Saturday, March 10, 2018

Jackfruit 4 Cheese Lasagna

Can you tell that jackfruit is our new favorite ingredient? We're having too much fun experimenting with it. It's unreal just how meat-like it is. 
By looking at that photo above you can't tell it's a vegetarian lasagna, can you? We didn't think so. It certainly tastes like a "regular" lasagna. Jackfruit tends to take on the flavor of whatever sauce you put it in so works very well in a lasagna. Our taste testers certainly thought so anyways. 
I don't make lasagna that often because of how many dishes you have to dirty to make it. Whether jackfruit or beef, it's kind of a pain in the butt. The end result though - soooooo worth it. 
You can bake this up and then freeze it for later use. Simply pop it in the oven or microwave to reheat. We even have made it in individual dishes so it is easier to reheat.

We'd love to hear from you if you give it a try. Let us know what you think. 
Have you tried jackfruit yet? What have you made with it?

Jackfruit 4 Cheese Lasagna

Ricotta Mixture
1 container (500 gr) ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cup mozza cheese, shredded

"Meat" Mixture
1 large onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp Italian seasonings
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
salt and pepper
2 boxes (2 X 200 gr) plain jackfruit
1 can (680 ml) tomato sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup broccoli slaw

8 dry, no cook lasagna noodles
6 slices Provolone cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 cup mozza cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 10 X 10 baking dish with cooking spray, set aside. 
In a bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, egg, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1 1/2 cups Mozza until well combined. Set aside.
In a large frying pan over medium heat, cook onion and garlic for 5 minutes (until onions have softened). Add in spices, jackfruit, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.

Stir to combine well. Add in the broccoli slaw. Cook and stir for about 5 to 8 minutes to heat everything through. Use your spatula to break up the jackfruit into small pieces. 

Prepare the lasagna: spread half of the jackfruit mixture in the prepared 10 X 10 pan. Top with 4 of the lasagna noodles. Top with 1/2 of the ricotta mixture. Top with the 6 slices of Provoline cheese. 
Repeat the layers: jackfruit mixture, noodles, ricotta mixture. Finish by topping with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1 cup mozza cheese. 

Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and browned and lasagna is bubbly - approx 1 hour. Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes to set a bit before serving. 

Serve hot. 

Keep any leftovers in the fridge. As mentioned above, this also freezes very well. 
You could make up the lasagna in the morning and refrigerate it until dinner time before cooking it. Doing it this way will increase your cooking time though. It will probably add about 30 minutes or so to your cooking time. 
This makes 6 servings. 
You can leave out the broccoli slaw or replace it with a handful of spinach if you prefer. I find it a good way to sneak the veggies in without letting the kids know. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Best Baked Beef Back Ribs

I'm not usually much of a rib person. Sue can kick my butt when it comes to flavoring and cooking ribs BUT, I'm pretty sure I may have her beat this time. 
You guys these ribs are uh-maze-ing. So much flavor your taste buds won't know what to do with themselves. I decided to bake them in the oven because I don't have a BBQ but they would be fabulous on the BBQ too. I used beef ribs as they happened to be on sale this week but next time I'm trying pork ribs. 
This was one of those throw-together-what-is-lying-around-and-hope-for-the-best recipes that exceeded all expectations. Definitely going in the "make again" pile. It takes a little time to make because of the basting but there is no effort involved at all. Give them a try, let us know what you think!

Best Baked Beef Back Ribs

Spice Rub
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce

1 rack of beef back ribs
cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 250 F. Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil and set aside. 
In a small bowl, stir together the spice rub ingredients. 
Place the ribs, bone side up, on the prepared cookie sheet (so you are looking at the underneath side) and sprinkle with a little of the spice rub. Rub the meat to get it to stick. Flip the ribs over. Lightly spray the top of the ribs with cooking spray. Sprinkle the remaining spice rub over the ribs, massaging the spices into the ribs. 

