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Go Canada Go!


Alex Bilodeau wins the gold for Canada in Men's Freestyle Skiing

2010 Winter Olympics –  what an awesome time for Canada! All eyes are on our country, and millions of people are gathering on their sofas, love seats and comfy spots, catching a glimpse of Canada’s best athletes.

Cheering on our local heroes, and all of the relaxing that goes along with it, can make one hungry, and yes, even thirsty. Why not whip up some Canadian themed munchies, such as Maple Bacon Puffs or Proscuitto Wrapped Asparagus (not sure how Canadian this is but it is one of my favs).

Top it of by chilling out with a glass of wine from the West Coast. To learn more about the wines of British Columbia check out this link.

Maple Bacon Puffs

Two great Canadian ingredients are showcased in this recipe: Creamy brie from St. Damase, Quebec and pure Canadian maple syrup!

1 pkg. Presidents Choice Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed (I find this the easiest one to use)
6 slices of bacon, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp white wine or sherry
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 small round of St. Damase Brie, cut into 24 chunks
½ cup of grated Swiss cheese

Thaw puff pastry following directions on pkg. Once thawed, unroll on floured surface and use a pizza cutter to cut pastry into equal squares (approximately 24). Place pastry squares in a greased mini muffin tin. Place brie chunk in each cup.

Sauté bacon, once done, remove & drain excess grease (keep some grease in pan to cook the onions). Add onions to pan and cook on medium high heat; add pepper, maple syrup and wine/sherry and sauté till onions are golden brown and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Combine bacon & onions, let cool slightly, then evenly distribute mixture to pastry cups, top with shredded Swiss cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350 or until puffy and golden brown.


Procuitto Wrapped Asparagus

Name speaks for itself, clean and blanch asparagus (no more than 3 – 5 minutes). Cut thinly sliced proscuitto and wrap each stock of asparagus. Place on platter and cover with vinaigrette of choice.



A Hungarian Chef in Our Midst

With all of the talk about comfort foods and simplicity (I’m sure my begging her to cook my favorite dish might have guilted her into it as well), Kathy went home last weekend and felt inspired to cook some of her favorite traditional family dishes.  And guess what? On Monday, the Engine team got to reap the benefits of all of her hard work.

Thanks so much for sharing Kathy! See her recipe and comments below.

My family is Hungarian, so of course Hungarian Lecso is my most favorite comfort food. It is a cooked mixture of onions, yellow banana peppers, red peppers, tomatoes and paprika. Add some sliced Hungarian Sausage (or Polish Sausage) and it can be served as an appetizer or stew. I like to serve it over rice as a main course, but served with dumplings is the traditional way to eat it. You can also spoon it over scrambled eggs for breakfast, or over chicken for something different at dinner! Lesco can also be easily frozen for use at a later date.


  • 2-3 tbsp oil
  • 2 large red onions sliced
  • Traditionally, yellow sweet banana peppers are what you would use, but my family prefers to use red peppers also. I use 1 yellow pepper, 1 orange pepper, and 5 or 6 red peppers seeded and sliced. (Do not use green bell peppers they have no flavor and will turn to pulp.)
  • 1 large, ripe tomato, diced. (You can use canned tomatoes if you drain them well)
  • 375g Hungarian Sausage Chopped into small chunks (Pillers Polish also works very well if Hungarian sausage is hard to find)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 2-3 Tbs. Paprika


Heat oil in a large pot, add sausage and cook for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat to brown slightly. Add sliced onion, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until onion caramelizes slightly. Add salt, black pepper & paprika now. Mix together and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add all pepper slices and the tomato and cook for an additional 15 to 20 min. on medium high heat.

If needed you can add more salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Depending on the type of sausage used you may want to reduce the salt.

Reduce heat to simmer and cover, cooking for another 30 minutes or until peppers are soft.

(The ratio of peppers to onions and sausage should be 2/3 peppers to 1/3 sausage & onion.)

Spoon over rice or dumplings.

lesco2Serves 4.


Kathy recommends the Hungarian wine Bulls Blood to go along with this dish, may be hard to find but some LCBO stores will place a special order for you.

