Another Leibster Nomination and Berkshire Pork Chops with Roasted Garlic Asparagus

A big thank you this week to Kumu, who blogs over at A Tea Spoon of Love who nominated me for the Leibster Blog Award! I was actually nominated for the award earlier this month as well. I’m so honoured to have fellow bloggers recommend my blog! That said, I love the questions and how they give you a better idea of who I am. However, I don’t think I follow enough blogs (let alone ones that meet the criteria of the award) to nominate another 11 blogs/bloggers. I’ll give it my best shot though!

liebster-award

Here are the rules of the Leibster award as I understand them. The blog/blogger nominated for the award…

  • Answers 11 questions posed by the nominator. (In my case, Jon has given me 7)
  • Nominates 11 other blogs (with 200 or fewer followers)
  • Creates their own new set of questions for the nominees.

Responses

  1. Favorite vacation spot of all time?
    1. This is difficult to answer! I’ll give you my top three: New York City; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Yes, these are all in the U.S. As a full-time student, I don’t get much time to travel for a vacation. I love all of these locations for visiting family and friends. NYC is very interesting for walking and sight-seeing. I love snorkeling at the coral reef beaches in West Palm. And the gorgeous mountains and hiking in Santa Fe. At some point, I hope to travel much more! On my list of places I’d like to see is Venice, Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok, Paris, and many more!
  2. Favorite book and why?
    1. I assume this isn’t supposed to be the question that is overly difficult. Yet I find myself humming and hawing, changing my mind, second guessing my answer. Do I pick something I enjoyed reading? Something that I’ve ready that has been very useful afterwards? I decided to go with books I’ve enjoyed reading for the sake of reading. My favourite, momentarily, is probably Neil Gaiman’s Stardust. I love both the book and the movie. This is one of the few adaptations I’ve seen that dares to change the ending of the story. I saw the movie first and read the book just last summer. I couldn’t out it down and, despite having seen the movie, loved every moment reading the book. Other notable candidates, in no particular order, include:
      Sabriel by Garth Nix
      – The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
      The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima
      Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
      The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
      The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
      The Legends of Vancouver by Pauline Johnson
  3. Food tradition you love?
    1. Family dinner! I love when my large extended family gets together for a day of cooking, eating, and spending time together. I’m very fortunate that this tradition happens a few times per year!
  4. If you could go to dinner with any 5 famous people (dead or alive) – who?
    1. 10-year-old me is screaming THE SPICE GIRLS!!! I think I’ll go with that. 🙂
  5. Favorite cuisine?
    1. Not sure I could choose! Probably Guyanese food. Not only is it delicious, it has nostalgia. Growing up, my next-door neighbours (who were really more like my second family) would cook Guyanese food frequently and share it with my family. I remember loving most of it, except the really spicy wiri pepper hot sauce (that was so hot is once made me cry). When I visit them in New York, I eat them clean out of food, the spice doesn’t both me as much as an adult. I’ve even tried to replicate a few of the recipes at home.
  6. House is on fire – family made it out – what is the one thing you grab? (you can only grab one)
    1. I’m counting the cat as family that has got out safely. My camera bag. It has my camera, lens, and ALL of my photos in it. I tend to buy huge memory cards and keep them as back-ups.
  7. Favorite type of chocolate?
    1. Dark chocolate, hands down. My favourite is 80% cocoa with almonds.
  8. Favorite beverage?
    1. Moroccan Mint Tea with honey
  9. Movie you most relate to.
    1. I’m not sure I really relate to any movies. I can’t think of anything… but my all time favourite is Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
  10. If you can trade places with a famous person for 24 hours, whom would you pick?
    1. I’m drawing a blank on this one. I’m quite happy not to be the center of attention, even if it just for a 24 hour period.
  11. A TV show you love to watch.
    1. We don’t have cable or Netflix. We mostly watch shows on DVD (ones that come highly recommended by friends) or are available on YouTube. We most recently watched and enjoyed Game of Thrones. I’ve also been sporadically watching episodes of The Dog Whisperer. I also like Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Friends, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and probably many more that I cannot think of at the moment.

