Category Archives: Recipes

Classic Banana Bread Recipe

Banana Quick Bread
Classic Banana Bread

This Classic Banana Bread is super moist and tasty.  Best of all, it’s really easy to make and, apart from the bananas, takes only standard pantry ingredients.  It’s the perfect way to use up extra ripe bananas since Banana Bread is best made with overripe bananas. They have so much flavor and add the extra moisture for which banana bread is known. Continue reading Classic Banana Bread Recipe

How To Make Perfect Scones

Scones
Scones

There is just something absolutely delightful about fresh scones still warm from the oven.  Ever so much better they are when slathered with a dollop of either clotted cream or English double cream and a favorite jam or lemon curd. This posting today is all about how to make perfect scones. Continue reading How To Make Perfect Scones

Gluten-free Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

I am not a fan of muffins that have a cake-type texture.  I like the muffins, whether wheat-based or gluten-free, to be deli-or café-style, hearty, and generously sized.  That’s exactly how I have created these tasty Gluten-free Blueberry Zucchini Muffins to be! Continue reading Gluten-free Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites

These Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites prove there is more than one way to enjoy coffee!

Energy Balls
Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites

Energy bites are known by several different names including energy balls, power balls, or bliss balls. A tasty, portable, and convenient on-the-go snack, these bites are great for the lunch bags. They are also  the perfect pre- or post-workout snack. I often take one with me if I am out running errands and they are a frequent snack packed when I travel as they can be consumed on the go.

Energy Balls
Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites

One of the best places I find for ingredients for these energy bites is my local bulk food store. Here, I can purchase just the precise amount of each ingredient needed for the recipe and I am not left with a big bag or container of some ingredient I might not use for anything else.

This recipe for Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites calls for Medjool dates.  These are large dates that have a softer, more chewy texture than the smaller firmer dates.  The latter do not have the rich flavor that the Medjool dates have. Because of their soft texture, Medjools are great to infuse with the coffee for these energy bites.

Energy Balls
Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites

Energy bites freeze very well and I have a stash of about four kinds stowed away in my freezer at the moment as I like a variety to choose from.  Later in this posting, you will find links to other energy bite recipes on my website.

These treats are not difficult to make but, in terms of special equipment, a food processor is required to prepare them and to get the ingredients well mixed.

Energy Balls
Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites

 [Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites

Ingredients:

5 oz Medjool Dates, pitted and coarsely chopped (apx. 6-7 large dates)
½ cup strong hot coffee (e.g., Espresso)

4 oz hazelnuts, finely ground (apx. 1 cup)
¼ cup smooth hazelnut butter
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled
2 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp hemp protein powder
1 tbsp ground chia seeds
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/16 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup quick rolled oats (gluten-free, if required), pulsed 4 – 5 times in food processor
2/3 cup shredded coconut

Method:

Pour hot coffee over dates in small saucepan. Cover and let sit 20 minutes, stirring once or twice. Drain, reserving the coffee.

Place drained dates in bowl of food processor. Pulse 8 – 10 times. Add 1 tbsp reserved coffee, pulsing until dates form a thick, pliable, moist, paste-like consistency. Add 1 tbsp additional coffee, if required.

Add remaining ingredients and pulse mixture until well combined. If mixture seems too dry, add 1 – 2 tsp of reserved coffee. Place mixture in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to chill.

Roll mixture by hand into balls, using approximately 25g of mixture per ball.  Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheet and place in freezer for 20-25 minutes to firmly set. Store, in single layers separated by waxed paper, in airtight covered container in refrigerator for up to five days or, for longer storage, store in freezer.

Yield: Apx. 22 balls

For other energy bite recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

No-bake Chocolate Almond Bliss Balls
Peanut Butter Coconut Energy Balls
Prune and Pistachio Power Balls

Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites

These no-bake Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites prove there is more than one way to enjoy coffee! Super great treat for when the energy wanes.
Course Snack
Keyword energy balls, energy bites
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 5 oz Medjool Dates, pitted and coarsely chopped (apx. 6-7 large dates)
  • ½ cup strong hot coffee (e.g., Espresso)
  • 4 oz hazelnuts, finely ground (apx. 1 cup)
  • ¼ cup smooth hazelnut butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tsp hemp protein powder
  • 1 tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/16 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup quick rolled oats (gluten-free, if required), pulsed 4 – 5 times in food processor
  • 2/3 cup shredded coconut

Instructions

  1. Pour hot coffee over dates in small saucepan. Cover and let sit 20 minutes, stirring once or twice. Drain, reserving the coffee.
  2. Place drained dates in bowl of food processor. Pulse 8 – 10 times. Add 1 tbsp reserved coffee, pulsing until dates form a thick, pliable, moist, paste-like consistency. Add 1 tbsp additional coffee, if required.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and pulse mixture until well combined. If mixture seems too dry, add 1 – 2 tsp of reserved coffee. Place mixture in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to chill.
  4. Roll mixture by hand into balls, using approximately 25g of mixture per ball. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheet and place in freezer for 20-25 minutes to firmly set. Store, in single layers separated by waxed paper, in airtight covered container in refrigerator for up to five days or, for longer storage, store in freezer.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 22 balls

 

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Energy Balls
Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites

 

Red Wine Cranberry Pear Sauce

Red Wine Cranberry Pear Sauce
Red Wine Cranberry Pear Sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce is so easy to make and tastes fabulous.  This Red Wine Cranberry Pear Sauce has a wonderful blend of flavors that complement each other nicely.

Pears and cranberries pair well together with the sweetness of the pears balancing the tartness of the cranberries.  The addition of red wine adds a layer to the flavor profile of the sauce and, let’s just say, amps it up a bit!  However, even though red wine is a key ingredient in this sauce, more wine is not necessarily more in this case.  One-third cup of wine is adequate as adding too much wine can quickly overtake the cranberry flavor and become too strong and overpowering.

Red Wine Cranberry Pear Sauce
Red Wine Cranberry Pear Sauce

Essentially, this sauce begins with boiling water and sugar together, much in the same way as making a simple syrup.  Some red wine (any kind you would drink will do) is then added along with the cranberries, pear, citrus marmalade, and some pure maple syrup for an extra dash of sweetness.  Stirring the sauce as it cooks helps it to thicken so it is not watery.

During the last half of the cooking process, a pinch of cardamom, a piece of cinnamon stick, and a star anise pod are added for a boost of flavor.  The cinnamon stick and star anise are then discarded once the sauce comes off the stove as their function of infusing flavor into the sauce is complete.  Continue to stir the sauce as it cools because this will really help it thicken.

This sauce keeps in the refrigerator for up to five days.  It freezes very well so is great to have on hand in the freezer.

Red Wine Cranberry Pear Sauce
Red Wine Cranberry Pear Sauce

Cranberry Sauce complements any poultry dish.

Red Wine Cranberry Pear Sauce
Red Wine Cranberry Pear Sauce

With its stunning rich ruby-red color, this delectable sauce is a fine condiment to any holiday dinner.

Red Wine Cranberry Pear Sauce
Red Wine Cranberry Pear Sauce

Complete your next roast chicken or roast turkey dinner with this sauce as a condiment.

Red Wine Cranberry Pear Sauce
Red Wine Cranberry Pear Sauce with Roast Chicken

Make some extra and share this sauce as gifts with others.  A jar of this tasty sauce makes a fine host/hostess gift, too.

Red Wine Cranberry Pear Sauce
Cranberry Pear Sauce Is Great for Gift-giving

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Red Wine Cranberry Pear Sauce

Ingredients:

¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup red wine
2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 Bosc pear, peeled and cut into small pieces
2 tbsp citrus marmalade
2 tbsp maple syrup
Pinch cardamom
1½” chunk cinnamon stick
1 star anise

Method:

In medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring sugars and water to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add red wine, cranberries, chopped pear, marmalade, and maple syrup. Increase heat to medium-high to return mixture to boil then reduce heat to medium-low. Stir mixture frequently throughout the cooking process, for about 8 minutes. Then, add the cardamom, cinnamon stick, and star anise. Continue to cook mixture, uncovered, stirring frequently while cooking it for another 7-10 minutes, or until sauce thickens (it will thicken somewhat more as it is stirred during the cooling process).

Remove saucepan from heat and discard the chunk of cinnamon stick and the star anise. Stir sauce several times as it cools as this will help it to thicken.

Store sauce, tightly covered, in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage. Serve sauce cold or at room temperature alongside roasted poultry.

Yield:  Apx. 2 cups

For other cranberry sauce recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Cranberry Rhubarb Sauce
Cranberry Blueberry Sauce

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Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies

These hearty Cranberry and Eggnog Cookies are good any time but they are especially good at Christmas. This is because they combine traditional flavors of the season – eggnog, dried cranberries, orange rind, pecans, and the warm spices we associate with Christmas – cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.

Drop Cookies
Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies

Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies are easy to make.  Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature before making these cookies. I do NOT recommend softening the butter in the microwave for baked products as it changes the properties of the butter and liquifies it too much.  For butter at room temperature, I remove it from the refrigerator about an hour before I need it and dice the amount I need into about 1” cubes. This hastens the softening.

For other ingredients (e.g., eggs, milk, yogurt) for which a recipe calls for them to be at room temperature, I usually take them from the refrigerator about 30 minutes or so before using them in a recipe. Simply put, room temperature ingredients incorporate into most batters much better than do cold ingredients.

Christmas Drop Cookies
Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies

Two baking sheets of these cookies can be baked at once with the oven racks positioned in the upper and lower third of the oven.  Rotate the cookie sheets and switch them between racks halfway through the baking to ensure even baking of all the cookies.  These cookies will have a tender texture and be somewhat soft and chewy if they are not overbaked.

I have given a baking time guide of 13-16 minutes.  However, some judgment on the part of the cook is required to determine the baking time for his or her oven because ovens are known for baking somewhat differently. The cookies are done when they are just barely set and the edges and the underneath sides just start to turn a light golden tan color.  Overbaking will result in a harder, crisper cookie.

These festive Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies are hearty, wholesome cookies that freeze well and are perfect for holiday cookie exchanges.

Christmas Drop Cookies
Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves

1½ cups quick cooking rolled oats
¾ cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped pecans

½ cup salted butter, room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten with fork
¼ cup eggnog, room temperature
1½ tsp finely grated orange rind
1 tsp pure vanilla

Method:

Position oven racks in upper and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and spices together into a bowl. Set aside.

In separate bowl, combine the rolled oats, cranberries, and pecans. Set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed. Gradually blend in the brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape sides of bowl with rubber spatula, as required. Add the egg, eggnog, grated orange rind, and vanilla. Beat until combined with butter and brown sugar.

Reduce speed to low and gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, Increase speed slightly and mix well until ingredients are incorporated.

Stir in the rolled oats, cranberries, and nut mixture until combined.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonful onto prepared cookie sheets, leaving approximately 1½ – 2” between cookies. Bake 13-16 minutes (rotating and switching baking sheets between racks halfway through the baking), or until edges and bottoms of cookies are light golden tanned. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheets for 2-3 minutes before using a cookie lifter to transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

Store cookies in airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage.

