Simple and fresh is the way to go

noodle saladWith the warmer weather and summer months comes our busy season. Sometimes it can be just as busy – or busier – than Christmas! Showers, anniversary parties, weddings, barbecues, and awards banquets. It’s hard to believe that the end of school is also just around the corner!

Celebrations are always a great time for a casual get together with little fuss and lots of fun. We make a lot of salads for just such celebrations and receive many requests for our Asian noodle salad, in particular. We also have many other seasonal salads to add some colour to the table.

With the farmers markets fuller this time of year with fresh, local ingredients, it’s a great time to use some traditional flavours and bring in some more adventurous ingredients. Rhubarb and asparagus are just some of our favourite spring produce to work with and they’re now ready to enjoy.

For the adventurer in you, here is a simple salad with some show-stopping shrimp. The nappa slaw is also fabulous on its own. Enjoy!

Nappa Slaw with Soba Noodles and Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg. cooked soba noodles
  • 1/3 nappa cabbage, julienned
  • 1/2 carrot, julienned
  • 1/4 bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/6 English cucumber, julienned
  • 1/4 golden pineapple, diced
  • 6 leaves chopped mint
  • 1/2 thumb of ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 5 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. black sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Combine soba noodles, carrot, pepper, cucumber, mint, ginger, diced pineapple, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar in bowl, mix until evenly coated.

Shrimp with Coriander and Lime

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. cilantro root, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. ginger, grated
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 lemongrass (white part only), finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 20 large shrimp
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 20 bamboo skewers

Instructions

  1. Place cilantro root, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and ground coriander in a blender until a smooth paste.
  2. Place the shrimp in a dish and pour the paste over the shrimp. Allow the shrimp to marinate for an hour.
  3. Blend the cilantro leaves, lime juice, olive oil, sugar and pinch of salt and set aside.
  4. Place a shrimp on bamboo skewers and grill on a moderately low heat.
  5. Place the salad on a platter and the shrimp around it.
  6. Drizzle with the cilantro vinaigrette.
  7. Garnish with black sesame seeds.
  8. Enjoy!

A hearty stew for St. Patrick

stewHappy St. Patrick’s Day! Not just a day for green beer and “kiss me I’m Irish” pins, but also a great day to enjoy some authentic Irish cooking – like corned beef on rye or Irish stew. Stew is especially a favourite this time of year when winter is still dragging on. It’s such a great comfort food that you can slow cook all day in the crock pot and enjoy as soon as you get home.

Slow cooking takes great ingredients, prepared thoughtfully, and brings out the flavours and integrity of the meat and vegetables. Never Enough Thyme’s casseroles are based on the same idea. But while such slow cooking requires time and patience, now everyone has that luxury.

A favorite addition to soups and casseroles in our house is my dumplings or cheddar tea biscuits. And with hearty enough ingredients, a soup can be a full meal instead of just an appetizer, as it has traditionally been known as. Historically, the Irish have been known for economic food choices: potatoes, cabbage, pork, corned beef – these are all inexpensive food choices, and happen to be in season in the winter.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day today means enjoying my favourite beer. Guinness is a fabulous dark beer with rich undertones. Locally, Block 3 in St. Jacobs is sure to have a great substitution. Beer, and Guinness in particular, is a wonderful addition to stew, French onion soup, cakes and breads.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Irish Stew

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. stewing beef or diced chuck
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • 1 ½ tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup Guinness or local stout beer (feel free to enjoy the rest in a mug!)
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire
  • 3 sprigs of thyme 
  • 1 sprig of rosemary 
  • 1 bay leaf

Potato layer:

  • 2 Yukon gold potatoes
  • ½ sliced cooking onion
  • 2 tsp. chopped thyme
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Instructions

  • Pat diced beef dry with a paper towel, season well with salt and pepper and dredge the beef in flour.
  • Heat oil in a heavy bottomed oven safe pan on medium to high. The pan should be hot but not smoking. You will need to brown meat in 2-3 batches.
  • Once all sides of the cube is browned, place in a bowl until all browning is done. If the pan becomes too hot just reduce the heat or remove the pot from the burner.
  • Add onion, garlic and herbs to the pan and pick up the caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan. Deglaze with beer and water, stirring well with a wooden spoon.
  • Add in the beef broth, Worcestershire and tomato paste. Stir in the pan seared beef, bring to a slow simmer. The stew may be moved to a crock pot on low all day, or to a 325 oven, or simmer on top of the stove on low for 1 ½ hours.
  • Check the seasoning midway. As the stew thickens and develops, it may need more salt and pepper.
  • In a bowl place sliced potato, sliced onion, salt and pepper, toss in vegetable oil.
  • Carefully layer on top of the stew and cover with foil. Allow to bake for another 30 minutes in the oven at 350. The potato should be tender when you pull off the foil. Bake for 10 minutes uncovered and serve.

