Quick Pickled Onions for a Taste of Spring

Servings: 4-6 serving(s)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

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Quick pickled onions are mellow and tart with the fresh taste of lime juice and just a hint of savoury sweet from molasses.

A speedy way to give your main dish meal a spring touch.

Quick pickled onions are mellow and tart with the fresh taste of lime juice and just a hint of savoury sweet from molasses.

They’re just the thing for an early spring barbecue or any fresh-tasting meal that has a hint of summer. We love them tucked in with fish tacos and as a topper on turkey burgers. They’re great tossed into salads too.

Quick pickled onions are mellow and tart with the fresh taste of lime juice and just a hint of savoury sweet from molasses.

Spring arrived yesterday, just like that, with 20 degree weather, a warm breeze and loads of sunlight. That got me thinking about lighter fare, fresher meals and toppers like pickled onions. You’ll find that quick pickled onions will suit just about any savoury food you plan to eat between now and the end of August.

Quick pickled onions are mellow and tart with the fresh taste of lime juice and just a hint of savoury sweet from molasses.

Quick pickled onions are versatile because their flavour has been mellowed by the lime juice and salt. So there is none of that strong onion flavour and lingering heat that you get with a regular raw onion.

I’m sharing the recipe as I enjoy it, but feel free to adjust to your tastes buy adding more or less lime juice and molasses.

Quick Pickled Onion Recipe

Ingredients:

  • One red onion, peeled & halved lengthwise
  • Juice of a large lime
  • ¼ tsp. lime zest (or more, if you like)
  • 1 tsp. Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of pepper

Instructions:

  1. Slice the onion crosswise, as thinly as possible. Place in a medium bowl (with room for tossing) and toss with remaining ingredients.
  2. Let sit for 20 minutes or so to macerate.

Will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

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Molasses Marinated Broccoli Salad

Servings: 8-10 serving(s)

Prep time: 20 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

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molasses marinated broccoli salad

It’s always great to have a stash of salad recipes that venture from the lettuce sort. In fact, a group of friends and I were joking about a potluck I hosted where everyone, everyone, brought a salad. Fortunately they weren’t all leafy green salads.

You can make a great summer meal of salads when there’s a good variety of vegetables and textures involved (and you have laidback guests who are enjoying the wine). 

This marinated broccoli salad recipe from my sister-in-law Jane adds great variety to a potluck and is a welcome change from basic steamed broccoli.

It tastes especially good when it has had a chance to sit for a few hours to mellow the texture and flavour of the raw broccoli. What’s better, it can last in the fridge for a few days and maintains its crunch. Continue reading

Snow peas and red pepper salad and my family’s best ever surprise party

Servings: 6-8 serving(s)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

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Snow pea and red pepper salad with walnut dressing pretty on a buffet table and so delicious

For my mom and dad’s 40th wedding anniversary we managed to pull off a big surprise party, in their house, no less.

My mom is a very sharp woman and we were never able to sneak much past her when we were growing up, so for my six siblings and I to succeed with the surprise was a huge accomplishment.

Much was in our favour…

Conveniently, we had a big rowing regatta (the re-enactment of the Paris Crew race in Renforth) as a helpful decoy, a way to get mom and dad out of the house and reason enough for my twin brother, a former rower, to come home for the weekend. Another brother who was living in Minnesota was home for a visit too.

Snowpea and red pepper salad with walnut dressing pretty on a buffet table and so delicious

But making the party a total surprise wasn’t without its near misses…

My brother who was tasked with getting mom out of the house (dad had gone ahead) to make way for the caterer had us all near heart failure when he didn’t arrive at the appointed time.

It was not looking good when suddenly, through the kitchen window I saw his car round the corner (practically on two wheels he was in such a hurry).

As he and mom drove out of the yard the caterer’s van came up our street.

Then, as mom and dad walked along the sidewalk toward their vantage point for the race, another brother and his family (surprise visitors for the party) drove right by, in their distinctive red car. My brother and his wife spied my parents but thanks to the commotion mom and dad didn’t notice.

