Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lobster Sandwiches With Homemade Dill Mayo

I wanted to share this sandwich with you before Sue and I take our annual vacation to Prince George to visit family. 
I like to call this the most expensive sandwich in the world. Want to know what a can of lobster goes for here? $17.00.
That's right.
$17.00 for one can.
Crazy, right? I had to buy it though. I wanted...NO...needed to make myself a lobster sandwich. It was for my birthday lunch. It was totally worth it. I'd do it again. Don't judge me.
This is such a simple sandwich but with the homemade mayo and the Dutch Gouda (also a million dollars, by the way)  it was sooooooooooooooo addicting. Totally worth having to mortgage the house to buy a can of lobster and some cheese. 

Lobster Sandwich with Homemade Dill Mayo

Dill Mayo
1 egg yolk
juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp prepared mustard
generous pinch of salt
2 tsp fresh dill, finely chopped
1 tsp dried chives
3/4 cup canola oil

1 can lobster
1 cup imitation lobster (Alaskan pollock)
1/4 cup onion, diced small
1 cup Dutch Gouda cheese, cubed small
4 whole grain, hot dog rolls (the softer the better)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, lemon juice, mustard, salt, dill, and chives. 
Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the oil until mayo is thick and all the oil is incorporated. (If your mayo is too thick simply whisk in a little cold water.)

In a medium bowl, toss together the canned lobster, imitation lobster, onion, and cheese until lobster is broken into fairly small chunks. Stir in enough of the mayo to make for a creamy mixture - I used about half.

Preheat broiler in your oven for about 5 minutes. Place the 4 buns on a cookie sheet and broil until the buns are lightly toasted, about 2 - 3 minutes - keep a close eye on them. 
Spread the toasted buns with a little of the mayo.
Divide lobster mixture evenly onto the 4 buns.

Serve immediately.
I already want another one. It was so good. 
I would have totally used another can of lobster instead of the imitation lobster except that the imitation lobster was only $3.00 instead of $17.00 and, while I could justify paying $17.00 for one can of lobster I just couldn't justify paying $35.00 for two. 
Maybe it tasted better because I knew it was probably the most expensive sandwich I've ever eaten. Or, maybe it tasted so good because lobster and Gouda on a squishy bun is the most amazing thing ever. 

For tons of fantastic links, be sure to visit these great blogs -- The Mandatory Mooch, Easy Life, Carole's Chatter

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Apri-HOT BBQ Sauce (Spicy Apricot Asian Fusion BBQ Sauce)

I'm squeezing 2 posts in today so Sue and I can finish up our apricot celebration. We have shared 12 or so recipes that have apricots as one of the main flavors to celebrate Lillooet's Annual Apricot Tsaqwem Festival. 
I saved the best for last.
Well...maybe not the best...but definitely the most popular. 
This recipe won first place in the apricot cook off savory category. Everyone seemed to love the super-de-duper spicy kick this BBQ sauce has.
I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to heat in my food so I only sampled a little of this on my burger. I love the sweetness of the apricots combined with the heat of the jalapeno and cayenne.
I wanted to make a BBQ sauce that was a little out of the ordinary so I came up with this Asian fusion blend of flavors. I guarantee it is different from anything you have had before.

Apri-HOT BBQ Sauce

2 Tbsp sesame oil
4 cups apricots, pitted and halved
7 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, diced (leave seeds in)
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried chives
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup oyster sauce
6 Tbsp red wine vinegar
4 cups water

Add sesame oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add in apricots, garlic, and onion. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients - except for water. 

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Add in the water. Bring back to a boil, turn down heat and simmer 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool about 30 minutes. 
Using a blender or food processor, blend, in batches, until smooth. Press through a strainer back into a large pot.

Return to medium heat and bring to a boil again. Turn heat to a low simmer and simmer for approx 45 mins to an hour, until thickened. Stir about every 10 minutes or so to ensure it doesn't burn.

You can either store in sealed containers in the fridge OR you can process it and can it using regular canning methods/water bath.  It makes 12 to 14 - 1/2 cup jars of sauce. 
It will thicken up in the fridge even more. 

Perfect for burgers, steak, chicken, name it. 
I would describe this as a spicy BBQ sauce with strong hints of apricot and subtle hints of Asian flavors that will have your guests wondering just what the heck the ingredients are. 
Bring this to your next BBQ party and everyone will think you are a super genius. 
Sue and I hope you have enjoyed all of our apricot recipes over the last 2 weeks. 
We look forward to next year's Apricot Festival to come up with even more recipes to share with you. 

