Thinking Outside the Jar: Strawberry Liqueur

Strawberry Liqueur, or more like the makings of it. The recipe is really simple and I’m hoping the results will be fantastic. I’ve handled almost 30 lbs of strawberries this season and I’m coming to the end of my strawberry preserves and with a batch of strawberry wine in process, I was looking for something new, delicious and can be enjoyed in the days ahead. Given that I’m almost 6 months pregnant and currently unable to enjoy this treat, my hope is with the long cellaring, I’ll have something phenomenal to enjoy this winter.  The best part, it starts with some very basic ingredients like these:

Unsprayed, Freshly Picked Strawberries


I’m following the recipe found here at Growing a Greener World by Theresa Loe. She has some wonderful suggestions on other fruit to be preserved and Strawberry Liqueur will not be the last thing I try! I divided the ingredients into 2x1L jars for ease and stored it in a cupboard. I’m excited for the next step in four weeks time. Stay tuned!


Thinking Outside the Jar: Honey Mustard Yogurt Dip

Honey Mustard Yogurt Dip


Now that we’re finally enjoying warm weather, I try to use the stove as minimally as possible and last night was no exception. After a week long vacation in Cape Breton and an excess in rich food, we were hankering for some return to basic foods with bright, fresh flavours. We were also short on time, which is where fish comes in handy. A quick pan fry haddock, some oven baked french fries and a platter of cut veggies with this dip was the perfect Monday night meal that was whipped up in 30 minutes.


The dip was delicious with veggies and tasted incredible spooned over the haddock and just another way to enjoy uncanny‘s mustards.


Honey Mustard Yogurt Dip

Serves: 3

1 tbsp uncanny’s Honey and Tarragon Grainy Mustard

1 tbsp mayonnaise

3 tbsp whole milk yogurt

1/2 tbsp (to taste) honey

salt and pepper to taste

Stir and serve. I like to keep the portions small so it doesn’t have a chance to get runny over time and this was the perfect amount with vegetables and fish. Hope you enjoy.


The Perfect Summer Dip

Thinking Outside the Jar Series: A Celebration of Spring

Pan Seared Salmon with Potato and Fiddlehead Salad

I had never discovered fiddleheads before moving out East and now it’s a familiar site to see cars lined up along the highway near the marshes to pick the unfurled ferns. If you’ve never tried a fiddlehead, it’s a bit like asparagus, but needs to be prepared in a very different way. Because of the fronds, you should soak fiddleheads and rinse them well and they need to be steamed for about 20 minutes to reduce any risk of bacteria before they’re served or sauteed.

A familiar way to enjoy them, at least in our neck of the woods, is with vinegar. While I haven’t quite acquired the taste for steamed fiddleheads with vinegar, the following recipe relies on the acid from a lemon along with the tang and bite of a grainy mustard. I’ve slightly adapted a recipe that belongs to Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh from her cookbook “A Year in Niagara: The People and Food of Wine Country”, a book I highly recommend. She sections the cookbook up  into months with Niagara wine recommendations and the kinds of seasonally available ingredients (although, there’s no way I’m getting new potatoes in May and I live near the potato capital of Canada!). It’s inspiring and perfect for getting your culinary juices flowing.

Seared Salmon on Fiddleheads & New Potatoes

Adapted by Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh

4 6 oz salmon fillets, with skin (I used steaks; they were on sale)

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

16 small new potatoes, lightly scrubbed and left whole (or about 4 large potatoes, scrubbed)

2 cups trimmed fiddleheads

1/3 cup chopped fresh chives

2 tbsp chopped fresh basil and flat leaf parsley

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I reduced to 1/3 cup and it was sufficient)

2 tsp uncanny’s Honey and Tarragon mustard

juice of one lemon

1. Soak fiddleheads in cold water.

2. Rub the salmon all over with the 2 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and just cover with boiling water. Add a little salt and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Place the soaked and rinsed fiddleheads in a steamer (or sieve) and set over potatoes. Drain the potatoes and the fiddleheads, then plunge quickly and briefly in cold water. Drain again and let sit for a minute. Halve/quarter each potato. Place the potatoes and fiddleheads in a bowl with the chives, basil and parsley, the 1/3 cup olive oil, mustard and seasoning. Toss together to thoroughly coat the vegetables and cover the bowl loosely with a tea towel while you finish the salmon.

3. Heat a large frying pan until it is searingly hot. Add salmon to the hot pan, cut side down and fry cook until seared brown. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

4. Serve with salad and a drizzle of fresh lemon juice on fish and salad.

Plenty of Salad for Leftovers

Thinking Outside the Jar: Balsamic Mustard and Maple Glazed Ham

Since discovering freshly smoked ham at our local market there’s no going back to processed ham from the grocery store (how does it get formed into that odd shape?). Ham, scalloped potatoes and steamed carrots made for the perfect Easter meal, as it’s not time consuming and the ham happily cooks away, waiting to be glazed in the last 15 minutes of cooking.

The last ham we baked got devoured quite quickly and was delicious with a Mango Ginger Lime glaze and this time we’ve gone a little different with some Grainy Balsamic Mustard (currently in-stock) as the base for a glaze.

2 tbsp Grainy Balsamic Mustard

2-3 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp maple syrup

1-2 tbsp apple cider

Combine all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a soft boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 2 minutes and pour over ham in the last 15 minutes of baking. Glaze is even better when recipe is doubled, that way you get a glaze and a sauce for the sliced ham. Enjoy!

Thinking Outside the Jar: Mango Ginger Lime Glazed Ham

After having made up a batch of Mango Ginger Lime jam, I had about 1/4 cup of it kicking around my fridge. One of the downsides of not eating bread is the difficulty in eating up these dribs and drabs of jams and with a child that is now dairy-free, I don’t have the heart to eat jam-sweetened yogurt in front of her.

