Longer brighter days are coming and I can’t wait. We have a salad almost every night, and with the warmer weather approaching they often take the form of a “meal in a salad”. This dressing hits it out of the park for a delicious flavour bomb to dress pretty much anything with. Give it a try, I guarantee you’ll be hooked.
1/4 cup tamari (can sub soy sauce)
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp miso paste
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
dash of fish sauce (optional but highly recommended)
1 garlic clove, grated (unless they are home grown, then maybe 1/4-1/2 a clove) :o)
1″ ginger, grated
thinly sliced scallions
Put everything in a jar and shake vigorously – really vigorously. If you use warm water it will help loosen up the miso if it’s straight out of the fridge.
This recipe came from our friend Alex – she is an amazing cook, and agreed to let me post it! #abcooks
One of our favourites to order in a Japanese restaurant, this is just as good as restaurant quality. Don’t get me wrong, whenever we can go out to restaurants again (post Covid) I will still be delighted to sit in a booth and order ….. but for now I can at least satisfy my cravings. It is also one of Sloan and Stella’s favourites to order and I just know when we can gather around the Sunday dinner table again this will be requested.
1 lb chicken thighs cut 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup corn starch or potato starch
1/4 cup flour
4 cups canola oil
3 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp mirin (sub Sake if you have it)
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp minced ginger
Reserve the starch and flour for just prior to frying up. Combine soy sauce, miring, garlic and ginger in either a sealable plastic bag or bowl with lid. Stir in the chicken pieces and set aside. You can either do this earlier in the day or at late as 20 minutes before dinner – I find it very flexible.
Heat your oil to 350, if you don’t have a thermometer, just stick a chopstick in – if it sizzles happily, then it is time to add your chicken.
Toss the starch and flour together, then toss with chicken. It doesn’t matter if the coating is uneven, it just means more texture.
Add about 1/3 of the chicken at a time to wok – do not overcrowd. Any time you overcrowd when you are frying it reduces the temperature of the oil and that leads to greasy fried food! Keep the chicken moving while in the wok, and remove when golden brown. Sprinkle immediately with salt. Keeping the cooked pieces in a 200 degree oven allows them to retain their crispness while you do the remaining 2 batches.
DIPPING SAUCES – I’ve given two options because that’s the way I like it!
2 green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch piece
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine dashi granules and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and whisk in the miso paste. Stir in tofu. Separate the layers of the green onions, and add them to the soup. Simmer gently for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.
I think the key to this is the dashi. You can easily make your own dashi at home – just look up a few YouTube videos, but for the amount I use, keep some granules in the freezer and it is ready whenever I need it.
I often serve Miso soup to accompany a few other dishes, and this makes it very easy to prep a bit earlier and just leave it simmering – don’t add the tofu or green onions until closer to serving time.
Just like you get in the tropics….. minus the palm trees and ocean breeze. That dang Covid thing is still keeping us at home, during a time of the year when we’d so much rather be in the land of palm trees & sunshine, ocean bobbing and munching coconut shrimp. Never mind the beach, I’d happily settle for just being able to cuddle my granddaughters!!! Enough whining, here is the perfect recipe to make you feel like you’ve escaped to the beach.
2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten well (can just use egg white if you like)
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat (350-360 degrees)
Set up 3 dredging bowls:
Season shrimp with salt and pepper, then working with one shrimp at a time, dredge through flour, then egg, then panko/coconut. Press into the panko mixture to make sure the shrimp are well coated. Set aside until you have them all coated.
Working in batches, add shrimp to hot oil and fry until golden brown, turning as necessary until they are crunchy and looking irresistible – around 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
Serve immediately with dipping sauce.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
1-2 tbsp sriracha (or to taste)
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
Mix well to combine. If you think of it, mix this ahead of time and set in fridge to allow flavours to meld beautifully.
I can’t promise you will smell the ocean when you make these, but it might make you feel a little better about staying home!
I originally got this recipe off Damn Delicious website, and she’s right – they are damn delicious! The dipping sauce is my own concoction and it’s yummy!!
By spicy, I mean as spicy as you like …. me? Not so spicy. I’ve also been “burnt” a few times by my chili flakes. They are made from our homegrown dried chili peppers and they pack some heat!
