Chicken Parmesan for two! Saturday brunch and early bird sushi at Noble Fish

Chicken ParmesanChicken Parmesan is one of my many favourite dinners.  It is filling and oh so satisfying.  You can make your own favourite tomato sauce or use my recipe.  However, a good quality Parmesan and mozzarella cheese is a must!  It gives this meal an over the top flavour and the cheeses give a melted deliciousness that is beyond compare.

I have wanted to use our fine china that we received as a wedding gift for a while now.  Chicken Parmesan seemed like the ideal gourmet dish to serve.  With a side of green peas and some sparkling apple juice in our wine glasses it was the perfect fancy Friday meal.  When we have our parents over for a dinner next I would definitely make this meal.Chicken Parmesan

Brooklyn Street Local -DetroitBrunch is a delightful way to spend a Saturday meal and so Jonathan, his co-worker Meg and I headed to Brooklyn Street Local in Detroit.  I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich with a garden salad and Jonathan ordered the eggs Benedict.  Everything was scrumptious and the latte I ordered was tasty.  Next we headed to the Somerset Collection for some shopping.

For an early bird dinner we went to Noble Fish for sushi.  This sushi is the best I have ever had!  The fish is super fresh tasting and there isn’t any mayonnaise filler that sometimes comes in sushi.  My favourite are the salmon rolls and the spicy tuna rolls.  I could eat salmon everyday of the week and not get tired of it, so we also ordered salmon sashimi.  The restaurant is in the back of a grocery store with very few tables, but the atmosphere is fun and very serious about their sushi.Grilled Cheese at Brooklyn Street Local -DetroitEggs Benedict at Brooklyn Street Local -DetroitBrooklyn Street Local -DetroitSushi at Noble Fish - DetroitSushi at Noble Fish - DetroitSushi at Noble Fish - Detroit

Ingredients: 

Tomato Sauce

1 L tomato puree

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp oregano

2 tsp basil

2 tsp red wine vinegar

½ tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

2 chicken breasts, flattened

½ cup bread crumbs

½ tsp pepper

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

¼ cup melted butter

1 cup Galati cheese shredded (mozzarella)

¼ Parmesan cheese shredded

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Begin by making the sauce.  In a medium pan add olive oil, onions and garlic and sauté until onions are cooked.
  3. Add in oregano, basil, salt and pepper and stir for 1 minute until fragrant.
  4. Stir in tomato puree and red wine vinegar.
  5. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  6. Next combine the breadcrumbs, pepper and Parmesan cheese in a bowl.
  7. Melt butter and then dip chicken into butter then breadcrumb minute.
  8. Add a small amount of canola oil to coat the fry pan.  Pan fry chicken at medium high temperature for 3 minutes on each side or until golden and crispy looking.
  9. In your baking dish add a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom.  Next place chicken in baking dish and sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan on top.  Add a layer of tomato sauce and then another layer of mozzarella and Parmesan.
  10. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
  11. Serve on top of spaghetti with green peas on the side.
  12. Enjoy.

Panna Cotta

Panna CottaJonathan planned a dinner to celebrate our engagement two years ago.  One of my favourite parts was the dessert – a delicious panna cotta, which I have been meaning to make in my own kitchen for a long time!  Panna Cotta is a tasty dessert that is silky and creamy with a hint of vanilla.  Panna cotta in Italian translates to ‘cooked cream’ and that’s enough to make me fall in love with the dessert.  Jonathan chose it as a dessert for our engagement dinner because of its flavour, silky texture and the added bonus that it’s nut free.

I decided to make this dessert yesterday and it turned out wonderfully.  The little blue bowls I used were a bridal shower gift from my friends Emily and Allee and they were perfect for this scrumptious little dessert.  The recipe I used was from the Joy of Baking website.  I used the recipe because I wanted a video to show me how to make one of my favourite desserts.  I also didn’t want to waste whipping cream!  The recipe turned out perfectly and I will make this recipe again soon I am sure.  The panna cotta is garnished with homemade blueberry jam, but you can use fresh fruit.

Now that I have had success with this recipe I have many other ideas for little desserts.  A particular family favourite are parfaits!  My Dad used to make them for us when we were little and we loved them.  My Dad has a copy of the Jell-o cookbook, but I will make my own jelly using plain gelatin and fresh juice from the juicer.  I saw a recipe for half apple and half pomegranate layered jelly desserts and it looks irresistible!Panna Cotta

Makes 6 individual servings.

