Friday, July 6, 2018

Make-Ahead Slaw

I recently fiddled in the kitchen until I perfected this great summer slaw! I wanted to make it easy on myself - and on you! Why not? 

Make-Ahead Slaw:

24 oz. (680 g) coleslaw mix


1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
3/4 c. mayonnaise

In large work bowl, set coleslaw mix aside. In small saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, salt and celery seed; bring to gentle boil for 1 min., or just until sugar is completely dissolved. Cool 10 min., gradually adding to mayonnaise, mixing well with each addition. Pour over coleslaw mix, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate 4 hr. or overnight. Serves 8.

PS: The bizarre white box around this recipe is a Blogspot platform issue. I hope to have it fixed as soon as possible!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Owl Be Seeing You ...

Some ideas are so clever they’ve just got to be shared. Yesterday, my friend Judy Palipowski had a small get-together for friends who walk most Wednesday mornings. Along with coffee, homemade blueberry-orange mini muffins, and a raspberry gin shooter, heres the fruit dish she served! 

Modest Judy didnt want to take credit for this, saying: “The owl idea was inspired by a photo my sister-in-law in Holland sent me.  Im not sure where it originated. It was fun to do. 

The eyes have it in this gorgeous display: Judy used softened cream cheese combined with whipped cream and several splashes of gin. The pupils are made with blueberries. Clever, clever, clever! 

Judy Palipowski

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Cajun Shrimp Bites

If you like an appy with a bite, these bite back! Theyre easy to make and - while you can serve them skewered, that takes a couple of minutes and they’re best served immediately, straight from the oven. After making this shrimp recipe on several occasions, I’ve concluded it does best in a large oven rather than a toaster oven. This is certainly one of my favorite, easy appetizers, and I’m sure it will quickly become one of yours. 

Cajun Shrimp Bites:

1 lb. (500 g) fresh or thawed raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on (see Note)
1 tbsp. (15 mL) olive oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp. (15 mL) cajun seasoning

Preheat oven to 400 deg. F. Put chilled, prepared shrimp to one side. In medium bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, and seasoning. Add shrimp, tossing gently; rice paddles are ideal for this job. On parchment-lined baking sheet, roast shrimp 5-to-7 min., just until pink. Serve immediately, with cocktail forks. Serves six.

Note: Unfortunately, I had only cooked shrimp on hand. You can use that, but cook your shrimp only until warmed through. In addition, it won’t be as tender. Sorry about that, Dollinks.

Combine that wonderful spice, garlic, and olive oil.

Add shrimp, tossing gently.

Serve at once!

Rather than a have formal dinner in the dining room, our
 guests ate at the kitchen table, for a more casual feeling.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Quick Cucumber-Tomato Snacks

This fast, nutritious appetizer is perfect when guests are due!

Quick Cucumber-Tomato Snacks:

1 long English cucumber, unpeeled and wiped clean
1/4 c. (60 mL) cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp. (15 mL) ) mayonnaise
1 tbsp. (15 mL) commercial sour cream
1 tbsp. (15 mL) fresh dill weed, chopped fine or 2 tsp. (10 mL) dried dill weed
1/4 tsp. (1.25 mL) garlic salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
7 cherry tomatoes, wiped clean, halved
Fresh parsley, chopped, as garnish
Freshly ground black pepper, as garnish

Slice cucumber into 14 pieces 1/2-in. (13 mm) wide. With a 1/4-in. (6 mm) teaspoon, hollow out the centre of each piece. Set aside. Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, dill, garlic salt, and pepper until completely smooth. Hollow out centre of each slice with rounded 1/4 tsp. (1.25 mL). Blot cucumber slices dry with paper towel. Heap cream cheese mixture into hollow of each slice, allowing some to ooze over top. Blot halved cherry tomatoes dry, placing each half over cream cheese mixture in cuke. 

