Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Cranberries and Pecans

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Cranberries and Pecans


Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite winter green vegetables and they make for great side dishes. You can steam them, boil them, roast them or saute them. You can serve them whole, sliced or even shredded. You can add so many things to them to make them interesting and each time you can try something new. You really can't go wrong with starting with some bacon as I have done here. One of the good things about adding bacon is that you can toss the sprouts in some of the bacon grease adding a ton more bacon flavour to the dish. I know, I know, green vegetable side dishes should be healthier. :) With the holidays still on my mind I finished this brussels sprouts dish off with some toasted pecans and some dried cranberries.

Have a great Halloween!

See the Similar Recipes section below for some of my favorite ways to enjoy brussels sprouts.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Green Tomato and Jalapeno Jam

Roasted Acorn Squash with Green Tomato and Jalapeno Jam


Sides are an important part of any meal and it seems that I have been neglecting them a bit as of late. Thanksgiving dinner was a helpful reminder and now I am getting back into the swing of things. There was a big sale on acorn squash recently and I picked up a bunch of them and they needed to be used. Squash makes for great side dishes and I normally cut it up into cubes or mash it. I had been wanting to try roasting an acorn squash half where the hollowed out middle was filled with something and with the green tomato and jalapeno jam on my mind I thought that it would be a perfect fit. This acorn squash side dish was really easy to make; you cut an acorn squash in half, scoop out the seeds, fill it with the green tomato and jalapeno jam and roast it in the oven until it is tender. The roasted acorn squash with green tomato and jalapeno jam turned out really well! The sweet squash and the tangy and spicy jam was a great combo and it went well with the chicken baked in green tomato and jalapeno jam that I served it with. One of the things that I liked about cooking the acorn squash this way was the variety of ways to serve it. You can serve it as sliced or you can scoop all of the middles out and mash them up or if you're lazy you can just eat it directly from the shell with a spoon.

Chicken Baked in Green Tomato and Jalapeno Jam

Chicken Baked in Green Tomato and Jalapeno Jam


A while ago when I made the green tomato and jalapeno jam I had been planning on using it in a baked chicken dish but other things came up and I forgot about all it. I was rummaging through my fridge the other day when I came across a jar of the jam and I immediatly thought of making it. This is certainly a dead simple recipe; you just brush some of the green tomato and jalapeno jam with some grainy mustard mixed in onto the chicken and bake it. The jam coating helps keep the chicken nice and moist and tender while it bakes. The sweet, tangy, tart and spicy green tomato and jalapeno jam and mustard combo worked really well on the baked chicken adding a really nice set of complex and tasty flavours. I always like it when simple, effortless dishes turn out to be so good! I served the chicken in green tomato and jalapeno jam with acorn squash glazed in green tomato and jalapeno jam and some brussels sprouts with bacon, dried cranberries and chopped toasted pecans .

Egg Salad Sandwich

Egg Salad Sandwich


After two and a half years of serious cooking I still find it fascinating that I can come across foods that seem to be staples that are found every where and yet I have neither tried them nor made them. I recently came across one such food, the egg salad sandwich, when I made a simple egg salad to go into the BELT (Bacon Egg Lettuce Tomato) Sandwich that I recently made. I quite enjoyed the egg salad part of the sandwich and I knew that I would have to try a more standard egg salad sandwich. After all of the pumpkin roasting and cooking recently I was looking for a nice and simple meal and I immediatly thought of finally getting around to making an egg salad sandwich. An egg salad sandwich is essentially mashed hard boiled eggs with mayonnaise. From there you can add anything that you like and I went with a simple one with some dijon and grainy mustards, and some green onions and celery. The egg salad sandwich was certainly easy to make and it was really good despite being so simple. You just can't seem to go wrong with using mayo as the binder for salads! I can't wait to experiment more with egg salads. Hmmm... maybe I could add some capers or maybe a curried egg salad sandwich or...

