Tempura Asparagus with Soy Dipping Sauce

Tempura Asparagus with Soy Dipping Sauce

Some years ago, one of my favourite appetizers served at The Keg was a tempura battered asparagus.  In the mix was also snow peas or green beans, but it’s been so long that I just can’t seem to remember.  What I do remember, is that the asparagus was the star of the show, hands down!  Crisp green spears, lightly battered and fried golden were amazing with a soy dipping sauce.  Since the dish is no longer on the menu, I decided to make it for myself, and share with you today Tempura Asparagus with Soy Dipping Sauce.  You see, it’s simply the best when you can enjoy your favourites at home.

The recipe uses crisp fresh asparagus spears, but truthfully, you could use a multitude of vegetables of your liking.  Think zucchini, green beans, mushrooms, a vegetable Fritto Misto really. For me, it’s asparagus all the way, lightly coated and fried till just tender and plunged into a garlic and ginger studded soy sauce.  They’re addictive to say the least. Enjoy!

Recipe source for Tempura Asparagus:  Compelled To Cook

Tempura Asparagus with Soy Dipping
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    4-6 people 25 minutes
    Cook Time
    20 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    4-6 people 25 minutes
    Cook Time
    20 minutes
    Tempura Asparagus with Soy Dipping
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      4-6 people 25 minutes
      Cook Time
      20 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      4-6 people 25 minutes
      Cook Time
      20 minutes
      Ingredients
      Soy Dipping Sauce
      Asparagus
      Servings: people
      Instructions
      Soy Dipping Sauce
      1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients except sliced scallions. Set aside.
      Asparagus
      1. Add enough oil to a large deep pot or dutch oven to come up the sides at least 3 inches. Attach a high heat thermometer to the side and heat oil to 350℉. Alternatively, you can use a deep fryer set to 350℉.
      2. In a medium bowl whisk together water, flour, white wine, egg, cornstarch, baking soda and salt until smooth. Set aside while oil is heating and asparagus is prepped.
      3. Trim woody ends from asparagus (about 2"). If some stalks are quite a bit thicker than others, thin by lightly peeling with a vegetable peeler to create more uniform stalks.
      4. Once the oil is hot, dip individual asparagus spears into batter to evenly coat and tap off excess batter. Add to hot oil one at a time, cooking 6-8 per batch and cook for about 2 minutes per side depending on size. Remove with a slotted scoop to a paper towel lined tray and repeat with remaining asparagus.
      5. Divided soy dipping sauce into small serving bowls and serve asparagus along side. Garnish with scallions and serve immediately.

      Chocolate Cherry Loaf

      Chocolate Cherry Loaf

      As much as it pains me to turn my oven on in the summer, giving off unnecessary heat when the goal is to keep the house cool, I just can’t stop baking for months.  I ask myself who could?  I guess as a food blogger the thought astonishes me and as I write this I’m shaking my head and thinking, “nope, it can’t be done”.  Lucky for both you and me that I feel this way, because out of the heat rises the most amazing Chocolate Cherry Loaf.

      I’m a big fan of loaves!  Not because they’re moist, tender, buttery, filled with nuts or chocolate, it’s because they’re simple, versatile and generally quite easy to prepare.  I also like the ability to cut the loaf into thick slices, wrap individually and grab and go right from the freezer.  My husband Mark calls them “loafcicles” and sometimes can’t wait long enough to let it thaw completely before munching away.  You could say he’s got a bit of a sweet tooth.  That makes this Chocolate Cherry Loaf right up his alley.  It’s a little indulgent with cream cheese, chunky cherry sauce and chocolate chips, and a small slice is all you need to battle that sweet craving.  You’ll find Chocolate Cherry Loaf a yummy change from banana or lemon and worth turning your oven on for.  Enjoy!

      Recipe source for Chocolate Cherry Loaf:  Inspired by Roti n’ Rice Raspberry Swirl Cream Cheese Pound Cake

