Sunday, 30 November 2014

Chicken Chilaquiles

Anybody getting sick and tired of me raving about how much I love Mexican cuisine yet? Well brace yourself because this one is a barn burner. So awesome and easy and delicious. And I made it for snack today for my football friends and it took no effort at all. Nobody even noticed I disappeared to the kitchen and came back with lunch. But they expect that of me anyway. This is a recipe I have been wanting to try for so long just and only for its sexy name. Chilaquiles. Can you even say it without smiling and thinking of joy and happiness and sexiness and flavour? Didn't think so. So let's light up the joint and buck up a sexy meal!

You'll need:
3 tablespoons of paprika
3 tablespoons of chili powder
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
That's your flavour base.
3 tablespoons of Canola oil or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons of flour
2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1 box of chicken broth. You may want to use low sodium since we're going to throw a bag of Frito chips into this later
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I used 2 to feed 4 people. So use 4 breasts if you're feeding more than that.
Salt and pepper to season
A bag of Frito chips
1 cup of crumbled Feta cheese. Or use Mexican cheese if you can get your hands on it
Sour Cream to garnish
Thinly sliced red onion to garnish
Chopped Cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice to garnish

Combine your paprika, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, sugar and salt in a bowl, whisking it all up and set aside.
Chop your garlic
Season your chicken breasts with salt and pepper and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
Heat the oil on medium heat and whisk in the flour to make a roux. Whisk for 3 or 4 minutes until golden. Add the garlic and the spice mixture. Keep on whisking and slowly whisk in the broth, and keep on whisking until it's smooth and be sure to scrape the sides and incorporate it all. Cover and let it simmer for about half an hour until it is thick enough to coat a spoon. We're looking for gravy texture here.
Slice your onion and organize your garnishes while that simmers.
Slice your chicken horizontally.
Throw a bag of Fritos into the sauce 3 minutes before you plan to serve. And stir it all up.

To plate:
Add the Frito and sauce mixture onto a plate. Top with the chicken, cheese, red onion, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Drizzle some sour cream over it. And that's it! And my piece of crap, virus infected laptop won't let me post a photo. And that's a shame because this is a very beautiful dish. So photo to come soon and cheers my friends!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Burrata with Honey-Balsamic Raspberries and Black Pepper

Well, in case you haven’t been in a store for the last three weeks, Christmas is just around the corner. Not that I want to jump on the Christmas bandwagon yet (or ever), but it’s getting to be that time where people start hosting holiday gatherings and such. As is tradition, when you are invited to someone’s home, you are often expected to bring something as well. No sense in wasting time with the passive aggressive “Oh don’t bring a thing!” Everyone knows that’s bullshit. So I am going to save you the trouble of fretting about what to bring.


This is a fresh, festive, and easy dish that is sort of a Baked Brie 2.0. Not that I have anything against baked brie, I love it. But when Heather Reisman is making half her profits on ceramic dishes in jewel tones, specifically for baking said brie, I feel it’s perhaps a little over done.

So here’s a new suggestion from Food52, using burrata. I first became captivated with burrata when I was looking up how to make my own cheese. I wanted to make it, but you know how I feel about recipes requiring me to use formal measurements. (If you’re interested in a DIY project involving thermometers and something called “Polly-O mozzarella curd, check it out here.) I thought I might have to shelve my burrata fascination, until my local Loblaws transformed themselves from a basic grocery store to a Gourmet Food Shop, with all the conveniences of being located in a strip mall. So now I have a delightful oyster bar, olive bar, and fromagerie just a few blocks away.

Start by making a balsamic reduction. Pour about a half-cup of balsamic into a little pot or pan. Add 1 tbsp of honey and let simmer until it reduces by half and has the viscosity of syrup. Set aside.

Slice your burrata, which is practically a religious experience (and at $13.00 per ball, it deserves a little reverie), and plate. Add fresh raspberries, and drizzle with balsamic reduction. A few cracks of black pepper takes it to a new level. (Along the lines of baked brie, I think people are kind of over sea salt or fleur de sel on their desserts. Black pepper is just as easy but much more surprising. It’s almost whimsical.)

I think this dish is just that little bit extra for a holiday gathering. Enjoy!

PS- For more burrata recipes, and an entirely enjoyable aesthetic blog experience, check out Sunday Suppers.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Cuban Sandwiches

Have I ever told you how much my family loves to take a concept and run wild with it until it's been exaggerated to death? And of course you know we love NFL football and betting and eating snack and drinking beer. So imagine the fun we had combining the two this week! So my sister and I were discussing our football tickets for this week. And then from there - and I don't know quite how it evolved, we got to talking about the different cities that have NFL teams. And which cities we liked the most and which ones we'd like to visit some day. And being as we are, we decided to do a Sexy City ticket. That's right. We chose what we decided were the 6 sexiest cities in the NFL and bet on them. And since Miami was deemed to be one of those sexy cities, and won the Thursday Nighter, I was inspired to make Cuban Sandwiches for snack this week. That is one sexy snack for two sexy sisters, and a sexy city 6 pick ticket! So let's have some fun with that.

