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Play-Doh (PlayDough) — Children's modelling dough



2 cups flour
1 tbsp. Cream of Tartar
2 cups water
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
food colouring (one colour for each batch)

Use one colour of food colouring for each batch, or one colour made by mixing basic colours.

1. Mix together flour and Cream of Tartar, set aside
2. Bring 2 cups of water to boil, then add salt and stir until almost
3. Add oil and food colouring, remove from heat
4. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and mix well.
5. When cool enough to handle, knead mixture until smooth
6. Store in air-tight container so it will not dry out.

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Croque Monsieur, Croque Madame, Croque Jambon,



Croque Monsieur

The croque monsieur is, in effect, just a ham and cheese sandwich fried up. It starts with a good fresh bread, buttered and spread with mustard and filled with ham and cheese (brie or gruyere).

Fry in a panini press for five minutes (or pan-fry then put under the broiler) in butter or for a heavier but really tasty one, in duck fat. Halve on the diagonal.

Croque Madame

This is a croque monsieur with the addition of a fried egg added just before serving. Fry the egg with runny yolk or firm according to taste.


– Bread:  "big fat fresh bread", e.g. a farmer's loaf, onion bread,
   olive bread, brioche, or foccacia bread. Or a baguette for the
   Croque Jambon
– butter to spread on bread
– optionally lightly spread with mayo
– dijon and/or grainy mustards
– ham, smoked or otherwise (the best ham you can get)
– double cream brie or gruyere cheese
– 1 egg, fried (for Croque Madame)

Optional for all variations: top with julienned granny smith apples; on the side, serve tomato wedges, gherkins, pickled onions and chervil and/or a choice of soup or salad.

Croque Jambon

The Croque Jambon finds a French baguette spread with a mix of mustards (dijon, grainy, honey) and layered with rosemary black forest ham (that's bought in chunks and hand-cut) and slices of French brie. This is toasted in the oven until the cheese is gooey.

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Steak Diane



Adapted from Emeril's Delmonico: A Restaurant With a Past by Emeril Lagasse. The famous New Orleans restaurant opened in 1895, borrowing its name from New York's Delmonico. Lagasse took it over in 1997.

Pound meat with the flat side of a mallet or use a heavy skillet. Veal demiglace is a thick reduced stock/sauce sold in fine food shops. Season filets on both sides with salt and pepper.

Melt butter in large skillet on medium-high heat. Sear filets 1 minute per side. Remove from heat. Place filets on plate and cover with foil.

Return skillet to burner. Reduce heat to medium. Add shallot and garlic. Cook, stirring, 20 seconds. Add mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes. Whisk in cognac. Remove from heat.

Tilt skillet away from you, ignite contents with match and return to heat. When flame burns out, whisk in cream and mustard. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Whisk in demiglace. Cook 1 minute. Whisk in worcestershire and hot sauce.

Return filets and their juices to pan. Turn to coat. Heat through, about 1 minute for medium-rare.

Divide filets and sauce among 4 plates. Sprinkle onion and parsley on top. Makes 4 servings. 

4 filet mignons (each 4 to 6 oz/120 to 170 g), pounded 1/2-inch thick
    or use any lean meat like venison, ostrich, etc.
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp unsalted butter, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 lb (120 g) button mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/3 cup cognac
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/3 cup veal demiglace or other thick gravy
1 tbsp reen onion, finely chopped
1 tsp chopped parsley

See also Filet Steak Royale

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Chicken in the Pot   (4 variations)

Serves 4

1 hour

  Download a formatted PDF file of this recipe and its tasty variations

3-4 lbs / 1.5-2 kg assorted chicken pieces (thighs,
    legs, breasts) with skin on, or 1 chicken, rinsed,
    patted dry, and cut into 8 pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced (and/or leeks)
4 medium carrots, halved crosswise, then halved or
   quartered lengthwise depending on thickness
8 oz / 250 g domestic mushrooms, cleaned and
   halved if large
3 large thyme sprigs (1 1/2 teaspoons fresh leaves)
   or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup / 120 ml dry white wine


Chicken in the Pot with Tomatoes, Black Olives and Capers
Serve with polenta or pasta

Follow recipe for Chicken in the Pot with Carrots, Mushrooms, and Thyme, making the following changes:

Omit carrots. Add 1 garlic clove. minced, once pan juices have evaporated. Once chicken is returned to pan, add 1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes, drained. halved, seeded, and chopped coarse; 3 tablespoons each minced fresh parsley and basil leaves; 1/2 cup black olives, pitted and chopped coarse; and 2 teaspoons drained capers. Decrease wine to 1/4 cup using hearty red wine instead of white.