Looking for some more great links? Check out Carole's Chatter!

Apricot Cookie Tarts

I will apologize now for the photos in this post. 
These little bad boys went so fast I hardly had time to take any pictures.
Sue made these for the Apricot Tsaqwem Festival cook off. They look so cute and are fairly adaptable to whatever preserves you have on hand. Sue slightly adapted this recipe from Pillsbury's Best Of The Bake Off cookbook.
She may not have won a prize at the cook off but that shouldn't stop you from making these for your next get together. I promise they will be the hit of the party!

Apricot Cookie Tarts
(Slightly adapted from Pillsbury's Best Of The Bake Off cookbook)

1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 cup butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup apricot jam

1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups coconut, shredded

Cookies -- Preheat oven to 350. Spray mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, icing sugar, and cornstarch. Using a wooden spoon, beat in butter and vanilla until soft dough forms. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place a ball into each mini muffin tin, pressing dough in bottom and up the sides of each cup. 
Filling -- Spoon about 1 tsp of apricot jam into each cookie cup. Set aside.
Topping -- In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and egg until well combined. Stir in coconut until well coated with egg mixture. 
Spoon about 1 tsp of coconut mixture over the jam in the cookie cups.
Bake at 350 for 20 - 25 minutes, until crusts are golden brown. 
Cool about 15 - 20 minutes in pans. Gently run a knife around the edge of each tart to loosen from pan. Carefully lift out of pan and let completely cool on wire rack. 
*This makes about 36 cookie tarts. If you only have one pan then keep the cookie dough balls chilled until you need them. *

We usually make these with pineapple jam and they are to-die-for. The apricot jam is really nice too. 
Whatever your favorite jam is - it will more than likely work in this cookie tart.
Perfect for the Christmas cookie exchange with some strawberry or raspberry jam!
Don't forget to visit The Chicken Chick for some great links!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Apricot Ice Cream

I don't know about where you are right now...but here, in Lillooet, it has been a billion degrees for the last few weeks.
Nope. Not even exaggerating. 
A billion degrees.
Want to know what food you should eat when it's this hot out? Ice cream, ice cream, and more ice cream.
It's true.
I think it's a law. least it should be.
Anyways....this ice cream is super simple to make and is perfect if you don't like in-your-face flavor in your ice cream. It is mild, subtle, even delicate. Just right to use up those apricots you have hanging around.

Apricot Ice Cream

2 eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 cups apricot puree
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups half & half 

Beat together the sugar and eggs until light, about 3 - 4 minutes.
Beat in the apricot puree until well mixed, scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in the whipping cream and half & half until well mixed. 
Chill in fridge for an hour.
After it has chilled for an hour, place in ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's directions.
Store in freezer in covered container. 
If it freezes too hard just let it sit out for 10 - 15 minutes before scooping.

How easy is that?
Just the thing you need to get you through the summer. 

For tons of great links be sure to head over to Feeding Big and Love Bakes Good Cakes and Memories By The Mile!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Apricot Ambrosia Sponge Cake

The base for this cake is a Russian Biskvit, or sponge cake. I had never made one before so was excited to try something a little different. If I had to compare it to something I would say it is very similar to an angel food cake but a lot easier to make. 
This was the second prize winner in the apricot cooking contest, sweet category. 
*whoot whoot*
Layered with the apricots and the ambrosia-like whipped cream it is really quite different from anything I have made before. It is very light and airy and would be perfect for after a heavy meal, ie: holidays dinners.
You should make this a day before so it has time to chill overnight but, if you don't have time, 3 - 4 hours in the fridge is okay too. 

Apricot Ambrosia Sponge Cake

8 eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder

Apricot Layer
3 cups apricots, halved
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 Tbsp corn starch

Ambrosia Whipped Cream
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 cups sour cream

1/4 cup ground almonds, toasted
1 - 2 fresh apricots, sliced

Cake - Preheat oven to 350. Spray 2 - 9 inch pans with cooking spray, line with parchment paper (cut to fit), set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs for 3 minutes.Gradually add in sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, and once it has all been added beat for 5 minutes. 
In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. 
Carefully add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and fold in gently. Add the rest of the flour and fold in -- you want it to be well incorporated but you do not want to deflate the eggs!
Split the batter between the 2 prepared pans. Bake at 350 until tops are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. 
Remove from heat and run a knife around the outside of the pan. Invert onto wire racks, remove parchment paper, turn the cake back over onto another wire rack, and let cool. 

