Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ricardo's Chicken Curry with Red Peppers and Coconut Milk

With thousands upon thousands of recipes from all different cultures from all over the world right at our fingertips at all times, it's become pretty easy these days to find a great recipe. We all have our favourite sources that we feel confident we can turn to when looking for a knock-your-socks-off recipe, but whether that recipe will be easy, time efficient, and will be something that I feel motivated to cook up on a busy weeknight, well, that's another story. 

I can tell you first hand that it can often be a chore in itself just finding a trustworthy recipe that you can whip up in the midst of all of your responsibilities, commitments, and stresses that wull have your tastebuds dancing, and leave you feeling satisfied. I have a few recipes in my weeknight rotation that I can turn to in a hurry, but I'm always looking for new ones to add to my repertoire to keep things interesting and different. 

Recently I was approached by Ricardo Cuisine asking if I would be interested in partnering with them on a blog post to test out and review one of Ricardo's most popular recipes. Being someone who is always on the lookout for new and delicious weeknight meal ideas, I jumped at the opportunity to be apart of the campaign. I was provided with a list of Ricardo's most popular recipes and could choose whichever one I wanted to recreate. With Asian flavours grabbing my attention as of late, Ricardo's recipe for Chicken Curry with Red Peppers and Coconut Milk was the first one to grab my attention. 

Asian cooking is still very much unfamiliar territory for me, as I continue to learn the vast array of spices, herbs, vegetables, and techniques that go into the flavourful cuisine. In the past I've stayed away from a lot of Asian recipes, intimidated by them and the amount of exotic ingredients that are often required. What I loved about Ricardo's Chicken Curry was that I already had almost every ingredient on the list in my kitchen! The only ingredients that I had to go out and buy were fresh chicken breasts and turmeric (a spice that I had previously never cooked with). 

You know me, I always give you my honest opinion, so I have to be straight with you once again and say that when I first started cooking up this recipe I was a little skeptical that I would like the final results. It all seemed too easy! I didn't believe that a curry recipe so simple and with so few ingredients could actually have that hit of flavour that I yearn for when diving into a dish of curry. I was completely shocked to find that after I allowed the coconut milk to simmer and blend with the spices, chicken, and vegetables I was left with the type of wonderfully flavourful curry that I had hoped for! Though the curry was already delicious on its own, especially when topping fluffy basmati rice, I wanted to round out the flavours just a touch. In order to do so, I added a few drops of fish sauce and about 1 tsp of tomato paste, which I happened to have on hand in my fridge. That little bit of umami and acidity took the dish up a level, helping to balance out the flavours and contribute to the overall mouth-feel of the dish. 

Though I may have been skeptical at first based on how easy the recipe was, I was so pleasantly surprised at how successful this dish turned out! I was able to get everything prepped, cooked, and on the table in just over a half hour and still had leftovers for lunch the next day! I would highly recommend this recipe to any curry lover looking for a quick and simple weeknight dinner idea! Thanks to the big flavours in this dish and the ease of preparation, this is a fantastic option for serving to guests to both wow them and allow you time to enjoy yourself as well!

Find the recipe here!

This post is sponsored by Ricardo Cuisine. Opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Egg Nog Punch for Fredi Magazine

How is Christmas already next week?!?!?! Insanity! Get yourself into the Christmas spirit quickly and easily by making this fantastic egg nog alternative! Though this was one of the craziest recipes I have ever heard of, the results were delicious and perfect for your next holiday party! I love the wild mix of ingredients that go into this festive cocktail, which somehow end up tasting like an expertly made egg nog, minus all of those raw egg yolks! Check out the recipe in the latest issue of Fredi magazine and on their website
Pro Tip:
Make a festive cocktail stirrer by stringing fresh cranberries through rosemary sprigs! The rosemary looks just like Christmas tree trimmings and will add an aromatic note to your bevvie. The stunning contrast of colour between the vibrant green from the rosemary and the deep ruby red from the cranberries add a striking detail set against the off-white drink.  

Listening To:

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Lemon Cranberry Crumb Cake

There are two types of people in this world, sweet and salty. Me, I've always been more of a salty kinda gal, choosing eggs and bacon over french toast and pancakes and french fries over...well, let's be honest french fries trump everything! My attraction towards all things salty runs strong from Spring through to Fall, but as soon as that first evening of frost sets in at the end of Fall or the beginning of Winter, my sweet tooth starts to emerge! 

As I find myself pulling out my wool and cashmere sweaters and scarves, a hankering for all things sweet has begun to follow me around all day long! From the moment I wake up and choose a bowl of brown sugar and maple oatmeal over my usual scrambled eggs and toast, to just before I go to sleep as I eat a handful of Cap'n Crunch in bed, it's clear my sweet tooth has officially bubbled to the surface for the season. 
With sweets on the brain 24/7, I wanted to make a simple and not-too-sweet cake to have around my home that could satisfy my cravings whenever they should strike. With a fridge drawer full of fresh cranberries and lemons, my brain went straight to recreating my favourite crumb cake recipe with a lemon cranberry twist. This crumb cake recipe has been a family favourite for years thanks to its ease of preparation and moist and delicious results! I love that I can throw this cake together in next to no time and sub in whatever fruit I happen to have available. This recipe is so forgiving that in the past I've even subbed in non-fat yogurt for the suggested sour cream when the latter was unavailable. 

With the holiday season in full swing, this is a fantastic recipe for serving to guests or bringing to a party! It holds up well for a few days and travels very easily, making it the perfect addition to your holiday table! Give it a try and let me know how it went on Twitter: @thisgingerrose.

