Feta Stuffed Pork Chops

 

This recipe makes for pork chops that a are flavorful, juicy, and tender. This oven-baked technique will ensure that your pork has a delicious crust and a perfectly cooked interior. Just follow these simple tips below and prepare yourself to reconsider everything you know about this weeknight-friendly cut. The recipe follows.

Tips on Cooking the Perfect Pork Chops

1. Buy the pork chops bone-in and thick.
Typically, bone-in pork chops are thicker than those with the bone removed. A thin pork chop is difficult to cook perfectly with this method, because of the hard sear you give both sides before it goes in the oven. If a chop is too thin, by the time you’ve seared both sides, the thing is practically overcooked! Choosing a thick chop allows you to get a nice golden sear on both sides and a perfectly cooked tender center.

2. Get your skillet HOT.
The goal of this initial sear is to get a golden, crisp crust on your chop without really cooking the center. I find that using a cast iron skillet is the best for cooking pork chops. A hot skillet is so CRUCIAL. Let your pork chops cook a couple minutes undisturbed, then take a peek and see how that golden crust is forming. When you are pleased with the desired golden sear, flip the chops over and brown them again, to get golden on the other side.

3. Brush with butter.
This classic restaurant trick—basting with butter while cooking—makes a great dish worthy f five stars. However, if you are trying to keep it healthy and watch the cholesterol, this step isn’t required, but it will definitely make the pork chops extremely delicious though. For the recipe below, you will be brushing a garlicky rosemary butter on the chops.

4. Use a meat thermometer.
Yes, many parofessional and home cooks will say that you will known the meat is done by instinct, but let’s be real, that takes years of experience by being the kitchen. But if you are not familiar with the “doneness” of your proteins, using a meat thermometer will make your life just a tad bit easier. I know, I know. This is the extra step that often seems fussy, but trust me, it’s worth it. Using a meat thermometer takes the guess work out of cooking pork chops, and that’s “a good thing.” The temperature you pull your chops at is totally up to you, but here’s a quick guide to choosing the right temperature for your taste. As always, give the meat some time to rest before digging in. Five to ten minutes should do the trick.

  1. 120°-130° F: This is comfortably at medium rare. Warning! You will see pink, and that’s is perfectly fine (See the USDA tips for cooking pork). The pork chop will be rosy-pink on the inside and super juicy.
  2. 130°-140° F: For those who are not comfortable with pink pork, this might be the right temperature zone for you. There will be a touch of pink in the center, but for the most part the flesh will be white. The meat will still be nice and juicy.
  3. 140°-145° F: No pink here! The meat will be completely white all the way through. Pork chops at this temperature will still have the potential to be juicy, just be sure to pull them from the oven on the lower end of this spectrum, as the chops will continue to cook even after they’re out of the oven. Anything past 145° F is the danger DRY zone, so keep a close watch.

Other than that, good luck and happy eating!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
For the Feta Cheese Filling:
3 tablespoons feta cheese (crumbled)
2/3 cup diced sun dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, taste

For the Pork Chops:
4 bone-in pork loin chops
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, taste

For the Glaze:
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F.

Mix feta cheese, tomatoes, parsley and olive oil in a bowl. Use the tip of a sharp boning or paring knife to cut a 3-inch slit in the side of each pork chop, 2 inches deep and 1/4-inch away from the bone, to make a pocket for stuffing. Stuff pork chops with feta cheese filling and secure with toothpicks.

Season pork chops with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl mix together butter, rosemary, and garlic. Set aside.

In cast iron or oven safe skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil then add pork chops. Sear until golden, 4 minutes, flip and cook 4 minutes more. Brush pork chops generously with garlic butter.

Place the skillet in oven and cook until cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Serve with more garlic butter, if desired.

pork-chop-verticalPhoto Credit: Ethan Calabrese, 2018.

