Monday, July 29, 2013

Adobo-Peach Salsa

Adobo Peach Salsa | Within the Kitchen

Adobo-Peach Salsa

I love the peach and adobo mix of flavours in this salsa - sweet and spicy! 

I usually make this with fresh from the garden red peppers but occasionally use roasted peppers. I prefer the raw, fresh ones as it gives a better bite and fresh taste. I also sometimes add part of a chipotle that comes with the adobo sauce but this time all I had was the sauce. I think the sauce added lots of flavour and just enough heat but I know there are readers out there that love a higher heat level!


2 peaches
4 medium tomatoes
1 red or yellow peppers
1-2 tbsp adobo sauce with or without chipotle
1/2 red onion
1 lime, juiced
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped (optional)


You have two ways of putting this together:

1. Skin the peaches as per below. Chop everything by hand, throw it in a bowl, add the juice and spice and stir it all together.


2. Skin the peaches by placing them in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove the peaches and carefully remove the skin. Cut into sections and throw away the pit. Quarter the tomatoes. Throw the peaches, and tomatoes in a food processor and pulse them until they are the desired size. Place them in a large bowl. Then reuse the processor bowl and do the same thing for the peppers and onions. Throw them into the tomato bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine. Season with salt and pepper.

I find the food processor method easier but it does make for more dish washing. The reason I don't throw everything into the processor at once is that the harder veggies will take longer to chop to the desired size. By that time the tomatoes and peaches will be pulp and not recognizable.

Place in refrigerator for up to 12 hours so flavors can come together. Also, good as soon as it is mixed!
Adobo Peach Salsa | Within the Kitchen

Monday, July 22, 2013

Farro Vegetable Salad

Farro Summer Vegetable Salad | Within the Kitchen

Farro Vegetable Salad Recipe

This is the first time I have tasted farro. Farro is a complicated grain. There is confusion and debate over what it really is - some say it is spelt isn't. Others call it emmer which it is. Whatever you call this wheat grain, it is delicious as far as whole grains go. It is slightly sweet, nutty and when cooked properly, slightly chewy.

I have to admit that although super popular, quinoa has not been an ingredient I like. I now sub out quinoa and replace it with farro in salads. It is not gluten free as it is a member of the wheat family but is lower in gluten than some other wheat varieties.

This wonderful summer salad is really versatile. Throw in whatever veggies you have on hand - tomatoes, squash, cucumber, get the idea. Also, if you don't want to do the extra work of roasting peppers just throw them in raw. You could also leave out the maple syrup but I like the added hint of sweetness. It's perfect for potlucks and picnics.

If you have a Trader Joe's near you, try their 10 minute farro to cut down on prep time! 

Serves 6.


1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp maple syrup
squeeze of 1/2 a lime
10 oz uncooked farro (probably about 1-1/4 cups dry grains)
3 roasted peppers, chopped
2 cups sugar snap peas, chopped roughly
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
3 large carrots, shredded
1 yellow zucchini, diced


1. Whisk together oil, vinegar, maple syrup and lime juice. Set aside.
2. Cook farro according to package directions. Cool.
3. To roast peppers

  • Take washed bell peppers, and place on hot grill.
  • Grill until skin blisters and peppers soften – rotate peppers so skin chars all over (7-10 minutes depending on grill). I like to basically char the top skin.
  •  Remove from grill and place in bowl.
  •  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place to the side so they rest for 20 minutes or so. The peppers will steam inside the bowl which will loosen the charred skin, making it easier to remove them later.)
  • Remove peppers from bowl and carefully remove charred skins.
  • Cut peppers into one inch pieces or long strips.
  • Cool
4. Place farro and all veggies into a large bowl.
5. Gently toss in dressing.
6. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Sprinkle Parmesan on top.
8. Serve

Farro Summer Vegetable Salad | Within the Kitchen

Farro Summer Vegetable Salad | Within the Kitchen

Farro Summer Vegetable Salad | Within the Kitchen

Monday, July 15, 2013

No-Bake Chocolate Muesli "Cookie" Drops

No-Bake Muesli Cookie Drops | Within the Kitchen

These are not really cookies they are more like a confectionery or candy. They are quite sweet so I like to keep them in the freezer for times when I really NEED a hit of sugar. I use a muesli with lots of nuts, raisins and cranberries so I kinda think that helps add a little bit of "good stuff" to this occasional treat - yes I know I'm kidding myself but just go with it! The key to making this recipe is making sugar the butter mixture boils long enough - if it doesn't it will not set properly!

No-Bake Chocolate Muesli "Cookie" Drops


3/4 cup crunchy cookie butter or peanut butter or nutella
1 cup butter
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups muesli


Melt the cookie butter, butter and sugar in a medium size saucepan over medium heat stirring constantly. Once it has come to a rolling boil let it continue to boil for another for 90 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Let sit in the pot for another 3 minutes.

Grease parchment paper or use a silpat (I prefer this method) and place it on a cookie sheet. Drop mixture by the tablespoon onto the pan.  Refrigerate until mixture sets, at least 3-4 hours. (It will set without refrigerating unless it is really hot out but the fridge is easier.)

