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New Orleans Vacation 2011

I am back home in Toronto and I had an amazing time in New Orleans Louisiana! I went to New Orleans for the International Food Bloggers Conference put on by Foodista. I went to the IFBC last year when it was in Seattle and I really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to this years! When I heard that it was in New Orleans, I immediately signed up as I have long been fascinated by Southern/Creole/Cajun cuisine and I had been wanting to head down there for a while.

I left for the conference a few days early to ensure that I would have plenty of time to explore and eat at a lot of different restaurants. When I got to New Orleans on the Wednesday it was just in time for lunch and given my recent obsession with po-boys I quickly went out to try a fried shrimp po-boy at Jonny's Po-boys. After the very filling lunch that I wandered around the French Quarter until the heat got to me and I headed back to the Monteleone to relax in the air conditioned Carousel Bar with with a pint of Abita, a local beer. For dinner I went to the Red Fish Grill to have their signature dish, the hickory smoked red fish along with a cup of their seafood gumbo.

New Orleans Vacation 2011

On Thursday morning I went on a swap tour with Cajun Encounters and had a great time traveling through the swamp. Along the way we encountered several alligators, some turtles, birds and a family of raccoons. Of course we got to see the alligators up close as the tour guide lured them in with marshmallows. The tour guide even had a baby alligator that had been sick. They were waiting for it to fully recover before releasing it back into the swamp. By the time the tour was over I was pretty hungry and I headed over to Drago's to try the char grilled oysters along with a bowl of their seafood gumbo. For dinner I met up with Stephanie of Copy Kat Recipes and Brook of Learn to Preserve who were also in town for the IFBC and we headed out to Pascal's Manale where I had some drum fish topped with BBQ shrimp.

New Orleans Vacation 2011

On Friday morning instead of going for the hotels continental breakfast I headed out to Something Else Cafe to try their crab cake topped with sunny side up egg with corn machoux after hearing Brook talk about it the night before. For the rest of the morning I wandered around the French Quarter and stopped by a few art shops before heading to Mr B's Bistro for lunch where I had the blackened red fish. And with that my free time was up and it was time to head to the conference. There were two sessions on Friday afternoon and they were on the morality of food blogging and a food styling and photography talk by Andrew Scivani which was really good. Up next was the food which was provided by several local restaurants and I got to try the following:

  • Fried pork cheek balls by Le Petite Grocery
  • Spicy tuna tartare with avocado mousse, coriander, grilled country bread and rabbit ragu with house-made pappardelle, parmesan by Ste. Marie
  • Shaved brussels sprouts with apples, pecorino, hazelnuts and chicken liver crostini with Maras Farm’s sprouts, dandelion gastrique by Sylvain
  • Crawfish etouffee by Langenstein's
  • Black truffle hazelnut macaroon ‘PoPs’ by Sucre

After consuming far too much tasty food it was time to head out on the Cocktail Crawl put on by Nosh by Firespotter Labs which included stops at three bars on the edge of Bourbon Street with the final one having some live music. Although I was having a fun time on the crawl, I made sure to head back to the hotel in time to get a good night sleep for the big day in the IFBC.

One recommendation that came up a lot when I ask you my readers about where to eat in NOLA was beignets and chicory coffee de lait at Cafe du Monde and I was quickly running out of time. To make sure that I got there I decided to get up a bit early on Saturday morning and do it then and there. I am not really a big coffee drinker but I have to say that I am glad that I got the chance to try out Cafe de Monde! After enjoying a leisurely breakfast I ran back to the conference for the session that I was most looking forward to, the session on marketing and branding and it did not disappoint. Up next was a really interesting session on food and culture and then it was time for the IFBC meal that I was looking forward to the most. I had seen the menu ahead of time and it was filled with tasty sounding food and I ended up getting to try the following:
  • Oyster po-boy with spinach, artichokes and lemon thai aioli by Pierre Maspero's
  • Grilled gulf shrimp and blackened avocado po-boy and crab bisque by Red Fish Grill
  • Shrimp and jambalaya grits by Riverfront Restaurant
  • Stewed turkey and alligator sausage gumbo by Parkway Bakery
  • Shrimp remoulade by Royal House Restaurant

There were some more dishes but unfortunately I was completely stuffed and could not eat another bite. After lunch we continued with a talk about food sustainability by Poppy Tooker, a very entertaining local from New Orleans and a cooking demonstration by John Folse.

