B.L.T Soup

By: Julie

Time: 60 minutes – 20 min prep, 40 min cook

Serves 6

Adapted from Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard and Garlic from Smitten Kitchen

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Lately I’ve been making soup out of my favourite non-soupy dishes.  BLT soup was born out of my love of hot crispy bacon, cool lettuce, and spicy sweet tomatoes.  Sadly, it’s not tomato season here, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with a can of San Marzano tomatoes, picked at the perfect moment of sun-ripened goodness and packed immediately in a puree of their own yumminess.  Much better than those mushy hot-house things available for a zillion dollars a pound in the store in January, (a bit off topic but I saw a head of cauliflower for $9.99 today… needless to say it’s not in my BLT soup).

You Will Need:

  • 2 Mild Italian Sausage Links with casings removed.
  • 2 slices of thick cut bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds, or diced
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 can of San Marzano tomatoes, pureed, or 1 can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup of green lentils
  • 3 cups of chicken broth (that’s 1 carton)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream for garnish
  • fresh basil and parsley for garnish (optional)

Cook

In a dutch oven, over medium heat, render the bacon until crispy and then add the sausage.  Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage as it cooks until it’s no longer pink and starts to brown.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, pepper, and a pinch of salt.  Don’t remove any of the fat, you need it to brown the vegetables and for flavor.  This is a BLT soup after all and it needs that smokey bacon goodness.  There is already salt from the bacon and the sausage so a pinch is good enough for now.  Continue to cook until softened.

Add the lentils and stir them in, letting them soften for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes, broth, water, and bay leaves.  Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Cook uncovered until lentils are soft, about 40 min.

The soup will be thick, but trust me, it’s delicious.  See the texture in the above photo, that’s what you’re looking for.  Ladle into bowls and add a handful of spinach to each.  Stir it into the soup so it begins to wilt but will not be mushy by the time you serve.  Add a spoonful of sour cream to each bowl (be generous, this is the “mayonaise” part of the BLT and the creaminess is essential to knock this out of the park), garnish with some thai basil and some fresh parsley and enjoy.

Juiciest Turkey Burgers

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By Corinne

The original inspiration for these burgers came from a recipe that was to go with a riesling. Feel free to serve them with said wine. Or beer. Or whatever it is you like to drink. The first time I made them I was very much expecting them to taste like apples? I was somehow simultaneous disappointed and happy that they don’t in fact taste apple-y at all really, but instead the grated apple just makes them delightfully juicy and ever so subtly apple-ish!

Speaking of flavours, one of the advantages, and occasional disadvantages of using fresh ingredients is that there is some variation in flavour. I’ve had jalapeños so mild they taste more like green peppers, and I’ve also had ones so hot that I’ve desperately wished I had used less and ended up picking pepper out of what I’ve made. Please taste your pepper. I find for a ‘regular’ hotness jalapeño, using half is a good amount to add flavour but not much heat. If you like things hot, add more! However, if you’ve struck upon one of the random crazy hot ones, and then you add half and it’s far too hot, it’s really hard to take it back once it’s mixed in!

Time: 15 min prep, 1 hour freeze, 20 minutes cook

Serves: 8 – one burger each

You will need:

  • 2 lbs (907g) ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) finely minced red onion
  • 1 cup (225 g) grated apple (I used granny smith, but have used others in the past, whatever you have on hand will be fine)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 (20 g) jalapeño pepper finely minced – taste your pepper!

Mix together all ingredients and divide and shape into 8 patties about 3/4 inch (2 cm) thick. You can easily half this recipe, however I find it’s really no more trouble to make 8 than 4, and then I have them ready to go for the next time I need them with zero prep.

Place patties on a parchment covered cookie sheet, and place in freezer for at least an hour. If you are freezing some of them, ensure they are well frozen before putting into a plastic freezer baggie.

Cook on pre heated medium hot BBQ. Cook from frozen for about 10 minutes on each side with the lid closed. Do not get crazy with flipping them, flip them once as they are a bit delicate and may fall apart a bit.

Serve on your favourite bun with your favourite toppings, I love my homemade tomato jam on this, a bit of mayo, slice of tomato and some romaine. But they are equally delightful and completely different if you happen to have sprouts, avocado and a couple of slices of bacon.

** these are gluten free as long as you use a gluten free bun

Pineapple Marmalade

By: Julie

Serves: Makes 6-250ml jars

I picked up the Canning Kitchen by accident.  I certainly didn’t push the cart by it seven times and then sneak it under the baby pajamas and deliberately avoid looking at it as the cashier scanned it at the checkout.  Nor did I say the words, “oh this old thing?  I’ve had it forever!”  I most definitely didn’t buy another cookbook to add to the growing collection overflowing out of our tiny house on the prairie.  Not me.

But you should.  Because it’s really delicious and inspiring.  They are all small batch, which I love, and the book is quite instructive for new Jammers like me.  Yes, I just referred to myself as a Jammer.  You can be a Jammer too.  It’s an elite and selective club but we can make room for you.  If you bring some pie.  And maybe some chocolate.

