut in Canada when they arrived ...
  • October 2013 Cookie of the Month: Plum Puff Cookies October 22, 2013 Plum Puff Cookies   Plum Puff Cookies are my October 2013 Cookie of the Month.  These are hearty cookies because each one is actually two cookies sandwiched together with a tasty raisin filling.  These cookies can also be filled with your favorite jam, date , or even lemon, filling. Cookie Ingredients: ¼ cup butter ½ tbsp lard ½ cup sugar 1 egg, ...
  • November 2013 Cookie of the Month: Gingersnaps November 18, 2013 November brings days with shorter daylight hours and cooler temperatures.  If you are like me, when late fall arrives, your thoughts turn to comfort foods that include spicy cookies.  My choice of cookie of the month for November is the old-fashioned gingersnap.  These wafer-thin, crisp cookies are flavoured with ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, all scents ...
  • Molasses Spice Cookies December 22, 2015 Sugar and spice and everything nice!  That pretty much sums up the smell in the kitchen when these cookies are baking.  These cookies have a lovely blend of spices that make them a real taste treat, especially with a tall glass of cold milk. The key to keeping these cookies a bit on the chewy side ...
  • May Cookie of the Month: Cherry Winks May 28, 2013 For the May “Cookie of the Month”, I am sharing our family recipe for the vintage cookie, Cherry Winks.  My Mother often made these cookies when I was a small child so they have been a family favorite for many years.  They are not difficult to make and don’t take any hard-to-find or unusual ingredients.  ...
  • Marvelous Melting Moments Recipe December 7, 2016 How can a cookie with only 6 simple ingredients taste this good!!!  Well, they’re not called Melting Moments without good reason.  One bite of these sweet temptations and, from the rich, tender crumb of the cookie, you’ll find they quickly melt in your mouth. Made only with butter (absolutely no substitutions on this one), icing sugar ...
  • March 2013 Cookie of the Month: Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies March 14, 2013 Well, for my Cookie of the Month for March, I tried to find out if there is a cookie recipe that traces its origins to Ireland or, alternatively, a cookie that is particularly popular on the Emerald Isle.  However, I had no luck in tracking down any (maybe it was lack of Irish luck!).  If ...
  • June 2013 Cookie of the Month: Spider Cookies June 30, 2013   Oh, these bring back sweet childhood memories!  I grew up knowing these as “Spider Cookies”.  However, they are often simply called “Uncooked Chocolate Cookies”.  Regardless their name, they are simple to make and very tasty; in fact, I’d say they are a close neighbour to candy. These are indeed a vintage cookie.  I don’t know their ...
  • July 2013 Cookie of the Month: Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies (It’s Christmas in July!) July 23, 2013 Happy Christmas in July!  I know, I know, I know!  It’s only July but it’s never too early to think about Christmas cookies!  So, as I continue on with my Cookie of the Month series in 2013, I am sharing an old family favourite – Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies – as the July cookie. This recipe ...
  • January 2013 Cookie of the Month – Shortbread January 25, 2013 Today, I begin my new 2013 monthly series on my food blog.  Once a month, I will be posting a recipe and photographs of a favourite cookie.  To start, I will share my recipe for shortbread.  There are so many recipes and versions of shortbread.  This perfectly plain, delicate cookie attributes its origin to Scotland so ...
  • Gluten-free Melting Moments Cookies December 22, 2016 These gluten-free melting moments cookies prove that being on a gluten-free diet does not mean one has to compromise on favorite sweet treats! I use a 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour, such as Bob’s Red Mills brand, for these cookies.  I also add a small amount of very finely ground almonds to the batter as this lends ...
  • Gluten-free Lemon-filled Thumbprint Cookies May 23, 2017 There are different versions of thumbprint cookies. Some are rolled in crushed nuts, others in granulated sugar, and still others in coconut. Some are filled with jam and others with lemon curd.  I use lemon curd as the filling and roll my thumbprint cookies in coconut to complement the coconut flour used in these gluten-free ...
  • Gluten-Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread December 20, 2016 These easy-to-make gluten-free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread cookies are brimming with flavor. The ground Earl Grey tea leaves lend a subtle hint of tea flavor as well as add wonderful specks of interest in the cookies.  The addition of the dried cranberries and grated orange rind make these very flavorful and tasty cookies. I have been ...
  • Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square December 29, 2016 If you like brown sugar fudge, you’ll love this Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square, even if you aren’t gluten-intolerant or on a grain-restrictive diet! With a cake-type base, it’s the fudge icing that makes this square and takes it from plain to yummy. It’s like having cake and candy at the same time! I use 1-to-1 ...
  • Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe July 17, 2017 If you like cookies that are super tasty but not overly sweet then you will like these gluten free snickerdoodle cookies. They sport a lovely soft crumb texture and have superb flavor with the cardamon and nutmeg in the cookies and then the cinnamon-sugar mixture in which they are rolled. I have been doing a lot ...
  • Frypan Cookie Balls December 10, 2015 I have no idea why these tasty morsels are called cookies because, in my view, they in no way resemble my definition of a cookie!  Nonetheless, they have always been called Frypan Cookies in my family and, regardless their name, they are mighty tasty. In fact, I think they’re actually more like candy than cookies. Why ...
  • February 2013 Cookie of the Month – Sugar Cookies February 9, 2013 My choice of Cookie of the Month for February 2013 is the old-fashioned sugar cookie.  These are one of the plainest cookies yet they have endured throughout time and are often counted amongst the favorites in many families.  These cookies are aptly named given the amount of sugar in them in proportion to the amounts ...
  • December 2013 Cookie of the Month: Coconut Cherry Macaroons December 16, 2013 This is the final cookie of the month for 2013.  I have selected to share Coconut Cherry Macaroons, a favorite recipe that has been in our family for decades. There are so many recipes for coconut macaroons with ingredients and methods for making them that vary.  This is a variation of the traditional coconut macaroon cookie.  ...
  • Christmas Icebox Cookies Recipe December 18, 2016 Christmas Icebox Cookies are a tradition in my household.  There are many varieties of cookies that beg to be made, shared, and eaten over the holiday period and these are always a perennial favorite. The richness of the butter and sugar combined with the slight chewiness of the mixed glazed fruit and currants results in a ...
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies February 27, 2012 Chocolate Chip Cookies I’ve never met anyone – child or adult – who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies.  They are a perennial favourite and a staple in many cookie jars.  There are any number of recipes for these traditional cookies and I’ve tried a good many of them.  Some I’ve been satisfied with and some, well, ...
  • August 2013 Cookie of the Month: Chocolate Drop Cookies August 21, 2013 I have always been a chocolate lover.  These chocolate cookies were ones my Mother often made when I was a child.  I like the rich chocolate flavour and somewhat chewy center they have.  These cookies don’t take any uncommon ingredients or ones most bakers wouldn’t have in their cupboards.  Of course, using the best cocoa ...
  • April Cookie of the Month: Lemon Spritz Shortbread Cookies April 23, 2013 Spritz cookies are dainty-shaped cookies that are crisp and buttery.  They are made by pushing soft cookie dough through a cookie press which is a cylinder fitted with a decorative disk that has patterned holes through which the dough is “squirted” or pressed into shapes.  Typically, cookie presses come with many different decorative disks – ...
  • 2013 “Cookie of the Month” Year-end Round-up December 30, 2013 Those who regularly follow my blog will recall that I made the commitment back in January 2013 to post one cookie recipe a month for the entire year.  So, for ease of retrieval, I thought I would do a year-end round-up of all 12 cookies. In January, just in time for Robbie Burns Day, I shared ...

