Tag Archives: oprah blog

Grilled Shrimp with Mango Salsa

1 Aug

It’s been forever since I last cracked open my beloved Oprah cookbook. I started this blog while I was on mat leave; somehow, crazily, I was looking for things to do at the time! 😉

Since I’ve been back at work, however, I’ve made little time for culinary capers. I miss trying new dishes that might be out of my comfort zone and the meditative act of writing about what we’ve eaten. I also miss your feedback dear readers–yes, that’s you. 🙂

I’ve resolved to write for a half hour every day in August, and with today being August 1, I figured resurrecting my blog would be a good place to start. On that note, let me tell you about the delicious Grilled Shrimp with Mango Salsa we had for lunch. (Check out the Nina Simonds recipe on page 154 of the O Magazine Cookbook or click here.)

This is an exceptionally easy and light dish to make, perfect for the summertime. Essentially, it’s just skewered shrimp (brushed with soy sauce and fresh OJ) grilled on the BBQ, with yummy mango salsa (think red onion, cilantro, lime juice and fresh ginger) on the side. Peeling, chopping and squeezing time included, the salsa only took 5 mins. Meanwhile, the shrimp were also ready in about 5 mins–especially easy for me, considering Chad was the one working his typical magic with the BBQ.

The only part of the meal I felt weird about was the packaged Uncle Ben’s basmati rice. I simply microwaved a squishy package for 2 mins and then–voila!–we had a nearly perfectly cooked side dish. I’ve always been slightly suspicious of microwaves in general. If you don’t happen to have similar reservations, this truly instant rice trick may just be the way to go. Given the amount of time saved and the potentially averted burnt rice/crunchy rice/under done rice fiasco, I reluctantly admit that I’ll try this again at some point. (Not for fancy dinner parties.) 😉

All in all, if you’re looking for a quick, healthy and refreshing meal to whip up this summer, give this Grilled Shrimp with Mango Salsa recipe a try. Enjoy!

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The Harlem Tea Room’s Scones

15 Jan

It’s been so long since I last blogged that today my mom asked me if I was still hungover from the Christmas cocktails I wrote about in mid-December! 😉 So I figure that writing about The Harlem Tea Room’s Scones we indulged in last weekend is long overdue.

The Patrice Clayton recipe (see page 217 of The Oprah Magazine Cookbook, or click here) actually has 3 variations: baking powder, cheddar-thyme, and raisin. We decided to try the baking powder version and were not disappointed. These are your classic, plain variety, high tea scone, just begging to be a vehicle for delicious jam, marmalade or whipped cream toppings.

Our Sunday morning baking presented us with the perfect opportunity to enjoy the yummy raspberry jam that Jan and Chuck gave us for Christmas. Chad’s loved their jams since he was a little kid, and let me tell you, that jam was goood.

Although the recipe was supposed to make about 1.5 dozen 3/4 inch scones, we ended up with closer to 2.5 dozen, slightly smaller ones. Cooking them for 10 minutes was perfect.

Next time we plan to go closer to the cheddar-thyme route (simply because our jam is almost all gone) but create a rosemary-rocksalt variation instead, inspired by the rosemary-rocksalt bagels we had in Kitsilano the other day.

Christmas Cocktails

19 Dec

Last night we had some friends over for a Christmas cocktail party. What better occasion to try a signature Oprah cocktail?

To welcome our guests in style, I wanted to make the O Fizz, an Olivier Cheng creation, for which you can find the recipe here or on page 43 of The Oprah Magazine Cookbook.

Chad, on the other hand, wanted to make Dark & Stormies (an Alison Mesrop concoction found on page 47 of the cookbook or online here). After a split-second argument about the virtue of one libation over the other, we decided to compromise–and make both!

The O Fizz was a pretty combination of bubbly, vodka, fresh lime juice, and sugar, splashed with cranberry juice, and topped with fresh mint and raspberries. It was a fun, sophisticated, girlie drink that’s definitely a make again. Think girlfriends for brunch and you get the idea.

However, the Dark & Stormies (a blend of ginger beer, fresh lime juice, and dark rum) were not a big hit. Most people didn’t like it–one of our friends couldn’t even finish his drink–but then again another guy absolutely loved it; proving once again that there’s something for everyone.

Well, thanks to those of you who came out last night. As always, it was great to spend time with our friends. And, based on last night’s performance, it seems that many of us are indeed in the holiday spirit. Merry Christmas! 🙂

Moroccan Chicken over Couscous

13 Dec

Feeling that it had been far too long since we’d made an Oprah dish–read: had a home-cooked meal–last night we decided to try Moroccan Chicken over Couscous. (See chef Rori Trovato’s recipe here or on page 120 of The Oprah Magazine Cookbook.)

The recipe claims to be super easy, and I guess it was. What was weird for me, though, is that the dish calls for chicken thighs, as opposed to the boneless skinless chicken breasts I’m used to cooking. (This odd aversion is probably due to my friend Afke’s vegan influence back in my early university days!)

For those of you used to cooking with various bird products, however, this dish is delicious! Chicken, cumin, pepper, olive oil, chicken stock, fresh mint, chopped kalamata olives, all served on a bed of couscous–you get the picture.

