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Monday, August 30, 2004

Evil Chinese Noodles 

From Dr Jim

  • 1 seasoned Wok or non-stick pan
  • 1 pack of dried noodles (good quality japanese noodles work well too)
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Good soy sauce (Kikkoman Japanese is good)
  • Sugar (demerara or other unrefined sugar)
  • sea salt

Feel free to substitute whatever grade ingredient you like or can get
hold of. Also, the volumes/amounts aren't fixed like tablespoons,
teaspoons or fl oz - you just get the feel for what is right,
sometimes is great, others it is just ok - you'll get it.

Pre-emptive: Put dried noodles in pan, add boiling water. Bring back
to boil and let boil for 1 minute - very strictly 1 minute!

Pour of the hot water and cool them off with cold water. Keep doing
this until they are totally cold. Don't leave them in the water too
long as what you're trying to do is clear the starch (that will lead
to unwanted clumping later on) and prevent them from absorbing too
much water (as they will disintegrate).

Once they're cooled down, drain them well in a sieve or collender.
Leave them to sit for 20-30 mins - this is when you can get on with
the rest of your accompanying meal of chop suey, chow mein or whatever
stir fry.

As everything else is nearing readiness, come back to the noodles. Get
your wok/pan and add a few glugs of olive oil, a glug of soy sauce, a
glug of sesame oil (this is the main basis for the flavour - so don't
over do it...but you can vary the amount depending on how strong you
want them). Also add a pinch of salt and a good few pinches of the
sugar. Get the heat on and mix using your preferred utensil. It should
form a browny oily mush (all very healthy though).

Once mushed, dump in the noodles and fold them through the mush over
the heat. Try to get all the noodles coated - they will quickly absorb
the flavours. Keep the noodles cooking until they almost get that
crispy brown authentic noodle look (not the sloppy white noodles that
westerners often do - sloppy noodles are for Ramen soup and nothing
more!)

Then serve hot.

People will think you have a China man in your kitchen!


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Saturday, August 28, 2004

Black-eyed beans and spinach 

What you'll need:
375g (a little over 3/4 pound) dried black-eyed beans
1 bunch spinanch leaves, washed well
salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
1/2 lemon for squeezing

What to do:
Rinse the beans, cover with water and simmer for 20 minutes.
Drain, rinse, then top with just enough water to cover.
Bring back to the boil, add spinanch, salt and papper and simmer another 10 minutes or so until the beans are soft (add more water if needed).

Serve tepid or warm, drizzled with olive oil and fresh lemon, with bread to soak up the juices.

I've got to admit - I haven't tried this yet, but found it in yesterday's newspaper and am doing it for dinner tonight. Thought I'd add it to the bean recipes for Regan ;*)



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Friday, August 27, 2004

Three bean chili 

This is insanely good vegetarian chili. I don't ever measure this, so this is just an approximation.

Warning: You will have leftovers.

You will need:
One can dark red kidney beans
One can red kidney beans
Two cans black beans
One can crushed tomatos
(You can make all of these cans the big kind if you want a freezer full of quick meals)
One bag vegetarian crumbles (make it two if you go with the big cans)
One medium sized bottle or can of tomato juice (again, make it larger to match cans if needed)
Chili powder, red pepper to taste (I use a lot)
5 onions
2 green peppers
Head of garlic (we like a lot of garlic, so if you're not a fan, just toss in one or two cloves)
(I did mention there would be leftovers, right?)

To prepare:
Saute the onions, peppers and garlic in some olive oil until translucent
Add to large pot with beans, tomato juice, crushed tomatos and vegetarian crumbles
Add spices to taste
Simmer for 800 years or until flavors have melded into a red hot harmony.
Enjoy!
Be sure to have plenty of beer, milk and bread on hand to stop the fire.

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Thursday, August 26, 2004

Thai green chicken curry 

This is another quick and easy one ... god I love my frypan and the microwave!

You'll need:
Chicken breast or thigh fillets
an onion
Green curry paste
a small can of coconut cream
beans (fresh or frozen)

What to do:
Slice the onion and fry til golden in a little olive oil. If you have sesame oil, add about half a teaspoon, as it gives a great taste.

Add the sliced chicken and cook til sealed.



Add the green curry paste. I won't give a definite amount, as brands vary in strength, but I use about half a jar of asia@home for two people.



Stir til chicken is coated, add the coconut milk and beans. While this is cooking, do the rice.

The easiest way to cook rice is in the microwave - honest - it's foolproof! I use Basmati rice, sometimes called "fragrant" rice, for just about everything except risotto. I love the flavour... mmmmmmm... and it smells great while it's cooking. Just put about a cup in a microwave-proof bowl, rinse it, then add water til it's covered with about half an inch (1-1.5cm), cover with gladwrap and cook on high for 11 minutes.



