Become a contributor!

This button doesn't work at all, but you're welcome to press it. And to contact me (Dustin), should you wish to become a contributor.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lemon "Tartar" Sauce

This is like a 2-minute recipe for a great sauce that goes especially well with white fish (baked):
lemon juice

olive oil

Mix everything together, and you're done! This serves about three. For those adverse to using 3 tbsp of mayonnaise (like me), you can substitute at least half of it with an equivalent amount of plain yogurt. I used Trader Joe's European Style Nonfat Plain Yogurt, which has a loose consistency ideal for a sauce.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pear apple stew

This was very simple and delicious, so I thought I'd share.

Pear apple stew
1 pear
1 apple
1/4 cup of water
Spices: Crushed cloves, a generous helping of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of ginger powder

Chop pears and apples.  Put spices.  Add water.  Bring water to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer until fruits are of the desired softness.  Can be served hot or cold, though I had it hot.

I'm sure most people would add sugar and butter, but I found this to be sweet enough, and I don't think the butter would've been necessary.

Banana Chicken Curry

I had a lot of bananas that were going bad, and I didn't want to make banana bread.  My roommate had a jar of curry paste that was unused and, to use his words, "following [him] like an albatross."  So, I decided to make banana chicken curry. There are tons of recipes out there, but this is what I did:

Banana Chicken Curry
4 bananas, chopped
4 chicken thighs (breasts are fine, but I just felt like using thighs), chopped
1 onion
Sweet peppers
4 tablespoons of mild curry paste
1/4 cup of water

Brown the garlic and onions; then throw in the chicken until browned.  Throw in the peppers and curry paste and add water.  Stir and cover.  When the curry is sauce-like (as opposed to lumpy), throw in the bananas and cook until it's of the desired consistency.

Some recipes include coconut milk or yogurt, but I didn't find them necessary; I think the yogurt would add a bit of sourness, though it would thicken the sauce.  The bananas add a sweetness which infuses the curry, which I kind of liked.  In summary, the interwebs are right, and this recipe does work.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ketchup and Mayonnaise Broccoli?!

This may sound weird, and I do have to put in the disclaimer that this dish may play to an acquired taste for creative Japanese food. (Also, American mayonnaise is not that good, so that might throw this off.) But try it anyway! It's really good. :)

1 chicken thigh
1 head of broccoli
1/4 cabbage
1 large onion
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp mayonnaise

  1. Wash and cut broccoli, then boil for 3-5 minutes in slightly salted water. Wash and cut the cabbage (into convenient pieces) and onion (thinly), and cut and lightly salt-and-pepper the chicken.
  2. In a large pan, cook the chicken on medium heat until it is about half-cooked. Then add the cabbage and onion, and continue to cook on medium heat for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. When the vegetables begin to soften, add the broccoli and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat down to low, then add about 100 mL of water to the pan. Add the ketchup, and return to medium heat and cook for 1 min. Then add the mayonnaise.
  5. Let the whole thing summer for 2-3 minutes, then serve.

Fallish Food

Recently, a friend of mine linked me to this recipe for apple and cheddar scones. Also, recently the grocery store down the street was selling bruised apples for really cheap. Clearly, it was meant to be! So I made scones. I always thought cheese and apples was sort of weird, but I guess it isn't. It's hard to tell though, because actually these scones need a lot more cheese than the recipe says--mostly they taste like apples. I also used somewhat sweeter apples than you're probably supposed to, so that might also be a contributing factor. Also they're kind of gooey? Usually my scone recipes have issues being too dry, but this one was super sticky, and the resulting scones are kind of over-moist. So, maybe add some flour or something. Also I don't know why they say it makes six scones--I made eight, and they were big, and they got HUGE in the oven, so pay no attention to that either. They are delicious, though.