      Chocolate Cherry Loaf
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        1 loaf 30 minutes
        Cook Time
        55-65 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        1 loaf 30 minutes
        Cook Time
        55-65 minutes
        Chocolate Cherry Loaf
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          1 loaf 30 minutes
          Cook Time
          55-65 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          1 loaf 30 minutes
          Cook Time
          55-65 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: loaf
          Instructions
          1. Combine cherries and sugar in a small sauce pan and heat to a simmer over medium heat. Stir water and cornstarch together in a small bowl and add to cherries, stirring constantly until combine and mixture returns to a full simmer. Remove from heat and allow to cool to slightly warm or room temperature. Continue with recipe as cherries cool.
          2. Preheat oven to 350℉ and prepare a 9"x5"x3"loaf pan by spraying with non stick spray or lightly greasing with butter and lining with parchment that overhangs the long edges.
          3. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt until combined.
          4. Beat together butter, cream cheese and sugar until smooth, scraping the bowl once or twice. Add eggs one at a time, scraping bowl and beating after each until incorporated. Add vanilla and mix to combine. Pour in half the milk and half the flour and beat until just combined. Repeat with remaining milk and flour. Scrape the bowl and add chocolate chips and mix to combine.
          5. Pour half the batter into prepared pan and spread smooth. Top with half the cherry sauce, remaining batter and cherry sauce again on the top. Using a table knife, swirl batter in a figure eight pattern two or three times to create nice swirls of cherry sauce. No need to over swirl.
          6. Bake in preheated oven for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in pan prior to lifting out and slicing.

          Pineapple Salsa

          Pineapple Salsa

          With summer creeping upon us, I felt compelled to update one of my first posts as a food blogger and one of my favourite snacks, Pineapple Salsa!!  A fantastic summer snack that’s worth repeating with a couple photos cleaned up.  The original post was done for Cinco Da Mayo, however this fantastic recipe goes far beyond into the warm summer months with its perfect balance of sweet and spicy.  Fresh and vibrant with fresh pineapple and lots of cilantro makes it a recipe I’ve made over and over. It’s always a hit, whether it be at work, at home or a social gathering. Serve with plenty of lime tortilla chips and watch it disappear.  Enjoy!

          Get the recipe ⬇️

          Pineapple Salsa
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            4 cups 30 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            4 cups 30 minutes
            Pineapple Salsa
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              4 cups 30 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              4 cups 30 minutes
              Ingredients
              Servings: cups
              Instructions
              1. Peel and core pineapple. Chop pineapple along with the tomatoes, red onion, and cucumber into 1/4 inch dice. Set aside together in a large bowl.
              2. Cut jalapeño peppers in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds, finely chop into 1/8 inch dice. Add to bowl. Coarsely chop cilantro and add to bowl.
              3. Cut limes in half and squeeze juice over mixture. Sprinkle with salt and stir to combine. Serve immediately with lime tortilla chips.
              Recipe Notes

              Resting the salsa for an hour will allow the lime juice to cut the bite in the jalapeño and red onion. It is strongly recommended to cut all ingredients by hand to retain the fresh appearance and prevent over processing the ingredients.

              Recipe Source: Inspired by The Pampered Chef Pineapple Salsa

              Catalina Wings

              Catalina Wings

              A long, long time ago I used to make wings similar to these piquant Catalina Wings.  I was in college and had a summer job cooking at a golf and country club.  The food was basic fair, nothing too over the top, catering to the golfing crowd, small banquets and business meetings. It was a fun job, good people to work with and a happy crowd, because they’re golfing of course.  It wasn’t unusual for the dining room to be filled with thirsty golfers looking for a mid afternoon snack and beverage.

              Like many places of the time, we offered hot wings, but not everyone liked there wings “hot”. So to please the masses we mixed the hot sauce with Catalina Dressing to lighten some of the heat.  The ratio of dressing to hot sauce was adapted to make the wings mild, medium or hot.  We didn’t have a formula, it was always eye balled, so I doubt anyone ever got the same plate of wings twice.  It’s the memory of this job and the tossing of bowl after bowl of chicken wings that Catalina Wings are derived.  Not new in concept but these Catalina Wings are made with fresh Catalina dressing, making them zesty and sticky.  You’ll love them! 

              Recipe source for Catalina Wings:  Compelled To Cook

              Catalina Wings
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                30 wings 20 minutes
                Cook Time
                16-18 minutes
                Servings Prep Time
                30 wings 20 minutes
                Cook Time
                16-18 minutes
                Catalina Wings
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  30 wings 20 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  16-18 minutes
                  Servings Prep Time
                  30 wings 20 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  16-18 minutes
                  Ingredients
                  Dressing
                  Wings
                  Servings: wings
                  Instructions
                  Dressing
                  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Makes about 1 cup of dressing. Refrigerate extra dressing for up to 1 week.
                  Wings
                  1. In a large heavy duty pot fitted with a clip on thermometer, heat a minimum of 3" of canola oil to 350℉ 375℉. (oil will cool when wings are added)
                  2. Pat chicken wings dry with a paper towel. Add half the wings to the hot oil, dropping them in one by one. Cook for 5-6 minutes, depending on size, until no longer pink. Remove with a slotted scoop to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining wings.
                  3. Preheat broiler and line a large baking tray with foil. In a large bowl stir together Catalina Dressing and Franks Red Hot sauce. Add wings and toss to evenly coat.
                  4. Arrange wings in a single layer on baking tray and broil 8" from broiler for about 2 minutes per side. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
                  Recipe Notes

                  Wings can be made hotter if desired by decreasing the amount of dressing and increasing hot sauce to your preference.

