Tag Archives: Recipes

Cherry Galette

Here, have a recipe. This has been sitting in my drafts for months. I’m such a slacker.

Cherry Galette

pastry

  • 1¾ cups flour
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup butter
  • cold water

mix flour and salt together. cut in butter with pastry blender. add water 1 tbsp at a time until everything sticks. divide in half. put one half in the fridge to chill. put the other half in the freezer so you can skip the pastry-making step the next time you want to make this. or you can make something else with it. regardless, pre-prepared pie crust.

(sidenote: maybe someone told you pie crust is hard to make? it’s so not. it’s like 4 ingredients, and one of those is water. just don’t start kneading it like it’s bread dough and you’ll be good.)

cherry filling

  • 30 cherries, pitted and halved (cherry pitter, ftw)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp tapioca

mix everything together, and let sit until all the sugar has dissolved and cherries have macerated.

roll out pastry, place in pie plate. add filling. fold pastry into center over the filling.
brush with water and sprinkle with demerara sugar.

bake for ~30min at ~400°F. more or less. you know.

Cinnamon Buns

Cinnamon BunsRecipe source: out of my head. MasterChef, here I come 😉

In small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of warm water, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp honey, and 1 tbsp yeast. Set aside for a few minutes until the yeast puffs up.

In a medium-size bowl, stir ½ tsp salt into 2 cups unbleached flour.

Add yeast mixture to flour and combine. Turn your dough ball out onto a floured surface for kneading. The dough will be on the wet side at this point, but I think it’s much easier to add more flour to too-wet dough than to add more water to too-dry dough. ymmv. So, that said, have more flour on hand to dust the dough with as you knead. When it gets sticky, add more flour. Knead dough for about 5 minutes.

Coat your dough ball in more olive oil and place in a bowl to rise. (Don’t skip this step or you’ll be sad when you go to remove your risen dough from the bowl and it’s stuck.) Cover dough/bowl with a towel and place in a warm spot to rise. Come back in an hour. Set a timer so you don’t forget.

While you’re waiting, you can prepare the filling. Melt ½ cup butter. Mix in: 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg,  ⅛ tsp cloves, ⅔ cup dried cranberries, ⅓ cup walnuts.

Ding!

Ok, your dough is now all puffed up. Flour your surface again and turn the dough out onto it. It should just fall out of the bowl, but help it out if it sticks a bit. Using your hands (you don’t need a rolling pin), stretch it out into a rectangular shape. Spread the butter-sugar mixture over the dough. Try to get it all the way to edges.

Starting on one of the short sides of the rectangle, roll the dough up. Before you cut the roll, use your knife to (gently) mark 9 evenly-spaced slices. Tip: Start by marking the middle slice, then the 4 on either side. Once you’re happy with your spacing, cut.

Place the slices in a 9″x9″ pan. Cover and let rise again for an hour. (Set your timer again.) Near the end of the hour, preheat your oven to 400°F.

Bake for 15 minutes. Yay, all done. EAT.

Boston Baked Beans

Boston Baked BeansWhen I was a kid, canned beans were one of three weekend lunch staples (the others being Kraft Dinner and Campbell’s soup, of course). Each can always had a single piece of fat, which I surmise allowed them to labeled ‘pork and beans.’ I don’t think this was as big a selling feature as the makers imagined. We called it the ‘prize’ as in “ew! you got the prize!” No one ever ate it.

Beans were second in the hierarchy after KD (like all Canadian youth, we had an irrational love for macaroni-with-powdered-orange-cheese). We ate them with Worchestershire sauce, a habit we picked up from a babysitter we once had.

As an adult, I somehow got roped into eating tomato sauce beans, which always tasted meh to me. I put it down to not being so keen on canned food anymore. That is, until I discovered there are two kinds of beans: the tomato sauce kind and the molasses kind. Aha! It was the molasses beans I wanted.

(My search-fu tells me the beans I remember were Libby’s, which has since been bought out by Heinz, makers of the bland tomato sauce beans.)

Rather than reverting to food in a can, which would inevitably be a disappointment, I decided to try making them. How hard could it be? Not very, it turns out. I used this recipe from Simply Recipes.  I basically followed the recipe as-is, but I’m not going to say “exactly” because it always amuses me when someone comments on a recipe: “This recipe is great! I followed it exactly! Except… [long list of substitutions, additions, deletions].” lol. Anyway, here are my notes:

Boston Baked BeansStep 1. I soaked the beans overnight and drained them.

Step 2. There were only 2 tbsp of Dijon left in the jar, so I used 1 tbsp of yellow mustard to make up the difference.

Step 3. I used 4 pieces of bacon, chopped up into very small pieces. Going for flavor, not unwanted “prizes.” (I think they’d be fine without the bacon, but would need to sub in some oil/salt.)

Step 4. I baked them in the oven in the big pot I make soup in (I don’t have a dutch oven. The pot worked fine. I don’t think the beans care what kind of handle(s) the vessel you use has ;)). They didn’t need any additional water, but I did check on them and stir them a few times. I took them out after 7½ hours, because they were done.

