Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Fruity and Citrusy Sweet Potatoes for the Holidays!

Ingredients:

 sweet potatoes

2 apples

2 medium oranges

1 lemon

1 lime

½ cup honey

1 teaspoon fleur de sel

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

6 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing the pan

½ cup pecans, chopped


Directions:

  • Scrub the sweet potatoes clean and cook them in boiling water until they are almost done but not quite ready. Drain them and allow them to cool. once they're easy to handle, peel the skin and slice them into 1 inch thick pieces.
  • Meanwhile, as the potatoes are cooking peel the zest of the lemon and the two oranges. The zest needs to be in thin strips, therefore either slice it or use a zest peeling utensil that renders zest into long thin strips. 
  • Juice the oranges, the lime, and the lemon. Place the juice into a bowl. 
  • Whisk in the honey, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Keep whisking until the ingredients are combined well.
  • Add the citrus zests and mix.
  • Peel and core the apples. Cut them into slices.
  • Grease a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish with butter and into it arrange the sweet potato pieces and apples. 
  • Pour the juice mixture on top making sure it coats all of the potatoes and apples.
  • Dot with the butter.
  • Cover with parchment-lined aluminium foil, place in a preheated 350° F / 180° C oven and bake for about 30 minutes, checking after 25 minutes to see that the potatoes aren't getting burned. They will be done when the majority of the liquid has been absorbed by the apples and potatoes.
  • Take out of the oven and top with the pecans.
  • Place back in the oven, uncovered this time, and cook for an additional five minutes until the pecans are toasted.

 


Sunday, 26 September 2021

EGGS TARRAGON WITH CREAM CHEESE


I would call it the best Sunday breakfast ever! It can be ready in minutes and it's delicious. Something so very savoury and great tasting happens when combining eggs and tarragon! This recipe will make enough to serve breakfast for two. Place the eggs on toasted English muffins, accompany them with fruit and sweet grape tomatoes, sip your coffee or your tea, and enjoy. Perfect. 



Ingredients:

3 eggs

2 teaspoons dried tarragon

1 tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped

3 tablespoons cream cheese 

1 tablespoon whipping cream or your choice of milk

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

pinch of grated Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon butter

2 toasted English muffins

fruit of your choice 

a few grape  tomatoes sliced in half

a touch of olive oil, oregano, and fleur de sel




Directions:

Cut up the cream cheese into small chunks and bring it to room temperature. You want it to be in nearly melting condition so go ahead and place it in the microwave for about 25 seconds. 

Into a large bowl add the eggs, tarragon, parsley, cream or milk, the pinch of grated Parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper.

Stir in the warm cream cheese and beat all the ingredients until they are well combined. 

In a nonstick skillet over medium heat melt the butter.

Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and begin stirring right away. Keep stirring and folding until the eggs are creamy and start to appear set, about 4 minutes. Don't overcook the eggs. If they appear loose, that's fine because they retain heat and will finish cooking on their own.

Season the tomatoes with a touch of olive oil, a little oregano, and a little fleur de sel. 

Top the toasted English muffins with the eggs. Serve them alongside the tomatoes and some fruit of your choice. 


Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Cheesy Vegetable Hoagie with Tomatoes, Greens, and Kalamata Olives




What can one do with a harvest of wonderful, tasty tomatoes? Making sandwiches is the simplest answer. Tomatoes are a great accompaniment to feta cheese, so I combine them together along with some greens. Oregano, olives, cucumbers, all these ingredients belong together. One can't go wrong! 

Ingredients

2 rolls
2 large tomatoes, sliced
some arugula
a few leaves of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cucumber, preferably an English cucumber, sliced
half of a red onion sliced thinly
5 Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

    For the cheese base:

4 ounces feta cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
a handful of basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
black pepper 

    For the dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
salt and pepper


The veggies absorb lots of flavours if they stay in the dressing for about five minutes. 




Directions:

Gather the ingredients for the cheese base and whip them together.
Mix together the ingredients for the dressing.
Arrange the lettuce, arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and onions on a plate.
Pour the dressing over them and let them sit in the dressing for five to ten minutes.
Meanwhile, split the rolls in half and toast them lightly.
Spread the whipped cheese over each half of the rolls. 
Arrange Kalamata olives over the cheese.
Top two of the sliced roll pieces with greens, onions, and cucumbers.
Top the other two halves with the sliced tomatoes. Make sure you pack the tomatoes tightly, or if you'd like, arrange them in two rows one on top of the other. You want lots of tomatoes!   
Bring the two halves together and serve. 
Alternately, you could eat this as an open-faced sandwich: just build the greens and tomatoes on top of the cheese. It won't necessarily be a hoagie but it will still taste delicious!

 An Open-faced version with some gorgeous tomatoes ... some bright green veggies ... but this roll was kind of large, so I cut it in half which made a perfect lunch for two people!  


From the first harvest of summer tomatoes! 





Friday, 2 July 2021

Open-Faced Tomato and Mozzarella Sandwich with Basil Dressing and Fleur de Sel Garnish

 



A superb way to use summer's tomato and basil bounty is to make this delicious sandwich. I used a French demi-baguette as a base for this "culinary" creation of mine. It was very fresh and just the right size. But frankly, I found the baguette too dense for the sandwich (it's not often you'll hear me complain about bread). What one wants here is a crunchy loaf that will support what it's topped with while allowing the basil and tomatoes to take the leading role. So you may want to try an Italian loaf which is not as dense as a French one. Whatever you do, don't use sourdough bread ... A rosemary loaf would be nice. How about an olive loaf??? There are lots of options, therefore make the recipe your own by choosing your favourite type of bread! The ingredients listed are enough for a smaller roll, one that makes a perfect lunch for two people. If you choose to go for a larger loaf, you'll have to double up on the ingredients. 






