Rickety Uncles

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Get your candy fix quick with this easy treat. If you love caramel flavour this is the cookie/candy for you and the oats give it a bit of a “healthy” spin.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

In a bowl stir together the oats, baking powder and salt.
In a heavy saucepan melt the butter. Add the brown sugar raising the heat to medium-high until it boils. Let it bubble gently without stirring for a few minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the dry ingredients. Then stir in the vanilla.
Press into an ungreased 8”x8” pan.
Flatten the mixture evenly in the pan with back of spoon.
Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool, cut into squares and enjoy!

Creamy, dreamy rhubarb pie

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If you have “fear of making pie” this pie is for you!  It’s easy to make, uses just a few ingredients and making the crust is low stress because it uses cookie crumbs. The tang of rhubarb mellows out in the creamy filling. We’ve made it here with Molasses Crinkles cookie crumbs that contrast well in taste with the rhubarb.

Ingredients

Crust
6 Molasses Crinkle Cookies from Reesor’s Market & Bakery (our chewy, ginger cookie), or 1½ cups of cookie crumbs that you think goes well with rhubarb.

Filling
3 cups chopped rhubarb
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup 35% whipping cream or Half & Half cream
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp almond extract or vanilla
pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Make the crust
Place 6 Molasses Crinkle Cookies in blender or food processor. Chop until they are fine crumbs. Using a soup spoon press the finely crushed cookies evenly into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate.  Set aside.

Make the filling
Combine the rhubarb, sugar and the cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Add a quarter cup of  water. Bring to a simmer, stirring often, until the rhubarb softens and the mixture thickens, add more water if necessary, watching that it doesn’t burn.
In a medium bowl whisk together the sour cream, cream, eggs, almond extract and salt. Pour the cream mixture over the rhubarb and stir together.
Pour the mixture into the cookie crumb crust. Place the pie on a cookie sheet so that it’s easy to get the pie into and out of the oven.

Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until the pie is golden, partially set in the middle and set around the edges. Cool. Then refrigerate for a few hours, until chilled or enjoy it slightly warm.

Serves 6-8.

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Extra Clumpy Peanut Butter & Maple Granola

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We love peanuts and peanut butter in all kinds of ways, but did you know maple goes great with peanuts? March is maple month in Ontario, so come on board the maple syrup train and make this delicious and easy maple syrup and peanut butter granola. You’ll be nibbling on these clumps and chunks for snacks and looking forward to your nutty granola breakfast with milk or yogourt.

Our bakeries and commercial kitchen are peanut-free, so we’re sharing this recipe for you to make at home. (Just so you know: You can find Canadian grown natural Redskin peanut butter, other nut butters and delicious Pickard’s Ontario redskin peanuts and our own ready-made Reesor’s granolas at our Stouffville market.)

Calgary food writer and cookbook author Julie Van Rosendaal created this recipe which Jay’s sister Karla makes for her family. Thanks Julie for allowing us to share this recipe.

 

4 c. old-fashioned (large flake) oats
2 c. whole (coarsely chopped), sliced or slivered almonds
1 c. shredded coconut
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. maple syrup or liquid honey
1 c. dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries, cherries, chopped dried figs, dates or apricots (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325F.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, coconut and salt.

In a small saucepan, combine the peanut butter, brown sugar and maple syrup over medium heat and stir until everything is just melted and smooth.

Pour over the oat mixture and stir until well combined. Spread the mixture onto a large rimmed cookie sheet or a roasting pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring once or twice, until pale golden and crunchy/clumpy. Careful stirring will preserve the delectable clumps.

Let cool and then stir in the dried fruit. Store in Mason jars or an airtight container. Makes about 6 cups.

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Squash & Sweet Potato Soup with Flavours of the Caribbean

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This easy and delicious winter soup has lovely seasonal flavours delicious for Christmas-time.   Don’t worry about the long list of ingredients which is mostly aromatic herbs and spices that pay off with big flavour.  If you don’t have every spice or if you want to use dried spices go ahead and make it to suit your taste. Strategic use of the microwave to cook the squash and sweet potato makes this soup come together very quickly.

For extra flavour, peel and cut the squash and sweet potatoes into 1” chunks and roast them at 350 ° for about 1 hour. But using the microwave saves a lot of time and effort and the soup still tastes great.