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Garlic Butter Chicken Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles

These garlic butter chicken meatballs are low-carb, gluten free, and all around better for you without skipping out on any of the tastiness.

meatballs
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 pound ground chicken
5 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 pound zucchini noodles (zoodles)

Directions:
In a large bowl mix together ground chicken, 2 garlic cloves, egg, Parmesan, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper then form into tablespoon sized meatballs.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil and cook meatballs until golden on all sides and cooked through, 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and wipe out skillet with a paper towel.

Melt butter in skillet then add remaining 3 garlic cloves and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add zoodles to skillet and toss in garlic butter then squeeze in lemon juice.

Add the meatballs back to the skillet and heat just until warmed through. Garnish with Parmesan to serve.

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

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Hello November!

Hello-november-be-good

November’s seasonal produce promises some new excitement. Plenty of tasty things grow in colder weather and tropical climates. Look for fruits and vegetables to add a burst of color and flavor to your fall menu. Walnuts are a special thing. In season for just a few weeks in autumn, these fresh nuts – as opposed to the dry ones you can get in the shops – have a milky taste with a slight crunch, and are delicious just as they are. From humble roots and orchard fruits to striking brassicas, take a look at which seasonal fruits and vegetables our wonderful local farmers are harvesting this month.

Happy Shopping!

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables for November:

Apples
Artichokes
Arugula
Brussel Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celeriac
Celery
Clementines
Cranberries
Dates
Endive
Figs
Garlic
Kale
Leeks
Lettuce
Onions
Parsnips
Pears
Peppers
Persimmons
Potatoes
Pumpkins
Radishes
Rutabaga
Squash
Sweet Potato
Swiss Chard
Turnips
Welt Walnuts
Watercress

This Month’s Featured Vegetable:
Onions!

onions2

Photo Credit: Taste Insight, 2017.

While onions may have a reputation for their pungent aroma, they certainly pack a punch when it comes to flavor – raw or cooked.

They are among the most common staples found in kitchens across the globe. Why? Because they are an essential base for so many great, flavorful meals from Indian classics to Canadian cuisine, and are incredibly diverse in their use.

Onions are a key ingredient in everything from soup to Greek salad and can even bring sweetness to a decadent chip dip. The limit for their use is your own gastronomic imagination.

Varieties of Onions

There is an abundance of onions currently available, but the most common are: yellow cooking onions, large red and white onions, green onions or scallions, and Vidalia onions. Pearl, cipollini and shallots are smaller onion varieties that add a slightly sweet-smelling scent and flavour to many sauces and vinaigrettes.

        Yellow

  • Yellow cooking onions are the most common in Canada. Most recipes that call for “onion” are generally referring to yellow onions because these are an excellent choice for cooking and caramelizing. Mild tasting and quite sweet in flavor (especially between March and August) these onions are available year round, however, those harvested between September through to February tend to be pungent and stronger in flavor. Their versatility means they can be enjoyed raw, lightly cooked, sautéed, grilled, baked and roasted.

yellow onion

        Red

  • Red onions are a popular choice when raw onions are called for, thanks to their pretty color and overall mild flavor. They also leave less of an after taste then yellow onions. They are best enjoyed raw or lightly cooked.

Red-Onions

     White

  • These onions have a slightly different composition so they don’t store as well as their yellow cousins. They are commonly enjoyed in white sauces and in salads as they have a clean flavor. They are best consumed raw, or lightly cooked.

white

      Green

  • When a less intense onion flavor is required, green onions are the answer. They can be eaten raw or cooked and the entire onion can be consumed, if desired. Available year round, be sure to look for brightly colored, undamaged leaves with firm stem ends.

green-onions-store

      Vidalia Onions

  • People who like onions but dislike the potent taste will find sweet onions a happy alternative. These crisp onions are ideal for eating raw, but when caramelized can add a deep, rich sweetness to a variety of dishes. In season, between April and September, look for onions that are firm and free of bruises.

vidalia.png

Shallots

  • Shallots are used in cooking in addition to being pickled. Finely sliced, deep-fried are used as a condiment in Asian cuisine, often served with porridge. As a species of Allium, shallots taste somewhat like a common onion, but have a milder flavor. Like onions, when sliced, raw shallots release substances that irritate the human eye, resulting in production of tears.

shallots

 

 

Onions Go Well With……

Onions are an important aromatic and go well with almost everything.

