Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon for Apple Season

A belated Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians! I celebrated quietly with friends and it was nice to say “I thank you for being in my life”. So now I will say the same to all my readers: Thank you for reading and sharing my food adventures with me.

We went to Chinatown for our meal so I have no Thanksgiving dinner to share. But I did recently go back to the Cabane à sucre Au Pied de Cochon sugar shack for a worthy meal of gluttony focused around the apple season.

mich 5

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Easter/Birthday Dinner: Green Tea Cake

My mother’s birthday this year was 3 days before Easter so we decided to combine the whole party thing in one. For these events it is just my parents and I. Obviously she was not going to cook for her birthday so I ended up preparing the Easter meal for the first time in my life.

I wish I could divulge the whole menu to you but I cannot. The bites and the appetizers were tests, secret tests, for a future event (so sneaky). Yes, my parents were foodie guinea pigs. But I can tell you what the main meal was. We had vanilla chicken as I made a little while back and asparagus with morels. Originally it was suppose to be a risotto with the veggies but I stuffed my parents up with my tests so we skipped the rice part. The morels where from a care package I had received from Paris from the Foodie Exchange.

Dessert was a huge success as well. I made a green tea birthday cake. To keep it very Easter-like I made a simple whip cream icing with a bit of sugar and food coloring. The cake itself had a green tinge with a pink icing decorated with blackberries and served with the Roasted Black Sesame Ice Cream I made earlier this week. A very unusual mix and look but it worked. My parents LOVED the ice cream too.

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Cooks Challenge Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto and Vanilla Chicken

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.

I did my usual party event out of it and invited friends over to cook: Karyn, Raquel, and Christineh. Since we had one vegetarian we opted for a veggie stock (but I have plenty of frozen turkey stock homemade in the freezer from the holidays…forgive me for skipping that part of the challenge).

Raquel, Karyn and myself (Chris photographer)

I also was given some vanilla pods recently by Elaine at I Heart Vanilla which I wanted to use. I found a recipe for butternut squash and vanilla risotto. For the carnivores I found a Vanilla Chicken recipe (a recipe from Réunion Island) too…so the theme was vanilla and risotto.

Pics are not the best as we had polished off 2 bottles of wine before eating! Food was phenomenal and we had a blast! By the end of the evening 4 bottles of wine were gone, naughty stories were shared, tears of laughter were shed, full stomach were in ecstasy. Dessert included fancy pastries, chocolate covered almonds and homemade chocolate oatmeal raisin cookies by Raquel. What a blast!

Look on the The Daring Kitchen website for the recipes of the challenge. I adapted with the two following recipes:

Butternut Squash and Vanilla Risotto

Originally published by Giada De Laurentiis

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large vanilla bean
  • 3 cups peeled cubed (1-inch wide) butternut squash, about 12 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 3/4 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives


  • In a medium saucepan, warm the broth over medium-high heat. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and add them, and the bean, to the broth. When the broth comes to a simmer reduce the heat to low. Add the butternut squash to the simmering broth and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. (Note: I actually cooked my squash cubes for about 15 minutes. It took quite a while for them to become tender.) Using a slotted spoon remove the butternut squash to a side dish. Turn the heat on the broth down to very low and cover to keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to of the broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Discard the vanilla bean. Turn off the heat. Gently stir in the butternut squash, Parmesan, the remaining tablespoon of butter, and salt. Transfer the risotto to a serving bowl and sprinkle with chives (Note: or thyme). Serve immediately.

Vanilla Chicken

by My Vanilla Shop

  • 1 chicken
  • 4 onions
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 6 garlic gloves
  • thyme
  • 1/2 tsp saffron
  • pepper, salt

1. Remove the bones from the chicken and cut into small pieces
2. Braise the chicken until tender
3. Slice onions thinly
4. Grind garlic with salt and pepper
5. Add onions and cook for a few minutes
6. Add the ground garlic and cook for a few minutes
7. Slit the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seed paste inside.
8. Add the vanilla bean and the vanilla seeds to the chicken
9. Add 2 glasses of water
10. Continue to cook until chicken sauce has reduced