Cookie of the Month

  • September 2013 Cookie of the Month: Peanut Butter Cookies September 24, 2013 My September Cookie of the Month is an old favourite – peanut butter cookies.  These cookies take very few ingredients and nothing out of the ordinary that would not be in most cupboards.  They have been found in many lunchboxes for decades.  Either smooth or crunchy peanut butter may be used – whichever is your ...
  • October 2013 Cookie of the Month: Plum Puff Cookies October 22, 2013 Plum Puff Cookies   Plum Puff Cookies are my October 2013 Cookie of the Month.  These are hearty cookies because each one is actually two cookies sandwiched together with a tasty raisin filling.  These cookies can also be filled with your favorite jam, date , or even lemon, filling. Cookie Ingredients: ¼ cup butter ½ tbsp lard ½ cup sugar 1 egg, ...
  • November 2013 Cookie of the Month: Gingersnaps November 18, 2013 November brings days with shorter daylight hours and cooler temperatures.  If you are like me, when late fall arrives, your thoughts turn to comfort foods that include spicy cookies.  My choice of cookie of the month for November is the old-fashioned gingersnap.  These wafer-thin, crisp cookies are flavoured with ginger, cinnamon, and cloves, all scents ...
  • May Cookie of the Month: Cherry Winks May 28, 2013 For the May “Cookie of the Month”, I am sharing our family recipe for the vintage cookie, Cherry Winks.  My Mother often made these cookies when I was a small child so they have been a family favorite for many years.  They are not difficult to make and don’t take any hard-to-find or unusual ingredients.  ...
  • March 2013 Cookie of the Month: Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies March 14, 2013 Well, for my Cookie of the Month for March, I tried to find out if there is a cookie recipe that traces its origins to Ireland or, alternatively, a cookie that is particularly popular on the Emerald Isle.  However, I had no luck in tracking down any (maybe it was lack of Irish luck!).  If ...
  • June 2013 Cookie of the Month: Spider Cookies June 30, 2013   Oh, these bring back sweet childhood memories!  I grew up knowing these as “Spider Cookies”.  However, they are often simply called “Uncooked Chocolate Cookies”.  Regardless their name, they are simple to make and very tasty; in fact, I’d say they are a close neighbour to candy. These are indeed a vintage cookie.  I don’t know their ...
  • July 2013 Cookie of the Month: Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies (It’s Christmas in July!) July 23, 2013 Happy Christmas in July!  I know, I know, I know!  It’s only July but it’s never too early to think about Christmas cookies!  So, as I continue on with my Cookie of the Month series in 2013, I am sharing an old family favourite – Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies – as the July cookie. This recipe ...
  • January 2013 Cookie of the Month – Shortbread January 25, 2013 Today, I begin my new 2013 monthly series on my food blog.  Once a month, I will be posting a recipe and photographs of a favourite cookie.  To start, I will share my recipe for shortbread.  There are so many recipes and versions of shortbread.  This perfectly plain, delicate cookie attributes its origin to Scotland so ...
  • February 2013 Cookie of the Month – Sugar Cookies February 9, 2013 My choice of Cookie of the Month for February 2013 is the old-fashioned sugar cookie.  These are one of the plainest cookies yet they have endured throughout time and are often counted amongst the favorites in many families.  These cookies are aptly named given the amount of sugar in them in proportion to the amounts ...
  • December 2013 Cookie of the Month: Coconut Cherry Macaroons December 16, 2013 This is the final cookie of the month for 2013.  I have selected to share Coconut Cherry Macaroons, a favorite recipe that has been in our family for decades. There are so many recipes for coconut macaroons with ingredients and methods for making them that vary.  This is a variation of the traditional coconut macaroon cookie.  ...
  • August 2013 Cookie of the Month: Chocolate Drop Cookies August 21, 2013 I have always been a chocolate lover.  These chocolate cookies were ones my Mother often made when I was a child.  I like the rich chocolate flavour and somewhat chewy center they have.  These cookies don’t take any uncommon ingredients or ones most bakers wouldn’t have in their cupboards.  Of course, using the best cocoa ...
  • April Cookie of the Month: Lemon Spritz Shortbread Cookies April 23, 2013 Spritz cookies are dainty-shaped cookies that are crisp and buttery.  They are made by pushing soft cookie dough through a cookie press which is a cylinder fitted with a decorative disk that has patterned holes through which the dough is “squirted” or pressed into shapes.  Typically, cookie presses come with many different decorative disks – ...
  • 2013 “Cookie of the Month” Year-end Round-up December 30, 2013 Those who regularly follow my blog will recall that I made the commitment back in January 2013 to post one cookie recipe a month for the entire year.  So, for ease of retrieval, I thought I would do a year-end round-up of all 12 cookies. In January, just in time for Robbie Burns Day, I shared ...

Desserts

  • War Cake – A Part of Wartime Culinary History November 11, 2012 Every year on November 11th we pause to remember the sacrifices and achievements of those who valiantly and selflessly served our country in times of war and conflict, and in peacekeeping missions around the world.  We remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice – their lives for their country so future generations could have a ...
  • Visit to Beamish Organic Apple Orchard and Deep Roots Distillery September 23, 2015 Today, I’m taking you on a tour with me to Beamish Organic Apple Orchard and Deep Roots Distillery in Warren Grove, PEI. Owner, Mike Beamish, has been growing apples since 1990 when he started with 200 trees on his hobby farm near Charlottetown. Mike’s goal was always to grow apples organically although he did initially grow ...
  • Sticky Date Pudding with Toffee Sauce February 5, 2012 It’s a cold day (-12C) in Prince Edward Island today.  The après-Christmas period always leaves me still craving comfort foods that have spices. One of my favorite wintertime desserts is Sticky Date Pudding, the recipe for which, locally, is often associated with the prestigious Dalvay-by-the-Sea Hotel located just inside the National Park in Dalvay, on Prince ...
  • Steamed Cranberry Pudding with Eggnog Sauce December 15, 2015 As Christmas approaches and temperatures dip (at least for those of us who live in colder climates), my thoughts tend to turn to substantial “comfort” foods — visions of roast turkey, stuffing and gravy, cranberry sauce, fluffy mashed potatoes, and lots of root vegetables (such as carrots and turnip) enter my head.  And then, of ...
  • Steamed Carrot Pudding Recipe December 12, 2016 This Carrot Pudding is an old-fashioned steamed pudding made with very plain, simple ingredients – it doesn’t get much more plain than grated carrots and shredded potato! This pudding is less rich and sweet than a traditional plum pudding.  The blend of spices gives this pudding its flavor. Well, that and rum-soaked raisins! Steamed puddings are not ...
  • St. Patrick’s Day Dinner – 2012 March 18, 2012 So, St. Patrick’s Day 2012 has come and gone.  A belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all.   We are all a wee bit Irish on March 17th, aren’t we – either Irish by heritage or Irish at heart! My St. Patrick’s Day Menu this year consisted of Prince Edward Island Blue Mussels steamed in Guinness, ...
  • Rhubarb Custard Torte June 4, 2014 The rhubarb in my garden is ready for using.  I am fascinated by how fast it grows.  While I freeze a substantial amount for use over the winter, there is nothing like scooting out to the garden to pick some fresh rhubarb just at the time I am making a recipe. I have my usual, regular ...
  • Raisin Puff (aka Plum Puff) January 21, 2015 Today, I’m sharing the recipe for a real old-fashioned vintage dessert. Some of you may remember your mother or grandmother making Raisin Puff (aka Plum Puff) dessert or, perhaps, you have made it yourself. This dessert was popular in my part of the world up until about the early 1960s but is not so common anymore. ...
  • Plum Pudding – A Favorite Christmas Dinner Tradition on Prince Edward Island December 11, 2013 I thought I knew what the most traditional Christmas food on Prince Edward Island would be.  However, for fun, I decided to use social media to ask Islanders what one food has to be on their tables over the holidays in order for it to be Christmas.  Sure, there were responses that mentioned fruitcake, Scotch ...
  • Old-fashioned Strawberry Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream July 19, 2017 Summer just would not be summer without ice cream and what better way to enjoy it than to combine two of the season’s best flavors – strawberry and rhubarb – into homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream! I have been making ice cream for a long time. I have an electric churn that has been in ...
  • Old-fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake July 4, 2018 Today, I am sharing my recipe for a real old-fashioned type of dessert – Rhubarb Pudding Cake. The cake is “self-saucing” which means that the delectable sauce forms underneath the simple cake batter as the cake bakes. It’s an “all-in-one” pudding and cake! It may not be the most extravagant looking dessert but it sure ...
  • Old-fashioned Apple Crisp November 6, 2014 The time has changed and the days are getting shorter.  November always seems like such a dreary month.  Living on Canada’s East Coast, it also signifies colder temperatures surely followed by the long winter. When it gets to November, I am ready for some comfort food.  One of my all-time favorites is the traditional old-fashioned apple ...
  • Mock Cherry Pie October 8, 2015 I’m not sure of the origins of Mock Cherry Pie but my grandmother made a version of this delight when I was a small child.  Sometimes called cranberry pie, it’s not an altogether common pie (at least in my circles) these days but it is very tasty and colorful with its deep ruby red color. ...
  • Lavender – The Trendy New Culinary Herb August 9, 2012 Okay, so I must admit the thought of baking and cooking with something I have always considered a perfume can be a bit daunting but with lavender being the trendy new culinary herb, I thought why not be a bit venturesome.  But can I use just any lavender for culinary purposes?  To find out, I ...
  • Jelly Roll March 5, 2015 I grew up with jelly rolls being regularly made in my home.  They’re a quick dessert, best eaten on the day they are made.  This is because a jelly roll is really a sponge-type cake and, when the jam or jelly is spread on it, it tends to seep into the cake and after several ...
  • Individual Baked Alaskas with Raspberry Coulis February 14, 2015 One of my all-time favorite desserts is Baked Alaska. I first had Baked Alaska on a cruise many, many years ago and I have loved it ever since. Many people think Baked Alaska is difficult to make but I don’t find it is. It does, however, take a little planning and time since it is ...
  • Gingerbread February 27, 2014   Do you have certain desserts that you associate with different seasons or times of the year?  Gingerbread is one dessert I tend to associate most with the coldest winter months for some reason.  It’s a plain but tasty dessert any time of the year but it’s a particularly good comfort food in the dead of ...
  • Creamy Coconut Rice Pudding January 17, 2016 There are so many ways to make rice pudding. Some use the stove-top method, others (like me) use the oven. Some bake the rice pudding directly in the oven but I prefer the hot water bath method for reasons explained below. For rice pudding, I prefer a short grain rice such as Arborio which is what ...
  • Chocolate Potato Cake February 2, 2014 We are familiar with cakes made with vegetables like carrot and zucchini.  However, have you ever heard of potato cake? We Islanders like our spuds, there is no doubt about it.  Potatoes are a very versatile vegetable and can be prepared and served in many different ways but have you ever heard of having them for ...
  • Caps off to Haskaps – A Trendy New Berry on PEI July 23, 2014 It’s not often that I discover a new food on Prince Edward Island. Until recently, I had never heard of haskap berries and did not know that they were grown on PEI.  Earlier this month, I travelled to Rollo Bay in the Eastern end of the Island to view a five-acre field of haskap bushes ...
  • Blueberry Grunt January 6, 2014 I don’t know about you but once the Christmas holidays are over, I crave comfort foods.  You know, the foods that are basic, nostalgic, or that you have a sentimental attachment to and that take you down memory lane.  Some might even refer to these dishes as vintage.  Maybe your mom made them for you ...
  • Blueberry Buckle August 23, 2015 There are so many ways to use blueberries, including an endless stream of desserts. Today, I am featuring Blueberry Buckle using high bush blueberries that I picked at the Tryon Blueberries U-Pick in North Tryon, PEI. Blueberry Buckle consists of three parts: A cake base, a sprinkle of fruit, and a streusel topping.  The origin of the ...
  • Blueberry Bread Pudding with Grand Marnier Sauce September 11, 2014 Blueberries are still in season on PEI as I write this posting.  In fact, on the news last week, it was reported that there is an over-abundance of blueberries this year — is there such a thing as too many blueberries???? I love blueberries and, this year, we have been very fortunate in that the Murray ...
  • Belgian Waffles with Strawberries and Chocolate Syrup February 18, 2013 Well, it’s been another stormy day here on Prince Edward Island.  Don’t know why but I have a tendency to want to make Belgian waffles on storm days.  Maybe it’s because I have the time, or maybe it’s that I know I’d have the ingredients and don’t need to shop in order to make the ...