They taste great sautéed in butter, and also go well with bacon, bread, cheese, cream, milk, garlic, oil, pepper, and thyme.

They also very complimentary to foods like mushrooms, beef, beets, cucumbers and herbs such as dill, sage, mint, parsley, rosemary, cilantro, oregano and basil.

Onions are a great base for almost all soups and sauces.

 

Serving Ideas

Caramelized onions take some time to cook but they have a multitude of applications. Spread them on sandwiches or flat bread, or add them to pizza or pasta for a hint of savory sweetness.

Create a decadent side dish with just a few ingredients. This celery root and onion gratin will compliment a special meal or provide comfort during a cold evening.

Soup isn’t complete without onions. Check out our roasted pumpkin soup, tomato-basil soup or broccoli soup for seasonal and satisfying lunch and dinner inspiration.

Go beyond the classic baked potato and impress guests by creating a restaurant-worthy dish with simple ingredients that taste very gourmet. Everyone will love these chorizo, onion and cheese-stuffed potato boats.

This cheesy herbed potato bread with caramelized onions makes a wonderful side for dinner and the best vessel for your favorite sandwich fillings.

This recipe for sautéed mushrooms and onions is the perfect side to accompany a juicy steak. The mushrooms are well seasoned to stand up to the big robust flavors of the beef.  You can use button mushrooms, cremini, or a combination of your favorite mushroom mix.

 

How To Select and Store Onions

Onions have dry, papery skin and vary in size, shape and color. They should feel firm, and be void of any sprouts forming at the top, powdery patches, or black spots on the skins. Another way to test the freshness of an onion is to sniff it: if it doesn’t carry that typical ‘onion’ scent, you know your product is good.

All varieties of onions should be stored in a cool and dry space with plenty of ventilation. Although onions have a low rate of respiration, take care not to store them in plastic bags otherwise they will create a moist environment and breed mold.

Important to note: the urban myth that pre-cut onions will make you ill is just that – a myth! Tightly wrap leftover cut onions in plastic wrap, and keep them in your refrigerator. Be sure to use within the week.

 

 

How To Prepare Onions

To chop an onion like a pro, follow this simple guide:

Cut both the top and root ends off the onion. Then, cut in half lengthwise and peel off the paper skin.

Place the cut side of the onion half down on the cutting board and secure in a stable position using your fingers.

Slice, dice, chop, quarter or mince as per your recipe directions.

Here’s a clever tip: to reduce tearing, chill your onions in the refrigerator for up to 30 minutes before cutting into the onion.

Yield: one medium onion will give you approximately 1 cup of chopped onion.

Onion Tips

Onions are one of the most common base ingredients for stir-fries, soups, stews and sauces.

If you find your cutting board smelling slightly like onion even after cleaning it, give it a good scrub with baking soda and water. Alternatively, you can rub it with the flesh of half a lemon.

Eating parsley will help neutralize the smell of onion on your breath. However, cooked onion leave virtually no lingering odor.

Try grating an onion into your hamburger meat. As the burgers cook, the onion will add moisture and flavor.

To mellow the flavor of sliced raw onion, run it under cold running water. This is a great trick for salsa and salads.

According to the National Onion Association, onions bring tears to your eyes due to sulfuric compounds when cut. They recommend that you chill your onions for about 30 minutes before slicing them and cut into the root end of the onion last to reduce this effect. To minimize their pungency, soak in ice water for up to an hour or run under cold water before for at least 1 minute.

 

Onion Nutritional Information

According to the Canadian Nutrient file, 250 mL (1 cup) of raw onion contains 49 calories; 11.3 g of carbohydrate, 0 fat, and 1.3 g of protein, 2g of fiber and total natural sugars are 5.1 g. It provides 14% of your daily intake requirements of Vitamin C and 5% of your B6 requirement. 1 medium yellow onion (1 cup or 250 mL), sautéed, contains a great number of your daily-recommended intake of nutrients: 25% of Vitamin K, 6% of fiber (1.6 g), 3% of Vitamin C, 3% of magnesium, 3% of phosphorus, and 3% of potassium.

