Friday, October 5, 2012

Knish: Roasted Garlic Mashed Potato Goodness

As usual, I was running a few minutes behind when I rushed into Starbucks on a beautiful day in early September around noon. The boys were at their second day back to school and I was meeting a wonderful lady from the local Jewish Temple.

We had a lovely roving visit about all kinds of things for over two hours - it was delightful.

In preparation for the Jewish-inspired lunch that took place after church on September 30th, I needed some culturally appropriate guidance and insight. This coffee date would shed light on my path into culturally appropriate fare.

Near the end of our conversation about food, my new friend's eyes lit up with delight as she started explaining this delicious Jewish treat called "knish". Bread dough with mashed potatoes inside. There were strict instructions, it was difficult to pull off, but INCREDIBLE and culturally appropriate.

But it would be far too difficult to pull off for our purposes - I mean, feeding 200+, scratch making the dough, and then forming them all by hand? It could not be done.

Sounds delicious.

Sounds like a challenge. A challenge I wanted to take on and execute.

I wanted to make knish and make it well. Make it delicious. Make it memorable.

Here is what we made.

RECIPE: Knish with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

garlic confit
2 lb potatoes, cubed
1 package phyllo pastry
olive oil for brushing

1. make mashed potatoes (wash & cube the potatoes and toss them in a pot, fill with water until just covering the potatoes, boil until tender when pierced with a fork, drain from the hot water)

2. you can either add milk and butter as usual (heat them first so your potatoes do not become gluey) or you can just add roasted garlic from the garlic confit - either will work

3. now it's time to get out the phyllo; free it from the plastic, but keep it rolled; slice the roll into 4 equally sized portions

4. put away 3 of the four rolls of phyllo and roll out one so all the sheets are in a stack

5. put about 1 tbsp (I got an ice cream scoop for this) at the top of the sheet

6. now fold over the top corner into a triangle, then follow it all the way to the bottom of the sheet

7. once you reach the bottom of the sheet, brush the phyllo with olive oil or garlic oil from the garlic confit, seal the packet, and lay it on a sheet pan

8. repeat until you're out of potatoes or phyllo

9. bake at 210ºC or 400ºF for 10-14 minutes or until golden brown

It is a little fiddly, but worth the work in the end.

This can be adapted for any number of fillings. It is a wonderful thing to stuff with cheeses as it becomes cheese and cracker. I enjoyed these full of sun dried tomato hummus or made with puff pastry instead of phyllo (think biscuit).

You could pre-make these and freeze them on a sheet pan then put them into zippered baggies once they are frozen solid for baking just a few at a time. I also then write the temperature and time it will take for them to cook on the bag.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Kosher Salt & Mint Crusted Leg of Lamb

When our church announced we would be moving locations for Sunday mornings to a Jewish Temple, we knew we wanted the first church lunch there to be inspired by the Jewish culture.

Clearly, lamb would HAVE to be on the menu.

After some research, we found an amazing local farm with fresh lamb available weekly. To order your own, go here.

RECIPE: Kosher Salt and Mint Crusted Lamb

1 leg or shoulder lamb roast (with or without the bone)
1 large bunch of fresh mint
1/3 cup kosher salt
2 tbsp kosher salt
up to 1 cup olive oil

1. in a blender, blitz the mint, 1/3 cup kosher salt, and add olive oil until the mixture blends into a thick, liquidy mixture

2. place the lamb roast and the mint mix into a ziplock bag and allow to marinate for one day

3. once you are ready to cook the lamb, preheat the oven to 190ºC or 375ºF

4.  place the lamb in a roasting pan and pour over the remainder of the marinade then sprinkle 2 tbsp of kosher salt over the works

5. roast until cooked through - the FDA suggests a temperature of 145ºF or 63ºC

6. slice the roasted lamb and serve in the roast drippings

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Diablo Cookies

WARNING: these will cause mixed emotions for you. Highly addictive in nature. You've been told.

Last September while travelling in BC, we visited a food truck in Tofino called TacoFino. They have a cookie called the "Diablo Cookie" that a friend said we had to try.

TacoFino Cantina in Tofino, BC

We tried it, and it was good. Amazing, in fact. Chris found the recipe online (I have no idea where).

