Friendly Food Snobs

roasted root vegetables

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Roasting is my favourite cooking method for vegetables, hands down. Texture wins every time. Crisp and browned on the outside and moist and flavourful inside. If hosting people for dinner. I often make this earlier in the day and just reheat. They’re that good. Nourishing, unpretentious and earthy with a touch of cumin. This could easily pass for a Thanksgiving, Christmas or holiday side dish. Delicious made into a frittata or thrown with some arugula and goat cheese for a lunch the next day. Serves four.

roasted root vegetables

Ingredients:
1 carrot chopped
1 red onion chopped
1 large sweet potatoe roughly peeled and chopped
2 yukon gold potatoes roughly peeled and chopped
50 ml of olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Heaping teaspoon of cumin

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, flipping halfway.

Peach smoothie

IMG_2565Late summer and the peaches are ripe. This smoothie reminds me of peach pie and lazy afternoons. I made this with super ripe peaches from the end of a bushel on a hot Saturday morning. Serves two. 

peach smoothie

Ingredients:
1 cup chopped and unpeeled fresh or frozen peaches
2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup almond milk
2 dates
1 scoop sprouted brown rice protein power (optional)
2 ice cubes (reduce to 1 if using frozen peaches)
1 tablespoon almond butter
generous dash cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in blender and off you go.

mango coconut almond granola

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I love to shop for food. Fruits and vegetables. Salt. Wine. Cheese. Meat. If we are travelling and I spy a spice store I will run to it.

This week I was shopping at my local health food store Evergreen. I was about to throw a box of granola in my cart when I glanced at the price, and then the price of a bag of organic rolled oats. Show’s over. Time to try making granola.

One bite of this and I was a convert. Except for the dried mango, I had all the other ingredients in my pantry. Great tossed over plain yogurt. Or eaten by the handful. You could easily swap out the mango for some raisins or any dried fruit you have on hand.

mango coconut almond granola

Ingredients:
1 and 1/2 cup rolled oats
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup unsalted sunflower seeds (optional)
½ cup unsalted pepita seeds (optional)
¾ cup shredded coconut
½ cup coconut oil (melted)
1/4 – 1/2 cup maple syrup (depending on how sweet you prefer)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt + tiny pinch nutmeg
1 cup chopped dried mango

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine all ingredients, except for the mango. Tumble onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet or large glass baking dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Stirring every 10 minutes to ensure it browns evenly. In the last 5 minutes add the dried mango. Let granola cool for at least at hour before packaging. The texture crunches up as it cools. Store in airtight container for 10 days or freezes well.

Chocolate and salted caramel pecan squares

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If you don’t like chocolate and caramel, just stop reading right now.

These squares are the stuff dreams are made of. Salted caramel swirled with chocolate spotted with pecans on a shortbread crust. You’ll curse me for this recipe.  Their saving grace – they freeze perfectly.

Chocolate and salted caramel pecan squares

Ingredients:
Shortbread base
1/2 cup soft butter (1 stick)
1 cup flour
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Pinch salt

Caramel filling
2 cups whole or halved pecans
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream or canned coconut milk (I always use the latter as it’s a pantry staple around here)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 or 1 teaspoon salt depending on how salted you like (I prefer 1 teaspoon)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with foil. Spray lightly or very lightly butter.

Combine all crust ingredients and using a pastry cutter or your hands, cut butter into dry ingredients until small lumps form.

Press mixture into pan and pack down firmly.

Evenly sprinkle the pecans on top as well as the chocolate chips.

In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine 1/2 cup butter, brown sugar, cream, and heat on high for 1 minute to melt. (You can also do this in a saucepan over medium heat) Once warm, whisk until mixture is smooth. Then return bowl to microwave and heat for 1 minute on high power. Truth, I rarely use our microwave at all, but I do for this recipe.

Remove bowl from heat source and whisk until mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla and salt.

Evenly pour that caramel sauce over the chocolate chips and pecans. You’ll want to lick the bowl here and just do it. Totally worth it.

Bake in the middle of oven for 30 minutes, or until caramel is bubbling.

Here’s where the magic happens – you must let the squares cool and set for at least 3 hours. I often make these at night, and let them cool for an hour, then wrap well and store in fridge overnight. In the morning lift out of the pan using that clever foil and then slice with a sharp knife. These are decadent so I like to cut squares quite small. They freeze well for up to four months.

Diablo shrimp pasta

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This is a pasta you’ll want to steal just one more bite of. I too have been a victim of the devil’s ways. The combination of sundried tomatoes, garlic, shrimp, chili creates that savory umaminess that I really love. Easily doubled for four or leftovers for tomorrow. And takes from 15-20 minutes start to finish.

Diablo shrimp pasta

Ingredients:
16 shrimp fresh or if frozen slightly thawed and tails pinched off
Half of a jar tomato passata
1 onion diced
6 sundried tomatoes roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
Olive oil for pan and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Smidge of oil from the jar of sundried tomatoes
¼ teaspoon chili powder (more if spicier preferred)
6 turns of fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste
Pasta cooked to package (I like tagliatelle, spaghetti, linguini)

Sautee the onion in olive oil and a shake of salt until fragrant. Add the garlic, and then shrimp and tomatoes. Time for the pepper and chili powder. The chili is a matter of taste. A quarter of a teaspoon will impart little to any heat, so increase as you like. Stir in the tomato passata just as the shrimp start to turn opaque. They’ll finish cooking in the sauce and stay tender. Simmer for 3 minutes and then add the balsamic and tomato jar oil. Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce. Turn onto plates and skip parmesean in favour of chopped Italian parsley if you like to garnish. Serves two. Enjoy!

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