Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Penang Curry Paste

Back in one of my older posts (curry noodle soup), I linked to a recipe for Penang curry paste. It was the wrong one, which I discovered when I made it for a bunch of people.

I looked in my handwritten recipe book and found the real one. I'll be fixing the link, since that last one was no good.


  • 5 dried chilis (I use birds eye chilis)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, mashed with the side of a knife and chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • 1 tbsp cilantro root (this can be hard to find, as most grocers cut the root off fresh cilantro)
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp peanuts
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste

Let's do it!

  1. In a dry saucepan, toast the coriander seeds and peanuts until fragrant. Don't let them burn! Let cool.
  2. Using a spice grinder, or a mortar and pestle, grind up the dry ingredients: chilis, salt, pepper, coriander seeds and peanuts.
  3. Using a mortar and pestle, crush all the other ingredients. Depending on the size of your mortar and pestle, you may have to do them one at a time, and mix them together in another bowl. 
  4. Mix everything together.
  5. At this point, you can either cook with it, or put it all in a zipper freezer bag, flatten it and put it in the freezer. I'll break off chunks of this and let it simmer in coconut milk when I'm ready to make curry. This makes at least 6 servings of curry, depending on how spicy you like your curry to be. 
Note: I was gifted a spice grinder at our wedding and it is INCREDIBLE. I like to buy my spices unground, because I heard that they keep better that way, and it also makes it much easier to toast them, which a lot of Asian recipes call for. A spice grinder makes this recipe way easier to make.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Vegan Enchiladas

I know, it looks gross, but it tastes great.

Okay, this is nowhere near authentic. I tried to make authentic enchilada sauce and it was a horrific failure. So here's my version. Note, the chipotle pepper in adobo sauce is what gives this sauce the right flavour. It will be spicy. I don't know how to avoid this. If you like spicy, then add more peppers!


  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • a bit of cooking oil
  • 1 can whole tomatoes (diced and crushed are inferior quality. A guy who used to work in a tomato canning factory told me!)
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, with some sauce 
  • 1/2 onion, chopped roughly
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4-6 small corn or flour tortillas
  • shredded vegan cheese (I used Daiya mozzarella)

Let's do it!

Refried Beans:

  1. Heat the cooking oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the kidney beans and cumin and stir to coat the beans. 
  2. Mash the beans with a potato masher and add some water to make it more of a paste. I add water several times during this process as it gets absorbed by the beans. You want it to be thick, but not so thick that you can't spread it on something easily. I added more water and simmered this on low while I made the sauce.


  1. Drain the can of whole tomatoes into a blender. 
  2. Deseed the tomatoes. I do this by submerging them in a bowl of water, opening each tomato and scraping the seeds out with my fingers under the water.
  3. Put the tomatoes, onion, garlic, chipotle pepper and about 2 teaspoons of the adobo sauce into the blender. 
  4. Blend until it's all blended nicely together.
  5. Let this mixture simmer in a small soup pot for about 30 minutes, or until you no longer taste raw onions.

Put it together!

  1. Warm up the tortillas in the microwave under a damp paper towel. You want them to be pliable so they don't break when you try to roll them. Like mine did.
  2. In an oven safe casserole dish, ladle a thin layer of sauce.
  3. Take your tortilla, put a line of beans in the middle, then some shredded cheese. Roll it up and put it cut side down into the dish.
  4. Repeat until you fill the dish.
  5. Top with more cheese, then a generous helping of sauce.
  6. Broil in the oven until the cheese is melted!

Lunch it up!

This lunch is a hot mess when it's cooked. It's also a meal unto itself, so I just stuck it in a lunch container and heated it up at work. Also, the husband can eat real cheese and prefers flour tortillas to corn, so I made a separate dish for him.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

Fluffy potatoes, stewy stuff, what's not to love?
Note, I use real butter in this recipe, but it's easy to substitute with vegan margarine.


