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Archive for the ‘Vegetables’ Category

Calling all mushroom lovers. Ovvvv–er here!

 

One of the things I absolutely love to eat are appetizers.  They’re so cute and so flavourful and of course, so little, that you have to have more than just one, or even two and well, dog-gone-it, sometimes 3 or 4.  Well the great thing about these little appetizers, is that they are almost all vegetables, so I’m giving you permission to have as many as you like and there’s absolutely no guilt involved.  None. Eat as many as your little heart desires.

The thing I like about this combination of flavours is its freshness.  It doesn’t leave a heavy aftertaste, nor does it make you feel like you’ve over-indulged.  It delivers a light, flavourful mouthful with every bite that will have your family and friends coming back for more. Served at a party, as an appetizer, these yummy little morsels are sure to get polished off.

Italian Stuffed Mushrooms

4 strips bacon, diced

1/4 cup (50 ml) ground pork

30 – 40 medium to large fresh mushrooms

1 cup (250 ml) onion and garlic salad croutons, crushed

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1 medium tomato, finely chopped

1/2 yellow pepper, finely diced

1/4 cup  (50 ml) grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons (25 ml) minced fresh parsley

1-1/2 teaspoons (6 ml) minced fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Method

1. In a large skillet, cook pork, drain fat and pat with a paper towel.  Chop finely with a knife or a hand-held blender and set aside. In the same skillet, cook bacon over medium heat, until crisp.  Remove to paper towels; pat dry, reserving 1 tablespoon of drippings.

 

2. Remove stems from mushrooms; set caps aside. Finely chop half of the stems (save the remaining for another use).  Add chopped stems to bacon drippings; saute for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from the heat. 

3. Mix mushroom stems with crushed croutons, cheeses, tomato, pepper, cooked ham, bacon, parsley and oregano.

4. Firmly stuff crouton mixture into mushroom caps. Place on a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 425 °F for 12-15 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

Adapted from Taste of Home Magazine 2011

Notes

I filled a combination of 40 medium to large mushrooms and still ended up with enough filling left over for a great lunch idea which I’ll be posting here later in the week. In the meantime, here’s a handy little tip I found over at Farm Boy to keep mushrooms fresh.

What’s the best way to keep Mushrooms fresh?
Once you’ve purchased mushrooms loose or in a package, keep them in a paper bag to ensure freshness. This allows the mushrooms to breathe better and stay fresher longer so they retain their firm, tasty shape. Do not store them in plastic bags since plastics non-porous nature causes faster deterioration and loss of flavour while cooking. Stored properly, mushrooms should keep for several days. It doesn’t matter what size of mushrooms you pick. Size isn’t a sign of quality or age. Large ones are great for stuffing and smaller ones for marinating. Medium mushrooms are perfect for anything.

 

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One potato, two potato.

My dear friends, please forgive me, but this is my second potato recipe  in 

just over a week and I’m not done yet.  The thing is, I’m making a lot of  them

these days and they’re so yummy, that I just have to share them here with

you.  It’s all white and winter-y here in Ontario, so I’m fixated on warm, stick-

to-your ribs, comfort foods and potatoes keep making the menu.

When you think of all the ways that you can prepare potatoes, it makes

you realize what a versatile vegetable they are.  Whether in soups, stews,

casseroles, bread, rolls, pancakes (yum, LOVE potato pancakes), baked,

boiled, or roasted  ~ you’ve gotta admit, potatoes are pretty awesome. 

What I like about THESE potatoes is they’re crispy outside followed by a soft

and yummy inside. Par-boiling makes all the difference. It releases the starch

before you bake them in the oven, jump-starting the crisping process.  By

tossing them vigorously with garlic, salt and olive oil, for one to two minutes,

the water evaporates quickly and you get a nice starchy coating all over,

which gets all nice and crispy in the oven. Just look at all that yummy garlic,

olive oil and starchy coating.

Yukon Gold potatoes offer the best results for this recipe.  They ensure an

even crispiness outside and a silky-smooth inside – everytime. It’s also

important to get the pan good and hot before you put them in the oven in

order to achieve that crispness and golden colour. Chopped garlic is optional,

but if you like garlic, be sure to mix it in, as it adds another flavour dimension. 

 

Placing the sliced potatoes in a single layer, flat on the baking sheet, achieves

a warm, golden color and a nice, even crispness. Take them out of the oven

after 15 – 20 minutes, when you’ve got a nice crispy brown all around the

edges, and give them a good flip.

 

Back in the oven for 10 more minutes and voila, gorgeous crispy, baked

potatoes. Sprinkle them with a little salt and some ground pepper and you will

eat well, my friend.

These potatoes are great.

for breakfast.

for lunch.

for dinner.

They’re really quick and they fill people up.

They’re delicious! 

They BAKE in the oven, while you’re busy with other things. (Like taking

pictures of things baking in the oven).

They’re self-sufficient – which is awesome.You only need to flip them ONCE,

not a gazillion times like the fry pan method. I love self-sufficient food.  

Things, or people.

They free up your stove top. You can never have enough stove top.

They’re versatile. 

Here are just a few flavour combinations you can try.

Serve them with eggs, for a hearty, country-style breakfast.

 

Dip them in sour cream, apple sauce and then sprinkle them with a wee bit of

chili powder.