You'll need:
A 1 or 2 pound pork shoulder roast, depending on how many sandwiches you want to make. I used a 2 pound to make about 10 sandwiches. The roast is really the key to give your sandwiches good flavour and I slow cooked mine the day before.
Salt and pepper to season
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves of smashed garlic
1/2 teaspoon of dried red chili flakes
1 sliced onion
1 cup of orange juice
zest and juice of a lime
1 cup of chicken broth
2 bay leaves
Bread. Not a baguette. If you can't find a Cuban roll, I used Portuguese buns
10 slices of Swiss Cheese
Bread and butter pickles
10 slices of Black Forest ham.
Salt and Pepper and olive oil to brush on the bread
A Panini or sandwich grill if you have one. Otherwise use a skillet and smash the sandwich down with a plate with a brick on it. And flip after 3 or 4 minutes on medium heat. Just to golden and your cheese is melted.

So let's get at that pork roast. Just of note, this is an amazingly delicious way to cook a pork roast and I would use it as main if I wasn't in the mood for Cuban Sandwiches.
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven on medium heat and add the garlic and chili flakes. Season the roast with the salt and pepper and rub in the cumin and oregano. Brown it in the oil on all sides and add the onion, bay leaves, lime juice and zest and orange juice and broth. Cover and place in a preheated 300 degree oven and cook for about 3 1/2 hours. Remove the meat and set aside. Boil down the remaining juices in the pan until they're reduced by half or a bit more. You want it to be like a gravy consistency. Press it through a sieve and let it cool down. Put it in a squeeze bottle and refrigerate it. And you just made you own homemade sub sauce! Imagine that! Let it come back down to room temperature before you make your sandwiches.

To assemble your sandwiches, slice open the bun and add some of your sub sauce to each side. Layer the sliced pork, then cheese, then pickle and the ham. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Brush each side of the bun with olive oil and heat in the sandwich press for about 5 minutes. Let all of your ingredients come down to room temperature before you assemble them. That way they'll be warm from the grill, but your bun won't scorch. And that's a sexy tip right there! Mustard or Dijon is an option to serve on the side. But not traditional to the sandwich. So that's your call. And that, my friends is the way to enjoy a Sunday in the sexiest possible way. Enjoy!



Thursday, 6 November 2014

Bacon Frittata

I guess I can tell you that my biggest pet peeve in life for the past decade (or 2, because where do the years go?) has been the price of gasoline. As it goes steadily up, my nerves go steadily down. To the point where I started driving a 4 cylinder car to save on gas. And I watch the websites like a hawk, driving on fumes to fill up on the next cheap gas day. I will literally buy 2 dollars worth to hold me off till then. So now, instead of spending a full days pay on gasoline, I only spend a half days pay per week. And I thought I was winning. But oh no my friends. As the cartels have been slowly loosening that noose off my neck, the bastard pig farmers have been quietly gaining momentum.

Canadians more than love bacon. It courses through our veins. It is the very mainstay of our lives other than hockey and maple syrup. And when hockey is over for the season and the maple trees are not in sap, it's all we have to sustain us. We count on bacon. It is our trusted and dear friend. A friend when nobody else seems to care. And knowing this, the pig farmers or the government, or some other sinister blood lusty thieves started sneaking the price slowly up to the point where less than a pound of bacon (because those same blood lusty thieves put us to the metric system) raised it to $7.99 a package. More than the price of a steak or chicken or a really good cut of pork roast.

So I went on bacon strike. I didn't think I needed it that badly. I just decided bacon and I were through for good. I stopped buying it altogether. But it wasn't too long before I started lingering in bacon the way I used to lust for new shoes. I would just stand there with my cart and eyeball it, hoping for a brand on sale. Stand there and savour the good memories of a long lost love. Relish in those precious memories and wonder what I did so wrong to break us up. Often times I would just softly caress that plastic and resolve myself to be content in the good memories we had and move on. Sometimes I would put it in my cart, only to throw it back down in chicken. Strength and resolve. But then one day, I ordered a BLT for lunch from a local deli. And I realized I was back at square one. The addiction was strengthened by that toasted sandwich. I think my joy possibly frightened the office staff from ever dining in the same room as me again. It was shameful. So I relapsed. I bought some bacon on the way home that night and went on an ever loving bacon bender the likes of which you've never seen.

And I cook the whole not full pound of it because I can't know when I've had enough. And so last night I had some left over bacon because I'm normalized again after the withdrawal. And this frittata is the very best way to enjoy leftover bacon.

You'll need:
bread slices, about 5 to cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. I use light rye. Just use enough full slices to cover the bottom of the pan and tear up another piece to fill in the holes so it's all covered
8-10 eggs
a splash of milk
a goodly few sploshes of hot sauce of your choice
2 chopped tomatoes
also anything else you like. Chopped onion or green or red pepper or jalapeno. Just whatever you have on hand or like
2 cups of grated cheese. Again, use what you like. I like old white cheddar and gruyere
salt and pepper to season
6 or 7 slices of crisp bacon which you will crumble over the top

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of the casserole dish with the bread
Whisk the eggs, hot sauce, salt and pepper and milk
Add the cheese and tomatoes and whatever else vegetable you like
Pour it over the bread and crumble the bacon over the top and season with more salt and pepper
Bake for about 45 minutes
Let it rest for 10 minutes before you serve it

So easy and you can have this for brunch or lunch or dinner or breakfast. I like asparagus very much, so I serve with a side of roasted asparagus. But a salad would be just the dandy too. Enjoy friends!