Chicken and Chanterelles on Spinach and Wild Rice

Chicken and Chanterelles on Spinach and Wild Rice


Hello, my name is Kevin and I am a mushroom fanatic! This weekend I came across one of my favorite local seasonal items, chanterelle mushrooms, and I picked some up immediately even though they weren't on my meal plan. While I was thinking about what to do with them, my one criteria was that it be something on the lighter side as I had recently eaten way too much pumpkin pie. I almost always start my mushrooms dishes of by sauteing them with some onions and garlic until they are nice and golden brown and slightly caramelized and good. From there you can go any number of ways but I thought that I would go with turning it into a mushroom sauce and serving it over a chicken breast. I added some thyme, a splash of white wine, and some chicken stock to turn it into a sauce which I finished off with a touch of cream. To keep the meal on the healthier side I served it on a bed of wild rice with onions, celery and carrots and to that I added some steamed spinach for something green. The chicken and chanterelles dinner was nice and easy to make and it turned out great! The chanterelles mushroom sauce was so tasty and it was definitely the star of the show. Though the wild rice was tasty by itself, the excess mushroom sauce dripped onto it and the spinach infusing them both with even more flavour! What a great way to enjoy the seasonal chanterelle mushrooms!

Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Crust

Pumpkin Pie

When I think of Halloween the first thing that I think about is pumpkins and when I think about pumpkins the first thing that comes to mind is pumpkin pie. A pumpkin pie is pretty simple; at its base it is pumpkin puree along with some eggs to bind it and help it set, some sugar to sweeten it and of course the pumpkin pie spice blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. From there you can play around with the recipe to make it your own. In my case I added some cream to make give it a nice creamy texture and I could not resist adding a hint of maple. For a crust you could go with a pastry crust or a graham cracker crumb crust but I have been enjoying gingersnap cookies lately and I thought that they would make for a perfect crust for a pumpkin pie. With the crust made and the filling mixed all that is left to do is to bake it until the filling sets. One of my favorite parts of the pumpkin pie is that it smells amazing when it bakes. It is so hard to wait for it to cool down before digging into it. I served my pumpkin pie with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce which added a beautifully salty contrast to the sweet pie. Other common toppings include whipped cream, ice cream, etc.

Pumpkin Pie Milkshake

Pumpkin Pie Milkshake


With pumpkins being in season I have been roasting them to make and freeze pumpkin puree for use later. By the end of the day my place was pretty hot from having the the oven on so much. While I was thinking about how warm my place was I remembered seeing this recipe for a pumpkin pie milkshake on Our Best Bites that sounded like the perfect way to beet the heat and enjoy some of the freshly pureed pumpkin. With the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spices and the brown sugar, this drink is pretty much just a pumpkin pie in milkshake form. There is even a graham cracker garnish to remind you of the pies crust.

For the most part I left the original recipe as it was though, I did replace the vanilla ice cream with frozen vanilla yogurt and I garnished the milkshake with crumbled gingersnaps rather than graham crackers. This milkshake was literally as easy to make as throwing the ingredients together and blending. You can easily control the consistency of the shake by changing the amount of milk that you use. If you like a really thick shake, only use just enough milk that the ice cream or frozen yogurt will puree in the bender. If you like a thinner shake then you just need to add some more milk. The pumpkin pie milkshake was so good! It was nice and thick and the pumpkin pie flavours came through really well. It was a great seasonal treat and it was nice and refreshing after having the oven on all day long. I know that I will be enjoying a few more of these shakes while I still have some pumpkin puree on hand!

Italian Lentil and Chestnut Stew

Italian Lentil and Chestnut Stew


When I was at the market on the weekend I came across some chestnuts and since I had not even seen chestnuts in a while so I immediatly picked some up. When I got home I looked through my bookmarks for interesting recipes with chestnuts I came across this one for an Italian lentil and chestnut stew on Mostly Eating that sounds really good. Most of the time when I have used chestnuts in the past it has been in sweet dishes and I liked the sound of using them in a savoury stew for a change. I also liked that this stew used lentils which I have been wanting to use more often. I pretty much stuck to the original recipe though I swapped some thyme in for the rosemary and I tossed in the rind of some parmigiano reggiano for some extra flavour.

