Sweet Peas and Saffron http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com Wed, 03 Sep 2014 02:42:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 APPLE COFFEE CAKE MUFFINS http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/09/apple-coffee-cake-muffins.html http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/09/apple-coffee-cake-muffins.html#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 15:56:28 +0000 http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/?p=4782 These muffins are packed full of goodies: sweet apples, a cinnamon sugar swirl, and a buttery brown sugar crumb topping.  All the flavors of coffee cake, in muffin form!

Apple Coffee Cake Muffins- cinnamon-swirled apple muffins with a buttery brown sugar crumble #apple

Ahhhhhhh.

Guess where I’ve been?  Nowhere.

We are having ourselves a little ‘staycation’.  This was going to be Hawaii…that was until I took a 1.5 hour flight with Kai and decided there was absolutely nothing relaxing about getting on a 10-hour flight with an 11-month old.  Nope, nope, nope.

Instead, Ben took some time off work and we’ve done some fun family things around the city.  We went to the zoo as a family, yesterday we went for a hike.  Kai has had a lot of time with his Daddy, which is really nice.

And I’ve had some culinary therapy!

 Apple Coffee Cake Muffins- cinnamon-swirled apple muffins with a buttery brown sugar crumble #apple

Apple Coffee Cake Muffins- cinnamon-swirled apple muffins with a buttery brown sugar crumble #apple

I have had a great time this long week-end with some uninterrupted kitchen time.  Uninterrupted kitchen time = SO much more productive!  Are you ready for a bunch of recipes?

First up are these muffins.  Or should I call them cakes?  I really think they should be cake-fins, a hybrid, because these have a lot of goodies you’ll find in cakes…yet are still undeniably muffins in taste and texture.  But there has to be a better name out there than that.

These muffins were actually ‘created’ back on holidays at my parent’s house where the apple trees were overflowing.  They are so good that I made three batches of them!  It seems that my Mom and I have a very similar addiction: coffee cake.

Apple Coffee Cake Muffins- cinnamon-swirled apple muffins with a buttery brown sugar crumble #apple

Apple Coffee Cake Muffins- cinnamon-swirled apple muffins with a buttery brown sugar crumble #apple

So.  Cake-fins.  Cake-ins?  Muf-akes?  Ugh.  I give up.

These muffins are packed with things that make me happy: apples.  A cinnamon sugar swirl.  And topped with a crumbly, buttery, brown sugar crumble.

They go down perfectly as breakfast…coffee break snack…dessert, you name it!

They are my way of ringing in the first ‘unofficial’ day of fall.  The leaves are changing here, which means apples are totally acceptable!

What do you think?

Apple Coffee Cake Muffins- cinnamon-swirled apple muffins with a buttery brown sugar crumble #apple

 

 

Apple Coffee Cake Muffins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These muffins are packed full of goodies: sweet apples, a cinnamon sugar swirl, and a buttery brown sugar crumb topping. All the flavors of coffee cake, in muffin form!
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
Apple Coffee Cake Muffins
  • 2 cups all purpose flour {250g; spooned, fluffed & levelled}
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar {165g}
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk {buttermilk recommended but any milk works}
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups of apples, peeled and diced into 1 cm pieces
Cinnamon Sugar Swirl
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar {55g}
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
Crumble Topping
  • 2 tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces {28g}
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar {55g}
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour {32g}
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Instructions
Cinnamon Sugar Swirl
  1. Combine ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Crumble Topping
  1. Combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Cut the butter in using a pastry tool. Mix until coarse and crumbly {see photos above}. Set aside.
Muffins
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Line a standard-sized muffin pan with large muffin papers and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and brown sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat egg, and add in the milk and vegetable oil. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry with a spoon, mixing until just combined. Do not overmix!
  4. Fold in the apples.
  5. Spoon 1 tablespoon of muffin batter into the bottom of each muffin paper. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar mixture, then top with remaining batter until the well is completely full. Spread a heaping spoonful of the crumble topping on top.
  6. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

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LEMON MERINGUE PIE BITES http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/lemon-meringue-pie-bites.html http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/lemon-meringue-pie-bites.html#comments Sun, 31 Aug 2014 19:09:05 +0000 http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/?p=4775 These two-bite lemon meringue pies are the best way to celebrate summer! Meringue nests are filled with lemon curd in this lighter and miniature version of the pie.

Lemon Meringue Pie Bites | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

Sigh.  August is almost over.

I’m finally coming to grips with this fact, and am finally starting to look forward to autumn.  I am going back to work near the end of September, and although life is going to get CA-RAY-ZY then, I think it will be good for me to spend some time with other adults.  And it will be good for Kai to be around other kids.

