Roasted Beet Ketchup Recipe

I’m back from my recent vacation to my hometown (Winnipeg). It had been 4 years since I’ve set foot on Canadian soil, and I had a wonderful time. Because we were specifically visiting for Folklorama, we pretty much ate the entire time. No joke.

Now, I am refreshed, inspired, and ready to go! Expect at LEAST a good handful of ethnic recipes to pop up on this blog over the next while, as I come up with time to develop them.

Today’s recipe is one that was inspired at the Indian pavilion. There was a beet ketchup available for sale, and my husband JUMPED on it. He’s an avid hater of tomatoes. While he’s ok with tomatoes in ketchup, he’d just as soon never have to eat tomatoes of any kind. As he also adores beets in general, the idea was GOLD to him. So, he bought a bottle.

It tasted good, but was very thin and not really ketchup-y. Also, it didn’t really taste like they’d been roasted, and I pictured roasted beets making a better ketchup. So, I developed this recipe this weekend, using my awesome Pickled Beets Recipe for inspiration on the seasoning!

If you like beets, you’ll love this. Even if you like normal ketchup and have no issues with beets, you’ll enjoy this as a fun alternative. It satisfies the “creamy but acidic” thing you want from ketchup, is casual and fun while still being earthy, rich, and fancy. SO good!

Enjoy!

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Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Baked Reuben Poppers

Taking a quick break from developing my next cookbook, to write a few quick blog entries. Time to go through a backlog of older recipes and photos!

Back a few years – damn, had to be about 6, now – I made deep fried Reuben rolls for my husband. Think egg rolls, but completely different filling. I’d had the idea after having some “Ham and Swiss” deep fried dough balls at a pub somewhere a few years earlier. With Porter being completely in love with Reubens, it was brilliant!

Several years later, though… being married to a cook/baker is taking its toll, and he’s trying to avoid excess fat and calories. So, I decided to make a baked version of this favourite of his. There’s still a bit of oil involved – it’s necessary to crisp up the wonton wrapper skin – but it’s not *bathed* in oil. So… much better for you, even if it’s still not exactly health food!

Says he: “The Reuben poppers are delicious pockets of yum. Crap, I’m not good with words. I love the crispy texture of the crust with the kraut and beef. I could eat way too many of them!”

Baked Reuben Poppers



Baked Reuben Poppers


Convention Sloppy Joes

It’s just a few short days til Convergence!

This is always an exciting time of year for us, but after the past 6-10 months we’ve had… we really need this. Time to just get away from everything and kick back with the local geek community in a BIG way. Also: We get to break out the Weeping Angel costumes again!

This year, with the convention bigger than ever, we decided to plan ahead with regards to food. In an effort to save both money and a parking spot (which will be hard to come by!), we’ve decided to make a big batch of Sloppy Joes to share with our roommates.

After much thought, we decided that this would be the perfect convention food. It’s cheap and easy to make, easy to serve, and tastes great. This version is loaded with protein and vegetables, two things that can be hard to come by – or skipped altogether – in the midst of convention festivities. It can be made ahead and frozen – not only saving time in the precious days leading up to the convention, but also to add as “ice” in the cooler. Also, leaving it to simmer all afternoon in a crock pot only enhances the flavor!

A few notes about this recipe:

– I created this recipe specifically to be made ahead and frozen, specifically for use in a slow cooker. See the end of the recipe for how to tweak this for immediate use – it would be great for a party!

– We did this based on what we had on hand, and it came out amazing. If you want to swap out types of pepper, add or subtract onion, etc… go nuts 🙂 It’s a very versatile recipe.

– Having a food processor comes in really, really handy for this recipe. You can totally chop everything by hand, but food processors make REALLY easy work of this recipe!

– This is suitable for a wide range of dietary needs and allergies. It’s inherently gluten free (Check your steak spice and Chorizo to be sure.. and use a GF bun!), dairy free, etc.

– Usually, you would serve Sloppy Joes on a toasted bun, and on a proper plate. In honour of Convergence – and for the sake of “Convention Food” authenticity – we have photographed this on an untoasted bun, and on a styrofoam plate 🙂








Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Polenta Sandwich

Recently my husband and I took a trip up to Duluth, MN. It was *almost* my first time up there – we’d made the trip a couple years ago, encountered car problems as soon as we arrived, and had to turn right back around for a VERY stressful ride home, hoping the engine didn’t blow!

