Lamb: The Other (Other) White Meat

Good Morning:

I like lamb, but I rarely ever have it at home. I think it’s partly because I’m not exactly sure how to prepare it and it’s also not quite as cheap as other white meat so I just immediately get pork or chicken. I’d like to reduce my consumption of red meat but I get sick of chicken and pork all the time. So, I would like to expand my meat repertoire to include lamb. This morning I’m sharing some lamb recipes that I’m planning on trying soon.

The first recipes I’m planning to try are the ones got me thinking about lamb in the first place.  I was watching an episode of Jamie Oliver’s Save with Jamie Money Saving Meals.  I really like this show, which has the a theme of ‘shop smart, cook clever, waste less’. The description from the Jamie Oliver Website: It’s about making the most of your ingredients, embracing leftovers, using your freezer, loads of clever things that will help you ‘shop smart, cook clever, waste less’ for your family using Jamie’s cheap meal ideas.”  The episode I caught had two lamb recipes.  The first was a roasted  lamb shoulder

via (Jamie Oliver Website)

It looks delicious, and if cooked properly (i.e. how Jamie did it) the lamb just falls off the bone. YUM. But what really got me interested was that he used the leftover lamb shoulder to make these gorgeous looking Crispy Moroccan Lamb Pastillas.

via (Jamie Oliver Website)

Don’t these look delicious? I’m sure this show was originally geared toward family’s who want to save money while feeding many people, but it is also great for single people.  I always struggle with how to use up my leftover because I inevitably have lots of them.  And these recipes really made me want to start cooking with lamb.  Now I just need to find some time to get to the butcher.

Do you have any lamb recipes that you enjoy?

XO,

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SMACK: The Ultimate Christmas Candy Recipe

 Good Morning!

Today is a big day at Recreated.  I’m sharing what might be the BEST recipe for any person to have in their holiday cooking repertoire.  And I don’t say BEST in a flippant way.  I actually mean it.  This is a recipe my mother has been making forever. She has always called it Christmas candy but when she started sending it to me in university and my friends tried it, we started calling it SMACK.  Because it is addictive. Addictive like a drug. Smack is so delicious, it is almost impossible to just have one piece.  It tastes a bit like a homemade Skor bar, but is way better than a Skor bar.  Today I’m sharing this killer recipe.

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WARNING:  The ingredients are not healthy.  They are perhaps the very definition of unhealthy…..but together they make magic…

 Ingredients:

1 Pound (2 cups) of butter

2 cups of white sugar

1/4 cup of water

2 tbsp of corn syrup

1 1/2 cups of chopped blanched almond

6-8 squares of semi-sweet chocolate

1/2 cup of ground almond

Tools:

Candy thermometer (IMPORTANT!)

Large heavy saucepan

2 large cookie sheets (preferably rimless)

Double boiler (of some kind)

wooden spoon

soft brush (bbq brush or similar)

Step 1: Toast your almond pieces until just starting to brown. This time I used the almond slivers because I couldn’t find any blanched whole almonds, but I definitely prefer the roughly chopped whole almonds for this recipe.

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Step 2:  Melt butter in the large saucepan under medium to high heat.

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Step 3:  Incorporate sugar then water and then corn syrup.  Put in your candy thermometer. Make sure that the end of the thermometer isn’t sitting on the bottom of the pan as it will spike the temperature on the thermometer and give you a false reading.

Step 4: Let it cook to a temperature of 290 degrees or “Hard Crack”.  It is very important that you take it off exactly at Hard Crack, no earlier and no later.  If you take it of too soon, it will be like toffee and will get stuck in everyone’s teeth.  If you leave it on too long it will get really sugary and crumbly.

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Do not stir vigorously, just slowly pull the wooden spoon along the bottom of the pan, more frequently as the liquid heats up. While it’s cooking you will see the liquid change colour and consistency.  It starts off yellow and thin and by the end will be be brown(er) and thick.

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You will find that it will take time to get from 200 to 250 but after that it tends to shoot up to 290 really quickly so have your almonds and pans ready.

