Sunday, January 2, 2011

Week 52 of 52 - Happy New Year!

Hi everyone - wanted to wish you all a Happy New Year! 2010 ended with a dinner party at my friends' house, menu below:

Ginger Carrot Soup
Caprese Salad
Seared scallops on celery root puree
Beef tenderloin with ratatouille
Dessert - chocolate cake from Rahier (absolutely incredible!)

It's officially been a year of good food and friends - 52 weeks (with some vacation weeks) and my foodie blog has been an experience! I will be continuing this year with my blog, but will be posting a little less often and it will probably be a mix of restaurant reviews and recipes. Thanks to everyone for following my blog the last year!

Two recipes from New Years are posted below.

Bon appetit and all the best in 2011!
Caprese Salad with Tomatoes and Soft Mozzarella with Pesto – courtesy of Dish Entertains by Trish Magwood
Cost $$
Rating (out of 5) *****

This is one of my favourite recipes of the year - love the fact that the cheese is marinated in pesto - adds some extra flavour. This will be a hit at any party! Also consider using small cheese + baby tomatoes on skewers as apps.


1 cup of loosely packed fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
Zest and juice of one lemon
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 balls soft mozzarella sliced into 1 cm rounds
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup balsamic vinegar
6 ripe but firm tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

1. Put basil, garlic and lemon zest and juice in food processor; pulse to combine. Add oil and pulse to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape down sides of bowl and pulse to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape down sides of bowl and pulse once more. Transfer pesto to a bowl. Add sliced mozzarella to bowl with pesto and gently mix to coat cheese.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer balsamic vinegar until syrupy and reduced to ¼ cup, about 20 minutes. Let cool.
3. Make 6 to 8 stacks by topping tomato slices with a slice with mozzarella; top with a bit of extra pesto and season with a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Repeat, using about 3 slices of tomato and cheese for each stack.
4. Place a stack in the centre of each plate. Drizzle the plate with any leftover pesto and some balsamic reduction. Sprinkle pine nuts around each plate.

Ginger Carrot Soup – adapted from a Guy Fieri recipe
Cost $
Rating (out of 5) ****

This is an elegant soup perfect for any dinner party - tastes a little like butternut squash, and the ginger whipping cream is a nice touch!


• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 cup chopped sweet onion
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 2 tablespoon minced ginger
• 2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped into even pieces
• 1 medium russet potato, peeled and chopped
• 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock for vegetarian version
• 1 cup whipping cream
• 1 teaspoon honey
• 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning


In a heavy Dutch oven, (prefer porcelain covered cast iron), over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and the sweet onions. Sprinkle with salt and sweat for 10 minutes, until just starting to caramelize. Add in the garlic and ginger and saute for 2 minutes more, being careful not to burn the mixture. Stir in the carrots, potatoes and the chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until carrots and potato is very tender, about 15 to 18 minutes. Keep warm.

With a stick blender, puree the carrot mixture and gradually add in whipping cream, honey and thyme. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve immediately.

You can prepare the soup 3 or 4 days ahead, refrigerated.

Cook’s notes – serve with a dollop of ginger whipping cream and a sprinkle of thyme.