Monday, June 29, 2015

Grilled Peppers and Asparagus

It's Barbeque Season and I find it such a treat to have my husband in charge of the grill.
When he looks after doing the meat and often the veggies, my part of the meal is easy peasy.
I love peppers and I love asparagus and the two vegetables  
 complement each other so well.
Recently, I found some of those long pointed sweet peppers at my 
local produce market.
Their lovely shape took this combination of vegetables up a notch in presentation, 
matching the long strips with the asparagus spears.
Once again this is more a serving suggestion than a recipe.
  1. Take 3 long pointed sweet peppers - preferably 1 red, 1 yellow and 1 orange
  2. Cut them in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and white membranes and slice lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips.
  3. Mix about 1/4 cup olive oil with 1 - 2 cloves minced garlic.
  4. If you have one of those BBQ pans with the holes in them, place pepper strips and asparagus in a single layer on the pan and brush them all lightly with the olive oil and garlic. If you don't have a pan, grill the veggies on a piece of heavy foil instead.
  5. Grill over medium high heat until asparagus is crisp tender and peppers are beginning to char around the edges.
  6. If you like, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
  7. Top with coarsely grated or shaved parmesan cheese and serve.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Bread for the Journey

Psalm 98 ESV

Oh sing to the Lord a new song,
    for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand and his holy arm
    have worked salvation for him.

The Lord has made known his salvation;

    he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
    to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation of our God.
 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
    break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
    with the lyre and the sound of melody!
 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
    make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord!
 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
    the world and those who dwell in it!
 Let the rivers clap their hands;
    let the hills sing for joy together
 before the Lord, for he comes
    to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
    and the peoples with equity.

As I read the first verse about singing a new song I wondered what it meant..does it just mean to sing a new song that you haven't heard before or does it mean more? To me it speaks of letting go of/forgetting negative thoughts/deeds from the past and starting fresh..being joyful and praising Him for all the marvelous things He has done for me.
That is my new song that I am singing to the Lord!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday's Kitchen Tips ~ Clean Oven & Grill Racks

Who likes cleaning the oven? Not me.  I have double ovens...which are self-cleaning (LOL) though I only use that function very occasionally. A non-stick liner is the perfect solution for keeping the 'floor' of the oven clean. Made of heavy-duty non-stick coated fabric...even the most stubborn cooked-on spills simply wipe off or rinse away.  They last for many years (I've had mine for well over five years)...withstand high temp's and are easy to remove for cleaning.  The liners are available at kitchen shops and on-line...and can be trimmed to fit most sized ovens.   It works for me!  (This liner cannot be placed on the floor of ovens where the heating element is hidden in the base. It should then be laid on the bottom rack.)

As for the racks, I'll share my easy 'no scrub' method for getting them shiny and looking new again.  I remove them before the self-cleaning cycle since it discolours them.
  • Put the racks in a large black garbage bag...outdoors.
  • Spray them well with oven cleaner.
  • Tie the bag shut tightly.
  • Leave overnight (at least 12 hours).
  • Hose them down.
  • Wipe clean.
And here's the good news...this method works equally well for cleaning the cooking grates on your BBQ. And since it's grilling season...I thought this might just be a timely tip at this time of the year!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Ginger Cream Meringues with Berries (mini pavlovas)

For this flashback Friday I'm re-posting a recipe I first made in summer of 2008, using the inspiration from a summer issue of the Canadian Living magazine. I made these using a pavlova recipe I got from my friend Herta many years ago. While making these meringues I was reminded of childhood days, living in Brazil, where a certain corner store, which I passed on my way home from school, sold the best hard baked pink meringues. For 5 cents, I was the richest and luckiest girl on the street while I slowly enjoyed the melt in your mouth sweetness.  While these dessert meringues here don't come out as dense, but rather soften into a marshmallow texture with the toppings on them, I still enjoy the light and airy consistency, especially combined with the custard and berries. This is also another delicious gluten free option.

A bit of trivia included about blueberries:
Blueberries are Canada’s number 1 fruit crop in terms of crop area and they are as Canadian as maple syrup! Enjoy them when in season and freeze them for the winter.

