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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Apple Fritter Loaf

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Apple & cinnamon come together for classic autumn flavour in this easy and delicious apple loaf.  Drizzling it with the simple frosting takes it from everyday to dress-up.

1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 apple, peeled and chopped into 3/4” chunks. Any apple is fine.  We used a Courtland. Mix the apple with 1 Tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.

Glaze:

1/2 cup icing sugar
1-2 tablespoons of milk or cream,
Stir together in a cup until you get to a drizzling consistency.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Using parchment paper gives extra-easy removal.
  2. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  3. Beat white sugar and butter together in a bowl using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated; add vanilla extract.
  4. Combine flour and baking powder together in a small bowl; stir into creamed butter mixture. Mix milk into batter until smooth.
  5. Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan; add half the apples and sprinkle the apples with half the brown sugar mixture. Lightly pat apple mixture into batter. Pour the remaining batter over apple layer; top with remaining apples and brown sugar mixture. Lightly pat apples into batter.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until the cake is firm to the touch or a toothpick in the center of the loaf comes out clean, 40-50 minutes.

Let cool for about 15 minutes before drizzling with glaze.

Adapted from blogger:  RumblyTummy

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Corn on the Cob & Chicken in a Pot

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This is a hearty and wholesome meal that you can make in one pot in about an hour.  We like it with Reesor’s sweet corn, of course!

3 Tbsp butter or oil
3 lbs. chicken legs, about 10
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp tarragon leaves or thyme
1/2 cup water
3 or 4 cobs of corn, in halves or thirds
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1” chunks
2 medium tomatoes, cut into 1” chunks

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Melt butter or oil; add chicken.   Turn the chicken over to avoid sticking and cook until chicken is lightly browned.
Reduce heat to medium, add the minced garlic, and salt & pepper. Stir to avoid burning the garlic.
Add cobs of corn, tarragon or thyme and water. Cover and cook until chicken is fork tender (20-25 minutes).
Place zucchini on top of chicken and corn, cover and steam for 3-6 minutes.
Remove from heat. Add tomatoes. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve.

Adapted from the cookbook, Land o’ Lakes “Treasury of Country Recipes”. 

Snacking Good Asparagus Quesadillas

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Try this  very easy and delicious quesadilla as a snack or appetizer.  If you like to eat savory food in the morning it’s a good healthy breakfast since it includes protein, vegetable and whole grains.

Ingredients
1/2 cup grated cheese
2 x 10” whole wheat tortillas
6-8 spears of asparagus
2 slices of ham

Wash asparagus.  Lay flat in a microwaveable dish, add a few tablespoons of water, cover, cook on high for 3 minutes.  Slice into 2” pieces after steaming to maintain nutrients.  Or lightly sauté raw asparagus in a tablespoon of oil until tender.  Slice into 2” pieces.

Sprinkle cheese on half of each tortilla.

Cut ham in strips and distribute on top of the cheese.  Lay tender-cooked asparagus on the ham.  Fold each tortilla in half and press closed.

Lay each half side by side in a heavy frying pan, such as a cast-iron pan.  Cook until lightly browned, turn, and cook until cheese is melted.  Cut into quarters and serve while warm.

Eat them plain to really taste the asparagus or serve with salsa.

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Quick-baking Meatloaf “Muffins”

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You can follow this recipe or use your own favourite meatloaf recipe and divide the meat into muffin cups instead of a loaf-pan. It’s a great way to pre-portion food for a family dinner, a pot-luck or for stashing in the freezer.

Makes 12 “muffins” or 6 larger portions. The photo is of the 12 portion size.
 
1 lb ground beef
1 egg
½ can tomato paste (2 ½ ozs.)
1 Tbsp or to taste of dried thyme, oregano or your favourite herb
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper or ¼ tsp hot sauce
½ cup rolled oats
½ onion, finely chopped
 
For the topping
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 ½ tsp mustard
1 ½ tsp prepared horseradish
 
Preheat oven to 375° F.  Lightly oil or spray a muffin tin.
Lightly whisk the egg in a large bowl. Whisk in the tomato paste and seasoning.
Add the ground beef, oats and onions.
Use your hands or a spoon to blend everything together. (Use a light touch to avoid over-working the meat which can make the meatloaf tough.)
Evenly spoon the seasoned ground beef into the muffin cups. 
Whisk together the topping ingredients and spoon or brush evenly over the meat.
Bake until cooked through and glazed; about 20-30 minutes.

