Saturday, May 24, 2014


Photo from Delicious Magazine

So this conversation happened last week when we were eating butter chicken:

Parker: Mommy, wouldn't it be hilarious if we ate a chicken?
Me: Um... we are eating chicken buddy.
Parker (laughing): I know, but I mean if we killed a chicken with a head and feet and feathers and everything and then ate it.
Me (looking at Tyler for guidance and thinking this is defining moment in parenting): Well, here's the thing... We are eating a chicken that somebody killed, cut off the head and feet, plucked out the feathers, and then we bought it at the store to eat.
silence for a few moments
Parker: Oh, ok.

And he resumes eating his butter chicken. I've said it before and I'll say it again. My kid is awesome.

I found some beautiful and delicious recipes this week. Enjoy!

Cook's Illustrated Blondies via Food52 I think I'm going to make these for a work potluck next week

Fresh Spinach Pasta via Smitten Kitchen Another recipe from My Paris Kitchen. I think I need to buy this cook stat.

Warm Baby Veg Salad with Goats Cheese Curd and Sherry Vinaigrette via Delicious Magazine How beautiful is this salad? The photo just makes me happy.

Peach Raspberry Granola Crumble via Annie's Eats This is interesting because you make granola, which I do all the time anyway, then cook the fruit and top with granola at the end. 

Courgette Tart (Scarpaccia) from The Hairy Bikers Big Book of Baking via The Independent The pastry is kind of a pancake batter. Looks easy and delicious. Also, the name of this book is so fun, right?

Belgian Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake from The Hairy Bikers Big Book of Baking via Red Online What else needs to be said other than those four words?

Toad in the Hole from Fast, Fresh and Unbeliveably Delicious by Matt Preston via Taste Magazine
I've never eaten this classic British dish, but I'm putting it on the menu for this week with a salad- maybe the salad above! Tyler will be happy- his favorite food is Yorkshire Pudding, and this is basically yorkies baked with sausage. Serious comforting man-food.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Swedish Pancakes with Rhubarb Compote

What a perfect morning to kick-off to the long weekend. I kind of forgot how much I love rhubarb. Tangy and sweet, rhubarb might actually be one of my favorite fruits. Or is it a vegetable because it doesn't have seeds on the inside? Just a sec, let me consult Google...

{cue elevator music}

It's a vegetable. Unless you live in the United States... apparently the US courts can mess with science and declare it a fruit. Don't even get me started on that.

Parker and I ate some (ok, a lot) of the compote out of the bowl with a spoon while I finished cooking the crepes. I worked two pans today! I seriously feel like I can take on anything now that I have mastered the two-pan crepe technique. Bring it on.

I found breakfast to be particularily photogenic this morning. Or maybe it was the idyllic morning that translated to the photos- the three of us at the breakfast table on a long weekend, a second cup of coffee, the sun peeking through the clouds. Either way, I'm very pleased with life at the moment.

PS There was also barbequed bacon. Oh yes.

Serves 4
An Amy Original
Rhubarb compote can be spread on toast, stirred into yogurt, spooned onto pork chops... you'll find lots of uses and excuses to make it, trust me.
  • 1 recipe Swedish Pancakes
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced rhubarb, fresh or frozen (don't even bother thawing if using frozen)
  • scant 1/4 cup sugar
  • splash vanilla extract
While cooking the crepes add all other ingredients to a small pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and lower heat to a simmer until rhubarb is soft, stirring occasionally. Mash to desired consistency. Continue to simmer until thickened.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Weeknight Indian

I was busy in the kitchen today, boy. I am eating dairy and gluten again, for now, and I'm finished with a cleanse I was doing for 5 days (ok... it was supposed to be 10... I'll admit it. I gave up). These factors, combined with a day off during the week, equals Cooking Binge.

It started with the Onion Bhaji. I bought chickpea flour on a whim months ago, maybe even closer to a year ago. It's been languishing in my cupboard ever since. Time to use some of it methinks? A woman at work suggested making onion bhaji. Good call Sandra, once again. Of course the next step, if you are me, is to spend an hour researching the best onion bhaji recipe. This is why I love food blogs. Tested recipes with reviews. Most recipes call for adding water to make a batter for your fried onion dumplings. The winner of my Google search, "Ridiculously Good Onion Bhaji" from Kitchen Experiments, uses liquid smushed out of the onions themselves. Welcome to Flavour City. Genius.

Ok, so I'm going to make some onion bhaji. What else to make for dinner? I hadn't gotten around to making Bombay Slow Cooker Potatoes the other week. Done. With some modifications (recipe below). These were fantastic. Soft, highly flavoured potatoes. Yum. I have some leftovers that are going to be unreal as a samosa filling this weekend, I just know it.

