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poached egg croissant sandwich

24 Nov

Coffee, newspaper, egg sandwich.

All it takes to make a perfect Saturday morning.

ingredients

  • 1 croissant, halved and lightly toasted
  • lettuce
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 egg, poached
  • dijon mustard

preparation

Put all that together.  As a sandwich.

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malaysian chicken curry

20 Nov

I have eaten one too many curried sweet potato soups in my day and I’m tired of curry powder.  I’m sick of it.  I never want to see it again.  I haven’t used it in years because it’s so… bleh.

Thankfully, my friend introduced me to Malaysian curry powder (thanks Stacey…) and it has renewed my faith in dried curry spice blends.  It’s just better in every way than your average curry powder.

If you’re in Toronto you can buy it at this fantastic store in Kensington.  They have everything you need and more when it comes to spices and exotic sauces plus they’re super friendly and helpful.  If you are unable to find Malaysian curry powder you can just substitute the same amount of turmeric, it’s what the original recipe I used calls for.

You can get the original Gordon Ramsay recipe I used here but I’ve written down the recipe as I ended up making it.  I made a few changes: took the seeds out of most of the chilies (because I’m a pansy), used whole chicken legs (because I’m lazy), used green onion instead of lemongrass in the curry paste (because they didn’t have lemongrass at the store that day), also I added potato (because potato!!).

Maybe I probably changed / forgot other things too.

It’s fine.  Tastes good.

P.S. I used Thai bird chilies for my curry, and I cut them up, and I didn’t wear gloves, and my hands were burning for the next two days.  Wear some rubber gloves or something, ok?  I forget every time.  Learn from my mistakes.

Serves 6 as a main dish with rice.

malaysian chicken curry

from Gordon Ramsay

ingredients

for curry paste

  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4-5 red chilies, seeds removed from all but one, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp Malaysian curry powder (or turmeric)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • olive oil

for curry

  • 4 whole chicken legs, skin removed
  • olive oil
  • 2 tsp Malaysian curry powder (or turmeric)
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4-5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 star anise
  • 400 ml  coconut milk
  • 1/2 c water or chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 large handfuls green beans, tipped and tailed
  • 3 small potatoes, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • cilantro

preparation

In a blender or using a mortar and pestle combine garlic, chilies, green onion, ginger, shallots, curry powder and salt.  Blend, adding olive oil until it becomes a smooth paste.

In a large pot, heat some olive oil over medium heat.  Add the curry paste along with 2 tsp curry powder for a minute – until fragrant.  Add onions and cook for a few minutes – until soft.  Add chicken legs.  Turn to coat in curry paste.

Add kaffir lime leaves, cinnamon stick, star anise, coconut milk, water / stock, soy and fish sauce and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to a low simmer, add potato and let cook gently for 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove chicken legs and use two forks to pull the meat from the bone.  It should pull away easily into manageable chunks.  Return the meat to the curry along with the green beans and simmer for a few moe minutes – until beans are just tender.

Serve over plain basmati rice, or rice and peas, topped with cilantro leaves.

pork, fennel + white bean hand pies or: how to make it though the rest of the stew

12 Nov

so much stew…

For we noble and intelligent and attractive people trying to live and eat well on a tight budget, cold weather is our friend.  Cold weather means making huge pots of slow cooked meat, soups, stews, fresh bread; leaving the crock pot, oven, stove on all day and ending up with enough food to feed you for a week.

The key, however, is to not want to off yourself by the end of that week because you’ve eaten the same f***ing bowl of f***ing stew every day for a f***ing week.

So here’s an easy, cheap and tasty recipe that works well as a stew (either as is or with a little added broth), as a pasta sauce, and in flaky buttery hand pies.  Turning stew into pie is certainly not an innovation but these hand pies are a lot easier to make than a traditional pot pie and you get a much higher pastry to filling ratio which, for me, is a big big plus.

Makes 4 pies with 4 cups leftover stew

pork, fennel + white bean hand pies

ingredients

crust

  • 1 c unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2-3 tbsp cold water

stew

  • 1 lb pork (I used tenderloin because I had some in my freezer but almost any cut would work) cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • ground pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 generous handful fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3 small carrots, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, quartered and finely sliced
  • 1 550ml can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 300ml can diced tomatoes
  • 1 splash white wine vinegar
  • 1 splash balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

from stew to pie

preparation

crust

Get the crust ready first.  Add the cold butter to the flour and salt.  Mix with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles small peas.  Add water one tablespoon at a time until the dough just holds together.  There should still be visible pea-sized butter chunks, that’s what will make your crust tender and flaky.  Divide the dough into 4 equal balls and wrap each one tightly in saran wrap, pressing down to make a small flat disc.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.

stew

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary and oregano and stir until onions are translucent.  Turn the heat to high and add pork.  Stir for a couple of minutes until pork begins to brown then deglaze the pan with white wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar.  Add carrots, bell pepper, fennel, white beans, tomatoes and parsley.