Chicken in the Pot with Turnips and North African Spices

Serve with steamed couscous

Follow recipe for Chicken in the Pot with Carrots, Mushrooms, and Thyme, making the following changes:

Substitute 2 turnips, sliced 1/4 inch / 1/2 cm thick, then cut into 1/4 inch / 1/2 cm strips, for the mushrooms. Add 1 garlic clove, minced, once pan juices have evaporated. Once chicken is returned to pan, add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander, along with 1 cup / 240ml cooked chick-peas. Substitute 1/2 cup / 120 ml chickpea cooking liquid for wine in recipe.

Chicken in the Pot with Carrots, Mushrooms and Thyme

If you like, you can substitute two medium leeks for the onion in this recipe (or use both). To prepare leeks, trim the dark green leaves and root end, keeping the base intact. Quarter each leek lengthwise and rinse thoroughly. Rice pilaf makes a nice accompaniment. You can make this dish in a smaller sauté pan, but you will then need to brown the chicken in batches.

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat butter and oil in 12-inch / 30 cm sauté pan over medium-high heat. When butter foaming subsides, add chicken; sauté until browned on both sides, mov­ing around to brown evenly, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

2. Discard all but thin film of fat from pan. Add onion, carrots, and mushrooms; sauté, stirring fre­quently to prevent scorching, until pan juices evaporate, 4 to 5 minutes.

3. Return chicken and accumulated juices to pan, moving vegetables to top. Add thyme sprigs and wine; bring to boil. Lower heat, cover, and barely simmer until chicken is cooked through, basting three or four times, about 25 minutes. Place portion of chicken on each plate; top with vegetables. Ladle juices over both chicken and vegetables and/or accompanying starch and serve immediately.

4. There's no need to reduce the liquids unless you prefer to glaze the chicken and vegetables instead of using the pan juices as a sauce. In that case, remove the chicken and the vegetables to a serving platter and keep them warm while you boil the pan fluids until they look syrupy. It takes about a minute or two.

Chicken in the Pot with Potatoes and Indian Spices

Serve with cooked white rice

Follow recipe for Chicken in the Pot with Carrots, Mushrooms, and Thyme, making the following changes: Substitute 3 medium all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks, for the mushrooms. Add 2 garlic cloves, minced, and 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced, once pan juices have evaporated. Once chicken is returned to pan, add 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, pinch of ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Substitute 1/2 cup / 120 ml plain, unflavored yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup / 120 ml chicken stock for the wine, and rather than bring liquid to boil, bring it barely to simmer. Add 1 cup / 240 ml thawed frozen peas in last 3 minutes of cooking.

From Cook's Illustrated / Sept. Oct. 1995

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Twice-Cooked Duck

Serves 4

2 hours

  Download a formatted PDF file of this recipe with more descriptive information       From Cook's Illustrated / Sept. Oct. 1995

As an alternative to the spice mixture that appears in this recipe, you could serve the duck with hoisin sauce and Asian pancakes or steamed white buns. If you go with the seasonings provided here (see below), serve the duck with vegetables in a Western-style meal. Those who do not have kosher salt can substitute one tablespoon of regular table salt. See below right about adding smoky flavour to the duck after steaming.


1 duck (about 4 1/2 pounds), thawed, rinsed, and patted dry
     (reserve giblets for other use)
4 whole star anise
2 teaspoons Szechuan (or black) peppercorns
1 small cinnamon stick or 1 large piece cassia bark
2 tablespoons kosher salt (or 1 tablespoon regular salt)
4 thick slices unpeeled ginger
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce




Toast star anise, peppercorns, and cassia bark / cinnamon stick in dry skillet just until they start to smoke. Grind in spice mill and combine with salt. Rub half the mixture over outside and inside cavity of duck (see illustration 1 above). Set aside remaining mixture.

2. Place ginger slices and cilantro in duck cavity. Set duck on rack above roasting pan and leave uncovered in cool, airy place for at least 4 hours or overnight (illustration 2 above).

3. Bring several inches of water to boil in large, 16-inch / 30 cm wok or wide, deep pot fitted with rack one inch / 2.5 cm above water level. Place duck, back side up on rack (illustration 3 above). Cover pot and steam over high heat, adding more boiling water if necessary, until skin becomes taut and starts to pull away from joints on wings, 50 to 60 minutes (illustration 4 above)

4. Cool to room temperature and brush skin with soy sauce. (Duck can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before roasting.)

5. Heat oven to 400°F / 200°C. Place duck on rack inside roasting pan. Roast until skin is crisp and quite brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and let rest for 10 to 20 minutes. Carve, following illustrations to right. Serve, using reserved portion of spice mixture as seasoned salt.


You can vary the seasonings used to cure the duck. Here are some recommendations for other mixtures, but feel free to make up your own.

