Shrimp Croquettes

If you are like me, you are always trying to find something a little different to impress company or even your family. This might do the trick. It is not expensive to make and I think you will be glad you tried this.

  • 2 -3 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 8 large mushrooms, cleaned and minced
  • sea salt
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 lightly beaten eggs
  • 2 cups panko crumbs

In a saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat. Add the flour gradually, whisking for 7-8 minutes until it turn a light golden colour. Whisk in the milk and cream gradually to ensure no lumps remain. Turn up to a high heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat immediately and let it cool.

Put enough oil in the frying pan to coat the bottom and set the heat to medium. Add the onion, and stir until it becomes translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minute more until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Let this cool for about 12-15 minutes.

Put about 2-3 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan and add about 2-2 1/2 lbs. of cleaned and deveined shrimp (large). Cook and stir until they turn pink. Remove from the heat immediately and let cool enough to handle. Chop into small pieces. Add the shrimp meat to the mushroom bowl Add the sauce and mix gently to incorporate. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture out in an even layer and freeze for 25 minutes. It should be solid but still workable. Remove from the freezer, and with 2 spoons, make balls about the size of melon balls. Repeat until all the shrimp mixture is used.

In a medium saucepan, add enough oil to cover a candy thermometer and heat until it reaches 375 degrees.

While heating up, in separate bowls, add the flour, the eggs and panko crumbs in shallow dishes. Roll the balls in the flour, dipping into the beaten eggs and then rolling in the panko crumbs. Fry them (a few at a time) for about 3 minutes. When cooked, remove and place on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Arrange on a platter and serve warm. Take your bow as they are so yummy and ‘damn you did this’. These could be served with a bowl of lime wedges on the table.

Cauliflower With Brown Butter And Sweet Paprika

This is a wonderful and tasty dish to serve family and guests alike.

  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3-1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
  • 1 large head of Cauliflower, leaves removed
  • 6-8 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. Hungarian sweet paprika

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast the panko crumbs in a skillet until golden in colour (about 3 minutes). Let cool completely then stir in the salt and cheese.

Place a steamer basket in a pot filled with water just below the basket. Place the cauliflower in, cover and steam for 10 minutes until fork tender. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Melt butter in a saucepan until browned (about 8 minutes). Remove from heat, pour half the brown butter over the cauliflower and sprinkle about half of the panko mixture.

With a paring knife, cut the cauliflower into chunks and pour the remaining butter over the top, sprinkle with the remaining panko mixture and serve immediately.

Classic Scotch Eggs

This is very different, but intriguing to say the least. Can be served with a Chutney. It can be made with a hot sausage meat but is definitely better with a mild sausage.


  • 6 small eggs
  • 1  1/4 lb. mild Italian sausage meat
  • 1 cup Panko crumbs
  • 2-3 cups Crisco oil

Boil the eggs in a pot of water for about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with ice water and cool for 5 minutes. Peel and pat very dry with paper towels.

Divide sausage meat into 6 portions.  Flatten each portion into 5 inch circles. Place an egg in the center of each circle and wrap the meat around the egg to completely cover.

Pour the Panko crumbs into a shallow bowl and coat each sausage covered egg completely.

Pour the oil into a large pot until it reaches 1/2 inch up the sides. Heat over medium heat.  Add 2 eggs and cook, turning often until the panko turns a golden brown (2 minutes). Transfer to a paper towel lined platter. Repeat with remaining eggs. The oil should be 325 degrees for the eggs.

This can be served warm or cold (I prefer the warm).

Scallop Cakes With a Cilantro Mayonnaise

This is a wonderful light lunch for 4. Try it…on the patio in the early spring days with a couple of friends and a glass of chilled wine such as a Sav. Blanc.


  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. sea scallops
  • 1  1/2 cups panko crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. peeled ginger, grated
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 large lime
  • pinch of cumin
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise


Saute the onion in the olive oil until soft. Cool and then transfer to a food processor. Add the scallops, 1/2 cup panko crumbs, egg, cilantro, parsley, ginger and salt. Pulse until almost smooth, making sure there are still bits of scallop. Cover and chill until cold.

Put the remainder panko crumbs in a bowl. Scoop 1/3  cup of the scallop mixture in your hands and form into a ball and shape into a 2 1/2 inch round flat cake. Roll in the panko crumbs  and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat for the remaining mixture. (If making the day ahead, cover  and refrigerate).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat peanut oil in a large skillet. Add two cakes at a time and cook until golden on both sides. Remove to the baking sheet. Repeat until all the cakes are done. Bake for about 7-8 minutes until cooked through.