Entrées

  • True Confessions of an Island Foodie’s Love Affair with Local Prince Edward Island Foods February 7, 2014 Happy Valentine’s from Prince Edward Island! As many of you know, I am part of the year-long Canadian Food Experience Project.  Each month, food blogger participants are prompted by a prescribed theme upon which to base a posting on their individual blogs.  The February theme is “My Canadian Love Affair”. What follows is the menu and description ...
  • Seven-Layer Dinner (aka “Shipwreck Dinner”) April 29, 2013 Okay, so my recipe is actually eight layers, but who is counting when the meal is as tasty as this one is! Seven-layer dinner (sometimes called “Shipwreck”) is really little more than a full dinner in a casserole and baked in the oven.  I grew up (as I am sure many of you have) with this ...
  • Savory Cottage Pie April 17, 2013 I first had Cottage Pie (although I didn’t know that’s what it was) many years ago as a small child at Camp Segunakadeck (Seggie) on the south shore of PEI.  I came home from summer camp raving about this yummy dish and trying to describe it to my mother.  As a seven or eight-year old, ...
  • Rethink Beef Global Recipe Swap Campaign: Moussaka March 5, 2017 I have been invited by www.thinkbeef.ca to participate, as one of ten food bloggers from across Canada, in the Rethink Beef Global Recipe Swap Campaign to promote recipes using ground beef. Each blogger was asked to develop a recipe (using ground beef) that is inspired by his or her cultural background or a culinary adventure ...
  • Pork Loin Roast with Pomegranate, Red Wine, and Black Garlic Sauce January 21, 2013 I am still experimenting with black garlic in recipes.  If you have been following my postings, you will recall my January 12, 2013, entry using black garlic in a sauce over sea scallops.  My latest culinary escapade finds it is a suitable flavouring for sauces for meat as well.  Below you will find the recipe ...
  • Pork Chops with Bread Stuffing and Creamy Mushroom Sauce April 3, 2014 Today, I am sharing a recipe for one of my favorite ways to serve pork chops.  It’s very simple and easy to make and uses very few ingredients, none of them uncommon or hard to find.  In fact, many cooks likely already have the ingredients in their kitchens. I find this is a good recipe to ...
  • Maple Syrup Baked Beans (from My Island Bistro Kitchen) April 29, 2012 Growing up, baked beans was a traditional Saturday night supper in our household.  While I haven’t continued the Saturday night tradition, I do frequently have baked beans on the menu. Baked beans make a very economical dish and freeze well for reheating later in the microwave.  These are a staple packaged in meal-portion sized dishes in ...
  • Lobster Cakes April 30, 2013 The opening of the spring lobster season on Prince Edward Island is always an event.  Fishing boats, laden with lobster traps like those in the photos below, depart wharves around the Island in the very early morning to set their traps, often going several miles out to sea.  This is called “setting day” and it ...
  • Lobster and Asparagus Crepes June 5, 2017 Springtime in Prince Edward Island on Canada’s east coast means it’s lobster season so it’s a great time to make these delectable lobster and asparagus crepes that combine two of the season’s special treats! The lobster fishery is a significant industry on the Island and, according to the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website, “lobster is Canada’s ...
  • Honey Garlic Spareribs April 1, 2013 Today, I am sharing my favorite recipe for Honey Garlic Spareribs.  This is a recipe that has been used by my family for many years.  Sometimes we serve the ribs with rice and other times with baked potato and a side vegetable. This evening, I served the ribs with turnip casserole and a variation of a ...
  • Harvest Quiche October 26, 2015 My newly-created recipe combines several wonderful flavors to create this tasty quiche – sausage meat, leeks, mushrooms, Roma tomatoes, and a mixture of cheeses. While this savory quiche can, of course, be made year-round, it is especially good in the fall when the tomatoes are fresh off the vine and leeks and mushrooms are locally ...
  • From Field to Table: Potato Growing and Harvesting in Prince Edward Island November 7, 2013 The PEI potato harvesting season has drawn to a close for another year – the spuds are out of the ground and on their way to a multitude of uses.  Part of my objective with this food blog is to showcase food products produced on PEI and the producers and farmers behind them.  In this ...
  • Cranberry and Ginger Sauced Pork Chops May 20, 2014 Today, I am sharing a new recipe for pork chops.  In addition to PEI pork, I am also featuring two other PEI products, both from J.J. Stewart Foods and Soda Company, in Stratford.  The first is a new preserve flavor — Cranberry Champagne with Crystallized Ginger — and the second is from their maple mustard ...
  • Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette August 1, 2017 We grow a garden and live out of it in the summer. We grow lots of different varieties of lettuce and so salads are an almost daily part of our menu. On hot summer days, I love to make what I call a main meal salad. I simply take a meat platter and lay a layer ...
  • Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent Recipe May 8, 2018 One of my favorite recipes is Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent. Some may know this as “creamed chicken”.  I actually make up a large batch of this delectable dish and freeze it in serving-sized portions.  It makes a quick and easy meal when all that has to be done is bake the frozen patty shells, heat ...
  • Boiled Ham Dinner – Old-fashioned Comfort Food! March 16, 2013 This old-fashioned boiled ham dinner is a meal that is so familiar to me that it never occurred to me that some don’t even know what a “boiled dinner” is.  So, today, I am going to demystify and explain the “boiled dinner” as I know it. There are any number of meats that can be used ...
  • Asparagus-stuffed Chicken Breasts Recipe May 31, 2016 Asparagus is one of the most versatile vegetables, both in the ways in which it can be prepared and the ingredients with which it can be paired. Locally, in Atlantic Canada, asparagus has a very short growing season in late May/early June and it is a harbinger of wonderful produce to come from the land. ...