The first thing that I needed to do was to get the chestnuts out of their shells and there are two ways to do so; I went with roasting the chestnuts but you could also go with boiling . The lentil and chestnut stew turned out really well! Between roasting the chestnuts and cooking the stew, my apartment was filled with some amazing aromas. The stew was nice and light and healthy and tasty and good! The chestnuts worked really well in the stew adding a nice hint of flavour and a nice contrasting texture. I served the stew with some cheesy garlic toast and garnished it with a bit of grated parmigiano reggiano. What a perfectly seasonal stew for a cool autumn day!

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup


Pumpkins are definitely in season now and I have been roasting them up to make and freeze pumpkin puree for later. When I came across the idea of a pumpkin and black bean soup on gimme some oven I diverted some of my pumpkin puree from the freezer and into making the soup. I have enjoyed the sweet pumpkin and creamy black bean combo in several other dishes in the past so I knew that this soup would be a winner. This pumpkin and black bean soup is a pretty standard vegetable soup that is nice and easy and focuses on the pumpkin and black beans. The soup is seasoned with some texmex flavours including some smoky chipotle chili powder for some heat and some cumin and cilantro to round it out. I was looking for a lighter soup so I went with a vegetarian version but you could easily make this soup a little heartier by adding cubed cooked ham or bacon, both of which would also add a ton of flavour. One of the things that I like about soups like this is that you can easily control how thick or thin the soup is by controlling how much broth you use and how much you puree the soup. I made my soup nice and thick and I increased the amount of chili powder for some extra heat which went perfectly with the sweet pumpkin. I garnished the soup with some fresh chopped cilantro and chipotle toasted pumpkin seeds .

Fried Green Tomato Parmesan

Fried Green Tomato Parmesan


When I was at the farmers on the weekend I came across some green tomatoes which was perfect as I had just seen a recipe for a fried green tomato parmesan on Christies Corner that I had wanted to try. I like fried green tomatoes and I like a nice eggplant parmesan and I really liked the sound of combining the two. How could you go wrong with crispy fried tangy green tomatoes smothered in a tasty tomato sauce and drowned in melted cheese? Luckily I had some frozen marinara sauce that I had made earlier so the fried green tomato parmesan was as easy as frying the tomatoes, covering them with the marinara sauce and cheese and baking it all until the cheese was nice and melted and golden brown. The tangy fried green tomatoes worked really well in the parmesan dish and I liked the texture that the corn meal crust added to the dish. I wonder what other things can be used in 'parmesan' dishes like this? I am going to have to do some experimenting.

Grilled Turkey and Brie Sandwich with Cranberry Chutney

Grilled Turkey and Brie Sandwich with Cranberry Chutney
In amongst all of the Thanksgiving roast turkey dinner leftovers and turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce last week I tried something new. I had a bunch of leftover cranberry chutney and I was wondering what to do with it. One of the first things that I thought of was the baked brie with cranberry sauce that I had tried a while ago and really enjoyed. I then thought that it would also work well in sandwich form. You can't really go wrong with a sandwich that starts with lots of ooey gooey melted brie and I already knew that the cranberry chutney would go well with all of the melted cheese. Since I also still had some leftover roast turkey I could not see why I shouldn't add some to the sandwich while I was at it. So I ended up with a grilled turkey and brie sandwich with cranberry chutney and it turned out great! The melted brie and sweet and tangy cranberry chutney along with the turkey was a great flavour combo and the slightly crisp buttery bread that wrapped it all up was the perfect finish. I can't wait for some more leftover turkey and cranberry sauce to make this sandwich again.

Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake Turtle Bread

Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake Turtle Bread


Pumpkins are in season and really cheap right now so I have a few of them on hand just waiting to be used. When I recently came across this recipe for a pumpkin caramel cheesecake bread on Culinary Concoctions by Peabody I knew exactly what I would be using one of those pumpkins for. How could I resist making this? With pumpkin, caramel and cheesecake all rolled up into one there was no way that I could. I pretty much just used the recipe as it was, though I cut back on some of the sugar and replaced half of the flour with whole wheat flour. One of the things that I really like about quick breads is that they are so easy to make. You pretty much just mix all of the ingredients and then bake it. This quick bread had the added step of mixing the cheesecake filling but it was still really easy to make. While the bread was baking my apartment was filled with an amazing pumpkin and caramel aroma and by the time that it was done I could barley wait for it to cool to try it. The pumpkin caramel cheesecake turtle bread was so good! The cheesecake layer helped keep the bread nice and moist and it went really well in the bread. The caramel and pumpkin flavour combo was simply amazing and of course it never hurts to add chocolate and pecans. I certainly am looking forward to having this for breakfasts this week!

Turkey Salad Sandwich

Turkey Salad Sandwich


I have to say that my favorite part of the roast turkey dinner has to be the leftovers. There are just so many different things that you can do with the leftovers and it is always fun coming up with creative new ways to use them. Before I start using the leftovers for creative things however I have to have at least one turkey and cranberry sauce sandwich . I had been thinking of mayo based 'salads' since I made the egg salad BLT and it seemed pretty obvious to try a turkey salad sandwich and I was a bit surprised that I had not thought of it earlier. Along with the turkey and mayo I went with some other classic chicken salad sandwich ingredients including celery and green onions. From there I went with some seasonal ingredients including some pecans, dried cranberries and sage and I finished everything off with some crisp and juicy apple. This sandwich was literally as easy as mixing all of the salads ingredients and assembling the sandwich. I really enjoyed the turkey salad sandwich and I will definitely be making it again! How can you really go wrong with a salad that is held together with mayo? The crunchy pecans and the crisp celery and apple added a really nice contrasting texture and the turkey, pecan and cranberry combo really reminded me of holiday flavours.

Maple Pecan Ice Cream

Maple Pecan Ice Cream


I served a sweet potato pecan pie to finish off my Thanksgiving dinner this year. The fact that the pie was already composed of two already great pies was not enough and I tried to make dessert even better by topping it off with some ice cream. At first I was thinking just some simple vanilla ice cream would do and then I thought; Why stop there? I could make it a maple ice cream and it would be including some of the flavours from the pie that it would be topping. Thinking of working similar flavours into the ice cream my next thought was to add some pecans because nuts always go well in ice cream. I had finally arrived at a maple pecan ice cream which sounded really good.

There was just one last thing to add to the ice cream, a splash of bourbon. I like to add a touch of alcohol to my homemade ice creams as it helps to keep the ice cream from freezing into a solid brick. The consistency of the ice cream straight from the freezer is always nice with the alcohol and there is no need to wait for the ice cream to start to thaw out before eating it. Since I was also including a splash of bourbon in the pie it was the natural choice for the ice cream in this case.

For the base of the ice cream I used a pretty standard combo of milk, cream and eggs and the maple syrup provided all of the sweetness without the need for extra sugar. I toasted the pecans in some butter and brown sugar to 'candy' them before adding them to the ice cream. Other than candying the pecans this ice cream was a pretty standard ice cream and thus really easy to make. You pretty much just make the custard, chill it and then throw it into your ice cream maker. The maple pecan ice cream turned out so well! If you like maple then this ice cream will be the perfect treat! The maple flavour came through nice an strong and the candied pecans provided a great texture and flavour. One of the things that I liked most about the ice cream was that I could make it the day before and not add to the load on the day of the big meal. I will definitely be making this ice cream again and again.

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

Although I tend to spend a long time thinking about and planning the side dishes for holiday dinners you just can't forget about the dessert! When I recently discovered the sweet potato casserole I was amazed at how well sweet potatoes work in sweet dessert like dishes and I have been wanting to try using them to make a sweet potato pie since. I was set to make a sweet potato pie for my Thanksgiving meal this year but just before I came across the concept of a sweet potato pecan pie which sounded so good that I had to quickly change my plans. A sweet potato pecan pie is essentially a pie with a layer of sweet potato pie topped with a layer of pecan pie . How can you go wrong rolling up two great pies into one? I just had to try it!

