Sunday, 18 November 2012

Eggnog Scones, anybody?

Well hello! I thought you might be interested.

I'm not talking Eggnog flavored scones either. This is the real deal. Made with actual Eggnog.

Want some more good news? There aren't very many ingredients. No cutting in of butter, no kneading - they practically make themselves! (Maybe that's an exaggeration)

Two warnings before you get started.
1 - The dough for these scones is a lot 'goopier' than most. So on that note,
2 - Try your hardest to stir gently and don't add extra flour. Otherwise they will get tough, and no one wants a scone that they have to rip at with their teeth. You'll probably have to use your freezer before you can bake these suckers.

Eggnog Scones
makes 8 large or 16 small

2 1/2 cups of flour
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/4 cup eggnog
1 tsp. rum or rum extract

1) Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl
2) Add eggnog and rum, and using a spatula, gently fold until ingredients are just combined.
3) Transfer dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment, and pat into a circle about 1 inch thick (or slightly less). Cut all the way through in desired shapes/amounts, and freeze for 1 hour.
4) Preheat oven to 375. Remove scones from freezer, re-cut, and arrange on baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with sugar, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a tooth pick comes out clean.

*5) If you want to go overboard on the eggnog, make an icing! Start with 1/4 cup of eggnog, and keep adding icing sugar until it reaches the desired consistency :)

Enjoy your Eggnog coma!

Cut, then freeze.

 A tip I've found with scones (cream based, at least) - they always bake higher and fluffier when baked from frozen. When I bake mine straightaway after mixing, they always turn out rather flat and dense.

A Unique Pumpkin Trifle. Yes. More Pumpkin!

Apparently people aren't sick of new pumpkin recipes yet! Well this one is truly unique - in all my searching I've never found a recipe similar. It has a distinct pumpkin-ness while feeling light as a cloud and a little spicy at the same time. Even if you eat more than your pumpkin-y self should be forced to eat in one siting, it's so airy that you may not even notice.

Observe: Angel Food cake stands in for Pound cake. Pumpkin Custard takes the place of Pudding. Even the whip cream has the added twist of pulverized candied ginger - which is a real treat! It all comes together to form a gloriously Autumnal-looking dessert.
(I'm just full of hyphenations and suffixes today!)

Pumpkin Trifle
For an 8 cup bowl

1 Angel Food Cake (no judgments if you buy it. The use a LOT of egg whites)
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup corn syrup (if corn syrup freaks you out, you CAN leave it out. Substitute 1/4 cup sugar)
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup candied ginger, plus extra for garnish

1) Cut cake into slightly-larger-than-bite-sized cubes

2) Whisk together milk, pumpkin, cornstarch, corn syrup, ginger, and cinnamon in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until boiling and slightly thickened.

3) Whisk egg yolks with vanilla, and whisk into pumpkin mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes, or until thick. It will thicken a bit more while it sits in the fridge, but make SURE it's still close to pudding texture at this point. Place a piece of waxed paper directly on the surface and chill for 2 - 4 hours, until completely cool.

4) Whip 1/2 cup of cream until soft peaks form - fold into cooled pumpkin.

5) Pulse sugar with ginger in a food processor until very few lumps remain. Whip remaining cream with ginger sugar until thick peaks form.

6) Layer 1/2 cake, 1/2 pumpkin, 1/2 cream. Repeat. 

7) Chop up remaining ginger into small pieces and use to garnish. Refrigerate until serving!

Look how pretty!!

I used a toothpick to make swirly designs in the whip cream. I still can't decide whether I like it or not.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Huevos Rancheros... ish

If I said "the Holiday Season is now upon us" I probably wouldn't get a lot of argument these days. Yes, it's only the middle of November, but I think for most people it's close enough that the words Christmas Shopping cause sweaty palms and mental checklists to appear. You've probably already got your first get-together or party lined up in the cross-hairs, am I right? If you're feeling a bit of pressure in the next few weeks and cooking dinner is the absolute LAST thing on your mind, read on for an easy and filling dinner.
A rushed version of Huevos Rancheros. If you're okay with eating eggs for dinner then by all means, give this a shot! You likely have all the ingredients in you cupboards anyway!

Please excuse the poor picture quality. As I've said before, I don't think eggs photograph well so I didn't put in a lot of effort!

What you need:
- A large can of diced tomatoes
- Salsa
- 4 eggs (for two people)
- Rice/Quinoa
Those are the bare minimum.