New Orleans Vacation 2011

Next up was a small break before the final meal of the conference and I took the opportunity to walk around a bit. While I was out I passed by a Bourbon Street wedding procession which I certainly had not been expecting. Dinner was really nice and it consisted of a dariole of crab ravigote topped with shrimp, a tournedo of beef perigourdine topped with foie gras an black truffles and a white chocolate creme brule topped with fresh berries. Dinner ended with an entertaining talk by Chef John Besh about food in New Orleans and his restaurants.

On Sunday morning I went back to Something Else Cafe as I had seen another dish on their menu that I had to try, the Crawdaddy Omelette which was an omelette filled with crawfish etouffe and melted jack cheese topped with more crawfish etouffe. For the final sessions of the IFBC I attended the session on time management and the one on food science and they were both very interesting. With the end of the final session there was a wrap up talk by Foodista and then it was time to say goodbye to friends both new and old.

While I was at the IFBC I met a few old friends and I got the chance to meet many new friends! It was really amazing having the opportunity to talk to some fellow food bloggers and friends about food, blogging and this and that! I am definitely looking forward to the chance to attend next years IFBC!

New Orleans Vacation 2011

I took the opportunity to do all of my souvenir shopping on Sunday afternoon after enjoying a fried oyster po-boy with blue cheese and hot sauce mayo at Pierre Maspero's. After an afternoon of walking around in the sunny New Orleans heat I went down to the carousel Bar to meet up with some friends who were still in town; Jamie of Life's a Feast, Jennifer of Merry Gourmet, Chef John of Food Wishes and Deb of Smitten Kitchen. After enjoying a Sazerac Jamie, Jennifer, Chef John and I headed over to GW Fins to enjoy a really excellent seafood meal.

On Monday I finally got the chance to hop onto the St Charles street car and I headed out to the Garden District where I took a tour of the Lafayette Cemetery before crossing the street to Commanders Palace. Commanders Palace came highly recommended and I have to say that the meal was one of my favourites! The food was really good and the service was amazing! I even got to try their Creole cream cheese cheesecake. After lunch I walked around the garden district and looked at all of the fantastically expensive houses before hopping back on the street car to ride to the end of the line stopping off at Audubon Park to take a look. For my final meal in New Orleans I headed back to Mr B's Bistro as I just had to have the BBQ shrimp! When you order the BBQ shrimp they bring you a bib so you know that it is going to be messy but it turns out that it is really worth it! The shrimp are so nice an moist and tender and succulent and good and the sauce is so addictive that you will use every last piece of that complimentary bread to sop up every drop of it that you can.

Overall I had an amazing time in New Orleans! My trip was just packed full of tasty food and that is thanks to all of your suggestions! Thank you so much for all of your great suggestions!

I think that this just might be my longest post to date. If you have made it this far, I promise to get back into the kitchen and get back to posting about food wand recipes tomorrow! :)

If you are interested in seeing more photos from my vacation you can see them in my Flickr gallery: New Orleans 2011

On Vacation

This morning I am off to New Orleans to attend the International Food Bloggers Conference put on by Foodista. I have been wanting to visit New Orleans for a while now and this was the perfect chance! In addition to the conference, I will be spending a few extra days there to explore the city. What are the must eat foods and restaurants in New Orleans? What are the must see and do things in New Orleans?

Fresh Corn Pancakes

Fresh Corn Pancakes

Right now we are smack dab in the middle of corn season and I have certainly been enjoying it! Mostly I have just been eating it off of the cob simply dressed with melted butter and some salt but I wanted to use some corn in a recipe. Normally when I think about corn I am thinking about recipes for dinner but this time I was thinking that it would be interesting to use corn in a breakfast and I knew just how to do it. I had recently made some blueberry pancakes and I figured that fresh corn pancakes would also be great in pancakes!

Fresh Corn Pancakes

For the recipe, I pretty much just went with my blueberry pancake recipe and I replaced the blueberries with kernels of corn. This recipe was the perfect choice as it also includes some cornmeal which goes perfectly with the fresh corn from the cob. I did make one little change to the recipe and that was it include a healthy helping of cheddar cheese. When I made the ham and egg crepes with gruyere and maple syrup not too long ago I discovered that the sweet and savoury combination of maple syrup and cheese works really well and I could not resist using it in the corn pancakes.

