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Beet Leaf Holubtsi

Beet Leaf Holubtsi

When I plan my garden I have a few must have veggies that are top priority in my kitchen.

Number one on that list is beets.

Fresh beets from the garden.

Beets are the more versatile vegetable I grow. I use the entire plant, and especially love the leaves. You can use the baby leaves in salads or wash and freeze them for smoothies. But to truly enjoy them allow them to grow a little longer until they are about 2 1/2 inches wide. The perfect size for rolling them around a creamy rice, bacon, dilly onion filling.

I have been making Beet Leaf Holubtsi for years. The tender leaves make the perfect blanket for the rice with fresh dill and onions. Bacon is NOT required but makes a nice addition to the rolls.

They are finished off by topping them with a bit of butter and baking them in whipping cream with some shaved onion.

I like to pick the leaves the day before, Wash the leaves and place on sheets of paper towel to dry. Once dry I put them in a large bowl, cover it with a clean tea towel and leave them in the fridge over night. The next day you will find them lightly wilted and ready for rolling. I have read of a few methods of wilting the leaves, from freezing them to placing them in the oven. I have tried the oven method with okay but very time consuming results. Just pop them in the fridge for the night. Trust me.

 

Beet Leaf Holubtsi

beet leaves

2 cups of white rice

2 tablespoons of butter

6 slices of bacon – diced

1 medium onion – chopped

whipping cream

fresh dill

salt & pepper

Prepare the rice according to the package directions.  Meanwhile fry bacon, after 5 minutes add 1 tablespoon of butter and chopped onion. It is done when the bacon is crisp. Pour the bacon and onions, over the rice. Add a generous amount of freshly chopped dill and stir to combine. Now is a good time to season with salt and pepper.  Add a 1/4 cup of whipping cream, stirring until it all becomes creamy.

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Place a beet leaf on a cutting board and trim the bottom part straight across to remove the stem. Place a generous teaspoon of filling on the trimmed edge of the beet leaf and roll it towards the tip. Gently place the roll in a greased/buttered baking dish. Repeat until you have used all the leaves and filling.

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*They are not rolled like cabbage rolls when in when making cabbage rolls you tuck the edges in when rolling. It is fine to leave the edges of the beet leaf holubtsi open.

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Pour whipping cream and a few teaspoons of shaved onion over the rolls just until lightly covered. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

 

 

 

 

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Crab Apple Jelly

Crab Apple Jelly

Crab apples have been part of my existence since I was little. One of my earliest crab apple memories were of my Gido taking us apple picking. Though we never really got to do any picking as the trees were so tall that ladders where needed.

Then there where the trees in my grandmothers backyard. And though as I kid I wasn’t a huge fan of crab apples I was truly amazed at how fantastic her crab apple jelly was. It was the most wonderful pink color and not at all tart like the apples. After she passed away I remember one afternoon my grandfather giving me his last jar of crab apple jelly. It was the best gift I ever received.

Flash forward a few years. I was at work some someone had asked if I wanted some crab apples. My thoughts immediately went to the jelly that I enjoyed so much in the years before. I was excited at the chance to try and do this!

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I went and bought jars, a box of Certo and began my journey into jelly making.

Crab Apple Jelly
 
Author:
Recipe type: Preserving
Cuisine: Condiment
Ingredients
  • To make juice:
  • 4 quarts of crab apples
  • 6 cups of water
  • To make jelly:
  • 7 cups of prepared crab apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 box of Certo pectin crystals
  • 9 cups of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
Instructions
  1. Remove the blossom and stem ends from 4 quarts of crab apples.
  2. Half apples and place in a large pot, do not peel or core.
  3. Cove with water.
  4. Place a lid on the pot and bring to a boil.
  5. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Crush pulp and cover and simmer 5 minutes longer.
  7. Place the simmered apples into a jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth.
  8. Now place in a colander and set over a large bowl or pot to catch the juice.
  9. For a clearer jelly do not squeeze the juice out, let it drip.
  10. Up to ½ cup of water can be added if you do not get sufficient juice.
  11. In a large sauce pan stir together crab apple juice, lemon juice and pectin crystals.
  12. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  13. Stir in the sugar.
  14. Add 1 tablespoon of butter.
  15. Return to a hard boil for one minute.
  16. Remove from heat.
  17. Ladle jelly into sterilized jars laving a ¼ inch of headspace.
  18. Apply lid and screw bands finger tip tight.
  19. Place the jars into a hot water bath and process 5 minutes.
  20. Remove jars and allow to cool fully.

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Crispy Roasted Lentils

Crispy Roasted Lentils

Looking for something different to snack on I hit the cupboard in search of potential said snack. I had such good success with the crispy maple red lentils I thought I would try my hand at a savory version. But looking for something with a bit more bite I decide to go with green lentils.

Wanting a good hit of flavor I started thinking I wanted garlic involved. Pure garlic is fantastic but it doesn’t always agree with me. Not true of roasted garlic.

To roast garlic turn the oven to 350 degrees. Grab a sheet of foil large enough to wrap 2 -3 heads of garlic. Trim the bottom end of the bulbs of garlic just exposing the inside of the cloves. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Wrap and pop the bundle into the oven.

