Crunchy Broccoli Slaw

Broccoli Slaw

Huge thanks to SmittenKitchen for this delicious, crunchy and addictive slaw.  We loved it!  I’ve tried a few recipes out, but this one hits all the notes and it will be on repeat all summer long.

Makes about six cups of slaw

2 heads of broccoli
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

Buttermilk Dressing
1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (or if you are like me, and always have some pickled red onions in the fridge, use those ….. so pretty!)

Using a jar, combine all dressing ingredients and shake vigorously to combine.  Set in fridge while you prep the salad.

Peel the broccoli stems and either use a mandolin on a fine setting, or dice quite small.  Separate the broccoli florets into bite size pieces, slicing the larger bits.

In a large bowl, combine broccoli, cranberries, and red onion.  Pour dressing over, and stir to mix well, sprinkle with toasted almonds.

Enjoy!  This works exceptionally well as a side to any grilled meat – tonight we served it with smoked baby back ribs.

Best Chocolate Oat Cupcakes

Chocolate Oat Cupcakes

If you call these a muffin, and focus on the oat flakes you could even consider this a breakfast item ….but I don’t know if you’d get away with that in my house.  Putting oat flakes into these chocolate muffins may make them a healthier snack, but they are still a treat!

  • 1 cup quick cooking oats (not rolled oats)
  • 1 3/4 cup very hot strong coffee (use decaf if you like)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten and best at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 TBSP real cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (mini ones melt best, but if you like a bit of a chunk of chocolate in there use the larger ones)

Preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin tins and set aside.

In a bowl, combine quick oats with VERY hot coffee.  Stir well and set aside, covering to keep warm.

In separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt cocoa powder and cinnamon.

In stand mixer cream butter with both sugars, using paddle attachment.  Beat until light and creamy.  Add vanilla and eggs.  Mix well.

Add dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Add hot oat/coffee mixture and chocolate chips, mixing it in by hand.  If you used mini chocolate chips and your oat mixture was warm enough they will melt, however if you used larger ones you will still have mini bits which I thought was perfect …

Spoon (or use ice cream scoop) mixture into paper liners, filling about 2/3-3/4 full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, just until an inserted toothpick comes out almost clean.

Allow to cool in muffin tins.

These are great with pretty much any topping, or even left alone.  Today I made them with a raspberry buttercream icing and they were a real hit.

Gazpacho, Morelia style

The gazpacho we encountered in Morelia was unlike anything we had tried before.  Certainly not cold tomato soup.  We loved that each bite hit all the notes we were looking for; sweet, sour, spicy, salty and refreshing.  Versatility is key here, and in my opinion, so is hand chopping the fruit and vegetables.  Sure, a food processor would make short work of it all, but you might not get such great flavour in every spoonful.

mercado-frutas

We first tasted this in Morelia, Mexico – where everything is fresh and delicious!  Even at home though, we have loved the refreshing dish.  Try serving it in small dishes as a palate cleanser for a Mexican fiesta ….

Everything finely diced:

2 cups jicama

2 cups cucumber

1 cup watermelon

1 cup mango

1/2 – 2/3 cup red or white onion

I say 1/2 – 2/3 cup of onion because it will depend on how pungent your onion is, and how much you love onion flavour, play with it.

1 tsp chile flakes

1/2 tsp salt

juice of 1 lime

juice of 1 orange

Stir this all together, and taste!!!  Every little bit of fruit and vegetable should be in each bite and you should love the way it all comes together.  If not – adjust!

gazpacho-morelia-style

As you can tell, this is no small bite!  – Small version in the market in Morelia.

 

 

Morning Glory Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin season or not, these healthy, moist and delicious muffins are a great way to start any day.  Perfect for lunch kits or a mid morning pick up too!
pumpkin-morning-muffins
INGREDIENTS
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
10 grates of fresh nutmeg
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
2 large carrots, grated (should equal about 2 cups grated
1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 apple, diced or grated
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk to combine.
  3. Next, mix in the sugar, molasses, oil, eggs, and pumpkin puree, stirring just until everything is mixed.
  4. Lastly, fold in the fruits and vegetables, making sure not to over mix.
  5. Grease or line a muffin pan. Then use a 1/3 scoop to fill each tin up. Bake the muffins for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a middle muffin comes out clean. Remove the pan and allow the muffins to cool for a couple minutes before removing them from the pan.

One of the things that I love about these muffins is how versatile you can be – use any nut instead of the pecan, or replace the cranberries with raisins or chopped dates.  Today’s mix included half a grated apple and 1/3 cup diced pineapple!

Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

img_9447

At this time of year the tomatoes are plentiful, and I do not like to see any go to waste …. also don’t have quite enough time to can it all!  This is my go to, for whatever amount of tomatoes I have ripe at the time.

Fill a roasting dish with tomatoes, (roughly chopped, skin on), garlic, onion, sweet peppers and entire stalks of fresh herbs.  (I also sneak a few carrots in there) Drizzle over some good quality olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast at 350 for 2-4 hours, very flexible.  This also works in the crockpot.

img_9404

Allow to roast until reduced by about half.  Remove the stalks of fresh herbs, they have done their job …..

img_9450

Puree with immersion blender or food processor (if you use processor make SURE you have left room for steam to escape or this can be a nasty experience).  Stir in 1 small tin of tomato paste and season to taste with salt and pepper.

img_9451

Depending on the acidity of your tomatoes, you might like to stir in a bit of sugar, but taste first.img_9396

It is easy to just put the cooled sauce in a marked freezer bag, and put it in the freezer to enjoy all winter long.

