Zucchini Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

Drop Cookies
Zucchini Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

As the old saying goes, there’s more than one way to eat your vegetables and these cookies prove it! This cookie recipe combines ordinary zucchini with chocolate chips that results in yummy Zucchini Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies. Continue reading Zucchini Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

Green Tomato Mincemeat Recipe

Bottles of Homemade Mincemeat
Green Tomato Mincemeat

One of the most versatile foods in the garden has to be tomatoes – enjoy the ripe ones fresh or make into into sauce. Use the green tomatoes to make Green Tomato Marmalade, chow, and the list of possibilities for their use is practically endless. Today, I am sharing my recipe for another use of green tomatoes – Green Tomato Mincemeat, the uses for which are extensive. Continue reading Green Tomato Mincemeat Recipe

Rice and Spinach Salad Recipe

Mixed salad made with rice and spinach
Rice and Spinach Salad

I call this my “old faithful salad”. It’s so tasty, it’s almost addictive! This Rice and Spinach Salad is a hearty salad filled with cold cooked  long grain rice, bright green healthy fresh spinach, veggies, dried fruits and nuts, and tangy crumbled Feta. A light vinaigrette dressing is all that is needed to complete this tasty salad. Continue reading Rice and Spinach Salad Recipe

Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Side dish casserole made with green string beans
Green Bean Casserole

We always grow lots of string beans in the garden. We always think we haven’t planted enough beans so you know the drill (pun intended) … we add “just a few more” to the drill for good measure. Well, those vines sure can produce!

Green Beans
Green String Beans

After a few “feeds” of boiled green beans served as a side veggie topped with butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, I find it’s time to do something else with them. A great way to serve the green beans is in a Green Bean Casserole which is my featured recipe today. Continue reading Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Classic Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe

A sponge cake filled with jam and whipped cream
Classic Victoria Sponge Cake

Victoria Sponge Cake – sometimes called Victoria Sandwich – is one of the most basic, simple cake recipes. Essentially, it is made with basic pantry ingredients, filled with a favorite jam and whipped cream, and is unfrosted. Continue reading Classic Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe

The Garden Gate Afternoon Tea

Silver server filled with tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets
Teatime Server filled with tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets

One of my favorite meals to prepare (and enjoy) is afternoon tea. There are so many options for the menu and tea table setting.
Today, I am sharing photos from an early summer afternoon tea where I featured Aynsley’s Garden Gate teaware on my tea table.

Lily of the Valley Bouquet
Delicate Lily of the Valley on the Tea Table

My sweet little Lily of the Valley made an appearance as the main bouquet on the tea table as well as miniature versions in tiny vases at each place setting.

Tiny Lily of the Valley Bouquet for Placesetting
Dainty Lily of the Valley in Miniature Vases Mark Each Place Setting

I don’t have recipes published for all of the foods presented on this tea table but, for those that are published, I will provide hotlinks to the recipes.

Table set for teatime
Table Set for Teatime

But, first, I am introducing a vintage tea set (circa 1930s) – the Garden Gate pattern from Aynsley. There weren’t many pieces available at time of purchase but, as soon as I saw my beloved lupins on the teaset, I knew I had to have whatever pieces were available! Lupins grow wild in various colors along Prince Edward Island roadsides in June and their colorful presence is highly anticipated each year.

Lupins
Colorful Lupins in PEI

The blue and gold-edged tea plates feature a border of sprays of colorful flowers (including purple and pink lupins) and garden gates.

Aynsley "Garden Gate" Plate
Aynsley “Garden Gate” pattern Tea Plate

The matching cream and sugar are quite large but display the pattern very well.

Sugar bowl in Aynsley's "Garden Gate" pattern
Open Sugar Bowl in Aynsley’s “Garden Gate” pattern
Vintage Creamer from Aynsley
Aynsley creamer in Garden Gate Pattern

There were no cups and saucers available with these pieces though I know they do exist. I’ll keep an eye out for them in my travels so they can be added to my teaset. Part of the charm of being a teacup and teaware collector is the thrill of a find where and when you least expect it and that will complete a cherished set.

When I am setting a tea table, I don’t worry about having all the teaware match unless it is for a formal event. I find mixed pieces, so long as they somewhat match, lend a more curated and interesting look to the table. So, in this tea setting, I mixed and matched some suitable teacups in with the plates.

Most of my teacup collection is floral in some way. I am not particularly drawn to teacups with scenes on them; however, I came across a pair of these Royal Vale cups and saucers (pattern no. 7382) that feature a thatched English cottage set amidst a garden. Apart from the lovely reminder they gave me of past visits to the Cotswolds, I immediately knew they would complement the Garden Gate tea set and I believe they do.

Cup and Saucer with English Country Cottage pattern
Royal Vale Cup and Saucer Featuring English cottage and garden

For the teapot to hold our King Cole Orange Pekoe tea we enjoyed with the afternoon tea, I chose the Royal Denby (pattern no. 301202) teapot with a larkspur spray. The floral motif, along with the pastel colored teapot with an ivory background and yellow and green trim, blended in well with the floral theme of the tea.

White and yellow teapot with larkspur motif
Royal Denby Teapot with Larkspur Pattern

I used a three-tier server for the food but it is not a traditional three-tier server of plates. Rather, it is fold-up server which makes it compact for storage when not in use. This stand is lower in height than a traditional three-plate stand so makes it easy for teatime companions to see each other across the table. I think it presents the three courses of tea fare quite attractively.

Silver Tea Server Filled with Teatime Treats
Teatime Fare

So, now the menu for our three-course traditional afternoon tea. A traditional afternoon tea will have three courses – a sandwich (or savory) course, scones course, and a sweets course and the items are eaten in that order. Starting, of course, with the sandwich course, I chose two kinds of sandwiches – cucumber with an avocado spread and alfalfa sprouts presented on both white and whole wheat breads and dainty pinwheel sandwiches filled with my ham salad filling (recipe here).

Teatime sandwiches, of course, are always crustless and of a two-to-three bite size.

Teatime Sandwiches
Dainty Teatime Sandwiches

Two kinds of scones – plain and currant and orange (recipe here) – were served for the scones course.

Scones for Teatime
Scones for Teatime

The scones were served with rhubarb curd (recipe here), strawberry jam, and naturally, clotted cream.

The sweets course included parfaits made with coconut Greek yogurt and rhubarb curd, Custard Sandwich Cookies (recipe here) sandwiched together with buttercream icing, and sweet little madeleines that are a traditional teatime cake.

Sweets Course - Teatime
Teatime Sweets

Colorful artisan chocolates from Jane & Sue Chocolate in Stanley Bridge, PEI, were a tasty finale to our afternoon tea.


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Afternoon Tea Setting
Garden Gate Afternoon Tea

My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Seafood Bubbly Bake

Seafood Casserole
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Seafood Bubbly Bake

When you live on an Island where fishing is one of the main industries, it means you have access to wonderful fresh seafood. Yes, we are spoiled! Here in Prince Edward Island, where I reside, I make good use of seafood in my diet and in my recipe creations as I have done here with my Seafood Bubbly Bake. Continue reading My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Seafood Bubbly Bake

Rhubarb and Strawberry Cordial

Bottles and glasses filled with Rhubarb and Strawberry Cordial
Rhubarb and Strawberry Cordial

Two of summer’s best flavors marry to create a wonderful summertime drink. This Rhubarb and Strawberry Cordial checks off all of the boxes one would expect to find in a non-alcoholic summertime drink. It’s super tasty, has fabulous color, is refreshing and thirst-quenching, and can be made ahead and frozen. Continue reading Rhubarb and Strawberry Cordial

Gluten Free Strawberry Muffins

Strawberry Muffin on wooden board with box of strawberries in background
Gluten-free Strawberry Muffin

Achieving a recipe for gluten-free muffins that closely replicates wheat-based muffins can be a challenge. The good news is, however, that it is indeed possible as demonstrated by these tasty deli-style gluten-free strawberry muffins.

