Tag Archives: Recipes

By request: Pizza!

Pizza

Add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp honey to 1 cup hot (tap, not boiling) water. Stir. Sprinkle 1 tbsp yeast over the water mixture and let sit 5 minutes, until yeast is foamy.

Meanwhile, mix 1/2 tsp salt with 2 cups flour.

Stir yeast mixture briskly, add to flour, combine to form dough. Knead dough 8-10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary.

Rub dough with olive oil, place in bowl, and cover. Let rise in warm place for ~1 hour. Punch dough down and shape into circle.

Sprinkle pizza pan (the kind with holes) with cornmeal. Place dough on pan. Add toppings.

Place pizza in cold oven on bottom rack and bake at 500°F for ~20 minutes or until crust is brown and cheese is melted.

22: The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook

The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook by Jaden Hair

Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen blog is one of my favorite food blogs and so I picked up her cookbook.

The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook has a nice design. It’s hardcover (with a dust jacket even; that might be overkill for a cookbook ;-)). Every recipe is illustrated with a photo of the finished dish. This makes for good inspirational browsing—perfect coffee table material.

It opens flat and stays open, which is nice if you’re actually using it to refer to while cooking. Wouldn’t want to get sticky fingerprints on these pages. (Always the dilemma with a shiny cookbook—who wants to sully the pages with cooking debris? Solution: pull up the recipe on the blog and sully your laptop instead! hah!)

Aside: all these food bloggers who take amazing photos make me long for better light so I could take better food photos. But alas. I will just have to do the best I can with my crappy light situation.

The book strikes a good balance between personality and practicality. Recipes range from appetizers to dessert and everything in between. I especially liked that there was a sauce section, as well as various sauces/marinades included throughout. I don’t have any qualms throwing together ingredients on my own, but some guidance in the saucy area is always welcome, since the right sauce can shift a dish from ok to awesome.

Inspired to make a few things I hadn’t thought of attempting before, like potstickers and spring rolls. On the other hand, I may also have to make the food court sweet & sour chicken, just because lol! 🙂

ETA: I did make the sweet & sour chicken, since I had pretty much all the ingredients on hand and it used up some of the ketchup that’s been languishing in my fridge. It really did mimic the flavors of the “classic” dish, but the sauce was too sweet for my liking. If I made it again, I’d cut back on the sweet and add more sour/salty/spicy flavors. Especially spicy! It was crying out for some heat. (ymmv, of course!)

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Frittata

Frittata

I haven’t had a recipe post in a while, so here goes.

I made this up as I went along and it was totally inspired by leftovers / what we had on hand (the best kind of recipe!).

  • oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 bag spinach, finely chopped
  • 1 russet potato, very thinly sliced
  • feta
  • 2 cups egg whites
  • 4 eggs
  • parmesan
  • oregano
  • salt
  • pepper

Heat oil in an oven-safe pan (I used a 12″ skillet). Add onion and saute until translucent.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk egg whites, whole eggs, parmesan, oregano, salt & pepper together.

Add spinach to onions and toss until spinach is wilted. Lay potatoes in pan and cook until translucent (if the potatoes are sliced thinly enough, this should just take a few minutes).

Crumble feta into pan and pour in egg mixture.

Bake for 20-25 min @ 350°.

Weekend: Dragon Boats & Chicken Satay

Checked out the Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday and took some photos around False Creek. The sun came out and reminded us why it’s great to be a Vancouverite.

Dragon Boat Festival

This looks like a drawing (I mean, “architectural rendering” ;-)) to me. Anyone else?

Dragon Boat Festival

Here’s the Slideshow.

And then I made Chicken Satay (which, heh, I guess is kind of a theme, albeit unintentional):

Chicken Satay

Check out that presentation. Bed of lettuce! Grill marks!

I used this recipe from Rasa Malaysia for the marinade, and it was delicious.

To be honest, I made a few substitutions because I just used what I had on hand. Regardless, it still tasted fantastic. But I think I’ll stock up on the missing ingredients for next time (and there will be a next time).

Substitutions:

  • dried lemongrass (in lieu of fresh)
  • scallions (in lieu of shallots)
  • molasses (in lieu of kecap manis)
  • fish sauce (in lieu of oyster sauce)

I’d like to thank the interwebs for the suggestion of molasses. I do think it was the molasses (sweet, thick) / fish sauce (salty) combination that made the subs work here.

3: Super Natural Cooking

Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson

I’ve been reading Heidi’s blog, 101 Cookbooks, for a few years now. I must be particular when it comes to food blogs, because I’ve got a pretty short list of ones that I love and that I’ve stuck with for any length of time (in addition to 101 Cookbooks, there’s Rasa Malaysia, Simply Recipes, Smitten Kitchen, and Steamy Kitchen).