Quick Cucumber-Tomato Snacks

Sprinkle chopped parsley and fresh pepper over cucumbers on serving plate. This is best prepared at least 1 hr. ahead, so flavors can blend. Serves 2-to-4.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Ron’s Oven-Roasted Yams

Another wonderful recipe from husband Ron! This super-great dish uses only three ingredients: Orange-fleshed yams, olive oil, and seasoning salt. One large yam yields enough for two adults. 

This is the single best yam recipe I’ve ever tasted. Even those not partial to yams will instantly become converts. The natural sugar in the yams caramelizes under the high temperature at which they bake. Don’t worry if a few pieces char ... They’ll taste even better!  

Ron’s Oven-Roasted Yams:

1 yam, peeled and diced 3/4-in. (19 mm)   
1/4 c. (60 mL) olive oil
2 tbsp.(30 mL) Cajun seasoning or seasoning salt

Preheat oven’s convect setting to 400 deg. F.  on oven’s convection setting. Place prepared yams in medium bowl (see Note). Combine olive oil and Cajun seasoning or seasoning salt, pouring over yams and stirring until diced yams are evenly coated.
Usee baking sheet with no parchment paper. Bake, uncovered, 50 min., flipping two or three times as yams roast. Omitting the parchment paper allows the yam to caramelize, rather than sweat and steam.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Kick-Ass Beans

Yes, it is a vulgar name. Live with it! The names appropriate. These are the very best brown beans Ive ever had. Even better: They come from a can!
Kick-Ass Beans:

One 14 fl. oz. (398 mL) can deep-browned beans with pork and tomato sauce
1 tbsp. (15 mL) demerara sugar
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
1 chorizo sausage (approx. 5 in. or 127 mm), sliced
Dash hot sauce (optional)

Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan. Simmer, covered,  10-to-12 min. to combine flavors. 

Note: You’ll find several other excellent brown-bean recipes indexed under Main Dish: Beans.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Spinach-Feta Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

This is an outstanding salad - a fresh twist on the old bacon-and-spinach combination. You’ll want to make this refreshing salad again and again. Raspberries are expensive out of season, so I used frozen thawed ones for the vinaigrette. I  bought a small package of fresh raspberries for the salad itself, using just enough tossed into the salad for flavor and color.

Spinach-Feta Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette:

To Prepare the Salad:

Baby spinach, washed stemmed, blotted dry (as needed)
Feta cheese, drained and crumbled (as needed)
Flaked almonds, toasted (as needed)
Fresh raspberries (as needed)
Raspberry Vinaigrette (as needed)

Toss baby spinach with just enough Raspberry Vinaigrette until the leaves glisten. Shortly before serving, add crumbled feta, flaked almonds, and fresh raspberries. Toss gently, serving at once.  

To Prepare the Vinaigrette:

1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. aged balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1-1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 c. fresh or previously frozen, thawed raspberries

Buzz ingredients in blender until ingredients are fully combined and raspberries are liquified. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Cranberry-Orange Tea Bread

Having neither shame nor pride, Im well beyond the point of making (and keeping) New Year’s resolutions to eat less, drink less, spend less, work less, or dislike Trump less,
Cranberry-Orange Tea Bread
but I shall try. Not the 
Trump part, but the “work less” part. (1) So this is the part where I promote slow cookers. I have two - one, big as a Buick; the other, the size of a toaster oven. 

I never use either. Sad, but true. Each languishes at the back of the kitchen cupboard, rarely used or thought about. Mea culpa, Dollinks! (2) So this is the part where I promise to repent, which is as close to a New Year’s resolution as I’m ever going to getHar-rumph! 

(3) So this is the part where I introduce this spectacular little Cranberry-Orange Tea Bread, telling you how effortless (true) and delicious (also true) it is, and that you will need to yank your own slow cooker out of the attic or the basement or from whichever dark, dank place you’ve stashed it. 

