Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Barbequed Ribs

I don't know what it is like where you are but here it is beautiful; unseasonably warm and sunny and that can only mean one thing...it's time to barbeque.  Canadians are a sun crazed lot. As soon as the temperature inches above 10 degrees you start to see people in full summer mode: shorts, flip flops and the scent of barbeques being fired up permeates the air.

I am no exception when it comes to the barbeque (although I draw the line at shorts and flip flops on 11 degree days), so ribs seems like a good way to kick off the season. My six year old whole-heartedly agrees as I have seen her devour almost a whole rack by herself. That, I must say, was an unexpected sight! Besides, there has been a lot of "sweet" on this site, what with Toffee Chocolate Pretzel Cookies, Chocolate Cake and Coffee Walnut Blondies...it's time for a little "savoury".

Now, there is a lot of debate about what makes the perfect ribs. Do you boil or bake, smoke or slowly cook on the grill?  I will not claim to have the definitive answer but I will tell you I think I make a pretty mean rack of ribs so I am going to give you my method.

To my mind, the first issue is, of course, the pork.  I like back ribs, they are meatier, less fatty and more tender...but they also cost a bit more. As well, I want traditionally raised or organic meat and I do like Berkshire pork so I buy mine from a local butcher, such as Cumbrae's or Rowe Farms.

There is really no mystery to making tender ribs. Like any tougher cut of meat they need to be cooked in a way that will cause the tough fibers to break down.  Yes, that could mean boiling them but to me that is a good way to lose a lot of the flavour as well. 

What I prefer to do is slow roast them in a low oven before I finish them on the barbeque.  This way I am able to infuse the meat with flavour while it bakes. I arrange sliced onion, garlic and thyme over the ribs and pour a bit of apple juice in the bottom of the pan and then cover it and let them braise in a low oven for an hour or so.  When they are done and the meat is falling off the bone, I finish them on the barbeque with a fantastic homemade barbeque sauce. No muss, no fuss and amazing ribs! Now that is the way to welcome Spring!

Barbequed Ribs

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours
Total time: 2 1/2 hours
Yield: 2 full racks
  • 2 racks pork back ribs
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • salt and pepper

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Arrange the rib racks on a baking sheet. Remove the membrane that runs along the underside of the ribs against the bone if it is still attached before you place them on the baking sheet. You can ask your butcher to do this or simply grab a hold of one end of the membrane and pull it away from the ribs.
  3. Divide the sliced onion, minced garlic, thyme and salt and pepper evenly over the top of both racks of ribs. The salt and pepper should be to your taste, I use about a teaspoon of each sprinkled over each rack.
  4. Pour the apple juice or cider in the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan with foil and bake in the centre of the oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender enough to pull up easily when you test it with a fork.
  5. Remove the ribs from the oven and scrape the cooked onion and garlic off the top.
  6. Heat your barbeque to a medium high heat. Place racks on the heated grill and cover with barbeque sauce. I start with the bottom side facing up first, cover with sauce and leave for 5 to 10 minutes until the top side starts to brown and caramelize, then I flip the racks over and add the barbeque sauce to the top side. Close the lid and leave for 5 to 10 minutes again until the barbeque sauce becomes a richer caramelized colour. Remove, cut into portions and enjoy with lots of napkins!

Homemade Barbeque Sauce 
This recipe is adapted from a recipe by Tyler Florence

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Yield: 2 1/2 cups
  • 1 slice bacon
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cooking molasses
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Saute the bacon slice with the olive oil and thyme in a large sauce pan until the fat is rendered. Add the onion and garlic and cook slowly until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, stir, and turn the heat down to low. (You will probably not need much salt so I would taste it first before adding any.)
  2. Cook slowly for 20 minutes to meld the flavors. Leave to cool in the fridge while the ribs are cooking. Right before you are going to use it strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a small bowl. Squeeze out all of the sauce with the back of a spoon. Discard the leftover bacon, onion, etc. 
  3. Reserve about 1/2 cup for serving with the ribs. Use the rest to coat the ribs on the barbeque. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Toffee Chocolate Pretzel Cookies

I have been hard at work with The MIY Kitchen, posting tutorials on How to Properly Measure Flour, How to Measure Brown Sugar and How to Make Homemade Brown Sugar. Now I think it is time to put these skills to good use, and have I got a great over-the-top recipe for you!

