Easter Egg Flourless Chocolate Torte

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I love Nigella Lawson, always have, always will. I read her cookbooks like novels. Her cookbooks are fun to read and evoke memories of my own childhood.

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I am hosting 12 for dinner tomorrow to celebrate Easter and I wanted to mix it up in the dessert department. I made a carrot cake (my favorite) but I know my husband loves chocolate. Hello flourless chocolate torte! It really easy to make and will be easy to eat I am sure.

If you are looking to try something new tomorrow, try this!

Happy Easter!

 

Cranberry Pecan Cheese Ball

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I don’t know about you but I love a good cheese ball as part of a charcuterie board. I know it sounds bit retro but I don’t care.

They are creamy, and tasty and SO easy to make. You can whip this up in 10 minutes. I prefer letting it set overnight so the flavours come together but I have also been known to eat this straight out of the bowl… this is a judgement free zone 😉

Here is what you need:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup white sharp cheddar cheese shredded / of old white cheddar
  • 1 cup dried cranberries chopped and divided
  • 1 cup pecans chopped and toasted 
  • 1/4 cup chives or green onions chopped (I prefer chives)
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp of seasoning salt 
  1. To Toast Pecans: Pre-heat oven to 375F. Place chopped pecans on a baking tray and bake for 5 minutes or until aromatic. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, cheddar cheese, ½ toasted pecans, ½ cup dried cranberries, chive or green onion, seasoning salt and garlic powder until well combined.
  3. Place mixture in the center of a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and cover completely with wrap while forming it into a ball shape. Place in fridge until ready to serve.
  4. Just before serving, combine remaining ½ cup pecans, ½ dried cranberries, and 2 tablespoon chives on a flat surface or cutting board. Unwrap the ball and roll in cranberry-pecan mixture.
  5. Serve with anything and devour! 

Sometimes I just need a curry in a hurry (Cauliflower and tofu korma)

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An easy vegetarian Indian vegetable korma recipe with tofu, cauliflower, peas, and warming spices.

This curry took me 45 mins to make. Will anyone else in the house eat it? Hello no.. but now I have 4 make-ahead meals I can devour. It’s a win for Me!

I feel like roasting the cauliflower gives it a better taste and adds body to the dish, so I highly recommend. I also tossed the tofu in cornstarch and salt after I pressed it to (google how to do this) add a bit of bite it to, but that is optional. I am a texture wh@re when it comes to food. I need crunch and a toothy feel, if everything is soft I am out!

Carrots and cream (or coconut milk) add body to the korma curry base, while puréed tomatoes and lemon add the punch you need for balance.

Serves 4 or 2 if you are REALLY HUNGRY

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil or unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala and cinnamon and garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup roughly chopped carrots run through a food processor
  • 1 onion, peeled and put in a food processor
  • 3 cloves garlic, and again put in the FP
  • 1 (28 oz) can pureed plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of heavy cream or canned coconut milk (add the entire can for a looser, soupier korma base, if desired)
  • Add a handful of frozen peas
  • 1 (350g/12 oz) pkg extra firm tofu, (pressed if you have time) cut into 1/2-inch cubes as tossed with some corn starch and a generous pinch of salt
  • 1 small cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets (extra spices needed for this part see instructions)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint or cilantro, and toasted almonds and or cashews to serve (optional)
  • Cooked brown rice or basmati rice, hot, to serve (optional) or naan

Directions:

1 Turn oven on to 425 and get ready to prep the cauliflower for roasting. Lay the florets in a baking sheet on parchment paper and spread them out. If they are too close put them on two different trays you do not want the cauliflower to steam you wanted to roast. Drizzle with oil, 1-2 pinches of salt, 2 tsp garlic powder and 1 tablespoon of turmeric. Toss and into the oven it goes for 15-18 mins. Cooking is fun not an exact science if you are missing the turmeric no big deal it will still be delish. You want to roast the cauliflower so you will get the all the little dark tasty spots .. that is okay. You want it to have personality not be mushy. Mushy is BAD.

2 While the cauliflower is in the oven…In a large pot, heat oil or butter over medium heat; add spices, salt, and everything in food processor. Sauté for 10 minutes, until onions are translucent.

3 Add tomatoes and cream or coconut milk, bring to a simmer, reduce to medium, cover, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until vegetables are very tender.

