Month: February 2014
This has got to be one of my all time favorite alcoholic drinks! (not including wine that is, because who doesn’t enjoy a good glass of wine?)
This past Sunday, Team Canada won Olympic Hockey Gold!! After waking up at 3:30am to cheer them on and cracking open a beer at 4:05am, I could not think of a better drink to enjoy with a celebratory breakfast after the game then Caesars! If you don’t know anything about this wonderful drink here is a bit of history (thank you Wikipedia)
It was invented in Calgary, Alberta in 1969 by restaurateur Walter Chell to celebrate the opening of a new Italian restaurant in the city. It quickly became a popular mixed drink within Canada where over 350 million Caesars are consumed annually and it has inspired numerous variants. However, the drink remains virtually unknown outside the country.
So if you are reading this blog and you are not from Canada, now you have a bit of background. Hopefully it will inspire you to enjoy one of these 🙂 It is similar to a Bloody Mary but instead of plain tomato juice, you use Clamato and a variety of spices. Don’t be put off by the Clamato, the mixture of tastes is delicious!
Garnished with your choice of pickled veggies, making and prepping these drinks can be like a work of art that many people who make them take seriously. Yes, I am one of those people. I always take my time and ensure this drink is done right. I put in enough pickled veggies to qualify it as a pre – breakfast appetizer.
Take out your cocktail glass or favorite drinking jar, Rim the top of the glass with Caesar Rimmer. (If you do not have this you can mix celery salt with seasoning salt…it is not as good but a good substitute)
Put in your ice cubes.
Add 1 1/2 shots of Vodka.
1/2 Tsp of Caesar rimmer
Squeeze in 1 Lime Wedge
4-5 Dashes of Tabasco Sauce (add less or more depending on how spicy you want it)
4-5 Dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
Fill the Glass with Clamato Juice and stir to mix everything together
Top with a bit of fresh cracked pepper
Garnish with your favorite Pickled Veggies and a Lime Wedge (I Used 4 Spicy Pickled Beans, 1 Pickle and 2 Green Olives)
Serve and Enjoy!!
P.S: Straws are always a good idea with this drink to keep the drink mixed as well as fishing out your garnishes if they fall in. So gentlemen, do not feel emasculated if someone tosses a straw in your drink 🙂
These little guys are a super quick and tasty dinner option when you are in a rush.
The sauce takes a bit of time but is a nice alternative to the standard tomato sauce, especially in the winter time when squashes are very readily available. I made mine ahead of time and kept it in the fridge.
The sauce itself came out of my craving for hummus. We are still eating Paleo so chickpeas which are the main ingredient in traditional hummus were out of the question. After researching a bit I saw some people using butternut squash as a sort of substitute. Being too lazy to go to the market for butternut squash after working 10 hours, I decided to use a Kabocha squash instead. In a message to my other half I simply said… “well, we will see what happens.”
What happened was actually really yummy and something I will make again for sure! It is super filling and healthy enough that you don’t feel guilty for slapping on way too much sauce over your meatballs or pasta.
For the Sauce:
- 1 Kabocha Squash (peeled and cut into small cubes)
- 2 Cups Raw Pumpkin Seeds.
- 3 Tbsp White Onion (Chopped)
- 2 Large Cloves of Organic Garlic (minced)
- 4 Cups Chicken Broth
- 1 Tsp Cayenne
- 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
- Seasoning salt and pepper to taste
- 7 Leaves of Fresh Basil (chopped)
- 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1) In a large sauce pan, heat up your oil. Toss in your onions and squash and let them brown a bit (approx. 5 mins). Toss in the pumpkin seeds and continue stirring allowing them to brown a bit for another 3-5 mins. (If the squash starts to stick too much add in a bit of the broth)
2) Once everything is browned, add in your broth and bring it to a boil. Add in the garlic and spices making sure to stir constantly. Lower your heat to a simmer and let everything cook together covered for about 20 mins or until the squash is soft (stir occasionally)
3) Once everything is cooked, transfer everything into a large pot and add the basil.