Source:
Produce Made Simple: Onion (2018) The Ontario Produce Marketing Association. Date Accessed October 31, 2018. https://producemadesimple.ca/storage-onions
Continue reading Hello November!

Cranberry and Orange Scones

scones

Makes 1 Dozen

Ingredients:
For the Scones

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar, divided
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
2 1/2 teaspoons orange zest

For the Glaze
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon whole milk
2 teaspoons maple syrup

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 º F .

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add butter and mix in with your hands until dough becomes coarse crumbs. Stir in milk until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Mix and fold in the cranberries and orange zest.

Turn dough onto a lightly-floured work surface and knead gently until dough is no longer sticky.

Divide dough in half and gently form each half into a 7 inch circle, about 1 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut each circle into six even triangular pieces. Separate and set aside.

Place the scones on the lined baking pan. Bake for 10-13 minutes or, until tops are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a separate bowl mix together confectioner’s sugar, orange zest, teaspoon lemon zest, milk and maple syrup to make the glaze. When the scones are slightly cool, drizzle glaze over the top with a spoon or rubber spatula. Serve warm.

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Pumpkin Rigatoni

Like Linus of Charles Schultz’s “Peanuts” comic strip….I think pumpkins are GREAT!

linus 2

And once again, plated.com has brought another amazing pasta dish, which is perfect for those “Meatless Mondays” and is affordable enough to make on your own.

Rigatoni is a popular pasta in Southern and Central Italy. Given its ridged and tubular shape, these features enables the pasta to hold just about any kind of sauce very well. Typically, a tomato based sauce is used with rigatoni, but in this dish, a pumpkin puree is the vegetable of choice for the sauce.

rigatoni2

Pumpkin can be tricky and heavy in sauces. If your sauce becomes too thick while cooking this dish, use the reserved pasta cooking water to thin it out. Not only will this little trick improve the consistency of your sauce, but the starchy cooking water will also help the sauce cling better to the pasta.

This dish also features Pecorino cheese, an Italian sheep’s milk cheese similar in texture to cheeseParmesan with a salty, sharp flavor, which adds a nice counterpoint to the creaminess of the pumpkin sauce and pasta.

Overall, this dish was easy to prepare in under 20 minutes. And it was only 740 calories per serving. A great dish for a light lunch on the weekends or a light dinner during the weekday. This dish is easy enough to expand the ingredients to serve more guests.

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Creamy Pumpkin Rigatoni

DSC05595 DSC05599

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 sage leaves, finely chopped
1/4 bunch chives, finely chopped
8 ounces rigatoni pasta
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese, divided
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. When water is boiling, add rigatoni ad a generous pinch of salt. Cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, then drain and set aside.DSC05600

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until sot and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, sage, and crushed red pepper. Cook until fragrant for about 1 more minute. Add pumpkin puree and 1/2 cup water and stir to combine.

DSC05601DSC05603

Simmer sauce over medium heat until warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes. Add heavy cream and half of the grated pecorino cheese and stir to combine. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes more. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

DSC05605

DSC05606

Add the rigatoni to the skillet with sauce and stir to coat. Add reserved pasta cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.

DSC05608

To serve, divide the rigatoni evenly between 2 pasta bowls. Sprinkle over chives and remaining grated pecorino cheese.

DSC05616

DSC05621

 

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All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

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Braised Moroccan Eggplant

Many older recipes call for salting raw eggplant before cooking it to temper the vegetable’s tendency toward bitterness. These days the bitterness has largely been bred out, but salting eggplant is still a good way to reduce the amount of oil that this versatile vegetable absorbs. For even more aroma and herbaceous flavor, add fresh mint and cilantro leaves to the basil for garnish.