3 strips thick-cut bacon, chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1/2-1 teaspoon chili flakes
6-8 cups low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable if you like)
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup soy sauce (I like low sodium)
1/4 cup miso paste
2-4 tablespoons chile paste(I use Gochujang)
4 squares Ramen noodles
4 cups baby spinach, chopped
2-3 mini bok choy
1 tablespoon sesame oil (toasted is best)
soft or hard boiled eggs, for serving (optional, and not in my house)
Toasted nori sheets, sesame seeds, green onions, and chili oil, for serving
4 chicken cutlets, or 2 boneless chicken breasts, sliced in half horizontally
1 cup panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, shallots, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 3 minutes. Pour in the broth, milk, and soy sauce, then whisk in the miso and chili paste. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, make the Katsu. Place the Panko and sesame seeds in a shallow bowl. Season with salt & pepper. Dredge both sides of the chicken through the Panko, pressing to adhere by using your fist to really pound the crumbs in. Place the chicken on a plate.3. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and season with salt. Slice into thin strips.
I use this same fry pan to saute the bok choy just until slightly softened. Wipe out most of the oil and it will be perfect, soaking up the sesame seeds left behind by the chicken.
4. To the soup, stir in the noodles, spinach, and sesame oil. Let sit 5 minutes or until the noodles are soft. (or precook your noodles)
5. To serve, divide the noodles between bowls and ladle over the soup back overtop. Add the chicken and bok choy. Top as desired with eggs, green onions, sesame seeds, and chili oil. Serve immediately.
I’m not going to pretend this is authentic Japanese Ramen ….. this is perfect for the home cook, it delivers on so many levels, flavour, simplicity and comfort! (to start) We aren’t fond of eggs in our house, so we always leave those off, but if you love eggs, make sure to add. Jade, this is perfect for your newly laying hens and those beautiful eggs they are producing.
This recipe came from Half Baked Harvest ….Tieghan calls it a 30 minute dish, let me know if that works out for you …. it sure didn’t for me! If I had to, it might be faster but after a day of desk work I don’t mind taking my time. Hop on over to her website if you haven’t already, she not only has fabulous recipes, she has lots of tips and videos to make sure your home meals aren’t getting boring during this “stay at home” Covid rut!
Every time I make spaghetti carbonara I think it would benefit from a bunch of crispy bacon, so here it is … a tangled mash up of cacio e pepe and carbonara. I think it is perfect! Also quick and easy.
6 oz. pasta (such as egg tagliolini, bucatini, or spaghetti)
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed, divided
1tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
8 oz cooked bacon, chopped
1 egg, lightly whisked
¾ cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
⅓ cup finely grated Pecorino
This serves 2 as a generous dinner helping – adjust for your table!
Slice bacon into thin strips and cook over medium heat, stirring often to separate, until crispy and cooked through. Set aside on paper towel lined plate to drain and cool.
Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving ¾ cup pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.
Add ½ cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add whisked egg, Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Do this relatively quickly so the egg doesn’t scramble. You only want it to cook through via the hot pasta. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve, with a generous helping of more Parmesan and cracked pepper.
If you only have one of the cheeses, that is fine too – I’ve had to adapt this a few times during our Covid restrictions to work with whatever I had on hand.
Brookies??? If that isn’t a word it should be. My nephew and wife have started up Silver Star Chocolate Company, and these cookies were the perfect way for me to try out their chocolate. OMG. So so good.
8 oz chopped dark chocolate – 60% recommended but their chocolate is a higher percentage so I used half semi sweet chocolate
1/4 cup cocoa powder
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup & 2 tbsp packed, light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
coarse sea salt for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350
Melt butter with chopped chocolate and set aside to cool slightly.
In a lare bowl add white sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer for at least 7 minutes. (honestly – 7 minutes). If you have a stand mixer use that – and set your timer. 7 minutes is a lot longer than you think it is if you are holding an electric hand mixer. This is what allows the eggs to create that luscious crinkly top when baking.
Mix in the melted chocolate and butter.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder salt and baking powder. Stir into egg/melted chocolate mixture just until combined.
Use a small scoop and scoop on to parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes to set before transferring to a cooling rack to completely cool.
These cookies are absolutely fantastic! Made originally for Christmas giving, now I love to keep them in the freezer for that moment when you just need a brownie!
It’s cold around here! If you are looking for a big bowl of comfort, well here you go! Dress it up however you like, made it vegetarian if so inclined, whatever you do, give it a try. This is perfect for a chilly night.
1 1/2 tbsp oil
2 garlic cloves , minced
2 cm (1 inch ish) ginger, grated
1 lemongrass , white part grated
2 birds eye chillis , finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup (175g) laksa paste
400g / 14 oz can coconut milk
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 tsp fish sauce (sub soy but fish sauce recommended)
2 tsp chili sauce
cooked noodles, either rice vermicelli or Udon noodles
any cooked protein if you like ….. chicken, prawns, crispy tofu, the options are up to you
cilantro, roughly chopped
sliced green onions
Heat oil in a large saucepan or small pot over medium low heat. Add garlic and ginger, sauté for 20 seconds, then add lemongrass and chillis. Cook for 1 minute.