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You Will Need

  • 2 1/2 lbs naval oranges
  • 2 1/2 cups finely diced fresh pineapple
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 cups granulated sugar

Read the steps in Amy’s own words here:

The Canning Kitchen: Orange Pineapple Marmalade

Mine didn’t quite set all the way, but I was a tad impatient and should have boiled it a bit longer.  Don’t forget to do a set test.  That being said, it’s lovely and I put it on everything.  We had it on chicken the other day and I’ve just taken a batch of Magic Muffins out of the oven that feature this.  Definitely worth making.

Apple and Spinach Salad with Cider Dill Dressing

By: Julie

Serves: 4-6

I get spring fever.  And then I get summer fever.  It’s May, and still chilly, but I desperately needed something delicious and fresh to hold me over until the first of the spring veggies arrives.  This salad was amazingly light, and flavourful, and spoke of warm days to come.  I would serve it with anything burgerish, or sandwichy.  I plan to make it again next weekend with an antipasto plate, some delicious cheese and some honey mead I’ve been hoarding for just the right meal.  This is that meal.

 

You Will Need:

For The Dressing

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp apple juice
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

For The Salad

  • 2 cups of cucumber, halved and sliced thin
  • 2 medium apples, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup of red onion halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups of spinach

Combine apples, cucumber, and onion in a large bowl.  Whisk dressing ingredients in a separate bowl and pour over apple mixture.  Allow this to marinate for 20 min or more, then add the spinach and pecans.  The amount of flavor in this is amazing.  Let us know how you liked it!

Buttermilk Scalloped Potatoes with Rosemary and Sweet Potato

By Julie

Serves 4-6

Time: 60-80min.  20 min prep, 40-60 min bake.

Sometimes you change out a few ingredients, randomly, and it turns into something amazing.  That’s what happened tonight with my scalloped potatoes.  I had some buttermilk leftover from a chocolate cake that I made and some fresh rosemary that needed to be used up.  So I decided to make scalloped potatoes to go with our ham dinner.  Good decision right?  Except then after prepping the white sauce I discovered that I only had 4 potatoes, not good when you’re making dinner for 4 and company is coming imminently.  I did have 2 sweet potatoes though, so I though, meh, how bad can it be?  It wasn’t bad.  It was amazing.

You Will Need

  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 medium onion – halved and sliced
  • 4 med-large potatoes – very thinly sliced
  • 2 small sweet potatoes – a litrtle thicker than the potatoes

Prepare The White Sauce

Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook for 1 min, then add salt, pepper, rosemary and flour.  Whisk in buttermilk slowly, incorporating it into the flour and butter mixture.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Prepare The Potatoes

Preheat oven to 350f. Place a layer of potatoes in an 8×8 baking dish.  Top with half of the onion and cover with a layer of sweet potato. Finish with a layer of onion and then a layer of potato.  Pour the white sauce over top and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 40-60 min or until potatoes are tender.  The thicker your potatoes the longer it takes to cook.  Sweet potatoes will cook faster than the regular potatoes so make sure both are tender before serving.

Mexican Inspired Stuffed Peppers

 

By: Corinne

I live in a small city where the only thing vaguely Mexican (and I think that is a generous description) is Taco Time. Really, tater tots are Mexican? Who knew…

I love anything Mexican inspired, chipotle, lime, cilantro, beans- I could eat that stuff every day! This recipe is one of my favourites. I always make it in this amount and freeze them before cooking.  Then they become an easy supper for those nights when you’re busy, and it can be quite virtuous and still delicious if you leave out or don’t go too crazy with the cheese. Great served with a salad, coleslaw, or just on their own as a super simple supper.

You Will Need:

  • 6 peppers, any colours you like
  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • 1 540ml can black beans (or the same amount of rehydrated black beans)
  • 1 large onion (230g chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed (15g)
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce *
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt if using rehydrated beans

Cheddar cheese if desired

*I find these peppers can vary in hotness, and often vary in size in the can. Use less and then taste- you can always add more, but it’s hard to take it back if you’ve made things too spicy for your taste! See this Quick Tip for what to do with the rest of the can.

Brown beef and add chopped onion to pan when beef is almost cooked. While beef is cooking, cut peppers in half. Trim but do not remove stem, it will keep your pepper from splitting when they cook. Trim out seeds and white parts of pepper and lay them chopped side down to dry a bit while the beef and onion are cooking.

Finely chop cilantro, peppers in adobo sauce (start with one if you are hesitant about the heat) and garlic. Add to beef and onion once beef is fully cooked and onion is softened. Add the drained and rinsed black beans. Add 3/4 cup of water to pan. Add cumin and salt if using. Let simmer for about 10 min until water has evaporated. Taste and feel free to up the heat factor by adding more chipotle pepper.

If your peppers are going immediately into the oven, you can spoon in the filling while it is still hot and top with cheddar cheese. If you are feeling particularly decadent, you can put some cheese in the pepper BEFORE you put in the filling and then on top too.  If they are going into the freezer, let the filling cool a bit before filling peppers and wrapping individually in tinfoil. If freezing immediately, add the cheese the day you heat them, otherwise I find you lose an annoying amount when you unwrap them from the tinfoil.

Top with cheddar cheese and pop in a 400F oven for 35-40 minutes or until pepper is tender and cheese is melted. If the tops are getting too  crisp but the pepper is still firm, lightly cover with tinfoil and continue cooking.

If taking from the freezer, let them thaw overnight and bake at 400F for about 25-35 minutes until heated through.