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Peppermint Bark

This came from the LCBO website.  I give it in pretty tins every year to the in-laws and as hostess gifts, but it makes a sweet gift for teachers and daycare staff.

Tins of this bark make great last-minute special gifts. Use aromatherapy peppermint oil, the purest peppermint oil that you can buy, available at health food stores. It tastes much better than peppermint extract. Use Belgian chocolate for the best flavour.

1 lb (500 g) chopped bittersweet chocolate

8 drops peppermint oil
1 lb (500 g) chopped white chocolate
¾ cup (175 mL) chopped candy canes
1. Line an 11 x 17-inch (28 x 43-cm) baking sheet with parchment paper. Adjust amounts for different sized cookie sheets. Set aside.
2. Melt bittersweet chocolate in a heavy pot on low heat, stirring constantly. Stir in 4 drops peppermint oil or more to taste.3. Spread chocolate evenly onto the prepared sheet. Chill until set, about 1 hour.

4. Melt white chocolate in a heavy pot on low heat, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining four drops of peppermint oil, then add candy canes.

5. Spread white chocolate mixture over chilled dark chocolate, spreading to the edge of the pan. Chill until set, about 4 hours or overnight. Refrigerate until just before serving, then break into pieces and serve or package as gifts. Will keep in the refrigerator for 3 weeks.

http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/RecipeController?action=recipe&language=1&recipeID=1164&recipeType=1

Slumdog Chicken Skewers

Robin says to ignore the fact that it comes from Rachel Ray! Super easy and you can leave out the skewers and pomegranate seeds.

Ingredients

2 cups plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped and mashed into a paste
2-inch knob ginger, peeled and grated
Zest and juice of 1 tangerine
2 tablespoons mild curry paste, such as Patak’s brand
Salt and ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
Nonstick cooking spray or EVOO, as needed for the grill or broiler
3 scallions, thinly sliced on a bias
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Yields: 4 servings, as a snack

Preparation

In a large mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, garlic, ginger, zest of the tangerine, curry paste and some salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the mixture and stir to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

This came from my buddy Robin who said that it was the most successful recipe (aside from hot dogs and canned beans) in the last 2 weeks.

Ingredients

1 green onions/scallions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp gingerroot, grated
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, low-sodium
1 tbsp Hoisin sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
ground pepper to taste
300 g salmon fillet

Method
Marinate
Finely chop the scallion, mince the garlic, then put them in a shallow dish. Add the grated ginger, soy sauce, Hoisin sauce, oil, lemon juice, and pepper. Whisk using a fork to combine the ingredients. It is not necessary to add any salt since the soy and Hoisin sauces are already rather salty.
Put the salmon in the dish and turn it to coat with the marinade. Cover and let stand either 30 min at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

Bake
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF.
Remove the salmon from the marinade, letting the excess marinade drip off, then transfer it to a baking sheet, skin side down. Bake in the middle of the oven about 20 min. Alternatively, the salmon may be cooked on an outdoor grill.
Check with a fork to see if the fish is cooked through. Separate and lift the salmon from the skin with a metal spatula and serve (discard skin).

Helen’s Hummus

This is my sister Helen’s hummus and it always gets compliments. I like to spice it up but my ladies like it just plain. I usually make it plain, scoop some out for them the just add the cayenne to whats left in the processor and do a quick pulse.

Ingredients
21/2 cups of chickpeas washed and drained (1can)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (u can add more)
1/3cup water
1tsp salt
Pinch pepper

Directions
Use 1/2 the lemon juice and blend all the ingredients except the chickpeas and water for about 5s.
Add chickpeas and purée.
Add rest of lemon juice to taste (I use it all)
Add water slowly until you reach your desired consistency. Go slowly!! Don’t make it too runny.

My buddy Eva made this lemonade for everyone at work and it knocked my socks off.  Enjoy!  This makes the concentrate and then you mix with water to make the actual drink. 
 
Ingredients
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 lemons
 
Directions:
Dissolve sugar in water over medium heat (doesn’t need to come to full boil but just make sure sugar is all dissolved) and take off the stove.
 
Using a micropane, zest all 4 lemons. Mix zest in sugar/water mixture. 
 
Juice the lemons through a sieve to catch the seeds & pulp. When the sugar mixture has cooled, combine the lemon juice & sugar mixture. Refrigerate. 
 
To Serve:
Use 2-3 tbsp of syrup to every cup of water, adjust to taste. Also tastes good with soda water or any type of iced tea! (steep 2 teabags in 1L of cold water overnight in the refrigerator). 

It was a hot one last night and I was assigned dessert for a bbq.  So I ‘googled’ summer dessert ideas and this is what I got.  It’s ingenious and not only do the kids love it but the adults thought it was wicked awesome too.

Ingredients:
These are the ingredients I chose to use, but you can choose whatever cookies, ice cream and garnish you want.  Or you could provide a combination and let your kids choose. 

1 package of PC decadent chocolate chip cookies
1 tub of ice cream (don’t worry,  you’re not going to use the whole thing)
Chocolate chips and sprinkes

Directions
Seriously, there are no directions.  You scoop the ice cream onto one cookie and flatten it out (don’t be stingy, layer it on there so that it oozes out the sides).
Push another cookie on top.
Roll the sides in the chips and sprinkles.

Voila!  You’ll need some napkins.
Note:  I didn’t make these ahead of time.  I just took all the ingredients there and built them with everyone.  It was part of the fun.

This came from my friend Eva at work.  I made her tell me the ingredients ‘off the top of her head.’
“This is an attempt at a recipe for chicken burgers. The beans are a good way to stretch a pound of meat for that hungry family 😉
I do the same when making meatballs. The quantities are all guestimation. 1.5 cans seems like an odd amount for beans, but I usually have cooked beans in the freezer so I dump a bunch in the processor. “
Ingredients
1 lbs ground chicken
1.5 cans black or navy beans
1 medium onion
1 egg, scrambled
3 tbsp olive oil
seasoning (I use 1 chipotle pepper, but different herbs & spices)
bread crumbs (plain or use herbs & spices in here instead of in the meat)
toppings (tomato, lettuce, pickle, avocado, condiments)
Directions
In a large bowl, mash beans with potato masher or in a food processor until almost smooth
Finely dice onion and mix with beans, or put in food processor and buzz a few times
Add in meat seasonings
Mix egg into bean mixture
(empty contents into large bowl if using food processor)
Combine ground chicken
Add oil and mix
With wet hands, form patties. Pat burger in bread crumb mixture. Place on oiled aluminum foil lined pan and drizzle little bit more olive oil on top. Cook in 350 degree oven 30 mins.