Category Archives: Sauces and Salsas

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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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
Author 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

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
Author 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

Cranberry Rhubarb Sauce

Small white bowl filled with Cranberry Rhubarb Sauce. Rolled stuffed turkey breast and stalks of rhubarb in background
Cranberry Rhubarb Sauce

It’s hard for me to imagine a roast turkey or chicken dinner without homemade cranberry sauce. Sometimes, I will make the sauce with just cranberries while other times, I will blend flavours as in the case of this Cranberry Rhubarb Sauce which combines the tart cranberries with the equally tart rhubarb. Lovely tang and extraordinarily rich color to this tasty sauce.

This Cranberry Rhubarb Sauce may be made with either fresh or frozen cranberries and rhubarb so it’s possible to make it year-round. This is a good thing because cranberries and rhubarb are not in-season locally together at the same time.

This condiment complements a roast poultry dinner very well. Try mixing it with some mayonnaise for a lovely spread on a cold chicken or turkey sandwich.

Slices of rolled stuffed turkey breast with small glass bowl of Cranberry Rhubarb Sauce
Rolled Stuffed Turkey Breast Served with Cranberry Rhubarb Sauce

I like my cranberry sauces to be very thick and not runny.  The secret to making a thick cranberry sauce is to, first, make a simple syrup of water and sugar before adding the cranberries and rhubarb. The trick to getting a thickened sauce is to stir it both while it is cooking and cooling.  Stir it plenty during the cooling process – it will appear somewhat watery when it comes off the stove but, by stirring it frequently as it cools, it will thicken well.

Bowl of Cranberry Rhubarb Sauce in foreground with Rolled Stuffed Turkey Breast and Two Stalks of Rhubarb in Background
Cranberry Rhubarb Sauce

This sauce, like my other cranberry sauces, freezes well.  I often make up a batch or two at a time and freeze it in airtight serving-size dishes of desired size. To thaw, simply remove the sauce from the freezer and thaw at room temperature for an hour or so (depending on the size of container, of course).

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Cranberry Rhubarb Sauce

Ingredients:

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 cup water minus 1 tablespoon

1½ cups cranberries, fresh or frozen (approximately 6 oz)
¾ cup rhubarb, fresh or frozen, chopped into ¼“ chunks (approximately 3 oz)
2 tbsp peeled apple, finely chopped
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp lime juice (optional)

¼ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/16 tsp ginger
1 star anise pod (optional)

2 tsp finely grated orange rind

Method:

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

Add cranberries, rhubarb, apple, and orange and lime juices. Bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat, stirring periodically throughout the cooking process, for about 8 minutes. Add the spices and star anise pod. Increase heat to return mixture to the boiling point then reduce heat to medium-low and continue to stir the sauce periodically while cooking it for another 10 minutes or until mixture thickens.

Remove saucepan from heat and discard the star anise pod.  Add orange rind. Stir frequently as the sauce cools to help it to thicken.

Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage.

Yield: Apx. 1 2/3 cups

For other Cranberry Sauce recipes, click on the links below:

Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Cranberry Blueberry Sauce

Cranberry Rhubarb Sauce

This cranberry rhubarb sauce pairs two wonderful flavours. Perfect with a roast turkey or chicken dinner.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword cranberry rhubarb sauce, cranberry,, rhubarb
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup water minus 1 tablespoon
  • cups cranberries, fresh or frozen (approximately 6 oz)
  • ¾ cup rhubarb, fresh or frozen, chopped into ¼“ chunks (approximately 3 oz)
  • 2 tbsp peeled apple, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp lime juice (optional)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/16 tsp ginger
  • 1 star anise pod (optional)
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange rind

Instructions

  1. In medium-sized saucepan, over medium heat, bring sugars and water to boil. Boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add cranberries, rhubarb, apple, and orange and lime juices. Bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat, stirring periodically throughout the cooking process, for about 8 minutes. Add the spices and star anise pod. Increase heat to return mixture to the boiling point then reduce heat to medium-low and continue to stir the sauce periodically while cooking it for another 10 minutes or until mixture thickens.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat and discard the star anise pod. Add orange rind. Stir frequently as the sauce cools to help it to thicken.
  4. Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage.

Recipe Notes

Yield:  Apx. 1 2/3 cups

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Bowl of Cranberry Rhubarb Sauce with Stuffed Rolled Turkey Breast in background

White bowl filled with Cranberry Rhubarb Sauce

How to Make Homemade Applesauce

Applesauce
Homemade Applesauce

A true old-fashioned comfort food, homemade applesauce is so simple to make and, best of all, it does not take a lot of ingredients or any unusual ones.  I like to make a big batch of applesauce in the fall when the local apples are fresh in-season and when I can buy, bulk, the different varieties of apples.

Apples
Mixture of Apples for Applesauce

While I have often made good applesauce using only one variety of apple, I have discovered that blending several varieties, each with its own properties, adds wonderful flavour to the sauce.  I like to use at least three varieties, and sometimes four, in my applesauce so I choose varieties known for their sweet, tart, and tangy properties because their flavours play well off of each other.  In the sauce in the photographs in this posting, I have used four varieties – Cortland from the sweet category, Jonagold and MacIntosh from the tart group and, to add a tangy dimension, I added some Honeycrisp.

Applesauce
Homemade Applesauce

You don’t want to use too much liquid when cooking the apples – basically, just enough to keep the apples from scorching as they cook.  The apples, themselves, will release their juices as they cook.  Using too much liquid will make for a very runny, soupy sauce that will lack good consistency. While the applesauce can be made with a little water, using apple juice really kicks the apple flavour of the sauce up a notch.  I use brown sugar in my applesauce and also add some pure maple syrup because I like a rich applesauce and both of these ingredients contribute to the lovely color of the sauce.  I don’t add much in the way of spices because it’s the apple flavour I am looking for.  So, just a small amount of cinnamon and nutmeg is all I add.

Applesauce
Homemade Applesauce

Let the apples simmer away on the stove until they are perfectly soft and mushy.  For chunky style applesauce, simply mash the cooked apples with a potato masher.  If you like a smoother sauce (like the the sauce photographed here), let the apple mixture cool for a bit and then purée it to desired consistency using either an immersion or regular countertop blender.

Applesauce
Homemade Applesauce

This applesauce freezes very well in airtight freezer containers. It’s delightful on its own with a good chunk of cheddar cheese and biscuits warm from the oven.  Applesauce has a multitude of uses, including as an ingredient in my Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins. Of course, it’s a dandy side to porkchop dishes, as well.