Roasted Butternut Squash with Caramelized Onions, Gorgonzola and Crispy Fried Sage

Roasted Butternut Squash with Caramelized Onions, Gorgonzola and Crispy Fried Sage


Pumpkin (or squash) and sweet potatoes are two more ingredients that I find that I think about when planning a holiday dinner and I like to try to include them as often as possible. This year I knew that I would be using some sweet potatoes in the dessert so I wanted to include some pumpkin or squash in the main course. Since I already had some sage for the parmesan and sage roasted turkey and some gorgonzola in the blue cheese green been casserole I got to thinking about this roasted butternut squash and caramelized onion pizza with gorgonzola and crispy fried sage that I had made a while ago and liked so much. I figured I could take all of the ingredients of the pizza and turn it into a really tasty side dish. The recipe that I came up with is a little bit time consuming but pretty straight forward. You start by roasting the butternut squash until it is nice and tender and slightly caramelized and then you slowly caramelize some onions until they have browned and become super sweet. Next you brown some butter and fry some sage until crispy and then toss every thing in the browned butter. The sweet roasted butternut squash and caramelized onions went so well with the tangy blue cheese that was just starting to melt and become even more creamy and good! Overall this ended up being a really tasty side dish that I will be making again.

Blue Cheese Green Bean Casserole

Blue Cheese Green Bean Casserole


I don't know what it is about the green bean casserole but I have been fascinated by it ever since I discovered it last year and it has quickly become a staple in my holiday meals. Of course I have always been making it from scratch and I have been experimenting with it each time I make it. This year I had a kind of blue cheese thing going on with the side dishes and I thought that a blue cheese green bean casserole would be a nice idea. Blue cheese and mushrooms are a great combination and since I like to have a strong representation of mushrooms in my green bean casserole it seemed like a natural thing to do. I pretty much just took my regular green bean casserole recipe and melted some gorgonzola dolce into the bechamel sauce . Since I also like to saute some onion along with the mushrooms and since I was going to be slowly caramelizing some onions for another dish I figured that I would just make extra and add some amazing caramelized oniony goodness to the casserole as well. I have to say that this years blue cheese green bean casserole was the best green bean casserole yet! The tangy blue cheese went well with the sweet caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms in the creamy bechamel that covered the green beans. The crispy fried onions topped the side off perfectly adding a nice contrasting texture.

Cranberry Chutney

Cranberry Chutney

You just can't have a Thanksgiving turkey dinner without cranberry sauce and this year I wanted to change things up a bit. Last year I tried a jalapeno cranberry sauce and I really enjoyed it and I was thinking that this year I would take it one step further. I was thinking about a cranberry chutney. I generally start my chutneys off with some onion, garlic, ginger, jalapeno peppers, turmeric, sugar and vinegar. From there I add the main flavouring, in this case the cranberries and then some some spices and extras to try to round things off. Because the cranberries are tart I decided to add some sweet raisins to balance things out rather than increasing the amount of sugar. Cranberry sauce is more of a holiday dish so I swapped out the turmeric for some pumpkin/apple pie type of spices to give it that holiday feel. The cranberry chutney turned out really well. It was a nice balance of tart, sweet, spicy and hot and it did a great job filling in for the cranberry sauce in the Thanksgiving meal. I am now looking forward to seeing how I can enjoy using the leftover cranberry chutney.

Parmesan and Sage Roasted Turkey Breast

Parmesan and Sage Roasted Turkey Breast

This weekend is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and I would like to take the opportunity to wish everyone that is celebrating a Happy Thanksgiving!!

It had been a long time since I last had roast turkey dinner so there was no doubt at all that that would be on the menu this Thanksgiving. The only question was; What kind of roast turkey? I was all set to do a simple herbed roast turkey when I came across this recipe for a parmesan and sage roasted turkey on myrecipes that sounded really good. Of course sage would go great with the turkey but I was interested to see how the parmigiano reggiano would work on a roasted turkey. One of the things that I liked about this recipe is the attention that is paid to the gravy from the start including adding vegetables to the roasting pan simply to flavour the turkey drippings for the gravy.

