Tag Archives: butter

Spaghettini with Roasted Beet and Poppy Seed + a CONTEST!

4 Feb

 

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Disclosure: Italpasta provided me with a gift card to purchase the ingredients for this recipe.

I love pasta and I could eat it every day of the week if I had to. I’m serious. There are so many pasta shapes and so many ways to eat it that I’m sure I wouldn’t run out of options.

I was excited when Italpasta asked me to try a vegetarian recipe for pasta lovers, perfect for Valentine’s Day, featuring Italpasta Total Pasta Spaghettini. It’s a white pasta with the goodness of 10 grams of fibre packed into each serving, a great option for hubby and I because as much as we enjoy whole wheat and other “healthy” pastas, sometimes we just want (at least what looks like) the regular stuff!

This recipe features butter, spaghettini, beets and goat cheese and they all combine together to form a simple and tasty dish with a beautiful, vibrant beet red finish, perfect for Valentine’s Day or if you’re having guests over and want to impress them. At first I wasn’t sure about adding poppy seeds to the dish but they ended up adding a nice crunch. The texture of the spaghettini was perfect, I never would have known that I was eating a high fibre pasta. We’re adding this dish to our pasta rotation, that’s how much we both liked it! #win

I’ve added some of my own notes in the recipe below. If you make it and have any tips to share, please leave a comment below this post. Happy cooking!

P.S. Don’t forget to scroll down and enter my delicious Valentine’s Day contest to win an Italpasta “For Pasta Lovers” prize pack.

Italpasta’s Spaghettini with Roasted Beet and Poppy Seed

Link: http://www.italpasta.com/recipes-spaghettini-with-roasted-beet.php

Serves 2

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

½ pound      Italpasta Total Pasta Spaghettini         225 g

2                     small roasted red beets, peeled and cut into wedges (Sandy’s notes: You can save time by roasting the beets a few days before making this recipe).

2 tbsps          unsalted butter            30mL

1 tbsp             Italpasta Extra Virgin Olive Oil 15mL

1                      small shallot, minced  (Sandy’s notes: I used half of a small onion)

1 tbsp             poppy seeds   15mL

2                      sprigs fresh thyme, leaves finely chopped

salt and pepper

¼ cup              crumbled soft ripened goats cheese, for serving      60mL

(Sandy’s notes: I quickly roasted the beets by peeling them and cutting them into cubes. Then I tossed them in a little olive oil, sea salt and pepper and I spread them out on a baking sheet covered with a sheet of parchment paper. I roasted them at 425 F for 30 minutes. You may need longer depending on the size of the beets. While you have your beets in the oven, consider making some roasted potatoes or another dish to save on energy.)

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente or to your taste. Drain and reserve ½ cup pasta water.

In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, brown the butter. Reduce the heat slightly, add extra-virgin olive oil, and stir to combine. Add minced shallot, and cook for 2 minutes, until softened, stir in poppy seeds. Toast the seeds for 1-2 minutes.

To the shallots and poppy seeds, add the chopped beets and thyme, stir for 1-2 minutes. Add ½ cup of pasta water to the skillet. Simmer the sauce over medium heat for 2 minutes. (Sandy’s notes: At this point, I added a ½ teaspoon of chili flakes to add a little spice to the dish).

(Sandy’s notes: This next step is key…stir quickly and constantly to cover all of your pasta with that beautiful red sauce otherwise it will be unevenly coloured.)

Transfer pasta to the skillet and cook for 1 minute until combined, stirring constantly. Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasoning. Serve in warm pasta bowls and top with crumbled goat’s cheese.

