Aunt Iona’s Wax Beans In Cream,

Not Your Ordinary Wax Beans.

My Aunt Iona was born on a farm in Palmer Rapids Ontario and she was a fabulous cook.  I credit her with getting me started on my culinary journey.  I spent many a summer vacation with her at the cottage in Palmer Rapids Ontario.  She was very patient in showing me how to grow things and how to prepare the meals with the produce.  The bounty of Iona’s garden was always cooked simply but in a way that was so delicious.  One of my favorite recipes that Iona made was her Wax Beans In Cream.

Iona's Beans in cream

Iona’s Wax Beans in Cream Recipe:                                                                                  Iona Mantifel

  • One pound of beans, tipped, and cut into inch and a half pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Boil the beans in salted water until just tender. Drain and return to the pot.  Turn up the heat for just 30 seconds to dry off the beans. (This helps keep the sauce rich)  Add the butter, cream and lots of freshly ground pepper and simmer for 3-4 minutes  Indulge!

It’s been a heart-warming memory for me to share this recipe with you. I hope you will try to carry on some of the food traditions that your family has created.  There’s something wonderful about keeping our beloved family members alive through our joy of cooking their recipes!

luv you

Miss you everyday Aunt Iona!

Love Elfie.

 

 

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Rouladen – German Beef Rolls

Making Rouladen With Friends!

Delicious Rouladen

Our friends Paul and Lynda were over for dinner when we served our version of Rouladen.  They just loved the meal and asked if Harry and I could do a cooking lesson so they could learn how to make this traditional dish. We were more than happy to share a very old family recipe with them. The best part was they came over to cook and we all got to sit down to a lovely meal together.  There’s nothing like cooking with friends and family!

German Beef Meat Rolls

Harry and Paul did the meat prep. Guys love that sort of thing.

rouladen cut of beef

This is how the Beef looks before you season it with the Mustard, Bacon and Pickle.

TwoFoodNuts Rouladen recipe:

Each Rouladen is one serving.

We like to make them 8 at a time and freeze the leftovers for a fast week night supper.

  • 8 slices of round steak cut for Rouladen
  • 1/2 cup quality grainy mustard
  • 8 slices of streaky bacon
  • 8 small dill pickles
  • 2 packages Knorr roast gravy mix ( this is one of those off the shelf ingredients that gives an excellent result)
  • 5 cups water
  • Pepper  (there is no salt added to this recipe as the bacon and the gravy mix are salty enough)

Lay the beef slices on a plastic cutting board, spread with a tablespoon of mustard.  Lay on a slice of bacon.  Place a small dill pickle at one end of the meat and roll up. Secure with a skewer. Brown the rolls in a heavy skillet on the stove top.  They should be browned all around.

Braised Rouladen

Once the Rouladen are browned, combine the gravy mix and water.  Pour it over the meat. Cook it on the stove top until the gravy thickens slightly.  Now place the pan in the oven at 350F till tender.  This should take from 1-1 1/2 hours.  The gravy mix is not traditional but it gives an excellent result without fuss.  It’s Ok to add an ingredient that is ready-made provided its good quality.

 

Delicious Rouladen

We served the Rouladen with Mashed Potatoes and Aunt Iona’s Wax Beans with cream.  Spatzle or Potato Gnocchi pair equally with this rich meat dish.

Cucina Povera

Tuscan Peasant Cooking.

 We  fondly remember our first trip to Tuscany. We stopped at a little cliff-side restaurant with a panoramic view of the countryside. The cypress trees reached to the sky at each of the little farms in the distance. It was so beautiful and hot!

Tuscan views

Since we had just arrived in Italy and this was our first trip, we wanted to eat in little places outside the cities.  Once you leave the tourist areas you get to eat “real” Italian food.  Italians have a way of creating exciting food using a few quality ingredients without much fuss.

That’s Cucina Povera  or the Peasant Kitchen.

We admired the views as we waited in anticipation for lunch to arrive. Today it would be Insalada Verde (Green Salad) and Spaghetti a la Limone (Lemon Spaghetti).

Spaghetti A la lemone

Of all the pasta we have eaten in our travels it has to be said that this one stood head and shoulders above all others. The flavors of lemon, garlic, peppery olive oil and fresh herbs make this a light but exciting pasta dish. The Parmesan gives it a richness that completes the experience.

We enjoy making this fast and easy pasta when we’re busy or when the fridge is empty. At our house you can be sure that even when there’s “nothing to eat” we will always have lemons, garlic and fresh herbs. The pantry may get low but no so much that you can’t find some type of pasta to save the day.

