Tag Archives: cooking

35 Epic Montreal Sandwiches to Eat Before You Die.

The chefs at Cuisinox have embarked on a quest to try the 35 epic sandwiches “to eat before you die”, as per the link below. Our group consists of the Vegan, the Nutritionist, the Chef, and the Foodie. The consensus was to try one sandwich per week and approach in the original order it listed. This may be problematic due to the ingredients in some sandwiches and the eating habits of some members. Eg: lambs brains. Therefore, we may have to skip a few of the less desirable locations. We will report on each and every location as we continue our quest to find the very best sandwich you MUST try before you die.

The chalk board with daily specials.

The chalk board with daily specials.

We started at La Bête à pain, 114 Fleury Ouest. This is a small bakery adjacent to a dining room where one can sit and sample some sweets, a coffee, or a sandwich. The room is comfortable with banquettes throughout. It has an open kitchen separated by the dining area. The counter displays fresh sandwiched and quiches. The chalkboard lists the daily specials. We started with Mimosa’s, a great menu choice, they did not skimp on the champagne. We were also offered a platter of fresh homemade bread with a salty butter, both were outstanding. As we approached the counter and read the chalk board menu, we realized that the famous “Muffuletta” sandwich was not available. Each member opted for a different selection but there was not much choice. The Vegan chose the Shredded Carrot Salad. The Nutriionist chose the Croque Monsieur. The Foodie and the Chef both opted for the famous Grilled Cheese Sandwich with a side of Fig Compote. This was by far the best choice with it’s creamy brie, provolone, and gruyere. The Croque Monsieur was average and lack pizzaz. The Carrot Salad was very filling and hearty.

Freshly baked bread.

Freshly baked bread.


Mimosa’s a great start.

The exquisite grilled cheese sandwich.

The exquisite grilled cheese sandwich.


Ham Croque monsieur













Reservations are not accepted. You need to wait in line with the takeout customers and prepay your food before taking your seat. Overall, the service was very friendly and efficient. They serve queues of customers, and they never stop smiling. You don’t need to wait for your order, the staff will bring it to your table. Stay tuned for our next culinary stop….to be revealed.



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The Cooking Order

Cuisinox Gourmet 7pc SetThe Cooking Order

The cooking order matters: For example, sliced carrots and celery take 6 times longer to cook than sliced mushrooms and zucchini.

Sometimes food organization and preparation is a must, especially when it comes to vegetable and stir-fry dishes.

Once the cooking begins everything goes into the pan in rapid succession so you must first assemble all the ingredients, including the spices, liquid and the utensils you’re going to use. Meats should be dried with paper towels, cut to size with the excess fat removed, and seasoned. Vegetables should be room temperature, washed, peeled, cored and cut to size as well. Sliced or diced, the choice is yours, though it’s best to size everything proportionally.

Also, before you begin the browning, greening and tossing, cook any starchy food you will be using, such as rice, pasta, risotto, potatoes or couscous. This aside will keep warm until you’re ready to add it to your meat and veggies, or to your plate.

Once your food is at the ready, have your olive oiler at hand and light the fire under your best stainless steel pan. If you’re using meat ~brown and cook it almost all the way through, then remove it from the pan to a covered bowl and set it aside. A dash more oil and in goes the hardest vegetable to cook, followed by the next hardest several minutes later, shortening the time between each additional veggie. Most stir-fries use 1 choice of meat and 4 veggies. Again the choice is yours. Simply put everything together at the end and heat through with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in 1 cup of broth, stirring for 3 minutes..

An example of hard to cook veggies are carrots, celery, rutabaga, parsnips, potatoes, beets, winter squash, sweet potatoes. Though I wouldn’t like to see a parsnip in my stir-fry, the cooking order applies across the board for steaming, pan cooking, oven roasting, barbecuing and pressure cooking. An example of the next in line would be onions, bell peppers, corn, broccoli and brussel sprouts. The next group would include asparagus, snow peas, zucchini and mushrooms, and the lightest cooking would go to the green onions and bean sprouts.

Happy Cooking!


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Need some advice on storage and cooking with spices? Here you go:

You should always store spices in a cool, dark place. Humidity, light and heat will cause herbs and spices to lose their flavor more quickly. Although the most convenient place for your spice rack may be above your stove, moving your spices to a different location may keep them fresh longer.

As a general rule, herbs and ground spices will retain their best flavors for a year. Whole spices may last for 3 to 5 years. Proper storage should result in longer freshness times.

When possible, grind whole spices in a grinder or mortar & pestle just prior to using. Toasting whole spices in a dry skillet over medium heat before grinding will bring out even more flavor. Be careful not to burn, they tend to burn easy.



Because the refrigerator is a humid environment, it is not recommended to store your spices there. To keep larger quantities of spices fresh, store them in the freezer in Ziploc bags.

