Cherry Clafoutis

 

20170704_121119By Corinne

What is clafoutis? It’s traditionally a French dessert (but I love it for breakfast!). I don’t even know how to properly describe it- it’s somewhat like a custardy dense cake that’s full of delicious fruit. In any case, it whips together so quickly that you can have it ready to go by the time your oven is preheated.

Clafoutis is one of those magical dishes that can work for either breakfast or dessert. If you want to finish it with some powdered sugar, or even some whipped cream, or ice cream to make it dessert then go for it! I tend to make it for breakfast, and because I am impatient and hungry I’ve almost always eaten it hot right out of the oven, though traditionally it’s served room temperature or chilled.

Speaking of tradish, if you want to not pit your cherries, that’s actually the traditional way to make a cherry clafoutis. I’ve done it both ways, apparently leaving the pits in is supposed to impart a subtle almond flavour, but I’ve never noticed a difference and prefer to pit my cherries even though it’s a little more prep. Totally up to you!

Serves: 4 for breakfast, 8 for dessert

Time: prep/preheat 10 min(400F), bake 25-35 min depending on baking dish used.

You will need:

  • generous 2 cups of cherries, pitted or not as you wish 🙂
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp melted butter, cooled slightly, plus more to butter dish
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp spiced rum or amaretto

Preheat oven to 400F. Butter a 9-10 inch glass pie plate, or stoneware pie plate (what I used in the pictures) or a cast iron skillet. Baking time will depend on what dish you use- and whether it’s nine or ten inches. I find using a glass pie plate only takes 25 min, while using my stoneware pie plate takes 35 min.

Pit your cherries if you wish, and put them in the buttered dish.

Melt butter in microwave and set aside. For the rest of the instructions you can either whisk by hand or use a mixer, I do either depending on how I’m feeling that day :). Whisk 3 eggs and 1/2 cup sugar until thoroughly combined. Then gradually add the butter, whisking until it’s incorporated. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined. Finally, add the tbsp of spiced rum. The batter should be very smooth.

Pour the batter over the cherries and pop into the oven. Check at 25 min. Give the pan a little jiggle, if your clafoutis wobbles give it some more time. When it’s finished it should be slightly browned and almost set in the middle. By almost set, I mean when you give the pan a shake there should only be a little wobble in the very middle. If you find it’s browning too much on top, throw a piece of tinfoil lightly over the top until it’s finished.

Serve room temperature or chilled, or hot out of the oven if you just can’t wait 🙂

BBQ Chicken Wings with Lime and Lager Marinade

By Corinne

I love chicken wings, partly because I love variety and sauces and rubs and wings are just so versatile! This marinade is delightful for either chicken or pork*, though tonight we had it with wings. Speaking of rubs, I was recently gifted a jar of Pampered Chef Chili Lime seasoning. I thought this would make a delightful rub on the chicken wings and sprinkled on a generous amount after removing them from the marinade. Unfortunately, this particular seasoning has been discontinued, but apparently there is some pressure on the company to bring it back due to popularity. I’ve tried a few of the Pampered Chef seasonings, and have liked all the ones I’ve had so far!

Speaking of Pampered Chef, we can look forward to our friend Mandi, a Pampered Chef consultant, doing a guest post in near future! While I’m terrible at selling things so have never been interested in being a consultant, the large bar pan from Pampered  Chef is one of my favourite (and frequently used!) things in my tiny kitchen. I love it so much that I can’t help myself and sometimes have to gift one to people who I love and who also love cooking. I use it pretty much every time I turn on the oven, whether it’s for cookies or chicken or roasting off some veggies. Absolutely nothing roasts potatoes off to crisp perfection like this pan. Ok, enough waxing poetic about the large bar pan (though I could go on) and here’s the marinade!

Makes: 2 lbs of chicken wings, about 1 1/2 cups of marinade

Time: 10 minutes prep, few hours to overnight for marinating, 15-20 minutes BBQ

You will need:

  • 1 cup lager (I used Muskoka Brewery craft lager, but have also used Canadian, and Sleeping Giant Northern Logger – which actually isn’t a lager but is a kolsch style beer)
  • zest and juice from 2 limes (1/4 cup lime juice)
  • 1/4 cup canola or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 lbs chicken wings

Prepare marinade. In a medium bowl, zest limes and then juice. Add 1/4 cup of canola, salt, pepper, fresh chopped basil and mint, and minced garlic. Give this a good whisk, then add one cup of lager. It will foam and bubble a bit, then give it a stir. Either add marinade and wings to a large ziplock baggie to marinate, or add the wings to the bowl and cover. Marinate for at least 2 hours, but up to over night.