Applesauce
Homemade Applesauce with an Extra Sprinkle of Cinnamon

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Homemade Applesauce

Ingredients:

5 lbs apples (e.g., any combination of Cortlands, Jonagold, MacIntosh, Honeycrisp varieties)
1 tbsp lemon juice
¾ cup apple juice (or water)
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/8 tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg

Method:

Wash, peel, and core apples.  Cut apples into four wedges and then cut each wedge into three to four smaller wedges, depending on the size of apples.

Place apples in large stockpot, sprinkling with lemon juice and tossing gently with a large spoon to coat with the lemon juice.  Add remaining ingredients and stir well.  Place stockpot over medium-high heat and bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, and stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes, or until apples have completely softened.

Remove from heat and mash apples with a potato masher for chunky-style sauce. For smoother sauce, let apples cool for several minutes and use an immersion blender (or regular countertop blender) to purée apple mixture to desired consistency.

Refrigerate sauce, covered, for up to 3-4 days or freeze in airtight freezer containers for longer storage.

Yield:  Apx. 7 cups

Homemade Applesauce

A combination of sweet and tart varieties of apples are the basis for this delicious homemade applesauce that is simple to make and freezes well.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword applesauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs apples e.g., any combination of Cortlands, Jonagold, MacIntosh, Honeycrisp varieties
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¾ cup apple juice or water
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Wash, peel, and core apples. Cut apples into four wedges and then cut each wedge into three to four smaller wedges, depending on the size of apples.
  2. Place apples in large stockpot, sprinkling with lemon juice and tossing gently with a large spoon to coat with the lemon juice. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Place stockpot over medium-high heat and bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, and stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes, or until apples have completely softened.
  3. Remove from heat and mash apples with a potato masher for chunky-style sauce. For smoother sauce, let apples cool for several minutes and use an immersion blender (or regular countertop blender) to purée apple mixture to desired consistency.
  4. Refrigerate sauce, covered, for up to 3-4 days or freeze in airtight freezer containers for longer storage.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 7 cups

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Applesauce

Cranberry Blueberry Sauce

Combining the sweet and tart flavors of blueberries and cranberries makes for a delectable cranberry blueberry sauce.  Their flavors play well off of each other. Most will be familiar with the traditional cranberry sauce that, for many, has to be part of a roasted turkey or chicken dinner.  Click here for my recipe for classic cranberry sauce.

Cranberries
Cranberries

As a variation to that sauce, I have created a recipe using a blend of cranberries and high bush blueberries.

Blueberries
High Bush Blueberries

This sauce, in a gorgeous deep burgundy-purple color, pairs well with poultry and even with beef and pork dishes.  The blueberries add a layer of natural sweetness to the sauce and pair well with the more tart cranberries, toning them down just a bit but still letting the cranberry flavor come through.

Cranberry Blueberry Sauce
Cranberry Blueberry Sauce

The key to making a nice consistency sauce with blueberries and cranberries is to, first, make a simple syrup of water and sugar then add the cranberries that take longer to cook than the blueberries which are added to the late stage cooking.  The secret to getting a thickened sauce is to stir it both while it is cooking and cooling.  Stir it lots during the cooling process – it will appear quite watery when it comes off the stove but, by stirring it as it cools, you’ll be amazed how it thickens well.

If I am plating a meal, I like to put the sauce in a small condiment dish on each plate.  This contains the sauce which, regardless how thick it is, tends to run into other foods on the plate.

Cranberry Blueberry Sauce
Cranberry Blueberry Sauce

This sauce, like my traditional cranberry sauce, freezes well.  I make up a batch or two at a time and freeze it in airtight serving-size dishes – some are single serving, some are double, and some are larger size.  To thaw, simply remove the sauce from the freezer and thaw at room temperature for an hour or so (depending on the size of container, of course).

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Cranberry Blueberry Sauce

Ingredients:
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 cup water

1½ cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
½ cup apple, finely chopped
1/4 cup orange juice

2/3 cup high-bush blueberries, fresh or frozen
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Pinch allspice
1 star anise pod (optional)

1 tsp finely grated orange rind
Method:
In medium-sized saucepan, bring sugars and water to boil. Boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

Add cranberries, apple, and orange juice. Bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat, stirring periodically throughout the cooking process for about 8 minutes then add the blueberries and spices. Increase heat to return mixture to boiling point then reduce heat to medium-low and continue to stir the sauce periodically while cooking it for another 10 minutes or until mixture thickens and blueberries have softened.

Remove saucepan from heat and remove the star anise pod.  Add orange rind. Stir frequently as the sauce cools to help it to thicken.

Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage.

Yield: Apx. 2 cups

Cranberry Blueberry Sauce

This cranberry blueberry sauce is the perfect blend of tart and sweet flavours. A great addition to any holiday dinner.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • cups cranberries fresh or frozen
  • ½ cup apple finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2/3 cup high-bush blueberries fresh or frozen
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • Pinch allspice
  • 1 star anise pod optional
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange rind

Instructions

  1. In medium-sized saucepan, bring sugars and water to boil. Boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add cranberries, apple, and orange juice. Bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat, stirring periodically throughout the cooking process for about 8 minutes then add the blueberries and spices. Increase heat to return mixture to boiling point then reduce heat to medium-low and continue to stir the sauce periodically while cooking it for another 10 minutes or until mixture thickens and blueberries have softened.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat and remove the star anise pod. Add orange rind. Stir frequently as the sauce cools to help it to thicken.
  4. Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 2 cups

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Cranberry Blueberry Sauce
Cranberry Blueberry Sauce

For Other Cranberry Sauce Recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Zesty Cranberry Orange Sauce
Cranberry Rhubarb Sauce

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Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce

Beer Barbeque Sauce
Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce

We have a good-sized patch of rhubarb and, every year, I develop one or more new recipes using it.  I recently paid a visit to Upstreet Craft Brewing in Charlottetown in preparation for a story on this brewery and, lo and behold, they have a strawberry-rhubarb beer. This got me to thinking that I could combine the rhubarb with this beer to make a tasty barbeque sauce which is just what I did!

Beer Barbeque Sauce
Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce

Now, this barbeque sauce takes a little time to make but the end result is so worth it.  Just like making a traditional fine tomato sauce, the key is in letting the sauce simmer to allow the flavors to mix and mingle and get to know each other – very social just like Upstreet’s Rhuby Social beer! The sauce is a mix of savory, tart, and sweet, especially with the addition of crushed pineapple that goes well with rhubarb.

