Mains



It has been 207 days since I last blogged.  It’s hard to explain really.  I can’t really  blame it on the fact that TB and I broke up, or that I didn’t have enough space in the kitchen anymore.  It was kind of like the spark had gone out of cooking or baking.  Once I got into it, I would enjoy it, but really, I could barely find a way to get into it.  Dinners for a while were…interesting.  Popcorn and an apple, anyone?  With the spark gone, and being incredibly busy with school and work, there wasn’t really anything to put up here.

But I’m trying.  I’m trying to make at least a few meals a week that are reminiscent of the old me.  The side benefit of this is that I actually have meals for lunch at work; their healthier and help with the much needed fiscal responsibility which is my renewed goal for 2011.  A few weeks back I made pulled pork that was versatile and delicious; and then there were carrot and pineapple muffins with a coconut cream cheese icing, treasure hunt muffins (chocolate chips, blueberries, banana and peach muffin – sounds like  lot, they were oddly good!) chicken, shrimp and sausage jambalaya, and then tonights meal of a simple honey glazed roasted chicken, and planning on chicken pot pies with the leftovers.  I am feeling moderately consistent.

The mains I have made lately thrive on slow cooking.  There is something satisfying about facing delayed gratification, waiting for the aromas wafting from the kitchen to reach an almost intolerable desire to want to go check on it, again. These meals have also been traditional and simple in their approaches.  Somehow, over the last few weeks of slow and steady I have convinced myself that if I can work threw some old standbys then I may be on the road back to the kitchen…I’ve kind of missed it.

Honey Glazed Roasted Lemon Chicken

1 – 5lb chicken
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon
1 head garlic
3-4 tbsp fresh parsley
2 tsp thyme (fresh or dried)
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Honey Glaze

2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp chicken juices
2 tbsp hot water

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven at 425F
  2. Remove any giblets from the chicken
  3. Rinse and pat dry chicken
  4. Drizzle olive oil over, and inside chicken
  5. Season with thyme, salt, and pepper, inside and out
  6. Squeeze lemon juice into cavity of chicken, add parsley, garlic and lemon.
  7. Base chicken every 20 minutes
  8. Mix all glaze ingredients together.
  9. Approximately 5 minutes before the chicken is ready to come out of the oven, baste the glaze over the chicken.
  10. Remove from oven when bird at thickest point on thigh reaches 175F, it will reach 180F when you allow it to rest for ~5-10 minutes.
Advertisements

I am on vacation.  I am on vacation and back downtown looking after the dog while TB is away for work. Because I don’t have my usual well stocked kitchen/pantry at my finger tips, I have been trying to make due with simple meals.  Besides, cooking for one is not as much fun as cooking for at least someone else, or a few someone’s…regardless one must eat!

So after a beautifully sunny Vancouver day and a long walk around the sea wall in the late afternoon with the dog, I was hungry.  In the fridge I had some peperoni and cheese,  some pizza dough from the local bakery and the pièce de résistance: a cold bottle of white wine.  A while ago Annie from one the most tried and true blogs that I read almost daily had posted the idea of pizza bites. Now it wasn’t rocket science.  And truthfully, it probably would have been a little less work making a simple pizza either on the pizza stone or on the BBQ, but regardless I made these.  And they were fabulous.  Imagine the sun setting, sitting on the patio with a plate full of these little nuggets, a big glass of wine and of course a good book.  What a fantastically relaxing way to end a fabulous day.

The picture leaves something to be desired… not enough light, sorry!  These would be great as an appy or if you are like me, a dinner.  Tasty tasty, as always, thanks Annie.

Ingredients:

3/4 lb of pizza dough
24 slices pepperoni
24 small cubes cheese (I used Havarti because it was what I had on hand (yum!))
spray pam
2 Tbsp cornmeal
extra virgin olive oil
grated parmesan cheese
Montreal Steak Seasoning (random I know!)

pizza sauce, or simple marinara for dipping

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Spray a pie plate with pam, then sprinkle the corn meal
  3. Divide dough into 24 equal parts
  4. Flatten into dough discs, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter
  5. Place a cube of cheese and slice of pepperoni onto the disc, wrap dough around and pinch close.  Repeat with all dough pieces.
  6. Place dough balls in the pie plate, brush with olive oil.
  7. Grate parm on top for some crunchy goodness and sprinkle with Montreal steak seasoning, or if you have it Italian seasoning and garlic salt or powder.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Serve with marinara/pizza sauce.
  10. Crack open some wine and enjoy.

