Bacon Corn Soup with Cilantro Gremolata

Bacon Corn Soup with Cilantro Gremolata - healthy and tasty, basically summer in a bowl.

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So I think that corn soup is so summery, at least where I come from it is. Corn is one of those things that was only available at very specific times of the year, so when it was, you took full advantage of it.

Now, of course, you can always get canned or frozen corn but it’s really not the same. Fresh corn on the cob is by far superior in taste and texture. Now that is not to say I don’t use frozen corn mid-winter, but when you can get it fresh - DO IT!

My love of corn goes back many many years to my childhood. I was 2 years old and we were at my grandparent cabin when I first experienced corn on the cob. Now I’m not sure if it was the salt and butter or the corn itself but I was immediately in love. I ate more cobs of corn that any of the adults and needed to be cut off because I would have kept going were I not stopped!

So needless to say corn and I go way back, which is probably why I love making corn soup. This soup is creamy and full of flavour all while being packed full of veggies and everything you need to make it a complete meal.

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prep time 15 minutes

cook time 45 minutes

total time 1 hour

servings 6

Ingredients

1 tbsp oil

1/2 white onion

1 medium zucchini

2 medium carrots

1 russet potato

8 cups chicken stock

5 strips of bacon

4 cups of corn

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

In a stockpot place oil and chopped onion and sauté until onion is translucent. Add in chopped carrot and cook over medium heat 4-5 minutes or until carrots of softened.

Add in roughly chopped zucchini, potato and chicken stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all of the vegetables are softened.

Use an emersion blender to blend soup until smooth (you can also use a Vitamix or blender - being careful because soup is very hot).

In a separate frying pan cook bacon until crispy then drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.

To the pureed soup add in salt + pepper, corn and crumbled bacon. Bring to a low boil then serve with a spoonful of gremolata on top.

Gremolata

1/4 cup cilantro

1 tsp shallots

1 tsp lemon zest

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp olive oil

salt + pepper to taste

In a small bowl combine finely chopped cilantro, shallots, lemon zest finely chopped garlic, oil and salt + pepper.

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Hoisin Chicken Potstickers

These spicy and crispy hoisin chicken potstickers are a delicious way to start a dinner or a great meal all on there own.

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Ok, guys, these potstickers are seriously so good. Now while these may not be the most traditional potsticker you have ever had, sometimes it’s good to stray from the usual and switch things up a little.

I also love that almost every culture has some type of dumpling. Whether it be gyoza, pirogies, samosas or ravioli they are a favourite around the world and essentially comfort food for many children and adults.

So while they can maybe be devoured in a matter of moments they don’t exactly come together in moments. They are certainly one of those little things that are a labour of love. Honestly, it took me over an hour just forming these little beauties. But the one thing that makes up for the tedious work is the fact that you get so many and they freeze so well! I mean honestly, unless you're having a party you’re not going to eat 48 of these in a single meal. But once they are in your freezer you can have a quick meal or delicious snack in less than 10 minutes. Just be sure to check the internal temperature as you may need to steam for a couple of extra minutes if they start out frozen.

So while it may be easy to get a frozen bag from the grocery store nothing beats making your own - you know exactly what is in them and with the spicey-hoisin flavour combination, you will never be able to go back to generic store-bought ones again!

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prep time 1 hour 20 minutes

cook time 10 minutes

total time 1 hour 30 minutes

servings 48 potstickers

Ingredients

2 tbsp soya sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tsp freshly grated ginger

1 tsp sambal oelek

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp corn starch

1 medium carrot finely chopped

2 scallions

1/2 cup water chestnuts finely chopped

1 lb ground turkey

1/4 cup hoisin

2 tbsp cilantro leaves finely chopped

1 pkg wonton wrappers

sesame seeds

Instructions

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients except the wonton wrappers and sesame seeds and mix until thoroughly combined.

Place a single wonton wrapper in the centre of your palm then using a small bowl of water and your fingers wet the edges of the wrapper. Place a teaspoon of the turkey mixture in the centre of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half so the edges meet and crimp to seal. Wet the bottom of the potsticker with water and press into sesame seeds to create a sesame crust. Continue with each wrapper until all of the filling has been used.

To cook place 1 tsp of oil in the bottom of a frying pan with a tight-fitting lid. Cook for 2 minutes over medium heat then add in 1/2 cup of water and cover with the lid. Allow to steam for 7 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Serve with soya sauce or your favourite dipping sauce.

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Watermelon Salad with Cilantro + Feta

Nothing says summer more than watermelon - so make up this fresh watermelon salad for your next BBQ!

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Watermelon Watermelon……. It’s the perfect fresh summery treat that needs to be at every bbq. But I bet there are a few fun facts that you perhaps didn’t know about them.

  1. Watermelon is 92% water and some early explorers carried them rather than water to stay hydrated.

  2. Watermelon is classified as a fruit and a vegetable and is related to pumpkins and a cucumber.

  3. Traditional watermelon was sprinkled with salt because it brings out the sweetness and juiciness

  4. Japanese grow square watermelons because they don’t roll away and fit more easily in the refrigerator.

  5. The heaviest watermelon weighed in at a whopping 350.5 pounds.

  6. Every part of the watermelon is edible - even the rind.

  7. China is the worlds largest producer of watermelons.

  8. Watermelon is the state vegetable of Oklahoma.

So there you have it, when you whip up this salad you can also wow your friends and family with your watermelon knowledge! Plus since this salad has both a bit of salt and feta your watermelon will be extra sweet and juicy which is exactly how it should be enjoyed!