Yield: Approximately 2½ dozen

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(and you can pin the Pinterest-ready photo(s) below to your favorite Pinterest boards)

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Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies

These festive Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies are hearty, wholesome cookies that are perfect for holiday cookie exchanges.
Course Snack
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • cups quick cooking rolled oats
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup salted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten with fork
  • ¼ cup eggnog, room temperature
  • tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla

Instructions

  1. Position oven racks in upper and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and spices together into a bowl. Set aside.
  3. In separate bowl, combine the rolled oats, cranberries, and pecans. Set aside.
  4. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed. Gradually blend in the brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy, stopping to scrape sides of bowl with rubber spatula, as required. Add the egg, eggnog, grated orange rind, and vanilla. Beat until combined with butter and brown sugar.
  5. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, Increase speed slightly and mix well until ingredients are incorporated.
  6. Stir in the rolled oats, cranberries, and nut mixture until combined.
  7. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonful onto prepared cookie sheets, leaving approximately 1½ - 2” between cookies. Bake 13-16 minutes (rotating and switching baking sheets between racks halfway through the baking), or until edges and bottoms of cookies are light golden tanned. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheets for 2-3 minutes before using a cookie lifter to transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

  8. Store cookies in airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Approximately 2½ dozen

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Christmas Drop Cookies
Cranberry and Eggnog Drop Cookies

The Bistro’s Scotch Cookies

Shortbread
Scotch Cookies

Scotch Cookies (sometimes called “Scotch Cakes”), close cousins of Shortbread, are a must-have Christmas tradition in many PEI households. They are a very common addition to holiday sweet plates. I am often asked if I have a recipe for Scotch Cookies and this is it.

The proportions of the main ingredients in these Scotch Cookies follow the holy grail ratio for traditional Scottish Shortbread – 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, and 3 parts flour.  What differentiates Scotch Cookies from traditional Scottish Shortbread are the liberties taken with ingredients for Scotch Cookies and their decorations. In that way, I suppose one could refer to Scotch Cookies as a modernized version of traditional Shortbread.

Shortbread
Scotch Cookies

Texture of Scotch Cookies

If you have ever heard someone refer to a cookie as “short”, they mean it has a crumbly texture that melts in the mouth. This texture is achieved by producing a somewhat dry dough which comes from the high flour content in relation to the proportion of fat in the recipe. The use of icing sugar and addition of cornstarch, and only moisture that comes from the butter are also contributing factors. There will be a shortness and crispness to a well-made Scotch Cookie.

INGREDIENTS

Butter

Butter is considered an essential ingredient for which I do not recommend any substitutes in Scotch Cookies. Yes, use the good stuff in Scotch Cookies because you can taste the difference and pure butter is a main contributor to both flavor and the crumbly texture in these cookies.  The cookies may be made with either salted or unsalted butter.  If using unsalted butter, add ¼ teaspoon or a little more of salt to the dry ingredients.

Icing Sugar vs Granulated or Brown Sugar

While traditional Shortbread will typically be made using granulated sugar, I use icing sugar in my Scotch Cookies. Some of you may know icing sugar as powdered or confectioner’s sugar.  I find this sugar gives a much more light and tender crumb in the cookies than does traditional granulated or even brown sugar (called for in some recipes).  Make sure the icing sugar is sifted before measuring out the ½ cup called for in the recipe.

Additional Flavorings

Traditional Shortbread would not typically have any additional flavorings added – it’s basically just the sugar, butter, and flour in Shortbread.  However, I sometimes like to add just a small amount each of pure vanilla and almond flavoring in my Scotch Cookies.  These flavorings are entirely optional in this recipe.  If added, they should be in very small amounts – i.e., ¼ tsp and 1/8 tsp, respectively.  These cookies are meant to taste like butter and adding too much flavoring will interfere with that pure flavor so do exercise caution in how much is added.

Cornstarch

My recipe calls for 1/3 cup cornstarch to which I attribute the melt-in-your-mouth tender texture in the cookies. Mix it in with the flour before incorporating it into the butter/sugar mixture. Cornstarch works magic in combination with the other ingredients to create the “shortness” texture in the cookies.

Flour

Basic, all-purpose flour is fine to use in Scotch Cookies. No special flour is required.

No Leavening in Scotch Cookies

There is no leavening in Scotch Cookies which makes the dough great from which to cut shapes since the stiff, dry dough retains its shape during baking.

Shortbread
Scotch Cookies

MEASURING INGREDIENTS

When measuring the icing sugar and cornstarch, as well as the flour, make sure you use an accurate measure.  To measure, simply spoon the dry ingredients into the measuring cups without stirring, and then, with the flat side of a table knife, level off the excess.  Do not pack the dry ingredients into the cup, tap the measuring cup with the spoon to settle the dry ingredients into the cup, or tamp the cup on the counter to make room for more.  This will result in an inaccurate measure of the ingredients and may cause the dough to be overly dry if too much of these ingredients is used.

TEXTURE OF DOUGH AND CHILLING DOUGH

Shortbread/Scotch Cookie dough is considered a dry dough as no liquid is added, save for the moisture that comes from the butter.  The dough texture will be soft when mixed.  Placing it in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes or so to chill will help it to firm up enough to roll out and cut out shapes.  The dough for Scotch Cookies should not be over-kneaded or worked as it will get the gluten in the flour all excited and stirred up resulting in tough cookies.  Just work it enough that the dough comes together and can be rolled out to about ¼“ thickness. The scraps of dough should be handled in the same manner until all the dough has been cut out in shapes. Minimal handling of the dough is one of the keys to tender Scotch Cookies.

I recommend dividing the dough in half and forming discs with each half.  It is a smaller amount of dough to work with at a time, especially for gathering up and re-working the dough for the remainder of the cookie cutting.

CUTTING OUT SCOTCH COOKIES

Scotch Cookies are intended to be small, dainty cookies, about two-bite size.

Because the dough is a dry dough, it does not spread during baking. It, therefore, lends itself well to being cut with any shape of cutter desired.  I recommend a cookie cutter of about 1¾ – 2” in diameter as a suitable size.

Shortbread
Scotch Cookies

BAKING THE SCOTCH COOKIES

I use insulated cookie sheets lined with parchment paper for baking my Scotch Cookies.  I find the insulated sheets give a bit more protection for the cookies from the heat. That is not to say that other cookie sheets do not work well.

The oven rack should be positioned in the center of the oven to allow good air circulation for the cookies to bake evenly. The cookies (of the size indicated in this recipe) are baked in a slow oven (300°F) for about 22-24 minutes. They will be almost the same color when baked as was the dough. They should not be brown on the edges or the underside side as they are meant to be very pale and delicate. Once removed from the oven, let the cookies rest 3-4 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

DECORATING SCOTCH COOKIES

A significant difference between Scotch Cookies and Shortbread is that Shortbread is left plain, unfrosted.  With Scotch Cookies, however, liberties can be taken to decorate them with a small dob of icing piped in the center of each cookie which may, if desired, be decorated with a small bit of very well drained maraschino cherry, a dragée, or quinns of choice as I have done in the photos here with the holly leaves and berries. The cookies can, of course, be left unfrosted, if desired.

Decorated Scotch Cookies
Scotch Cookies Decorated with Christmas Quinns

STORING SCOTCH COOKIES

Undecorated, the cookies can be stored in layers separated by wax paper in an airtight container in a cool location for about 4-5 days.  Alternatively, they can be frozen for longer storage.  If applying icing and decorations to the cookies, I recommend doing so just before serving.  This will ensure no damage occurs to the icing or decorations during storage plus the cookies are easier stored in layers, undecorated.

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

The Bistro’s Scotch Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup salted butter, room temperature
½ cup sifted icing sugar (aka confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar)
¼ tsp vanilla (optional)
1/8 tsp almond flavoring (optional)
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch

Method:

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed until it is light in color and very soft and smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce the speed and gradually add the icing sugar, continuing to beat the mixture until blended and smooth, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if required. Beat in the vanilla and almond flavoring, if using.

Sift the flour and cornstarch together. With mixer set on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until all are incorporated, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as required. Mixture will be soft. Divide dough in half and form each half into a disc shape. Wrap discs separately in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes, or just until dough becomes firm enough to roll out.

Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 300°F. Line cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.

Remove dough from refrigerator and, on very lightly floured surface, roll each disc of dough evenly to approximately ¼“ thick. With lightly floured cookie cutter of choice about 1¾“ – 2” in diameter, cut out shapes and transfer cookies to prepared baking sheet. Gather and re-roll scraps of dough until all dough has been used up and cut out into shapes, being careful not to overwork dough. Place cookies about 1½” apart on the prepared baking sheet(s). Bake 22-24 minutes, or until cookies are just set. Cookies will be very light colored. Note that baking times will need to be adjusted if other sized cookie cutters are used.

Remove cookies from oven and leave on baking sheet for about 3-4 minutes before, using a flat cookie lifter, transferring them to wire rack to cool completely.

Cookies may be left plain or a small dab of icing may be piped on to center of each cookie and then, if desired, topped with a small bit of well-drained maraschino cherry, dragée or quinns of choice.

Yield:  Apx. 3 – 3½ dozen cookies. [Note that exact yield will depend on thickness to which dough is rolled and the size of cutter used.]

Connect with My Island Bistro Kitchen by:

Joining the Facebook page for My Island Bistro Kitchen:  https://www.facebook.com/MyIslandBistroKitchen/

Following “the Bistro” on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/PEIBistro/

Seeing the drool-worthy gallery of mouth-watering food photos from My Island Bistro Kitchen on Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/peibistro/

Following “the Bistro” on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.ca/peibistro/

(and you can pin the Pinterest-ready photo(s) below to your favorite Pinterest boards)

Of course, by subscribing to receive an email notification of new posts and recipes, you can be among the first to know when I publish a new post or recipe. Simply enter your name and email address in the Subscription block over on the right-hand side of my home page.

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Shortbread
Scotch Cookies

PRINTABLE RECIPE:

The Bistro’s Scotch Cookies

These melt-in-the-mouth Scotch Cookies have a delectable buttery flavor and a tender light crumb.
Course Sweet Treats
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword Scotch Cakes, Scotch Cookies, shortbread
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup sifted icing sugar (aka confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp almond flavoring (optional)
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch

Instructions

  1. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed until it is light in color and very soft and smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce the speed and gradually add the icing sugar, continuing to beat the mixture until blended and smooth, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if required. Beat in the vanilla and almond flavoring, if using.
  2. Sift the flour and cornstarch together. With mixer set on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until all are incorporated, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as required. Mixture will be soft. Divide dough in half and form each half into a disc shape. Wrap discs separately in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes, or just until dough becomes firm enough to roll out.
  3. Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 300°F. Line cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.
  4. Remove dough from refrigerator and, on very lightly floured surface, roll each disc of dough evenly to approximately ¼“ thick. With lightly floured cookie cutter of choice about 1¾“ – 2” in diameter, cut out shapes and transfer cookies to prepared baking sheet. Gather and re-roll scraps of dough until all dough has been used up and cut out into shapes, being careful not to overwork dough. Place cookies about 1½” apart on the prepared baking sheet(s). Bake 22-24 minutes, or until cookies are just set. Cookies will be very light colored. Note that baking times will need to be adjusted if other sized cookie cutters are used.
  5. Remove cookies from oven and leave on baking sheet for about 3-4 minutes before, using a flat cookie lifter, transferring them to wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Cookies may be left plain or a small dab of icing may be piped on to center of each cookie and then, if desired, topped with a small bit of well-drained maraschino cherry, dragée or quinns of choice.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 3 – 3½ dozen cookies. [Note that exact yield will depend on thickness to which dough is rolled and the size of cutter used.]

