Fried Mozzarella and Sun Dried Tomato Burgers

Fried Mozzarella and Sun Dried Tomato Burgers from

This is a burger of destiny. A friend recently spent a couple of weeks in Lebanon on a missions trip. Partway through the trip, she texted me that she had just seen the most beautiful burger ever in Lebanon and it was a half-inch thick slab of mozzarella -breaded and deep fried- on a burger. She then said, "Lebanon is a smart, smart country." My brain had already been mulling over the recreation of my best beloved French Crispy, Gooey Fresh Mozzarella Steaks and then I received Pamela's note.  My imagination supplied what seemed to me to be the perfect accompaniments: Sun Dried Tomato Spread, arugula, basil, and pretzel buns. Fried Mozzarella and Sun Dried Tomato Burgers were destined to happen. These are burgers that are meant to make your life a little better for however long it takes you to eat them. They're indulgent, to be sure, but so very worth it. Soft pretzel buns are the perfect vehicle for the serious toppings; they're sturdy enough to hold the generous load you're going to lay on them, but they're soft and chewy when it's time to eat. The sun dried tomato spread is tangy, sweet, concentrated tomato goodness with just enough garlic and herbs to make it exciting. The peppery arugula stands in for lettuce and is strong enough to handle a hot burger being perched atop it. The crispy fried mozzarella steak? I don't think I even need to explain why that is meant to be here. This is the one burger to rule them all. Beware, though; if you instagram these … {Read on...}

Pickled Green Beans: Dilly Beans

Pickled Green Beans: Dilly Beans {a simple canning project} from

I learned to can from the best: my Grandma. I remember hours upon hours at Grandma's house with Mom and the aunties sitting around peeling peaches, laughing hysterically, shucking corn, chewing the fat, shoving tomatoes in jars, and whatnot. The kids usually drew the simple task of snapping the ends off of green beans. It was kind of hard to booger that one up and it made us feel like we were really contributing to one of everyone's favourite snacks: Pickled Green Beans or Grandma's Dilly Beans. Garlicky, snappy, crisp, gently spicy, and utterly perfect, these Pickled Green Beans are incomparable when chilled and nibbled on straight from the refrigerator on a hot day. It's like a cucumber pickle in flavour but with a crunch times a million. I am a kid all over again -sneaking pickled beans from Grandma's fridge while she took her siesta- every time I eat one. I wouldn't say that these are the fountain of youth because the FDA might frown on my claims, but people... it's pretty darned close. Clearly, my preference is to eat these straight from the jar. There's more to these than dunking fingers into garlicky brine, though. They make a beautiful addition to salads both of the lettuce and mayonnaise-laden potato, tuna, chicken, or pasta varieties when chopped and tossed into the mix. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better accompaniment to a venison or beef roast come harvest time. Serve a big bowl of these pickled beauties with your Thanksgiving feast (yes, I'm aware … {Read on...}

Crispy, Gooey Fresh Mozzarella Steaks

Crispy, Gooey, Fresh Mozzarella Steaks from #FreezerFriendly #MakeAheadMondays

I've mentioned before that I was a vegetarian whilst living as an exchange student in France right? Pardonez-moi while I go smack my head against the door for the umpteenth time over that one, would ya?  I wouldn't quite say I regret it, but I do wish I tried a few of the meaty-delicacies France had to offer. It's not like I suffered food-wise as a result of that. Honestly. My host mother used to buy the most amazing cheese steaks for me. They were crispy, crunchy, breaded numbers that she would pan fry for me. When I stuck my fork into them, the crispy coating would crackle and when I pulled away, the cheese would string on for what seemed like infinity. She served them with a grainy mustard sauce, and people, I probably could've eaten my substantially-smaller-back-then weight in them. Following hot on the heels of a nostalgic 40th birthday celebration, I figured that it was about time I recreated this dream food. I really wanted to nail the gooey, ooey, stringy cheese of the French version in my memory, so mozzarella seemed like a perfect choice. And because I remember the cheese being delicate in flavour, I opted for fresh mozzarella. I was able to score some beautiful balls of fresh mozzarella at my local Aldi (HOORAY ALDI!) for a price low enough to compare to a block of regular ol' mozzie. I knew I planned to deep-fry or pan-fry the Fresh Mozzarella Steaks, so I wanted to be sure the breading not only stayed put, but also covered the whole cheese steak. I … {Read on...}

Fire Cider: Health Tonic and Homeopathic Remedy

Fire Cider: Delicious Health Tonic and Homeopathic Remedy (and cooking ingredient, to boot!)

Important Note: I am NOT under any circumstances claiming this will cure anything. I'm laying out a recipe that is both delicious and nutritious. I am also explaining some of the purported health benefits of the ingredients that go INTO the recipe. This post is no substitute for professional medical advice, but is a classic folk tonic/remedy. I trust you all to use your own best judgment in the manner. Wait! Don't run away screaming! I know I'm in serious danger of sounding like an irredeemable hippie, but I have something really, really FUN for you today. I have a savoury, spicy, infused vinegar. Yes. Two infused vinegars in a row! This one is only slightly more complicated than the Coconut Infused White Balsamic Vinegar in has it has a few more ingredients and requires a bit more chopping and grating, but beyond that, it's every bit as easy, it just requires more patience. Before I get to why, I want to get to the reason YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS! For starters, it tastes awesome. I mean AWESOME. Oh, and did I mention it's a health tonic? I have a little true story to explain to you how a girl who makes Crispy Cheesy Barbecue Chicken and Bacon Egg Rolls also makes Fire Cider Health Tonic. It  all began with me hopping in my car and driving eight and a half hours to Maine to spend four days with my friends and fellow bloggers; Bakeaholic Mama, Nutmeg Nanny, Running to the Kitchen, and our friend Candace. We spent our days wandering Portland, Maine eating donuts, duck fat … {Read on...}

Coconut Infused White Balsamic Vinegar

Coconut Infused White Balsamic Vinegar for fruit, fruit salad, and sipping in icy cold soda water!

Are you familiar with white balsamic vinegar? It's pretty much heaven in a bottle. It is VERY, very similar flavour-wise to regular balsamic vinegar, but it's a bit lighter in body and a little more clean tasting. When I turned forty last week, my sweet baby sister bought me a bottle of assorted infused oils and vinegars as a present. Boy, does she ever know me well. In the box was a bonnie little bottle of Coconut Infused White Balsamic Vinegar. Knowing my sis was a major fan of coconut, I cracked the bottle open so we could try it together. I about swooned when I sniffed the bottle. It smelled like coconuts! "Well, duh!" I can hear someone thinking. The thing is that it smelled like the fruitiest, freshest coconut ever. I was hooked. Before the day had gone, I had surreptitiously sipped more than half of the contents of the bottle. Something had to be done. This is one of those occasions when having a well-stocked pantry is a very good thing. I looked at the label of the coconut vinegar and saw happily that it only called for white balsamic vinegar and unsweetened, dry coconut. SCORE. I had both. I decided that the simplest tact was probably the best, given the ingredients list, and crammed a jar full of unsweetened, coconut flakes. I popped open a new bottle of white balsamic vinegar and poured it over the coconut flakes. Knowing that vinegar can rust even a sturdy canning lid, I put a piece of parchment paper over the top of the jar before adding the lid and … {Read on...}