Pear and Blue Cheese Tartine with Black Truffle Oil

Pear and Blue Cheese Tartine with Black Truffle Oil   

Calling all blue cheese lovers!

I feel bad even calling this a recipe, but every once in a while you come across something so simple yet delicious that it would be selfish not to share it with all of you. Like truffle oil and Parmesan cheese on French fries, some flavor combinations should not be ignored. 5 ingredients…and completely addictive. 

Pear and Blue Cheese Tartine

I believe this tartine could be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or even make a light dinner. You may even entertain the idea by serving it in bite size pieces as an elegant appetizer at your next holiday party. It could also be a jumping off point to a quiche or a salad (I’ll elaborate on some of these ideas a little further down).

Let’s get real, tartine is just a fancy way of saying a toasted open-faced sandwich. This is similar to how we use the term crostini to simply say small pieces of toasted bread with toppings. Like the word hors d’oeuvre to really say appetizer (small bites of food that you’re not typically supposed to fill up on before dinner but inevitably do). All 3 of these words lean on the pretentious side, yet we can all agree that tartine sounds so much more appetizing.

Pear and Blue Cheese Tartine

This particular ‘recipe’, a term I use lightly, stemmed from a recipe for truffled goat cheese and pear (which is also a brilliant idea, btw). You start with slices of ripe but slightly crisp pear, a drizzle of honey, black truffle oil (or white truffle oil works too, but I prefer the earthiness of black truffle oil for this particular recipe), and a smattering of crumbled blue cheese topped on freshly toasted bread. Obviously, there’s a lot of room for your own creativity. If you’re not a big fan of a strong blue cheese, a cambozola or gorgonzola could easily serve as a substitution. Both are milder (and creamier) but provide enough earthiness and tad of sharpness to compliment the sweetness of the pear and honey. If you choose to go with a creamier variety, you’ll want to put a thin slice of cheese on first, then layer with pears, honey and then oil. I like to bake mine slightly to melt the cheese before drizzling with honey and oil. 

Pear and Blue Cheese Tartine with Black Truffle Oil
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  1. 4 slices of your favourite bread
  2. 1 ripe pear
  3. blue cheese of choice
  4. honey to drizzle
  5. black truffle oil to drizzle
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F if you are choosing to heat and soften the cheese slightly. This is optional. Toast the bread using a toaster or do it in the oven. Place a layer of sliced pear on each slice of toasted bread. Add chucks of crumbled blue cheese on top of the pear slices. Place the slices on a cookie sheet and bake until cheese is starting to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the tartines from the oven and drizzle with honey and black truffle oil.
  2. In a snap you could skip the whole oven process but I do find that the flavors seem merried better when slightly heated through.
  1. If you are using creamier styles of milder blue cheese, you may want to put the cheese onto the bread first, melt it in the oven slightly, then proceed to adding the pear slices. Return the cookie sheet to the oven and heat for another 2 minutes. Remove the tartines from the oven and drizzle with the remaining ingredients.
The Restless Palate
Pear and Blue Cheese Tartine

Before I leave you, I’d like to address the cost of truffle oil, since it’s worth a mention. Great quality truffle oils are quite expensive. Don’t let that deter you from this recipe or versions of it. There are different grades of truffle oil and the cliché ‘ you get what you pay for’ is true here too. However, finding a  mid-grade oil is an affordable option and does the trick nicely. I buy a 50ml bottle from a couple different olive oil specialty shops for about $7. That’s expensive considering you are only getting 50ml, but a little goes a long way. I’ve been using the same bottle for just over a year and I still have a 1/3 of a bottle left. I can’t suggest strongly enough that A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY. Start with just a thin drizzle and add more if need be. Truffle oil carries a strong flavor that can easily overpower even the flavor of blue cheese. Yes…even blue cheese. I’d like to mention that I’ve found if you add it at the very end, it preserves the flavor. It seems that the flavor diminishes during the cooking process, forcing me to use even more to attain the same intensity.

Pear and Blue Cheese Tartine

Please experiment if you enjoy this flavor combination as much as I do. It pairs well will spicy salad greens such as Arugula, or with something saltier such as chopped beet greens. You could do something hardier such as cooked barley tossed in a honey mustard vinaigrette and even get a little fussy by adding in fresh tarragon. The next recipe would make for a unique brunch idea. A frittata with baby potatoes and blue cheese would be lovely. A thin layer of sliced pears on top, finished in the oven for 15 minutes, skip the honey and simply drizzle with a black truffle oil.

By on November 30, 2015 in Appetizer, Blog, Brunch, Cheese, Lunch, Main Ingredient, Pear, Recipes, Vegetarian 0

Tomato Fennel Sausage Stew

Tomato Fennel Sausage Stew

The back story.