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If you loved the look of this pasta, Italpasta has a second Valentine’s Day inspired pasta recipe – Red Wine Spaghetti: http://www.italpasta.com/recipes-red-wine-spaghetti.php

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If you’re looking for more ways to impress your loved one on Valentine’s Day, visit Italpasta’s special Pinterest board with tips on how to set the perfect table, host Valentine’s Day on a budget and of course, cook up some awesome pasta recipes here: http://www.pinterest.com/forpastalovers/valentine-s-is-for-pasta-lovers/

Get more tips and recipes from Italpasta here:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ForPastaLovers

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ItalpastaLimited

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/forpastalovers

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/forpastalovers/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ForPastaLovers

CONTEST – Enter to Win a Valentine’s Day Italpasta “For Pasta Lovers” prize pack!

Enter to win a prize pack valued at over $50. It will include:

  • A supply of Italpasta Tradizionale Pasta
  • Apron
  • Cheese Grater

To enter:

1) Follow me on Twitter @savvari or www.twitter.com/savvari

2) Follow Italpasta on Twitter at @forpastalovers or www.twitter.com/forpastalovers

3) Retweet my contest tweet OR tweet this message:

I want to win a #ValentinesDay prize pack from @savvari and Italpasta @forpastalovers http://bit.ly/1vszYbL #forpastalovers

Get a second chance to win by leaving a comment below this post. Tell me what your favourite pasta shape is and what your favourite way to prepare it is – macaroni with cheese? Linguine with alfredo sauce? If you have a great recipe, let me know! If you don’t use Twitter, this would be your method of entry.

You can enter on both Twitter and on the blog post once per day each until the end of the contest. Contest runs until Sunday February 15 at 5 pm EST, so get your entries in!

Additional info:

  • There is one (1) Italpasta prize pack to be won.
  • The winner will be announced by Monday February 15 at 5 pm EST.
  • The contest is open only to residents of Canada.
  • Prize will be shipped directly to the winner. A Canadian shipping address must be provided.
  • Total value of the prize is $50

 

 

Margherita Penne

27 Nov

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I love the Milk Calendar. I’ve been kind of obsessed with it since I was younger and I would read all of the recipes over and over again and ask my mom which ones we could try. Since we were vegetarian, there were only a few recipes we could try, so it was pretty easy to pick them out!

I was excited to get a copy of the 2015 Milk Calendar this year, even more so because I once again had the opportunity to try one of the recipes, with ingredients generously provided by the Dairy Farmers of Canada. The test recipe this time was Margherita Penne and I knew I would enjoy this dish as soon as I saw the ingredients list. Tomatoes, bocconcini, basil…..yum!

Margherita Penne

Link to the original recipe from the 2015 Milk Calendar recipe site (please note that I have not changed the original recipe, I’ve just included my own notes below) – http://www.dairygoodness.ca/recipes/margherita-penne

Course – Main Dishes

Prep. Time – 10 mins

Cooking Time – 13 mins

Yields – 4 to 6 Servings

This yummy pasta is based on the classic pizza margherita, which is topped with tomato sauce, cheese and fresh basil – sometimes the simplest things taste the best.

Sandy’s notes:

-The recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp of dried thyme but I’m not a huge fan of thyme in pasta dishes so I only added a 1/2 tsp. It was more than enough to flavor the dish nicely in my opinion. I think 1 tsp of dried oregano would be a great substitute as well.

-If you want to be able to see the bocconcini in the dish then add it in seconds before serving it, otherwise it will melt into the pasta.

-While I enjoyed this pasta hot, I enjoyed it even more after I reheated it the next day. I just needed to add a few tablespoons of water to get the sauce going again.

-See additional tips from the Dairy Farmers of Canada below the recipe.

Ingredients:

12       oz  (375 g) penne pasta

2          tbsp  (30 mL) butter

4          cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2  tsp       (7 mL) dried thyme

1/2     tsp       (2 mL) salt

1/4     tsp       (1 mL) hot pepper flakes

2          tbsp    (30 mL) all-purpose flour

2 1/2  cups    (625 mL) Milk

2          cups    (500 mL) cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1/2     cup      (125 mL) grated Canadian Parmesan

12       1-inch (2.5 cm) mini Canadian Bocconcini

1/2     cup      (125 mL) fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Canadian Parmesan, for serving

Preparation:

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta for about 11 min or until al dente, or according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic, thyme, salt and hot pepper flakes. Cook 1 min. Sprinkle with flour; cook, whisking for 1 min. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Whisk for 3 to 5 min or until smooth and thickened. Stir in tomatoes and Parmesan.

Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour in sauce; toss, stirring 1 to 2 min over medium heat to coat pasta. Stir in Bocconcini, basil and salt to taste, if needed. Serve with grated Parmesan.

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Tips from the Dairy Farmers of Canada:

-Bocconcini come in different sizes, so if you need to cut the balls, the pieces should be about ¾-inch (2 cm) in size.

-Try cubes of Mozzarella instead of Bocconcini.

-Add some of your favourite pizza toppings to the sauce, such as pepperoni, olives or sun-dried tomatoes. Or use your favourite short pasta in place of penne.

To check out the rest of the recipes from the 2015 Milk Calendar, please visit – http://www.dairygoodness.ca/milk/my-milk-calendar/recipes/year/2015

 

Whole Lemon Bars and enter to WIN a copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook!

21 Apr

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I love lemons. I love how they look and I love how I feel when I smell or taste a fresh lemon. I love the song by U2. Oh and I also love Eduoard Manet’s painting, Le Citron.

Life has handed me a lot of lemons lately, both the delicious, yellow kind and those not so good lemons that disrupt your life. As they say though, it’s all about what you do with those lemons and on a recent weekend I decided to put some of my lovely lemons to good use. I cracked open one of my newest cookbooks, The Smitten Kitchen cookbook, written by one of my favourite food bloggers, Deb Perelman.

I’ve been following her fabulous blog, The Smitten Kitchen, for some time now and I’ve made quite a few of her recipes over the years. What I love about her recipes is that they are perfect for the average home cook. It’s not just about the recipes though, it’s her writing that keeps me coming back over and over again. So when I received an invitation from Random House Canada to attend a blogger brunch in celebration of the launch of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, I accepted it immediately. As expected, Deb was warm, friendly and willing to share her stories with the bloggers in attendance. We were all hanging on to every word, as she described her kitchen and what it was like to write, test and photograph all of her recipes. She is one of the inspirations behind my blog and I’m sure she has given countless others the push they needed too.

After munching on delicious treats cooked up by the amazing Random House staff, we had some one-on-one time with Deb. I was telling her how obsessed my family was with all things lemon and she immediately grabbed her cookbook, flipped to the Whole Lemon Bars recipe and said, “You HAVE to try this, they are so delicious.” Of course, she was absolutely right! This is now my favourite lemon bar recipe as it has the perfect balance sweetness and tartness. I love that I get to use a whole lemon, skin and all (minus the seeds of course!).

Are you a fan of The Smitten Kitchen blog? Well, I’m happy to share that I have one copy of the The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook to give away! Scroll down below the Whole Lemon Bars recipe for details on how to enter. By the way, you HAVE to make these lemon bars. Like right now. Go.

Deb Perelman’s Whole Lemon Bars

Recipe reprinted with permission from The Smitten Kitchen cookbook by Deb Perelman. Copyright 2012 by Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 cup/125 g all purpose flour

1/3 cup/65 g sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons/115 g or 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks, plus extra for greasing pan

For the filling:

1 small-to-medium lemon (about 4 1/2 ounces or 130 g, or about 3 inches long)

1 1/3 cup/265 g sugar

8 tablespoons/115 g or 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks

4 large eggs

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

1. Place a rack in middle of the oven and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cut two 12- inch lengths of parchment paper, and trim each to fit the bottom of an 8- inch square baking pan. Press the first sheet into the bottom and up the sides of your pan in one direction, then use the second sheet to line the rest of the pan, running it perpendicular to the first sheet. Lightly butter exposed parts of parchment or coat them with a nonstick cooking spray. Set the pan aside.

