Friday, 28 February 2014

Asparagus Tart

A very rich side dish, so take it easy on the portions.

8 sheets of phyllo pastry, defrosted
1/2 bunch fresh asparagus
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup mozzarella, grated
2 eggs
1/2 cup cream
1/2 tsp paprika
Sea salt to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Blanch asparagus in boiling water.
  2. Place asparagus in ice water, drain and dry.
  3. Coat a baking sheet with melted butter.  On a work surface, place a sheet of phyllo dough and brush the top with butter.  Repeat the process layering the remaining phyllo dough on top.
  4. Put the layered sheets on the buttered baking sheet, folding the edges on the sides
  5. Sprinkle the top of the phyllo with 1/2 of the grated mozzarella leaving a 1 inch border.  Beat the eggs with cream and paprika.  Pour on top of the tart.
  6. Arrange the asparagus equally across the tart.  Sprinkle salt and brush the borders of the tart with melted butter.  Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella.
  7. Bake for 20-30 minutes uncovered.
  8. Allow the tart to sit for 5 minutes before cutting into squares.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Chicken and Bean Salad with Crispy Tortilla Topping

Serve with some sour cream if you like, I found this salad had lots of flavour and was filling enough for a dinner.  From Canadian Living Magazine - with a few of my own adjustments.

3 small flour tortillas, cut into 1/2 inch wide strips
1 tbsp vegetable oil
450 g boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 red sweet pepper
2 cloves garlic minced
1 1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp pepper
Pinch salt
1 cup rinsed drained canned black beans
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
2 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp lime juice
4 cups torn lettuce (romaine)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped

Honey Lime Dressing
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp liquid honey
Pinch salt

Toss tortilla strips with 1 tsp of the oil.  Bake in oven at 450F until crisp, about 10 min.  Transfer to bowl.

Add remaining oil to skillet; cool chicken, sweet pepper, garlic, chili powder, pepper and salt, stirring often, until chicken is no longer pink inside, about 4 minutes.

Stir in beans, corn, green onions, and lime juice; cook until warmed through, about 3 minutes.

In large bowl whisk together oil, lime juice, honey and salt.  Add lettuce and toss.  Spoon chicken mixture over top; sprinkle with cheese and avocado.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Sweet and Spicy Sausage

Even my picky eaters enjoyed this version.

1kg Italian Smoked Sausage
1 cup Cassis Jam
1/2 cup Steak Sauce
1 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
3/4 tsp ground allspice

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker; toss to completely.  Cover; cook on high for 3 hours or until richly glazed.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Lemon Curd with Yogurt

A delicious dessert that tastes decadent.

3/4 cup lemon juice (fresh works best)
2 lemons, finely grated zest
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup butter cut into cubes, room temperature

1 cup greek yogurt

  1. In a saucepan, bring lemon juice, zest and 1/2 cup of sugar to a boil.  Lower heat when it begins to boil.  
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs and remaining sugar together until creamy.  Gradually beat in lemon mixture without stopping, to keep eggs from cooking.  Return to saucepan and whisk continuously over medium heat.  Remove from the heat at the first sign of boiling.  Mix in butter until smooth. Cover and let cool before refrigerating.
  3. Place a spoonful of chilled lemon curd into glasses.  Top with a scoop of yogurt and sprinkle of seasonal berries.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

One Pot Shrimp and Couscous

An easy dish to make, delicious and healthy!

2 tbsp butter (or olive oil)
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced - try a vidalia or sweet red
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1 cup couscous
450g deveined peeled medium shrimp
1 cup grape tomatoes
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth - try a sodium reduced
4 cups baby spinach

  1. In large pan melt butter over medium high heat; cook onion, paprika, slat and pepper, stirring occasionally.  When onions are slightly softened, add garlic so it will not burn.  Stir about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add couscous; toast for 2 minutes.  Stir in shrimp, tomatoes and broth; bring to boil.  Cover and turn off heat; let stand on burner until no liquid remains and shrimp are pink, about 5 minutes.  Stir in spinach and let wilt.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Deviled Eggs

These are a classic and I don't know why I haven't made them in so long.

6 hard cooked eggs, peeled
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp chili power
chopped chives

  1. Slice eggs in half lengthwise.  Place yolks in medium bowl.  Add mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper and chili powder to yolks.  Mix well until smooth.  Pipe or spoon filling into egg whites.
  2. Sprinkle chopped chives on top.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Pumpkin Spice Snacking Cake

This is a great snacking cake for any time of the year.  From the Milk Calendar 2014.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted green pumpkin seeds, chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2/3 cup plain yogurt (not fat free)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a 13 x 9 inch metal cake pan with parchment paper or oil; butter foil, if using.  
  2. In a bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, ginger baking powder, salt and baking soda.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and eggs until well blended; beat in pumpkin, yogurt and vanilla.  Using a spoon, stir in dry ingredients alternating with milk, making 3 additions of dry and 2 of milk, just until incorporated.  
  3. Spread into prepared pan, smoothing top.  Bake for about 40 min or until tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Let cool in pan on a rack for 30 min.  Invert onto a cutting board, peel off paper, then invert back onto rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Quick Vegetable Curry

Really simple and yummy!  This can be served warm or cold and is nice with the naan bread.  From Canadian Living 2013.

