Grilled Vegetable Salad for Thanksgiving

grilled-vegetables

If your oven space is at a premium while preparing your thanksgiving feast, why not employ your BBQ? This recipe for grilled veggie salad can be made quickly and bonus … you can prepare it in advance.  In fact the whole thing tastes better when it has had the opportunity to marinate in the fridge for half a day. So, throw the veggies on the BBQ right after you get the turkey in the oven or even before!

I am providing a list of ingredients for the salad I made but really; just use what you have on hand. The amounts you use will depend on how many people are joining you for the giving of thanks.

The recipe that follows will make a nice side-dish for six.

Ingredients

ingredients for the salad …

  • 1 ear of corn, shucked
  • 1 medium sized zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 purple onion, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 red pepper, seeded & cut into thirds
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeded & cut into thirds
  • 12 spears of asparagus, woody part of stems removed
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, cut in half, washed and patted dry
  • 1/3 C olive oil

ingredients for the vinaigrette …

  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pushed through a press
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ C oil

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Preparation

  1. Pre-heat your BBQ to medium-high for about 15 minutes with the lid down while you prep your vegetables.
  2. Place all the veggies, except the romaine lettuce in a large bowl and drizzle the olive oil (hold 1 T of the oil in reserve) over-top. Gently toss the vegetables so they all get evenly coated with the oil.
  3. Lift the lid of the BBQ and spread the veggies around on the lower grill rack. Using long-handled tongs, flip them over and move them around so all sides of each vegetable gets cooked evenly. Some vegetables will grill faster than others so keep a close eye on them all, removing each from the heat when done.
  4. Brush the romaine halves with the reserved oil and place, flat side down on the lower rack of the BBQ. Grill for a few minutes until nicely charred. Remove and set aside to cool with the other vegetables.
  5. When cool enough to handle slice the grilled corn kernels from the cob and place them in a bowl large enough to handle all of the salad ingredients. Cut the remaining veggies into chunks, except the romaine, and transfer to the same bowl.
  6. To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the Dijon mustard, minced garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Trickle the oil into these ingredients in a slow, steady stream while continuing to vigorously whisk it altogether. This action works to emulsify the oil into the rest of the ingredients, creating perfectly blended vinaigrette.
  7. Use half of the vinaigrette on this salad, reserving the rest for another day.
  8. Cover and refigerate until feasting time.
  9. Cut the charred romaine into chunks and toss into the salad right before serving.

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How to Make Apple Rosehip Jelly

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Last year there was a bountiful harvest from the wild apple trees surrounding our home but this year there aren’t as many apples for easy picking. However, it seems the rose bushes are yielding plenty of ripe red rosehips so I’ve paired these tart little wonders with the apples I can easily reach for a small batch of vitamin c rich jelly.

I used approximately 5 cups of apple chunks (stems removed but skin and cores with seeds included) and 3 ½ cups of rosehips (stems removed and bottom parts cut off). You can vary the amounts of chopped apple and rosehip for this first part of the recipe. Just make sure to use more apples than rosehips as the pectin from the chopped apples is what actually causes the jelly to set up. You won’t be adding any extra pectin to this recipe for jelly.

I like to start the jelly making process in the early evening. This allows the juice used for the jelly time to drip out of the prepared fruit overnight.

Preparation Part One

  1. The rosehips take longer to break down so start the jelly making process by placing them in a stainless steel or enameled pot and add enough water to just cover the fruit. Bring to a boil and adjust the heat so the mixture stays at a slow boil for about 30 minutes or until the rosehips become soft and their skins break open. You may have to add extra boiling water from the kettle during this process.
  2. Add the apple chunks and more boiling water to just cover the fruit and continue to boil for 20 more minutes. Remove from the heat and lightly mash up the soft apple chunks and rosehips.
  3. Pour into a sterilized muslin jelly bag and suspend over a glass or stainless steel bowl. Refrain from squeezing the bag if you want your jelly to be clear and not cloudy. Allow the juices to drip out slowly overnight. Alternatively, you can also line a large enameled colander with several layers of clean cheesecloth and place the boiled and mashed fruit inside. The colander can then be placed over a stainless steel or glass bowl and left overnight so the juices can drain out slowly.

Preparation Part Two

  1. Measurements must be more exact for this part of the process. Measure the juice that has gathered overnight. Use one cup of sugar for every cup of juice. The amounts of fruit I used garnered 3 cups of juice so I used 3 cups of sugar to make my small batch of jelly.
  2. Place sugar and juice in a stainless steel pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Adjust the heat under the pot to keep the liquid at a rolling boil. This mixture must reach 220 F which is the gelling point. The best way to know when your jelly should come off the heat is to use a thermometer. If you don’t have one you can always use the old fashioned method of placing a small amount of liquid on a cold plate. Place in the refrigerator for a few moments then drag your finger through the liquid. If the trough created holds its shape then it’s time to take the jelly off the heat.

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Note: The amounts of fruit cited above took 20 minutes to reach 220 F. If you are making a larger batch the boiling time will be longer. I ended up with 3 ½ small jars of jelly. Each jar holds about 1 cup of jelly.