Usage Tips:

Don’t over spice! Your goal is to compliment your dish without crowding out the flavor of the food.
Remember, it’s usually impossible to “un-spice” a dish!

For long-cooking dishes, add herbs and spices an hour or less before serving. Cooking spices for too long may result in overly strong flavors.

Finely crush dried herbs before adding to your dish. A mortar & pestle is a great way to achieve this.

Do not use dried herbs in the same quantity as fresh. In most cases, use 1/3 the amount in dried as is called for fresh.

Keep it simple. Unless the recipe specifically calls for it, don’t use more than 3 herbs and spices in any one dish. The exception to this rule is Indian cooking, which often calls for 10 or more different spices in
one curry dish!

Black pepper, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper are excellent “after cooking” seasonings.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice have a special affinity for sweet dishes.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try replacing herbs and spices called for in recipes with something different! Marjoram instead of oregano, savory instead of thyme, anise seed instead of fennel and my favorite, cilantro instead of parsley!

Go ahead, spice up your life!

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Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Cooking, Cuisinox, Entertaining, Spices


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How to Steam Asparagus

Steamed asparagus can be served whole, or it can be cut up and added to salads, pasta or vegetable dishes.

Wash all spears in cool water, making sure to clean soil and sand from tips.

Cut about an inch off bottom of each spear.

Arrange asparagus bundles upright in an asparagus cooker. Arranging them this way allows the tougher area at the bottom of the stalks to get more thorough cooking than the tender asparagus tips.

Pour in 2 inches water.

Add garlic clove, onion slice or piece of lemon if desired.

Bring to boil and then cover.

Cook 2 to 8 minutes, or until the spears have turned bright green.

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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in Asparagus, Cooking, Cuisinox, Recipes


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Food Is Important; People Are More Important

When entertaining, don’t forget to have fun: Engage your fellow diners, and enjoy the delightful community of dining in a warm, hospitable environment. When you do, the food and the manners will take care of themselves. (


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How to Use a Couscoussier

The traditional method of preparing couscous is to steam-cook it in a special pot called a couscoussier. The couscoussier consists of two parts: the lower part is a stockpot with a lid that fits snug, and the upper part is the couscous steamer insert. The top pot has holes in it to allow steam to rise from the lower pot. The stew or broth in the bottom pot cooks  while the couscous is steamed on top. (Real couscous is always steamed, never boiled.) Most traditional couscous recipes call for the couscous to be dampened with water (or oil), then steamed, removed and allowed to cool, mixed with butter or oil, then steamed again, and then perhaps cooled and steamed a third time. Note: Be sure to identify which type of couscous you have purchased instant or traditional. The boxed couscous is available in most grocery stores, which is prepared by pouring the couscous pasta into boiling water. This is really pre-cooked “instant couscous”. Cooking “instant couscous” in the traditional method described here may result in mushy, overcooked pasta. To obtain real (not instant) couscous you can go to any specialty store, or, if using instant couscous, reduce the cooking time by at least half. You can find many more elaborate recipes on the internet, but here is my suggestion for a basic recipe.

What you’ll need

  • Six cups of couscous (not “instant couscous”)
  • Two cups of warm water, mixed with two teaspoons of salt
  • One-half cup of cooking oil (olive oil, melted butter, or similar)
  • Chicken broth (or any North African vegetable or meat stew)

What you do

  • Put half the couscous in a large bowl. Sprinkle half the salted water over the couscous. Rub your hands with a bit of the oil and sprinkle the rest of the oil over the couscous. Use your hands to evenly distribute the oil and water into the couscous. Let the couscous form small pellets, but break any lumps. Add the remaining couscous and continue the process, adding the remainder of the salted water and oil to make the couscous uniformly damp, but not wet.
  • Place the couscous on a clean cloth, cover it with another cloth and leave it to rest for an hour or two. (Some cooks let it rest for a much shorter time.)
  • Bring the chicken broth (or stew) to a very gentle boil in the bottom pot. Place the couscous in the top pot, cover, and let the couscous steam for about an hour over the simmering broth (or stew).
  • Remove the couscous from the steamer and place it in a clean bowl. Massage some more oil or butter into it (careful not to burn your hands) and let it cool for about fifteen minutes.
  • Return the couscous to the steamer and let it steam for another half hour. Test for tenderness. The last two steps can be repeated.
  • You can also use our couscoussier as a steamer for vegetables.
  • Even if you don’t make couscous the traditional way, now you know there’s more to it than dumping it from a box into a pot of boiling water.

Bon Appétit!

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Posted by on February 25, 2011 in Cooking, Entertaining, Home & Garden, Recipes


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For the Love of Cooking!

Welcome to Cuisinox‘ new home on the internet.

Bookmark us for cooking and entertaining tips and tricks from a group of people who are passionate about what they do.

There is lots more to come…


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