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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Taste of the Tropics

We hate to start yet another post complaining about the cold, but seriously- it was 10 degrees yesterday- 10 degrees– and today it’s -14 with winds so strong we were almost knocked over waiting for the bus this morning!  Why must Mother Nature tease us with warm temperatures only to pull the rug right out from under our feet?

Once we had a taste of yesterday’s warm weather, though, we had a hard time accepting what greeted us when we woke up this morning.  And well, with the tropical vacation that we’re not going on in a couple of weeks for February break (sigh) we felt the need to bring the tropics to us.  And there’s nothing that screams tropical oasis more than a piña colada!

But we didn’t really think it was appropriate have a rum-based cocktail for breakfast (save that for an actual vacation ;)), we made piña colada-inspired pancakes instead!

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We thought it was a pretty good compromise 🙂

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Thick, fluffy pancakes infused with the flavours of coconut, pineapple and rum (thank you, rum extract!), drizzled with a sweet pineapple syrup and warm drippy coconut butter?

It may not be a tropical paradise, but for now, we’ll take it 🙂

Piña Colada Pancakes

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooke Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

2/3 c. whole wheat flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 c. coconut milk
1/4 c. pineapple juice
1/4 c. milk or water
1 egg
1 tsp rum extract
2 tbsp crushed pineapple

For the Sauce:

2 tbsp pineapple juice
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp rum extract

Directions:

Mix all dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and stir until fully combined.  In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients.  Add the wet to the dry and stir just until combined.

Spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.  Drop spoonfuls of batter onto the pan and cook until the edges start to firm up.  Flip and cook for another couple of minutes.

For the Sauce: Combine all ingredients in a small pot over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and stir until the sauce has thickened slightly.  Drizzle over pancakes.

~twosaucysisters

What do you do when you crave a taste of the tropics?

A New Take on an Old Favourite

Back on the Christmas holidays, we gave you all quite a few hummus posts, and we promised that we would stop posting hummus after hummus recipe and bring back some variety! Of course, we did just that, having posted about waffles, chicken pot pies, a delicious salad, and a quick and easy dessert, but you couldn’t expect us not to eventually post another hummus recipe, could you? After all, hummus is one of our favourite foods, and this recipe is too good not to share! In our defense, this hummus is different from the ones we’ve posted in the not-to-distant past. Why? Because it’s made of black beans!

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Essentially a black bean version of our sundried tomato hummus, except this one has a special addition that really makes it sing!

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Make that two special ingredients: Salsa and Lime Juice! They both add that extra bit of zing (and spice!) that gives this hummus it’s kick. Of course, if you have a palate that prefers foods on the milder side, you can use a mild salsa. We, of course, like it hot! 😉

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So if you, like ourselves, are die-hard hummus lovers, but would like to change it up and add some variety to your routine, try this black bean hummus! We promise it won’t let you down, or leave you  missing your regular chickpea hummus, either.

Sundried Tomato Black Bean Hummus

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Time: 10-15min
Makes: 2 cups

Ingredients:

2 c. black beans (if using canned, rinsed and drained!)
1/4 c. sundried tomatoes in oil, drained (reserve the oil!)
scant 1/4 c. sundried tomato oil
1/8 c. lemon juice
1/8 c. lime juice
1/4 c. tahini
2 tbsp your favourite salsa
2-3 Tbsp hot pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Put all ingredients into food processor and blend until completely smooth.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever tried a hummus made from a different bean other than chickpeas before? What’s the most interesting hummus you’ve ever made? We love experimenting with different types of beans when it comes to hummus. Probably our two most interesting would be our Beet Bean Dip and our Peanut Thai hummus.

Comfort Food at it’s Finest

It’s cold outside.  Really really cold.

On Tuesday the temperature was -26 with wind chill, and you know what? It hasn’t gotten much warmer since then.  In fact, when I saw that the temperature was only going to be -20 with wind chill today, I was actually happy about it!  Do you see the problem here? It is -20 and I’m happy that it’s gotten warmer than it was a couple days ago.

Neither Julie or myself have been running outside since Sunday.  There are very few things that will make either of us voluntarily go inside for a run, but bone-chilling temperatures are one of them.

