Flour Tortillas with bacon fat

Flour tortillas 1

Sunday dinner.  Warm, fresh tortillas. Life is good.

Yes, that’s right.  BACON FAT.  So good, you will wonder why you haven’t done it before.  In Mexico pork is featured in so many ways, all good.  (Ever had carnitas??). Well, these tortillas are so darn good Stella told me that I needed to get them on the blog right away, as this is the 2nd time (in her 6 L O N G years) that she has been instrumental in the whole rolling/cooking process and if a 6 year old can do this – so can you!  Effort vs reward is huge.  Stella gets the rolling going and Sloan (at 9) is in charge of the stove and cooking them.  They both know just when to turn the tortillas with the right amount of bubbling and browning going on.

SO EASY!

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat (cold)\
  • 1 cup warm water

Stir flour and salt together, then work in the cold bacon fat with your fingers.  Slowly add the water and work until a cohesive dough forms.  Not sticking together?  Add a bit more water.  Too sticky?  Add a bit more flour …. You get it.  Knead until you have a soft but firm dough – cover and allow to rest for 30-60 minutes.  (or as long as you need it to)

Divide this into 12-14 pieces and roll into balls.  Let sit for a few minutes to allow the dough to rest – this makes it much easier to roll.  (keep covered)

Roll until super thin – and cook on a dry hot skillet.  Every stovetop is different and you may sacrifice the first couple to the frypan, but thats okay, once you realize your perfect temperature you are good to go.

Cook for approximately 1 minute on the first side and you will see bubbles form.  Only flip when you peek underneath and see brown spots appearing.  Flip it over and continue cooking until you get more of those lovely brown spots.  On my stovetop (flat ceramic) I can’t cook it higher than 5 (or medium) otherwise things burn before cooking through but experiment with your own surface.

Keep warm in a covered container as the steaming also helps with the cooking process.

This recipe serves 6.  If you aren’t feeding 6, then just keep the dough in the fridge and pinch off enough to make yourself a couple tortillas a day!

Flour tortillas 3

Stella is 6 and she’s already done this a couple of times, at her insistence this recipe is going on the blog so we all remember it.  Big sister Sloan is making the guacamole in the background before stepping over to the stove to keep the cooking going.

Flour tortillas 4

Just look at those bubbles forming – we all get excited!  (yes, I know, kitchen geeks)

Flour tortillas 2

This is exactly what you are looking for.  Heaven in a wrap.

Tonight we served carne asada with these tortillas, and it was amazing.

Honestly …. you really don’t like pork?  (sorry Meg & Amy). Use store bought lard or shortening.

Japanese Nabe (Hot Pot)

How to describe this?  It’s really not a recipe – just ingredients and an idea of how to put it all together.  Our friend Tom made this the other day and I was immediately hooked.  How can something that just looks so simple end up feeling immensely satisfying and ever so delicious??

Nabe 1

Looks like a pile in a pot ….. right?  But, oh so good!  I could eat this on a weekly basis!

 

The base of this broth is as simple as the kombu you create it with.  Add about a 6 inch piece to 8 cups of water, let it sit for about 15-30 minutes, and then bring to a boil and allow to simmer until the kombu softens.  Some recipes will say to remove it at this point, but I didn’t, and we ate it – a bit chewy but still good!

Prepare all your vegetables while the kombu softens.  and broth simmers.

Keep the vegetables in groups according to how long it takes them to cook.  i.e., cabbage takes longer than snap peas!

I used:

  • savoy cabbage
  • carrots
  • sweet peppers
  • snap peas
  • bok choy
  • red onion
  • asparagus
  • bean sprouts

For a protein I used chicken breast and tofu.  The sky is the limit here, you can easily use whatever you like – just be aware of how long it will take to cook it, and put it in at the right time.  The last thing you want is soggy veg.

Nabe 3

Prepped and ready to go.

Nabe 2

If you have a pint sized helper like Stella, she will add the vegetables in the right order and keep everything moving.  That is teriyaki chicken beside her, and it was fantastic too.