4 In a frying pan toss the cut up tofu in 1-2 tablespoons of oil and get it crispy.

5 Then it’s magic time. Add everything into the sauce. The roasted cauliflower, the crispy tofu, hand full of peas and lemon juice. Toss gently and keep on low heat for 5-10 mins. Here is the trick. TASTE IT. Is it missing heat? I added 2 chili’s because I LOVE it spicy, missing sweetness? I added 1 tbls of honey to it, not enough salt? Add some, add more curry powder if you need it…it’s your dish adjust how you like it! Make this 24 hrs in advance so the flavours develop even more.

6 Top with nuts and fresh herbs (optional)

7 Serve hot with brown rice, basmati rice, or quinoa or naan or nothing!

Enjoy!!

Cauliflower Wings – Must Try!

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So Pure Kitchen just opened up in Kanata and now I eat, sleep and dream about their cauliflower wings.

And as much as I would love to eat there every single day, I needed to come up with my own recipe for making cauliflower wings in the oven.

These were pretty delicious I must admit they will curb my craving for the PK version. They are great as a appetizer, on tacos, in a wrap instead of meat or on top of a salad.

Here’s what you need:

(Preheat your oven to 425 degrees)

  • 1 Head cauliflower cut into bite sized “wings”
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp garlic and onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • A good squeeze of sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons Mirin or 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Steps:

  1. Cut up the cauliflower
  2. Make batter with the flour, garlic and onion powder, water and sriracha
  3. Toss wings in batter with your hands. Make sure they are all covered
  4. Lay out on a parchment paper covered baking sheet
  5. Bake in oven for 25 mins
  6. Remove from oven and toss wings with melted butter, mirin and sriracha mix
  7. Put back in oven for 15 mins
  8. Devoir
  9. As much as I would like to say this is 1 serving, it is not. It is 4 servings. But you don’t need to share with anyone. 😉

Drop me a note and let me know how you liked them!

Enjoy

Www.monicaskitchen.com

Let’s talk Garlic Scapes

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What are Garlic scapes?

They are the curled flower from the top of a garlic plant, are abundant at farmers markets (I just picked up a bundle at the https://carpfarmersmarket.ca/Carp Farmers Market). Available in the spring/early summer they make an easy, fragrant pesto that can be spread on bread or crackers, mixed with ricotta, put on pasta, used with fish, and as a substitute for garlic, onion, or scallions!

You can also slice them on the diagonal and sauté them with other vegetables as a side dish. They are wildly delicious.

Here is how I made my Garlic Scape Pesto that I will mix with ricotta for dinner one night and top sliced steak the next. Ready in less than 3 minutes 🙌

  • 2 cups garlic scapes cut into pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Pinch salt and pepper
  • 4 green onions
  • 1/2 lemon (juice and zest)
  • 2 inch chunk of real Parmegiano Reggiano

Toss it all into your food processor and in 40 secs viola you have pesto!

Leftovers… are awesome! Try this penne with sausage in a whisky cream sauce done in 9 MINUTES!

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What exactly are leftovers? Leftovers are the uneaten remains of a hot or cold meal after the meal is over and everyone has finished eating.

As a kid what did that mean? It meant a gross dinner was around the corner. 😬 My mom was an excellent cook but even leftover night was a food bust.

No. Anymore.

Today is Labour Day in Canada or (Holiday Monday) and all the stores are closed. So dinnertime rolled around and I had no idea what to make. So I opened my fridge and grab a ton of leftovers and made a wicked dinner.

Here is what I used:

  • 2 cups cooked penne pasta
  • 1 bunch of asparagus which I cooked in garlic and oil
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 smoked Serrano chili ( or a chipotle if that is what you have )
  • 2 cobs of corn – kernels cut off
  • 3 BBQed Italian sausages sliced
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • Splash of whisky
  • Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper

What did I do?

Melt a bit of butter in a pan, add onion and asparagus after a few minutes add garlic and corn. After 1 minutes add chili, sausage and pasta. After 2 minutes add splash of whisky and stock and cream. Simmer 3 minutes and viola. Season with salt and pepper and top with Parmesan.

You won’t believe this is leftovers!

Instant Pot – Tex Mex Chicken Thighs

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This is a quick dinner that can be made on any weeknight or weekend.