We hope you’ll try this simple delicious dish when you take a break from eating meat. We love meat based meals but each week we make the effort to have at least two meat-free dinners.

Spaghetti a la Limone by TwoFoodNuts:

 ingredientsServes 4

  • Half a package of regular Spaghetti noodles
  • Grated peel of 2 large lemons
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 4-6 large Garlic cloves (depending on your love of garlic)
  • ¼ cup minced Italian parsley (divided in two)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • ½ cup olive oil. (that’s 2Tbsp per person, so don’t panic)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

In a large pot boil salted water to cook the pasta until Al Dente.  While the pasta is cooking, put all ingredients (except Parmesan) into a large skillet and just warm through for a few minutes. You do not want the garlic to get brown. The moment the pasta is done lift it out of the pasta water with tongs or a pasta fork directly into the skillet. You want a bit of the water to create a sauce. Toss to incorporate all ingredients and serve.

Spaghetti A la lemoneSprinkle with Parmesan and reserved parsley. Drizzle with a bit more oil and Mangia!

Best Ever Roast Potatoes!

Crispy Outside, Tender Inside!

We love potatoes and the roast potato is one of our all time favorites. We love to serve them with our fabulous Easy Roast Chicken but lets be serious all meats benefit from being served along side of these babies!

Best ever roast potatoes

TwoFoodNuts Best Ever Roast Potatoes:

  • 2 lbs Russet Potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks
  • Salt for boiling
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh Rosemary
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Begin by peeling the potatoes. We love the fluffy inside when this is the potato that’s used. It does work with white potatoes too but the inside is a bit more waxy when cooked.

Cut the potatoes into big chunks. If the potatoes are small, leave them whole, if medium cut them in half and if they are large cut into quarters. If they are too small they loose that fluffy center. Start them in a pot of cold water with salt.  Boil until just tender. you want them to hold their shape.

boiled potatoes

Place the potatoes into an oven proof dish and drizzle with plenty of olive olive, sprinkle on some fresh minced Rosemary.  Place in a hot oven 400F until they are golden brown. ( you should turn them over when they are crispy on the top side).

 

roast potatoes

You know your Best Ever Roast Potatoes are done when they are brown all over and pierce with the point of a knife. Now lets dish it up and call it dinner!

Best ever roast potatoesIs your mouth watering yet?

Two Food Nuts Secret Sauce.

The Perfect Sauce.

We created a tomato sauce that is so versatile that we want to share it with you today. We use this sauce when we make our fabulous Cabbage Rolls, Stuffed Peppers and we’ve even used it with our beautiful Ricotta filled Zucchini flowers. It’s such a winner that you have to give it a try.  It’s so simple to make and you can freeze it so you’re never out of the sauce that makes your food sing!

Stuffed peppersDSC01741Two Food Nuts Secret Sauce:

  • 1 large can Tomato Juice
  • 1  680 ml can of Spaghetti Sauce (this is about 24 oz or 3 cups ) Harry uses Hunts Extra Spicy
  • 1 bottle of Pasata. (This is puréed tomatoes)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 red chili, seeded and minced is optional but oh so good.

Begin by: Placing everything into a dutch oven. Stir well and and allow to simmer on medium low for 1/2 an hour. Now you can allow it to cool and divide it into small portions for freezing or use it right away for Cabbage Rolls or Stuffed peppers.

Secret SauceOther uses:

  • Pan Stew with Chicken and potatoes (above)
  • Add it to a pasta with stir fried sausage and peppers
  • It makes a great base for a tomato rice soup
  • It can be a sauce for home made pizza
  • Add extra flavor to Tostatas
  • Riccotta stuffed shells

Enjoy making this simple sauce and let us know if you found a new use for it in your own Kitchen.  We’d love to know how you used our Secret Sauce!  Happy cooking.

 

 

 

Easy Roast Chicken

Fast, Easy And Oh So Delicious Roast Chicken!

Lets face it we eat a lot of Chicken because it has less fat than red meat, it cooks quickly and it is soooo versatile.

We love roast chicken, but it can take over an hour to cook a whole chicken.  The white and dark meet seem to cook differently leaving the legs and thighs a bit underdone if the white meat is just right or the white meat is dry when the dark is cooked to perfection. But fear not, we’ve come up with the Perfect Roast Chicken!

Roast Chicken

The secret is in cutting out the backbone of the chicken in a method called spatchcock.  Watch the technique on spatchcock chicken.