Gluten-free

  • Gluten-free Melting Moments Cookies December 22, 2016 These gluten-free melting moments cookies prove that being on a gluten-free diet does not mean one has to compromise on favorite sweet treats! I use a 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour, such as Bob’s Red Mills brand, for these cookies.  I also add a small amount of very finely ground almonds to the batter as this lends ...
  • Gluten-free Lemon-filled Thumbprint Cookies May 23, 2017 There are different versions of thumbprint cookies. Some are rolled in crushed nuts, others in granulated sugar, and still others in coconut. Some are filled with jam and others with lemon curd.  I use lemon curd as the filling and roll my thumbprint cookies in coconut to complement the coconut flour used in these gluten-free ...
  • Gluten-Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread December 20, 2016 These easy-to-make gluten-free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread cookies are brimming with flavor. The ground Earl Grey tea leaves lend a subtle hint of tea flavor as well as add wonderful specks of interest in the cookies.  The addition of the dried cranberries and grated orange rind make these very flavorful and tasty cookies. I have been ...
  • Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square December 29, 2016 If you like brown sugar fudge, you’ll love this Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square, even if you aren’t gluten-intolerant or on a grain-restrictive diet! With a cake-type base, it’s the fudge icing that makes this square and takes it from plain to yummy. It’s like having cake and candy at the same time! I use 1-to-1 ...
  • Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe July 17, 2017 If you like cookies that are super tasty but not overly sweet then you will like these gluten free snickerdoodle cookies. They sport a lovely soft crumb texture and have superb flavor with the cardamon and nutmeg in the cookies and then the cinnamon-sugar mixture in which they are rolled. I have been doing a lot ...
  • Old-fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake July 4, 2018 Today, I am sharing my recipe for a real old-fashioned type of dessert – Rhubarb Pudding Cake. The cake is “self-saucing” which means that the delectable sauce forms underneath the simple cake batter as the cake bakes. It’s an “all-in-one” pudding and cake! It may not be the most extravagant looking dessert but it sure ...
  • Gluten-Free Queen Elizabeth Cake June 17, 2017 In an earlier posting, I shared my recipe for the regular gluten version of Queen Elizabeth Cake to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II’s actual birthday on April 21st.  Today, I have a special treat for my food blog followers who must follow a gluten-free diet! I have adapted my regular version of this cake to ...
  • Gluten-free Lemon-filled Thumbprint Cookies May 23, 2017 There are different versions of thumbprint cookies. Some are rolled in crushed nuts, others in granulated sugar, and still others in coconut. Some are filled with jam and others with lemon curd.  I use lemon curd as the filling and roll my thumbprint cookies in coconut to complement the coconut flour used in these gluten-free ...
  • Gluten-Free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread December 20, 2016 These easy-to-make gluten-free Earl Grey Cranberry-Orange Shortbread cookies are brimming with flavor. The ground Earl Grey tea leaves lend a subtle hint of tea flavor as well as add wonderful specks of interest in the cookies.  The addition of the dried cranberries and grated orange rind make these very flavorful and tasty cookies. I have been ...
  • Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square December 29, 2016 If you like brown sugar fudge, you’ll love this Gluten-free Brown Sugar Fudge Square, even if you aren’t gluten-intolerant or on a grain-restrictive diet! With a cake-type base, it’s the fudge icing that makes this square and takes it from plain to yummy. It’s like having cake and candy at the same time! I use 1-to-1 ...
  • Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins March 1, 2017 Blueberry muffins are a favorite and, while I have a “go-to” recipe for blueberry muffins that calls for regular gluten flour, I did not have one that was gluten-free. So, I set about developing one of my own and this is the result. My aim was to create a bistro, or deli-style, muffin and I ...
  • Gluten-free Apple Pie January 11, 2018 I earlier posted my recipe for Rustic Apple Pie.  This apple pie recipe differs from that one in two ways. First, this one is gluten free. Yes, even the lovely tender, flaky crust is gluten free.  Second, the filling is pre-cooked before being added to the pie. For those following a gluten-free diet, they know how ...
  • Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe July 17, 2017 If you like cookies that are super tasty but not overly sweet then you will like these gluten free snickerdoodle cookies. They sport a lovely soft crumb texture and have superb flavor with the cardamon and nutmeg in the cookies and then the cinnamon-sugar mixture in which they are rolled. I have been doing a lot ...
  • Deli-style Gluten-Free Rhubarb Granola Muffins June 13, 2018 I love the produce our garden generates and its earliest treat is rhubarb.  It is so versatile and I make lots of recipes using rhubarb.  Today, a treat for my gluten-free diet followers — a new recipe for deli-style gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins. There are many recipes for rhubarb muffins but many of them call for ...
  • Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette August 1, 2017 We grow a garden and live out of it in the summer. We grow lots of different varieties of lettuce and so salads are an almost daily part of our menu. On hot summer days, I love to make what I call a main meal salad. I simply take a meat platter and lay a layer ...
  • Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce February 26, 2017 Crepes filled with delectable fillings are one of my favorite meals. Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce are a real treat and a lot easier to make than one might think. At one time considered the fare of stylish restaurants and bistros, they can actually be very easily made at home. I often make up ...

Jams

  • Zucchini Jam November 2, 2013 Zucchini is one vegetable that seems to grow prolifically.  Come fall and many gardeners have an abundance of zucchini they don’t know what to do with.  Zucchini is actually a very versatile veggie that can be used in cakes, cookies, muffins, and jams.  I like to keep grated zucchini frozen and ready for use in ...
  • Strawberry Time on PEI July 20, 2012 There is nothing quite like the scent of newly picked strawberries straight from the field!  It’s a hallmark of Summer, particularly in climates with short growing seasons such as that on PEI.  Some years, we are lucky to get a couple of weeks out of the “strawberry season” but, this year, weather conditions have permitted ...
  • Ruby Red Rhubarb June 20, 2012 Over the years, many Island homes, particularly those in the country (including mine) have had (and many still do) a rhubarb patch. The tiny shoots of the perennial rhubarb plants poking through the earth are always considered a harbinger of Spring and a welcome one at that. After many long Winter months in Northeastern Canada, ...
  • Rhubarb Curd Recipe July 12, 2017 I love rhubarb and use it in a multitude of ways.  Being a lover of lemon curd, I figured I would also like rhubarb curd so I set about developing and testing a recipe for it.  This delightful creamy curd can be used in the same ways as lemon curd  – sandwiching cakes together, spreading ...
  • Pumpkin Jam December 1, 2012 This year seemed to be a particularly good year for growing pumpkins on the Island.  Everywhere I looked I saw fields, bins, and wagons full of the bright orange pumpkins which are members of the gourd family.   Funny how we can’t wait to display them on our doorsteps and in fall displays but, once the end ...
  • Perfect Peach Marmalade Recipe August 27, 2017 For as long as I can remember, peach marmalade has been part of our family’s pantry of preserves.  As a small child, I remember the yearly ritual of my great grandmother (who we always knew as “Gram”) making peach marmalade.  And a ritual it was. The Ontario baskets of peaches were highly anticipated each August and ...
  • Luscious Lemon Curd April 14, 2017 I adore lemon curd – luscious lemon curd –  that wonderful balance of lemon’s acidity and tartness with the sweetness of sugar. I love it so much that it’s a staple in my refrigerator. Not to be confused with lemon pie filling, which is a different recipe altogether, this versatile heavenly creation known as lemon curd ...
  • Gooseberry Jam September 9, 2015 My grandmother had two small fruit-bearing bushes at the edge of her garden – a black current and a gooseberry.  Both were good producers despite their relatively small size and age.  I remember helping her to stem and tip the berries before they were made into jam. Every year, she would make a small amount ...
  • Crabapple Jelly October 6, 2014 It’s apple season on Prince Edward Island and orchards are filled with trees bearing wonderful apples of so many varieties.  There’s nothing like heading to a U-pick orchard to pick your own apples.  I always pick several pecks each fall — in fact, sometimes it’s easy to get carried away and pick too many!  However, ...
  • Clementine Curd December 18, 2017 Christmas is an excellent time to make clementine curd when fresh clementines are readily available.  While certainly lesser known than the traditional lemon curd, clementine curd is lovely in its own way. Less sharp and “puckery” than lemon curd, clementine curd is almost identical in color to lemon curd (perhaps a slight bit paler) and still ...
  • Blueberry and Grand Marnier Jam Recipe August 23, 2016 On my stove today was blueberry jam….but not just any jam…Blueberry AND Grand Marnier Jam!  Blueberry and orange are a great flavor combo so why not add a little kick to the jam by adding an orange-flavored liqueur. This does add a level of richness and flavor complexity to the jam. My berries came from the ...

Muffins and Sweet Breads

  • The Ultimate Gluten-Free Zucchini Date Muffins February 27, 2018 These Gluten-Free Zucchini Date Muffins will rival any traditional wheat-based muffins!  They sport a lovely domed top that is the hallmark of a perfect muffin shape, they are packed full of flavor, and they have a lovely tender, moist crumb. Like any good quality gluten-free muffins that replicate deli-style muffins, I find that they do take ...
  • The Bistro’s Bran Muffins February 22, 2014 I like making muffins and I like eating them!  I have a collection of favorite muffin recipes that I have gathered or created over the years. I tend to make several batches of muffins at a time, butter them, and freeze them so I have a  variety of them ready for weekday lunchbags.  Muffins are ...
  • Gluten-Free Pumpkin-Mincemeat Muffins December 21, 2017 These mini loaves/muffins are super tasty and it’s hard to tell they are gluten-free! I believe this is so because I use a mix of gluten-free flours that include almond and coconut flours which lend exceptional texture and flavour to baked goods. After several testings, I have fixed on a blend of flavorful spices for ...
  • Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins March 1, 2017 Blueberry muffins are a favorite and, while I have a “go-to” recipe for blueberry muffins that calls for regular gluten flour, I did not have one that was gluten-free. So, I set about developing one of my own and this is the result. My aim was to create a bistro, or deli-style, muffin and I ...
  • Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread January 4, 2018 This recipe is an adaptation of my great grandmother’s lemon sweet bread.  Back in her day, this sweet bread would have been considered quite a luxurious treat, perhaps one reserved for company.  She lived in a small village in rural Prince Edward Island where there was, yes, a small general corner store but I doubt ...
  • Deli-style Gluten-Free Rhubarb Granola Muffins June 13, 2018 I love the produce our garden generates and its earliest treat is rhubarb.  It is so versatile and I make lots of recipes using rhubarb.  Today, a treat for my gluten-free diet followers — a new recipe for deli-style gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins. There are many recipes for rhubarb muffins but many of them call for ...
  • Deli-style Gluten-Free Beet Muffins September 1, 2017 We have all heard of carrot muffins and don’t think twice about including the carrot vegetable into baked goods.  What is less commonly heard of is the use of beets for the same purpose. Today, I am sharing my newly-created and tested recipe for deli-style gluten-free beet muffins which are moist and packed full of ...
  • Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffins February 26, 2015 Early last October, I traveled to Farmington, near Souris, PEI, to watch the wet harvesting of cranberries at Mikita Farms.  With other commitments, I did not have a chance to get this posting published to my food blog until now. One of the recipes I developed with the Mikita Farm cranberries is for Cranberry-Banana Eggnog Muffins.  ...
  • Cinnamon Sweet Bread January 27, 2015 Did you ever get the urge to bake (often on a storm day, for example) and realize that every recipe you look at requires a shopping trip to the supermarket?  Well, here’s my answer to that dilemma.  Today’s recipe is Cinnamon Sweet Bread that takes no more than pantry staples.  So long as you have ...
  • Cinnamon Buns and Brunch on the Front Verandah August 18, 2014 I don’t think I have ever met anyone who did not like cinnamon rolls or cinnamon buns.  Just the scent of them baking in the oven makes the house smell sooooo divine!  They also freeze well and they are a staple in my freezer because I can quickly pull one out on weekday mornings and ...
  • Cherry Loaf Recipe March 30, 2018 This Cherry Loaf recipe is as pretty as it is tasty, speckled with maraschino cherries that, themselves, lend great flavour to the loaf. Quick breads, leavened with baking powder, and sometimes soda, are an easy alternative to muffins – but, they’re born of the same family!  They are quick to make (because there is no yeast ...
  • Blueberry Muffins August 11, 2014 I recently discovered a high-bush blueberry U-pick in Tryon, PEI.  These are so easy to pick and the bushes were just laden with these huge plump blueberries. Grower, Jennifer Murray, says she has five varieties of these tasty blueberries growing in this field. Unlike their tiny wild blueberry counterparts that grow low to the ground, these are ...
  • Best Zucchini Granola Muffins Recipe March 30, 2016 I make a lot of muffins and freeze them to take to work for coffeebreak snacks. I am always testing out flavour combinations for muffins.  This recipe combines grated zucchini, applesauce, granola, orange rind, and spices to make tasty muffins. Adding some granola to the muffin tops makes them colorful and interesting. Muffins are not difficult ...

