Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Braising Greens & Caramelized Onion Tacos

Anyone who spends any time perusing food blogs or magazines or sometimes even friend's recipe boxes has a list.

You know what I'm talking about.

A collection of an absurd amount of recipes that our eyes spot and our taste buds dare us to make. And then eat. Regardless of fat content, complexity, or time intensiveness. We want those dishes. 


Some of them get made. Others lay quietly in wait. I currently have over 300 bookmarked, heaps pinned, and even more dog-eared. Well, dear taste buds...

...Challenge accepted!

I've been meaning to make this recipe for a while now, especially with the amount of braising greens we're getting from our CSA (community supported agriculture) box. A girl can only cook them this way so many times. 


If you read my other blog, you've heard of Sam @ Cooking My Way Through My CSA before. I heart her. She's a kindred for sure. Only on the opposite side of the continent. Back in September she made Chard & Caramelized Onion Tacos. Pitter-patter went my little heart soul! And so now - 5 months later - I'm making them!


I did have to modify her recipe a touch. My braising greens were mostly kale with flecks of chard. Instead of salsa - which I've never been much of a fan of unless there's corona & lime involved - I substituted a balsamic reduction for acidity. I also chucked in some butternut squash I had on hand as well as some white beans for protein. 


The result? Savory West coast Winter tacos that were fun to assemble, a flavor punch in the face (in a good way), and a new staple dish that I'll be making again. Sam, you ARE a genius. 

Braising Greens & Caramelized Onion Tacos


Ingredients:

1 Package Organic Corn Tortillas.
1 Large Onion, peeled & thinly sliced.
3-4 Large Handfuls of Braising Greens, cleaned.
2 Garlic Cloves, peeled & finely chopped.
1 Lemon for juice & zest.
1 C White Beans, cooked (canned beans would work in a pinch if necessary, drain well).
1/2 Medium - Large Butternut Squash, peeled & chopped into 1" pieces.
2-4 oz. Queso Fresco or Feta Cheese, crumbled.
1 Tsp Crushed Pepper Flakes (optional).
Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Kosher Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

What to Do:

Pre-heat your oven to 475 degrees F.

In a shallow baking pan, throw in the squash with a couple glugs of olive oil and a nice helping of salt and pepper. Arrange as a single layer in the pan. Roast uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until just fork tender but still holding it's shape and generously colored on the down side. You may want to mix/shake the pan half way through cooking.

Meanwhile, heat a couple Tbsp of oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the onions with a sprinkle of salt. Mix well. Allow to caramelize slowly, stirring occasionally to ensure even browning. This should go on for about 20 minutes or so until the onions are deep brown and sticky. Set aside.

In that same pan, carefully add about 1/4 C of water and the braising greens. Cover. Allow to steam for about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the lid and toss in the garlic, half the lemon juice, and chilies if using. Cook for about 1 minute, remove from the heat and set aside. 

In a bowl, combine beans, lemon zest, the rest of the juice, and a good helping of salt and pepper. Mix well. Taste.

Heat tortillas according to package directions.

Assemble! Throw everything on a hot tortilla and top with a little cheese and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. About 2-3 tacos per person should fill people with a side salad.


Eat.


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This post is linked up with Tasty Tuesdays; Slightly Indulgent Tuesday; Tuesday Talent Show; This Chick Cooks; Cast Party Wednesday; Simple Lives Thursday; Full Plate Thursday; Tasteastic Thursday; Fresh Bites Friday; Fight Back Friday; Seasonal Inspiration Saturday; Seasonal Celebration Sunday

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chorizo & Chicken Paella

The Lowdown:

This week has been less than forgiving as far as time goes. It started off on a great note. An abscessed tooth. Believe me, the last thing on your mind is food when you're dealing with this lovely little package of hatred and destruction. It also ended on a great note too. A wedding. Normally a time for joy and holy connection. However, the only thing going through my head was holy *%$#. The pain, swelling, and black eye from the infection were enough to make me want to close all my blinds and pretend I was Quasimodo. That being said, if there is one thing more painful than dealing with an abscessed tooth, it is the wrath of a girlfriend that had to go solo to a wedding. Dentistry and penicillin can take care of tooth issues, but next to Dr. Phil, nothing can take care of a woman's anger towards her perfect boyfriend (that's me)

Having to do a post every Tuesday, I caught my flight and dreamed about flavourful food the entire flight home. The last image in my mind was a great Spanish dish that my mother made for me a while ago. Weird name, great food. Not to mention simple. Simple is the key after this week.

