Living Lou http://www.livinglou.com Cooking through my twenties with simple, fresh and flavourful recipes Fri, 15 Sep 2017 02:16:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.6 Balsamic Jalapeno Roasted Chicken and Potatoes http://www.livinglou.com/2017/09/balsamic-jalapeno-roasted-chicken-and-potatoes.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/09/balsamic-jalapeno-roasted-chicken-and-potatoes.html#respond Wed, 13 Sep 2017 04:07:34 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10190 This recipe for balsamic jalapeno roasted chicken and potatoes is the ultimate comforting dinner recipe.  I wasn’t too excited about September being here until today. I know, we’re basically halfway through the month, so I’m a little slow on the uptake. I took a look at the current vibe of my homepage and realized that it [...]

The post Balsamic Jalapeno Roasted Chicken and Potatoes appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
This recipe for balsamic jalapeno roasted chicken and potatoes is the ultimate comforting dinner recipe. 

This recipe for balsamic jalapeno roasted chicken and potatoes is the ultimate comforting dinner recipe. | livinglou.com

I wasn’t too excited about September being here until today. I know, we’re basically halfway through the month, so I’m a little slow on the uptake. I took a look at the current vibe of my homepage and realized that it still has all the summery vibes and very little fall happening. Not good! After all, fall and winter are my favourite seasons for cooking. This chicken and potatoes recipe is the perfect fall recipe and it incorporates two of my favourite ingredients to work with; jalapeno and balsamic vinegar. My love for this combination, comes from my dad who is obsessed with all things jalapenos.

Whenever I ask my dad for his advice or thoughts on a recipe, he’ll always answer ‘How about adding some jalapenos?’. For a while, he was serious, but now it’s become more of a joke. The brownies I’m working on? Jalapenos are the missing ingredient according to my dad.

This recipe for balsamic jalapeno roasted chicken and potatoes is the ultimate comforting dinner recipe. | livinglou.com

While jalapenos don’t work in every recipe, despite what my dad thinks, they do really work here. The jalapenos get delightfully crispy in the oven, and this is a mild enough pepper that instead of adding a ton of heat, they also add depth of flavour to this dish. You’ll be surprised by the amount of flavour in this dish when you look at the ingredient list, but you guys, this is what I’m all about. I’m always trying to create dishes with big flavour.

Plus, if you’re a city-dwelling, long-hour working millennial gal like myself, this is the kind of meal you can make on a Sunday and eat throughout the week. this has been my dinner for three nights in a row, and I’m not tired of it at all. Plus you can save the chicken bones and make a delicious chicken broth.

This recipe for balsamic jalapeno roasted chicken and potatoes is the ultimate comforting dinner recipe. | livinglou.com

The trick to this dish is in the timing, I cook my potatoes for 10 minutes in the oven before adding the chicken–they take a little longer and the last thing you want are undercooked potatoes or overcooked chicken. No thank you. While your potatoes are cooking, I sear the chicken–this is where the golden and crispy skin coes from and the additional flavour. Don’t skip this step!

Then whisk together a quick sauce and pour it all over the chicken and potatoes, into the oven it goes and 30 minutes later dinner is on the table.

Yields Serves 4

Balsamic Jalapeno Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

15 minPrep Time

55 minCook Time

1 hr, 10 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

4 based on 1 review(s)

Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 2 jalapenos, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 lbs small new potatoes, halved
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken drumsticks
  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk jalapenos with garlic, balsamic, honey, dried thyme, 5 tsp olive oil, and 1/4 tsp of salt. Set aside.
  2. In an oven proof baking dish, toss potatoes in 1 tsp of olive oil. Season with 1/4 tsp of salt, and roast for 10 minutes.
  3. Season chicken with remaining 1/4 tsp of salt. Meanwhile, heat a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Sear chicken, in batches, skin-side down for 3 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
  4. Arrange chicken on top of potatoes, pour jalapeno mixture on top. Roast in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and potatoes are done.
7.6.2
305
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/09/balsamic-jalapeno-roasted-chicken-and-potatoes.html

Let me know if you give this recipe for balsamic jalapeno roasted chicken and potatoes a try in the comments below.

The post Balsamic Jalapeno Roasted Chicken and Potatoes appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/09/balsamic-jalapeno-roasted-chicken-and-potatoes.html/feed 0
One-pot Couscous with Shrimp, Zucchini and Corn http://www.livinglou.com/2017/08/one-pot-couscous-with-shrimp-zucchini-and-corn.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/08/one-pot-couscous-with-shrimp-zucchini-and-corn.html#respond Fri, 25 Aug 2017 04:23:04 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10156 A quick summer meal! This recipe for one-pot couscous with shrimp, zucchini and corn is fresh and flavourful with cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.  One pot dishes are all the rage on the internet, but I’ve found that a lot of them aren’t really the best quality. (Honestly, call me crazy but I don’t want to have boiled [...]

