Monday, January 11, 2016

Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Hummus

I was feeling like making a hummus lately and Justin had grabbed ingredients to make our Pasta Puttanesca tonight, so I swiped some of his sun dried tomatoes and basil for my hummus.  So good.  

David Bowie died yesterday.  He's all I've been playing today.  I can't bring myself to choose some punk rock tunes for this recipe.  -jen

Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Makes:  about 3 cups
Need:  Food Processor

  • 1 can (15oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium clove fresh garlic (2 if you like garlic a lot, which we do)
  • 4 whole sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
  • 1 medium green onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • juice of 1/2 a medium lemon (about 1.5 tbsp)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine garbanzo beans, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, green onion, salt, lemon, and sesame oil in your food processor.  Process until vegetables are chopped fine.  Add all remaining ingredients except the olive oil and turn processor to a medium.  While processing, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until a smooth dip (most processors have a lid where you can drizzle through the top while it's processing).

Serve with pita or tortilla chips, fresh vegetables, or use as a sandwich spread.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Pimiento Cheese Spread

Last year around the holidays, I made homemade cheese spreads for the first time - a basic Cheddar Cheese Spread  and then a fantastic nutty cheese spread that was inspired by French Onion soup and the store bought Swiss Almond spreads - my Swiss-Almond Cheese Spread with Caramelized Onions.  We ate the hell out of them. 

This year, I was thinking about a southern classic, Pimiento Cheese Spread... but traditionally, the spread is simply made with cheese, mayo and pimientos.  I really like using cream cheese because I wanted it more like a cracker dip than a sandwich spread.  I also wanted to boost it up a little with flavour, so I added a lot more than what the traditional spread has - garlic, Worcestershire, jalapeño, wine, etc.  It's not hot or spicy at all... so even if you shy away from jalapeños, I say add 'em to this recipe.  It just adds a little depth to the spread - more layers of flavour.

So if you're trying to come up with some appetizers to make and/or take to a New Year's party, this is a pretty easy and great one!

I think the Descendents said what we were all thinking.  -jen

Time:  5 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Makes:  about 5 cups
Need:  Food Processor
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 16oz (1 pound) shredded cheese*
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4oz jar diced pimientos, drained
  • 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeños, diced (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry white wine (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 
*I recommend at least half of your shredded cheese being sharp cheddar, and the other half could be any combination of Monterey Jack, Havarti, Gruyere, Gouda, Parmesan, etc. I used what I had, which was some Gouda, Havarti Dill, and Pecorino Romano.   

Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth and combined.  Refrigerate (but I always have to eat some immediately.  The flavours marry nicely if you give it a little time to refrigerate though.) 

Serve with crackers or raw veggies, make a grilled cheese with some spread inside, use as a sandwich spread - eat it how you want!  It'd probably be good mixed in with some pasta (though I've not tried that!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


We were both craving some falafel not too long ago... we probably saw something on tv that made us think of it.  Where we live, there's only one Greek place and it's really just a gyro joint - gyros, falafel, fries, dolmas, kebabs... and it's in the next town over, so we don't get there often.  Might as well make our own!

Going with a little hardcore for this recipe with DFL's "Society's Pressure". 

And speaking of hardcore...  this is a video I caught of a guy that walks through our neighbourhood, usually growling out hardcore.  I love it!!!  -jen

Soak Time:  Overnight
Prep Time:  15 minutes - then refrigerate 1-2 hours 
Fry Time:  10 minutes
Difficulty:  Medium
Makes:  about 20
Need:  Food Processor
  • 1 cup dried garbanzo beans
  • 1 cup onion, rough chopped (1/2 medium onion)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, rough chopped (3-4 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, rough chopped
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, rough chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Place garbanzo beans in a large bowl and cover with 2-3 inches of water.  Cover loosely with foil and let sit overnight.  Beans will double in size.

Drain and rinse soaked garbanzo beans.  Place in a food processor and add all remaining ingredients.  Pulse until mixture is about the size of couscous and just beginning to turn into a paste.  Test consistency by forming a small patty (about 2 tablespoons).  If patty is loose, try pulsing the mixture just a little more.

Refrigerate mixture for 1-2 hours.

Form patties with 2 tablespoons of falafel mix.  Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet until ready to fry.

Heat 1" of oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat.  Fry in batches - do not over-crowd your skiller.  When oil is hot, use a metal spatula to gently place falafel patties into skillet.  Fry 2-3 minutes on one side, then use the spatula to flip and cook another 2-3 minutes.  Falafels should be browned and crispy.  Drain on papertowels.

Serve with a side of tzatziki (Greek cucumber-yogurt sauce).  You can find Cooking To Die For's tzatziki recipe here! 


