Thursday, April 28, 2011

red all over

here's another veggie dinner from the photo vault.
it's green and striped and red all over.

it also has a boat-load of protein thanks to red quinoa. 
*quinoa (keenWA), that protein-rich, nutty tasking grain that needs to be rinsed thoroughly before cooking? yes, that one. but in red. 
aaaand thanks also to tvp. 
*texturized vegetable protein, (pronounced as it looks), that dehydrated soy and grain product that contains as much protein as meat? yep! you got it, superstar!

more amazing features? antioxidant wielding goji berries and cranberries that also add a sour tang to the pilaf, easy on the eyes roasted candy cane beets, and slices of healthy fats in the form of avocado.

simple and good and pretty.

Friday, April 22, 2011

cocoa loco

want to know a fact?
everyone loves chocolate. 
and the rare few that say they don't, are just being difficult.

i get a little irritated at what counts as 'chocolate' these days. white chocolate, milk chocolate, waxy easter bunnies...pssh, the mayans wouldn't have it, and neither will i!

cocoa is the real deal, that bitter, chalky, dark-coloured powder you use in baking. 
it is derived from the cocoa bean and has all of those great antioxidants that give chocolate its good reputation (as opposed to the aforementioned chocolate by-products, that do NOT). 
we now know that cocoa can reduce "bad" cholesterol, but even without our fancy science, the aztecs and mayans had the good sense to understand cocoa's worth. it was deemed to be a stomachache cure, a mood enhancer, and was even a form of currency back in those 15th and 16th century days, long before it was sweetened and adulterated with milk.

i too believe chocolate is magical and therapeutic. i crave it on most days that start with an 's', 'm', 't', 'w', or 'f'. and when that craving hits, no other edible delight will do. the problem is, how many 70% cocoa lindt bars can a person consume? that's why i made up this chicken recipe. excuse the lame photos, but please do yourself a favour and try this out sometime. it's so damn good and easy to do.

i bought a lovely chicken breast from my butcher. i slathered it in a combo of pure cocoa powder (*not hot chocolate mix! i think we understand the difference now, yes?), some really spicy jerk sauce that my brother once brought back from jamaica but which i'm sure can be purchased here too, a touch of canola oil, and some red pepper flakes if you really like heat. -it'll look like a really dark muddy paste when it's all mixed together. after coating every nook and cranny of the chicken, i put it in the fridge for a few hours to marinate.

the rest is easy as. bbq on both sides until cooked through. done.

to go with, i roasted multi-coloured fingerling potatoes and pearl onions with olive oil and sea salt and made a shitake jus using butter, shitake mushrooms, red wine, worcestershire sauce, thyme leaves, a bit of flour, salt, and pepper.

juicy, succulent, cocoa spicy chicken! what a good friday indeed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

peanut. butter. scotch.

words are a riot, ain't they? that's probably why i think these cookies i made are the bee's knees. they're name is like a wheel of fortune "before and after" puzzle, but with even more word fun!
listen to this..
these cookies contain: peanuts, peanut butter, butter, butterscotch, and scotch. AMAZING.
would you like to buy a vowel? absolutely!!

ok, here's the sort-of recipe. since i made it up and didn't write it down. don't worry, they'll turn out great!

2.5 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-natural crunchy peanut butter (which technically has peanut chunks, but you can add more peanuts if you want to get into semantics)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vanilla sugar (that's just white sugar i keep in a container with a sliced vanilla pod inside. i use it for baking only, that way i don't have to add vanilla extract, but feel free to use 2 tsp of that stuff instead).
2 eggs
2 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp scotch whiskey (i probably used more, but whatevs)
white chocolate chips*
butterscotch chips*
(*as many as your little heart desires).

from there, you know the drill. combine wet ingredients, combine dry ingredients, mix all together, then roll into cookie-shaped balls and bake at 300C for roughly 10 minutes if you like 'em soft, 15 if you like 'em hard. yields about 2 dozen.
you can have them done by the time jeopardy comes on!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

and what am i!?

when i was little, i was pretty convinced that chicken liver was called buffalo meat, and that it did in fact come from the flesh of buffalo.
i could have sworn my mom told me that, but now i know how apt children are to make stuff up and to be kind of dumb, so, maybe i was wrong.

i guess early exposure to this distinctive meat flavour and texture made me not hate it as a youngster, love it as an adult, and adore/want to marry it as a nutritionist. it's like, the best thing you can eat, by a long shot, for iron and b vitamins. it's also low in fat, and in my opinion, a dry yet creamy, inexpensive meat. also, the easiest thing to cook, ever:
fry sliced cooking onions in canola oil. add chicken livers. cook until brown, inside and out. done.
i had my buffalo meat with a HUGE green salad, some tomatoes, pickle, and a half a pita.
ooooh give me a hoooome!

don't be confused. even though it makes perfect sense, chicken liver is not, in fact, derived from buffalo.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

'snip 'snip

hello again dear friends.

i must admit i've been a bit lazier in the blogging department than i have been on the cooking front..which translates to a whole lotta pics of food, and no posts about them. 
although i'm not sure i'm ready to make a definitive statement like "the lazy train stops HERE", i think the taste and pics of this particular parsnip soup are worth the immense finger efforts that i'm currently making.

i used a recipe from a fabulous soup cookbook i have. i've had this book for years, and though i use it pretty often, i have yet to exhaust its seemingly endless offering of fail-proof and easy recipes. also, beautiful pictures on every page. that's a deal-maker for me, since i often just look at the picture for inspiration without reading the actual recipe. 
if you want to get it, click here!

what i like best about the book is, if i have something in my fridge, say, parsnips (something i usually don't have any of, but for some reason i had in abundance), i just look in the back index -which is listed by main ingredients, for parsnip, under which there happened to be 3 different recipes! great!!

i chose one, et voila! here it is.

-fry a cooking onion in a large pot with butter, add peeled and chopped parsnips and let cook for a few minutes.
-add chopped stems of cilantro, powdered cumin, turmeric, paprika and a dash of cayenne pepper and cook for an additional minute or so.
-add water or chicken stock and boil for 30-40 minutes, (until soft).
-remove from heat and blend.
-add cream and stir.
-serve with fried mustard seed and julienned garlic, and i made some parsnip chips using a regular peeler to make thin shavings of parsnip and then frying them in a bit of oil until they turn crisp. salt and pepper and enjoy!

the topping is essential. mmm caramalized garlic.