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Cranberries, sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving

The autumn season is finally here!

This is my favorite time of the year. The changing of the leaves, the crispness in the air, and of course, the food!

Considering that Thanksgiving is fast approaching, I think it would be interesting to discuss a couple of essentials included in a classic Thanksgiving dinner: cranberries and sweet potatoes.

In North America, it is very traditional to serve cranberries with our Thanksgiving Day turkey. It is called sauce but is more like a form of jam or jelly.

Cookbooks: inspiration at our fingertips

One of the oddest couples I have ever met was after one of my live cooking performances at a local fair.

A woman in the distant crowd was watching the tail-end of my show and approached me afterwards.

“I can see by watching you that you love to cook,” she said.

"I can see that the crowd was inspired by your show, but my husband and I, we never cook. You could even go as far as saying that we hate to cook, so we never do it.

Reduce liquids to increase flavours

Have you ever experienced an incredible meal at a fine dining establishment, which included an intensely flavoured accompanying sauce?

Chances are you have.

These companion sauces, although sparse in volume on the plate, deliver unmistakable and compelling tastes reminiscent of the flavours in the food being served.

With the knowledge of some sauce basics and some practiced perfection, anyone can accomplish this same feat in their home kitchen.

Long gone are the days that described gourmet cooking as dishes covered in thick glutinous sauces.

Scallops in sage brown butter delicious

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. This recipe for scallops is the perfect example.

However, when I say “simple” that means very few ingredients and fast to prepare.

Some people, however, may feel some anxiety when contemplating cooking scallops.

Let's be honest, scallops aren't cheap, and thus you don't want to mess them up. Probably the biggest mistake made when preparing scallops is overcooking them.

Your best plan of execution is a hot pan and a fast cooking process, so you still get the desired browning without overcooking them.

Summertime fruit salsas

In my column about strawberries, I prompted you to try making a strawberry salsa and gave you some direction on how to go about doing so. Fruit salsas are so fresh and delicious, and a perfect way to compliment the summer grilling season.

So much so, that I am giving you two more fruit salsa recipes to help bring excitement to your next backyard grilling adventure.

These are perfect on a variety of grilled meats and seafood, or simply on their own served with tortilla chips.

It's strawberry time

Summer is here and strawberry season is one of the most celebrated times of the year for lovers of this luscious red fruit. I always buy an abundant amount of all fruit when it is in season, and strawberries are no exception.

Although strawberries seem to be available throughout the entire year, thanks to our friends in the south; they are not as good as the ones we get fresh right here from our local farmers.

Imported strawberries from warmer climates have usually been cultivated in a way, which produces a larger and firmer berry more durable for transport.

Where are you getting your information from?

My son is 13 years old and I have noticed that over the past year he has started devoting more attention to his appearance.

He recently asked me for a couple of spoons that he could put in the freezer.

“Why do you want to put spoons in the freezer?” I asked.

“Because if I put the frozen spoons under my eyes, it will eliminate the bags under my eyes when I wake up in the morning,” he replied.

I was flabbergasted. “You're only 13 years old. You don't even have bags under your eyes! Where did you learn this from?”

Trust the reliable butcher

Whenever I make meatballs or burger patties from scratch, an ingredient that I always use is ground chuck.

Ground chuck is not the typical ground beef you can easily find at any major grocery store—it can only be found at butcher shops.

It has a higher fat content and a much beefier flavour; a secret ingredient among chefs you could say.

My regular favourite butcher is about 10km away from my house.

Recently however, I needed ground chuck and I was in a bit of a hurry, so I decided to go to a closer, unfamiliar butcher shop instead.

My famous sausage, fennel pasta recipe

As a cookbook author and culinary instructor, I write a lot of recipes.

Probably the most favorite pasta recipe of the masses would by my famous sausage and fennel pasta.

This recipe is in my most recent “best of" cookbook, called "The Best In Your Kitchen.”

How it became “famous” is that I have made it for years for family gatherings and everyone always asks for the recipe.

My response was always “I don't have it written down-it's just in my head!” So finally I put it to paper.

The best guacamole for Cinco de Mayo

I love experiencing the tastes of different cuisines and I use any excuse I can find to switch things up a bit at the dinner table.

Celebratory dates from around the globe are perfect for this and May fifth marks Cinco de Mayo—a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.

A common misconception is that Cinco de Mayois Mexico's Independence Day, which is actually on Sept. 16. Cinco de Mayois simply Spanish for Fifth of Mayand is a regional holiday that commemorates Mexico's defeat of the French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.