Friday, October 30, 2015

Blueberry Whiskey Crumble

Blueberries and whiskey... yes please!  I like to keep frozen fruit on hand to make smoothies with or throw into some Greek yogurt.  I usually only have one bag at a time, but somehow I ended up with two open bags and a whole bag of blueberries.  So I just decided to make a crumble with them.  I still had a bunch of Piehole Pecan Pie whiskey sitting around after making the Liquored Up Leftover Pie Pops (which you could use with this blueberry crumble!)

I'd been thinking about the movie SLC Punk, so I decided to use a song from the soundtrack - The Suicide Machines' cover of "I Never Promised You A Rose Garden".  -jen

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  50-55 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Serves:  9
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons chilled butter, cubed
  • 24oz frozen blueberries, thawed
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch*
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon whiskey (optional - I used Piehole's Pecan Pie Whiskey)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
*1 tablespoon of corn starch will leave your filling still a little runny - not soupy, but not gelled.  If you're looking for a firmer, gelled filling, use 2 tablespoons of corn starch.  Everyone has their own preferences! 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray an 8"x8" baking dish with non-stick spray, particularly up the sides.

In a food processor, combine oats, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon and cubed butter.  Pulse until combined.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine blueberries, cranberries, corn starch, cinnamon, whiskey and vanilla.  Pour into prepared baking dish and spread them into an even layer.  Spoon crumble topping evenly over blueberries, then gently press down with your hands to lightly pack it.  Bake at 375 degrees for 50-55 minutes, topping will be golden brown.

Let rest for 10-15 minutes so the filling can set.  Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wild Rice and Sausage Stuffed Pumpkin

Stuffed pumpkins rock!  I'm definitely one of those annoying people that look forward to everything-pumpkin in the fall.  I'd never stuffed a pumpkin until a few years ago and it's become one of my most favourite autumn dishes.

We have a recipe for a sweet Apple and Oats Stuffed Pumpkin, but we also enjoy doing savoury stuffed pumpkins, so I thought it was time to get a recipe up!  This stuffed pumpkin was so delicious.  While I chose wild rice and sausage, you can really put anything you like in one!  Change up the meat and use chicken or shredded beef.  Change up the grain and use barley or white rice.  Add nuts - try dried apricots instead of cranberries.  Try a theme - Mexican, Italian, Moroccan, Chinese...

How about The Hollowpoints - The Sickness.  -jen

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Bake Time:  60 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy to Medium
Serves:  about 6
  • 1 pie pumpkin (like a Sugar Pumpkin or a Winter Luxury)
  • 5 links maple sausage 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil + 2 teaspoons, melted
  • 1 small carrot, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 3/4 cups)
  • 1 large stalks of celery, diced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 small green pepper or poblano, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 apple, diced (like a Gala or Fuji) (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced (1 tbsp)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced (1 tbsp)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (brown sugar would be a suitable substitute) + 1 teaspoon
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt  + 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper + a pinch
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder + 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage + 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 cups cooked wild rice (recipe below)  
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

Like carving a jack-o-lantern, cut the top of your pumpkin off and scoop the inside and the base of the lid clean.  (Save your seeds and make Seasoned Pumpkin Seeds!)   Discard the insides, keep your lid!  Make sure you get all those stringy pieces out... it's worth the extra effort to make it totally scraped clean.  Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook sausages through.  Set aside.  In same skillet with the remaining sausage fat, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and the carrots, cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then add the onion, celery, and green pepper.  Saute about 5 minutes, until vegetables become tender.  Add the apples, garlic, ginger, maple syrup, cranberries, salt, pepper, curry powder, sage, cinnamon, marjoram, and red pepper flake.  Cook another 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool.

Once cool, dice the sausages and add the sausage and the rice to the vegetable mixture.  Add 2 teaspoons of melted coconut oil, 1 tsp maple syrup, 1/4 tsp salt, pinch of pepper, 1/4 tsp curry powder and 1/4 tsp of sage to the inside of the pumpkin, .  Using your hands, massage oil and seasonings all over the inside of the pumpkin, as well as on the bottom of the lid. 

Stuff the pumpkin completely full with the stuffing.  Place the lid back on the pumpkin and place on a sheet
pan.  Cook at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour.  A sharp knife should slide easily through the skin and the flesh if the pumpkin is cooked thoroughly.  Remove and let rest for 5 minutes.

Place on a serving tray.  Remove lid.  Slice wedges and serve.  Don't forget to slice the pumpkin meat off of the lid, too!

If you have leftover stuffing you can serve it on the table with your stuffed pumpkin for folks who want extra.  You can make an egg scramble out of it (which we did!) or use it as a side dish for your dinner the next evening.

