Blackberry Crumble Bars

 

The fact we can still buy fresh berries at the stores is a wonderful way to carry ‘summer’ through the Fall season as well. This is really yummy. You can also change the berry to any one that is your favourite.

 

  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 10-12 ounces of berries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch baking dish with parchment paper leaving at least 1 inch overhang on two sides.

In a large bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, cornmeal, flour, sugar and salt.  Add the butter and stir together until evenly moistened. Press 2/3 of the dough into the baking dish and sprinkle the berries over the top.

Crumble the remaining dough over the top and bake 38-40 minutes until golden.

Serve warm with sweetened almond flavoured whipping cream.

Yummy…

Rice Pudding, Thanksgiving Style

This is real comfort food at its best. My grandmother made the very best rice pudding in all the world (’tis true) and this just ups it a little, changing the outcome. Give it a whirl, you will absolutely love it.

 

  • 1 x 2 lb. butternut squash, halved, seeded
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2/3 cup, plus 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup long grain white rice
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 2 tbsp. turbinado sugar
  • 1 culinary blowtorch

Turn oven on to 450 degrees. Place each piece of the squash on a sheet of tin foil, add 1/2 tbsp. butter and 1 tsp. sugar. Wrap each one separately, cut side  up, and bake for 1 hour.

Remove from the oven, carefully open and cool slightly, then scoop all the flesh out into a food processor and puree until completely smooth.

While the squash is baking, prepare the next step by heating rice, salt, 4 cups of milk and remaining sugar in a 3 quart saucepan until very hot. Stir this constantly. Transfer to a large metal bowl set over a large pot of simmering water and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the rice is tender. (To get to this point, pour a coffee, turn off the phone, pull up a stool). This step takes 1 hour or a little more.

Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, until well blended. Add the vanilla, ginger, 1 1/3 cups of the squash puree and the half and half. Gradually this to the warm rice, stirring to combine. (Save the balance of the squash for another dish).

Pour this into a buttered 2 qt. oven proof bowl, inside a roasting pan. Take to the oven, then fill with hot water halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake until set 55-60 minutes.

To caramelize the pudding, sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the top and use your little blowtorch to melt the sugar. Use a back and forth motion and be careful not to burn. The torch does a much better job than trying to set under the broiler.

Serve to loving family and friends  and, once more, be thankful for all  you have.

Tagliatelle With Creamy Shrimp Sauce

 

I must have been born in Italy in my first time around. I happen to love pasta, especially Fettucine Alfredo. This is close and just as fabulous.

When cooking pasta, remember not to add oil to the cooking water (sauce will not adhere to the pasta) and do NOT rinse the pasta after cooking. This will only remove the starchy coating of the pasta and, again , the sauce won’t adhere.

Okay, with that in mind, here we go…

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 lbs. shrimp, deveined , tails removed
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups (yup) whipping cream
  • 1 pound Tagliatelle pasta

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water, being sure to add salt now as it will be only only time you can actually season the pasta.

While that is cooking, in a skillet heat the olive oil and add the onion. Cook until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook a further 30-45 seconds, until it becomes fragrant.

In the skillet, add the shrimp and cook, tossing to cook all over, until they turn a beautiful pink colour (about 2-3 minutes).

Add the cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon (about 15 minutes). Do not let this burn. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

When draining the pasta, reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir to coat. Add the shrimp and fold into the pasta. If needed, add the cooking water to make the sauce creamy and yummy.

 

Ice Cream Party Squares

This dessert is great for a party…birthday party…..Brunch celebrations….or just you. Cut in squares as needed and you have your own party.

 

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or chopped pistachios
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup melted butter (not margarine)
  • 1 cup either Butterscotch or chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups either Butterscotch or chocolate sundae sauce
  • 8 cup softened ice cream

Combine the flour, oats, nuts and brown sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter and mix really well. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden. Crumble while still warm and cool completely.

Press one half of the mixture in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Stir the chips into the remaining mixture. Drizzle half of the sauce over the base and start to spoon in the ice cream, making sure it is level.

Drizzle the remaining sauce over the entire surface and cover with the remaining crumbs.

Cover with plastic and freeze completely. The nice thing about this recipe is you can use whatever ice cream you wish. For me? Chapman’s make the best.

Yummy!

Chocolate/Brie Crostini

While watching the news this morning, a Chef from Purdy’s was making these little bites for Christmas gatherings. It looked so good I thought I would share it with you.

 

  • 1 baguette, sliced on an angle and lightly toasted, both sides
  • 200 g of Brie at room temperature, skin removed
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, infused with fresh basil (let sit over night)
  • 70% dark chocolate, chopped fine

Mix together the Brie Cheese with a tablespoon room temperataure butter until well combined.

Brush the crostini with the infused basil olive oil and pile a generous spoon of the cheese on top.

Sprinkle the top of the cheese with chocolate and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for until the chocolate has melted and the brie is starting to ooze (love that word) on the toast.

Upon removing from the oven, a tiny sprinkling of kosher salt on top of the chocolate will elevate this to gourmet.

Serve this with a glass of wine, Christmas music in the background and a roomful of friends. Isn’t that what it is all about?

Enjoy!

 

Chunky Guacamole – Freshly Homemade

With the Grey Cup this weekend and knowing everyone will be glued to the television, this is a lovely guacamole to serve along with tortilla chips, and fresh tomato salsa (on site).

  • 3 avocados- peeled, pitted and mashed
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • pinch of cayenne

In a bowl, mash together the avocado, lime juice and salt. Mix in the onion, cilantro, tomatoes and garlic.