Fresh Corn Pancakes

The fresh corn pancakes turned out amazingly well! The pancakes were nice and thick and light and fluffy and good! The sweet corn, maple syrup and cheddar combination turned out to be magical and I certainly did enjoy my breakfasts last week. While I was eating my corn pancakes I realized that they would also do well with a savoury topping and I figured that salsa and sour cream wold be perfect! With that thought, the next morning I tried the savoury version and I was immediately hooked and I enjoyed the savoury version for the remaining breakfasts of the week. On the last day I realized that I also had some green onions and jalapeno peppers left over and so I added them to the pancakes as well and I have to say that that was my favourite version of the pancakes from the week.

Fresh Corn Pancakes

Fresh Corn Pancakes

Fresh Corn Pancakes

Pancakes with fresh, juicy corn kernels and melted cheddar cheese. Great either sweet when drenched in maple syrup or savoury topped with spicy salsa and tangy sour cream.


Servings: makes 2-4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Printable Recipe
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking owder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup corn, about 1 ear
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
Directions
  1. Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the milk, eggs and butter in another bowl.
  3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients making sure to not over mix.
  4. Mix in the corn and cheese.
  5. Heat a pan over medium heat and melt a touch of butter in it.
  6. Pour 1/4 cup of the mixture into the pan and cook until the surface starts to bubble and the bottom is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  7. Flip the pancake and cook the other side until the bottom is golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Texmex Style Corn Fritters
Corn Chowder
Sweet Corn Ice Cream
Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes
Blueberry Cheesecake Pancakes
Seven Layer Dip Cornmeal Pancakes

Blue Cheese Guacamole

Blue Cheese Guacamole

I didn't really get into avocados until just a few years ago but ever since then I have been hooked. One of my favourite way of enjoying avocados has to be in guacamole as it show cases the avocados beautifully and it is just plain amazing! The base recipe for guacamole is pretty easy and once you have it mastered it is fun to play around with it and I often like to try adding different ingredients to change up the flavour profile a bit. After having both avocado slices and a blue cheese in a sandwich a while ago I had been fantasizing about combining them in a guacamole and on fajita night it was the perfect chance to try it out. I pretty much just took my number one guacamole recipe and added blue cheese which I brought up to room temperature first so that it would more easily mash into the guacamole. In the end I quite enjoyed the blue cheese guacamole! The tangy blue cheese played particularly well with the cool and creamy avocado and added added a hint of flavour that just made everything better.

Blue Cheese Guacamole

Cool and creamy guacamole with the tangy hit of blue cheese


Servings: makes 2 cups

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Printable Recipe
Ingredients
  • 2 large avocados, cut into small pieces
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese at room temperature, crumbled
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
  • 1 roma/plum tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin (toasted and ground)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Mash everything to the desired consistency.

Similar Recipes:
Bacon Guacamole
Guacamole
Avocado and Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Black Bean Guacamole
Blue Cheese Dip
Chipotle Lime Shrimp and Guacamole Dip with Tomatoes and Charred Corn
Corn and Cotija Guacamole (aka Esquites Guacamole)
Pesto Guacamole

More tasty recipes for your game day munchies

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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After the success of turning jalapeño poppers into grilled cheese sandwiches (aka the jalapeño popper grilled cheese sandwich) I was wondering what other dishes I could turn into grilled cheese sandwiches. The basic idea is to take all of the flavours of a food that I am already totally into and use them in a grilled cheese sandwich. It did not take me too long to think of something perfect and it is interesting that it is also classic bar food, buffalo chicken wings, which are also one of my favourites. Buffalo chicken wings are chicken wings that are tossed in a spicy hot sauce and they are commonly served with a side of carrot and celery sticks with a blue cheese dip.

Habanero Salsa

Habanero Salsa

I am a huge fan of salsas and given my obsession with Mexican cuisine I tend to have them quite frequently. Of course, I like to make my own salsas fresh whenever I can and since there are so many ways to make salsas its always nice to have a good collection of recipes on hand. Although I tend to prefer fresher and milder salsas like pico de gallo, I also like a bit of heat every once in a while and I was thinking that a spicy hot salsa would go perfectly with the fajitas. I had been wanting to to try making a salsa with habanero peppers for a while and now was my chance!

For this salsa I kept things pretty basic using the staple ingredients for a simple tomato based salsa and I used the habanero peppers for the source of heat. Habanero peppers can be quite hot so you are going to want to be careful when adding them if you do not enjoy things really hot. You can seed the peppers to reduce the heat and start by adding half of a pepper, testing it and go from there. I ended up adding 2 peppers with the seeds and to help ensure that their heat came out I simmered the salsa for a while and then pureed it. The habanero salsa turned out really well and it definitely satisfied my craving for a touch of heat! Given all of the fresh produce around these days I could not resist also using some pico de gallo in the fajitas along with some creamy avocado to help tame the heat.