Things I’m looking forward to in autumn: Kai’s 1st birthday party, apples, soups, wearing leggings, butternut squash, changing leaves, warm drinks, not having to water my garden, and anything sage…so much to look forward to!

One thing has been bothering me, though, just this one thing and then I can finally move on from summer: there has been a serious lack of lemon meringue pie in my life this summer.  I played around with key lime…um…LOTS, but no lemon meringue pie.  It’s just not right!

Lemon Meringue Pie Bites | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

Lemon Meringue Pie Bites | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

Of course I couldn’t just be normal and make a lemon meringue pie…for one thing, I would probably have to consume the entire thing myself {Ben doesn’t like sweets—whaaat!?  I know!!}

So I decided to get a little bit creative and make meringue nests, and fill them with lemon curd.

And they taste just like lemon meringue pie…without the crust, and in miniature form.  Perfect!

Lemon Meringue Pie Bites | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

Lemon Meringue Pie Bites | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

Ah!  Look!  I made a GIF :D  A pretty basic, lame-o one, but it’s actually playing!  Denise: 1, Technology: 0.  Ha ha!

So here’s the deal: I preferred these in miniature, because the lemon curd: meringue ratio was perfect, and they were much easier to eat.  I used a Wilton 21 tip to pipe the meringue nests.  However, you can also make these larger {and prettier} using a 1M Wilton tip to pipe the meringues.

Also: the lemon curd.  I couldn’t find it in the store, anywhere…in fact I’ve never seen it in the store in Canada.  So I used Ina Garten’s recipe which worked beautifully {see below for my tips on this recipe}.  If you can find store-bought lemon curd you are saving yourself about 40 minutes of work, although the homemade version is absolutely divine.

So this is my last summer recipe for awhile.  Autumn isn’t officially until September 21, but Mother Nature doesn’t seem to know that.  It is really starting to feel chilly and brisk.  And I’m finally OK with that!

What are you looking forward to this autumn?

Lemon Meringue Pie Bites | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

 

5.0 from 3 reviews
Lemon Meringue Pie Bites
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These two-bite lemon meringue pie bites are the best way to celebrate summer! Meringue nests are filled with lemon curd in this lighter and miniature version of the pie.
Author:
Serves: 25-30
Ingredients
Meringue Nests
  • 4 egg whites {from large eggs; at room temperature}
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
Lemon Meringue Pie Bites
  • 2 cups of lemon curd {see below for recipe recommendation}
Instructions
Meringue Nests
  1. Pre-heat oven to 300°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or baking mats, set aside.
  2. In a clean, dry stand mixer bowl, beat eggs on high until they become frothy and form soft peaks {that slowly sink back into the bowl; takes around one minute}.
  3. Add the cream of tartar, then begin adding the sugar by the tablespoon, while continuing to beat on high. Go slowly; this part may take 5-10 minutes of continuous beating/adding sugar. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to get all sugar.
  4. When mixture has formed stiff peaks {see photo of stand whisk above if you are wondering what a stiff peak looks like}, fill a piping bag fitted with a Wilton number 21 tip.
  5. Going slowly, pipe a 3-5 cm circle on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Without lifting the tip, do the second and third layers around the outside of the circle, forming a mini nest.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes at 300°F, reduce the temperature to 250°F and continue baking another 15 minutes. Turn oven off, open oven door slightly, and allow to cool for one hour in the oven.
Lemon Meringue Pie Bites
  1. Spoon lemon curd into the 'nest' and serve immediately.
  2. Nests and lemon curd can be stored separately for several days.

 

My advice for Ina’s Lemon Curd Recipe:

  • don’t freak out when your curd looks…um…curdled.  Keep heating/stirring it and it will become smooth
  • Ina recommends to heat the curd over low, but mine never got to 170°F on the low setting; I eventually raised the heat to medium and finally got my curd to temperature/thickened.
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CHILI-RUBBED SALMON WITH AVOCADO SALSA http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/chili-rubbed-salmon-with-avocado-salsa.html http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/chili-rubbed-salmon-with-avocado-salsa.html#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 16:23:10 +0000 http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/?p=4760 This delicious salmon recipe is easy peasy: slap on a brown sugar-chili powder rub, grill it up, and serve with a delicious 5-minute avocado and cherry tomato salsa.  On your plate in 20 minutes!

Chili-Rubbed Salmon with Avocado Salsa- on your plate in 20 minutes!

I seem to have my days and my week-ends and my weeks and my months mixed up…

I mean, it’s July right?!  Not late August…that can’t be right…NO…

And it’s Wednesday?!  What the…

OK, I have just returned from holidays, which always leaves me a little dizzy, but returning on a Monday night left me extra confused.  Because Tuesday felt like the WORST MONDAY EVER and now it’s Wednes-Friday because Ben is off work on Thursday/Friday.

