No Ordinary Banana Bread

Fast, Easy And Most Of All, Delicious!

It just seems that every week we have some bananas that just get too ripe for my taste. Harry doesn’t mind if they get those “Age Spots” on them but I just can’t eat them when they’ve gone that far.  So, very often a moist flavorful Banana Bread appears.

Banana Bread.jpg

What we love about this recipe other than saving  the life of a couple of bananas, is that this cake stays fresh for days or freezes really well. You can slice it before freezing and then just take out a few slices at a time.

Lets get started resuscitating those over the hill bananas!

Two Food Nuts Banana Bread:

For the batter you will need:

  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup of raisins (you can also add 1 cup chopped pecans if you like)

For the glaze  you will need:

The juice of one lemon and enough icing sugar to make a stiff, but pourable icing.

banana loaf.jpg

We use a stand mixer but if you have a hand mixer you can do this in a large bowl. Cream the butter and sugar together until the sugar is well incorporated. Add the bananas and mix just to break them up. Add the eggs and mix for 15 seconds. Pour in the milk and lemon juice. Mix for 10 seconds and now add the dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking soda). Mix just to create the batter. Now switch to a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to stir in the raisins and nuts if using them.

Prepare a loaf pan by greasing with either butter or baking spray such as Pam and flour the pan. You can also spray the pan and line it with a sheet of parchment paper to be sure the cake released.

Parchment lined pan.JPG

Bake in the middle of the oven at 350 F degrees for at least 1 hour. Check at that point with a wooden skewer. If the cake is still wet, reduce the oven to 300F degrees and bake for another 15-20 minutes. If your cake is getting too dark but still not baked, lay a piece of foil over it.

Banana Bread.jpg

When the cake is done, I remove it from the pan by lifting it on the parchment and cool it on a baking rack. Once the cake is cool, pour the glaze down the middle and help it run down the sides with a spatula. Thanks for saving the life of a doomed Banana!

We look forward to your comments on this recipe. Happy baking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pork Tenderloin With Apples

Pork Was Made For Apples!

The sweet tart flavor of apples were made for the rich taste of pork so we often cook a pork tenderloin as a fast supper.  All you need is one saute pan to create this luxurious meat dish. Serve it with mashed potatoes and our Braised Red Cabbage for a German take on dinner.

pork tenderloin with braised Apples

Two Food Nuts Pork Loin with Sauteed Apples:

Pork Tenderloins come in all sizes but we choose one that will serve the two of us.  If you are making this for a family, you can generally feel comfortable serving 1/2 a small loin per person. If you have a bunch of hungry husbands and sons to feed as we do when our sons and grandsons are here for dinner, let us suggest buying the larger tenderloins and serving 1/2 to each person.

  • 1/2  Pork Tenderloin per person
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Herb de Provence per pork loin
  • 2-3 springs of fresh Thyme
  • butter and olive oil for frying (we like to use both for better browning of the meat.
  • 2 granny Smith or Macintosh apples per pork loan. Cut into slices and cored. (Peeled or not, its your choice)
  • 1/4 cup cold water or apple juice.

You need to remove the silver skin from pork tenderloin. removing silver skin Use a sharp knife to slide between the silver skin and the meat. 

Heat a large saute pan and when it’s hot, add the butter and oil. Once the butter is melted add the seasoned meat to brown on high heat.  Once the meat has browned all over, turn the heat to medium and add the sliced apples to the pan.  Add the water or apple juice. Toss in the fresh Thyme stems and cover the meat until the apples soften and the meat is tender. About 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the Pork Tenderloin.  Do not over cook. You want the apples to keep their texture and the meat to have the slightest pink blush when sliced.

pork tenderloin with braised ApplesMake it a perfect dinner with your favorite side dish.  Serve the apples surrounding the Pork Tenderloin.

Spicy Mango Salsa

Sweet Heat!

When we go to The Mandarin Restaurant, Elfie always goes for the Mango Salad.  She loves it so much that she used the idea of Mango and Chili to create a Spicy Salsa that’s great with meat or fish.  When rich food is complimented with something light and fruity the combination is always a hit. This salsa can be made ahead of time so its a cook’s friend when company is coming.  Around here, its just one of those things that finds its way to the table because we love it!

spicy mango salsa

Spicy Mango Salsa:

We use a mandolin to slice the fruit.

This is a tool that you will use a good deal so it might just be worth the investment.  When making onion soup, coleslaw, scalloped potatoes or anything else that requires a lot of slicing we have found the Mandoline to be easy to use and quick to clean afterward.

  • 1 ripe Mango, peeled and slicedmandoline
  • 1/4 of a sweet red onion, minced
  • 1 red chili pepper, seeds removed and minced
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Grated peel and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp minced cilantro or parsley
  • Pinch of salt
  • a few drops of sesame oil if you have it

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside to allow the flavors to develop.

Serve with meat or fish!

 

Talapia with Mango Salsa

Spicy Mango Salsa Adds Interest to Talapia.

We probably don’t eat enough fish compared to those that live next to an ocean. Unless you live in a big city most of the fish you see in the grocery store was frozen before being sold to you. We’ve solved that problem by shopping at alternative markets. We have the good fortune of having some ethnic markets close to our home and they have a fresh fish counter.  Once you try Asian or Caribbean markets  you are going to find as we have, that the taste of fresh fish is far superior to anything sold in a regular supermarket.

talapia with mango salsa

TwoFoodNuts Talapia with Spicy Mango Salsa:

Serves 4

The Salsa:

 

We use a mandolin to slice the fruit.

mandolineThis is a tool that you will use a good deal so it might just be worth the investment.  When making onion soup, coleslaw, scalloped potatoes or anything else that requires a lot of slicing we have found the Mandoline to be easy to use and quick to clean afterward.

  • 1 ripe Mango, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 of a sweet red onion, minced
  • 1 red chili pepper, seeds removed and minced
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • Grated peel and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp minced cilantro or parsley
  • Pinch of salt
  • a few drops of sesame oil if you have it

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside to allow the flavors to develop while you prepare the fish and rice.  Look at those colors!                                                                                  spicy mango salsa

The Talapia

  • 4 Talapia fillets
  • 1/2 cup flour for dredging
  • salt and pepper
  • butter for frying
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp cold butter

Method:

  • Place the flour onto a plate or shallow bowl.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Stir to mix and dip fillets into the flour.
  • Once dredged heat the butter in a non-stick saute pan.
  • When the butter is melted cook the fillets on medium-high heat till lightly brown.
  • Turn and brown the second side. This takes just minutes.

Place a lemon slice on each fillet, pour the lemon juice in the pan and place the cold butter in the middle of the pan while you stir it into the lemon juice. This will make a glaze for the fish. The fish is cooked when it flakes with a fork and is lightly browned. Serve immediately!

talapia with spicy mango salsaIf it’s true that we eat with our eyes then get up to the table right now! Talapia is such a lovely mild fish and the salsa works perfectly to jazz it up. We love a rice pilaf when we eat fish. Tell us about your favorite fish recipe!

Nicoise Inspired Winter Salad

A Hearty, Fragrant, and Delicious Winter Salad.

Typically this Nicoise Salad (pronounced neez-wahz) is served in summer in France, but we love the flavors so much that we use it as a winter salad too. We love that you can build a hearty salad that satisfies the need for more filling food in Winter while offering lots of vegetables and protein without meat. If you look in the fridge and pantry you’ll typically find most of the ingredients on hand, so why not give it a try. We’re having it for our Sunday supper along side some crunchy breaded shrimp. This salad normally includes canned tuna but we don’t always follow the rules 🙂

Salad nicoise

The TwoFoodNuts version of Nicoise Salad:

Serves 2-3 as a main dish or 6 as a sidedish

The Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup Olive oil
  • Grated peel of 1 Lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp white Balsamic or white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Herbs de Provence
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 minced or grated garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup finely minced flat leaf Italian parsley or Basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place everything into a small mixing bowl and whisk to incorporate. The mustard will help thicken the dressing.  Set aside.

The Salad:

  • 12-14 Baby potatoes halved
  • 12 Kalamata Olives or olives of your choice
  • 12 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 6 Gerkins or baby dill pickles
  • 1/4 sweet onion, thinly slices and added to tomatoes
  • 20 green beans, stem end removed
  • 2 slices of bacon, chopped and fried till crisp (optional for vegetarian versions)
  • 4 eggs soft boiled
  • drain 1 can of oil packed Tuna if you wish to keep the salad traditional
  • a few lettuce leaves to place the ingredients on at plating.

Begin by setting all the ingredients into separate bowls. This will help when you’re ready to dress the components to assemble the finished salad.  

nicoise ingredients

Preparing the cooked ingredients:

  • To cook the potatoes and green beans, use a steamer.
  • Steam them individually until just tender. Steaming keeps them from becoming water-logged.
  • Fry the bacon till crisp and drain on paper towel.
  • Boil the eggs by covering them with cold water, bring to a boil, cover and turn off heat for 5 minutes.

As soon as the potatoes are tender, place them in their bowl and spoon over a few tablespoons of the dressing to coat the potatoes well. Do the same with the beans. Dressing them when they are hot helps them absorb the delicious dressing! Dress the tomatoes and onions the same way. Just a bit of dressing on the ingredients flavors without making them soggy.

Salad nicoise

Get out a pretty platter and begin adding everything so it looks appetizing. You can mix it all up or place the ingredients into their own section.  We  like to use lettuce leaves as a base and build the salad from there. Serve with crusty bread and a side dish as we did or simply use the tuna for a full meal.

salad nicoise plate

Cook’s Tip: Make this salad your own by changing up the potatoes to little red ones, or using white kidney beans in place of green beans, serve with a piece of grilled salmon and try chunks of Feta with the dressing.  You name it, you can substitute it and still get a fabulous winter salad.

 

 

Pork Loin Roast With Stuffing

Sunday Stuffed Pork Loin Roast

At our house the Sunday Roast is seldom beef.  We prefer a Pork Loin Roast . It’s always tender and juicy and the cost is so much less than Prime Rib of Beef.

Our version of this Pork Loin Roast includes a stuffing that adds tremendous flavor and creates an extra special dish.   This is our go-to Roast for company too and we think once you try it you’ll adopt the recipe.

Stuffed Pork Loin Dinner

This Stuffed Pork Loin Roast requires minimal butchering skills on your part.  Take your time and use a very sharp knife to obtain the result you need.  You will be cutting the meat in such a way as to create a flat surface to lay the stuffing on. Then you will tie the roast once again before cooking it.  So here goes. We are providing a series of photos to demonstrate how easily this is done.

TwoFoodNuts Stuffed Pork Loin Roast:

Begin by pre-heating the oven to 400F degrees. Place the rack in the middle of the oven and line a baking pan with parchment paper. There is almost no clean-up if the pan is lined!

Pork Loin Roast

Start with the bones facing down on the board and allow the knife to slide along them to begin.

Butterfly the pork loin

Your goal is to cut through the thick part of the loin to create a flat surface. You are essentially unrolling the loin with your knife.

butchering pork loin

Try to keep the thickness fairly consistent as your cut.

Pork Loin butterflied

Once the meat has been cut all the way through you’re ready to stuff it. This cut of meat is now called “Butterflied”

stuffing the pork loinSeason the meat with salt and pepper. Then spread the stuffing evenly over the open loin. Do not put stuffing within 1 inch of the end of the meat and within 2 inches of the bones or it just squeezes out when you roll it. Roll it up gently.

The Stuffing:

You can use your own stuffing recipe here. You can do bread with herbs and chopped apples, or you can do as we do and use a ready made turkey stuffing and add dried cranberries. We like the taste of “Stove Top Stuffing and its so easy to prepare. You decide what you want to stuff with.

Pork Loin with Stuffing

Once you have rolled the loin up, using white kitchen twine, tie it to hold it together. If you have never tied meat as the butcher does, then just bring the string under the roast and tie a knot between each of the bones. We do this technique often so we use the butcher method. It doesn’t matter how it’s done just as long as it holds the roast for cooking.

pork loin roast tied

The stuffed Pork Loin Roast is ready to roast.  Place it in the 400F degree oven and allow to cook at this temperature for the first hour. Then turn to 350F for the remaining time.  This will give you a nice crisp exterior and a juicy succulent interior. Cooking time will depend on the size of the Pork Loin Roast. We use a meat thermometer to be sure the roast is fully cooked to 160F degrees internal temperature.  The Government of Canada has excellent food safety information about cooking and storing meat. Read it here!

Stuffed Pork Loin Dinner

All that’s left is the eating! Enjoy your stuffed Pork Loin Roast with all your favorite accompaniments! Today we served potatoes with butter and parsley as well as a Winter side salad of Broccoli, Kale and Brussels Sprouts. A little Cranberry sauce completes the Stuffed Pork Loin Roast!

 

Braised Red Cabbage With Apples

Braised Red Cabbage With Apples.

Elfie and momWinter  wouldn’t be Winter without a big pot of Braised Red Cabbage with Apples!  This is a family recipe that has been handed down by my mom and my grandmother. As you know by following this blog, we are big vegetable fans. Harry and I aren’t vegetarians but a diet rich in vegetables and fruits is just plain healthy.  Red cabbage is regular visitor on the German table, so it’s my pleasure to share my mother’s recipe with you.

PS: Shhh…..Elfie’s Mom always put fried bacon in this recipe! Maybe Bacon is the secret to living to 84!

 

TwoFoodNuts Braised Red Cabbage with Apples:

  • 1 medium red cabbage
  • 2 large or 4 small apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar (mom would have used red wine vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 Tbsp of olive oil (optional, but it gives richness to the finished dish)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Braised Red cabbage with applesYou’ll need a dutch oven to prepare this recipe.  We don’t make it in a slow cooker,  but you can certainly use one.  The recipe makes a large batch that’s perfect for a big crowd or for freezing.

