Category Archives: Recipes

How to Make Dill Pickles

Pickles
Dill Pickles

Dill pickles are one of the easiest pickles to make. Cold-packed into hot sterilized jars, this recipe transforms tiny 3” – 4” cucumbers into tangy pickles that, for any dill lover, are the quintessential pickles to accompany many sandwiches and burgers.

This recipe is sized with the smaller household in mind. Many don’t have large storage capacity for big batches of pickles such as our ancestors made and stored in their cold rooms or cellars. Yet other households are comprised of only one or two people so they don’t need large batches of pickles but still want to have a taste of homemade goodness that comes from home preserving.

Dill Pickles
Dill Pickles

Freshness Counts with Pickling Cucumbers!

As with any pickle recipe, freshness of ingredients is key. That means the cucumbers should, ideally, be processed the same day they are picked from the vine or, certainly, within 24 hours. Otherwise, the cucumbers start to lose their flavour and get soft and punky and, as we all know, dill pickles are meant to have crunch.

Use Pickling Vinegar

It is very important to use vinegar which is made especially for the pickling process. It will usually have 7% acidity, making it stronger than table vinegar. This helps to preserve the pickles longer. Most large grocery stores will stock this vinegar, especially around “pickling time” in late summer or fall. The container should state that it is “pickling vinegar”.

Pickling Vinegar

Use Pickling Salt, Not Table Salt, in Pickles

One of the biggest tips I have for pickling is to never use table salt in the pickling process. Always use proper pickling salt. This is a coarse salt specifically for pickling and it will be marked as such on the package label. Apart from it being way too salty for pickling, iodized table salt can cause some discoloration of the cucumbers and will likely form a cloudy brine. The brine should be bright and clear. Table salt, because of its fine texture is too easily absorbed into the cucumbers, resulting in overly salty pickles. I can always tell if someone has used table salt in making pickles just by simply looking at the bottles of pickles – the contents of those bottles just do not have an appetizing look to them.

Coarse/Pickling Salt

Preparing the Jars 

The jars should be examined to ensure they are free of cracks, chips, and nicks. They should then be washed, rinsed, and sterilized. I sterilize mine in a pot of boiling hot water on the stove. Use a jar lifter to place the jars, upright in the water, holding each one steady until it fills with water. Bring the water back to a boil, reduce the heat slightly to prevent boil-overs, and boil the jars gently for 10 minutes from this point. Turn the heat to simmer and leave the jars in the water until they are ready to be filled with the cucumbers. The jars must be kept hot because, once filled, they will be going into a hot water bath and cold jars meeting up with boiling water will crack.

Making the Brine

The process I use to make my dill pickles is quite simple. This involves making a simple brine of equal parts of pickling vinegar and water along with some pickling salt, a bit of sugar, and some pickling spices. To keep the brine clear, bundle the pickling spice into a double (or triple) layer of cheesecloth. Gather up this little sachet and tie with string. Once this brine has simmered for about 15 minutes, discard the spice sachet and bayleaf. The brine is then ready to be poured over the cucumbers.

Spice Sachet
Preparing the Spice Sachet
Pickling Spice Sachet
Pickling Spice Sachet

Preparing the Cucumbers and Filling the Jars

The small 3” – 4” dill-sized cucumbers can be left whole or they can be sliced in two (or even quartered) lengthwise or they can be sliced into “coins”. Just note that the pickles are likely to have more crunch if the cucumbers are left whole. Make sure to trim the blossom end of each cucumber by 1/8” – these blossom tips have enzymes that can lead to limp, punky pickles. Pricking each cucumber 3-4 times with the tines of a fork will help the vinegar brine penetrate the cucumbers better resulting in more flavorful pickles.

Dill Pickles
Dill Pickles

The point where you start to place ingredients into the jars is the point where it is necessary to work along quickly because the jars cannot be allowed to get cold before they go into the hot water bath. Ensuring all ingredients and pickling equipment are laid out before starting the process and following a set order will help this process move along quickly.  Further along in this posting, you will find an outline of the step-by-step sequence I follow to quickly get the jars filled while they are still hot and then into the hot water bath.

A slightly smashed garlic clove along with some mustard seed and a whole clove are first placed in the bottom of each jar. Where, in the jars, the small bunch of feathery dill fronds and the umbrella-shaped seed head of the dill plant are placed is a matter of personal preference. I like to place the dill fronds on one side of the jar and the seed head on the opposite side. These can, of course, be placed on the bottom of the jar or the feathery dill fronds on the bottom and the dill head on top of the cucumbers. The taste will be the same. However, if you like your jars to have a nice appearance that immediately signifies they are dill pickles, placing the fronds and dill head so they are visible will do the trick!

Ensure the cucumbers are tightly packed, compactly, into the jars but not so tight that they are squished. Once all the ingredients are placed in the jar, pour the hot brine into each jar, leaving ½” head space at the top of each jar.  A chopstick, or small non-metal spatula, is useful to remove any air bubbles that may appear and more of the brine may need to be added, as necessary, to bring it to about ½“ from the jar rim.

Add a Grape Leaf to Keep the Dills Crunchy

I add a grape leaf on top of the cucumbers in each jar. This is an old trick to keep the cucumbers crisp – the tannin-rich grape leaves have enzymes that help to keep the cucumbers crunchy. Some say, with the removal of the blossom ends of the cucumbers, it is not necessary to add the grape leaves to the jars but I have access to them so I add them and my dill pickles always turn out super crunchy.

Heat the Jar Lids and Metal Ring Bands

Always use brand new metal jar lids; never re-use them for pickling purposes as their seal is only meant for single use. Check the metal ring bands (which can be re-used multiple times) to ensure they have no dents or nicks in them and there is no rust. The jar lids are heated in hot simmering water, just until they are hot and the gaskets softened —  3 – 4 minutes should do it. Heating the lids too long or in rapidly boiling water will weaken the rubber on them causing them not to seal properly. Wipe each jar rim with a clean, damp cloth before applying the lids, rubber side down, to the jar tops. Tighten the metal ring bands, fingertip tight. At this point, the dills are ready, without delay, for their hot water bath.

Heating Jar Lids
Heating Jar Lids

The Hot Water Bath

Processing the jars of dills stabilizes the contents for longer shelf life. Make sure the hot water canner is ready to go with the boiling water in it by the time you fill the jars. Load the filled jars into the metal basket that comes with the canner. The jars should remain upright during the hot water bath process and they should not touch each other. Once the basket is lowered into the boiling water, ensure the water level is at least 1” above the jar tops. Add more boiling water, if necessary, to bring the water to this level.

I recommend following your canner manufacturer’s instructions for the canning process as the length of time the jars need to be processed will depend on the altitude of your locale. Here on PEI, I process my half-pint jars of dills for 10 minutes and I start the timing from the time the hot water returns to a full rolling boil after the basket of jars has been placed in the canner of hot water. Once the 10 minutes is up, remove the jars, one by one, with a jar lifter and place them on a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Listen for the “pop” or “ping” sound as the bottles seal. Sometimes, this will take place almost immediately and sometimes it can take a few hours. The lids of properly sealed jars will curve downward. Let the jars rest, undisturbed, on the wire cooling rack for 12 hours. Then, let the sealed jars stand in a cool, dark place for 6 weeks before opening. This gives time for the dill flavour to develop fully.

Dill Pickles
Dill Pickles

The Sequence

To help organize your work to make these pickles, I offer the following suggested order for the sequence so that the steps happen when they should and the hot jars do not have a chance to cool before they are filled and placed in the hot water bath.

  1. Fill the hot water canner with hot tap water, place it on the stove, and start the heating process to get it to the boiling point. Starting with hot tap water will reduce the amount of time it takes to get the large canner of water to a boil. Make sure the water is at the boiling point before the wire basket of filled bottles is placed in the canner.
  2. Heat a pot of boiling water to sterilize the jars. Wash jars. Boil them gently for at least 10 minutes. Keep them, at simmer level, in the hot water until they are needed for filling.
  3. Wash and cut blossom ends from cucumbers and prick each with tines of a fork, 3-4 times.
  4. Gather spices for the jars and prepare garlic cloves.
  5. Start making the brine.
  6. Make a quick trip to the garden to pick the fresh dill heads and fronds.
  7. As the brine is nearing completion, remove the sterilized jars from the hot water and place the garlic, spices, dill fronds and dill head in each jar. Pack in the cucumbers.
  8. Heat lids in small pan of hot water. Boil extra water in case it is needed to top up hot water canner to 1” above jar tops.
  9. Pour brine over cucumbers, remove air bubbles with a chopstick (or small non-metal spatula), and top up with more brine, as necessary. Add the grape leaf to top of each jar. Wipe the jar rims with clean damp cloth.
  10. Place lids and metal ring bands on jars. Place jars in canner basket and lower into canner of hot water. Add any additional water necessary to bring water level to 1” above jar lids. Cover. Bring canner water back to full rolling boil. Start timing the canning time from this point.
  11. Have wire rack set out for bottles as they come out of the canner.

Note: The garlic clove is likely to turn a blue-green-gray color. Don’t be alarmed by this – it’s just the effect of the acid from the vinegar coming into contact with the garlic.

Dill Pickles
Dill Pickles
[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Dill Pickles

Ingredients:

2 lbs – 3” – 4” pickling cucumbers, freshly picked and washed

1 tbsp pickling salt
1¼ cups + 1 tbsp pickling vinegar
1¼ cups + 1 tbsp water
2 tbsp granulated sugar
½ tbsp pickling spice, gathered into double (or triple) layer of cheesecloth and tied into spice sachet
1 bay leaf

3 – 4 whole cloves
1 tsp mustard seed, divided equally among the jars
3 – 4 small garlic cloves, slightly smashed
Fresh dill heads, one per jar along with small bunches of feathery dill fronds
Grape leaves, medium-sized, 1 per jar

3 – 4 half-pint jars, lids, and metal ring bands (the number of jars needed will depend on the size of the cucumbers, whether they are sliced or left whole, and how compactly they are fit into the jars)
1 chopstick

Method:

Wash and trim 1/8“ from blossom end of each cucumber. Prick cucumbers 3-4 times with tines of a fork. Leave cucumbers whole or cut into two or four spears, lengthwise (or slice into “coins”). Fill the canner with hot tap water and heat to boiling point while making the brine. Begin sterilizing the jars in large pot of hot water to have them ready when brine is heated.

To make the brine, combine the pickling salt, vinegar, water, sugar, pickling spice sachet, and bay leaf in small stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce heat to low and cook brine, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring periodically. Remove from heat and discard pickling sachet and bay leaf.

Place 1 whole clove, ¼ to 1/3 teaspoon mustard seed (divide the teaspoon of seeds equally between number of jars used), and 1 small slightly smashed garlic clove in each hot, sterilized jar. Place a small bunch of feathery dill fronds along one side of the jar and one umbrella-shaped dill head on the opposite side of the jar. Fill the jars with the cucumbers, packing tightly (but not squashing them), and keeping the dill fronds and dill head in place against the sides of the jars.

Pour the hot brine into each jar, filling to within ½ inch from jar rim (head space). Use a chopstick (or small non-metal spatula) to remove any air bubbles that may have formed in the brine. Add more brine, if necessary, to bring it to ½“ from the jar rim. Add 1 grape leaf to top of each jar, pressing it below the surface of the brine, to keep cucumbers crisp. Wipe each jar rim with a clean, damp cloth. Seal the jars with heated lids. Screw on metal ring bands, fingertip tight.

Place jars in hot water bath basket, ensuring jars do not touch each other or fall over. Lower basket into canner of hot water. Ensure the water level is at least 1″ above the jar tops, adding more water as necessary. Cover with canner lid. Increase the heat to return the water to a rolling boil then decrease the heat to just keep the water at a rolling boil but not boiling over. Process half-pint jars in the hot water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting time for altitude. Start timing the processing from the point where a full rolling boil is reached after basket of jars has been added to the canner. Turn off heat and remove canner lid. Using a jar lifter, carefully remove the jars, one at a time, and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Listen for the “pop” or “ping” sound as the bottles seal over the next few minutes or hours. The lids of properly sealed jars will curve downward. Let jars rest, undisturbed, on wire rack for 12 hours. For maximum dill flavour, let sealed jars stand in cool, dark place for 6 weeks before opening.

Yield:  Approximately 3- 4 half-pint jars

Dill Pickles

These easy-to-make dill pickles combine dill, garlic, and pickling spices to transform tiny cucumbers into crunchy pickles that, with their tangy flavour, are a great accompaniment to many sandwiches and burgers.
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs – 3” - 4” pickling cucumbers, freshly picked and washed
  • 1 tbsp pickling salt
  • cups + 1 tbsp pickling vinegar
  • cups + 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tbsp pickling spice, gathered into double (or triple) layer of cheesecloth and tied into spice sachet
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 - 4 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp mustard seed, divided equally among the jars
  • 3 – 4 small garlic cloves, slightly smashed
  • Fresh dill heads, one per jar along with small feathery dill fronds
  • Grape leaves, medium-sized, 1 per jar
  • 3 – 4 half-pint jars lids, and metal ring bands (the number of jars needed will depend on the size of the cucumbers, whether they are sliced or left whole, and how compactly they are fit into the jars)
  • 1 chopstick (or small non-metal spatula)

Instructions

  1. Wash and trim 1/8“ from blossom end of each cucumber. Prick cucumbers 3-4 times with tines of a fork. Leave cucumbers whole or cut into two or four spears, lengthwise (or slice into “coins”). Fill the canner with hot tap water and heat to boiling point while making the brine. Begin sterilizing the jars in large pot of hot water to have them ready when brine is heated.
  2. To make the brine, combine the pickling salt, vinegar, water, sugar, pickling spice sachet, and bay leaf in small stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce heat to low and cook brine, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring periodically. Remove from heat and discard pickling sachet and bay leaf.
  3. Place 1 whole clove, ¼ to 1/3 teaspoon mustard seed (divide teaspoon of mustard seed equally between number of jars used), and 1 small slightly smashed garlic clove in each hot, sterilized jar. Place a small bunch of feathery dill fronds along one side of the jar and one umbrella-shaped dill head on the opposite side of the jar. Fill the jars with the cucumbers, packing tightly (but not squashing them), and keeping the dill fronds and dill head in place against the sides of the jars.

  4. Pour the hot brine into each jar, filling to within ½ inch from jar rim (head space). Use a chopstick (or small non-metal spatula) to remove any air bubbles that may have formed in the brine. Add more brine, if necessary, to bring it to ½“ from the jar rim. Add 1 grape leaf to top of each jar, pressing it below the surface of the brine, to keep cucumbers crisp. Wipe each jar rim with a clean, damp cloth. Seal the jars with heated lids. Screw on metal ring bands, fingertip tight.

  5. Place jars in hot water bath basket, ensuring jars do not touch each other or fall over. Lower basket into canner of hot water. Ensure the water level is at least 1" above the jar tops, adding more water as necessary. Cover with canner lid. Increase the heat to return the water to a rolling boil then decrease the heat to just keep the water at a rolling boil but not boiling over. Process half-pint jars in the hot water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting time for altitude. Start timing the processing from the point where a full rolling boil is reached after basket of jars has been added to the canner. At the end of the processing time, turn off heat and remove canner lid. Using a jar lifter, carefully remove the jars, one at a time, and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Listen for the “pop” or “ping” sound as the bottles seal over the next few minutes or hours. The lids of properly sealed jars will curve downward. Let jars rest, undisturbed, on wire rack for 12 hours. For maximum dill flavour, let sealed jars stand in cool, dark place for 6 weeks before opening.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Approximately 3- 4 half-pint jars

Be sure to read blog posting that accompanies this recipe for more information on the procedure to make dill pickles.

For other great pickle, relish, and chow recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Mustard Pickles
Bread and Butter Pickles
Pickled Beets
Mustard Beans
Green Tomato Chow
Rhubarb Relish

Pin Me To Pinterest!

Dill Pickles
Dill Pickles

Sensational Strawberry Lemonade Recipe

Lemonade
Strawberry Lemonade

One of the wonderful things about lemonade is that it can be served simply as is or it can be flavoured with fruits in season such as I am doing today by making strawberry lemonade. How fabulous is that natural red color in the lemonade!

Lemonade
Strawberry Lemonade

This strawberry lemonade is great on a scorching hot day when you need to stay hydrated and crave a thirst-quenching drink.  The lemonade starts with the making of a simple syrup of water and sugar.  This gives the drink that lovely silky smooth texture which could not be gotten by simply combining sugar with cold water – no matter how much you stir it, sugar and cold water will never fully mix and you will be left with a grainy texture drink.  By boiling the sugar and water to make the syrup, you are sure the sugar is fully dissolved.  I find using super-fine sugar (which you may know as caster sugar, instant dissolving sugar, or berry sugar) is the best to use to make simple syrup although regular granulated sugar may also be used. Typically, a simple syrup for drinks is made with a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water.  However, I find that that is too much sugar for my taste in this lemonade so I use 1 cup of the superfine sugar to 1 1/2 cups water.

For this recipe, purée the strawberries, add some water to them along with freshly squeezed lemon juice and the simple syrup.  In order to get rid of the hundreds of little tiny strawberry seeds and to have a clear drink, the mixture will need to be strained through a very fine wire mesh sieve.  You’ll be amazed at how many seeds strawberries have!

Lemonade
Strawberry Lemonade over Ice

This is a delightful summertime drink served over ice and it has an absolutely fabulously rich colour that is all natural thanks to the ruby red strawberries.  To add a bit of fizz to the drink, mix half a glass with the lemonade and half with your favorite clear soda (lemon-lime is especially good). Add ice and garnish with a fresh strawberry and/or lemon wedge or wheel.

Lemonade
Strawberry Lemonade

This is often a drink I make to take along on picnic outings. It’s handy to have frozen because, as it thaws on the way to the picnic location, it also helps to keep the food cold.

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Strawberry Lemonade

Ingredients:

1½ cup water
1 cup super-fine sugar (aka caster sugar or instant dissolving sugar)

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp coarsely grated lemon rind

3 cups strawberries, sliced
2 cups water
Pinch salt

Method:

For the simple syrup:  In small saucepan, combine the 1 1/2 water and 1 cup sugar together.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Reduce heat to medium-low and boil gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature (apx. 30-40 minutes). Add the lemon juice and lemon rind. Let mixture stand for at least an hour (or up to three hours) to allow the flavors to blend.  Strain mixture twice through a fine mesh sieve to remove the lemon pulp and rind.  Discard the pulp and rind.

