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Eating This Everyday! Celery, Dates, Almonds & Parmesean Salad

26 Jun

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup raw almonds (can substitute walnuts, pecans etc.)
  • 8 celery stalks, thinly sliced on a diagonal, leaves separated
  • 6 dates, pitted, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, shaved (or microplaned)
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (I love Bom Dia)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes

 

RECIPE PREPARATION

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Spread out almonds on a small rimmed baking sheet; toast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop.

  • Toss almonds, celery, celery leaves, dates, and lemon juice in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add Parmesan and oil and toss gently; season with red pepper flakes.

Thank you https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/celery-salad-with-dates-almonds-and-parmesan

“Crack Oatmeal Cookies”

20 Apr

You can’t stop at just one and it smells amazing! Add whatever you want – dried cranberries/cherries, shredded coconut, flaxseed, white/semisweet/dark chocolate chips, macadamia nuts etc.

Make flatter for crisper cookies, make thicker for chewier cookies.

Crispy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

By Merrill Stubbs

Chocolate chip cookies are delicious. So are oatmeal raisin cookies. But in my opinion, the king of all cookies is a hybrid of the two. For years, I’d been sampling and comparing oatmeal chocolate chip cookies but had never tried making my own. Until this week, that is. After one misguided attempt resulting in insipid, cakey little domes that dried out almost instantaneously, I took a step back for a minute. I thought about a standard chewy oatmeal raisin cookie—the kind that bends as you bite into it and leaves behind a rich, spicy aftertaste. And then I thought of the chocolate chip cookies my mother used to make when I was growing up. She took the recipe from the Nestle Toll House chocolate chips bag and tweaked it so the cookies came out flatter and crisper around the edges, with rich caramel undertones. I decided what I was really looking to achieve lay somewhere in between these two. The resulting cookies were crisp indeed, almost lacy, with little pockets where butter and sugar had pooled to create crackly deposits of caramel. The spices were pronounced without being overbearing, and every cookie promised at least half a dozen chips. It was difficult to wait until they were cool enough to handle. I may never make plain old chocolate chip cookies again!

Makes about 5 dozen small cookies

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 10 min

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and spices. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and two sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl once. Add the flour and spices in three additions, beating until just combined and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Do not overbeat!
  3. Stir in the oats and the chocolate chips, distributing evenly. Drop the dough in heaping tablespoons on parchment-lined baking sheets, keeping the cookies at least 2 inches apart. Flatten gently with the back of a spoon and bake for about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. The cookies are done when they turn lightly golden around the edges, and the tops look almost dry. Cool on the baking sheets for a minute, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. The cookies are best still slightly warm, but you can successfully store them in an airtight container for up to a few days.

Thanks Food52

https://food52.com/recipes/5804-crispy-oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookies

 

 

Best Country / French Baguette Recipe

17 Apr

If I didn’t burn it while doing the crusty top, this would have been PERFECT on the first try. Used the Emile Henry Baguette Baker, left it to rise a little too long, it’s still a bit short on dough for the baker, but this recipe is everything!!! Followed it up with the recommended recipe by Emile Henry and it turned out terrible. Never buying $3 baguettes again!

Country Baguettes

Yield: 3 Loaves

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (13 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon active dry yeast or 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (9 fluid ounces) water, tepid (65-70°F)