Preheat BBQ to medium heat. When ready to BBQ, remove wings from marinade. If you are adding an additional rub, do so at this point. BBQ wings for 5 minutes with lid closed. Flip and close lid again. BBQ for an additional 5-10 minutes, flipping twice more. BBQ time will vary a bit depending on your BBQ.

Serve with a salad, corn on the cob, or some BBQ potatoes 🙂

*As I mentioned at the top of the post, this same marinade is delicious on pork chops. I usually use that amount of marinade for 3 chops. Same deal, allow to marinate for 2 hours or up to over night.

 

Grilled Chicken Pizza with Corn and Garlic Gouda

By Corinne

Homemade pizza is endlessly versatile and easy to put together once you have a favourite dough recipe down. I’ve been in love with our local corn lately, featured here in a pasta, and here in a pizza that echoes of a corn chowder but in flatbread form. This pizza came about from what I was able to scrounge in the fridge and pantry in order to whip together a supper after an evening golfing.

Makes: 1 pizza – about 15″ diameter

You will need:

For toppings:

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 cup fresh corn, removed from cob- about 1 cup of kernels
  • about 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (about half of a small red onion)
  • about 1/2 cup of your favourite BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup shredded garlic gouda cheese – preferably Thunder Oaks if you can get it

Tl’s-works-every-time pizza dough* this is a half recipe to make one pizza rather than 2 you could also make the full recipe as seen here, and then put half in the fridge to use in the next day or two.

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp yeast (quick rise or traditional, either works, traditional will just take longer to rise)
  • 2/3 cup very warm water

Mix dry ingredients, including yeast, for dough. Add very warm water and knead a few minutes until all ingredients have come together in a smooth dough. If dough seems too sticky, add a bit more flour. Rub dough with a tbsp or so of oil, cover, and let rise in a warm place until you are ready to roll out for ingredients. Prepare your other ingredients. Your dough will probably double in this time but if it doesn’t QUITE double, it will all be ok.

Preheat BBQ to medium high heat. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. Grill with lid down as much as possible, flipping after about 5-7 minutes, and then again after another 5-7 minutes. Grilling time will depend a bit on your BBQ and the thickness of your chicken breast.

Prepare toppings. Slice red onion and set aside. Husk corn, and remove kernels. You should get about 1 cup of kernels from a cob. Shred cheese. Slice chicken thinly, then cut into about 1/2″ pieces.

Preheat oven to 400F.

When oven is preheated, and dough has risen roll out dough and transfer onto pizza stone. If dough is quite sticky (which sometimes happens because measuring flour can yield varying amounts!) then rather than add more flour, if you stretch and spread the dough with your fingers over the stone, a slightly sticky dough will bake up very crisp and delicious! There are some recipes such as this one that actually do this on purpose 🙂

Spread BBQ sauce evenly over dough. If desired, use more or less sauce depending on how saucy you like your pizza. I went on the scant side with the sauce as I wanted to make sure the other toppings really got to shine. Sprinkle on cheese, chicken, then corn and red onion.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden.

 

Summer Corn and Smoked Gouda Pizza

By Corinne

One of the things I love about summer is fresh, seasonal produce. There is little that says ‘summer’ meal to me more than something on the BBQ and a steamed cob of fresh corn. This year our local sweet corn seems better than ever somehow! When I prepped this recipe, I thought I might need the kernels from two cobs, but two cups was going to be way too much for one pizza. What to do with the extra corn… um…apparently eat it raw because it was delicious! My inspiration for this was essentially I wanted corn chowder in flat bread form. I think it was a success. While these are pretty non-traditional toppings, my husband said this was the best pizza he has ever had… and we may have eaten the entire thing in one sitting. Shout out to Belluz Farms for the amazing corn, Tim’s Meats for the utterly unique bacon jerky and Thunder Oak Cheese Farm for the delectable smoked gouda.

Makes: 1 pizza 15″ diameter

Preheat oven 400F

Time: 20 min prep, 1 hour rise, 20 minutes bake.

You will need:

  • 1 cob of corn, kernels removed, about 1 cup
  •  1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded smoked gouda cheese – Thunder Oak if you can get it + 1/4 cup more if desired
  • 1/2 cup bacon bits – use Tim’s Bacon Jerky if you live in Thunder Bay and can get it- shortens your prep time and is amazing
  • snipped fresh parsley if desired

Tl’s-works-every-time pizza dough* this is a half recipe to make one pizza rather than 2

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp yeast (quick rise or traditional, either works, traditional will just take longer to rise)
  • 2/3 cup very warm water

Mix dry ingredients, including yeast, for dough. Add very warm water and knead a few minutes until all ingredients have come together in a smooth dough. If dough seems too sticky, add a bit more flour. Rub dough with a tbsp or so of oil, cover, and let rise in a warm place until you are ready to roll out for ingredients. Your dough will probably double in this time.