When we arrived at my parents house a few days later, we had to whip up a batch.

My Mother likes food a certain way. She does not like sweets or chocolate, she does not like cookies and she hates, above all else, spicy food.

I wanted you to know all of that... and these are her favourite cookies.

RECIPE: Diablo Cookies
Pre-heat oven to 190ºC / 375ºF

[the dry]
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sifted cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cayenne
1 cup milk chocolate chips or large milk chocolate chunks

[the wet]
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp fresh minced ginger (or fresh squeezed ginger juice)
coarse sea salt (for garnish)

1. mix the dry (if using chunks, reserve to the side for now)
2. mix the wet
3. combine the dry and the wet

4. on a greased cookie sheet, press fist sized dough balls and sprinkle with rock salt (or sea salt or coarse salt of any kind) and sugar; if using large milk chocolate chunks, press two into the middle of the cookie before sprinkling salt & sugar on top

5. bake for approximately 11 minutes or until the cookies start to crack - they should be fudgey in the middle

6. leave on the sheet to cool for a few minutes before removing to a rack

Makes 12 large cookies. Don't eat them all in one sitting.

And as a note - I always try to lower the amount of sugar in EVERY recipe I make; in this one, the amount cannot be lessened with this quantity of cayenne; the sugar helps cut the heat. It should also be noted that the texture is compromised when the sugar is cut.

Makes an AMAZING compliment to a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

As consumed at several Friends Church lunches

Monday, June 4, 2012

Potato Salad

Ever find one of those recipes that is just... the BEST?! When you eat what you've made you think, "How have I lived my life up to this point without this food in my life?!"

Yeah, this is one of those.

Now, I can't take credit for most of this recipe; much of it is owed to Tyler Florence. You can find his original here.

When Chris and I make a recipe, we tend to pare it down and make it with quantities of ingredients that make our life simpler. Also, we tend to cook for a bit of a crowd.

At this point, some of you are thinking of that potato salad you had three years ago that was flavourless, watery, and left you disappointed. Firstly, I did not make that salad and secondly, this is ENTIRELY different from that salad. This one is actually good.

RECIPE: Potato Salad
Serves 12 (for your bbq this weekend)

5 lb bag baby potatoes
12 eggs
1 bunch scallions (green onions), whites and greens sliced up together
1 small jar capers, drained
2 cups mayo
1/4 cup dijon
8-10 good pickles, diced (I use Kuhn brand as they don't contain preservatives)
reserve the pickle juice
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley or cilantro (whatever you prefer), chopped - including stems
1 bunch dill, chopped
the juice of 1 lemon or lime


> turn the broiler on high

> after washing the potatoes, quarter them, lay them on a sheet pan, and put them under the broiler (second rung from the top) for about 10 minutes; they should be golden and tender when you take them out of the oven; leave them on the pan until they have cooled

> to boil the eggs, put enough water into the pot to just submerge all the eggs; bring the water to a boil then turn it down to medium before lowering in the 12 eggs; put the lid on the pot and set the timer for 9 minutes; cool in cold water, peel, and dice the eggs up fairly small

> add the chopped eggs, scallions, capers, dijon, diced pickles, red onion, parsley or cilantro, dill, and lemon juice to the bowl; stir together

> stir in the potatoes to coat

> lastly, add in the mayo, determining how much is needed for the rest of the salad; thin down with pickle juice to your hearts content

> enjoy

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Twenty Minute Dinner

Right now, I don't have time. I don't have extra time at any point in my day. There is just so much going on with the end of the school year, spring sports, our dogs, my husband's job change, garden, family moving... and then it's time to make a healthy dinner before rushing out the door and on to the sport of the evening.

I just don't have time.

But I have these cubes of stewing lamb in the fridge. And I a litre of canned tomatoes. We must be out the door in less than one hour so I have 20 minutes - at most - to make a healthy, filling, delicious dinner. Here I go!

