Friday, 11 April 2014

Toasted Almond & Polenta
Marmalade  Cake
This delectable scented cake gets it's roots from the Middle East and through time, the ingredients made their way to Southern Italy.
Golden sweet oranges, dark roasted almonds, gritty corn meal and dark vanilla beans add a chewy hearty texture to this heavenly scented cake from, the first bite to its last. 
Blood oranges if you can find them, would be a showstopping colour and add a touch of tartness.

My experience has taught me the importance of adding a few special touches to make foods & desserts really stand out. 
To this particular recipe I toasted the almonds.
Such a simple step that I add when the oven is preheating, pop those almonds in and they are ready in 20 min!
I always make more than I need and they are a great snack
Not only did this cake bake lusciously dark and rich but, the taste really stands out. There is so much chewiness because I ground the almonds myself instead of buying the costly already ground almonds which would burn if you attempted to toast them. The corn meal adds a whole different texture and chew which is unusual and quite a nice surprise!
That alone makes it special but, the added fragrant scent of zested oranges and vanilla bean add a wonderful perfume to the cake and to the house as it bakes.
This cake is rooted in my Italian history and is a special dish that we bake at this time of the year,
Spring right near Easter,
this cake symbolizes 
a time of renewal with the fresh taste of oranges 
and Mediterranean ingredients.
Rustic, simple ingredients that are not fancy or showstopping but rather delicious in their natural state, which is how things should be enjoyed!
Toasted Almond & Polenta Marmalade Cake
Caramel:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp margarine
2-3 large oranges
Cake:
3/4 cup margarine or  sunflower oil
3/4 cup sugar
3 lg eggs
1/2 Rodelle Vanilla bean or 2 tsp Rodelle pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups ground toasted almonds
3/4 cup fine polenta (yellow corn meal)
 course can be used, it will be chewier

1/3 cup + 2 tbsp flour
2 tsp baking powder
zest from 2 oranges
Glaze:
1/4 cup marmalade or light jelly
1 tbsp pure lemon juice
Caramel Prep:
Pour the sugar into a cast iron skillet, add the water and turn the heat up to #6 or #7.
Allow the sugar to begin to melt to a golden stage. Don't touch it just swirl the pan to distribute the liquid gold. Turn off when it becomes golden brown all over. This should take 6-10min. Stir in the margarine, if it crystallizes it doesn't matter.
This is just starting to become golden 
Meanwhile cut the ends of the zested oranges off.
Place the orange flat side down and saw off the peel, removing the white pith.
Slice oranges 1/4" thick
 Place in the skillet, nice side down.

Toasting Almonds 
Place approx. 3 1/2 cup of whole almonds with their peel on a baking sheet and pop it into the oven while the oven is preheating for approx. 20 min. Remove and cool to the touch. Place in a food processor and grind finely but not to a paste. Measure out amount needed.

  Cake
In a mixer beat shortening with the sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and blend.
Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise.

Using a knife scrape out the beans and add.
Do not throw this bean! Push it down into your sugar to aromatize.
Add the remaining dry ingredients and zest.
Blend to mix.

Scrape out the mix and spread over oranges.
 Bake in a preheated 350F for 40-45min or until
an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Allow to rest 10 min.

Run a knife around the edges.
Place a large platter over the pan.
 Place your hand on the dish and flip the cake over.
Melt the marmalade, stir in the juice and brush over the oranges 
 Brush the cake as well
Enjoy with love! 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Panko Crusted
Tater Tenders

 
My boys who are now grown young men
have always LOVED breaded chicken strips.
Their tastes have become more sophisticated and I can finally experiment on additional flavourings with coatings and spicy dips.  
These chicken tenders have an addition,
Garlic flavoured Potato Flakes!...
yes, sorry once in a while I get off of the nutritional wagon and go AWOL!
It happens,shoulder shrug here
but, of course it's not that far gone, very little is used and it really has added great flavour to an otherwise regular mid week meal. 
I added some colour with black sesame seeds and these power house seeds bring some nutrition 
via: omega 3's & fiber 