  •  Place chicken breast-side down, with the legs towards you.
  • Using sturdy scissors or poultry shears, cut up along each side of the parson’s nose and backbone to remove it, cutting through the rib bones as you go.
  • Open the chicken out and turn over. Flatten the breastbone with the heel of your hand so that the meat is all one thickness.

TwoFoodNuts Oh Sooo Delicious Roast Chicken:

  • 1 plump Free-range or Organic Chicken
  • The juice and grated rind of 1 large Lemon
  • 10-15 sprigs fresh Thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.

Prepare the chicken by removing the backbone as per the video above.  Place the chicken in a large Ziplock bag.  Grate the peel from the lemon, squeeze out the juice and cut the remaining lemon peels into pieces. mince the garlic and add all the flavoring ingredients to the bag.

fast Roast chicken

Allow the chicken to marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour, preferably up to 4 hours. Remove from the fridge 1 hour before cooking and arrange the chicken and all the flavorings in an oven proof dish with 2 inch high sides. There will be some great pan juices to spoon over the chicken when it’s cooked so you need a pan with sides.

The chicken takes about 40 minutes in a hot oven at 400F.  You will know its done when the leg bones pull away from the meat easily.

twofoodnuts roast chicken

This is the juiciest most flavorful Roast Chicken you will ever eat!   The white meat will be fully cooked not dry and the legs and thighs will be succulent with  no pink areas. We know this will become one of your family’s favorite weeknight dinners hands down!

If you love this recipe, be sure to share it with your friends and family! Leave us a comment too! we like to hear from our readers.

 

 

 

Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake

In German We Say “Kaffe and Kuchen”!

Coffee and cake, they’re just made for one another.  We’d like to share this recipe that has become a true favorite of ours.  It’s not too sweet but its rich in flavor and texture.  The pecan streusel filling is a perfect accent to the tender simple cake.

Pecan coffee cake

You will need a Bundt Pan for this recipe.

TwoFoodNuts Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake:

For the Pecan Streusel Filling:

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter cut into small chunks and chilled
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Place everything into a large bowl and with your fingers crush the chunks of butter into the flour and sugar until you have a crumbly mixture. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350F

For the Cake:

  • 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1  and 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1  cup apple sauce

Place dry ingredients into a bowl, make a well and add all the wet ingredients, stir to incorporate everything without mixing too much.  Spray a Bundt pan with a baking spray and add half the batter. this batter is quite stiff so you may need to smooth it by using the back of a spoon that is dipped in cold water. Now add the pecan streusel filling. Top with the remaining batter then finish with the pecan streusel.

cinnamon pecan coffee cake

This cake bakes for about one hour depending on your oven. Use a wooden skewer to test at the one hour mark. If the cake is very brown but still a bit wet inside you can turn off the oven and leave the cake in it to cool for another half hour. This will keep it from over browning.

sour cream coffee cake

Light Icing:

  • 2 Tbsp soft butter
  • 1/and 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp warm water

Blend everything in a small bowl using the back of a spoon. Drizzle over the cooled cake. Put the coffee on!

Pecan coffee cake

Tell your friends about our site and share the recipes that you love on Facebook!  Your comments are always welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

Scalloped Potatoes A La TwoFoodNuts.

Scalloped Potatoes Reach Super Stardom.

Most people don’t really think that Potatoes are particularly special or healthy.

So it’s a surprise for many to discover one medium potato (5.3 oz) with the skin contains:

  • 45 percent of the daily value for vitamin C
  • More potassium (620 mg) than even bananas, spinach, or broccoli;
  • 10 percent of the daily value of B6
  • Trace amounts of thiamine, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, and zinc

…and all this for just 110 calories and no fat, sodium or cholesterol.

Our Scalloped Potato recipe takes this nutritional powerhouse and turns it into the star of your dinner.

Scalloped Potatoes

We love to make this dish when we have company because it can be assembled a few hours before the guests arrive and it bakes in the oven without supervision till the rest of the meal is ready.  Please note, this is a high fat recipe.  When we make it we pretend we’re French because the French love anything with cheese and cream. We only make this on special occasions, so go ahead and indulge every now and again.