Habanero Salsa

Habanero Salsa

A spicy tomato based habanero salsa for those who like it hot!


Servings: makes 2 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Printable Recipe
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
  • 2 cups tomatoes, diced or 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 habanero chilies, chopped
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 lime, juice
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a pan.
  2. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cumin and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes and chilies, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the sauce thickens about 10-20 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, puree in food processor if desired, stir in the cilantro and hit it with a squeeze of lime juice.

Similar Recipes:
Roasted Habanero Salsa
Roasted Tomato Salsa
Roasted Serrano and Poblano Salsa Ranchera
Korean Style Salsa Roja
Pico de Gallo

Fajitas

Fajitas

Lately I have been craving some Texmex food and since it has been a while since I last had fajitas I was thinking that they would be perfect. Fajitas are Mexican and a Texmex dish where grilled meat, typically beef, is served in a tortilla. The grilled meat is often accompanied by sauteed onions and peppers and the fajitas are finished off with your favourite topping including things like salsa, guacamole, sour cream and shredded cheese.

Fajitas are pretty easy to make but you have to plan a bit ahead so that you have time to marinate the meat. After marinating is is as simple as grilling the steak and sauteing the onions and peppers. This is one of those family fun meals where all of the ingredients are served on the table and everybody gets to assemble their own as they like. Although I like to make my own condiments for fajitas, you could easily save to time and effort by using store bought. This time I served my fajitas with a fiery hot habanero salsa, a fresh pico de gallo, a blue cheese guacaole, shredded cheese and sour cream.

Fajitas

Grilled, marinated steak served in warm tortillas with your favourite toppings like salsa, guacamole, cheese and sour cream. Dinner is always fun when fajitas are served in 'assemble yourself' style at the table.


Servings: makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Printable Recipe
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, tasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound steak of any cut (skirt steak is more traditional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • tortillas
  • salsa, optional
  • guacamole, optional
  • cheese, optional
  • sour cream, optional
Directions
  1. Marinate the steak in the oil, lime juice, jalapeno, garlic, cumin, oregano, cilantro, salt and pepper in the fridge for 30 minutes to a few hours.
  2. Grill the steak over medium-high heat, about 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare, remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing it. (Reserve the marinade.)
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan.
  4. Saute the onions until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add the peppers and the remaining marinade and saute until the peppers are tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  6. Assemble fajitas and enjoy.

Similar Recipes:
Chicken Fajitas
Fajita Burgers
Tacos
Chimichurri Steak Sandwiches with Roasted Corn and Red Pepper Salsa

Greek Green Beans in Tomato Sauce (Fasolakia)

Greek Green Beans in Tomato Sauce with Feta (Fasolakia)

The farmers market is literally bursting with fresh local produce these days and there are so many different things that it's sometimes hard to choose what to get. When I saw some fresh green beans and perfectly field ripened beefsteak tomatoes close together it reminded of a dish for Greek style green beans in a tomato sauce that I had been wanting to try. This dish is called fasolakia and it is pretty simple with the green beans being braised in the tomato sauce until they are soft at which point they become nice and sweet. The recipe that I used here is really just the base and from here you can add what you like. Diced potatoes are a common extra but you could also add some cubed meat and zucchini would be perfect right about now with it also being in season. Of course I could not resist serving the green beans in tomato sauce with a healthy helping of feta and some crusty bread on the side works well to sop up any of the tasty tomato sauce that gets left behind in the bowl.

Greek Green Beans in Tomato Sauce with Feta (Fasolakia)

Green beans braised in a tasty tomato sauce with lots of fresh herbs that goes well when served with feta and some crusty bread.


Servings: makes 2-4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes

Printable Recipe
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes or 4 cups diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into bit sized pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped
  • 1 handful dill, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled (optional)
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes, green beans, oregano, salt and pepper and simmer until the beans are soft, about 40 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, mix in the dill and parsley and serve garnished with feta.

