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Pluot Skillet Cake

I keep coming back to this old recipe. In fact, I’m going to make it for Sunday dinner tonight. Just thought I would share because Pluots are currently in season and really quite delightful.

what have we got here?

I have to be honest with you, I’d never heard of a Pluot until only a few years ago!

While visiting my California cousins, we went to a farmers market where I first spied the strange little speckled plums!   But after trying them, I fell in love.

They have a much milder taste than the plums I am accustomed to and are very enjoyable.

So I had a few in my fruit basket that were getting just a little too ripe to eat comfortably so when I saw this recipe for something else, I thought why not try it with the pluots?

Pluots

I saw this original recipe in EAT Magazine which is a local publication celebrating food on Vancouver Island and other British Columbia locations.   I didn’t have everything that the recipe called for so I will give you the real recipe and then what I used instead.

  • 1…

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Zucchini Fritters

Here is a surprisingly tasty snack for you.

Over the last few weeks there seems to have been so many “Snack Worthy” things on TV.  All of the award shows and of course the Super Bowl…….

So I was looking for something a little more interesting to serve than all the usual suspects.

I happened to find something similar to this on a Vegan website – no need to tell anyone they were Vegan and spoil the decadent impression that they made!

In the original recipe they were served with a cashew cream, so they were truly Vegan.

I served them with sour cream laced with Chipolte Tabasco sauce, which is still a Vegetarian item!

Start by grating:

  • 3 medium zucchini

Put the grated zucchini into a clean tea towel and squeeze it over the sink as hard as you can to get as much of the liquid out as possible!

Then add to a mixing bowl with:

  • 1 medium grated carrot
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped red onion

Meanwhile grind in a coffee grinder or mini food processor:

  • 1 Tbsp flax seeds

And then add that to:

  • 3 Tbsp water

And let those sit together for about 5 – 10 minutes till they form a thick goop.

This is what we are going to use instead of the traditional egg.

However, if you don’t have any flax, or a grinder and don’t care about egg, by all means use egg!

Then toss together the flax with the zucchini, carrot, onion with:

  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Mix these all together till you get a nice thick batter.

Heat a skillet and add enough oil to coat the bottom, but I don’t like too much so they are swimming, but enough that the bottom is covered.  I even brush the oil around with a pastry brush so the pan is well coated.

Then start adding batches of about a 1/4 cup of mixture, as many as comfortably fits, and flatten them down.

Cook until golden and crispy on both sides.   Keep them warm in a low oven till they are all ready.

And then serve immediately!   With the topping of your choice.

These were really good considering there was no egg or real flour and really kept their shape.

 

zuccini fritters

Here’s an oldie but a goodie! Just thought I might share this one with you again and for those of you who missed it last time.

what have we got here?

I’m allergic to shellfish.   I wasn’t always, I used to love the little crustacean!

It started gradually.  I spent years enjoying shrimp and lobster, although I have to admit I was never really very keen on the crab.

Back in the day, we used to have a standing order, every Thursday night, I’d call ahead from work and we’d swing by and pick it up to go.  General Tso’s chicken and Singapore Noodles, every week.  But gradually after eating the noodles that were loaded with shrimp I would start to feel weird.  Racing heart, dizzy and my tongue would feel swollen, but I always blamed it on MSG.  So we started insisting on no MSG in our order.

Gradually I noticed it happened at other restaurants and with other shellfish dishes and the reactions became worse and worse, so I went and got tested for allergies and low and behold, much to…

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My WordPress is broken

Hi Everybody,

I’ve been trying desperately for the last couple of days to give you a post.  But it seems my WordPress is broken!

For some reason it won’t let me upload any pictures.

When I click the little icon that then let’s me add pic, absolutely NOTHING happens.

I’ve tried every which way of re-starting and all the regular stuff.   I even tried to do it on a different computer….in case it was just my machine…..but same thing.

I went to the WordPress support page but to no avail.  And you used to be able to email them with your troubles but now I don’t see anywhere to do that.

I am very sad, because I would very much like to share with you.

If you have any ideas, or have had the same problem PLEASE let me know!

I feel quite helpless.

Because what is a food blog without pictures???

Oh and it won’t let me add TAGS either!!