Beef Short Ribs in Cinnamon Red Wine Curry

Be prepared for the whole house to smell amazing for a couple of days after you prepare this specialty. I particularly love it in the fall or winter when it also seems to help warm the house….

Don’t be alarmed by what may look like a lengthy list of ingredients, most are items in the pantry anyway, and if not – try out something new and find more ways to use it.

Topped with fresh, fragrant cilantro this rich curry will make you feel like a super star.

Topped with fresh, fragrant cilantro this rich curry will make you feel like a super star.

2 tbsp ghee (or butter (ghee is clarified butter)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
2 large onions, finely diced (you should get about 2 cups)
10 cloves garlic (yes, really)
1 cup pureed fresh tomatoes (in the winter feel free to use canned)
1 tsp ground fenugreek seeds
1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tbsp mexican chili powder
1 whole piece cinnamon bark (about 3″ long)
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup red wine (make sure to use one you would be happy to drink!)
2 1/2 pounds beef short ribs

Use a large pot for this, with a heavy bottom.

Melt ghee or butter on medium heat. Once melted add oil and cumin seeds. Let seeds sizzle for about 30 seconds, then add onions. (Your house smells amazing already, doesn’t it?)

Take your time with the onions – part of the rich flavour in this dish is from allowing the onions to get nice and browned, slowly. Once they are a rich gold colour add the garlic and sauté until the garlic is a golden brown also. The longer the onions spend slowly getting dark the more rich flavour the curry will have.

Take your time and allow these onions to deepen in colour and caramelize enough to bring out their sweetness.

Take your time and allow these onions to deepen in colour and caramelize enough to bring out their sweetness.

Reduce the heat to low and add tomatoes, fenugreek, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, chili and cinnamon bark. Stir well and slowly increase heat to medium. Allow to cook until the ghee starts to separate from the tomato mixture (you will notice pockets of clear liquid on top).

While your onions are happily cooking, organize the rest of the ingredients so that you are ready to add them all at once - makes everything so much easier.

While your onions are happily cooking, organize the rest of the ingredients so that you are ready to add them all at once – makes everything so much easier.

Stir in red wine and chicken stock – bring to a boil. Allow to cook, stirring enough so that it doesn’t stick, until once again the ghee separates from the mixture.

Add short ribs, stir, cover and allow to simmer for about 4 hours.

NOTE – the cinnamon is meant to be subtle in this recipe … just a hint of it. While it is cooking, if you notice a strong cinnamon scent, remove it from curry, it has done the job.

At this point, I have also put the curry into the oven and just forgot about it for that time, while the house simply became more inviting …

Professional chefs and equipment probably get this ready for the simmer in 20-30 minutes, but it always takes me an hour to develop that colour in the onions and complete the prep stage.

Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve with basmati rice. A perfect dish to accompany this? My roasted tandoori cauliflower with mint & cilantro sauce.

For an impressive presentation, roast the cauliflower whole with the cilantro & mint sauce to serve.  If you want the cauliflower to roast quicker, and really just want to get it on the table, simply cut cauliflower into florets and roast.  Florets may take about 20-30 minutes to roast depending on the size.  Only cook them long enough to be fork tender.

For an impressive presentation, roast the cauliflower whole with the cilantro & mint sauce to serve. If you want the cauliflower to roast quicker, and really just want to get it on the table, simply cut cauliflower into florets and roast. Florets may take about 20-30 minutes to roast depending on the size. Only cook them long enough to be fork tender.

This curry is beyond delicious. If you want to make it a vegetarian dish it is easy enough to do – use all vegetable oil to sauté the onions and replace chicken stock with vegetable stock. When it comes time to nestle the short ribs into the stock just substitute ribs with any of your favourite vegetables. If you are using root vegetables that take a long time to cook go ahead and put them into the curry early. If using vegetables that take less time, put them in the curry closer to the end of the cooking time.

Panzanella Salad

When tomatoes and basil are this fresh you can’t go wrong with a Panzanella salad, so simple, few ingredients and yet the flavours are just bursting with freshness.

Juicy tomatoes, bursting with flavour, basil out of the garden and naturally, a crisp glass of Pinot Grigio while preparing it all.

Juicy tomatoes, bursting with flavour, basil out of the garden and naturally, a crisp glass of Pinot Grigio while preparing it all.

These amounts are rough, use whatever you have on hand that is fresh:

Grilled bread, cut into bite size pieces (or use home made croutons – well seasoned)
fresh tomatoes, cut into about the same size piece as the bread
1/3 cup kalamata olives, sliced in half
1/4 cup roasted red pepper slices, diced
fresh basil, torn

Dressing:
1 tbsp capers
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup really good quality extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

In serving bowl mix dressing ingredients together, taste and adjust seasonings ….

Stir in all the other ingredients, mix well and allow to sit for 30-45 minutes to allow flavours to blend.

The combination of olives, capers, and fresh tomatoes along with the texture of crispy crunchy bread is absolute summer perfection.

The combination of olives, capers, and fresh tomatoes along with the texture of crispy crunchy bread is absolute summer perfection.