Ingredients:

1 package (1/4 ounce) (7 grams) unflavored powdered gelatin

1/4 cup (60 ml) cold milk

2 1/4 cups (540 ml) heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Blueberry jam or fruit for garnish

Instructions:

For this recipe you will need 6 half-cup dessert cups (little bowls or wine glasses are my favourite).

  1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold milk in a small bowl.  Let the mixture sit for about 5 – 10 minutes. The idea is that the gelatin needs time to soften, swell, and become spongy.
  2. In a medium saucepan mix the cream and sugar.  Bring it just to a boil (or very hot with lots of steam coming off the top).  Stir well to dissolve the icing sugar.
  3. When the cream and sugar is very hot or just at boiling remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the gelatin mixture.
  4. Stir well until the gelatin is dissolved. If necessary, return the saucepan to the stove and stir over low heat (make sure you no longer see gelatin crystals). Stir in the vanilla extract at this point.
  5. Pour the cream into the dessert little bowls or wine glasses and place in the refrigerator. The panna cotta must chill for two to four hours, or until set.  Panna cotta can be made one to two days before serving.

Indian-Chinese Chili Chicken

Indian-Chinese Chili Chicken RecipeOne of Jonathan’s favourite foods is chili chicken, which is a mix of Indian styled Chinese food.  He had a craving for it and so we attempted to create the dish he loves from Frederick Restaurant in Toronto.  We also went to a restaurant in Detroit that claimed to have Indian-Chinese food, however it was not the same as the Toronto favourite.  This recipe turned out really well!  Jonathan said it is probably 98% similar to Frederick’s.  Over rice with some vegetables this is a very satisfying meal!  If you are just a beginner with spicy food like I used to be add fewer chopped green chillies to the recipe.  You could also make some samosas as an appetizer to really complete the meal.  However, we didn’t have time to make samosas this time.

In other exciting news, Jonathan and I have booked a honeymoon for August to Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon.  We are excited for the trip and to try some fun restaurants.  I am excited to see the Pike Place Market and the city where Starbucks originated.

Ingredients

2 large onions, chopped

½ cup canola oil

2 tsp finely chopped ginger

4-5 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp black pepper

4-6 small green chillies, chopped finely

3-4 pieces chicken breast chopped into bite sized pieces

½ cup water

1 tsp sugar

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tsp cornstarch

Instructions:

  1. Chop chicken into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl.  Then coat with cornstarch.
  2. In your fry pan add canola oil and onions and cook until golden brown and caramelized.  Then add in ginger and garlic sauté for 1 minute.  Next add in cumin, coriander and pepper.
  3. Add chicken to the pan and cook.  Mix in green chili at this time.
  4. In a separate bowl prepare the sauce.  Whisk together water, sugar, 2 tsp cornstarch and soy sauce.
  5. Pour the sauce over the chicken in the pan and cook until the sauce is thickened and lightly bubbling.
  6. Serve over rice with vegetables on the side.
  7. Enjoy!

Cheddar and Green Chili Scones

Brunch - Cheddar Chili SconesI am behind on my posting – however, this recipe is too good not to share.  I made cheddar and green chili scones last weekend for brunch with Jonathan.  Oatmeal, scones, fried eggs, and hot tea all combined for a perfect brunch.  We had lovely conversation and enjoyed a perfect morning waking up slowly.  There is nothing better than waking up to the smell of freshly baked scones.  The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen but I substituted green chillies for the jalapeno peppers.

Brunch - Cheddar Chili SconesIngredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) cold butter, cut
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs
3/4 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons green chili (mine were from a can)

Instructions

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Then mix together flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

2.  Cut cold butter into the flour mixture until the butter is the size of small peas.

3.  In a small separate bowl lightly beat eggs.

4.  Mix in heavy cream and eggs with a wooden spoon until dough forms.

5.  Add in 1/2 cup shredded cheddar and green chili to the dough.  Then knead in the cheese and green chilis.

6.  Cut dough into the desired shapes and place onto baking pan.  Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese.

7.  Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden on top and cooked in the centre.

Note: Scones are always best enjoyed the first day.

Feta, chickpea and zucchini salad, salmon with balsamic maple glaze and a coffee shop adventure

Feta, zucchini, bean saladJonathan and I have been married almost three weeks now – and have been loving every moment of married life!  I have made many tasty dinners and we have gone on a few foodie adventures in Detroit.  It has been very humid in Windsor and so a fresh summer salad recipe was in order.  We had purchased a Costco sized container of feta cheese, so I have been very creative lately with feta.  Summer salads with beans, zucchini and a light olive oil and balsamic dressing are refreshing and delicious.  This salad is also very versatile you could also add in cherry tomatoes, red peppers, cucumber or other favourite veggies.  The salmon I made had a balsamic and maple glaze, which was the perfect week night meal.  The glaze thickened perfectly and was very balanced in its light sweetness and balsamic flavour.