The post One-pot Couscous with Shrimp, Zucchini and Corn appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
A quick summer meal! This recipe for one-pot couscous with shrimp, zucchini and corn is fresh and flavourful with cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. 

One pan couscous with shrimp, corn and zucchini. | livinglou.com

One pot dishes are all the rage on the internet, but I’ve found that a lot of them aren’t really the best quality. (Honestly, call me crazy but I don’t want to have boiled meat in my one pot pasta). I started working on this recipe way back at the beginning of May and it was the first summer recipe I created and I think it might be my favourite. I’ve been waiting until August to post this recipe because corn, zucchini, tomatoes and basil are all in season (finally!).

I have hit a serious, serious case of writer’s block. I think this might the worst block I’ve had in a couple of years (or maybe ever?). I spent a long time trying to figure out what I was going to write about in this post, but honestly, I think I need to write about this block to actually work through it. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint why you’re having a creative block, but after spending a ton of time creating, I know myself well enough to know what’s going on.

One-pot couscous with shrimp, corn and zucchini. | livinglou.com

Stress = writer’s block. Exhaustion = writer’s block. If I look back on old posts, I always had writer’s block during exams, when I was A) exhausted and B) stressed out. Which is basically what I have been feeling like all summer. If I look back on May-August, there has been a lot of change and a lot of extra stress in pretty much all areas of my life. By the time Friday hits, I feel like I’m running on empty. When you run a blog (on top of working long hours) there really isn’t a ton of time to take breaks, but you have to take them for your own sanity.

I’ve learned what I need to do in order to feel balanced and centred when things rev up a notch (or seven). But I have totally failed in taking my own advice because I’ve been burning the candle on both ends for far too long (ahem, for 4-months straight). It can be so hard to carve out the time, but I know that I feel more rested and have more clarity in pretty much everything.

One-pot couscous with shrimp, corn and zucchini. | livinglou.com

Sometimes I just want to know what it feels like not to be tired all the time, you know? I realize that 90% of the population probably feels the same way and I’m not alone in this by any means. But when you don’t even have time to grocery shop for three weeks you know it’s hit a bit of an extreme.

The best thing about this one-pot couscous recipe is that it is so incredibly fast to make because each ingredient individually takes minutes to cook. Shrimp cook up in just a couple of minutes, couscous literally takes five minutes to cook and then finely chopped zucchini, cherry tomatoes and corn are all basically done before you have a chance to blink. I’m telling you, this recipe has been a staple for me throughout this fast-paced summer.

My plan for this weekend involves a lot of resting and relaxing. I think it’s time to recharge before the fall, don’t you?

Yields 4 servings

One-pot Couscous with Shrimp, Zucchini and Corn

15 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

35 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe
Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 340g / 12 oz raw frozen shrimp, shelled and thawed
  • 225g / 8 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 zucchini, finely diced
  • 1 cob of corn, kernels only
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cup couscous
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and cook shrimp for 1-2 minutes per side until opaque and light pink. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low, add tomatoes, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 5 minutes, or until tomatoes start to break down and garlic is fragrant. Add zucchini and 1/4 tsp of salt, cook for 3-5 minutes. Add corn, continue cooking another minute.
  3. Reduce heat to low, pour in water, couscous and remaining salt. Cover and steam couscous for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in basil, lemon and reserved shrimp.
7.6.2
304
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/08/one-pot-couscous-with-shrimp-zucchini-and-corn.html

Let me know if you give this one-pot couscous with shrimp a try in the comments below.

The post One-pot Couscous with Shrimp, Zucchini and Corn appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/08/one-pot-couscous-with-shrimp-zucchini-and-corn.html/feed 0
Cheesy Corn Fritters http://www.livinglou.com/2017/08/cheesy-corn-fritters.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/08/cheesy-corn-fritters.html#comments Mon, 14 Aug 2017 01:03:32 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10141 Cheesy corn fritters are the perfect summer side dish with fresh corn, cheddar cheese, green onions and jalapenos. To me, August always reminds me of corn. I remember driving through small towns and by cornfields on the way up north to the cottage where I would spend weeks during the summers. At the beginning of [...]

The post Cheesy Corn Fritters appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
Cheesy corn fritters are the perfect summer side dish with fresh corn, cheddar cheese, green onions and jalapenos.

Cheesy corn fritters are the perfect summer side dish with fresh corn, cheddar cheese, green onions and jalapenos. | livinglou.com

To me, August always reminds me of corn. I remember driving through small towns and by cornfields on the way up north to the cottage where I would spend weeks during the summers. At the beginning of the summer, the fields would be high, but as we neared August, the first roadside corn stands would dot the two-lane highway. Eating a buttery cob of corn, sprinkled with salt is my first really significant food memory.

I’ve always had a thing for salty, savoury foods. I think that’s why I’ve been drawn to good cheeses for as long as I can remember. For this month’s Dairy Farmers of Canada Cheese of the Month Club, the featured cheese is Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar from Cows Creamery and it is the perfect pairing for sweet corn.

