Cucumber & Toasted Pine Nut Salad

cucumber pine nut salad

 

I was never really into cucumber salad (wow, what a great way to start a blog post about cucumber salad!), but after playing around with enough ingredients I’ve basically fallen in love with it.

This recipe is a far cry from the usual cucumbers and tomatoes tossed in oil and vinegar. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but this salad offers so much flavour that I can’t ever imagine going back to the ordinary.

I also love that this salad was a total improvisation. My fella and I tossed some ideas around until we decided on this particular blend, and it’s nice to taste success! It’s also super easy, and perfect for any summer potluck.

Ingredients

Salad

  1. 2 English cucumbers
  2. 2 large tomatoes
  3. 200 g of mini bocconcini, halved
  4. 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
  5. Half of one red onion, thinly sliced
  6. 1/2 cup of black olives, pitted
  7. 1 yellow, orange, or red bell pepper (for roasting)
  8. 1 clove of garlic, minced

Dressing

  1. 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
  3. 1 clove of garlic, minced
  4. 1 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
  5. Sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Gut out the bell pepper, and quarter it. Toss the slices in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 clove of minced garlic. Place in a roasting pan and roast in the oven for approx. 20 mins. or until the skin on the pepper is browning and easy to peel off. Set aside to cool.

(Sidenote: the roasting process creates one heck of an amazing smell in the kitchen! Just saying…)

Slice the cucumbers into 1/2 inch rounds. Quarter them, and toss them into a large bowl. Dice the tomatoes, and add them to the bowl. Toss in the olives, the thinly sliced red onion, and the halved bocconcinis. Once the roasted pepper has cooled, you can peel it and cut the pieces into thinner slices (julienne style). Add them to the salad.

Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan on medium-low heat for approx. five minutes, or until they become browned and fragrant. Once toasted, toss them into the bowl with everything else.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready for use.

To make the dressing, simply add the ingredients listed into a bowl and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Or, put the ingredients in a glass bottle/Mason jar, cover, and shake until thoroughly mixed.

Once the salad is ready to be served, drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.

Vietnamese Beef Pho

 

 beef pho soup

Okay, so it’s summer time. A hot bowl of soup isn’t exactly at the top of everyone’s list of what to eat. However, I was craving a big, hearty bowl of bold flavours and a big pot of Pho seemed like the way to go. Oh pho sho!

Asian soups are a weakness of mine. The spicy and salty flavours are hard to resist – not to mention the wide variety of textures from the fresh, crispy ingredients, and the tender, marinated ingredients. Pho offers all of these things! So, I went ahead and satisfied my craving.

You can make this soup from scratch, and still get away with using beef broth from the supermarket, or you could make this soup from scratch-scratch, which is legitimately from scratch starting with a pot of water and bone marrow.

I went with the latter because I was feeling adventurous, and sometimes I just like to kick it old school.

Ingredients (I halved this recipe for myself, but I will post the full one).

For the broth

  1. 5 to 6 pounds of beef knuckles or leg bones (with marrow)
  2. 6 quarts cold water
  3. 2 medium onions, quartered
  4. 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, halved lengthwise
  5. 2 cinnamon sticks
  6. 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
  7. 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
  8. 6 star anise
  9. 6 whole cloves
  10. 1 black cardamom pod (optional – I couldn’t find this myself so if you can’t, it’s no big deal).
  11. 1.5 tablespoons of sea salt
  12. 1/4 cup fish sauce
  13. 1-inch piece yellow rock sugar (optional – I couldn’t find this, either).

Pho Soup Bowl Assembly

  1. 1 to 2 pounds small (1/8-inch wide) dried or fresh “banh pho” noodles
  2. 1/2 pound raw eye of round, sirloin or tri-tip steak, thinly sliced across the grain
  3. 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  4. 1/4 cup of cilantro leaves (they call for it, but NOT IN MY SOUP. Cilantro NEVER).

Optional Garnishes

  1. Sprigs of fresh mint and/or Asian/Thai basil
  2. Bean sprouts
  3. Thinly sliced chilies
  4. lime wedges
  5. Fish sauce
  6. Hoisin sauce

All right, crack your knuckles and get started.

