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.

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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

 

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.

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

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

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?

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

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!

 

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!

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.

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!

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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!

Don’t forget to share the recipe with your Facebook and Twitter friends. We love to know how you like the recipes, so please leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

More Than Just A Sandwich

Heddy’s Ham, Cheese and Mushroom Croissant.

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

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

Continue reading

Mexican Street Corn

Nothing Corny Here!

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

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

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

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

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

Mexican Street Corn

Method:

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

Bueno appetitie!

Mexican Street Corn