Anyway, I'm boring myself. First stop, pint-o-beer at the Garrick's Head Pub. Longwood Chocolate Porter to be exact. Second stop, grocery store. Third stop, kitchen. Flavour at last.

The Playlist:

(Printable Recipe) 

6 Hot Italian sausages, cubed (or chorizo).
6 Chicken thighs, with skin and bones.
1 cup onion, chopped.
1 Red bell pepper, chopped.
2 Tomatoes, chopped.
4 cloves Garlic, minced.
3 1/2 cups Chicken broth
2 cups Rice
1 Bay leaf
1 tbsp Smoked Hungarian paprika.
2 tbsp Olive oil.
1 tsp thyme, dried (I substituted 5 leaves of fresh sage).

OPTIONAL
8 Clams
8 Prawns, deshelled (leave tail on).

The Skinny:

1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
2. Add sausage and cook until browned.
3. Add chicken breast, skin down, and cook until browned then flip.
4. Add onion and red pepper and cook until soft.
5. Add tomatoes, stock, spices, and rice.
6. Cover and cook for 25-35 minutes on medium heat (all liquid should be soaked into rice).
7. Add clams and prawns to mixture and cook until clams open and prawns turn pink.
8. Enjoy this simple recipe, and resume your boring life.


 Stay Rad - H
  
Found on Chef in TrainingBlessed with GraceFeeding Four , Mandy's Recipe Box,  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Baby Cow Piccata with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce. Moo.

I don't ordinarily hit up the grocery store for meat. There are so many quality butchers selling happy meat here in Victoria I usually go to one of them - like Terra Nossa or Island Meat & Seafood in the Cook St Village or The Halal Butcher in Quadra village or if in a pinch, I'll hit up The Market on Yates. But I was at the grocery store yesterday. Lazy bitch!


Yes, I was at the grocery store yesterday, perusing the meat isle. And feeling like I was dying a little bit inside. Unhappy meat lives here. Easy, my sad little heart. This moment will pass...

...when a rather disheveled gentleman asked me"is that beef or pork?".

My first thought: what an odd question. Why not look at the label?

My second thought: maybe he can't read.

So I replied, "it's veal".

He looked at me like I had just spoken Klingon.

So I clarified, "baby cow. Mooooo". 

His perplexed expression then contorted to disgusted / horrified as he hurriedly walked away...

Maybe the "moo" was a little much.

Baby Cow Piccata with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce
(printable recipe)


Ingredients:

4 Veal Cutlets.
1 Onion, finely diced.
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled & finely chopped.
1 Lb Mixed Mushrooms (i.e. crimini, button, portobella).
1 Lemon for zest and juice.
1 Tbsp Capers, rinsed & dried.
Small Handful Flat-Leaf Italian Parsley, roughly chopped.
1/2 C Parmesan, Asiago, or Grana Padano Cheese, finely grated.
1 C Dry Red Wine.
3/4 C Chicken or Beef Stock.
3/4 C Half & Half Cream (or higher).
3-4 Tbsp Butter, unsalted.
1 Bird's Eye Chili (optional), finely chopped.
1 C Flour.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Kosher Salt & Fresh Cracked Black pepper.
6-8 oz. of Pasta for serving (I used pappardelle noodles).

What to Do:

 Place each piece of veal in between 2 loose pieces of saran wrap. Bash the crap out of it with a meat cleaver, a rolling pin, or a heavy bottomed pan. Make them flat, uniform in size, and lookin good! Remove from the plastic and season both sides with salt and pepper and then dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess. Set aside.

* Some butchers will do this first step for you or some grocers will even carry them already smushed. Warning: nothing feels better than beating the shit out of a piece of flesh. I recommend doing it yourself or you'll be missing out.

Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, stir well, and cook until el dente - approx 7 to 9 minutes for dried pasta. Drain well. 

Meanwhile, throw the olive oil and butter into a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Allow to melt until just sizzling and then add the veal, being cautious not to crowd the pan. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, flip, and cook a further 3 minutes. Remove from the pan, place on a wire rack to rest and cover with aluminum foil.

Now toss the mushrooms, onion, and garlic into the hot dirty pan with a little extra oil. Stir well. Allow to soften slightly and then pour in the stock, wine, and lemon juice, lemon zest, and if using, the chili. Make sure to stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all those delicious veal bits. Hello flavour! Allow the mixture to come to a boil and reduce to about half the original amount of liquid (approx 3-5 minutes).

Remove from the heat, stir in the cream, capers, and parsley. Keep it moving until incorporated because you don't want the cream to curdle. Season well with salt and pepper.

Serve the veal on the pasta with a great big ladle of the sauce and mushrooms. Don't be shy. Finish with the grated cheese.


