The perfect side to a dinner time meal, this zingy green is perfectly matched with sausages, pork chops or lamb. If serving with sausages, use instead of rice as a lighter and more flavorful base on your plate.
Ingredients (serves 2-3) 1 head of rapini, washed, dried and ends trimmed 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced 2 tbsp of EVOO 1/2-1 tsp sea salt A dash each of: Red chili flakes, cayenne pepper, black pepper and garlic powder
Bring a medium-large pot of water to a boil and blanche the rapini. How to blanche: Drop in prepared rapini and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from water and place directly into a bowl filled with ice water.
After the rapini has spent a minute or two in the ice bath, remove and pat dry.
Heat a large skillet with EVOO on medium heat. Transfer the rapini to the prepared skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until tender but not browned at all.
Add the spices, tossing to coat evenly.
Taste, adjusting spices to desired level. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Make this when… To serve with sausage. All seasons. To accompany an Italian meal.
Kale chips are definitely the “trendy” food of the year, and no doubt its because all of us chip fanatics are falling over ourselves to eat some salty, crunchy goodness that doesn’t come with a big dose of guilt. This recipe is here to help. If you’ve been buying $6.99 bags of mango-parmesan, air-tight, freeze dried, single serve kale chips: stop now. Not only are kale chips maddeningly overpriced, but they just aren’t even close to as good as the homemade variety. And I promise these are dead simple.
Ingredients (makes finger food for 2)
1 head of kale, ribs removed and leaves chopped into ~6 pieces
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup of fresh grated parmesan, ALT. 2-3 tbsp sesame seeds
2-3 pinches of salt
Preheat oven to 400F. Rinse and dry kale. Using a large knife, cut the leaves away from the spines of the kale, discarding the spines. Cut or tear the remaining leaves into medium-large bite sized chunks.
Place prepared kale in a medium bowl. Add the remainder of the ingredients to the bowl and stir well to coat all leaves evenly.
Empty the bowl onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, ensuring that is spread in asinglelayer. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until nice and crunchy.
Make this when… as a cupboard staple. For a movie snack alternative. As a nice side to a panini or grilled cheese. to get your greens in.
A friend of mine made a special baking request for her visit home, and as I know her sweet tooth leans towards the chocolate and marshmallow variety (think viva puffs, remember those?) I decided to make a special rendition of s’mores…+brownies. It wasn’t until I tasted them myself that I realized how delicious they are! Definitely not your traditional square, but a really fun, dead simple and delicious way to change up the dessert table at any occasion
3 squares semi-sweet bakers chocolate
1/2 lb butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups graham crackers, or graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 sticks butter
16 jumbo marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350. If you’re using graham crackers, remove 1 package from the box and crumble into small chunks using fingers. If you’ve bought the crumbs skip this step.
In a square (9x9) pan melt the butter. Add the graham cracker crumbs, making sure they are fully coated in butter. Then press down into a single layer, covering the bottom of the pan
Make brownie mixture: Melt butter and chocolate baking squares in a microwave safe bowl. In a mixing bowl, cream melted butter and chocolate mixture (on medium-high speed). Add in sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in eggs, beating one at a time. Add flour and stir just until combined.
Pour brownie mixture on top of graham crackers crust and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes (until toothpick comes out mostly clean).
Remove from oven and place jumbo marshmallows across the top of the brownies.
Turn oven to BROIL and broil on high for 1-2 minutes, until marshmallows are golden brown.
Let cool 2-3 hours.
Make this when… for a potluck. for bookclub. for a casual night in (e.g. hockey game, movie night).
When it comes to lunch time I always struggle with my choice of meal because I want to be healthy but I also feel that I deserve something extra delicious. This recipe easily satisfies both those needs, and in fact, makes it difficult to go back to any store-bought tuna salads.
1 can of Rio Mare tuna
4-5 greek olives, chopped
4 artichoke hearts, chopped
1 tbsp of minced red onion
1 tbsp of sliced fresh basil
3 dashes of ground cayenne pepper
Generous dash of freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup of plain greek Liberte yoghurt
1/2 tbsp of lemon juice
1 toasted ciabatta bun OR 1 whole wheat wrap
1 tbsp of goats milk feta
1 small handful of arugula
Combine first 9 ingredients in a small mixing bowl, stirring to combine
Assemble on bread of choice (recommend ciabatta or whole wheat wrap)
Top with feta and arugula. Enjoy!
Make this when… for lunch (make the night before for ultimate flavour mixing). when you have a hankering for something salty. to change up your lunchmeat routine.
After a lengthy hiatus… I’m baaack! I have been meaning to share this recipe for quite a while, as it has been an entertaining staple of mine for years. The salad itself is very simple to make and only requires five ingredients to assemble. However, it really is like no other salad you’ve had before. In fact, it almost tastes like it’s not a salad at all. The pesto sauce, toasted pine nuts and peas are reminiscent of a delicious pasta dish, only this time they’re tossed with a lighter alternative, baby spinach. I promise this one will be a crowd pleaser.
1/2-2 cups of frozen peas
2 tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted
2 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
4 tablespoons basil pesto (pre-made)
1 tablespoon of EVOO
Prep: pour baby spinach into a medium bowl, prepare a bowl of ice water (for the peas).
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add peas and cook for 1 minute (do not overcook, they should still have a bit of a bite to them). Drain and immediately immerse in a bowl of ice water.
Warm up a dry skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts, tossing frequently for about 4 minutes until golden.
Assemble: Pour drained peas, toasted pine nuts and pesto sauce into the medium bowl containing the baby spinach. Drizzle with EVOO and toss to combine.