Directions

  1. Place the flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal S blade. With the machine running, slowly pour in all of the water and process for a few seconds until the dough comes into a ball. Then process for 30 more seconds. The dough should reach 80°F when measured with an instant read thermometer. (If the dough is cooler, pulse the dough in 5 second increments until it warms.)
  2. Place dough in a large ungreased bowl, covered with plastic wrap. Ferment the dough 2 to 3 hours at room temperature. Use the dough immediately or refrigerate the dough, covered for 8 to 12 hours before using.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  4. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 3 uniform pieces. Shape the dough into rough balls and let the dough rest, covered for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Roll out each piece of dough slightly longer than the length of the cavities in the mold with tapered ends.
  6. Dust the cavities in the Emile Henry Baguette Baker generously with flour. (Or line a baking sheet with parchment and sprinkle it with rice flour.*) Transfer the formed dough into the cavities in the mold or onto the baking sheet. Cover and let the dough proof until expanded 1 ½ times in size, from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the temperature of the dough and the temperature in your kitchen. ** note you can heat up the cover of the baker in the over for a few minutes and then cover the dough to have the warmth for the dough to rise
  7. Sift a light layer of flour over the dough if desired. Using a serrated knife, score the surface of the each loaf along the entire length of the baguette.
  8. Cover and place on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the lid and continue to bake the baguettes for 8-10 more minutes (NEED TO WATCH) until golden brown and crackling.
  9. Cool the bread on a wire rack.

Notes:

  • always do long fermentation
  • the food processor method is the most convenient way to get your dough started. See Charles’ patented dough mixing method.
  • The dough mixes in a snap, 45 seconds in fact, using a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Then it ferments for a good 2 to 3 hours before shaping, proofing and baking. Shaping baguette dough is rather simple but takes a little practice.  Divide the dough into three uniform pieces.  We use a scale to weigh each piece.  Then form each piece of dough into a tight ball.  Let the dough sit and relax for 15 to 20 minutes before rolling out into the baguette shape. We like to taper the dough to give the country baguettes pointed ends.
  • If you are using the Emile Henry Baguette mold, you need to sprinkle the cavities with a generous amount of flour.  Over time the bread dough will resist sticking but the first few times you use the mold, it will need a good amount of flour. Place the dough into the cavities in the mold, cover and let it proof slowly before baking.
  • Cool your bread on a wire rack to preserve its crisp crust.

Thank you https://priscillamartel.com/country-baguettes/

 

 

 

I like: White Balsamic

26 Jul

Creamy White Balsamic Dressing

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 T. white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t. honey
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ t. white pepper
Combine all ingredients in a jar. Shake vigorously. Chill several hours before serving.

White Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (about one generous squeeze from a fresh lemon)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine the vinegar and lemon juice in a glass bowl.Slowly whisk in the oil until fully combined.Whisk in the honey. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to let the flavors meld. Give the dressing a good whisk immediately before serving. Makes 1 cup of white balsamic vinaigrette.

Avocado Toast

18 Apr

avocado toastWhat you will  need:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • REALLY good bread – dense, seedy – I like Cob’s Cape Seed Loaf. Believe me, the bread makes the difference.
  • extra virgin olive oil that’s just for eating – I like Bom Dia
  • truffle oil (optional)
  • fresh lemon juice (for sprinkling)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  1. Toast bread till crispy
  2. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and truffle oil (optional, to taste) – can go on bread or on avocado. Personal preference.
  3. Put as much avocado on your toast as you want – some recipes call to mash like guacamole but I prefer mash some, leave some chunks. It’s a personal preference.
  4. Sprinkle lemon juice on avocado.
  5. Season with sea salt (crunchy), freshly ground pepper and a healthy sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

Green Smoothies

3 Apr

green-smoothie1

Green Smoothies are a simple way to incorporate large amounts of greens into your diet. Did you know that leafy greens have more valuable nutrients than any other food group? They contain high-quality amino acids, important minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and beneficial phytochemicals (plant-based chemicals also known as phytonutrients). Phytochemicals keep your body’s immune system and body functioning properly, improve health and longevity, and may reduce life- threatening diseases.

I’ve made green smoothies and juices a daily part of my diet – it’s taken coffee, tea, coke, iced tea and other sugary drinks from 100% of the liquid part of my diet down to 30% and it feels sooooooo good! Discovering and trying new smoothies is always fun and keeps it less boring (and painful sometimes!).

5 REASONS WE LOVE GREEN SMOOTHIES

1. Natural energy booster
2. Natural weight loss drink
3. Simple way to boost your immune system
4. Full of disease-fighting antioxidants
5. Hands down— The best fast food

Here are a couple of my favourite recipes – the best site out there is http://simplegreensmoothies.com/recipes – offering categories such as banana free, 5 ingredients or less, immune booster, kid friendly recipes.

