chavvah: (Default)
This is a long-standing favourite in my kitchen, and the spice and garlic are great if you have a cold.

Seasoning paste:
20 large cloves garlic
1 Tbsp black peppercorns

Mash these into a thick aromatic paste.

1/4 c soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp fish sauce

Mix these together in a bowl.

I use a top round steak sliced against the grain

Broccoli is great, but you can also use carrots, snap peas, or pretty much anything else that is fibrous enough to withstand some hot stir-frying.

Put some veg oil or peanut oil into a pan over high heat. Fry the spice paste until your eyes water. (Seriously.)

Add the meat and brown while coating in spice paste.

Add sauce and cook until it bubbles.

Add veggies and stir fry.

Serve over rice.

For a less spicy/more saucy version, add some oyster sauce and some water. (That's the way I make it for my mum. ;))
chavvah: (lick me)
One thing I've been doing while cleaning my kitchen is to organize all my loose recipes into a recipe box. During this process, I found a recipe I have been saving. I am hoping to try it sometime this week, provided the stars align: carrot cake ice cream.

In summary, it is: candied carrots, spiced pecans, and cream cheese ice cream.

Candied carrots:
2 cups diced carrots
2/3 cups sugar
2 Tbsp corn syrup
2 cups water

Combine all in saucepan over medium heat, bring to boil and simmer for 45-60 mins.

Spiced pecans:
1 cup pecan halves
1 Tbsp butter, meltd
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and spread in even layer on baking sheet. Bake 7-10 mins until toasted. Cool and chop roughly.

Ice cream base:
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
1/2 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
zest of 1 lemon

Whip in stand mixer until blended. Add pecans and carrots. (I am going to try and make it in my ice cream machine as I do not own a standing mixer.)

The recipe also says to add 1/4 cranberries marinated in Crown Royal, but I am ignoring that because the recipe is from a magazine put out by the provincial liquor commission. ;)
chavvah: (Default)
It's fall, and I'm using up the herbs from my garden with two delicious recipes!

Sage and onion chicken and sausage bake

Greek lemon roasted potatoes with oregano

They are both bubbling away in the oven now. The whole apartment smells savoury and delicious! Best of all, there is an undertone scent of clean laundry, which gives away the secret of how I spent my afternoon. ;)
chavvah: (Default)
I've lived in Canada for as long as I am capable of remembering, but I do find the concept of Thanksgiving a bit perplexing. I know it's about the harvest, etc, etc, but there's something about celebrating Thanksgiving that has the tendency to make me feel a bit awkward, like going to someone else's church. I'm a transplanted person with my roots in one place, celebrating a transplanted holiday with its roots in another. It's easy to see how one might feel a bit disoriented.

I decided to go to Nigella Lawson for help on this one. In her notes on Thanksgiving, she says it better than I could:

"I am necessarily cautious about tackling Thanksgiving. It's not my party--though where there's food concerned, I'm always glad to be invited."

This year, once again, I have found myself in the position of going to a Thanksgiving dinner and having no idea what to bring. A couple of years ago I went to [ profile] xandersgirl's outstanding Turducken celebration and brought carrot soup, which was well-received but not altogether practical for transportation purposes.

Lo and behold, in her book Feast, Nigella actually has a recipe for sweet potatoes with marshmallows--a dish of mythic proportions (and I have to admit, it sounds kind of horrifying). She gives a brief history of the dish and remarks that when she first came upon it, it gave her, "as a startled foreigner, much cause for alarm". It's her introduction to the recipe that sums up how I feel about this particular holiday:

"To a European reader, no doubt to any non-American reader, it is downright alienating. Although I've become an eater of sweet potatoes over the years, I've never quite taken the marshmallow element seriously, presuming it to be so positively excessive, as unfathomable as a memory from someone else's childhood." (emphasis mine)

So I tried instead to think about my childhood, and what kinds of foods my mum would make to go with a roast chicken (she doesn't like turkey). Yorkshire puddings would probably be my first choice--my mum makes individual ones in muffin tins and she has it down to a science--but I know it's not to everyone's taste, so probably best to go with something a little more conventional. Roast potatoes would probably be the next best bet, but I'm guessing that there will be potatoes at this particular shindig.

As I was pondering, I was flipping through Feast, and I did find something that my mum has made for years, and that is also quintessentially American and very Thanksgiving. Something that, thanks to my years as a heritage interpreter, I could make in my sleep.