Eating processed food or eating out too often takes a huge toll on my energy levels and my clarity of thought. It also enjoys tipping the scale and turning my digestive system into an MMA match. Needless to say if the motivation was a bird, I’d have enough for a flock. Guess what? I still can barely muster giving a goose. As a result, my weekly lunches are often Sunday’s stew which I force myself to make. Maybe that’s the norm for some of you, but for a food blogger, that’s horrifying. My breakfasts and dinners come from simplicity and laziness. However, there are some benefits. I’ve held onto the simple yet tasty recipes and those easy enough to put together even when I’m catatonic. In other words, life savers. Over the course of the next few months, I’ll be sharing these with you. Hopefully, you enjoy these as much as I have until I get back into my cooking and blogging groove.

Today’s story starts with a Pig.


Recently I’ve had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with a family that raises Berkshire pork. The kobo beef of pigs! Get in my belly! What a score.
With some convincing I was able to get my hands on enough meat to last me through the year. Moving to a new city means finding all new sources of sustainably raises animals, a CSA, farm fresh eggs and local dairy. It’s been a process, to say the least, but getting access to Berkshire pork far exceeded my expectations of finding quality local products. It’s like a won the jackpot and it’s living in my freezer.

Being asked for feedback on the sausages prompted me to get into the kitchen and that’s how this stew was born.
I feel a warning is in order. I can guarantee that your stew will end up tasting different from mine no matter how closely you follow the recipe. The flavor of your sausages will undoubtedly be different. Your tomatoes might be a different variety, grown in a different climate or maybe they came from a can. Your fennel bulbs might be larger, your garlic more potent. In the end, none of that will matter because this is one of those foolproof recipes. I’ve included the variations I’ve made in the past that have been successful, but feel free to play around. This stew can handle it!

Tomato Fennel Sausage Stew

My favorite addition to date is a drizzle of black truffle oil. If you want to serve lasts night’s stew to some special guests, this is the way to go. Garnish with fennel fronds and feta, crumbled goat cheese or parmesan pedals. The color contrast ads visual interest and layers of flavours. I love that this stew is so pliable.

Tomato Fennel Sausage Stew
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  1. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 onion, roughly chopped
  3. 4 galric cloves, minced
  4. 6 cups of roasted tomatoes or 2 756ml cans of whole tomatoes
  5. 1 cup of chicken stock
  6. 1 can tomato paste (156ml)
  7. 2 fennel bulbs, core removed and sliced
  8. 2 tsp dried thyme
  9. 3 Tbsp of honey (or more to taste)
  10. 1 Tbsp Hungarian or Spanish paprika (sweet or bitter)
  11. 6-8 sausages (approximately 2 lbs)
  12. Chopped fennel fronds to garnish
  13. Drizzle with black truffle oil (optional)
  14. Additional toppings: cheese such as feta, goat cheese or Parmesan.
  1. Preheat pven to 350 F. In a cast iron pan or oven proof pan, brown the sausages on all sides. Place the sausages in the oven and cook until no pink remains and their juices run clear. Depending on the thickness of the sausages, this will take 20-25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven, cook onions with olive oil over medium heat until they begin to soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except the sausages and stir to combine. Simmer for 25 minutes or until fennel becomes tender.
  3. Once the sausages are cooked, add all the juices and fat from the cooked sausages into the stew and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more honey if the stew is too acidic (depends on your tastes and the tomatoes).
  4. Serve stew with slices of sausage and top with your favourite garnishes.
The Restless Palate
The basics:
-Add 1 1/2 cups (or 1 can drained and well rinsed) white beans and serve it over angel hair or spaghetti. Garnish with Parmesan petals.
-Add 1 1/2 cups (or 1 can drained and well rinsed) of cooked chickpeas, garnish with feta and serve with crusty bread and butter
-Add shrimp and cooked diced chicken and 1 can of drained and rinsed clams and chilis flakes to taste. Serve over rice with grated aged cheddar.
-Add 3 cups (approximately) of chicken stock and serve as a soup with grilled cheese sandwiches
-Add 1/2 cup of sour cream  and serve with Pappardelle and toasted Panko crumbs

Maken’ it fancy:
Serve it over creamyParmesan polenta and drizzle with black truffle oil and garnish with fresh grated Parmesan and fennel fronds
Serve on top of zucchini fritters and top with grilled halloumi cheese

By on November 17, 2015 in Blog, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Low Carb, Lunch, Main Course, Main Ingredient, Pork, Recipes, Tomato 1

Olive Oil Cake with an Apricot Brandy Glaze

Olive Oil Syrup Cake 1.4

I’ve taken a leave for quite some time so the obvious post would be an irresistible cake with which to bribe you for forgiveness. After all, who in their right mind doesn’t like cake?! Only crazy people. Of course none of you fall into that category so join me in this indulgence.

Disclaimer: I take no responsibilty for the midnight sneaks into the kitchen for just one more wee little sliver. You were warned.

Olive Oil Syrup Cake 1.0

Olive Oil Syrup Cake 1.2

I liken this desert to a pound cake making babies with a syrup cake. At first it comes across as a dense pound cake. What’s surprising is that it’s still light and delicate on the palate, almost begging you to alllow it to slowly dissolve on the tongue. There’s earthy notes from the olive oil that ground it and a hint of lemon that keeps it fresh. The apricot brandy glaze is not only addicting but it also keeps the cake moist for days.