See? Eggs are ugly, right? But boy are they delicious!

 1) If you have some fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, or peppers, dice those babies up and sautee them in some oil in the largest skillet you have! Set your grain of choice a-cooking while you finish up.
2) Add the can of tomatoes, and pour on as much salsa as your little heart desires. Give it a good stir and on medium-high heat, bring it to a simmer.
3) Once the mixture is good and hot, crack your eggs right in there! Reduce heat to medium-low, pop a lid on that bad-boy, and wait for your eggs to cook! You can season with salt, pepper, and/or paprika at this point if you want. If you want very cooked eggs, probably give it around 7-8 minutes. If you like a runny yolk, poke at them around the 4-5 minute mark (you'll want the whites to have JUST finished cooking).

Top your rice/quinoa with this hearty concoction, and garnish with something green!

I want to say a Spanish version of Bon Apetit, but I just don't know what that would be so....


Thursday, 1 November 2012

Holiday Hostess Gift

November 1. Just like that, we're entering the official Holiday Season. Today, when you walk into stores and cafes, you just may hear some Christmas music in the rotation. The time of parties, feasting, visiting, and reflecting is here.

I know in our generation Host/Hostess Gifts seem to be a bit old fashioned and have fallen by the wayside, but they're still very important. Have you ever been a host and received a small gift from one of your guests? It makes you feel so appreciated - so much more so then just having some compliment the meal you've prepared or thank you for inviting them. A lot of time, effort, and often cash goes into hosting an event or even a small dinner party. Yes, it's true, that person chose to spend all that time, effort, and money - but aren't you thankful they did? And you made the guest list! Even if it's a potluck you're invited to, the hostess still had to prepare their home for entertaining, and when you leave they'll have a lot of cleaning up and dishes to do.

This year try bringing a small hostess gift to the first bash you're invited to, and just see if you don't get invited to the next one! Or get an extra large piece of dessert! You'll make someone's day - I promise.

Food-gifts are, in my opinion, the easiest gift to make yourself. But around the Holiday's it's tricky - everyone is being bombarded left and right with unhealthy packages and treats! The key is to find something that can be kept on the shelf for a month or two, to be on hand and ready to go when the receiver finally feels like eating baking/candy/chocolate again. Dry mixes and canned goods are just the ticket in these cases. If you didn't happen to can any fruit this year and you don't have a favorite baking recipe, there's no shame in buying it. It's the thought that counts.

But if you do want to get in on the DIY spirit, here's a little "tutorial" for you. Just be sure to attach instructions for the ingredients that need to be added, and how the item should be baked. Why don't you use my scone recipe? Only one ingredient needs to be added!

Here's what you need:
- a glass jar with a lid (you probably don't even need to buy one! Go through your recycling or check the expired condiments in the back of your fridge. Wash WELL)
- string/ribbon/elastic
- rounds of fabric or a few muffin liners
- paper and pen for the instructions
- dry ingredients. For the scone recipe go here.

- Mix all the dry ingredients and measure the final quantity so you know the size of jar you'll need.
- Carefully spoon mix into jars. If you have some contrasting colors you could layer them. You may need to gently bang the jar down onto the counter once or twice to get the ingredients to settle so you can fill the jar fuller.
- Top with a lid and cover with your cloth/muffin liner, and hold in place with an elastic or ribbon/string.
- Write or type out the instructions and use tape or glue to stick to your jar! You can fancy up the package by adding other pieces of paper or more ribbons.

Ta da!

A nice thing to do is pair two items. For example, I did Brown Sugar scones with Spiced Peach Jam. Another alternative is a Quick Bread and a Flavored Butter, or Dry Pasta and Spices with a jar of homemade Tomato Sauce. On my Christmas Wishlist this year is the book Edible DIY by Lucy Baker. It's full of wonderful ideas for just such things!

I would LOVE to know if anyone out there has ever given a similar hostess gift, and what the reaction was that you got! Ideas for other DIY gifts would also be great. Use the Comments section to share your story!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Candy. Nature's Candy, that is.

Before: Shiny wedges of goodness! If possible wear gloves and an apron while chopping these babies - I should add "Natural Dye" to the list of things the beet does!

There are a lot of foods out there that people are calling Nature's Candy. Like dates, grapes - any kind of fruit, really. But in my opinion, roasted beets are the sweetest natural candy there is! Raw they kind of taste like dirt. Or wood. Or cardboard, maybe. But when tossed in olive oil and roasted they become the sweetest, softest little jewels you've ever seen!