RECIPE: Quick Curry
serves 6

3 cups white rice (+ water to make the rice)

<for the curry>
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala (brown curry powder)
0.5 tsp kosher salt
1 to 1.5 lb (450-700g) stewing lamb, beef, or cubed meat of any kind
1 litre (quart) of canned tomatoes
1 cup raisins
1 cup yogurt

<for the cauliflower>
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp madras curry (yellow curry powder)
1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets

<serve with>
chopped cilantro
unsalted peanuts


1. measure the rice and get on with cooking it

2. bring the oven rack up to the second from the top and turn the broiler to high

3. over high heat, heat the oil for the curry in a large skillet then add the spices and stir together for 1 minute until fragrant

4. add in the meat and stir to coat the meat with oil and spices

5. in a large bowl, mix the olive oil and madras curry; chop the cauliflower and add in the florets and toss them to coat the cauliflower (I also had a leek in the fridge and chopped that into the cauliflower; any veggies would work here)

6. once the meat is cooked, add the litre of tomatoes and the cup of raisins; stir together

7. pour the cauliflower onto a cookie sheet - in one even layer - and put under the broiler for about 10 minutes

8. chop the cilantro and pour the peanuts into a bowl for the table

9. set the table and pour a glass of wine (or crack open a beer)

10. stir in the yogurt right before serving the curry; it may curdle a little, not altering the flavour at all, it just looks a little funny, like when I made it!

11. ENJOY!!!

- instead of stewing lamb, you could use beef, chicken, shrimp, pork, goat, chopped onions, mushrooms, or chickpeas
- instead of in the oven, you could steam the cauliflower in a pot on the stovetop
- instead of cauliflower, you could use cabbage

This was so delicious, I really did make it two nights in a row!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Green Onion Chickpea Curry

This is easily one of our favourite dishes. It is simple to make, cook, and easy to eat.

RECIPE: Green Onion Chickpea Curry

1/4 cup oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 large onion, chopped or sliced
2 large tomatoes, diced (or a can of diced tomatoes)
1 tsp salt
5 tbsp minced ginger
2-4 large jalapeños, minced
3 cans (16 oz each) chickpeas, drained
1 can coconut milk, stirred
8 stalks green onions, cut in 1 cm lengths

Stovetop Method:
> heat the oil and fry the cumin seeds for 30-60 seconds or until fragrant
> sauté the ginger, jalapeños, and onion until soft
> add the tomatoes, salt, chickpeas, and coconut milk and simmer for 10 minutes or until the rest of dinner is ready (add water to thin the curry as needed)
> stir in the green onions just before serving

Oven Method:
> pre-heat the oven to 190ºC or 375ºF
> the oil can be omitted if the cumin and vegetables are not being sautéed
> throw all the ingredients into a deep pan or lidded casserole dish and stir it all together
> put the lid on and bake it

Serve over:
> rice or noodles
> salad greens like spinach, arugula, or endive
> thinly sliced sautéed cabbage

For an interesting twist, add a chopped apple or two to the curry before cooking. Pairs well with tangy chilli sauce.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Free" Stovetop Muesli

Today, a guest post from my sister-in-law, Kim. She is my husband's sister and one of my favourite people. She and her family are currently waiting on paperwork before returning to international work and are living with Mom and Dad. 

There are lots of challenges that come with cooking for three generations and individuals with very specific dietary needs.


Our lives changed drastically last May with my dad's leukemia diagnosis, and we quickly learned a new lifestyle: vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and avoiding a number of foods that my dad had allergies to.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Grilled Salad with Cream Cheese

It's lunch time. There are no leftovers for me from dinner last night. What should I make?

There are half an onion, half a green pepper, and half a red pepper all staring at me in the fridge.

And cream cheese... and fresh tomatoes... hmmm...

RECIPE: Grilled Salad with Cream Cheese

half a small onion, sliced
one bell pepper, sliced or chopped
1 tomato, diced
1 dollop low fat cream cheese

> sauté the onion and pepper in a skillet
> once caramelized, pour into bowl
> add tomatoes, cream cheese, and parsley or cilantro garnish
> season to taste and enjoy!!

There are many variation options for this recipe; here are a few that popped to mind:

This would also be amazing with leftover grilled chicken, fish, or beef in place of the cream cheese.

Add to a bun with leftover steak, melt some mozzarella over the top, and drizzle with garlic mayo, hello Philly Cheese Steak!!