Ingredients

2 lbs. butternut squash or your favourite squash or cooking pumpkin
1 lb. sweet potato

2 Tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 sweet red pepper, chopped finely, or part of a hot pepper to taste
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp orange zest
1 Tbsp curry powder
1⁄4 tsp ground nutmeg

2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp black pepper

1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock
1⁄4 cup 35% cream (optional)
1⁄4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (optional)

Directions

Slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  (Save the seeds to roast separately at 350 ° with your favourite spices such as cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper.)  Scrub the potato and stick it several times with a fork, so it doesn’t explode in the microwave.

Microwave the squash and sweet potato until soft.  Let cool until able to handle them and then scoop out the flesh of each of the vegetables and set aside together in a bowl.

Meanwhile, heat a large pot with the oil over med-high heat.  Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and add the sweet red pepper, garlic, and ginger and cook just until fragrant.
Add the thyme, orange zest, curry powder, nutmeg, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves, mixing everything thoroughly. Add butter, brown sugar, salt and black pepper.  Stir together until well mixed.
Add the squash and sweet potato and stir well.
Add the chicken stock, stirring to blend everything together.

Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
Allow the soup to cool a bit and carefully use a stick blender or a blender to puree until smooth.

Add the cream and coconut milk if desired and stir.  Reheat gently if necessary.
Garnish with additional cream or coconut cream when serving.
Yield 10 cups.

Crunchy Cajun Corn Salad

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This zesty salad can be made with fresh or frozen sweet corn kernels. When you have some  leftover cooked corn on the cob just cut off the kernels and whip up a salad.  Since frozen corn is blanched (lightly cooked before freezing), you can use it right out of the freezer when making the salad.  Add the amount of Tabasco sauce or chill powder you prefer to get the right amount of heat.

Salad Ingredients
4 cups corn, freshly cooked or frozen (about 4 cobs)
1 large green or red pepper, or combination of both colours, chopped fine
6 green onions chopped
1/2 cup minced parsley
1 cup chopped tomatoes or cherry tomatoes

Mix all salad ingredients together in a serving bowl. Set aside.

Dressing
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp mayonnaise (Hellmann’s Light works well)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce, fresh minced chilis or chilli powder, to taste
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil, to taste

In a large bowl mix together all the dressing ingredients, except olive oil, until combined. Add olive oil in a slow stream, whisking until slightly thickened

Pour dressing over the other salad ingredients and toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight before serving.

6-8 servings.

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Multi-Grain Crepes

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Do you know what a food hack is? It’s a way to make your cooking life a little easier, or a different, innovative way to prepare a food.
Here’s a way to use your package of Reesor’s Multi-Grain Pancake Mix to go a little “gourmet”—make crepes.

Yields about 12-14, 6 inch crepes

1 cup of dry Reesor’s Multi-grain Pancake Mix or white flour
2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 Tbsp canola oil or melted butter

Put one cup of the dry pancake mix in a blender.  Grind until smooth textured.

Add the remaining ingredients to the blender and whir until blended.
Transfer to a bowl or put the blender jar in the fridge for about 30 minutes to rest and to let the air bubbles release (if you have time). Or just go ahead with the next steps.

Preheat over medium-high heat, an approximately 8” frying pan or a crepe pan if you have one.
Add a small amount of oil. Pour a little less than 1/4 cup of batter into the hot pan and tilt the pan to spread the batter into a thin, round layer. Turn the crepe when it is bubbly, firm and lightly browned on the other side. Loosen the edges before turning. Then turn and brown it on the other side.
Stir the batter and scoop it from the bottom of the bowl each time you scoop out the batter.  Repeat. Flip the finished crepes onto a plate, stacking them up until ready to fill and serve.

Be prepared for the first one or two crepes to be imperfect, but as you go along the crepes should look better. If you use plain flour instead of pancake mix add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

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Filling suggestions

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Sauté 2 cloves of mashed garlic and make a white sauce or a cream sauce, and add shredded cheddar cheese or your favourite cheese with 1 tsp of lemon juice to the sauce.  Serve with asparagus.

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Whipped cream and strawberries.

Oven Roasted Asparagus & Garlic

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Roasting or grilling asparagus enhances the sweetness of these delightful spears of spring.  You can add your favourite seasonings or keep it simple with just salt and pepper.