Bonus, they're in season right now. They're also insanely good for you - a Super Food, if you will. They have zero fat, zero calories... they give you energy and have loads of vitamins... they've been known to guard against cancer and heart disease... and there are so many ways to cook them! Roasted though is the easiest I think, and a wonderful addition to any meal. Please try it. You'll be doing yourself a huge favor!

No need to peel - just wash well and chop into chunks. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 425 for about an hour!

After: Caramelized, soft and juicy.

They're gorgeous little rubies!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

5 Ingredient Chocolate Slab

I call this Chocolate Slab because I just can't find another word to properly describe this dessert. It's technically a cake, but it's flourless so it's not fluffy at all. It could be considered a brownie, but it's not as dense and heavy as all that. I almost want to call it fudge except that it's too light, and not so sweet. It's a chilled, smooth, silky and creamy dream!

So slab it is.
5 ingredients, flourless, and a real breeze to make! (I know I've said that before and maybe to some of you I was lying, but this REALLY IS a breeze!)

200 g (7 oz) bittersweet/semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
200 g (7oz) unsalted butter
1/2 cup strong coffee
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar

1) Oven to 375. Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper, then grease.
2) Gently melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. When mostly melted, slowly stir in the coffee. Set aside to cool slightly.
2) In a mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar on medium-high until pale and doubled in volume.
3) Slowly stir in the melted chocolate mixture, and pour into your pan.
4) Bake 40 to 50 minutes, until the top is set and the cake feels firm. Cool, wrap it, and chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
Serves 8 - 10.

The cake in the picture was topped with a thin layer of Dulce de Leche and Whip Cream - if you can handle 7 ingredients, go for it!

Thursday, 25 October 2012


Sauerkraut - Day 1. Will add "after" picture when it's ready!
Growing up in a family where both sides are Mennonite through and through, Sauerkraut is no stranger to me. I'm always surprised when I hear that someone has never had sauerkraut, or is a little afraid of it due to it's "fermented" nature. It's quite the lovely condiment. True, I'm not as adventurous with it as some - I prefer to keep it simple. On hot dogs, with sausage, on top of pierogies, next to baked beans. It adds a mild sour tang, and a fantastic little crispy crunch! Mmm!

In keeping with this year's culinary theme of "A Stocked Homemade Pantry" (I didn't even realize that was the culinary theme of my year until just now. I didn't even know my year's HAD culinary themes!), I decided to try fermenting my own sauerkraut. With cabbage from my very own garden! *Side note: In my opinion, if the items in your freezer/pantry/jam jars aren't local or from your own yard, what's the point? You can get grocery-store strawberries all year round, there's no need to preserve THOSE cardboard-y things.*

If you feel like trying, it's actually quite simple. You don't even need a real 'recipe'. Just basic instructions:

1) Thinly slice some clean cabbage, reserving a few whole leaves, and put it in a large bowl and sprinkle it generously with some kind of coarse salt - maybe about 1 1/2 Tbsp. per small head of cabbage.
2) Let it sit for 20-40 minutes - you're looking for some water to start leaking out. Massage the cabbage and squeeze every now and then to extract as much water as possible.
*At this point you may no think you have enough water to cover the cabbage. Don't worry, it'll happen!*
3) Start packing the cabbage into litre jars, pressing down on the cabbage with as much force as you can muster every few layers, to release more water. When the jars are pretty much full, put a whole leaf or two on top of the cabbage to cover it. Smack the lid on that sucker and put in a cool, dark place.
4) Every 5 days, slowly open the jar to release some of the pressure, and then really quickly close it again. Somewhere around day 21 you can start tasting it. When it's at a strength you enjoy, pop it in the fridge and consume at will.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Squash Cake with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Thanksgiving may be over here in Canada, but we still have American Thanksgiving AND Christmas ahead of us. If you're on dessert-duty for one of these occasions this year and you're thinking "Everyone loves pumpkin pie, but sometimes after a big meal even that feels too heavy" then here's the cake for you!

It's a French cake, in that there's no leavening agent (read: baking powder/soda etc.) - the rise of the cake comes entirely from beaten egg whites. Another reason this cake is unique is the Corn Flour. That's right, this baby is gluten free (hip-hip hooray!). A unique mix of corn starch and corn flour are the 'dry' ingredients in this cake, and it gives it a more smooth, pumpkin-pie filling type texture. Not so much with the fluffy and the crumbs, which in my opinion is a grand change!

