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!

 

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!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Bruschetta

Put This Dish In Your Repertoire!

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

 image

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

Here’s how Harry makes Bruschetta:

This makes 12 toasts. Serves 4 as an appetizer.

12 slices Baguette cut into 1/2 inch thick slices

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

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

image

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

image

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

image

 

 

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.

 

 

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?

Scalloped Potatoes A La TwoFoodNuts.

Scalloped Potatoes Reach Super Stardom.

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

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

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

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

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

Scalloped Potatoes

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

TwoFoodNuts Scalloped Potatoes:

Serves 6 people

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

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

cooking tools

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

scalloped Potatoes

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

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

A Delicata Situation

Discovering Winter Squash

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

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

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

TwoFoodNuts Delicata Squash:

½ Squash per person is a serving.

Per piece of squash use

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

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

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

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

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

Tomato Goat Cheese Tart

Tomato Appetizer or Lunch!

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

Tomato tartOur TwoFoodNuts Tomato Tart:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Carrots

Rosemary Honey Glazed Carrots!

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s our Two Food Nuts Recipe.

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

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

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

Now eat your veggies and ask for seconds!