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Mulligatawny… in a Slow Cooker!

6 Jun

This is an easy-peasy mulligatawny. Delicious as a soup served with some toast or as a dinner time meal or over a bed of rice and garnished with cilantro.

I was originally inspired to make this recipe for the blog spoonforkbacon.com but adapted the recipe and shaved some calories by not cooking the veggies in butter or oil, but just throwing them in the slow cooker and letting them infuse with fellow spices and flavors overnight. I’m also trying to steer clear of baking and cooking over the stove during this already horribly humid summer, so it was doubly rewarding to make this meal in a slow cooker! Slow cookers are great for that reason in the summer, and I would have no doubt that this would take great served cool on a hot summer day.

I’m really happy with how this came out. Vegan, low cal, gluten free, dairy free, and full of veggies, some fruit and spices, it’s easy to make, inexpensive, and tastes delicious. Directions are here too, but really all you do is chop everything up, put it in the slow cooker, put it on low, sleep, and wake up to delicious food. Amazing, right?

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 8-10 hours or overnight (on low) or 3-4 hours (on high)
  • Nutritional information: 264 calories per serving (without rice) More here.

You’ll need:

  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 whole carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 small apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 green chili pepper, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1/2 C dry red lentils
  • 85 g coconut cream dissolved in 1 C water, or 1 C of coconut milk
  • 3 C chicken stock
  • 1 T freshly minced ginger
  • 1 T curry
  • 1 t turmeric
  • 2 t Garam Masala
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t sugar
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of cardamom
  • salt and pepper
  • OPTIONAL: Raisins and cilantro to garnish

Directions:

1. Chop up all the vegetables you will be using, and place them in the slow cooker.
2. Pour coconut milk and chicken stock on top.
3. Add spices and stir.
4. Set on low overnight or about 8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours.
5. Turn off slow cooker. Allow to cool.
6. Cream ingredients in food processor or using immersion blender.
7. Serve as soup, or over rice to make a hearty meal.
OPTIONAL: Garnish with cilantro and raisins.

Makes 4 generous 1-cup servings

TIP:

You may use onions, green onions, and tomatoes if you like. I happened to have leeks but did not have green onion or yellow onions, however, these would have been more traditional ingredients for Mulligatawny. A lot of recipes include tomatoes too. I actually just totally forgot about those vegetables. Put tomatoes in yours if you like!

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Japanese Ginger-Carrot Salad

13 May

Pardon me for my hiatus from food blogging. It has been a busy past couple months, and I’ve recently finished my undergraduate at the University of Toronto! Although I have been cooking and accumulating a great deal of photos to post, I haven’t quite gotten to the computer to document the magic.

I’ve been cooking up a fair share of Vegetarian and Vegan dishes lately. This one, is Vegan, Gluten Free, and Dairy Free, so invite all your friends and cook this up for a refreshing Spring/Summer meal!

You’ll Need:

For THE {Ginger-Carrot Dressing} SAUCE

  • Ginger, minced
  • half a lime,  juiced (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 2 T Soy Sauce
  • 2 t Sesame Oil
  • 3-4 t Apple Cider Vinegar (or Rice Vinegar if you have it!)
  • 5-6 Baby Carrots
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • Couple tablespoons of ketchup
  • 1 T sugar
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • Ingredients for the SAUCE

    Ingredients for the SAUCE

For The Salad:

  • Half of Napa Cabbage, shredded
  • Half of a cucumber, julliened
  • 5-6 radishes, cut into disks
  • Sesame seeds for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Get ready to blend your ingredients for the sauce together. Using a food processor, blend all your sauce ingredients.

    A fun trick: Cut your lime in half, and place in a low dish. Microwave for 30 seconds. This will help you get the most of the lime juice from your lime.

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2. Then, slide up your salad. Assemble with dressing (use it liberally!) and cover with sesame seeds.

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Enjoy!

Braised Chicken Breast stuffed with Feta & Sundried Tomato

23 Mar

(Did I mention its wrapped in bacon and served with roasted potatoes and Hazelnut Crusted Brussels Sprouts)

Mmm. I love braised chicken, its always a go to. Ever since I met Chicken Cacciatorie I’ve been in love. Bone-in chicken always does quite well with braising, but why not jazz up chicken breast for this easy but impressive eat? You’re next dinner party, perhaps?

