Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunflower Seed & Almond Butter


Sunflower Seeds
Olive Oil

Throw seeds, nuts and other gerbil food into the blender. Start grinding while adding oil gradually. At some point, add salt and honey to taste. Continue adding oil until spreadable consistency is reached.

Place in a jar and refrigerate.

Oh, and while cleaning the food processor blade, cut yourself.

No pictures as it's tasty, but looks disgusting.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mac n' Cheese n' Chicken too

1 tablespoon cooking oil
1lb chicken breast (two seemed right)
1 small onion, chopped
Seasoning, to taste

1 package of Kraft Dinner
2 cups of vegetables (broccoli is best, but anything works)
2 cups of water
1/4 cup sour cream

Heat oil in pan, add onions, then chicken. Season chicken as you like. Paprika recommended, but salt and pepper work if you have nothing else. Cook chicken until almost done.

Stir in two cups of water and pasta. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes or until pasta is done. Stir in vegetables. Add sour cream and cheese mix. Stir. You may need to turn down the heat and let simmer to reduce the liquid. Tastes good as leftovers for lunch the next day.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Spicy Chickpea Hash

I don't really know what to call this, so Spicy Chickpea Hash it is.

You will need:

Harissa Sauce
Fennel Seed
Ground Coriander
Olive Oil

Start two nights before desired serving time. Soak your dried chickpeas for 24 hours. After soaking bring to a boil then place it immediately into the strange insulating thermos-type thing you have for large pots. Allow to cook over night.

Peel, cube and boil some potatoes.

Slice some eggplant.

Admire the pretty chickpeas that don't taste like they've been canned (because they haven't!)

The Harissa Sauce. Spiciness factor: 7

So, in a large pan, heat some olive oil. Add garlic, eggplant and onions. Season a bit with salt and pepper. Allow to cook for a little bit. Add potatoes and chickpeas now as they are already cooked. Stew and reduce with a little bit of milk.

Season with spices, tamari and harissa sauce. Add a bit of water and reduce.

Now eat!

(I forgot the onions)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Curry Vegetable Soup

No pictures unfortunately. A spicy, hearty soup.


Kidney Beans
Frozen Peas
Coconut Milk
Chili Flakes
Ground Cumin
Cayenne Pepper
Red Curry Paste
Vegetable soup bouillon
Olive Oil
Sesame Seed Oil

Heat saucepan with olive and sesame seed oils. Add diced onion and carrot. Season with sea salt and pepper. Cook for a little bit on medium-high heat then deglaze with a bit of and then some of milk. Add vegetable bouillon and spices to taste. Add frozen peas, coconut milk, red curry paste, potatoes, kidney beans chestnuts and a bit of water. Reduce, cook, simmer, whatever.

When everything is cooked you have powerful flavour! Add water and stir in a bit of flour to thicken.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Desserty Polenta

I set out to make polenta today. It actually went quite well with this being my first attempt.


Brown Sugar


Dried Apricots
Corn Syrup

Bring the milk just to a boil. Slowly add cornmeal while whisking constantly. Realize that you don't know how much cornmeal to liquid you need so recover by adding water. Add a little bit of butter and season with a little bit of salt. Stir occasionally over low heat for an hour.

After an hour taste the polenta and ask yourself "what do I do now? I just wanted to make polenta... I have no idea what to do with it or how one should eat it." Decide that the polenta is a little on the sweet side and therefore would make an admirable dessert. Mix in some brown sugar and vanilla.

In a sauce pan, melt some butter and add the dried fuit and ginger to it. Deglaze and reduce a few times with water. Towards the end, I added some corn syrup to thicken it. Top the polenta with the 'sauce' and garnish with sliced almonds.

Voila, but the topping needs work.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Peanut Butter Hummus

Awhile ago I bought some chick peas at the grocery store. They've been sitting in my cupboard for a few months, and today I decided it was time to do something with them. What can you do with chick peas? For one thing, you can make hummus.

As far as I can tell, hummus has four main ingredients: chick peas, lemon, garlic and tahini. I didn't have any tahini so I used peanut butter instead.

To make the hummus all I really did was throw everything into the blender and blend it. I used a can of chick peas, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 gobs of peanut butter and half a lemon. If you're wondering what the red stuff is, I decided to add a spoonful of paprika at the last minute to spice it up a bit. I also had to add a little bit of water because the stuff wouldn't blend properly without it.

After blending it was a little more watery than I was hoping, which was probably a result of the water I added. Meh.

I scooped some into a bowl and ate it as a snack with some crackers and carrots. It was pretty tasty. I think next time I might want to use a bit more spice. I'm not sure how close the taste is to actual hummus because I've only had it a few times, and I don't remember what it tastes like. It made a lot more than I thought it would... I wonder how long this stuff will keep in the fridge?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Vegan Pasta

The purpose of today's cooking adventure was to see what fake soy cheese was all about. Continue reading for the results...

Meet the ingredients: Pasta, Coconut Milk, White Beans, White Onions, Garlic, Shallots, Fake Soy Havarti, Shallots, Yellow Pepper, Red Pepper, Endives...

Margarine, Flour, Sun Dried Tomatoes in Oil, Capers and Olive Oil.

My first thought was to make a basic Mornay Sauce without the butter, milk or cheese. So, let's just call this a "Yanrom Sauce". I made a "roux" with margarine and flour. Then I poured in a can of scalded coconut milk.

This is the soy havarti, aka fake cheese. Since I couldn't find fake edam or parmigiano-reggiano, I settled for something with a hopefully creamy taste. I was wrong. Fake cheese is awful. Icky, ick, ick! So with nothing else to do with the entire $6 block of fake cheese, I put all of its 900 calories into the sauce hoping the other ingredients would obfuscate its flavour.

