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Pub-Style Burger Sauce

The long weekend has come and gone here in Ontario, and we  had a lovely time together. The Canadian Tulip Festival was also going on Sunday we went downtown to check out the blooms at Dow’s Lake, then hit The Elgin Street Diner for their world-famous poutine. The weather cooperated for the most part with showers, strong winds and a tornado watch on Monday evening, but nothing come of it here in our neck of the woods, thank goodness. Saturday we stuck close to home and we made these burgers on the Cuisinart Griddler, Griddle setting on sear and it only took 5 minutes. We probably could have taken them off after 4 because they were a teensy bit drier than I would have hoped, but I also used lean ground beef so that probably didn’t help. They were simply seasoned with salt and pepper, topped with smoked cheddar and bacon, inside a pretzel bun. I also tried a new recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for Pub-Style Burger Sauce and my friend Steve really liked it but I thought it was okay on its own but did complement the meat and cheese nicely. Next time I would add less soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

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Pub-Style Burger Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp minced chives
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 tsp pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Slather over burgers and enjoy!

No Churn Strawberry Ice Cream

No Churn Strawberry Ice Cream

Well I finally got around to making some strawberry ice cream at home, but now the weather has cooled down considerably here. One day last week it was +32 C (89.6 F) with the humidex and now its around +15-19 C ( 59-66F) which is pleasant enough when it isn’t windy, but it’s not exactly ice cream or daiquiri weather. We have a long weekend coming up here in Canada (Victoria Day) and the weather is supposed to warm up again to +24C (75F) so I’ll be prepared with this no churn treat. I originally planned on making regular ice cream with my little flea market find ice cream maker, but I would have needed egg yolks, and I hate separating eggs. I save the whites, intending to make in an omelette the next day but they inevitably end up getting lost in the back of my fridge, and are transformed into some crusty science project. Sooo…I  adapted this recipe instead. I omitted the melted butter because I was thinking it’s already fatty enough, and adding about 1/4 cup more strawberries, but it still doesn’t have enough strawberry flavour for me. Unfortunately, this may have been a bad idea because the ice cream developed ice shards. Perhaps the extra fat is needed to keep it creamy, I don’t know.

Regardless, it still tasted good but I’m just a little spoiled by the strawberry gelato we get downtown. It’s Miss M’s absolute favourite. It’s like concentrated strawberry goodness in silk form! I normally prefer chocolate or caramel but this gelato from Crepe De Licious is marvelous darling! It’s as good as any specialty gelato place I’ve tried. This chain can be found in Canadian cities in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and New Brunswick. I guess we know what my next frozen dessert project will be!

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No Churn Strawberry Ice Cream

  • 2 cup heavy whipping cream very cold
  • 14.5 oz sweetened condensed milk (1 can OR between 1 & 1/2 and 1 & 3/4 cup)
  • 3 tbsp butter unsalted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup strawberries divided
  • 2 drops red food coloring optional
Instructions
Melt butter and allow to cool while completing the following steps.

Prepare strawberries by removing stems and hulling (cutting out the white pulp inside). Cut strawberries into small pieces, roughly 1/4 to 1/2 inch in size.

Place 1/2 cup strawberries in a blender and pulse until smooth. Set nearby for next step.

In a medium bowl, add the sweetened condensed milk, cooled melted butter, vanilla, pureed strawberries, and remaining 1/2 cup of cut strawberries. Add 1-2 drops of red food coloring, if desired. Mix until combined, then set aside.

Using a stand mixer (or a hand mixer + large bowl), beat the heavy whipping cream on high speed until mixture is very thick. It should take 5-10 minutes. Tip: When the mixer begins to leave air bubbles and gaps in it’s wake, the cream should be thick enough. It should stick securely to a spoon when held upside down.

Using a spatula, gently blend the fruit mix in with the whipped cream.

Once combined, pour the ice cream into a container of you’re choosing. Cover tightly (or wrap with aluminium foil) and freeze for at least 6 hours.

Let ice cream soften at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before serving.

