food amongst family and friends

Stuffed sweet red peppers September 17, 2014

Filed under: Quick and easy,Sides,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 1:29 pm

Istuffed peppers found this recipe here and it fit all my needs: I needed to pair something with easy breezy gyoza (’cause if this would have been challenging, what would be the point?) and I had a lot of tomatoes, peppers and some feta I wanted to use up.  The whole family loved it, and it took about 5 minutes to throw together…


2 large, long red peppers
200 g (6½oz) cherry tomatoes
125 g (4oz) feta cheese, crumbled
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
10 basil leaves, chopped (I didn’t have fresh, so I used dried and it was great)
1-2 t olive oil
2 t balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
3-4 t fresh breadcrumbs (I used Panko)
Olive oil, to serve
Extra basil leaves, to garnish

Heat the oven to 400°. Halve the peppers lengthways and remove the seeds. Halve the tomatoes and put in a bowl with the feta, garlic, basil, oil and vinegar. Mix. Season with salt and pepper. Place the mixture in equal portions in each of the pepper halves and then sprinkle breadcrumbs on top. Throw the peppers on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until they have softened and the tops are golden. Drizzle with oil, if desired, garnish with a few basil leaves and chow down.  Cheers! Ren


Chocolate Silk Pie July 5, 2013

Filed under: Baking,Desserts,Make Ahead,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 9:58 am
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Pie and coffeeLooking for a rich, chocolate dessert that somehow feels light, cold and summery? This is it. It’s easy, quick to prepare (although it needs a 6 hour rest in the fridge) and amazing with a good cup of coffee. Oh, and it comes from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Are you shocked? Go make it immediately.


serves 8-10

1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
2 T sugar
Pinch of salt
5 T butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350.  In a 9 inch pie pan, stir together cookie crumbs, sugar, and salt.  Stir in melted butter.
2. Press crumbs evenly across the bottom and up the sides of your pie dish.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, then cool completely.

12 T butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
1 t vanilla extract

1. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
2. While mixer is running, drizzle in melted chocolate.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beating mixture at medium speed for 5 minutes after each addition, scraping down bowl (so this will whip for 15 minutes total).
4. Add vanilla and blend well.
5. Spread chocolate filling in prepared crust, and smooth top.  Refrigerate until fully chilled, at least 6 hours, or overnight.


1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 T sugar
Chocolate curls shaved from a bar of good quality, dark chocolate (optional)

1. Just before serving, beat cream with sugar until it just holds soft peaks.
2. Smooth evenly over pie and garnish with chocolate shavings.


Dark Chocolate and Brandy Pots de Creme April 7, 2013

pot de creme This is your fast track to a rich, silky dessert tonight. It took me all of about 5 minutes to whip these up.

Pots de creme are a custard of sorts, traditionally composed of eggs and cream, then baked in a water bath.  This recipe ditches the cream and opts for hot coffee, which you blend with the chocolate and eggs. The heat from the coffee thickens the eggs, giving you the same result you would get whisking the eggs and cream over heat. Did that make any sense? What I’m trying to say is that this is even less work than a traditional pot de creme and the result is still silky smooth deliciousness.

I grabbed the recipe from Pioneer Woman, where you can find step by step photos of the process. I adapted the recipe to suit my preferences – more booze, brandy instead of Grand Marnier, a little more salt and a smaller batch (because it’s dangerous for me to have 12 of these sitting in the fridge). I hope you love them!


makes 6 reasonable sized servings or 4 indulgent ones

6 oz good dark chocolate (I used Lindt), chopped
2 whole eggs
1 T Brandy (or Grand Marnier or whatever you feel like), possibly more to taste
generous pinch salt
1/2 cup HOT strong coffee
unsweetened whipped cream, for serving
optional: candied orange peel or thinly sliced fresh orange peel, for serving

Place the chocolate in your blender. Crack in the eggs, then pour in the Brandy and salt. Blend for a few seconds until the chocolate is busted up and everything is thoroughly mixed.

With the blender running, slowly pour your super hot coffee in a thin stream through the blender lid until it’s all added. Blend another few seconds until smooth. Taste and add more Brandy or salt if desired.

Pour mixture into small cups or jars. Throw them in the fridge until set – it will take about 2 hours. You can easily make these ahead and keep them in the fridge for a day or two.

Top with a big dollop of whipped cream and garnish with sliced orange peel. Dig in!

Tip: I like making these in jars so that I can easily screw on a lid and store them for a few days. Even the whipping cream will stay fresh stored like this for 2 days.