Basket of Strawberry Muffins and Box of Strawberries
Gluten-free Strawberry Muffins

A large part of the challenge surrounds the right blend of gluten-free flours and starches and then finding the right combination and amount of wet ingredients since, as you probably know if you bake gluten-free, each gluten-free flour reacts differently to liquid ingredients. So, while the list of ingredients in my gluten-free muffin recipes may appear long, each ingredient is necessary when a tasty muffin is desired. Of course, I am always aiming to achieve a nicely dome-shaped muffin and one that has a lovely muffin-like texture, much the same as you would expect a muffin to be like when made with wheat flour.

Strawberry Muffin on wooden board with rhubarb jelly and butter
Gluten-free Strawberry Muffin

Today, fresh locally grown strawberries are my featured ingredients in muffins. The berries provide a lovely little burst of wonderful flavor in the muffins. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Bowl of Strawberries
Freshly Picked Strawberries

At the bottom of this posting, you will also find links to several other gluten-free muffin recipes I have developed.

Basket of Strawberry Muffins
Gluten-free Strawberry Muffins

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Gluten Free Strawberry Muffins

Ingredients:

¾ cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup gluten-free quick cooking rolled oats
¼ cup brown rice flour
¼ cup almond flour
¼ cup gluten-free oat flour
2½ tbsp potato starch
2 tbsp ground chia seeds
1 tbsp + ¾ tsp tapioca starch
1¾ tsp zanthan gum
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
¼ cup coconut oil
2 tbsp pure maple syrup (no artificial substitutions)
1½ tsp pure vanilla
½ cup Greek-style vanilla yogurt (or ¼ cup plain vanilla yogurt + ¼ cup sour cream)
2 tbsp whole milk mixed with ¼ tsp lemon juice (let sit 5 minutes before using)

1½ cups fresh strawberries, diced (apx. 8 oz)

3 – 4 tsp turbinado sugar (optional)

Method:

Set out the eggs, yogurt, and whole milk to bring them to room temperature. If using solid coconut oil, melt and cool it completely before proceeding with recipe.

Preheat oven to 475°F.

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

Whisk the flours, rolled oats, starches, ground chia seeds, zanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together in a large bowl. 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, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir in the yogurt and milk.

Pour wet ingredients into well in dry ingredients. With large spoon, mix ingredients together just until dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Do not overmix. Gently fold in 1 cup of the diced strawberries. Batter will appear very thick, stiff, and somewhat dry at this point. This is normal for this recipe.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each cup to the rim. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup of diced strawberries over the muffins and sprinkle each muffin with a few grains of turbinado sugar, if desired. Transfer muffins to pre-heated oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 400°F. Bake for apx. 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 pan for 5 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 12 standard-sized muffins

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Gluten Free Strawberry Muffins

These Gluten-free Strawberry Muffins are a delightful treat during strawberry season. Serve with a slather of butter and/or a favorite jam or jelly.
Course Muffins
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword gluten-free, gluten-free muffins, Gluten-free Strawberry Muffins, muffins, strawberry muffins
Servings 12
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free quick cooking rolled oats
  • ¼ cup brown rice flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup gluten-free oat flour
  • tbsp potato starch
  • 2 tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp + ¾ tsp tapioca starch
  • tsp zanthan gum
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup (no artificial substitutions)
  • tsp pure vanilla
  • ½ cup Greek-style vanilla yogurt (or ¼ cup plain vanilla yogurt + ¼ cup sour cream)
  • 2 tbsp whole milk mixed with ¼ tsp lemon juice (let sit 5 minutes before using)
  • cups fresh strawberries, diced (apx. 8 oz)
  • 3 - 4 tsp turbinado sugar (optional)

Instructions

  1. Set out the eggs, yogurt, and whole milk to bring them to room temperature. If using solid coconut oil, melt and cool it completely before proceeding with recipe.
  2. Preheat oven to 475°F.
  3. Prepare 12 muffin cups (each at least ½-cup capacity) by spraying each muffin cup with cooking spray or greasing individually.
  4. Whisk the flours, rolled oats, starches, ground chia seeds, zanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together in a large bowl. 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, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir in the yogurt and milk.
  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. Gently fold in 1 cup of the diced strawberries. Batter will appear very thick, stiff, and somewhat dry at this point. This is normal for this recipe.
  7. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each cup to the rim. Sprinkle remaining ½ cup of diced strawberries over the muffins and sprinkle each muffin with a few grains of turbinado sugar, if desired. Transfer muffins to pre-heated oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 400°F. Bake for apx. 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 pan for 5 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Yield: 12 standard-sized muffins

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Strawberry Muffin on Wooden Board with Basket of Muffins and Box of Strawberries in Background

For other Gluten-free Muffin Recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Gluten-free Carrot Zucchini Muffins
Gluten-free Banana Date Muffins
Gluten-free Rhubarb Granola Muffins
Ultimate Gluten-free Zucchini Date Muffins
Gluten-free Pumpkin Mincemeat Muffins
Deli-style Gluten-free Beet Muffins
Gluten-free Blueberry Muffins
Gluten-free Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

 

Lady’s Slipper Themed Afternoon Tea

As regular followers of my food blog will know, I love china teacups and teapots! I use them regularly and, in fact, enjoy my daily afternoon tea break with tea in one of the teacups from my collection. Today, my afternoon tea is a little bit more formal than usual and it is centered around PEI’s official floral emblem – the Lady’s Slipper which blooms in June.

Pink Lady's Slipper
Lady’s Slipper – The Provincial Flower of Prince Edward Island

The Lady’s Slipper is not an altogether commonly found flower in PEI though it does indeed exist in both pink and white. I have long adored these beautiful orchids and have amassed a collection of Lady’s Slipper themed dishes and china so, today, I have selected a couple of my Lady’s Slipper teacups, cake plate, teapot, and creamer for teatime.

My latest (at time of writing) Lady’s Slipper teacup acquisition is the lovely Lady’s Slipper pattern from Elizabethan’s Canadian Provincial Flowers series.

Floral Teacup
Elizabethan Fine Bone China Lady’s Slipper Cup and Saucer

The cup has a potbellied shape and sits upon a stylish little scalloped pedestal base. The cup features heavy embossing as well as gold trim on the rim, handle, and just above the pedestal base.  The handle is a classic loop broken style.

A large pink and white Lady’s Slipper set amidst green leaves adorns the front of the cup. A tiny Lady’s Slipper appears on the inside rear of the cup and a slightly larger on the reverse exterior, both mirroring the large floral display on the front exterior of the cup.

The companion cup and saucer I have chosen for my tea table is also from Elizabethan Fine Bone China but is in a different shape with straighter sides. The floral motif on this cup is the same as the potbellied cup above.

Teacup featuring Lady's Slipper
Elizabethan Fine Bone China Cup and Saucer Featuring Lady’s Slipper pattern

So, it’s obvious that pink is going to factor significantly into my color scheme for today’s teatime. I have selected tea-sized napkins with a pink background and, not surprising, a teacup pattern! A basic flat fold is simplistic, especially on a small tea table.

Teacup Napkins
Simple Flat Napkin Fold

As it is frowned upon to pick Lady’s Slippers because the orchids tend not to rejuvenate themselves if plucked from their natural habitat, I obviously do not have any of the lovely orchids on my table.  Instead, I went to my backyard flower garden and picked a selection of pretty pink and white tulips.

Tulips in vase on tea table
An Array of Pink Tulips from my Garden

My choice of teapot features, not only the Lady’s Slipper, but an iconic PEI lighthouse and a lobster fishing boat. There is no manufacturer’s mark on the teapot so I have no information on its origins.

