Monday, December 19, 2011

Thin Mint Cookies

My second batch of Christmas cookies. These are reminiscent of the Girl Guide mint cookies and are very addictive. Be sure to cut them thin or they will turn out hard instead of crispy.

From Baking Bites, makes 2 dozen cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

10 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

In the bowl of the stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. With the mixer on low, add the milk, vanilla extract and peppermint extract. Gradually add in the dry ingredients.

Divide the dough in half and roll each half into a 1-1/2 inch diameter log. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for an hour until the dough is very firm.

Preheat the over to 375 F. Remove the dough from the freezer and slice the dough into rounds no more than 1/4 inch thick. Place the rounds onto a parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookies are firm at the edges. Allow the cookies to cool completely.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Add the peppermint extract. Dip each of the cookies into the melted chocolate and allow to set on a wire rack.



Amy

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Baked Ricotta Dip

I made this for a Christmas potluck and it was a huge success. Unfortunately I din't manage to get any photos.

Adapted from Inspired Edibles

500 mL container ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons Kalamata olives, finely chopped
3 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon hot chili pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil (or oil from sun dried tomatoes)

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and mix to combine. Transfer the ingredients into an oven proof dish.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until cheese mixture is warmed through and starts to bubble around the edges.

Remove from oven and drizzle with olive oil. 

Serve warm with an assortment of crackers, bread and vegetables.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Pumpkin Risotto

This is the first recipe I made from my home-grown, home-made pumpkin puree. It could also be made with pureed squash.

Adapted from Chef In You, serves two

1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup pumpkin puree
5 to 8 cups of vegetable stock or water
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt
Pepper
4 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
Balsamic vinegar, for garnish

Melt the butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Add the garlic and onions and saute until soft. Add the rice and saute until the grains are translucent, about 2 minutes.

In the meantime, warm the vegetable stock or water in another saucepan. Ladle 1/2 cup of warm stock in to the rice and stir well. Continue adding stock, 1/2 cup at a time, every time the rice absorbs the liquid, while stirring constantly. Continue cooking and adding stock until the rice is tender. With the last of the stock, add the pumpkin puree.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, nutmeg and pepper. You can also add another tablespoon or more of butter if you desire a creamier risotto.

Top with additional parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar. Serve immediately.


Amy

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sugar Cookies with Eggnog Frosting

It is officially the Christmas baking season!

Nothing says Christmas like eggnog so I couldn't resist this recipe. Soft fluffy sugar cookies topped with rich eggnog frosting... these cookies are heavenly...

Adapted from Authentic Suburban Gourmet, makes three dozen cookies

6 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 cup butter, softened
2 cup sugar 
3 eggs 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sour cream

1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
4 cups icing sugar 
6 tablespoons eggnog 
1 teaspoon nutmeg



In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and sour cream. Beat at low speed until combined.

Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. The dough will be very sticky. 
Divide the dough in half and flatten each half into rectangles. Wrap each rectangle with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator overnight or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners.

Dust the dough and countertop with flour. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Using a 2-1/2 inch round cookie cutter or a glass, cut the dough into circles and transfer the circles to the baking sheet. 



Bake for 7 minutes or until starting to turn golden.

To make the frosting, 
cream together the butter and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar until incorporated. Add in the eggnog, 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. Add the nutmeg and beat to combine. 

Frost the cookies using a knife or spatula. Refrigerate overnight to allow the frosting to set and the flavours to develop.





Enjoy!


Amy

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pumpkin Puree

I was quite surprised to return home after a five week vacation to find that the tiny pumpkins from our garden had turned beautifully orange and were showing no signs of rot. So I decided to try making my own pumpkin puree. Now I just need to decide what to make with it...



From Martha Stewart

One or more fresh pumpkin

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut off the pumpkins stem and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds with a spoon. Place the pumpkins on a large baking sheet, cut side down. Roast for about one hour or until tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Pull the skin off the pumpkin or scoop out the inside flesh. Place the pumpkin flesh inside a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth. Transfer the pumpkin puree into the cheesecloth. Allow to drain for at least four hours or until firm.

Store the prepared puree in the refrigerator or freezer.