All it takes is 30 mins in an Instant Pot.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 kilo chicken thighs (club pack)
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbls chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups fresh salsa
  • 2 whole chipotles in adobo sauce diced up
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Stems of cilantro finely diced *amazing flavour and even those who don’t like the cilantro flavour like this.
  • 19 0z Can black beans
  • 15 oz Can of corn kernels

Press sauté on your Instant pot until it registers HOT. Add 2 tsp oil and add your chicken thighs. Cook both sides of chicken for 5 mins add salt, chili powder, cumin, chipotles, cilantro stems, garlic and onions. Mix around for 2 minutes. Add canned corn with juice, add drained beans and stir. Top with salsa and DO NOT STIR. Tomatoes can tend to burn in the IP so just pour on top and spread out.

Put on IP Lid and seal the vent. Press Chili button – 30 mins. Viola

Do what ever you need to do and once the IP beeps release the steam vent to depressurize. Shred the chicken thighs, they will be soft and buttery. Mix everything together, add fresh cilantro leaves and check seasoning.

Serve on its own, on rice, spaghetti squash, top with chunks of avocado, cheese and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Makes 10 cups and freezes perfectly well.

Enjoy!

Soup Addict – Italian Wedding Soup

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When you live in Ottawa, and it’s the winter and it’s cold than Mars (true story) I crave soup. This delicious Italian Wedding soup always makes feel cozy and warm. Italian wedding soup is a combination of a killer broth, mini tasty meatballs, a small pasta, veggies and greens.

I honestly adore soup.  I love it for lunch with a piece of crusty bread and it makes a great appetizer before dinner. My youngest Holly loves this soup (she loves meat) my oldest Chloe avoids meat like the plague, so I wanted to create a version that would appeal to both kids. Chloe just eats hers minus the meatballs.

This soup is made on the stove 🙂 sorry Instant Pot lovers this is old school 🙂 This soup will keep in your fridge for 5 days and freezes superbly well. Rolling the meatballs are the most time consuming part of this recipe so if you have child labor kids to assist you, use it.

Ingredients

Ingredients for Pork Meatballs (can be done ahead of time and frozen):

  • 1 pound ground pork (makes a tender meatball, but you can also use beef)
  • 1/2 cup onion , finely diced (about 1/2 medium onion)
  • cloves garlic , peeled and minced (or use a rasp)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs or seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons mixed fresh herbs (parsley, basil, rosemary)
  • 1 egg

Ingredients for Soup:

  • tablespoons butter or oil
  • 1 cup onion , finely diced (1 medium onion)
  • 1 cup carrot , peeled and diced (1 medium carrot)
  • cloves garlic , peeled and minced
  • ~3 liters chicken broth – organic if you can (or homemade… I don’t have time for that though :)…)
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1 cup orzo, seme di Melone or acini di pepi
  • 1 pound fresh tender spinach
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced mixed herbs

Instructions

Meatballs:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together pork, onion, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt, bread crumbs, herbs, and egg until combined
  2. Shape into tiny bite-sized meatballs, roughly 1/2 inch in diameter; place onto parchment covered cookie sheet and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Luckily if you live in Canada during the winter you can put these babies outside to freeze while you prepare your broth 🙂 * Refrigerating is important as it will keep them from falling apart in the soup. You need a minimum of 30 mins to set up.

Soup:

  1. In a large stock pot, melt butter; add onion, carrots, and garlic. Saute until tender, but not soft (about 5 minutes)
  2. Add chicken broth; bring to a boil. Turn to simmer, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.
  3. Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste
  4. Drop meatballs into broth; cook 7 minutes. Add pasta of your choice and cook 5 minutes
  5. Add herbs and simmer for 30 minutes to meld flavours, adding more broth, if needed. Add spinach for the last few minutes.
  6. Serve with crusty bread, or garlic bread (my kids favourite) and top with additional Parmesan cheese. I also love to add a bit of Sriracha to my soup too.
  7. Enjoy!

Instant Pot: Pulled Pork!

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I am officially obsessed with my Instant Pot. My pulled pork was a big test because I swear by using my slow cooker for 12 hours to make the “perfect” pulled pork. I saw pork shoulder bone in on sale at the store today so I picked one up for 18$ for 3 kilos. A steal!

Prep is the same, but instead of taking 12 hours in a slow cooker however I had pulled pork on the table in 75 minutes!