Teapot with flowers, lighthouse, and fishing boat
Pottery Teapot Featuring the Lady’s Slipper, a Lighthouse, and Fishing Boat

I came across a small creamer that has a matching pattern to that of the teapot. The creamer was manufactured by Jubilee Fine Bone China (England).

Creamer with flowers, lighthouse, and fishing boat
Creamer with PEI Scene

I think the teapot and creamer make a lovely set. Today, for our teatime, the teapot is holding King Cole Orange Pekoe Tea.

Matching Teapot and Creamer with Lady's Slipper Pattern
Matching Teapot and Creamer with Lady’s Slippers, Lighthouse, and Lobster Fishing Boat

Because we are making teatime a little special event today, we are starting off with Grapefruit Mimosas, a lovely cool and refreshing drink.

Mimosa in tall glass
A Tall Glass of Grapefruit Mimosa

So, of course, we are going to begin with the savory course of afternoon tea and then work our way through the scones course, and then finish off with a selection of delectable small desserts. I don’t have recipes published for every food item in this posting but, for those that I do, I will put the hotlinks into the text for easy access.

Two-tiered server filled with scones, sandwiches, and stuffed croissants for teatime
Two-tiered server filled with Scones, Cucumber Sandwiches, and Mini Lobster-stuffed Croissants

Here’s what my tea table looked like with the savory and scones courses. While I will sometimes put all three courses on a three-tier server and serve it all at once to the table, today I opted to use a two-tier server for the first two courses and then cleared the table from courses one and two and brought out the sweets plate separately.

Teatime Table
Lady’s Slipper Themed Teatime Table

Typically, for the savory course, I will provide two to three different items. That, of course, is dependent upon what I am offering and how substantial the offerings are. On today’s tea table, I have two items, the quintessential Cucumber Sandwiches in open-face fashion and the more substantial Mini Lobster Croissants served on a bed of lettuce.

Cucumber Sandwich
Open-faced Cucumber Tea Sandwich

I have used mini croissants and stuffed them with the same filling as I use in my lobster rolls (recipe here). For teatime fare, I prefer to use the smaller canner lobsters as the pieces are much smaller and identifiable when used in smaller sandwiches or croissants. Using the larger market lobster means chopping the meat resulting in the shapes of the claws, etc., often being lost when used to fill small sandwiches. Everything for teatime should be proportionately small sized and dainty. The items are not meant to be full meal-sized portions.

Lobster Croissant
Mini Lobster Croissants Perfectly Sized for Teatime

How scrumptious does this look!

Lobster Croissant
Mini Lobster Croissants and Open-faced Cucumber Sandwiches

I have opted to use plain scones for today’s teatime. The recipe I have used is my Currant and Orange Scones (click here for recipe) but I have left the currants and orange zest out, resulting in melt-in-the-mouth plain scones. Can you see the layers of buttery good flakiness!

Scones on two-tiered server
Homemade Scones

The toppings for today’s scones include the traditional strawberry jam along with rhubarb curd (recipe here) and clotted cream, of course.

Three-tiered mini server filled with scone toppings
Strawberry Jam, Rhubarb Curd, and Clotted Cream for Scones

I added a wee bit of pink gel food coloring to my Rhubarb Curd to achieve this pretty deep pink color. Left to its natural color, the curd is more of an orange shade.

Rhubarb Curd
Pretty Pink Rhubarb Curd for Scones

I am not going to venture to weigh into whether the proper way to apply clotted cream is before or after the jam or curd is applied to the scone. I am going to take the diplomatic approach and say I like it both ways!

Scones with toppings on plate and pretty teapot in background
Scones Course of Afternoon Tea

And, then of course, there is the pièce de résistance – the dessert or sweets course! Again, I typically provide a selection of 2-3 sweet treats for teatime, sometimes (but not always) featuring a signature dessert as I have done today.

Desserts for Teatime
Sweets for Teatime

Miniature Victoria Sponge Cakes filled with strawberry jam and whipped cream and topped with a fresh strawberry are the signature dessert for today’s teatime.

Victoria Sponge Cake filled with Strawberry Jam and Whipped Cream
Miniature Victoria Sponge Cake

Pretty little pink French Macarons are often a teatime offering and they certainly fit into today’s color scheme! Vanilla flavored, the Macarons are filled with buttercream icing.

Pink Macaron
Pretty Pink French Macaron

Melt-in-the-mouth Melting Moments Cookies covered in a delectable pink buttercream frosting are always a teatime favorite. The recipe for my Melting Moments can be found here.

Pretty Pink Cookie for Teatime
Melting Moments Dressed in Pink Buttercream Frosting

As an added treat to the sweet plate, I have included some locally handmade artisan chocolates produced by Jane and Sue Chocolate of Stanley Bridge, PEI. How grandly did the color of these marbleized chocolates fit in with my tea table color scheme! I simply could not resist including them.

Marbleized Chocolates
Pink and Purple Marbleized Chocolates

A sugar high for days!

Cakes, Cookies, and Macarons for Teatime
Plate of Sweet Treats to end off Teatime

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into our afternoon teatime! Have a lovely week, everyone!

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Lady's Slipper Cup and Saucer for an Afternoon Tea

Deli-style Strawberry Muffins

Berry Muffins
Deli-style Strawberry Muffins

These Deli-style Strawberry Muffins are a must make when local strawberries are in season. Those lovely plump, juicy berries add wonderful flavor to a muffin batter that is lightly spiced with cardamom and nutmeg and has just a whisper of citrus notes.

Box of Strawberries
Strawberries

The muffins are perfect for brunch, coffeebreak, or the lunch bag. Dress them up by sprinkling a few grains of turbinado sugar on each muffin just before they go in the oven. It will add a bit of crunch to the muffin top.

Berry Muffins
Deli-style Strawberry Muffins

 

[printable recipe follows at end of post]

Deli-style Strawberry Muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cardamom
⅛ tsp nutmeg
2 tsp finely grated orange rind

2 large eggs, room temperature, slightly beaten
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup Greek-style vanilla yogurt (or ¼ cup plain vanilla yogurt + ¼ cup sour cream), room temperature
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1½ tbsp milk

1½ cups fresh strawberries, diced (apx. 8 oz)

3 – 4 tsp turbinado sugar (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 475°F. Prepare muffin tins by greasing or spraying with cooking oil, ensuring the top edges of each muffin cup are also well-greased/sprayed.

In large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and nutmeg. Stir in grated orange rind. Set aside.

In medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, yogurt, vegetable oil, vanilla, and milk.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir only until barely incorporated. Do not overmix. Gently fold in strawberries. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling each cup three-quarters full. Sprinkle a few grains of turbinado sugar on top of each muffin, if desired.

Transfer muffins to oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 375°F. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Let muffins rest in muffin tins for about 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

Yield: 12 standard-sized muffins

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Deli-style Strawberry Muffins

Pockets of juicy fresh strawberries in a lightly spiced batter make these Deli-style Strawberry Muffins a delight to enjoy when local strawberries are in season.
Course Snack
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword muffins, strawberries, strawberry muffins
Servings 12
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, slightly beaten
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup Greek-style vanilla yogurt (or ¼ cup plain vanilla yogurt + ¼ cup sour cream), room temperature
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • tbsp milk
  • cups fresh strawberries, diced (apx. 8 oz)
  • 3 – 4 tsp turbinado sugar (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Prepare muffin tins by greasing or spraying with cooking oil, ensuring the top edges of each muffin cup are also well-greased/sprayed.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and nutmeg. Stir in grated orange rind. Set aside.
  3. In medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, yogurt, vegetable oil, vanilla, and milk.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir only until barely incorporated. Do not overmix. Gently fold in strawberries. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling each cup three-quarters full. Sprinkle a few grains of turbinado sugar on top of each muffin, if desired.
  5. Transfer muffins to oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 375°F. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until muffins are just firm to the touch and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  6. Let muffins rest in muffin tins for about 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

Recipe Notes

Yield: 12 standard-sized muffins

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Berry Muffins

Teatime in the Lupins

Cup of Tea and Cupcakes
Lupin Patterned Cup and Saucer by Windsor Bone China

June is one of my favorite months of the year. Prince Edward Island is so incredibly colorful with verdant green fields and the tilled red soil freshly planted with crops at this time of year. Against this backdrop are the many wildflowers that bloom in June and none are more prolific or more beautiful, in my opinion, than the tall, elegant, colorful lupins. These stunning wildflowers are the inspiration for today’s Teatime in the Lupins.