Notes:
  • This is one of those recipes where fresh lemon juice is essential! None of that bottled business!
Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sour cream (you may use full or reduced fat)
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
zest of 2 lemons
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 - 2 cups fresh cranberries

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor add flour, sugar, and butter and pulse until crumbs form. Remove 1-cup of the mixture and set aside.
  3. Place sour cream in a small bowl and stir in baking soda until dissolved.
  4. Add sour cream mixture to the processor bowl. Add baking powder, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice and process until just combined. Do not over-mix!
  5. Gently stir in cranberries by hand.
  6. Pour batter into a lightly greased and floured 9x9-inch square baking pan. Top evenly with the reserved crumb mixture.
  7. Bake for 40-45-minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. (I start to check the cake around the 36/37-minute mark, and allow the toothpick to have just a little batter on it to ensure the moistest cake).
Listening To:

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sugar & Spice Pumpkin Seeds

Holiday traditions have always been a big deal in my family. Every year during Christmastime we always spend a day making Christmas cookies with my Oma, we always open presents from "Santa" on Christmas morning, we still do a gift hunt each Easter, and ever since I was old enough to hold an exacto knife in my hand my family has always taken the time to carve intricate pumpkins each Halloween. 
My 2015 Halloween Pumpkin Carving
Though busy schedules and different living arrangements has meant that we don't get to carve pumpkins all together as a family anymore, my sister and I have still carried on the tradition on our own, taking great care to carve our own pumpkins inspired by the ones our dad taught us to make growing up. Though the greatest delight for my sister and I was getting to spend hours dedicated to focusing on a craft (yes, carving pumpkins is the ultimate craft!), we also found joy in utilizing the slimy pumpkin seeds scraped out of the innards of the pumpkin by making Sugar & Spice Pumpkin Seeds. 
I can't even remember when I first came across Martha Stewart's recipe for Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds, but that too has now become an annual Halloween tradition thanks to its wonderful contrast of flavours and addictive appeal. I make these every single year a few days before Halloween, and even though I use sesame oil all year round, that smell of the sesame oil hitting the pan will always remind me of Halloween thanks to these delicious seeds. While Halloween brings out the worst sweet tooth in me as I find myself craving all of my favourite Halloween chocolates and candy, my Sugar & Spice Pumpkin Seeds are, dare I say, my favourite of all the Halloween treats! 

Recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart
Ingredients:
1 cup pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
4 Tbsp. white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. On a rimmed baking sheet, evenly spread pumpkin seeds. Bake for 1-hour or until seeds are golden-brown and crisp. Stir several times during baking.
  2. In a medium bowl combine 2 Tbsp sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne pepper.
  3. In a medium non-stick skillet heat sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar. Cook while stirring until all seeds are coated in caramelized sugar. 
  4. Immediately transfer seeds into bowl of spices and toss to coat. Let cool. Store in an airtight container for about 1-week.
Listening To:

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Coconut Curry Chicken Noodle Bowl

Without a doubt in my mind I can say that noodles are the royalty of all comfort food. Oh so you think chili's and stews are the royalty of all comfort food? Well get the heck out because you're wrong! haha I kid...kind of. What makes noodles the top of the crop in terms of comfort food for myself at least is the fact that noodles can be served in so many different ways, all of which are guaranteed to be delicious and satisfying! Whether it's spaghetti and fresh from-the-garden tomato sauce or a big ol' bowl of piping hot ramen, noodles are are like that hug from your mom at the end of a really bad day...except hugs from mom don't exactly fill a hungry belly. 

When I'm in the midst of a rough week all I seem to crave are noodles, which means either whipping up a big pot of homemade pasta, or ordering Asian takeout. More often than not I find myself making pasta over ordering in as an attempt at saving money and perhaps eating ever so slightly healthier, being able to control exactly what's going into my food. Making my own Asian noodles had never been an option for me, as I was intimidated by both the ingredients and techniques from a cuisine that I had not grown up making. It's felt easy picking up recipes from cultures such as Greece, Italy, Poland, etc. having grown up around the same types of flavours and cooking techniques, but with so many unique ingredients, cooking tools, and methods in Asian cuisine I have always chosen to leave the cooking to the pros. 

With such a love for Asian cuisine, I was itching to find a great noodle dish that I could rely on to become a mid-week staple for my boyfriend and I to nip that comfort food noodle craving right in the bud! After scouring Pinterest for more than I care to admit to even myself, I found two delicious-sounding Thai noodle recipes that seemed simple to execute and featured flavours that I was familiar with, many of which I already had on hand. With a lot of skepticism, I combined the two recipes to create something that I thought may be a good start for my intro to Asian cuisine. Though I was so sure that my first attempt at Asian noodles would end up tasting very "white" and like it missing something, I was so pleasantly surprised at how my Coconut Curry Chicken Noodle Bowls turned out! Featuring that same punch of flavour found at my favourite Thai restaurants, these noodles were incredibly addictive and satisfied my craving for comforting Asian noodles. The rich coconut-infused sauce hugged every noodle and kept its intensity even upon reheating the following day! Despite my previous apprehensions over making Asian noodles, I have a newfound confidence thanks to such a successful first attempt! I am really proud of how this dish turned out and am so excited to hear what you think of it! Give it a try in your own kitchen and let me know how it went on Twitter: @thisgingerrose

Notes:
  • To speed up the softening of the noodles, soak them in boiling water until softened.
Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum and Bon Appetit
Ingredients:
4 ounces rice noodles
1 Tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
2 shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
1 Tbsp cilantro stems, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. red curry paste
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground turmeric 
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. hot chili paste (Sambal Oelek)
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, halved lengthwise
1 Tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 cup broccoli florets
1 large carrot, long slices peeled with a vegetable peeler
1 cup snow peas, trimmed
2 Tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. lightly toasted peanuts, chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges (for serving)

Directions:
  1. Soak noodles in very hot water until softened. Rinse and drain. Begin this right at the start of cooking as noodles will take some time to soften. See above note for more info. 
  2. In a large saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp. oil. Add shallots, garlic, ginger, and cilantro stems and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes, or until shallot has softened and is translucent. 
  3. Add curry paste, coriander, and turmeric and stir-fry for 1-minute.
  4. Add coconut milk, sugar, chili paste, fish sauce, and soy sauce and stir. Add broth and chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25-minutes, until chicken is fork tender.
  5. Transfer chicken to a plate and shred with 2 forks. Add back to sauce.
  6. In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbso oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, broccoli, carrot, and snow peas and stir fry for 5-minutes. Add sauce, noodles, and 2 Tbso. cilantro and toss to combine. Serve in bowls topped with additional cilantro, peanuts, and a lime wedge. 
Listening To:

Friday, November 6, 2015

Cacio e Pepe

It's 6:30 pm on a Wednesday, you just got home, the fridge is empty and you're hungry. What do you do? Prior to my trip to Italy this summer I would have always answered that question by quickly replying "make Ina Garten's Agio e Olio!" but since getting to experience the epitome of simple Italian classic dishes, Cacio e Pepe, in Rome I've added a new quick and easy weeknight pasta to my repertoire! Even when it may appear that the fridge is empty and there's nothing to make, I always make sure that my cupboards and fridge are stocked just enough to be able to throw together a tasty pasta on the fly. In order to keep myself prepared come the mid-week hunger freakout I always make sure to have good quality pasta, peppercorns, olive oil, garlic, and Parmigiano-Reggiano and/or Pecorino cheese on hand. Truly, that is all you need to whip together a fantastic pasta dinner! 

Though in theory cacio e pepe is simpler than aglio e olio (there are less steps and less ingredients), it is the simplicity of ingredients and preparation that actually makes cacio e pepe trickier to master than it's olive oil sister. With only pasta water, fresh cracked pepper, butter, and cheese, the trick to mastering cacio e pepe is all about finesse in preparation and quality of ingredients. I know, quality ingredients means pricey ingredients, but it is in instances like this where the quality of your ingredients truly makes all the difference. With so few ingredients, you really have to use the best in order to get the most flavour, so make friends with your local cheesemonger (get out of the grocery store and visit a gourmet cheese shop or a farmers market for your cheese!) and get yourself a big ol' hunk of parm. In terms of finesse, the way to achieve great results with this pasta is making sure everything is prepped ahead of time, ensuring your pasta is nice and al dente (you want it to have a nice bite), and serving it all up at the exact right moment. The exact right moment is when you have just enough sauce to coat your pasta with a little bit left in the bowl. Don't second guess yourself. If you think it's done, take it off the heat right away! If you take an extra 30-seconds to consider whether your pasta is done, your sauce may have dissipated and your noodles may have over-cooked. Trust your gut! 

With such a simple recipe and such high standards after having an insanely good take on cacio e pepe at Flavio Al Velavevodetto in Rome, I still feel as though I have not perfected my cacio e pepe quite yet. Though it's always delicious and leaves me feeling satiated and comforted, my cacio e pepe is not quite as creamy as the perfect one that I had the pleasure of devouring in Rome. What is my cacio e pepe missing? I still don't have a clue, but I welcome any advice or tricks that you may have to achieving that wonderfully creamy result that I'm dreaming of. Give the dish a try and let me know how it went on Twitter: @thisgingerrose. What did you like about the recipe? Where did you struggle? I want to know! Let's chat! 

Notes
  • I like to freshly crack my peppercorns for this dish right before I make it in a mortar and pestle. I highly recommend you do the same for the best flavour!
  • Have everything prepped and in its place before you get anything going on the stove. Crack your pepper, grate your cheeses, set the table, etc. It all goes very quickly as soon as your pasta comes out of the water. 
  • I like to use Molisana dry pasta as a good-quality, yet reasonably priced pasta that I can get at the grocery store. 
Recipe slightly adapted from Bon Appetit
Ingredients:
kosher salt
1 lb dry pasta (such as spaghetti, tonnarelli, chittara)
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and divided
2 tsp black peppercorns, freshly cracked
1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
2/3 cup Pecorino, finely grated

Directions:
  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until very al dente (the pasta will continue to cook in the sauce). Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups of pasta water. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a large heavy skillet set to medium heat, toast the pepper for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add 4 Tbsp butter and melt while whisking. Whisk together in pan for 1-minute. 
  3. Add 1-cup reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5-minutes. 
  4. Add pasta and remaining butter and mix together with tongs. Reduce heat to low and add Parmigiano-Reggiano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. 
  5. Remove pan from heat and add pecorino. Stir and toss until cheese has melted, and the sauce has coated the pasta. Add more pasta water if the pasta seems dry. 
  6. Serve immediately in warmed pasta bowls topped with additional grated Parmigano and a drizzle of good-quality olive oil (optional).
Listening To:

Monday, November 2, 2015

How To Be A Food Hero - Freeze Leftover Wine

As my age creeps higher and higher towards the big 3-0 I've found both myself and my friends beginning to care a little bit more about what we put in our glasses. Suddenly that $9 bottle of Pinot Grigio isn't as appealing as it once was, giving my poor abused taste buds a welcome break, while my wallet inevitably takes a bit of a hit. With more of my hard-earned cash going towards sipping from the Vintages section at the LCBO, it's no longer acceptable for that little bit of wine that so often gets left over at the bottom of the wine bottle to be poured down the drain. I mean, if the wine was hardly palatable the previous evening, it sure isn't going to be very tasty after spending the night oxidizing on your kitchen counter, but with delicious wine made with care making its way into my home, I now have to take a little more care in how I treat this luxury. 

Before anyone has a chance of pouring those few last sips of wine down the drain in my home, I make a point of emptying the remains into an ice cube tray to freeze. Once frozen, I pop the wine cubes out and transfer them to a freezer bag to have on hand when needed. Not only am I rescuing precious wine that could have easily been thrown out, I am also making my life so much easier in the future when a recipe calls for a splash of red or white wine. I no longer have to open up an entire bottle just for that splash! I can simply thaw out a wine cube or two and I'm good to go! 

Listening To:
(I don't know who I have become now that I'm listening to Bieber, but this song is so damn catchy I just can't stop!)

Friday, October 30, 2015

To the lovely couple I served last Friday...