Eat.
 
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This post is linked up with Tasty Tuesdays; Slightly Indulgent Tuesday; Tuesday Talent Show; This Chick Cooks; Cast Party Wednesday; Full Plate Thursday; Simple Lives Thursday; Tastetastic Thursday; Fight Back Friday; Fresh Bites Friday;
Seasonal Inspiration Saturday; Seasonal Celebration Sunday.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Homemade Sweet & Sour Chicken

The Lowdown:

 
Okay, we all have our dirty habits. Some people smoke, some people masturbate in public, some people drink Budweiser, etc. It just so happens that sweet and sour chicken is one of a mine (one out of two million bad habits to be precise). I know its not technically Chinese food, and I also know the health benefits are comparable to Cheetos, and I also know that every foodie is going to cringe. I'm okay with all of these. I had broccoli for lunch, I don't really care about rigid food rules, and foodies will always do what they do best -- complain.   

So there I was sitting at my computer, doing math homework (yay), when all of a sudden it hit me. Hunger. So I got out my yellow pages and searched for Chinese (it that sounds so racist when typed). The whole philosophy was that I could continue plugging away at the aforementioned homework while also satisfying my primal urge to ravage a Friday night take-out classic. One key issue. It's Friday night and I'm doing math homework like I'm some sort of dweeb. Surely, if I keep this up I'll get shoved into a locker and all my lunch money stolen in no time.

Obviously, I decided that cooking was a much better waste of time than math. Besides, I needed to listen to some music or I'd go insane. To break the silence, the album of choice tonight is The Alan Parsons Project, "Pyramid." With the steady rhythm of acid induced British progressive rock, and the MSG ready to go, it was time to start. 

The Ingredients:
1/2 cup Flour.
1 tsp Baking powder.
1/2 tsp Baking soda.
1 tsp White pepper.
1 tsp Course salt.
1 Egg
Water

1 Chicken breast, cubed.
1 cup Vegetable oil (for frying).

1 Bell pepper, chopped.
1 Mango, cubed (optional).
1/4 - 1/2 Pineapple, cubed.
3/4 cup Sugar (I only use 1/4 - 1/2 cup because my ex-good body is getting handles).
2 cups Water.
1/2 cup Vinegar.
1 tbsp Orange zest.
3 drops Red food colouring (I ended up using red sugar sprinkles for cake decoration because I was too lazy to go to the store to get food colouring).

3 tbsp Corn starch
1/4 cup Water.
 

 The Skinny:                                                                                 
  1. Combined fist six ingredients into a medium sized bowl and mix together.
  2. Add enough water into the mixture to turn into the consistency of pancake mix.
  3. Add cubed chicken, ensuring that each piece is well coated.
  4. Set chicken and batter aside.
  5. In a medium sauce pan combined the peppers, mango, pineapple, 2 cups water, sugar, orange zest, vinegar, and food colouring.
  6. Bring sweet and sour sauce to a boil on medium heat.
  7. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 5 - 10 minutes.
  8. To thicken, mix the 1/4 cup water and corn starch into a cup and mix until it forms a slurry. Pour it slowly into the sweet and sour sauce, making sure to mix thoroughly every few tablespoons worth of corn starch water.
  9. On medium-high heat add oil to a large skillet or wok.
  10. Once oil is heated, place battered chicken into wok and fry until browned (5-10 minutes).
  11. Drizzle sweet and sour sauce over the fried chicken.
  12. Serve on noodles or rice or by itself.

    NOTE: if you want to reheat the sweet and sour chicken it is best to leave the sauce off of the chicken balls (haha), other wise it will get soggy overnight.
Featured in Chef in Training33 Shades of Green

    Thursday, February 16, 2012

    RPI: Mission Endive

    Haydn's full of crap. I won this addition of RPI fair and square! He tried to accuse me of cheating earlier in the week but he was dead wrong.


    See, these past 2 weeks have been horrendously busy for both of us. School is kicking our asses. So when we were unable to get together to hash out a good 'ole game of rock, paper, scissors (which is how we decide who gets to choose the feature ingredient for RPI), we chose to do it over the phone. That. Was. A. Process.

    As Haydn mentioned in this first post of RPI, decide your rules for rock, paper, scissors in advance. You never know when lack of visual cues may spur a heated but loving debate over when the final throwdown should occur.


    Moreover, how can you tell if the person is cheating or not?? There's no visual evidence to suggest what they say over the phone is what they've actually drawn or not drawn. Not that I thought anyone would cheat. But Haydn did by assuming he couldn't trust me over the phone. You know Haydn, cheaters are always the first to accuse...

