Thursday, February 11, 2016

Curried Okra Fry

Curry Okra Fry

1 package fresh okra, remove tops by slicing off and cut into thick rings

Oil, about 3 tbsp, I use avocado oil or any flavourless high smoke point oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 thumb size piece of ginger, grated. Frozen is fine as I keep mine in the freezer anyway

1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp corriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp black mustard seeds
Salt and chili, to taste

1 tsp big teaspoon tomato paste
1 big or 2 small tomatoes, fresh and chopped in quarters (then you can just pick 4-8 pieces of skin out of the dish)

Fresh cilantro, for finishing and garnish

Heat the oil and add the onion, fry until edges are beginning to brown then add your spices and fry, mustard seeds may pop a bit.
Add your garlic and ginger and it will smell amazing at this point! Don't let it burn.
Add your chopped okra and finally tomato paste and chopped tomato.

If it needs a little water you can add a couple of tbsp and then cover and let it simmer for 15 minutes or so until okra is tender. At this point if there is any liquid still in it you can turn up the heat and just leave the lid off while keeping an eye out until it begins to dry up.

Add chopped cilantro and enjoy!

I serve with quick spelt rotis which I whip up using spelt flour, a drizzle of oil and enough water to create a pliable but not too sticky dough (Spelt can be sticky)
 I roll out small rounds and fry in a oiled pan (non stick works best)  flipping on both sides and removing once blisters appear.

This dish is delicious! Serve hot or room temperature!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Cranberry Orange Muffins

Cranberry Orange Muffins
Courtesy of Sally's Baking Addiction



1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup  granulated sugar
1/4 cup  dark brown sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature 

1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
zest of 2 oranges

Blend in another bowl:

1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add dry to wet and add:
2 Tablespoons orange juice
2 Tablespoons milk (any kind)

Fold in:
1 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw)

Bake in a muffin tin lined with muffin cups or an oiled and floured muffin tin. Makes about 12 

Bake for 5 minutes in a preheated 425 F oven then lower to 350 for another 18-20 minutes. Cool and glaze.
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 Tablespoons  orange juice, or half orange and half lemon juice

Roasted & Braised Duck Pretzel Pockets

Lately I find myself short on time in the kitchen and so when I do have a couple of moments I try to utilize them well. Instead of creating and freezing full recipes I've been experimenting more with ingredients, like in my previous post about leeks! And this is what I love about this recipe because though it is a little lengthy, it's hands off for the most part and with an ingredient like duck you're left with many components to use for other recipes, plus it's high on flavour.

It's always a good day when you find a duck in your freezer, like the other day when I discovered the bird but then remembered that it must have been there for a little over a year! Lucky for me it wasn't freezer burnt and the flavour was incredible!

Once the duck was all thawed from hanging out in the fridge for a couple of days I rubbed it down with grapeseed oil and seasoned generously with salt and black pepper, and off it went into a 375 F oven for 2 hours until the skin was crispy and the whole duck was golden. Occasionally I'd check on it and pour off any of the extra fat in the pan, that stuff is liquid gold and perhaps just about the best part!

All those delicious things you could make with duck fat, from roasted potatoes to sauteed eggs, meats and wintery vegetables... the possibilities are endless!  Let me know what you like to do with leftover duck/goose fat in the comments below!

So back to the duck.  Once cooled I removed the skin.  I'd suggest setting that aside as a little something for the chef (you!) there isn't very much of it and it tends to go soggy unless eaten right away!

Nothing goes to waste here so I save those bones! There is a ton of flavour to be had from those bits and pieces of roasted skin, fat and savoury goodness left behind, all are going to a bit pot and allowed to bubble away for a couple of hours yielding the most delicious stock!

And last but not least those pan drippings! Adding a little stock or warm water to loosen up those bits and pieces then thickening makes an incredible gravy. A whole other recipe right there!

So to sum it up, out of one roasted duck you get fat, rich stock, crunchy skin, gravy and shredded meat. That's a lot of deliciousness for future meals right there!

Back to today's recipe... and that shredded meat! We'll also be using the pan drippings, first skimming off any extra fat and adding it to the fat pile and then adding a little warm water to remove all the yummy bits from the pan and straining it over top the duck meat, You want to use a small saucepan and have the liquid just covering the meat. Cover the saucepan with a bit of foil so that no steam escapes and cook on medium low for one hour or until the meat is nice and soft.  After an hour mix a little bit of cold liquid (water) and about a tsp of flour and then add it to the duck to thick the sauce, at this point there should be no liquid, just almost a glaze surrounding the shredded duck.

Cool the filling and add chopped green onion if desired then set aside.

Now for the Pretzel dough

1 1/3 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

2 tablespoons margarine

1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

4 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Proof for 5 minutes.
Mix in butter or margarine, flour, and salt. Cut dough into gold ball size balls and roll out into small flat circles. Fill with some cooled duck filling and seal up like a half a circle or small pockets.

Set on a tray and cover with a damp cloth or a piece of cling wrap. Allow to proof for 45 minutes to an hour.

This part goes really quick... it involves boiling and baking and you want to boil only what fits on the tray and into your oven one batch at a time.

Heat oven to 475 F.

In a cast iron or other nonaluminum pan, bring water and baking soda almost to a boil. Gently lower pockets into the water for about 90 seconds, do not allow water to come to a full boil.  Remove pocket with a large slotted spoon that supports the pocket well yet allows water to drain off and place on the parchment lined baking tray. You could put up to 5 pockets in the pot at a time. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake at 475 degrees F (245 degrees C) for about 12 minutes.

I froze the leftover duck filling and whipped it out on Chinese New Year 2016 (Year of the Monkey) to create these wontons. They of course went into duck broth that was made from the bones of that roasted duck! So so good! 


Leeks are such a yummy ingredient but you'll find just about every recipe that includes them calls for a quick chop and sautee so today I'm writing about a quick tip to save you time and money!

Since I'm short on time these days ingredient prep has become essential to my way of cooking and I'm constantly putting things into my freezer and pulling other things out. All these ingredients and partial recipes that I've frozen in advance have helped me whip up a quick meals in no time.

The idea with the leeks came to me when I was prepping to make Fiskesuppe, a fish chowder like soup from Finland! During ingredient prep instead of just chopping enough leeks for the recipe I decided to chop 'em all and sautee in butter, lightly seasoned with himalayan sea salt. I would be using some the following day for another recipe with the leftover cod and then figured why not just freeze the rest in a ziplock bag!
One suggestion is to freeze it flat and then break it apart so you could pull out as much as you need for future recipes!

The Fiskesuppe begins with sauteeing leeks, shallots or onions, garlic and then veggies like celery, carrot, parsnip, and potatoes. Season the veggies and cover with fish stock, clam juice and water and cook until veggies are tender.
Right before serving bring the heat up close to a boil and add the cod, baby scallops and about a 1/2-1 cup heavy cream and simmer until seafood is tender. Enjoy!

The next recipe is one of the oldest recipes I remember making after watching Jamie Olive cook way back in his Naked chef days. I was in my early teens and it was the first time I bought and cooked leeks.

I simply placed the fillets of cod into a baking dish and topped with the sauteed leeks then baked until fish was cooked through. It's as simple as that and so delicious! Serve with a vegetable or potato side dish!