Beer Barbeque Sauce
Porkchops with Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce

This barbeque sauce is particularly good on pork and chicken but also pairs well with burgers. This is my signature barbeque sauce for this summer.  I use my immersion blender in the sauce but, if you like it more thick and chunky, leave it just as it is.  I hope you enjoy it.

Porkchops with Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce
Porkchops with Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce

(Printable recipe follows at end of posting)

Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce

Ingredients:

½ lb rhubarb, sliced ½” thick
2 tbsp water
1½ tsp lemon juice
2-3 tbsp. oil
½ cup onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup ketchup
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ cup maple syrup
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp salt
Pinch cayenne
¾ cup crushed pineapple with juice
½ cup Upstreet Craft Brewing’s “Rhuby Social” beer

Method:

In medium-sized saucepan, combine rhubarb, water, and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until rhubarb is soft and mushy.

In separate medium-sized saucepan, heat oil and, over medium heat, sauté onions until soft and translucent.  Add garlic and cook for one additional minute, stirring constantly, being careful not to burn the onions or garlic. Add the cooked rhubarb, ketchup, tomato paste, mustard, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and cayenne.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and cook for approximately 45 minutes or until thickened, stirring regularly.

Add the crushed pineapple and beer.  Cook for apx. 30 minutes longer, stirring regularly to prevent scorching.  Cool.  Purée in blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender.

Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week. Use on chicken, pork, or burgers.

Yield: 
Apx. 2½ cups

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Beer Barbeque Sauce
Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce

Rhubarb and Beer Barbeque Sauce

Yield: Apx. 2 1/2 cups

Savory and sweet barbeque sauce combines rhubarb, crushed pineapple, and beer to make a tasty sauce for pork, chicken, and burgers.

Ingredients

  • ½ lb rhubarb, sliced ½” thick
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1½ tsp lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbsp. oil
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pinch cayenne
  • ¾ cup crushed pineapple with juice
  • ½ cup Upstreet Craft Brewing’s “Rhuby Social” beer

Instructions

  1. In medium-sized saucepan, combine rhubarb, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until rhubarb is soft and mushy.
  2. In separate medium-sized saucepan, heat oil and, over medium heat, sauté onions until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for one additional minute, stirring constantly, being careful not to burn the onions or garlic. Add the cooked rhubarb, ketchup, tomato paste, mustard, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and cayenne. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and cook for approximately 45 minutes or until thickened, stirring regularly. Add the crushed pineapple and beer. Cook for apx. 30 minutes longer, stirring regularly to prevent scorching. Cool. Purée in blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week. Use on chicken, pork, or burgers.
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Chunky Cranberry Salsa

Chunky Cranberry Salsa Hors d'oeuvre
Chunky Cranberry Salsa Hors d’oeuvre

By now, if you are a regular follower of this food blog, you have probably detected that I am a big fan of cranberries!  I am always developing recipes using these tasty morsels.

Chunky Cranberry Salsa
Chunky Cranberry Salsa

Today, I am sharing my newly-developed recipe for Chunky Cranberry Salsa. As its base, it uses my homemade cranberry sauce for which you can find the recipe here.  You need a good thick cranberry sauce for this, not a runny, watery version as many of the canned, commercial versions are. If a watery cranberry sauce is used, it will make the salsa too runny and messy. The photo below shows what the consistency of this salsa should be – it should “hold its own” and stay in place when used on nachos or crackers.

Chunky Cranberry Salsa
Chunky Cranberry Salsa

Any flavour of dry salsa seasoning available can be used in this recipe. I use the Epicure Brand, “Pico”, Salsa Mix which is a mild flavoring. If you are using another brand, or one that is quite spicy, just be aware that the amount this recipe calls for may not apply and you may need to adjust the amount you use.  Also, I use 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons of the Epicure “Pico” seasoning but that can be altered according to taste.  However, I suggest making the salsa first with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the seasoning and then adding more according to your personal taste.  As the old saying goes, you can add more seasoning but you can’t remove it if you put in too much!

Almost any flavour of balsamic vinegar can be used, even a traditional white balsamic. I have used a honey ginger balsamic vinegar from our local Liquid Gold and All Things Olive store here in Charlottetown as this vinegar flavour pairs particularly well with the other ingredients in this salsa.

Chunky Cranberry Salsa on Nachos
Chunky Cranberry Salsa on Nachos

I use this salsa on nachos but it is also exceptionally good served on gourmet crackers. Simply top each cracker with a small slice of Brie or Gouda cheese and some shaved turkey.  Add a small spoonful of the cranberry salsa and, voilà, an instant hors d’oeuvre. Once you have the salsa made, it makes a quick, easy, and tasty hors d’oeuvre.

Chunky Cranberry Salsa Hors d'oeuvre
Chunky Cranberry Salsa Hors d’oeuvre

With the jewel-toned color of this salsa, this hors d’oeuvre also looks very attractive on a serving tray.

Chunky Cranberry Salsa Hors d'oeuvres
Chunky Cranberry Salsa Hors d’oeuvres

This salsa often finds its way on to my charcuterie boards, too.

It can also be used to top baked chicken breasts or grilled pork chops. It’s very versatile, especially if you already have cranberry sauce made and in the freezer.  Simply let the cranberry sauce thaw at room temperature and then mix up the salsa. It’s best if the salsa can be made and refrigerated for a couple of hours before serving to allow the flavours to blend and mellow.

Chunky Cranberry Salsa

Ingredients:

1 cup cranberry sauce
¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
½ cup Granny Smith apple, finely chopped
1½  tsp sugar
1¾ tsp lime juice
1½ – 2 tbsp Epicure “Pico” Salsa Mix, or to taste
2 tsp Honey Ginger White Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
½ orange, finely chopped

Method:

In medium-sized bowl, mix all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving to allow flavour to develop.

Serve with nacho chips. May also be served as an hors d’oeuvre: Place slice of Gouda or Brie on favorite cracker. Add shaved turkey topped with a small dollop of chunky cranberry salsa. Can also be used as a topping on chicken or pork.

Store in sealed container for up to two to three days in refrigerator.