Stir in the cayenne pepper and refrigerate for an hour to let the flavours blend well.

Caramel Apple Crisp

A long time ago, a lady I knew gave me this recipe. Don just loves it and so will you.

 

  • 6 cups of sliced Granny Smith apples (peeled and cored)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 28 unwrapped caramels (or 1 pkg. toffee bits)
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 6 tbsp.  butter
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 Quaker rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Grease a 2 qt. baking  dish and place the sliced apples in. Sprinkle with the lemon juice.

Add the caramels and water in a microwave dish, cover and cook for 2- 2 1/2 minutes until melted. Stir until well blended. Pour this over the apples.

Melt butter and stir in balance of ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle over the caramel mixture.

Bake in 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until the apples are tender.

Serve with cinnamon flavoured whipped cream or ice cream.

YUMMY!

 

Shrimp Stuffed Avocado

You have to read this one to the end. Don has made this a few times and I LOVE it. You will see why. I never knew why,  but this is what love is all about.

 

  • 2 ripe avocados , cut in half
  • 1/4 red onion (NEVER IN BONNIE’S)
  • 1  1/2 cups shrimp, cooked
  • 3 tbsp. mayo
  • 1 ts. white vinegar
  • pinch of dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. worchestershire sauce
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Remove the flesh from the avocado and cube, reserving the skin for filling later.

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients and then carefully stuff the skins.

OMG! This is so yummy. I did not know he had written this about the onion. It must have been done up 25 years ago, when we were first dating. I was going through our recipe box and thought this would be a good one to share. Gotta love this man, I know I sure do.

Gnocchi With Browned Butter and Crisped Sage Leaves

If you are adept at making light and fluffy gnocchi go for it BUT if not, buy them at your nearest Deli and go from there.

  • 1/2 lb. uncooked gnocchi
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 7-8 fresh sage leaves (your own garden, perhaps?)
  • 1  lemon, juiced

Bring water to the boil and cook the gnocchi for about 4-5 minutes until they float. Strain.

In a frypan, melt the butter. Add the gnocchi and toss to coat. Add the sage leaves. Cook on medium heat until the gnocchi is lightly brown and the leaves are crispy.

Add the lemon juice at the very end when the butter is a nice golden brown.

Now to serve this with panache, it should be paired with NK’Mip’s Chardonnay. Perfect match.

 

Caramelized Pecan Tart

This is easy. A bit of a cheater because you can use a packged or frozen crust and spend a couple of minutes making the filling. The end result: OMG this is good.

 

  • 1 pie crust
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1  1/4 cups coarsely chopped, toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Transfer crust to a 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom, making sure to hang the edge of the pastry over so you can fold it up to form a double thick edge.

Whisk the cream, sugar, corn syrup. vanilla and cinnamon in a large saucepan. Stir in the nuts and simmer until the colour changes slightly and the sugar has melted. Spread evenly over the crust and bake for about 25 minutes until golden.

Remove to a rack to cool completely. When ready to serve, remove bottom from pan, slice and add, of course, a generous dollop of cinnamon flavoured whipping cream. Besides, what is dessert without whipping cream? That is like a day without chocolate.

Light As Air Oatmeal Crunchies

This was a wonderful trial and error cookie. It is sooooo darn good, you will have to make more. I know, I have to now. The ingredient that makes this cookie is….read on and you’ll see.

 

  • 1 cup softened butter, not melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1  1/2 cup Quaker oats (not instant)
  • 2 squares of Dalton’s preserved ginger in syrup (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp. ginger syrup
  • Icing sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar for a couple of minutes until really light, smooth and creamy.

Add the flour and combine well. Add the oatmeal , chopped ginger and syrup and mix together.

On parchment lined cookie sheets, shape dough into balls about 1 inch in size. With a fork dipped in water, press lightly on top and turn the sheet and press in the opposite direction (cross hatch).

Bake for about 12-16 minutes just until the edges start to turn a golden colour. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few seconds. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely and then sprinkle the tops with icing sugar.

If you give the family a “taster” you might as well give them all the cookies because they will keep coming back for more. Yes they will.

 

A Valentine Quickie – Dessert Addition, That Is.

So, it’s a play on words. No harm done. This can be an addition to dinner OR because it is a very dark chocolate, eaten with a glass of perfect red wine.

 

  • 1 lb. of good quality darkest chocolate (not bitter chocolate)
  • whipping cream (1/2 cup)
  • healthy sprinkle of sea salt

 

Chop the chocolate roughly so it will melt faster. Put a couple of inches of water in a saucepan and, using a metal bowl, add the cream. When the cream is warm (as in starting to show teeny bubbles on the edges) add the chocolate. With a rubber spatula, keep turning the chocolate around the bowl as it melts, so it doesn’t burn. When completely melted and smooth, remove from the heat.

Lay out parchment paper on a cookie sheet and pour out the chocolate, spreading it equally over the paper. Sparsely and very lightly, sprinkle some sea salt over the surface.

Now take another sheet of parchment paper and lay it on top. With your hands smooth out any high points in the chocolate. Lift the paper and sprinkle the sea salt over the top. Replace the paper, barely touching , and set in the fridge to harden. (Or outside if it is cold where you are living). This should take a couple of hours. Break up into pieces and voila…salted dark chocolate.

As I said, it is absolutely perfect with a glass of red wine….Pinot Noir, French
Merlot or Sangiovese. Yummmmmmm.