Cook bacon for bacon bits if you are not using delicious bacon jerky from Tim’s Meats. If you are using the amazing bacon jerky,  you can just snip into bits using kitchen shears. I find this is the quickest way to get it into little pieces.  Remove kernels from cob and set aside. Shred cheese and set aside.

In a shallow pan, melt 1 tbsp butter. Add 1 clove minced garlic and 1/4 tsp salt. Whisk in 1 tbsp flour. Add the 1 cup of heavy cream a bit at a time, whisking until liquid is absorbed. When all liquid is added, let bubble a minute or two more, whisking frequently. If desired… you can add an additional 1/4 cup of shredded cheese to the sauce and whisk in. Do this after you have removed the sauce from heat to avoid separation.

When oven is preheated, and dough has risen roll out dough and transfer onto pizza stone. If dough is quite sticky (which sometimes happens because measuring flour can yield varying amounts!) then rather than add more flour, if you stretch and spread the dough with your fingers over the stone, a slightly sticky dough will bake up very crisp and delicious! There are some recipes such as this one that actually do this on purpose 🙂

Spread the white sauce over the dough. Sprinkle on cheese, corn and bacon bits. Note that this may seem like a scant amount of cheese for a pizza, but with the creamy sauce you really don’t need a lot. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden. Garnish with snipped fresh parsley. You may notice that my pictures do not have snipped fresh parsley. That’s because we ate it and I forgot. But it would be wonderful 🙂

Hot or Not? Dilly Pickled Beans

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By Corinne

Do you love pickles? If you’ve made your own homemade pickles you know that picking and cleaning cucumbers is a whole lot of work! I have discovered that I like pickled green beans ALMOST as much as I like pickles and they are FAR less work to prepare. If you haven’t made pickles, these dilly beans are a great introduction to pickling. I generally eat them randomly upon opening the fridge but they are delicious in a Caesar or Bloody Mary or as a little side for a sandwich.

I use the same brine and ingredients for my dill pickles. I personally don’t care for hot dill pickles, but I do like the hot dilly beans! They are good either way, so try a few jars of each 🙂

Some notes – yes you can pickle yellow beans too – I find they are a bit more tender than the green ones. You can mix them in the jars, I sometimes do half and half. If you happen to find some of those beautiful purple beans, they can be safely pickled, but they don’t end up pretty. I did it once and wouldn’t do it again, so save those ones for salads.

If you haven’t done hot water bath canning before, I’m going to send you to Food In Jars for some Canning 101. Marisa McClellan has a wonderful website and 3 amazing canning books, 2 of which I own. I love, love, love making small batches of jams and find her recipes easy to follow and inspiring.

Makes: I picked about 6 pounds of beans and made 8 pint size(5ooml) jars.  I recommend using pint size jars rather than larger jars as you have a shorter processing time, so your beans stay crisper.  You can of course make as many or few jars as you like, this is a very flexible process!

The best brine

Basic recipe 

  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of pickling (coarse) salt

This is easily doubled, tripled etc. To save you some math, I’ve included other amounts at the bottom of the page if you’re going crazy 🙂

Today I used:

  • 12 cups water
  • 12 cups white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup pickling (coarse) salt

To each jar add:

  • heaping 1/4 tsp of black peppercorns
  • level tsp of mustard seed (I use a mix of yellow and brown)
  • 1 large dill flower/seed head
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 2 red thai chili pepper if desired

Prepare your hot water bath canner and jars. Ensure that jars actively boil for a minimum of 10 minutes. If the lids require a warm bath (read the package they came in, some brands no longer require this step) you can get this ready now too. Note that while jars and rings are both reusable, the lids are not.

Prepare your brine. Add vinegar, water and salt to pot and bring to a simmer, barely boiling. I’ve never had any issues with salt dissolving, but give it a few stirs just to ensure it does, and keep a lid on this pot to reduce evaporation.

Wash beans and snip off stem end and the little pointy end too if you wish. I leave it on because I like the way it looks, but either way is fine. Grab an extra empty jar for reference and make sure your beans will fit. Give them a trim if they are too long. Put your beans into a large bowl or platter all facing the same direction, this will make it easy to put them into the jars in a quick and tidy manner.

Give your dill flowers/seed heads a quick rinse and a pat dry.

