Oven Roasted Tomatoes

I do love my garden tomatoes – there are a ton of uses for them, but near the end of the season, I find myself running out of ways to use them all. I have to get a bit more creative in how I cook with them. Oven roasting them, or oven drying them, is a great way to use them up and enhance that tomato-y flavour.

 

 

Oven Roasted Tomatoes
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb medium tomatoes, or the equivalent of cherry tomatoes, diced
  2. 1 tsp dried oregano
  3. 1/2 tsp dried basil
  4. 2 tbsp olive oil
  5. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 210F.
  2. Combine tomatoes with dried herbs, oil, and salt and pepper.
  3. Pour tomato mixture over sheet pan into an even layer.
  4. Slide into oven and let roast for 2-2 1/2 hours.
Notes
  1. If you are using cherry tomatoes, they may take a bit longer.
  2. Once roasted, they make a great sauce by themselves, or blended into a sauce.
  3. You can also use them as a topping on focaccia.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
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Customizable Stir-Fry

We’re so happy to be back and sharing a brand new recipe with you today! This customizable stir-fry has become an instant classic in each of our homes. The recipe comes together in no time at all and you can use whatever ingredients you have in the house! Before you get cooking we have a few tips about ingredient and tool selection we wanted to share.

Stir-Fry

Choosing Your Ingredients

Picking ingredients to go into a stir-fry can make some people a little anxious. If you want to start customizing but don’t know where to begin, we suggest you pick 1 protein option from below and 2-3 stir-fry friendly ingredients from the lists below.

Some great protein options (use the size of a palm per person):

  • Beef (cut into strips – sirloin or even a flank steak)
  • Chicken or turkey (use boneless skinless breasts)
  • Pork (tenderloin or boneless pork shoulder)
  • Tofu (firm or extra firm)

Some great vegetable options:

  • Higher moisture: zucchini, squash, mushrooms
    • Fortunately stir-frying is a high-heat cooking method so these guys get a chance to get a caramelization before they turn soggy. A great reminder to keep your pan on medium heat!
  • Lower moisture: peppers, snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots

Choosing Your Tools

The tool you use to cook your stir fry is just as important as the ingredients. A stir fry can be made in any good heavy bottomed skillet – even your basic non-stick skillet will do the trick. Traditionally, in Chinese cuisine, a wok is used to make this quick cooking dish. The shape of the wok is what makes the tool ideal for this dish. It has high sloping sides and is not typically non-stick. The wok can be placed over extremely high heat, which travels up the high sides of the pan. 

When cooking a stir fry in a wok, you really want to make sure it gets very hot. A neutral oil is used in this method of cooking and it should have a very high smoke point; something like canola oil or vegetable oil is very useful in stir fries. The heat from the bottom and sides of the pan is what fries the meat and vegetables while you are stirring them. 

Customizable Stir-Fry
A simple stir-fry that can be customized to your families preferences!
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Marinade
  1. 1 tbsp Canola oil
  2. 1 tsp Soy sauce
  3. 1 tsp Rice wine vinegar
  4. pinch Salt and pepper
  5. 1lb Meat or alternative of your choice (beef, chicken, extra firm tofu, or pork would work well)
  6. 1 tbsp Canola oil
  7. 1 small Onion, sliced
  8. 2 cups Your favourite stir fry vegetables (peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli), sliced
Sauce
  1. 2 tbsp Hoisin sauce
  2. 1 tbsp Soy sauce
  3. 1 tsp Sesame oil
  4. 1 tsp Fresh ginger (grated)
  5. 1 tsp Corn starch
  6. 3 tbsp Chicken broth
Instructions
  1. Combine marinade ingredients together and combine with bite sized pieces of your meat or alternative of choice. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Add 1 tbsp canola oil to a large frying pan over medium heat. Add marinated meat and allow to cook through (10-15 minutes). Remove from pan.
  3. Add onion to pan and saute until soft, then add vegetables and cook for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
  5. When vegetables are soft add the meat back and the sauce mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Notes
  1. Feel free to double the sauce if you prefer to have more.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
Looking for more easy meal ideas? Check out our Leftover Turkey Quesadillas or Ham and Leek Quiche.

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Pumpkin Seeds

Last week, we shared with you how to roast the pumpkin to get some great puree for all your pumpkin baking needs. In an effort to use the entire pumpkin, here is a great way to roast the seeds for a quick and easy snack. While the whole idea of of cleaning out the pumpkin and separating the goop from the seeds is less than desirable, it can be oddly cathartic, and you do get a tasty treat out of them.