This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, French Taste by Laura Calder - you can find it here. Making it is a breeze and hardly takes any time at all. Orange zest and rum (I use dark spiced) perk up this cake and make it a real treat for dessert or breakfast ;) I've made this cake twice, once with pumpkin and once with butternut squash and I have to say: the squash is my favorite. It's a milder squash-y flavor and come on, look at that gorgeous yellow batter! Top it off with some cinnamon whipped cream and you've got yourself a new holiday favorite! Virtually guilt-free.

Monday, 22 October 2012


I really wanted to title this post "Leftovers" Frittata, because honestly that's what it is. But I figured a lot fewer people would read it if I did.

One of the things I'm learning about being frugal in the kitchen is the value of all the tiny portions of leftovers that some cooks might just throw away, and eggs.
A few tablespoons of leftover mashed squash, a spoonful of sauteed peppers and onions, a handful of chopped spinach - and voila! Frittata. The extras can be anything you happen to have left in your fridge. A cup of rice. Steamed broccoli. You could even strain leftover chunky soup and throw that in there too.

Once you have your leftovers gathered, whisk some eggs in a bowl. I'd say don't go fewer than 4, but it depends on your pan size and how many people you're trying to feed. Around 1 1/2 eggs per person. To the eggs add a generous splash of cream or milk (if you have some), a large grating of cheese (whatever kind you have!) and season well with salt and pepper.

Heat up an oven proof skillet and turn your oven to 375'. Over medium-high heat, add a dollop of butter - or even better, bacon fat! - and add your veggies once it's hot, just to give them a head start on warming up. Once they're reheated, switch the heat to medium-low and add your eggs. Let it bubble for a few seconds, just until a 'crust' starts to form on the bottom. Then pop that thing in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, depending how big you frittata is. It's done when it stops jiggling. Ta-da! A frugal lunch that is healthy and delicious!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Bulgur Salad

There's a fantastic sandwich shop in Gastown called Meat & Bread. They are famous for their Porchetta sandwich - roasted pork belly, cracklin's, and salsa verde on a freshly baked panini bun. If you are ever in the area, you really have to go there. And get the Ice Cream sandwich while you're there. Trust me. It's no regular sandwich.

The last time I was there, they had this amazing side salad - it was Almond Bulgur, with a fantastic Morrocan-esq dressing. This is my attempt at recreating it.

Almond Bulgur Salad

1 cup of cooked bulgur (there seem to be a few different methods on how to cook bulgur - I recommend buying a box/bag of it and just following their instructions)
4 sticks celery, chopped
1 apple, chopped (use one that's more on the tart side)
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup escarole or red cabbage, cut in long-ish strips
1/2 pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp. sliced almonds

- Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and then dress with the following dressing:

1/2 cup mayo
3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cumin
salt + pepper to taste

- Whisk well, and adjust mayo/vinegar ratios to suit your taste

Thursday, 6 September 2012


Cassoulet is a French dish typically made with some kind of meat and white beans. I like to think of it as the older, more sophisticated relative of Chili. (Does that make me sound like a snob? I do love a good chili, honest!)

I've been getting tired of the end-of-the-month scramble for a cheap dinner that is relatively healthy, so I decided to use those same frantic money-saving tactics at the START of the months, in hopes that we could eat a little more luxurious later on. Or at least save some cash for next month.

I happen to have a LOT of beans in my house. I always buy them because they're really cheap, but I'm not overly fond of them so usually they get pushed to the back of the pantry whenever possible. In my digging this week I came across a bag of white beans! These are probably the least offensive of all beans in my opinion. They're no too meaty, and they don't really have a taste when they're cooked until soft. I also had a few random chicken breasts and one lonely sausage in my freezer. Yay, Cassoulet!

Chicken, Sausage, and Bean Cassoulet
This recipe gave us dinner for two, and lunch for two.