Ingredients:

Get some bread!

fresh mozzarella cheese, roughly chopped
2 or three freshly picked tomatoes, sliced
fleur de sel 
black pepper
chives, chopped
a few basil leaves sliced into chiffonade (to use as topping)
a scant amount of olive oil for topping

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
a squeeze or two of lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup basil, chopped well
salt and pepper to taste




Directions:


  • Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Make the basil dressing by combining the mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, chopped basil, minced garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix or whisk kind of really, really well. 
  • Slice the bread roll in two halves lengthwise. Lightly sprinkle one tablespoon of olive oil over both halves of the bread. Brush each half with the basil dressing.
  • Top with the shredded fresh mozzarella.
  • Place the bread halves on a baking sheet and bake them for five minutes until they become crispy and the cheese begins to turn a light golden brown. 
  • Take the baking sheet out of the oven. Let the bread stay on the baking sheet. Top each half with tomato slices.
  • Turn off the oven. Place the baking sheet into the still-warm oven so the tomatoes are exposed to heat. After about a minute, remove from the oven.  
  • Lightly sprinkle the tops of your open-faced sandwiches with fleur de sel to taste. Add some ground black pepper, chopped chives and basil chiffonade. Drizzle over with a little olive oil and serve right away. 


Thursday, 13 May 2021

GOOD - OLD FASHIONED PANCAKES!

I love pancakes for dinner! This was today's dinner and I made a quick decision to post the recipe! These pancakes are made with buttermilk instead of milk. If you have no buttermilk on hand, no need to run to the store. Here's how to make a buttermilk substitute:  

  • For one cup of buttermilk, use:
  • 1 cup of milk 
  • tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
Combine, let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes and that's your buttermilk!



Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

½  teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 eggs at room temperature

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted. Melting it in the microwave is perfect, but allow it to cool a few minutes before using it.

vegetable oil for the pan

 

Directions:

In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Combine the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and butter.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and into it pour the buttermilk mixture.

Stir all the ingredients together just until combined. Do not over-mix; a few lumps in the batter are just fine.

Heat the oil in a pan, cast iron is preferable, and under medium-high heat, add dollops of the batter. 

Cook until bubbles begin to form on the top of the pancakes and check the underside to see that the edges have begun to crisp up. Almost ready to flip ...


When the underside lifts readily, place a spatula all the way under the pancake and flip! Allow the other side to cook. Remember that the first pancake is almost always an experiment and it will not come out perfect but it will nevertheless be delicious!  

Remove each pancake to a plate and serve with all the accoutrements you desire: Fruit, maple syrup, fried chicken, you're the boss. I think the part about the fried chicken is a joke. As for maple syrup, I always buy grade B maple syrup. Why? Grade B is actually better tasting than grade A! It's just that B has a darker amber colour. But it also has a more concentrated maple flavour because it's made from sap that gets harvested close to wintertime and has therefore had more opportunity to thicken up. 

You can divide the batter into parts, place into containers such as plastic freezer bags, and freeze for use at a later date.

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

HOMEMADE DOGFOOD: MEATLOAF FOR THE DOG!

This is Mr Big Ben (mostly called Benny). Meatloaf? Yes, please, he says. He can eat it every single day! 

I recently adopted a smol doggo from a local rescue who just happens to be the most finicky eater on the globe! That's the guy, Mr Big Ben, right there in the picture. 

I make this meatloaf for him and we do have success because he seems to like it and no longer goes without eating dinner. I've known and loved other dogs, not such finicky eaters as Mr Big Ben ... well, there was also Pericles, and I used to get down on my knees to beg him to eat ... 

I have made this meatloaf with ground turkey but Ben gave it 4 paws down! However, a turkey version is an option that other dogs may like. As for Ben, we moved on to ground beef. Low-fat ground beef. 

I am writing this post on New Year's Day. I would like to report that today, Ben chose to have grilled salmon for dinner because that's part of what I already prepared for the hooman population that will be having dinner in about an hour from now. I mean Big Ben does live with hoomans, therefore it made sense to him that he indulge in some salmon. Cooked to order just for him, plain but topped with a dash of olive oil and a sprinkle of rice, Benny loved it! 

I have not yet had that conversation with Big Ben where I inform him he is a doggo. I doubt this conversation will ever take place. As far as Ben is concerned, he's my son, and hold on, let me tell you, that little guy, I love him like a son!!! 



Big Ben's Meatloaf

Ingredients:


2 pounds ground beef

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups mixed vegetables: use a combination of carrots, green beans, parsley, and peas. Don't use broccoli, it's not good for a dog's digestion.

1/2 cup  flax seed meal (it's a great source of fibre but don't use whole flaxseed because the canine cannot digest it)

1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs 

2 tablespoons olive oil

oregano and thyme to taste



Directions:


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Lightly pre-cook the vegetables. Pre-cooking will aid with digestion. Drain the vegetables and mash them. 

Mix all the ingredients.

Place the mixture in a lightly oiled pan. 

Bake for 45 minutes.  

Let cool, cut into serving portions and freeze. Use as needed. 

P.S. Sometimes I'll get a rotisserie chicken, remove the skin and the bones, chop the meat in small pieces and freeze it. I then combine a relatively small portion of the chicken meat with a serving of "Ben's meatloaf." He's very partial to that. 

No, Big Ben is not spoiled. He's so lovable, so endearing!