Tag Archives: recipe

RECIPE: Rhubarb Lemonade

15 Jun

Spring and summer mean many things for the culinary community – namely a new abundance of tasty fresh vegetables, fruit, and other garden goodies to brighten up your dishes and add some much-needed vitamin intake to your blood stream.

One of my favourite spring/summer ingredients is rhubarb with its tangy-sweet flavour and endless versatility. Not to mention almost everything it touches is bestowed with a pretty pink hue.

I was recently inspired by a a batch of rhubarb picked from my parents’ garden, and decided to make a rhubarb lemonade. This incredibly refreshing bevy is delicious on its own or goes well with vodka for a fun cocktail.

The original recipe calls for you to discard the rhubarb once you’re done with it, but I would recommend keeping it and sautéing it with some freshly sliced strawberries for a delicious compote. I eat mine with yogurt, ice cream or sometimes just on its own. Many compote recipes require you to add sugar, but because the rhubarb has already been soaking in sugar water, I find it sweet enough.

Rhubarb Lemonade with Fresh Mint

 Ingredients:

  • 6 cups water, divided
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 stalks rhubarb, greens removed and stalks chopped (about 2 1/3 cups)
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Fresh mint sprigs
  • Ice cubes

Method:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of the water and 1 ½ cups of sugar to a simmer
  2. Add rhubarb and cook, uncovered, until it starts to soften (about 10 minutes) *don’t cook the rhubarb too long or it will become pulpy
  3. Strain the sugar syrup into a large pot or bowl and set rhubarb aside for compote
  4. Stir in lemon juice and remaining 4 cups water.
  5. Place in mason jars or keep in pot with the cover on, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours until cold.
  6. To serve, place a couple of mint sprigs in each glass. Add ice cubes, and pour lemonade over.

Advertisements

Heating Things up at Home: Arroz con Pollo and Chile con Carne Recipes

13 May

Today I leave for Mexico. Upon telling people of my pending vacation, the number one response I’ve been receiving is, “I’m so jealous that you get to spend some time in the hot sun.” It’s true; Victoria has had a rather dismal spring with countless grey skies and endless rain. And yes, while I’m looking forward to a much-needed vitamin D hit, the things that are really consuming my thoughts are current daydreams of margaritas and fresh guacamole. As mentioned in the post Smart Snacking, I’m a huge guac fanatic (click HERE for my Guilt-Free Guacamole recipe), and there’s truly no better place to sample fantastic guacamole than in Mexico. During my trip, I will of course be documenting my culinary experiences to share with you, but before I leave I thought I would offer a couple recipes that remind taste buds of warmer weather. And while these dishes aren’t necessarily Mexican per se, they do hail from other Latin American lands, and may just turn up the heat in your own kitchen, no matter where you are.

 Arroz con Pollo

This Bobby Flay adaption may seem labour-intensive, but you can include or leave out whatever you like to make it your own. Also, this is a great dish to make in batches and enjoy throughout the week, so all your hard work will pay off for a few meals at least.

 Ingredients:

  •  2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons powdered garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons powdered onion
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  •  2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large Spanish onion finely diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 to 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 3 cups white rice
  • 4 ¾  cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½  cup frozen peas (not thawed)
  • ½ cup black beans
  • ¾  cup pimento stuffed green olives
  • Squeeze of limejuice

Method:

  1. Mix together the salt, garlic powder, cumin, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, turmeric and oregano in a small bowl.
  2. Season both sides of the chicken with the mixture.
  3. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium to high heat.
  4. Place the chicken in the oil in batches, if necessary, and sauté until golden brown. Turn the chicken over and cook until the second side is golden brown.
  5. Remove the chicken and place into a separate pot, cover and allow it to cook through while keeping warm.
  6. In the same pot that the chicken was sautéed in, add the onions, and the green and red peppers and cook until soft.
  7. Add the tomato and chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  8. Add the rice to the pot, stir to coat the rice in the mixture and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, bay leaf, some salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.
  9. Stir well, cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes.
  10. After 10 minutes, add the peas  and beans to the pot, cover and continue cooking until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through (about 8 minutes).
  11. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes covered.
  12. Remove the lid, fluff the rice and gently fold in the olives, and a squeeze of lime juice.
  13. Pull chicken so that it is separated, and add to rice mix.
  14. Serve, and enjoy!