Begin by quartering the cabbage. Remove the big white core.  Now finely slice the quarters. As you slice one of the cabbage quarters, layer on one sliced apple and a tiny bit of salt and pepper. (go easy here so its not too salty).

Red cabbage

Once you have all the cabbage and apples layered, pour the other ingredients into the pot.  Now, let the stove top or the slow cooker do all the work!

Cook’s Tip:  If using a slow cooker, cook on low all day and turn up to high with the lid off for about an hour to reduce the excess moisture.

I cook the cabbage on medium-low for about 2 hours covered. Then remove the lid for the remainder of the cooking time. You want the excess moisture to cook away, leaving the cabbage in a light glaze.  The dish is finished when the cabbage is tender and the apples have dissolved. Taste for salt and pepper. That’s it!

Look at that color!  Here we served the Braised Red Cabbage and Apples along side quality smoked sausages with hot mustard and fluffy mashed potatoes and finally our creamed Kohlrabi and Carrots.  It’s equally good with our German Rouladen.

Guten Apettit!

red cabbage Next time you go shopping, look for this much under-used vegetable and you may just find a new side dish in our braised red cabbage!

 

 

 

Eggs For Dinner. Ole!

Eggs With A Mexican Twist.

Busy lives demand fast, healthy meals that hit all the high notes in taste. This dish offers protein without meat, speed in preparation and savory flavors sure to please. It’s versatile too. We love eggs for dinner and this is a favorite at our house, we hope it will be at your table as well.

eggs for dinner

Lets get started:

The base of this dish is warmed flour tortillas topped with:

  • scrambled eggs(2 per person)
  • You can do the “Hungry Man or Woman” version and use 3 eggs.
  • sour cream
  • chopped tomatoes
  • fresh avocado
  • grated cheese (use your favorite)
  • Chopped red chili (optional)
  • chopped fresh herbs (we used Italian parsley) try sliced green onion too!
  • salsa.

We begin by cracking the eggs into a bowl and adding chopped red chili. Set aside.

Next chop fresh tomatoes and avocado and herbs. This takes just minutes.

Grate some cheese. This is a  good way to use up those bits in the fridge  Just a little to keep fat in check.

Place two non stick pans on the stove. You will heat the tortillas by placing on the hot pan for 30 seconds per side.

Make the scrambled eggs while you heat the tortillas. Season with salt and pepper.

Assemble the best dish by placing the scrambled eggs on the warm tortilla, then topping with dollops of sour cream, the chopped tomatoes, avocado, cheese, salsa and herbs.

It took Elfie no more than 15 minutes to make this start to finish. It’s rich in protein from the eggs and avocado and bit of cheese. It’s going to be your new favorite meat-free supper!

mexican eggs

 

Quiche by TwoFoodNuts

Quiche Like No Other.

Quiche is a funny thing.  It seems to go in and out of favor every few years.   Then there was the old saying “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche”!   What was that about?  No one ever said real men don’t eat ham and cheese.  For us, Quiche is ever-evolving and in many ways it’s better today than it’s ever been. With access to such a variety of cheese and fresh herbs year round you can always whip up a sensational lunch or light supper.

quiche for lunchQuiche accompanied by Harry’s Famous Caesar Salad is always a hit around here. When we have company for dinner we make a large Quiche in a pan, but for our little lunch we went through the trouble of making individual Quiche.

This recipe results in a light texture and a rich taste due to the heavy cream and the addition of the Ricotta cheese.

If you aren’t able to make pie crust, you have a couple of options.  Ready-made pie crust or quality puff pastry yields a wonderful Quiche, so no excuses.  You can do this!

TwoFoodNuts Ham and Cheese Quiche:

Makes one 9 inch Quiche

1 puff pastry thawed and laid into a removable bottom tart pan or pie plate.

  • 1 small package sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp butter to fry mushrooms
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme to add to mushrooms
  • 4-6  slices quality country ham from the deli (or 1/2 cup left-over dinner ham diced)
  • 1/4 cup peas  or asparagus
  • 1 cup of Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/3 cup of Feta crumbled
  • 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup grated cheddar
  • 4 large eggs beaten
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Begin by cutting up the ham and grating the cheeses into a mixing bowl.  Fry the sliced mushrooms along with the thyme sprig in a little butter.  When the mushrooms are brown, discard the thyme.   Add everything into the mixing bowl and stir well to incorporate. Pour into the pan and  decorate with the little pieces of extra dough.

decorating the Quiche

 

Quiche from scratchBake the Quiche in a 350F oven on the middle rack until the filling is just set. The reason Quiche is often rubbery is that it is over baked. You should be able to touch the center of the quiche with a slight pressure but not break the surface. There should be the slightest jiggle when the Quiche is cooked.

Allow the Quiche to set for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into it.  Serve with a side salad for a complete lunch or dinner!quiche for lunch

Don’t forget to share this recipe with your friends and family on FaceBook!

 

 

 

 

Kohlrabi and Carrots

Creamed Kohlrabi and Carrots, Yum!

Not many people know how to cook Kohlrabi.  It’s not some strange tasting thing, but it does look a bit unusual. Kohlrabi is in the turnip family and has a very mild taste. It’s a very crisp veg when used raw but tender when cooked.  Here we paired it with carrots in a cream sauce. It actually makes a nice change from potatoes as the accompaniment to our Easy Roast Chicken.

white and purple kohlrabi varieties

If you try this recipe and like it you can thank Elfie’s mom!  This may be an old fashioned way of serving this much under-used vegetable but one that needs to be in your recipe box.

Creamed Kohlrabi (1)

TwoFoodNuts Creamed Kohlrabi and Carrots:

  • 3 Kohlrabi peeled and cubed into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 carrots peeled and cubed into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 low sodium chicken stock cube
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 and 1/2  to 2 cups milk (the sauce should be creamy not gloppy)
  • 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
  • Pepper to taste.

Kohlrabi peelCook’s Tip: You must take a thick peel off to get to the crisp white flesh.  We use a knife to peel them.   Salt the dish once the vegetables are cooked and in the finished sauce. The stock cube can add enough salt.

Once the vegetables are cut into 1/2 inch pieces, place in cold water with the stock cube and boil in gently boiling water unto the kohlrabi is tender.  We can’t tell you exactly as they can be very crisp if fresh and somewhat softer if not so fresh. You want them to keep their shape but be just tender.

While the veggies are cooking, make the sauce in a non-stick saucepan large enough to hold the sauce and the cooked veggies. Place the butter and flour into the saucepan and heat gently to melt the butter into the flour.  Once it is smooth, whisk in 1 & 1/2 cups of the milk.  Turn up the heat to medium high and allow the sauce to thicken.

If you find it’s really thick, add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Simmer for another minute.  Now grate in the nutmeg and a good grind of pepper.  Drain the cooked Kohlrabi/Carrot mix and stir into the cream sauce. Add the chopped parsley and taste for seasoning. Add salt only if the finished dish is a bit bland. Top the veggies with another sprinkle of parsley when serving.

Kohlrabi and carrotsJPGWe served the Creamed Kohlrabi and Carrots with our delectable Easy Roast Chicken.  No Potatoes tonight!  You should give it a try.

 

 

Baby Its Cold Outside Shepherd’s Pie!

Comfort Food Shepherd’s Pie

Boy, this one is really “Old School”!  Everybody likes comfort food and in order to be really comforting it has to be simple to make. Before we built our new house, we lived in a little cabin here on the property. The kitchen was an after-thought, so making big fancy meals didn’t work. We spent a lot of time outdoors in those days as we tried to tame the jungle that was our little country property. After a long day of raking leaves, or shoveling snow we’d be exhausted but starving. This humble little supper was a favorite then and now.

 

TwoFoodNuts Sheppard's Pie

Here’s our TwoFoodNuts Shepherd’s Pie recipe:

Serves 4

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 can peas and carrots or (1 & 1/2 cups frozen)
  • 1 package Beef gravy Mix, (we like Knorr or International Gravy Mix)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups cold water
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3 Russett Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Tbsp salt for boiling the potatoes
  • 1/4 cup soft butter for mashing

Peel and cube the Potatoes. Boil in a pot of salted water until very soft. Drain well and mash with 1/4 cup butter.

sheppard's pie filling

Fry the ground beef until well browned. Add the onion and fry until it is just transparent.  Add the peas and carrots, sprinkle the gravy mix in and add the water. (If using frozen peas and carrots you need to microwave for 3 minutes or so).

Gravy mix

Bring the meat filling to a boil and once the gravy is thickened, place the meat into a 2 quart casserole dish. Scoop the warm mashed potatoes on top and using the open side of the spoon, make a nice pattern on top.  Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes since everything is hot when assembled.

 

TwoFoodNuts Sheppard's Pie

The top should be lightly brown and the gravy will bubble up when its done!

Sheppard's Pie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after a hard day, this is your reward! What do you think? Would you stick around to eat with us?

Cooking With Fire

Steaks In The Living Room Fireplace!

Wood Fired oven

We have a wood fired oven on the patio and it cooks the best food. We can’t use it in winter but we still want the taste of of cooking with fire. The solution is cooking in the wood-burning fireplace. We live in the country and the power can go out during bad winter weather so we kept a wood-burning fireplace as a source of heat.  The added benefit is cooking in it when you want that subtle taste that you get from the wood fired oven in summer.

Our son maintains “If you aren’t cooking with fire, you aren’t really cooking”!  We agree.  With that in mind we cooked our steak dinner in the fireplace tonight. We have fitted the fireplace with a BBQ grill that is supported by firebrick set on their side. This gives just the right height when cooking meat. We cook steak, chops and we’ve also done homemade pizza with way. The taste is fantastic!  When we prune old fruit trees, we save the cuttings for cooking.  Adding them to the fire gives the meat added flavor.

Cooking steak, is real simple:

Worchestershire Sauce and Montreal Steak Spice to marinate the meat.

seasoned ribeye steak

Season the meat 3 hours before cooking. Allow the meat to come to room temperature before grilling. This gives the best result. Charred outside, juicy and tender inside.

Cooking Method: Start your fire with hardwood  about 40 minutes before you wan to grill.  If you can get it, add the fruit wood when the hardwood has turned to embers. Once the fruit wood is mostly embers, it’s time to Grill!  Oil the grill and set in place.   When you place the meat on the grill you want the embers just off to the side below the meat otherwise it will burn on the outside before it’s cooked to perfection inside.

fire grilled ribeye steakCook the meat until you get a good char for about 4 minutes per side. Flip it over and allow to char on the other side.  Cooking time depends on the thickness of the steak. We only cook 1 to 1 & 1/2 inch thick steaks and chops. They stay juicy during the high heat grilling. Remove to a heated tray and cover with foil for 5 minutes.

cooking with fireSlice the meat. If it’s a bit too rare, pop it back on the grill on the tray for 2 minutes. Serve with your favorite side dish. Tonight we had Mushroom Crostini and Tomato Salad.  This is fabulous Steak Dinner, we both agreed its as good or better than the Keg.

BBQ Ribeye steakIf you have a wood-burning fireplace we challenge you to use it to cook your next steak. You won’t be sorry.

Cran-Apple Sauce

Kick Up The Turkey This Year!

Who does not love the tart, sweet taste of Cranberry Sauce with Turkey or Pork?   We foraged so many apples this year that we thought they should be incorporated in our annual Cranberry Sauce making.  This year was an amazing year for apples.  Since we live in the country, we have old trees right here in the yard but the road sides were abundant with “Free Food” too.

homemade cran-apple sauceWe love not knowing what we’re going to get when we forage.  Some apples were sweet and crisp, some were so very tart, others were a bit mealy.  No matter, by mixing up the apples we created so many wonderful treats. Our Cran-Apple Sauce is just one of them.

Look at that color!

We used the sweeter apples that we foraged for this recipe.  If you can get Honey Crisp, or Royal Gala they will compliment the Cranberries wonderfully. We do not make a super sweet Cran-Apple Sauce. We like it to be tart.

peeling apples

TwoFoodNuts Cran-Apple Sauce:

  • 3 cups cranberries (they can be fresh or frozen)
  • 3 cups apples, peeled, cored and cut into cubes the size of the Cranberries
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • juice of half a lemon

cran-apple mixPlace everything into a large saucepan.   Heat to a boil and then turn the heat to medium.  Cook the mixture until the berries burst and the sauce thickens. Pour into sterile jars and hand tighten the lids.

filling canning jarsYour work here is done!

Cook’s Tip: It’s vital to sterilize canning jars before filling.  Wash jars and lids well in hot soapy water or clean in dishwasher.  Next, fill each jar with 1/2 inch of water and place in Microwave for 5 minutes on full power right before filling.  Lids should be placed into a bowl and pour boiling water over them for 5 minutes before sealing the jars.  Keep in fridge to be food safe and use within 3 months.  Not a problem at our house.

sterilizing canning carsDiscover new ways to use our Cran-Apple Sauce by serving with your next bacon and cheese sandwich or better yet, spread it on the filling of a Paninni with Ham and Swiss cheese.  Your next grilled Pork chop will love being accompanied by this sauce too! Even your crackers and cheese will never be the same with the addition of a little Cran-Apple Sauce!

TwoFoodNuts Cran-apple Sauce

 

Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp An Old Fashioned Dessert.

Homemade apple crisp

Apple Crisp is a go to recipe when we have an abundance of apples. This year we foraged so many apples  that we promised we’d share all our best recipes with you.  We like to make a batch of these crisps and freeze them so we can grab one and bake it off at a moment’s notice.

foraging for apples

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s recipe makes 4 mini crisps or it will make one family size. Lets get started.