101 Cookbooks appeals because of Heidi’s photography, the way she puts each recipe in context (what inspired it or how it came about or who it was made for), as well as her recipes, which are frequented by salads, soups, bowls of grains and veggies—and baked goods, esp. cookies! (sounds familiar…)

She’s more granola than I am (not really going for the whole canola oil = evil thing), but in general, I’m on board with the fresh/unprocessed/whole foods approach. And why not? I grew up eating fruit and vegetables grown in our yard (my parents always had a garden), so this is all SOP for me. It’s why I can’t help but be amused that growing one’s own food is now trendy. It’s green! It’s organic! It’s zen! Uh, okay. Y’all know people used to grow their own food because it was cheap, right? A few packets of seeds (+ a lot of labor) and your freezer and cold room were full for a year.

We’ve been watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution the past few weeks, and it’s got me thinking a lot about the current tendency to frame people who grow their own food (or buy from farmer’s markets, etc.) as yupsters while framing people who eat fast and/or processed food as poor/rural, when not so long ago, it was reversed: people with money got to indulge in modern convenience foods, while people without had to grow & cook their own food.

The “revolution” in Food Revolution is essentially the attempt to get people cooking from scratch instead of relying on packaged convenience foods for every. single. meal. Not exactly radical—and yet, many people are upset/offended by the program. It’s gobsmacking imo, the lengths people will go to defend egregious food choices. My “favorite” was the commenter who posited that maybe the woman featured in episode 1 was deep-frying donuts and dipping them in chocolate and serving them to her kids for breakfast because that was the most budget-friendly choice available to her. Are you kidding me, person-who-actually-said-this? Ever heard of oatmeal? Neither do I buy that the woman was making donuts because it was “convenient,” as she claimed on the show. Let’s be serious. No one is deep-frying breakfast because it’s more convenient than eating cereal or toast. They’re doing it because Yum! Donuts!

It doesn’t matter how obvious or simple the suggested change is, someone always has an excuse why the bad choice has to be chosen. A good example is plain milk vs. flavored milk in the Food Revolution schools. None of the standard defenses of unhealthy eating make sense. No one can argue that flavored milk is cheaper than plain. Or easier to access. Or more convenient. But wait! They have to serve flavored milk because (drum roll) kids will drink more sugary milk than plain! As Jamie said, duh. And also: not if you don’t give them the sugary option.

It’s a bit ironic, because I think the target audience for Super Natural Cooking would be people who are already cooking, but who want to incorporate a wider variety of ingredients into their repertoire. But maybe the lesson is that you need to learn the basics of healthy eating before you can go on adventures.

It seems appropriate, given that 101 Cookbooks is built on the idea of recipes inspired by other recipes, that rather than making one of Heidi’s recipes, I share an inspired-by-Super Natural Cooking recipe. First, my basic muffin recipe (from ye olde flour cookbook):

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 egg

I always use this basic recipe, but every time I make it I add different stuff (spices, fruit, etc.), so it’s never the same muffin twice. With that in mind, I give you:

Blueberry Muffins inspired by Super Natural Cooking / 101 Cookbooks:
Blueberry Muffin

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 6 tbsp dry demerara sugar
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries (frozen, bought at farmer’s market last summer)
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil
  • 1 free-run egg
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla

To make: mix dry ingredients together. Add in berries. Mix wet ingredients together. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir just till everything is mixed. Spoon into muffin tin. Bake at 400°F for 18-20 min. Makes 6 big muffins.

Notes: The things that were different than usual were the types of flour, sugar, and oil used.  Our regular grocery store has started to carry more variety in such staples (nice side effect of the whole green/organic trend). I decided to try whole wheat pastry flour because Heidi said it was less-heavy than regular whole wheat (it was). The walnut oil I had, but I’d mostly been using it for salad dressing.

Typically I’d use: unbleached all-purpose flour, white sugar, and canola in muffins (I know, gasp, right? ;-)). Since I was trying out the new flour/sugar, I decided to use a different oil as well. The other ingredients are all what I normally  use.

The extra half-cup of berries I threw in because it didn’t seem worth it to stick them back in the freezer made them very-berry. I think next time I’ll try 1 c. whole wheat pastry + 1 c. unbleached all-purpose to experiment with texture.

Tip 1: Freezing berries is easy. (And also cheap, if you buy in season.) Wash berries. Place in single layer on cookie sheet. Freeze. Once berries are frozen, scoop them into a plastic container, and stick them back in the freezer. Done.

Tip 2: The Himalayan blackberry may be an invasive pest, but it’s also an excellent source of free fruit—as long as you’re willing to get a few scratches.