It was an amazing overnight vacation for us – much needed stress relief, and went a long way to temporarily quell some of my homesickness issues. I’ll tell you all about it and share some photos in a few days, but today, let’s talk FOOD.

We pulled over to have lunch as we drove a bit further up the north shore, using a maps app to find whatever was close. We settled on the Splashing Rock Restaurant, and we were thrilled – it was pretty much empty at the time we arrived (we love quiet restaurants!), and it had an amazing view of the lake. It was *perfect*. Their “North Woods Wild Rice & Forest Mushroom Burger” caught my eye, and I recommended it to my husband. Holy crap, it was probably the best sandwich (not really a burger) that either of us had ever had. Even before we left the parking lot, we knew I’d have to recreate it at home.

Well, I didn’t waste any time – I created this recipe the following day! Aside from changing “forest mushrooms” to the more accessible baby bellas, this recipe turned pretty much bang on… insanely delicious. Also, it gave us an opportunity to cook up some of the beautiful, long grained wild rice we picked up at a roadside shop on the trip.

This recipe is easy to do, but a little involved. Luckily, it makes an entire pan of the polenta patties – probably 10 servings? I forgot to count, and really, it depends on the size of bread you use. Either way – great payout for the effort, both taste wise and volumetrically! My husband was thrilled to live on these sandwiches for the entire week following the trip!

A bit of a confession: I didn’t bother making roasted garlic aioli myself – I roasted up a few heads of garlic and stirred it into commercially made mayo. Whatever – it was still amazing!

Enjoy!








Fancy Tea Sandwiches: Tarragon Chicken Salad and More

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the fancy little tea sandwiches my mother used to make for parties when I was a kid. I have NO idea what put it in my head… but I remember how she’d buy unsliced bread, carefully slice it lengthwise, and make fancy little pinwheel roll sandwich bites.

It made me think – you really don’t see those around much anymore. Sure, they’re a bit of work… but they’re super cute! Also, now I guess they’re retro-chic, right?

This past weekend we attended a big neighborhood BBQ, and I decided to use the occasion as an excuse to play around with fancy little tea sandwiches, in a few styles. Aside from a variety of cut styles, I wanted a variety of fillings: tarragon chicken salad, cucumber and cream cheese, and a dilled egg salad.

You know, it’s kind of funny. We have a VERY varied diet here, between food blogging and cookbook writing. It’s been ages – probably years – since either my husband or I had an egg salad sandwich. While making these sandwiches this weekend, we were surprised at the reminder that we really LOVE egg salad sandwiches.



I guess they’re just something simple enough to forget about entirely? Weird how something so basic and uncomplicated can really hit the spot – I imagine there will be much more egg salad in our future!

Anyway, these sandwiches were a big hit at the BBQ, and they’re a great option for bringing to holiday potlucks and such… just be sure to keep them cool, and throw out any that haven’t been eaten after about 2 hours. Mayonnaise + summer, you know!

Let’s start off with my favorite of the three sandwiches in this entry: Tarragon Chicken Salad!

This is an elegant take on chicken salad sandwiches, with a nice variety of tastes and textures. HUGE hit!

Tarragon Chicken Salad Sandwich Recipe

1 rotisserie chicken
1 granny smith apple, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp fresh tarragon leaves, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper (1+ tsp each)

Remove the skin from the chicken and discard (Ideally in your stomach!). Pick all of the meat off the chicken, chop into small, uniform pieces and place in a large bowl.

Toss the apple pieces with lemon juice to coat well. Add apple, celery and onion to the chicken, stir well. Add in mayo and tarragon, stir until everything is well incorporated and evenly coated.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To assemble mini triangle sandwiches:

Remove crusts from bread slices, and lightly butter each slice of bread. Fill each sandwich with a good amount of chicken salad (too too much as to be gushing out everywhere!), and cut in half diagonally to form 2 triangles. Cut each triangle in half again.