From: www.homemadehooplah.com

300th post! Best of the Best Recipes

I can’t believe I’m at the 300 posts mark! A lot has changed in the last 3 years or so. Going over some of my earlier posts and remembering what it was like to be at home with a baby trying to cook while she was napping, and now she’s watching video clips on YouTube by herself while I make dinner, it’s crazy how time flies. I’ve been going through all my recipes to see what I’ve learned and decided to make an “All Stars” list of the best recipes I’ve come across so far. (Being the hockey fan that I am, I had to make a sports analogy.) Most of the recipes are desserts. So much for it being all about balance! lol Well, pretty much anything I made with beef turned out really well so if you click on that keyword you will also get some great recipes. Poke around in here and see what you can find. The whole reason I made this blog was to try out recipes so that you don’t have to. It’s also great for sharing recipes with my family back in Newfoundland and Labrador, or storing Labrador recipes online. One of my most popular recipes has been the copycat Mary Brown’s Fried Chicken, followed by Jigg’s Dinner, and Toutons (fried bread dough).

I’ve also made a list of things I hope to make in the near future. It’s hard to believe I have yet to find the best recipe for cinnamon buns or brownies, for example, and the best pizza dough has eluded me. I’ve made meatballs but they’re not nearly as amazing as my exe’s Mom’s recipe for slow cooked Italian Meatballs. My daughter is a strawberry ice cream fiend, so now that the weather is warming up I will be trying to make my own at home. Looks like it’s going to be a busy year!

Happy Mother’s Day! 

bookcase

I might have a slight cookbook obsession. This doesn’t include magazines or the huge Donna Hay cookbook! 

All Star Recipes

Breakfast:
Light Crisp Waffles
Chive Biscuits with Smoked Salmon and Boursin Cheese Sauce
Cheddar biscuits
Nigella’s Instant Pancake Mix

Mains:
Classy Chicken
Stovetop Chicken and Dumplings
Pork Tenderloins with Shallot-Balsamic Sauce
Steaks with Mustard Sauce

Meatless:
Sweet Potato Chickpea Stew
Confetti Kale salad
Spaghetti with Creamy Braised Leeks
Artichoke, Leek, and Taleggio Frittata

Sides:
Fast Scalloped potatoes
Garlic Fries
Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes
Greek Style Garlic and Lemon Potatoes
Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Misc:
Classic Dinner Rolls
Tartar sauce
Kansas City Barbecue Sauce
Single Serving Chip Dip (includes group size recipe)
Paper Bag Popcorn
Microwave potato chips

Non-Chocolate Desserts:
Cinnabon Cake
Blueberry Tart
Bailey’s Cupcakes
Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp
Dulce De Leche Cheesecake (caramel)
Best Blondies (chocolate chip squares)

Chocolate Desserts:
Nutella Semifreddo (frozen mousse)
Nutella Cheesecake Swirl No Churn Ice Cream
Mocha Ice Cream Cake
Mars Bar Squares
Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Chocolate Chip Cookies
5-Star Bars

Special Diet Desserts:
Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten free)
Quinoa Blondies (gluten free)
Vegan Red Velvet Mug Cake
Small Batch Vegan Banana Muffins
Fudge Bites (vegan, sugar free, gluten free)

Some dishes I’d like to try this year:
Best cinnamon buns
Best fudgy brownies
Apple fritters
Strawberry ice cream
Best pizza dough
Best Italian meatballs
Wings
Homemade Tortillas and Tacos
Zucchini noodles
Coq au Vin
Bacon wrapped meatloaf
Baked beans
Angel biscuits
Spinach and artichoke dip
Rösti
Polenta

Hush Puppies
Glazed Pork Belly by Donna Hay
Hot water pastry
Ratatouille from Silver Palate 

Best of Bridge Fruit Cocktail Cake
Chicken Marbella from Silver Palate
Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk
Crack Pie
Tortiere (Québécois meat pie)

 

Scalloped Potatoes

I can’t believe I didn’t write a post about Easter! My friend Steve moved back from Montreal last summer and he’s been helping me out a lot since I hurt my knee. He doesn’t have any family here in Ottawa either so I invited him over for Easter dinner. I tried making a ham in the slow cooker and it was fine – pretty basic. On the side we had steamed beans and scalloped potatoes. I used a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated which boils the potatoes a bit first and replaces some of the cream with chicken broth. Two weeks later Steve came over again and he made more scalloped potatoes, using a recipe from Southern Living. I can honestly say it’s a toss up for which recipe was better. This C.I. one is going in the “All Stars” vault because it’s lighter and quicker :)

I forgot to take a pic. This one’s from Canadian Living Magazine.

