Archives for posts with tag: Black pepper

a pan of these lovlies, ready to pop into the oven for a quick appetizer

One of the quickest, easiest things to make with savory, sweet, salty, or miscellaneous ingredients is a plate of mushroom caps. True, you do need some fresh mushrooms, but besides the necessity of that one ingredient, pretty much anything else you have on hand can stuff them. I love how the natural moisture of the mushroom comes out, stewing whatever is stuffed in them into a little pocket of taste. When I was a child, it was an old standby in our house to have mushroom caps as an appetizer: Mom would use orange cheddar and a “seasoning salt” to fill them. I’ve been trying out a few different options, lately.

mushroom caps stuffed with hot peppers, hot peppers stuffed with mushroom stems

Some of my personal favorite combos are:

-any sort of pepper (green, jalapeno, spicy, etc) with a drop of cheese on top and maybe garlic too. Sprinkle on some black pepper and any range of herbs such as oregano or basil or rosemary or dill or…

-the stems from the mushrooms mixed in with tomato and a bit of honey and/or soy sauce or any other type of “sauce” you like and have. Or skip those sauces and mince up some olives.

cheese and black pepper. Any type of cheese.

salsa of any type, with or without leftover vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, sweet potatoes.

bok choy with spicy chilli pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

sour cream and broccoli and paprika.

rosemary and goat cheese.

leftovers… any type of leftovers that can fit into a mushroom.

even in the heat of summer, these are worth turning the oven on for

Really, most any mixture works. I normally would “see what I have” then adjust my plans accordingly. I like to mince the ingredients up finely, then stir them together and spoon into the ‘caps. Sometimes, though, I don’t. This is a great type of recipe: there really aren’t any rules. Alright, one rule: if you use cheese, put it on top. That way it will melt and be a sort of “lid” for the rest of the ingredients in your little mini-casserole dish.

Cook at about 300-350 degrees ferenheit, for about 20-30 minutes… ’til “done”!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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Roasted Garlic

mmmm, roasted garlic!

This is my “go-to” dip of the season. It is inspired from a recipe I found in the Rebar Cookbook.  I like this dip because it is vegan-friendly, as well as both dairy and gluten free.  This makes for an inclusive dip that most everybody can love.  Oh, did I forget to mention that it is cheap to make and tasty too?  If you cannot tolerate beans, then substitute the soaked beans for three cups of raw cashews that you soak overnight, but do not cook.  Actually, you should try this version and be surprised by the deliciousness of cashew-based dips.

Ingredients

2 cups of dried navy beans (Cook the beans by soaking overnight in a large quantity of water, then simmering in a large pot of water until they are soft.  The simmering takes anywhere from 1/2 hour to 1 hour.)

2 bulbs roasted garlic (Remove exterior paper skins and dirt, cut off the tops of the bulbs and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place bulbs in a small baking dish with a lid.  Bake at 400′ F for 40 minutes.  Let sit until cool enough to handle and then pop the cloves out of the skins.)

juice of 1 or 2 lemons (this depends upon personal taste)

2 scant teaspoons of dried sage (the better the quality, the better the taste)

1 – 2 teaspoons salt

pepper

1/3 cup olive oil

Take the above prepared ingredients and place in a bowl or a food processor.  Mash together until it resembles a dip.  Some years I have mixed this together with a potato masher, other years with a hand-held blender.  Now I have a food processor, so I use this.  It can be prepared using various tools and it will still be a smash. haha.

Happy New Year!

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

“Ooof! There is no time left, yet I still need a meaningful gift!”

No problem.  All you need is a couple jars, 2 or 3 commonly found ingredients and 5 minutes.

Ready, set, go!

Caffeinated Sugar Scrub

Caffeine is a very popular ingredient in cosmetics at the moment. Amongst it’s many attributes, it is said to increase circulation and thereby decrease the occurrence of cellulite.   Sugar is a popular exfoliant.  Oil helps to nourish the skin.  Put the three together, add some scented ingredients, if you wish, and you have a great scrub for arms and legs.

Ingredients:  1/4 cup fresh fair-trade organic coffee grounds, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup oil (sunflower, grapeseed and olive oil are a few ideas)  And what can be used to compliment this rather robust scrub?  I think 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp cardamom, 1/4 tsp dried ginger goes well with the coffee and sugar.

