Mediterranean Dip

Mediterranean Dip

This dip is easy to put together and is packed with fresh Mediterranean flavours — it’s nice to have in the afternoon on the deck, or if you have some friends drop over.  As ‘entertaining’ season begins (at least for me, being at the lake), it’s nice to have some easy appetizer ideas.  As usual, you can modify this to your taste. Continue reading

Smashed Baby Taters

smashed baby potatoes with ketchup

Here’s a simple way to cook potatoes that everyone loves. Great on their own, or as a side with practically anything.  Excellent with breakfast too.

Smashed Baby Taters

makes about 4 servings

3 lbs baby white and red potatoes, cleaned and trimmed

1/4 cup butter

sea salt

Directions:

In a large saucepan,  place potatoes. Cover with water and a generous teaspoon of salt. Cook until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and cool for a few minutes until they are  easy to handle.

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Between both palms, ‘smash’ potatoes gently until their skins break and the potatoes are flattened slightly. Place them in the pan without crowding them too much. Sprinkle very liberally with salt.  Let smashed potatoes cook until browned, then flip and repeat. Add more butter if necessary, bearing in mind that butter is good for you. Remove from pan when brown and crispy. Serve and enjoy.

Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender, about 8 minutes.

when cool enough, gently smash those babies

Saute over medium heat, don't foget to be liberal with the salt. Potatoes need salt.

 

Quick Cheesy Drop Biscuits

cheesy tender delicious biscuits

Here’s a really good recipe to make – it’s a basic drop biscuit recipe but I’ve thrown in some old cheddar and a little garlic powder.  So, if you want plain biscuits, take those two items out. It’s a big recipe – I made small biscuits here (for a potluck) and I got about 45 biscuits (about 3 inch diameter after baking).  Alternatively, you may want big, fat drop biscuit and you can go right ahead. Adjust your baking times accordingly. These are fast and so easy.

Quick Cheesy Drop Biscuits

makes about 20 large or 40 mini biscuits

2 eggs

4Tbsp granulated sugar

2 cups milk

2 Tbsp melted butter

 

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

3 tsp cream of tartar

2 cups shredded old cheddar

1 tsp garlic powder (optional)

 

*additional melted butter to brush on tops

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425F.  Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

Mix 1 cup of the milk with the eggs and sugar until combined.

Add the remaining cup of milk and melted butter.

Mix dry ingredients together, stirring in shredded cheese and  garlic powder.   Add to milk mixture.  Stir until just combined. Dough should be wet and sticky.

Drop blobs of dough on baking sheets. Bake 7-10 minutes for small, 12-15 minutes for large or until bottoms are lightly browned.  Brush with

melted butter, if desired. Cool slightly, these are best enjoyed warm.

mix wet ingredients, add cheese to flour mixture, then combine

mix cheese in with flour mixture

mix until just combined. Dough will be sticky.

drop blobs on baking sheet. Small or large, you decide.

bake until bottoms are browned and tops bounce back when pressed with a finger

brush tops with melted butter if desired.

these are awesome with soup or stew or on their own

 

 

 

 

Deep Dish Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Deep Dish Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

the insides....yum

These are fun to make – everyone loves these, and they taste so much better than the ones you buy – a real treat.  I would use a milk chocolate or if you want it darker than that – maybe a chocolate around 55-60% at the most. Give them a try — easy, but there are a few steps involved.

Deep Dish Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

from Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen

makes 8  large treats

8 muffin liners

8 ounces of milk or dark chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup cream cheese

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp pure vanilla

1/2 tsp grated fresh nutmeg

Directions:

Place muffin liners in muffin tin. (this recipe uses regular sized muffin liners).

In a heatproof bowl over a pot with about an inch of boiling water, place chopped chocolate, stirring occasionally until fully melted. Turn off heat.  Using a small pastry brush, and holding the muffin liner steady, paint the bottom and about 2/3 of the way up the sides of the liner with chocolate.  Place pan in refrigerator until chocolate has hardened.

Place peanut butter and cream cheese in processor and process until smooth. Scrape down sides and add honey, vanilla and grated nutmeg. Remove chocolate cups from fridge and place 2 to 3 tablespoons of peanut butter filling into each cup.  Smooth top of filling to make level. Place back in fridge to firm up, abotu 15 minutes.

Reheat your leftover chocolate over hot water until melted again. Spoon chocolate over top of your chilled peanut butter filling, sealing the edges.  Refrigerate again until firm. To serve, peel off liners. Enjoy. Keep refrigerated, but they taste best if you let them warm up a bit (10 minutes or so) before serving.

melt chocolate in heatproof bowl over an inch of simmering water

Mix up peanut butter filling with cream cheese in processor. Add other ingredients.

paint insides of muffin liners with chocolate, about 2/3 of the way up the sides. Let harden.

place filling into cups, leveling it. Place back in fridge to firm up.

Spoon remaining chocolate over filling to seal edges. Back in the fridge to harden.

Yum

Santa likes these.

Old Fashioned Carrot Bread (with Gluten-Free option)

Old Fashioned Carrot Bread

When I saw this recipe in an older cookbook that was discussing the history of Nova Scotia and it’s settlers, I couldn’t wait to try it. I’ve never heard of carrot bread before but since we all love carrot cake, I figured I couldn’t go wrong. The result is a deliciously dense, moist loaf with tons of fall flavour — perfect for breakfast on the run, afternoon tea or bedtime snack. Oatmeal, raisins, carrots, nuts… it’s much healthier than any purchased breakfast cereal or snack bar.  The method of preparation is slightly different than most loaves (see instructions), but it is still a very easy recipe and I know it’ll be a favourite once you try it. Enjoy!

Carrot Bread

makes one 9 x 5 loaf

adapted from Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens by Marie Nightingale

1 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup raisins (or craisins)

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter (or coconut oil)

1/2 tsp each nutmeg, ginger, cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup water

1/2 cup pecans (or walnuts or nut of your choice) chopped

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup large flake oats

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

Directions:

Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place pan on a baking sheet. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325 F.

In medium saucepan, combine carrots, raisins, sugar, spices, butter and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 5 minutes. In separate bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, nuts and salt.  Pour carrot mixture into flour mixture. Stir until well combined. Pour into loaf pan. Bake for 30 45 minutes or until tester comes out clean or with a few crumbs stuck to it. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan, slice and enjoy.

*For Gluten-Free option – replace flour with all-purpose gluten-free flour and add 1/2 tsp xantham gum.

mix carrots, sugar, butter, spices, water and vanilla in pot. Cook for 5 minutes.

mix flour, oats, nuts, baking powder and soda and salt in bowl.

mix carrot mixture into flour mixture, until well combined.

bake loaf for 30-45 mins, until tester comes out clean

Cool and slice.

Gluten free (with raisins) on right, regular flour (with craisins) on left. Both delicious.