Adapted from Chef Michael Smith’s Fast Flavours Cookbook.

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Tea-time Lemon Cheesecakes with Molasses Crinkle Cookie Crust

Lemon Cheesecakes with Molasses Crinkle Cookie Crust

These mini cheesecakes are less fussy to prepare and bake more quickly than a full-size cheesecake.  The ginger in our Reesor’s Molasses Crinkles Cookies contrasts well the lemon.

Crust
3 Reesor’s Molasses Crinkles Cookies
1 tsp lemon zest

Filling
8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 Tbsp sour cream or plain Greek-style yogurt

1/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350F and set rack at lower-middle position.
Line a muffin tin with 8 muffin papers.

In a food processor pulse the cookies until they are fine crumbs.

Spoon about one tablespoon of cookie crumbs in each of the prepared muffin cups. Using the back of a spoon pack the crumbs into an even layer.

Using a mixer cream together cream cheese, sour cream and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest just until blended.

Scoop about 1/4 cup of the cream cheese mixture into the prepared muffin tins.
 Bake for 25-30 minutes, until cheesecakes are set.
 Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin pan, then carefully transfer cheesecakes to a cooling rack to cool completely before refrigerating and enjoying.  These freeze well in a tightly sealed container.

Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream, or lemon curd and whipped cream.

Adapted from: Bakingbites.com

Maple-glazed Pork Tenderloin

Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Jay’s sister Karla recently prepared this recipe along with roasted broccoli in a warm lemon, butter, olive oil and garlic sauce; mashed sweet potatoes and a sorbet for dessert.  The leftover pork is great in sandwiches.

This dish is adapted from a recipe by the wonderful test kitchens of the publishers of Cook’s Illustrated.

SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS

3/4 
cup maple syrup
1/4 
cup molasses, light or mild
1/8 
teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
pinch cayenne pepper
1/4 
cup cornstarch
2 
tablespoons sugar
1 
tablespoon salt
2 
teaspoons ground black pepper
2 
pork tenderloins (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds each) (see Note)
2 
tablespoons vegetable oil
1 
tablespoon whole-grain mustard

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Stir ½ cup maple syrup, molasses, cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne together in 2-cup liquid measure; set aside. Whisk cornstarch, sugar, salt, and black pepper in small bowl until combined. Transfer cornstarch mixture to rimmed baking sheet. Pat tenderloins dry with paper towels, then roll in cornstarch mixture until evenly coated on all sides. Thoroughly pat off excess cornstarch mixture.
  2. Heat oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke. Reduce heat to medium and place both tenderloins in skillet, leaving at least 1 inch in between. Cook until well browned on all sides, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer tenderloins to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Pour off excess fat from skillet and return to medium heat. Add syrup mixture to skillet, scraping up browned bits with wooden spoon, and cook until reduced to ½ cup, about 2 minutes. Transfer 2 tablespoons glaze to small bowl and set aside. Using remaining glaze, brush each tenderloin with approximately 1 tablespoon glaze. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of tenderloins registers 130 degrees, 12 to 20 minutes. Brush each tenderloin with another tablespoon glaze and continue to roast until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of tenderloins registers 135 to 140 degrees, 2 to 4 minutes longer. Remove tenderloins from oven and brush each with remaining glaze; let rest, uncovered, 10 minutes.
  4. While tenderloins rest, stir remaining ¼ cup maple syrup and mustard into reserved 2 tablespoons glaze. Brush each tenderloin with 1 tablespoon mustard glaze. Transfer meat to cutting board and slice into ¼-inch-thick pieces. Serve, passing extra mustard glaze at table.

NOTE: If your tenderloins are smaller than 1¼ pounds, reduce the cooking time in step 3 (and use an instant-read thermometer for best results). If the tenderloins don’t fit in the skillet initially, let their ends curve toward each other; the meat will eventually shrink as it cooks. Make sure to cook the tenderloins until they turn deep golden brown in step 2 or they will appear pale after glazing. Be sure to pat off the cornstarch mixture thoroughly in step 1, as any excess will leave gummy spots on the tenderloins.