There! Lovely fluffy rice :*)

The chook should be cooked by this time:



So serve and enjoy :*)





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Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Chicken & Rice 

The cold & flue season is coming up. I made this for dinner this past week, when both me and my kid were feeling sick. The rice continues to absorb the broth so what began as a thin soup type of stew becomes thicker and almost a solid mass by the time you are finished dinner.

1 whole chicken, cut into parts,
or 3-5 pounds of bone-in chicken pieces
2 carrots roughly cut up (or 1 cup of those tiny peeled snack carrot fingers)
1 onion, coarse chopped
2 stalks celery, coarse chopped
1-2 Tbsp. salt, to taste
1/2 - 1 tsp. pepper, to taste
1-2 Tbsp. poultry seasoning (more if you are adding a lot of water)
2 sticks butter
2-3 cups white rice (not instant)


Place the chicken in a very large stock pot, fill pot with clean cold water , up so that water level covers chicken by a good inch. Throw in vegetables. Add salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and boil gently until the meat falls easily off the bones when you pick a piece of chicken up with tongs (about 2 hours). Add more water if it boils off too much.

Lazy method: Drop in 1 stick of butter and stir in rice without picking the chicken bones skin out, allow to simmer until rice is fully cooked, about 25 minutes, serve in bowls, let everyone else pick out their own bones. Top each bowl with an extra pat of butter.

Nicer presentation method: Before adding the rice, use tongs to remove all of the chicken pieces from the broth into a large bowl. On a separate cutting board or plate, work on each individual piece of chicken, separating the meat from the bones and skin. Discard bones and skin and return meat to the broth. Add in 1 stick of butter and rice. Allow to simmer until rice is fully cooked, about 25 minutes. Serve in bowls, with an extra pat of butter topping each.

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Sunday, August 22, 2004

Fruity curried sausages 

This is a quick and easy dinner. Good for cold weekend nights, and it's been a favourite of the kids for years. Quantities are really loose .. just however much you've got, and more or less curry powder to taste.

About 10-12 BBQ or breakfast sausages
1 big white onion, chopped
1-2 apples, chopped
a handful of sultanas (raisins)
yellow curry powder (I use Keens)
fruit chutney (Rosella is good)
a handful of dessicated coconut
water

Place the raw sausages in a pot of water and bring to the boil. Once they've cooked through (ie, turned grey), drain them and chop into bite-size lengths.

Brown the chopped onion and apple, then add curry powder and fry til fragrant. I didn't have any apples last time I made this, so used diced dried fruit (raisins, dried apple, apricot, pear) ...



Add the sausage bits, about a third to half a cup of the chutney, the coconut and a little water (enough to make everything wet so it doesn't burn).

Once it's bubbling, turn down the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.



Oh - keep the lid on while it's simmering - I just took it off for the pic.

Serve over steamed rice... yummmmmmmm.


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Saturday, August 21, 2004

Rosemary Basil Chicken with Spaghetti 

Sylvana sent this to me last week, and because I'm such a ditz lately I forgot to post it. So here it is, in all its yummy glory!



This is a FAST and EASY recipe that tastes like you slaved over it.

Get a couple chicken breasts, I like the frozen ones but you can use fresh. If they are frozen, defrost them SLIGHTLY. Chicken is way easier to cut when it is still a little frozen. It's more like chopping celery than like chopping over-ripe tomatoes.

While that is defrosting (about two minutes on defrost in the microwave), start a pan of water for the pasta. I chose spaghetti because we had just bought some. You could use any plain pasta. I always put salt and oil in the water. They help heat the water faster, season
the pasta, and they help keep the noodles from sticking to each other.

Heat up another pan. I used my cast iron fry pan, of course. Once it is hot, put in about two tablesoons of extra virgin olive oil (cause you only live once) . While that is heating up chop up the stilll mostly frozen chicken into one inch cubes. You can chop them up however you like.

Make sure that the pan is good and hot before throwing in the chicken. This sears the outside to keep the juices inside, plus it makes it taste better. Start stirring right away to make sure that no side gets over-cooked and all sides get seared fairly evenly.

Once the chicken cubes are fully seared, turn down the heat to about medium. Make sure that there is still moisture in the pan to keep the chicken from getting dry. Add a little water if you have to. Mince two cloves of garlic and add to the chicken. Grind up half a tablespoon or more of rosemary and throw that in. Add about a tablespoon of basil- or more if you like. Add a couple of big pinches of sea salt (or regular salt, or garlic salt, whatever). I like sea salt because it gives the food a nice flavor. Regular table salt is too harsh for my tastes.