My mum always bakes cornbread to go with a hearty winter meal. She bakes it in a round tin, and then cuts thick slabs of it and puts them in a little basket, wrapped in a red-and-white checkered tea towel to keep them warm.

Nigella uses it for cranberry-orange stuffing, but her recipe calls for you to make the cornbread from scratch. I say, why ruin a perfectly good pan of cornbread by making it into stuffing?

Here--for those of you celebrating the weekend, holiday or no, in whatever style suits you--is Nigella's recipe. (I paraphrase her rather wordy directions.) I even did all the conversions from metric weight to make it easier.

175 g cornmeal (about 1.5 cups)
125 g flour (about 1 cup)
45 g caster sugar (3 Tbsp)
fat pinch of salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
250 ml full fat milk (1 cup)
1 egg
45 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled (half a stick is 56.7 g, so a bit less than that)

Oven to 200 C. Grease a baking tin (Nigella recommends 23 cm square).

Standard baking procedure: mix the dry together, mix the wet together, then add the wet gradually to the dry. Don't worry about lumps. Pour the batter into the tin.

Bake for about 15-20 mins. The cornbread should be starting to pull away from the sides of the tin.

Best of all, I have most of the ingredients in stock. I just have to nip to the store to get whole milk and I'm in business!
chavvah: (Default)
I am making some deliriously simple coconut chocolate tarts for a pot luck at [ profile] imperfectmedium's this afternoon--hopefully they turn out! The shells are baking now--the kitchen smells heavenly.

recipe under the cut )
chavvah: (Default)
Making this seafood pizza, but I didn't have any smoked salmon, so I upped the amount of crab (imitation crab) and subbed in a few slices of prosciutto to add the same saltiness and smokiness. The bechamel sauce is amazing--I can't believe I didn't think of infusing the milk before.
chavvah: (lj post)
In the foodie category, here's what I plan to make with my daikon radish:

Ginger, carrot, and daikon salad
(A recipe that came with my Freshbox)

Salad part:
1-2 daikon radish, julienned
3 carrots, julienned

Dressing part:
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped ginger (I will probably grate it as I don't like chunks of raw ginger)
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
splash of soy sauce
1/3 cup veg oil
1 tsp. chopped cilantro (I will omit this as I don't care for cilantro)

Basically, you pour the dressing over the salad and let it marinate 30 minutes in the fridge.

I am going to make this for a barbecue I am going to on Saturday--provided I can get a ride! [ profile] prairiedaun, is it possible that you are going to this shindig now that your social is on Friday night?

In the TMI category, I have heat rash at various points along my panty line and I am not pleased. Basically my choices are to continue having heat rash until it cools down or not to wear underwear. Neither of these are acceptable.

And in the random observation category, I like that in English crime dramas, the police rarely shoot anyone. I watched four hours of Wire in the Blood (at my mum's behest) and never once did anyone even draw a gun.

I had previously conceived of a super thoughtful post about stuff that has happened this week, but it got derailed by the late hour and my inability to form coherent thoughts. So this is what you get instead.
chavvah: (Default)
I'm hoping to do some cooking tomorrow, something I haven't had the energy for in a while. I am still grappling with some kale from my Freshbox, so I thought I would try a tomato pie made with kale pesto and lots of cheese. Recipe here. The recipe is from a site that promotes "healthy" recipes, but it seems to have genuinely good stuff rather than just being about calorie counting.

I also have a fuckton of carrots, so I am planning to make a few batches of curried carrot soup for lunches.

Just as I was making all these plans, of course, I was hit with a sucker-punch of indigestion (why now? I haven't had any of my usual trigger foods all week) so I'm not sure if I am going to get to actually do all of this. We shall see.

As you can probably tell from the above recipes, I have been eating less meat lately. I tend to go through phases where I really crave it and phases where I don't, and right now I'm in the midst of the latter. I'm guaranteed to get a pretty solid dose of animal flesh once a week at my mum's, and I usually like to have a burger during my time of the month (I tend to get low iron) but right now I'm not really feelin' it apart from that. It probably also has to do with the weather warming up--my body doesn't feel like it needs to eat so much anymore.

(Lest you think I am in danger of being seduced by the Diet Monster, I am at this moment scarfing down a giant bag of peanut butter M & Ms. ;))
chavvah: (Default)
I just concocted this with stuff leftover in my kitchen, and seriously, it's so good you won't even need syrup. (Although I did have a small dollop just on principle.)

