Breakfast Bake with Roasted Red Pepper and Sausage - Flashback Friday







For Flash Back Friday, I'd like to bring back a favourite breakfast casserole.
I was recently asked to bring this to a baby shower brunch 
and it was enjoyed by all the guests.
The addition of roasted red peppers and fresh basil adds extra flavour and 
brings this "Wifesaver" to company status.
  • 6-8 slices thick sliced bread, white or whole wheat (I like to use Whole Wheat French bread or a Rustic loaf.)
  • 1/2 of a link (approximately 3/4 pound) smoked farmer sausage, skin removed *
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers, drained 
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup half and half cream
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used Cheddar, Gruyere  and Swiss)
* If you are using raw farmer sausage, crumble it into a pan and fry it until cooked. Cool and use as directed below.


    1. In a buttered 9"x13" pan or casserole dish, lay out bread slices, fitting them tightly together in the bottom of the dish.
    2. Cut 6-8 slices from the sausage and set aside.
    3. Using a table knife or 2 forks, coarsely shred the rest of the sausage meat and lay over bread.
    4. Saute' onion in butter until softened and spread over sausage.
    5. Lay out roasted red peppers on a paper towel to blot out some of the liquid, then cut them into a 1/2" dice and arrange over onion.
    6. Sprinkle with chopped basil.
    7. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs until frothy. Then add milk, cream, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, mixing well.
    8. Pour over bread and sausage in dish.
    9. Top with shredded cheese and arrange sausage slices on top.
    10. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and  refrigerate overnight.
    11. The next morning, remove casserole from fridge, then preheat oven to 350º F.
    12. Bake casserole for 1 hour or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean.  
    13. Remove from oven and let it rest 10 minutes before serving.
    14. Serve with a fruit salad and muffins if desired.





    Rhubarb Cake




    To me there is something about a simple rhubarb cake that just says home to me.
    Give me delicious moist cake with a good cup of coffee and fellowship anyday. You don't need to spend hours in the kitchen to come up with a tasty dessert.


    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup sour cream or greek yogurt (I used yogurt)
    • 3 cups diced rhubarb
    Crumb Topping:
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup butter or hard margarine
    • 1 tablespoon milk or cream (optional)


    1. Whisk together in a large bowl the first four ingredients.
    2. Add in Rhubarb and make sure all the rhubarb gets covered in the flour mixture. (It helps the rhubarb from settling at the bottom of the cake).
    3. Beat the eggs and sour cream or yogurt together. 
    4. Fold the sour cream mixture into the flour mixture until all the flour is incorporated. This is a very thick mixture. 
    5. Pour the cake into a greased and floured 9 x13 pan. 
    6. For the crumbs, mix the flour and sugar together. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until you get large crumbs. (adding the milk or cream helps hold the crumbs together, but that is optional.) Sprinkle on top of the cake. 
    7. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 45 minutes or until the center is done. Test it with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, it is done. 

    Empanadas / Pastelle


    My husband was born in Paraguay and it almost seems that every street corner sells Empanadas. Even though the ones made in Canada are tasty, I will be the first to admit that the ones from Paraguay are outta this world! Maybe they taste better there because we are immersed in the culture and flavors of the land. The native Paraguayan people are such friendly people, and we were welcomed with such gracious hospitality. No matter how poor some of them are, what they have is yours and we were made to feel very welcomed. We haven't been there since 1986 but would love to take our family there someday. In the meantime my family gets to enjoy these. They don't get these very often but when I do make them they are devoured in no time at all. I make enough for the family to enjoy one day and a few extra to pack for lunches the next day. Depending on how big you want them will determine how many a recipe makes. I made a double batch yielding in 32 the size of my hand. The following recipe is one recipe. 

    Dough:
    • 4 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup hot milk
    • 3/4 cup melted lard or shortening.
    1. In a bowl combine the flour, salt with the hot milk and lard.
    2. Mix until well combined. Knead the dough just until all the flour is absorbed about 8- 10 times and holds together well. You do NOT want to overwork the dough.
    3. Divide the dough into 16 balls. 
    4. On a lightly floured surface roll into circles. 
    5. Fill with the filling and seal.
    *If you want to make more than one recipe I have found it is best to make the recipe one batch at time. 

    Filling: I make the filling the day before so it has a chance to cool completely.