For those of you who don't know, blogging is not my full time job. In order to support myself and the passion projects that fuel my heart and my soul I am a server at an Italian restaurant. Although I work with some unbelievable people who often have me looking forward to my shifts (even if it means missing a dinner in the comfort of my home with the person I love) I can't help but beat myself up over the fact that I am still serving. It's hard to resist comparing yourself to old school mates and friends as updates continue to pop up on social media boasting their many career highs. Despite the fact that serving allows me to do what I love right now, and discover where I want to take my career, I often feel like a failure and get down on myself, feeling like I'm not contributing to anything. 

It's a rough job not having any security, control, or benefits, having to miss out on many social engagements and holidays (goodbye New Years Eve!), feeling like your schedule is opposite most of your friends and family, having people generally treat you like you're beneath them, not to mention feeling both emotionally and physically exhausted at the end of every shift. On bad days I come home on the verge of tears asking myself "why am I still doing this?" 

In the midst of an exhausting and very busy week of serving last Friday I had the pleasure of serving a couple who reminded me exactly why I do what I do. The couple, who are from a small town outside of Toronto, make a point of scheduling all of their appointments in the city on the same day so they can get them all over with and then treat themselves to a special dinner out. They told me that they hadn't yet found an Italian restaurant that they loved and could call their go-to in the city. With their obvious passion for one another and their magnetic positivity, my general manager and I set out to give them a special evening at our restaurant. I felt comfortable engaging with them as though we were old friends. They allowed me to dance around the menu, sharing with them some of my favourite tastes and smells, all the while listening eagerly and giving me their trust to take the reigns and order for them. It elated me to see such joy and enthusiasm from them as their faces lit up at each bite of a new dish or sip of wine. Their love was infectious as they affectionately looked into each others eyes, shared their food with one another, and took adorable selfies (this is coming from a non-selfie taker too!). I recognized the type of night they were having, as I've been lucky enough to have gotten a few of those special nights out at a restaurant with my boyfriend, and it felt pretty damn good to know that I was apart of making that happen.

To this couple I want to say "thank you." Thank you for making my night, and quite frankly my entire week. I haven't been able to get you off my mind. You were so lovely and generous in allowing me to take part in your your special evening. It was such a pleasure to be able to share my passion for food and hospitality with you and have you be so incredibly gracious and thankful in return. Just having the pleasure of serving such truly wonderful people put me in the greatest mood, but then you took things a step further. Your generosity extended beyond words in the form of the gratuity you left me. You could have left me anything and I would have gone home happy knowing that I got to take part in your night, but you took the opportunity to give me more than I have ever received on a bill. I wish I had expressed to you more how much that meant to me. More than just money in my pocket, you made me feel like I was contributing to something. You made me feel like what I do is worthwhile and important, and that is something I could never put a price on. I don't know if this letter will ever get back to you, but I just wanted to put my thanks out there in the world. With you both in mind I choose to continue the pattern of paying-it-forward and hope that I can have the same impact that you two did with me. Wishing you all the very best and hope to have the opportunity of serving you again in the future!

Sincerely, 

Danielle

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Guilt-Reduced Apple Pie Muffins - Part Two

Maybe I'm basic, maybe I'm a typical "white girl," or maybe there's just something incredibly infectious about indulging in the beauty of an apple orchard and pumpkin patch on a sunny fall day. 
There's no question about it, the number of photo ops at a pumpkin patch are abundant, but more than just finding the perfect Instagram shot to smack a filter onto before anxiously awaiting "likes" from the masses, I love my family's annual tradition of going to St. Andrews Scenic Acres for apple and pumpkin picking because it's just that, a tradition. My mom and I have been visiting the Milton farm for as long as I can remember, and each year as the first Fall chill permeates the air, I feel that same familiar stir to escape the bustle of the busy city and head into the country to appreciate the most striking season that our beautiful province has to offer. 
With a large bounty of Cortland apples in our bags, and a successful day of farm-photo-ops behind us, inspiration for Fall apple recipes was running high. For weeks those farm-fresh apples found their way into pies, salads, tarts, and what has been my favourite, Guilt-Reduced Apple Pie Muffins. 
You may recall in July of 2012 when I first made my Guilt-Reduced Apple Pie Muffins as a compromise to making apple pie, something I had never had much success with. I adapted a recipe for dessert-worthy muffins, giving it a healthier twist with the addition of whole wheat flour and apple sauce and reducing the amount of sugar. Though these muffins are still reminiscent of a moist apple cake, with their doughy interior and crispy crumble topping, their healthy spin make these babies perfect for a quick breakfast or snack on the go!
Side Note:
With a new fancy camera slung around my neck, I couldn't help but want to capture a new shot of the muffins to show how much I've learned and grown as a photographer in these past few years. I still have so much to learn and lots of practice to take part in, but I'm so incredibly proud of how far I've come, so much so that I couldn't help but take it personally when I recently brought my new camera out with me as I joined a group of girls for an afternoon get together. The moment I pulled out my camera (that still feels like a foreign object in my hand as I continue to learn its many intricacies) I heard a chorus of "oh so that's how she get's such good photos." Ouch. After nearly a year of working hard (yes, working) on perfecting my food photos, immersing myself in research, experimentation, note taking, and lots and lots of practice, I found it pretty offensive to have people credit my art to being a result of having an expensive piece of technology in my hand. Yes, my new camera has done wonders for my photography already, but guess what, for all these years I have been using a point and shoot and have gotten nearly the same results. I'm sure it wasn't meant as a dig, for all I know that could have been their way of complimenting me, but it felt pretty crappy. 
Ingredients:
Topping
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Muffins
1 cup + 2 Tbsp loosely-packed brown sugar
2/3 cup apple sauce
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups shredded firm and tart apples

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Make the muffin topping by stirring together brown sugar with flour, rolled oats, melted butter, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together brown sugar, apple sauce, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. In a separate large bowl whisk together all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Some of the whole grains may get caught in the sifter so just toss the remnants in with the rest of the flour after. 
  5. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Fold in shredded apples, until just combined.
  6. Evenly scoop batter into a prepared muffin tin (greased or lined with paper muffin liners) so that the batter reaches 3/4 of the way up the cup. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
Listening To:

Friday, October 16, 2015

Grilled Peach & Ricotta Crepes with Bourbon Whipped Cream for fredi magazine

The day after I arrived home from my incredible trip to Italy I got right back in the kitchen and tackled my recipe for the Fall issue of fredi Magazine. With my still head swimming with all of the memories of the fantastic smells, sights, and tastes of Italy, it came as no surprise that inspiration for my latest recipe would come so easily.