 

Coconut Date and Cherry Square

Coconut Date and Cherry Square
Coconut Date and Cherry Squares

These Coconut Date and Cherry Squares are one of the easiest squares to make as there is only the one layer.  Simply place the coconut, dates, cherries, and pecans in a large bowl. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and transfer mixture to a baking pan.  How easy is that!

The trick is not to overbake the square as it will dry out.  Just bake it until it barely starts to turn golden on the edges and it will stay lovely and moist. It’s a supremely lovely treat with a cup of tea (or coffee)!

Coconut Date and Cherry Square
Coconut Date and Cherry Square

A simple way to deal with icing and cutting squares is to leave a bit of parchment overhang when lining the baking pan with parchment paper.  This “overhang” can then be used to easily lift the square, once completely cooled, from the pan.  This makes it very easy to ice and cut the square and the knife does not damage the finish on the baking pan when squares are cut.

One thing I like to do with my squares is cut off the outside edges by about 1/4″ all around the square.  This gives every cut square a nice tidy, even edge.

While this square is fabulous any time of the year, the wonderful delicious flavors of coconut, dates, cherries, and pecans also make this square a great addition to holiday sweet trays.  Of course, the delectable icing with a drizzle of chocolate on top is the crowning glory. While the chocolate drizzle is optional, it does add interest to the white icing. No need to fuss with how the drizzle goes on – just use either a fork or a spoon and quickly drizzle the chocolate any which way!

Coconut Date and Cherry Squares
Coconut Date and Cherry Squares

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Coconut Date and Cherry Squares

Ingredients:

2½ cups medium shredded non-sweetened coconut
2 cups dates, chopped
½ cup maraschino cherries, very well drained, cut into pieces
½ cup pecans, chopped
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (no substitutes)
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

Icing:

½ cup + 1 tbsp butter, softened at room temperature
2½ cups sifted icing sugar (aka powdered or confectioner’s sugar)
2 – 2¼ tbsp milk or water
½ tsp almond flavoring (or vanilla)

1 – oz square semi-sweet chocolate (optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line 9”x9” baking pan with parchment paper, leaving just enough overhang that there are “handles” to easily grip and lift the square from the pan when cooled.

In large bowl, combine the coconut, dates, maraschino cherries, and pecans. Mix the vanilla and salt into the sweetened condensed milk and pour over the coconut, dates, cherries, and pecans. Stir well to combine ingredients. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for about 22- 25 minutes, or just until edges of square start to turn light golden brown. Do not overbake. Remove square from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool in pan completely before icing. When completely cooled, lift square from pan.

To prepare icing, place butter in bowl of stand mixer and beat at medium speed until creamy. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the icing sugar. Add the milk (or water), a couple of teaspoons at a time, along with the almond flavoring. Increase speed to medium-low to blend ingredients. Increase speed to high and beat an additional minute to ensure ingredients are well combined and icing is smooth. Additional milk or water may be required to make icing of desired spreading consistency. If adding additional milk or water, add by ½ teaspoon at a time. Icing should be of spreading consistency but not “soupy”.

Spread icing evenly over cooled square. Melt the chocolate square in small dish in microwave. Using a fork or spoon, drizzle chocolate in desired design over icing. Cut squares into desired size. Squares freeze well.

Yield: One 9”x9” pan of squares

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Coconut Date and Cherry Squares

Full of delicious flavors, this easy-to-make Coconut Date and Cherry Square is perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.
Course Dessert
Keyword iced squares, squares
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • cups medium shredded non-sweetened coconut
  • 2 cups dates, chopped
  • ½ cup maraschino cherries, very well drained, cut into pieces
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (no substitutes)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Icing:
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp butter, softened at room temperature
  • cups sifted icing sugar (aka powdered or confectioner’s sugar)
  • 2 – 2¼ tbsp milk or water
  • ½ tsp almond flavoring (or vanilla)
  • 1 oz square semi-sweet chocolate (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line 9”x9” baking pan with parchment paper, leaving just enough overhang that there are “handles” to easily grip and lift the square from the pan when cooled.

  3. In large bowl, combine the coconut, dates, maraschino cherries, and pecans. Mix the vanilla and salt into the sweetened condensed milk and pour over the coconut, dates, cherries, and pecans. Stir well to combine ingredients. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for about 22- 25 minutes, or just until edges of square start to turn light golden brown. Do not overbake. Remove square from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool in pan completely before icing. When completely cooled, lift square from the pan.

  4. To prepare icing, place butter in bowl of stand mixer and beat at medium speed until creamy. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the icing sugar. Add the milk (or water), a couple of teaspoons at a time, along with the almond flavoring. Increase speed to medium-low to blend ingredients. Increase speed to high and beat an additional minute to ensure ingredients are well combined and icing is smooth. Additional milk or water may be required to make icing of desired spreading consistency. If adding additional milk or water, add by ½ teaspoon at a time. Icing should be of spreading consistency but not “soupy”.
  5. Spread icing evenly over cooled square. Melt the chocolate square in small dish in microwave. Using a fork or spoon, drizzle chocolate in desired design over icing. Cut squares into desired size. Squares freeze well.

Recipe Notes

Yield: One 9”x9” pan of squares

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Granola
Pumpkin Spice Granola

Oh, the divine tantalizing scent in the house when this homemade Pumpkin Spice Granola is baking in the oven!  The combination of pumpkin purée and warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and ginger make this a winner!  If you want a clean, healthy breakfast cereal, or snack food, free of preservatives and additives, this granola is for you.

This is chunky style granola which means binding agents are needed to clump and hold the ingredients together.  In this granola, that includes pumpkin purée, applesauce, maple syrup, and the mother of all food glue, an egg white beaten till frothy.  I do add a couple of tablespoons of oat flour to this recipe and I have labeled it as an optional ingredient.  This means the granola is fine without it but the oat flour does, along with the ground flax and chia seeds, give something extra for the syrup to cling to and it does help bind the ingredients together.  If you don’t have oat flour and wish to add it, you can simply toss some rolled oats into a small food processor, or even a coffee grinder, and grind them into fine flour.

In addition to the binding ingredients, the other thing that is necessary to keep the granola clumpy and chunky is not to stir it while it bakes and to leave it in the pan, undisturbed, for approximately 30 minutes after it comes out of the oven.  This helps the granola crisp up and then it can be broken into desired size chunks.

granola
Pumpkin Spice Granola served with Greek yogurt and fresh pear

Typically, I don’t add nuts or whole seeds to my granola but a pumpkin-flavored granola just seemed to call for them.  Any favorite nuts or seeds can be used.  Slivered almonds and pistachios pair well with the pumpkin so those are my choices for this granola.  I do include these nuts in with the rolled oat mixture that gets baked in the oven.  The pumpkin and sunflower seeds, on the other hand, are very small and delicate.  As such, they are very susceptible to easily burning.  My preference is to buy these seeds already roasted and add them along with the raisins and dried fruit after the rolled oats mixture has been baked.  I recommend the same thing with coconut, preferring to buy it already toasted as it can burn very quickly, ruining the flavor of the granola.

Bulk food stores are great places to buy ingredients for granola as one can buy just the amounts needed instead of buying a big bag of one ingredient and only using 1/3 cup of it with no plans for the rest of the bag’s contents.  The great thing about granola is, once you have a good recipe for the syrup and spices, you can swap out any of the dried fruits, seeds, and nuts so long as you replace them and keep the new substitute(s) in the same quantity/weight.  So, if you don’t like raisins, for example, simply swap them out for the same quantity of another dried fruit like cherries, cranberries, apricots, etc.

Granola
Pumpkin Spice Granola

Add the dried fruits and raisins after the rolled oat mixture has baked and cooled.  Adding these before the baking process will turn the fruits into hard, tough little nuggets which are not pleasant to eat.

This granola is a staple in my freezer.  There are  so many different ways in which it can be used.  I use it on its own as a cereal and, sometimes, I’ll top oatmeal or a cold cereal with it.

Granola
Pumpkin Spice Granola

It’s also great to serve alongside (or on top of) Greek yogurt and some fresh fruit.

Granola
Pumpkin Spice Granola

Toss some of the Pumpkin Spice Granola on top of a salad to add some extra crunch and texture.  Or, simply eat it, as is, as a snack.

granola
Pumpkin Spice Granola

Of course, homemade Pumpkin Spice Granola makes a great gift, too.  Package it attractively in a small cellophane bag or in a glass jar.

granola
Pumpkin Spice Granola

Add a ribbon and it makes a nifty host/hostess gift or small remembrance for someone. I love to give consumable gifts as they don’t clutter up anyone’s life and who doesn’t love a treat from someone else’s kitchen!

Granola
Pumpkin Spice Granola Makes a Great Gift

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Ingredients:

½ cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil, liquid state
2 tbsp applesauce
2 tbsp light brown sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla
1¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp allspice
¼ tsp cloves
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp mace (optional)
½ tsp fine sea salt

3 cups old-fashioned large flake rolled oats
½ cup slivered almonds
½ cup shelled pistachios
2 tbsp oat flour (optional)
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
2 tbsp ground chia seeds

1 extra-large egg white

2/3 cup golden raisins
½ cup sultana raisins
½ cup dried mixed fruit (e.g., cranberries, cherries, blueberries)
1/3 cup diced dried apricots
¼ cup hemp hearts
½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup roasted sunflower seeds
½ cup toasted coconut flakes

Method:

In small saucepan, combine the pumpkin purée, maple syrup, coconut oil, applesauce, brown sugar, and vanilla. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture is well blended and heated. Do not boil. Stir in spices and sea salt. Cool for about 20 minutes.

While the syrup is cooling, combine rolled oats, almonds, pistachios, oat flour, ground flax and chia seeds in large bowl.
In separate large bowl, combine raisins, dried mixed fruit, apricots, hemp hearts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and toasted coconut flakes. Set aside.

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

Beat egg white until frothy.

Pour cooled syrup over rolled oats mixture. Stir in the frothy egg white to coat the rolled oats mixture.

Spread oat mixture evenly in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Pat down with the back of a spatula. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until oats are a deep caramel color and start to get crispy and fragrant. Do not stir mixture during the baking. If granola starts to brown quickly, rotate the baking sheet in the oven and/or reduce the heat. Remove pan from oven and cool granola in pan for about 30 minutes. Break granola into desired sized pieces and add to the large bowl containing the dried fruit and seeds. Stir to combine all ingredients.

Store granola in airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days or store in freezer for longer use.

