Creamed Celery With Pecans

I know, you are scratching your heads over this one. It is tasty and it is really different from the norm. To me it is a great way to disguise celery. Give it a go. It is really simple to make and takes no time to prepare.

 

  • 4 cups celery pieces, string removed
  • 1 can cream of celery soup (Campbell’s is the best)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • buttered bread crumbs

Place celery in a greased baking casserole and add the soup, undiluted. Casually spread the soup around with a fork.

Sprinkle with salt and spread the pecan halves on top. Cover the surface with  buttered bread crumbs.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes. This will serve 4-6 people as a side dish.

 

Mushroom Tart

Here is another way to make something new…we are supposed to be learning something while at home, so this is delicious and you will probably make it again and again.

  • 2 1/2 cups flour, plus 2 additional tbsp.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 cup lard
  • 2-3 tbsp. ice water
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • pinch of salt/pepper
  • 4-5 cups white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • dash each of hot pepper sauce and Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (white is preferred)
  • 4 ounces Asiago cheese, shaved
  • 2 cups pea shoots
  • white truffle oil, sprinkle only

In a mixing bowl combine the first three ingredients. Cut in the lard until it resenbles a coarse meal.

Add the ice water and mix until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit for about 5 minutes. Roll out the dough on a floured board to a 12 inch round and 1//4 inch. Fold the dough into quarters and place it on a 10 inch tart pan. Roll a rolling pin over the entire surface to remove the excess dough. Prick the bottom all over with a fork.

In a medium suace pan melt the butter, add onions, salt and pepper and saute for about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and saute for 4 minutes until they hahve wilted. Stir in the garlic and remove from the heat. Cool completely.

In a small bowl whisk together the cream annd eggs. Season with the hot pepper sauce, Worchestershire sauce and a pinch of salt and peppere. Mix well.

Pour the mushroom mixture into the pastry shell and sprinkle the cheese over. Bake until the center sets which should take about 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes before slicing to serve.

In a bowl toss the pea shoots with the slightest drizzle of the truffle oil and garnish each slice with a pile of pea shoots.

YUM!

Roasted Acorn Squash With A Rice Stuffing

Here is a lovely recipe for making a super delicious dinner. Give it a try!

  • 4 acorn squash, cut lengthwise and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set out the acorn halves, flesh side up.

Mix together is a small fry pan the maple syrup, butter, oil, sage and ginger, cooking for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour into the acorn halves and bake in the oven for about 40-45 minutes (until tender).

During the roasting time, brush the edges of the squash with maple syrup. When done, spoon the stuffing into each half.

Stuffing

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, ribs removed and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves. minced
  • 2 cups wild rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • mixed herbs to make 1/2 cup in total (parsley, thyme, maybe some sage)
  • 2 Honey crisp apples, diced
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large oven proof pot, melt the butter and oil over medium heat and cook the onion, garlic and celery stirring often for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the rice, and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth, apricots, raisins and herbs, season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cover and bake for about 1 hour, until the moisture is absorbed and the rice is tender. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

While this is sitting, melt the remaining butter in a small fry pan, adding the apples, cinnamon and nutmeg until slightly softened (about 4 minutes) and stir into the rice.

Now spoon this into the squash halves and serve immediately.

Creamy Potatoes Au Gratin

This is a real oldie but goodie. If you have not made these before, try it and it just might become a favourite.

  • 12 large potatoes, cleaned, peeled and cut in thick rounds
  • 1 large onion, grated
  • Bechamel Sauce – recipe follows

Butter a large oval casserole baking dish and set aside.

Drop the potatoes in a pot of boiling water and cook until tender and this should take about 5 minutes. Drain well.

Make up the sauce and assemble by making a single layer of rounds in the dish, sprinkle half of the onion over and with half the sauce. Repeat the layers and finish with the remaining sauce.

Bake in preheated oven of 375 degrees for 40 minutes until nicely browned. Settle for 10 minutes before serving.

Bechamel Sauce

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 1/4 cups half and half cream
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed

Melt butter in saucepan and add garlic, stirring for one minute.

Stir in the flour and cook for two minutes until completely blended and no lumps remaining.

Whisking quickly, slowly add the cream until it thickens and is smooth.

*Like with all sauces, strain for a totally silky smooth sauce.

Heirloom Carrots With a Lime Butter Toss

This time of the year, gardens explode with bounty to use by either braising, steaming, frying, bbq-ing or simply eating raw straight from the earth.

This is using multi coloured carrots, left with some of the tops (for added colour) and topping with the lime butter.

  • 3 lbs. baby carrots
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. good olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. grated lime rind
  • 2 tsp. minced mint leaves

Scrub the carrots and trim the tops off leaving a 1 cm of the stem, still attached. Bring a large stockpot of water to the boil and add the oil and sat the carrots in, uncovered, and cook for about 6-7 minutes.

Cream the butter in the food processor with the lime zest, juice and minced mint leaves, beating until light and fluffy. This should take  no  more than 2 minutes on high speed.

When ready to serve, drain the carrots and  add a couple of tbsp. of the butter mix, tossing to coat. The remainder of the butter can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks.

Spring Vegetables In A Flash

This is a wonderful side dish and if  you remember to purchase only the freshest and most tender vegetables, it will be ready in a ‘flash’.