The pasta water should be ready by now. Add the pasta, stir, reduce the heat slightly, and cover. I like to stir the pasta every five minutes to make sure that I don't get the evil pasta clump! Seriously, who wants to try and eat that?

Dice up a few medium sized tomatoes (I used three for this) into thick chunks. Throw them into the chicken pan. I never peel tomatoes. Peeled tomatoes are for wusses. The tomato peels add a nice bright red garnish to the dish. Cook the mix down until the tomatoes make a pseudo sauce. Add a little black pepper if you like. I did.

The pasta should be done, or at least when it is done, drain and add to chicken mix. OR you can do it the lazy Sylvana way- just tong the pasta out of the pan you cooked it in right into the chicken mix pan. What's a little pasta water among friends, eh? Stir the whole thing together. Add a couple handfuls of feta cheese (good stuff, that feta). And serve.

My picture may not look very impressive. I feel that I didn't add enough tomatoes. I used three- medium sized.. Next time, I might use five, or less pasta. Although, my son said that it was the PERFECT sauce to pasta ratio. And my husband said it was fabulous. I thought it was pretty good myself, so maybe I wouldn't change a thing.

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Thursday, August 19, 2004

Chicken, mushroom and bean enchiladas 

This is cooking now - it's good to use up left over roast chicken, and you can vary the rest of it depending on what you have around. Tonight, it was a few huge field mushrooms that have been sitting in the fridge, and a can of mexibeans from the pantry.

The filling:
  • Roughly chopped cold cooked chicken
  • Roughly chopped field mushrooms (they actually taste better in this if they aren't incredibly fresh)
  • 1 can of mexibeans (mixed beans in a capsicum and tomato sauce)
  • Enchilada sauce to make a thick, gooey mix
Heat the tortillas and have a glass of wine while the filling is cooking. Check, stir and blog if it's not quite ready - the chicken should be done enough so that it shreds easily. Have another glass of wine if needed.

Putting it together:
Peel the tortillas apart, place a decent spoonful of the filling down the centre of each and roll them up. (I know this doesn't really need a pic, but I'm trying out Blogger's new pic upload.)




Place edges down in a lightly oiled baking dish or flat casserole dish. Repeat as needed until you've used all the tortillas or filling. Spoon over extra enchilada sauce, top with grated cheese (I use reduced fat cheddar), and put in the oven at 180°C for about 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and just starting to brown.

Serve with a salad and sour cream - and more wine. I'm having Banrock Station White Shiraz with this tonight. Hola!

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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Rosemary Basil Chicken with Spaghetti 

Sylvana sent this to me last week, and because I'm such a ditz lately I forgot to post it. So here it is, in all its yummy glory!



This is a FAST and EASY recipe that tastes like you slaved over it.

Get a couple chicken breasts, I like the frozen ones but you can use fresh. If they are frozen, defrost them SLIGHTLY. Chicken is way easier to cut when it is still a little frozen. It's more like chopping celery than like chopping over-ripe tomatoes.

While that is defrosting (about two minutes on defrost in the microwave), start a pan of water for the pasta. I chose spaghetti because we had just bought some. You could use any plain pasta. I always put salt and oil in the water. They help heat the water faster, season
the pasta, and they help keep the noodles from sticking to each other.

Heat up another pan. I used my cast iron fry pan, of course. Once it is hot, put in about two tablesoons of extra virgin olive oil (cause you only live once) . While that is heating up chop up the stilll mostly frozen chicken into one inch cubes. You can chop them up however you like.

Make sure that the pan is good and hot before throwing in the chicken. This sears the outside to keep the juices inside, plus it makes it taste better. Start stirring right away to make sure that no side gets over-cooked and all sides get seared fairly evenly.

Once the chicken cubes are fully seared, turn down the heat to about medium. Make sure that there is still moisture in the pan to keep the chicken from getting dry. Add a little water if you have to. Mince two cloves of garlic and add to the chicken. Grind up half a tablespoon or more of rosemary and throw that in. Add about a tablespoon of basil- or more if you like. Add a couple of big pinches of sea salt (or regular salt, or garlic salt, whatever). I like sea salt because it gives the food a nice flavor. Regular table salt is too harsh for my tastes.

The pasta water should be ready by now. Add the pasta, stir, reduce the heat slightly, and cover. I like to stir the pasta every five minutes to make sure that I don't get the evil pasta clump! Seriously, who wants to try and eat that?

Dice up a few medium sized tomatoes (I used three for this) into thick chunks. Throw them into the chicken pan. I never peel tomatoes. Peeled tomatoes are for wusses. The tomato peels add a nice bright red garnish to the dish. Cook the mix down until the tomatoes make a pseudo sauce. Add a little black pepper if you like. I did.

