Cranberry Almond Roasted Broccoli

Cranberry Almond Roasted Broccoli

With the holidays fast approaching, it’s time to sift through old recipes, ponder new ones and somehow come up with a foolproof menu.  Cranberry Almond Roasted Broccoli is the perfect side dish for all your entertaining needs.  Not only because it has the perfect balance of savoury, crunchy and sweet, but because it roasts up in the same amount of time that it takes to rest a roast or turkey.  Meaning, you don’t need to worry about oven space or soggy vegetables.  

Cranberry Almond Roasted Broccoli cooks up al dente with golden roasted edges.  Crunchy almonds and chewy, sweet cranberries add a wonderful dimension of texture and flavour that signifies the holidays. Quick and easy with little fuss and holds up well.   Enjoy!

Recipe source for Cranberry Almond Roasted Broccoli:  Compelled To Cook

Cranberry Almond Roasted Broccoli
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Cranberry Almond Roasted Broccoli
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400℉.
  2. Split broccoli spears into large bite-size pieces. Place broccoli and garlic on a large baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly. Spread out in a single layer.
  3. Roast for 7 minutes. Add almonds and turn broccoli. Continue to roast for another 7 minutes. Add dried cranberries and toss to combine. Return to oven for 5-6 minutes until broccoli is tender and almonds are golden. Serve immediately.

Potato Crusted Halibut

Potato Crusted Halibut

Prefer gluten free, but want crispy, golden panfried fish?  Potato Crusted Halibut is a lovely, light entree that’s not only gluten free but a quick and easy weeknight meal that satisfies crispy cravings. 

Potato flakes are a great alternative to bread crumbs or cracker crumbs in most instances.  They fry up crisp just like bread crumbs, are neutral in taste and can take on herbs and spices, letting the flavour of your fish shine.  For this recipe I used thin halibut fillets that cooked up flaky in minutes.  I also served the Potato Crusted Halibut with my Tomato Relish, which is a wonderful, fresh accompaniment.

One of my goals for this blog was to showcase how potato flakes can be used as a coating/breading but also to point out that it’s not limited to fish or breading for that matter.  It can be used most places that bread crumbs are used like breaded chicken cutlets, meatballs, salmon cakes or thickening soup like my Broccoli Cheddar Soup So maybe you’re looking for gluten free, or maybe just want a change? Remember potato flakes are for more than just mashed potatoes. Enjoy!

Recipe source for Potato Crusted Halibut:  Compelled To Cook

Potato Crusted Halibut
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
6 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
6 minutes
Potato Crusted Halibut
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
6 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
6 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Pat fish fillets dry with a paper towel and season generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Whisk eggs together in a shallow bowl.
  3. Add potato flakes to a separate shallow bowl and season with dried herbs if desired, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper.
  4. Heat olive oil in a medium size non stick skillet until hot over medium heat.
  5. Dunk one fish fillet into eggs to coat evenly, then place into potato flakes. Flip to coat evenly on both sides. Add to hot pan and repeat with remaining fish fillets. Panfry for 2-3 minutes per side until golden. Remove from pan and serve immediately with Tomato Relish or your favourite tartar sauce.
Recipe Notes

-Be sure to use potato flakes and not the ground potato meal as typically used for boxed instant mashed potatoes.  I found the potato flakes at my local bulk barn.

-Serve with Tomato Relish

-The thickness of your halibut may vary from mine, which were on the thinner side.  Thicker fillets may require 30-60 seconds more cooking per side.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

By far, one of my favourite classes I took while in culinary school was “Soups & Sauces”.  Along with the five mother sauces, I learned how to make consommé and other traditional soups like Mulligatawny.  But what I learned the most, was the basic skill set that enabled me to make any soup I wanted or turn ingredients that I have on hand into something delicious. The “roux” was a big component to the class, and I remember little of alternate diet considerations.  Hence, with a world trying to cut out, or at least cut back on their gluten intake, I thought it best to skip the roux in this wonderfully thick and delicious Broccoli Cheddar Soup.  

It’s still thickened up a little, but I opted to use potato flakes instead of the traditional roux.  By doing so, I’ve not only cut out the gluten but used less fat, with wonderful results.  It’s also relatively healthy, as there’s minimal added fat and milk is used instead of cream.  Trust me, you won’t be missing a thing with the hints of oregano and mustard. Thick, creamy, loaded with broccoli and swirled with cheddar cheese, Broccoli Cheddar Soup is a must to make this fall. Enjoy!

Recipe source for Broccoli Cheddar Soup:  Compelled To Cook

Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
35 minutes 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
35 minutes 5 minutes
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
35 minutes 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 20 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
35 minutes 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Cut stems off broccoli, cutting very close to the flowerettes. Separate flowerettes into small pieces. Set aside 3 cups of flowerettes. Using a vegetable peeler, lightly peel the thick skin from the thicker stem pieces, discard skin. Chop stems, along with any remaining flowerettes into 1/2" chunks.
  2. In a medium pot, heat butter over medium heat until foamy. Add shallots and garlic, cook until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chopped broccoli, 3 cups chicken broth and oregano. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until very tender, 15-20 minutes. Stir in potato flakes and Dijon mustard. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Using a blender or submersion blender, blend soup until smooth. Return to pot, add milk and broccoli flowerettes. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook covered until flowerettes are tender, about 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Adjust thickness with more broth if needed. Stir in cheese. Serve immediately garnished with additional cheese if desired.
Recipe Notes

-recipe yields 5 1/2- 6 cups.

-for vegetarian option, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

-if serving to guests, cook and cool 1 cup of flowerettes separately. Stir into soup to warm just before adding cheese.  This provides wonderful colour and freshness.

Honey Garlic Carrots and Parsnips

Honey Garlic Carrots and Parsnips

With food feasting holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, I find myself thinking about side dishes and how having plenty of options makes meal planning easier.  Honey Garlic Carrots and Parsnips is one of my personal favourites, as it’s not only delicious but simple and a good pairing most anything.

Don’t let the parsnips fool you either, they’re wonderful in combination with the carrots and the honey helps to bring out their natural sweetness and highlights their earthy flavour. Additionally, these amazing Honey Garlic Carrots and Parsnips hold up well both in texture and colour for serving, giving you time to breathe as you rush to get everything on the table.

Recipe source for Honey Garlic Carrots and Parsnips:  Compelled To Cook

Honey Garlic Carrots and Parsnips
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
8-10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
8-10 minutes
Honey Garlic Carrots and Parsnips
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
8-10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 25 minutes
Cook Time
8-10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Peel and trim carrots and parsnips. Cut into 2" lengths and then slice a small amount from one side to allow the piece to sit flat. Slice a small amount off remaining 3 sides to square up the piece (see note). Cut into 1/4" slices and then cut each slice into 1/4" batons.
  2. Heat butter in a medium skillet until foamy, add garlic and sauté for 30-60 seconds, stirring once or twice. Add in carrots and parsnips, stir to coat with butter and garlic. Add water, cover and cook over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  3. Remove cover and increase heat to high to evaporate any left over water and allow the vegetables to finish cooking, about 3-4 minutes ( they will start to caramelize slightly).
  4. Once they are cooked to your liking, remove from heat and stir in honey, parsley, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

-if using salted butter, adjust additional salt to taste.

-the 2" sections do not need to be perfectly square as that much trimming creates a lot of waste. What is important, is to make sure they are similar in size for even cooking.

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.