    • 1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef
    • 2 onions, minced
    • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
    • 1 green or red pepper (optional) I didn't have any this time
    • 1 teaspoon of cumin 
    • salt, pepper, pepper flakes to taste. 
    • 3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
    • 1/2 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
    1. Brown the ground beef with the onions and garlic in a bit of oil, then add the seasonings to taste. 
    2. Cool the mixture before adding the cooked eggs and parsley. 
    3. Fill and seal the empanadas. 
    4. Heat the 3 inches of oil in a pot or deep skillet on medium high heat. 
    5. Add empanadas a few at a time. You do not want to crowd the pan, turning only once until you reach a golden brown color. 
    6. Drain on paper towels. 
    7. Cool for several minutes before serving as they are very hot. Serve with hot sauce on the side. 
    *Tip, If you find you have extra dough, fill the remaining empanadas with grated mozzarella to make cheese empanadas. Very good! 






    Honey Fried Freshwater Pickerel


    Pickerel are my favorite fish and now is the season to get them fresh. My daughter and her family went on a fly in fishing trip to Gammon River and came home with as many fillets as allowed. I was so happy to be the recipient of some of these delicious fish. My usual way to prepare them is really simple, I fry them in a bit of butter with salt and pepper to taste and a sprinkle of lemon juice on top. This time I decided to try something else and I may just have found a new favorite!
    • 1 egg
    • 2 teaspoons honey
    • 1/3 cup flour
    • 1 cup saltine crackers, crushed finely (approx 18 crackers)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, increase amount if you like a little more heat
    • 4 pickerel fillets
    • Extra honey for drizzling
    • Lemon wedges.
    1. In a bowl, beat egg and honey.
    2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cracker crumbs, salt, black pepper, and cayenne.
    3. Dip fillets in egg and honey mixture and then coat with the crumb mixture.
    4. In a frying pan heat just enough oil to cover the bottom.
    5. Fry fish in the pan over medium high heat, 3 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily with a fork and has a nice golden brown color.
    6. Drizzle with extra honey and lemon. Serve with coleslaw or a salad.


    This is my daughter Brenda with a nice catch of pickerel.

    Strawberry Ice Cream and Oreo Crust Pie


    Here is another super quick  no bake dessert for a hot summer night.

    • 1 1/4 cups oreo crumbs
    • 1/3 cup melted butter
    • 1 can sweetened condensed milk 
    • 1 1/2 cup cold whipping cream
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 1/2  - 2 cups strawberries, pureed in blender or food processor to make 3/4 cup
    • red food coloring (optional)
    1. Combine oreo crumbs and melted butter and press on the bottom and sides of a deep dish pie dish.  Refrigerate while making filling.
    2. Combine sweetened condensed milk, whipping cream and vanilla in a large bowl and beat on high until soft peaks form.  
    3. Add strawberry puree and stir together gently until combined.  Add a drop of red food coloring to enhance the pink if desired. 
    4. Pour into chocolate cookie crust and freeze until firm. 
    5. Garnish with whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

    Bread for the Journey

    There are times when we can't make a whole lot of sense of things that happen around us. With the passing of time...things sometimes become a little clearer.. And sometimes not. But one day we will see the whole picture...and then everything will be crystal clear. For now...we often look through the smog.


    This is how we have viewed our favorite mountain peak at times this past month. Through the smog! As the smoke from one of B.C.'s many forest fires wafted our way...the mountains all but disappeared in the haze.  It was hard to tell the colour of the barn just down the road...and the mountain peak was barely visible in the distance.


    A photo taken a few months ago at the very same spot gives a clearer perspective. Then it was obvious that the barn was red! And the snow capped peak of Mt. Cheam was clear and seemed so much closer.

    Sometimes it is a matter of perspective. Sometimes it is the passing of time. And then there are those things that will just never make any sense...here on earth. But one day...the smog will all be lifted!

    Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete. Then I will have complete knowledge as God has complete knowledge of me.
    ~ 1 Corinthians 13:12

    Make it Beautiful.

    A lovely gift and decor shop in our area uses the above statement as it's logo.
    In cooking, as in home decor, you can also Make it Beautiful.

    How you plan, plate and present food makes such a difference.
    My mom loved to entertain. 
    Although cooking wasn't her favourite pastime, she knew how to present food to make it look appetizing and beautiful. 
    She taught me that even the simplest meal could be presented in such a way
     as to make it look gourmet and absolutely delicious.


    (My mom, Lydia Boldt with some of her famous Christmas Eve Spread)

    I'd like to share a few simple suggestions to keep in mind that will make your meal beautiful.

      First of all, don't save the special planning and presentation for special occasions. 
    Making your every day meals attractive can tell your family that you think they're pretty special and it has the side effect of making the food seem even more delicious.

    We usually serve meals family style but once in awhile it is nice to plate a meal.
     This is a simple dish of fried chicken with potatoes, gravy and vegetables.