There’s more comfort food on the Facebook Fan Page, as Bryna shares one of her favourite exotic, yet simple recipes: Vegetable Jalfrezi.

Happy New Year to All!

Spice (like paprika) adds flavour to dishes, so you can skip the butter and salt. (In theory.)

Spice (like paprika) adds flavour to dishes, so you can skip the butter and salt. (In theory.)

Wow, what an awesome break, almost two weeks off–perfect! Just enough time off to enjoy family and friends, and just enough time off to really be ready to send the kids back to school. There’s that routine thing rearing its head again. Thank goodness for routines.

With the new year, comes my least favorite tradition, the “New Years Resolution”. The pressure of coming up with something that is truly going to make a difference in your life? Come on, do we really have to do this? I’m just chicken because I know that I’m no good at keeping them–resolutions that is.

So here it goes, I want to try to cut back and make some simple changes to my eating habits. No, really, I mean it…. Easier said than done, I know. I think that the key here is not to overdue it. So many people make resolutions that they can’t even come close to keeping; me I’m going to start off small.

Things like less salt and butter (killing me just talking about it, I love my salt and butter. Food just tastes so much better with it!); incorporating fish into our diet a few times a week; and one more–eating breakfast. I never eat breakfast. I’m too busy making sure that my kids eat theirs and have a healthy lunch packed. By the time I’m done this, my breakfast plans are out the window, or more like out the door.

Sitting down to the table twice a day as a family is a good thing. It means that I am looking after myself as well as my boys! If anyone has some good quick breakfast recipes, please share, I really need some help in this department.

Good luck with your resolutions, and remember, keep them simple and don’t stress!

In keeping with my resolution, I thought that I would share a salmon recipe that I made recently.

paprikaRubbed Salmon With Smoky Maple Glaze

Smoky Rub

  • 3 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together and keep in airtight container or jar. Recipe makes a fair amount so you can keep and use in other recipes. (Awesome on ribs)

  • 4 skinless salmon fillets
  • Olive oil for brushing on fillets
  • Smoky rub
  • Maple syrup – just enough to drizzle over salmon

paprikasalmonRinse and pat salmon pieces dry with paper towel. Place salmon on a baking sheet lined with foil (makes for easier clean up). Brush salmon with olive oil and then rub with smoky rub to cover top of salmon and drizzle pieces with maple syrup. Bake in 350 oven for 25 – 35 minutes depending on the size of the salmon. Broil for an additional 5 – 7 min. to get the top brown & crispy.

Enjoy with wild rice and steamed veggies of choice.

Wine – if you prefer red wine, I would suggest a Pinot Noir as it is a lighter red. A nice buttery chardonnay would pair really well with the meaty fish.



Holiday Entertaining 101 – Part 3


Beautiful glassware presents your holiday cocktails as presents all their own.

Here’s the skinny on setting up the Perfect Bar! 

Very important – make sure your bar is completely set up before your guests arrive

• Ice & lots of it ~ running out of ice isn’t cool!

• Shot glass or jigger for measuring

• Strainer for chilled drinks without the ice

• Pitcher for mixed drinks with long handled spoon for stirring

• Shaker set for those “shaken, not stirred” cocktails

• Small cutting board (bar board) and paring knife for cutting lemons and limes

• Cocktail napkins

• Swizzle sticks

• Bottle opener

• Corkscrew

It’s not always possible but having a designated bartender is a bonus and takes some of the pressure off of the host. 


  1. Don’t stick to lemons and limes for garnishes. Set out bowls of cranberries, raspberries, star fruit, vanilla beans, lavender, lemongrass, chocolate swizzle sticks, flowers, olives, pickles, etc. 
  2. If fridge space is limited use your deck, porch or balcony! 
  3. Offer some low-carb and low-cal beverages, such as light beer or light coolers. 
  4. Serve both plain and sparkling water and lots of non-alcoholic choices. 

Gorgeous glassware is must! I don’t know about you, but my red wine just doesn’t cut it when it’s served to me in a plastic glass (go “green” and use glass not plastic, rent or borrow from family or friends if you have to). Go above and beyond and serve beer in a tall pilsner glass – adds a touch of class (unless your guests specifically request their beer in a bottle).