Leave ribs, bone side down, on the cookie sheet. Place in 250 oven and bake for one hour.
While ribs are baking - whisk together the marinade ingredients and divide into 3 bowls, set aside.
After an hour, remove the ribs from the oven and, using a basting brush, baste the ribs with the marinade from one of the bowls - be sure to use all the marinade from one bowl. 
Place ribs back in the oven and bake another hour. 
After an hour, baste with the marinade from another bowl. 
Bake another hour. 
Baste again with the marinade from the last bowl. Cook at 250 for one more hour. 
Finally, turn heat down to 200 and continue cooking 1 more hour.  (To recap: bake one hour with just spices, marinade hourly/cook for 3 more hours, end with 1 hour at the lower heat for a total of 5 hours of cooking time.)

Remove to a cutting board to let stand for 2 or 3 minutes.

Slice into individual ribs and serve.

We had ours with asparagus and mashed potatoes with gravy but they would be fabulous with just about anything!

A few notes - remember to remove the membrane from the back of the rack of ribs before putting the spice rub on. Removing the membrane makes the ribs easier to cut and to eat. 
Remember to wash the basting brush in between basting the ribs. 
There is very little prep involved in this recipe, you just have to be prepared to invest some time into the basting every hour. Low and slow is the way to go for tender ribs with a caramelized exterior. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Coconut Crisp Cookies

I'm normally not a fan of crisp cookies. Soft and squishy is the way to go, in my opinion.
But then I made these cookies and, well, they are bringing me over to the crisp side. 
These are kind of a shortbread cookie but think shortbread that decided to move to Hawaii during the Christmas holidays. 
They only take a few minutes to whip up and then a few more minutes to cook so they are easy peasy and perfect for unexpected company. Or expected company. Or, you know, even family. 
I enjoyed mine with a glass of milk but I'm thinking tea or a glass of wine might be even better!

Coconut Crisp Cookies

6 Tbsp butter, room temp
1/3 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp coconut extract
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cardamom
1 Tbsp ground flax
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup coconut powder
1/2 cup flour

1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat, set aside. 
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy, scraping sides as needed. Beat in the vanilla and coconut extract until well combined, again scraping sides as needed. 
In a separate small bowl, whisk together spices, ground flax, baking powder, coconut powder, and flour. (NOTE - if you can't find coconut powder in the store simply pulse approx 1 cup shredded coconut in the blender until it is super fine.)
Beat the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until well combined. (NOTE - if you find the dough is too crumbly then add in one or two tablespoons of water to help it stick together.)
Using a small cookie scoop, scoop dough and roll into balls.  (If you don't have a cookie scoop, simply pinch off a golf ball sized amount of dough and roll into a ball.)
Roll each ball in the shredded coconut and place on prepared cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. 

Bake at 350 until cookies are golden brown around the edges, about 8 - 10 minutes.  

Let cookies cool on the sheet to firm up, about 5 minutes.
Remove to wire rack to cool completely. 

Store any leftovers in an airtight container on the counter or in the fridge. These also freeze very well.

They may seem a little dull in color but I have to tell you, they are anything but dull in flavor and texture. Seriously, you have to try them to believe it! 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Vegan Mongolian "Beef" Noodles

I know what you are thinking. It's NOT Mongolian beef if it's vegan. 
Well, you'd be right about that. But, now hear me out, it's pretty darned close when you use jackfruit in the recipe. The more we cook with it the more we are learning how incredibly versatile jack fruit is. You'd never know it wasn't beef in this recipe. The only difference we find is,  it is not as chewy as beef would be. 
This recipe only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish so is great for those busy weeknights. 
Also FYI - this recipe is gluten free if you use gluten free rice noodles and a gluten free soy sauce. 