For the strawberry purée:  Place strawberries in large blender.  Purée until smooth.  Slowly add in the 2 cups of water, continuing to pulse/purée until mixture is smooth.  Slowly add the strained simple syrup with lemon juice and a pinch of salt.  Purée until all ingredients are well combined.  Strain mixture through very fine wire mesh sieve to remove the strawberry seeds.

To assemble:  Transfer lemonade to a large jug or bottle.  Chill.

To serve:  Stir the chilled lemonade. Fill a tall glass approximately one-half full of ice cubes and add the lemonade.  Garnish with a fresh strawberry or lemon wheel, if desired.  Another serving suggestion includes filling a glass half full of strawberry lemonade and topping with clear soda such as lemon-lime.

Lemonade will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Freezes well.

Yield:  Approximately 6½ – 7 cups

Strawberry Lemonade

This “summer in a bottle” lemonade makes the most of fresh in-season strawberries and is a colorful, refreshing, and thirst-quenching summertime sipper when served over ice.
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Keyword Lemonade
Servings 8
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • cup water
  • 1 cup super-fine sugar (aka caster sugar or instant dissolving sugar)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp coarsely grated lemon rind
  • 3 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 2 cups water
  • Pinch salt

Instructions

  1. For the simple syrup: In small saucepan, combine the 1½ water and 1 cup sugar together. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved. Reduce heat to medium-low and boil gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature (apx. 30-40 minutes). Add the lemon juice and lemon rind. Let mixture stand for at least an hour (or up to three hours) to allow the flavors to blend. Strain mixture twice through a fine mesh sieve to remove the lemon pulp and rind. Discard the pulp and rind.
  2. For the strawberry purée: Place strawberries in large blender. Purée until smooth. Slowly add in the 2 cups of water, continuing to pulse/purée until mixture is smooth. Slowly add the strained simple syrup with lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Purée until all ingredients are well combined. Strain mixture through very fine wire mesh sieve to remove the strawberry seeds.
  3. To assemble: Transfer lemonade to a large jug or bottle. Chill.
  4. To serve: Stir the chilled lemonade. Fill a tall glass approximately one-half full of ice cubes and add the lemonade. Garnish with a fresh strawberry or lemon wheel, if desired. Another serving suggestion includes filling a glass half full of strawberry lemonade and topping with clear soda such as lemon-lime.
  5. Lemonade will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Freezes well. Yields approximately 6 1/2 - 7 cups lemonade.

 

For other great Lemonade recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the following links:

Lemonade
Blueberry Lemonade
Rhubarb Lemonade

Pin Me To Pinterest!

Lemonade
Strawberry Lemonade

Rhubarb Lemonade

 

Rhubarb Lemonade
Rhubarb Lemonade

Lemonade is one of the most common of summer drinks.  Served cold, it’s very refreshing on a hot summer’s day.  Sometimes, I like to flavour my lemonades as I am doing today with rhubarb in the form of rhubarb lemonade.

Rhubarb
Rhubarb Patch

We have a good-sized patch of rhubarb so I make good use of it in many ways.  I will often cook up some excess rhubarb near the end of rhubarb season, strain it, and freeze the juice for later use or, sometimes, I will make up an entire batch or two of rhubarb lemonade and freeze that to have at the ready for sipping on those sweltering hot summer days.

Lemonade
Rhubarb Lemonade

To make the rhubarb lemonade, I start with making a simple syrup of super-fine sugar (which you may know as caster sugar or instant-dissolving sugar) and water.  The typical ratio for simple syrup is traditionally 1:1 sugar to water.  However, with the super-fine sugar, I find that ratio is a bit too sweet so I back up the sugar content to 3/4 cup.  Using the super-fine sugar (as opposed to granulated sugar) results in a lovely, silky smooth syrup.  If I was to simply try and mix sugar with cold water, it would not dissolve properly and would leave a gritty, unpleasant texture to the drink.  In a previous post for Blueberry Lemonade, I give more details on this process and you can access that post by clicking here.

Once the simple syrup has cooled to room temperature, simply add the freshly-squeezed lemon juice and some lemon rind to the syrup and let it sit a bit for the flavour to develop, then strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lemon pulp, seeds, and the rind.

To make the rhubarb juice, cook rhubarb with water until the rhubarb is super soft and mushy.  This will take about 8-10 minutes of cooking.  It’s always hard to judge exactly how much rhubarb will be needed to generate the 4 cups of juice needed for this rhubarb lemonade but, generally speaking, 3 pounds of rhubarb and 3 cups of water should yield the 4 cups of juice.  If it falls short by  one-half cup or less, simply add up to one-half cup of water.  If it is more than a half cup short, you will need to cook some more rhubarb in order to keep the rhubarb flavour sufficiently strong enough.  Rhubarb juiciness varies depending on the variety and growing conditions, as well as its age, so that’s why it’s not an exact science as to exactly how much rhubarb to cook. Also, if the rhubarb is cooked too fast, too much water will evaporate and it will result in less juice.

To extract the juice from the cooked rhubarb, fit a fine mesh sieve with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth and place over a deep heat-proof bowl.  Transfer the rhubarb to the sieve and let the juice drip through on its own.  Near the end of the dripping, if the amount does not quite equal 4 cups, you may gently – very gently- press the back of a large spoon against the rhubarb mash to squeeze a bit more juice.  Don’t press the mash too hard because some impurities from the mash will slip through the loose weave cheesecloth and the lemonade will not be clear.

The color in the rhubarb lemonade photos is natural.  There is no food coloring used.

Rhubarb Juice
Rhubarb Juice

The glorious deep coral-red color comes from using the extracted juice from bright red rhubarb stalks so use the deepest red stalks you can find.

Rhubarb Stalks
Rhubarb Stalks

To make the lemonade, simply combine the strained lemon syrup with the rhubarb juice. Mix and chill then serve over ice in pretty glasses.

Rhubarb Lemonade
Rhubarb Lemonade

This lemonade freezes well but it can be kept, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. If you wish, you can also add some clear soda, such as grapefruit and lemon, to this lemonade for a fizzy drink. This rhubarb lemonade is a great crowd pleaser and is a lovely addition to summer picnics and gatherings.

Rhubarb Lemonade
Rhubarb Lemonade

 

 [Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Rhubarb Lemonade

Ingredients:

1 cup water
¾ cup super-fine sugar (aka caster sugar or instant dissolving sugar)

¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 – 2 tbsp coarsely grated lemon rind

3 lbs rhubarb, chopped into 1” chunks
3 cups water

Method:

For the simple syrup:  In small saucepan, combine the water and sugar together.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved.  Reduce heat to medium-low and boil gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature (apx. 30-40 minutes). Add the lemon juice and lemon rind. Let mixture stand for at least an hour (or up to three hours) to allow the flavors to blend.  Strain mixture twice through a fine mesh sieve to remove the lemon pulp and rind.  Discard the pulp and rind.

For the rhubarb juice:  Combine the rhubarb and water in a large pot.  Cover and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until rhubarb is completely  softened.  Place a large sieve over a big heatproof bowl.  Line the sieve with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth.  Remove the rhubarb from the heat and pour into the sieve, letting the juice drip through.  It may be necessary to use the back of a large spoon to very gently press the rhubarb pulp in order to extract all the juice out of the rhubarb.  This should yield about 4 cups, depending on the age and juiciness of the rhubarb.  If it is slightly less than 4 cups, up to ½ cup water may be added to bring the amount to 4 cups.

To assemble:  In large jug or bottle, combine 4 cups rhubarb juice with the simple syrup and lemon juice mixture. Stir well.  Chill.

To serve:  Stir the chilled lemonade. Fill a glass approximately one-half full of ice cubes and add the lemonade.  Garnish with a lemon wheel, if desired.

Will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Freezes well.

Yield:  Approximately 6 cups

Rhubarb Lemonade

With a perfect blend of sweet and tart notes, rhubarb and lemon combine to form Rhubarb Lemonade, a refreshing and thirst-quenching summertime sipper.
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup super-fine sugar aka caster sugar or instant dissolving sugar
  • ¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 – 2 tbsp coarsely grated lemon rind
  • 3 lbs rhubarb chopped into 1” chunks
  • 3 cups water

Instructions

For the simple syrup: In small saucepan, combine the water and sugar together. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved. Reduce heat to medium-low and boil gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature (apx. 30-40 minutes). Add the lemon juice and lemon rind. Let mixture stand for at least an hour (or up to three hours) to allow the flavors to blend. Strain mixture twice through a fine mesh sieve to remove the lemon pulp and rind. Discard the pulp and rind.

For the rhubarb juice: Combine the rhubarb and water in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and cook for approximately 8-10 minutes, or until rhubarb is completely softened. Place a large sieve over a big heatproof bowl. Line the sieve with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth. Remove the rhubarb from the heat and pour into the sieve, letting the juice drip through. It may be necessary to use the back of a large spoon to very gently press the rhubarb pulp in order to extract all the juice out of the rhubarb. This should yield about 4 cups, depending on the age and juiciness of the rhubarb. If it is slightly less than 4 cups, up to ½ cup water may be added to bring the amount to 4 cups.

To assemble: In large jug or bottle, combine 4 cups rhubarb juice with the simple syrup and lemon juice mixture. Stir well. Chill.

To serve: Stir the chilled lemonade. Fill a glass approximately one-half full of ice cubes and add the lemonade. Garnish with a lemon wheel, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Freezes well.

 

For other great lemonade recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Lemonade
Blueberry Lemonade

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Rhubarb Lemonade

Rhubarb Lemonade

Old-fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake

Rhubarb Pudding Cake
Old-fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake

Today, I am sharing my recipe for a real old-fashioned type of dessert – Rhubarb Pudding Cake. The cake is “self-saucing” which means that the delectable sauce forms underneath the simple cake batter as the cake bakes. It’s an “all-in-one” pudding and cake! It may not be the most extravagant looking dessert but it sure is mighty tasty! If you are a rhubarb lover, you will love this dessert.

Pudding Cake
Old-fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake

This pudding is easy to make and can be made with either fresh or frozen rhubarb.  In fact, I often freeze the amount of rhubarb needed for the pudding in ziploc freezer bags labeled “For Rhubarb Pudding Cake” and it’s a real treat in the middle of winter! This is an old, old family favorite of ours! For those on a gluten-free diet, this pudding is easy to make gluten free – simply replace the quantity of flour called for in the recipe with an equivalent amount of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour.  In fact, the photos in this post are of the gluten-free version of this pudding cake.

Rhubarb Pudding Cake
Rhubarb Pudding Cake

Rhubarb chunks are spread in the bottom of the baking dish then covered with a simple cake batter that is lightly spiced and then topped with a sauce made with either orange or pineapple juice. The juice trickles down through the batter and meets up with the rhubarb and the two form a heck of a tasty sauce. As the pudding bakes, a soft golden crust forms on top of the cake.  Lots of texture happening in this pudding cake!

Pudding Cake
Rhubarb Pudding Cake

This pudding cake is best served after it has been allowed to stand for 15-20 minutes after it has baked and been removed from the oven.  I sometimes serve it plain and, other times, I’ll add either a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Old-fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake
Rhubarb Pudding Cake
[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Rhubarb Pudding Cake

Ingredients:

2¾ cups rhubarb, cut into ¾“ chunks
3 tbsp butter, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar

¾ cup all-purpose flour (or, to make it gluten free, use equivalent amount of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour)
1 1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
smidgeon cloves

½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

½ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1¼ tsp finely grated orange rind
½ cup hot orange or pineapple juice
¼ tsp almond flavouring

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 8” square baking dish.  Arrange rhubarb evenly in dish.  Set aside.

In medium-sized bowl, cream the butter using either a hand mixer or stand mixer.  Slowly add the first amount of sugar and beat at medium speed until butter and sugar are well blended.

In separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

In measuring cup, mix the milk and vanilla together. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture alternately with the wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients (three additions of dry and two additions of wet ingredients). Spread this mixture evenly over the rhubarb in the baking dish.

In measuring cup, whisk the remaining ½ cup of sugar and cornstarch together.  Mix in the grated orange rind.  Whisk in the hot orange or pineapple juice and the almond flavouring.  Pour this mixture over the batter in the baking dish.

Bake pudding for 45-50 minutes or until topping is tanned, a crust forms, and rhubarb is bubbling at the edges of the baking dish.  Let pudding stand for 15-20 minutes then spoon into dessert dishes or cut into squares.  Serve plain, top with a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.

Yield:  6-8 servings

Rhubarb Pudding Cake

This easy-to-make dessert features rhubarb with an orange or pineapple-flavoured sauce that forms underneath a gently spiced cake layer as it bakes. True comfort food!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • cups rhubarb cut into ¾“ chunks
  • 3 tbsp butter softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour or, to make it gluten free, use equivalent amount of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour
  • 1 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • smidgeon cloves
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • tsp finely grated orange rind
  • ½ cup hot orange or pineapple juice
  • ¼ tsp almond flavouring

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 8” square baking dish. Arrange rhubarb evenly in dish. Set aside.
  2. In medium-sized bowl, cream the butter using either a hand mixer or stand mixer. Slowly add the first amount of sugar and beat at medium speed until butter and sugar are well blended.
  3. In separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  4. In measuring cup, mix the milk and vanilla together. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture alternately with the wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry ingredients (three additions of dry and two additions of wet ingredients). Spread this mixture evenly over the rhubarb in the baking dish.
  5. In measuring cup, whisk the remaining ½ cup of sugar and cornstarch together. Mix in the grated orange rind. Whisk in the hot orange or pineapple juice and the almond flavouring. Pour this mixture over the batter in the baking dish.
  6. Bake pudding for 45-50 minutes or until topping is tanned, a crust forms, and rhubarb is bubbling at the edges of the baking dish. Let pudding stand for 15-20 minutes then spoon into dessert dishes or cut into squares. Serve plain, top with a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream.

 

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Pudding Cake
Rhubarb Pudding Cake
Pudding Cake
Rhubarb Pudding Cake

Deli-style Gluten-Free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

I love the produce our garden generates and its earliest treat is rhubarb.  It is so versatile and I make lots of recipes using rhubarb.  Today, a treat for my gluten-free diet followers — a new recipe for deli-style gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins.

Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins
Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

There are many recipes for rhubarb muffins but many of them call for chopped rhubarb.  Rhubarb has a lot of water content and cooks fast when used in chopped form in baking goods. This extra water content can cause some baked goods to turn out soggy, particularly in the areas where the rhubarb chunks land.  To combat this problem, for this recipe, I cook the rhubarb then mash, or purée, it with a hand-held immersion blender. I then use the mashed/puréed rhubarb as part of the liquid content in the muffin batter.  So, I still get rhubarb muffins but without the wet soggy spots.

When I make muffins, I like them to be deli- or café-style which is to say I’m looking for muffins that are a reasonable size, are hearty,  have a lovely texture with a coarse crumb (not cake-like), and are filled with flavour.

Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins
Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

Muffins are, for lack of a better way of putting it, little individual quick breads. We all know that, appearance-wise, the perfect muffin should bear a slightly domed top that has a bit of firmness to it.  There are a combination of factors that will contribute to that desired result — the right amount of leavening, the consistency of the batter, and the oven temperature.

Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins
Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

Rhubarb is, by nature, tart.  However, it is important not to over-do the sugar content in the muffins because too much sugar will create a cake-like texture and the moist, open tender crumb, which is a hallmark feature of muffins, will be lost and you will end up with a product that more closely resembles a cupcake. A batter that is too runny will pose the risk of muffins that will rise to form stiff mountain peaks.  Adding some Greek yogurt to the batter is one way to thicken it up and reduce this risk.  Of course, the addition of the right proportions of leavening (baking powder and baking soda) are key.  Having the muffins go into a really hot oven to start them baking is also key to getting a lovely gentle dome on the muffin tops. Using the high temperature allows the outside of the muffin to quickly set while still allowing the inside to continue to rise.

Since I have been developing gluten-free muffins, one thing I have discovered is that I end up with better quality, deli-style muffins when I use a blend of gluten-free flours versus, say, one all-purpose flour or only the one-to-one gluten free flour.  Each gluten-free flour has its own unique qualities and properties and the right blend will provide structure, texture, and flavour to the muffins. The addition of granola to these muffins adds texture, flavour, and bulk to the muffins, making them more hearty and filling.

Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins
Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Gluten Free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

Ingredients:

3½ oz rhubarb, chopped into ½ inch pieces
1½ tbsp orange juice

1 cup one-to-one gluten-free flour
2 tbsp potato starch
¼ cup gluten-free oat flour
¼ cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
¾ tsp zanthan gum
¼ cup gluten-free quick oats
5½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1½ tbsp ground chia seeds
1¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cloves
½ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ginger
¼ tsp allspice
2 tsp finely grated orange rind
2/3 cup granola

2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 extra-large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
1½ tsp vanilla
1½ tbsp orange juice
½ cup whole milk
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/3 cup cooled rhubarb purée
2 tbsp Greek style coconut yogurt or sour cream
1½ tsp rose water (optional)

Method:

In small sauce pan, combine the rhubarb and orange juice.  Cook over medium-low heat until rhubarb is softened.  Cool slightly then, using the back of a large spoon, mash up the rhubarb or, alternatively, use a handheld immersion blender to purée the rhubarb.  Set aside to cool completely.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Prepare 12 muffin cups (each ½-cup capacity) by spraying each muffin cup with cooking spray or greasing individually.

Combine flours, zanthan gum, quick oats, baking powder, soda, salt, ground chia seeds, spices, and grated orange rind together in a large bowl.  Whisk ingredients well to combine. Stir in granola. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Set aside.

In separate medium-sized bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, coconut oil, vanilla, orange juice, milk, maple syrup, Greek yogurt or sour cream, and rose water (if using). Whisk ingredients well. Stir in cooled rhubarb purée.

Pour wet ingredients into well in dry ingredients.  With large spoon, mix ingredients together just until dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Do not overmix.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling almost to the rim of each cup.  Transfer to pre-heated oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 400°F.  Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.  Do not overbake or muffins will be dry. Remove from oven and let muffins rest in pans for 5-7 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Muffins freeze well.