TwoFoodNuts Apple Crisp:

The filling:

  • 3 lbs of apples, peeled, cored and sliced into thick slices
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 allspice
  • 1/1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp cold butter cut into little cubes

Peel, core and slice the apples, place in a large bowl and add all but the butter. Divide into 4 mini foil loaf pans or place in one deep casserole for a single dessert.  Dot each crisp with the little butter cubes.

apple crisp filling

For the topping:

  • 1 cup of quick cooking Oatmeal. (not instant)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cold butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

Place everything in a bowl and rub the butter into the flour and sugar to form crumbs. ( you can use a food processor to do this)

Apple Crisp

Sprinkle the crumb topping onto the fruit filling and cover with cling film and foil if freezing or pop into the oven at 350F until the filling bubbles up through the crumbs. This can take from 40 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the crisp.

Top with freshly whipped cream or quality ice cream and serve.

Cooks Tip: Sometimes when we want to change it up a bit, we use a can of cherry pie filling on top of the apple filling. It bakes into the apples and gives you a most amazing Apple/Cherry crisp. It’s a great way to use a stock recipe but add variety! Try it

 

 

3 Fast and Easy Dinners

Make a Delicious Dinner In No Time!

We want to remind you that you can make fabulous dinners in under half and hour. So this weekend, pick a pasta and whip up a garlic bread side dish for your hungry family. One pasts is seafood, and two are vegetarian. None will break the bank but all will reward the crowd.

Got a bag of shrimp in the freezer? Then give this a try!  Shrimp in Rose’ Sauce

Shrimp pasta

Poor Man’s food that tastes like a million dollars! Here’s the recipe. Cucina Povera or Lemon Garlic Spaghetti

spaghetti-a-la-lemoneYour third choice can be made with jarred Pesto and frozen peas. Give it a go! Pasta, Pesto and Peas!

Pasta Pesto and peas

Add a side of our fabulous Garlic Bread!

twofoodnuts garlic bread

It’s a great way to start the weekend!

Bacon Burgers!

Put Bacon “In” Your Burger!

 

The world is full of good and bad burgers. We’ve eaten many over the years but in all honesty there’s nothing as good as a home made burger. You know just what’s in it and you control the salt. Fast Food burgers are loaded with salt because there’s no love in them!

Bacon burgers

One of our favorite burgers around here has bacon and cheese on it so we thought, why not put the bacon and cheese “in” the burger. We used lean ground pork for the burger as well.   It cooks up juicy, flavorful and loves all your favorite toppings.  If you have only ever used beef for your homemade burgers, you’ll want to give this a try.  Pork is not a high fat meat but it does have great taste. You can also make this with ground chicken or turkey if you do not eat pork.

Lets make those TwoFoodNuts Bacon Burgers:

This recipe makes 7-8 generous burgers

  • 2 lbs lean ground pork
  • 6-8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs (Panko can be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup grated Parmeasan
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

There are no eggs in these burgers so they are tender rather than dense.

Bacon Burgers

Begin by pouring the milk over the bread crumbs in a small bowl and allow to stand until the bacon is fried.  Fry the bacon until nice and crisp. Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon from the fat and place in  the mixing bowl with the pork.  Add the soaked bread crumbs, the grated cheese and the seasonings. Mix lightly with a fork until you see that everything has been incorporated.

Divide the meat mix and form your burgers. We make this large batch and bag them individually so we can cook as many burgers as needed. Notice that we flatten them in the bags so they don’t have to defrost before grilling. These burgers are so rich and juicy you can pan fry them and they will be equally delicious.  Never press down on a burger when you are cooking it. This makes it dry.

Freezer Ready Bacon Burgers

Roasted Beet an Orange Salad

A Winter Salad Dedicated To Trudy.

Our sister-in-law Trudy currently works and lives in Macau. We stay in touch each week by Skype and sometimes the topic turns to food, especially when we’ve just posted about something that isn’t easily available in Macau.  Trudy has decided that when we can send a sample of our cooking via Skype we will have reached the height of technology.  We agree!  Macau is formerly a Portuguese colony on the southern coast of China so you know there would be a few “good eats” that Trudy could Skype back to us as well!

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad

This salad is a new rendition of an old favorite.  Here we’ve added oranges, raspberries and we substituted Feta instead of Goat cheese.  We think beets taste best when slow roasted and the sharp salty taste of the Feta cheese adds to the vibrant flavors in this winter salad.  When the weather turns cold we need robust salads that include sturdy greens, healthy toppings and high flavor dressings. This Roasted Beet and Orange Salad delivers on all counts.

Lets get started. The best way to get the most out of the beets is to peel and roast them slowly with a splash of olive oil and some sea salt.  Then marinate the beets overnight for the deepest taste.

TwoFoodNuts Roaste Beet and Orange Salad:

Serves 6 to 8

For the Roasted Beets

  • 3 or 4 medium size beets peeled and sliced in 8ths
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 pinch Herb de Provence
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Wrap the beets in foil or place into a small roasting pot.  Bake in a low oven (300 F) for an hour or until the beets are tender.

Roasting beets

For the marinade:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic or Raspberry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar

Pour over the beets and place in the fridge overnight

Balsamic Marinade

For the Salad:

  • Greens of  your choice.  (We used a mix of Arugula and Baby Spinach) Watercress would be wonderful here.
  • Sliced navel orange pieces, a few fresh raspberries
  • Crumbled Feta cheese
  • Toasted sliced almonds
  • The roasted beets

For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Raspberry Balsamic plus 1 Tbsp Red Wine vinegar
  • Or  3 Tbsp plain Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp  white sugar
  • Salt and Pepper

Today we served the Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Heddy’s Ham and Cheese Croissant   A roasted chicken breast and this salad would also make a great dinner!  No more boring winter salads!

Beet and Orange salad

 

 

 

Honey Roast Peanut Butter Cookies

Baking Cookies Is Sharing Love!

The Chocolate Chip Cookie is probably the most baked cookie of all.  But that’s going to change as of right now!  At TwoFoodNuts central the Honey Roast Peanut Butter Cookie is King!   We are willing to bet that if you make these you are going to feel the same.

Milk & Cookies

These Honey Roast Peanut Butter cookies are easy to whip up, so lets get started!

TwoFoodNuts Honey Roast Peanut Butter Cookies:

Pre-heat the oven to 350F

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

  • 1 cup peanut butter (we love chunky)
  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of Honey Roast Peanuts
  • 1 and 1/3 cup all purpose flour.
  • No salt is added since the peanuts are salty!

Honey roast peanut butter cookiesWe like to measure out all the ingredients so the baking is fast and accurate.  In a large mixing bowl cream the butter, peanut butter and sugar to make them very creamy. A stand or hand mixer is best. Add the egg and mix for a few seconds. Add the baking soda and vanilla. Finally, add small amounts of flour and peanuts alternately until both are fully incorporated into the batter. Scoop onto a baking sheet lines with parchment and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. Cool on a rack.  Share the Love!

TwoFoodNuts Cookie Monster

TwoFoodNuts Chow Mein Noodles

The Perfect Side For Chicken!

We made our Sweet and Spicy Chicken for company the other day and thought it would be nice to try a new recipe as the side dish.  It seems weird that after all the cooking we’ve done that we have never prepared Chow Mein Noddles at home. It’s particularly strange since we love eating them when we go out of Asian food.  That being said, we bought a bag of the dried Chow Mein Noodles last time we were at BlueSky so we went for it.

Chow Mein Noodles

We opted to create a recipe that flavor the noodles to compliment our Sweet and Spicy Chicken. It turns out you could really serve them with anything that has an Asian twist.

Look for Chow Mein Noodles in any Asian store and most supermarkets in the specialty isle. Add some awesome crisp vegetables and complete them with a light sauce.

This can be a main dish by stir frying chicken breast pieces, shrimp or beef strips before adding the the vegetables.

Here’s how we do Chow Mein Noodles:

serves 6

For the Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup Soya sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Sesame oil (this is very pungent)
  • 2 Tablespoon freshly grated Ginger
  • 2 large Garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar or Palm Sugar
  •  3 green onions thinly sliced and sesame seeds to garnish

All of these ingredients can be bought at a supermarket now a days.

Chow mein Ingredients

For the Noodles:

  •  1 package dried Chow Mein Noodles
  • Salt for boiling the noodles
  • 2 cups of sliced vegetables of your choice
  • 3 Tbsp oil for stir frying

We used mushrooms, yellow carrot, sweet red peppers,  snow peas and garlic.   We fried the mushrooms separately first.

 

Boil the noodles in salted water until just tender. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.  Place a clean tea towel in a large bowl and allow the noodles to dry off before stir frying.  The noodles now take just minutes to prepare. When your meat dish is ready to serve, heat a Wok or large skillet.

When the Wok is hot, pour in the oil and the vegetables. Stir for just 1 minute.  You want the vegetable to remain crisp but heated through. Now add the noodles and the sauce to the wok and with two wooden spoons begin to toss the veggies with the noodles. You are not trying to brown the noodles. You simply want everything to be hot all through.

Chow Mein Noodles

It’s time to plate up your creation! Sprinkle the green onions and a few sesame seeds over the noodles and faster then you can say Karate Kid dinner’s ready.

 

 

 

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

Chicken, Always A Good Idea!

We were having some friends over for lunch today. They are originally from Jamaica so something with a bit of zip was in order. Our friend Hope often makes Elfie’s favorite chicken dish when we visit them so we wanted to reciprocate today. Our Sweet Spicy version was just the answer.

Sweet and Spicy chicken

Now, this dish lends itself to Rice and Peas, a very Jamaican dish but we thought we’d put a different spin on it and serve Chow Mein Noodles. This is the first time the noodle dish has appeared on our table but it was excellent. We’ll post the recipe for you in a separate blog.

Whether you make this for two people or a crowd the prep time is about 5 minutes. We love that. No point dropping from exhaustion by the time the dinner guests arrive! So here we go.

 TwoFoodNuts Sweet and Spicy Chicken:

Serves 6

  •  12 chicken thighs. (You can do skinless and boneless to save calories) We don’t!
  • ¼ cup grainy mustard
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 red chili seeded and minced (if you don’t like heat, leave it out or use less)
  • Grated rind of 2 lemons, plus the juice from both
  • Salt and pepper

Line a large oven-proof dish with Parchment paper (you’ll thank us at cleanup)!

5 minute prep time

Place the thighs, skin side down. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Mix everything else in a bowl and pour over the chicken. Bake at 350F for 45min to 1 hour depending on the size of the thighs. At the 30-minute mark, turn the meat to allow it to brown on both sides. Test with a fork. Meat should not offer any resistance. Serve with Rice or Chow Mein Noodles.

Sweet and Spicy chicken

Good enough for company but fast and easy for everyday dinners. Enjoy!

Curried Squash and Apple Soup.

Squash Is A Favorite Of TwoFoodNuts

This summer we discovered some new varieties and methods of preparing all the  squash we got our hands on.  We cooked with Zucchini flowers, Patty Pan, Globe Squash stared in our Summer Ratatouille, and Zucchini Carbonara.We also roasted Delicata with pumpkin seeds and cranberries in early October.  The Abundance of Winter Squash is a blessing as we turn to making hearty soups to warm the soul during the cooler weather.  One of our favorites is Curried Butternut Squash and Apple.  How do you beat the creaminess of the squash combined with the sweet/tart flavor of crisp apples?  You just know these two ingredients will work well since they both come to harvest together.

curried squash soup

Curried  Butternut Squash and Apple soup was one of the first soups that our son Justin perfected.  He makes a mean Roasted Red Pepper Soup as well.  If  you don’t like curry you can still make the soup but perhaps you’ll use a bit of cinnamon and allspice instead. We feel the soup really benefits from the zing of spice, so be creative and try it your way.

TwoFoodNuts Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup.

  • 1 medium Butternut Squash peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4 small or 2 large apples, peeled and roughly cut
  • 1 Small onion roughly cut
  • 3 tables spoon Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 10 sprigs of Thyme

Peel and cut up the Apples, Squash and onion. Spread on a baking sheet lined with Parchment Paper. drizzle with oil, add salt and pepper to taste.  Place Thyme sprigs over the top and bake at 400F for 45 minutes to an hour. The Squash should be fork tender and slightly caramelized.

roasting squash and apples

squash, apples, onions

In a Dutch oven or large pot place:

6 cups of water

1 Knorr stock package (Use Chicken or Vegetable stock depending on if you are going vegetarian).

2 Tbsp mild curry

2 bay leaves

1 large or 2 small garlic cloves minced

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 red thai chili seeded and minced (optional)stick blender

Add the roasted vegetables to the soup base and simmer for 30 min. Remove the Bay leaves and puree with a stick blender or place in a regular blender.

making soup

Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cranberries, pecans and a fresh Thyme sprig!   Indulge!

curried squash soup

We hope you love this hearty and a bit spicy soup. Please remember to share the recipe with your friends and family. Leave us a comment if you have a moment.

Waffle Memories.

Waffles To Build New Memories

When Elfie was growing up her Oma (grandmother) often made waffles for Friday lunch.  The memory of the warm smells coming from her kitchen linger in Elfie’s memory to this day.  It would only be right if we shared our Two Food Nuts waffle recipe so you can make memories for your family.  These waffles are restaurant quality and can be topped with anything that you love. However it wouldn’t be a Two Food Nuts recipe unless the result was over the top!

waffles for Elfie (1)

See what we mean!  Fluffy warm waffles, homemade raspberry sauce with fresh berries, real maple syrup and what’s a waffle without real whipping cream to complete the story. For the record, Oma did not top waffles like this.  She would have offered cinnamon sugar, end of story.

Lets get started.