Getting the broth going -
Parboil the bones.
If you’ve never handled bones with marrow before, they are kind of stinky. Not enough to turn your nose inside out, but if you have a sensitive nose like me, there is a bit of an icky odour. These are body parts, after all.
Okay, I’ll stop being disgusting.
BONES! MARROW!
bone marrow 2
bone marrow
Parboiling the bones is optional. I like to, because it rids the bones/marrow of impurities. You can, of course, skim the scum off the top of the water as it boils, but I like to be thorough.
Toss the beef bones into a large pot. Cover the bones with cold water, then place the pot onto high heat, bringing the water to a boil. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes. During this time, impurities and foam will be released and rise to the top. At this point, you’ll be glad you parboiled! Scum is not yum.
This is what the scum will look like:
impurities
Yeah. Swamp water.
Drain the bones, discarding the water (not like you’d keep that gunk). Rinse the bones with warm water and scrub the stockpot to remove any residue that has stuck to the sides. Put the bones back into the stockpot, and cover with 6 quarts of cold water. Bring the water to a rolling boil, and then bring it down to a gentle simmer.
Onto the broiling. Place an oven rack to a high position, then turn the broiler to high. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the quartered onions and halved ginger onto the baking sheet. Broil for 10 to 15 minutes, turning onions and ginger occasionally so that they become charred or browned on all sides. Seriously, keep an eye on them. Don’t trust broilers.
broiling
In the meantime, toast the spices.
These spices are so gorgeous, I had to snap a few photos.
spices
spices 3
Add the cinnamon sticks, cardamom seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, cloves and the black cardamom pod (if you’ve got it) to a dry frying pan on low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant (approx. 5 mins).
Place the toasted spices into a cotton muslin bag/herb sachet or cheesecloth, and then tie with butchers twine to seal. If you don’t have any of the aforementioned, you can empty out a regular ol’ tea bag by cutting a small hole into it, and placing the spices inside. Then, just gently tuck the tea bag where you made the incision. Sure, some spices may escape, but it’s better than having to fish for all of them in the end.
Add the charred onion, ginger, and the bag or sachet of toasted spices to the stockpot.
Then, add 1.5 tablespoons of sea salt, a 1/4 cup of fish sauce, and the rock sugar (if you have it).
I’ve read that the best fish sauce to use is one that comes in a glass bottle and can be purchased for around $4-$6 dollars. Quality is key.
This is what I used.
fish sauce
Don’t smell it, though. It smells like hot garbage. Somehow it magically enhances flavours in Asian cooking though, so it’s an important element.
Allow your broth to simmer for 3 hours. If at any time foam or scum rises to the surface, use a spoon to remove it.
After 3 hours have passed, use tongs or a wide mesh spoon to remove the bones, onion and ginger from the broth. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer, then add the sliced scallions to the broth. This is optional, but man do I love me some scallions.
The broth will have a layer of fat at the the top. There are two ways to remove this. First, if you plan to enjoy the broth now, skim the fat from the top of the broth using a spoon. If you do not mind waiting, you can also pour broth into containers and refrigerate overnight. As the broth cools, the fat will solidify, making it very easy to remove.
To assemble the bowls, heat the broth to a gentle simmer over medium heat (if re-heating).
Prepare the noodles as per the instructions on the package.
Most Pho recipes I’ve encountered have instructed people to put slices of raw beef into their soup. I didn’t have access to that quality of beef, so I cooked mine to a nice medium rare.
Garnish with sliced scallions, chilis, Thai basil, lime, and well, cilantro if you’re into that.

 

Pulled Pork – North Carolina Style!

mopping pork header

North Carolina styled pulled pork. There isn’t much else like it – especially when my soon-to-be hubby makes it. My opinion is not biased – just educated! He’s taken me to numerous BBQ joints in NC state during our time together, and though there is some seriously bad ass BBQ going on in these BBQ shacks, my dude’s pulled pork is the trump card. He is far too modest to admit it, but take my word for it!