I fried these this time because I wasn't eating those calories as hubby and I had other dinner plans.
But you can easily spread them out onto a silpat or greased parchment paper and bake for 20min at 375F
1 cup panko crumbs
3 tbsp dehydrated garlic potato flakes
2 tbsp black sesame seeds
1 egg
2 large chicken breasts
Prep:
Slice the breasts into long 1/2" slivers
Beat the egg and toss with the chicken to coat.
Place the dry ingredients onto a sheet of waxed paper and mix.
Using tongs grab chicken one piece at a time and dip into crumb mixture. Use the back of your clean hand to press the crumbs into the chicken.
Repeat until done.
Preheat 1" of vegetable oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
Dip:
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp pureed ginger
1tsp sriracha sauce

Mix together and serve.
Enjoy with love!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Tuscan Stuffed 'Shroom
Caps

https://www.facebook.com/CdnLentils
I love finding huge mushroom caps at the grocers!
For me that means it's time to make a great stuffed mushroom cap!
These button 'shrooms are so huge
I can't decide if they are an appy', starter, side or meal!
Either way,
they are delicious
 have a moist filling, and are full of colourful vegetables and legumes, you will feel like you are at the green hills of Tuscany.
These have Canadian Lentils, full of protein, fiber
 https://www.facebook.com/CdnLentils
and of course if it's my recipe, so low in fat!
 
Tuscan Stuffed 'Shrooms


12 large button mushrooms

1/4 cup chopped red pepper

1/4 cup chopped yellow zucchini

3 tbsp chopped parsley

1 green onion, minced

1 tsp chili flakes

 EVOO

 salt

1/2 cup canned greens lentils, drained & rinsed

2 tbsp red pepper humus



Remove the stems from the mushroom and dice.

Add oil to a preheated med. size skillet add 1 tbsp oil, begin to sauté all of the mushrooms on both sides, just to slightly soften, adding a pinch of salt to the inside of each mushroom.

 

Remove to a baking sheet, gill side up.

Filling: 
Add 2 tbsp EVOO to the same skillet and begin to sauté all of the vegetables, herbs, chili and seasonings. Cook on med. heat until slightly softened approx. 5 min.

Add the lentils, stir to mix. Set aside to cool for 5 min. Stir in the hummus to bind. 


Fill the mushroom caps with the filling.

 Press the mixture into the caps to finish all of the stuffing.

Topping

1/2 cup bread crumbs, seasoned
I used gluten free crumbs

1 tbsp parmesan

3 tbsp EVOO
 In the same skillet, add the topping mixture, stir.

Sprinkle and press the crumb topping onto each 
 mushroom


You may have some leftover depending on the size of mushrooms.


Bake in a preheated 375F for 15min.

Enjoy with love!


Sunday, 30 March 2014

Strawberry Fool
 Ah finally spring is here~
Well although we still have snow here~
But I am optimistic that it will melt soon!!
This dessert should melt even the coldest of hearts
Strawberry Fool
A light airy dessert that usually gets it's lightness from high in calorie whipped cream.
No Foolin'
sorry pun intended...teehee
Well this dessert lives up to its name using
So Delicious  
dairy free products
 http://www.godairyfree.org/news/march-recipe-madness-contest

Dairy Free Recipe Madness Contest
lower in calories than cream and no saturated fats
This showstopping colourful dessert can be made easily enough for any night of the week and
elegant enough for guests.
Strawberry Fool
Crust:
Mix together
1 1/2 cups crushed cookie crumbs
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
Sprinkle onto the bottom of a trifle bowl.
 
Filling:
2 cups sliced, hulled strawberries
500ml So Delicious Coconut; Cherry Amaretto frozen dessert
454g So Delicious Cultured Coconut "yogourt"; strawberry or blueberry
1 box of strawberry or raspberry jello powder
Prep:
Take the "icecream" out of the fridge
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
Pour the contents of a jello box into the water and stir to dissolve the sugar.
 Do not add more water!
Pour cooled jello into a stand mixer bowl and 
mix in the "yogourt"
 Fold in the strawberries.
Fold in the softened "icecream".
Using a spatula scrape sides and pour over the crumbs, smoothing the top
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
This mixture will slightly firm up.
 
 Serve individual servings with extra 
berries macerated with a bit of sugar. 
*This can be poured into a springform pan and frozen, then sliced into wedges*

Enjoy with love!
 
