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May 10th, 2010
04:16 pm


Ina Garten's (otherwise known as Barefoot Contessa) Chicken Stock to Chicken Soup
Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa)'s Chicken Stock, which will become chicken noodle soup.

Unless your like me and not such a fan of noodles in your soup.  FYI i always use Ina's recipes, they have always turned out and been the talk of the dinner table.  I pretty much swear by them and i look like a great chef.  The only thing is her recipes made a bunch of food, no joke, so be prepared to freeze some of whatever you make.

3 (5-pound) roasting chickens ( i used two skin on, bone on chicken breasts)
3 large yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered
6 carrots, unpeeled and halved
4 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds
4 parsnips, unpeeled and cut in half, optional
20 sprigs fresh parsley
15 sprigs fresh thyme
20 sprigs fresh dill
1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in 1/2 crosswise (i put two of these in cause we're big on garlic in my family.)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

What your supposed to do:
Place the chickens, onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley, thyme, dill, garlic, and seasonings in a 16 to 20-quart stockpot. Add 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 4 hours. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and discard the solids. Chill the stock overnight. The next day, remove the surface fat. Use immediately or pack in containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

What i did differently:

i thought my stalk pot was big enough, but no.  So if there are 4 cups to a quart, i only manged to fit in 22 cups of water, not the 28 you actually need.  I like a strong broth anyways, i suppose if you do not, you can always add in another 2-4 cups of water after you have strained the whole thing.  I'm not chilling the stock overnight cause i want soup asap. YUM!

Soup part:
1 whole (2 split) chicken breast, bone in, skin on (I'm using the chicken i used to make the stock.)
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 quarts homemade Chicken Stock
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
1 cup medium-diced carrots (3 carrots)
2 cups wide egg noodles
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the chicken breast on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until cooked through. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and shred or dice the chicken meat.

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large pot and add the celery, carrots and noodles. Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes, until the noddles are cooked. Add the cooked chicken meat and parsley and heat through.

Season to taste and serve. Serves 6.

What i did:
I also threw in some parsnips cause i love them, and i really don't like noodles or rice in my soup.  Everything else is to taste, i usually put in more veg then she calls for cause i like it a little more chunky and stew-ish. YUM! Enjoy!

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May 3rd, 2010
07:51 am


Adam and Karine's Secret to a Wonderful Cup of Coffee
I figured I'd share, since I've had many compliments before and I'm enjoying my coffee this morning. We like our coffee strong, here, but while Adam takes only a bit of milk, I like it creamy, with half a spoon of brown sugar. Your tastes may vary.

No, the true secret to our coffee is the addition of flavoured coffee. Flavoured coffee by itself is cloying, suffocating in its assault of flavour, but if you swap out a spoon or two of regular coffee for the flavoured kind, you get the flavour as a subtle addition, that doesn't take away from the real taste of coffee. My usual proportions are one flavoured scoop for two regular, so in a regular 6 cup brew (which fills our two travel mugs exactly), I put 4 spoonfuls of regular coffee and add 2 spoonfuls of flavoured.

For the record, my regular coffee is the President's Choice Medium Roast Gourmet coffee (in the golden wrapping) and my choice of A.L. Van Houtte flavours are French Vanilla and Chocolate Hazelnut. I tend to reduce the proportions when using Irish Cream flavour because it's more powerful than the others.

Don't forget to clean your coffee machine on a regular basis, with a vinegar cycle followed by two regular ones, about once a month or so. If you have a stainless steel coffee pot, and it is covered in black coffee deposits, bring back its original shine by putting in a teaspoon of dishwasher detergent, filling it with hot water, and letting it sit, closed, overnight. The next morning, empty it out, give it a good rinse, and it'll be like new.


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April 27th, 2010
12:04 pm


Hasty Chocolate Pudding
Or, as I like to call it, Stupidly Easy Anytime Pudding.

I originally found this on Allrecipes.com, and messed with it, because I can't leave anything alone.

1/2 cup brown sugar (the original called for white, brown tastes better)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups milk (I use 3.25%; skim may give you a less creamy result)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter (not margarine)

1. In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, and cornstarch. Whisk in milk a little at a time so the mixture does not have any dry lumps.
2. Place in the microwave, and cook for 3 minutes on high. Stir, then cook at 1 minute intervals, stirring between cooking times for 2 to 4 minutes, or until shiny and thick. Remove from microwave; stir in vanilla and butter.
3. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming, and chill in the refrigerator. Serve cold.