Apricot Layer - In a medium saucepan, place apricots, maple syrup, and sprinkle with cornstarch. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Turn heat down and simmer for 5 minutes, apricots should be completely broken down. 
Remove from heat and let cool. You can place in a bowl in the fridge to speed process, if desired. 
Ambrosia Whipped Cream - In a large bowl, beat whipping cream, icing sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Add in the 2 cups of sour cream and continue beating until stiff peaks form. 
Assemble Cake - Using a serrated knife or dental floss, very carefully cut the 2 cakes in half horizontally. Do the best you can, they may be a bit crumbly, you can always repair a little damage with the filling!
Place one layer of cake on a serving plate. Spread 1/4 of the apricot filling on top.

Then top with about 1/6th of the ambrosia whipped cream.

Repeat with the remaining 3 layers of cake.

Then take the remaining ambrosia whipped cream and cover the cake.
To decorate - sprinkle the toasted ground almonds around the edges and sides of the cake, top with some sliced fresh apricot.

Chill until ready to serve. Overnight is best but 3 - 4 hours will work just fine.
I love how the toasted, ground almonds hide the fact that I can't frost a cake to save my life. It looks pretty and no one knows that the frosting is uneven and not at all smooth. 
If you have ever had ambrosia know... whipped cream, sour cream, mandarin oranges, pineapple, maraschino cherries, and all that good stuff...then you will understand why I named it "ambrosia whipped cream". 
I was very happy this won second prize - it took a bit more work than a lot of our other entries and was probably the prettiest entry we had. 
I think we only have 2 more apricot recipes to go before we wind up our celebration of apricots. Sue and I hope you have been enjoying all of our apricot recipes!
Be sure to pop over to Jam Hands and The Velvet Moon Baker for tons of great links.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A to Z Muffins

I couldn't wait to post this recipe. I know Sue and I are doing all of our apricot recipes this month but I had to sneak this in. See...I had a dream about creating this recipe. 
Want to know why it's named "A to Z" muffins?
Because I made sure to include at least one ingredient for every letter of the alphabet. 
Cool idea, right?
The only letter that is not included is "X". I was going to use some xanthan gum but changed my mind - I don't know enough about baking with it and this recipe is funky enough already. If you have any ideas on how to incorporate the xanthan gum then please leave us a comment. ( I was also considering Xylitol but have heard some bad things about it so didn't want to try it.)
I asked the ladies at my office for some suggestions, our mom & dad, Sue, and the ladies at the local grocery store. Turns out it can be pretty tricky to find all the letters of the alphabet in food...specifically, food that will go well together in a muffin.
I had so much fun creating this. I couldn't help but think it would be great for kids learning their alphabet. 
Oh, case I forgot to mention it... it also tastes yummy. I was worried it would either be too moist or too dry....nope.....just right!

A to Z Muffins

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup yam, cooked & mashed
1/4 cup Greek yogurt (plain, vanilla, or Maple Syrup flavor)
1/2 cup honey
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup quinoa flakes
pinch salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp grated lemon rind (approx half a lemon)
1 cup carrot, shredded
1 cup zucchini, shredded
1 cup apple, finely diced
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup toffee bits
1/4 cup nectarine, finely diced
1/4 cup strawberries, finely diced
1/4 cup kiwi, finely diced
1/4 cup dates, finely diced
1/4 cup pecans, finely diced

1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 Tbsp plum jam (or any jam)
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup mini marshmallows

1 oz unsweetened chocolate

Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners, set aside. 
In a large bowl, beat  together the butter and brown sugar until creamy. Beat in yam, Greek yogurt, honey, eggs, vanilla, and orange juice until well combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, whole wheat flour, quinoa flakes, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and lemon rind. 
To the dry ingredients add the carrot, zucchini, apple, raisins, toffee bits, nectarine, strawberries, kiwi, dates, and pecans. 

Add all at once to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. DO NOT over mix. Scoop into prepared muffin trays. 

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until tops are very lightly browned and toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

Let cool completely before frosting.
Prepare frosting: In a small mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, butter and jam until smooth. Beat in icing sugar. In a small, microwave safe bowl, heat mini marshmallows for about 15 - 20 seconds, remove and stir. (If not completely smooth heat another 5 - 10 seconds.)  Beat the melted marshmallows into the cream cheese mixture until smooth. 
Spread about 1 Tbsp of the frosting onto each muffin. (You will more than likely have some frosting leftover.)
Grate a little of the unsweetened chocolate over each of the muffins. 
You can also make this into loaves if you prefer. You will just need to adjust your baking time accordingly.