 

  • pinch of salt
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus, tough ends removed
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 small leek, dark green leaves removed, slicing the rounds 1/4 inch thick (1 cup)
  • 1 bunch baby spinach, stems trimmed
  • 4 ounces sweet  baby peas
  • lemon pepper

Firstly, wash and pat dry the vegetables.

Fill a large skillet with about an inch of water. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and add the asparagus. Cover and simmer for 4 minutes.

Remove the asparagus from the skillet and place on a serving plate. Pour the water out of the skillet.

Return skillet to oven and add the butter. Add the leek circles and cook for about 2 – 3 minutes until tender. Now add the spinach and peas, season with a pinch of lemon pepper . Cover and cook for about 3 minutes.

Turn the vegetables out over the asparagus and serve immediately. It takes approximately 10 minutes.

There! Told you it was quick and certainly easy.

Golf Weekend Baked Beans For Barbecue

I won’t say we are competitive , my husband and I, BUT I have been making baked beans forever and then, when Don’s golf weekend with the guys came up, he made this. Well…… You now have a choice.

 

  • 2 – 16 oz. cans beans, drain well
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (your choice)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup raisins (soak 30 min. before using)
  • 1/2 cup chopped, peeled apple

Drain the beans really, really well. Pour into large casserole and mix in the remaining ingredients.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1  1/2 hours.

Easy peasey

 

Note: mine are better…now isn’t that just like a wife? The men loved these beans by the way.

Various Baked Potatoes For The Summer

We all love to eat outdoors and with a steak or lamb or anything else, baked potatoes are most often on the list. Here are a few ideas you might want to try. Who knows,  you just might invent a new one you like as well.  Here we go:

 

To maintain a crispy outer potato skin, do not wrap in foil. Brush oil all over the outside of the potatoes and bake in the oven or barbecue, until done.

Let cool a few minutes and then cut in half, but not completely through. Add any of the following to the center of the potato.

  • Simple butter, salt and pepper;
  • Sour cream, crisp bacon, chopped hard boiled egg;
  • sour cream, salsa, finely chopped radish
  • Cheddar cheese, grated, cauliflower florets and crisp pancetta

These little ideas will make the meal go from simple to gourmet in a heart beat. Add an ice cold green salad, making sure to add a fruit to it such as diced mango or cantaloupe. perhaps a berry or two. All it takes is a little imagination on  your part and you can entertain exceptionally.

Potato and Carrot Mash

This is a bit unusual, perhaps, but oh so tasty. This would be a wonderful side dish for a barbecued steak.

 

  • 1 lb. yellow fleshed potatoes
  • 1/2 lb. carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. creamy horseradish
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

The potatoes and carrots should be peeled and cut into chunks. In a saucepan, cook the vegetables and the garlic until tender. This could take about 18 minutes. Drain really well.

In your electric mixer, combine the vegetables with the butter, creamy horseradish and sour cream until smooth. You may need to add a touch of milk to make the consistency you want. Add salt and pepper and serve with the steaks or ribs you have just taken off the barbecue.

Enjoy this dish.

The Best Crispy Roasted Potatoes Ever

My Mom could make the very best roasted potatoes, especially if cooking a pork roast. Here is another way, perhaps a little longer time-wise, but it is so worth it, you won’t mind.

Serves 4

  • 2 lbs. Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup each butter and olive oil
  • 1 tsp. crushed fennel seeds
  • pinch of salt

The big secret here is to boil them first just until fork tender. Drain well.

In a roasting pan, heat the oil and butter in a hot (425 degree) oven for about 3 minutes. Remove from oven.

CAREFULLY now-stand back and, with a slotted spoon, add the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and fennel seeds, and stir to coat.

Put back in the oven and roast for about 50-55 minutes, making sure to turn the potatoes every 20 minutes. They are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

 

New Flavour For Broccoli

Wow! If you are looking for another way to serve Broccoli to family and friends, this just may be the one.

  • 3 cups broccoli florets, fresh not frozen
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 – 3 oz. package of cream cheese
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup  blue cheese, crumbled (depends how much you love blue cheese)
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1-2 tbsp. melted butter

Steam the broccoli for about 5-8 minutes, just until tender and set aside.

In a skillet, make a roux by melting the butter and slowly whisking in the flour and, stirring constantly, slowly add the milk. ( you may need to add about 1/4 cup milk more to make a consistent roux. Add the cream cheese and blue cheese.

Stir in the broccoli and pour into a buttered casserole. Top with the panko crumbs and drizzle over with the melted butter.

Bake for 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

 

 

Asparagus With Lemons and Pecans

 

Sometimes we all get into a rut and serve vegetables the same old way. Try this one and it will brighten your outlook on asparagus.

 

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup pecans (measuring 1/2 cup after saute)
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 tbsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley
  • 2 lbs. asparagus
  • lemon slices

In a skillet, melt the butter and add the pecans, sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the panko crumbs. and continue for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Cut the lemon in half and squeeze into the mixture, making sure no seeds fall in. Remove from the heat and add the zest and parsley.

Steam asparagus just until tender. Arrange on a pretty platter and sprinkle the topping over all. Garnish with lemon slices.

You will get lots of oohs and ahhs for sure.