Yield: 12 muffins

Deli-style Gluten-Free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

Tangy rhubarb purée joins granola, spices, orange juice, and Greek yogurt to make these deli-style gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • oz rhubarb, chopped into ½ inch pieces
  • tbsp orange juice
  • 1 cup one-to-one gluten-free flour
  • 2 tbsp potato starch
  • ¼ cup gluten-free oat flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ¾ tsp zanthan gum
  • ¼ cup gluten-free quick oats
  • tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • tbsp ground chia seeds
  • tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 2/3 cup granola (recipe link below)
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 extra-large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • tsp vanilla
  • tbsp orange juice
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup cooled rhubarb purée
  • 2 tbsp Greek style coconut yogurt or sour cream
  • tsp rose water optional

Instructions

  1. In small sauce pan, combine the rhubarb and orange juice. Cook over medium-low heat until rhubarb is softened. Cool slightly then, using the back of a large spoon, mash up the rhubarb or, alternatively, use a handheld immersion blender to purée the rhubarb. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  3. Prepare 12 muffin cups (each ½-cup capacity) by spraying each muffin cup with cooking spray or greasing individually.
  4. Combine flours, zanthan gum, quick oats, baking powder, soda, salt, ground chia seeds, spices, and grated orange rind together in a large bowl. Whisk ingredients well to combine. Stir in granola. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  5. In separate medium-sized bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, coconut oil, vanilla, orange juice, milk, maple syrup, Greek yogurt or sour cream, and rose water (if using). Whisk ingredients well. Stir in cooled rhubarb purée.
  6. Pour wet ingredients into well in dry ingredients. With large spoon, mix ingredients together just until dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Do not overmix.
  7. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling almost to the rim of each cup. Transfer to pre-heated oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 400°F. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean. Do not overbake or muffins will be dry. Remove from oven and let muffins rest in pans for 5-7 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Muffins freeze well.

Recipe Notes

Link to granola recipe: http://myislandbistrokitchen.com/2016/03/08/the-bistros-great-nut-free-granola/

 

For other gluten-free muffin recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

The Ultimate Gluten-free Zucchini Date Muffins
Gluten-Free Pumpkin-Mincemeat Muffins
Deli-Style Gluten-Free Beet Muffins
Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins

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Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins
Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

On The Sandwich Board: Lobster Club Sandwich with a Twist

Club Sandwich
Lobster Club Sandwich

There is nothing better than lobster fresh from the sea and, living on Prince Edward Island, we are so fortunate to have ready access to this treat! The lobster fishery is one of PEI’s main fisheries.

Preparing for Setting Day
Eve of Setting Day in the Fishing Village of North Rustico, PEI, Canada

It goes without saying that it’s a huge deal when the spring lobster fishing season opens.

Lobster Fishing
Lobster Fishing in all weather on PEI

Many islanders make it an annual ritual to head to a nearby wharf or beach before 6am on setting day to see the boats head out to sea to drop their traps.

Parade of Lobster Boats
Early Morning Gathering in French River, PEI, to Watch Parade of Lobster Boats on Setting Day

The following day the fishers head back out to haul in the first catch of the season and we Islanders can’t wait for that first “feed” of lobster!

Arriving back in North Lake, PEI, with the day's catch
Arriving back in North Lake, PEI, with the day’s catch
Lobster
Fresh Catch of Lobster

When lobster is in season on the Island, I make good use of it as an ingredient and I find no shortage of ways in which to use the succulent meat.

So, today, on my sandwich board, is a lobster club sandwich with a twist.  It contains some of the elements of a traditional club sandwich but I jazz this version up a bit by adding lobster meat, avocado, pancetta, Havarti cheese,  lemon mayonnaise , and an avocado spread.  This fusion of complementary flavours results in a tasty (and hearty) colorful sandwich. A feast for the eyes as well as the stomach!

Lobster Club Sandwich
Lobster Club Sandwich

Lobster Club with a Twist

Sandwich ingredients:

3 slices bread of choice
2 – 3 oz cooked lobster, broken into bite-size pieces
1 oz pancetta, fried and drained
1 slice Havarti
½ small avocado, sliced and sprinkled with lemon juice to prevent browning (save the other half for the avocado spread)
Lettuce of choice
Tomato
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Avocado Spread (recipe follows)
Lemon Mayonnaise (recipe follows)
Butter

Avocado Spread:

½ small avocado (save the other half for slicing for sandwich)
1 – 1½ tsp lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil
1/8 – ¼ tsp garlic salt
1 small green onion, finely sliced or diced

Lemon Mayonnaise:

1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon juice
1 small green onion, finely sliced or diced

Avocado Spread:  Chop ½ avocado into small bowl. Using a hand-held immersion blender, blend lemon juice, olive oil, garlic salt, and green onion with the avocado, just until mixed.

Lemon Mayonnaise:  Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, and green onion together well.

To Assemble Sandwich:  Heat 1-2 tsp butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the lobster and toss gently for 2-3 minutes, just long enough to warm the lobster.  Toast and butter the three bread slices.  Layer 1:  Spread two pieces of bread with the avocado spread.  Cover one slice of bread with lettuce and top with sliced tomato, pancetta, and Havarti slice. Top with the other slice of bread that is spread with avocado spread.  Layer 2: Spread the top slice of bread with half the lemon mayonnaise.  Lay the sliced avocado on top of the bread followed by a layer of lettuce.  Top with the lobster. Spread the third slice of bread with the remaining lemon mayonnaise and place over the lobster.  Secure sandwich with toothpicks and cut in half diagonally.  Enjoy!

Yield:  One sandwich

Lobster Club with a Twist

This ultimate club sandwich combines succulent lobster meat, pancetta, Havarti, and avocado with tomato, lettuce, avocado spread, and lemon mayonnaise to make a hearty meal.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword lobster
Servings 1
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

Sandwich ingredients:

  • 3 slices bread of choice
  • 2 - 3 oz cooked lobster, broken into bite-size pieces
  • 1 oz pancetta, fried and drained
  • 1 slice Havarti
  • ½ small avocado sliced and sprinkled with lemon juice to prevent browning (save the other half for the avocado spread)
  • Lettuce of choice
  • Tomato
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Avocado Spread (recipe follows)
  • Lemon Mayonnaise (recipe follows)
  • Butter

Avocado Spread:

  • ½ small avocado (save the other half for slicing for sandwich)
  • 1 – 1½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/8 – ¼ tsp garlic salt
  • 1 small green onion, finely sliced or diced

Lemon Mayonnaise:

  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 small green onion, finely sliced or diced

Instructions

Avocado Spread: Chop ½ avocado into small bowl. Using a hand-held immersion blender, blend lemon juice, olive oil, garlic salt, and green onion with the avocado, just until mixed.

Lemon Mayonnaise: Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice, and green onion together well.

To Assemble Sandwich: Heat 1-2 tsp butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the lobster and toss gently for 2-3 minutes, just long enough to warm the lobster. Toast and butter the three bread slices. Layer 1: Spread two pieces of bread with the avocado spread. Cover one slice of bread with lettuce and top with sliced tomato, pancetta, and Havarti slice. Top with the other slice of bread that is spread with avocado spread. Layer 2: Spread the top slice of bread with half the lemon mayonnaise. Lay the sliced avocado on top of the bread followed by a layer of lettuce. Top with the lobster. Spread the third slice of bread with the remaining lemon mayonnaise and place over the lobster. Secure sandwich with toothpicks and cut in half diagonally. Enjoy!

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Lobster Club Sandwich
Lobster Club Sandwich

Island Summer Blush Cocktail

Island Summer Blush Cocktail
Island Summer Blush Cocktail

My newly-created Island Summer Blush Cocktail is packed full of flavours that speak of springtime and early summer — rhubarb, lime, clementine, elderflower liqueur, and fizzy Prosecco.

Island Summer Blush Cocktail
Island Summer Blush Cocktail

One of the key ingredients in this drink is my homemade rhubarb cordial.  I have been making this cordial for many years and I continually find new ways to use it.  We have a good-sized patch of rhubarb and, each spring, I make batches of this cordial and, what I don’t use at the time, I freeze for use at other times of the year.  Click here for my rhubarb cordial recipe.

Rhubarb Cordial
Rhubarb Cordial

My choice of elderflower liqueur was inspired by the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19, 2018. Prior to the wedding, it was announced that the flavours of the wedding cake would be lemon and elderflower.  I combined those two flavours and developed my own recipe for a lemon and elderflower cake, the recipe for which you can find by clicking here. I then thought I would create a cocktail, using elderflower liqueur, to commemorate the royal event and thus was born the Island Summer Blush Cocktail.

Island Summer Blush Cocktail
Island Summer Blush Cocktail

Elderflower liqueur is made with the delicate starry white elderflower blossoms. It has complex notes and a somewhat seductive fragrance.  I would describe this liqueur as a layered fusion of floral, tropical, and citrus notes. It certainly has exotic character and  reminds me of a floral summer bouquet with fruity notes.  Its light, floral profile makes it a great match for sharper flavours like rhubarb and citrus fruits. It marries well with sparkling wines and lends itself to a multitude of cocktail concoctions.

Island Summer Blush Cocktail
Island Summer Blush Cocktail

This cocktail is easy to make. Simply combine the rhubarb cordial (no substitutes), clementine and lime juices, and elderflower liqueur in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice cubes then shake the mixture for 15-20 seconds or until condensation forms on the outside of the shaker indicating the mixture is super cold.  Strain the mixture into your fancy glass of choice then add the Prosecco.  Carefully tilt the glass slightly and slowly pour in the grenadine along the side of the glass. The grenadine should sink to the bottom of the glass giving the cocktail that lovely layered look.  Garnish with a wedge of clementine.

Island Summer Blush Cocktail
Island Summer Blush Cocktail

The beautiful natural color of this cocktail reminds me of a blushing bride so, made with my Island rhubarb, flavoured with the elderflower flavour made trendy by the 2018 royal wedding, this is my Island Summer Blush Cocktail.  A perfect spring and summer cocktail to leisurely enjoy.

Island Summer Blush Cocktail
Island Summer Blush Cocktail

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Island Summer Blush Cocktail

Ingredients:

1.5 oz Rhubarb Cordial
1 oz freshly squeezed clementine juice (about 2 clementines)
½ oz Elderflower Liqueur
1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 oz Prosecco
2 tsp Grenadine

Method:

Pour Rhubarb Cordial, clementine juice, Elderflower Liqueur, and lime juice into shaker and fill with ice cubes.  Shake for about 15-20 seconds then strain into glass.  Top with Prosecco.  Tip glass slightly and slowly pour Grenadine in down the side of the glass.  Garnish with a clementine wedge. Serve immediately.

Serves:  1

Island Summer Blush Cocktail

This Island Summer Blush Cocktail is a beautiful balance of sharp and sweet flavours. With a blend of rhubarb cordial, elderflower liqueur, citrus fruit juices, grenadine, and Prosecco, this is a lovely cocktail to especially enjoy in summer.

Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Rhubarb Cordial
  • 1 oz freshly squeezed clementine juice (about 2 clementines)
  • ½ oz Elderflower Liqueur
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 oz Prosecco
  • 2 tsp Grenadine

Instructions

  1. Pour Rhubarb Cordial, clementine juice, Elderflower Liqueur, and lime juice into shaker and fill with ice cubes. Shake for about 15-20 seconds then strain into glass. Top with Prosecco. Tip glass slightly and slowly pour Grenadine in down the side of the glass. Garnish with a clementine wedge. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

 

For my recipe for Rhubarb Cordial, follow this link: http://myislandbistrokitchen.com/2013/06/24/rhubarb-cordial/

 

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Island Summer Blush Cocktail
Island Summer Blush Cocktail
Island Summer Blush Cocktail
Island Summer Blush Cocktail

Lemon Elderflower Cake Recipe

Lemon Elderflower Cake
Lemon Elderflower Cake

The inspiration for this springtime Lemon Elderflower Cake was drawn from the announcement of the lemon and elderflower flavours for the May 2018 wedding cake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I suspect, after this wedding, that elderflower will be the trendy new flavour for many recipes – either of the eating or drinking kind.

When I had the idea to make this cake, I questioned whether I could find elderflower liqueur (which is what I wanted to use) anywhere on PEI.  However, a visit to a local liquor store revealed that they had had numerous requests to bring in elderflower liqueur in the past couple of months to the point that they decided to carry it to see if it was a product that would sell.  I am told the bottles of St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur from France are selling well. I suspect people are curious about the flavour of elderflower, especially after it was announced as one of the flavours for the royal wedding cake.

Elderflower liqueur, made with the starry white elderflower blossoms, is rather difficult to describe. It has a somewhat seductive fragrance that I would describe as a layered fusion of floral and citrus notes perhaps from the lemon and grapefruit family. I think I can also detect hints of summer fruits like pears and peaches. It certainly has exotic character and would remind me of a floral summer bouquet with notes of fruit.

Lemon Elderberry Cake
Lemon Elderberry Cake

Nothing says springtime more than a lemon cake. I have blended freshly squeezed lemon juice with the flavour of elderflower liqueur to layer some flavour into a basic white cake and transform it into a tasty homemade Lemon Elderflower Cake. This is a true old-fashioned homemade cake that has a dense texture and moist crumb.

Lemon Elderflower Cake
Lemon Elderflower Cake

I have chosen to fill the cake layers with decadent lemon curd. I make this curd regularly and it makes a dandy cake filling.  For the icing, I have taken my standard buttercream recipe and flavoured it with the elderflower liqueur to tie the flavour of the icing and cake together.

Lemon Elderberry Cake
Lemon Elderberry Cake filled with lemon curd and smothered in elderberry-flavoured buttercream icing

This batter is sufficient for either two standard layer cake pans, either 8” or 9” in diameter.  However, for the cake in the photos, I used 6” round pans and layered three of them together.  The recipe will yield four 6” cakes but four is too high for the cake to cut easily and stay together well enough to plate attractively.  Save the fourth cake for a future use – it is divinely lovely served with crushed strawberries, ice cream, and a dollop of whipped cream. Just sayin’!   What follows is the method for a three-tier 6” cake.  If you choose to make the cake in either 8” or 9” round pans, just be aware that the baking times may need to be adjusted slightly from what the recipe indicates for the 6” cakes. With variances in ovens, I always recommend checking the cakes for doneness five minutes before the recipe indicates the cakes should be baked then checking them every five minutes thereafter until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean – the true indicator that the cakes are baked.

I chose not to color the batter yellow with gel food coloring.  I purposely left the cake white because I wanted the bright yellow lemon curd to stand out between the layers of the cake.  If, however, it takes a yellow color to make the cake look like a lemon cake for you, by all means, add small amounts of yellow gel food coloring until you get the desired intensity of color.

Lemon Elderberry Cake
Lemon Elderberry Cake

I am a huge proponent of the insulated baking strips placed around the cake pans to keep the cakes from baking unevenly and forming a dome as they bake. These strips come under various brand names. Mine are from Wilton and I swear by them.  Simply soak them in water for a few minutes then squeeze out the water and wrap a strip around each cake pan just before it goes in the oven.  I find the cakes bake much more evenly and there is less waste when it comes to leveling the cakes to prepare them for stacking together to form a tiered cake.  Some small amount of leveling is likely still going to be necessary but not nearly as much as baking the cakes without the insulated strips.

It was not so long ago that all the rage in cake decorating was the use of fondant.  Every one was anxious for the satiny smooth perfect finish.  Then, the naked cake appeared on the scene and it had very little icing, giving a more rustic and casual look to a cake.  While the naked cakes are still popular, particularly for folks who don’t want a lot of sugar icing, the current trend (at time of writing) is that tasty old-fashioned buttercream icing is back in style and piled on the cake in no particular fashion. This is great for people who are not particularly skilled with cake decorating because it is perfectly acceptable to have imperfections and uneven spreading of the icing. It’s meant to look homemade and casual.

When filling a cake with lemon curd or jam, it is advisable to pipe a ring of icing all around each layer of cake before adding the filling.  This will create a dam to prevent the filling from seeping through the icing on the side of the cake.  Pipe the icing ring about ½ inch in from the cake edge then spread the filling inside the dam.

Lemon Elderflower Cake
Lemon Elderflower Cake

I also strongly recommend crumb coating the cake with a thin layer of the icing and then placing it in the refrigerator for 25-30 minutes to set.  This will seal the cake and make the final layer of icing crumb- free.

Fresh Freesia, Wax Flowers, and Italian Ruscus Adorn the top of Lemon Elderberry Cake
Fresh Freesia, Wax Flowers, and Italian Ruscus Adorn the top of Lemon Elderberry Cake

In keeping with a spring theme, I chose to decorate this cake with fresh bright yellow-colored freesia, some small wax flowers, and some Italian ruscus.

Yellow Freesia, Pink Wax Flowers, and Italian Ruscus Cake Topper for Lemon Elderberry Cake
Yellow Freesia, Pink Wax Flowers, and Italian Ruscus Cake Topper for Lemon Elderberry Cake

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Lemon Elderflower Cake

Ingredients:

¾ cup butter, room temperature
1¾ cups + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
4 large egg whites, room temperature
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
1 tsp vanilla

3 cups cake flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

¾ cup + 2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp Elderflower liqueur

Icing:
¾ cup butter, room temperature
¾ cup shortening, room temperature
¾ tsp almond flavouring
¾ tsp vanilla
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp Elderflower Liqueur
1½ lbs icing sugar, sifted
Dash of salt (optional)

½ – 2/3 cup Lemon Curd

Method:

Cake:  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line four 6”x2” pans with parchment circles on the bottoms and line the sides of each pan with a long continuous strip of parchment paper. Spray pans lightly with cooking spray to hold the parchment in place. Spray parchment-lined pans lightly with cooking spray.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter then slowly add the sugar.  Beat until mixture is light and fluffy.  Add the whole eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Repeat with the egg whites, adding one at a time.  Add the lemon juice, grated lemon rind, and vanilla. Beat well.

Sift the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.  In a one-cup measuring cup, combine the milk and Elderflower Liqueur.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter-sugar mixture alternately with the liquid ingredients in three additions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients, and beating well after each addition.  Beat one additional minute on medium speed.

Transfer batter equally among the pans and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until cake tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean. It is recommended to check cakes the first time around the 25-minute baking point, then check them every five minutes until they test done. Cool cakes on wire cake racks for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely before frosting cakes.

Icing:  In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening together until blended and creamy.  Beat in the almond flavouring, vanilla, water, and liqueur.  Gradually add the icing sugar, a cup at a time, beating well after each addition.