  • 1/4 cup carrot, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • about 10 mushrooms, chopped small (I used white button mushrooms)
  • 1 can brown lentils, drained
  • 4 red skinned potatoes
  • 1/4 cup or so vegan cheese, shredded
  • butter
  • soy milk
  • salt

Let's do it!

  1. Scrub the potatoes, pierce them and put them in a microwavable dish with some water in it. Microwave them until they're cooked (all microwaves are different, mine took about 14 minutes). If you don't like microwaves, you can boil them, too. Or roast them, but that takes FOREVER.
  2. Mash them up, adding butter, soy milk and salt until you reach a creamy, easily spreadable consistency.
  3. Mix in vegan cheese.


  1. In a pot, melt butter on medium heat. 
  2. Add carrots, celery and onion, stir until onion is translucent.
  3. Add garlic and mushrooms and stir until it looks cooked.
  4. Add lentils and cook until the flavours have melded well. 
  5. Add salt to taste.

Put it together:

  1. Put the filling in a high casserole dish (mine was about 12" x 7" and 4" high). Spread flat.
  2. Top with potatoes and spread flat.
  3. Place in the oven on a high broil and watch it until it turns golden brown. I wouldn't walking away, as you don't want to burn the thing.
  4. Let cool a bit before handling.

That's it!

Lunch it up!
Put it in the fridge overnight and slice it up into portions the next day when it's cold and sticks together better. I suppose you could serve this with a salad, but I just brought about 3 servings with me to eat throughout the day at work. Wheee!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Stolen recipe

Okay, stolen's a strong word. But I recently tried out a great recipe that I need to share with the world.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts - Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas and Pomegranate Seeds.

This is not my recipe, which is why there's a link to it. I substituted mixed beans for chickpeas, though.

It's absolutely delicious. If you think you don't like brussel sprouts, try roasting them in the oven.

If you want a tip on how to deseed a pomegranate, use the tips in this video:

And there it is, my laziest post ever. No photo, no recipe. I realize I haven't posted anything new since July, but there are so many great recipes out there, you just can't invent something new every day.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Vietnamese Vermicelli with Chicken and Green Papaya Salad

It's hot. It's been about 40ºC with the humidex for over a week and not surprisingly, a heavy, hearty meal isn't what I'm looking for nowadays. I still love love love noodles, though, so here is a recipe for something I get pretty often in Vietnamese restaurants.

Vietnamese Chicken and Vermicelli

    • 2 Chicken thighs
    • 1/2 tsp five spice powder
    • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 servings vermicelli (I buy the kind that comes knotted in single servings. Easier that way)
    • 1 large lemon
    • 1/4 cup fish sauce
    • 1/2 tbsp honey
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • fresh chilis
    • bit of water
    • Optional: shredded lettuce, cucumber, or other raw veggies

                        Let's Do It!

                          1. For the chicken, simply marinate in the five spice powder and soy sauce for a little while. Then fry it on the stove (or grill it on the bbq) until it's done. Maybe 4 minutes a side. I'm not the best at cooking things to completion and have on more than a few occasions eaten raw chicken. But my stomach can take it. Don't risk salmonella. If you're not sure if a chicken is cooked, pierce it with a knife and see if the juices run clear. If they do, you're good.
                          2. Let the chicken cool then rip the meat off with your hands. Save the bones in the freezer for soup. This makes it easier to eat at work.
                          3. For the nước chấm (sauce), juice and seed 1 whole lemon and mix with the fish sauce, honey, garlic, chopped chilis (as much or as little as you want) and a bit of water. I didn't really measure it anything, but rather added stuff and tasted often until I got the flavour balance as I like it (just a little sweet, very sour, a little salty, very spicy).
                          4. Cook the vermicelli according to the package directions, making sure to rinse well in cold water and strain after.
                          5. Whenever I go to the restaurants, they also serve the dish with shredded veggies to mix with the noodles. I made a salad instead.