TwoFoodNuts Homemade Waffles:

Place dry ingredients into one large mixing bowl.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • a pinch of salt

Place wet ingredients into a second bowl:

  • 1 and 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp orange liquer (optional)
  • Grated peel of one orange
  • 2 large eggs yolks

Then:

  • 2 egg whites whipped until firm
  • 1/3 cup butter melted

Heat the waffle iron

Whipped egg whitesStart by mixing the wet ingredients well and then pour into the dry ingredients.  With a whisk, mix to incorporate into a thick batter. Pour in the melted butter and stir well.  Finally fold in the egg whites gently so the batter becomes light as a cloud.

folding egg whites

Spray the waffle iron with a light coat of baking spray or a bit of melted butter and a basting brush.  Fill the waffle iron to about 2/3 full and close.

waffle ironResist the temptation to open the waffle iron. This will only result in tearing the waffle. Wait until there is only a little steam coming out and you can see the waffle puffed up in the iron.

the waffleDress your waffle as you wish.  Berries, bananas, syrup, whipping cream, bacon crumble, you name it! Dig in!

eating waffles (1)

Lightening Fast Brownie Sundae

Wow Them With Chocolate!

These Sundaes are so simple to make, but they taste like you slaved for hours. Its really a dessert that is assembled from a group of quality ingredients that you buy.

Brownie Sundae

What you need to make these Brownie Sundae:

  • Ice Cream (we love Pralines and Cream), but use anything that compliments chocolate
  • Ready made or leftover brownies cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • Sliced Strawberries, or fresh Raspberries
  • Whipping cream ( we like Readi Whip in a can) But please use Real Whipped cream not Coolwhip.
  • Chocolate Sundae Sauce
  • Chopped Pecans

We use a clear serving dish to show off the layers of this dessert.  It looks so sumptuous.  Place a scoop of ice cream into the dish, top with the Brownie cubes, add the Berries, load on the Whipping cream and top with the Chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of Pecans.

We can hear them cheering you from here!

TwoFoodNuts Brownie Sundae

Any Comments?

Cabbage Rolls with Secret Sauce

Farm Style Cabbage Rolls.

What’s  Fall without a great big batch of Cabbage rolls?  Each year we whip up a big pan of these hearty Cabbage Rolls and eat till we burst.  We use an old recipe that was first published in the Palmer Rapids cook book. It’s a culmination of recipes from all the ladies in the town. This one certainly stood out as one of the very best and it’s a Family Tradition at our house.  Elfie’s aunt Iona, then her mom and now the TwoFoodNuts have adopted and adjusted the recipe to make the Best Darn Cabbage Roll Recipe Ever!

Farm style Cabbage Rolls

One of the best things about food like this is you can make a ton of it and it tastes as good or better when it’s been frozen. So, one mess and many meals is a great solution to busy lives.  Besides just because life gets crazy doesn’t mean we can’t eat well.  We serve our cabbage rolls with a chunk of crusty bread slathered in fresh butter.  You really don’t need anything else!

TwoFoodNuts Cabbage Roll Filling:

  • 1 large Savoy Cabbage (this is the curly Cabbage rather than the smooth type)
  • 1 Pound ground Beef
  • 1 Pound ground Pork
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 cup minute rice or other instant rice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp Sirrachi Sauce (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of the Secret Sauce
  • Bacon slices sufficient to cover the entire top of the Cabbage Rolls.

Two 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 Pasata (this is pureed tomatoes)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 red chili, seeded and minced (Optional but oh so good).

Cooks Tip:   This is a big job, but being organized is the best method. We remove the cabbage leaves first, then make the sauce, and finally assemble the filling.  Now you have all the parts of the recipe ready to go.  The actually rolling takes very little time.

Using a very sharp knife, cut around the core of the Cabbage. Place the Cabbage into the microwave for 5 minutes. Peel off the softened leaves and reserve. Repeat this process until you have 18 leaves.  Cut the heavy rib off on each piece of Cabbage to make it easier to roll.

remove rib

Make the sauce and set aside.  Then, in a large bowl, place all the filling ingredients and mix well.  Once all is incorporated, its time to Rock and Roll!  Set the oven to 350F

 

filling the cabbage leavesPlace the filling at the core end of the Cabbage leaf and roll away from yourself to encase the filling.

folding the cabbage leavesNow fold the sides towards the middle and continue to roll into a tight packet. No need to use tooth picks, just place the roll with the seam side down in the roasting pan. Continue until all Cabbage Rolls are in the pan.

cabbage rollPour the Secret Sauce over the Cabbage Rolls and lay the bacon evenly over the entire roasting pan.  It will seem like too much sauce, but the rice is raw and will absorb a great deal of the liquid. By the time the Cabbage Rolls are fully cooked there will be just enough sauce to serve. (If you are short on sauce, just add a bit of water).

Cover with a lid or 2 layers of tin foil.  Place the pan in the center of the oven and cook for 2 -3 hours or until the cabbage is very tender and the sauce is somewhat reduced. The bacon will not be crisp but the fat will all be rendered out making the sauce very rich tasting. The bacon also imparts a slightly smokey taste to the Cabbage Rolls. You can discard it once the cabbage rolls are cooked, but we eat it.

Oven Ready Cabbage rolls

We are so pleased to share this family recipe with you. We hope you’ll give it a try. We know you’ll be delighted with the outcome. Pick a rainy day and Rock and Roll!

 

Farm style Cabbage Rolls

Braised Rabbit

Braised Rabbit By Elfie’s Oma!

My Grandmother made the most delicious braised rabbit I have ever eaten. It was a dish that was served on special occasions instead of roast beef or ham. We all loved the subtle taste of the lean meat with the savory gravy that Oma created out of the aromatic vegetables she added to the pot.

When I had a child of my own, my mother would often re-create the dish for us. We didn’t tell my son that we were having Rabbit because you know how kids react to new foods. One Sunday we were at the table and mom brought out the big platter with the 2 braised rabbits on it. My sweet little son, remarked, “Wow, Grandma that chicken sure does have a lot of legs”!  We all laughed and he ate three pieces before declaring this was the best chicken he’d ever eaten.  Sorry Justin!

Most supermarkets don’t sell Rabbit all the time, so today when we were out picking up a few things I got very excited to discover the find! Harry doesn’t always understand my outbursts of sheer joy in the grocery store.  I think I embarrassed him when I yelled out, “Oh look they have Rabbit”! To me it was a real score.  Rabbit is a low fat meat and sustainable to produce. Everyone should try it.

If you have the good fortune of finding a fresh Rabbit (frozen tastes very different) grab it and give this a try. You may just discover a new favorite food.

Fresh whole rabbit

TwoFoodNuts Braised Rabbit:

  • I fresh rabbit
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 large carrot cut in chunks
  • 3 celery sticks cut in chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion cut into chunks
  • 10 sprigs fresh Thyme
  • 5 sprigs fresh Parsley
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Knorr chicken stock cube
  • 1 tablespoon Herb de Provence
  • 2 Tbsp flour and 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup cream

Cut the rabbit up into pieces.  You may need a cleaver to cut through the bones. Remove the legs first, then section the meat from tail to shoulder in 3 inch wide pieces.

Rabbit pieces

Season with the salt and pepper. Add the oil to a heavy pan and brown the pieces of meat.

Browning the Rabbit

Once the meat is golden brown tumble the vegetable pieces over the meat and add the herbs.

Braise the Rabbit

Dissolve the stock package in the water and pour it over the pan contents. Now braise the rabbit for up to two hours at 300F in the oven.  The meat must be tender to a fork in order to be fully cooked.

Thicken the broth with flour and water.  (2 Tbsp flour to 1/4 cup cold water). Mix the flour and water on a jar fitted with a tight lid and shake to create a smooth slurry.  Stir into the broth over medium high heat and cook until the broth turns to a gravy.

We love to serve the Braised Rabbit with homemade Gnoochi.  Michael Chiarello has an excellent recipe that we use for the Potato Gnocchi  It’s a bit of work to make Gnocchi but the end result is light-as-air pillows to hold the gravy from the Braised Rabbit.

Elfie's Oma

We hope that Oma’s  recipe is a hit with your family!          

We have to go now and indulge in the memories and flavors of this family heritage dish. 

luv you

We love you  and miss you Oma!

 

 

Katharina Kramer is Elfie’s Grandmother.

 

Bruschetta

Put This Dish In Your Repertoire!

We love this Bruschetta recipe because its so versatile. It can be a stand alone appetizer or a side dish to a great salad like Harry’s Famous Caesar Salad. Either way its a hit.  If you’re having guests, you can prep the topping in advance and pop it in the oven when they arrive. Look how appetizing the finished dish looks!

 image

When we talk about versatility, we mean that the type of cheese, bread, onions, or olives and all be swapped up. If your baguette isn’t fresh enough to serve at dinner, don’t worry its fine for this recipe because you’re going to brush it with Olive oil and toast i t anyway.

Here’s how Harry makes Bruschetta:

This makes 12 toasts. Serves 4 as an appetizer.

12 slices Baguette cut into 1/2 inch thick slices

  • 1/2 cup of chopped seeded tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup crumbled Feta ( try Parmesan for a substitute)
  • 2 Tbsp minced green onion or chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup chopped green or Kalamata olives your choice
  • 2 Tbsp chopped Roasted Red Peppers if you have them
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil plus an additional 2 Tbsp to brush the bread.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

4-5 Fresh Basil leaves sliced to sprinkle on top of finished dish.

image

Slice the bread and brush one side with the olive oil. Place on a baking sheet.  Place all the ingredients except the basil in a bowl and mix well.  Pop the bread under the broiler and toast lightly. Turn the bread over and toast the other side. Once the bread is toasted on both sides, top with the tomato mixture reduce the heat to 400F and return to the middle of the oven for 5-7 minutes. You just want to heat the topping not cook it.

image

Serve right away but topping with the basil strips and get ready for the compliments!

image

 

 

The “One” Tart

One Apple, Makes One Tart That Feeds Four!

Sometimes you need a quick dessert that wows the audience. This “One” is going do just that!  You don’t need much to put it together.  We love anything made with puff pastry.  The quality of a ready-made butter pastry is perfect for this dessert. We make it early in the day, pop it into the freezer, then bake it while everyone is eating the main course.   Lets face it, a warm apple tart with a dollop of fresh cold whipping cream is always welcome.

 

Total prep time for this dessert is only 10 minutes once you have the ingredients on the work table, so lets make the “One” Tart!

apple desserts

Ingredients for our TwoFoodNuts “One” Tart:

  • 1 ready made puff pastry sheet about 12  inches square
  • 1 large Honey Crisp apple, peeled, halved, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 large pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp sliced almonds
  • 1 tsp Demarera sugar or any course sugar to sprinkle over the tart.
  • 1 cup heavy cream for whipping
  • 1 Tbsp sugar to sweeten the cream

Now you see why we call this the “One” Tart!

"One" Tart

Begin by allowing the pastry to thaw.  Roll it out on a fresh sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and prick all over with a fork.  Place in the freezer while you peel the apple.  Peel the apple and cut in half or quarters.  Remove the core and slice the apple so it’s about 1/8th inch thick.  You want enough to cover the tart in a single layer.  Remove the baking sheet from the freezer and using a pastry brush, spread the melted butter all over the tart.  It will solidify right away. That’s what you want!  Layer the apples in an interesting pattern to within 1/2 inch of the pastry edge. Drizzle the honey over the apples, sprinkle with the cinnamon, place the almonds on the apples and pinch the sugar over the top. Lightly run a butter knife around the edge of the crust about 1/2 in from the edge. This lets the crust puff a bit.

Now you can decide if you are baking it right away.  If you want it for later in the day pop it back in the freezer and the apples will stay nice and white till you’re ready.

It’s ready for the oven!  Bake for 10-15 minutes in a hot oven at 400F.  Puff Pastry does best when it’s cold before being placed in a hot oven. It causes the pastry to rise and become light and crispy.  When the “One” tart is baked, slice into 4 generous pieces and top with a heaping tablespoon of sweetened whipping cream.

French Apple tart

 

 

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.

 

 

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

 

So Many Veggies, So Little Time!

A Week Of Healthy Eating!

We’ve come back home after 4 and a half months at the cottage, and aside from condiments, the fridge was bare. It was such a rainy day that we decided we might as well be visiting a few favorite places to grab some fresh food.  When you think of farm-fresh produce around here you think of Linton’s Farm Market. That’s were we ended up today.

Linton's Farm MarketDespite the down pour we filled our market basket with everything from Apples to Zuchinni! It’s going to get very interesting around here in the next few days.

Market BasketYour TwoFoodNuts Meal forecast for this week!

We’d say this bountiful trip to Linton’s will be followed by a chance of Curry Squash & Apple Soup and a downpour of Roasted Root Vegetables in Balsamic with a flurry of German Potato pancakes.  Expect to see a Plum Pie in the evening with a clearing trend that ushers in Iona’s Wax Beans In Cream to round out the forecast.

DSC01107.JPG

We’re certainly going to be healthy when this week is over. What’s your favorite Farmer’s Market?  Use the handy form to comment.

 

Visit Our Tiny Cottage Kitchen

Our Tiny Kitchen Saw Some Amazing Food!

We’ve had so much fun at the cottage this summer.  But all good things must come to an end.  We actually launched out Blog and Facebook page while we have been here.  Much of the fun was exploring local produce and the Farmer’s Market helped us do that.  We created more than a few new dishes for you because we were inspired by fresh local ingredients as they became available.

We thought you might like a peek at our tiny cottage kitchen while we talk food!

our cottage kitchenSome of the things we cooked this summer were completely new to us. One of the big triumphs were the Zucchini Flowers that we received.  They were a gift form a new friend and the first time we had ever made them.  The other was the Summer Ratatouille that developed out of a shopping trip that left us with just too many fresh vegetables.

kitchen vingetteWith all the sunshine, we had a bumper crop of Basil.  The Pesto we made offered us an opportunity to make Pasta, Pesto and Peas and to add that special touch to our Tomato Lover’s Lunch.  The local corn was outstanding so we made Mexican Street Corn, (everyday for about 2 weeks). Then we took a break and just had buttered corn.

