Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!
Ever since I picked up a slow cooker, I have been addicted to pulled pork! The slow cooker turns out perfectly cooked pulled pork every time that is nice and juicy and tender. What's more is that it is dead easy to make pulled pork given that you can simply put the pork into the slow cooker in the morning and let it work its magic while you are at work. Recently I have been trying new flavours with BBQ pulled pork and while I was enjoying some Vietnamese caramel shrimp banh mi recently, I got the crazy idea to try a Vietnamese pulled pork banh mi.
I am back in the kitchen and I hope that everyone had a great Christmas filled with tasty food!
The week in between Christmas and New Years can be a bit hectic and I wanted to try to simplify things by making some meals ahead of time. I like to have quiches for breakfast and one of the reasons is that there is generally a lot of leftovers and they reheat well for quick and easy breakfasts during the week. This recipe will make enough for a few breakfasts for one or two people and it can be doubled for larger families. Another thing that I like about quiches is the near limitless possibilities for different flavour combinations. This apple and cheddar quiche was inspired by the flavours in the apple and cheddar tart that I recently made and enjoyed!
I am heading out to spend some time with family over the holidays. I have packed up my cookies and they are ready to go so I thought that I would leave you with a few more ideas in the side bar along with some ideas for appetizers for entertaining and for parties. I will be back in the kitchen before the new year.
I hope that you all of your holidays are amazing and filled with tons of tasty food!
While I was enjoying a lime meltaway I was vaguely reminded of another cookie that was similar but it was an orange cookies. After diligently searching through my many bookmarked cookie recipes I finally found this recipe for orange cookies dipped in chocolate on use real butter . These cookies get their orange flavour from no less than three different sources including orange zest, orange juice and candied orange peel. When you take these already great sounding cookies and you dip them in chocolate they get even better and I could not resist adding them to this years holiday cookie platter. The recipe for these cookies is pretty similar to many other recipes for short bread where you mix the ingredients, chill the dough and then slice and bake it. Despite that fact that they take a bit of time with bringing the butter to room temperature and then chilling the dough, these cookies are really easy to make. The orange flavour certainly comes though well in these cookies and the bits of candied orange peel add a particularly nice texture. There is just something magical about the orange and chocolate flavour combination and it certainly works well with there cookies!
Although I can sometimes go all out with the holiday cookie baking, I try to not to forget about savoury treats which are always a welcome change. A couple of years ago I discovered a savoury baked brie with cranberry sauce that was so amazingly good and I have been hooked ever since. When I came across a recipe for baked brie topped with mushrooms on Mushooms Canada there was no question as to what savoury appetizer I was going be making this year.
While I was searching for shortbread recipes I came across this one for maple pecan shortbread that sounded so good that it immediately made it to this years holiday cookie platter. Maple and pecan are among my favourite flavours and the combination of the two is simply amazing! It is a flavour combination that I really enjoy and frequently use. These cookies are essentially a shortbread with chopped pecans and maple flavouring in the form of maple syrup. To get even more mapley goodness I also replaced some of the sugar in the cookies with maple sugar. The cookies are then finished with a topping of a pecan half and some coarse grained sugar. Although these cookies are pretty easy to make, the dough requires some chilling time in the fridge so plan appropriately. You really cannot go wrong with buttery shortbread cookies and these maple pecan short bread cookies did not disappoint! The maple and pecan flavours came through really well and the cookies seemed to literally melt in your mouth. I can see that these cookies will definitely have a place on my holiday cookie platter for years to come!
With the holidays quickly approaching I have been pretty busy and because of that I have been looking for some relatively quick and easy meals that do not compromise in flavour. Pastas work really well in these situations and not only is this pasta is absolutely packed with flavour but the recipe is straight forward and it only takes about a half an hour to make. Another plus is that I very often have all of the ingredients on hand, either in the fridge or in the pantry so it really is one of those 'go to' meals. The sauce for this pasta dish is pretty similar to a puttanesca sauce with the addition of tuna to make it a bit heartier. The capers and olives are responsible for a lot of the flavour in this dish and they really carry the day. If you want to simplify things even more you can easily skip the wine or replace it with some chicken broth. You can also omit the anchovies, though they also add a lot of flavour and you won't even see them in finished product. You could easily top this pasta off with some grated cheese but it hardly needs it.
Now that dinner is made, its time to get back to baking! :)
It just wouldn't be the holidays without some form of shortbread and one of the things that I like so much about shortbread, other than its buttery melt in your mouth goodness, is that it is easy to change things up by adding different flavours. I found this recipe for lime 'meltaway' shortbread cookies on use real butter a while ago and I had been itching to make them. With the dull and dreary winter weather setting in, it seemed like the perfect time to pull out some limes to ward off the gloominess, even if just for a few moments. There is just something magical about dusting shortbread in powdered sugar from its reminder of and hope for a white Christmas to the way that it quickly melts in you mouth delivering its sweetness. Although these cookies can be a bit messy, I recommend using a plate and napkins, they are certainly worth it! The initial hit of sweetness gives way to the buttery shortbread and then lime flavour comes through finishing off everything nicely.
When I was in university, I practically lived off of macaroni and cheese and by the time that I was done I was so sick of it that I have not really touched it since. I recently came across the description of a crab mac and cheese in a menu that sounded so good that it convinced me that it was finally time to make macaroni and cheese. While I was contemplating the crab mac and cheese recipe, I kept thinking about crab cakes and eventually I decided to go with the idea and thus this crab cake mac and cheese was born.
Enough with reminiscing about holiday cookies past, it is time to kick off this years holiday cookie baking! First up on the list was a classic, coconut macaroons ; not to be confused with macarons . Coconut macaroons are really simple containing just shredded coconut, sugar and egg whites to hold it all together. You bake them in the oven until they turn a nice light golden brown on the outside and after they cool they have an amazing slightly crisp outer layer but the inside is nice and moist and tender and oh so good! If you are a fan of coconut then these macaroons are definitely for you! For a lighter and fluffier version you can beat the egg whites and sugar until they form stiff peaks before folding in the coconut. Speaking of coconut, one of the best things to pair coconut with is chocolate and I could not resist drizzling some melted dark chocolate over my coconut macaroons!
This recipe has been on my mind for a while now. It originally sprung from me thinking about new ways to enjoy mushrooms using the flavours and/or cooking styles of some of my favourite cuisines. Mexican cuisine is definitely one of my favourite cuisines so it naturally came up and I was quickly thinking about enchiladas. Although I wanted the mushrooms to be the star of the show, I did not want the entire filling to be made up of mushrooms so I added some zucchini to fill things out. I am absolutely hooked on salsa verde and thus, I decided to finish the filling off with some of the tasty stuff. It is easy enough to make your own salsa verde if you froze some tomatillos from the summer like I did, but store bought can be really good as well. I often go for the completely wet enchilada but this time I went with drier ones and I just coated the bottom of the pan with some salsa to prevent them from sticking and then topped them with a little salsa along with the cheese. For aesthetics, I finally topped each enchilada off with a sliced mushroom.