About This Blog

I like food. A lot. In this blog, I will divulge all my delicious recipes, giving you a full list of ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and notes to help you successfully make the dish. Feel free to try these at home, and let me know how it went in the comments for the dish! If you have any questions, I will answer them as quickly as possible. If you use my recipe and discuss it on your site, please link back to this blog. Happy eating!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Braised Cauliflower and Butternut Squash With Whole Wheat Penne

Lately, it's been our goal to eat healthier food, and that has inexplicably translated into eating more vegetarian dishes. Food like this can really convince me to eat vegetarian more often...
I found the recipe for this on Eating Well, whilst I was looking around for recipes that would be both healthy, and designed to feed two, so that I didn't have to scale anything down.
That said, this dish is bursting with flavour. The veggies are tender, but maintain enough of their bite so as not to be mushy. The penne is robust. Rich and I both loved this so much.
I had in fact never eaten cauliflower before this dish, so it was a very pleasant introduction to the vegetable.
I'll write the recipe here, but just keep in mind that Eating Well is the source.


1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
4 ounces whole-wheat penne (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup 1-inch cauliflower florets
1 cup 1-inch pieces peeled butternut squash
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add garlic, thyme and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add broth, penne, cauliflower and squash. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat to a lively simmer and cook, uncovered, until the pasta is tender and the liquid is thickened and greatly reduced, 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in pepper and let stand for 5 minutes.
Serve topped with cheese.

Notice that I used vegetable broth, whilst the recipe hints at a chicken flavoured vegetarian broth. I made this decision for two reasons: 1. That kind of broth is fairly difficult to find in my grocery, and 2. I did not keep the thickened broth in the dish. I poured all the solids into the bowls, coated them lightly with broth, and tossed the rest. I didn't want my dish to end up too soupy.
Also, I used a different kind of cheese. Partially because I forgot which cheese I needed when I was shopping for this dish. Partially because I like the taste of freshly grated parmesan. Not that bottled stuff. That stuff is horrible. But fresh from the block? Yes please.

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014

    Avocado, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways...

    When I was a kid, I hated avocado. My dad eats a ton of the stuff. Like, half of one a day, by himself. He would always slice off a bit with his spoon and hold it out to us kids and say, "You should have some. It's delicious," and we would cringe and whine and decline in all the classic ways kids do when they're afraid of a food. Now, I love it. It's an acquired taste, I suppose.
    I've really been into avocado lately. Like, really into avocado. Creamy. At once bold and subtle. A perfect addition to virtually anything. Sandwich? Yep. Wrap? Of course. Salad? You betcha.
    As a result of me wanting to consume avocado at every available opportunity, I've been adding it to a lot of dishes. For example, above, I made these spring greens, carrot, and avocado spring rolls, served with a acidic-tangy-sweet dipping sauce. They were an accompaniment to a vegetarian dish I'll discuss soon. But man, were these spring rolls nice. Light, flavourful, bursting with avocado.

    And then there were these seasoned chicken, mushroom and swiss wraps that were just begging to have avocado added to them.

    Which Rich made into a fantastic sandwich.

    And on a mushroom swiss burger, served with mutant tater tots.
    What are your favourite ways to eat avocado?

    Sunday, May 4, 2014

    Dark Chocolate and Spearmint Cookie Crisps

    Do I have your attention, yet? Good.
    These crisps are absolutely amazing. Light. Crunchy. Bursting with chocolatey flavour, with a hint of mint at the end. Positively divine.
    I've been wanting to bake something for a while (as I regularly get urges to produce baked goods), and as I was looking around for ideas, I stumbled upon the recipe for these at Heather's French Press. What a cute idea -- making cookies that are crispy instead of gooey. Not a novel idea by any means, as there are those little 100 calorie cookie crisp packs in the store for people who both want junk food and have commitment issues. But when when you think, "I want to make cookies," you rarely think of anything but gooey, chaotic deliciousness, right? Well, stop right there, because when you make these, your whole idea of cookies will be turned on its head!

    I'm going to write down her recipe here, but it's totally hers, so go check out her blog, too. She has tons of tasty things going on over there!