 

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 Japanese eggplant or other small, oblong eggplant, about 1 lb.
Kosher salt, to taste
One can (14 oz) whole plum tomatoes with juices
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
2 tablespoons minced preserved lemon peel

Directions:
Trim the eggplant and cut into halves or thick slices. Put the eggplant into a colander, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and toss to coat evenly. Set the colander in a sink and let the eggplant stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pour the tomatoes and their juices into a bowl and crush the tomatoes with your hand or a potato masher. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and garlic, swirling the pan to flavor the oil, until the garlic starts to sizzle but does not color, about 1 minute. Add the salted eggplant and stir until well coated. Pour in 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover and gently stir in the tomatoes, cumin, paprika and coriander. Increase the heat to medium-high and let cook at a brisk simmer, shaking the pan occasionally, until the tomatoes thicken, about 10 minutes longer.

Remove from the heat and discard the garlic, if desired. Transfer the eggplant to a serving dish and sprinkle with the basil leaves and the preserved lemon. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

 

 

 

Hello, October

hello-october

Fall is in full swing and every season has its bounty to share, as your local grocery stores are piling up autumn’s best harvests and many farmer’s markets are coming to an end. In addition to apples and the perennial favorite , pumpkins there are other types of produce that a commonly available during October. So why not take on October with a few reusable grocery bags and  a pair of sharp eyes, along with this list and seek out the fruits and vegetables that are at their peak.

Happy Shopping!

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables for October:

Apples
Beets
Blackberries
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Butter lettuce
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Chicory
Collard greens
Corn
Cranberries
Cucumbers
Dates
Eggplant
Figs
Grapes
Kale
Kiwi
Limes
Melon
Okra
Pears
Peppers
Persimmons
Plums
Pomegranates
Potatoes
Pumpkins
Raspberries
Tomatoes
Winter Squash
Zucchini

This Month’s Featured Vegetable:
Eggplant!

Eggplant-varietiies-with-labels.png

Photo Credit: Produce Made Simple, 2018.

The eggplant is a member of the nightshade family, making it related to potatoes and tomatoes. But did you know eggplants are actually a fruit, even though they are consumed as vegetables?

Eggplants are found in many cuisines, as they have subtle flavors and meaty textures which makes them especially versatile for cooking. The flesh of an eggplant acts like a sponge, absorbing the flavor of whatever it’s cooked with.

 

Varieties of Eggplants

There are many varieties of eggplant to choose from, in various colors, shapes and sizes. They can range from small and young to large and mature.

The most common variety is the large Globe eggplant. These purple, pear-shaped eggplants have smooth and glossy skin, and are often used in hearty dishes like eggplant parmesan.

Italia eggplants look like smaller versions of the common pear-shaped variety. However, the skin and flesh is more delicate than its larger counterpart.

Japanese eggplants are long, thin, and very dark in color. They take on a soft and creamy texture when cooked, and have a mildly sweet flavor. These are best used in sautéed dishes or stir-fries.

Chinese eggplants are a bit lighter in color and are slightly less sweet than the Japanese variety. They have a meaty flesh that is ideal for sautéed dishes or stir-fries.

Indian eggplants are small and round, with dark purple skin. These tender eggplants cook quickly, and have a mild sweet flavor.

White eggplants are available in a variety similar to the large common type, as well as smaller Italian eggplants called Bianco. You can also find white Japanese eggplants. White eggplant tends to have a tougher skin and a more astringent flavor than purple ones.

Sicilian eggplant are deep purple, short and squat, and lined with ridges. Sweet and delicate in taste, these eggplants are perfect for making caponata.

 

 

What Goes Well With Eggplant?

Produce: bell pepper, coconut, garlic, ginger, lemon, onions, parsley, tomatoes, zucchini

Herbs & Spices: basil, cilantro, cinnamon, cumin, mint, parsley, pepper, rosemary, salt, thyme

Other: anchovies, bread, cheese, chickpeas, milk, olive oil, tahini paste, sesame, soy sauce, vinegar

Eggplant Serving Ideas

Eggplant is delicious hot or cold, and can be prepared in a wide variety of ways. It is excellent stuffed, grilled, roasted, au gratin, pureed, or as a casserole. It is an essential ingredient in Asian and Mediterranean cuisine, where it is often prepared with tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil. You can also use eggplant slices in place of lasagna noodles for a lower-carb family favorite!