Without the cream cheese, this is a great vegetable side dish with very little work - fresh and grilled!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Garlic Confit: easier to make (and use) than pronounce

Garlic confit (say con-FEE) is simply garlic slowly poached in oil. 

Here are the steps:
1. skin garlic
2. poach in oil
3. enjoy

Step 1
- smash the garlic head to break up all the cloves
- place garlic into a metal bowl
- cover bowl with inverted metal bowl
- hold tightly and shake it for all you're worth

Here's how it is done...

Step 2

- place the peeled garlic into a pot and pour oil to just cover the garlic (you can use olive oil for this or any other oil you would like infused with garlic)

- turn the pot on LOW or 2 and allow to bubble away for 40 to 50 minutes or until they are golden and soft like warm butter; stir occasionally

Step 3

Enjoying this treat is the best part! How can you use it? Here are a few ideas:

For the oil...
- use the oil for a vinaigrette salad dressing
- roasted garlic vegetables - use the oil to toss the veggies before broiling to perfection
- for frying eggs in the morning
- lightly garlic toast for two - oil a cast iron skillet with garlic oil, then toast the bread on both sides
- for a lighter pizza, brush the shell with garlic oil instead of pizza sauce
- use in place of butter or oil - the options are almost limitless

For the garlic cloves...
- salad dressing - smash the cloves and mix with mayo and water to thin then salt to taste
- use in cream pasta sauces
- garlic bread - smash the garlic together with butter (and a little salt if your butter is unsalted) and spread on bread to be toasted in the oven
- use whole in recipes that call for a smaller amount of fresh minced garlic, for example, spaghetti sauce, homestyle chowder, or in stir-fries
- in mashed potatoes; pop them into the milk and butter (or garlic oil) while you are warming them before adding the potatoes and mashing the works; is wonderful this way with fresh goat chèvre


Keep in a sealed glass jar in the fridge. Keeps for about a month in the fridge as long as the garlic oil stays above the level of the garlic. If the garlic cloves are exposed to air, they are able to spoil more quickly.

When I make this, I use it up before it has a chance to go bad. Once you have made and used this garlic confit, I am sure you will find it disappears fairly quickly.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Guatemalan Banana Bread

RECIPE: Guatemalan Banana Bread
(serves 6)

5 cups flour
2 cups brown sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoons allspice
2.5 cups smashed bananas
0.5 cups milk
1/3 cups vegetable oil
2 eggs
zest of 1 lime
2 tbsp lime juice

> heat oven to 350ºF; grease bottom of the pan
> mix all ingredients; beat 30 seconds
> pour into pan
> bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean (30-45 minutes)
> cool before slicing

And when you bake one that is THIS huge, you bake it a little longer!!

To see a list of what else was made for the Guatemalan lunch, go here

Arroz con Leche / Rice Pudding

Arroz con Leche / Rice Pudding

- 1 cup of rice
- 2 cups water
- 20 beans coffee
- 2 cinnamon stick
- 10 cloves
- 2 cans of coconut milk
- 1 small lime, whole and washed
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk

> put the rice, water, coffee beans, cinnamon and cloves in a saucepan with a tight lid; bring to a boil, then simmer until the water is gone and the rice is cooked
> add the coconut milk and the lime (whole); cook over low heat until it reduces again
> remove the cinnamon stick, cloves, and lime
> add the sweetened condensed milk and stir over low heat until the mixture thickens
> decorate with a shake of cinnamon and a few raisins if you like

To see a full menu created for the Guatemalan lunch, go here

Frijoles a la Huacha / Dirty Beans

RECIPE: Frijoles a la Huacha / Dirty Beans
(serves 6)

- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño chile, diced (use gloves)
- 2 cans red kidney beans
- 500 ml chicken broth
- 1 large bunch of mint

> fry the onion and chile in the oil until soft but not brown
> blend the beans with broth until smooth
> add beans to the fry pan with onion and peppers
> fry until beans reduce to a thick paste (about 10 minutes)
> add chopped mint leaves toward end of cooking time

To see the full menu created for the Guatemalan lunch, go here

Subanik / Roasted Aubergine & Mushroom Stew

Subanik / Roasted Aubergine & Mushroom Stew
(serves 6)