Imam Baildi

Imam Baildi


When I was at the farmers market picking up the red peppers and the tomatoes for the gemista that I recently made, I could not resist picking some up some eggplants and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. Another one of the more memorable dishes that I tried in Greece was a slow roasted eggplant dish that was covered in a really simple and tasty tomato and onion sauce. Once again I was surprised that something with so few apparent ingredients could be so tasty! Not wanting the eggplant to be left out of the slow roasted vegetable fun I was planning on trying to reproduce the dish at home. I did not catch the name of the dish while I was in Greece but after a quick search I came across a recipe for imam baildi by Peter on on Kalofagas that seemed to have all the right ingredients.

The version of this dish that I had in Greece was very oily and I decided to try to cut down on the olive oil as much as possible. Normally the eggplant shells would have been fried in oil but I went with oven roasting them as I really enjoy oven roasted eggplant and it does not need a lot of oil. Other than the eggplant I used perfectly ripe field tomatoes in the sauce and I let the sauce slowly simmer until it thickened to let all of the flavours come out. The final step was to fill the eggplants with the sauce and slowly roast them in the oven until everything was nice and tender and the tomatoes on the top started to caramelize. The imam bayildi turned out really well! Everything was nice and tender and just packed full of amazing flavour. Though the photo looks a little dry, once you cut into it, all of the juices started to flow and it was actually nice and moist. I served the imam baildi with feta and some crusty bread.

I was thinking that another way to do this would be to use broiled sliced eggplant instead of the eggplant shells. I would place the eggplant slices on the bottom of a baking dish and then just cover everything with the tomato and onion sauce. I will try it this way next time and I imagine that I will need to double or triple the sauce recipe. This way should be a bit easier than having to scoop out the eggplant and use it as a shell.

Gemista (Greek Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers)

Gemista (Greek Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers)


There are so many great vegetables at the farmers market these days and with the temperatures cooling down I am no longer as hesitant about having the oven going for long periods of time. Being able to have the oven on opens up the possibility of slowly roasting those vegetables from the farmers market to bring out their full flavour. One of the roasted vegetable dishes on my to do list was gemista/yemista or Greek stuffed vegetables. When I visited Greece on vacation last year I had the opportunity to sample both stuffed tomatoes and stuffed peppers and I enjoyed them so much that I wanted to try making them at home. What surprised me about the gemista was how simple they seemed ingredient wise and yet they were so full of flavour! My feeling was that using high quality ingredients and slowly roasting them into caramelized perfection was what made them so good. I decided to wait until it was tomato and red pepper season to try making the gemista so that I would be starting with perfectly ripe specimens.

The gemista that I had in Greece were vegetarian but I wanted to try a meat version and I was thinking about using lamb but since I had just had lamb recently I decided to go with beef. From there I went with some standard Greek ingredients including some oregano and a bunch of fresh herbs. I used a simple tomato sauce in the filling and I roasted the tomatoes in the sauce to give it even more flavour. The stuffed peppers and tomatoes were pretty easy to make, you pretty much just mix the filling ingredients, stuff the tomatoes and peppers and slowly roast them in the oven. The hardest part about the recipe was waiting for them to slowly roast while they were filling my place with an amazing aroma. When I pulled the gemista out of the oven the tomatoes and peppers were roasted to perfection and they were so soft and tender that you could easily cut through them with a fork. The filling was nice and moist and juicy and just it was just packed with flavour. I served the gemista with a slab of feta which made for a really tasty meal.

