Szechuan Braised Cod

19 Nov

It is taking every ounce of my being these days to not haul out my christmas boxes, turn on the carols and watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation on repeat. I promised Mark that I would wait until after American thanksgiving. Sometimes I’m such an idiot. My new potterybarn christmas doormat came in the mail last week. Ten bucks says it’s on the front porch by the end of the day. Not sure why I bother making these promises.

Not only is Szechuan braised cod easy and delicious. It also happens to be red, garnished with green. See what’s happening here?

Szechuan Braised Cod (from Fine Cooking)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb of black cod, cut into 4 even pieces

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp corn starch

3/4 cup chicken broth

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp ketchup (remember when i said I hate ketchup. I still do. I love this recipe and it has ketchup. FAIL.)

2 eggs beaten

10 dried whole red chilis (if you don’t have dried, you can use just 10 small red chilis)

4 green onions, sliced (set aside the sliced white parts)

1 1/2 tbsp ginger (grate it like i suggest here)

In a bowl mix the 2 tbsp of cornstarch with the vinegar, chicken broth, soy sauce and ketchup.

In a shallow bowl spread out the 1/2 cup of cornstarch. In another shallow bowl beat the two eggs. Heat a fry pan to medium high heat and put in a couple of tablespoons of oil. Dredge the fish in the cornstarch, then soak the fish in the egg on all sides. Place the fish into the pan and fry on each side until fish is browned. Transfer the fish to another plate.

Add a little bit more oil to the pan if necessary and saute the chilis, white parts of the green onion and the ginger for about a minute. Give the liquid mixture you previous combine a quick stir and pour into the pan, it should come to a boil and start to thicken quickly. When this happens turn the heat down to medium-low, return the fish to the pan, making sure each piece has been coated in the sauce. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for another 5 minutes until the fish flakes.

Serve the fish over jasmine rice (spooning extra sauce over each piece) and sprinkle with the remainder of the sliced green onion.

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.

Vegetarian Enchiladas

15 Nov

I’ve returned from my transformation from Miss. P to Mrs. T. I didn’t forget about all of you, I just needed some time to get my act together in the wedding department so that I wasn’t showing up nude to a dinner of salteens and waters for 185 of my closest friends and family. Then I needed some time to lie on a beach, eat great food that I didn’t have to cook and drink blueberry mojitos. Ya, you heard that right. Blueberry mojitos. I will now spend countless hours trying to recreate these. Just what I need to be doing with my spare time. Fail.

So veggie enchiladas. I had never eaten an enchilada until i made these. (stay with me). I could not stop talking about them after my first bite. To the point where it was probably pretty annoying to be Mark, who was eating next to me, because I droned on all dinner about how good they were and how did I never know about enchiladas? Ya, the translation is I basically spent the entire dinner patting myself on the back for making such a win. I then proceeded to phone him the next day while I was eating them again for lunch and re-enact the entire self-praise thing over the phone. I’m a real gem.

Vegetarian Enchiladas (adapted from Jessica’s recipe at How Sweet Eats)

Serves 4 very hungry people

Ingredients:

1 onion finely diced

1 red pepper finely diced

1 green pepper finely diced

2 portobello mushroom caps, finely diced

1 cup of frozen corn kernels

1 tins of black beans, drained

2 tins of red enchilada sauce (around here we use the hot kind)

1 tin of refried beans

8 large whole wheat tortillas (or if you prefer to live on the edge you can get white flour tortillas)

a handful of shredded cheese (feel free to be very generous with your handful, you may want to do a few)

In a large pan saute the onion, peppers, mushroom and potato until soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the corn, black beans, 1 tin of the enchilada sauce and the refried beans. Stir to combine and heat through.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Grease a large baking dish. Assemble your enchiladas by placing some filling in a tortilla and rolling it, continue with all 8 tortillas and snuggle them all into the pan side by side.

Cover with the remaining tin of enchilada sauce and then sprinkle the handful of grated cheese over top. Bake for 1/2 an hour.

I like to serve with some sour cream (lie. I typically substitute greek yogurt for sour cream – healthy and tasty) and guacamole.

I’m going to be more of a regular on this little blog of mine. I promise.

Chicken Stew with Chive Dumplings

3 Oct

There are times when you stumble across something and it makes you so happy and you feel like it is just meant to be. And then for reasons of the universe (in this case entirely weather related) you’re separate for what seems like an eternity. And then when you finally do reunite it is that much sweeter. I just described my relationship with chicken and dumplings. A late winter discovery. My complete inability to pull out  my dutch oven when it’s 25 degrees out. The result = our separation. But, now we’re…..reunited and it feels so good, reunited cause we understood, there’s one perfect fit…..Peaches & Herb…..anybody? anybody? Bueller? ……Awkward.

So ya, comfort food. I had some dental work done recently and chewing really isn’t my strong suit right now (neither is not complaining about said dental work, but what can ya do?). It was also 6 degrees on Sunday morning. yes, I said 6 degrees. Ridiculous! Not only is this warm, comforting and requires very little chewing, but it also makes your house smell heavenly.

