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Monthly Archives: August 2015

Ultimate Vegetable Soup

Blame it on Costco! Too many great vegetables luring us to buy them. The result…better cook these before they spoil! Pinterest to the rescue, another great recipe worth sharing.

Ultimate Vegetable Soup

Ingredients
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
2-3 carrots
1 zucchini
1 1/2 cups cabbage (I skipped the cabbage this time)
2 cups broccoli
2 cups cauliflower
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cups cut green beans (frozen or fresh)
1 1/2 cups peas (frozen) (didn’t have any)
1 1/2 cups corn (frozen or canned)
Large handful spinach, or more (skipped this too)
15 oz. can diced tomatoes (and/or fresh)
8 cups vegetable broth
Salt to taste

Directions
Prep veggies: mince garlic and dice onion, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms. Roughly chop cabbage if using, and cut broccoli and cauliflower into small bite-sized pieces.
In a large stockpot over medium heat, saute onion for 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.
Add broth, tomatoes with juice, and all veggies (except spinach if using).
Increase heat and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until veggies are desired tenderness.
Stir in spinach or not, and salt to taste.

*Notes:
Vegetable soup freezes wonderfully!
The frozen veggies work great as “fillers” if you want to quickly and easily add more veggies.

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Pork Chops with Balsamic Sauce

This recipe would be great with mashed sweet potatoes. The sauce is awesome… Check out Canadian Living for more great recipes!!

Pork Chops with Balsamic Sauce

  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. dried Italian herbs
  • pinch salt
  • 4 pork loin centre pork chops
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup sodium reduced chicken stock

In small bowl, mix together oil, Italian seasoning and salt. Brush over the chops.

In non stick skillet fry chops over medium heat until browned and just a hint of pink remains inside (about 4 minutes per side). Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Drain off fat from pan. Add balsamic vinegar to pan. Simmer over medium heat for 30 SECONDS. Whisk cornstarch into the stock and add to the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up any brown bits. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened (about 1 minute). Return chops to pan, heat through, turning to coat.

Serve with the mashed sweet potatoes.

Reef Spaghetti (also known as Scoglio)

One of our favourite restaurants in Merida, Yucatan Il Caffe Italiano serves this wonderful seafood dish. We usually pop in after Sunday afternoon symphony. This is one wonderful dish and makes a little seafood go a long way! If you are buying fresh seafood, just purchase TWO pieces of EACH seafood PER PERSON.

Reef Spaghetti – Spaghetti allo Scoglio

Ingredients

  • fresh clams (although I used frozen and they were just fine)
  • fresh mussels (frozen is fine)
  • shrimp (frozen is fine) De-veined and tails removed!
  •  2 or 3 plum tomatoes chopped (I would use more next time)
  • bunch of parsley
  • basil
  • 1 clove of garlic OR MORE
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • spaghetti (dependent on how many people)

Preparation

If using frozen seafood, first thaw them in the refrigerator in cold salted water for  about 30 minutes. Thaw each seafood separately. Salt a pot of water for the spaghetti and set it to boil. Heat 2 T. of oil in a broad skillet with the garlic. When the garlic is browned, remove it (and eat it if you want..LOL). Add the drained clams and mussels. Cover and cook over a brisk flame, shaking the pan every now and then until the shellfish have opened. Turn off the flame and let them cool slightly. Remove empty or unopened shells. Do NOT try to open closed shells as they are already dead and eating them could make you quite sick!!!

Start to boil the spaghetti!!

In a separate deep skillet add more oil and garlic. Add the chopped tomatoes. and shredded basil leaves.Salt. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes. Stir in all of the shellfish (including the shrimp), adding some of the white wine (to your taste) Simmer another five minutes.

Transfer the drained, cooked spaghetti to your serving dish, add a little olive oil and ground pepper. Toss and then stir in the sauce with the seafood. Serve with some crusty bread to soak up the sauce…and don not forget more wine…to drink, of course!!

Strawberry & Avocado Spinach Salad in Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

A truly summer salad! If you are not into making your own dressings, buy a similar raspberry balsamic one at the store. This salad both looks and tastes great!!

Strawberry and Avocado Spinach Salad in Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Servings: 2

ingredients
• 1 (5 ounce) package baby spinach
• 2 cups strawberries, sliced
• 1 avocado, diced
• 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
• 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
• 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
• 1/4 cup raspberry white balsamic vinaigrette (* see below)
directions
1. Assemble salad, toss in dressing and enjoy!

Option: Goat cheese or feta also work well in place of the blue cheese.
Option: I like to throw in some fresh peas when available in spring.

  • Raspberry White Balsamic Vinaigrette
    Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 5 minutes Servings: 1cup

ingredients
• 1/2 cup raspberries fresh (or thawed frozen)
• 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1 teaspoon honey
• 1 large clove garlic, minced
• salt and pepper to taste
1. Mash the raspberries and mix everything. 2. Pour over your favourite summer salad…

Mushroom Ceviche

Here in the Yucatan one of the favourite appetizers/botanas is ceviche.

Ceviche is a seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of Latin America. The dish is typically made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced with ají or chili peppers. Additional seasonings, such as chopped onions, salt, and cilantro, may also be added.

Recently we were at  a favourite restaurant, Quereke, where they served a mushroom ceviche…no fish or seafood! Where there is a will, there is a way. Pinterest to the rescue! The following recipe is adapted from the one I found there, as we do not get a great variety of mushrooms (hongos) in Yucatan. Just pick  four different types of mushrooms that you can find.Try it at your next little party!

Mushroom Ceviche

  • 3 white button mushrooms chopped into small pieces
  • 3 cremini mushrooms chopped into small pieces
  • 1 Medium oyster mushroom chopped into small pieces
  • 3 pieces of chanterelle mushrooms chopped into small pieces
  • 6 T. diced red onion
  • 2 T. chopped cilantro

Spicy Garlic Ceviche Sauce

  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. Sriracha or Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Saute white and cremini mushrooms in olive oil with some garlic. Toss in remainder of mushrooms and heat through. Add red onion and cilantro. Toss with spicy garlic ceviche sauce. Chill.

Serve with some type of dipping chips.