Welcome to the Polyphagous Dragon!

Hearty greetings from the Rainbow Dragon to all visitors to my digital kitchen in the blogosphere!

As my blog title suggests, these pages contain a wild mix of recipes which sample a wide range of flavours and cultures. I won't even try to apply an over-arching theme to this project other than to say that every dish is about creating good food!

The Polyphagous Dragon offers multiple options for site navigation in the sidebar panels. Use the Contents box to search for recipes by dish type, the Blog Archives to search for a specific recipe by title or the Ingredients Index to pull up all recipes that feature a particular ingredient. See also my Cooking Philosophy notes for further insights.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

The Rainbow Day Feast

On the 12th of January, 1974, my family crossed Niagara Falls via Rainbow Bridge and set foot on Canadian soil for the first time. We have celebrated Rainbow Day on the 12th of January ever since.

Of all of the many blessings of my life in Canada, the ones for which I am most thankful are the wonderful friends who have blessed my life in this country, so I host a feast every year in January in honour of them.

The feast traditionally consists of six courses, chosen from some of my friends' favourite dishes. I am asked for the recipes often, so here they are, the Rainbow Day Feast at the Polyphagous Dragon:

Sandra Waugh's French Onion Soup

I first sampled this authentic French Canadian recipe (taught to me by an anglophone from Quebec) as a teenager. I had been out tobogganing with two of the Waugh children and about 15 other youths and the Waugh family had us all back to their home afterwards where Mrs. Waugh had cooked up a huge vat of this soup. It was delicious!

Mrs. Waugh graciously shared her recipe with me, and it has been in high demand at my dinner parties ever since.

Sandra Waugh's French Onion Soup

  • 3 huge Spanish-type onions
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1.8 litres beef broth
  • 1 garlic
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry wine
  • freshly baked bread
  • freshly grated mozzarella cheese
  • freshly grated Swiss cheese


Slice Spanish onions thinly.
slicing onions for soup

Sauté onions in butter until onions turn soft and translucent.
sauteing onions for soup

Peel papery skins from garlic and slice cloves thinly.
garlic for soup

Wash and slice spring onions.
spring onions for soup

Combine sautéed onions, garlic, spring onions, beef broth, corn starch, sugar and black pepper in a large, heavy-bottomed pan and heat to boiling, stirring frequently to combine flavours and keep the onions from burning on the bottom of your pot.

Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for one hour or more.
Add wine during last half hour of cooking.

To serve:

Place thick slices of fresh bread in the bottom of oven-proof bowls.
Pour soup over bread to fill bowls.
Top with grated cheeses.
Grill under the broiler for a few minutes to brown cheese.
Serve immediately (on a trivet or other heat proof mat!)

Dragon Punch

This colourful non-alcoholic punch mixes well with a variety of spirits and liqueurs and is a staple of parties at Rainbow Dragon's Lair. (I prefer to serve a virgin punch and allow responsible adults to spike their own, if desired, so that everyone knows exactly how much alcohol they are consuming.)

Dragon Punch

  • 50% orange juice
  • 25% ginger ale
  • 10% lemon juice
  • 10% lime juice
  • 5% grenadine
  • cocktail cherries & orange slices for garnish


Combine juices, ginger ale and grenadine in a punch bowl or juice pitcher and mix well.
Serve chilled in a tall glass, garnished with fruit and a parasol.

Favourite Alcoholic Variations:

Spike with 1.5 oz Strawberrynna liqueur for a Strawberry Dragon.

Spike with 1.5 oz Marie Brizard's Raspberry liqueur for a Raspberry Dragon.

Spike with 1.5 oz gin for a Singapore Sling.

Spike with 1 oz light, 1 oz dark & 1 oz amber rum for a Zombie.

Bruschetta à la Dragon

Garlic bread with the works!

Bruschetta à la Dragon

  • 1 whole grain baguette
  • garlic butter
  • thick & spicy tomato sauce
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 yellow onion
  • fresh basil leaves
  • cheddar cheese
  • mozzarella cheese


Slice baguette open and place cut sides up on a baking sheet.
Spread cut surfaces with garlic butter.
Making Bruschetta

Spread thin layer of tomato sauce on top of butter.
Making Bruschetta

Dice tomato and onion.
Tear basil leaves into small pieces.
Distribute tomato, onion and basil on top of tomato sauce.
Making Bruschetta

Grate cheeses.
Top baguettes with grated cheese.
Making Bruschetta

Place baguettes under the grill and toast until cheese is melted and starts to brown.

Serve immediately.