With the last couple weeks of summer seemingly slipping through my freckled fingers, I wanted to create a dish that featured flavours present in both late summer and fall but presented in way to evoke the feeling of comfort that one associates with those first crisp and cool autumn days. With all of that in mind, I created a recipe and photo that I am really proud to share with you! My Grilled Peach & Ricotta Crepes with Bourbon Whipped Cream turned out wonderful, with fresh and juicy peaches as the star, nestled in a bed of creamy ricotta, and folded into a warm crepe to be topped with bourbon enhanced whipped cream. A true show stopper if I ever saw one! I highly recommend taking advantage of those last fresh Ontario peaches by creating my crepes in your own home. 

Check out my recipe on the fredi Magazine webpage and let me know what you think by tweeting me: @thisgingerrose.

Listening To:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How To Be A Food Hero - Make Vanilla Sugar

Working in the service industry you can't help but to see a lot of waste. With every table I clear I find myself wincing as I scrape unfinished steak, risotto, pasta, pizza and more into the garbage from customers not wanting to bother taking it home (despite my constant encouragement!). Don't get me wrong, the food at the restaurant I work at is absolutely fantastic and certainly not worthy of ending up in the trash, it's simply thoughtlessness on the part of the paying customers that results in such horrific waste. 

Seeing so much waste each time I come into work kills me, so I'm always trying to find ways of rescuing the high quality food at work so that I can sleep a little more soundly at night. Sometimes that means drinking a latte that was made by mistake (despite my minor lactose intolerance), eating the remainder of the chocolate pudding that's stuck to the inside of the piping bag, or taking home the half of baguette that was never sliced up for any diners, it all adds up in my mind! 
Last week while clearing some dishes in the kitchen at work, I saw one of our chefs scraping vanilla beans for our Tiramisu filling. Intrigued, I asked her if she does anything with the pod after scraping out the insides. After learning that they just end up in the trash, I eagerly asked her if she would mind if I took the empty pods home. Being the second most expensive spice next to saffron, I couldn't imagine tossing away those pricey beans, even without their aromatic filling. I immediately thought to make vanilla sugar with the leftover beans. By simply scraping whatever remained from the inside of the beans into some sugar, tossing in the empty pod, sealing in an airtight container, and allowing to sit for a week or two, you have successfully made vanilla sugar, perfect for adding to coffee, topping creme brûlée, or adding to other subtly-flavoured desserts!

Other Ideas:
Toss the pod into hot chocolate, dessert sauces, pastry creams, or simple syrup.

Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean 

Directions:
  1. Place sugar in a small mason jar. If using a fresh vanilla bean, slice down the centre of the bean using a pairing knife, being careful not to cut through. Using the tip of the dull end of the knife, scrape your knife along the bean to remove the aromatic filling. Add the filling to the sugar. If using an empty pot, scrape your pairing knife along the inside of the pod to remove any remaining filling and add to sugar.
  2. Add the empty vanilla bean to the sugar and seal. Shake to disperse the sugar. Allow to sit for 1-2 weeks until fragrant and ready to use. 
Listening To:

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The How To Be A Food Hero Series

Did you know that an average of 13% of all groceries purchased by Canadians ends up being thrown out, resulting in an average of $725 worth of food items ending up in the garbage each year? Being someone who has made food a significant part of my daily life, as well as someone who gets sick at the thought of food waste, those figures are staggering! 

As you may already know, I recently declared September to be a month of having zero food waste in my home. I created a system of tricks on How to Be A Food Hero that I was sure would enable me to make it all the way to October 1st without throwing out a single food item. Though I was determined to literally have zero food waste at all, inevitably I did end up having to toss some food here and there, which trust me, was not easy for me to do! It was hard not to beat myself up about not being able to fulfill my challenge, but I have to give myself credit for doing so well! I get an odd sense of pride when I think of the clever food combinations and dishes that I created in order to rescue certain food items from the trash. What I learned from my month of attempting to be a food hero is that the key to finding success is all about creating good habits and a daily routine. You have to get in the habit of looking through your fridge and cupboards each day to take inventory of what you have, and you have to take those few extra minutes each day to attempt to do some food rescuing, which can often be as simple as wrapping something up for the freezer. 

Even though I didn't achieve my goal of having zero food waste, I was so ecstatic over the incredible response I received from readers for taking on the challenge! It was so great to know that others are struggling with the same issues as I am and to know that I was actually able to provide helpful advice to aid people in reducing the amount of food waste in their own homes. With so much love for this challenge from both myself and my readers and with such a fantastic outcome to look forward to, I've decided to continue to battle with food waste and start a series on my blog entitled How To Be A Food Hero, featuring tips, tricks, and advice on how to reduce food waste in your own home. I hope that you benefit from these posts as much as myself and my wallet will! 

Listening To:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Rosh Hashanah-Inspired French Toast

Being raised with a Christian mother and a Jewish father, religion in my home was more about upholding traditions and building strong values rather than following a more traditional path that many of my friends experienced. With a powerful spirituality within myself, I never felt like I was missing out on anything not following a specific religion. My family still celebrated and participated in as many cultural holidays as we could, meaning lots of valuable family time and, as with most holidays, lots of delicious food! Though I write this on Yom Kippur, the holiday that most non-jews know of as "the fasting holiday" (I should note that Yom Kippur is actually known as the day of Atonement, as well as being the holiest day of the year), I'm going to throw things back to a week ago when we celebrated the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. 

