Blueberry Quinoa Parfait

Blueberry Quinoa Parfait
With summer almost here there has been a near constant supply of berries in the stores and this week blueberries were on sale so I picked up a bunch of them. After polishing off a significant amount of them just by snacking on them plain I decided that it was time to do something with them and I knew exactly what that was, a breakfast quinoa parfait. I am a big fan of quinoa and I am always looking for new and interesting ways to use it and the idea for the breakfast quinoa parfait has been on the back of my mind all winter just waiting for the fresh summer berries to show up. The basic idea for the quinoa parfait was to layer quinoa with yogurt and berries and after that you could add pretty much anything else that you like. Since I was using blueberries this time I decided to pair them with some toasted pecans and to use vanilla yogurt though I was also contemplating on going with plain yogurt and then topping the whole thing off with maple syrup.

Vietnamese Caramel Salmon Banh Mi

Vietnamese Caramel Salmon Banh Mi

I recently realized that it has been quite a while since I last did anything with seafood which is kind of disappointing considering how much I enjoy it. In order to resolve the problem I pulled out this idea for a Vietnamese style caramel salmon banh mi which has been on the back of my mind for even longer. When I first came across the idea of using caramel in a savoury dish in Vietnamese cuisine I was immediately curious and tried it only to be surprised at how well it really does work! I have been using the Vietnamese style caramel sauce ever since, using it in a number of dishes and I figured that it would go really well on creamy salmon and that that would go well in a tasty banh mi sandwich!

Jalapeno Popper Pizza

Jalapeno Popper Pizza
It has been a while since I last made a pizza and the craving for one had been building up over the last while until finally I just had to make one. On top of my list of new pizzas to try was one inspired by the flavours of jalapeno poppers. Jalapeno poppers are jalapeno peppers that are stuffed with cheese, commonly cream cheese and cheddar, and either coated with bread crumbs and fried or wrapped in bacon and grilled. With those ingredients it is pretty easy to envision a pizza topped with cheddar, along with mozzarella, sliced jalapenos and bacon and that just left the cream cheese and the crispy bread crumb coating to work in.

Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

Jalapeno Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing is one of the most popular dressings around and I had been thinking about making a spicy jalapeno ranch dressing for a while. Your basic ranch dressing is made with buttermilk and mayonnaise and it is seasoned with spices such as salt, pepper, paprika, and mustard along with plenty of herbs including parsley, chives and dill. All of this makes for a cool and creamy dressing but this time I was thinking more along the lines of a Texmex style ranch dressing with some heat from jalapeno peppers in addition to some fresh cilantro and a burst of lime juice. Making a ranch dressing could not be easier, you simply have to puree everything in a food processor or blender and it is ready to go. When it is this easy to make your own amazingly tasty dressings at home, why wouldn't you!

Texmex Sloppy Joes

Texmex Sloppy Joes
Sloppy Joes had to be one of my favourite meals when I was a kid and I think that it probably had a lot to do with the name. I mean what kid could resist a meal where the name itself implies that not only is it going to be messy but that it is expected and thus ok! Although I like to play around with my sloppy joe recipe I had never really thought of doing a themed version so when I came across the idea of Texmex Sloppy Joes on Homesick Texan I knew that I would have to make them! The recipe for these sloppy joes has a base that is pretty similar to the regular ones with some texmex flavours thrown into the mix such as chipotle chili peppers in adobo, jalapeno peppers, cumin, lime juice and cilantro. Another nice touch to this recipe is that instead of using broth for the liquid it calls for beer which is always fun to cook with! The Texmex flavours do not stop there as the sandwich is decked out with even more in the form of guacamole , diced onions, sliced jalapenos, cotija cheese and plenty of fresh cilantro!

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

BBQ Chicken Salad with Avocado Dressing

Up next is the salad that I made the creamy avocado dressing for, a hearty BBQ chicken salad that eats like a meal. With the warmer days here there is more time for grilling and throwing some grilled chicken onto a salad makes for some nice quick and easy summer meals. It has been a while since I have done anything with BBQ sauce and I had been craving the some of that tasty, sweet and spicy mixture! A BBQ chicken salad seemed like a great way to go and I was immediately thinking about building the salad up with some tomatoes, black beans and grilled corn from the cob. I was also initially thinking about adding diced avocado but I changed my mind and went with a fresh, creamy, guacamole like avocado dressing instead. The combination of the sweet and spicy BBQ chicken with the creamy avocado dressing was quit impressive and the rest of the salad did not disappoint either! I could easily see adding the diced avocado back into the salad along with the avocado dressing for the texture and even more avocado goodness!

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus with Poached Egg and Hollandaise Sauce

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Asparagus and hollandaise sauce were practically made for each other! It is such a magical combination of flavours and what better way to try out my first batch of super easy to make blender hollandaise sauce than on some asparagus? Although serving the hollandaise on some simple steamed asparagus would have been amazing, why not kick things up a bit by wrapping the juicy asparagus up in some salty bacon or even prosciutto for a treat? One of my favourite ways to enjoy asparagus is to roasted because the roasting concentrates its flavour and that seemed like the natural way to go with the prosciutto wrapped asparagus. The trick to this prosciutto wrapped asparagus is to try to balance the salty prosciutto with the asparagus so the number of spears of asparagus that you include in each bundle will depend on taste and how thick the asparagus is and I like to go with about 3 medium sized spears per bundle. Having both the asparagus and the hollandaise sauce in the mix already, I could not resist adding a poached egg with a runny yolk to turn the dish into one truly amazing spring breakfast or brunch.

Blender Hollandaise Sauce

Blender Hollandaise Sauce

With spring here it seems almost inevitable that I dust off my trusty old hollandaise sauce recipe because it goes so well with all of the abundant asparagus that is available right now. A Hollandaise sauce is a French sauce that is an emulsion of egg yolks and butter and it is commonly seasoned with lemon juice, salt, and a touch of cayenne pepper. Given that a Hollandaise sauce is pretty much just and emulsion of butter it is decadently creamy and hint of lemon really takes it over the edge. The one problem with a Hollandaise sauce is that it can be a bit tricky to make by the traditional method over a double boiler and that can intimidate some and keep them from making it. I recently came across the idea of making a Hollandaise sauce in a blender and it is literally as easy and blending the egg yolks and lemon juice and then slowly streaming in the hot melted butter and it emulsifies almost immediately! After coming across the idea I just had to try it and it worked perfectly! Now my only concern is that since it is so easy to make, I will be having this decadent treat far too often.