Make this when…As an appetizer for a dinner party. As a side dish for a large group at the cottage or a pot luck. As a main, top with a grilled chicken breast or lamb chop.
The perfect fall breakfast. This is basically a lift and adapt from one of my favourite bloggers, but, I tried out the recipe this week and it’s just so good that I need to share it with as many people as possible! The name says it all. It’s a super crunchy granola with three basic ingredients: pumpkin seeds, pumpkin spices and oats, roasted to a crispy chewy finish with honey and maple syrup. I added almonds for an extra nutty protein kick, but you can do it without if you prefer.
Ingredients (makes ~4 cups)
1 cup of raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
2 cups of old fashioned, rolled oats
2/3 cup of raw almonds
1/2 cup maple syrup
Spice mix (see below)
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tbsp of walnut oil (can sub. for coconut oil or other nut oil)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Prep: Preheat oven to 325 and combine the spice mix and set aside.
Warm butter in a non stick saucepan over medium-high heat. As soon as butter melts, add pepitas and 1/2 tsp of the spice mix. Cook the seeds until toasted (about 4 minutes) stirring constantly. Note: watch the seeds VERY carefully to avoid burning.
Add honey and brown sugar and continue cooking for 2 minutes, then, remove from heat and spread over a large piece of wax paper, allowing the seeds to cool completely (10-15 minutes).
Combine oats, almonds and spice mix in a medium bowl. Meanwhile, over high heat, combine the maple syrup and walnut oil. Bring the liquids to a bowl and then reduce to a simmer for 2 minutes. Carefully pour the syrup mixture over the oat mixture and toss to coat.
Place oat mixture on a large baking tray (or two small ones) in a single layer and cook for 25 minutes, stirring/tossing every 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Once cooled, place the oat mixture in a bowl with the cooled candied pepitas to combine them.
Fresh tomato sauce is my favourite topping. Wether its slathered on a pizza, drizzled on pasta, drowning in meatballs or served with fresh vegetables, its a meal changer. This summer my mom grew a big vegetable garden, and planted more campari tomatoes than she could eat. Instead of letting the most of ripe of these go to waste, we made fresh and simple tomato sauce using nothing more than garlic, onion, EVOO, salt and pepper.
This light seasoning allows the star of the sauce - fresh campari tomatoes - to shine through, and makes it a perfect basic sauce for any pasta, pizza or meatball recipe. Although you could substitute with other tomatoes, I believe its the sweet tangy flavour of this variety that makes the sauce what it is.
Ingredients (makes ~3cups)
10 cups (2-2.5 quarts) of campari tomatoes, halved
1/2 a white onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, slivered
EVOO, drizzled (about 2-3 tbsp)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 375F.
Gently wash and dry tomatoes. Cut tomatoes horizontally and lay on a cookie sheet, cut side up. Add garlic and onion, salt & pepper, and drizzle with EVOO.
Cook for 40 minutes.
Remove from oven and place all ingredients into a blender. Blend on puree setting until smooth.
Push pureed mixture through a sieve. The result will be an extremely smooth sauce, as the sieve will catch all skins and seeds.
Make this when… In august/september to freeze for the winter.
I have tried a few peanut butter cookie recipes over the past year none of which ended up satisfying enough to share here. They were usually too crumbly with a shortbread-like texture which made them very difficult to work with. They also lacked that perfect sweet and salty uber peanut-buttery taste that makes for an ideal peanut butter cookie. After some trial and error however, it’s safe to say that this recipe will not disappoint. Made with both natural PB and PB chips it’s peanut butter’s equivalent of a double chocolate cookie… enjoy!
Ingredients (makes ~25 cookies)
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup smooth, natural peanut butter
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
Preheat the oven to 350 and grease two cookie trays
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
In a mixer’s bowl cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter, and egg until well combined then add the vanilla extract
With a wooden spoon or the mixer on a low setting mix the flour mixture in with the peanut butter mixture in three additions until just combined
Fold in the peanut butter chips
Roll golf-ball sized balls of cookie dough and gently flatten with a fork
Bake for ten minutes, rotating the cookie sheets after five minutes. Let cool on the tray until firm enough to move to a cooling rack
Make this when… on a rainy day. to have with tea or coffee. to bring to a cottage. for a housewarming. for a peanut butter lover.
Some of the best restaurants in Toronto have added lobster rolls to their menu, in some cases even attracting a loyal following based on this item alone (think: yours truly and 416 snack bar). The truth is, it’s very easy to make! In this case, the simpler the ingredients the better. The key is to use a healthy amount of lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne and add the mayonnaise in slowly. Anything on top of these ingredients are icing on the cake.
Lobster Rolls makes roughly 6-8. Note:add all ingredients slowly, adjusting to taste and lobster meat quantity
6-8 Whole-wheat hot dog buns (optional: toasted and buttered).
3lb Lobster meat, cooked, shelled and rough chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup lemon Juice
1/2 cup small-diced celery
1/4 cup Green Onion
2-3 tbsp Chives (optional)
Generous amounts of salt & pepper
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper or Paprika
Make this when… for a group picnic lunch. for a summer BBQ alternative to burgers. for an outdoor lunch. served with beer.
A summertime variation on the French Yoghurt Cake I posted a couple of months ago that takes this cake to the next level. A friend of mine has also used coconut flakes in her batter. When peach season is over, mango would be a nice addition, as will oval plums in the fall!
How to achieve this variation:
Add 2-3 small peaches to the dough just before pouring into cake tin.
Reserve 1/2 of a peach to place slices across the top of the loaf.
Sprinkle the top of the loaf liberaly with white sugar.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.