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Asian Steak Tacos

20 Jan

So, two posts in one week? knock me over with a feather….Never thought I’d see the day! I am really trying to step away from my iPhone more (another of my new years resolutions), which has caused me to haul out my big camera more often. It’s doing wonders for blogging, because I find it’s the photos that hold me back more than anything.

On a side note, while stepping away from my iPhone and taking real pictures has been happening, stepping away from my iPhone in general has not. I am painful with the stupid thing, reading blogs, reading the newspaper (honestly, like 15 times a day. Ya know, in case anything major happens i’ts super important that little old stay-at-home-mom knows as SOON AS IT HAPPENS!), watching other people’s interesting lives on instagram, and obsessively checking the weather. I really need to be stopped. I only mention this because I didn’t want to give off the wrong impression that I am succeeding with this stay away from my phone thing, really I am only winning on the camera front and failing miserably on all others.

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So, back to what I actually came here for, Asian Steak Tacos. These are a flavour explosion and are so so so easy. They are great for a casual stand-around-your-kitchen-island kind of dinner with friends . We use them a lot for entertaining,  but also a casual weeknight meal when it’s just Mark and I.

Asian Steak Tacos (recipe by Gordon Ramsey)

serves 4

Ingredients:

2 sirloin steaks

10 to 12 flour or corn tortillas

Steak Marinade:

2 tbsp white miso paste

2 tbsp mirin

1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp olive oil

Wasabi Mayo:

3 tbsp mayo

1 tsp wasabi paste

Cabbage Salad:

1/2 head of Napa/Chinese Cabbage, finely sliced like a coleslaw

1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp dried chili flakes

Directions:

Assemble the steak marinade in a shallow dish that will fit both steaks. DO NOT PUT THE STEAKS IN THE MARINADE (see below ** for more details).

Heat an indoor grill pan (or any old pan) to medium heat (you can also cook your steak on the BBQ if you’d like. Since it’s polar-vortex-freezing outside I am currently rocking the indoor grill pan). Rub your steaks with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on the grill and cook for a few minutes each side until medium rare. Mark usually covers the pan with a lid so that it acts more like a BBQ and traps the heat to speed things up. Since you will be slicing these, you can also cut a cheater cut in the middle to check their doneness (not a real word) while cooking.

Once cooked to medium rare (or whatever your heart desires), remove from pan and place into the marinade, making sure to spoon marinade over the top of the steak as well. Let rest while you assemble the cabbage and the mayo (but really you can leave these to rest a couple of days in the fridge if you wanted – just serve room temperature when you eventually serve it). If using right away just let them marinade on the counter.

In a bowl combine the cabbage, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil and chili flakes. Toss.

In a small bowl combine the mayo and wasabi paste.

Toast (or just heat up) your tortillas. I toast mine over the open flame of my gas cook top. A few minutes per side on an element with the flame at medium-high does the trick. I just use tongs to turn them over. This gives them a nice charred flavour. I suspect you could also do this on the BBQ. If you don’t have a gas cook top, you can warm your tortillas by wrapping them in a damp towel and microwaving for 30 to 45 seconds, or by heating your oven to 250 degrees, wrapping them in a damp towel placed in an oven-proof dish with a tight fitting lid, and baking for 20 minutes.

Once the tortillas are heated transfer them to a tortilla warmer (ya right I own one of those!) or a covered plate to keep them nice and warm.

Remove the layer of fat along the side of each steak and thinly slice the steaks onto a platter.

To serve, let each person make their own taco by layering wasabi mayo, steak and cabbage salad.

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**The part of this recipe that I found hard to get used to at first is the cook first, marinade second. Weird right? It works. The flavour is great, and this marinade doesn’t really stand up to cooking, so its flavour would be completely lost if done the other way around. Trust the process people!

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Also, for the moms out there. My little guy isn’t quite there yet with lettuce, cabbage etc. I don’t know if it’s not enough teeth, or what, but he struggles. So I adapt this meal for him and he just gets the marinated sliced steak with some roasted sweet potatoes and veggies.  It’s a bit more work, but it means I am not cooking him a whole separate meal, just adding some sides.