Wrap tightly and refrigerate til serving!

Next, we made come Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwiches:

No real recipe here:

Lightly butter each slice of bread, then spread with softened cream cheese. Layer thin slices of English cucumber (It’s less watery than normal cucumbers!) between the bread, seasoned with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until serving!

These are great as-is, but are also great with paper-thin slices of fresh radishes and/or watercress as well!

Finally, we have the Dilled Egg Salad Pinwheels:

15 hard boiled eggs, cooled, peeled, and chopped
6 stalks celery
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup+ mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

2-3 loaves of white sandwich bread, sliced lengthwise, with crusts removed
Softened butter

In a large bowl, gently combine eggs, celery, and onion. Add mayo and mustard, stir gently until everything is well combined. Stir in fresh dill, season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Use a rolling pin to gently flatten out each strip of bread SLIGHTLY (don’t completely flatten it!). Lightly butter one side of each bread strip, then spread each with a bit of egg salad. (I like to do this assembly line style, goes much faster!)

Starting at one end of a bread strip, roll bread up tightly, but without actually compressing it.

Use a sharp knife to cut each roll into rounds – usually 3 or 4, depending on the width of the bread. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until serving!

Ok, I have an awful confession to make now. I created an abomination of a sandwich recipe AS A JOKE, and now I’m getting requests to include it in this blog entry. Let me explain myself, first.

When I put myself down for bringing fancy tea sandwiches to a BBQ with a particularly snarky group of friends, I took some gentle ribbing for bringing something so frou-frou. This prompted me to think “Haha! I’ll show you!”, and decided to come up with something that looks fancy, but was … not.

I submit to you, the inspiration for my flavor choices: Some extremely talented kids from our neighborhood, singing a very catchy and well done rap. I don’t even like rap, but I appreciate this:

Needless to say, that particular junk food combination is a THING in the area… so I decided to make “Hot Cheetos and Takis Salad Sandwiches”.

Interestingly (appallingly?) they were a bit of a hit, both at the BBQ, and online. Personally, I tried a teeny piece of the filling and that was more than enough, LOL.

I’ve had a request to post it to my blog so it can be shared, so I did it up as a jpg. Click here to view that image!




Paneer Burgers… or “Indian Cheeseburgers”

A while back, one of my prison buddies MasterChef friends – Duckie – posted a photo of her dinner on Facebook. While that in itself isn’t anything special – my FB news feed has been FLOODED with dinner pics, since coming home from this MC adventure – man, that photo was the stuff that dreams are made of. Well, most of her photos are – they always have everyone drooling – but this really stood out to me.

It was a burger that featured not a meat patty, but a big chunk of paneer that had been breaded with corn flakes! As she described it on her blog, Duckie’s Dine-asty:

“Paneer Burger! Fried paneer on a garlic roll with cabbage, carrot, and a sweet and spicy tamarind chutney…accompanied by sweet potato fries and curried ketchup!”

… I knew I’d have to do my own version, and SOON. The idea of just frying a big patty of paneer as a burger just seemed so hedonistic, it kind of made me giddy to think about it. I don’t usually get like that over something… vegetarian. LOL!

So, I thought about which direction I’d want to go with it. I decided that, rather than a cornflake breading, I’d go for a giant version of a paneer pakora. Rather than using my cilantro-mint chutney with it, I’d make a mayo based on that idea, for a creamier texture. Then, to top it off, a mess of quick pickled veggies for some color, brightness, and acidity!

YES. It was every bit as awesome as it looks. My husband claims “I could eat that again and again!”, and that it ranks right up there with my Apple Chicken Burgers with Basil and Gouda. Given how completely buts he is about THOSE.. that’s saying something!

So freaking good. Yum!

Duckie is ALL kinds of awesome, even beyond her cooking. She was one of the first people I met in LA, very friendly, outgoing, hilarious, and .. inclusive. On a personal note – she even publicly ripped a bully a new one on my behalf! I mean… in a spectacular fashion. I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone do that for me. This whole thing has been filled with unique experiences for me, but I digress – Duckie is awesome. That is all. 🙂

Paneer Burgers with Quick Pickle and Cilantro-Mint Mayo





“Porter House” Grainy Rye Bread

Sometimes, you just need a big, flavorful bread. Not just a basic rye, but something with a lot of bold flavors and textures. For that, I created this “Porter House” grainy rye bread.