Amy


Tip: Instead of cheesecloth you can use paint strainer bags that can be purchased from your local paint store. They are typically plastic which means they can be easily washed and reused!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Baked French Toast

This is a fantastic dish to serve at a brunch because it requires so little work! It can also be prepared the night before allowing the bread to soak up the egg mixture overnight.

Sorry for the lack of photos. I made this for the "crew" the morning we poured our new concrete steps and it disappeared before I could get a picture.


Serves four

1 large sour dough loaf
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup blueberries
3 tablespoons raw or brown sugar

Preheat over to 350 F. Grease a 9x12 casserole.

Cut the bread into one inch cubes and place into a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Pour the mixture over top of the bread and stir to ensure all of the bread is well covered.

Transfer to the casserole and top with blueberries and sugar.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve hot with your favourite french toast toppings.


Amy

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chèvre Goat Cheese

Fresh goat cheese or Chèvre is one of the easiest cheeses to make and only takes a day before it is ready to be eaten.

I order all of my cheese cultures and supplies from The Cheesemaker but you can also get convenient starter kits from Urban Cheesecraft.

From 200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes; From Cheddar and Brie to Butter and Yogurt by Debra Amrein-Boyes, makes about 2 pounds


4 litres goat milk
1/4 teaspoon mesophilic culture
1 drop liquid rennet
Kosher salt


In a large pot, warm the milk to 77 F or 25 C, constantly stirring. Remove from heat.


Sprinkle the culture over the surface of the milk and let stand for about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon and a gentle up-down motion, mix the culture into the milk. 

Dilute the rennet in 1 tablespoon of cool water. Add to the milk and combine using the same up-down motion. Cover the pot and let rest at room temperature for 24 hours. 

After 24 hours the milk will have formed a large disk of curd that is floating on top of the whey.


Using a slotted spoon, transfer the curd to a draining bog or to a cheesecloth lined colander. Let the curd drain for 6 to 7 hours.


Remove the cheese from the bag and place into a bowl. Weight the cheese and add 1% of the weight in the cheese in salt. For example, the cheese should weigh approximately 2 pounds or 900 grams, therefore you would add 9 grams of salt. If the cheese is to be eaten immediately, simply add salt to taste.


The cheese can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Amy

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mussels

Serves four


5 pounds mussels
1/2 pound spicey italian sausage, chopped
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 jalapeño
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cups white wine
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup cream

 
Clean the mussels and discard any mussels with cracked shells. If any mussels are open, tap them gently against the counter and discard any mussels that don't close up within a few minutes.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute the sausage until cooked through. Add the onion, garlic and peppers, saute until soft.



Add the broth, jalapeno, tomatoes and wine to the skillet. Bring to a boil. Add the mussles and cover the pan.


Simmer until the mussels have opened, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open. Stir in the cream and basil, simmer for an additional minute.


Serve hot with crusty bread.

 
Amy

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pepper Jelly

From Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving, makes five 8 ounce jars

12 ounces jalapeño peppers, stemmed and seeded
2 cups apple cider vinegar
6 cups sugar
2 pouches pectin

Sterilize the jars and lids. Fill the canner with water and bring to a boil.

In a food processor, puree the peppers and 1 cup of the vinegar until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan. Add the remaining vinegar and the sugar. Bring to a boil over high hear. Stirring constantly, boil for 10 minutes. Stir in the pectin and continuing boiling for another minute. Remove from the heat and skim off any foam.

Pour the jelly into the prepared jars. Leave 1/4 inch of headspace. Wipe rim clean and fasten lid.

Process the jars for 10 minutes in the boiling water bath. Remove the jars and allow to cool.


Amy

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cheese Sauce

Adapted from AllRecipes

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups milk
1/3 cup cooking sherry (optional)
1 cup shredded cheese - any combination of swiss, cheddar, mozzarella, etc

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add in the flour, paprika, mustard, and pepper. Stir constantly until the flour begins to brown. Add the milk and sherry, stirring constantly until thickened.

Stir in the cheeses until melted and well blended.

Serve over broccoli or your favorite vegetables.