Step 5: When it hits 290, remove from heat, pour in your almonds, do a quick stir and then immediately pour onto the 2 baking sheets.  Smooth out as quickly as you can until it looks sort of like this.

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Step 6:  Put the baking sheets either outside (if it’s cold) or in the freezer for about 10 – 20 minutes.  In the meantime, chop up your chocolate squares and melt it in your double boiler.

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Step 6:  Bring in your baking sheets and brush a layer of chocolate over top of the candy and sprinkle with the ground almond.

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Step 7: Put it back outside for a few minutes until the chocolate dries. Then bring it back in and flip it over.  If you are lucky it will flip over in 1 or 2 big pieces (but it often it breaks into many).  Repeat step 6 (chocolate and almond) on the other side.  Put back outside.

Step 8:  Break it up into small pieces and ENJOY!

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It is the perfect thing to bring to a party as a hostess gift.  Everyone loves it.  And it’s also great for a holiday cookie exchange because one batch makes so much.  Overall, it is just awesome.  Crazy awesome. And then some.  You are welcome.

Also, if you  haven’t yet entered to win these fabulous earrings from Her Pretty Bird jewelry on Etsy….get your booty over here to get yourself entered!

Enjoy your SMACK.  (I’m sorry in advance for enabling your addictions.)

XO,

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A New Discovery: Photisserie

Good Morning!

Are you ready for some visual gorgeousness this morning?  I was perusing a post from This is Glamorous from earlier this week where she shared the blog Photisserie by photographer Kathreinerle. The name of the blog is a combination of photography and pâtisserie.  O.M.G. I have been scrolling through these beautifully simple photos and I’m in awe.  Beautiful photographs + food, recipes and travel = SIGN ME UP.  Here is just a tiny taste of the gorgeous you will see.

all photos via Photisserie by photographer Kathreinerle

Tell me these are not simply gorgeous photos.  Nevermind, I know you can’t. Thank-you a million times over to Roseline for sharing this blog.  It has made my day. I was already planning on taking a photography course “at some point”, but now I’m inspired to get on it!  Oh and I’m also now very hungry.

Have a great day!

XO, Lindsey

Blend it like Beckham

Good Morning,

I know I complained a lot the first time I did a detox/cleanse program.  But I got through it and felt pretty decent afterward.  So I’m doing another one, but this time not on my own.  I’ve signed up for the BarreNourish 5-day Detox- Clean, Lean & Green through Barreworks, the studio where I take barre classes. If you live in Toronto I would definitely recommend checking a class out.  They regularly hold different nutrition courses and workshops, so when this one came up I decided to jump on board.  They provide a guide for meals with recipes and there is a social media aspect where you can connect with others in the program via facebook. If nothing else, I hope that part will be make it more engaging.

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I was looking through the guide last night and not surprisingly there are lots of smoothies and soups in the program.  And guess who doesn’t have a blender?  This girl.  I have always gotten by using my food processor. But I think it’s time to invest in a blender.

My first thought was I should get a standard, proper sized blender. But you know what?  I live on my own and cook mostly on my own and rarely make huge batches of things because it takes me 100 year to finish it.  So, I’m thinking that for my purposes, a personal sized blender in best.

Here are some my options:

1. Hamilton Beach Single Serve Blender: The lowest price of the bunch and it’s compact for storage, but it only has one container.

2. The Cuisinart Blender Chopper.  This one was rated the best personal-sized blender by Real Simple magazine and I like that it comes with so many containers. But it’s the most expensive of this list.

The Oster My Blend Blender.  I like the tall slim design and it comes in various colours.  But it also only comes with one container.

And of course, the Magic Bullet….I still hear good things about this one.  It comes with many containers and the price point is good. But I’ve read that it’s hard to clean.

Do any of you have a good recommendation for a personal-sized blender?

XO,

Lindsey

Tasty Tuesday: Peach Chutney

 Good Morning!

