Kale, Yam, Black Bean & Sumac Skillet with Lise

Kale, Yam, Black Bean BowlMy lovely friend Lise (who’s tasty veggie dip I posted a while back) is such a supportive advocate of my blog. So as the weeks and months go by where I’m too busy (read: lazy) to post as often as I used to, the pangs of guilt always make me think of her. (Thanks a lot, Lise)

We made dinner plans recently and she suggested making something tasty together and doing a blog post on it. So here I am, almost 2 months later, finally posting our delicious meal!

We adapted this recipe from one of Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop newsletters, where she talks about things like her recommended vacation spots and favorite clothing stores and new organic juice cleanses, all of which I can barely afford to read about. But she also features some great, healthy, simple recipes, including this one. It’s a vegetarian dish, but so hearty with the yams and black beans, and if you’re feeling extra cow-friendly you could even go vegan without the sour cream garnish.

Ingredients

  • 2 yams, peeled
  • 1 can black beans
  • Dinner Ingredients2 big handfuls of kale, chopped small
  • Juice of 1 lime, plus extra slices for the table
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons sumac
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • Sea salt
  • Cracked pepper
  • 1 avocado
  • Dollop of sour cream for garnish

Method

The great thing about this dish is that you cook it all in one pan, skillet, pot, whatever you’ve got. It’s such an easy meal to make with almost no mess, and it was absolutely delicious. Lise and I improvised a little because it sounded a little bland, so we added the onion and garlic, and probably threw in about 5 times more spice than the recipe called for.

SumacNow let’s talk about sumac. If you’ve tried it, then you’ll understand the importance of its flavour in a recipe.

My buddy Abdallah (who is not-so-secretly descended from Lebanese royalty NBD) gave me a pouch of this stuff that his parents brought back from Lebanon, so I had the real deal for this recipe.

I’ve never tried anything like it, and there really is no substitute. So I’m going to go ahead and be that annoying food blogger who includes obscure, hard-to-find ingredients in my post, but I promise this one is worth the hunt.

It’s a beautiful, dark red spice often found in Middle Eastern cooking, and has a completely unique, sour flavour. It’s quite lemony, and even a bit like cranberries. It’s so unexpected and just so delicious. It’s truly the star of this dish, so just stop rolling your eyes and me, go to your nearest Mediterranean grocer or pretentious health food store and find some. Or just make friends with a Lebanese prince like me, he’ll hook you up.

I can’t imagine why our dear Gwyneth would only call for a pinch of this stuff, but we threw in about a fistful. Or at least 5 or 6 pinches. Along with almost equal amounts of cumin. We were pretty reckless with our quantities and certainly didn’t use a measuring spoon, so don’t worry too much about portions.

So let’s begin.

YamsPut a nice big pan or skillet over medium-high heat. While that’s heating up, peel your yams and cut them in half.

Lay the cut surface flat on your cutting board and slice into 4 lengthwise strips. Then slice into about 1/2 inch thick pieces.

Next chop your onion and peel your garlic clove. Drizzle your pan with a good glug of olive oil, throw in your chopped onions, and crush your garlic clove into the pan too.

Hey look it's Lise!

Hey look it’s Lise!

Once your onions begin to turn translucent, add your yams and spices.

Cook for a few minutes, turning them to coat with oil and spices, until they start to brown. If they start looking dry, add a little more olive oil.

After another minute or so, put the lid on your pan, turn the heat down to medium, and let it cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the yams soften up.

Yams, Kale & BeansNaturally, this is the perfect time to catch up with your kitchen buddy. And if you’re good at multitasking, you can gossip while chopping your kale into small pieces and straining your can of black beans too.

Once the yams are slightly softened (but still slightly firm and holding their shape), add your black beans and stir to mix. Throw in your kale, mix together and cover for another minute or two.

Dinner for 2For Lise and I, the garnish for this dish really wasn’t optional. All the toppings were equally as tasty and important as the main ingredients.

So serve this up in bowls and finish with a few slices of avocado, a dollop of sour cream, another squeeze of lime, a crack of salt and pepper, and another pinch of sumac for colour.

Once you’ve scraped your bowl clean, and maybe even had seconds, you should still have plenty of room in your separate stomach for dessert. (That’s not just me, right?)

Earnest Ice CreamI brought home a couple jars of Vancouver’s own seriously good Earnest Ice Cream in Vanilla Bean and Cardamom. The perfect, sweet finish to this simple dinner for 2.

Lise, you were lovely company and a great co-chef!

I’m even thinking about a second date.

 

 

Posted in Nice, Big Main Courses, Vegequarium | 1 Comment

Cheesy Odds ‘n Ends Spread

cheesy madnessEveryone agrees that the best part about entertaining is having all the leftovers for yourself, right?

But there are always those odds and ends that find their way to the back of your fridge, turn into a science experiment, and get thrown out.

I truly hate wasting food, so when I found this amazing, post-party recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I immediately headed for my cheese drawer.

(Yes, I have a whole drawer dedicated to cheese, doesn’t everyone?)

So the day after your party when you have all those little leftover corners of different cheeses that you don’t know what to do with, instead of letting them age not-so-gracefully in your fridge, whip them all together into one of the tastiest, cheesiest concoctions you’ve ever spread across a cracker.

Ingredients

  • 500 grams of leftover cheeses
    My picks: some soft, ashy goat, Saint Andre brie, a small piece of blue, Boursin soft cheesy ingredientscheese. I would have also added some grated parmesan to add a harder cheese to the mix if I had any.
  • 1/3 cup white wine (not pictured)
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped herbs
    I used sage because that’s all I had, but you could also go with thyme, chives, parsley, rosemary, any fresh herbs really.
  • Freshly cracked pepper
    I didn’t think there was any need for salt with all that strong cheese.
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Optional: if you’re using mostly firm cheeses, add a teaspoon of butter to make it nice and spreadable

Method

There really are no rules when it comes to your cheese selection for this recipe. You can go with mostly softer cheeses for an easy spread, or add some harder cheeses for a bit more texture. Just keep in mind that a little blue goes a long way,  so you only need about 20% blue in your cheesy mix.

deconstructed cheesy goodnessAs you can imagine, this is a pretty simple recipe to whip up. With a food processor, it’ll take less than 10 minutes.

