The holidays are busy, prior to this pandemic I would be entertaining hand over fist. Sure entertaining has slowed down, but you should always have elegant, quick and easy appetizers in your kitchen repertoire. Here is one that looks elegant but start to finish takes 15 minutes.
12 slices of prosciutto but you can use Serrano ham too
1 ball of cranberry and pepper Boursin
24 pecan halves (toasted in a fry pan)
1 cup of arugula
1/2 cup of balsamic (I used a white cranberry balsamic) put it in a pan and reduce it until it turns into a thick syrup- takes about 5 to 8 minutes on low. – you should have 2 tablespoons once it is reduced
2 tablespoons of dried cranberries
Now it’s time to put it together. Lay the slices of prosciutto out on a cutting board. Section the Boursin into 12 each portions ~ 3/4 tbls. Put the cheese on one end, top with 2 pecans and a generous pinch of arugula. Roll them up and slice in half. Then drizzle the top with the reduced balsamic glaze and a few dried cranberries.
This homemade version of vanilla bean scones is so easy to make. Great for kids and quick snacks.
Prep Time 30 minutes – Cook Time 16 minutes
Makes 16 mini scones
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated white sugar or vanilla bean sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, grated into pieces
1/2 to 2/3 cup cold heavy whipping cream (depends on the moisture in your flour and house)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
seeds scraped from one vanilla bean or 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste (I swear by this stuff!)
1½ tablespoons milk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (I did 350 degrees for convection bake) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the grated butter and rub butter and flour together with your hands. Continue until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Then mix in the cream and the vanilla extract.
When the dough has gathered itself into a ball and divide the dough into 2 equal portions. I had to add more cream to make this happen… keep that in mind. Flatten each portion of dough into a disc shape, about 1 1/2-inches thick. Score each disc into 8 triangles with a knife, and pull the triangles slightly away from one another (allowing about 1/2-inch in between).
Brush with cream on top and bake the scones for 16 to 20 minutes, until set in the centers and slightly golden on the bottoms.
ADD THE GLAZE:
In a small bowl, stir the powdered sugar, vanilla bean seeds, and milk together until smooth. Spread a small amount of glaze on top of each scone.
These are delish, you can’t eat just one. The recipe makes 16 mini scones, 2 hours after baking I have 8 left. They got a 12/10 for taste. 🙌
These are a staple in our house! The kids eat them for snacks after school, on the way to the gym, Joel grabs them for a snack. I make a batch weekly and they are always eaten. If you have 10 minutes you can whip up a batch.
2 1/2 cups oats
1 cup hemp hearts
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup milled flax seed
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup chocolate chips (I use mini)…save for the end
1 1/2 cups nut butter (I usually use 1/2 almond and 1/2 peanut butter)
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 tbls coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt (this is key!)
Place wet mix in microwave for ~45 seconds until melted- stir and add into dry mix. Once mixed add in 1 cup chocolate chips and roll into balls.
Makes 32 keep in fridge and enjoy! These are delish!
I have always dreamed of having a backyard with a huge stone pizza oven. But I’m afraid it’s going to be baby steps for me to get to my dream, so I started my journey on Mother’s Day when I treated myself to an Ooni Koda gas pizza oven from Capital BBQ.
This pizza oven has changed my life. It is portable, meaning I can pack it up and bring it to a friends house for dinner. It weighs 12 pounds, the design is sleek, I can store it in the off-season in my kitchen. It is powered by a propane tank and it only takes 15 minutes for it to come up to 930° and it cooks delicious Neapolitan style pizzas in 60 seconds.
The high temperatures help pizza dough quickly transform to a perfectly chewy-but-crispy crust, all while drawing any excess moisture out of any sauce, cheeses & toppings you have on your pizza. The result? Crispy crust, with no sogginess. A pizza lover’s dream!
I do have a couple of tips I have learned in the 5 times I have used my pizza oven.
Use only quality ingredients – I make my own dough and sauce and boy does it make a difference!
