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 ūüôā

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.

 

 

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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

 

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

 

 

 

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)

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

 

 

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

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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!

 

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.

 

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.

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!

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Maple Bacon Donuts

Who Does Not Love Bacon?

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

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

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

The Recipe is as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

Makes about 30-40 donuts.

Cooks Tip:

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

Caution:

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

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

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More Than Just A Sandwich

Heddy’s Ham, Cheese and Mushroom Croissant.

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

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

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