Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Creamy Baked Crab Dip

It's been a long time since I've made or eaten crab dip. The last time I attempted to make a baked crab dip it was rather blah. I looked at many different hot crab dip recipes before I chose the ingredients for this one. Although it is not made with cheese it does not lack creaminess or tastiness. Definitely a keeper.

6oz. fresh crab meat, rinsed & picked over
1 - 13.75oz. can quartered artichoke hearts, chopped
1 - 8oz. container Tofutti cream cheese
1/4 c. Vegenaise
3 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 -1 Tbsp. Worchestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp. Hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp. Mrs. Dash's garlic & herb seasoning
1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 350F.
After rinsing the crab meat in a colander, drizzle the lemon juice over it and set aside while mixing all other ingredients in bowl. Once combined, fold in the crab meat. Put in a greased glass baking dish, pie or 8x8".
Bake in the middle of your oven until it bubbles all over and the edges are starting to turn golden brown, about 20-30minutes.

Serve with fresh baguette or crackers.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ribs We Love!

I have been making these ribs for years now, but never actually wrote down the recipe.
I always thought I could remember what I did and used, yeah, not really. There are a few key steps that I skipped and substituted before and in return was left with tough, mediocre tasting ribs. So I finally wrote it all down and tested the recipe twice. It turned out beautifully!
To make these ribs fall off the bone they are cooked in a shallow roasting pan, at a low temperature, before they get put on the grill for some nice color. It is also important to prep the ribs correctly, so the meat isn't chewy. Here is what you will need:

Ribs & Rub:
1 rack of pork loin ribs
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. Lawry's garlic salt
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. allpsice

Preheat oven to 250F.
Take the ribs out of the package, wash and pat dry. Before putting the rub on remove the membrane on the backside of the ribs, by peeling it away on one corner and pulling towards the other end.

Cut the ribs into two pieces of about the same size. Combine all the spices and massage both sides of the ribs with the rub, saving 1/2 tsp. of the rub for the BBQ sauce.
Put the ribs in a shallow roasting pan and cover the pan with aluminum foil, sealing the edges tightly. The ribs will basically steam in their own juices for the next two hours. Check the ribs after two hours. If the bones start sticking out of the meat and the meat will be easily pierced with a fork then they are done. If they don't just seal the pan again and keep cooking them checking every 30 minutes.
Time to prepare the BBQ sauce.

1/2 c. ketchup
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
4 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. spice mix

Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl.
Preheat your grill to medium high heat. Brush the ribs on both sides with the sauce and grill over direct heat until the honey starts to caramelize, about 5 minutes per side. Keep flipping and brushing until they reach your desired color.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Grilled Tomato, Bread & Basil Skewers

Summer has finally arrived! I love summertime. Warm weather, splashing in the pool, fresh fruit and vegetables from the farm and garden. We get to eat outside and dinner comes hot off the grill most evenings. I am always trying to find new creative side dishes that can either be prepared ahead of time or grilled. These skewers turned out great. If you never had grilled grape tomatoes you must try it, they get so juicy and sweet. It's fantastic!
This recipe will make enough for four skewers and you can easily change quantities.

For 4 Metal Skewers:
1 demi baguette or sourdough bread
24 grape tomatoes, rinsed
24 small basil leaves
3 Tbsp. olive oil
garlic salt to taste

You will only need about half of the demi baguette. Cut the bread into 24 cubes about the size of the tomatoes. Start skewering the tomatoes, basil leaves and bread, alternating until you have 6 of each on a skewer.
Brush generously with olive oil and season with garlic salt to your taste.
Grill them over medium high heat, turning them often so they won't burn, about 4 minutes all together.

If your basil leaves are bigger than the tomatoes, just cut them in half. You want them to be the size of the bread and the tomato so they don't get charred.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Peachy Vanilla Ice Cream

I never realized how much I missed cream and all the sweet things you can create with it until I learned about Rich's Non-Dairy Whipped Topping. Although I try to use only ingredients that are available at most grocery stores this stuff was worth the trip
to our local Cash&Carry. You might even be so lucky to find it at a store near you.
I have also started using flax milk, which is only available at Wal-Mart in our area, but I love that it is creamy and doesn't have a weird after taste.