In fact, it’s the worst kind of cake. This cake just keeps you coming back for just one more sliver and another and another…In any case that’s what happened to me. Don’t judge. It could happen to anyone!

Olive Oil Syrup Cake1.1

Olive Oil Syrup Cake 1.5

There will never be afternoon tea at my house but if I did, this would be my first choice. Grandma’s coming over? Yup! This is the cake. Maybe your hosting a dinner party and have a choclate hater amongst you? This is the cake. Honestly, I can’t think of a situation where this would not be fitting. I know because the only meal of the day that I could think of that might make this cake a questionable choice was a 7 AM breakfast. So I did what any reasonable blogger would do. I tried it, once or twice. Yup. It totally works.

Those of you who have been following me for a while, know that I rarely do fussy or complicated baking. To be quite frank, I simply do not have the patience or the aptitude for anything but no fail and easy desserts. First mix the dry ingredients. Then mix the wet ingredients. Mix it all together and bake. If I can make this, so can a 5 yr old. 

I made this using a spring form pan but I would confidently recommend using just about any baking pan you have availble. It will require you to watch the baking time a little more closely if you decide to go that route.

Note: Honey causes the edges to brown faster then cakes using only sugar.

Olive Oil Lemon Cake
A dense moist cake that's a delight to serve at almost any meal or occasion.
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  1. 2 cup flour
  2. 1 cup sugar (organic cane or regular)
  3. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  5. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  6. 1 1/3 cup olive oil
  7. 1 1/8 cup milk
  8. 1/2 cup honey
  9. 3 large eggs at room temperature, beaten
  10. 1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  11. 1/4 of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  12. 1/4 brandy
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 F. Grease a 9 inch spring form pan (or pan of choice, but then you'll need to adjust baking time accordingly).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking power and baking soda. In another bowl mix together the oil, milk, honey, eggs, zest, lemon juice and brandy. You may notice that the milk will slightly curdle when you add the lemon juice. That's ok.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir only long enough to combine. A little flour here and there is fine.
  4. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake at 325 F for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. The top should be golden yellow, the edges a deep golden brown.
  1. Apricot Brandy Glaze recipe to follow.
The Restless Palate
Apricot Brandy Glaze
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  1. 1/2 cup apricot jam of choice
  2. 1/4 cup brandy (apple juice, whiskey, Grand Marnier can be used as subsitutes)
  1. Place both ingredient in a small pan. Stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir frequently. Allow the cake and glaze to cool slightly. Top the cake with the glaze in an even layer.
The Restless Palate

Olive Oil Syrup Cake 1.3

By on November 9, 2015 in Apricot, Blog, Dessert, Flour, Main Ingredient, Recipes, Snack, Vegetarian 8

4 Ingredient Maple Adobo Glazed Salmon (15 minutes flat)

Sweet and Spicy Salmon

There are days when simplicity is best. When it’s just about getting something tasty, flavorful and easy into the belly. Especially when the mind is too cluttered to give much thought to dinner.  Serve it with greens and dinner is done. Thank gawd because sometime….we all have those days. 

Sweet, spicy and tangy. What could be better all smothered on top of a thick slice of wild salmon?

4 ingredients, 15 minute sweet and spicy wild salmon. Is there really any need to say more? I didn’t think so. Continue Reading →

By on February 2, 2015 in Blog, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Low Carb, Main Course, Main Ingredient, Recipes, Salmon 2

Moroccan Coconut Corn Chowder ( Vegan/dairy free)

Moroccan Coconut Corn Chowder

The sky is grey and trees once hanging heavy with snow are now bare due to 25 km winds. It’s amazing how much a landscape can change with just a gust of wind. Though mild temperatures persist, it feels more like a blizzardy day, one where you’d  hunker down with a big bowl of stew and your fuzziest blanket. Ice pellets falling from the sky are in the immediate future and the wind gusts are proving to challenge even the strongest ravens (and those things are fierce in the north…and the size of medium sized dogs. These are seriously huge birds!). It’s time for comfort food. Again…

Comfort food. Perfect for cold days, low days, sad days, days on the ski hill with the kids, days that are blustery, after a night of not sleeping well or for days spent outside frolicking in the snow with good friends. Seriously, when is it not the right time? Depending on who you ask, comfort food can vary greatly. However, it’s usually associated with dishes someone you loved used to make. What they often have in common is some kind of startchy goodness like rice, potatoes, pasta or bread and some type of creamy texture mixed in for good measure. Comfort food doesn’t always have to be unhealthy though and with New Year’s resolutions falling like flies in late fall, this one won’t leave you with any guilt at all. Little potatoes, corn, and butternut squash all surrounded in a coconut milk broth and warming spices to wrap you up in proverbial blanket of coziness. Continue Reading →

By on January 21, 2015 in Blog, Chickpeas, Coconut Milk, Corn, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Main Course, Main Ingredient, Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian 1

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