The “Salad” Smoothie

  • 1.5 cups coconut water
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 4 kale leaves (cut into pieces)
  • 1 celery stalk (cut)
  • 1 cup frozen mango cubes
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or agave)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • Optional: whey protein

Blend coconut water, kale and celery stalk. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend. Enjoy!

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Homestyle Craving: 小米粥 Millet Congee

20 Dec

20121021_172600When I went back to Taiwan, out of the very many dishes I craved, I really wanted something that I dreaded to eat as a child. It was tasteless but nutty and had a weird texture – that’s probably because my mom wouldn’t let me put brown sugar in it. The secret to 小米粥 is to toast the millet before you make it into congee. Simple, but I couldn’t figure it out till I asked my grandma. If you have a chance to go to Taipei, hit up the restaurant on the corner across from the parking lot at the Shida Night Market (vague, I know) – really good stuff.

Note that if you apply heat to the millet beforehand, it will be more separate in the porridge as the starch will have hardened. Thus it’s recommended to toast QUICKLY 1/3 to 1/2 for flavour, then rinse with the rest and then cooked.

UPDATE: Mine wasn’t turning out in the same consistency as what I ate in Taiwan. Mom said to add half a cup (rice cup) or less of uncooked rice. Wash and cook with the millet.

UPDATE 2: For creaminess – boil water w/bit of salt then add millet. Cook like you would with oatmeal. Add almond milk for creaminess & boil down. Add raw sugar to taste. 

NOTE: if you need to add more water if the consistency is too thick, ADD BOILING WATER, not cold water!!!

小米粥 Millet Porridge (Xiao Mi Zhou)

Ingredients:

Serves: 3-4
Yield: 3 cups
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 cups boiling water as reserve
  • 1/2 cup dry millet
  • 1/2 chinese cup of uncooked rice (more like 2-3 tablespoons)

Directions:

  1. Toast 1/3 or 1/2 of the millet in bottom of pan or in skillet over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, until some aroma begins to waft.
  2. In the meantime, bring water to a boil. How much you use depends on how thick you want your porridge.
  3. Add the rest of the millet.
  4. Add millet to boiling water and boil over medium-high to low heat for 25 – 30 minutes, until done. It will not absorb all the water, but some color and starch will be released to let you know as cooking finishes.
  5. If desired, add a few tablespoons of milk for creaminess.
  6. Eat warm, adding  demerara sugar or honey to taste.

If you like chinese soups, check out The Chinese Soup Lady – for all the pregnancy soups, confinement soups etc.

Greek Quinoa Salad

18 Jun

Quinoa is a super food – it’s great if you’re on the South Beach diet, it’s high in fibre, low on the glycemic index and a complex protein. It’s really good depending on how you make it, because by itself it’s tasteless, bland, bitter and kind of beany smelling, even though it’s really a seed. I eat this particular quinoa salad 5-6 days a week for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack or even as a late night snack. Prepare in advance, chill, and consume within 4-5 days, if it can last that long =)

Greek Quinoa Salad

note: some people like more quinoa, some less, o less tomatoes and more onions, so measurements based on personal preference.

  • quinoa ( prepared as per the package) – I like to use Bob’s Red Mill Organic Whole Grain Quinoa
  • grape tomatoes, halved
  • japanese cucumbers, diced
  • red onion, diced
  • minced garlic to taste
  • feta cheese (I like Happy Cow Goat Feta from the Okanagan – not as salty. Found at Whole Foods, Donald’s Market)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced (or more if you want it to be more tangy)
  • 2-3 splashes white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • agave
  1. Prepare quinoa – rule of thumb is rinse, 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa, let water boil, add quinoa, cover, cook for 10 minutes or till all the water has evaporated or been absorbed, fluff with a fork, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Chill, because if you don’t and add the veggies, you’re going to have steamed vegetables on your hands.
  2. Add tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, minced garlic to cool quinoa. Fluff.
  3. Add lemon juice, white wine vinegar, olive oil and fluff till well blended.
  4. Salt & pepper to taste, and just a squeeze of agave.
  5. Lastly, crumble feta cheese and fluff.

