Donair Tacos

wpid-wp-1414586921117.jpeg

There are few things I like as much as some good tacos. But here’s where the twist comes in – what if they tasted like donairs?

Here’s a little creation I came up with using some components from other recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and black pepper

 

  • shredded mozzarella
  • shredded iceberg lettuce
  • diced tomatoes
  • diced onions or chopped green onions
  • hard taco shells
  • donair sauce – see below

SAUCE:

  • 1 10 oz can of light eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

 

Directions:

  1. Mix together the sauce ingredients with a whisk, set aside in the refrigerator. It should be thick like yogurt.
  2. Combine the beef and spices well in a bowl.
  3. Brown the mixture in a pan until it is completely cooked, set aside.
  4. Heat the taco shells in the oven.

 

Assembly:

  1. Put mozzarella cheese in the bottom of each taco shell.
  2. Top with hot meat, vegetables, more mozzarella, and donair sauce.
  3. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato and Andouille Chili

wpid-20141023_194833.jpg

This delicious and affordable twist on chili was based on a recipe recommended by my friend Chris (found here: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/10/chorizo-sweet-potato-chili/). I made a few tweaks of my own and this is the result.

Ingredients:

  • 4 links fresh andouille sausage (in Halifax, I buy this from Pete’s Frootique), casings removed
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 large can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 28-oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. In the bottom of a large pot, brown the sausage and break up into small pieces.
  2. If there is a lot of oil that comes out of it, cook it completely and drain the excess fat. If it’s fairly dry, when it’s almost cooked, add the onions and garlic.
  3. Saute until the onions are softened.
  4. Add the sweet potato, tomatoes, beans, spices, tomato paste, and water. Stir well.
  5. Cover the pot and cook until the sweet potatoes reach the desired doneness (approximately 35 – 45 minutes) stirring occasionally.
  6.  Adjust seasoning as needed.

Hummingbird Cake

wpid-20141027_091126.jpg

This is a classic cake from North Carolina with roots in Caribbean flavours. It tastes like a cross between a carrot cake and banana bread – helped by a fluffy cream cheese icing with a zesty surprise!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pecan pieces or sliced almonds
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 can crushed pineapple, drained well
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp amber rum
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with Pam  Baking spray and line with parchment paper.

Spread the pecans or almonds on a baking sheet and bake until fragrant and toasted, about 8 minutes. Watch carefully that they don’t burn. Let cool slightly.

In one bowl, mix the mashed bananas, pineapple, eggs, oil, rum, and sugars. Beat until well combined and frothy and thick.

In another bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the egg/fruit mixture then gently fold to make a thick batter. Fold in toasted nuts then transfer the batter to the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are firm and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool in the pans on a rack, 25 minutes, then invert the cakes onto the rack to cool completely.

Frosting:

  • 2 8oz packages of cream cheese at room temperature
  • ¾ cup of butter at room temperature
  • 4 cups of icing sugar or until desired taste/consistency is achieved
  • Zest of one lime
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • ½ tsp Vanilla or vanilla bean paste (available at Bulk Barn)

Beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with a mixer until fluffy. Sift the confectioners’ sugar over the cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth. Add the lime zest and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.

Level the tops of both cake layers. With a sharp bread knife, cut each layer into two layers.

Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread about ¼ inch of frosting on top, then cover with the other cake layer. Continue until all layers are stacked. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

Donair Dip

(Originally inspired by: http://mmmisformommy.com/2013/05/hot-donair-dip-aka-halidip.html)

While this dip may look strange, it’s certainly delicious and has the true essence of a donair in every bite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and black pepper
  • 1 8oz package light cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella

SAUCE:

  • 1 10 oz can of light eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 packages pita bread
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 3 green onions, sliced

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine the sweetened condensed milk, vinegar, and garlic powder in a bowl. Mix well, and set aside.

Combine the ground beef and spices in a bowl, knead the spices into the meat really well with your hands. I keep nitrile gloves in my kitchen for just such occasions!

Fry the spiced beef in a frying pan and break up as it’s cooking into small pieces.

In a large bowl, cream the cream cheese and add the sauce mixture. Mix until it’s as smooth as you can get it – I had to use a whisk to break it up. Add the mozzarella cheese.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the spiced beef to the cream cheese/sauce mix, leaving the grease in the pan. Mix everything together and put it in a greased baking dish.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh tomatoes and green onions.

PITA CHIPS:

Cut the pita breads into wedges using a pizza cutter. Separate the layers of the pita. Put in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes or until they start to brown and are crispy. You’ll have to do several batches.

Beer Preztels and Cheesy Beer Dip

img_20151227_161313.jpg

PRETZELS:

Ingredients:

  • 3 ¼ cups all purpose flour, divided
  • 1 package quick-rise yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup beer
  • 6 ½ cups water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Kosher salt

Directions:

Combine 3 cups of flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. In a saucepan, combine the beer, ½ cup water and oil and heat to 120*F.

Put on dough hook attachment and turn onto low-medium speed. Add the beer mixture to the flour mixture. Keep mixing until the dough comes together. Add more flour 1 tbsp at a time until it forms a soft dough.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.

Divide dough in 12 equal pieces (1/2, then each half into six pieces). Roll each piece into a 14 inch rope with slightly tapered ends. Cover other dough to keep it from drying out.

Form pretzels by creating a U shape, then cross one end over the other to form a circle, leaving 3 inches at the end of each rope. Twist ends once and pinch each end to the bottom to form a pretzel shape. Place on greased baking sheets, cover, and let rise 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400*F. In a large non-aluminum pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the baking soda. Working in batches, boil the pretzels for 30 seconds each, turning once. Remove to a greased wire rack.

Brush pretzels with egg and sprinkle with salt. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

 

CHEESY BEER DIP:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 – 4 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup good beer (I used Garrison Irish Red)
  • 2 tsp hot English mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 – 3 cups cheddar cheese

Directions:
Melt the butter in a pot. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 – 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, beer, and mustard. Season with a generous pinch of salt and a few cranks of fresh pepper.

Continue stirring until the mixture thickens. Make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom! When it’s thick and bubbly, add the cheese one cup at a time and stir thoroughly. Once cheese is all added, taste and readjust seasoning.

wpid-20140105_174446.jpg

 

Creamy Potato Leek Soup

wpid-20140105_180051.jpg
Ingredients:

  • 3 leeks, cleaned well and chopped
  • 5 potatoes – peeled and chopped into 1″ cubes
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 – 5 cups chicken stock – enough to cover everything plus a bit more
  • 3/4 cup cream (Either heavy cream or half and half will work)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Melt butter and saute leeks until they start to get tender, add the potatoes and saute for a few more minutes. Pour in the broth, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil until potatoes are very tender. Add cream, 1 tsp of salt, and some fresh ground pepper. Puree the soup with a blender or immersion blender. Adjust the seasoning as needed. If it’s too thick, add some more chicken broth.

SEE HERE FOR PRETZEL AND DIP RECIPES

Green Tomato Chow

This is a classic Nova Scotia preserve – to use up those tomatoes at the end of the growing season. This particular recipe is my mom’s.

Goes great with Fish Cakes!

wpid-20140205_195724.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 16 cups finely sliced green tomatoes
  • 8 cups sliced onions
  • Pickling salt
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pickling spices (in a cheesecloth bag)

Directions:
Sprinkle tomatoes and onions well with pickling salt and let sit overnight. In the morning, drain very well and put in a large pot. Add vinegar, sugar, and pickling spices (in a bag made of cheesecloth). Cook, stirring often, until soft and thickened somewhat. Seal in hot sterile jars. Makes about 6 pints.

Old fashioned fish cakes and tartar sauce

wpid-20140205_195646.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb salt cod
  • 4 small potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 tbsp cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter + 3 tbsp vegetable oil

Directions:

Boil the salted cod in fresh water, draining off the water and refilling 2 or 3 times, until the fish starts to separate easily with a fork and it’s not too salty. With a fresh pot of water, add the potatoes to the fish pot and boil until potatoes are soft.

Meanwhile, in a pan, sautee the onions in 2 tbsp butter until they caramelize and turn golden brown. Set aside.

Drain the pot of fish and potatoes. Mash them with a potato masher. Add the remaining 2 tbsp butter, the thyme, cream, cooked onions (with any melted butter) and season with salt and pepper. Make sure to taste to make sure it’s not too salty. Mash until smooth.

Let the mixture cool a bit and wear gloves for the next step.

Grab handfuls of the mixture and form into patties. Coat both sides with a thin layer of panko bread crumbs.

Heat the butter/oil in a large frying pan. Fry the fish cakes until golden on both sides. Be careful flipping them because they’ll be soft.

Tartar sauce

  • ½ cup miracle whip
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 – 2 tbsp lemon juice (depending on taste)
  • 3 sweet gherkins, finely chopped
  • 3 tsp chopped dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and let sit for 30 minutes. 

Serve with Green Tomato Chow.

wpid-20140205_191114.jpg wpid-20140205_191109.jpg wpid-20140205_193946.jpg wpid-20140205_191131.jpg

Morning Glory Muffins

Morning Glory Muffins – a great start to the day!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 cups Premium Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups peeled and grated carrots
  • 1 large tart apple, peeled, cored, and grated (or leave the peel on; your choice)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds or wheat germ, optional
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup orange juice

Directions:
1) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin, or line it with papers and spray the insides of the papers.
2) In a small bowl, cover the raisins with hot water, and set them aside to soak while you assemble the rest of the recipe.
3) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, spices, and salt.
4) Stir in the carrots, apple, coconut, and sunflower seeds or wheat germ.
5) In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, apple sauce, vanilla, and orange juice.
6) Add to the flour mixture, and stir until evenly moistened.
7) Drain the raisins and stir them in. (I threw in the water with mine and it was fine because I had extra carrots)
8) Divide the batter among the wells of the prepared pan (they’ll be full almost to the top; that’s OK).
9) Bake the muffins for 25 to 28 minutes, until they’re nicely domed and a cake tester inserted in the center of one of the inner muffins comes out clean.

(Mine made 16 muffins)

Sweet and Sour Curried Vegetables

wpid-20140109_193510.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head of cauliflower (cut into very small florets)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 small eggplant, chopped (optional)
  • 3 cups butternut squash (chopped in small pieces – I use frozen)
  • 1 can chick peas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 398ml cans plain tomato sauce
  • 3 tbsp curry paste (mild red curry paste is what I use)
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Directions:

In a large pot, sauté onions in oil for 3-4 minutes. Add curry paste and cook until fragrant (1 minute). Add tomato sauce, water, brown sugar, vinegar, and veggies and chick peas. Stir together, reduce heat, cover and cook for 30 minutes until veggies are done.