Friday, March 30, 2012

Cheese Antojitos

The cheese antojitos story started back in the mid-1990s. The Peterborough Arms, a pub from my university days. One of my favourite snacks from the Arms were their cheese antojitos served by an eccentric server who walked around with PEZ dispensers stuffed in his belt like guns in holsters.

Being on a student budget, I quickly figured out how to make them myself and continued to make them as the occasional treat. When the Peterborough Arms closed shop, I knew that I alone held their secret. And it's now time to share that secret.

The beauty of these snacks is that they're flexible as well. The base is cream cheese and the rest is up to you. You can add roasted garlic, cheddar or bleu cheese instead of feta, skip the olives and tomatoes, add minced prosciutto or whatever. Just make sure the flavours blend well together.

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Cheese Antojitos
These cheese and tortilla snacks are perfect for parties.
  • 1 package (250g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, finely shredded
  • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 6 8-inch flour tortillas
1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.2. Combine cheeses, tomatoes, olives and pepper sauce in medium bowl and fold together using a spatula.3. Liberally spread mixture onto each tortilla, leaving a little space at the edges.4. Roll the tortillas and place on a foil-lined baking sheet.5. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until toasty (but not burnt).6. Let cool for 2-3 minutes and using a very sharp knife, slice into straight rounds or at an angle.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 40 pieces
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Friday, March 23, 2012

Mustard and Garlic Roasted Potatoes

The last few months were very busy for us, and cooking and baking new things didn't happen very often, if at all. In the middle of February, we had to catch up so we wouldn't run out of new recipes to share with everyone.

Fortunately, a cold snap hit and we had a good reason to stay indoors and make comforting food. At the end of that weekend, pretty stuffed with the weekend's leftovers for lunch, we decided to make a light dinner with some roasted potatoes.

I decided to wing it and throw a recipe together from scratch, and it worked quite well. The potatoes were nice and crispy on the outside and fluffy potato goodness on the inside.

Mustard and Garlic Roasted Potatoes
The potatoes are nice and crispy on the outside and fluffy potato goodness on the inside.
  • 1 1/2 kilos potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
1. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.2. Cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes.3. Transfer potatoes into a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and toss until well coated.4. Spread the potatoes out on a large baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 45-60 minutes, turning potatoes every 15-20 minutes.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4-6 servings
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    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Secret Recipe Club: Mango Chicken Curry

    It's time again for The Secret Recipe Club (SRC) again, hosted by Suzanne from The Bugs on my Windshield. Because SRC's reveal date is Monday, there won't be a Friday recipe this week.

    This month I was assigned Angela's Kitchen. Angela's blog caters to the gluten- and dairy-free crowd. While some people might groan thinking: great, there won't be anything interesting here, I already knew better. My sister-in-law keeps a gluten-free diet and she and my brother blog about their gluten-free experiences in Western Canada. So back to Angela - I immediately knew there was going to be lots to choose from and I was right. What most people don't realize is that there is a ton of cuisine that is both naturally gluten- and dairy-free. So it wasn't about making something with gluten and dairy substitutes, but finding the cuisine that matches the dietary needs of the audience.

    In the end, I chose to make her Chicken Mango Curry. Many curries are naturally gluten-free and many Eastern curries use coconut milk instead of cream - voila. No substitutes, just something that works for everyone.

    For this particular recipe, I made some slight changes in process and substitutions to match Meredith's dietary needs (she doesn't like green beans) and my cooking style, and there was no need to freeze it for later (the leftovers were eaten the next day for lunch), however, it still keeps the spirit of Angela's original creation.

    When we sat down to eat, Meredith said that it reminded her of the curries her mom used to make because of the sweetness of the mango, coconut milk, and raisins. Jeremy couldn't get enough of the zucchini so he shovelled his little bowl down as well. This is definitely a curry we'll be making again.

