Saturday, 31 January 2015

Slow Cooker Ginger Beef and Vegetables

Ginger Beef and Vegetables

Ingredients:

1/2-3/4 Pounds Beef Steak (Cheap Cut)
1 Onion
3-5 Cloves Garlic
1 1/2 Cups Beef or vegetable stock
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Inches Ginger Root
Pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
1-2 Tablespoons Honey
1-2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
1-2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar

1 Cup Mixed diced Veggies*

3 Tablespoons Water
3 Tablespoons Corn Starch

Sliced Green Onions, for garnish
Sesame seeds, for garnish

*Try a mix of diced bell peppers, broccoli, edamame, corn, peas, mushrooms, celery, carrots, etc or just pick your favorite veggie.

Instructions:

Lightly mist the insert of the slow cooker with cooking spray.

Finely dice or mince the onion, ginger root and garlic, add to the slow cooker and turn to high while we prep everything else. Season well with pepper.

In a small bowl whisk together the broth, with the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, sesame oil, and rice vinegar.

Slice the steak into 1 inch cubes or the size of your choice. Arrange the sliced beef over the onions, ginger root, and garlic in the slow cooker. Season with pepper.

Pour the sauce into the slow cooker. Place the lid on, and cook on low for 4-5 hours, or high for 2-3 hours.

Add the diced mixed veggies and cook for about an additional hour, until veggies are tender.

In a small bowl whisk together the corn starch and water. Stir into the slow cooker and cover and cook for an additional 10-20 minutes.

Serve over cooked rice or noodles with sliced green onion and sesame seeds sprinkled over top as garnish.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Baked Italian Salmon



Home-made Apple Pie Filling

Apple Pie Filling

Ingredients:

4-6 Good sized Apples
1/4 Cup Honey or Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Allspice
1/2 Teaspoon Ginger powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1-2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

Instructions:

Peel and roughly dice the apples, I like small cubes but some people prefer slices or larger chunks. The cut is up to you

Add the chopped and peeled apples to a large pot and gently splash the lemon juice over the top to prevent excess browning. Turn the heat up to medium and add the honey or brown sugar and the spices.  Cover the pot and allow the apples to gently cook, stirring occasionally for 20-40 minutes. Depending on how large you cut the apples, less time for small bits, more for larger obviously.

Once the apples are just becoming tender, turn off the heat.  Set up a strainer with a large bowl under neath it. Strain the cooked apples into the strainer and reserve the pot drippings that collect in the bowl.

The apples are now ready to be used as pie filling.

For an extra kick of flavor, you can pour the pan drippings back into a pot and reduce until it becomes a syrup. This syrup can then be poured over the apples before placing on the top layer of the pie, or if you are doing a lattice crust you can pour the syrup over the lattice right before baking to infuse the lattice crust with more flavor.

Enjoy!

Notes:

You might be needing a recipe for a Pie Crust as well.

Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Spicy Taco Mac n' Cheese

Friday, 23 January 2015

Pantry Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

(Listed per serving, so multiply everything by the number of people you are serving)

1 Cup Milk
2 Tablespoons Milk

2-3 Tablespoons Sweetened Condensed Milk
Pinch Salt
2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Coco Powder
1/8 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Instructions:

In a sauce pan large enough, combine the 2 tablespoons milk with the 2 tablespoons unsweetened coco powder, and a pinch of salt. Heat over a medium low temperature until the coco completely dissolves into the milk and everything looks smooth and wonderful.

Add the sweetened condensed milk, cup of normal milk and whisk everything well to blend.

Heat to desired temperature and serve, or. . .

Use an immersion blender to make it more frothy.

Also ,mini marshmallows are optional.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Winter on an island in the North Atlantic is less fun in winter. . .  lots of snow and ice and cold. . . Thank goodness for hot food and drinks.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Ingredients:

Roughly 3 Pounds diced Chicken (Raw, Breast or thigh work well)
4-6 Cloves Garlic
1-2 Onions
1 Inch Ginger Root
2-3 Tablespoons Garam Masala
2-6 Tablespoons Curry Powder*
2 Teaspoons Cumin
2 Teaspoons Paprika
2 Teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Pepper
Roughly 6 ounces Tomato Paste
Roughly 14 ounces Light Coconut Milk
Butter (2-4 Tablespoons)

Sesame seeds
Green onions, sliced

Cooked Rice to serve

*The amount you need of curry powder varies a lot from blend to blend. So I would suggest starting with about 2 tablespoons of curry powder and then tasting at the end of cooking to see if you need more.  More heat can also be added with extra Cumin or Cayenne Pepper, and more complexity with paprika and maybe some extra curry blend or a mustard powder. Tasting and adjusting is very important especially with a slow cooked meal.

