Maple Balsamic Slaw and Sausage

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By Corinne

If ‘coleslaw’ makes you think of mayo- banish it from your mind!  This is not your mayo based coleslaw for sure. Red cabbage is beautiful, inexpensive and an excellent source of vitamins C, K, and A. You could do all red cabbage for this slaw, or all green if that’s all you can find, but I like a combination of the two for the colours. In the middle of winter it can be difficult to find good produce that is reasonably priced. This colourful meal checks a number of boxes- easy, fast, healthy and economical!

RANDOM SCIENCE FACTS AND FUN HOME LAB FOR KIDS– skip this and scroll down if you want to straight to the foods!

You can also make an AWESOME natural indicator with red cabbage. An indicator is a substance that changes colour depending on pH. Red cabbage contains a pigment molecule that is an anthocyanin- this is what is responsible for the colour changes. Want a fun little science lab you can do at home?  I have done the following MANY times with my science students. I usually have them test a variety of ‘mystery liquids’ with both pH strips and a few drops of the red cabbage indicator. They are always surprised with the variety and brightness of the colours produced.

To make the indicator, boil some chopped red cabbage(about a cup or cup and a half) with a half a cup of water for about 5 minutes- it doesn’t matter too much proportions, but you want to end up with a dark purple liquid – that being said, the colour of the liquid will very much depend on the pH of your tap water and how close to neutral your  water is. Strain and cool (keep tightly sealed in the fridge) Once cooled, you can test a variety of household substances.

Start with something you know is acidic- lemon juice or vinegar and something you know is basic- bleach for example, so you have a baseline and know what colours to expect from acids and bases. In science class we use spot plates and pipettes, but you can just place a few drops of your testing liquid onto a plate. You want just a few drops of the substance you are testing, and then place a few drops of your indicator into it and record your observations.

If you drip this liquid into a substance that is basic, it will turn green, and if you drip it into an acid it turns bright pink. (Neutral solutions will stay purple). Have fun checking a variety of household liquids!

Time: 40 minutes for the sausages, about 15 minutes for the slaw or less if you are using a food processor.

Oven: 400F

Serves: 2-3

You will need:

  • 350 g (about 4 cups) red cabbage thinly sliced
  • 200 g (about 3 cups) green cabbage thinly sliced
  • 140 g (1 large) carrot grated
  • 3 salt and pepper sausages (can be found at Maltese if you are in Thunder Bay) or 3 mildly flavoured sausages of your choice
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) safflower or olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp (37 ml) pure maple syrup (don’t use maple flavoured whatever!)
  • 1/2 tbsp (7 ml) toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) smooth dijon mustard
  • 1/2 shallot, finely minced (about 1.5 tbsp)
  • 1 clove of garlic finely minced
  • a few grinds of fresh pepper

Heat oven to 400F while you make the dressing.

Whisk together all dressing ingredients. This makes about 1 cup of dressing.

Thinly slice cabbages and grate carrot. I used a food processor today, but have often just sliced by hand. Dress slaw in half of the dressing and refrigerate and reserve the other half of the dressing. (This is fine made ahead, but ensure you don’t add the toasted sesame seeds until serving)

Add 1 additional clove of garlic to the reserved dressing. Place sausages in a small casserole dish with the half cup of reserved dressing. Bake for 40 minutes, flipping them over periodically and basting in the dressing.

In a small frying pan, add the sesame seeds and toast over medium heat, shaking them up until golden- about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Add a generous amount slaw to each plate. When sausage is thoroughly cooked, slice on the bias and place on top of slaw. Sprinkle with a teaspoon or two of toasted sesame seeds.

 

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Quick Tip

Tired of the traditional summer picnic fare? Use cooked cauliflower instead of potatoes in your next potato salad, it gives great flavor, it requires less mayo, and it’s more flavorful than potatoes. Let us know I’d you’ve tried this!

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini and Mushrooms with Watermelon Salad

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By Corinne

This is a perfect summer supper. While we had this as dinner, the mushrooms and zucchini would also make a wonderful side or appetizer. I personally dislike mushrooms, but my husband loves them. Cremini are his favourite and what I used here, though I imagine this would work just fine with those white button mushrooms.

