You know how it is....you wake up in the morning and pull something....
anything....out of the freezer, not having a clue what you're going to make for dinner!
That's what happened Monday!
So, I made it up with ingredients I had in my fridge.
I started with a boneless turkey breast and flattened it out using wax paper and a
very small cast iron frypan to bang it with....literally.
I then started gathering the ingredients for my creation!
Obviously, company wasn't coming over...thus the hot jalapenos!
I put a base of pesto rubbed over the turkey breast, some sun-dried
tomatoes, crumbled feta, green pickled jalapeno rings and topped it off
with coarse salt (lightly) and freshly ground pepper.
Yummy, yum, yum!
At this point you're going to roll it all up, starting at the small end.
Secure with string, wrapping around middle and then across to cover ends to keep your luscious ingredients inside or use the heat resistant silicone
elastics I love to use over and over again!
Set your oven to about 375F and place your turkey roll onto a rack.
Here, I just added some baby potatoes around it and a packet, left over from
the night before, holding a head of roasted garlic.  I had plans for my potatoes
when they were ready!
I ground some fresh Romano cheese onto the roast and
sprinkled oregano on top of that.  Cook for approx. 50-60 minutes.

When finished, slice into sections and serve with potatoes (which I slathered
roasted garlic all over!) and a nice green salad with balsamic dressing.
This was tender, tasty and delicious! 
Just leave out the jalapenos if you aren't disposed to heat in your food.
You can put whatever you like on your turkey breast because perhaps you
were thinking you'd like it more cordon bleu-y with some ham & swiss, or maybe
you have a favourite dip leftover from a recent gathering that has
avacados and salsa in it?  Just roll it up into flattened out meat of your choice
and roast to your hearts content!
I won't post a printable recipe here because you basically fly by the
seat of your pants and "create"!
I hope you'll try this Mediterranean Turkey Roll and let me know if you liked it?
I thought it was divine!
xo
 
_It suddenly hit me yesterday when we were making our Prime Rib Roast
that perhaps some of you don't know how to make a perfect Prime Rib Roast!
We can do it with our eyes closed now...and it's always delish!
And that's why I'm sharing!
Last night's dinner was in honour of Maureen (It's All Connected)
because she was celebrating her special birthday!
(I won't tell you how old she is...I'll leave that to her blogging, but she doesn't act her age
....at all!  She's so young at heart!)
_Her sister Lynn (2 be cherished etsy shop) joined us with her husband Paul and
Lynn baked the cake for Maureen.  Take it from me...it was super yum!
Not only can she knit beautiful baby clothes, but she can BAKE!

So....onto the Prime Rib Roast!
Easy peasy!

Start with a luscious raw Prime Rib Roast.
I prefer the Chef's cut (which I thought this was...but it wasn't)
Chef's cut is when they cut the bones off and tie them back on and it makes it
much easier to deal with after being roasted.
_I prefer to do the next step the night before, but it can also be done
the morning of your special meal.

I like to rub the roast with sea salt and coarse pepper.
Then I make a marinade for the beef roast.
All I used is fresh herbs chopped finely.
Chop up Thyme, Rosemary, Basil, Sage, Oregano and most especially
Tarragon!  You can put whatever herbs you prefer, more or less of any.
I usually end up putting about 1-2 Tbsp of each into a measuring cup.
_Just like so.....
Can you see all that wonderful minced garlic in there?
I'll let you in on our secret.
I've had this wee chopper since my youngest daughter, Megan, was born....
22 years ago and it's still working like a charm!
We primarily use it for garlic and have tried other choppers (when we had our
trailer up north, we searched for another) but they don't work as well!
We just peel and throw into the chopper and within seconds....chopped garlic!
_Okay...so once you've added your chopped garlic to the measuring cup,
pour in approximately 1/2 to 1 cup of olive oil and the same of
really good red wine (or I've used port...depends on my mood!).
Then I usually add about 1/3 cup of nice rich balsamic vinegar.
Add some more coarsely ground pepper and stir.

Then, get an extra large ziplock bag and put the roast inside it.
Pour the marinade on top of it and press the air out as best you can.
_Make sure you disperse the marinade all over the roast by rubbing it and
turning it until it seems to be covered by the marinade.
Put into fridge until about an hour before roasting, turning whenever you
think of it...the more you turn, the more tender your beef will be!