Rosh Hashanah marks the first day of a ten day period where we are to reflect on ourselves and our actions and repent for those in which we are not proud of. The ten day period leads ups to today, Yom Kippur, where we are to spend the entirety of the day fasting and in prayer before indulging in a festive meal to break the fast (also known as the break fast...no relation to breakfast). With religion being more about building values in our home, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were understood to me through their symbols. Rosh Hashanah was always known to me as "the apples and honey holiday," as the two are traditionally eaten together to symbolize a sweet year. Yom Kippur to me was known as "the fasting holiday," as well as the holiday that I was allowed to stay home from school if I participated in the fast and took time within my day to reflect on my year, my actions, and myself. 

Though I will not be participating in the Yom Kippur fast today, I will certainly take the time to uphold the tradition of self reflection and examination. To begin the ten day holy period on Rosh Hashanah, I took a bit of an unorthodox approach to celebrating the holiday, with the symbol of apples and honey as my inspiration. To ring in the Jewish new year in the sweetest way I could think of, I whipped up a Rosh Hashanah-inspired french toast featuring, of course, apples and honey! A slice of some raisin challah (a Rosh Hashanah tradition!), a quick chop of an apple, and a little time spent caramelizing with some butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon was all I needed to take my regular french toast up a notch and make it appropriate for the Jewish New Year. As well as drizzling some local Maple Syrup on top of the warm and spongy treat, I also drizzled a little bit of honey for traditions sake. My Rosh Hashanah-inspired french toast was incredibly delicious, and a wonderful way to start this holy period of the year!

Ingredients:
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon
2 thick slices raisin challah
1 tbsp butter
maple syrup, for serving
honey, for serving
Apple Compote:
1 apple, small dice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp brown sugar
splash of water

Directions:
  1. Add beaten egg to a shallow dish and add milk, vanilla extract, and dash of cinnamon and beat. Add challah slices, one at a time, and turn to coat. Allow to rest in egg mixture to soak up as much as possible.
  2. Meanwhile make apple compote. Heat a small pot to medium heat. Add apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, and splash of water and stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft and tender. 
  3. Heat a non-stick skillet to medium heat. Melt butter and add egg soaked challah. Brown for about 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip and brown the other side. Serve immediately topped with apple compote, maple syrup, and honey.
Listening To:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

How To Cut Down On Food Waste: AKA How To Be A Food Hero

Without a doubt guilt is one of the worst, if not the worst, emotions on the planet. Unlike other emotions, which can often be fickle and easy to shake off, guilt has a way of sticking to you like that bit of glue from a band-aid that just won't seem to wash off. It eats you up inside, forcing you to obsess about it and think of nothing else. Of course we all make mistakes that can lead to us feeling that dreaded guilt, but the number one thing that makes me feel guilty more often than anything is the guilt from watching food in my home go to waste. 

I know, I've written about it so many times before, because, quite frankly, I haven't been able to fully break my habit of stopping food waste all together. It's not an easy thing! After a year of slacking on my food rescuing ways (I used to be so good!), I've decided to get my act together and take a stand to stop (or at least significantly reduce) the food waste in my home or, as I like to say, become a food hero! My first step to becoming a food hero was to declare September as No Waste September, using this month to aggressively tackle my food waste and see if I can carry this promise through to October. I'm hoping that by sharing my own personal tips and tricks for cutting down on food waste I'll be able to inspire my readers to do the same! Now who's ready to become a food hero with me?
Alert family members, live-in partners, and roommates of what foods need to get eaten
One of the biggest issues that leads to food waste has got to be a lack of communication. It's hard to know what needs to be eaten and what's about to go bad without clear communication amongst family, live-in partners, and roommates. I have a big chalkboard wall in my kitchen which allows me to very clearly communicate to my boyfriend Chris what we need to be eating. When we have an overflow of certain foods, leftovers that need to be eaten, or produce that's about to go bad, I immediately write it on the wall to give Chris guidance on what he should be eating. I love this idea because it forces those foods that can often get lost in the back of the fridge to be brought to the forefront and given the attention they need before expiring. 

Writing what needs to be used up on the chalkboard wall is also a fantastic way to inspire new meal ideas, allowing you to visually group certain foods and flavours together. For instance, I recently had zucchini, chopped onion, strained tomatoes, and ground beef written on the food hero wall, immediately that inspired me to make a bolognese sauce with diced zucchini thrown into the mirepoix. Just like that I had tackled four things on my food hero list!
Label everything in your fridge, including a date
Before packing leftovers or bits of remaining goods like broth, tomato sauce, or beans in the fridge, I always write a label for the container so I know 1) exactly what's in the container and 2) when it was made or first placed in the fridge. How many times have you found a random tupperware container in your fridge and not known what the hell was in there? Rather than playing the guesswork of the this-may-lead-to-food-poisoning game, 9 times out of 10 you will toss the anonymous tupperware container. 
A messy fridge can encourage people to only look at the front row, leaving plenty of good food to rot in the back of the fridge. I like to organize my fridge in sections grouping dairy, condiments, drinks, meats, leftovers, sauces, and so forth together so it's easy to get a quick inventory of what you have on hand. I like to place foods that need to be eaten the quickest right at the front of the fridge so it's the first thing you see when you open the door, often with a label that reads "EAT ME!" Keeping your fridge organized is also helpful in cutting down energy costs, reducing the amount of time you keep your fridge door open. It all adds up after all! 
Smoothies are a fantastic way to use up fruit about to go bad or frozen fruit previously rescued
When life gets hectic it can be difficult to cook every day of the week, making it hard to rescue food before it goes bad.  When I have a busy few days and food that's about to go bad, I try to take a few extra minutes to toss those foods in the freezer so that they don't end up in the trash. Frozen fruit is perfect for freezing for smoothies or that bit of summer freshness in a winter dessert. An ice cube tray is also your friend when it comes to freezing, acting as the perfect vehicle for freezing leftover broth, wine, herbs, and even juices for future use. When you come across a recipe that calls for a splash of wine, you'll be thankful for those frozen cubes of wine that you saved in the freezer!
Refrigerated biscuit dough or puff pastry are great things to have on hand for making quick pot pies
When I have to get creative with using up food, I'm always grateful that I think ahead. I always like to keep a package of puff pastry in the freezer, biscuit dough in the fridge, fresh herbs growing on my balcony, canned or jarred tomatoes and broth in the cupboard, as well as a wide selection of various condiments and sauces. These are the things that you don't have to worry about going bad that will save you when you need to use food up and don't want to make a trip to the store. Think of what ingredients you find yourself using most often that help to perk up meals and make sure you keep them stocked!
Here are some of my favourite ideas for how to use up leftovers!
  • Croutons & Crostini - Before bread becomes mouldy, cut it into cubes or thin slices and brush with olive oil to toast into homemade croutons or crostini. I like to brush on some minced garlic or use infused oils like rosemary olive oil to add an extra hit of flavour.
  • Shepherds Pie - The classic dish can be made with more than just ground meat and potatoes! Try making shepherds pie with leftover pulled pork and sweet potatoes. Get creative and play around with all sorts of different meats and vegetables. Why not short rib and turnips?
  • Stir Fry's - Stir fry's are one of the best ways for getting rid of a lot of vegetables in a hurry. Pretty much anything goes with a stir fry, so toss in whatever veg you can get your hands on!
  • Smoothies - Before your fruit (or even some vegetables) goes bad pack them up in freezer bags for quick and easy smoothies. I like to freeze spinach before it wilts to add some green to my homemade smoothies. 
  • Pot Pies - Whether it's chicken, beef, lamb, or even just a bunch of veg, pot pies are a great way to use up leftovers. I love adding leftover takeout curries to my chicken pot pies to instantly revamp leftover chicken into a curry pot pie!
Who want's to become a food hero with me? Tell me about how you cut down on food waste on Twitter: @thisgingerrose.

