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 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
Pre-heat your BBQ to medium-high for about 15 minutes with the lid down while you prep your vegetables.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Use half of the vinaigrette on this salad, reserving the rest for another day.
Cover and refigerate until feasting time.
Cut the charred romaine into chunks and toss into the salad right before serving.
In days gone by I used a mock mincemeat recipe from a really old version of The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, but sadly this book has gone missing from my bookshelf. I have a newer edition of the book but I think the recipe in this one has been altered from the original.
So, here’s my current version of Vegetarian Mincemeat. It combines what I can remember from that original recipe with the spices I have available in my pantry. Plus, I have also factored in the amount of green tomatoes and apples I have on hand. The butter in this recipe replaces the suet used in traditional mincemeat.
Once again I have to give kudos to my good friend Pat who allowed me to pick green tomatoes from her garden. She also supplied lovely Gravenstein apples from the Annapolis valley. I used quite a few of the green cherry tomatoes that don’t have a hope of turning red before the killing frosts set in. I found these little green orbs to contain more moisture than their larger cousins so I strained them (once chopped) before adding them to the big pot.
The end result: just under 5 pints of really tasty mock mincemeat.
6 C green tomatoes, very small dice
6 C tart apples, very small dice
3 C raisins
2 C apple cider vinegar
4 C dark brown sugar
2 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp finely grated whole nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1 ½ tsp allspice
¼ – ½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp kosher salt flakes
2/3 C butter
Prepare the green tomatoes and apples. It takes quite a while to dice these ingredients by hand so feel free to use a food processor. Just make sure to work in small batches and use the pulse action. The apples and tomatoes can easily go from being pulsed into an ideal small dice to unusable mush in the blink of an eye. Drain the tomatoes after they have been diced if necessary.
Put everything except the butter into a large pot and bring to the boiling point slowly, stirring occasionally. Note: I’ve used the smaller amount of ground cloves as I find it can be a strong and overpowering spice. Let your taste buds be your guide!
Adjust the heat so the mixture continues to simmer. Continue to stir now and then over the course of approximately 3 hours. The apples take a while to cook. The mincemeat is done when the apples are no longer white. The mixture will be slightly chunky and a dark golden brown when ready to come off the heat (see picture above).
If you need to keep the mincemeat until Christmas have your pint jars and lids sterilized and ready for canning. Process the filled jars according to your canners instructions.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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 thegelling 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.
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.
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.
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.
3 very ripe bananas
1 C brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 C melted butter
1 1/2 C unbleached white flour
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Place peeled bananas in a large bowl and, using a fork, mash the bananas into a pulp.
Crack the egg into the bowl and beat it into the banana pulp. Add the vanilla, melted butter and brown sugar. Mix well.
Sprinkle the flour, baking soda and salt into the banana mixture and continue to mix until everything is well incorporated.
Spray a loaf pan with cooking oil and spoon the batter into the pan, spreading it around evenly.
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
We have had hot muggy days over the past week; the type of weather that isn’t conducive to indoor cooking. Who wants to slave over a stove in the summertime anyway? Not me. Tabouleh is a perfect option when the temperature soars and there’s no need to even crank up a burner. Just use the kettle to boil water for the bulgur. That’s it! Even though tabouleh is a filling salad, the fresh mint along with the lemon juice in the dressing keeps it tasting light and refreshing.
3/4 C bulgur (cracked wheat)
1 C boiling water
1 C tomato, small dice
1 small red onion, fine dice
1/2 C red bell pepper, fine dice
3/4 C peeled & seeded cucumber, fine dice
1/2 C minced fresh parsley
2 T minced fresh mint
1 tsp kosher salt flakes
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 C lemon juice
1/2 C olive oil
Pour hot water over the bulgur and set aside for about 30 minutes. During this time the bulgur will absorb the water and soften up. Chill the prepared bulgur in the fridge for at least an hour before mixing with the remaining ingredients. I often prepare the bulgur the night before I make tabouleh.
Combine the tomato, red onion, bell pepper,cucumber,parsley, mint and kosher salt.
In a separate container mix together lemon juice, olive oil and chili powder.
Add the chilled bulgur to the vegetable mixture and combine with the prepared dressing. Chill before serving. Garnish the salad with sprigs of fresh mint.
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.
½ ripe banana, mashed
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
Place banana in a microwavable mug and mash into a smooth paste.
Add the egg, melted butter & vanilla and mix all the wet ingredients together with a fork until well blended.
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.
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
Roasted garlic often accompanies meals on our table. We love it plain and unadorned and like to include freshly roasted cloves on a board of assorted appetizers when entertaining. In fact there’s a long list of recipes we make that incorporate these mellow cloves including: Garlic Aioli, Hummus (Houmous) and our homemade Low Carb Pizza. You could almost say roasted garlic is a kitchen staple at our house!
1 whole garlic bulb
1 T olive oil
Pinch of salt
Pre-heat oven to 400 F
Brush off any loose bits of the paper-like outer coating of the whole garlic bulb. Cut the top off the whole bulb.
Place the bulb on a piece of aluminum foil, 6” x 6” square, and drizzle 1 T olive oil over the bulb.
Wrap the foil around the garlic bulb, place the packet on a cookie sheet and place on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and open up the foil packet to let the garlic bulb cool. When you can handle it easily, separate into individual cloves and remove the papery skin from each clove