My sister called the other day to tell me about a new variation on our good old Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  We are always mixing it up and adding new ingredients and this time she tried crushed pretzels, mini Rolo cups and chocolate chips.

I thought that sounded pretty good. I like the combination of salty and sweet and I thought that bit of crunch from the pretzel pieces would add a nice texture.

I started rooting around in the cupboard to see what I could come up with. I had pretzels and, of course, chocolate chips but I decided to go with crushed toffee bars. The combination was pure decadence: sweet, salty and crunchy perfection. I can't think of a better way to use those new baking skills!

Toffee Chocolate Pretzel Cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Yield: 3 dozen cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup crushed pretzels
  • 2 crushed Skor bars

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Position oven rack to the middle of the oven.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a small bowl. In an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugars and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in dry ingredients just to incorporate, do not over mix. Stir in chocolate chips, crushed pretzels and Skor bars.
  3. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 9-11 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit 2 minutes. Remove to cooling rack to cool further. Enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Launch of The MIY Kitchen and a Chocolate Cake too!

I am a little behind schedule. I was a bit ambitious when I promised the unveiling of my new project last week. What set me back most was the fact that my daughter had the second operation on her arm.

Back in November she broke her arm and, as it was quite a bad break, she had to have pins inserted to set the bones. She had the pins removed last Thursday. 

Everything went well and she is doing great but I was a bit of a wreck before the surgery, so I was not as productive as I would have liked.  I think I set an ambitious date for the launch of my new site because I hoped it would distract me from worrying about the surgery. HA, no such luck.

Well, things are good and it is over so now I am back in business!  That means...ta da...I am officially launching The MIY Kitchen!

And now you are saying, "Another cooking site, really?" Well, good point but I will tell you why.

My intention with The MIY Kitchen is for it to be a companion to the recipes and stories of Radishes and Rhubarb. This is a site for the basics and that means a couple of different things.

First, I want this site to be a resource centre of sorts. Under the various page headings you will find essential kitchen equipment and some of the basics of cooking and baking (such as how to correctly measure out flour). Through conversations with my readers I began to see a need for back to basics instruction to accompany my recipes. My aim is to provide this information in a more methodical step-by-step manner with as many pictures as possible.

Second, this site is devoted to MIY projects. I am finding there is a strong resurgence of interest in making things such as preserves, condiments and other kitchen staples at home. I recently published Radishes and Rhubarb's 10 Most Popular Recipes and I was struck by how many were of a MIY nature. Homemade jam, homemade bread, apple butter, items that can easily be purchased and yet more and more people seem to want to make these things for themselves.

Whether the reason is to economize, to be more healthy or for the challenge of it, I think this is a great trend and I want to provide recipes that will help those with a MIY spirit. Here you will find bread recipes, jam recipes and recipes for other everyday basics. They will be explained and, hopefully, made easy to follow with the same step-by-step approach.

As the site evolves I will add more adventurous MIY projects and even some MIY projects for the rest of the home.

So that is what I have been diligently working on for the last few weeks!  I will be loading posts on The MIY Kitchen quite quickly for the next little while, so check back often.  I am trying to get a lot of the basics in place so we can move on to more adventurous stuff, like making Ricotta Cheese!

Now for cake!

I know I have been doing a lot of baked goods and especially chocolate lately but this seems like a good recipe with Valentine's Day right around the corner. As well, this cake has a special place in my heart as it was the cake my mom often served when I was little.  This was the quick little cake she would make as a treat during the week.  It is called the Think Small Chocolate Cake. 

I don't know where the recipe originally came from, (it is on a beat up little kitchen card) but it is a real gem of a cake. Small, as it's name suggests, but big on chocolate flavour, dense and moist.  Make it for someone you love this Valentine's Day. They will thank you for it!

Think Small Chocolate Cake

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: serves 9

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan.
  2. In a small saucepan over low heat melt together the chopped chocolate, oil and butter. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl or using your stand mixer, cream together the sugar and egg until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and the oil, butter and chocolate mixture and stir until well combined.
  4. In a separate small bowl mix together the dry ingredients.
  5. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the chocolate mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined, do not over mix.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the centre of the oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and let rest on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the edges of the cake and then turn out from the pan and leave to cool before icing.
  8. Frost with Chocolate Buttercream. Enjoy!

Chocolate Buttercream
This is the recipe from my Triple Layer Chocolate Cake cut in half.