1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
 2 tsp curry powder ( switched this with Indian Masala)
3/4 cup diced red onion
Half sweet red pepper, diced
3/4 cup thinly sliced carrot
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup rinsed drained canned chickpeas
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup diced cucumber
2 tbsp 2% plain Greek yogurt

In nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium high heat; cook garlic and curry powder, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add onion; cook, stirring often, until softened slightly about 3 minutes.

Add red pepper, carrot, 3 tbsp water, salt and pepper; cook, stirring often, until carrot is softened slightly, about 3 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas, lemon juice and 1/4 cup water; cook, stirring, just until vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.

Serve with cucumber and yogurt.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Squash and Gruyere Frittata

2 tbsp butter, divided
1 Acorn Squash and 3 shallots, roasted
1 packed tbsp thinly sliced fresh sage or basil
10 large eggs
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup coarsely shredded Gruyere cheese

  1. Melt 1 tbsp butter in 12 inch ovenproof skillet over medium high heat.  Add squash/shallots and saute 3min; stir in sage.
  2. Whisk eggs, water and salt in a bowl.  Melt remaining tbsp butter in skillet; pour eggs over squash/shallots.  Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook until set on bottom and edges but the top is still loose, about 3 minutes.  Sprinkle Gruyere evenly over the top.
  3. Broil frittata in oven until just set, about 1 minute.  Cut into wedges to serve.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Bruschetta with Tomatoes and Basil

A simple recipe that works well with most dinners.  Just make sure you use a good quality bun or bread.

Baguette or focaccia bread
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pushed through a press
2 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced (best you can buy)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut in slivers
Salt and pepper
Parmesan Cheese (or some mozzarella)

  1. Cut bread in half lengthwise and toast in oven until golden.  While bread is toasting, place olive oil and garlic in small microwave safe bowl and cook on high 30 seconds or until garlic is fragrant.
  2. Brush garlic oil on bread.  Evenly top toast with tomatoes and basil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. grate Parmesan over top and broil for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Smoked Salmon Roll Ups

This is very easy and delicious!

4 oz cream cheese
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
4 tortilla wraps - your choice of flavour
6 oz smoked salmon, thinly sliced

  1. In a bowl, mix cream cheese, onions, and dill.  Spread mixture evenly over tortillas.
  2. Layer salmon over cream cheese.   Roll up tortillas.  Cut each tortilla into 4 pieces.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Buffalo Chicken Wings

Who doesn't love chicken wings!  I am personally not a fan of Blue Cheese in the dip however, so I substituted it with Feta.

1 egg
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp celery salt
2 pounds chicken wings

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 green onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, pushed through a press
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

  1. MARINADE: Heat oven to 450F.  Beat egg in a medium bowl.  Add oil and beat until combined.  Add vinegar, salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, and celery salt; stir until well combined.
  2. Cut chicken wings in half at joint; remove wing tips and discard.  Dip chicken pieces into marinade and arrange on a large baking pan.
  3. Bake 20 minutes, turning and brushing with marinade several times, until wings are crisp.  Remove from oven; drain and arrange on a warm platter.  Serve with Blue Cheese Dunking Sauce.
  4. FOR DUNKING SAUCE: Combine all ingredients.  Mix well.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Spinach Artichoke Dip

This is a versatile dip with a lot of flavour!

1 - 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 - 13.75 oz can artichoke bottoms
2 cloves garlic
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp pepper

Heat oven to 350F.  Grease a 1 quart ovenproof pan.  In a food processor, process spinach, artichokes, garlic, cream cheese, Parmesan and pepper until well combined.  Scrape down sides of processor, as needed.

Spread spinach mixture in prepared pan.  Bake until warmed through, about 30 minutes.  SErve hot with cut up vegetables.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Beef Ragu with Roasted Tomato Sauce

I made this for our New Years Eve Dinner.  Making the Tomato Sauce is what makes this special.  The flavour will vary greatly depending on the Tomatoes you use so get the freshest, best tasting you can!  the dried porcini mushrooms were wonderful and give a lovely earthy flavour to the sauce.  Use this sauce over your favourite pasta.  From Food and Drink Autumn 2003.

1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 cup hot water
6 beefsteak tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
10 anchovy fillets, drained (optional)
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp slivered basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp olive oil
500g coarsely ground lean beef
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 oz diced pancetta
1 cup Baco Noir (or your favourite red wine)
3 tbsp chopped Italian parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Soak mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes.  Strain, separately reserving mushroom soaking liquid and mushrooms.
  3. Slice tomatoes thickly.  Oil in an ovenproof baking sheet with 1 tbsp oil.  Place tomatoes on sheet.  Top with anchovy fillets, garlic and herbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour over remaining 3 tbsp olive oil.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes.  Cool slightly and puree in food processor, leaving sauce slightly chunky.  Measure 2 cups sauce, reserving remainder for another use.
  5. While tomatoes are baking, heat oil in large skillet or saute pan on high heat.  Add half of beef.  Season beef with salt and pepper.  Place pancetta in skillet and saute for 2 minutes.  Fry until browned on the outside, about 2 minutes.  Remove meat and fry second half.  Drain any fat.
  6. Pour in wine and bring to boil, scraping up any little bits on the base of the skillet.  Return meat and stir in mushrooms and their soaking liquid and tomato sauce.  Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for 30 minutes.  Uncover and cook 15 to 20 minutes longer or until sauce is rich and thickened slightly.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Stir in parsley.
Serves 4