Category Archives: Turkey

Bahn Mi Bowl

one bowlBánh mì is the Vietnamese word for bread. The origin comes from bánh (bread) and mì (wheat). Over time, because of French colonialism in Vietnam, the term Bánh mì has become synonymous with a baguette sandwich. This is no ordinary sandwich. It represents two cultures coming together to create something glorious.

The French contributed the baguette, mayo, and pork, but the Vietnamese brought the party with the addition of pickled vegetables, cilantro and jalapeño.

The idea for this lightened up version of Báhn mì comes from Amy Rosen in the 2016 Holiday issue of Food and Drink magazine. Replace the baguette with rice noodles and toss everything together in a bowl. I lightened up her version even more by using ground turkey instead of pork in my meatballs.

Start by making a Radish and Carrot Quickle (quick pickle!) with rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt pickled VegCilantro, green onion, garlic and Sriracha sauce are mixed in with ground turkey for the meatballs.making little meatballscooked meatballsSweet, salty, and sour come together in the dressing for this bowl. Lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce and brown sugar are whisked together for a simple sauce.

Fresh cilantro, mint, thinly sliced cucumber and chopped peanuts are sprinkled on top for a fast and healthy dinner. 4 bowls on marble counter 2

Click here to print recipe for Bahn Mi Bowls.

4 bowls on black backdrop



Sweet Potato and Turkey Sausage Hash

brunch for 2Although I write a food blog, I seem to struggle when it comes to deciding what to make when I have company for brunch. Smoked Salmon, cream cheese and bagels (unless I bake my own), feels like I phoned it in. Just not enough effort. Sort of like serving jarred salsa and bagged tortilla chips when friends come over. Pancakes and waffles are a challenge because they really are best served as soon as they are made and I don’t love cooking when I have people over. I prefer to have as much done in advance if possible. Plus, so many people are avoiding gluten and/or carbs these days.

My go-to brunch standard is a fritatta. My favourite is studded with sautéed leeks, cauliflower, corn and Gruyere cheese. It can be made ahead of time and is delicious served warm or at room temperature. But I get easily bored with food and always want to try something new.

Clinton Kelly made a variation of this hash on The Chew a few weeks ago. It seemed like a perfect brunch dish. He used ready made chicken sausage, but I keep Kosher, and couldn’t find any at my butcher. I decided to make my own. Since I wasn’t putting  the sausage in casing, it really is quite simple to do. It’s just a matter of picking the right seasonings.making sausageI decided to use ground turkey and seasoned it with paprika, fennel seed, allspice, salt and red pepper flakes. Ground turkey tends to be dry, so to add moisture, without adding extra fat, I added some finely grated apple and onion. I learned that trick from Rachel Ray.

Once the ground turkey is browned up, it’s time to make hash. I used a combo of sweet potatoes and Yukon golds. I added some corn, sweet red peppers, and jalapeños for a bit of zing. ready to make hashOnce all the veggies are cooked, the ground turkey is mixed in and it’s time to add the eggs. before baking12 minutes in a hot oven and brunch is ready. A big (12 inch) cast iron skillet is perfect for this dish, but any large skillet will work. It can be brought right to the table and served from the pan.hash for 4brunch for 1 625 sqIf you want to get really cute, make the hash in a big pan, and then transfer it to 4 mini cast iron pans. Top each with an egg and bake. Serve each person their own little pan. I found the mini pans at World Market for $7.99 each. I couldn’t resist. hash in mini pan 625 sq


Click here to print recipe for Sweet Potato and Turkey Sausage Hash.

An Unapologetic Turkey Burger

burger with runny egg 625 sqThe popularity of hamburgers continues to soar and our desire for novel and sometimes bizarre burger concoctions knows no bounds. Have you sunk your teeth into a Luther Burger yet? Hot on the heels of the Ramen Burger comes the Spaghetti Burger. And although you gotta give the guys at Slater’s 50/50 in Huntington Beach California some credit for creativity, I won’t be trying the peanut Butter and Jellousy Burger any time soon.

I have often felt that turkey burgers are the Rodney Dangerfield of the burger world. They just don’t get much love and respect. People look down on the lowly turkey burger. Not exciting, bland, boring and often dry as dust. I aim to change all that.

