Monday, August 12, 2013

Sticky Honey Ginger Chicken

Fresh ginger is the cat's meow at Chez Giles. We love it and try to put it in as much of our food as we can. Plus it's super good for you (and your gas!). I like to frequent our neighbourhood Chinese grocery store "Green Fresh!" where I can buy insane quantities for next to nothing. When I came across this recipe in last month's edition of Chatelaine, I was pretty excited. This recipe calls for fresh ginger so don't you dare chicken out and go with the powdered kind. It just won't taste right and you'll have such a feeling of self-gingerless-loathing, that it's just not worth it.

I had a lot of fun grilling up the oranges for this meal as well. We're currently in a tiny apartment with no back porch so we made up this dish on our little panini press, but the bbq would be hands down much better if you have access to one. Bon appetit!

3/4 cup orange juice, about 2 oranges
1 tbsp orange zest
1/3 cup honey
4 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp salt
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 oranges, halved

1. Preheat barbecue to medium.

2. Whisk juice with zest, honey, ginger and salt in a large shallow bowl. Pour half into a small bowl and reserve. Add chicken breasts to juice mixture in large bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 15 min, flipping halfway.

3. Oil grill, then barbecue chicken, with lid closed, basting often with marinating liquid, for 6 min. Flip and continue grilling, without basting, until springy when pressed, 6 to 8 more min. Add oranges to the grill, cut-side down, for the last 5 min. Drizzle reserved orange mixture on chicken and serve with grilled oranges.

Recipe & photo cred to Chatelaine Magazine

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Chicken Tacos with Mango-Avocado Salsa

These chicken tacos are the BOMB. So incredibly yummy and a neat spin on an old favourite. The mango-avocado salsa only takes a couple of minutes to make up and gives the tacos such a spunky flavour. You'll want to make sure that the avocado and mango that you are using are nicely ripened or else the flavours won't be as good. Don't forget fresh cilantro! Bon appetit! 

8 oz (227 g) chicken
1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground allspice
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil
8 soft corn tortillas

Mango Salsa: 1/2 cup (125 mL) diced pitted peeled mango
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
1/3 cup (75 mL) finely chopped red onion
1 tsp (5 mL) grated lime zest
2 tsp (10 mL) lime juice
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper

Yogurt Sauce: 
1/2 cup (125 mL) Greek-style yogurt
1 tbsp (15 mL) lime juice

Sprinkle chicken with allspice, salt and pepper.

In nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook chicken, turning once, until golden. Chop.

Mango Salsa: Meanwhile, combine mango, avocado, onion, lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper; set aside.

Yogurt Sauce: Combine yogurt with lime juice; set aside.

Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide chicken among tortillas; top with mango salsa and yogurt sauce.

Recipe cred to Canadian Living Magazine: May 2013

Chicken Burritos with Mojo Sauce

So who doesn't just love a good burrito? I know we do. I'll tell you ahead of time that this is one of those '6 pots on the go' kind of meals but in the end, oh dears yo, serious goodness. And this recipe doesn't make no little, neatly packed burritos - oh no, they was one of those child's arm sized burritos. Yum! Mojo sauce is a tangy mix of cilantro and citrus. It's delicious. Now, I know that the recipe recommends making the beans from scratch, but I just tossed a can into a pot and fried them up with the garlic as recommended - just as bueno! Bon appetit!

Mojo Sauce:
4 garlic cloves
2 serrano chilies, seeds removed
1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves
Juice 2 limes
Juice 1 orange
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

The rest:
8 large flour tortillas
1 (3 to 4 pound) whole roasted chicken, shredded
Yellow Rice, recipe follows
Spicy Black Beans, recipe follows
2 avocados chopped
1 cup grated queso blanco or Monterey jack cheese
Sour cream, for garnish
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish

Spicy Black Beans:
2 cups (about 1 pound) dried black beans, picked over and rinsed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Quick soak the beans: Put beans in a pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let soak for 1 hour. Drain the beans.

In the same pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, jalapeno pepper, garlic, and bay leaf and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and cover with water by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the beans are tender. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Taste the beans and season them with salt and pepper.

