Sunday, December 30, 2012
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Sunday, December 9, 2012
This recipe is my latest feature for Hinton Voice and appeared in their December 6th, 2012 issue! :)
[With the holidays fast approaching, most of us are bound to attend a gathering or two. Spinach dip is an appetizer that is usually a hit at any event, and it’s one of my personal favorites. Luckily for me, someone usually brings this dip so I’m set. Well this year, I vowed to be that someone.
There are SO many variations of this popular recipe, but I chose to use a simple version that focuses on bring out the flavors of the spinach, without overpowering it with too many other ingredients. No matter the dish, I always like to sautéing the vegetables to help bring the flavors to life, and this recipe is no exception.
I also used my favorite go-to base for hot dips, which consists of cream cheese and mayonnaise. As long as you have this part taken care of, the next ingredients you add are extremely flexible. For this step, it’s really important to use real mayonnaise and not Miracle Whip. While the tang of Miracle Whip can be great as a stand-alone sauce, it can be quite overpowering when combined with other ingredients.
One of the best parts about spinach dip is that it tastes great both hot and cold. For a cold dip hollow out an Italian round bread and use it as an edible bowl. For a hot dip, spoon dip into your favorite oven proof dish and serve warm with tortilla chips or crusty bread. Hot or cold, no
matter the event, spinach
dip is sure to be a star.]
- ½ tsp. olive oil
- ½ small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-10oz package fresh spinach
- 1-8 oz. package cream cheese
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1 - 4 oz. can water chestnuts
- 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large saucepan, set to medium heat, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until onions are slightly translucent. Coarsely chop spinach and add to saucepan in a couple of batches so not to overcrowd. Stir often until spinach is completely wilted. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain as much liquid as possible from the spinach (there will be a lot!).
In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise and Greek yogurt – whip with a fork or electric mixer until smooth. Add spinach mixture, grated mozzarella cheese and chopped water chestnuts – stirring until just combined. Let dip rest in fridge for a minimum of 2 hours to allow the flavors to meld together.
Top with remaining mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese and bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, until dip is hot and bubbling, and the Parmesan cheese has turned golden brown. Serve immediately.
- Nutritional Info (per 1/4 cup) -
Calories - 145 Fat - 12 Carbs – 4 Protein - 5 Fibre – 1
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Sunday, November 25, 2012
I am a member of my local Toastmaster's group, and during a break at a recent meeting, a fellow member and I got to chatting about her flour mill. She had made a delicious cake for our final meeting before the summer, and had milled the flour herself. I was intrigued! Needless to say we planned a day of flour making and baking together. We made 4 different kinds of flour (quinoa, corn, buckwheat, and of course whole wheat). It was so a really neat experience and now I know I'll be purchasing my own flour mill in the future!
Here is a shot of the wheat being milled.
And is the resulting flour! You can sift the flour to remove the bran, but we decided to keep it all together for more fibre.
I have a ton of plans for the other flours, and am really excited to experiment with them! Below is the recipe that Cheri and I made with some of the whole wheat flour.
Cheri's Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffin Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cup fruit (we used frozen blueberries)
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Using a mixer, combine the first 4 ingredients and mix until smooth. Stir in the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Be sure not to over mix at this step.
Add your favourite fruit (we used blueberries this time, though strawberries and rhubarb is another delicious variation!)
Spoon into a greased muffin tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Sunday, November 11, 2012
A fan of all things hazelnut, it was only a matter of time before I tried making the above at home. I first tried hazelnut butter from Safeway, then later from my local health food store, and finally at home. I was surprised at just how easy it was to make homemade - I can't wait to try different nut butters in the future, and more importantly, homemade Nutella!
- Hazelnuts, any quantity (sometimes called filberts in the baking isle)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roast hazelnuts for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned & skins have loosened.
Once roasted, immediately transfer hazelnuts to a clean dish cloth or paper towel and rub them with another dish cloth or paper towel to loosen the skins. It's important to complete this step while the hazelnuts are still warm - once cooled the skins are much harder to remove.
Some of the skins will stubbornly stay on, but as long as you get most of them you should be good to go.
Once skinned, place hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse until blended, scraping down the sides as needed.
At first the hazelnuts will appear coarse, like coarse bread crumbs.
Then they will grind down and resemble graham crumbs. At this point you're going to have to resist the urge to add oil to the hazelnuts. Up until this point, the nuts seem dry and you may start to wonder how it could possibly turn into nut butter.
After a little patience, the magic starts to happen, and the natural oils from the nuts come into play.
Soon the mixture will start to stick together and start to look more like nut butter!
The more you blend it...
The smoother the nut butter will be.
Now off to try a homemade Nutella recipe! ;)
Sunday, November 4, 2012
This recipe appeared in the November 1st edition of The Hinton Voice.
[One of the great things about Hinton is the ever-changing seasons. Though the calendar still tells us it’s fall, the fresh blanket of snow that covered our town last week suggests otherwise. Needless to say, the chill in the air has got me craving comfort foods – and nothing says comfort food better than a steaming, creamy bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese. A classic favorite for kids and adults alike (does anyone know anybody who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese?) this simple dish is always a crowd pleaser.
The key is to start with a good old-fashioned cream sauce. Butter is melted in a saucepan, and then flour is stirred into it to make a paste (which is called a roux). After the flour has cooked a few minutes, milk is whisked in. The starch from the cooked flour expands in the milk, creating a creamy, thick sauce. The starch binds the sauce together, ensuring that when the cheese is stirred in, the sauce remains smooth rather than stringy.
Another important step is to add a nice sharp cheddar. I find that aged white cheddar gives the smoothest, cheesiest sauce. Past experiences have taught me that yellow or processed cheddars (or an accidental splash of water into the sauce) can give the sauce a grainy texture.
If you’re craving something fancier than the basics, throw in your favorite vegetable (we like broccoli) or if you’re craving something extra decadent, crab or lobster makes a wonderful addition.
So there you have it - a great classic dish that can be casual or fancy. Besides, there’s nothing more comforting on a chilly day than a hearty helping of good old macaroni and cheese.]
- ½ lb (8 oz) dry macaroni (or your favorite pasta)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ cups milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1.5 cups (6 oz) grated sharp white cheddar (6 ounces)
- ¾ cup (3 oz) grated gruyere or parmesan cheese
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 ½ tbsp butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cook pasta as per package directions for al dente (firm) pasta. Strain and rinse pasta with cold water to stop the cooking process and to remove any extra starch. While extra starch might sound like a good idea to thicken the sauce, in this case it can change the texture of the sauce. Strain noodles well and place them in a casserole dish.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan set to medium heat. Add flour to form a roux and cook for about a minute or so. Stir in spices. Whisk in milk and stir until well blended. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until sauce has thickened.
Stir in cheese, and then pour cheese sauce over noodles. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle on top.
Cook in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and the breadcrumbs have lightly browned.
Recipes makes 6 servings.
- Nutritional Info (1/6 recipe) -
Calories - 467 Fat - 20 Carbs – 41 Protein - 21 Fiber – 2