Dollop two cakes per plate with the cilantro mayonnaise. Serve with steamed baby potatoes that have been drizzled with butter.


Cilantro Mayonnaise

  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • zest and juice from 1/2 large lime
  • pinch of ground cumin
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (not salad dressing)


Combine all the ingredients in a blender and whirl until well blended.



Homemade Chicken Cutlets – Make Aheads

Now that September is here, holidays are over and busy nights starting up. If you make this recipe up, you have the opportunity to make 5 or 6 different dinners and it will take only minutes. Everyone will think you slaved in the kitchen….not!


  • 4 cups plain panko crumbs
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 lbs. chicken cutlets (9-10)
  • 1/3 cup flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the panko crumbs, garlic powder, oil and salt together and lay out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake, stirring a couple of times for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. You may have to crush a few handfuls to allow the crumbs to adhere to the chicken.

Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Pat dry the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour, tapping off any excess. Dip in the eggs and coat with the panko crumbs. Press lightly to ensure that it adheres to the chicken.

Lay the cutlets on a parchment lined baking sheet . Make layers and lay the paper between the layers. Freeze these now for at least 2 hours, then place in resealable plastic bags.

That was to bake when needed:

Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and arrange as many cutlets as needed. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven, flipping just once, until well cooked (about 13-14 minutes). If the cutlets are not frozen, it should only take about 10 minutes.

Tomorrow,  I will give you a couple of recipes that are easy and quick using these cutlets. Until then…..


Truffles Like You Have Never Had Before

We are always looking for new things to try on our guests and this is one, I guarantee, you have never had before. Entertaining is always exciting and this will definitely up the ante on your hosting skills.


  • 1/2 cup Asiago cheese (my favourite)
  • 3  1/2 oz. whole duck foie gras, torchon style*
  • 1 tbsp. apricot jam (homemade if you have – it  would be perfect)
  • 2/3 cup panko crumbs
  • pinch of dried mint
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Place 2/3 of the cheese in a frying pan and, without stirring, cook over medium heat until the cheese starts to turn golden (60 seconds).

Remove from heat and quickly transfer to a plate to cool down. When cooled, break up with a knife and chop fine then transfer to a small bowl.

In a processor, puree the foie gras and jam until completely smooth. Transfer this to a bowl and fold in the remaining cheese, breadcrumbs and mint. Season to taste.

Scoop up teaspoons of the mixture and form balls with your hands. (keep hands wet so mixture doesn’t stick), repeating until all done.

Roll in the toasted Asiago cheese you chopped earlier and chill now until ready to serve. The only thing needed is a toothpick and a glass of wine. Ha!


“torchon style’ only means the method of cooking fois gras.


Baked Clams

This one is for Pauline.


  • 24 Quahog clams, scrubbed
  • 1 cup Panko crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Asiago cheese
  • 3 bacon slices, cut crosswise into 8 pieces each
  • Worchestershire sauce
  • lime wedges

Bring 1 cup water to the boil in a heavy saucepot and add the clams and cook, covered, stirring occasionally for 4 – 8 minutes. Check at the 4 minute mark  to see if they all opened and any of them that hasn’t opened at the end of 8 minutes, toss out.

As the clams open, remove with a slotted spoon into a bowl and when done, discard the water.

Preheat the broiler. Shuck the clams and reserve 24 half shells. Scrub the shells inside and out, then dry. Return the clams to the shells and arrange in a shallow baking pan.

Divide the stuffing among the clams with a piece of bacon and a drop of Worchestershire sauce.

Broil 5-6 inches from the heat until the bacon is cooked and the stuffing is a golden brown. No longer than 2-3 minutes.

Serve with lime wedges.


Veal Parmigiana

Your guests will drool when this comes to the table. When they leave, you may hear them say “when can we come back?”. Tis true.

 Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 cups dry panko crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1 cup plus 4 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese (fresh)
  •  1 tbsp each minced fresh parsley and basil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 8 veal scallops
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  •  1 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 8 slices of mozzarella cheese

Put rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Combine panko crumbs, one-half cup cheese, herbs, salt and pepper in a pie plate. Set aside. In a shallow bowl whisk the eggs and water together and set aside.

 On a flat plate, spread the flour, coat the scallops in the flour, shaking off the excess and dip in the egg mixture and then the bread crumbs. Pat with your fingers to ensure the crumbs adhere.