Similar Recipes:
Gigantes Plaki (Greek Baked Beans)
Garides Tourkolimano (Greek Shrimp)
Cod Baked in a Tomato and Feta Sauce

Blueberry Iced Green Tea

Blueberry Iced Green Tea

I ran out of blueberry lemonade sometime during the week and I was looking for something else that was nice and cool and refreshing. I still had some of blueberry syrup that I wanted to use and I had just the idea! Green tea is often my warm drink of choice but these days I have been thinking about an iced green tea and why not add blueberries to the mix? Although I usually prefer my iced tea to to be unsweetened the thought of a blueberry iced green tea was all that I needed to try it out. This iced teas is super easy to make; you simply need to boil some water, steep the green tea in it, mix in some more water and the blueberry syrup until it has the blueberry flavour and level of sweetness that you are looking for. After that you need to have some patience to wait while it chills out in the fridge but then you can throw some ice into it and enjoy! A small hit of lemon also works wonderfully to brighten things up.

Blueberry Iced Green Tea

Blueberry Iced Green Tea

This blueberry iced green tea is a refreshing way to keep cool on hot summer days.


Servings: makes 8 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Printable Recipe
Ingredients
Directions
  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and remove from heat.
  2. Mix in 1/2 cup of room temperature water, add the tea bags and steep for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove the tea bags and add the remaining water.
  4. Mix in the blueberry syrup until it reaches the desired sweetness.
  5. Chill in the fridge, add ice and enjoy.

Similar Recipes:
Blueberry Lemonade
Blueberry Maple Oatmeal Smoothie
Rhubarb Mojito
Rhubarb Soda
Strawberry Basil Lemonade

Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich with Avocado and Chipotle Caramelized Onions

Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich with Avocado and Chipotle Caramelized Onions

Armed with my (half devoured) batch of chipotle caramelized onions, the only question was, what to use them in? With the recent success of my grilled chicken club sandwich I was thinking that the chipotle caramelized onions would be a perfect fit. In fact with the chioptle this was sandwich was kind of reminding me of an avocado BLT with fried egg and chipotle mayo and I was thinking that the cool and creamy avocado would finish things off perfectly and complement the spicy heat of the onions!

Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich with Avocado and Chipotle Caramelized Onions

With the chipotle caramelized onions already prepared, this sandwich is as simple to make as cooking some bacon, grilling up the chicken and slicing some fresh vegetables. When using a chicken breast in a sandwich like this you want it to be relatively thin so that it gets cooked all the way through before you burn the outside and dry it all out and you can either pound a small breast thin or slice a larger one in half.

I have to say that all of the flavours in this grilled chicken sandwich played amazingly well together! In addition to the awesome combination the spicy chipotle caramelized onions and the cool avocado, there was the juicy tomato and creamy mayo combo and of course the salty bacon was certainly welcome and the juicy, falvourful chicken brought everything home! I will definitely be making some more of the chipotle caramelized onions so that I can enjoy a few more of these sandwiches!

Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich with Avocado and Chipotle Caramelized Onions

Grilled Chicken and Club Sandwich with Avocado and Chipotle Caramelized Onions

A grilled chicken club sandwich with smokin hot, sweet, caramelized onions and cool and creamy avocado.


Servings: makes 1 sandwich

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Printable Recipe
Ingredients
  • 1 small chicken breast, pounded thin
  • salt and pepper to taste or your favourite grilled meat seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon mayo
  • 2 leaves lettuce
  • 2 slices tomato
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked
  • 1/2 small avocado, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle caramelized onions
  • 1 sandwich bun, sliced in half
Directions
  1. Brush your grill with oil and heat it to medium heat.
  2. Season the chicken and grill until cooked, about 5-7 minutes per side.
  3. Assemble the sandwich and enjoy.

Similar Recipes:
Buffalo Chicken Club Sandwich

Avocado BLT with Fried Egg And Chipotle Mayo
Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper Panini with Cilantro Pesto and Feta
Balsamic Glazed Chicken Sandwich with Roasted Red Peppers and Goat Cheese
Peameal Bacon Breakfast Sandwich with Maple Caramelized Onions and a Fried Egg
Tequila Lime Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich with Guacamole and Roasted Jalapeno Mayo
Bacon Jam Chicken Club Sandwich with Avocado and Chipotle Mayo
Strawberry BBQ Chicken Club Sandwich
Moroccan Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Preserved Lemon Tapenade and Harissa Mayo

Chipotle Caramelized Onions

Chipotle Caramelized Onions

I recently came across the idea of chipotle caramelized onions and it immediatly caught my attention as I am hopelessly addicted to caramelized onions! After reading over the recipe, it reminded me of the balsamic caramelized onions that I like to make, only with smoky chipotle chilies. Once the idea of combining sweet caramelized onions with spicy chipotles got into my head there was no denying it and I had to make it.

