Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Egg and Bacon Salad Sandwich

If you have high cholesterol, you should really not make this sandwich. Everyone else, prepare for deliciousness!

I don't have a photo of this sandwich because when I ate it, I was super hungry and just couldn't take the time. Sorry. But it looks exactly the way it sounds.

Ingredients for 2-3 servings
4 eggs
2 slices of bacon
1 tbsp sweet relish
1/2 tsp grainy mustard
1/4 minced onion
1 tbsp mayo or more
Optional: Minced celery, capers, any other veggies you may have laying around that you want to use up.

Let's do it!
Put the eggs in a small pot and cover with water. Put on the stove on high until the water boils. When the water boils, cover and put the pot aside for at least 10 minutes. The eggs will be hardboiled after this time.

Heat up a pan on medium high and put the bacon on it. Turn over when it starts getting curly. Cook until crisp, then lay on paper towels to drain. When it's dry and cool, crush it up into little pieces.

Peel the eggs, chop them and put them in a bowl along with everything else. Mix well, taste and add more mayo, salt, ground pepper as needed. Put between two pieces of bread (whole wheat, preferably) with some lettuce or spinach or whatever.

Quick note: The best way I've found to peel eggs is to crack the egg all around the middle of it (the top being the narrow part, the bottom being the wider part). Peel away the middle, then pull the two remaining halves apart. You may need to rinse the egg after. There's also this method but every time I try it, I feel like I'm going to explode my ear drums.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Robert Rodriguez's Puerco Pibil

I saw this video a while back (warning: not safe for work/children) and wanted to make it. It looked simple enough and I had pretty good results, though I think I might tweak the recipe the next time around. Here is the recipe with my tweaks.

5 pounds pork butt, cut into 2 inch cubes
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tablespoons salt (original recipe says two)
8 cloves garlic
2 habanero peppers, chopped (seeded as well, if you're a wuss)
juice of 5 lemons
1 tablespoon tequila

Annatto paste, in a coffee grinder finely grind:
5 tbsp annatto seeds
2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp black peppercorns
8 pieces allspice (or 1/2 tsp ground)
1/2 tsp cloves

Banana leaves

Let's do it!
Make the annatto paste and put in a blender with OJ, vinegar, salt, garlic, tequila, and peppers. This is your marinade.

Chop up the pork butt into 2 inch cubes and place in a ziploc bag. If there's a big bone in it, keep it, that's good for flavour. Add the marinade and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours.

Set your oven to 325ºF. Add the lemon juice (keep the seeds out!) to the marinade. Take a nice deep oven-safe dish, preferably one with a lid. Make sure the dish holds a volume at least 20% more than that of the pork right now, as there's going to be a ton of liquid released. Line with some banana leaves, and line it in a way so that you can fold the leaves over the meat when you put the meat in. Pour in the meat, bone and marinade, cover with the banana leaf flaps and put the cover on, or cover tightly with tin foil.

Let it cook in the oven for at least 4 hours, according to the recipe. Something may be wrong with my oven, because it took more like 9 hours to cook. The dish is ready when the meat is nice and soft.

That's it! Serve over rice!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chicken Nuggets!!

Did you know that McDonald's chicken nuggets have dairy in them? They do. And I LOVE chicken nuggets. My mom used to buy frozen chicken nuggets by the bag that we could heat up ourselves after school. But all chicken nuggets have dairy for some mysterious reason. And they all probably have some gross preservatives as well. Here is an easy recipe for ones that don't.

Two chicken thighs, deboned, deskinned, defatted and cut into equalish-sized pieces
1 cup bread crumbs
A glug of olive oil
Seasoning - I used Montreal chicken spice, but you can use whatever spice mix you like, or make your own. The holy triumvirate of chicken spices is rosemary, thyme and sage. If you're making your own seasoning, make sure to add salt.

Let's do it!

First thing, mix the seasoning, chicken and olive oil together and let marinate for at least half an hour. I put them in a ziploc bag, pressed the air out and mixed it around.

After marinating, set your toaster oven (or regular oven) to 350ºF. Take each piece and dip it in the bread crumbs and put on a toaster-oven safe dish, or a baking sheet if you're using an oven. Set the timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn them over and bake for another 10 minutes. After that, put the thing on broil for maybe 5 minutes to crisp them up all nice.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bitter Melon and Beef

I had quite a weekend a while back and my friend, Steph, the earth-to-plate food master, suggested a concoction of bitter melon, cucumber, green apple and some other stuff in order to detoxify myself. Raw bitter melon. For some reason, Asian grocery stores no longer sell bitter melon one by one, instead they sell them packaged in threes or fours. Annoying. I love bitter melon (cooked) so I decided to make a favourite of mine for lunch. Oh, I haven't tried the concoction yet.

1 piece of beef, a bit bigger than my hand, I buy the cheapest steak I can find, usually. If you like more meat, go for it. If you like less, you can do that, too.
2 medium bitter melons

2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp honey
1 tbsp Shao-Hsing wine, a cooking wine that you can get in the Asian grocery store. It has a red label.
1.5 tsp sesame oil
1.5 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water

1 tbsp fermented black beans, rinsed and drained
3 cloves garlic, chopped

Let's do it!
Bitter Melon:
Chop off the sharp ends and slice in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out all the seeds and pith. Slice diagonally into thin slices. Sprinkle with salt liberally and put in a strainer for 30 minutes while you prepare the other stuff.