    When I justly won - which by the way, I revealed my hand movement before Haydn revealed his so if anyone was going to cheat it was going to be him - I selected, endive. 

    What exactly is endive you ask? Endive is a bitter lettuce green. It comes in various shapes and sizes, some of which include Belgian endive, radicchio, frisee (if anyone knows where in town I might find some of this illusive and delicious green, please let me know) and escarole.

    I came up with this recipe after having a discussion with Haydn about the redundancy of Belgian endive. Everyone stuffs them and uses them like cups or sticks em in a salad. I get it, it's been done. But the reason it's been done is because the flavours are so magical. Big bold cheeses, nuts, fruit, etc... So what did I do? I took those flavours and stuck em in cheesy carbohydrated goodness. Oh yeah.


    I'll be honest here, and I know food bloggers say this shit all the time but seriously: one of the best things i've ever made. Hands down. No question. Period - and I mean that full stop. It's a bit of a long recipe but if you make the risotto a day ahead of time, it's a cinch to pull together.

    My advice to you? Make this. Or don't - and instead, hire me to cater your next dinner party, luncheon, or brunch-fest.

    Endive "Cup" Risotto Balls with "Cup" Salad
    (printable recipe)


    Ingredients for Your Balls (hehe):

    2 Shallots, thinly sliced.
    2 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced.
    2 Tbsp Butter, unsalted.
    1.5 Cups Arborio Rice.
    3/4 Cup Dry White Wine.
    5-6 Cups Chicken or Veggie Stock, heated.
    Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.
      Approx 1 Cup Asiago or Parmesan or Grana Padano Cheese, grated + 4 Tbsp, grated.
    Small Handful Dried Cranberries.
    Small Handful Toasted Walnuts, roughly chopped.
    Small Handful Gorgonzola, crumbled.
    1 Belgian Endive, cut in half and sliced.
    1/2 Lb. Bacon, cooked, drained & roughly chopped.
    1 C White All-Purpose Flour.
    4 Eggs, gently beaten.
    2 C Panko Crumbs.
    Canola or Peanut Oil for frying.

    Ingredients for the Salad + Dressing:

    1 Belgian Endive, cut in half and sliced.
    1 Head Radicchio, leaves separated.
    1 D'Anjou Pear, cored & diced.
    3-4 Slices of Bacon, cooked, drained & roughly chopped.
    1 Handful Toasted Walnuts, roughly chopped.
    1 Small Handful Dried Cranberries.
    Handful of Gorgonzola.
    1 C Creme Fraiche.
    Juice of Half a Lemon.
    Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

    What to Do:

    On a low heat, melt butter in large pan and add shallots and garlic, covering with lid. Allow 5-10 mins to become translucent.

    Add rice, stirring until grains become slightly clear and golden on the outside, approximately 2 mins.

    Pour in the wine and allow the alcohol to evaporate - this should take about a minute or so.

    Next ladle in enough stock to just cover the rice mixture and allow for a low simmer, stirring fairly regularly to avoid burning. Continue adding further ladles of broth as it gets absorbed, again only as much as is needed to cover the rice.

    This will continue for roughly 30mins, or until rice mixture is creamy and has reached the desired texture. You want it to be soft but still hold it's texture and not be mushy.

    At this point, remove from heat and fold the cup of grated cheese into the finished dish along with the dried cranberries, walnuts, endive, gorgonzola, and bacon. 

    Eat some of it tonight if you like but save at least half and refrigerate until cold (i.e. a couple hours or over night). If you don't eat any of the risotto you should end up with approx 18-20 balls. Haha....

    Once cold, remove from the fridge and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

    Gather a palmful of the mixture. Shape into 2" wide balls. Gently push the center of the ball toward the center of your hand, creating a little divot in the middle. Place a small cube of gorgonzola in there and cover with the surrounding rice to reshape the ball. Set on the parchment paper. Continue until you have enough balls (that's what she said!) or run out of risotto. Cover and place back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

    In 3 separate bowls, place the flour, the whisked eggs, and the panko crumbs + a little salt, mix. 

    As you dredge, you'll want to heat your oil. So in a large wok filled to no more than 1/2 - 2/3rds full of oil, heat over medium heat. The oil will be ready when a piece of white bread is dropped into the oil and browns in 30 seconds. If it browns too quickly, turn down your heat. If not quickly enough, wait longer. BE VERY CAREFUL when deep frying! DO NOT BURN YOURSELF or START THE HOUSE ON FIRE! A good site that tells you how to deep fry safely can be found here.

    Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees F.