Cheesy corn fritters are the perfect summer side dish with fresh corn, cheddar cheese, green onions and jalapenos. | livinglou.com

As someone who is learning a ton about Canadian cheese, what I find fascinating about this particular cheese, which is different from our previous cheeses, is that it is the perfect representation of how the right environment can have a huge impact on flavour.

This cheddar cheese comes from Cows Creamery in Prince Edward Island, and the natural salt air and iron-rich red soil are two of the major components that add to the full-bodied flavour. It’s kind of like tasting wine, once you have the flavour notes in the back of your mind, you notice them even more.

I was recently talking about cornbread with a friend of mine (I know what you’re thinking, yes, we had a conversation about cornbread). He mentioned a new recipe for a cheesy cornbread he was making and that’s when I had that ‘a-ha!’ recipe moment, cheesy corn fritters.

Cheesy corn fritters are the perfect summer side dish with fresh corn, cheddar cheese, green onions and jalapenos. | livinglou.com

By adding grated cheese directly into the corn fritter batter, these fritters have a crisp bite on the outside and a distinct cheesy flavour. Paired with jalapenos and green onions, these cheesy corn fritters have become my new August favourite.

There are a couple of secrets to frying delicious fritters, first is baking powder. I found that this helped the outside crisp up beautifully. The second tip is not to skimp on the oil, I always add about a ¼ cup in a large frying pan to start, and then watch the pan and add more as you see fit for the next batch.

I found that if you add all the oil at the beginning, it ends up getting too hot for the second batch, and the fritters will burn on the outside before they are fully cooked through.

Yields 6 fritters

Cheesy Corn Fritters

10 minPrep Time

24 minCook Time

34 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

5 based on 1 review(s)

Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup corn kernels (about 2 large cobs)
  • 1/2 cup grated Avonlea clothbound cheddar cheese
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds and membrane removed, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 6 tbsp canola oil

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, stir corn with cheddar, green onion, jalapeno, flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk in egg and milk.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add 4 tbsp of canola oil, when oil is almost at a ripple, spoon 1/4 cup portions of batter into pan. Spread the batter out with a spoon to form 3 inch fritters, turn heat down to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. Remove fritters to a paper towel lined plate.
  4. Add remaining oil and repeat with remaining batter, you should have 6 fritters.
7.6.2
303
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/08/cheesy-corn-fritters.html

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada – as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting my sponsors and allowing me to continue creating recipes like this recipe for cheesy corn fritters.

The post Cheesy Corn Fritters appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/08/cheesy-corn-fritters.html/feed 4
Grilled Salmon with Dijon and Maple Syrup http://www.livinglou.com/2017/08/grilled-salmon-with-dijon-and-maple-syrup.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/08/grilled-salmon-with-dijon-and-maple-syrup.html#comments Fri, 04 Aug 2017 09:00:01 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10126 Grilled salmon with a Dijon and maple syrup marinade is the perfect and simple way to grill fish this summer. I think people are often intimidated by grilling fish. Cooking salmon on the barbecue? A lot of us out there would rather roast it in the oven–more control, right? Wrong. Barbecuing salmon is probably the [...]

The post Grilled Salmon with Dijon and Maple Syrup appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
Grilled salmon with a Dijon and maple syrup marinade is the perfect and simple way to grill fish this summer.

Grilled salmon with a Dijon and maple syrup marinade is the perfect and simple way to grill fish this summer. | livinglou.com

I think people are often intimidated by grilling fish. Cooking salmon on the barbecue? A lot of us out there would rather roast it in the oven–more control, right? Wrong. Barbecuing salmon is probably the simplest (and most delicious) way to serve it.

Doesn’t fish stick easily? Will I overcook it? What if it falls through the grill? What if it burns before it finishes cooking? 

Stop. Take a deep breath. Grilling fish is so easy. I promise. The secret to cooking it perfectly is a very hot grill, and just a few minutes per side. I’m literally talking 3-4 minutes per side. But watch closely, nobody wants overcooked grilled salmon!

Grilled salmon with a Dijon and maple syrup marinade is the perfect and simple way to grill fish this summer. | livinglou.com

This grilled salmon starts with a perfectly balanced sweet and spicy marinade. With ginger, sesame oil and garlic, this marinade has a bit of an Asian twist to it. The sweetness comes from maple syrup, which adds caramel-like notes to this dish, and the spicy notes come from Heinz Dijon Mustard.

There are a few ingredients I reach for all the time in my kitchen, and Dijon is one of those. It works as an emulsifying agent in dressings and marinades. Emulsifying is when you force two liquids (that wouldn’t usually combine) to bind together–think oil and vinegar. Emulsifications need a binder, and Dijon is my go-to in classic vinaigrettes, another example would be an egg yolk in homemade mayonnaise.

It also packs a ton of flavour and zing to basically any dish. Plus Heinz’s mustard is made with No. 1 grade Canadian mustard seed–I always love supporting our Canadian farmers.

