Friday, 18 July 2014

Butter Chicken



Recipe from Damn Delicious, & my very modified garam masala is from All Recipes.

Ingredients: Garam Masala

1 Tbsp. Cumin
1 Tbsp. Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Fennel
1 Tsp. Mustard Powder
1/2 Tsp. Cloves
1 Tsp. Chili Peppers
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. Nutmeg

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
8 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Onions, diced
2 Cans (14 oz each) Coconut Milk
2 Cans (6 oz each) Tomato Paste
1/4 C. Flour
7 Tsp. Garam Masala
4 Tsp. Curry Powder
1 1/2 Tsp. Chili Powder
1/2 Tsp. Ginger Powder
Salt
Pepper
6 Pounds Chicken, cubed

Basmati Rice

Directions

~Cook rice according to package instructions
~Saute onion and garlic in oil until translucent.
~Stir in coconut milk, tomato paste, flour & spices.
~Stir until there are no lumps and sauce starts to thicken.
~Simmer sauce.
~Cook chicken in a separate frying pan.
~Once chicken is cooked, add into sauce and stir to coat.
~Serve chicken and sauce over rice.

Enjoy!


Monday, 14 July 2014

Blackberry Sorbet (dairy free)



This had so, so, so much flavour and I don't think there's anything more to say about this other than that.

Oh, and...Part II of my impromptu blackberry-like berry series.

Recipe from Williams-Sonoma

Ingredients

3 C. Water
2 C. Sugar
6 C. Blackberries
6 Tbsp. Lemon Juice 

Directions

~In a medium saucepan, combine water and sugar, and heat until sugar dissolves.
~Add in berries and cook until rendered down.
~Push mixture through a fine sieve, saving the juice and discarding the seeds and pulp.
~Chill mixture (I sped this up by placing in freezer for ~1.5 hrs).
~Proceed according to ice cream maker instructions.

Enjoy! So delicious and fresh!

Now this picture doesn't really do this justice. Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, topped with this sorbet, some fresh whipped cream and chocolate sauce (can be found in here)

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Blackberry French Toast Bake (dairy free)



The place I got this recipe from called it bread pudding and stated they served it for dessert. I wanted french toast however and the recipe looked no different than what ingredients would go into an overnight french toast casserole, so it became breakfast.

We had a surplus of blackberry-like berries and so I had a day of figuring out ways to use them up. This was the first method of the day and it turned out pretty great. I did increase the fruit and decrease the sugar content however. I was expecting to need to put some butter or maple syrup over the top of it, but it was absolutely unnecessary. The only problem was because it needed to be dairy free, I had to use soy milk/almond milk instead of cream / half and half. It wasn't a big deal, but there was just a little bit extra liquid that sat in the bottom because it wasn't as thick of a custard. With the leftovers we just scooped the bread out of the excess moisture, put it in a container and microwaved it the next day and it was great. Not soggy at all.

If you don't want to go dairy free / low fat, check out the original recipe at A Spicy Perspective. Otherwise, just substitute any milk / cream product to a total of five cups. So skim milk, coconut milk, whole milk, whatever works for you.

After eating this, I got to thinking and as great as this was, I tend to have a surplus of sweet breakfast recipes in my arsenal, simply because while I love bacon and fried potatoes, etc. I hate eggs. Omelettes, bennies, scrambled, I can't do it if it's an egg dish. French toast on the other hand, while it has eggs, it is baked into bread, so is more liked a baked good and there is no resemblance to egginess.

So this thinking resulted in me thinking up what I'm going to do next with this recipe. Savoury bread pudding! Some green peppers, onions, mushrooms, maybe some ham or bacon crumbled in and omit the vanilla / cinnamon / nutmeg and replace it with some italian seasonings or poultry seasonings. The poultry would make it very much like my Mom's stuffing however. So we'll see how it goes.

A couple of hints with this recipe though, the recipe I found called for good quality, bakery bread. This was a spur of the moment thing though and I only had two half loaves of sandwich bread in the freezer and it worked just fine. It was even good that it was frozen, because the fluffiness can make it hard to cube, and cutting it frozen worked great.

Also, as for the sugar, I'm thinking it might be good to divide the sugar up and do 1 C. white, 3/4 C. brown or some combo like that. Just to try it out for next time.

Final also...while this may fit in a 9x13 baking dish, I have a bigger casserole dish that I used. It's not as long or wide as it's kind of oval shaped, but it's deeper and it worked well for this. I don't know the exact volume of it, but I just use it when I'm concerned that something might puff up in a 9x13 and spill out.