    As the oil heats, remove your balls from the fridge (hehe) and dredge each one in the flour, then the eggs, then the panko/salt mixture. Place back on the parchment. Once oil is hot, gently and carefully, using a slotted spoon, place your balls (about 5-6 at a time) in the oil. After a minute or so, gently turn them so as to ensure even browning. When golden and crisp, remove from the oil onto some paper towels to drain and place in a pan and put in the oven to keep warm.

    Once finished, turn off the oil, remove it from the element and serve your delicious balls (tehe) with a little grated cheese on top and a side of the following:

    It's time to make your salad! Toss all the ingredients into a bowl save for the creme fraiche, gorgonzola and lemon juice. 

    In a small sauce pan, gently melt the cheese and soften the gorgonzola over medium-low heat. Once combined, remove from the heat and add the lemon juice. Throw it all in the bowl with the fruit/veg/nut mixture, stir well, and spoon into the radicchio leaves.

    Serve on the side of your balls (last time...hahaha) and...

    Eat!


    Photobucket

    This post is linked up with The Hearth & Soul Blog Hop via The 21st Century Housewife; Tasty Tuesday; Slightly Indulgent Tuesday; Tuesday Talent Show; This Chick Cooks; Cast Party Wednesday; Simple Lives Thursday; Full Plate Thursday; Tastetastic Thursday; Fresh Bites Friday; Fight Back Friday; Seasonal Inspiration Saturday

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    RPI: Purple Quinoa Salad w/ Cape Gooseberry Vinegrette & Endive Chips

    The Lowdown:

    If you are new to this, the description of RPI can be found on the main page under the sub-heading 'RPI.' Being our second installment of RPI, I decided to be a good human and allow Kristy to finally win. I know what you're thinking, I'm such a philanthropist; so caring, so kind, so wonderful, etc. We all know that that is a load of crap. The truth is, I'm used to winning, so I thought it would be good for her to know the feeling I love so much. And what do I get in return? An ingredient that I purposefully skip in the grocery store every time. A frigging salad green. I'm sorry, was there a news flash that I missed somewhere along the way? Are salad greens all of a sudden what all the cool kids are eating these days?

    Needless to say, I had no idea what a Belgian endive was. I had no idea how to use it or prepare it. The only cool thing about it, is that it looks like a bad-ass salad bullet. After a detailed inspection of my soon to be counterpart, the first thing I did was to take a bite. Ya, that's enough of that. It's not the most pleasant thing I've ever tasted, so I decided that it would be more about disguising the taste rather than enhancing it. One way to make everything taste good? FRY IT! Unhealthifying anything makes it taste better. It's science.

    I racked my brain for hours, and at the end I still had nothing. So while I was aimlessly meandering through the grocery store I just grabbed a bunch of random ingredients that I have never used. If you're wondering, wandering through grocery stores is one of my all time favourite things to do. My final result... Well, I don't quite know how to explain it. Having given up before I even started I just let my senses guide me - no recipe, no internet, no advice. Just a bottle of wine, some music, and dim lighting to set the mood. Ohhhhhhhh yeah (In a Barry White tone).

    The Playlist:


    4 tbsp Chicken broth
    15 Cape gooseberries
    1 Lime, juiced
    2 - 3 tbsp Honey
    3 Green onions (just the white and light green part), minced
    2 cloves Garlic
    1/2 Jalapeno, seeded & halved.
    3 tbsp Champagne berry vinegar.
    1/2 tsp Cumin, ground.
    3 dashes Peach bitters.
    1 Cinnamon stick.

      
    1/4 cup flour
    1 tsp corn starch
    salt
    3/8 cup water
    1 cup vegetable oil, for frying
    1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, finely grated.

    1 Endive

    3 beets, boiled
    4 cups of beet water
    1 tbsp chicken bullion
    4 quail eggs
    3 chorizo sausages, casings removed.

    The Skinny:

    Cape Gooseberry Vinaigrette
    1. Place all of the ingredients into a small sauce pan.
    2. On medium heat bring to a boil.
    3. Cover and allow to simmer on medium heat.
    4. Remove from heat when cape gooseberries have lost all of their shape (30-40 minutes).
    5. Remove cinnamon stick and jalapeno and puree until smooth.
    6. Serve hot, or chill.