2 large chicken breasts, diced
1 Italian sausage, cut in thin slices on the diagonal
1 Tbsp smoked paprika

- sautee in olive oil in a pan until almost cooked through. set aside
- in a large pot, sautee

1 onion, sliced
1-2 large garlic cloves
1 pepper, chopped (who cares what color! just.... maybe avoid green)

- when soft, add

1/3 cup roasted/sundried/diced fresh tomatoes (or same amount of anything tomatoey!)
1 can of beans in some kind of sauce
1 1/2 cups of cooked white beans
3 Tbsp BBQ sauce (or to taste)
Chicken and Sausage mixture

- stir well, then, if it`s pretty dry looking, add 3-4 cups of water.
- bring to a boil, then drop to a simmer until you`re ready to eat!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Zucchini Masquerading as Noodles

Looks like a delicious bowl of meaty, tomatoe-y pasta, right? I think not!
The gluten-free kick does not seem to be going away. Obviously we know now that a surprising majority of people are allergic to it to some degree, and now wheat is getting a bad rap and everyone is jumping on-board the gluten-free wagon. This makes me very sad because noodles and bread are some of the most versatile and budget-friendly foods out there. I also happen to believe that in moderation these carbs, while it's true they cannot be considered Health Food, will do you no harm and don't need to be feared. BUT since that kind of thinking can get a person rebuked these days I'll stay away from that and tell you why the gluten-free trend is a good thing. *Insert big dazzling smile here*

Avoiding gluten and carbs in your diet is an excellent way to get more creative in the kitchen, and to learn how to enjoy food in a new way. 
 Is it challenging? Oh heck yes. 
Will you feel like throwing all your pots and pans out the front door in a protest to cooking now and then? Most definitely. 

But if you can keep your emotions under control (and can lend yourself to logging a LOT of web time searching inspiration and recipes) you'll expand your horizons and become a better cook. Boy, all this just to introduce Exhibit A: Zucchini masquerading as noodles. Observe:

Pretty convincing, isn't it?
Now, unfortunately, I also have to sell you on another idea here. The Mandoline. If you've been hiding under a rock and think I'm talking about a musical instrument, allow me to enlighten you: A Mandoline is actually a cooking tool similar to a grater. Often it just has one straight blade for slicing vegetables to a certain thickness/thinness (see: potato chips). Sometimes, though, you can get different attachments that can cut your vegetables julienne (see: french fries) or even thinner, like.... noodle width? (see: below).
If you tilt your head to the left, it's a monster!
 A Mandoline is a very useful kitchen tool, and while it may not seem necessary it can sure save you a lot of time, and allow you to try new recipes like this one. They're not even that expensive! At your regular  grocery store they probably have one or two types for $10-20. As far as quality goes, they will always be super sharp but what you want is one with a blade that can adjust in thickness. A knob is best, but there's also the option of removable plates - this is probably the one that would come with the julienne or crinkle-cut (yes, crinkle cut!) attachments. I really think you should go buy a Mandoline... I really do. From the bottom of my heart. If you're having trouble justifying it, here are some ideas:
- Quickly slices cucumbers for a cucumber salad
- Thinly slice potatoes and beets for homemade chips
- Cut long, thing slices of carrot for coleslaw
- Obviously, cutting zucchini/squash to disguise themselves as spaghetti!
- OR.... cut a zucchini lengthwise and use it as a LASAGNA NOODLE! Say whaaaat?? You heard me. (Read me?)

This was a fantastically delicious and easy summer dinner. It's late summer here in BC, so if you have a garden your probably about to suffocate under a pile of zucchini and tomatoes, so... get your butt to the store and buy some Ricotta!
1) Stir some crushed garlic and salt into your ricotta
2) Slices tomatoes (don't try them on the Mandoline, please - it'll be a massacre) and zucchini (I don't care how good your knife skills are...the Mandolines skills are way better)
3) Stack, and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with more salt!

Fresh, healthy, cheap, filling lasagna!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Strawberry + Pavlova Trifle

For a light and easy summer dessert to use the last of those strawberries, look no further than a Strawberry Pavlova trifle!!

Strawberries, sliced and tossed with a bit of sugar
Heavy Cream, whipped and sweetened
Small Meringues, torn

I've found that when it comes to trifle, there are varying opinions on whether it should be mainly whipped cream/pudding, or whether it should be packed full of fruit and cake with the cream only used to make distinctions between layers. Therefore, I'm going to leave the amounts up to you - based on the size of your trifle bowl. But a good place to start is an equal amount of everything, and then discover your own personal taste from there. Delicious!!