Vegan Mongolian "Beef" Noodles

2 pkgs (450 gr each) rice noodles 
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp red chili pepper flakes 
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 pkg (200 gr each) shredded jackfruit
8 green onions, diced
6 cups coleslaw/rainbow salad mix

green onion
toasted sesame seeds

Pre-soak rice noodles as per package directions.
While noodles are soaking, whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and pepper flakes. Set aside. 
In a large pot or wok, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Cook and stir the ginger and garlic for 2 minutes. Add in the jackfruit and stir to combine. Pour in half of the soy sauce mixture and let simmer for 5 minutes. 
Stir in the green onions and coleslaw/rainbow salad mix. (See below for a photo of the two kinds of salad to clarify. I used one bag of each for some variety.)

Cook and stir until veggies are wilted, about 5 minutes.

Add the soaked rice noodles to the pot/wok and stir well. Pour in the remaining soy sauce mixture. 
Cook and stir until heated through - about 3 - 4 more minutes. 
Serve immediately. Garnish with a sprinkle of green onion and sesame seed. 

Note - this makes a LARGE amount. Probably enough to feed about 8 to 10 people. You can easily half the recipe, if desired. 

Leftovers are fabulous heated up the next day. Of course, the noodles will soak up the sauce so they become drier the longer they sit. 
Be sure to use a large pot as until everything cooks down, your ingredients take up a LOT of room. If it is easier, you can toss the noodles with the veggies in a large bowl and then place back in the pot to heat through. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Vegetarian (Jackfruit) Greek Gyro

Jackfruit is becoming my favorite new ingredient to experiment with. I think its because it confuses my brain so much. It's fruit but it totally looks and tastes like meat. 
Have you tried it yet? You really need to. If we can get it here in Lillooet then I know you can find it where you are. We use the Upton's Natural pre-cut jackfruit (plain) for this recipe. 

These gyros are vegetarian but could be made vegan with a couple of substitutes. We found the original version of this recipe over at Lazy Cat Kitchen (click HERE) but made a few switches of our own to suit what we had on hand. Click over to Lazy Cat Kitchen for how to completely veganize the recipe. 

Vegetarian (Jackfruit) Greek Gyro

Jackfruit "Meat"
3 Tbsp oil
1 medium purple onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp Greek seasoning
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 boxes of shredded jackfruit (400 gr/14 oz total)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Remaining Ingredients
6 large Greek pitas
1/2 cup tzatziki 
6 romaine lettuce leaves
1 cucumber, sliced
1 small purple onion, sliced
cherry tomatoes, quartered 
1/3 bag of McCain's Rosemary & Garlic Superfries 

Prepare the jackfruit "meat": in a large frying pan heat the oil over medium heat. When sizzling, add in the onions. Cook and stir until onions are translucent and then add in garlic. Cook and stir another few minutes, until garlic is fragrant. 
Add in the spices (cumin, Greek seasoning, chili powder, and black pepper). Fry gently for a minute until well combined. Now stir in the tomato paste. 
Next add in the jackfruit, soy sauce, maple syrup, and vinegar. 

Simmer the mixture gently for 10 minutes, using your flipper to break up the jackfruit into smaller pieces. After 10 minutes, remove from heat and let cool. 

Chill, covered, in fridge until ready to prepare gyros. 
**NOTE - to this stage can be done up to 2 days ahead of time. The longer the mixture sits the stronger the flavors are. ** 
When ready to assemble: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the jackfruit mixture on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, stirring once at the halfway point. 
**NOTE - I spread the jackfruit on half of the cookie sheet and place the McCain's Rosemary & Garlic Superfries on the other half so they are ready at the same time.** 
Place a Greek pita on piece of parchment paper. Spread a little tzatziki on the pita. Layer on lettuce, cucumber, onion, and tomatoes. Top with a generous scoop of the jackfruit mixture, then a few of the fries.

Gently bring up the sides of the pita and wrap with the parchment paper. Top with another dollop of tzatziki.