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    Mango Chicken Curry
    Meredith said that this curry reminded her of the curries her mom used to make because of the sweetness of the mango, coconut milk, and raisins. Adapted from Angela's Kitchen.
    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/2 kilo chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, cut into 1" pieces
    • 2 medium onions, chopped
    • 1 tbsp (rounded) garlic, minced
    • dash salt
    • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
    • 2 cups zucchini, chopped into 1-inch pieces
    • 2 tbsp curry powder
    • 1 mango, peeled and diced
    • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
    • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
    • 1 mango (yes, another mango), peeled and diced
    • 1/3 cup golden raisins
    • 3/4 cup coconut milk
    1. In a Dutch oven heat olive oil over medium-high heat and brown chicken for 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan to a bowl.2. Add onions, garlic, ginger and salt to pan and cook for around ten minutes, stirring occasionally.3. Add peppers and zucchini and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes, until peppers begin to soften.4. Add back chicken, curry powder, 1 mango, vinegar and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium and allow to simmer, uncovered for 25 minutes.5. Add remaining mango, raisins, and coconut milk. Stir and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes and serve with rice.
    Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 3 servings

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    Friday, March 9, 2012

    Potato Pizza

    Having recently discovered that our local grocery store carries prepared pizza dough (although it's practically hidden in a corner), Meredith decided it was time for us to slow down on our occasional frozen pizzas.

    Well, if we weren't going to have frozen pizzas, I didn't want us to stick to a standard pizza. My mother's friend used to make us a great tasting potato pizza, and I wanted us to try something along those lines. This particular project ended up being a joint-effort for Meredith and I, where I prepared the topping and Meredith made sure the pizza actually looked and tasted like a pizza (toppings placed correctly, baked without getting burnt, etc.).

    What made this recipe taste so great was the carmelized onions combined with the rosemary.

    We used the entire package of dough for a single pizza when, in hindsight, we could've spread it out into two thinner pizzas (requiring you to double the recipe for the toppings).

    Mostly from Canadian Living.

    Potato and Onion Pizza

    2 tbsp olive oil
    1 onion, sliced (the original recipe used red onion)
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 tsp dried rosemary, crumbled
    3 tbsp grated  Parmesan cheese

    2 potatoes, peeled, boiled and thinly sliced into rounds

    1 pizza crust recipe
    1 pinch salt
    1 pinch pepper

    1. Preheat oven to 500-degrees.
    2. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat and add onion, garlic and rosemary. Stir occasionally for around 15 minutes, until onions carmelize. If onions start to brown, burn, turn heat down a little.
    3. Roll out the pizza dough on a pizza pan or baking sheet and sprinkle the 1 tbsp Parmesan over the dough.
    4. Arrange the potato slices on the dough, with the pieces slightly overlapping. 
    5. Spoon on the onion mixture and sprinkle on the salt, pepper, and remaining Parmesan.
    6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until crust is crisp.
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    Friday, March 2, 2012

    Blueberry Coffee Cake

    February didn't strike me as blueberry season, but there they were. Three pints for $5. I guess I was buying blueberries!

    My mistake was not having something in mind for them before bringing them home. I'm not a baker, so this would be Meredith's decision. She looked through her favourite baking books at all of her choices until she realized that she wanted something easy. No phylo. Nothing else too crazy, but that didn't stop her from boiling the blueberry filling all over the newly-cleaned stove top :-)

    The final product was delicious, of course!

    Blueberry Coffee Cake

    2 cups blueberries
    1/4 cup water
    1/4 cup sugar
    2 tbsp potato starch
    1 1/2 cups flour
    3/4 cup sugar
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    1/4 cup butter
    1 egg, beaten
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    1/4 cup flour
    1/4 cup sugar
    2 tbsp butter

    1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
    2. Filling:
      In a saucepan, combine fruit and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low and let simmer, covered for around 5 minutes or until fruit is tender.
    3. Stir in the sugar and potato starch and continue heating until mixture thickens and bubbles, and continue to cook for another 2 minutes before removing from heat and setting aside.
    4. Cake:
      In a medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and baking soda.
    5. Cut in the 1/4 cup butter and continue mixing until mixture looks like a bowl of coarse crumbs and make a well in the centre of the bowl before setting aside.
    6. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk and vanilla and pour the mixture into the well of the flour mixture.
    7. Stir the mixture until until it's all moist (the batter should still be lumpy) and spread half of the batter into a ungreased 8x8x2 baking pan.
    8. Spread the filling over the first layer of batter and drop the remaining batter in mounds over the filling and set aside.
    9. Topping:
      In a separate bowl, combine the flour and sugar.
    10. Cut in the butter and continue mixing until it looks like a bowl of coarse crumbs.
    11. Sprinkle topping over cake.
    12. The finale:
      Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden and serve warm.
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