Use a wood pizza peel to put the pizza in the oven and the metal one to pull it out
Do not multi task when you are making the pizzas, they take 60 seconds and every 20 seconds you turn the pie in the oven
The less toppings the better. Since this cooks quickly you need you keep the toppings light
Try new things! I created a Flammkuchen style pizza that is the 💣
It is not just for pizza! With a cast iron pan you can look steaks and chicken in it too!
The cost. My Ooni koda cost me 499$ CDN plus tax. I would say it was the best money I ever spent.
This rich and buttery pound cake is simple to make but so elegant to eat while wearing jammies and watching “90 day Fiancé” or “My 600 Pound Life.”
Number of Servings: 1, perhaps 8, or even 12 depending how one is feeling that day 😉 This blog is a judgement free zone.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 5 Minutes of drooling in front of the oven
3 tablespoons milk (skim, low fat, or whole)
3 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste or a vanilla bean
1-1/3 cups cake flour … but seriously any flour you can find during this pandemic (I used AP), spooned into a measuring cup and leveled with a straight edge aka knife.
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
13 tablespoons salted butter, softened (no need to cut it in pieces) 16 tbls is a cup so y’all need to do some math or buy the butter in the sticks. Yes Salted … to be honest I only bake with salted butter. I remember saying it to my French instructor at Le Cordon Bleu and he almost fainted 👀 I’m too old to care anymore.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Lightly grease an 8-in x 4-in x 2½-inch loaf pan with butter like you are in an episode of Mad Men. Dust with flour, shaking off any excess. (Alternatively, use a nonstick cooking spray with flour in it, since we are 6 weeks into a pandemic the 1950s way suited me just fine.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla until just combined.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds or until blended. Add the butter and half of the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining egg mixture, in 2 separate additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to combine. Do not over-mix. (The batter may have a slightly curdled or grainy appearance — that’s okay.)
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a thin wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Place the cake on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Then remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap or store in a large sealable plastic bag.
The wrapped pound cake will keep for several days (it will never last the long) at room temperature, for one week when refrigerated.
Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, double-wrap it securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving.
Continuing my pandemic weigh gain I deciding to dabble in bagel making. They are crazy easy to make and even easier to eat. Make these today!
NEW YORK-STYLE BAGEL RECIPE Makes: 8 medium-sized bagels Total Time: ~2 hours
Optional Toppings: Everything seasoning, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds. (Everyone in my house prefers plain bagels, so I went with 3 Everything and 5 plain) 😉
Preparation:1. In ½ cup /120ml of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let it sit for five minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture, until it all dissolves in the water.
Ingredients: 2 teaspoons active dry yeast 1 ½ tablespoons (4 ½ teaspoons) granulated sugar 1 ¼ cups / 300ml warm water 3 ½ cups (500g) bread flour or AP flour what I used (you will need extra for kneading) 1 ½ teaspoons salt
2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.
3. Pour 1/2 cup / 90ml of the remaining warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. Depending on where you live, you may need to add anywhere from a couple tablespoons to about ¼ cup/60ml of water. You want a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it. I had to use all the water.
4. On a floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Try working in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough.
5. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
6. Carefully divide the dough into 8 pieces (I did not have a scale so I made a ball and cut it in half and half again and again until I had 8 pieces). Shape each piece into a round. Now, take a dough ball, and press it gently against the countertop (or whatever work surface you’re using) moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until a perfect dough ball forms. Repeat with 7 other dough rounds.
7. Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.
8. After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet or granite or wooden board, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425ºF.
9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Boil as many as you are comfortable with boiling. Once the bagels are in, it shouldn’t take too long for them to float to the top (a couple seconds). Let them sit there for 1 minute, and them flip them over to boil for another minute.
10. If you want to top your bagels with stuff, do so as you take them out of the water. I didn’t brush them with egg wash I just sprinkled on and voila!
11. Once all the bagels have boiled (and have been topped with your choice of toppings), transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet or in my case I oiled the parchment paper on my baking sheet.
12. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. I rotated the pan 1/2 way through.
13. Cool on a wire rack… or if you are my kids tear one open slather it with butter orschmear it with cheese cream and devour it.
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
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
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!
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!
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.
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 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
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.