Cut your soft cheeses into smaller chunks, grate your harder cheeses, and throw it all into your food processor, along with the chopped herbs, crushed garlic and cracked pepper. If you’re using mostly hard cheeses, throw in a little butter too for that much needed creaminess.

Oh come on, you’re already making a recipe made of 95% MILK FAT, don’t get weird about calories now.

whipped cheesy goodnessWith the motor running, add your white wine, squeeze of lemon, and a drizzle of nice olive oil until you get the consistency you want.

You could go totally creamy, or keep a it a little chunky for texture. I prefer the latter.

Have a taste, and adjust accordingly. More pepper? Needs a little salt? Not stinky enough? Add more blue!

cheesy goodness on crackersThis stuff can be enjoyed on crackers, used as a dip for veggies or breadsticks, spread on a nice piece of toast and heated under the broiler - there is no end to this cheesy madness.

This will keep in the fridge for a couple weeks and the flavours will just get stronger and more delicious.

So when you have your friends over next weekend, serve this up instead of buying more cheese to add to your odds ‘n ends collection. They’ll never know you’re feeding them blended scraps from your last party (charming, right?), and even if they find out, it’s so delicious they’ll thank you anyway.

 

 

 

Posted in Miscellaneous Goodies, Starters, Snacks, Sides, Salads | Leave a comment

Caramelized Banana Bread with Sea Salt

Sliced Banana Bread & MilkRemember when I said I was trying to go gluten-free for a while? Well forget that and shift your focus to this amazing banana bread instead.

(Read: it didn’t go so well.)

This is definitely not the quickest banana bread recipe around, but trust me when I say it is well worth the effort.

A little extra butter here, a sprinkling of sea salt there, and a few extra steps along the way make some of the best banana bread I’ve ever had.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened & divided
  • Banana Bread Ingredients3/4 cup packed, dark brown sugar
  • 3 medium ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk*
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (+ extra for sprinkling)
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cream (or half-and-half)
* Who keeps buttermilk in the fridge? And what IS buttermilk?? If you’re as baffled as I am and don’t have any in the fridge, you can make your own weird substitute by putting 1 tablespoon of vinegar in a measuring cup and filling the rest up with milk to the 1-cup line. Let it stand for 5 minutes and it will look gross and slightly gelatinous and you won’t want to go near it, but trust me, it’s a perfectly good substitute. Use as much as your recipe calls for.

 

Method

Caramelized BananasPreheat your oven to 350˚F. Melt 3 tablespoons of your butter in a pan over medium-high heat, and then add your sliced bananas and brown sugar. Sauté for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, as the smells of delicious caramelized bananas fill your nostrils and your kitchen.

Getting the idea now? That’s how much more delicious this banana bread is going to be.

Flour & Buttermilk MixturesRemove from the heat and let it cool for 10 minutes or so. Pour this mixture into a big bowl and beat with a mixer until smooth. (And then lick the beaters, obvs.)

In a separate bowl, combine your buttermilk, canola oil and eggs.

In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda cinnamon and salt. (I know, your dishes are piling up – give your boyfriend the other beater to lick and bat your eyelashes at him, it might work.)

Banana Bread Ingredients CombinedNow, add your flour mixture, and buttermilk mixture alternatively to the banana mixture, back and forth in small batches until it’s all added, and then beat on low until it’s just combined.

Don’t over mix it – if you over work gluten, you can lose the fluffy-factor, making it too dense. (See how much I know about gluten? It would just be wrong to give it up.)

Batter in Loaf PanPour the batter into a greased loaf pan – about 9 x 5″. Bake this for an hour at 350˚F, or until a wooden tooth pick poked right into the centre of the loaf comes out with moist crumbs clinging to it.

While this is baking away, you’re going to prep the finishing touches, and in my opinion, the best part. La pièce de résistance, as some d-bags might say.

Baked Banana BreadMelt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a small pan over medium-high heat. Cook this for a few minutes until the butter begins to brown, but not burn (this can happen quickly so don’t walk away from the stove to pet your cat). Remove from the heat and add your powdered sugar and cream, whisking until smooth. Set aside.

Once your banana bread is done, let it sit for 5 minutes before taking it out of the loaf pan to cool on a wire rack. (Don’t be impatient and try to dump the loaf out while it’s still piping hot. It will literally just fall apart. This happened to me once after slaving over a cake and I nearly wept. The cake may as well have slapped me across the face.)

Caramelized Banana BreadThis is where I got a little creative (read: crazy). Rather than losing so much of this delicious glaze to a plate when pouring it over the banana bread, I crafted a glaze catching mechanism, whereby I placed the loaf on a wire rack, which sat on top of a plate. I poured the glaze evenly across the loaf, and of course, much of this dripped off onto the plate below.

But obviously I did not let this go to waste. I took the plate out from underneath the rack, scraped this delicious glaze run-off back onto the banana bread with a spatula, and put the plate back underneath to catch any additional run-off.

I continued this process until every last drop of this glaze was either on the banana bread, or in my mouth. (It’s ok to lick a plate clean in the privacy of your own kitchen, right?) Some might call this neurotic, I call it commitment.

Banana Bread & MilkOnce you’ve glazed your banana bread, sprinkle a pinch of sea salt evenly across the loaf. This is optional of course, but I’m a sucker for sweet ‘n salty goodies, so I didn’t hesitate.

Slice off a piece while it’s still a little warm and enjoy with a cup of milk. And then probably have 1 or 2 more pieces to be sure it’s as good as you thought.

