Posted in: Food Recipe

Tomato Basil Pasta Recipe

Today’s recipe is not one I originally planned to share with you. I had planned on sharing the recipe to the delicious soft garlic knots we had with our favourite chili that we had this weekend.

But, while browsing through my pictures from this summer, I came across these pictures of my most favourite summer salad (seriously, not just saying). And I just had to share it before the last of summer’s tomato and basil plants die away.

Tomato Basil Pasta Recipe

These pictures make me so happy and not because I think they’re totally great (because that’s totally obvious), but because it reminds me that this is the first year that I’ve ever been able to grow a tomato plant and actually harvest a proper bounty – from two plants this year, we harvested about 30 tomatoes!!

In the past four years that we’ve had a garden, my tomato plants have always to succumbed to an early death brought on by swarms of aphids. Total props to the (super cheap – $5) plants from Canadian tire, of all places! It lasted a whole summer while many, many $20 plants have died.

You’ll want to make this recipe, not only because you probably have everything on hand to make it between your pantry + garden, but also because it is one of those “so simple, why didn’t I think of it” recipes. I took it to a potluck a few weeks ago and expected tons of leftovers because, honestly, who goes to a potluck to eat a pasta salad – but, disappointingly, we had no leftovers.

Hopefully that is a testament to this simple recipe, which is not a recipe at all but more of a “guideline”- this is definitely a no measure, add as much of each ingredient as you like dish.

Tomato Basil Pasta Recipe

Ingredients

  • Small shell pasta*, cooked
  • Tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Basil, cut into thin ribbons – a chiffonade
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. First things first, I’m not particular about much in this salad, but I do insist that you use small shells as your pasta for this dish. I’ve used other shapes and trust me, it’s just not the same. Also, I prefer regular, not cherry tomatoes – but I’m not too picky here – just be sure to use a good summer tomato.
  2. Start off by adding olive oil to a large bowl – I start with just enough to coat the bottom of the bowl. Next, add in the tomato, basil and half the mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper and stir, gently, to mix all the ingredients.
  3. Mix in the hot, drained pasta and stir gently. Let the pasta cool off for a couple of minutes and then add in the remaining half of the mozzarella. This is just a personal preference because I don’t like my mozzarella all melted – I usually just end up adding more if this happens anyway, so now I just save ½ aside for this purpose.
  4. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. At this point, you can add in more of any ingredient you think the salad needs more of. I usually enjoy each bite to have a piece of tomato and a bit of basil, which is why I’ve laid out the ingredients from greatest to least in terms of quantities.

CVJ Food Catering!

Posted in: Food Recipe

How To Make Peanut Butter Without Food Processor – A Detailed Guideline

Don’t have a food processor to make peanut butter? No worries! The following peanut butter recipe will provide you with an explicit guideline on how to make peanut butter without food processor.  Let’s find out.

Peanut butter is one of the most popular pastes in the world. It tastes good, the texture is amazingly smooth, and the way its flavor stays in your mouth before it melts is incredible. 

Regularly, people often buy this ready-made spread at the grocery store without thinking that they can make it on their own. That said, making peanut butter is simple, and anyone can make it without a fuss.

How To Make Peanut Butter Without Food Processor
Homemade peanut butter

How To Make Peanut Butter Without Food Processor 

Needed Equipment

The set of equipment to process homemade peanut butter is simple and easy to find. To make peanut butter, you will need an oven, a grinder, baking sheets, a spatula, and a container with a lid.

A Step – by – step Instruction

Step 1: Roast your peanuts

Firstly, you should set the rack in the middle of the oven and turn the heat up to 350°F. Then, arrange your peanuts into the baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes until the peanuts turn golden-brown.

This step can be skipped if you prefer pre-toasted peanuts or raw peanut butter. However, roasting peanut is recommended as it gives your paste a better flavor, and is easy for the blender to process them.

How To Make Peanut Butter Without Food Processor
Roasted peanuts

Step 2: Grind the peanuts until they turn into pieces.

In this stage, you transfer the baked peanuts into a blender while the peanuts are still warm. Blend them a couple of times until they are chopped into small pieces.

Step 3: Blend the peanuts for 1 minute. 

Blend the peanuts continuously for one minute. Then stop and stir the mixture evenly. Make sure that the sizes of chopped peanuts should look equally. In this stage, your peanuts will look dry and gritty.

How To Make Peanut Butter Without Food Processor
Blended peanuts

Step 4: Blend the peanuts again for 1 minute.

Run the blender for about one minute. Stop and scrape down the sides. At this point, the peanut dusts should band together, becoming a slightly moist clump. Uhmm!! Peanut butter. Not quite yet. 

Step 5: Blend the mixture again in one minute.

At this stage, you do the same as you did in steps 3 and 4. The mixture now looks thicker and stickier. You’re getting there! Keep going on.

