Archive for August, 2018

25
Aug
18

Beef stew

It was time to put away all the spices and herbs and return to a simple beef stew.  Usually a fall seasonal  dish but any break in the high temps and the availability of beef and beef broth made this an easy choice.

Beef, carrot, onion, celery and potato,  common ingredients. Lucky to have some beef broth which I had made previously and froze.

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After cutting the beef, brown in some oil, remove from pan

 

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now in the same pan saute the veggies.

 

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Add the broth, and simmer. …. add the beef back into the pan, but you knew that !🤣

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I scrubbed and diced some white potato, and microwaved them slightly, then added to the stew.

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Some reserved broth was mixed with rice powder and added to thicken stew. Simmer till the potatoes are done to your preference. Salt and pepper to balance. Nothing fancy here, beef flavor. Perhaps some bread to mop up gravy.

 

24
Aug
18

Oriental style chicken wings

I’ve eaten more than enough bbq and buffalo chicken wings . Now I’ve replicated the      Braised pork belly   Recipe with chicken wings.

Along the same technique, brown the wings in the sweet syrup sauce, add additional ingredients, simmer , reduce and serve, here with steamed green beans. I choose to include the wing tips, sometimes they are a chewy addition to the other segments of the wings.  Do you have a favourite sweet dessert to finish this meal ?

23
Aug
18

Processing…..

It’s one of those days, back from the market the fresh food laid out, recipes floating around what to do to capture the freshness of the purchase. Usually a simple salad is prepared or just tasting the produce with bread is a way to assess the flavors. It’s also a time to have a fresh fruit bowl as a meal.

Tomatoes, still coming  from the garden need to be processed. Some have been scalded, cooled and peeled for the freezer. A real easy way to process tomatoes is to juice them, a bowl filled with fresh picked cherry tomatoes yielded about 20 ounces of juice. The pulp was the chefs treat , good smeared on bread with salt and pepper. Having an attachment for juicing for the mixer makes this an easy task, a worthwhile purchase years ago. Just before bottling, strained with a filter type bag.

 

Processing tomato juice

Tomato juice

One of the other uses for tomato is salsa. Onion, shallot, chives, hot peppers are just some of the additions along with cilantro and various seeds.

tomato salsa over water spinach on flour tortilla, just one of the uses of the cherry tomato.

Other preparations are, water spinach pesto, and basil pesto although I use the term basil loosely, some of the labeling from the market, and my tasting disagree , but I’m not familiar with different type  of basil, none the less the green leaves were mixed with garlic, chives, oil, and salt and pepper via the food processor yielding a very concentrated paste. The home made pesto guarantees an easy way to incorporate the greens into your diet without cooking and as a bread lover a meal in itself when applied to fresh bread or crackers. Dressing pasta is also a favorite of the pesto.  Another leafy green with a lemony flavour was added to each pesto. Also as it was time to bottle Kombucha some of the lemony leaves were added to each bottle. Green beans were trimmed and frozen.

 

Processing water spinach

As a traditional pesto might include Parmesan cheese, none was available at the time. Also some pecans and toasted sesame seeds were added to some of the pesto.

I find a pleasant surprise when I unwrapped the pork belly, atop there were ribs, which I trimmed for an additional meal. 

Trimmed pork belly, ready for freezing or immediate meal.

Mango can be made into a chutney for a flavorful addition to a meal or a dessert.

 

23
Aug
18

Crispy Chinese chives flatbread

  made the dough, a white flour dough high hydration with sautéed chopped chives (labelled as Chinese flowers in the market) and just a touch of garlic. On two 1/4 sheet pans, lined with baking paper, the fermented bubbling dough was placed in the pans and allowed an additional 30 minutes rise. Baked at about 420 degrees Fahrenheit, cold oven start, for about 20 minutes the thin dough baked to a crisp exterior both top and bottom and thin airy interior. If you are a fan of  the onion pancake then this is the bread version. Close to a cracker or breadstick. Dress with butter, or pesto, but better alone with a beverage.

Just a few notes. A cold oven start is where I usually let the dough rise in the oven , because of pilot light about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, when at a the proper proof , just turn on the oven. 

 the baking paper in the pans was also oiled as was the top of the dough for a crisp finish.

22
Aug
18

Shopping 

Grocery shopping…

Hot peppers (from the markdown bin) some drying, some for salsa etc.

Mango selection

Other selections

19
Aug
18

Pizza bread

So far this is the closest I’ve come to a pizza taste incorporated into dough. The dried tomato was the central additive along with garlic that had been sautéed several seconds with olive oil in a microwave at low power. 