French Toast For One
(Two slices)

1 egg
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp brown sugar
dash of cinnamon
splash each of vanilla and dark rum
tiny pinch of salt

Mix this all up into a batter. Soak the bread in it, then fry in a skillet in butter until the outsides are golden brown. Then put in a 200-degree oven for a few minutes. Then eat! I had mine alongside a few slices of bacon.
chavvah: (Default)
I made a pan of this tonight and it was awesome. The original recipe, courtesy of Nigella Lawson, feeds 16, so as you can imagine I scaled it back a bit. This is roughly a third of the original version, which still fills a 9 x 13 pan.

450 g rigatoni
50 g parmesan

meat sauce:
1 onion
1 carrot
2 slices bacon (unsmoked if possible)
1 stick celery (I subbed another carrot for this as I didn't have it)
1 glove garlic
50g butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
500g ground beef
5 chopped roma tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
a few glugs of red wine
1 bay leaf
about 1 cup water, swilled in the tomato paste can

You can imagine how it all comes together: dice the veggies, garlic, and bacon, fry gently in olive oil and butter, add the beef and brown, then add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for about an hour. It should be noted that this is a slightly tomatoey meat sauce and not a tomato sauce. The tomato paste I added is actually far more than Nigella calls for (because I like tomato), and it still wasn't super tomatoey.

Bechamel sauce. I actually didn't follow Nigella's recipe but just used my usual one: equal parts butter and flour to make a roux, then slowly whisk in milk until the sauce is the consistency you want. Then salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Cook until it doesn't taste floury.

Preheat oven to 400 and cook the pasta until al dente.

Drain pasta, then put it in a casserole dish. Add the bechamel, then the meat sauce, then throw some grated parmesan cheese over that puppy. Bake for 20-30 minutes.

I have enough of this to feed me for a week. I'm going to pack it up for lunches, but hopefully a couple of my friends get to enjoy it as well! :)

Beet salad

Apr. 19th, 2009 11:17 pm
chavvah: (lick me)
I'm still hard at work on my "using up the contents of my cupboard" plan, although I did buy a couple of cans of soup this weekend because the brand I liked was on sale. I have already drastically reduced the amount of money I am spending on groceries, which is pretty awesome, since most staples have gone up in price.

Recently I went to a friend's sister's restaurant, where I was served a delicious raw beet salad. I have never much cared for cooked or pickled beets, but I really enjoyed this salad and I was hoping to recreate it with some beets I got in my Freshbox.

I have found a recipe that I think is pretty close, and am recording it here for posterity.

Grated Beet Salad With Citrus Herb Dressing

1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh orange juice
3 tbsp (50 mL) olive oil
1 tsp (5 mL) each of grated orange zest and fresh lemon juice
liquid honey and Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
3 peeled and finely grated raw beets
1 tbsp (15 mL) mixed chopped fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, chervil and chives)

Whisk together orange juice, olive oil, grated orange zest, fresh lemon juice, liquid honey and Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir into beets to coat evenly. Add chopped fresh herbs.

This will be perfect because I have an ass ton of Valencia oranges and I find them too pithy/seedy for eating, but great for juicing and zesting.

Things I will probably change: I think I will julienne the beets rather than grating them, and possibly also throw in some julienned carrots as I have several carrots to use up. The salad I had also incorporated a soft goat cheese, which was super awesome, and I would like to include that. If I can find a herby cheese, so much the better. I will have to see what I can find at Fenton's after work tomorrow. Failing that, I know I can get a really nice herb and goat cheese spread at Tall Grass that will probably work.

I will let you guys know how this works out!
chavvah: (Default)
Am spending a lovely lazy Saturday watching Food Network and cleaning my kitchen (mostly on the commercials). I love doing this because I get great ideas for recipes and then my kitchen is ready for the making of them!

I am still challenging myself to cook mostly with things I already have in the cupboard. Every weekend I shop only for the essentials (milk, juice, bread) and work mostly from my Freshbox veggies.

A few things I am thinking about making:

Whole-wheat spaghetti and prawns with a coconut cream and curry sauce. I kind of made this up in my head but I believe it will work: basically coconut milk, peanut butter, soy sauce or maybe a few drops of Thai fish sauce, and some curry powder. Perhaps some red pepper flakes--I haven't decided yet. It will be a lovely yellow colour. I think I can use the leftover sauce to make pizza with some julienned carrots (I always get carrots in my Freshbox) and green onion. I can also use it to make stir-fried udon noodles (one of my preferred weekday evening meals--I usually make it with a sweet chili sauce). I would have to buy some jumbo prawns for this, but I think that would be okay, as I have everything else. I can use the leftover prawns for Tom Yum soup (from a packet--I am not a superstar).