On Tuesday night while I was waiting for the bus my toes got so cold they turned white.  You can be sure that I have been wearing double-socks every time I step outdoors since then!

So what does all this mean (besides a somewhat cranky Brittany)?

2 words, people: Comfort. Food.

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Chicken pot pie falls perfectly into that category for me.  It has been one of my favourite meals ever since I was a little kid.  I think I even remember my brother and I making up a song about chicken pot pie one night- yep, we were cool kids 😉

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Of course, traditional chicken pot pie is made with a pie crust, but to be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of pie crusts.  Don’t get me wrong, pastry has it’s place (especially when my Grandma makes it, of course :)) but in my opinion, chicken pot pie is much better topped with a tender, fluffy biscuit!  Which is precisely what was done here 🙂

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But the break from tradition doesn’t stop there!  You see, we had this bulb of fennel leftover from our herb-crusted salmon salad the other day, and couldn’t figure out what we wanted to do with it (besides make another salad, of course), so I did a little research.  Turns out, a popular thing to do with fennel is to pair it with apple.  Long story short, we made an apple and fennel chicken pot pie.  Boo-yah!

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The great thing about this meal is that you can make the filling in advance, and store it in your fridge for a few days until you’re ready to throw it in the oven.  The biscuit topping comes together in minutes, so it makes this a snap to prepare for a week-night meal.  And while this recipe make 2 personal-sized servings, it could easily be doubled (or tripled!) and made in one big pot for the whole family- all you’d have to do is adjust the cooking time.

So even though this is not a “traditional” chicken pot pie, I’m pretty confident that 8-year-old Brittany would give it 2 thumbs up, and when I get home in the evening after spending half and hour standing in the freezing cold waiting for the bus, 20-year-old Brittany is equally as enthusiastic- enough to maybe even bring back the chicken pot pie song…

Apple and Fennel Biscuit-Topped Chicken Pot Pie

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 apple, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
pinch of salt
pepper
2/3 c. milk of choice (unsweetened)
2/3 c. vegetable stock
1 tsp dijon mustard

For the Biscuit:

1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp + 2 tsp coconut oil NOT melted (or margarine)
2 tbsp vegetable stock
2 tbsp apple juice

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened. Add the apple, fennel, and celery and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add the flour, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.  Slowly add the milk and vegetable stock, stirring as you pour it in.  Stir in the dijon mustard.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer until the mixture is thickened slightly (this should only take 3-4 minutes).  Remove from the heat and stir in the cooked and shredded chicken.  At this point, you can place the entire mixture in a sealed container in the fridge if you plan on making the pies later.

When you’re ready to make the pies, divide the chicken mixture evenly between two large ramekins.  Preheat the oven 400F (200C).

To make the biscuit topping, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and herbs.  Using a pastry cutter or 2 butter knives, cut the coconut oil into the flour mixture until it resemble course crumbs.  Slowly pour in the apple juice and vegetable stock, stirring as you pour, until the entire mixture is smooth and everything has been moistened.  Divide the dough in half and spread each half over top of the chicken filling.

Place on a baking sheet (to catch any spillage) and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the biscuit is golden-brown on top.

~Brittany@twosaucysisters

What are your favourite winter comfort foods?

The Understudy of Breakfasts

You love pancakes.  We love pancakes.  Everyone loves pancakes!

But you know what?

The popular, well-loved, highly sought-after breakfast staple has a sister.

And her name is waffle.

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Waffles are like the Casey Afflecks, Solange Knowles, and Michael Bacons of the world.  You know who we’re talking about- the one who is equally as talented, but is never able to get out from under the shadow of their more-famous sibling.

Well today we are putting a stop to this madness, and we’re starting with chocolate cornmeal waffles.

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Covered in sweet slices of banana and soaked in chocolate peanut butter sauce- with the added dollop of peanut butter, of course! 😉

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Don’t let the cornmeal scare you away.  If you don’t like cornmeal, you will still love these waffles!  The cornmeal is just there to add lots of crispiness to the waffle, but you can’t actually taste it at all!

Now, all this being said, we will be the first to admit that we are not saints.  We have made several pancakes recipes before and expressed our love for them time and time again.  The fact that this is only our first waffle recipe demonstrates our lack of appreciation for the less-celebrated breakfast item.

