Living in the beautiful Okanagan Valley in BC, we have an abundance of fresh food to cook with, and believe me, I do!
We have 5 daughters, 3 grand daughters, and lots of honorary daughters ...I love cooking for family and friends and they all keep me busy in the kitchen. Here is hoping that this blog will allow my entire family to access those recipes they ask for, and maybe even enjoy a few travel photos!
There are plenty of one bowl dishes to be found – but we think this one is simply the best! The dressing makes more than you will need but it is amazing in so many ways – I also love to toss vegetables in it before grilling them
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 generous tbsp tahini paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
red chili flakes (optional)
1 1/4 – 1/2 cups vegetable oil
Your favorite hearty rice – we like red rice but brown would work well too.
lots of toasted almonds
spring pea shoots
cooked protein of your choice, really anything works (or leave it out for vegetarian)
Put the first 6 ingredients in a blender and give a good whiz until blended well – add oil in a slow but steady stream. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. On those days when I feel the need for a little extra winter warmth I add 1/2 – 1 tsp chili flakes.
Spinach, grated carrot, grated beet, and honestly – whatever items in your fridge look appealing to you! Spinach is a great green to use in this dish because it holds up so well with the hearty ingredients.
To make this a whole party on a plate, I also serve it with cooked chicken, sauted tofu or prawns.
Stir all the ingredients together: rice, vegetables and whatever protein you have decided on (if you want one!) and garnish with plenty of toasted almonds and spring pea shoots.
Cooking the bright flavours of Vietnam are the only way we can travel there right now and this one bowl was packed with lightly carmelized pork patties, tender rice, sautéed vegetables and the crunch of pickled vegetables. Finish it all off with fresh vibrant herbs and peanut crumbles. Don’t forget the nuoc cham to drizzle over! In Vietnam this is often served with enough of the nuoc cham to make you think it is a soup, here I just drizzle enough to make each bite sing! You can easily serve with rice noodles instead of the rice, but we sure do miss fresh rice noodles in Vietnam, so we often use rice. I guess I have to figure out how to make fresh rice noodles at home…
8-10 ounces ground pork
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp white sugar
1/3 cup finely sliced green onions
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp each freshly ground white pepper and sea salt
Oil – for frying.
3 tbsp white sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/3 cup warm water
3 cloves minced garlic
1 small birds eye chili (or 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes)
This is really just a guideline – use whatever vegetables you think complement the vegetables that you are sautéing.
2 cups very thinly sliced vegetables – use a mandolin if possible
In a bowl mix up the vegetables, and toss with 1/2 tbsp each salt and sugar, then pour over:
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup warm water
Make this at least an hour before dinner to allow the quick pickling to work.
Mix all the nuoc cham ingredients together and set aside to allow those flavours to get to know each other.
Mix all the meatball ingredients together and form meatballs, then pat down into little patties.
In a lightly oiled fry pan fry all the patties until they are golden brown and slightly sticky.
Sautéed vegetables of your choice
Cooked rice or rice noodles
roughly chopped roasted peanuts, basil, cilantro & mint
Centre the rice or noodles in the bowl, and circle that with the pork patties, sautéed vegetables, pickled vegetables and drizzle with the nuoc cham. Finish with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and peanuts. Dig in! Serve with a little bowl of the nuoc cham to dip your pork into for a little extra juiciness.
Stella wanted a pure chocolate chip cookie bake up, and these fit the bill perfectly. Usually I can’t stop myself from adding nuts, oranberries, or oats …. you know what I mean! However, her request was clear …….. slightly crunchy edges, soft but chewy PURE chocolate chip cookies. These only take a few minutes to whip up, and the reward is huge. Win/Win.
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted but not hot
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheetwith parchment paper or leave ungreased.
In a large bowl or the bowl of you mixer add the sugars and melted butter and mix well until creamy.
Add the eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt to the bowl and beat on low speed until well incorporated, for about 30 seconds.
Add the flour to the bowl and mix until crumbles form. Note that you could mix your flour with the salt and baking soda, but I don’t find that it makes a difference at all.
Add the chocolate chips to the bowl and use a spatula to mix them in to the dough.
You can use a small ice cream scoop to scoop out cookie balls or use your hands to roll out the dough into balls, up to you how big you want your cookies. Place them onto the prepared baking sheet. This recipe yields around 50 cookies, so if you can only bake one tray at a time, place the remaining cookie dough in the fridge until ready for the next batch. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.
Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until just barely golden around the edges of the cookies. DO NOT OVER BAKE.