Are you confused, too?  Well…whatever day/week/month/year it is, there is salmon and avocado salsa.  And it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is, you’re definitely going to like this one!

  Chili-Rubbed Salmon with Avocado Salsa- on your plate in 20 minutes!

Chili-Rubbed Salmon with Avocado Salsa- on your plate in 20 minutes!

And the best thing about this dish is that you can totally pull this one off even if you are a major procrastinator like me.  As in you frequently find yourself at 5pm wondering freaking out about what you are going to make for dinner.

This dish is great: no marinade.  Just a rub that you can throw together in a matter of minutes.  Then slather it all over some salmon.  ALL OVER, you hear me?  Don’t be stingy.  You are going to think it’s too much rub, but it’s not.  Because I said so.

This extra thick layer of chili powder-brown sugar-black pepper rub gets all caramelized and a little sticky and a lot yummy on the BBQ, and you are going to want every last bit of it.

Chili-Rubbed Salmon with Avocado Salsa- on your plate in 20 minutes!

Chili-Rubbed Salmon with Avocado Salsa- on your plate in 20 minutes!

Then comes my favorite part:  avocado salsa!!

Because life, and dinner, would not be complete without a creamy, avocado-lime-cilantro-cherry tomato salsa.

Avocados and salmon? This is one of those flavor combos where you might think “I don’t know…”.  But as soon as that fork hits your tongue, you will be saying “avocados and salmon…yeah!”

The salsa also brings additional moisture to your salmon…it is so easy to overcook the salmon {at least at our house it is ;) }, so this is a great way to take the pressure off of the chef.

So: hardly any effort.  Deeelicious, flavorful, creamy chili-lime-avocado salmon.  BARELY ANY DISHES.  Are you guys with me yet?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chili-Rubbed Salmon with Avocado Salsa
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This delicious salmon recipe requires virtually no advanced preparation: slap on a brown sugar-chili powder rub, grill it up, and serve with a delicious 5-minute avocado and cherry tomato salsa. On your plate in 20 minutes!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Chili-Rubbed Salmon
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • salt
Avocado Salsa
  • 2 avocados, diced into 0.5cm cubes
  • 4 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • juice of one lime
Instructions
Chili-Rubbed Salmon
  1. Pre-heat grill to medium heat.
  2. Rinse salmon and pat dry. Brush salmon fillets with olive oil.
  3. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, chili powder, ground cumin and pepper. Spread generously over the salmon fillets.
  4. Cook salmon on grill for 6-8 minutes per side.
Avocado Salsa
  1. Combine all ingredients and serve immediately

]]> http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/chili-rubbed-salmon-with-avocado-salsa.html/feed 14 APPLE FENNEL BRUSSELS SPROUTS SLAW http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/apple-fennel-brussels-sprouts-slaw.html http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/apple-fennel-brussels-sprouts-slaw.html#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 01:00:50 +0000 http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/?p=4733 A fresh, crunchy salad that tosses shredded apple, fennel and Brussels sprouts in a tangy vinaigrette.  Ready in under 20 minutes!
Apple, Fennel & Brussels Sprouts Slaw- a fresh, crunchy salad tossed in an apple cider vinaigrette.  Ready in 15 minutes!

I guess you guys know by now: I love salads.  Which is good because I also love cookies.

And this summer I’ve been on a total salad rampage.  No vegetable was safe from my wrath {except for lettuce…no thank-you!}.  There were also some fruit, cheese and nut casualties.

And sadly, summer is coming to a close, however, salad-palooza will continue on into the fall probably with fun things like sweet potato and kale and BACON.  I have plans.

And with summer coming to a close, I am totally in denial…sniff sniff…{ :( }.  So yay for denial!  I have a crunchy, summery salad today!

Apple, Fennel & Brussels Sprouts Slaw- a fresh, crunchy salad tossed in an apple cider vinaigrette.  Ready in 15 minutes! Apple, Fennel & Brussels Sprouts Slaw- a fresh, crunchy salad tossed in an apple cider vinaigrette.  Ready in 15 minutes!

Do you guys agree that the word ‘slaw’ is just all-round unappealing?  Slaw.  It should either be some sort of Lord of the Rings evil mutant villain thing, or it could be the name of something that grows in the back of your fridge.

But in reality, slaw is such a fresh, crunchy, tangy, delicious salad that takes almost no effort at all.  I feel like it deserves a new, more flattering name.  Any ideas?

Apple, Fennel & Brussels Sprouts Slaw- a fresh, crunchy salad tossed in an apple cider vinaigrette.  Ready in 15 minutes!