Arroz con Pollo seasoning mixture

Step 2: Season both sides of chicken with mixture and saute until golden on both sides

Step 6: In the same pot that the chicken was sautéed in, add the onions, and the green and red peppers and cook until soft

Step 8: Add the rice to the pot, stir to coat the rice in the mixture and cook for 1 minute

Step 10: Add the peas and beans to the pot, cover and continue cooking until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through (about 8 minutes)

Chicken is traditionally served pulled and mixed with other ingredients, but you can also serve it whole.

 Chipotle Chili con Carne

This is another dish that’s great to make in large batches and enjoy as leftovers throughout the week. I serve mine with nutty bread, and a garnish of chopped spring onions and freshly sliced avocado.

 Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 ½ tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped canned chipotle peppers
  • 1 (29 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can sweet corn
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, sauté ground beef until almost cooked through
  2. Add onion and bell peppers and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until beef is browned and vegetables are soft.
  3. Add the chili powder, garlic, bay leaf, cumin, chipotle peppers, tomatoes, tomato sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low.
  4. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes on medium to low heat, while stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in the beans and corn, and heat through.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Step 2: Add onion and bell peppers and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until beef is browned and vegetables are soft

Step 5: Stir in the beans and corn, and heat through. Serve and enjoy!

Easter Recipe: Mini Egg Oatmeal Cookies

9 Apr

Bunnies, baby chicks, pastels, and spring flowers. These are a few of my favourite things. They’ve also become some of the major signs of Easter  – although some argue that this religious holiday doesn’t really have much to do with any of them. However, like the many springtime holidays, Easter reflects upon concepts of rebirth and renewal and so do these images. Baby animals, eggs, and budding bouquets are all things that signify spring and bring our weary heads out of our wintery slumber and into the soon-to-be summer light. But whether you celebrate the religious side of Easter or not, it’s still fun to incorporate some of these symbols into your recipes. A good friend of mine is famous in our circle for her extremely easy and addictively delicious mini-egg oatmeal cookies and has kindly agreed to share this recipe with the Shortt and Sweet readers.

Mini Egg Oatmeal Cookies

Baking of batch of these takes minimal effort and brings maximum enjoyment by all you share it with! Sure to solicit a springtime-smile to anyone’s faces, Anais’ Mini Egg Cookies are a hit with kids and adults alike, especially during this particular time of year…

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cup quick cooking oats
  • ½ to 1 cup Cadbury Mini Eggs

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F
  2. Mix butter, sugar, egg and vanilla
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix well
  4. Add mini eggs until distributed evenly
  5. Loosely roll small balls with at least 2 eggs in each portion and place 2 inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet
  6. Bake for 8 minutes
  7. Cool and enjoy!

Add 1/2 to 1 cup of Cadbury Mini Eggs

Loosely roll small balls with at least 2 eggs in each portion and place 2 inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet

Bake for 8 mins at 325F

Smart Snacking

20 Mar

Like most people I love to snack, but I often take it to a whole new level when I go days without sitting down for a real lunch or dinner and simply supplement my diet with mini-meals here and there. While they say many small meals a day can be good for you, it’s only “good for you” is your snacks are healthy and balanced. I often find myself drawn to chips, chocolate and anything that has to do with cheese, but there are in fact some ways you can confuse your taste buds by satisfying your cravings with some simple smart snacking tricks.