For the sauce
- 4 medium red bell peppers, cut in half from top to bottom, then stemmed and seeded
- 9 roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 onion, cut into quarters
- 4 tomatillos, husks removed
- 1 dried ancho chili pepper, washed inside and out, seeds and stem removed
- 1 dried red chili pepper, such as chili de arbol
- 1 or 2 Thai red chili peppers

For the mushroom and aubergine (eggplant)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1.25 pounds mushrooms
- 1.5 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- water, as needed
- 1.25 pounds aubergine, cubed into 1-inch pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 to 4 sprigs thyme


For the sauce
> preheat the oven to 500ºF
> place the red bell peppers on a foil lined baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, turning them once or twice, until their skins are blistered with black spots all around
> foil another baking sheet and place the tomatoes and onion cut side down on the sheet, along with the whole tomatillos, dried chili peppers and Thai red chili pepper; roast for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are quite tender, with blistered skins

> working in several batches, transfer the roasted peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, onion and Thai red chili pepper to a blender; pulse for 1 to 2 minutes for each batch, until a fairly smooth sauce forms; do not over-process the mixture
> break off pieces of the dried chili peppers and add them through the top of the blender while the motor is running; stop to taste, and add more of the dried chili peppers to achieve the desired level of spiciness

For the mushroom and aubergine:
> toss the cleaned mushrooms and cubed aubergine in the oil with thyme and gently salt and pepper
> place on an unlined baking sheet and place into the broiling hot oven
> broil until golden all over, turning a few times

> add a little water to the baking sheet to scrape up the browned on bits from broiling the mushrooms and aubergine; pour over the vegetables
> in a large pot, add together the puréed vegetables, roasted mushroom and eggplant, and the bay leaves
> cover and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have blended
> salt and pepper to taste

For the full menu of what was served at the Guatemala lunch, go here.  

Kaq Ik / Roasted Pepper Turkey Stew

Kaq Ik / Roasted Pepper Turkey Stew
(serves 6)

- 1/4 turkey (hind quarter, breast "roast")
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 head of garlic
- 1/2 pound of tomatoes
- 1 onions
- salt
- 1 large tomatillo
- 1 onion
- 1 fresh sweet red pepper
- 1 dried chile guajilla
- 1 dried chile pasilla
- half to 1 tbsp chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tbsp achiote
- 3 corn tortillas
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro
- 1 bunch fresh mint
- salt

> place the turkey and the whole garlic head in the chicken stock; salt to taste.
> in a separate pan, cook tomato, onion, sweet red pepper, chile guajillo, and chile pasilla, chipotle pepper until soft; once fully cooked, puree in blender; partial vegetable chunks also work
> once the turkey is cooked, add the vegetable mix to the stew
> place achiote in a small bowl and add some of the “soup” to it and stir until it is a smooth paste; stir into soup pot with adobo chipotle
> to thicken the soup, tear up corn tortillas into small pieces and add to soup pot; stir well
> bring to boil for about ten minutes, or until tortillas have dissolved and soup has thickened
> add cilantro and mint and season with salt to taste.

Served with rice on the side to be added to the bowl. Garnish with lime wedges and avocado slices.

- add corn (fresh or frozen) for the last 10 minutes of cooking

For a full menu of what was served at the Guatemalan lunch, go here.  

Jocón / Guatemalan Chicken in Tomatillo-Cilantro Sauce

RECIPE: Jocón / Guatemalan Chicken in Tomatillo-Cilantro Sauce
(serves 6)

- 3 pounds chicken, cut into serving pieces
- 4 cups water
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 2 corn tortillas, chopped, soaked in water, drained
- 1 cup tomatillos, hulled and chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 1 bunch scallions, chopped
- 1-5 jalapeño or serrano chile peppers, chopped

> place the chicken, water, and salt into a large pot over medium-high
> bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour
> heat a dry skillet over medium; add the pumpkin and sesame seeds and toast, stirring, until lightly browned; remove to a coffee grinder or food processor and grind to a fine powder