It was savoury, pretty quick to assemble, and Chad wanted seconds right away. I consider that a make again, relatively odd bird parts and all. Hey, I guess I knew I was in for eating some things I wouldn’t normally choose to make, given my commitment to making all 175 recipes featured in The Oprah Magazine Cookbook! 🙂

Mayne Island Crab Cakes

6 Dec

We were lucky enough to spend last weekend on Mayne Island, where my father-in-law, Graeme, had caught us some fresh crab. We happily turned the fruits of his crabbing labour into Oprah’s Favorite Crab Cakes. (Find the recipe here or on page 157 of The Oprah Magazine Cookbook.)

I have to say that my mom-in-law, Harolyn, is a pro at making crab cakes, so I didn’t have to do much other than sip bubbly and supervise nearby. Life is tough, I tell ya! 😉

This traditional crab cake recipe calls for egg, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mayo, dry mustard, celery seed, Old Bay seasoning (Harolyn had made her own,) salt & pepper, fresh crabmeat, parsley, and breadcrumbs. We didn’t really make any adjustments to this dish, but Harolyn would recommend using more breadcrumbs (let’s say 4 Tbsp. as opposed to 2 Tbsp.) in the crab cake mixture itself, just to make it a little drier.

The verdict? These large, tasty cakes are a make again, for sure. Especially if we can get Graeme to catch us some more fresh crab, and Harolyn to serve us some more bubbly! 🙂

Quick & Healthy Garlic-Orange Spinach

7 Nov

Well, it’s official, my maternity leave is over, and I’m pleased to report that I had a great first week back at work. I liken it a bit to following a show like Young & the Restless…even if you hadn’t watched it in a year, you could probably still tune in and pretty much pick back up where you left off. There would be some new characters and twists in the plot, to be sure, but still…It’s good to be back. 🙂

That said, I haven’t dusted off my Oprah cookbook in far too long. These work/grad school/volunteer commitments really seem to be cramping my culinary style! 😉

So tonight, to complement the beautiful steak Chad BBQ’d us, I made Michel Nischan’s Garlic-Orange Spinach. This side dish is super simple, super fast, super economical, AND super healthy. All good things. It’s pretty tasty, too. Click here for the recipe, or see page 173 of The Oprah Magazine Cookbook.

The only change I made was using cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil instead of the grapeseed or rice oil the recipe called for. Not sure what the taste or texture difference would have been (?) but the olive oil worked just fine.

Even though this “just wilted” citrus spinach isn’t the best side dish I’ve ever had, it’s definitely a make again. Why? Because it’s super good for you and can be whipped up in about 5 minutes. Just perfect for a working mom! 🙂

Sweet Potato Salad & Mango Cocktail

24 Oct

Well, it’s been a while since I last blogged because life’s been a characteristic whirlwind of late. Chad also just completed a mini renovation project that had our kitchen in quite the state of disarray. To make up for my hiatus, I have some great new recipes to share with you! 🙂

The first is a Halloween-coloured Mango Cocktail created by chef Colin Cowie, featured here, and on page 44 of The Oprah Magazine Cookbook. Oprah suggested we “kick-start the evening with these tangy cocktails spiked with vodka and Cointreau.So, last night, that’s exactly what we did.

The unique ingredient in this cocktail is mango puree, which I’d never bought before. I found it–vacuum-sealed and boxed–at Zellers of all places, so I guess it can’t really be that exotic. 😉

The puree gave the drink a really intense syrupy mango flavour, which was a bit too tangy and thick for my liking, even though I’m a real mango lover. But by serving the puree, vodka, Cointreau, and lime juice concoction over a fairly generous (but uncalled for) amount of ice, this turned out to be quite a tasty drink indeed.

If you’re hosting a Halloween get-together this year, this cocktail would be wicked fun served in a martini glass with a plastic black spider on the rim!

Last night we also tried Art Smith’s Sweet Potato Salad. See page 32 of The Oprah Magazine Cookbook or click here. Though it doesn’t necessarily look like much in the photo, this side dish is super tasty and is definitely a make again.

Basically, this salad consists of 3/4-inch chunks of microwaved (easy!) sweet potatoes dressed in a blend of light mayo, dijon mustard, salt & pepper, and tossed with toasted pecans (yum!), fresh pineapple (double yum!), red pepper, celery, and green onion.

Not only is this dish full of super good-for-you foods, it’s simple to put together and has a winning combination of flavours. So, if you or your hubby like sweet potato (for some reason, I’ve never met a man who doesn’t like yams and sweet potatoes), you’ll want to give this recipe a try.

P.S. I just realized that the recipe posted online differs from the one in the book! The one in the book seems way easier. Follow the steps online, except for the following:
1. Halve the recipe (unless you want more like 8 cups instead of 4!)
2. Instead of oven-baking the sweet potatoes (too time consuming) just use a fork to “prick the sweet potatoes in several places. Microwave them on High about 8 minutes or until tender, turning over midway through cooking. Cool the potatoes until easy to handle.”

P.P.S. If you do happen to indulge in a cocktail or two at a Halloween party this year, please remember to drink responsibly. Never drink and drive.

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