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!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Liege Waffles

Oh man - if you ever make Waffles, or even if you never have (borrow or buy a waffle maker NOW!)....  forget about the recipe you have. Just toss it out the window, throw it on the floor, rip it up, stomp on it. Even if it's your great-grandmothers famous secret recipe, there's no way it's as good as these waffles!!!

I was watching a countdown of America's best Food Trucks the other day, and they featured a Belgian Waffle truck - Wafles & Dinges. Now this guy is from Belgium. And he says there's not really such a thing as Belgian waffles, because there are two different kinds. One is from Brussels, and it has beaten egg whites so it's light and fluffy. The other is from Liege, and this one is made with a TON of yeast and a special kind of large grain sugar, so it's crispy and chewy. SAY NO MORE. My goodness.

I used the Liege recipe from this blog with a couple modifications. I didn't even know where to start looking for the special sugar, so I subbed in normal sugar and used a little less - about 1/2 cup. I wasn't going to have time to make the whole recipe in the morning, so the night before I made the sponge part and put it right in the fridge. It rose just fine! My dough was more on the sticky/runny side so I just used an ice cream scoop to transfer it to the grill and they were the perfect size!

These waffles freeze very well - just reheat them in a toaster or toaster oven and you're good to go. They also really love fruit and whipped cream. :) I will try the Brussels waffles soon, but I have my doubts. The yeasty taste of these waffles is so unique, I think this will be my recipe from now on.

Go make waffles!
The first half of the recipe is for the "sponge", or the yeast mixture.

Later on you add the "batter" which is pretty much like a cookie dough - butter, sugar, flour etc.

I borrowed my mom's ancient waffle-maker. It's probably about 25 years old!

I topped mine with Strawberry Preserves, Peaches, Whipped Cream, and ground Almonds for some extra crunchy texture.

Saturday, 21 July 2012


This is a sampling of the first real harvest I've had from my garden this summer. I planted all these things so long ago, and today the garden FINALLY gave back to me on the first day in a long time that I actually had time to weed the dang thing. The irony is not lost on me. It's so easy when you're nearing the end of winter and all you can do is promise to make time - in your mind everything will bear fruit, the garden will always be neat and tidy, and you will enjoy the hard labour. This is the second year in a row that my garden has been less than abundant. But now I know that at this point my other responsibilities are too distracting and too time consuming. It's not a matter of trying harder or being better at it (alright... maybe my green-thumb-skills could stand some improving), I just have to wait my turn and one day I'll enter a new phase where I have the time to make the vision in my head a reality.

I think if I ever manage to build up something that could be considered a little homestead, I'd probably have to name it Laughingstock. Haphazard and unorthodox, my execution of plans can be all over the map sometimes. I don't usually get the results I want, but I do learn from things that happen. Not all my mistakes this year were due to a lack of time - just lack of wisdom. For example, next year I will only plant things that are really important to me (radishes? forget you), and I will label them well. You might see in the centre of my basket a teeny tiny onion - the only of my Spring Onions to survive, thanks to my moms way-ward Kale plants. If I had put up a real marker, and not just two sticks marking the rows I probably could have had more of them. Maybe even actually in Spring.

I'm hoping that when the day comes where my full time occupation is staying home to take care of a family, house, and garden (chickens included!), I will remember the lessons I'm learning in this stage and be able to avoid them.

*on a side note that I find hilarious: we had some squash plants of some sort (yet to be determined) sprout up in a spot where our compost pile used to be, and they are THRIVING, whereas the zucchini and butternut plants I actually started indoors and lovingly transplanted are not. What the?

Strawberry Shortcakes

Strawberry season won't be around for much longer for those of us here in Coastal BC. Sure there are some late-summer varieties on their way, but by that time we'll be neck deep in cherries, peaches, and tomatoes. So QUICK run out and buy yourself another basket of those plump local berries and make these Strawberry Shortcakes!

Events that require my baking/cooking skills often like to pounce on me last minute, especially in summer when gatherings of friends and families are spur of the moment, often based on weather. That usually sends me sprinting to the computer, hurriedly looking up delicious dishes that are also a snap to make. That's how I found this shortcake recipe from Martha Stewart.

A shortcake is essentially a biscuit that's been sweetened a little, so they come together fast and bake quickly. All you have to do after that is cut them in half and fill them with something sweet and something fluffy. Aka strawberries and whip cream. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Book Review: An Everlasting Meal, by Tamar Adler

Cooking with Economy and Grace

That's the subtitle. Economy and Grace are two words which don't always go together in this world. And the word Economy combined with Cooking can make some people turn up their noses, and shudder with visions of beans and rice. I don't turn up my nose at the thought of cooking with economy, but I used to shudder every time I had to try to turn leftovers into a brand new meal.

Whenever I get a new cookbook, I try to read it like a novel. I look at the pictures, start forming ideas in my mind of what they will taste like, then read over the ingredients and directions with as much focus as if I were reading the final epic rescue in an Outlander book! I'm not sure if I would technically classify this book as a cookbook. There are recipes printed in standard format, but there's so much more than that. Most of the recipes are just ideas mentioned in a brief passing sentence - yet somehow the instructions are perfectly clear. I love that after reading this book I don't have to remember the recipes that are in it - the way the ingredients are written about in such detail, anytime I come across a bit of leftover whatever a trigger is set off reminding me that I don't need to throw this away, there are plenty of things I could do with it that may even be better than the original dish!

An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace
Photo from

 For anyone who wants to learn to feel natural and at ease in the kitchen - for those newer cooks who are nervous about cooking without recipes or measurements but want to break free, and also for those who want to eat really well but spend less, I recommend this book. I recommend it like crazy! (I know that doesn't make sense). One of the reviews on the back says this, and I really like the description, "A book can't necessarily teach you how to [cook with culinary intuition], but An Everlasting Meal will almost certainly inspire you to teach yourself." I don't completely agree though - I think this book goes a long way to teaching culinary intuition.

This is a book for the new cook, the novice foodie, and anyone stuck in a rut needing to lose the frills and remember what food actually tastes like.