Spiced Rum Caramel

Spiced Rum Caramel

Delicious doesn’t have to be complicated.  Spiced Rum Caramel signifies how only a few ingredients can be transformed into something amazing.  With its burnished colour, creamy texture and buttery caramel taste, it’s the perfect topping for ice cream, cakes and apples to name just a few. 

There’s no need to ever buy store bought again, because making your own is easy with a little know how.  Mainly, you don’t want any sugar crystals to form.  NO stirring is key to help prevent sugar crystals forming on the side of the pan. Sugar crystals form when the hot sugar hits the cold pan side or cold whisk if you were to stir it. This, in turn, can cause the whole sauce to become crystallized. You can brush down the sides of the pan with water and a pastry brush if a few crystals start to form. 

The second important thing is timing.  It takes seconds to go from a light amber colour to a dark, overcooked colour.  The goal is a deep amber colour and knowing where that is, comes by doing. It may take a try or two to know exactly where you like it.  If in doubt, it’s best to opt for a slightly lighter colour than to go too far the other way, which will have a bitter taste.  Your caramel will still be amazing. Enjoy!

Recipe source for Spiced Rum Caramel:  Compelled To Cook

Spiced Rum Caramel
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 1/4 cups 10 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 1/4 cups 10 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Spiced Rum Caramel
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 1/4 cups 10 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 1/4 cups 10 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cups
Instructions
  1. Assemble all ingredients prior to cooking.
  2. Combine sugar and water in a medium-large saucepan (I used a 3 quart). Heat over medium-high until sugar is dissolved, gently swirling pan once or twice. DO NOT STIR. If any crystals form on the side of the pan, brush away with water and a pastry brush. Allow to cook at a boil until starting to turn an amber colour, about 10 minutes.
  3. Once the outer edge starts to turn colour you can gently swirl the pan a couple of times to evenly distribute, once again, do not stir. When it becomes a deep amber colour, remove from heat and whisk in heavy cream. The mixture will bubble vigorously. Once it has smoothed out, whisk in butter and salt. Stir in rum. Pour into a sealable jar and allow to cool completely prior to storing in the fridge.
Recipe Notes

-If in doubt about the colour, opt for slightly lighter.  Going to dark will result in a slightly bitter/burnt taste.

-Makes about 1 1/4 cups and will keep in a sealed jar for up to a month in the fridge.

Strawberry Hibiscus Syrup

Strawberry Hibiscus Syrup

I’m getting older you know!  But the benefit of this, is the chance to have a party.  So that’s just what my husband did for me this year on my recent birthday.   Along with my extra year of age, I also received many wonderful gifts that day.  One of which was a Mexican food basket that contained great items such as fresh tomatillos, corn husks and chipotle peppers in adobo. But the one ingredient that really got my attention was the dried hibiscus flowers.  I knew right away that I wanted to use this product for a blog post and set to work on making a lovely, richly infused Strawberry Hibiscus Syrup.

 

Dried hibiscus is just that, hibiscus flowers that have been dried, and probably most common for making tea.  When steeped, it has the most amazing deep purplish- red colour and tart berry like taste.  Perfect for beverages, hot or cold, jams, and sauces.  Strawberry Hibiscus Syrup is slightly tart and fruity with a hint of sweetness.  It’s amazing on pancakes, ice cream, cake, yogurt and fruit.  A little thicker than a simple syrup, but go on and stir it into a vodka cocktail, champagne or punch as well.  That’s if it makes it past the pancakes and ice cream of course…..enjoy!

