Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last post of the year...but Cathy will be eating over Christmas!

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Ahhh, I made it to the last Cathy Eats post of the year!( New post tentatively planned Jan 2nd 2012) I am getting ready to hit the road to visit family in the snowy Okanagan for the next 5 days. Truth be told, the P-Man and I have been out almost every night, and my cooking has been lacklustre to non existent. C'est la vie...It's the Holidays, and I am in the mood to be served.
My business life has been getting a bit busier of late.( a good thing! ) I have decided to keep my once a week every Monday blogging schedule for Cathy Eats, but wanted to let you know about a few other places you can read my writing about food. This Friday Dec 23rd at 4:30 pm, a new post will be published on an online magazine called GoodVeg. I have agreed to write a post a week for them as well, and as far as I know, they will be appearing on Wednesdays...but I will let you know! The GoodVeg posts will be about how I maintain my weight and stay healthy by incorporating more vegetables and fruits into my diet. Don't worry, I'm not becoming a vegetarian...there will still be posts including pork products at Cathy Eats...I'm just branching out a little. Stretching my writing wings! If you read this blog, you also know that I sometimes do restaurant reviews, especially when I am travelling. I have decided to move those reviews from Cathy Eats to Trip Advisor. I have been posting reviews for a year now, at and am really enjoying the format, the feedback, and the badges I get from them. I want to keep this blog pure and simple...It's about what I cook, and what I think of what I cook...and of course riffs on how to keep the P-Man happy with yet another variation of spaghetti with meat sauce!
So, that's it.
Another year is almost over, and I am still cooking, and eating and writing about it.
Pretty damn good life...
Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and a GREAT 2012!
Go crazy...leave me a comment once in awhile, would ya, Please?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Party Appetizer Extraordinaire!

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Isn't this a Pretty Platter full of Party bites? My building's annual Christmas party was yesterday, and it was a great excuse to try out a new appetizer recipe! I know...You're not supposed to use your neighbours as 'guinea pigs'...but this recipe is a tried and true combo! From the compliments I received...I know it was a good choice. I found this recipe on the net, and after about 5 minutes of assembly and 35 minutes in the oven, they were ready to be chopped in half and skewered. I didn't even get bacon grease on my new Christmas dress!

Cheese Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates

Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees

3 tbsp cream cheese (room temperature-full fat- not a cream cheese'product')
3 tbsp goat cheese (room temperature-I used a BC goat cheese-plain)
15 big fat plump moist dates sliced to form a pocket-pits removed( mine were from California, and so big, I cut each one in 1/2 after they were baked and cooled a few minutes)
15 1/2 slices bacon(I used a 50% less salt one)

Put cheese together in small bowl, and when it's at room temperature stir to combine. Take pits out of dates, being sure to leave a nice pocket. My dates were so soft, I just poked my finger in, removed the pit, and made a hole big enough for the cheese. Stuff about a teaspoon of filling in each date. They should be full. Take a 1/2 slice of bacon and wrap each date and place them seam side down on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until bacon is nice and crisp. The original recipe said 20 to 25 minutes, but my bacon was not crisp until 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Stand back and receive the compliments! Looking smug is completely optional...
Happy Partying!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Baked Pasta with Vegetables

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This pasta dish is really as large as it looks! It's a monster! A crowd pleaser! One of those things you bring to a pot luck, and people keep asking you for the recipe! I made this baked pasta while the P-Man was on a business trip to China, and a friend and her cute baby were coming over for lunch. We ate. The baby had her 'liquid lunch' and I gave my friend a container full to take home. The P-Man was due to arrive home 2 days later jet lagged and hungry...and when I pulled this out of the fridge, I couldn't tell what made him happier...seeing me, or seeing a big dish full of pasta! You will need about an hour to assemble the ingredients for this dish, including making a while sauce. Not a ton of time, considering how much of a bang you get for your buck! Feel free to substitute veggies of your choice. As usual, my choices were determined by my weekly fresh produce box, courtesy of SPUD.

Baked Pasta with Vegetables:

olive oil
1 lg white onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic,chopped
stems from 1 large bunch of chard, chopped fine
leaves from 1 large bunch of chard, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, grated
1 medium zucchini, grated
1 14 oz can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 14 oz can Italian style stewed tomatoes
2 tbsp dried Oregano
1 head broccoli chopped into small pieces
1 500g box bow tie pasta
1 cup grated pecorino cheese- I used Pecorino Pepate(with black peppercorns)
basic white sauce- google it: 4tbsp butter/4 tbsp flour/2 cups 1% milk with cheese added
salt and pepper

Veggies first:

In a big skillet: olive oil to coat bottom. Add onion,garlic,chard stems,zucchini,carrot, oregano, salt and pepper, and saute until soft. Add garbanzos,tomatoes and chard leaves and stir until leaves are wilted. Check seasoning and set aside to cool. Be sure that the mixture is well seasoned.

White Sauce: ( Don't be scared! It's so easy!)

Make white sauce, and when it has thickened add the cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Taste and re-season. I didn't need to add much salt, and no pepper, due to the fact I used a well aged,full flavoured cheese. Always taste before adding salt, as cheese is quite salty. Stir the sauce every once in awhile to keep it smooth.


Put a big pot of water onto boil, and season with at least a handful of kosher salt. Boil pasta according to directions on the box minus 3 minutes. During the last minute of cooking, throw the broccoli into the pot, and after a minute drain, and set aside.


My dish measured 12X9, and was 3 inches deep. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.( I cooked the pasta for 1 hour, but could have gotten away with 45 minutes oven time.) Splash some olive oil into your dish, and coat the bottom and sides. layer equal parts veggie mixture/pasta-broccoli/white sauce. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 1 hour. This pasta is great re-heated the next day. It's a luxurious, and hearty dish, full of flavour!
If you make any substitutions, or get rave reviews...leave a comment...let me know!