Pickles, Beets, and Chow

  • Rhubarb Relish June 26, 2014 There is nothing like homemade relish, all natural and no preservatives.  Today, I am sharing my recipe for Rhubarb Relish.  My grandmother made a similar relish every year and, while she served it with many dishes, you could always count on it being on the table with either cold or hot roast pork. This is a ...
  • Mustard Beans September 16, 2015 We have had an abundance of yellow wax string beans this year.  They were late producing but they sure made up for their tardiness. We can only eat so many fresh beans so one way of preserving them is to make mustard beans.  This is similar to mustard pickles which are made with cucumbers. Mustard beans are ...
  • Green Tomato Chow October 29, 2014 The gardening season is pretty well finished for the year in the Maritimes.  By now, most gardeners have had their fill of tomatoes and probably still have some green ones left over. Do you have an abundance of green tomatoes you’re wondering what to do with or know where you can get some?  Today, I am ...
  • Bread and Butter Pickles October 1, 2015   One of my very favorite kinds of pickles are the traditional sweet Bread and Butter Pickles.  If I didn’t limit myself, I could sit down and eat an entire bottle of these pickles! They are especially good with sandwiches and burgers.                       These pickles are not hard to make but, like most pickled products, they are a bit ...
  • Best Pickled Beets Recipe September 11, 2016 I so love pickled beets.  They are something I grew up with and I make them every year.  It’s a bit of a messy job but, oh, are the results so worth it!  I look upon these as vegetable candy! Pickled beets are really nothing more than cooked beets bottled with a vinegar-sugar-spice syrup. That’s it. For ...
  • “In a Pickle” – Mustard Pickle-Making, My Island Bistro Kitchen Style October 14, 2012 One of the most common fall flavours in many Island households surrounds pickle, chow, and relish-making.  I love the smell of fresh mustard pickles in the house – not so much the mess, the tedious job of peeling and cutting up the cucumbers, and the “distressing” task of peeling strong pickling onions – an activity ...

Picnics

  • Sunday Afternoon Wine and Cheese Picnic August 18, 2013 My Sunday afternoon picnic today is a simple one.  Not every picnic needs to be elaborate and involve a lot of food.  This one would be considered a light refreshment type picnic, not a “full meal deal”. Really, all that is needed for this picnic is a good quality baguette, some cold cuts, tasty cheese of ...
  • Sliders and Salad Sunday Picnic August 30, 2015 I so love a good picnic!  My color theme for today’s picnic is lime green, one of my favorite summertime colors. The dishes, cutlery, and napkins are all simply dollar store specials! If you are a regular follower to my blog, you will have heard me say before that you don’t need expensive dishes for lovely ...
  • Picnic by the Confederation Bridge in PEI August 24, 2016 Picnics are a favorite summertime activity for us. We like to do a lot of daytripping around our province discovering and revisiting all that our wonderful Island has to offer.  Prince Edward Island has many great locations that are suitable for picnics.  Our picnic last weekend took us to a scenic location near the Confederation ...
  • Oh Canada! A Picnic to Celebrate Canada Day July 1, 2014 Happy Birthday, Canada! On PEI, Canada Day heralds the true beginning of the summer season. Once Canada Day celebrations are underway, Islanders are in summer mode. Once again, this year, we are celebrating Canada Day with a picnic. I have chosen a beach location on the Island’s south shore. Beaches on the south side of the PEI ...
  • Locovore’s Picnic – Food Day Canada 2016 July 30, 2016 As I write this post on July 30th, I am celebrating Food Day Canada with a picnic featuring local Prince Edward Island food products.  Food Day Canada is a day set aside to celebrate all the wonderful foods that we, as Canadians, enjoy. For today’s picnic location, I have chosen the iconic Fort Amherst site, just ...
  • Late Summer Charcuterie Picnic September 19, 2015 Summer is reluctant to leave Prince Edward Island this year and I’m perfectly fine with that.  Today (September 19, 2015), the temperature soared to almost the 30C mark! We’re not accustomed to these kinds of temperatures in mid-September here on the Island ….but we’ll take them! Just as summer may not be in a hurry to ...
  • Labour Day Picnic by the PEI Seaside with Lobster Croissants on the Menu August 31, 2013 I’ve had a great summer of picnics this year!  Haven’t gone on this many picnics in many years.  I had forgotten how much fun and relaxed al fresco dining can be.  This posting will feature my Labour Day Weekend Picnic but, first, a little trip down memory lane. One of my favorite summertime memories involves a ...
  • Casual Summer Picnic August 16, 2015     There are so many options for picnics that can range from very impromptu casual style to more elaborate events.  Today, it was about 30C on Prince Edward Island so the theme for the day was casual….very casual. I had made a batch of pan rolls yesterday and shaped them into the perfect size and shape for ...
  • Canada Day Picnic July 1, 2013 Happy Birthday, Canada!  Let’s celebrate with a picnic! In keeping with the colors of the Canadian flag, as you can see, my color theme for the Canada Day picnic is red and white. Prince Edward Island may be the smallest province in Canada but it boasts being the “Cradle of the Canadian Confederation” because Charlottetown, the capital ...
  • A Pretty Pink Picnic August 25, 2013 Summer is starting to close in on PEI.  The days are noticeably shorter and the daytime temperatures are sometimes dropping to the high teens/low twenties (Celsius).  Before everything starts up again in September, the days all of a sudden get more hectic, and everybody tends to go their own way with a multitude of activities ...
  • A Plaid Picnic on the Verandah August 10, 2013 Those of you who follow my blog regularly may recall that I mentioned in my last posting about picnics that you don’t have to leave home to have a picnic.  To prove this point, I decided to have a picnic supper this evening out on the front verandah. There are advantages to having a picnic at ...
  • A PEI Picnic in the Park August 4, 2013 I like picnics.  My earliest memories of picnics consist of Sunday family drives on the Island with a stop at a park for a picnic lunch.  My Mom would have prepared the traditional picnic fare of tomato sandwiches along with ham and cheese sandwiches, too.  These would have been packed up in the airtight Tupperware ...
  • A Casual Summer Afternoon Picnic July 19, 2014 Are you like me, favoring more casual dining in the summer – particularly on weekends?  I’m a great fan of picnics.  They lend themselves well to casual menus. Today, on the picnic menu, I have focaccia rolls filled with slices of rotisserie chicken, Havarti cheese, tomato, and lettuce (recipe follows at end of post). I added some ...
  • A Canada Day Picnic in St. Peter’s Bay, PEI July 5, 2015 One of our usual Canada Day traditions is to go on a red-themed picnic. This year, we headed East to the Greenwich National Park, not far from St. Peter’s Bay. I have been to this park several times before and am always awestruck by its natural beauty.  Before I share photos of our Canada Day ...
  • A Beach-Themed Picnic July 20, 2013 Ever heard of the expression “the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray”?   Well, that was somewhat my case today. It’s been a hot, dry summer so far on PEI, and today was forecast to be 31C and very humid.  I had been planning a beach picnic for some time and last evening ...