Nominees

In no particular order…

  1. Sophie’s Foodie Files
  2. MJ’s Kitchen
  3. Dominican Heat
  4. from the Bartolini kitchens
  5. Whip a Dish
  6. Love Bakes Good Cakes
  7. Doggie at the Dinner Table
  8. Lisa is Cooking

Questions for nominees:

  1. What 3 words would you choose to describe yourself?
  2. Do you have a blogging mentor who has made a huge difference along the way?
  3. Have you met any of your blogging friends in real life?
  4. What inspires you to continue writing your blog?
  5. What is your favourite family recipe?
  6. Which of your own blog posts are you most proud of?
  7. What is your favourite type of food?
  8. What is your favourite pastime?
  9. Where would you most like to go for your dream vacation and why?
  10. What is your favourite genre of music?
  11. If someone made a film about your life, who would you want to play you?

As if this post wasn’t long enough… I’d also like to share some recipes today!

Bryan asked me if there is a testimonials section for the blog… I asked him to leave a comment. Instead, he asked me to inform you in this post that: “This food-girl makes the best noms.” Thanks Bryan!

Berkshire Pork Chops with Smoked Paprika and Espelette Pepper

Ingredients

  • 2 bone-in Berkshire Pork Chops (about 3/4 pound each)  – approximate cost $10.50
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil  – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt  – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper  – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika  – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage  – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 teaspoon espellette pepper  – approximate cost $0.10

Method

  1. Heat grapeseed oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Add pork chops (you should hear them sizzle when added to the frying pan).
  3. Cook for 4 1/2 minutes.
  4. Turn.
  5. Sprinkle with sea salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, died sage, and espellette pepper.
  6. Cook for an additional 4 1/2 minutes.
  7. Test for desired doneness and cook more if necessary.
  8. Remove from frying pan and let stand for 3-4 minutes.
  9. Pour half of the glaze over each of the pork chops.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Garlic Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds asparagus – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt  – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil  – approximate cost $0.15
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced  – approximate cost $0.30

Method

  1. Turn the oven to broil.
  2. Place the asparagus in a large roasting pan.
  3. Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and garlic.
  5. Broil until the asparagus turns bright green.
  6. Flip the asparagus.
  7. Broil until the other side is bright green and the tips begin to brown.
  8. Remove from oven.
  9. Serve with pork chops and enjoy!

Note: These dishes take about the same amount of time to cook. I started the asparagus first then cooked the pork chops.

Makes 2 servings (approximate cost: $7.98 per serving).

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Trout with Caper and Butter Sauce and Roasted Balsamic Asparagus

Did you hear about the big storm that hit KW last Friday? I’ve never seen anything like it. The wind and rain was intense. The thunder and lightning actually worried me less than the former. It seems almost everyone in the city has their own story to share… and we’ve been sharing stories all week!

I was at Vincenzo’s, a local grocery store, when the storm hit. The winds were so strong that we could see and hear them shaking. My little brother was on a bus at the time. The bus had to pull over due to poor driving conditions. A tree was struck by lightning nearby and fell onto a hydro pole, which then fell on the bus! I’m happy to say that my brother and everyone else on the bus is ok. We exchanged text messages and a few photos — he was bored being stuck on the bust for almost an hour afterwards!

Trees and branches are still being cleared even today! Check out some images of the damage the storm caused:

I’m also happy to tell you that my garden made it through the storm! No planters were knocked over or damaged. My neighbourhood seems to have missed the worst of the storm.

I started my garden quite late this year. I didn’t plant anything until mid-June. I have two lovely tomato plants, a basil plant, chives, and mint. The tomatoes are from my aunt at Sun Root Organics (if you’re in Ontario, check out her blog and Facebook page). Despite planting the tomatoes later than I’d have liked, they’ve really taken off and are growing like crazy! I took the photos a few days ago, and the tomatoes are more plentiful already! The basil is from a vendor at the St. Jacob’s Market, and the chives and mint came back from last year. I have been using the chives in my cooking recently and can’t wait for some fresh basil and tomatoes!

Since the storm, it has cooled down enough to cook again! Hooray! I’m quite enjoying being back in the kitchen. 🙂

Trout with Caper and Butter Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 pound steelhead trout fillet – approximate cost $8.50
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/4 cup butter – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 100 mL jar capers – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Preheat a frying pan over medium-low heat.
  2. Add butter and grapeseed oil.
  3. Heat until butter is melted.
  4. Add garlic.
  5. Cook until garlic is fragrant.
  6. Sprinkle salt over fish.
  7. Add fish (skin-side down if there is skin on the fillet).
  8. Cook until about 3/4 cooked.
  9. Turn the fish.
  10. Add capers.
  11. Cook until done.
  12. Remove from frying pan.
  13. Serve and enjoy!