These are turkey burgers with nothing to apologize for. They are spiced with cumin and just a hint of chipotle chile powder. Lightly oiled and heavily salted just before they hit the grill, they are cooked through with just the perfect amount of char and crunch on the outside. Delicious as this burger is, it’s really all about the toppings here. I thinly sliced several onions and cooked them low and slow in a bit of olive oil, for almost 40 minutes until they were sweet and caramelized. A pinch of sugar helps the process. Patience please. Do not try to rush this process by turning up the heat. You will end up with burned onions.slicing onionsSome thickly sliced heirloom tomatoes, sour kosher dills and buttery avocado, sliced into wedges round out the toppings. I toasted a multi grain bun and spread it liberally with some chipotle mayo.  toppings The cherry on top is a fried egg. It seems that fried eggs are showing up on top of everything these days. There’s a very good reason for the fried egg trend. It just tastes freaking amazing. The crispy edges and the runny yolk of a fried egg are really one of life’s simpler pleasures in our ever increasingly complex world.

The richness of the yolk is the ideal way to counteract the natural leanness of the turkey.burger with egg 2 625 sqFrom that very first bite when you chomp into the burger and the yolk dribbles down your chin and the side of the burger, happiness will ensue. with sweet potato friesThe flavours and textures of this burger are something very special. The contrast of the cool crunchy sour dill with the warm tender egg will get your taste buds very excited for a second bite. Slow down and notice the sweet-acid zip of the tomato and the smooth buttery avocado. Take note the heat of the chipotle mayo, thickly slathered on the bun and the smoky accent of cumin in the burger. It all just works.

Click here to print recipe for An Unapologetic Turkey Burger.

Thanksgivukkah. Some new traditions for a new holiday.

sandwich 3 with textIt’s always a good day when I can learn a new word! Last week I learned the word Portmanteau. A portmanteau or portmanteau word is a combination of two or more words and their definitions, into one new word. For example; Bootylicious, from booty and delicious, chillax, from chill and relax and jeggings, from jeans and leggings. Jeggings by the way are not pants. Your booty must be covered if you insist on wearing them. (Sorry, just a little side rant!)

The newly coined portmanteau word of Thanksgivukkah was celebrated this past Thursday. I just love the fact that the word was actually coined by a Jewish mom, living in Boston. As you may have heard, this past Thursday, the American holiday of Thanksgiving collided with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.  Sort of a secular-religious mashup. The last time this happened was in 1889. It will not occur again until 79811! In case you are wondering why this does not happen every year, it is not because Jews are poor timekeepers. The Huffington Post did a brilliant job of explaining.

“The reason for this year’s rare alignment has to do with quirks of two calendars, the Gregorian and Jewish calendars. Much of the world follows the Gregorian calendar, which has a 365-day year based on the Earth’s orbit around the sun, with leap years every four years. The Gregorian calendar was implemented by Pope Gregory to keep Easter in line with the season it was originally celebrated in.

But the Jewish calendar, which was created more than 2,000 years ago, follows the waxing and waning of the moon. That calendar has 12 months of roughly 30 days each, which works out to a bit more than 354 days in a year. As a result, the Jewish year creeps earlier and earlier relative to the Gregorian calendar. But many Jewish holidays, such as Passover, are tied to seasons such as spring.

To keep holidays in line with their seasons, the Jewish calendar includes an entire extra month in seven of every 19 years. This year is a leap year, so Hanukkah and all of the other Jewish holidays came especially early in 2013. And Thanksgiving, which falls on the fourth Thursday in November, happened to come extra late this year, allowing for the convergence.”

I actually had to read that explanation 3 times before I understood it, but not to worry, this is not the main focus of this post. I wanted to spend a little time writing about the difference between Canadian and American Thanksgiving.

Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. Americans celebrate it on the fourth Thursday in November. When I was growing up, our family, and most of the other Jewish families I knew did not even celebrate Thanksgiving. It was just a welcome day off school and work. I’m not sure why we never celebrated it. Perhaps because it was usually so close to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and by the time it rolled around, we were holidayed out.

Canadian Thanksgiving is based on European harvest celebrations. It is our way of saying thanks for the the bounty of the harvest and giving us enough food to last through the cold winter. American Thanksgiving is based on a tradition of remembering and paying tribute to the pilgrims.

