Quick Pickled Cucumbers

These have a nice freshness to them.  They go great with a sandwich at lunch, as a side dish for dinner or set them out as an appetizer at your next party. 

Dried dill can be substituted if you cant find the fresh stuff. 

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

3 long english cucumbers

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon fresh dill, torn

juice from 1/2 lemon

 Dissolve sugar and salt in vinegar in large non-reactive bowl.   Add red pepper flakes.  Cut cucumbers in half, then cut the halves lengthwise into spears.  Add to vinegar mixture and toss to combine.

Cover and chill, tossing once or twice more 1 – 6 hours.  Just before serving add fresh dill and  the lemon juice.  Toss to combine.  Taste and add more salt if needed.  Serve cold

Original recipe here.

Breakfast · eggs

Tortilla Española with Chorizo and Caramelized Onions


Cut into small cubes and served at room temperature, this is a Spanish Tapa.   It is also makes a pretty good breakfast .

The time it takes to caramelize the onions is time well spent.  Caramelizing brings out the sweet side of the onion and takes the flavour to a whole new level.

Makes 36 appetizers or 4 breakfast servings.


Tortilla Española

with Chorizo and Caramelized Onions


3 yellow onions, peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced crosswise

2 Tablespoons cooking oil

2 chorizo sausages, cut into 1/2″ dice

6 eggs

salt and pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

In frying pan over medium-low heat, heat the oil and add the onions.  Cover and cook 10 minutes, until onion is translucent.  Reduce heat to very low, replace the cover and cook, stirring occasionally until onion is golden in colour and very soft, about 20 minutes more.   Transfer onions to bowl, set aside to cool.

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Spray a 9″ baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

Add chorizo to same pan, increase heat to medium high and cook about 5 minutes, stirring often until caramelized and cooked through.  Transfer to bowl with onions to cool until cool enough to add to eggs without cooking them.

Beat the eggs until fluffy, season with salt and pepper.  Add the onions, chorizo and the chopped cilantro and mix well.

Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until cooked in the centre.

Let sit 15 minutes before cutting.

If serving as a tapa or appetizer, cut into squares or triangles and serve at room temperature.

If serving as a breakfast item, cut into 4 pieces and serve warm.

COOKS NOTE:   For a tapas party, this can be made a day in advance and refrigerated overnight.  Let stand about 30 minutes to bring to room temperature before serving.

Original Source: Tapas Faciles – Tortilla de Chorizo y Cebolla Caramelizada.









Peach and Blue Cheese Toasts


The original version is a bit more complex, I have simplified this just a bit.  You can make it even easier by just washing and drying the peaches well to remove most of the fuzz, instead of peeling them

Peach and Blue Cheese Toasts

Serves 4


2 ripe peaches

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons honey

8 crostini

1 Tablespoon olive oil

4 oz blue cheese

freshly ground pepper

Cut an ‘x’ in the bottom of each peach and drop into a large pot of boiling water just until skins begin to peel back, about 1 minute.  With tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water; let cool for a minute.  Peel the peaches, then, holding the fruit over a  small bowl to catch the juices, cut into thin wedges.  Add lemon juice and honey to the sliced peaches and their juices and toss to combine. Set aside.

Brush crostini with olive oil and spread with cheese.  Top each piece of bread with 3 peach slices.  Drizzle some of the honey mixture over top of each toast and add a bit of freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.



Habanero Pineapple Chutney

I had never heard of Longos , an Ontario grocery store, until I finally got around to reading magazine a friend from Canada brought me this past winter.  While I am always grateful for reading material brought down from “The Great White North,  I did not rush to read this particular item, mainly because I figured it would be like most other supermarket rags with lots of emphasis on pre-packaged, processed foods.   As a general rule, we have always avoided these types of foods and are not interested in starting to eat them any time soon.

Turns out, this magazine does advertise pre-made products, but it is also chock full of recipes and tips to make fresh food from scratch!    So much for judging a book by its cover.   Here is my version of their Habanero Pineapple Chutney.  Pretty much as they wrote it, but you can find the original recipe in their Summer 2016 edition.

camembert with pineapple chutney

Habanero-Pineapple Chutney

1 Tablespoon butter

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 pineapple, tough centre core removed and cut into 1/4 inch dice (about 2 cups)

1 small habanero, seeds and stems removed, minced

3 Tablespoons Amber Rum

Juice of 1/2 lime

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh raspberries, roughly chopped

Mint leaves for garnish

1  6 – 8 oz round of Camembert Cheese

In medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter.  Add onion, ginger, cumin and salt and cook, stirring, until onions are tender.  About 5 minutes.  Stir in pineapple and habanero and cook , stirring, 3 minutes more.