Roasted Balsamic Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds asparagus – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Turn the oven to broil.
  2. Place the asparagus in a large roasting pan.
  3. Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  5. Broil until the asparagus turns bright green.
  6. Flip the asparagus.
  7. Broil until the other side is bright green and the tips begin to brown.
  8. Remove from oven.
  9. Serve with trout and enjoy!

Note: These dishes take about the same amount of time to cook. I started the asparagus first then cooked the fish.

Makes 2 servings (approximate cost: $8.25 per serving).

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Improv Challenge: Fish and Chips (Fried Fish-Shaped Chips)

I’m excited to once again be participating in the Improv Challenge hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker! This month, the challenge ingredients are fish and chips.

Sounds a bit limiting as challenge ingredients, doesn’t it? My initial plan was to make a traditional fish with a beer batter and chips. Then… Kristen sent out the update, making this challenge a bit more interesting!

“Fish can, of course, be any real fish like tuna, snapper, salmon, tilapia or trout, but you can also use Swedish fish, or any fishy crackers/pretzels or fish shaped bread from Pepperidge Farm. Chips can also be the traditional homemade thick cut fries, but feel free to use anything that is a chip: potato, tortilla, sweet potato, veggie, chocolate, butterscotch, etc.”

This opened up so many more possibilities! This month, I decided to go with something simple yet fun. I played with the idea of fish-shaped food… and because the second half of this challenge was to include chips… I made fish-shaped chips! This is a great way to change up your every-day chips.  And I’m sure these chips would be a fun activity if you have children helping you in the kitchen.

Fried Fish-Shaped Chips

Ingredients

  • 2 large potatoes – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • Oil for frying – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Draw an oval on a small piece of paper.
  2. Fill in the details showing where you need to cut to make a fish shape.
  3. Preheat a frying pan with enough oil to shallow-fry the potatoes.
  4. Set the paper near your cutting board as a reference.
  5. Slice the potato so you have several large oval-shaped pieces.
  6. Follow your diagram to cut the potato slice into a fish shape.
  7. Use a chopstick (or similar tool) to poke a hole in the potato where you would like the fish’s “eye.”
  8. Repeat steps 4-7 for each of the oval slices.
  9. Cut the unused pieces of potato into bite-sized pieces.
  10. Salt the potato pieces.
  11. Fry the fish-shaped potatoes and bite-sized pieces in batches so as not to overcrowd the frying pan
  12. Turn the potatoes once when about half-cooked (after approximately 5 minutes).
  13. Continue to fry until cooked through (about 10 minutes total, depending on the thickness of your chips).
  14. Remove from oil.
  15. Allow chips to drain on a paper towel.
  16. Serve hot and enjoy!

Makes 4-6 fish-shaped chips and bite-sized chips (approximate cost: $0.53 per serving).


My previous Improv Challenge contributions include:

Nana’s Potato Salad

Over the weekend, we celebrated my dad’s birthday. We tend to spend our family occasions at home and cook a nice meal. On the odd occasion, we order take out Chinese food (which was always my birthday request growing up). I’ve learned to plan the meal ahead. I’ve got better at timing the things I’m cooking. Each time, the meal seems to come out a little bit better.

Dad’s birthday request was for steak. I got to choose the side dishes. So, I picked up some gorgeous sirloin steaks from The Bauer Butcher, fresh Ontario asparagus from Vincenzo’s (asparagus season is coming to an end soon, so I’m eating as much of this delicious vegetable as possible), and some potatoes for a potato salad. To top it all off, Nana made an amazing confetti cake (dad’s favourite).

BBQ Sirloin Steaks

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Now, would you be surprised if I told you that the highlight of the meal is the potato salad?

You see, it’s my nana’s recipe and a family favourite. Nana has made her family-famous potato salad ever since I can remember… and ever since dad can remember. I have fond memories of spending weekends with Nana as a child and there always being an amazing array of delicious home cooked food. And her potato salad is among my favourites (also check out some of her other recipes that I’ve deconstructed and posted, including Macaroni and Cheese Casserole and Asparagus Soup). As a child I flat out refused to eat potato salad. I claimed I didn’t like it. I especially didn’t like the pre-made potato salads from the grocery store and fast food restaurants (I still don’t really like most of them). However, Nana’s potato salad was the exception. Not only did I eat it, I would go back for seconds.