But we are making it our goal to give waffles the spotlight they deserve!  So go dust off those waffle irons, people!  It’s time for waffles to take back breakfast! 🙂

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cornmeal Waffles

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Prep time: 10min
Cook time: 10min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1/3 c. cornmeal
1/2 c. flour
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 egg+ 1 egg white
1 c. milk
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Sauce:

1 Tbsp peanut flour
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
water

Directions:

Pre-heat your waffle iron.
Combine dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls. Mix the wet into the dry until just combined. Spoon/pour batter over waffle iron, making sure that you have an even covering of the entire iron. Close the lid and allow to cook for 3-4 min (you want to cook it longer to ensure that the waffle is crispy, if you like a softer waffle than 2-3min will be good enough.), or until waffle is nicely browned and crisp.
For the sauce, combine first 3 ingredients, then slowly add small amounts of water at a time, mixing thoroughly, until you have reached your desired constistancy.
Arrange waffles on your plate, top with sliced banana, peanut butter and yogurt, if desired. Pour sauce over top and enjoy!

*If you make extra or have left-over waffles, freeze them! When you want to have them again, just pop them in the toaster for a few minutes. Home-made toaster waffles=AWESOME.

~twosaucysisters

Where do you stand- pancakes or waffles? We are willing to split our time between both. 😉

Restaurant Review + a Re-make

Back on our Holiday Recap post, we mentioned going out to Pepperwood Bistro in Burlington, Ontario for a fare-well dinner for our cousin Geoff/us going back to school the next day.

In that post, we didn’t go into extensive detail about the restaurant because it was so good that we felt it deserved it’s own spot on the blog. Our first impression of the restaurant was how nice the outside was. I mean just look at that picture! It would be a wonderful patio for lunch or dinner on a warm day. Of course, it was anything but warm, so we headed on inside. Well, if the interior of the place was going to be any indication of the food we would be eating, we knew we were in for a treat! It was so classy and sophisticated, from the dark hard wood interior to the funky paintings on the wall – so fabulous!

And now to the important part – the food. Many restaurants serve you bread and butter before your meal. Some of the more up-scale or Italian ones serve you olive oil and balsamic vinegar and some kind of crusty bread. Some offer you herbed or flavoured butter. Not at Pepperwood, no. At Pepperwood, they serve you thin slices of crusty multi-grain french bread with hummus sitting in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We could have left right then and been satisfied, happy customers, because you already know of our love for hummus.

Of course, we didn’t leave. 😉

The menu was not overly extensive, which in our opinion is a good indication of quality food. (quality>quantity people!) In our past experiences, places with shorter menus take more time and care into the planning and preparation of each menu item. Not to mention they are usually somewhat seasonal and will have some different options every time you go! Everything on the menu sounded so delicious, it was hard to choose! In all honesty, we were there with a large group of people (9 to be exact), and we would have been happy with any of the items each of our family members ordered. The food is that good. 

Jordan ordered the Genovese Pizza:

Prosciutto, Genoa salami, marinated artichokes,
roast garlic, pickled onions, mozzarella, tomato sauce

Dad and Aunt Dianne ordered one of the specials, a pasta dish. All we can remember (other than it being delicious- we sampled, it was awesome) is that it had large chunks of lobster, asparagus, mushrooms, and cooked cherry tomatoes in some kind of white sauce. Di-vine!

Brendan had the meat special of the day, a chicken stuffed with goat cheese and spinach which came with vegetables and another side which we can’t remember. Whatever it was, Brendan gave it two thumbs up!

Geoff ordered the Steak Frites:

…Hand cut and specially aged Reserve
Angus New York striploin steak with fresh‐cut Yukon Gold
frites, pickled lemon aïoli, pink peppercorn and red wine
sauce “au poivre”

Aunt Dianne’s sister ordered the Ravioli:

Artisan butternut squash stuffed ravioli, pancetta
and baby spinach cream sauce, Marsala wine, sautéed sweet
bell pepper. – Butternut squash, people! You can’t go wrong!

Ourselves and our Mom all ordered the same thing, the Gravlax Salad!