At least it melted, but it's just not gooey or stringy. Add salt, pepper and I also put in a few capers for good measure.

While the cheese is melting in the sauce, use some olive oil in another pan to fry the onion, then shallots and finally the garlic. After a Little While (tm) add the rinsed out can of white beans, sun dried tomatoes and chopped up peppers. I deglazed with water a couple times. If white wine were on hand, that would have been the preferred deglazing agent.

Now came the endives. I've never cooked with them before and they were expensive!

Chop, chop chop! Endives are grown underground so they remain white. Raw, they are somewhat bitter.

To complete the sauce, I combined both pots together.

And there it is, on top of some pasta. Tasty. You can barely taste the cheese at all! I'm not sure how to describe the flavour. It's an Asian-Italian-Hippie infusion.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Chocolate Cranberry & Almond Brownies

Not having made brownies in over ten years, I decided to give it a whirl.

Meet the Ingredients

Cream butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla and elmond extract
In a double boiler, melt some chocolate. In this case, some blocks of unsweetened baker's chocolate and some semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Add chocolate to butter mixture.

I understand baking power is a leavening agent of some sort. I threw some in for good measure.

Then I added flour, almonds, dried cranberries and skor toffee chips.

Bake at 350 till a toothpick says otherwise. 45 minutes for me.

Then for some reason, I decided I wanted cold brownies, so I inverted them on a sheet and...

Put them in the freezer for an hour.

Voila. Decadent. Perhaps a bit too much sugar and the sugar's caramelized a bit too much on the bottom.The cranberry is a really nice contrast with all of the sweet. A little bit of orange would probably go well too.I used sliced almonds, so they're hard to taste in there. Almond chunks or walnuts next time.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Pear, Apricot & Almond Bread

Inspired by Eileen's delicious Apricot loaf and Jamie Oliver, I bring you my latest no-recipe bread creation!

Flour, water, yeast, salt and sugar

Create your own retention pond (man-made lakes for you marketing folk)

Knead (poorly) and let rise.

Step 4: Caramelize Pears in butter

Add Amaretto and Corn Syrup. I was looking for honey, but I couldn't find any. Hence the Corn Syrup.

Add some dried apricots while you're at it. Oh, and some Apricot Jam. I wanted to add marmalade too, but I went with...

Zest du L'orange

I ended up reducing it for over an hour by continuously adding water. The pears were really resilient and refused to soften! When done, reserve and allow to cool.

After dough has doubled in size, knead some of the gooey fruit mixture into it along with sliced almonds.

It goes into a greased pan.

Alternatively, roll out some dough and create some sort of bread turn-over with the filling.

The Loaf took about 70 minutes at 350 degrees.

The "turn-over" took 50 minutes at 350.

Yum, yumm!

In retrospect, the bread is a bit dry, perhaps over-cooked. Sixty minutes next time along with some butter or olive oil in the dough to keep it moist. Maybe some almond extract in the dough as well.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Grilled Pork and Mango Salad

From my new favourite cookbook, Company's Coming: Simple Suppers.

1lb Pork Tenderloin
1 tsp Chili powder
1/4 cup hickory bbq sauce

8 Cups cut or torn romaine lettuce
14 oz can of sliced mangoes, chopped
1 cup thinly sliced red pepper

Sweet and Spicy Dressing
1/2 cup Italian or ranch dressing
2 tbsp Lime or orange juice
2 tbsp liquid honey
1/2 tsp chili powder

Sprinkle all sides of pork with chili powder. Cook on grill until done, turning occasionally. Brush with bbq sauce and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Remove to cutting board. Cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes. Cut into slices.

Layer next 3 ingredients on 4 large plates. Top with pork.

Combine all ingredients in bowl. Makes about 3/4 cup. Drizzle over salads.

Okay, here's my improvisations. First of all, I was only cooking for two so I halved the pork and the lettuce. For the pork I actually used two boneless pork chops and cooked them on the George Foreman. I didn't have romaine lettuce so I used iceberg. I used one fresh mango. Use two if cooking for four. I cut up half of one red pepper.

For the dressing I used the Italian and the orange juice. Lime would have been better, but I didn't have it. I made the full recipe and kept the left overs to use on my lunch salad the next day.

The meal turned out great and was quick and easy. Would have been better with a nice white wine.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Yam Fries Dipping Sauce

Made this in Victoria a little while back. No pictures I'm afraid.

In a sauce pan, sauté shallots garlic and onions in some butter. Reduce heat, add gobs of mayo. Spicify it with smoke paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, dried parsley and whatever you desire. Add secret ingredient which is pureed chipotle peppers. Add second ingredient: a massive amount of parmesan cheese.

Apply liberally to yam fries.

Have heart attack.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sweet Potato Coconut Soup

A friend sent me this recipe and I decided to try it this weekend. It seemed kind of interesting. I would have never ever thought of combining sweet potatoes and coconuts in a million years. Especially not in soup form. Anyways, here's how it went.

I started out by frying up some onions and garlic in a saucepan. This is always my favorite part of cooking because it smells sooooooo good :)

Next step was to add some chopped up sweet potatoes and some chicken broth and boil for a bit (until the potatoes turn soft).

Once the potatoes were soft, I was supposed to add some coconut milk and spices... so I did. The recipe called for curry powder, but I didn't have any, so I used chili powder instead.

I put everything into the blender for a bit to get it all into one consistent mixture. Have I mentioned that I love my blender?

The result was interesting. It wasn't quite was I was expecting. It was good, but I wasn't blown away by it. Maybe cuz I didn't follow the recipe to the letter. I think next time I might try using regular milk instead of the coconut kind. That may work better for me. We shall see!