Monday, April 24, 2017

Chocolate Dulce De Leche Thumbprint Cookies

Oh the weather outside is frightful...again. This shouldn't come as a shock to anyone living in Alberta. April and May are bound to have some less than predictable weather. The unpredictability of it is almost predictable. I am working in Northern Alberta under a fly-in, fly-out arrangement and my flight home Thursday evening was grounded for three hours courtesy of a juicy snow storm. Finally Edmonton got hit with the same snow two days later. It'll melt quickly and then reappear sometime in May usually for one last hurrah.

So instead of grumbling about it, I pulled out the wool socks, jogging pants and went to work in the kitchen making strawberry preserves, a few hot meals, salads and these delicious cookies. They are rich, moist and chewy. The kind of 3pm treat you look for with an espresso or other strong brew. I gave a bunch of mine away for fear that I'd have a a moment of weakness and eat them all. Good move on my part as they happen to be great for sharing.


Makes 24 cookies


  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup berry or caster sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 egg  yolk
  • 100g dark chocolate melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3/4 cup dulce de leche


Preheat the oven to 325F. Put the butter and sugar in a standing mixer blend until creamy; about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla, egg yolk and chocolate and process until combined. Finally, add the flour and cocoa and process until the mixture forms a ball. Place the mixture in a bowl or remove the base of the mixer if possible, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll a tablespoon each of the mixture into balls and place on two lined baking sheets. Indent the centre of each cookie by pressing your thumb into each one. Bake for 12-14 minutes and allow to cool a little on the sheets before transferring them to a rack. Spoon a dollop of the dulce de leche onto each cookie.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Asian-Inspired Pork Cabbage Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Ukrainian and other Eastern European cultures are well acquainted with the cabbage roll. Every celebratory meal has either the vegetarian or pork-filled option, floating in tomato sauce and while I can get behind a plate of perogies, I never get excited to see the cabbage roll.

This, however, is not the cabbage roll I know. This version is loaded with garlic, ginger, soy, a hint of fish sauce and topped with a nutty overture. I can dig it. In fact I did and have plenty of leftovers. I struggled to find Napa cabbage in good shape (aka Suey Choy) and had fewer cabbage leaves to use than pork filling. I wound up cooking the leftover filling and adding the scraps of cabbage left as a sort of sloppy cabbage roll. There was plenty of the peanut sauce to pour over both the rolls and remaining filling. Rolling the cabbage rolls was easy, but preparing the recipe in one pot is doable and  involves less cleanup.

Whatever you choose, I can assure you'll get excited about these cabbage rolls.

Adapted from:

Serves 4-6


  • 1 head Napa cabbage


  • 2 T salted butter
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1, 2-inch thumb of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 2 t fish sauce
  • 1 t red pepper flakes

  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 t fish sauce
  • 1 T cider vinegar
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, reduce to simmer and place the head of cabbage, leaves downward into the pot. Let the cabbage poach for 10 minutes. Remove from the water, cut the end off and separate the leaves, laying them on a paper towel to cool and dry.

To kick off the filling, melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the carrots, ginger and garlic. Stir well to combine and cook for about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Place the carrots in a bowl along with the rest of the filling ingredients and combine the ingredients with your hands to ensure it's well incorporated.

Make the rolls by place about 1/4 cup of the filling on the base of the stem of each leaf. Fold the sides of the cabbage inward and roll towards the end of the leaf. Place the rolls in a 9'X13' baking dish and preheat the oven to 350F.

To make the sauce, heat the sesame oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, whisking the sauce until smooth and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken on its own.

Place the cabbage rolls, neat in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove and add half the sauce over the rolls, returning them to the oven for another 15 minutes.

Serve on a bed of rice, quinoa, freekeh or neat with chopped cilantro to garnish.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

I'm in the midst of a love affair with cauliflower. It's my first choice on the party veggie tray and its emergence as a main dish has got me intrigued. Roasting it adds yet another dynamic to this interesting vegetable and it pairs well with any protein if you'd prefer it as a side.

For those who set it aside and favour other more colourful vegetables, don't. Cauliflower's pretty competitive as far as vitamins and nutrients containing 73% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C and almost 20% of vitamin K in a cup of the cooked variety ( It also peaks in spring and fall, so now is the time to eat it. Finally, cauliflower comes in 4 colours: orange, yellow, purple and green. Who doesn't love experimenting with a little colour!

Serves 4-6



  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 bunch Italian parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t salt


  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1/8 t cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 450F. Prepare the cauliflower by washing and cutting up the head into bite-size pieces. Slice the red onion into wedges, about a centimetre thick. Toss both into a bowl, add the oil, some salt and pepper and mix well. Spread the veggies onto a baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, toss and flip the roasted veggies and return them to the oven for another 10 minutes.

While the veggies are roasting, combine all the dressing ingredients into a blender and emulsify. Next prepare the chickpeas by heating the olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Add the spices, combining them with the oil and finally include the chickpeas. Brown the chickpeas for about 10 minutes, or until the chickpeas become golden-brown.