Chocolate Coconut Squares

This is one of our favourite desserts to make for the holiday season. We like to serve these on Christmas Eve but they are a welcome addition to any occasion!

2013 will bring a new healthy lunch feature to the blog to balance out all the desserts we’ve been posting! Hope you enjoy the holidays!

coconut squares

1 and 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup butter, room temperature
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup 2 % milk
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 cup unsweetened fine coconut

coconut squares 2

1. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until creamy. Gradually add butter, milk and vanilla, and mix well.
2. In a separate bowl, sift flour and stir in baking powder. Add to the egg mixture and fold in with a spoon until well blended.
3. Pour into a greased and floured 9×13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 30 minutes. Let it cool for at least 20 minutes and then cut into squares.
4. Meanwhile, bring milk and sugar to a boil. Lower the heat to medium low, and gradually add the chocolate, stirring constantly until it’s melted. Remove from heat and add butter. Stir until the butter is melted.
5. Set up the ingredients to form a sort of assembly line on your countertop. Place the pan of squares and the chocolate mixture next to each other. Evenly spread the unsweetened coconut on a plate and place it last. Take a square from the pan, gently dip each square into chocolate mixture and then roll in coconut. Make sure each square is completely covered with chocolate before rolling in coconut. Arrange squares on a big platter or in a plastic container. Put either foil or wax paper between the rows.

Cool squares in the fridge for 12 hours, or in the freezer for 4 hours before serving.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s the holiday season and we’re in the mood to bake! These peanut butter chocolate chip oatmeal cookies are soft, rich and gooey. I even managed to sneak a carrot into these cookies!

If your’e allergic to peanuts try almond butter. Or chocolate almond butter. Mmmm.

oatmeal chocolate chip cookie

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 large carrot, shredded
3/4 cup real maple syrup or agave nectar
1/2 cup nut butter
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

oatmeal chocolate chip cookie 2

1. Preheat oven to 375 F and line a baking sheet with lightly greased aluminium foil.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, rolled oats, baking powder and salt. Add the shredded carrot and mix together.
3. In a separate bowl use a whisk to combine the maple syrup and nut butter. Add this to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Drop about a tablespoon at a time onto baking sheet. Leave at least an inch between each cookie. Bake in the top 1/3 of the oven for 8 – 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden on top and bottom. For a softer cookie you’ll want to bake it for about 8-10 minutes.

Makes 12 cookies.

My recipe originally published on The Calgary Journal food blog.

Miso Potato Soup

We love fusion foods in our house! This one was easy. By using miso as the primary seasoning, this Eastern European soup is given a Japanese twist. The fusion results in a satisfying richness.

Miso Potato Soup

3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
4 Yukon Gold or Red potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cups water
3 bay leaves
2 Tbsp white miso
1 tsp Vegeta or seasoning salt
Salt and pepper to taste
Handful of fresh chives

1. First make a roux, a basic thickening agent, by combining equal amounts of olive oil and flour. Heat oil on high in a large pot. When oil is hot, turn heat down to medium. Add the flour gradually and stir constantly. It should be smooth with no lumps. Keep stirring until the flour is light brown. Make sure it doesn’t burn.
2. Remove from heat and add the water. Be very careful not to splash yourself as the roux will be extremely hot.
3. Add potatoes and bay leaves to pot. Cover the potatoes with salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and can be easily pierced with a fork.
4. Remove soup from heat. Take out the Bay leaves and discard. Use a potato masher to combine the miso with the potatoes. Mash until soup is thick and creamy.
5. Add vegeta, salt and pepper. Taste soup and see if you would like to add more seasonings.
6. Sprinkle each serving of soup with fresh chives.
Serves 4.

What are your favourite fusion foods?

Smoked Cheese Potato Croquettes

Croquettes, or “kroketi” if you are Croatian, are small, deep-fried rolls usually made with potatoes that can be filled with anything you’d like. We’re obsessed with double-smoked cheddar cheese and will find an excuse to put it in any dish, but feel free to add veggies like onions or mushrooms. The possibilities are endless!

Consider making these crispy, delicious rolls as a snack the next time you have leftover mashed potatoes!


Mashed Potatoes

4 potatoes
1 Tbs margarine or butter
1 Tbs milk

Croquettes

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt or more to taste
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup double-smoked cheddar cheese, finely grated


If using leftover mashed potatoes, skip steps 1-3.