Yellow Rice:
2 cups long-grain rice
4 cups water
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 bay leaf

Put all the ingredients into a heavy bottomed pot, stir well, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat until the rice has absorbed the water, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Discard the garlic and bay leaf, fluff with a fork, and serve.

Make the Mojo Sauce: Put the garlic, chilies, cilantro, lime juice, orange juice, and olive oil into a blender and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

To make the burritos: Warm the tortillas for 30 seconds in a dry skillet or on the grill until pliable. Place some chicken down the center of a tortilla and top with rice and beans, avocado, grated cheese, and Mojo Sauce. Roll up the burrito and serve topped with a generous drizzle of sour cream; garnish with cilantro leaves and a squeeze of lime juice.

Recipe & photo cred to the Food Network

Slow Cooker Chipotle Beef Tacos

So, as many of you will have noticed, I have taken a serious holiday from the blog-writing in the past couple of months. I blame one main culprit: little baby Malachi. While I love him, he takes up a serious amount of blog-writing time! One good thing about having a baby though is that I have started to frequent my public library much more. While at my last visit (following baby sing-song read along hour...), I discovered an amazing thing: the library has cook books!! A whole shelf of em'. I couldn't believe it! Why I am just finding this out now is a little embarrassing, but there you have it. I swiftly picked up two cookbooks from "Real Simple" and have been devouring all of the new ideas. So, here is the first one to try from this book. It was TASTY and who doesn't love a good slow-cooker meal? So easy! I made it up the night before while a certain someone was already asleep. Enjoy!!
ps - be very careful as to how much chipotle you add. It can make your meal VERY spicy, VERY quickly if you're not careful!

3 pounds beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 to 3 tablespoons chopped canned chipotles in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
4 cups thinly sliced cabbage (about 1⁄3 medium cabbage)
4 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
12 6-inch corn tortillas
sour cream, pickled jalapeño peppers, and hot sauce, for serving

Directions1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, toss together the beef, onion, garlic, chipotles, oregano, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon salt.

2. Cover and cook until the beef is very tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 ½ to 4 hours (this will shorten total cooking time).

3. Twenty minutes before serving, heat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, radishes, cilantro, lime juice, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Wrap the tortillas in foil and bake until warm, 5 to 10 minutes.
Transfer the beef to a medium bowl (reserve the cooking liquid) and shred, using 2 forks. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into the bowl with the beef and toss to combine.
Fill the tortillas with the beef and slaw. Serve with the sour cream, jalapeños, hot sauce, and lime wedges.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Red Thai Sweet Potato Soup

I love, love, love coconut based soups. I made up this soup a couple of weeks ago for a group of about 20 and really enjoyed it. It was soooo tasty. And coconutty. And just general goodness all around.  Given that I was making this soup for a large group, I got to use my new turbo-charged  food processor, which - I have to admit - gave me chills. I accidentally over-spiced things a little bit, but I like spicy. Using extra coconut milk, yogurt or sour cream can help alleviate some of the heat.

A couple of tips when making this soup: 
- be very, very careful how much curry paste you add. Different pastes have different heat levels and you can very easily make this soup super spicy. Gradually add your paste and taste along the way
- adding chicken strips would be a tasty addition
- if you have one, use a hand mixer to blend the soup - it's much easier than trying to transfer the whole thing over to a blender

Bon appetit! 

1 tsp olive or rapeseed oil
2 garlic cloves , chopped
1 red chilli , deseeded and chopped
2cm chunk root ginger , chopped
1 stalk lemongrass , bashed
handful of coriander , leaves and stalks chopped separately
2 tbsp red Thai curry paste
750ml chicken stock (made with 2 stock cubes)
1 small can (160ml) coconut cream
500g sweet potatoes , peeled and roughly chopped
1 lime , juice only
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp fish sauce

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, chilli, ginger, lemongrass, coriander stalks and curry paste and cook for 2 - 3 minutes until the aromas are released.

2. Add the chicken stock, coconut cream and sweet potatoes and cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Remove the lemongrass and discard. Carefully transfer to a blender and blitz until smooth (I use a hand mixer). If freezing, for best results freeze at this point, otherwise as an easier option freeze complete recipe.

