Tag Archives: oprah magazine cookbook

Pumpkin Fritters with Vanilla Ice Cream

30 Oct

Hallowe’en is almost here and I find myself in a contemplative mood. I’m thinking about Samhain, and the ancient roots of this end-of-harvest celebration.

Random bits of myth and legend float to mind, swirling like deeply coloured leaves in the low-ground wind of a crisp late fall afternoon.

Following my workout at the gym, I overhear the yoga teacher’s closing meditation encouraging us to acknowledge our dark or shadow side. I pause. I’m listening.

I have fond memories of trick-or-treating as a kid. Funny what’s happened to some of my memories over time…there’s a magical, meaning-making haze surrounding special occasions like Hallowee’en and Christmas. A type of perfection, frozen in time, that makes me nostalgic for the good old days. Wow, can I be getting that old already!? 😉

I have to admit that somehow it doesn’t seem as perfect taking Jax to the nearby mall to trick-or-treat. But, as always, I know it’s what I make of it that counts.

In the spirit of the season, last night I whipped up Colin Cowie’s Pumpkin Fritters with Vanilla Ice Cream. (See page 258 of the cookbook.) These are essentially pumpkin-flavoured mini donuts! (Yes, I know there are a lot of mini donut lovers out there.) Little dollops of dough made with 100% pure pumpkin, quickly pan fried in veggie oil, topped with tasty cinnamon sugar and served alongside vanilla ice cream.

Great tasting, very quick and easy to make, and a delightfully uncomplicated ingredient list. Assuming you have canned pumpkin on hand, you probably have everything else you’ll need.

Happy Hallowe’en. I hope your festivities are magical and memorable. Some day today will be the good old days. Enjoy!


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.

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! 🙂

Orange-Ginger Pork Medallions & Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts & Honey Mustard Dressing

30 Oct

Honestly, it’s hard to concentrate on anything but treats in the days leading up to Halloween. 😉 Plus, with my return to work this coming Monday–following a full year off on maternity leave–Oprah’s been a bit far from my mind. Not so far, mind you, that I don’t want to share a couple of new recipes with you. 🙂

First up, Laura Pensiero’s Orange-Ginger Pork Medallions. See page 98 of The Oprah Magazine Cookbook or click here for the recipe. We’d never made pork medallions before, but my mom happened to give us a couple of pork tenderloins, so we figured this would be the perfect opportunity to give these sweet-and-sour morsels a try.

The verdict? Delicious. The flavours of orange juice, peanut oil, fresh ginger, shallots, red pepper flakes, chicken broth, and soy sauce all came together quite nicely. And, since they were pan-fried, they were surprisingly easy. I think this dish would make a good workday family staple. (Ha! I may rethink that statement after I’m actually back to work.) 🙂

The second recipe (I guess we were in a festive mood) was April Bloomfield’s Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts & Honey Mustard Dressing, which you can find on page 177 of the cookbook, or by clicking here.

Essentially, these were boiled and pan-fried sprouts drizzled with a lemon, olive oil, Dijon mustard, and thyme dressing.

The dressing was quite tasty, but I did find it a bit too time-consuming given the end result. For example, the recipe said to boil a lemon in water for a full hour (?) PLUS called for fresh chestnuts (a novelty for us–we found them at Kin’s) which also required boiling, simmering, draining, and peeling. Again, pretty time-consuming given the end product.

I’m not sure what effect it would have, but next time I might consider using the lemon without boiling it first, and also substituting canned chestnuts. I’d welcome any other suggestions!

Don’t get me wrong, these would make an impressive and welcome addition to the holiday dinner table. I just think I prefer the roasted Brussels Sprouts, lemon and pancetta recipe our CEO shared with us one year. I’ll have to be sure to get that recipe again before the Christmas holidays roll around.

Speaking of holidays, it’s official, this weekend Jax is going as a Jax-o’-Lantern, and Hiro is channeling Super Hiro! I hope your weekend is magical, delightful, and sweet. Happy Halloween!

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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