Gathering at the Table

Whole Wheat Fig + Cinnamon Scones

Whole Wheat Fig + Cinnamon Scones

Whole Wheat Fig + Cinnamon Scones

Fall. I wait all year for you. The soothing smell of burning wood that reminds me of my childhood, the crackle of leaves blazing like fire, the lazy soot-coloured sky that dances between day and dusk and the smell of butter, flour and sugar that seems to blanket our neighbourhood as the cool air and holiday season arrives.

We’re fortunate to live in a neighbourhood speckled with incredible bakeries that make taking a short walk impossible to complete without a snack, or at very least, a coffee. But somehow, when the weather turns crisp that smell beckons like never before. It smells like the holidays, like a warm hug, a hot coffee and a scone. That’s what autumn smells like.

{new} Whole Wheat Fig + Cinnamon Scones w @GayLeaFoodsCoop. Recipe >> http://www.goudalife.ca/2016/11/15/gathering-at-the-table/ … #sponsored #ad #BornonTheFarm

The fall season is usually a bluster of get-togethers for us. Birthdays and Thanksgiving, the return to the indoors and a shift in entertaining. Where the summer offered a laissez-faire attitude towards cooking and hosting, the fall requires a more thought-out approach. A return to planning and organizing, cooking batches when time allows so your valuable time can be spent making memories, telling stories and gathering at the table. These scones are a family favourite in the fall, right at the tail end of fig season. I make the dough and shape them before freezing for easy baking when the doorbell rings unexpectedly. While my favourite scones are usually the denser cream scone, I love the flakiness that butter offers to this sweet and spiced scone. Gay Lea Unsalted butter is one ingredient – cream. Simple. No messing around when it comes to my favourite ingredient.

Whole Wheat Fig + Cinnamon Scones

Whole Wheat Fig + Cinnamon Scones

makes 6-8 large scones

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup Gay Lea Unsalted Butter, cubed and cold
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk (dairy or non) or light cream
3/4 cup chopped fresh figs
2-3 tbsp fig preserves (apricot will do in a pinch)
coarse sugar, for garnish
1 whole fig, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.

Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or two forks. It should be a sandy texture with some pea-sized butter pieces remaining. If you feel that the butter is starting to get soft, pop in the freezer for 10 minutes. I like everything to be very cold, this results in the best possible scone.

Whisk together the egg and milk and pour into the flour/butter mixture with the figs. Stir until a loose ball of dough forms. It will be wet in some spots and there will likely be some flour left at the bottom of the bowl. Press the dough against the side of the bowl a few times to get as much dough out as possible. Lightly flour your counter or surface and pat ball of dough into a 9″ circle trying not to overwork. Place into a 10″ skillet and cut like a pizza into 6-8 scones, depending on how many you want and what size. Brush the tops with fig preserves, sprinkle with sugar and tuck a few slices of whole fig around the tops (optional). Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden around the edges and cooked through. Serve with a hot cup of tea or coffee and someone amazing.

Whole Wheat Fig + Cinnamon Scones

Disclaimer: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Gay Lea, and receive compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. Regardless, I only work with brands I use personally and enjoy.

Crispy Carnita Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins with Salsa Verde and Manchego

Crispy Carnita Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins with Salsa Verde and Manchego

Fall has barely arrived here in Ottawa and I’m already buried in succulent braises, creamy, gut-hugging soups, slow roasted veggies and way too many apple-cinnamon dessert (if that’s possible?). These incredibly tasty stuffed sweet potato skins throw a nod to my favourite taco fillings from the summer while embracing the slow, hearty flavours that the biting chill in the air has you craving. Unless you have some time off during the weekdays, I’d say this is a weekend recipe since the potatoes and carnitas take a few hours together. But if you go ahead and pre-roast the potatoes and make the carnitas on a Sunday, you’ve got lunch or dinner prepper for the week! Throw a salad or some soup on the side and it’s a big hearty meal.

