Saturday, September 24, 2011

Zucchini Cake

I made six batches of this in one go in order to deal with the abundance of zucchini in our garden. I had attempted to make a paleo version but it was a failure so I resorted to the traditional recipe.

Adapted from Martha Stewart, makes one loaf or 12 muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup zucchini, grated and drained
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray the loaf pan with vegetable oil.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, salt and egg until combined. Add the vanilla, zucchini and sour cream. Incorporate the flour and cocoa powder. Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips.

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean, about 25 minutes.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rhubarb Chutney

Chutneys are one of my favourite condiments and a standard of our fall canning regime. Normally I do peach chutney but this year I was inspired by a recipe I saw for rhubarb chutney.

Chutneys also make an excellent marinade or sauce for grilled chicken.

Adapted from Deanna's Daughter, Makes 8 to 10 Half-Pint Jars

8 cups rhubarb, roughly chopped
6 cups onion, diced
2 cups raisins
4 cups brown sugar
4 cups cider vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 teaspoons pickling spice

Place the pickling spice into a square of cheese cloth and tie into a bundle. In a large heavy bottomed pot, combine all of the ingredients including the bundle of pickling spice.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Simmer for an hour to thicken.

Sterilize and prepare the jars.

Ladle the hot mixture into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims and seal the lids.

Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Date & Nut (Lara) Bars

This homemade version of Lara Bars is another one of our staple hiking snacks. So simple to make, only fruit, nuts and spices, but oh so messy! Be prepared for some very sticky fingers.

I make this in big batches at the beginning of the hiking season and then store them in the freezer. Warning, unless you have an industrial strength food processor, do not more than double the recipe.

The possible combinations of fruits and nuts is endless. You can also add cocoa powder or bittersweet chocolate to the mix.

Makes two bars

1/4 cup dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup dried cherries, cranberries, raisins
1/3 cup pecans, almonds, peanuts or walnuts
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Add the dates and cherries to a food processor. Pulse until the fruit has formed a paste. Transfer the paste to a bowl and set aside.

Add the nuts to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Add the nuts to the fruit paste along with the cinnamon.

Use your fingers to knead the nuts and fruit until well combined.

Divide the the mixture in half and form into rectangular bars.

Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator or freezer.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Now Printable

At the request of one of my faithful followers (thanks for the suggestion Candace!), I have added a print function to my blog.

Now on each post a "Print" button will appear below my signature. Simply select that button and you will be redirected to a page that allows you to format the page to your liking.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Baked Potato Salad

Another recipe from Shauna's baby shower. This version of potato salad is a lot lighter than the traditional mayonaise and egg based recipes. It is a perfect salad for a summer potluck or picnic.

From Martha Stewart, serves four

2 pounds new potatoes, quartered
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup green onions or chives, thinly sliced
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

In a large pot, cover the potatoes water. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Drain.

In a large boil, whisk together the sour cream and mayonnaise. Add the potatoes, green onions and bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Fold to combine.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Trail Bars

I actually made this recipe at the end of June for our Ribbon Lake hiking trip but the photos ended up in the Yukon with Dave...

These are one of our favorite sweet treats for the trail - they are essentially rice crispy squares on steroids. Feel free to adjust the portions to your taste - we always end up adding more peanut butter!

Makes 24 squares

1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pecans
1/3 cup almonds, slivered
1/3 cup coconut flakes
3-1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter
7 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup chocolate chips

In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the seeds, nuts and coconut flakes. Cook until the sesame seeds start to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the cranberries and rice cereal. Transfer to a bowl.

In the skillet over low heat, combine the peanut butter, butter and marshmallows, continuously stirring until melted. Add the cereal mixture and stir until evenly coated.

Press half of the mixture into the bottom of a greased cake pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and then press the remaining half of the mixture on top.

Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan and cutting.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fruit Leather

You can tell it has been a busy summer when I am only now getting around to posting all of our favourite trail foods...

Fruit leather can be made in any flavour combination you can dream up. This year I made mango-lime-coconut, blueberry-mint and strawberry.

From Backcountry Cooking; From Pack to Plate in 10 Minutes by Dorcas S. Miller

24 ounces applesauce
16 ounces fruit of choice

Prepare the food dehydrator trays or cookie sheets by lining with plastic wrap.

Puree the applesauce and fruit in a blender until smooth. Spread over the prepared trays in 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick layers.

Dry at 135 degrees until the mixture is completely dry and leathery. Drying time will range from 8 to 20 hours. Remove from tray and cut into individual portions.

Package in plastic wrap or sandwich bags. Store in refrigerator.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Bread & Butter Pickles

From William Sonoma: The Art of Preserving, By Rick Field and Rebecca Courchesne, Makes 6 Pint Jars

6 pounds cucumbers, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 yellow onion, cut into 1/4 inch slices
3 tablespoons kosher salt
6 ice cubes
4 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers and onion. Add 1 tablespoon of the salt and the ice cubes. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours. Remove the excess liquid, rinse and set aside to drain well.

Sterilize and prepare 6 pint jars.

In a large saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, turmeric and remaining 2 tablespoons of salt. Add 1-1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the salt.

To the cucumbers and onions, add the mustard seed, celery seed and red pepper flakes. Stir to coat the cucumbers in the spices. Pack the cucumber mixture into the jars as tightly as possible, leaving a 1/2 inch air space.

Ladle the hot brine into the jars, covering the cucumbers but leaving the 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims and seal the lids.

Process in a boiling water bath for 7 minutes. Let the jars rest for 2 weeks.

Store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lemon Cupcakes with Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting

These cupcakes were quite the hit at Shauna's shower - so much so that I never even got to taste one myself!

Adapted from Cupcake Blog, makes 24 cupcakes

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2-3/4 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
zest of one lemon

1/2 stick butter, softened
8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon lemon or orange zest
1 tablespoon lemon or orange juice, plus more to taste
3 to 4 cups icing sugar
Food colouring

Preheat the over to 350 F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on high for 30 seconds or until soft. Add the sugar and beat on medium high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds between each egg.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add about a third of the dry mixture to the mixing bowl and beat to combine. Add half of the milk to the mixing bowl and beat to combine. Continue alternating adding the wet and dry ingredients to the mixer. Add the lemon juice and lemon jest and beat to combine.

Use a cookie scoop to transfer the batter into a lined muffin tin. Bake for 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the butter on high for 30 seconds in the stand mixer or until soft. Add the cream cheese and beat until softened. Add about 2 cups of icing sugar along with the citrus juice and zest and beat on high until combined. Continuing adding the sugar until the desired consistency is reached. Add the food colouring and mix in well.

Frost the cupcakes with the top of your choice.

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