Mar
22
2016

Vietnamese Bahn Mi Bread Salad

The tastiest use ever for leftover ham

by: Paula Roy

Vietnamese Bahn Mi Bread Salad

Vietnamese Bahn Mi Bread Salad is delicious and a great way to use leftover ham

Just as musical mashups can be absolutely addictive, so too are creative culinary combinations. While bread salad is typically considered a Tuscan dish, this Vietnamese version is even more delicious plus it's super quick to prepare. It’s based on the traditional Bahn Mi sandwich, which consists of baguette-style bread filled with meat, mayonnaise, cilantro, cucumber and pickled carrots. With its bright, fresh flavours, this satisfying salad will have your tastebuds singing a happy tune for hours.

Ingredients

2 carrots, shredded
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 baguette, cut in 1/2 inch thick slices
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 – 2 teaspoons sriracha or to taste
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 cups thinly sliced ham, chopped
1 English cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped 
3 tbsp canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Lime wedges

 

Directions 

    In a small pot or microwave safe dish, heat rice vinegar and sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar then pour over shredded carrots which have been placed in a shallow bowl. Let sit 15 minutes to slightly pickle carrots, stirring occasionally.

    While carrots are pickling, preheat broiler.

    Combine mayonnaise, sriracha and soy sauce and spread on bread slices.

    Place bread, spread side up, on a baking tray. Broil about 5 inches from the heat until golden brown.

    While bread is broiling, drain carrots, reserving pickling liquid.

    Let bread cool to lukewarm then cut into 1/2 inch cubes.

    In a serving bowl, toss bread cubes with drained carrots, ham, cucumber and cilantro.

    Combine 2 tablespoons of pickling liquid with the canola and sesame oils. Whisk to blend well then drizzle over the bread salad.

    Serve with lime wedges on the side.

Serves 8

 RELATED: Slow Cooker Maple Balsamic Ham 

Mar
20
2016

5 Reasons to NOT Use a Slow Cooker

Pressure cookers give all the flavour in a fraction of the time

by: Paula Roy

5 Reasons to NOT Use a Slow Cooker

Need 5 Reasons to Not Use A Slow Cooker? You can make creamy perfect risotto in 15 minutes or less in a pressure cooker! And not only is the recipe right here, but there's more reasons that you should ditch the slow cooker in favour of this versatile kitchen gadget | YMCFood | YummyMummyClub.ca

Creamy, perfect risotto in fifteen minutes is just one of the reasons I don’t use a slow cooker. I know lots of people who love their slow cookers, but I am not a fan. My problem with them is that you have to be really organized to have everything ready to start a slow cooker meal at 7 am before heading out the door. I am the kind of person who likes to figure out on a day to day basis what I feel like eating; I’ve been this way ever since I had some major food aversions during my pregnancies.

For me, the best solution is a pressure cooker. You may have grown up hearing stories of exploding pressure cookers, but times have changed. The new generation of pressure cookers weigh less, have better seals, and have redundant safety measures and easy to use pressure release valves. They’re pretty much foolproof.

Need 5 Reasons to Not Use A Slow Cooker? You can make creamy perfect risotto in 15 minutes or less in a pressure cooker! And not only is the recipe right here, but there's more reasons that you should ditch the slow cooker in favour of this versatile kitchen gadget | YMCFood | YummyMummyClub.ca

Here are the five reasons you should choose a pressure cooker over a slow cooker:

 

  1. Pressure cookers save a ton of time; most things cook in 1/3 the time of conventional methods. Pot roast? Ready in 40 minutes. Lentil Soup? 15 minutes. Fall-off-the-bone ribs? 30 minutes. Risotto? 15 minutes including prep time – see the recipe below!
     
  2. By using less time to cook, you’re also saving energy.
     
  3. They work in an almost magical way: by increasing the pressure inside the pot, it increases the boiling point, which is why foods cook faster. Plus, they cook at these ultra-high temperatures without drying out your food.
     
  4. Not only do pressure cookers save time, they preserve vitamins, minerals and flavour. They also improve the digestibility of grains, beans and legumes. In fact, I’m cooking more inexpensive food like dried beans and pulses from scratch now, because it’s so convenient.
     
  5. For many dishes, they’re a one-pot wonder. You can quickly brown meat and soften onions and other vegetables before adding liquid, putting the lid on and turning up the heat.

5 tips for pressure cooking:

 

  1. Don't overfill the pot: Two-thirds full is good for many foods; half full for things like beans that need room to expand. In an overfull pressure cooker, things won’t cook properly. Note that you’ll use less liquid than with conventional cooking, since there’s little evaporation.
     
  2. Prep properly: Make sure dense cooking ingredients are cut into smaller pieces than quick cooking ones. Most pressure cooker recipes will specify a size to cut – follow the instructions!
     