For serving you need:

  • Ponzu (citrus soy sauce)
  • chili oil
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • thinly sliced green onions
  • cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Goma Shabu Sesame Sauce (I don’t have that one …yet)

Prepare Udon noodles while the sauce simmers.

The main objective here is not calling it a noodle bowl.  They finish off the show.  If you have individual mini bowls then each person can have their little assortment of the above condiments and sauces.  Traditionally you would ladle the veg & protein into your bowl, accepting the small bit of broth that comes with it.  You can either dress your bowl with the above, or dredge each bite in the accompaniments – your choice.  The pure joy in this comes from adding your finishing touches so everybody has it just they way they like.  When everybody is finished, then you add the noodles to the hot broth.  Once again, traditionally this would be on the table with a heating vessel to keep everything hot but I found it was warm enough to stir in the cooked noodles once we had finished eating the first “course”.  Those noodles are such a delightful way to finish slurping up your meal.

Shopping List:

  • assortment of veg
  • protein of choice
  • udon noodles (I like frozen best, if you can’t get fresh – over dried)
  • condiment toppings …… ponzu, sesame sauce, chili oil, sesame seeds, cilantro & green onion
  • kombu
Nabe 5

This is the dried kombu I found – you only need about 1/2 of one piece to go with 8 cups of water.

 

 

 

Tom’s Teriyaki Chicken

teriyaki chicken 6

This teriyaki chicken hits all the notes, crispy bits of carmelized chicken, sweet and salty,  tender and juicy – give it a try, you will love it.

Thanks go to our friend Tom for this simple teriyaki marinade that is as perfect as it is easy.  Works well with any protein, just to make it even simpler for you.

Marinade:

  • 1 cup soy sauce (reduced sodium)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 golf ball size knob of ginger, grated or finely minced.

Combine and stir until sugar has dissolved.

2 pounds of bonelesss, skinless chicken thighs – cut into bite size pieces

Garnish:

  • green onions, thinly sliced
  • sesame seeds, toasted until golden brown

Marinate the chicken in the teriyaki sauce for at least an hour and up to overnight.  Remove from marinade and place in hot saute pan.  Do not overcrowd the pan or the chicken will just steam rather than get nice crusty bits of caramelization.  Allow to cook, without disturbing, until you see the colour start to change on top of the chicken and the chicken releases easily from the pan to turn over.

Serve with rice and your favourite greens.

Teriyaki chicken 1

See the marinade bubbling up beneath the chicken?  That’s going to get all glossy and give the chicken nice little bits of delicious caramelization – don’t disturb it while this is happening.

teriyaki chicken 2

You can see some of the browned bits – that is pure gold.

Teriyaki 3

If you’d like a little extra to drizzle over, make a little sauce without the ginger and allow it to thicken.  Adds a fantastic bit of sweet and salty flavour.

Drizzle:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup soya sauce
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch

Combine the water, soya sauce and sugar, stir until sugar has dissolved.  Add in the corn starch and cook over medium heat until sauce has come to a boil and allow it to reduce slightly.  (Corn starch as a thickener has to boil or you will still taste the corn starch!)

Teriyaki 2

Tonight’s dish was a teriyaki bowl – utilizing a combination of chicken thigh and chicken breast with a little shredded carrot for crunch and cilantro for brightness.

Realistically you could use this recipe for any protein you like, or make it with a large assortment of vegetables for a vegetarian dish.  The teriyaki sauce is the star!

Swedish Meatballs

Oh man, these meatballs are just the ticket for a cool evening – they are so tender and moist – like maybe the best meatballs ever??

Swedish meatballs 2

These meatballs are moist, tender and so delicious – you won’t miss Ikea at all.

