Sunday, June 7, 2015

Loaded Potato Salad


This was my column in the June 4th edition of The Hinton Voice.

[When it comes to summer recipes, potato salad is definitely high up on the list.  Whether you’re heading to a summer potluck, or firing up the barbecue for dinner at home, this recipe for potato salad is certainly going to make a great addition to whatever it sits next to on your plate.

This loaded potato salad has everything that I love about baked potatoes – freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, a hearty sprinkle of green onions or chives, and loads of delicious bacon.

One of the things I like most about this salad (besides the bacon, who am I kidding) is the fact that it’s made with a base of sour cream with only a small amount of mayonnaise.  While mayonnaise goes really well in traditional potato salads, it can sometimes feel oily and heavy, whereas sour cream gives it a different and unique, lighter texture (quite possibly the only time in history you will hear someone saying this about sour cream).  For an even lighter version of this salad, try swapping out the sour cream for Greek yogurt!]

This recipe can be served either hot or cold.  For the warmed version, simply bake the finished recipe in a pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes until cheese is hot and bubbly.

Recipe makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup real mayonnaise
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 6 slices of bacon, crumbled
- 2 green onions, sliced
- salt & pepper to taste

Toppings
- 1 tbsp cheddar, shredded
- 1 slice of bacon, crumbled
- 1 green, sliced

Directions

Peel, cube, and boil potatoes.  Cook for about 10-12 minutes max.  If you cook too long, you’ll be making loaded mashed potatoes – which is still pretty great but not what we’re going for here.  

Boil the eggs (I like to cook mine for 12 or so minutes for a hard boiled egg that’s still creamy).  Once eggs are cooked, run under cold water until cool enough to handle.  Peel and dice, then toss with cooled potatoes.

Add sour cream and mayonnaise, and then mix until well combined.  Sprinkle in shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon, green onions, and a sprinkle of salt & pepper. 

Give everything one last stir, then place potato salad in serving bowl and sprinkle with toppings.

If you have the willpower to do so, chill potato salad for at least an hour before serving (or ideally, overnight) to allow the flavors to meld.

- Nutritional Info (1/8 recipe) -
Calories – 274    Fat - 14    Carbs - 26     Protein - 1

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Raw Hazelnut Brownies


This is my column as it appeared in the May 7th edition of The Hinton Voice. 

[Not only is this recipe raw, vegan, and gluten free… it’s also delicious.


I know, right?  How on earth could a healthy brownie made with only 4 ingredients that doesn’t include butter, sugar, or flour taste that great?  Well dear readers, I’m here to tell you that these brownies are every bit as good as their sugary baked counterparts.  In fact, this recipe satisfies even your most die-hard chocolate lovers.  Even friends of mine that despise all things healthy can’t get enough of the rich fudgy flavour of these decadent treats!

Not only do raw brownies make an excellent healthy snack, they are packed with protein (over 5 grams per brownie!) and tons of fibre (7 grams!) making them great for a pre-workout energy boost.  They are even great for breakfast, and best of all, they are very easy and quick to put together. 

The dough holds together extremely well, making them ideal for raw brownie truffles, energy bites, or even the fudgy center of a homemade ice cream cake. 

They are also great in the summer when the thought of turning your oven on is too much to bear and you’re looking for a rich and decadent treat.

These brownies are chalk full of healthy ingredients that you can not only feel good about eating, but feel great about serving your family too.]


Recipe makes a dozen brownies

Ingredients
- 1-500 g package dates
- 1 cup raw hazelnuts
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- ¾ cup raw cacao (cocoa powder works just as well)

Frosting (double if you like lots of icing)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp raw cocao/cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp honey (or maple syrup, rice syrup, etc.)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1-2 tbsp milk of choice

Directions

If dates are fresh, skip to the next step.  If dates are dry, soak in 1 cup warm water for 10 minutes, drain, then proceed with recipe.