Salt, Bay Leaf and Pink Pepper

All you need is rock sea salt, bay leaf and pink peppercorns. This can be used to season vegetables and meats such as fish and chicken.



Lavender Bath Salts

Ingredients: equal parts epsom salts and baking soda, *organic lavender essential oil.

Use 20 – 30 drops of organic lavender essential oil per cup of the epsom salts and baking soda mix.  Typically people recommend adding a 1/2 cup to the bath.

* Yes, organic lavender oil.  Lavender essential oils are some of the most adulterated essential oils on the market.  You want great quality, especially if you expect a therapeutic effect.

vanilla and spices to be covered with sugar

Vanilla and Spice Sugar

Ingredients: vanilla bean, sugar, optional spice including cinnamon stick and cardamom pods

For those who put sugar in their coffee, a special gift could be a little jar of sugar with a whole vanilla bean in it.  You could also add a cinnamon stick, some cardamom pods or whatever spice you wish.  This vanilla and spice sugar can be used for coffee, tea and even in baking.  Be sure to let the recipient of this gift know that they can refill the jar with sugar many times and the vanilla will continue to imbue the sugar with a vanilla essence.

You are not going to believe this… Compost!

Last week I received an exciting gift from my friends, Julie and Mer.  It was a box of vermicompost.  My friends compost fruit and vegetable scraps by feeding these scraps to a worm farm in their basement.  Julie and Mer found that they were rich in compost this year, so they packaged it up and gave it away.  Don’t worry, they did not send over the whole worm farm, just the compost.  I love this gift because I have a couple houseplants and it feels good to feed these little plants some “local” homegrown vermicompost from friends.

Happy Holidays from Tammy Schmidt in Montreal.

Cooks remove racks of herring from a tradition...

Cooks remove racks of herring from a traditional smoke house

The following recipe was adapted from one found in Nigella Christmas.  I love Nigella Lawson’s recipes because they are fun to read.  She takes the complication out of cooking.  When I follow her recipes, I end up making quick and delicious dishes.  It is the opposite of the early Martha Stewart Living recipes that seemed to assume we all have kitchen staff and abundant time to cook elaborate meals.

For the most part, Nigella’s recipes are great, but this one had a gross error in it.   My spidy senses were tingling the first time that I made it.  I already knew that I needed to make some modifications by inverting the recommended amounts of smoked fish and white fish.  The recipe recommended 300g of white fish and 750 g of smoked fish and I used the 800 g white fish and 200 g of smoked fish on the first round.  This was still too salty.  The second time, I decreased the smoked fish even more and increased the other seasonings and finally, it turned out.

Since it took a couple rounds to figure out, I am happy to share the recipe with you!

Ingredients

50 g unsalted butter

50 g flour

2 tablespoons dry white wine

1/4-1/2 tsp ground mace or nutmeg

1 tsp dijon mustard

350 ml whole milk

1 onion

75 g of italian flat leaf parsley (approximately 1 bunch of parsley)

100 g Digby smoked herrings, roughly chopped

800 g haddock or another firm white fish, fresh or frozen, cut into 2 inch pieces

400 g baking potatoes (approximately 2-3 potatoes, I used yukon gold), sliced thinly, perhaps using a food processor.

1-2 tbsp olive oil

white pepper or black pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 400’F
  • In a sauce pan, melt the butter and then add the flour.  While stirring, allow this to bubble for a minute.  Take off the heat and stir in the white wine, mace or nutmeg and mustard.  Whisk in the milk and return the pan to the heat and continue to whisk as it thickens.
  • In a food processor, mince the peeled onion and then add the parsley and pulse til minced.  Add the coarsely chopped smoked herrings and pulse once or twice to chop until the fish is in approximately 1 cm pieces.  Pour the onion, parsley and fish mix from the food processor into the sauce in the sauce pan and stir the two together.
  • Pour the combined sauce into a 9.5″x13.5″ casserole pan.  Put the fish pieces on top of this.
  • Arrange the sliced potatoes on top of the fish pieces, covering the entire casserole.
  • Pour the olive oil into your clean hands and quickly apply olive oil to the potatoes.  Grind pepper over the top.
  • Bake for 1 hour at 400’F.  Serve with buttery petits pois.

By Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

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