  1. Pour jelly liquid into sterilized jars leaving ¼” space at the top of the jars. Screw on the sterilized lids and seal by placing in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (at sea level). Add one minute for every 1000 feet above sea level.

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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Here’s an easy variation of my Quick Banana Bread Loaf recipe. Simply add 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and spoon the batter into a muffin tin lined with paper cups. The yield from this recipe will be 10 large sized muffins. These moist muffins freeze well and make a great snack or lunch-box addition.

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Quick Banana Bread Loaf

Quick Banana Bread

Don’t send those black bananas to the compost bin! You can whip this recipe up in one bowl. It tastes great, stays fresh for quite awhile and around our home it’s a family favourite.

Ingredients

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 C melted butter
  • 1 1/2 C unbleached white flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place peeled bananas in a large bowl and, using a fork, mash the bananas into a pulp.
  3. Crack the egg into the bowl and beat it into the banana pulp. Add the vanilla, melted butter and brown sugar. Mix well.
  4. Sprinkle the flour, baking soda and salt into the banana mixture and continue to mix until everything is well incorporated.
  5. Spray a loaf pan with cooking oil and spoon the batter into the pan, spreading it around evenly.
  6. Place the pan on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Let the loaf rest in the pan for 5 minutes before removing and placing on a rack to cool.

 

Banana Bread Loaf

 

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Yellow Beans & Pesto

Yellow Beans

My friend Pat was good enough to share the last of her wax bean crop this year. Lucky us! So, tonight I am preparing these beautiful beans with the basil from my herb pot and some garlic (Last week’s bounty from Pat’s garden).

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Ingredients

  • ½ C packed basil leaves (reserve a few for garnish)
  • ¼ C pine nuts
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a press
  • ¼ C olive oil
  • ¼ C finely grated parmesan cheese
  • black pepper & salt to taste
  • 3 C wax beans, washed & trimmed

preparation

  1. Combine basil leaves, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor. Pulse a few times then pour in the olive oil and process until smooth. Add the grated parmesan and pulse a few more times until a paste forms. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. You can use a blender to make the pesto as well but you will have to scrape the sides down more often.
  2. I usually leave the yellow beans whole, just trimming the stem end of each bean. Steam the prepped beans for about 5 minutes being careful not to overdue the cooking process. Toss the steamed beans with the pesto and serve immediately garnished with a few basil leaves.

 Serves 6 as a sidedish

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Banana Nut Mug Muffin (gluten-free)

Banana Nut Mug Muffin

Here’s an easy recipe for using up bananas that have become too ripe. I usually have several over-ripe bananas in the freezer ready for banana mug muffins or a breakfast smoothie. Ready in five minutes, this easy version of banana bread serves one. You simply mix the ingredients up in a microwavable mug and pop it into the microwave. As you know, Glenn and I are lowering our carb intake these days. Now I know banana is usually on the hit list for low carb dieters but we still eat a small amount of banana now and then. If you are watching your carb intake, this mug muffin will add 9.9 G of carbohydrates in total to your daily count.

Ingredients

  • ½ ripe banana, mashed
  • 1egg
  • 1 T melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 T stevia sweetener or sucralose (I use Sugar Twin Stevia Sweetener)
  • 1 T PB2 powder or 1 T peanut butter (see note about PB2 below)
  • 1 T coconut flour
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of Salt

Directions

  1. Place banana in a microwavable mug and mash into a smooth paste.
  2. Add the egg, melted butter & vanilla and mix all the wet ingredients together with a fork until well blended.
  3. Now add the rest of the ingredients (PB2 powder, coconut flour, baking soda and salt) and using the fork mix everything together right in the mug.
  4. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 – 2 ½ minutes. My microwave is 1000 watts so I use the shorter time.

Yield: 1 serving

For those who prefer to use an oven: Pre-heat oven to 350 F and bake the muffin for 15 minutes.

Note: You may be wondering what PB2 powder is. Well, it’s a mighty fine addition to the pantry for anyone who likes peanut butter but is watching their calorie intake. PB2 powder is made from slow roasted peanuts that have been pressed to remove 85% of the fat and oil. The resulting powder is full of peanut flavour and is great for use in recipes like this Banana Nut Mug Muffin.I purchase PB2 online from: The Low Carb Grocery

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Hummus

Hummus

Hummus is another item we make often. Versions of hummus first appeared in Cairo during the thirteenth century. It’s a dish that has definitely stood the test of time and now shows up on menus all around the world. A simple dish, hummus is a spread made from five basic ingredients: chickpeas, sesame seeds, olive oil, garlic and lemon.

Ingredients

  • 1 15 oz. can cooked chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 4 – 6 cloves of garlic, crushed through a garlic press
  • ¼ C olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 T tahini
  • ¼ tsp salt (or to taste)

Directions

Place all of the above ingredients into a blender (or food processor) and blend until the chickpeas have turned into a paste and are well blended with the other ingredients. If you use a blender you will have to stop the blender to scrape down the sides a few times until the chickpeas are broken down into a paste. Place hummus in a bowl or on a platter, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with black olives. Serve with pita bread or as a dip beside fresh veggies.

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