You already know the benefits of slow cookers; I’m not going to preach. (4) So this is the part where I give you the recipe and urge you to make it pronto, just as I’ve done. This is also the part where I admit that working less = less time in the kitchen = more time cuddling my slow cooker (or “crock pot,” as these handy gadgets were once known).

This recipe requires a slow cooker

Cranberry-Orange Tea Bread:

To Prepare the Tea Bread:

3 c. (700 mL) all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 c. (180 mL) dried cranberries (also known as “Craisins”)
1-1/3 (330 mL) granulated sugar
1 tbsp. (15 mL) baking powder
1/4 tsp. (1.25 mL) baking soda
1/4 tsp. (1.25 mL) salt
2/3 c. (160 mL) skim milk powder
2 c. (500 mL) warm water
1 large egg
1/4 c. (60 mL) canola oil
2 tsp. (10 mL) finely grated orange peel 

Preheat and cover spray-greased 4 qt. (4 L) slow cooker on high setting. Combine 1/2 c. (125 mL) flour with dried cranberries. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, combine remaining flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In medium bowl, dissolve skim milk powder in warm water. Add egg, oil, and orange peel, beating well with electric mixer. Briefly set electric mixer aside. 

Hand-stirring with spoon or spatula, add combined liquid to dry ingredients, just until moistened. Hand-stir in remaining flour-cranberry mixture until smooth. Beat with electric mixer, 2 min. on low, until mixture is smooth throughout. Pour batter into slow cooker. Cover and cook about 2-1/4 hr., testing for doneness with thin skewer. 

When loaf is done, remove slow cooker insert from metal casing, cooling loaf inside insert 20-to-30 min. As loaf begins to cool, loosen sides of loaf from insert by running blunt knife around loaf’s edges, being sure knife penetrates to bottom of insert and loaf. Repeat as loaf cools further, this time gently lifting loaf from bottom of insert as you work around the edges. Turn loaf onto wire rack to cool more fully. 

(5) So this is the part where we eat it. It’s wonderful! Makes 15-to-20 tall slices - double that, if you cut them in half.

To Prepare the Icing Sugar Glaze (optional): 

Standing round and tall, this particularly showy bread deserves special treatment. Drizzle the top and edges with about 1/2 c. (125 mL) sifted icing sugar combined with just enough light cream and a few drops of pure orange extract to produce a runny white glaze. Using a funnel, let the glaze run over the top and sides of the bread. Let glaze set at least 30 min. before cutting and transferring to serving plate. 

Note: This tea cake freezes wonderfully. Cut into slices, separating with waxed paper.

Further Note: You’re a tea bread fan? Among of the best of the best is Yukon Orange Bread. Youll find it at: 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Chocolate Trifle (Non-Alcoholic)

I served this delicious Chocolate Trifle for Christmas dinner - but it’s also a showy finale for New Year’s Eve. I’ve posted the recipe before, but am bringing it back with a non-alcoholic twist. Rather than soak the dried cake cubes in the coffee liqueur the recipe calls for, try substituting 1/4 c. (60 mL) espresso and 1/4 tsp. (1.25 mL) pure orange extract. I did that for Christmas, with superb results!

Making this special trifle one day ahead blends the flavors perfectly as well as allowing a little extra time for your New Year’s Eve preparations.

I’m reprinting this terrific recipe today so you’ll have time to buy the ingredients and get busy drying the cubed chocolate cake in a low oven. I set mine to its “dehydrate” function - use the lowest temperature you can. Drying the cubed cake takes about 2 hr., but the rest of the preparation is quick and easy.

I served this trifle in a large crystal bowl, but the recipe is so versatile that it can easily be cut in half or prepared in individual goblets. Serves 8. If you prefer, here’s the boozy version:

One more important thing, Dollinks: Happy New Year!

xox Nicole

Monday, December 25, 2017

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy American Thanksgiving!

Table Grace:

For food in a world where many walk in hunger;

For faith in a world where many walk in fear;

For friends in a world where many walk alone;

We give thanks.

