White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

 A hint of lime keeps this cheesecake light-tasting.

A crust made from the crumbs of Snickerdoodle cookies helps to make this cheesecake special, but you could use the crumbs from virtually any crunchy sugar cookie. The citrus and berries keep this cheesecake from being too sweet or heavy tasting.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
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  1. OR 3 cups other buttery sugar cookie crumbs
  2. 1⁄4 unsalted butter, melted
  1. 2 8oz pkg cream cheese at room temperature
  2. 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  3. 3⁄4 cup sugar
  4. 1⁄2 sour cream
  5. 3 tbsp lime juice
  6. 2 tsp finely grated lime zest
  7. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  8. 2 whole eggs at room temperature
  9. 1 egg yolk at room temperature
  10. 4oz white chocolate, chopped
  11. 1 cup fresh raspberries, plus extra for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Stir the cookie crumbs with the melted butter and press them into the bottom and halfway up the side of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes and cool while preparing the filling.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F. Beat the cream cheese and flour until light and fluffy. Slowly pour in the sugar while beating, and scrape the sides of the bowl a few times while adding. Beat in the sour cream, lime juice, zest and vanilla until blended and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the eggs and egg yolk one at a time on low speed, beating well and scraping the bowl after each addition. Fold in the white chocolate chunks and raspberries by hand and pour this into the cooled crust.
  4. Place the pan on a baking tray and bake for about 40 minutes, until the outside edges of the cheesecake are set but the centre still has a little jiggle to it. Cool the cheesecake to room temperature then chill until set, at least six hours.
  5. To serve, garnish to the top of the cheesecake with fresh raspberries and cut the cheesecake with a hot, dry knife.
  6. The cheesecake will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.
The Passionate Cooks Essentials http://thepassionatecook.ca/

Dynamite Paella

I have made Paella (pronounced Pie Aye ah) many times and this is the recipe that I have tweaked along the way to ensure authentic but simple to ensure a perfect Paella.

Dynamite Paella
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  1. 8 Chicken thighs ; boneless and skinless
  2. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 2 Spanish chorizo sausages ; thickly sliced
  4. Kosher ; salt and freshly ground pepper
  5. 1 Spanish onion ; diced
  6. 4 garlic cloves ; crushed
  7. Handful ; flat-leaf parsley leaves
  8. 1/2 cup Tomato puree or chopped tomatoes ; drained and hand-crushed
  9. 1 1/4 cups short grain Spanish rice such as Bomba
  10. 1 liter Chicken stock ; warm
  11. Generous ; pinch saffron threads
  12. 1 dozen Mussels ; scrubbed
  13. 12 large Shrimp ; peeled and de-veined
  14. Lemon ; wedges
  1. Heat oil in a paella pan over medium-high heat. Saute the chorizo until browned, remove and reserve. Salt and Pepper chicken then add to the pan and brown on all sides. Remove from pan and reserve.
  2. In the same pan, make a sofrito by sauteing the onions, garlic, and parsley. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on a medium heat. Then, add tomatoes and cook until the mixture caramelizes a bit and the flavors meld. Fold in the rice and stir-fry to coat the grains. Pour in chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Add chicken, shrimp, chorizo, and saffron. Give the paella pan a good shake and let it simmer, without stirring, until the rice is al dente, for about 15 minutes. Stick in the mussels hinge side down.
  3. When the paella is cooked and the rice looks fluffy and moist, turn the heat up for 40 seconds until you can smell the rice toast at the bottom, then it's perfect. The crusty bottom is called soccarat and is much sought after. Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with peas if using, parsley and lemon wedges.
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Chickpea curry

This is a great meatless meal with brown basmati rice


Chickpea curry
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  1. 2 onions, diced
  2. 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  3. 1/2 - 1 tsp. chilli powder
  4. 1 tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp tumeric
  6. 1 tsp. paprika
  7. 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  8. 1 tbsp. ground coriander
  9. 1 tsp. garam masala
  10. 880g of chickpeas (tinned)
  11. 880g canned tomatoes
  1. Add onion and garlic to hot oil and stir over a medium heat until soft.
  2. Add chilli powder, salt, tumeric, paprika, cumin & coriander. Stir over heat for 1 minute.
  3. Add chickpeas and undrained tomatoes.
  4. Cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes (stir occasionally).
  5. Add garam masala.
  6. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
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Hoisin Salmon