Yield: Apx. 2½ pounds

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Pumpkin Spice Granola

Perfectly flavored with warm autumnal spices, this chunky style Pumpkin Spice Granola has great flavor and texture. Perfect for breakfast, snacking, and gift giving.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword granola, pumpkin spice granola
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • ½ cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, liquid state
  • 2 tbsp applesauce
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla
  • tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp mace (optional)
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 cups old-fashioned large flake rolled oats [gluten-free if required]
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup shelled pistachios
  • 2 tbsp oat flour (optional) [gluten-free, if required]
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 2 tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 1 extra-large egg white
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup sultana raisins
  • ½ cup dried mixed fruit (e.g., cranberries, cherries, blueberries)
  • 1/3 cup diced dried apricots
  • ¼ cup hemp hearts
  • ½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup toasted coconut flakes

Instructions

  1. In small saucepan, combine the pumpkin purée, maple syrup, coconut oil, applesauce, brown sugar, and vanilla. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture is well blended and heated. Do not boil. Stir in spices and sea salt. Cool for about 20 minutes.
  2. While the syrup is cooling, combine rolled oats, almonds, pistachios, oat flour, ground flax and chia seeds in large bowl.
  3. In separate large bowl, combine raisins, dried mixed fruit, apricots, hemp hearts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and toasted coconut flakes. Set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spray lightly with cooking oil.
  5. Beat egg white until frothy.
  6. Pour cooled syrup over rolled oats mixture. Stir in the frothy egg white to coat the rolled oats mixture.
  7. Spread oat mixture evenly in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Pat down with the back of a spatula. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until oats are a deep caramel color and start to get crispy and fragrant. Do not stir mixture during the baking. If granola starts to brown quickly, rotate the baking sheet in the oven and/or reduce the heat. Remove pan from oven and cool granola in pan for about 30 minutes. Break granola into desired sized pieces and add to the large bowl containing the dried fruit and seeds. Stir to combine all ingredients.
  8. Store granola in airtight container at room temperature for 5-7 days or store in freezer for longer use.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 2½ pounds

For Other Great Granola Recipes From My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Nut-free Granola
Clumpy Almond Butter Granola

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Granola

Gluten free Carrot Zucchini Muffins

gluten free muffins
Gluten-free Carrot Zucchini Muffins

These Carrot Zucchini Muffins are so packed full of flavor!  Even though they are gluten free, that should not be construed that any one who is not celiac or gluten-sensitive cannot eat them. In fact, I would be very surprised if anyone could guess they are gluten free!

The muffins rise and dome beautifully into just the right contoured shape for a perfect muffin.  Adding the streusel topping is such a treat on these muffins.  It not only dresses them up and adds texture but it makes the muffins ever so tasty by adding additional flavor.

Gluten-free Muffins
Gluten-free Carrot Zucchini Muffins with Streusel Topping

When I started developing gluten-free muffins, I soon discovered that, in order for them to closely replicate wheat-based muffins and have that deli quality I so desire in muffins, the gluten-free version takes a mixture of flours and starches.  Simply using a gluten-free all-purpose flour or the cup-for-cup/1-to-1 flour will not substitute well for these muffins.  The thing about gluten-free flours is that they each have their own unique properties and, for the most part, they cannot be substituted, cup-for-cup, for other flours. Nor, can an ingredient be left out without affecting the success of the baked good. Some flours, for example, absorb more liquid than others and that affects the amount of liquid ingredients required in a recipe.

Gluten-free Muffins
Gluten-free Carrot Zucchini Muffins

From experience, I can say it takes several attempts at perfecting gluten-free baking with speciality flours.  However, I have done that work for you, testing, and re-testing several times, each recipe I develop and publish to ensure it can be made with success in the kitchens of others, provided the baker follows my directions exactly, makes no ingredient substitutions, or leaves no ingredient out. Every ingredient (except maybe the spices) contributes to the batter consistency and texture of the finished product.

Gluten-free Muffins
Gluten-free Carrot Zucchini Muffins

The  Carrot Zucchini Muffins are a great way to add (hide!) vegetables into a muffin. Apart from their wonderful flavor, these two vegetables also add moisture to the batter.

Gluten-free Muffins
Gluten-free Carrot Zucchini Muffins

The texture of these Carrot Zucchini Muffins is moist and tender and the interior of the muffins show a somewhat coarse yet uniform interior crumb with small irregular air holes, characteristic of a well-constructed muffin.

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Gluten Free Carrot Zucchini Muffins

Ingredients:

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

½ cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1½ tsp vanilla
½ cup Greek style vanilla yogurt
2 tbsp whole milk
¾ cup shredded zucchini
¾ cup grated carrot

¾ cup raisins

Streusel Topping:

¼ cup sorghum flour
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
3 tbsp quick-cooking rolled oats
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp cold butter

Method:

Set out the eggs, yogurt, and milk to bring them to room temperature. If using solid coconut oil, melt and let it cool to room temperature before proceeding with recipe. Shred the zucchini and grate the carrot.

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.

Prepare streusel topping by combining the flour, brown sugar, rolled oats, and cinnamon together. Cut in the cold butter until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

Combine flours, rolled oats, starches, ground chia seeds, zanthan gum, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices 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, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir in the yogurt, milk, zucchini, and carrots.

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

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling almost to the rim of each cup. Sprinkle streusel mixture over tops of muffins. 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 pans for 5 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 12 muffins

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Printable Recipe:

Gluten Free Carrot Zucchini Muffins

Perfectly domed, packed full of flavor, and topped with a tasty streusel topping, these Gluten-free Carrot Zucchini Muffins are a special treat!

Course Breakfast
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword gluten free carrot zucchini muffins, glutenfree, muffins
Servings 12
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup sorghum flour
  • ½ cup gluten-free quick cooking rolled oats
  • ¼ cup brown rice flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp 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
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • Pinch cloves
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup Greek style vanilla yogurt
  • 2 tbsp whole milk
  • ¾ cup shredded zucchini
  • ¾ cup grated carrot
  • ¾ cup raisins

Streusel Topping:

  • ¼ cup sorghum flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3 tbsp quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp cold butter

Instructions

  1. Set out the eggs, yogurt, and milk to bring them to room temperature. If using solid coconut oil, melt and let it cool to room temperature before proceeding with recipe. Shred the zucchini and grate the carrot.

  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. Prepare streusel topping by combining the flour, brown sugar, rolled oats, and cinnamon together. Cut in the cold butter until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.
  5. Combine flours, rolled oats, starches, ground chia seeds, zanthan gum, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices together in a large bowl. Whisk ingredients well to combine. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  6. 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, milk, zucchini, and carrots.
  7. Pour wet ingredients into well in dry ingredients. With large spoon, mix ingredients together just until dry ingredients are fully incorporated. Do not overmix. Fold in raisins.
  8. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling almost to the rim of each cup. Sprinkle streusel mixture over tops of muffins. 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 pans for 5 minutes then gently remove from pan and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Yield: 12 muffins

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Gluten-free Muffins

Decadent Duchess Potatoes

Duchess Potatoes
Duchess Potatoes

Duchess Potatoes are one of the most elegant ways to serve mashed potatoes.  To make this recipe, the cooked potatoes are traditionally pushed through a potato ricer (like the one in the photo below) which removes all lumps and makes the potatoes very light and fluffy.  Alternatively, if you don’t have a potato ricer, the potatoes can be mashed really well with a potato masher but they won’t be quite as smooth as when riced.

Potato Ricer
Potato Ricer

The potatoes are mixed with egg yolks, milk or cream, melted butter, some cheese, and seasonings like onion and garlic salt and, traditionally, a pinch of nutmeg.  The creamy mixture is then squeezed through a pastry bag, fitted with a large open star tip, and piped into decorative shapes, like cones or rosettes, on to a baking sheet. Brushed with melted butter and browned in the oven, these little potato mounds take any meal up a notch! Slightly crispy on the outside, the inside is a soft, puffy cloud of tasty goodness.

Duchess Potatoes
Duchess Potatoes

Choose a good starchy potato, like Yukon Gold or Russets, suitable for mashing,  for these little gems. You will want to select a variety of potato that has a higher starch content as these will generate a fluffy and smooth texture when riced or mashed which is what is required for Duchess Potatoes.  The Yukon Gold variety will give a somewhat natural buttery taste and will have a creamier texture than will Russets though either variety will work for Duchess Potatoes. Avoid varieties of waxy potatoes as they have a tendency to become pasty and gummy when mashed or riced and mixed with other ingredients.  That is not the texture for good Duchess Potatoes.

Some potatoes (like Russets, for example) absorb more liquid than others so the quantity of milk/cream called for in the recipe should be used as a guide.  Add the cream/milk gradually, using only enough to make the potato mixture pliable and capable of being piped through the pastry bag.  Adding too much milk/cream will cause the mixture to become too loose and soupy and the potato mounds to spread instead of holding their shape. When they are piped on to the baking sheet, they should immediately hold their shape perfectly and not spread or flop over.

Avoid using a mixer or blender to combine the ingredients for Duchess Potatoes because too much mixing may result in any variety of potato used becoming glue-like and gummy. Just a good old large mixing spoon or rubber spatula and some muscle power will mix the ingredients sufficiently.

It is recommended that the potato mounds be placed in the refrigerator for a minimum of 20 minutes before baking as this will help them to firm up and reduce the risk of them spreading when they are placed in the oven.

Duchess Potatoes
Duchess Potatoes

Known in French as pommes duchess, this method of presenting potatoes is considered to be a classic in French cuisine.

Duchess Potatoes
Duchess Potatoes

Duchess Potatoes are a wonderful side dish to many meals as they plate really well and look very stylish on the plate.

Duchess Potatoes
Duchess Potatoes

Duchess Potatoes may be made up to a day in advance of serving and refrigerated, loosely covered with plastic wrap.  To bake, remove them from the refrigerator, brush with melted butter, sprinkle with paprika, and bake as directed in recipe.

The potatoes are typically piped into shapes about 2″ – 2 1/2″ in diameter.  Depending on the meal to which they are a side, and the size of the mounds, one or two of the potato mounds would generally be allotted per serving. If they are made very petite, up to three could be plated with a meal.

Duchess Potatoes
Roast Turkey Dinner Served with Duchess Potatoes

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Decadent Duchess Potatoes

Ingredients:

5 or 6 medium potatoes (Russets or Yukon Gold), peeled, sliced, cooked, and drained (apx 2 lbs)
¼ tsp salt

¼ cup melted butter
3 egg yolks (room temperature), slightly beaten
¼ – 1/3 cup cream, half and half, or whole milk (warmed) [See Note below]
3 tbsp grated white cheddar cheese
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
¼ – ½ tsp garlic salt
dash freshly cracked pepper
¼ tsp onion salt (optional)
Pinch nutmeg (optional)

2-3 tbsp melted butter for brushing potato mounds
Paprika (optional)
Fresh herbs of choice (e.g., thyme, rosemary, parsley) for garnish (optional)

Method:

Peel and slice potatoes. Place in large pot and add apx. 3 cups of water (1/4 tsp. salt). Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook potatoes until fork-tender. Drain.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray lightly with cooking oil.

Process potatoes through a potato ricer or mash really well with a potato masher to remove any lumps. Add butter, egg yolks, cream or milk, cheeses, garlic salt, pepper, onion salt, and nutmeg. Stir well to incorporate ingredients thoroughly and to make the mixture smooth. Transfer potato mixture to a large pastry bag fitted with a large open star decorating tip (at least ¾” wide opening at tip).

Pipe mixture into decorative mounds, about 2 – 2½” round, directly onto prepared baking sheet leaving 1½” – 2” inches in between each mound (apx ½ cup potato mixture for each mound). Place in refrigerator for about 20 minutes to firm up the mounds before baking. Remove from refrigerator and brush mounds lightly with melted butter.

Sprinkle each mound lightly with paprika, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are slightly browned. Remove from oven and let potato mounds rest on baking sheet 3-4 minutes before serving.