Not only does this bread benefit from the addition of a variety of seeds – caraway, mustard, pumpkin, and celery – but also the addition of onion and garlic puree. The resulting bread has a beautiful complexity, without being overbearing at all. Eat this fresh out of the oven with a bit of butter, or make a sandwich from it – it’s actually quite versatile!

"Porter House" Grainy Rye Bread



"Porter House" Grainy Rye Bread


Apple Chicken Burgers with Basil and Gouda

The other day, we were having breakfast at a local restaurant, when a menu card caught our eye. Among the various offerings was a chicken burger with roasted apple slices. Huh. That sounded kind of good, and we made the decision that I would have to take that idea and run with it – and soon. If words on a paper can make us drool when we’re already stuffed to the gills with breakfast… well, that’s some serious potential, right there.

Well, inspiration came to fruition pretty quickly – we were blissfully enjoying these burgers the very next evening. Not being facetious on the “blissful”, either – these were amazing. I’m not usually a fan of poultry burgers, but I addressed my concerns (blah flavor, dry texture) by adding some shredded apple into the ground chicken – a weird epiphany, I know. It was also our first time “harvesting” our newly planted basil, and – especially after a LONG weekend working on our side yard – that made it feel even more special.

I knew that my husband really – REALLY – enjoyed his burger, but had to laugh this morning when I went to pick up the images from the folder he’d saved them to.

Instead of just “Chicken_Burgers” – how he’d normally name it – the folder was named “Freaking_Amazing_Chicken_Burgers”. Hrm. I guess he really loved these! Can’t say I blame him, they really were ridiculously good. I’ll be adding shredded apple to all future poultry burgers I make!

Apple Chicken Gouda Burgers with Basil






Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Mardi Gras – Time for my Muffaletta Recipe!

Happy Fat Tuesday, everyone!

Though I’ve never been to New Orleans during the Mardi Gras celebrations, this time of year holds a special place in my heart for a couple of reasons.

For one, it brings back a lot of memories of a trip to New Orleans (in the summertime, though!) a few years ago (Immediately pre-Katrina). A bunch of friends and I stayed in the French Quarter, and man.. what a crazy amount of culture is packed into one place! The sights, the sounds.. the food! Great times. I’d love to go back sometime, hopefully during the Mardi Gras celebrations. Sounds like a ton of crazy fun.

Anyway, more importantly, it reminds me of getting engaged to my husband. Sounds kinda weird, huh? It gets better. He proposed to me as the result of a very famous New Orleans sandwich – the Muffaletta!

He’d never heard of them before, but had a rabid love of olives. I remembered the delicious sandwich I’d experienced at Central Grocery in New Orleans, and decided that he HAD to try one. Muffalettas appeared to be pretty hard to come by here in Minnesota, so I made him one, from scratch. He went out and bought my ring the next day! LOL.

So, in honor of Fat Tuesday, here is my muffaletta recipe. No guarantee that you’ll have the same sparkly results from serving it (it ended up being the most expensive sandwich he’d ever had, lol!), but if you like olives, I’m sure you’ll love it!

Muffaletta Sandwich





The “Juicy Goosey” Burger – Perfect for Thanksgiving!

When I was a kid, my mother made the most fabulous burgers. She stuffed 2 thin patties with sauteed mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, and green onions. Best thing ever. We never had a special name for them, it was just “Mom’s stuffed burgers”.

Fast forward a bunch of years. I move to Minnesota, and find out that I can get something very similar to those burgers on many different menus here! Here in Minnesota, they have a proper name – “Juicy Lucy” or (ugh) “Jucy Lucy”. (Seriously, it hurt me to intentionally misspell a word like that!)

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, I want to share my new favorite adaptation of my childhood burger. I call it the “Juicy Goosey” – a turkey based, Thanksgiving version!

This burger is incredibly tasty, and might just be the ultimate seasonal comfort dinner. Unfortunately, photos just don’t do it justice. It’s not a pretty burger!

(more…)