Enjoy!

Black Bean Burgers with Chipotle Mayo

16 Jan

After a very long break, I have added blogging to my new years resolutions. Hopefully it’s the swift kick-in-the-ass that I need to get back to sharing recipes! I am not typically one of those successful stick-to-your-resolutions types. Maybe 2014 is my year to change?? ugh, lets hope so.

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So, black bean burgers. Something I have been trying to do lately with my meal planning is be more budget friendly. I am at home full time with my son right now, with another one on the way, so smart budgeting is pretty top of my list these days. Being at home not only slashes my food budget, but also gives me a bit more time to put into smart meal planning and grocery shopping to help drive the grocery bill down. So hopefully a new theme around here is cheaper meals that are still interesting and are far from yet another plate of spaghetti  day in and day out. A way I can help bring the weekly food cost down is a more vegetarian friendly menu. So, full circle, black bean burgers!

Black Bean Burgers (adapted from skinnytaste.com)

serves 6

Ingredients:

1 red pepper, seeded and roughly chopped

1 bunch of green onions, chopped

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 eggs

1 1/2 tbsp cumin

1 to 2 tsp of your favourite hot sauce (optional)

1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats

2 19oz tins of black beans (if you tins are smaller reduce the amount of oats), rinsed

4 whole wheat pitas

1 avocado, sliced, for serving

Chipotle Mayo:

1 cup mayo

4 chipotles in adobo sauce (you can find these canned in the Mexican section of your food store)

Directions:

Place the red pepper, green onion, garlic, cilantro, egg, cumin ,hot sauce and oats in a food processor. Pulse until very finely chopped. Place the black beans in the food processor and pulse until they are incorporated. You should have some mixed in and some partially chopped. You do not want a completely smooth paste, it will be too wet. That being said, if your mixture ends up too wet, add in more oats a tbsp at a time until the consistency is something you can easily form into patties with your hands.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes to help the mixture firm up and to allow the flavours to combine.

Rinse your food processor clean and place the mayo and chipotles in adobo in and pulse until smooth.

Heat a frying pan to medium high heat, put a glug of olive oil in the pan and form 6 patties with the burger mixture, place the patties in the pan and cook approximately 5 minutes per side, until a nice golden brown crust forms.

Serve in a pita, topped with chipotle mayo and avocado.

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Don’t let me hold you back with my avocado suggestion though, feel free to go nuts with your toppings, tomato would be delicious as well, or really anything!

My one year old will eat these (minus the spicy mayo) and my husband also loves them (for a meatless burger that is saying something).

Remember my spaghetti comment above? Ya, well eat my words already, I have something spaghetti coming at you very soon I hope….

Stir-fried Bok Choy

17 Nov

During my walk to work today a bird pooped on my head. True story. Then i got told over and over again how it’s good luck. There is nothing good luckish about this. All it meant was that I had to stand in the bathroom picking poop out of my hair at 7:30am. My day then went on as normal with no lottery wins or out of the ordinary events. fml.

Today is brought to you by simple side-dishes. In keeping with the simple theme this is going to be short (minus the rant above).

This is a great side when you need some greens. Goes well with pretty much any dish, but it really compliments any main dish with Asian flavours.

Stir-Fried Bok Choy

Serves 4

Ingredients:

8 cups bok choy (you can use any size bok choy you want)

1 garlic clove pressed with a garlic press

1 tsp grated ginger

1 tbsp soy sauce (use tamari for a gluten free dish)

1 tbsp oyster sauce (if you’re vegetarian or vegan leave this out)

Heat a large fry pan, preferably a wok, to medium high heat. Add a splash of oil and the boy choy. Saute for a few minutes.

Add the ginger and garlic and saute for a few more minutes. Add the soy sauce and oyster sauce, saute for one more minute. Serve.