Lupins
Lupins alongside one of PEI’s red clay country roads

Lupins grow wild along many country roadsides on the Island and in abundance on my mother’s property which is where we have chosen to enjoy afternoon tea today. Put the kettle on, make yourself a brew, and come along on a recap of our lupin-inspired teatime adventure.

Below is a photo of what the sloping hill beside my Mom’s house looks like in June and this is the background I have selected for our teatime today.

Wild lupins
Lupins on the Hillside

Purple, in its various shades, is the predominant color of lupins in PEI though there are certainly pinks, whites, fuchsia, and variegated shades to be seen.

Pretty purple and pink lupins
Colorful PEI lupins

Other less common colors may include peach and yellow shades but those, most likely, would have been planted from imported seed. Lupins can often be found around patches of wild phlox. Mother Nature’s way of doing her own floral designs!

Colorful lupins
The Shades of Lupins

My Teatime in the Lupins event was, in part, inspired by the lupins and partly by my Windsor Bone China “Lupins” patterned cup and saucer. The pedestal style cup has embossed panels all around the cup which is trimmed with gold accent on the rim, base of the cup’s pedestal, and on the cup’s handle which is the loop broken style. A smaller floral spray of lupins adorns the back exterior of the cup.

Lupin themed teacup
Lupin Cup and Saucer

The matching saucer also features embossed panels to mirror the cup’s design and the saucer features sprays of lupins matching the cup’s floral motif pattern.

Pretty lupin-themed teacup
Windsor Bone China Lupin-themed Teacup and Saucer

Because I only have the one lupin-themed cup and saucer in my collection, I had to choose another floral teacup to pair with it. My choice for the second teacup is Royal Albert’s pedestal cup and matching saucer that features tri-colored violets set amidst green leaves with a blush of pale yellow in the background. This blends in well with my teatime color theme.

Violet Teacup
Royal Albert Tri-colored Violet Teacup

The stylish-shaped cup is narrow at the bottom of the bowl, widening to the top with gently ribbed panels from base to rim. The cup with its broken loop handle style has a scalloped rim with a narrow band of embossing just below the rim level.

Yellow and white teapot featuring larkspur
Royal Denby Teapot with Larkspur Floral Motif

My choice of teapot is Royal Denby’s Larkspur Pattern (no. 301202/reg no. 768985). This summery teapot has pretty rose and blue colored larkspur set against an ivory background trimmed with a yellow band and thick green line accents. I think this vintage teapot pairs well with my lupin cup and saucer since I don’t have one with the lupin motif on it.

Three-tiered server with cupcakes and cookies
Cupcakes, Cookies, and Chocolates for Teatime

Because the predominant color of PEI lupins is purple, I have chosen purple to be my main color theme for the cupcakes.  Melting Moments (my recipe here) decorated in a contrasting turquoise blue frosting are also included on the plate. Nothing says it’s afternoon teatime (well, apart from the teapot and teacups, of course) better than a tiered server.

The three-tiered server I have chosen is from Royal Tudor Ware by Barker Bros (England). The plates feature a purple and brown floral motif with turquoise accents so fit in well with my color scheme. The artisan chocolates on the top tier were handmade by Jane and Sue Chocolate from Stanley Bridge, PEI. This is a new chocolate shop just recently opened at the time of writing so, if you are in the area, be sure to check them out.

Aynsley’s “Garden Gate” pattern tea plates blend in well with the tablesetting.

Pretty floral teaplates
“Garden Gate” tea plates from Aynsley

Those plates need some teatime treats!

Cupcakes, Cookies, and Chocolates for Teatime
Vanilla Cupcakes, Melting Moments, and Artisan Chocolates

Vanilla cupcakes, Melting Moments Cookies, and locally-made artisan chocolates make for a sweet teatime. What’s not to love!

Artisan hand-made chocolates
Artisan Chocolates Handmade by Jane and Sue Chocolate, Stanley Bridge, PEI

A sugar high for hours after today’s teatime!

Pretty cupcakes, cookies and chocolates on tea table
Pretty Cupcakes, Cookies, and Chocolates for Teatime

Do you enjoy teatime outdoors, weather permitting, or do you prefer to take tea indoors, regardless the weather?

Pretty teatable against a backdrop of lupins
Teatime in a Field of Lupins

Some day in our cold Canadian winter, I will look at these photos and try and recall the warm early summer breeze on the June afternoon when we enjoyed tea and sweet treats amongst the pretty lupins!

Tea table in a field of lupins
Table set for Tea amongst the Lupins

 

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Lupin cup and saucer

Rosy Rhubarb Jelly Recipe

Dish and Jars of Red Jelly
Rosy Rhubarb Jelly

For those of you who are regular followers of my food blog, you know my love of rhubarb! I am always creating new recipes for it and that includes this fabulous beautiful-colored Rosy Rhubarb Jelly made from the strained juice of cooked rhubarb. With the smaller household in mind, I have created this stunning Rhubarb Jelly recipe to be a small batch – it should yield 3 half-pint and 1 quarter-pint jars.

Spoonful of red jelly
Rosy Rhubarb Jelly

A properly made jelly will be transparent, free from impurities like bits of fruits or their seeds. That’s why it is very important to place the cooked rhubarb pulp in a dampened fine mesh jelly bag through which the juice drips and is strained. The jelly should have a shimmer to it and a bit of jiggle but still be firm enough to hold its shape yet  spreadable. While this Rhubarb Jelly is good on toast, it really shines on scones! You can find my regular scone recipe here and my gluten-free version here.

Scone with jelly
Rosy Rhubarb Jelly with Scone

How great does this bright clear jelly look on a scone! It’s look is only matched by the fabulous flavor!

Scone with Jelly
Rosy Rhubarb Jelly on Scone

Jelly making is very process oriented and sequential in nature. For this reason, I recommend taking several reads of the method for making this Rhubarb Jelly before beginning. It is not particularly difficult but it does take time and attention. Good organization helps so I suggest setting out all the supplies and equipment needed before beginning.

Getting the exact amount of rhubarb to generate precisely 1½ cups of strained juice can be tricky. This is because the amount of juice extracted will depend on the age and quality of the rhubarb as well as the growing conditions in which it was grown – for example, if it is a wet or dry climate or season. While up to 1/3 cup of water can be added to the strained juice to bring it to the required 1½ cups, it may be a good idea to cook a wee bit extra rhubarb if you are unsure if the rhubarb you are using is of the quality that you can be assured it will juice out 1½ cups. However, if your rhubarb produces more than 1½ cups strained juice, only use the 1½ cups called for in the recipe as adding more liquid will affect the gelling process. I try to add as little water as possible to the rhubarb as it will dilute or weaken the true rhubarb flavor.

Pretty red jelly in glass bowl with jars of the jelly in the background
Rosy Rhubarb Jelly

Try this jelly on top of your favorite spreadable cheese on crackers.

Jelly and Cheese on Crackers
Rosy Rhubarb Jelly with Cheese and Crackers

And a wee bit of a closer look!