You’ll need:

For the chicken:

  • 1 lb chicken breast, sliced thin and pounded flat
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup feta
  • 1/4 cup parmesean cheese
  • 4-5 sun-dried tomatoes in their juices, (or with additional olive oil if they are not preserved in oil)
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Zest of a lime
  • 6 slices of bacon (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil for searing
  • twine for tying

For the Brussels sprouts:

  • 1lb of Brussels sprouts
  • 2 to 3 T olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of hazelnuts, minced
  • salt and pepper

For The [Gravy] Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
    • 2 T butter
    • 2 T flour
    • 1 t group savory, or whatever seasoning you fancy

Directions:

Brussels Sprouts to be baked with Chicken

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F
  2. Mince hazelnuts and set aside
  3. Halve brussels sprouts and set aside
  4. In a tupperware container, add brussels sprouts, hazelnuts, olive oil and salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
  5. Place on a non-stick tray and cook with chicken (below) in a 350*F oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Chicken

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F
  2. Slice your chicken breasts if necessary, and smack them smartly until flattened.
    IMG_3983
  3. In a bowl or food processor, mix sundried tomatoes, olive oil, cheese, lime and zest until ingredients create a fine grain that forms when squeezed together.
  4. IMG_3984
  5. Place your chicken on wax paper or parchment and spread a drop of olive oil on each and flip over.
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  6. Season the flip side with a hint of salt and pepper. Divide the cheesy sun-dried tomato mixture on the chicken breasts and press it down firmly.
  7. IMG_3986
  8. Carefully, or perhaps even with the help of a friend, roll each breast up tightly (rolling lengthwise) and securing with twine.
  9. IMG_3987
  10. In a hot pan, heat a table spoon of olive oil and sear the chicken on all sides until brown. Don’t concern yourself whether the chicken is fully cooked, it will be baked thoroughly in the following steps.
  11. IMG_3988
  12. If you dare (I would recommend), wrap each chicken in 1 or 2 slices of bacon.
  13. Place the chicken in a baking dish, and add wine and stock. Cover with a tin foil.
  14. Bake for around 35 minutes or until cooked.
  15. IMG_3992
  16. Serve with Brussels sprouts and enjoy!
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Gravy

  1. After you cook your chicken, reserve the chicken stock and wine mixture for gravy.
  2. In a man on medium heat, melt butter.
  3. Add flour and whisk until combined.
  4. Slowly, add wine & stock mixture
  5. Allow to bubble and thicken. Add salt to taste. Serve with the chicken. :-)

Mofongo Relleno with Lime-infused Black Beans and Rice

2 Feb

It was a Friday night and the ladies stayed in, taking pictures of food, making chocolate molten cakes with ice cream and watching bad romantic comedies. So much food. To start the day off right, I decided to cook up these black beans that had been sitting around for a while that needed to be eaten. I made way too much. We’ll be having black beans for a while, but they’re versatile, so its OK! Check out what I’m making with the leftovers after the recipe.

P.S. If you omit the mayonnaise for some tahini, this is an easy vegan recipe!

You’ll need…

For the Lime-Infused Black Beans you’ll need:

  • 1/2 pound dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 T Mexican spicy seasoning or Cajun Seasoning with a little cumin
  • 1 lime, halved

For the Mofongo Relleno you’ll need:

  • 3 plantains
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 handful cilantro, minced
  • Lots of olive oil
  • Salt, pepper
  • 1 cup of rice, for the side

For THE AVACADO-GARLIC AOILI SAUCE (not pictured, sorry) you’ll need:

  • 1 avacado
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 spoonfuls of  tahini (or mayonnaise if you wish)
  • pinch of cumin
  • salt, pepper

Directions:

Before you get cooking, know that the black beans will take around 8 hours to cook unless you’re planing on using canned beans. Wake up and start the beans, make the rest around dinner time.

For the beans:

  1. In a slow cooker, add beans, vegetable stock, seasoning, and lime.
  2. Put a lid on it, cook at low for 8 hours. Easy.
  3. 8 hours later, turn off your slow cooker and work on making dinner!