What is the world coming to?

Bacon and Egg Potato Salad

I know what you are thinking!

Potato Salad?  This late in the season?  Really?  That’s the best you could come up with??”

Well actually….it is PERFECT season!

Because I needed a vehicle of SOME kind to display the fruit of my labours!!

If you’ve been following along, you know that I have been attempting to grow some things in my BALCONY GARDEN over the summer.   It hasn’t been too good of a year for most things, but one thing that grew very well was the crazy potato plant!

Potato plant

But this last week the Chef and I moved house and I was concerned about moving all of the plants, many of them already in ruin from leaving them unattended while we galavanted around Oregon.  But the potato plant was still okay.

However it was big and unruly and I thought that it might be time to harvest soon anyway.   So I hacked off the plant part and figured whatever was in there could handle the move.  ( We only moved about three blocks down the road so….)

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Everyone kept commenting about just how heavy the container was, but I just poo pooed it, knowing that the bottom was lined with rocks for drainage……..

So a couple of days ago, I took a break from unpacking boxes and HAD to have a look at what might be in the potato bin!

I grabbed what was left of the plant and yanked it out.   There was a few nice little, egg sized potatoes attached as well as some tiny grape sized ones.   But I wasn’t discouraged because I knew that sometimes the break off the stem.

So with my little shovel and my hand I started rooting around in the dirt……

What the……WHAT???

My potato

I pulled out a VERY big potato!!  Bigger than a softball!   And then another and another………I couldn’t believe it!!  Just grown in a recycling bin!  Who knew!!

My potatoes compared to FULL size dinner fork!!

I was SO pleased that I had to make something with them……..I wanted to taste their fresh picked goodness!!

So on the first day I roasted all the little ones.  

And today I made potato salad out of the big ones!

Here’s how I made it, but seriously…..I’m just trying to show off my fabulous potatoes!

Recipe:

  • a few potatoes fresh from your garden (or whatever)

Peel them and dice them in large cubes and boil or steam until tender in salted hot water

Meanwhile in a bowl add:

  • chopped up left over cooked bacon ( if you have some and what to use bacon)
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • 1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2-3 tbsp of mayo or olive oil or a combo of both ( to taste)
  • Salt & pepper

Mix all that up in readiness of the potatoes being cooked.   Then drain and  toss the potatoes into the dressing.  Mix well but not too vigorously that you swish the potatoes.

Then add some chopped hard boiled egg if you so desire.

Sprinkle with a bit of paprika!!

Bacon and Egg Potato Salad!  Straight from the garden!

Eat while still warm!

Bacon and Egg Potato Salad fresh from the garden

Shaved Salad

This one is just so beautiful that you might find it hard to eat regular salad after this!

Shaved salad

All you need is a decent mandolin slicer.

I have several of them and to be honest, most of them are crap,  or are good at one thing and not another. However, this particular semi professional kind, that I admit I bought at one of those fancy stores that I don’t usually buy stuff in, really does do the trick!   It cuts really really thin.  Which means it is really really sharp.  So BE CAREFUL!!

mandolin slicer

In this particular salad I shaved together:

  • radish
  • cucumber
  • fennel

I find it helps if you alternate the vegetables while you are slicing because they are so thin that is makes them hard to toss.

Once everything is sliced you can dress it ever so lightly.

All I used was a quick splash of plain old white vinegar and a spoonful of honey!   And a little salt and pepper and away you go!

But it would also be lovely with lemon juice instead.  Or better yet, finely shaved slices of well washed lemon! 

Now we’re talkin!!

Shaved salad

Growing stuff – August 3rd

It’s pathetic really.

I don’t know where I went wrong with these tomato plants.

Grew them from seed on the window sill then nurtured them all winter in the living room where they grew to be strong, confident, healthy tomato plants!

They sprung all sorts of little flowers and seemed so healthy.

So why is it now August and this is ALL I have to show for my effort??

One lousy tomato

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But on a good note, we have been enjoying eating “local” ( as in from the balcony) when it comes to the greens.  The arugula has been a spectacular success and the mixed lettuce leaves delicious!  We’ve even been adding some of the young chard to the salads and it tastes great!

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But now the birds seem to have decided that they like beet greens and have been having a go at them!