Sweet shaved fennel, baby arugula, mustard and pink
peppercorn emulsion, oven dried tomato, fresh dill, orange and gin‐
cured Bay‐of‐Fundy salmon gravlax.

Oh.My.Word. This salad was to die for! For those of you who don’t know, gravlax is smoked salmon encrusted with herbs. We had never tried it before, but it is now one of our favourite foods! You know how we love our smoked salmon. Don’t ask us where the name “Gravlax” came from, we don’t know! Personally, we think it sounds like a combination of Gravol and Exlax – not at all appetizing and certainly not appropriate for eating, but trust us, it’s delicious!

A few desserts were ordered – apple crumble with cinnamon ice cream (for dad), and the goat cheese cheesecake. Can you say decadent? Five stars, folks, five stars!

But enough about cheesecake, back to the salad! (#saidnooneever)

Seriously though, this salad changed our lives! So much so, that we vowed to remake it. Unfortunately, gravlax is way out of our student budget, so we had to improvise a little.

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Smoky herb-crusted salmon salad with sundried tomatoes, shaved fennel and fresh dill in a dijon cracked-pepper emulsion. We feel very hoity-toity writing that. Excuse us while we observe expensive art at the gallery while we wait for Froufrou to be finished her daily grooming at the pet salon…

Just kidding.

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Can we just go ahead and pat ourselves on the back for this one? Because we nailed it – this salad brought back every delicious memory of Pepperwood Bistro with each bite!

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So if you’re ever in Burlington, we highly recommend you go to Pepperwood Bistro. If you live no where near Burlington, we  highly recommend you make this salad. Bon appetite!

Herb-crusted Salmon Salad

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Prep time: 10 min + marinating time
Cook time: 10-12 min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

For the Salmon:

2 frozen boneless, skinless salmon fillets, thawed
2 Tbsp liquid+enough water to submerge each filet
1 Tbsp Rosemary
1 Tbsp Thyme
1/4 tsp salt
black pepper

For the Salad:

2 c. spinach, packed
1 c. arugula
3/4 c. fresh dill, roughly chopped
1/2 c. shaved fennel
4 sundried tomatoes packed in oil, blotted dry and sliced
5 tsbp lemon dijon emulsion (recipe below)
optional: goat cheese

Directions:

Mix liquid smoke with water in a container, submerge salmon in this mixture and allow it to soak for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Mix rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper in a wide bowl.  Press salmon fillets into this mixture, making sure both sides are covered with herbs.

Heat a drop of oil on a pan over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, place salmon on the pan and cook just until the outsides are slightly blackened (about 2 minutes on each side) The goal here isn’t to cook the fish all the way through, just to blacken the outside.

Place the fillets on a tray and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until cooked through.

For the Salad:  Mix all ingredients except for the dressing in a large bowl.  Pour in the dressing and toss the salad until everything is evenly coated.  Divide amoung 2 plates and top with salmon and goat cheese (if using).

Lemon-Dijon Emulsion

1/4 c. lemon juice
1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch of salt
1/3 c olive oil

Place all ingredients except olive oil in a blender, food processor or spice grinder and blend until smooth.  With the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil and blend until fully combined.

~twosaucysisters

Have you ever been to a restaurant and had a meal so good you just had to recreate it at home?  What restaurants have you been to that have knocked your socks off? (We’re always looking for new places to try! 😉 )

When Winter Bites

Last weekend was beautiful.  The sun was shining and it was 11 degrees oust side.  In fact, it was so nice that we were cooling down after our race in shorts and t-shirts!

This weekend?  It’s cold and snowy.  Can we have last weekend back, please?

Oh well, all good things must come to an end, I suppose.  And when old man winter comes knockin’, there’s only one thing you can do…

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Make warm, comforting desserts, of course! 🙂

Warm and comforting desserts come in all shapes and sizes, but today we decided that single-serving apple crisps were just what we needed to chase out the cold.

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These little apple crisps are great for a number of reasons:

1. They’re a snap to prepare- just a few minutes in the microwave and a quick hit under the broiler and they’re all yours!
2. They require only 7 ingredients (if you count water as an ingredient), most of which you probably have in your kitchen right now.
3. They require no special equipment whatsoever.
4. They’re healthy (are you surprised?)