Turn heat to low and let simmer, partially covered, for 25 to 30 minutes.

Let the stew cool.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Roll out the pastry discs one at a time and place a few tablespoons of stew in the center of each one, leaving a 2 inch border around the filling.  Fold the top half of the pastry over the filling and fold the bottom edges in over the top crust.

Like a pizza pocket.

Brush the lightly beaten egg over the tops of the pies to make them nice and shiny – if you have a pastry brush that would be ideal, if you don’t then just dip your dainty little hands into the slimy egg and smush it all over the top of the pastry.  It works.

Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 30 to 40 minutes or until the crust turns light golden brown.

pork, fennel + white bean sauce

You can also turn the stew into a hearty pasta sauce by putting 2 cups of stew, a can of tomatoes, a pinch of salt and a splash of balsamic vinegar in a pot over medium heat while your pasta cooks.

from stew to pasta sauce

toasted tomato sandwich

5 Sep

Yeah, it’s just a toasted tomato sandwich.

When was the last time you had one?

I thought so.

Have a toasted tomato sandwich.

It’s a great thing.

(A special toasted tomato sandwich thank you goes out to John & Deb for fresh tomatoes and amazing spicy arugula from their garden.)

toasted tomato sandwich

ingredients

  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • mayonnaise
  • arugula and/or fresh basil
  • 2 slices of bread, toasted

preparation

Put all those things together, as a sandwich.

grilled corn salsa + chicken salad

13 Jun

Just a nice simple summer salad… Goes well with some beer and some being outside.

Makes 4 servings

grilled corn salsa + chicken salad

ingredients

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • pepper
  • salt
  • 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 4 ears of corn (in husks)
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 jalepeno, seeds removed and flesh finely diced
  • 6 roma tomatoes, seeds removed and flesh diced
  • 3 small or 2 large avocados, diced
  • 4-5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

preparation

Combine diced red onion, jalepeno, tomatoes, avocado, green onion, cilantro and garlic in a large bowl with juice of half a lime and 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Mix together and set aside.

Heat grill to medium high.

Place corn, in husks, on the grill and cook until husks are charred and corn is tender –  about 12 minutes.  Peel back the husks to let the corn cool.  Once they’re not too hot to handle, cut the kernels off the cob and mix into the salsa.

Meanwhile, squeeze juice from remaining half of the lime over chicken breasts along with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper.  Rub seasonings into both sides of breasts.

Place chicken on the grill and cook – about 5 minutes on each side… maybe more maybe less, it depends how busty your chicken is.

Slice the chicken, lay it on top of a heap of grilled corn salsa and serve with some sliced baguette or fresh corn tortillas.

pasta + roasted tomato sauce

2 Jun

I work all day and I get home and I. am. so. HUNGRY.  But I’m also tired.  So the trick is to have an after work dinner that is both satisfying for my tummy and not too much work for my brain and body.

This loose, roasted pasta sauce is just right.  The best thing about it is that there are plenty of variations so even if I make it every couple of weeks – which I do, especially in the winter – it doesn’t get too boring.

The recipe I have here features some wonderful Columbian chorizo sausage (from Segovia – if you’re in Toronto go there..).  It’s also great with shrimp and/or mussels, just add them in the last five minutes in the oven, or leave out the meat altogether and add a few extra tomatoes and some more onion to bulk up the sauce.

Makes 4 servings

pasta + roasted tomato sauce

ingredients

  • 2 handfuls of linguine (or any pasta of your choice)
  • 2 lbs roma tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 2 large sausages, cut into large pieces

preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut the tops off of the tomatoes.  Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds.  Cut each half into about 3 pieces.  Crush the 6 garlic cloves with the side of a heavy knife, remove the skin and tough bottom from each.

Throw the seeded tomatoes, crushed garlic cloves, sliced onion, basil, capers and sausage in an ovenproof dish.  Squeeze the juice from the 1/2 lemon over everything and drizzle with olive oil.  Toss to coat and put the dish in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Cook the pasta while the sauce is in the oven.

Once sauce is cooked, toss with pasta and serve.

asparagus soup + lemon creme

30 May

Hey everybody.  Hi.  I haven’t posted in a long time… I’ve been busy…

Lazy, I’ve been lazy.

But also a bit busy.

But mostly lazy.

Anyway, I have for you here my most favourite spring soup.  It’s super simple – just asparagus, shallots, cilantro and a bit of butter – and it’s good warm or cold.  Also, it takes about 15 minutes to make, including prep.

The original recipe from Bon Appetit calls for the soup to be strained but I prefer not to do that, I like the chunks.  The key is to choose the thinnest asparagus stalks you can find so the soup won’t get that stringy, woody texture.  If you must use thick stalks and you’re not planning to strain the soup, just peel them before cutting them up.