Here's the secret part....
Set your oven to 450F and bake the roast in a large roasting pan (pour the marinade all over it when you place it in the pan) or use a large pot
like we do  large cast iron dutch oven with no cover for 25-30 minutes.
Do not cover.
Then, turn your temperature right down to 200-250F and roast until
a thermometer inserted reads 145F(Rare) to 170F (Welldone).
Uncovered still.
We like to roast it until it's about 155, but some people don't
like the sight of blood, so we'll cook it to 160-165 when those particular
guests are over.
This roast was cooked to 163F and then we took it out and tented it
with tinfoil.
It was very tender and delicious!
And here....was our dinner spread.....
Succulent Prime Rib Roast
Yorkshire Pudding
Mashed Potatoes
Green Salad with Homemade Balsamic Dressing
Green Beans sauteed in butter, garlic and spices
and of course...gravy (forgot to take a photo!) and lastly....the cake
you viewed above for dessert!

I love cooking for good friends & family!
Do you think you'll try this version?
You should!!!
xo

(no printable recipe with this one...because it is rather off the cuff so to speak)
 
(from "Canadian Living's (Alison Kent) The Vegetarian Collection")
Is your mouth watering like mine does everytime I see this photo?
That's because it's DELICIOUS!
This recipe takes quite awhile to make, however is sooo worth it in the end.
I made this while I was working on my Sally List inspired by Susan over At My Place to Yours.  Part of my list was to feed my neighbour & her husband dinners for 2 weeks after she had major surgery.  I did almost 2 weeks and then her sister was back in the picture and took care of her from there!  One item done on my Sally List!  Yay!

Onward to Mouthwatering Bliss

Eggplant & Spinach Lasagna

Prep: 1 hour, Stand: 40 minutes, Cook: 1-3/4 hours, Makes: 8 servings.

Ingredients
2 large eggplants (about 2-1/2lbs total)
1 tsp salt
12 lasagna noodles (I used the fresh ones you can buy at the deli section of grocery stores)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 bags (10oz each) fresh spinach, trimmed
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups ricotta cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1-1/2 cups grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Tomato Sauce Ingredients:
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 can whole tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano.

Peel eggplants; cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch thick slices.  Sprinkle both sides with salt.  Layer in colander; let stand for 30 minutes.

Tomato SauceMeanwhile, in saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; fry onion, garlic and hot pepper flakes, stirring until onion is softened, 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes and oregano, breaking up with spoon; bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes (or in my case with the fresh...a quick dunking for 1 minute!).  Drain and chill under cold water; drain.  Arrange in single layer between damp towels.

Press eggplant slices to firmly remove liquid.  Transfer to paper towels; let dry.  Brush with 2 Tbsp of the oil; place in single layer on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.  Bake in 450F oven, turning once, until lightly browned, 20-25 minutes.  (I think this should be more like 15-20 minutes myself and watch them closely so they don't burn!)
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Pre-oven drying out.
Meanwhile, rinse spinach; shake off excess water.  In large pot, cook spinach, in batches, over medium heat, stirring once, until wilted, about 5 minutes.  Drain; squeeze out moisture.  Chop coarsely.  Mix spinach with remaining oil and pine nuts.

Mix together eggs, ricotta, 2 cups of the mozzarella, 1-1/4 cups of the Romano cheese, pepper and nutmeg.

Spread half of the tomato sauce in 13"x9" glass baking dish.  Top with one-third of the noodles in single layer, half of the spinach mixture, half of the cheese mixture, and half of the eggplant slices, overlapping if necessary; repeat noodle, spinach, cheese and eggplant layers once.  Top with remaining noodles and tomato sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Romano cheeses.  (If not baking right away, let cool for 30 minutes; cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.  Add 10 minutes to covered baking time).

Cover loosely with foil; bake in 375F oven for 25 minutes.  Uncover and bake until bubbly and cheese is lightly browned, about 30 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Wow right?!  Imagine this succulent bite heading towards your mouth!
Are yah hooked and trying this or what?
Don't forget to use the "Printable Version" below!
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Printable Version
 
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_            Of course, I didn't eat all of it, but here's  what I ate for breakfast one morning in the Lighthouse Restaurant in Southampton!
            I had to!  It's mandatory!  I hadn't been there in two summers!  This is "The" Macedonian Omelet (Greek feta, spinach) from an old time restaurant...you know the kind....great big banquet booths (salmon coloured) that seat 8 on one side of the room and directly across the aisle, ones that seat 4, with more tables along the back. 