Steamed Asparagus

The “recipe” is another one that I’ve had to watch time after time to document. The vague directions call for potatoes (it doesn’t say how many), the oil and vinegar dressing is the only thing that is really precise. And that’s as long as you know that the recipe is for 5 servings.

This weekend, I made the salad under Nana’s supervision. The salad was very well received by my family! No complaints. No comparisons. No suggestions for next time. It was just like Nana’s. Hooray! Now I need to make it again without supervision to really put my take on the potato salad to the test.

What makes her salad so much better? So one, she serves it warm. I don’t know why, but this makes a difference in the flavour. Her salad is good as leftovers but is definitely best served and consumed fresh. Like, within an hour of making the salad. It has great sweet and sour flavours in the dressing. It’s smooth with delicious crunch pieces of fresh vegetables. It doesn’t take too much time or effort to make. It just tastes better. (And I don’t think it’s nostalgia making me say this!)

Don’t believe me? Try it out for yourself and let me know what you think!

Nana’s Potato Salad

Adapted from her sister’s recipe

Ingredients

  • 5 large potatoes (about 2 1/2 cups when cubed) – approximate cost $1.75
  • 2 teaspoons sugar – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons salad oil (canola or olive oil works well) – approximate cost $0.10
  • 3/4 cup celery, chopped – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/4 cup green pepper, diced – approximate cost $0.25
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, sliced thinly – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 (slightly heaping) cup mayonnaise – approximate cost $1.00

Method

  1. Boil and drain the potatoes.
  2. Allow them to cool until they can be handled.
  3. Peel the potato skin.
    1. If you like the potato skins, skip this step. For my own salad, I would leave the potato skin on. Nana prefers the potato skins removed.
  4. Cut potato into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Combine sugar and vinegar, stirring constantly until dissolved.
  6. Add salad oil to the vinegar and sugar mix.
  7. Pour oil and vinegar mix over hot potatoes.
  8. Allow the potatoes to cool until lukewarm, about room temperature.
  9. Add celery, green pepper, and green onion pieces.
  10. Mix well.
  11. Add pepper and mayonnaise.
  12. Mix thoroughly.
  13. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 5 servings (approximate cost: $0.80 per serving).

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Side Dish: Spicy Green Beans with Garlic

Again keeping with my theme of things I can make quickly, our other side dish is another staple around here. Spicy green beans! The beans are not too spicy, just a bit of heat to make this dish more interesting!

The green beans were the least stressful part of the entire meal! Again, this is a side dish that I make regularly and knew would turn out well. Usually, I’ll use frozen green beans for this recipe. But, because it was a special occasion, I opted for fresh green beans.

The night before, I trimmed the beans and put them in a bowl of cold water. In a separate container was the butter and chopped garlic. And the spices were on the counter, ready to add on a moment’s notice. It was that easy. Best of all, everyone enjoyed them!

Spicy Green Beans with Garlic

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh green beans – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2 tablespoons butter – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper – approximate cost $0.10

Method

  1. Trim the green beans.
  2. Heat the butter and grapeseed oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Add the minced garlic when the butter is melted.
  4. Cook garlic until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  5. Add the green beans, sea salt and cayenne pepper.
  6. Cook until beans are bright green but still crispy.

Makes 3 servings (approximate cost: $0.88 per serving).

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Side Dish: Roasted Potatoes with Fresh Thyme

I tried to keep our Thanksgiving dinner relatively simple, prepping some everyday foods, like these roasted potatoes, with a few fancier items.

The majority of the dinner was prepped the night before so I could simply put the food in the oven when I got home from work and entertain instead.

Last week, I shared the Deviled Eggs appetizer (which was all prepped the evening before, and the yolk mix was piped into the eggs moments before serving). Delicious, but our guest was not a fan. Not a complete disaster though, because Bryan loved these deviled eggs and was more than happy to eat the leftovers as a snack for the next few days. And there was still more than enough food, No one would go home hungry.

This week, I’m sharing another dish that was a near disaster… the roasted potatoes. I make roasted potatoes at least once a week. I change up the herbs and spices frequently. However, it’s safe to say that roasted potatoes are a staple around here. How could I mess up something that I make so often you ask? Well… it was my need to prepare everything the day before that almost made me panic (ok, I panicked, but only briefly).

