Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Kabsa




Chicken Kabsa
Recipe modified from here 

Chicken & Rice:
4 cups  parboiled basmati rice (sila basmati found in Afghan grocers)

If using parboiled rice follow this section:

5 hours prior to beginning the recipe wash and soak rice in plenty of water. Set aside.

Before beginning the recipe by up to an hour begin by boiling a large pot of water on the stove, add plenty of salt (as you would pasta) and 1 tbsp oil.

When it comes to a boil add the drained rice, cook for 7 minutes. Taste as you go along, you want it par boiled in a sense, like an al dante pasta but not too soft/mushy.

Drain and add lots of cold water to cool the rice down, be gentle as not to break/crumble the beautiful rice grains. Set it aside in a strainer over a bowl.

--- At this point follow the recipe (sautee the onion, garlic, spices and prepare to stew the chicken)


2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) each: ground cumin, ground coriander, ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, curry powder, black pepper
1 chicken (about 3-1/2 lb/1.6 kg), halved or cut in 6 to 8 serving pieces (or equivalent amount of bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces)
1 large tomato, chopped
10 black peppercorns
4 each: whole cloves, whole green cardamom pods
2-inch (5-cm) cinnamon stick or bark
2 bay leafs
Enough water to cover meat
1/3 cup (80 mL) tomato paste
1/2 jalapeno with seeds
2 tsp (10 mL) table or fine sea salt, or to taste



Basting Sauce:
2 tbsp (30 mL) each: lemon juice, vegetable oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) each: minced garlic, plain yogurt
1 tsp (5 mL) paprika
1/2 tsp (2 mL) table or fine sea salt, or to taste



In large, heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, curry and pepper. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add chicken and tomato. Cook 1 minute. Add peppercorns, cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick or bark and bay leafs. Cover; Cook 5 minutes. Add water to cover chicken, tomato paste, jalapeno and salt. Raise heat to high; bring to boil. Cover; simmer on low for 20 minutes.


For basting sauce, in small bowl, stir together lemon, oil, garlic, yogurt, paprika and salt.
Using tongs, transfer cooked chicken pieces from saucepan to large roasting pan.
Using basting brush, brush all over with lemon-garlic mixture. Place pieces skin side up. Cover pan tightly with foil. Cook in preheated 550F (290C) oven 15 minutes. Remove foil. Cook until skin is browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Broil if needed, keeping a close eye on it.

While the chicken is in the oven and once you removed it from the pot/cooking liquid start the rice so that it all comes together at the same time.

Cooking the rice: Meanwhile, bring chicken cooking liquid to boil over high heat (if there is too much remove some out of the pot) You really don't need much water for parboiled rice once it's preboiled because it'll "steam".  Add 2 tbsp oil to the liquid and Stir in rice. Reduce heat to low. Wrap the lid of the pot in a cotton kitchen towel and cover the pot to trap steam.  Cook 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir to fluff. Keep warm until ready to serve.


Topping can be made while chicken is stewing and set aside for later.

Topping:
1 cup (250 mL) vegetable oil
1 cup (250 mL) thinly sliced onion
1 tbsp (15 mL) ground dried black lime (from about 1 dried black lime)
1/4 cup (60 mL) tomato paste
1/4 cup (60 mL) raisins

For toppings, in medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion. Cook 2 minutes. Add ground lime. Cook 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and raisins. Remove from heat. Let stand 2 minutes. Drain oil.

Makes about 6 servings.

Gulf House Sauce (optional):
1 large tomato, halved
1/2 jalapeno, stemmed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed
Table or fine sea salt to taste

For Gulf House sauce, if making, in food processor, combine tomato, jalapeno, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Purée.
To serve, place rice on platter. Top with chicken pieces. Scatter with onion-raisin topping. Pass Gulf House sauce separately, if desired.

If you're making the recipe using plain regular basmati or long grain rice use the orginal recipe here