Apple, Fennel & Brussels Sprouts Slaw- a fresh, crunchy salad tossed in an apple cider vinaigrette.  Ready in 15 minutes!

While we ponder this, let me tell you about the salad.  Crisp, cool, sweet and tart Granny Smith apples.  Crunchy fennel with a teeny hint of licorice.  And shredded Brussels sprouts, which add a crunchy, almost cabbage-like quality to the apple/fennel salad party.

The salad is tossed in an apple cider vinaigrette, which is a little bit sweet and a lot tangy.  Yum yum yummers.

And guys, my FAVORITE part of all {other than throwing things in my new food processor and laughing maniacally as it shredded them}, was the fact that this recipe took me maybe 15 minutes total to put together.

Easy is good, because it’s STILL SUMMER {have I mentioned that?}, and you need to soak up every last drop of it.

Enjoy!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Apple Fennel Brussels Sprouts Slaw
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A fresh, crunchy salad that tosses shredded apple, fennel and Brussels sprouts in a tangy vinaigrette. Ready in under 20 minutes!
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Salad
  • 1 medium granny smith apple {approx 2 cups}
  • ½ fennel bulb, or 1 small bulb {approx 2 cups}
  • 6-8 Brussels sprouts {approx 2 cups}
  • 2 tsp fennel fronds, chopped
Vinaigrette
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinaigrette
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tsp granulated sugar
  • 1½ tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Slice the apple, fennel and Brussels sprouts as thinly as possible, using a food processor or mandoline.
  2. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients, whisk until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Toss and serve immediately

 

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KEY LIME & WHITE CHOCOLATE COCONUT MACAROONS http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/key-lime-white-chocolate-coconut-macaroons.html http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/key-lime-white-chocolate-coconut-macaroons.html#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:02:00 +0000 http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/?p=4725 Summery coconut macaroons get a sweet and citrussy twist with the addition of key lime zest and a drizzle of white chocolate.
Key Lime and White Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

Hello.  I would like to introduce you to a lovely recipe.

It’s called “down with fall” and “get lost, pumpkin”.  Because I don’t know how your Pinterest feed looks these days, but mine is full of pumpkin, apple cider, and HALLOWEEN stuff.  Seriously!  It’s still August, and I am hanging onto August by the tips of my fingers.

We still have a tiny bit of summer left and I am going to embrace it!  That means ignoring back-to-school-anything, pretending that the leaves aren’t already slightly yellowish, hiding my sweaters at the back of my closet.  I will wear a sundress if it kills me, and no, those aren’t goosebumps.  I’m tooootally warm, OK?!

Key Lime and White Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

Key Lime and White Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

I’m just a crazy lady who doesn’t want summer to end.  And lucky for me, these cookies are summer…in a cookie.

This was my first time ever making macaroons!  Then my second, third and fourth times.  I just couldn’t get enough of these guys.  They are SO.  YUMMY.

key lime coconut macaroons-6

 key lime coconut macaroons-6

I tried a few variations…a sweetened condensed milk based recipe, then an egg-white version.  I went for the egg-white version because: cheaper and healthier with no difference in taste.  OK?  So that means we get to eat even more of them.  You with me on this one?

Then I added some key lime zest.  I tried adding the juice as well, but my macaroons looked like melted ice cream scoops when they emerged from the oven.  So no lime juice.  The zest is enough for a nice old taste of key lime.  And we all know I love me some key lime.

Next:  melty white chocolate.  Don’t make me justify this one.  Key lime + white chocolate = heaven.  Evidence: here.  Um…and here too.

So, protesters of impending doom fall, will you meet me on a sunny patio with these cookies and maybe a margarita?  We will ignore the changing leaves/appearance of leggins/arrival of all things pumpkin as a unified front!

Are you with me?!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Key Lime and White Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Summery coconut macaroons get a sweet and citrussy twist with the addition of key lime zest and a drizzle of white chocolate.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 25
Ingredients
Key Lime Coconut Macaroons
  • 4 *large* egg whites
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 key limes zested {2 tbsp}
  • 600g shredded sweetened coconut
White Chocolate Drizzle
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
Instructions
Key Lime Coconut Macaroons
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine egg whites, sugar, vanilla, salt and lime zest. Whisk together for a few minutes until sugar is dissolved and egg whites are bubbly.
  3. Stir in coconut.
  4. Using a cookie scoop, form *tightly packed* cookie dough balls (1.5 tbsp) on baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes until lightly golden.
  6. Allow to cool.
White Chocolate Drizzle
  1. In a small microwave proof dish, microwave the white chocolate chips on high for one minute. Remove and stir, then proceed to microwave in 10-second increments, stirring each time, and leaving at least 30 seconds in between to prevent scorching.
  2. When completely smooth and melted enough for drizzling, transfer to a small ziplock bag, snip the corner, and drizzle over cooled cookies.
Notes
To prevent macaroon spreading be careful of the following:
-make sure your oven is an accurate 325°F
-tightly pack the balls
-make sure your egg whites are from large eggs {not medium, jumbo, extra large etc}

Parchment paper works better than silicone baking mats to prevent cookies from sticking.

