Wednesday, 29 January 2014
You sometimes have to be really adaptable when you cook. Cooking, like life, sometimes just doesn't go as planned. Ingredients mysteriously disappear, or spoil seemingly overnight. Plans change at the last minute and the meal you thought you had an hour to prepare needs to be on the table in 30 minutes flat, or you find a key ingredient that you planned to pick up after work is suddenly not available. Take tonight's dinner for instance. I had some skinless boneless thighs from a new poultry supplier at work called Blue Goose, (amazing company by the way, worth checking out, the chicken was awesome!) I was intending to use these lovely chicken thighs in a green chicken curry, to top some zucchini noodles made with my spiral slicer. But, there were no lovely little zucchinis gracing the shelves at work today in our produce department. I ran thru a bunch of alternatives, but had no inspiration until I walked by the display of beautiful organic butternut squash. If you can spiral slice a green summer squash, why not an orange winter one?? The texture seemed like it would go, but it added a new dilemma. The green curry that I had originally planned just didn't seem to match this squash, flavour wise, so my whole entire recipe had to change on the fly. The green curry became red, and the creamy coconut sauce with fresh basil suddenly became a wonderfully spicy and fresh coconut and tomato sauce. I threw in some baby organic spinach on a last minute whim, and this amazing dish was born. It is guaranteed to be a repeat, it was absolutely delicious.
I guess the moral of the story is, don't stress it, and go with the flow. Like life, cooking is much better when you can relax and enjoy it. Be prepared for a little bit of improv, and you just might be pleasantly surprised!
Butternut squash noodles are the perfect base for a recipe like this. They added just a touch of sweetness and held up incredibly well, as well as being seriously easy to prepare. I can’t wait to see what else I can do with them! I apologize for the lack of pictures with this post, but I promise to come back and add a picture the next time I spiral a butternut squash.
Red Curry Chicken with Butternut Squash Noodles
12 Skinless Boneless Organic Chicken Thighs (try Blue Goose)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil
½ of a 400 ml can full fat coconut milk (shake to mix)
1 large red onion, cut in a fairly large dice.
2-4 tsp red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen)
½ cup water
1 796 ml can diced organic tomatoes
4 cups baby spinach, lightly packed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 medium organic butternut squash
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
Salt to taste.
To prepare the squash noodles:
Cut the bulb end off the squash (the end that contains the seeds) and reserve for another use if desired. Cut the stem end off, and with a sharp knife or vegetable peeler remove all of the skin. Slice in half lengthwise, and cut into noodles on the spiral slicer, or with a mandolin.
Spread cut noodles out on a large pan with sides, like a jelly roll pan. Drizzle with the melted coconut oil, sprinkle with salt and toss lightly to coat.
Preheat oven to 400F and set noodles aside. (do not cook yet!!)
To prepare the chicken:
In a large cast iron pan, heat the butter and coconut oil till bubbly over medium high heat. Add the chicken, Season with salt and pepper, and cook, in batches if necessary, until just nicely starting to brown, turning pieces as they cook. (They do not need to be cooked right thru at this point, almost-done is fine because they will finish cooking in the sauce at the end, and will only hang around for a wee bit before going back in.) Turn the pan down to low and leave it on the burner. Remove the chicken pieces to a cutting board when nicely browned, and carefully but quickly cut into bite sized chunks. Place in a bowl to catch any juices, and set aside for a minute.
Your oven should be preheated by now, so throw in the squash noodles, and put a timer on for 9 minutes. If they finish before the next step is complete, just turn off the oven and leave them in, they should be done around close to the same time.
Turn your pan back up to medium high, add the diced onion, and the red curry paste. Sauté until the onion is starting to soften and brown slightly, 3-4 minutes. Add the can of diced tomatoes and the water, and stir in, scraping all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan as you go. Add the coconut milk, stir well, and add in the chunks of chicken and any accumulated juices. Stir well, bring to a boil and simmer until the chicken is cooked thru and the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly, 5-6 minutes. Add the spinach and stir in until it is wilty. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.
Remove the noodles from the oven, place in individual bowls and top with chicken curry mixture. It should serve 5 or 6 hungry people!
Tuesday, 14 January 2014
|206 Centennial Crt.|
Kitchener, ON Canada
I have a kitchen gadget problem. There, I admit it. It’s out in the open. (Actually, all you have to do is step foot in my kitchen, it’s not a very well kept secret!) Shopping in kitchen stores is probably my favourite addiction, and this past Saturday I found my Nirvana. “S.T.O.P.” Restaurant Supply in Kitchener Ontario has to be the coolest (and largest) kitchen store I have ever had the (immense) pleasure to visit. This place has everything! My mom and I spent well over an hour wandering their aisles, ogling all of the treasures (Ok ok, I was doing most of the ogling, my mom was laughing at how excited I was about some of the things I found!)
|kitchen gadget bliss :)|
|this spoon is huge!!|
|Loved this footed bowl,|
but I left it there so I
have a good excuse to
go back :)
|Love Love Love|
these Weck jars!!
|My final purchases, plus an oven temp|
thermometer that was already in use!