- Modified from the Chemainus, BC Theatre Family

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving Zebra Cake

I’ve been thinking of a dessert suitable for a small Thanksgiving celebration for one person or two. This one literally “takes the cake”! (The sweet young things with a gelled green Mohawk hairstyle, an eyebrow piercing, and a skull tattooed on their arms won’t know what that phrase means, and nor will their male friends. Live with it! I’m struttin’ my advancing years, Dollinks.)

I’ve been writing about small Thanksgiving celebrations, this week. Not everyone has a large family - and if they do, not everyone is able to visit. This dessert is ideal for your small celebration! It’s also inexpensive and very, very easy to make. It requires just three  ingredients: Whipped cream, confectioners sugar, and chocolate wafers. Important! Prepare this cake at least three hours ahead so the whipped cream softens the wafers, turning them into cake. 

A tip: Because it’s Thanksgiving, use thin, plain ginger cookies instead of the chocolate ones. 

Another tip: Whip the cream in the kitchen sink to minimize splashing. I’ve done that for years, with the result that my kitchen’s semi-clean.

I’ve published this excellent recipe, before. You can make it large, or you can make it small. Treat yourself: Don’t use a whipping cream substitute when you make this outstanding little cake! Here’s where you’ll find it on my blog:

Just before serving, garnish the cake with one or two finely crumbled wafers. As the hair-color ads used to say: You’re worth it! Even if you do wear a gelled green Mohawk and celebrate Thanksgiving on your own.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Party Nugget Potatoes

 These potatoes are an excellent choice for a small Thanksgiving dinner for one person or two. The cooking time varies with the size of potato. In my opinion, smaller nuggets are preferable to larger ones. While my recipe serves more than two, it’s terrific to have leftover nugget potatoes with bacon and eggs the next morning. 

Naturally, vegetables and cranberry sauce are a huge part of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. If you don’t care for cooking and there’s just you, or you and a friend, don’t feel embarrassed to serve frozen mixed veggies and canned cranberry sauce with these easy potatoes. And check out the Cranberry-Orange Chicken Breasts I blogged yesterday!

Because these chicken breasts use a few cranberries, you’ll have plenty extra on hand … C’mon, go ahead and make that Cranberry Sauce! Click on the Index under Cranberries: Sauces. You’ll find some great recipes there!

Party Nugget Potatoes:

1 lb. (454 g) nugget potatoes (about 20 small), unpeeled 
1 tbsp. (15 mL) olive oil
1-1/2 tsp. (7 mL) garlic salt
1/4 tsp. (1 mL) dried onion
1/4 tsp. (1 mL) dried leaf-style thyme (not powdered)
1/2 tsp. (2 mL) dried leaf-style marjoram (not powdered)
Scant grinding of pepper

Preheat oven to 450 deg. F. (See Note) Select approximately 10 red and 20 white nugget potatoes. Wash potatoes, blotting dry. Add potatoes and oil to a small work bowl, stirring until potatoes are well coated. 

To a very small bowl, add garlic salt, dried onion, thyme, marjoram, and freshly ground pepper, combining well. Sprinkle over potatoes, stirring gently until evenly coated. Turn into small, ungreased oven-proof dish. Bake 30-to-40 min., depending on size of potatoes. Turn potatoes over halfway through baking time. Potatoes should be nicely browned, slightly shriveled, and soft inside. Test with a sharp paring knife to ensure doneness.

Note: I baked these super-simple potatoes in a toaster oven. 

Combine nuggets with olive oil and salted herb mixture.

Pop into an oven or taster oven.
Ready for my close-up, CB!
Done! Not the best shot, but it is a glass baking dish!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Cranberry-Orange Chicken Breasts

The traditional image of Thanksgiving is one of huge families, all of whom exercise the boarding house reach in search of more potatoes, more cranberries, more turkey … Life doesn’t always match that image.  Sometimes, Thanksgiving is very small - dinner for one or two. No matter who you are or where you are, what’s important is to give thanks.
So here’s a simple recipe I invented a couple of days ago, with a small Thanksgiving dinner in mind. I’m printing it well in advance of the occasion, so you can be sure to have the ingredients on hand.
You’ll love these deliciously low-calorie Cranberry-Orange Chicken Breasts. Trust me, Dollinks! 
This dish is a keeper! I know its a disappointment not to have a

a photo, but (blush!) this chicken 
was so good that we gobbled it up fast! Only this dirty skillet remained.

Cranberry-Orange Chicken Breasts:

2 chicken breasts, about 10 oz. (285 g) each, fresh or thawed (See Note)
1/3 c. (80 mL) orange juice, preferably without pulp 
1/3 c. (80 mL) water
2-to-2-1/2 tsp. (10-to-12.5 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tsp. (10 mL) orange-flavored liqueur such as Grande Marnier (optional)
7 or 8 whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
Dusting of dried parsley or leaf-style dried marjoram or thyme  

Add orange juice, water, and chicken breasts to a medium-sized skillet. Place chicken in skillet, best side up. Cover, bringing liquids just to a boil. Reduce heat, simmering 20-to-25 min. Chicken is done when no pink remains at center. Remove chicken from skillet; set aside. Gradually whisk flour into liquids on low heat as orange sauce. Return chicken to thickened liquid, stirring in liqueur. Do not boil. Drop in cranberries, simmering 1 min. Nap sauce over chicken, dusting lightly with marjoram, thyme, or dried parsley. Serve hot. Makes 2 servings.

Note: Choose firm, high breasts, 
 as per the photo.

Focus, men, focus! Stop thinking about Pamela Anderson! If they’re fresh from the farm, you may want to wash them in cold water, blotting them dry with a paper towel. Again … Stop thinking about Pamela Anderson!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Give from the heart. Share with love. Be grateful. That is the message from our house to yours, this Thanksgiving Day. 

What to do with Turkey Lurkey? Check the Index for the word on the bird - ideas for some delicious dishes made with the leftovers! See Main Dish: Poultry (Turkey) for a number of excellent recipes.

This Autumn-themed tablecloth needs no ironing - ideal!

You'll feel and be more organized with dessert plates at the ready.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sambuca Prawns

This excellent stove-top recipe looks complex, but isnt. Be sure to use prawns about 1-1/2 inches
Colorfully exotic: Sambuca Prawns
(38 mm) long - not shrimp. Prepare and assemble all ingredients before starting.

Sambuca Prawns:

3 slices bacon, in medium dice
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 tbsp. (30 mL) finely diced ginger
4 green onions, finely sliced
1 jalapeño pepper, finely sliced, seeds removed
2 tbsp. (30 mL) olive oil
Fresh or thawed raw prawns, peeled or unpeeled
1/2 c. (125 mL) white Sambuca liqueur (see Note)
Fresh baby Romaine lettuce, chopped in 1/2 in. (13 mm) pieces, as needed on serving plate (see Further Note)
1 medium mango, peeled, stone removed, in medium dice
1 medium tomato, peeled, sectioned in eighths

In skillet on medium-high heat, fry bacon until crisp. Drain and blot dry. Set aside. With a paper towel, wipe out skillet until no fat remains. Using same skillet on medium-high heat, sauté garlic, ginger, green onions, and jalapeño pepper 2-to-3 min. in olive oil. 

Add prawns, sautéeing until prawns turn pink and are lightly cooked, about 1 min. on each sideStir in Sambuca, simmering about 2 min., until flavors blend and some of the Sambuca is absorbed. 

In small bowl,
combine reserved bacon, mango and tomato as prawn mixture simmers. Spread Romaine over serving platter. spooning with hot prawn mixture. Immediately decorate with bacon, mango and tomato. Serve at once.

Note: Sambuca is a strongly flavored anise-based liqueur. Any quality brand will do: Ouzo works well.

Further Note: Substitute uncooked baby spinach, stems removed, if you prefer.