The first time I had pulled pork was at a festival where I live, here in Southern Canada. The pork was pulled and shredded, just as North Carolina styled pork is, however it was tossed in a thick BBQ sauce – one you’d typically use on brisket in the South. I can’t knock it, because it was delicious, but I can honestly say that the NC way is…smarter. The thin vinegar-based sauce absorbs itself nicely into the shredded pork, still leaving you with smoky pork to taste. The thicker sauce just basically wraps itself around the pork and, truthfully, the pork and it’s smoky flavour are lost.

Growing up in Canada also had me in the habit of referring to barbecue as a verb, rather than a style/flavour. In the South, you don’t barbecue, nor do you host a barbecue. You grill, and you host a cook out. (The things I must adapt to!

Though the Southerners in the United States do an amazing job at owning barbecue, the origin of it is questionable. A common knowledge is that the Spanish, after landing in the Caribbean, referred to the natives’ method of slow-cooking meat over a wooden platform as barbacoa. Huh, makes sense!

In the South, barbecue is just as much a subculture as it is a style of cooking. There is a wide variation between regions – not to mention some fierce rivalry for titles in barbecue competitions (which I will one day coax the hubs into entering).

There are three main ingredients to consider when it comes to barbecue.

The first ingredient in barbecue is the meat. Smoking times vary, but we like to smoke it at an hour or an hour and a half per pound, holding the smoker temperature between 250 and 275 degrees fahrenheit. In the end, you want an internal temperature of around 190 degrees fahrenheit. Becoming a master at smoking meat  comes with experience and getting to know your smoker.

The second ingredient in barbecue is the wood. The wood smoke flavours the food, therefore the particular type of wood influences the process.

Hard woods like hickory, mesquite, pecan, and different varieties of oak impart a strong smoke flavour, whereas maple, alder, and fruit woods such as apple, pear, and cherry impart a sweeter, milder taste.

Typically for pork and beef, a stronger wood is used in the process. The lighter flavoured woods are better suited for fish and poultry.

The last ingredient, which again is totally optional, is the barbecue sauce. Barbecue sauces can range from clear, peppered vinegars to thick, sweet sauces, to mustard-based sauces (mostly found in South Carolina).

So, there is a bit of ‘Barbecue 101′ for you.

Now, onto our recipe!

Ingredients

Pork Rub

  1. 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  2. 1.5 tablespoon of kosher salt
  3. 1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  4. 1 teaspoon of cayenne powder
  5. 1 teaspoon of Chipotle chili powder

Pork Mop

  1. 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
  2. 1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes
  3. 1.5 teaspoon of minced garlic
  4. 1 tablespoon of brown sugar

Barbecue Sauce

  1. 2 cups of apple cider vinegar
  2. 2.5 tablespoons of brown sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes

Meat

  1. A nice, big pork butt (we like big butts and we cannot lie!); also known as a pork shoulder, or Boston butt. Ours here was approx. 6-7 lbs.

Equipment

  1. A vertical water charcoal smoker
  2. A bag of coals
  3. Your choice of wood, soaked for approx. half hour before go time (we used a 50/50 ratio of apple wood and pecan wood)
  4. A chimney starter (not necessary, but VERY beneficial in helping to get to the right temperature in a much shorter amount of time).
  5. A pastry brush for mopping the pork during the smoking process

First things first, get that smoker ready and started. That way you can prep your pork rub and pork mop while you wait for the smoker to reach an ideal temperature.

If you aren’t familiar with vertical water charcoal smokers, here is how it is assembled.

charcoalwatersmoker

If you are only smoking one slab of meat, then just use the upper grate.

Create a ring of black charcoal in the  charcoal pan leaving the middle open/empty.

coalss

This leaves room for the hot charcoals in the centre, which will speed up the rising in temperature. The unlit charcoals will eventually be ignited by the charcoals in the centre, which gives you a long and steady burn and prevents you from having to add more charcoal later. 

To heat up the other charcoals, use a chimney starter.

Roll up some newspaper and press it into the bottom of the starter, in ring-form, following the shape of the starter. Don’t overstuff the bottom with newspapers.

paper_donut2

Flip the starter back to it’s proper position and fill it to the brim with coals. Light the paper through one of the slits at the bottom of the starter.

chimney starter lit

 

chimney starter 2

 

hot coals overhead

Let the coals burn up. Once they are white, dump them into the middle of the charcoal pan. Make sure you wear protection (on your hands) and avoid flying ashes. Things get pretty heated!

hot coals 3

hot coals 4

hot coals

hot coals 2

After dumping the hot coals into the centre of the charcoal pan, place the soaked wood around the coals.

cedar in smoker

hot coals cedar 3

Close up the smoker, filling the water basin  up to approx. 3/4 full.  Place the grate down, cover, and let the smoker get to the ideal temperature (approx. 275 F).