Cook Time:  45-60 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Makes:  about 2 cups
  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage (optional)
In a large sauce pan, combine rice, broth and sage.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 45 minutes and check.  You'll want about half of the kernels to split open (they'll look lighter in colour)... could take up to 60 minutes.  If there's any remaining liquid, drain it off.  Fluff with a fork.

Note:  Wild rice will triple or quadruple once cooked.  1 cup may yield 3.5 - 4 cups.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Liquored Up Leftover Pie Pops

Apple Crisp and Piehole Pecan Pie pops

I made some apple crisp the other day and I had just a little leftover.  I was going to eat it, as is, but it would have been a pretty small serving.  Looking in the fridge, I was inspired!  I always have plain Greek yogurt because I like to make berry smoothies - I make a double batch, pour a glass for myself, then freeze the rest so I have some froyo later.  I had that in mind when I decided to make these frozen yogurt pops!

Really, I think it'd be delicious with just about any kind of sweet pie (if you want to make yourself savoury, meat pie yogurt pops, you go right ahead!) and you can come up with a plethora of delicious liquors to put in them!

The punk rock stylings of Street Dogs with "I Got Drunk".  -jen


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
I used a stick blender with mine
Makes: about 2 cups - I got 4 pops out of them 
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of leftover pie (about 1 slice)
  • 1 shot of alcohol (or a 50ml bottle) - I recommend Piehole's Pecan Pie Whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • sugar if desired
Using a blender, combine all of the ingredients.  (I like to leave a little bit of chunky pie bits in there instead of blending it completely smooth.)  Taste mixture.  You may need to add some sugar, depending on how sweet your pie and/or liquor are.

Pour into pop molds and freeze for several hours.  If you don't have pop molds, just use a cup and stick a straw in it for a handle.  You can get all MacGyver if you need to!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Pozole Verde de Puerco (Green Hominy Soup with Pork)

Maiz blanco (white maize/hominy)
Pozole... a Mexican soup with a history of human sacrifice.  If that doesn't make you want to eat it, I don't know what will! 

According to Wiki, "...pozole was made to be consumed on special occasions...on these special occasions, the meat used in the pozole was human.   After the prisoners were killed by having their hearts torn out in a ritual sacrifice, the rest of the body was chopped and cooked with maize. The meal was shared among the whole community as an act of religious communion. After the Conquest, when cannibalism was banned, pork became the staple meat as it 'tasted very similar', according to a Spanish priest."

Pozole garnish
Pozole is made with corn (maiz) that is treated in an alkaline solution, a process called nixtamalization.  Wiki also says, "Maize subjected to the nixtamalization process has several benefits over unprocessed grain: it is more easily ground; its nutritional value is increased; flavor and aroma are improved; and mycotoxins are reduced.

Justin decided to go with pork instead of long pig for this recipe and it was delicious!  Garnishes for pozole vary - we used cabbage, radishes, green onion, cilantro and lime.  I've also had it with salsa and/or sliced avocado.

Sticking with the theme of eating people, let's listen to this cover of a song I knew growing up - The Meteors covering "Little Red Riding Hood" (originally done by Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs, and I think it was titled "Li'l Red Riding Hood"?)  Anyway, I dig this cover.  Eat pork, not people.  Unless you really want to - I'm not the boss of you.  -jen

Prep Time:  30 minutes
Cook Time:  about an hour, including simmering
Difficulty: Medium
Makes: about 2.5 quarts
  • 1 pound country-style pork ribs, cubed to bite size
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
    Pozole ingredients
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • 3/4 cup onion, diced (half of a large onion)
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced (about 2 large ribs)
  • 3 large fresh tomatillos, diced
  • 1 large jalapeño, seeded, de-veined and diced
  • 1 large green onion, diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 12 cups (1.5 quarts) pork broth (or chicken broth if pork isn't available)
  • 28oz can pozole (hominy), drained
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • shredded cabbage
  • thinly sliced radishes
  • green or white onion, chopped
  • cilantro, chopped
  • lime wedges
Country-style pork ribs
Put cubed pork in a large Ziplock bag and add salt, black pepper, paprika and cinnamon.  Massage bag to distribute seasonings evenly over meat.

In a large stock pot, heat butter over medium-high and add seasoned pork, browning on all sides.  Remove and set aside. 

In the same pan, using the pork drippings, add onion, celery, tomatillos, jalapeños, green onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper.  Saute until vegetables are tender and translucent, 3-5 minutes.  Once vegetables are cooked, add broth and hominy and the browned pork.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer about 40 minutes.  Turn off heat and stir in 1/3 cup cilantro.

Serve hot with cabbage, radishes, green onion, cilantro and lime juice on top of each serving, or serve on the side for folks to add their own.