And when mom and dad arrived home from the race to a yard full of cars they still didn’t suspect a thing. They assumed I had invited a bunch of friends over, until mom caught a glimpse of an old family friend through the window.

“What is Al Barry doing in our living room with a drink in his hand?” she said. “…Oh!”

Gotcha!

Snowpea and red pepper salad with walnut dressing pretty on a buffet table and so delicious

We had the party partially catered and then we all pitched in with extra appetizers and salads. That was probably the last time I made this salad. For years it made the family party rounds and then was somehow forgotten, only to be rediscovered a couple of months ago in and old hand-written cookbook of mine from the early 1990’s. I can’t recall the book it came out of but mom and I can both picture the salad, lovely and bright in a pretty blue pottery bowl on their dining room table.

Leafy salads are great but sometimes it’s nice to have a salad with a bit more crunch and colour, which is just what this salad offers.

 

Snow peas and red pepper salad

  • ¾ lb. snow peas
  • ½ lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds

Walnut orange dressing:

  • 1 small clove of garlic, pressed
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp. Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 3 Tbsp. cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. walnut oil (or olive oil)
  • Pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper
  1. Top and string peas.
  2. Blanch peas in boiling water for 1 ½ to two minutes.
  3. Drain and rinse immediately under cold water. Dry thoroughly.
  4. In ungreased skillet over medium heat toast the sesame seeds until lightly browned, shaking the pan often
  5. Combine dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake until well combined (or whisk together in a bowl)
  6. Toss vegetables with dressing and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
  7. Serve immediately.

Many dear friends and family who were at that party years ago are no longer with us. It’s a good reminder to celebrate with people who are special to you every chance you get.

My family’s recipe for marinated tomato salad was also on the buffet table at the big surprise party. Here’s the recipe:

Tomatoes

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French Potato Salad Recipe with Mustard Vinaigrette (No Mayo)

Servings: 6-8 serving(s)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

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Potato salad recipe with mustard vinaigrette, peas, diced peppers and lots of herbs
When I was growing up my mom and dad were day trip experts. Every summer weekend we’d all pile into the station wagon and head off on a new adventure. We did lots of beach exploring, took many ferryboat rides and had fantastic picnics. And we sang, a lot.

There’s a lot to be said for getting away as a family, even if it’s just for a day. These little trips were about making memories and mom and dad knew that.

Potato salad recipe with mustard vinaigrette, peas, diced peppers and lots of herbs

Have you ever packed a picnic for nine people?

That’s what mom did for these getaways. An easy picnic addition was this potato salad recipe from an early 1970’s Red Book magazine.

The dressing isn’t mayonnaise-based so you don’t have the same hot weather storage worries.

The salad is also loaded with vegetables, so there is more flavour and texture than your regular potato salad.

What’s your favourite picnic food?

Mom’s potato salad recipe

  • 3 lbs red potatoes
  • 2-3 cups diced celery
  • 2 red peppers, diced
  • ½ cup scallions (green onions) sliced, including greens or ½ cup chopped chives
  • 2-2 ½ cups peas
  • 3 Tbsp. each fresh chopped basil and mint
  • 2 tsp. fresh chopped thyme
  • Dressing:
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. mustard powder or Dijon mustard
  • 4 tsp. Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

To make the dressing:

  1. Combine dressing ingredients in a jar and give it a good shake.

To make the salad:

  1. Cut the potatoes into 1” pieces and boil until fork tender (take care not to overcook).
  2. In a large bowl toss the celery, peppers, scallions and herbs with half of the dressing.
  3. When the potatoes are cooked, drain and immediately add to the bowl of veggies.
  4. Toss well.
  5. Add additional dressing, as required, along with the peas.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Let rest in the fridge overnight, if you have time.

I like to serve this potato salad with a carrot cabbage slaw:

Carrot cabbage slaw with citrus dressing

One more thing…

If you’re in search of family-friendly food that’s easy to prepare, healthy and tastes good, then sign up to receive blog posts by email. We’d love to send you our monthly newsletter too. It includes cooking tips, menu ideas, featured recipes and more. Here’s the link to subscribe. 

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