One thing that I do not like about making caramelized onions is that it can take some time to properly caramelize all of those onions. One of the tricks that I have picked up over the years is using the widest pan that I have to increase the surface area of the onions touching the heat. Another trick is to add some water to the pan which allows you to cook the onions at a higher temperature, say medium instead of medium-low, as the water helps prevent the onions from burning. Incidentally, water also conducts heat better than air so it also helps bring the heat to more of the surface area of the onions. Even so, it still takes a while to caramelize a lot of onions, just not nearly as long so I have definitely been making them more often these days.

These chipotle caramelized onions are pretty amazing and I found it really hard to restrain myself from finishing the whole batch off by the spoon before getting to use it in something! The sweet and spicy combination is definitely a winner and the touch of balsamic vinegar adds a nice extra layer of flavour.

Chipotle Caramelized Onions

Sweet, spicy hot and smoky caramelized onions.


Servings: makes 1 cup

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes

Printable Recipe
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups onion, sliced
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, chipotle chili, vinegar, sugar and water and cook, covered, until completely tender and caramelized and golden, about 40-50 minutes, adding more water as needed.

Use in:
Jalapeno Cornbread Grilled Cheese with Chipotle Caramelized Onions, Refried Black Beans and Guacamole

Similar Recipes:
Onion Marmalade (or Balsamic Caramelized Onions)
Maple Caramelized Onions
Onion Chutney
Hot Caramelized Onion Dip
French Onion Soup
Apple French Onion Soup
Guinness Braised Onion and Aged White Cheddar Quiche
Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam
Slow Roasted Tomato Bacon Jam

Blueberry Lemonade

Blueberry Lemonade

With all of the hot days that we have been having lately I have been thinking about ways to cool down and it seemed only natural to use the blueberry syrup in a chilled drink. When it comes to quenching thirst I find that a drink with a slight tartness does the best job so lemonade comes up at the top of the list and I was thinking that a blueberry lemonade would be perfect. Lemonade is actually pretty easy to make from scratch at home! You pretty much just need to squeeze some lemons, add a simple syrup, water and a generous helping of ice. During the summer with all of the amazing fruit around I often like to use a flavoured simple syrup like the blueberry syrup instead of just a plain old simple syrup and they elevate your average lemonade to something magical! Blueberry and lemon are a great flavour combination and it works amazingly well in lemonade form! What a great way to enjoy a momentary respite from the heat on a warm summer day!

Blueberry Lemonade

Blueberry Lemonade

Sweet and tart lemonade just bursting with fresh summery blueberry flavour!


Servings: makes 6 cups

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0
Total Time: 10 minutes

Printable Recipe
Ingredients
Directions
  1. Mix the blueberry syrup, lemon juice and water.
  2. Taste and adjust to your preferences. Too sweet? Add more lemon juice. Too tart? Add more blueberry syrup. Too strong? Add more water.
  3. Chill in the fridge, add ice and enjoy.

Similar Recipes:
Strawberry Basil Lemonade
Blueberry Maple Oatmeal Smoothie
Rhubarb Mojito
Rhubarb Soda
Blueberry Iced Green Tea

Blueberry Syrup

Blueberry Simple Syrup

Blueberries have to be one of my favourite parts of summer and with blueberry season finally here I certainly have been enjoying them. So far I have mostly just been having them by the bucket load for breakfasts either on yogurt or mixed in with peaches or melon but it was finally time to do something more with them. One of the first things that comes to mind when I think about blueberries is almost always pancakes and I figured that it would be nice to kick the season off with some blueberry syrup. This syrup is pretty simple, you just simmer some water, sugar and blueberries to extract all of that amazing blueberry flavour and colour into the syrup and then strain the solids from it. With just a few minutes of effort you can elevate those average every day pancakes to something completely new and wonderful. But why stop there? There are some many things that you can do with this blueberry syrup and I am looking forward to using it.

Blueberry Simple Syrup

A blueberry simple syrup that is great for mixing into drinks. Blueberry mojitos anyone?


Servings: makes 1 cup

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Printable Recipe
Ingredients
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 lemon, juice
Directions
  1. Place the blueberries, sugar and water in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Strain the solids from the juice with a fine sieve and set the solids aside.
  4. Mix in the lemon juice, transfer to a jar and store in the fridge.

Tip: The leftover solids are great on yogurt or ice cream.