I was delighted this past Saturday to come home from the market with a beautiful, freshly smoked 3 lb ham. Now, if you’re like me, ham is a treat. I’m not a fan of the packaged, processed preformed ham and a smoked pork shoulder is great, but nothing beats a true, bone-in ham. The meat is tender and a good ham should taste genuinely smoky, not nitrate smoky, if that makes sense. Additionally, the leg bone makes the world’s best pea soup and all said and done, you get your money’s worth.

So you can imagine how excited I was to tuck into our Sunday ham. So excited, I forget to take a decent before picture and I shudder to post a mid-carving shot, as it this ham was not delicately carved. It was eagerly tucked into with one intention: Get that ham on the plate! Little nibbles mid-carve confirmed we wanted to tuck into as fast as possible. So, try to imagine this glaze on a freshly smoked local ham. You won’t be disappointed!

1/4 cup Mango Ginger Lime Jam
1 tsp ballpark mustard (I grabbed the first mustard I saw. This poor stuff never gets used; hotdogs have never graced our fridge).
1 tbsp brown sugar (my Mango Ginger Lime jam is on the low-sugar side and I wanted this bad boy sweet and glazed)

Combine in a small saucepan and stir together over low heat. Taste and adjust, or thin if necessary with some water or apple juice. Pour over ham in the last 15 minutes of cooking. If you like glaze and sauce, double the quantity and use half for glazing and half as a sauce. Enjoy!

Thinking Outside the Jar: Repurposed Marroni Al Liquore

Back in December, I made a batch of Marroni Al Liquore and I was so excited to try it. I waited a couple weeks to really let the flavours mellow and give the chestnuts a chance to soften and eagerly tucked into my winter treat.

Maybe it’s me, but it really didn’t float my boat. The brandy liquor was delicious, as the vanilla beans, cloves and cinnamon had made for a delicious drink, but the chestnuts were mealy and too boozy for my liking. So my poor jars sat in the fridge, getting pushed to the back as new preserve jars made their way to the front of the line. So today I had an idea, a way to repurpose those chestnuts into something useful, delicious and still decadent.

I present you with:

Chestnut and Apple Bread Pudding with Brandied Honey Caramel Sauce

Chestnut and Apple  Bread Pudding with a Brandied Honey Caramel Sauce

Bread Pudding:

1/2 lb loaf of day-old bread, cubed

1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored and diced

4 eggs

1 cup of pureed sweetened chestnuts*

1 1/2 cups milk

2 tbsp maple syrup**

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Brandied Honey Caramel Sauce

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup honey

2 tbsp Marroni Al Liquore brandy


1. Beat eggs and combine the rest of the ingredients. Combine apple and cubed bread and place in greased and wide casserole dish. Pour egg/milk/chestnut mixture over top, stir to combine and let sit for 1 hour at room temperature until bread has soaked up the egg mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour, or until tester comes out clean.

2. While pudding is baking, make your caramel sauce. Combine milk and honey and bring to a boil on medium heat, swooshing your pan frequently. When colour begins to turn golden remove from heat, about 8-10 minutes. Don’t be tempted to reduce as it will thicken once its cooled. Let cool for 5 minutes or so before adding brandy. Warm sauce before serving on pudding.

* To make chestnut puree, combine jar of chestnuts with roughly 1-2 tbsp of brandy and grind in a small food processor until smooth. Add more brandy liquid if necessary.

** This is a 100 Mile Challenge friendly recipe, so feel free to substitute 1/4 cup brown sugar if you prefer a sweeter bread pudding. The recipe as printed is on the less sweet side, which suits our preference.

Thinking Outside the Jar Series: Cranberry Double Apple Crisp with Maple Chantilly Cream

Cranberry Double Apple Crisp with Maple Chantilly Cream

Have you ever seen “Castaway”? When Tom Hanks’ character figures out how to build fire, it’s a huge celebration and he proclaims: “I have made fire!”.

That’s how I feel about this apple crisp. Over at 100 Mile Locavores our family is doing the 100 Mile Challenge and it’s super handy to have a pantry full of preserves. Like tonight: we really wanted a dessert and were tired of plain yogurt mixed with jam, so I came up with this apple crisp that uses very basic, readily available ingredients. It’s delicious, simple and easy. It may even make you shout that *you* have made fire!

Cranberry Double Apple Crisp with Maple Chantilly Cream

2 lbs Empire apples

1 lb fresh cranberries

1 cup plus 3 tbsp apple butter

1 tbsp flour

pinch of salt

2 cups large flaked oats

1/4 cup flour

3/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 cup whipping cream (35%)

1 tbsp maple syrup


1. In preparation of whipping the cream, move bowl and beaters to the fridge to get cool while you prepare your crisp. Rinse and pat dry the cranberries. Peel and slice apples (I like to quarter them and slice them lengthwise) into a large mixing bowl. Add cranberries.

2. Add apple butter, flour and salt and toss together with apples and cranberries. Pour mixture into a deep dish pan.

3. Stir flour and oats together, pour in melted butter and maple syrup. Toss to coat evenly. Pour topping mixture over apple/cranberry combo and spread evenly.

4. Bake at 375 until bubbly and the topping is crisp and slightly browned, about 45 minutes.

5. While crisp is baking, prepare Chantilly cream.  With cold beaters and bowl, whip cream until slightly stiff. Pour in maple syrup. Whip until stiff and serve a nice fat dollop’s worth on your warm apple crisp.


** This recipe makes a LOT of crisp. I had enough to make a small 9 inch pie pan’s worth and freeze it for a future date. The apples cook up a bit mushier, but it still tastes great.