I decided to pull up one of the beets, you know, just to see how everybody is getting on.  It was just a tiny thing so I shoved it back in.  Hopefully it will continue to grow!

And then I pulled on one of the stray potato plant branches and found this little nugget!

One potato

Well, I guess it’s still a bit early for the underground things!

A Little Friday Wisdom

Bar B Q Fun

Bar B Qs are fun.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t actually eat meat, or if there is trouble getting the coals started or if there are any other minor mishaps, it is just fun to be with people outside, eating stuff together and enjoying the company.

Maybe it goes back to our primal instinct of sitting around a fire sharing “the kill”.

I don’t know.  But I like going to Bar B Q’s.  

Just sayin.

Re-run Wednesday

what have we got here?

The Chef always gets a bit panicky when he hears he’s getting salad for dinner.

But here is a satisfying salad that fill up even the hungrier of fellas.

Start by heating your oven to about 350.  Unless you already happened to have this stuff  cooked and kicking around in the fridge waiting for someone to do something with it!

You will need:

  • Hard boiled eggs ( two per person)
  • cooked and cooled strips of bacon ( at least two strips per person, more if you love it)
  • cooked chicken breasts ( one per person, more if there are hungry people)
  • some creamy strong flavoured cheese like blue or Boursin
  • candied pecans
  • a bunch of lettuce greens of your choice ( today I just used the boxed organic stuff)

So hard boil the eggs, cool and peel them.   Meanwhile, roast the chicken breasts as you might do from time to…

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Add your thoughts here… (Re-Run Wednesday

what have we got here?

WHAT??

Now I’m crossing the line you think?   Well, let me try it on you first.

As a “RAW” foodist you can’t just eat fruit and salads all the time.  Sometimes you need a little substance.

It is my understanding that for something to be considered “RAW” that it can’t have been heated to anything above 115 degrees farenheit but you can check the rules out yourself.

So instead of a baked crust on our pizza, we will have a dehydrated crust.   Again, there is a lot of debate amongst the hardcore raw people as to what method is acceptable.  Some say it is okay to do this in a very low oven while others insist that it must be done in a dehydrator.

I’m only trying to make you aware of this stuff, if you find it cool and want to pursue it yourself, then you will have to…

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Growing stuff – June 8th

The weather hasn’t really been co-operating too much this year.

It hasn’t been very sunny or warm, but things are still doing their best to grow!

I have had to bring the poor chard back inside because those pesky birds had a go at it!  I’ve never had so much trouble trying to get something as usually hardy as chard to grow!!

Swiss Chard

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I also had to bring the tomatoes back inside as well.  They have been outside for a couple of weeks but it got so windy the other day, I thought they might fall over.   I have tied them up on sticks but I wasn’t sure it was helping.  They are only now starting to show a couple of flowers here and there.  Will be lucky if I get tomatoes by October!

Tomatoes

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There is a new addition to the balcony garden.  Last week at the farmer’s market I picked up a patty pan squash plant.  I’m hoping that will turn out to be fun!

Patty Pan Squash

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The potato plant on the other hand, is freakishly big and thick, I hope the potatoes grow a big!

Potato plant

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The purple cabbages are coming along nicely but today I was being terrorized by two squirrels playing tag all over the balcony and stomping all over the cabbage.   I chased them and squirted them with the water bottle but they just laughed in my face!

Purple cabbage

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The beets are coming a long nicely, but much like the potatoes, we can only see what’s going on with the foliage and not what’s growing underneath!

Beet plants

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And last but not least, I am FINALLY seeing a few bean sprouts squeezing through the dirt!  I had just about given up on them.

Sprouting beans

Re-run Wednesday

what have we got here?

Here’s the recipe for the Mediterranean style club the Chef made for our movie night in the park picnic.

You will need:  amounts will vary depending on how many people you are feeding.  And please feel free to add, subtract or substitute according to taste and availability.  This is just a guideline, but I must warn you, it was delicious!!