With today being the first real hot day of the summer, we couldn't think of a better way to cool off than with some yummy ice cream. Last year we tried out a lot of sorbets and our favorite one was a Peach Sorbet. Now that we've found Rich's we wanted to try Peach Ice Cream. This recipe turned out to be the perfect blend of vanilla and peach!

Peach Part:
2 large peaches, peeled, pitted and diced
1/4 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. honey

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and cook until the peaches start to soften and the juices start to get sticky, about 10 minutes.
Put the peaches 4 cup measuring cup and refrigerate until cool.

Ice Cream Part:
1 c. Flax Milk, vanilla flavor
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. Rich's Non-Dairy Whip Topping

Once the peaches are cool, puree them with a stick blender in the measuring cup. Add the flax milk, sugar and vanilla and give it another whirl with the blender. Then stir in the whip topping with a wire whisk. Don't use the blender or you might end up with slushy whipped cream. Pour this mixture into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions, which in our case was turning on the machine. 30 minutes later the ice cream has the texture of soft serve. If you like ice cream a little harder then just put the "soft serve" in a container and freeze for at least two hours.

Crispy Roasted Potatoes

Besides bread and cake, potatoes are very high on my list of favorite comfort foods.
I like them mashed, baked, in soup or simply roasted.
I have looked at a lot of roasted potato recipes before I came up with my version.
Often times the recipes called for diced potatoes, used 4 or 5 different herbs or you had to boil the potatoes before roasting them. We are not going to do any of that. Using small potatoes, very few ingredients with big flavor, and roasting at a higher temperature make this recipe quick, easy and delicious.

12 oz. small, light skinned potatoes
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 sprigs of rosemary, only the leaves chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 425F.
Rinse the potatoes and cut them in half lengthwise. Put them in a bowl.
Add the olive oil, chopped rosemary and chopped garlic to the bowl.
Season with salt and pepper.
Stir the potatoes to mix all the ingredients.
Lay the potatoes on a dark rimmed baking sheet, cut side down. Roast them in the middle part of your oven. Depending on the size of the potato, roasting takes between 15 to 20 minutes.
If you notice that the outer ones are getting darker faster than the ones in the middle, simply move them around using a spatula to scoop them up.

Enjoy the potatoes plain, with hummus or herbed Tofutti sour cream, or any way you like!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Smoked Salmon Picnic Salad

This salad is so light and flavorful, it's perfect to take to a summer picnic!
The "smoked" salmon in this recipe is actually Nova Lox which is prepared differently, but I'm sure it would taste great with smoked salmon, too. To read more on that click here.
We served our salad with my beer bread and margarine.

For the salad you will need:
6 oz. Nova Lox
1/2 salad cucumber, peeled & thinly sliced
1/4 medium red onion, peeled & thinly sliced

2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. dill, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. capote capers, coarsely chopped
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
salt & pepper to taste

Spread out the lox, cucumber and onion in a non-reactive glass dish. In a separate bowl combine all the dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Pour over over the salad and refrigerate for about 1 hour. Lightly stir the salad before serving.

If you don't like the strong taste of onions, let them sit in cold water for a few minutes after you sliced them. It will take the bite out them.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Beer Bread - My Way

I admit it, I LOVE to eat bread and I HATE to buy bread.
Every time I have to buy bread and check the label I am grossed out
by all the chemicals and unpronounceable ingredients.
Yes, the fresh bakery bread usually uses less ingredients, but the possibility of
cross-contamination with allergens is far greater.
The good news though, it really only takes a few ingredients to make delicious,
healthy bread. This recipe does not take long at all
as the dough does not need to be kneaded and left to rise.
Inspiration for it came from Marions Kochbuch website and
I marked the changes with an * again.

