Watermelon Salad with “Mojito” Dressing

This is a fun and delicious summer salad.  The presentation is great and the flavour even better. I made this to accompany our bbq tonight, and it was delicious. It would be perfect to bring to a summer bbq — your friends will think you are so creative, and one 6 or 7 pound watermelon makes enough for about 6 people. The ‘mojito’ dressing is reminiscent of your last Caribbean adventure and the watermelon reminds you of when you were a kid on a hot day and watermelon was the absolute best thing you could be offered.  The ingredients are simple and work together so well. Pick up your ingredients and make it on the weekend — I’ll bet this becomes a summer family favourite.

Watermelon  Salad

adapted from Pastry Queen Parties

1 seedless watermelon  (about 6-8 pounds)

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

2/3 cup diced feta cheese

Mojito Dressing

2 ounces fresh lime juice

2 tbsp rum (I used amber)

1/4 cup honey

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

2 tbsp rice vinegar

Salad:

Set the watermelon on its side and slice off a piece, just cutting into the rind, to make a flat surface so the watermelon is flat and sits securely on that flat surface. So, flip it to sit on the cut side and with a sharp knife (I used serrated), cut off the top quarter of the melon. Using a large metal spoon, carefully scoop out the flesh in large chunks.  Cut all the flesh into 1 to 2 inch chunks. Place in a large bowl. Carve and scrape out your watermelon ‘bowl’ (eating or saving any watermelon that you scrape out). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Mix the watermelon chunks gently with the chopped mint and red onion slices. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Dressing:

Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

When ready to serve your salad, add the dressing and the feta to the watermelon mixture. Mix gently then spoon into watermelon ‘bowl’. Place on a platter and enjoy. So good!

slice piece off bottom of watermelon

slice off top and scoop out flesh

prep your ingredients, hello, could this be easier?

see how good you can look with this salad in hand? ūüėČ

be careful when carrying it, it's so heavy!

Delicious!

Chocolate Cappuccino Ice Cream Sandwiches – gluten free

ice cream sandwiches, various sizes

the little ice cream sandwiches are great for little people like Audrey

I’ve been eager to make some ice cream sandwiches to have on hand in the freezer. (not for me, for others! I hate cookies and ice cream- wink wink). ¬†I wanted to have a chocolate/brownie-type cookie for the outside, and I had cappuccino frozen yogurt in the freezer, so I thought it would be a perfect marriage. These cookies are gluten-free, for my gluten-intolerant friends. They taste fabulous, like brownies but in cookie form. ¬†I haven’t tried this recipe with regular flour…I would probably decrease to one egg if I was going to try it with regular all-purpose white flour (and take out the xantham gum).¬† Obviously, the combination of cookies and ice cream is endless, but I have to say – these cookies, which are double chocolate with pecans, filled with a a thick layer of President’s Choice Frozen Cappuccino yogurt were¬†or-friggin-gasmic, to say the least.¬†So, give them a try, or at least get inspired to make your own combination. ¬†I baked my cookies on a cool day so I didn’t heat up the kitchen. Assemble, wrap and freeze sandwiches individually, and give them at least an hour or two to set up so they aren’t too squishy. What an awesome summer dessert for a bbq or just an amazing snack to pull out of the freezer for the kids or company! ¬†It will elevate you up to ‘rock star’ status for sure. ūüėČ

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies (gluten free)

adapted from A Baking Life 

makes about 4 dozen 2 1/2 inch cookies (24 sandwiches)

2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour

1 cup cocoa powder

2 tsp xantham gum

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened

I cup brown sugar

1 cup white granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with silpats, silicone or parchment paper.

In separate bowl, whisk together first 6  ingredients Р(flour through to salt). Set aside.

In large bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter and both sugars, until well blended and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, scraping sides of bowl until well incorporated. Add vanilla and mix.  Add the flour mixture in a few additions until well combined. Using a spatula, fold in pecans and chocolate chips.

Place balls of dough on cookie sheet, flattening slightly. I used a 1 inch cookie scoop, which produced a 2 1/2 inch cookie. You decide if you want dainty small ice cream sandwiches or large ones, or somewhere in between. I found the 2 1/2 inch cookie produced a nice sized sandwich, quite satisfying without being too heavy.  This size required 8 minutes of baking, after which I flattened the cookies down with a pie lifter (see picture) and then  baked for an additional 4 minutes and they were perfect. So about 12 minutes baking time total. Crispy with a chewy center. Adjust your time depending on the size of your cookies.

mix dry ingredients together, set aside.

mix together butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla

fold in choc chips and pecans after mixing flour mixture into batter

1 inch scoop yields a 2 1/2 inch cookie

flatten cookies after 8 minutes of baking, then bake additional 4 minutes

small (2 inch) sandwich - everyone can have one of these!

Anderson gave it 2 thumbs up

3 inch, 2 1/2 inch, 2 inch ice cream sandwiches

Tandoori Chicken

tandoori chicken

This is a great recipe for this time of year–bbq season– but also very good in the oven – and you will want to make this all year long. It’s got great concentrated flavour, and all you have to do is put together a super-easy, ¬†yogurt-based marinade, score your chicken, let it marinate and then bbq or bake it. ¬†The yogurt base tenderizes your chicken and the Middle Eastern spices make it aromatic and exotic tasting. ¬†Make sure your spices are fresh – ¬†it makes all the difference. You will be making this again and again, so you might as well get some fresh spices. ¬†I like to serve some cucumber raita alongside. (recipe below). You can use any type of chicken pieces you like. I usually use bone-in chicken breast, skinned and cut in two. ¬†You can marinate a big batch of chicken and put half in the freezer — it’s perfect for that. This recipe makes enough marinade for about 5-6 pounds (3 kg) of chicken. It will be a family favourite. Great the next day for lunch on a salad or with rice. TRY!