 
 

Thursday, 27 March 2014



Lentil Poppers

 Well although it may not look like it,
Spring is finally here!
With this season of renewal comes the outdoor BBQ and all the festivities that come with it.
 It embodies the fresh colours of spring and it's so appealing to serve these individual tasty morsels full of flavour and colour.
This recipe is a great make ahead appy' that you can serve 
warm or cold!
With no fuss, using many of the ingredients you probably have 
in your pantry. 

Kids will 'POP' these without question and you'll know you are giving your family and friends something nutritious using, 
high in fiber, minerals and protein using
Canadian Lentils
 https://www.facebook.com/CdnLentils
Double this and you can freeze them for another
Partay! 

https://www.facebook.com/CdnLentils
Lentil Popppers

100g canned green lentils, rinsed, drained
1/2 cup cooked seasoned arborio rice
(this has more starch, so it will stick together better for forming balls)
1/2 cup mixed frozen vegetables (peas, corn, carrots)
1/4 cup tzatziki dip
1/3 lb. ground pork or sausage
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs + 2 cups for coating
4 tbsp.  grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tbsp. minced flat leaf parsley
1 tsp each salt & ground black pepper
1" vegetable oil for frying; your choice
227g pkg. Tomato Bruschetta for garnish
36 skewers
Coating:
In a small bowl blend 2 tbsp. Parmesan with 2 cup panko crumbs. Set aside.
 Pops:
In a large bowl combine lentils, rice, vegetables, sauce, meat, crumbs, parsley and 2 tbsp. Parmesan.
Allow to sit for 15 min to absorb flavours.
Shape filling into 1 1/2" balls using a teaspoon or small ice cream scoop. Drop into crumb mixture and roll to adhere coating. Roll mixture using 2 hands to form balls, pressing crumbs to firm. Continue until all are formed.
In a heavy bottomed pot bring 1" of oil to 350F.
*or drop one crumb into oil, if it immediately sizzles and rises, it is preheated*
Place balls into oil do not pack tightly or it will lower the oil temperature.
Fry until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towel.
Pierce each pop from the top to enable easy pick up.
Serve with Bruschetta in individual serving spoons for each

Enjoy with Love
I would love a "like" at Canadian Lentils at their facebook page:
 https://www.facebook.com/CdnLentils?ref=stream
 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Chicken & Lentil
 Confit
Here's a new spin to add to your
"What do I do with this chicken" dilemma.
Your family will love this meal.
Confit is a slow stewed meal and this easy updated Chicken & Lentil Confit 
can be made stove top!
Using canned Canadian Lentils
 This dish is quicker than your traditional
Confit because the lentils here are already cooked.
It's low in fat too!
Canadian Lentils are one of the highest forms of fiber, minerals and vegetable protein available.
You will feel satisfied and not craving carbs after this nutritious and delicious meal.
Chicken & Lentil Confit
 https://www.facebook.com/CdnLentils

4 chicken legs, thigh attached
3 tbsp flour
1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp EVOO
3 small onions, peeled, halved or sliced into rounds
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 chopped green onion
1 cup whole cremini mushrooms
2 cup cooked green lentils (canned can be used)*
  https://www.facebook.com/CdnLentils,
3 peeled, russet potatoes, quartered
3 tbsp parsley
1 cup white wine or chicken broth
1/4 cup water
1 birds eye pepper or to taste
salt to taste
Remove the skin from the thigh part of the chicken, reducing the fat content.
Dredge the chicken with the flour. 

Brown chicken all over in a large preheated skillet with the olive oil.

Add pepper, onions and garlic to the pan, move around to coat with oil.
Add paste to a hot spot and cook for a few seconds, it will turn a darker colour.
oops, a little blurry taken in my excitement, but you get the picture!


Add seasoning, green onion, herbs, mushrooms, wine.


Reduce the heat and cook for 1/2 hr. turning meat every 15min. Then, add potatoes and lentils, season to taste.


Cover, leaving slightly ajar and simmer on med. low for 30min. more

 Add water after 15min. and continue simmering. 
The chicken falls off the bone.
Serves: 4 or 2 hungry people

If you love this dish "like" my recipe at: Canadian Lentils on Facebook


 https://www.facebook.com/CdnLentils

*If you prefer to make them fresh boil
1 cup dried green lentils with 3 cup boiling water for 10min.
Drain the water and drop into the cooking mixture so they continue to braise.
You may need to add more water.

Enjoy with Love!