Last week, we celebrated Nana’s birthday with a family dinner. I worked from home in the morning and spent the afternoon running around town picking up groceries from various places, shopping for a birthday gift, picking my brother up from his first day at a new job, then home to make dinner.
It was a busy day. I was glad to end the day with a good, home-cooked meal and some time with my family. It was a very typical visit at home: cook, dinner, dessert, walk the dogs, visit a while longer, then I headed home.
Because I had the afternoon off, I got to plan dinner. Nana had specifically requested fish, any kind, so dad asked me to pick up trout. I also stopped by Herrle’s, a farmer’s market just outside town and picked up a bunch of fresh, local vegetables (tomatoes, cucumber, romaine lettuce, and green beans). For dessert, I baked a confetti cake (my family’s favourite). I’ll admit, I took the easy way out with the cake. I used an Angel Food cake mix from a box added a few sprinkles to the batter and a package of Dream whip for the frosting. It was delicious nonetheless.
We all pitched in to bring dinner together.
I chopped tomatoes and cucumber for the salad. My brother and his girlfriend cleaned and trimmed the massive amount of green beans. Dad prepped and baked the fish. My step mother cooked the potatoes on the barbecue. My brother finished working with the green beans quickly, so he helped me tear the romaine lettuce for the salad, then he blanched the green beans.
Amazingly, even with five cooks in the kitchen, we managed to have everything ready at the same time and sat down to a lovely family dinner.
Who cooks when you attend a family dinner? Just one cook or does everyone pitch in?
Trout with Almond Slices, Lemon, Butter, Parsley, Pepper, and Capers
- 4 large trout fillets – approximate cost $25.00
- 1/4 cup lemon juice – approximate cost $1.00
- 1/2 cup almond slices – approximate cost $1.00
- 1/2 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.05
- 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.15
- 1 teaspoon parsley – approximate cost $0.15
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted – approximate cost $1.25
- Capers for serving (optional) – approximate cost $1.50
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Rinse trout fillets with cold water.
- Lay fillets flat on a baking tray.
- Pat dry with a paper towel.
- Drizzle lemon juice and butter over the fish.
- Sprinkle fish with salt, pepper, parsley and almond slices.
- Bake until cooked through.
- Serve with capers and enjoy!
Makes 8 servings (approximate cost: $3.76 per serving).
Monday Link Parties
Posted by Amber on September 3, 2012
This week I’m participating in the Crazy Cooking Challenge hosted by Mom’s Crazy Cooking! This is my first time participating in the challenge and the challenge item happens to be one of my all-time favourite desserts: Cheesecake!
Yes, I have a slight lactose-sensitivity and tend to stay away from ingredients such as cream, milk, cream cheese, sour cream… but I just can’t pass up the opportunity to have a slice of cheesecake. I’ve tried and enjoy vegan cheesecakes, such as the Raw Vegan Summertime Strawberry Cheezecake. However, Bryan isn’t a huge fan of these nut-based desserts… and sometimes I just enjoy a more traditional cheesecake. So I decided to make a dessert we’d both enjoy.
The cheesecake I made is an adaptation of a family recipe. My cousin’s recipe actually. She makes it when the family gets together on holidays. She’s made it with all sorts of fruit toppings, but cherry is by far my favourite, so I decided to experiment with that. I added a few sour cherries and some almond and vanilla extracts. I also reduced the amount of dessert whip for a more dense cake.
What’s your favourite cheesecake flavour?
No Bake Cherry Cheesecake
Adapted from my cousin’s recipe
- 2 and 1/2 cups honey wafer crumbs – approximate cost $2.75
- 1/2 cup salted butter, melted – approximate cost $1.00
- 1 container of dessert whip, thawed – approximate cost $2.50
- 2 packages of plain cream cheese, softened – approximate cost $5.00
- 1 teaspoon almond extract – approximate cost $0.30
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract – approximate cost $0.30
- 1 can of cherry pie filling – approximate cost $1.25
- 1 jar sour cherries, pitted – approximate cost $2.50
- Prepare the bottom layer.