How To Select and Store Eggplants

To check for ripeness, press lightly on the skin with your fingers; if the imprint remains visible, the eggplant is ripe and perfect for eating.

Eggplants bruise easily and should be handled carefully. Store eggplant in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge for up to one week.

To Freeze Eggplant, wash and cut into slices, then blanch. Allow the eggplant to cool completely before placing in a freezer safe bag or container and storing in the freezer. Eggplant will keep in the freezer for 6 to 8 months.

How To Prepare Eggplant

Eggplant flesh discolors quickly when cut, it’s best to cook it immediately after cutting. If you need to, you can sprinkle it with lemon juice to slow the browning process.

To reduce the bitterness of an eggplant, cut into slices and salt both halves. Weigh them down with a heavy plate for 20 minutes, then rinse to remove the excess salt and expelled liquid.

Important to note: 1 pound of eggplant = 3 ½ cups chopped or 1 ¾ cup cooked.

How to Bake Eggplant: Cut eggplant into ½ inch thick slices; brush all sides with oil. Arrange in a single layer on a shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, in a 450° oven until well browned and soft when pierced (20 to 30 minutes).

How to Grill Eggplant: Cut off stem end, then cut in 1½ inch-thick wedges. Grill until streaked with brown and tender when pierced (12 to 15 minutes).

How to Pan-fry Eggplant: Prepare 1 to 1¼ pounds of eggplant, cutting it into ½ inch-thick slices and sprinkle with salt. Heat 1 tablespoons of oil in a wide, non-stick, frying pan over medium heat. Add a single layer of eggplant, without crowding; cook, turning as needed, until browned on both sides and soft throughout when pierced (8 to 10 minutes). Lower heat to medium if eggplant browns too quickly.

 

 

Eggplant Tips

  • Eggplant flesh is like a sponge, so it will absorb oil very quickly when pan-frying, leaving your eggplant greasy and unevenly cooked. To avoid this, salt the cubed eggplant and let it rest in a colander for 30 minutes. Then squeeze dry between two sheets of paper towel.  Salting the eggplant will remove its moisture and pressing it will compact the eggplant making it meaty. Now it’s ready to pan-fry!
  • Another way to extract moisture before pan-frying sliced eggplant is to microwave it.  Toss eggplant with a little salt, place on a plate lined with paper towel and microwave until eggplant looks dry and slightly shriveled, about 6 to 10 minutes.
  • The longer the eggplant is cooked, the softer and silkier it will become.
  • If the skin of an eggplant is very thick, it’s best to peel it off, especially if you’re serving it in chucks or slices.
  • Eggplant browns quickly, so don’t cut it until you’re ready to cook.

Eggplant Nutrition

According to the Canadian Nutrient File, the nutritional value per 1 cup (250 ml) of boiled, drained eggplant using the daily recommended intake from Health Canada is: 6.8% folate, 5% of Vitamin B-6, 4.8% of magnesium, 3.7% of potassium, and 3.1% of copper.

Source:
Produce Made Simple: Figs (2018) The Ontario Produce Marketing Association. Date Accessed September 28, 2018. https://producemadesimple.ca/eggplant/
Continue reading Hello, October

Salmon with Roasted Cherry Tomato Relish⠀

salmon

Fresh ingredients like basil, lemons and later summer cherry tomatoes, shine in this easy dish that is so easy to make………and yet,  your family and friends will be impressed for such and elegant meal!⠀

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:⠀

For the Salmon:
One whole salmon fillet, with skin on,  2 – 2.5 pounds
1/2 lemon, sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil⠀
2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh  marjoram leaves⠀
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 clove garlic, finely minced⠀
Kosher salt, to taste⠀
Freshly ground black pepper⠀
1/4 bunch whole fresh basil, for garnish
Lemon slices, for garnish

For the Roasted Cherry Tomato Relish:
3 pints cherry tomato⠀
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
A few sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar ⠀
1 small bunch basil, cut into chiffonade⠀

For the Relish:
Preheat oven to 450° F.