Pies and Tarts

  • Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie July 7, 2015 Strawberries and rhubarb are always a winning combination as their flavors and textures play off well against each other.  On PEI, there is a very short window of opportunity to have both fresh rhubarb and Island strawberries available at the same time.  As I write this posting, our rhubarb season is just about done and ...
  • Squash Pie November 19, 2014 Move over pumpkin!  Your cousin, squash, makes better pies! Growing up, it was more common in our household to have squash rather than pumpkin pie.  My ancestors always claimed squash makes a better, more tasty pie and I have to agree.  Squash gives a richer pie with a depth of flavour that I don’t find characteristic ...
  • Rustic Rhubarb Pie Recipe June 4, 2013 The rhubarb is at its prime on PEI right now and, of course, I am busy making the usual repertoire of my favorite recipes while the rhubarb stalks are at their best.   Used too early before they have some maturity and the stalks won’t have much flavour; left too long and they go woody and ...
  • Rustic Apple Pie October 26, 2017 There is something warm, inviting, and nostalgic about walking into a kitchen to the tantalizing scent of an apple pie baking.  In my opinion, one of the best desserts is homemade apple pie, especially when topped with a nice round scoop of high-quality vanilla ice cream!  Fall is a great time to make apple pies ...
  • Raspberry Cream Cheese Pie August 18, 2015                         It’s summer berry pie time! As I write this post in August, the raspberries are in full swing on Prince Edward Island so today’s posting is all about raspberries! I never mind picking raspberries because there is no bending or crouching involved so it’s not hard on the legs or back. I picked these raspberries at Belanger’s ...
  • Gluten-free Apple Pie January 11, 2018 I earlier posted my recipe for Rustic Apple Pie.  This apple pie recipe differs from that one in two ways. First, this one is gluten free. Yes, even the lovely tender, flaky crust is gluten free.  Second, the filling is pre-cooked before being added to the pie. For those following a gluten-free diet, they know how ...
  • Glazed Strawberry Pie July 15, 2013 There are so many things I like about summer on Prince Edward Island but one of my very favorite things is glazed strawberry pie made with fresh, local Island berries.  After I have had a couple of “feeds” of plain berries, sugar, and milk, I am ready for them in other recipes.  One of those ...
  • Coconut Cream Pie February 2, 2016 Funny how certain foods will evoke great memories. When I was a small child, our family often went to a tiny local restaurant in North Tryon, PEI, on Sunday evenings for dinner.  Simmons’ Restaurant was built and run by Jean and Harold Simmons and they served up really good traditional home-cooked meals.  One of the ...
  • Butter Tarts – A Quintessential Canadian Dessert September 7, 2013 Butter tarts that melt in your mouth, is there anything better?  There are as many recipes for butter tarts as there are bakers and pastry chefs making them.  Essentially, these are the basic, core ingredients that will normally be common to all butter tart recipes:  brown sugar, eggs, butter (absolutely no substitutes), and usually some ...
  • Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie Recipe August 28, 2016 There are many ways to make blueberry pie but I have found that this is one of the tastiest. It’s also a great alternative to anyone who is not overly fond of double-crusted pies as this one is all about the filling! Now, I love blueberries but sometimes I find they need a little help with ...

Pork

  • Pork Loin Roast with Pomegranate, Red Wine, and Black Garlic Sauce January 21, 2013 I am still experimenting with black garlic in recipes.  If you have been following my postings, you will recall my January 12, 2013, entry using black garlic in a sauce over sea scallops.  My latest culinary escapade finds it is a suitable flavouring for sauces for meat as well.  Below you will find the recipe ...
  • Pork Chops with Bread Stuffing and Creamy Mushroom Sauce April 3, 2014 Today, I am sharing a recipe for one of my favorite ways to serve pork chops.  It’s very simple and easy to make and uses very few ingredients, none of them uncommon or hard to find.  In fact, many cooks likely already have the ingredients in their kitchens. I find this is a good recipe to ...
  • Ham Lentil Soup Recipe February 14, 2017 Today, I am sharing my newly-developed recipe for Ham Lentil Soup that is made from a leftover ham bone, broth, and ham. If you are a regular follower of my food blog, by now you have likely figured out that I am a fan of leftovers and of foods that generate leftovers that can be used ...
  • Cranberry and Ginger Sauced Pork Chops May 20, 2014 Today, I am sharing a new recipe for pork chops.  In addition to PEI pork, I am also featuring two other PEI products, both from J.J. Stewart Foods and Soda Company, in Stratford.  The first is a new preserve flavor — Cranberry Champagne with Crystallized Ginger — and the second is from their maple mustard ...
  • Baked Glazed Ham for Easter Dinner April 21, 2014 I’m not sure if there is one meal menu at Easter on Prince Edward Island that is more common than another.  Some families have the tradition of a roast beef dinner while others enjoy a roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  Others say it just isn’t Easter dinner unless baked ham is on the ...

Quiches

  • Asparagus Quiche June 17, 2015 One of the first local veggies to appear on PEI each year is asparagus.  This vegetable is very versatile and is often used not only for its earthy flavor but also for its presentation.  With its long straight stems with a texture tip end, asparagus turns a bright green color when cooked so it plates ...

Salads and Salad Dressings

  • Summer Garden Vegetable Dip August 28, 2014 I love late August because there is an abundance of fresh garden produce available.  Vegetable and dip platters make a great snack for any occasion.  Vegetables are so colorful that they make any platter look outstanding plus raw vegetables are healthy food. I like to use a variety of vegetables, colors, shapes, and textures on a ...
  • Rhubarb Vinaigrette June 18, 2014 Summertime means lots of fresh salads.  I like to make my own vinaigrettes because they are not full of preservatives and they are easy to make. Regular followers of my blog will know that I love the quality balsamic vinegars and olive oils I get from the Liquid Gold store here in Charlottetown, PEI.  I jokingly ...
  • Potato Salad August 3, 2015 One of the most popular salads in PEI in summer is the traditional potato salad.  There are several variations to this salad and, of course, the jury is still out on whether the potatoes should be diced or mashed! While the quantities of ingredients may vary somewhat and certain different seasonings may be added to ...
  • Pasta Salad in Shades of the PEI Tartan April 6, 2015 National Tartan Day is celebrated each year on April 6th which coincides with the signing of the Scottish Declaration of Independence — the Declaration of Arbroath — in 1320. It is a day of observance to recognize and celebrate the Scottish heritage and the contributions of the Scots and their descendents to Canada’s history, development, ...
  • Mango Salad Dressing Recipe September 4, 2017 Salads are a big part of our diet, especially in the summer and early fall when we eat from our garden and, this year, my go-to recipe has been this delicious Mango Salad Dressing which, I must admit, I eat like candy!  It is lusciously smooth, bright colored, and has a lovely flavor that complements ...
  • Homemade Salad Dressing November 1, 2015 Homemade salad dressing is simple to make and is a tasty addition to many salads and sandwiches. It’s also a more economical alternative to commercial varieties on the grocery store shelves. Additionally, if you find yourself in need of salad dressing and are not near a supermarket, you can quickly whip up a batch of ...
  • Grilled Peach Salad with Peach Balsamic Vinaigrette September 5, 2013 We have eaten a lot of salads from our garden produce this summer and I must admit I am starting to get a bit tired of the traditional green salad with tomatoes, cucumber, etc.  The peaches have been divine this late summer so, for a change, I decided to grill them and make a fruit ...
  • Grilled Chicken, Strawberry, and Feta Cheese Salad July 28, 2013 With warm summer evenings, it’s nice to have a go-to recipe for an easy-to-prepare, light yet filling, entrée.  One of my favorite summertime evening meals is warm grilled chicken served over a strawberry, feta cheese, and green salad and drizzled with a good balsamic vinaigrette. The option is yours to choose to marinade the boneless, skinless ...
  • Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette August 1, 2017 We grow a garden and live out of it in the summer. We grow lots of different varieties of lettuce and so salads are an almost daily part of our menu. On hot summer days, I love to make what I call a main meal salad. I simply take a meat platter and lay a layer ...

Sandwiches, Wraps, & Panini

  • On The Sandwich Board: Tuna Salad Sandwich September 7, 2015                       As I write this post, schools on PEI are about to start for another year. It, therefore, seems fitting that I would start my new series, “On the Sandwich Board” at the start of a new school year when sandwiches will be prepped in many households where there are children of school age. Over the next ...
  • On The Sandwich Board: Lobster Club Sandwich with a Twist May 30, 2018 There is nothing better than lobster fresh from the sea and, living on Prince Edward Island, we are so fortunate to have ready access to this treat! The lobster fishery is one of PEI’s main fisheries. It goes without saying that it’s a huge deal when the spring lobster fishing season opens. Many islanders make it an ...
  • On The Sandwich Board: Egg Salad Sandwich November 4, 2015 One of my all-time favorite sandwiches is egg salad. It’s also one variety of sandwich that, when I take a plate of sandwiches somewhere, is sure to go first.  The filling can, of course, be made very simply with nothing more than hard boiled eggs, salad dressing or mayonnaise, and some celery and onion, if ...
  • Labour Day Picnic by the PEI Seaside with Lobster Croissants on the Menu August 31, 2013 I’ve had a great summer of picnics this year!  Haven’t gone on this many picnics in many years.  I had forgotten how much fun and relaxed al fresco dining can be.  This posting will feature my Labour Day Weekend Picnic but, first, a little trip down memory lane. One of my favorite summertime memories involves a ...
  • Ham, Cheese, & Tomato Panini February 24, 2013 There are so many ways to serve a sandwich other than just throwing two pieces of bread and some filling together.  One of my favorite ways to serve sandwiches is to make them into panini.  I bought a Bella panini grill a couple of years ago and I have certainly gotten use out of it. Panini ...