Here is what you need:

  • 3 kilos of pork shoulder bone in (remove the skin and slice into fist full chunks)
  • Dry rub – start with 2/3 cup but you may need more (I use my own rub but you can buy one from the store)
  • 1 bottle beer or can of coke or root beer (not sugar free)
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup bbq sauce – I use homemade but you can use your favorite store bought BBQ sauce.
  1. Cut the pork shoulder into fist full chunks keeping the bones.
  2. Rub each and every pork chunk with the dry rub.
  3. Typically I would do this 24-48 hours in advance and keep it in the fridge but today I did it all in one step.
  4. In your instant pot press the sauté button and add a splash of oil. Add sliced onion. Sauté for 2 or 3 minutes. Add pork chunks.
  5. Layer meat and onions, meat and onions.
  6. Pour beer over top. If you want it gluten free don’t have a beer use root beer/coke etc. in this case I used a radler. Try to make sure the meat is evenly in the pot and mostly covered by the beer.
  7. Put on instant pot lid.
  8. Press meat button, set for 75 minutes and put up your feet and relax.
  9. Fast forward ~90 mins (once instant pot is finished and done venting open the lid.)
  10. Remove bones and discard. Shred meat with fork or tongs. The meat is like butter and just falls apart.
  11. You will have a lot of pork juices (these are delicious and if you want to scoop out 3 cups you can use it for baked beans) reserve a good 3 cups, you will most likely have 5-6 cups of juices.
  12. In the instant pot add back in the pork, 2-3 cups of porky juices and the bourbon and BBQ sauce. Press sauté button and cook for 5 minutes or so. You want to taste the sweet pork, not just the BBQ sauce so start with a little, you can always add more.
  13. This made 8 cups of meat and sauce. Enough for 4 dinners. It freezes superbly well. I use it for tacos, on nachos on my famous pull pork pizza! Think about it, 4 dinners for 18$ is a great deal.

Enjoy! I can’t wait to hear how you liked it!

Egg Bites – Premake your breakfasts for the week in 20 mins!

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I love eggs but I can’t be bothered to make an egg every morning.. I mean who has time for that?

Enter egg bites, baked in the oven, customizable to whatever your tastes are. Easy peasy… just how I like my mornings.

All you need is an oven, a 12 muffin tin, 8 eggs and whatever extras you want! To save a mess I use silicon muffin liners.

Here is what you need:

  • 8 whole eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbs heavy cream
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 slices of diced bacon
  • 1/2 onion finely diced
  • 1 whole jalapeño finely diced
  • 1/2 cup feta crumbled

Sauté the onion, bacon and jalapeño in a pan until golden. Drop a 1/2 Tbs of this mixture into the muffin tins.

Whisk up the 8 eggs in a bowl. Add the heavy cream and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Add 1/4 cup of the egg mixture into each muffin tin. Top with roughly 2 tsp of crumbed feta cheese.

Put these babies into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes.

Voila! Now in the morning your only concern is making a Coffee, trying to get dressed in private and herding cats.. err I mean your children. 😉

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Instant Pot! Chipotle Chicken

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Holy moly was this one ever quick and delicious! I was craving wraps for dinner and didn’t want to pan fry the chicken so I whipped this up in minutes. Dinner on the table in less than 15 minutes.

Here is what you need:

  • 4 small chicken breasts (roughly a pound give or take)
  • 1/4 cup of diced chipotles in adobo sauce (I LOVE this stuff!) – Tip ! once you open the can throw the rest in a zip lock bag and toss it in the freezer to use in other dishes.   I’m obsessed with it.
  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced finely or use a rasp
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tsp Brown sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp oil

  1. With the cooker’s lid off, add a tsp of oil spray and heat to “Saute” until the cooker has heated up. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent and the garlic is fragrant. Add in the chipotle and adobo sauce.
  2. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place in the Instant Pot and saute until browned. Add the chicken stock & brown sugar. Securely lock the pressure cooker’s lid and set to “Manual”. Cook at HIGH pressure for 8 minutes. YES 8 MINUTES!!! 😳 crazy eh?
  3. Perform a quick release to release the pressure. Open the lid and remove the chicken breasts. Shred the chicken and set it back in the cooker.

This is delicious in wraps, on nachos, served on rice and topped with avocado and salsa and cheese.

Stay tuned.. I will have 8 more Instant pot recipes to go for January!

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