We did a lot of baking this summer so of course we had to feature our Apple Blossoms and lets not forget about the Black Forest Cupcakes. The guests at the pot luck fell upon them like a herd of locusts!  Luckily we made a few extra so we actually got to enjoy them.

dining area Then there were the parties! You can’t have great party without fabulous food. Cool and Creamy watermelon feta bites went fast and our Wine and Cheese Appetizers had more views than any other recipe to date when it was posed. You guys love your wine and cheese don’t you?

This weekend will be the last Get-to-gether of the season with our cottage friends.  We’ll be making those awesome Maple Bacon Donuts as well as the Apple Blossoms in miniature.  And since we all need to eat our veggies, there’s Carrot Cake for the health nuts!  I’m sure they will all be delicious served with a Rose’ wine, Vin Santo and Apple cider.

Next week we’re heading home and we’re looking forward to that. Its been an awesome Summer but its time to go home. We’ll be out shopping in our favorite places once we’re back in town.  We’ll take you on some shopping and cooking school adventures too.  Don’t forget to check out our new page called “Lets Shop” here on the blog.

We wish you the best that the Fall can bring. Thanks so much for your readership over the Summer!

 

Zucchini Carbonara

 Zucchini and Pasta Together Are Winners!

Zucchini is an underrated vegetable. We have never been great lovers of this particular summer squash but this year something changed. We learned to understand Zucchini and we have now come to love it.  There a time in summer when zucchini just goes crazy and we were exposed to a lot of it. we tried it in our Summer Ratatouille, we made stuffed Zucchini flowers which were sublime and we let it star in our Zucchini Carbonara!

Summer Squah carbonara This was our first attempt at this luxurious dish and it was a hit! We invited our Cottage neighbor Donna to join us as the guinea-pig for this new recipe and she loved it.  So here goes!

Cook’s Tip:  Carbonara is a simple enough dish to prepare if you understand that you are making a sauce from raw eggs and cream. The secret is to remove the pan from the heat once the pasta and veg are ready.  This way the eggs will not scramble and the sauce will be rich and creamy.  Too much heat will simply scramble the eggs ruining the texture of the dish. The pasta water is added to loosen the sauce so it is light not thick.

Two Food Nut Zucchini Carbonara:

For 4 people

  • 8 slices of bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 Tsps olive oil
  • 2 cups dried pasta (we used Penne)
  • 1 cup each of yellow and green summer squash of your choice
  • 1 large garlic clove minced
  • We used Patty Pan and Globe squash cut in the shape of the Penne
  • 4 egg yolks,
  • 1 and 1/3 cup cream
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • a bit of reserved pasta water, about 1/2- 3/4 cup.
  • Pepper
  • Minced Italian Parsley and more grated Parmesan for garnish.

Carbonara ingredientsBegin by cutting up the zucchini and bacon.  Mix the egg yolks, cream, grated Parmesan and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.  Heat the water in a large pot for the Pasta and start frying the bacon lightly in a skillet.  You will need to watch the timing on this dish just a little.  As the bacon becomes lightly browned, toss in the Zucchini and garlic.  Stir fry the Zucchini but just till it softens a little. DO NOT OVER COOK the zucchini.

Zucchini carbonaraThe moment the pasta is al Dente, drain it and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Put the pasta in the skillet and remove the skillet from the heat.  Pour in the egg and cream mixture.  And just enough of the pasta water to create a silky sauce. Serve with chopped parsley and grated Parmesan.  Bellissimo!

 

Black Forest CupCakes

Chocolate and Cherries Topped with Whipped Cream. Sensational!

We love making these cupcakes for special occasions. A cupcake is the perfect dessert for a crowd since they come in their own little containers.  Just pop them on a pretty plate and you are the baking hero of the day.

Elfie is of German heritage so its little wonder that this recipe ended up on the blog. Cherries just happen to be one of her all-time favorite fruits.  And chocolate, what can I say? You never go wrong using chocolate in a dessert.   Just try to keep these treats away from her. I dare you!

We like to use real whipped cream in our recipes. It is not a lot of extra effort to use fresh ingredients and the end result, from our experience is just “Better”.

Black Forest cupcakesWhat you’ll need.

  • 1 package Devil’s Food Chocolate cake mix
  • 1 can of cherry Pie filling
  • 1 pint 8 oz of real whipping cream. (35% cream)
  • 2 tbsp sugar to sweeten the whipped cream
  • 1 package gelatin (this is in the baking section of the grocery store)
  • 2 Tbsp real chocolate chips melted to drizzle over whipping cream.

This recipe is made using a chocolate cake mix. The reason is that the texture of the cupcake is so light.  It’s hard to achieve that when baking from scratch. We’ve tried it but the truth is Duncan Hines has perfected the lightest chocolate cake you can produce and it makes the cupcakes perfect. One package of Devil’s Food cake mix is enough for 12 cupcakes. Bake using the directions provided.

While the cupcakes are baking:

Whip the cream  in a cold bowl using a hand or stand mixer.   Beat it just until the beater leave swirls in the cream. DO NOT OVER WHIP.

whipped creamIn a small bowl, pour 1/4 cup cool water over the gelatin powder and allow it to soften. After a few minutes add the 1/4 cup hot water to the gelatin and stir it well.

Knox gelatinMeasure half of the gelatin (1/4 cup)  to use in the whipped cream. DO NOT USE IT ALL.  With the mixer on the lowest setting gently pour the gelatin into the whipped cream and mix just to incorporate.

blending gelatinPlace it into a piping bag with a large star tip and chill for 1 hour.

piping bagCook’s Tip: Gelatin is simple to use and can help stabilize any liquid when making dessert.  It’s easy enough for a novice to use and adds no taste to what you are making.

Once the cupcakes are cool, use a melon-baller  or small ice cream scoop to remove the center of the cupcake.  Fill just to the top of the cupcake with the Cherry Pie filling.  Now pipe the chilled whipped cream over the cup cakes.

scooping out cupcakeFinally, place the chocolate chips into a sandwich bag and microwave for 30 seconds on half power just to melt the chocolate. ( you may need to do this a couple of times) Take care not to melt the bag. Cut the smallest tip off the sandwich bag and lightly drizzle the chocolate over the whipped cream. You’re all done!

Black Forest cupcakesLook how great these individual Black Forest Cupcakes turn out!  Your friends won’t believe you made them.  And just wait till they get a mouthful of the luscious whipped cream mixed into the tart cherries and enveloped in the lighter-than-air cake. Heaven.

We hope you give this recipe a try.  A beginner can produce these results just by following the directions!

 

Tostatas

There’s More Than One Way To Top Tostatas!

Here’s a dinner that the whole family will love. Kids and adults like being able to assemble a dish just the way they like it. Tostatas give everyone at the table artistic license.  Today we are doing our version using ground beef, but you can easily use ground chicken or forget the meat entirely and use re-fried beans as the key ingredient. We love when food is flexible. That means you can use what you have on hand.

TostatasThis is also a chance for the kids to get involved with making dinner.  Let them fill the dishes with all the toppings.  You can make life easy with cheese that comes grated, sour cream, ready made salsa and guacamole.  All you have to do is make the meat mixture and  its ready in about the time the kids get the sides assembled.

Here’s our Two Food Nuts Tostatas Meat Filling:

Makes enough filling for 6-8 Tostatas

  • 1 lb ground beef or chicken
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 2 celery ribs minced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced or crushed
  • 1 red chili pepper, (or Jalapeno) seeded and chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp anco chili powder or 1/2 tsp Tabasco Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds and 1 tsp cumin seeds ground in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder
  • 1 tsp Worchesteshire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt.
  • 1/4 cup Ketchup
  • one small bunch cilantro minced or torn
  • 1 bag of Tostatas Rounds (In the ethnic foods section not in the snack isle)

Beef TostatasBegin by browning the meat in a hot skillet. Once it becomes brown, add all the other ingredients except the ketchup and stir until the meat mixture is well cooked.  When you see everything come together, turn off the heat and add the ketchup. Stir and serve.

Tostatas ToppingsYou can top your Tostatas with anything that you like.  Lettuce, cilantro, chopped tomatoes, tomatillo sauce, re-fried beans, you name it!

TostatasHave fun at your next Mexican night dinner! Ole’

 

Our First Pop-up!

Our First Pop-up Was A Success!

Pop- up by definition: Denoting a store or other business that opens quickly in a temporary location and is intended to operate for only a short period of time.

TwoFoodnuts pop-upOn Friday we packed the car with everything needed to cook for the owner of Silgrey Resort We planned on making lunch for Mike using the fruits of his garden.  He was very generous with his produce earlier in the week when we had just met him.  We wanted to show our appreciation for the beautiful Zucchini Flowers  he gave us by cooking for him.

filled zucchini flowersWe arrived at the resort about 11:30 with everything necessary to Pop-up. Harry and I got started by cooking a wonderful farmer’s sausage to accompany the Summer Ratatouille. You’ll remember we made it last week for the first time after our visit to the local farmer’s market.  Next the chopping of the veggies began. Its Harry’s specialty.  Nobody preps food like Harry! I  like to do a lot of the actual cooking but his skilled prep makes the whole thing come together so professionally. TwoFoodNuts pop-upEven Mike lent a hand with the stirring. He told us he had been so inspired by our walk through the garden earlier in the week that he had harvested and prepared one of his own spaghetti squash for dinner the night before. Lets not mention here that he and his wife ate like a family of 4 because it was so delicious! Its just between us Mike.

Mike cooks RatatouilleWithin no time our lunch came together.  Today we had the most varied Summer Ratatouille yet.  Mike’s garden provided us with Tomatoes, Globe Squash, Swiss Chard (stems and leaves), Green Beans and we supplemented that with Sweet Peppers, Pearl Potatoes, Patty Pan Squash, a Hot Red Chili and Double Smoked Bacon.  What doesn’t benefit from the addition of Bacon?

TwoFoodnuts ratatouilleWell, it looks like we’ve come to the point in the festivities where we get to indulge, taste, eat, savor and delight in the spontaneous cooking experience of the pop-up!

Dinner's readyWe wish you could be here to try this wholesome lunch made mainly of right-from-the-garden vegetables with a bit of quality Farmer Sausage and topped with fresh Feta.

To make this a meat free dish don’t use bacon and do not add a side of sausage. This dish has great flavor as a vegetarian meal!

Two Food Nuts Summer ratatouilleA great big thanks to Mike of Silgrey Resort for providing such an amazing setting for our very first pop-up!  Lets do this again real soon!

We concluded the meal with a dessert of Muffin Guts, but you’ll have to wait to find out what that is in a few days. We can’t give it all away right now.  Just so you know, Mike loved it!   So don’t be scared when you see us post it.

 

The Gift of Zucchini Flowers

If Someone Gives You Flowers…Eat Them!

We were out on one of our adventures today and we came upon a lovely rustic resort on the shore of the York River. It’s called Silgrey  We had the good fortune of meeting the owner Mike as he and a friend dragged a 700 pound piece of burl through the woods. Both men were exhausted from the hard work of physically pulling this large piece of a tree through the forest. But in the end it will be an amazing piece of art.

Stuffed Zucchini flowersOnce Mike caught his breath we had a chance to chat about the resort and marvel at the raw beauty of his setting on the shore of the York River. He is a very interesting transplant from Toronto and he and his wife have created a wilderness retreat that’s just heavenly.

As we were about to say our good-byes, Mike asked if we would like to take home some bounty from his garden. As with most gardens, the crops all come in at once and there is waste. But not today!  We walked around looking at the selection of vegetables and I spotted some gorgeous zucchini flowers. Mike encouraged me to take some and I wanted to hide my sheer excitement so he wouldn’t think I was some food weirdo.  I’m 62 years old and have never had these delicate blossoms stuffed with fragrant ricotta, but today would be my luck day.

zucchini flower fillingWhen we got to the car and started down the driveway to home, I was able to share my pure delight with Harry. How could he know that as a foodie, weird or otherwise, this was like a dream come true. A gift of fresh off-the-vine zucchini blossoms would be transformed into dinner tonight!

Here is the Two Food Nuts Recipe.

  • Fresh Zucchini Flowers (we had 6 of them)
  • 400 gram container Ricotta Cheese
  • Grated rind of one lemon
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • handful of fresh Basil leaves sliced thinly
  • Salt and pepper

Mix everything together in a small bowl and fill a piping bag with the cheese mixture. Remove the stamen from the center of each flower and stuff them by putting the piping nozzle fully into the flower and squeezing the filling to fill the blossom. Then twist the tips of the petals to form a little flower pouch.

filled zucchini flowersFor the Batter:

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chilled sparkling water or club soda
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Canola or Peanut oil for frying.

Place everything into a bowl except the sparkling water.  With a whisk, quickly stir in the water and mix just until incorporated. Do Not Over Mix or the batter will be heavy.

This batter must be used within half an hour.  So make it after you have filled the flowers and you have the oil heating. 

Dip  the filled blossoms into the batter, allow the excess to drip off and deep fry at 400F for 4-5 minutes or until the batter becomes just golden.

Take extreme care when deep frying. We take the deep fryer outside and place it on a sturdy table that we have lined with newspaper. This avoids oily smells and clean up is a matter of folding up the newspapers. If using a dutch oven only fill to 1/3 full never leave unattended. Use a thermometer to be sure not to overheat the oil.

DSC01741Serve on a light marinara sauce or your favorite spaghetti sauce.

Zucchini Flowers are as rare as hen’s teeth so if you have the good fortune to receive them as a gift, make sure you eat them!  These Two Food Nuts certainly did!

Harry’s Amazing Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers are Real Comfort Food!

