Garlic Sweet Potato Fries

We love sweet potatoes because apart from being totally delicious, they pack a ton of vitamins and nutrients like vitamin A and C. These are great with any protein for dinner, and also work very well as an appetizer. If you normally don’t like sweet potatoes, give these a try!

We like to leave the skin on for extra nutrition, but peel ’em if that’s your thing. You can also use yams in place of the sweet potatoes in this recipe without a problem!

Garlic Sweet Potato Fries

1 tsp garlic powder or more to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
4 large sweet potatoes

1. Scrub sweet potatoes with a coarse brush until clean and free of dirt. Cut 1/4 inch thick and 3/4 inch wide, or however you desire; we prefer steak cut fries.
2. Place sweet potatoes into a bowl with garlic powder and olive oil. Mix until fries are well coated.
3. Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper. Rub olive oil on parchment paper so fries do not stick.
4. Place fries on baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10 minutes, watching fries closely to make sure they don’t burn.

Serves 6.

Advertisements

Homemade Pizza

In Croatia where our family is from, the pizza always has a thin crust. We prefer this type of pizza to the thick, doughy fast food pizza usually served in restaurants. While Calgary does have pizzerias that offer a delicious thin crust pizza, it’s nice to roll out your own dough, lay on fresh ingredients, and enjoy a slice that is not scant on ingredients.

Pizza Dough

1 cup water
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Toppings

1 small can tomato sauce
4-5 Crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
Handful of chopped artichokes
1 teaspoon oregano
Fresh tomato slices
Grated cheese (we recommend a four cheese blend such as Romano, Mozzarella, Parmesan, and smoked Gouda)
4-5 fresh basil leaves, washed and blotted dry
Dash of truffle oil

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes.
3. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. In a large bowl, mix 2 cups of the flour with the yeast mixture.
4. Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth.
5. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the room temperature. Make the dough into a ball, and roll out onto a well floured surface.
6. Alternatively, you can use a bread maker on a pizza dough setting. Just pour all the ingredients into the bread maker bowl, starting with the water, oil, sugar and salt, flour and then yeast and oregano at the top. When finished, proceed with rolling dough out onto a floured surface.
7. Spread your toppings starting with the pizza sauce, cheese and then vegetables and oregano on top.
8. Bake for about 15 min on the middle rack, or until the cheese and crust are golden brown.
9. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and sprinkle with truffle oil.

5 Minute Bruschetta

Bruschetta is a favourite of mine in the spring. The basil leaves and grape tomatoes are fresh, and I can sit on the porch, close my eyes and pretend I’m actually in Italy, and not in Canada where there’s a good chance the clouds will come out of nowhere and it will start hailing. This tends to happen when I’m heading outside in shorts, a tank top and have a scrumptious spread of food with multiple plates. Sigh.

Grape tomatoes (200 grams) 

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

1 tbsp olive oil plus enough to drizzle on bread slices

1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

2 basil leaves, shredded

Dash of oregano

One shallot, chopped

Garlic glove, sliced in half

1/2 of a baguette, sliced

1. Put oven on broil setting.
2. Slice baguette, and brush olive oil on the slices. Put slices in the oven and bake for 2-3 minutes, watching closely until edges are browned.
3. Slice grape tomatoes into small pieces and put them in a bowl along with shredded basil leaves, salt, pepper, oregano, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and shallot.
4. Mix ingredients until well combined.

5. When baguette slices are browned, remove from oven and rub the garlic clove across the top of each baguette to enrich it with flavour. Top slices with bruschetta.

– Silvia

Smoky Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

Hummus is a foodie’s best friend. It’s always there for you; as a sandwich spread, a dip, or something you spoon into your mouth like peanut butter. Not that I do that… all the time. This hummus is decadently creamy and the liquid smoke gives it an absolutely delightful smoky taste.

1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
1 can organic chick peas, reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid (398 ml)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tahini
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 drops liquid smoke (about 1/8 tsp)

1. Rinse the chickpeas, but reserve the liquid from the can.
2. Add all ingredients to high-speed blender or food processor. Add the chickpea liquid gradually to taste, as you may prefer a less creamy/salty hummus.
3. Serve with Raincoast Crisps or baby carrots.

– Silvia

Traditional Easter Bread

When I was growing up, one of the Easter traditions in my family was baking sweet bread to be served at breakfast on Easter, along with ham and eggs. We no longer cook ham, but we decorate eggs and bake traditional Easter bread.

Traditional Easter Bread

600 grams white sifted flour
2 teaspoons yeast
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons sugar
250 ml almond milk
100 ml vegetable oil
200 grams raisins
50 ml dark rum

Glaze:
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon water

1. Soak raisins in 50 ml of rum for a few hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the egg and one additional egg yolk, almond milk, oil and then knead the dough until bubbles form. You can also use a bread maker on the pizza dough setting.
3. Wait at least 30 minutes or until the dough doubles in size. Once raised, coat your work area with flour and use a sharp knife to divide the dough into three equal pieces.

4. Roll the dough into three long ropes.

5. Braid the three ropes into a three-strand braid.

6. Pinch the ends together on both sides and form the braid into a circle. Transfer carefully into a round pan.

7. Prepare a glaze by whisking one egg with one-half tablespoon of water. Just before baking gently brush glaze over the entire surface of the loaf.
8. Bake the bread for 45 to 55 minutes or until the bread crust is a deep golden brown.

– DJ

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Guacamole

This recipe comes together so quickly. Peel and put avocados in a large bowl, add some spices, juice a lemon and mash. Bake some naan bread or peel some veggies. Eat. Repeat.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Guacamole

Served with crisp tortilla chips, pita bread or naan bread, this appetizer turns any gathering into a party.

3 ripe avocados
1 small onion, minced
Juice of 1 small lemon
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp pepper or to taste
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin

1. Gently peel and core the avocados. Place in a large bowl.
2. Add onion, lemon juice and spices and stir until well blended.
3. Mash everything together with a wooden spoon until guacamole reaches a creamy consistency.
4. Cover tightly with plastic wrap (push the wrap down onto the surface so the guacamole does not brown).  Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Serves 4.

Quick Portobello Mushrooms

This is a version of a very yummy portobello mushroom appetizer recipe that our friends Keith and Vicki made this Christmas. It can also be used as a main dish.

Quick Portobello Mushrooms

6 portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups bruschetta
1 Boursin cheese with garlic, crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly oil a baking sheet.
2. Clean portobello mushrooms by brushing them with a wet paper towel. Remove the stem and discard.
3. Brush the mushroom caps with the olive oil. Place mushrooms on the baking sheet, facing upwards. Sprinkle 1/4 cup bruschetta on each mushroom cap.
4. Bake for 13 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from the oven and spread Boursin cheese or vegan cheese on top of the bruschetta.
5. Return the mushrooms to the oven and bake until the cheese melted and bubbly. Allow the mushrooms to cool for a few minutes before serving.

Serves 6.

For a vegan version, use 4 ounces of shredded vegan cheddar cheese. We used Daiya on the vegan one pictured below.