                          Lunch it up!
                          I had the fish sauce in a little screw top jar, the chicken in its own container and the vermicelli in its own container. To eat, heat the chicken up (if you want), swish the vermicelli in some boiling water and drain well. Put the noodles and chicken together and pour the sauce over it all.

                                  Green Papaya Salad

                                  My friend Keith once said "lettuce isn't a vegetable. It's a carrier for salad dressing." That's how I feel about this salad. I love fish sauce and limes. I could drink nước chấm instead of water. The first time I had this was in Thailand, and it was the spiciest thing I had ever had. You.. you don't need to do that.
                                  • 1 green papaya
                                  • fish sauce
                                  • limes
                                  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
                                  • fresh chilis

                                  Let's do it!

                                  1. Cut the papaya in half and scoop out the seeds and soft pith with a spoon. Careful, the little white seeds will get EVERYWHERE. Maybe do it in a bag or something.
                                  2. Peel the papaya.
                                  3. If you have a food processor with a grater, use it. If not... happy grating.
                                  4. At this point, I squeezed the grated papaya with my hands just to soften it a bit. Don't know if that helps.
                                  5. Add fish sauce and the juice of a lime (or two) to your taste preference. Mix in the garlic.
                                  6. Add fresh chilis to your taste.

                                  Just realized that although I couldn't find any recipes for this online yesterday, I'm seeing a bunch now and they call for all sorts of fun stuff like sugar and cilantro. You could put those in, I guess. 

                                  Tuesday, June 4, 2013

                                  Fancy Fish Curry

                                  Sorry for the iPhone photo. I don't always bring the good camera to work
                                  This recipe is based on one for Gulai Ikan from Charmaine Solomon's "The Complete Asian Cookbook." I was in the mood for an East Asian green curry fish dish (yes, my cravings are just that specific) but I didn't have all the ingredients, namely curry leaves. Plus, I was working with Grace brand Pure Creamed Coconut, which comes in a box and is basically super concentrated coconut. It's pretty good, but I find the texture a bit mealy. Thus, the straining, and thus the most silky, delicious curry sauce I've ever made in my life. Just a warning, you will end up with a whole pile of dirty dishes and this isn't really the quickest thing to make.


                                  • 1 lb basa fillets, cut into manageable chunks
                                  • 1/2 package of Grace Pure Creamed Coconut (cut it lengthwise so you get the oil as well as the meaty part) 
                                  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
                                  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
                                  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, roughly chopped
                                  • 1 jalapeño, deseeded and roughly chopped (less if you want, but these aren't really that spicy)
                                  • 1 tbsp coriander
                                  • 1 tsp cumin
                                  • 1/2 tsp fennel
                                  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
                                  • 2 strips lime rind
                                  • splash of fish sauce to taste
                                  • chives, chopped

                                  Let's do it!

                                  1. Simmer the creamed coconut in 1.5 cups of water until it's completely dissolved.
                                  2. If you're using ground spices, great. If not, buzz all the spices in a spice grinder (I almost exclusively use whole spices. I hear they keep longer.)
                                  3. Simmer the coconut milk, onions, garlic, ginger, jalapeño spices and lime rind for about 10-15 minutes to cook the vegetables and let the flavours meld.
                                  4. Add fish sauce to taste.
                                  5. When the flavours are to your taste, run the mixture through a very very thin drum sieve. This is an annoying, laborious process. It requires using a ladle to stir and push as much of the sauce as you can through the sieve. The sieve I have has holes just about big enough for baking powder, but not granulated sugar. I don't know where my mom got it from. Possibly an Asian housewares store.
                                  6. Lay the fish fillets on a heated saute pan and pour the sauce over it. 
                                  7. Simmer until the fish is cooked, about 4 minutes per side.
                                  8. Top with chives.

                                  Lunch it up!
                                  I served this with sauteed kale and cabbage and brown rice. And it was INCREDIBLE. I packed the rice with the veggies and the separately so that the rice wouldn't soak up all the sauce. I heated them together.