When I pulled my prepped potatoes out of the fridge to pop into the oven, they had turned a bluish-black colour! They looked terrible and I was sure that they had somehow gone rotten in the time since I sliced them to the time I wanted to cook them. I didn’t have any extra potatoes left in the fridge and our guest had already arrived. I thought I was going to have to toss out this side dish. I wanted to cry. Instead, I searched the Internet to see if I could salvage my side dish. Good thing I looked around for an answer because sites such as e-How let me know that this happens, how to avoid it, that it’s still safe to eat the potatoes, and that the unappetizing colour will fade with cooking. Phew! Disaster avoided.

While everything turned out alright, I wouldn’t repeat this time-saver. Slicing potatoes doesn’t take all that long and the black colour didn’t fade from all of the potatoes, so in the future I won’t prep roasted potatoes ahead of time, I’ll slice them and toss them in the oven immediately. I wasted much more time looking for answers on the Internet about the potato situation than I had saved by prepping the dish.

Roasted Potatoes with Fresh Thyme

Ingredients

  • 9 small red potatoes – approximate cost $1.50
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme – approximate cost $0.40
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil – approximate cost $0.10

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash the potatoes.
  3. Cut the potatoes into quarters (or bite-sized pieces).
  4. Mince the fresh thyme.
  5. Combine the potato slices, thyme, sea salt, black pepper, and grapeseed oil in a baking dish.
  6. Toss the potatoes until well coated in the oil and spices.
  7. Bake for about 40 minutes (or until tender when pierced with a fork), turning occasionally so all sides are crispy.

Makes 3 servings (approximate cost: $0.72 per serving).

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Very Belated (American) Thanksgiving

Back in November, when I was taking a break to focus on school, we hosted a small dinner party to celebrate American Thanksgiving. Even though it is now just after Christmas, I’d still like to share this meal with you. Why? Because it was delicious and I feel like it was generic enough to serve for any special occasion.

Last year, our American Thanksgiving dinner was much more traditional.

The Appetizer: Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese and Lemon Juice

The Side Dish: Accordion Potatoes

The Other Side Dish: Spaghetti Squash with Lemon

The Main Course: Turkey with Lemon and Rosemary

The Sauce: Cranberry Raspberry Sauce

The Dessert: Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crust

This year, we decided to change things up for a number of reasons… a whole turkey is just too much for 3-4 people (we got sick of the leftovers) and I worked until 7 pm and needed something that could be prepared quickly.

So this year, the menu consisted of things I could (mostly) prepare the night before and cook quickly when I arrived home.

The menu:

  • Appetizer: Deviled eggs
  • Main dish: Duck breast with a port reduction
  • Side dish: Roasted potatoes with fresh thyme
  • Side dish: Spicy green beans with garlic

Our dear friend W brought home-made treats made by his mother. They were a fantastic way to finish off the meal!

Over the next few posts, I’ll share each of the recipes!

Salad with Organic Peppered Greens, Heirloom Tomatoes, and Cucumber

The steak tartare appetizer went over well. But it was definitely a bit too much for two people. So, for the next hour we chatted and hung out at the dinner table, enjoying some wine gifted to me by one of my best friends (her dad made the wine). The wine was fantastic and Bryan agreed. It’s not often we agree on wine!

Because the appetizer was so filling, the dinner itself was light, meat and a salad (we had plenty of carbs to fill us up from the baguette). Next up was a lovely salad.

Salad with Organic Peppered Greens, Heirloom Tomatoes, and Cucumber

Ingredients

  • 1/8 pound organic peppery salad greens (spicy) – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 small heirloom tomatoes, sliced – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2 mini cucumbers, sliced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Divide the greens into two bowls.
  2. Divide the tomato and cucumber slices evenly between the two bowls.
  3. Drizzle each salad with 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 2 servings (approximate cost: $2.50 per serving).

Roasted Zucchini, Mushrooms, and Peppers with Thyme

Sunday, Dad decided to come home from the lake early, so I decided to go home for a family dinner (despite that there were already plans for all of us to get together the next day for Nana’s birthday). Because the plans were a bit last minute, dinner consisted of leftover shepherd’s pie that I had made earlier in the week, a few roasted vegetables, and pumpkin pie that dad picked up on his way home.

As usual, I made too much food. I find it hard to plan dinner for six. However, leftovers are always welcome, they get packed into lunches for the next day. And we usually sneak a treat or two to the dogs (they got a taste of Shepherd’s pie – Rascal loved it, Rebel picked out the carrots).