Crispy Carnita Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins with Salsa Verde and Manchego

Crispy Carnita Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins with Salsa Verde and Manchego
serves 4-6 as appetizer or side

Carnitas
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 3lb pork butt/shoulder, cut into 1″ strips
1 cup 100% orange juice
juice from 1/2 lime
1 tsp salt
3 cups water

Potato Skins
4 small-medium sweet potatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
vegetable oil
salt
pepper
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp fresh lime juice

Salsa Verde
1 medium avocado, pitted and skin removed
4  large tomatillo (about 1 1/2 cups rough chopped), cleaned and rough chopped
small handful cilantro (approx 1/4 cup chopped)
2 scallions, root ends removed
1 or 1/2 jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed
juice from 1/2 lime
1/4 tsp salt

Garnish
Scallions, sliced thin
Manchego cheese
Cilantro
Lime wedges

For the carnitas:
Place the cumin seeds in a large heavy pot (my favourite is an enameled cast iron dutch oven) over medium heat and toast, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and toasted, about 4-5 minutes. Add the strips of pork, orange and lime juice, salt and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, stir well and let sit untouched until liquid has reduced and the fat starts to render (about 1.5hours). If your pork is still pretty tough, add another cup of water or orange juice and let reduce again. At this point, turn the heat up slightly so the fat starts to melt and fry the pork. Cook until the strips of meat are crispy and falling apart. Turn if needed to make sure they don’t burn or stick to the pot. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the sweet potatoes:
Preheat oven to 375.
Rub potato halves down with vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place potatoes cut-side down on a baking sheet and roast until tender, approximately  1 hour. This can be done 1 day in advance but be sure to bring your sweet potatoes and filling back to room temperature before you stuff them. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, gently scoop the flesh from each potato into a bowl. Mash with the cilantro and lime juice and taste for seasoning. Add salt if needed. It should be slightly on the acidic side since the salty meat and cheese will be topping it. Keep the oven going so you can heat everything through to serve.

For the Salsa Verde:
place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or lime to taste.

To assemble:
Place potatoe skins on a baking sheet. Fill each with an equal amount of the sweet potato/cilantro/lime mixture. Top that with the carnitas and the manchego and pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until potato skins and carnitas are starting to char and crisp around the edges. Remove from the oven, serve with a dollop of salsa verde, fresh cilantro, sliced scallions,

 

Heartfelt Food + Creamy Potato & Kale Mash

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Loblaws and Zehrs. All opinions are 100% mine.

creamy potato & kale mash

There is something to be said for tradition around the holidays. The comforting understanding that everything will be the same. That same white and floral plate adorned with , buttery green beans, stuffing jeweled with dried cranberries, that beautiful golden bird you’ve been smelling since 8am, and the piece de resistance, Mum’s whipped potatoes. A plate without them is incomplete.  A plate without them would ruin a holiday. That seems dramatic, but it’s TRADITION.

That is to say, it’s tradition… at my moms house. At my house we are just starting to build our own family traditions with our  1yr old daughter. And a lot of our cooking these days is based on what she is (or isn’t) eating and finding a way to make our plates balanced and delicious as we introduce her to new foods and try to make sure she’s getting what she needs.

These creamy potatoes are a new family favourite and our new “traditional” potato side dish. It’s an easy way to appease our daughters palate while she gets some greens into her tummy. And it doesnt hurt that the dish is DELICIOUS.

creamy potato & kale mash

And while traditions in food are important around the holidays, filling your table with food is only second to the people around the table that you share it with. So why not let Loblaws take care of that part? Their Heartfelt Food campaign is all about tradition and your family holiday stories. Share them and you could win the grand prize of a catered holiday meal or the opportunity to win a $50 gift card to help put some more tradition on your table. Check out the details below and good luck!

To enter Loblaws/Zehrs #HeartfeltFood contest;

  • Post an original picture of your favourite family main dish in the comment section of Loblaws Thanksgiving Facebook contest post by October 20
  • Tag the people you want to invite to your next big holiday meal.
  • Use the campaign hashtag: #HeartfeltFood
  • Tag @LoblawsON

 

You’ll get a chance to win:

  • Grand Prize: a catered family feast by Loblaws for the Grand Prize winner and up to nine (9) guests at the Grand Prize winner’s home, and one (1) keepsake culinary cookbook.
  • Secondary Prizes: There are ten (10) $50.00 (CDN) PC® Gift Cards available to be won

Creamy Potato & Kale Mash
serves 4 as a side dish

6 large yellow-fleshed potatoes, cut into 2″ cubes
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
sea salt
2 cups chopped kale (curly or lacinato), packed
1/4 salted butter
2 tbsp cream cheese, optional
1/4 cup milk or table cream
1/4 tsp nutmeg
fresh ground pepper

