Two Food Nuts With A Taste for Life

Two Food Nuts

The Girl Nut

The Girl Nut

The Guy Nut

The Guy Nut

Together we’re just “Two Food Nuts With a Taste for Life”!

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Lets Get Pickled!

Refrigerator Pickles are Easy!

Can’t you just taste a crunchy pickle with a sandwich or a burger?  The pungent flavor enhances everything it accompanies. Now, its easy enough to buy a jar of pickles, but we have to say there is great satisfaction in producing a good pickle at home not to mention its easy!  You select the veggies that you love and add the seasonings of your choice. It’s a “Custom Pickle” if you will.

Refrigerator PicklesWe made a selection of vegetables that are seasonal. The first pickling cucumbers of the year were in the market, along with fresh asparagus and green beans. We added the remaining veggies based on the beautiful colors they would bring to the finished product.  We love pickled cauliflower and red onions so they had to star in the show!  Carrots and peppers lend their subtle taste and vibrant hues to the artful designs in the jars.

refidgerator picklesAnd now the recipe:

A selection of veggies that appeal to your taste and your eye.

We used:

  • 3 Asparagus spears
  • 8-10 Green beans
  • I large carrot sliced
  • 1/2 each of red and green pepper
  • 4 mini pickling cucumbers
  • 1 cup each of cauliflower and broccoli florets
  • 1 small red onion (leave the root end in tact to hold the slices together)
  • 2 tbsp pickling spice (available in the spice aisle)
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • fresh dill springs
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3 garlic cloves sliced

Optional:  A few hot pepper rings just to add the slightest hint of warmth not heat. We prepared our veggies first then once they were cut as desired we sterilized the jars.

Preparing the jars:

It’s very important to sterilize the canning jars. These pickles are made from raw vegetables and are not processed in a canning pot, so scrupulously clean jars are vital.  We wash them either by hand or in the dishwasher with hot water and soap. Then fill the jars half full of water and heat in the microwave at full power for 5 minutes. For the recipe above we used 3 jars of various size (see image below). Lids can simple be boiled in a pot of water for 5 minutes.

Once the jars have been heat processed in the microwave, drain the water and allow to air dry before filling.

home made mixed picklesFor the Pickling Brine:

  • In a 2 quart saucepan mix together the pickling spice, vinegar, water, sugar, salt, garlic cloves and hot pepper rings if using.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce heat and allow to simmer gently for 5 minutes.
  • In the meantime, fill the jars with layer of veggies.  Slip a few pieces of dill in between the layers.
  • Be creative!

Once the jars are filled with the vegetables, pour the hot liquid in. Do this slowly and allow the pickling brine to flow around the contents.  Once all the jars have been filled, add the tops and seal them tightly using a towel. Everything will be very hot at this point. Tip the jars once or twice to distribute the liquid and the spices.  Now you’re done!

It takes 2 weeks for the pickles to reach their maximum flavor and they will last up to 3 months in the Fridge.

We love to hear your comments about the recipes we share on the blog and we appreciate when you share the blog with your friends via Facebook and Twitter!   Happy Pickling.

Maple Bacon Donuts

Who Does Not Love Bacon?

Ok, if you are vegetarian, this isn’t gonna fly, but for the rest of us, the combination of smokey, salty bacon and sweet maple syrup is great cause for celebration. The recipe we are about to present is from an article in Zoomers Magazine.  Caplansky’s Deli in Toronto is where we first tasted the Maple Beef-Bacon Donut. There were tears of joy and silence at the table. Caplansky’s also has a food truck in the city now, so if making them yourself is not something you’d attempt, just go down to College St and indulge the need.

Maple Bacon DonutsHarry has become quite the baker in the past year and when he said he was going to make these glorious little tributes to pig and tree I was in. First, let me say that pork is my favorite meat of all.  So to combine it with dessert is sheer genius in my books.

You might think that a deep fried ball of dough loaded with bacon would be a heavy object, but please allow me to say these are very light in texture and flavor. They are also very simple to make. The thing that we don’t like is the smell of the deep fryer, so we decided to make them Al Fresco.   I covered the patio table with newspaper and we fried outside. Clean up took less than 30 seconds, almost the time it took to eat three donuts!!!

The Recipe is as follows:

Thank-you to Caplansky’s Deli for generously posting their signature dessert for all to enjoy.

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup buttermilk (see Cook’s tip below)
  • 3/4 cup Bacon of your choice. Minced and lightly fried. Drain on paper towel.
  • Icing sugar to sprinkle on top
  • Real Maple syrup to pour over
  • Canola or peanut oil for frying.

Beat sugar and melted butter in a mixing bowl until fluffy. Add eggs and beat to incorporate.

In a large bowl, measure the dry ingredients, then add in the sugar, butter and egg mixture. Pour in the buttermilk and add the bacon crumble. Mix well and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Heat oil to 350 degrees in a deep fryer or a deep saucepan. Using a medium ice-cream scoop or two tablespoons, drop the batter into the hot oil and cook until they are a rich golden brown. Turn them in the oil as needed to brown both sides. They only take a few minutes. Cook only 6 donuts at a time to help keep the oil hot throughout the frying.