> add the sesame and pumpkin seeds, tortillas, tomatillos, cilantro, scallions, and chile peppers to a food processor or blender; add 6 cups of the broth from the chicken and process until smooth; you may have to do this step in batches
> pour pureed sauce into the pot with the chicken pieces
> heat over medium-low and simmer for an additional 15-25 minutes; adjust seasoning and serve

For a full view of the menu served at the Guatemalan lunch, go here

Hilachas / Guatemalan Beef Stew

RECIPE: Hilachas / Guatemalan Beef Stew
(serves 6)

- 2 pounds beef, cubed
- 5 cups water
- 2-3 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped tomatillos
- 2 to 3 guajillo (say 'gua-HE-yo') chiles, warmed over a flame, deseeded and chopped
- salt and pepper - to season
- 1 pound potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped

> place the beef, water, and a big pinch of salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat
> reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the beef is very tender
> while the beef is simmering, place the onion, tomatoes, tomatillos and chiles in a food processor or blender and puree, adding a little water if necessary
> heat the oil in a large pot over medium; add the onion-tomato puree and simmer until the puree is cooked down and darkens somewhat in color, about 10 minutes; do not burn
> add the shredded beef and about 3 cups of the broth to the onion-tomato puree and season with salt and pepper; reserve the rest of the broth
> stir in the potatoes, onions and a little more broth if necessary
> simmer until the potatoes and carrots are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes
> stir in the breadcrumbs to thicken the sauce (optional)
> stir in the chopped cilantro, adjust seasoning and serve hot with corn tortillas or rice with shredded cabbage and chopped cilantro to garnish

- add 2 teaspoons achiote seasoning to the onion-tomato puree for added flavour; bricks of achiote seasoning can be found at many Latin markets
- the potatoes and carrots can be eliminated if you like
- canned tomatoes and tomatillos work just fine in this recipe
- tomatoes can be used if you would like to eliminate the tomatillos
- if you can't find guajillo chiles, use anchos or pasillas (say 'pa-SEE-yas') or substitute with 1 tablespoon of paprika and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

To see the full menu for the Guatemalan lunch, go here.  

Guatemalan Guacamole

RECIPE: Guatemalan Guacamole
(serves 6)

- 4 ripe but not mushy avocados, diced in large cubes
- 2 small tomatoes, diced
- 0.5 (1/2) cup finely chopped red onions
- 1 fresh green chilli, chopped
- 1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 lime, juiced

> put avocados into bowl and mix with lime juice
> mix in other ingredients gently; serve as soon as possible

If you plan to prepare this ahead for a party or gathering later, put diced veggies into the bowl in the order they are listed. Make sure the tomatoes cover the top of the avocado and drizzle the lime juice over top of the works; this prevents the avocado from browning. Do not stir until ready to serve. 

To see the rest of what we did for the Guatemalan lunch, check here

Guatemalan Vegetable Salad / Potato & Green Bean

RECIPE: Guatemalan Vegetable Salad / Potato & Green Bean
(serves 6)

- 1.5 cups shelled squash or pumpkin seeds
- 4 medium tomatillos, husked and quartered
- 0.5 cups roughly chopped yellow onions
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 pound green beans, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

> in a medium pot, combine the potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt with enough water, to cover; bring to a boil and simmer until tender; drain; set aside
> combine the green beans and remaining teaspoon of salt in water to cover; bring to a boil and simmer until tender; drain; set aside

For the sauce:
> in a large, dry skillet, the pumpkin seeds over medium-low heat until golden and fragrant, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally; remove and let cool
> add the tomatillos, onions and garlic to the skillet and cook over medium-low heat until the skins are slightly charred, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally; remove from the heat and let cool slightly
> pulse the roasted squash seeds in a blender or food processor; add the tomatillo mixture and 0.25 (1/4) cup water; puree on high speed until smooth, adding more water as needed
> season to taste
> combine the cooked potatoes and green beans in a bowl; toss with the sauce and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving
> serve chilled

For a full run-down of the Guatemalan lunch and how things went, go here.

