Friday, May 25, 2012

Moroccan Sausage and Chickpeas

When I saw Food Floozie's chickpeas with chorizo, I knew that I had to make my own version of the dish. I had Moroccan sausages in the freezer, so I was pretty much ready to go. This version wasn't going to be vegetarian or using pork. I don't associate the flavour of pork with Moroccan cuisine - probably because most Moroccans I've met are either Jewish or Muslim.

I had originally thought about using some Merguez (lamb) sausage, but I had found the "Moroccan" sausage in the freezer. The Moroccan sausage isn't one of my favourites, but it holds a special place for me as it's the sausage my grandfather and father make at family events. The (kosher) butcher who makes them packs them with a significant amount of fat, so they practically swim in the pan, or, result in two-foot-high flames on your grill. Good times.

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Moroccan Sausage and Chickpeas
A tasty combination of sausage, chickpeas and cous cous
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 lb Moroccan sausages
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 3 small onions, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large (28oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp paprkia
  • half lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • to taste pepper
  • 6-7 servings cous cous
1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Brown sausages for 3-5 minutes and break them into chunks using the sharp end of a spatula.2. Add the garlic and onions and continue to saute for 5-10 minutes, until onions are soft.3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.4. Turn heat down to medium and let simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed.5. Serve with cous cous.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6-7 servings
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Monday, May 21, 2012

Beer Cocktails from Miller and Corona

Recently, my friends at Miller told me about a new trend in beer: beer cocktails. Since I've already used beer in cooking, I was more than willing to give beer in cocktails a try, and I'm so glad I did!

The beer arrived just in time for the Victoria Day long weekend and we tried out the cocktails at a small family barbecue. My mother-in-law had also recently heard of beer being used in cocktails and was excited to give them a try herself.

We tried the margarita first, after finishing a big load of yard work. I changed the recipe slightly from the original (for lack of ingredients), and the substitutions worked really well. It had a nice kick with the habanero sauce. Meredith was super-impressed, as I've never really mixed my own drinks before. She joked that when I was in university, I used my blender for cooking, while she used hers for mixing drinks.

We'll definitely be making these again for friends. Both drinks were hits and I'll be sure to pass the recipes on to friends.

Note about the simple syrup used in both recipes: you can make your own simple syrup by bringing one part water and two parts sugar to a boil. Remember to let it cool before adding it to your drink.

Coastal Surf Margarita

1 cup ice
1 oz tequila
1 oz lime juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz simple syrup
splash habanero sauce
3 oz Corona Extra

  1. Combine ice, tequila, lime juice, orange juice, syrup and habanero sauce in a blender until mixture is slushy.
  2. Transfer to a glass and stir in beer.

The mojito was second - I mixed them up before I started up the barbecue. I ended up using a little more syrup than the original recipe, but that's just my preference. It also turned out much better than anticipated, and I'm quite happy about it.
Thanks so much, Miller and Corona

The mojito was the drink my mother-in-law was excited about trying and it met her approval as well (without the extra syrup).

Mojito Chill

1 lime, cut into eight wedges
24 mint leaves
2 oz simple syrup
1 bottle Miller Chill

  1. Divide lime, mint and syrup between two highball glasses.
  2. Muddle and fill glass with ice.
  3. Top with Miller Chill.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Vidalia Onion Pie

It's Secret Recipe Club time again, and Meredith and were really excited about May's assignment: Ellie from The Bitchin' Kitchin'. Ellie is from Hoboken New Jersey, birthplace of Baseball and Frank Sinatra.

It was difficult to decide which of Ellie's recipes to make. Not because her blog was difficult to navigate, or because she didn't have a wonderfully easy-to-follow list of recipes, but because there were so many excellent recipes to choose from. From her Buffalo Chicken Dip, to Crockpot Barbecue Beer Chicken, to Chicken Tinga to any of awestastic cupcake recipes that would make Max from 2 Broke Girls blush.

In the end, we decided to go with the Vidalia Onion Pie. Not that I won't be trying those other recipes some time soon, but because I love onions. I can eat them raw (to Meredith's chagrin). I ran into a little stumbling block where I clearly had too much pie filling for my 9-inch crust and made a big mess on the counter. It could be because I used 1 kilo of onions instead of 2 pounds (2.2 kilos/pound). In the end, I used two nine-inch pies. However, a good, deep 10-inch crust should do the trick.