The pasta should be done, or at least when it is done, drain and add to chicken mix. OR you can do it the lazy Sylvana way- just tong the pasta out of the pan you cooked it in right into the chicken mix pan. What's a little pasta water among friends, eh? Stir the whole thing together. Add a couple handfuls of feta cheese (good stuff, that feta). And serve.

My picture may not look very impressive. I feel that I didn't add enough tomatoes. I used three- medium sized.. Next time, I might use five, or less pasta. Although, my son said that it was the PERFECT sauce to pasta ratio. And my husband said it was fabulous. I thought it was pretty good myself, so maybe I wouldn't change a thing.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2004

sesame chicken skewers 

this recipe (increased amounts, of course) would be great finger food for a party!

marinade: all amounts are approximate - I just add add add...so I'm guessing at the amounts

1/2 c soy sauce
3 tbs honey
3 tbs ketchup
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbs fresh ginger, chopped
a dash of sesame oil

combine together

other stuff:

2-3 breasts chicken
wooden skewers, soaked in water
sesame seeds

chop up chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and combine with marinade (a ziplock bag works nicely for this)
marinate for at least 20 minutes

skewer chicken, a few peices per skewer. my chicken pieces were a little long, so I double skewered them - weaving them on.

sprinkle with sesame seeds and place on hot grill. grill each side a few minutes. (depends on how big your chunks are)

in the meantime, pour the marinade into a small pot and put over medium high heat. bring to boil. boil for 5 minutes while stirring (careful, it can burn!), then remove from heat. this kills all the nasty salmonella bugs and now your marinade is a tasty dipping sauce. you can probably just make extra marinade and reserve it for this purpose, but I didn't think of that ahead of time, now did I?

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Monday, August 16, 2004

BRATS! 

I always see those commercials for Johnsonville Bratwurst on TV. They tell you how to cook them, the theory being they're so easy, a guy could do it. We've never had brats before, so I thought I'd try the recipe. On advice from Caroline, who is the head technician (or "lab goddess") in the lab, AND who's from Germany(so she would know), we didn't buy the Johnsonville Brats. Instead we bought them from the Dekalb County International Farmer's Market. Which is the best place ever and if you're in atlanta ever, you should go. They make the brats fresh there, using organic meat. Anyway, here's our attempt to duplicate the Johnsonville brat commercial, using better brats!


Heat 3 bottles/cans of beer in a pot. We used 1 Amstel light and 2 Rolling Rocks (just what we had on hand). Throw in one or two sliced onions. Bring to a boil.


The brats make good mustaches.


put the brats in the beer and onions. Lower heat to simmer and cover.


Go play with the dog. But she won't want to play, because you're making yummy food and she can't concentrate on anything else. Stupid dog. Blog instead.


After maybe...20 minutes? take out the brats and grill on each side for a few minutes to get nice grill marks. I'm not sure this step is absolutely neccessary, but without the marks, the brats look disturbingly white.


Serve on crusty rolls topped with the onions (drain beer), spicy mustard, and a big helping of baked beans.


Mmmmmm...very good. Similar in spices to breakfast sausage. Would definately make again.

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Chicken, mushroom and bean enchiladas 

This is cooking now - it's good to use up left over roast chicken, and you can vary the rest of it depending on what you have around. Tonight, it was a few huge field mushrooms that have been sitting in the fridge, and a can of mexibeans from the pantry.

The filling:
  • Roughly chopped cold cooked chicken
  • Roughly chopped field mushrooms (they actually taste better in this if they aren't incredibly fresh)
  • 1 can of mexibeans (mixed beans in a capsicum and tomato sauce)
  • Enchilada sauce to make a thick, gooey mix
Heat the tortillas and have a glass of wine while the filling is cooking. Check, stir and blog if it's not quite ready - the chicken should be done enough so that it shreds easily. Have another glass of wine if needed.

Putting it together:
Peel the tortillas apart, place a decent spoonful of the filling down the centre of each and roll them up. (I know this doesn't really need a pic, but I'm trying out Blogger's new pic upload.)




Place edges down in a lightly oiled baking dish or flat casserole dish. Repeat as needed until you've used all the tortillas or filling. Spoon over extra enchilada sauce, top with grated cheese (I use reduced fat cheddar), and put in the oven at 180°C for about 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and just starting to brown.

Serve with a salad and sour cream - and more wine. I'm having Banrock Station White Shiraz with this tonight. Hola!

