Friday, May 28, 2010

A New Twist on Salsa

Here is a fantastic new salsa that is filled with healthy essential oils for your body in their most natural form - fresh olives and avocados!  Even for those who do not like olives, this is still worth trying because the combination of foods in each bite blend so well together, you may not know you are eating olives. It is perfect for any BBQ, party or even a lite lunch side.

This recipe was passed on by our good foodie friends, Hans and Carolyn!  Thanks so much.  I am so glad I had the pleasure to enjoy and share this one.

Avocado Salsa

1 ½ cups kernel corn * 
1 ½ cups olives (kalamata or black) - sliced
1 cup red pepper – chopped finely
½ cup red onion – chopped finely
3 cloves garlic – pressed/minced
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice – freshly squeezed
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp salt and pepper
3 avocados – diced *
Blue or White Corn Tortilla chips *

* Check the Cook's notes below for more details.

 In preparing your veggies, try to keep all of them similar in size - and small so you can get lots on your chip.  Using a large glass bowl, mix all the ingredients together except the avocado and refrigerate overnight or for several hours. Add the avocados just before serving. Enjoy with a bowl of tortilla chips - and friends too!!!
Cook's Notes:
Corn: Frozen kernel corn works really well as it is not milky and gimpy like canned corn is.
Lemon juice: As the famous Coco once said, "The only lemon juice you should use is that which you can freshly squeeze".
Avocados: Try not to use fully ripe ones as they will get mushy in the salsa.  To peel them, cut them in half and using a large spoon, scoop out the flesh.  To remove the pit from the one half, using a larger, sharp knife, place the edge of the blade into the pit and twist the knife until the pit is removed.
Tortilla Chips: We eat mostly the Blue corn tortillas because they are a bit better for you than the white corn (kinda like sweet potatoes are better than white potatoes).  I stay away from the multigrain because all those I have seen have added sugar in the ingredient list.  I would rather avoid sugar and get my fibre from many other foods so I go with the blue ones (or white some days).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Baked Oatmeal - the weekend is here!

When I first heard about this dish, I was skeptical.  It simply sounded a little strange.  I finally asked a friend for her recipe, made small changes, and we have been enjoying it ever since.   Since it is now a staple to signify "the weekend is here", I figured it was time to share it.  Give it a try - you know you want to.

Baked Oatmeal
* = see cook's notes below

2 cups Oats *
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans - chopped and toasted
1 1/2 cups rice milk or milk of your choice *
1 tbsp applebutter or you could use maple syrup *
1 egg
1 egg white
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp canola oil
Fresh fruit to add before eating

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Combine the wet ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until the eggs are evenly mixed into the other ingredients.  Then add the oats, baking powder, cinnamon and nutsand stir.  Pour the batter into a large pie plate (10" or more) or a 9x9 cake pan or serving dish and bake for 25 - 30 minutes.  Allow it to sit for 10 minutes if you can wait.   Then slice and serve in a bowl with milk of your choice and fresh fruit.

 Cook's Notes:
Oats: I only use Old Fashioned Rolled Oats but you could use large flake.  Quick Oats would likely still work but may be a different texture.  Definitely do not use Minute Oats.

Milk: I like to use Rice Milk because it is naturally sweet (no added sugar) so it makes the dish sweeter without adding more sugars.  If you use regular milk, you may find you need to add more sweetness.

Applebutter options: if you do not have applebutter that is naturally quite sweet ( I only use Wellesley brand), you could use maple syrup in equal amounts.

Options to consider: I think this would be delicious with fruit added in before baking, like blueberries or raspberries or even sauted apples. 
I also found it worthwhile to mix up the recipe the night before and leave the it in the fridge.  I even set my oven to turn on automatically the following morning so I could be as lazy as possible - hey, it is the weekend!  So in the morning, all I have to do put the mixture in a room-temp baking dish and add it to the hot oven to bake.  During that time, why not get a little more sleep.  That sweet, warm cinnamon oat smell is a great thing to get your day going!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Spelt Tortillas

I have heard making tortillas was easy so I just had to give it a try. Plus I wanted fajitas for supper so it seemed like a good time. So here is what I did – I took a tortilla recipe and made it from spelt flour. And the results…so good I am a new believer in making my own tortillas, dare I say, all the time? I think my family might demand it now. Fairly basic so do give it a try and let me know what you think.

Spelt Tortillas

This recipe was adapted from :
Yield: 12 6-inch tortillas

1 ½ cups spelt flour
½ tsp Xanthan gum
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp butter – room temperature (could also use shortening if preferred)
2/3 cup warm water
extra flour for rolling out the dough ( I used regular white flour for some reason)

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add in the butter and mix until a fine crumb forms. Add the water and stir to make a soft dough. Knead (or continue stirring) the dough for 1 – 2 minutes and then let it rest for 10 minutes.

On a floured surface, pour out the dough and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Using as much flour as needed to not have your dough stick, roll out each piece into a 6 inch tortilla (or as thin as you can handle). Dust off any excess flour before frying.

Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. With a non-stick skillet, there is no need to add any oil or butter for cooking. Once it is hot, cook each tortilla for about 1 – 2 minutes or until the dough bubbles and slightly browns. Flip and continue to cook for about another 30 seconds or until browned as desired. You may need to brush away excess browned flour from the pan before adding a new piece of dough.
To reheat the tortillas, preheat an oven to 350 F. Wrap the tortillas in foil and place in the oven for 5 minutes.

Cook`s notes: Given it was my first time trying this, I only rolled one piece of dough at a time to ensure I had the right thickness and frying time. My plan is to spend some time making a lot ahead of time and freezing them so I am not making these AND supper to go in them at the same time.

If you don`t want or have spelt flour, this recipe can be done with regular or whole wheat flour and then you don`t need the xanthan gum either.

Rating: 5 star

My family devoured these fajitas...the tortillas made such a difference. So so much better than what we buy.
*special thanks to my husband for helping me make these!