Deep Dish Whisky Cream Cheese Brownies

I know, the title is a bit of a mouthful. But when you have whisky, cream cheese and rich walnut brownies all swirled into one enormous mess, you want to make sure people know what they’re in for.

My boyfriend gave me a “brownie in a mason jar” kit for Christmas, whic h is basically all of the dry ingredients you need to make a batch of brownies layered and pre-mixed so you can just add butter and eggs and get to it. I decided to modify it a bit by throwing in the cream cheese and whisky because really, who doesn’t want that.

I’m going to make a conscious effort to cook with more booze. Every time I add beer to stew, wine to risotto or whisky to baked goods, it always gives it an extra kick that’s hard to find elsewhere; you can also take a sip or two (*cough* or more than two) while you’re at it.
Deep Dish Brownies with Whisky and Cream Cheese

Ingredients

For the brownies

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  •  3 tbsp. whisky

For the cream cheese filling:

  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp. unbleached flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg*

*I didn’t have an egg for this part since I forgot I needed 5 and I only had 4. I ended up using about a tablespoon of mayonnaise (stop grimacing) and it worked perfectly.

Method

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and lightly flour a 9×9-inch baking pan. Set aside.

Stir all dry ingredients together in one bowl (from flour to walnuts in the ingredient list) until well combined. Thoroughly mix in melted butter, eggs and whisky. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is flexible. Beat in flour, sugar and egg and mix for 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Pour 1/2 the batter into the prepared baking pan. Spread all of the cream cheese mixture evenly over top of the first layer of brownie batter. Pour remaining brownie batter over top, and swirl with a fork or spatula the mix with the cream cheese.**

Bake for roughly 40-45 minutes until a toothpick can be cleanly inserted into the centre. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then careful transfer to a cooling rack until fully cooled. Serve warm with ice cream and syrup or eat as is.

**Mine wasn’t that pretty since it was my first attempt and I semi messed up. Make your own patterns and show me up.

Deep Dish Brownies with Whisky and Cream CheeseDeep Dish Brownies with Whisky and Cream Cheese

Japanese Cold Noodle Salad (Hiyashi Chuka)

Put down everything and pick up your forks because you’re not going to want to miss out on this one.

I made two versions of this dish: one with soba noodles and one with flat rice noodles. For whatever reason, the rice noodles clumped together and remained hardened in certain spots even though they were well cooked everywhere else, so I preferred the soba version. The rice noodles still managed to be salvaged enough for a bowl though (as you’ll see in the photos).

One of the reasons I love this dish so much is because it’s customizable in every way. Want ramen noodles instead? Do it. Don’t like the flavours in the dressing? Whip up one of your own. Pile on whichever toppings you like, create your own, and ditch the ones you’re not to big on.

I know cold noodles may not sound like the most appetizing thing in the world at first. But once you toss on the rice vinegar dressing (don’t be shy with it) and pile it up with toppings, you’ll be a believer.

I adapted this recipe from Emily Han’s version on The Kitchn. She gives great recommendations for toppings (veg and non-veg) and the recipe turned out so well.

Japanese Cold Noodle Salad

Japanese Cold Noodle Salad

Ingredients

Serves 2

Noodles

  • 6 ounces dried noodles (soba, ramen, flat rice, etc.)

Eggs

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • Small amount of vegetable oil for frying

Additional Toppings

  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame, cooked
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels, cooked
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, julienned
  • 1 sheet nori seaweed, sliced into strips
  • 1 scallion, sliced

Dressing

  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce (my favourite is Kikkoman)
  • 3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds

Garnish

  • A handful of sesame seeds
  • 4 large bok choy leaves, washed and trimmed

Method

Noodles

Cook noodles of choice according to package. Drain, and submerge in a bowl of ice water until thoroughly chilled. Drain again and set aside.

Eggs

Whisk together eggs, salt and sugar. Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan and add a small amount of oil so that the surface is just covered. Add in just enough egg to cover the pan—you want it to be as thin as possible. Cook on each side for roughly 10-15 seconds, then transfer to a plate and repeat until all the egg is gone. Depending on the size of your pan, you will get 2-4 sheets. Once all your egg it cooked, cut the sheets into thin strips and set aside.

Dressing

Whisk everything together is a small bowl and set aside.

Assembly

Divide the noodles between two large bowls. Arrange eggs and all other toppings, and garnish with sesame seeds and bok choy leaves. Just before eating, liberally drizzle with dressing and toss.