    Using a potato peeler to prepare the carrots and arranging the chicken on top of the potatoes and vegetables brings a restaurant flair to the table.


    Consider colour as well as nutrition when planning a meal.  Just imagine how unappetizing a plate of mashed potatoes, cauliflower and baked cod is compared to the crab cakes and salad pictured above.

    Use your pretty dishes and find ways to repurpose others to make your servings attractive.
     An example would be to serve beverages in mason jars or dessert in a teacup.

    Remember to include something brightly coloured on the plate.
    And take a moment to add a garnish, be it as simple as a sprig of parsley or a few fresh vegetables or as fancy as a carved radish or red pepper cut into a star shape.


    The picture above is of a simple crab wrap with raw veggies and dip but look how the veggies brighten up the plate and make it more appetizing.


    Set aside a few tablespoons of one of the ingredients for a garnish . Many times this is all it takes to change a meal from looking ho hum to amazing as in the fresh tomato pasta above.

    Sometimes just the choice of vegetables is enough to bring pizzazz to your table as in this squash and asparagus presentation.


    How you serve your meal makes a difference. Find fun ways to change it up even for family meals.
    Serve spaghetti on a platter with the sauce heaped in the middle or arrange a salad to highlight the lovely colours of the ingredients such as the tomato mozzarella salad below.


     These are just a few suggestions from my kitchen but I'd love to hear how you
     make it special for your friends and families.

    There are many days when you will not feel you have the time, energy or imagination to do this
     but try it a time or two every so often and see how it adds "flavour" to the meal
    and brings compliments to the cook.

    With all the variety of colour and shape of the food God has provided,
    it truly is easy to Make it Beautiful.


    Greek Salad -Flashback Friday



    For Flashback Friday I've updated this Greek Salad adding feta cheese this time around.

    Greek Salad
    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup cucumber chopped
    • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
    • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas (garbanzo), drained, rinsed.
    • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted, sliced
    • 1/4 cup scallions, sliced (you can substitute red onion here)
    • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
    • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 1 clove garlic minced
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 2-3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 3 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

     Method:
    1. Combine the cucumbers, tomatoes, chickpeas, olives, scallions, and parsley in a large bowl.
    2. Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper for the vinaigrette in a bowl.
    3. Drizzle olive oil into lemon juice mixture in a steady stream while whisking, after it emulsifies stir in mint and adjust seasonings to taste.
    4. Pour over the combined ingredients and mix well.

    Double the recipe if you are serving this as a main dish. This recipe would serve 2 as a main dish.
    As a side it serves 4-6 people.
    I used the whole English Cucumber for the salad pictured above which was probably 2 cups or more of the cucumber.

    Grilled Sweet Savory Buttermilk Chicken


    This recipe is a combination of a couple of recipes I've been looking at to try. I like the idea of using low fat buttermilk, or what could be referred to as grandma's probiotic, for marinating but you can also use a half and half mix of yogurt and milk if you like. The garlic and honey add just a mild flavor to very tender chicken.

    Ingredients:

    marinade
    • 1 1/2 cups  buttermilk
    • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 2 Tbsp green onion, chopped fine
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 12 chicken thighs with skin and bone in 
    • a sprinkle of salt and red pepper flakes (just before putting on the grill)
    Glaze
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 2 tsp grainy mustard
    • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
    • 2 Tbsp green onion, chopped fine
    Method:
    1. In glass bowl, combine buttermilk, garlic, green onion, salt and pepper. Add chicken. Cover and refrigerate for several hours, turning or rearranging pieces to coat a couple of times.
    2. When ready to cook, remove chicken to plate and discard buttermilk marinade. Sprinkle lightly with salt and red pepper flakes. 
    3. Heat grill to medium high and place chicken on greased grill, turning as needed to cook both sides with lid closed for the most part.  
    4. Cook about 30 - 35 minutes or just before internal temperature gets to 165 F. Baste with honey mustard glaze for last few minutes of cooking.

    Strudel


    Have you ever made your own Strudel Pastry? It was fun sharing recipes at a recent reunion.  Today I'm sharing with you a new favorite. And the beauty of this is that it's simple and quick to make and the results are delicious. Use any kind of fruits and you have fresh strudel.