Garnish with chopped fresh herbs and serve immediately.

Yield: Apx. 20 – 2” potato mounds

NOTE 1: Some potatoes absorb more liquid than others so the quantity of milk/cream given in the recipe should be used as a guide. Add the cream/milk gradually using only enough to make the potato mixture pliable and capable of being piped through the pastry bag. Adding too much milk will cause potato mounds to spread instead of holding their shape.

NOTE 2: Duchess Potatoes may be made up to a day in advance of serving and refrigerated, loosely covered with plastic wrap. To bake, remove from refrigerator and brush with melted butter and sprinkle with paprika. Bake as directed in recipe.

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Decadent Duchess Potatoes

One of the most elegant ways to serve potatoes, these Duchess Potatoes take mashed potatoes to a whole new level!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine French
Keyword duchess potatoes, potatoes
Servings 10
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 5 or 6 medium potatoes (Russets or Yukon Gold), peeled, sliced, cooked, and drained (apx 2 lbs)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 3 egg yolks, room temperature, slightly beaten
  • ¼ - 1/3 cup cream, half and half, or whole milk (warme[See Note below]
  • 3 tbsp grated white cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ - ½ tsp garlic salt
  • dash freshly cracked pepper
  • ¼ tsp onion salt (optional)
  • Pinch nutmeg (optional)
  • 2-3 tbsp melted butter for brushing potato mounds
  • Paprika (optional)
  • Fresh herbs of choice (e.g., thyme, rosemary, parslefor garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Peel and slice potatoes. Place in large pot and add apx. 3 cups of water (1/4 tsp. salt). Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook potatoes until fork-tender. Drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray lightly with cooking oil.
  4. Process potatoes through a potato ricer or mash really well with a potato masher to remove any lumps. Add butter, egg yolks, cream or milk, cheeses, garlic salt, pepper, onion salt, and nutmeg. Stir well to incorporate ingredients thoroughly and to make the mixture smooth. Transfer potato mixture to a large pastry bag fitted with a large open star decorating tip (at least ¾” wide opening at tip).
  5. Pipe mixture into decorative mounds, about 2 - 2½” round, directly onto prepared baking sheet leaving 1½” – 2” inches in between each mound (apx ½ cup potato mixture for each mound). Place in refrigerator for about 20 minutes to firm up the mounds before baking. Remove from refrigerator and brush mounds lightly with melted butter.
  6. Sprinkle each mound lightly with paprika, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are slightly browned. Remove from oven and let potato mounds rest on baking sheet 3-4 minutes before serving.
  7. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 20 – 2” potato mounds

NOTE 1: Some potatoes absorb more liquid than others so the quantity of milk/cream given in the recipe should be used as a guide. Add the cream/milk gradually using only enough to make the potato mixture pliable and capable of being piped through the pastry bag. Adding too much milk will cause potato mounds to spread instead of holding their shape.

NOTE 2: Duchess Potatoes may be made up to a day in advance of serving and refrigerated, loosely covered with plastic wrap. To bake, remove from refrigerator and brush with melted butter and sprinkle with paprika. Bake as directed in recipe.

Pin Me To Pinterest!

 

Duchess Potatoes

Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

Tomatoes
Cherry Tomatoes (Bumblebee variety)

Every year, we grow cherry tomatoes in the garden. They are prolific producers and there is no way we can use up the pounds and pounds of tomatoes they produce.   This time of the year, they can’t even be given away because it seems everybody has an over-abundance of them in their gardens.  So, what to do with them?  Turn them into a rich, thick, and flavorful sauce!

Tomato Sauce
Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

Typically, when making tomato sauce, I choose to use plum (aka Roma) tomatoes because they have more pulp than seeds.  However, I do not like wasting food and, since I had pounds of excess cherry tomatoes, I figured they were worth a bit of time to turn them into tomato sauce. Any variety of cherry tomato will work in this recipe.  The sauce in the photos in this posting was made with the Bumblebee variety.

Tomato Sauce
Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

I find that roasting vegetables brings out their wonderful flavors. This is true of tomatoes as well. For this recipe, I simply washed and dried the tiny tomatoes and cut off the stem ends then put them into a couple of large baking pans, drizzled them with olive oil, turning the tomatoes to ensure they were coated on all sides. Some nutmeg, along with a hefty sprinkling of fine sea salt and some freshly ground pepper, were applied to the tomatoes.  A light drizzle of balsamic vinegar was used to add some additional flavor.

Roasted Tomatoes
Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

These tomatoes were roasted around 40 minutes in a 400°F oven, just until they started shriveling and bursting open.  While the tomatoes are cooling before being puréed, start cooking the aromatics – the shallots, celery, carrot, green pepper, and garlic cloves.  Once these are softened, they will be put through the food processor or blender along with the tomatoes.

Either a food processor or blender can be used to purée the roasted tomatoes and vegetables. My preference is to use a blender for this purpose.  Neither appliance will completely grind up all the hundreds of tiny tomato seeds. I like my tomato sauce to be free of the seeds so, after puréeing the tomatoes, I pass the puréed mixture through a wire mesh sieve, using the back of a spoon to gently press the tomatoes to release the sauce and hold back the seeds and any remaining bits of skin that may not have puréed.  If you don’t mind the seeds and like a more rustic style of tomato sauce, it’s perfectly fine to leave the seeds in the sauce and you can skip this step.  However, for a sauce with a more smooth and refined textured, and for anyone who experiences difficulty digesting seeds, I do recommend straining out the seeds. Amazingly, the puréeing process will grind up the tomato skins very well and there will only be slight traces (if any at all) of any skins visible after puréeing the mixture.

Tomato Sauce
Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

This sauce may be made with either dried or fresh herbs and I have given approximate amounts for each.  The amount of herbs to use (and the same for garlic) is a matter of personal taste so feel free to vary the amounts slightly according to your own taste preferences.  Just remember that more seasoning can be added as the sauce simmers but, if too much is added, there is no way to remove it.

Tomato Sauce
Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

I do add a small can of tomato purée to this sauce to give it more body, color, and deeper flavor.  Sweeten up the sauce with a small amount of pure maple syrup and let the sauce simmer for about an hour or so to allow the flavors to develop. If desired, a half cup of a full-bodied red wine can also be added to the sauce.

Tomato Sauce over Pasta
Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce Over Pasta

This sauce works particularly well on pasta though it can be used in any recipe calling for tomato sauce.

This Cherry Tomato Sauce may be used immediately or refrigerated up to three days.  For longer storage, freeze the sauce in airtight freezer containers or zippered freezer bags of desired serving size. This sauce is a great way to use up the excess cherry tomatoes in the garden.

Tomato Sauce over Pasta
Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce over Pasta

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

5 lbs cherry tomatoes, any variety, washed and dried, stem ends removed
1-2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
¾ tsp ground nutmeg
1 – 1¼ tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)

2-3 tbsp olive oil
Scant 2/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
½ cup celery, finely chopped (apx. 1 stalk)
½ cup carrot, finely chopped
1/3 cup green pepper, finely chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, minced

1 – 5.5oz can tomato paste
1½ tbsp pure maple syrup
½ cup red wine (optional)
2 – 2½ tsp dried parsley, chopped (or apx. 2 tbsp chopped fresh)
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1¼ tsp dried basil (or apx. 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh)
1 tsp dried oregano (or apx 1 tbsp chopped fresh)
¼ tsp dried thyme (or apx 1 tsp chopped fresh)
½ tsp dried rosemary, crushed (or apx ½ tbsp chopped fresh)
1/16 tsp ground cloves

Sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place tomatoes, single layer on rimmed baking sheets or 9”x13” baking pans. Drizzle with olive oil, tossing tomatoes to coat all sides. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar. Place in oven, uncovered, and roast for 35-45 minutes, until tomatoes shrivel, and start to burst and break down somewhat. Remove from oven and cool for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in skillet. Add the shallots, celery, carrot, green pepper, and garlic cloves. Cook over medium heat for 6-7 minutes, until vegetables are softened.

Working in batches, process the roasted tomatoes and their juices along with the sautéed vegetables in blender or food processor until smooth. If removal of all seeds is desired, pass the puréed mixture through a wire mesh sieve positioned over small clean stock pot. Using the back of a large spoon or a rubber spatula, gently press down on the tomato mixture to push it through the sieve. Discard the seeds and any remaining bits of tomato skin.

Place stockpot on low heat and add the tomato paste, maple syrup, red wine, and spices. Stir well and increase heat to medium low. Stir frequently to avoid mixture sticking to pot. When mixture starts to show signs of bubbling, reduce heat to low simmer and let mixture cook slowly for 40-60 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Stir frequently.

Serve immediately over hot cooked pasta or refrigerate up to three days. For longer storage, freeze in airtight containers or zippered freezer bags of desired serving size.

Yield: Apx 1 litre

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Follow “the Bistro” on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.ca/peibistro/

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Tomato Sauce

 

Printable Recipe:

Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

Roasted cherry tomatoes are the basis for this rich, thick, and flavorful Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce that is perfect over pasta. Freezes well. Great use for excess cherry tomatoes.
Course Condiment, Side Dish
Keyword cherry tomato sauce, roasted cherry tomato sauce, tomato sauce
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs cherry tomatoes, any variety, washed and dried, stem ends removed
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • ¾ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 – 1¼ tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • Scant 2/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
  • ½ cup celery, finely chopped (apx. 1 stalk)
  • ½ cup carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup green pepper, finely chopped
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 – 5.5oz can tomato paste
  • tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup red wine (optional)
  • 2 – 2½ tsp dried parsley, chopped (or apx. 2 tbsp chopped fresh)
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • tsp dried basil (or apx. 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or apx 1 tbsp chopped fresh)
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme (or apx 1 tsp chopped fresh)
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary, crushed (or apx ½ tbsp chopped fresh)
  • 1/16 tsp ground cloves
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Place tomatoes, single layer on rimmed baking sheets or 9”x13” baking pans. Drizzle with olive oil, tossing tomatoes to coat all sides. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar. Place in oven, uncovered, and roast for 35-45 minutes, until tomatoes shrivel, and start to burst and break down somewhat. Remove from oven and cool for about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in skillet. Add the shallots, celery, carrot, green pepper, and garlic cloves. Cook over medium heat for 6-7 minutes, until vegetables are softened.
  4. Working in batches, process the roasted tomatoes and their juices along with the sautéed vegetables in blender or food processor until smooth. If removal of all seeds is desired, pass the puréed mixture through a wire mesh sieve positioned over small clean stock pot. Using the back of a large spoon or a rubber spatula, gently press down on the tomato mixture to push it through the sieve. Discard the seeds and any remaining bits of tomato skin.
  5. Place stockpot on low heat and add the tomato paste, maple syrup, red wine, and spices. Stir well and increase heat to medium low. Stir frequently to avoid mixture sticking to pot. When mixture starts to show signs of bubbling, reduce heat to low simmer and let mixture cook slowly for 40-60 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Stir frequently.
  6. Serve immediately over hot cooked pasta or refrigerate up to three days. For longer storage, freeze in airtight containers or zippered freezer bags of desired serving size.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx 1 litre

Roasted Parsnip and Pear Soup Recipe

Parsnip Soup
Roasted Parsnip and Pear Soup

Today’s featured recipe from my kitchen is Roasted Parsnip and Pear Soup.  The combination of the somewhat nutty flavor of the parsnips pairs well with the sweetness of the Bosc Pears.  They balance each other well in this savory soup.

