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Tomato Vinaigrette

I make this dressing right in the bowl that I am going to serve the salad in. It helps save on clean up. The size of the tomato dictates how much dressing you will get out of this. For two of us, I like a medium Roma.

1  medium tomato
1 small shallot, minced
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons olive oil
pinch sugar
pinch salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
Coarsely grate the tomato, using the large holes on your box grater.  Add remaining ingredients and whisk until well blended.  Add salad greens and use your hands or tongs to toss gently.  Serve.

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Salads · Sides · Uncategorized

Jicama, Cucumber and Carrot Slaw

Jicama

You have probably all seen those things that look sort of like potatoes, but not really sitting in the produce section at your local grocer. Understandably, you avoid them because you are not sure what they are, or how to use them. At least that’s what I always did…

Then we moved to Mexico, and these things were everywhere! Not only in the markets, but we saw pick up trucks with their boxes full of these potato-like things. They even sold them by the bagful at street corners. Eventually, we tasted one and discovered that this dull, boring looking root vegetable was actually quite good. Just peel, slice and eat plain or with a little salt. YUMMM. As they get older, they get drier and a bit starchy but they are still tasty. This salad is a nice introduction to an unfamiliar veggie.

1/2 long English's cucumber, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
1/2 medium jicama, peeled
2 medium carrots
2 1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon canola or sunflower oil
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Using a box grater, shred cucumber, jicama and carrots into large bowl. Toss with remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Serves 2 – 4

Uncategorized

Coconut Granola

Oh, I know, you can buy granola literally everywhere.  Unfortunately for my taste buds most I have tried taste almost as good as the box it came out of.

Do yourself a favour,  make your own.  I think you will be glad you did.

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Coconut Granola

In a large mixing bowl, combine

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup shredded coconut.  Sweetened or not, your choice.

1/2 cup raw, sunflower seeds

1 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Set this aside and preheat your oven to 300F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In microwave safe measuring cup, stir together

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

dash nutmeg

1/2 cup honey

2 Tablespoons canola oil

2 Tablespoons dried cranberries  (add in later)

Microwave mixture on medium until easily stir-able (about 10 – 20 seconds, depending on your microwave). Give it a stir to completely combine, then pour over the oat mixture and stir until all ingredients are evenly coated with the honey-spice mixture.

Spread on prepared baking sheet and bake, stirring every 10 minutes  for 30 – 40 minutes, until oats are golden in colour.

Remove from oven,  sprinkle dried cranberries over top and stir to combine.  Let cool on baking sheet, then transfer to air-tight container.   Store at room temperature.  Keeps well for 2 – 3 weeks.

 

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Ancho Chile Oil

This goes great on Grilled Flatbread, but on your eggs, steaks, avocado toasts or most anywhere that could use a little pick me up in flavour.

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Ancho Chile Oil

2 ounces dried ancho chiles, (about 4 or 5) stemmed, seeded, torn into pieces

2 garlic cloves, smashed

1 red serrano chile or red jalapeneo, stemmed, seeded, roughly chopped

1 cup vegetable oil, sunflower or canola

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

salt to taste

Heat everything but the salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until fragrant and just beginning to bubble. Remove from heat. Let steep for 1 hour.

Purée mixture in a blender until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; discard solids in sieve. Season oil to taste with salt.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

Uncategorized

Red Savina Hot Sauce 

Way back in November 2017, a blogger I follow, Cast Iron Dan, posted his recipe for this hot sauce.  I reblogged it because it looked interesting.

It was the only thing I had ever posted that I had not already made in my own kitchen.  I had every intention of making it straight away, but travel plans came up quickly, guests started arriving, Christmas came and went, then came our busy season…and this got put to the WAY BACK burner.

Anyway, I just came from my kitchen, where I made the full recipe!  By the time all is blended, you really do end up with 2 pints of hot sauce.  I know!   8 oz of habaneros doesn’t really look like that much when its sitting on a scale.  But, factor in the other ingredients and yup, its a quart.

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Cast Iron Dan will be happy to know that I did, in fact wear rubber gloves, as he recommended and my kitchen was well ventilated, plus, I had the hood fan going.