The other thing I acquired recently is kale! It turns out that the school "farm" (=vegetable patch) has lots of kale, and it is free for the taking, and I think I may be one of the few people really excited about this. The Dutch eat kale! The Dutch eat kale with potatoes and sausage, in a dish called "stamppot". So, it is childhood memories. Not that I was really excited about the stuff then, but now it is nostalgia. Problem is that all the recipes I could find were sort of assuming you went and bought a nice package of kale at the greengrocers, so it was nicely measured in grams, and then you had several kilograms of potatoes, and none of it seemed very applicable to me so I just winged it and boiled up some potatoes to a mashable consistency. Then I drained them, lest I have too much water, and then added some sliced-up kale with what seemed like an appropriate amount of water for it to cook in, which turned out to be really stupid because the kale shrank and I had way to much water and my already-cooked potatoes were now disintegrating into a slurry and I was getting cream-of-kale soup and it was bad, and the potato/kale ratio was all wrong. So, don't do that! Probably it's best to cook the kale a few minutes first and then add it to the potatoes. Also I kept adding more and more bundles of kale to the mixture every time I reheated it, so the lesson is basically to have way more kale than you think you need--like a bundle of leaves for every potato you use. And to cook it first, or maybe cook it with the potatoes so you can drain out excess water before it's too late. And then spice with salt and pepper and nutmeg or whatever you have lying around. And if you do have too much water, oatmeal makes it all coagulate nicely, unless you REALLY have too much like I did and you get a kale porridge. Serve the result with red wine vinegar and some smoked sausage with mustard for a good cold-weather sort of meal.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Potato-Spinach Pancakes

Who doesn't like pancakes? =D I actually used swiss chard instead of spinach, and swiss chard has a better texture for this, but I figured that spinach would be a more commonly available ingredient. Anyway...

3 large potatoes
1 bundle(?) of spinach/swiss chard
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
(2 tbsp shredded cheese)
  1. Wash then boil the spinach/swiss chard, then chop into small pieces. Both the leaves and the stalks can be used. Lightly squeeze out some of the water, and set aside.
  2. Wash and peel the potatoes, then grate into a medium-large bowl.
  3. Add the spinach/swiss chard to the bowl, along with the salt and flour. (The original recipe calls for the cheese to be added as well, but I actually skipped the cheese altogether and thought it tasted fine.) If the mixture is too watery, then adjust by adding more flour.
    The other option would be to remove some of the water that the potatoes generate before adding the rest of the ingredients, but this water contains a lot of useful starch, so this is not ideal.
  4. After everything is mixed in the bowl, shape them into small pancakes, and pan-fry with a small amount of olive oil until brown.

Monday, November 1, 2010

whole chickens and what to do with them!

Dustin has already mentioned the joys of making chicken stock but I will reiterate here and add my additions.

So first of all I managed to find two whole chickens packaged together in a bag for about 3 dollars. I bought them and froze them and didn't do anything with them for about a month.

This weekend I decided that I had a free afternoon so I got the biggest pot I had and one of the chickens (still frozen) and put it in the pot with some water. This is to thaw it enough to cut into pieces. After getting it nice and warm at least on the outside I pulled it out of the pot and cut it up into the classic anatomical chicken pieces. These went back in the pot along with an onion some dried chillis and other sundries (a bayleaf or two would be ideal here but I don't have any). Now you bring this to a boil and let it simmer for hours and hours hours. When it's tasty it's done. Now strain into bowl and put the chicken bits aside to cool. The stock can then be put into an appropriate container for refrigerating. (There will be lots of fat on top the next morning. If you care, lift it off and throw it away). Once the chicken pieces are cool pick all the meat off with your hands (only way) and reserve this too. Throw out the onion and other flavour agents you used. Their work is done.

If you want to actually make chicken soup the stock and the meat bits go back into your pot with the veggies etc. in your soup.

I didn't want to make soup. SO I made enchiladas. You can do many other mexican inspired things that use already cooked chicken.

Here is how I made enchiladas using Joy of Cooking like instructions with the ingredients interspersed:

Sauce: Dice finely Onion, garlic, dried chilli (a mexican kind preferably). This is a job for a food processor if you have one. Now fry this mixture in oil until aromatic. At this point add a four ounce can of tomato paste and about a cup and a half of chicken stock. Add a few teaspoons of dry oregano and a short teaspoon of cumin. Stir it all up and bring to a boil letting it reduce to a slightly thick consistency (but make sure you still have a fair amount of sauce).

Now for the fun part. Take that cooked chicken and grate a little cheese into it. Pour enough sauce in to evenly incorporate. Now take a brownie pan and corn tortillas, estimate how many enchiladas will fit into your pan (probably about 8, not the whole package but oh well). Dip each tortilla in the sauce, spoon in the filling and fold it over (into an enchilada like shape), putting it in the pan. Repeat until the pan is full. Pour the remaining sauce over the top and grate cheese over that generously. Bake in the oven until bubbly.