Instructions:

Set the slow cooker to high and begin to prep the ingredients.

Grease/Butter the inside of the slow cooker insert with butter, focusing on the bottom and the first 2-3 inches up in the slow cooker.

Finely dice the onion, I used one fist sized onion, but you might want to use two small ones, or if you really like onion two fairly good sized ones.  Add the diced onion to the warming slow cooker.

Finely mince the garlic and ginger root and add to the slow cooker. Season with about 2 tablespoons garam marsama, 2-3 tablespoons curry blend powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika, 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper. Season everything well with salt and pepper. Cover and let it be for a few minutes.

Dice the chicken into small cubes about 2cmX2cm, or just cut into small chunks. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Stir the coconut milk and tomato paste into the slow cooker. Add the chicken and stir so all the chicken is coated or covered in the sauce.

Cook for 3-5 hours on high or 4-6 hours on low.

Stir the Butter chicken and serve over cooked rice and garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onion.

Also goes pretty great with Naan Bread on the side.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Wont lie, did not have much hope for this recipe, It was supposed to be a healthy butter chicken, and this still sort of is but the recipe I got the inspiration from literally only had 2 teaspoons (!) of curry powder to season this whole recipe. That is just not enough! So I greatly increased the spice content, and the number of spiced involved, and the inspiration recipe also called for almost a half cup of flour to be added. . .  and my sauce turned out nice and thick without the addition of the un-needed flour. So I think I managed to improve on this idea of a recipe. Plus this version tastes just about as good as the Indian restaurant I go to in town and even better than the pre-made butter chicken spice pack I had been using until tonight. This is my dinner and my lunch tomorrow. It is deadly. Man friend also agrees with deadly classification.

Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Cookie Crust Cheese Cakes! (YUMMY)



Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Steamed Pork Buns

Steamed Pork Buns


Wont lie, these were a fair bit of work, but it was totally worth it in the end!


Ingredients:

Bun Dough

1 Tablespoon Dry Active Yeast
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Warm Water

1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Warm Water
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil Plus Extra to coat dough

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

Filling

1/2 Pound Pork loin, ground or you can fry a whole cutlet and chop it after

Marinade

2-4 Cloves Garlic
2-3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
2-3 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
2-3 Tablespoons Ketchup
2-3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1-2 Tablespoons Honey
2 Tablespoons Mirin
2-3 Tablespoons Chinese Five Spice Powder

Other:

Large Lettuce or cabbage leaves to create a nice base to steam the buns upon.

Special Tools:

Bamboo steamer, or another steamer large enough to give the buns about an inch of space apart and about 2 inches of rise room above.

Optional: 

Red Food Coloring*

*To make it look more like the take out buns. I do not bother adding fake color to my food ever. This is also why I have no recipe for anything "red velvet" flavor, because the plain chocolate version is always better. Boooooo to extra food coloring. But if you want it, feel free to do what you like in your own kitchen

Instructions:

In a small bowl mix together the ingredients for the marinade. Finely mince or grate the garlic and stir in the rice vinegar, Hoisin sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, honey, mirin(Or white sugar), and the Chinese Five Spice. Stir well to mix evenly. Stir in the food coloring if you want to.

Reserve about 1/4 Cup of the marinade sauce and set in the fridge for the time being.

Marinade the pork in the remaining marinade mixture for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

In a large bowl stir together the yeast, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of warm water. Set aside and allow the yeast to activate for 30 minutes.

Sift together the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour with the salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar.

After the yeast has activated for 30 minutes stir in the sifted flour mixture along with the 1/2 cup of warm water and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.

Turn out dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead until dough is smooth, elastic and evenly blended together. This takes at least 5 minutes but usually closer to 10 minutes.

Lightly oil the surface of the dough ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel that has been soaked in water and wrung out. Set to rise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

While the dough is rising, cook the pork loin. I used pork chops, and quick fried them in my cast iron skillet on the stove, and then chopped the cooked pork chops into small bits. But if you used ground pork, you can drain off the excess marinade and scramble fry the pork in a skillet. Either way you want to end up with marinaded meat that is fully cooked at the end!

After the dough has risen, uncover and gently punch down the center of the dough and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

Turn out the dough on a lightly floured work surface and flatten gently. Sprinkle the baking powder over top of the dough and knead for 5 minutes.