Eyes Open

Not long after submitting the manuscript for Super Natural Cooking, I started setting aside photos I loved, and continued to keep notebooks of my favorite recipes, ideas, and inspirations. I wasn’t sure what I would do with them, or what would emerge over time, but I had a hunch something might. Or not. Either way, I don’t like the idea of rushing these sorts of things. I’ve come to believe you can’t really rush inspiration, it comes on its own schedule, emerging and intersecting my life when it sees fit. I just try to keep my eyes open.

Heidi Swanson

4: Roughing It in the Bush

Roughing It in the Bush by Susanna Moodie

Roughing It in the Bush

Roughing It in the Bush is often cited as an early Canadian classic. At the same time, its Canadian-ness has also been questioned. For one thing, Moodie started writing about Upper Canada (now Ontario) in the 1830s, thirty-plus years before confederation (so maybe it’s not an early Canadian book, but a late British North American colonial book). As well, Susanna Moodie was an immigrant who wrote about her experiences from that perspective (so maybe she should be thought of as an English ex-pat writer, not a Canadian writer). Of course, “what does it mean to be Canadian?” is the quintessential Canadian-dilemma, so I think she qualifies on that count 😉 Really, I think she can be thought of as either—or both. Just depends on what you’re looking for.

Roughing It is an account of the middle-class Moodies’ first years in North America. Susanna and her husband John were woefully unprepared for life in the “bush,” which made for lots of good material for Susanna to write about. Although it’s supposed to be non-fiction, it seems pretty clear that the character “Susanna Moodie” is a lot ditzier than the writer Susanna Moodie was, i.e. that the stories were embellished to make them more funny and entertaining. While the writer Susanna Moodie was writing by candlelight and sending her stories and poems to magazines and newspapers (when she could afford stamps), the character “Susanna Moodie” was busy acting clueless and getting into scrapes to provide fresh material.

Which… you know… sounds a lot like a present-day memoir! Actually, my immediate reaction after I finished reading the book was that if Moodie were around today she’d be a blogger. Think about it: the book is a collection of anecdotes and poems and other ephemera, with the occasional chapter contributed by her husband or brother (guest posts!). Throw in a fish-out-of-water scenario, add a dash of hyperbole and a pinch of drama,  and voila! Recipe for a successful personal blog. And of course, she was a mother, so you might even call her the first Canadian mommyblogger 😉

Links:

By Request: Lemon Bread

Lemon BreadSift together 1½ cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt, and the grated rind of 1 large lemon.

Cream ½ cup margarine with 1 cup sugar. Blend in 2 eggs, and beat until light and fluffy.

Combine juice of ½ lemon with enough milk to make ½ cup of liquid.

Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with milk & lemon juice (3 dry additions, 2 liquid additions).

Bake in greased loaf pan for 60-70 minutes at 350°F. Cool 5 minutes. Drizzle with ¼ cup sugar combined with juice of ½ lemon. Cool completely, then remove from pan.

(Recipe adapted from the Purity All Purpose Flour Cook Book, the Quick Breads section of which is disintegrating. The rest of the book, not so much. Quick Frank Supper, anyone? 😉 )

Rustic Cabbage Soup

Cabbage Soup

One of my new favorite blogs is 101 Cookbooks. I had a leftover half a cabbage in my fridge that I was wondering what to do with when I saw this recipe for rustic cabbage soup. And lo and behold! I had all the ingredients on hand. It was like fate or something. 😉 The only change I made was using Asiago (instead of Parmesan), because I had a wedge of that I’ve been trying to use up as well. Oh, and I ground some pepper on top. Perfecto! It was delicious—pan-frying the potatoes to start was a most excellent touch—and I shall have more for lunch.

I Made This

Recent yumminess:

Cranberry-Apple Crumble

Cranberry-Apple Crumble. Possibly the best crumble I’ve ever made. The sweet/sour mix was just right. Macintoshes essentially melted into applesauce. Mmm.

Veggie Chili

Veggie chili. How can you tell it’s fall? Urge to cook warm & spicy stew-type things. No biscuits this time, though. Must find excuse to make biscuits. That reminds me: I ran across a discussion on a food blog one day about how the biscuit-in-a-can killed the real biscuit. Is this true? If so, I guess I’m a rebel. My biscuits are real… and spectacular!

California Rolls

Okay, so one day last week I wanted California rolls. They used to have them in the deli at the grocery store, but not any more. Thought about venturing further afield to find some. Then thought, well how hard can they be to make? Googled for recipes. Did not look difficult. Headed to store for ingredients. Cooked rice, rolled ’em up. Did not have bamboo mat, so used aluminum foil (this worked fine). Seriously no harder to make than a sandwich. Verdict: yum! (And also: pretty!)