Makes 6 appetizer servings

asparagus soup + lemon creme

from Bon Appetit, March 2006

ingredients

soup

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 cup shallots, chopped
  • 2 pounds asparagus (thin stalks), trimmed + cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 3/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 cups vegetable broth

lemon creme

  • 1/4 cup sour cream (or creme fraiche if you can find it)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

preparation

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and sautee until soft – about 5 minutes. Add asparagus and cilantro – stir 1 minute. Add vegetable broth and simmer until asparagus is tender, about 5 minutes.

Puree and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir sour cream, lemon juice, and lemon peel together in small bowl. Divide soup among bowls. Top with a dollop of lemon creme and serve.

root vegetable salad

20 May

Apparantly there are a whole bunch of really colourful root vegetables that I didn’t know about… I thought the little purple fingerling potatoes I bought were just purple on the outside and would be normal potato colour inside.  Wrong!  They’re purple the whole way through!

I don’t know what kind of crazy wizard did this to vegetables but I like it.

Aside from being aesthetically pleasing, the potatoes are just potatoes, but the candy cane beets and yellow beets taste much sweeter than your average (but still lovely) red beet.

Makes 4 side servings

$2.10 per 2 servings

root vegetable salad

ingredients

  • 1 candy cane beet, peeled
  • 1 yellow beet, peeled
  • 2 handfuls of green beans, tipped and tailed
  • 8 fingerling potatoes, cut into coins
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • ground pepper
  • olive oil
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tsp cider vinegar

preparation

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cut the peeled beets in half lengthwise.  Set the halves down on the flat side and cut them in half lengthwise again, cut them crosswise into thin slices.

Toss sliced beets and potatoes with salt, a generous amount of pepper, and enough olive oil to coat.

Place mixture in a shallow ovenproof dish and roast until vegetables are just tender (beets should stay a bit firm) – 25 to 30 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, bring a pot of water to a boil and add green beans.  Boil for about 30 seconds then transfer to an ice bath or run under cold water to stop cooking.  They should be bright green and slightly tender but still crisp.

Whisk together mustard, cider vinegar and 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Combine beets, potatoes and green beans in a large bowl with mustard vinaigrette.  Toss to coat.  Season generously with salt and pepper.

The beets and potatoes can be cooked on the barbeque in a roasting basket over medium-high heat if you don’t want to use the oven.

orzo salad

12 May

Just a quick and simple side dish.  You can cook the orzo as much as a day ahead of time, throw it together with the rest of the ingredients and have it ready in five minutes.

It goes well with just about anything… rich fish like salmon or trout, grilled sausages, portobello caps, chicken, and so forth.  Makes great leftovers too.  Miam!

Makes 4 servings

$2.45 per 2 servings

orzo salad

ingredients

  • 1 c orzo
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 c cherry tomatoes
  • 2 heaping tbsp fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • 2 heaping tbsp capers
  • 1 c pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt

preparation

Cook orzo and strain.  Set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a deep pan over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook for about 20 seconds.  Add tomatoes, capers, basil, olives, salt and juice of half the lemon.  Cook until the skin begins to come off of the tomatoes – 2 minutes.  Add cooked orzo and remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Cook until orzo is warmed through – 1 minute.

Serve warm or at room temperature.  Garnish with the remaining lemon half, sliced, and basil leaves.

potato + leek + swiss chard soup with bacon wrapped seed onions

1 May

Because it’s raining and I have a hangover and this will fix all that…

ps. For anyone who came here via the ‘vegetarian’ tag and is all “wtf bacon”, it’s a perfectly good meat-free soup without the bacon wrapped onions.  That is why.

Makes 6 servings

potato + leek + swiss chard soup with bacon wrapped seed onions

ingredients

soup

  • 8 medium red potatoes, washed and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch swiss chard
  • 6 c vegetable broth

onions

  • 6 skewers, soaked in water for 1 hour
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 24 seed onions

preparation

soup

Set a large pot with butter over medium heat.  At the same time, heat broth in a separate pot over high heat.  Once the butter has melted, add leeks, pepper and garlic and sautee until leeks are soft – about 5 minutes.  Add potatoes and hot broth.  Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender – about 20 to 25 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, cut stalks out of the swiss chard and coarsely chop the leaves.  Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pot over medium heat and add chard.  Sautee for 1 minute, until leaves are wilted, then add 1 tbsp water and cover the pot for another minute.

Puree soup and stir in chopped swiss chard.

onions

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Cut the top and bottom off each onion and remove skin.  Wrap about 1/4 of a slice of bacon around each onion and put it on a skewer, 4 onions on each.

Lay the skewers on something that will let the fat drip off and collect underneath (I laid them over a small cake pan) and cook until bacon is crispy and onions are soft – 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve immediately with soup.