            They'd actually revamped the place during the time I missed going there and it's quite lovely now.  No longer does it have tacky pictures on the walls (they're now black & white stills) and the walls themselves are painted a soft green colour.  That's the only thing that changed.  The same owner/waitress was still working and she's very funny.  Everytime you are in there, you have a laugh caused by her quirky humour and they are soooo busy.  We had to wait for someone to finish eating.  Personally....I love that don't you....your staring at everyone eating their breakfast with longing in your eyes and they're averting theirs and rushing to eat so the next people can sit down....real comfortable!  hahahaha!   Oh and too funny.....my meal comes and out comes my (oops Dan's) iphone and I'm snapping photos of my breakfast...the people next to us are laughing at us and I look over at them and say "Doesn't everyone take photos of their breakfast?"  hahahaha!  Such a happy place!

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_              Well, I truly did eat quite badly this past weekend.  I had pizza from Roberto's (ignore the first couple of reviews...they don't know what they're talking about!) on the Friday night.  That's another must have.  You order this pizza and you have to pick it up, cuz there's no delivery and it won't be ready for 1-1/2 hours  because they are sooooo busy as well!   But, when you get it....it's luscious with cheese and homemade sauce on a perfectly baked crust.  And, we ordered a large.....well......we had to have leftovers for lunch the next day didn't we?!

            My culinary experience this weekend was relaxed!  We did have some healthy things like spinach salad with Blueberry-Basil Dressing, chips, cold chicken (bbq whole) and quinoa salad, chickpea and black bean salad...not too much bread (seriously!), chips, yogurt, chips, bananas, chips,roasted marshmallows in Bailey's, chips.....hahahaha...no....we only had chips twice.  I joke!  But, it was just two chicks eating when we wanted, how we wanted and where we wanted.  How great was that?  Oh yah....and some beer, wine, vodka drinks....all spread out...all spread out!

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_              Here's Nancy having her very first marshmallow dipped in Baileys on Sunday night!  And love it?  You better believe it...we pigged out on these puppies! 

            So, the moral of the story is....I only gained "2 ounces" this week!  Isn't that hysterically funny?  I thought I'd have gained mega pounds and when I stood on the scale this morning, it was 2 ounces....unbelievable!  Must have been that spinach salad huh?

            Now, I'll get serious with my diet.  It's October and it's time to buckle down...or is that buckle up?  My weekend away is over and I can continue happily on my healthy meal planning and swimming again! 

            Thanks again Nancy for a wonderful, happy weekend!

Okra

11/12/2011

0 Comments

 
(transferred from previous "Health" tab...originally posted 2011/08/13)
_      We planted okra this year in our garden because Dan loves it, but I always thought it was rather....bitter...but it was delicious.  This was a WeightWatchers recipe and I promise, next time I make it...and I will....I'll put photos in to the cooking category (which I know has nothing in it yet...but I'm just getting warmed up with this blogging thing, don't yah know?!)  Here's the recipe and all the details about okra are under it!  Fabulous!

Roasted Okra
Points value: 1
Prep: 4 minutes - Cook: 10-15minutes

Purchase firm and brightly coloured okra pods that are less than 4 inches long; they will be more tender than the larger ones.

1-1/2 lbs okra pods
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Cooking Spray

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Combine okra and next five ingredients in a large bowl, and toss well to coat.  Spread okra in a single layer on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray.
3. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until okra is crisp-tender.  Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size about 1 cup)
per serving: Cal 61 (35% from fat); Fat 2.4g (sat 0.3g); Pro 2.4g; Carb 9.1g; Fib 3.7g; Chol 0mg; Iron; 1mg; Sod 305mg; Calc 96mg.
(From WeightWatchers "five ingredient 15 minute cookbook"

____________________________________________________________________________

The world's most beautiful women, Cleopatra of Egypt and Yang Guifei of China loved to eat okra according to the history record.