Place cleaned and cubed potatoes and whole garlic cloves into a large pot of well salted water. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and let cook until potatoes are fork tender, 10-15 minutes. In the last few minutes of cooking, remove the garlic cloves and add the kale so it wilts slightly. Strain potatoes and kale, place in a mixing bowl and set aside. Add the butter to the empty pot and put back on the burner over medium heat. Let it melt and bubble, untouched until it starts to brown and smell nutty, about 5 minutes. You’ll notice small flecks of golden brown in the butter when it’s done. Remove from heat and pour over the potato/kale mixture with the cream cheese, milk, nutmeg and a few grinds of pepper. Mash everything with a fork or potato masher until it’s smooth and creamy. Taste for salt and add more if needed.

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Heartfelt Food

Spicy Turkey & Corn Tacos with Apple Fennel Slaw

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Loblaws and Zehrs. All opinions are 100% mine.

Spicy Turkey & Corn Tacos with Apple Fennel Slaw

I’m a sucker for big family dinners, I always have been. The hustle and bustle of a house filled with fast-moving bodies, laughter, pots clanging as the smell of something wonderful fills the air, gathering together to share stories past and present over good food and wine.

This time last year, I was going through a rough time in my life as I tried to paint a smile on my face for the annual Friendsgiving dinner we host in our backyard with our dearest friends who have supported us, and filled our lives with laughter and love this year. Yesterday, as the last plates were put away until next year, I was left to reflect on how lucky I am, how far we have come as a family, and how much goodness exists in our lives. Between that dinner and our other two celebrations with family, we were left full to the brim with both turkey and cheer. If that isn’t something to be thankful for, I don’t know what is.

Spicy Turkey & Corn Tacos with Apple Fennel Slaw
Spicy Turkey & Corn Tacos with Apple Fennel Slaw

My 1yr old daughter and I spent the morning putting these tacos together for lunch (well, I put them together while she tasted everything to make sure it was up to snuff) and though I’m guessing it would be obvious, I am so grateful for her. For her ability to make me laugh harder than anyone else, for her tiny chubby fingers and deliciously fluffy cheeks, for loving me unconditionally and making hard days easier with her silly faces and babbling. Yet another thing to thank my lucky stars for each day, not just on Thanksgiving.

These tacos are quick and easy great for making use of your leftover turkey (or chicken) in a way that’s a bit different than your usual turkey sandwiches and soup. They are perfect for make-ahead lunches for the week and make quick work of weeknight dinners. The turkey is well spiced but not overpowering with the sweet kernels of corn exploding in your mouth while the tangy slaw cools and adds a nice crunch.

Loblaws & Zehrs want to hear about your Thanksgiving memories, traditions and of course, FOOD! And by sharing your stories and photos, you could win a family feast catered by Loblaws or one of ten $50.00 gift cards to help fill your family’s table.  See below details on how you can enter.

Spicy Turkey & Corn Tacos with Apple Fennel Slaw

To enter Loblaws/Zehrs #HeartfeltFood contest

  • Post an original picture of your favourite family side dish in the comment section of Loblaws Thanksgiving Facebook contest post by October 20
  • Tag the people you want to invite to your next big holiday meal.
  • Use the campaign hashtag: #HeartfeltFood
  • Tag @LoblawsON

You’ll get a chance to win:

  • Grand Prize: a catered family feast by Loblaws for the Grand Prize winner and up to nine (9) guests at the Grand Prize winner’s home, and one (1) keepsake culinary cookbook.
  • Secondary Prizes: There are ten (10) $50.00 (CDN) PC® Gift Cards available to be won

Spicy Turkey & Corn Tacos with Apple Fennel Slaw

Spicy Turkey & Corn Tacos with Apple Fennel Slaw
makes 8 small tacos

4 cups cooked turkey, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp paprika (smoked or sweet)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 small onion, sliced thin or diced
8 small flour or corn tortillas
cilantro or parsley, for garnish
scallions, diced thin

Toss your cooked turkey with the spices and vegetable oil. Place on a heavy skillet over medium heat with the onion and stir until everything starts to smell fragrant and the edges of the turkey are starting to crisp. If it feels too dry, though it should be similar to a carnita texture, add some broth or water to loosen things up. While everything cooks, warm the tortillas on another hot skillet over med-high heat for 2 minutes per side or until starting to char and crisp up.

