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Lemon Meringue Pie

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It’s almost Pie Day! Every March 14 – 3.14, get it? – we celebrate with pie. Everyone seems to love a towering lemon meringue pie, and lemon is perfect as winter turns into spring – citrus fruit is still at its peak, but the bright flavour of lemon somehow tastes like sunny days. And if the thought of making pastry intimidates you, no pressure – this is made with a simple press-in graham crumb crust.

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Madras Chicken Skewers

Madras Chicken Skewers
Marinate the chicken overnight, and you're good to go the next day
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Ingredients
  1. 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts 4
  2. Marinade
  3. 1⁄3 cup mayonnaise 75 mL
  4. 1⁄3 cup mango chutney 75 mL
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced 2
  6. 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 25 mL
  7. 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice 25 mL
  8. 1 tsp chili powder 5 mL
  9. 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin 2 mL
  10. 1⁄2 tsp ground coriander 2 mL
  11. 1⁄4 tsp salt 1 mL
Instructions
  1. Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a rolling pin or the bottom of a skillet to flatten. Cut chicken into 1-inch (2.5 cm) long strips.
  2. Marinade: In a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, chutney, garlic, lemon juice, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, coriander and salt.
  3. Add chicken to marinade and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Soak eight 10-inch (25 cm) wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes (or use metal skewers). Meanwhile, preheat barbecue grill to medium. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade, and thread onto skewers. Grill for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until chicken is browned and no longer pink inside.
  5. Serves 4.
  6. Tip: Watch the chicken carefully while you're grilling it - it will cook quickly.
  7. Variation: Apricot or peach jam may be used in place of the mango chutney.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

Maple Apple Tarte Tatin

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I’m a huge fan of the tarte tatin – that upside down pie started on the stovetop and baked in a skillet, then inverted onto a platter with caramel dripping from the apples down the sides. It’s a delicious mess, and a perfect dessert to make when you don’t have a lot of time but want something rustic, comforting, and totally fantastic. It’s good with pears too – they’re a bit juicier, so anticipate more drips.

Maple Apple Tarte Tatin

adapted from Canadian LivingRead More

Pierre’s Roasted Pumpkin with Braised Chickpeas

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I love hearty winter curries, especially ones made with winter squash and chickpeas; here’s a simple one to keep you warm. While I was over for a conference call at Pierre‘s last week, he made roasted pumpkin with braised chickpeas as we chatted. It was the perfect lunch on the first day of deep snow – the kind that soaked the bottom six inches of your jeans and made your socks wet when you took your boots off.

Pierre and Candace were winging it and added butter chicken paste; feel free to use whatever blend you like, and enough to suit your taste.

Pierre’s Roasted Pumpkin with Braised ChickpeasRead More

Fresh Berry Tart

Fresh Berry Tart
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Ingredients
  1. Crust
  2. 1 cup all-purpose flour 250 mL
  3. 1⁄2 cup confectioners’ (icing) sugar 125 mL
  4. 2 tbsp grated lemon zest 30 mL
  5. 1⁄2 cup butter 125 mL
  6. 2 tbsp lemon juice 30 mL
  7. Custard
  8. 1⁄3 cup granulated sugar 75 mL
  9. 1 large egg 1
  10. 1 large egg yolk 1
  11. 2 tbsp cornstarch 30 mL
  12. 11⁄2 tbsp all-purpose flour 22 mL
  13. 1 cup milk 250 mL
  14. 1 tsp vanilla extract 5 mL
  15. 4 cups fresh berries (use any 1 L
  16. combination of blueberries,
  17. raspberries or sliced strawberries)
  18. Glaze
  19. 1⁄2 cup raspberry or apple jelly, melted 125 mL
Instructions
  1. To make crust: Combine flour, sugar and lemon zest. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add lemon juice, stirring with a fork until mixture is gathered into a ball. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll dough out to form an 11-inch (28 cm) circle. Transfer to 9-inch (23 cm) tart or flan pan with removable bottom, pressing into bottom and sides. Chill again for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Prick bottom and sides of pastry with fork to prevent shrinkage. Bake 10 minutes at 425°F (220°C), then reduce heat to 350°F (180°C) for the last 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden.
  2. To make custard: Whisk sugar, egg and egg yolk until thick. Add cornstarch and flour and whisk well. Heat milk and vanilla in a saucepan until almost boiling. Gradually add milk to egg mixture, then return to saucepan. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly until mixture boils and thickens. Transfer to bowl and refrigerate until well chilled. (This can be prepared a day ahead.)
  3. To assemble: Remove crust from tart pan and set on platter. Spread cooled custard over bottom of crust and arrange fresh berries on top. Gently brush melted jelly over fruit. Chill until serving time. Serves 10 to 12
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