No-Bake Muesli Cookie Drops | Within the Kitchen

Monday, July 8, 2013

Thai Rice Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce Dressing

Thai Noodle Salad by

A couple of weeks after making my last batch of VietnameseSalad rolls, we had a craving for something similar but to be honest I didn't want to spend the time wrapping them! So I ever so slightly adapted the sauce, added a tonne of veggies, used the same type of rice noodles and left out the rice paper wrappers to create this great salad. We've had it two times this week. It’s great at room temperature or chilled so it also makes a great potluck or BBQ dish.
The real question is why it’s called Thai Noodle Salad but when I use rice paper wraps they're called “Vietnamese Salad Rolls” ... hmmm let’s not over think it!
Yield: 6-8 side dishes.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

Peanut Sauce Dressing


½ cup hoisin sauce or paste
1 cup peanut butter
2 tsp hot sauce (I use sriracha)
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice of 2-3 limes


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Set aside.

Rice Noodle Salad


150g (6 oz) thin rice vermicelli, cooked and rinsed cool as per manufacturers directions
5 medium carrots, shredded or cut into matchsticks (I use pre-cut matchstick carrots)
2 red peppers, julienned
2 mangoes, peeled and sliced thin
2 cups sugar snap peas, cut on the diagonal
1 large bunch of basil and/or cilantro, roughly chopped


  1. Toss noodles and veggies into a large bowl.
  2. Add peanut dressing. Toss again (I usually just use my hands to toss it as it is the easiest way to make sure the dressing is mixed thoroughly with the noodles).
  3. Serve.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Potato Bacon Bombs aka Warbaconators - BCFresh Warba Potatoes

Potato Bacon Bombs by Within the Kitchen

Want to know my two favourite ways to prepare and eat potatoes? Mashed and Baked! I love the creaminess of mashed potatoes especially when you add a little (or a lot!) of cheese and garlic. Add a dollop of butter on top and I'm in heaven. Not to mention that mashed potatoes are pretty much a comfort food for everyone.

And then there's the baked potato. The crispy skin and the steaming soft fluffy potato inside make for an almost unbeatable combination…especially if you add a little bacon, and sour cream! When I was a kid we always did baked potatoes in the oven but now we often grill them on the BBQ for extra crispy skin.

Let’s face it - potatoes are amazing!

I created this recipe to combine both of my favorites! The crispy skin of the baked potato filled a twist of smooth and creamy mashed potatoes. To take it over the top I added a whole lotta bacon, and a dollop or three of cheese and butter.

Hollowed out warba nuggets.
It makes a great appetizer and a perfect dish to offer guests at your next hors d’oeuvres party when you want something big on taste and a little bit more substantial than a cracker! BCFresh’s warba nuggets are the perfect size and act as their own little container so they are great finger food!

The only thing I'm having a hard time with is what to call this dish. I'm trying to decide between:

  • Potato Bacon Bombs because they are little explosions of flavour in your mouth
  • Warbaconators - get it? warba potatoes and bacon all mashed into one!
Which name do you like better?

The warbas been around since the 1920s but today not many fields are dedicated to them.
I found these in my local Safeway - love the cute boxes!

Luckily, British Columbians and Albertans can have their fill of them thanks to BCfresh. BCfresh provides BC grown vegetables including carrots, beets, squash, cabbage, parsnips and, of course, potatoes. It is  100% owned and operated  by BC growers.

The warba, like other nugget potatoes, are picked early in the season before they have reached maturity. As a result, they have really thin skins that don't need peeling and a firm flesh. The warba is especially good boiled or grilled.

I've submitted this recipe to BCfresh's annual recipe challenge under the appetizer category - wish me luck!

Warba potatoes are amazing grilled on the BBQ!

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes


22-24 warba potatoes
3 tbsp cream cheese
1 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp course sea salt, divided
2 tsp freshly ground pepper, divided
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp chives
12 slices bacon
1 small bunch dill
sprig of rosemary, chopped (optional)
3 tbsp milk, warmed


  1. Fry bacon until crisp according to directions on package. Cool and crumble.
  2. Preheat grill to medium high heat.
  3. Pierce potatoes with a fork a few times. Microwave for 8-10 minutes until warbas are easily pierced with your fork (be careful - hot!).
  4. In a large bowl, add olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary. Add potatoes and gently toss until potatoes are coated with oil mixture - don't burn your self!.
  5. Place potatoes on the grill and cook until skin is crispy and slightly charred (about 5 minutes). Remove from grill.
  6. Cool 5-10 minutes so you don't burn yourself when handling the potatoes.
  7. One at a time, take a potato and cut off a little slice off the top. Using the small end of a melon baller, scoop out the middle of the potato and place the scooped portion in a large bowl. Make sure you leave enough around the walls of the potato so it doesn't collapse. Repeat with 15 additional potatoes.
  8. Peel the remaining 6-8 potatoes. Discard the outside (or eat them like I do as a well deserved snack) and place the inside of the potatoes in the large bowl. Add the cream cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, melted butter and warmed milk. Mash until smooth - if needed you can add extra milk or butter. Add 3/4 of the crumbled bacon and the chives. Combine.
  9. Have your serving plate ready. Place mashed potato filling in piping bag or a resealable freezer bag. Cut the tip of the bag so filling can easily flow (opening should be the size of a nickel). Fill each potato with mixture.
  10. Add a piece or two of crumbled bacon and a piece of dill on top of each filled potato.
  11. Serve immediately. If you want to make them ahead of time, place them on a cookie sheet and refrigerate. When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Reheat for 10-15 minutes until warmed through. 
  12. Serve.