From our adventures in the USA, Jonathan discovered a unique coffee shop that we just had to try.  The Roasting Plant is a coffee shop in Detroit that features a system of tubes that roast, grind and store your coffee until it is ready to be Roasting Plantbrewed fresh on site.  While you sit at your table you can see green coffee beans being roasted in the Javabot.  There is also a great deal of selection from region to roast for the coffee beans.  Jonathan tried three different small sized coffees (called a flight of coffee, so you can sample a few different roasts) and I had an iced coffee.  We also shared a small croissant – yum!  The coffee was delicious and we would both recommend a visit if you are a coffee snob/ coffee lover.  The concept of the tubes, roasting and fresh brewed coffee is great and the coffee is delicious.

Feta, chickpea and zucchini and salad

Ingredients

1 can chickpeas, rinsed

1 can kidney beans, rinsed

½ cup green olives, sliced

1 medium zucchini, chopped into small pieces

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Dressing

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon oregano

1 teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Mix dressing in a measuring cup and stir well.  Then drizzle over top of salad and toss together.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Salmon with Balsamic Maple Glaze

Ingredients

2 salmon fillets

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ maple syrup

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon corn starch

1 tablespoon brown sugar

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

Prepare baking sheet with lightly drizzled olive oil.  Place salmon fillets on the sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. (adjust bake time according to your oven, mine took 20 minutes.)

Meanwhile, whisk all other ingredients together in a saucepan.  Let simmer for 5 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened.

Pour glaze over salmon and cook in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Enjoy.

Feta, zucchini, bean salad with balsamic maple glazeRoasting PlantIced coffee at Roasting PlantRoasting Plant

Pelee Island Winery and Birdie’s Perch

IMG_5325The long weekend gets even better – yesterday, Jonathan and I went for a tour of Pelee Island Winery.  We sampled a few new wines and learn a few things about how one of my favourite Ontario wines is made.  The tour started by tasting a few reds and whites of varying sweetness, flavours and age.  We even got to keep the wine glasses at the end as a fun keepsake.  Our favourite wine that we tasted was a new organic wine called Pelee Pure.  It was light, non acidic and perfect for a summer afternoon with some appetizers.

First in the tour they showed us the huge barrels that were used about forty years ago, imported from France made from French oak.  These barrels are fun to look at, but hard to keep clean.  Each time these wine barrels were emptied someone had to crawl into the barrel and scrape the insides clean so that the flavour would be perfect for the next batch of wine.  Currently, Pelee Island uses smaller oak barrels and giant stainless steel barrels to age, ferment and store its wine.  A fun fact that I learned about sparkling wine is the finer the bubbles the higher the quality of the sparkling wine.IMG_5306IMG_5307IMG_5313

IMG_5326At the side of the building there was a mini vineyard and pretty garden beds.  All of the grapes used in the wine are grown on the island.  Pelee Island was chosen to grow grapes primarily because it shares the same latitude as Northern California and Southern France.  Meaning a warm climate and longer growing season.  Pelee Island has 550 acres of vineyards and is Canada’s largest private estate.  You can also visit Pelee Island for wonderful bird watching, hiking and cycling.  There is a ferry that goes over to the island, but it only goes across twice per day.

IMG_5339After our wonderful tour Jonathan and I went for fish tacos at Birdie’s Perch.  Jonathan discovered this unique chip truck while writing for his weekly food column at CBC Radio Windsor.  He loved the food so much that he simply had to take me back to try the food.  The ingredients were fresh and delicious – the perch in the taco came from Lake Erie.  Jonathan also ordered a delicious Canadian treat – poutine!  Clearly because it’s delicious and to celebrate our Canada Day weekend.  On the top level of the bus there are tables, but since it was humid we opted for a shaded picnic table where there was a nice breeze.  It was a perfect ending for our day.  On the drive back we drove by many beautiful farms where farmers grow fresh produce.  Local produce always tastes better and can be a fun way to explore your surroundings.IMG_5340IMG_5337IMG_5346IMG_5344IMG_5342IMG_5323IMG_5303IMG_5300IMG_5297