Breast Cancer Fundraiser at Thyme to Cook

Thanks to everyone who came out last night for the good times and tasty treats at Thyme to Cook. Lorraine and Gail thank you for your hospitality and sharing the space to enjoy a great evening out. As promised here are all the recipes I made last night. I will post the Apple Onion Chutney and Black Bean and Corn Salsa in another post with the Lemon Panna Cotta. Thanks everyone and if you need anything just send me an email! Enjoy!

Slow cooker barbecued pork loin

Cook this loin for dinner and enjoy some leftovers for lunch or cook the whole thing and have it ready for lunch to pack for the family. Using dates helps sweeten the sauce but the vinegar helps keep the tang of a tasty barbecue sauce.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 to 10 hours (slow cooker)
Broccoli slaw Yield: 1 L (4 cups)

1 small onion, finely chopped
125 mL (1/2 cup) chopped pitted medjool dates
375 mL (1 1/2 cups) strained tomato puree (passata)
45 mL (3 tbsp) cider vinegar
10 mL (2 tsp) Worcestershire sauce
2 mL (1/2 tsp) hot pepper sauce
5 mL (1 tsp) each dried thyme leaves and chili powder
5 mL (1 tsp) canola oil
1 boneless pork loin roast, about 750 g/1.5 lb

Broccoli slaw:
1 bag (340 g) broccoli slaw
25 mL (2 tbsp) light mayonnaise
25 mL (2 tbsp) plain 0% greek yogurt
45 mL (3 tbsp) cider vinegar
2 mL (1/2 tsp) celery seeds
Pinch freshly ground pepper

1. In blender, combine onion, dates, puree, vinegar, Worcestershire and hot pepper sauces. Blend until smooth. Pour into slow cooker.

2. Rub pork loin with thyme and chili powder. In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium high heat and brown pork loin on all sides. Add to slow cooker; turn to coat. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High for 4 to 6 hours.

3. Broccoli Slaw: In large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, yogurt, vinegar and celery seeds. Add broccoli slaw and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

4. Remove pork loin and set on cutting board. Slice into 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick slices and serve with broccoli slaw and spoon sauce over top.

Pork loin Sandwiches: Place pork loin into whole grain buns, spoon with sauce and top with broccoli slaw if desired to enjoy.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches: Pull pork loin apart with 2 forks and return meat to sauce and stir to coat. Place on whole grain buns and top with broccoli slaw if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Toasted Quinoa Salad
An ancient grain that still lives up to it’s high protein profile and delicious taste in this easy to make salad. A great make ahead for lunch the next day or easy side dish. Add some cooked beans for a vegetarian delight. Be sure to remember to rinse your quinoa before using it, the saponin on the quinoa makes it taste bitter if not rinsed off.

1 cup (250 mL) quinoa
2 cups (500 mL) low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
1 sweet red pepper, diced
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh mint or coriander

2 tbsp (25 mL) light/low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp (2 mL) hot pepper sauce (optional)

1. Place quinoa in fine mesh sieve. Rinse and drain well. Place quinoa in nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Toast, stirring frequently for about 6 minutes or until fragrant and beginning to hear quinoa snapping/popping. Remove from heat.

2. In saucepan, bring stock to boil and add quinoa. Stir and return to boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Using fork, fluff quinoa and place in large bowl. Let cool slightly. Add carrot, pepper, green onions, mint and coriander.

3. Dressing: In small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, oil, garlic and hot pepper sauce, if using. Drizzle over salad and toss to combine. Serve warm or cold.

Tip: If you do not have light or low sodium soy sauce at home, simply use 1 tbsp (15 mL) regular soy sauce and 1 tbsp (15 mL) water.

Makes 6 servings.

Mashed Potato Martinis with Caramelized Onions

Here is a fun way to serve up a favourite comfort food! Get your martini glasses out and then the topping selections can be endless and let your guests decide!

2 tbsp (25 mL) butter
3 onions, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried thyme
2 lbs (1 kg) large white Ontario Baking or Yukon Gold Potatoes (about 5), scrubbed and cut into chunks
1/2 cup (125 mL) warm vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
1 pkg (4 oz) herbed goat cheese (optional)

In large skillet melt butter over medium high heat and add onions, garlic and thyme. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until onions are beginning to turn golden brown. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often for about 15 minutes or until very soft and deep brown. Set aside.

In large pot of boiling salted water, cook potatoes for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. Drain well and return to pot. Add stock, salt and pepper and mash potatoes until smooth.

Spoon potatoes into martini glasses and top with caramelized onions and sprinkle with goat cheese if desired.

Makes 10 mounds, enough for 8 to 10 servings.

Be sure to use sweet potatoes for another option.

Try other great toppings like crumbled blue cheese, sauteed mushrooms, gravy, crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar or something simple like chopped green onions or chives.

Ricotta and Roasted Red Pepper Crostini

Creamy ricotta cheese is the background for sweet roasted red peppers. Add some peppery arugula for a different flavour and a salute to the Italian flag.

