Just a little ole working gal, who loves food

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Breakfast Muffins

As much as I love breakfast and all the foods that come with it...I am pretty limited to either toast and peanut butter or buying something in the food court in my building during the week. Getting up at the crack of dawn and zombie walking around the house getting ready is really not safe for being around a hot stove, never mind the toaster! There have even been mornings where I made toast..and forgot it in the toaster.

I am not a morning person at all.

So I came up with these amazing, genius, breakfast muffins. I love eating them cold and they are wonderful for a nice brunch with family too! You will LOVE how easy and versatile these are. Make them this weekend!

 Choose the veggies you want in the muffins. I used finely minced onion, green peppers and chives (not pictured). I have also used chopped broccoli in the past. Really, anything that you would put in a quiche can go in these.
 Cook up some bacon. We like to cook our bacon in the oven in a broiler pan. I leaves the bacon less fatty and more crisp. You can also use Ham or sausage or even no meat. I love everything bacon...so bacon it is! Chop this up and set aside.
 This recipe made me 12 muffins. I used 8 Extra large eggs. Whisked.
 Add 1 tsp baking powder, your veggies, 1/4 cup milk, 1 tbsp vegetable oil, salt and pepper to taste, and 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder.
 Add about 1 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
 And lastly add in the chopped bacon
 Ladle the mixture into your muffin tins. I have a non-stick muffin tin and these babies just slid right out when they were done cooking.
 Pop in a 375F oven for about 10-15 minutes or until the muffins are puffed up and cooked through. To test you can just press a finger down on one of the muffins. They should feel spongy.
 All Done and ready to scarf down!
 I made these in the evening and kept them in an airtight Tupperware container all week while we munched on them. They lasted 2 days (most likely because we would each eat about 3 at a time for breakfast!)
Perfect Bacon and Eggs to go!

Enjoy your Canada Day/Fourth of July LONNNNNNNG Weekend!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Roasted Tomato Pasta Salad

With the beautiful summery weather we have been getting lately I decided to post a favourite summer dish of mine. It is super easy and later on in the summer I usually just use the tomatoes from my garden...but for now, Store bought will have to do!

In a large roasting pan arrange about 20 Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half. At the store I found a package of baby heirloom tomatoes and bought those (they did cost a lot for tomato's though). It gave a really nice colour combination to the salad. Season the tomatoes with Salt, Pepper and Olive Oil. Roast in the oven at 400F for about 15-20minutes.
While the tomatoes are roasting get together the rest of the ingredients. Get a pot boiling with your desired pasta (I used Rotini). and chop up some Kalamata Olives (I found pitted ones!).
And Julienne some fresh Basil (This was from my garden!). Want to know how I julienne my basil?
Roll up the basil in a tight roll
And thinly slice. Voila, juilienned!
Make your dressing. I used 1 Cup Olive Oil, 1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar, Juice of half a lemon, 1/2 Tbsp fresh minced garlic, 1 Squirt honey Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together to combine and set aside.
When the pasta is ready rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.
Add in the roasted tomatoes, olives, basil and dressing
Top with shredded Parmesan Cheese
Combine and serve!!
Happy Summer!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Slow Smoked Pulled Pork

This recipe was a duel effort by me and my husband...I prepared the pork, the marinade and the sauce and he smoked it slowly (10 hours!!) since he had the day off work! Totally worth the time in my opinion...smoked pulled pork really has a lot of flavour!! But first..you need a great rub!
My rub consists of the following spices: Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Chili Powder, Smoked Paprika, Cumin, Cayenne Pepper, Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar and Garlic Salt. About a Tbsp of each.
Rub the spice mixture into the pork..getting it into every little crevice. Wrap up the pork and leave in the fridge overnight.
Now my husband smokes a lot of our meat..so he really has this mastered and I suggest you try out different types of woods and temperatures until you find what works best for you and your barbecue.
We used 4 Pouches of Apple wood (half wet, half dry). To make the pouches use 1 handful of soaked Apple wood chips to 1 handful of dry. Wrap in tin foil and poke some holes with a fork. Place 2 in one side of the BBQ. This is the side that you want the heat on for. We usually start the BBQ on high to get a good smoke going then turn it down wayyy low once we put the pork on (you want the BBQ temperature to eventually get down to about 200F to 250F). The side that the pork is on has NO HEAT. We are cooking using indirect heat and smoke here! Try not to open the BBQ to often during the cooking process. The pork will be in there for about 8-10 hours...so really just check it at the 3 or 4 hour mark to make sure you still have smoke. If there isn't..replace the pouches. Not pictured was the mop. The Mop is a vinegar based liquid that you baste the pork with (we started basting every hour at the 4 hour mark). Our mop was equal parts cider and white vinegar with 1 tbsp brown sugar. The vinegar helps break down the pork during the cooking process making it easy to pull apart.
While the pork is cooking you can make your BBQ sauce. We used 1 Cup Cider Vinegar, 1 1/2 cups Ketchup, 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard, 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar, 2 Tbsp Molasses,  1/2 tsp Hot Pepper Flakes, Salt and Pepper to taste. Cook this on low for about 30 minutes until it starts to reduce and thicken. Set aside.

Once the pork is cooked remove from the smoker and let cool covered in tin foil. Once it is cool enough to handle shred the pork by hand, discarding any fat.
Serve on warm fluffy buns
And drizzle with your BBQ sauce
A great meal for the summer and party guests!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus!