Japanese Cold Noodle Salad

Extreme Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce

Sometimes you just have to learn lessons the hard way, which is exactly what I did for this recipe.

I grew a decent amount of scotch bonnet peppers in my backyard this year. I wasn’t expecting to have so many (about 20 picked) so I figured hot sauce was the best way to go. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know condiments come and go frequently in my house because I put them on everything. How bad could it be right? Wrong. So very, very wrong.

I removed all of the seeds from the scotch bonnets as I was adding in the jalapenos and wanted it to be hot but edible. I cut them into little strips and tossed them in the pot, along with all the other ingredients. About 10 minutes later, I felt a light itching on my knuckles. 10 minutes after that, the itching was much worse and on most of my fingers. Half an hour in and my hands were red, blotchy, burning and it lasted like that on-and-off for about 5 hours.

Then it came time for me to blend up what was in the pot to get my final result. I always use an immersion blender for anything that’s already in a pot so I don’t have to dirty more dishes and it’s just generally easier. That being said, you really, really don’t want to splash anything from that pot in your eyes, so if you don’t have a pair of safety goggles or sunglasses around, use a closed-top blender.

I blended everything up and within seconds the oils had risen into the air and I began coughing—it felt like a light burning in my throat. I opened all the doors and it still lingered around for 5 minutes afterwards. I ended up blending the rest while covering my mouth with the shirt I was wearing. I was also wearing sunglasses (so I looked ridiculous) but at least that part was fine.

There was one shining saviour in this whole ordeal, which was the actual finished hot sauce. Even just tasting some on the end of a toothpick gives a nice kick but it smells and tastes like a proper homemade hot sauce that would spice up soups, stews, chili or anything that could dilute it a little.

I find it really important that people take my advice on the gloves/goggles situation. So much so that I found it completely necessary to give a bright red disclaimer about it below. Please be careful!

Warning: Wearing the gloves is a must (trust me, my hands burned for hours). Wearing some kind of safety goggles and even a mask to cover your mouth when using an immersion blender is strongly suggested. This sauce is HOT.

Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce

Ingredients

Makes about 2 cups of hot sauce

  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 small white onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 19 scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 6 small jalapeno peppers, sliced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar

Method

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, peppers, salt and ginger; cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Pour in water and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until all ingredients are cooked.

Wait until the mixture has significantly cooled down (this will help prevent the oils itching your throat), then blend mixture with an immersion blender or a regular closed-top blender. If using the immersion blender method, read warning above.

Once blended, stir in vinegar and sugar. If there are still some fibres from the peppers, run your hot sauce through cheesecloth or a fine strainer. Store in the fridge in an airtight container and add to soup, stew, curry and more to give your dishes a nice big kick.

Scotch Bonnet Hot Sauce

Crisped Rice Cheese Wafers

As I’m sure many of you did over the holidays, I over-indulged. Chocolate, cheese, bread, booze…almost every single day to the point where I feel I could live off smoothies and soup forever. Of course that only lasts a day until I rediscover my love for pizza, but still, I try.

These wafers are honestly perfect for any occasion, all year round. Easy to find ingredients, simple instructions and can be made ahead months in advance. I made them gluten-free this time around but I have made them in the past using all-purpose flour and regular rice krispies and it works just as well.

If you’ve never encountered it, Imperial cheese is very salty and creamy. Delicious for finger foods but you want to make sure to give it a little taste to emphasize why you don’t need salted butter for this recipe. If you can’t find any, shard cheddar cheese shredded up works well but the texture will be a little different.

I’ve been cooking (and eating) up a storm over the past month so be ready for some healthier recipes coming up in the new year. I’ve already tried some healthy re-makes just for fun, but I have a huge database of bookmarked recipes for things like fruit leather, energy bars and raw salads that I’m excited for.

Crisped Rice and Cheese Wafers

Note: I made two batches for this recipe. One using grated white cheddar and mixing everything with a spatula, the other using Imperial cheese and a food processor. The latter turned out smoother, but both methods still worked and tasted great. That’s why the wafers may look different in each photo.

