Blog – Recipes

Shrimp, Mushroom & Artichoke Casseroles

The art of casserole creation is a blend of inspiration and what’s on hand. The word casserole is used to refer both to an ovenproof baking dish as well as the baked, savory food item baked in it.

In North America, the Campbell’s Soup Company started publishing casserole recipes in the 1940’s as a way to promote sales for their cream soups. Casserole cooking goes back to slow-cooking dishes in earthenware containers. The ingredients are usually bound with some kind of sauce and often they are leftovers from a previous meal. It can be layered or all ingredients might be mixed together.

The height of the casserole era was during the 1950’s & 1960’s. This style of cooking was popular because it didn’t require a lot of constant watching and was hailed as the way forward for busy, efficient homemakers. By the 1970’s, quiche came to look down on the humble casserole.

Nevertheless, Brion and I really enjoy a casserole and this one ticks all the boxes for us.

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Shrimp, Mushroom & Artichoke Casseroles
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Course Lunch, Main Dish
Cuisine American, Filipino
Servings
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Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup salted water with 1/2 cup rice; cover & bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer gently for 12-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed & rice is tender. Fluff with fork & remove to a dish; set aside. Add 1 Tbsp butter to saucepan & saute sliced mushrooms.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Butter either 2-3 individual casserole dishes or a 9 x 9-inch baking dish. Set aside. Drain marinated artichoke hearts (reserving 2 Tbsp) & halve each piece. In a large bowl, whisk together soup, Alfredo sauce, Worcestershire, artichoke marinade, salt & pepper until combined. Gently stir in cooked rice, mushrooms, artichokes, shrimp (cut each in thirds) & parsley.
  3. Spoon mixture into prepared dishes. Combine Parmesan with buttered crumbs & sprinkle over casseroles. Bake until shrimp are cooked through, approximately 25 minutes.

Christmas Cookies

December has arrived and when I was growing up, it was officially ‘baking season’ for my mom. Many of the ingredients for the special things she would bake at this time of year were just too expensive to have on hand all the time. While we were at school, over the weeks prior to Christmas, she would bake many different kinds of cookies and squares. When we would arrive home in the late afternoon, there was no trace of what she had baked. Every cookie tin and various other containers were being filled with these glorious goodies. It all became part of the mystery and suspense of the season.

Like many traditions, the origin of the Christmas baking ‘bonanza‘ comes from medieval times. Winter solstice rituals were conducted long before Christmas became the huge commercial holiday it is today. Celebrations revolved around food. By the middle ages, the Christmas holiday had overtaken solstice rituals and the pastry world was experiencing some big changes. Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper as well as dried exotic fruits were becoming available. Expensive delicacies like sugar, lard and butter all became treasured ingredients that could only be afforded on this most important holiday.

Unlike pies and cakes, cookies could easily be shared and given to friends and neighbors. Our modern day Christmas cookies are baked for similar reasons. They’re given as hostess gifts in festive tins, used on giant dessert trays and of course they make for wonderful family baking traditions.

Most homemade holiday cookies were simple rounds or squares until import laws changed in the 19th century introducing inexpensive cookie cutters made of tin and emphasized shapes.

I realize ‘mincemeat’ doesn’t appeal to everyone’s pallet. These days the ‘all-fruit’ varieties have made it much more appealing. In a previous blog, I had used a lemon curd filling in these tender little cheesecake cookies. Since Brion and I both enjoy the all-fruit mincemeat, I thought I’d do a Christmas version. Pairing the flavors of anise, mincemeat and lemon was real nice.

The Irish Cream cookies are an easy no-bake version. If you like this liqueur, I’m pretty sure these boozy little bites will work for you.