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Sunday, August 15, 2004

sesame chicken skewers 

this recipe (increased amounts, of course) would be great finger food for a party!

marinade: all amounts are approximate - I just add add add...so I'm guessing at the amounts

1/2 c soy sauce
3 tbs honey
3 tbs ketchup
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbs fresh ginger, chopped
a dash of sesame oil

combine together

other stuff:

2-3 breasts chicken
wooden skewers, soaked in water
sesame seeds

chop up chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and combine with marinade (a ziplock bag works nicely for this)
marinate for at least 20 minutes

skewer chicken, a few peices per skewer. my chicken pieces were a little long, so I double skewered them - weaving them on.

sprinkle with sesame seeds and place on hot grill. grill each side a few minutes. (depends on how big your chunks are)

in the meantime, pour the marinade into a small pot and put over medium high heat. bring to boil. boil for 5 minutes while stirring (careful, it can burn!), then remove from heat. this kills all the nasty salmonella bugs and now your marinade is a tasty dipping sauce. you can probably just make extra marinade and reserve it for this purpose, but I didn't think of that ahead of time, now did I?

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Apple-Onion Chicken 

courtesy of Sara


What you need:

Sour Apple Pucker/Sour Apple Vodka
Chicken breasts (preferrably with fat cut off, appropriate for the number of people that will be served)
1 white onion, chopped
1-2 Granny Smith Apples, sliced
Seasonings (optional, to your liking)
1 egg
Flour
Rice

How to prepare:

Cook the chicken as you did for the chicken cacciatore. In a separate small pan, cook the onion pieces until they look somewhat transparent. Add the onions and apple pieces, along with a splash of the pucker/vodka to the pan. Let the mixture simmer for about 20 minutes. Prepare the rice. Serve a piece of chicken with the apples and onions over 1/2 cup of the white rice. Serves 3-4 people.


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Chicken Cacciatore 

Courtesy of Sara

What you need:

Chicken breasts (preferrably with fat cut off)
Scallions
A can of olives, drained
Can of stewed tomatoes
1-2 Zucchini
Garlic & other seasonings (optional, to your liking)
1 egg
Flour
Box of pasta of your choosing (penne recommended)
Merlot/Red wine (optional)

How to prepare:

First, you need to cook the chicken in a large pan/deep skillet. Do this by dipping it into the egg mixture, then rolling it into the flour. Cook the chicken for about 10 minutes (when it looks fairly well-cooked). In the meantime, chop up the scallions and zucchini. Once the chicken is cooked, add the can of stewed tomatos to the chicken, along with a splash of merlot or other red wine (the wine is optional). Also, add the olives, zucchini, scallions, and any other seasonings you choose. Make sure the heat on the stove is turned down to a low/simmer setting.

Once the chicken is all prepared, cook your pasta according to the directions on the box. Serve a piece of chicken over a 1/2 cup of pasta per person. Serves 3-4 people.

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Grilled Chicken With A Flare 

(and no, not the kind you send out as a distress signal) courtesy of Brighton

1 tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Cilantro
1 tsp. Cumin
1tsp. White Wine Vinegar
1/2 Cup Lime Juice
1/4 Cup Green Onions
1 tsp. Jalapeno Pepper
1 tsp. Cajun Seasoning
8 Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Breasts
1/2 Cup Green Hot Sauce

Directions:
Place the chicken in a large zip-lock bag. In a bowl, combine the lime juice, pepper sauce, cilantro, onions, peppers, vinegar, and cumin. Pour into the bag with the chicken. Seal the bag, place inside a large bowl or baking dish, and refrigerate for at least 4 and up to 8 hours. Turn the bag occasionally to marinate evenly. (Alternately, the chicken and marinade can be placed in a non-reactive baking dish and tightly covered with plastic wrap. Turn the pieces occasionally.) Preheat a grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry. Season both sides with the salt and cajun spice. Grill over a medium flame, with the lid closed, until brown on both sides, cooked through and juices run clear, about 25 minutes, turning frequently.
6 Servings.

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Saturday, August 14, 2004

Chicken and mango in filo 

This is a really easy main meal that's great for dinner parties - looks elaborate, but it's simple.

You'll need:
One skinless chicken breast per person
Fresh or tinned mangoes
Cheddar cheese (use a sharper cheddar for a more cheesy flavour)
Filo pastry (that's the kind that comes in very thin sheets - sometimes spelled "phyllo")
Melted butter (I prefer salted butter, but I guess you could use unsalted)

What to do:
Slice the mango and cheese



Brush the filo with melted butter. Place a chicken breast in the centre a little way from one of the short edges and arrange mango slices, then slices of cheese on top.



Using two layers of filo at a time, wrap the chicken, mango and cheese like a parcel, folding in the edges after the first wrap. You need to work pretty quickly with the filo as it dries out fast (if you're interupted ... by the doorbell, phone or horny boyfriend ;*) ... place a damp teatowel/dishcloth over the pastry). Brush more melted butter as you go.



Ready for the oven...