In a food processor, blend hazelnuts and walnuts until fine.  Transfer to a medium bowl and combine with cocoa powder.  Set aside.

Transfer dates to food processer and pulse until smooth.  Add nut mixture and blend until ingredients are a dough-like consistency.

Press dough into a pan and chill for at least ½ hour

When dough is chilled, combine icing ingredients and using a whisk (or fork), whip until smooth.

Frost brownies and serve.

- Nutritional Info (per brownie) -
Calories – 254    Fat - 9    Carbs – 29     Protein - 5   Fibre - 7

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Thai Curry Soup


This recipe appeared as a Cooking With Jax Column in the May 30th copy of The Hinton Voice. 

Thai Curry Soup

Last week 2 major things happened in my kitchen.  One, I finally perfected the Thai Curry Soup recipe that I have been working on for a couple of months now, and two, I pulled one of the most rookie kitchen mistakes of all time.

I sliced hot peppers and then touched my eyes.

After testing the recipe a couple of times the night before I decided to make up a quick batch to bring to some of my friends to try for lunch.  Just before leaving, I decided to add a couple of slices of hot chili peppers as a garnish to each bowl.  I washed my hands 3 times over, and then continued on with my morning routine.  About 20 minutes after garnishing the soup, I started to apply makeup.  Eye makeup.  You can see where this is heading…

In the nano second between my eyes starting to burn, and me realizing why they were burning, rather than thinking “oh you just touched hot peppers, stop what you’re doing now!” I somehow thought instead “nope, going to rub my eyes a little bit more to see if that helps”.  It didn’t.

I looked in the mirror and saw a glimpse my blazing red eyes just before they sealed themselves shut.  Panicking, I jumped in the shower and sprayed my eyes with water.  Nothing.  Luckily my husband was home and ran and grabbed me a bowl full of water.  I dunked my face into it and opened my eyes a couple of times, head submerged before finally being able to open my eyes just long enough to figure out what to do next.

Turns out a shot glass filled with milk cupped over the eye and blinked into a couple of times will relieve the pain almost instantly.

On the plus side, I now feel a heck of a lot safer hiking in the woods armed with pepper spray.  


Recipe makes 4 Servings

Ingredients
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp freshly chopped ginger
- 2 tbsp red curry paste
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 L chicken broth
- 2 cans coconut milk (I use 1 can light and 1 can full fat)
- 1 tsp freeze-dried lemongrass (or fresh if you have access to it)
- ½ pgk rice vermicelli (or rice sticks)

Toppings
- freshly chopped cilantro
- green onions
- sliced red chili peppers (hint: wear gloves!)
- chopped roasted peanuts

Directions

Preheat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Melt coconut oil, then lightly sauté garlic and ginger.  Add red curry paste and cook for 30-60 seconds, stirring constantly.

Add diced chicken breasts to the pan and cook until no pink remains (about 6-7 minutes).   When chicken is fully cooked, stir in chicken broth and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  The longer you simmer the soup at this point, the tenderer the chicken will be.

Add coconut milk and lemon grass and bring back to a boil.

Finally, just before serving add rice vermicelli (this will only take a minute or two in the hot soup to soften).

Serve with a garnish of freshly chopped cilantro, green onions, and sliced red chili peppers (being careful to wear gloves of course).


- Nutritional Info (1/4 recipe) -
Calories – 285    Fat - 14    Carbs - 22     Protein - 15   Fibre - 1 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing & Homemade Croutons



    [This recipe was my April column for The Hinton Voice, my local newspaper.]


Back when I still lived at home with my parents, whenever my family was invited to a potluck dinner, everyone always asked me to bring my famous Caesar salad.  They raved about the Caesar dressing, saying it was the best they had ever tasted by far.    Like any young girl trying to impress her family, I didn’t divulge the secret, nor did I have the heart to tell everyone, that the dressing they loved so much was actually available in the refrigerator section of the local grocery store.  They were right to love it - this dressing was the perfect combination of creamy, garlicy bliss.   As I started to branch out and learn how to make my own sauces and dressings from scratch, I knew that I would need to try and replicate this store bought version that everyone adored so much.  I’m happy to report, that this dressing not only matches its store-bought counterpart, it is even better (because isn’t everything that’s homemade 100 times better?).