Let them cool on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes, then transfer them to wire rack to finish cooling or enjoy eating them.
This recipe came from one of my favorite websites, Jo Cooks, out of Calgary. Her recipes are almost always a winner, and so easy to complete. Stella and I found that we preferred the cookies cooked a little longer just to get the crispy edges, but if you love your cookies softer stick to the cooking times listed above.
WHAT???? Snickerdoodle cookies in cake form? A dream come true. This cake encompasses all the bits of the cookie we love, but in cake form – perfect for a dessert or just snacking.
PREPARE THE PAN
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
PREP THE PAN
To a small bowl, add 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and whisk to combine; set aside.
Preheat oven to 325F.
Generously spray a 9-inch (12-cup) Bundt pan with floured cooking spray (or grease the pan with shortening), being careful to cover all the nooks and crannies, as well as the center tube. Gently dust the entire inside of the pan with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. You will only need about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cinnamon-sugar, but try to evenly coat the inside surface of the pan, including the tube.
Save the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture for layering in as the filling; set everything aside. (I used less than half the remaining sugar mixture but just couldn’t bring myself to put that much of a sugar layer in a cake that already has 2 cups of sugar in it!)
To a large bowl, add the flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and whisk to combine; set aside.
To the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer), add the butter and beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute.
Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add 1 cup granulated sugar and mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the brown sugar and mix on medium-high speed until the mixture looks light brown and uniform in color, about 2 minutes.
Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the eggs one at a time, mixing on medium speed for 1 minute after each egg.
Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla and mix on medium speed to incorporate, about 30 seconds.
Add half the flour mixture, half the Greek yogurt or sour cream, and mix on medium-low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.
Add the remaining flour mixture, remaining Greek yogurt or sour cream, and mix on medium-low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.
Turn half the batter out into the prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. The batter is quite thick and that’s okay.
Evenly sprinkle the reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top of the batter, which creates the filling as the cake bakes. (As I mentioned earlier, use as much of the sugar mixture as you are comfortable with – I had lots left)
Turn the remaining batter out into the pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. Bake for 55 to 62 minutes (I baked for 59 minutes), or until top is lightly golden brown and set, and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Don’t overbake because the cinnamon-sugar crust will become overly crunchy.
Allow cake to cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
I found this recipe on a new site for me, Averie Cooks. This turned out so well that I might be hopping over to her site again to see what else she has going on.
Stela was quick to to make sure I saved the recipe so it could get it on the blog. Well, she asked if I screenshot the recipe and when I said I printed it out, her dad told her that was the old fashioned way of taking a screen shot.
I can’t pretend to be humble when it comes to my cooking, but these naan impressed me more than I usually impress myself! The dough is very pillowy soft and tender, they were so delicious I pulled six out of the oven and they were inhaled.
This is the kind of thing you do when you have a little time on your hands, not necessarily because they are so much work, but it is important to give the dough time to rise and develop that light texture you want in a naan.
1 tsp dry active yeast
2 tsp sugar (separated)
3/4 cup lukewarm water (around 100* )
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dry herbs
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp plain yogurt
In a large glass, dissolve 1 tsp sugar in the warm water and sprinkle in the yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes until it is foamy.
In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt, remaining 1 tsp sugar, baking powder, garlic powder and herbs.
Once yeast is nice and foamy stir in the olive oil and yogurt. Mix well and then stir into flour mixture with a fork. Using your hand, mix and knead in the bowl just until everything is incorporated. As soon as it is together, soft, and slightly sticky, cover it all and let it rest until doubled in size. This could be anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is.
1 cup cooked & chopped up potato (could be leftover mashed potatoes too!)
Saute 1/2 -1 cup of minced onions in ghee, until nice and soft (amount of onion depends on your love of onions!)
Remove from heat and stir in one crushed garlic clove and 1/2 tsp dried coriander.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Set aside until cooled down.
(Ghee is clarified butter and most grocery stores carry it now, but you could easily substitute olive oil or butter)
Once the dough has doubled, gently punch it down and divide into 6, rolling those into balls.
Flatten each ball with your hands until they are 6-7 inches across. Divide the potato stuffing amongst the flattened dough pieces, and then gather the outer edges like you are forming a little pocket or purse.. Once you have completely encased the potato mixture press down gently until flattened and once again about 6-7 inches across.
Brush the tops with beaten egg, sprinkle with a little salt & pepper, chili flakes and sesame seeds.
Bake at 400 until golden brown – about 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and rub with a little melted butter and sprinkle with minced cilantro.