My grandparents always left a clump of parsnips in the garden over the winter, claiming they tasted sweeter when harvested the following spring after the cold winter weather turned some of their starch into sugar. In any event, no parsnips in their garden were to be harvested until at least after the first few frosts in the late fall. Today, parsnips are available in supermarkets and at farmers’ markets year-round.

The ivory-colored root vegetable is a member of the carrot family but parsnips have a distinctly different flavor from carrots. Some claim parsnips have an almost spicy earthy flavor, bordering on a hint of spices like nutmeg and cinnamon. Parsnips can be prepared in numerous ways and they are a staple in my household.  I use some parsnip in many of the soups I make, including Turkey Vegetable, as it imparts wonderful flavor. In my opinion, roasting parsnips will add depth to their flavor profile which is why I am roasting them for this particular soup in which they are the primary ingredient.

In terms of health benefits, parsnips are high in fiber and are considered to be a good source of Vitamins C, E, and K as well as folate and manganese.

Parsnip Soup
Parsnip and Pear Soup

This soup freezes very well, provided no fat-reduced milk is used in it – just don’t do that to any cream-based soup, regardless if it is to be frozen or not.  Cream-based soups are meant to have a velvety, creamy texture that just simply cannot effectively be achieved when low-fat or skim milk is used.

Roasted Parsnip and Pear Soup, while it can certainly be served on its own with a favorite bread, makes a wonderful addition to the soup course of a meal.  The soup also makes a fine accompaniment as a side to a sandwich for a great lunch or light supper.

Parsnip Soup
Roasted Parsnip and Pear Soup

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Roasted Parsnip and Pear Soup

Ingredients:

1 lb parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped into 2” chunks
½ garlic bulb
1½ tbsp olive oil to toss with parsnips and garlic
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp coriander
Salt and Pepper

2 Bosc Pears, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
1-2 tsp olive oil to toss with the pears

1½ tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp butter
1 leek (white and light green parts only), sliced about 1/8” thick
1 cup potato, peeled and diced
2/3 cup celery, chopped
1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped

4 cups chicken or turkey stock
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
½ tsp dried Rosemary, crushed
¼ – ½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cardamom

1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp lemon juice

2/3 cup whipping cream
½ cup whole milk

2/3 cup medium Cheddar cheese, shredded
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Method:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line rimed baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Peel and chop parsnips into 2” chunks and place in medium-sized bowl. Add the half garlic bulb. Toss with olive oil, nutmeg, coriander, salt, and pepper. Spread parsnips and garlic, single layer on baking sheet. Roast, uncovered, 18-20 minutes. Meanwhile, peel, core, and coarsely chop the Bosc pears. Drizzle with just enough olive oil to coat pears. Turn parsnips over and add pears to the roasting pan. Roast 15 minutes longer or until parsnips are tender.

In Dutch oven, heat 1½ tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add the butter. When butter is melted, add the leek, potato, celery, and shallots. Cook, stirring constantly, for 4-5 minutes. Add the chicken or turkey stock, bay leaf, star anise, Rosemary, turmeric, and cardamon. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and cook slowly, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and discard the bay leaf and star anise. Stir in the maple syrup and lemon juice. Cool for about 30 minutes.

Working in batches, purée mixture in blender until smooth. Transfer mixture back to soup pot. Stir in whipping cream and milk. When heated, stir in cheeses until melted. Season further with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish if and as desired. Serve hot with bread or rolls of choice.

Yield: Apx 5-6 servings

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Parsnip Soup

Roasted Parsnip Soup

 

Printable Recipe:

Roasted Parsnip and Pear Soup

This creamy soup is a delicious and comforting fall and winter treat. Hearty enough for a main meal, it also makes a lovely starter to a meal or a side to a favorite sandwich.
Keyword parsnip, parsnip soup, soup,
Servings 6
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 lb parsnips, peeled and coarsely chopped into 2” chunks
  • ½ garlic bulb
  • tbsp olive oil to toss with parsnips and garlic
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp coriander
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 Bosc Pears, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil to toss with the pears
  • tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, sliced about 1/8” thick
  • 1 cup potato, peeled and diced
  • 2/3 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • ½ tsp dried Rosemary, crushed
  • ¼ - ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup whipping cream
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup medium Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°Line rimed baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Peel and chop parsnips into 2” chunks and place in medium-sized bowl. Add the half garlic bulb. Toss with olive oil, nutmeg, coriander, salt, and pepper. Spread parsnips and garlic, single layer on baking sheet. Roast, uncovered, 18-20 minutes. Meanwhile, peel, core, and coarsely chop the Bosc pears. Drizzle with just enough olive oil to coat pears. Turn parsnips over and add pears to the roasting pan. Roast 15 minutes longer or until parsnips are tender.
  2. In Dutch oven, heat 1½ tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add the butter. When butter is melted, add the leek, potato, celery, and shallots. Cook, stirring constantly, for 4-5 minutes. Add the chicken or turkey stock, bay leaf, star anise, Rosemary, turmeric, and cardamon. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and cook slowly, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and discard the bay leaf and star anise. Stir in the maple syrup and lemon juice. Cool for about 30 minutes.
  3. Working in batches, purée mixture in blender until smooth. Transfer mixture back to soup pot. Stir in whipping cream and milk. When heated, stir in cheeses until melted. Season further with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish if and as desired. Serve hot with bread or rolls of choice.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx 5-6 servings

 

For Other tasty Soup, Stew, Chowder, Chili, and Stock Recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Chili
Classic Chili
Chicken and Pumpkin Chili

Cream-based Soups
Classic Cream of Broccoli and Cheese Soup
Classic Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Cream of Roasted Asparagus Soup
Cream of Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup
Cream of Winter Root Vegetable Soup
Homemade Cream of Celery Soup
PEI Potato Leek Soup

Broth-based Soups
Minestrone
Classic Homemade Turkey Vegetable Soup
Cock-a-Leekie Soup
Ham Lentil Soup
Hamburger Soup
Old-fashioned Boiled Ham Dinner

Stews
Irish Stew
Rich and Hearty Goulash

Stocks
Homemade Turkey Stock
Homemade Beef Stock

Chowders
PEI Mussel Chowder
PEI Lobster Chowder
Turkey Chowder

Classic Tuna Melts Recipe

Tuna Melts
Classic Tuna Melts

When I want a quick and easy light meal, I will often make these Classic Tuna Melts.  They are super easy to make and are wonderfully tasty.  It’s amazing what can be done with a simple can of tuna and a few staple ingredients!

I used to make this mixture and stuff it in finger rolls and heat them in the oven.  That still works but they present really well on sliced English muffin halves.  Use regular or gluten-free English muffins of choice and toast them before adding the topping.

Mix up the topping in the order in which the ingredients are listed.  If you don’t have pickle relish, chop up some bread and butter pickles, dill pickles, or gherkins and use them.  Use either red or green pepper, whichever suits your fancy (or whichever you happen to have on hand).  Divide the mixture between the four English muffin halves and spread it to the edges of the muffins.  Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top.  Broil quickly,  just until the cheese is melted.  Watch them like a hawk as these only need a minute or two and they burn quickly!

Tuna Melts
Classic Tuna Melts

These Tuna Melts are meant to be served hot so quickly garnish them with some colorful microgreens or chopped fresh parsley for eye appeal. Serve the Tuna Melts with potato chips or, for a healthier option, a green side salad.

This recipe will make two servings.  However, the recipe is easily scalable if more servings are required.  To scale it down to one serving, use one of the little wee cans of tuna and halve all other ingredients.

This is one of our favorite Sunday night light suppers.  Hope you enjoy them, too!

Tuna Melts
Classic Tuna Melts

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Classic Tuna Melts

Ingredients:

1 – 170g can flaked white tuna (packed in water), drained
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp celery, finely chopped
1 tbsp sweet pickle relish
1 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp red or green pepper, chopped
1½ tsp fresh dill, chopped
1/8 tsp garlic salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper

2 English muffins, halved and toasted

6 – 8 tbsp shredded Cheddar cheese

Microgreens or chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Method:

In small bowl, break up tuna with fork. Blend in the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Stir in the celery, pickle relish, red onion, red or green pepper, dill, garlic salt, and pepper. Mix well.

Place oven rack in upper third of oven. Set broiler to high.

Place toasted English muffin halves on tinfoil-lined baking sheet. Divide the mixture between the English muffin halves and, with knife, spread mixture to edges of muffin halves. Top each with shredded Cheddar cheese.

Place English muffins in oven and broil just until cheese is melted, approximately 1½ – 2 minutes. Watch carefully as these can easily burn quickly.

Garnish with microgreens or chopped fresh parsley, if desired, and serve immediately alongside potato chips or a side green salad.

Yield: 2 servings

Did you Know?

You can join the Facebook page for My Island Bistro Kitchen:  https://www.facebook.com/MyIslandBistroKitchen/

Follow “the Bistro” on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/PEIBistro/

See the drool-worthy gallery of mouth-watering food photos from My Island Bistro Kitchen on Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/peibistro/

Follow “the Bistro” on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.ca/peibistro/

(and you can pin any of the Pinterest-ready photos below to your favorite Pinterest boards)

Of course, by subscribing to receive an email notification of new posts and recipes, you can be among the first to know when I publish a new post or recipe. Simply enter your name and email address in the Subscription block over on the right-hand side of my home page.

Pin Me To Pinterest!

Tuna Melts
Classic Tuna Melts

 

Tuna Melts
Classic Tuna Melts

Printable Recipe:

Classic Tuna Melts

Packed with flavor, these Tuna Melts, topped with melted cheese, are classic open-faced sandwiches. Best served hot with potato chips or a green salad.
Course Sandwich
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword tuna, tuna melts
Servings 2
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 – 170g can flaked white tuna (packed in water), drained
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp red or green pepper, chopped
  • tsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp garlic salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 English muffins,halved and toasted
  • 6 – 8 tbsp shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Microgreens or chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. In small bowl, break up tuna with fork. Blend in the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Stir in the celery, pickle relish, red onion, red or green pepper, dill, garlic salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  2. Place oven rack in upper third of oven. Set broiler to high.
  3. Place toasted English muffin halves on tinfoil-lined baking sheet. Divide the mixture between the English muffin halves and, with knife, spread mixture to edges of muffin halves. Top each with shredded Cheddar cheese.
  4. Place English muffins in oven and broil just until cheese is melted, approximately 1½ - 2 minutes. Watch carefully as these can easily burn quickly.
  5. Garnish with microgreens or chopped fresh parsley, if desired, and serve immediately alongside potato chips or a side green salad.

Prune and Pistachio Power Balls

Energy Balls
Prune and Pistachio Power Balls

Power balls (sometimes called energy balls, energy bites, or bliss balls) are a super tasty, portable, and convenient on-the-go snack. They are great for the lunch bags and they are the perfect pre- or post-workout snack.

Made with a blend of carefully selected ingredients, these tasty Prune and Pistachio Power Balls provide a great energy boost, particularly during the mid-afternoon slump when energy typically starts to wane for many.