Cleopatra of Egypt Yang Guifei of China When we visited the world's most productive land of okra in a rural area in Kami, Kochi Prefecture, Japan, the young and old all look very healthy. When we asked their secret in having good health in that area, they graciously answer “okra”.

Okra has a long history, with its beginnings in Egypt where it is cultivated before the time of Cleopatra. The okra plant spread to many parts of the world during the Atlantic slave trade. During World War II, the shortage of coffee beans made them use okra seeds as a substitute for coffee. This incident made the word “okra fever”. Since then, okra's popularity never disappeared from local markets to convenience stores throughout the world and throughout the year.

Nutritional Information Okra contains vitamins A and C and is a good source of iron and calcium. It also contains starch, fat, ash, thiamine and riboflavin. No wonder, Cleopatra and Yang Guifei maintained their beauties.

Health Benefits of Okra
  1. The superior fiber found in okra helps to stabilize the blood sugar by curbing the rate at which sugar is absorbed from the intestinal tract.
  2. Okra's mucilage binds cholesterol and bile acid carrying toxins dumped into it by the filtering liver.
  3. Okra helps lubricate the large intestines due to its bulk laxative qualities. The okra fiber absorbs water and ensures bulk in stools. This helps prevent and improve constipation. Unlike harsh wheat bran, which can irritate or injure the intestinal tract, okra's mucilage soothes, and okra facilitates elimination more comfortably by its slippery characteristic. Okra binds excess cholesterol and toxins (in bile acids). These, if not evacuated, will cause numerous health problems. Okra also assures easy passage out of waste from the body. Okra is completely non-toxic, non-habit forming, has no adverse side effects, is full of nutrients, and is economically within reach of most individuals unlike over-the-counter drugs.
  4. Okra fiber is excellent for feeding the good bacteria (probiotics). This contributes to the health of the intestinal tract.
  5. Okra is a supreme vegetable for those feeling weak, exhausted, and suffering from depression.
  6. Okra is used for healing ulcers and to keep joints limber. It helps to neutralize acids, being very alkaline, and provides a temporary protective coating for the digestive tract.
  7. Okra treats lung inflammation, sore throat, and irritable bowel syndrome.
  8. Okra has been used successfully in experimental blood plasma replacements.
  9. Okra is good for summer heat treatment.
  10. Okra is good for constipation.
  11. Okra is good in normalizing the blood sugar and cholesterol level.
  12. Okra is good for asthma. Okra's vitamin C is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which curtail the development of asthma symptoms.
  13. Okra is good for atherosclerosis.
  14. Okra is believed to protect some forms of cancer expansion, especially colorectal cancer.
  15. Eating okra helps to support the structure of capillaries.
  16. Some information shows that eating okra lowers the risk of cataracts.
  17. Okra is good for preventing diabetes.
  18. Okra protects you from pimples and maintains smooth and beautiful skin. We understand the reason why Cleopatra and Yang Guifei loved to eat okra.
There are other medicinal uses of okra, like its protection against trans fats.

I myself planted about 25 stems of okra in my backyard garden throughout the year for over 20 years now. I can pick up about 20 pieces of okra pod every morning. All okra pods are consumed by my family. There are hundreds of recipes that can be done. You can either: cut it raw and mix with vinegar and pepper; cut it raw and mix with mayonnaise; steam, cut, with mayonnaise dressing; or, cook with stew or soup.

Okra is easy to grow anywhere during summer season in cold countries and throughout the year in tropical areas. You can even plant it in a container garden at the terrace in condominium buildings.


For 1/2 cup sliced, cooked okra For 1 cup raw okra Calories – 25
Dietary Fiber – 2 grams
Protein – 1.52 grams
Carbohydrates – 5.76 grams
Vitamin A – 460 IU
Vitamin C – 13.04 mg
Folic acid – 36.5 micrograms
Calcium – 50.4 mg
Iron – 0.4 mg
Potassium – 256.6 mg
Magnesium – 46 mg Calories – 33
Fiber – 3.2g
Total Fat – 0.1g
Protein – 2.0g
Carbohydrate – 7.6g
Vitamin A – 660 IU
Vitamin C – 21mg
Folate – 87.8mcg
Magnesium – 57mg

Inventor of PYRO-ENERGEN, the author, Mr. Takano himself picks up Okra in his backyard garden

To tell you the truth, I did not know that okra seed was used as a substitute for coffee beans during World War II. I have about 500 grams of okra seeds, so I roasted one-half of it using an iron cast pan, and pulverized it. I made okra coffee with it, and it tasted like real coffee although it was darker in color. When I offered the okra coffee to my staffs and visitors who did not know the real thing, they replied "Oh, you got a new blend of coffee, taste is good". I blended it with real coffee, too. It tastes all right. We do not know, however, what nutrients okra coffee gives.