12 slices baguette 12
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 50 mL
1 clove garlic, cut in half 1
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper 2 mL
1 cup ricotta cheese 250 mL
1-1/2 cups thinly sliced roasted red 375 mL
1 small clove garlic, minced 1
2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley 25 mL
1 tbsp red wine vinegar 15 mL
Fresh small basil leaves

Brush baguette slices with 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the oil. Toast or grill baguette slices until golden and crisp. Rub garlic over baguette slices while still warm. Sprinkle with half each of the salt and pepper; set aside.

In bowl, combine peppers, minced garlic, parsley, vinegar and remaining oil, salt and pepper.

Spread ricotta over toasted baguette. Top with peppers and basil.

Makes 12 pieces.

Duck and Mushroom Crostini

Crisp crostini are topped with creamy mushrooms and smoked duck to provide an elegant and tasty appetizer. Easy to pick up and enjoy while serving drinks during the holidays.
Look for variety packs of wild mushrooms that include cremini, shitake and oyster mushrooms for a tasty mushrooms flavour.

1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
2 pkgs (8 oz each) wild mushrooms, finely chopped
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp (7 mL) chopped fresh thyme
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
Pinch pepper
½ cup (125 mL) cream cheese, cubed
¼ cup (50 mL) chopped roasted red peppers
Half artisan baguette, sliced
2 tbsp (25 mL) extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 Smoked Duck Breast

In nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium high heat and cook mushrooms, onion, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper for about 12 minutes or until no liquid remains. Stir in cream cheese and cook, stirring until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and stir in red peppers. Set aside.

Brush baguette slices with oil and toast in 400 F (200 C) oven for about 10 minutes or until light golden. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt. Let cool.

Heat small skillet over medium heat and sear duck breast, skin side down for about 5 minutes or until crisp and brown. Turn and cook for 2 minutes or until golden. Remove to cutting board and thinly slice breast on a diagonal.

Spread mushroom mixture onto toasted baguette slices and top with sliced duck.

Makes about 24 pieces.

Hazelnut Chocolate Cookies
Here is an easy favourite cookie of mine that is made special with the addition of Nutella chocolate. If you want you can use melted chocolate instead.

1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla
2 1/4 cups (550 mL) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (75 mL) toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder
Pinch salt
Nutella spread
Hazelnut halves (optional)

In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, hazelnuts, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and stir to form dough. Divide dough into two discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until chilled or for up to 1 day.

On floured surface roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out circles using cookie cutter and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for about 12 minutes or until golden. Let cool completely.

Spread half of the cookies with the Nutella and top with remaining cookies. Spread a small amount of Nutella on top and top with hazelnut half if desired.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Tip: Freeze cookies before filling with Nutella. Freeze in airtight container for up to 1 month.

Cranberry Prune Bars

This is the snack that you can’t stop eating! The tart cranberries mixed with the sweet prune offers up a tasty filling for these bars. Easy to make and bring to the next family gathering or tuck in the freezer for your next cookie exchange.

1½ cups (375 mL) large flake oatmeal
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
⅓ cup (75 mL) packed brown sugar
¼ cup (50 mL) chopped pecans or walnuts
½ tsp (2 mL) baking powder
½ tsp (2 mL) baking soda
¾ cup (175 mL) butter, cubed
1⅓ cups (325 mL) fresh or frozen cranberries
⅓ cup (75 mL) chopped pitted prunes
⅓ cup (75 mL) cranberry or fruit juice
3 tbsp (45 mL) packed brown sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) grated orange rind

In a bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, pecans, sugar, baking powder and soda. Add butter and mix together using fingers until mixture forms coarse crumbs. Reserve 1 cup (250 mL) of the mixture. Press remaining mixture into a parchement paper lined 9-inch (23 cm) square metal cake pan. Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven for 10 minutes or until light golden.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring cranberries, prunes, cranberry juice, sugar and orange rind to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 8 minutes or until thickened and cranberries pop.

Pour the filling onto the baked base layer and spread evenly. Sprinkle reserved mixture over top and bake for about 15 minutes or until light golden. Let cool in a pan on a rack. Cut into 16 squares. Cut each in half on the diagonal to make triangles.

Makes 32 pieces

Helpful Hints
Cut the pan into 4 large pieces and freeze those individually. Take out a square at a time for company.

Store in an airtight container with waxed or parchment paper between layers in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

Smoked Salmon Kettle Chip Bites

The lemon kick in each bite works well to balance the salt in the chips and smoked salmon. No time to prepare the chips, simply chop the smoked salmon and stir it into the cream cheese mixture and serve it as a dip for the chips

1/2 cup (125 mL) light cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp (15 mL) horseradish
1 tbsp (15 mL) minced shallot
2 tsp (10 mL) minced capers
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon rind
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
1 bag (210 g) kettle cooked potato chips
1 pkg (85 g) sliced smoked salmon
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh chives

Using electric hand mixer beat cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in horseradish, shallot, capers, garlic, lemon rind and juice until smooth.

Empty chips onto large plate and select flat similar size chips. Dollop a small amount of the mixture onto chips and set on serving platter.

Cut smoked salmon into thin strips and place decoratively on top of cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with chives before serving.

Serves 6 to 8.


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