For the Mofono Relleno:

  1. Start by preparing your rice.
  2. Peel and slice your plantains and add them to a pot of boiling water and cook them with salt for about 10 minutes
  3. Drain water and set plantains aside in a bowl
  4. Return pot to stove on medium heat and add oil
  5. Add minced garlic and stir
  6. Add plantains and chicken stock
  7. Cook for several minutes and begin mashing plantains with mashed-potato masher
  8. When a good consistency, add minced cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.

For the Avacado-Garlic Aoili:

  1. In a medium bowl, mash all the ingredients together with a fork. Done.

To serve:

Take a small bowl and cover inside in olive oil. Add the mashed plantains to the bowl and press down firmly. Flip the small bowl onto a plate and allow plantains to fall out. Serve with black beans, rice, and Avacado-Garlic Aoili sauce. Add cilantro for garnish or Sri Racha if you like.

Mofongo_1

Leftovers?

With the leftover Mofongo Relleno I made:

  • Puerto Rican Plantain Patties

Mofongo_3

With the leftover Lime-Infused Black Beans I made:

  • Spicy Black Bean Dip
  • Refried Black Beans

Salted Carmel Whipped Cream

20 Oct

It’s a hit, and perhaps sounds a bit weird, but you are bound to Love it.

You’ll need…

For the Caramel Sauce you’ll need:

  • 3 T  butter (salted or unsalted), cubed
  • 1/2  c sugar
  • 1/4 c heavy cream
  • 1 t vanilla (optional)

For the whipped cream, you’ll need:

  • 4 tablespoons of the caramel you’ve mad above
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. I highly recommend that you have all your ingredients for the caramel measured and at your side for this caramel sauce. Go do that right now. Then find a pan, and put it on your stove. Take a deep breath. If you’re nervous about this whole process, you can make it easier for yourself by adding several tablespoons of water to the sugar, I won’t judge you, but your caramel might not taste AS creamy-spectacular.
  2. Place sugar in a pan over high heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon or a whisk. At one point the sugar will begin to melt, be sure to be stirring the sugar into itself so that the melting is dispersed. You can have some awkward hard chunks of un-melted sugar in your caramel otherwise. Then it will begin to get brown like caramel. This is good. When all the sugar pieces have dissolved, add the butter, FAST.
  3. WATCH OUT IT BUBBLES! Enjoy feeling like a mad chemist for a moment. Continue to stir. The bubbles will subdue.
  4. Turn that heat off, or at least keep it very low.
  5. Once the butter has melted, pour in the cream, and like always keep whisking or stirring or whatever it is that you do best. Dance a little perhaps? Just groove.
  6. Heat, off. For real this time. Don’t try eating it like me. Learn from my lesson and wait 10 minutes, then try it. Oh, I almost forgot, if you want to add that vanilla, now’s the time. Stir it in there. Delicious.

Now for the whipped cream:

  1. Place everything except the caramel in a food processor, mixer, or in a bowl and get some handheld blades, or be really keen and prepare yourself for a good old arm workout- grab a whisk.
  2. Whisk that cream until it’s whipped.
  3. Add the carmel, and whip some more. Add more caramel if you like, or more salt if you like.
  4. Enjoy!

Try it with the pies too…mmmmm!

Apple-Cinamon Galette & Salted Caramel Whipped Cream

20 Oct

You may not know, dear American readers, that here in Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the first Monday of October? So, perhaps all these Thanksgiving-themed recipes are coming at you much earlier than expected, but they will fit the season in any case! I made three pies/galettes for a thanksgiving potluck at my darling friend Nathan’s home. A true hit they were.

You’ll need:

  • Galette crust
    For the Dough you’ll need:

    • 2 cups of flour
    • 1/3 cup cream cheese
    • 2/3 cup of butter
    • 2 T milk or water
    • 2 t baking powder
    • 1 t salt
    • 1 t honey
    • Additional flour for sprinkling
  • 4 apples
  • 3 T butter
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 T cinamon
  • 1 T flour

Directions:

For the dough:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F
  2. Place flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl.
  3. Cut butter and cream cheese into small cubes and place them in the bowl.
  4. Mix well with a hook attachment to a mixer or simply with your hands.
  5. Add milk and honey and continue until you’ve formed a dough
  6. Spread flour on a cutting board and on rolling pin. Roll out dough until its around 10-12″ wide
  7. Use a big ol’ plate as a stencil for your crust
  8. Place it on a baking pan

For the apples-insides:

  1. Cut apples into thin slices
  2. In a pan, melt butter and add cinamon and brown sugar
  3. Add sliced apples and allow them to become drenched in butter mixture. Once they become fragrant and are soft, they are finished.
  4. Carefully scoop the apples and place them in the center of the dough
  5. Carefully fold the sides of the galette onto itself:
  6. Add flour to remaining sauce to allow it to thicken
    and pour it all over your galette’s insides
  7. If you have extra dough, consider making it into fun shapes like leaves for autumn!