Place a little apart in a greased baking tray and cook at about 200C/390F until golden brown ... ummmm .... I can't remember how long, but you have enough time to blow bubbles and freak out the cat while it's cooking. I think it's about 30 - 40 minutes.



We blew too many bubbles.... they shouldn't be quite this brown ;*)



These chicken breasts were actually quite big, so I cut them in half to serve. I'd usually do roasted or baked potatoes, but we'd run out, so I ended up using potato gems (yummy).



Alternatives:
You can try just about anything in combination. Other great ones are pork/cheddar/sliced apple and beef/pate/sliced field mushrooms.

Enjoy :*)

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Thursday, August 12, 2004

Steak Fajitas 

This is an easy recipe for fajitas. While I give ingredients, they can be skipped, added to, or substituted according to tast.


I use a big piece of flank steak or other similar "marinating" steak. I marinate in lemon or lime juice, chopped garlic, tequila, wor-shire-chester sauce (yeah, YOU spell it!), salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, and a little oil. Dump it all in a zip lock and let it sit for at least 30 minutes, as long as overnight.





Chop up onions and peppers. Toss them with salt, pepper, and your favorite light oil, and spread them on the hot grill (I have a cast iron grill pan which I LOVE! No, you can't have it. No. $25 at Target. Get your own.) Grill until veggies start to brown and soften.





Grill the meat, according to taste. If you like your steak over medium rare...what the hell is wrong with you? This was a pretty thin piece of meat, I grill it for about 3 minutes per side.





Have some patience! Wrap the steak in foil and let it rest for a few minutes to allow the juice to redistribute.







Slice against the grain. Note: if you ask your boyfriend to take a picture of you slicing meat, he will undoubtably attempt to include your boobs in the shot. Fact of life.






Serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa, Crystal hot sauce (the best), avocadoes, etc.






mmmmmmmm...good fajitas. Gets boyfriend's approval. Success!


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Sunday, August 08, 2004

White Spaghetti 

courtesy of E-Lo.

Try it with bow tie noodles, my favorite.
You’ll need:
2-3 chicken breasts
1 8 oz. Package of cream cheese
1 packet of italian dressing mix (the powdery kind)
1/2 a cup of white wine vinegar
a stick of butter or margarine
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can of chicken broth
Some sort of pasta, preferably penne, rigatoni, or something big and chunky (why it’s called white spaghetti, I don’t know, but you can use whatever, don’t let me dictate your culinary creativity!)

Ok, what you’re gonna do is take half of your chicken broth and some water (enough to cover the chicken in a skillet), and simmer the chicken breasts in that mixture for about a half hour, until it’s cooked. Take out the chicken and cut it into bite sized pieces, and drain the skillet (you could probably re-use the same broth mixture, which is what my mom told me to do, but the little chicken floaties scared me, so I drained it) and throw the other half of the chicken broth and a little water (you’ll want to have less this time) into the skillet with the pieces and cook it up some more while you’re making the sauce.

To make the sauce, take a medium sized pot and throw in the butter and cream cheese until it softens up and whip it around with a fork, or an egg beater, which worked nicely for me. Add your other ingredients as you whip. When all the stuff is mixed together, throw the entire contents of the skillet, chicken broth and all, and mix that in. Let that cook around together for about 15 minutes or so on low-ish heat. When you’re ready, add your pasta. I used an entire 12 oz box of bow ties. The sauce will be really thick and creamy, so it’s good to use a lot. Add some salt and pepper and parmesan cheese and serve. Or eat it all yourself. And throw some cheesy garlic italian bread into the mix.

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Saturday, August 07, 2004

Thai food delight 

OK, most of the amounts below are approximate, and you can adjust depending on how how you like your food, or how sweet. The paste mixes I use are all Thai Kitchen brand, which is all I can find here. But you can use whatever brand you have available.

Coconut curry

1lb chicken breasts or 1lb skirt steak, cut into bite sized pieces
1 each red pepper and green pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
1/2 red onion, chopped into...you know....
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 can coconut milk
1-2 tbs brown sugar
3 tbs fish sauce
1/2 tsp - ? red curry paste
1/2 tsp corn starch, stirred into some water (optional - I like my sauces thicker)

Heat oil in a deep pan. Add meat to brown. Add veggies. Add curry paste and sugar, stir to coat. Add coconut milk and fish sauce. Bring to boil and turn down heat and let simmer for 10 minutes (or longer, it's pretty forgiving, especially if you forgot to put on rice and need some extra time). Add corn starch slurry, bring back up to boil, then turn off heat to let thicken.

Serve with rice.

Tom Yum Hot and Sour Soup

There is a recipe on the back, which I mostly follow, but made some changes. I don't like seafood soups, so I made this vegetarian. i think you can add just about any meat, fish, or veggie you like to the broth, though.

