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Friday, July 25, 2014

Boiled Salad Dressing

I seem to be on a condiment kick at the moment. Having failed miserably at my past attempts to make mayonnaise, when I found a salad dressing recipe in an old cookbook that didn’t involve tedious dripping of oil and holding your mouth just right, I figured I’d give it a try.

1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
butter size of a walnut (I used a tablespoon of olive oil)
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon salt (I left it out)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

Put vinegar, water and butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, in a small bowl or cup, mix together sugar, flour, mustard and salt. Beat egg and milk together. Stir sugar mixture into egg mixture, then add slowly to vinegar mixture once it has come to a boil, stirring continuously. Continue to stir at a boil (lowering heat as necessary) until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and stir occasionally until steam stops rising. Pour into canning jar and refrigerate.

Makes about 2 cups.

The recipe does work, and did come out the consistency and texture of mayonnaise. It tastes a bit sharper and less creamy than I’d like and I’ll be posting another version once I’ve had a chance to tweak it—I have some modifications in mind.

The original recipe can be found in Things Mother Used to Make by Lydia Maria Gurney (New York, 1914), which is available on Project Gutenberg.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Product Review: Sunbites Pre-Cooked Corn on the Cob

Thought I’d add the occasional product review into the recipe blog, so I could share the good things I find in the grocery store and elsewhere. I’m not being asked to do these reviews, paid to do these reviews, or receiving free samples in exchange for reviews (I wish!), but if that ever does happen, I’ll say so out front. The photo for this review did come off the company’s website.

Photo courtesy Lassonde Industries inc.
Sunbites corn on the cob is a fairly new Canadian product, just launched last November. Not only is it processed in Canada, but they claim to be using locally grown corn, packed the day it’s picked. I like to buy local when I can, so for me this is a plus.

I saw Sunbites a few months ago in the produce section at my local Metro store and thought I’d give it a try. We both liked it and I’ve since bought it again.

A package contains two pre-cooked corn cobs (individually vacuum sealed) which just need to be heated in the microwave. They can also be boiled or done on the barbeque although I haven’t tried either of those methods. And yes, it does taste like fresh picked and cooked corn, especially if you add butter and salt. The texture’s right, too.

According to the company’s FAQ, Sunbites will be in stores year-round except in the summer, when fresh corn is readily available. It’s supposed to stay fresh for up to a year, as long as it’s kept refrigerated (look for a best before date on the bottom left of the back of the package) thanks to the vacuum sealing (no preservatives are used), so if you get a craving for fresh corn in November, you can have some.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Nearly Instant Iced Cappuccino

No, it doesn’t have the perfect texture of the ones at the fast food restaurants, but you can make it in under five minutes without leaving the house.

1 tablespoon instant coffee granules (flavoured ones are nice, but regular is fine, too)
sugar to taste
1 ounce hot water
6 ice cubes
shot of canned whipped cream (optional)
6 ounces milk

Dissolve the coffee (and sugar, if you like it) in the hot water. Add to blender container along with the ice cubes and blend until ice is crushed. Pour in milk and give it one more quick zap. Serve in a glass with a straw and garnish with whipped cream if desired.

If you want a mocha flavour, you can either add a tablespoon of chocolate syrup (for making chocolate milk) to the coffee/hot water mix or add a shot of crème de cacao to the finished product.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Potato Nachos

Photo by Kate Tompkins
Had these at the Olde Dublin Pub in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, recently and knew I had to recreate them. That’s their version in the photo, and yes they were as good as they look. So if you want to make up your own plate, here’s what you need:

1 slice bacon, cooked and cut into small pieces
1 small bag thick-cut potato chips*
1 green onion, sliced
1/4 cup diced tomato
1/3 cup grated cheddar (mild or medium)
salsa (to taste)

Spread enough chips to cover on a Royal Chinet dinner plate. Cover with the cheese. Microwave until cheese melts—this takes less than a minute even in my old and low-powered microwave so watch carefully. Sprinkle bacon bits, tomato and onion over top. Add as little or as much salsa as you like. You can also serve with sour cream on the side.

Serves one

This recipe can be multiplied—buy a bigger bag of chips. If you’re feeding more than one and don’t mind sharing a dish, then it’s quicker and easier to do in the oven. Instead of a paper plate, use a pizza pan, covered with foil and greased. Preheat oven to 300°F, then pop in pan. Should take three or four minutes to melt the cheese.

*pretty sure the restaurant made their own potato chips on the premises. Seems to be a PEI specialty. But I don’t own a deep fryer and that’s far too much work.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Homemade Ketchup

Definitely not quick, but it is easy.

3 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced (2 to 2 1/4 cups)
1 small hot pepper, diced, seeds removed (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 ounces white vinegar
1 ounce balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon roasted garlic
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon flour

Place tomatoes, pepper and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the skin comes off the tomato pieces and rolls up into tubes (at least 30 minutes). Remove from heat and cool.

Put contents through a sieve, using a spoon to force through the pulp, and discarding skins and seeds. Return to saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients, except flour. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Gradually stir in the flour, as if you were making gravy. Continue to cook until mixture thickens somewhat (at least 15 minutes). Turn off heat but leave saucepan on stove and continue stirring until mixture stops steaming. Cool and refrigerate.

Makes 1 cup

If your tomatoes are only producing a few at a time, this is a good way to use them up.