While you wait for the smoker to heat up, prep the meat, the rub, and the mop. Once the smoker has reached  ideal temp, place your prepared meat on the grate, cover, and smoke away. The first two mops are done approx. every hour and a half. After that, it’s good to mop it every hour or so. There really are no hard set rules, but this is how we roll.

Prepare the rub by mixing all of the ingredients listed above under ‘Pork Rub’. Then distribute it evenly over the pork, pressing down to secure the spices.

pork rubbed

Now, make that mop! Just mix all of the ingredients listed under ‘Pork Mop’. Then smell it. Trust me. It’s wonderful.

Delicious, delicious pork mop.

Delicious, delicious pork mop.

 

Place the pork on the grill and get excited.

smoking pork 2

smoking pork

And again, don’t forget to mop! This will keep the meat moist and juicy. You don’t want it to dry out.

mopping pork

Once you start getting a nice bark on the outside, wrap the pork in aluminum foil, and put it back on the grate. This helps to maintain moisture. Additionally, it will help get your internal temperature to the desired 190 F. There is a point where the internal temp may remain the same for a while (this is called ‘the stall’), and wrapping the pork in aluminum foil will help you get past that point. This method is sometimes referred to as the ‘Texas Crutch’.

Once the meat is done, remove it from the smoker, and put it in a large roasting pan. Let it rest for an hour. After it’s all nice and rested, shred away! Keep it in the roasting pan as you shred to keep the juices from dripping away. Once the shred is complete, sprinkle some kosher salt over the meat and mix it all up. This mixes in the salt, and all of that rendered fat and delicious flavour.

You can serve pulled pork on a nice fresh bun, or on a plate all on it’s own because it’s just THAT delicious.

pulled pork ready

^ Check out that bark!

pulled pork pulled

Hopefully this entry has been useful to any aspiring meat smokers out there. It’s definitely an art, and something worth perfecting if you enjoy it like we do.

 

And if you’re looking for a delicious side, my Bacon Jalapeno Mac and Cheese is as good as it gets!

Bacon Jalapeno Mac & Cheese

bacon jalapeno mac header

This has become one of my favourite homemade mac and cheese recipes. I’m always trying new styles and flavours, and I think I hit the jackpot with this one.

For this one, I accompanied my usual choice of smoked gouda with muenster cheese. This was my first time using muenster cheese in my mac, and it definitely won’t be the last! It added some serious creamy-ness and stringy-ness to the dish. You know, all the things that a true homemade mac and cheese should be.

In addition to delicious, potent cheese, I added some thick-sliced bacon (cooked to a crispy perfection) and some diced up jalapeno. Jalapeno is great in a mac and cheese because it adds a kick, but it isn’t unbearable (like that one time I used jalapenos and Scottish bonnet peppers. Ow). Jalapenos are easy to tolerate, even for those who can’t handle much kick. They are totally optional, though. This dish would also go extremely well with a blend of onions and mushrooms. It also makes a perfect side for a Southern-influenced meal, which is how I used it here; as a side to some North Carolina styled pulled pork.

I actually skipped baking this particular mac and cheese dish, and I think I will skip baking it from now on. I’ve tried several baking techniques with mac and cheese, and it always seems to dry out. I’ve never had anyone complain, but for me personally, I’d much rather a thick and creamy mac and cheese. I don’t need a crispy top to please the people!

Ingredients

  1. 1 454g box of pasta (I like elbow macaroni)
  2. 8oz of smoked gouda, grated
  3. 8oz of muenster, grated
  4. 1 package of thick cut bacon (well, minus a few slices due to temptation/weakness), cooked to a crisp and crumbled
  5. 1 jalapeno, diced
  6. 2 tablespoons of butter
  7. 1 tablespoon of flour
  8. 1 cup of milk

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta noodles.

