Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy Easter

Warning! One Easter bunny was definitely harmed in the making of this post.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Chicken Taco Chili

Mmmmm! Oh man do I love a good tomato based, slow cooked anything!!

I made this in the slow cooker and it was FANTASTIC. We ate it for dinner two nights in a row and it pained me to pack the rest of it up and freeze it for lunches (but I'll be thankful for that at work).

I haven't used the slow cooker since my Chicken Cacciatore post in February. I still think it isn't the best slow cooker around, and that it runs hotter than the average one. I bought it originally because it was the only 3 qt one around, which is why it runs hotter and I'm not sure why it took me so long to figure out. Since its just me and Clutterbuck we didn't need a massive 7 or 8 qt machine. However, now that I've gotten into the groove I think a larger one would be just fine for leftover lunches. Plus it probably would run at the same heat as the recipes call for.

Anyway, thanks are in order to my dad for turning the slow cooker on at 12pm so it would be perfectly done at 7ish when we were ready to eat after a long day at the office. I used two boneless skinless chicken breasts and shredded them about 30 minutes before I served this up. I also used a can of green chillies which really added a nice flavour and texture.

I really love the sharpness of an old cheddar with a good chili or the nutty flavour of a good Parmesan with a nice white wine....yummy!

The corn was another star ingredient of this dish. I mentioned my love of celery in a previous post and corn has to be right up there with it at the moment. I'm so enjoying fresh (frozen) corn and peas currently.

I will be making this again, and soon. The only thing I will do differently is to cut the onions smaller, they were much too large this time around and disproportionate to the rest of the ingredients.

Risotto Cakes and Pan Roasted Vegetables

 This one is for you Em.

I received several cookbooks for my birthday at the beginning of April. My cousin gave me one of her favourites from Ina Garten. We have both loved her, her shows and recipes for years. This Back to Basics cookbook has been very well tested by my cousin, and thousands of others. However, she has brilliantly noted, with her fantastic humour, all of the recipes that she has tried and how they have worked out for her.

We don't get to see or talk to each other often and she's probably the closest I'll ever get to a sister, so this is a very cherished gift.

Anyway, after all those nice words I'm almost embarassed to say that the note beside these risotto cakes is:
Please make these and invite me over
Em, please allow me to explain. Only Ina would probably have the confidence to try a recipe for the first time with company over but I certainly dont.

I will absolutely make this again (and invite people over). These were an absolute success...even though they were not even remotely diet friendly. Contrary to my love of fried food I've never been very good at pan frying things at home (go figure)...these were totally the exception to that.

I even froze the left overs and can't wait to take them for lunches in the next little while.

The Pan Roasted Vegetables were from the same cookbook. They were great too. I've been so into celery lately. Its just so good and when its slightly cooked its just a great subtle flavour, and Clutterbuck loves brussel sprouts so it was definitely a win-win recipe.

Now, the next challenge is to decide on another cookbook. I received a Chapters gift card for my birthday and it was given under the specific direction to buy a cookbook. Any suggestions????

Sweet and Sour Pork

Meh! This was yet another magazine recipe. I love the concept of sweet & sour and I've always enjoyed sweet & sour stir-fries in restaurants, etc. However, this is my second or third attempt and I still can't seem to duplicate, at home, what I've liked in restaurants.

This recipe was in another e-copy of my Food Network Magazine (Jan/Feb edition). I've always enjoyed a good stir-fry, as you've read in past posts, but this wasn't one of my favourites.

I'm also such a pork virgin. I really have no experience with the stuff. I don't remember ever eating it growing up (not to say my parents didn't and I just refused...but still...that tells you something I guess), I have never cooked it myself, I always substitute it with chicken or leave it out completely.

As I'm writing this I'm remembering quite a few years ago, my parents were throwing some sort of dinner party for the whole family (which can be a large bunch). I was still living at home and dating a previous boyfriend. Neither of us had any strong interest in cooking...or anything else for that matter.

We probably hadn't surfaced from the basement all day and when we did, my parents decided to "voluntell" my ex to cook the Pork Tenderloin on the BBQ.  I think they just thought it was a good opportunity to have someone else stand outside and monitor the meat on the BBQ while they were able to stay on top of things inside and continue to visit with guests. My ex took this challenge on the chin and ended up executing it beautifully. Everyone was impressed with this perfectly cooked tenderloin.

Thinking back I think he probably just got lucky, but my hat goes off to him because I now realize how difficult it can be to cook pork. He was Italian though, and his father demanded to eat meat with every meal, so I'm sure some of his bbqing success was in his blood.

I obviously need some more practice...bring it on.

Portabello Parmesan

Wow! Definitely a total success. I have so many food magazines and cookbooks lying around it's about time to purge a bunch of them (magazines not cookbooks), bur before I do that I've decided to make atleast one recipe out of them and see how it goes....even if there isn't anything I'm interested in, I still have to pick something.

This came from March 2011 edition of Food Network Magazine. I have it electronically on my iPad. This particular recipe was a reader's submitted recipe. The challenge was to submit recipes with mushrooms and this one won...which isn't surprising.

The picture makes it look like I went really heavy on the cheese, I actually used less than the recipe called for, but it still turned out quite cheesy. As far as the recipe goes its a pretty standard Parmasan recipe but I did use panko crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs. I LOVE Panko!!!!

I will totally be making this again. I've never been into the whole eggplant Parmesan thing, I don't care or eggplant at all. However, this was the perfect vegetarian version. The portabellos are just so good at soaking up all flavours around them. Yummy!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

Angel food cake topped with a dark chocolate ganache and chocolate dipped strawberries. Served with a fresh berry salad, marinated in a tiny bit of sugar to bring out their juices.

That's right! What now biotch??

Chicken and Mushrooms in a White Wine Sauce

Mmm mmm good! This was so simple. Just some boneless skinless breasts simmered in with some mushrooms in a bit of white wine, chicken stock, loads of garlic and some parsley. The baby spinach was an after thought, and actually as I'm writing this I'm realizing I should have served the chicken and mushrooms on top of the spinach and poured the sauce over all of it to wilt it down.

OK great, now I have a plan for next time. Although I'd say this time was definitely a success!!!