]]> http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/key-lime-white-chocolate-coconut-macaroons.html/feed 44 GARDEN VEGETABLE & BLACK BEAN TORTILLA STACKS http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/garden-vegetable-black-bean-tortilla-stacks.html http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/garden-vegetable-black-bean-tortilla-stacks.html#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:29:50 +0000 http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/?p=4686 Mexican-spiced fresh garden vegetables and black beans are baked between layers of tortillas and cheese for this easy week-night meal.
Garden Vegetable & Black Bean Tortilla Stacks

Tacos.  And it’s Tuesday!  I totally planned that.

Well I guess these aren’t the usual tacos.  Maybe you could call this a Mexican lasagna.  Or a taco pie?  I called it a tortilla stack…because look ^

I’m a huge taco fan.  Mostly because at the end of the day when I’m frazzled/exhausted/throwing cheerios at the baby to keep him quiet, I can still manage to whip up some tacos.  Even with really bad Mom-Brain.  Even with a Raffi-induced migraine.  Even with zoo-induced fatigue.  You get the point: they are easy!

Garden Vegetable & Black Bean Tortilla Stacks

Garden Vegetable & Black Bean Tortilla Stacks

This recipe definitely falls into the category of easy.

Step 1: cook veggies.  Toss with beans & corn.

Step 2: layer veggies, tortillas and cheese.

Step 3: bake.

Step 4: DIIIIG INNNNN

Garden Vegetable & Black Bean Tortilla Stacks

Garden Vegetable & Black Bean Tortilla Stacks

This is totally a recipe that you can change up, depending on what you have in your fridge…also a week-night bonus!  I go to the grocery store a LOT!  So when I can make a meal that doesn’t require me to show my face at the grocery store for the bazillionth time this week, I am so happy I do my happy dance.  And get a funny look from my baby who may be starting to realize that his mom is a bit of a weirdo.

I used fresh tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, onion, corn and black beans.  Cooked up with a little garlic, chilli powder and ground cumin.  Feel free to use ground beef or chicken.  This recipe is pretty flexible.  And did I mention?  EASY!

Garden Vegetable & Black Bean Tortilla Stacks

5.0 from 1 reviews
BLACK BEAN & GARDEN VEGETABLE TORTILLA STACKS
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Mexican-spiced fresh garden vegetables and black beans are baked between layers of tortillas and cheese in this easy week-night meal.
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ medium red onion, diced
  • ½ orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp hot red pepper flakes {increase if you want more spice}
  • salt & pepper
  • one 370mL bottle of taco sauce
  • ½ cup canned corn kernels, rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed {540mL, 19oz}
  • 2 cups cheese, shredded
  • 4 10-12 inch tortillas
  • a handful of fresh oregano leaves
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, bell pepper and zucchini, and cook until onion is translucent, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato, chili powder, cumin and red pepper flakes, cooking for another 3-4 minutes until tomato is soft and cooked through.
  4. Stir in the corn, black beans and taco sauce, taste and decide if you want additional salt and pepper.
  5. On a parchment-lined cookie sheet, assemble tortilla stacks as follows: tortilla, then half of the black bean mixture, tortilla, half of the cheese, then repeat.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cheese is melted and slightly golden.
  7. Scatter fresh oregano over top, and serve immediately.
Notes
Use gluten-free or corn tortillas to make this a gluten-free meal!

]]> http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/garden-vegetable-black-bean-tortilla-stacks.html/feed 32 SALTED CARAMEL CASHEW BARS http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/salted-caramel-cashew-bars.html http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/salted-caramel-cashew-bars.html#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 23:28:47 +0000 http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/?p=4716 Salted Caramel Cashew Bars

I’ve come to the realization that I am one of those people who gets fixated on stuff, and can get a little obsessive at times.

I know I wasn’t the only twelve year old whose room was plastered with Jonathan Taylor Thomas posters from Teen Beat magazine.  Oh, JTT…

I also know I’m not the only person to get fixated on a TV series and power through it on Netflix.  {What on Earth am I going to do when we are finished watching Friday Night Lights?!}

Clearly I am also a little obsessed with food!  I tend to get fixated on certain ingredients in particular: coffee…kalestrawberrieschocolate…and now: salted caramel.