                                  Wednesday, May 29, 2013

                                  $12 Sandwich

                                  Do you ever go to a bistro for lunch and see a sandwich that looks tasty and say "$12?! What the what?!" It happens to me pretty often. With a little bit of foresight, those sandwiches could be had for a couple of bucks. Good quality deli meat, roasted veggies, it doesn't take much. Obviously, you can choose whatever veggies and meat (or no meat) that you like, add cheese, pesto, tomato sauce, whatever! The winner for this sandwich is the roasted veggies. Packed with flavour and juiciness, plus healthy stuff.

                                  • 3 zucchinis, sliced lengthwise into 1/4" strips
                                  • 4 roma tomatoes, sliced lengthwise into 4, deseeded.
                                  • 1 tsp garlic powder
                                  • 1/2 tsp salt
                                  • about 1 tbsp olive oil
                                  • good, crusty bread
                                  • good quality deli meat of your choice
                                  • optional: whatever else you like in sandwiches: mayo, goat cheese, raw baby spinach, roasted eggplant, etc.

                                  Let's do it!
                                  1. In a large bowl, mix together the salt, oil and garlic powder. Add veggies and toss to coat.
                                  2. Arrange on a baking tray. They can touch, but make sure they're not on top of one another.
                                  3. Turn oven to 400ºF, put the tray in the oven (I don't wait for it to preheat. Seems like a waste of energy.)
                                  4. When the edges turn brown, about 10-15 minutes or so, take them out and flip everything over. 
                                  5. Bake until everything looks smaller than it did before, but not burnt!
                                  6. Let everything cool.
                                  Lunch it up!
                                  I put the veggies and deli meat in a container and the bread in a plastic bag. I toasted the bread and made the sandwich at work so that it's not soggy. Note, maybe I should have drained the veggies or something after, but this sandwich will be pretty drippy!

                                  Serves 2 or more.

                                  Saturday, March 30, 2013

                                  Easy Roasted Chicken with Chinese 5 Spice Powder

                                  Chicken is probably the easiest meat in the world to make. Put some spices on it and bake.


                                  • 2 chicken thighs, separated
                                  • 1 tbsp Chinese 5 Spice Powder
                                  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce

                                  Let's do it!

                                  1. Put everything into a big bowl and coat the chicken well. Let marinate for as long as you can. Me, I marinated for about 20 minutes.
                                  2. Set the toaster oven for 350ºF. Put the chicken in a toaster oven-safe container (careful, some things are only good for the oven, but not the toaster oven) and put in the oven.
                                  3. Set for 20 minutes.
                                  4. After 20 minutes, turn it over, check to see if it's done (probably not). Ovens vary. Maybe cook it for another 10, or another 20 minutes. Pierce it with a knife and if the juices run clear, it's ready.

                                  Lunch it up!

                                  This is great with any starch and loads of veggies, like brussel sprouts cooked with bacon!

                                  Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

                                  As I say in my bio, my husband is a picky eater. But together (my cooking skills and his inability to cook) we've expanded his palate to eat all sorts of things. One of the things that seemed really challenging at first, but was made pretty simple was dark green veggies. Loaded with nutrients and hated by everyone who doesn't love veggies. How did I get him to like/tolerate them? Cooking them with bacon, of course!

                                  Here is a dead-easy recipe that you can toss in a pan while preparing other aspects of your meal.

                                  • 2 slices bacon, chopped
                                  • 5 cups or so brussel sprouts
                                  • A bit of water

                                  Let's do it!
                                  1. Heat a pan to medium and put the bacon in there. You're going to let it crisp up and let all the fat render (turn into liquid).
                                  2. Cut the bottoms off the brussel sprouts and slice each one lengthwise, then horizontally. So you have four pieces. The leaves will fall apart. That's kind of the point. Put them all in a big bowl and shake them around to separate them.
                                  3. Pour off the bacon grease into a heat-safe container, like a mason jar. Or, if you're me, pour it into a mason jar that you keep in the fridge so you can use bacon grease in lieu of oil. It's basically FREE INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS OIL.
                                  4. Throw in the brussel sprouts and stir until well mixed, and every piece has had a chance to hit the grease on the bottom of the pan.
                                  5. Put about 1/4 cup of water into the pan and cover for 5 minutes.
                                  6. Take off cover and stir fry some more. I like them to be browned a bit, so I fried them until they were browned in spots.