One of my favourite purchases of the day had to be this Madeline pan. I have wanted one for eons, but since going grain free, it was moved way down on my wish list. Who ever heard of a grain free Madeline?? Enter Pinterest, and a random grain free cookie search, and my itch for the Madeline pan came back with a vengeance. I knew i had to own one, and this little beauty was such a great price, now I kinda wish I had bought 2!!
My first attempt at a grain free version of a Madeline worked beautifully. I used a combo of my fav grain free flours and kept it pretty simple, making a honey version, but I can see alternate-flavour potential written all over this one…citrus, chocolate, espresso, lemon rosemary…I could go on and on and on! But for now, here is the recipe for the Honey version that is an excellent starter recipe. So, splurge on a Madeline pan, these little beauties are well worth it!
Grain Free Honey Madelines
Makes 24 Madelines
¼ cup honey
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup almond flour
3 Tbsp Chickpea flour
2 Tbsp coconut flour
Preheat oven to 350F. Place rack in middle of oven. Lightly grease Madeline pan and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whiz the wet ingredients together with an immersion blender until frothy, about 1 minute. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients until well incorporated.
Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and mix just until there are no more lumps. Let batter stand 5 minutes to thicken up. Whisk again, making sure it is nice and smooth, and not too thick. A pancake batter consistency is what you are going for.
Spoon a scant Tbsp of batter into each section of your greased Madeline pan.
Bake on middle rack of preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until starting to brown around the edges and are poufy and firm to the touch on top
Remove from oven and flip out onto a clean kitchen towel. (if they don’t release give the pan a firm tap on the counter and they should fall right out.
Let pan cool completely, repeat process with remaining batter. Let cookies cool and enjoy.
Dip in Chocolate if desired :)
(Store any remaining cookies in the fridge or freezer, bringing to room temperature before serving.
Monday, 6 January 2014
I made these little cheesecakes to welcome a friend home from China. All of the goat cheesecake recipes I found also contained cream cheese, which I could not use do to our friends issues with lactose, so I came up with my own recipe using just goat cheese. I was worried the chevre flavour would be too strong, but, although it did have more “tang” than regular cheesecake, the flavours of the pumpkin and spices complimented it nicely. The mason jars were a pretty touch, the layers looked lovely thru the glass!
Grain Free Pumpkin Goat Mini Cheesecakes With Maple Coconut Cream
½ cup pecans
¼ cup macadamia nuts
¼ cup coconut sugar
1 cup almond flour/meal
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tubs of Wholesome goat Fresh Chevre (225g)
1 cup cooked pureed pumpkin
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
¼ tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1/3 cup maple syrup
Pinch of salt
1 can full fat coconut milk, chilled at least 8 hrs or overnight
1 tbsp maple sugar
4 tbsp chopped toasted pecans for garnish if desired
Preheat oven to 350F
In a food processor, chop the pecans and macadamia nuts until they make a coarse meal. Add the coconut sugar, salt, almond meal and coconut oil and pulse to combine.
Divide mixture between 8 ramekins or 1 cup mason jars, pack firmly and set aside.
|I used the bottom of a small|
spice jar to pack the crust.
In a stand mixer, cream the goat cheese until creamy. Add the pumpkin puree and mix till well combined. Add eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition. Add in the maple syrup and spices, mixing until combined.
Divide evenly between the ramekins or jars (wipe drips from sides of glass jars if using)
Place filled jars in a deep baking dish, and place in preheated oven. Fill the baking pan with very hot water coming at least ½ way up the sides of your ramekins or jars.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the cheesecakes are set and slightly puffy in the center. (the cooking time may depend on the container you choose to bake in. A wider shorter ramekin may cook in slightly less time)
Carefully remove pan from oven, and remove jars from water, setting on a wire rack to cool slightly. Refrigerate until chilled thru, a few hours at least, or overnight.
|Use a cast iron pan to toast|
the pecans, they only take a few
minutes. Remove from pan
when they start to become
fragrant and slightly brown.
Just prior to serving, take chilled coconut milk from fridge, and turn can upside down. Using a can opener, remove top of can and pour off the liquid part of the coconut milk, reserving for another use if desired.
Scoop the solid part out of the can and whip with the maple sugar in a stand mixer for approx 5 minutes or until it is a nice, smooth and creamy consistency similar to whipped cream.
Spoon desired amount onto chilled cheesecakes and top with toasted pecans and a small drizzle of maple syrup if desired.
|And After... :)|