Friday, July 27, 2012

Red Onion Sauce

I wanted to try something new for a family barbecue, but we didn't have very much time to do anything very different. Back in May, I saw a recipe on CES for a red onion sauce popular on hotdogs in New York City, so I ran with that (with a few changes of course). The sauce isn't made of onions, it's a red sauce with onions in it. Or, more accurately, onions covered in a reddish sauce.

The resulting sauce was very flavourful, and the cayenne added a good zing to it.

Red Onion Sauce

2 tbsp oil
2 onions, chopped
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat oil and on medium heat and saute onions until translucent.
  2. Add garam masala and chili powder and stir for one minute.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and let simmer, stirring frequently for 10-15 minutes, until mixture thickens.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
  5. Serve at room temperature.

Note: this mixutre isn't a pickle like relish, so it must be refrigerated and eaten within 2-3 days.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Chicken Marbella

Our neighbour, Olivia, frequently invites us over for dinner when certain dishes are on the menu. One of our favourite dishes is her Chicken Marbella. It's a dish I have yet to make myself because, for some reason, I can stand in front of the stove and stir a pot for an hour, but I can't bring myself to baste something in the oven. I've got to get over that.

In the meantime, Olivia was generous enough to share her recipe, based on the recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook, and allow me to take photos. The dish pictured didn't have cilantro as a garnish because there was an in-house shortage.

There's something about the flavours in this dish that make it irresistible. I think it's the sweet and savoury combination of flavour - it's amazing. I always use extra sauce to help mop up the rice. So tasty.

Chicken Marbella

2 tbsp garlic puree
2 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pitted prunes
8 large olives, pitted and cut in half
1/4 cup capers (retain some of the juice)
3 bay leaves
2 kilos chicken legs and/or thighs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white wine
4 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers with caper juice, and bay leaves.
  2. Add the chicken and coat completely with the marinade (tip: you can put the chicken and marinade into a large zipper bag). Cover and refrigerate, for several hours or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. In a large roasting pan (or two smaller pans), arrange chicken in a single layer and spread remaining marinade over evenly.
  4. Sprinkle chicken with brown sugar. Pour white wine around the chicken, being careful to not wash the sugar and marinade off the chicken.
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes basting frequently. Note: use a meat thermometer to check chicken or check for clear juice (not pink) when testing using a fork.
  6. Transfer chicken and marinade to a deep serving dish and garnish with cilantro.
  7. Adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Cuban Sandwich

Note to SRC: my deepest apologies to Wendy for the late link-up.

It's Secret Recipe Club time again, and this month's assignment is Wendy from La Phemme Foodie. Wendy blogs from Philledelphia, where she's a lawyer by day and a food blogger and photographer by night.

For the assignment, we considered several recipes, including slow cooker ribs in a root beer barbecue sauce, as buffalo wing macaroni and cheese, but in the end, I had a craving for a sandwich, and her Cuban sandwich won the day.

We made a few changes to the recipe out of necessity. On the shopping trip for ingredients, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't find roasted pork. Our grocery store doesn't have a proper deli, so we're stuck with packaged prepared meats. They did have sliced roast beef, so I picked up some of that.

Meredith was quick to point out that it's very unlikely that you'd be able to find a Cuban sandwich anywhere that's not made of pork, and it's even less likely that you'd find one made of beef, given the abundance of pigs and the lack of beef cattle.

We also decided to use a French baguette instead of a plain kaiser roll. That's was simply because I'm not keen on huge, overly heavy breads.

In the end, the sandwich turned out really well. It grilled nicely in our panini press (we chose the griddle attachment) and was warm and tasty. We'll likely be making this again

Cuban Sandwich

1/3 cup diced dill pickles
1/3 cup diced pickled banana peppers
1 baguette, sliced into two 8" lengths and split in half
2 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp mustard (we used Dijon)
100g pound thinly sliced smoked ham
150g pound thinly sliced cold roast pork (we used roast beef)
2-4 slices Swiss cheese
1 tsp margarine or cooking spray (we used cooking spray)

  1. Preheat a panini grill to medium.
  2. Combine pickles and peppers in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Spread 1 tbsp mayonnaise on the bottom half and 1 tbsp mustard on the bottom of each sandwich.
  4. Layer the remaining ingredients in the following order: ham, roast pork (or beef), pickle mixture and cheese.
  5. Gently flatten sandwich and spread margarine on the top.
  6. Transfer the sandwich to the panini grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Chickpea Stew

At the end of a week where we ate a lot of meat, I was happy to cook a meal that was vegetable-heavy and easy to prepare.

I had recently read a couple of vegetarian recipes involving chickpeas and this was the result of combining bits and pieces from each. I went easy on the spices, so the stew was pretty mild. I think you could easily double the garlic, chili powder, cumin and cayenne to get a more powerful flavour, but the vegetables themselves were still flavourful when topped with rice.

Jeremy rooted through his bowl and cleaned out all of the chickpeas. He seems to enjoy just about anything as long as it's accompanied by some sort of sauce or other flavouring. Lucky me.

Chickpea Stew

2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion (about 1 medium)
1 cup diced carrot (about 1 large)
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups potatoes, cubed
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp salt (if tomatoes are unsalted)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup vegetable broth
3-5 servings rice, prepared
  1. Heat oil in a deep pan over medium-high heat. 
  2. Add onions and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. 
  3. Add carrots and continue to saute for an additional 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce to medium and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Top with rice. 
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Friday, July 6, 2012

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

We don't make bacon often, but when we do, we occasionally save the rendered fat in a jar and store it in the back of the fridge. I'd joke about using it to make fried bread once in a while, but I never do.

Putting bacon in everything has been a trend for some time. I think it's part of the sweet and salty combination that makes the flavours attractive. I've seen bacon with chocolate and bacon-topped cupcakes. Meredith wanted to use some of that bacon fat for cookies, so we started looking.

The more reasonable recipes used about 1/2 cup bacon fat (as substitute for 1/2 cup butter). I know - that can't be healthy. We weren't expecting it to be. And there had to be some crumbled bacon as well.

The cookies were pretty good. There was a slight aftertaste that was a little strong, but I attribute that to sediment in the bacon fat - extra salty bits. I think I should've put the hot bacon fat through a coffee filter first, because it was a little cloudy. I've done it before and I'll do it next time - if there is a next time.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup rendered bacon fat
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup bacon, cooked and chopped
  1. Using an electric mixer, fold bacon fat, butter, and brown sugar. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula if necessary.
  2. Continue to mix on low and add eggs, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Continue to mix and add flour. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula if necessary.
  4. Mix in chocolate chips and bacon and let dough rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  6. Using a cookie scoop, spoon balls of dough onto baking sheets.
  7. Bake for 16 minutes and allow cookies to cool on a rack.
inspired by Kim Conte's recipe.
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