Meatballs

  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 2 tbsp butter unsalted
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • vegetable oil for frying meatballs

Gravy

  • 6 tbsp butter unsalted
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth low sodium, or beef broth
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper or to taste
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • Melt the butter in a skillet, then add the onions and a bit of salt. Cook the onions until soft, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the ground pork, ground beef, onions, egg yolks, salt, pepper, nutmeg and allspice to the bowl with the panic. Mix the meat mixture well using your clean hands. Shape the meat into 1 inch meatballs.
  • In a skillet heat some vegetable oil. Add the meatballs and fry until golden all around, about 7 minutes, but not cooked all the way through. Repeat with all meatballs.
  • To make the gravy melt the butter in a clean skillet. Add the flour to the pan and whisk well. Add the broth with the Worcestershire sauce and continue whisking. Season with salt and pepper and other spices if preferred. As the flour cooks the gravy should thicken. Whisk in the sour cream. Bring the gravy to a boil then add the meatballs to it and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure meatballs don’t stick to bottom of pan.
  • Garnish with parsley. Serve warm over mashed potatoes, buttered noodles or rice.
swedish meatballs 4

Brown on all sides, but don’t cook all the way through, let the gravy simmer do that job.

Swedish meatballs 3

Gently stir in the sour cream and then return the meatballs to the sauce.

swedish meatballs 5

Simmer the meatballs gently until cooked through, then garnish with parsley.

Swedish meatballs 1

 

 

 

Beef Stroganoff

Stroganoff 2

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds beef stew meat, in bite size pieces
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (I keep a tube of tomato paste in the fridge – so useful)
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup fresh herbs (parsley, chives, oregano)

 

  • 12 ounces broad egg noodles – cooked according to package directions

(you could use any noodle really, but egg noodles are traditional with stroganoff)

Preheat oven to 325.

Combine flour with salt and pepper.  Lightly coat beef pieces in seasoned flour (I like to put it all in a bag and give the beef a good shake).  Reserve seasoned flour.

Heat oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the cooking vessel) in Dutch oven (or any heavy bottom pot with a good fitting lid.  When oil is just starting to shimmer add beef pieces.  Don’t overcrowd the pan or the meat will steam instead of getting a light crust.  You may have to do this in batches.

Set browned meat aside and if needed, add a bit more oil to the pot;  saute onions, garlic & mushrooms.  Once the vegetables have softened add 2 tbsp of the seasoned flour mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Combine beef broth, tomato paste, dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce and pour into pot.  Stir gently to release any bits from the pan and allow sauce to thicken …. then add the beef back in.  Stir to combine.

Slow roast at 325 for 1 1/2 hours, until the beef is fork tender.  (This is pretty forgiving … don’t have that long?  Go for 350 for an hour.

 

 

Beautiful Bowl

Beautiful bowl 7

This bright and beautiful bowl is packed with intense flavour and crunchy bits along with the chewy barley combined alongside pickled radish & ginger.

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup miso paste
  • 4 tsp honey
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp wasabi paste
  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup minced cilantro (use the stems!)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and give it a good whiz until it is bright and creamy.

Beautiful bowl 1

Gather all the dressing ingredients together and it will take just a few minutes to combine.

Beautiful bowl 2

Use the stems of the cilantro, that is where the most flavour is – mince it first before blending.

Beautiful bowl 3

Bright, fresh, green – this dressing is a flavour packed bomb.  I’m sure it would be great on anything as well as this bowl …. I’m going to put it to use in whatever way I can find.

Pickled Radish:

  • 6-8 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Slice radishes, and sprinkle with salt and sugar, then pour the rice vinegar over.  Allow the radishes to sit for at least 10 minutes.

Beautiful bowl 4

Barley:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl barley

Bring water, miso and stock to a boil, then add the barley.  Bring to a slow gentle boil and allow barley to cook until just tender – about 25-30 minutes.  Rinse under cool water and allow to drain.

This recipe was inspired by Whitewater Cooks, and her Beautiful BC Bowl with salmon ….but you can do whatever you like with it.

YOUR BOWL:

If you are cooking a protein, marinade in some of the dressing, and then grill until cooked.  Grilling is by far the best – the honey will stick to any fry pan you use!

Beautiful bowl 6

This is as customizable as your fridge!  Use what you’ve got – tonight we had leftover flank steak so that made our protein, but honestly without a protein you will enjoy this just as much.