Scalloped Potatoes

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion , minced (about 1 cup)
2 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick (see photos below)
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
2 bay leaves
4 ounces grated cheddar cheese , shredded (1 cup)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add potatoes, chicken broth, cream, and bay leaves and bring to simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until potatoes are almost tender (paring knife can be slipped into and out of potato slice with some resistance), about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves.

3. Transfer mixture to 8-inch-square baking dish (or other 1 1/2-quart gratin dish) and press to an even layer; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake until cream is bubbling around edges and top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

4. To Make Ahead: Once the scalloped potatoes have been transferred to the baking dish and pressed into an even layer in step 3, they can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, add the cheese, cover with foil, and bake in a 400-degree oven until the mixture is hot and bubbling, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook until the cheddar begins to brown, about 30 minutes longer. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. (Serves 4-6)

And here’s the Southern Living recipe if you’re interested: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/classic-scalloped-potatoes

Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

For all you gluten free peeps, here’s an absolutely amazing recipe for flourless chocolate chip cookies! I am trying to eat healthier once again so treats with less flour and sugar are a good substitute for what I normally eat. I substituted half the sugar with Truvia sweetener, which I didn’t realize until later was actually double what I should have added since it’s twice as sweet as sugar. When I was mixing the batter it got really clumpy and the fats separated. I thought I had ruined them for sure but I didn’t want to waste a $7 jar of cashew butter so I went ahead and baked them. So glad I did! They came together and came out soft and gooey, sweet and decadent. OOOh yaaa baby! Just the way I like them. This one’s going in the “All-star Vault”.

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Flourless Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
1 large egg
1 cup cashew butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer, beat sugar, egg, cashew butter, vanilla, baking soda, and salt until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. (dough will be slightly sticky)
Roll cookie dough into 1-in balls and place 2-in apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies at 350F 10-11 minutes (cookies will appear very soft in the middle—this ok)
Cool cookies on baking sheet 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Notes: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.

 

Baked Garlic Home Fries / Hash Browns

Saturday I invited Mr. M. over for brunch and served breakfast sandwiches, sausages, and home fries. Truthfully, I was inspired by the new Tim Horton’s cheddar biscuits. After watching those darn commercials I couldn’t stop thinking about biscuits! Instead of going to Timmy’s I made Ina Garten’s Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits. The home fries recipe is adapted from the garlic fries recipe in “The New Way to Cook Light”, which I reviewed in the last post. I simply cut the potatoes into small cubes before baking. The result was nothing short of miraculous! Although they are baked, you finish them by tossing them in melted garlic butter and topping with parmesan cheese. Absolutely delish! Probably one of the best potato recipes EVER. Just looking at this picture again is giving me a craving.

I think I need to create a special folder for all the recipes that have totally blown my mind. Hmmmm….what should I call it?

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Garlic Fries

1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick strips
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons butter
8 garlic cloves, minced (about 5 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Combine potatoes and oil in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal bag, and toss well to coat.

3. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender and golden brown, turning after 20 minutes.

4. Heat a large – skillet over low heat. Add butter and garlic to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add potatoes and parsley to butter mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.

Source: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/garlic-fries

Review: The New Way to Cook Light by Cooking Light editors

I found this cookbook at Dollarama of all places for a measly $3 Canadian! Best three bucks I ever spent. I just love this cookbook. I have four publications by the editors of Cooking Light and this is by far the best. It is a James Beard Award Winner 2013 and for good reason. It’s filled with gorgeous photos – may full page spreads, the layout is simple and elegant, and recipes themselves are some of the most accessible I’ve seen by Cooking Light. I want to make a good 75% of the recipes. (I don’t like shellfish or tufu) ;) Some of the recipes are already found in other publications or on their website, such as the Slow Roasted Turkey, Classic Fudge-Walnut Brownies, and Garlic Fries, but if you can only buy one Cooking Light cookbook make it this one. ( I went back to Dollarama in Place d’Orleans a few days later and all the copies were gone).

If you go to Amazon.com you will find a preview of the cookbook which includes titles of all the recipes included in this publication. http://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Light-New-Way-Cook-ebook/dp/B0091JQRZI/ref=sr_1_18?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1430611619&sr=1-18

Here are a couple of pics I took. All of the post-its are just the lower carb options that I want to try!

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