Toss cherry tomatoes, garlic, shallot and thyme with olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the tomato mixture out in a single layer and roast, tossing once, until tomatoes are blistered and beginning to burst, 20–25 minutes. Let cool and set aside.

Add the tomato mixture to a large bowl, along with the red onion, balsamic vinegar and basil. Toss the ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the Salmon:
Preheat the oven, set to broiler.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using clean paper towels, pat the salmon dry and place on the prepared baking sheet.

In a small bowl, mix the dried herbs and garlic powder with the olive oil. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the salmon.

Place the salmon in the oven and cook under the broiler for about 3 minutes.

Remove the salmon from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300° F. Place the lemon slices over the salmon and return it to the oven and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes or until the salmon is easily flaked with a fork, depending on the thickness of the fish and the temperament of the oven. Be careful in not to overcook the salmon.

To serve, carefully lift the salmon along with the parchment paper and place on a large serving platter. Top the salmon with the roasted cherry tomato mixture, and garnish with lemon slices and fresh basil leaves.

Cooks Notes:
This recipe is so versatile that  any thick fillet or fish steak can be used  in  the place of salmon. Excellent substitutes are swordfish and halibut.

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Hello, September

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September is a time of transition, as late Summer gives to an early Fall. Fruits like blackberries, raspberries and melons will still be available during this time. Be sure to check your local farmer’s markets, as harvest times tend to vary. Please note that this list will help you know when to look for what at markets near you. So, check out the list below for a quick guide to the top in-season fruits and vegetables for the month of September,as the Summer is coming to a close.

September Fruits and Vegetables

Apples
Artichokes
Avocados
Blackberries
Blueberries
Broccoli
Cabbage
Cantaloupe
Cauliflower
Carrots
Chile Peppers
Sweet Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Fennel
Figs
Grapes
Green Beans
Garlic
Horseradish
Leeks
Lettuce
Kale
Mushrooms
Nectarines
Peaches
Pears
Peppers
Plums
Potatoes
Pumpkins
Radishes
Raspberries
Red Onions
Spinach
Squash
Tomatoes
Watermelons
Zucchini

This Month’s Featured Fruit:
Figs!

 

 

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Photo Credit: Produce Made Simple, 2016.

Figs originated in Asia Minor and were brought over to America in the 16th century. Figs were historically used to sweeten dishes before refined sugar was an option, and they continue to be used in such a way in many parts of the world today.

While dried figs are available all year around, fresh figs are usually available in the summer and fall. They taste like a mellowed cross between a peach and a strawberry. Their unique texture, and ability to be simultaneously chewy, soft, and crunchy, is what makes fresh figs so appealing and popular.

Varieties of Figs

There are several different varieties of figs. They range in colour from green or greenish-red when ripe, to the deep purple that most people are familiar with.

The most commonly recognized varieties are: Black Mission figs, Brown Turkey figs, Adriatic figs, or Calimyrna figs. Taste-test each of them to determine which type suits your palate best.

 

 

What Goes Well With Figs?

what-goes-well-with-figs.jpg

Fig Serving Ideas

Figs are commonly stuffed with a tart or blue cheese and wrapped with prosciutto to be served as an appetizer, but honeyed figs and roasted figs are wonderful with yogurt for a snack or for breakfast, or with panna cotta for dessert.

Figs can be made into a jam or a preserve that goes well with pastries, crackers, or toast.

When roasted or grilled, you can add figs to a salad for some sweetness and texture as well. Or if you’d like, bake a cake and gently press figs into the top. It’ll look impressive to see fig halves studded on top of the cake showing their beautiful jewelled centers.

 

 

How To Select and Store Figs

The best figs should be slightly wrinkled, yet still plump with a little bit of a bend at the stem. Figs that are too hard or too firm indicate that they were picked before they were ripe. Depending on the variety, they should have a deep colouring and a sweet smell to them. Any sour odor means you should put that fig down and exchange it for another.

Figs are very fragile, so look for “perfect” figs that aren’t too squishy, don’t have any splits, milky liquid at the stem, or the obvious: no mold.