This is one of the best times of the year for produce hands down. Farmer’s markets are bursting with the freshest ingredients and it’s up to us to be creative with our cooking. Harry is a stuffed pepper lover!  Me, not so much but I do find myself asking him if he will share just one now and again. I suspect today will be one of those days.  Harry’s going to walk you through his secrets and tips for making the best stuffed peppers in town!

Harry Hayes Stuffed PeppersThis recipe uses the crock pot so you won’t heat up the kitchen.  You can also do this for a busy day. Make the stuffing on a Sunday when you have a few minutes, then let the crock pot do the cooking.  Voila!  Dinner’s ready when you get home.  The ingredients are fresh so the end result will be savory and a bit spicy with a luxurious sauce.

TwoFoodNuts Stuffed Peppers:

Makes 6 medium stuffed peppers

  • 6 sweet peppers, tops cut off and seeded
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup minced celery
  • 1 tsp minced fresh Rosemary or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 1 Tbsp dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 medium chili pepper seeded and minced
  • 1 large or two small garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup stewed tomatoes with their juice

For the sauce:

  • 1 19 0z can  Tomato Juice
  • 1/2  a  680 ml can of Spaghetti Sauce (this is about 12 oz or 1 1/2 cups ) Harry uses Hunts Extra Spicy
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp ground pepper

Begin by: Make the sauce by placing everything into a pitcher. Stir well and reserve.

Stuffed Pepper IngedientsThen: Mix all the ingredients in the first segment and stuff the peppers.

Seed the peppersPlace peppers into the crock pot or if baking in the oven place them in an oven proof dish that is deep enough to hold the peppers and the sauce.

stuffed peppers into crock potOnce the peppers are stuffed and placed in the crock pot or oven proof dish pour the sauce no more than half way up the peppers. These are now ready to cook.

Stuffed Sweet PeppersCooking times and method:

  • For the crock pot, set it on low for 6 hours
  • For the oven set it on 350F for 1 hour or until a knife easily pierces the pepper.

Stuffed peppersHarry’s Tip:  I prefer yellow, red  or orange peppers to green peppers since they are much sweeter tasting.  There’s  no room for the slight bitter edge of green peppers in my recipe.

We hope that you give this recipe a try. You’ll find that the savory filling and succulent pepper is an unbeatable combination. Happy Fall!

Summer Ratatouille.

The Lighter Side of Ratatouille.

Today we were at the farmer’s market and the produce was outstanding.  It led us to think of how to make a satisfying lunch of a few vegetables. Lately we have found ourselves creating some pretty remarkable dishes using what’s in season and what’s local.  Farmers aren’t given enough credit for their hard work and passion for growing wonderful wholesome food. Thankfully these Two Food Nuts appreciate everything that they put on our plates.

ratatouilleRatatouille is a dish found in Provence. It is a comfort food, made with a tomato base and lots of winter vegetables. It’s the inspiration for this lighter summer version.  Just look at those colors! A few humble ingredients put together with a pinch of love and a few herbs!  I know of a few restaurants that should be jealous of this creation!

The beauty of this dish is it’s simplicity and variety. You can decide what you want to add into it.   Look at what’s in the market and what your family enjoys eating. Go ahead be brave!

To make this a vegetarian dish simply leave out the bacon. There is still so much flavor with just the vegetables.

ratatouille vegetablesFor our Two Food Nuts Summer Ratatouille we used:

This recipe serves two as a main dish or 4 as a side dish.

  • 6 slices of diced bacon to get the party started
  • 3 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 15 of tiniest potatoes halved or one thinly slice one large potato.
  • 1 Patty Pan Squash sliced
  • 1 large luscious field tomato sliced
  • 2  fresh garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Herb de Provence
  •  A few thyme and oregano sprigs
  • 1/2 of a red chilli finely diced for interest
  • 5-6 leaves of CavoloNero (Italy’s black Cabbage) or baby kale leaves and Greek Feta to finish.
  • Greek Feta to sprinkle on top

Notice there is no salt in this dish. We found the bacon and the Feta provided all the salt that was necessary. The chili brought the mild heat so no pepper was added either!

Begin by putting the bacon and oil in the skillet. Fry on high until the bacon is just beginning to brown. Add the potatoes now, stir to coat with the bacon fat and oil and add a small splash of water. Cover and cook on medium-low to allow the potatoes to soften.

ratatouille flavoringsAfter a few minutes, add the garlic and layer on the vegetables and the herbs and chilli. Cover, increase heat to medium high and allow all the ingredients to soften and the flavors to mingle. This only takes a few minutes but depends on the density of the vegetables used.

ratatouille ingredientsOnce everything has cooked down and  you can see a light broth in the skillet, your Ratatouille is done. Grab a big bowl and some amazing bread to sop  up all those glorious pan juices.

This dish can include other vegetables such a sweet peppers, snow peas, green zucchini, kale, sliced brussels sprouts, mushrooms or rapinni. It’s whatever you love.

Crepes Are An Outstanding Dessert.

Simple Crepes For Amazing Desserts!

We both love crepes!  Harry likes his with Bananas and Nutella. Blasphemy!  I like mine with lemon juice and sugar, the way they should be served!  But we both agree that filling them with a velvety cream cheese filling and topping them with fresh seasonal fruit is never wrong!

We love to make everything from scratch and share our recipes as you know,  but we do rely on the skills and knowledge of a few really great cooks.  For this recipe we like to use Martha Stewart’s Simple Crepe recipe.  It works beautifully and tastes great. What’s not to love? We can’t  improve on this one folks so trust us and try it for this or any other dish that calls for crepes.  The recipe makes 12 crepes. Our filling recipe is enough for all 12.

Martha Stewart's Simple CrepesHarry was manning the crepe pan and he stacked the completed crepes between sheets of parchment so they don’t stick.  You can let them cool, slide them into a zip-lock bag and freeze them at this point.  It makes it so easy to create a professional dessert in no time once the crepes have been made.

Cook’s Tip:  You can leave out the sugar in the crepe recipe if you want to stuff them with a savory filling such as Asparagus with cheese sauce or Chicken a la King.                            Harry used an actual  Crepe pan (a low sided non-stick pan) to make these but a good non-stick skillet about 10 inches in diameter can also be used.

We made a lovely cream cheese filling for the crepes.  It’s so easy we’re embarrassed to call it a recipe, but here goes.

Two Food Nuts Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 1 brick, 8 oz cream cheese.
  • The grated zest of one lemon
  • The juice of 1/2  of the lemon (reserve the juice from the other lemon)
  • 1 cup of icing sugar

Allow the cream cheese to soften at room temperature. Add all the other ingredients and beat until smooth.

Once the crepes are cooled follow our photos for filling them. We used a pastry bag without a tip to pipe the filling onto the crepes, then flatten the cream cheese with a spoon before drizzling a bit of the reserved lemon juice (from the second lemon half) and a bit of sugar on the crepes before folding and rolling the crepes.

Crepe recipe by Martha StewartFold the crepes from the outside to the center to enclose the filing and roll them up gently.

Martha Stewart Simple crepesWe said this dessert would look professional, didn’t we?  Your guests will just love them.

Crepes with Fresh FruitHere we used fresh raspberries and whipping cream with a dusting of icing sugar and a fresh mint sprig to complete our delicious dessert. Serve one or two crepes per person. If you have leftovers, go to the fridge at midnight and indulge your need, we certainly have!

Korean Vermicelli Salad

You Won’t Know This Is So Good For You!

When I was still working, a Pho restaurant opened across the road from Harry’s office. My business partner David and I found ourselves eating there almost once a week.  While Harry is not a great friend of Pho, he does love when I make the Vermicelli Noodle Salad. It just happens that it’s very warm today so guess what?  I’m making us the salad for lunch.

Korean vermicelli SaladKorean Vermicelli Salad as with much Asian food is very healthy.  We just love that we are eating well and enjoying such fabulous tasting food at the same time.  This dish relies heavily on fresh produce and today we used what we have on hand.  That’s one of the best things about this style of cooking.  It can be different each time you make it depending on the veggies or protein that you use. Today we used leftover shrimp.  There is no right or wrong!

Two Food Nuts Vermicelli Salad:

This recipe is for two hungry people

The Vermicelli Salad

  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Romaine lettuce
  • 1 medium carrot shredded
  • 3 green onions finely sliced
  • 20 Basil leaves sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts or chopped salted Cashews if you have a peanut allergy.
  • We had 6 leftover cooked shrimp from our Garlic Shrimp Dinner, so in they go!

salad veggiesSwitch it up with other vegetables like: sweet peppers, bean sprouts, snow peas or cucumber.  Use whatever you have on hand be creative!

Place all the prepared veggies into a mixing bowl.  Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions for the brand that you buy.  They are not boiled like regular pasta.   Rice noodles do not expand like pasta noodles either so you need to start out with approx the amount you intend to add to your salad. When cooked we use 1 cup per person.

Cook’s Tip: Buy a medium sized rice noodle also known as vermicelli for this recipe. The very thin ones do not hold up to all the veggies, the very thick ones overwhelm them.

Dressing for the salad:

  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger (use 1/2 tsp if you only have dried ginger)
  • 1 medium garlic clove grated or minced
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar  (use Palm sugar if you have it on hand)
  • 2 Tbsp Rice Wine vinegar
  • Juice of half a fresh lime
  • 1/2 minced red chili pepper (optional) we like the heat it provides.

Pour the dressing over the veggies and noodles, toss well and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts or cashews.  Al meokkesseumnid!    Korean for Bon Appetite!

Korean vermicelli SaladDon’t forget to share this recipe with your friends and family via Facebook or twitter!

 

Waste Not Want Not!

Wasting Food Is Just Too Costly!

Everyday we have little bits of this and that left over when we are preparing our meals.   We just hate waste so we have a system for saving what might seem like scraps and turning them into valuable ingredients for the next meal. Your freezer is your best friend when it comes to saving money. Not only can you buy in bulk or stock up when your favorite items are on sale, but by creating a small inventory of things that would otherwise be wasted, you can save even more.

waste notHere we have a small sample of some of the things we bag up and save to add to our next creation. Pictured here we have from top to bottom:

  • Chicken Backs to use for stock when making soups or stews.
  • Jalapeno peppers seeded and ready to add a boost of heat.
  • Left over muffins to be torn up in the next Mini Triffle
  • Diced onions can be added to anything savory.
  • Diced sweet peppers make your next rice Pilaf sing!
  • Parmesan Cheese rinds added to Minestrone or your favorite Spaghetti Sauce
  • Peas, well what can we say you can do so much with a 1/2 cup of peas.
This soup contains all the ingredients above except the muffins!

This soup contains all the ingredients above except the muffins!

Not pictured above but equally as good:

  • Brown Bananas  freeze well till you have enough to make a Banana bread!
  • bits of cranberries or nuts can be frozen till you make stuffing or muffins.
  • Herbs should be minced and covered with olive oil then frozen in ice-cube trays.
  • Bits of grated cheese tossed into one bag will add up to great Mac and Cheese.
  • Over-ripe tomatoes are great in your next chilli!

We also use our less-than-fresh bread to make our “Really Crumby Topping” and our Home Made Croutons. Check it out.

These are just a few ideas that keep food out of the compost bin and on your table where it belongs. We hope you find this helpful in your own kitchen.

 

 

 

Tomato Lovers Lunch

It’s Tomato Thyme!

This is the time of year when the bounty of Summer comes to our tables through the harvest of fruits and vegetables that we love.  Tomatoes and Basil are such good friends that we just had to create a meal that allows them both to shine.  For the Pesto portion of this dish please refer to our recipe for Pesto right here on our blog.

Fried tomatoes

Not only is this dish something you can make in 20 minutes, its healthy and delicious too. You won’t have to worry about having too many tomatoes on hand once your family tastes this flavorful dish.

Basil PEsto It’s great when two star ingredients come into season at the same time. Our Basil is doing so well in our patio pot, that making fresh pesto takes only moments. We also have some nice lemon thyme and fresh oregano in pots so we have incorporated them just to kick the flavor up a notch.

Try our Pesto recipe.

Heres’ the Two Food Nuts Recipe for Fried Tomatoes and Pesto:

Serves two generous portions.

  • 3 ripe tomatoes, tops and bottoms sliced off (should yield 2 thick slices per tomato)
  • 2 thyme sprigs (pick off the leaves and add to the tomato slices
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 big garlic clove sliced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese ( you can substitute goat cheese)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Small oregano leaves for garnish (optional)

Tomatoes and thymeHeat the oil and garlic in a non-stick pan until the garlic just begins to brown. Add the tomato slices sprinkle on the thyme leaves and fry until brown, turn and fry second side. Once the tomato slices are well browned, top with the crumbed cheese and turn off the heat.

Tomatoes and FetaTo serve, place the tomato slices on a plate, spoon over a bit of the pan juices. Add your tiny oregano leaves for garnish. Surround the tomato slices with your pesto and serve with fresh bread to mop up the gorgeous juice.

This makes such a satisfying lunch all by its self or with a side salad. We hope you’ll give it a try the next time you see those luscious tomatoes at the Farmer’s Market!

Fried tomatoes

Let us know what you think of this lunch suggestion by leaving us a comment in the handy form below and don’t forget to share those recipes that you love with your friends on Facebook!

 

Caesar Salad Dressing

Hail Caesar!  No! Wait a minute! Hail Harry!

When Harry first began his culinary adventures he asked me to show him how to make my Caesar Salad.  I gave him the recipe that I had used for decades and he makes it better than I ever did!  I haven’t made it since.

Party Caesar SaladWe use the dressing to create two different serving styles. One is for regular dinners and the other for parties.  The ingredients are classic but I think that Harry really takes his time when he assembles the ingredients, making the dressing a soft thick mousse that clings to the lettuce.  All our friends swoon over it.  Hold your applause please.