    Strudel Dough
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 cup butter
    • 1 cup sour cream
    1.  Grate butter into flour and use a pastry blender to mix ingredients together.
    2. Then add your sour cream and form a ball.
    3. Divide the ball into two halves and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    4. Roll out one ball into a rectangular shape 12x9 (thinking in thirds)
    5. The dough should be thin enough and yet pliable enough to fold over.
    6. Fill with fruit mixture.
    7. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
    8. Leave it cool on the parchment paper prior to transferring to a serving plate.
    9. This dough is enough for 2 strudels. You can store the other ball in the fridge until needed.
    Fruit Options
    • sliced apricots, peaches, apples or any fruit in season
    • black berries are my favorite...you can mix and add and adjust your sugar mixture.
    Sugar Mixture/Thickening
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1/4 cup flour 
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • Only use about 3/4 cup of this mixture for one strudel.
    TIP use a 1/4 cup more flour or cornstarch when using berries.
    1. Prepare the fruit first and you can leave the peel on when using transparent apples.
    2. Prepare Sugar mixture in a bowl.
    3. Sprinkle  1/4 cup sugar mixture over the center of dough.
    4. Top with fruit and add 1/2 cup sugar mixture along the strip/top of fruit.
    5. Fold dough over half of fruit mixture and then fold other half.
    6. Seal pastry edges by simply dabbing your fingers with water.
    7. Store extra sugar mixture in container.
    I have used Anneliese's sugar mixture  which is also featured in our first book Mennonite Girls Can Cook  page 174.   Sometimes I double this batch of  mixture and keep it on hand so that when ever I want to make a quick strudel or perishky it's always ready to go.

     Icing (optional)
    • 1/2 cup icing sugar
    • 1 tablespoon cream
    • 1/4 tsp almond flavor.
    1. Mix ingredients together to make a smooth consistency.
    2. Drizzle over strudel when cool and add a few toasted slivered almonds. 

    You can garnish it with some icing and almonds or you can leave it as is.
    Once again, the beauty of this dough is that you can use any fresh fruit that you have at your local market. I made one strudel with apples and one with apricots. Mix the flavors with fresh blackberries.

    You always know that when the last piece is taken, it must have been really good.

    Sweet Corn and Zucchini Pie

    We have been enjoying fresh local sweet corn for the past month, and zucchini is also in abundance at this time of the year.  I combined them in this tasty side dish...a recipe that has become a summertime favorite.
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 yellow onion, sliced
    • 2 large zucchini, sliced thin
    • 2 cobs sweet corn
    • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
    • 2 tablespoons fresh basil*
    • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano*
    • 4 eggs
    • dash of cayenne
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (Mozzarella, Swiss, Cheddar, Parmesan...use what you have on hand or mix and match to taste. )
    *If using dried herbs, use 1 teaspoon for every tablespoon of fresh herbs called for in the recipe. eat the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. 
    1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the sliced onions, zucchini, and mushrooms and saute.
    2. Meanwhile, cut the kernels of corn from the cob. Add them to the skillet and continue to saute until the veggies are tender. Remove from heat.
    3. Add the basil and oregano and stir.
    4. Beat eggs.  Add salt, pepper and cayenne. Stir into sauteed veggies along with the grated cheese (reserving some for topping).
    5. Pour mixture into a well-greased pie plate (9" or larger), arranging zucchini slices on top. 
    6. Sprinkle with additional cheese and bake for 25 minutes in a 350°F oven (or until set and golden).
    7. Let stand for about 10 minutes before slicing.
     

    Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Bacon Pizza

    Do you ever stumble across a recipe and then can't remember where you saw it? I love perusing through magazines and often see a photo of something that says "I gotta make that!'. This pizza came to mind when I noticed I still had a good crop of strawberries in my one backyard strawberry pot. I went to my stack of magazines and could not dig up the recipe, so of course the next option was Pinterest...and there is was! I was even happier when the recipe lead me to a wonderful blog and the lady who's pizza I wanted to make and share with you.

    I made a few minor changes to her recipe, and here they are:
    -I added 1 tbsp of pineapple juice to the sauce
    -in place of cilantro, I used baby arugula which gives a slightly peppery taste
    -I added feta cheese

    During strawberry season I like to reduce good quality flavoured balsamic vinegar and once it's thickened and cooled slightly drizzle it over skewers of fresh strawberries and pineapple. So it was no surprise to me when I saw this pizza recipe with it's unique combination of ingredients that I knew it would be a hit. I've also added my favourite pizza dough recipe.