                                  Lunch it up!
                                  This is a great side dish for anything. I'm having it with chicken and rice!

                                  Monday, March 25, 2013

                                  Easy Somewhat Homemade Meatballs (with spaghetti!)

                                  I'm sorry about the terrible photo. I left my camera at home and I took this on my phone.
                                  If you can't eat dairy, you probably don't eat meatballs (or you do, and feel the pain later). This recipe is easy and dairy-free, and totally delicious. I got the idea for using sausages from some cooking show. It works great because the sausage is already pre-spiced and full of fat, so you don't get the golf-ball like dense meatballs that sometimes happens when you use really lean meat. I tend not to measure anything, so this is all approximate. If you like your meatballs softer and less dense, add more breadcrumbs.


                                  • 2 cups uncooked sausage (I used mild Italian pork sausage. DO NOT get sausage that is smoked, or otherwise pre-cooked)
                                  • 2 cups ground beef (I got extra lean. Don't worry, the sausage will provide the fat you need to keep it juicy)
                                  • 1 cup part bread crumbs
                                  • 1 egg

                                  Let's do it!

                                  1. First of all, know that this is going to get messy. Take off any rings you're wearing and maybe put on an apron. And wash your hands, for goodness sake!
                                  2. Squeeze the sausage meat out of its casing into a large mixing bowl. You should have a whole bunch of raw meat with fat and spices. Yay!
                                  3. Add ground beef, bread crumbs and raw egg.
                                  4. Mush it all together with your hands until it's all mixed up.
                                  5. Form balls and put onto baking tray. You can put them close together, but don't let them touch. They will get slightly smaller. Use a baking tray that has a somewhat high lip on it, because these will put out a LOT of grease.
                                  6. Put in the oven and turn on to 350ºF. I rarely preheat my oven, as I feel like it's a waste of energy. Particularly for something like this, where you're not worried about a crisp skin.
                                  7. If the meatballs were small (golf ball or less), 30 minutes should do it, but make sure you test by cutting them with a fork. If the inside is cooked, they're done!
                                  Tip: Let the grease cool down and put it in a small bag and throw it in the garbage or municipal compost (if your city does that). DO NOT put it down the drain, as it will destroy your plumbing. Yes, even if you put it down the toilet. Seriously. You want to hear some horror stories, talk to a plumber. Don't flush dental floss either. Just... don't.

                                  Lunch it up!
                                  I packed the meatballs in a container with some pasta sauce and packed the pasta separately. You can also make meatball sandwiches or cover them in BBQ sauce and serve them as hors d'oeuvres at a party. Or whatever it is people do with meatballs.

                                  Monday, March 18, 2013

                                  Vegan cheesy chili

                                  Yeah, let's totally pretend that I'm going to eat 7 chips with this, and not  that entire bag behind it.

                                  The first rule of chili is that it needs to be bad for you. This is junk food, so despite all the veggies and lack of fat in this dish, it still has to taste like a heavy, hearty treat and not a healthy tomato stew that your saint of a mother made for you on a cold winter's afternoon. That's where Daiya comes in.


                                  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
                                  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
                                  • 1 minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (or more, if you like spicy)
                                  • 2 tbsp chili powder (bought or made)
                                  • 1 can red kidney (or any other) beans, rinsed and drained
                                  • 1 can (roughly 3 cups) spaghetti sauce
                                  • 1 red pepper, diced
                                  • 1/2 cup corn 
                                  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
                                  • 1/2 cup or more Daiya vegan mozzarella cheese shreds

                                  Let's do it!