Still just as delicious? Thought so. But aren’t you glad you triple checked?

 

Posted in Sweet Treats | Leave a comment

No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Balls

In an effort to torture myself be a little healthier, I’ve decided to cut out wheat and (mostly) dairy for the month of October. Possibly the worst decision ever. But, I might discover that I have a gluten intolerance (as so many people do, since us humans haven’t had much time, in the grand scheme of things, to learn how to process refined wheats).

This discovery, while devastating, would be enlightening and probably worth acknowledging. So as much as I could gladly gnaw on a nice, crusty, white baguette all day, everyday, if giving up all that white flour means my frequent headaches dissipate, then maybe it’s worth it. Maybe…

Aside from weaning myself off breads and bagels and pastas (I just salivated), it’s also a major challenge giving up my usual afternoon sweet treats that often come in the form of some obscenely delicious cookie from the amazing café across the street from my work. (Railtown Café. Get there. You can thank me later.)

I’m not necessarily giving up sugar (one thing at a time, ok?!), but those afternoon sweet treats are usually flour-based delights, so it’s still a change to my sugar-addicted eating habits. So to make up for this, I decided some kind of gluten-free, kind-of-healthy-but-not-really treat was in order. Enter the No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Balls!

Recipe found through Pinterest (what else is new), on this great, little blog.
Makes 15 – 18 balls, depending on size.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
    (You could go with a natural peanut or almond butter, but let’s be honest, the sweet, fake icing-like stuff is best. And it actually rolls up better than the healthy stuff, so I support this indulgence.)
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Optional: 1/2 cup pecans or chocolate chips
    (or raisins, or walnuts, or really whatever you want!)

Method

This part is easy peasy.

Put all ingredients into a bowl. Mix together. Lick spatula a few times. Mix some more and pop the bowl into the fridge for 10 minutes or so to get it all firmed up a bit.

Wash hands. Dive right in and roll the into golf ball-ish sized balls.

(Yes, that’s an official measurement, i.e. baseball-ish, basketball-ish, hootball-ish)


Store them in the fridge in an airtight container.

Enjoy once daily to avoid afternoon cravings that lead to running to the nearest café in a panic and knocking people down in the line-up trying to get to the pastries.

Posted in Miscellaneous Goodies, Sweet Treats | Leave a comment

Mabo Dofu

I first swooned over this Japanese dish when my good friend Jonny cooked it up for us earlier this year. He lived in Japan for a number of years growing up, and his mom Cheri, (who’s blog I humbly adore and shamelessly copy), cooked them all kinds of delicious, authentic cuisine, including this recipe.

So I’m not just being a naive white girl claiming to know all about Japanese cooking (for an example of this, see my quinoa sushi). This is legit.

It’s the Japanese equivalent to our chilli or stew – hearty, comfort food for a gloomy fall or winter day.

And it may not be the prettiest dish in the kitchen (and by that I mean it most definitely is not. It is brown slop), but believe me, what this recipe lacks in aesthetic, it makes up for in deliciousness.

Recipe ever-so-slightly adapted from Cheri Litchfield’s blog

Main Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 packages medium firm tofu, drained & cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 2″ piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cups short grain Japanese rice, cooked
Optional add ons:
  • Broccoli or bok choy, steamed
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons red miso paste
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin – A type of sweet, Japanese rice wine.
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons tobandjan - Japanese red chilli bean sauce, other Asian chilli sauces will substitute fine.
  • 3/4 teaspoon dashi granules, mixed into 1 1/2 cups hot water - Dashi is a fish stock and is similar to chicken bouillon in that you mix the granules with water to make a broth. You can also substitute chicken broth in a pinch.
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Method

Before you even get into your kitchen, be sure to make a trip to your friendly, neighbourhood Asian grocery store. This dish is so easy once you have everything you need, but if you try to get started before making the grocery run, you’ll be overwhelmed by all the things that you don’t have in your pantry that you’ll probably just give up in a huff and order pizza. (That is also the story of the first time I thought about making this.)

Once you’ve arrived in your kitchen with all your ingredients, start by browning the beef with your onion, garlic and ginger over medium heat in a pan or wok.

Stir frequently and drain off the extra meaty juices. While this is cooking away, get your rice going either in a pot or a rice maker.

Helpful little side note from Cheri that Jonny passed along to me: when grating ginger, rather than cutting off the skin and losing a good amount of the ginger along with it, leave the skin on and just grate away!

It comes out so finely anyway that you really will never know the difference. I love this tip because it saves time, doesn’t waste any ginger, and I like to think it makes any dish healthier since the good stuff is always closest to the skin. Thank you Cheri!

So next you’ll make your sauce. Start with the dashi granules and add 1 1/2 cups of hot water to make the fish broth. It will smell super fishy, (which completely repelled me because I’m not a seafood eater, and certainly not a fish broth sipper) but once everything else is mixed in, it doesn’t taste fishy at all. Just adds the tasty salt factor.

Once the granules are dissolved, add your miso paste, soy sauce, sugar, mirin and tobandjan. Mix altogether and have a taste. If you like a bit more heat then add more chilli sauce to your liking.

Cut your tofu into small cubes and gently stir into your pan of browning beef along with your sauce and let it simmer on low heat for 5 minutes or so.

Because you’re using medium-firm tofu, it’s lovely and silky and not too tough, but it also means that it’s more delicate, so stir this gently or you’ll wind up with an even messier looking dish.

If you’re adding broccoli or bok choy, get a couple inches of water boiling in a pot and steam your greens for just a couple minutes.

The veg will keep cooking a little once added to the dish, so you don’t want to overdo it. Once this is done, strain your veg and set aside.

Next stir your cornstarch into 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl until it’s well dissolved, and pour into the pan of beef to thicken it up a bit. Drizzle with sesame oil and stir altogether.