 Make sure that you have enough glasses for everyone, usually two per guest for each type of drink you will be serving. Why not write the names of guests on holiday gift tags, tie them to the stems of the glasses as you hand out the drinks. OR, as Rachael Ray recommends, use a china marker and write the names directly on the glasses.


Easy Homemade Eggnog

 12 large eggs

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 tsp salt

12 cups Homogenized milk (for richness, some recipes call for whipping cream so this isn’t so bad!)

3 tbsp Vanilla

2 cups Brandy

1/2 cup rum

Ground nutmeg

 Beat eggs in extra large bowl until light. Continue beating while adding sugar and salt gradually. Beat until sugar is dissolved. Add milk and vanilla. Add brandy and rum. Adjust strength by increasing or decreasing liquor. Stir. Can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before serving, or stored covered for 6 days. To serve, run immersion blender through to foam. Garnish with nutmeg. Makes 28 servings.

curryCurried Nuts ~ so easy, and a great addition to any bar! 

1/4 cup butter

1 tsp medium-hot curry powder (curry flavor is not too strong, adjust as desired)

1 tsp salt

Dash or two of Worcestershire sauce

4 cups of mixed nuts (pecans, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, cashews etc.)

Melt butter in large saucepan. Stir in curry powder, salt & Worcestershire. Sauté until fragrant. Add nuts. Stir to coat. Turn into ungreased roasting pan and bake in a preheated (325 degrees) oven 10 – 15 minutes. Stir occasionally while baking. Cool then store in an airtight container.

curry1Check out our Facebook Fan Page for more holiday entertaining tips. We have the skinny on all the cocktail trends for 2010, and we’ll be posting more holiday recipes as we head closer to Christmas.

The Finish Line!

100 Mile eating can be really amazing with a little extra effort in the kitchen.

100 Mile eating can be really amazing with a little extra effort in the kitchen.

Well, here we are, day five of our 100 Mile Diet Challenge, and boy am I ever craving a hot cup of coffee on this cold damp morning! Five days of hot apple cider is getting a bit much, and quite frankly, I’m not to fond of the herbal tea that I bought – YUCK!

On the up side, I feel that I have eaten pretty well this week–all local and quite yummy! Last week I didn’t include a recipe so I thought that I better step up to the plate this week. This is a recipe that I prepared during the challenge, and shared with my colleagues at Engine.

Roasted Chicken with a Butter & White Wine Sauce
  • 2 Chicken breasts ~ skin on (if you want flavor that’s where a lot of it comes from)
  • 1 Small onion ~ quartered, then quartered again
  • 4 Cloves of garlic peeled and cut in half
  • 1 Portobello mushroom, sliced (Wellington Mushroom Farm)
  • 1 slice of bacon chopped
  • 1/2 tsp of dried French Thyme (Vicki’s Veggies)
  • 1/4 cup of white wine (from one of our many local wineries in the County)
  • 1/4 cup of homemade chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp of butter (Stirling Creamery)

Happy eating!

Happy eating!

Heat oven to 375, place chicken in baking dish or stoneware, put cut veggies, garlic and bacon around chicken, sprinkle everything with the thyme, mix wine and stock together and pour around chicken. Bake for about 40 min., put a tbsp of butter on each piece of chicken and broil for the last 5 – 10 min., the butter will melt over the chicken, helping it to brown and then mix with the wine and stock sauce. Once beautifully browned, remove from oven and serve with hot buttery wine sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Serve with a Chardonnay from Black Prince Winery where yesterday, we took part in a grape crushing challenge (which Shaun won), and a wine tasting.  Thanks to the folks at Black Prince for their hospitality and fun!

Hint:  if not taking part in the 100 Mile Diet Challenge, I would use sea salt and fresh black pepper to season the chicken as well. This is truly the hardest part for me, I am a salt freak and it REALLY does enhance flavor!


A special thanks to the crew at Cogeco for a great week! Mike, Anne–you made us think local, get engaged and you helped us have fun doing it. We really appreciate all your hard work. Thanks to Chris at the Milford Bistro–you’ll be getting a visit from the whole team soon, but this time we’ll let you cook. We also appreciate the warmth and hospitality of Kerry and Rod at Black Prince Winery. We had so much fun with you! It’s been a great week. Hope you enjoyed it as well!