Use in:
Blueberry Lemonade
Blueberry Iced Green Tea

Similar Recipes:
Rhubarb Syrup
Strawberry Syrup
Pomegranate Syrup
Blueberry Caramel Sauce
Guinness Chocolate Syrup

Duck Quesadillas with Chipotle Cherry Salsa and Goat Cheese

Duck Quesadillas with Chipotle Cherry Salsa and Goat Cheese

After enjoying the duck tacos with chipotle cherry salsa and goat cheese a few times last week, I wanted to try something a little different with the remaining leftovers. Right up there with my obsession with tacos is my obsession with quesadillas! I mean you really cannot go wrong with a tasty filling being held together with ooey gooey melted cheese being lovingly held together by lightly toasted and crispy golden brown tortillas! If there is one thing that I like more than straight up goat cheese it is melted goat cheese and I was just itching to use some in a quesadilla along with the chipotle pan seared duck breast and some of that tasty cherry salsa. When goat cheese melts, it does not really have the power to hold things together so I added some jack cheese to ensure that the filling was not going to spill out the sides while eating the quesadillas and you can't go wrong with two kinds of cheese! I often like to add something to quesadillas to help complement and contrast all of the melted cheesy goodness and this time I went with some sliced green onions and fresh cilantro. I served these duck quesadillas with cherry salsa and goat cheese with some extra cherry salsa and some sour cream for dipping.

Duck Quesadillas with Chipotle Cherry Salsa and Goat Cheese

Chipotle pan seared duck breast quesadillas with ooey gooey melted goat and jack cheese and a sweet, savoury and spicy cherry salsa.


Servings: makes 2 appetizer sized servings or 1 meal sized serving

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Printable Recipe
Ingredients
  • 1/4 teaspoon butter
  • 1/4 cup chipotle pan seared duck breast, sliced into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle cherry salsa
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1 handful jack cheese, grated
  • 1 ounce goat cheese, room temperature
  • 2 (8 inch) tortillas
Directions
  1. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Place a tortilla into the pan, swirl it around in the butter an set aside.
  3. Place the second tortilla into the pan and swirl around in the butter.
  4. Sprinkle on half of the cheese onto the tortilla followed by the duck, chipotle cherry salsa, green onion and cilantro followed by the remaining cheese and top it all off with the second tortilla.
  5. Cook until the quesadilla is golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted.
  6. Cut the quesadilla into 6 pieces and serve with salsa, sour cream and a garnish of cilantro.

Similar Recipes:
Duck Tacos with Chipotle Cherry Salsa and Crumbled Goat Cheese
Roast Asparagus and Caramelized Mushroom Quesadillas with Goat Cheese
Corn and Zucchini Quesadillas
Pineapple Dak Bulgogi Quesadillas (Korean Spicy Pineapple BBQ Chicken Quesadillas)
Salmon Bulgogi Quesadillas with Blueberry Salsa
BBQ Chicken and Peach Quesadillas

Jalapeño Popper Quiche

Jalapeño Popper Quiche

Jalapeño poppers have to be one of my favourite snacks and I am pretty addicted to them. Recently I have been experimenting with using the signature jalapeño popper flavours in other dishes with great success. Not too long ago I tried a jalapeño popper dip that was even more addictive than the original and the jalapeño popper grilled cheese sandwich quickly made its way to the top of my list no too long after.

Jalapeño Popper Quiche

When I came across the idea of a jalapeño quiche on Hilah Cooking it immediately reminded me of the flavours of jalapeño poppers. This quiche starts out with a layer of cream cheese that is topped with fresh jalapeño peppers, a creamy egg mixture and finally a layer of melted cheddar cheese. The whole thing is baked in an all butter crust that gets nice and crispy by the time it is done. I was completely taken with the idea of being able to have jalapeño poppers for breakfast in quiche form and I just had to make it!

This quiche is pretty easy to make, though making your own pie crust can be a bit tricky. The one thing that you are going to want to be careful about with this recipe is the heat provided by the jalapeño peppers. If you are not the biggest fan of heat you will want to seed the jalapeño peppers and maybe even cut back to one. If you are a fan of heat you can leave the seeds in like I did and maybe even add an extra pepper. I have to say that this jalapeño popper quiche was really amazing! It is hard to beat a hot, spicy and cheesy quiche for breakfast and with this one I was certainly looking forward to breakfasts this week!

Jalapeño Popper Quiche

Jalapeño Popper Quiche

A cheesy quiche with all of the flavours of jalapeno poppers including cheddar cheese, cream cheese, jalapenos and a crispy crust!