Assembly:  Use three of the four cakes.  Reserve fourth for another use. Level each cake to the same height.  Brush off loose crumbs from each cake. Place one cake on cake plate or cake stand.  Spoon about ¾ cup icing into icing bag fitted with round tip.  Pipe a circle of icing around cake edge, about ½“ in from the outside edge, to form a dam.  Spoon lemon curd inside the dam.  Place second layer of cake over filling and repeat with icing circle and lemon curd filling.  Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of the icing (this will look messy and that’s okay).  Place cake in refrigerator to set for 25-30 minutes then remove and ice the cake with a thicker layer of icing.  Decorate as desired.  Refrigerate until use. (Freeze any leftover icing for a future use.)

Yield:  One 3-layer 6” cake (or one  8” or 9”  2-layer cake)

Note:  The baking times given are for the 6” cakes.  This cake may be made in two 8” or 9” round pans; however, baking times may need to be adjusted.

Lemon Elderflower Cake

Made with real lemon and a hint of elderberry liqueur, this Lemon Elderberry Cake is deliciously moist with its lemon curd filling and elderberry-flavoured buttercream icing.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

Cake:

  • ¾ cup butter room temperature
  • cups + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 4 large egg whites room temperature
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice strained
  • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup + 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp Elderflower Liqueur

Icing:

  • ¾ cup butter room temperature
  • ¾ cup shortening room temperature
  • ¾ tsp almond flavouring
  • ¾ tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp Elderflower Liqueur
  • lbs icing sugar sifted
  • Dash of salt optional
  • ½ - 2/3 cup Lemon Curd

Instructions

Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line four 6”x2” pans with parchment circles on the bottoms and line the sides of each pan with a long continuous strip of parchment paper. Spray pans lightly with cooking spray to hold the parchment in place. Spray parchment-lined pans lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter then slowly add the sugar. Beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the whole eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Repeat with the egg whites, adding one at a time. Add the lemon juice, grated lemon rind, and vanilla. Beat well.
  3. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. In a one-cup measuring cup, combine the milk and Elderflower Liqueur. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter-sugar mixture alternately with the liquid ingredients in three additions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients, and beating well after each addition. Beat one additional minute on medium speed.

  4. Transfer batter equally among the pans and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until cake tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean. It is recommended to check cakes the first time around the 25-minute baking point, then check them every five minutes until they test done. Cool cakes on wire cake racks for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely before frosting cakes.

Icing:

  1. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening together until blended and creamy. Beat in the almond flavouring, vanilla, water, and liqueur. Gradually add the icing sugar, a cup at a time, beating well after each addition.

Assembly:

  1. Use three of the four cakes. Reserve fourth for another use. Level each cake to the same height. Brush off loose crumbs from each cake. Place one cake on cake plate or cake stand. Spoon about ¾ cup icing into icing bag fitted with round tip. Pipe a circle of icing around cake edge, about ½“ in from the outside edge, to form a dam. Spoon lemon curd inside the dam. Place second layer of cake over filling and repeat with icing circle and lemon curd filling. Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of the icing (this will look messy and that’s okay). Place cake in refrigerator to set for 25-30 minutes then remove and ice the cake with a thicker layer of icing. Decorate as desired. Refrigerate until use. (Freeze any leftover icing for a future use.)

Recipe Notes

Note: The baking times given are for the 6” cakes. This cake may be made in two 8” or 9” round pans; however, baking times may need to be adjusted.

 

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Lemon Elderflower Cake
Lemon Elderflower Cake

Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent Recipe

Creamed Chicken
Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent

One of my favorite recipes is Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent. Some may know this as “creamed chicken”.  I actually make up a large batch of this delectable dish and freeze it in serving-sized portions.  It makes a quick and easy meal when all that has to be done is bake the frozen patty shells, heat up the creamed mixture, and toss a green salad.

Creamed Chicken
Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-Vent

This recipe makes four generous servings. The great thing about this recipe is that it is a good way to use up cooked chicken if you have any or, if time is limited, it can even be made with a rotisserie chicken from the deli.  Even though it is called “chicken” vol-au-vent, turkey can certainly be used as well.

While my preference is to use the puff pasty shells, commonly called “patty shells”, because they are light, airy, and ever-so-flaky, this creamed chicken mixture can also be served over toast points or biscuits fresh from the oven. I have even used appetizer-sized patty shells to serve this dish as part of a savory course for an afternoon tea. Fancy enough for company fare but easy enough for a weeknight meal.

Creamed Chicken
Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent Recipe

Ingredients

Sauce:
2-3 tbsp butter
3½ tbsp all-purpose flour
¾ cup chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
1 tbsp cooking sherry (optional)
¼ tsp garlic salt
Sprinkle pepper
Dash of paprika
2-3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Filling:
2-3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp red pepper, finely chopped
3 tbsp celery, finely chopped
6-8 small white button mushrooms, sliced

1 cup cooked chicken, cubed

4 frozen puff pastry patty shells (or, alternatively, biscuits or toast cups)

Method:

Sauce: In medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour. Combine the chicken broth, milk, and sherry and whisk into the flour-butter mixture, whisking until smooth. Season with garlic salt, pepper, and paprika.  Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened.  Add the Parmesan cheese and stir until cheese is melted.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Filling: In medium-sized frypan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion, red pepper, celery, and mushrooms.  Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.   Add the chicken and toss just until heated.

Assembly:  Bake patty shells according to package directions.  Add sautéed vegetables and chicken to the sauce. Stir gently to combine. Heat over medium-low heat to ensure all ingredients are heated.  Spoon hot mixture into baked patty shells.  Serve with a side salad.

Yield: 4 generous servings

Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent Recipe

An easy-to-make delectable creamed chicken filling encased in light and flaky puff pastry shells. Perfect for company fare but easy enough for weeknight meals.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Chicken, Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-Vent, Vol-au-Vent
Servings 4
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tbsp cooking sherry optional
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt
  • Sprinkle pepper
  • Dash of paprika
  • 2-3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Filling:

  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp red pepper finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp celery finely chopped
  • 6-8 small white button mushrooms sliced
  • 1 cup cooked chicken cubed

Instructions

Sauce: In medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Combine the chicken broth, milk, and sherry and whisk into the flour-butter mixture, whisking until smooth. Season with garlic salt, pepper, and paprika. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Filling: In medium-sized frypan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, red pepper, celery, and mushrooms. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken and toss just until heated.

Assembly: Bake patty shells according to package directions. Add sautéed vegetables and chicken to the sauce. Stir gently to combine. Heat over medium-low heat to ensure all ingredients are heated. Spoon hot mixture into baked patty shells. Serve with a side salad.

 

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Creamed Chicken
Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-Vent

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

If you are a chocolate lover, this Chocolate Biscuit Cake is for you!  What’s not to love about cookies and chocolate bar chunks encased in a rich ganache then smothered with a decadent chocolate ganache glaze!

Biscuit Cake
Chocolate Biscuit Cake

 

I am giving alternate instructions for making a gluten-free version of the cake and want to point out, at the offset, if you are making the gluten-free version, ensure that all ingredients called for in the recipe (not just the cookies and chocolate bars) are, in fact, gluten free.

The Chocolate Biscuit Cake is said to be a favorite teatime treat of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It’s also said to be a favorite of Prince William who chose it as his groom’s cake at his April 2011 wedding to Katherine Middleton.  There are many versions and recipes for this cake which is sometimes referred to as “refrigerator cake” because it is a no-bake cake that is set by refrigeration.

 

Biscuit Cake
Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Traditionally, the cake is made with biscuits (the British term for what is known as “cookies” in North America). The sturdy, crisp Digestive cookies are the traditional ingredients. These would be found in the cookie aisles of the larger supermarkets, under brand names such as McVities, Christie, and others. The label on the package will say “Digestives”. The Digestives are very plain-flavored and thin.

Digestive Biscuits
McVitie’s Digestive Biscuits

Sometimes, rich tea biscuits may also be added to the cake and they will be labeled as “Rich Tea Biscuits”. They are similar to the Digestives, just a little bit sweeter.

Rich Tea Biscuits
McVitie’s Rich Tea Biscuits

I wanted to make my version of the Chocolate Biscuit Cake gluten free and could not find any gluten-free commercially-made Digestive cookies locally.  So, I improvised, knowing I’d need a “sturdy” cookie that would not become soggy or break apart in the cake as the warm ganache was added. I took my gluten-free Snickerdoodle recipe (click here for that recipe), halved it, using a medium egg instead of the extra-large egg the recipe calls for, omitted the nutmeg and cardamom, and did not roll the cookies in the spice-sugar mixture.  I made the cookies the night before making the cake, baked them an extra 2 minutes to crisp them up, and left them on the counter overnight. This resulted in a hard, crisp, sturdy cookie that could hold its own in the cake. I weighed out the cookies to get 8 oz and it took 13 of the Snickerdoodles which were made the size indicated in my recipe.

Cookies
Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookies

It’s really important to use crisp, not soft and chewy, cookies in this recipe as the cookies have to be able to stand up to being tossed with the chocolate ganache and packed into the pan without being broken into unrecognizable crumbs or becoming soggy.  They are meant to give a crunchy texture to the cake. Break up the cookies by hand, not by food processor, into bite-sized chunks. Using a food processor will chop them up too fine and result in crumbs.  You want to see actual chunks of cookies (er, biscuits!) in the cake. The photo below shows the size of the cookie chunks I used in the cake.

 

Chopped Cookies for Biscuit Cake
Chopped Cookies for Biscuit Cake

The photo below demonstrates how the cookies and chocolate bar chunks are visible in the finished cake.

Biscuit Cake
Chocolate Biscuit Cake

I used crisp and crunchy Butterfinger chocolate bars in the recipe instead of using all cookies for the ingredients.  I chose the Butterfinger bars because their label said they were gluten-free and also because I really like this bar and it is crunchy enough to remain intact in the cake. This added extra flavour and crunch and made the cake just a bit more interesting. If, however, you wish not to add chocolate bars to the cake, simply replace the 6 oz called for with that weight of additional cookies, either more Digestives or some Rich Tea Biscuits (or, for the gluten-free version, more gluten-free Snickerdoodles).

A good quality dark chocolate is needed for this recipe because it is a huge ingredient in the cake and ganache glaze and you really taste the properties of the chocolate in the ganache – don’t compromise on this ingredient.  If you are making a gluten-free version of the cake, be sure to check the package label on the chocolate to ensure that it contains no trace of wheat because, as I discovered, some packages do say the chocolate contains, may contain, or may have been in contact with wheat.

Biscuit Cake
Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Biscuit Cake is traditionally made with golden syrup which I could not source locally so I substituted amber corn syrup with success.  I also added one medium-sized egg as a binder for the ingredients. Not all Biscuit Cakes call for an egg as an ingredient but I think it adds to, and helps stabilize, the texture of the ganache in the cake.

Adding the chocolate liqueur is optional but it really does add a dimension of deeper flavour.  If you’re going to have an extravagant “death by chocolate” cake experience, you might as well go all the way!

Chocolate Biscuit Cake
Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Some Biscuit Cake recipes call for additional ingredients like raisins, nuts, and dried fruit. I don’t add those to my cake because, to me, that’s taking away from a Biscuit Cake and moving it more to a non-baked fruit cake. And, I don’t think the cake needs these ingredients – this, of course, is a personal preference.

The easiest pan to use for this recipe is the 6” round springform pan (3” deep) because it makes it so easy to unmold the cake. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper to facilitate the removal of the cake from the pan.  I recommend using a separate circle of parchment for the pan bottom and one long continuous strip of parchment to go around the sides of the pan. This is recommended over simply cutting a large piece of parchment paper and squashing it into the pan which will result in uneven nooks, crannies, and wrinkles into which the batter can escape. This will cause the cake to have an uneven appearance when unmolded.

If you don’t have a small springform pan, other pans (e.g., a non-springform 6” round pan (3” deep) or a 6”x9”x3″ loaf pan) can be used.  However, the pan will need to be lined such that the liner gives “handles” with which to lift the cake from the pan since the sides of the pan will not spring open for easy removal. For example, you might line the pan with plastic wrap, leaving enough excess that it could be used to lift the cake from the pan.  The cake mixture is likely to have cooled enough by this point that it is safe to pack it into a plastic wrap lined pan. However, if in doubt, I’d suggest lining the plastic wrapped pan with parchment paper so the cake is not in direct contact with the plastic wrap.

 

Chocolate Biscuit Cake
Chocolate Biscuit Cake

My preference, when preparing the chocolate ganache for the cake itself, is to use a double boiler or, if you don’t have one, a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. I find this gives greater control and less risk of scorching the ingredients which could occur if heated over direct heat. It’s important to let this ganache cool for about 10 minutes before mixing it into the cookie and chocolate bar mixture because a really hot mixture will melt the chocolate on the Butterfinger bars thus losing that texture and it may cause even the most sturdy of cookies to become soggy. Cover the pan with plastic wrap secured with an elastic band. Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours to let it set, then unmold it to a serving plate.

The chocolate for the ganache glaze is chopped a bit finer than that needed for the ganache in the cake. The reason it needs to be a bit smaller is because the hot whipping cream mixture is used to melt the chocolate, off heat, and smaller pieces will melt easier and faster.  The chocolate does not, however, need to be chopped super fine for this. After the hot whipping cream has been poured over the chocolate and let stand for 3-5 minutes, give the mixture a good stir.  To make the ganache silky smooth, I recommend using a hand-held immersion blender. After letting the ganache sit for 12-15 minutes to cool slightly so it does not melt the cake, simply pour it over the top of the cake, letting the glaze run down the sides. Don’t worry about getting the ganache glaze perfectly smooth on the sides – it’s not fondant and imperfections are perfectly fine on this cake! Using an offset spatula or a dinner knife, spread the ganache so it covers the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate for at least an hour before cutting and serving the cake.

Serve this delectable cake with just the plain ganache glaze or decorate as desired.

Chocolate Biscuit Cake
Chocolate Biscuit Cake

While it may sound like a stretch to be able to get 12 servings from a 6” cake, this Chocolate Biscuit Cake is very rich so small pieces per serving will suffice!

Chocolate Biscuit Cake
Chocolate Biscuit Cake

What a delightful decadent treat!

Biscuit Cake
Chocolate Biscuit Cake

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Cake:
8 oz high quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 oz Digestive cookies (such as McVities) or, to make the cake gluten-free, 8 oz of My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Gluten-free Snickerdoodle cookies, broken into chunks by hand
6 oz Butterfinger Bars, broken or chopped into chunks

½ cup butter (no substitutes)
3 tbsp whipping cream (35%M.F.)
½ cup amber corn syrup
1 medium-sized egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp chocolate liqueur (optional)

Chocolate Ganache Glaze:
6 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup whipping cream (35%M.F.)
2 tbsp butter (no substitutes)
1½ tbsp chocolate liqueur (optional)

Method:
Cake:  Prepare 6” springform pan (3” deep) by lining bottom with a circle of parchment paper and lining the sides of the pan with a long continuous strip of parchment paper.

Coarsely chop the chocolate. Set aside.

In large, heatproof bowl, break up the cookies, by hand, into bite-sized chunks.  Do the same for the Butterfinger bars, using a knife, if necessary to break up the crisp bars. Gently toss the cookies and chocolate bars together.

On cooktop, in top of double boiler over simmering water, melt the butter.  When the butter is about half melted, whisk in the whipping cream, corn syrup, and slightly beaten egg.  Stir in the 8 oz of coarsely chopped chocolate until it is melted.  Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate liqueur.  Cool for approximately 10 minutes.

Pour the slightly cooled chocolate mixture over the broken cookies and chocolate bar chunks.  Stir gently until the mixture is coated with chocolate, trying not to further break up the cookies and bars.

Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and gently pack mixture into the pan.  Using an offset spatula, or a dinner knife, smooth the top of the cake as best possible.  Cover pan with plastic wrap secured with an elastic band. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Prepare Chocolate Ganache Glaze as follows.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze: Chop the 6 oz dark chocolate into small chunks and place in a heatproof bowl.

In small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, over medium heat, bring the whipping cream and butter just to the boiling point, stirring to prevent scorching.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate pieces, tilting and swirling the bowl to ensure all the chocolate is covered with the cream.  Add the chocolate liqueur.  Let stand 3-5 minutes to allow the hot cream to melt the chocolate. Stir. Using a hand-held immersion blender, blend the mixture just until all the chocolate is smooth and no chocolate chunks remain.

Let ganache stand for 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, unmold cake and transfer to serving plate. Pour the slightly cooled ganache over the cake, letting the ganache drip down the sides.  Use an offset spatula, or knife, spread the ganache over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate for about an hour to set.

Serve cake plain or decorate as desired.

Yield:  Apx. 12 servings

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

A decadent no-bake cake that features crumbled biscuits (cookies) and chocolate bar chunks in a rich chocolate ganache
Course Dessert
Servings 12
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 8 oz high quality dark chocolate coarsely chopped
  • 8 oz Digestive cookies such as McVities or, to make the cake gluten-free, 8 oz of My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Gluten-free Snickerdoodle cookies, broken into chunks by hand
  • 6 oz Butterfinger Bars broken or chopped into chunks
  • ½ cup butter no substitutes
  • 3 tbsp whipping cream 35%M.F.
  • ½ cup amber corn syrup
  • 1 medium-sized egg lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp chocolate liqueur optional

Chocolate Ganache Glaze:

  • 6 oz dark chocolate coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream 35%M.F.
  • 2 tbsp butter no substitutes
  • tbsp chocolate liqueur optional

Instructions

Cake:

  1. Prepare 6” springform pan (3” deep) by lining bottom with a circle of parchment paper and lining the sides of the pan with a long continuous strip of parchment paper.
  2. Coarsely chop the chocolate. Set aside.
  3. In large, heatproof bowl, break up the cookies, by hand, into bite-sized chunks. Do the same for the Butterfinger bars, using a knife, if necessary to break up the crisp bars. Gently toss the cookies and chocolate bars together.
  4. On cooktop, in top of double boiler over simmering water, melt the butter. When the butter is about half melted, whisk in the whipping cream, corn syrup, and slightly beaten egg. Stir in the 8 oz of coarsely chopped chocolate until it is melted. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate liqueur. Cool for approximately 10 minutes.
  5. Pour the slightly cooled chocolate mixture over the broken cookies and chocolate bar chunks. Stir gently until the mixture is coated with chocolate, trying not to further break up the cookies and bars.
  6. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan and gently pack mixture into the pan. Using an offset spatula, or a dinner knife, smooth the top of the cake as best possible. Cover pan with plastic wrap secured with an elastic band. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  7. Prepare Chocolate Ganache Glaze as follows.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze:

  1. Chop the 6 oz dark chocolate into small chunks and place in a heatproof bowl.
  2. In small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, over medium heat, bring the whipping cream and butter just to the boiling point, stirring to prevent scorching. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate pieces, tilting and swirling the bowl to ensure all the chocolate is covered with the cream. Add the chocolate liqueur. Let stand 3-5 minutes to allow the hot cream to melt the chocolate. Stir. Using a hand-held immersion blender, blend the mixture just until all the chocolate is smooth and no chocolate chunks remain.
  3. Let ganache stand for 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, unmold cake and transfer to serving plate. Pour the slightly cooled ganache over the cake, letting the ganache drip down the sides. Use an offset spatula, or knife, spread the ganache over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate for about an hour to set.
  4. Serve cake plain or decorate as desired.