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 lb Bread, 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 C. Blackberries
1 Nectarine, cubed
1 C. Blueberries
5 C. Milk (see note above. I used 4 C. Almond milk, 1 C. Fat Free Vanilla Soy Milk)
8 Eggs
1 3/4 C. Sugar
1 Tbsp. Vanilla
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 Tsp. Salt

Directions

~Preheat oven to 350 F
~Place bread, fruit and berries into baking dish and toss to evenly distribute
~Combine the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk until frothy.
~Pour mixture over bread and fruit
~Bake for 1 hr, 15 min. Centre may still look moist, but not soggy
~Let stand for 10 min.

Enjoy

Friday, 4 July 2014

Chocolate (Truffle) Stuffed Strawberries


Well, I feel like a broken record saying this yet again, but our oven broke AGAIN! They are just such useless junk. In under a year and a half, we've had SIX ovens rotate through our kitchen (and four dishwashers but that's a story for another day). Anyway, in between number five which was the one we'd had for maybe 16-17 months (and it never worked properly from day one, I might add), and it blowing up, and number six (the loaner from the appliance store while they put on every imaginable brake so they could delay fixing the oven for the 3rd time), I had to take something for a potluck. Unfortunately, unlike the last stretch of 5-6 months without an oven, it was just that, no oven. We still had a functioning stove top. This time however it fried everything and nothing would work. So long story short, I guess technically now we've had seven ovens move into the kitchen (they finally fixed ours and it's back) and these strawberries are amazing. Which is really all anybody cares about right?

I was originally going to do chocolate dipped strawberries. Then I saw a Pinterest post on how they did reverse chocolate strawberries, where they filled the inside with the chocolate. One thing lead to another and I eventually saw truffle stuffed strawberries on some google treasure hunt. So I used my go-to truffle / ganache recipe that I discovered last Xmas (I don't think I've posted it yet but that's probably because there is most definitely a story to go with that one, and I've been lacking enough time lately to do it justice). Until that time however, the recipe is a slight modification on Anna Olson's Truffles.

Standing each berry up in a plastic wrap lined egg carton was the easiest way to fill these when the ganache was still liquidy. Just spoon it into a piping bag and pipe away. Once it's set though, we just took a spoon and scooped out the hardened truffle and crammed it in (with force) into the hollowed out berry. This way wasn't as pretty, but by that point it was my leftovers and I wasn't presenting them to anybody but myself.

One warning, I made these the night before and then day of had them sit out of the fridge for a couple of hours in a fairly warm room. The juice from the strawberries and the cream created a brown juice that pooled in the bottom of the egg cartons and while they hadn't turned or tasted off in any way, it just wasn't as pretty looking.

On a side note, to provide some contrast I also had some raspberries. In the centre of each one I'd inserted a single chocolate chip upside down (pointed side sticking into the berry) and they looked lke mini versions of these strawberries.

Ingredients

8 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate
3/4 C. + 2 Tbsp. (Total 7/8 C.) Heavy Cream
1/2 Tbsp. Vanilla
4 Doz. Strawberries (medium-large), washed and hulled

Directions

~Finely chop chocolate and place in a medium glass bowl
~Heat cream until it just begins to boil.
~Pour cream over chocolate and stir until it melts and is combined
~Allow to cool slightly, while you hull and wash the strawberries
~Line egg cartons with plastic wrap
~Pat strawberries dry and place one in each hole in the egg carton
~Using a piping bag, pipe ganache into each strawberry
~Place in fridge to set

Enjoy!



Friday, 27 June 2014

Ice Tea

Now there is a story with this one. I always have a dilemma when it comes to ice tea. I hate tea, but I love ice tea. Being Canadian, our ice tea comes in jugs from the pop aisle and is only lacking carbonation to fit into that home. It's overly sweetened with (what I'm assuming to be) high fructose corn syrup, artificially flavoured and probably loaded with a long list of ingredients that lacks the obvious ingredient, tea! Which is why I like it obviously. In the past few years there has been some changes. I have been maliciously fooled in a couple of fancy coffee shops when I ordered an ice tea and was very disgusted to taste what was handed over to me, because did I mention, I hate tea and they had just handed me a cup with tea and ice cubes in it. Eww.

My problems follow me on the occasional trip I take south of the 49th. Again, automatically when I walk into a restaurant I order an ice tea out of habit and only as the first sip is occurring does it suddenly hit me that American ice tea is exactly what I hate, iced tea.

