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May 27, 2015

Canadian cheese, potato and bacon soup {gluten-free}

Use Canadian Oka cheese, or fontina, in this creamy potato and bacon soup.

My (Canadian) husband Ted often remarks that I don't include enough Canadian recipes in my cooking repertoire. He's not wrong. The truth is that I've never really been able to define Canadian cooking. We've enjoyed classic French-influenced food in Montreal; smoked oolichans in British Columbia; Chinese and Greek food in Toronto; lobster cooked every which way on Prince Edward Island. Is one cuisine more Canadian than the others? Still, when I create recipes for Ted that bring together Canadian flavors, I gravitate toward the trifecta of Yukon Gold potatoes, bacon, and cheese. This soup marries all three. If you can find Oka, a mild semi-firm cheese from Southern Ontario, please use it here. Easier to come by at my local cheese shop, Fontal, an Italian cheese, makes a sublime substitute, as will Danish Fontina, which is readily available here in almost any supermarket. If ever there were comfort food in a bowl, this creamy smooth cheese, potato and bacon soup is it, and you don't have to be Canadian to fall in love with it.

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April 15, 2015

Cheese, bacon and guacamole panini

Muenster cheese, bacon and guacamole panini, invented by a food truck!

I didn't invent this sandwich. I wish I'd thought of it, but the truth is that I read about it in the bathroom, where I was flipping through an issue of Boston Magazine. Dubbed "The Green Muenster" in a nod to Boston's Fenway Park and its famous scoreboard wall, The Green Monster, this creation of Roxy's Grilled Cheese Truck sounded so amazing that I had to try my own version. The original is slathered with mayonnaise on the outside, which yields an extra-crispy crust on the bread. I changed it up a bit: thick slices of muenster cheese, bacon, a smear of guacamole, mayonnaise on the inside of the bread, and olive oil on the outside. Salty, creamy, gooey and crunchy, this panini is a truly ethereal meal on its own. If you don't have a panini press, use a stovetop griddle or frying pan, and weight the top of the sandwich with a second frying pan or heavy plate. It's just the kind of comfort food you want on the day your taxes are due.

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December 3, 2014

Quick and easy ploughman's crisps {vegetarian}

Cheddar and chutney on toasted bread, the best parts of a traditional English pub lunch.

On my very first trip to London, my husband Ted, who had lived there for a time, introduced me to the ploughman's (plow man's) lunch. Every pub serves its own variation. The constants are a few slices of crusty bread, a hunk of good, sharp, English Cheddar cheese, and a bit of tart fruit chutney, to which sausage, ham, apples or other treats might be added. (Don't forget a pint of beer or ale on draught, too.) In the pubs, you're served a plate of individual elements to combine in any way that tempts you. During these next few crazy-busy weeks, with holiday preparations in full swing, these ploughman's crisps make a satisfying lunch or light supper, with very little work on the part of the cook. They're also a great savory appetizer nibble for your cookie exchange party, or football Sunday. Use your favorite homemade or store-bought chutney, or try one of our recipes.

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May 25, 2014

Slow cooker Mexican fiesta breakfast or brunch frittata {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Slow cooker Mexican fiesta breakfast or brunch frittata recipe. Olé! #eggs #crockpot #slowcooker

Don't adjust your computer screen: the farm-fresh eggs I used to make this slow cooker Mexican fiesta frittata have a definite orange glow to them. Delivered straight from my friend Kathy's chicken coop, these might be the very best eggs on the planet, but even if you're using less-than-orange eggs, you will love this egg frittata recipe. I've been wanting to try making an egg dish in the slow cooker ever since I saw a recipe on Kalyn's Kitchen. The frittata was so easy in the slow cooker, and if your oven is in use for something else this would be a great way to cook eggs. I still prefer the oven method, which produces a puffier frittata with a bit of a crust, but in the slow cooker, the flavors have more time to penetrate the egg mixture, and that's pretty great. For this Mexican fiesta frittata, I wanted a little bit of a kick, so I used canned chopped chile peppers. If I were serving this for supper, I'd add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper or ground chipotle pepper (or both!), for even more zing.

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May 8, 2014

Greek spinach, artichoke and feta egg and cheese breakfast casserole {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Greek spinach, artichoke and feta egg and cheese breakfast casserole (great for dinner, too!). #recipe #glutenfree

On a visit to Chicago several years ago, my friend Kalyn and I made a pilgrimage to The Spice House. We met the owner, Patricia Penzey Erd (yes, of that Penzeys family), and discovered many wonderful new-to-us herbs and spices. I bought some Greektown "Billygoat" Seasoning, probably because of the wacky name, and I've become unabashedly addicted to it. (Go to The Spice House web site to learn about the Billy Goat.) Greek seasoning combines the Mediterranean flavors of oregano, lemon peel, salt and pepper, onion and garlic. You might not think of it as a natural with your morning eggs, but in this breakfast casserole recipe, with sharp feta cheese, mild artichoke hearts, and earthy spinach, the Greek seasoning brings just the right amount of emphasis to the dish. As good as this egg casserole is to start your day, it's even better for a light supper, paired with some crusty bread.

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  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my tiny kitchen in Boston's South End, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives. Thanks so much for visiting.

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