Salted Caramel Cashew BarsSalted Caramel Cashew Bars

I have made salted caramel before for these Salted Caramel & Chocolate Espresso Thumbprint Cookies, and they were To.  Die.  For.  Seriously, I don’t know why it took me so long to make more salted caramel!

The caramel in those thumbprint cookies was a tad too syrupy, and I wanted to find the best salted caramel to top these bars, so I went on a bit of an obsessive mission.  I’m not sure how many batches of salted caramel I made, I actually lost track.  I tried with corn syrup, without corn syrup, more cream, less cream, less butter, with vanilla…I had lumpy caramel, grainy caramel, liquidy/syrupy caramel, and too firm of caramel.

And you know what?  I ended up with something very close to the original recipe {facepalm}.

Salted Caramel Cashew BarsSalted Caramel Cashew Bars

Although, I learned a LOT of lessons about making caramel.  Namely, what NOT to do.

Like: do not make your caramel in a teeny tiny pot.  Use a medium-sized, heavy bottomed pot, because when you add the cream and butter, it will bubble up quite a bit.  And smelly burning caramel stuck on your stove top is not so fun.

Also: resist the urge to stir your caramel.  I just had to get in there and stir things up.  Then had bits of caramel stuck on the side of the pot that turned into a big old clumpy mess later.  Blerg.

And: maybe don’t try to make this while your baby is in his high chair.  He will inevitably get grouchy at the exact moment when the sugar begins to caramelize, leaving you with a very important question: screaming baby and perfect caramel?  Or happy baby and burnt caramel.

I tried making my caramel without corn syrup, but I actually liked it with a bit of corn syrup.  For one thing it helps get things boiling faster.  And the resulting texture was a touch softer.

Salted Caramel Cashew Bars

And then, because I guess it’s not really much of a dessert to eat the salted caramel by the spoonful {although in my world, that’s totally acceptable}, I stirred in some roasted cashews and poured it over a buttery shortbread crust….let it set for a few hours…

…And proceeded to chip away at these bars, sliver by sliver.  Calories totally don’t count when you only take a sliver…you heard that here first.  And I’m a scientist, so I tell scientifically accurate truths.

Salted Caramel Cashew Bars

4.5 from 2 reviews
SALTED CARAMEL CASHEW BARS
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 25
Ingredients
Shortbread Base
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter {170g; at room temperature}
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar {48g}
  • 1½ cup all purpose flour {187g; fluffed, spooned & leveled}
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
Salted Caramel
  • 1 cup granulated sugar {200g}
  • 3 tbsp light corn syrup
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream {whipping cream, 35%}
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter {42g}
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp coarse sea salt {plus more for sprinkling}
Toppings
  • 1 cup roasted cashews
Instructions
Shortbread Base
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line a 9X9 inch pan with aluminum foil. Spray bottom and sides and set aside.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and baking powder. Beat the dry ingredients into the wet for several minutes until it is no longer crumbly and forms a dough ball.
  3. Using your hands, press the dough into the bottom of the 9X9 pan.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until edges have *just* begun to brown. Allow to cool .
Salted Caramel
  1. In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, stir together the sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Once the mixture becomes liquidy and begins to simmer, do not stir. Allow to simmer for 4 or so minutes, until it turns a dark amber color. {*If it starts to caramelize faster on one side than another, gently swirl the pot to mix}.
  3. Stir in the butter, and gently pour in the cream, vanilla and salt {careful, it will bubble up and may spit}, stir with a clean spatula. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another two or so minutes until it thickens slightly.
  4. Stir in half of the cashews. Pour the caramel/cashew mixture over the cooled shortbread crust. Tilt the pan to get the base completely covered. Scatter additional cashews and sea salt.
  5. Allow to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature, then an additional hour or two in the fridge.
Notes
I recommend storing the bars in the fridge, however you will want them to sit at room temperature for 10 or so minutes before eating to allow the caramel to soften up a bit.

Shortbread base adapted from Allrecipes

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SPICY MANGO MARGARITAS http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/spicy-mango-margaritas.html http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/spicy-mango-margaritas.html#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 03:08:02 +0000 http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/?p=4674 This spicy mango margarita is cold, sweet and refreshing, with a little kick of spice. Ready in two minutes flat!

Spicy Mango Margaritas

Heya!  It’s Tuesday, but can we please pretend it’s still the week-end?  Because today I have a margarita for you.

And this margarita has been awhile in the making.  Like months in the making!

It started as a raspberry habanero margarita last month.  Sounds good?  Well, I just couldn’t seem to get it right.  After making it too spicy, then not spicy enough, doing fresh raspberries, frozen raspberries, and raspberry simple syrups I finally threw in the towel.