Recipe Notes

Be sure to read the accompanying blog post to this recipe as it gives hints and tips on making this Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Click this link for My Island Bistro Kitchen's GF Snickerdoodle Cookie recipe: Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Cookie Recipe

 

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Chocolate Biscuit Cake
Chocolate Biscuit Cake

 

Biscuit Cake
Chocolate Biscuit Cake

 

 

Chocolate Biscuit Cake
Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Clumpy Almond Butter Granola Recipe

Almond Butter Granola
Almond Butter Granola

Homemade granola is so easy to make and customize to individual tastes.  So long as you keep the proportions of ingredients, substitutions are perfectly acceptable.  For example, my recipe calls for 3/4 cup of dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries; however, if those don’t strike your fancy, substitute the same quantity of raisins and/or chopped dates, for example. I don’t include nuts in my granola but, if they are your taste, but all means substitute them, in the same quantity, for one of the dried fruits called for in the recipe.

I wanted this granola recipe to be crisp and clumpy, not silky fine with each ingredient separated individually.  In order to get a clumpy texture, there needs to be some binders added to the mix to get the ingredients to stick together.  In this case, I am using a combination of almond butter, maple syrup, honey, coconut oil, and an egg white which has been beaten till frothy. The other trick to getting clumpy granola is to refrain from stirring it while it bakes or cools. If the granola starts to brown too quickly in the oven, instead of stirring it, rotate the baking sheet and/or reduce the oven heat.

Almond Butter Granola
Almond Butter Granola

The basic structure of any granola recipe is simply cereal, oil of some kind, and sweetener.  The typical cereal is large flake rolled oats.  Various kinds of oil can be used – I like to use coconut oil.  For sweeteners, I typically choose maple syrup but have also included honey in this recipe along with almond butter, all three of which also provide flavour in addition to the spices. The addition of mix-ins (i.e., dried fruits, berries, nuts, chocolate, etc.) are purely personal taste.

Almond Butter Granola
Almond Butter Granola

I like granola as a cereal, topped on yogurt, as a snack and, heck, I even toss some on my salads to add a crunchy texture and flavour boost!

Almond Butter Granola
Almond Butter Granola

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Almond Butter Granola

Ingredients:

2 cups large flake rolled oats
1½ cups puffed brown rice cereal
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1½ tbsp ground chia seeds

¾ cup dried coconut shavings

¾ cup dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries (or a combination of two or three)
2/3 cup golden raisins
½ cup hemp hearts
1/3 cup dried apricots
¼ cup dried pineapple
1/3 cup dried papaya

½ cup coconut oil
6 tbsp smooth almond butter
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp nutmeg
Pinch ginger
Pinch salt

1 extra-large egg white

Method:
 
Preheat oven to 300°F.  Line large rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil.  Spray lightly with cooking oil.

Combine rolled oats, puffed brown rice cereal, ground flaxseed, and ground chia seeds in large bowl.

In separate large bowl, combine cranberries, cherries, and/or blueberries along with the raisins, hemp hearts, apricots, pineapple, and papaya. Set aside.

In small saucepan, combine coconut oil, almond butter, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, spices, and salt.  Stir over medium-low heat until mixture is well blended and heated. Do not boil. Pour over rolled oats mixture and stir.

Beat egg white until frothy. Pour over rolled oats and syrup mixture.  Stir to coat mixture with the egg white.

Spread oats evenly in a single layer on baking sheet.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until oats are a deep caramel color and start to get crispy and fragrant.  Do not stir during the baking. If granola starts to brown quickly, rotate the baking sheet in the oven and/or reduce the heat. Add coconut shavings to oats during the last 5 minutes of baking.  Remove from oven and cool for 20-30 minutes then transfer toasted oat mixture to the large bowl containing the dried fruit.  Stir well to combine all ingredients.  Store granola in airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days or store in refrigerator for longer use.

Yield: Apx. 8 cups

Clumpy Almond Butter Granola

A crunchy and clump lightly spiced granola made with almond butter, maple syrup, and honey
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 cups large flake rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup dried coconut shavings
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries (or a combination of two or three)
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup dried pineapple
  • 1/3 cup dried papaya
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 6 tbsp smooth almond butter
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch ginger
  • pinch salt
  • 1 extra-large egg white

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil. Spray lightly with cooking oil.
  2. Combine rolled oats, puffed brown rice cereal, ground flaxseed, and ground chia seeds in large bowl.
  3. In separate large bowl, combine cranberries, cherries, and/or blueberries along with the raisins, hemp hearts, apricots, pineapple, and papaya. Set aside.
  4. In small saucepan, combine coconut oil, almond butter, maple syrup, honey, vanilla, spices, and salt. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture is well blended and heated. Do not boil. Pour over rolled oats mixture and stir.
  5. Beat egg white until frothy. Pour over rolled oats and syrup mixture. Stir to coat mixture with the egg white.
  6. Spread oats evenly in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until oats are a deep caramel color and start to get crispy and fragrant. Do not stir during the baking. If granola starts to brown quickly, rotate the baking sheet in the oven and/or reduce the heat. Add coconut shavings to oats during the last 5 minutes of baking. Remove from oven and cool for 20-30 minutes then transfer toasted oat mixture to the large bowl containing the dried fruit. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Store granola in airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days or store in refrigerator for longer use.

    Yield: Apx. 8 cups

For another great granola recipe from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the link below:

The Bistro’s Great Nut-free Granola

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Granola
Almond Butter Granola

Cherry Loaf Recipe

Cherry Loaf
Cherry Loaf

This Cherry Loaf recipe is as pretty as it is tasty, speckled with maraschino cherries that, themselves, lend great flavour to the loaf.

Quick breads, leavened with baking powder, and sometimes soda, are an easy alternative to muffins – but, they’re born of the same family!  They are quick to make (because there is no yeast involved) and are great additions to breakfast, brunch, and coffeebreaks.

There are two methods for making quick breads.

Creaming Method – This method calls for the solid fat product (shortening, butter, or margarine) to be softened at room temperature for 25-30 minutes (not microwaved which can change its properties and can cause it to quickly become liquefied). The fat is then beaten/creamed, either by hand if you are prepared to devote some elbow grease to the process, or by electric mixer on low speed. The sugar is then added and creamed with the fat product until the mixture is a pale or light colour and the texture is airy or fluffy. This “creaming’ process whips air into the batter which allows air pockets (or bubbles) to form (and expand during baking) that, in addition to leavening agents such as baking powder and soda, help the cake or loaf to rise.

The room temperature eggs are then added, one at a time.  Adding the eggs, with this technique, allows them time to, individually and slowly, mix in well with the creamed fat and sugar mixture and limit the possibility of them curdling.  The watery eggs and the fat product don’t naturally mix well, or bind, together (same principle as trying to mix water and oil together).  If all the eggs called for in the recipe are added all at once, they become more than what the fat-sugar mixture can handle at the same time and the ingredients separate and look curdled or scrambled. Adding the eggs slowly allows them to be better incorporated with the fat-sugar mixture.

With the creamed method, the liquid ingredients are combined together in one bowl or measuring cup and the dry ingredients are whisked together in a separate bowl.  The dry ingredients are added to the creamed mixture alternately with the wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients (three additions of dry to two additions of wet ingredients). While the stand mixer should be fitted with the paddle attachment for the creaming method, it’s important not to over-beat the batter once the flour and liquid ingredients have been added because that will cause gluten to form and a loaf with a tough crumb is likely to result. Beat only until all the ingredients are incorporated and the batter is smooth.

This method will yield a moist texture loaf with a fine crumb (lots of tiny holes of fairly uniform size), reminiscent of a  dense cake texture.

Cherry Loaf
Slice of Cherry Loaf

Muffin Method – This method calls for the dry ingredients to be whisked together well in one bowl.  All the liquid ingredients are mixed in a separate bowl with oil or a fat that has been liquefied (and, often, the sugar is mixed in with the liquid ingredients).  The liquid ingredients are then simply added to the dry ingredients and stirred together just until the ingredients are barely combined.

Because no creaming of butter and sugar is involved in this method, the loaf will not have the added advantage of the air pockets being formed by this process to help the loaf to rise. In this method, the loaf will rely solely on leavening agents (baking powder, soda) to rise. The batter will often be lumpy  which is okay (it will even out on its own during baking) and it’s important not to overmix the batter trying to get it smooth as this will activate the development of gluten that will result in a tough crumb.

For this method, stir the mixture by hand because an electric mixer will overmix the batter. This method will often yield a slightly drier texture (than the creaming method does) with a larger, coarser crumb in the loaf, closely resembling the texture of muffins, hence the name “muffin method”.

The muffin method is commonly used to mix up waffles and pancakes as well.

Cherry Loaf
Cherry Loaf

My recipe for Cherry Loaf uses the creamed method because I want a delicate, refined texture in this particular loaf.

Cherry Loaf
Cherry Loaf

All ingredients should be at room temperature for about 25-30 minutes before mixing the batter.  The ingredients blend better if they are at room temperature. If you think of nice soft butter or shortening being hit with cold eggs or milk, it’s obvious that the ingredients will simply clump together rather than blend in well. The result will be a loaf that does not have the best texture possible.

There is a choice of fat product in this loaf – either shortening, butter, or margarine will yield a good loaf.  Butter, however, will obviously give the most flavor 😉

This loaf calls for maraschino cherries.  These are the best option for this loaf because they are soft and beautifully bright colored.  Dried cherries are too chewy and coarse and will not create the lovely red-dotted speckles throughout the loaf.  Maraschino cherries, however, are wet and if they are not blotted dry, they will add too much excess moisture to the loaf.  I recommend blotting the cherries with a paper towel, cutting them, and blotting them again.  The idea is not to dry them out but, rather, to remove the excess moisture.

Cherry Loaf
Cherry Loaf

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Cherry Loaf

Ingredients:

1/3 cup shortening, butter, or margarine
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 large eggs, room temperature

2/3 cup milk, room temperature
1½ tbsp orange juice, room temperature
2½ tbsp maraschino cherry juice, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp almond flavouring

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup maraschino cherries, well-drained, blotted dry, and coarsely chopped

Method:

Bring shortening, butter, or margarine, eggs, milk, and orange and maraschino cherry juices to room temperature approximately 25-30 minutes before preparing batter.

Remove cherries from their juice and, using paper towel, blot them dry.  Cut up cherries and blot again on paper towel to remove the excess moisture. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease 9”x5”x3” loaf pan.

In 1-cup measuring cup, or small bowl, combine the milk, orange juice, cherry juice, vanilla, and almond flavouring. Stir to mix.

In medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together well.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment and on low speed, cream the shortening, butter, or margarine well.  Gradually add the granulated sugar, then the brown sugar.  Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until ingredients are pale-colored and mixture has an airy/fluffy texture. Stop mixer, as necessary, to scrape bowl with rubber spatula to ensure the ingredients are evenly incorporated.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and using the spatula, as necessary, to scrape sides of bowl.

Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients (three additions of dry ingredients with two additions of wet ingredients).  Periodically scrape sides of bowl with spatula to ensure all ingredients are combined. Do not overmix.

Remove bowl from mixer stand and stir in the cherries by hand, just until they are blended in.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and, using a knife, smooth the top of the loaf.  Bake for approximately 1 hour or until cake tester inserted into center of loaf comes out clean. If loaf starts to brown, it may be loosely tented with tin foil after about 45 minutes of baking; ensure loaf top is completely set before allowing the tin foil to touch it as it will peel off the top of the loaf. Let loaf rest in pan for 10 minutes then turn out on to wire rack to cool completely before cutting.

Yield:  One loaf, 14 slices (sliced approximately ½” thick)

Notes:  Loaf is best made the day before it is needed.  Let cool completely on wire rack then place in airtight plastic bag and store in refrigerator overnight to allow the flavours time to blend and the loaf to soften.  Loaf freezes well.

Cherry Loaf

This flavourful cherry loaf is an easy-to-make moist quick bread that is speckled with colorful maraschino cherries

Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 14
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup shortening, butter, or margarine
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tbsp orange juice, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 tbsp maraschino cherry juice, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond flavouring
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup maraschino cherries, well-drained, blotted dry, and coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Bring shortening, butter, or margarine, eggs, milk, and orange and maraschino cherry juices to room temperature approximately 25-30 minutes before preparing batter.
  2. Remove cherries from their juice and, using paper towel, blot them dry. Cut up cherries and blot again on paper towel to remove the excess moisture. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9”x5”x3” loaf pan.
  4. In 1-cup measuring cup, or small bowl, combine the milk, orange juice, cherry juice, vanilla, and almond flavouring. Stir to mix.
  5. In medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together well.
  6. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment and on low speed, cream the shortening, butter, or margarine well. Gradually add the granulated sugar, then the brown sugar. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until ingredients are pale-colored and mixture has an airy/fluffy texture. Stop mixer, as necessary, to scrape bowl with rubber spatula to ensure the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  7. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and using the spatula, as necessary, to scrape sides of bowl.
  8. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients (three additions of dry ingredients with two additions of wet ingredients). Periodically scrape sides of bowl with spatula to ensure all ingredients are combined. Do not overmix.
  9. Remove bowl from mixer stand and stir in the cherries by hand, just until they are blended in.
  10. Transfer batter to prepared pan and, using a knife, smooth the top of the loaf. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until cake tester inserted into center of loaf comes out clean. If loaf starts to brown, it may be loosely tented with tin foil after about 45 minutes of baking; ensure loaf top is completely set before allowing the tin foil to touch it as it will peel off the top of the loaf. Let loaf rest in pan for 10 minutes then turn out on to wire rack to cool completely before cutting.

Recipe Notes

Notes: Loaf is best made the day before it is needed. Let cool completely on wire rack then place in airtight plastic bag and store in refrigerator overnight to allow the flavours time to blend and the loaf to soften. Loaf freezes well.

 

For other quick bread recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

 Cinnamon Sweet Bread
Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread

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Cherry Loaf
Cherry Loaf

 

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

I love a bowl of rich Irish Stew any time of the year but, for certain, I will make it around St. Patrick’s Day! It’s a filling and tummy-warming stew that is always a welcome sight on the dinner table.

Irish Stew
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

According to my research, traditional Irish Stew was made with cheap cuts of mutton or lamb and basic root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, onions, and turnips. Years ago, these would have been ingredients that were, no doubt, simply what would have been available at the time in the Irish countryside where sheep were raised for their wool and for food and when, before the potato famine, potatoes were a primary Irish crop.

Over the years, Irish Stew recipes have changed according to the locale and what ingredients are available in the cook’s local area.  For example, beef is often used in North America today instead of lamb in Irish Stew and other ingredients are added to make a more flavourful, hearty stew as opposed to a broth-like dish.  Purists might argue that these changes result in a brand new stew recipe altogether and is something entirely different than the original Irish Stew.

Regardless what it is called, I like my version of Irish Stew!  It has a nice rich, robust flavour and a splendid reddish-brown color that comes primarily from the addition of tomato paste with the aid of some red wine and the Guinness.  Using Guinness and red wine also helps to tenderize the meat and also adds to the flavour of the stew.  I don’t add huge amounts of either as the intent is not to “drown” the natural flavours of the beef and veggies but rather to blend and enhance flavours.

Any kind of potato can be diced and used in this recipe.  However, with the ready availability of mini potatoes in recent years, I like to use the tiny potatoes left whole with peelings on. I think they add an interesting element to the stew. If you can’t find the really small, mini potatoes, use slightly larger small potatoes sliced in half, lengthwise.

Irish Stew
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

The nice thing about Irish Stew (once you have all the veggies cut up) is that it is an all-encompassing meal with all the vegetables in one dish (no worries about getting different pots of vegetables all cooked at the same time for the meal and a real bonus of only having one pot to wash).  This meal-in-one stew really needs nothing more for a hearty meal than a slice of bread, rolls, or garlic bread and perhaps some homemade mustard pickles on the side.

I like to slow-cook this stew in the oven at 325°F for a couple of hours as opposed to cooking it on the cooktop.  I find oven-cooking allows the flavours to slowly blend and the stew to gradually thicken as it cooks. The longer the stew cooks, the thicker the sauce will be but the stew should be cooked only until the vegetables are fork-tender, not mushy. If the sauce has not all cooked up with the vegetables (some varieties of potatoes, for example, will soak up more sauce than others), it makes a great dipping sauce for the bread or rolls!

Irish Stew
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

Ingredients
3/4 pound stew beef chopped
1 – 1½ tbsp olive oil

1 cup carrots sliced
2/3 cup parsnips, sliced or diced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 cup turnip, diced
1 leek sliced  (white and light green part only)
3 cups potatoes, diced OR 1 lb mini potatoes (left whole)

1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 – 5.5 oz can tomato paste
1 – 10 oz can beef consommé
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup Guinness
1 cup water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 bayleaf

Instructions
Assemble ingredients and preheat oven to 325°F.

Chop stew meat into bite-size pieces.

In large skillet, over medium heat, brown meat in 1 – 1½ tbsp olive oil.

Place vegetables and meat in greased 2½-quart roaster or casserole.

In large bowl, combine sugar, herbs, garlic, tomato paste, beef consommé, Worcestershire Sauce, red wine, Guinness, and water. Whisk in flour until smooth. Pour over vegetables in roaster. Stir mixture to combine. Add bayleaf.

Cover roaster and place in pre-heated oven. Cook for approximately 2 hours or until vegetables are fork-tender when tested.