Listening To:

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Viva Italia - Part 2 - When Fantasy Becomes Reality

Exhausted from a 14 hour travel day, and lost sleep due to the stress of being rejected from my flight, racing to get an emergency passport, and finding a new flight, Chris and I decided to spend our first full day in Italy relaxing on the white sandy beach. It was so great to have an umbrella, two chairs, beach towels, and a spot on the beach reserved for us as apart of our accommodations with the Hotel Adriatico, and not have to worry about having to secure all that on our own. Finally we could truly relax with the feeling of the waves from the Adriatic sea rolling through our tired bodies.

There are certain visions ingrained in my mind as true Italian experiences, ones that I had pieced together from film and photographs, that I was unsure whether they were a reality or just a thing of fantasy. Visions of dining at large banquet tables, surrounded by beautiful people, in small alleyways, being served family-style, traditional, rustic Italian food, and experiencing that feeling of sheer bliss. As much as I craved those experiences before coming to Italy, I really wasn't sure if I had seen Big Night and Bicycle Thief one too many times for my own good, and had a crazy fantasy in my head that real life could never live up to. It was on our very first full day in Italy that I feel so lucky to say I had the privilege of experiencing one of those magical moments.
Though many of the people in the group we were traveling with promised me that our meal at Trattoria Da Peppe that evening would be incredible, in my head I kept thinking "I just met you, I don't know if I trust your opinion on food." An embarrassingly snobby thought, I must admit, though I'd been warned of the many tourist traps within Italy that lack authenticity and quality, while still receiving rave reviews from the streams of tourist that walk through their doors.
Filled with a mixture of skepticism and hope, we passed the buzzing restaurants in the centre of the city of Vasto, and walked through a small, dimly lit alleyway to arrive at a large banquet table set out for us outside of the ancient converted stable, which is now home to the cozy and welcoming Trattoria Da Peppe. Upon our arrival we were immediately greeted by Peppe himself, Giuseppe and his wife Maria, who gave us a quick tour of the space, telling us about its history as a stable, and showing us the small Argentinian-wood-burning oven that Giuseppe does his magic in, as well as the tiny windowless church adjacent to the restaurant, and the exquisite private gardens directly across the alley. I was already swept up in the drama and romanticism that Giuseppe and Maria so beautifully created, and our meal hadn't even begun!
After settling into our seats we were presented with homemade wine, bottles of sparkling water, and crusty bread, followed by an elaborate selection of lovingly-prepared antipasti. When I say "lovingly-prepared" I mean to evoke that same feeling you get when diving into your grandmothers cooking, you just know it was prepared with love and care. You can taste that love!
Though all of the antipasti was fantastic, the one dish that stood out to me as one of the best bites of food that has ever crossed my lips was Giuseppe's famous Cheese and Egg Balls, also known as Pallotte Cacio e Uova, or a type of polpette (meatball), but without the meat. Pallotte Cacio e Uova are known as being a "poor mans dish," the type of dish one would make to use up stale bread, eggs, and cheese and reinvent it into something comforting and delicious. Crustless stale bread is cut into cubes and soaked in water or milk to soften. The liquid is squeezed out and the bread gets mixed with beaten eggs, parsley, garlic, and a mixture of hard sharp cheeses, and rolled into small balls. The egg and cheese balls are then fried until golden, and transferred to simmer in homemade tomato sauce until the balls puff up from soaking up some of the savoury sauce. It sounds simple enough, though Giuseppe's Pallotte Cacio e Uova were truly extraordinary! Despite the fact that they were one of the first dishes presented to us and I knew there were many more dishes to come, I couldn't help but get my hands on as many of those delicious little bites of heaven as I could!
Those little bites of heaven were followed by cornmeal flatbreads topped with cicoria AKA. chicory, veal simmered in sauce, stuffed eggplant, homemade sausages, a selection of thinly-sliced char-grilled meats, salad, rum cake, and blueberry cheesecake. SWOON! I wish I could accurately express to you how truly extraordinary this meal was. Every single dish was out of this world incredible. I know, the hyperbole is at all time high right now, but I am not embellishing by any means how special this meal  actually was. Just incredible, and unlike anything I have ever experienced.

We walked back into the heart of the city with full bellies and happy hearts, to drink into the evening while revelling in the experience that we had just shared. Though I knew there was a lot of other fantastic food in Vasto that I had yet to try, I couldn't help but wish that we could experience another meal from Giuseppe again during our short trip.
Other Things Of Note:
Since coming home from Italy I have tried to recreate Giuseppe's Pallotte Cacio e Uova, and though mine were very tasty, they were nothing compared to the perfection that Giuseppe presented to us!

