Category Archives: Gourmet Club Selection

fudgy brownies

Thanks to Liz Varsek  adapted from The Patent and the Pantry

1 cup unsalted Stirling butter

1 cup cocoa powder, sifted

2 cup sugar

1/4  tsp salt

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

2 egg

2 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper

2. Melt the butter in a medium pot, then stir in the cocoa powder until smooth. Stir in the sugar and salt, followed by the flour, milk, egg, and vanilla. The batter will be very thick.  Use a spatula to spread the batter in an even layer in the baking pan. 

3. Bake at 350 for 25 – 30 minutes until the center is just set and the edges are starting to pull away from the pan. Use the parchment paper to pull the slab of brownies out of the pan and cool on a wire rack. I like mine to be slightly underbaked and served chilled for maximum fudginess. If you want them to be more chewy and firm, bake an additonal 5 minutes or so.


earl grey shortbread with orange glaze

Thanks to Liz Varsek for making these for Gourmet Club and sharing her recipe (slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies)

2 cups flour minus one tablespoon

1 TBSP corn starch

2 TBSP finely ground earl grey tea (about four tea bags)

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter soften/room temperature

1/2 icing sugar (powdered sugar)

1 TBSP orange zest

Preheat oven to 375

1. Stir together the flour, salt, and tea

2. In the bowl of a mixer cream the icing sugar, butter, and zest together until light and fluffy

3. With the mixer speed on low stir in the flour mixture until combined

4. If rolling out the dough to cut out shapes: Squeeze the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill until firm enough to roll out. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut out 1 1/4 inch shapes and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Place cookie sheets in freezer to firm up before baking.

If shaping the dough into a log for slices: Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a log 1 1/4 inches in diameter and wrap in parchment. Place in freezer until firm enough to slice. Slice each cookie 1/4 inch thick and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets.

5. Bake the cookies at 375 for 10-13 minutes until the edges of the cookies are slightly brown. Move to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Orange Glaze

1 – 2 TBSP orange juice

zest from one mandarin orange

Icing sugar/ powdered sugar

1. Combine one tablespoon of orange juice with the orange zest. Gradually whisk in icing sugar until the glaze is of drizzling consistency. If your glaze gets too thick add a few drops of orange juice at a time until it thins out.  Drizzle over the cookies and let set before serving.


green salad with tropical fruits

Adapted from Eating Well Magazine                (Serves 8)

    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or vegetable oil)
    2 tablespoons lime juice
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 grapefruits, cut in segments
    2 cups fresh pineapple, cut in 1 inch cubes
    1 14-ounce can hearts of palm, drained and sliced
    2 firm ripe bananas, sliced
    Boston lettuce and spring mix greens
    a handful of mint leaves (1 cup), torn in half
    1/4 cup coconut chips, toasted
  • For vinaigrette, whisk oil, lime juice, salt and pepper together. (I add 1 – 2 Tbsp honey to taste, especially if the fruits are not very sweet)
    To prepare salad: Combine grapefruit sections and juice, pineapple, hearts of palm and bananas in a bowl. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and mix gently.
    Toss lettuce and mint with vinaigrette to coat lightly, and arrange on individual plates. Arrange the fruit over the lettuce and sprinkle with coconut. Garnish with more mint if desired. Pass pepper grinder.
  • I prefer lighter canola oil for green salads, but the lime and fruit do stand up to the olive oil here.
  • I omitted banana and would sub mango or papaya or any tropical fruit in season.
  • Look for coconut chips in the produce section or coconut ‘ribbons’ at Planet Organic, or make them from a fresh coconut. To toast, place in a small dry skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until light brown in spots, 4 to 8 minutes. I think the coconut is optional.

roasted pear salad

Source: Best Recipes Ever.  Serves 10

  • 5 large firm ripe pears
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp  lemon juice
  • 8 cups torn mixed salad greens
  • 2 cups radicchio leaves, or Belgian endive
  • 1/2 cup  roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • blue cheese wedges

Pear Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup (125 mL) pear or apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp (45 mL) vegetable oil

caramelized pan juices from roasted pears (or to taste)
1 tbsp shallots, minced
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper

Peel, halve and core pears.  Place cut side up in a glass baking dish. Whisk together oil, sugar and lemon juice and  brush all over pears. Roast in 425°F oven, basting once, until caramelized and tender, about 40 minutes. Cool in pan.