Ingredients

Makes roughly 24 wafers

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 (250g) container of Imperial cheese or a sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
  • 1 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups gluten-free rice krispies (or another puffed rice cereal)
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of a food processor, cream together butter and cheese. Add in the Worcestershire sauce and blend until smooth. Process in the flour and rice krispies until just mixed—you still want there to be some texture. You can mix by hand as well if you do not have a food processor handy; the texture will be crunchier. Drop by spoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork, or lightly flour a drinking glass and press on the tops to flatten. Bake for 8-10 minutes until just golden brown around the edges.

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container on the counter for up to a week. If you are making them in advance, you can put them in an airtight container and freeze them for up to 3 months.

Crisped Rice and Cheese WafersCrisped Rice and Cheese Wafers

Brown Butter Gingerbread Waffles (plus the Christmas Cookie Recipe Roundup entries)

If you feel like having the most festive Christmas morning breakfast ever, you’ve come to the right place. My boyfriend basically did all of the work on this one so this credit goes to him. I got a new waffle iron for my birthday and we bookmarked around 10 waffle posts, but this one was too good to pass up. Brown butter is basically just slow cooked butter that ends up having a delicious smell and sweet taste. Mix that in with all the traditional spices from gingerbread cookies and it becomes a sweet tooth’s dream. As some of you may know I ask people to send in their best cookie recipes for the holidays. I couldn’t link to most of them since they were written out and this post would be never-ending, but the one chosen to be posted up will have full photos, instructions and tips. If one in particular catches your eye, comment below or send me an e-mail and I’ll be happy to share the recipe. Here’s a round up of some of the best submissions I got this year:

  • Vegan Glazed Almond Cinnamon Shortbread
  • Mom’s Pecan Squares
  • Chocolate Marshmallow Rolls
  • Shortbread Bites
  • Nutella Lava S’mores Cookies
  • Oatmeal Butterscotch Apple Pie Cookies
  • Gingerbread Squares with M&M’s
  • Apple Butter Cake Batter Cookies

I will be announcing which recipe is going to be made/posted soon. In the meantime, happy holidays and keep baking! Apologies for any tardiness on this, my computer picked an ideal time to die. Brown Butter Gingerbread Waffles Ingredients Makes 6 waffles

  • 1 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk
  • Maple syrup and whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Method   Whisk together both flours, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once melted, continue to heat, stirring constantly with a spatula, until brown flecks form. It burns very easily so be careful! It should smell like caramel. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Whisk together eggs, yogurt, molasses, and milk. Whisk in brown butter to that mixture. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until just combined. Preheat a waffle maker. Let the batter stand while the waffle maker heats. Lightly coat the iron—I used a paper towel with some vegetable oil. Scoop 1/2 cup of the batter into the centre of your heated waffle maker and spread out with a heatproof spatula. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree oven. Serve topped with maple syrup, whipped cream, fresh fruit and a tall glass of OJ. This recipe was adapted from Kristine’s Kitchen. Brown Butter Gingerbread Waffles Brown Butter Gingerbread Waffles

Gluten-Free Cream Cheese Stuffed Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin isn’t just for fall. Sure, you may have overdosed on pumpkin spice lattes this year. And sure, it was probably sickening yet amazing. But once you move past the withdrawal, you can get into the real pumpkin flavours of the winter season.

Baking with gluten-free flours is always risky. I was pretty confident in this recipe because pumpkin is very naturally moist which helps keep the mix from crumbling when baking. Also, stuff anything with this cream cheese filling and I won’t complain. I had to stop myself from eating it on it’s own (and failed).

Some of the most important tips of the recipe:

  1. Chill the cream cheese filling.
  2. Follow the ratio of batter to filling.
  3. Allow them to cool.

I adapted this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything. The main change was the switch from regular to gluten-free flour. For this recipe, I tried out the newer Robin Hood GF mix which I found has a pretty good texture for baking and acts as a nice substitute. You can still definitely taste the difference, but not so much that it would be off-putting.Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling

Ingredients

Makes 24 muffins

For the filling:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
For the muffins:
  • 3 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (see Note)
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
For the topping:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp. all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Method

For the filling:

Mix the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl until smooth and no lumps remain. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, then put in the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, about 2 hours. The mixture should be firm enough to cut with a knife.

For the muffins:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an stand mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Do not overmix.

For the topping:

Mix the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and mix with your hands until it is coarse and crumbly, so that it looks like the texture of wet sand. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill until ready to use.

Assembly:

Fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons). Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces. Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well. You want to put the cream cheese lower than you think because it will rise a lot during the baking process. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling

The Ultimate Vegetarian Lasagna

Noodles and cheese. Sometimes it just can’t be beat. Smother it in a slow simmered colourful vegetable sauce and you’ve got yourself a meal.

