Strawberry Balsamic Compote with Basil Scones

Strawberry balsamic shortcake with basil honey scones and honey whipped cream

I sampled this delicious strawberry-balsamic compote at the farmer’s market a few weeks back and I knew I had to make it.  And because I like to bite off more than I can chew and over complicate things, I added it to strawberry shortcake.   I made scones for the shortcake part, which usually works out wonderfully.  The idea of using honey and basil in the scones got into my head this time and I couldn’t get it out, but I forgot the golden rule of substitutions in baking: keep the proportions of wet and dry ingredients the same.  Continue reading

Roasted Tomato and Blackened Chicken Pasta

Apparently I’m on a roasted tomato kick!  You won’t want to buy store bought tomato sauce once you taste this easy roasted tomato pasta sauce.  My inspiration recipe is this one from the National Post, which uses spaghetti squash instead of pasta!  I’ve made it exactly to the recipe in the past, which is delicious, but it’s also a great jumping off point to modify for whatever fresh, local ingredients you have on hand.  Since I haven’t received any squash in my CSA yet, I used regular whole wheat pasta this time.  Here’s what we did today:

Sauce

2-3 cups roughly chopped tomatoes (I used 2 small red tomatoes and the balance was orange grape tomatoes)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
dash of red pepper flakes
2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
fresh ground salt and pepper

Chicken

1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

goat cheese, to taste

1. Heat oven to 400.  In a 9 x 9-inch glass baking dish, toss together tomatoes, garlic, oil, vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 30-35 minutes, until tomatoes are soft and starting to wrinkle.  Remove from oven and stir in chives and basil.

2. Meanwhile, combine chicken spices and rub chicken breasts evenly with the spice mixture.  BBQ at approximately 350-400 until cooked (according to Health Canada, chicken is cooked when an internal temperature of 165 is reached – BBQs may differ, so the safest and easiest way to tell when it’s done is to use a meat thermometer).

3. Cook pasta of choice according to package directions until al dente.

4. Slice chicken breasts and top pasta with chicken and tomato mixture.  Finish with crumbled goat cheese.