Hoisin Salmon
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  1. 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  2. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  3. 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  4. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  5. 4 4 oz salmon or black cod fillets 1inch thick
  1. In small bowl, combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and pepper.
  2. Pat fish dry and coat with sauce
  3. Preheat barbecue or boiler and cook fish for about 6 minutes (You can also bake fish for 10 to 12 minutes in preheated 425 oven)
  4. Serve with rice, mango salsa, stirfried vegetables
The Passionate Cooks Essentials http://thepassionatecook.ca/

Cottage Life-no seriously!

Cottage Life-no seriously!
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  1. 6-8 croissants
  2. 2 cups of blueberries (wild ontario of course)
  3. 6 eggs
  4. 2 cups whipping cream (500 ml)
  5. 1 cup milk (250 ml)
  6. 1 tsp vanilla (5 ml)
  7. Icing sugar and berries for garnish
  1. Slice each croissant lengthwise and place each bottom in a buttered 9x13 baking pan. Sprinkle blueberries over the top and Reassemble croissants.
  2. Pack croissants in snugly. They should not spill over rim.
  3. Thoroughly beat eggs, whipping cream, milk, and vanilla. Pour mixture over croissants. The croissants may 
initially float, but they will absorb the liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge overnight.
  4. Bake at 350° F (180° C) for about 
40 minutes, or until liquid has set.
  5. Using a small strainer, dust lightly with icing sugar. Garnish with a few berries for colour. Serve while still warm, topped with maple syrup and accompanied by fruit salad and bacon.
The Passionate Cooks Essentials http://thepassionatecook.ca/

Risotto of Sibari Nero, King Salmon, Spiced Green Olive Salsa

Risotto is synonymous with a style of cooking rice and here we are using the Sibari Nero Rice. Native to China, it is actually dark purple in colour and was cultivated exclusively for the Emperor.
When cooked, it is exceedingly aromatic.
We will be complimenting this with a seared piece of King Salmon and a Spiced Green Olive Salsa.

Risotto of Sibari Nero
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  1. 3 cups vegetable stock
  2. 1 cup Sibari Nero rice
  3. ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  4. 2 bay leaves
  5. 1 small onion, peeled and diced
  6. 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
  7. 1 cup wine, white
  8. ½ cup cranberries, dried
  9. 2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
  10. 1 tsp thyme, chopped
  11. salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Heat stock to a simmer.
  2. In a shallow pot over medium heat, add oil, bay leaves, onion and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add rice and stir until lightly toasted. Add wine and deglaze.
  4. add warm stock, ladle by ladle, stirring frequently. Continue to add stock as the rice absorbs the liquid. Check doneness of rice – when still al dente, add cranberries.
  5. add parsley, thyme and adjust with seasoning.
The Passionate Cooks Essentials http://thepassionatecook.ca/
King Salmon (aka Chinook Salmon) is native to British  Columbia and has a vibrant orange flesh, a high fat content and super rich in flavour. We are doing a quick cure and a flash sear
to finish the process.