Grape-covered hands post-challenge at Black Prince Winery, Picton, Ontario.

Grape-covered hands post-challenge at Black Prince Winery, Picton, Ontario.

The Engine Team (L-R Kerry, Kathy, Fillmore, Shaun and Kathy).

The Engine Team (L-R Kerry, Bryna, Fillmore, Shaun and Kathy).

More Than Food

“Food is more than food. It is love, comfort, politics and a fundamental adhesive.” -Kathy Ullyott, Editor-in-chief, Homemakers Magazine

leavesThis quote says it all, and really makes me ponder how we as a society see mealtime. Do we truly understand and appreciate the importance of food and the many roles that it takes on in our daily lives? Yes, we all know that we need food to survive and that we have to feed our bodies, but what about feeding our minds, hearts and our souls?

It’s the “fundamental adhesive” part that is so vitally important and is most likely ignored. Are you really taking the time to sit down, RELAX and enjoy your meal? Are you connecting with your loved ones and friends, really listening to what they have to say? Or are you more concerned about what’s next–the dishes, the laundry, the game on TV, or just another hour or two of work on the computer or at the office?

I think that we get so wrapped up in the long list of “to do’s” that we forget what food and the whole meal experience is meant to accomplish.

Refuel, Rejuvenate & Reconnect

Well, that’s exactly what I have planned for this weekend: an informal get together that focus’s on family and friends and of course, awesome FOOD, and our unconditional love for it.

 Fall’s harvest makes planning a gathering delightfully easy! We’re hoping for nice weather so that we can enjoy one of our last meals outside (that’s what blankets are for), and the kids will even take part by cooking bread on a stick over a roaring fall fire! I’m getting all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.

Whatever your weekend has in store, make sure that your experiences are memorable ones and take the time to savor and truly enjoy your meals. Fall in love with mealtime all over again!

Menu ~ A Fall Gathering!

Salad of Fall Greens with Pecans, Apples & Brie

Pan Fried Pickerel – caught and prepared by my Dad–it’s his famous recipe!

Baked Beans

Beer Braised Beef – recipe from this month’s Canadian Living.

Roasted Rosemary Potato Wedges

Caramelized Onion Cheddar Cheese ~

Fire Roasted Corn on the Cob

Bread on a stick

Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate (it also happens to be Paul’s Birthday–that’s my significant other–and he likes nothing better for dessert than the indulgence of anything chocolate!)

beefBeer Braised Beefmakes 4 servings (double the recipe for a large crowd)

  • 2lb bottom blade boneless pot roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2” cubes
  • 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 slices bacon, chopped
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp each packed brown sugar & cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups dark or amber beer
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch dried thyme
  • 1 slice light rye bread
  • 1tbsp grainy or Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley Sprinkle beef with salt & pepper.

In Dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over med – high heat, brown beef, in batches. Remove to bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the broth to pan, scraping up brown bits, add to bowl. Add remaining oil to pan; cook onions over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in sugar and vinegar until sugar is melted. Add remaining stock, beer, bay leaves, thyme and 1 cup of water, scraping up brown bits. Return beef mixture to pan and bring to a boil. Cut off bread crust, spread bread with mustard; float, mustard side down, on stew. Reduce heat to low, cover and summer for 1 1/4 hours. Break up bread, stirring into sauce. Simmer, covered until thickened and beef is tender, about 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves, stir in parsley.

Serve with bread & cheese – Yum! Serve with dark or amber beer.

My wine pick for this menu is Red Guitar, a remarkable wine from the Navarra region of Northern Spain.

Red Guitar, 2005, Tempranillo Garnacha

Red Guitar, 2005, Tempranillo Garnacha

100 Mile Diet Challenge

Organic PeppersThe big news here at Engine today is that we’re going to be TV stars!


Let me fill you in.

We all know the idea of eating locally sourced foods isn’t just good for your health. It supports the local (in our case, rural) economy, it reduces the ‘carbon footprint,’ and let’s face it–fresh food just tastes better.