Tandoori  Chicken Marinade

1 medium onion, grated (or minced in processer)

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp minced  fresh ginger

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander seed

1/2 tsp tumeric (for colour, if you don’t have any, don’t worry about it)

¬ľ tsp cayenne (more if you like it hot)

1 tsp salt

1 cup plain yogurt

Juice of ¬Ĺ lemon

[1-3 kgs of chicken pieces]

[¬Ĺ cup melted butter for basting at the end.]

Mix up ingredients except chicken and ¬†melted butter–feel free to throw it all in the processor or grate and chop and mix by hand. ¬†Remove skin from chicken, and score deeply. Massage marinade into chicken. Best if meat is marinated for 24 hours. (minimum 6 hours)

*divide remaining marinade into freezer containers (1/2 cup each approx) and freeze. You can marinate the chicken and freeze it too -it works out perfectly.  Defrost and use when needed.

Cooking Instructions

If using BBQ

Turn one side of bbq on med-high. Put chicken in a ¬†foil pan. Place it on upper level on side of bbq that is unlit, to create a ‘convect’ affect.¬†Cook until internal temp of 165 F., approx. 30-40 minutes. Remove chicken from pan with tongs and place on direct heat of grill. Baste with butter , turning until nicely charred. Serve with Cucumber Raita.

If using Conventional Oven

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place chicken in roasting pan. Cook until internal temp of 165F. Melt butter. Baste chicken with butter. Turn on broiler, and place chicken under broiler until browned and glistening. Baste again before serving. Serve with Cucumber raita.

mixing up the marinade ingredients

use a cleaver to chop breast in half, then score the meat about 1/2 inch deep

massage marinade into the crevices, and let sit in the fridge to marinate

after baking on top shelf, place on grill, baste with butter until charred nicely

delicious with a salad ( healthy and low fat, low carb)

Cucumber Raita

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup grated cucumber

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (optional)

Grate cucumber and squeeze out liquid with paper towel. Mix into yogurt with cumin and salt.  If you have some  fresh coriander (cilantro) around, add that in too.  Serve with chicken.

Caesar Salad

caesar salad

Okay, I know it sounds so boring that I am putting in a recipe for Caesar Salad. Who doesn’t just buy Renee’s dressing? I was left without any salad greens today, and the only lettuce I could buy at our local store was a head of romaine.¬† ¬†I thought this dressing sounded pretty good, and it did turn out to be easy and flavourful, so what the hell. It can be used as dip for veggies too. ¬†A 6.5 oz serving is 150 calories, that’s almost a cup! A cup of delicious dip when you are starving, hello.

Caesar Salad – Low Fat

adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favourites

Dressing: (makes about 1 cup)

2 hard-boiled eggs

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 cup low fat cottage cheese

2 kalamata olives, pitted and minced

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp worchestershire sauce (*to make this GF, use GF tamari sauce instead)

salt and pepper to taste

Salad

1 medium head of romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

In food processor or blender, combine dressing ingredients, except salt and pepper — puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate. (will keep for several days in fridge).

Wash and dry lettuce, tear into bite-size pieces. Toss with about 1/3 cup of dressing to coat. Sprinkle with grated cheese, add sliced hard-boiled egg. Serve immediately. (serves 4)

simple ingredients

put dressing ingredients into processor

mixed dressing ready to go

Caesar salad

Miso-Glazed Pork Kebabs – great for BBQ

miso glazed pork kebabs

I noticed this recipe in the June 2011 issue of Chatelaine magazine and realized it would be the perfect recipe to finally use ‘miso’. I had never used it before but was eager to find out how to use it and how it tasted. I’m glad I did – this marinade is a perfect introduction to using it. I bought the ‘white’ miso at the health food store – it was in the cooler area where yogurt and that sort of thing was located. You can probably find it at an Asian grocery store as well. Give it a try, if you enjoy Japanese flavours, you’ll really enjoy these – easy, with great flavour and a minimum of ingredients – my favourite way to cook. Give it a whirl.

Miso Glazed Pork Kebabs

slightly adapted from Chatelaine magazine

2 tbsp miso paste

2 tbsp dry sherry

2 tbsp maple syrup or honey

1 tsp freshly grated ginger (or more if you love ginger)

1 tsp olive oil

1 lb (500 g) pork tenderloin, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 yellow, orange or red pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks

1 onion, cut into 1 inch chunks

Whisk together miso, sherry, maple syrup, ginger and oil in bowl.  Add pork tenderloin chunks to marinade and let stand for 15 minutes. If using wooden skewers, soak  skewers in water at least 20 minutes to prevent burning.   Preheat bbq to med-high. Thread pork, onions and peppers onto skewers.  Brush skewers with remaining marinade.  Oil grill, and bbq skewers, turning every few minutes, until pork is cooked throughРabout 10 minutes.  Delicious!

white miso paste

mix up marinade ingredients

prep your ingredients, can do ahead of time

thread your skewers, some plain for PICKY people

with a salad, a perfect dinner