This past weekend I was in the lovely Comox Valley on Vancouver Island.  A good friend is back from literally a trip around the world: 14 months in Nepal and then they traveled to Maui, the Philippines, Iceland, France, Germany, Amsterdam etc…so off we went for a visit with her at her parents.  They live on an very tranquil piece of property just outside of Courtney, BC.

Good times, wine, food and friends makes for a wonderful weekend.  After a morning at the spa: walking a hydro path, a fantastic lunch at Atlas and a snooze on the lawn in the afternoon sun, we decided to round out the weekend with a chilled west coast tradition. So, Sunday evening just us ladies packed a picnic for the beach, made a campfire in the wind, ate some good food, chatted and drank Babyduck.  One of the goodies in the cooler that we packed was a delicious curried quinoa salad.

This salad is packed full of protein.  And gets better as the flavours meld in the fridge, so a great meal to make and have in the fridge for lunches or a light summer dinner.  I love the savoury coupled with the sweet, the crunchy and the chewy.  Mmmm.

curried quinoa salad

Ingredients
1 lime
3 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 pkg extra firm tofu cut into 1 inch cups
1 cup quinoa
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup shredded carrots
3 green onions sliced
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
3/4 cup dried apricots sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
1 tbsp canola oil

Dressing
2 tbsp curry powder
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup canola oil

Directions:

  1. Squeeze juice from lime into a medium bowl.  Stir in soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger. Add tofu and marinate for 30-40 minutes.
  2. Place quinoa in a sieve and rinse thoroughly.  Drain and place in a medium sauce pan along with the broth.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer until all liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from heat, fluff with fork, set aside.
  3. While quinoa is simmering, preheat oven to 350F. Place walnut pieces on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown and fragrant, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, combine carrots, green onion, parsley, cilantro, apricots, toasted walnut pieces, cranberries (if using) and cooked quinoa.
  5. For dressing mix curry powder, lime juice, honey, and canola oil in a seal-able container, shake well to mix and pour over quinoa mixture and mix.
  6. Refrigerate salad for at least one hour.  Heat canola oil in a skillet over medium heat: remove tofu from marinade and cook for 2 or 3 minutes per side until browned.  Add cooked tofu to quinoa salad mixture, mix and serve.

Glow, May 2010 pg. 92


I know this is a mass over-generalization, but I think if you have a male in your house, you might have someone who claims the TV for a good part of Sunday to watch upwards of 3-4 football games, and eagerly checks the scores of those games they didn’t get to watch.  I enjoy football.  In fact our very own BC Lions (CFL for my dear American readers) advanced in our playoff run today, and I cheered them on even though I was home alone.  Given that I knew today would be football dominated in our house, and that TB was going to be out in the morning to coach in the pouring rain, I thought I would have a hearty lunch waiting for him to warm him up and to give him the “game” experience, even if only watching on a cold, wet rainy Sunday in our living room.

Recently I discovered our little grocery store stocks very thinly sliced rib-eye for shabu shabu.  I find it has great flexibility and this was a prime example of grabbing some super accessible ingredients to make a tasty weekend lunch in about 15 minutes.  I don’t profess to know about the great Philly cheese steak.  From what I can tell, there is a rivalry around it.  What is authentic?  Who makes the best ones? To use cheese slices or cheese sauces.  I just used memory from the one or two that I have had at sporting events.  I looked for provolone at our little store, but they were out, so I went with a Monterrey jack – it melted like a charm and added a nice richness to the sandwich.  It also, as TB pointed out, helped keep everything together…so, don’t skimp on your cheese!

