Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mango-Habanero Sauce #SundaySupper

It's been cool and rainy enough here the past few days that I'm more than ready to cozy up to deep, steamy bowls of comfort food 24/7. Recently, I've been adding hot sauce and chili flakes to almost everything, drinking tea like it's been going out of style, and thanking Heaven that my mom had the foresight and generosity to buy me a Costco sized case of hand warmers - the likes of which have seen me through playground duty and outdoor field trips this year.

Mango Chili Hot Sauce

With all the hot and spicy fare I've been relishing, I decided it was nigh time to make my own hot sauce. Given that I work with a large contingent of Island women, it made sense to make a "pepper sauce" like the kind they break out at lunch, packed with the hottest peppers and a touch of exotic sweetness for good measure. Four home-grown habaneros, one Hatch chili, a mess of both white and Egyptian onions and a heady dose of garlic later, I had some hot, hot sauce canned away for Winter use and a jar for using now. In addition to the flame of the peppers, I tossed in a cup of shredded homegrown carrots and the flesh of two mangoes to temper the fire, which mellowed just enough to prevent my stomach catching on fire instantaneously. After a few days in the fridge, the sum of the parts married together so well that it formed it's own flavour base under all that nuclear pepper. A simple, plain bowl of shrimp, rice and broccoli turned into a Caribana fiesta with a spoonful stirred through it, and I can't wait to try it as a marinade too!

So... guess what I did today after Pilates (and the clinic)?
The hot sauce is the bright orange goodness in the back!

This week's #SundaySupper is loving warming foods, from soups to stews, warm desserts and drinks. Our host this week is T.R. Crumbley from Gluten Free Crumbley. Thanks T.R.!



Main Dishes and Soups

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It's easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Friday, October 23, 2015

3-Cheese Chicken Primavera Pasta

I feel so fortunate to know and be friends with some of the kindest people on the planet. They're the ones who open up their hearts, souls, wallets and in some cases even their homes to others down on their luck, even if they themselves deserve the helping hand.

I whipped up this lightly cheesy, savoury, veggie laden pasta and chicken one-pot dish for a friend who could use a bit of a pick me up. She has a family of 6 at home and a work schedule crazier than mine (if that's possible!). As I know all too well, the cooler weather coupled with the ramped-up insanity of the school year (especially between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when there never seems to be a dull moment!) can wreak havoc on the body, mind and spirit - not to mention the pocketbook! Luckily, this meal is frugal, filling and packed with nutrition (even sneaking in extra veggies like carrots, zucchini and kale) all while tasting like an Italian bistro meal thanks to a touch of homemade ricotta, roasted red peppers and fresh herbs.

3-Cheese Chicken Primavera Pasta

Whether you enjoy it fresh off the stove, reheated for lunch the next day or (my favourite) re-baked in a ramekin with a dusting of breadcrumbs on top, this pasta is hearty, Fall comfort food at it's finest. The only thing that makes it better is sharing it with your loved ones!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Butterscotch Apple Bread - #WBD2015

Wow, another whole year has passed since we last celebrated ! While we're all a year older (and maybe - just maybe - a year wiser), the love for the yeasty, crusty carbohydrate is still going strong!

World Bread Day 2015 (October 16)This year, I knew without a doubt which of my recent loaves would make the cut for our celebration, especially since the holiday falls smack in the middle of Autumn. My family is a gang of tried and true apple dessert fanatics - from the classic pie to my mom's infamous apple squares, earthy buckwheat-battered rings, granola, bagels and cake. Nothing, though, has ever managed to beat the decadence of piping hot, luscious apple fritters on the blustery Fall days of my youth. True apple fritters - those made with real apples dredged in lightly sweetened batter and fried in lard or (even better) bacon fat - are almost non-existent these days, and while I'm sure our waistlines are better for it every harvest season, I still miss that occasional indulgence.

A few weeks ago, I found myself with all the makings of a great apple dessert in my pantry and fridge begging to be used up. A fresh batch of tallow was packed in jars alongside a big jar of Simple Salted Caramel Sauce and a few desolate apples from lunchboxes gone by. Originally, I was toying with the notion of yet another pie or turnover - but the fact that I was home by myself for three weeks squelched that idea almost as fast. As lovely and decadent as pastry is, it simply doesn't hold well - whatever I made would more than likely be better off as doorstops than dessert by the time people got to eating it. Only after I delved into the deep freezer to "harvest" some produce from the Summer did I realize that I had been remiss in my breadmaking - Mom would be coming back from her vacation to nothing but the spongy, salty white bread my stepfather adores if I didn't get my butt in gear.