Chicken and Chive Dumplings (from Smitten Kitchen)

Serves 6 to 8 people

Ingredients:

Stew:

5 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (for me, this meant 16 thighs), seasoned generously with salt and pepper

4 tbsp olive oil

4 tbsp butter (yup, butter, real butter, i don’t cook with it often so savour this moment folks)

2 leeks, sliced** (see the notes at the bottom about slicing and rinsing leeks for this recipe)

1 large onion, diced

6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup dry sherry (you can substitute brandy if you don’t have sherry)

4 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup whole milk (it’s important you don’t use skim or low-fat milk here )

1 tsp fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1 cup frozen green peas

3 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves, chopped

Dumplings:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup fresh chives, finely chopped

1 cup whole milk

3 tbsp reserved chicken fat (bear with me, you will get this during the cooking process for the stew – so don’t go asking your local food store for reserved chicken fat like a crazy person)

For the stew: Heat a dutch oven on the stove to medium-high heat. Pour in 2 tbsp of olive oil and place half of the chicken thighs in the pot, skin side down. Cook until skin has browned (about 5 to 7 minutes), then flip and brown the other side. Remove to a platter and repeat with the rest fo the chicken. Once you have removed the chicken from the pot remove all the skin and discard.

Drain the chicken fat into a heat-proof bowl (I say heat proof b/c there may have been a plastic tupperware and scalding chicken fat situation at one point – melted plastic does not a tasty dinner make). Return the dutch oven to the stove, still at medium-high heat and put the butter in the pot. Once the butter is melted add the onions and leeks. Saute until soft (about 5 minutes). Stir in the flour. Then whisk in the sherry, being sure to scrape up any brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Add the milk and chicken broth and whisk so there are no lumps. Add the bay leaf and thyme and all the chicken (including any juices that have accumulated on the platter). Make sure all the chicken is nicely nestled in the pot, cover and let simmer for 1 hour.

During this time take a nap or something. Just don’t make the dumpling batter until right before you are about to use it. It doesn’t do it any good to sit around for an hour.

After the hour, remove the chicken to a platter (if you’re using the same one clean it – salmonella does not make you friends). Remove all the meat from the bone and return the meat to the pot, discard the bone. Add the peas and tarragon to the pot.

For the dumplings: Now you can make the dumpling batter. In a bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt and chives. Add the milk to your reserved chicken fat and microwave until it is warm (30 to 45 seconds). Add the milk and chicken fat to the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until entirely incorporated.

Return the stew to a simmer. Using a spoon, place golf ball size portions of the dumpling batter onto the top of the stew. Leave about a 1/4 of an inch between each dumpling. Place the lid on the dutch over and allow to simmer until the dumplings have doubled in size, about 15 minutes.

This isn’t exactly a weeknight wonder. It’s a tad time-consuming and it’s worth every single second!

Thanks to some good antibiotics and the miracle I like to call Advil, I think I am headed for more solid food, and thankfully, a wedding day that doesn’t involve a chipmunk cheek! Oh happy day!!!!!

***How to slice a leek. Cut off the green end and discard. Slice the leek lengthwise up the middle. Then slice the leek into crescent-shaped circles across the bottom. Now that you’re got the layers separated into small slices you need to rinse the leek. Leeks tend to have sand between their layers. It’s important before you use them to rinse them. Separate the layers and soak them in a bowl of water. This allows all the sand to fall to the bottom. Then drain the water and dry them in a tea towel.

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!

Smashed Sweet Potato with Feta and Cilantro

12 Sep

I’m starting to think if you’re not a cilantro fan this blog isn’t very kind to you. Oops!  I’ll try to post some recipes that aren’t as heavy on it. This on could easily do without it. You could add parsley instead or just leave it out all together.

A lot of the time speed and simpleness outweighs creativity when it comes to side dishes when I’m at the helm. We eat a ton of sweet potato, but usually in the form of oven fries or just plain mashed. I know, yawn.

Smashed Sweet Potato with Feta and Cilantro (courtesy of Jamie Oliver)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 large sweet potatoes, quartered

1 yellow potato, quartered

1/2 a lemon

1/4 cup water

2 ounces feta cheese

1 fresh red chili, seeded and finely diced (or you could always use chili flakes if you don’t have a fresh chili)

1/3 cup of fresh cilantro

In a pot place the sweet and yellow potato and 1/2 a lemon. Make sure they all fit nice and snug. Put 1/4 cup of water in the bottom.

Place a lid on the pot, bring the water to a boil – this will take 2 secs, it’s only 1/4 cup of water. Then turn to medium high heat and steam the potatoes for about 15 minutes until completely cooked through. (You can also do this in the microwave. Just use a microwave safe dish with a tightly fitting lid and microwave on high for 15 minutes).

Get out a large cutting board (I use this cutting board to chop the chili and then just leave the chopped chili right on the board). put your cilantro on top of the diced chili and run your knife through it a few times so it’s roughly chopped. Place the feta on top and do the same to the feta.

Toss the lemon and drain any excess liquid from the pot. mash the potato very roughly with a fork. Turn the potatoes onto the cutting board on top of the other ingredients and chop and mix. This is very rough, no need to have smoothly mash potato. Just chop to mix in the cilantro, feta and chili.

Serve right off the cutting board.

How’s that for a spicy Monday?

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