    Purple Quinoa Salad w/ Chorizo, Quail's Egg & Endive Chips
    1. Place beets in a large pot and cover with water.
    2. On high heat bring to a boil.
    3. Once boiling cover and turn to medium-high heat for 30 minutes.
    4. Once cooked (a fork should poke into the beet with ease), remove the beets.
    5. Allow the purple water to cool.
    6. Measure the appropriate amount of purple water to cook the quinoa (as per instructions on the package) and pour back into the pot.
    7. Add the chicken bullion to the purple water.
    8. Cook the quinoa as per the instructions on the package.
    9. On medium heat, add chorizo to a small frying pan and cook until browned.
    10. In a small frying pan heat the oil on medium-high heat until at frying temperature.
    11. In a shallow mixing bowl mix the flour, corn starch, salt, and parmesan cheese, and water together.
    12. Remove individual endive leaves and coat them in the batter.
    13. Put the battered leaves into the oil and cook until a crisp brown layer forms on the outside (0.5 - 1.5 minutes).
    14. Place on paper towel.
    15. Use a sharp knife and crack the quail's egg.
    16. Cook the quail's egg as you would a chicken's egg.
    17. Assemble the ingredients how you want and enjoy.
    18. Add mixed greens if you desire.

    Stay Rad - H

    This post was featured on:

    Thursday, February 09, 2012

    Roasted Rosemary Sunchokes + Giveaway!

    Good morning lovelies!

    I hit 100 followers yesterday on my other blog, Gastronomical Sovereignty! And while I know that followers aren't everything, it sure makes you feel good when someone likes you (or at least your blog) enough to click and publicly display their virtual affection. It's the second best thing to comments.

    So to celebrate.... I have a giveaway that I'm sharing both here as well as on the other blog because hey! - I want you to get some cool shit. And lemme tell you, this is one sweet deal of a giveaway; not to mention cost some serious cheddar. Aye! 

    So here's the deal. School is coming to an end for me. My immediate reaction to that is, "bring on the wine!"... However, I can't ship wine internationally. And so what's the next best thing after vino for sipping in the middle of the afternoon? Well... at the end of every term John gets me a "Floating Cloud" package from this incredible local spa called Silk Road - essentially, it's a one hour full body massage followed by a one hour facial followed by as much fresh brewed tea as I can possibly consume. This place is the shit. So I'm giving away: tea.... but not just any tea.


    I'm giving away 9 incredibly diverse and flavourful different varieties (3 green; 3 black; 3 herbal) of their spectacular tea, each one supplying 7-10 cups per package:


    A Scandanavian styled, Finnish made steeper/mug that is super fucking cool:


    Some home baked chocolate chip cookies:


    And of course... a little reading material. John has put together 10 copies of what could be called my very limited edition, very first cookbook ever. Happy Valentines Day to me, yo! And to you! I'll send you a copy along with the package.


    So let's review: 9 types (63-90 cups!) of incredible tea, one amazing tea pot/mug, home baked mother ef'n chocolate chip cookies, and something to pass the time with - my first cookbook. Hellz yeah I did yo! 

    To Enter: 
    Simply click here and follow the directions!
    This giveaway closes February 19th - so get your entries in! The winner will be announced on February 20th.

    via magisso

    ...Okay, onto roasted sunchokes! Because really, who doesn't love roasted sunchokes?? 


    Sunchokes - aka Jerusalem artichokes - are related to sunflowers! Funny looking gingeresque tubular little guys (tubular as in like a tube, not like TMNT "totally tubular dude!") taste sort of nutty yet sweet and can be prepared the same way you'd prepare a potato or eaten raw in a salad if you so desire. If eating raw make sure to give them a little lemon bath (lemon jc. and water) to make sure they don't discolor.

    When buying, look for non-marked knobbles and store in your vegetable crisper for up to two weeks. If I were you, I'd leave the skin on when preparing because their knobbliness (is that a word?) is a bitch to get around. Just scrub well before cooking. 


    Seriously! Try them! They're fantastic! And roasting them in the oven with a bit of garlic and rosemary (oooh! or duck fat!) makes a different yet scrumptious addition to any meal. Well, maybe not any meal. I find it hard to imagine that sunchokes would fare very well with these.

    Roasted Rosemary Sunchokes


    Ingredients: 

    1 to 2 Lbs of Sunchokes, scrubbed clean, well dried, and chopped into 1" pieces.
    5 Cloves Garlic, peeled.
    2 Sprigs of Rosemary, finely chopped.
    1 Lemon for Juice.
    Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
    Kosher Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

    What to Do:

    Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.

    In a baking pan or two, toss the sunchokes, garlic and rosemary with a Tbsp or two of olive oil, lemon juice, and season well with salt and pepper.


    Arrange in a single layer in the pan(s) and roast in heated oven for 30-45 minutes or until desired tenderness is achieved.

    Remove from the oven and serve.

    Eat!