My notes:

- Yeah, sure, this serves four, as a MAIN MEAL. Seriously. We cut the recipe in half and it gives us four small sensible bowls. But then, we don't eat piles of dessert; we like a small taste of something sweet after a meal. This recipe would probably serve six or seven adults. It's so adaptable, though, that you could increase or decrease it really easily.

- I actually use a bit less cocoa than called for. I find it a bit too heavy on the chocolate otherwise. It manages to be delicious and creamy on the tongue without being overly rich.

- We like ours warm, so we make it just before dinner and only chill it while we eat to help it set a bit more, then remove it and serve.

- BEST VARIATION EVER: Take a few scoops of peanut butter (the icky icing sugar-laden stuff, don't waste your good natural/organic pb here) and scrape them into the hot pudding, right after your vanilla and butter. Stir gently till you get streaks, then chill. How much? Meh. I usually use about three heaping tablespoons in my halved recipe, but smaller scoops blend a bit better.

- THINGS I WANT TO TRY: Adding orange zest. Sprinkling chopped white chocolate into it. Swirling a homemade caramel sauce into it. Really, the pudding is so basic (but still good on its own) that you could do whatever you wanted to it. Maybe layering it it with a raspberry mousse. Mmm.


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12:03 pm


Karine's Cilantro Cheese Dip
Adam had bought a biiiig bunch of cilantro, and it was quickly wilting, so I had to do something with it. I'd looked to see if there was such a thing as Cilantro pesto (there is), and found another sauce recipe. I was lacking several ingredients but it was enough to inspire. Here's an approximation of what I had.

1 package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 bunch fresh cilantro, a good handful
1 clove garlic
Lemon juice
1/4 to 1/3 cup green spicy salsa

Chop up the cilantro, stems and all, and mince the garlic. Put them in a bowl with the soft cream cheese, and run a hand blender into the mix. Add the green salsa, and give it a good squirt of lemon juice. Optionally, you can spice it up some more with hot sauce. I guess you could make this in a blender or a food processor, but unless you add a lot of liquid (from the salsa or lemon juice), this will be pretty thick for the blender.

Serve with tortilla chips or fresh, cut veggies.

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11:52 am


Slow cooker pork roast
Super easy, super delicious and tender. I was able to post this in one shot on Twitter!

Pork roast
2-3 cloves garlic
Teriyaki sauce

Peel and slice the garlic cloves lengthwise, to make long, thin slivers. On the top side, poke through the roast with a knife and insert the slivers in each hole you poke. (I love garlic, so I make 3 or 4 incisions in each row between the cord ties. To slip the slivers in the incisions easily, poke your knife in as deep as the sliver is long, and twist 90 degrees. Slip the sliver while the knife is still in the hole, and then remove the knife.) Insert a meat thermometer into the side of the roast and then place the roast into the slow cooker. Drizzle the roast with the teriyaki sauce. I didn't measure, I just made sure the thin sauce covered all the roast and slipped into the garlic holes, and that there was some sauce on the bottom of the cooker for liquid content. I'd say maybe 1/4, 1/3 cup? Adjust as needed.

Cover, and set the slow cooker on low, for 3 hours + 1 hour per pound. The roast is ready when the thermometer shows between 160-171F. Remove the roast from the slow cooker and place it on a cutting board. Take the liquid at the bottom of the cooker and put it in a gravy boat, to serve alongside. A little sauce goes a long way.

I served this with stir-fried green beans and almonds, Wild Rice pre-made mix and cucumber slices. The meat is OMG tender and juicy, and leftovers make awesome sandwiches.

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April 12th, 2010
04:22 pm


Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
1 & 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Blend together

then add:
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs

blend till just combined.

Then add 3 mashed bananas.


Add in 1/2 chocolate chips ( i found it to much, i would add maybe half as much, depends on how much you like chocolate.)


Butter your loaf pan. Pour in batter.

Bake at 350 for 60-70 minutes.
(I put mine in for 45 min, checked it, turned it, then baked another 10 mintues.)