Snack Trick #1: Add Healthy Filler to Your Dips

Veggies and dip. It sounds healthy enough right? But so many dips are high in calories and low in nutrients. Basically anything made with full fat sour cream or cream cheese is in the danger zone, so many people recommend using low or no fat alternatives, or simply subbing in humus for your otherwise unhealthy carrot coater. Another suggestion I stumbled on recently was a way to cut calories when making guacamole. I LOVE guacamole. I could literally eat it with anything, and while I don’t think avocados are really all that bad for you, if you’re eating tubs of it at a time you’re definitely getting up there in your calorie count. One trick for this decadent dip is to supplement about half of the avocado filler with white kidney beans. It doesn’t taste exactly the same, but it’s equally as delicious. A healthy dose of lime and cilantro offers a similar taste sensation, and the kidney beans provide added protein with less fat.

Guilt-Free Guacamole with White Kidney Beans

Guilt-Free Guacamole Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped sweet onion
  • Salt
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
  • 2 plum tomatoes

Method:

  • In a food processor with the knife blade attached, puree beans and 1 tbsp lime juice until smooth, and then transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.
  • In the same processor, place cilantro, onion, and 1/2 tsp of salt and pulse until it’s juicy and thick.
  • With a spoon, scoop the avocado from its peel into the bowl with the beans. Mash them together with a fork until the mixture is blended, with some chunks remaining.
  • Cut each tomato crosswise in half. Squeeze halves to remove seeds and juice.
  • Coarsely chop tomatoes and stir the tomato and onion mixture into the avocado mixture until its blended. At this point you can stir in any additional lime juice to taste.

Snack Trick #2: Pick Smart Chips

While veggies such as carrots, celery, and cucumbers are supposed to quench that crunchy craving, sometimes they just don’t cut it. So if you really want to burn through a bag of chips, I suggest choosing a variety that offers maximum nutrition with minimal caloric content. Two of my favourites are Terra Chips and Riceworks. Terra Chips are made up of an assortment of vegetables including taro, sweet potato, yucca, batata, parsnip, and ruby taro, which are baked and of course packed with more nutrients than you’d find in regular potato chips. Rice Thins on the other hand may not have such a wide array of nutritional variation but the fact that they’re made with whole grain brown rice offers added nutritional benefits including higher fibre than white rice, corn chips or once again, regular potato chips.  Both of these options are preservative free, celiac friendly, and contain less fat than standard potato chips, and in my opinion are just a lot more satisfying so you can be happier with less.

Terra and Riceworks Chips

Another crunchy snack recommended by many dieticians is low fat popcorn. Now I get it – sometimes the low fat version just doesn’t hit a home run with the taste factor. So if you want to add a little kick to your popcorn without dousing it in butter and salt, try a small spoonful of olive oil combined with a mix of summer savoury herbs and a modest sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.  These easy-to-add ingredients pack a lot of flavour so you don’t need very much and thus save on fat and sodium content. It’s also just fancier which is always fun 🙂

Herb and Parmesan Low-Fat Popcorn

Snack Tip # 3: Chocolate CAN Stay

I hate anyone who says that you have to cut chocolate out of your diet to be healthy. As long as it doesn’t cause serious health risks due to some allergy, I say keep this glorious treat! The only thing I would suggest is sticking to better quality varieties, and eating only 1 to 3 pieces at a sitting, slowly sucking on the chocolate letting it melt so that you can experience the full flavour and enjoyment out of each little bite.

For good quality, satisfying varieties try these:

Bonnat Chocolatier‘s Java 65% dark milk chocolate made with Indonesian milk with hints of tobacco and caramel.

Patric’s Moka OMG for a smooth blend of rich dark chocolate and craft-roasted espresso 700 coffee beans from the award-winning artisan coffee roaster Kaldi’s.

Republica del Cacao’s Arriba Galapagos Islands Chocolate Bar with Coffee Nibs for a crunchy kick that’s as ethical as it is delicious.

Madecasse‘s Bean to Bar in Madagascar pink pepper and citrus for a different sort of chocolaty experience.

Askinosie‘s dark chocolate and malted milk “CollaBARation” with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.