1. Peel and chop potatoes. Cook potatoes in salted, boiling water in a medium-sized pot for 30 minutes. When potatoes are soft enough to be pierced with a fork, strain and return to pot.
2. Add margarine and milk to potatoes and mash until smooth.
3. Let mashed potatoes cool until they can be handled.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, egg yolk, flour, salt and grated cheese. Mix by hand until smooth, then roll out mixture into a long log. Cut log into small rolls that are approximately 2 cm thick and 4 cm wide.
5. Set up a breading station. Beat remaining egg into a small bowl and place the breadcrumbs on a plate. Dip each croquette into the egg mixture, then roll through breadcrumbs until croquette is well covered.
6. Heat canola oil in a large skillet. Fry each croquette in oil until brown on both sides, about 4 minutes of frying on each side. Fry in small batches, cooking about eight at a time. Do not overcrowd pan.
7. Place on paper towels to drain.

Enjoy with Ajvar, a red pepper spread!

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Recipe originally published in Culinaire Magazine.

Caramelized Butternut Squash Soup

So we may or may not have had to buy a second bag of Halloween candy because we ate most of it before it was time for trick-or-treating… Next year we’re not buying candy until October 31st!

Now that Halloween is over, we’ve been craving wholesome meals made with plenty of vegetables. This creamy butternut squash soup is made with carrots and parsnips so it’s a nice immune system booster and really hits the spot when it’s -10 C in Calgary!

Caramelized Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium Butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced (2-3 pounds)
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 small yellow onion finely chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
3 cups low sodium vegetable stock
2 cups light coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoon salt (or less if using vegetable broth with sodium)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste (approximately 1/4 teaspoon)
A dash of chili pepper flakes (optional)

1. Melt the butter or margarine in a heavy skillet. Add the diced squash and cook without stirring until browned underneath, about 6 minutes. Then stir the squash and cook until browned on all sides, about 4 more minutes. Remove from the skillet.
2. Melt the coconut oil in the same skillet and add chopped onion, parsnip and carrots. Saute for 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the caramelized squash, onion, parsnip and carrots to a large pot. Add 2 cups of vegetable stock, or more if needed, until vegetables are covered by a layer of the vegetable stock. Add coriander, salt and pepper.
3. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. When vegetables are cooked, remove from heat and stir in 2 cups of coconut milk.
4. Puree the mixture in batches until smooth. Return to pot.
5. Warm up the soup before serving and add more vegetable stock if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve with a fresh french baguette and a scoop of sour cream if desired.

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Oyster Mushroom Pasta

We’ve been on a bit of a pasta kick. This pasta comes together really quickly with minimal ingredients. It’s the perfect dish to follow a long day of work/school when energy and enthusiasm for cooking is far from our minds. The oyster mushrooms add meatiness to the dish, while the double-smoked cheddar cheese grated on top enhances the flavour.

3 cups dried pasta, preferably rotini
2 tablespoons olive oil
7 oz oyster mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups marinara sauce
1 teaspoon salt
Double-smoked cheddar cheese, grated
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.
2. Saute mushrooms and garlic in olive oil for 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Drain the pasta and return to pot. Add sauteed mushrooms and garlic, marinara sauce, salt and pepper. Stir and heat until thoroughly warmed through.
4. Top with double-smoked cheddar cheese and serve with garlic bread.

Vegetarian Lasagna

We love gooey cheese dishes, bonus if we can sneak a vegetable in there like zucchini. Usually we’re not really sure what to do with zucchini besides eat it straight off grill or put it on pizza. We love putting vegetables like eggplant in risottos, stews, etc. but the zucchini somehow gets neglected. However, it’s absolutely delicious in this lasagna! This dish is healthier than traditional lasagnas thanks to the vegetables and the low fat cottage cheese.

3 cups organic Marinara sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 package lasagna noodles
2 medium zucchini, sliced
7 oz oyster mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups low fat cottage cheese
2 cups shredded cheese (We used a 4 cheese blend)
1 teaspoon oregano

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy frying pan over medium heat. Saute the garlic for two minutes, then add oyster mushrooms and zucchini. Stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until zucchini and mushrooms are tender.
3. Cook the noodles in boiling water for a few minutes, rinse in cold water and drain.
4. Cover the bottom of a 9×12 inch baking pan with 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce, then cover the sauce with one layer of lasagna noodles. Cover this with a thin layer of cottage cheese, then add a layer of cooked mushrooms and zucchini and a thin layer of marinara sauce. Repeat 2 times, then add a layer of noodles, a layer of marinara sauce and a layer of shredded cheese. Sprinkle oregano on top of shredded cheese.
5. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the lasagna and bake for another 15 minutes to lightly brown the cheese.
6. Allow lasagna to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.

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