Figs are best consumed within a couple days of purchasing. They can be kept in the fridge, unwashed for that time, but make sure to cover any foods that may give off an odor as the figs can absorb that smell from sitting in the fridge like milk.

If you do happen to have some unripe figs, store them at room temperature on the counter and they should soften and get a little sweeter. Note that figs do not ripen after they are picked, so avoid unripe figs if you want to have soft and sweet ones for eating fresh.

How To Prepare Figs

Figs are often made into preserves or dried to take advantage of their delicious flavour. However, fresh figs are delightful eaten out of hand given their soft, sweet flavour and chewy texture.

Roast Figs:
Figs can be roasted at 375°F with some red wine or liquor, sugar, and lemon zest, with the cut sides facing up or down in the pan. Cooking them facedown will make them softer, while they’ll be firmer if baked with cut side up. This is a great way to extend the shelf life, and when roasted they’re delicious in the morning with some yogurt, pancakes, or served as a snack with cheese and crackers.

Grilled Figs:
Preheat your charcoal or propane grill and brush a little olive oil on the figs. Grill until lightly charred. Serve in a salad or on some fresh bread topped with crumbled goat cheese.

Caramelized Figs:
You can make fruit brûlée as well. Halve the figs and sprinkle a little sugar on top (raw, brown, demerara, whichever you choose). Use a brulée torch (or your oven on broil, watching carefully) to melt the sugar until caramelized (not too burnt). Let harden and serve alone or with a little burrata or fresh mozzarella.

Stuffed Figs:
To create a sort of blooming flower or star, cut the fig as if you were cutting it into quarters, but leave a centimetre or so uncut. Pinch the bottom to squeeze the insides up a bit to make the cut tips spread out into a star. Stuff with whatever you like: chopped walnuts, gorgonzola or another favourite cheese, and/or a honey drizzle.

Fig Tips

Cook your figs into jam, preserve, or roast with honey for a sweet spread or treat.

Figs are quite mellow in flavour, but cooking or drizzling them with honey, balsamic vinegar, or warm spices enhances their natural sweetness.

Be sure to enjoy your figs within a couple days because they are highly perishable.

 

Fig Nutrition

According to the Canadian Nutrient File, figs are extremely nutrient dense. They have high potassium and fiber content which is reported to help combat heart disease and lower cholesterol levels. On top of that, they’re rich in antioxidants — both in their fresh and dried form (albeit higher in antioxidants in dried form). Per 100 gram serving (about 2 figs), figs contain 12% of your daily fiber, 6% manganese, 7% potassium, 4% magnesium, 4% calcium and 2% iron.

Source:
Produce Made Simple: Figs (2016) The Ontario Produce Marketing Association. Date Accessed September 1, 2018. https://producemadesimple.ca/figs/

Coconut Cream Popsicles

Nothing beats the Summertime heat like the sweet and all natural Caribbean treats!

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Photo Credit: Little Spice Jar, 2015.

Makes 12 Single Serve Popsicles

Ingredients:

One 13.5 oz can  full fat coconut milk
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut flakes
One 14 oz can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream

Special Equipment:
Popsicle Mould
12 Wooden popsicle sticks
Blender

 

Directions:
Combine the coconut milk, shredded coconut, condensed milk, and heavy cream in a blender and blend until all the ingredients are mixed. Pour the mixture evenly into each popsicle mould.

Insert the sticks ,if the mould being used has slots of inserting sticks. If the mold does not have pre-cut slots, freeze the popsicles for 2 hours or until they are semi firm and insert wooden sticks in the center. Then continue to freeze the popsicles overnight for best results.

The next day, to remove the popsicles from the mold by running the base of the mould under lukewarm water.

Wrap the stick with a paper towel to prevent drips and serve immediately.

Cook’s Notes:
For this recipe, the Norpro Frozen Pop Maker Popsicle moulds were used and are available at Amazon.com ,Walmart, Target, and Khol’s.

Hello Friends!

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

Protected by Copyscape

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