                                  1. Add a bit of oil to a medium sized soup pot. Set stove to medium.
                                  2. When warm, add onions and stir until translucent. 
                                  3. Add garlic, chipotle and chili powder. Stir for a couple of minutes.
                                  4. Add a can of spaghetti sauce and maybe 1/3 can of water. This is where the unhealthiness begins. These things are loaded with salt! If you actually want this to be healthy, I suppose you can make your own tomato sauce.
                                  5. Add kidney beans and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer on low for about half an hour. I like to simmer beans for a while because I heard it keeps you from getting gassy. I don't know if this is true, but I always do this and manage not to be unbearable after eating beans.
                                  6. Add red peppers and corn (I used frozen corn and didn't bother defrosting). Simmer for another 15 minutes. Don't worry too much about the timing, I was doing this while cleaning the house and watching TV. Chili is incredibly forgiving.
                                  7. Add quinoa and simmer for at least another 15 minutes. This adds a nice texture which would ordinarily come from meat. It's also healthy. Sorry.
                                  8. Add Daiya cheese and stir until blended. If you know Daiya, you know that it tastes a lot like processed cheese and will transform your chili into a rich, gooey, delicious mess. Take that, mom! (Kidding, my mom is awesome.)
                                  9. Add water if you think it's too thick, more chili powder if you think it's missing that flavour, salt, pepper, whatever. It's your's, make it the way you want!

                                  Lunch it up!

                                  I'm really committing to this being unhealthy so I brought this to work, heated it up and ate it with tortilla chips.

                                  If you can't imagine a world without meat, check out my meat-filled chili here.

                                  Friday, March 15, 2013

                                  Korean Seafood Pancake

                                  All my pics at work sucked, so here is a pic of four pancakes I took at home.

                                  I tried one of these at a fantastic Korean restaurant in Toronto and immediately fell in love. This recipe is a mangling of two recipes, one from Maangchi (my usual go-to for all Korean recipes and quite possibly the most comprehensive recipe/how-to site in the universe) and the Kitchn, but I basically just used their sauce recipe. I'm not going to pretend that this is at all authentic. I'm Chinese and struggle to make authentic Chinese food as it is. This is just my version of the dish with what I had in my house.


                                  • 1 cup flour (I use whole wheat flour because it's healthy. I think.)
                                  • 1 1/3 cup water
                                  • 1 tsp salt
                                  • 1 egg
                                  • 2 green onions, chopped (you should probably use more, but I only had 2 left)
                                  • 1 cup mixed seafood, chopped roughly
                                  • 1 jalapeño, seeds discarded and chopped. Make sure you wash your hands RIGHT after handling these or else your hands will buuuuurrrnnn!!!
                                  • cooking oil

                                  Sauce (in ratio)

                                  • Mostly soy sauce
                                  • Almost the same amount of rice wine vinegar, to taste
                                  • A bit of sesame oil
                                  • 1 smashed and minced garlic clove

                                  Let's do it!

                                  1. Put the flour, water, salt and egg in a large mixing bowl. Whisk until it forms a thin batter. Mix as little as possible.
                                  2. Add green onions, seafood (I used the ready-mixed frozen kind and defrosted it in the fridge overnight), and jalapeno. Mix until combined.
                                  3. Coat the bottom of a non-stick pan with cooking oil and heat it to medium low. Put in two ladles of the mixture and spread so that the veggies and seafood are evenly distributed. Mine came up to about 8 inches in diameter. Any bigger and I'm pretty positive I wouldn't be able to flip them.
                                  4. Cook until  the sides are cooked and the bottom is golden. At this point, the pancake should move around on it's own if you shove the pan around. 
                                  5. If you can do that awesome pancake flip thing, do so. If you're like me, use a spatula to help you along.
                                  6. Cook for another couple of minutes, until the bottom is golden.
                                  7. Repeat until the batter is gone. Mine made about 4 servings, good for two lunches and two dinners. Or two big lunches, more likely.
                                  8. To make the dipping sauce, just mix all that stuff together.
                                  Lunch it up!
                                  I put this on some rice and had kale as a side. I put the dipping sauce in a small screw-top jar. Here's the pic I took at work. You don't even know what's going on. I'm just happy to have found my nice lens, so here it is.

