Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad

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The Hubby and I got a little bit obsessed with the Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Salad that we were hitting pretty hard around Christmas-time.  So I decided to take the peeled Brussels Sprouts idea and turn it into a Caesar Salad peeled Brussels Sprouts idea.  And it was a good idea!  Mmm.

Warning - the Caesar dressing recipe is super garlicky, which I love.  Yum.  Regarding the Brussels sprouts themselves, we have found that the smaller ones are better because the leaves are thinner.  But make sure to remove the looser outer leaf (it's not good in the salad), as well as any other scruffy looking leaves.  

I'm off to San Francisco to visit my friend Ariana, and I can't wait!  Lots of girl time and wine (a bit of a redundant statement), including an overnighter in Napa. Woo!  I've packed my suitcase with some gifts for her in the form of Canadian delicacies not sold in the United States, such as ketchup-flavoured potato chips, all-dressed flavoured potato chips, Hawkins Cheezies, Kit Kats, Coffee Crisps, Smarties, and Aero.  Oh, and I can't forget le piece de résistance...a few packets of McChicken Sauce straight from McDonalds.  Apparently McChickens don't come with McChicken Sauce on them in the good old US of A, and that just doesn't work for her.  And, you don't know Ariana, but she will love this care package of Canadian junk food.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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One Year Ago:  Spring Salad with Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese, and Pecans
Two Years Ago:  Classic Beef Stew
Three Years Ago:  Very Berry Muffins

Peeled Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad

Serves: 4

  • 5 pounds Brussels Sprouts, trimmed, with outer layer and any scruffy leaves discarded
  • 1 garlic clove, minced 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil 
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste 
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. anchovy paste
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 - 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese 
  • Croutons
Blenderize the garlic, oil, salt, pepper, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce, anchovy paste, egg, and lemon juice until smooth.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Slice off the hard end of each Brussels sprout, pulling off the leaves one by one, and placing the leaves into a medium-sized salad bowl.  Once you are done, give yourself a pat on the back.  

Toss Brussels sprouts with dressing.  Sprinkle on parmesan cheese and croutons, and toss again.  Enjoy!

Recipe Source:  Caesar Salad Recipe from Playing With My Food

Monday, March 16, 2015

Prawn and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

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Ever since our first visit to New Orleans for our honeymoon in 2010, The Hubby has been asking me to recreate in our kitchen the delicious gumbo that we ate there.  He even begrudingly approved the purchase of a cookbook with a gumbo recipe in it from our favourite restaurant there (NOLA), even though I have 90 million cookbooks already (side note: and want more, more, MORE!)  Then we went back to New Orleans in 2012, and again in 2014, and coming up again this year, and still I hadn't made the gumbo.

But then!  My mom and I decided to make the gumbo together one night, and I surprised The Hubby with a hot bubbling pot of this Creole concoction the next day.  He was stoked (well, as stoked as one can get over soup).  I was redeemed.

So, I'm either a really good wife, or a really bad wife.  Or both (but probably the second one).  In any event, I'm glad that I put my cookbook (Emeril's Potluck) to good use and finally got around to making this gumbo.  It was delicious, and one of those things that is better the second time that you eat it, and since this is a big recipe, the third and fourth and maybe even sixth time that you eat it too.

The stores didn't have any fresh okra when I was making this dish, so I purchased it from Safeway's frozen vegetable section and it worked just fine.  Having never worked with okra before I was very surprised at the resulting 'goo' or slime that appears when you start cooking it.  The slime just keeps coming and coming, and I just kept commenting and commenting on how, just, WEIRD it was, and my mom just kept tolerating and tolerating my incessant noticing of and commenting on the slime.  But then the slime cooks itself away and eventually it becomes the thickening (and flavouring!) agent in this gumbo.  You can't skip the it's a fun science experiment to watch along the way.

We are heading to New Orleans again this year, and I can't wait!  This time my parents are joining us too.  But dare I say...I actually enjoyed this homemade gumbo more than the authentic stuff that we ate in the (ok, yes, very touristy, but still more authentic than say, Canada, for instance) French Quarter.

And if you're in the mood for Cajun / Creole food, here is an awesome Jambalaya Recipe that appeared on this blog back in 2012.

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Easy Weeknight No-Brainer BBQ Chicken Salad
Two Years Ago:  Butternut Squash Risotto with Arugula
Three Years Ago:  Crispy Chicken with Green Curry Sauce

Prawn & Andouille Sausage Gumbo

Serves: 10

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced into 1/4-inch round slices
  • 2 pounds okra (frozen or fresh), stems trimmed off, and then cut into 1/4 inch round slices
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2 pounds prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Fresh parsley, finely chopped (for garnish)
  • Green onions, thinly sliced (for garnish)
  • Cooked white rice, for serving

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the sausage and cook for five minutes, or until fat is rendered.  Add the okra and cook, stirring continuously, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until most of the slime disappears.  Add the tomatoes, onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic, then cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until the okra and the vegetables are soft and the slime from the okra has completely disappeared.  Add the salt, cayenne pepper, bay leaves, thyme, and chicken broth.  Stir well, and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, put your prawns into a medium sized bowl, then sprinkle with paprika, garlic powder, pepper, oregano, and a dash of salt.  Toss to make sure that the seasoning is distributed over all of the prawns, then set aside.