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Mincemeat Cheesecake Cookies / Irish Cream Cookies
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Instructions
Mincemeat Filling
  1. Combine mincemeat filling ingredients & refrigerate until needed.
Cheesecake Cookies
  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese & butter until fluffy & smooth; 1-2 minutes. Add sugar; beat another 1-2 minutes then add eggs & anise extract & continue beating 1 more minute.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, anise seed & salt. Gradually add dry ingredients to the butter mixture & stir just until incorporated. Do NOT over mix. Divide dough in half.
  3. Between 2 sheets of parchment paper, roll each half of the dough to a 1/8"-1/4" thickness. Remove top sheet & using a 2 1/2" (6 cm) round cookie cutter, cut out cookies. Using top sheet of parchment, lay rounds about 2" apart. Slide a plastic cutting board under parchment paper & transfer to freezer for about 30 minutes. (I found this made it much easier to continue the procedure).
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove cookies from freezer. Spoon about a teaspoon of COLD mincemeat filling onto center of each circle. Wet edges a bit with water or beaten egg. Fold cookies in half & using a fork, press edges to seal. (If your mincemeat filling is well chilled, I found it didn't run out of the cookies while being baked).
  5. Bake cookies for 10-11 minutes. Cookies should be light in color, not browned & just starting to brown on bottom. * Length of baking time may vary from oven to oven. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Lemon Glaze
  1. In a small bowl, combine glaze ingredients & beat to a drizzle consistency. When cookies are cooled, drizzle with glaze.
Irish Cream Cookies
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine Irish cream, corn syrup, butter, white chocolate & salt. Heat while stirring until butter & chocolate have melted. Gently boil for about 2 minutes.
  2. Turn off heat & stir in puffed rice & oatmeal. Let stand for 2 minutes. If the mixture is a little runny, you may need to add a little more oatmeal ... about 1/4 - 1/3 cup).
  3. Using a spoon, you can either drop by spoonfuls on buttered parchment or press mixture into a buttered 1/4 cup measuring cup to form more precise cookie rounds. Let stand for at least an hour or until cookies are set. They will be soft but chewy. If you wish, decorate with holiday motifs.

Roast Beef Chili in Cornbread Bowls

It seems anyone who makes chili has their own particular way of doing so. First off, the meat can be ground or in big chunks and as far as the beans go … most any variety you choose will work. Some like their chili extremely hot with spices and others … well, not so much. Toppings usually consist of a choice of sour cream, cheddar cheese or green onion. The bottom line is to just personalize it to your liking and share your ideas. Recipes are made to be shared. That’s how they improve and change and new ideas are created.

Although cornbread might be considered simple and dated, it is the cornerstone of soul food. I have posted cornbread ideas numerous times over the years. I love it! The smell and taste of fresh cornbread are definitely nostalgic for me.

Today, what started out as just a simple bowl of chili with some warm cornbread became much more. My inspiration started with some left over roast beef which became chili and from there it went to ‘why eat chili out of a regular bowl when you could have it in a cornbread bowl’? I thought it might be a bit tricky to use a quick bread recipe with baking soda and/or baking powder as they are usually quite tender. Yeast-leavened cornbread is more bready and less muffin-like in texture. It has the structure for holding up to chili and isn’t inclined to go to mush.

I will not try and tell you this is one of those meals you can put together in 15 minutes but I did think the end result was worth the effort.

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Roast Beef Chili in Cornbread Bowls
Instructions
Cornbread
  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/3 cup lukewarm water & mix in 1 tsp sugar. Let mixture sit until foamy & thick about 10 minutes. In a separate bowl combine 2/3 cup sugar, salt, flour & cornmeal; set aside.
  2. When yeast is thick, add oil, eggs & 1/2 cup warm water; mix well with a whisk. Add dry ingredients & with a wooden spoon mix well. On a lightly floured work surface, knead dough until reasonably smooth, adding another tablespoon of flour if necessary.
  3. Grease bowl & place dough in it. Cover with a tea towel & allow to rise for 1 hour. Divide the dough in half & place in greased individual pans. Allow the cornbread to rise for 45 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until they test done with a wooden pick. When cornbread has cooled slightly, hollow out center of each & fill with chili. Yield: 2 large 'bowls'.
Roast Beef Chili
  1. In an ovenproof, heavy bottom pot, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pot & set aside. Saute onions & garlic in bacon drippings until tender-crisp. Add beef broth & simmer for 5 minutes then add the rest of the ingredients except roasted red pepper, bacon & roast beef.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 F. Bring chili to a boil then place in oven for an hour or so. Check on it part way through & stir.
  3. In the final 1/2 hour, add peppers & bacon. In the last 5 or 10 minutes add the cooked roast beef. Serve in cornbread bowls with preferred garnish. Chili yield is about 13 cups .. around 8-10 servings. Any extra, I portioned & froze for another meal.

Cardamom Roasted Persimmons

Persimmons are in season between November and February. Mildly sweet and juicy with a slight crunch reminiscent of a cross between a peach and a pear. Since there is only a short window in which you can enjoy this exotic fruit, persimmons make up for it by working well in both sweet and savory recipes.

The two most commonly available varieties are Fuyu and Hachiyas. Some recipes prefer one over the other. Treat them like you would an apple and turn them into jams, puree, tarts and cakes. Paired with pork adds a nice fruity and caramelizing sweetness.

Fuyus are squat and round whereas Hachiyas are acorn shaped and have a pointed bottom. When buying persimmons, look for the unblemished skin with the green leaves and top still attached. The texture should be like a tomato-firm but a bit of give without being to soft. Persimmons are usually sold unripe, so leave them on the counter for a day or two until the skin deepens to a rich sunset orange.

Cardamom is a complex flavor that can be used in any of the usual autumn and winter recipes. There is nothing subtle about cardamom, so when used in all but sparing amounts, it will dominate whatever its paired with. Cardamom has been used in Christmas baking in Germany since the middle ages.

You can eat roasted persimmons hot or cold. For a quick breakfast, make a batch ahead of time, then just reheat in the microwave or eat cold.

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Cardamom Roasted Persimmons
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a small bowl, combine hot water with 3 Tbsp honey; stir until honey is dissolved. With a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise & scrape half of the seeds into the bowl. Reserve excess seeds for yogurt.
  2. Peel the persimmons, cut them in half lengthwise & then slice into 1-inch thick wedges. Arrange the slices in a baking dish, drizzle with lime juice & sprinkle with the honey mixture, cardamom & butter.
  3. Roast persimmons for about 45-60 minutes spooning the pan juices over top occasionally. When done they should be tender & easily pierced with a knife.
  4. In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 Tbsp honey & yogurt. Add the remainder of the vanilla bean seeds; whisk until yogurt is smooth & well blended.
  5. To serve, divide yogurt between 4 serving dishes, top with a quarter of the persimmons, drizzle with any extra syrup & sprinkle the pistachios on top.
Recipe Notes
  • When using extract in place of vanilla bean in a recipe, use 1 teaspoon for every one inch of vanilla bean. Be sure to replace vanilla bean with vanilla extract and not vanilla flavoring or imitation vanilla, which are both a far cry from real vanilla.

Roast Turkey with Bratwurst, Cranberries & Sage

Today, November 28th, our American neighbors are celebrating their Thanksgiving Day. It encompasses both religious and secular aspects … being both a harvest festival and a festival of family.

Here in Canada, our Thanksgiving was celebrated on October 14th. When it comes to this occasion, some dishes are required eating. Turkey, gravy, cranberries and don’t forget the stuffing.

Stuffing can be whatever you want it to be. I love stuffing, dressing, filling or whatever you choose to call it. Something that has never left my food memories, was my mother’s turkey stuffing. Of course, I’ve tried to replicate it and I think I’m fairly close but then the ‘taste of a memory‘ equation comes in and ….

In the bottom of one of her cupboards she kept a brown paper bag. In it were dried herbs still on their stems. This seemed to be the magic ingredient whatever they were.

I can honestly say I love the stuffing almost more than the ‘bird’. Over the years, Brion and I have had stuffing that contained rice, cornbread, oysters, apples, mashed potatoes, bacon, various types of breads, etc., etc..

In acknowledgement to the USA Thanksgiving today, I am featuring a stuffed turkey breast. This particular stuffing is really what makes this recipe delicious. The white meat of the turkey has a tendency to be dry, so adding bratwurst sausage with its higher fat content, and not to mention great flavor, keeps the breast moist. The turkey, bratwurst and cranberry sauce are all wrapped in bacon to make a ‘all-in-one‘ main course.

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Roast Turkey with Bratwurst, Cranberries & Sage
Instructions
  1. Heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet & saute onion gently for 10-15 minutes until caramelized. Place in a large bowl & set aside to cool. Line a 9 x 51/2 x 3-inch (23 x 13 x 7 cm) loaf tin with a double strip of foil, leaving plenty overhanging on either end to use as handles once meat is cooked.
  2. Stretch each piece of bacon a little with the back of a knife. Arrange slices so the base of the tin is covered with overlapping bacon & the slices come neatly up the sides in a single layer, overhanging generously. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the bacon.
  3. Add sausage meat & sage to cooled onion. Combine well, then pack half the mixture into the loaf pan. Spread over about a third of the cranberry sauce.
  4. Cut each turkey breast in 3 strips. Layer roughly half the turkey on top of the stuffing mix, filling the gaps like a jigsaw, but keeping the turkey in one thick layer, then season. Spread over a little more cranberry sauce, then top with remaining stuffing, cranberry sauce & turkey in the same way, making sure there are no gaps between the layers. The parcel should be full to the top when you are finished. Fold over the overhanging bacon & wrap the tin in foil paper.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 F. Place the tin on a baking tray & bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the tin from the oven & allow to cool for 10 minutes. Carefully lift the parcel out of the tin, using the foil handles. Roll the parcel over onto baking tray removing the foil.
  6. Return to oven for about 15-20 minutes until the outside is crisp & browned. Test the internal temperature with a meat thermometer, it should read 170 F when its ready. Cover loosely with foil & leave to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh sage leaves if you wish.

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Wedges

Despite originating in the rain forests of Queensland and New South Wales in eastern Australia, macadamia trees were first commercially grown in Hawaii. These slow growing, tropical evergreen trees flower differently from most other fruit and nut trees. The macadamia tree grows racemes; a flower cluster with separate flowers along the stalk at equal distances on a central stem. A 10 cm stalk can carry hundreds of tiny flowers. Each raceme spray of 40-50 flowers produces from 4-15 nutlets which ripen into macadamia nuts. These nuts are coveted for their sweet buttery flavor and creamy texture. It takes machinery to crack the shell, which may explain why they rank as the world’s most expensive nut.

We are fast approaching the Christmas season when all things ‘decadent‘ are up front and center in our dessert plans. Some years ago, I made a chocolate macadamia nut flan for a Christmas company gathering. I baked it in a large tart pan, cut it into eight slices, then cut each slice into four ‘wedges‘. It was a good way to serve such an elegant (& expensive) dessert at a stand-up event.

I was thinking of desserts that could be made and frozen ahead of all the hustle and bustle. So nice to pull such decadence out of the freezer and serve on short notice.

Macadamia nuts pair particularly well with coconut, chocolate and fish. They can be substituted for other nuts measure for measure in most recipes and visa versa without compromising the integrity of the original recipe. Some acceptable choices would be Brazil nuts, hazelnuts and cashews.

While this recipe is a bit time consuming, it is well worth the effort.

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Chocolate Macadamia Nut Wedges
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Ingredients
Crust
Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Crust
Filling
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Instructions
Crust
  1. In a food processor, combine flour, salt & butter. Using short pulses, process until the mixture resembles oatmeal. Add ice water & pulse quickly until the mixture begins to come together but don't let it actually form a ball. Transfer the mixture to a lightly floured surface & gather it into a ball with your hands. Gently flatten into a smooth disk about 1 1/2-inches thick & wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm enough to roll out, at least an hour.
  2. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 14-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Fit into an 11-inch round tart/flan pan with a re-movable bottom; trim dough flush with rim. Chill 30 minutes or overnight.
Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, sugar & liqueur until combined. Whisk in flour & salt then butter. Stir in chocolate until combined. Pour into chilled pastry shell. Arrange whole nuts on top.
  2. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F. & continue baking until crust & filling are golden, about 35 minutes more. If tart is browning to quickly, tent with foil. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. To serve, cut tart into 8 slices then cut each slice into 4 'wedges'.
Recipe Notes
  • You'll notice the chocolate forms a layer on the bottom. If you want it to have a more decadent look, just drizzle a bit more chocolate on top after it's baked.

Giant Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire pudding was first known as ‘dripping puddings‘. Their origin goes back to the days of old English country inns where they would roast beef on a hook in a hearth over an open flame and have a pan below the roast with flour/milk mixture that caught the drippings. This would be served with the roasted beef.

Traditionally, beef drippings are used, although you can use oil, but not olive oil (or butter) due to the high heat involved in making the pudding. The best choice, if you use oil, would be peanut, canola or safflower oil.

The basic recipe is actually a simple formula based on how many eggs you use. You don’t need to measure anything, just use the same volumes of ingredients …. egg, milk, and flour.

My interest in making Yorkshire pudding came from Brion having memories of eating these at his British grandfather’s house. He recalls that you filled the little Yorkshire puddings with gravy and they tasted real good. It all makes sense, that this beloved British staple food would have been served on special occasions.