  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk

Using a hand beater or stand mixer, at low speed, cream together butter, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and icing sugar. The mixture will be stiff and dry and this point. Continuing at low speed add milk a tablespoon at a time until the frosting reaches the desired consistency. Turn your mixer onto high speed to make the frosting light and fluffy. Spread immediately over the top and sides of cake.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Coffee Walnut Blondies and a New Project

This week Radishes and Rhubarb celebrated its second anniversary and as you may know my last article was dedicated to the 10 most popular posts of the last two years.  At that time I also alluded to a new project that I will be unveiling soon (ooh, that sounds to formal). 

Well, I have been diligently working away, trying to get everything ready and the happy news is that I will be sharing my new site with you next week. I hope you can come back then and take a look.

In the meantime, I thought you might be hungry. Feel like a little snack?  I know I do and goodness knows I am ALWAYS in the mood for something with a little chocolate in it. A quick look at the recipe index will show I have a serious weakness for chocolate, but I am also quite partial to coffee and walnuts.
Today I bring all three in lovely harmony, I bring you Coffee Walnut Blondies.

I came up with these a couple of weeks ago when I tried making a recipe for fudge squares that turned out to be a total flop. The original recipe was a disaster; cloyingly sweet and completely unsatisfying. But it did lead me to make fudge for the first time, so not all was lost.

As for the squares, I was determined not to let a crappy recipe keep me from a chocolate treat so I ended up making these little beauties.  A cross between a cookie and a brownie, they have a rich, buttery texture with a nice bitter note from the coffee and walnuts. Determination paid off in the end.

Coffee Walnut Blondies

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Yield: 12 servings

  • 3/4 cups butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brewed strong black coffee or espresso
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 3/4 cups chocolate chunks (I chopped up a 65% cocoa chocolate bar)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease and line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl or with a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until creamy. Add in the coffee, egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. In a separate small bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to the butter, sugar and egg mixture and stir just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks and the walnuts.
  4. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown. They are ready when a toothpick inserted near the centre come out with moist crumbs attached.
  5. Leave to cool 5 minutes before cutting. They are great warm or cold. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Radishes and Rhubarb Turns 2!

February 1st marks the second anniversary of Radishes and Rhubarb! In honour of that momentous occasion I wanted to take a few moments to reflect back on the experiences of these last two years.

I started this blog back in 2010 as a means to express my love of food and cooking but over these past two years this website has become so much more than that. I have felt the frustration of trying to keep the inspiration going week after week. I have pushed myself to develop and grow as a cook, a writer and a photographer. But what has been most rewarding is that through writing this blog I have met some really extraordinary people.

I have met food activists and fellow bloggers. I have connected with others passionate about cooking and with those just starting out. I have connected week after week with people who have been good enough to follow me from the beginning and I keep meeting new friends and cooking enthusiasts every day. So THANK YOU to all of you who visit and all of you who read my words and try my recipes. You have been the best part of this project. It is still amazing to me, but I have had over 200,000 visitors in this short time.

So I thought it would be fun to share my Most Popular Posts from the last two years:

Banana Cream Pie

Number 1 with a bullet is my Banana Cream Pie recipe. It's a great recipe and my husband's personal favourite but I have to thank Endless Simmer for linking this recipe to their article "100 Things To Do With a Banana". What can I say, sex sells folks.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
 Number 2 is my Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes.  Vegan or not, you must try them. These are the BEST Chocolate Cupcakes. Quick to make, delicious and moist. You cannot go wrong with these little cakes.

Shepherd's Pie with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Number 3 is Shepherd's Pie with Garlic Mashed Potatoes. I was honestly surprised this was on the list, only because I posted it three months ago and it has already rocketed right to the top.  Everyone loves comfort food and this definately fits in that category.

Apple and Fennel Salad
 Number 4 is Apple and Fennel Salad. This is a brilliant, simple little salad that packs a lot of flavour. Perfect for a summer barbeque.

Chocolate Cake
 Number 5 is Chocolate Cake. What can I say, who doesn't love Chocolate Cake. This one is a winner, three layers, full of dark chocolate flavour. It is THE Birthday Cake around our house.

Spicy Hot Chocolate
 Number 6 is Spicy Hot Chocolate. Thick, liquid chocolate heaven. This is like drinking a chocolate bar. Forget your wimpy powdered cocoa, this is the way to make Hot Chocolate.