This naan dough originally came from an Indian Cookbook I have – Aarti Sequeira “Aarti Paarti”. I’ve loved watching her on Food Network. She added fennel and nigella seeds, and didn’t stuff them. I had something different in mind so I used this dough, and then watched endless YouTube videos on stuffing naan to come up with my own version. Have fun, play around and let me know if you come up with any other stuffings.
In making naan, I often stand over my cast iron pan, frustrated by trying to get nice char marks and yet still allowing the bread dough to be fully cooked inside without burning the outside. This often leaves me less than satisfied! This totally hands off approach yielded the softest naan and the breads were fully cooked while still having wee bits of crunchy dough around the edges and on the tops of the ones that puffed up like a pita.
This is the first time I’ve had a guest contributor …. and it brings me great pleasure to introduce my granddaughter Sloan – 11 years old and very comfortable in the kitchen. She’s made these delicious little morsels with her Australian Nanny and wanted to make them at the orchard for breakfast – we loved them!
3 1/2 cups self raising flour, plus extra for dusting
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sprite
To serve (sweet)
To serve (savoury)
Preheat oven to 200°C/390°F (180°C fan). Line tray with baking/parchment paper.
Combine the flour, cream and lemonade in a bowl and mix until flour is mostly combined. Do not over mix, it will make the scones dense! The dough should be soft and fairly sticky.
Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead gently just 3 – 5 times to bring dough together, then gently pat into a disc shape 2.5cm/1″ thick.
Use a 6cm/2.5″ round cutter to cut rounds – press straight up and down (don’t twist), flour cutter in between. (Note 4)
Use a knife or similar to scoop up (avoid touching sides) and place on tray, slightly touching each other (they help each other rise).
Brush the tops lightly with milk. (Note 5)
Bake for 15 minutes until golden on top. Place on rack to cool. Place tea towel over them to stop the tops from getting crusty.
Serve with copious amounts of cream and jam, and of course tea!
Less dough handling = fluffier scones. So only mix the batter until the flour is almost fully incorporated (ie can still some flour), then scrape onto work surface and knead as few times as possible to bring together into a disc shape with a pretty smooth surface (I aim for 5 kneads, 8 is ok).
Do not twist the cutter – press the cutter straight down and up, resist the urge to twist! If you twist, the sides of the scones gets “smeared” which affects how well they rise.
Avoid touching sides of scones – use a big kitchen knife or similar to transfer scones to tray to avoid touching the sides of the scones.
Place so they’re touching each other ever so slightly – because they help each other rise (isn’t that just so sweet? 😍)
Don’t be tight with the jam and cream – there’s nothing sadder than running out of cream mid scone scoffing!!
This recipe is from Recipe Tin Eats, thanks for a delicious breakfast!!
We love a good dinner bowl that packs a lot of flavour. This dressing kicks everything up a notch with the combination of sweet, smoky and spicy. I use it on everything, and tonight it did triple duty as a dressing to brush on vegetables before grilling, a marinade for the steak and then a drizzle over the completed dish.
1/2 cup avocado oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a blender and simply whizz it up until smooth and creamy.
In the same blender you used for the dressing, whiz up 1 tomato, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chicken stock and some minced cilantro stems. Supplement that with water to give you enough for your usual ratio of water/rice.
Season the vegetables with the dressing above and grill until just cooked and still slightly crisp.
Brush the steaks with a little of the dressing above and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour – Grill to desired temperature. We like ours medium rare.
Quarter mini tomatoes and mince up cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and give it all a squeeze of lime.
I think this would work equally well with any protein you chose to make – and at this time of year when the vegetables are coming in strong locally it would make an amazing vegetarian meal if you just added more of a variety of vegetables. I missed grilling onions tonight and I think that would have added a great punch of flavour.
The vinaigrette came from Love and Lemons, a great website with so many amazing recipes.
Is there anything better than a vinaigrette that you want to use on everything? I doubt it. We’ve used it to dress up grilled vegetables, served it drizzled over a Mexican steak bowl, and of course just as dressing for a simple salad. The added bonus is that this is the easiest dressing to make.
1/2 cup avocado oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 chipotle pepper from a can of chipotle in adobo sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
The directions are embarrassingly easy ….. simply toss it all in a blender and let it whizz until everything is creamy and smooth. The combination of chipotle, honey and lime is brilliant.
This recipe came from the the Love and Lemons website, and you can be sure anything from Jeanine Donofrio is going to be delicious.