- Combine 2 and 1/2 cups honey wafer crumbs and 1/2 cup melted butter.
- Mix well.
- Press the crumb mixture into a 9×13 baking dish.
- Prepare the middle layer
- Use a beater to whip 2 packages of softened plain cream cheese until smooth.
- Add the dessert whip.
- Mix until well combined.
- Pour over crumb mixture.
- Spread cream cheese filling into an even layer.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Prepare the top layer.
- In a bowl, combine the cherry pie filling and sour cherries.
- Pour over cream cheese filling.
- Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.
Makes 12 servings (approximate cost: $1.30 per serving).
Tuesday Link Parties
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Posted by Amber on August 7, 2012
I’m so excited to be participating in another Improv Challenge hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker!
I actually had thought I missed the Improv Challenge . Somehow I had convinced myself that the posts needed to be up on June 15th. A big thank you to Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake who pointed out that I had misread the date and still had a week to write the post!
This month’s ingredients are cherries and almonds. I don’t recall ever pairing these ingredients. However, I’ve been assured over the last month that I would love it. And I do!
My cherry and almond recipe is inspired by the heat wave going on right now. It was 32 degrees Celsius today (89.6 degrees Fahrenheit). I didn’t want to turn the oven on to bake (we don’t have A/C). So I made an icy drink instead. I enjoy it very much! Bryan’s not a fan of the texture of the ground almonds. I’ll make this with an almond extract next time.
Icy Drink with Cherries and Almonds
- 1/3 cup raw almonds – approximate cost $1.00
- 1/2 cup frozen cherries – approximate cost $1.00
- 2 sprigs of mint leaves – approximate cost $0.06
- 1 cup water
- 10 ice cubes
- Soak almonds in a glass of water for at least 2 hours.
- Drain almonds.
- Blend almond in blender until finely ground.
- Add cherries and continue to blend.
- Add water and ice cubes.
- Blend until smooth (you may need to add a bit more water).
- Serve in two tall glasses and garnish with sprigs of mint leaves.
Makes 2 servings (approximate cost: $1.03 per serving).
Posted by Amber on June 21, 2012
Last week I told you about the Steamed Mussels in Coconut Milk. In fact, the day I posted the recipe I came across a fantastic deal on mussels and made the recipe for dinner. This was the first time that Bryan had the opportunity to taste this recipe. He loved it! It’s something I will likely make again soon. Because it’s tasty. Also because there’s a heat wave and I don’t want to turn on the oven. I went so far as to say it was my favourite recipe from the class. When I said that it was my favourite recipe, I had forgotten about this next recipe for Arctic Char Meunière, which is also fantastic and shares the title of favourite recipe from the Sustainable Seafood class.
Meunière can be made with almost any fish. The ingredients are the same, but the cooking time of the fish will vary. I’ve made this recipe twice at home now. Once with Boston Bluefish (I later found out this is more commonly known as Pollock, which is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury, making it a very healthy option) and another time with Haddock (another fish that tends to be very low in mercury).
I’ve found the recipe is easiest to prepare if you can find a fillet of fish that is very thick and still has the skin on. If the fillet is thick, it is easier to tell when it needs to be flipped and when it is cooked through. Having the skin left on keeps the fish from falling apart in the frying pan.
There’s still two more fantastic seafood recipes coming your way over the next week.
As a side note, Loki had her first play-date with a puppy. I’m very excited about this because, even though they didn’t really play much, the interaction was a positive one. There was no cowering, growling, hissing, or scratching. Although the puppy barked at Loki a few times trying to get her to play. Loki doesn’t know this yet, but one day she will have a puppy brother or sister.