Apart from the usual pantry staples, I bought all of the ingredients for the balls at my local bulk food store.  It’s an ideal store for recipes like this one that call for small amounts of ingredients, such as green tea matcha powder, that some people might not have in their cupboards.

Green Tea Matcha Powder
Green Tea Matcha Powder

It saves money, too, since you only need to buy what the specific recipe calls for and, in some cases, the ingredients might not be ones the home cook would use up if an entire package or bottle had to be purchased.

Energy Balls
Prune and Pistachio Power Balls

These power balls freeze well and are great to have in the freezer for on-the-go snacks.  Check out my posting for Peanut Butter Coconut Energy Bites for an explanation of the four main sets of ingredients typically found in these types of balls.    In that posting, you will also find my tips for making energy balls.

Energy Balls
Prune and Pistachio Power Balls

[Printable Recipe Follows at end of Posting]

Prune and Pistachio Power Balls

Ingredients:

6 oz dried prunes, coarsely chopped (apx 1 cup chopped)
½ cup quick rolled oats (gluten-free, if required)
1/3 cup sunflower butter
½ cup pistachios, shelled and finely ground (apx. 4 oz unshelled)
1 tbsp ground chia seeds
1 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp chocolate whey protein powder
1½ tsp green tea matcha powder
pinch fine sea salt
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup puffed quinoa cereal
½ cup sweetened shredded coconut

Additional finely chopped pistachios for rolling balls (optional)

Method:

Pulse prunes in food processor until they become paste-like or clump into a ball. Add the rolled oats, sunflower butter, pistachios, ground chia seeds, cocoa, chocolate whey protein powder, green tea matcha powder, salt, maple syrup coconut oil, and vanilla. Pulse mixture until ingredients are completely blended.

Add the puffed quinoa cereal and coconut and pulse just until combined. If mixture seems too dry, two to three teaspoons of water may be blended into ingredients. Place mixture in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to chill.

Roll mixture by hand into bite-sized balls. For frame of reference, each ball should weigh approximately 27 grams. Roll balls in finely chopped pistachio nuts, if desired. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 20-25 minutes to firmly set. Store balls, in single layers separated by waxed paper, in airtight container for up to five days in the refrigerator or freeze up to three months for longer storage.

Yield: Apx. 18 balls

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(and you can pin any of the Pinterest-ready photos below to your favorite Pinterest boards)

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Energy Balls

 

 

For other energy ball recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

No-bake Chocolate Almond Bliss Balls
Peanut Butter Coconut Energy Bites

Printable Recipe:

Prune and Pistachio Power Balls

Prune and Pistachio Power Balls make a convenient on-the-go portable snack. These little balls of power are also the perfect pre- or post-workout snack.
Course Snack
Keyword energy balls, energy bites, power balls
Servings 18
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 6 oz dried prunes, coarsely chopped (apx 1 cup chopped)
  • ½ cup quick rolled oats (gluten-free, if required)
  • 1/3 cup sunflower butter
  • ½ cup pistachios, shelled and finely ground (apx. 4 oz unshelled)
  • 1 tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tsp chocolate whey protein powder
  • tsp green tea matcha powder
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup puffed quinoa cereal
  • ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • Additional finely chopped pistachios for rolling balls (optional)

Instructions

  1. Pulse prunes in food processor until they become paste-like or clump into a ball. Add the rolled oats, sunflower butter, pistachios, ground chia seeds, cocoa, chocolate whey protein powder, green tea matcha powder, salt, maple syrup coconut oil, and vanilla. Pulse mixture until ingredients are completely blended.
  2. Add the puffed quinoa cereal and coconut and pulse just until combined. If mixture seems too dry, two to three teaspoons of water may be blended into ingredients. Place mixture in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to chill.
  3. Roll mixture by hand into bite-sized balls. For frame of reference, each ball should weigh approximately 27 grams. Roll balls in finely chopped pistachio nuts, if desired. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 20-25 minutes to firmly set. Store balls, in single layers separated by waxed paper, in airtight container for up to five days in the refrigerator or freeze up to three months for longer storage.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 18 balls

Fresh Peach Salsa Recipe

Colander of Fresh Peaches
Peaches

I like to use fresh produce when it is in season. It has so much more flavor than buying the same product when it is out of season. There are certain dishes that super fresh produce is essential and Fresh Peach Salsa is one of them. Versatile, this salsa can, of course, be used as a dip for tortilla chips and it can also be used as a topping for cooked fish, pork chops, or chicken breasts and for a number of other uses as well.

Fresh Peach Salsa
Peach Salsa

There are two types of salsa – Fresh and processed (bottled). Fresh salsa is meant to be used shortly after it has been mixed up. Ingredients in a fresh salsa are raw and the juices that emanate from the fruit and vegetables will be water thin. The ingredients will have vibrant flavor and the vegetables and fruits will hold their shape and be crisp, never soggy or dull. This is in contrast to a processed salsa where the ingredients will be cooked and the salsa will have a thicker consistency, almost sauce-like in texture. A cooked salsa will have a longer shelf life than the fresh salsa.

This colorful fresh Peach Salsa is super showy and very tasty.

Small glass filled with fresh peach salsa
Fresh Peach Salsa

The great thing about the salsa is that the seasonings can be adjusted according to one’s personal taste. For my recipe, I have purposely gone gentle on the amount of Jalapeño pepper used as well as the garlic and ginger. My recommendation is, as always, to initially make the recipe the way the recipe developer has intended. Then, taste the salsa and, if it does not have sufficient “heat” for your taste, add a bit more seasoning – but just add a bit at a time, tasting as you go. As the old saying goes, you can always add more seasoning but, once it’s in the dish, you can’t remove it.

Bowl of Fresh Peach Salsa
Peach Salsa

Peaches

Use ripe but still firm fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped into ¼” pieces. If the peaches are too ripe, they’ll break down too much in the salsa and add too much liquid. You want the peaches to hold their shape.

Peaches
Peaches

Tomato

Use plum tomatoes (aka the Roma variety) for this salsa. Plum tomatoes are a firm variety with fewer seeds and less juice than most other varieties. Plum tomatoes will hold their shape when diced and won’t add unnecessary juice to the salsa. There will still be some seeds in plum tomatoes so be sure to remove them and the juicy sac that surrounds the seeds then cut the tomato into ¼” pieces. Fresh Peach Salsa is meant to be a clean salsa, free of seeds.

Plum Tomatoes
Fresh Plum Tomatoes

Peppers

Adding a bit of sweet red pepper to Peach Salsa adds color and flavor. Of course, there has to be some Jalapeño pepper added, too. This is a hot chile pepper so, unless you like really hot and spicy food, I recommend the “less is more” practice. I add between 1½ – 2 teaspoons of very finely chopped Jalapeño pepper to this salsa. This, of course, can be varied with more or less according to personal taste preference.

Onion

Red or green onion may be used in the Peach Salsa. The red onion will add a more pungent flavor than will the more subtle green onion. I also think its burgundy/eggplant color adds an interesting hue to the salsa. With fresh salsa, color, vibrancy, and texture are key.

Cilantro

Fresh cilantro is a must for this salsa. I generally use between ¼ and 1/3 cup of the chopped herb. More, or less, may be used according to taste.

Cilantro Leaf
Fresh Cilantro

I grow Cilantro in my backyard chef’s garden every year. It’s a great addition to salads and fresh salsa. Cilantro will resemble flat-leaf parsley in appearance but it has a distinctively different flavor. Cilantro’s unique taste is often described as having a citrus undertone. It will add a burst of flavor and is a common ingredient in salsa.

Garden-fresh Cilantro
Cilantro

Lime Juice

Always use freshly squeezed lime juice in a fresh salsa – it’s just so much fresher and better tasting than the commercially bottled version.

The lime juice performs double duty in the Peach Salsa. First, the acid in the juice helps to keep the peaches from turning brown quickly. Second, it gives wonderful citrus flavor to this fresh salsa.

Seasonings

Some garlic salt and ground ginger are sufficient to season this salsa since the primary ingredients take care of generating the flavor. Adding ½ teaspoon of sugar adds just a touch of sweetness to balance the Jalapeño pepper and lime juice.

Add some fresh chopped parsley for additional color and subtle flavoring.

Making the Salsa

Easy-peasy describes the method for making fresh Peach Salsa. Once all the ingredients are chopped they, and the seasonings, are simply mixed together in a bowl. Letting the salsa sit for about 15 minutes or so at room temperature allows the flavors to “mix and mingle” and deepen their relationship 🙂 Refrigerate the salsa, covered, for about 15 minutes to chill slightly before serving.

Ways to Enjoy Fresh Peach Salsa

The traditional way to serve this salsa is to simply surround the bowl of salsa with tortilla chips for dipping.

A work-around for those concerned about the sanitation of guests “double dipping” (and there is always at least one who dips the tortilla chip more than once into the salsa) at a gathering is to serve the salsa in individual serving dishes like the small glass ones in the photo below. Guests simply pick up a personal-sized dish of salsa and double-dip the tortilla chips into the salsa to their heart’s content.

This fresh Peach Salsa is also a lovely addition spooned over cooked fish, pork chops or, as I have done here,  oven-roasted chicken breasts served on a bed of rice.

Peach Salsa tops roasted chicken breast served on a bed of steamed rice
Peach Salsa on Chicken Breast

The colorful salsa dresses up, or completes, a plain piece of meat, fish, or poultry and adds a burst of flavor and texture along with eye appeal.

Fresh Peach Salsa tops Roasted Chicken Breast served on a bed of rice
Peach Salsa tops Roasted Chicken Breast

This mild salsa can also be spread over tortilla chips, topped with shredded mozzarella cheese, and placed in the oven at 400°F just until the cheese is melted. A perfectly delightful treat served hot with a dob of sour cream.

Peach Salsa on Tortilla Chips
Fresh Peach Salsa on Tortilla Chips

Some other ways you might use this salsa:
• Topping for tacos
• Spooned over scrambled eggs or an omelette
• Added as a condiment on burgers
• Added to a grilled cheese sandwich
• Mixed with sour cream as a topping for baked potatoes
• Stirred into tuna or chicken salad
• Served over rice as a side dish
• Mixed with sour cream and use as a chip dip
• Mixed with cold cooked quinoa for a side dish to meat, fish, or poultry

Small individual glasses filled with Fresh Peach Salsa
Fresh Peach Salsa

You will find a multitude of uses for this versatile, colorful, and flavorful Peach Salsa.

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Fresh Peach Salsa

Ingredients:

2 medium-sized peaches, peeled, pitted, and diced small
1 medium-sized plum tomato, cored and seeds removed, diced
1/3 cup sweet red pepper, diced
2½ tbsp red onion, diced small (or green onion sliced thin)
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1½ tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 – 2 tsp Jalapeño pepper, stem and ribs removed, seeded, and minced)
½ tsp granulated sugar
¼ tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp ground ginger
½ tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Fine sea salt, to taste

Tortilla chips for serving (optional)

Method:

Combine all ingredients in bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes then cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for apx. 15 minutes before serving.

Serve as a dip with tortilla chips or spoon over fish, chicken, or pork.