Serve this brown mess (don’t knock it till you try it) over a bed of rice and top with your steamed greens, chopped green onions and a good sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds. Now that you’ve masked it with greens and seeds it’s looking pretty good, right?

Bring extra chilli sauce and sesame oil to the table and adjust to taste.

 

 

Posted in Carnivorous, Nice, Big Main Courses | Leave a comment

Roasted Garlic Butter Mushrooms

Oh yes, they are as good as they sound. And so simple!! Truly a “set it and forget it” kind of recipe, which are always my favourite.

I’ve made these a few times now, and Graeme continually refers to them as the Creamy Mushrooms, even though there is no actual cream in the recipe. Which I think is a testament to their yumminess.

And probably their high caloric value, but who’s counting?

Recipe serves 4 sides

Ingredients

  • 1 pound brown button mushrooms, sliced in half
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Handful of parsley, chopped
  • Salt & pepper

Method

Preheat your oven to 450˚F (although not recommended on a hot, muggy, summer day like today. Irritable girlfriend behaviour will likely ensue)Cut your mushrooms in half and put them in some kind of baking or casserole dish. It’s funny that I’ve never made a casserole, nor do I really know what it is, and yet I always refer to it as a casserole dish. It’s kind of like a glove compartment (don’t keep gloves in there) or a bathing suit (never bathed in one).

Cut your butter into small chunks and stick them strategically throughout the mushrooms for optimal disbursement of delicious melted butter. Add your olive oil, capers, crushed garlic, salt and pepper.

Keep in mind you don’t need much salt since your capers do that for you in this recipe. Mix altogether and bake for 20-25 minutes. Your kitchen will begin to smell unbearably good, so you’ll be tempted to inefficiently open and close the oven multiple times to get a good whiff. As you’re doing this (and sweating profusely), stir the mushrooms a couple times and mix in the nice buttery juices from the bottom.

They’ll shrink down more than half their size, which is normal, but always instills sheer panic a slight disappointment seeing your food shrinking before you’ve even had a bite.

But don’t worry, this just means the flavours are getting more concentrated and delicious.

Once they’re nice and brown and smell heavenly, take them out of the oven and finish with a couple teaspoons of lemon juice (about a quarter of a lemon) and a small handful of chopped fresh parsley.

Serve this up as a side dish with your dinner, it goes with just about anything, but no matter what you decide to eat as your main, the mushrooms absolutely must be paired with some nice, crusty bread so you can sop up that buttery sauce.

You’re not in a restaurant, so don’t be shy. There’s no shame in wiping that plate clean.

Recipe snagged from my one of my favourite cooking blogs, Smitten Kitchen.

Posted in Starters, Snacks, Sides, Salads, Vegequarium | Leave a comment

Quinoa Veggie Sushi

Of course nothing can truly substitute the perfectly sweet, vinegary, sticky, fresh, white sushi rice, but if I’m going to be a total white girl and only eat veggie rolls with lots of pickled ginger, I may as well just butcher the authenticity of it altogether and make quinoa sushi instead. It’s still really delicious and makes me feel like a health champion.

Plus I got to use the novelty Deluxe Sushi Kit I got for Christmas 6 years ago for the first time. Belated thanks to the aunt or uncle or cousin who drew my name in the 2006 Russell Family Secret Santa.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2-3 sheets toasted nori
  • 1/2 ripe (but still firm) avocado
  • 1/2 yam, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled & sliced into matchsticks
  • 1/2 carrot, peeled & sliced into matchsticks
  • Pickled ginger
  • Soy sauce
  • Wasabi
  • Optional: Toasted sesame seeds
  • Bamboo rolling matt (wrapped in plastic wrap)
  • Sharp knife

Method

Start by cooking your quinoa. Generally the ratio is 1 : 1.5, so 1/2 cup quinoa to 1 cup of water. Put your water on high with the quinoa until boiling, then turn it down low and let it simmer with the lid on for about 15 minutes.

While this is cooking, preheat your oven to 350˚F so you can roast your yams. Unless you have a deep fryer, in which case a) Amen, sister b) I’m crazy jealous and c) you can batter and deep fry your yams instead.

Otherwise, peel your yam and slice it into about 2-inch pieces, but not too thin, because you don’t want them to go completely crispy in the oven. Lay them out on an oven tray, drizzle lightly with olive oil and pop them in for 5 – 10 minutes. Take them out when they’re a little crispy and golden to let them cool.

Peel your cucumber and slice it up into nice little matchsticks like they do in the sushi restaurants for Kappa Maki. (See? I’m authentic.) Do the same for your carrots, and then scoop out your avocado and slice it up too. And of course you can add all kinds of other fillings.

Once your quinoa is done, take it off the heat and let it sit for a few minutes with the lid on. Then pour this into a bowl and add your rice wine vinegar. Work this in with a wooden spoon while it’s still warm. This is when you’ll realize that the nice, sticky rice is not only delicious, but also serves a purpose; it sticks. The quinoa will hold together when it’s still a little warm though, so work quickly to get your rolls going before it goes cold. Otherwise it will just turn into a frustration nightmare come-true.

Keep a little dish of rice wine vinegar on hand for finger dipping, and scoop about 1/2 – 3/4 cup of quinoa onto the middle of a piece of nori.

Dip your fingers in the vinegar and work the quinoa outwards as close to the edges as possible, leaving one edge with about 1cm of space – crucial for effective, non-hair-pulling sushi rolling.

Lay your first combination of fillings on the middle of the quinoa, spreading them out evenly and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, if you’re feeling fancy. I did avocado and yams for my first roll and it was definitely the best. (You never forget your first.) Dip your vinegar finger and wet the little gap of space you left on the nori.