Jelly with Crackers and Cheese
Rosy Rhubarb Jelly with Cheese and Crackers

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Rosy Rhubarb Jelly

Ingredients:

1¾ lb deep red rhubarb stalks, chopped into ½“ chunks (1¾ lbs weighed after leaves and root ends removed)
2/3 cup water
¼ cup orange juice

3¼ cups granulated sugar
1 tsp butter
1 – 85ml pkg liquid pectin

Supplies and Equipment Needed:

3 half-pint and 1 quarter-pint glass canning jars for the jelly (plus 3 – 4 more half-pint jars to take up extra space in the canner basket during the hot water process (exact number needed will depend on size of canner))
4 – two-piece lid and screw band sets (lids must be brand new and not previously used); screw bands to be checked to ensure no rust or dents
Medium-sized pot for cooking rhubarb
Fine mesh jelly bag for straining cooked rhubarb
Small, heavy-bottomed stock pot for cooking jelly
Large-sized pot for sterilizing jars
Small saucepan for heating jar lids
Water bath canner with basket
Fine mesh jelly bag to filter the rhubarb pulp and strain the rhubarb juice of impurities
Jar lifter tongs
Wide-mouthed canning funnel
Ladle or heat-proof glass measuring cup
Chopstick or small non-metallic heat-proof spatula
Magnetic lid lifter
A timer

Method:

Place rhubarb, water, and orange juice in medium-sized stockpot. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until rhubarb is very soft and mushy, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and, using a potato masher, further break down the cooked rhubarb.

Transfer the cooked rhubarb to a dampened fine mesh jelly bag. If you have a jelly bag stand, affix the jelly bag to it suspended over a bowl or pot. However, if you don’t have the formal stand, simply hang jelly bag over a broom handle suspended between two chairs with jelly bag positioned over a bowl or large measuring cup to catch the juice as it extracts.

Let jelly bag containing the rhubarb suspend, undisturbed, to allow the juice to extract and strain on its own. This may take anywhere from an hour or so to a couple of hours or longer, depending on the quality and age of the rhubarb as well as the local climate growing conditions in which the rhubarb was grown. Do not squeeze the jelly bag or try to force the juice through quicker as this will result in a cloudy/murky jelly. The rhubarb pulp should yield 1½ cups of strained juice. However, if it is short the 1½ cups, up to 1/3 cup water may be added to yield 1½ cups liquid. If it yields more than 1½ cups of juice, only use the 1½ cups called for in the recipe as adding more juice will affect the gelling process.

When the rhubarb is nearing the end of its straining, prepare the bottles and canner. Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water, first checking to ensure that the jars have no cracks or chips in them. Rinse. Fill a large pot with hot tap water, about ¾ full. Place the half-pint and quarter pint jars, upright, into the water (the extra bottles will be go into the canner to fill it up so the filled jars do not topple over during the hot water process). While the extra jars do not need to be sterilized, they do need to be hot going into the canner of boiling water as, otherwise, they may crack with the temperature change. Ensure the jars are fully submerged, each jar filled with water, and that the water is at least an inch over the tops of the jars. Cover, bring to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and leave the jars in the hot water to have ready to fill once the jelly finishes cooking.

Fill the canner about half full of hot tap water. Cover and bring to a boil to have it ready for processing of the filled jars as the filled jelly jars must immediately go into the canner to be processed while the jelly is still hot. Ensure the canner water is boiling before beginning to cook the jelly as there will not be enough time to get it to the boiling point once the jelly is in the bottles and ready for immediate processing. Boil a kettle of extra water to have ready, if needed, to top up the canner water after filled jars are added.

Place 1½ cups rhubarb juice and the sugar in a small stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the butter. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring frequently. Add the liquid pectin and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring continuously. Immediately remove stockpot from heat and skim off any residual foam.

Use jar lifter tongs to carefully remove three half pints and the quarter pint hot sterilized jars from the water, one at a time, emptying the water from the jars back into the pot. Drain jars well.

Remove a small amount of the hot water from the stockpot in which the jars were sterilized and place in small saucepan over simmering heat. Place the lids in the hot water to soften the rubber sealing compound. Do not boil the lids.

Using a ladle, or a heat-proof glass measuring cup, and a wide-mouthed canning funnel, pour jelly into the hot sterilized jars, leaving about ¼” headroom in each jar to allow for expansion during the hot water processing. Remove any trapped air bubbles in the jars with a chopstick or small heatproof, non-metallic spatula. Wipe the jar rims with a clean damp cloth to remove any stickiness or jelly particles that could prevent the lids from sealing properly to the jars.

Using a magnetic lid lifter, remove lids from the hot water and center the heated lids on jars so the sealing compound on the lid edges aligns with the jar rims. Fingertip tighten the ring/screw bands until resistance is encountered. Do not over-tighten.

Using jar lifter tongs, carefully place filled jars upright in wire basket positioned in the canner, ensuring jars do not touch each other or fall over. Add some of the hot empty jars, upright, to the basket to fill up space so the filled jars do not topple over. Let the empty jars fill with water from the canner as they are submerged. Ensure the water level is at least 1” above the tops of jars, adding more boiling water as necessary. Cover with canner lid. Return the water to a full rolling boil over high heat then decrease the heat to just keep the water at a moderately rolling boil but not boiling over. Process jars in the hot water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting time as and if necessary for altitude. Start timing the processing from the point at which a full rolling boil is reached after jars have been added to the canner. At the end of the processing time, turn off heat and remove canner lid.

Let jars sit in the hot water for 5 minutes then, using jar lifter tongs, carefully remove the jars filled with jelly, upright and one at a time, and transfer them to a heat-proof cutting board that has been covered with a towel, 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 counter for 24 hours. Then, test each jar for proper sealing by pressing down gently on the center of each jar lid. If the lid is already pressed downward, and does not pop back up, it is properly sealed. Any jars that do not pass this test should be refrigerated and the jelly used within a week or so. Store properly sealed jelly bottles in cool, dark place. Refrigerate jelly once jar has been opened.

Yield: Apx. 3 half-pint bottles and 1 quarter-pint bottle

NOTE 1: The small ½-cup (quarter-pint) jar does not actually need the full 10 minutes of hot water canning. However, to remove it partway through, at the 5-minute point in the boiling process, would disturb the rolling boil and timing and thus interfere with the proper canning of the larger half-pint jars so, there are a couple of options. The first is to let the small jar remain in the hot water bath with the half-pint jars for the full 10-minute period. The second option is not to process the tiny jar in the hot water and to, instead, use it as the “tasting jar”, refrigerating and consuming the jelly within a couple of days. However, if the desire is to can the entire batch of jelly into the small ½-cup (quarter-pint) jars, then process the basket of them for 5 minutes, instead of 10. These tiny bottles make great gifts, especially if they are accompanied by fresh scones!

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Rosy Rhubarb Jelly

This beautiful Rosy Rhubarb Jelly is the perfect springtime treat. Lovely on toast for a breakfast treat; delightful on scones.
Course Jelly
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword jelly, rhubarb, rhubarb jelly
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • lb deep red rhubarb stalks, chopped into ½“ chunks (1¾ lbs weighed after leaves and root ends removed)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 – 85ml pkg liquid pectin