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prep time 15 minutes

total time 15 minutes

servings 4


Ingredients

4 cups of watermelon

2 cups celery

1/2 cup red onion

2 tbsp cilantro

2 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp olive oil

salt + pepper to taste

1/3 cup feta cheese

Instructions

In a large bowl place watermelon that has been chopped into 1-inch pieces. To the watermelon add finely chopped celery, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil and salt + pepper and feta. Toss to combine then serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup with Cilantro Lime Sour Cream and Avocado

Everyone loves Tortilla Soup! With the addition of the Cilantro Lime Sour Cream, this soup is a yummy twist on a favourite dish.

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So, after spending some time in Sunny California I have certainly come to realize that there is a big difference in Mexican food here vs Mexican food at home. I should have expected it since Southern California is so close to the border and the ingredients available are so much fresher, but let me tell you it is REALLY exciting that every grocery store carries types of peppers and fresh tortillas that we would never get at home!

So naturally all that I want to do is cook with all of these fresh ingredients available, so let’s kick it all off with Tortilla Soup since right now there are fresh avocados everywhere!

Now, I don’t know about you but I think the best part of tortilla soup is the crunch, but I can never find the little tortilla strips that they have in restaurants. More often than not I have to crunch up full-sized taco chips, but this time I found great little fresh corn tortillas that were street taco sized - they worked so perfectly for making my own. I sliced them thin, broiled until they were nice and toasty and they came out perfectly. I highly recommend making them for yourself since they are seriously soooo easy!

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prep time 15 minutes

cook time 1 hour

total time 1 hour 15 minutes

servings 4

Ingredients

1 shallot

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large jalapeno seeded

4 cloves garlic

4 cups chicken stock

1.5 lbs chicken breast

2 cups frozen corn

1 - 28 oz can diced tomatoes

1 - 15 oz can black beans

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp salt

juice of 1 lime

1 avocado

Tortila strips

Cilantro to garnish

Instructions

To a large pot add oil and chopped shallots, cook until translucent (approx. 5 minutes). Add in finely chopped jalapeño and minced garlic and cook 1 minute or until garlic fragrant.

To the pot add chicken stock and uncooked chicken breast cut into 2-inch pieces. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. Remove chicken from the stock and shred chicken using 2 forks then return to the soup.

Add in canned tomatoes, black beans, cumin, smoked paprika and chilli powder. Simmer for 20 minutes, add in corn and lime juice and cook 10 minutes.

Serve with cilantro lime sour cream (recipe below), avocado, tortilla strips and cilantro.

Cilantro Lime Sour Cream

1/2 cup sour cream

zest of 1 lime

1/4 cup cilantro

salt to taste

In a small bowl combine sour cream, zest of a lime, and cilantro. Stir until fully combined. Season with salt to taste.

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Vietnamese Subs

Vietnamese subs aka Banh Mi. One of the best sandwiches you can get - that is if you love cilantro!

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Ok so do you guys love Vietnamese subs aka Banh Mi as much as I do? I think they are one of the best sandwiches you can get - probably because of all of the cilantro. Now I know cilantro is controversial, but if you ask me if you don’t like cilantro don’t even bother making this. Kidding, but seriously, cilantro makes this recipe and I have never tried it without!

This sandwich is really easy to throw together and in my opinion just as good as you can get at any sub shop or restaurant. It also makes 8 subs so it’s a great way to feed a crowd or pre your lunches for the week. Since you don’t have any “saucy” vegetables on this sub - ie tomatoes - you can get away with making this a bit in advance which is always a win-win!

The other great thing is that if you don’t want to make this with pork you can easily sub chicken, steak or even tofu so you can customize it to your preferences.

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prep time 45 minutes + 8 hours marinating

cook time 20 minutes

total time 1 hour 5 minutes

servings 8

Ingredients

For the marinade

2 lbs pork roast or pork tenderloin

6 cloves garlic

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 shallot

4 tbsp soya sauce

1/4 cup honey

3 tbsp oil

1 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp sesame oil

For the quick pickled carrots

1 large carrot

1 cup water

1/3 cup vinegar

1/3 cup white sugar

2 tsp salt

For the Sandwich

8 sub rolls

1/2 cup mayo

1/2 cucumber

1/2 jalapeno

1 large bunch cilantro

Instructions

In a large ziplock bag combine finely chopped garlic, shallot, grated ginger, soya sauce, honey, oil, pepper and sesame oil. Add in very thinly sliced pork roast and allow to marinade a minimum of 8 hours.

In a small saucepan combine water, vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Meanwhile julienne your carrots and place them in a mason jar then pour your pickling liquid over. Allow to sit in the refrigerator a minimum of 1 hour.

In a large frying pan sear marinaded pork over medium heat being sure not to overcrowd the pan (this will take 4-5 batches depending on the size of your frying pan).

To assemble

Slice each roll in half and broil 2-3 minutes or until lightly golden. Evenly divide mayo over each roll then layer with thinly sliced cucumber, pork, pickled carrots, thinly sliced jalapeño and a big bunch of cilantro. Serve immediatly.

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