                                  Thursday, February 7, 2013

                                  Couscous Salad

                                  In an effort to be healthy (and get rid of a TON of cilantro), I present: couscous salad.

                                  Measurements are approximate!


                                  • 1 1/2 cup couscous
                                  • 2 3/4 cups water
                                  • 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
                                  • Lemon juice to taste
                                  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
                                  • 1/2 tomato, diced
                                  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
                                  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
                                  • splash of olive oil
                                  • salt to taste

                                  Let's do it!

                                  1. Boil water and add in couscous. Stir and let it soak up the water.
                                  2. Add everything else and mix well.
                                  3. Stick in the fridge and let the flavours meld for at least half an hour.
                                  4. Taste and season as needed.
                                  5. For a balanced meal, add some kind of protein. I added a delicious canned salmon that my friend made. The Hubster added hard boiled eggs.

                                  Monday, February 4, 2013

                                  Vegan enchilladas

                                  Alright, the way I did this wasn't vegan, but it can easily be vegan. These are nowhere near authentic, it's just how I make them. They are stuffed with refried beans and rice, and covered with a spicy tomato sauce.

                                  • 1 can black beans
                                  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
                                  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
                                  • Salt to taste
                                  • Water
                                  • 1/2 cup rice
                                  • 2 cloves garlic minced
                                  • Enough broth to cook the rice (sorry, I don't measure when I cook rice. I just let my Chinese ancestry guide me. Maybe there's directions in the package or something.)
                                  • 1/2 can crushed tomatoes
                                  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
                                  • Flour tortillas
                                  • Cheese (vegan or otherwise)
                                  • Avocado

                                  Let's do it!
                                  1. In a small sauce pot, heat up the cooking oil (I used bacon grease, but you can use whatever you like.) Drain and rinse the black beans and add to the pot. Stir often. Mash with a potato masher. If it starts sticking to the bottom, add a bit of water. I find that I need to add water quite a bit during the process.
                                  2. Add cumin and salt to taste. Stir until the consistency is like very creamy mashed potatoes. Refried beans: DONE
                                  3. Rinse the rice very well in a sieve to get rid of the starch, otherwise, you won't have the nice, separated grains that I like.
                                  4. Put the rice, broth and garlic in a rice cooker. If you don't have a rice cooker, do whatever it is you do to make rice. Honestly, I can't make rice without a rice cooker. Rice: DONE!
                                  5. Put the crushed tomatoes in a small sauce pot with the chipotle peppers. If you don't like spice, add less peppers. Then.. give the rest of them to a friend? I don't know.
                                  6. Simmer this while the rice is cooking. Sauce: DONE!
                                  7. Put this all in the fridge if you're like me and prefer to assemble the next day

                                  Lunch it up!
                                  1. I didn't want this to be soggy, so I assembled it before work.
                                  2. On a flour tortilla, lay down some refried beans, then rice. 
                                  3. Roll it up and place in a microwavable lunch container, seam side down.
                                  4. Repeat for as many as you'd like.
                                  5. Cover with as much sauce as you'd like and sprinkle with cheese.
                                  6. Take it to work with an avocado and try not to let either get bashed up too much.
                                  7. At work, heat this up in a microwave until hot. Cut up the avocado and place on top (Avocados get brown really easily, which is why I prefer to take them to work whole.)
                                  8. Enjoy!

                                  I ended up with a lot of leftover rice and beans. This is probably good for a maybe 3 or four meals. If you're not into eating the same thing every day, you can place the beans in a freezer bag, squeeze out the air and place it in the freezer. Same thing with the sauce. I've heard that you can freeze rice, but I've never tried it. It's a pretty mild flavour, though, so you can use it as a side in another dish.

