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Cranberry-Lime Infused Vodka

Ok…tired of my Keto recipes. Get ready for Christmas with this festive infused vodka! Makes a perfect hostess gift….do it NOW!

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1 16 oz. glass bottles with toppers (mine have corks)

1 bag fresh cranberries (I counted 150 berries…LOL).

2 limes, peeled with as little pith as possible

2 tbsp sugar

Vodka

Using a knife, pierce each cranberry so the vodka can seep into the berries.  (I took each one and pierced it with an icepick using a cutting board underneath). Alternately fill each bottle with the cranberries and the lime peels. When bottle is full of berries, add sugar. Pour vodka into the bottle until full. Allow to sit and mature for 2 weeks to a month. Be sure to shake the bottles every couple of days to help the flavors meld.

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Green Mango Salad

Our neighbours introduced us to Green Papaya Salad, a favourite Thai salad with crisp vegetables. Alas, no green papayas to be found. Why not Green Mango Salad? The green refers to the unripeness, not the outside colour. Stefano Faita, one of my fav Canadian chefs and CBC personality had published this recipe…great colour! FYI…you could use firm nectarines in place of the mango.

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As always, my changes are shown in red.

Green Mango Salad

INGREDIENTS

2 large to 3 small green or under ripe mangoes, julienned

1 carrot, julienned (substitute 3 red radishes)

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

1 cup each mint leaves and Thai basil

1 tbsp. sweet spicy chili sauce

1/4 cup lime juice

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. fish sauce, or to taste

3 tbsp. vegetable oil

Mint or Thai Basil, for garnish (optional)

PREPARATION

Add green mangoes, carrot or radishes, red onion, red pepper, mint, Thai basil and chili sauce to bowl. Toss to combine.

Combine lime juice, sugar, and fish sauce and vegetable oil in small bowl. Stir to combine. Toss with salad. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

 

Limoncello Tiramisu

Some of you are aware of my recipe posted some time back for homemade limoncello liqueur. Recently I was asked to bring a dessert to a potluck and I decided to make a limoncello tiramisu instead of the traditional one with espresso and Grand Marnier. What follows is this very tasty but time consuming recipe…thanks to Coleen, the Redhead Baker for sharing this recipe on Pinterest.

Limoncello Tiramisu                                         Author: Coleen, The Redhead Baker

Serves: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 5 large eggs, divided
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1½ cups limoncello, divided (1/2 and 1 cup)
  • Zest of 3 Meyer lemons
  • Juice of 5 to 6 Meyer lemons (enough to yield ¾ cup)
  • 1 cup water
  • 16 oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 40 ladyfinger cookies

Directions

  1. Line a 9×13 baking sheet with wax paper, letting it hang over the edges on two sides.
  2. Fill a large saucepan with about an inch of water and set it over high heat until the water comes to a steady simmer. Reduce the heat to keep water at a steady simmer.
  3. Place two cups of ice in a very large mixing bowl and fill with about 2 inches of water.
  4. Place the egg yolks, ¼ cup of sugar and ½ cup of the limoncello in a medium mixing bowl. Place the mixing bowl over the simmering water, and whisk vigorously until the mixture thickens (about 5 minutes).
  5. Take the mixing bowl off the double boiler and place the mixing bowl in the ice water.
  6. Empty the simmering water from the saucepan. Place the 1 cup of water, the remaining 1 cup of limoncello, the lemon juice, and ½ cup sugar in the saucepan. Heat over high heat until boiling, and cook at a boil for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, with a hand-held mixer or whisk, beat the mascarpone cheese until softened. Add the lemon zest and beat until light and fluffy.
  8. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until frothy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until the whites form medium peaks.
  9. Fold a third of the egg yolk mixture into the mascarpone cheese, then fold in the rest of the yolk mixture. Then fold in the egg whites, a quarter of the whites at a time.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

Never tired of pumpkin…LOL. This is much better than a pumpkin pie! Oh so easy…

Pumpkin Crunch Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 can (16 oz.) pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar (reduce sugar to half cup brown and quarter cup white) as it does not need all of this)
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • whipped topping

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Grease bottom of 9X13 pan.
  3. Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt in bowl then pour it into your pan.
  4. Sprinkle your dry yellow cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture.
  5. Sprinkle chopped pecans and walnuts over the cake mix.
  6. Drizzle melted butter evenly over everything.
  7. Bake your pumpkin crunch cake for 55 minutes or until top is turning golden brown. Cool completely, cut and serve with whipped topping or French vanilla ice cream. Refrigerate leftovers.

 

Corn and Black Bean Dip x 2

Bonus day today as I have two similar recipes, one of which originated from our “sister” Jean in Peterborough, Ontario. She served it while we were visiting for her sons wedding in August. It has a great fresh taste when served with tortilla chips.

The second I ran across while waiting for Jeans recipe to arrive. The ingredients are very similar, with the exception of the avocado and the dressing.