  

Amy

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chalk Paint

This is not a edible recipe but a fun one none-the-less. I have been looking for an excuse to try making my own chalk paint ever since I spotted the recipe on Centsational Girl and Shauna's baby shower turned out to be the perfect occasion (yes I know I am four months late posting this...). I painted plain wooden ovals from Michael's and then adhered them to skewers and clothes pins to make miniature signs for the food.





I stuck with the traditional charcoal colour but you can make this any colour your heart desires.

Adapted from Centsational Girl, makes approximately one cup

3/4 to 1 cup of latex or acrylic paint
2 tablespoons non-sanded grout

In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup of the paint and grout. Mix until combined.


Continue adding paint as required until the paint has the consistency of "runny oatmeal". No matter how hard you mix, the paint will not be perfectly smooth and will still have small grains of grout.

 

Apply as you would regularily apply craft paint. As you apply the paint, the majority of the grout granules will dissolve resulting in a relatively smooth surface but pick out any larger lumps of grout. Multiple coats maybe required to get good coverage.


Happy crafting!


Amy

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

A special fall treat!

Adapted from Made In Melissa's Kitchen, makes 24 cupcakes

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled
4 eggs
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 to 4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the brown sugar, sugar, butter and eggs. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Mix on low until smooth. Fold in the pumpkin puree.

Divide the batter among the paper liners, filling only about halfway. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

To make the caramel sauce, combine the 1/2 cup of sugar and water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color. Remove from heat and slowly add in the cream and vanilla. Stir until smooth.  Let the caramel cool for about 20 minutes.


To make the buttercream frosting, in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the butter and salt together until fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Continue to add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. 

Slowly add half of the caramel sauce with the mixer on low speed.  Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 

Transfer the frosting to an icing bag with a No. 1 star tip and frost the cupcakes. Drizzle the remaining caramel sauce over top of the frosting.




Enjoy!

Amy 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tomato Chile Jelly

I have been madly searching for ways to preserve our beautiful heirloom tomatoes because our plants are producing faster than we can eat this year.



From Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen


18 ounces tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 to 4 red chiles
4 cloves garlic
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

In a food processor, puree the chiles, garlic, ginger and fish sauce until smooth. Transfer the puree to a large saucepan and add the sugar, vinegar and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Remove from heat.

Transfer to sterilized jars. The jelly can be eaten immediately or processed for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.




Amy

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Roasted Vegetable Tart

With the green tomatoes gone - time to move on to the ripe tomatoes. We had the most amazing crop of heirloom tomatoes this year.

This recipe is a little complicated for your average weeknight but is oh so delicious.

From ecurry, serves two



1 16 ounce can chickpeas
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or the oil from the sun dried tomatoes
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini


1 medium red onion, thickly sliced
2 leeks, sliced
2 zucchini, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
6 cloves of garlic. minced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
red crushed pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup club soda
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese or crumbled feta cheese
Balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 F.



Combine the chickpeas, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, oil, lemon juice and tahini in a food processor. Process until smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, salt, herbs, crushed pepper and garlic. Add in the vegetables and toss to coat. Grill the vegetables on a cast iron grill or barbeque or place all of the vegetables in a single layer in a baking tray and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
In a bowl combine the flour, salt, black pepper and herbs. Whisk together club soda and oil until well combined and then pour into the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until the mixture forms starts to form a dough with no dry flour left. If it is too dry, add more club soda or water. Gently work with your fingers until a consistent dry dough.

Divide the dough into two parts and roll gently between two sheets of waxed paper into a rectangle. Prick the crust with a fork. Bake the crusts on a parchment lined baking sheet at for about 12 minutes or until golden.

Spread about 1/2 cup of hummus on each crust. Arrange the vegetables on the top of the hummus. Sprinkle with cheese and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Bake the tart in the oven for a couple minutes, just enough to warm though and melt the cheese.



Amy

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Green Tomato Gratin

A little more original and refined than the traditional fried green tomatoes. I was actually surprised how the freshen and tartness of the tomatoes lent itself so well to the creamy gratin.