I made this for dinner, ate 2 pieces (I want to call them slices but it doesn’t seem right) and had another one the next morning for breakfast.

I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the rice noodles; I honestly couldn’t tell the difference. In my experience gluten-free pasta can be sticky, fall apart or have an off-putting taste. I especially prefer corn over rice pasta. That being said, the lasagna ones were fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone steering clear of gluten.

This was my first attempt at lasagna in a long time, so I was nervous about having the noodles and sauce spill out everywhere when I cut it open. Letting it set is such an important part of the directions and it worked perfectly.

I adapted this recipe from Inspired Taste.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 12 lasagna rice noodles (or use regular wheat lasagna noodles)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 small zucchinis, cubed
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 (12 oz.) jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes*
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 (15 oz.) container whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella cheese, shredded**
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

*I used a can of whole tomatoes and using an immersion blender to crush them. Work with what you’ve got.

**Mozzarella balls vary in size by a small amount—I used a whole one of those.

Method

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil then cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Add a couple teaspoons of olive oil to the water so the noodles do not stick together. Drain then lay flat on a sheet of aluminum foil–this makes them easier to work with later.

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan with sides over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent; 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, zucchini, squash and a pinch of salt then cook, stirring occasionally until softened but still with some crunch and edges just start to brown; 5 to 8 minutes. Next, add roasted red peppers and crushed tomatoes. Stir then bring to a low simmer. Simmer until liquid has thickened and reduced by half; 5 to 8 minutes. Add basil then season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Mix together ricotta, eggs and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a medium-sized bowl until well combined.

Spoon just enough vegetable mixture into the baking dish to lightly cover bottom (about 1 cup) so that the noodles don’t stick. Arrange four noodles lengthwise and side by side to cover the bottom. Don’t worry if they’re not overlapping or touching closely.

Spread about half of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with a third of the parmesan cheese and a third of the mozzarella cheese. Then, top with a third of the vegetable mixture. Add another layer of four noodles then repeat with remaining cheese and vegetables.

Finish with a final layer of noodles, vegetables, parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.

Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes, uncover then bake 15 minutes until cheese is crusty around the edges. To make cheese golden brown on top, slide under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes.

Let rest at least 15 minutes before serving. Do not skip this part. Allowing it to rest before serving lets it settle and your lasagna can easily be cut into squares without falling apart.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Cream Cheese, Orange Liqueur and Almond Stuffed Apricots

Back with another boozy recipe just in time for the holidays.

I made these for a wedding a few weeks ago and they worked perfectly as a vegetarian and gluten-free finger food. I’ve heard plenty of reasons over the past couple of years as to why people have made the switch to gluten-free, but none was as great as a guest at this wedding. She claimed that she became psychotic when she ate gluten. That’s definitely a new one.

When I was making these, I had a frustrating time at first because of my lack of experience with piping bags. I was missing a piece, so my friend ended up using bright pink duct tape to hold the nozzle to the bag. We called it the ghetto squeezer. I may patent it one day (ha), but really what I need is a proper icing set.

Stuffed Apricot Appetizers

Ingredients

Makes 24 apricots

  • 3 oz room temperature cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp. orange liqueur
  • 24 large whole Turkish apricots
  • 24 whole blanched almonds or 1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds

Method

In a food processor, cream together the cream cheese, ginger and liqueur. Set aside.

Make a small incision in the apricots, just large enough to fit the tip of the piping bag. Fill a piping bag with the mixture, and pipe a small amount into each apricot. There should already be a very small hole where the pit was removed—I’d suggest enlarging that to avoid any leakage.

Push one whole almond or a pinch of sliced almonds into the top of the apricots. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Stuffed Apricot AppetizersStuffed Apricot Appetizers

Classic Restaurant-Style Burritos (a.k.a. the Best Damn Burritos You’ll Ever Make at Home)

Looking at the post below, I’m sure the long list of ingredients/lengthy-looking instructions may be off-putting when you can just grab a burrito for $7 elsewhere. It’s really not as difficult as it may appear (I promise) and once you’ve got a knack for making homemade burritos you’ll never want to stop.