Rosemary-Sage Salt: Mix 2 tablespoons each minced fresh rosemary leaves and sage leaves with 2 tablespoons kosher salt and 2 teaspoons ground black pepper. Rub half the mixture over outside and inside cavity of duck; reserve other half for use at table. Place fresh rosemary sprigs in cavity instead of ginger and cilantro.

Three-Seed Salt: Toast 1 tablespoon each cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds in dry skillet until they start to smoke. Grind toasted seeds and combine with 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Rub half the mixture over outside and inside cavity of duck; reserve other half for use at table. Place fresh ginger and cilantro leaves in cavity as in master recipe.


Smoking this duck is definitely optional, but it gives the bird a nice flavour. To accomplish this, line a large wok or Dutch oven with aluminum foil and place 3/4 cup / 180 ml of raw white rice and six tablespoons each of black tea and sugar in the bottom of the pan. Set the steamed duck (brushed with soy sauce) on a rack above the mixture and then cover the inside of the lid with foil, crimping the bottom and top pieces of foil together to seal in the duck and protect the pan from burning.

Turn the heat to high and waits for smoke to appear. Smoke the duck for ten minutes, turn off the heat, and leave the wok covered for thirty to forty minutes, depending on how much smoke flavour you wants to impart. At this point, the smoked duck can be cooled, wrapped in plastic, and refrigerated for a day before roasting and serving. Since the smoking step is merely for flavour (steaming and roasting do the cooking), you can smoke the duck for as much or as little time as you want. The times we recommend will give the duck a lightly smoky flavour with a nice hint of sweetness.

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Shepherd's Pie

Serves 6

2.75 hours

For lamb and vegetable filling

10 oz / 300 ml pearl onions
4 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only),
    cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 lb / 900 g boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup / 120 ml dry white wine
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup / 240 ml beef broth
1 cup / 240 ml water
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
5 carrots, cut diagonally into 1/3-inch-thick slices
2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

For mashed potato topping

2 lb / 900 g russet (baking) potatoes
1/2 / 120 ml cup heavy cream
1/2 / 120 ml cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 

Cooks' note: Lamb filling (without topping) can be made 1 day ahead and cooled, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Bring to a simmer over low heat before topping with warm potatoes and broiling.

Special equipment: a wide 3-quart / 2.5-3 litre heavy flameproof casserole (about 2 inches / 5 cm deep; not glass); a potato ricer or a food mill fitted with medium disk

Prepare filling: Blanch onions in a 2- to 3-quart pot of boiling salted water 1 minute, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl of cold water to stop cooking. Drain onions and peel, trimming root ends with a paring knife. Wash leek slices in a bowl of water, agitating them, then lift out and drain in a medium-mesh sieve.

Preheat oven to 350°F / 160°C.

Pat lamb dry and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Put lamb and 3 tablespoons flour in a sealable plastic bag, then seal bag and shake to coat lamb.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in casserole dish over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then brown half of lamb, turning, about 6 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon garlic and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Transfer browned lamb and garlic to a plate with a slotted spoon and repeat with remaining lamb and tablespoon garlic (do not add more butter).

Add wine to casserole dish and deglaze by boiling over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 1 minute, then stir in tomato paste and boil, stirring, until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add broth, water, thyme, browned lamb with any juices that have accumulated on plate, onions, leeks, carrots, turnips, remaining teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat, then remove from heat.

Cover dish with lid or foil and braise lamb and vegetables in middle of oven, stirring once or twice, until lamb is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper.

Make topping while filling cooks:

Peel and quarter potatoes. Cover potatoes with salted cold water by 1 inch in a 4-quart heavy pot, then simmer, uncovered, until very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain in a colander.

Bring cream, milk, and butter to a simmer in same pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until butter is melted, then remove from heat and stir in salt and pepper. Force hot potatoes through ricer into hot cream mixture and stir gently to combine. Keep warm, covered.

Assemble and broil pie: Preheat broiler.

Make a beurre manié by stirring together remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and remaining 2 tablespoons flour in a small bowl to form a paste. Spoon 1 cup cooking liquid from casserole dish into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Whisk in beurre manié, then simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Gently stir sauce into lamb and vegetables.

Spoon potatoes over lamb and vegetables and spread evenly with a fork, making a pattern with tines. Broil about 3 inches from heat until top is golden, about 3 minutes.

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Pear Upside Down Spice Cake


Serves 12

3 cups / 720 ml thick-sliced peeled pears
    (about 3-4 pears sliced 1/3-1/2 inch / 1 cm thick)
butter to line pan (or cooking spray)
2 cups / 480 ml all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup / 180 ml buttermilk

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup / 180 ml packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons buttermilk

This attractive cake is a good choice to round out a fall menu. Use Bartlett or Anjou pears.