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2. Make the crust: Blend the flour, sugar, and salt together in the work bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is powdery, but if firmly pinched, will hold the pinched shape. Turn the dough crumbs into the prepared baking pan and press the dough evenly across the bottom and about ½ inch up the sides. Prick the dough all over with a fork and bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Should any parts bubble up, gently prick them again with a fork. Leave the oven on.

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3. Make your filling: Cut your lemon in half, and here’s where I need us all to be, briefly, quite fussy.

Is the white part of the skin especially thick?

If the widest part of the white is ¼ inch thick or less, continue on to the next step; your lemon is good to go. If any part of it is thicker than ¼ inch, however, I find it safest to remove the skin from half the lemon or the bitterness of the pith can overwhelm the bars. To remove the skin, place half the lemon cut-side-down on the cutting board, and remove the skin and pith from the entire half in downward cuts and discard it. The second half, even if just as thick, can be used as is.

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4. Cut your lemon halves into thin rings and discard any seeds. Toss the lemon rounds – lemon flesh and peel – in the bowl of your food processor, add the sugar, and run the machine until the lemon is thoroughly puréed, about 2 minutes. Add the butter and again run the machine until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides of the work bowl as needed. Add the eggs, cornstarch, and salt and pulse the machine in short bursts until the mixture is evenly combined.

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5. Pour the lemon mixture over the crust and bake it for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the filling is set. You can test this by bumping the pan a little; it should only jiggle slightly. In my oven, I find that the point at which the filling is set is also when the lemon bars start to get very light brown on top.

6. Let the pan cool completely on rack or in the fridge. Gently cut around the outside of the parchment paper to make sure no sides have stuck, then gently use the parchment “sling” to transfer bars from pan to cutting board. Cut into 16 squares.

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Sandy’s notes: I dusted them with icing sugar, to make them look fancier. I wish I had better photos of the lemon bars but my family ate them all up so quickly! I thought these were THE best lemon bars I’ve ever had. The balance of lemony goodness, salt and sugar was perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe. Enjoy!

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CONTEST: Win a copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

I’m giving away a copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman! You must be a resident of Canada to win. If you win, the cookbook will be shipped directly to your home.

TO ENTER:

Option 1: Leave a comment on this blog post and tell me what your favourite recipe is from the Smitten Kitchen blog (http://smittenkitchen.com/) P.S. Don’t forget to include your Twitter, Facebook or blog site address so I know how to reach you!

OR

Option 2: Follow me on Twitter @savvari and tweet the following:

I want to win a copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook from @savvari #cookbook #contest

You can enter once a day using each option! Canadian residents only.

Hurry! Contest closes on Tuesday April 30 at 5 pm EST. Good luck!

And the winner is…. Leora Heilbronn @leoraheilbronn – congrats!!

 

 

Smitten Kitchen

Almond Fresh Noël Nog French Toast

26 Dec
Almond Fresh Noël Nog

Almond Fresh Noël Nog

I had some friends over recently for a pre-holiday gathering and given that some of them are lactose intolerant, I thought it would be fun to try Almond Fresh Noël Nog, a non-dairy “egg nog” that I learned about recently (check out my previous post about Almond Fresh here).

The verdict: We all enjoyed it and we were particularly impressed with how light it was in comparison to regular egg nog. My friend Lisa was particularly happy that she could have an egg nog style drink without the dairy, as she only found out that she was lactose intolerant a few months ago.

I had some Noël Nog leftover after the gathering, so I decided to make some French Toast, using a recipe from Almond Fresh. It was my first time trying out a non-dairy French Toast and I was really pleased with the results! I was able to get the same custardy, rich texture that I enjoyed when I made French Toast with regular milk.

I ended up making this on a morning when my husband wasn’t home, so I cut the recipe back to make French Toast for one (makes 2 pieces of French Toast). I’ve included measurements for one serving in brackets below.

