1: Good Cheer Punch
6 cups (1.5 L) water, divided
1/3 cup (80 mL) light agave nectar
1/2 cup (125 mL) thinly sliced fresh ginger
4 jasmine green tea bags
3 cups (750 mL) unsweetened pineapple juice
1/4 cup (60 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup (60 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice
Fresh mint, for garnish
In large saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups (350 mL) of water, agave, and ginger to a boil. Reduce heat to low and, stirring occasionally, let mixture simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, bring remaining 4 1/2 cups (1.125 L) water to a simmer. Remove from heat and add tea bags. Set aside to steep for 2 minutes. Discard tea bags and let tea cool to room temperature. Strain ginger syrup into large pitcher or bowl. Stir in juices and tea. Refrigerate until cold. Serve in tall glasses over ice and garnish with fresh mint, if desired.
Makes about 12 servings.
2: Melon Fizz
2 cups (500 mL) chopped ripe cantaloupe melon, plus extra for garnish
2/3 cup (160 mL) green grapes, plus extra for garnish
2/3 cup (160 mL) unsweetened apricot juice
Chilled sparkling water
Place melon and grapes in blender and purée until smooth. Strain melon mixture into bowl and stir in apricot juice. To serve, pour some melon mixture into the bottom of a glass or champagne flute and top with sparkling water. Thread a couple of extra melon pieces and grapes onto a cocktail stick or decorative toothpick to garnish each glass.
Makes about 16 servings.
3: Heart Warmer
4 cups (1 L) water
2 cups (500 mL) fresh or frozen cranberries
3 cups (750 mL) unsweetened pear juice
1 cinnamon stick, plus extra for garnish
3 whole cloves
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground nutmeg
1/4 of a vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
2 strips of orange zest, cut with vegetable peeler
In large saucepan, stir together water, cranberries, pear juice, cinnamon stick, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla bean, and orange zest. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. When cranberries start to pop, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Strain mixture into clean saucepan and discard remaining solids. Keep warm over minimum heat or serve immediately in mugs. Garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired.
Makes about 8 servings.
source: "Happy New Year!", alive #374, December 2013
These whimsical weeknight quesadillas offer a great excuse to break out the long-forgotten waffle iron. The smoky, tangy pepper sauce is the perfect sidekick for this dish, but it’s also wonderful when tossed with pasta, stuffed into sandwiches, and slathered on burgers. TIP : When assembling quesadillas, keep fillings centred 1/2 in (1.25 cm) from the edge of the tortilla so they don’t spill over. TIP : Chipotle chiles are dried, smoked jalapenos. Adobo is a slightly sweet red sauce. Put them together in a can and they become a versatile pantry staple to add deep smoky heat to sauces, dips, marinades, and soups. No waffle iron? Then make these quesadillas using this skillet method. Place 1 tortilla in skillet, preferably cast iron, and cook over medium heat until dark spots appear and bottom is crispy, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn over and cook until crispy and darkened on the other side. Remove tortilla from skillet and replace with another tortilla. Cook until darkened and crispy on one side, flip, and top with stuffing ingredients. Place crispy tortilla on top, press down gently, cover pan, and cook for 1 minute, or until cheese has melted.
This Mexican-Mediterranean hybrid dish gleans its tempered kick from parched ancho chilies, the dried form of poblano peppers known for their smoky quality and sweet to moderate heat. It’s a fantastic saucy, and comforting, appetizer or meal on its own. Serve with crusty bread to sop up every last bit of the red sauce, or spoon over cooked grain. Chili choices Experiment with different dried Mexican chili peppers in your dishes. Instead of ancho, other options, each with different heat levels and flavour nuances, include pasilla, guajillo, or morita. Look for them in Latin markets and some supermarkets. For leftover lovers Because the flavours in this dish only deepen with resting time, it’s a definite candidate for serving as leftovers; simply reheat in the oven or microwave. Cheezy choices If possible, compare labels and look for lower-sodium feta options. A ball of fresh mozzarella or bocconcini are great alternatives, or try a block of medium-firm tofu and substitute agave syrup in place of the honey for a vegan-friendly dish.
A good option for both backyard barbecues and healthy snacking, this creamy dip benefits from a little spicy crunch, courtesy of quick-pickled peppers. If you want your dip to have a smoky edge, blend in a chipotle-flavoured salsa. Or forgo the salsa and, instead, blend in a couple tablespoons of tomato paste and a single canned chipotle chili pepper. Extras of the pickled peppers are an exciting topping for burgers, sandwiches, and tacos. TIP : When using prepared chili pepper products such as bottled salsas, examine the ingredient list for items you really don’t want or need, namely sugar and high amounts of sodium.
Treat yourself to a steak dinner, using tofu instead of meat. The tangy chili-spiked marinade does double-duty as a finishing sauce and transforms otherwise bland tofu into a dish that’ll sound your taste buds’ fire alarm. Bird’s eye pepper would be a good substitute for habanero if needed. Dousing the fire If you find yourself with a mouth on fire after taking a bite of a chili-infused dish, don’t try to douse it with water. Instead, reach for a glass of milk. The protein casein in dairy is known to help subdue the flame. Water won’t help nearly as much.