I’m pretty sure it’s more fun if you eat it with chopsticks.

Chicken and Sausage Bake

2 Oct

This may be one of my most requested recipes (behind lasagna of course, nothing can compete with carbs, cheese and wine – don’t even bother!). Promise you’ll still come back, even when I’ve given away all my good recipe secrets?

So lets all give a big hooray for one pot wonders!!!!!! If you’re someone who I have served this to when you came for dinner – I worked so much harder than the instructions I am about to give when I made this for you……I promise…..

Chicken and Sausage Bake

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts or chicken legs with the thigh attached if you prefer dark meat

4 hot or mild Italian sausages

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp olive oil

5 grinds of black pepper

1 small bulb of fennel, sliced (to slice fennel, cut off the frawns (the finger looking things), slice the bulb into quarters and cut out the core, then slice into strips)

2 pints of cherry tomatoes (I find it extra fun to get the multicoloured ones – ya, those are the kind of things I find extra fun, great.)

2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, chopped

4 full sprigs of rosemary, still on the stalk.

Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, dijon, olive oil and black pepper and coat the chicken. Allow to marinate for at least 2 hours.

Turn the oven on to 375 degrees. In a baking dish (that will snuggly fit the chicken and sausage) toss the fennel, cherry tomatoes, chopped herbs and garlic. Add a glug of olive oil and toss until they are all well coated.

Place the marinated chicken on top of the bed of vegetables. Squeeze the sausages into the gaps between the chicken. Use your left over rosemary sprigs to tuck in between some of the chicken and sausage.

Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to one hour, until the chicken and sausage are cooked through.

To serve, toss the full rosemary sprigs in the garbage and remove the chicken and sausage to a large serving dish using tongs. Then, using a slotted spoon, remove the cherry tomatoes and fennel and spoon over the chicken and sausage.

The cherry tomatoes will have slightly burst making the most amazing sauce for the chicken and sausage!

I typically serve this over garlic mashed potatoes with a very simple arugula, lemon and parmesan salad on the side.

Winner winner chicken dinner!

Roasted Salmon with Mango Salsa

15 Sep

My flip-flops broke over a month ago and I haven’t replaced them. I haven’t had our air conditioning on since 1992 (or July). I bought a bouquet of fall flowers for the front hall table. I clearly am embracing fall. However, apparently not in the kitchen.

This dinner is brought to you by the theme words “fresh” and “summery”. Spell check says summery is not a word? seriously?

Roasted Salmon with Mango Salsa

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 pieces of Salmon (freshness really makes all the difference, so don’t skimp!)

1 ripe mango, finely diced

1/2 a green pepper, finely diced

1/2 a red onion, finely diced

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (I lied about trying to do more cilantro-free recipes apparently)

1 pinch of cumin

the juice of 1/2 a lime

Set your oven to 450 degrees. Place the salmon skin side down and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how thick your fish is. My go-to rule is 10 minutes for every inch of thickness.

In a bowl combine the mango, green pepper, red onion, cilantro, cumin and lime juice. Mix.

Top each piece of salmon with a liberal amount of salsa and serve (at this point I am assuming you have managed to not eat the entire bowl of salsa before the salmon has finished cooking – good luck!).

Want to know the best part about this? It actually works really well at room temperature. This translates into no need to worry about your timing – you can prepare everything ahead of time if need be! It is also equally as delicious with chicken!!!!!

Quick, someone send me a new pair of flip-flops!

Piri Piri Chicken

6 Sep

I don’t have cable tv. I know. I’m crazy.

The result of not having cable tv is that whenever I am somewhere that has tv I am glued to it. I mainly watch the food channel. Not those reality or competition cooking shows. My thing are the good old-fashioned shows (not sure a tv show can be called old fashion, but you get the point) that feature regular recipes, chefs that write cook books that real people use, and no drama. It’s going to sound cheesy, but I find inspiration in these shows. Sometimes ingredient combination ideas lay foundation for delicious creations. Sometimes a certain kind of food is something I never knew how to cook or even considered. Other times it is just a down right amazing sounding recipe and I NEED to make it as is. This last scenario happened this past weekend.