    Pizza Dough: enough for one 12-14" pizza
    • 3 cups flour
    • 2 tsp quick rise yeast
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 1/4 cup very warm water
    • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
    1. Place 2 3/4 cups flour in a bowl. 
    2. Stir in yeast and salt.
    3. Add water and oil. Stir until dough starts to come together.
    4. Add remaining flour until you get a smooth elastic dough. Form into ball and rub with a small amount of olive oil.
    5. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest on counter until double in bulk, approximately 1/2-3/4 of an  hour, OR cover with plastic wrap and let sit in refrigerator for 24 hours. This method of a longer rest time allows the gluten to relax and the result is a dough that is very easy to work with and produces a crisp airy crust. If you put dough in refrigerator, take out and allow to rest on counter for about 1/2 -3/4 hour before forming crust.
    Pizza toppings:
    • 1 cup chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces. ( you can roast one chicken breast for this or use a rotisserie chicken breast from the deli)
    • 4 slices apple wood smoked bacon, cut into 1" pieces and fried to tender crisp
    • 1/4 cup thin slices of sweet onion, I like to use walla walla onions this time of year
    • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
    • 1/4 cup Italian blend cheese
    • 1/3 cup feta cheese
    • fresh strawberries
    • baby arugula
    1. Cut up roasted chicken breast into bite size pieces. 
    2. Cut up bacon and fry to tender crisp.
    3. Slice onion into very thin rings.
    4. Prepare pizza sauce, recipe below.
    Pizza sauce - this is not your ordinary pizza sauce!
    • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 cup strawberry jam
    • 1 tsp hot sauce, or to taste. I add a bit more as we like a bit of heat
    • 1 tbsp pineapple juice
    1. In a small sauce pan heat the balsamic vinegar over medium heat until it begins to boil. Turn down and let cook until it reduces to about 1/2 the amount.
    2. Stir in the remaining ingredients until well combined.
    3. Remove from heat and allow this mixture to cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients. As it cools it will thicken. (at the point dip a whole strawberry into the mixture and enjoy.
    Assembling and baking pizza:
    1. Place pizza stone in a cold oven and turn oven to 450º.
    2. While oven and stone are heating up shape pizza dough to a round a few inches smaller than stone. Place dough onto a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with a bit of cornmeal. This will help the pizza to release and slide onto the hot stone easily.
    3. Once you have your shell formed on the parchment, spread 1/2 the sauce onto the shell. 
    4. Pour the remaining sauce over the chicken pieces and stir to coat. Set aside.
    5. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the pizza crust and sauce.
    6. Next add the chicken, then the bacon, onion rings, and top it all with the Italian cheese blend.
    7. Carefully slide the prepared pizza onto the hot stone and bake for 20-25 minutes. 
    8. Remove from oven, slide pizza onto a cutting board. 
    9. Top with fresh cup up strawberries, baby arugula and feta cheese. Serve immediately.





    Bread for the Journey



    Kindness
    Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV)

    We just had a wedding in our family. Our 2nd born son got married the last Saturday of June. My brother officiated the ceremony and the theme of his message to the bride and groom was kindness. He talked about the kindness that our son is known for. Don't you think that's a great message for newlyweds and those of us who have been married a long time or any of us who live in community? Kindness is key to a good relationship with all the ups and downs that life hands to us.  We can choose to extend kindness or we can be mean spirited and ruin a relationship. I think the key is to remember again and again the kindness of God toward us. God loves us and shows kindness to us so that we will repent and return to a full relationship with Him. 
    Be Kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you!

    Rustic Apricot Cherry Tart

    What's not to like about Lepp Farm Market?  They select the best B.C. gourmet foods and feature farm-fresh vegetables and fruits from their Okanagan orchard and local growers...along with the beef, pork and poultry raised on their family farm.They also have fabulous cooking classes in their shop...and partner with local charities to make a difference in our community.  So I clicked 'like' on their facebook page a long time ago...and love seeing their updates on a regular basis.  Last week they featured a cherry studded apricot galette that made my mouth water.  It just so happened that we received a gift of fresh apricots and fresh cherries from an Okanagan farm that very morning.  Good idea.  Good timing!  I set about to make a rustic apricot tart for dinner that night.  It was a hit!  And so I will share my method with you today.

    Pastry:

    • Pastry for a single crust pie.  (Prepare your favorite or use purchased pastry. I like to make a large recipe of pie dough (click for recipe) and store the discs in the freezer to use at a moment's notice.) 