Heat the oil in a fry pan over medium high heat and sauté the veal until lightly browned, two-three minutes.  Using tongs, turn the meat over and repeat, adding more oil if the pan starts to dry out. Remove the veal and blot with paper towels to remove excess oil.

Oil a shallow baking dish and spread one-half cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom and arrange the scallops over the sauce slightly overlapping them. Sprinkle four tbsp parmesan cheese and cover with the remaining tomato sauce. Top with the cheese slices and bake until completely heated through, about twenty-five minutes.

If you wish more color on the top, place under the broiler briefly.

This recipe will taste as good if not better than restaurant fare and YOU made it.

 Remember to proclaim to self “damn, I did this”.



Crusted Halibut With Mango Salsa


This is really company fare.

Serves 4

  • 3 tsp fresh chopped dill
  • 4 tsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 4 tsp chopped lemon peel
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 4 halibut fillets
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 cup panko crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together the first five ingredients and spread out on a piece of waxed paper. Brush the fillets with the melted butter on both sides and roll in the herb mixture.

On the top side of the fillet, press the panko crumbs on top.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about nine minutes until the fish flakes easily.

When plating, place the fillet in the center of the plate . Place a spoon of mango salsa on the side. Serve at once.

Mango salsa

  • 1 mango, peeled and chopped
  • 1 ripe tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 chopped cantaloupe
  • Juice of 1 lime

A very colourful and a tangy accompaniment for this fish dish.

Smoked Salmon Cheesecake

This makes a great luncheon entree or a superb appetizer for a dinner party. Depending on when you plan to serve this, it serves 10-12 guests.

  • 1  1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs, toasted
  • 1/4 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 28 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz. smoked salmon, broken into flakes
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush really well with butter, a 9 inch springform pan. Mix the first 4 ingredients together and dust the pan (bottom and sides) with the mixture, making sure to coat it well. Place in the refrigerator while you make the filling.

In a frypan, saute the finely chopped onion until it is transluscent and set aside.  With a mixer, beat the cream cheese and eggs until fluffy. Beat in the whipping cream. Fold in the onion and salmon.  Pour into prepared pan.

Wrap the bottom and sides of the pan with tin foil and go to the next step. Set the pan inside a roasting pan adding boiling water about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes until set.  Leave the oven door open a little, cool the cheesecake for 1 hour.  Transfer to a cooling rack, remove the tin foil and cool to room temperature before serving.

Place a lemon slice resting on the side  of the pie with a sprinkle of finely chopped fresh dill.  Two to three crackers on the plate will complete the dish.



Ramekin Puffed Potatoes

Potatoes can be prepared in a million different ways, that’s for sure. Guess what? Here is one more. This is a classy presentation.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  • 2 1/2 lbs. potatoes (Yukon Gold is best)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. finely crushed fennel seed
  • salt to taste
  • softened butter
  • 1/4 cup panko crumbs

Peel potatoes and cook until tender (about 15-20 minutes). Mash the potatoes  and  place in a mixer and mix until smooth.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, fennel seed,  pepper and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Stir into the potatoes until well blended.

Butter generously eight ramekin dishes. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and shake off the excess. Spoon the potato mixture equally in the dishes and smooth off the tops. Now for some quirky reason let this stand for 30 minutes before putting into oven.

Bake these for 30 minutes until puffed and golden. Serve immediately.

When you prepare your dinner with that extra touch, you elevate the dinner to a higher level. You feel good when everyone raves about it and you say, often now, “damn I DID this”.

Twice Baked Squash

This is so tasty, so give it a try. Not hard or difficult.'(just like the potatoes)


Serves 4

  • 2 butternut squash (about 5 1/2 lbs in total)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 9 tbsp. sour cream
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 3-4 tbsp. panko crumbs, lightly toasted
  • Butter


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Remove all seeds and fibers. Sprinkle surface with salt and pepper. Fill a roasting pan with 1/4 inch of water. Place squash in the pan, cover with foil and bake for about forty minutes. Remove from oven and let cool enough for you to handle. Now reduce oven to 425 degrees.

With a large spoon, carefully scoop out the flesh of the squash and put in a bowl making sure to leave one-quarter of an inch so they retain their shape. Add all the ingredients except the crumbs and mix well until smooth. Fill the empty shells with the mixture, sprinkle with toasted panko crumbs and a few tsps. of butter dotting the top. Return to oven and bake for another 25 minutes.

You won’t believe how tasty this is! In a word-yummy.