Cheddar Herb Cheese Biscuit

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¾ cups buttermilk
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cracked pepper and butter.
  • Cut the butter into the flour mix until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Add the buttermilk all at once and stir in the cheese. The dough will seem quite sticky.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, place the dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake in oven at 375 F for 12-15 minutes. Bake until golden and baked through.

 

Image: Apolonia / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Simple snacks

granolaBy now you’re probably back into the swing of the post-Christmas routine – the kids are in school, you’re busy at work, and with all that comes busy evenings of after school activities and less time to cook. One of the most dreaded aspects of preparing food for many people is making school lunches.

It’s convenient to buy pre-packaged snacks and add them to your child’s lunch bag, but it’s not always the healthiest choice. And making your own snacks doesn’t have to be difficult. We aim to stock our kitchen with meals and snacks that are ready to go for those busy nights and lunches the next day. You can set aside a Sunday afternoon and make tons of items ahead, then freeze them for future use.

Granola bars are just one example of something you can easily make at home with healthy ingredients that’s still a treat. And you can freeze these in individually wrapped portions for use when the kids need a lunchtime or after school snack. Just don’t leave the whole pan on the counter, or it may be devoured!

Sunflower and Apricot Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 1¾ cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 2/3 cup local honey
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil

Instructions

  • Place honey, sugar and oil in a saucepan on low.
  • Stir constantly and heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  • In a large bowl, place oats, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, ginger, salt and apricots.
  • Pour the honey mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well so the ingredients are coated in the honey.
  • Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper and spoon the prepared mixture into the pan.
  • Bake in oven at 350˚F for 25 minutes until the edges are golden. (This may take longer depending on your oven.)
  • Remove from the oven and allow it to cool.
  • Cut into bars, wrap in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container (or freeze for future enjoyment).

 

Image: yingyo / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Skate, snack, and sip

hot cocoaIf you’re looking for something fun to do this winter or need an inexpensive but enjoyable idea for a kid’s birthday party, consider hosting a skating party. If you’re not lucky enough to have a rink in your own or a neighbour’s backyard, the Woolwich Memorial Centre (WMC) offers free public skating on Saturdays at 4 pm, as well as after school skate a few weeknights.

After the skating party, you can invite everyone in to warm up with hot chocolate. We’ve spiced up a traditional hot chocolate recipe and made it Mexican with the addition of chili powder, so everyone will be warmed up in no time. Paired with these maple cheddar snacks adds some sweet to the mix – and what screams Canadian winter more than maple?

Both of these recipes are simple to make, even if there’s a crowd. You could pre-make the hot chocolate before the party and keep it warm in a slow cooker so it’s ready to go when you get back from skating. You can also prepare all of the ingredients for the snack in advance.

Maple Cheddar Snack

Ingredients

  • 1/4 C butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 8 slices of bread
  • Sliced old cheddar cheese
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, sliced thin

Instructions

  • Heat cast iron pan to low.
  • Cream butter and maple syrup together in electric mixer.
  • Generously spread the maple butter on both sides of the bread slices, add sliced apple and cheddar in layers, top with another slice of bread.
  • Place in cast iron pan and keep on low so as not to burn the maple butter.
  • Once golden brown, remove from pan, cut into quarters and serve.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Ingredients

  • 4 C milk
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar, packed down
  • 4 tbsp. cocoa
  • 2 tsp. white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 4 tbsp. good quality chocolate, chopped

Instructions

  • Bring the milk to a simmer; add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a rolling simmer until the chocolate melts.
  • Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream or marshmallows, if desired. Enjoy!

 

Image: khunaspix / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Christmas entertaining made easy

appetizersWe’ve had our first snowfall(s), the carols are playing full blast in the stores and shop windows have transitioned from fall to Christmas décor. It’s official – the holiday season is upon us. And while this means visiting with loved ones and enjoying some holiday cheer; it also means lots of get-togethers, shopping and a busy December.

So if you have plans to host a holiday party or you have some to attend, don’t add more stress to your already busy schedule! Call us to create more time. We can help a little and just make a few items to add variety to your menu, or we can help a lot and cater the whole affair.

From party trays with seasonal veggies and dip, to artisan cheese and fruit displays; and assorted hot and cold canapes and hors d’ouevres, to celebratory cakes, you can select favourites from our catering menu, or we can come up with something custom to suit your party theme.

Contact us now before our Christmas season gets busy, too!

 

Image: Carolyn Pongracz / www.inbloomphotos.com

Moonlight madness

christmasChristmas is exactly one month from today! If you’re still looking for gifts, we’re hosting our annual moonlight madness on November 28. You can make an evening of it and bring the girls as we’re serving appetizers and will be open until 10 pm that night.

We have the perfect gifts for the foodies in your life: gift baskets, gourmet food items like preserves and local honey, fresh baked Christmas cookies packaged nicely, gift certificates that they can use for take-home dinners, catering, or our popular cooking classes, and more! We also offer some gift items even if there isn’t a foodie in your life, including aprons and platters made from wine bottles.

So spend November 28 with us and enjoy some appetizers while you check off those gift items on your Christmas lists!

