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Friday, September 26, 2014

A Rustic Apple Tarte Tatin


Even though the weather might say otherwise, apple season is in full bloom! Never having been a traditional apple pie kind of girl, I've always enjoyed showcasing my freshly picked apples in something slightly out-of-the-ordinary. Whether it is my go-to German apple cake, or cinnamon and spice apple sauce, apple desserts are the epitome of fall comfort food. When I saw that Canadian Living's October issue was going to feature the "Ultimate Tarte Tatin", I knew that I had to try it out!

This exquisite tart combines warm skillet apples with a buttery, salty caramel and a melt-in-your-mouth flaky pastry shell. Oh, even writing this description makes my mouth water! A word of warning: make sure to invite someone over when you make this, because you will eat the entire thing in one sitting.



Some tips from the pastry kitchen:

Do NOT overwork your dough. It will come together crumbly, and that's good! If you work it too much, you may end up making a dough that is tough and chewy, missing out on the flaky, delicate texture that it is meant to have.

DO chill your dough before rolling it out.

DO flour your work surface. And your rolling pin.

DO use granny smith apples as suggested. I made the mistake of using another variety and they nearly turned into apple sauce. While it will still be tasty, you won't end up with the prettiest of tarts.

DO make this recipe, and do enjoy yourself! Though it takes a little while to complete, it is very, very worth it.

Oh, and a nifty bonus: your kitchen will smell divine!
To get the full recipe, visit Canadian Living's website here.





Monday, August 11, 2014

Pretty in Pink Salad (Quinoa with Watermelon and Beets)


Being vegetarian for over 10 years, I often get asked "but where do you get your protein?"
There are so many plant-based significant sources of protein out there, many of which you're probably already eating. (Beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, peas, spinach, broccoli, just to name a few.) Quinoa is among those plant-based sources, and it is a little powerhouse. Quinoa is even more versatile than rice, quick and easy to cook, and contains all of the essential amino acids that your body needs for growth and repair. You can eat it sweet like porridge, savoury like rice, or go somewhere in between, like this pretty pink salad.

Watermelon + Beets: a tantalizingly refreshing combo that looks as wonderful as it tastes. The earthiness of the beets balance the sweetness of the watermelon, and the textures compliment each other beautifully. I convinced the boy to hop on the pink salad bandwagon with me, and we were both hooked. Imagine my surprise when came home after work one afternoon, about to rush over to school, when I was greeted by the loveliest smile and a hands that were holding a watermelon and beet salad, ready to go. Only this time, it wasn't only watermelon and beets. No, my wonderful man took it up a notch, and invited quinoa and figs to join the party. With some avocado placed delicately on top, Josh had turned a side salad into a full blown vegan meal. I couldn't be prouder!

I'll keep this post short and sweet, so you can get right on to the market and pick yourself up a nice juicy watermelon to make this salad tonight. I'll share the recipe, you share the love!

Happy August!

Quinoa with Watermelon and Beets

2 cups watermelon, cubed
4 small beets, boiled until tender, cooled and cubed
1 cup cucumber, cubed
1 cup cooked, cooled quinoa
Handful of dried figs, chopped
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1 avocado, sliced

Combine all ingredients, except avocado, and toss gently. Garnish with avocado slices. Sprinkle with pistachios or hemp seeds for an extra protein boost!







Monday, July 28, 2014

The Perfect Cheese Plate (and a product review!)


Pop quiz! What takes under 10 minutes to prep but looks and tastes like heaven? Answer: a cheese plate! Perfect for entertaining in the hot months, when you don't want to be slaving over the stove for hours, cheese plates make the perfect centerpiece at a gathering or a party. When done properly, with a little variety, a cheese plate can be a stand alone meal. The boy and I usually make a cheese plate by having one of each type of cheese: soft, semi soft, firm, goat and something crumbly like blue. We like to round it out by adding crudités, dried fruits and olives and serving alongside assorted bread and crackers. Recently, we were trying to figure out what else we could add that would be simple, quick and that would compliment the cheese but also fit on a cracker. That same evening, a special package arrived in the mail, and we knew exactly what we were having for dinner.


The awesome people over at Rio Mare sent us a few samples of their light tuna in olive oil. Arriving in it's iconic bright pink tin, I was excited to try it for the first time. We've always purchased generic tuna in water, thinking that oil might make it too rich, too greasy or too fatty. Lo and behold, we were wrong: olive oil makes tuna taste absolutely delicious! A product of Italy, Rio Mare uses only the good stuff. The ingredients list nothing but fish, olive oil and salt. No fillers, no preservatives, no bi-products. What a perfect addition to our cheese plate! I loved it so much that I went on a tuna binge for the next couple of days, making me realize just how versatile tuna can be. I stuffed an avocado with it. I had it in mac and cheese. I had it in a grilled cheese. I had a mac and cheese tuna grilled cheese... I even ate it straight out of the can as a nighttime snack. Along with the samples, I received a little recipe booklet with ideas such as warm farro salad with tuna, tuna and hardboiled egg salad, and a couple of tuna and pasta dishes. Tuna fan? You can find even more recipes and inspiration on Rio Mare's website here!

You're probably all like "Mac and Cheese Tuna Grilled Cheese? I want that!" Alright, pescetarians and omnivores, rejoice! I now present to you mind blowing. taste bud exploding, ooey gooey delicousness. Oh, by the way, I would have included a better photo, but with food this good, I was too excited to eat it that I didn't have a chance!



Mac & Cheese Grilled Cheese with Tuna 
and spicy avocado sauce
an original recipe by allison sklar

Serves 2

1/2 cup cooked macaroni
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/4 cup shredded gruyere
4 slices thick-sliced (country) bread
2 tbsp mayo
1 can Rio Mare Tuna in olive oil

dipping sauce:
1 avocado, mashed
1 tbsp Sriracha
1 tbsp mayo

Mash avocado, combine with sriracha and mayo. Set aside. Combine cheese with macaroni and tuna in small saucepan on low to medium heat. Spread mayo on one side of bread slices. Begin to heat bread, mayo side down, in skillet or frypan on low to medium heat. Once bread is heated and cheese begins to melt, transfer scoops of mac and cheese mixture inside bread and sandwich together, flipping intermittently. Serve with avocado dipping sauce.






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