About the Author: Junji Takano is a Japanese health researcher involved in investigating the cause of many dreadful diseases. In 1968, he invented PYRO-ENERGEN, the first electrostatic therapy device for electromedicine that effectively eradicates viral diseases, cancer, and diseases of unknown cause.
Click here to find out more: http://www.pyroenergen.com/about.htm
Free health newsletter: http://www.pyroenergen.com/newsletter.htm

------------------------------------------------------------
Reprint Rights: You may reprint this article within your website, blog, or newsletter as long as the entire article remains the same as well as the “About the Author” box.
 
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_             Approximately three summers ago, I was in The Cook's Cupboard in Southampton, Ontario.  It's a glorious kitchen store and sells pre-packaged gourmet meals as well!  While I was in there this one day, a gentleman had a table set up inside and was praising the virtues of Paltita Avocado Oil.  He was a representative of the company and had a lovely dip prepared for customers to taste, which I've since made several times.   This little known oil is quite amazing for cooking with and for cosmetics.  

             Nutrionists put it on a par with olive oil and in fact, alot of olive oil producers revert to making avocado oil in the off-seasons.  It's high in mono-unsaturated fats (to help lower bad LDL's in people with high cholestrol) and Vitamin E.  The Paltita Avocado Oil brags that it is 100% cholestrol free, and free of additives.  Put through a cold extraction process, it's made as an extra virgin avocado oil.  Most importantly, it has an unusually high smoke point of 520F...that's higher than most cooking oils, especially ones that are good for you!

            This excerpt from Wikipedia about smoke points in oils should pretty much explain why I believe Avocado Oil is a healthy alternative to any oil you can buy!

Smoke point From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 The smoke point generally refers to the temperature at which a cooking fat or oil begins to break down to glycerol and free fatty acids, and produce bluish smoke. The glycerol is then further broken down to acrolein which is a component of the smoke. It is the presence of the acrolein that causes the smoke to be extremely irritating to the eyes and throat. The smoke point also marks the beginning of both flavor and nutritional degradation. Therefore, it is a key consideration when selecting a fat for frying, with the smoke point of the specific oil dictating its maximum usable temperature and therefore its possible applications. For instance, since deep frying is a very high temperature process, it requires a fat with a high smoke point.

Robert Wolke argues that smoke point for an oil varies widely depending on origin and refinement.[1] The smoke point of an oil does tend to increase as free fatty acid content decreases and degree of refinement increases.[2][3] Wolke argues that heating oil produces free fatty acid and as heating time increases, more free fatty acids are produced, thereby decreasing smoke point. It is one reason not to use the same oil to deep fry more than twice.[1] Intermittent frying has remarkably greater effect on oil deterioration than continuous frying.[4]

Considerably above the temperature of the smoke point is the flash point, the point at which the vapors from the oil can first ignite when mixed with air.
(Click on "Smoke Point from Wikipedia" to see a chart of all the oils)

            As a topical oil, Avocado Oil is high in sterolins which are said to reduce age spots, help heal sun damage and scars.  It relieves dryness and itchiness  caused by psoriasis or eczema as it's so easily absorbed into deep tissues of the skin.  And ladies....studies have found that avocado oil significantly increases the amount of collagen in the skin...which of course is great for us "older" girls.

            The only drawback I find with this oil is it's colour...it's a fairly bright green colour which sometimes...you don't want your food to look green, but I still use it all the time.  I use it when I make rice, instead of the requested bit of butter and my rice is always perfectly wonderful!  I don't find that it has a strong flavour at all and I quite like it better than olive oil, because I find olive oil can change the whole flavour of a food.  I would say, even though it's a bit pricey (around $16-22.00/bottle), to buy the Paltita, because you get what you pay for.