Seafood Appetizers

Vegetarian Appetizers

Caviar Dip

Caviar Dip

  • 225 g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 yellow onion
  • ~1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 57 g red lumpfish caviar
  • 57 g black lumpfish caviar
  • 1 bunch spring onions


Beat together cream cheese and sour cream.
Dice onion finely.
Combine onion with cream mixture.
Add sugar. (You may wish to adjust the amount depending upon personal preference and the sweetness of your onion.)
Spoon mixture into a round pie plate and smooth flat.
Using a sharp knife, score the top of the dip as shown in the designs below:



Chill dip.

Spoon caviar onto paper towel to absorb excess dye.
Gently spoon blotted caviar onto dip, following the outlines you scored onto the dip earlier, to create diamonds of caviar in alternating colours.

Creating the Caviar Dip

Slice spring onions.
Top corners and centre of the dip with spring onions to complete the design.

Serve chilled with fine whole grain crackers.

Seasoned Croutons

You can purchase packaged croutons in most grocery stores these days, but why would you? Homemade croutons are far superior in both taste and texture and are very simple to make.

I reserve the oil from my Oven Roasted Garlic to make these croutons, but feel free to experiment with other flavoured oils as suits your fancy. The cayenne can be supplemented with or substituted by other spices to create the flavour combination which will best compliment the dish with which you will be serving your croutons.

  • day old bread
  • flavoured extra virgin olive oil
  • cayenne pepper powder
  • additional powdered herbs & spices to taste


Chop bread into 3/4 inch cubes.
Sprinkle herbs & spices over bread.
Toss with olive oil.
Spread cubes out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Heat under grill until lightly toasted, flipping halfway through to toast all sides.

Croutons can be served warm, straight from the grill, or cooled to room temperature. They're wonderful in soups or as a salad topper!

Vampire's Bane Caesar Salad

The very first time I attempted to make a Caesar salad I followed a recipe from a book which called for one clove of garlic. (This was when I was still a child and had not yet developed my basic rules for cooking with garlic.) The recipe said to peel the clove of garlic, fry it in olive oil, cut it in half, take the two halves and rub them around the inside of a wooden salad bowl, then discard the clove!

Rest assured: This is NOT that Caesar salad!

Vampire's Bane Caesar Salad

  • 1 egg
  • 20 grams anchovy paste*
  • 1 garlic
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • freshly squeezed juice of one lemon
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • romaine lettuce
  • bacon
  • red onion
  • mushrooms
  • extra secret ingredient**
  • seasoned croutons
  • freshly grated Parmesan, Asiago and Romano cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper


* Trust me on this: Don't skip the anchovy! I know there are a lot of people out there who are squeamish about anchovies but, if you like Caesar salad, whether you know it or not, you like anchovy!

The addition of chopped pieces of anchovy on top of the salad reportedly was not included in Caesar Cardini's original recipe, but every Caesar salad worth its salt (including the original) does include anchovy in the sauce! Check the ingredients list on your favourite brand of bottled Caesar salad dressing. Ten to one it includes anchovy paste and/or Worcestershire sauce (which itself includes anchovies).

** flat fillets of anchovies, packed in extra virgin olive oil. In deference to my squeamish friends, I reserve these in the kitchen and serve them only to the appreciative who pass their plates into the kitchen to be finished off in true Polyphagous Dragon style.


Cook bacon until crisp.
Squeeze between paper towel to absorb excess fat.
Set aside to cool.

Wash and dry lettuce.
Tear into bite sized pieces.

Beat egg.
Beat in anchovy paste.
Peel garlic & remove hard bases from cloves.
Crush or finely grate garlic & beat into egg/anchovy mixture.
Mix in 3/4 cup Parmesan & lemon juice.
Stir in olive oil until desired thickness is reached.
Chill dressing in covered container.

Crumble cooled bacon.
Slice onion thinly.
Chop mushrooms into bite sized pieces.

Shake dressing vigorously, adding additional oil if necessary.
Toss lettuce, mushrooms, onion and bacon bits with dressing.
Top with croutons, freshly grated cheeses, pepper and extra secret ingredient as desired.

Garlic Butter

Garlic Butter

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic
  • fresh dill


Soften garlic to room temperature.
Peel garlic cloves and remove hard bases.
Crush or finely grate garlic.
Cream together butter and garlic.
Remove fine dill leaves from thick stems, discarding the stems.
Stir dill leaves into garlic butter.