Instructions

  1. Place rhubarb, water, and orange juice in medium-sized stockpot. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until rhubarb is very soft and mushy, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and, using a potato masher, further break down the cooked rhubarb.
  2. Transfer the cooked rhubarb to a dampened fine mesh jelly bag. If you have a jelly bag stand, affix the jelly bag to it suspended over a bowl or pot. However, if you don’t have the formal stand, simply hang jelly bag over a broom handle suspended between two chairs with jelly bag positioned over a bowl or large measuring cup to catch the juice as it extracts.
  3. Let jelly bag containing the rhubarb suspend, undisturbed, to allow the juice to extract and strain on its own. This may take anywhere from an hour or so to a couple of hours or longer, depending on the quality and age of the rhubarb as well as the local climate growing conditions in which the rhubarb was grown. Do not squeeze the jelly bag or try to force the juice through quicker as this will result in a cloudy/murky jelly. The rhubarb pulp should yield 1½ cups of strained juice. However, if it is short the 1½ cups, up to 1/3 cup water may be added to yield 1½ cups liquid. If it yields more than 1½ cups of juice, only use the 1½ cups called for in the recipe as adding more juice will affect the gelling process.
  4. When the rhubarb is nearing the end of its straining, prepare the bottles and canner. Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water, first checking to ensure that the jars have no cracks or chips in them. Rinse. Fill a large pot with hot tap water, about ¾ full. Place the half-pint and quarter pint jars, upright, into the water (the extra bottles will be go into the canner to fill it up so the filled jars do not topple over during the hot water process). While the extra jars do not need to be sterilized, they do need to be hot going into the canner of boiling water as, otherwise, they may crack with the temperature change. Ensure the jars are fully submerged, each jar filled with water, and that the water is at least an inch over the tops of the jars. Cover, bring to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and leave the jars in the hot water to have ready to fill once the jelly finishes cooking.
  5. Fill the canner about half full of hot tap water. Cover and bring to a boil to have it ready for processing of the filled jars as the filled jelly jars must immediately go into the canner to be processed while the jelly is still hot. Ensure the canner water is boiling before beginning to cook the jelly as there will not be enough time to get it to the boiling point once the jelly is in the bottles and ready for immediate processing. Boil a kettle of extra water to have ready, if needed, to top up the canner water after filled jars are added.
  6. Place 1½ cups rhubarb juice and the sugar in a small stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the butter. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring frequently. Add the liquid pectin and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring continuously. Immediately remove stockpot from heat and skim off any residual foam.
  7. Use jar lifter tongs to carefully remove three half pints and the quarter pint hot sterilized jars from the water, one at a time, emptying the water from the jars back into the pot. Drain jars well.
  8. Remove a small amount of the hot water from the stockpot in which the jars were sterilized and place in small saucepan over simmering heat. Place the lids in the hot water to soften the rubber sealing compound. Do not boil the lids.
  9. Using a ladle, or a heat-proof glass measuring cup, and a wide-mouthed canning funnel, pour jelly into the hot sterilized jars, leaving about ¼” headroom in each jar to allow for expansion during the hot water processing. Remove any trapped air bubbles in the jars with a chopstick or small heatproof, non-metallic spatula. Wipe the jar rims with a clean damp cloth to remove any stickiness or jelly particles that could prevent the lids from sealing properly to the jars.
  10. Using a magnetic lid lifter, remove lids from the hot water and center the heated lids on jars so the sealing compound on the lid edges aligns with the jar rims. Fingertip tighten the ring/screw bands until resistance is encountered. Do not over-tighten.
  11. Using jar lifter tongs, carefully place filled jars upright in wire basket positioned in the canner, ensuring jars do not touch each other or fall over. Add some of the hot empty jars, upright, to the basket to fill up space so the filled jars do not topple over. Let the empty jars fill with water from the canner as they are submerged. Ensure the water level is at least 1” above the tops of jars, adding more boiling water as necessary. Cover with canner lid. Return the water to a full rolling boil over high heat then decrease the heat to just keep the water at a moderately rolling boil but not boiling over. Process jars in the hot water bath for 10 minutes, adjusting time as and if necessary for altitude. Start timing the processing from the point at which a full rolling boil is reached after jars have been added to the canner. At the end of the processing time, turn off heat and remove canner lid.
  12. Let jars sit in the hot water for 5 minutes then, using jar lifter tongs, carefully remove the jars filled with jelly, upright and one at a time, and transfer them to a heat-proof cutting board that has been covered with a towel, 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 counter for 24 hours. Then, test each jar for proper sealing by pressing down gently on the center of each jar lid. If the lid is already pressed downward, and does not pop back up, it is properly sealed. Any jars that do not pass this test should be refrigerated and the jelly used within a week or so. Store properly sealed jelly bottles in cool, dark place. Refrigerate jelly once jar has been opened.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 3 half-pint bottles and 1 quarter-pint bottle

NOTE 1: The small ½-cup (quarter-pint) jar does not actually need the full 10 minutes of hot water canning. However, to remove it partway through, at the 5-minute point in the boiling process, would disturb the rolling boil and timing and thus interfere with the proper canning of the larger half-pint jars so, there are a couple of options. The first is to let the small jar remain in the hot water bath with the half-pint jars for the full 10-minute period. The second option is not to process the tiny jar in the hot water and to, instead, use it as the “tasting jar”, refrigerating and consuming the jelly within a couple of days. However, if the desire is to can the entire batch of jelly into the small ½-cup (quarter-pint) jars, then process the basket of them for 5 minutes, instead of 10. These tiny bottles make great gifts, especially if they are accompanied by fresh scones!

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Small bowl of bright red jelly

 

You may also enjoy these other jam and jelly recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen:

Jams
Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam
Blueberry and Grand Marnier Jam
Gooseberry Jam
Zucchini Jam
Pumpkin Jam
Small Batch Cherry Jam

Jelly
Crabapple Jelly

Marmalade
Green Tomato Marmalade
Rhubarb Marmalade
Peach Marmalade

Classic Broccoli Salad Recipe

Bowl of Vegetable Salad
Classic Broccoli Salad

This classic Broccoli Salad is wonderfully tasty and can be served with a number of different meals. It is great for potlucks, cookouts, and picnics (provided, of course, it is kept cold due to the mayo and sour cream content).

Chicken and rice served with side vegetable salad
Broccoli Salad as a side to a main meal

The salad is a great way to add veggie content to the diet. The ingredients are commonplace and the method is simple. Cook the bacon till crispy then crumble. Wash and chop the vegetables. Prepare a simple dressing and pour over salad ingredients. Yes, it really is that simple!

I like to use balsamic vinegar in the salad dressing as it has a lovely deep flavor and is not as sharp as regular white vinegar, for example. However, plain white vinegar or a red wine vinegar also work well. I suggest trying different flavored balsamics to switch up the flavor.

Bowl of vegetable salad
Classic Broccoli Salad

For best flavor, I recommend refrigerating the salad for at least 45 minutes prior to serving. It can be prepped several hours ahead. Just add the sunflower seeds at time of serving as, otherwise, they may get soft and lose their desired crunchiness.

With the smaller household in mind, I have proportioned this salad to be small with 3-4 servings. The lovely thing about this salad — well apart from the wonderful flavor — is that it is completely scalable so, if more servings are needed, it is easily doubled or tripled or even quadrupled.

Chicken, rice, and a side salad
Broccoli Salad

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Broccoli Salad

Ingredients:
2 cups chopped broccoli, small bite-sized pieces
3 slices crispy fried bacon, crumbled
1/3 cup sweet pepper (red, yellow, or orange), chopped
¼ cup red onion, chopped
2 tbsp shredded carrot
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Dressing:
¼ cup salad dressing
2 tbsp sour cream
½ tbsp pure maple syrup
½ tbsp granulated sugar
½ tbsp vinegar (balsamic, red wine, or white)
1½ tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp garlic salt (optional)

2 tbsp sunflower seeds
Sprinkle of freshly chopped chives (optional)

Method:

Prepare vegetables and bacon. Place in bowl along with the dried cranberries.

For Dressing: Combine all ingredients in small bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour half the dressing over the prepared vegetables and mix to coat vegetables then repeat with remaining dressing. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before serving. At time of serving, sprinkle salad with sunflower seeds and, if desired, chopped chives.

Yield: Apx. 3 – 4 side salad servings

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Broccoli Salad

A perfect side to many meals, this easy-to-make classic Broccoli Salad is also a perfect addition to potlucks, picnics, and cookouts.
Course Salad
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword broccoli, broccoli salad, salad
Servings 4
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped broccoli, small bite-sized pieces
  • 3 slices crispy fried bacon, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup sweet pepper (red, yellow, or orange), chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp shredded carrot
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • Dressing:
  • ¼ cup salad dressing
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • ½ tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ½ tbsp granulated sugar
  • ½ tbsp vinegar (balsamic, red wine, or white)
  • tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp garlic salt (optional)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • Sprinkle of freshly chopped chives (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare vegetables and bacon. Place in bowl along with the dried cranberries.