Caesar dressingWhen we do parties, Harry places the Caesar dressing into the bottom of a Champagne glass.  He makes crouton sticks from puff pasty, and to make it extra special he adds long strips of crisp bacon. The result is beautiful and the taste…. Let’s just say is memorable.  Guests dip the trio of lettuce, crouton and bacon into the dressing and you will hear nothing but the inevitable Mmmmmm sounds.

Party Caesar SaladParty or dinner the great taste is worth the extra effort.

Caesar SaladWhen Harry serves the salad for lunch or dinner, he splits the head of Romaine into long pieces by cutting it from the top of the leaf to the stem.  One head of Romaine should yield at least 4 servings, more if it is extra large. Then he lays it on the serving plate, drizzles the dressing over it, shaves some quality Parmesan on top and finishes with our homemade croutons.

By serving the salad with the dressing drizzled on top rather than mixed into small pieces of lettuce you assure that the salad stays crisp to the last bite!

Two Food Nuts Caesar Salad Dressing:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard  (please do not use yellow mustard in this recipe)
  • 2 Anchovy fillets or 1 tsp Anchovy paste
  • 3 garlic cloves pressed or grated
  • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 1 cup canola or sunflower oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a small deep mixing bowl (about 6 inches in diameter) add all the ingredients except the oil, lemon and Parmesan cheese.  Whisk  together to incorporate well. Pour the oil into a 1 cup measure with a spout.  Drizzle the oil almost drop by drop while whisking it into the eggs. The slow incorporation of the oil at the beginning insures emulsification (thickening) of the sauce. Once you have about 1/3 of the oil blended into the egg mixture, you can add a few tablespoons of oil at a time and whisk briskly after each addition.

Once all the oil is incorporated, add the lemon, Parmesan and salt and pepper. This dressing lasts in the fridge for a full week if covered.  The recipe serves 8.

The more time you spend whisking the oil into the eggs the thicker and richer the final result will be.  You are trying to get a sauce that will mound on a spoon.

Caesar dressingCook’s Tip: Place a damp towel on the counter. This helps steady the mixing bowl while you stir in the oil.

cook's tipSo there you are,  our Caesar Salad dressing!

If you have a question or comment please use the handy form below to contact us.  We love to hear from our readers. Be sure to share your favorite recipes with your own friends on Facebook or Twitter!

 

 

 

 

Wine and Cheese Appetizer

Wine, Cheese and Grapes just go together!

Recently Harry and I had an Italian tasting dinner with friends at the cottage. As always our dinners include 9-10 courses and we create a typical dinner in miniature.  This provides everyone with an opportunity to try many tiny bites of a theme. Italian night was a real success and the recipe here is one of the appetizers we served.

wine, cheese and grapes One reason we love this particular recipe is it’s simplicity. When entertaining, time is always important. We want something yummy that takes little time and this is it.

Two Food Nuts Recipe:

  • 12 red or green grapes
  • 3/4 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 large tube of goat cheese (300 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cup of pecans chopped
  • 1/4 cup honey

The day before or the morning of your get-together:

  • Pull the grapes from the stems and place in a small bowl
  • Cover with the Marsala wine for a few hours or overnight
  • In a small mixing bowl, allow a package of goat cheese to come to room temperature
  • Add 3 tablespoons of the honey to the cheese and stir it to combine. (reserve 1 tablespoon of honey to drizzle over the finished bites
  • Scoop the cheese into small balls and squeeze them in your hand (goat cheese is quite crumbly) to compact the cheese. Then roll into nice round balls. They should be only about 1 inch in diameter.
  • Next, roll the cheese balls in a bowl of chopped pecans and once again press them together to help the nuts adhere.
  • Just before serving, drain the grapes and skewer a grape to each cheese ball.
  • Drizzle with the remaining honey and place on an attractive serving dish.

goat cheese appetizerCook’s Tip: We love to shop in Chinatown when we’re in Toronto.  Our favorite shop is the Tap Phong Trading Company.  They have the picks that we used in the recipe, but they offer a full restaurant supply inventory to the public.  We dare  you to go in and buy only one item!!

Here is the contact information as well as a map. Tap Phong Trading Company

You’ll find everything but the kitchen sink at Tap Phong.!  Happy entertaining everyone!

 

Cupcake Liner Storage Tip

Everyday is a good day for Cupcakes!

When it comes to baking, Harry is the champ at our house!   I have an artistic edge that causes  me  to need the flexibility of tossing things together. Baking doesn’t work that way.  We often make cupcakes for events and we love baking with our two grandchildren so we have lots of liners on hand. As with most things in the kitchen, storage is vital.  We find that using a mason jar to store the cupcake liners not only keeps them clean, but helps keep their shape!

Cupcake liners

This image is courtesy Pinterest.

Watch for more cooking tips and tricks on our TwoFoodNuts.ca blog and Facebook page!

 

Bacon and Cheese Cauliflower Bake.

Bacon and Cheese Cauliflower Bake, What’s not to Love?

We just happen to love cauliflower. We also think there’s not much that can’t be improved upon by using Bacon and Cheese! So we came up with this side dish that works with just about any meat but to be honest, Elfie eats it as a meal with a salad.  Ok, she doesn’t always eat the salad!

Bacon and cheese CauliflowerThere are a few steps to this dish but it is easy enough for a novice cook to create!

We use our “Crummy Topping” in this dish so just click the link to get to it. It’s a good idea to make the topping as a separate recipe first. Set it aside while you do the rest.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower cut into florets
  • 4 strips thick sliced bacon (or eight regular) cut into Lardon (see image below)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 Chicken stock cube or packet
  • 1 garlic clove minced or grated
  • ½ a fresh grated nutmeg (or ½ tsp ready grated)
  • Salt and  pepper to taste ( see Cooks a Tip below)
  • 2 cups of grated cheese
  • 1 cup of  “Crummy Topping

Cook’s Tip: Use sharp cheeses to give interest to the sauce. We use Feta, Parmesan and aged White Cheddar. You can use whatever you like or have on hand.  No rules here!

Cut the Cauliflower into florets and steam until just tender.

cauliflowerFry the Lardon until crisp, drain off fat.

LardonFried baconGrate the various cheeses

grated cheeseIn a large saucepan melt the butter together with the flour. Stir it into a paste and add the milk all at once.   Whisk the sauce until its nice and thick over medium high heat.

Bacon and cheese sauce Add the stock cube or packet, nutmeg, garlic, bacon, salt, pepper and all the cheese.

Bacon and cheese saucePlace the cauliflower into the sauce and stir it well to incorporate. Spread the mixture into a buttered casserole dish large enough to hold everything.  Spread the Crummy Topping over the casserole and bake at 350F degrees until you can see the cheese sauce bubbling and the Crummy Topping is golden brown.

We hope you’ll give this recipe a try for your next family gathering. We believe it will be as big a hit at your table as it has been at ours!

Bacon and cheese Cauliflower

Pasta, Pesto, Peas!

Pasta, Pesto, Peas Please!

Some days just get crazy.  Whether you work or like us you live a very active retirement, we don’t always feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen to put a nice dinner on the table. To the rescue, Pasta, Pesto and Peas!  Our little container garden has given us a bumper crop of Basil this year. We also had a handful of fresh garden peas and some edible flowers.  So we thought why not make a meal that allows all the ingredients to shine on one simple plate!

Pasta Pesto and peasWe created this dish using our recipe for Pesto. Just click the link for that part of the recipe.

Two Food Nuts Pasta, Pesto and Peas dinner:

Begin by making the Pesto from our recipe.pesto ingredientsNext:

  • Set a pot of water to boil, and add plenty of salt to cook the pasta of your choice.
  • Once the pasta is almost cooked, toss in the fresh peas for just a few minutes.
  • when “al Dente”, drain the pasta and reserve about 1 cup of pasta water.

Place the pasta and peas back in the pot, add half of the pesto and about a 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water, stir to incorporate everything. Taste it. Do you need more Pesto? add a bit more as well as more of the water. The water helps create a sauce for the dish.

We normally make Pasta for 2 so we only use 1/2 the Pesto recipe. If you are making it for 4 people, use it all.  What the heck, everyone will have garlic on their breath anyway!

Cook’s Tip: You can add interest to a simple plate by using edible flowers to garnish. We grow nasturtiums and we also grow peas, so using the pea shoots with the edible flowers makes something special out of the ordinary!  Nasturtiums taste quite peppery! Try them.

Garnish  with a few fresh basil leaves, grate some Parmesan cheese on top and Presto!

You have Pasta, Pesto and Peas!

nasturtiums

 

 

 

 

 

Foraging Food Nuts

Free Food Can Cost A Fortune.  But Its Worth It!

The other day Harry thought we should get out and pick some wild Raspberries. This year the bounty was affected by late frost, so you have to get out and pick now. I thought it sounded like a pretty good idea. It was a nice warm day we had all our chores done and having a bowl of fresh, wild raspberries for desert couldn’t have sounded better.

Now you have to know something about picking wild berries. They grow everywhere. But Harry feels that if you go to a “Special Place” to pick them, you will get better berries.  So load the berry buckets into the gas powered 6 cylinder, grab the bug spray and a bottle of nice cold water and off we go.

Foraging Food NutNote:  Elfie is smiling.  Photo was taken at the beginning of the adventure!

We drove for about 10 minutes to get to the “Special Place” so that would be about $3 in gas to get there. One of us still wants to get back home, so consider $6 for gas. We got out of the car and found that apparently someone else also thought this was a “Special Place”.  That or the bears have been tramping down the weeds at the roadside to get to the berries.

Now, I said it was a nice warm day which means that the Deer flies felt they could also get a  free meal.  They especially love to bite me and I had to spray myself with deadly chemicals just to be able to stay on task.  (can of “Deep Woods Off” $7.95)

wild raspberries

After about half an hour of tramping through thickets, being eaten alive by flies, sweating like a marathoner at the finish line and reducing my life expectancy with the chemical spray, we picked about 2 cups of the berries.  Not a bad haul!  And so far we only spent $15.95 (including $2 for water )on the free food!  Is it becoming hard to believe that we both had careers in which we helped people use their money to their best advantage?

In the end we came home with our bounty and that night after dinner we poured some heavenly cream over the little red gems.  I had to admit that it was all worth it.  When are we going foraging again Harry? Its almost Blueberry season isn’t it?

Berries and creamHave you had a foraging adventure? Please share it with us in the comments.

Basil Overload Pesto!

Pesto…. The Fresh Taste Of Summer.

Every year we plant an abundance of herbs in pots on the deck at the cottage.  Funny, they love the heat and they don’t complain about being crammed into pots.  They actually do very well.  There’s nothing like going out with the scissors and “harvesting” the fruits of your labor to turn ordinary into extraordinary!

basilThis year the Basil is particularly productive so we thought why not make some Pesto for dinner tonight.  Pesto is so versatile as an ingredient. No longer do we just make pasta with it.  No sir, we put that “S**t” on everything. Try spreading it on the bread for your next Paninni.  Sublime. We’ve also made Pesto Pinwheels as appetizers. It’s also marvelous spread on a chicken breast once it’s almost grilled. Try it on tomato slices as a cool side dish.  As we said, we put it on everything.

Traditionally Pesto is made using basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, olive oil, salt and pepper. We’re going to share that recipe with you here. But for the more adventurous types we suggest trying other non-tradational combinations.

We love avocado oil and sunflower seeds as a substitute for the olive oil and pine nuts. One of our friends uses arugula in place of basil for a peppery bite.  Try walnut oil and toasted walnuts with some flat leaf parsley added to the basil. Go ahead be brave!  Experiment with Italy’s hard cheeses too. Have you ever tried Grana Padanna? Trust us it’s just wonderful.

Two Food Nuts Pesto:

  • 2 cups loosely packed Basil Leaves  pesto ingredients
  • 2 large garlic cloves sliced
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts  (place in a dry non-stick pan over medium heat until just light brown)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 Olive oil  or enough to make a nice loose paste.
  • a squeeze of lemon juice is optional

Place everything into a food chopper and blend until just incorporated. You want texture not a puree. Add just enough oil to make the pesto run off a spoon. When Elfie gets into her “Julia Child” mode, she makes it in her Mortar and Pestle. It takes a bit longer but I’m sure I can taste the love she puts in it!

Basil PEstoCooks Tip: When using the pesto for a pasta dish,  boil your pasta and reserve a bit of the pasta water. Place the drained pasta onto a pan, add the pesto and thin it down just slightly with the reserved pasta water. pasta keeps absorbing moisture while you are eating and this helps avoid it becoming dry. Grate some fresh cheese on top to finish.

We hope that you take the bounty of Summer to create a fresh tasting meal using this simple yet oh so delicious sauce. Bon Appetito!

Tell us what you think of this recipe. We love to hear from our readers. And if you enjoy the blog, please share it with your friends using the links below!  Thanks for reading TwoFoodNuts.com

Dumb Kitchen Gagets

We love good Kitchen Gadgets!

However, we think some are just dumb. Spend your money on quality items that make your cooking easier or better not this silly stuff that is always being sold to relieve you of your “dough”.   Use a fork and save your money to buy something yummy instead!

Dumb Pickle Fork.

pickle fork

Try using this instead.

fork

A Really Crummy Recipe.

I love this title, don’t you?

This is a story of the lowly breadcrumb.  Most of us will attest to throwing out our share of old bread. It’s what we do. Bread is readily available and inexpensive compared to most foods we buy.  In the past bread was handcrafted at home and therefore it was precious.  Time had to be spent making this simple yet revered food. We’re not suggesting that you start baking bread so you can have breadcrumbs, rather we suggest that you can make something special out of an otherwise throw-away ingredient.