Tortellini. I was watching Gordon Ramsay make some on The F Word and it really made me want to get my hands dirty with some pasta dough. I have some zucchini that I was going to use to make zucchini pie but I bet it would be equally good roasted for a primavera sauce.

Zucchini bread. Plainly I just have way too many uses for this zucchini! I haven't baked anything in a little while and I think it is time.

In the meantime, I am eating fresh apples spread with peanut butter and watching TV with my feet up while the pots are soaking in the kitchen sink. Life is pretty sweet, you guys.

Yay food!


Apr. 4th, 2009 02:46 pm
chavvah: (Default)
I have a great little Thai cookbook that I've been getting a lot of use out of lately. It's a wonderful book because the recipes are all super basic, and yet create the most amazing results. Many of you will be familiar with my traditional offering of spicy shrimp wontons--that comes from this book.

Thursday I made an old favourite from this book: carrot-mango salad.

4 carrots, shredded
1 small, ripe mango, thinly sliced
7 oz firm tofu (about half a packet), 1/2 inch dice
1 Tbsp chopped chives or scallions

2 Tbsp orange juice
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp honey
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
(the recipe also calls for 1/2 tsp orange-flower water, which I have never been able to find but because I have no idea what it's like I don't really miss its contribution)

Toss the salad ingredients, then mix the dressing and pour it over the salad and toss to coat. I have had this for three days' worth of lunches and one late-night snack and it was awesome!

Sometime this week I will probably throw together some Pad Thai, provided I have time to pick up some shrimp. If you are like me and love Pad Thai, here is the sauce recipe from the same book:

3 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 Tbsp tomato ketchup
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp lime juice

To make Pad Thai, just stir-fry the meat of your choice in a bit of peanut oil and some finely chopped garlic, throw the above ingredients in, then add well-drained rice noodles and a couple of beaten eggs. Beansprouts too, if you dig that (my mum quite likes them but I am ambivalent). Finish with hot pepper flakes and green onion.

So simple, yet so delicious.
chavvah: (Default)
I was trying to figure out a way to use up these Valencia oranges I got in my Freshbox, and there we go.

1.5 c flour
5 Tbsp cocoa
2 c sugar
2 sticks butter (1 c)
4 eggs
zest & juice from 1 orange
splash of orange liqueur

Cream the sugar and cocoa with the butter, then add the eggs, one at a time, then orange juice and zest, and orange liqueur.

Add wet ingredient mix to flour. Add more liqueur to smooth out batter as needed.

Bake in a 9 x 13 pan for 30-40 minutes.

chavvah: (lick me)
Pretty basic stuff. Many years ago, I took this recipe from a cookbook and sized it down, just enough for dinner and a lunch--or to share with a friend.

I normally only make this in the fall, but I had carrots on hand and there are only so many carrot sticks a kid like me can take. I also don't generally care for the texture of cooked carrots (although I occasionally don't mind them roasted).

1 tablespoon cooking oil, your choice
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
8 oz carrots, chopped
3 cups stock, your choice (although you will probably only need two cups and a bit)
palmful of curry powder (keeping in mind that I have very small hands)
dash of cayenne pepper
salt & pepper

You can add various other herbs and spices as desired (nutmeg works well) but this is the basic format. You can also substitute or add in cubed squash for/with the carrots, and perhaps other veggies too. It's a pretty flexible recipe. And if you don't have curry powder, you can use curry paste but remember to adjust the measurement appropriately.

Heat olive oil and butter until butter melts. Add onion and carrot and saute, approx. 5 mins. Add 2 cups stock and seasonings, bring to boil, cover, simmer 15 mins. Take all the veggies out with a slotted spoon and puree via hand blender or regular type blender, slowly adding liquid back in, until you get a velvety smooth liquid. Return puree to the pot and adjust seasonings, thickness, etc (this is why you may need extra stock).

If I have it, I sometimes like to pipe sour cream onto the surface of the soup--this helps cool the spice a little if I have been a little over-the-top with the cayenne.

If you omit the butter and use veggie oil/stock, you can even entertain your vegan friends with this!
chavvah: (Default)
I was going to do mini-quiches but didn't feel particularly eggy, so I came up with these instead. I am making them for lunches for next week.