According to Cook’s Illustrated why this recipe works: 

To devise a pork tenderloin recipe with perfectly cooked meat, we settled on a stovetop-to-oven method that gave us a good crust and a succulent and tender interior. For a balanced and substantial maple glaze that would adhere to the meat, we mixed the syrup with molasses and mustard, primed the tenderloin with cornstarch so the glaze would bond to it, and applied a second coat of the glaze when the meat was nearly done.

Ricotta & Orange Pancakes

Ricotta cheese makes these pancakes fluffy and moist.  Serve with warm maple syrup.

For an extra treat, blend together some orange juice concentrate, icing sugar and butter for an extra hit of orange on top of the pancakes.

Tip: Watch the temperature of the frying pan carefully because these pancakes are tender and can easily burn.

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Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1.    In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2.    In another bowl, whisk the egg, cheese, milk, orange juice, butter, orange zest and vanilla.
3.    Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients all at once.  Stir just until moistened.  Let batter rest for 5-10 minutes.
4.    Pour batter by 1/4 cups onto a greased medium to medium-high frying pan or griddle; turn when bubbles form on top or when golden brown on bottom. Cook until the second side is golden brown.

Yield: 12 pancakes

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Originally published as Orange Ricotta Pancakes in the magazine Country Woman.

Glazed Orange Ginger Carrots

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Our Ontario Nantes carrots are a good way to keep eating locally grown food through the winter.  This side-dish recipe is made with your kitchen’s basic ingredients and comes together quickly.  At the end we’re including two ways you can use any leftover cooked carrots in a soup or a Morrocan-flavoured salad.

Reesor’s Market & Bakery is carrying the Nantes variety of carrot from now until the new crop of spring Ontario carrots is harvested.  Recognized by their blunt tip and their delicious, sweet flavour Nantes are the favourite of many of our customers.  Nantes carrots from the Holland Marsh, the heartland of Ontario’s carrot producers, are tasty fresh or cooked.

    • 6 large carrots, cut on diagonal or your preferred shape
    • 3 Tbsp butter
    • 2 Tbsp orange juice
    • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
    • ½ tsp ground, dried ginger or 1 tsp grated fresh ginger-root
    • Grated zest from one orange

Cook carrots in a medium saucepan, adding enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil and then simmer until the carrots are crisply tender.

Drain water and return carrots to the saucepan.
Add all the remaining ingredients. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until heated through, about 3-5 minutes.

Leftovers?

Puree the glazed carrots in a food processor or blender, adding some chicken or vegetable broth and heat.  Then add some milk or cream heating gently. Add salt and pepper to taste to make Carrot Ginger Soup.

In a small bowl mix together ¼ tsp chili powder, ¼ tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp minced garlic, juice of half a lemon, splash of olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Pour the dressing over your left-over cooked carrots, mixing together for a  Marinated Salad with the flavours of Morocco.  Add fresh or preserved green or red pepper if you have some on hand.

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Baked French Toast Casserole with Praline Topping

This breakfast treat goes well with warm maple syrup and bacon, and a homemade fruit salad or juice.
It’s easy to prepare and refrigerate in the evening, so you can just pop it in the oven in the morning for breakfast.

Or you can prepare it and bake it without the step of refrigerating it overnight.
Optional extras: raisins, dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots.
4-6 servings.  Need to serve more people? Just double the quantities and bake it in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Ingredients
1/2 loaf bread such as Reesor’s Challah Bread or Raisin Bread (day old works well)
4 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows

Directions

Slice the bread into about 4 slices and then cut into 1-2 inch cubes.
Arrange cubes in a generously buttered 9 x 9-inch flat baking dish.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and whisk until blended.
Pour mixture over the bread cubes, pressing down on the bread making sure it is  covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to bake:  preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the casserole and push some of the topping into the bread cubes. Bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:
1/4 cup butter , cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine all ingredients except nuts in a medium bowl and blend well.  Then stir in the pecans.