 

 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
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Ingredients
  1. Seeds from 1 medium pumpkin - cleaned, rinsed, and dried
  2. 2 tbsp canola oil
  3. 1 generous tsp spices - salt, pepper, garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300F.
  2. Separate the pumpkin seeds from the goop it is attached to. Rinse them well, until they are no longer slimy, and dry them before putting them into the oven.
  3. Combine the cleaned seeds with the oil and the spices. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake for approximately 30 min, stirring every 10 minutes.
Notes
  1. If you are courageous enough to play with spices, feel free to add a touch of cayenne to give it some spice.
  2. If the pumpkin is on the larger (or smaller) side, adjust the oil and seasonings accordingly. If the pumpkin is larger, increase the oil to 2 1/2 tbsp, and the seasonings to 1 1/2 tsp. If it is smaller, decrease the oil to 1 1/2 tbsp, and the seasonings to 3/4 tsp.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
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Roasted Pumpkin

Today I’m here to tell you that pumpkins aren’t only for carving!

Pre-halloween is the best time to find pumpkins at the grocery store and turn them into roasted pumpkin puree! The method outlined below works for any kind of pumpkin, although smaller pumpkins will be easier to manage. Don’t be afraid to take one home and try it yourself!

Roasting a pumpkin and turning it into all-purpose pumpkin puree is really, really easy and so much cheaper than the stuff you buy in a can. Roasted pumpkin can be used in oatmeal, soups, muffins, and in many, many more applications.

Roasted Pumpkin

How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree:

  1. Cut the top off your pumpkin. I find a longer serrated knife to work best and I start by stabbing a hole about 2-3 inches from the stem and cutting a circle all the way around the stem. You can then grab the stem and pull the top out. 
  2. Remove the seeds from your pumpkin. Cut your pumpkin in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and the slimy orange insides. You can save the seeds to roast. 
  3. Roast your pumpkin. Preheat your oven to 400F and cut your pumpkin into smaller pieces that are about the same height, this will allow for even cooking. Roast your pumpkin skin side up on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 1 hour. Check doneness every 15 minutes or so with a fork and flip; you also want the skin to blister a bit so that it is easier to remove.
  4. Peel and puree your pumpkin. Using a paring knife to help, peel off the pumpkin skin. Puree the pumpkin in your food processor until smooth.
  5. Store your pumpkin. Keep roasted pumpkin puree in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
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Small Batch Refrigerator Pickles

Small Batch Refrigerator Pickles

Late summer/early fall is my favourite time of year. There’s so much wonderful produce available and so many options to preserve it. Preserving some of the produce you come across at this time of year allows you to experience the freshness and flavours throughout the winter. 

Today we’re sharing a quick way to keep those garden cucumbers hanging around just a little longer. This is a refrigerator pickle recipe which means we are not hot water canning it, it’s not shelf stable, and it MUST always be kept in the fridge. You can keep these in the fridge for up to two months, but I promise they won’t last that long. 

Small Batch Refrigerator Pickles

Small Batch Refrigerator Pickles
This quick and easy refrigerator pickle recipe makes about one 2-cup mason jar of pickles.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 lb cucumbers, sliced
Brine
  1. 1 clove garlic, crushed
  2. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  3. 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  4. 1/2 cup water
  5. 1/2 cup vinegar
  6. 1 tsp pickling spice
Instructions
  1. Add sliced cucumbers to a sterilized 2-cup mason jar, set aside.
  2. Add brine ingredients to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  3. Pour brine over cucumbers.
  4. Allow jar to cool for about 1 hour and then refrigerate for up to 2 months.
Notes
  1. These pickles will taste great right away but will become more flavourful the longer they sit in their brine.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
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Fresh Salsa

Nothing beats the fresh summer produce that we get fresh from the garden – zucchini, peppers, beans, peas, cucumbers, and not least of all tomatoes.  Pretty soon, any avid gardener is going to have more tomatoes than they can shake a stick at!  

Here is a great, super simple fresh salsa to answer the age-old question: what do I do with all these tomatoes?


Fresh Salsa

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How to Grill Vegetables

Warm summer nights means it’s time to break out the BBQ for dinner! 

Don’t be fooled into thinking the BBQ is only good for cooking meats, you can also grill an assortment of vegetables with great results. We’ve done asparagus, peppers, onions, potatoes, and zucchini – just to name a few! Take your BBQ skills to the next level and follow these easy steps to grill vegetables at home. You’ll become a master griller in no time!

How to Grill Vegetables

How to Grill Vegetables

  1. Become familiar with your grill and have the tools you’ll need. Know how to turn it on and off (both the BBQ and the propane source) and how to clean it properly. Make sure you have a BBQ brush (or other cleaning device as well as metal tongs and a flipper.
  2. Set your BBQ to about medium heat. We like to turn the grill on, scrub it clean, then start cooking. 
  3. Cut your vegetables. Make sure to cut them in even thicker strips – especially if you’re doing something like zucchini, eggplant, or peppers. You want them to cook evenly, not too quickly, and you don’t want them to be so small they fall through the grate.
  4. Season your vegetables. Add your vegetables to a bowl and coat with 1-2 tbsp canola oil and seasonings of your choice. Try salt, pepper, garlic powder, and italian seasoning.
  5. Cook your vegetables. Place veggies on the top rack across the grill and allow to cook on one side for 7-10 minutes. Flip them and cook for another 7-10 minutes. Depending on the heat of your BBQ or if your cooking other things at the same time the times could vary. 