Now here’s where you just have to try and remember how easy those sushi chefs make it look when they quickly roll the sushi in half with the wrapped bamboo mat, and then tuck and roll and tuck and roll and tuck tuck tuck. Try and keep it all as taut as possible, until it’s all rolled up into a nice sushi sausage. Transfer onto a cutting board and slice with a nice, sharp knife, into 1 – 2 inch rolls.

Rinse and repeat with all the various combinations of authentic, vegetarian, quinoa sushi rolls you can think of. (Ok ok but at least I’m not adding cream cheese and capers and calling it a Canadian Roll or something.)

Serve these up with little side dishes of soy sauce (and if you like wasabi make your green paste first, obviously), and plenty of pickled ginger.

And chop sticks? Sure, I set them out nicely on the table because they came in my Deluxe sushi kit, but we all know I ate with my hands. Efficiency beats authenticity this round.

Posted in Vegequarium | 3 Comments

Carrot Coriander Soup

I had a batch of lovely carrots in the fridge (the real cartoon rabbit kind with the greens still on) and I was trying to decide what I would do with them.

Maybe a fresh coleslaw, or throw them into a veggie chili, or maybe just eat them whole as a snack (rabbit style).

But when I pulled them out and realized they were so soft I could bend them in half and they wouldn’t break, the decision was made: soup it is.

This recipe is equal parts easy and delicious. Perfect for making on Sunday to enjoy for lunch the rest of the week. It serves about 4, so you could easily double up the recipe to make a nice big batch.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound carrots (450 grams), scrubbed & chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
  • Salt & pepper
  • Glug of olive oil
  • Optional: Drizzle of cream to finish

Method

Put a big pan over medium heat with a glug of olive oil. Chop up your carrots and onions and throw them in when the pan is nice and hot, along with your crushed garlic.

I’m a firm believer in just giving your carrots a good scrub so you don’t have to peel the skin off.

All the vitamins are closest to the skin, and you’ll be blending it all up anyway so you’ll never know the difference. Plus I’m lazy so this works in my favour.

While your carrots and onions are cooking, bash up your coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle, or you can just buy ground coriander and save yourself the trouble.

While I am lazy, I do love using a mortar and pestle. It feels really old fashioned and kind of makes me feel like I’m a witch mixing up a potion.

Kind of like in grade 6 when my friend and I decided we were witches after watching The Craft (GOOD movie), so we went out and bought ourselves ugly black boots from Value Village and candles and incense and Wiccan books.

But then we read a few spells and realized they were quite involved and pretty far out of our comfort zone (naked chants under the moonlight, animal sacrifices, etc). So we opted out of the practice and just stuck to the occasional Friday night Ouija board session.

Lesson? Don’t get carried away with the old fashioned romance of mortar and pestle. Grinding up spices is a lot less messy than frogs eyes.

Add the ground coriander seeds to your carrots and let them cook until they begin to soften, but not darken too much in colour.

Add your chicken or vegetable stock and pop the lid on for 25 minutes, until the carrots are very tender.

Take the lid off and test the carrots. Keep in mind you’ll be blending this up, so you want them nice and soft. Throw in your chopped cilantro and stir together for another minute.

Once again, I’m a walking advertisement for the Magic Bullet. Obviously this little guy is little after all, so I had to blend it up in a few batches.

But let’s be honest, a food processor would work much better. (It feels like such a grown up kitchen appliance! One day I’ll grow up and buy one.)

Mix your blended soup over low heat for a few minutes, adding the juice of half a lemon, and some grated nutmeg.

For a little decadence, mix a drizzle of whipping cream into your bowl and finish with some salt and cracked pepper.

Enjoy it while it’s hot with a  piece of well buttered toast for dunking.

Posted in Starters, Snacks, Sides, Salads, Vegequarium | 2 Comments

Banana Cake with Vanilla Bean Frosting

I always have such good intentions when I buy bananas at the grocery store, and convince myself to get a nice, big bunch so I can eat one everyday for breakfast. That would be a nice, healthy way to start the day right?

And then I wake up the next morning and remember that a banana for breakfast sounds healthy and boring, and that I’d rather have toast or cereal or something else with plenty of starch. And so the bananas live to ripen for yet another day, without being eaten.

But alas, hideously brown (bordering-on-fruit-fly-city) bananas now have a purpose in my life! And no, it’s not just your average banana bread. It’s this lovely little tea cake that’s much more delicious, and not even terribly unhealthy! Sour cream in lieu of the normal amount of butter, and of course the bananas make up for a lot of the sugar as well.

Oh but then you add the delicious, vanilla bean, butter cream icing which cancels out both of those things…

Cake Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 mashed, super ripe bananas (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt

Frosting Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Paste from 1 vanilla bean, or 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups icing sugar

Method

Start by preheating your oven to 375˚F. I used a hand mixer, but you can easily just use a wooden spoon for this recipe, which I always find refreshing.

It’s the worst when you’re reading through an intriguing recipe, and think you might just have all the ingredients in your fridge, and you’re ready to jump out of your chair and start cooking, and then you realize that it calls for a fancy food processor. (Can you tell I don’t have one? One day!)

Get out a big bowl and mix your sugar, sour cream, egg, and 2 tablespoons of softened butter together.

Make sure your ripe bananas are well mashed and sloppy. (Trust me, the sloppier and the browner = the sweeter and the better.) Mix in your banana slop and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add your flour, salt and baking soda and mix together.

Grease a small square or circular pan (about 8″ x 8″) and pour in your cake mix. Ensure you’ve licked all spatulas and mixers thoroughly.

Bake at 375˚F for about 30 – 35 minutes, until you can poke the centre with a toothpick and it comes out clean.

While your cake is baking and filling your kitchen with lovely sweet smells, mix together your icing ingredients until smooth.

You can use vanilla extract, but I think using vanilla bean paste makes a nice difference. Plus I’m a total sucker for the little black specks. It just adds that something special.

So if you’re going for the real deal, just slice your bean in half lengthwise, but not all way through, and scrape out every last bit of paste with the back of a knife, and mix it into your icing until it’s fully incorporated.