As the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a large sauce pan. Add the flour, and whisk until it thickens and a roux has formed. Add milk, and continue to whisk until you have a thickened bechamel sauce – thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Add the grated cheese to the pan and stir constantly, until the cheese is melted and a nice, thick cheese sauce is formed.

Once the pasta is ready, drain the pasta, rinse, and then add it to a large baking dish or serving bowl. Pour the cheese sauce into the pasta. Add the bacon and jalapenos, and stir until everything is evenly distributed.

DIG IN! Eat until you hate yourself.

bacon jalapeno mac and cheese

 

bacon jalapeno mac 2

 

 

Philly Steak Grilled Cheese

steak grilled cheese header

Just another fancy shmancy grilled cheese sandwich from off the top of my hungry head.

It’s not often I have leftover steak kicking around but today…I had leftover steak kicking around.

Since one of my favourite things to throw together is an original and inspired grilled cheese sandwich (if you haven’t noticed that by now, you can’t possibly call yourself a Killing Thyme follower!), I found this to be a perfect opportunity to use up my leftover steak (grilled to a perfect medium rare, oh my) in a Philly Steak Grilled Cheese, complete with sauteed onions, peppers, and mushrooms.

To make things even more ‘amazeballs’, I decided to grill this sandwich on, yes, THE GRILL. Hey, we’re calling this a grilled cheese – let’s make it so! No pan, no stovetop – just tinfoil and the heat of an open wire grid over fire.

Ingredients

  1. 2 slices of rye bread
  2. 2-3 oz of steak, sliced & cooked to your liking
  3. 3 oz of mozzarella cheese
  4. 1/4 onion, sliced
  5. 1/4 bell pepper (any colour), sliced
  6. 1/4 cup of mushrooms
  7. 1.5 tbsp of butter
  8. 1 tsp of dry mustard
  9. 2 tsp of Montreal Steak Spice
  10. Ground black pepper and Sea salt to taste
  11. Tin foil

 

Pre-heat the grill –  medium heat.

Heat 1 tbsp of butter in a skillet. Blend in the dry mustard, then sautee the onions, peppers, and mushrooms in the skillet until tender. Remove and set aside. In the same skillet,  throw down the slices of steak and sprinkle with the Montreal Steak Spice, evenly on each side. Toss the steak for approx. one minute (or until cooked to your liking). Remove from heat.

Use the remaining butter to butter one side of each slice of rye. You don’t need much. Place the rye, buttered sides down, on a 10 x 10 inch (approx) sheet of tinfoil. Layer the sandwich with the steak first, the mozzarella cheese, and the vegetables. Close the sandwich and tightly wrap it in tinfoil. Place on grill, and grill 2-3 mins. per side.

philly steak

Spicy Avocado Egg Salad

spicy avocado egg salad header

I’ve always been a sucker for egg salad sandwiches. The downfall with that is that I’ve always loved them extra rich and creamy, which always meant “extra mayo”.

This is, however, no longer an issue.

I’ve been using avocado as a substitute for mayo in sandwiches for a while now, and it does the job perfectly. Best of all, it leaves you with ZERO guilt! Avocados offer so many health benefits. This is definitely one of my favourite post-work out eats. In order to kick things up a notch, I like to add some curry powder, cumin, and Sriracha sauce into the mix.

Ingredients

  1. 2 slices of rye bread
  2. 1 hard boiled egg
  3. 1/2 of an avocado
  4. 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce (adjust to your heat tolerance)
  5. 1/2 tsp curry powder
  6. 1/2 tsp cumin

Smash the egg and avocado together with a fork. Blend in the Sriracha, cumin, and curry powder. Spread over rye bread and enjoy!

**Please note: I have been asked to put warnings when posting spicy recipes because I have an iron mouth. A few people have found themselves running for the tap with flailing arms after recreating some of my spicier dishes. So when adding the Sriracha sauce, add a little bit at a time until you reach a level of heat that you are happy with. I don’t want to be at fault for any health hazards :P

 

spicy avocado egg salad 2

 

 

Restaurant review: La Fontana Waterfront Grill & Pizza, Hilton Head, SC

I’ve been slacking on my restaurant reviews! I won’t let it happen again.

