food amongst family and friends

Easy Peasy Slaw March 29, 2011

Filed under: Quick and easy,Salads,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 4:55 pm
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This doesn’t look like much, but you should try it. Trust me. Or don’t, but try it anyway. It’s easy and cheap, so it won’t put you out one bit. The cabbage makes it doable all winter long, while the lime dressing really sings in the Spring. I like making this with soft tacos and I dump some of the slaw right in the tortilla. Tasty!

This stores well in the fridge for a few days,  but I do enjoy it most when it’s freshly tossed. If you want to make it ahead, chop everything up and store the dressing in jar, then toss no more than an hour before serving.

The original recipe is from ELS and this should give you 5 large servings.


1/2 medium head green cabbage, shredded/finely chopped
1/4 cup crumbled feta, or just as much as you feel like
Juice of 1 lime
~1/4 cup olive oil
1 t honey
salt and pepper

Dump the cabbage and feta into a salad bowl. Squeeze the lime juice into a jar and then add enough olive oil so that you have a half-oil-half-acid dressing (I just eye-ball it). Add the honey, a good pinch of coarse salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Shake up the dressing, toss with the slaw and add more black pepper if needed.


Cocoa Oatmeal Cookies March 28, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Cookies — blisteringlydrunk @ 5:01 pm
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Today was a I-want-to-start-eating-healthy-tomorrow day. And I picked up some Mini Eggs on sale. So a cookie baking day was born! The richness of the cocoa is balanced by the oatmeal, giving you less of sugar-rush than your typical double chocolate cookie.

I found this recipe on Everybody Likes Sandwiches and I made a few changes in an attempt to maximize the chewiness-factor. Hope you like them!


1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups flour (you can sub in about 1/3 cup of spelt flour, keeping the rest all-purpose)
1/2 cup cocoa
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
4-5 T old  fashioned oats
1/2 cup mini eggs or chocolate chunks (I bashed up half of the mini eggs)

1. Cream butter, sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the egg yolk and cream another minute.

2. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until combined.

3. Stir in oats and mini eggs.

4. Drop by the spoonful onto a parchment lined baking sheet and gently press each cookie with your hand.

5. Bake at 350F for  about 14 minutes. Cool completely on the pan or they will crumble.

You will get roughly 12 big cookies.


Pretending it’s spring Potato, Leek, and Feta Tart

Filed under: Baking,Mains,pastry,Sides,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 4:37 pm
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I just realized how terrible this picture is; apparently I need to work on my framing. Or, I need to not set the hot cookie sheet on a towel on the floor in order to get the last of the daylight for the shot and then have to rush it because my 2 year old is about to burn her pretty little toes. One of the two, or probably both. Either way, the picture doesn’t do it justice, this was lovely, and it almost (if I didn’t look outside at the snow falling) made me think it was spring.  I found this recipe at Real Simple and adjusted it a bit to my tastes and used a homemade spelt pastry (recipe here at Deanna’s Daughter) instead of a store bought one. The spelt pastry was an excellent compliment to this rustic tart, although next time I want to use a slightly bigger piece of pastry (the equivalent of 1 1/2 pie crusts) as this was a bit full; check out the side view. So I am giving the instructions for spelt pastry that I think should make the right amount for this much filling.

But all said, this was fantastic and I can’t wait to make it with the first of the spring crop, as this is definitely a recipe that shows off good vegetables.


1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp each, spelt and all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup butter, cold and cubed

1/8 cup shortening, cubed

up to 1/4 cup ice water, as needed (or 1/4 cup sour cream, which is what I will use next time – I’m a sucker for sour cream pastry and I think the flavour would work well here)

Whisk together or pulse in your food processor the first three ingredients. Add butter and shortening and either cut in with a pastry cutter or pulse in food processor until it looks crumbly. (Side note: this is the first time I have made pastry in my food processor and I can’t believe how easy it was. There is no going back) Add water a few tablespoons at a time, either through the feed tube of your processor while it’s turned on, or just using a spoon. Stop when the pastry starts to come together (I’m not sure how the sour cream would work in the food processor, I find it usually requires a bit more working together with your hands to stay together, so do what you have to to make it stick together). Dump it all on the counter and work it until everything sticks together and then put it in the fridge for an hour or so before you roll it out.


2 tsp olive oil

3 small leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into half moons

2 smallish zucchini, cut into half moons

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup crumbled or cubed feta

2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill (depending on how much you like dill)

2 small (but not baby) red potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced

Heat oil in a large skillet and saute leeks, zucchini, salt and pepper until just soft. Set aside to let it cool for a minute.

Preheat oven to 375 and roll out your pastry into a 14-15″ circle on a big piece of parchment or silicone, then move the whole thing onto a cookie sheet, letting the sides hang over the edge.

Stir the feta, dill, and potatoes into the saute and then dump the whole thing in the middle of your crust, leaving about a 3″ border around the edge (if possible). Fold the sides up and in as neatly as possible and pop in the oven. Bake for 50 – 60 min (I did mine for a full 60 min). I didn’t find that the crust became overly brown, but if you find yours is, just cover the edges with some tinfoil.

We had ours with my favourite new salad and a lovely old vine garnacha; yummy! But in the future I could see this as a lovely brunch dish with some nice sausages for a treat.





Broccoli Cheddar Risotto AKA Risotto My Kids Will Eat March 27, 2011

Filed under: Fish and Seafood,Mains,Quick and easy — blisteringlydrunk @ 1:44 pm
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I ran across a recipe over here the other day that made me think there was still hope for getting my family to like risotto. So I decided to give it a whirl and adjust my fallback risotto recipe into something a little more family friendly and it turned out really well and everyone ate it up. However, if I was making it for just me, or for other fans of risotto, I would make a few changes. First, cut half a cup of the broth and replace it with a dry white wine or vermouth; I missed that flavour a lot, but I think it is a bit strong for my gang. Second, and I would even try this for my family, a nice, old white cheddar here would really kick the flavour up a few notches. So, if you have some unsure risotto fans, try it as is, or if you are already a fan, add in the wine and stronger cheese and dig in!