While Americans may celebrate louder and larger, Canadians were actually the first to celebrate Thanksgiving. English explorer Martin Frobisher is widely credited with hosting the first Canadian Thanksgiving. In 1578, he and his crew were out at sea searching for the Northwest Passage to the Orient. Although they did not find it on this particular journey, (they arrived instead in Newfoundland) they celebrated their safe arrival to the New World. And no one can celebrate like Newfoundlanders! After all, they invented screech. The first American   Thanksgiving (1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts) was not celebrated until 43 years after the first Canadian celebration.

The foods that Canadians and Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with are basically similar, except that the milk which Canadians mix into their mashed potatoes comes from a bag and is served with an extra pinch of politeness.

I do believe that both Canadians and Americans experience simmering cranberry sauce and emotions over their respective holiday weekends. There is nothing like an extended family gathering to bring out all kinds of feelings and arguments over pie and other such nonsense.

My husband and I had planned to be in Florida for American Thanksgiving this year. Our oldest son and daughter decided to join us for the weekend. About a month before the holiday my daughter sent me this link. We started planning how we would celebrate our first Thanksgivukkah. Since we were not arriving in Florida until 1:00 pm on Thursday afternoon, shopping and cooking an entire dinner from scratch was out of the question. We ordered  Turkey dinner and all the fixings from Whole Foods and decided to supplement with homemade sweet potato latkes.

As I am still in a cast and using crutches, the cooking fell to my husband, daughter and son. My daughter was in awe that applesauce was so simple to make. Basically, apples and a bit of water get cooked in a covered pot until soft and then mashed with a fork. You could get fancy and add cinnamon and other spices but we kept it basic.cutting applesapples uncookedapples cooked 2We started off making straight sweet potato latkes, but because they exude very little starch, they did not hold together very well. We then moved on to a hybrid latke, using a combo of starchy baking potatoes and sweet potatoes. We mixed in some grated onion, a couple of beaten eggs, a bit of flour and some salt and pepper. With all the extra hands on deck, the peeling and grating went quickly and we only had one grated knuckle mishap.peeling potatoesgrating sweet potatoesgrating regular potatoesOnce the potatoes have been grated, it is important to squeeze out all the excess liquid and then let the liquid sit for about 5 minutes. All the potato starch will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Drain off the liquid and scrape that starch into the latke mixture. It will help to hold them together.starchAt last, latke perfection was achieved. Crispy on the outside and creamy and soft within. just rightWe did not set a fancy table and sit down to eat. We just gobbled up the latkes as they came out of the hot oil. One of my family members performed the sacrilgious act of dousing the latke with ketchup!! (Apparently an Ottawa tradition). the crimeOthers kept it old school and slathered them with applesauce the way God intended them to be. take a biteI will admit that by the time the latkes were cooked and eaten, we had little room and interest in eating the turkey, stuffing and gravy. There were lots of leftovers the next day, which I suspect may be the whole point of Thanksgiving anyways. Inspired by Thanksgivukkuh, we made latke sandwiches the next day. Turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiched between two sweet potato latkes. New traditions don’t get much better than this.sandwich 625 sq

Click here to print recipe for Sweet Potato Latkes.

Friendship and Barcelona Part 1.

I met one of my very best friends at summer camp when we were 13 years old. We first bonded over giggling about a certain boy we both had a crush on while washing our hair in the rain with Herbal Essence Shampoo. This was way before the days of acid rain, and our camp was in the Haliburton Highlands of Ontario, so the rainwater, while a little cold, was fairly clean. Our friendship, like the shampoo, has endured. Not sure what became of that boy!

In 1991 we both discovered we were pregnant and expecting within several months of each other. She with her fourth child (she already had three boys) and me with my second child (I already had one son). We joked that it would be so cute if we both had girls and they ended up becoming friends. Since I was living in Ottawa at the time and she was in Toronto, it seemed unlikely, but we wished for it anyways.

Fast forward 21 years and yes indeed we both had girls. Her daughter became my god-daughter  and these girls of ours did indeed become friends. To celebrate this milestone birthday of our daughters, we decided to take a trip to mark the occasion. After much lobbying back and forth, Barcelona became the destination of choice. For the record, the moms lobbied hard for a beach holiday where we could just park ourselves under a big palm tree and read and drink Prosecco all day, but the girls lobbied harder for a cultural European city.