Spoon the turkey into the shells and top with Apple Fennel Slaw and some minced cilantro and green onion.

Apple Fennel Slaw
makes approx 2 cups

2 large apples (I used honey crisp), cored and julienned
1 medium sized fennel bulb*, sliced into thin strips
juice from 1/2 small lemon (approx 1 1/2 tbsp)
1 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
salt and pepper, to taste

Toss ingredients together and taste for salt, pepper and lemon. Can be made an hour or two before you’re ready to eat.

*trim off the Fennel stalks, cut the bulb in half lengthwise, cut the halves into quarters, remove any wilted outside layers and then slice thin or shave on a mandolin.

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In Season: Spiced Lamb Rack with Green Olive Pistachio & Orange Gremolata

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Loblaws Companies Inc.. All opinions are 100% mine.

There was a time when Ontario lamb was most commonly sold in the spring, signalling the return of warmer days ahead. Nowadays, they are raised year round so there is no reason you can’t cook up a beautiful rack of lamb or a slow roasted shank any ol’ day of the week. Lamb burgers, kebabs, pulled shoulder, tender quick-cooking chops, whole roasted legs… is your mouth watering yet?

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For a long time I had this idea that I didn’t like lamb. I’m not sure where that thought developed but I’m glad I second guessed myself and gave it another shot. Lamb is rich and can be gamey, but much of the gamey flavour lives in the fat which can easily be removed for a milder taste. Because it can have a more prominent flavour, it stands up well to bold spices and condiments. I love a lamb roast dry-rubbed with warm spices like coriander and cumin – especially when the weather starts to get cooler. In the summer, a smokey bbq braised shoulder cooked in a dark beer makes beautiful tacos or tostadas.

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When you’re buying lamb, look for creamy white fat and a pink – sightly reddish colour. Darker meat tends to be gamier tasting and tougher.

This recipe is one I’ve been making for a long time. The briney olives and crunchy pistachios play incredibly well with the lamb and the orange gives it all a nice citrus kick. And if this recipe isn’t quite up your alley, don’t be discouraged. Check these tasty recipes for lamb lollipops

Spiced Lamb Lollipops with Green Olive Pistachio & Orange Gremolata

If you do pick some beautiful lamb chops up and want to share your photos on Instagram, Loblaws Ontario will give you the chance to WIN your groceries (up to $250). See below for details and happy cooking!

  • Follow @LoblawsON on Instagram (please ensure that your Instagram account is public)
  • Upload an original picture to your Instagram page highlighting the monthly Food Alert Item (July is Sockeye Salmon, of course)
  • Include the campaign hashtags #WeLoveFood and #ShareTheFoodLove

Spiced Lamb Lollipops with Green Olive Pistachio & Orange Gremolata
serves 4-6

1 8-rib frenched rack of lamb
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
vegetable oil, for searing

Green Olive Pistachio & Orange Gremolata
1/2 tsp orange peel, pith removed and minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, chopped fine
1/2 cup cerignola olives, pitted and chopped fine
2 tbsp minced curly parsley, minced
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice

Preheat oven to 425.
Mix together your salt, cumin, turmeric, coriander, and pepper in a small dish. Pat your ribs down with a clean dish towel or paper towel to dry them off, and rub down with your spice mixture. You can cook immediately from this point but I like to do this in advance, like the night before, to let the spices have time to permeated the lamb.

Drizzle a heavy skillet over medium-high heat with vegetable oil and let it get nice and hot. Place the rack of lamb, bone-up in the pan and let is sear to a golden brown. Flip and repeat. Be sure to brown all sides, even the very ends of the rack.

While you sear off the ribs, mix together the ingredients for the gremolata in a small bowl. Taste for salt and add, if needed. The olives should be salty enough but you may like to add a bit more.

Place skillet in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes for medium rare or until cooked to desired doneness. Slice ribs into individual portions and serve family style with the gremolata spooned over. Serve with jeweled rice or roasted vegetables for a more filling dish.

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IN SEASON: Ontario Peaches

Spelt Peach Galette with Honeyed Chèvre

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Loblaws Companies Inc.. All opinions are 100% mine.