TwoFoodNuts Scalloped Potatoes:

Serves 6 people

  • 6 medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, or other thin skinned white potatoes (do not use Baking Potatoes)
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese (you can substitute Swiss Cheese)
  • 2 and 1/2  to 3 cups  of 35%whipping cream  (you can go as low as 18% cream to save a few calories)
  • Salt and Pepper

Use an open casserole dish that is about 6 by 9 inches or a deep round dish such as the one below that will allow at least 4-5 layers of potatoes.

cooking tools

Using a Mandolin (see above), slice the potatoes to 1/8 inch thick (no need to peel if the skins are nice and thin).  Grate the cheese on the course side of a box grater.  Divide the cheese in half.  Begin by layering the potatoes in a single layer in your pan. Lightly salt and pepper the layer and sprinkle just a pinch of cheese over the potatoes, continue in this manner until you’ve used all the potatoes.  Finish with the remaining 1/2 cup of the cheese. Pour the cream over the dish and it’s ready for the oven.

scalloped Potatoes

We bake the dish at 300F so the potatoes soften and the cheese turns into a golden crust.  The exact baking time will vary depending on the size of the casserole but it should take about an hour to bake completely. We test with a knife after about 45 minutes of baking. The tip of the knife should go right through the layers easily when its done. Don’t rush it if the potatoes aren’t nice and soft!

Serve with your favorite meat or seafood. We love these potatoes with a succulent piece of Roast Chicken, or a thick juicy Pork Chop, but it works equally as well with a slice of Salmon or a Steak.

A Delicata Situation

Discovering Winter Squash

At the Farmer’s Market we picked up a squash that was advertised as Potato Squash. The funny thing is it’s actually named Delicata Squash, a much prettier name. When we were ready to cook we needed to research whether it was a winter or summer squash and how to prepare it . Google to the rescue!  In minutes it was being dressed for dinner! This humble squash could be the star of your Thanksgiving dinner. The pumpkin seeds and cranberries are sure to compliment the Turkey!

DelicataSince most squash benefits from roasting with some sort of fat we opted to prepare it to match the flavors of the Honey Mustard Chicken thighs we had on hand for dinner. We’re happy to report that we think this is a hit! The flavor was not unlike a potato, so now we understand the nickname. We’re certainly going to serve this to company!

If you haven’t given this humble little squash a try, perhaps this recipe will change your mind. We think even the kids will like the taste due to the gentle flavor and the addition of honey to the recipe.

TwoFoodNuts Delicata Squash:

½ Squash per person is a serving.

Per piece of squash use

  • 2 tsp soft butter
  • 1 tablespoon Honey
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Sprinkling of Pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries

Split the squash lengthwise. Remove the seeds with a teaspoon. Arrange in a baking dish

Delicata SquashMix the appropriate amount of honey and cider vinegar in a bowl depending on the number of squash you are cooking. Salt and pepper the squash, dollop the butter along the squash and spoon a bit of the honey and vinegar mixture on top of each piece. Finish with the pumpkin seeds and cranberries.

Delicata SeasoningBake in a hot oven, 400F for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the squash. It should be well browned and the tip of a knife should pierce the flesh. Cooking times will vary.  We served it with Nigel Slater’s Sticky Chicken Thighs recipe. Give it a try!

Potato SquashDon’t be afraid to try new things. You will increase your cooking skills and thrill your family all at the same time. Your guests will be delighted to try something new as well!  Happy Fall!

Shrimp Pasta With Rose Sauce.

Ten Minutes To A Sensational Shrimp Pasta Supper.

Sometimes you just want a quick meal, but you know it still has to hit all the notes. Fast doesn’t have to mean you are giving up anything when you cook with Two Food Nuts! Since we love pasta we’ve learned to take a few simple ingredients and whip up something good enough to serve to company but perfect for a regular weekday supper.

Shrimp pastaThis pasta dish is ready in just minutes because the protein is Shrimp. Even better is knowing that you can use the smaller more cost effective raw shrimp that save you money. No need to use jumbo shrimp as in recipes where the Shrimp is the “star of the show”, even though in this dish it still plays a leading role.

Here’s the Two Food Nuts Recipe for Shrimp in Rose Sauce:

This recipe is intended for two

  • Pasta of your choice (we love using regular spaghetti noodles)
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp dried Herbs de Provence or 2 tbsp fresh thyme and basil chopped
  • 1-2 chopped fresh tomatoes ( use one if it’s large, 2 if they are small)
  • 1 anchovy fillet
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper (add a pinch of chili flakes to add zip if you like)
  • 1 cup small raw shrimp (you can add them in frozen or thawed)
  • 1 cup light cream (we use 10% but you can use 5% if you are fat conscience)

Prepare Chopped fresh Basil and grated Parmesan for garnish on finished pasta.