Yield: Apx. 1 2/3 cups

Chunky Cranberry Salsa
Chunky Cranberry Salsa

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Chunky Cranberry Salsa

Yield: Apx 1 2/3 cups

Jewel-toned cranberries transform into a versatile and tasty chunky cranberry salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup Granny Smith apple, finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp sugar
  • 1¾ tsp lime juice
  • 1½ - 2 tbsp Epicure “Pico” Salsa Mix, or to taste
  • 2 tsp Honey Ginger White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • ½ orange, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. In medium-sized bowl, mix all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving to allow flavour to develop.
  2. Serve with nacho chips. May also be served as an hors d’oeuvre: Place slice of Gouda or Brie on favorite cracker. Add shaved turkey topped with a small dollop of chunky cranberry salsa. Can also be used as a topping on chicken or pork.
  3. Store in sealed container for up to two to three days in refrigerator.
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Chunky Cranberry Salsa
Chunky Cranberry Salsa

 

 

 

 

Chunky Cranberry Salsa
Chunky Cranberry Salsa
Salsa
Cranberry Salsa

Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce

While cranberry sauce is traditionally associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas, I eat it year-round. In fact, I batch cook it and freeze it for use throughout the year.

Each fall, I eagerly await the cranberry harvest on PEI. The photo below was taken on a day that Mikita Farms in Farmington, PEI was wet harvesting their cranberry crop. Produce just does not get any fresher than this!

Freshly-harvested Cranberries from Mikita Farms in Farmington, PEI

In the fall, I buy a huge bag of cranberries for the freezer as I use them in several recipes, including cranberry-orange sauce.

These gems turn into a rich jeweled-toned cranberry sauce.

Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Any time I am cooking a chicken dinner, chicken pieces, or have a craving for cranberry sauce, I head to the freezer for a small container of the sauce as it just seems to make the meal.

Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce

I hope you enjoy my recipe for cranberry-orange sauce.  This is not a sickeningly sweet sauce although you can add a bit more sugar if you have a really sweet tooth!  Adding some apple and orange juice to the sauce gives it an extra flavour boost and both fruits complement the cranberry flavour well.  While the sauce is lovely without the Cointreau, it does add to the flavour of the sauce.

The method I use for the sauce is to make a simple syrup by boiling the sugar and water and then adding the cranberries, apple, and orange juice. I don’t care for runny cranberry sauce so I have learned this tip from my mother: Occasionally stir the sauce as it is cooking but make sure you stir it several times as it cools as this will help to thicken the sauce.

Don’t save this zesty cranberry-orange sauce for the holidays; enjoy it year-round!

Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce
Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
½ cup apple, finely chopped
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tsp finely grated orange rind
1½ tbsp Cointreau (optional)

Method:

In medium-sized saucepan, bring sugar and water to boil. Boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

Add cranberries, apple, and orange juice. Bring to a boil. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring periodically throughout the cooking process for about 15 minutes or until mixture thickens.

Remove saucepan from heat and add orange rind and Cointreau. Stir several times as the sauce cools to help it to thicken.

Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage.

Yield: Apx. 2 cups.

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Zesty Cranberry Orange Sauce

Yield: Apx 2 cups

A mildly tart and flavorful sauce that pairs well with roast turkey and any poultry dishes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • ½ cup apple, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 1½ tbsp Cointreau (optional)

Instructions

  1. In medium-sized saucepan, bring sugar and water to boil. Boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add cranberries, apple, and orange juice. Bring to a boil. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring periodically throughout the cooking process for about 15 minutes or until mixture thickens.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat and add orange rind and Cointreau. Stir several times as the sauce cools to help it to thicken.
  4. Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for longer storage.
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For other great cranberry condiment sauce recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the link below:


Cranberry Rhubarb Sauce
Cranberry Blueberry Sauce

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Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Sauce
Zesty Cranberry-Orange Sauce

 

Blueberry Barbeque Sauce

Blueberry Barbeque Sauce
Blueberry Barbeque Sauce

With the abundance of local blueberries in season and available locally, I try to maximize my use of them.  So, today, I am introducing my recipe for blueberry barbeque sauce made with high bush blueberries picked at Tryon U-Pick Blueberries in North Tryon, PEI.

High Bush Blueberries
High Bush Blueberries

As well as being tasty, this sauce is a lovely deep rich color.

Blueberry Barbeque Sauce
Blueberry Barbeque Sauce

This sauce is very versatile and can be used in the same recipes and on the same foods as any barbeque sauce.  It is particularly good brushed on grilled chicken, pork chops, ribs, and burgers.

Blueberry Barbeque Sauce on Grilled Chicken Breast
Blueberry Barbeque Sauce on Grilled Chicken Breast
Blueberry Barbeque Sauce on Pork Ribs
Blueberry Barbeque Sauce on Pork Ribs
Blueberry Barbeque Sauce on Burgers
Blueberry Barbeque Sauce on Burgers

Adding some blueberry balsamic vinegar to the sauce deepens the blueberry flavour. I used a chipotle and lemongrass infused maple syrup to add flavour complexity but plain maple syrup also works well.

Blueberry Barbeque Sauce

Ingredients:

1-2 tbsp olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped
5-6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups high-bush blueberries
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup blueberry balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp pineapple juice
½ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp liquid chicken bouillon
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground ginger
Salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp pineapple juice

Method:

Heat oil in saucepan. Add onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes then add garlic. Sauté, stirring constantly to prevent burning, for a further 1-2 minutes.

Add the blueberries, ketchup, balsamic vinegar, pineapple juice, brown sugar, maple syrup, chicken bouillon, mustard, lemon juice, and spices. Bring mixture to the boiling point then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.

In small bowl, mix 1 tsp cornstarch with 1 tbsp pineapple juice until smooth. Add 1-2 tsp of the hot mixture. Stir and add to the hot mixture in the saucepan. Cook, stirring regularly, until mixture is thickened to desired consistency.

Purée sauce till smooth in blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender.

Yield: Apx. 2¼ cups

Blueberry Barbeque Sauce
Blueberry Barbeque Sauce

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Barbeque Sauce

 

Blueberry Barbeque Sauce

Yield: Apx 2 1/4 cups

A tasty barbeque sauce that blends nicely with grilled chicken, pork chops, ribs, and burgers

Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups high-bush blueberries
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup blueberry balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp pineapple juice
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp liquid chicken bouillon
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp pineapple juice

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in saucepan. Add onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes then add garlic. Sauté, stirring constantly to prevent burning, for a further 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add the blueberries, ketchup, balsamic vinegar, pineapple juice, brown sugar, maple syrup, chicken bouillon, mustard, lemon juice, and spices. Bring mixture to the boiling point then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
  3. In small bowl, mix 1 tsp cornstarch with 1 tbsp pineapple juice until smooth. Add 1-2 tsp of the hot mixture. Stir and add to the hot mixture in the saucepan. Cook, stirring regularly, until mixture is thickened to desired consistency.
  4. Purée sauce till smooth in blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender.
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Blueberry Barbeque Sauce

 

Rhubarb Salsa

Rhubarb Salsa
Rhubarb Salsa

I am always developing ideas for ways I can make use of rhubarb. We have a long-established rhubarb patch at the end of the garden that always produces large beautiful red stalks. It was planted circa 1993-94 and is the German Wine variety. Because of its rich red color, it lends itself to colorful dishes. While we freeze lots of rhubarb for winter usage, I try to make good use of it while it is fresh. There’s just something so satisfying in being able to go to the garden to pick a few stalks of rhubarb just as I need them for a dish I am making.