Saute some onions in a pan with a bit of oil. Add broccoli and saute for a bit, then add water and steam until broccoli is tender.

Make a basic bechamel (butter, flour, milk), then add a handful of shredded cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Put veggies in tart shells, then spoon cheese sauce over veggies. Top with more shredded cheese.

Bake at 375 for 10 or so minutes.

I can work out measurements if interested, but this is the basic technique.
chavvah: (Default)
Do any of you guys have recipes that use kiwi?

I'm asking because I'm about to get 3 kiwis delivered in my Freshbox. While I have nothing against the taste of kiwi, I don't really enjoy hairy fruit. (I know, it's a neurosis, we're all allowed at least one, shut up.)
chavvah: (Default)
Last weekend, when I cleaned out my fridge, I threw out a ridiculous amount of food. And as I was hauling bags of garbage down to the basement (because they were too big to go down the garbage chute! gah!) I formulated a plan:

For now, I'm limiting my purchases of food to perishables (except for drinks) until I go through all the crap languishing in my cupboards. All the sauces and marinades and boxes of pasta, cans of soup and curry and tuna, peanut butters and jams and cake mixes--I am going to eat it all or die trying. Because that was a shocking amount of waste, y'all. Entirely aside from the expense, it was really irresponsible of me from an environmental perspective. I'm actually pretty ashamed of myself.

I realize that this is probably intuitive to a lot of people, but my mother is definitely of the overstuffed fridge and freezer school of homemaking.

Part of it also comes from the fact that I've spent a while trying to figure out how to shop and cook for just me. In the beginning I bought a ton of stuff that I didn't eat, and I realized I was only buying a lot of it because of habit. I also tended to buy in greater amounts because it's cheaper--which isn't much of a rationale when you end up throwing out the extra anyhow.

The result of this has been that I am being forced to put together meals using an odd assortment of whatever I have lying around. It's basically the MacGyver school of cooking. I've been doing it for about a week now.

And you know what? I'm pretty good at it!

This evening I made a really nice whole wheat rotini gratin. I made a basic bechamel (butter, flour, milk) and added in a nice bit of gouda I picked up last week and didn't end up using for its intended purpose. I used up a half-box of rotini that I'd been kicking around for a while, and I topped the dish with a leftover breadcrumbs-and-parmesan mix from when I last made eggplant parm. When I plated it I added a drizzle of balsamic, which is a trick I learned from having been served a similar dish at Rembrandt's Bistro. It really enhances the sharpness of the cheese and the creamy sweetness of the bechamel.

I had been thinking about making macaroni and cheese*, and were it not for the new plan I probably would have just gone out to the store and bought heavy cream and cheddar and macaroni without even thinking about what I had on hand. This was just as good--it satisfied my craving and left me with plenty to take to work in the morning.

Plus I got to use my hand blender, which I got for Christmas and am kind of enamoured of. ;)

*I saw it on Eat Shrink and Be Merry, which I shouldn't watch because it's bad for my self esteem, but the fact of the matter is that I don't have a gallbladder, and it is sometimes necessary for me to reduce the amount of fat in the food I make. I draw the line at some fucking played out plastic sour cream though. Ew.
chavvah: (Default)
So the combination of caffeine, sugar, and asthma medication has made me a bit jittery (and posty, apparently). I have been trying to calm down by searching for recipes.

I had decided a few days ago that I would like to make eggplant parmesan for this evening's dinner, simply because, by sheer coincidence, I currently have in my kitchen:

- one huge eggplant
- a chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano
- a chunk of mozzarella
- 3 ripe Roma tomatoes
- garlic
- onion
- olive oil
- oregano and basil from my garden
- various pastas

My frustration stems from the fact that I cannot seem to find a recipe that is not in some way touted as being "light," "healthy," or "diet." You guys, it's fried eggplant covered in parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs and then topped with more cheese. I'm cool with it not being fat-free. Really. But almost everyone on the internet is all over some played-out crap about just baking or grilling the eggplant and breading it with various horrific things--or worse, not at all! What is the point? If I wanted that I would have searched for "soggy grilled eggplant à la boring topped with sauce-from-a-jar and 'lite' plastic cheese." (FUCK I hate plastic cheese.)

I have a recipe for this at home in my Silver Spoon cookbook, so I should be all right. The main reason I wanted to peruse a standard recipe was in case I needed to buy anything on the way home. But I am shaking my head disappointedly in your general direction, internets.
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