Picado de Rábano / Guatemalan Radish Salad

Picado de Rábano / Guatemalan Radish Salad
(serves 6) 

- 1 pound radishes, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 bunch mint, chopped
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (one large lemon)
- salt & pepper to taste

> slice radishes with a food processor or knife
> mix all ingredients into bowl
> chill for a few hours (or overnight) before serving

For the full posting about the Guatemalan lunch, go here

Guatemalan Lunch

In case you were not aware, my husband and I are a little crazy. And we love food.

About a year ago, we stepped in to help out with a lasagna lunch at the church we attend. We brought garlic toast, traditional lasagna, mushroom vegetarian lasagne, and butter chicken lasagna. The full post can be read here.

Since then, we have helped with several lunches. One was a rice bowl Sunday, with options of Korean bul-go-gi, butter chicken, and satay chicken. We also did Christmas dinner, with vegetarian quinoa and cranberry stuffing, turkey and ham, goat cheese mashed potatoes, red and green salad, and gravy, among other things. And there were a few parenting seminars, for which we did Mexican food.

The most recent church lunch was focused on fundraising for a humanitarian project in Guatemala, so we decided to make Guatemalan food. We have never made anything Guatemalan. We have never even eaten anything specifically Guatemalan. This was a first.

See? I told you so... crazy!

We researched, planned, and chose various dishes based on their apparent authenticity, having no first-hand knowledge to rest on.

Armed with recipes adjusted to feed 140 people, $550 worth of ingredients, a car load of kitchen tools, and three volunteers, we set to work.

Here are the recipes, all adjusted to feed 6:

Picado de Rábano / Guatemalan Radish Salad

Guatemalan Vegetable Salad / Potato & Green Bean

Guatemalan Guacamole

Hilachas / Guatemalan Beef Stew

Jocón / Guatemalan Chicken in Tomatillo-Cilantro Sauce

Kaq Ik / Roasted Pepper Turkey Stew

Subanik / Roasted Aubergine & Mushroom Stew

Frijoles a la Huacha / Dirty Beans

Arroz con Leche / Rice Pudding

Guatemalan Banana Bread

Overall, the lunch was a huge success, which is always nice.  At the end of this month, we will visit Mexico for the culinary adventure after church.  And I am certain the food will be amazing.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Spring Radish Slaw

Nothing says "Springtime" like those classic spring fruit, vegetables, and bright colours.  For me, radishes take me back to childhood - tromping through the garden, on the hunt for a stem large enough to indicate it was time to eat!

I always find the first radishes of the year are mildest, and everything about them returns me to the early '80's, adventuring in the raised garden at the back of our small yard, searching through the marigolds and rhubarb for the first fruits of our gardening work.

I have made this salad several times this week and my kids cannot get enough of it.  The salt, vinegar, and sugar in the dressing gently pickle any "spice" out of the radishes, mellowing them down to their basic flavour.

Seconds and even thirds have been fully consumed before I hear, "Mommy, what else is for dinner?  I don't think I have room..."  Success!

RECIPE: Radish Slaw
(feeds 4-6)

2 pounds radishes, trimmed
1-2 bunches cilantro or italian parsley
3/4 cup craisins
2 tbsp rice, white wine, cider, or champagne vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 tsp salt (or so)

> mix together the craisins, vinegar, sugar, mayo, and salt in your salad bowl
> slice the radishes with a food processor or mandolin if you have either; if not, it's the old fashioned way with a knife and cutting board
> rough chop the cilantro and/or parsley (this salad would also love spring onions)
> toss with the dressing; can be made ahead or to serve; if made ahead, it all turns a gorgeous pink

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Salad for Lunch

Today is one of those days where faster is better, so once it was time to eat some lunch, I knew what I would have: salad.

RECIPE: Tangy Sweet Chili Salad

tangy sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp mayo
1 tomato, diced
a few handfulls of salad greens

> mix together diced tomato, tangy sweet chili, and mayo
> arrange greens and cilantro
> top with tomato sauciness and peanuts

Fast and delicious!!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Where have you been?

It's a good question, really.

Honestly, I let it get out of hand this past Christmas and I said "Yes"; I helped, hand-made, and hosted; I cleaned, visited, baked, cooked, and did many other things I do not specifically remember. It was a wonderful holiday full of loved family and friends and I wouldn't change it.