Grilled salmon with a Dijon and maple syrup marinade is the perfect and simple way to grill fish this summer. | livinglou.com

Last weekend we had our first really hot weekend in Toronto. I know, at the end of July it felt like summer hadn’t even really arrived yet. I knew I wanted to fire up the grill so I decided to make this Dijon maple salmon, and it is so good. So good in fact, I actually made it with trout the next day! Both options are delicious.

Yields 4 servings

Grilled Salmon with Dijon and Maple Syrup

Grilled salmon with a Dijon and maple syrup marinade with ginger and garlic this is the perfect and simple way to grill fish this summer.

5 minPrep Time

8 minCook Time

13 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

5 based on 2 review(s)

Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. Heinz Dijon Mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 4 skinless salmon or trout fillets (1 lb./450 g)
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • Green onion and sesame seeds for serving

Instructions

  1. Mix first 6 ingredients until blended.
  2. Heat barbecue to medium-high heat. Brush fish with oil.
  3. Grill 4 min. on each side or until fish flakes easily with fork, brushing frequently with syrup mixture.
  4. Sprinkle with sliced green onion and sesame seeds, serve.
7.6.2
302
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/08/grilled-salmon-with-dijon-and-maple-syrup.html

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by KraftHeinz Canada – as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting my sponsors and allowing me to continue creating recipes like this grilled salmon with Dijon and maple syrup. 

The post Grilled Salmon with Dijon and Maple Syrup appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/08/grilled-salmon-with-dijon-and-maple-syrup.html/feed 4
Slow Cooker Pork Ribs http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/slow-cooker-pork-ribs.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/slow-cooker-pork-ribs.html#comments Sun, 30 Jul 2017 20:48:33 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10107 Easy slow cooker pork ribs with a homemade smoky barbecue sauce are made in the Crockpot and then finished off under the broiler for the ultimate ribs recipe. Honestly, if you’re not making ribs in the slow cooker, this recipe will change your life. I swear, these ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and loaded with flavour. I’ve had [...]

The post Slow Cooker Pork Ribs appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
Easy slow cooker pork ribs with a homemade smoky barbecue sauce are made in the Crockpot and then finished off under the broiler for the ultimate ribs recipe.

Easy slow cooker pork ribs with a homemade smoky barbecue sauce. | livinglou.com

Honestly, if you’re not making ribs in the slow cooker, this recipe will change your life. I swear, these ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender and loaded with flavour.

I’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship with ribs over the years, but I think I’ve finally cracked the code and fallen in love with this crowd-pleasing favourite. It starts with a dry rub that is made with a combination of chili powder, salt, paprika and my secret ingredient, dried mustard powder. The mustard powder adds a bit of a tang to the rub and balances with the sweetness from the paprika.

Easy slow cooker pork ribs with a homemade smoky barbecue sauce. | livinglou.com

There are dry rubs out there with hundreds of ingredients, and you can get as complicated as you like, but I’m all about simplicity. Big flavour is a given, but a small ingredients list is a must. This has always been my style; simply, fresh and flavourful, but as I mentioned in my last post, I’m even more inspired after working my way through the Chez Panisse cookbook. I’m not quite finished yet (who has a ton of time for reading these days?) but I’m really loving this little culinary deep-dive I’m doing right now, I was inspired by this piece on must-read cookbooks in the New York Times.

These pork ribs and definitely simple and flavourful, I’m not sure that you can really describe ribs as fresh, but you could easily serve this with a salad and call it a day! This recipe also has a homemade barbecue sauce, which may sound like an unnecessary step, but this sauce takes just five minutes and is 100% worth it. You could use your favourite bottled barbecue sauce, but I think you should live a little and make your own. The secret ingredient for the barbecue sauce is liquid hickory smoke. If you can’t find liquid smoke, you could always add a teaspoon or so of smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder or chipotles in adobo sauce.

Try this with: Chopped Salad with Blue Cheese

Easy slow cooker pork ribs with a homemade smoky barbecue sauce. | livinglou.com

When you think slow cooker, you probably don’t immediately associate it with the summer. But the truth is, other than a barbecue, a slow cooker should be your best friend in the summer. You don’t have to heat up your kitchen with the stovetop or oven. While a slow cooker does become hot to the touch, it doesn’t actually heat up your kitchen. It’s magical! Plus, you can set it and forget it, and head out for the day and come back to dinner that’s ready to go.

When I was testing this recipe, I tested making ribs both on high for four hours and on low for eight. They were both delicious, but I actually preferred the 4-hour ribs! Once they are done, I brush them with barbecue sauce and then they get broiled in the oven for a few minutes.