Philly Cheesestake 2

Ingredients:

1 sweet onion, sliced thinly
1 green, yellow, red or orange pepper thinly sliced
1 TB oil
2 TB butter
salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced

1 TB butter
1/2 kg of rib-eye, sliced very thinly
(I would ask your butcher do this if it isn’t already cut.  Or through  the rib-eye in the freezer for about 30 minutes to let it firm up and then slice, much easier this way to get consistent slices.
10-14 s
lices cheese, depending on size – you want to melt some on your bottom bun, and one over the meaT)
4-5
hoagie or hamburger buns

Directions:

     

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large fry pan with a lid, melt oil and first amount of butter over medium-high heat.  Add pepper and onions, stir and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes, you don’t want to burn them like I did, so make sure you don’t rush it by turning the heat up too high.
  3. Prepare buns, slice and place slices of cheese on base.  Place on a pan, ready to hit the oven.
  4. Once the onions are starting to caramelize, add garlic and jalapeno.  Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper, stir and allow to cook for about one minute.
  5. Remove onion mixture to a bowl, set aside.
  6. Turn heat up to high, add butter. Add thinly sliced meat.  If using a Teflon pan, use two wooden spoons to work the meat, pulling it apart to get that kind of shredded look, encouraging fast cooking without over cooking and loosing the tenderness fo the steak.
  7. Add buns to oven to warm and melt cheese.
  8. Once your meat is cooked to your just below your liking, we like it medium rare, so we stopped our cooking really at rare.  Stir in onion mixture.  Then place cheese in one layer over the pan, cover, turn heat down and let cheese melt.
  9. Remove buns from oven.  With a slotted spoon scoop out mixture, let drain a little and then serve on the bun.
  10.  

Serves 4-5.


I am in love.  In love, I tell you.  This is the easiest soup I may have made in years.  And it is all because of the talented (and pretty handsome), Tyler Florence.

For the last few weeks the secret ingredient, that stopped being so secret in our kitchen was tomatoes.  The tomatoes from the garden finally started ripening throughout September.  In the last month from 3 little plants we have harvested 25+ lbs.  I’ve canned them, made salsa, tons of tomato bocconcini salad, on toast, and of course the old stand by of pasta sauce.  So the other night I was randomly surfing foodnetwork.com and tried my luck at tomato soup.  Tyler Florences’ recipe came up.  It had something like 150+ reviews, most at the 4 or 5 star level.  Worth a shot right?

The thing I love, love ,love about it is how easy it was to make, and how fantastic the house smelled making it.  Basically you chop up your tomatoes and onions, peel the garlic and roast.  While that is happening, you reduce the stock, combine them, puree, season as you like and thin out to your desired consistency…so GOOD!  This is something you could make on a cold Saturday or Sunday afternoon while you are puttering around and then have some lunch for the week ahead at work.  Be sure to grab some crackers or some hearty bread to sop up the goodness!

tomato bisque

Ingredients:
2 1/2 lbs mixed tomatoes, quartered and cored (I used green leprechaun, roma and little cherry tomatoes)
10 cloves garlic (!)
1 red onion coarsley chopped
1 small yellow onion coarsley chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1.5 L veggie stock
3 Tbsp butter
4 bay leaves
1/2 cup basil leaves
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F
  2. In a roasting pan, combine the quarter tomatoes, chopped onions and garlic cloves.
  3. Add olive oil and salt, stir until everything is coated
  4. Roast in oven for about 45 minutes until starting to carmalize – stir a few times.  Let’s be honest you will want to peak because it will smell so good!
  5. While the veggies are roasting, in large sauce pan, if not your dutch oven, add one litre (4 cups) stock, butter and bay leaves.  Bring to a low simmer and let reduce to half.
  6. Remove bay leaves from stock, add roasted veggies and torn basil, purree with an immersion blender.
  7. Bring to a low simmer, stir in tomato paste and cream.
  8. Add remaining stock to bring it to the consistency you would prefer.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. EAT!

Adapted from Tyler Florences


I have a bit of a food crush on Tyler Florence.  I have enjoyed watching him in his kitchen for years…shortly behind Tyler is Jamie Oliver.  The idea of a man in the kitchen is very attractive to me.  Don’t get me wrong I love to cook, take great pleasure in being creative in the kitchen and cooking or baking for those that I care about, however a handsome guy, cooking me dinner… I know, total cliche.

These chicken wings I have had in the cue to make for a long time.   I think I was flipping through the channels one day and Tyler was making these (don’t you love how I refer to him like we know each other?).  I loved the idea of the lime, honey and cilantro together.  I did tweak his original recipe, with the changes reflected below.  I added a little ginger and garlic to the wings as they baked, as well as a little Mexican Chili Powder.  I also think that these would taste great with a little peanut butter and rice wine vinegar added to the sauce to give it a little Thai twist. But let me assure you, these are finger licking good…don’t miss out on the lime or the drizzle of honey at the end, the flavours balance so well together!