Strawberry Mousse

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Looking for a Valentine’s Day dessert? This strawberry mousse is really easy — and because it contains both gelatin and cream cheese it’s stable enough to make well in advance. Plus it’s pink. Very, very pink, making it perfect for the occasion.

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Chocolate Cheesecake

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Cheesecake used to be a staple at birthdays and special occasions like Valentine’s Day – and this rich chocolate cheesecake was one of the most popular ones I made.

If memory serves (and it doesn’t always) it originally came from Gourmet or Bon Appétit, tweaked over the years… I hadn’t made it in practically decades, and I forgot how good it was. It’s not tricky to make, and can be done in advance – it needs time to chill in the fridge anyway. To make it extra special, top with strawberries or raspberries.Read More

Maple Walnut Granola

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I realize that one can only have so many formulas for granola, and at some point you settle into a regular combination you can mindlessly mix up and bake without much in the way of measuring. This is one such recipe. It comes from our friend Aimée, who’s first cookbook focuses on seasonal eating from her urban homestead just outside Montreal.

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Since homemade granola is in constant rotation in our house, I chose hers to give a go; it’s very similar to my default granola, save for the applesauce and maple flakes (which, sadly, are not as readily available in Alberta). I had a jar of my sister’s crabapple sauce on my shelf, pink and sweet-tart, and so mixed some up, subbing sliced almonds for the sunflower seeds I had none of – that’s the great thing about granola, you can mix and match nuts and seeds and add whatever kind of dried fruit you like at the end.

Cheers Aimée! Your book is beautiful. (And so is the granola!)Read More

Easy Cream Scones

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When I have cream in my fridge that’s starting to go south, I turn them into a batch of scones. Dairy products are among the most often tossed of the food we buy that goes to waste – and most of it makes a pretty fine scone. Milk, yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk – they’re all great for baking, and often interchangeable. But I love these super simple scones made with heavy cream – there’s no butter, which makes them easy to stir, pat and bake – but you’ll never miss it.

This basic scone recipe also makes a great blank canvas – try adding fresh, frozen or dried fruit, chopped chocolate, or grated orange or lemon zest.Read More

Snickerdoodle Bars

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We love the simple deliciousness of classic snickerdoodle cookies. They’re easy to make, but do you know what’s even easier? Making a big pan of snickerdoodle bars! Pour the batter into a pan, bake, and slice into bars for lunch boxes or to keep on hand when friends drop in for coffee.Read More

Sausage, Kale and Chickpea Soup

Sausage, Kale and Chickpea Soup
This hot and hearty soup makes for a cozy weeknight supper - serve it with crusty bread.
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Ingredients
  1. Vegetable oil
  2. 1 lb mild or hot Italian sausages 500 g
  3. 3 garlic cloves, minced 3
  4. 1 onion, chopped 1
  5. 1 can (28 oz/796 mL) whole tomatoes, 1 with juice
  6. 1 can (19 oz/540 mL) chickpeas, rinsed 1 and drained (2 cups/500 mL)
  7. 6 cups Chicken stock (page 286) or 1.5 L? ready-to-use chicken broth
  8. 1⁄2 tsp dried thyme 2 mL
  9. Pinch hot pepper flakes Pinch
  10. Salt and black pepper to taste
  11. 1 bunch kale, trimmed and chopped 1 (about 1 lb/500 g)
  12. I’m going to retire and live off my savings. Not sure what I’ll do in the second week.
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. Squeeze sausage out of its casing into the pan and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, for 3 minutes. Add garlic and onion; cook, stirring, until sausage is browned and onion is soft. Scrape into a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas, stock, thyme, hot pepper flakes, salt and pepper. (If the stock doesn’t fully cover the other ingredients, top it up with water.) Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until soup is slightly thickened. Stir in kale, cover and cook for 10 minutes, until wilted.
  3. Serves 6 to 8.
  4. Tip: Change the taste of the soup by varying the type of sausages you use. Sweet Italian sausages or bratwurst will give the soup a mild taste, whereas spicy Italian sausages or chorizo will completely transform the flavor. If you’d like something lighter, try turkey or chicken sausages.
  5. Variation: For an even more substantial meal, cook up about 8 oz (250 g) of dried penne or other short pasta and add it to the soup before serving.
Notes
  1. I’m going to retire and live off my savings. Not sure what I’ll do in the second week.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