Yields 4 servings

Slow Cooker Pork Ribs

10 minPrep Time

4 hrCook Time

4 hr, 10 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

5 based on 1 review(s)

Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 1 rack of pork ribs (side or back are fine)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Dry rub:
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • BBQ sauce:
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp reserved dry rub
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke

Instructions

  1. Remove the membrane from the ribs and trim off any excess fat. Mix spices together for dry rub, remove 1 tsp and reserve for BBQ sauce. Rub remaining spice rub all over both sides of ribs.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of water to slow cooker, then add ribs. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8. (I prefer to cook on high for 4 hours).
  3. In a small pot heat all ingredients for BBQ sauce over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 3-5 mins, stirring frequently so it doesn't burn. Remove from heat
  4. Carefully remove ribs from slow cooker, discard excess fat + liquid. Brush with BBQ sauce. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and broil for 2-4 minutes (check frequently as it can burn quickly depending how hot your broiler is).
7.6.2
301
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/slow-cooker-pork-ribs.html

Let me know if you give these slow cooker pork ribs a try in the comments below.

The post Slow Cooker Pork Ribs appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/slow-cooker-pork-ribs.html/feed 5
Puff Pastry Apricot Blueberry Tart with Cheese http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/puff-pastry-apricot-blueberry-tart.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/puff-pastry-apricot-blueberry-tart.html#comments Tue, 25 Jul 2017 02:59:39 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10090 Make the perfect summer dessert with this simple puff pastry apricot blueberry tart topped with Tipsy cheese.  I’m a firm believer in cooking fruit-forward desserts in the summer. Whether you’re baking with strawberries, peaches, apricots or blueberries, this is the time of year to make the most of the flavourful, sweet fruits. But here’s the [...]

The post Puff Pastry Apricot Blueberry Tart with Cheese appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
Make the perfect summer dessert with this simple puff pastry apricot blueberry tart topped with Tipsy cheese. 

Make the perfect summer dessert with this simple puff pastry apricot blueberry tart topped with Tipsy cheese. | livinglou.com

I’m a firm believer in cooking fruit-forward desserts in the summer. Whether you’re baking with strawberries, peaches, apricots or blueberries, this is the time of year to make the most of the flavourful, sweet fruits. But here’s the thing, not only do I want to cook with them, I also want to elevate them and use them in a creative way. I’m always challenging myself to be more creative in the kitchen; it helps me build confidence and expand my skills.

For this dessert recipe, I was inspired by the creativity of Canadian cheese with Dairy Farmers of Canada and the newest featured cheese of the month, Tipsy. This is an artisanal washed-rind cheese soaked in a Cabernet Merlot. These are the kinds of specialty cheeses you can find locally sourced all over Canada (this is from Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese in Oxford County, Ontario). The sweet and creamy cheese with its edible, wine-soaked rind is the ultimate way to elevate this puff pastry apricot blueberry tart.

Make the perfect summer dessert with this simple puff pastry apricot blueberry tart topped with Tipsy cheese. | livinglou.com

I get a lot of people asking me how I come up with my ideas for recipes, and I always say from everywhere! We eat at least three meals a day, and if you’re not inspired by something you’re not eating the right things.

Recently I’ve be reading the Chez Panisse cookbook, which is one of the most influential cookbooks for what is considered to be “California Cuisine”. The focus on the fresh, high-quality ingredients that California cuisine is known for was definitely an element of inspiration for this dish. You’ll notice the pared-down list of ingredients, this is because I wanted the blueberries, apricots and cheese to shine. I think highlighting the ingredients in their natural form is pretty magical.

Make the perfect summer dessert with this simple puff pastry apricot blueberry tart topped with Tipsy cheese. | livinglou.com

I like to let the tart cool before topping with cheese, however because Tipsy is a Swiss-style cheese that is ideal for melting, adding a thin layer of cheese all over the top of the tart while it’s still hot and popping it back into the oven for another minute takes this delicious dish to a completely different level.

Make the perfect summer dessert with this simple puff pastry apricot blueberry tart topped with Tipsy cheese. | livinglou.com

Yields 6 servings

Puff Pastry Apricot Blueberry Tart with Cheese

15 minPrep Time

40 minCook Time

55 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe
Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 5-7 apricots, cut into eighths
  • 1/3 cup blueberries
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp water
  • 1 tsp sugar, optional
  • slices of Tipsy cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Score a 1/2-inch border around the edges of pastry, prick all over with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes, pressing down with the back of a spoon if the pastry puffs up.
  2. Arrange apricot slices on pastry, leaving the border around the edges. Sprinkle with blueberries, cook in the oven for another 30 minutes. Remove from oven.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk honey with water. Brush over fruit, sprinkle with sugar and top with slices of cheese. Slice into six even pieces.
7.6.2
300
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/puff-pastry-apricot-blueberry-tart.html

 Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada – as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting my sponsors and allowing me to continue creating recipes like this puff pastry apricot blueberry tart recipe. 