Jamie Oliver – love him. He has some new show I didn’t know about (it may not even be new – I am so lame without cable). 30 minute meals. Amazing! Who doesn’t need a new tasty meal that only takes 30 minutes?

Last weekend was piri piri chicken. I immediately craved it. This recipe is superb! and very quick and easy.

Piri Piri Chicken (courtesy of Jamie Oliver)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 large bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (if you can’t get large ones just double up on small ones, I did this and just made a bit more sauce)

1 red pepper cut into large chunks

1 yellow pepper cut into large chunks

cilantro for garnish

Piri Piri Sauce:

1/2 a red onion

2 cloves of garlic

hot peppers (what I used was 1 habanero pepper, seeded, an inch of a mirasol pepper with the seeds – the result? it was spicy, but not too spicy, totally tolerable. Really use any kind of hot peppers you want)

1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika

juice of a lemon

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp worcestershire sauce (can anyone actually pronounce this?)

1/2 cup basil leaves

Turn the oven on to 400 degrees.

Take the chicken thighs and place them on a cutting board skin side down. Cut a slit on either side of the bone and two slit running across the bone (don’t cut all the way through). This is sort of butterflying your chicken, it will spread out evenly and flat in the pan and the bottom will soak up more of the sauce.

Heat a fry pan or griddle pan to medium high heat. Pour in a splash of olive oil. Place the chicken thighs skin side down and cook until browned and crispy (about 10 minutes). Flip over and cook for another 5 minutes.

While your chicken is cooking place all the ingredients for the sauce into a food processor and puree. Then add 2 tbsp of water and puree again. (the water will account for any steam lost in the oven).

Pour the sauce into a baking dish that will snugly fit the chicken. Place the chicken in the dish skin side up and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Discard any grease in the sauce pan. Turn the burner to high and toss in the peppers. Saute them until they are seared.

Scatter the peppers over the chicken and garnish with cilantro.

This dish was amazing! I brought it for lunch the next day and started eating it at 9:30 a.m.

Expect another recipe from this episode next. Sweet potato mash with feta and cilantro! I can’t be stopped!!!! Thank you Jamie!

oh ya, happy back to school. Make this on a school night. It’s fast and tasty!

Seafood Paella

8 Aug

So I hit a bit of a bloggers block. Somewhere between work, wedding, and…oh geeze I wish I had another word that starts with w…. I’m going to blame the heat wave – if you live in Toronto, or anywhere in central Canada or the U.S. you know what I’m talking about. Thankfully our home (that was built in 1888) has central air. Clearly I am living super authentically in my victorian home.

Anyways I am back with a mighty fine seafood dish. Seafood Paella to be exact. A year ago we took a trip to Spain. Specifically France, with a brief pass through of Spain, but more on that later. For now we’re talking about Spain. In Spain one evening we had dinner outdoors with some wonderful friends and we had paella.

We are having a nice summer here in Ontario, but it’s no Spain. So the other night we had our friends we were in Spain with over for an outdoor Spanish dining fiesta! OLE! (I don’t speak Spanish, can you tell?). We got spanish beer, they brought spanish wine, we started with smoked paprika shrimp (b/c if it’s got paprika on it then it’s Spanish right?), and we had this seafood paella.  I highly recommend you do the same. STAT!

Feel free to change any of the seafood, or add something that’s your favourite that I didn’t put in. I often leave out the mussels or the scallops, but I’m trying to give you guys the gold standard here (I hope this makes up for my absence).