Rhubarb Salsa
Rhubarb Salsa

Today, I am sharing the recipe I developed for rhubarb salsa. As you know, there has to be some kind of base for the salsa – something that gives it its bulk, if you will. For example, in many salsas, that tends to be a tomato base. In my recipe, which is a sweet salsa, I am using rhubarb as the base. Use young, thin rhubarb stalks for this recipe.

Rhubarb Salsa
Rhubarb Salsa

Rhubarb cooks quickly and can fast become sauce in which case in loses its shape. For this recipe, cook the rhubarb for only about 1 minute (or even less) and then quickly rinse it with cold water to immediately stop the cooking process. The rhubarb should be fork tender and still able to hold its diced shape and not be mushy. Because rhubarb does lose some of its bright color when cooked, I have added some highly colourful fruits and vegetables to make the salsa attractive – i.e., chopped mango, crushed pineapple, red pepper, and red onion.

Rhubarb Salsa
Rhubarb Salsa

For sweetener, I have used maple syrup and you can use either plain syrup or a flavoured or infused version.  Any flavour of salsa seasoning available can be used. I don’t personally care for really spicy salsa so I have used the Epicure Brand, “Pico” salsa seasoning, which is a mild flavoring. Likewise, any flavour of balsamic vinegar can be used, even a traditional white balsamic. I have used a honey ginger balsamic vinegar which is available from our local Liquid Gold and All Things Olive store here in Charlottetown as this vinegar flavour works quite well with the other ingredients in this salsa.

Rhubarb Salsa
Rhubarb Salsa

This salsa can be used on nachos or as a topping for fish, pork, or chicken. It adds color and flavour to many dishes.

Rhubarb Salsa on Salmon
Rhubarb Salsa on Salmon
Rhubarb Salsa

Ingredients:

2 cups rhubarb, finely diced
⅔ cup canned crushed pineapple (with juice)
⅓ cup red onion, diced
¾ cup mango, diced
¼ cup red pepper, diced
Juice of ½ lime
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp honey ginger balsamic vinegar
Zest of ½ lime
2 tbsp. Epicure “Pico” salsa mix
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 – 2 tbsp chopped fresh lemon balm or cilantro leaves, to taste (optional)

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Bring 1 cup of water to boil in pot. Add diced rhubarb and cook over medium heat for apx. 1 minute. Drain and immediately rinse rhubarb under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well and gently pat rhubarb dry with paper towel.

Combine crushed pineapple, onion, mango, and red pepper in bowl. Add the cooled rhubarb. Stir gently, trying not to break up the rhubarb.

In small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, maple syrup, vinegar, lime zest, salt and pepper.

Stir in the “Pico” salsa mix.

Pour over fruit and vegetables and stir gently.

If desired, add chopped lemon balm or cilantro leaves.

Refrigerate salsa at least 20 minutes before serving. Store in sealed container for up to two to three days in refrigerator.

Serve with nachos or as a topping on fish, pork, or chicken.

Rhubarb Salsa over Salmon
Rhubarb Salsa over Salmon

Rhubarb Salsa

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rhubarb, finely diced
  • 2/3 cup canned crushed pineapple (with juice)
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • ¾ cup mango, diced
  • ¼ cup red pepper, diced
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp honey ginger balsamic vinegar
  • Zest of ½ lime
  • 2 tbsp. Epicure “Pico” salsa mix
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 – 2 tbsp chopped fresh lemon balm or cilantro leaves, to taste (optional)

Instructions

  1. Bring 1 cup of water to boil in pot. Add diced rhubarb and cook over medium heat for apx. 1 minute. Drain and immediately rinse rhubarb under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well and gently pat rhubarb dry with paper towel.
  2. Combine crushed pineapple, onion, mango, and red pepper in bowl. Add the cooled rhubarb. Stir gently, trying not to break up the rhubarb.
  3. In small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, maple syrup, vinegar, lime zest, salt and pepper. Stir in the “Pico” salsa mix. Pour over fruit and vegetables and stir gently. If desired, add chopped lemon balm or cilantro leaves.
  4. Refrigerate salsa at least 20 minutes before serving. Store in sealed container for up to two to three days in refrigerator.
  5. Serve with nachos or as a topping on fish, pork, or chicken.
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Rhubarb Salsa
Rhubarb Salsa

Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto
Basil Pesto

Fresh basil is plentiful in many gardens and at farmers’ markets right now.  It’s a good time to make a batch or two of basil pesto.

Basil pesto is so versatile.  It can be used on pizzas, in pasta dishes, mixed with mayo for a sandwich spread, in soups, salads, in wraps, spread with butter over corn on the cob, as an ingredient in steamed mussels, and the list goes on.  As any creative cook will attest, basil pesto is a good staple to have on hand.

If you have an abundance of basil growing in your herb garden, or otherwise at your disposal, making pesto is a quick, easy, simple way to process it for a multitude of uses.  It takes very few ingredients but, fair warning, one key ingredient is very expensive – pine nuts.  However, the recipe doesn’t take many, thankfully.  I bought 1/4 cup to use in my recipe and it came to $2.65.  Walnuts can be substituted for pine nuts.

One of the easiest ways to store pesto is to freeze it in ice cube trays.

Freezing Basil Pesto
Freezing Basil Pesto

Simply place a large piece of plastic wrap over the ice cube slots and fill each with the pesto.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for several hours.  Remove from freezer and lift the plastic wrap with the frozen pesto cubes from the tray.  Peel off the frozen pesto cubes and store them in a sealed container or plastic bag in the freezer.  These are very handy because they can easily be popped into soup or quickly thawed for spreading on your favorite sandwich or wrap or used in any other dish in which you would normally use basil pesto.  If you need more than a tablespoon or two of pesto at a time then, of course, you will want to freeze the pesto in larger containers.