Arctic Char Meunière
Recipe by (and posted with permission from) Chef Mark Brown, demonstration at Relish Cooking Studio
- 6 fillets of arctic char, about 4 ounces each, skin on – approximate cost $12.00
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour – approximate cost $0.75
- 1 tablespoon olive oil – approximate cost $0.10
- 1/2 cup salted butter – approximate cost $1.50
- 1/4 cup chopped seaweed (optional) – approximate cost $0.50
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest – approximate cost $0.10
- 6 purple potatoes (or any other small potato, purple gives the dish more colour) – approximate cost $2.50
- 1 sprig of thyme – approximate cost $0.25
- 3 cloves garlic – approximate cost $0.75
- 1 teaspoon salted butter – approximate cost $0.15
- 1 cup green beans, trimmed – approximate cost $2.00
- 1 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.05
- 1 tablespoon salted butter – approximate cost $0.25
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (optional) – approximate cost $1.00
- Prepare the potatoes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wrap potatoes, a sprig of thyme, garlic, and 1 teaspoon of butter in foil.
- Bake in the oven until just tender (about 35 minutes).
- Prepare the green beans.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt.
- Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.
- Blanch the green beans in the boiling salted water.
- When the beans are just beginning to soften, remove from the boiling water and place in ice bath to stop the cooking.
- Prepare the fish.
- Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Dredge the fish with flour.
- Shake off the excess flour.
- Sear the fish, skin side down, until evenly browned and crisp (cooked about 3/4 of the way through).
- Flip the fish and finish cooking through completely.
- Remove fish to a paper towel.
- Using the same pan, add the remainder of the half cup of butter.
- Cook over medium-low heat until the butter begins to brown.
- Add the lemon zest and seaweed (optional) to the butter and swirl in the pan for added flavour.
- Sautée the purple potatoes and green beans in a separate pan.
- Place a portion of fish, potatoes, and green beans on each plate.
- Spoon the brown butter sauce over each serving.
- Sprinkle with a few slivered almonds.
- Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings (approximate cost: $3.65 per serving).
Posted by Amber on June 20, 2012
I’m not one for sweets. Yet, you’ll notice that lately I’ve been writing more about desserts such as Raw Apple Crumble, and Raw Chocolate Truffles with Cashew Kream. I’m sure you’ve already noticed a theme: these desserts are raw. I usually skip desserts because they taste too sweet for my liking. Raw desserts, on the other hand, I enjoy. They use natural sweeteners such as honey or agave nectar. And I find that there’s more flexibility to tone down the sweetness than with traditional baked desserts where, if you cut down on sugar, you could potentially ruin the dish (e.g. a pastry doesn’t thicken).
This Raw Apple Cobbler is only slightly different from the Raw Apple Crumble. I really like the added apple sauce, which I find distributes the flavours well throughout the dish. Whereas, with the apple crisp, the apple filling and the crust are distinct.
As I mentioned in my post about Raw seaweed wraps with vegetables and herbs, B isn’t fond of raw foods, so I heated his portion in the microwave to soften the apples a bit. While he still prefers a traditional baked apple cobbler, heating this dish allowed him to enjoy it as well.
Raw Apple Cobbler
Adapted from Loving it Raw
- 6 medium Macintosh or Cortland apples (or any other type of apple that you prefer) – approximate cost $2.50
- 1/2 cup raisins soaked for at least two hours – approximate cost $0.50
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon – approximate cost $0.10
- 1 lemon cut into slices – approximate cost $0.75
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional) – approximate cost $0.10
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar (or honey) – approximate cost $0.50
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts – approximate cost $1.50
- 1/2 cup almonds – approximate cost $1.00
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil – approximate cost $0.25
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar (or honey) – approximate cost $0.50
- 3/4 cup (approximately 9-10) medjool dates, soaked and pitted – approximate cost $1.50
- Soak raisins and medjool dates in separate bowls for at least two hours. (I tend to start soaking in the morning and prepare the dish when I get home in the evening.)
- Prepare the crust.
- Combine walnuts and almonds in a food processor and process until the nuts are finely chopped.
- Add coconut oil and medjool dates (ensure they are pitted) and process until the mixture starts to become sticky and is well blended.
- Press the mixture into a 9×13 baking dish and drizzle with agave nectar (or honey).