The post Puff Pastry Apricot Blueberry Tart with Cheese appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/puff-pastry-apricot-blueberry-tart.html/feed 2
Greek Watermelon Feta Salad http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/greek-watermelon-feta-salad.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/greek-watermelon-feta-salad.html#comments Tue, 18 Jul 2017 09:00:52 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10074 Greek watermelon feta salad is a refreshing summer salad with a lime vinaigrette and fresh mint.  Is there an ingredient that screams summer more than watermelon? I don’t think so! Watermelon was always a favourite summer snack when I was growing up, my mom would cut it into cubes or wedges and my sister and I would get [...]

The post Greek Watermelon Feta Salad appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
Greek watermelon feta salad is a refreshing summer salad with a lime vinaigrette and fresh mint. 

Greek watermelon feta salad is a refreshing summer salad with a lime vinaigrette and fresh mint. | livinglou.com

Is there an ingredient that screams summer more than watermelon? I don’t think so! Watermelon was always a favourite summer snack when I was growing up, my mom would cut it into cubes or wedges and my sister and I would get all sticky eating it outside on the deck of my grandmother’s cottage.

But those aren’t my only memories of watermelon. In Greece, every meal is finished with a plate of fresh watermelon. When I saw this recipe for Greek Salad, I knew that I had to try it. A couple of years ago, several of my friends and I had a barbecue and one of the salads we served was something similar to this watermelon feta salad, but we used basil instead of mint. While I was a little apprehensive at first, this salad was so good.

Greek watermelon feta salad is a refreshing summer salad with a lime vinaigrette and fresh mint. | livinglou.com

Recently, when I was grocery shopping a sweet man stopped me to ask how you should choose the right watermelon, and there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, you want a symmetrical watermelon that is free from any sort of damage. Because watermelon is 92% water, it should be heavy for its size. Something many people don’t know is to look for a light yellow spot on the bottom (this is where it sat on the ground and ripened in the sun).

For this salad, I made a few tweaks to the original recipe and opted for a lime vinaigrette instead of a balsamic dressing. I like lime because it adds a lot of acidity, but it doesn’t mask any of the watermelon flavour.

Greek watermelon feta salad is a refreshing summer salad with a lime vinaigrette and fresh mint. | livinglou.com

This Greek watermelon salad is the perfect recipe for entertaining. With watermelon, cucumber, red onion, Kalamata olives and feta this salad is not only beautiful and bright, but it’s also quite budget friendly.

I find we are all more social during the summer; having friends over for drinks or appetizers, watermelon is the perfect choice. According to a study in 2010 by the Perishables Group, watermelon actually ranks first on the list of budget-friendly fruits, at only 14¢ per serving.

Yields 4-6 servings

Greek Watermelon Feta Salad

25 minPrep Time

25 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

5 based on 1 review(s)

Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 3 cups diced watermelon, seeded
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • For dressing:
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. 1. In a large bowl, add watermelon, cucumber, onion, olives, feta nad mint.
  2. 2. In a small bowl, whisk oil, lime juice, lime zest, garlic and salt.
  3. 3. Pour dressing over salad and toss.
7.6.2
299
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/greek-watermelon-feta-salad.html

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by The National Watermelon Board– as always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting my sponsors and allowing me to continue creating recipes like this Greek Watermelon Feta Salad.

The post Greek Watermelon Feta Salad appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/greek-watermelon-feta-salad.html/feed 2
Grilled Salmon Skewers http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/grilled-salmon-skewers.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/grilled-salmon-skewers.html#respond Sat, 15 Jul 2017 01:14:09 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10062 Grilled salmon skewers with zucchini, onion and bell peppers are marinated in a olive oil, lemon juice and dried thyme marinade. Recently I’ve been turning to books and reading to help relax and stop my brain from constantly cycling through my to-do list. Growing up, I always did a ton of reading in the summers, and I [...]

The post Grilled Salmon Skewers appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
Grilled salmon skewers with zucchini, onion and bell peppers are marinated in a olive oil, lemon juice and dried thyme marinade.

Grilled salmon skewers with zucchini, onion and bell peppers are marinated in a olive oil, lemon juice and dried thyme marinade. | www.livinglou.com

Recently I’ve been turning to books and reading to help relax and stop my brain from constantly cycling through my to-do list. Growing up, I always did a ton of reading in the summers, and I feel like I’ve been conditioned to spend time reading in the summer. I recently finished a collection of essays and poems called I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better by Monica Heisey who is a writer and comedian from Toronto. It is so funny and relatable. I especially loved that the stories took place in and around Toronto.

I’ve been reading a combination of non-fiction and fiction, I’m halfway through Aidan Donnelly Rowley’s The Ramblers right now and loving it, but my next ‘project’ is to do a deep dive into some culinary reading and research.

Grilled salmon skewers with zucchini, onion and bell peppers are marinated in a olive oil, lemon juice and dried thyme marinade. | www.livinglou.com

When I was working in a test kitchen, I was constantly learning and improving my skills. Learning to think about flavours and balance, texture and taste. How to actually season your food properly (everyone should learn this!). Combining all of these elements to make your recipes better each time you are developing and testing them. It’s been over a year and a half since I had that job and I’ve definitely been missing how much I would learn about food each and every day because there is always something new to learn about food and cooking.