Sauces

  • Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce December 30, 2015 While cranberry sauce is traditionally associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas, I eat it year-round. In fact, I batch cook it and freeze it for use throughout the year. Each fall, I eagerly await the cranberry harvest on PEI. The photo below was taken on a day that Mikita Farms in Farmington, PEI was wet harvesting their ...
  • Roasted Marinara Sauce on Halloween Pasta October 30, 2012 I was looking for a meal to serve that would have a Halloween theme when I came across these wonderful orange and black Italian-made farfalle pasta.  I bought them not knowing how I would prepare and serve them.  They just looked so fun and season-appropriate that I couldn’t pass them by!  Served with locally-made sun-dried ...
  • Rhubarb Salsa July 11, 2015 I am always developing ideas for ways I can make use of rhubarb. We have a long-established rhubarb patch at the end of the garden that always produces large beautiful red stalks. It was planted circa 1993-94 and is the German Wine variety. Because of its rich red color, it lends itself to colorful dishes. ...
  • Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce June 26, 2016 We have a good-sized patch of rhubarb and, every year, I develop one or more new recipes using it.  I recently paid a visit to Upstreet Craft Brewing in Charlottetown in preparation for a story on this brewery and, lo and behold, they have a strawberry-rhubarb beer. This got me to thinking that I could ...
  • One Hot Potato – Prince Edward Distillery’s Potato Vodka November 15, 2012 PEI has long been known for growing world-class potatoes – they are, after all, our primary cash crop, injecting more than one billion dollars annually into the Island economy, directly and through spin-offs.  We all know potatoes as a vegetable on dinner tables and are familiar with them boiled, mashed, baked, as French fries and ...
  • Chunky Cranberry Salsa December 31, 2015 By now, if you are a regular follower of this food blog, you have probably detected that I am a big fan of cranberries!  I am always developing recipes using these tasty morsels. Today, I am sharing my newly-developed recipe for Chunky Cranberry Salsa. As its base, it uses my homemade cranberry sauce for which you ...
  • Caps off to Haskaps – A Trendy New Berry on PEI July 23, 2014 It’s not often that I discover a new food on Prince Edward Island. Until recently, I had never heard of haskap berries and did not know that they were grown on PEI.  Earlier this month, I travelled to Rollo Bay in the Eastern end of the Island to view a five-acre field of haskap bushes ...
  • Blueberry Barbeque Sauce August 27, 2015 With the abundance of local blueberries in season and available locally, I try to maximize my use of them.  So, today, I am introducing my recipe for blueberry barbeque sauce made with high bush blueberries picked at Tryon U-Pick Blueberries in North Tryon, PEI. As well as being tasty, this sauce is a lovely deep rich ...
  • Basil Pesto August 21, 2014 Fresh basil is plentiful in many gardens and at farmers’ markets right now.  It’s a good time to make a batch or two of basil pesto. Basil pesto is so versatile.  It can be used on pizzas, in pasta dishes, mixed with mayo for a sandwich spread, in soups, salads, in wraps, spread with butter over ...

Seafood

  • St. Patrick’s Day Dinner – 2012 March 18, 2012 So, St. Patrick’s Day 2012 has come and gone.  A belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all.   We are all a wee bit Irish on March 17th, aren’t we – either Irish by heritage or Irish at heart! My St. Patrick’s Day Menu this year consisted of Prince Edward Island Blue Mussels steamed in Guinness, ...
  • PEI Mussels Steamed in Beer Recipe June 25, 2016 My recipe for steamed mussels calls for some aromatics to build a flavor base in which to steam the tasty little morsels.  Aromatic cooking involves some type of fat or oil – I’m using butter in this recipe – combined with some aromatic vegetables and herbs.  In this case, I am using onion, celery, and ...
  • PEI Juice Works Ltd. Produces High Quality Wild Blueberry Juice August 29, 2012 It’s late August and wild blueberry season on PEI.  These wonderful little indigo-colored berries grow wild in certain parts of the Island – in particular, in the Tignish area in the Western part of the Province and in the Morell-St. Peter’s area in the Eastern end of PEI.  While it may be wild blueberry season ...
  • My Island Bistro Kitchen’s PEI Mussel Chowder August 5, 2017 Mussels are a favorite shellfish of mine and, while I love them steamed in various different broths, today I am presenting them in the form of Mussel Chowder and I’m sharing my own personal recipe. PEI mussels are world famous and PEI is the country’s largest mussel cultivator. According to the Mussel Industry Council of Prince ...
  • Lobster Cakes April 30, 2013 The opening of the spring lobster season on Prince Edward Island is always an event.  Fishing boats, laden with lobster traps like those in the photos below, depart wharves around the Island in the very early morning to set their traps, often going several miles out to sea.  This is called “setting day” and it ...
  • Lobster and Asparagus Crepes June 5, 2017 Springtime in Prince Edward Island on Canada’s east coast means it’s lobster season so it’s a great time to make these delectable lobster and asparagus crepes that combine two of the season’s special treats! The lobster fishery is a significant industry on the Island and, according to the Fisheries and Oceans Canada website, “lobster is Canada’s ...
  • Labour Day Picnic by the PEI Seaside with Lobster Croissants on the Menu August 31, 2013 I’ve had a great summer of picnics this year!  Haven’t gone on this many picnics in many years.  I had forgotten how much fun and relaxed al fresco dining can be.  This posting will feature my Labour Day Weekend Picnic but, first, a little trip down memory lane. One of my favorite summertime memories involves a ...
  • Hup, One, Two, Three, Four — It’s Off to Culinary Boot Camp at the Culinary Institute of Canada September 16, 2012 On my last day of summer vacation, I went to boot camp – culinary boot camp, that is —  at the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown, PEI.  Sixteen people formed the group for the full day “Island Flavours” boot camp.  We were a mixed group that came from PEI, Halifax, NS, Montreal, QC, and ...
  • Champagne Scallops & Asparagus February 19, 2012 One of the best things about living on Canada’s East Coast is the abundance of fresh seafood we have available.  This winter, the sea scallops have been particularly good, so good in fact that a few weeks ago I bought a large supply and froze them in portion sizes.  Scallops freeze well and do not ...
  • Blood Orange and Rhubarb Sauce for Halibut Steaks March 24, 2013 Every Spring, I freeze bags and bags of rhubarb for recipes to be made through the remainder of the year.  I am always looking for new ways to serve this versatile vegetable.  Living on an island on the East Coast of Canada, fish is readily available.  Sometimes, I like to eat the fish plain, just ...
  • Black Garlic – Garlic’s New Cavier? January 12, 2013 Ever heard of black garlic?  What do you think of when you hear the term? Black garlic is not a variety of garlic grown.  Rather, it is regular garlic bulbs that have gone through a fermentation process.  Fermenting garlic to turn it into black garlic is truly food transformation.  I say that because black garlic in ...

Soups and Stews

Squares and Bars

  • Unbaked Chocolate Coconut Square December 19, 2017
    Chocolate Coconut Squares
    Chocolate Coconut Squares

    This no-bake chocolate coconut square is one of the easiest to make and it does not take a lot of ingredients.  The recipe calls for graham wafer crumbs –   to make this square gluten-free, use gluten-free graham style crumbs. There may be a number of brands of these crumbs available. I use the Kinnikinnick brand. In fact, the squares in the photos in this post are made with these gluten-free crumbs.

    Chocolate Coconut Squares
    Chocolate Coconut Squares

    This square is almost candy-bar quality.  It is not a thick square but it is rich, moist, and very tasty! A great treat anytime and a sure favorite on any sweet tray.

    Chocolate Coconut Squares
    Chocolate Coconut Squares

    Unbaked Chocolate Coconut Square

    Ingredients:
    ½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
    2 tbsp brown sugar
    2 tbsp granulated sugar
    3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

    1 extra large egg, room temperature, beaten
    1 tsp vanilla

    2 cups graham wafer crumbs
    1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
    ½ cup chopped pecans

    Method:
    Line 9”x9” baking pan with parchment paper, leaving enough paper overhang that finished square can be lifted from the pan for easy icing and cutting.

    Combine butter, sugars, and cocoa in medium-sized heavy bottomed saucepan.  Cook over medium low heat until butters melt and ingredients are combined and heated.  Stir frequently to prevent scorching.  Do not boil.

    Add the beaten egg and vanilla.  Cook over medium low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

    Remove from heat and add the graham wafer crumbs, coconut, and pecans.  Stir to combine ingredients well.

    Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan.  Cool.  Ice with buttercream icing (recipe follows). Cut into squares of desired size.

    Icing

    Ingredients:

    2 cups sifted powdered sugar (aka icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar)
    3 tbsp butter, softened at room temperature
    2½ tbsp water
    ½ tsp almond flavoring

    1 – oz square semi-sweet chocolate
    1 tbsp butter, softened at room temperature

    Method:
    Combine the powdered sugar and butter in bowl of stand mixer.  Mix on low speed to blend in butter.  Add the water and almond flavoring and increase speed to medium-low to blend ingredients. Increase speed to high and beat an additional minute to ensure ingredients are well combined and icing is smooth.  Additional water may be required to make icing of desired spreading consistency. If adding additional water, add by ½ teaspoon at a time.

    Spread icing evenly over square.  Melt the chocolate square and butter in small dish in microwave only until the ingredients have melted enough to be blended together.  Drizzle in desired design over icing.  Cut squares into desired size.