- Place crust in the fridge to harden while you prepare the filling.
- Prepare the filling.
- Core all of the apples and set three aside.
- Slice 3 apples in the food processor and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Squeeze half of the lemon, covering as many of the apples as possible with the juice.
Note: Add the lemon juice before any other ingredients to prevent the apples from turning brown.
- Sprinkle apples with ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon and raisins.
- Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of agave nectar (or honey).
- Toss the apple mixture until it is well coated and set aside.
- Add remaining 3 apples, ½ teaspoon of vanilla, and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to the food processor and process until mixture becomes a sauce.
- Put the cobbler together.
- Pour the apple slices on top of the crust. Move the slices as needed to create a mostly even layer.
- Pour the apple sauce mixture over top of the apple slices.
Serve immediately or put in the fridge and save for later. I find it tastes best when served at room temperature
Makes about 8 servings (approximate cost: $1.15 per serving).
Posted by Amber on December 23, 2011
I’ll be participating in a bake sale tomorrow, with the proceeds being donated to a local charity. You might have noticed from the nature of my posts, I don’t often bake sweets. Honestly, because I rarely follow a recipe step-by-step the result usually isn’t quite right. At first, I thought it might be nice to prepare some finger foods such as dumplings or other such appetizers. Being that I would have to prepare this on a weeknight, I ruled out that option as too time consuming.
Then, I looked to the Raw Cooking Workshop that I attended at the beginning of the month. I sifted through the recipe book that Renee prepared for us, but nothing was quite what I was looking for. As my mind drifted and I began looking forward to a weekend shopping trip at the market, I found my inspiration: it’s apple season! I will make something with apples. What can I make with apples? Apple pie, apple sauce, apple crumble, baked apples, candied apples… the options seemed endless. However, I still liked the idea of making a raw dish.
Apple crumble seemed like the least intensive item to prepare on a weeknight. I searched the Internet for “raw apple crumble” and found two recipes that seemed appropriate: Raw Apple Crisp from Raw Food Passion and RAW Vegan Apple Crisp from A Taste of Raw. I ended up taking suggestions from both recipes and came up with the following recipe for apple crumble.
Raw Apple Crumble
Adapted from Raw Food Passion and A Taste of Raw
- 2 cups raw nuts (any combination, 1 used ½ cup walnuts, 1 cup almonds, ½ cup cashews, could also include pecans, sunflower seeds, etc.) – approximate cost $4.00
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut flakes – approximate cost $1.00
- 8 (about a ½ cup) medjool dates, soaked and pitted – approximate cost $2.00
- 2 tablespoons of agave nectar – approximate cost $0.25
- 4-6 apples (I used Macintosh), cored and thinly sliced – approximate cost $3.00
- 1 lemon, squeezed/juiced – approximate cost $0.50
- 1/2 cup raisins, soaked – approximate cost $0.50
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon – approximate cost $0.10
- ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg – approximate cost $0.05
- 2 tablespoons of agave nectar – approximate cost $0.25
Preparing to make this dish
- Soak the medjool dates and raisins for 2-3 hours or until softened.
- Core and slice apples into thin pieces. (This can be done with a paring knife and a lot of patience, or much more quickly using a food processor).
Prepare the filling
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the sliced apples with lemon juice and agave nectar, then set aside.
- Let the mixture marinate on the counter for 1-2 hours.
- Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and raisins to the apple mixture and mix well.
Prepare the crumble
- Place nuts and coconut in a food processor (or blender) and process until coarsely ground.
- Add dates and process until the mixture begins to stick together.
Assembling the dish
- Press the crumble into 8″ square glass baking dish to make an even and solid crust.
- Drizzle the crust with 2 tablespoons of agave nectar.
- Pour the apple filling mixture over the crumble and arrange into a mostly even layer.
Enjoy immediately or chill and save later. Serve at room temperature or warm it slightly in an oven turned to its lowest temperature with the door propped open.
Makes 9 servings (approximate cost: $1.29 per serving).
Posted by Amber on October 26, 2011