    1/2 cup butter
    1 cup sugar
    1 tsp salt
    1 egg
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
    3-4 drops Aftelier Chef's Essences No. 2 Spearmint extract

    Cream together butter and sugar.
    Add egg, vanilla, salt, then flour and cocoa.
    Pull dough together and flatten out in bowl. Add spearmint extract drops in a few places on dough surface and work it into the dough by hand.
    Cover dough and chill for at least 30 minutes.
    Preheat oven to 350F.
    Roll portions of dough onto cocoa-dusted surface to about 1/8 inch thickness.
    Cut cookies out of dough, place on non-stick cookie sheet, and bake for about 9-10 minutes.
    Allow to cool on cookie sheet completely before transferring.

    The addition of spearmint extract is my idea. I bought the extract on sale from William Sonoma a couple of months ago, and I've been looking for a way to use it. We all know that dark chocolate and mint go super well together.
    That said, this extract is very strong, so you only need a couple of drops to flavour the dough. Also, the addition of just a few drops keeps the mint flavour at the end of tasting the cookie, so you get rich dark chocolatey deliciousness when you bite in, and it finishes with calming mint. It's as sexy as it sounds.
    Chilling the dough is imperative, as it ensures that you'll be able to work with the dough to roll it out and cut it without it falling apart. Do not skip this step!
    As Heather mentions, any sort of cutting device will work to cut the cookies out of the rolled out dough. Like her, I used a glass (because I don't actually have any cookie cutters), but you can use whatever you have on hand, really. You can even cut them with a knife to make extra-dunkable rectangles.
    I got about thirty cookies out of this recipe, which is plenty for me and Richard, but if you are, say, feeding a family with these cookies, you might want to consider doubling up, as they go fast. Rich ate five last night!

    Friday, May 2, 2014

    Grass-fed Sirloin with Veggies in a Teriyaki "Broth"

    What looks better than a perfectly cooked, medium rare hunk of beef? NOTHING. That's what.
    Anyway, I spend a lot of time looking for new recipes to explore, learn, tweak, and try. Playing with new flavours is so exciting.
    Also, can you believe that this recipe holds about 500 calories per serving? No joke! And the low-cal count doesn't come with a sacrifice of flavour -- the "broth" is bold, the steak is rich, and the sweet potatoes ensure you end up pleasantly full!

    1.5 pounds of sirloin steak
    8 tbsp teriyaki sauce
    4 tbsp soy sauce
    5 tsp ginger, peeled and grated
    ground black pepper
    olive oil
    4 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
    2 tbsp packed brown sugar
    5 cups water
    2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin rounds
    1/2 sweet onion
    3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin rounds
    1 handful snap peas
    toasted sesame oil

    Mix 2 tbsp teriyaki sauce, 2 tbsp soy, 1 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp black pepper in bowl. Soak steak in sauce for a few minutes each side.
    Heat pan to medium-high heat.
    Cook steak for 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Rest for five minutes on a cutting board before slicing.
    Meanwhile, combine 6 tbsp teriyaki sauce, 2 tbsp soy, 4 tsp ginger, 4 tbsp rice vinegar, 2 tbsp brown sugar, and the water in a saucepan and set to simmer. Add onions, potatoes, and carrots and cook, covered, until vegetables are tender. Add peas, cook for five minutes.
    Serve in bowls, drizzle toasted sesame oil on finished dish.

    I adapted this recipe from one on the Food Network's website, here, namely because my potatoes were larger than the ones indicated in the recipe, so I just ended up making more broth. I am also not fond of oyster sauce, so I used soy instead.
    This dish is originally written for two diners, but it can be very easily scaled up for family dinners!
    Although I consider medium-rare to be the optimum temperature, I am well aware this preference isn't universal. Be sure to cook the beef a little longer on each side to your preferred doneness. In the interest of the flavour provided by the beef, I would recommend not going much past medium.
    Rich and I bought grass-fed beef for our sirloin, and it was positively delicious, if a little more expensive. If you can, I recommend giving it a try.