OR below


 Chicken & Rice:
4 cups (1L) white basmati rice
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) each: ground cumin, ground coriander, ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, curry powder, black pepper
1 chicken (about 3-1/2 lb/1.6 kg), halved or cut in 6 to 8 serving pieces (or equivalent amount of bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces)
1 large tomato, chopped
10 black peppercorns
4 each: whole cloves, whole green cardamom pods
2-inch (5-cm) cinnamon stick or bark
2 bay leafs
7 cups (1.75L) water
1/3 cup (80 mL) tomato paste
1/2 jalapeno with seeds
2 tsp (10 mL) table or fine sea salt, or to taste
Basting Sauce:
2 tbsp (30 mL) each: lemon juice, vegetable oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) each: minced garlic, plain yogurt
1 tsp (5 mL) paprika
1/2 tsp (2 mL) table or fine sea salt, or to taste
Topping:
1 cup (250 mL) vegetable oil
1 cup (250 mL) thinly sliced onion
1 tbsp (15 mL) ground dried black lime (from about 1 dried black lime)
1/4 cup (60 mL) tomato paste
1/4 cup (60 mL) raisins
Gulf House Sauce (optional):
1 large tomato, halved
1/2 jalapeno, stemmed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed
Table or fine sea salt to taste
For chicken and rice, put rice in large bowl. Cover with water. Let soak at least 1 hour. When ready to use, drain.
In large, heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, curry and pepper. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add chicken and tomato. Cook 1 minute. Add peppercorns, cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick or bark and bay leafs. Cover; Cook 5 minutes. Add water, tomato paste, jalapeno and salt. Raise heat to high; bring to boil. Cover; cook 20 minutes.
For basting sauce, in small bowl, stir together lemon, oil, garlic, yogurt, paprika and salt.
Using tongs, transfer chicken pieces from saucepan to large roasting pan.
Using basting brush, brush all over with lemon-garlic mixture. Place pieces skin side up. Cover pan tightly with foil. Cook in preheated 550F (290C) oven 15 minutes. Remove foil. Cook until skin is browned, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring chicken cooking liquid to boil over high heat. Stir in rice. Reduce heat to low. Cover. Cook 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir well to fluff. Keep warm until ready to serve.
For toppings, in medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion. Cook 2 minutes. Add ground lime. Cook 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and raisins. Remove from heat. Let stand 2 minutes. Drain oil.
For Gulf House sauce, if making, in food processor, combine tomato, jalapeno, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Purée.
To serve, place rice on platter. Top with chicken pieces. Scatter with onion-raisin topping. Pass Gulf House sauce separately, if desired.
Makes about 6 servings.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day Brownies





My favourite brownie recipe

3/4 cup grape seed oil (healthiest option if you don't want to do olive oil) 
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa plus 3 tbsp 

(use high quality cocoa, I got mine from soma in toronto either found at their store in the distillery district or at the hudsons bay eaton's centre  basement in the O&B sweet store) 

1/4 tsp baking powder plus 1/8 tsp
1/4 tsp salt plus 1/8 tsp salt


2-3 strawberries, washed, dried and sliced (with green part on or off, up to you)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). If using a glass pan put oven on 325 F.

(Grease a 8x8 inch baking pan.)

2. In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; gradually stir into the egg mixture until well blended. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Slice strawberries and before placing them on the brownie batter in the pan press each piece down on a plate of cocoa powder so the bottom is covered in cocoa to avoid fruit sinking in the brownie while baking.  I did half the pan strawberries and half without.**

3. Bake for 30-40 minutes (this is just approximate time so keep an eye out!) or until the brownie begins to pull away from edges of pan.

Let cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares or frosting/glazing it.

A nice ganache topping makes these brownies just a bit more special! 

to makea  ganache add some heavy cream to a double boiler and heat, as soon as it's warm add a good quality chopped chocolate, you want more chocolate than cream. Let it sit 2-5 minutes on the counter until the chocolate melts then stir until it's glossy and beautiful. 

Slice your brownies and  plate.

Spread some ganache on each of the plain brownie squares and sprinkle with some edible gold. 


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Kenyan Goat Stew


If you ever find yourself with some goat meat on hand and you're thinking to yourself "What should I do with this?" then this is the recipe for you! 

Kenyan Goat stew, I found the recipe through an article, written about a Kenyan Chef as he explains that this meat can be trickier to cook than other meats I was able to get a brief guildeline on how to cook it. 

This recipe could not be simpler, and what I like the most is that there is no browning required, it's all very straight forward by adding a couple of new ingredients to the bubbling pot every couple half. 


Starting with the goat meat I had on hand. This small package of stewing meat in my freezer came from a local goat farm here in Ontario called Cross Wind Farm, I had picked up a couple of their products from a farmers market during the late summer months.  They're absolutely worth checking out for all your goat needs! (Try their goat feta and goat pepperette style sausages, to die for!)



Kenyan Goat Stew:
Ingredients:
Goat (1 lb)
Garlic (4 cloves)
Spices -  cumin, curry, garam masala, ground coriander, cardamom, turmeric, paprika, ground ginger, cinnamon,
Aromatics: Tomatoes chopped (I used half a tin of san marzano) , Onion (half a white onion, chopped in medium dice), green pepper (1 whole, small dice), red pepper (1 red pepper, small dice)
Herbs: Cilantro (1/2 cup stems removed and leaves chopped)

Optional: Potatoes, this was my own addition, as I didn't want to cook something else on the side to eat with it so I simply threw some potatoes in towards the last 30 minutes.