Spelt Peach Galette w Honeyed Chevre

PEACH SEASON! Are you filling your carts, baskets, bags and pockets with all things peach? I know we are. My motto for the month is “put a peach on it!”. Salads, gazpacho, stuffed chicken, tacos… everything can benefit from a sweet & tangy bite of peach.

Ontario peaches are piling up on your local Loblaws grocery shelves, farmers markets and street-side vendors and if you don’t grab them soon, you’ll miss out on the produce jackpot! Look for peaches that are firm with a little “give” to ensure you’ve got the ripest picks. If you give it a sniff, it should smell peachy and ripe. Keep in mind the 2 major variaties of peaches – Clingstone and Freestone. Clingstone are a real pain to pull the pit from so these are best for straight up chowing down on. Freestone peaches are better for baking & slicing since the pit is much easier to remove.

Spelt Peach Galette w Honeyed Chevre

Now that you’ve picked the perfect basket of peaches, let’s talk GALETTE! This beautiful and simple rustic tart showcases peaches wrapped in a spelt flour crust that’s just ever-so sweet. It’s topped with a tangy sweet chèvre that plays up the tang in the peaches and really compliments the sweet, juicy peaches.

Spelt Peach Galette w Honeyed Chevre

Now that you have a recipe to get going on, GRAB THOSE PEACHES! And if you share your photos on Instagram of your Ontario peaches, Loblaws Ontario will give you the chance to WIN your groceries (up to $250). See below for details and happy peaching!

  • Follow @LoblawsON on Instagram (please ensure that your Instagram account is public)
  • Upload an original picture to your Instagram page highlighting the monthly Food Alert Item (July is Sockeye Salmon, of course)
  • Include the campaign hashtags #WeLoveFood and #ShareTheFoodLove

And if you’re looking for even more recipe ideas and inspiration, check out these inspired recipes using Ontario peaches

Spelt Peach Galette w Honeyed Chevre

Spelt Peach Galette with Honeyed Chèvre
makes 1 large galette

Crust
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 cup Spelt Flour
1 tbsp cane sugar
pinch fine sea salt
2/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
4-6 tbsp ice water

Filling
5-6 large ripe Ontario peaches (about 2 cups sliced), pitted and sliced
2 tbsp-1/4 cup cane sugar, depending on ripeness of peaches
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp cornstarch

1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp cane sugar, for garnish (optional)

1/4 cup fresh goats cheese
1 tbsp honey

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar and salt. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until pieces are no bigger and pea-sized and it’s a sandy texture that holds together when you pinch it. Add in 2 tbsp of the ice water and stir with a wooden spoon, adding more ice water 1/2 tbsp at a time until it comes together in a ball of dough. Press the dough into a disc between two sheets of parchment and chill for 1 hour in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 400.

In another bowl, mix the sliced peaches, sugar (add 2 tbsp if your fruit is very ripe and sweet, more if it’s tart), lemon juice and cornstarch. Mix until cornstarch and sugar have dissolved.

Once chilled, dust a surface with flour and roll the crust into a circle 14–16″ in diameter, dusting dough with flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spoon in the filling leaving a 2″ border all the way around. Fold dough over itself to contain the filling.

Brush the exposed crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with cane sugar, if using. Bake for 20 minutes, rotate pan and bake for another 20-25 or until the crust on top is light golden brown. Stir together the chevre and honey and dollop over the galette or slice first and serve with the chevre.

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In Season: Sockeye Salmon

Jerk Sockeye Salmon with Spicy Mango Avocado Salsa

Jerk Sockeye Salmon with Spicy Mango Avocado Salsa

I find myself saying, “we need to eat more seafood” far too much these days. On the odd occasion that I do find myself in the seafood section of the grocery store/market, I always end up bringing something, whatever is ethical and in season, home with me and vowing to do it more often as I scrape the plate clean of every tiny morsel. And yet, inevitably, it’s another 3 months before I remember to take that right turn in the store.