It’s important to never leave a BBQ unattended and know about your grill before you use it (i.e. read the manual or get a tutorial from a master griller).

How to Grill Vegetables

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Spinach Salad with Raspberry Dressing

Whenever we attend a potluck we like to come with a veggie-packed dish in hand and having a go-to potluck worthy salad in your repertoire is always a great idea. Not only can you prepare it in a pinch but if you always have the required ingredients in your kitchen, you can make it any time you need. This spinach salad with a raspberry dressing is packed with flavour and contains many ingredients that you may already have on hand in your kitchen.

Spinach Salad with Raspberry Dressing

This salad is also incredibly versatile and can be made with any combination of veggies you might find in your fridge. The dressing we created for this salad is made using pureed raspberries, making it 400% fancier than any other dressing you could buy at the store! We always have frozen raspberries in our freezer and combined with a few other pantry staples you can create a restaurant worthy dressing in a split second!

Spinach Salad with Raspberry Dressing

Spinach Salad with Raspberry Dressing
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Salad
  1. 225 g Baby Spinach
  2. 1/2 Red Onion, sliced thin
  3. 1 English Cucumber, diced
  4. 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  5. 1/3 cup Pecans
Dressing
  1. 1/2 cup Raspberries, thawed frozen or fresh
  2. 1/4 cup Canola Oil
  3. 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  4. pinch salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Mash up raspberries to form a puree. Combine in a mason jar with the other dressing ingredients and set aside.
  2. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Shake up your dressing to ensure it's mixed and serve it with the finished spinach salad.
Notes
  1. You can add or substitute any of the vegetables in the salad for what you have available in your fridge.
  2. Feel free to roast the pecans before adding them to your salad.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
 
If you’re looking for more ways to use up your spinach, why not try our sautéed spinach. Oh, and don’t forget to store your leafy greens properly to get the most life out of them!
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Sauteed Spinach

Sauteed Spinach

As spring slowly turns into summer, us avid gardeners are looking forward to harvesting our first lettuce, baby kale, swiss chard, and perhaps also spinach.  That is, if we haven’t already made a fresh salad with the first cuttings!

This super simple sauteed spinach recipe takes about 10 minutes from start to finish, and can easily be modified to add other great, fresh vegetables if you want.

Sauteed Spinach

Sauteed Spinach
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Ingredients
  1. 6 oz spinach
  2. 3 cloves of garlic
  3. 2 tbsp canola oil
  4. 1 tbsp lemon juice, preferably fresh
Instructions
  1. Heat canola oil in non-stick saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Peel garlic and crush with the side of the knife, so they are cracked open. Add to the pan and let them heat through until they become fragrant, about 30 sec-1 min.
  3. Add spinach to the pan and saute. The spinach will shrink down immensely; it will only take about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the lemon juice to the pan, put a lid on the pan and let the spinach steam for 1-2 minutes.
Notes
  1. This recipe is easily doubled. Feel free to double the amount of spinach, or add different greens to the mix. If you are adding kale or chard, it may take longer for the leaves to cook down.
  2. To make a variation, begin by sauteeing some diced onions,peppers, and spices. Add the spinach (or kale/chard) at the end with a shot of cooking wine or stock and let steam until tender.
River City Cookery http://rivercitycookery.com/
Do you have an over load of spinach in the house? Here are some of our best tips for storing leafy greens!

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How to Freeze Rhubarb

How to Freeze Rhubarb

It’s the season for rhubarb, are you ready?

Rhubarb may be a new vegetable for you (yes, it’s a vegetable!) or you may find yourself coming into a whole bunch of it thanks to a kind coworker or friend. Your next thought may be “what can I do with this stuff!” Never fear, we’re here to share how to freeze rhubarb so you’re able to enjoy it year round!

A few important things about rhubarb:

  • The leaves are poisonous so make sure to cut them off (you can compost them)
  • The stalks have a sweet and tart taste and are great in pies, crisps, and jam. You can also make stewed rhubarb to top your ice cream.
  • It has been said that spring rhubarb is nicer to work with because it’s less woody. Why not take advantage while the pickings are plenty!
  • You don’t need to do anything (i.e. blanch) to the rhubarb before you freeze it.
  • Frozen rhubarb can be used in almost any way that fresh would be used in but be sure to check your recipes notes if you’re unsure.

How do Freeze Rhubarb:

1. Trim rhubarb stalks off the plant as close to the ground as you can.

2. Trim off the leaves (toss or use in your compost bin) and wash your stalks.

3. Chop into small pieces (0.5-1 cm in width).

4. Place in a freezer bag or container and freeze as is – I like to portion into 1-2 cups and label as such.

How to Freeze Rhubarb

5. You can freeze them individually on a tray so that you can portion out what you like when you like. This way requires more space initially but can be more convenient for portioning in the long run.

How to Freeze Rhubarb

Find more rhubarb facts from Getty Stewart here.

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