Serve immediately. 
**NOTE - to prevent the pita from cracking when you fold it, simply microwave it for 20 seconds first.** 

You should get enough for 6 pitas. 
This. Was. Heavenly.
You cannot tell it is not meat. Seriously. You could fool the biggest carnivores out there. 
Those Greek flavors are addicting too. I used the McCain's Rosemary & Garlic fries because they totally compliment the spices in the jackfruit. Apparently fries in a gyro is a thing that happens all over the world. I like it. I'm soooo doing that with all my gyros from now on. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Butter Tart Donuts

We all know butter tarts are pretty much the best thing on the planet. Don't even argue. It's Canadian thing. (Check out our classic Butter Tart recipe HERE). 
We tried a Maple Syrup Butter Tart (HERE), and a Butter Tart Ice Cream (HERE), which were both so tasty, but we were still wanting to create another butter tart inspired dessert. 
Anyway, one day Sue was talking about jelly donuts and that we should make something like that so we started talking about what kind of fillings you could use instead of jelly. *voila* The butter tart donut (doughnut?) was invented. (Although, thanks internet for crushing our dreams. Apparently others have also done a butter tart donut already. It's okay. We are still sharing our version because it's ridiculously delicious.) 
I just want to add - yes, they are sweet. I know, shocker, being stuffed with butter tart filling and all. These are not for the faint at heart. 

Butter Tart Donuts

2 cups buttermilk
2/3 cup sugar
4 1/2 tsp traditional yeast
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 tsp salt
4 - 5 cups flour

oil for frying 

Butter Tart Filling
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup golden corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 ts vanilla
1 tsp salt

1/2 cup icing sugar

Prepare the dough: Heat milk over medium heat in a saucepan until milk starts to steam. Stir in sugar and pour into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the warm milk mixture and set aside for 10 minutes for yeast to activate (foam). 
After yeast is foamy, beat in butter, eggs, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Add in 2 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Add in more flour, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula, until soft dough forms. Sprinkle flour onto a work surface and place dough on top. Knead dough, adding a bit more flour if too sticky, for about 5 minutes. Oil a large bowl, form dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Cover with a towel and set somewhere warm to rise for an hour. (You can run your oven for a minute to start to warm up, then shut it off, then you can place the bowl of dough in the oven to keep warm to rise.)
After dough has risen for an hour, line a cookie tray with parchment paper and set aside. 
Roll out the dough to 3/4 inch thickness and cut with a 2.5 to 3 inch round cookie or biscuit cutter. 

Place the rounds on the prepared cookie sheet. Reroll the dough scraps and cut again. (Depending on your cookie cutter and the thickness of your dough you should get about 3 dozen donuts - that is what I got using a 2.5 inch cutter)
Cover the dough rounds with a towel and let rise in a warm place for another hour. 
After an hour, prepare a cookie sheet with a couple of layers of paper towel, set aside. Place a large pot with your oil over medium heat and bring oil to 350 degrees. 
Working in batches of about 3 donuts at a time, fry the dough until golden - about 1  minute on each side. 

If your donuts go too dark too quickly then your oil is too hot! 
Transfer the donuts from the oil to the paper towel covered cookie sheet and let cool. Continue until all your donuts are cooked. Do your best to maintain the oil temperature at 350 degrees. 

When the donuts are cooled you can fill them with the filling.
Prepare filling: Combine all the ingredients (brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, eggs, vanilla, salt) in a heavy bottom pot. Place over medium heat and, stirring constantly, cook until mixture thickens to coat the back of a spoon - about 8 minutes or so. Transfer to a bowl and place in refrigerator until chilled, about 2 hours. FYI - I usually make the filling right after I prepare the dough for it's first rise so it is ready about the same time as the donuts. 
Assemble: Place filling in a piping bag with a longer tip. Press the tip into the center of a donut and fill with the filling as you pull out the tip. Repeat with remaining donuts. (FYI - If you don't have a piping bag and tips then you can use a large plastic bag with a corner cut off, and simply press the end of a wooden spoon handle into the donut then fill with the filling.)

Dust with icing sugar before serving.

This is optional but makes them look and taste even better. Just sayin'

Little squishy works of art, I say. 

So gooey and delicious. 
New Canada Day tradition? I vote yes. 
Butter tart everything. Who's with me?