Add laksa paste. Turn heat up to medium and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, or until fragrant.
Add chicken stock, coconut milk, fish sauce and 2 tsp of Chilli Sauce. Place lid on and simmer on for 10 minutes.
Adjust to taste using lime juice (for sour) and fish sauce (for saltiness). Leave on turned off stove with lid on for 5 minutes.
To assemble, place noodles in bowl, add in vegetables and bean sprouts – top with broth and then any of the fixings you like
I’ve tried a number of laksa recipes, and they tend to disappoint. Part of the problem is a difficulty sourcing different pastes and sauces where we live. Laksa paste itself is a very complex flavour compound. This recipe came from Recipe Tin Eats, and it was her recommendation to use a paste that convinced me to try again. Nagi was right on with that suggestion, by the time you have enough of the right ingredients to make laksa paste, you would have to be making it frequently to keep all your supplies fresh. Hop on over to her blog for even more components to this dish, even recipes to make your own stock and chili paste.
We love this served with my green onion pancakes, perfect for dipping!
Cold dreary days lead to healing soups! Even the start of this, with the miso coated vegetables roasting in the oven promises great flavour. I promise you will feel like brighter days are coming by the time you finish this bowl of deliciousness. (Is that a word?)
4 tbsp white miso paste
3 tbsp grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
3 tbsp water
3 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 sheet of dried seaweed (optional but recommended)
1 large yellow onion, skin on, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, scrubbed clean and thinly sliced
2 large celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 heads of garlic, cut in half, skins on
4 inch knob of ginger, unpeeled, thinly sliced
5 sprigs parsley (or any other herb you have around!)
To finish: juice of one lemon, salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 325 and cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl combine miso, oil and water, whisk to combine.
Place piece of seaweed and all prepared veg on the parchment and toss well with the miso mixture.
Roast for at least an hour, until veg are lightly browned.
Turn into a large stock pot, and cover with 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1-2 hours.
Strain the stock off, discard the vegetables (you’ve cooked all the goodness out of them!) and add in the juice of 1 lemon, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
This is delicious!!! I got it from the kitchen of Jillian Harris, she calls it Gut Healing Veggie Broth, and it is a sure fired winner.
Okay, maybe not my Grandma’s dough …. I’m pretty sure my Grandma never made a pizza in her life. Today’s Grams …. yes! This is also commonly called Farmhouse dough. I really don’t know where that originated, but if you try this you will find the most amazing dough for a deep dish pizza anywhere. Seriously. That’s a big claim to make, but this dough is soft, chewy and such a flavourful base for whatever you decide to build it with. Normally we do a variety of thin crust pizzas, but for cold nights, and only one pizza … this is killer!
Start the day prior to pizza baking!!!
1 envelope active dry yeast (about 2¼ tsp.)
2 Tbsp. plus ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl
2 tsp. kosher salt
4 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for surface
MAKES ENOUGH DOUGH FOR 1 PIE
Step 1. Stir together yeast and 1¾ cups warm water (105–110°) in the bowl of a stand mixer; let stand until yeast starts to foam, about 10 minutes.
Step 2. Mix in 2 Tbsp. oil, then salt and 2 cups flour. Attach dough hook and mix until just combined. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add another 2 cups flour, a cup at a time, mixing until incorporated and a shaggy dough forms, about 3 minutes.
Step 3 Increase speed to medium and mix until dough is soft and elastic and starts to pull away from sides of bowl, 5–6 minutes. It will still be somewhat sticky. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill 24 hours.
Step 4 Coat an 18×13″ rimmed baking sheet with remaining ½ cup oil. Turn out dough onto a rimmed baking sheet and let sit 10 minutes to take off the chill. Gently and gradually stretch dough until it reaches edges and all 4 corners of baking sheet. (If dough springs back or is stiff to work with, let it rest a few minutes before continuing. You may need to let it rest more than once.)
Step 5 Cover dough on baking sheet tightly with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place (but not too warm!—about 70° is ideal for yeast to grow) until it is puffed and full of air bubbles, 30–40 minutes.
These instructions are for a stand mixer, but feel free to do it by hand, just takes a little effort to do the kneading.
This recipe came straight from Bon Appetit, one of my favourite sources for recipes that never fail. I’ve made it enough times now that I wanted to make sure to get it on the blog so I never lose this!