Let your cake cool completely before icing it, otherwise your frosting will just melt everywhere. I know, it’s torture, but just be patient.

(And enjoy a couple fingerfuls of icing while you wait, obviously.)

Once cooled, ice your cake and admire it’s beauty. So simple and so lovely.

Now cut yourself a nice big piece and enjoy!

(And then have another one.)

Posted in Sweet Treats | 1 Comment

Asparagus & Mushroom Fried Rice with Sesame Sauce

I snagged this recipe from the lovely Cheri Litchfield (what else is new?), and have completely fallen in love with it.

Once again, her blog has provided a simple, delicious and interesting recipe. I can’t get enough! Cheri, please never stop chering.

I’ve made a couple minor tweaks, but basically I’m copying and I’m not afraid to admit it. But what’s a little recipe swapping among friends, right?

(Exclaims the one copying the recipe.)

Now you all know by now that I’m not terribly carnivorous in my eating habits. I’m not protesting in the streets throwing red paint on ladies wearing fur (it’s never actually blood, right?), but I tend to lean the way of the vegetable more often than not. Except for on Sundays. On Sundays I tend to lean the way of the bacon. I know. The hypocrisy!

This recipe is actually meat and dairy free, which isn’t a huge priority of mine, but always a treat when such a delicious and hearty meal turns out to be vegan. It’s like finding out that your favourite dessert is actually low in fat. Which means you can have seconds thirds!

(So what I’m saying is you can totally put bacon on this.)

Fried Rice Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 8 brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of canola or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 4 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
    (aka Rooster sauce. aka world’s best hot sauce.)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons hot water

Method

Start by cooking your brown rice ahead of time. Of course you can use white rice too, but you’ve already committed to no meat and no dairy, so why not just power through like a health champion, right?

You can cook your rice well in advance, or as you go, but you’ll be frying everything up together so don’t worry about it getting cold. Next mix all your sauce ingredients together and set aside. Then put your almonds on a baking sheet in the oven at 350ËšF for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned, and set those aside as well. (I didn’t burn mine this time! Win!)

Put a big pan on medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of your oil (canola or coconut) and then throw in your drained chick peas. Love that crackle.

Turn the heat down to medium and let them sizzle away for a few minutes until they start to brown a little.

Add a clove of crushed garlic and salt, and cook for a few minutes more, shaking the pan often, until the chick peas are a little crispy. Now pour them into a bowl and set them aside.

Put your pan back on the heat, add another swig of oil and throw in your chopped onions.

So, I really hate chopping onions. You’d think after cooking for this long I would get used to it, but I haven’t and I hate it. It really, really stings my eyes and it really, really irritates me. And I’ve heard all the various magical myths of how avoid the horrible stinging, but nothing has worked for me thus far.

Until today.

I nibbled on some chick peas while I chopped… and my eyes didn’t sting!!! So the eating-while-chopping-onions myth has been proven!! Ok ok I can hear you all now shouting, “You didn’t KNOW that?!” And no. I guess I didn’t. In my opinion I figured it out all by myself.

So get your onions frying, and then add your mushrooms too. I like my mushrooms very well cooked, so they’re nicely browned and full of flavour. Once your onions and mushrooms are cooked to your liking, add them to your bowl of chick peas on the side, and put your pan back on the heat one last time.

Throw in a little more oil, and now add your rice. Fry it up so it gets nice and hot.

Now you can dump in your chick peas, mushrooms, onions and chopped asparagus.

Mix it all up over medium heat until your asparagus are just cooked, but still have a nice crunch.

Serve this up in bowls and drizzle generously with your sauce, and a handful of chopped, toasted almonds on top. I found this got a little dry part way through eating, so you could even drizzle a little extra lemon juice and/or soy sauce to add some moisture.

Voila! Bon appetit! And other endearing French expressions etc etc…

Posted in Nice, Big Main Courses, Vegequarium | Leave a comment

Grilled Chocolate Banana Boats

This is definitely the simplest post I’ve ever done. I don’t know if you can even call it a recipe, since it only involves 2 ingredients.

When you try this, you’ll wonder how you didn’t think of it first. You might even feel a little angry about it.

But even with that sense of bitter entitlement, you’ll be grateful that I imparted my banana boat wisdom upon you, because it’s truly the best, little sweet treat I’ve had in a while, and not even that bad for you!

Considering it’s a dessert, the health benefits of the banana practically cancel out the chocolate, so you’re basically just eating a banana. Right? Right.

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Did you get all that?

Maybe you should get a pen.

Method

Get your banana and your chocolate chips. Now I’ve just assumed you’re making yourself a solo sweet treat (and there’s no shame in that, friends), but feel free to make as many banana boats as there are people to impress.

You could even do this with those mini bananas (Plantains? Bananitos? You know the ones.) and serve them as little desserts at a party! People will think you’re cute and charming and oh-so creative, and when they ask how you ever thought of it, you say one word: allieisalwayshungry.

(Because I’m the first person to ever think of the chocolate banana combo obviously.)

Get a knife and slice your peel along the inside curve of the banana from top to bottom, but only cut through the peel, not through the banana itself.

Pull open the peel to expose the fruit, so it kind of looks like your banana is wearing a little coat.

When I was a little girl and it was snack time I would ask my mum for a “banana with a coat on” (I know, I was adorable), so I guess that’s where I got the banana/outerwear analogy.

Put a small pan over medium heat and start stuffing your chocolate chips in between the skin and the banana.

I know the frantic feeling of wanting to cram as many chocolate chips in there as possible, believe me, but try and be careful when chocolate stuffing so you don’t rip the peel. You want the chocolate chips stuffed snuggly enough that, when the banana is lying on it’s side, they don’t fall out.

Once your pan is hot, put your banana on it’s side straight on the heat and let it crackle away. Try and stuff any chips that have fallen out back into the skin.

