Official Liaison College Blog

Monday, December 19, 2011

Annual Christmas Cookie Bake

For the past few years we have been celebrating my mom's birthday (Dec 20th) with a group Christmas cookie baking event.  This year we topped out our class with 24 participants under the direction of Chef Elaina Ravo at the Liaison College in Kitchener. 

The class starts at 9:30 a.m. (under protest from some!) and the ladies are split into groups where a student chef assists them in baking various cookie recipes.  At lunch time we gather for a nice lunch - this year Chef Elaina prepared a wonderful German-style hot potatoe salad, schnitzel and roasted root vegetables.  I had a ton of inquiries about the potatoe salad recipe and will post this to a blog as soon as I get it!

Everyone brought some non-perishable food items as we sponsor three needy families each year with all the fixings for a Christmas dinner. 

After lunch there is nice social time and finally everyone gets their tin of assorted cookies.  A really great way to share a special birthday with friends.
Melt in Your Mouth Cookies


2 lbs shortening
2 cups icing sugar
2 egg yolks
½ cup almonds crushed
2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vanilla
5 cups flour


Cream icing sugar and shortening approximately 10 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks.  Blend until well incorporated.  Dissolve baking soda with lemon juice.  When it is frothy add to mixture & mix well.  Add vanilla.  Mix well.  Mix flour and almonds together.  Fold in flour and ground almond into batter.   Shape into an “S” shape.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Simple Holiday Appetizer a la Roothams Gourmet

My friend Marilyn Rootham (owner and chief product developer at Rootham's Gourmet) has a knack for making simple and delicious dishes.  Roothams offers a wide range of products, both savoury and spicy as well as sweet.  From marinades to dips and dressings and dessert toppings, there is a jar of heaven waiting for you at Roothams.
Every year, Marilyn and her staff host an open house where product is sold for charity and while you shop you can enjoy a glass of wine and taste some of the culinary creations featuring Rootham's products prepared by Chef Shawn Monaghan (a Liaison College graduate!).
With the festive season in full swing, you will likely need to prepare a quick appetizer or come up with a unique hostess gift.  I turn to Roothams.  Their products are guaranteed to be a pleaser and the recipes on their site are foolproof.
Here's what I'm making for our next holiday cocktail gathering:
Baked Brie with Tangy Red Pepper Jelly
You can't go wrong with Roothams!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nothing Blue about Blue Mountain ... Except the Skies

At a recent trip to The Blue Mountains we were blessed with some awesome weather:  clear blue skies, crisp, clean air and just enough snow to make the ground sparkle.  Simply beautiful.  Instantly made me think of the holidays and a hot cup of cocoa by the fire.

I snatched this simple recipe from Stephanie Jaworski

Hot Chocolate: Place the milk, semisweet chocolate, milk chocolate, and sugar (if using), in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk periodically until the mixture just reaches the boiling point. Remove from heat and if more foam is desired, use a wire whisk or hand held immersion blender to whip the hot chocolate.
Pour the hot chocolate into two cups and garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder or grated chocolate, if desired. Preparation time 10 minutes.
Whipped Cream: In your mixing bowl, place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar and stir to combine. If you have time, cover and chill the bowl and wire whisk in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. When chilled, beat the mixture until stiff peaks form. The whipped cream will keep in the refrigerator for a day or two.
Note: To make hot or iced mocha simply replace 1/2 cup (120 ml) milk with your favorite brewed coffee. Proceed with the recipe and if you want it iced, let the mixture cool and then pour over ice cubes. Garnish with whipped cream and grated chocolate.
Note: Leftovers can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Reheat.
Makes 2 - 8 ounce (240 ml) servings.

Hot Chocolate Recipe:

2 cups (480 ml) milk
3 ounces (90 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 ounce (30 grams) milk chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon granulated white sugar, or to taste (optional)
Whipped Cream:
1/2 cup (120 ml) cold heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated white sugar
Grated chocolate or cocoa powder

Read more:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

SouthCoast Serves up First Chef of the Day

The weather outside was frightful, but the lunch was sooooooo delightful!  The newest location in the Liaison College family located in the Belworth House Restaurant in Waterford, ON (also known as the SouthCoast) in Norfolk County hosted its first ever student Chef of the Day on Friday Dec 9th.  It was definitely worth the drive to Waterford! Ken was the student chef of the day and he created a menu that was simply mouth watering.

the Menu

1st Course

Puree of Local Sweet Potato Soup with hints of ginger
3 Onion Soup with a Cheesy Mushroom Crostini

Main Course

Coconut Curry Chicken/Toasted Garlic Rubbed Naan
With Sauteed Swiss Chard & Jasime Rice


Roasted Red Beet Salad with Manchego Cheese in a Red Wine Vinaigrette
Micro Greens topped with 2 Lamb Chops


House made Yogurt and Baked Tree Hugger Granola drizzled with  Local Honey Parfait


Deep Fried Banana Spring rolls with a chocolate Sambuca Dipping Sauce

I chose the Onion Soup:  This savoury and flavourful broth with small diced onions was the perfect choice for a chilly day, but it was the cheesy mushroom crostini that stole the show.  I was not able to squeak out the recipe, but Ken described the process and the work was definitely worth it!
Then I had the curry chicken.  This was a flavour cornucopia ... sweet, savoury, spicy an excellent blend of flavour and textures.  I forgot how swiss chard can enhance a dish!  And I should give a mention to the colours as well .... a vision of the fall colours.