3. Stir through the lime juice, sugar and fish sauce, scatter with the coriander leaves and serve.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Baked Oatmeal

"Baked Oatmeal" was a new term for me up until a couple years ago when Jerms' grandpa married again to his delightful new wife, Glennis. This recipe comes all the way from Pennsylvania and is breakfast bliss. I'd recommend this dish if you're having a big crew for breakfast and don't want too much hassle to go along with it. The great thing about making baked oatmeal is that you can prepare the dish the night before and then just pop it in the oven the following morning. I decided to make up a fresh-blueberry addition, but you can do all sorts of different ingredients that spark your interest and appetite (raisins, cinnamon/nutmeg, peaches, bananas, etc. etc.). Bon appetite!

* I usually double this recipe for 4 or more people.

1/3 Cup vegetable oil
1/2 c. sugar (I use brown)
1 egg beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2/3 c. milk
2 c. oats
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
raisins or blueberries optional

Mix everything in an oval pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350. 
I often make it up the night before and just turn the oven on in the morning. If you are adding fruit, add it the morning of to prevent significant smearing. 

photo cred to the family kitchen - my camera had run out of batteries :(

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Coconut Thai Red Lentil Suop

This is quite possibly one of the tastiest soup recipes I've come across in a long time. Jerms made it up for the House last week and it was a big hit. The soup is  served with fresh slices of lime & cilantro and I mean, really, how can you go wrong with a coconut milk base? Definitely a keeper for those long cold stretches in winter. Bon appetit! 

1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs curry powder (or up to 2tbs if you are a big curry fan)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/3 cup tomato paste
5-7 cups water (depending on consistency you're looking for)
1 (15oz) can coconut milk
2 cups red lentils
1 (15oz) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1 tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
fresh cilantro and lime wedges for serving

1. To a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, add the oil. Add the curry powder and cinnamon and cook, stirring often, until the spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the onion and cook 2-3 minutes, followed by the carrots, ginger, and garlic, salt, sugar, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more.

3. Pour in the water, coconut milk, lentils, and chickpeas. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes or until the lentils are tender and the soup has thickened.

4. At the very end, stir in the lime juice. Taste for seasoning and serve with fresh cilantro and lime wedges.

Chicken Pot Pies

Anytime I cook with puff pastry, I feel like a baking queen. If you've never used it before - I highly suggest you give it a go. It's remarkably easy and the results are always beautiful. I made up these little pot pies for a dinner with some wonderful friends of ours and we all thought they tasted great. To save time, I made the filling a couple days beforehand. Just a reminder that it takes a good 2 hours for the pastry to thaw - that, or leave it in the fridge overnight.

The egg wash at the end is completely optional, but if you've gone through all the work already, why not give it that last little sparkle? Bon appetit!

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
2 carrots, diced medium
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1/3 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups diced cooked chicken
Salt and pepper
1 sheet thawed puff pastry
1 beaten egg

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-high. Add onion, celery, and carrots and cook until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in green beans and chicken and season with salt and pepper.

Divide filling among four 8-ounce ramekins. Roll out 1 sheet puff pastry and cut 4 rounds to fit ramekins. Cut a small X in center of each to vent, then place on top of filling. Brush with beaten egg. Bake at 375 degrees until filling is bubbling and crust is golden, 30 to 40 minutes.

Jeremiah's Pancakes (lactose free)

For breakfast this morning we made up a nice batch of pancakes with some fruit salad on the side. A perfect Saturday morning "fun breakfast" as it's referred to in our house. I will admit that I am not exactly a "pancake person" (hisses and boos from all Canadians, I know, I know) - but I just LOVE these guys. We first got this recipe from our very dear friend when we hiked through Frontenac Park earlier this summer. The nice thing about it is that it has no dairy products - ie. great for those are are intolerant to lactose. They make up such an incredibly light, fluffy little pancake - it's amazing that there's no milk in them. I find that this recipe makes enough for about 3-4 people. We make a half batch for 2 people for breakfast. Enjoy!

2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

The man himself, making up pancakes in the bush
Mix all of your dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients and stir until just moistened (the batter will still be a little lumpy... that's okay!). Heat some oil on medium heat in a large skillet. When the pan is nice and hot, add 1/3 cup servings of batter - flip when bottom is lightly browned and you start to see little bubbles on the top of the pancake. Serve with maple syrup!