    Yield:  1 – 9”x9” pan of squares

    Unbaked Chocolate Coconut Square

    Easy-to-make unbaked chocolate coconut square is sure to appeal to any sweet tooth and make a fine addition to sweet trays

    Course Dessert
    Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup butter, softened at room temperature
    • 2 tbsp brown sugar
    • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
    • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
    • 1 extra large egg, room temperature, beaten
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 2 cups graham wafer crumbs
    • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

    Icing

    • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar (aka icing sugar/confectioner's sugar)
    • 3 tbsp butter, softened at room temperature
    • 2 1/2 tbsp water
    • 1/2 tsp almond flavoring
    • 1 oz square semi-sweet chocolate
    • 1 tbsp butter, softened at room temperature

    Instructions

    1. Line 9”x9” baking pan with parchment paper, leaving enough paper overhang that finished square can be lifted from the pan for easy icing and cutting.
    2. Combine butter, sugars, and cocoa in medium-sized heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium low heat until butters melt and ingredients are combined and heated. Stir frequently to prevent scorching. Do not boil.

    3. Add the beaten egg and vanilla. Cook over medium low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
    4. Remove from heat and add the graham wafer crumbs, coconut, and pecans. Stir to combine ingredients well.
    5. Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan. Cool. Ice with buttercream icing (recipe follows). Cut into squares of desired size.

    Icing

    1. Combine the powdered sugar and butter in bowl of stand mixer. Mix on low speed to blend in butter. Add the water and almond flavoring and increase speed to medium-low to blend ingredients. Increase speed to high and beat an additional minute to ensure ingredients are well combined and icing is smooth. Additional water may be required to make icing of desired spreading consistency. If adding additional water, add by ½ teaspoon at a time.
    2. Spread icing evenly over square. Melt the chocolate square and butter in small dish in microwave only until the ingredients have melted enough to be blended together. Drizzle in desired design over icing. Cut squares into desired size. 

      Yield: 1 – 9”x9” pan of squares

    Recipe Notes

    To make this square gluten-free, use gluten-free graham style crumbs.

     

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    Chocolate Coconut Squares
    Chocolate Coconut Squares

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  • Queen Elizabeth Cake Recipe April 19, 2017

    Ever wonder about the history of old vintage recipes?  I so wish that accurate records existed about the origins of some of the old nostalgic recipes like the one for Queen Elizabeth Cake, for example.

    Queen Elizabeth Square
    Queen Elizabeth Cake

    This is one recipe that has some history to it but just how much is fact and how much is fable, myth, or folklore is up for certain debate.

    Queen Elizabeth Cake is, next to a plain white vanilla or simple chocolate cake, probably one of the most basic, nondescript cakes you could come by. Made with a simple batter with some dates and mild spices mixed in, its glory comes from the topping made of butter, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and coconut that almost borders on toffee. Yes, this will remind you of a cold version of sticky date pudding.

    Now, sometimes, you may see this referred to as Queen Elizabeth “Square” versus “Cake”. However, I think it most closely resembles a cake more so than a square. This is because the texture is light and tender, the crumb an even grain, and the body of the cake has a springiness to the touch. This is in contrast to what defines a typical square (or bars) – i.e., a dense texture and chewy consistency. I would class this cake as a hearty, substantial cake.

    Queen Elizabeth Square
    Queen Elizabeth Cake

    So, just where and when did Queen Elizabeth Cake originate?  This is where fact and fiction intertwine and become somewhat blurry.  I did quite a bit of research on this cake. One intriguing story is that it is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s own recipe from which she made cakes herself and sold them for charitable purposes. This claim suggests the recipe originated in Buckingham Palace after the 1953 Coronation. I could find no information or evidence to substantiate this claim and neither could I find any reference to this history on the Buckingham Palace website.

    In the June 1953 issue of the Canadian magazine, Chatelaine, a recipe for Queen Elizabeth II Cake was published. Chatelaine’s April 20, 2016, online posting which shared a photo of the 1953 published recipe claims it “was created specifically for the Queen’s Coronation” but gives no indication of who the actual creator was or any detail about how or why the specific ingredients were chosen.

    Other information suggests the cake may have been created much earlier to commemorate Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother’s popularity and her historic visit with her husband, King George VI, to Canada in 1939.

    Yet, other information suggests the cake was appearing in local community cookbooks in the 1940s when it was known as “Princess Elizabeth Cake” and there is suggestion that the name may have been changed to “Queen Elizabeth Cake” after the 1953 Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

    So, all this to say, I could not definitively, with any degree of accuracy, determine the exact origins of this cake. I do personally recall childhood memories of this cake appearing at community and church events in the 1960s and 1970s in the part of Prince Edward Island in which I grew up.  Plates of sweets inevitably always had this cake on it, although I believe it was referred to as Queen Elizabeth “Square”.  I am reasonably certain of the specific ladies who would, most likely, have been the makers of this cake but they have, unfortunately, all passed on, taking with them whatever memories they may have had associated with the Queen Elizabeth Cake/Square.

    Queen Elizabeth Cake
    Queen Elizabeth Cake

    Granted, I’ll admit the Queen Elizabeth Cake is not the most attractive cake but, boy oh boy, do the flavor, moist texture, and the kicker topping more than make up for it! This is one cake that, as the old saying goes, you ought not judge the book by the cover!  While this is not a cake that my mother made, she does have it in a handwritten recipe “scribbler” that was started in 1963. There is no indication on the handwritten recipe whose it was or where it came from. It cryptically lists the ingredients but contains no method, baking pan size, or baking temperature. This is typical because cooks, in years gone by, simply knew how to pull together a cake and, from whomever the recipe was gotten, it was probably baked in the cook’s wood stove oven (I’ll never know how they regulated the temperature in those). My mother says the cake was probably popular because it needed no frosting/icing since the topping is the “dressing” on the cake.

    Queen Elizabeth Cake
    Queen Elizabeth Cake

    I have taken the basic recipe, adapted some of the ingredients and proportions, added some additional flavoring and spices (the recipe I adapted this one from had no spices listed) and tested the recipe out using different baking pan sizes, writing down the instructions as I worked. What has resulted is this recipe for one of the most tasty tray/slab cakes imaginable given that it is made with such simple, basic kitchen staple ingredients.

    Some tips on making Queen Elizabeth Cake:

    • You may think there isn’t enough batter for a 9”x13” cake but there is – there is 1 teaspoon each of baking powder and soda so this cake will rise to a nice height in this size of pan. I tested it first in a 9″x9″ pan but found the cake was too tall in it.
    • The pan may be greased or it may be lined with parchment paper (or even greased tin foil). If using either of the latter, make sure you leave enough paper or tin foil overhang which can be used as “handles” to lift the cake out of the pan. Hint – This method makes both the cutting and removal of the cake from the pan easier than doing so while it is still in the pan.
    • Let the date mixture cool completely at room temperature. Adding it to the dry ingredients while it is either hot or warm can make for a “gummy” texture or soggy cake.
    • Mix the wet and dry ingredients using the rule of 3 parts dry and 2 parts wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
    • Mix the ingredients well but don’t beat them as this may create a “tough crumb” cake.
    • Use cream to make the topping. I used 18% cream but 35% cream will create an even more luxurious topping (but also add a few more calories!).
    • Start checking the cake for doneness at the point where the cake has been baking for 30 minutes then, if it is not baked, check it every 4-5 minutes after. The cake will be done when the cake tester, inserted into the center of the cake, comes out completely clean and dry.
    • When the cake tests almost baked (about 5 minutes before it is expected to come out of the oven), start making the topping. It needs to go on the warm cake that will go back in the oven for 3-4 minutes after the topping has been added.
    • The topping is a little bit like making candy. It can set up really fast. Don’t leave it unattended. Stir the ingredients as they boil gently for the 3 minutes. Watch it carefully – if you see if starting to “set up” and thicken really fast (even if it is before the 3 minutes of boiling is up), remove it from the stove and stir in the vanilla and coconut. The mixture should be of the consistency that it can be poured from the saucepan and spread over the cake with a knife. If it becomes too thick, it will be too sugary and won’t be of spreading consistency.

    Splendid, no matter its history or how it’s served, this cake pairs particularly well with a spot of tea…. perhaps Earl Grey blend.  This is a smooth black tea that has citrus notes that complement the sweetness of the cake. With its high concentration of tannins, it’s also a great tea to cleanse the mouth after each bite of the cake so that every bite of this moist and flavorful cake tastes as good as the first one!

    Queen Elizabeth Square
    Queen Elizabeth Cake

    [Printable Recipe Follows at end of Posting]

    Queen Elizabeth Cake

     Ingredients:
    1 cup dates, chopped
    1 tsp soda
    1 cup boiling water

    1½ cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    ¼ tsp salt
    1 tsp cinnamon
    ¼ tsp nutmeg
    Pinch allspice

    ¼ cup butter
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
    ¼ tsp orange extract
    1 tsp vanilla

    Topping:
    3 tbsp melted butter
    2/3 cup brown sugar
    3 tbsp cream (18%)
    ½ tsp vanilla
    2/3 cup shredded coconut

    Method:

    Cake:

    Place dates and soda in medium-sized saucepan.  Add the boiling water. Simmer for about 4-5 minutes then cool completely at room temperature.

    Position oven rack in centre of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease 9”x13” baking pan or line with parchment paper (or even greased tin foil).

    Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and spices together. Set aside.

    In bowl of stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar.  Beat in the egg, orange extract, and vanilla.