Monday, 4 February 2013

Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I made this dish last night and the sprouts were all eaten before we even put dinner on our plates!  I guess they should be called brussels sprouts appetizers.  And for some reason, I was surprised to see that my bag of frozen store-brand brussels sprouts were from Belguim, but yeah, I guess that makes sense.  Anyway, here's a very quick and easy way to cook brussels sprouts so they're nice and caramelized and tasty:


1 (1 lb) bag frozen brussels sprouts
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Dump brussels sprouts onto a baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle sprouts with olive oil toss to coat.
  4. Sprinkle some salt & pepper over the sprouts
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes, then shake the pan a little so the sprouts roll around. You could flip them with a spatula, but that's just one more thing to wash.
  6. Bake another 5-10 minutes until sprouts are slightly browned
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with balsamic and more salt & pepper, if needed, to taste.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Chocolate Pumpkin Custards from Extra Pumpkin Pie Filling

I don't know about you, but every time I make pumpkin pie filling, I always have extra filling left over.  Maybe I have weird sized pie pans, but this seems to happen no matter what size I use.  So what's a baker to do?  I've tried just baking the filling plain in a couple of ramekins, but it's not so good without the crust.  So I came up with this recipe on the fly by making a butter-crumb-chocolate crust in some ramekins and using up the filling that way.  Let me tell you, these are SOOO good!  When they're warm out of the oven, it's like eating a gooey chocolate chip cookie with a bit of spice.

The recipe is below, but first here's the step-by-step with pictures.

First I melted butter, then crushed up a snack pack of Ritz crackers, added a couple spoonfuls of sugar and mixed it up.

The oven was already set at 350 to bake the pumpkin pie, so I stuck lined 3 ramekins with the crumb mixture and baked it for about 10 minutes.  While they were still warm, I sprinkled about a tablespoon of chocolate chips on each one.  I was going to bake it again, but then I noticed the chocolate chips were already melting.  I tried smearing them around to get an even coating, but all that did was make the chocolate pick up chunks of the cracker crumbs.

Next I poured the pumpkin pie filling into each of the ramekins.  It was just enough for three, but it probably would have worked with two.   Then, into the oven until they set - about 15 minutes.  They came out more firm than pumpkin pie, but I think that made them taste even better with the crust.

I didn't get a great picture of the finished product, but here's a blurry idea of what you get.  It's quite rich as is, but I'm sure some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream would be quite nice with it as well!

Pumpkin pie filling left over from a pie
1 snack size roll of Ritz crackers- about 14 crackers*
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup chocolate chips
*you could substitute graham crackers or really any dry cookie/cracker for the Ritz crackers.
  1. Melt the butter in the microwave.  about 15 seconds will do it, but keep an eye on it so it doesn't explode all over!

  2. Crush crackers (I just squeezed the roll of crackers until it was crushed), mix with melted butter and 2 tsp sugar.

  3. Divide cracker crumb mixture evenly among ramekins.

  4. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes

  5. Divide chocolate chips among ramekins while still hot, distributing evenly across the cracker crumbs.  The chocolate chips will melt a bit.

  6. Pour pumpkin pie filling, dividing it evenly into each ramekin.

  7. Bake for about 15 minutes, until filling jiggles just a little when you shake it.

  8. Let cool slightly, and eat!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Peach and Strawberry Daiquiris

On a hot summer day, my husband decided to surprise me with a mystery drink.  We'd stocked up on peaches and strawberries since they're in season, so we had a bunch cut up and frozen in our freezer.  We also have some mint that survived the winter in an outdoor planter, so he threw some of that in there too.  What a refreshing drink!  And it beats paying $10 at a bar for one of these!