Strawberry Jam
 Number 7 is my Strawberry Jam recipe. That makes me happy. It is nice to see that so many other people are looking to make their own Strawberry Jam.  This was the first time I tried making my own cooked jam and I am truly glad I did. It is not so intimidating once you try it.

Cheater's Lasagna
 Number 8 is Cheater's Lasagna. This is a great week night dinner. Easy to prepare and a hit, especially with the kids.

Apple Butter
 Number 9 is Apple Butter. Again, I am glad that this is so popular. I think there is a real DIY movement out there right now. More and more people are looking to make jam and other preserves for themselves!

Whole Wheat Bread
Finally, Number 10 is Whole Wheat Bread. More of that DIY (or MIY, make it yourself) enthusiasim. This is a great recipe to start with if you have never made your own bread. Quick, not a lot of kneading or wait-time and great flavour.

So there you have it, my Top 10 list.  So what is next? Well, this year I have vowed to myself that I am going to try to be even more fearless in the kitchen. I have my comfort area and I stick to it, even if some of my recipes are quite involved. So I want to try to continue to move out of my comfort zone. Making fudge for the first time was a start, I'm going to keep forging ahead with the untried.

Also, watch for a new project coming soon!  Something for all of you MIYers.  Thanks again for visiting!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Penuche (Brown Sugar Fudge)

Last week I was in a cooking funk.  I just could not find anything that inspired me to get up out of my chair and create. I get like that sometimes, just completely "cooked out". But my brain works against me because I am still thinking boy I could really go for a piece of cake or a brownie or a ...(I suffer from an overactive sweet-tooth). It's a tug of war between my laziness and my cravings.

Well, my cravings (and that insistent sweet-tooth) won out and I ended up making something I have never made before, fudge.  What's more it was a unintended adventure as I originally set out to make these coffee squares I had found in one of my many cookbooks.

The recipe looked good, a nice little square to have with a cup of coffee or tea, so I went ahead and started to make them.  Half way through I notice the recipe calls for 3 ounces of vanilla fudge chopped (this is why most people read through a recipe before embarking on the "making it" part). 

I stopped and thought, "well sh--, I don't have any fudge. Do I make them with out it?" Most rational people would say yes, but apparently I am not a rational person because all of a sudden I find myself at 8 o'clock at night whipping up a batch of fudge for the first time!

And the outcome? Well, I'll be honest it was not easy and at one point I thought I had ruined it by stirring for too long but in the end it came together beautifully.  It was creamy and rich and had a lovely taffy flavour as I decided to make Penuche or Brown Sugar Fudge instead of the Vanilla Fudge the recipe called for.

And the squares? They were not great, WAY too sweet with the addition of the fudge, but I'm so glad I let my sweet-tooth talk me into getting out of my chair. I have always wanted to try making fudge, and now I have, quite unexpectedly and, hurray, successfully!

Penuche (Brown Sugar Fudge)
This recipe is adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 1 1/2 hours
Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Yield: 32 servings

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup half and half cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • pinch salt

  1. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Generously butter the parchment and set aside.
  2. Butter the sides of a heavy 2 quart saucepan. Combine the sugars, cream, milk and pinch of salt. Cook and stir at medium heat until the sugars dissolve and the mixture begins to boil. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and reduce the temperature to medium low. Continue to cook and stir until the thermometer reads 236 degrees (soft ball stage). This takes about 15 - 20 minutes.
  3. Immediately remove from the heat but keep the thermometer clipped to the side. Add the butter and vanilla but DO NOT STIR.
  4. Leave the fudge to cool to 110 degrees, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the thermometer and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon (the mixture is quite thick) for about 10 minutes or just until it begins to lose its gloss. (this is where I made the mistake and beat it a little too long. It changes in an instant from smooth mixture to dry fudge, so be careful)
  5. Spread into the pan. Leave it until it is firm then cut into squares. Enjoy!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hungarian Goulash

I try not to get stuck in a routine when cooking. I do have a roster of favourite recipes that make a pretty regular appearance but I like to be adventuresome and venture into the untried as often as possible. I think it is one of the best parts of life that there never seems to be a lack of new flavours, tastes and combinations to try. Plus, I want to encourage my children to keep an open mind and develop a sense of adventure as well.

So when I bought some stew beef the other day I resolved to do something other than my usual, which is pretty similar to what I do for chicken stew but with red wine, beef stock and rosemary.  I wanted to try something new, with flavours that would be pretty out of the ordinary for my kids. All of which led me to decide on Goulash.