                  Parsnip Spice Muffins

                  Parsnip Spice Muffins

                  Give your carrot muffins a makeover with these wonderfully spiced and tender Parsnip Spice Muffins. Just like carrots, parsnips cook down to provide moisture, flavour and sweetness to baked goods. Already having a sweet note, parsnips readily take on an array of spices such as cloves, ginger and cinnamon. So get ready to fill your kitchen with the scent of baked goods and glorious spices with these gorgeous muffins.

                  Inspired by Bon Appetit’s Parsnip Spice Cake, I chose to lighten up the batter with applesauce and use less oil, sugar and eggs to create a relatively healthy muffin. Tender and moist with a spicy aroma and flavour. They’re particularly good with a drizzle of sweetened cream cheese for a little sweet treat, but eaten plain with a cup of tea is also a pleasure.

                  Parsnip Spice Muffins
                  Print Recipe
                    Servings Prep Time
                    12 muffins 20 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    25-28 minutes
                    Servings Prep Time
                    12 muffins 20 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    25-28 minutes
                    Parsnip Spice Muffins
                    Print Recipe
                      Servings Prep Time
                      12 muffins 20 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      25-28 minutes
                      Servings Prep Time
                      12 muffins 20 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      25-28 minutes
                      Ingredients
                      Servings: muffins
                      Instructions
                      1. Preheat oven to 350℉ and line 12 muffin tins with parchment or muffin liners. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, spices and salt. Set aside.
                      2. In a large bowl whisk together oil and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating after each. Whisk in applesauce, milk and vanilla to combine. Whisk in flour mixture and parsnips until just combined. Stir in pecans.
                      3. Divide batter equally between prepared muffin tins using a generous 1/4 cup of batter each. Bake in preheated oven for 25-28 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature.
                      4. In a small bowl stir together cream cheese, icing sugar, milk and vanilla to form a smooth texture. Drizzle or spread onto cooled muffins.

                      Buttermilk Ranch Onion Rings

                      Buttermilk Ranch Onion Rings

                      Buttermilk Ranch Onion Rings are made with fresh onions and are super crunchy and addictive. The delicious buttermilk batter is made with fresh herbs, onion and garlic powder so there’s no dipping sauce required. There’s just enough batter to cover and coat the onion well, but thin enough to yield a good batter to onion ratio.  No one likes too much fried doughy batter on anything….right?  They’re a great side to your burger or piled high and shared with your pals on game day.  However you choose to enjoy them, you’ll want to go back to the plate for more.  Enjoy!

                      Recipe source for Buttermilk Ranch Onion Rings:  Compelled To Cook

                       

                      Buttermilk Ranch Onion Rings
                      Print Recipe
                      Servings Prep Time
                      4 People 20 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      20 minutes
                      Servings Prep Time
                      4 People 20 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      20 minutes
                      Buttermilk Ranch Onion Rings
                      Print Recipe
                      Servings Prep Time
                      4 People 20 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      20 minutes
                      Servings Prep Time
                      4 People 20 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      20 minutes
                      Ingredients
                      Flour Dredge
                      Onion Rings
                      Servings: People
                      Instructions
                      Flour Dredge
                      1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
                      Onion Rings
                      1. Cut ends off onion and peel, leaving onion whole. Cut onion into generous 1/4" slices. In a large bowl toss onions with a few drops of water to moisten. Sprinkle flour dredge over onion slices and toss to coat. Set aside.
                      2. Preheat a deep fryer to 350℉ or at least 3" of canola oil in a large pot or dutch oven to 350℉ using a thermometer hooked to the edge of the pot.
                      3. In a large bowl whisk together flour, herbs, salt, baking powder, onion powder and garlic powder. Whisk in buttermilk, melted butter and worcestershire sauce until smooth.
                      4. When oil is hot, scoop out 4-6 onion rings and dunk in batter to completely coat. Shake off excess batter and place onion rings in oil one at a time. Cook for approximately 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove with tongs or a slotted spatula to a paper towel lined plate. Keep warm in a low oven while frying remaining onion rings.
                      Recipe Notes

                      Batter will thicken slightly if left to sit.  Thin with extra buttermilk if necessary.

                      Recipe Source:  Compelled To Cook