    Cut out shapes

    put stem on top of leaf

    Flip over and press over stem, then detail with knife

  8. Marvel at your unbaked galette
  9. 9. Place in an oven for about 2o minutes until golden:

And Enjoy!

Slice me!

Don’t forget to check out the Pumpkin-Maple Pie, Salted Caramel Whipped Cream, or Fool-proof Pie Crust Tutorial !

Spätzle with Beer-Cheese Sauce and Sauteed Onions

19 Aug

This is for my darling Aunt Rhoda. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

Spätzle, [sh-pay-tzel] is a dish that was introduced to me when I was four or five years old from my German AuPair Tanja when she was living with us. Essentially, spätzle is a soft dough pasta, similar to the Italian gnocchi but made from a mainly flour base rather than potatoes (gnocchi). If you like gnocchi, you’re likely to be a spätzle fan. It became a go-to in our household when Tanja was living with us. Back then, I was a terribly picky eater. Spätzle was my dish of choice.

More recently during a bout of nostalgic cook-book searching, I came across an old German cookbook with my sister and cousin and we decided to make some spätzle, it just made too much sense. It was our favorite and we hadn’t eaten it in years.

To be honest, I did a double take on the sauce. The sauce pictured is not the same sauce that I’m writing for the recipe here, but either way it will look the same. Part of cooking is trying things out, messing up, reformatting the recipe for the next time, and learning from mistakes. The recipe I used said to just pour cream all over the spätzle, then top with cheese and then onions. It was too bland to me, so I put in an open beer from the fridge. Problems? The cream, beer and cheese didn’t get cook together and therefor never gained the creamy consistency I was hoping for.  The sauce that I made in this recipe is more of a bechámel-like white sauce with sharp cheddar cheese and less beer than the original version I made.

When we make it we use this amazing spätzle-dough press gifted to use from Tanja. Nevertheless, some kinds of potato presses could work for this job, or after making the dough I’m about to describe you can alternatively roll out the dough and form it into small dumplings which you will boil the same way you boil the spätzle dough.

So, let’s get cooking!

You’ll need:

  • 1 pound of flour (around 3 cups)
  • 3 egg yolks (save the egg whites for an omelet or something!?), and one whole egg
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • a dash of salt, pepper, and nutmeg
  • water if necessary to form into a dough

For the Sauteed onions:

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 T butter
  • garlic

For THE {Beer-Cheese} SAUCE you’ll need:

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cup milk /cream (whole milk would be best)
  • 4T stout beer
  • dash of salt, pepper, and cardoman
  • LOTS of cheese, we used around 8oz of cheddar and shredded it.

Directions:

  1. Mix the flour and eggs in a mixer with a dough hook or with your hands.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend for several minutes.
  3. Dough should form, it should be a bit sticky but manageable.
  4. Then, in a large pot, bring about a gallon of water to boil with salt. If you don’t have a spätzle press, you’ll probably want to roll out your dough and make little dumplings which are slightly larger than gnochi dumplings. When the water has boiled, you can start to get your spätzle cooking.
  5. Over boiling water, get your cousin David who’s really strong to help you by squeezing the spätzle through the press into the water, and help him by cutting the dough from the press so it will fall in the boiling water.
  6. Within three minutes, the spätzle should float and be finished. You can take it out using tongs or a sieve thing like the one in this picture!
  7. Fish out your Spätzle and place in a dish like the one pictured. When you’ve made all your dough, you can move on to make the yummy bechámel-like sauce.
  8. For the sauce, cook the butter in a small saucepan until melted, and then carefully dust flour in little by little, whisking it with the butter.
  9. Once all the flour has been added, you’ll have a roux! Add the milk in a slow stream, constantly whisking it into the roux.
  10. Let this mixture come to a boil and thicken up, and add the spices. After it has been boiling for several minutes and the mixture sticks to the back of a wooden spoon, you know you’re ready. Add the beer. Then, add the cheese!
  11. Sauté some onions in butter and garlic. Set aside.
  12. Pour the cheese mixture all over your spätzle in the dish. Top it with the sauteed onions and fresh salt and pepper. Add some sausage if you like! Enjoy!