How To Make Peanut Butter Without Food Processor
Thick peanut butter

Step 6: Add your favorite seasoning into the peanut mixture.

In this step, you keep on grinding the peanut until it becomes completely smooth. While you are grinding, remember to add salt, oil, sweetener, and other additional flavors. 

My recommendation is to use peanut oil. But if this oil is unavailable, other substitutes are there for you to pick such as almond oil, sunflower oils, etc. 

Then, you can taste the mixture and adjust the amount of seasoning to suit your taste. At this point, the texture must be spreadable.

Step 7: Pour the peanut butter into the container for storage.

You’ve nailed it! The final step is to transfer your peanut butter into a container and cover it up. Then, your homemade peanut butter is ready to enjoy or to give away as a special gift. For storage, after using peanut butter, you can put them in a refrigerator to maintain its freshness.

How To Make Peanut Butter Without Food Processor
Your ready-to-use peanut butter.

Some Special Notes: 

Use pre-toasted peanuts 

If you are not interested in baking stuff, you can purchase a pack of toasted peanuts. But remember to warm them up before processing because you can loosen up the oils, making it easier for you to grind.

Add oils and other flavors

The original peanut butter only consists of peanuts and salt. Depending on what kind of flavors and textures you want, you can use multiple kinds of oils and other add-ins in your peanut butter such as chocolate chips, cinnamon, spice, and others.

Pay attention to the grinder 

The grinder is not meant for making peanut butter. Then it would be best if you kept an eye on your blender while processing peanuts in case of burnout motor. 

My recommendation is that you smash peanuts beforehand with a mortar and pestle because some grinders are too weak to handle the task in step 2.

Be flexible 

This guideline is also right to other kinds of nuts. You can easily substitute any nut you love in this recipe. The instructions are the same for making cashew butter, walnut butter, almond butter, or any nut butter.

Be patient

Always remember to grind peanuts in 1-minute intervals. This note is especially important if you are processing peanut butter with a weak blender.

Moreover, with just a food blender, your peanut butter will not look as smooth as the conventional peanut butter bought at the grocery store. That’s okay! Your product is 100% naturally healthy and nutritious. 

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, these clear instructions have accommodated you with useful information on how to make peanut butter without food processor. With the help of a blender and a little effort, making peanut butter is easier than ever before. 

However, the strength of the blender should be taken into consideration when it comes to the effectiveness of blending and your own safety. 

Moreover, this guideline is absolutely flexible in terms of ingredient selection, depending on your personal taste and texture. Best wishes to you on your way of making homemade peanut butter!

Thanks for reading!

Posted in: Food Recipe

What Can You Use In Place Of A Food Processor?

Despite being an all-rounded tool in the kitchen, a food processor is not very accessible for a lot of people. You might be wondering, “What can you use in place of a food processor?” or “Do I have to skip all the recipes that use one?”.  

The good news is you can still make all the recipes you love without one!

Read on and find out what you can use in place of a food processor! 

What Can You Use In Place Of A Food Processor?

There are two ways through which you can prepare food without a food processor: with other kitchen appliances or manually. 

Alternatives

These are nine appliances you can use to replace a food processor. 

Blender 

Now the most common appliance to use in place of a food processor is a blender. Even though they have their differences, a blender can do almost everything that a food processor can.  

A blender is super versatile as it can chop, mince, and puree all sorts of produce and proteins. When it comes to liquid food like sauces, smoothie, and soup, a blender is your best friend. 

Not only that, but it can also make you wonderful drinks for all occasions. With certain powerful blenders, you can even crush ice, make ice cream, and sorbet.  

One thing a blender cannot do is making the dough. But do not worry! There are other simple ways to solve this and a blender is still a formidable tool to have in the kitchen. 

Grater 

Graters are great for shredding all kinds of vegetables: potato, carrots, onion, even nuts and garlic, ginger. A grater would save you tons of time preparing salads or any recipe that requires a lot of chopped produce. 

Of course, graters are also great for shredding cheese, chocolate, and zest for garnish.

Slicer

Like a grater, a slicer will save you a lot of time in the kitchen, mainly with preparing vegetables. 

There are all-purpose slicers, which are ideal for everyday family use. But there are also specialized one for fries, lettuces, and onion. It depends on how you want your vegetable to be cut. 

What Can You Use In Place Of A Food Processor?
Mandoline Slicer

Mixer And Whisk

There are two types of popular food mixers: stand mixer and hand mixer. 

Stand mixers are especially useful for baking or making dough. Hand mixer or whisk is also good for the same purpose but is more suited for making whipping cream and beating eggs.

A hand mixer is lightweight, easy to use, and does not take up space. A stand mixer, on the other hand, can be clunky and heavy. 

However, if you are seriously into baking and will be using the appliance on the daily, it can still be a worth it investment. 