Most of us will make a casserole at some point in our culinary lives and seasoned breadcrumbs can add a crisp, tasty topping that sends the ordinary to the stars.  In southern Italy breadcrumbs were used by peasants in place of the heavenly Parmesan that was only produced in the north of the country.  Toasted breadcrumbs, seasoned with fresh herbs have been scattered over pasta for centuries.

We love to take our leftover bread and do two things that make us look like culinary wizards. First is our recipe for Seasoned Breadcrumbs and the other is our Garlic Croutons.

We do  not use sandwich bread for this recipe. We always incorporate good baguette, crusty rolls, Pita, Italian bread and so forth into our everyday meals. This is the type of bread that we like.  We then allow it to dry on the counter overnight before running it through the food processor. Processed white sandwich bread is not a good option here.

Two Food Nuts “Crummy Topping”:

  • Process your bread cubes into a small crumb in the food processor but not a powder. Place the crumbs into a mixing bowl and add:

Makes two cups of “Crummy Topping”

  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and grated
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • grated peel of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp saltSeasoned Bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp grated pepper
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • A combination of herbs of your choice: Thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano, flat leaf parsley  (chopped finely)  About a 1/4 cup of freshly minced herbs
  • If you do not have fresh herbs, this recipe does very well with a good dried Herb du Provence or your own blend of rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil. Use 2 Tbsp only.

 seasoned breadcrumbsBlend the ingredients together and incorporate well. We store our crumbs in a freezer bag so they’re on hand when we need them.  You can certainly make more crumbs if you have more bread or as we often do, buy a nice loaf of crusty bread for the sole purpose of making the crumbs or croutons. This way they can be pulled from the freezer and used immediately.

Here we have used them to top some luscious tomato halves. They are baked in the oven  but can be cooked on the BBQ as a side dish to any meal.  Just place them in an oven proof or foil dish. You can garnish a casserole with this topping  as well.

Tomato Provencial

Two Food Nuts Seasoned Croutons:

We love these Croutons with a good Ceasar salad. They’re particularly  good when made with Portuguese buns. They come out light as air and the end result is crisp outside but soft inside. Mmmmm.

Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes

Sprinkle lightly with dried garlic power

CroutonsPlace bread cubes into a non-stick pan and drizzle some good olive oil over the cubes. Just enough to moisten then. Now toast in the pan over medium high heat.  Stir gently until they are golden brown. Stay focused, because one minute they are white then they’re done.  It’s almost impossible not to eat them at this point, so always make a few extra for the chef. happy face emodiconGarlic Croutons

We hope you’ve enjoyed the first of our “Waste Not, Want Not” blogs.  If so, tell your friends on Facebook and Twitter by sharing this post and don’t forget to leave us a comment about the post.

 

Spinach Ricotta Puffs

The Busy Hostess Loves Spinach Puffs!

Harry and I love to entertain, that’s not a secret. We enjoy preparing interesting meals that introduce our friends to the world of food as we see it.  Time is often the one thing that keeps people from having dinner parties more often.  We found a way around that.  We do what is called a “Cottage Supper”.  When we invite friends for a “Cottage Supper” its understood that the food will be simple,  interesting and wholesome. They love it!

spinach ricotta puffsOne of the things that buys the cook a bit of time when company comes, is the appetizer course and we do love our appetizers!  However, we don’t like to fuss a great deal in the preparation. This is where our Spinach Ricotta Puffs hit all the marks.  It’s easy, it can be made ahead and frozen till the guests are in the driveway and it tastes so good.

Here’s the way Two Food Nuts prepare…

Spinach Ricotta Puffs:

  • 1 sheet quality frozen puff pastry dough. We use this because you simply can’t make it any better at home and it takes an entire day to make.  We said this was easy right!
  • 8oz Ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 a package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and pressed to remove the water
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves grated or finely minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Allow the puff pastry to thaw and unroll it. The type we use is PC brand. It comes in a sheet that is rolled and ready to use.  In the meantime, mix the cheese and spinach filling. Place all the ingredients except the puff pastry into a bowl and blend together.

Once the dough is thawed cut it into 9 equal squares. (the dough should measure about 12 inches square when unrolled).  In each of the small squares of dough place an equal portion of the filling. Now gather the corners of the small puff pastry pieces to the center and pinch them together.  At this point you can freeze the pieces, ready for your next party or you can refrigerate them for baking in an hour or two.

DSC_5911

Puff pastry dough performs best when cold dough is placed in a hot oven. It causes the layers to really puff.  We use a 400 F oven to cook anything with a puff pastry cover.   In this case you need only 15-20 minutes of baking time. Keep a close eye on the oven at the 15 minute mark to be sure the puffs are not getting too brown.

We love to serve this appetizer when we do an Italian dinner. The flavors of the meal and the appetizers compliment each other nicely.

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Your comments are always welcome.

 

 

 

Rhubarb Custard Pie! Oh My.

Easy as Pie!

Rhubarb is best picked in the Spring.  Once the middle stalk bears flowers the fruit is no longer used. The window of opportunity is very short but the freezer can help extend the season for this highly under-rated fruit. We love to make this pie throughout the year so we harvest the rhubarb and freeze it in portions for a single pie. Simply wash the stalks and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Tuck into freezer bags and you have fruit throughout the year.

Rhubarb Custard pieWe use a standard pie crust for this recipe.  Either a lard or butter crust will do. You can even use a quality frozen pie shell if the need arises, but we always prefer homemade if time allows.

The ingredients are usually at hand, so here’s how Two Food Nuts make our

Rhubard Custard Pie:

  • Line the pie plate with the crust of your choice
  • Pour in 4 cups of cut up Rhubarb
  • Mix 3 large eggs with 1 & 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup all purpose flour.  Blend well.
  • Grate in 1/2 a nutmeg or use 1/2 teaspoon ready grated nutmeg. Fresh grated is best!
  • Pour the egg mixture over the fruit, create a nice edge for your pie with left over crust.
  • Beat 1 egg in a small bowl and brush it on the crust to glaze.

Bake at 400 F degrees for the first 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 F for the remaining 40 -45 minutes.  The pie should still have a slight jiggle to it and the crust should be a rich golden brown.  Set on a rack to cool, then refrigerate before serving.

We do like a good topping of freshly whipped cream just to “Guild the lily”!

rhubarb custard pie

Rhubarb Custard pie

We made a braided edge and egg-washed it to the pie crust once it was filled.

Rhubarb Custard pieWe hope you enjoy our version of Rhubarb Custard Pie and that you share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Your comments are always appreciated so please use the handy form below!  Enjoy.

Beans, Beans The Magical Fruit!

Two Food Nuts Baked Beans.

We’re at the cottage a good deal of the summer and there are days when it’s really just too hot to cook. That doesn’t mean you can’t make something that requires cooking though. You just have to use your Bean!  Or in this case your slow-cooker.  Baked beans traditionally require soaking beans overnight then boiling them for an hour,  but let’s get real!  We want good food without steaming up the kitchen or our glasses and we found a way to do it!

Baked beansThe pantry is often your best friend, so throw open the door and let’s get out the cans of Navy Beans, those little plump white, pre-soaked, par boiled darlings.  We’ll add  some great flavoring to the beans and put the slow-cooker on the picnic table till dinner’s ready. No sweating and really very little preparation.

Here’s how these Two Food Nuts make “Baked Beans”.

3 – 19 oz cans of navy beans.    Drained, rinsed and placed in a slow cooker.

Add:

  • 1/2 medium onion minced
  • 4 strips of bacon cut into 1/2 inch pieces and lightly browned
  • 2 tbsp of the bacon fat (discard  the rest)
  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 2 tbsp of your favorite spicy mustard (we like Dijon or Grainy mustard)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp hickory BBQ sauce (this ads a nice smokey taste)
  • 1/4 cup Molasses or if you live in Quebec like our son, it must be Maple Syrup!
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar, those of us that are adventurous might even give Balsamic a try.

Optional:  And now for the secret ingredients.  A small mango or peach peeled and diced or even an apple adds a sweetness to each bite that makes it taste wonderful.                 Some “Like it Hot” so add your favorite hot sauce or fresh chili for a thrill!

Once you have everything in the slow-cooker, stir gently to incorporate all the goodness and set on low until dinner. We suggest at least 6 hours.  Check the beans after 4 hours and if they are tender and the flavor has developed you can switch to the keep warm setting.  Slow-cookers vary in temperature so always check at the 4 hour mark.  Remember you are starting with beans that are fully cooked, so you can prep these at lunch and  still have full flavored baked beans by supper.

Baked beansThese baked beans will last in the refrigerator for several days if tightly covered.  That is if you have any leftover. If you are feeding more than 4 people you may want to double the recipe. These disappear fast!  Add a side of beans to your bacon and eggs this weekend!

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Sweet and Low!

Dessert under 300 Calories?  Yes!

Who does not love to enjoy something sweet after a meal, or as a treat all by itself?   The problem is the calorie count usually creates guilt.  We live in a world of plenty and that has gotten us into some trouble with our waistlines, but you are going to love this beautiful, sweet and low calorie dessert! angel food dessertNot only is this dessert delicious and low calorie, it’s so easy to make and its also versatile. We had a store-bought Angel-Food cake on hand. We also had a can of no sugar-added mandarin oranges some Greek yogurt (lemon flavor) and a few plump berries in the fridge. It took about 3 minutes to make the dessert.

By eliminating the sugar and substituting yogurt for whipping cream the result is sublime!

Assembly:

  • Tear cake slices into bite-size pieces, arrange on a plate (Use 1/12th of the store-bought cake per portion) calorie count for 1 slice of cake.
  • top with fruit of your choice
  • add a dollop of yogurt (any flavor you like)
  • decorate with a few berries or perhaps some Pecans!
  • drizzle with the tiniest bit of honey

Now sit back and savor ever morsel of this fresh-tasting, miracle of dessert! Its about the same calorie count as 20 potato chips, but so much more satisfying.

angel food dessert

You can substitute any soft  or juicy fruit. Strawberries are particularly good with Angel Food cake, but summer peaches would  be lovely topped with fresh blueberries too. Grate some lime peel on top of fresh mango.  Be a bit creative, use other yogurt flavors too.  Tell us what you did to create your own version of this dessert! We’d love to learn something new from you!

 

Cool and Creamy

Watermelon and Feta Cheese Appetizers.

As the temperature hits 30 degrees its time to turn off the heat and find ways to savor the flavor of Summer.  What is more quintessential than Watermelon?  Paired with Feta cheese and you’re sure to make a  lot of people happy. watermelon and feta cheese appetizersJust looking at these little bites is enough to make you feel cool all over. The best part is the ease of preparation for a busy hostess.

Two Food Nuts Recipe:

  • 1 small seedless Watermelon
  • I brick Feta cheese  ( you can go low fat here without sacrificing taste)!
  • Baby Basil leaves
  • Balsamic vinegar. (we were able to find Balsamic Vinegar infused with Black Truffles)
  • Wooden pics

Cut the watermelon in half and scoop out balls with a melon-baller. Cut the cheese in generous 1 1/2 inch pieces about 1/4 inch thick. Place cheese pieces on a pretty serving tray, add the tiny Basil leaves, top with a watermelon ball and skewer it all together with a decorative pic. All that’s left is to receive the compliments when the guests take their first bite! Feta and watermelon bites Cook’s Tip: There are great little shops in most towns that specialize in fine Italian foods. We love to go to the St Lawerence Market or Kensington Market in Toronto, but Little Italy also provides great stores featuring Italian products. We just love the Balsamic that we found in one of these places, we just can’t remember which one! There are also fine Balsamics infused with Raspberry or Figs that would work equally well in this recipe.  Be brave, try something new.

Celebrating Carrots

Rosemary Honey Glazed Carrots!

When we think of vegetables, we don’t automatically think about how much we love carrots.  They have been categorized as something ordinary, something you just have in the fridge and have to use up. But in fact they are something special.

Rosemary and Honey glazeed CarrotsI’m going to suggest that you will want to celebrate this beautiful, sweet, underrated vegetable once  you try our recipe for Rosemary and Honey glazed carrots. I’m going to bet that your children will even ask for seconds once they try carrots prepared this way.

The method used to prepare these carrots is a bit different from the usual way of boiling the flavor right out. When we prepare the carrots, they retain their color and their flavor. Even Buggs Bunny would agree!

There’s one thing that we’d like to express about carrots. Please don’t use those little carrots in the bag!  They are “machined” from whole carrots.  The outer part and all the nutritional layers are peeled off in the process.  They are also soaked in Clorine to maintain freshness.  We recommend using whole fresh carrots. You don’t even need to peel them!

Vegetables are a necessity for good health and preparing them in ways that preserve the vitamins is always best. You’ll be surprised at how flavorful this dish is and its largely because we don’t loose it all in the preparation.   Carrots are a Super-food. Dr. Ann Carrots nutritional value.

Here’s our Two Food Nuts Recipe.

  • One bunch fresh carrots, we prefer those with the tops intact
  • 3 fresh Rosemary springs (2 for cooking, 1 for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (we have not used margarine and do not recommend it)
  • Water
  • 2 tablespoons liquid Honey
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.

In a shallow skillet, place the carrots that have been sliced in half lengthwise, add enough water to come half way up the carrots.  DO NOT COVER.   Add the salt now.  Top with the butter and 2 of the  Rosemary sprigs.  Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Then reduce the heat to medium, cover with a lid and continue to cook until the carrots are barely crisp tender. This only takes a few minutes.  Remove the lid and turn the heat to high just to evaporate the remaining water. Once again, just a few minutes. Remove the Rosemary and drizzle with the Honey.  Add Pepper as desired.

two food nuts rosemary and honey glazed carrotsThe end result will be Carrots that are tender not limp, the sweetness of the vegetables is further enhanced by the Honey, plus the Rosemary adds a deep earthiness to this already earthy vegetable. No need to add butter either, its been cooked right into the carrots.

Now eat your veggies and ask for seconds!