  1. Corn and Black Bean Dip from Jean Johnston

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2cup olive oil
1 tbsp water

1 can lentils
1 can corn
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup each celery, green pepper and green onion
Jar of pimento ( I used red pepper because I didn’t have any pimento)
I added a few fresh spices. Her daughter suggested adding fresh cilantro which makes sense.

Mix all together and soak for at least 3 hours.  Drain and serve.

2. Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Dip

Prep time: 15 minutes Yield: 20 servings Serving size: 1/4 cup

Ingredients

  • 15 oz can black beans, drained + rinsed
  • 15 oz can yellow corn, drained + rinsed
  • 2 avocados, cut in half, pitted + cubed
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • juice of one lime
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium size bowl and mix until combined.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Let me know if you try either of these at your next event…

 

Skillet Italian Sausage and Peppers with Penne

Canadians…Are you tired of turkey already? Try this easy one for something different.

Skillet Italian Sausage and Peppers with Penne

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

This comforting Italian sausage and pepper penne pasta is cooked in one skillet and comes together in 30 minutes or less for a quick and easy weeknight meal.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta
  • 1 pound Italian sausage links (1 package)
  • 1 small green pepper, sliced
  • 1 small red pepper, sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced thin
  • ½ cup red wine (merlot or pinot noir)
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 12 ounces water
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Parmesan Cheese for finishing

Instructions

  1. In a large pot of salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Reserve starchy cooking water.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over a medium-high heat. Brown sausages on all sides, until almost cooked through, remove and cut into ¼ inch slices. You don’t have to worry about cooking them all the way through, they will finish cooking while the sauce simmers.
  3. In the same pan drizzle another teaspoon or so of olive oil and sauté the peppers and onions until slightly softened, about five minutes.
  4. Return sausage back to the pan and deglaze with red wine.
  5. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, water, Italian seasoning, sugar and salt. Stir to combine.
  6. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for ten minutes.
  7. Add penne to the skillet, toss with sauce. If needed add starchy pasta water to loosen the sauce up.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.

http://www.ohsweetbasil.com/skillet-italian-sausage-peppers-penne.html

Mojitos by the Pitcher

We first came to like mojitos when our friend Karen made them at her house in Merida. We dubbed her Queen of the Mojitos, While in Cuba we also enjoyed them at Bodeguita del Medio which is where Ernest Hemingway came to love them as we are told. Some historians would have us believe that they date back to the 1600s and Sir Francis Drake coming ashore in Cuba..??? Summertime and the living is easy, right? What better way to enjoy a sunny day by the pool them with a pitcher of mojitos. Another recipe blissfully discovered on Pinterest!

(If you’ve been following this blog for some time you may recall my earlier recipe according to Hemingway),

Mojitos by the Pitcher (Kitchen is My Playground)

Total Time 15 mins Prep 15 mins

Ingredients    Servings 10

  • 10 limes, fresh pulp and juice
  • 30 leaves of fresh mint1/3 cup sugar (originally 3/4)
  • 1 cup white rum
  • 1 bottle of Sprite 600 ml. (original was Club soda)

Directions

  1. Place lime juice, mint and sugar into a pitcher.
  2. Using a muddle stick mash to release mint oils, and dissolve sugar into juice.
  3. Add rum and lots of ice topped with club soda or Sprite. Adding more club soda or Sprite to glasses if a lighter drink is desired. Fill glasses with ice before pouring!
  4. Garnish with fresh mint and lime slices.

 

Perfect Lemonade

Time to make my annual limoncello drink, which takes 15 yellow lemons. The only problem is that I have the fruit of 15 lemons left after I remove the necessary peel. When life gives you lemons (or Costco), the only thing to do is to make lemonade, right? Pinterest to the rescue once again… It was great…you be the judge of how much sugar to add….

 

Perfect Lemonade Recipe (Simplyrecipes.com)

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6.

For more intense lemon flavor, grate the zest from one fresh lemon and add the zest to the simple syrup as you are making it. Once the sugar has dissolved in the water remove from heat and let the zest seep in the simple syrup for several minutes, then strain out the zest when you add the simple syrup to the lemon juice.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white, granulated sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup) I used 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 cups cold water (to dilute)

Method

1 First make a “simple syrup”. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir so that the sugar dissolves completely and remove from heat.

2 While the water is heating for the simple syrup, juice your lemons. Depending on the size of the lemons, 4 to 6 of them should be enough for one cup of juice.

3 Pour the juice and the simple syrup sugar water into a serving pitcher. Add 2 to 3 cups of cold water and taste. Add more water if you would like it to be more diluted (though note that when you add ice, it will melt and naturally dilute the lemonade). If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add a little more straight lemon juice to it.

Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes.

Serve with ice, sliced lemons.
Read more: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_lemonade/#ixzz4BwfxF5jH

Raspberry Rhubarb Jalapeno Jelly

Okay, okay, I promise this is my last rhubarb recipe! Since it is very near to the season in Canada I thought some of you might want to try this one. We serve it over a block of Philly cream cheese and sometimes place a few anchovies across the top. Each bite gives you heat, sweet, salty and spicy. Just serve it with your favourite crackers. And, no need for pectin…the recipe is for a 15 oz. jar and keeps two weeks in the fridge. If you are into canning there are directions for that too.