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare cake, arrange pear slices spoke-like (see picture) in bottom of a 9-inch cake pan coated with butter or cooking spray, working from the centre of the pan to the edge.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 7 ingredients (through cinnamon) in a bowl.

Combine granulated sugar and 5 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg; beat well. Add flour mixture and 3/4 cup buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spoon batter over pears; spread evenly.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. Loosen cake from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula; invert cake onto plate.
Let rest 2 minutes; remove pan.

To prepare glaze, combine 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon water, and juice in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until butter melts. Stir in brown sugar; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons buttermilk. Let stand 2 minutes; pour glaze evenly over cake.

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)

See also Cranberry Upside Down Cake

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Citrus Cornmeal Shortbread


Yield: 2½ dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup icing (confectioner's) sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal (plus 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon coarse salt

from "Mastercook"

Put butter and sugar in bowl and mix on medium speed (with electric mixer using paddle attachment) until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes.

Add vanilla and zest. Mix until combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

Reduce speed to low. Add flour, 2 tablespoons cornmeal, and salt. Mix until well combined, about 3 minutes.

Halve dough. Shape each into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 300°F / 150°C. Place remaining 1/4 cup cornmeal on a sheet of parchment paper. Roll log in cornmeal to coat and then cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds and space them 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake until pale golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on sheet on a wire rack. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

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Rosemary Butter Cookies


Yield: 5 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, plus 1 egg white, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 fine sanding sugar
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

from "Mastercook"

Put butter and granulated sugar in bowl and mix on medium speed (with electric mixer using paddle attachment) until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Mix in whole egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour, rosemary, and salt, and mix until combined.

Halve dough. Shape each into a log. Place each log on a 12-by-6 inch sheet of parchment paper and roll to about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow log.. Transfer to the inside of the cardboard tube of an empty paper towel roll to hold shape of log, and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C. Brush each log with egg white; roll in sanding sugar. Cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds and space them 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake until edges are golden, 18-20 minutes. Cool on sheet on a wire rack. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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Sausage and Mushroom Sourdough Stuffing


4 to 6 servings

Personalize stuffing by adding neat inclusions such as handfuls of dried cranberries or roasted chestnuts and using a favourite sausage such as maple, sweet Italian with basil/fennel or English bangers.

1 to 2 large loaves sourdough bread
2 tbsp (25 ml) butter
1 cup (250 ml) diced onion, preferably Spanish
1 large stalk celery, diced
1 large carrot, julienned or grated
2 large cloves garlic
8 oz (250 g) cremini or brown button mushrooms,
10 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped, or 1 tsp (5 mL)
    dried leaves
1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp (5 mL)
    dried thyme leaves
1 tsp (5 ml) dried summer savoury
1/4 tsp (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1 lb (500 g) pork sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup (125 ml) dry white wine
1/2 to 1 tsp (2 to 5 ml) salt
2 cups (500 ml) turkey or chicken stock or broth

Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C

Coat sides of a 4-quart (4-litre) baking dish with nonstick spray or butter. Sourdough crust can be left on or removed. (If left on, 1 large sourdough loaf is all that's needed.) Cut loaf into 1/2-inch (1-cm) cubes—there should be about 16 cups (4 litres). (Tip: Turn bread into your baking dish or casserole to measure capacity. Bread should fill dish to brim. If necessary, select 2 baking dishes.) Spread cubes out on 2 baking sheets; bake 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once, or until golden tipped. Cool on a rack.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until softened. Add mushrooms, sage, thyme, summer savoury and pepper. Sauté another 5 minutes, stirring often. Cool sautéed vegetables in a large mixing bowl.

Without washing frying pan, return to medium heat; crumble in sausage. Sauté, stirring often and breaking up sausage as needed, for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add sausage to vegetables. Drain and discard fat. Deglaze pan by pouring wine into pan. Use a spatula to scrape up all the browned bits; stir in 1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt. Stir hot wine into sausage and vegetables.

Stir bread cubes into vegetable-sausage mixture in several additions until combined. Lightly pat down into dish; pour over stock. Taste stuffing; sprinkle with remaining salt if needed and stir. (If making ahead, cover and refrigerate for up to a day. Add 10 to 15 minutes to baking time.)

Cover stuffing and bake 40 to 45 minutes or until centre is hot. If you want a crusty stuffing, uncover for the last 15 minutes of baking. Take a bit of the stuffing from the centre of dish; if not moist enough for your taste, drizzle stuffing with additional hot stock. Garnish with a sprinkling of additional herbs such as sage, thyme or parsley. Serve with turkey and plenty of gravy. 

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