I love a full meal deal salad! This tangle of vegetables, both fresh and grilled, served mixed with noodles and garnished with steak and nuts is just the best. It’s on repeat around here. Go ahead and splurge for the best steak – you don’t need much to make it a complete meal.
This dressing is the star of the show – it is light and bright with just the perfect amount of zing.
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tsp fresh lime juice
2-3 tbsp chili garlic sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce (reduced sodium)
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 1/2 tsp raw sugar (or honey)
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp fresh Thai basil, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds **
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup peanut oil
kosher salt to taste
** I’m a big fan of toasting nuts or seeds as it adds so much flavour. Watch closely because they go from deeply toasted (my personal favourite) to black …. beware. (yes, I speak from experience)
Whisk all the ingredients, except the oils, together in a bowl. Once combined, slowly drizzle in the oils and continue to whisk until well blended. This is the part where you taste, and adjust if needed – sometimes you need a bit more lime juice, salt or sweetener. If you prefer your dressing on the spicy side, add in a bit of Thai chili or chili flakes.
This recipe is just as versatile as whatever you have on hand. Tonight this dish included:
Chinese wheat noodles (cooked)
grilled red pepper
steamed baby bok choy
grilled beef tenderloin
toasted sesame seeds
I like to make a salad out of the cold cooked noodles and fresh vegetables, and pile that in the bottom of my bowl. Arrange the cooked vegetables around the sides along with the grilled steak. Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle the cashews and sesame seeds over.
If you have time, and have a steak that needs marinating, just use a bit of the dressing. This works equally well with chicken, pork or tofu. If you want to use shrimp make sure to only give it a quick marinade.
When grilling the vegetables, drizzle with a little of the dressing before and after grilling.
One of the dishes (among many) that we loved on our travels through Vietnam and Cambodia was Salt & Pepper squid. Naturally, that squid was ultra fresh, and so very tender it literally melted in your mouth. Typically served with a bowl of rice, and a pile of greens it is the perfect light dinner. I love the combination of flavours found in most Vietnamese dishes – fish sauce, lime juice and pepper. Those show up in so many tasty dishes – makes my mouth water just thinking about it!
SALT & PEPPER SQUID
400 gr squid **
1 tbsp coarse salt
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup rice flour (you can substitute corn starch)
OIL – to use for frying – make sure you use a high smoke point oil such as peanut, canola or vegetable. – heat to 350 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, stick a chopstick in there …. once it bubbles all around the chopstick it is ready.
SALAD OR GREENS TO SERVE
Prep whatever fresh vegetables or salad you want to serve.
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
1-2 tbsp fresh red chili, seeded and finely chopped (or chili flakes to taste)
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1-2 tbsp sugar (I usually stick with 1)
4 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp water
If you try anything – make it this dressing! I use it for salads all the time and it is so light and refreshing while adding so much flavour to a simple salad.
** Squid – if you can get it fresh then clean it and slice into rings – leaving tentacles whole. I’ve only used frozen at this point but you know I will be sourcing some fresh squid!!
Once your squid is prepped, bash up the salt and pepper in a mortar and pestle – bash until cracked and broken but don’t turn it in to a fine grind. Sprinkle a little directly onto the prepared squid. Pour the rest into a bowl with the flours and stir until combined.
When oil is hot enough, put a handful of the squid into the salt/pepper/flour mix and toss to coat lightly and cook in batches in the hot oil. Do not overcrowd your oil or it will cool down and your squid will absorb more of the oil.
Remove from oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
If you like a dipping sauce – just bash up a bit more salt and pepper, mixing it with fresh lime juice.
The dressing couldn’t be easier! Again, the mortar and pestle comes into action so I hope you didn’t clean it after bashing salt and pepper …… Drop in garlic, ginger, spring onion and chili …give it a good bit of action until you have created a paste. Add lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and water. TASTE. TASTE IT AGAIN. Every single item can be a slightly different taste profile from what I am using and for your individual tastes. Adjust if necessary. It should be slightly sweet, slightly salty, slightly hot and slightly tangy.
If you don’t have a mortar and pestle then just chop everything quite fine and add in the other ingredients … I have about 3 of them so I love using them but don’t run out and buy one if you don’t love the process!
To serve lightly dress your salad with the dressing, pile the squid on and serve with a side of rice if you like, just the way it is served in Cambodia & Vietnam ….. oh take me back! We bought our pepper from the Kampot Pepper Plantation in Cambodia. Touted as the best pepper in the world we had no choice. It really does make a difference when the pepper is that fresh.