Now to get some lentils cooking. Just place some in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil then turn down and simmer. Start checking for doneness after 20 minutes. You want them to have a bit of bite, not completely soft. Once they are at that point put them into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

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Get a large cookie sheet covered with either parchment paper to foil. Set aside.

Check the garlic after 40 minutes, it should have a nice toasted appearance. Remove from the oven and drizzle the oil from the package over the lentils. Stir well to coat.

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Turn up the oven to 400 degrees.

Take a head of garlic, careful, it will be hot. I used a double layer of paper towel to hold it. Now give it a bit of a squeeze and rub the entire surface of the cookie sheet coating it with the roasted garlic.

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Save the other two heads for another use, I like it in hummus.

Spread the lentils out on the cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for up to 40 minutes stirring occasionally.

Store in a cover jar. They are ready for snacking, adding to salads or adding to any dish that could use a bit of crunch.

Crispy Roasted Lentils

 

 

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Red Lentil Bacon Corn Fritters

Red Lentil Bacon Corn Fritters

I have had a lot of fun experimenting with lentils these past few weeks. And my lentil infatuation is just as strong as it has always been. Though I am looking at them in a whole new light.

Next up is my freestyle entry for the Canadian Lentil contest with the deadline for entries just under 24 hours from tonight.

*Update: I am very pleased to announce my recipe for Red Lentil Bacon Corn Fritters was the runner up in the Canadian Lentils Recipe Revolution contest! *

My recipe choices have been quite the discussion during morning coffee at work with my bosses, everyone has made suggestions as to what I should make next. I forsee a lentil feast at our next managers dinner.

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So without further ado…. I present,  Red Lentil Bacon Corn Fritters.

3/4 cup of red lentil  flour (directions for making the lentil flour can be found in my previous post for Lentil Coconut Shrimp Tacos)

1 tablespoon of all purpose flour

2 tablespoons of cornmeal

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 cup of milk

1 large egg

1 can of corn kernals

1 strips of bacon, chopped and fried

Vegetable oil, for frying

In a large bowl, stir together flours, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and cayenne.

Making Red Lentil Bacon Corn Fritters

Add milk and egg to flour mixture and stir together to create a batter. Add corn and bacon and fold to combine. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Heat 4 inches oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 375 degrees. Working in batches, using  two spoons, drop batter by the tablespoon into the oil. Cook, turning occasionally, until cooked through and deep-golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes; adjust heat as needed to keep oil temperature between 350 and 360 degrees. Transfer fritters to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Season to taste with salt.

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I served them with maple syrup. Depending on your mood and menu you could serve them with a variety of sauces or dips.

 

 

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Lentil Coconut Shrimp Tacos

Lentil Coconut Shrimp Tacos

If you have checked out the recipes being created for the Canadian Lentils contest you’ll notice how creative everyone is getting. Keeping that in mind I wanted to kick my entrée recipe up a notch. Something quick, easy and crazy delicious!

The pineapple in store right now is absolutely gorgeous so I started with that in mind. Thinking I want a lot of color in the dish pineapple salsa seemed the perfect choice. One of my favourite things to go with pineapple is coconut. The rest fell into place after that.

I ground red lentils into a flour and Lentil Coconut Shrimp was born. Nesteled in a nice lightly fried tortilla with a gorgeous pineapple salsa and finished with a squeeze of fresh lime to make a sweet tart crunchy taco. Total hand held perfection.

Red Lentil Coconut Shrimp Tacos

Lentil Flour

1 cup of red lentils

blender

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Place the lentils into a blend and process until it become fine like flour.

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Set aside.

 

Lentil Coconut Shrimp

1 pound of shrimp

1 cup of lentil flour

1 cup of cornstarch

5 teaspoons of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of cayenne

1 1/4 cups of coconut water

1/2 teaspoon of oil

2 1/2 cups of shredded coconut

1 lime, cut into wedges

In a medium sized bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and cayenne. wisk in the water and oil, mixing until smooth.

Place the coconut into a bowl. Dip the coconut into the batter then coat it in with the coconut. Set in a bowl, battering and coating all the shrimp.

Using a large skillet heat oil to 375 degrees. Fry the tortillas until lightly browned, flip over and fry until the second side is browned. Using tongs take the tortilla and drape it over the handle of a wooden spoon suspended over a large bowl shaping it into a traditional taco shape.

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Fry all tortillas.  Now fry shrimp a handful at a time until golden brown.

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Drain on paper towel.

To build the tacos.

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Add some greens down the center of a fried tortilla, ie:  chopped kale, lettuce, shaved brussel sprouts, whatever you have on hand and enjoy. Place a large spoonful of pineapple salsa on top of the greens. Top with lentil coconut shrimp! Squeeze a wedge of lime over the taco.

Pineapple Salsa

2 cups of fresh pineapple – chopped

1/2 of a red pepper – chopped

1/4 cup of onion, white or red – diced

handful of fresh parsley, chopped

1 clove of garlic, crushed

fresh lime juice

salt to taste

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Combine everything in a bowl adding salt at the end to taste. Serve in Lentil Coconut Tacos.

Be sure to check out my dessert entry Crispy Maple Lentil Crème Brulee. It is as good as it sounds!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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