Monthly Archives: October 2012

Chicken Panini with Avocado Mayonnaise and Tomato Chili Jam

This recipe is taken from LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine Autumn 2012.  The recipe for the Tomato Chili Jam is also on this blog.  If you do not have a panini pan, use a skillet and press sandwiches down with a spatula. I used the food processor to make the avocado mayo with great results. I also used demi-baguettes.  I do not have a panini press, so i just pressed my sandwiches down with a smaller skillet, I found the spatula too small. 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 6 oz (175 g) each
2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp (5 ml) grated lemon rind
1 tsp (5 ml) paprika

1 large ripe avocado
1/2 cup (125 ml) mayonnaise
1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped coriander
1/4 cup (60 ml) finely chopped green onions
1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
1/2 tsp (2 ml) sambal oelek or other Asian chili sauce
3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil

4 ciabatta, Demi-baguette or buns
1/2 cup (125 ml) Tomato Chili Jam (recipe on blog)

1. Preheat oven to 450F.
2. Toss chicken with 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil and season well with salt and pepper, grated lemon rind and paprika.  Heat remaining 1 tbsp (15 ml) of oil in skillet over high heat, add chicken and sear for 2 minutes a side or until golden.  Place in oven and cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until juices run clear. Set aside.
3. Mash avocado in a bowl.  Add mayonnaise, coriander, green onions, lemon juice and sambal oelek.  Stir in olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Alternatively, place all ingredients in a food processor and combine.
4. To assemble: slice ciabatta open and generously spread 1 cut side with avocado mayonnaise and the other with Tomato Chili Jam.  Slice chicken and pile into the middle of the sandwich.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.
5. Heat a panini  or grill pan and grill sandwiches for 5 minutes, pressing down on the sandwich, or until warmed through.
Makes 4 sandwiches

Tomato Chili Jam

This condiment goes with the Chicken Panini with Avocado Mayonnaise recipe on this blog. This recipe was taken from the LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine Autumn 2012.  The magazine also suggests that you can use this as topping for hamburgers or serve with French fries.  If fresh tomatoes are not available then use 1 can (798 ml) chopped tomatoes with juice.

1 jalapeño or Serrano chili, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp ginger, chopped
2 tbsp fish sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup red-wine vinegar
2 lbs (1 kg) Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
Asian chili sauce, to taste

1. Place jalapeño, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar in a saucepan
2. Bring to boil slowly, stirring constantly.  When it reaches a boil, lower heat to a simmer and add diced tomatoes.
3. Simmer gently for 40 to 50 minutes or until dark red and jam-like.  If jam is too sweet add Asian chili sauce to taste.
4. Pour into a bowl, cool and place in jars.  Refrigerate for up to a month.
Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups

Butterfinger-chunk Cookies

These are now my favorite cookie!  The recipe was taken from “The Bon Appetit Cookbook” by Barbara Fairchild.  I could not find the Butterfinger BB’s that were asked for in the recipe, so I just cut up a Butterfinger bar.  I used 3 of them and it worked out to 1 1/2 cups.  I also did not add the salt since I used salted butter.  I also did not cool my dough in the fridge since it wasn’t moist, as the recipe suggests it would be. (A further note on the Butterfinger BB candies…I had 2 friends looking in the States for them in 3 different places, Grand Forks, Vegas and Minneapolis and nothing was found.  I’m assuming they are not made anymore)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups Butterfinger BB’s candies (about five 1.7-ounce packages)

1.  Using an electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until well blended.  Add egg and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in flour, salt, and baking soda.  Stir in candies (dough will be moist).  Chill dough at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

2.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 3 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.  Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto prepared sheets, spacing 3 inches apart (about 8 cookies per sheet, cookies will spread).  Bake cookies until golden brown, about 12 minutes.  Transfer parchment with cookies to racks and cool completely.  (Can be prepared 4 days ahead.  Store in airtight container at room temperature).

Salsa Fresca

Why buy salsa in a jar, when you can make this fresh version in 10 minutes.  This recipe is taken from “The Best Recipes in the World” by Mark Bittman.  I always use the fresh lime juice and red onion instead of the white. 

2 large ripe fresh tomatoes, cored and chopped
1/2 large white onion
1/4 minced garlic, or to taste
1 habanero or jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice or 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine all the ingredients, the taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
2. If possible, let the flavors marry for 15 minutes or so before serving, but by all means serve within a couple of hours. 

Onion Soup with loads of Thyme and Giant Gruyere Crostini

This onion soup is the best recipe I have ever made.  I doubled this recipe for 4 people and it was enough.  I cut the ciabatta bread into cubes and I used mozzarella cheese.  If you have a mandolin, use it to cut the onions, it makes more uniform slices, plus it’s faster. This recipe is taken from the Epicurious website.

1 pound yellow onions, halved and thinly cut lengthwise
3 to 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh cracked pepper
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups beef stock
1 cup water
1 1/2 inch thick slice of ciabatta bread cut in half
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups grated Swiss Gruyere cheese

1. In a heavy 5-quart pot melt the butter over low heat. Add the onions, thyme, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste and cook until the onions are deep amber and exceedingly soft, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes. Add the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the wine, increase the heat, and let the wine bubble away for 2 to 3 minutes. 

2.  Add the beef stock and water, and let the soup simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3.  Preheat the oven to broil. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven.
Place the ciabatta on the middle rack of the oven and toast until crispy, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

4.  Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs from the soup and discard. Pour the soup into two ovenproof bowls, float the toasted ciabatta on top, and cover it with a thick layer of the Gruyère. Put the soup bowls under the broiler on the middle rack and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted and golden.


Cinnamon and sugar…YUM!  This recipe is taken from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1.  In a medium bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add the 1 cup sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in egg and vanilla until combined.  Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer.  Stir in any remaining flour.  Cover and chill dough about an hour or until easy to handle.
2.  Combine the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon.  Shape into 1-inch balls.  Roll balls in sugar-cinnamon mixture to coat.  Place 2-inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in a 375 F oven for 10 to 11 minutes or until edges are golden.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. 

Makes about 36 cookies