Do a Thanksgiving turkey breast instead of the whole bird

thanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving! Can’t believe it’s that time of year again already. If cooking year-round sometimes feels like a chore for you, then perhaps the idea of cooking a huge festive feast seems daunting as well. But if your Thanksgiving gathering will be smaller, instead of cooking a big turkey with all the fixins – why not just do turkey breast instead? It’ll take less prep and cooking time and the family will still enjoy the favourite poultry of this time of year.

We have a simple recipe for a turkey rub that combines great spice, but feel free to be creative. And you can even still stuff the turkey breasts – simply use the butterfly method to cut it open, stuff it and roll it up, then tie with butcher twine.

When the turkey breast is ready to be cooked, instead of gravy, try finishing it off with our ginger and brown sugar glaze.

Turkey Breast

Ingredients
Turkey rub

1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. vegetable oil

Combine all dry ingredients and rub evenly into the turkey breast, add vegetable oil. Let stand for 25 minutes.

Glaze

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 clove chopped garlic
1 tsp. chopped ginger
1/2 tsp. sambal olek

Combine ingredients into a paste.

Place turkey in a hot pan. Once turkey is seared, spread on the sugar glaze, place in pan with the additional stuffing and finish in the oven at 400°F until tender and the centre reaches 160°F. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

 

Image: dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dessert lasagna!

birthday cakeSummer may be over, but I think fall still has some nice weather in store for us and you may not be ready to pull out the fall baking just yet – there will be plenty of time for that! If you’re looking for a twist on a traditional birthday or other celebration cake and you’d rather make your own, the kids (and even the adults!) will love this brownie fudge lasagna with vanilla ice cream. The nice thing about this dessert, is that you can make it whenever you have the time and just keep it on hand in the freezer, leaving you time to prep other items for the party.

Don’t let summer go just yet, cool down with this tasty treat. We also recommend teasing the kids by telling them that instead of cake, they’re getting lasagna for dessert. We’re sure they’ll be pleasantly surprised when you pull out lasagna that has brownies instead of noodles and ice cream and jam instead of meat sauce. Lasagna will never be the same after this!

Ice Cream Lasagna

Ingredients

9×13 pan of your favourite brownie, baked
1/2 litre vanilla ice cream

Ganache

6 oz. chocolate
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp. butter
Strawberry jam

Instructions

  • Melt chocolate, cream and butter in glass measuring cup in the microwave; allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Cut pan of brownies to fit a loaf pan. Line loaf pan with cellophane with large amount hanging over the edge. Lay first piece of brownie in the lined loaf pan.
  • Drizzle chocolate and spread out softened ice cream.
  • Place another brownie layer on top and spread with jam, more chocolate drizzle and more ice cream.
  • Cover over with the last layer of brownie.
  • Wrap plastic over the top of the “lasagna” and place in freezer for at least 3 hours.
  • When ready to serve, allow to soften slightly and cut through with a hot knife.
  • Drizzle with chocolate.
  • Enjoy!

 

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wedding cheesecake

cheesecakeIt’s wedding season, which, in addition to some catering, means that we’ve had a few wedding cakes to create over the past couple of months. We love making wedding cakes because we find that they’re not only a sweet treat for guests, but they can also be a décor element at your special day and add another level of personality and flair.

In fact, wedding cakes can act as a centrepiece when you coordinate the colours and style to match that of your wedding. We especially love when a bride and groom want flowers or fresh fruit on their cake as that allows us to stick to our efforts to support local and go for what’s in season.

One of our favourite wedding cakes this season was a cheesecake wedding cake we made earlier in the summer. We don’t often get requests like that, but it was fun to do something different from the traditional. And that’s the key when it comes to your wedding cake – do something unique that reflects you as a couple and that guests will enjoy, instead of the usual.

Check out our Facebook page and browse our cake gallery for more design ideas.

Summer dinner-in-a-hurry

noodle salad
Cool Asian noodle salad

Summer in Ontario means cooking outside on the barbecue, having friends over for a backyard party, and sticking to meals that won’t heat the house or overheat yourself. But summer can also be busy with the kids out of school, vacations, people visiting, people to visit, summer camps, and more.

That’s why, at Never Enough Thyme, we give you the best of both worlds – the summer barbecue, without all the work. We’ll do half the work for you! Stop by the store for “summer dinner-in-a-hurry” that’s prepared and ready to be cooked. Choose from barbecued chicken, baked potatoes and a side salad. Or, go with beef kebabs, greens, fresh bread and a NEThyme favourite – cold Asian noodle salad to bring down the heat. Both options are very affordable at $30 each, with enough food to feed a family of four.

Or, if you’ve got a last minute barbecue to attend or one that totally slipped your mind, you could stop by the appetizers or a salad to take to your friend’s place (we won’t tell!).

Potlucks are wonderful for the host as it means sharing the work with guests, but if you’re out of time or ideas, we can definitely still provide you with a delicious homemade option to share with your friends this summer season.

Stop by the shop at 83 Arthur St. South in Elmira.