    Filling:
    • 3 cups apricots, sliced  (about 10 -12 apricots) pitted and sliced
    • 8 pitted cherries, sliced in half
    • 1/3 cup (50 g) sugar
    • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
    • 1 teaspoon minute tapioca for thickening 
    • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
    Topping:
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon milk 
    • coarse sugar

    1. Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
    2. Roll disc of pastry into a large, thin circle.  (Ragged edges are just fine!)
    3. Carefully transfer the pastry onto a large parchment lined cookie sheet.  (The simplest way of doing this is to roll it onto the rolling pin, and then unfurl it onto the cookie sheet.)
    4. Put the sliced apricots in a bowl and add the sugar, lemon juice, tapioca and cornstarch.  Gently toss to combine.
    5. Spoon apricots onto the center of pastry circle and spread out evenly to within 2 1/2 inches of outer edge. Arrange top apricot slices evenly and accent with cherry halves .
    6. Fold the edges of the pastry over the outer edge of the fruit. Pat slightly to keep it in place.
    7. Whisk together the egg and the cream for the egg wash. Gently brush egg wash over outer edge of the crust (not you will only need a small amount of the egg wash). Sprinkle with a little coarse sugar.
    8. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, covering with foil for the final 15 minutes if it is getting too dark.  

    Simple, appealing...


    ...and so tasty!
    If you need any inspiration in the cooking department, check out the recipe section of Lepp Farm Market's web page...or click 'like' on their facebook page and be inspired daily.



    Flash Back Friday / Crazy Cake


    Recently I was asked to bring a dessert that was gluten free, dairy free and egg free to a bridal shower. I have made this cake for years even before there were allergies in the family and knew it would be a hit. I used Namaste Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Mix.
    Even though this chocolate cake is free of dairy, eggs, and I substituted gluten free flour it still resulted in a very moist and tasty cake.
    Frost with your favorite frosting. My favorite frostings are just below the cake recipe, or just sprinkle with icing sugar and berries for a simple yet beautiful result.


    Crazy Cake:

    • 1 1/2 c. regular flour (or gluten free all purpose mix)
    • 1 c. sugar
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 3 tbsp. heaping cocoa powder
    • 1/2 c. oil
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1 tbsp. vinegar
    • 1 c. cold water
    1. Sift all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix all the dry ingredients.
    2. Add the oil, vinegar and water. 
    3. Pour into a 8x8 well greased cake pan.
    4. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.
    5. Or make 12 cup cakes and bake for 20 minutes. 



    Pudding Frosting:
    • 1 package dream whip
    • 1 1/2 c. cold milk
    • 1 small package instant chocolate pudding mix

    Beat together well until thick and creamy.



    Burnt Coconut Frosting: 
    (my personal favorite and it tastes even better the next day)
    • 1/3 c. brown sugar
    • 1/2 c. unsweetened coconut
    • 3 Tbsp. butter
    • 2 Tbsp. milk
    • 3 tbsp. corn syrup
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    1. Mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan. 
    2. On medium heat, bring to boil. 
    3. Boil for 3 minutes. 
    4. Pour over the cake and brown under the broiler until golden brown, watching closely as not to burn the topping. 

    Cast Iron Pizza

    Who doesn't like pizza! This pizza can be bakes on a very hot BBQ or in the oven. We have a Big Green Egg grill which really bakes up a pizza like a wood oven, but I've tried this in my kitchen oven and it turns out nicely. This is a deep dish thicker crust pizza. Baking it in a cast skillet gives the pizza a perfectly crispy crust. Because it's a deep dish crust it's important to follow the method below to insure it cooks through.

    Crust:
    • 3 cups flour
    • 2 tsp instant yeast
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 1/4 cup warm water
    • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
    1. In bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, yeast, salt, water and oil. Stir to combine. Gradually add more flour kneading with your hands until you have a smooth and elastic dough.
    2. Form dough into a ball. Rub lightly with a bit more olive oil and place in a bowl and cover with lid or plastic wrap. Allow to rise on counter for at least an hour. I find that pizza dough is best made a day or two before hand. Once mixed place in refrigerator covered. Take out and let rise on counter one hour before using. 

    Topping: ( personalize your pizza by omitting or adding your own favourite toppings.
    • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
    • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 cup pizza sauce ( I like to add a bit of oregano, garlic and onion powder, Italian spice...any of these or a mixture to spice up the sauce)
    • 4 strips bacon, fried to lightly crisp, crumble
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped deli ham
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped pepperoni
    • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion, raw
    • 1/4 cup thinly sliced black olives
    • 1/3 cup pineapple tidbits, or fresh pineapple

    Making and baking the pizza:

    You can heat your cast iron in the oven or on your BBQ. Place cold cast iron pan in a cold oven or BBQ. You want to preheat your cooking method along with the pan to a temperature of 450-500º.

    Remember that cast iron gets very hot, you will need a good oven mitt to handle your pan and a good surface to remove it to....don't set a hot cast on your counter top!