Maybe I am just too picky when it comes to my margaritas…but there is nothing worse than a bad margarita, am I right?

Well.  I decided to give this margarita a try with mango.  And I finally got it right.

Spicy Mango Margaritas

Spicy Mango Margaritas

Hopefully if you have read this far, you are on board with this spicy margarita thing.  It is weirdly awesome.  And I love discovering weirdly awesome things in life, especially when tiny umbrellas are involved!

I discovered just how delicious spicy margaritas can be last summer.  Well, OK I was pregnant and could not actually board the train to margarita-ville.  Instead I boarded the train to its slightly less fun cousin, limeade-ville, and made cilantro and jalapeño limeade {which can also be made into a margarita}.  It was delicious, and I knew I needed another spicy drink in my life this summer.

So here’s the deal:  I’ve played around with using both jalapeños and habaneros in my cocktails and have just never been satisfied with the reproducibility of the spiciness…peppers really vary in their spiciness, and people’s taste buds are also quite specific for this stuff.  For this reason, plus being impatient and wanting my margarita rapido, por favor= one easy, simple solution.  Cayenne pepper.

 

Spicy Mango Margarita Spicy Mango Margaritas

 

Cayenne pepper is just eeeeasy guys, you can control how much heat you add so much easier than using jalapenos or habaneros.  Bonus: you don’t have to chop any peppers and handle the seeds/ribs.

I was SCARED chopping up the habaneros, and I probably washed my hands 8000 times afterwards.  I mean, we’ve all heard the story about the guy who goes to use the washroom after touching hot peppers, right…Or was I the only one who got to hear that glorious story?

Um…yes, I might save that story for another post..but these margaritas.  Frozen mangoes and cayenne pepper.  Plus the usual suspects in margarita-ville: lime, tequila, cointreau.  I added some ice as well and blended to smooth, frosty perfection with my new blender.

It is cold, sweet and refreshing, with a little kick of spice in the back of your throat.  Exactly what I’d imagined…last month.

And definitely worth the wait!

5.0 from 2 reviews
SPICY MANGO MARGARITAS
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 250g frozen mango chunks
  • 5 large ice cubes
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne
  • 2 tbsp superfine sugar {berry sugar in Canada}
  • 1 tbsp Cointreau
  • ¼ cup silver tequila
  • water {as needed}
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Add water as needed.

 

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GRILLED CHIPOTLE PORK TENDERLOIN WITH FRESH CHERRY SALSA http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/grilled-chipotle-pork-tenderloin-with-fresh-cherry-salsa.html http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/grilled-chipotle-pork-tenderloin-with-fresh-cherry-salsa.html#comments Sun, 10 Aug 2014 15:14:35 +0000 http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/?p=4667 Smoky chipotle, lime and honey grilled pork tenderloin is topped with a fresh cherry salsa. This flavor combination is unbelievable!

Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Cherry Salsa | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

So…remember last week when I was so excited about painting my dining room?

Well.  After I painted the dining room, a funny thing happened:

The living room looked terrible.  So I painted the living room.

And then the couch didn’t match.  So I bought a new couch (well a ‘new to us’ couch).

And now the kitchen looks terrible.

 

Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Cherry Salsa | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Cherry Salsa | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

To be fair, the kitchen is ORANGE.  Seriously orange…check it out in this post here.  As you can see, the paint has a really weird ‘sheer’ thing going on that I haven’t been really loving.  So someday that kitchen is going to get a new paint job.  Maybe not that soon.  I am starting to experience paint-fatigue…and I still haven’t done the bedroom!

So for now, I am going to have to stay away from Apartment Therapy and avoid looking at house-related pins on Pinterest.  They put waaaay too many ideas in my head!

With all the painting/decorating/organizing and reorganizing that has been happening, it is nice to have a simple, easy dinner, like this pork tenderloin.

Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Cherry Salsa | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

We have had this tenderloin in one variation or another for dinner several times this summer.  It is so easy: marinate in a combination of lime, chipotle peppers and honey.  The pork is then grilled until cooked through and the marinade has caramelized, coating the tenderloin in a sweet and smoky layer.

Then comes Alton Brown’s weird but awesome trick for ultra-moist, super flavorful grilled tenderloin: wrapping the cooked pork with additional marinade for 10 minutes.  In those 10 minutes, so much more flavor and moisture seeps into the pork.  It really revitalizes it {we made the mistake of skipping this step one night and were so disappointed}.

I topped this pork tenderloin with a simple and easy fresh cherry salsa: cherries, a few tablespoons of chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.  The cherries and the chipotle are an unexpected, but delicious pairing…I am totally obsessed with it!