Almond Fresh’s Noël Nog is only available for the holidays, so if you can’t find it, you could substitute Almond Fresh Vanilla and add a ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg to the recipe to get the same flavours.

1 Egg + Almond Fresh Noël Nog + Cinnamon makes some mighty fine French Toast goodness

1 Egg + Almond Fresh Noël Nog + Cinnamon = mighty fine French Toast goodness

Dip the bread into the egg/Almond Fresh Noël Nog mixture

Into the frying pan with a little butter or oil

Almond Fresh Noël Nog French Toast

Almond Fresh Noël Nog French Toast

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 eggs (for one serving, use 1 egg)

1 cup (250 mL) Almond Fresh Noël Nog (for one serving, use ¼ cup)

2 tsp (10 mL) cinnamon (for one serving, use a ½ teaspoon)

8 slices bread or brioche (for one serving, use 2 slices of bread or brioche)

Slivered almonds and maple syrup

Directions:

1. In a shallow dish, beat together the eggs, Almond Fresh Noël Nog and cinnamon.

2. Heat a large frying pan over low/medium heat.

3. Soak bread in the Almond Fresh Noël Nog/egg mixture, one slice at a time.

4. Lightly coat the pan with vegetable oil or butter. Cook each slice of French toast on both sides until nicely browned.

5. Serve with slivered almonds and maple syrup- enjoy!

Notes:

-You could easily make this with regular egg nog if you had some leftover from your festivities

-Again, Almond Fresh Noël Nog is only available for the holidays, so if you can’t find it, you could substitute Almond Fresh Vanilla and add a ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg to the recipe to get the same flavours.

-I chose to dust my French Toast with icing sugar, instead of using the slivered almonds and maple syrup.

For more info, check out their website at http://www.almond-fresh.com/

They are social media friendly! You can also “Like” them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/almondfresh or follow them on Twitter at @almond_fresh or http://twitter.com/almond_fresh

Disclaimer: I received coupons to try Almond Fresh products in the mail. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Honey-Glazed Grilled Fruit + WIN a Harvest From Home basket from Metro!

16 Jul

Summer time is (finally!) here and farmers are busy harvesting their crops! If you’re looking for fresh fruits and vegetables to quench your healthy appetite, look no further, as from June through October, Metro has Ontarians covered with their annual Harvest from Home program.  During Harvest from Home, Metro purchases food from more than 100 farms across Ontario, providing its customers with a wide variety of the freshest most delicious produce.  They are proudly supporting local farmers and the economy, which is something we should all do. Local tastes better!

The lovely folks at Metro recently provided me with a great summer grilling recipe and a basket including the local ingredients from Ontario needed to make their special June/July recipe. How could I say no to a basket filled with delicious goodies?!?!

Honey-Glazed Grilled Fruit

The original recipe can be found on the Metro website here: http://www.metro.ca/recette/6239/honey-glazed-grilled-fruit.en.html. I’ve modified it slightly to suit the tastes of my family.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (125 mL) Irresistibles Orange Juice

1/2 cup (125 mL) Selection Unsalted Butter

1/2 cup (125 mL) Selection Liquid Honey

1 Selection Cinnamon Stick

1 quart fresh Ontario grown strawberries, hulled and washed

4 fresh Ontario grown pears, washed, cored and cut into large chunks

2 ripe but firm bananas, peeled and cut into large chunks

2 ripe but firm Ontario grown peaches, washed, pitted and cut into large chunks

Kabob skewers, wooden or metal

Directions:

Heat Irresistibles Orange Juice, Selection Unsalted Butter, Selection Liquid Honey and 1 Selection Cinnamon Stick in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbly and melted. Simmer for 10 minutes until slightly syrupy.

Thread fresh fruit pieces onto kabob skewers. Grill over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, turning often and drizzling with the orange juice mixture, until tender and browned.