    1. Once pan and oven/BBQ are up to temperature, working quickly, remove cast and quickly spray it with cooking spray and give it a sprinkle of corn meal. (this will add a nice crunch to your crust)
    2. Take your risen pizza dough, and working quickly pull or roll your dough to the size of your pan and without touching the hot cast lay the dough in the pan carefully working the crust into the pan and up it's sides. The dough should be about 1/2" thick.
    3. Place the cast with just the dough back into the oven or BBQ. Allow to bake (this is called blind baking) for 5 minutes.
    4. Remove pan, spread sauce over partially baked dough, add 1/3 of the cheese, all of the meats, onions, olives and pineapple. Top with remaining cheeses and bake for another 15-20 minutes until done. 
    5. Allow pizza to rest in cast for 2-3 minutes, then slide it onto a cutting board. Pizza will slide out of the pan really easily...just don't burn your hands on the cast. 

    Southwest Chicken Salad with Cilantro Dressing




    This salad is perfect for a main meal on a hot day!  Buy thin flattened chicken breasts so that they can be in and out of the pan in quick order.

    Salad Ingredients for 6 servings
    • 6 thin flattened chicken breasts seasoned with cajun seasoning
    • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
    • 1 large head Romaine lettuce, chopped into bite sized pieces 
    • 2 cups chopped cabbage
    • 2 diced red/yellow/orange peppers
    • 1 finely diced red onion
    • 1 pint grape tomatoes / halved
    • 4 cobs of corn, cooked and corn cut off
    • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
    • cilantro chopped for garnish
    Dressing
    • 1/2 large avocado
    • 1 cup chopped cilantro
    • 1/3 cup lime juice
    • 1/3 cup avocado oil
    • 2 tablespoons liquid honey
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • several dashes cayenne pepper
    • water to make the right consistency

    1. Heat a large fry pan on medium heat, add oil and let that heat for a minute.  Place 3 chicken breasts in the pan at one time.  Let sear on one side until the chicken releases.  Tip ~ The best browned chicken is fried in a pan without non stick coating.  Flip over and fry another minute. Cut into the thickest part of the breast and once the juice is clear, remove to a cutting board.  Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
    2. Layer salad ingredients in either a large glass bowl or a large platter, ending with the chicken on top.
    Dressing
    1. Place all the dressing ingredients into the blender jar and blend, adding enough water to make the dressing  smooth and creamy.  
    Serve salad with tortilla chips, fresh salsa and guacamole. 

    Berry Crumble Gallette


    With local berries at their peak it's easy to grab baskets of berries at a passing fruit stand, but you can also use frozen fruit for this rustic pie.

    Ingredients:

    • pastry for couple crust pie 
    • 1 egg white, beaten slightly for egg wash
    • 5 cups berries ( I used a mix of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries)
    • 3/4 cups sugar
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1/4 cup minute tapioca
    • coarse sugar for decor (optional)
    Crumbs for topping
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup white or brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
    Cut butter into sugar, flour and almonds, using pastry blender, until you can easily shape into crumbs with you hands.




    Method:
    1. Preheat oven to 400 F. 
    2. Mix pie crust. ( if you do not have a recipe - cut 1/3 cup shortening and 1/3 cup butter into 1 2/3 cup flour and 1 tsp salt until it has even small crumbs. Stir in 1/4 cup cold water with 2 Tbsp sour cream. Stir with fork for a minute  or so, until you can shape it into a ball.)
    3. On top of flour dusted parchment paper, flatten pastry ball into a circle, using your hands. (wet counter under paper slightly so keep paper from slipping) 
    4. Roll out to about a 16 inch circle, using flour to dust as needed. Transfer with parchment paper onto pizza pan. 
    5. Brush pastry with some of the egg wash and spread with berries, leaving about a 3 inch border. 
    6. Fold pastry edge over the fruit, brushing top of edge with the rest of the egg wash. Sprinkle pastry edge with coarse sugar and sprinkle fruit with crumb mixture. Trim off extra parchment paper.
    7. Bake in bottom third of oven for 15 minutes, then turn down the temperature to 350 F and continue baking about 45 minutes until juices bubble through the crumbs. Lightly cover crumb section with foil for final 15 - 20 minutes if they get too dark. Place pan on rack to cool to room temp or serve slightly warm with ice cream. 



    Salmon with Lemon and Fresh Herbs



    This is a simple, tasty and healthy recipe for salmon
     It is equally good done in the oven or on the grill
    Surround it with lemons and tomatoes and a few sprigs of fresh dill for a picture perfect entree.