Set a pot on the stove to cook the pasta. Add plenty of salt. Cook till al dente.        Meanwhile make the sauce. In a non-stick skillet, place all the sauce ingredients except the shrimp and the cream.

pasta flavoringsSaute the mixture gently till softened about 4-5 minutes. Then add the cream to the pan.

shrimp and pasta in a rose sauceAdd the shrimp and cook until they turn pick throughout.  Adjust the salt pepper and chili flakes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

saute shrimpAdd the pasta to the pan with the sauce and toss to spread the sauce over the pasta. Use a bit of the pasta water if the sauce is too thick.  Serve to bowls and garnish with the chopped Basil and Parmesan!

This is so fast that the pasta will be cooked in the time you prepare the sauce.You can almost see the flavors in this photo. Do you smell garlic and fresh  basil???

Serve with our Not So Secret Garlic Bread for a satisfying meal when you just don’t have time to cook.

Shrimp pastaTell us what you thought of this easy dish if you give it a try. we love to have your feedback.

 

Tomato Goat Cheese Tart

Tomato Appetizer or Lunch!

If you have company coming and you need a light and savory dish, you’ll have to give this a try.  You can make it in advance so there’s no stress at party time.  You can also make this as a light lunch. We enjoyed it on our recent picnic with a side salad of Arugula and grapes.

Tomato tartOur TwoFoodNuts Tomato Tart:

Serves two for lunch or 4-6 as an appetizer.

  • Oneready made sheet of puff pastry
  • 3/4 cup plain goat cheese
  • 2 med tomatoes sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 Tbsp Herb de Provence
  • 1 small garlic clove grated finely
  • 1/4 cup minced sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 springs of fresh Thyme, leaves picked and sprinkled on tart
  • 2 tsp olive
  • Salt and pepper

tomatoe and goat cheese tartHeat oven to 450F.  Spread out the sheet of Puff Pastry.  Using a fork, prick the pastry all over but not within 1/2 inch of the edge.  In a small bowl, mix the goat cheese, grated garlic, and Herbs de Provence.  Crumble the goat cheese over the tart.  Distribute the sun-dried tomatoes over the cheese.  Lay the tomato slices on top.  Pluck the leaves from the thyme and sprinkle over the tart.  Salt and pepper the tart.  Using a spoon, lightly drizzle the olive oil over everything and bake on the middle shelf of the oven. It’s ready in under 20 minutes.

If making for a party, assemble the tart early in the day and cover with cling film to refrigerate until you are ready to bake it.

Tomatoe Goat Cheese TartThe result is a light tart with rich goat cheese underlying the juicy tomatoes and herbs. Whether served as an appetizer or a light lunch this is a tomato and cheese lovers treat!

 

Plum Pie

It’s As Easy As Pie!

We’ve been serving up a lot of veggies in the recent weeks, so maybe we should treat you to a wonderful dessert. This post was written a week ago while we were still at the cottage but its not too late to give Plum Pie a try!

Plum pie 101 It’s the time of year when Damson plums are in season so why not bake up a sweet juicy pie using them.  The cinnamon in the pie makes the whole house smell welcoming!  Since Harry’s the prep guy at our house, he had the job of pitting the plums and cutting them for the pie.

TwoFoodNuts Pie Filling:

  • 800 grams or 1 3/4 lb damson plums- pitted and cut into quarters
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp cold butter cut into 1/2 pieces
  • 1 egg beaten for glazing the crust
  • 1 full pie crust and 1/2 a crust for the decorations.

Cook’s Tip: Make clean-up really fast when rolling pastry.  Wipe the counter top with a wet paper towel and then lay cling film over it in two slightly overlapping rows.  I find two rows of cling film gives you enough surface areas to roll out a large pie crust. The water helps the cling film to stick to the counter and all the flour stays on top of the cling film.  Once the pastry is rolled out, just gather up the cling film. There’s no flour stuck to your counter!

Rolling Pie CrustNext line the pie plate with the pastry.

IMG_2529Notice I use the rolling pin to lift the pastry so it doesn’t tear. Let it roll over the pie plate.

Baker's TipPlace the plums in a large bowl and add the sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Stir well to cover the plums. Pour the filling into the pie shell and dot with the butter.  Fold the pie crust so it covers the outer inch and a half of the filling. Brush with the beaten egg using a pastry brush.

Damson Plum PieDecorate the pie by using cookie cutters to cut out pretty shapes from the pastry and add them to the edge. Brush the completed pie crust with a bit more egg wash and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour and 15 min but even up to 1 hour and 30 min at 375 F.

Damson Plum PieThe finished pie is jewel-colored from the juicy plums. The crust is light and flaky.

It’s time to get out the whipping cream and make some friends!  Enjoy the TwoFoodNuts version of Plum Pie, we know we will.

Elfie the FoodNut