Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Secret Lazy Spanish Rice

We all have our dishes and snacks that are far from ... glamorous. This is one of mine and I just love it. Mostly, this is my effortless, no time for anything lunch. Believe it or not, I fed this to my wonderful MEXICAN boyfriend one night and he didn't know the difference. Am I a bad person?

Deep breath... ok here goes. Just take cooked (or more commonly leftover) rice, add some Herdez Salsa, and stir it around. Done. Over. If you're really up to it you could even grate some cheese over it.

I am a bad person. sorry, Internet.

Peach Muffins

So the Taber Corn and BC Peaches trucks were making their last weekend trip, and I may or may not have purchased $15 worth of peaches... Out of necessity and unconditional love for the elegant lady BC peaches, I bring you Peach Muffins, from this lovely southern bell. These are delicious, and remind me of Quaker Oats Peach n Cinnamon Oatmeal porridge from my days as a kidling. I used all brown sugar, and didn't bother with the cinnamon sugar topping.

Peach muffins a la The Givens Chronicles

Butternut Risotto: tips, tricks, and bad pics

Risotto is so much simpler than people think. You hear a lot about how 'labour intensive' it is, but for me, slowly stirring a dish that will always come out is beyond relaxing. I think I might just open up a spa with a risotto treatment. My first risotto was this one, and it turned out so perfectly that I've kept the theory behind it as the recipe-less basis for every risotto I've made since.

Tonight looks like it'll be a particularly charming fall evening, and instead of raking up the leaves, I'll pay homage to their colours with a butternut squash risotto. Recipe hidden below these comically amateur photos

about 40 minutes later and almost ready...

1 Butternut Squash, seeded and halved
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
1 white Onion, finely chopped (or substitute shallots)
2-9876234 cloves of GARLIC, minced
1 tbs Butter
splash of white wine
1 cup arborio rice
1-2 cartons Chicken or Veggie Stock, warmed

1. Preheat oven to 450. Place squash cut side up on a baking pan, and season with olive oil, salt & pepper. Bake 30-50 minutes, until done. Once cooled, mash or puree about 1 cup of the squash. the rest can be saved for soup, cubes, etc.
2. Bring a buttered pan to medium heat, and cook onions until nearly translucent, add garlic and cook one minute more. Add a splash of white wine.
3. Toss in the rice, and stir to coat for a minute or so. add one cup of chicken broth.
4. Now stir, and stir and stir. Stir slowly, and drag the rice around with a wooden spoon. You're trying to massage the starch out of the rice to give it that beautiful rich texture. after one cup of broth has been absorbed, add another, and another. After about 3 cups, taste to gauge how much further you have to go.
5. You may add the squash to the stock itself, either all of it, or to one or 2 cups of it, or add it after your risotto has reached it's mushy perfection.
6. Now plate and dress your risotto with grated parmesan, kale chips, or fresh herbs of your choosing.

And you've achieved heavenly risotto perfection. You can sub out the squash for virtually any veggie, just puree and add to the stock or at the end (I've even made a 'cream of tomato' risotto in a pinch by adding a CAN (shame, I know) of Campbell's Cream of Tomato Soup at the end- and what's worse is that it was absolutely delicious). Now try not to eat all of this in one beautifully shameful sitting. The leftovers make for a very special lunch. One day, when I'm happy and secure with my body weight, I'll make a cheese risotto. It might kill me though, and that's the only reason I've yet to try it. Enjoy!

*the most important trick I learned from what's cooking mexico is not to shy away from food colouring; in the case of the strawberry risotto it makes the difference between brown muck and beautiful beet-bright risotto

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bern's healthy-ish Mashed Potatoes

After drooling over The Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoes (and everything else), I had to try my own with less fat (aka no cream cheese)

5 Russet Potatoes, halved or quartered
3/4 stick of Butter
1/4 cup skim milk
1 to 1 1/2 cups greek yogurt
1/4 to 3/4 cup Appenzeller Cheese
Salt & Pepper
Chives or Green Onion, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350, and boil potatoes in salted water until they can be easily pierced with a fork.

2. Drain potatoes and return to pot on low heat. Hand mash potatoes to allow moisture escape.

3. Add salt, pepper, butter, milk, yogurt and cheese, mash to combine and remove from heat.

4. Transfer mixture to greased casserole dish and dot with grated hard butter. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes.

5. Garnish and serve

*depending on your mood/pantry, increase or decrease cheese, butter and milk. I'm convinced you could successfully substitute the yogurt for all the other dairy in this recipe if you really wanted to.

*on that note, try to get Appenzeller Cheese! It's a rich hard Swiss alpine cheese.

Pan Roasted Lemon Chicken

Hello Internet.

I don't have much experience with this blogging thing, but as a Tastespotting addict, and a big fan of several food blogs, I feel that I might as well come out of hiding. I'll start trying to photograph my food soon, but for now this is more of an online recipe book for me. Thanks for dropping by, but I totally understand if you're already gone :).

I wanted a pan roasted chicken breast, and the simplest, tastiest, bare bones sauce to go with it. REALLY quite happy with this, and the mister ate his, mine, and has requested another breast (hehe) for lunch tomorrow. Of course I can't take credit for this, as it's really just a combination of this and this

2 Chicken Breasts
Salt & Pepper
1 Lemon, zested and halved
Olive Oil
1/4-1/2 Stick Butter
8-10 Crimini Mushrooms, halved or quartered
GARLIC, 2-597862348762 cloves, peeled and smashed
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
Thyme, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400. Trim and season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
2. Combine olive oil and butter in oven proof pan or skillet over med-high heat.
3. Sear both sides of breast, add garlic, mushrooms and chicken stock to skillet and place in the oven for 20 to 40 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
4. Once chicken is fully cooked, plate on top of couscous, rice or other grain.
5. Add lemon juice to the skillet and mix. Spoon pan sauce over dish and serve.

I used a bed of couscous and peas, but rice and broccoli would work just as well, etc etc