From No Recipes, serves 4


1 pound green tomatoes, sliced 1/8″ thick
1/2 cups breadcrumbs or panko
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons butter
1 large shallot, minced
2 teaspoons flour
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat over to 450 F. Lightly oil a casserole dish.
In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and oil olive. Stir to combine. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and sauté until fragrant. Add the flour and cook for about one minute longer. Whisk in the cream, ensuring all of the flour is broken up. Add the cheese, salt and nutmeg. Continue whisking until well combined. 
Dip the tomato in the white sauce and arrange in the casserole dish. Spread the remaining sauce over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top. 
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the breadcrumbs are browned. 




Amy

Monday, October 17, 2011

Another Year of CSA

This was our second year as members of the Noble Gardens CSA. Despite some problems with bugs and weathers, there was still an abundance of vegetables every week. This past month my grocery bag has been overflowing and we have hardly been able to keep up with eating everything before it spoils. 



We have already signed up to participate again next summer. If you are interested you can check out the Noble Gardens website and register online or search out a CSA in your neighbourhood.

Amy

Saturday, October 15, 2011

In The Garden: Harvest

This past weekend we threw in the towel and harvested the last of our garden. Our yard now looks quite sad - all bare and ready for winter.

Brussel Sprouts

Carrots and Parsnips

Pumpkins

Tomatoes

We ended up harvesting a large box of tomatoes - half are still green but we have several pounds that are ripe and ready for eating. We have more than we will ever be able to eat or can so drop us a line if you would like some garden fresh tomatoes for yourself!



Amy

Green Tomato Pickles

This year I didn't have the time or patience to wait for my box of green tomatoes to ripen so I decided to do something different - eat them! 


Making green tomato pickles is essentially the same as making traditional dill pickles. The best part - the acid from tomatoes and vinegar mean that a boiling water bath is not necessary.

Adapted from Williams Sonoma: The Art of Preserving, makes 6 quart jars

2 1/2 pounds green cherry tomatoes
2 cups cider vinegar
4 cups water
1/2 cup kosher salt
12 bay leaves
2 tablespoons picking spice
6 cloves garlic
6 teaspoons dill seed
6 teaspoons dill
3/4 teaspoon celery seeds

In a sauce pan, combine the vinegar, water and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve salt.

In each jar place 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon pickling spice, a garlic clove, 1 teaspoon dill seed, 1 teaspoon dill and 1/8 teaspoon celery seed. Pack the tomatoes into the jars leaving about 1 inch of room at the top of the jars.

Ladle the boiling brine into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims clean and tightly seal the lids.

Let the pickles sit for at least two weeks to allow the flavours to develop.





Amy


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kim Chi

Kim Chi is the spicy Korean version of sauerkraut. It is served as a condiment with most Korean dishes.

It is traditionally done with Napa cabbage but I used the standard green cabbage from our CSA baskets. If you can not find the Korean chili powder (gochugaru) you can use Chili Garlic Sauce.


Adapted from Mark's Daily Apple

3 pounds cabbage
3/4 cup kosher salt
8 to10 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 to 3/4 cup Korean red chili powder
8 to10 scallions, chopped into 1 inch pieces

Cut the cabbages lengthwise into quarters and then across into 1 inch thick ribbons. In a big bowl, dissolve the salt in 8 cups of cold water. Transfer the cabbage to the bowl and use your hands to toss it in the salt water. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave it to rest for 6 hours to overnight.

Remove the cabbage from the salt water and squeeze out as much moisture as possible from the leaves.

Combine the garlic, ginger, fish sauce and honey in food processor and blend until very finely minced. Stir in the chili powder.

Combine the green onions, cabbage and spice mixture, mixing well to coat all the cabbage leaves. Divide the cabbage into quart canning jars, pressing down firmly to remove any air bubbles. Seal the jar with plastic wrap and an elastic band. Let sit at room temperature for 72 hours or longer to ferment. Once fermented to your taste it can be stored in the refridgerator up to 3 months.





Amy

Monday, October 3, 2011

Asian Chicken Burgers with Miso Dressing


These are by far the moistest chicken burgers I have ever had - I think it is due to the mayonnaise. The dressing would also work well as a salad dressing. I actually skipped the bun and served our burgers on a bed of vegetables.

Serves four

1/2 pound ground chicken
3 tablespoons green onion, chopped
1 1/3 cup panko or breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 large egg
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili flakes
Salt
Pepper

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons miso
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, onion, panko, mayonaise, egg and seasonings. Combine well and form into patties. Fry or bar-be-que the patties until cooked through.

