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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.






Monday, July 14, 2014

Comforting Cobbler


When it comes to summertime desserts, I tend to opt for all things simple and refreshing. Fruits are often the star, especially when they're fresh and local. So, when I got my hands on a giant container of juicy blueberries last weekend, I knew that I had to make them into something special. In an act of perfect timing, I got the chance to sneak a peak at Canadian Living's August cover recipe - a deliciously comforting blueberry cobbler.


If blueberry pie and cornbread got together and had a baby, this dessert would be their offspring! When a crispy, crumbly topping sits on top of a mountain of sweet blueberries, it’s a challenge not to devour it straight out of the oven. Not only does this comfort food taste as incredible as it smells, but it’s super satisfying to crack through the cobbler crust with your spoon for that very first bite!

You can whip yourself up one of these babies at home in no time flat, just follow the link below to take you to the original recipe on Canadian Living's website.

Tip: top with a dollop of ice cream for an extra summery touch!









Saturday, July 5, 2014

Vegan Cheesy Stuffed Mushrooms


With summer in full swing, I find myself craving all things light and refreshing. All the most delicious local produce is in season right now, and I've been stocking up on berries, leafy greens and whatever else the market has to offer each week. Though I haven't used my stove at home in what seems like ages (for fear that it might add to the smouldering heat wave that is just now starting to dissipate), I decided to turn on my oven today to make something that I've been craving for a while - stuffed mushrooms. I wanted to serve something a little bit fancy pants to munch on while we sat and enjoyed my beau's homemade Bloody Caesars. (For all of you Non-Canadians, a Caesar is like a Bloody Mary, but with Clamato instead of Tomato, and with about 10x the flavour.)



Holy cow, did I ever impress myself tonight. Not that stuffed mushrooms are compliqué or anything. Completely the opposite actually, they're ultra simple. But I made a vegan version that is just ah-mah-zing. And, let me tell you, the boy wasn't even able to tell the difference!


I made two versions, so for those of you who are all like "but I need me some cheese!", I've got you covered. But I urge, urge, urge you to try the vegan ones. The creaminess, the flavour, the explosion of deliciousness in the mouth. Ok, ok, enough with my foodgasm, I'll get straight to the recipes. 
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