I’ve made these both in the oven and on the BBQ.  These were made in the oven.  I found that placing them on a cooling rack over a rimmed cookie sheet was ideal.  The little bit of oil, and the high heat without soaking in lots of fat.  Turning a few times and it’s like rotisserie chicken.  When BBQ’ing chicken wings, it’s best to cook at a medium indirect heat.

chili lime butter wings_2

Ingredients

1 pounds chicken wings
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1/8 cup honey
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 lime, halved
Chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish
1 Tbsp honey, slightly warmed (makes it easier to drizzle)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Rinse the wings under cool water and pat dry.
  3. Put them in a bowl, drizzle with olive and sesame oils and season well with ginger, garlic, salt, black and chili pepper. Toss to coat with the seasoning.
  4. Then spread the wings out on a cooling rack, placed on a baking sheet and roast about 45 minutes until the skin gets crisp and brown, and the meat is tender.
  5. You will need to turn them a few times, maybe four, ensuring an even browning.
  6. While you wait, throw the butter, red curry paste honey, second amount of garlic and soy sauce into a blender. Season with salt and puree. Scrape into a big bowl.
  7. When the wings come out of the oven put add to the bowl with the curry butter.
  8. Squeeze the juice of the lime over the wings. Give it a toss and you’re done.
  9. Drizzle with honey, and garnish with cilantro – might be even nice with some sesame seeds.  Be sure to grab lots of napkins and just dive right in!

Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence’s Crisp Chicken Wings with Chili-lime Butter


I’ve been on vacation for the last two weeks, and away for most of it.  Part of the time away had us camping.  Camping means cooking over an open fire – no ands, ifs or buts about it!  Before we left, I went through garden and harvested some wonderful young, fresh vegetables: chives, beets, and their greens, radishes, peas, baby bok choy, Swiss chard, spinach, an assortment of lettuces and some itsey bitsy baby carrots.  Coupled with some amazing mains: grilled salmon, steaks, risotto and bbq’d chicken, it was a decadently tasty and yet somewhat healthy food adventure.

However, once I got home all I wanted was to stay out of the kitchen.  I think cooking outside on the open grill felt so relaxing, peaceful…crammed in the world’s smallest kitchen was a little depressing for a few days – I know, whine whine whine…tonight I finally ventured back in.  Looking for inspiration, I took a walk to the garden after work tonight and looked for what I could pick for dinner.  The peas are in full harvest, they are that perfect crisp and sweetness.

I decided to pair the peas with sweet shrimp (with black sesame seeds to add the “spotted element”) and tender baby mushrooms.  Served over wild and brown rice, a nice sweet and savoury summer meal.  In no time flat!

spotted shrimp saute 2

Ingredients:

1 lb peeled, deveined raw shrimp
1 egg
1/8 cup cornstarch
1/8 cup corn flour
1/2 tsp salt
pinch red pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp veg oil
1 tsp sesame oil
4 cloves minced garlic
5 slices ginger
2 cups tipped sugar peas
1 cup baby mushrooms, halved
1 Tbsp Chinese cooking wine
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp black bean sauce
1 Tbsp Oyster sauce
1 Tbsp honey

1 cup rice
2 cups water


Directions:

  1. Cook rice according to directions for your preferred methods.
  2. Combine flour, salt, pepper flakes, garlic powder and black sesame seeds.
  3. Heat vegetable and sesame oil in skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Meanwhile, pat shrimp dry. dip shrimp in cornstarch, then into whisked egg and finally into flour mixture.
  5. Once oil is hot. not yet spitting, add ginger, stir in garlic let saute for a minute, as usual careful not to burn the garlic.
  6. Once starting to turn a nice light golden, colour, both the ginger and garlic, add coated shrimp, let cook for a minute, toss and then add in peas and mushrooms.  Allow everything to come together and saute.
  7. After shrimp has turned golden and opaque add cooking wine, wait about 30 seconds to burn off the alcohol.  Stir in remaining sauces: soy, bean, oyster and honey.  Thicken for a minute or so.
  8. Serve over rice.

Serves 3-4

Next Page »