The Ultimate Chocolate Ice Cream for the Most Discerning Chocoholic (w/Brandied Cherries)

20 Jun

I’m not a huge Chocoholic, but when I want to eat chocolate it’d better be damn good. I like my ice cream rich in flavour, all natural and delicious. I love any recipe by the ice cream guru himself, David Leibovitz, and this will surely win over any discerning Chocoholic or will convert non-believers. Not too sugary sweet, very rich… A crowd pleaser.

As for the brandied cherries, first time I had them was at the now closed The Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe. I used the recipe below, and kept them in the fridge to marinate for a year. I was initially going to chop them up, but was afraid that the syrup would change the flavour of the ice cream. However, if you freeze the cherries, chop them up and add them that would probably work, but then again alcohol doesn’t freeze well.

I’m trying a new method here, not just photos, but tips and tricks before the actual recipe.

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I bought a chunk of Callebaut bittersweet chocolate, mostly because most chocolate recipes require bittersweet and not semisweet and so the chocolate can be used for other purposes. 5oz of chocolate doesn’t seem like much (0.142kg) but that’s all you need. I tried to be cool by shaving chocolate which took a lot of effort, so take a shortcut by using chocolate chips or bars. Then again, it probably won’t melt as fast.

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When cooking the egg mixture, be sure to work fast and be vigilant or else you’ll end up with scrambled eggs. There will always be a little, hence the straining, but it only takes a few seconds for the whole thing to turn into a wet egg mess. When pouring the milk into the egg yolk, whisk fast and furious. When cooking the egg mixture, watch it carefully – once it coats the back of the wooden spoon, remove it from heat, and immediately strain into the chocolate, because the eggs will keep cooking.

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I tend to like to adjust the flavour as it freezes – if it’s too bitter, add tablespoons of condensed milk till it’s just right. If it’s not creamy enough, I like to add coffee cream The ice cream is so rich and dense, once it hardens it’s like a fudgesicle. For frozen treats, pour and freeze in a popsicle mold. Add almonds or chunks of skor bars to up it, or keep it pure.

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Chocolate Ice Cream
from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop

2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Coffee cream, condensed milk

Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over the medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (170°F on an instant-read thermometer). Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.)

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A cherry pitter from Ming Wo is your best friend – makes the pitting fast, easy and mess free. Always boil the jar and lid you’re going to use.

Lu’s Brandied Cherries
Homemade brandied cherries are a simple and delicious way to dress up your cocktails.

1 lb. sweet cherries, pitted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. lemon juice, fresh-squeezed
1 stick cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup brandy
Tools: cherry pitter, saucepan, ladle, jars with lids

Wash and pit the cherries. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except the cherries and brandy and bring to a rolling boil. When the liquid begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium. Add the cherries and simmer for 5–7 minutes. Remove from heat, add the brandy and let cool. Transfer the cherries into clean jars and refrigerate, uncovered until cherries are cool to touch. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

I <3 Niçoise

26 May

The Nicoise Salad is a fave of mine – I can eat it for days on end because not only is it delicious, filling without the guilt and colourful, but it adheres to the Mediterranean diet that is low-fat (or of healthy fat), a source of high quality, lean protein, and even supplies Omega-3 fatty acids. A bit of background here, it’s a specialty of the Côte d’Azur and named for the city of Nice.

Best place in Vancouver (I welcome your suggestions) and where I got hooked on it: Les Faux Bourgeois

This is my staple recipe, but feel free to sub tuna in olive oil with seared Ahi, or grilled chicken,  or cherry tomatoes for the larger variety. Haricot verts can be found in the frozen section at the Gourmet Warehouse and maybe Whole Foods.  There’s also a pasta version, if you want to serve it potluck style.

Bon Appétit!

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