Yield: Apx. 2½ – 3 cups Salsa (depending on size of peaches and tomato)

Printable Recipe

Fresh Peach Salsa

This easy-to-make Fresh Peach Salsa is the perfect summer condiment to serve with tortilla chips or as a topping to cooked chicken, pork, or fish.
Course Condiment
Keyword peach salsa, peaches, salsa
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized peaches, peeled, pitted, and diced small
  • 1 medium-sized plum tomato, cored and seeds removed, diced
  • 1/3 cup sweet red pepper, diced
  • tbsp red onion, diced small (or green onion sliced thin)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1-2 tsp Jalapeño pepper, stem and ribs removed, seeded, and minced
  • ½ tsp granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Fine sea salt, to taste
  • Tortilla chips for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes then cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for apx. 15 minutes before serving.
  2. Serve as a dip with tortilla chips or spoon over fish, chicken, or pork.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 2½ - 3 cups Salsa (depending on size of peaches and tomato)

 

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Summer Salsa

Sweet Marie Bars Recipe

Plate of Sweet Marie Bars
Sweet Marie Bars

Everybody loves an easy square or bar to make that does not require careful watching as it bakes in the oven and that does not have to be frosted.  Sweet Marie Bars fit nicely in that category.  Taking only a few very basic ingredients, the result is one delectable treat that often finds its way on to sweet trays, particularly at Christmas.

Sweet Marie Bars have made their way into my picnic basket on more than one occasion since they are more like candy, in my opinion, than what we traditionally think of as squares or cookie bars.

This bar recipe has been around for a long time and is known by names other than Sweet Marie Bars.  The core ingredients do not tend to change though the quantities may and, sometimes, the bars are iced with traditional frosting.  I have seen them called Peanut Krispie Bars and a variation called Scotheroos that call for some butterscotch chips. There are probably other names for these bars and their variation(s). Regardless what they are called, they are one delectable treat any time of the year!

Sweet Marie Bars
Sweet Marie Bars

[Printable recipe follows]

Sweet Marie Bars

Ingredients:

2 cups crispy rice cereal (e.g., Rice Krispies)
¾ cup salted peanuts

½ cup peanut butter
½ cup golden corn syrup
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp butter

8 oz semi-sweet chocolate pieces or squares
¼ cup peanut butter
2 tsp butter

Method:

Line a 9”x9” square baking pan with tin foil and spray lightly with cooking spray (or grease with butter).

Stir the crispy rice cereal and salted peanuts together in a large heat-proof bowl (e.g., glass or stainless steel). Set aside.

In medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan placed over low heat, combine the peanut butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, and butter. Stir until mixture is blended and heated. Do not boil.

Remove saucepan from heat and pour mixture over the cereal and peanut mixture. Stir to mix. Press mixture into prepared baking pan.

For topping, melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, a few seconds at a time. When chocolate is about half melted, stir in the peanut butter and butter. Continue to microwave in short bursts of seconds until chocolate is melted. Pour the topping over the square in pan and smooth with a knife or small flat metal spatula. Let cool completely to room temperature before lifting square from pan and cutting it into squares or bars of desired size. Square may cut out better if cooled square has been placed in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

Yield: One (1) 9” pan of squares/bars

Sweet Marie Bars

Easy-to-make no-bake bars that combine peanut butter and crispy rice cereal into a base topped with melted chocolate and peanut butter.
Course Snack
Keyword bars, nobake bars, nobake squares, Sweet Marie Bars
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 cups crispy rice cereal (e.g., Rice Krispies)
  • ¾ cup salted peanuts
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup golden corn syrup
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate pieces or squares
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 2 tsp butter

Instructions

  1. Line a 9”x9” square baking pan with tin foil and spray lightly with cooking spray (or grease with butter).
  2. Stir the crispy rice cereal and salted peanuts together in a large heat-proof bowl (e.g., glass or stainless steel). Set aside.
  3. In medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan placed over low heat, combine the peanut butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, and butter. Stir until mixture is blended and heated. Do not boil.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat and pour mixture over the cereal and peanut mixture. Stir to mix. Press mixture into prepared baking pan.
  5. For topping, melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, a few seconds at a time. When chocolate is about half melted, stir in the peanut butter and butter. Continue to microwave in short bursts of seconds until chocolate is melted. Pour the topping over the square in pan and smooth with a knife or small flat metal spatula. Let cool completely to room temperature before lifting square from pan and cutting it into squares or bars of desired size. Square may cut out better if cooled square has been placed in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Yield: One (1) 9” pan of squares/bars

 

Did you Know?

You can join the Facebook page for My Island Bistro Kitchen:  https://www.facebook.com/MyIslandBistroKitchen/

Follow “the Bistro” on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/PEIBistro/

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Follow “the Bistro” on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.ca/peibistro/

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Sweet Marie Bars
Sweet Marie Bars

 

Sweet Marie Bars
Sweet Marie Bars

 

Sweet Marie Bars
Sweet Marie Bars

Homemade Chive Vinegar Recipe

Chives, a perennial plant related to onions, are one of the season’s earliest gems. I generally cut back part of the patch to keep the chives producing all season long.  But, letting some of the chives reach the flower blossom stage has its perks, too.

Patch of Chives
Chives

As they mature, chives will produce long stems that become somewhat hard and tough. Those stems produce fabulous lavender-hued edible blossoms.  Those are the blossoms that I harvest to make chive vinegar.  It just seems so wasteful not to make good use of them. And, when you see the color of the vinegar, you’ll understand why this is a prized commodity in my pantry.

Chive Patch
Chive Blossoms

Chive vinegar is super easy to make and it will have a subtle onion essence.  All that is required is about 80-100 chive blossoms that are pesticide free and 1½ cups of a good quality colorless, neutral, unflavored vinegar such as white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar. No special equipment and no special skillsets are required.

Snip the chive blossoms just below their heads.  I generally leave about a 1” stem on just a few of the blossoms for a little extra flavor.  Swish and wash the blossoms in a bowl of cool water then dry them in a salad spinner.

Chive Blossoms in Salad Spinner
Chive Blossoms

Lay the blossoms, single layer, on a tea towel and let them air dry for about an hour or so. Use a meat pounder mallet to slightly crush the blossoms to hasten the release of their flavor.

Stuff the blossoms into a 2-cup glass jar and add the vinegar.  Use the end of a wooden spoon to reposition the blossoms, if necessary, to make room for all of the vinegar.

Mason Jar Filled with Chive Blossoms and Vinegar
Steeping Chive Blossoms in Vinegar

Do not use a metal lid to cover the jar as it can react with the vinegar.  Instead, use a double layer of plastic wrap to cover the jar and secure the wrap with an elastic band.  Store the jar in a cool dark place for a couple of weeks to let the chives infuse the vinegar with flavor and for the vinegar to turn the most stunning shade imaginable.

Every couple of days, give the jar a gentle shake or two to move the vinegar in and around the chive blossoms. The color of the vinegar will develop very quickly but, like its flavor, will deepen the longer you let the chive blossoms steep in the vinegar.

Once the infusion period is up, strain the vinegar from the blossoms.  You can use either a wet cheesecloth lined fine wire mesh sieve or you can line the sieve with a paper coffee filter.  Decant the vinegar into a sterilized bottle that has a non-metallic lid such as a rubber stopper (as shown in the photo below) or a cork. Store away from light.

Bottle of Homemade Chive Vinegar
Homemade Chive Vinegar

Use chive vinegar in any way or recipe you would use any vinegar.

For example, it makes a fantastic vinaigrette, especially for those main meal summer salads.

Plate of Salad with Bottle of Chive Vinegar and Small Jug of Vinaigrette in background
Vinaigrette Made with Homemade Chive Vinegar

A light drizzle of the chive vinegar over a potato salad adds an extra punch of flavor.

Bowl of Potato Salad with Bottle of Chive Vinegar in Background
Homemade Potato Salad Drizzled with Chive Vinegar

The vinegar can also be used in marinades, tossed with roasted veggies or over French fries, or for quick pickling of cucumber or red onion.  This vinegar also makes a lovely host/hostess gift from your kitchen. Just look at the fabulous color of the vinegar and it’s all natural from the chive blossoms. No artificial coloring has been used.

Bottle of Chive Vinegar
Chive Vinegar as a Host or Hostess Gift

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Chive Vinegar

Ingredients:

Apx. 80-100 chive blossoms, including a few buds
1½ cups white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar

Method:

Snip blossoms from chive plants, just beneath the blossom heads. If desired, leave about 1” stem on a few of the blossoms for extra flavor. Wash blossoms in large bowl of cold water and spin dry in salad spinner. Transfer blossoms to tea towel to air dry for about an hour or so.

Use a meat pounder mallet to lightly crush the blossoms and buds to release their flavor.

Transfer blossoms and buds to a 2-cup glass jar. Fill with vinegar. Using the end of a wooden spoon, push down and redistribute the  blossoms to make room for the vinegar.

Cover the jar with plastic wrap secured with a rubber band. Do not use a metal lid which can react with the vinegar. Place the jar in a dark, cool location and let it steep for 2 weeks to allow the flavor and color of the chive vinegar to develop. Over the two weeks, periodically give the bottle a gentle shake or two to redistribute contents.

Strain the steeped vinegar through a wet cheesecloth-lined fine wire mesh sieve (or line the sieve with a paper coffee filter). Discard the old blossoms and buds. Decant the vinegar into a sterilized bottle that has a non-metallic lid such as a rubber stopper or cork.

Yield: Apx. 1 1/3 cups

Did you Know?

You can join the Facebook page for My Island Bistro Kitchen:  https://www.facebook.com/MyIslandBistroKitchen/

Follow “the Bistro” on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/PEIBistro/

See the drool-worthy gallery of mouth-watering food photos from My Island Bistro Kitchen on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peibistro/

Follow “the Bistro” on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.ca/peibistro/

And, of course, by subscribing to receive an email notification of new posts and recipes, you can be among the first to know when I publish a new post or recipe. Simply enter your name and email address in the Subscription block over on the right-hand side of my home page.

Chive Vinegar

Chive-infused vinegar is easy to make and is a wonderful addition to the cook's pantry. Use it just as you would any vinegar. Especially good in vinaigrettes and marinades and tossed with French fries and roasted vegetables.
Course Condiment
Keyword chives, homemade chive vinegar
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • Apx. 80-100 chive blossoms, including a few buds
  • cups white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar

Instructions

  1. Snip blossoms from chive plants, just beneath the blossom heads. If desired, leave about 1” stem on a few of the blossoms for extra flavor. Wash blossoms in large bowl of cold water and spin dry in salad spinner. Transfer blossoms to tea towel to air dry for about an hour or so.
  2. Use a meat pounder mallet to lightly crush the blossoms and buds to release their flavor.
  3. Transfer blossoms and buds to a 2-cup glass jar. Fill with vinegar. Using the end of a wooden spoon, push down and redistribute the blossoms to make room for the vinegar.
  4. Cover the jar with plastic wrap secured with a rubber band. Do not use a metal lid which can react with the vinegar. Place the jar in a dark, cool location and let it steep for 2 weeks to allow the flavor and color of the chive vinegar to develop. Over the two weeks, periodically give the bottle a gentle shake or two to redistribute contents.
  5. Strain the steeped vinegar through a wet cheesecloth-lined fine wire mesh sieve (or line the sieve with a paper coffee filter). Discard the old blossoms and buds. Decant the vinegar into a sterilized bottle that has a non-metallic lid such as a rubber stopper or cork.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 1 1/3 cups

Pin Me To Pinterest!

Chive Vinegar