Roasted Zucchini, Mushrooms, and Peppers with Thyme

Ingredients

  • 1 large spanish onion, diced – approximate cost $1.25
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.20
  • 800 grams button mushrooms, sliced – approximate cost $3.50
  • 2 zucchinis, sliced – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 green pepper, sliced – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 red peppers, sliced – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 orange pepper, sliced – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced – approximate cost $1.25
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme – approximate cost $0.15

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the onion pieces and cook until softened.
  4. Add garlic and continue to cook until garlic is fragrant.
  5. Remove from heat and transfer to a large baking pan.
  6. Combine onion mixture, mushrooms, zucchini slices, 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme in the baking pan.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Bake vegetables for 7 minutes (or until  they begin to soften).
  9. Remove from oven and add the peppers and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme.
  10. Mix well.
  11. Turn the oven temperature to broil.
  12. Return the vegetables to the oven.
  13. Cook for another 5-7 minutes (or until the vegetables begin to brown).
  14. Remove from oven.
  15. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 8 servings (approximate cost: $1.52 per serving).

Wednesday Link Parties

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Mushrooms Stuffed with Tomatoes and Onion

A few weeks ago, we spent a lovely day with our friend, W, and his girlfriend, S, who we were meeting for the first time. We had a lovely afternoon swimming and relaxing at the beach at a local conservation area. Afterwards, we cooked dinner on the barbecue. There was so much food: stuffed mushrooms, garlic loaf, chicken drumsticks, corn on the cob, mixed vegetables, and homemade cinnamon buns for dessert.

I have a bit of a control issue in the kitchen (not sure if this is surprising to other food bloggers). I’m used to doing everything by myself. I don’t often like having help and tend to be a bit bossy if you somehow convince me you should help. I’m working on getting over this, because I’d love to have Bryan, or friends for that matter, be in the kitchen with me more often and teach me a bit about their food preferences and cooking styles. I tried very hard at W’s home to not be my usual bossy self. Everyone had a part in preparing dinner.

We rarely have barbecued dinners. We have a small camping-sized grill, which is barely large enough to cook dinner for two. So, an entire dinner cooked on the barbecue was very much a treat for Bryan and I. I think the highlight of the meal, for me, was the stuffed mushrooms. I had a strong dislike for mushrooms growing up, and love when I enjoy them as an adult. They were delicious.

Also, the conversation about the mushrooms was hilarious. W isn’t a huge fan of onions and had complained earlier that there were a few too many onions in the mushroom stuffing for his liking (which I totally understand, onions were the other food I disliked as a child). I think S took a few out. Over dinner, everyone was complimenting S on the delicious stuffed mushroom (and they were much deserved compliments). However, Bryan wanted to tease W about his earlier comment by remarking that there were too many onions in his mushrooms… however, he must have remembered my usual dislike for mushrooms at the last second and instead commented on how there was too much mushroom in his mushrooms! Much laughter ensued.

After dinner, we learned to play a game called “Dice,” which was very fun and taught S how to play Euchre. Everything was amazing, company and food. We can’t wait to have another chance to hang out with W and S!

Recently, we tried to replicate the stuffed mushrooms… but we had mostly forgotten what was in them. So, instead of doing the logical thing, which would be to email S and ask, I decided to come up with a similar recipe. (The original recipe includes pizza sauce, I’ve used tomato pieces instead).

What’s your favourite recipe for stuffed mushrooms?

Mushrooms Stuffed with Tomatoes and Onion

Inspired by dinner with W and S

Ingredients

  • 6 large button mushrooms, washed and scrubbed – approximate cost $3.00
  • 1 vine-ripened tomato, chopped – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped finely – approximate cost $0.25
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 6 slices (100 grams or so) old cheddar cheese – approximate cost $1.50

Method

  1. Preheat the broiler in your oven.
  2. Remove the mushroom stems so there is a hollow center in each of the mushroom.
  3. Discard the stems.
    1. Note: S chopped up the stems and included them in the stuffing mixture. I discarded them because there was too much stuffing already (and so I could tease Bryan about how I made sure there was less mushroom in his mushrooms this time).
  4. Combine the tomato and onion pieces, minced garlic, sea salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Stuff each mushroom with some of the tomato mixture.
  7. Top each mushroom with a slice of cheese.
  8. Place under the broiler for 5-7 minutes (or until the cheese is melted and the mushroom begins to soften).
  9. Allow mushrooms to stand for a few minutes.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 6 servings (approximate cost: $0.99 per serving).

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