I’ve got a growing list of classic cookbooks, memoirs and gastronomic bibles. If I actually had all of these books, my bedside table and desk would be piled high. Many of these books aren’t available anymore but can be found in the reference library in Toronto. So you can expect to find me there over the next little while. Maybe I’ll document and share some of my findings on here (or on Instagram) is that something you’d be interested in?

Grilled salmon skewers with zucchini, onion and bell peppers are marinated in a olive oil, lemon juice and dried thyme marinade. | www.livinglou.com

These grilled salmon skewers are a basic recipe but I find a lot of people are intimidated by grilling fish. It’s so easy to overcook and can fall apart right on the grill. Trust me, I’ve made both of those mistakes before. The trick to making salmon skewers (or skewers of any type) is to be very selective with the kinds of veggies you are grilling along with your protein. Because salmon cooks quickly, I opted for onion, zucchini and bell peppers because I knew they would cook in the same time as the fish.

The other key to making skewers or kabobs is in the marinade. I marinate the veggies and salmon in the same bowl to keep things simple. It’s a very basic marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and dried thyme. I’m using dried herbs here because they won’t burn on the grill and can stand up to high temperatures and direct grilling.

Yields 8 skewers

Grilled Salmon Skewers

35 minPrep Time

8 minCook Time

6 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe
Recipe Image

Ingredients

    For marinade:
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • For skewers:
  • 1.5 lbs / 680g fresh salmon filets, skim removed cut into 1' cubes
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into 1' pieces
  • 2 zucchini, sliced into 1/4' rounds
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced into 1' pieces

Instructions

  1. In a large glass bowl, whisk lemon juice with thyme and salt. Add salmon and vegetables, toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, soak 8 medium length wood skewers in water.
  2. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Thread salmon and veggies onto skewers.
  3. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side or until fish is cooked.
7.6.2
298
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/grilled-salmon-skewers.html

Let me know if you give these grilled salmon skewers a try in the comments below.

The post Grilled Salmon Skewers appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/grilled-salmon-skewers.html/feed 0
S’mores Rice Crispy Treats http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/smores-rice-crispy-treats.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/smores-rice-crispy-treats.html#comments Sun, 02 Jul 2017 16:45:55 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10044 S’mores rice crispy treats with chocolate and graham crackers are the ultimate easy dessert. Oh, long weekends. Once you start working, they become that much sweeter. It’s always nice to get out of the city and escape for a couple of days, but I’m hanging around Toronto this Canada Day long weekend. Floating between my apartment and my [...]

The post S’mores Rice Crispy Treats appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
S’mores rice crispy treats with chocolate and graham crackers are the ultimate easy dessert.

S'mores rice krispie treats with chocolate and graham crackers are the ultimate easy dessert. | livinglou.com

Oh, long weekends. Once you start working, they become that much sweeter. It’s always nice to get out of the city and escape for a couple of days, but I’m hanging around Toronto this Canada Day long weekend. Floating between my apartment and my childhood home, the apartments of my friends, and the pools and backyards where I grew up. Parks and coffee shops, grocery stores. Doing all the regular things I would in a weekend, but feeling like there is time to actually breathe.  

I find we are always trying to pack everything into one weekend. We want to make the most of it! Summer is only here for two months! Let’s go swimming! Let’s go to the park! Let’s walk down by the water! Let’s do it all in one day! Mix that in with the actual work that I have to get done on the weekend and it can be pretty exhausting. My alarm goes off on Monday morning at the lovely hour of 5:30am and I already feel like I need another weekend to just sleep and relax.

S'mores rice krispie treats with chocolate and graham crackers are the ultimate easy dessert. | livinglou.com

S’mores are one of those quintessential summer treats. I’m not really the camping type, but we used to make them over the bonfire at the cottage. The melty, smoky marshmallows mixed with graham crackers and melted chocolate is basically what dreams are made of.

This recipe is made in two parts, first you make the rice krispie treat base. It’s basically your typical rice crispy treat but then you mix in a few of the s’mores ingredients (crumbled graham crackers and chocolate), so it becomes more of a chocolate rice crispy square. Then it’s pressed into a pan and topped with more marshmallows, crumbled graham crackers and chocolate.

You throw this pan under the broiler for about four minutes, just to char the top of the marshmallows and mirror that smoky, campfire look and you’re good to go. You see the golden tops on the marshmallows? That’s what we want. That’s where the flavour is.

S'mores rice krispie treats with chocolate and graham crackers are the ultimate easy dessert. | livinglou.com

The thing about these s’mores rice krispie treats is that they are delicious warm and cold. So you can eat them right out of the pan when you make them, and bring them to work or to a picnic when they have cooled down and they are just as good.

