Thursday, July 29, 2010

Funny AND Edumacational

I apologize in advance if you came here to look for a recipe for dinner. This is not a post with a recipe for dinner. Unless... no, nevermind I won't go there. Please everybody (even if you are male cause it's still funny- but it may also be educational for you) read the post at the below link so that you can laugh as I did. Dang that felt good. This is my new favorite blog.

The Art of Doing Stuff

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Green Curry Chicken Summer Roll Salad

As promised, here is the recipe for last Wednesday's dinner. Clearly the photo above is a summer roll, not a summer roll salad. I didn't take a photo of the salad when I made it as I assumed the recipe with a photo would be on their website and I was going to just link to it in the previous post, but alas, it didn't work out that way.

This salad is perfect for a summer lunch or dinner. In the note preceding the recipe in Food and Drink magazine they describe it as "deconstructed summer rolls". It's very refreshing light. And delicious of course.

As I mentioned in the the previous post, the flavor of the green curry paste didn't come through in the salad as it was only in the marinade for the chicken. I have adapted the recipe to include some green curry paste in the dressing for the salad as well.

Adapted from Food and Drink
Serves 4 for lunch or 2 for dinner

*All of the components of salad can be made up to 24 hours in advance, refrigerated, and and tossed together when ready to serve. 
*To change up the salad, you could also use shrimp in place of chicken, shortening the marinating time to just an hour.

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk from a 398 ml can
  • 1 tsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp green curry paste
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 4 large)

  • 8 oz rice vermicelli
  • 2 large carrots, julienned
  • 1 seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 large red pepper, thinly sliced
  • chopped fresh cilantro or mint, to garnish
  • remaining coconut milk from can
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp green curry paste
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
Combine marinade ingredients in a large freezer bag and add chicken. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 48 hours.

Preheat grill to medium or preheat broiler. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade, and season with salt and pepper. Place on oiled grill or on baking sheet under broiler for about 20 minutes, turning once, or until no longer pink inside. Remove from heat and let cool.

Place rice noodles in a large, heatproof bowl or baking dish and cover with enough boiling water to cover. Let soak for about 2 minutes, or until tender. Drain water and rinse under cold water. Drain well.

For dressing, combine coconut milk, brown sugar, fish sauce, and curry paste in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring often, until reduced by about one third. Remove from heat and stir in lime zest and lime juice. Pour into salad bowl that you will be using to serve salad and cool slightly. Add drained noodles, toss, and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

To serve, slice chicken, add chicken and vegetables noodles and garnish with cilantro or mint.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What we ate for dinner...

I cook from recipes a lot. I read so many food magazine, blogs, cookbooks, etc that I collect a lot of recipes. I tweak the recipes quite often, depending on what I have on hand or what I feel would work for me, but the my inspiration generally comes from a recipe. What I cooked for dinners this week is a really good example of this, and everything I made was delicious so I wanted to share.

I started of the week with a recipe that I made up, actually. One of the best meals I had at a chain restaurant eating by myself, actually. I was in St. Catherines for work, and I ordered two appetizers for dinner- a shrimp dish and a spinach salad topped with phyllo-wrapped goat cheese. I figured both would be easy to make at home, and although I haven't attempted the salad yet, the shrimp dish has become one of my favorite meals.

The other three meals we had came from the summer issue of Food and Drink Magazine from the LCBO. I love this magazine- I would probably pay money for it if it weren't free, in fact. I always bookmark a ton of recipes in Food and Drink, but I never get around to making a lot of them as they aren't always weeknight meals. This issue, however, had more quick meals to make and they turned out fantastic.   

Monday: Greek Shrimp and Tomatoes with Feta and Crostini (recipe below)
*I got the pork and chicken for the next two nights marinating on Monday as well

Tuesday: Chipotle Pork and Pineapple Skewers with Basmati rice mixed with corn and peas on the side

Wednesday: Green Curry Chicken Summer Roll Salad (recipe in a coming post as I couldn't find it online)
*This was delicious, but the green curry flavor didn't really come through as it was only used in the marinade for the chicken. Next time I make this I would add about 1/2 tbsp of green curry paste to the dressing as well.

Thursday: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Empanadas (again, they don't have this recipe online so I will post it very shortly)
*The pastry for these is really delicious. To cut out the pastry I used a cup with a 4-inch diameter rim. In the filling, I used a few shakes of Frank's Red Hot Sauce instead of the chili flakes because my chili flakes have been around for a few years and I probably need to replace them. Plus I love Frank's on everything.

Friday: Ok, the low point in the week. We had frozen burgers from a box. I wasn't going to tell you, but there it is.

Serves 2 but the recipe is easily doubled

  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes - I use PC Blue Menu diced tomatoes for everything. They only come in a 28 oz can, so use about half the can and refrigerate or freeze the rest.
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • shrimp, shelled and cleaned
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 a baguette, sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • butter for buttering bread
Put olive oil and garlic in a skillet and heat over medium heat. I like to start garlic in a cold pan so that it doesn't burn. Once garlic is fragrant and sizzling, add white wine. Bring to a boil, then simmer until wine has reduced by half.

Add tomatoes with their juice and oregano, season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and add shrimp in a single layer on top of the tomatoes. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook until shrimp are cooked through- they'll be pink and curled up- turning the shrimp once throughout cooking. They should take about 8 minutes total.

Meanwhile, for the crostini, toast the baguette slices. While they are still warm rub one side with the garlic clove and then butter the bread. 