Recipe source for Strawberry Hibiscus Syrup:  Compelled To Cook

Strawberry Hibiscus Syrup
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 1/2 cups 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30-35 minutes 90 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 1/2 cups 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30-35 minutes 90 minutes
Strawberry Hibiscus Syrup
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 1/2 cups 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30-35 minutes 90 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 1/2 cups 10 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30-35 minutes 90 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cups
Instructions
  1. In a medium sauce pan bring water to a simmer. Add dried hibiscus and bring back to a boil, stirring to soak all the hibiscus. Turn off heat and allow to steep for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, allowing hibiscus to drain naturally without squeezing or pushing on it.
  2. Return liquid to the pot and add frozen strawberries along with any juice and sugar. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to a steady boil and allow to cook, uncovered for 15-20 minutes, mashing berries with a fork or back of a wooden spoon to help them break down.
  3. Mix cornstarch with 1 tbsp cold water until dissolved. Add to syrup, stirring constantly until mixture is fully combined and has returned to a boil. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and allow to cool to room temperature, then cool completely in the refrigerator to reach full thickness.
  4. Pour into sealable jars or airtight container and keep refrigerated until ready to use. Will keep refrigerated for 2-3 weeks well sealed.
Recipe Notes

-Yields approximately 2 1/2 cups of syrup.

Tomato Confit

Tomato Confit

Slow roasted, jammy and infused with garlic and herbs, Tomato Confit is delightful on crostini.  It’s my personal favourite way to enjoy it.  I find the subtly sweet tomatoes to be the perfect match with soft tart cheese, in this case, goat cheese.  The copious amount of olive oil, along with a long slow roast makes it all luscious together and a great addition to pasta, fish and vegetables.  

Thanks to Nigel Slater for this lovely recipe that I found in a copy of The Guardian.  I’ve made the recipe pretty much as written, other than being in my own words.  Sometimes things don’t need to be messed with.  The beauty of this Tomato Confit is its simplicity, and how only a few ingredients can be transformed into a versatile delight. It is concentrated goodness in a jar, and handy to have on hand. It will keep for a solid week in the refrigerator, giving you numerous possibilities for snacks and meals throughout the week. 

Recipe source for Tomato Confit:  Nigel Slater’s Tomato Confit

Tomato Confit
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
3 cups 45-50 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
3 hours 1 hour
Servings Prep Time
3 cups 45-50 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
3 hours 1 hour
Tomato Confit
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
3 cups 45-50 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
3 hours 1 hour
Servings Prep Time
3 cups 45-50 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
3 hours 1 hour
Ingredients
Servings: cups
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 260℉.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a simmer. Wash and core large tomatoes. Cut a small X through the skin on the bottom of each tomato. Plunge tomatoes into simmering water and allow to sit for 40-60 seconds (you will start to see the skins slough off). Remove tomatoes to a cold water bath to stop the cooking. Repeat with remaining tomatoes. Peel skins off tomatoes by grabbing the flaps of the cut X.
  3. Cut large tomatoes in half horizontally and scoop out seeds. Place tomato halves, cut side up in a roasting pan.
  4. Wash cherry tomatoes and cut in half. Squeeze or scoop out seeds and scatter with larger tomatoes, tucking some in along side the larger ones. Tomatoes should be tightly packed.
  5. Trim herb stalks of any thick woody ends. Scatter herbs and garlic over tomatoes, pressing them down among the tomatoes.
  6. Lightly crush peppercorns and along with the sugar and salt, sprinkle over tomatoes and herbs. Pour olive oil evenly over tomatoes and roast for 3 hours.
  7. Pour boiling water into your sealable jars to help sterilize and warm them. Scoop hot tomatoes, along with herbs and garlic into jars. Top with remaining juice/oil. Screw on lids and allow to cool at room temperature, then refrigerate. If eating cold, allow to come to room temperature first, to allow olive oil to return to its original state.
Recipe Notes

-Seeding  the cherry tomatoes is tedious, but only takes 10-12 minutes once you get going.

-Will keep for a solid week in the refrigerator.

-Makes approximately 3 cups.

Tomato Relish

Tomato Relish

What will you do with all those tomatoes?  Firstly, you need to start by making this lovely Tomato Relish.  It’s a little like bruschetta, but saltier and brinier from olives and capers.  Delicious with white fish, chicken, crostini or eggs.  A quick and easy condiment that makes the most of those little red gems drooping from the vine.