Our New Favorite Flatbread

Our New Favorite Flatbread
This is really fun to make on family night. Yes, the salad goes on top - use your fingers!
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Ingredients
  1. 4 mild Italian or herb-flavored 4 pork sausages
  2. 3 tbsp olive oil, divided 45 mL
  3. 4 6-inch (15 cm) Greek-style pitas 4
  4. (no pockets), naan or
  5. other flatbread
  6. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  7. 2 red-skinned apples, thinly sliced 2
  8. 4 oz mild blue cheese, such as 125 g
  9. Cambozola, sliced, or Stilton,
  10. crumbled (see tip, opposite)
  11. 3 cups packed arugula or baby spinach 750 mL
  12. 1⁄4 cup chopped toasted pecans 60 mL
  13. (see tip, opposite)
  14. 2 to bottled honey Dijon 30 to
  15. 3 tbsp salad dressing 45 mL
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Remove sausages from casings and crumble. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, for 6 to 8 minutes or until well browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a plate lined with paper towels.
  3. Place pitas on 2 large baking sheets. Brush tops with the remaining oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Arrange apple slices on pitas, followed by a layer of cheese. Scatter sausage on top.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until cheese has melted and edges of pitas are browned.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss arugula and pecans with salad dressing. Cut each pita into quarters, then place on serving plates and push the pieces back together. Top each pita with arugula mixture.
  6. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Notes
  1. Tip: Toasting nuts, seeds and shredded coconut helps to bring out their flavor. Although you can toast them in the oven, we have more success - and fewer burnt nuts - on the stovetop. Spread nuts, seeds or coconut in a dry nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat, shaking or stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes or until fragrant and lightly browned. Tip nuts onto a cold plate to stop the cooking process and let cool completely.
  2. Variation: For more kid appeal, replace the blue cheese with shredded sharp (old) Cheddar. You can also substitute canned peach slices, thoroughly drained, for the apples.
  3. Variation: Mango, tangerine, pear or other fruit-flavored salad dressings also work well with this recipe.
  4. Variation
  5. Orange Dijon Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil, 1 tbsp (15 mL) cider vinegar, 1 tbsp (15 mL) freshly squeezed orange juice, 1 tsp (5 mL) granulated sugar, 1⁄2 tsp (2 mL) Dijon mustard and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Toss with the arugula and pecans instead of the bottled dressing.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

Potato, Kale & Ricotta Galette

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We love kale, and are always looking for new ways to do potatoes. We’re fans of creamy scalloped potatoes; thinly sliced spuds layered with cheese and cream, but sometimes it’s too heavy – this is a perfect compromise, and a great way to get your greens.

Sautéed kale cooks down dramatically, allowing a large serving between layers of soft, crispy potato. This version is subtle, with garlic and ricotta; try an Indian-spiced version by ditching the ricotta and spiking the kale with ginger and curry powder or garam masala as it cooks.Read More

Butter Tart Slice

Butter tart slice

Butter tarts are our all-time favourites, but we don’t always have time to make the pastry, roll, cut and fill individual tarts. Butter tarts in bar form is the perfect solution; this past weekend, having to bake for a gathering, they were quick to mix up and bake. And here’s a secret: when you’re making squares that have a sticky filling, like butter tart squares or lemon bars, if you freeze the whole thing in the pan before you slice them, they’ll cut much more cleanly. Let them sit on the countertop for 20 minutes to thaw – or if you’re bringing them with you, they’ll thaw en route.

Butter tarts are traditionally made with currants, but these call for coconut, raisins and/or pecans – a delicious combination on a buttery shortbread crust.Read More