 Mmmm … can you say delicious?

  

For those who recently accepted my invitation to follow this blog, and for all

of your encouragement and fantastic advice,  thank you from the bottom of

my heart. I look forward to sharing more posts about our life here in the

country, the foods we love and the everyday adventures we encounter while

raising a family on a working farm in Ontario. From my table to yours, I hope

you’re having an awesome, super delicious day. 

Love, Jackie

This Sweet Wife

Here’s the recipe:

Crispy Roasted Potatoes

Adapted from: The Best of America’s Test Kitchen

2 1/2 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes (about 5 medium)

rinsed and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick rounds.  For the photos, my

potatoes were peeled; you can do either peeled or unpeeled.

5 tablespoons olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Method

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on

the rack, and heat the oven to 400°F (200° C).  Place the potatoes and 1

tablespoon salt in a Dutch oven and add cold water to cover the potatoes by 1-

inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and gently simmer

until the exteriors of the potatoes have softened but the centers offer

resistance when pierced with a paring knife, about 5 minutes.  Drain the

potatoes and transfer to a large bowl.  Drizzle the potatoes with 2 tablespoons

of the oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Using a rubber spatula, toss

to combine.  Drizzle the potatoes with 2 tablespoons more oil and 1/2

teaspoon salt and continue to toss vigorously until the exteriors of the potato

slices are coated with a starchy paste, 1 to 2 minutes.

 

2. Working quickly, remove the baking sheet from the oven and drizzle the

remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over the surface. Carefully transfer the potatoes

to the baking sheet and spread into an even layer (skin side up if an end

piece).  Bake until the bottoms of the potatoes are golden brown and crisp, 15

to 20 minutes.

 

3. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, using a metal spatula and

tongs, loosen the potatoes from the baking sheet andcarefully flip each slice. 

Continue to roast potatoes until the second side is golden and crisp, 10 to 15

minutes longer, rotating the baking sheet as needed to ensure the potatoes

brown evenly.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

 

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These potatoes are yummy and delicious.

And who doesn’t like cheese and bacon?

If you’re looking for great side to dress up a quick meal, these mashed spuds

are sure to fit the bill.  And if you have to feed the neighbours, (which

sometimes happens on a farm), they can easily be doubled or tripled for a

crowd.

Sour Cream Potatoes

2 1/2 lbs. medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 cup (250 ml) sour cream

1/4 cup (50 ml) milk

2 tablespoons (25 ml) butter, melted

1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheese, divided

5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

2 cloves garlic, with ends cut off

1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt

1/8 tsp (1 ml) pepper

 

Method

1. Boil your potatoes and cloves of garlic in a large pot of cold water. Reduce

the heat once it starts to boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the

potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife. 

2. While the potatoes are simmering, heat the milk and butter in a small

saucepan until boiling.

3. When the garlic and potatoes are tender, drain and return them to the pot.

4. Mash the potatoes and garlic. Add the milk and butter, sour cream, 1 cup

(4 oz.) of cheese, salt and pepper and stir until smooth. Spoon into a greased

2-qt. baking dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese and crumbled bacon.

3. Bake uncovered, at 350° F(180 °C)  for 30-35 minutes or until heated

through.

 

Quite simply, these potatoes really dress up a meal without a lot of fuss.

They’re great for filling famished farmboys and anyone who just needs to be

fed. Scoop up a helping of these savory flavours and you’ll be all warm and

happy.

And your neighbours will love you for it.

If you have neighbours who don’t love you, (though I don’t know how that

could be), just bring them some of these and then they’ll love you too.

From my table to yours, I hope you have a really wonderful day!

This Sweet Wife

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I’ve been baking a lot of cookies lately and even though I love all that sugar,

I started craving some crisp, satisfying vegetables before I fell into a sugar

induced coma.  This salad proved just the remedy to balance my gluttonous

cookie consumption and gave me a boost of vitamins full of delicious flavours

that blend really well together. I couldn’t wait for the dressing to marinate the

vegetables since it was already lunch time and munched down immediately

after it was made.  It was delicious. If you have the time, however, it’s even

better after it sits in the fridge for a bit to blend the dressing flavours.  The

salty bacon pieces and cherry tomatoes added just before serving, take this

salad up a notch with some stand out flavours and they also really dress it up.

The colours of this salad are delightful, they make me sing, and singing makes

me happy.  And when I’m happy, the world is a better place.

Fresh Vegetable Salad

2 cups (500 ml) broccoli

2 cups (500 ml) cauliflower

1/2 cup (125 ml) pepper, chopped (I used red, but you can use any colour)

1/4 cup (60 ml) grated carrot

1 cup (250 ml) mayonnaise or salad dressing

1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar

3 tablespoons  (75 ml) Parmesan cheese

2 bacon strips, cooked and chopped

6 cherry tomatoes

Wash vegetables under cold water, drain and pat dry.  Chop vegetables into

bite size pieces and toss in a large salad bowl. 

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar and parmesan cheese; pour

over vegetables …

 … and toss to coat. 

Cover and chill. Sprinkle with bacon and halved cherry tomatoes just before

serving.  Yields 8 servings.  Bon Appetite!

Love,

This Sweet Wife

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