            Please check out In the Kitchen for a delicious appetizer recipe from Paltita...it was the one I tasted that day in the Cook's Cupboard!

            Try it out!  Your body will thank you....

 
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            Every now and then, my friend Lynne will make her Seafood Fettucine and it's heavenly!   She was over on Friday evening and made this wondrous dinner for us in our kitchen...which is a total bonus when someone does that for you!  And, you don't even have to go out to a restaurant to have a primo meal....so great!

            Don't forget the first rule of shellfish!
If the shell isn't closed when preparing to cook, don't cook it!  If the shell isn't open after you cook, don't eat it!  Be a safe gorger!  Hahahaha!


Ingredients
2 - 28fl oz cans of diced tomatoes
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 vidalia onion, diced
juice of one lemon
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup white wine
spoonful of sugar
1 can of clams, drained
oregano, thyme, basil, pepper...to taste.

1 lb shrimp, (shell on or off and deveined...that's a personal preference!)
1 lb mussels, scrubbed
2 calamari tubes, cleaned and sliced into rings
1 lb large scallops
crab claws

Fettucine

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            Combine all ingredients from the first list above into a large pot and bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for approx. one hour until the flavours mesh and it thickens up a bit.

            While simmering the last 15 minutes or so, prepare the seafood to be added in and get the water boiling for your fettucine.


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            Cook your fettucine as per package directions.

            Add your seafood approx. 5 minutes prior to noodles finishing and cook until shells on mussels open.  You don't want to overcook your seafood or it will be rubbery rather than tender and delicious! 

            Pour Seafood Sauce over fettucine noodles and enjoy!  We had my Blueberry Basil Dressing over a salad of spinach, vidalia, blueberries, raspberries and freshly grated Romano...along with some deliciously yummy garlic bread with celery seed! 

            This is a wonderfully easy meal that
presents well!  Serve with nice red wine and fun friends!

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PRINTABLE RECIPE
 
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            I saw this recipe in my Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving and thought this might make a lovely alternative to the dressing I usually make which is Dan's mother's recipe, which our whole family loves to bits!   This Blueberry-Basil Vinegar is jarred and hot-bathed after quite a lengthy process of leaving it in a large glass bowl in your refrigerator for "three" weeks, stirring every 2-3 days, before you can actually can it.  I do love blueberries and basil, so am happy to say this is excellent and well worth the wait!  When I made the dressing, I found I had absolutely no dijon in the house, so my neighbour, Heather, gave me the amount required of honey dijon in place of the regular.  It was delicious.  We thought it might taste sweet because of the blueberries, but it was a lovely tangy dressing we're looking forward to having again soon! 

Blueberry-Basil Vinegar

Makes about ten 4-oz jars or five 8-oz jars

Ingredients

4 cups blueberries
4 cups white wine vinegar, divided
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, crushed
grated zest of 1 lemon

In a large glass bowl, combine blueberries and 1 cup of the vinegar.  Using a potato masher, lightly crush blueberries.  Add remaining 3 cups vinegar, crushed basil (use a mortar and pestle for this and do it one layer at a time) and lemon zest, stirring to combine.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand in a dark, cool place for up to 4 weeks, stirring every 2-3 days.  Taste weekly until desired strength is achieved.

Weeks later

Prepare canner, jars and lids.
Line a strainer with several layers of cheesecloth and place over a large stainless steel saucepan.  Strain vinegar without squeezing cheesecloth.  Discard cheesecloth and residue.  Place saucepan over medium heat and heat vinegar to 180F (82C)
Ladle hot vinegar into hot jars, leaving 1/4" headspace.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar.  Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes.  Remove canner lid.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

Blueberry-Basil Dressing

In a blender, or a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine:
    1 clove garlic
    1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
    2 Tbsp Blueberry-Basil Vinegar
    2 Tbsp Olive Oil
    1 tsp Dijon mustard
    1 tsp granulated sugar
    zest of 1/2 lemon
Process until smooth.  Drizzle over a bed of spinach for a light and healthy salad.

I was thinking this might be kinda great to marinade a pork loin in? 

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PRINTABLE RECIPE
 
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            If you love curry, you will certainly love this dish and it will quickly become a favourite, as it has in our household!