Add rum and lime juice, bring to boil.  Boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Stir in sugar, return to boil.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Stir in cilantro and green onions.

Place Camembert on microwave safe plate or shallow bowl.  Microwave on Medium using 15 second blasts until cheese is hot and beginning to melt.

Spoon chutney over top, garnish with raspberries and mint leaves.  serve with crackers or crostini.



Pumpkin-Spice Hummus



You had to know this would show up eventually!   All that Pumpkin Puree I put in the freezer a while back, has had me looking for new and exciting ways to put it to good use.

This  was inspired by the cooking demo by Marv Leibel – Alberta Health Services Community Nutritionist, at the 10th Annual Women’s Conference, in the City of Wetaskiwin, which my Mom recently attended.  The original ingredients are  listed in the cooks notes below

I am not sure this will ever replace my regular hummus, but it is a nice change from the norm.


Sneak peak at future posts…Peri-Peri Chicken and Fresh Naan Bread

We ate this as a spread on fresh Naan bread for our  Peri-Peri chicken wraps as part of a meal.





Of course,  it works equally well  as a snack or appetizer with crackers and some warm spiced apple juice to help brighten a gloomy fall day.


Pumpkin-Spice Hummus

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

3 Tablespoons  tahini

2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon pumpkin spice blend

1/4 teaspoon salt (or more, to taste)

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

Juice of 1 lime

3 Tablespoons water (plus more if necessary)

Put chickpeas, pumpkin puree, tahini, garlic, pumpkin spice, salt, 2 tablespoons olive oil, lime juice, and  3 Tablespoons water in food processor.  Let run on low speed until smooth, 1 – 2 minutes.

Scrape down sides of processor & pulse a few times .  If mixture appears too thick, add another tablespoon of water and pulse until water is incorporated.  Continue adding water, by  tablespoons, if needed, until you get the texture and creaminess you like.    Scrape into serving bowl, and drizzle with remaining olive oil.  Serve with crackers, crostini, or flatbread or your choice.

COOKS NOTES:  The recipe as given to me before my tweaks goes like this:  1 can chickpeas, 1  can pumpkin puree, 2 oz lemon juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup tahini, 3 cloves garlic, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp all spice.


Baba Ghanouj

Yes, it sounds very exotic, but really, it is just eggplant and a few other  ingredients you probably already have in your fridge.   It is simple to make, and makes a nice addition to your appetizer table.

There are as many versions as there are cooks, but all I have found include eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemons and salt and pepper.  I make a slight departure from the norm, using lime juice instead of lemon because I like the stronger flavour of the lime .

How you cook the eggplant to make this fab dip is up to you.  We like the smoky flavour we get from burying it in the hot coals remaining after we have grilled our dinner. (Thanks to Bon Appetite for giving us this idea!)  We let it sit for about 20 minutes, until it is a soft blackened mess.  We have also had success roasting it whole, in a 450 F  oven 15 – 20 minutes, until the skin is charred and the eggplant is soft.    I am sure a gas grill would work as well, but we have not tried it this way yet.

However you choose to cook your eggplant, once it is cooked, how you handle it is the same.

Baba Ghanouj

(Optional title: OMG, I finally found a way to fix eggplant that Kevin likes!)


1 medium size eggplant (about 1/2 lb)

1/2 teaspoon canola oil

3 Tablespoons Tahini

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 – 2 Tablespoons lime juice  (about 1 large lime)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

salt and pepper

Rub eggplant with Canola oil and bury in the hot coals in your bbq or campfire, until blackened and very soft 15 – 20 minutes (alternatively place it in a 450 F oven and bake 20 minutes) .  Carefully remove from coals (or oven) and allow to cool.


Scoop cooled eggplant out of peel and into a fine mesh strainer.  Sprinkle with a little salt, mix up a bit and let drain for up to an hour.  Discard liquid.

Put eggplant, tahini, garlic,  and lime juice  into bowl of food processor and pulse until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Put into serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle red pepper flakes over.

Serve with fresh baguette slices, pita toasts, crostini or fresh veggies for dipping.

Makes about 1 cup, can easily be doubled.