My tips: Drizzle the orange juice mixture over the fruit every time you turn the skewers on the grill. You should turn them every few minutes to promote even cooking. The drizzle helps the fruit to caramelize a little and sends flames up to char the fruit, giving the kabobs a great smoky flavour. We had them at the end of a big barbecue, so I simply served the fruit kabobs on their own to keep things light. I think they would be great served alongside vanilla ice cream too…yum!

My favourite parts of the kabob were the grilled peaches and bananas and I think I might just focus on my favourite fruits next time. Overall, my family loved the kabobs and I’m happy to say that the serving plate was empty a few minutes later! I can’t wait to try the kabobs with other fruit combinations and perhaps add a little grated ginger to the sauce for an added kick next time.

CONTEST: Do you want to try this tasty recipe at home? Metro wants me to give away a Harvest From Home basket, including a Metro gift card, to one of my readers! Please note that you must be a resident of Ontario to win, given that Metro’s stores can only be found here in Ontario. If you win, Metro will deliver the basket directly to your home, so that you and your family can enjoy the Ontario grown Harvest From Home goodies immediately.

TO ENTER: 

Leave a comment on this blog post and tell me what your favourite Ontario grown fruits and/or vegetables are and what you use them for. P.S. Don’t forget to include your Twitter, Facebook or blog site address so I know how to reach you!

Again, you must be a resident of Ontario to enter!

Hurry! Contest closes on Sunday July 22 at 5 pm EST. The winner will be announced on Monday July 23. Good luck!

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WINNER!!! 

Congrats to Pauline Grant (@PaulineGrantTO ) for winning the Metro gift basket! Your basket will be delivered straight to your home by the great folks at Metro : )

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Basil Omelettes with Brie, Onions and Red Peppers

9 Apr

Eggs. They are so versatile and since they last for quite some time, they have a knack for being around just when you need them. One of my favourite things to make with eggs is an omelette and thankfully my husband is an omelette “eggspert” : ) I thought I would give him a break today so I stuck my head into the fridge to see if we had any ingredients worth of a “fancy” omelette (fancy = any omelette that contains more than just eggs, salt and pepper). I found some fresh basil, a chunk of brie, a lonely red pepper and an onion. It turns out that I hit the ingredients jackpot and the results were pretty tasty, so I just had to share the recipe with you.

Basil Omelettes with Brie, Onions and Red Peppers

Makes 2 servings.

Ingredients:

4 eggs

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 red pepper, diced

1 small onion, diced

2 thick slices of Brie, chopped into 1-inch pieces

Salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Directions:

In an 8-inch skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the unsalted butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and red pepper to the skillet and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. At this point, you should reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes or until the onions and peppers become soft, sweet and slightly caramelized. Do not let the onions and peppers burn! Season lightly with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, basil, salt and pepper (to your taste). Whisk until frothy. Then, wipe the skillet with a paper towel to remove any moisture and residue from sautéing and return the pan to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter. When the butter has melted and foamed, add half of the egg mixture and swirl the skillet to coat the bottom of it evenly. Using a rubber spatula, stir the eggs very lightly until almost set but still moist, for 1 minute. Pat the eggs back into an even layer with the back of your spatula. Sprinkle half of the brie onto the omelette and cook until the eggs are set but not too brown (this should take anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute). Add half of the red pepper and onion mixture (or as much as desired) onto the omelette as well. Then, lift an edge of the omelette with the spatula and fold the omelette in half to enclose the filling and make a half moon shape. Then, slide the omelette onto a large plate. Repeat the steps above to make the second omelette. Done!

The basil adds a bit of flavour to the omelette and the brie melts into the caramelized onions and red peppers to form a gooey, delicious filling. As rich as it sounds, you will eat this and still feel pretty great afterwards, as it doesn’t feel too heavy. Do you want to make this fancy omelette even fancier? Serve with toast, hash brown potatoes and a green salad. Perfect for a crowd-pleasing brunch or a quick after-work meal!

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