    Photobucket

    This post is linked up with Tasty Tuesdays; Slightly Indulgent Tuesday; Tuesday Talent Show; This Chick Cooks; Cast Party Wednesday; Simple Lives Thursday; Full Plate Thursday; Tastetastic Thursday; Fight Back Friday; The Gallery of Favorites via the 21st Century Housewife; Fresh Bites Friday; Seasonal Inspiration Saturday; Seasonal Celebration Sunday.

    Tuesday, February 07, 2012

    Hungarian Golyàs w/ Seared Cabbage

    The Lowdown:

    If any of you know a west coast winter, you know how it can get you down. There's more grey outside than a 1950s photograph. Yes, I did look it up, photos were still greyscale in the 50s. The constant rain (and I mean rain-rain, none of this drizzle-ma-nizzle shit) left me two options. I could either start building my ark to drift away to somewhere with better weather, or I could cook a classic, well-loved, home-style meal to get rid of the blues. For starters, I'm no Tim the tool man Taylor. Nor am I a sailor. If I can rhyme one more time this blog post wont be a failure? Chalk it up, I'm a horrible rapper.

    I digressed. The point I was intending to make, is that it is an excellent day for a nice warm-your-soul meal. That being said, we all have our own special meals. However, that ends here, because this is my blog. You will obey me when I say, "golyàs is a great anti-winter food." If the brainwashing didn't quite work, just keep reading anyway because you're entertained...?

    Golyàs or goulash as it is commonly spelled, is a traditional Hungarian peasant meal that was left heating over a fire so that that the herders could grab a quick meal whenever. Like most peasant dishes, whatever they had is what was used. Luckily for me, that is a bonus, because my fridge literally had one carrot in the crisper. So this is my version of a very vegetable-less goulash.

    The Playlist:


    (Printable Recipe)

    1 kg Beef sirloin tip roast, cubed (1-2")
    3 Onions, coarsely chopped
    5 Garlic cloves, diced
    4 tbsp Paprika (Hungarian)
    1 tbsp caraway seed, ground
    1-2 Bay leaves.
    Salt & Pepper
    2-3 cups Water (or beef stock)
    2 tbsp Oil (for browning onions)

    1 Cabbage, quartered
    Water (or chicken stock, I prefer the flavour of cabbage though).
    2 tbsp Olive oil (for searing cabbage).

    OPTIONAL:
    1 Parsnip, peeled & chopped
    2 Potatoes, peeled & chopped
    1 Green pepper, chopped
    2 Tomatoes, chopped


    The Skinny:


    1. Heat oil in a large pot on medium heat (cast iron preferably).
    2. Brown onions and garlic in oil.
    3. Add the beef, paprika, and ground caraway seeds.
    4. Cook the beef until all sides are browned.
    5. Add enough water (or broth) to cover the beef cubes.
    6. Add the salt, pepper, and bay leaf.
    7. Cover with a lid and let simmer on medium-low for an hour to two hours (a simple trick that was passed on by my Oma to my father was to place a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper between the lid and the pot so that none of the moisture escapes).
    8. If adding any vegetables, put them in the pot, add more water if desired, and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes to an hour. If the sauce is too thin, remove the lid and allow it to cook off.
    9. Put cabbage quarters into a large skillet.
    10. Add enough water to cover approximately 1 inch of the bottom of the skillet.
    11. On high heat bring to a boil.
    12. Cover and let boil for 2-3 minutes per flat side.
    13. Remove cabbage quarters (they should retain their shape, and all leaves should remain intact).
    14. While excess water is draining from the cabbage, heat oil in a non-stick pan on medium-high heat.
    15. Once oil is hot enough, add cabbage and sear each side until browned.
    16. Salt and pepper to taste. 
    17. Serve with rice, mashed potatoes, csipetke, or by itself as a stew.



      Friday, February 03, 2012

      Cookbook Challenge: Sausages with Winter Rosti

      I'm late. No, not that kind of late. 

      I'm a bad blogger.

      Aye. These last couple weeks have been ridiculously busy between school and both blogs and trying to get my freelance writing career off the ground and looking for a job and being sick and the list goes on and on and on. Could I possibly say "and" anymore times in that sentence?


      Therefore, I am late. I was supposed to post my cookbook challenge recipe Thursday morning. I didn't. In fact, it's 7:49pm on Friday night and I just finished it. But you know what? It was worth the wait.

      This little ditty comes out of dreamboat Chef Ross Dobson's, Kitchen Seasons. Eating seasonally is absolutely instrumental to my foodways and I both dine and breathe the philosophies attached to that paradigm.