Breaking Down Food Manually

Knife 

If you do not have any of the fore-mentioned tools, you can always do things manually. Even though it can take some patience and practice, a knife can take care of most of your needs when preparing food. 

You can chop, dice, and shred vegetable, cheese, chocolate. If you want to mince your meat, you can do that with a knife as well. 

However, you should be very careful about handling a knife. If you are new at cooking, take it slow and have a firm grip on your knife. 

Rolling Pin And Plastic Bag 

A quick way of breaking down food is using a rolling pin and plastic bag. 

Put whatever you want to crush into the bag and go over it several times with a rolling pin. This is a food method for crushing biscuits, chips, breadcrumbs, crackers, etc. 

If you do not have a rolling pin, you can use food can or anything with a bit of weight. 

Manual Kneading And Rolling Pin 

When it comes to dough, kneading by hand is the way to go. 

This will require some patience and arm muscle. And if you are new to cooking, kneading dough can seems intimidating. 

But with a bit of practice, you can make great dough for pasta, pizza, and other baked goods. Kneading dough is not that time consuming either as it usually takes 10-12 minutes by hand. 

Mortar And Pestle

What Can You Use In Place Of A Food Processor?
Mortar and pestle

Mortar and pestle are good for crushing and mixing different types of foods. From personal experience, it is very useful when making dipping sauce like pesto or guacamole. 

Crushing different nuts, sesame seeds, and other spices is also a strength of this tool. 

Cook To Soften

Lastly, you can puree your food by cooking them until they can be broken down easily with a spoon or fork. This works well mostly with vegetables like potatoes, carrots, beans, and tomatoes. 

Meal Prepping 

One of the biggest advantages of a food processor is saving time. 

If you do not have appliances to help you during the cooking process, meal prepping might be a good alternative, especially when cooking for a big family. 

You can have a designated food-prepping day during which you make your food in batches and freeze them for the week. This work especially well with pasta sauce (or teriyaki sauce) and soup. 

A big chunk of your time in the kitchen is spent on ingredients preparation. This includes chopping or dicing vegetables, marinating your proteins, etc. 

The good news is you can do a lot of work beforehand.

Prepare your onion; garlic, spring onion, ginger, and other vegetables then store them in different zip lock bags or containers. 

What Can You Use In Place Of A Food Processor?
Meal Prepping

Conclusion 

Even though it is convenient to have a food processor, it is not an absolute necessity. 

You no longer need to wonder, “What can you use in place of a food processor?”. You already have all the essential information to make your favorite recipes.

Whether you use multiple tools or prepare your food manually, you will develop more skills in the kitchen. And with a bit of time management, you can have the same conveniences of owning a food processor. 

We wish you all the best in your cooking endeavors!  

Posted in: Food Recipe

Chocolate and Peppermint Bark Cookies REcipe

Although Christmas is only a couple of days away, I couldn’t resist sharing this AMAZING recipe with you. This is one of the best cookies I have made – seriously! I first made this last year after seeing the rave reviews it got on Prevention RD’s blog and couldn’t leave them off my Christmas baking list this year.

Chocolate and Peppermint Bark Cookies REcipe

It’s a buttery shortbread base topped with rich chocolate and bits of peppermint and a white chocolate drizzle – it’s really perfection in a cookie. It’s not too late to crank this one out before Christmas – I promise you won’t regret it.

Chocolate and Peppermint Bark Cookies REcipe

Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 40 pieces

Rich buttery shortbread is topped with a thin layer of chocolate and some chopped candy-cane to create the best Christmas cookie.
Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 6 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped red & white candies or candy canes (about 3 ounces)
  • 2 oz. high-quality white chocolate

Instructions

  • Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with parchment, letting it hang over the sides of the pan.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a mixer, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar. Continue to beat for an additional 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla extract and egg yolk.
  • Turn the mixer to low speed and gradually beat in the flour mixture, until just combined. Do not over mix.
  • Scatter the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan and gently press it, with slightly moistened fingers, to form a flat layer. Prick all over with a fork.
  • Bake the cookie layer until golden brown and slightly puffed, and edges are beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, 25-30 minutes. Place on a cookie rack and immediately sprinkle chopped bittersweet or semisweet (or a combination of the two) over the cookie layer. Let the chocolate sit for about 3 minutes. Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate into an even layer over the surface of the cookies. Immediately sprinkle 3 ounces crushed red and white peppermint candies, or candy canes, over the chocolate layer.
  • Place chopped white chocolate in a medium metal bowl set over a simmering pot of water. Stir constantly until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Using a fork, drizzle the white chocolate over the peppermint candies. Chill for approximately 30 minutes.
  • Gripping the overhanging parchment paper, lift the cookies out of the pan and place on a work surface. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the cookies into irregular pieces

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