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  1. 6 x 3 oz salmon fillet
  2. 1 oz salt, sea
  3. 2 oz sugar, demerara
  4. .5 oz freshly ground pepper
  5. ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. combine salt, sugar and pepper together.
  2. in a shallow stainless steel pan, cover salmon fillets with cure mixture.
  3. place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. with kitchen paper towel, remove any excess cure on salmon and dry well.
  5. in a warm cast iron pan, add extra virgin olive oil. Sear salmon fillets until golden on one
  6. side. Turn and finish cooking until desired doneness
The Passionate Cooks Essentials http://thepassionatecook.ca/
Spiced Green Olive Salsa:
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  1. 4 slices bacon, thick, cut into lardons
  2. 4 Fabrizia Home Style Cracked Olives, drained, oil reserved, olives chopped
  3. 1 shallot, peeled and minced
  4. 1/3 cup red walnuts, toasted
  5. 3/4 cup basil leaves,slivered
  6. salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. 1.In a large skillet, cook the bacon pieces over medium heat until they begin to crisp and the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes.
  2. 2.Add the olives, shallot and walnuts to the skillet and toss to coat in the fat. Add a couple pinches of salt and pepper and cook until warm.
  3. 3.Add the basil and remaining olive oil todesired consistency.
The Passionate Cooks Essentials http://thepassionatecook.ca/
  1. place a portion of risotto on a warm plate
  2. top with a piece of salmon and a spoonful of salsa off the side.

Smokey Lentil soup

Smokey Lentil soup
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  1. 2 cups Lentils
  2. 4 cups Chicken stock
  3. 2 cups Water
  4. 2 cloves Garlic; finely chopped
  5. 2 cups Tomatoes; crushed
  6. 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  7. 1 Medium onion; finely chopped
  8. 2 tablespoons Parsley; chopped
  9. 2 slices Bacon; chopped
  1. Boil lentils chicken stock and water until lentils are cooked but not mushy—approximately 45 minutes
  2. While the lentils are cooking, sauté onions and garlic and bacon in olive oil until onions are translucent and bacon is cooked.
  3. Add tomatoes and parsley, salt and pepper and simmer for approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Once lentils are cooked add tomato sauce and cook 10 minutes more.
  5. Pour soup into bowls and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
The Passionate Cooks Essentials http://thepassionatecook.ca/

Delicious Salmon Mousse

It is crucial to buy a top-quality smoked salmon. I like cold smoked salmon for this mousse

Delicious Salmon Mousse
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  1. 360g (13 ounces) smoked Atlantic salmon
  2. 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  3. Zest of one lemon, finely grated
  4. Juice of one lemon
  5. 2 ounces 35% whipping cream
  6. 1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
  7. 1 French shallot, finely chopped
  8. Freshly ground pepper
  1. Put the salmon, horseradish, zest and lemon juice, French shallot in the food processor bowl. Roughly chop with pulse.
  2. Add the cream slowly by pouring a little bit at a time until you get the texture of a spread. Still use the pulse button.
  3. Transfer the mousse in a bowl. Mix the chopped chives and add freshly ground pepper to taste.
  1. You can serve this on toasted baguette, endive leaves or better yet homemade gougeres
The Passionate Cooks Essentials http://thepassionatecook.ca/

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Blueberry Lemon Muffins
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  1. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 3/4 cup white sugar
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  5. 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1/3 cup milk
  8. 1 cup fresh blueberries
  9. 1/2 cup white sugar
  10. 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  11. 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  12. 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
  13. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter,lemon zest and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.
The Passionate Cooks Essentials http://thepassionatecook.ca/

Roasted Red Pepper with Feta Crostini

This is a scrumptious appetizer and most of the items are always on hand for last minute entertaining!

Roasted Red Pepper with Feta Crostini
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  1. 1 head of garlic
  2. 5 tablespoons olive oil,
  3. divided
  4. 1 jar roasted red bell
  5. peppers, drained
  6. 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  9. 1 (4-ounce) package crumbled
  10. feta cheese, divided
  11. 1 baguette
  1. Cut off pointed end of garlic bulb; place garlic on a piece of aluminum foil, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Fold foil to seal.
  2. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes; cool. Squeeze pulp from garlic.
  3. Process garlic pulp, 2tablespoons oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth (or
  4. just stir together for a more rustic look and taste).
  5. Add half of cheese, and pulse 5 to 6 times or stir until combined.
  6. Cut bread, at a diagonal, into 24 (1/4-inch) slices. Arrange on a baking sheet; brush evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons oil.
  7. Slice the red peppers and mix into above mixture and spread on each piece of baquette. Top with remaining feta
  8. Bake at 350° for 5 to 7 minutes
The Passionate Cooks Essentials http://thepassionatecook.ca/