While the most authentic version of Caesar dressings are created using olive oil based vinaigrettes made with raw eggs, this version uses real mayonnaise instead. While I enjoy a good Caesar salad made with a more traditional style dressing, my preference has always been a creamier version, loaded with lots of garlic, freshly ground pepper, and sharp Parmesan cheese.

The key ingredient behind the great taste of Caesar salad comes from the not-so-secret ingredient – anchovies!  While I don’t know that I’d be eating them as a topping on my pizza anytime soon, the depth that they add to sauces and dressings simply cannot be denied.  Even though you only use a little bit in this recipe, the anchovies add a whole other dimension of flavour.  Trust me, you’re not going to want to skip this crucial ingredient.

*** You can find anchovies locally in the refrigerator section of your favourite grocery store near the cheese and yogurt***

*** a package of 3 romaine hearts should feed 6 people ***


Recipe makes 2 cups
(1 x 500 ml mason jar)

Dressing

Ingredients
- 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 ½ tsp anchovy paste
- The juice from 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ½ cups real mayonnaise
- ¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper

Directions

In a medium bowl whisk together garlic, anchovy paste, lemon juice, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce.

Fold in mayonnaise, cheese, and pepper.  Whip until well combined.

Store leftovers in a mason jar in the fridge.


Croutons

Ingredients
- 1 loaf French bread
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

Tear the bread into bite sized pieces and brush with melted butter and olive oil. Toss with salt and pepper, and spread out on a baking sheeting being careful not to overlap.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, tossing occasionally to ensure even cooking.

- Nutritional Info (1 tbsp dressing) -
Calories – 83    Fat - 8    Carbs - 0     Protein - 1   Fibre -  1


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Friday, April 3, 2015

Crab Rangoon



To celebrate the premier of Mad Men on Sunday, I teamed up with Modcloth and a group of my favourite bloggers to bring you Mad Men inspired vintage recipes, as well as an awesome themed giveaway! 

Today I'm sharing a vintage inspired recipe for crab rangoon, a common fare at Trader Vic's (a popular restaurant on the show).    


Ingredients

- 1 x 6 oz can of crab meat, drained
- 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 tsp A1 Steak Sauce
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1 pkg wonton wrappers
- 1 egg, beaten

Directions

Combine crab meat, cream cheese, steak sauce, and garlic powder in a medium bowl and mix until fully combined. 

Place 1 tsp filling in the middle of each wonton wrapper, then pinch in all four corners. Repeat until all of your filling is gone (24 or so wontons).

Using a deep fryer, fry wontons until golden brown. 

For a lighter spin, rather than deep-frying, bake the wontons in preheated 425 oven for 5-7 minutes (being careful not to burn).

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Join us for a #‎MadMenBlogParty‬!


Cocktails





  • Gin Rickey from Bakeaholic Mama
  •    




  • Whiskey Sour from Pass the Sushi
  •    




  • Old Fashioned from Poet in the Pantry
  •    




  • Mad Men Manhattan with Mushroom Pate from Creative Culinary
  •    




  • Pink French 75 from Kelly Bakes
  •    




  • Sazerac Cocktail from Jelly Toast Blog
  •    




  • Classic Negroni from The Messy Baker
  •    




  • Gimlet from Yankee Kitchen Ninja

  • Appetizers






  • Vegan French Onion Dip from The Viet Vegan
  •    




  • Pimento Cheese & Crackers from The Noshery
  •    




  • Chicken Salad Sliders from The Lemon Bowl
  •    




  • Crab Rangoon from Cooking with Jax
  •    




  • Fried Green Olives Stuffed with Blue Cheese from Simply Healthy Family
  •    




  • Cheesy Asparagus Spirals from Comfortably Domestic
  •    




  • Easy cocktail meatballs The Realistic Nutritionist

  • Desserts

       




  • JELL-O Crown Jewel Dessert Cake from The Apron Archives
  •    




  • Pineapple Upside Down Cake from I am a Honeybee



  • Wednesday, April 1, 2015

    Homemade Dinner Buns and Flavour of Home

    This post is sponsored by Knorr Canada. I received compensation in exchange for this post, though as always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own, and I only work with brands I use in my own kitchen. 

