Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas To All!

Merry Christmas Everyone! I wish you all a wonderful day full of family, joy, laughter and most importantly of all...full stomachs. 

As most of us slip into our "turkey pants" by the end of dinner, I always appreciate a light little dessert to finish off Christmas right. A perfect combination for me is some fresh fruit (mandatory clementines) and some lovely Christmas baking. I thought I'd share a cookie I made this year that served this purpose perfectly. It was light and a bit crispy with a nice hint of sweetness. It was delicious served alongside some fruit, and could have also been nice drizzled with some dark chocolate.

Almond Oat Lace Cookies

They spread out quite a bit while baking and end up looking like little bits of sweet lace

Warning: they didn't stick together so well when I put them on the baking sheet, but once baked and cooled they were perfect!

1/2 C. almonds, chopped
2 Tbsp. Old-fashioned oats
6 Tbsp. Unsalted butter
6 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Tbsp. Brown sugar
1 1/2 Tsp. Honey
1 Tbsp. Flour
1/4 Tsp. Salt

1.  Pulse the almonds and oats in a food processor into a course meal.
2.  Melt butter in a medium saucepan.  Add the regular sugar, brown sugar and honey, whisking until the sugar is dissolved.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.
3.  Remove the sugar mixture from the stove and add to it the nut/oat mixture, flour, and salt.
4.  Spoon 1 Tsp-sized portions of the mixture onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment.  Flatten each cookie with your hand.  
5.  Bake at 350ºF for 6 minutes.  Rotate the the sheets and bake an additional 4-6 minutes.  *Keep an eye on these.  Ass soon as they turn golden brown, take them out of the oven.  One minute can make the difference between a perfect cookie and a burnt one.

Original Recipe found here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Fry Me a Fish

I arrived home one night last week to find my mom beginning to prepare something I have never seen being made at home before. Battered and Fried haddock. I am a lover of fish and chips- put down a well executed fish and chips before me and I’m one happy lady.  (Put down a badly executed fish and chips before me and you’ll never hear the end of it….Captain Johns…)

Homemade Fried Haddock with Creamy Coleslaw
 The whole process was really fun to watch and obviously I couldn’t just stand there- I had to get my hands dirty and try it out!  It started with some thick and meaty pieces of fresh haddock fish picked up from the local grocer. We dredged it in flour, covered it in a beautiful buttermilk batter and fried it in a hot pan of oil. The outcome was spectacular. The batter was perfectly light and crispy and added the perfect crunch to the haddock without taking away from the lovely texture of the fish. 

To keep things on the ever light side (unfortunately) we skipped the chips and opted for a creamy homemade coleslaw to go with it- I mean really, what goes better than coleslaw?! I also quickly whipped up a little tartar sauce (mayo and does such a gross sounding combination taste sooo good?) and devoured my fish in no time.

Step 1: Dredge the Haddock in Flour

Step 2: Dip the Haddock in the batter

Step 3: Place Haddock in a pot with hot oil

Step 4: Let it brown and crisp

Step 5: Place Haddock in the oven to keep warm while you finish the rest....YUMMM

Step 6: Prepare creamy coleslaw

Step 7: Serve with Tartar sauce and lemon wedge, Enjoy!

Buttermilk Batter for Fried Fish
½ Cup Flour & extra flour on a plate for dredging
½ Cup Buttermilk
1 egg
Salt and Pepper

Mix ingredients in a bowl to form batter
Dredge fish with extra flour and dip in the batter
Place fish in a pot with very hot oil (about ½ inch of oil)
Flip once first side is browned
Remove when it is nice and crispy, serve with lemon wedge and Tartar sauce

Monday, December 12, 2011

Stuff My Shells!

Another Sunday night gone by, another serious craving for comfort food satisfied. Whatever craziness has occurred during the week (hence my lack of postings last week), I can almost guarantee that on Sunday night I can forget my worries from the week/weekend and find myself relaxed in front of the TV enjoying some new HBO shows and stuffing my face with delicious eats. That’s really all it takes for me to get into the groove for another week ahead…you too righttt?

I mean...don't even try and pretend you're not drooling right now
 Anyhow, back to said delicious eats. I stumbled upon this great little recipe from the blog Inspired Taste and knew immediately that it seriously fell into the category of Sunday night eating.  It was meaty, it was cheesy, it was baked and packed with a serious flavour punch. This is definitely a different way to go about making pasta and is definitely a must make recipe! (there were about 30 stuffed shells made, 4 were left over….only 3 people were in charge of eating….a successful dish to say the least)

Stuffed Shells with Sausage and Spinach
Adapted from Inspired Taste
Saute onions, sausage, garlic, diced tomatoes and greens

Scoop in that delicious Ricotta Cheese and add some pepper for seasoning

After pasta is cooked and drained, add to a nice little ice water bath

Spoon stuffing mixture into shells and arrange in a baking pan

Cover with Mozzarella Cheese and pop into the over for 20-30 minutes

Mmmm...look at that cheesy goodness, Dig in!

I served it with salad and not home made garlic bread....the SHAME!

30 Jumbo pasta shells (or entire package in case a few rip!)
½ a white onion, chopped
1 pound fresh pork sausage links (hot Italian), casing removed
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 bag of fresh spinach (I forgot this but used mixed baby greens instead)
½ cup Ricotta Cheese
½ cup shredded Mozzarella
Salt and Pepper

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and fill a large bowl with cold water and ice, set aside.
2.    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta shells and cook according to package directions. Drain well then add to ice water until ready to stuff.
3.    Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onions in a bit of olive oil until they are soft. Add pork sausage then use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage, cook 5-6 minutes until browned.
4.    Add garlic and cook 30 seconds then add tomatoes and spinach; cook 1 minute.
5.    Remove pan from heat and stir in ricotta cheese.
6.    Using a spoon, fill pasta shells with pork filling and arrange in a baking dish. Sprinkle tops with shredded cheese then bake in the oven 25-30 minutes until cheese has melted and tips of shells begin to crisp and brown.