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Did I mention that they’re packed with tender cooked apples and plump juicy raisins that have been coated in a generous helping of cinnamon and nutmeg, and topped with a sweet and crispy oat crust?

Oh, and they’re delicious 🙂

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Old Man Winter, do your worst.

Single-Serving Apple Crisp

Prep: 5 min
Cook: 6 min
Serves: 2 (can easily be halved and made for 1)

Ingredients:

1 apple, cored and diced (we left the peel on)
2 tbsp raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp water

1/3 c. rolled oats
2 tbsp date paste or maple syrup (or a combination of both- we used both)
1 tbsp walnuts (optional)

Directions:

Toss your diced apples and raisins in the cinnamon and nutmeg.  Separate into two small ramekins and add the water to each ramekin (this is to help steam the apples).  Microwave on high for 1 minute.

Preheat your broiler to 500F

Meanwhile, mix the oats with the date paste or maple syrup until fully combined.  Divide the oat mixture evenly on top of each ramekin.  Put back in the microwave for 3 minutes.

When the ramekins are done in the microwave, top with walnuts (if using) and place on a cookie sheet.  Place under the broiler for 2 minutes, watching carefully so that they do not burn! The oats should be browned and slightly crispy.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.  Top with yogurt, banana soft serve, frozen yogurt, or ice cream, if desired.

~Brittany@twosaucysisters

How do you fight off the winter chill?  We also enjoy soups, stews, oatmeal, hot chocolate, tea, coffee, lates… you get the picture! 😉

A Sticky Situation

The other day while we were browsing through Food Gawker (what else would you do with your free time?) we came across a recipe for sticky chicken.  It looked delicious, and of course we instantly knew that we wanted to make our own version for dinner that night.

There was only one problem- we had no chicken!

For those of you who have cars and are thinking why don’t you just make a quick trip to the grocery store? We agree, what a novel idea!  However for us, a “quick trip” to the grocery store means waiting for the bus, riding the bus, grabbing that one package of chicken, and then waiting for another 20 minutes for the bus to come again.

No thank you.

We also try to avoid multiple trips to the grocery store in one week to save money (student budgets don’t have a whole lot of wiggle room).

So instead we improvised, and used tofu!

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This turned out to be a delicious compromise!  Piled on top of some sauteed julienned vegetables and brown rice, this meal was a snap to prepare and completely satisfied our craving for sticky chicken!

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As we’ve said before, we are not vegetarians, but we love vegetarian cooking, and we especially enjoy making vegetarian versions of traditional meat dishes!  And while this recipe doesn’t have that coveted crispy skin that people love about sticky chicken, the tofu itself is nice and crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside.

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Smother the whole thing in a sweet-and-savoury sticky sauce and you have a winner winner chicken tofu dinner!

DSCN4524So maybe we’ll pick up some chicken on our next grocery trip and try making the real thing, but for now, we’ll just enjoy our vegetarian version! 🙂

Sticky Tofu

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Prep Time: 10 min + 20 min marinating
Cook Time: 20 min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1/2 a 420g package of firm tofu, pressed
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp white vinegar
1/4 c. water + 1/2 tbsp corn starch
1-2 tsp dried rosemary
1 large clove garlic, minced
pepper, to taste

Directions:

Mix all ingredients (except tofu) in a seal-able container.  Slice tofu into slices that are about 1/2 a centimeter thick.  Place slices in the marinade and put a lid on the container.  Slowly and carefully turn the container over a couple times so that every piece of tofu is covered in the marinade.  Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes so the tofu can soak up the flavours.

Preheat your oven to 400F.

Remove the tofu from the marinade and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes on one side, then flip and bake for 10 minutes on the other side, or until the tofu is browned and crispy on both sides.

While the tofu is baking, place the sauce in a small pot or pan and place over medium-high heat.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly.

We placed our tofu on top of cooked brown rice and sauteed vegetables, then drizzled the sauce over top, but you can pair it with anything you like!

~twosaucysisters

What do you do when you want to make a meal but you’re missing the main ingredient?  What is your favourite meal to vegetarian-ize?