Smoky Eggplant and Pickled Beet Sandwich April 4, 2013

Filed under: Mains,Sandwiches,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:37 pm
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Eggplant SandwichI have so many new recipes to post! I will try to get them all on here, but today you’re getting a sandwich. It’s simple, it’s vegetarian, it’s packed with fresh herbs, it’s healthy, it’s satisfying….and it’s a fantastic way to use up your pickled beets before the next crop is ready to be pickled! I used golden beets and brioche burger buns – any variety of pickled beet will work and you just need to find a bun or sandwich bread that is soft (a chewy crust would not be ideal here). Potato buns, focaccia, brioche and soft dinner rolls would work well. I also used a tahini sauce in place of the garlic mayo….it worked, but I think the mayo would be better. If you’re mayo adverse, a tapenade with extra garlic would be really nice.


makes 4 hearty sandwiches, barely adapted from Bon Appetit

Eggplant and Mayo:

1 large eggplant (1 1/2 pounds), sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds
1-2 T  olive oil
1/2 t smoked paprika
salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 t Sherry vinegar

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then spread 1 T oil right onto the foil covered pan. Place eggplant slices on the pan in a single layed and rub the top side of each slice with a little extra oil (or spray with Pam). Season with paprika, salt, and pepper. Roast until golden and tender, 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Whisk garlic, mayonnaise, and vinegar in a small bowl; set aside.

Do ahead: the eggplant and mayo can be made one day ahead and refrigerated.

Beet Salad and Assembly:

6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup mixed tender fresh herb leaves (such as flat-leaf parsley, dill, and mint), chopped
1/2 cup chopped pickled beets
1/4 cup chopped olives
2 T capers, drained
1/2 T olive oil
4 buns or 8 slices bread
6 ounces feta, thinly sliced

Toss scallions, herbs, beets, olives, capers, and oil in a medium bowl to combine.
Spread cut sides of bread with garlic mayo (or tapenade). Top one slice of bread with eggplant, feta, beet salad and a second slice of bread.


Fresh Spring Rolls and Peanut Dipping Sauce March 7, 2013

Filed under: Appetizers,Mains,Quick and easy,Thrifty,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 10:34 pm
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My weeknight meal requirement checklist looks something like this: healthy, delicious, packed with veggies, quick to throw together, cheap enough to make often. I give bonous points to recipes that are vegetarian or feel super treaty. For me, this meal checks off all the requirements while getting bonous points for being both meat-free AND treaty.

I have made these spring rolls in the past, but I’ve always treated them as a side dish and I was never crazy about the idea of packing them full of noodles. This time, I left out the noodles, loaded them with my favourite carrots and cukes from the farmer’s market and served them with what is now my go-to peanut sauce. (Seriously, the sauce is incredible. At first bite, I thought it was okay. As I continued to eat, I fell more and more in love with it. The red curry paste gives it a nice warmth while the toasted peanuts and caramelized sugar make it rich and complex. I want to eat some right now…) The result is a light and crunchy spring roll with a rich, filling, addictive dip.

Four to five rolls make a large and satisfying meal, or you could serve these as an appetizer with this tasty treat and trick your family into thinking you ordered take out. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Spring Rolls Close UpFresh Spring RollsPeanut Sauce, adapted from Fine Cooking:
yeilds 1.5 cups, or roughly 6 servings

1 T peanut oil
1 T Thai red curry paste (this is where all the heat comes from, so be aware of how spicy your paste is)
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, finely ground in a food processor
2 T packed light brown sugar (palm sugar could be used here, but go with the granulated variety, not the solid variety)
1 1/2 cups light coconut milk
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
3 T fresh lime juice
2 T hoisin sauce
1 1/2 T fish sauce
8 fresh basil leaves, minced

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry paste, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the peanuts and stir until they’re just a shade darker, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to stir and cook until melted and lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, broth, lime juice, hoisin and fish sauce. Whisk until smooth and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 1-1/2 cups. This will take roughly 45 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the basil, and cool to room temperature.

Fresh Spring Rolls:
yeilds 10 medium spring rolls

4-5 small cucumbers, julienne
4-5 medium carrots, julienne
1/2 an avodaco, sliced
handful fresh basil
10 rice paper wrappers
green or red leaf lettuce (optional)
bean sprouts (optional)
fresh mint (optional)
shredded chicken or pork (optional)

Get a wide, shallow bowl filled halfway with warm water. Setup a work space with a cutting board,   all your prepped ingredients, the bowl of water, a plate to hold the spring rolls and a damp paper towel to cover the finished spring rolls.