The Pies turned out amazing, of course, and we served it with a salad with sesame dressing. I ate half of one pie myself in a single sitting. The leftovers disappeared quickly the next day and the extra pie was devoured by our neighbours.

[Note to SRC members: everything is on auto-pilot for a couple of days. We promise to visit as many reveals as possible by the end of the week.]

Vidalia Onion Pie

1 10" frozen pie crust, thawed
1/4 egg yolk (for egg wash)
1 tsp water (for egg wash)
1/2 cup butter
1 kilo Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
3 large eggs (you can use the rest of the egg from the egg wash)
1 cup sour cream
3 tbsp flour
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp habanero sauce
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 450-degrees.
  2. Brush egg wash on the inside of the pie crust.
  3. Place crust in the refrigerator until filling is ready.
  4. In a deep pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and saute until translucent.
  5. Set onions aside in a separate bowl and let cool for at least 10 minutes.
  6. While onions are cooling, whisk together eggs, sour cream, flour, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and habanero sauce.
  7. Fold in onion mixture and pour combined mixture into pie crust.
  8. Top with parmesan cheese and bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Reduce oven temperature to 325-degrees for another 20 minutes, or until center is set.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Berry Crumble Pie

With friends coming over for dinner on a Friday in March, and the dinner being one of our standards, Meredith felt that it was time to try out an experiment she had been mulling over for a while. She had the basics for a graham cracker pie crust and was working an idea for a berry filling as well.

It came together, and stayed together incredibly well, and tasted amazing, of course. Unfortunately, I didn't have the presence of mind to take a picture of a slice of the pie (it didn't last long enough) so you'll have to just believe me that the pie didn't fall apart.

Berry Crumble Pie

Part 1: Crust

1-1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup oats
1/2 cup butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
  2. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and oats.
  3. Add butter and mix in until crumbly.
  4. Press mixture into a 9-inch pie plate bake for 6 minutes.

Part 2: Filling

3 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp lemon juice

  1. Combine berries and half of the water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 2 minutes stirring frequently.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together remaining water, cornstarch and lemon juice.
  4. Gradually stir cornstarch mixture into blueberry mixture and continue stirring blueberry mixture for about 30 seconds or until mixture thickens.
  5. Pour filling into pie crust.

Part 3: Topping

2 tbsp oats
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp butter

  1. Mix all ingredients together until it reaches a crumbly texture.
  2. Sprinkle on top of filling.
  3. Bake pie for an additional 15 minutes.

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Meatballs in Amaretto Barbecue Sauce

It all started out with a Guinness barbecue sauce recipe I saw, however, the recipe called for far too much sugar. That got me thinking that I wanted to make meatballs with some kind of barbecue sauce. The researching started.

I eventually found a recipe for Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce and went from there. I know that Dr. Pepper tastes like amaretto, and I figured meatballs in amaretto sauce sounds classier. I adjusted several ingredients, found some ingredients that were lower sodium (ketchup, Worcestershire sauce) and generally used less salt, and added an ounce of amaretto liqueur for extra flavour.

Unfortunately, I didn't have time to make the meatballs from scratch. If I did, I probably would've added some of the sauce into the meatball mixture as well.

The sauce was excellent. We had a bit left over so I bottled some up for a couple of people.

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Meatballs in Amaretto Barbecue Sauce
The sauce is a tasty change for meatballs. Serve it with mashed potatoes for a warming meal.
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp (rounded) garlic puree
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 small bottle (412ml) Dr. Pepper
  • 1 oz Disaronno liqueur
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 kilos (3 lbs) meatballs, cooked (we used 2 lbs and kept the extra sauce aside)
1. In a saucepan, melt the butter on medium and saute the onion and garlic for 10 minutes.2. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.3. Reduce to medium and let simmer for 45-60 minutes, stirring every few minutes until thick.4. Let the sauce cool slightly and puree using an immersion blender.5. Let simmer on low for another 5-10 and pour over meatballs.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6 servings

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