I put down that this recipe serves four people, but admittedly I did have some leftovers of the main aspects of the dish—rice, a small amount of beans, pico de gaillo. We all know there was no leftover guac, that’s ridiculous. I had enough of everything to throw one together the next morning (call it a breakfast burrito and you’re good to go) and it was still fantastic.

When I was putting these together, I was with my brother and one of his friends who used to work at a popular burrito chain. They ended up barbecuing some meat, shredding it and throwing it into theirs; feel free to mess with the toppings to your liking, it’s pretty hard to make a burrito taste bad. We didn’t quite have all the same equipment as a burrito place would (as in we used a Sesame Street grilled cheese press to grill them) but they still turned out beyond my expectations.

To me, the trickiest part of this recipe is properly folding the burrito to make sure nothing spills out when you press it. I describe it as best I can in the instructions and you’ll be able to get a sense of what it should look like from the photos. Best of luck!

Classic Restaurant-Style BurritosClassic Restaurant-Style Burritos

Note: Don’t skip the grilling part. This holds everything nicely in place and gives the proper texture. Also, I tried taking photos of the steps and failed miserably, so I will put up one or two to get your started but then you’re on your own!

Ingredients

Serves 4

For refried beans:

  • 1 (450g) can of black beans, keep the liquid
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Pinch of chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin

For guacamole:

  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 3 tbsp. red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • Handful of chopped chives
  • Salt to taste

For pico de gaillo:

  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • Salt to taste

For Mexican-style rice:

  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • Salt to taste

Additional toppings:

  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup lettuce, shredded
  • Sour cream as preferred
  • Spicy salsa as preferred
  • Hot sauce as preferred
  • 4 medium-sized flour tortillas

Method

For refried beans:

Heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add garlic and cook until aromatic, roughly 2 minutes. Add in black beans, chili flakes and cumin. Mash the beans with a potato masher, slowly adding in the liquid from the can, until all liquid is used up and a relatively smooth, creamy (but not runny) texture remains.

For guacamole:

Mash avocados, onion, lime juice, chives and salt in a bowl. If making ahead, leave pits in bowl to keep the avocado green.

For pico de gaillo:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

For Mexican-style rice:

Cook rice as directed on packaging. Once done, stir in butter, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Take a spoonful or two of the pico de gaillo and add it in. Tip for perfect rice: Rinse desired amount of rice and place it in a pot or rice cooker. Place your hand on top of the rice. Slowly pour in water until the liquid just covers your fingers. Bring to a boil then lower heat until all liquid has evaporated (this will depend on how much rice you use). Perfect every time!

For assembly:

Preheat the sandwich grill.

Place one room temperature flour tortilla on a clean, dry work surface. Take 1/4 of the bean mixture and spread it into a rectangle in the middle of your tortilla, leaving plenty of space on the sides. Beans on tortillaGrab a large handful or two of rice and pat it down on top of the beans. Sprinkle some of the shredded cheese over top of the rice, then layer on the pico de gaillo and shredded lettuce. Along one side of the longer part of the rectangle, put a generous spoonful of sour cream and spread it so in runs parallel with your food. Do the same thing with guac on the other side. Put in as much salsa as you want (just don’t make it runny) and any hot sauce if desired. At this point, your burrito should be open-faced, the ingredients in a loose rectangle in the centre.

Fold the sides of your tortilla inwards, over top of the ingredients by about 2 inches. Holding the sides in place, take the front of the tortilla and fold it over the rectangle so that it tucks as tightly as possible under the ingredients. Slowly roll it forward towards the back fold. You’re now ready to grill.

Place the burrito in the grill and press down lightly. Allow to grill for 4-5 minutes until the tortilla has lightly browned and the inner ingredients have warmed up. Eat right away and enjoy!Classic Restaurant-Style BurritosClassic Restaurant-Style Burritos

Christmas Cookie Recipe Roundup

Christmas Cookie Roundup

It’s that time of year again! I want all of your favourite holiday cookie recipes whether they’re frosted, cracked, dipped or dusted.

It’s simple:

  • Post your all-time favourite holiday cookie recipe in the comments or e-mail it to me at veronica@thevegetarianginger.com
  • I’ll compile all the entries into one amazing cookie roundup post
  • One entry will be baked and featured on the blog with whatever credits you choose

Dust off the recipe boxes, beg your grandma for her recipes and attempt to navigate long-lost bookmarks. I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ll be sending in! Check back on my Facebook page for updates as we move into December.

Happy (early) holidays,
Veronica