Verdict: delicious! Will definitely make these again. Super easy, just requires a bit of planning ahead.

Chocolate Chip Blondies

Chocolate Chip Blondies

So you want chocolate chip cookies, but you’re feeling too lazy to roll out dough balls. Make these instead! Tastes like a chocolate chip cookie, takes minimal effort.

(I wasn’t sure what to call these. I was calling them Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies in my head, but it seems like brownies-sans-cocoa are typically called blondies, so I went with that.)

In a small bowl, stir together:
1¼ cups flour
¼ tsp salt
½ cup chocolate chips
(optional) ¼ cup nuts

Set the dry ingredients aside.

In a second, slightly bigger bowl combine the remaining ingredients.

First, soften:
½ cup unsalted butter

Then, add:
1½ cups brown sugar

Finally, beat in:
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Mix in the dry ingredients.

Pour into an 8×8 pan and bake at 350°F for 25 min.

Potatoes + Eggs

So this has become my go-to meal when I don’t feel like cooking or it’s too late to make anything complicated or I’m at that “I need to go grocery shopping” stage. It was inspired by the photos in this post, but I hadn’t taken a picture of my (not-so-fancy) version until now. Double yolk egg! Had to take a photo of that:

Potatoes + Eggs

And then… what? The very next time I made it… another double yolk? Yes, two double yolks in the same carton of eggs, and weirdly they both end up in this meal, in the same place in the pan. Insert spooky music.

Potatoes + Eggs   Potatoes + Eggs

Potatoes + Eggs

Better photos the second time, I think. So anyway, here’s the recipe. Why do you need a recipe for such a simple meal? Well, I think I’ve tried every conceivable method possible for making home fries + fried eggs, but this way? They turn out perfect every. single. time. Also: zero mess. Win.

Ingredients:
cast iron pan
olive oil
1 russet potato
2 eggs
salt + pepper
sriracha

Method:
Preheat oven to 400*F. Chop russet potato (it must be a russet! skin on!)  into cubes. Pre-cook in microwave until pokeable with a fork. Scoop potato cubes into cast iron pan (yes! it must be cast iron!) and drizzle with olive oil (not too much, just… enough). Toss  the cubes around in the pan until they’re all coated in oil (la la la). Place in oven. Wait. Ok, gotta tell ya. I don’t time this. I go by smell. When you start to smell the potatoes cooking, take them out and give them a toss. Back into the oven. Wait some more. When the potatoes start to smell done, take them out and push them over to one side of the pan. Crack your eggs into the pan. They will half-cook when they hit the hot pan. Stick the pan back in the oven. This last step will only take a few minutes, so pay attention (unless you like hard yolks, in which case, wander off!). Otherwise, leave the eggs in the oven just until the whites set and then you’re done. Season to taste. Personally I’m a bit obsessed with hot sauce (currently the ubiquitous rooster sauce), so that’s a must, but ymmv. I’ve spared you the ‘after sriracha’ photo, since it looks a bit like a crime scene. Oh, right. The best part is that you eat it right out of the pan. No dishes! Just don’t forget to use oven mitts when you’re carrying it to the table 🙂

Sweet Potato Curry

Sweet Potato Curry

I couldn’t find a recipe that was exactly what I wanted so I just made one up. Ended up pretty good, I thought, though it’s hard to go wrong with curry paste + coconut milk. I love that everything in it is yellow-orange-red.

Ingredients
canola oil
1 yellow onion, chopped finely
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup red lentils
1 sweet potato aka yam, cubed
3-4 small carrots, diced
red curry paste
1/3 cup coconut milk
lemon juice

Method
In a 12-inch skillet, saute onion in a bit of oil until translucent. I added some of the curry paste at this point. Add the vegetable stock and lentils. It’ll be soup-like at this point, but that’s ok. I pre-cooked the sweet potatoes in the microwave for a few minutes just to make sure they wouldn’t end up crunchy. Add the sweet potatoes, carrots, and more curry paste to taste. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until it thickens to a curry-like (vs. soup-like) consistency. Add the coconut milk. (To be honest, I didn’t measure this, but I think that’s about right, judging from the amount I had left over.) Simmer a few minutes more. I added a bit of lemon juice right at the end, for the sour in the magic sweet-sour-salty-spicy combo. Serve with jasmine rice. Makes 3-4 servings.

11: Vij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine

Vij's: Elegant and Inspired Indian CuisineVij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine by Meeru Dhalwala

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Purchased at The Book Warehouse, when I thought it was going out of business (but then it didn’t).

Books

I think Vij’s is probably the most-talked-about Vancouver restaurant. So basically I bought this because of their reputation and because I love Indian food. nomnomnom.

Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala are the husband-and-wife owners of Vij’s. The preface (written by Vij) and the introduction to the recipes (by Dhalwala) shares the background of the restaurant and their relationship.