So ladies and gentleman, you might be asking why in the world I would be posting a recipe for ice tea then when I so clearly hate anything that is not the artificial junk in the pop aisle? Well, the answer is simple, I have found the answer to all of my problems.

And that is two words, the South. While in many ways we are very different from the southern United States, there are also many things that I find we have in common. For years I had heard again and again about the religion of sweet tea in my favourite country songs and I never put two and two together. While Canadian ice tea is definitely sweet, in no way has anybody ever considered calling it sweet tea, but that is exactly what it is. (Side note, a couple of months ago I saw for the very first time, the artificial ice tea that we love actually labelled and marketed as sweet tea. I mean seriously, this would have saved me years of heartbreak). Anyway. The point I'm getting at is that after all this time of people telling me to make a pot of tea and chill it, I finally figured out how to make ice tea that I'll actually drink. When I finally clued in that the northern US states like their tea unsweetened versus the sweetened southern version, and every time I go south (to the northern states) I hate how unsweet their tea is, I finally realized that here we drink sweet tea. I mean who knew right? So I googled a couple of sweet tea recipes, but was tentative about trying them out because nothing with real tea bags that I'd ever tried before was half decent.

So what changed? One of the people I work with is like me and says she hates tea. I work with a staff that loves their tea though, so we're the odd ones out. Well, one day out of the blue she casually stated she had this new obsession. She gave me the recipe and the rest is history (or at least 2 batches a week for the last month). I added the baking soda because it seemed to be the 'secret ingredient' in all the southern recipes I found, and I increased the lemon juice but that's it for changes.

And that's my story, now time for the recipe.

Ingredients

1/4 Tsp. Baking Soda
3 Bags Orange Pekoe Tea
4 C. Water, boiled
1 C. Sugar
4 C. Water, cold
1 1/2 Lemons, juiced

Directions

~Steep tea in boiled water for 1 hour
~Remove tea bags
~Stir in sugar until dissolved
~Top up with cold water & lemon juice
~Stir
~Chill 
~Serve with ice (we like to fill the glass 80% tea, 20% lemonade)

Enjoy!



Thursday, 26 June 2014

Scooby Snack Shot


I tried one of these several years ago on a whim and was very impressed for a couple of reasons. 1) The drink was electric green, 2) It's namesake was my absolute favourite character growing up, & 3) It tasted great.

While this recipe isn't identical to that original one, it still is green and tasty so what more can we really ask for? While this is a shot, I'm not opposed to fiddling with it in the future to make it into more of a cocktail size for sipping.

When you look up the recipe for this shot, there are many different ways to make it. Most of which have you adding a splash of half and half, milk or whip cream into or onto the top of the shot. I'm 90% sure that the one I tried was not creamy, but I've not actually tried making this one with the dairy in to compare, so I can't be certain. But this still tastes pretty good without it and I must say, it seems less strange to omit cream from a fruity drink.

Recipe from the Tipsy Bartender

Ingredients

1/2 oz Melon Liqueur
1/2 oz Malibu
Splash Pineapple Juice

Directions

~Combine all ingredients with ice in a shaker.
~Shake
~Strain into shot glasses

Enjoy!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Apple Smokey Dry Rubbed BBQ Ribs

This was great, even though it surprised me with how little sugar it contained in comparison to most recipes like it. I did increase the sugar though from what the original recipe called for as I was sceptical about what they were asking for. And it turned out great, with a bit of a kick.

Dry rub recipe adapted from the Food Network.

Ingredients

Dry Rub ( I doubled this and had lots of leftovers (but I don't think a single batch would have been enough for how many ribs I had))
1 Tbsp. Cumin
1 Tbsp. Paprika
1 Tbsp. Garlic Salt
1 Tbsp. Onion Salt
1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
3 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1/4 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
2 Tsp. Black Pepper

Ribs (I used pork back ribs x2 racks)

1/4 C. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tsp. Liquid Smoke

Directions

~Combine all rub ingredients and mix (I place everything into a small Ziplock baggie so it's easy to shake to mix, and easy storage too for the extras).
~Place rack of ribs on a sheet of tinfoil, remove membrane.
~Combine vinegar and liquid smoke and brush onto ribs
~Coat ribs generously with rub and pat into meat with hands
~Repeat on the other side
~Wrap up in the tinfoil and allow to sit in the fridge (for however long you have to wait)
~Place tinfoil wrapped meat on BBQ and cook until meat begins to pull away from the bone.

Enjoy!