Remove the skins from the cloves of garlic. I like to have all of my other add ins, mustard seeds, peppercorns etc in little prep bowls so they are ready to go when I take out my jars.

I place a dish towel on my counter as I always end up spilling some of the brine as I pour it into the jars. Not that it’s terribly difficult to do without spilling, but if you do slop some, the towel will keep it from running off of your counter. I also like to wear those disposable vinyl gloves as I find they give a little extra protection from the heat of the jars without being bulky.

Are you ready? Take the jars out of the hot water bath. You don’t need to worry about drying them, the water will evaporate off quickly as they are so hot. Measure out mustard seed, peppercorns, garlic, and finally dill into each of the jars. If you are using hot peppers, put them in now too. I generally do this assembly line style, all of the pepper into each jar, then all of the mustard etc. I find it helps me make sure I get all ingredients into all the jars.

Grab a large handful of beans, as many as you can easily get in. Fill all jars, then go back and stuff in as many beans around the edges as you can. You want the jars to be packed tight.

Now you are ready to pour in the brine. I use a 2 cup measuring cup to pour in the hot brine. You want to leave about 1/2″ – 1/4″ of head space in the jar. Place lids on jars, then fasten rings. You do not need to wrench them as tight as you can, they just need to be ‘fingertip tight’.

Process in hot water bath for 5 minutes. Remove jars from canner and allow to cool completely before handling. I usually leave them until the following morning. Remove rings, check for seal , and wipe the ring and the jar clean. They may have some salty residue from your brine. It is important to wipe them, and then let them dry completely, as otherwise you may end up with your rings rusting to the jars.

Let the beans cure for at least 1 month before eating, but really they only get better if you wait a bit longer. I usually make them the end of August or beginning of September, and generally tell people to wait until Halloween to break into them.

I pour any leftover hot brine on the weeds in the cracks in my driveway. Does a good job of getting rid of them. Because of the salt in the brine, make sure you don’t water any grass with it or pour it anywhere you might like to grow something!

To save you some math for when you are making a lot of brine, here are some larger amounts.

  • 16 cup water
  • 16 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup pickling (coarse) salt
  • 20 cup water
  • 20 cup vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup pickling (coarse) salt

This last one happens to be the amount that exactly fills my stock pot, and is what I prepare when I’m making a lot of pickles.

  • 22 cup water
  • 22 cup vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp pickling (coarse) salt

Rum Punch

By Corinne

I enjoy this variation on rum punch as I find it less sweet than many other versions. This drink is perfect on a hot summer day, or on a freezing winter one to bring you visions of sandy beaches and warm salt water.

Time: 2 minutes 🙂

Serves: for one drink easily doubled/tripled etc – if there is interest I can post amount for a jug 🙂

  • juice of half a lime
  • 1 1/2 oz  dark spiced rum
  • 1 1/2 oz coconut water
  • 2 oz pineapple juice
  • drizzle of grenadine
  • dash of angostura bitters
  • ice

Fill glass with ice. Add juice of half a lime, rum, coconut water, pineapple juice. Give a little stir with a straw, then add a drizzle of grenadine and a dash of bitters.

*if you don’t have coconut water or pineapple juice, orange juice will work too and is pretty with the grenadine but your drink will be considerably sweeter.

Dilly Summer Bean Soup

By Corinne

Sometimes I feel we lose appreciation for seasonal foods when they are available at the grocery all year round. That being said, anyone who has ever had a fresh summer strawberry still warm from the sun knows there is an entire world of difference between it and it’s sad, long travelled winter counterpart. This is my favourite summer soup that I’ve been making for years. I only make it in the summer with fresh garden beans and I look forward to it every year.

This soup is quick enough to prepare for lunch, but filling enough for supper too.

Serves: 3-4

Time: 10 min prep, 30 minutes simmer

You will need:

  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 small/medium potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups mix of yellow and green beans cut into ~1 inch pieces
  • 6 cups V8 + 1 cup V8 if desired
  • 2 tbsp snipped fresh dill + more for garnish
  • sour cream for garnish
  • grind of pepper if desired

Melt butter in pot and add onion and celery. Cook over medium for about 5 minutes until vegetables are softened and then add the garlic for one minute more. Add the 6 cups of V8 2 tbsp of fresh dill and the potatoes. Bring to a gentle boil. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Add 2 cups of beans and allow to simmer for another 10-15 minutes until beans are tender. You may wish to add an additional cup of V8 to thin out the soup as it will have lost some liquid in the simmering time- I like a rather thick chunky style soup, but if you prefer one a little more brothy, add some additional liquid. Serve with a generous dollop of sour cream and additional fresh dill.

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