Millions of peaches, peaches for me….remember that song? (If you don’t, please don’t tell me as I am probably aging myself). Well, I don’t have millions of peaches, but I do love them especially when they are in season in Ontario.  You may have noticed on my instagram feed that I made some peach jam a couple of weekends ago.  I had quite a few leftover peaches so this past weekend I decided to make some peach chutney with the extra!  I used this recipe from Epicurious with some of my own added ingredients.  It turned out pretty darn good (insert “pat on back” here), so I thought I would share what I did with you today.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 large sweet red pepper, seeded, diced 1/4 inch, about 1/2 cup
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced, about 1/2 cup
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded & diced, 2 tablespoons (I didn’t use this because I didn’t want it to be too spicy)
  • 1/3 cup white raisins
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds firm, fresh peaches, blanched to remove the skin, pit removed, sliced into wedges.

Then I also added:

  • 1 tsp. dried coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cumin

What I did:

Add vinegar and both sugars into a non-reactive pot, cook over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add the red pepper, onion, jalapeño, raisins, garlic, ginger, salt and the additional spices I used, and simmer 10 minutes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Add the peaches and simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes or longer if your peaches are still firm. If you would like it thicker you can cook a bit longer to reduce liquid.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Remove from the heat and cool for 15 minutes in the pot. Serve at room temperature. Transfer to container and refrigerate or freeze some for later.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I used mine on pork tenderloin on Sunday night, which was delicious. (It helped that is was one of the few times I didn’t totally over cook my tenderloin….).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Now I’m itching to make other chutney for winter.  Do you know of any good chutney recipes I should try?

Have a great day!

XO,

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Pesto

Good Morning,

This year I planted kale in my garden…not because I particularly love it but I know it’s good for you so I thought I would try growing some.  Of course, unlike some other things in my garden, it grew like gangbusters and now I’m stuck with a shizzzload of kale, and I don’t really even like it that much.  I mean, I’ve made kale chips, which I like but there is only so many of those you can make/eat.  Then one day I was perusing Giulia Doyle’s blog Audrey’s and found this recipe for kale and basil pesto!  I love pesto so I thought I would try it to help use up my crazy kale harvest.  Click here to get all the ingredients and detailed instructions over at Audrey’s….but here is a quick run down of what I did…

The ingredients

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I blanched the kale.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Tossed all the ingredients in a food processor.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA And then PRESTO….I had PESTO!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The I found the flavour is a bit nuttier than traditional pesto, but I really enjoy it. Very yummy on pasta.  (Or if you are my Dad, you just eat it with a spoon.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA And my friend gave me a great tip for freezing pesto…put it in ice cube trays and then you can pop out only what you need and rest can stay frozen!  Genius!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A great pesto recipe, thanks for sharing Giulia!

Have a great day!

XO,

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Good Summer-y Things…

Howdy kittens, what’s shaking this Wednesday?

First of all, today is my lovely mom’s birthday, so a happy, happy day to you Mom!  Hope you have a nice one! xo

Summer offers lots of great things…one of my faves are summer breezes. Mind you, I haven’t had many summer breeze experiences this summer in this blessedly hot city where I reside.  But these photos make me daydream about it….

via 1,2,3 (unknown),4,5

And you know what else I like?  Summer cocktails….like these ones I found over at Camille Styles…she did a great round up of tropical cocktails.  Like this blueberry limeade cocktail, yum…

Or this Paloma …

And many more!  Looking for fun summer cocktail ideas, see the whole slideshow as well as where to find the recipes, here!

Now, the real magic would be if I could get a breeze and one of those cocktails at the same time.  Wait…a hot man-slave to bring the drink would also nice.

A girl can dream, right?

XO,

Sweet Wild Strawberry Jam

Good Morning!

During one of my many walks last week at my cottage, I discovered these little beauties in the grass…

Wild Strawberries …tiny wild strawberries!  And let me tell you, these little guys pack the sweetness of a handful of regular strawberries in one tiny little thumbnail-sized berry.  So, I decided that I was going to make wild strawberry jam with freshly picked berries! Here is what you need (according to the recipe in the Certo package):

Wild Strawberry Jam Ingredients

  • 3 and 3/4 cups of hulled and crushed berries
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 7 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 pouch of CERTO pectin

Little did I know what an ambitious job this would be.  Picking enough tiny berries to do a batch of jam is tedious work.  I was told I would need at least 4.5 cups to get enough crushed berries for the batch so that is what I picked.