I love seeing photos from my favourite bloggers so I thought I’d give you a bit of a peak into my summer so far. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen a few of them before! How lucky am I to live in this great city and have the most amazing tribe of friends.

A few snapshots of my summer so far in Toronto.

Yields 16 squares

S’mores Rice Crispy Treats

15 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

5 based on 1 review(s)

Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 5 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 1 cup crumbled graham crackers
  • 3 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • For topping:
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup crumbled graham crackers
  • 2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

Instructions

  1. Grease a 9x13 oven-safe baking dish with butter or vegetable oil.
  2. Melt butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add mini marshmallows, stirring until melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  3. Add crispy rice cereal, graham crackers and semi sweet chocolate. Stir to coat in marshmallows and press into prepared pan.
  4. Sprinkle evenly with topping.
  5. Place under broiler for 3-4 minutes, checking frequently to avoid burning.
  6. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting into 16 squares.
7.6.2
297
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/smores-rice-crispy-treats.html

Let me know if you give these s’mores rice crispy treats a try in the comments below!

The post S’mores Rice Crispy Treats appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/07/smores-rice-crispy-treats.html/feed 1
Peach Sangria with Blueberries, Basil and Rose http://www.livinglou.com/2017/06/peach-sangria-with-blueberries-basil-and-rose.html http://www.livinglou.com/2017/06/peach-sangria-with-blueberries-basil-and-rose.html#comments Wed, 28 Jun 2017 09:00:22 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=10028 Whip up a quick peach sangria with blueberries, basil and rose for a crowd for a refreshing summer cocktail.  Does anything scream summer more than a refreshing glass of sangria? I don’t think so! Every year, my summer bucket list always includes these three things; read X amount of books, go rollerblading, and make sangria. I [...]

The post Peach Sangria with Blueberries, Basil and Rose appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
Whip up a quick peach sangria with blueberries, basil and rose for a crowd for a refreshing summer cocktail. 

Peach sangria with blueberries, basil and rose for a crowd for a refreshing summer cocktail. | livinglou.com

Does anything scream summer more than a refreshing glass of sangria? I don’t think so! Every year, my summer bucket list always includes these three things; read X amount of books, go rollerblading, and make sangria. I usually check off two of those three items, but tend to forget about the sangria plans.

We bring up bottles of wine and fruit to cottages with big plans for making pitchers of everyone’s favourite refreshing drink. Before you know it, the weekend is over, the bottles of wine are empty and you have no sangria to show for it. Weekends pass by way too quickly, especially when they are the laughter, sun and wine-soaked variety.

Peach sangria with blueberries, basil and rose for a crowd for a refreshing summer cocktail. | livinglou.com

I so enjoy these summer weekends. I’ve been really busy with work recently, so I feel like I haven’t quite been making the most of the summer yet but there are still two months to go! It’s tough to find that balance between getting everything done that I need to do and having downtime to do all those things that I want to do in the summer. I’ve been pretty good recently at making the most of my time during the week so that my weekends have a little more wiggle room, and the plan is to keep that up until September.

With June being pretty much over and Canada Day and the Fourth of July coming up, summer is officially here (and positively zooming by). I developed this easy sangria recipe with peaches, blueberries, basil and a deliciously sweet rose wine with one of my best friend’s during one of the first beautiful Saturdays we had in June. We were hanging out in the backyard and decided that it was the perfect afternoon for sangria.

Peach sangria with blueberries, basil and rose for a crowd for a refreshing summer cocktail. | livinglou.com

After heading to the store to gather the ingredients, we mixed it all together and let it sit in the fridge for an hour to allow the fruit to infuse with wine. I’ll tell you, waiting that hour was so hard, but so worth it. While we opted to use rose for this sangria, you could definitely use a white wine in here as well.

If you’re up at a cottage or just having a little getaway in your own backyard or on your tiny balcony, a pitcher of sangria is basically the best way to spend your afternoon. If you’re wondering how to make sangria, my recipe is as simple as mixing the fruits and flavourings of your choice, adding wine and seltzer water. Serve it over ice (tip: never add the ice to the pitcher because it will dilute the entire pitcher).

If you’re looking for another perfect summer drink, you can try my blueberry vodka lemonade.

Yields Serves 8-10

Peach Sangria with Blueberries, Basil and Rose

10 minPrep Time

1 hrCook Time

1 hr, 10 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

4.8 based on 4 review(s)

Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 4 peaches, diced with skin-on
  • 15 basil leaves
  • 2 750-mL bottles rose wine
  • 3 cups sparkling water

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large pitcher. Refrigerate for an hour.
  2. Serve over ice.
7.6.2
296
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/06/peach-sangria-with-blueberries-basil-and-rose.html

Let me know if you give this refreshing peach sangria a try in the comments below.

The post Peach Sangria with Blueberries, Basil and Rose appeared first on Living Lou.

]]>
http://www.livinglou.com/2017/06/peach-sangria-with-blueberries-basil-and-rose.html/feed 8