Bread Dough:
2 c. white flour*
2 c. whole wheat flour*
1 Tbsp. baking powder
3 Tbsp. David's Roasted & Salted sunflower seeds*
2 Tbsp. flaxseeds*
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar*
2 c. beer (I used Amber O'Douls)

Preheat your oven to 350F.
In a bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients until well combined. Slowly add the beer, it will foam quite a bit. Stir with a wire whisk until everything is incorporated and make sure not to over mix. This dough will have the texture of very thick cake dough. Pour the dough into a greased glass loaf pan. Bake for 60 minutes and check for doneness with a wooden toothpick. Turn the oven off. Release the bread from the pan and put it back into the warm oven for anther ten minutes. This will give it a nice crust.
Finally, let it cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Cherry Salsa

The farm just wrapped up this year's cherry harvest and how sweet and delicious they were. Unfortunately it is always over way too fast and there is never enough time for a lot
of experimenting.
I've seen a lot of people raving about cherry salsa that uses cilantro, but I just couldn't imagine those two flavors together. I wanted to make something different and decided to try basil, garlic and balsamic vinegar. Wow!

So without further ado, here is my take on grilled pork tenderloin with cherry salsa:

Cherry Salsa:
1 lbs. dark sweet cherries
3 scallions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
1 small clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 handful of basil, finely sliced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt

Wash and pit the cherries, then chop them up in a food processor as small or big as you like. Combine the cherries with the other ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Pork Tenderloin Marinade:
1 pork tenderloin (the small ones)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped

To make the marinade combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and rosemary.
Put the the tenderloin in a resealable bag, add the marinade and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
Prepare your grill to medium hot. Grill the pork over direct heat for about 8 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches at least 145 degrees. Take it off the grill and let sit for a few minutes.
Slice and serve with cherry salsa.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pea-Sunflower Seed Pesto

I realized that I'm a food geek when I came up with this dairy,
egg and nut-free pesto recipe.
I used to love pesto pasta salad and thought I'd never be able to eat pesto again, but I was up for the challenge. I used familiar flavors of basil, garlic and lemon, but added peas and sunflower seeds to give it the texture of a traditional pesto. The secret ingredient is flat leaf parsley, that adds a nice underlying flavor. The result is a thick pesto that can be used as a spread, dip or served over hot pasta with a little pasta water added to thin it out.

2 c. frozen peas
1 handful basil leaves (about 12 leaves)
1 handful of flat leaf parsley (about 5 stems)
2 Tbsp. David's roasted & salted sunflower seeds
1 small garlic clove, sliced
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
about 3 Tbsp. olive oil

Steam the peas for about 8 minutes, so they are soft, but still bright green. Cool under running cold water and let drain.
In a food processor combine peas, basil, parsley, sunflower seeds, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt.

Pulse until it everything is coarsely chopped.

With the blade running add the olive oil through the opening on the lid, one tablespoon at a time until the pesto has a creamy texture.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Orange Tarragon Salmon

I really enjoy making dishes that only use a few ingredients. I like them even more when they use herbs, they can really enhance the flavor of the main ingredient. My love for herbs started in my early childhood. I remember my grandma chopping up some curly leaf parsley and putting it in her rice soup and I would sit in the kitchen chewing on sprigs of parsley. When my parents bought their first house my mom planted a huge herb garden. There was borage and lovage, amongst lemon balm and rosemary. Not only would she use those for culinary treats, but thyme and oregano also made great home remedies when we came down with the sniffles or a sore throat.

The star in this recipes is tarragon, a nice spicy, anise flavored herb that, in combination with the orange juice, is unbeatable for grilled salmon.

1 lb. sockeye salmon, skin on

For the marinade:
1/3 c. fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. finely chopped tarragon
2 cloves of garlic, chopped

Pour the marinade into a resealable plastic bag and put the fish "meat" side down into it.
Close the bag and marinade for 2 to 4 hours.

To prepare the grill, turn all burners on high. When the temperature reaches 400F turn off the middle burner for indirect grilling. Set the salmon, skin side down, over the burner that's turned off. Close the lid and check after 8 minutes for your desired doneness. Ours was done after 10 minutes. Just season it with salt and pepper.

