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!

 

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

 

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.

 

 

 

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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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!

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