Basil Pesto

Ingredients:

2 cups gently packed fresh basil leaves (washed and dried)
¼ cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
½ cup olive oil
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Method:

Assemble ingredients.

Ingredients for Basil Pesto
Ingredients for Basil Pesto

My fresh basil is from Just A Little Farm in Bonshaw, PEI.  Farmer Jessica Vos grows her herbs and vegetables naturally with no chemicals.

Fresh Organic Basil from "Just A Little Farm", Bonshaw, PEI
Fresh Organic Basil from “Just A Little Farm”, Bonshaw, PEI

In food processor, mix together the basil leaves, pine nuts, and garlic.

Adding the pine nuts
Adding the pine nuts
Adding the garlic
Adding the garlic

Pulse the Pesto!

Pulse until mixture is finely chopped into a paste.

Pulse the Pesto!
Pulse the Pesto!

With the food processor running, add about ⅓ of the olive oil in a steady, slow stream. Reserve remaining oil for drizzling over finished pesto.

Adding the olive oil
Adding the olive oil

Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse again.

Adding the Parmesan Cheese
Adding the Parmesan Cheese

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Adding the salt
Adding the salt
Adding the freshly-ground pepper
Adding the freshly-ground pepper

Bottle the pesto and drizzle remaining olive oil over the pesto. Store pesto in refrigerator or freeze.

Bottling the Pesto
Bottling the pesto and adding remainder of olive oil

Yield:  Apx. ¾ cup

Homemade Basil Pesto
Homemade Basil Pesto

Here are a couple of my favorite uses of basil pesto.

Corn on the Cob – Slather some butter and basil pesto on hot steamed peaches and cream corn.

Basil Pesto on Corn on the Cob
Basil Pesto on Corn on the Cob

We love our PEI mussels!  A cube of basil pesto is a quick way to add some extra flavor to the steaming broth for mussels.  Added to some onion, garlic, and white wine, the pesto deepens the flavour of the mussels.

PEI mussels steamed in basil pesto with white wine, onion, and garlic
PEI mussels steamed in basil pesto with white wine, onion, and garlic

Oh, and don’t forget to dip those tasty little morsels in melted butter!

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Caps off to Haskaps – A Trendy New Berry on PEI

Haskap Berries
Haskap Berries

It’s not often that I discover a new food on Prince Edward Island. Until recently, I had never heard of haskap berries and did not know that they were grown on PEI.  Earlier this month, I travelled to Rollo Bay in the Eastern end of the Island to view a five-acre field of haskap bushes and to have a chat with the growers.

Rows of Haskap Bushes
Rows of Haskap Bushes

Mother and daughter duo, Lynn and Becky Townshend, began growing 2500 haskap bushes five years ago. Haskap bushes are very hardy and can withstand cold winter temperatures. They are also fast-growing and, once established, are one of the season’s earliest plants to bear fruit.

Haskap Bushes
Haskap Bushes

Before meeting the Townshends, I did a little research on the elongated-shaped berries which are the color of blueberries. I imagined they would grow on a low bush and, because they somewhat resemble blueberries, thought they would taste something like traditional blueberries. However, that is not the case. Their color is where I find the similarity with blueberries ends. They grow on high bushes like the ones in the photograph below. These are five-year old bushes and they range in height probably between about 3-5 feet.

Haskap Bush
Haskap Bush

Haskaps have their origin in Siberia and are also found in Russia, Japan, and China. A few years ago, Dr. Bob Bors at the University of Saskatchewan developed the haskaps for commercial production. Haskaps are a member of the honeysuckle family and are sometimes referred to as honeyberries.

Haskap Berries
Haskap Berries

The Townshends grow four varieties of haskaps -Indigo Gem, Indigo Treat, Tundra, and Borealis. Some varieties are sweeter than others but, for the most part, I would class these berries as tart and they would not be ones I would be likely to eat in a bowl with milk and sugar as I would, say, blueberries or strawberries. Raw, according to my tastebuds, I would suggest the haskaps most closely resemble Concord grapes in flavour while cooked or baked, they are (in my opinion) perhaps closest to black currants.

Hand-picking Haskap berries
Hand-picking Haskap berries

Picking the berries is a tedious and time-consuming task. At present, there is no mechanical harvester available (at least locally) for haskaps which means they must all be picked by hand.

Hand-picking Haskap Berries
Hand-picking Haskap Berries

As Becky says, “they’re devils to pick”! This is because the berries grow in through the branches and leaves on the bushes and the branches have to be moved away from the plant to reveal the berries.

This labour-intensive task is what keeps the price of the berries high. At time of writing, Riverview Country Market in Charlottetown sells pint boxes of haskaps for $6.00 each.

Pint box of Haskaps
Pint box of Haskaps

So, what can you do with haskaps? They make a great syrup or sauce for pancakes, waffles, French toast, or over ice cream or as the sauce for a shortcake. They can be used in baked goods, alone or in combination with other fruits such as raspberries or blackberries (I find they pair really well with raspberry – the flavors blend together well). They are suitable for pies, muffins, and baked puddings as well as for jam. Haskap berries also freeze well for later use. Essentially, you could use haskaps in the same manner in which you would use blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries.

The recipe I have chosen to share today using haskaps is for a rich sauce. Adding a mere teaspoon of a high quality raspberry balsamic vinegar and just a dash of cardamom gives additional complexity and flavour to this sauce. This sauce is particularly good in Haskap Shortcake.

Haskap Sauce

Ingredients:

1 cup haskap berries, fresh or frozen
½ cup super-fine sugar (aka caster sugar)
dash cardamom
1 tsp raspberry balsamic vinegar
1-2 tsp water
1-2 tsp cornstarch

Method:

Place haskaps, sugar, cardamom, and raspberry balsamic vinegar in small bowl. Stir gently to release juice from berries. Do not break up berries. Let sit for 3-4 hours at room temperature (can be placed in covered bowl in refrigerator for up to 24 hours) to allow sugar to begin to naturally dissolve and for the flavors of the berries, balsamic vinegar, and cardamom to blend.

Transfer berries to saucepan and add about 1 tsp water or so, just enough so that the berries and sugar do not scorch (do not add too much water as the sauce will be too runny). Over medium-low heat, cook berries, stirring gently, just until mixture starts to boil.