Serve with Irish Soda Bread, rolls, French Bread, or Garlic Bread.

Yield: Apx. 6 servings

My Island Bistro Kitchen's Irish Stew

A rich hearty stew made with beef and a variety of vegetables and flavoured with Guinness and red wine

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb stew beef, chopped
  • 1 -1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 2/3 cup parsnips, sliced or diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup turnip, diced
  • 1 leek, sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 3 cups potatoes, diced OR 1 lb mini potatoes (left whole, peelings on)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Herbs de Provence
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 5.5 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 10 oz can beef consommé
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup Guinness
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 bayleaf

Instructions

  1. Assemble ingredients and preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Chop stew meat into bite-size pieces.
  3. In large skillet, over medium heat, brown meat in 1 - 1½ tbsp olive oil.
  4. Place vegetables and meat in greased 2½-quart roaster or casserole.
  5. In large bowl, combine sugar, herbs, garlic, tomato paste, beef consommé, Worcestershire Sauce, red wine, Guinness, and water. Whisk in flour until smooth. Pour over vegetables in roaster. Stir mixture to combine. Add bayleaf.
  6. Cover roaster and place in pre-heated oven. Cook for approximately 2 hours or until vegetables are fork-tender when tested.

Recipe Notes

Serve with Irish Soda Bread, rolls, French Bread, or Garlic Bread.

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Irish Stew
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Irish Stew

The Ultimate Gluten-Free Zucchini Date Muffins

Gluten Free Zucchini Date Muffins
Gluten-Free Zucchini Date Muffins

These Gluten-Free Zucchini Date Muffins will rival any traditional wheat-based muffins!  They sport a lovely domed top that is the hallmark of a perfect muffin shape, they are packed full of flavor, and they have a lovely tender, moist crumb.

Gluten Free Zucchini Date Muffins
Gluten-Free Zucchini Date Muffins

Like any good quality gluten-free muffins that replicate deli-style muffins, I find that they do take a few more ingredients and thus can be a bit more time-consuming to make than many recipes for traditional wheat-based muffins. But the end result is so worth the effort!  Because mixing up the different flours and opening various spice bottles is the most time-consuming part of the exercise, what I will most often do is mix up the dry ingredients the night before I plan to make the muffins and cover the container. The next day, I simply mix up the wet ingredients and add them to the dry ingredients and that does speed up the process.  In fact, I will often go on a muffin-making frolic and make 5-6 different batches for the freezer on the same day. When I do this, I always mix up the dry ingredients the night before and label each container appropriately.

Gluten Free Zucchini Date Muffins
Gluten-Free Zucchini Date Muffins

A mixture of gluten-free flours will yield better flavour and quality than simply using an all-purpose gluten-free flour as the entire flour ingredient. Quite frankly, I find gluten-free all-purpose flour by itself often has an “offputting” flavour in baked goods. That’s why I use a blend of some all-purpose gluten-free flour, gluten-free oat flour, almond flour, coconut flour (my real favorite!) and potato starch. The potato starch, zanthan gum, and quick oats in this recipe help to give these muffins structure and ‘holding power’ so they don’t fall apart. Muffins with good structure should be able to be broken or cut apart and still stay intact without crumbling to pieces.

Gluten Free Zucchini Date Muffins
Gluten-Free Zucchini Date Muffins

Adding spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves really give these muffins a flavour boost along with grated orange rind which goes very well with zucchini.

The secret ingredient to these muffins is….wait for it….puréed baby food!  I have been using baby food in regular muffin recipes for years. It gives moisture and flavour to muffins. Instead of using applesauce or pumpkin purée, baby food works just great. I like puréed pears in this recipe but have made them with other flavours, such as peach-mango, with great success.

Use freshly grated zucchini, not frozen, in this recipe. Frozen zucchini has too much water in it for these muffins.  Grate the zucchini quite coarsely using the large hole side of a box grater or a flat grater like the one shown in the left in the photo below. I like chopped dates in these muffins although raisins would also work.

Gluten Free Zucchini Date Muffins
Gluten-Free Zucchini Date Muffins

These muffins bake well in muffin cups that have a 1/2-cup capacity. I like making them in my square muffin tins.  I am particularly partial to square muffins for a couple of reasons. First, well okay, I just like the overall look of them! And, I find they look nicer when they are cut open – they look like the little mini loaves they are! Second, they are easier to package in plastic wrap and store in the freezer than are round muffins.

Gluten Free Zucchini Date Muffins
Gluten-Free Zucchini Date Muffins

Preheating the oven to 450F is not a typo! Putting the muffins into a high-heat oven helps them get the “loft” that will form the dome shape. I do this with my muffins, whether they are wheat-based or gluten free and it works.  The key thing to remember, however, is to immediately lower the heat to 400F as soon as the muffins go in the oven. Otherwise, baking them the entire time at 450F will result in dried out muffins.

Take care not to overbake these muffins or they will become dry. Test them with a cake tester at the 18-minute baking point to see if the tester comes out clean. If it doesn’t, continue to bake them, checking them every 1 1/2 minutes or so.

These Gluten-Free Zucchini Date Muffins are a standard staple in my freezer. Because they freeze so well, they are great to have on hand to throw in to the lunch bag on weekday mornings. Serve them with, or without, butter and/or a favorite jam.

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Gluten-Free Zucchini Date Muffins

Ingredients:

1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
2 tbsp potato starch
¼ cup gluten free oat flour
¼ cup almond flour
¼ cup coconut flour
1¼ tsp zanthan gum
¼ cup gluten-free quick oats
5½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp ground chia seeds
1½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 tsp grated orange rind

2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
1½ tsp vanilla
1 – 4.5 oz container of puréed pears baby food
½ cup buttermilk or soured milk*
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 cup grated zucchini (apx. 5 oz zucchini)
¾ cup chopped dates

Method:

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Prepare 12 muffin cups (each ½-cup capacity) by spraying each muffin cup with cooking spray or greasing individually.

Combine flours, zanthan gum, quick oats, baking powder, soda, salt, ground chia seeds, spices, and grated orange rind together in a large bowl.  Whisk ingredients well to combine. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Set aside.

In separate medium-sized bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, coconut oil, vanilla, puréed pears baby food, milk*, and maple syrup. (*To sour milk, pour 1½ tsp vinegar into a ½ cup measuring cup. Fill with milk.  Let stand for 5-10 minutes before stirring and using.) Whisk ingredients well. Stir in grated zucchini and chopped dates.

Pour wet ingredients into well in dry ingredients.  With large spoon, mix ingredients together just until dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Do not overmix.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling almost to the rim of each cup.  Let sit for 3 – 4 minutes before transferring to pre-heated oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 400°F.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.  Do not overbake or muffins will be dry. Remove from oven and let muffins rest in pans for 5-7 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

(NOTE: As with all gluten-free recipes, ensure that all ingredients are gluten-free products)

Yield: 12 muffins

Gluten-Free Zucchini Date Muffins

These gluten-free muffins are moist with a tender crumb. Packed full of flavour, it's hard to tell they're gluten free.  Perfect for the lunch bag or coffee break.

Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp potato starch
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp zanthan gum
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free quick oats
  • 5 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp grated orange rind
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 - 4.5 oz container of puréed pears baby food
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or soured milk*
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (apx. 5 oz zucchini)
  • 3/4 cup chopped dates

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Prepare 12 muffin cups (each ½-cup capacity) by spraying each muffin cup with cooking spray or greasing individually.
  3. Combine flours, zanthan gum, quick oats, baking powder, soda, salt, ground chia seeds, spices, and grated orange rind together in a large bowl. Whisk ingredients well to combine. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  4. In separate medium-sized bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, coconut oil, vanilla, puréed pears baby food, milk*, and maple syrup. (*To sour milk, pour 1½ tsp vinegar into a ½ cup measuring cup. Fill with milk. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before stirring and using.) Whisk ingredients well. Stir in grated zucchini and chopped dates.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into well in dry ingredients. With large spoon, mix ingredients together just until dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Do not overmix.
  6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling almost to the rim of each cup. Let sit for 3 – 4 minutes before transferring to pre-heated oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 400°F. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean. Do not overbake or muffins will be dry. Remove from oven and let muffins rest in pans for 5-7 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

NOTE: As with any gluten-free recipe, ensure that all ingredients are gluten-free products

 

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Gluten Free Zucchini Date Muffins
Gluten Free Zucchini Date Muffins

For other gluten-free muffin recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, follow these links:

Gluten-Free Pumpkin-Mincemeat Muffins
Deli-Style Gluten-Free Beet Muffins
Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins
Deli-style Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins

Beef Pasta Casserole Recipe

Beef Pasta Casserole
Beef Pasta Casserole

I am a huge fan of batch cooking and preparing make-ahead meals to freeze for easy weeknight meal preparation.  I began batch cooking over 40 years ago when I moved away from my family home and began life on my own.  I went in search of cookbooks designed for cooking for one or two and didn’t find much on the market. What recipes I did find took ingredients that either weren’t available locally or the recipes called for sizes of ingredients that weren’t available in Canada.  I also soon discovered it really wasn’t much fun having to prepare a meal from scratch each night for one person.  That’s when I realized I didn’t need cookbooks with recipes sized down to one or two servings; I needed a freezer and I needed to batch cook make-ahead meals!

Beef Pasta Casserole
Beef Pasta Casserole

I currently have two freezers plus a deep freezer compartment in the bottom of the refrigerator and all are filled with make ahead-meals.  The entrées are a mix of very basic fare, like baked beans, pasta casseroles, and fish cakes, and more elaborate meals like fillings for vol-au-vents and crèpes for nights that call for something a little extra special.  Batch cooking means you still do the prep work but it is all done upfront at once and it eases the pressure of meal preparation on weeknights, especially on nights where one is late getting home from work.  So long as I have the makings for a salad in the fridge and some rolls, biscuits, or bread in the freezer, I can pull out a frozen entrée and have dinner on the table in 30 minutes or so. Clean-up is super easy, too, since there are no prep dishes or pots and pans to be washed, just the plate, glass, and utensils to be loaded into the dishwasher.

Beef Pasta Casserole
Beef Pasta Casserole

One of my standby casseroles is this beef pasta casserole.  It’s not hard to prepare and does not take any wild or weird ingredients. This makes a huge casserole so it’s great to take to potlucks or divide into meal-sized servings and frozen.  Use a large roaster or two 2-quart casseroles or, if you have a small household, divide the casserole up into small single serving casseroles or ramekins and freeze them.  I have a ton of ramekins as I find they are the perfect serving size for individual servings of casseroles.  I store these, unbaked, in large plastic freezer containers in the freezer.

Beef Pasta Casserole
Beef Pasta Casserole Ready for the Freezer

Easy steps make this casserole.  Brown the ground beef, drain, and set it aside.  Cook the pasta. Next, sauté the onion, garlic cloves, celery, green pepper, and mushrooms.  Then, combine all the liquid ingredients and canned tomatoes. Combine all the ingredients together along with some cheese and, voilà, that’s it!  Top the casserole with some extra cheese and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.   If freezing the casserole, freeze it unbaked and without the cheese topping which is best added at the time of baking.

Serve with your favorite green salad and biscuits, rolls, or bread.

Beef Pasta Casserole
Beef Pasta Casserole

Beef Pasta Casserole

Ingredients:

1½ lbs lean ground beef
1½ – 2 tbsp vegetable oil

1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
2/3 cup onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup celery, chopped
¼ cup green pepper, chopped
¾ cup sliced button mushrooms

1 – 284ml can tomato soup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ cup beef broth (homemade or commercial)
¼ cup tomato paste
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp basil pesto (homemade or commercial)
2 tsp Italian seasoning
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 – 398ml can diced tomatoes with juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

400g fusilli (regular or gluten-free), cooked according to package directions and drained (about 5 cups raw pasta)
2/3 cup shredded cheese of choice (e.g., cheddar, or a blend of cheeses)
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup shredded cheese of choice for topping casserole

Method:

In large frypan, heat the vegetable oil and brown the meat over medium-low heat. Drain. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In large saucepan, heat second amount of vegetable oil over medium heat.  Sauté the onion, garlic, celery, and green pepper for approximately 2 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and sauté for 3-4 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl or measuring cup, combine the tomato soup, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, tomato paste, maple syrup, basil pesto, Italian seasoning, and ground ginger. Stir well.  Stir in canned tomatoes with juice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

In large bowl or pot, combine the cooked pasta, meat, vegetables, liquid ingredients, 2/3 cup shredded cheese, and Parmesan cheese.  Stir gently to combine ingredients.  Transfer mixture to large greased roaster, two – 2-quart casseroles, or divide into individual serving-sized dishes such as ramekins.

Sprinkle casserole(s) with remaining ½ cup shredded cheese.  Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes to heat through.  Serve hot.  Casserole freezes well.

Yield:  12-14 servings

Beef Pasta Casserole

This tasty Beef Pasta Casserole is an easy-to-make weeknight casserole that combines ground beef, pasta, cheese, and a tomato-based sauce. Freezes well.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 - 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 3/4 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 - 284ml can tomato soup
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp basil pesto
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 - 398ml can diced tomatoes with juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 400g fusilli (regular or gluten-free), cooked according to package directions and drained (about 5 cups raw pasta)
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheese of choice (e.g., cheddar, or a blend of cheeses)
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese of choice for topping casserole

Instructions

  1. In large frypan, heat the vegetable oil and brown the meat over medium-low heat. Drain. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. In large saucepan, heat second amount of vegetable oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion, garlic, celery, and green pepper for approximately 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl or measuring cup, combine the tomato soup, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, tomato paste, maple syrup, basil pesto, Italian seasoning, and ground ginger. Stir well. Stir in canned tomatoes with juice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. In large bowl or pot, combine the cooked pasta, meat, vegetables, liquid ingredients, 2/3 cup shredded cheese, and Parmesan cheese. Stir gently to combine ingredients. Transfer mixture to large greased roaster, two – 2-quart casseroles, or divide into individual serving-sized dishes such as ramekins.
  6. Sprinkle casserole(s) with remaining ½ cup shredded cheese. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes to heat through. Serve hot. Casserole freezes well.

 

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Beef Pasta Casserole
Beef Pasta Casserole

Country Farmhouse Crumb Cake

Farmhouse Crumb Cake
Farmhouse Crumb Cake

This old-fashioned country farmhouse crumb cake has been a recipe in my family for years. It quite resembles a coffee cake and is a hearty dessert that is tasty and not too sweet. Its crumb topping adds a lovely texture element to the cake.

Farmhouse Crumb Cake
Farmhouse Crumb Cake

Crumb cake is quite economical to make because it just takes basic pantry supplies and draws its flavour from the cinnamon and cloves.  It’s always good to have a recipe that, if need be, can be quickly made without a special trip to the supermarket for ingredients.

I think this used to be a very popular cake in the country because it was a hearty dessert, it was not costly or difficult to make, and it did not require frosting.  For many farm wives who often had large families to bring up while working alongside their husbands on the farm, this would have been a relatively easy-to-come-by dessert. This crumb cake is particularly tasty with a cup of tea or coffee.

Farmhouse Crumb Cake
Farmhouse Crumb Cake

The cake has a lovely tender crumb with an airy texture. To dress up this cake, sprinkle with a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar (aka icing or powdered sugar)

Farmhouse Crumb Cake
Farmhouse Crumb Cake

 

Farmhouse Crumb Cake
Farmhouse Crumb Cake

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Country Farmhouse Crumb Cake

Ingredients:

1 tbsp vinegar
1 cup milk

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup cold shortening

½ tsp salt
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup raisins

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare 9”x9” square baking pan by greasing or lining with parchment paper.

In 1 cup measuring cup, place 1 tbsp vinegar.  Fill cup with milk. Let stand 5-7 minutes to sour.

Meanwhile, in large bowl of stand mixer, combine the flour and brown sugar.  Using a pastry cutter, cut in the shortening.  Remove 1 cup of crumb mixture and set aside.

Add the salt, cloves, and cinnamon to the remaining mixture in the bowl. Stir well.

Stir the milk-vinegar mixture and transfer to small bowl.  Add the baking soda and beaten egg.  Stir. Pour over dry ingredients in bowl. With mixer on low/stir setting, incorporate the ingredients for 15 seconds. Increase mixer speed to medium low and beat mixture for an additional minute. Stir in the raisins.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread evenly. Spread the reserved crumb mixture evenly over cake. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely before cutting and serving.  Cut cooled cake into 16 pieces. Dust with confectioner’s sugar (powdered icing sugar), if desired.

Yield: 16 servings

Country Farmhouse Crumb Cake

Old-fashioned easy-to-make crumb cake uses standard pantry supplies. Flavored with cinnamon and cloves and dotted with raisins, this cake has a lovely tender crumb.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup cold shortening
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup raisins
  • Confectioner's sugar for dusting (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 9”x9” square baking pan by greasing or lining with parchment paper.
  2. In 1-cup measuring cup, place 1 tbsp vinegar. Fill cup with milk. Let stand 5-7 minutes to sour.
  3. Meanwhile, in large bowl of stand mixer, combine the flour and brown sugar. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the shortening. Remove 1 cup of crumb mixture and set aside.
  4. Add the salt, cloves, and cinnamon to the remaining mixture in the bowl. Stir well.
  5. Stir the milk-vinegar mixture and transfer to small bowl. Add the baking soda and beaten egg. Stir. Pour over dry ingredients in bowl. With mixer on low/stir setting, incorporate the ingredients for 15 seconds. Increase mixer speed to medium low and beat mixture for an additional minute. Stir in the raisins.

  6. Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread evenly. Spread the reserved crumb mixture evenly over cake. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely before cutting and serving. Cut cooled cake into 16 pieces. Dust with confectioner’s sugar (powdered icing sugar), if desired.

 

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Farmhouse Crumb Cake
Farmhouse Crumb Cake

 

Farmhouse Crumb Cake
Farmhouse Crumb Cake

Chicken Chow Mein Casserole Recipe

Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

Casserole recipes are useful for the home cook’s meal planning. They are a convenient entrée for a dinner meal, can be prepared ahead of time, are often a great way to use leftovers and re-purpose them into a new entrée, and they can stretch the food dollar.  My Chicken Chow Mein Casserole is one that fits that bill nicely.

Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

This casserole will easily feed four people and there might be some left over for someone’s lunch the next day! This recipe calls for cooked chicken but I often substitute turkey if I have some left over from a roasted turkey.  All it takes is one cup cubed chicken which is what one good-sized chicken breast will yield. So, when you think about it – if you were to serve chicken breasts for a family of four, you would need to buy four chicken breasts for a meal. However, you can make this casserole with one good-sized chicken breast and still feed four people (see what I mean about extending the food dollar).

Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

This recipe does not take a lot of costly ingredients which makes it economical to make. Apart from the chicken breast, only celery, onion, mushrooms, a tin of cream of chicken soup, a bit of chicken broth, some garlic, red pepper, a few sliced water chestnuts (which are optional and I buy when they are on sale), some cashew pieces, and chow mein noodles are required as ingredients.

Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

For the chicken, you can use leftover chicken (or turkey) from a roasted foul, poach a chicken breast, or even use some meat from a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket.  The casserole itself is not difficult to prepare. Sauté the vegetables, open a can of soup, combine all the ingredients into a casserole, and bake in the oven.

Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

This Chicken Chow Mein Casserole can be made several hours ahead, or even the night before, so it’s ready to pop into the oven when you get home from work.

Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked chicken, cubed

3 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
¼ cup diced red pepper
2½ oz sliced mushrooms (about ¾ cup)

½ cup chicken broth
1 – 284ml tin Cream of Chicken Soup
1/8 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

½ cup cashew pieces, chopped
2½ oz (72 g) sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed

2½ oz chow mein noodles (reserve 1 oz for casserole topping)

Method:

Grease 1½ quart casserole and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.  Sauté garlic, onion, celery, red pepper, and mushrooms, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes, just until the onions are transparent.

Combine the chicken broth and soup together in bowl or large measuring cup.  Stir in the ground ginger and Parmesan cheese. Transfer the sautéed vegetables to large bowl and add the chicken, soup mixture, cashew pieces, and water chestnuts. Mix together.  Carefully fold in 1½ oz chow mein noodles.  Transfer mixture to prepared casserole and sprinkle with remaining 1 oz chow mein noodles. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until casserole is hot and bubbly.

Yield:  Apx. 4 servings

Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

An easy-to-prepare flavorful casserole that makes great use of leftover chicken.
Course Main Course
Servings 4
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked chicken, cubed
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup diced red pepper
  • 2.5 oz sliced mushrooms (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 284ml tin Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup cashew pieces, chopped
  • 2 1/2 oz sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
  • 2.5 oz chow mein noodles (reserve 1 oz for casserole topping)

Instructions

  1. Grease 1½ quart casserole and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic, onion, celery, red pepper, and mushrooms, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes, just until the onions are transparent.

  3. Combine the chicken broth and soup together in bowl or large measuring cup. Stir in the ground ginger and Parmesan cheese. Transfer the sautéed vegetables to large bowl and add the chicken, soup mixture, cashew pieces, and water chestnuts. Mix together. Carefully fold in 1½ oz chow mein noodles. Transfer mixture to prepared casserole and sprinkle with remaining 1 oz chow mein noodles.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until casserole is hot and bubbly.

 

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Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

Gluten-free Apple Pie

I earlier posted my recipe for Rustic Apple Pie.  This apple pie recipe differs from that one in two ways. First, this one is gluten free. Yes, even the lovely tender, flaky crust is gluten free.  Second, the filling is pre-cooked before being added to the pie.

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

For those following a gluten-free diet, they know how difficult it can sometimes be to find a pie pastry that closely resembles a wheat flour version.  I love making pastry and enjoy a lot of quiches and pies.  It pains me that those on a gluten-free diet cannot enjoy the same foods simply because they don’t have a good gluten-free pastry recipe.  So, I have developed this pie pastry recipe that, in my opinion, rivals any gluten version (and, in fact, is better than many I have been served).  When I first started developing gluten-free pastry, I figured it would not roll out, would crumble into bits, be hard as a rock, and/or would not transfer, in one piece, to the pie plate. However, I have adapted the basic pastry recipe I have been using for years and I could not be more pleased with it.  Serve this pastry to someone not on a gluten-free diet and I think they would be hard-pressed to know it’s gluten free!

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

So, let’s start with some hints and tips on making the pastry, many of which apply to any pastry, gluten or gluten free.

The Pastry

First, all ingredients must be cold – super cold.  Yes, even the flour should be chilled for 30-40 minutes in the refrigerator. I use a one-to-one gluten-free flour in this recipe.  I have been having great success with Bob’s Red Mills 1-to-1 gluten-free flour in my baking and find it has better flavor than gluten-free all-purpose flour and has the texture in baked goods more closely resembling a wheat-based flour.

There are various schools of thought on the type of fat to use in pastry — butter, lard, or shortening. Using all butter in pastry will give a wonderful flavor and a lovely tanned crust. It can, however, be a bit finnicky to work with because it softens very easy and can quickly be over-blended with the flour. If overworked, a tough crust is likely. While lard is easy to work with and will give layers of flakiness in the pastry, it lacks the flavour that butter gives.  Using shortening will yield a nice tender crust but, like lard, has little flavor.  As with butter, shortening softens extremely easy as it is being worked with so, if the dough is overworked, it will yield a tough crust.

I find the best combination of fats to provide flakiness, tenderness, flavour, and structure to pastry is to use one part lard and one part butter.  I coarsely chop/cube the butter and lard into the flour then take my pastry cutter and blend the fats to the consistency of large peas.  There is no need to mash it or blend it finely.

For liquid, I combine vinegar, egg, and water to equal 2/3 cup – all ingredients to be super cold.  Not all of this liquid may be required. It’s important to use only enough of the liquid that the dry ingredients are incorporated and will cling together and the dough forms a ball.  Don’t add too much liquid or you will end up with a gummy mess that will yield a tough pastry. I don’t use a food processor to make the pastry as I find it is too easy to overprocess the dough. Mixing the pastry by hand gives more control and, I find, a flakier crust.

Gluten-free pastry has a different texture and consistency than wheat-based pastry. The most noticeable difference is the lack of elasticity that wheat-based pastry has from the gluten in it. To ensure the safe transferal of pastry from counter to pie plate in one piece, I recommend rolling out the pastry between two sheets of parchment paper.  Once the pastry has been rolled to the desired thickness, generally somewhere between 1/16” about 1/8” thickness, simply remove the top sheet of parchment, slide your hand under the bottom sheet and carefully lift the pastry, flip it over into the pie plate, and peel off the parchment paper. A tip is to lightly flour the bottom piece of parchment and the top of the pastry.  This will make the task of peeling off the parchment paper easier. Fit the dough snugly into the plate and trim pastry flush with pie plate edge. I don’t like thick pie crusts so you’ll notice, from the photos, that I roll my pastry quite thin.  That’s a matter of personal preference so, if you like a thicker crust, by all means, go ahead and roll the pastry a little bit thicker.

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

Roll the pastry for the top crust the same as for the bottom crust but make sure there is no wrinkle in the parchment paper as this will form a wrinkle imprint in the pastry as the pastry is being rolled out.  This is less of a concern for the bottom pastry crust but, for presentation purposes, is an issue for the top crust.  For this reason, I recommend starting with a new piece of parchment when rolling out the top crust pastry.

Don’t forget to dampen the outside rim of the bottom pie pastry before placing the top pastry over the filling.  The pastry edge needs to be dampened lightly with water which will seal the two crusts together.

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

The Filling

My traditional apple pie recipe calls for uncooked apples mixed with spices and sugar.  That version will yield a pie where the layers of apples stay intact and totally visible once the pie is baked and sliced.  For this apple pie recipe, however, I am pre-cooking the apples by sautéing them in butter, then mixing in the sugar, spices, and cornstarch while they sauté. The result is a filling that resembles the consistency of a can of apple pie filling (only this homemade version is, in my opinion, much better!).

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

There are advantages to this method of making the filling. First, juices from the apples are released during the sautéing process and are thickened before going in to the pie. I find there is less chance of the pie boiling out significantly because the juices have already been released and thickened before going into the pie. Second, it is easier to arrange the filling in the pie because the apples have softened a bit.  Whereas for raw apples there can be gaps in the filling, there are generally none with a pre-cooked filling.

The trick to this method is to not overcook the apples because, remember, they will continue to cook as the pie bakes.  You still want to be able to see the apples (not applesauce) in the filling.  For this reason, it’s important to use apples that have a crisp, firm texture so they can stand up to the sautéing and baking and still hold shape when the pie is sliced.  My favorites are Spartans, Cortland, Pippins, Honeycrisp, and Lobo. I usually use a combination of at least three (and sometimes more) different varieties. Using a mix of apple varieties will give better flavor, especially if a blend of tart and sweet apples is used.  Slice the apples at least ¼” thick for this filling.

I use mostly brown sugar combined with a small amount of granulated sugar for this recipe.  Brown sugar will give a richer flavor and deeper color to the filling.  Choosing spices for an apple pie filling is always subjective.  Some use just cinnamon while others will add nutmeg.  I like a blend of spices in my apple pies so have chosen cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice for this recipe.  A splash of brandy (optional) will also enhance the flavor of the pie but, note, just a small splash! Either flour or cornstarch can be used to thicken the filling. Cornstarch, however, will tend to yield a more clear filling than will flour.

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

Preparing the Pie for the Oven

After the top pie pastry has been placed over the filling, the edges of the top and bottom pastries need to be pressed together to seal in the filling. There are various ways the pie edges can be joined. I tend to go with the simple pressing of the bottom and top pastry with the tines of a fork. I think this is also the easiest method to ensure the pie cuts out with the edges intact. Other methods, such as crimping, are raised up and can burn more quickly during baking and are also at risk of breaking off as the pie is cut.

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

It’s important that the top pie pastry be vented for baking. Otherwise, the crusts may be soggy from too much steam trapped in the pie.  It may also cause the top crust to leave the filling and puff up, leaving a hollow space between crust and filling.  This will cause the crust to break when the pie is sliced and, for presentation purposes, the pie slice will not be visually pleasing when plated.

Use a sharp-tipped paring knife to cut criss-crosses in the pie pastry starting in the center with a slightly large “X” and then adding smaller ones all around the circumference of the pie.  I also use the tines of a fork to prick the pie pastry in various places in the top crust pastry for added venting.

Brushing a very light coating of an egg-milk wash on the top crust will yield a crust with more “tan”.  A sprinkle of granulated sugar may also be added but note this may cause the top crust to brown fast and before the pie is baked.  If this happens, tent the pie loosely with tin foil.

I recommend placing the pie in the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes or so before baking.  This will chill the pastry and reduce chance of it shrinking significantly while baking.

Fruit pies have a tendency to boil out during baking, even if they are well vented and the filling pre-cooked, so I recommend placing the pie on a tinfoil-lined rimmed baking sheet.  If the pie does boil out, you won’t be faced with an oven cleaning job.

Baking the Pie

Preheat the oven to 425°F and bake the pie at this temperature for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 375°F and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the crust is lightly tanned and juice from the pie is bubbling slightly through vented holes.

Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and allow it cool completely before cutting.  This allows the filling to settle so it stays intact (instead of running) when the pie is cut.

Serving the Pie

This pie benefits from a few hours of refrigeration after it has cooled completely at room temperature.  The chilled pie is easier to cut and the filling stays in place.

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

The most common ways to serve apple pie are plain, with cheddar cheese, or with vanilla ice cream.

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

This gluten-free apple pie is a tasty treat indeed!

Gluten-free Apple Pie

Gluten-free Apple Pie

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Gluten-free Apple Pie

Filling

Ingredients:
2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp cornstarch

2-3 tbsp butter

2½ lbs apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into ¼” thick slices (about 8 medium-large sized apples)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp brandy (optional)

Method:
In small bowl, whisk together the brown and white sugars, spices, salt, and cornstarch.  Set aside.

Prepare apples and sprinkle with lemon juice and brandy (optional).  With large wooden spoon, gently toss apples to coat with the lemon juice and brandy.

In large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium low and add the apples.  Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring gently and frequently.

Stir in the sugar-spice-cornstarch mixture.  Cook for 4 minutes, stirring gently and frequently.  Remove from heat and cool filling completely.

While filling is cooling, prepare the pastry.

Pastry for 1 double-crusted 9” pie

2 cups (276g) gluten-free 1-to-1 flour
½ tsp salt
1½ tsp sugar

¼ cup cold butter (76g)
¼ cup cold lard (76g)

1 large egg (reserve apx 1 tsp of the yolk for the egg wash)
1 tsp white vinegar
Enough water to make 2/3 cup liquid

1-2 tsp milk
Method:

In medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and sugar together.  Cut the butter and lard into chunks and add to the flour.  With a pastry cutter, cut the butter and lard into the flour until the fats resemble the size of large peas.

In a measuring cup, whisk the egg and vinegar together.  Add enough cold water to measure 2/3 cup.  Add the egg-vinegar-water mixture to the flour, small amounts at a time, and mix with a fork.  Add only enough water that the dough clings together and can be formed into a ball.

Divide the dough in half.  Form disk shapes with each piece. Place disks in the refrigerator for about 10-12 minutes to chill. Remove one disk from the refrigerator and place between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll pastry to desired thickness, generally between 1/16”and 1/8” thickness. Peel the top piece of parchment from the rolled out pastry. Slide hand under parchment that has the rolled pastry and carefully flip it into a 9” pie plate that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray or greased.  Cut off excess dough so pastry is flush with the pie plate edge.  Place pie shell in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to chill. Remove second disk of pastry from refrigerator.

Prepare pastry for the top crust in the same manner as for the bottom crust.  Remove pie shell from refrigerator and arrange cooled pie filling in prepared cold shell. Brush edges of bottom crust along pie plate edge with a bit of water to moisten. Transfer pastry to the top of pie filling. Trim excess pastry from the pie plate edge.  Press the edge of the pastry all around the pie plate rim with tines of fork to adhere top crust to bottom crust.  Cut slits in top of pie pastry to allow steam to escape as pie bakes. For additional venting, prick the pie in several places with tines of a fork.

In small bowl, lightly beat the reserved egg yolk with 1-2 tsp milk.  With a pastry brush, lightly brush the pie with the egg-milk mixture.  Sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Place pie in refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow filling to settle and to chill pastry to reduce shrinkage while it bakes.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Transfer pie to oven. Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 375°F. Bake for another 40 minutes then test with fork inserted into slit in center of pie to determine if apples are cooked. Apples should be fork-tender when pie is done. If not done, return pie to oven and check every 5 minutes until apples are fork tender.  If pie browns too quickly before it is cooked, loosely tent pie with tin foil.  Remove pie from oven and transfer to cooling rack.

Yield:  1 – 9” pie (apx. 6 servings)

Gluten-free Apple Pie

A lightly spiced cooked apple pie filling sandwiched between a tender, flaky, and flavorful gluten-free pie crust.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 2 1/2 lbs apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4" thick slices (about 8 medium-large sized apples)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp brandy (optional)

Gluten-Free Pastry for 1 double-crusted 9" pie

  • 2 cups (276g) gluten-free 1-to-1 flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (76g) cold butter
  • 1/4 cup (76g) cold lard
  • 1 large egg (reserve apx 1 tsp of the yolk for the egg wash)
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • Enough cold water to make 2/3 cup liquid
  • 1-2 tsp milk

Instructions

  1. Filling:  In small bowl, whisk together the brown and white sugars, spices, salt, and cornstarch. Set aside.

  2. Prepare apples and sprinkle with lemon juice and brandy (optional). With large wooden spoon, gently toss apples to coat with the lemon juice and brandy.
  3. In large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and add the apples. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring gently and frequently.
  4. Stir in the sugar-spice-cornstarch mixture. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring gently and frequently. Remove from heat and cool filling completely.

  5. While filling is cooling, prepare the pastry.

Gluten-free Pastry for 1 Double-crusted Pie

  1. In medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and sugar together. Cut the butter and lard into chunks and add to the flour. With a pastry cutter, cut the butter and lard into the flour until the fats resemble the size of large peas.
  2. In a measuring cup, whisk the egg and vinegar together. Add enough cold water to measure 2/3 cup. Add the egg-vinegar-water mixture to the flour, small amounts at a time, and mix with a fork. Add only enough water that the dough clings together and can be formed into a ball.
  3. Divide the dough in half. Form disk shapes with each piece. Place disks in the refrigerator for about 10-12 minutes to chill. Remove one disk from the refrigerator and place between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll pastry to desired thickness, generally between 1/16”and 1/8” thickness. Peel the top piece of parchment from the rolled out pastry. Slide hand under parchment that has the rolled pastry and carefully flip it into a 9” pie plate that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray or greased. Cut off excess dough so pastry is flush with the pie plate edge. Place pie shell in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to chill. Remove second disk of pastry from refrigerator.
  4. Prepare pastry for the top crust in the same manner as for the bottom crust. Remove pie shell from refrigerator and arrange cooled pie filling in prepared cold shell. Brush edges of bottom crust along pie plate edge with a bit of water to moisten. Transfer pastry to the top of pie filling. Trim excess pastry from the pie plate edge. Press the edge of the pastry all around the pie plate rim with tines of fork to adhere top crust to bottom crust. Cut slits in top of pie pastry to allow steam to escape as pie bakes. For additional venting, prick the pie in several places with tines of a fork.
  5. In small bowl, lightly beat the reserved egg yolk with 1-2 tsp milk. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the pie with the egg-milk mixture. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  6. Place pie in refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow filling to settle and to chill pastry to reduce shrinkage while it bakes.
  7. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  8. Transfer pie to oven. Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 375°F. Bake for another 40 minutes then test with fork inserted into slit in center of pie to determine if apples are cooked. Apples should be fork-tender when pie is done. If not done, return pie to oven and check every 5 minutes until apples are fork tender. If pie browns too quickly before it is cooked, loosely tent pie with tin foil. Remove pie from oven and transfer to cooling rack.

 

For my Rustic Apple Pie recipe, click here.

Gluten-free Apple Pie
Gluten-free Apple Pie

Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread

Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread
Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread

This recipe is an adaptation of my great grandmother’s lemon sweet bread.  Back in her day, this sweet bread would have been considered quite a luxurious treat, perhaps one reserved for company.  She lived in a small village in rural Prince Edward Island where there was, yes, a small general corner store but I doubt that lemons would  have been altogether common all the time. I don’t know from where or when she got the recipe for Lemon Sweet Bread, but I am guessing it is probably one she clipped from the newspaper.  This great grandmother was known particularly for three foods – apple pie, peach marmalade, and lemon sweet bread. I don’t personally remember her apple pie but, I do have memories that go as far back as the 1960s and I do remember her peach marmalade and lemon sweet bread, both of which were lovingly and carefully made.

Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread
Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread

Some glaze their sweet breads with lemon juice mixed with confectioner’s sugar (aka icing sugar or powdered sugar).  I just use regular granulated sugar as I find the confectioner’s sugar can cause the glaze to be a bit “chippy” and it breaks off the sweet bread whereas the glaze made with granulated sugar is more clear or translucent and is more absorbed into the loaf for added flavor and moistness. Whichever glaze is used, however, is a matter of personal preference.

Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread
Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread

This sweet bread freezes well. In fact, I often make it, slice it, and individually wrap the slices in plastic wrap before freezing them in a freezer bag or airtight container. They are ready for quick lunch bag preparation on weekday mornings.

Buttered Slice of Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread
Buttered Slice of Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread

This loaf also goes particularly well with a lovely cup of tea.  To butter or not to butter slices of sweet breads is a matter of preference.

Buttered Slice of Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread
Buttered Slice of Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread

Ingredients:
½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2½ tsp grated lemon rind
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2/3 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup milk

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup granulated sugar

Method:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease or spray a 9”x5” loaf pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving some excess paper overhang that can be used as handles to lift loaf out of pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter then gradually beat in the sugar.  Beat, at medium speed, until the butter-sugar mixture is light coloured and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, if needed.  Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon rind. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pecans.  With the mixer speed set to low or “stir” mode, add the dry ingredients to creamed mixture, alternately with the milk, starting and ending with dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, if necessary, to ensure all ingredients are incorporated. Beat at medium-high speed an additional 20-30 seconds or so to ensure the dry ingredients have been completely incorporated. Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan, spreading batter evenly with knife.

Bake loaf for approximately 1 hour or until cake tester inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.

Glaze:  About 3-4 minutes before cake is due to come out of the oven, combine lemon juice and sugar in small bowl.  Slowly drizzle pourable glaze over hot loaf as soon as it comes out of the oven. Cool loaf in pan for about 15 minutes then carefully turn loaf out on to wire rack to finish cooling. Cool sweet bread completely before slicing and serving.

Yield:  1 – 9”x5” loaf

Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread

An easy-to-make sweet bread that is flavored with lemon and studded with pecans and topped with a lemon-sugar glaze

Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 2/3 cup milk

Glaze:

  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease or spray a 9”x5” loaf pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving some excess paper overhang that can be used as handles to lift loaf out of pan.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter then gradually beat in the sugar. Beat, at medium speed, until the butter-sugar mixture is light coloured and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, if needed. Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon rind. Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pecans. With the mixer speed set to low or “stir” mode, add the dry ingredients to creamed mixture, alternately with the milk, starting and ending with dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, if necessary, to ensure all ingredients are incorporated. Beat at medium-high speed an additional 20-30 seconds or so to ensure the dry ingredients have been completely incorporated. Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan, spreading batter evenly with knife.
  4. Bake loaf for approximately 1 hour or until cake tester inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.

Glaze:

  1. About 3-4 minutes before cake is due to come out of the oven, combine lemon juice and sugar in small bowl. Slowly drizzle pourable glaze over hot loaf as soon as it comes out of the oven. Cool loaf in pan for about 15 minutes then carefully turn loaf out on to wire rack to finish cooling. Cool sweet bread completely before slicing and serving.

    Yield: 1 – 9”x5” loaf

 

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Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread
Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread
Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread
Glazed Lemon Pecan Sweet Bread

Homemade Turkey Stock Recipe

Homemade Turkey Stock
Homemade Turkey Stock

I am always dismayed (and disheartened) at how many people toss a turkey carcass after the turkey dinner. To me, that is such a waste as there is a lot of goodness in that turkey carcass and it makes great homemade turkey stock that can be used in many recipes.

Roast Turkey
Roast Turkey

A good poultry stock is a handy staple to have on hand in the cook’s kitchen (or freezer).  The stock can be used as the base for soups, sauces, braised dishes, and gravies and it can also be used when called for in any number of different recipes and other dishes. One of the best things about a homemade stock is that you know what is in it, there are no preservatives, and the amount of salt can be controlled.

Homemade Chowder
Turkey Chowder

I usually cook turkeys that are in the 7-9 pound range. Therefore, my recipe below for turkey stock is based on the carcass from this weight range of turkey.  However, this recipe is scalable meaning, if you cook a smaller turkey, reduce the amount of ingredients proportionately and, likewise, if you cook a larger turkey, add additional measures of the ingredients called for in the recipe.

If it is not convenient to make the turkey stock right after the turkey has been roasted and carved (or the next day), simply bag up the carcass in to an airtight zippered freezer bag and toss it in the freezer and make the stock later.  In fact, at the time of writing, I have three turkey carcasses in the freezer waiting to be made in to stock whenever I need it. And that’s in addition to 16 cups of stock already made and frozen!

Homemade Turkey Stock
Homemade Turkey Stock

So, to prepare the carcass for stock making, remove all the meat you want from the carcass and use it for other purposes (or cube it up and freeze it for later use in soups or casseroles).  Leave some bits of meat on the carcass. Now, it is entirely possible to make the turkey stock with just the carcass of the roasted turkey (and some aromatics and seasonings, of course) and I have often done so.  However, by adding 2 more pounds of turkey pieces, the result will be a deepened flavor of the stock.  These can be any kind of turkey pieces at all so long as they still have bone-in -– legs, wings, thighs. Generally, I buy whatever is on sale at the time.  Brush a light coating of oil over these turkey pieces and place them in a greased roasting pan.  Place them, uncovered (or loosely tented with tin foil to prevent fat splatters), in a preheated 425°F oven for 25-35 minutes, turning once or twice during the roasting.  Remove the turkey pieces and transfer them to a heatproof dish.  Using a large wooden spoon, scrape up all the brown bits and drippings from the roasting pan. Add about ½ to ¾ cup or so of water to the roasting pan to deglaze it over medium heat, stirring up the brown bits. This will deepen the flavor of the stock when it is added to it.

You will need a very large stock pot to make this stock – one that can accommodate the size of turkey carcass you are using, two additional pounds of turkey pieces, all the veggies, and 16 cups of water. Although possible, I don’t bother breaking down the carcass unless I need to do so to get it to fit in the stock pot.  Add everything to the pot, skin included, from both the carcass and additional turkey pieces along with the liquid from the deglazed pan.

Turkey stock can be very bland if it does not have enough seasonings added to it. That’s why I add some aromatic and flavourful vegetables – carrots, leek, parsnips, onion, celery, rutabaga, mushrooms, and a hefty dose of garlic. There is no need to peel the vegetables (except for the rutabaga that often has a wax coating).  Just make sure the vegetables are very well washed.  You want all the flavour and colour you can get from the vegetables, some of which is contained in the skins/peelings which will later be discarded anyway once the stock is cooked and strained.  Celery is a big flavour agent in this stock and that’s why, in addition to the five ribs of celery called for in the recipe, the celery leaves and the celery stalk base are used to intensify the flavour. While an optional ingredient, any kind of mushrooms can be used in the stock – I usually use the white button or cremini variety.

Fresh herbs can, of course, be used in this recipe (and I do use them when it is gardening season and I have them fresh). However, I have given amounts for dried herbs because we don’t all have access to quality fresh herbs year-round.  Even though this stock will be strained, I still like to gather up all the dried herbs and spices into a bouquet garni because it corrals them and keeps the stock cleaner.  To make the bouquet garni, cut an 8” square of double layer of cheesecloth, place the herbs and spices in the center, gather up the cheesecloth, and tie it with string.  Add this lovely aromatic sachet to the stock pot.  As the stock simmers, it will be infused by the herbs and spices. Add the cold water, vinegar, bay leaves, and sea salt.  The vinegar will extract the collagen, nutrients, and minerals from the bones through the slow simmering process.  Because only a small amount of vinegar is used, it will not leave a negative taste to the stock.

Bring the ingredients almost, but not quite, to the boiling point over medium-high heat.  It’s critical that this stock NEVER boil – that will make it cloudy and the look you’re aiming for is a clear, translucent liquid. Reduce the heat to a low simmer.  The temperature of the liquid should reach and stay around the 200°F point. A candy thermometer is useful to verify the heat from time to time as the stock simmers. If the temperature of the liquid dips below 200°F, simply increase the heat just a bit to bring the temperature back up to the simmering point. If it exceeds 200°F, drop the heat back. It’s okay if you see tiny bubbles forming but they should not break the surface of the liquid. The other tip to a translucent stock is not to stir it as it is simmering. This will stir everything up and can cause clouding to occur, resulting in a murky stock. While a cloudy stock will not affect its flavour, a translucent stock is more eye appealing.

Homemade Turkey Stock
Homemade Turkey Stock

As the mixture is simmering, you will likely notice some fat from the bones rising to the surface. Periodically take a large spoon and skim this fat away and discard it.  Don’t cover the stockpot while the stock is simmering as it is more difficult to keep the liquid at the simmering point if it is covered. Also, some reduction of the liquid is required in order to achieve desired flavour. If you find that too much of the stock is evaporating too quickly, add a bit more cold water to ensure all the ingredients are submerged in the liquid. However, be cautious about adding too much water as it will dilute the flavour of the stock.

This stock can simmer away for up to 8 hours. However, I find 5-6 hours is generally sufficient. Once the stock has simmered for this length of time, remove it from the heat and strain it.  To do this, line a large colander with a double layer of damp cheesecloth. Place the colander over a clean stock pot and pour the stock into the colander.  Discard the remaining solids – i.e., the bones, vegetables, meat, and bouquet garni.  Because the meat that came off the carcass and the turkey pieces has been simmered for hours and served its purpose, it is tough and is of no significant nutritional value so I discard it. Sometimes, I find the meat after this process can have an offputting flavor so it’s not the best to use in soups or casseroles.

Wash the original stock pot in which the mixture had been simmering. Place a new piece of double-layer dampened cheesecloth in a fine wire mesh sieve and place the sieve over the clean stock pot.  Pour the stock through the sieve.  This second straining will help ensure a clear stock, free of all impurities. Place this stockpot containing the strained stock into a large sink filled with ice water to cool it quickly.  Skim off any further solidified fat as the stock cools. Place the cooled, strained stock in the refrigerator to chill completely (this will take several hours or overnight, even) then remove any remaining solidified fat from the stock’s surface.  For more intense flavored stock, it can be placed back on the stove at medium-low heat and simmered until reduced to one-half the amount, yielding a stronger, more concentrated flavour but there will obviously be less quantity.

So, apart from the necessity to use the right ingredients in the stock, the three big tips I have for making a clear, high quality stock are:  1) Don’t boil it; 2) Don’t stir it; and 3) Don’t cover it while it simmers.  Basically, put the ingredients in a large stockpot, get the liquid to the simmering point, and let it be to do its thing.

This stock will keep in the refrigerator for up to two days or it can be frozen for up to six months, at this point, in freezer-safe containers of desired size.  I usually freeze and label mine in different quantities based on what recipe I intend using it in. I will often freeze some stock in ice cube containers and use them for flavoring dishes, like rice or steamed vegetables, or stir fries where smaller amounts may be needed.

Homemade Turkey Stock
Homemade Turkey Stock

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Turkey Stock

Ingredients:
Carcass (with some meat left on it) from 7-9 lb roasted turkey
2 lbs fresh cut up turkey pieces

1 tsp mixed peppercorns
1 tsp dried rosemary
½ tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried coriander
1 tsp dried summer savory
3 whole cardamom pods
6 whole cloves
4 whole allspice
1 whole star anise pod

16 cups cold water
1 tbsp cider vinegar
3 bay leaves
1½ – 2 tsp Kosher salt, or to taste

1 large onion, skin on, halved
1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced in half lengthwise and crosswise
2 large carrots, washed, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and chopped into 3” chunks
Celery stalk base + 5 celery ribs and leaves (celery ribs cut into 3” chunks)
1 head garlic, halved crosswise, skins on the cloves
3 slices rutabaga, about ¾” thick, peeled and sliced in half
2 large parsnips, washed, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and chopped into 3” chunks
6-8 mushrooms (button or cremini), halved (optional)

Method:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush thin coating of cooking oil over raw turkey pieces. Place turkey pieces in greased baking pan.  Roast, uncovered (or loosely tented with tin foil to avoid splatters in oven) for about 25-35 minutes, turning with tongs after 15 minutes.  Remove turkey pieces from oven and transfer to heatproof dish.  Using a large wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits left in roasting pan. Mix with approximately ½ – ¾ cup of warm water. Heat over medium heat, stirring to prevent burning.

Place turkey carcass and turkey pieces into large stock pot along with the browned liquid from the roasted turkey pieces.

Using a small 8” square of double cheese cloth, gather the dried herbs and spices together in the center and tie up cheesecloth to make a bouquet garni.  Drop the sachet in to the stock pot. Add the cold water, vinegar, bay leaves, sea salt, onion, leek, carrots, celery root and ribs, garlic head, rutabaga, parsnips, and mushrooms (if using).

Bring mixture to just below the boiling point over medium high heat. DO NOT BOIL. Reduce heat to a low simmer (liquid temperature should reach and remain around the 200°F point) and let stock simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 hours. If liquid evaporates too much and too quickly, reduce the heat and add a bit more water (e.g., 1 cup, or so).  Periodically, skim the fat, as it forms, from the surface of the stock as it simmers. Do not stir mixture as it simmers as this may create a cloudy stock.

Prepare a large colander with a double layer of damp cheesecloth.  Place colander over large clean stock pot and pour the stock/broth mixture into the colander to strain it.  Discard the solids – i.e., bones, vegetables, and bouquet garni.

Wash original stock pot in which the stock was made. Line a fine mesh sieve with a new piece of double layer of damp cheesecloth and place over the clean stock pot. Pour stock through sieve to remove any remaining solids, stray herbs, etc.

Place stockpot containing the strained stock in large sink filled with ice water to cool the stock quickly.  Remove and discard any solidified fat. Place strained stock in refrigerator for several hours, or overnight, to chill completely then remove any remaining solidified fat from the chilled stock.

Use stock immediately or store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 2 days.  Alternatively, pour stock into freezer-safe containers of desired size and freeze for future use.

Yield:  Apx. 16 cups (depending on amount of evaporation and reduction that has occurred).

NOTE:  Strained stock may be reheated over medium-low heat and reduced to one-half. This will yield a stronger flavored and more concentrated product but, naturally, there will be less quantity.

Straining the stock twice through a cheesecloth-lined colander/fine mesh sieve will yield a clearer stock, free of any impurities.

This recipe is scalable – if you have a smaller turkey frame, reduce quantities of ingredients; if it is a larger frame, increase quantities proportionately.

 

Homemade Turkey Stock Recipe

Turkey carcass, combined with a blend of herbs and spices and aromatic and flavorful vegetables, makes healthy and tasty homemade turkey stock
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 Carcass (with some meat left on it) from 7-9 lb roasted turkey
  • 2 lbs fresh cut up turkey pieces
  • 1 tsp mixed peppercorns
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp dried summer savory
  • 3 whole cardamom pods
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 4 whole allspice
  • 1 whole star anise pod
  • 16 cups cold water
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 - 2 tsp Kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 large onion, skin on, halved
  • 1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced in half lengthwise and crosswise
  • 2 large carrots, washed, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and chopped into 3” chunks
  • 5 celery ribs with leaves+ celery stalk base (celery ribs cut into 3" chunks)
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise, skins on the cloves
  • 3 slices rutabaga, about ¾” thick, peeled and sliced in half
  • 2 large parsnips, washed, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and chopped into 3” chunks
  • 6-8 mushrooms (button or cremini), halved (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush thin coating of cooking oil over raw turkey pieces. Place turkey pieces in greased baking pan. Roast, uncovered (or loosely tented with tin foil to avoid splatters in oven) for about 25-35 minutes, turning with tongs after 15 minutes. Remove turkey pieces from oven and transfer to heatproof dish. Using a large wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits left in roasting pan. Mix with approximately ½ - ¾ cup of warm water. Heat over medium heat, stirring to prevent burning.
  2. Place turkey carcass and turkey pieces into large stock pot along with the browned liquid from the roasted turkey pieces.
  3. Using a small 8” square of double cheese cloth, gather the dried herbs and spices together in the center and tie up cheesecloth to make a bouquet garni. Drop the sachet in to the stock pot. Add the cold water, vinegar, bay leaves, sea salt, onion, leek, carrots, celery root and ribs, garlic head, rutabaga, parsnips, and mushrooms (if using).
  4. Bring mixture to just below the boiling point over medium high heat. DO NOT BOIL. Reduce heat to a low simmer (liquid temperature should reach and remain around the 200°F point) and let stock simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 hours. If liquid evaporates too much and too quickly, reduce the heat and add a bit more water (e.g., 1 cup, or so). Periodically, skim the fat, as it forms, from the surface of the stock as it simmers. Do not stir mixture as it simmers as this may create a cloudy stock.
  5. Prepare a large colander with a double layer of damp cheesecloth. Place colander over large clean stock pot and pour the stock/broth mixture into the colander to strain it. Discard the solids – i.e., bones, vegetables, and bouquet garni.
  6. Wash original stock pot in which the stock was made. Line a fine mesh sieve with a new piece of double layer of damp cheesecloth and place over the clean stock pot. Pour stock through sieve to remove any remaining solids, stray herbs, etc.
  7. Place stockpot containing the strained stock in large sink filled with ice water to cool the stock quickly. Remove and discard any solidified fat. Place strained stock in refrigerator for several hours, or overnight, to chill completely then remove any remaining solidified fat from the chilled stock.
  8. Use stock immediately or store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 2 days. Alternatively, pour stock into freezer-safe containers of desired size and freeze for future use. Yield: Apx. 16 cups (depending on amount of evaporation and reduction that has occurred).

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Strained stock may be reheated over medium-low heat and reduced to one-half. This will yield a stronger flavored and more concentrated product but, naturally, there will be less quantity.

Note 2: Straining the stock twice through a cheesecloth-lined colander/fine mesh sieve will yield a clearer stock, free of any impurities.

Note 3: This recipe is scalable – if you have a smaller turkey frame, reduce quantities of ingredients; if it is a larger frame, increase quantities proportionately.

Be sure to read the accompanying blog post to this recipe as it contains additional information and tips on making turkey stock.

For my recipe for homemade Beef Stock, click here.

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Homemade Turkey Stock
Homemade Turkey Stock