Wild Strawberry Jam 1 However, while the picking did take some time, it was the hulling of each of the tiny berries that was a tad painful.

Wild Strawberry Jam 2 We finally got through it, but in the end 4.5 cups didn’t yield the full 3 & 3/4 cups of berries we needed so sadly I had to supplement with a few regular strawberries.  The glass jars we used were put in the oven for 10 to 15 mins to sterilize them.

jam bottles We squeezed the lemon juice and put all the ingredients into a big pot and mixed it up.

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Cook it on high, stirring regularly, until it comes to a rolling boil.  Once it gets to a rolling boil let it go for 1 full minute, and then remove from heat.

wild strawberry jam 4 Transfer into the jars.  My mom says if you don’t want to make a huge mess, you need the bottle funnel to get the jam into the jars (shown in the next photo). Let it sit overnight.

Wild Strawberry Jam - final product The next morning we enjoyed deliciously sweet jam on toast! This has inspired me to venture into making other jams this summer.

XO,

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Easy Spanish Style Cauliflower

Good Morning!

Today I’m sharing a really easy recipe that is inspired by a dish I had at Jaleo restaurant when I was in Las Vegas in May. Jaleo is a Spanish tapas-style restaurant and everyone at the table thought that the cauliflower dish was by far the best and most surprising of the ones we ordered.  And it was pretty simple in terms of ingredients.  So, I recently attempted the dish at home and it turned out pretty well.  Not as good as the restaurant but still a great alternative to plain cauliflower.

All you need is cauliflower, some dates, some olives (I used Kalamata because that is all I had, but I think a green olive would be better), olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Chop up the cauliflower, dates and olives.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Throw them in a bowl with the oil, some paprika, salt and pepper.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Put in a roasting dish at 350 for about 15 mins.  I cooked mine a little too hot and too long. The sugary dates cook fast compared with the cauliflower so my dates were a little overcooked…but still totally delicious.

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I have always liked cauliflower, but found it a little boring.  With this recipe I think I’ll be having it much more often.

Have a great day,

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How

Vegas Part 1 – Vegas Uncork’d Bellagio Block Party

Good Morning!

I hope all of you had a great long weekend! This morning I’m finally getting to the first installment of my Vegas extravaganza. I’m starting with the main reason we chose to go the weekend that we did, which was Bon Appetit Magazine’s Vegas Uncork’d. 

 Vegas Uncork’d is a 3-day culinary star-studded event featuring  award winning chefs like Michael Mina, Gordon Ramsay, and Julian Serrano, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Todd English and many more. The events included some private dinner parties at $300-$500 per plate….um, not in our budget….but there were also a few more reasonably priced food parties, one of which was the one we attended, the “Bellagio Block Party: Cured, Briased, Smoked, Grilled and Toasted.”

bbp-vegas 1 copy The party took place in a large parking lots behind the Bellagio hotel and was comprised of about 15 food and drink stations which you could pick up bite-sized morsels of food from the chefs of some of the best restaurants in Las Vegas.  Here are some shots of the scene….

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The best part for me, of course, was the food…

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The morsels were super delicious. Our particular favourite was a naan wrap with grilled goat. The sauce they used was amazing and it melted in your mouth. Yummmmmmy. I wish I could remember which station/chef it was from!

bbp-the food copy There was also a grill challenge between chef Todd English and chef Akira Back and two students from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School that took place at the party. The winning student won a $20,0000 scholarship and the runner-up a $5,000 scholarship.  It was hard to see to get any decent photos but you can see a video of it here.

So, was it fun?  Did I mention that Patron Tequila was one of the main sponsors? No?  Hmmm, well a boatload of amazing food and excellent tequila…I’ll let you guess if we had a good time or not…

fun times Patron also had HD photobooth there to take fun photos of guests at the event.  See how much we like each other in this one??

…then my friend Rena tried to steal my margarita….

 A great event!  More Vegas pics to come later this week.

Have a great start to your (short) week!

XO,

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