2 peaches
5 medium sized strawberries
10 ice cubes
a handful of mint leaves
2 tbsp vanilla syrup (the kind you use for coffee flavoring)
3 shots rum

1. Put all ingredients into blender.  Some blenders may have you put the ice in first.
2. Blend.
3. Pour and enjoy!

Note: You can substitute sugar for the syrup, or leave it out altogether.  Use fresh or frozen fruit - and if it's the kind in syrup, leave out the vanilla syrup/sugar, of course.  You can also use a couple drops of vanilla extract instead of the syrup if you're watching calories very closely.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Indian Spinach (or, classy creamed spinach)

I would call this saag paneer, but there's no paneer (cheese). But if you like saag paneer and you are either lazy, forgot to shop, or are in a hurry to make a quick meal for one (or maybe two), this is a keeper.  I tried this yesterday without the rice and it was a great.  Today I used the rest of it over macaroni and it made for super delicious mac n' cheese with an Indian twist.  I feel so fancy.

1 box of creamed spinach from the freezer
1/4 tsp curry powder (or to taste)
1/2 tsp garam masala (or to taste)
Rice or pasta

Heat the creamed spinach following the directions on the package.
Stir in the curry powder and garam masala.
Serve over rice or pasta.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Baked or Grilled Pattypan Squash

I was unfamiliar with pattypan squash before it found its way into our farm share. It's a neat looking veggie, and you don't have to peel it before eating! This makes a pretty appetizer, or can be served as a side dish.

4 pattypan squash
olive oil
8 basil leaves
shredded hard cheese (Parmesan or asiago work nicely)
salt & pepper, to taste

1. Cut off stem & bottom so the squash sits flat. Cut squash in half horizontally.

2. Brush cut ends of squash with olive oil.

3. If Grilling: Place cut sides on grill. Grill until soft, then flip over. Place a basil leaf on each squash, then sprinkle with shredded cheese. Close grill and cook until cheese is melted.

4. If Baking: Place one basil leaf on each squash half. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until cheese gets lightly browned.

5. Remove from heat and sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Sausage & Kale Soup

I had almost given up on this blog, but now that we've started getting a farm share from a local farm, we have lots of organic veggies that need to be cooked, and preferably cheaply!

This soup is a great way to use up the kale that we've been getting in our farm share. It's good for you, and it's cheap! The kale adds a nice peppery flavor despite looking like seaweed.

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 lb spicy sausage (such as chorizo), sliced thinly (about 4 sausages)
6 cups water or vegetable stock
1 bunch kale, shredded with scissors
4 potatoes, sliced thinly
salt & pepper (to taste)
olive oil

1. In a large pot, saute onion in olive oil until lightly browned. Add garlic and saute a minute more. Add potatoes and saute until potatoes are softened. Add water, season with salt & peeper and bring to a boil.

2. In a separate frying pan, cook sausage slices until browned. Drain and set aside.

3. With a masher or immersion blender, smoosh up potatoes in the soup, as desired.

4. Add sausage and let simmer for about 20 minutes more.

5. Just before serving, add kale and let cook for another 5 minutes.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Bubble & Squeak Cakes

(picture taken before frying)

These are traditional English food. Basically it's a way to use up leftover cabbage & potatoes. Though you may think that after eating a bunch of cabbage, the name "bubble and squeak" might refer to your stomach, it really refers to the cooking process: boiling water (bubble) & frying (squeak).

1lb potatoes
1 head cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic
1 egg
salt & pepper
mixed herbs (whatever you have on hand)
oil for frying

1. Wash potatoes, chop into big chunks and boil to soften.
2. While potatoes are boiling, blanch shredded cabbage & diced carrots for 3 minutes in boiling water.
2. Fry diced onion and chopped garlic in butter.
3. Mash potatoes, add fried onions & garlic, cabbage, carrots.
4. Add 1 egg, slightly beaten.
5. Season with salt & pepper and mixed herbs.
6. Form into patties, about hamburger size, 1 inch thick. Dredge in flour to coat. Refrigerate for 1 hour (optional).
7. Fry in oil, about 3-4 minutes each side.