Sunday, June 27, 2010

Magazine Monday #61: Everyday Granola

I am really enjoying making my own granola. I can't remember the last time I purchased boxed cereal, and I kind of think that's a good thing. I have a few granola recipes I've amalgamated into something of my own, but I did take some time to make a new recipe that came out in the June 2010 issue of Bon Appetit.

A word about Bon Appetit. I used to subscribe to both it and Gourmet, but I let my subscription to BA slide because I didn't feel I was getting my money's worth from it, and I thought Gourmet was better bang for my buck. But, as you might know, Gourmet went belly up, and those of us with outstanding subscriptions to it had those subscriptions switched over to BA. I would rather have had a refund, personally, since I had cancelled BA for a reason. Now, my subscription is almost up and I have been bombarded with mail begging me to renew. I won't be. Although I have seen a marked improvement in the content of BA, I am over it and I don't want to spend my money on it anymore. I might, however, consider getting a subscription to the Food Network Magazine, but we'll see.

Anyway, the granola recipe I tried is here. I liked it, but I didn't love it. The spices were nice and it made a larger quantity than my other recipes, but it lacked punch and texture, and though it had nice flavourings in it, I found it a bit bland. I guess the other recipes I use are sweeter and contain a bit more oil, giving them that punchiness I think was missing here. Still, it filled the bill for me and with some yogurt it made a great breakfast, but I think I'll be sticking to my regular recipes.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cooking with Kylie: Pork Fried Rice

Yes, two Kylie recipes in a row! This is because I made two Kylie recipes this week!

There is just something so comforting about fried rice, and I have tried Kylie's Chicken Fried Rice and her Prawn Fried Rice. I'm not a huge fan of pork, but I was feeling like I wanted to try something new, so I got some nice pork loin for a decent price and made this dish.

Hoisin sauce and pork are just made for each other, I think. And again, malt vinegar makes an appearance! I actually think this sauce would make a nice glaze for BBQ pork loin, which I might try over the summer since I'll be babysitting my brother's BBQ for a while.

Pork Fried Rice, from Kylie Kwong's Simple Chinese Cooking, page 260

400g pork fillets (I used pork tenderloin)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (OK, I never use the amount of oil Kylie calls for! I used about 2 tbsp in total for this recipe)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 small red onion, finely sliced
1 tbsp chopped ginger (I never remember to buy this so, um, I used dried)
2 tsp white sugar
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp malt vinegar
1/4 tsp sesame oil
4 cups steamed rice
a few finely sliced green onions

1. Slice pork into strips and set aside.

2. Heat half the oil in wok until the surface begins to shimmer slightly. Pour eggs in and scramble; remove.

3. Heat remaining oil in wok and stirfry onion & ginger for 30 seconds. Add sugar and stirfry for 30 seconds. Add pork and stirfry for another 30 seconds. Stir in hoisin sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil, stirring for one minute. Toss in rice and reserved eggs and stirfry, using a spatula to break up egg & any rice clumps. Lastly, add spring onions and stirfry another 30 seconds until well-combined and rice is heated through. Serve.

I loved this! I chose well with the pork, too, because it was so nice & tender. Another great recipe from Kylie!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cooking with Kylie; Prawn & Mint Salad

Kylie Kwong's Simple Chinese Cooking is rapidly becoming my most frequently used cookbook these days. The food is simple, delicious, and it really fits my budget. The recipes make enough for me to have leftovers if I want them, which is convenient for my work schedule. I am completely addicted to the Prawn Wontons with Spring Onion, Ginger, and Vinegar Dressing; it's just so amazing and I am really getting quick and adept at putting wontons together.

Two nights ago, after indulging in a pre-menstrual grease-filled pig-out, I decided I needed to eat something light, and I decided to make Kylie's Prawn & Mint Salad. I substituted some of the ingredients for ones I liked (cucumber and celery were out, yellow pepper was in, and I used romaine lettuce instead of iceberg), threw this together, and totally loved it! The mint was so nice & fresh and the dressing was light and tasty. I am really digging Kylie's use of malt vinegar in some of her recipes; it's so flavourful and rich.

The recipe for the salad is here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pad Thai

I've blogged before about my SIL's mom, C, who compiled some of her favourite catering recipes (she & my SIL run a catering business on top of their busy day jobs) into a cookbook she distributed to friends & family two Christmases ago. C called the cookbook "Tried & True" and one night recently I was inspired to tackle the Pad Thai recipe in it.

I've had the Pad Thai before; my SIL has made it for family dinners and it was always delicious. Also, one year my SIL & C and a few other people had a stall at Shambhala, a big giant music festival held in the area, and the Pad Thai was on their menu.