Raspberry Rhubarb Jalapeno Jelly https://es.pinterest.com/source/chocolatemoosey.com/

Ingredients

3 cups fresh raspberries (thawed if frozen)

1 cup chopped rhubarb (roughly 1 stalk)

1-2 large jalapeno peppers*, seeds and membrane optional for heat

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

  1. Place a small dish into the freezer to use for testing the jam.
  2. In a large deep skillet, add raspberries, rhubarb, jalapeno, sugar, and lemon juice. Heat and stir until it reaches a rolling boil. Boil and stir until it thickens, 10 minutes. When it seems like it is gelling, take your plate out of the freezer. Put a small spoonful of the jam onto the plate and let sit for 30 seconds. Tilt it. If it slides too fast, keep cooking. If it moves slow, it is done. Test every minute or two and do not overcook it. Spoon into heat-proof container and cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

To can jam**

  1. Wash one 8-ounce (or 6-ounce + 2-ounce) glass mason jar with a two-piece lid with soap and hot water. Dry completely.
  2. Add the jar(s) and lid pieces to a large pot of boiling water deep enough for the jar(s) to be completely submerged in water. Once the water is boiling, leave the jar(s) in there until ready to use.
  3. Remove the jar(s) and lids from water and drain out all of the water from the jar. Keep the water boiling. Spoon the jam into the jar(s). Wipe excess jam off the rim of the jar(s) so it will seal properly. Add the lid. You may want to use an oven mitt so you can hold the jar(s) still.
  4. Place sealed jar(s) back into the boiling water and boil for 15 minutes. Make sure it is submerged in the water. Remove from the water and let dry on a heat-resistant surface for 18-24 hours. Once cool, press down on the lid. If it stays down, it is sealed. If it pops back up, put in the refrigerator and use within two weeks.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Ice Cream

Been back in Canada and still too early for rhubarb, but fortunately we have been able to find it here for the first time, as I stated in the previous blog. If you thought the pie sounded great you should definitely keep this in mind when rhubarb is in season up north. Of course you need an ice cream machine which our friends Kathie, Holly, Michelle and Dez had previously given to Larry several years ago for his birthday…lucky guy. It is indeed awesome and definitely a flavour for Ben and Jerry to consider!!! Ready, set, go!

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE ICE CREAM Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

For the Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream Base you will need an ice cream machine, sorry…

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream or 1  box of Media Crema (Mexico)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2  of your crumbled pie crust (homemade) but you can also just bake a pre-made crust and crumble that. Either way, before baking, brush the crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar.)

First, roast the strawberries. To do so, combine strawberries with 1/4 cup sugar in an 8-inch glass dish (do not spray or oil the glass). Roast at 375 degrees F for 8 minutes, or until just soft. Cool slightly, then puree the berries in a blender. Measure 1/2 cup of the puree and set the rest aside to top the ice cream or for another use. Our preference is not to puree as we like chunky!

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons milk to form a slurry. Set aside. In another small bowl, mix the cream cheese and salt together. Set aside. Put the rest of the milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a large, heavy bottomed pot (like a stock pot). Bring to a boil and boil for exactly four minutes (I set my phone’s timer to make sure it was accurate). It will boil and foam like crazy.

 

After four minutes, take the pot off the heat and add the cornstarch slurry. Return to a boil for one minute, take off the heat again. Add the cream cheese to the boiled milk and whisk any clumps out.

 

Submerge the pan and its contents in an ice bath. If you’re making the ice cream the same day, just make sure the base is very cold before adding it to the machine. Add the base to your frozen ice cream barrel and spin for 15 minutes. The base should be frozen, a little more liquid than soft serve.

 

At this point, pour in the strawberry puree* and let it mix in completely, until the ice cream is a pretty pink color. Add half of the pie crust crumbles and swirl until incorporated. From here you can assemble the rest of the ice cream.

 

For the Rhubarb Compote Adapted from Epicurious 

  • 2 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Grated ginger (optional to taste)

Combine rhubarb and sugar in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring every so often, until the rhubarb is syrupy (the sugar will liquefy over the heat and the rhubarb will break down). Strain through a sieve and chill until you are ready to assemble the ice cream. (You don’t want it too thick)

 

To Assemble the Ice Cream

Line a bread pan with parchment (or wax) paper. OR use a silicone loaf pan and skip the parchment/wax paper. Drizzle some rhubarb compote on the bottom, then layer with 1/3 of the Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream Base. Sprinkle with pie crust crumbles and drizzle with more compote. Continue layering, ending with a layer of compote and pie crumbles. Drag a knife through the compote to create a marbling effect.

 

Press some parchment or wax paper onto the ice cream’s surface and freeze for at least four hours. Before serving, let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes. Serve hearty scoops atop (totally optional) mini strawberry rhubarb pies and enjoy! Makes 1 quart.