Monday, June 17, 2013

Blueberry and Lemon Jam- always popular!

I've been making this jam annually for at least ten years and I've used in a preserving classes.  It's easy to make and so different from the same old, same old jams.  You can use blueberries or try it with raspberries.  It will be a great hit with your friends, perfect as a Christmas or hostess gift.

This recipe makes about 5 - 250 ml jars.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

This is One Special Focaccia!

Two summers ago, one of my very best friends, Sue, and I toured the wineries of the Naramata Bench, near Penticton.  This is an amazing place- great wineries, great vistas and great food.

We lunched at Lake Breeze Winery.  The food was amazing.  One of the things we really enjoyed was the focaccia.  It was light but chewy, and oh so flavourful.  After lunch, we walked around the property and found that the kitchen actually overlooked the lake and had great windows where we could watch food being prepared and speak with the chefs.  Congratulations on a great lunch were extended along with a special request for the focaccia recipe.  Hey, you never know unless you ask!  Chef Mark graciously agreed to provide us with his recipe.  Yahoo!  Home we went to reproduce his special treat.  Success!

This recipe makes a lot of focaccia!  Feel free to halve the recipe.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Great "Go To" Summer Salad- Moroccan Couscous

This is another quick and easy salad, perfect for the summer.  It's light and full of great flavours and, guess what?  There isn't really a recipe.

Your biggest decision is the flavour profile- what do you want it to taste like... This recipe is based on Moroccan flavours: cinnamon, lemon, honey, almonds...  Remember, the quantities below are approximate and feel free to substitute...If you're thinking Mediterranean, then your flavours would likely be: kalamata olives, roasted peppers, dried (or fresh) tomatoes, cukes,...

This recipe will serve 4-6 guests.

Pop Tarts- Time to get back to basics and real goodness!

I remember when Pop Tarts first hit the grocery store shelves.  They became a kid "staple" for breakfast and snacks... I guess those were the days when ingredients and real nutrition didn't matter so much.  Actually, mom was a great home cook, so perhaps a little junk food wasn't so bad.

These fancy modern processed "treats" had simpler, more flavourful and, dare I say, healthier ancestors.  This recipe was developed by Hedy Goldsmith, an amazing baker whose recipes I am looking forward to trying out.  She gives her Pop T's an adult spin.

For 16 pop tarts.

Emeril's Creole Shrimp

My recipe is based on Emeril's. He is the undisputed king of New Orleans cooking.  It's easy to make, once you've chopped the vegetables and set the pot to simmer.  This packs a huge flavour punch.  I served it to the guys' Poker Club along with dirty rice, cornbread and a great chocolate pyramid cake.  Great dinner!
Chocolate Pyramid Cake
Creole Shrimp

I often make more sauce than called for in the recipe, just because it's so delicious and great with rice.  To do that, increase the sauce ingredients proportionately.  You can use green pepper if you prefer (it's more traditional).  If you can't find concasse tomatoes, just briefly pulse whole canned tomatoes in the food processor.  I keep the creole fairly mild and serve it with hot sauce for those who prefer more heat.

To make shrimp stock, save the shells.  Put some oil on the bottom of a pot, heat then add the shells.  Stir them around for a few minutes, then add water to cover and simmer approximately 30 minutes.  You can add bay leaves, a celery stalk, onion for additional flavour. Strain the stock. I don't add salt because I can add that when I use the stock.  It freezes well.

This recipe will serve eight hungry guests.

Beryl's Jamaican Beef Patties

Who better to taste test my Jamaican beef patties than my very good friends, Beryl and Eric.  Beryl is born and bred in Jamaica and, along with Eric, a long time resident of the Okanagan.  "Well", she says, "they're almost there.  Good but not quite Jamaican."  Ever helpful, she provided her own recipe for my next attempt.     It was a hit!

To make 12-14 patties.