Feta, chickpea and zucchini salad, salmon with balsamic maple glaze and a coffee shop adventure

Feta, zucchini, bean saladJonathan and I have been married almost three weeks now – and have been loving every moment of married life!  I have made many tasty dinners and we have gone on a few foodie adventures in Detroit.  It has been very humid in Windsor and so a fresh summer salad recipe was in order.  We had purchased a Costco sized container of feta cheese, so I have been very creative lately with feta.  Summer salads with beans, zucchini and a light olive oil and balsamic dressing are refreshing and delicious.  This salad is also very versatile you could also add in cherry tomatoes, red peppers, cucumber or other favourite veggies.  The salmon I made had a balsamic and maple glaze, which was the perfect week night meal.  The glaze thickened perfectly and was very balanced in its light sweetness and balsamic flavour.

From our adventures in the USA, Jonathan discovered a unique coffee shop that we just had to try.  The Roasting Plant is a coffee shop in Detroit that features a system of tubes that roast, grind and store your coffee until it is ready to be Roasting Plantbrewed fresh on site.  While you sit at your table you can see green coffee beans being roasted in the Javabot.  There is also a great deal of selection from region to roast for the coffee beans.  Jonathan tried three different small sized coffees (called a flight of coffee, so you can sample a few different roasts) and I had an iced coffee.  We also shared a small croissant – yum!  The coffee was delicious and we would both recommend a visit if you are a coffee snob/ coffee lover.  The concept of the tubes, roasting and fresh brewed coffee is great and the coffee is delicious.

Feta, chickpea and zucchini and salad

Ingredients

1 can chickpeas, rinsed

1 can kidney beans, rinsed

½ cup green olives, sliced

1 medium zucchini, chopped into small pieces

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Dressing

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon oregano

1 teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Mix dressing in a measuring cup and stir well.  Then drizzle over top of salad and toss together.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Salmon with Balsamic Maple Glaze

Ingredients

2 salmon fillets

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ maple syrup

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon corn starch

1 tablespoon brown sugar

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

Prepare baking sheet with lightly drizzled olive oil.  Place salmon fillets on the sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. (adjust bake time according to your oven, mine took 20 minutes.)

Meanwhile, whisk all other ingredients together in a saucepan.  Let simmer for 5 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened.

Pour glaze over salmon and cook in the oven for another 5 minutes.

Enjoy.

Feta, zucchini, bean salad with balsamic maple glazeRoasting PlantIced coffee at Roasting PlantRoasting Plant

Maple Cupcakes

The other day, I was craving a Tim Hortons maple donut – so I decided to make maple cupcakes, which I topped with a drippy and delicious maple icing.  This recipe makes only 5 regular sized cupcakes.  I made this amount because I know no one in my family wants to put on any extra pounds before summer arrives. Five cupcakes was the perfect number – one for me, one for Jonathan, Mom, Dad and an extra one for good luck!

Not to perpetuate Canadian stereotypes, but I love maple everything!  Maple salmon, Mr. Maple cookies, maple donuts, maple syrup on pancakes and of course maple cupcakes.

The cupcakes turned out a bit crumbly, and there weren’t many of them to photograph, but sometimes the best things in life are a little messy.  The icing was divine – I will definitely be making these again soon!

Ingredients

½ cup all purpose flour

½ cup maple syrup

1 egg

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp salt

Icing

½ cup icing sugar

1 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp 5% cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together thoroughly in a bowl.
  3. In a small bowl beat the egg.
  4. Add in egg, vanilla extract and maple syrup to the flour mixture.
  5. Stir until combined.
  6. Fill cupcake pan ¾ of the way full.
  7. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until golden around the edges.
  8. Let cool fully.
  9. Mix icing sugar, maple syrup and cream until desired consistency.
  10. Drizzle on top.

Valentine’s Day Cupcakes

These cupcakes are carrot, maple and cinnamon flavoured with a cream cheese icing. This time my recipe was inspired by the internet and this recipe in particular. Sometimes the internet can be just as good as a cookbook!

Modifications to the recipe are that I boiled and puréed the carrot instead of grating the carrot like a regular carrot cake. I also used butter instead of canola oil. These cupcakes were rich and tasty. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, however I had a huge mess to clean up after. Using the piping bag was fun and also messy. I always seem to get blobs of icing coming up the top. A few of the cupcakes had the food colouring unevenly mixed, but there were a few good ones. I was inspired by the Martha Stewart cupcake cookbook that I saw in Chapters.

Practice always makes perfect, so I will continue to practice my creativity with cupcakes and baking.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
4 eggs
1 cup melted butter or canola oil
½ cup maple syrup

Icing
1 cup cream cheese
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tbsp of milk or until even consistency, not too watery
2 drops of red food colouring