1 small onion

4 stalks of celery

3 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp each, olive oil and butter

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

4 – 5 cups broth (chicken or vegetable), kept warm, but not simmering, on stove

2 cups broccoli florets, cut quite small

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

1 tbsp butter (optional)

1. Finely chop onion, celery and garlic; I use my food processor so everything is really quite fine. Then heat oil and butter over medium heat in a fairly large, heavy bottomed frying pan that has a lid (or a way to cover it for a few minutes at the end), and saute the veggies until soft but not brown.

2. Add in the rice and saute for 1 or 2 minutes, until translucent. Then add a ladle full of broth and stir until absorbed (if using wine, add that first and then start on the broth). Add another ladle full, stirring until absorbed, continuing until all broth is absorbed. The first few additions usually absorb fairly quickly, at which point I lower the heat a bit (1-2 dots on my stove), and then it usually take a minute or two to absorb each addition.

3. While the rice is cooking, lightly steam the broccoli until just tender, then add it into the risotto about 2 or 3 ladle fulls before the end.

4. Once all broth is absorbed and/or the rice is cooked the way you like it, remove from heat and stir in the cheese and, if you wish, an extra tablespoon of butter, then cover and let it sit for about 5 min.

5. Remove the lid, stir one more time and serve.

We had this with some glazed salmon that I found over at my friend Meagan’s blog, Deanna’s Daughter, that was amazing and very simple. I used chipotle powder instead of black pepper, but other than that I followed the recipe to the letter and it was fantastic; cooked to perfection and wonderful flavour. I will make that again for sure, so check it out.




Banana Nut Muffins March 25, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Muffins — blisteringlydrunk @ 12:28 pm
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I can’t remember where I found this recipe, but I do remember that it had a LOT more fat and sugar in it initially. I tried to make it so I could eat them without feeling too guilty, however they are still pretty sweet, so more sugar could be cut if you are worried about that sort of thing. I’m pretty sure that what makes these muffins so good is the method; whipping the bananas with the sugar so they are light and fluffy. I always make mine with spelt flour, however, I think you could sub in whole wheat if you cut it with a bit of all-purpose. This makes 12 big muffins or 18 smallish muffins.


2 cups spelt flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

4 overripe bananas

1 cup brown sugar (I always use dark brown)

1/3 cup butter, melted & cooled

1/2 cup plain, fat free yogurt

1 egg

1 egg white

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup chopped pecans (plus a few pecan halves to decorate the tops if you want)

1. Preheat oven to 375 and line your muffin tin with papers or grease them up.

2. Combine flour, soda and salt and set aside. Roughly mash 2 bananas with a fork and set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, mix the remaining bananas with the sugar for a good 3 minutes, until shiny and the sugar is dissolved. Add in melted butter, eggs, yogurt and vanilla, mixing until combined.

4. Stir in dry ingredients and then fold in nuts and mashed bananas.

5. Pour into muffin tins and bake for about 18 – 20 mins (if you have silicone muffin tins, it seems to take a little longer).




Banana Nutella Brownies March 23, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Bars,Quick and easy — blisteringlydrunk @ 6:11 pm
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Easiest.  Brownies. Ever. 3 minutes to mix, 10 minutes to bake. They’re delicious. Cure your chocolate craving now.


makes 12 mini brownies, recipe taken from Try it You Might Like it

1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 brown banana
1 egg
5 T flour
1/4 t cinnamon, heaping

Whisk together the Nutella, banana and egg, then stir in the flour and cinnamon until well mixed. Drop by the spoonful into well greased mini muffin tins and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. You can push treats into the top before baking, if desired – I used white chocolate chunks and macadamia nuts.

Eat up!


A Bitter Salad

Filed under: Make Ahead,Salads,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 9:17 am
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This was one of those meals where the main dish was a miserable failure and the sides stood victorious. I thought I was whipping up some tasty honey-garlic pork chops that would make it feel like barbeque season, but they ended up tasteless and overcooked.  Thankfully, the sides saved the meal. We had Ren’s sweet potato fries and this radicchio and arugula salad that I found in the February Bon Appetit. James found it too bitter, but I quite liked it. I’m a bit of an arugula nut though, so bitter-green-haters be warned.

This is not a quick, throw-together salad, but it’s not all that difficult and it looks impressive. The bulk of the salad is bitter, topped with a sweet pepper dressing to balance it out. I changed the proportions to suit what I had in the house – the recipe below includes my adjustments. Pair with yam fries and a properly cooked pork chop for a winning combination.


makes 4 good-sized portions

1 red bell pepper
4 T olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
1-2 T drained capers
4 t minced shallot
1/2 t sugar
3 cups baby arugula
1 head radicchio, roughly chopped

1. Pop the whole pepper into a 400F oven until the skin starts to blister, crack and turn black in some spots. Check it every few minutes and flip it over as needed. Once it’s done, let it cool before peeling the skin and removing the stem and seeds.

2. Put the pepper in a food processor or blender with 1 T olive oil and blend until smooth.

3. Whisk the blended pepper with the remaining olive oil, vinegar, capers, shallot and sugar. Taste and adjust as needed – you may want more sugar or a little salt to help with the bitterness of the vegetables.

The dressing can be made a day ahead – store in the fridge in a covered container. Bring to room temperature before tossing with the salad.

4. Toss the arugula and radicchio with the dressing and serve.