Monday, June 28, 2010

Spicy Tomato Rice

Shaun makes this spicy tomato rice as a side dish all on its own or as a filling for chicken enchilada or burritos.  It comes together quickly and is easily adapted to any seasoning you may like to use!  Shaun uses a cajun seasoning blend here but you can use any pre-mixed seasoning mix you like.

Add cooked sausage, chicken, or pork for a complete meal!

Teriyaki Grilled Steak

This is a really great, flavorful marinade that can be used on any cut of beef. It would also be wonderful on pork tenderloin or whole chicken pieces - just adjust your cooking time and marinading time accordingly.

Good Eats Soft Pretzels

This is a recipe for pretzels I first saw on Good Eats it may seem labour intensive...I mean, a fifteen minute drive to the mall yields a hot fresh pretzel as well..but hey, it's raining...and where's the fun in that!?

Historically, pretzels were immersed in a bath of water and lye and there are several recipes on line tha still call for a lye bath in the process of pretzel making.  Here, the lye bath is replaced a safer and easier baking soda boil and this step cannot be skipped.  The boiling process is what gives pretzels their distinctive chewy texture and crust.

Also, the Good Eats recipe linked calls for pretzel salt.  I could not find any where I live, and have to admit, did not look very hard, I used coarse salt in its place with excellent results on the fresh pretzels.

The pretzels are best hot and fresh as the salt has a tendency to dissolve in storage in a container (perhaps the pretzel salt doesn't do this!)- but if you are not salting them, you may have better luck with storing them.  These also freeze well and reheat in the oven or microwave for a hot, fresh pretzel whenever the craving hits.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

St. Norbert Farmers Market

Mom and I spent the morning at the farmers market in St. Norbert today. It's early in the season so not a ton of veggies to be had but plenty of lettuce, herbs, onions, fresh baby potatoes and the odd bunch of early baby beets. Not to mention the various food and craft vendors...especially the spring roll vendor...mmm...Shaun, though he can't for any money be dragged from bed to the market itself, is happy to put away a to-go container of these hot, crispy treats!

One surprize this year was the organic free range eggs, by the dozen or the flat which mom and I snapped up...splitting a flat of mixed brown and white beauties....$7.50 for 30 eggs.

I also came across something else I hadn't seen at the market before...garlic flowers...or scapes I've heard them called. These slim greens are the curling stalk and flower of the garlic plant. Generally, or so I've heard, these are removed to focus more of the garlic plants production into the the bulb below the soil. The scapes have a milk garlic flavour without the puncent heat of the bulbs. They can be served sauteed, grilled, picked...or try this recipe for pesto!

Here is a look at my farmers market treasures!



Spring Onions:


Spring Rolls!

THIS is what an egg should look like! Look at that bright yellow yolk for chickens eating what chickens are supposed to eat! ...whatever that is...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Coconut Ginger Cocktail

You can make a thousand different cocktails with this base recipe. Simple Syrup. Basically you dissolve 1 part sugar into 1 part water. This process is made even easier with the introduction of heat. But, if your going to the work of making your own simple syrup why not infuse it with some flavour too! Like Ginger and Lime!
Coconut juice can be found in the Asian section if any grocery store, in this recipe I've used the sweetened variety (if the variety you choose has pulp - strain it out) but you can use unsweetened if you wish. Add the spirit of your choice to this tropical cocktail for a delicious, refreshing summer beverage!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sticky Chili Chicken

I'm on a sweet and spicy kick this week and once again I know exactly what I WANT to eat....crispy, juicy 'nuggets' of chicken tossed in a sweet, spicy sticky that the chicken is almost candied! Mmmm...

The Half Moon Drive In

It's summer and I want a hot dog!   And not just a hot dog....a Half Moon Drive In hot dog!
Shaun has been talking about the half moon for a year now ever since a trip there last summer so off we went to Lockport for a hotdog and fries.
Here we are pulling up...
Doesn't Shaun look impressed.....
How Retro is this?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Orange Ginger Garlic Chicken Stir Fry

Shaun and I wanted something a little lighter for dinner today and after getting a PILE of chicken breasts from a friend that was moving (yay!) I thought a spicy chicken stir fry was in order. My chicken breasts were frozen and defrosted in the marinade which I have a feeling added a bit more liquid to the final product. If you are using fresh chicken you might need to add a bit of water or broth to the final marinade so you have more sauce for your rice.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cinnamon Sugar Butter Cookies

I wanted to make cookies and had an image in my mind of what I wanted to make....a buttery sugar cookie, rolled in cinnamon sugar before baking. I found this recipe..but didn't have the required amount of brown sugar called for.

A few substitutions and we have these...

The Naked Burger

I came across an argument on Burger Lab that stated a perfectly wonderful burger could be made with nothing but good ol'beef and S&P. No egg, no crumbs, no fancy seasoning...nothing.

The article says a lot of other stuff too, great stuff, like grinding your own only do I not have a meat grinder...oh wait...yes I do...but still..who has the TIME? Well...yes, but still......there is a certain lazy factor in place I used plain old ground beef for these burgers. Please feel free to grind your own! or use supermarket fare...either way, this makes a great burger!

Start with ground beef -- no particular amount here because, well...there's no real recipe! (I think I used about a pound for three burgers).  Salt your patties liberally before grilling (and not before) for a delicious, no fuss, no muss, all around delicious burger.
One more note -- the Burger Lab also says to form your patties with a slight divot in the centre to prevent "meatball burger".  I've done this and it works every time!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Chicken Pot Pie

This is my favourite pie crust/pastry recipe. I use this pie crust recipe for sweet and savoury pies as well as individual chicken pocket pies!

Start this recipe by making the pastry as it needs to chill for a while. The pastry can even be made the night before and allowed to chill over night.

This pie crust is made easier by a food processor, if you don't have one it can be done by hand too with the aid of a fork or pastry cutter.

Filled with an easy chicken stew this makes a warm, comforting winter - or anytime - meal!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Black Bottom Cupcakes

It's Shaun's birthday and that means he gets to take cupcakes to work! Now, light fluffy cake and pouffy icing doesn't a manly cupcake make; and Shaun would insist it's bad enough to carry a cupcake carrier to work with him without there being frou-frou cupcakes inside....a serious insult to his manhood I'm sure.

So here we are...the manliest cupcakes in the world. Even their name screams of manliness...the Black Bottom Cupcake...sounds sinister doesn't it?

What we have is dark Devils food cake, no icing on these cupcakes...(real men don't eat icing)...and a little dollop..oh, excuse me...a robust blob(!) of cream cheese filling (cream cheese is ok apparently being the stuff many a chip-dip is made from). Just don't tell him there are mini chocolate chips mixed in...if he asks I'll tell him it's poison. Manly Poison.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Saltine Toffee Bar

Don't knock it till you try it! I stumbled upon this unusual treat (what do you call this, a cookie? A square?...) on The Parsley Thief and it seemed similar to something an Aunt of mine used to make with graham crackers so I had to give it a try.

The salty crackers and sweet toffee make a great combination...feel free to top it with nuts, a drizzle of white chocolate or whatever tickles your fancy!