Cooking with Alison

Simple Tomato Pasta Sauce Recipe (with a Secret Ingredient)

In Pasta, Rice, and Doughs on August 29, 2014 at am

This pasta sauce uses a short list of ingredients and is very easy to make.  This recipe is for a vegetarian pasta dish, but you could always add meat if preferred.  The key ingredient that makes a world of difference to this otherwise simple tomato sauce is ricotta cheese.  Try adding a dollop of ricotta cheese to your favourite tomato-based pasta sauce recipe, or simply mix it in with store-bought tomato sauce.  This is a great way to use up leftover ricotta.  Some of my other recipes that use ricotta cheese include lasagna rollsricotta and tomato crostini, wild mushroom ravioli, puff pastry tarts with arugula and cherry tomatoes, and lemon ricotta muffins.

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Chinese Conch Soup Recipe

In Asian, Seafood, Soups and Salads on August 22, 2014 at am

Cooking with Alison’s Mom (Part 4)

Conch is seafood, and is basically a large sea snail.  Conch soup is one of my favourite Chinese soups, because boiling fresh conch until it is soft, but still chewy, is my favourite way to cook it.  Conch can also be stir fried, braised, steamed, baked, or BBQ’d whole in its shell.  But note that the part of the conch that is found on the inside of the shell is the most tender, so use this part for quick cooking.  The ‘head’ of the conch is better used for soup, as it is quite a bit tougher.  Be sure to use fresh, live conch.  When you’re in the grocery store, poke the muscle (or ‘head’) of the conch (not the shell).  If it retracts into its shell, then it is alive.  The faster it moves, the better.  Ask the staff to remove the shell for you.  The type of conch that we use for this soup is shown in the photo below.

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Chinese conch soup recipe

How to Make Iced Tea and Delicious Variations

In Drinks, How To on August 15, 2014 at am

Iced tea has always been one of my favourite drinks, so I’m not sure why it took me so long to start making it from scratch.  I should clarify that the drink, ‘iced tea’, means different things depending on where you go.  In some places, if you order an iced tea, they will bring you a straight up cup of tea that is served chilled with ice.  I learned that the hard way while traveling on a cruise, once.  I was very disappointed.  ;)  The iced tea that I’m in love with is sometimes referred to as sweet tea.  Now that I know how easy it is to make iced tea, how much better it tastes when homemade, and how much fun it is to try different flavour variations, I will never buy canned or bottled iced tea again.  In fact, from now on, John and I are going to start serving homemade iced tea instead of soda/pop when we have friends over.  Also, if you’re like me, then you probably have boxes and boxes and boxes of different types of tea at home that you may never get through.  This is a great way to enjoy them while cleaning out your cupboards.

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