2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3 tbs fish sauce
1 tsp tom yum soup mix
1 tsp roasted red chili paste
red curry paste (OPTIONAL!)
1 tbs brown sugar
sliced mushrooms
chopped green onions (2)
cubed soft tofu

Combine all ingredients but the curry paste over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. TASTE...if you want it hotter, add a little bit of curry paste. Simmer for 10 -15 minutes.

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Friday, August 06, 2004

Portabella mushroom burgers 

porabella mushroom caps, destemmed, and gills scooped out with spoon
italian dressing
1 small onion, cut into rounds
2 roasted red peppers (from a jar), sliced into strips
1 piece bacon per mushroom, cut in half and cooked
sliced provalone cheese, 1 per mushroom
onion rolls, toasted

put mushrooms in ziplock bag with italian dressing. marinate for 15-30 minutes.
saute onion rounds (I did it in the same pan I cooked the bacon in, drained of most of the fat, of course, with just a little olive oil added) with a little salt, until very soft. add roasted red peppers.

grill mushrooms on a very hot grill. 3 minutes a side. top with onion and pepper mixture, and place provalone on top (melted cheese prevents onion/peppers from sliding off). top with bacon and serve on toasted onion roll.

as a side, I roasted red potatoes in a little italian dressing, and sliced up some fresh tomatoes and sweet onion, again, in italian dressing. notice the theme?

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Thursday, August 05, 2004

Stuffed turkey thighs for two 

two turkey thighs, skin removed, and deboned so that you have one flat, long piece (may have to slice through (umm...butterfly?) some of the thicker parts to make all the same thickness, or pound with kitchen hammer to even out (wrap in plastic wrap first, of course!)

2 thick slices of very stale bread, or fresh bread put in oven at low temp until dried out, and cut into cubes

1 carrot, finely diced
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2 ribs celery finely diced
tsp poultry seasoning
salt and pepper
few tablespoons of chicken broth/stock

butcher's string.

heat a pan with some olive oil. saute carrot, onion, and celery. add salt and pepper to taste. cook until softened. add poutry seasoning and stir to coat. add bread cubes and toss to soak up all the oil. add chicken broth to just moisten the bread cubes. turn off heat, spoon mixture into bowl and let cool.

once cool, use you CLEAN hands to scoop up about a palmful of stuffing, form into football shape. Place at one end of flattened boneless turkey thigh, and carefully roll the turkey up, tight! Secure with a few wraps of string, and tie securely. Repeat with other thigh.

Spray glass baking dish with cooking spray, placed stuffed thighs in, and put in 350F oven for a half hour, or until internal tempurature reaches about 160F. Remove, place thighs on separate plate, cover with foil and let rest.

Meanwhile, add more some (1/3 cup?) chicken stock to baking dish and use a spoon to scrape all the stuck on turkey goodness off. pour into a saute pan and heat on high to reduce liquid by half. in a seperate little bowl, mix 1/4 milk with a tbs of flour, and add to broth mixture. stirr to remove lumps. bring to boil and allow to thicken. gravy!

serve with garlicky mashed taters....mmmm...it's thanksgiving ANY DAY!!!

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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Mexican Lasagne 

3-4 large four tortillas, or 6-8 medium size ones
left over cooked chicken or pork or ground beef
frozen corn
medium onion, chopped
1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess moisture
1 can black beans, drained
1 can condensed pepper jack cheese soup
1 can ro-tel peppers and tomatoes (your choice of hotness)
shredded cheese (chedder, pepper jack, etc)

Spray large pan with cooking spray. Add onion and cook over medium head until transluscent. Add corn, meat, beans and spinach, cook until heated through, stirring often. Add cheese soup and stir to coat.
Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. Place a layer of tortilla (one large, or two medium, and depending on the size of your casserolle dish). Spoon some of the heated mixture on top, add a few spoonfulls of the ro-tel, and a sprinkle of cheese. Add another layer of tortillas. Repeat until you get the top of your dish (two or three layers total). Put the final tortillas on top, pour the rest of the ro-tel on top and sprinkle with more cheese.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Take off foil, bake for another 5 minutes until cheese on top is melty and bubbly.

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Monday, August 02, 2004

Chicken, basil and macadamia ravioli 

I finally succumbed to the temptation of buying a pasta machine! See my blog for more about that. This was my first attempt so ignore the rather munted looking result - they tasted fantastic, though ;*)

What you'll need:
For the pasta:
3 eggs
4 cups sifted plain flour
1/4 cup of water
2 tablespoons olive oil
(I used pasta mix from my bread shop - you still have to add eggs, oil and water, but the flour is made from the right variety of wheat)

For the filling:
250gm (about 1/2 pound) minced chicken
about 3/4 cup crushed macadamia nuts
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh basil

To top it off:
one small or half a large sweet potato, cut into chunks
full cream fetta cheese
shaved parmesan cheese
a drizzle of good olive oil

What to do:
The pasta:
Prepare the dough - I just mixed it using the dough setting on my breadmaker. Roll it out thinly, using either a pasta machine or a rolling pin. If you're using a pasta machine, we got the best results by not making the pasta too thin. Use a little extra flour if needed - the dough should be really pliable and elastic, but firm. Let it stand for 15 minutes after kneading before working with it.

