Sunday, July 19, 2015

Southwestern Black Bean Burgers- Vegetarian at its Best!

Summer is BBQ season.  You know burgers and dogs... what is a vegetarian to do?  This vegetarian loves her burgers... black bean burgers that is.  These burgers use black beans, a little salsa, a little spice and a whole lot of other great ingredients to give you a flavourful, healthy burger...

Feel free to play with the ingredients- and plan on great toppings.

To make four burgers.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Apricot Jam- Use it for Asian Dipping Sauce

It doesn't get better than this!  Crispy, crunchy spring rolls dipped in apricot sauce (yes, apricot, not plum) made with your very own apricot jam!  Talk about multitasking!


125 ml jar    Apricot jam (the recipe is posted)
2 tbsp              soy sauce
2 tsp                ginger, freshly grated
2 tsp                rice vinegar
Pinch of red pepper flakes

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.  You're ready to dip in your spring rolls!

Looking Forward to Apricots! The Jam that masquerades as a baste, a sauce...

Apricot season in Ontario comes and goes so quickly but it's worthwhile to watch for those golden little fruit.  Apricots don't have a lot of pectin so the jam will be a bit "looser" than most jams.

My apricot jam can also be used as a glaze for chicken or for pies; as the base for an Asian dipping sauce; an ice cream topper; baked with cookies- so many uses!

This recipe will make approximately 8 250 ml jars.  I like to mix it up by canning 1/3 in 125 ml jars.

1 cup     water
1/2 cup  bottled lemon juice
4 lbs      apricots
6 cups    sugar

Combine the water and the lemon juice in a large nonreactive pot.  Pit the apricots, adding them directly to the lemon water.  Add the sugar and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the gel stage is reached, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat.  Allow the jam to rest for five minutes, it will thicken slightly.  Skim off any foam.  Fill your jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Wipe the rim of the jars, centre the lids on the jars and screw on the metal bands.  Place in the boiling water bath for about 10 minutes.  Store in a cool, dry place for up to one year.

WANNA PLAY?  I've added shaved chocolate to the jam- note, it won't look great but it sure tastes special!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Gingered Tomato Marmalade- a unexpected treat!

I'm always open to new ideas, on the lookout for something delicious and different.  This is one of those recipes.  Tomato marmalade?  Give it a try!

5 cups  coarsely chopped peeled tomatoes (about 2 1/2 lbs)
2 large oranges
1 lemon
4 cups granulated sugar

3 tbsp finely chopped peeled gingerroot added during the cooking (optional)

Place tomatoes in a large stainless steel or enamal saucepan

Halve and seed the oranges and lemon.  Finely chop fruit in food processor or blender and add to the tomatoes.  Bring the mixture to a full boil over high heat.  Slowly add the sugar, stirring until the sugard is completely dissolved.  Return to a boil and boil rapidly until mixture forms a gel, about one hour, stirring frequently.  Removce from heat.

Ladle into sterilized jars and process in a boiling water bath for approx. 15 minutes.

My Long Time Favourite- Roasted Garlic White Wine Jelly

Enjoy the sweet but subtle flavour of roasted garlic in this sophisticated jelly.  Use it as a glaze for meat, spread it over warm toasted bread, great with cheese!

I always look forward to mid-August when the local garlic is available at the Garlic Festival or at Farmers' Markets.  This year, I tried out the garlic at Silver Springs Farm, in Ottawa.  Their volunteers run the garlic project which supports people with developmental disabilities.

Great garlic and a great cause- I will be back!

To make about 5 250 ml jars

A Canadian Treat- Conserve of Blueberry, Maple and Walnut EH!

This is a go to recipe for very special friends.  It's a staple in my "jamming" classes and besides, it tastes great!

I wait until local blueberries are available to make my annual batch.  Missed the local season?  Look for imported organic berries...  With a touch of maple, a handful of walnuts, this conserve is not just for toast.  Add it to yogourt, top up your pancakes, drizzle it on our favourite sweet bread.

This recipe makes approximately 4 - 250 ml jars.

4 cups     fresh blueberries, crushed
1 cup       water
1/2 cup    maple syrup
2 tbsp      lemon juice
2 cups     sugar
1 cup       raisins
1/2 cup    chopped walnuts
1 tsp        ground allspice
1 tsp        ground ginger

Combine the blueberries, water, maple syrup and lemon juice in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, reduce heat and boil gentle for about five minutes or until the blueberries are tender, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the sugar and raisins. Return to a boil, reduce the heat and boil gently, uncovered until the mixture will form a gel - to check place a small amount on a cold plate.  Wait a few seconds- if the mixture has thickened and is not runny, you have a gel.  Or, use a candy thermometer- when it hits 220 degrees celsius, you're good.  Remove from heat and stir in the walnuts, allspice and ginger.

Ladle into sterilized jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (250 ml jars).

One more thing!  I love that maple so, before sealing the jars, I add a drizzle to the top.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Touch of the Islands- Hot and Spicy Banana Ketchup

This ketchup was "discovered" on a trip to the beautiful island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean.  It's thick and spicy, fragrant of bananas and island spices, warmed by rum and perfect to top burgers, complement roasted or BBQ'd meats.  Definitely not the store-bought tomato ketchup we grew up with!

Fragrant, very ripe, but not mushy, bananas are the base for this ketchup.  This recipe will make a medium spicy ketchup- you can add more cayenne if you like it hotter.  But be cautious not to overpower the fruitiness.

I like to let my ketchup simmer gently at the back of the stove- its spicy aroma wafting through the kitchen.

This recipe makes approximately 7 cups.

Preserved Lemons- Beautiful Things!

Preserved lemons are unique and absolutely a must for many Moroccan dishes.  Try out this recipe and  you'll never want to be without these again.  Remember to decrease the salt you add to your dishes, until you have an opportunity to taste after you've added the preserved  lemon.

How to describe them?  Preserved lemons will impart intense lemon flavour; the flesh is soft and translucent, the pulp is jamlike.  And the jars looks great on the counter!

Makes about 2 litres

Moroccan Tagine of Preserved Lemons, Olives and Artichokes

My newly preserved lemons looks and taste wonderful.  This tagine is a great way to feature them!  A tagine is a delectable, slowly baked dish typical of Morocco.  If you don't have fresh artichoke you can substitute canned- just be sure to drain and rinse before adding to the dish.

This recipe will serve 4 to 6 guests.