Garlic butter can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container, but spreads best at room temperature. Serve with warm fresh bread, or butter bread and then place it under the grill (with or without additional toppings) to make garlic toast.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Smoked Salmon Pasta Bake

I was never a fan of "macaroni and cheese". Not as a child, nor as a starving student, nor a starving artist, nor a wilderness camper in the middle of Algonquin in the pouring rain with nothing else to eat. There's simply never been a time in my life when consuming those boxed dinners of macaroni noodles and powdered "cheese" product seemed like a good idea. When I recently came across Clever Karen's recipe for "Grown Up Mac n' Cheese" however, my eyes were opened to the potential of this (much-maligned-by-the-insta-food-industry) dish and I was inpired to try my own hand at a "macaroni & cheese" creation. This was the result.

Smoked Salmon Pasta Bake

  • 1 lb (dry weight) whole wheat rotini
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup tzatziki
  • 150 g chèvre
  • fresh dill
  • 3/4 cup grated aged Cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Lancashire cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Montery Jack cheese with hot pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 200 g smoked salmon, torn into small pieces
  • freshly grated parmesan


Cook pasta until al dente.
Cream together ricotta, tzatziki and chèvre in a large bowl.
Stir in Cheddar, Lancashire, Jack & Swiss cheeses and dill.
Add pasta and salmon to cheese mixture and combine well.
Transfer contents to a large lasagna pan or other oven-proof dish.
Cover with foil and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.
Remove foil, top with grated parmesan and bake uncovered for a further 10 minutes.
Serve warm.

Double Garlic Chicken Crêpes

These crêpes are wonderfully tasty with sweet, well-blended flavours that even the finicky eaters on my guest list enjoy. The double dose of garlic comes from sweet oven roasted garlic and thick, rich Skotidakis Tzatziki.

Garlicky Chicken Crêpes

  • 1 batch crêpe batter
  • 150 g chèvre
  • 2/3 cup tzatziki
  • 1 oven roasted garlic
  • 7 sun-dried tomato halves
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 lb cooked chicken breast
  • olive oil for frying vegetables
  • butter for frying crêpes


Roast garlic.
Prepare crêpe batter.
While batter is chilling, prepare the filling:

Dice the sun-dried tomatoes.
Remove oven roasted garlic flesh from the skin.
Beat together chèvre and tzatziki until smooth.
Add garlic and tomato and mix until well blended.
Sauce for Garlicky Chicken Crêpes

Finely slice onion and red peppers.
Stir fry onion in olive oil until onion turns soft and translucent.
Add red pepper and continue stir frying until peppers are cooked through and onion begins to carmelize.
Stir Frying Veggies for Garlicky Chicken Crêpes

Dice chicken.
Add chicken and sauce to the pan with the vegetables.
Mix well and cook gently -- just enough to warm the filling through.
Heating the Filling for Garlicky Chicken Crêpes

Cook crêpes as per recipe.
Spoon chicken mixture onto crêpes, roll and serve.

Fruit Crêpes with Chocolate Sauce and Frangelico Syrup

I had some leftover crêpe batter from my Double Garlic Chicken Crêpes, a bit of Frangelico syrup and chocolate sauce made recently for my Yule Log still kicking around and, hidden away in the freezer, a container of wonderfully tasty wild raspberries. Obviously the Fates had conspired to compel me to create this wonderful concoction!

Dessert Crêpes



Spoon fruit onto crêpes.
Roll up.
Drizzle with syrup and chocolate sauce.
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Chocolate Sauce or Icing

Warm, this recipe makes a delicious and simple chocolate cream sauce. Allowed to cool to room temperature, it becomes spreadable and can be used to frost cakes. Choose a flavourful liqueur to match or compliment the dish it will be topping.

  • 8 oz fine dark chocolate
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon liqueur


Chop chocolate into small pieces.
Chopped Chocolate

Bring cream to a boil.
Remove from heat and stir in liqueur.

Pour heated cream/liqueur mixture over chopped chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Chocolate Ganache

Use warm for sauce or allow to cool, uncovered at room temperature, until a spreadable consistency is reached, for icing.

Frangelico Syrup

Here's a very simple and flavourful syrup, wonderful for moistening cakes or pouring over fruit.
(Different liqueurs could easily be substituted, depending on your purpose for the syrup.)

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Frangelico liqueur


Bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.
Remove from heat and stir in Frangelico.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Sandwich Fillings & Spreads





Sponge Cakes


Pies & Tarts



Dessert Salads


Frozen Desserts


Chilled Drinks

Vinting & Brewing

Savoury Breads


Quick Breads

Yeast Breads

Bread Toppers


Vegetarian Salads

Chicken Salads

Seafood Salads

Dessert Salads


Vegetable Soups

Beef Soups

Seafood Soups

Basic Ingredients

Batters & Doughs

Sweet Sauces & Syrups

Savoury Sauces & Spreads

Specialty Ingredients