Makes about 30-40 donuts.

Cooks Tip:

To make Buttermilk, add 2 tsp. of lemon juice or white vinegar to milk and allow to thicken for 5 minutes. The addition of the acidic milk helps make the batter lighter.

Caution:

You can fry in as little as 3 inches of oil if you use a very deep pot. Never leave hot oil unattended. Set pan aside to cool completely before returning the oil back to the bottle.

maple bacon donutsThe batter took about 15 minutes to make. The frying takes just 3-4 minutes per batch. The pleasure lasts forever!

If you enjoy this recipe please be sure to share it with your Facebook and Twitter friends.

 

 

 

When in Bancroft… The Granite

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today was no ordinary day.  It was my birthday!  We had plans to visit friends in Bancroft so we made the decision to enjoy a birthday lunch instead of the usual dinner.  It was such an outstanding day today. The skies were blue it was 25 degrees with a breeze so hitting a patio was a must.

We were told that The Granite had great food and a patio, so off we went.Bancroft Granite restaurantHarry and I ordered the Ribs and Wings and they were excellent. If you like your ribs, slow cooked and tender, this is the place. The Wings come with a huge variety of sauces to choose from. There’s something for everyone’s taste. For those who know anything about Harry, he’s a fry aficionado and these met with his high standards.

Harry Hayes at The GraniteOur server Claire  pictured below is a very cheerful and efficient young woman who loves her job. We spoke briefly and she told us she loves meeting the folks from far and wide that come to The Granite.  We also had a chance to chat with Shane, the new owner and he was pleased to share his ideas about seasonal, local fare.  Shane took over The Granite about 2 years ago.  You’ll find it to be friendly, clean and great value.

Claire at The GraniteAside from the tasty menu, there’s also a good selection of Beer.  Beer must be in order on such a glorious day sitting on the patio overlooking the town.  Cheers!

Elfie Hayes The Granite restaurant Bancroft OntarioThank you to the cooks and staff of The Granite for making my Birthday such a great Day!

Asparagus Provencal

A Fresh New Take on Asparagus.

For those of us that have been around a while Asparagus was not always a favorite vegetable. I recall it being a soggy dull green veg that came in a can and was always presented at our house for Sunday Dinner. I suppose as veggies went in the 60’s it was expensive so it had to be held over for special meals.

Things have changed and Asparagus is no longer expensive and comes fresh from the fields so there’s no excuse not to try this fresh new version.

Asparagus Provencal

Not only is this a great way to prepare a summer classic but it takes no time at all.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 bunch fresh Asparagus (ends removed) and cut pieces into thirds
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, (we love the tri-colour type) halved (see cook’s tip)
  • 1 large or two medium garlic cloves sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

To finish: Pine nuts and a squeeze of lemon juice for freshness.

Place all but the pine nuts and lemon juice into a shallow pan. Stir over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes, then reduce the heat to low for another 3-5 minutes. Take care not to allow the Asparagus to become too soft, otherwise this will be just like the stuff of childhood.

Asparagus ProvencalOnce the Asparagus is just tender, squeeze the lemon juice over the top, remove to a serving dish and sprinkle with the pine nuts.  There’s a certain something that’s hard to describe about the combination of the cherry tomatoes and the Asparagus. Perhaps its the sweetness of the tomatoes combined with the oil and lemon juice, but it’s sublime.

Asparagus Provencal

Cook’s tip:

Cutting Cherry tomatoes en-mass

  • Corral the tomatoes on a ziplock lid, cover with the second lid.
  • Place your hand on top to steady the tomatoes and slice through with a large knife.
  • You’ve halved a dozen of the little gems in a few seconds!

Cherry TomatoesCherry TomatoesCherry Tomatoes

If you enjoyed this recipe don’t forget to share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter!  Somethings are just to good to keep to yourself.

 

Give A Man A Chef Coat….

Give A Man an Attitude!

Chef Harry HayesWhen Harry asks a question, the answer is  “Yes Chef”!  Just like on Food Network.

All kidding aside, he’s the best man in the kitchen whether it’s at the cottage today or at home.  Always was, always will be! Luv you Chef!

More Than Just A Sandwich

Heddy’s Ham, Cheese and Mushroom Croissant.

Over the years my own mother prepared a lot of great food.  Having a German heritage, meant we ate a lot of European foods.  But I loved one thing in particular that was not from her usual recipe collection.  It was a delicious sandwich that she made when her friends came to lunch.  Now I make it when I want an easy supper for Harry and I, or when our own friends join us for lunch or brunch.

Ham, cheese and mushroom criossantThe recipe we’re sharing serves 4 hungry people.  When this sandwich is pared with a salad it’s really a complete meal.

Continue reading

Hot Day, Refreshing Cool Salad

Bean Medley, one of summer’s tasty delights.