4) Using a hand mixer, puree everything until smooth. IF it is a bit too thick add in some boiled water.
5) Once everything is smooth you can set it aside or store in your fridge for a later date.
For the Meatballs:
- 1 Pound of Ground Turkey Meat
- 8 Tbsp Almond Flour
- 1/2 Red Pepper (finely diced)
- 1 Handful of Italian Parsley (finely diced)
- 1 Large Garlic Clove (minced)
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 Tsp Cayenne
- 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 Tbsp Flax Seeds
- 1/2 Tsp Ground White Pepper
1) In a large bowl, combine all your ingredients and mix them together until everything is evenly mixed up.
2) Heat your oven to 375F and prepare a large baking tray lined with parchment.
3) Make your meatballs by rolling them into balls in your hands. Make sure to make them approximately the same size. (mine were about 1 1/2 ” in diameter.
4) Place your meatballs on the tray and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 mins.
5) Turn your meatballs over and bake on the other side for another 5 mins or so.
Depending on how big you have made your meatballs this should be enough time to cook through. I always cut one of the bigger ones in half to be sure. If you have made your meatballs bigger make sure you cook them a bit longer.
Tonight we eat Lamb!
This lovely rack has been in the works for a few days now. I let it marinate for at least 2 days before the actual oven roasting. The recipe and strategy itself has taken about 3 years believe it or not. It all started as a friendly competition between my mother and myself. My mom has long since been known for her amazing lamb which is an absolute must at her dinner parties. When my husband and I went to one of these dinners, he of course stuffed himself silly with the rack of lamb barely coming up for air as did everyone else. Since I had never made it for him before it was a nice treat, one that he was unsure I would ever be able to make better than my mom.
Over the past few years I have made a rack of lamb for him every couple of months. The first attempt got an OK rating. I was not OK with just an OK so I kept on changing the recipe and playing around with the cooking temperature, strategy and of course the all important marinade. I am happy to announce that after what is most likely $500 + on lamb over the past few years, my husband has made it official…my lamb has now beat my mothers!! (announced while at a Greek Restaurant consuming more lamb)
For the Marinade:
- Juice from 2 Oranges
- Juice from 1/2 a Lemon
- 6 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
- 2 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
- 6 Cloves of Garlic (Minced or roughly chopped)
- 1/4 cup Grapeseed Oil
- 1/4 cup Maggie Seasoning Sauce
- 1/2 Tsp Cayenne
- 1 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 Pinches of Ground Cumin
- Salt and Pepper
Marinating How To:
1) Combine all the above in a large Tupperware container. Wash your rack of Lamb and place it into the marinade making sure it gets coated on both sides. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
2) After 24 Hours, take out the lamb and turn it over to it’s other side. Place back into fridge to continue the marinating process.
3) In another 24 Hours you are ready to bake your lamb.
4) Take out your lamb and let it come to room temperature (1-2 Hours) this will ensure an even cooking throughout.
For the Roasting:
1) In a large pan, pour approximately 2 Tbsp of the marinade in and heat it up. Once hot, place your lamb in rack down and brown it. (approx 2 mins) Turn the rack over and do the same on the other side.
2) Preheat your oven to 400F. Wrap the bones from the rack in tin foil to prevent them from burning.
3) In a glass baking dish coated in butter, pour some of the marinade in to lightly cover the bottom and place the lamb rack down into the dish.
4) I then bake it uncovered for 8 mins at 400F
5) Put the temperature down to 325F and bake for another 10-15 mins.
6) If need be I broil it at 500F for a final 3-5 mins depending on how thick the rack is.
Once ready take out your rack and cut it. (It is easier to cut when it is hot)
Serve and Enjoy!