Blackened Shrimp with Lime Zest and Mustard-Lime Sauce

11 Jul

Nothing is so refreshing as lime zest over a spicy dish. It certainly plays with your taste buds.Try this eat for the summer on the BBQ or just in your same old frying pan.

You’ll need…

For the SHRIMP:

  • 1/2 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 T melted putter
  • 1 T cajun seasoning
  • Zest of 1 lime

For THE {Mustard-Lime} SAUCE:

  • 3 T dijon
  • 2 T heavy cream
  • 1/2 t worshester sauce
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • juice of 1/2 a lime

Directions:

  1. Place putter in a bowl and melt in microwave
  2. Add shrimp to melted butter, and add cajun seasoning. Toss until shrimp are covered.
  3. In a sauce pan on medium high heat, cook shrimp until done.
  4. Mix ingredients for mustard lime sauce in a bowl with a fork.
  5. Serve on a plate, add lime zest. Serve with mustard sauce. Enjoy.

Seared Scallops in Creamy Peanut Sauce with Cranberries and Pine nuts

9 Jul

My darling aunt Jen has recently been appointed as a federal judge. (Go aunt Jen!). For the past month or so, my aunt and my cousin Steve have been living nearby so that aunt Jen could get trained as a federal judge. Likewise, we’ve had more family time to enjoy each others company and do fun things like go out to dinner, brunch, and lunch. In fact, last week we went out to celebrate her judgeship by getting lunch at a fun Spanish restaurant. I got some gazpacho and bacalao (cod fish, something I’ve been dying to try because from what I can gather from Profesora Manuela [my Portuguese Professor], Portuguese  people basically eat bacalhau for breakfast lunch and dinner). Well, I’ve never had either bacalao (Spanish for cod) or bacalhau (Portuguese for cod, yes the two languages ARE different), but either way, I had to try the bacalao because it was on this menu… it was served with a white cream sauce and grapefruit? Interesting eh? It was fabulous. This Spanish restaurant was really good with adding hints of different flavors, savory and sweet, sour and salty…. genius.

Well get this, they served my mom a dish with scallops, peanut sauce (we think), raisins, and pine nuts. It was to DIE for. First moment we had to recreate it, we did. My mom bought the scallops and said “attack”. So, this is me trying to attack and recreate what was served to her, and the panel judges (my parents) enjoyed it quite a bit. Hope you do to.

Aunt Jen, congratulations on becoming a federal judge! I know you love seafood, hope you like this recipe too.

You’ll need:

  • 14-15 scallops
  • sesame seeds
  • butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup of pine nuts
  • 1/8 cup of crasins/rasins/whatever you desire
  • Parsley or cilantro to garnish

For THE {Creamy Peanut} SAUCE You’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup of peanut sauce
  • 1 T dark liquor, we used Pimm’s
  • 2 T cream (half and half worked great)
  • 2 t brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 t cider or rice vinegar
  • dash of lime
  • 1 clove minced garlic

Directions:

  1. In a pan on medium heat, warm butter and garlic until fragrant
  2. Pour sesame seeds onto a plate and place scallops in the sesame seeds, coating either side
  3. Place in the butter pan and sear until it gains a browned coating
  4. Next, place cranberries and pine nuts in the pan with additional butter and cook them. Add some brown sugar if you would like to caramelize the pine nuts and cranberries. Set aside.
  5. In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce.
  6. Finally, in a pot or in the same pan, warm up the mixture and allow to thicken slightly, and remove from heat.
  7. Serve your scallops with the cranberry-pine nut garnish and creamy peanut sauce. Side of beans would do it well too. Add parsley and enjoy!

Sweet Potato and Carrot Fritters

9 Jun

The perfect summer side dish! These are quick and easy to whip up, and very refreshing served with this yogurt-salsa sauce.

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