Seafood Paella

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1 cup arborio rice

4 cups of seafood stock (recipe follows at the bottom – or buy seafood stock)

1 cup dry white wine (this is for going in the food, not your wine glass. Just a little hint for all you lushes out there – although I would be the best recipe creator EVER if I actually said you need a cup of wine in your glass for sipping while cooking to make the recipe work….I think I am onto something)

1 onion, diced

1/2 bulb of fennel, sliced

1 tbsp smoked paprika

a pinch of saffron threads soaked in 1 tablespoon of warm water

1 lb large shrimp (peeled – i usually leave the tails on b/c it looks nicer, but you could be more considerate and forgo aesthetics for your guests convenience of not having to pull off the tails. To each their own. I prefer to make people work harder if it looks nicer when I serve. I’m a bit of an asshole apparently). ***Save the shrimp shells if you are making the seafood stock from scratch.

1/2 lb of calamari (do not use the breaded kind that is served with cocktail sauce or I may personally come over and smack you. Get fresh or frozen straight-up calamari), sliced into rings with tentacles separated (I just mean don’t slice the tentacles, keep them intact, they look super cool when cooked)

1 lb mussels, rinsed

2 smoked chorizo sausages, sliced

1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup frozen green peas

lemon wedges and parsley for garnish

Sorry for the wordy ingredient list. I have missed you all dearly and just can’t stop rambling.

Toss the shrimp, calamari and scallops in some olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Heat a BBQ or a grill pan to medium-high heat and grill for a few minutes on each side until cooked through. Set aside on a plate and cover with foil.

Heat a large pan to medium-high heat. Pour in a glug (yup, real measurement….I’m so scientific) of olive oil and saute the onions and fennel for a few minutes until slightly softened. Add the arborio rice, paprika and saffron threads with water and continue to saute for about 2 minutes. Add the cup of wine and stir until the wine has been fully absorbed by the rice. Add the seafood stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring while it absorbs. Repeat when all the liquid has absorbed until you have used 3 cups of the stock (if chosing option 1) or 4 cups of stock if chosing option 2).

There are 2 ways of dealing with the mussels: (option 2 is fail-safe if you’re a first time mussel steamer)

Option 1: Place the mussels in the rice with the hinge (the part that will stay closed when they open) down and the top of the mussel (the part that opens) sticking straight up. Add in the remaining 1 cup of liquid, cover with a lid and allow to steam until the mussels open.

Option 2: You can get a large pot, pour in one cup of water with one cup of wine toss in the mussels, bring to a boil and cover and let steam until the mussels open. Then add them to the Paella at the very end just before serving.

Whatever you do, be sure to discard any mussels that do not open. They will make you very very sick.

Stir in the cherry tomatoes, peas, grilled seafood and chorizo. Combine and serve when all those delicious ingredients you just added are warmed through.

Serve with some lemon wedges on the side and sprinkle some parsley on top.

I recommend you consume this with copious amounts of sangria. It’s really just a suggestion though. I may not be the best influence when it comes to appropriate sangria consumption amounts.

Seafood Stock (this stock is all Ina Garten – that women is way too clever) – I use this stock in so many different dishes, it is so versatile and delicious!

makes 4 cups

ingredients:

the shells of 1 lb of large shrimp

2 yellow onions, roughly chopped

2 carrots, roughly chopped

3 stalks fo celery, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

6 cups of water

1/2 cup of dry white wine

1/3 cup tomato paste

1 tsp sea salt

10 grinds of black pepper

10 sprigs of fresh thyme.

Heat a stock pot to medium high heat and pour in a glug of olive oil. Toss in the shrimp shells, onion, carrot and celery and saute until slightly softened. Add the garlic and continue to saute for 2 minutes. Add the water, white wine, tomato paste, salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 1 hour. Strain through a sieve pressing the solids to get all the liquid. If you don’t have 4 cups of liquid simply make up the difference with water or wine (I would go with wine. Duh!)

This freezes beautifully. I often make it if I am making a shrimp dish. I hate throwing out perfectly good shrimp shells when I have this recipe in my repertoire!

There you have it. Spain at home. If you are thinking, um, Katie, you just made risotto, not paella, well I have two things to say 1) stop blocking my creativity, and 2) this is cabbagetown people, not Spain. I have made it the way you are supposed to in the past. This way is better. Go with it.

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