Or another great way to enjoy chocolate as a dessert is to combine it with fruit. While some people shun many fruits as being too high in sugar, I personally feel that fruit is one of the best things to snack on. Firstly it’s delicious. AND furthermore most fruits are loaded with vitamins and minerals that can’t be found in many other foods. In addition to this, many fruits have high water content, and maintaining hydration is actually a key aspect of cutting down snack cravings. Finally adding extra fibre to your diet is never a bad idea, so I say let them eat fruit!

I like dipping fruit in chocolate, and an easy sweet snack is to add a spin on chocolate covered strawberries by substituting the normal baking chocolate with Toblerone. The crunchy nougat adds a little something extra and you may even find yourself being more satisfied with just a few bites due to the richness of the chocolaty tip.

In the end though, there’s no one way to eat, diet, snack, indulge, whatever your relationship with food may be. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that it is in fact a relationship whereby you should maintain an open and honest conversation with your body as you figure out what’s right for you, what makes you happy and what satisfies your cravings.

So what’s my number one advice for snacking? Don’t deprive yourself, just snack smart.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cupcakes with Coconut Flour

19 Feb

As discussed in the post Playing Cupid with Cupcakes and Other Delicious Things, Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to show the people in your life how much you care. One of the best ways of doing this is the act of giving edible gifts or enjoying shared meals with loved ones. But what if the ones you care about can’t stomach the usual wheat and dairy packed treats we’ve grown accustomed to on holidays such as this? Thankfully there have been so many fantastic discoveries in the world of gluten and dairy free cooking that allow those with restricted diets the opportunity to enjoy certain foods they normally could only dream about. This Valentine’s Day I thought it would be nice to try my hands at some new cupcake recipes that don’t involve either wheat or dairy, and after some experimentation and collaboration between a few online sources, I came up with two variations that were very much appreciated by the GF and DF people in my life…

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

*makes 6-8 regular sized cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or substitute)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2-3 tsp red food colouring
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Beat the eggs well, stir in the coconut oil, coconut milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients.
  3. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet and mix well.
  4. Add the red food colouring and mix well.
  5. Place the batter into cupcake cases 3/4 of the way up and bake for 20 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  6. Remove and cool before frosting.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Vanilla Cupcakes

*makes 6-8 regular sized cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup of honey (or other sweetener…I used Agave Syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla

 Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and blend well.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and use mixer to blend.
  4. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way with batter.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  6. Remove and cool before frosting.

Dairy-Free Pomegranate Icing

*For roughly 16-20 cupcakes (depending on how much icing is used on each)

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 cups gluten-free powdered cane sugar
  • 6 tbsp canned coconut milk
  • 6 tbsp natural pomegranate juice (add more, 1 teaspoon at a time for a creamy consistency)
  • One freshly squeezed lemon

Method

  1. Place vegetable shortening and salt in a medium mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to cream.
  2. Add sugar and coconut milk, then slowly mix in pomegranate juice and lemon juice.
  3. Whip on high until the frosting is smooth and creamy.
  4. If frosting is too stiff, gradually add more pomegranate juice, 1 teaspoon at a time.

Notes:

1. Coconut Oil in Baking: Unlike oils you may be more accustomed to using in cooking, coconut oil is thick and solid. Your best bet is to leave it out in a measuring cup to soften at room temperature before combining with the other ingredients.

2. Filling the Cupcake Liners with Batter: While the suggested amount you should fill the liners is 3/4, cupcakes using both coconut flour and coconut oil don’t rise very much do to the density of these ingredients. I would recommend filling them slightly higher so that when they rise, they have that lovely top on them.

3. The Vanilla Cupcake Batter: You may find that the batter for these cupcakes is much thicker than the red velvet ones. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to be this way. Just spoon in the batter and you’ll see that they turn out just fine!

4. The Icing: While the recipes I went off of all suggested vegetable shortening, this would not be my recommendation. I found the flavour a tad distracting from the sweetness of the cupcakes with a somewhat heavy aftertaste. Next time I make this icing, I would probably try coconut oil or some other thickening agent, although I’m open to suggestions if you guys have any. But the pomegranate juice is great! Adds the right amount of flavour and of course that lovely Valentine’s Day pink tint!