Venison steak with kale chips

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Risotto with sardines

This is just a very basic risotto recipe and then just add a can or two of sardines depending on serving size and who may prefer the canned fish. Alternatively you could use canned tuna or salmon. You could use sardines packed in oil, but I like the ones in water then I can use my own Greek extra Virgin olive oil. There’s so many options as you could use sardines in sauce with the chilli pepper for a spicy kick.

Ingredients:

2 cups Arborio rice
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil plus more for finishing
1 tsp sea salt
1 celery stock very finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 shallot minced
6 cups of low salt veggie stock or chicken stock
1 tbsp dried basil
1-2 cans of sardines packed in water drained and chopped
1 lemon cut is wedges
Parmisano cheese optional if not using lemon

In a medium size pot heat the 6 cups of veggie or chicken stock/broth until hot and keep it warm, on the other burner heat the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter over medium heat add the celery and shallots and garlic stir with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes, add the rice and toast for a few minutes constantly stirring, now add salt, basil and 1/2 cup of hot broth, continue to stir, as soon as you see liquid evaporating in rice add 1/2 cup of broth at a time until rice is al-dente and creamy about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat stir in remaining tbsp butter and cheese if using, taste rice and adjust seasoning if needed. Cover pot of risotto and let sit for 5 minutes while getting table ready with the sardines, olive oil, more cheese, bread etc. plate risotto and allow people to help themselves to sardines, olive oil, lemon or cheese.

Serves 6 or 4 with leftovers

Depending on the rice you have broth leftover as after rice has cooked not all of the soup stock was needed.

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Tzaziki Dip

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup peeled and grated cucumber
3 large garlic cloves grated on a cheese grater
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint or fresh dill
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin Greek olive oil
Sea salt and pepper optional

Mix all ingredients together, enjoy with veggies, grilled meat, grilled vegetables and meat.

If garlic is too strong for your taste mix in more Greek yogurt.

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Calzone

I love calzone as much as I like pizza, it’s a pizza that’s filled, kinda like a pizza pocket or a closed pizza. Sometimes these are called a Panzarotti which is the kind that is sometimes deep fried. Make it yourself and you will be amazed how easy and fun, besides tasty. This is something that takes a bit of time, so it’s a good Saturday or Sunday afternoon fun, get the kids involved, they love rolling out the dough.

Ingredients:
For the Dough:
3 ½ cups of All Purpose unbleached Flour
1 cup fine semolina flour
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups of warm water
1 tbsp of active dry yeast
Extra flour for rolling out dough

Note: if using whole wheat flour, add a tiny bit more salt and a bit more water.

Put the warm water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and allow for yeast to foam for about 5-7 minutes. In a large bowl sift both flours, flax and salt, make a well in the flour and pour in the olive oil, foamy water and mix with a wooden spoon, or a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix dough until it comes together. Begin kneading the dough on a liberally floured surface. If dough is too wet keep adding flour until dough becomes soft and stretchy ( knead for about 10 min.). Put dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a wet tea towel or plastic wrap, allow dough to rise for at least one hour in a warm place. Prepare filling ingredients while dough is proofing.

Punch down dough on a floured surface, knead dough for few more minutes. Cut dough into four equal balls or three equal balls for three large calzones, put dough balls back in oiled bowl and cover again until ready to roll out.

Roll out dough ball one at a time on lightly floured surface with a rolling pin to about 10 inch diameter like pizza put filling as a topping only on half the pizza, (see below for filling suggestions) fold over other side to make a half moon, crimp the edges well to seal calzone. Using the point of a knife make a few holes in the top of calzone so steam can escape.

Heat pizza stone or tray to 400* and place calzone in centre of oven, cook for 15-20 minutes until dough is golden brown and remove from oven when done, allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving as it will be very hot. When ready to eat a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of fresh parsley or basil is a good option.

Suggested combinations for filling:

One large tablespoon per item, maybe two tablespoons for dominant topping or your favourite ingredient, I think it’s better to overfill than to under fill as once it cooks it will puff up and may seem hallow if under filled.