Serves: 3-4

Time: about 45 min

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini and/or Mushrooms

You Will Need:

  • 4 italian sausage removed from casing-I used 2 hot, 2 mild because there were no medium about 1 1/4 pound or .665 kg (from Tim’s Meats)
  • 1 onion- chopped
  • 1 clove garlic- minced
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine, I used Grey Fox Chardonnay
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • some combination of zucchini and mushrooms – I used 2 zucchini and 5 large cremini mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp canola for brushing vegetables

Watermelon Salad

You Will Need:

  • 3 1/2 cups cubed watermelon
  • 2 cups thinly sliced cucumber (I used 3 of those mini kirby cucumbers)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced or small dice red onion
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh mint if desired
  • freshly ground pepper

For the zucchini/mushrooms

Place sausages (casing removed) and chopped onion in a heavy bottomed pan. Cook on medium until sausage is well browed with lots of little crispy bits! If your sausage was particularly fatty, you should probably drain off some of the fat before deglazing. I use local sausage that tends to be quite lean and don’t need to drain anything.

Use the 3/4 cup of wine to deglaze the pan- add it a bit at the time scraping up all the browned bits of goodness. Add the minced garlic, lemon zest and juice and let reduce until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, let cool slightly and mix in about half of the grated asiago- the rest will be used to top your zucchini/mushrooms.

White your filling is cooking, prep the zucchini and mushrooms.

Pull the stems out of mushrooms. Chop up stems and use it in omelettes for tomorrow morning, or for pasta sauce if you’re into that sort of thing, or compost them if you’re not:)

Trim zucchini ends, and slice in half length wise. Cut into approximately 2.5″ pieces, and using a melon baller or a spoon, scoop out insides, being sure to leave a ‘cap’ on each end of your section so your filling will stay put! (I ended up with about 12 pieces from my two zucchini) With the leftover inside bits, you can save for another purpose, or compost. If I had just been making zucchini ones, I might have used less sausage and used the zucchini ‘insides’ as part of the filling as well. But I didn’t, and you don’t have to either 🙂

Brush tops and bottoms of zucchini and mushrooms with canola or olive oil. Place them on the grill on high/medium high top side down for only a minute or two until they have some nice grill marks. Remove from grill and fill with sausage, top with cheese.

Return to grill on low for about 5 minutes, until cheese is melted and zucchini and mushrooms are heated through. If you prefer your zucchini softer/more cooked leave them on a bit longer.

For the salad

Chop watermelon, cucumbers, onion add to bowl, mix gently. Crumble feta over top and juice of one lime and mint if using. Stir gently again to mix. Add fresh pepper to taste and serve.

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Chickpea Caprese Salad

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By Corinne

Little tastes more like summer to me than basil. I grow a large pot of it on my deck every year, and add it to everything.

This is a twist on the classic mozza, basil, and tomato salad. The addition of chickpeas makes it perfect for a light summer meal, or a lovely side at a BBQ potluck.

You will need:

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • about 20 bocconcini halved (about 7 oz)
  • 2 cups of delicious tomatoes – if you are using ‘juicy’ ones, seed them first. I halved mini san marzano tomatoes because I’m a bit obsessed with them
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3 tbsp to 1/4 cup of finely minced red onion- depending on the ‘power’ of your onion
  • generous handful of fresh chopped basil. If you don’t have fresh basil- make another recipe!
  • about 1/4 cup of a good balsamic or possibly a balsamic reduction
  • generous grind of black pepper
  • salt if desired, I tend not to use any when using the canned chickpeas

Drain and rinse chickpeas. Taste your red onion. Sometimes they are VERY strong, in which case, less is more so to speak. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix! Will need a quick stir up before serving.

If you are using a “regular” balsamic, you may want to add a tbsp or two of oil in order for the ‘dressing’ to be thick enough and not too vinegary. The one I used was a rather sweet and thick balsamic and I didn’t need that addition.

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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!