  • a large baguette or other crusty bread
  • marinated chicken breast
  • smoked cheddar
  • bacon
  • onion
  • tomato
  • avocado
  • blue cheese/goat cheese/sun-dried tomato/mayo
  • olives

Start by marinading your chicken breasts in a marinade of:

  • chopped fresh garlic
  • chopped fresh basil
  • chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • olive oil

Meanwhile make up your “bacon jam”.  Bacon is always delicious but sometimes it is unmanageable when it is crispy and often falls out of the sandwich!  So if you make it into a nice spreadable “jam” it will solve the problem.   You’ll need:

  • a good size onion, sliced
  • a few…

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Sweet Potato Pancakes

Those of you who visit regularly or have been following along, know that I am a big fan of the savory pancake!

I just think that it makes such a more interesting side dish than plain ol rice or potato.  And I find them so particularly good when accompanied by a “saucy” dish because they suck up the juice and are so comforting.

The first ones were the KALE pancakes.   A particular favorite because I like to hide greens!

Then there were the Roasted Tomato pancakes, where was pretty much the kale pancakes with the addition of sweet roasted grape tomatoes.  Also a hit around here.

And then of course there was the Spinach Crepes stuffed with Mascarpone cheese which were just simply decadent.

This time I’ve made sweet potato pancakes.

Now I don’t want to argue with anyone, because there is much debate about which is which and this argument is perpetuated by restaurants who call “yam fries”  sweet potato fries!!

Just so we are straight:

  • YAM – big gnarly tuber with brown skin and dark orange flesh
  • Sweet Potato – looks very much like a yam only it has light ( almost yellow) skin and flesh

So I peeled, diced and boiled one large sweet potato.  Then drained it and mashed it like you would regular potatoes.  Only don’t add any of the butter and milk and what have you.

Although, if on the off chance, you ARE the kind of person who has left over mashed sweet potato in the fringe WITH all the butter and milk then those are perfectly fine to use.  I just didn’t want you to go to all the trouble.

In a blender add:

  • 2 cloves of garlic and or 2 green onions ( rough chopped)
  • mashed sweet potato once they have cooled.

Blend those together then add:

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (or whole wheat, spelt etc whatever you are into)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg (optional if eggs aren’t your thing)  just add 3 tsp of baking powder instead
  • 1 1/2 c. milk  ( I use almond but any milk will do)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Also feel free to add a little bit of  say ground cumin or chili flakes to zing it up a bit.

Then in a non-stick skillet or whatever your favorite pancake pan is, pour in dollops of batter, wait for the bubbles to appear then turn them over!

Keep the cooked ones warm in the oven until you are ready to serve.

We had them for our Sunday dinner with some roast and veg.

Yum-ee.

Re-run Wednesday

what have we got here?

Sometimes the BEST meals come from “cleaning out your fridge”!

That’s pretty much what this dish was all about.

I still had some left over sausage and peppers from the other night and it seems we always have some left over cooked chicken kickin around so that was the base for how this dish evolved.

I started with a hot deep skillet and then added:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • one large onion ( of your choice) coarsely sliced or chopped
  • 4 -5 gloves fresh chopped garlic

Let those cook up awhile and get to know each other.  Then add:

  • left over sausage and peppers
  • left over cooked chicken ( cubed up)
  • any other interesting left overs  ( I had about a 1/4 of caramelized onions for some reason)

Heat those through so that everything is nice and warm then add:

  • about a cup of heavy cream 

Now if you are a…

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Growing stuff – May 25th

Another week on the balcony garden.

Added a few new friends to the mix.

Got some little red cabbage pants but I only had a shallow pan left for them.   I will start them there and if they grow too big and seem unhappy, I’ll have to get them a bigger bin.

Red cabbage

Also added some beet plants.  They got the last available deep pot because they are underground growers after all.

Beets

Got a couple of mint plants to go in the window box with the oregano.  Mint and oregano…..that should go….they live together all the time in Greek food!!

Mint and oregano

And the potato plant literally seems to get bigger every day!!  But the beans I planted two weeks ago have not yet showed any sprouts at all.  Maybe the seeds were bad, but I won’t give up on them yet!

The Balcony Garden

Re-run Wednesday

what have we got here?

I don’t know why I don’t make this more?

Every once in awhile I remember that I used to make it and then make it again.  This time it was because I saw a jar of artichokes in the cupboard!