How often do you turn to vegetables like beans to make a salad?  Most of us think lettuce first. At our home this Bean Medley is a perennial favorite when new crop beans are available at the market. There is a special crisp, sweet character early in the summer, so the very first time you see them, try out this easy dish.

We especially love that the dressing is stable and can be taken to a BBQ or picnic without the worry of spoilage. Mayo based dressings are always risky when the temperature climbs, but this oil and vinegar dressing is safe even at room temperature.

Three bean salad

The Two Food Nuts Recipe.

  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3/4 pound Mixed yellow and green beans trimmed and cut to 1 1/2 inch pieces( I grab two good handfuls of each) when shopping
  • 1 small sweet onion minced finely
  • 1 tsp salt

Place the yellow and green beans in gently boiling salted water and cook until just fork tender. Drain well and place into a large bowl. Add the kidney beans and finely chopped onion. You’ll find that the onion will loose all its sharpness once the dressing is allowed to fully marinate the salad.

For the Dressing

1/4 cup each:

  • Canola oil
  •  Rice wine vinegar
  •  White sugar.

Then add just enough salt and pepper to suit your taste.

Whisk together and add to the beans and onions while the yellow and green beans are still warm. This really helps the veggies absorb the dressing.

If you like a salad with attitude you can add a bit of fresh chili (with or without the seeds depending on how brave you are).

Red chili peppers

Now the temptation is to serve it up right away, but honestly the salad is best when made the day before and allowed to marinate.

Be the hit of your next summer supper or pot luck with is Bean a Medley Salad.  Let us know how you enjoyed it!  Don’t forget to share this recipe with your friends on Facebook.

Three bean salad

 

Mexican Street Corn

Nothing Corny Here!

Recently we were at a great new Restaurant on King St. W in Toronto.  Its called Wilbur Mexicana. It’s Mexican, it’s Hipster, it’s Delicious! We stopped in after a long day of appointments in the city and we were ready to eat. When you enter the restaurant, you find the menus hanging on hooks along a little wall. You grab your menu, step up to the cash, grab a drink, order your meal and pay. You are given a number to place on your table and in no time at all (even though the place is packed) a friendly server brings your food. Wilbur Mexicana restaurant You need to stop by the Salsa bar once the food arrives. There must be 100 hot sauces to choose from. From “baby steps” to who invited “Diablo” you are going to find something to kick up the already awesome food. Wilbur Mexicana

We decided to try the Mexican Street Corn on the advice of the young woman who greeted us as we arrived.

Lets just say it did not disappoint!  The corn was hot and slightly smokey from being grilled over fire.

It was then spread with a Mayo type sauce and rolled in a salty crumbly cheese. The main course was the fajita but for now we want to talk about the corn.

Next time we went shopping there was really good corn in the grocery store so it was decided that we’d give it a shot, using our own method and ingredients and the result was amazing.

Mexican Street Corn

Method:

Remove the husk from the corn and microwave for 4 minutes grill to char slightly on the BBQ (fresh corn does not take long to cook.) Brush with President’s choice Chipotle Mayo or if not available mix any quality Chipotle sauce into Mayo Sprinkle with grated cheese. We tried both Feta and Parmesan and we loved both! Finally add a small amount of chopped Cilantro for a finishing touch. You may or may not want a bit of salt as the Mayo is quite spicy.

Bueno appetitie!

Mexican Street Corn

 

 

 

 

Eat Dessert First!

Apple Blossoms

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor away, Lets hope this recipe qualifies. Well never see a Doctor again.

We saw a great recipe for an apple tart that looks like a rose when its baked. We just love apple pie so we thought why not give it a try.  You can see from the picture that it turned out just beautifully and it was so easy to create.

Apple Pie

 

We did make some changes to the recipe and we’ll share them below.  Just wait until you taste this delicious little treat for  yourself.  You’ll want to make it for company because it can be made ahead of time and then popped into the oven while your are enjoying dinner.

We just love things that are simple to create but look like you spent hours in the kitchen.

 

Lets get started!

2 rolls of real butter puff pastry from the freezer section of the supermarket (Thawed) I use PC brand all butter puff pasty.

2 Granny Smith apples, cut in half, core removed and sliced thinly

2/3 cup soft butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup real maple syrup

Unroll the puff pastry and cut each sheet into three equal long strips

Place the apple slices in a single layer on a plate and microwave for 2 minutes. (this makes the slices pliable)

Mix the butter, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl

Spread the mixture down the middle of each of the pastry strips in a 2 inch wide band

Lay the apple slices (peel side to one edge of the pastry) overlapping each piece of apple to the next

Now fold the pastry so you have a row of apples between the pastry like a closed book.

apple roses

Here’s where the magic happens! Begin rolling the pastry from one end to the other and a rose of apple  and pastry will appear.

apple pie

Pop it into a large muffin tin. Complete this process until you have 6 beautiful Apple Blossoms. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 or so minutes.

apple pie

When baked drizzle a teaspoon of maple syrup over the Apple Blossoms and top with whipped cream.  Let us know if you think you could prepare this easy and so beautiful recipe.