What made our meal so special at Trattoria Da Peppe was so much more than the food. From the moment we arrived at the restaurant we were treated like family and received hospitality unparalleled from any other restaurant I have ever been to.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of my Italian adventure to hear about my visit to Pescara and exploring the Medieval city of Vasto.

Listening To:
Jamie XX - Gosh

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Viva Italia - Part 1 - Also known as the time I almost wasn't allowed in the country

Me (Danielle Rose) in total bliss in Vasto, Italy
When I was 14 years old my mom told me to start a savings account. "One day you'll want to travel the world" she said, and encouraged me to start thinking of places I'd like to explore. With visions of nonnas rolling pasta dough, and pizza crusts bubbling out of wood-fired ovens, there was one place above all others that stirred my desire to travel, Italy. 

Though I've been lucky enough to travel to some extraordinary places since then, it wasn't until now that an opportunity to visit my dream country, Italy, finally arose! Thanks to an invitation from my boyfriend Chris' parents to join them, along with a large group of Italian friends, on a trip to Italy to trace their families roots, I could finally make my dreams of exploring the legendary "boot" a reality. 
The plan was to stay in the coastal town of Vasto, situated in Abruzzo's southern coast, adjacent to the Adriatic sea, and from there take day trips to visit the various towns from which Chris' ancestors were from. With several of the other families we were traveling with from Vasto, with friends and family still living in the beautiful town, it was easy to make Vasto our "home base" for the trip. 

Though our vacation got off to a rocky start (ummm...I was rejected from the plane AT THE GATE due to an apparently "expired passport," though my passport was actually due to expire this November 2015. See my angry Twitter rant for more info!), and with a day and a half of mine and Chris' trip lost, not to mention thousands of dollars down the drain thanks to having to purchase a new one-way ticket to Rome, we finally arrived at Fiumicino airport in Rome!
At the sight of a "Mozzarella Bar" in the airport after landing, I knew that all of our initial trouble to get here was worth it! Bring on the mozzarella! After downing prosciutto and mozzarella panini's and cold Fanta's, Chris and I hopped on the Dicarlo Bus (Italy's version of a Greyhound) to continue our long journey to Vasto. Though our string of bad luck seemed to persist through our trek to Vasto, having to switch from our comfortable, air conditioned and near-empty bus to a packed, hot, and smelly bus after blowing a tire, we were happy to be greeted with smiling (and teary-eyed) familiar faces upon our arrival.
We stowed our luggage in our gorgeous suite at the Hotel Adriatico, and quickly joined our friends and family to begin our adventure! After gorging ourselves on an Italian feast of an antipasti buffet, pasta fagioli, an array of grilled meats, a fruit platter, and dessert, we were off to take part in the excitement and energy thriving from Vasto Marina, as the town celebrated Notte Rosa, also known as Pink Night. Though Chris and I hardly had a wink of sleep for days, we managed to stay up until 3:30 AM, listening to live music, taking in the sights, and sipping on cool drinks, taken by the infectious energy of the festival. 

Other things of note:
The espresso was so good all over Italy, that even the espresso offered on the Dicarlo Bus was fantastic, and better than most of the espresso you can find in Toronto!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Italian adventure to hear about one of the most extraordinary meals of my life!

Listening To:
Jamie XX - Stranger In A Room 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Food Hacks Spring Recap

Waffled Napoleons
Waffled Napoleons - With the new "waffling" trend that has emerged thanks to the popularity of food hacks, people have been experimenting with waffling all kinds of different foods. Though I've had great luck experimenting with waffling foods like hash browns and sandwiches, my hands-down favourite thing to waffle is puff pastry. In just 8-minutes in the iron the raw puff pastry turns golden, buttery, and wonderfully crisp! I love serving my waffled puff pastry as the classic French dessert the Napoleon, with a layer of creamy vanilla pudding, fresh raspberries, and a dusting of icing sugar. 
Bacon Mac & Cheese Sliders
Bacon Mac & Cheese Sliders - A mini muffin tin is my super-tool of choice for forming perfect and uniform sliders in only a few minutes! No slider buns? No problem! I like to use the rim of a glass as a cookie cutter to cut circles of bread the exact same size as my sliders to act as buns. Top these babies off with some leftover mac & cheese, and you've got yourself a new weeknight favourite! 
Spaghetti Squash-Crusted Quiche
Spaghetti Squash-Crusted Quiche - Making pie crust from scratch can be a pain. Skip the mixing, rolling, and mending my pressing roasted spaghetti squash into the pie plate! Not only is this crust insanely simple to prepare, it's also delicious and adds another layer of flavour and texture to the overall dish. 
Instant Ramen Stir-Fry
Instant Ramen Stir-Fry - What's your go-to snack or small meal when you're in a hurry? I like to turn to my Instant Ramen Stir-Fry thanks to it's ease of preparation and simple ingredients that are always in my fridge! Instant ramen noodles are a wonderful option because they're inexpensive, take two minutes to soften, are satisfying, and lastly allow you to make a single portion without waste.
Turkish Meatballs
Turkish Meatballs - Why take the time to form and roll meatballs by hand, when it's so much easier to use a quick-release ice cream scoop! A quick-release ice cream scoop allows you to cut down on mess, keeping your hands a whole lot cleaner, as well as keeping the meatballs nice and tender because you haven't overworked the meat. These Turkish-inspired meatballs get their flavour from cumin, mint, and a hit of Kraft Creamy Cucumber Dressing both inside the meat and drizzled on top. 
Wonton Mozzarella Sticks
Wonton Mozzarella Sticks - Bring your favourite pub food favourite home with ease thanks to my handy food hack! Wonton wrappers and string cheese are the key ingredients to making simple and deliciously-cheesy mozzarella sticks at home. Love these as a last-minute special snack or as an appetizer for entertaining. 

Stay up to date with all of my latest Food Hacks and tricks by following the @FoodHacks account on Twitter! 

Listening To: