Mini Roast Beef & Cheese Slider Buns

The name ‘slider’ originated in the 1940’s when sailors in the US Navy would refer to mini-burgers as sliders because of their extreme greasiness. In just one or two bites, the burger would just slide right down. Fortunately around 2007, sliders evolved from miniature ‘grease bombs’ to elegant culinary creations that now appeal to people of all backgrounds and tastes.

There’s something inherently appealing about a small burger. For the diet-conscious, the idea of a small gourmet burger is more feasible. When dining out, ordering sliders instead of an average sized hamburger also allows you to try several different varieties as they are often served in pairs.

The modern day slider has been reinvented from the traditional beef patty to being made from chicken, pork and veal as well as various seafood options.

These tasty little slider buns are layered with thinly sliced roast beef then topped with warm cheese sauce. Yum!

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Mini Roast Beef & Cheese Slider Buns
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SLIDERS
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SLIDERS
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Instructions
Sliders
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat skillet over medium heat, adding butter & oil. Sauté sliced onions in butter & oil until soft, brown & slightly caramelized, reduce heat to low if necessary. Stirring occasionally, about 15-30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the sliders. Slice the “loaf” of brioche rolls in half lengthwise, with the bottoms slightly thicker than the tops, do not separate individual rolls.
  4. Layer roast beef to slider bottoms, then layer cheese over the top of the roast beef, finishing with caramelized/sautéed onions. Cover with tops of bread rolls.
Drizzle
  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; add mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic & onion powder, & dried thyme, stirring until the drizzle is warmed & the sugar has dissolved. Just a minute or two.
Baking
  1. Evenly pour drizzle over the tops of the brioche rolls. Cover with sprayed aluminum foil & bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Remove foil & bake for 7-10 minutes until tops are lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Salmon Galette w/ Cornmeal Crust

If you have never tried a little cornmeal in your pastry crust, now is the time. The texture really is amazing. Tender and flaky, you will have a hard time going back to a traditional crust.

We all know that what separates a good quiche from a great one is the pastry crust. No matter how good the filling is, if the pastry is undercooked or overcooked, then the quiche becomes one of ‘those’ kind of meals. Cornmeal adds a touch of nutty flavor to the tart shell which makes this a great choice to use for both savory and sweet pies.

Despite its notoriety for being the key ingredient in cornbread, cornmeal is not a one-note ingredient. Cornmeal’s vibrant color and flavor brighten up many dishes and it creates a light, crispy crust when baked. 

Since I started making cornmeal pastry years ago, it has become my go-to for sweet, savory and ‘in between’. In this quiche, it pairs extremely well with the salmon and veggies.

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Salmon Galette w/ Cornmeal Crust
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Sour Cream Cornmeal Pastry
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Ingredients
Sour Cream Cornmeal Pastry
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Instructions
Cornmeal Pastry
  1. In a small bowl, combine sour cream & ice water; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar & salt. Using a pastry blender or fingertips, cut in butter until mixture resembles BOTH coarse crumbs & small peas. Sprinkle the cold sour cream mixture over dough, I Tbsp at a time, tossing with a fork to evenly distribute it. After you have added all the sour cream mixture, dough should be moist enough to stick together when pressed; if not, add additional cold water, 1 tsp at a time. DO NOT overwork dough.
  2. Press dough into a disk shape & wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. The dough can be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two or it can be wrapped airtight & frozen for a month. When ready to use, thaw, still wrapped in refrigerator.
Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a container, lightly beat eggs & add cream, dill, mustard spices & basil paste. Combine well.
  3. Roll out chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 13-inch circle. Transfer pastry to a pie plate, leaving rough edges overhang dish.
  4. Spoon salmon into shell followed by leeks, red pepper & corn. Pour cream mixture over all then fold the rough pie edges into galette. Brush pastry edges with egg wash & bake until custard is set when a knife is inserted near center & pastry is baked, about 40-50 minutes.
  5. Remove galette from oven, allow to sand a few minutes, then slice & serve or serve at room temperature.
Recipe Notes
  • Brion & I really enjoyed this galette with tartar sauce as a condiment.

Pork Medallions w/ Blackberry Bacon Sauce

It seems there has been a bacon explosion in North America, in more ways than one. Novelty bacon dishes and other bacon-related items have been popularized rapidly via the internet. Fast-food chains boast about double bacon burgers, and upscale restaurants are wrapping steaks in bacon — even adding it to chic desserts. It’s the old sweet and savory marriage of flavors that seems to work so well.

Bacon mania has made bacon the star ingredient. The movement has been traced to the late 1990s when high-protein foods became a more prominent diet focus due in part to the Atkins diet.

The huge popularity of bacon has also encouraged product introductions such as bacon salt, maple bacon donuts, baconnaise, bacon-infused vodka, bacon ice cream, bacon jerky and chocolate covered bacon just to name a few. Condiments are the unsung heroes of the culinary world. A finishing sauce can be an important part of every meal. Whether you’re serving pork tenderloin, pork chops, pork loin, or pork roast, a flavor-filled sauce will guarantee to take the meal from good to great. We found this blackberry bacon sauce to do exactly that.

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Pork Medallions w/ Blackberry Bacon Sauce
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Instructions
Sauce
  1. In a saucepan, cook bacon until almost crisp, remove to a paper towel.
  2. To the bacon drippings, add sliced mushrooms & garlic, sauté until cooked. Remove to a plate, set aside.
  3. To the saucepan, add remaining sauce ingredients & bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer & allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat & allow to cool slightly then place in a food processor & pulse a few times.
  5. Pour sauce through a wire sieve & press to get everything but the seeds for your sauce.
  6. Add bacon & mushroom/garlic mixture. Combine well & set aside.
Tenderloin
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Slice the tenderloin into even, 1 1/2 inch thick, medallions, sprinkle with garlic & onion powder & the salt & pepper.
  3. Then, heat the olive oil and butter in a large heavy skillet, cast iron if you have one. Braise the pork tenderloin medallions, you may have to work in 2 batches. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes on each side, remove from the skillet and cook the remaining pork. Using 2 wooden skewers, thread meat first with one & then with the other. It should resemble the unsliced tenderloin but do leave a tiny bit of space between each piece.
  4. Place on a baking sheet & roast for 30-35 minutes.
  5. To serve, plate the tenderloins and spoon (reheated) sauce over them. Garnish with a few whole blackberries & serve any remaining sauce on the side.

Breakfast Enchilada Bake

ENJOY FAMILY DAY!

First held in the province of Alberta in 1990, Family Day is supposed to reflect the values of family and home that were important to the pioneers who founded Alberta. It was to give workers the opportunity to spend more time with their families to help prevent the erosion of family values in Canadian society.

‘Family Day’ is a public holiday in 5 Canadian provinces, where it is a day off for the general population with schools and most businesses being closed. However, there are some provinces where the holiday is named slightly different and for different reasons.

Family Day was scheduled to fall between New Year’s Day and Good Friday in order to grant another day off between these celebrations as they are approximately three months apart.

This meal seems so appropriate for today. Just put breakfast in the oven, sit back, enjoy a coffee while it bakes. What a great way to start a ‘family day’ together!

Easy to make, a breakfast bake sits in the fridge for several hours or better yet, overnight, so when you pop it in the oven the following morning, all the work will have already been done. Plus, variations abound according to your tastes and favorite ingredients: substitute sausage for bacon (or use both). Forego all meats for a vegetarian version and substitute fresh spinach, roasted peppers, blanched broccoli. Of course, make-ahead breakfast bakes are genius and forgiving; it can use up multiple supplies in your kitchen, appeal to a variety of tastes and be absolutely delicious every time.

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Breakfast Enchilada Bake
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Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green pepper, onion, garlic & all spices; cook 3-4 minutes or until softened.
  2. Add chicken sausage & cook, stirring frequently, for another 5-6 minutes or until cooked through, breaking up the sausage into small pieces. Once fully cooked, stir in 3/4 cup of cheese.
  3. Spray a 13 X 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. On a work surface, lay out tortillas. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the sausage filling onto one side of the tortillas; roll each tightly. Place seam side down in the baking pan; sprinkle any extra sausage mixture on top.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together eggs & half & half until completely combined. Pour over enchiladas & sprinkle with remaining 1 1/4 cups shredded cheese. Cover with foil & refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. Remove chilled enchiladas from fridge, bake for 20 minutes covered, then remove foil & bake for an additional 15 minutes OR until center is set (eggs should no longer be jiggly) & cheese is lightly browned. If you prefer, leave the casserole covered & bake longer, before removing foil. Serve with your choice of toppings.

Bacon Crusted Quiche w/ Savory Madeleines

Quiche is one of those meals that appeals to me at any time of the year. The choice of ingredients is truly only limited to one’s imagination and what’s in your fridge or pantry. In this particular quiche, I opted to use bacon as my ‘crust’ since it was filled with vegetables.

I have been wanting to make some savory ‘madeleines’ for a while and think they will compliment this quiche well.

The madeleine or petite madeleine was first created in northeastern France in the Lorraine area. Technically — they are tea cakes, not cookies and are nothing like scones, very light, puffy and soft — not heavy at all.

Madeleines have a distinctive shell-like shape acquired from being baked in pans with shell-shaped depressions.

The appeal of them is how easy they are to make, how cute they are and how light and airy they are. And while they’re delicate and generally a sweet cake, madeleines hold up to having cheese and onion added to them as well. Many savory versions exist so I decided to go with a cheese madeleine today.

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Bacon Crusted Quiche w/ Savory Madeleines
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Instructions
Parmesan Cheddar Madeleines
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease depressions in madeleine pan. (If you are using a regular size it will have 12 or the mini size you will have enough batter for 36). It is a good idea to dust the pans with flour as well, tapping out any excess. Sprinkle dried thyme leaves in depressions of pans.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter & honey; remove from heat & cool for 10 minutes. In a bowl using a hand held mixer, beat eggs until pale, thick & doubled in volume.
  3. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold butter mixture into eggs. Next fold in flour, cheeses, yogurt & 1/4 tsp salt until combined. Divide between madeleine cups but don't smooth out.
  4. Bake until risen & golden. The time will depend on whether you are using a regular or petite size madeleine pan. Cool in tin for 5 minutes. Firmly tap tin on surface to loosen the madeleines, then carefully invert onto a wire rack to allow them to fall out onto the rack.
Bacon Crusted Vegetable Quiche
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 8-inch round baking pan with foil paper.
  2. In a skillet, fry bacon until lightly cooked but still pliable, 3-4 minutes. Remove the bacon from skillet & blot on paper towel. Drain all but one Tbsp of bacon drippings from pan.
  3. Add the leeks, mushrooms & thyme; cook over moderate heat until veg are tender crisp but not browned, about 5 minutes. Microwave potatoes & slice; drain corn (or cook corn on cob & remove kernels). Grate cheese. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk & remaining spices.
  4. Line the sides if baking pan with slices of bacon. Layer bottom with sliced, cooked potato & half of the cheese. Top with corn kernels & leek/mushroom mixture. Pour egg/milk mixture carefully over vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes, until the quiche has puffed up slightly & browned. Test middle to make sure eggs have set. Remove from oven & allow to cool for 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan & serve with savory madeleines.

Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with Seeded Crust

CELEBRATING VICTORIA DAY!

Victoria Day is the distinctly Canadian holiday that is thought to officially wrap up the winter season. For us that like to ‘garden’, we used to think of it as the beginning of Spring. You could be fairly certain that frost would not return until Autumn but you notice I said, ‘used to’–

Canadians jokingly refer to Victoria day as May ‘two-four’ day. This is an inside joke which refers to a case of beer, containing 24 cans. For many, this is the first (warm-ish) long week-end since Easter, so they head to campsites armed with a 24 (can) case of beer to celebrate the beginning of Summer.

Even though we hang on to the British Queen’s name for old times sake, this tradition of Victoria day is truly Canadian and has everything to do with the end of the cold weather and short days and a lot to do with some great food.

Seeded chicken tenders seem to be a good menu choice for today. The versatility of buttermilk has made it a useful ingredient in many kitchens for both baking and cooking. Start with it’s signature acidic tang. Not only is it great in pancakes and waffles but these acidic ingredients make for wonderful marinades. Due to the fact that it’s only slightly acidic, buttermilk is capable of tenderizing poultry without toughening up the meat like some of the stronger marinating acids will do. The enzymes present help to break down the protein, resulting in a tender, flavorful fried chicken.

Of course, it all comes down to personal preference. Buttermilk belongs on the dinner table as much as at breakfast. Use it in place of regular milk in mashed potatoes or add a bit when making vinaigrette for some extra richness OR substitute buttermilk for a quarter to half of the liquid you use in your smoothy.

In this recipe, I used a buttermilk soak combined with the self-rising flour and seeds to create a crispy coating — juicy on the inside, crunchy on the outside!

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Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with Seeded Crust
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Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings
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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl big enough to hold all of the chicken, whisk together seasonings & buttermilk. Add chicken tenders to marinade, stirring until coated. Cover & refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 4 hours.
  2. In a food processor, pulse seeds with flour for a few seconds. Don't grind as you still want seeds to be visible. Remove from processor & stir in minced rosemary if using. Place flour on waxed paper. Remove chicken from marinade & dredge in flour mixture. Place on a cookie sheet & refrigerate 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Melt coconut oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Brown chicken on both sides. Do not over crowd, rather fry in small batches. When golden brown but not overcooked, place on a baking sheet & bake in oven for 5 minutes or so to finish cooking.
Recipe Notes
  • If you don't have buttermilk on hand, substitute plain yogurt or milk to which a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar has been added. (1 teaspoon per cup of milk).
  • Recipe can be made using thighs, breast or legs -- whatever you prefer.

Overnight Breakfast Enchiladas

As I mentioned in my previous blog, Brion and I would like to share some more January holiday adventures while they are still fresh in our minds.

Merida, Mexico made a perfect home base for us to enjoy many interesting things. The cultural capital of the Yucatan peninsula, Merida is a city steeped in Colonial history. It has some of the region’s best museums, beautiful historic mansions and architecture as well as many Mayan ruins to make for some amazing day trips.

One tour we took was to the archaeological sites of Uxmal and Kabah.              Uxmal (pronounced Ush-mal) covers around 150 acres. The central area is reasonably well preserved due to the high quality of the buildings which are constructed of well-cut stones set in concete. The most famous structure at Uxmal is the Temple of the Magician. This temple was rebuilt three times; this is where Uxmal got its name, which means ‘thrice built’. The structure towers above the surrounding jungle, crowned with intricately carved stonework.

The city of Uxmal was erected with its buildings at precise angles from and in relation to each other. Astronomical, geometrical and metaphysical calculations were carefully considered when the layout of the site was designed.

Unlike many other Mayan sites, no stone quarry has been found at Uxmal. Where the Maya quarried the stone and how it was moved to this site without the help of the wheel or animal strength is unknown. How such a large city could grow up in an area without springs, rivers or cenotes (sinkholes) to provide water is totally amazing. Uxmal residents were completely dependent upon cistern rain water collection systems. This explains their reverence to the Mayan rain god Chac.

The Kabah ruins are also very interesting in their own right. This city is connected to Uxmal by a Mayan ceremonial causeway called a ‘sacbe’. It’s most famous structure is the ‘Palace of the Masks’. The facade is decorated with hundreds of stone masks of the long-nosed rain god.

My recipe for today is originally meant for breakfast but Brion and I enjoyed it just as much for our evening meal. 

Hope you enjoy my briefed info as well as some more of Brion’s great pictures.


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Overnight Breakfast Enchiladas

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Course Brunch, Main Dish
Cuisine American, Mexican

Servings

Course Brunch, Main Dish
Cuisine American, Mexican

Servings

Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add green pepper, onion, garlic & all spices; cook 3-4 minutes or until softened.

  2. Add chicken sausage & cook, stirring frequently, for another 5-6 minutes or until cooked through, breaking up the sausage into small pieces. Once fully cooked, stir in 3/4 cup of cheese.

  3. Spray a 13 X 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. On a work surface, lay out tortillas. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the sausage filling onto one side of the tortillas; roll each tightly. Place seam side down in the baking pan; sprinkle any extra sausage mixture on top.

  4. In a bowl, whisk together eggs & half & half until completely combined. Pour over enchiladas & sprinkle with remaining 1 1/4 cups shredded cheese. Cover with foil & refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.

  5. Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove chilled enchiladas from fridge, bake for 20 minutes covered, then remove foil & bake for an additional 15 minutes OR until center is set (eggs should no longer be jiggly) & cheese is lightly browned. If you prefer, leave the casserole covered & bake longer, before removing foil. Serve with your choice of toppings.