In small cup, combine 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and 1 teaspoon water to make paste. Temper with about 1 tablespoon of hot berry mixture then stir into berry mixture in saucepan. Cook and stir until mixture thickens to desired consistency.  Note: It may be necessary to add more cornstarch to reach desired thickness – repeat preceding procedure to mix in any additional cornstarch needed. Remove from heat and let cool. Store sauce in covered bottle in refrigerator for up to one week.

Yield: about ¾ cup

Serving Suggestion: Serve sauce over pancakes, French toast, waffles or ice cream. May also be used as a sauce for shortcake.

Hascap Shortcake

To make Hascap Shortcake, use your favorite sponge cake or biscuits.  Split cake or biscuit in half.  On bottom half, pipe a border of whipped cream around edge of cake or biscuit to form a dam to hold the sauce.  In center of whipped cream border, add about 1 tablespoon of hascap sauce.

Place top of cake or biscuit over whipped cream and sauce.   Drizzle more hascap sauce over top and add a dollop of whipped cream.

And, here is the finished product….

Haskap Shortcake
Haskap Shortcake

 

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today. There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

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One Hot Potato – Prince Edward Distillery’s Potato Vodka

Potato Vodka Made by Prince Edward Distillery, Hermanville, PEI

PEI has long been known for growing world-class potatoes – they are, after all, our primary cash crop, injecting more than one billion dollars annually into the Island economy, directly and through spin-offs[i].  We all know potatoes as a vegetable on dinner tables and are familiar with them boiled, mashed, baked, as French fries and potato chips, and as the key ingredient in scalloped potatoes.  But, would you think of potatoes as a main ingredient in a beverage?   Well, there are a couple of industrious and innovative women who have figured out a new use for PEI spuds.  Julie Shore and Arla Johnson own and operate Prince Edward Distillery where potato vodka is their flagship product.

Road Map from Charlottetown to Hermanville, location of Prince Edward Distillery

Drive east from the Island’s capital city of Charlottetown along the northeastern shore of the Island and you will find Hermanville, a small rural district not far from the town of Souris in the eastern end of PEI.  Late this past summer, I travelled to Hermanville to visit Prince Edward Distillery to find out about this potato vodka. In addition to learning how potato vodka is made, I learned the Distillery is diversifying its operation.  They are now producing gin, rye whiskey, rum, and a bourbon-style corn whiskey that sells under the label of IC Shore and that’s in addition to the potato vodka and wild blueberry vodka.  Also new this year (2012) are their decadent rum cakes made locally with the Distillery’s Merchantman 1897 rum.

Products Made at Prince Edward Distillery, Hermanville, PEI

The story of Julie and Arla’s arrival on PEI is similar to several others who have come to the Island and made it their home.  They came to PEI on holiday in 1997, fell in love with the Island, and decided to move here.  Leaving their jobs behind – Julie as a dental hygiene sales representative and Arla as a psychologist – they built an Inn (Johnson Shore Inn) in Hermanville in 1999, down a long, secluded, and narrow, unpaved lane that leads to a spectacular unobstructed view of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  However, they soon discovered the tourist, and by extension the innkeeper’s, season is short in rural PEI (usually late May to the end of September). That extra time on her hands got Julie thinking about the business her ancestors had been in, pre-prohibition, in North Carolina – distilling apple brandy and bourbon.  Living in the land of potatoes, Julie had the idea to set up a distillery to produce potato vodka.  Thus, in 2007, Prince Edward Distillery was born with the first batch of potato vodka running from the still’s spigot in 2008. 

Rum, Whiskey, and Rye Produced at Prince Edward Distillery

Julie is the master distiller.  In 2011, the Distillery produced 10,000 bottles of the six different liquors the Distillery produces. Apart from her ancestral history of distilling (she’ll tell you distilling is in her blood!), I asked Julie if she had to have special training to be a distiller.  She tells me she has taken a distilling course at Cornell University and yeast-making courses in Montreal and France.  She and Arla travel the world over visiting distilleries and learning more about the art of fine distilling.  Visit their onsite retail outlet and look at the large map on the wall that points out the impressive world travels Julie and Arla have journeyed. 

Julie says the best variety of potatoes for potato vodka is Russet Burbank.  These spuds are the highest starch potato grown on the Island and the starch content is important for the yeast to work in the fermentation process.  The Distillery buys approximately 50,000 pounds of locally-grown potatoes, on an annual basis, to use as the base for potato vodka. Julie explains that it takes about 18 pounds of potatoes to produce one 750 ml bottle of the potato vodka so, as you can imagine, it takes a lot of spuds to yield any amount of vodka.  While potato vodka is not unheard of, it is more rare since 99% of vodkas on the market are grain-based.  That’s probably because, as Julie says, potato vodka is difficult to distill due to the fact that potatoes are approximately 80% water, have to be cooked, and it takes such a volume of the raw ingredient (potatoes) to produce the final product. 

Prince Edward Distillery’s Potato Vodka
Tour of Prince Edward Distillery

Making potato vodka is very labour intensive.  The potatoes are ground and cooked to break down their starch into fermentable sugars so that fermentation will occur with the addition of yeast (wait till you hear what is done with the leftover mash from the potatoes and who the benefactors are!).  The mixture is fermented for four days in 1000-gallon tanks to form alcohol. 

German-made Holstein Copper Vertical Still at Prince Edward Distillery

Using a 680-litre German-made Holstein copper vertical still that Julie had imported from Germany and capably assembled herself (since it came in parts and didn’t come with an instruction book), this fermentation mixture is distilled three times to remove impurities, achieve a neutrality of the alcohol, and to get the perfect alcohol content for the vodka.  Julie tells me it takes 10-14 days to produce a batch of vodka from start to finish, raw product (potatoes) to bottling.  

The Distillery has enjoyed sweet success and very early in its operation.  Their products rank among the best.  Just a year after producing their first vodka for market, the potato vodka won gold in the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and, in the same year, the wild blueberry vodka won silver in the UK International Spirits Challenge in London, England.  Yes, our locally-produced Island wines and spirits can match any on the market!

Prince Edward Distillery supports local producers, buying and using locally-produced potatoes, grains, and blueberries in their liquor production.  The Distillery employs between 4-6 full time employees and 1 part-time employee on a seasonal basis.  Currently, their products are sold in PEI and Nova Scotia markets.  However, they are exploring markets farther afield. 