            We had a park trailer up north until a few years ago and friends of ours (Shelley and George) made this for me one night and gave me the recipe.  Since then, we haven't stopped making it!  (well...not every night silly!) 

            This is the best recipe for getting rid of all the food in your fridge that's leftover in the veggie, meat category.  All you need to have on hand is two cans of cream of mushroom soup, and some Patak's Mild Curry (we always add Thai Red Curry Paste too....cuz we like it HOT!).

         I'll give you the ingredients we had on hand last night for this, but you can switch it up to whatever you have, which is the beauty of this recipe!

Ingredients

Chicken, cubed & cooked
Red & Green Peppers, chopped
Onion, chopped
3-4 Garlic cloves, sliced thin
Mushroom pieces
2 cans Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
Patak's Mild Curry Paste
Thai Red Curry Paste (for heat, optional)
cauliflower, cut into small florets, blanched
broccoli, cut into small florets, blanched
1 cup or so of water
Cilantro
half of a lime

Basmati Rice

Cook the chicken, cubed with a sprinkle of salt & pepper, first and set aside.
Blanch the cauliflower and broccoli, drain and set aside.
Add some olive oil to the pot (we use a big cast iron dutch oven), but have used a cast frypan in the past) and             saute your red & green peppers, onion and garlic cloves.
Add in the mushroom pieces next and saute a little longer.
        (you want to saute the harder pieces of veggies first and add the more tender ones afterward)
At this point, scoop the cream of mushroom soup in...both cans and add about 1/2 cup water and stir.  The
        consistency should be like a thick gravy...add more water as required.
Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer.
Add in the chicken, broccoli and cauliflower at the end to warm them up.

            Your taste is completely personal in this dish.  Last night, for the first time, I added some lime and cilantro and loved it!  Don't forget to cook your rice alongside as you prepare this!  You can have this with chicken, pork, fish, beef....whatever you like and whatever veggies you have, whether they be cooked already (add at end to warm) or raw!  The flavour comes out as strong or as mild as you like and is always excellent!  Be sure to have bread on hand, especially if you make it spicy! 

            Thanks George & Shelley for an awesome recipe!


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            Years ago, Dan & I would frequent the Rude Native restaurant when it was in Hamilton and this is the reason we loved it most!  Although, this isn't their recipe...it's as close to it as we could get!  The one highlight of this meal is dipping your fresh bread into the curried sauce they are cooked in....delicious!

            You can use this as a main meal or as an appetizer for a bunch of people.  We prefer it as a main meal with salad.  This is what we had last night (yes...on my diet...hahaha) and it was completely scrumptious!  It's so easy to prepare and you can make it as hot/spicy or mild as you personally like.

Preparing the Mussels
After you've brought your mussels home from the store, it's important that you de-beard and wash them.  Make sure that each and every mussel is completely closed at this stage.  De-bearding is just pulling the hair-like fibers off that are in the seam of the shell.  When you are washing them, tap on the shell with a knife and if it closes on it's own, it's safe to eat.  Discard the mussels which don't close and any with cracks or holes.  Now, there may be a lapse between preparation of the mussels and dropping them into the pot....just keep cold water on them and they'll be fine.  If any are open (which were closed previously) when you begin to put them in the pot, they'll be fine. 
After cooking, don't eat the mussels that didn't open.

Ingredients
2-3 lbs of mussels
2 cans of coconut milk (don't scrimp and use the "light"...just not the same)
2-4 Tbsp curry paste (we use Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste)
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
Chopped Cilantro
Lemon slices
Fresh Bread

        Bring the coconut milk and curry paste to a boil in a large pot.  Smushing (great word!) the red curry paste against the sides of the pot with a wooden spoon will break it up to help it blend.  You can add as much or as little as you like of the paste.  It will define the "heat" of the dish.

        Add the fish sauce and sugar after the curry paste has blended into the milk.

        Add the mussels all at once and stir them into the coconut milk mixture.  Cover the pot and let them steam/cook in there, stirring and checking them a few times.  They should only take about 5 minutes for the shells to open up and cook.

        Serve on a platter or do what we do and throw the pot on the table on a cutting board and be sure and have a refuse bowl on hand for the shells.  Dip your french bread into the Curry Sauce and enjoy your mussels!

Yum!!

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