The book is a nice large format, with lots of colorful photographs. The large macros of the food are mouthwatering and the smaller photos interspersed throughout give a good feel for the restaurant. The first section discusses ingredients (I always appreciate when cookbook authors do this), followed by “basics” such as garam masala, ghee, masala, paneer.  I happen to have some black cardamom, which is a key ingredient in their garam masala (p. 26) so guess what I’m going to be making?

The recipe section starts off with appetizers. There’s a mix of vegetarian and meat dishes. The mains are divided into meat (beef, lamb, goat, pork), poultry, fish and seafood, and vegetables (these are vegetarian mains, not side dishes). I want to try the original chicken curry (p. 92) — with homemade garam masala, of course.

There’s plenty of eggplant (the Warm Eggplant, Onion and Tomato Salad appetizer on p. 43; Eggplant, Tomato and Green Onion Curry on p. 131 — definitely will be making this; Oven-roasted Eggplant and Butternut Squash Curry on p. 136 and more!) to keep eggplant lovers like me happy.

After the mains, there’s a section of sides (including cucumber raita, various chutneys,  potatoes, rice, chapattis) and finally desserts and drinks, including the all-important chai recipe. I’m addicted to chai.

The introductions to each section and the recipe head notes are well-written and informative. Don’t be intimidated by the length of the ingredients lists—it’s mostly spices. With respect to the actual food elements, there are few obscure ingredients; it’s mostly basics like chicken, tomatoes, onions, yogurt. Overall, the recipes are inspiring and don’t look difficult to make.

One possible lie: They claim that even people who don’t like Brussels sprouts like theirs. I don’t know about that… 😉

One drawback: it’s a paperback, so if you’re referring to it while cooking, you’ll need to put something heavy on top so it won’t flip closed.

Orange Brownies

Orange Brownies

I’ve been playing with this recipe. It started as a basic brownie recipe, but I had this idea of using orange flavoring instead of vanilla, because orange + chocolate = yum, and I’ve kind of been obsessed with citrus zest lately. (Blame the Microplane.) Also, the recipe was a bit on the cakey side, so I decided to work on that, too.

1 cup unbleached flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp orange zest (~zest of 1 orange)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp orange juice (~juice of 1 orange)
3 tbsp water
1 tsp orange (or lemon) extract
2 squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted

In a medium size bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, salt, sugar, and orange zest.

One ingredient at a time, add in melted butter, egg, orange juice, water, orange extract, and melted chocolate. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Pour in to 9×9 pan. Bake for 20 minutes at 325F.

Spicy Potatoes & Fish

I didn’t take a photo. Too busy eating. Will have to make again 🙂

Spicy Potatoes

So, the secret to crispy on the outside, soft on the inside oven-fries or homefries or hashbrowns or what have you, is pre-cooking the potatoes. Chop the raw potatoes into the shape/size you want then either: microwave or parboil them. The length of time will depend on the size of the potato pieces. I don’t use the microwave for much (mostly defrosting & reheating some kinds of leftovers), but it does work well for precooking potatoes w/o creating extra mess or worrying about overcooking them. Essentially you want your potatoes to be pokeable with a fork, but still firm (not mushy/falling apart).

For this recipe, I chopped two medium-size Yukon Golds into ~1/2-inch square cubes.

While potatoes are precooking, make the spice mix:
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
zest of 1/2 a lime
sea salt
…or you know, whatever you like.

Toss potatoes with 1/4 cup coconut milk. Once coated, sprinkle with spice mix and toss until the spices are evenly distributed. Drizzle with olive oil and toss one more time. Place on oven-proof dish or baking sheet. Bake for 45 min @ 350F, tossing once or twice during baking time.

Perfection! Crispy, spicy, delicious!

Fish

Once the potatoes are baking, prepare the fish. Place fresh cod on parchment or foil. Smear with red curry paste, drizzle with juice & zest of 1/2 lime and 1/4 cup coconut milk. Wrap into a packet. Let sit until there is 10-15 minutes of cooking time left on the potatoes, then place in oven, and continue baking both fish & potatoes for the remaining time.

ETA 12.01.09: Photo!

Spicy Fish & Potatoes

Macaroni & Cheese

This week at TC, our Daily Writing Thread (which is actually a weekly thread with daily updates) somehow digressed into a discussion of mac & cheese. Which got me wondering if I’d ever posted my recipe. I searched and it doesn’t look like it, so here it is:

Macaroni & Cheese

3½ cups macaroni
¼ cup butter
3 tbsp flour
¼ tsp salt
1¾ cups skim milk
1 tsp dry mustard
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
2½ cups old cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups for cheesy mix, ½ cup for topping)
1 cup bread crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Boil macaroni for 7 minutes; drain.
  3. While macaroni is cooking, stir together butter, flour, salt, milk, 2 cups cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard in a large bowl. (It’ll be lumpy/imperfectly combined. Don’t worry about it. The next step will take care of it.)
  4. Add macaroni and stir with wooden spoon until butter and cheese are melted and cheesy mix is completely blended.
  5. Pour into 7×11 baking dish. Top with bread crumbs and remaining cheese.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Recipe adapted from The Absolute Beginner’s Cookbook.