Butternut Squares

IMG_9052This recipe dates back at least 50 years for me. I’m pretty sure it was one of the first things I ever baked from start to finish without help. An easy bar to make, with ingredients that are usually on hand, this is perfect for when you’re short of time. Regardless of how long ago the recipe became part of my mother’s repertoire, it still stands well today as part of a cookie & bar file. Continue reading

Bombay Chicken Cups

IMG_7241This is a delightful little appetizer that is refreshing, and nutritious. It works well in any season, is easy to prepare, and different enough to interest your guests.

At a recent dinner, we set out a platter of four-dozen of these, and the platter was emptied within 10 minutes. They are truly a little nibble. Light and fresh, just perfect before a meal, or as a refreshing addition to an appetizer buffet.

They can be served in tiny pastry cups, croustades, or as shown here, in tortilla chips. Continue reading

Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Dijon Cream Sauce

IMG_6205Last weekend we were catering for a large group, with multiple meals.  Menus were gone over carefully making sure we weren’t duplicating anything, and that each meal would be memorable on its own.

Dish selection for buffets can be quite difficult, when you’ve got the same group of people back again the next night. The two most useful meats for a buffet are chicken & pork.  If you go to other poultry or red meat, there should be an alternate. Time and space constraints were at play last weekend, as well as sticking to a tight budget.

We served chicken the first night as part of a casual Indian inspired buffet.  The second night was to be a bit more formal, so we did herb crusted pork loin with roasted potatoes, glazed carrots, broccolini, and Waldorf salad after some appetizers and before a dessert of blackberry compote filled Pavlovas with orange cream and pistachio crumb.

The smell of the herb-crusted roasts was fantastic, and we wanted to support that sensation with a great sauce to serve over the cut slices of pork.  I used a Dijon cream sauce that I typically make while deglazing a pork tenderloin pan. It is super easy, and always works.   Pork tenderloin is quick and tender, and can be on the table in about half an hour, which gives you just enough time to cook a side, and make a salad.  Continue reading

Arugula & Ricotta Dip with Lemon

IMG_3880Our island has a one-room schoolhouse, with children from Kindergarten to Grade 7.  Usually there’s about 16 children attending, and all ages spend the day together.  Having had two daughters go through this school, it’s easy to see why small classrooms, where children really know each other, are such a benefit.

Each winter we would host a large party for the school families.  We quickly learned that appetizer parties were the way to go.  There was always enough that the bigger eaters would be satisfied, while the smaller eaters could pick and choose a few things to make them happy.  I have a huge appetizer file to pick from, but this one always seems to make it to the table.

This dip is equally great with raw veggies, crostini or crackers.  It’s healthy, and if it’s all you eat, that’s okay.  Use it when you’re asked to bring an appetizer – no heating required, and it’s up to you what to serve it with. Continue reading

Udon Noodles with Mushrooms, Gai Lan & Shrimp

IMG_2236It was dry today.  Yesterday was a mix of monsoon type rain, with snow.  Dry days in the winter allow us a snippet of daylight hours to get things done!  Living on our farm makes us so appreciative of breaks in the weather and a toasty fire in the woodstove.  Stretching the day to the limits means that dinner only gets about 45 minutes from the inkling of an idea to eating.  Here is today’s offering.  It happens to be Bill’s 65th birthday today.  As we had friends over on Sunday for a meal with a long, extremely fun visit and will be doing a January Birthday Boys’ dinner next week, having a simple meal tonight suited him just fine.  I hope. Continue reading