Zucchini and Green Chile Egg Breakfast Casserole

Zucchini and Green Chile Breakfast Casserole


With all of the great fall produce around it seems that I have not had zucchini in a while and I think that I may been having withdrawal symptoms. This recipe for a zucchini and green chili breakfast casserole from Kalyn's Kitchen has been on my mind since I saw it and I finally had to give in and make it. I have made and enjoyed egg breakfast casseroles with jalapenos and baked egg dishes with zucchini in the past, and I liked the sound of combining the zucchini with the spicy green chilies in an egg breakfast casserole. I stuck fairly close to the recipe, though I decided to use grated zucchini as I like the way that it melds in without disturbing the overall texture of the baked egg too much. I also had an almost finished jar of pickled jalapeno peppers that I added for a bit of extra heat. Egg casseroles like this are as easy to make as; mix, pour and bake and they make a lot so you have leftovers for a few really quick and tasty breakfasts during the week. This zucchini and green chili egg casserole turned out as well as I had been anticipating! I served the casserole with some salsa and a dab of sour cream and it made for a breakfast with a kick that really gets you going in the morning!

Moroccan Nectarine and Plum Chicken Tagine

Moroccan Nectarine and Plum Chicken


I have been into Moroccan food lately and in particular tagines. A tagine is a clay pot that is really good at braising and any dish made in a tagine is also called a tagine. Moroccan tagines very commonly include dried fruits such as prunes, dates, apricots, raisins etc. which typically add a really nice sweetness to the dish. I had not even thought about using fresh fruit in a tagine and when I came across the idea for a Moroccan nectarine and plum chicken dish on Christie's Corner I knew that I would have to try it. Given that summer is done and it's fruits are quickly disappearing from the markets I had to act quickly and the dish made it to my meal plan right away. I was in luck as the farmers market was still full of both the fresh locally grown plums and nectarines. I pretty much just took my standard Moroccan tagine recipe and replaced most of the dried fruit with fresh cut pieces of the nectarines and the plums. I did however leave some raisins in the tagine as I was a bit worried that the fresh fruit would not bring as much sweetness to the dish as the dried. The fresh nectarines and plums worked really well in the chicken tagine! The fruit pretty much broke down and formed the base of a thick and tasty sauce. The sauce was a really nice blend of fruity sweet, spicy and salty with many layers of flavour and it went really well with the chicken. I served the chicken tagine on some cilantro whole wheat couscous.

Eggplant Wrapped Kebabs Baked in Tomato Sauce

Eggplant Wrapped Kebabs Baked in Tomato Sauce


The farmers market has been full of early falls bounty lately including lots of eggplants, tomatoes and peppers. I really enjoy eggplant and I am always on the lookout for new ways to use it and I recently came across a really interesting sounding recipe for kebabs wrapped in eggplant baked in tomato sauce on Elra's Cooking . Kebab is a variety of meat dishes in Mediterranean cuisine where in this case it is a spiced ground lamb with lots of herbs that is wrapped in eggplant and then roasted in tomato sauce. One thing that I have always found interesting in Mediterranean is the use of cinnamon in meat dishes and I was kind of expecting/hoping to see it in this recipe and when I did not I added some for that hint of exotic. The next change that I made to the recipe was to broil the eggplant slices rather than frying them in oil to lighten up the dish a bit. For the tomato sauce I used a simple marinara sauce recipe except that I roasted the tomatoes first to add even more flavour. Though the eggplant wrapped kebabs took a bit of time to make, everything was pretty easy and they turned out great! I really like the way that the tomato slices on top roasted down to perfection, caramelizing slightly and concentrating their flavour. The eggplant worked really well as a wrap and meat on the inside was nice and moist and tender and tasty. The roasted tomato sauce finished off the dish nicely adding a ton of flavour. I served the kebab wrapped in eggplant with some feta and some crusty bread.