Pear Vinaigrette: Combine vinegar, oil, shallots, pan juices, salt and pepper in a jar and shake. Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate pears and vinaigrette separately for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature to serve.

In large bowl, toss together salad greens, radicchio and vinaigrette; divide among plates. Slice pear halves into quarters; arrange on salads. Sprinkle with almonds and an optional wedge of blue cheese

butternut squash risotto

Adapted from Vegetarian Recipes from an Italian Kitchen
  • 5-6 c. vegetable or chicken stock 
  • ¼ c. unsalted butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 4 shallots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 ½ c. arborio rice
  • ½ c. white wine
  • 2 c. butternut squash, in ½ inch cubes
  • 1 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
  • handful of coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)
  • sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste

Heat the stock in a saucepan and keep it simmering.  In another large pot, cook the shallots in butter and olive oil until they are soft, then stir in the garlic and cook for another minute without any browning.  Add the rice and stir until all the grains are coated in oil.

Add wine and stir to absorb, then add the squash and the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring until each addition is just absorbed and the rice and squash are cooked to your preferred tenderness (slightly al dente)..

Turn off the heat and add the cheese, parsley, salt and pepper, and more stock if needed for the right creamy consistency.  Cover and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

beef pot pies with cheddar-stout crust

Thanks to Reg and Ed for making this for a tapas-style dinner and for sharing the recipe.

For the dough:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup grated Irish cheddar cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 6 to 7 tablespoons stout beer
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
For the filling:
  • 2 1/4 pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup stout beer
  • 3 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
Make the dough: Pulse the flour and fine salt in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and cheese and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with some pea-size bits of butter. Drizzle in 6 tablespoons beer and pulse to combine. Squeeze the dough between your fingers; if it does not hold its shape, pulse in up to 1 more tablespoon beer. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Toss the beef, flour, 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, about 7 minutes. Add the beer and 2 cups water, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a simmer, then cover, transfer to the oven and braise, 30 minutes. Add the leeks, carrots and celery to the pot and continue braising, 1 more hour.
Meanwhile, put six 10-ounce ramekins on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roll out the dough between 2 lightly floured sheets of parchment into a 10-by-15-inch rectangle; cut into six 5-inch squares. Make a few slits in the middle of each square to let steam escape.
Remove the filling from the oven and increase the temperature to 375 degrees F. Season the filling with salt and pepper and divide among the ramekins (there may be some filling left over). Top each with a square of dough, pressing the edges into the ramekin. Brush with the beaten egg. Bake until the crust is crisp and golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let rest about 10 minutes before serving.

maple or vanilla pots de creme

Thanks to Josie Emmett 

It can be made into a creme brûlée as well.

1 litre of heavy cream
100 mL of maple syrup (or one vanilla bean and 125 mL vanilla sugar)
6 large egg yolks

hot water

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Place the cream in a medium double boiler sauce pan and heat until 
almost boiling. Cover and let sit (remove vanilla bean if used).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until well blended andjust starting to lighten in color. Add the sugar or maple syrup and 
blend in. Add the cream a little at a time, stirring continually. 
Pour the liquid into 6 larger ramekins (holding 6-7 0z) or 12 small 
ramekins (3-4 oz). Place ramekins in a large cake or roasting pan and
pour enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. 
Bake just until the creme is set, but still trembling in the centre, approximately 40-45 mins. Remove the ramekins and cool, refrigerating at 
least 4 hours and up to 3 days.

You can make creme brûlée by spreading sugar about one quarter inch 
deep on top and either torching it or running under broiler (I don't find that this works well).

Enjoy! Josie