(I probably will).

Today I’m going to revisit a dinner experience that I had…actually, whoa. This was a month ago today! (I didn’t even do this on purpose).

I had the pleasure of visiting Hilton Head, SC with family last month, and it was an incredible experience. What a place! (Though I’m sure the company had everything to do with it). Aside from the amazing views and beaches, the food was top notch. It’s the South, after all. Portions are big, and the food is made with love.

La Fontana sits facing the Shelter Cove Marina, offering a charming view if you choose to sit outside on the veranda, which we did.

la fontana view

La Fontana offers a full menu of authentic Italian cuisine ranging from classic pastas to Parmigiana, and an extensive pizza list.

If you feel like torturing yourself with a menu you can’t currently order from (unless, of course, you’re reading this from Hilton Head right now…) then click here to take a look at La Fontana’s menu.

To kick things off, we started with the Bruschetta Fontana and the Mozzarella in Carozza.

bruschetta

I realize that most feel that bruschetta is bruschetta…but is it? Because this bruschetta was a lot more flavourful than most I’ve had. The recipe is a La Fontana original, so they don’t get into what exactly goes onto these perfectly crisp crostinis, but dayum – it’s fresh. The tomatoes and fresh Basil seemed to have been tossed in something slightly sweet, and the fresh Parmigiana cheese grated on top paired with it perfectly.

So again, although to most, bruschetta is just bruschetta, this one was worthy enough of a mention in a restaurant review where details need to be spilled.

I gleefully downed two of these bad boys.

Onto the Mozarella in Carozza.

deep fried mozzarella

This thing is everything that a deep fried mozzarella stick wants to be, but isn’t. And I’m not knocking mozza sticks, because hello – mozza sticks. We all know how amazing mozza sticks are. But this here is a mozza stick who got a big boy promotion and dressed to the nines to celebrate in high fashion.

Fresh Buffalo Mozarella, breaded daily (because it’s THAT fresh), and deep fried. Word.

It’s served with a delicious marinara sauce, but you certainly don’t need it.

The crispy layer of breading surrounding the soft and gooey centre is basically perfect, and I’m pretty sure it contained some Parmigiana cheese.

Excuse me while my salivary glands weep.

Now. I was totally going to go with a pizza of some sort, because two nights prior I’d eaten a wonderful seafood pasta at a different restaurant, but when our friendly waiter tossed the words “fresh homemade gnocchi with prawns tossed in a rose sauce with crab meat” out of his mouth, I nearly flew over the moon.

“I’ll have that“.

shrimp gnocchi

It tasted just as it appeared. Delectable.

The prawns were perfectly cooked. You know when a big, juicy prawn has that wet-like crunch? Yeah well, it had that. And the crab meat added a lot of volume and richness to the rose sauce. The sauce was flavourful, but mild enough so that you could enjoy the taste and texture of the seafood present in the dish.

The homemade gnocchi was divine. It was soft and practically melted in my mouth. I really need to give homemade gnocchi a go at home sometime, I think.

Since gnocchi is so heavy and dense, I was only able to finish half of this dish (especially after those delicious appys!) I wasn’t going down without a fight, though.

All in all, I would highly recommend this place to anyone visiting Hilton Head, SC. I walked away very satisfied, though a little crippled by food, but hey. Much like Fred Durst, I did it all for the gnocchi.

That’s how the song goes, right?

 

Bruschetta Grilled Salmon

bruschetta salmon header

I’m learning that salmon is a lot more versatile than I’d ever given it credit for. It’s definitely making a come back in my culinary world, after what felt like a long hiatus due to having grown tired of it.

I would have never thought that bruschetta and salmon would go so well together, but this is an amazing match. I found a recipe similar to this in a magazine and decided to try it, though I tweaked it a smidge.

So, if you’re a fan of salmon and you’re looking for a newfangled way to prepare it – throw this together! You will not be disappointed.

Ingredients

  1. 2 skin-on salmon fillets (1 – 1.5 lbs each)
  2. 2 cups of stewed tomatoes, drained
  3. 1/4 red onion, diced
  4. 1 clove of garlic, minced
  5. 4 tablespoons of Italian salad dressing
  6. 4 tablespoons of balsamic salad dressing
  7. 2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
  8. Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Heat the grill to medium heat.