After the 30 minutes, rinse off the salt and squeeze the excess liquid out. Boil some water and blanch the melon for a couple of minutes to get even more of the bitterness out. Strain and rinse with cold water. Now it's ready to go.

Mix together all the stuff in the middle group of ingredients except for the cornstarch and water. Take the beef and tenderize with a meat hammer (which I didn't do, but wish I did). Slice thinly and mix into the marinade and stick in the fridge until you're all done with the winter melon prep.

Putting it all together:
Heat some oil in a wok. When it swirls around the wok quickly, add the black beans and garlic. It WILL splatter, so make sure you're wearing pants or at least an apron. Trust me on this one. Add the beef without the marinade and mix well. After a couple of minutes, add the bitter melon and mix well. Mix up the cornstarch, water and marinade until the cornstarch is all dissolved. Add this to the mix and stir fry until the mixture thickens. Taste and adjust for saltiness/sweetness.

Serve over rice and enjoy the detoxifying effects of the bitter melon.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

DIY Dishwasher Detergent

Update: this worked well for the first few loads, but then less and less well as time went on. I'm not sure why. The glasses got cloudy and it just wasn't cleaning like it used to. Apparently one needs to tweak it a bit to get the right amount of acid to everything else ratio. Hopefully you guys have better luck! I no longer have a dishwasher so I can't experiment!

I know this isn't food, but it's good related and it worked so well that I have to share it.

If you haven't gathered already, I'm incredibly cheap, and the environment is kind of a big deal to me, so after finding that green automatic dishwasher detergents suck, and conventional dishwasher detergents are full of terrible chemicals, I set out to find a recipe for some dishwashing powder. This stuff is less than 10 cents a load and so far, works GREAT. I did ensure that I scraped off the plates before putting them in, though, which is something I never did before. The glasses came out clear, and there wasn't any little food bits still clinging to the plates and on the undersides of cups.

Before using this and the rinse aid, make sure to run an empty cycle (with the Jet-Dry® lid off) to wash out all the old soap, or else you could get some weird reaction happening in there.

Dish Detergent:
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup baking soda
1 cup borax
1/4 cup citric acid
1/4 cup kosher salt

Put this all in a container and shake shake shake. It will clump because of the citric acid, but you can chip away at it when you need it. Alternatively, you can put in one of those dry packs they put inside instant noodle packages.

You only need 1 tablespoon of this per load

Rinse aid (otherwise known as Jet-Dry®):

That's it, just fill it up with vinegar. This will ensure that your glasses don't come out cloudy.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chick'n chicken salad

I really wanted to have some nice Asian-style chicken with my salad in an effort to slowly wean myself off the bad eating I've been doing lately. I mean, grilled chicken is pretty good for you, right? So what if it's a thigh piece and you don't trim ANY of the fat off?


1 chicken thigh, bone removed
1/4 cup Japanese soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
splash of sesame oil

2 handfulls baby spinach
some white onion, thinly sliced
some cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 a tomato, cut up
1 hard boiled egg

Your choice of dressing. I used 1:1 white vinegar and veggie oil, which was kind of gross, even after I squeezed half a lime into it. I mean, I was still able to eat it and all, but it wasn't as awesome as I'd like. Next time I'm using vinegar and olive oil. That always seems to work.

Let's do it!
Chicken: Put the soy sauce, honey and sesame oil in a shallow dish and stir. Taste and adjust to your liking. Place the chicken in the dish and poke some holes in it with a fork. Let marinate for at least 15 minutes.

Grill on a panini press (if you're lucky enough to own one) for about 15 minutes.. I really wasn't keeping watch. Maybe 10 minutes? I don't know. I pierced it to make sure it was cooked all the way through. If you don't have a panini press, you can bake in the toaster oven at 350ºF for 15-20 minutes, or fry on the stove. Let it rest on a cutting board for about 15 minutes or cool enough to handle. Slice into... slices.

Egg: For perfect hardboiled eggs, cover the eggs with cold water in a small pot. Put the pot on the stove on high, uncovered. As soon as the water boils, turn off the stove and cover the pot. Let it sit for 10 minutes.

I'm certain you're smart enough to put the rest together. I put all the veggies in a dish with the spinach, and all the meat in another dish while transporting to work. The salad dressing is applied at the very end so it doesn't get all mushy.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Spinach and other stuff salad

In an effort to detoxify my body after a bit of a french fry (and let's face it, booze) binge, I decided to have spinach salad for a few lunches. The great thing about spinach salad is that all you need is a box of baby spinach, some protein, some quinoa (which keeps very well in the fridge), some fruit and some dressing. Basically, I kept everything in the work fridge (separately) and assembled the salad every day.

Two handfuls of baby spinach
1/2 cup of chickpeas
1 mango, diced
1/4 cup cooked quinoa
homemade balsamic dressing

Let's do it!
I don't really like prepared salad dressings, so I keep a little jar of 1:1 balsamic dressing and olive oil with a dash of salt in the work fridge. The olive oil solidifies in the fridge, so you need to take the jar out of the fridge for maybe 15 minutes before you eat it. Or you can hold it under the tap.

Basically, I threw everything into a plastic container, shook it up and dumped it on a plate. The mango really elevates this salad from torturous to delicious.

This is the ultimate healthy lunch when you have a grocery store nearby and don't feel like splurging on prepared restaurant food. For the protein, you can also bring canned salmon (make sure it's one of the SeaChoice picks), hardboiled eggs, other beans, or meat. You can obviously also add whatever other veggies or even fruit you like.