Bacon is something I only started eating maybe a year ago and in very small amounts. Typically I snag the crispiest piece off my husbands plate, take a tiny bite and place it back before he notices. On the other hand, my husband and pretty much everyone else I know could eat a pound of bacon to themselves. A standard reaction I would get when I said I didn’t like bacon was WHAT?! or What’s wrong with you? To answer that… there isn’t anything wrong but if you have read the section about me, you will know I grew up a VERY picky eater and never tried new things…so learning to cook with new ingredients and trying new things has all been a work in progress.
Ok, enough about me and on to bacon. I recently picked up some organic smoked bacon at the deli and have been trying to think of a creative way to make it for dinner. Last Thanksgiving I made a bacon wrapped turkey which turned out delicious. I wasn’t about to spend 4 hours making a giant bird on a weeknight so chicken was the next best thing! Chicken strips always seem to be a big hit in our house so that is what I decided to make tonight. What turned out was deliciously moist and flavorful seasoned chicken strips lovingly wrapped in crispy bacon. For dipping I made a spicy brown mustard sauce with a bit of coconut sugar (yes it exists and it is an amazing stand in for sugar for us Paleo folks) then I added fresh organic garlic and a little bit of fresh lemon juice.
Now if your saliva glands haven’t gone into overload while these strips are baking, once these amazing treats hit the plate and your taste buds you will understand why both my puppy and husband were anxiously pacing back and forth in front of the oven while they baked.
- 6 Chicken Breasts (cut into strips)
- 1 Pound of Smoked Organic Bacon
- 1 Tsp Cayenne
- 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 Tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 Tsp White Pepper
- 2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary (finely chopped)
1) Lay your strips on a large cutting board and season with the spices and rosemary.
2) Wrap each piece of chicken with a strip of bacon (Secure it with a toothpick if necessary)
3) Preheat oven to 415F. Place your wrapped strips onto a rack and make sure there is a pan underneath wrapped in tin foil to catch all the bacon drippings.
4) Bake the strips for 15-20 mins. Increase the oven temperature to 475F. Turn your strips over and place back into the oven. Mine only needed 10 minutes more to get crispy on both sides. You may need to adjust the time based on how crispy you want your bacon but remember do not leave it in too long as your chicken will dry out.
5) Remove your strips once they are done and let them sit for a few moments so nobody scalds their tongue with hot bacon 🙂
Serve and Enjoy!
Not that you can’t find a good one in a store, but nothing can beat a great homemade salsa!
I haven’t made this in while but it is always a crowd pleaser especially in the hot summer months.
I believe my husband at one point hid the bowl of salsa in the kitchen in an attempt to save some while periodically paying it a visit with a handful of sweet potato chips. I don’t blame him, in fact I gave him props for a valiant effort. The bowl was soon uncovered by one of our friends and the salsa was gone soon after that.
All the below are diced finely (or place into a food processor)
- 5 Ripe Vine Tomatoes
- 1 Medium Red Pepper
- 1 Ripe Avocado *optional (make sure it isn’t too ripe so it isn’t mushy, hand dice)
- 1 Jalapeno (seeds removed if you do not want it too spicy)
- 1/2 Medium White Onion
- Generous handful of Fresh Cilantro
- 2 Cloves of Garlic
- Juice from 1 Lime
- Seasoning salt and pepper to taste.
- Dice tomatoes or place into food processor and chop finely.
- Remove and strain tomatoes so your salsa isn’t too watery.
- Place the rest of your ingredients except salt, pepper and avocado into food processor and chop finely.
- Combine everything into large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- If adding avocado, dice finely and add as well.
This is one of my all time favorite winter soups!
It is super easy and quick to make and most importantly it fills you up quick on a cold winter’s day.
After making this soup several times before I often found the Butternut squash too over powering and sweet so I changed up my strategy and added some kick to the pot with cumin and cayenne.
- 1 Large Butternut Squash (peeled and cut into cubes)
- 1/2 Sweet White Onion (chopped)
- 2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme
- 4-5 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Tsp Ground Cumin
- 2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/2 Tsp Turmeric
- 8 Cups Chicken Broth (I always use the powdered NO MSG stuff)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
1) In a large pot, heat up the oil then throw in the onions to brown them.