Now it's up to you to Dish It Your Way!

Cook's Country Steak Burger

We tried out this Grilled Steak Burger with Homemade Steak Sauce and Shoestring Onions from the August/September 2011 issue of Cook's Country magazine. Unfortunately the recipe is considered premium content and you have to sign up for a 14 day trial. I can tell you though that buying the paper version of this magazine is well worth it just for this meal!
The only substitutions to make this recipe dairy free were, using Nucoa margarine instead of butter and Franz hamburger buns.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Blueberry Pie with Sunbutter Streusel Topping

A few years ago I came across this recipe for a blueberry pie from Epicurious. In my mind it was perfect! The only problem with it was that it used butter and almond paste, two big no-nos in our house. With all the sweet, juicy blueberries from the farm I just had to recreate this recipe. Thankfully I was able to use Epicurious recipe as a guideline and found this recipe for the topping and substituted the butter and Sunbutter for the peanut butter.

Here is my recipe, changes marked with an *:

4 c. fresh blueberries*
1/3 - 1/2 c. sugar, depending on how sweet the blueberries are*
2 Tbsp. cornstarch*
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest*

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium high heat. When the blueberries start releasing some of their juices, the filling will thicken. Take it off the burner and let cool.

1/4 c. cold lard*
1/4 c. cold dairy free margarine (I used Nucoa)*
1 1/4 c. flour*
1 tsp. sugar*
1/4 tsp. salt*
3 Tbsp. ice water*

In a food processor fitted with a blade cut up the lard and margarine. Add flour, salt and sugar and pulse until pea size pieces start to form. Through the opening on the top add ice water one tablespoon at a time. When the dough comes together and pulls off the sides of the bowl it is done. Shape into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap . Let cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. In the meantime work on the topping.

1/4 c. dairy free margarine (Nucoa)*
1/2 c. plus 1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. Sunbutter*

In a food processor combine all ingredients until they start to crumble into pea size pieces. Refrigerate!

To assemble and bake:
Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out the dough in between two pieces of plastic wrap. That way it won't stick and you and turn it over, check if it's big enough and put into a 9 inch glass pie dish. Once the dough is in the pie dish pour the blueberry filling into it and top with streusel.

Bake the pie in the lower half of your oven for about 50 minutes. I like the glass dish for this because you can see if the bottom is browning nicely, too. If the top browns too much too quickly cover it loosely with aluminum foil!
Serve with your favorite ice cream or whipped topping.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chicken with Sunbutter Sauce

The inspiration for this recipe came from Williams-Sonoma's website. Please click here to see the original recipe.

Here is my version (changes marked with a *):
• 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil*
• 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
• salt and pepper to taste

Sauce (for twice as much):
• 1/2 water
• 6 Tbsp. Sunbutter*
• 6 Tbsp. soy sauce
• 6 Tbsp. rice vinegar
• 1 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce*
• sugar to taste

• 3 scallions, thinly sliced*
• handful of chopped cilantro

Serve over:
• cooked rice noodles, or other thin long noodles that met your dietary needs
• 1/2 bag of ready-to-eat spinach

In a frying pan with taller sides, heat the oil. Season the chicken breast with salt and pepper and brown the meat on medium high heat, until cooked all the way through, about 5-6 minutes per side.

While the chicken is cooking, put the ingredients for the sauce in a microwave bowl and heat for 1 minute. Stir to combine, it doesn't have to be exact a this time as it will "melt" together when cooked in the pan.
Take the chicken out of the pan and let rest on a cutting board. Turn heat down. Pour the sauce ingredients and stir until everything is combined and has an even consistency. Gently cook until sauce thickens, which will only take a few minutes. In the meantime thinly slice the chicken and return to the pan with the sauce. Fold the chicken into the sauce.

To serve, put the warm rice noodles in a deep dish that is big enough to hold the whole meal. Spread the spinach over the noodles. Then spoon the chicken and sauce over the spinach and sprinkle with fresh scallions and cilantro.