  2. For Dressing: Combine all ingredients in small bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour half the dressing over the prepared vegetables and mix to coat vegetables then repeat with remaining dressing. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before serving. At time of serving, sprinkle salad with sunflower seeds and, if desired, chopped chives.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 3 - 4 side salad servings

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Bowl of Vegetable Salad

Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

Bowl of chicken soup
Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup

Sometimes, nothing but a soothing old-fashioned soup will do and it doesn’t get more classic than this comforting Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup.

However, Chicken Noodle Soup can sometimes be, well, blah and rather tasteless unless it has some seasoning. I am a big believer in layering in flavors to create a tasteful dish and that is how I have designed this soup.

Whether you simply crave homemade comfort food or you’re feeling under the weather, this soothing and nourishing broth-based Chicken Noodle Soup will be just what’s needed.

Pre-Preparation

I highly recommend some pre-prep work to make the soup-making process easier and more efficient. Start by removing the chicken pieces from the refrigerator at least 20-30 minutes before searing them as they will sear better if they are not super cold.

Chop the onions and slice or dice the carrots and celery. Mince the garlic. Measure out the poultry stock and seasonings. Weigh the noodles and, if using, squeeze the lemon juice.

Chicken

Use chicken with skin on and bone in for this soup. Starting with raw chicken (as opposed to already cooked chicken) helps to create a good flavor base for the soup. Choosing chicken that has the bone in will add more flavor than will boneless chicken pieces. Leaving the skin on the chicken allows the fat to add flavor to the soup and is useful when searing the chicken as explained below. So long as the weight of chicken called for in the recipe remains the same, any cut of, or combination of, chicken pieces can be used – e.g., chicken breasts, thighs, legs. That said, breasts and thighs will yield more meat. For ease of cooking, I recommend using similarly-sized pieces that will all cook for about the same amount of time. I used equal-sized chicken breasts for the soup in the photos.

Searing the chicken pieces till the skin is golden-brown helps to keep the meat moist and provides an outer “buffer”, to insulate the chicken as it continues to cook in the stock thus helping to prevent the chicken from becoming dried out and rubbery. Of course, searing the chicken till it is golden-brown, helps to add color and flavor to the soup. If you have a grease splatter screen/guard that fits the top of your stockpot, I recommend using it to avoid fat splatters and potential skin burns as the chicken sears. It will spit and splatter so do be careful around it.

Use an instant read thermometer to test chicken for doneness (165°F internal temperature), inserting the thermometer into the thickest meat part of one of the chicken pieces that has temporarily been removed from the stock to have its temperature taken. The cooking time I have suggested in the recipe is to be used as a gauge only as cooktops vary in their heat generation and chicken pieces cook at different lengths of time based on their cut and size. Use a thermometer for accuracy. Do not overcook the chicken.

After searing the chicken pieces, be sure to deglaze the stockpot with a bit of the poultry stock called for in the recipe. Scrape up any brown bits left in the bottom of the pan from searing the chicken. These little tidbits will add great flavor and additional color to the soup.

Poultry Stock

I prefer to use my own homemade poultry stock as the base for soups. You can find my recipe here. I find it is flavorful and I can recognize and pronounce all the ingredients in it so I know what I am eating! I never throw out a chicken or turkey carcass as it makes fabulous stock. I always have a ready stash of poultry stock in my freezer to use as the base for making soups which are a mainstay in my diet.

Homemade Turkey Stock
Homemade Poultry Stock

While I recommend the use of homemade stock, commercial stock from your grocer’s store shelf can be used if you don’t have homemade stock on hand. Just be sure to buy a good quality, flavorful stock and preferably one that is not overly salty. Sometimes, some commercial brands are little more than lightly colored salted water, in my opinion, and they will not give your soup either flavor or color. Because this is a broth-based soup, use a high-quality stock as it is the key ingredient to this soup’s flavor.

Mirepoix – Well Not Quite

A traditional French mirepoix would have an exact ratio of 2:1:1 of onion to carrots and celery and the veggies would be very uniformly and finely chopped. While I will often adhere to this holy grail ratio, sometimes, my tastebuds lead me in another direction, especially when I don’t want to over-do the onion flavor and yet want the bulk of more celery and carrot in the dish. I wanted a cup each of celery and carrot but not 2 cups of onion as per typical mirepoix ratio which would, in my opinion, overpower the soup’s desired flavor (I am using 1 1/3 cups chopped onion in this recipe). So, all this to say….in my view, sometimes it’s the cook’s prerogative to go with taste versus scientific ratio (some chefs may, no doubt, beg to differ!). Sautéing these aromatics before adding them to the soup, allows them to release their flavors that will give deep, well-rounded flavor to the soup.

Vintage bowls filled with homemade chicken soup
Chicken Noodle Soup
Noodles

Almost any noodles can be used in this soup. I typically use broken up pieces of thinner type pastas like spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine, broken into about 3” pieces. However, wider egg noodles or other pasta shapes, for example, can certainly be used in this recipe. These are added near the end of the cooking and should only be cooked until they are barely al dente.

Vegetables

Any kind of favorite mixture of frozen vegetables can be used in this soup. I often make it with nothing more than peas and/or corn (as was done with the batch of soup shown in this post’s photographs where frozen corn was the sole frozen vegetable used). However, there are so many different frozen vegetable combinations on the market today that there is a mixture for everyone’s taste. Just make sure, whatever vegetables you choose to use, are not overcooked. They should just be al dente.

Season As You Go

I recommend tasting the soup as it is being made and adding additional salt and freshly ground pepper conservatively. The amount needed will largely depend on the kind of poultry stock used. If it already has a hefty amount of salt in it, then the soup will need very little additional salt.

Broth-based Soup

This soup is meant to be a broth-based soup. However, I do add a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with water to form a paste. Be sure to temper this paste with a bit of the soup’s hot liquid so that it will blend well when added to the soup. This amount of cornstarch is minimal compared to the amount of liquid in the soup so it won’t make it a thick “chowder consistency”. It will, however, strengthen and give a bit more body to the broth so it won’t be quite so thin and watery. This addition is optional so, if your preference is to have a very thin broth base, by all means, skip this step.

Add a Spritz or a Splash of Freshly-squeezed Lemon Juice

This step is totally optional but, at the time of serving, a light spritz or splash of freshly-squeezed lemon juice can add a bit of brightness to the soup’s flavor and the lemon’s acid balances out any salty flavor which is especially useful if using a salt-laden commercial stock. A word of caution, though, go easy on the amount of lemon juice used as adding too much will quickly turn this lovely flavorful soup into a not-so-pleasant sour soup.

Add a splash of lemon to brighten the flavor of chicken soup
Chicken Noodle Soup
Freezing the Soup

This soup freezes well so is great to have on hand. Freeze it in freezer-safe containers of desired serving size. Be sure to label and date the soup.

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

2-3 tbsp cooking oil
2 – 2½ lbs chicken pieces (e.g., breasts/thighs, bone-in and skin on)

7 cups poultry stock
1 large bay leaf
1½ tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp dried Basil
½ tsp dried summer savory
½ tsp dried turmeric
¼ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp dried dill
1/8 tsp ground dried fennel
Salt and pepper

1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 1/3 cups chopped onion
1 cup carrots, diced or sliced thin
1 cup celery, diced or sliced thin
Sprinkle of salt
3-5 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with water to form a paste

4 oz uncooked noodles of choice (e.g., egg noodles, broken spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, or other pasta shapes)
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables of choice
Salt and pepper, to taste

2 – 3 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

Method:

Pre-Prep:

Remove chicken pieces from refrigerator at least 20-30 minutes before searing.