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January 5th, 2010
05:29 pm


Answering my own question
I asked earlier about finding cream of mushroom soup (for use in casseroles and the like) that contained no MSG.

I have found some.

Campbells has just released a new version of their tetra pack soups, labelled as "Easy Cooking Sauce". There is a cream of mushroom, and a cream of chicken, among others. So if you're MSG intolerant like me, you can still make ridiculously easy casseroles*

*This may not exactly be a good thing, calorie-wise.

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September 30th, 2009
03:07 pm


2 Things I am looking for:
1. Anyone know of an Asian market in the West Island area? I'm looking for things like kaffir lime leaves and galangal, coconut milk, etc. (Yes, I'm going to make Thai soup. Why do you ask?)

2. I've been looking for a canned cream of mushroom soup that doesn't contain MSG. A lot of easy casseroles use cream of mushroom but it -- and the other cream soups I've found -- all contain MSG. Anyone have a solution that's not "make your own"?

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September 6th, 2009
04:35 pm


Thai Chicken Coconut Soup
I just tried it out back in June, and it was SO yummy! Considering I'm not much of a cook, it was a lovely surprise!

I thought I'd share the recipe; it's so easy to make!

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

* 1 tsp sesame or peanut oil (if you have it; if not, any oil will do)
* 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (approx 300 g or 2/3 lb.)
* 1 can coconut milk (398 ml or 14oz)
* 1 can of chicken broth
* Zest of half a lemon
* Zest of half a lime
* Juice of one lime
* 1 tsp dried chili peppers
* 1 tbsp fresh ginger
* 3 green onions, thinly chopped (only the white and light green parts)
* 1 tbsp brown sugar (optional)

Cut the chicken into small strips. Sautée the strips in oil at medium high, in a stove-top fry pan, until they're no longer pink. Warm coconut milk in a medium-sized sauce pan, then add the can of chicken broth. Add zest of half a lemon and half a lime, the dried chili peppers, ginger, green onion and brown sugar. Add the chicken strips to the sauce pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let it simmer on low temperature for about 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

Aaaand there you go! :D Don't eat the ginger, though!

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01:24 pm


Om Nom Nom Cinnamon Buns
I have another cinnamon bun recipe, but it involves cottage cheese (yes, really) and it's finicky. This one is much easier and absolutely delicious, as two different sets of people who have had them at brunch over the past month can attest. I've made a batch a week for us at home, too.

Makes about sixteen rolls. YMMV depending on how thick or thin you roll out the dough, and how thick you make your slices.

3/4 cup milk, scalded
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp quick yeast (half an envelope)
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour (plus more to roll out)
1/4 cup orange juice

thinly diced/sliced cold butter
brown sugar

Optional but strongly recommened:
maple syrup

1. Make the dough by mixing all the ingredients as per your usual method. Turn out on to a floured surface. Knead till smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm place for an hour.

2. Punch dough down and roll it out into a rough rectangle about 1/3 inch thick. Dot with thinly diced/sliced butter. Blend the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl or cup, then sprinkle over the surface of the buttered dough. Drizzle lightly with maple syrup, if using. (Really lightly, otherwise when you roll and cut it the log slides around and the insides goosh out.)

3. Butter an 11 x 7 inch pan (or whatever comparable size you have; this is what I've got). Starting from a long side, roll dough up into a log. Using a sharp knife, cut one to one and a half inch slices off the log of dough. Lay them flat in the buttered dish, edges touching. If you have to squish them together a bit to get all your slices to fit, go ahead. Lightly drizzle more maple syrup over the top.

4. Put pan aside and let rise for another half hour. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place rolls in oven and bake for twenty minutes.

My notes:

Depending on the size of the egg, you may need to add more flour to get a cohesive dough. Add another pinch of yeast if you do.

Yet another recipe where I eyeball the amounts for the filling! I'd guess I use three tablespoons of brown sugar, two of butter, and at least one of cinnamon.

I've also cut these almost two inches thick and baked them in a glass pie pan. They puff up beautifully when they hit the oven.

I always intend to chop and toast pecans then add them to the filling, but I never seem to have any nuts in the house when I make them.

If you use the maple syrup, these are best eaten the day they're made. If you want to store them, use a little inside but don't drizzle the syrup on top. They store well in a Tupperware at room temperature.

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