2) Add in your garlic and Butternut Squash cubes mixing constantly to allow it to coat in the olive and onion.
3) Slowly add in 3 cups of the broth and bring to a boil.
4) Add in your thyme and spices and mix.
5) Add in the rest of the broth and bring to a boil. Let everything simmer on medium for about 15 – 20 mins or until the squash is soft.
6) Remove from the heat and using a hand held blender puree the soup mix until it is smooth.
7) Return back to the heat and bring to a boil again allowing everything to cook a bit more for about 5 mins.
Serve it up and enjoy 🙂
These over sized radishes as best describe by my mother often go overlooked.
I myself have never given them a shot until I got sick of eating sweet potatoes and squashes as part of our Paleo diet. I needed something with a different taste to keep things interesting on our dinner plate. While talking to my mom about random things she had mentioned how she saw these over sized radish things at the market and she didn’t know what they were called. I had no idea what she was talking about so I did a bit of research. Turns out they were turnips! Having never even considered them as something to eat, I went on trusty Google to find out what these bad boys taste like to figure out what best to pair them with. The descriptions I came across ranged from strong potato like texture with a hint of radish to feet believe it or not! As terrifying as the whole feet description I came across was, I decided to pick them up on my next trip to the market and give them a shot.
Let me tell you… they do not taste like feet! At least not how mine turned out. In my opinion they are in fact potato-like in terms of texture. For the taste portion, I found it to be a mix of potato with a hint of horseradish as it does have a bit of a strong taste (in a good way). That being said…this mix of tastes went perfectly with some slow cooked pork tenderloin I made!!
How I made them…careful it is very hard lol
I peeled and cut the turnips into wedges, drizzled them with olive oil (1 1/2 Tbsp), seasoned them with seasoning salt, garlic powder and paprika and baked for about 40 mins at 400F (turning them half way through).
I then whipped up a spicy garlic mustard sauce with some garlic for dipping and voila! Turnip “fries” !
These guys will no longer go unnoticed at the market by me. They add such a great burst of flavor and are super easy to make!
If you think the flavor is too much, add in some sweet potato wedges into the mix to have some sweet bits as well 🙂
While it is still over a month away to the first day of Spring, we have had some lovely weather in town so I decided to brighten the short days even more with some lovely flowers!
Now when I come in, the home is filled with the slightest hint of these sweet flowers.
I got to say when I was looking around my kitchen for things I could make for dinner I was at a loss. I haven’t done the groceries yet this week so all I had was a bunch of canned and pickled items and a defrosted package of chicken.
This is what I put on my counter… Green Olives, Roasted Red Peppers, Sundried Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Garlic, Shallots, Rosemary, Balsamic Vinegar and Chicken.
I then decided to make my own take on Tapenade and wrap it up with chicken.
For the Tapenade”esque” filling:
I chopped up 40 medium olives, 3 roasted peppers, 4 tablespoons of sundried tomatoes and 2 cloves of garlic very finely.
Then in a pan, I heated up 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil. Once ready I threw in 1 small shallots (finely chopped) and let it brown followed by the olive mix and sauteed everything for a few minutes to let the flavors combine. Set aside so it can cool.
For the Chicken:
On a large cutting board I filleted my chicken breasts into thin pieces and then took out some emotion with the meat tenderizer to make them even thinner.
I then seasoned my chicken with some white pepper and cayenne and preheat the oven to 425F.
Once my chicken was ready I spread the olive mix over the slices and rolled them up using toothpicks to keep the rolls tight.
I placed my rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment and brushed a bit of olive oil over them followed by a sprinkling of almond flour.
I then baked them for 25 mins.
For the Sauce on Top:
I simply reduced 1 cup of Balsamic Vinegar on medium heat, chopped up some fresh rosemary and threw it in.
Then once the chicken was ready to be put on the plates I drizzled it with the reduction.
All I can say is what turned out was absolutely delicious!