I had a small spill when blending (best to do it in 2  smaller batches instead of 1 big one!!) and I had already removed my gloves when I wiped it up.   Even the small amount that touched my palms is causing a slight tingle.  So, be warned.  WEAR GLOVES.  It does make slicing the habaneros awkward, but much better than the alternative.  Click here for an amusing story about that!

The bottom line is that this is a great sauce!  The carrots give this a nice sweetness which cuts the heat just a little.   My tongue is on fire, but I have already eaten 2 tostadas smeared with this sauce and intend to go back for more.  I cant wait to try this on … oh, probably every thing else I cook this week!

The basic recipe is below, but for the full version, follow this link to the original page.

Ingredients  (makes approximately 30 oz)

  • 8 oz carrots
  • 8 oz Habaneros  (red savina if you can grow your own)
  • 1 head of garlic- roasted on stove
  • 1 cup Apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Slice carrots into 1/8″ wheels, place in saucepan with enough water to cover a and cook until tender.

While that is cooking, slice peppers a bout 1/8″ thick.

Once the carrots are tender, add the peppers and the rest of the ingredients and return to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.

Pour entire contents into blender and mix until very smooth.

I’m not sure how long this will keep.  My best guess is a couple of weeks if you just pour it into jars, and much longer if you process it as if you were canning.

Cast Iron Dan

The other day, I had someone on Facebook ask me what I do with all those peppers that I grow. That’s a good question, so I guess I should share what I make with all of that hot fruit! I make habanero hot sauce! The variety of habaneros that I grew this year are called Red Savina, which are about twice as big and twice as hot as the normal orange habaneros. Some of the peppers this year are over two inches in diameter!

I’ve been making this sauce for 5 years now and every time I think that I should change the recipe – I end up deciding to leave it just the way that it is! It is smoky, sweet, savory, citrussy and very hot… but not too hot! It doesn’t take much, but its a great condiment for tacos, burgers and most everything else. My youngest daughter…

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Salads · Uncategorized

Arugula Salad with Apples & Walnuts

This is a nicely balanced salad, sweet enough to serve with brunch, but also great with a grilled chicken breast for dinner!

This will serve 4 as a side, or 2 as a main.

arugula salad

Arugula Salad with Apples & Walnuts

Dressing

3 Tablespoons plain unsweetened yogurt (homemade if you have it)

Juice from half a lemon

1 1/2 Tablespoons Olive oil

1 Tablespoon liquid honey

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Salad

2 cups baby arugula

3 cups leaf lettuce, torn into bite size pieces

1 apple, cored and thinly sliced

1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted   See Cooks Notes below

1/4 cup dried cranberries

2 Tablespoons raw, unseasoned sunflower seeds

Whisk dressing ingredients together in large bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add arugula. lettuce, apples and walnuts to dressing in bowl.  Gently toss to combine well.

Sprinkle toasted walnuts, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds over top.

Serve immediately.

COOKS NOTE – to toast walnuts,  heat in a dry skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally until beginning to brown and slightly fragrant.  Remove walnuts from pan immediately (so they don’t burn in the hot pan).  Set aside to cool before adding to salad.

Muffins and Quick Breads · Uncategorized

Banana, Oat and Nut Bread

3 years ago, I planted 2 baby banana trees in our front yard.  They are surprisingly easy to grow, and already, they have given us 3 large stalks of filled with bunches of beautiful, ripe bananas.  The thing  is that once they begin to ripen, the whole stalk seems to become ripe all at the same time!

Of course the stalk is hung within easy reach so our guests can enjoy a fresh banana whenever the fancy strikes them.  Still, there are always more than we can enjoy right off the vine.  Those, I peel and freeze for later use, such as this banana bread.

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Banana, Oat and Nut Bread

1 1/2 cups flour

2/3 cup brown sugar, well packed

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 quick cooking oats (or pulse regular old fashioned oats, in your food processor for a couple of seconds)

1/3 cup canola oil

2 eggs beaten

1 cup well mashed bananas (about 3 medium)

1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder salt and oats together and make well in centre.

In a second bowl, mix oil, eggs and bananas together.  Gently stir into the flour mixture until just mixed.  Fold in walnuts and turn into prepared loaf pan.

Bake 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto wire rack and allow to cool completely before slicing.