1 lb. Ontario asparagus
Olive oil for drizzling
Salt, pepper
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
Balsamic or red wine vinegar, or lemon juice.

Preheat oven to 450 F

Snap off or trim one inch from the bottom of each spear to remove any tough parts.
Rinse or soak in water to remove any sand. Pat dry.
Arrange spears in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet. (Lining the sheet with parchment paper makes clean up easier.)
Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and minced garlic.
Bake for 6-9 minutes until it reaches your preferred tenderness. Arrange on a serving platter. Sprinkle with a little balsamic or lemon juice. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Traditional Quebec Poor Man’s Maple Syrup Pudding

Baking this pudding in a clear dish lets you see the magic of the syrup going down to the bottom while the cake floats on top.  Serving with a dollop of sour cream is a nice contrast for this VERY sweet, but easy to make dessert.

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Cake layer ingredients:
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4  cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla

Sauce layer ingredients:
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup maple syrup

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Grease an 8”x8” glass or metal baking dish.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
Using a mixer, beat the sugar and butter until they are light and fluffy. Beat in the egg.
Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk in 2 parts, until smooth and combined.
Scrape the batter into the prepared dish.

Combine the syrup ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil for two minutes. Cool for one minute, then carefully pour the sauce over the batter, avoiding making holes in the batter.  Do not stir.
Bake in centre of the preheated oven until golden and the centre of the cake bounces back when touched, about 40 minutes.
When it comes out of the oven it’s quite runny, but the syrup thickens as it cools a bit. Dust with icing sugar as a garnish.
Serve warm, with sour cream, ice-cream or whipped cream if desired.

Adapted from Canada’s Favourite Recipes, by Rose Murray & Elizabeth Baird

Caramelized Onion & Cheese Mini Pizzas

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These pizzas are hearty, party finger food when made mini-style or you can roll out the dough into one large piece to make a pizza for an informal supper with a side salad. Caramelized onions are wonderfully rich, golden brown and sweet.

Make ahead tips:

1. You can prepare the onions the day before and refrigerate them, or prepare them while the dough rises.

2. You can assemble the unbaked pizzas, freeze them flat on a cookie sheet, then transfer to a tightly sealed container, and bake them as needed.

Pizza Dough

Make pizza dough using your favourite recipe or use purchased pizza dough from Reesor’s.

Let the dough rise in an oiled bowl, sealed with plastic wrap in a warm place until it’s doubled in size.
On a floured counter use your hands to shape the dough into a cylinder about 18” long.
Using a large, sharp knife cut the dough into about 24 pieces, about the size of a golf ball.
Using your hands or a rolling pin flatten each piece of dough until it’s about 1/4” thick and about 3” in diameter. If you can’t make it perfectly round, don’t worry.  Call them rustic!

Sprinkle corn meal on a cookie sheet. Place about 12 pieces of the rolled out dough on the prepared cookie sheet in even rows about 1” apart.

Toppings

Caramelized onions (see recipe below)
1 1/2 cup grated Mozzarella, Asiago or your favourite cheese
1/4 cup finely grated, Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Dijon style mustard
Sprinkle of thyme or your favourite herb

Allow about 45 minutes to caramelize the onions with occasional stirring.  They should end up soft and still have structure. Using a large frying pan and not over-crowding the onions allows the onions’ sugars to caramelize more quickly and reduce in size. Otherwise the onions will first have to steam and then evaporate the water from the onions before they caramelize.

Caramelized Onions

4 large Ontario onions, cut in half, then sliced about 1/8” thick.
1-2 Tbsp cooking oil
1/8 tsp salt

Pre-heat a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the oil and then add the sliced onions.
Moderate the heat as needed. Keep the heat high enough to keep them cooking, but don’t let them burn. If necessary add a little water to get the bits that stick to the bottom of the pan.

Assemble the pizzas

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Using the back of a spoon, spread Dijon style mustard on top of each piece of dough.
Place 1-2 Tbsp of the caramelized onion on top of the mustard on the dough.
Sprinkle about 1 Tbsp of the cheese & a little Parmesan on top.
Add a pinch of thyme or your favourite herb on top.

Bake on the lowest rack of the oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the pizza is golden brown.

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