Dip one rice paper in the water for 15-30 seconds until soft and pliable, then place it on your cutting board. On the top 1/3 of the wrapper, place carrots and cucumber (about 1/4 cup total), then add a slice of avocado, a big basil leaf and any other ingredients you are using. Tuck the top of the wrapper tightly over the filling, then roll away, folding in the sides about halfway. (For more thorough instructions, look here.) Place the finished spring roll on your plate and cover with the damp paper towel. Repeat with remaining rice paper wrappers.

Serve 5 rolls with 1/4 cup of the sauce. Dip and enjoy!


Cauliflower-Cheese Pie with Potato Crust January 6, 2013

Filed under: Mains,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 7:02 pm

photo (3)
Christmas did its work on my butt.  So we’re trying new, less fat-intense meals around here.  I know, boring, right?  (Actually, now that I think about it, it’s my fella that keeps doing this, and he’s really thin.  Hint, perhaps?) Anyway, this delicious pie came from the Moosewood.

Crustphoto (1)

2 c (packed) grated raw potato
1/4 c grated onion
1/2 t salt
1 egg white,  lightly beaten
flour for your fingers
small bit o’ oil


1 T olive oil
1 c chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t salt
black pepper to taste
1/2 t basil
1/4 t thyme
1 medium cauliflower, in small pieces 2 eggs
1/4 c milk (I used skim)
1 c (packed) grated cheddar


Preheat oven to 400°F.  Spray a 9-inch pie pan.

Grate cheese,  potato, onion, then chop remaining required amount of onion – setting each aside when complete.  This just minimizes clean up, as you don’t really need to rinse between each of these.  Combine and mix together grated potato and the 1/4 c onion you grated with salt and egg white in a small bowl.  Transfer to pie pan and pat into place with lightly floured fingers, building up the sides into a handsome (yes, that’s how they put it in the Moosewood.  Loves it!) edge.

Bake crust for 30 minutes, then brush it with a little oil and bake it 10 more minutes.  Remove from oven and turn the temperature down to 375°F.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet and add onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Add cauliflower, stir and cover.  Cook until tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Spread 1/2 the cheese over the baked crust.  Spoon the sautéed vegetables on top, then sprinkle on the remaining cheese.  Beat the eggs and milk together and pour this over the top.  Dust lightly with paprika.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until set.  Serve hot or warm.  I served mine with Pear Feta Arugula Salad.

For those of you who care, for 5 servings, it’s about $1.75 per serving (I used organic cauliflower), and 6 Weight Watchers points (add 2 more for the salad if you have that).  Cheers!  Ren



Odds and Ends Pasta January 4, 2013

Filed under: Mains,Pasta,Quick and easy,Thrifty,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:48 am
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20130101_132427I’m a sucker for pasta. And for recipes that help me make use of things like stale bread and about-to-go-bad coffee cream. And especially for recipes so comforting and delicious that you’re looking for an excuse to make them again. So for me, this recipe is a win.

It’s not exactly a recipe, more of a guideline, so I’ll just talk you through it. The result is a steaming bowl of pasta that’s gooey, crunchy and fresh all at the same time. It’s exactly what you want to eat when you have the house and a movie to yourself on a Friday night.


makes 1 hearty bowl of pasta

Gather up all your nearly-empty bags of pasta  and throw 2 handfuls of dried/frozen/fresh pasta into a pot of boiling water. While the pasta cooks, melt a spoonful of bacon drippings or butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Finely tear/chop 1 stale piece of bread and add it to the now hot bacon drippings. (You could also cook up 1-2 strips of bacon and crumble it instead of, or in addition to, the breadcrumbs.) Cook and stir the bread until nicely browned and crispy, then remove from heat. When the pasta is 2 minutes from al dente, add a handful of fresh or frozen veggies (peas, edamame, asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower would all work well) to the pot. Cook until pasta is al dente, then strain, reserving 1/2 C of the cooking water. Transfer the pasta back into the pot. Drizzle in 2-4 T of cream, stir, then add a handful of grated sharp cheese, a generous pinch of sea salt and hammer it with freshly ground pepper. Give it a good stir and add some of the reserved cooking water to loosen it, if necessary. Mix in the bread crumbs, being sure to use all the nice bacon drippings from the pan. Taste the pasta and add more cheese, salt and pepper as desired. Because this is a bowl of starch and cream, I find you need to give it a good hit of salt.


Enjoy with a blanket, a movie and glass of wine!