Passata tomato sauce with pinch oregano, salt and olive oil
Sliced fresh mushrooms
Mozzarella cheese grated
Chopped pancetta or ham

Marinated artichokes
Pickled pepperoncini peppers
Drained capers
Pesto sauce
Goat cheese
Sundries tomatoes

Sliced tomatoes
Bocconcini cheese
Fresh basil
Roasted red peppers
Pitted Kalamata olives
Olive oil

Passata tomato sauce
Broccoli florets
Fresh spinach leaves
Minced garlic
Sliced zucchini
Feta cheese

Small can tuna drained
Chopped celery
Aged cheddar cheese
Fresh dill

You could have a party, double or triple dough recipe and put out variety of toppings and let people make there own.

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Kale and Garlic Penne

I’ve been making a version of this pasta for so many years. Such a simple dish yet so tasty, you could use spinach, Swiss chard or a completely different “pasta filata” cheese say vlahotiri, Pecorino, could use a combination of butter and olive oil and any number of fresh herbs: dill, oregano, fennel fonds. Please comment and let me know how it worked out for you.

Ingredients:

300 gr. penne pasta
Handful of kale washed and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
Sea Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 Extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs parsley chopped
Asiago or kasseri cheese

Bring water to a boil in a large pot with a teaspoon of sea salt, when water comes to a boil add pasta and stir every minute according to package directions, most pasta is done al-dente from 7-10 minutes. When pasta is ready drain reserving about a 1/8 cup of the pasta water. On low heat add kale to pot of pasta water and sauté for a few minutes, add the garlic, olive oil and parsley and stir in penne noodles, turn off the heat and grate the cheese into the pasta and serve, alternatively you could grate the cheese at the table on each plate as per taste.

Serves 4

Enjoy,

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My top 11 fave celebrity chefs

1. Chef Pasquale was known as the singing chef, he studied opera and was born in Calabria. His cooking show aired in the Toronto area since the 70’s.

2. Wok with Yan, I watched him after school in the 80’s, he was so funny. You can catch some on YouTube now.

3. Giada DeLaurentis is young and cute celebrity from the food network cooking show Everyday Italian.

4. Emeril Lagasse is one of the best personalities on the food network and his combination of heritage French Canadian and Portuguese growing up Mass. and later working in New Orleans his cuisine is quite original.

5. Jamie Oliver is got so much passion, he wants people to eat real food and be healthy, he specializes in Italian cuisine. I love his cooking show ministry of food, food revolution and Jamie’s great escapes.

6. Ellie Kreiger is a registered dietitian, nutritionist and a former model. Her cooking show is called Healthy Appetite.

7. Christine Cushing is Greek Canadian and I own one of her cookbooks of which is personally signed.

8. Nadia G. has a show called Bitchin Kitcken, she’s really funny, very pretty and can really cook from Montreal.

9. Laura Vitale is an online cooking show call Laura in the Kitchen, she reminds me of someone I know and she has some great ideas for Italian American cooking.

10. Ching He Huang is a Taiwanese-born British food writer and TV chef. I think she’s beautiful and her easy asian recipes are awesome.

11. Diane Kochilas is a Greek American chef and food writer based in Ikaria Greece, she has written more than a dozen books on Greek and Mediterranean cuisine.

Turmeric Potato Wedges

These were awesome!!

kefi Chef

3 large russet potatoes
3 large sweet potatoes (yams)
1 tbls ground turmeric
1 tsp sea salt
Ground black pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves smashed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Wash and scrub potatoes well, cut all potatoes in half lengthwise and then again cut the halves in half lengthwise, cut the quartered potatoes again if potatoes were really big, you should be able to get at least eight wedges out of one potato. In a very large bowl add the olive oil, salt, turmeric, cracked black pepper and smashed garlic cloves, mix well to flavour the oil. Preheat oven to 400. Toss the cut potato wedges in the bowl of turmeric flavoured olive oil. Make sure to mix well so that all the potatoes are coated in oil mixture, spread potato wedges on two cookie sheets and bake in oven for 30-40 minutes or until they are…

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