Once your pot is boiling, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.  Add the prawns and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves.

To serve put the heated cooked rice into a bowl, then top with the soup.  Garnish with parsley and green onions.


Recipe Source:  Emeril's Potluck - Shrimp, Okra, and Tomato Gumbo

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Slow Cooker Creamy Santa Fe Chicken

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Oh, I looooooooove it when you don't have to pre-cook the ingredients going into the slow cooker before throwing them into the slow cooker!  This recipe does just that.  No browning, sautéing, or otherwise prepping of meat or just toss 'em into the Crockpot and you are on your merry way.  Which is the way that I feel it should be for slow cookers.

Oops, I did it again!  Another completely unappetizing picture of a total delicious meal. 
This was another winner from the Best of Bridge cookbook series.  The flavours of chicken, beans, and corn in a rich and creamy salsa and cream cheese sauce were oh so good overtop of white rice and served with a side salad.  My rice of choice is always jasmine (even though it's more frequently used in Asian cooking) because it has such great flavour.

This meal served The Hubby and me as the perfect weeknight dish on a cold rainy winter night.  This recipe is a definite keeper, and we will be making it again soon.

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Butternut Squash, Italian Sausage, and Spinach Pasta
Two Years Ago:  Creamy Roasted Garlic, Caramelized Onion, and Bacon Soup
Three Years Ago:  Tomato and Italian Sausage Risotto

Slow Cooker Creamy Sante Fa Chicken

Serves: 4


  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 can black beans (14 to 19oz.), drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen, canned, or fresh)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, cubed and softened
  • 4 green onions, chopped

In a slow cooker, add chicken, beans, corn, salsa, tomato paste, and salt, and give everything a good stir.  Cook on low for 5 - 6 hours, or on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder and vinegar until smooth.  Add the mixture to the slow cooker, along with the cream cheese.  Continue to cook on high for another 15 minutes until the cheese is melted, then stir again.

Serve over rice and top with green onions.  Enjoy!

Recipe Source:  Best of Bridge Slow Cooker Cookbook - Creamy Chicken Santa Fe

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Hubby's Smoked Salmon

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The Hubby's first blog recipe, and of course it's one for the BBQ.  My apologies to my Canadian readers who don't live on the west coast, but out here it's barbeque season all year long baby!

Hubs has made this to-die-for smoked salmon for New Years Eve every year for the past two years (so, twice), since his parents bought him the smokebox accessory for our Weber BBQ.  He stresses and fusses and toils over it as though it were his baby.

"It's getting too smoked!"
"I think this will be my best smoked salmon attempt yet!"
"This is going to be a total fail!"
"It's not getting enough smoke!"
"I think the smoke level is good now!"*

*he has just informed me that he has never actually said this last one.

The BBQ smoking away!
In the end it's always perfect.

This year he made a double-batch because I accidentally bought double the amount of salmon that I was supposed to.  That works just fine for me because now we will have super flavourful smoked salmon in our freezer for a quick appy.  Speaking of quick appy, this one takes over a day to prepare in its entirety, so make sure to plan ahead.  You will need some hardwood chips to smoke the salmon.  The Hubby's preference is hickory.

We choose to serve it with bagel chips, cream cheese, and capers.  This is a crowd pleaser and he always gets rave reviews!

For a printer-friendly version of any recipe, simply click 'Print' below the title of any blog post. Voila - a clean recipe without my ramblings or any pictures!

One Year Ago:  Turkey Meatballs in Coconut Curry Sauce
Two Years Ago:  Curried Chicken and Rice Soup
Three Years Ago:  Caesar Salad

The Hubby's Smoked Salmon

  • 2/3 cup Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large salmon fillets or sides, pin bones removed
To prepare the rub, mix together the salt, brown sugar, white sugar, and pepper in a medium bowl.  Spread a piece of extra-wide aluminum foil a little longer than the length of the salmon along the counter, then top with an equally-long layer of plastic wrap.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the rub onto the plastic.  Lay one side of the fish skin down onto the rub, then sprinkle 1/3 of the rub onto the flesh of the salmon.  Place your second piece of salmon flesh-down onto the first piece of salmon.  Use the remaining rub to cover the skin on top of the second piece.  Fold the plastic over the salmon to cover it completely, then close the edges of the foil together and seal tightly around the salmon.

Place the wrapped fish onto a rimmed baking sheet, and top with another baking sheet.  The rimmed edges are important because lots of juice (salmon juice??) leaks out during the marination process, and you need something that will collect the run-off.  Weigh down with something heavy, such as a phone book, heavy cookbook, or a brick.  Refrigerate for 12 hours.  Flip over the salmon, then refrigerate again for another 12 hours.

Unwrap the salmon and rinse well with cold water to wash off the rub.  Pat the salmon dry with paper towels, then place in a cool place (not the fridge) until the salmon is dry, about 1 - 3 hours.

Now you are ready to start smokin'!!!  Set your BBQ's smokebox attachment or a smoker to between 150 - 160 degrees F, and start smoking your fish over hardwood chips such as hickory.  Keep smoking away until the thickest part of the fish registers at 150 degrees F.  After that, you can serve right away (or chill and serve), or keep it for later in the fridge for up to 3 days.   We choose to serve with cream cheese, capers, and bagel chips.

Recipe Source:  Alton Brown's Good Eats - Where There's Smoke There's Fish!
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