Now, I am am not saying Goulash is hard to make or that it is a complex recipe, because it is the same process as any other stew, it is just something that quite honestly has never graced our dinner table. I was not sure if I would like it and I knew there was a good chance my husband and kids would want nothing to do with it, as they are far less adventuresome than me but I forged ahead anyway.

How did it turn out?  Truth be told I didn't love it.  It was good and hearty and the spaetzle was a nice accompaniment but I found the paprika flavour overpowering.  My husband however, thought it was delicious and my kids, much to my surprise, really liked it too.
So, why am I telling you all this and why am I going to the trouble to give you this recipe if I was not wowed by it?  Well, because you're not going to love everything you make. I think that sometimes the adventure is the thing, even if it does not turn out with the best results. And I do truly believe what Julia Child said: "Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!”

So here is the recipe, and if you have never made Goulash, I suggest you try it. It might become one of your all time favourites, or you may not love it. That is the risk, that is the adventure and, to me, that is what makes it so much fun.

Hungarian Goulash
I adapted this recipe from one that I found on Allrecipes.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours
Total Time: approximately 1 3/4 hours
Serves 4

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound stew beef
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 cup beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  1. Brown the beef in the olive oil in batches using a large dutch oven sauce pan with a heavy bottom. Make sure all pieces have a been browned nicely on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the onions to the pan and saute 2 - 3 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, paprika, salt and pepper and cook 1 minute more. Return the beef pieces to the pan. Add the tomato paste and stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to mix in any of the caramelized meat that has stuck to the bottom. Stir to mix all the ingredients and then bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened. You can add additional stock if the sauce becomes too thick.
  4. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed. Serve over hot buttered spaetzle (you can find spaetzle noodles in the dry pasta section of most grocery stores) or over rice. You can also serve with a bit of sour cream. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Curried Chicken Salad

It's January 4th. You know what that means? We are back at it. The Holidays are over, back to work, back to school, well into winter and the long march to Spring. Sound bleak? Well, it doesn't have to. 

If you live in Canada, which I do, you have to learn to embrace Winter. Sure, you can maybe escape it for a week or two but in the end you still have to just go with it.  I was never very good at that but I have to admit now that I have kids I am much better. They see so much fun and excitement in everything that it is hard not to be affected by their enthusiasm. So we get out and skate, toboggan and just keep going no matter what and I kind of think that is the way to approach life in general. 

The Holidays are fun but I don't like the thought that there is a big build up and lots of fun and family and good food and then nothing for months on end, so I resolve (boy I hate that concept) to continue to enjoy and not treat the rest of the season like a punishment. 

Anyway, I am not a big cleanse, get your life back on track, 30 days of carrot juice kind of gal. To me that is just adding insult to injury. So let's have a great January and February and lets try to make the little things fun and special and not save it all up for a couple of weeks in December.

Let's start with lunch.  If you are brown bagging it, then don't condemn yourself to an uninspired meal of carrot sticks and rice cakes. Let's spice it up a bit, add some zing. This little bit of chicken salad heaven is one of my favourite ways to use up leftover roast chicken.  It is full of texture and taste. 

You can change up the ingredients to suit your palette but I love it with a mixture of green grapes, apples, celery, a bit of onion and some chopped walnuts.  It is crunchy, sweet, spicy and cooling all at the same time.  Serve it on its own or on some spring greens.

I like it in a sandwich and I prefer a dense sourdough because I think it requires a bread that can stand up to all those ingredients. We have a great bakery here in Hamilton that uses local, organic ingredients called De La Terre. They also make a mean sourdough, so that was the perfect accompaniment. So delicious. Now we can start looking forward to January!

Curried Chicken Salad

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
Yield: about 4 cups of salad

  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken 
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Red), diced
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 small granny smith apple, cored and diced
  • 1/4 cup seedless green grapes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup toasted chopped walnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder (your choice hot or mild and add more if you like a stronger flavour)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a small bowl, combine the diced chicken, vegetables, fruit and walnuts. Mix in the mayonnaise, curry powder, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning to suit.
  2. You can either plate the salad with a bit of lettuce and add a dollop of Mango Chutney on the side or you can serve it on a sandwich. I spread about a teaspoon of Mango Chutney on both slices of bread (I like the Patak's Hot Mango Chutney but you can use any kind or leave it out all together) and then fill with the Curried Chicken Salad mix and a bit of lettuce. Enjoy!
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