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, except for the salmon.

Spray a large sheet of heavy-duty tin foil with cooking spray. Place the tin foil on the grill, and transfer the fish onto the tin foil, flesh side down. Grill for 5 mins. Flip the fish over, and spoon the bruschetta mixture onto the fillets. Grill 18 – 20 mins. or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

 

Cupquiches

cupquiches header

 

Breakfast can be a drag. Actually, scratch that. The morning can be a drag, and making a healthy breakfast may seem impossible if you’re a snooze-button abuser who waits until the last possible minute to crawl out of bed like I do. Make time for a decent breakfast, or sleep in for another ten minutes?

Let’s be real – it’s always the latter!

For a quick on-the-go breakfast (that is more exciting than a piece of fruit), give the Cupquiche a shot! You can make them in advance, and as long as you don’t eat them all in one sitting (seriously, they’re that good), they will last you a few days!

Ingredients (for 12 Cupquiches)

  1. Cooking spray
  2. 3 slices of black forest ham, fried until browned, chopped
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  5. 1 cup of chopped kale (bite sized pieces)
  6. 12 spears of asparagus, chopped
  7. 1/2 cup of  bell pepper (any colour, I used yellow), finely chopped
  8. A pinch of ground nutmeg
  9. 4 large eggs
  10. 4 egg large whites
  11. 1/4 cup skim milk
  12. 1/3 cup of cheddar and mozzarella cheese, grated
  13. 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  14. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly coat a 12-cup nonstick muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Mist a large nonstick skillet with more nonstick cooking spray and put over medium heat. Add the black forest ham, turning frequently, until brown and almost crisped (approx. ten minutes). Transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop. You can also use bacon or turkey bacon for this, but I didn’t have bacon so I improvised, and the ham was delicious!

In the same skillet, heat the oil. Add the shallots, asparagus, and bell peppers. Season with sea salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are soft (approx. 5 mins.) Add the kale and a pinch of nutmeg. Cook until the kale is slightly wilted, but still bright green (approx. 5 minutes). Set aside and let it cool. If you want to be fancy like me, fish out all of the top parts of the asparagus sprigs to place them on the top of the Cupquiches before baking time.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, egg whites, milk, and some sea salt and pepper until well combined. Stir in the grated cheese. Divide the egg mixture evenly between the muffin tins, filling them about halfway. Top evenly with the kale, onion, and pepper mixture. Top them off with the Parmesan cheese (evenly distributed), the ham, and finish it off with the tops of the asparagus sprigs.

Bake until the quiches are well risen, golden brown and set – approx. 20 to 25 minutes. Take them out, and let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack, and serve warm.

They keep well in the fridge and are great reheated.

cupquiches 4

cupquiches 3

 

cupquiche closeup

cupquiche close up

Homemade Popsicle Recipes!

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When I was a kid, I thought I was cool because I could put grape juice into an ice tray, freeze it, and come out with grape cubes. Yay! [Insert sarcastic finger twirl here]. That’s nice and all, but there are tastier and way more creative ways to enjoy frozen treats this summer, and I’m going to hook you up with some delicious ideas to get you started! Your kids will thank me. Eh, who am I kidding? You adults will, too.

Kiwi Pineapple Popsicles@ theslowroasteditalian.comkiwi-pineapple-popsicles-Sl_0

Strawberry Shortcake Popsicles @ bakersroyale.com BakersRoyale-StrawberryShortcakePopsicles_xlg

Lemon Buttermilk Popsicles @ mydinner.co.ukButtermilkPopsicle3

 

Blood Orange Pops @ whiteonricecouple.comblood-orange-pops-485-1

Creamy Chocolate Avocado Popsicles @ thelittleepicurean.com Chocolate-Avocado-Popsicles

Watermelon Cucumber Popsicles @ thecomfortofcooking.com WatermelonCucumberPopsicles-1_thumb

Creamy Coconut Ice Pops @ hungrygirlporvida.comcreamy coconut2

Ginger Peach Iced Tea Popsicles @ societytea.comginger-peach-iced-tea-popsicles-final