And then you can frost it the same way as the muffins.

Whether you make a loaf or muffins, these are so much fun.
Here is the complete list of A to Z ingredients in this recipe:
A: Apple
B: Brown Sugar and Butter and Baking Powder/Soda
C: Carrots and Cinnamon and Cream Cheese
D: Dates
E: Eggs
F: Flour
G: Greek Yogurt
H: Honey
I: Icing Sugar
J: Jam 
K: Kiwi
L: Lemon Rind
M: Marshmallows
N: Nectarine
O: Orange Juice
P: Pecans
Q: Quinoa Flakes
R: Raisins
S: Strawberries
T: Toffee Bits
U: Unsweetened Chocolate
V: Vanilla
W: Whole Wheat Flour
Y: Yam
Z: Zucchini

What else would you have substituted? We would love to hear your ideas. 

Looking for tons of fun and tasty links to visit? Pop over to Carole's Chatter!  

Apricot Couscous Salad with Spicy Apricot Vinaigrette

We are well into our celebration of all things apricot and  have been dying to share this recipe. 
Sue created this masterpiece.
So... props to Sue... Don't tell her I said this one was my favorite. 
I think, had I been judging, I would have awarded this one the prize. 
The texture is amazing, the flavor is out of this world, and - my favorite - the dressing, is crazy addictive. 
I was worried that the apricot wouldn't overpower the salad and it would be too sweet. 
Just right.
You really have to try this!

Apricot Couscous Salad with Spicy Apricot Vinaigrette

2/3 cup dry couscous
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1/4 cup red pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup yellow pepper, finely diced
1/4 orange pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup peas
4 dried apricots, finely diced

Spicy Apricot Vinaigrette
8 apricots, pitted
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce
salt & pepper
2 Tbsp oil


Prepare salad: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring chicken broth to boil. Add dry couscous. Cover, reduce to simmer and cook until couscous is done - approx 10 - 15 minutes. 
Remove from heat and let cool. You can place in a bowl in the fridge to speed process. 
When cool, place couscous in a large bowl, add in onion, peppers, peas, and dried apricots. Stir to combine. Chill, covered, until ready to serve.
Prepare dressing: In a food processor or blender, process apricots, white wine vinegar, Thai chili sauce, and salt & pepper until smooth. With food processor or blender on low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil until well mixed.  Can be stored in airtight container until ready to use.

Assemble salad: Pour dressing on couscous, starting with about half, until it reaches desired consistency and flavor, tossing to combine.

Scoop into serving dish and top with the chopped, spicy almonds.

Leftovers last a day or two, covered, in the fridge but you may have to add a bit more dressing when you go to serve them. That is, if you have leftovers. 
I just love how pretty it looks.
If you have been looking to break out of the everyday-it's-getting-boring-eating-the-same-foods rut then definitely give this a try. 
You won't regret it. 
Stop by Chef In Training for tons of fantastic links!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Apricot Pecan Pinwheels and Saskatoon White Chocolate Pinwheels

I made two versions of this cookie as the contest I was baking them for was for either apricots or saskatoons (Lillooet's Annual Apricot Tsaqwem Festival).
It is easily adaptable to your favorite fruit spread.
I went with pecans for the apricot and white chocolate chips for the saskatoon but you could easily switch these up too. 
While they didn't win any of the prizes at the cook off, they are nonetheless, still tasty and totally worth the little bit of effort they require. 

Apricot Pecan Pinwheels and Saskatoon White Chocolate Pinwheels

1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp grapefruit juice (or orange juice)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

2/3 cup saskatoon jelly
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
2/3 cup apricot jam
1/3 cup pecans, toasted & finely chopped

In a mixing bowl, beat butter until smooth. Beat in sugars, scraping bowl often, until well combined.
Beat in grapefruit juice and vanilla. 
In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder. With beaters on low speed, add in dry ingredients until dough comes together.
Divide dough in half. Pat each half into balls. Cover in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
When chilled, roll out each ball into an approx 12 X 9 rectangle.
Spread one with apricot jam and pecans to within half inch of edges.

Spread the other with saskatoon jelly and white chocolate chips, to within 1/2 inch of edges. 

Roll up, jelly roll style, pinching seam to seal.
Chill dough again for another hour.
After an hour, preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside. 
Slice logs into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices. Place on prepared cookie sheets about 1 inch apart.

Bake at 350 for about 10 - 14 minutes. Tops should be very lightly browned. 
Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to wire cooling rack to cool completely. 

Cute, right?
Perfect for tea time...or after school snack....or, you know, right now.