Serve shrimp and tomatoes with parsley and feta sprinkled on top with crostini for scooping up the tomatoes and juices.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gifts from the Kitchen

My team at work held a dog wash to raise money for the Humane Society last weekend (we called it Bark and Bubbles- how cute is that?). I couldn't attend to help wash the doggies, so I donated some gifts from the kitchen for the raffle we held.

I had an idea in mind that I wanted to make a couple of jar cookie mixes- you know the kind where the dry ingredients are layered in a jar and you just dump in it into a bowl and add a few other things? The logistics of this, however, were easier said than done. I wanted it to be simple, so my idea for a lemon and lavender shortbread mix went out the window as that requires rolling the dough, cutting, so on. Plus I burned the lemon zest when I was drying it out in the oven for the test recipe. Anything that required sugar to be creamed with butter, eggs, etc was out as well as I wanted it all to be in one jar, rather than having to separate the sugar from the rest of the dry ingredients.

I ended up adapting my absolute favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe to work with the jar concept. The unmodified recipe is below, but if you want to give it as a gift in a jar you would half the recipe. Layer dry ingredients in your jar and include the measurements of wet ingredients plus instructions to mix the melted butter, vanilla, 1 egg and add to the dry mix.

The other two jars are Olive Oil Hand Scrub and my Olive Oil Granola (which I made this time with dried mixed berries from President's Choice instead of cranberries).

Makes 18 large cookies

This recipe not only makes the best cookies ever, but I also love it as it calls for melted butter which means I don't have to plan in advance to soften butter. Cookies on demand!
  • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup  plus 2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled until just warm
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Adjust oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with cooking spray.

Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Mix butter and sugars in a large bowl until thoroughly blended. Beat in egg, yolk, vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

Roll a scant 1/4 cup of dough into a ball and place on baking sheet, keeping dough balls 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are light golden brown, the outer edges start to harden, and the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets between upper and lower racks halfway through baking. 

Cool cookies on the baking sheets. These are best eaten warm from the oven, or microwave 15-20 seconds before eating.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Slower Cooker Awesomeness

I saw a post last week on The Kitchn about using your slow cooker during the summer so as to not heat up the house by turning on the oven, and this made a lot of sense. I hardly ever use my slow cooker, but I'm going to try to use it more now that I have re-discovered it's awesomeness. When I walked in the door last night my house smelled delicious, plus dinner was cooked already except for putting some potatoes in the microwave! I couldn't speak throughout dinner except to say "oh my God this is so good".

The recipe accompanying the post was for pork carnitas which I was going to make but they didn't have pork shoulder, or any other suitable pork product, at the grocery store this week. They had beef brisket though. The butcher said they rarely have it, so if you can find brisket at your store pick some up. I wish I had bought two. It's that good. I had brisket sandwich once at a restaurant and it was really fatty, but this wasn't fatty at all- there wasn't even any fat on the top of the leftovers when we took them out of the fridge the next day.

To serve, I shredded the falling-apart-tender meat and we ate it on top of some mashed potatoes with the delicious sauce left in the slow cooker spooned over top. Heaven! I have had leftovers on a kaiser bun for lunch the last two days, and it's delicious this way too. The recipe is dead simple- I was able to throw it together in 10-15 minutes before leaving for work. Don't worry too much about the measurements, I eyeballed everything as I threw it in, it will turn out great. Plus, the cooking time is very forgiving- if you get caught up at work and it cooks for 10 hours, that's ok. The only change I would make, and I've included this below, is to add some chopped fresh parsley when serving.

PS We had peas and corn with it too, in case you were worried about the lack of vegetables in the photo.

Adapted from Epicurious

  • beef brisket- I think mine was 2 to 3 lbs, but you can go bigger and don't have to change anything
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 small onions, sliced 
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bottle beer- I used Moosehead Light because that's what Tyler had, but any beer will do
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  •  1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Trim any visible fat from the outside of the beef. Season with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides in a skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, put all other ingredients except parsley in the bottom of the slow cooker and stir to combine. Place beef in slow cooker, cover with lid, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Stir in parsley before serving.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Breakfast Club Sandwiches

I'm back on the bacon train! I've been off bacon since I first became pregnant because it made me feel sick, even just the thought of it. Slowly but surely over the last month, however, I've been becoming friends with bacon again. As a result of my temporary bacon aversion, I haven't made weekend breakfasts for a while. I saw Ricardo Larrivee make these sandwiches on his show this past week (side note: does he play for the other team or is he just French? Talk amongst yourselves) and I've been thinking about it ever since, so made this on this holiday morning and it was fantastic. Tyler high-fived me, so I take it the breakfast club sandwich gets the husband stamp of approval as well.

Serves 2 (recipe is very easily multiplied to serve more)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 6 slices sandwich bread
  • Mayonnaise (or Miracle Whip if you live in my house)
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 2 leaves Romaine lettuce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly beat eggs, milk, salt, pepper in a small baking dish. Put bacon on a baking sheet or broiler pan. Bake eggs and bacon in oven until bacon is crisp and golden and eggs are set- about 10 minutes for the bacon and about 5 minutes more for the eggs. Remove bacon to drain on paper towels. Cut eggs in half and fold each half over itself (like you would an omelet).

While bacon and eggs are cooking, toast bread. Spread one side of 4 of the slices with mayo, spread both sides of the remaining bread with mayo (this is your middle piece of the club sandwich).

To assemble each sandwich, place egg on the mayo side of a slice of toast, top with double-mayo toast, top that with 2 slices of bacon, tomato, lettuce. Top sandwich with another slice of toast. Slice in half or quarters diagonally to serve.