The recipe is simple and quick and it made tons - enough for several meals for me. It's also great cold! I skipped the chili flakes because I don't like spice.

C's Pad Thai

8oz flat rice noodles
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage (I used coleslaw mix, one of my favourite kitchen allies)
1 medium carrot, julienned (skip if you decide to use the coleslaw mix)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup firm tofu
1 cup of chicken, cut into strips, or an equal amount of cooked peeled shrimp
3 cups bean sprouts
1 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup peanuts


3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1/4 cup water or chicken broth
2 tbsp fresh lime juice

1. Cover noodles in hot water & soak for 20 minutes. Drain well.

2. Combine sauce ingredients and set aside.

3. In a wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, tofu, and chicken (or shrimp, if using - or live on the edge & use both!). Stirfry until the chicken is done. Add cabbage & carrot. Stirfry until cabbage is tender-crisp.

4. Push veggies to the side of the pan and pour in eggs. Stir to scramble.

5. Add drained noodles and sauce. Heat until noodles are soft & warm, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add bean sprouts, green onion, and cilantro. Transfer to platter & sprinkle with peanuts. Serve!


Monday, June 07, 2010

Cookbook Review: In the Sweet Kitchen

Back in 2004, when I was working at Crapters and on the cusp of deciding to go to culinary school, I used my 30% staff discount to purchase a whole bunch of cookbooks. Regan Daley's In the Sweet Kitchen was one of them. It was a $60 beautiful hard cover and I immediately fell in love with it because half of the book was devoted to information about baking: ingredients, techniques, equipment, and all kinds of stuff I was previously oblivious to - including a section on high altitude baking, which would come in handy later on in my life when I moved back to the mountains. The recipes were also lovely, and I embarked upon making several of them.

Recently, In the Sweet Kitchen has been re-released for the book's 10th anniversary with an updated trade paperback cover. Yours truly was interested to see if there were any updates to the book that might tantalize me, and I got a review copy. Recently I sat down to compare the two editions, and there are very few changes. The subtitle is different, and a minor word or two has changed (mind you, I didn't go through it with a fine toothed comb), and there fewer photos (and the photos are not new either), but other than that, except for a new preface, the books are the same. And there were no new recipes!

I am not complaining, though, because the recipes the book does contain are excellent. The information on baking, which is extremely comprehensive, is still well worth the large chunk of space on my small cookbook shelving unit this volume takes up.

I have made several recipes. Of course, I have made Regan's Ultimate Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies (page 501) several times, and it's a recipe I still go back to, even though I have had to tweak it slightly to get it to work for me. There is a post way back in my archives about them here.

I also have made the Roasted Clementine and Chocolate Tart with a Macadamia Nut Crust (page 461). Actually, I've made this more than once. The first time was for a dinner party I threw when I still lived in Ottawa, and the second time was when I was on the dessert station at culinary school. The chef instructor had me adjust the recipe a bit; we didn't use clementies but rather just the regular oranges the school kept around, and I had to use hazelnuts instead of macadamia nuts, but it turned out great.

Additionally, I have made Regan's Flaky Tart Pastry (page 653), her blueberry pie (alas, not with wild blueberries because they are not always available to me), her Damn Fine Apple Pie (page 472), and today I made the blueberry muffin recipe on page 608, only using huckleberries I had in the freezer from last year. They were delicious!

The recipes in this book vary between very sophisticated and very simple & "down home," which is something I really like about this book. There is something for everyone and ever skill level. That element, combined with the 300+ pages of instructional information, makes this an excellent book for both the beginner and the seasoned baker! A definite recommend!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Clam Chowder for a Crowd

Here is another work recipe that I have made a few times now. When I first looked at the recipe, I nearly had a heart attack! Bacon! Butter! Whipping cream! I thought, You want me to feed this to seniors? Seriously? I was a little shocked. But apparently, this is one of the most popular soups on the menu. And after I made it, I had a bowl myself, and it was sooooo gooooood. Sinfully good. No wonder it's popular!

Clam Chowder

8 slices of bacon, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 onions, diced
4 potatoes, diced
3 cans baby clams, with nectar
1 lb butter
2 cups flour
1 liter water
2 tsp chicken base
2 liters whipping cream
2 tsp each basil, parsley, and ground pepper

Cook the first five ingredients in a large pot until veggies are just tender. In a separate, smaller pot, melt the butter. Add flour and make a smooth paste. Add this to the veggies and combine. Add liquids, and the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a simmer to thicken. Serve.

OK, we don't use whipping cream where I work, but rather a mixture of 10% and milk. It works just fine and tastes great!


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