Jerk Sockeye Salmon with Spicy Mango Avocado Salsa

I was reading about sockeye salmon the other day and happen to see that it was in season. Like right now. Well damn, what better time to go grab some (answer: never). Sockeye is such a luscious, stunning fish to cook. It’s flesh a vibrant red, the most so of all salmon species, texture firm and meaty and a rich flavour that is both delicious on it’s own or standing next to big flavours like this jerk rub. When buying sockeye or any salmon, really, you’re looking for a moist fillet/portion that smells of either nothing or like the sea (not fishy!) and has beautiful colour. Get to your local Loblaws and grab some while it lasts – don’t be like me and wait far too long! You need some jerk sockeye (or any sockeye salmon) in your life. And to boot, Loblaws is looking for salmon lovers to share their photos of sockeye salmon in the month of July for a chance to win your grocery trip for FREE. I love that word. Here’s how to enter.

  • Follow @LoblawsON on Instagram (please ensure that your Instagram account is public)
  • Upload an original picture to your Instagram page highlighting the monthly Food Alert Item (July is Sockeye Salmon, of course)
  • Include the campaign hashtags #WeLoveFood and #ShareTheFoodLove

And if you’re looking for even more recipe ideas and inspiration, check out these sockeye salmon recipes.

Jerk Sockeye Salmon with Spicy Mango Avocado Salsa

Jerk Sockeye Salmon with Spicy Mango Avocado Salsa
makes 4 main dish servings

If you want to add another element to this meal, making a coconut rice on the side would be a lovely addition.

4 5oz portions of Sockeye Salmon Fillet (skin on)
jerk rub, recipe follows
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 large mango, diced (about 3/4-1cup of diced flesh)
1/2 large avocado, diced
1/2 large jalapeno
1 tbsp minced red onion
2 tbsp rough chopped cilantro
juice from 1 lime
1/2 tsp sea salt

Rub salmon portions down with enough jerk rub to lightly coat the flesh of the fish. Let it sit on the fish for 10-15 minutes before frying so the flavour can soak in.

While the fish sits, put together the salsa. Stir together the diced manga and avocado, jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or lime juice if needed. Set aside.

Heat coconut oil in a non-stick or well seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Place salmon, skin side down, on the skillet and let sear until golden (5 minutes). Flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Place each fillet on a plate and spoon salsa over top.

Jerk Rub
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Measure all ingredients into a small jar and stir or shake until spices are combined. Keeps for 4 months if air tight (will lose flavour and potency otherwise)

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In Season: Ontario Asparagus

Grilled Asparagus & Potato Salad with Lemony Scallion & Charred Garlic Vinaigrette

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Loblaws Companies Inc.. All opinions are 100% mine.

Grilled Asparagus & Potato Salad with Lemony Scallion & Charred Garlic Vinaigrette

Vegetables at their peak – is anything more beautiful? I’m sure by now you’ve spotted vibrant bundles of Ontario asparagus lining the produce shelves of your grocery store. We can’t seem to get enough of it here at home; grilled, pan fried, roasted, raw & shaved… any way we can get it, sweet, grassy asparagus is on our plates from late May to early July.

When picking asparagus, which you should do before it’s gone for another year, look for straight, crisp spears with tightly bundled green or purple tips. Although it’s best eaten fresh right away, you can refrigerate for 2-3 days before consuming. Asparagus also freezes well; just trim the tough ends, blanch in boiling water for 1 minute followed by a plunge in an ice bath. Dry off and place in a freezer bag for up to 1 year.

Grilled Asparagus & Potato Salad with Lemony Scallion & Charred Garlic Vinaigrette

If you head on over to the produce aisle at your local Loblaws, you’ll no doubt find bundles upon bundles while it lasts. And what’s better – they want to pay for your grocery trip (up to $250). It’s easy to enter, too!

  • Follow @LoblawsON on Instagram (please ensure that your Instagram account is public)
  • Upload an original picture to your Instagram page highlighting the monthly Food Alert Item (June is Asparagus, of course)
  • Include the campaign hashtags #WeLoveFood and #ShareTheFoodLove

How easy is that? If nothing else, you’ll be eating a delicious dish of asparagus! If you’re looking for even more inspiration, head to their website for some asparagus recipes!