Butterscotch Apple Twist Bread

The need sparked an idea that just made so much sense I couldn't wait to try it out - a slightly sweet, "old-fashioned doughnut" flavoured yeast bread filled with swirls of caramel and apple inspired by this recipe from King Arthur Flour. In the dough, I not only added nutmeg for the classic "doughnut" nuance, but I switched up the butter for my organic tallow, jaggery for the sugar and whole wheat for some of the white flour. The filling was cobbled together from the goodies in my fridge - I diced up the apples and steam-fried them before drenching them in Scotch and salted caramel, making a gooey, totally dessert-worthy centre. Swirling the dough together a la the original recipe proved more problematic than I thought, but beauty contest aside the final loaf was a winner through and through - proof that looks are definitely not everything (especially when the result is edible!).

Butterscotch Apple Twist Bread

Be sure to keep an eye out on Zorra's site for the full #WBD2015 roundup!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Buttercream Cookies

It's always great to find new uses for things, especially in the kitchen. Thanks to all the Thanksgiving leftovers (the consequence of making both turkey and ham, plus sides, this year), I was asked (*hint hint* style) if I really needed all the things I had stashed in the freezer. After taking inventory, I realized that I had a rather gratuitous amount of homemade buttercream in various containers and flavours, and no plans for cake in the near future. A quick Google brought me to The Angry Baker and a recipe for cookies made with the stuff!

Buttercream Cookies
Batch #1 - vanilla frosting, a hint of cocoa, white flour, craisins, M&Ms, chocolate chips, and sesame seeds

The reasoning makes sense: "buttercream frosting is butter, sugar and flavoring (like chocolate)…. and since the basic cookie recipe generally starts with … “cream butter and sugar”… I figure, add some other stuff, and you have cookies". With the basics in mind, pails of buttercream at the ready and a pantry full of "oh yeah, I should use this up" items, I set to work making two batches of tender, chewy treats perfect for gifting, bake sale and (of course) noshing on!

Buttercream Cookies
Batch #2 - chocolate fudge frosting, extra cocoa, spelt flour, almonds, caramel bits and chopped dates
For simplicity's sake, the recipe I'm giving you today is the "bare bones" style - the nutrition info doesn't include any additions and use vanilla frosting, so it's a good "guideline". That said... it's cookies. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Mr. Potato Bread #BreadBakers

While I haven't been exactly regular at posting these days (I could point fingers as to why but don't have 26 hands), one of the things I've been keeping up is baking bread for the family. I call it a combination of creative release, stress relief and procrastination - as always, work schedules are jam-packed from day in to day out and my weekends (at least for now) are sucked up with a combination of lesson planning and trying to get to the gym after spending all week sitting down, so the break of even a few minutes to punch down, knead or pull a loaf of fresh, aromatic sustenance out of the oven is gold to me. 

This latest bread is technically called "Mr. Potato Bread" by the folks at Australia's Bourke Street Bakery, who documented the original recipe in their cookbook: Bourke Street Bakery: The Ultimate Baking Companion. However, I like to call the hearty, herbed boule The International Bread of Mystery, and when you break down the ingredients it makes sense - black sesame seeds originating in Africa, nigella seeds with Indian heritage, Mediterranean thyme and rosemary, South American potatoes and 100% Canadian rye and wheat. Not only does it have a worldwide pedigree, but it also has a local flair thanks to my backyard wild yeast. The process is definitely a long, multi-step one, and the loaf is a slow riser, but trust me, the flavours marry and enhance each other and the sourdough, the crumb turns tender with a hint of richness from the oil and the whole thing turns into something more than the sum of its parts. The long timeframe is perfect for people like me who can break away from their days for a few minutes at a time to tend to the loaf, and the reward is definitely a delicious one (especially spread with hummus and topped with alfalfa sprouts!)

Mr. Potato Bread

This month's Bread Bakers event is embracing hearty Fall breads... whether it's apples and pumpkins, spices or the dense, "meal in a slice" type of loaves perfect for pairing with soup, Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm has picked a theme that is sure to appeal to everyone!

Let's take a look at the other Fall Flavors being shared today!

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

Monday, October 12, 2015

Christine's "X-Treme" Beans

I love being able to make my own versions of "craveable" grocery store, restaurant or bakery items. I've whipped up marshmallow fluff, creme eggs, apple fritters and pretzels over the years, as well as a Baked Haddock and Seafood recipe my mom couldn't get out of her mind after enjoying it out east. Whenever I try to do these "copycat" style recipes, I always want to make them better - fresher ingredients, varied flavour or texture profiles and most importantly, tailored to the intended eater's tastes!

Christine's "X-Treme" Beans

One of my co-workers (the Christine of the recipe title) brings a jar of spicy pickled green beans (adequately called The Extreme Bean) regularly to have with her lunch, and I have to admit, they're delicious! Since our garden was nice enough this year to give us not only beans, but a couple different hot peppers, I couldn't resist the urge to whip up a batch for a future Christmas gift! The quart jar makes for a gorgeous and delicious addition to any gift basket, showcasing the prime ingredients in all their glory. Now it just comes down to filling out the rest of the basket!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays and Waste Not Want Not Wednesday