  • 4 egg whites (save yolks for custard)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 c sugar
  1. Beat egg whites and salt until frothy, then add lemon juice, vanilla and cornstarch.
  2. Gradually add sugar, beating until very stiff (5 - 10 minutes)
  3. Line a large cookie sheet with foil (shiny side down) or parchment paper. With a large serving spoon, form six to eight 3 inch in diameter mounds; then, using back of spoon, swirl into nests.
  4. Bake at 250 F for approximately 75 min. Then turn oven off and leave in the oven for an hour or two to cool down. Can be made the day ahead and stored in a zip lock bag in the fridge.
  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • 1 piece ginger root, (1 - 2 inches) peeled, sliced thinly
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (to whip and blend in later)
  1. In small saucepan, heat 1 ½ milk with ginger over med heat until bubbles form around edge; remove ginger. If you prefer to omit the ginger, it is good just as a vanilla custard too.
  2. In bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch and ¼ cup milk; blend yolks in well, then another ¼ cup milk and vanilla. Use a tad more vanilla if not using ginger.
  3. Stir into hot milk and cook over med heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, pour into bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on surface and refrigerate until cool. Whip cream, then fold into cooled pudding. Cover and refrigerate. Can be made a day ahead.
Berry Topping: (approximate amounts)
  • 3 cups blueberries (can add in blackberries and/or raspberries)
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  1. Put berries in medium pot with a tad amount of water if berries are fresh; if frozen no need for water. 
  2. Bring to boil on low to medium heat while stirring in sugar and cornstarch blended with 1/4 cup water. Stir as needed until it bubbles. 
  3. Simmer for a few minutes on low until juices run clear. Adjust flavor to personal preference with sugar and/or lemon, depending on sweetness of berries. Cool. At this point you can also add in fresh strawberries.
To serve:
A few hours before serving, scoop a generous amount of custard mixed with whipped cream on top of each meringue. Return to fridge until ready to serve, OR, for a more crusty meringue, you can fill and serve immediately. To serve, place filled meringues on individual dessert plates, using a large spatula to lift. Top with berries.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Crab Melt

Sometimes we're hungry for a snack type lunch or simple supper. With a few ingredients I had I made this crab and cream cheese melt on a pizza pretzel bun. So tasty!

The amounts shown are for 2 pretzel buns. (bread options: bagel or brioche thinly sliced)
  • pretzel buns - these can be purchased in the baker of your local grocery store
  • butter
  • 1 cup crab meat, shredded
  • 3-4 tbsp soft spreadable herb and garlic cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp chives or green onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • lemon pepper
  1. Using a very sharp bread knife or electric knife, cut the very top off the pretzel bun. This is the part of the bun that has the pizza sauce on it. eat that thin layer of bun.
  2. Lightly spread each bun with butter, and very lightly toast under your oven broiler.
  3. Mix together crab, cream cheese, and onions and mozzarella cheese. Spread over buns.
  4. Place prepared buns on baking sheet and bake in 400ยบ oven for 15 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and hot. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Roasted Asparagus

This recipe can't get any easier. It can be done with any amount of Asparagus you wish to feed a crowd or just for two.

  • Asparagus
  • Sea Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Fresh lemon wedges

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Drizzle Asparagus lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and lay in a single layer on a large baking sheet. 
  3. Roast for 10 minutes or until it begins to turn color to bright green and slightly turning brown .
  4. Take out of the oven and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a squeeze of fresh lemon to brighten the flavors. Enjoy. 
  5. An alternative is to sprinkle the asparagus with cheese and then roast instead of adding it after. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Balsamic Pot Roast with Mushrooms

Although we often associate the slow cooker with cold winter days, 
there are times, even in summer, 
when it's nice to have a nice hot meal ready without a lot of
last minute preparation.
We really enjoyed this slow cooker beef and I hope you do too.

  • 1 - 3-5 pound boneless roast beef (round roast or chuck) I used a sirloin tip that had been in the freezer a bit too long.
  • 1 large onion halved and then sliced
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1- 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 large cloves garlic coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp tabasco sauce or hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups whole, small white mushrooms
  • 1 -2 tablespoons cornstarch
  1. Place sliced onions in a layer at the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Place beef on top of the onions.
  3. Mix remaining ingredients (except mushrooms and cornstarch) in a large measuring cup and mix well.
  4. Pour over roast beef and top with the raw mushrooms.
  5. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for about 4 hours or until roast can be flaked with a fork.
  6. When beef is done, remove to a platter and shred with a fork.
  7. Remove onions and mushrooms to another dish with a slotted spoon.
  8. Pour liquid into a pot. 
  9. in a small bowl, add 1 - 2 tablespoons cornstarch to 1/4 cup cold water and mix until blended
  10. Stir cornstarch slurry into meat liquid and cooks, stirring, over medium heat until it thickens.
  11. Place beef on platter, arrange mushrooms and onions over meat and drizzle with gravy.
  12. Serve with mashed potatoes, pasta or split burger buns. Pass remaining gravy.
Serving suggestion: