Category Archives: Found Favourites

Rice Noodles with Shrimp and Cilantro

Rice Noodles with Shrimp & Cilantro

This recipe, pulled from the April/May 2010 issue of Fine Cooking magazine,was fast, simple and delicious!

I’ve always been a fan of the broader rice noodles found in dishes like Pad Thai, but I’ve always been terrible at preparing them. Just ask my husband – I always make him cook the rice noodles, to avoid ending up with mush. It isn’t normal to be afraid of a rice noodle, so I decided to overcome my fear with this recipe.

Like some of the other recipes I’ve tried recently, this dish is not stuffed to the brim with veggies, and isn’t overwhelmed by a mix of spices. It’s simple, with seasonings that nicely accentuate the natural flavours in the main ingredients; shrimp, rice noodles, red pepper and cilantro. I think the dish could stand a little more heat – some Sriracha chili sauce would have been amazing on it.

The one weird ingredient that you might not have in your pantry is fish sauce… Fish sauce is a very stinky condiment used in various Asian cuisines, including Thai and Vietnamese. I was told a long time ago to get the Three Crabs brand fish sauce, so I did. Some of the articles online argue about the quality of this brand, because of the additives in it and the way it’s made. Honestly, I don’t really know the difference, and I’m not about to buy another bottle of fish sauce – a bottle lasts a LONG time, as a little goes a long way. Anyone that lives near Chinatown should go there to find some at a good price.

This makes a great light summer meal – not too heavy and saucey, and makes use of some fresh flavours. Would go really well with a side avocado salad, or mango salad.

The full recipe can be found here, on the Fine Cooking Magazine website!

Missing Cuba

Today was gloomy, and full of rain and freezing rain.

It made me miss Cuba.

In an attempt to get back a little piece of Cuba, I decided to look up some Cuban recipes. I’ve made a few Cuban dishes before, but I have a hard time knowing if it tastes the way it’s supposed to. There aren’t many Cuban restaurants here in Toronto, and we just found out that the one we usually went to is closed. Boo!

I just bought some Mahi-Mahi, which reminded me of our last trip to Cuba. I paired it with some Moros Y Cristianos (rice and black beans) and drizzled with Cuban Mojo. “Moros y Cristianos” means Moors and Christians – the white rice and black beans representing the cultural mix of Cuba’s early settlers.

Cuban - Mahi-Mahi and Moros Y Cristianos

I think I missed again.

I have to say that this didn’t turn out quite the way I expected. I don’t think the mojo recipe is quite how I remember it from Cuba (a little less blended, more mixed, and less like a super tangy garlicky mayo). It was a little overpowering. The Moros y Cristianos turned out pretty yummy, but it took a little longer to cook because I chose to use brown basmati rice instead of regular white rice. That, and I can see that it isn’t the typical dish found in Cuba — their dish is coloured almost entirely by the black beans (see this photo, the dish on the left). I’m not sure if they start with dried beans normally, or if they put the canning liquid into the dish to get that colour. In any case, mine was good, but not quite right.

I still miss Cuba. Next time I’m making plantain fritters or yuca fritas. Yummy!

Recipes after the Jump

Continue reading Missing Cuba

Greeky Pt1 – Spanakopita


Greek spinach and feta pie, spanakopita, has been a favourite of mine for years, but I had never tried making it before. A couple of weeks ago, I was watching or reading something that said that even a child could make it, it was that easy. I got offended and decided to make some myself. It was pretty darn easy!!

Let’s forget the part where I didn’t know how to deal with filo and took it out of the freezer RIGHT when I needed to use it. I mean, the recipe I had didn’t mention anything about thawing out the filo, so how was I supposed to know you’re supposed to thaw it in the fridge for 12-24 hours before you need it! As panic was sinking in, I made things worse by searching the internet for “how to quick thaw filo”, only to find the direst warnings NOT to try to quick thaw filo. Crap on a stick. Ignoring all of the warnings, I laid the frozen roll on my cooktop (the oven was on, and keeping things a little warm) and slowly warmed and rolled out the filo. There were a few more cracks than there might have been otherwise, but I was so relieved to be able to resolve the problem quickly and move on to the building of my pie. I have modified the recipe below to include that the filo needs to be THAWED, argh.


The results were delicious!!!

It turned out fantasticly, and we probably ate more of it than we should have. I should mention that I made half of the recipe listed below — but keep in mind that you still need about 14 sheets of filo. I just made it in an 8×8 pan instead of 9×9, requiring less filling, but the same number of filo sheets (just shorter ones). It was probably a little flatter because of this, but no less delicious. Seriously, we didn’t need bigger!

When I first saw this recipe, I saw that there was dill and parsley and no oregano. I thought that was odd (huh, dill, weird). On first bite, I realized that the dill flavour really makes it. We ate this with a lovely spread of Greek-inspired food, such as dolmathakia (grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs), various greek olives, feta and tomatoes with oregano, grilled squid and some lovely eggplant bundles (which will be covered in a future post). Also, lots of wine (sorry, I didn’t have any Ouzo or Metaxa).

I’m actually making a greeky brunch for us tomorrow, too, thanks to the new Food & Drink magazine. More on that later!

Spanakopita (spinach filo pie)

6 to 8 servings
modified from this recipe

  • 3tbsp Olive oil
  • 8 Scallions, chopped
  • 2lbs Spinach, cleaned and destemmed
  • 1 cup Fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 lb Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 Eggs, beaten
  • 12-14 sheets Filo dough, thawed (follow the instructions on the package)
  • 1/2 cup Melted butter or olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 2tbsp butter or oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the spinach in batches, stirring each addition to wilt. Finally stir in the dill and parsley. Remove to a colander or strainer and allow to cool somewhat.
  2. When the spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze out any excess liquid. Remove the spinach to a cutting board and coarsely chop.
  3. Mix together the spinach, feta, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Adjust seasoning to taste and stir in the eggs.
  4. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish or a deep-dish pie tin. Lay a layer of filo over the dish and brush with butter or oil. Add 5 or six more sheets of filo, each at a different angle to cover the entire bottom of the dish, brushing each layer with butter or oil before adding the next. Press the filo carefully down into all corners of the dish.
  5. Add the spinach-cheese filling to the dish and spread out evenly.
  6. Using the remaining filo, repeat the process of adding layers to form a top to the dish. Trim the edges of filo to leave about 1 1/2 inches hanging over the edge of the dish. Roll the edges together toward the center of the dish to seal the spanikopita.
  7. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake until the crust is nicely browned, anywhere from 45-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe Mashup: Baked Sweet Potato Pasta

This is my usual way of dealing with recipes – I steal from them and I smash them together.

Until I started my blog, I didn’t really follow recipes closely. I usually just use them for inspiration. I figure out what ingredients I have on hand, and I Google my way to a few recipes that sound neat. I take a little bit from one and a little bit from another, and there we go!

Tonight’s dinner was fueled by my wish to bake a pasta dish, and the sweet potatoes that were waiting to fulfill their delicious destiny.

I took most of my inspiration from Martha Stewart: Baked Mushroom Linguine and Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagna. Some people like to mock Martha, but honestly I’ve had great success with recipes from her website. I’m not embarrassed to say that I enjoy her show (on the rare occasion I’m able to watch it) and it’s now one of my go-to sites when I can’t think of what to make for dinner.

On that note, I think I need to add her link to my blogroll. Done!

Pasta Mashup - Oven Dish

Mashup Pasta & Sweet Potato Casserole

Soo… here’s what I did: I cooked up some rotini (ok, not either of the recommended types of noodle); baked my sweet potatoes as suggested in the squash recipe; loaded up a cheese sauce with some cream cheese, some Fizzy cheese from Quebec, herbes de provence, thyme, rosemary, nutmeg, cayenne and tangy mustard powder; sauteed some mushrooms and onions with mushroom broth; tossed it all together and threw it back in the oven topped with breadcrumbs. Whew!!

Pasta Mashup - Plate

Pretty yummy!

So, how did it turn out? Not bad! The cheese sauce is a little different from my usual (shock! I didn’t put any anise in it!) and I’m usually too lazy to make a meal and THEN put it in the oven to bake. I ended up putting in too many noodles, which meant the sauce wasn’t as vibrant and saucey as it should have been. Blerg! I didn’t think the breadcrumb thing through – it ended up being a little too dry, because the sauce was mostly absorbed into the pasta. So I had to add a little more liquid and stick it back in the oven. Live and learn.