Step 1: To begin add the fresh or thawed (from frozen) goat meat in the bottom of a large pot. Cover with lots of water!  Adding a couple of peeled cloves of garlic here is a good idea too

 I had a tiny package of meat on hand, not exactly cure how much, might have been a pound, so it probably wasn't necessary to add to much water but I did anyway. I used 4 large cloves of garlic. 

Set the pot on the burner and bring to a medium boil, watch out with this stage as the foam rises to the top and sometimes it over flows. Skim the scum stuff that floats to the top away and discard.

The pot should be at a medium boil most of the cooking so finding that sweet spot on your stove/burner is key because it's going to be cooking for around 3 hours start to finish.  Having the cooking fan on too is a good idea too.

Cook for one hour

Step 2: Add the following spices: a dash or 1/2 tsp of each Cumin, Curry, Garam masala, Cardamom (I used ground from my baking supplies but you can use the whole pod, throw about 4  pods in)

(salt to taste)

Cook another 30 minutes.

Step 3: Add aromatics, chopped tomato, onion, red and green pepper.

Cook for 45 minutes. At this point you may want to cook with or without the lid depending on how much liquid is left in the pot. You don't want to end up with a lot of liquid at the end. It should be a proper ratio of ingredients to liquid like any other stew. If you need to boil off a little of the liquid them absolutely do so. I tried to keep doing that with every step along the way. 

Step 4: Add more spices.... turmeric, ground coriander, ground ginger, fennel seeds, cinnamon and paprika (half a tsp of each)

At this stage I would add potato if you're including them, about a handful of those baby potatoes sliced in half each. 

Simmer for 30 minutes.

Step 5: Add chopped cilantro. Allow to cook for another 5 minutes and then remove from the heat and serve!

There is no mention of adding salt in the recipe but I did, around stage 2.

The goat in this recipe was so tender, falling off the fat (there were no bones in my goat but I would imagine some bones would be fine and add to the flavour)

So what do you think?  I hope this recipe inspires you to try goat, because it is a very yummy meat and this recipe taught me that cooking it is not as intimidating as I had previously imagined.

And finally one last note, if you found the spices to be rather mild then next time you're making it feel free to add more and gauge it to your taste. 




If you're left with any of the delicious liquids from the stew I have a couple of recipes you could try to use it up (do not throw that stuff away!)
Try making my famous  Tuna Rice  by cooking rice and tuna in it.  Or making a lentil soup, it could be very similar along the lines of a Moroccan Harira soup or a plain red lentil soup, use the broth from the stew with extra water to simmer the lentils then whisk for a creamy flavourful soup!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cast Iron Tea Pot


To know me is to know how much I love giving (and receiving) practical gifts!  That's not to say I don't like nice (impractical)  things but some of my most prized possessions are ones I can use so often in my daily life and take comfort in knowing that they've made my life easier and can handle a little wear and tear. 

This beautiful cast iron teapot was a gift from my in-laws. At first upon reading through the instructions I thought it sounds pretty high maintenance!


I have to say that it has not been empty a single moment since we've begun using it ( Other than while I'm asleep which I'll explain in a bit) Seriously, it is the most amazing teapot and we just can't get enough of it! 

The cast iron is enameled inside so upon opening the box and before it's initial use I followed the instructions and rinsed the inside with soapy water and a sponge. The outside should remain dry at all times.  There is also a warning to not get any oil on the outside as the cast iron absorbs it and the marks won't be removable, for this reason  I've put away the small drinking cups for special occasions as I don't want any lip marks forming on them, especially if drinking tea while consuming oily foods. 

Other than the teapot being a little heavy it is worth every penny! You can make the perfect green and white teas in it, which I've been doing (Buddha's blend from David's Tea!)  The little stand is a must as the outside of the teapot gets very hot to touch and propping it up on it's stand will avoid ruining, melting or burning your trays.

The little routine I have going is every evening and when all the tea is finished I simply remove the lid and dry the top (where the lid sits) with a paper towel to avoid any rust as that's usually where steam collects on the rim. I also dry the lid and set it next to the pot on a tray. Any small amount of water inside the pot will evaporate by morning and then the next day I add a bit of boiling water inside, swish it around and pour it out to clean the inside.  Now it's ready to use!

The taste of the tea is delicious and it stays warm for quite a while, also it always comes out at a perfect drinking temperature (when making green or white teas as the water isn't boiling to begin with)

We're not exactly sure how it works but the teas have been consistently delicious since we've began using it.

Coupled with the Zojirushi Water Boiler  we invested in last year they're a perfect team and every tea lover's dream!

Both of these make perfect gifts!