Greek Style Nachos

Greek Style Nachos


Lately I have been enjoying playing with food and transforming the flavours and components of one dish into the form of another dish such as the BLT salad or the Korean short rib tacos . Not too long ago I came across Mark Bittman's Greek Nachos that were along the same vein; taking Greek flavours and serving them in the form of nachos. I have combined these Greek flavours before in the form of meatball 'gyros' and I really liked the sound of transforming the ingredients into nacho form. Given the great flavours, the great idea and the fact that these nachos were pretty healthy they quickly made it to my meal plan. For the meat I decided to go with ground lamb for the extra flavour and I seasoned it with a souvlaki style of marinade. After the lamb was cooked and the tzatziki was made the nachos were as simple to make as throwing them together and they turned out great! The lamb was tasty and the tzatziki was nice and thick and cool and creamy and it held everything together. The feta and chopped kalamata olives brought a ton of flavour and the fresh and juicy vegetables rounded everything out nicely. Overall I was really impressed with the Greek style nachos and I look forward to eating the leftovers this week. Of course, if you take all of the same ingredients in these Greek nachos and change them up a bit you get Greek style tacos.

Peanut Butter and Green Tomato and Jalapeno Jam Sandwich

Peanut Butter and Green Tomato and Jalapeno Jam Sandwich


I used to have peanut butter and jam sandwiches all the time and they bring back fond childhood memories. I have not had a PB&J sandwich in a long while but after I made the green tomato and jalapeno jam one of the first things that came to mind was a peanut butter and green tomato and jalapeno jam sandwich and I just had to try it. I like to toast the bread before making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich so that the peanut butter just starts to melt when it hits the warm toast making the sandwich even creamier. The peanut butter and green tomato jam worked surprisingly well. The sweet, tangy and spicy green tomato and jalapeno jam went really well with the creamy stick to the top of your mouth peanut butter. With the success of the grilled PB&J with a spicy jam and the grilled cheese sandwiches with spicy jams and chutneys I wonder in what other new ways I can enjoy the classic PB&J sandwich?

BLT Salad with Avocados and a Blue Cheese Dressing

BLT Salad with Avocados and a Blue Cheese Dressing


It is the end of the week and I have been enjoying BLT sandwiches in various forms all week and it was time to change things up a bit. I still had some field tomatoes, lettuce and bacon in the fridge however that needed to be finished. With the lettuce and tomatoes already there it was not too much of a leap to think about a salad and bacon always goes well in salads. But, with just tomatoes, lettuce and bacon the salad would have been pretty boring and then I thought of the BLAT that adds avocado to the BLT and since I had one on hand a diced avocado was the next thing to go onto the salad. I like the pungency that onions add to salads so I added some chopped red onions. A BLT just wouldn't be complete without some mayo and I was wondering how I could work some into the salad and then it hit me, a blue dressing made with mayo would be perfect. I used my blue cheese dip recipe replacing the sour cream with buttermilk to thin it out a bit to make it more dressing like. As many salads are this one was easy to throw together and it hit the spot! The juicy tomatoes and creamy avocado went really well with the salty bacon and tangy blue cheese dressing.

Fried Eggplant and Mozzarella with a Roasted Marinara Dipping Sauce

Fried Eggplant and Mozzarella with a Roasted Marinara Dipping Sauce


In addition to the field tomatoes the eggplants or aubergines are also in season. Each time I walk by them in the farmers market they seem to call my name and since I have a nice long list of eggplant recipes to try so I picked some up. The first on my to try list was these fried eggplant appetizers from The Culinary Chase that I had bookmarked a long time ago and I had been waiting for eggplant season to return to try. These appetizers are basically two thinly sliced pieces of eggplant that sandwich a thin slice of fresh mozzarella and leaf of basil. The eggplant and mozzarella sandwiches are then breaded and fried until golden brown and crispy. I am not so great at cutting things uniformly and thinly so I pulled out my mandolin and it did a great job of it. Eggplants can sometimes be bitter so it is always a good idea to salt them to draw out the bitterness, though make sure that you don't forget to rinse the salt off. The fried mozzarella eggplant sandwiches were pretty easy to assemble and the most challenging part was the deep frying. They came out nice and golden brown and crispy on the outside and were and soft and gooey on the inside. I really liked the fact that the exposed mozzarella around the edges also fried up nice an crispy ans it is hard to beat crispy fried cheese! I served the fried eggplant with a tasty roasted tomato version of a simple marinara sauce though there are a lot of tasty tomato sauces that would go really well with this fried eggplant.