Instead of making them in traditional Yorkshire pudding tins, I went with the ‘giant‘ size. I understand there is also another way the pudding is being served. It’s called the ‘Yorkshire Pudding Wrap‘, which consists of a large flattened Yorkshire pudding, wrapped around a mound of sliced meat, stuffing, some token vegetable and smothered in thick gravy. You might say this is the fast food style roast beef dinner!

While there are other foods made from a similar batter such as popovers, gougere and Dutch baby pancakes, Yorkshire pudding are distinctive in their wonderfully crisp texture and fabulous flavor from meat drippings. If you like this kind of thing, the meal not only has a great taste but good eye appeal as well.

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Giant Yorkshire Pudding
(1) The first thing you want to work out is the volume of egg. Take two identical cups or mugs & crack an egg into one. Into the other, pour flour until it fills the cup to the same level as the egg in the other one. Add a pinch of salt to the flour. (2) Put the egg into a mixing bowl & pour milk into the cup (the one the egg just came out of) up to the same level as the flour. Add a dash of vinegar to the milk. (3) Pour the flour & milk into the bowl with the egg & whisk all the ingredients into a smooth batter. Allow batter to sit for at least an hour or overnight. Letting the batter rest reduces the starch making a lighter pudding. (4) Preheat oven to 400 F. If you are roasting meat, put a little of the drippings (for flavor) or oil into the baking pans you are using to cook the pudding. Your pan choice is important. You need one with high enough sides so the batter can 'hold' the side & rise. If you are making 'Giant Yorkshires', as I did, use a 7 or 8-inch cast iron skillet (or a metal cake pan). Place the pan with the drippings (or oil) in the pre-heated oven for about 5 minutes until drippings are hot. (5) Pour the batter into the hot pan & bake for 10-15 minutes or until sides have puffed & are a nice golden brown. The center will fall almost immediately after being removed from the oven ... which is normal! (6) Serve immediately with your roast, gravy, potatoes & veggies of choice. The recipe equation below is basically what ONE of my giant puddings 'measured' out to be.
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Course Lunch, Main Dish
Cuisine American, European
Servings
Ingredients
Course Lunch, Main Dish
Cuisine American, European
Servings
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Follow same method as above.
Recipe Notes
  • For a  2-egg batter, use a 7 or 8-inch skillet or pan
  • For a  3-egg batter, use a 10-inch skillet or pan
  • For a  4-egg batter, use a 12-inch skillet or pan

Medjool Date & Apple Flans

There are so many culinary uses for Medjool dates, in both sweet and savory dishes, whether served hot or cold. Often called the king of dates, not only because they are quite expensive but are highly treasured for their size and rich, intensely sweet flesh.

These special fruits are pricey because their cultivation is incredibly labor-intensive. In order to ensure quality and yield, Medjool date palms need to be hand pollinated, pruned, protected and hand picked. While growing, the date bunches are wrapped in bags to prevent the birds from snacking on them and to keep them from falling on the ground.

Dates are usually left to dry on the tree before being harvested, which accounts for their wrinkly appearance. This places them in a peculiar category of being both dried and fresh. Different types of dates have different textures that fall into three categories: soft (like Medjool); semi-soft, which are chewy and are pitted before packaging to dry a little more; and dry, which are often sun-dried after harvest and sold chopped.

Dates can be paired with lamb or chicken and spiced with Middle Eastern flavors or added to dried apricots, cranberries and toasted walnuts in rice or couscous accompaniments. Their caramel-like flavor adds a hint of the exotic to whatever you choose to use them in.

We had some extra apples I needed to do something with. The thought of pairing them with some Medjool dates and walnuts …. Yum!

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Medjool Date & Apple Flans
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Instructions
Pastry
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt. Cut in white & yellow Crisco shortening. In a dish, whisk together water, egg & apple cider vinegar. Make a well in flour mixture & pour all wet ingredients in it. Combine just until pastry pulls away from the bowl.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry; cut out eight 6-inch pastry circles. They should fit nicely into the mini flan pans that measure about 4 1/2-inches in diameter & are 3/4-inch in height. Once you have the pastry you need for the shells, form the remaining pastry in a 'tube' shape. Set the pastry shells in the fridge while you prepare the filling. FREEZE THE TUBE OF PASTRY. This you will use to GRATE on top of the flans for the top crust.
Filling
  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add prepared apples & saute until they start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add spices & honey, combine & cook 1 minute. Take off heat & allow to cool to lukewarm.
Assembly & Baking
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove mini flan shells from refrigerator & place on a baking sheet. Spoon some apple mixture in the bottom of each shell. Top each with a portion of the dates & walnuts, then evenly divide the remaining apple mixture between them. Remove the frozen 'tube' of pastry from freezer & grate (on a cheese grater). Sprinkle over mini flans.
  2. Bake until nice & golden, about 35 minutes. Cool slightly. Whip cream with sugar, cinnamon & vanilla until stiff & serve on warm flans.