I decided to journal our adventure here in my blog, so that one day, when our daughters have daughters, they can look back on this holiday adventure and reminisce! Of course, the journalling will have a culinary bent. This is a food blog after all. Had we been thinking clearly, when planning this trip, perhaps Barcelona was not the best choice from a food perspective. My daughter is a vegetarian and my girlfriend and her daughter keep kosher. Barcelona is a haven for pork lovers!

We arrived around noon, Barcelona time, which was 6:00 a.m. for us. While our comfy beds at The Grand Hotel Central, were calling to us, we thought it would be wiser to try to stay awake and get on Barcelona time as soon as possible. We went for lunch and had our first tapas meal. We were quite jet lagged so I can’t really remember where this was, but there was one little bocadillo (sandwich) that stood out from all the others. It featured breaded and deep-fried goat cheese that was topped with a blueberry compote. Crispy on the outside, creamy, tangy and salty inside, with the sweetness of the blueberry topping, this was a little bite of perfection.                            first tapas lunchWe spent the rest of the afternoon walking around and getting our bearings. It quickly became apparent that only one of us would ever be able to list map reading skills on our resumes. My god-daughter has a keen sense of direction, and she became our North Star. We took a walk down Las Ramblas, a 1.2 kilometer long tree lined pedestrian mall that is in the center of the city. We had heard that the city was rife with pickpockets so we kept our purses close to us, but we had no problems at all. Right in the center of the sidewalk we ran into a cat that charmed us all! El Gato del Raval, is a bronze sculpture by artist  Fernando Botero.El gato del Raval We stumbled upon La Boqueria, the enormous food market, featuring over 200 food stalls, shops and tapas bars. The lattice wrought iron entrance to the market is a beautiful example of Catalonian Art Nouveau. The market has been here since 1857!market 3The sheer volume of stalls and selection at each stall was astounding. It was all quite overwhelming. It took us over 20 minutes to decide which fruit drink to order. I have purchased a  car in less time than that! We blamed our indecision on the jet lag. Pineapple coconut was finally chosen.fruit drinks 2

sharing a drink 2The displays were pure culinary art.chocolate at marketThe candy and dried fruit displays reminded me of the Shuk (Machane Yehuda) in Jerusalem.candyBaby avocados, just slightly larger than strawberries stopped me in my avocadoesThe next day dawned cold and rainy, but we came prepared. Dressed in raincoats, rubber boots and armed with umbrellas, we took an Architectural Walking Tour of the city. The walk, organized by Context Tours focuses on the fantastic architecture of Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona’s most important architect. Gaudi’s work can best be described as a cross between Willy Wonka and Dr. Seuss. He was at the forefront of the Modernista style of architecture so prevalent in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. This style of architecture is perfectly described by author Francois Loyer in his book “Art Nouveau in Catalonia.”

Modernista architecture can be characterized by the use of the curve over the straight line, organic and botanical shapes and motifs, a great richness of ornamentation, bright colours, a disregard of symmetry and a wide use of symbolism….The overall effect is a style of architecture which is very dynamic, very human, very colourful and often absurdly over-the-top when it comes to details and adornment.

Our guide, the charming, enthusiastic and extremely knowledgable Celia (she is an associate professor at the Barcelona School of Architecture) explained that during this time period Barcelona expanded exponentially in size from the medieval Old Town and became a breeding ground for the modernist movement. While this over-the-top, whimsical style may not be everyone’s cup of tea, they certainly make for great photo ops.Casa Batllo


Casa Mila (La Pedrera)After viewing many of his buildings, I was convinced that the term “gaudy” derived from Antoine Gaudi’s over the top style. Apparently not. According to The Online Etymology Dictionary, the word gaudy dates back to the 16th century, well before our Antoine Gaudi was born (1852). It described a joke, plaything or showy ornament.

Gaudi died tragically in 1926. He was run over by a tram. He had spent the last 16 years of his life devoted to the construction of a massive church, The Sagrada Familia Basilica. It remains under construction to this day. There are plans underway to complete the building by 2026, the centenary of his death. Gaudi was fond of saying, “My client his in no hurry.” He was, of course, referring to God! I suspect that not too many clients would be happy with this pace of development.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStay tuned for Part 2 of Friendship in Barcelona, in which we work our way through numerous brands of Spanish Cavas (in alphabetical order) and the girls get pulled over by the police while driving up to Olympic Park.