 

In the mean time, combine the ginger, soy sauce, miso, rice vinegar, oil, sugar and sesame seeds in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.



Garnish the burgers as desired and serve.

Amy

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Zucchini Cake

I made six batches of this in one go in order to deal with the abundance of zucchini in our garden. I had attempted to make a paleo version but it was a failure so I resorted to the traditional recipe.

Adapted from Martha Stewart, makes one loaf or 12 muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup zucchini, grated and drained
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray the loaf pan with vegetable oil.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, salt and egg until combined. Add the vanilla, zucchini and sour cream. Incorporate the flour and cocoa powder. Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips.

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean, about 25 minutes.





Amy

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rhubarb Chutney

Chutneys are one of my favourite condiments and a standard of our fall canning regime. Normally I do peach chutney but this year I was inspired by a recipe I saw for rhubarb chutney.

Chutneys also make an excellent marinade or sauce for grilled chicken.


Adapted from Deanna's Daughter, Makes 8 to 10 Half-Pint Jars


8 cups rhubarb, roughly chopped
6 cups onion, diced
2 cups raisins
4 cups brown sugar
4 cups cider vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 teaspoons pickling spice

Place the pickling spice into a square of cheese cloth and tie into a bundle. In a large heavy bottomed pot, combine all of the ingredients including the bundle of pickling spice.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Simmer for an hour to thicken.

Sterilize and prepare the jars.


Ladle the hot mixture into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims and seal the lids.

Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.


Amy


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Date & Nut (Lara) Bars

This homemade version of Lara Bars is another one of our staple hiking snacks. So simple to make, only fruit, nuts and spices, but oh so messy! Be prepared for some very sticky fingers.

I make this in big batches at the beginning of the hiking season and then store them in the freezer. Warning, unless you have an industrial strength food processor, do not more than double the recipe.

The possible combinations of fruits and nuts is endless. You can also add cocoa powder or bittersweet chocolate to the mix.

Makes two bars


1/4 cup dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup dried cherries, cranberries, raisins
1/3 cup pecans, almonds, peanuts or walnuts
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Add the dates and cherries to a food processor. Pulse until the fruit has formed a paste. Transfer the paste to a bowl and set aside.


Add the nuts to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.



Add the nuts to the fruit paste along with the cinnamon.


Use your fingers to knead the nuts and fruit until well combined.


Divide the the mixture in half and form into rectangular bars.


Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Amy

Friday, September 16, 2011

Now Printable

At the request of one of my faithful followers (thanks for the suggestion Candace!), I have added a print function to my blog.

Now on each post a "Print" button will appear below my signature. Simply select that button and you will be redirected to a page that allows you to format the page to your liking.


Amy

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Baked Potato Salad

Another recipe from Shauna's baby shower. This version of potato salad is a lot lighter than the traditional mayonaise and egg based recipes. It is a perfect salad for a summer potluck or picnic.



From Martha Stewart, serves four


2 pounds new potatoes, quartered
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup green onions or chives, thinly sliced
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

In a large pot, cover the potatoes water. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain.

In a large boil, whisk together the sour cream and mayonnaise. Add the potatoes, green onions and bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Fold to combine.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.


 Amy

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Trail Bars

I actually made this recipe at the end of June for our Ribbon Lake hiking trip but the photos ended up in the Yukon with Dave...

These are one of our favorite sweet treats for the trail - they are essentially rice crispy squares on steroids. Feel free to adjust the portions to your taste - we always end up adding more peanut butter!

Makes 24 squares

1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pecans
1/3 cup almonds, slivered
1/3 cup coconut flakes
3-1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter
7 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup chocolate chips

In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the seeds, nuts and coconut flakes. Cook until the sesame seeds start to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the cranberries and rice cereal. Transfer to a bowl.


In the skillet over low heat, combine the peanut butter, butter and marshmallows, continuously stirring until melted. Add the cereal mixture and stir until evenly coated.


Press half of the mixture into the bottom of a greased cake pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and then press the remaining half of the mixture on top.


Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan and cutting.




Amy
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