Homemade Condiments Cookbook Giveaway, Creamy Chicken Stuffed Shells, and Caramel Mock Apple Bites

Today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time. This month I made 2 secret recipes: Creamy Chicken Stuffed Shells and Caramel Mock Apple Bites.

And here is a third secret: I have a fabulous giveaway for you all today. I receive a complimentary copy of the Homemade Condiments cookbook and I was given an extra copy for a giveaway. That is right, one lucky reader will receive their very own copy of this essential book for your cookbook collection. Info at the bottom of the post.

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Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Cookbooks Galore: my most recent recipe inspirations

I have been building a mountain of new cookbooks lately. So many recipes so little time. And I will need new shelves too for storage. Ah the joy of turning the pages and salivating at every new picture of fun recipes. I thought I would share with you all the latest titles newly added to my collection.

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Summer Corn Cakes: a raw food recipe

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Pickled Ginger for a Cucumber Carrot Ginger Salad

If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled ginger how many pickled gingers did Peter Piper pick?

This is the one English tongue twister that rolls of my tongue with ease. Well with peppers which I switched up for ginger. For this month’s Creative Cooking Crew challenge we were challenged to pickle something and then use our pickle in a recipe. Can you guess where I got this idea? Yes when I last ate sushi! I pickled my own ginger and then used it for my version of a Japanese salad: a Cucumber Carrot Ginger Salad.

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Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Slow Cooker Chunky Applesauce

OK, time to get on your hands and knees in the kitchen so you can reach for the slow cooker that has been collecting dust on the bottom shelf…way in the back! We all (almost) have one and it is such a practical appliance but for some reason we give up on it soon enough.

My theory on that: all the recipes we know taste like the 1950s! We are under the impression nothing modern tasting can come of it. Well I say it is time to test that slow cooker stereotype! My tool in hand to break this myth: the Holiday Slow Cooker cookbook by Jonnie Downing. I received a copy of this great little cookbook filled with classics and fresh ideas for preparing hassle free holiday meals.

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

SRC: Strawberry Avocado Salsa

Today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time.

This month I was assigned the blog Cooking With Chopin, Living with Elmo, which is authored by the wonderful Ginny. She is a very happy housewife and mother to two boys and the youngs certainly enjoy spending time in the kitchen with their mom.The array of recipes to choose from was quite vast and finding one in particular to settle on was tough. I was very tempted to try her Bacon-Spinach Pinwheels, Lavender-Lemon Roasted Salmon or Apple-Cinnamon Pull Apart Loaf, but in the end a dish I had to prepare for a BBQ potluck won out: I chose the intriguing Strawberry Avocado Salsa. If you want to skip the obvious corn chips, this sweet and savory salsa goes perfectly with chicken, salmon or trout, or pork tenderloin.

Ξ Strawberry Avocado Salsa Ξ

2 cups ripe strawberries, finely chopped
1 large avocado, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
2 green onions (green part only), sliced into thin rings
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Juice and zest from one large lime
2 teaspoons finely chopped, seeded jalapeno pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and preferably serve immediately. If you plan on serving a bit later toss the avocado with someone of the lime juice to prevent from turning brown.



Express Harissa “Broth”

Harissa claims its roots are in Tunisian but it is very popular everywhere in Northern part of Africa. The key ingredients in a traditional harissa are bird’s eye chili peppers, serrano peppers and other hot chilis and spices such as garlic paste, coriander, red chili powder, caraway as well as some vegetable or olive oil. Other options are of cumin, red peppers, garlic, coriander and lemon juice. It is a very adaptable recipe.

Of course recipes for harissa can vary greatly depending in which region you are in or even in who’s house you are eating it. Usually harissa has a paste like consistency which is added as a condiment to recipes like stews, spreads, sauces and cousous.

The version I will show you here is more like a broth consistency and is super fast to make. The flavors are very basic too so feel free to add garlic or coriander or what ever you like. Add it to a soup for a fiery kick or dip some torn pita in it. Let you imagination run wild. This recipe yields about 1/2 cup but feel free to multiply for larger quantities.

Ξ Express Harissa Ξ

1 1/2tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp bird’s eye chili powder (substitute with cayenne)
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 cup water
juice of 1/2 lime or to taste

In a small pan add the paprika, the bird’s eye chili powder and the cumin. Add the water to the pan and mix well. Bring the mixture to the point of boiling but as soon as bubble appear remove it from the heat – boiling will damage the natural oil essences of the spices. Add fresh lime juice to taste and let cool before serving.

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How hot do you like it?

I was flipping through old pics….yes the paper kind before digital cameras….of a trip I took down in New Orleans. Oh my what good food I had there. So many things to bombard the five senses: great flavorful food, the smell of alcohol on Bourbon lol, the colorful display in souvenir shops…and more. I particularly linger over the pictures of hot sauce display cases in the souvenir shops. I have never seen anything like it. Hundreds of different hot sauces with catchy insane names.

I bought one bottle and I am nearing the bottom of it. So off on the net I went searching for a great place to buy some more…and how to choose it. First question you have to ask yourself is how hot do you like it? Hot Sauce Planet has a great list of their Top 10 Hottest hot sauces.Fun to read but maybe a little too much heat for me lol. I think I will stick with a search in the categories of sauces they sellpage to find something more to my palate. Check them out, they have lots of other stuff to like condiments, BBQ sauces and mustards.