I can’t remember where I got this recipe but I remember the first time I made it.  One snowy winter night when I was staying with friends in the country and every Saturday night we would cook up a great dinner, have a few glasses of wine and have a dance party in the living room.

Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 boneless/skinless chicken breast per person
  • 1/2 to 1 roasted red pepper (depending on size and yield) per person

Do you know how to roast up a pepper quickly?  Easy as pie….well…actually MUCH easier.

Wash the pepper, slice it in half and take out the seeds and any nasty…

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Cooking shows of old

I was cleaning out some papers the other day and found a file marked “recipes”.  That isn’t too weird because I have a lot of those lying around.

What was funny was that it was a file filled with weird bits of whatever, used envelopes, corners of newspapers, phone bills and every assorted size of note paper you can imagine, all with chicken scratched notes that vaguely resembled recipes of some kind.

Remember in the old days of watching the cooking shows on TV when if you wanted the recipe you had grab something and WRITE IT DOWN!!

Most people didn’t actually waste their valuable VCR tape space with things like cooking shows.  There were no PVRs where you could just rewind and watch it over and over again till you caught each detail!     And there certainly wasn’t the internet where you could just go look up and immediately print the recipe while still watching on the program!!  Or better yet, call it up on your smart phone or tablet and just have that in the kitchen with you while you cook!

Sure, some people did actually go out and buy the cookbook, but that didn’t help if you wanted to make the dish that night!

Check this out to catch the old school master of TV cooking.

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Rerun Wednesday

what have we got here?

Sometimes you just gotta take things up a notch!

I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and was looking for a treat.  I had some bananas on their last legs and was just gonna make some plain ol banana bread but then things got a little out of hand.

I started with a regular recipe ( click above or use your favorite recipe) but then when the batter is complete,  I added about three heaping table spoons of peanut butter.  I used the natural kind by any will do.  Mix it in thoroughly.

Then at the VERY end I tossed in some chocolate.  Large chocolate chips would work best but I only had one of those heirloom blocks of chocolate from the freezer.  Doesn’t everyone have one of those?  It was bought on special or for some Christmas baking that never happened?

We always had one in the freezer…

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Pulled chicken tacos

I seem to have gone taco crazy lately.

Not sure why I haven’t enjoyed them more in the past?  I always tended to be more of an enchilada type girl before, but I am finding the taco experience so much lighter and fresher.

Here are some super easy chicken tacos to try.

Start with a good size heavy skillet and add:

  • 1 onion chopped into small cubes

Saute in a little oil till they are nice and translucent

Then I added four frozen  boneless, skinless chicken breasts ( the frozen part was poor planning on my part).  However boneless chicken of any sort will do just fine.  Then I add just enough water to cover them about half way, then put a lid on  and let them simmer a spell.

If you are using fresh chicken, I would brown on all sides and then follow the rest of the recipe.

Once the (frozen) chicken has thawed in the water and turned white it is time to add the rest of the ingredients:

  • 1/2 jar ( or more) of store bought salsa of your choice
  • equal part of water or stock
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Mix that in evenly and cover again for about 15 minutes at a slight boil, to make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

At this point, test to see if the chicken is done inside by taking two forks and “pulling” the chicken apart.  Resulting in the “pulled chicken” part.

If the chicken comes apart easily, then it is time to add the herbs and spices.   But if you like you can shred up the chicken first, or leave it in the larger pieces and shred it later.  Doesn’t really matter too much.

So then I added and this is just a suggestion, what ever you have, or what ever you like better is fine, but this worked well:

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp smokie paprika
  • 1 tbsp chili powder ( the kind that is more flavour than hot)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ( more or less) of chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • salt & pepper to taste

And if you wanted to take it up just a notch,  add a couple of tsp of brown sugar.

Mix that all in well, cover again and let simmer about another 10 minutes until you are ready to serve.  Add a little more liquid if it gets too dry.

Now you are ready for assembly

I prepared a bit of a “taco bar” so we could dress our own.  Some possibilities are:

  • fresh made guacamole
  • sour cream ( I added chopped cilantro and hot sauce)
  • grated cheese
  • salsa
  • chopped tomato
  • chopped cilantro

Start with the tortilla of your choice ( warmed or not) and start piling on the fixins!

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Pulled chicken tacos

Happy times!

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