Servings: makes 6+ servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes

Printable Recipe
Ingredients
  • 1 (9 inch) pie shell, pre-baked
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 jalapenos, diced (seed them is you prefer less heat)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Directions
  1. Spread the cream cheese over the bottom of the pie crust and sprinkle on the diced jalapenos.
  2. Heat the milk and cream over medium heat until just before it boils, about 5 minutes and pour it into a large bowl.
  3. Pour the eggs into the heated cream while stirring constantly.
  4. Mix in the paprika and salt.
  5. Pour the mixture into the pie plate and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, arrange the jalapeno slices on top, sprinkle with cheese and bake until the cheese has melted and turned golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Jalapeno Poppers
Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Jalapeno Popper Dip
Zucchini and Feta Quiche with a Brown Rice Crust
Jalapeno Popper Pizza
Breakfast Queso Fundido
Reuben Quiche
Jalapeno Popper Dressing
Southwestern Grilled Chicken Jalapeno Popper Salad
Jalapeno Popper Corn Fritters
Jalapeno Popper Chicken Soup
Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs
Roasted Cauliflower, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quiche with Quinoa Crust

Chipotle Sweet Potato Vichyssoise

Chipotle Sweet Potato Vichyssoise

Today's recipe is for a creamy chipotle sweet potato vichyssoise which I guest posted on DairyGoodness.ca for their Anyday Magic Dinner Makeover event. Augusts makeover recipe was for a vichyssoise soup that is served chilled, which is perfect for cooling down on these hot summer days! I decided to spice things up a bit with some smokey chipotles chilies and you can find the recipe for the chipotle sweet potato vichyssoise here.

Taco Pizza

Taco Pizza

It certainly has been a while since I last had a pizza and lately I have been craving one. I have a fairly large list of pizza ideas to try and next up on that list was a taco pizza. The basic idea being a pizza with all of your favourite taco flavours. It seemed only natural to use a spicy salsa in place of the pizza sauce as salsa is almost a required ingredient in your basic tacos. I went with my salsa ranchera which is a quick and easy to make salsa but you could easily use your favourite store bought salsa instead. Next up was the meat and I decided to go with ground beef seasoned with a taco seasoning blend, though I was also thinking that seasoned shredded chicken or even seasoned black beans for a vegetarian version would also work well. I finished the pizza off with some shredded jack and cheddar cheese.

Taco Pizza

When I made the Thai chicken pizza with spicy peanut sauce I found out that topping a baked pizza off with fresh ingredients can be really nice and it is the perfect way to get more of your favourite taco condiments into this taco pizza. I kept things simple and went with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and a drizzle of sour cream. I could also see going with a freshly home made pico de gallo or some diced avocado. The sky is the limit here and you could go for pretty much any of your favourite tacos condiments here.

Taco Pizza

I have to say that this taco pizza turned out amazingly well! The pizza was great all by itself with the tasty salsa ranchera, seasoned beef and ooey gooey melted cheese but adding the lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream really took it over the edge. It was just like eating tacos and almost as messy with the topping spilling off with every bite! Once again the fresh toppings on the pizza worked fantastically well and I will have to keep that in mind when making other pizzas.

Taco Pizza

Taco Pizza

Taco Pizza

A taco pizza with a spicy ranchera sauce, seasoned ground beef and ooey gooey melted cheese, topped with lettuce, tomato, and sour cream.


Servings: makes 1 large pizza

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Printable Recipe
Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning or 1/2 store bought packet
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 pizza dough
  • 1 cup salsa ranchera or your favourite salsa
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup monterey jack cheese, grated
  • 2 cups lettuce, shredded
  • 1 large ripe tomato, diced
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • sour cream to taste
Directions
  1. Brown the meat in a pan and drain the grease.
  2. Add the taco seasoning and water and simmer until the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Spread the pizza dough out on the baking sheet and top with the salsa ranchera, seasoned ground beef and cheese.
  4. Bake in a preheated 500F oven until the cheese is bubbling and the edges are golden brown, about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Let cool a bit and top with the lettuce, tomato, cilantro and sour cream.

Similar Recipes:
Taco Quesadilla Pizzas
Thai Chicken Pizza with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Thai Chicken Pizza with Sweet Chili Sauce
BBQ Chicken Pizza
Tacos
Taco Salad
Taco Rice
Taco Pasta
Taco Burger
Taco Stuffed Shells
Taco Grilled Cheese Sandwich