    • 1 piece of wild filleted salmon
    • 2 lemons
    • 2-4 tablespoons of butter, melted
    • 1-2 lemons
    • several sprigs of fresh dill - you'll need about 1/4 up coarsely chopped but leave some whole
    • handful of fresh parsley - again coarsely chop enough to fill 1/4 cup and leave several sprigs whole
    • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
    • salt and pepper or Lemon Pepper
    1. Cut a large piece of foil - enough to double wrap the salmon. Fold in half.
    2. Brush centre of foil with butter 
    3. Slice lemon and lay two rows of lemon slices on the foil
    4. Brush with butter. 
    5. Distribute whole sprigs of fresh parsley and dill over lemon slices and sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of the chopped chives.
    6. Place salmon on top of lemons and herbs and brush with butter.
    7. Sprinkle with remaining chopped herbs.
    8. Lay a row of sliced lemon on top of the salmon
    9. Wrap foil over the salmon and pinch edges together, leaving a vent at the top.
    10. Grill or oven bake at 325 degrees F until fish is done and flakes.  (About 10 minutes per 1 inch thickness)
    11. Remove to a platter and garnish with lemons, tomatoes and sprigs of fresh dill, parsley and chives. Serve hot or cold.

    Bread for the Journey



    Create in my a clean heart, O God, 
    and renew a right spirit within me. 
    Cast me not away from your presence, 
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 
    Restore to me the joy of your salvation, 
    and uphold me with a willing spirit. 
    Psalm 51:10-12 [ESV]

    When you read Psalm 51 in its entirety you realize the chaos of David's life and how utterly repentive he is for all his transgressions.  He begs God to create a newness in him, to restore his joy and to uphold him with a willing spirit to live within God's will.
    We are really no different than David. No matter of the situation we find our lives in, we can always come to God and ask for a clean heart, a new attitude, and to have our joy restored. He asks for no other sacrifice than that of a our contrite heart and broken spirit.
    Thank you Lord for your gracious mercy towards us. May we be willing to give over our lives to you to create a clean heart in us and restore our joy through your Holy Spirit. 
       

    Tex Mex Dip

    Looking for something quick and delicious this for the weekend? This Tex Mex is baked up hot and bubbly. Great served with your favourite tortilla chips as a snack, or make it more of a meal by shedding some lettuce onto a small warmed flour tortilla shell and top with some of this hot dip.
    • 1 1/2 cups re fried beans
    • 2 medium avocados, peeled and chopped fine
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 package taco seasoning dry seasoning mix
    • 3/4 cup finely chopped green onions
    • 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
    • 3/4 cup chopped black olives, optional
    • grated cheddar cheese
    1. Spread re fried beans in the bottom of a large pie plate or 9x13 pan.
    2. Peel and finely chop avocados. Add to this the first amount of sour cream, salt, lemon juice and pepper. Spread this avocado mixture over re fried beans.
    3. Mix second amount of sour cream, mayonnaise and taco seasoning. Spread over the avocado mixture.
    4. Top with first the green onions, then the tomatoes and top with a generous layer of grated cheddar cheese.
    5. Bake in 375º oven for approximately 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

    Raspberry Ripple Pie


    For Flashback Friday...let me bring back our all-time favorite summer dessert.  This is a recipe that was clipped from a farm publication decades ago…at a time when we were growing commercial raspberries.  I make several at a time at the beginning of the summer…and like to have some in the freezer. The better the ice-cream…the more special the dessert!

    Raspberry Ripple Pie


    Ice-cream - 2 litres (quarts) premium vanilla ice-cream, slightly softened

    Crust:
    • 1 ¼ cups Oreo cookie crumbs
    • ¼ cup butter, melted
    1. Combine crumbs with melted butter. 
    2. Press firmly into the base of a 9 or 10-inch springform pan.
    Filling:
    • 1 ½ cups crushed raspberries
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 3 tablespoons water
    • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
    • 1 ½ tablespoons water
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1. Combine raspberries, sugar and three tablespoons of water.
    2. Blend cornstarch with 1 ½ tablespoon water until smooth; stir into berry mixture.
    3. Cook until mixture thickens and boils (I do this in the microwave, stirring regularly).
    4. Add lemon juice.
    5. Allow to cool.
    Method:
    1. Spoon about 1/3 of the ice-cream over the crumb crust…pressing down somewhat.
    2. Then spoon about half the berry sauce over the ice-cream.
    3. Repeat…ending with ice-cream on top.
    4. Carefully spread ice-cream over the filling with spatula or knife.
    5. Cover and freeze until hard.
    6. Allow to soften for about 15 minutes before serving.
    7. Cut in wedges and serve with whipped cream and berry sauce (below) and garnish with fresh raspberries.
    Berry Sauce:
    1. Puree about 2 cups of raspberries in blender…add a little sugar.
    2. Stir in whole berries just before serving.