We love food here at Engine. I can’t stress this enough; it’s not just infatuation folks, this is the real deal. As George Bernard Shaw states:

There’s no love sincerer than the love of food.

It’s pretty easy to tell from our Fridays with Kerry series that we take our food personally. We include you in it because food is a great thing to develop relationships with. I think we can all agree that,

Food is best when shared with friends.

So we’re taking this love of food, and putting our money where our mouth is. Instead of just talking about it, we’re partnering with Cogeco to take part in the 100 Mile Diet Challenge.

888763For those of you who don’t know what that means, the 100 Mile Diet entails eating only foods that are available within a 100 mile radius of where you live. It sounds delicious, but in reality it’s not that easy.





We’re lucky enough to live in an area that has been hailed as the ‘Gastronomical Capital of Ontario.’ We have lots of fresh produce, meats, and even wine. What we don’t have though is flour, or sugar, or *gasp* coffee!

 This could pose a problem.

But we’re committing to trying it out for seven days. And we’re so serious, we’re going on TV. The reality kind.

We won’t be shooting until October, but it’s confirmed. We’re diving in. We’re excited to support our local farmers. We’re psyched to meet amazing chefs. (I’m closing my eyes, crossing my fingers, and wishing really hard for Jamie Kennedy and/or Michael Potters.) And we’re pumped for whatever challenges the producers at Cogeco throw at us.

We’ll keep you posted as the shooting unfolds. Until then, take a look at these links to learn more about local food and drink. (You might want to put on a bib first.)

Taste the County

Taste Trail

Harvestin’ the County

Vicki’s Veggies

Bon appetit!

Party Animals, Not the Kind You’d Find on the Ark


Coming up with unique artwork for various media–newspaper, magazines, posters, brochures, billboards, packaging, and the list can go on–is what we at Engine do on a daily basis. Something that doesn’t come across our table too often, and we would love to do more of, is wine label design. Recently I was reading an article in the Intelligencer on a new trend, lifestyle labels for wine bottles. It seems that the ‘critter labels’ such as Little Penguin (one of my personal favorites and a staple in my wine rack) will be taking a back seat to new ‘lifestyle labels’ such as Girls Night Out.

It seems that the trend is to create brands that are more targeted and gender specific. I guess that animals are out and sexy is in – whatever works, as long as those wine bottles make it off the shelf and into your wine cellar. Check out our most recent artwork for a local client who needed labels done up for a fundraiser Gala dinner. Now that’s sexy…


Friday’s With Kerry


Wow! Summer is finally here, and I couldn’t be happier! I was starting to wonder what happened to the good ol’ dog days of summer from when I was a kid? I guess as I age so do the weather trends. It may not be the kind of summer that I remember, but hey, I’ll take it.

One of my favorite things to do on a hot summer day? Chill on the deck, sip on a cold summer cocktail and nibble on some yummy apps that are made from fresh, local ingredients. I am a true wine lover, but I have to admit that my drink of choice when it’s super hot out, is an ice cold (and I mean put in the freezer for an extra 15 min cold) beer! In saying that, I certainly am not opposed to a chilled glass of Rosé.

Rosé wine: Not just for amateurs any more. A light & refreshing summer wine for any occasion.

Most Rosé’s are not the sweet, fizzy stuff you drank when you were young and looking for a cheap, easy wine. It’s classy and wonderfully versatile, whether your mood requires a lighter, fruity wine or a heavier one with some structure.

Tip: To chill your summer bottles in just 20 minutes, fill bucket two-thirds full with equal parts cold water and ice. Submerge bottle up to neck; speed it up a bit more by tossing in a handful of rock salt.

Here’s a quick and easy summer app recipe to go along with the Rosé.

42-15200409Blueberry Brie on the Barbie

  • One large round of Brie
  • 2 Cups of local fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 2 tsp of brown sugar
  • Lemon rind grated
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Place last 7 ingredients in a tin foil plate and place on BBQ on Medium heat, till bubbly and berries are reduced. Approximately 15 min – 20 min. Keep warm on upper rack and grill the Brie round. Once Brie is warmed through, place on platter and drizzle with blueberry sauce. Serve with artisan breads and crackers. Voila!