Assemble bowl with the barley, protein of choice and an assortment of toppings.  Tonight we used:

  • roasted peanuts
  • roasted sesame seeds
  • avocado
  • sliced snow peas
  • halved cucumber slices
  • slivered green onions
  • sautéed mushrooms
  • sautéed red onions & sweet peppers
  • cilantro, roughly chopped
  • nori sheets – roasted lightly and slivered

Everything about this bowl is a delight!  Customize it to your tastes.

 

Beef Rouladen

European heritage means we’ve eaten our fair share of Rouladen.  Growing up we always thought we were Austrian German, but it turns out there is more Romanian heritage in us than we thought.  And, of course throw in an Irish Nana and and English Granddad and you have the Heinz 57 of DNA.

Rouladen 4

I used to always put carrot in with the pickles in the rouladen, but Grant doesn’t like either pickles or cooked carrots ….. sigh.  I love the flavour though, so compromised by only putting pickle in the roll up, and nestling carrots in with the gravy.  Total win win.

Ingredients

Rouladen:

  • 4 boneless round steaks very thin, about 4 inches wider x 7 inches long (often you can actually find a rouladen cut ready made)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika
  • 4 Tbsp whole grain mustard or Dijon, regular yellow mustard
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup onion finely diced
  • 4 baby dill pickles halved or larger dill pickles quartered. Sweet pickle is also an option here.
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. If you weren’t able to find preprepared meat, then prep the rouladen by pounding out the beef until they are 1/4 inch thin and about 5 inches wide by 9 inches long. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of paprika. Spread 1 Tbsp of whole grain mustard over each of the 4 pieces of beef. Place two pieces of bacon over each piece of beef, side by side, trimming any part of the bacon that extend over the ends. Scatter each with diced onion, dividing evenly between the four pieces. With the widest end of the short side facing you, place two pickle halves end to end about 1 1/2 inches from the end. It’s ok if they stick out the side at this point. Take the end closest to you and fold it up and over the pickles. Continue rolling by lifting and rolling until it is completely rolled. Take a skewer and secure the end of the roll to the main part of the roll, so it doesn’t unroll. Trim any excess pickle sticking out the sides so it is even with the sides of the roll. Roll up the remaining beef pieces similarly.
Rouladen 2

They already look good ….. you could use more pickle in these, but as I mentioned, it isn’t Grant’s favourite, so this worked out fine.

Rouladen 1

Assembly line!

 

Gravy:

  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp red wine can omit or replace with a couple of teaspoons of red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste or ketchup, in a pinch
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard or regular mustard
  • Pinch paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Stir together the gravy ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.
Rouladen 3

All rolled up and ready for browning before a low slow oven roast.  Be prepared for your house to smell amazing.

Method:

  1. In a Dutch oven or large, heavy bottomed, oven-proof dish with a lid, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef rolls to the pan, skewer/seam side down. Sear for a few minutes until lightly browned, then flip over and sear the other side. Place the rolls on their sides if necessary to sear the entire outside of each of the rolls.
  2. Once rolls are browned, add the prepared gravy mixture to the pan. Stir gently to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Bring liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover pot and place in the preheated oven.
  3. Cook, covered in the oven until tender, about 1 – 1/2 hours (depending on the size of your rolls), flipping rolls over a couple of times during the cooking period.

To thicken gravy:

  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp cold water
  1. Remove pot from oven and use tongs to remove rolls to a plate. Carefully remove the skewers from the rolls and discard, then cover plate loosely with foil while you thicken the gravy.
  2. Place pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Combine cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl and add to liquid in pot. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring, until thickened. If necessary, add a bit more cornstarch/water to gravy if not thick enough. Taste gravy and add additional salt, pepper and paprika, to taste.
  3. To serve, cut rolls in half diagonally in the middle. Place halves on side mashed potatoes and spoon gravy over-top. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Rouladen used to be a meal on a regular rotation in our house, but somehow I got away from it.  This long, unrelenting winter had me craving it all over again, but I couldn’t find our family recipe …eek.  Thank goodness I found this one from “Seasons and Suppers” which was the closest I could find to the way I remembered doing it.  So glad I did, it was delicious.  We served it with mashed potatoes, but it works equally well with broad egg noodles ….anything to soak up that luscious gravy.