The filling:
This is really easy - just mix the mince, basil and crushed macadamia nuts really well.

Flour a ravioli mold and place a sheet of the pasta over it, making sure the pasta overlaps the zigzag edges.
Place a little of the chicken mix into each cavity, pushing it down well. Make sure the mix doesn't rise above the level of the mold.



Place a second sheet of pasta over the top, overlapping the edges. With a rolling pin, start at the centre of the ravioli tray and roll firmly in both directions untill all ravioli have been sealed and cut. You should be able to just tip out the ravioli by turning the mold upsidedown ... ermmm.... we had to prise them out, which is why some of them look munted!



Place the prepared ravioli on floured cloths and let them sit for about an hour before cooking. This recipe made about 3 1/2 dozen.



While the ravioli are drying, brush the chunks of sweet potato with olive oil and roast til cooked.

Bring salted water to the boil in a large pot. Drop in the ravioli, cook for about 8-10 minutes and drain.

Serve topped with the sweet potato, chunks of fetta, shaved parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. About 6 of these ravioli is enough for a good-sized serve. The fetta adds enough salt, I found. You could add ground black pepper, but don't kill the basil flavour!


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Sunday, August 01, 2004

Regan and K try out Nicole's Red Curry Recipe 

The red curry recipe looked very good, and I'd been wanting to try cooking thai food. so we gave it a try!




LOTS of veggies - red and green pepper, yukon gold potatoes, and onions.


I used flank steak. It ended up being a little too chewy, so next time I'll try a better cut of beef.


Here's how it turned out. mmmmmm...very good. I used 2 tsp of the curry paste. It was almost too hot for me! Didn't really care for the rice noodles I bought. Next time I'll probably just have sticky rice with it.


I tried to duplicate the soup that comes with the lunch specials from Thai Chili (place we order delivery from the lab). It's got mushrooms and soft tofu in it, with just a touch of a red chili oil. Here I saute'd some mushrooms, added two cups chicken broth and a can of coconut milk, and about half a block of cubed tofu. All I could find at the store was roasted chili oil, which wasn't as red, and the color faded. Next time I'll add less mushrooms and use less chicken broth. It was delicious, though.

Very good recipe, Nicole!!!

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Red Curry Beef and Vegetables 

Okay... so this one goes on the "quick and easy main dish" category, but ESC hasn't figured that out yet. We'll deal with that later.

Ingredients:
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • (other asundry vegetables you like... i.e. onion, thinly sliced potato, etc.)
  • 1 package "rice sticks" or rice noodles
  • red curry paste
  • 1 can (no, I don't know what size!) coconut milk (lite or regular)
  • 1 steak (approx. 1 lb., sirloin, flank, whatever... something to soak up flavor)
  • oil (I like extra virgin olive oil... why?...because (as I explained to my housemate) I'm extra virgin! Seriously, it has a very light fresh taste to it, which doesn't compete with other flavors. And it's good for you too!)

Instructions:

  1. Heat 1-2 T. of oil in LARGE skillet or wok on medium high heat.
  2. Put a pot of water on to boil.
  3. Chop vegetables into bite-size pieces (about 1 inch square).
  4. Cook vegetables in oil until tender and onion is slightly clearish.
  5. Remove vegetables to bowl.
  6. Slice meat thinly (think stirfry strips, bite-size). Add to hot pan and brown.
  7. Add 1 tsp-2 T. curry paste (a little goes a long way... I like it hot, and 2 T is almost too hot!). Stir with meat til meat is coated.
  8. Add vegetables to meat. add coconut milk. Bring to boil, then turn down to simmer. Simmer 5 minutes.
  9. Turn heat off of curry mix and allow to "rest". The sauce will thicken a bit.
  10. Once water has come to boil, turn off. Put rice noodles in hot water for 10 minutes to soften. Drain noodles and place service size portion on plate(s).
  11. Serve curry over rice noodles.

I don't use any seasoning other than the curry paste in this, because the flavor is so strong, you don't want to compete with it. I have seen recipes that use basil or chicken stock in the curry as well, which sounds good. I generally have to add salt or garlic salt to my own portion, to taste -- you could do this to the whole dish, but my rule of thumb is to let people add salt to THEIR taste.


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