Just because its Monday and I don't want to stimulate your brains too much with an overly complicated recipe, I am keeping it nice and easy this morning (but Tasty!). My husband and I have no problem eating a large bunch of Asparagus in one sitting. We just love the stuff! But adding Prosciutto to it just brings it up to a whole new level of deliciousness! You have to try this!
Grab a bunch of asparagus, break of the ends and season with Olive Oil and fresh ground pepper. You don't need salt...the prosciutto is salty enough! Get 2 or 3 asparagus and wrap a slice of prosciutto around them. Pop in a 375F oven for about 10-15minutes or until the asparagus is done to your liking.

And Done! So easy and looks fantastic to serve to guests!
There you go...nothing too crazy for your Monday morning brain!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Strawberry Scones!

So its Friday and I made it through my first ever theme week! I hope you all enjoyed my Strawberry inspired recipes...and I saved this beauty for last! A great breakfast on the go and I find them the best when they are just out of the oven and still warm!
Enjoy your weekend all!

The first thing I did was get all my ingredients ready. This recipe comes together very quick so you want to have it all ready to go. First things first, pre-heat your oven to 400F.

 Cube about 3/4 of a pound of very cold butter. I cubed my butter then stuck it in the freezer until I was ready to add it to the recipe.
 1 Cup finely chopped fresh strawberry's
 And 1 Cup of Heavy cream and 4 large eggs, combined. Set all these aside and put together your dry ingredients.
 In your mixer combine 4 cups flour, 2 tbsp Baking Powder, 2 Tbsp Sugar and 1 tsp salt. Combine on the lowest setting on your mixer.
 Next add your butter. I combined on high for about 1 minute...just enough for the butter to start to break down into pea sized pieces. Lower the speed again to the lowest setting and quickly add the cream/egg mixture.
 It will come together very quickly. You do not want to over mix this so only combine until it comes together. It will be sticky.
 Now add the strawberry's. I added these and combined by hand.
 Dump the dough onto a floured surface and roll out to about 3/4 inch thick.
 Using a pizza cutter cut the dough into squares and then diagonally into triangles. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
 Make yourself an egg wash (1 egg with a splash of water) and brush on to all the scones. Sprinkle a little sugar over all the scones as well.
 Bake in the 400F oven for 20-25 minutes or until scones have puffed up and are a light brown.
 Serve with Strawberry jam
Or to make it EXTRA special...Jam and homemade whipped cream. AMAZING!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Strawberry Jam...sort of.

So I tried to make Strawberry Jam. I thought...well...this should be easy right? I searched online and a lot of people were saying to just follow the recipe on the pectin package you buy at the grocery store. But have you seen this recipe?? 5 cups of strawberry's takes 7 cups of sugar. 7 CUPS!! I had no idea that much sugar went into jam. And it scared me! So I tried to modify...and well..it tastes pretty good...but is a little on the runny side. Spreadable..but goopy. Maybe it did need the 7 cups of sugar after all.
First you will need your supplies. You will need some mason jars with lids and seals, a very large canning pot (I have a dutch oven) and a large pot to cook down the strawberry's.
You will need to sanitize your jars. You can throw them in your dishwasher in the sanitize cycle or you can boil the jars for 15 minutes (covered in at least 1 inch of water). That's what I did. While they are boiling you can start the jam as the jars HAVE to be hot when you fill them. While you are at it place the lids(these are the flat disks) in hot (not boiling) water as well to warm the seals on them.
Following the directions on the pectin package, wash and hull strawberry's and mash 5 cups of them (I made sure I had 5 cups already mashed...I wanted my jam extra fruity)
Here is my package of pectin...maybe for my next batch I will use a package and a half. Also juice about 3 lemons. You won't taste the lemon juice but apparently it helps with the foaming when boiling. My strawberry's still foamed like crazy but whatever...I don't taste the lemon.
Add pectin and lemon juice to the strawberry's and heat up on high.
At this point you are to add your 7 cups of sugar. I did 2 cups plus a 500g jar of honey (I am pretty sure this was the culprit in making my jam runny. I should have done more research before starting this process!)
Added it to the strawberry's and started stirring, making sure all the sugar was dissolved.
Now the package said that once the jam came to a rolling boil, I should let it boil for 1 minute than remove from the heat. Mistake here again...because I substituted the honey for sugar I should have boiled it longer to allow the 'gel' to form. Kicking myself now! To test for 'gel' take a spoon and dip it in the jam. Run a finger down the back of the spoon and it should be geletin like instead of watery. Mine was kinda inbetween but I thought it might gel more once it cooled down. WRONG! lol.
Skim off the foam before jarring the jam with a stainless steel spoon. I don't have pictures of the next steps because I was alone and had only 2 hands (but when I make this again I totally will). Carefully remove the jars from the hot water and fill with jam using a ladle and funnel. There is a tool you can buy to safely remove jars from hot water...but I didn't bother (d'oh!) to get one...so I used a Teflon oven mitt to pull the jars out. No burns but definitely not safe!
Once all your jars are filled with jam place the lids that were in the hot water on the jar and screw on the seals.
Return all your jars to the boiling water and boil for about 10-15 minutes. The pectin package will advise the amount of time according to your altitude.
Safely remove the jars from the boiling water slowly. Try not to tip the jars to disturb the contents. Set aside for 24 hours...in the next while you should hear the lids popping from the air being sucked out of them! This will help keep your jam longer (I think the package read 3-6 months)
I printed some cute labels for the jars and voila...homemade runny jam! Tastes wonderful in my oatmeal and with strawberry vanilla scones (recipe to come this week!).

Moral of this Jam making adventure:

If you are substituting ingredients make sure you do your research on cooking times!

Make sure you buy all the right tools to safely make the jam!

Make sure you eat as many strawberry's as possible while making the jam...
they are so amazing this time of year!