And this is another oven-free recipe…so if I decide to take the plunge and paint my kitchen, I have this recipe in my tool belt ;)

5.0 from 1 reviews
GRILLED CHIPOTLE PORK TENDERLOIN WITH FRESH CHERRY SALSA
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
  • One 400g pork tenderloin
Marinade
  • zest of one lime
  • juice of one lime
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 4 chipotle peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 4 tsp adobo sauce {from can of chipotle peppers}
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
Fresh Cherry Salsa
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted and sliced into quarters
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp lime juice
Instructions
Grilled Chipotle Pork Tenderloin
  1. Combine marinade ingredients. Pour half of marinade into a resealable bag with pork tenderloin; cover and store other half of marinade until ready to cook pork. Marinate pork for 1 hour or more.
  2. Pre-heat barbecue to medium-high. Discard marinade and cook pork over indirect heat {towards the edge} for 15-20 minutes per side, or until cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F {63°C}.
  3. Place cooked pork tenderloin in aluminum foil, bringing the edges up around it to form a 'basket'. Pour the remaining marinade over the pork, and seal the aluminum foil, allowing everything to rest for 10 minutes.
Fresh Cherry Salsa:
  1. Combine all ingredients and serve over the pork.

 

Recipe adapted from the Food Network

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CRISPY OVEN-BAKED PARMESAN GREEN BEAN FRIES http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/crispy-oven-baked-parmesan-green-bean-fries.html http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/2014/08/crispy-oven-baked-parmesan-green-bean-fries.html#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 19:56:33 +0000 http://sweetpeasandsaffron.com/?p=4627 These green bean ‘fries’ are coated in Panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese, then baked to crispy perfection.  You’ll be fighting over who gets the last one!

Crispy Oven-Baked Parmesan Green Bean Fries | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

You guys…how is it AUGUST?!  It’s just insane how quickly this summer is flying by!

I am currently ignoring the fact that September is approaching, and the fact that Kai will start childcare and I will go back to my stressful PhD.

Instead I’m focusing on the great things that August has to offer: warm evenings, lots of walks, picnics, playgrounds and splash pools, our upcoming trip to my hometown, and the awesome bounty of produce: cherries, peaches, blueberries, tomatoes, peas, zucchinis, and beans!

 Crispy Oven-Baked Parmesan Green Bean Fries | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

Crispy Oven-Baked Parmesan Green Bean Fries | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

Beans are at their best this time of year, so fresh, crisp and crunchy.  I’m not normally that into beans, but when they are fresh like this, sign me up!

I knew I wanted to make a bean dish this week, and I was originally thinking salad…and I do love a good bean salad, but it was lacking a little excitement for me.

Somehow visions of Panko and Parmesan flashed through my mind and I knew exactly what I was going to make…bean ‘fries’!  There was no turning back from that idea!

Crispy Oven-Baked Parmesan Green Bean Fries | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

Crispy Oven-Baked Parmesan Green Bean Fries | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

The first time I made these, I didn’t make enough, and they were so good that Ben and I were actually arguing over who had more on their plate!  I made him give me some of his because he ate three right off the baking sheet…fair’s fair, right?

Are we in the Twilight Zone?  I mean who argues over beans?!

But these are no ordinary beans…rolled in Panko {Japanese seasoned breadcrumbs}, Parmesan cheese, a little garlic salt and some pepper, then baked up till they are crispy and perfect…definitely worth arguing over!

These guys would make a great healthier substitute for french fries…maybe to trick your kids into eating- and liking- beans! {Disclaimer- clearly from this post I have no idea how to get kids to eat food.  I’m far from an expert!}

Crispy Oven-Baked Parmesan Green Bean Fries | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

Crispy Oven-Baked Parmesan Green Bean Fries | sweetpeasandsaffron.com

Before you run off an make these, let me offer you a word of advice: make sure the beans you use are the fresh, crunchy kind.  If they are chewy and stringy to start with, they will make for chewy and stringy fries…yuck!

OK?  And….GO!

5.0 from 2 reviews
CRISPY OVEN-BAKED GREEN BEAN FRIES
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 400g fresh green beans, washed and ends trimmed
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
Panko Mixture
  • 1 cup Panko {Japanese seasoned bread crumbs}
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese {loosely packed}
  • ¾ tsp garlic salt
  • fresh ground pepper {around 20 grinds, ¼ tsp or so}
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. Place flour, eggs, and Panko mixture in three separate shallow bowls.
  3. Dredge beans in flour, then eggs, then Panko mixture.
  4. Place on baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden and crispy.
  5. Serve immediately
Notes
Make sure to use crunchy beans, if they taste stringy and chewy to start with, they will probably not crisp up in the oven.
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