With the onset of garden bounties, also comes the realization we’re quickly approaching the end of summer. I pause to think “where has it gone”, always gone in a blink here in central Alberta, and soon enough blogger posts will be filled with back to school specialties.  So make the most of the sunny, warm weather that’s left and enjoy seasonal fresh produce while you can.  Tomato Relish not only highlights fresh cherry tomatoes but also fresh herbs, reminding us that eating healthy and well is easy and delicious. Enjoy!

Recipe source for Tomato Relish:  Compelled To Cook

Tomato Relish
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 3/4 cups 20-25 minutes
Passive Time
30-60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 3/4 cups 20-25 minutes
Passive Time
30-60 minutes
Tomato Relish
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 3/4 cups 20-25 minutes
Passive Time
30-60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 3/4 cups 20-25 minutes
Passive Time
30-60 minutes
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl and stir to combine. Allow to rest for 30-60 minutes prior to serving to help meld flavours. Makes about 1 3/4 cups and is best eaten the day it is made. Serve along side your favourite white fish, chicken, crostini or eggs.

Pickled Corn

Pickled Corn

I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say you can never have too many side dish options. We’ve all been the one who’s put out five different dishes to please the masses.  While this quick and super easy Pickled Corn would maybe be considered more of a condiment, it’s fantastic along side hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled meats and a great addition to any meat and cheese platter.  It’s briny, spicy and sweet all in one, making Pickled Corn a must to make this summer.

 

Need a salad in a hurry, try adding Pickled Corn to black beans, chickpeas and avocado for a healthy and hearty dish.  So the next time you’re thinking of setting out a dish of pickles, you need to stop yourself and amp up your game with this wonderfully spicy mix of sweet corn, red pepper, garlic and onion.  Enjoy!

Recipe source for Pickled Corn:  Adapted from Epicurious Pickled Corn

Pickled Corn
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
5 cups 30-35 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 cups 30-35 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Pickled Corn
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
5 cups 30-35 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
5 cups 30-35 minutes
Cook Time
5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cups
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, toss together corn, red onion, red pepper, jalapeño, and garlic. Divide into heat proof mason jars, leaving enough room to add liquid to cover. I used 3-500ml jars because it's nice to have one ready to use and two to keep stored. See note.
  2. In a medium sauce pan heat water, vinegar, lime juice, sugar, salt and pepper to a simmer. Pour hot liquid over corn mixture just to cover corn. Add hot water by the tablespoon to top up if needed. Seal jars and allow to cool at room temperature, then refrigerate.
Recipe Notes

Will keep up to 4 days once opened and up to one month if unopened.  This is why I chose to use 500 ml mason jars, so one or two can stay sealed if needed and one can be used right away.

Catalina Dressing

Catalina Dressing

It will soon be summer with salads of crisp greens and bitter radicchio.  What better way to dress your salad than with homemade Catalina Dressing.  I’d say it’s a bit of a forgotten dressing, one that’s been in the shadows of more trendy dressings made with avocado and tofu.  Kinda like it doesn’t get to hang out with the cool dressings, but there’s no reason for the snub.  Catalina Dressing is sweet and zingy, and just what your greens are screaming for.

It’s not new and maybe even a bit old fashion, but I thinks it’s more that everyone has forgotten how good it really is and all the other great uses it has.  Dressing is dressing you might think, but how about mixing it with mayonnaise for a great burger and sandwich spread. 

Next, you’ll want to add a generous splash of sriracha to that spread and serve as a dip for sweet potato fries or potato wedges.  

Oh, and did I mention Catalina Dressing makes fantastic chicken wings, yes you read that right, CHICKEN WINGS.  Coming soon to the blog, I promise!  So never, never underestimate this humble salad dressing, it’s anything but boring. 

Recipe for Catalina Dressing adapted slightly from: Epicurious

 

Catalina Dressing
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 cup 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 cup 10 minutes
Catalina Dressing
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 cup 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 cup 10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cup
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Allow to rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour to meld flavours. Move to fridge if not using shortly after. Will keep for 1 week refrigerated.
Recipe Notes

Yields:  1 generous cup