Once the chocolate chips on the side you’re grilling get a little melty, flip it onto the other side. The skin should be nice and toasty brown on the outside.

Once both sides are nicely grilled, take it off the heat and pop it on a plate. You can’t really over cook these, it just depends how melted you like your chocolate chips.

Let it cool for a couple minutes, and then tuck right in with a spoon, while marveling at how delicious and relatively healthy this little snack really is!

I know it’s chocolate, but when compared to say, the 6 Snickerdoodles I ate the other day, this is basically like eating a handful of vitamins.

It’s so healthy and tasty, I think I’ll have 2!

And you can pipe down about how that “defeats the purpose”.

And speaking of defeating the purpose, a couple of my fellow sweet-treat enthusiast friends just reminded me that this is even tastier with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. Something to think about.

Posted in Sweet Treats | Leave a comment

Sweet & Sour Squash

I’m really into squash lately, especially the butternut variety. It’s versatile, filling, easy to cook, and it keeps for ages in the pantry. You can roast it, fry it, steam it, purée it, mash it, you name it, I love it.

This is a nice, hearty dish that could almost be a meal in itself. I served mine up as the main course with a side of rice and that was plenty.

It’s an easy, one-pot job which I always love, and it’s delicious. There is a lovely sweetness from the raisins, and some sour from the vinegar, and a little heat from the chili.

I can understand that you might not think those flavours would work together, but you’d be wrong.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, halved & deseeded
  • 2 red onions, peeled & sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled & crushed
  • Handful of raisins
  • Handful of pinenuts
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • Small bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Sea salt & cracked pepper
  • Olive oil

Method

Start by peeling your squash, cutting it in half, seeding it, and cutting it into finger sized pieces. If you’ve got pudgy, man-hands, then maybe consider using someone else’s fingers for reference.

Put a nice, big pan over medium heat with a good glug of olive oil. Crush up your coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle if you have one, or just use the back of a plate and crush them up on a cutting board.

Throw them into the pan with your chili flakes, squash cubes, and sliced onion. Add about a cup of water to your pan and put the lid on.

Cook for about 10 minutes and then take off the lid. The water should be cooked away, softening everything in the pan.

Now that you’ve done a basic cooking of your ingredients, you want to start frying it all up.

Add a good pinch of salt and pepper, your crushed garlic, and your picked thyme leaves.

Cook altogether on medium heat until everything starts to turn a nice golden colour, and your kitchen smells heavenly.

Pick and chop your parsley leaves, but keep the stalks and chop them up finely too.

Stir in  these stalks with the raisins and pinenuts, fry for another minute, and then add both types of vinegar and your sugar.

You’ll want to fry this for a few minutes to cook down the harshness of the vinegar, and let the sugar work its sweet magic, adding a nice glaze.

Have a taste and see what it needs. Maybe some sweet, maybe some sour, maybe some spice?

If you’re like me, you might add a squeeze of lemon even if the recipe didn’t call for it, because in my mind, lemon completes every dish. It had me at hello.

Throw in your parsley leaves at the last minute, give it another mix and then serve it up straight away.

 

 

Posted in Starters, Snacks, Sides, Salads, Vegequarium | 1 Comment

Ham & Split Pea Soup

This is such a delicious, hearty, no non-sense recipe, perfect for rainy days. And for that kind of comfort food, I always trust in the one and only Jamie Oliver. When it comes to unpretentious, simple cooking, he knows what he’s doing.

Because simple is great, but without the right ingredients and guidance, it’s easy to take a wrong turn and just end up with bland.

So along with my Jamie Oliver cookbooks, I keep a small list of go-to ingredients in the house at all times, and they rarely let me down.

No matter what the dish, I can almost always depend on lemon, maldon salt, and good quality olive oil to bring a dish together in peaceful, (lemony, salty) harmony.

(I know this kind of looks like baby food, but looks can be deceiving, I promise.)

Ingredients

  • 3 celery sticks, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
  • 1 pound dried yellow or green split peas, washed
  • 250 grams basic deli ham (I used black forest)
  • 6.5 cups stock (chicken or veg, whatever you’ve got)
  • Sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Olive oil

Method

Put a nice big pan or pot over medium heat with a good glug of olive oil. Chop up your celery and onions, and throw them in the pan with your dried herbs.

Season the onions, but watch the salt on this recipe. With the stock and the ham, it gets nice and salty on its own, so don’t get too sodium-happy until the end when you’ve tasted it. Turn the heat down a little and simmer away for about 10 minutes, until soft, but not browned.

Add your washed peas, pour in all your stock, and bring to a boil. This recipe called for chicken stock, which I didn’t have. But I had a batch of simple veg stock, and some very rich lamb stock, so I used a combo of those. I figure chickens falls somewhere between vegetables and lambs on the food chain. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, put the lid on your pan, and cook for about 50 minutes.

The recipe calls for just a big, old 9 oz piece of ham, which gets added at this stage in the cooking process. You would then take it out later and pull it apart with tongs, chopping it up, and stirring in the shredded ham at the end. I’m sure this adds to the overall flavour of the soup by cooking the ham in the stock the whole time, so if you’re going for a shop, why not get a nice ham hock.

I just had some regular black forest ham in the house, so I chopped it up and stirred it in at the end.

You could also just do a plain split pea soup, and leave out the ham altogether.

Once the peas are nice and soft, roughly mash them up with a potato masher, making it soupy, but also leaving a nice texture. If you’re doing the lazy ham method like me, you can stir in your chopped ham now. Have a slurp to check the seasoning, and add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve this up in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, a piece of buttered toast, and a dollop of good quality mustard* on the side. I can’t take credit for this last minute add-on (praise be to Jamie O, as usual), but it adds an amazing little kick. Just dunk a corner of your toast in the mustard, and then in the soup, and then in your mouth. You’ll be glad you did.