      I'll be honest though - at first glance I wasn't so hot on the recipe I randomly selected. I mean really, potatoes and sausage for dinner? But, as sexmagnet Chef Dobson has proven to me countless times before, his dishes are always a treat!...And so is his face. It's not for the faint of heart mind you (the dish, not his face) - and I mean that literally! The butter and sat fat quotient is a little high. And I enjoyed every last bite of it. Seriously. There's nothing left. This dish was surprisingly enjoyable and probably the least elegant of anything I've ever made. I even topped it off with some frozen peas to really class it up. The flavours and the textures however, were like two peas in a pod. Perfect.

      Sausages with Winter Rosti
      (printable recipe)


      Ingredients: 

      8 Happy Pork Sausages.
      2 Tbsp Olive Oil.
      Mustard, to serve.

      3 Medium Russet Potatoes, peeled & quartered.
      1 Head of Celeriac (approx 1 3/4 Lbs), peeled & quartered.
      3 Tbsp Butter, unsalted.
      3 Tbsp Olive Oil.
      Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

      What to Do:

      Put the potatoes and celeriac in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over max heat, then immediately remove from the element and cover with a tight fitting lid. Set aside for 10 minutes. Drain and allow to cool completely before continuing.

      Once cooled, grate potatoes and celeriac into a large bowl. Add 1 Tsp salt and a good helping of black pepper. Mix well to combine.

      Heat half of the butter and 1 Tbsp of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat, swirling the butter around to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the potato mixture and gently press own to form a large cake. Cook for 5 minutes over high heat. Pour 1 Tbsp of olive oil around the very edge of the pan and gently shake the pan often to prevent the rosti from sticking to the bottom. Reduce the heat to medium and cok for 10 minutes, shaking the pan often.


      Take a plate slightly larger than the pan. Place it on top of the pan and then carefully invert the rosti onto the plate. Add the remaining oil and butter to the pan, then carefully slide the rosti back into the pan, cooked side up, and cook for 10 more minutes.


      Just before you add the oil to the pan (before the flip), cook the sausages. Heat the oil in a frying pan over low-medium heat. Prick the sausages with a fork, add them to the pan and cook for about 20 minutes, rotating them often to ensure even browning. Once golden, drain on paper towels and serve with a side of mustard of your choosing.

      Eat!

      Photobucket

      This post is linked up with Tasty Tuesdays; Tuesday Talent ShowThis Chick CooksFull Plate Thursday; Seasonal Inspiration; Fight Back Friday.

      Thursday, February 02, 2012

      Leek & Cabbage Soup

      The Lowdown:

      While at the grocery store, I saw leeks. Normally I just walk right past these, because it's just something I do. But today, well, today was different. They seemed abnormally un-walk-past-able. So, as you may have concluded, I grabbed one. Apparently being hung-over turns you into a senior, because I also grabbed cabbage too. Now that I think about it, I was also complaining about my back pain, sore knees, and rap music. I may have even used the word, "dangfangled."

      This led to standing in my kitchen confused about my purchases, wondering how I could utilize them. I do love leek and potato soup. One problem, I don't have potatoes. I did have a cabbage soup at an Italian/French restaurant over the winter holidays that I loved. One thing about restaurants is they are secretive about their recipes. No problem! How hard could it possibly be to make leeks and cabbage taste good together? I could just cheat and look up a recipe. Yah, that didn't help. The only recipes available were leek and potato soups. Foiled again! As previously stated, "how hard could this possibly be?" Step 1: grow some balls and just do it! Step 2: laugh, because step one is kinda funny. Step 3: stop laughing, because my girlfriend thinks I'm crazy for laughing in the kitchen alone. Step 4: take an anti-gas pill because you're about to consume cabbage.

      This is my attempt at adding ingredients that I don't normally use, while trying to be healthy. May I also add, soup saves hang-overs. PS. if you're wondering, this is the same hang-over as the one previously described in the Falafel w/ Cilantro Yogurt post. In retrospect, the soup actually went wonderfully with the aforementioned recipe. However, it did not restore me to normal health.


      The Playlist:

      (Printable Recipe)

      5 cups Chicken broth (or 9 cups water w/ 3 tbsp chicken bullion powder).
      4 cups Water (skip this step if you used the 9 cups of water).
      1 Leak, coursely chopped.
      4 cups Green cabbage, coursely chopped
      3 tbsp Dry white wine
      2 tsp Pepper, ground
      Salt to taste

      The Skinny:

      1. Put all of the ingrendients into a large enough pot.
      2. Turn onto high heat and bring to a boil.
      3. Cover and boil for 25-30 minutes.
      4. Optional: use an immersion blender to create desired texture (I appreciated the larger pieces of cabbage and leek, so I only blended the largest pieces).