Grilled Asparagus & Potato Salad with Lemony Scallion & Charred Garlic Vinaigrette

Grilled Asparagus & Potato Salad with Lemony Scallion & Charred Garlic Vinaigrette
serves 4 as a side dish

4 cups New Potatoes (alternatively, any local baby potato), sliced in half
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 large cloves garlic
1 bundle Ontario asparagus, ends trimmed
1/2 small red onion, left in one chunk
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
zest from 1/2 lemon
4 large scallions, sliced thin
1 tsp sweet grainy mustard
pinch red pepper flakes (more if you like it spicy)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups arugula

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add your sliced potatoes and let them cook until almost fork-tender, 5-6 minutes. Strain and toss with olive oil and a few pinches of salt and pepper.

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and let it get nice and hot. Place your precooked potatoes cut-side down on the grill and cook until they’ve become nicely charred, about 5 minutes. Remove to a large mixing bowl. With the BBQ still going, place your garlic cloves on the grill for about 1 minute per side. They should be lightly charred and fragrant. Remove and set aside. Toss your asparagus spears and red onion with a tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and place on the grill taking care not to let them slip between the grates. Cook asparagus for 1-2 minutes before turning over and cook for another minute. Let the onion get nice and charred on both sides, remove and cut both the onion and asparagus into bite-sized chunks and add to the potatoes in the mixing bowl.

In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the 1/4 cup of olive oil, lemon zest and juice, scallions, mustard, pepper flakes and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Get your charred garlic and mince it until it’s almost a paste. Whisk into the vinaigrette. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon or salt and pepper, if needed.

Add about half of the vinaigrette to the mixing bowl with the potatoes, asparagus and red onion. Add in the arugula and toss everything until combined. Add more of the vinaigrette, if needed.

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In Season: Fiddlehead {sponsored}

Fiddleheads with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes, Chevre and Chili Herb Oil

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Loblaws Companies Inc.. All opinions are 100% mine.

Sauteed Fiddleheads with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes, Chevre and Chili Herb Oil

Sometime around mid-late April, the fronds of the Wild Ostrich Fern start to unfurl from beneath swamps, marshes and forests around New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec and make their way into the hands of keen foragers. The fiddlehead, which gets it’s name from its resemblance to the head of a fiddle, has a short but sweet harvest season and to make the most of it you’ve got to keep your eyes peeled and grab them as soon as you see them.

Prized for their mild flavour (think; grassy, earthy and slightly sweet) and stunning coiled appearance, fiddleheads are versatile and delicious cooked in so many ways. I tend to keep things simple so as not to take away from their unique and gentle flavour but if you’re feeling adventurous, these little guys can stand up to some big flavours, too. Try them on a barbecued pizza with spicy garlic oil, buffalo mozzarella and basil or tossed with a short grain pasta, light pomodoro sauce and a soft boiled egg on top. They bring a lovely freshness to most dishes and would make an equally delicious pesto blended up with some mint/olive oil/pine nuts and feta cheese. Many compare the flavour to asparagus so try swapping your favourite asparagus dish with fiddleheads for something new and adventurous. These coiled little beauties don’t mess around when it comes to nutrition either – with twice as many antioxidants as bluberries, tons of fiber and a vegetarian source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, they are a superfood powerhouse.

Sauteed Fiddleheads with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes, Chevre and Chili Herb Oil tomorrow

Note: Fiddleheads are grown in the wild and carry a risk of contamination if not cooked properly. Always blanch or steam your cleaned fiddleheads for at least 10-12 minutes before eating. Once cooked, they can then be sauteed, fried, pureed or eating just like that with a bit of salt and olive oil.

Sauteed Fiddleheads with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes, Chevre and Chili Herb Oil tomorrow

This new series of posts, titled “In Season”, is in partnership with Loblaws Ontario and hopes to bring awareness to seasonal produce with limited availability. We’re aiming to show you how to cook these items, what makes them so good (and good for you) and why you’re going to want to run out and stock up ASAP. As part of the series, you’ll be invited to take part in their Instagram Contest each month in hopes of winning your next grocery shop (up to $250).

The rules are simple:

  • Follow @LoblawsON on Instagram (please ensure that your Instagram account is public)
  • Upload an original picture to your Instagram page highlighting the monthly Food Alert Item
  • Include the campaign hashtags #WeLoveFood and #ShareTheFoodLove

The only thing better than coming home with a bag filled with colourful, seasonal produce is not having to pay for it! Good luck to all who enter and for more recipe ideas, check out Loblaws’ fiddleheads recipes

Sauteed Fiddleheads with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes, Chevre and Chili Herb Oil

Fiddleheads with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes, Chevre and Chili Herb Oil
serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 cups fiddleheads, cleaned and trimmed of tough ends
2 tbsp olive oil
Chili-Herb Oil, recipe to follow below
1/4 cup chevre

Preheat oven to 400.
Toss tomatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper and add to a baking sheet/pan with the garlic. Cook until tomatoes soften and burst, releasing some of their juices, approximately 20-30 minutes. Give the pan a good toss to make sure all that delicious garlic juice coats the tomatoes.