  3. Add ingredients in stages: Because you can quickly reduce pressure thanks to the release valve, you can cook your meat first then add in potatoes or other vegetables.
     
  4. Timing is key: Most pressure cooker recipes (there are loads online as well as dedicated cookbooks) give timing instructions. Follow them. Use a timer. When you’re cooking at high heat, even a minute or two extra can be a problem.
     
  5. Finishing touches: Add dairy ingredients (butter, milk, cream or cheese) at the very end as they can curdle under pressure. Ditto for fresh herbs, to preserve their flavour.

 

Fifteen Minute Pressure Cooker Risotto

 

Ingredients

3 1/2 – 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup each chopped mushrooms and asparagus (optional)
3 tbsp butter, divided
1 cup grated parmesan, divided
Fresh thyme or parsley, divided

Directions

  Get all your ingredients prepped, measured, and ready to go.

  Add the olive oil, onion and salt to the pressure cooker. Sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and continue to stir another minute, or until the rice is just slightly toasted.

  Add the wine to the pot and stir for 1 minute.

  Add 3 1/2 cups of the stock, secure the lid on your pressure cooker, and bring up to high pressure over high heat.

  Reduce heat to medium (make sure the pot maintains its pressure) and set a timer to let it cook for 6 minutes.

  If adding vegetables, while the rice cooks, sauté the mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of butter until softened. Add asparagus and sauté for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.

  After 6 minutes, release the pressure using the quick-release valve. Carefully remove the lid to avoid the steam and return the cooker to the stove.

  Test risotto and if needs another minute or two, cook on the stovetop, adding more stock, a few tablespoons at a time, if needed to keep it from drying out. While the risotto is still a bit wet, add the butter and half the parmesan. Stir, then taste and add salt if needed. Remove from heat and stir in sautéed vegetables, if using, and most of the thyme or parsley.

    Serve the risotto in shallow soup bowls, topping each with remaining herbs and a little more grated parmesan.

Serves 3 – 4.

Need 5 Reasons to Not Use A Slow Cooker? You can make creamy perfect risotto in 15 minutes or less in a pressure cooker! And not only is the recipe right here, but there's more reasons that you should ditch the slow cooker in favour of this versatile kitchen gadget | YMCFood | YummyMummyClub.ca

 RELATED: Homemade Microwave Potato Chips that Actually Taste Amazing

Mar
20
2016

No Bake Chocolate Easter Nests

A dessert that can double as an Easter centrepiece

by: Paula Roy

No Bake Chocolate Easter Nests

They require just a few moments of stovetop cooking but no oven time, so these No Bake Chocolate Nests are super simple and fast. Whip up a batch in just five minutes; put ‘em on a pretty plate and you’ve got a lovely centrepiece for your Easter table. | YMCFood | YummyMummyClub.ca

I think these cookies might have been one of the very first things I was allowed to make all by myself as a kid. Because they require just a few moments of stovetop cooking but no oven time, they are super simple and fast. Sometimes called haystacks, macaroons or, unfortunately, turd cookies, they are a sweet treat that just so happens to be packed with fibre AND is gluten-free! You can whip up a batch in just five minutes; put ‘em on a pretty plate and you’ve got a lovely centre piece for your Easter table. An edible craft - how great is that? It’s easy to adapt this recipe to make it vegan – simply use margarine instead of butter and soy, almond or rice milk.

No Bake Chocolate Nests

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons (60 mL) butter
1/3 cup (90 mL) white sugar
2 tablespoons (60 mL) milk
5 teaspoons (25 mL) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60 mL) unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup (180 mL) quick-cooking (not instant) rolled oats
36 Mini-Eggs, Eggies or jellybeans

Instructions

  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.

  Combine sugar and cocoa powder; add to butter along with milk.

  Cook, stirring, until mixture comes to a rolling boil then continue to stir as it cooks for one full minute.

  Remove from heat and add vanilla, stirring to incorporate.

  Add coconut and oats; stir well.

  Using two spoons, drop the batter in twelve equal portions (just over a tablespoon each) onto the baking sheet, trying to keep them as round as possible.

  Place three eggs or jellybeans into the centre of each nest.

  Though they’re ready to eat immediately, I like to refrigerate these briefly to firm up a little (approximately 30 minutes).

Makes 12 cookie nests; recipe can easily be doubled but be sure to use a larger pot.

They require just a few moments of stovetop cooking but no oven time, so these No Bake Chocolate Nests are super simple and fast. Whip up a batch in just five minutes; put ‘em on a pretty plate and you’ve got a lovely centrepiece for your Easter table. | YMCFood | YummyMummyClub.ca

 RELATED: If You Like These You're Going To Love These Truffles