Friday, 27 July 2012

Teriyaki Steak Marinade + Master Stirfry Sauce

I'd like to share with you two recipes that will prove very useful. And very tasty. And they go together REALLY well.
The first is my mom's famous Teriyaki Steak Marinade. I grew up eating steak this way, and the first time I ever tried a steak that was NOT my moms I was extremely disappointed. I also felt very bad for all the people out there who have been eating plain steak all this time! Well enough is enough, this is the only way you'll ever need to eat your steak (Well, it couldn't hurt to combine it with my Dad's perfect fire-pit grilling skills). Here's another tip: Costco sells REALLY good thick steaks. Just sayin'.

Teriyaki Steak Marinade
Serves 6

2/3 c.  soy sauce
1/2c. brown sugar, packed
1/4c. sake or sherry
2 tbsp. cooking oil
1tsp. or more minced fresh ginger (or powder)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 1/2 lbs. round steak or sirloin, thick as possible

1) Combine first 8 ingredients in deep bowl, stir well.
2) Poke holes all over with fork. Turn and repeat. Let stand for 30 min. Cut steak into serving size pieces. Add to bowl. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for 1-2 days (the longer the better!).
3) Before cooking let stand at room temp for 30 min. Cook on med-hot grill, brushing with marinade and turning occasionally.

Note: you can also mix everything and put it in a ziplock bag for freezing. Just defrost and grill it up!

Leftovers of this steak are excellent when added to a stirfry, or gently reheated in a frying pan with eggs! Mmmmhmmmmm!

Oh yeah, Teriyaki Steak IN the stirfry!
The second recipe is a Master Stirfry sauce. You mix up a great big batch and keep it in your fridge, then pour it on things at random and it'll magically turn them into fantastic dinners!!! Well, that's debatable BUT it does go well with a lot of things. I came across this recipe while on an Alaskan Cruise. I was feeling very sea sick so I went to our room to lie down and I watched Ming Tsai's cooking show. The thought of this sauce actually made me think that maybe I COULD eat dinner tonight after all! It's a garlic-ginger-scallion sauce - extremely fragrant and fantastically delicious.

Master Stirfry Sauce
1/2 cup minced garlic
1/2 cup minced ginger
1 cup sliced scallions (green + white parts)
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup soya sauce
4 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp sesame oil

1) In a very hot wok, heat grapeseed or vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and ginger and stirfry until soft. Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
2) Add the dry sherry and soy sauce and reduce by about 25%.
3) Add the scallions and chicken stock and reduce by about 50%.
4) Let cool briefly then blend in a food processor or blender, as smooth as possible and slowly add sesame oil. Pour into a jug or container and keep in the fridge! Add it to your stirfry near the end, so the vegetables finish cooking in the hot liquid.

Best of both worlds.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Thai Fried Rice

I love rice. I really, really love rice. When I was little, my mom used to make a lot of Asian-type dishes, so we had rice quite often. I loooooove rice. My half-Filipino husband, not so much. He grew up with a LOT of rice, and could now care less about it. Which is too bad. Because I LOVE rice.

So here, I'll give you two recipes for really easy (and super delicious!) Thai Fried Rice.

The first is from Tamar Adler's book An Everlasting Meal. It`s meat-less and has lots of delicious herbs!

1 Tbsp peanut oil
2 shallots, sliced into thin rounds
1 Thai bird’s-eye chile (the small red ones), sliced into thin rounds and seeded
2 cloves garlic, smashed once or twice
1 cup yesterday’s cooked rice
½ cup chopped cucumber, radish, or green tomato
2 cups chopped cilantro or a combination of basil, cilantro, and mint
A big squeeze of lime, plus wedges for serving
½ tsp sugar
2 tsps Thai fish sauce
Optional: 1 fried egg per person

1) Heat the oil in as wide a pan or wok as possible. You need enough hot surface area for every grain to fry. Once the oil has begun to smoke, add the shallots, chile, and garlic, then immediately add the rice. Spread it out over the whole surface of the pan. Salt it lightly.
2) When it seems like every grain has had time alone with the hot pan, scoop the rice into the middle of the pan, add the rest of the ingredients, and toss it all well. Serve with a lime wedge per bowl. Add the fried egg on top.

The second recipe is very similar, but has minced beef and loads of basil. I enjoy both recipes, but I like this one better as a more filling meal. It`s from Molly Wizenberg`s blog, Orangette. You can find it here. I don`t have a picture of this one because it smelled too good and I ate it before I realized I should have taken a picture. Then again, fried rice looks like fried rice so - probably not a terrible loss!
Shallots make everything better


I`m not really sure how to make a big ol`egg look appetizing.... just trust me!

Happy Stirfrying!