Prepare and measure the onion, carrots, and celery and mince the garlic.

Measure poultry stock and weigh the noodles. Measure out seasonings and cornstarch.

Prepare lemon juice, if using.

Heat cooking oil in large, heavy-bottomed, stockpot over medium heat. Season both sides of chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the chicken pieces, skin side down, for about 3-4 minutes, just until skin is a golden-brown color. Flip the chicken pieces over and repeat on the bone side. Remove and transfer chicken to a heat-proof cutting board.

Over medium heat, deglaze, with a couple of tablespoons of the poultry stock, the large stockpot in which the chicken pieces were seared. Scrape up any brown bits remaining from the chicken. Add the remaining poultry stock, bay leaf, seasonings, and chicken pieces. Bring mixture just to the boiling point then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered for approximately 15-20 minutes (see Note below re cooking time).

When the chicken has been cooking for about 10 minutes, prepare the aromatic vegetables as follows. Add olive oil to a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When heated, add the butter and, once melted, add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 6 minutes. Add a sprinkle of salt as the vegetables sauté. Add the minced garlic cloves and stir continuously for about 30-45 seconds until garlic is fragrant, being careful not to scorch the garlic. Remove from heat.

When the chicken has been cooking about 15 minutes, remove one of the chicken pieces from the stock and insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of a chicken piece to test for doneness (see NOTE below regarding cooking time). When chicken tests done (165°F internal temperature), remove the chicken pieces from the stockpot and transfer to a heat-proof cutting board. Allow chicken to cool slightly then, when it is just cooled enough to handle, use forks or fingers to remove and discard skin and bones and shred, or chop, chicken into bite-sized portions.

While chicken is cooling and being shredded or chopped, reduce heat under stockpot containing the poultry stock to medium-low, skim off any visible fat that may have surfaced, and add the sautéed vegetables. Cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes then add the noodles and frozen vegetables. Cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes.

Reduce heat slightly. Whisk cornstarch with a small amount of water to make a paste. Temper with a bit of the hot soup liquid and stir cornstarch mixture into the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer soup for a few minutes longer, just until noodles and vegetables are al dente. Stir chicken back into stock pot to heat (3-4 minutes). Do not boil. Remove and discard bay leaf.

If desired, add a spritz or a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice just at time of serving to brighten up and balance out the soup’s flavor. Don’t over-do it on the addition of lemon juice as it is easy to turn this into a sour soup.

Serve soup with crackers, biscuits, or bread of choice.

Soup freezes well.

Yield: Apx. 10 cups

NOTE: The cooking time for the chicken that I have suggested in the recipe is to be used as a gauge only as cooktops vary in their heat generation and chicken pieces cook at different lengths of time according to their size and cut. The cooking times suggested in this recipe are based on chicken breast cuts. Other cuts and sizes of chicken pieces may require different cooking times. Use an instant read thermometer for accuracy to ensure that the chicken is properly and safely cooked.

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Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup

This hearty made-from-scratch Chicken Noodle Soup is flavorful, nourishing, and the perfect comfort soup made with poultry stock and loads of chicken meat.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword Chicken, chicken noodle soup, chicken soup, soup,
Servings 8
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 - 2½ lbs chicken pieces (e.g., breasts/thighs, bone-in and skin on)
  • 7 cups poultry stock
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp dried Basil
  • ½ tsp dried summer savory
  • ½ tsp dried turmeric
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp dried dill
  • 1/8 tsp ground dried fennel
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup carrots, diced or sliced thin
  • 1 cup celery, diced or sliced thin
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with water to form a paste
  • 4 oz uncooked noodles of choice (e.g., egg noodles, broken spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, or other pasta shapes)
  • 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables of choice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 – 3 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

Instructions

Pre-Prep:

  1. Remove chicken pieces from refrigerator at least 20-30 minutes before searing.
  2. Prepare and measure the onion, carrots, and celery and mince the garlic.
  3. Measure poultry stock and weigh the noodles. Measure out seasonings and cornstarch.
  4. Prepare lemon juice, if using.
  5. Heat cooking oil in large, heavy-bottomed, stockpot over medium heat. Season both sides of chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the chicken pieces, skin side down, for about 3-4 minutes, just until skin is a golden-brown color. Flip the chicken pieces over and repeat on the bone side. Remove and transfer chicken to a heat-proof cutting board.
  6. Over medium heat, deglaze, with a couple of tablespoons of the poultry stock, the large stockpot in which the chicken pieces were seared. Scrape up any brown bits remaining from the chicken. Add the remaining poultry stock, bay leaf, seasonings, and chicken pieces. Bring mixture just to the boiling point then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered for approximately 15-20 minutes (see Note below re cooking time).
  7. When the chicken has been cooking for about 10 minutes, prepare the aromatic vegetables as follows. Add olive oil to a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When heated, add the butter and, once melted, add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 6 minutes. Add a sprinkle of salt as the vegetables sauté. Add the minced garlic cloves and stir continuously for about 30-45 seconds until garlic is fragrant, being careful not to scorch the garlic. Remove from heat.
  8. When the chicken has been cooking about 15 minutes, remove one of the chicken pieces from the stock and insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of a chicken piece to test for doneness (see NOTE below regarding cooking time). When chicken tests done (165°F internal temperature), remove the chicken pieces from the stockpot and transfer to a heat-proof cutting board. Allow chicken to cool slightly then, when it is just cooled enough to handle, use forks or fingers to remove and discard skin and bones and shred, or chop, chicken into bite-sized portions.
  9. While chicken is cooling and being shredded or chopped, reduce heat under stockpot containing the poultry stock to medium-low, skim off any visible fat that may have surfaced, and add the sautéed vegetables. Cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes then add the noodles and frozen vegetables. Cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes.
  10. Reduce heat slightly. Whisk cornstarch with a small amount of water to make a paste. Temper with a bit of the hot soup liquid and stir cornstarch mixture into the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer soup for a few minutes longer, just until noodles and vegetables are al dente. Stir chicken back into stock pot to heat (3-4 minutes). Do not boil. Remove and discard bay leaf.

  11. If desired, add a spritz or a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice just at time of serving to brighten up and balance out the soup’s flavor. Don’t over-do it on the addition of lemon juice as it is easy to turn this into a sour soup.
  12. Serve soup with crackers, biscuits, or bread of choice.
  13. Soup freezes well.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 10 cups

NOTE: The cooking time for the chicken that I have suggested in the recipe is to be used as a gauge only as cooktops vary in their heat generation and chicken pieces cook at different lengths of time according to their size and cut. The cooking times suggested in this recipe are based on chicken breast cuts. Other cuts and sizes of chicken pieces may require different cooking times. Use an instant read thermometer for accuracy to ensure that the chicken is properly and safely cooked.

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Bowl of homemade chicken soup

Goat Cheese and Basil Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Breaded Stuffed Chicken Breast
Goat Cheese and Basil Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Designed with the smaller household of two in mind, the recipe for these delectable Goat Cheese and Basil Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts is easily scalable to the number of servings required. So, for example, if you need four servings, simply double the ingredients called for in the recipe. Continue reading Goat Cheese and Basil Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Custard Sandwich Cookies Recipe

Cookies Sandwiched with Pink Buttercream Icing surrounded by pink flowers
Pretty Custard Sandwich Cookies

These Custard Sandwich Cookies bear some resemblance to those that many know as Melting Moments, my recipe for which can be found here. The primary difference between these Custard Sandwich Cookies and Melting Moments is that the latter contains cornstarch giving the cookies what is commonly known as a “short”, ever-so-slightly crisp, texture while the Custard Sandwich Cookies contain vanilla custard powder that gives them a wonderful soft, creamy, and slightly crumbly texture as well as additional flavor and a more yellowish color. Continue reading Custard Sandwich Cookies Recipe

(Mostly) PEI and Maritime Food – Good Food for a Good Life!