What else to make to round out dinner? Something without such a strong curry presence again... that my boys will eat... butter chicken. Of course. The whitest Indian dish ever invented. I bought a jarred sauce for this and jazzed it up with chopped red pepper and chopped kale. I'd put kale in everything if I could.

Also, since it was my day off and all, there was wine. Oh yes. A sweet-ish Reisling was great. This one to be exact

I think my dog was South Asian in another life. She's getting up there in years, so she's pretty lazy lately. Tonight she jumped up with two furry paws on the kitchen table to try to steal some curry potatoes. It was a fairly slow jump, albeit, but she hasn't done that in forever. Now that I think about it though, maybe that's because we freaked out the day we found her with all four paws on the kitchen table eating out of the butter dish.

You think that was a lot of cooking today? Haha, young apprentice. I also made Challah bread and Rhubarb Upside Down Cake. Bread is just ok (as "just ok" as fresh homemade bread can be, mind), but the cake is out of this world delicious. I love love love loooove rhubarb. Looking forward to some of this for breakfast. Hey, I'm done my cleanse. Go big or go home, right?

Serves 6-8 as a side dish
Adapted from Kayotic Kitchen

Spice Mix:
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp medium curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 large or 5 small potatoes, peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • 1/2 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 beefsteak tomatoes, squeezed of seeds and juice, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan. Saute onions until softened and beginning to colour. Add spice mix, cook 2 minutes, stirring often. Add potatoes, chickpeas, tomatoes, salt. Stir to combine. Pour everything into slow cooker and cook on low 4-6 hours.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

French Roast Chicken Menu

Foodies love David Lebovitz. I think we are all living vicariously though him. An American expat living in Paris. Cooking in Paris. Perusing the markets in Paris. Eating French bread and and cheese and butter (I've touched on my love of French butter before)... swoon. I read his blog, I follow his Pinterest boards, I get excited when he has a guest post on The Kitchn. He has a new book out. My Paris Kitchen. I think I need to own this book, considering I have now make three recipes from before even touching it. God how I love the Internet.

Eat Your Books has a round-up of recipes from My Paris Kitchen from around the web. I took one look at the list, bookmarked a few recipes, and then realized they would be perfect for dinner Saturday night with my BFF, her boyfriend, and his daughter. Greg and I had been planning to go for a run in preparation for a race we are have entered next weekend. The plan was to run the route. Cold rain and wind derailed that plan. It was pouring when we set out for our run, it was still pouring when we returned a wet 7.25km later. And wouldn't you know it, the sun was breaking through the clouds ten minutes after we got back. Son of a...

Regardless, we still had a good run. I feel much more prepared and less intimidated by the thought of next weekend's 7-mile race. I usually run by myself and I realized yesterday that it makes it seem much easier when running with someone else. I haven't decided yet whether that is because of the company and conversation, or if having a partner sharing in the torture makes it more tolerable- I do love running, but there's always a moment on every run when I think "what the Hell am I doing?".

The rest of the evening was a blast as well. The kids played together great despite their age difference (Parker being almost 4 and Greg's daughter being 9) while we made dinner and then they helped me do the dishes (without even being asked!). While men retired to the couch and talked football Erin, the kids, and I had a dance party in the kitchen to YouTube videos- the kids being hopped up on sugar and chocolate, Erin and I being hopped up on wine. Fun times had by all. Is it weird that I get a strange satisfaction from being told by a 9-year old girl that I'm fun and she wants to come back and visit?

Here's our menu. I will make each of these dishes over and over again. They are also effortlessly gluten and dairy free (except for the goat cheese in the lentil salad of course). I don't know much about wine and food pairing aside from I like wine and I like food... but a French Sauvignon Blanc seemed to go well with this meal.

Chicken Lady Chicken 
I used quarter chicken legs rather than a whole chicken as the chickens at the grocery store were really small. The legs worked perfectly. It did take two pans to make the all the chicken, and through this I learned that a well-seasoned cast iron skillet works best. The skin stuck to the other pan, but fared great in the cast iron. The chicken was delicious- juicy, and made it's own delicious pan sauce.

Leeks with Mustard-Bacon Vinaigrette
Fantastic. The kids didn't love these, but the adults did. I didn't steam the leeks. I cut them in half, placed them in single layer in a glass dish, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Covered tightly with foil they went in the oven with the chicken. Once the chicken was done I removed the foil and left them in the oven to brown while the chicken rested. Next time I would increase the heat to 425 or even 450 for the final browning.

French Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
I forgot to buy walnuts as called for in the recipe. It was still great without, but I will remember to include walnuts next time. I used the same dressing for this salad as called for in the leek recipe above rather than making two vinaigrette. I also added some thinly sliced radishes at the end for some fresh crunch as the other vegetables in the salad are cooked along with the lentils.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sriracha Round-Up

Yes, ok, Sriracha has become kind of trendy in the last couple of years. No matter. I love the stuff. Along with Frank's (yes, I basically put that s**t on everything), Tabasco, your Haitian Grandma's homemade hot pepper concoction, I love it all. The point is, food tastes better with a bit of a kick. Or a lot of kick, in the case of my favorite mouth-numbing, euphoria-inducing Nashville Style Hot Chicken Shak Sandwich. To quote the poet Ludacris, "Sweat for the lemonade, sweat for the tea. Sweat from the hot sauce, sweat from the... {CENSORED}". Indeed Ludacris. Indeed.

Here are some interesting recipes I've come across lately.

Sriracha Shrimp Skewers via Handle the Heat
Teriyaki Salmon with Sriracha Cream Sauce via Damn Delicious
Sriracha Fridge Pickles via Bon Appetit
Ultimate Sriracha Burger via Serious Eats
Sriracha Popcorn via Authentic Suburban Gourmet
Sriracha and Honey Cashews via Authentic Suburban Gourmet
Sriracha Devilled Eggs via ME! Four Seasons Kitchen

A Pinterest search for "Sriracha" also gives some yummy looking food porn... ahem... recipes.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Quinoa and Chicken Chili

I think this may be my favorite chili I've ever made. Not least because there is basically no prep; minimal chopping, just mix everything in the slow cooker and you come home to a hot, healthy, deliciously filling meal. Fantastic.

I hate it when chili is too watery. Watery chili is up there with slow drivers, one-upping moms, and workplace butt-kissers in my book of Things That Annoy Me. This chili came out the perfect consistency. Plus it makes lots for leftover lunches, which is even more of a bonus lately when I can't just throw together a sandwich (for lack of gluten-free bread, which I hope to rectify when I do grocery shopping tomorrow).

Speaking of gluten-free. I am so stoked for Easter brunch on Sunday. It's going to be a dairy and gluten fest. Then I'll go back to being good. I cannot pass on Easter brunch with dishes like egg and sausage pie, cheesy bread pudding, that I've been eating every Easter for my ENTIRE LIFE. Clearly.

You know what else would be good with this chili, assuming you are good with gluten and dairy? Biscuits. Always a good idea with chili. Oh, I happen to have posted a recipe for Best Drop Biscuits a while back. You're welcome.

Serves 8
Adapted from Everyday Reading
Use less salt if you are not using no-salt added canned goods.
  • 1 540-mL can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 540-mL can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 796-mL can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • optional toppings: chopped cilantro, diced avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream
Mix all ingredients up before chicken together in the crock of the slow cooker. Nestle chicken in the middle, ensuring chicken is submerged in liquid. Cook on low 6 to 9 hours. Shred chicken into chili prior to serving. Serve with desired toppings.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bacon Mushroom Burgers with Tomato Avocado Salad

The daughter of a friend of mine used to say "I can't like that Papa," instead of "I don't like that Papa." I love that. And I totally get where she is coming from. I have tried to love mushrooms. I'm getting there. But right now, I can't like them.

Despite this, these burgers looked sooo good in the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook. I gave that book back to my colleague almost 2 weeks ago and I've been thinking about making them since. Bacon and mushrooms mixed into the beef and then grilled. How could that be bad?

Ok, bad for your arteries, maybe. But great for your taste buds. I didn't even miss the bun. In fact, I think I liked the burger better with the citrus-y, creamy salad eaten with each bite. You can taste the burger much better without the bun in the way.

It occurred to me today (while in the shower... random... I guess I'm always thinking about food) that the Paleo Diet, aka Caveman Diet, is kind of like the Atkins Diet version 2.0. Low carb, lots of meat and fat. Dr Atkins died of a heart attack. Go figure. And how long did cavemen live? I believe 33 was a ripe old age. Though that may have been more due to the saber-toothed tigers than their diet.

Serves 4
Even if you are not going to make these burgers right now, at least just click through to see the mouthwatering juicy, bacon-y meat goodness. The recipe calls for pan-frying the burgers. We grilled them on the barbeque. The salad would be great with chicken or salmon as well.
  • Bacon Mushroom Burgers
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, chopped
  • 1/2 an English cucumber, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • small handful cilantro, chopped  
Mix tomato, avocado, cucumber. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze lemon over. Add cilantro and stir well. Serve with burgers, with or without buns.