The dessert was something of a conversation piece.  I would have selected the Chocolate dipped Banana, but that's what everyone before me chose and so the cupboard was bare.  And not being a huge fan of yogurt (even though when I ventured into the kitchen after lunch and saw the parfaits, I could have easily enjoyed the yogurt, too!) the chef offered us a slice of carrot cake.  This was not your average carrot cake.  The double layer of thick, moist, fruit laden cake was topped with the most decadent icing.  The recipe is a family secret tradition that was shared with Chef Tracy.  Awesome!  So inviting that I took a bite before taking the photo; imagine the piece bigger!

What a delightful lunch.  And when I was ready to pay the tab, I was informed that it was "on the house".  An unexpected treat.  And threw me off so that I forgot to tip the staff.  There is no telling what a full tummy and a pleasant surprise will do for your manners and protocol.  When I spoke to the Administrator, Jill, after the lunch and apologized for my oversight and omission she giggled.  I wondered to myself if Chef Tracy's magical food has caused other patrons to act in the same thoughtless way.  Yikes!

Here's the recipe for the Coconut Curry Chicken:
(yield 6 servings)
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/4" fillets and pounded
2 limes zest and juice
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger root
1 3/4 c coconut milk
1/2 tsp white sugar
1 c jasmine rice
1 tsp salt and pepper (or to taste)
1 tbsp veg oil
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp curry powder
1/2 onion thinly sliced
1 sweet pepper diced
1 - 3 tbsp honey
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 14 oz can coconut milk
1 14.5 oz can stewed, diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 c toasted coconut
1/4 c slant green onions
1/4 c toasted sesame seeds
In a glass bowl, mix chicken breast cubes, with lime juice, lime zest, and grated ginger.  Let marinate for 20 min.
In a med saucepan, combine the coconut milk and sugar over med/high heat.  Bring to a simmer.  Stir in the jasmine rice, reduce heat to low and cook lightly covered for about 20 min or until liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and fluff rice with a fork; cover and keep warm.
Heat oils and curry powder in a large skillet over med/high heat for two minutes. Stir in onions, sweet peppers and garlic.  Cook 1 more minute.  Add chicken, tossing lightly to coat with curry and oil. Reduce heat to med and cook for 7 - 10 min or until chicken is no longer pink in center and juices run clear.  Pour coconut milk, tomatoes, tomato sauce and sugar into the pan and stir to combine.  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, approx 30 - 40 min.

Bon appetit!

Puppy Love

We have a new puppy, Molly.  She is a Bouvier.  And she loves treats!  Since we love her, and training is a big thing right now, we encourage her with treats.

In no time she will be a 100lb furball, but in the mean time, she is all puppy.  Here are some treats that she can enjoy:

Puppy Love Cookies
2 cupsWhole Wheat Flour
1/2 cupCornmeal
1 teaspoonSalt
2 teaspoonsBone Meal
2 tablespoonsVegetable Oil
1/2 cupSmooth Peanut Butter
1/4 cupBeef Broth
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the eggs and beef broth together well. Add oil, peanut butter and egg mixture to dry ingredients and stir well. Knead the dough for 2 -3 minutes until it holds together well adding additional broth if the dough is too stiff. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes. Roll dough out to about 1/2" thick on a lightly floured surface.
Cut dough with heart shaped cookie cutter. Place pieces 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake in preheated oven at 350°F for approximately 30 minutes until golden brown. Turn off the oven and allow the biscuits to dry for 2 hours or overnight

Even Molly's horoscope says that she should have treats:

August 23 - September 22
Virgo dogs make clean, admiring pets who find joy in working with their owner.
Dogs born under the star sign of Virgo will want to take it nice and easy this November. These furry friends will love nothing more than lounging in the late afternoon sun by the window. Some homemade dog treats will be the perfect way to top off relaxing November days. Be sure to throw in a tug-of-war session every now and again to keep your Virgo dog from turning into a total couch potato.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Sweet & Salty Mash Up

Are you ready to settle down in front of the fire and watch some good, old fashioned holiday classics?  You will need this sweet and salty concoction to do just that.  This mash up is the best of both worlds for savoury and sweet ..... and soooooooooooooo easy!

2 cups mini pretzels
2 cups Chex cereal
1 lrg bag M & M peanuts or chocolates
1/2 lb (1 bag) White Chocolate chips

melt the white chocolate chips; drizzle over pretzels, chex and M & M's combined in a bowl; toss until all bits are covered (be gentle so you don't crush the goodies into crumbs) spread the covered bits onto a parchment lined baking sheet and chill until white chocolate hardens and cools - the effect is like snow covered snacks and the taste is addictive!  Enjoy