Parsnip Noodles with Meatballs

Spiral vegetable slicers, also known as spiralizers, have been a trending kitchen gadget since about 2014. This nifty apparatus can transform veggies such as zucchini, pumpkin, carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, squash, potatoes ……. into linguine-like strands which can be used as an alternate to pasta.

The process is pretty simple, either peel or wash the raw piece of produce and use the tool to spiral it down into a noodle shape. There are two basic varieties of vegetable spiralizers on the market to consider.

For smaller kitchens and counter spaces there is an hourglass-shaped tool. It is two sided for the option of thin or thicker noodles and calls for an easy manual twisting of the vegetable to produce noodles. It comes with a small metal prong to hold the veggie in place.

For larger kitchens and counter spaces there is a tri-blade version with a variety of attachments and a handle so you can crank out your noodles.

Spiralled veggies are easy and fast to cook. For best results make sure to pat them dry before cooking. I prefer to season and saute ours for a few minutes.

What makes pasta great is not the actual pasta but the sauce you put on it. Vegetable noodles have the same consistency as pasta, so when it comes to sauces, the less water the better. Reduce tomato-based sauce as much as possible or choose thicker cream-based sauces to pair with your veggie noodles.

Parsnips are a vegetable we both enjoy, so for something different, I spiralized them. Brion was amazed at how much this meal looked like spaghetti and meatballs. Nice change!

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Parsnip Noodles with Meatballs
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine ground meat, cheese, grated garlic, Italian seasoning, bouillon cube, red pepper flakes, chopped cilantro & some black pepper. Combine well & form into meatballs.
  2. In a large skillet, over medium-low heat, melt 2 Tbsp butter. Cook meatballs for 8-10 minutes until browned & cooked through. Add pasta sauce & continue cooking until sauce is hot. Remove to a bowl & keep hot while you saute your parsnip noodles.
  3. In the same skillet, melt remaining Tbsp butter; add lemon juice, hot sauce & minced garlic. Add the spiralized, parsnip noodles & saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly, until parsnips are tender-crisp. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper.
  4. Divide parsnip noodles between serving plates & top each with meatballs & sauce.

Quince, Walnut & Cheese Palmiers

Years ago, a friend gave me a little jar of quince jam. We enjoyed the flavor but I never really gave it much thought. Recently, I came across quince paste in the grocery store. It looks quite similar to the guava paste I used in numerous recipes previously.

Of course, now its got my interest peaked to find out more about this fruit. It seems it’s a fall fruit that grows in a manner like apples and pears…… but the similarities end there. Quince are completely inedible when raw. Once cooked, they become soft and tender, usually with a nice syrup from the cooking process.

Quince fruit is native to Southwest Asia, Turkey and Iran. Historically, they were used to make marmalade. Quince cheese (also known as quince paste) is a sweet, thick jelly made from the pulp of the quince fruit. It is a common confection in several countries. Because this fruit is very high in pectin, it gels easily. Quince is sweetened with sugar and can be flavored with lemon juice, cinnamon and apple.

Quince paste is sold in squares or blocks, then cut into slices and spread over toasted bread or sandwiches, plain or with cheese. It is often used in filling for pastries or to glaze roasted meats.

I’m going to try it first in these pastries today and then maybe in a meat glaze another day.

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Quince, Walnut & Cheese Palmiers
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Instructions
  1. Open puff pastry sheet on parchment paper & roll it out into 10 x 10-inch square. Spread the quince paste over the surface then sprinkle with cheese & walnuts.
  2. With a knife, very lightly score a line width-wise across the middle of the pastry. Starting at one side, roll up jelly-roll style, stopping at the score mark in the middle. Starting at the other side, roll up pastry to score mark.
  3. Wrap the roll in the parchment paper & plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 400 F. Remove roll & slice into 3/8-inch slices (or larger if you prefer). Place cut side up on a lined baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store in air-tight container.