* Meat & Bread has an incredible house made mustard that they sell by the jar. A few more pennies nickels than you’d spend at your average grocery store, but so so worth it. You should also just go there for lunch because their sandwiches are killer.

Posted in Nice, Big Main Courses, Starters, Snacks, Sides, Salads | Leave a comment

Post-Holiday Leftover Turkey Soup

People always talk about making soup with their leftover holiday turkey, but I’ve always wondered how many people actually do it.

After days of preparing and eating and decorating and eating and presents and eating, the idea of saving a stripped, disarticulated, meatless carcass just seems like far too much effort.

And also gross.

But I did it this year! And while dealing with the carcass felt slightly barbaric, it was worth it.

Ingredients

  • Carcass from a 14-16 lb bird
  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 4 carrots, scrubbed and chopped
  • 4 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3-4 cups spaghetti noodles, broken into 3 inch pieces
  • 2-3 cups turkey meat, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 teaspoons of dried herbs of your choice (I used a mixture of thyme, rosemary, and basil)
  • A good glug of olive oil

Method

Put your water in a nice big pot on high heat and get it boiling. My carcass was frozen (which felt even more barbaric and slightly serial-killer-with-a-body-in-the-freezer-esque), so before I could rip it apart with my own bare hands (picture me in hulk-mode, tearing apart a frozen turkey carcass, muscles ripping through shirt, a series of deep roars ensue), I just put the whole thing in the boiling water to start.

Add all your herbs, peppercorns, salt, and bay leaves to the boiling water, turn it down to low heat and let it bubble away for 3 hours or so, skimming the fatty frothy stuff that forms on the top as it simmers.

If your carcass is frozen like mine, pull it out of the water with tongs after a few minutes and pull it apart into a few pieces before it gets too hot.

After a few hours of fat skimming and drooling from the smell of turkey soup filling your home, pour the soup through a fine sieve into a big bowl, discarding all the bones, peppercorns and bay leaves.

Now measure out the broth as you pour it back into the pot – it should be about 12 cups. If it’s much less, just add water and simmer, and if it’s much more, boil it for a bit to reduce it down.

Then turn off the heat and let it stand for a couple minutes, skim off the remaining fat from the top. If you want a leaner soup, you can put your whole pot into the fridge for a few hours and all the fat will congeal and rise to the top, making it easier to skim most of it off. But calorie counters beware, FAT = FLAVOUR.

Side note on FAT, which I learned from a book called FAT: All poultry fats contain the monounsaturated fatty acid, palmitoleic acid, which is said to boost our immune system, and chicken fat has more of this acid than any other types of poultry.

The Germans believe that if you can’t see the glistening golden circles of fat floating on top of your soup, then the soup is no good. Those Germans and their delicious fatty foods. They were onto something.

You can imagine how much I use this book to justify certain eating habits. Extra butter on the toast, extra cream in my coffee, extra cookies for breakfast… the list goes on.

If you’re not putting your soup in the fridge to skim off the fat, pour your slightly skimmed broth into your big bowl and set aside. Chop up your veg and put the pot back on medium heat with a good glug of olive oil. Cook your veg in the pot for about 10 minutes, or until the onions begin to turn brown, but the carrots and celery still have some crunch.

Pour your soup back into the pot and give the bottom of the pot a scrape with your wooden spoon to get all that yummy, fried up flavour mixed into the soup.

Now add your turkey meat and broken up spaghetti noodles and cook until just al dente, about 10 minutes.

The noodles will keep cooking in the hot soup even after you turn off the heat so you don’t want to overcook them.

Serve up a big bowl with buttered toast and cozy up in front of a feel good movie so you can block out the disturbing memories of how you kept a turkey carcass in your freezer for weeks, boiled it, and tore it apart with your own bare hands.

You are a monster.

But you made delicious turkey soup, so enjoy!

 

 

Posted in Carnivorous, Nice, Big Main Courses, Starters, Snacks, Sides, Salads | Leave a comment

Sugar & Spice Candied Nuts

These are simple, tasty, little treats that fit in perfectly with my homemade Christmas gifting this holiday season.

We decided to be especially crafty this year, so along with homemade cutting boards (I can’t take any credit for those), shea butter soap, chocolate truffles, and another stab at Cheri’s Sea Salted Caramels (praise be to the candy thermometer, which turns out to be a crucial instrument in the making of candy), these Sugar & Spice Nuts went under the Christmas tree for my nearest and dearest this year.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or hot paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 pound nuts of your choice (I did 1/2 pecans, 1/2 almonds)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water

Method

 

There are a lot of variations of candied nut recipes. You can throw in grated nutmeg, ground ginger, cloves, more salt, less salt, it’s really up to you. I think the key is to not get too spice-cupboard-happy, so I’d say stick to 2 or 3 spices to keep it sweet and simple.

Preheat your oven to 300ËšF and fit a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Mix together your sugars, spices and salt, working through any lumps.

Set this aside and beat your egg white and water until it’s nice and frothy, but not stiff. You can just do this by hand with a whisk because you don’t want to over whip it.  Pour this overtop of your nuts and mix to coat all your nuts evenly.

Then toss altogether with your sugar mixture and get another even coating of the spicy, salty, sugary goodness. 

Now spread the nuts out on your cookie sheet and bake on the middle oven rack for 30 minutes, pulling them out to stir them a few times to make sure they cook evenly.

When the nuts have cooled, you can start breaking them apart so they don’t stick together in big clumps.

If you’re planning on giving these as gifts, you can wrap them up in small, plastic gift bags tied up with string (these are a few of my faaavourite things!)

(What? There’s no wrong time to break out into The Sound of Music soundtrack…)

They also look lovely in small mason jars. But no matter how generous you’re feeling, be sure to keep a small batch for yourself. 

Posted in Miscellaneous Goodies, Sweet Treats | Leave a comment