    Do you ever get nostalgic when a certain food scent hits your nose?  If you do, you're not alone.

    "According to recent studies,  80% of Canadians are reminded of their childhood simply from the aroma of certain foods."* 

    For me, the smell of freshly baked buns always brings me back to much simpler times, when the only concerns I had were whether or not I would be able to sneak an extra cookie or two out of my Grandma's homemade cookie jar.  

    Me as a child, snacking on something delicious in Grandma's kitchen.
    When I was a little girl, I used to spend a lot of time in the kitchen with my Grandmother.  Every Saturday my Mom had to work, so she would drop my brother and I off at her Mom's house and Grandma would teach me how to create something delicious. 

    My beautiful Grandma at Solomon Hill, a landmark in my hometown. 
    My favourite memories were of baking homemade buns from scratch - I'd drag the small wooden stool that Grandma kept underneath her piano up to the side of the counter so that I could soak in every ounce of knowledge she had to offer.  We'd get our hands messy with flour and share giggles and memories between just the two of us.  Eventually every single nook and cranny in her house would fill up with the smell of fresh baked buns.  My older brother would run into the kitchen and we'd fight over who got to sample the first delicious taste of a warm homemade bun, always with a golden yellow drizzle of the real butter she kept beneath the counter for special occasions.

    "Knorr believes in bringing flavour to people's lives."  

    The brand's new film 'Flavour of Home', captures this sentiment while celebrating the greatest flavour on earth, the taste of home. Be sure to grab a tissue, this video will really tug on your heartstrings!
       


    When I saw this video that Knorr created to explore the power of flavour, I was instantly reminded of cooking with both my Grandmothers.  Not surprisingly, they found that 71% of Canadians, favourite memories from childhood involve meals with family or friends.*
    What foods bring back the most childhood memories for you? 


    Ingredients
    - 1 tbsp yeast
    - 2 tbsp brown sugar
    - 1/2 cup warm water
    - 1/2 cup milk
    - 1 medium egg
    - 2 tbsp olive oil
    - pinch of sea salt
    - 3 cups all purpose flour
    - 1 tbsp butter, melted

    Directions

    In a large bowl (or the bowl for your stand mixer) combine yeast, sugar, and water and let sit until yeast has dissolved (about 5 minutes).  

    Meanwhile, combine milk, egg, oil, and salt and whisk until well blended.  

    Add liquid to yeast mixture, being sure to combine well.  

    Add flour, 1 cup at a time until dough is shaggy. 

    Kneed dough for 8-10 minutes (on low speed with the dough hook if you're using your mixer).  You'll know it's ready when it's smooth and springs back to the touch. 

    Let the dough rise in a warm spot (I like to use the "proof" setting on my oven), until doubled in size, or about an hour. 

    Once risen, punch the dough down and shape into 12 equal size balls. 

    Place on a greased baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover loosely with a clean dishtowel.  Let dough rise for another 30-40 minutes. 

    Bake in preheated, 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until buns are a deep golden brown. 

    Brush with melted butter immediately (this will give the buns a nice, soft crust). 

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    *On behalf of Knorr, Edelman Berland (an independent market research company) conducted online interviews with 7,144 adults aged 18 or older from 7 countries (Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, Philippines, and South Africa). Fieldwork was conducted March 5-10, 2015 amongst a nationally representative sample of adults in each country. The margin of error for the total sample of adults (n=7,144) is ±1.16% at the 95% level of confidence.


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