Prince Edward Distillery’s Spirit Outlet at Peakes Quay in Charlottetown, PEI

This past summer, the Distillery decided to open a spirits outlet shop at Peakes Quay on the Charlottetown waterfront, a popular tourist attraction of small shops and not far from the seaport where dozens of cruise ships dock each year.  In addition to the Peakes Quay location (open seasonally), the Distillery’s products are available at the onsite retail shop in Hermanville and in PEI and Nova Scotia liquor stores.

So, about that mash I mentioned earlier – the left-over potato product after the liquid has been extracted for the vodka.  Well, behind the distillery may well be what many have dubbed as the most cheerful hogs on the Island!  Yes, that’s right, hogs or, more specifically, Heritage Berkshire pigs which Julie raises on the mash.  She says there are lots of nutrients left in the potato mash so why throw it out when she can raise pigs on it!

Heritage Berkshire Pigs Raised on Mash at Prince Edward Distillery

The Distillery is open daily, May – October, for tours and taste-testing; from October – May, it is open by appointment or by chance.  A tour of the Distillery and taste-testing of two spirits costs $10. (or, if you simply want to taste any spirit, it is $3./taste).  For more information on the Prince Edward Distillery, visit their website, call them at 902-687-2586, or, better still (pun intended!), take the scenic northeastern shoreline route to Hermanville and visit the Distillery at 9985, Route 16.

Prince Edward Distillery, Hermanville, PEI

 

Whimsical T-Shirts at Prince Edward Distillery

True to tradition, when I visit a local producer, I bring home their product and create a recipe with it.  I decided to create a Vodka Tomato Sauce for pasta using Prince Edward Distillery’s potato vodka.  I find the vodka actually goes well with tomatoes and draws out the tomato flavour and makes it pop without adding a competing flavour to the dish.  The key, of course, is not to over-do it – less is often more and the idea is that the vodka enhance and contribute to the taste of the sauce, not overpower it.  My recipe creation follows.

Farfalle Pasta in Tomato Vodka Sauce

 

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today. There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

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[i] Source of Statistics:  Prince Edward Island Potato Board, 23 October 2012

Tomato Vodka Pasta Sauce

By Barbara99 Published: November 15, 2012

  • Yield:
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 50 mins
  • Ready In: 60 mins

A rich, flavourful tomato sauce suitable for various types of pasta

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat oil and butter in large pot. Add onion, celery, green pepper, mushrooms, and garlic. Sauté 2-3 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Add diced tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Simmer over low heat 5-7 minutes.
  3. Whisk the corn starch with the cooled chicken stock until smooth.
  4. Stir tomato sauce, vodka, and chicken stock/cornstarch into mixture. Simmer 18-20 minutes, until slightly thickened.
  5. Stir in whipping cream, oregano, basil, chives, cayenne, red pepper flakes, and parsley. Simmer 7-10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Add drained pasta to tomato sauce and toss to coat.
  7. Spoon pasta into serving dishes. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, fresh basil, a spring of parsley, and halved cherry tomatoes.

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Roasted Marinara Sauce on Halloween Pasta

Roasted Marinara Sauce with Sun-dried Tomato Pork Sausage on Halloween Pasta

I was looking for a meal to serve that would have a Halloween theme when I came across these wonderful orange and black Italian-made farfalle pasta.  I bought them not knowing how I would prepare and serve them.  They just looked so fun and season-appropriate that I couldn’t pass them by!  Served with locally-made sun-dried tomato and pork sausage tossed in a rich and flavourful homemade marinara sauce, and topped with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, this pasta dish was a real hit.  Add a freshly toasted garlic and cheese roll and a glass of red wine, and this meal is easily dressed up.

Italian-made Durum Wheat Semolina Farfalle Pasta

I am very lucky as we have a great little meat shop in Charlottetown, located at the Riverview Country Market on Riverside Drive.  Using locally-produced pork from Home Town Pork in Morell, PEI, they make several varieties of wonderful sausages onsite.  The variety I chose for this dish was sun-dried tomato and I was not disappointed – it was really good!  They tell me their sausages are all natural with no additives or preservatives.  I also dropped by our local “Liquid Gold” store and picked up two new products (will soon need extra cupboards to store all these oils and balsamic vinegars in!) — a bottle of oregano white balsamic vinegar and one of organic Tuscan herb infused olive oil were added to my growing collection!  Both were used in the marinara sauce and I also cooked the sausage in a small amount of the Tuscan olive oil.  Freshness matters and I find their products are super-fresh.

My recipe for the marinara sauce is my own creation.  Don’t be put off by the number of ingredients — it takes them all to make the flavour.  I like to roast the vegetables for the sauce because it gives them a distinct and rich flavour that I would classify as “full-bodied” in any dish.  After they are roasted, I break them up loosely with a potato masher.  There is no need to worry about getting them crushed completely at this point since that will occur later during the purée stage.  All that needs to happen at this point is that they are crushed enough to allow their juices and flavours to permeate the sauce while it cooks.  I like to use the immersion blender to purée the sauce in the stock pot.  I tend to like the sauce a bit on the chunky side so I don’t purée it completely smooth but that is a matter of personal taste.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, a food processor can, of course, be used – just make sure you let the mixture cool before placing it in the processor.  The sauce takes a bit of time to make but it is good (and the house smells divine in the process!).  This recipe makes about 3 1/2 cups but it is easily doubled.  The sauce also freezes really well which makes meal preparation quick and easy on a busy evening.  I cooked the sun-dried tomato pork sausage, then sliced it into thin slices (about 1/8th inch thick) before tossing it in the sauce and serving it over the pasta.

This was a fun dish to create and even more fun to eat, particularly with the orange and black Halloween pasta!

Halloween Pasta Served with Roasted Marinara Sauce

 

Thank you for visiting “the Bistro” today. There are lots of ways to connect with “the Bistro” through social media:

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Roasted Marinara Sauce

By Barbara99 Published: October 30, 2012

  • Yield: 3 1/2 cups

A rich, thick, flavourful tomato sauce that is a great accompaniment to pasta or pizza

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut vegetables into 1/2" - 1" pieces. Slice the parsnip slightly thinner. Place in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, tossing to coat vegetables. Place on tin foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes until vegetables are slightly fork tender and edges of vegetables start to char slightly. Peel garlic. Transfer vegetables and garlic to stock pot and, with a potato masher, loosely break up the vegetable chunks.
  2. Add remainder of ingredients. Over medium-high heat, bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf. Using an immersion blender, purée sauce to desired consistency. (Alternatively, let mixture cool and transfer to food processor to purée.)
  4. Toss with pasta (and meat, if using) or use as pizza sauce. Freezes well.

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