Set up your steamer and bring it to a rolling boil. Ensure that about 1-2 inches of water remain in the water pot at all times while steaming.

Divide the dough in half. Cover the half that is not being worked with with the damp kitchen towel.

Divide the dough half into 8-10 ping-pong ball sized sections. Flatten each section in your hand into a small disk, add about 1/2-1 tablespoon of filling to center of the dough, and fold the edges up. So you have a smooth bottom and then on top arrange the edges into a star or flower kind of pattern and pinch well to seal.

Finish filling the remaining divided sections.

Line the bottom of the steamer basket with lettuce or cabbage leaves. Arrange the buns on top of the leaves leaving 1-2 inches between each bun. Steam with the lid on for 15 minutes.

Repeat dividing, filling and steaming procedure with the second half of the dough.

Prepared buns can be kept warm in a barely heated oven until all the buns are cooked.

Enjoy!

Notes:

There is something that just feels right about a home made Chinese feast in January. I know it is a weird kind of tradition to have but it is one that works well for me. Plus my friends who were invited to join me also weren't complaining.

Other Places:

Goes well with

Fried Rice

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Chicken Schnitzel

Chicken Schnitzel

Simple, traditional and so yummy.

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon Prepared Dijon Mustard
2 Eggs
3-4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Cup Flour
1-2 Cups Panko Crumbs
Salt
Pepper
Vegetable Oil
Butter
Parsley
Lemon wedges

Instructions:

Pound the chicken breasts until they are about 1/4 inch thick. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl whisk together egg and Dijon mustard. On a plate spread out the flour, and on another plate spread out the panko crumbs.

Line a large platter with parchment paper.

Dredge the chicken in the flour, then the egg mixture and then press into panko crumbs to evenly coat. Place prepared breasts on the tray lined with parchment paper until all the breasts are prepared. Seasoning everything once more with salt and pepper.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add some vegetable oil and allow the oil to heat as well. Swirl about 1 tablespoon of butter into the pan until melted.

Fry two breasts at a time in the prepared skillet for about 5-7 minutes a side, until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer cooked chicken to a platter and keep warm in the oven until all the breasts are cooked.

Serve hot, with parsley as a garnish and a fresh lemon wedge.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Also makes a great alternative to a chicken burger for a sandwich for lunch the next day.

Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Chicken Pomodoro Casserole

No Knead Peasant Bread

Peasant Bread

Been seeing this recipe kicking around on Buzzfeed and some other cooking blogs, people do seem to swear by their simple no knead bread recipes, so thought I would also give one a try.

Original Recipe:

http://www.alexandracooks.com/2012/11/07/my-mothers-peasant-bread-the-best-easiest-bread-you-will-ever-make/

Followed the recipe to the letter, except I only made a half loaf this time because I am a little short on flour at the moment.

Ingredients: (Small 6 inch loaf)

2 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 Teaspoons Dry Active Yeast
2 Teaspoons Sugar
1 Cup Warm Water

Butter

Instructions:

Dissolve the sugar into the warm water and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Allow the yeast to proof for 10 minutes until foamy and bubbly, if the yeast doesn't foam then it is dead, try again or else you wont get any rise in the bread.

Sift together the flour and the salt, once the yeast has proofed add the flour to the yeast and stir with a fork until the dough pulls into a small ball and away from the edges of the bowl. Cover wth a clean, damp tea towel and allow to rise for about 1 hour.

After one hour, preheat oven to 425°F.

Stab the center of the dough ball with a fork, and then turn and lift all around the dough, trying to basically turn it over on itself. 

Butter a six inch round bake-able bowl or casserole dish, or line a pizza stone with parchment paper to make a real peasant loaf. Peasant didn't have spare bowls or baking dishes so bread was baked on flat stones or in a wood oven. Baking the bread on a pizza stone makes it very similar to the bread I had when I went to visit a "Living" Historical fort back in Cape Breaton. 

Turn the risen dough into the baking dish or transfer it onto the pizza stone. Cover with the damp tea towel and allow to rise another 20-30 minutes.

Bake the twice risen dough in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375°F. Continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes, until top of dough is golden-toasted and the dough sounds hollow when tapped.

Turn the bread out onto a cooling rack for 10 minutes before slicing.

Serve warm with butter for best results.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Made this last night for dinner with my friends and they literally ate the entire loaf in one sitting. I would say that makes this a keeper.

Other Places:

Other bread recipes:

White Bread

Grandma's Bread