Chopped dried tomato

 X

Sautéed garlic

The mix of the dough

Fermentation

Topped with oregano and parsley (dried)

The finished bread, or pizza bread.

I know, where’s the cheese ?

18
Aug
18

Cookie bars (chocolate)

The actual title is Black Bottom Cookie Bars denoting that the cookie is half chocolate and half plain. Not a big cookie and brownie fan, but other household members are.

Cocoa, vanilla, sugars, coconut oil,eggs, chopped chocolate, flour/salt mixture. 8 inch by 8 inch pan is prepped with baking paper.

A substitute for the butter is coconut oil, which due the current weather had to measured and refrigerated to a solid consistency. (lower left)

 

I also did not have bits, so I had to go to the reserves

 

Blend coconut oil and sugars. Whisk attachment.

Once mixed, add flour gradually.

Finish adding the flour, mix till just moistened.

 

Divide the dough in half, weighed it out but note: the chocolate 1/2 should be a bit less than half because the chocolate bits will take up some volume. (just being picky)

Mix in the cocoa and bits to 1/2 of the plain dough mixture

Spread the chocolate dough, then the plain dough in the pan. Happily

Off to the oven

In the convection oven , still warm weather so no running the gas oven for now.

Chillin out till cool !

cooled finished bars, some of the chips still oozy.

I could have probably left out the chocolate chips, deep chocolate flavor. No comment from the the brownie expert so all is good. I just have about 1/2 of one of the squares, enough for me. Would be good tempered with vanilla ice cream.

17
Aug
18

cooking with coconut milk (chicken)

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One of the ingredients I’ve been slowly  incorporating into recipes is coconut milk. From Thai grilled shrimp to this,  it uses some similar elements for a different take on chicken. As the story goes there are probably more ways to cook chicken than anything else.

First step, thawing out and thin slicing some boneless chicken breast, many in the freezer at this time.

Next using Thai spice paste, rub the chicken and stack the fillets, let stand for about an hour, I find that this is a quick acting spice paste so a meal can be prepared with a shorter lead time than an overnight marinate.

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ground hot pepper, allspice,cloves, cassia bark star anise,celery seed, fenugreek, ginger and turmeric in center.

Free hand a spice pallet, here cinnamon, fenugreek, allspice, peppercorns, ground hot smoked pepper, whole peppercorns and the like. One of my attempts at assembling a combination. Researching some recipes revels that the ingredients are often dictated by what was locally grown and available at the time even depending on the weather and harvest conditions and may be influenced by religion. I opened the spice closet.IMG_5837

 

toasting or sputtering the whole spices

Heat a small amount of oil and flash or sputter the spices quickly, add the sliced onions ,sliced lemongrass and a bit of water to prevent burning.

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quickly add the slice onion and lemongrass.

Cook the onion and spice mixture several minutes , add water along the way if necessary till translucent. remove to a plate.

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pan fry quickly the chicken breast till just done

Yes the breast are huge!  This was slicing from only one piece.  When all are browned, return to the pan.

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Add the coconut milk, grated turmeric and ginger and several tomatoes along with the previously cooked onions and lemon grass.

Mix slightly, cover and simmer till heated through. Taste and adjust spices. I was surprised ! The coconut milk evened out all the spices, taste was more than I expected even a bit of heat with the sweetness of the coconut milk.

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plated it up with rice and cool cucumbers.

The chicken was fork tender, not overcooked. A pleasant alternative to conventional chicken gravy,  a lighter sweeter taste.

 

11
Aug
18

Garden update

The hot weather has receded, cooler temperatures albeit humid,  scattered showers prevail. One single tomato stalk remains of the hydroponic DWC , a caterpillar munching on the last green tomatoes, as soon as this is done I will move on to most likely growing greens that will last during the fall.

The soil based tomato plant still thrives providing us with almost a daily supply.

A friend has been hanging around for a while, sharing some tomatoes with him.

Interior of the tomato stem

11
Aug
18

chicken and mushroom dumplings

quickly made and frozen, good for soup or sauce.

  • diced sautéed mushroom
  • diced cooked chicken (preferable from chicken carcass)
  • salt and pepper
  • grated turmeric and ginger
  • shredded lettuce.
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beech and white mushrooms

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added cooked chicken meat from simmered chicken carcass a small grating of ginger, turmeric

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ready to go, water for sealing dumplings

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I find that some plastic wrap placed over the dumpling maker makes them easy to remove.

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trayed for the freezer, didn’t trim the excess wrap.

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the cooks sample, boiled, the wrappers are very thin and hold the content well. Deep fried, steamed or pan fried?




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