While tomatoes roast, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Toss in your trimmed/cleaned fiddeheads and turn down to a simmer. Let cook for 15 minutes then strain. Add the oil to a sautee pan over medium heat. Add the fiddleheads and let fry on both sides until starting to brown, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a serving bowl, add a few spoonfuls of fiddleheads, a few tomatoes, some crumbled chevre and a drizzle of your chili-herb oil.

Chili Herb Oil
makes approx 1 cup

1/4 cup loosely packed basil
1/4 cup loosely packed Italian parsley
2 tbsp chopped chives
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup good quality olive oil

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until herbs are broken down. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if needed.

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post put on by Loblaws Ontario. I was compensated via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend restaurants or products I use/enjoy personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Raising a Glass to Mama

Minty Bourbon Peach Sweet Tea with Blueberry Mint Syrup

Minty Bourbon Peach Sweet Tea with Blueberry Mint Syrup

I used to think I knew what it was to give all of myself. To dig deep and push harder, love more, be kinder, forgive more easily. And then I became a mother and realized that I had a lot more of myself tucked away, hiding in the shadows waiting to be summoned. Though I’m barely through my probation period as a mother, I can truthfully say I have given more of myself emotionally, physically and mentally in the last 10 months than I ever imagined I had to give. And I’d happily, gratefully give even more.

I always knew my Mom was special, with her kindness, specific brand of humor, ability to turn tears into grins, sadness into hope. But until I was a mother myself, I never knew how powerful that relationship was in my life. After I had Ruthie, she was all I wanted. As I struggled through PPD and questioned my abilities as a Mom, she was the shoulder I sobbed on and the confidence I lacked. She made me strong when I felt weak and defeated. She carried me through days when I thought I might not be able to make it out of bed and care for our daughter. She, after 30 years of motherhood, is still giving all of herself and then some to my sister and I. I’ve never been more grateful for her friendship, her love, and her guidance.

Minty Bourbon Peach Sweet Tea with Blueberry Mint Syrup

Whether it was your mother, your sister, your best friend or any other strong female figure in your life that helped shape you, don’t forget to raise your glass (of sweet tea!?) to her on Sunday. Because daaaaamn, she works hard. And if you’re lucky like I am, she always will.

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Minty Bourbon Peach Sweet Tea with Blueberry Mint Syrup
makes 6-8 servings

I used Peppermint Tea & Organic Peach Tea (with a black tea base) here. If you can’t find peach tea bags, you can puree some frozen peaches with a little water and strain the puree through a fine mesh sieve.

The iced tea here is just barely sweet so you can add the blueberry mint syrup to taste.

8 cups water
1/4 cup cane sugar
3 peach tea bags
3 peppermint tea bags
2 sprigs mint, leaves bruised to release the oils
juice from 1/2 lime
1 cup sparkling water
1/2 cup blueberry-mint syrup (recipe to follow)
lime and mint, to garnish, optional
Bourbon (I like Bulleit Bourbon), optional

Bring your 8 cups of water to a boil in the kettle or stovetop. Add the tea bags, sugar, mint and lime juice to the bottom of a carafe. Pour boiling water over the ingredients and let sit for at least 1 hour, up to overnight (in the fridge). Remove tea bags and cool.

Fill some tall glasses with crushed ice. Pour in 1oz bourbon into each glass. Top with iced tea, 1/4 cup sparkling water, and a drizzle of the syrup. Because the syrup is so sweet, add a little at a time to your liking. Stir and top with a round of lime and a few mint leaves.

Blueberry Mint Syrup
makes 1 1/2 cups

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
4 sprigs mint, leaves bruised to release oils
1 cup cane sugar

Bring everything to a boil over med-high heat in a sauce pan. Let simmer for 10 minutes and remove from heat. Strain syrup and toss solids into your sweet tea.