                                  Friday, January 18, 2013

                                  Pasta with bacon and brussel sprouts

                                  If you don't like brussel sprouts, this dish is not likely to change your mind. But if you LOVE brussel sprouts, then hurray! I really enjoyed this dish, but it's not the best thing I've ever made. Oddly enough, the Hubster is NOT a fan of brussel sprouts, but still really enjoyed this pasta. Probably because the sauce is basically bacon grease.


                                  • 4 servings of dry pasta
                                  • 4 slices thick cut bacon
                                  • 3 garlic cloves
                                  • 2 cups brussel sprouts, washed and cut in half lengthwise (or in 1/4s. I wish I did this)
                                  • Salt
                                  • Olive oil

                                  Let's do it!

                                  1. Boil the pasta according to directions, but for 1 minute less than specified. When it's done, take the pasta out with a strainer/pasta ladle and put aside. Keep the pasta water. While that's going on, do the rest of the steps.
                                  2. Cut bacon widthwise into thin strips. Fry in a pan until almost crispy. Pour out all but 1 tbsp of the bacon grease and put the bacon in a dish for later. If you're me, you'll be pouring the bacon grease into a mason jar to put in the fridge for later. It's great for making greens taste (and be) less healthy.
                                  3. Throw the brussel sprouts in the pan and stir to coat. Then leave them alone so that they can brown for a few minutes. Stir every few minutes so that every surface is browned, but nothing burns. 
                                  4. Add 2 tbsp or so of olive oil, bacon and pasta. Add one or two ladles of the pasta water, which is full of starch and will help the pasta absorb the flavour. 
                                  5. Stir this around until the pasta is cooked and the water is absorbed.
                                  6. Season with salt (I added a LOT of salt), or parmesan cheese, which will probably mean you can use less salt.

                                  Lunch it up!

                                  I know I have strict rules about not microwaving pasta, but this is all mixed together, and it's really not as good cold. I just put this on a dish and nuked it, and it tasted just as good as the night before. Maybe even better!

                                  Friday, January 4, 2013


                                  Mmm... iPhone photo...

                                  This dish is based on this recipe from the LCBO Food and Drink Magazine. For those of you who don't live in Ontario, you're missing out on a great, free magazine. 

                                  Anyhow. I needed to make some changes since I was dining with a friend who doesn't eat land animals, plus I had merguez sausage, not chorizo, and no black cod.

                                  • 900ml vegetable stock
                                  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads
                                  • 2 cups frozen shrimp, thawed and deveined, shells reserved
                                  • 1/2 lb sausage
                                  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
                                  • 1 tsp paprika
                                  • 2 small onions, diced
                                  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
                                  • 1 cup rice (I used basmati. Next time I'd go for regular short grain brown rice... less mushy)
                                  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro

                                  Let's do it!
                                  1. Heat up a bit of oil in a pan and fry the sausage until cooked, turning halfway through cooking. Put aside for later. Slice into bite-sized pieces when cool.
                                  2. Place veggie stock in a pot and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, deshell and devein the shrimp, putting the shells in the veggie stock to create a seafood stock. Crumble in saffron. Keep this simmering, covered, while you do the other stuff.
                                  3. In a large pan/pot with a lid, heat up some oil and add in garlic, onions and paprika. Cook until softened.
                                  4. Add tomatoes and scrape up any bits that might have stuck to the bottom of the pan.
                                  5. Add rice and stir for a couple of minutes. If you're not serving pescatarians, you can add the sausage in here.
                                  6. Strain stock and add a couple of ladles at a time. Simmer, covered. Check on it every once in a while to see if it's done. When it dries out, add more stock. Keep going until the rice is cooked. You may not use all the stock. If there isn't enough, add water.
                                  7. Add shrimp  and stir until cooked.
                                  8. Add chopped cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste.
                                  9. This is where I added the sausage, after separating a portion for my friend.

                                  Lunch it up!
                                  This dish is really easy to bring for lunch. Just put it in a dish. No extra work needed. I made a side of broccoli to make this meal a bit more well rounded.