Kate's Cuisine

Sep 19 2017

Chicken Noodle Bowl

Chicken Noodle Bowl

Ever since I quit smoking (going on seven months now!) I’ve become semi-obsessed with fitness. I’ve stepped up my aerobic game, literally, and I’ve started keeping track of everything I eat with My Fitness Pal. This free app is great. Not only will it track all of your calories that you eat, it will also keep track of those that you burn, and the blog is also accessible through the app. Along with the great exercise and training tips their blog provides, it also gives you some great recipes. And one of those recipes was the inspiration for this Chicken Noodle Bowl.

I say inspiration because the recipe isn’t exactly as they gave it to me. When I was shopping for it I accidentally picked up some all spice instead of the Chinese 5 spice it called for. But the chicken was fantastic even with that substitution. I also included many more vegetables than what the original called for, some cooked and some left raw. The result was just like one of those noodle bowls you’d get at any great Asian restaurant and me and my kids all loved it.

Now, don’t get intimidated by the many steps that are needed for this recipe. You don’t need to whip around your kitchen making sure it’s all ready at the same time. This dish is meant to be served either cold or at room temperature. I had it both ways, once right after it was cooked and some of the ingredients sat on the counter until I was ready to assemble; and once the next day after it was left in the fridge overnight. Both ways were fantastic and made for a nice light meal while we enjoy these unseasonably warm temperatures.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes $1.50
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce $0.05
  • 2 teaspoons ground all spice $0.30
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha $0.02
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts $5.50
  • 1 bag (16 ounces) rice noodles $1.99
  • 1 teaspoon of salt $0.01
  • 3 cups fresh spinach $3.33
  • 1 cob of corn $0.20
  • 3 large radishes, sliced thinly $0.75
  • 1 large carrot, julienned $0.22
  • 1/2 cup whole cilantro leaves $0.33
  • Juice of 2 limes $1.00
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil, divided $0.88
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar $0.12
  • 1 tablespoon water Free!
  • 1 teaspoon honey $0.03
  • Salt, to taste $0.01
  • Ground black pepper, to taste $0.01

Total cost $16.25
Cost per serving $5.41

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cherry tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet in a single layer and place them in the preheated oven. Let them roast for about 30 minutes, just until their skins start to burst, stirring them halfway through cooking. When the tomatoes are finished cooking, remove them from the oven and allow to cool.

2.) With the oven still hot, combine the soy sauce, all spice and Sriracha in a small bowl. Drizzle the chicken with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place the chicken breasts on a separate baking sheet. Pour the soy sauce mixture all over them, rubbing it in as you do. Place the chicken breasts into the hot oven and allow to roast for about 20 minutes. When the juices run clear, remove the chicken from the oven. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes and then slice thinly.

3.) Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove. Add the salt and remove the water from heat. Add the rice noodles and let them soak for about 5 minutes. Drain, toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set aside.

4.) Preheat a frying pan over medium-high heat on the stove. When hot add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring the spinach regularly, just until it is wilted.

5.) Preheat an indoor grill over medium-high heat. When hot, brush the corn on the cob with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place on the grill. Grill each side for about 3 minutes and then remove from the heat. Allow to cool slightly and then cut the kernels off the cob.

6.) In a small bowl whisk together the lime juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, rice vinegar, water, and honey. Set aside.

7.) All that’s left to do is assemble the dish. On 3 – 4 plates, depending on how many you’re feeding, divide the rice noodles evenly on the center of the plate. In the center of the noodles, divide the sliced chicken breast evenly. Arrange the roasted tomatoes, wilted spinach, corn, cilantro, radishes, and carrots around the chicken breast. Drizzle the lime juice/honey dressing over top of the entire thing.

8.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 11 2017

Pork Chops with Garlic Scape Chimichurri

Garlic Scapes and Pork Chops

It’s September and in my corner of the world, the time for the Farmer’s Market is running out. It’s something I think about every year, but this time will be especially disappointing, as the girls and I have enjoyed our weekly walks down to the market (and the walk back as we try to balance all of our goods!) I’ve picked up a lot of great things this season, but my very favourite has to be the bunches of garlic scapes that I get almost every single week.

I was introduced to garlic scapes a few years ago when my mom brought me a bunch a friend had given her. They’re kind of cool to look at with their whirly-twirly stalks and what looks like the world’s smallest bulb of garlic at the end. This is in fact, not really garlic but part of the stalk of the hardneck garlic plant. It will eventually produce a flower once the garlic is fully mature, but I’m led to believe that some farmers just pull them and toss them into their compost heap before those flowers ever appear. This allows more water and nutrients to reach the actual garlic bulb; the part the farmer is typically most interested in.

But I don’t believe farmers are actually throwing out these beauties. Surely they know how delicious they are! They do taste just like garlic, although some may find them a bit mellower with just a hint of sweetness; it depends on how the garlic was grown and when it was pulled. I like to trim the green tops of them just a little bit, but then they can be used just like any other garlic in stir fries, pestos, and any other dish you want to make with them. And yes, you can eat the whole entire thing. When I picked up my weekly bunch last week, I turned them into my favourite Argentinian condiment - chimichurri!

Ingredients:

  • 4 bone-in pork chops, about 1/2″ thick    $5.72
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon    $0.01
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper    $0.01
  • 6 garlic scapes, chopped    $2.00
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar    $0.27
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley    $0.24
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes    $0.25
  • Juice of 2 limes    $1.00
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons    $1.13

Total cost $10.63
Cost per serving $2.65

Directions:

1.) Season the pork chops with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Set aside while you make the chimichurri.

2.) Place the garlic scapes, red wine vinegar, parsley and red chili flakes into a blender. Blend until smooth and then slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of the olive oil with the blender still running. Blend until smooth and add the lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir and set chimichurri aside.

3.) Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the seasoned pork chops and sear for about 5 minutes per side, or longer if you’re using thicker pork chops.

4.) Remove pork chops to a platter and top with the chimichurri.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 05 2017

How to Make Cloud Eggs

A perfect cloud egg

Those who know me well know that if I’m pressed to give an opinion about the one perfect food in this world, my answer would be eggs. Every. Single. Time. It used to be due to the fact that there’s just so much that can be done with eggs. You can whip them, you can use them to bind other food, or you can simply cook it to your liking and enjoy an egg in its own beautiful simplicity. My love for this perfect food then graduated to finding things to stuff them in – namely, bell peppers and avocados. But what if you stuffed an egg inside an egg? It’s something I would have never thought of if I hadn’t been lucky enough to get a glance of this concoction of Cloud Eggs on Instagram.

I immediately wondered what it was and how to make it; and the answer was so simple. It’s one beautiful egg, with the white and the yolk prepared somewhat separately. And it’s one of the biggest trends with millennials these days. All you do is separate the eggs, being very careful not to break the yolks, which is even harder to do before they’ve been cooked. The whites get a quick whip and an even quicker bake in a very hot oven and when done, you’ve got an egg on your plate that resembles the sun peaking out from the clouds. I’m not one that compares the food on my plate to art but using this method, I just couldn’t help it. So move over avocado toast, an egg is about to take the throne!

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 4 eggs (or however many you want to make!) $0.64
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese (you want about a tablespoon of cheese for each egg) $0.72
  • A small pinch of salt for each egg $0.01

Total cost $1.37
Cost per egg $0.34

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a naturally non-stick cast iron pan like I did and forget about the parchment).

2.) While being extremely careful, separate the egg whites from the yolks. The whites can be placed into a large bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the wire whisk attachment. Be very careful to place the yolks in individual ramekins or small bowls. It’s important not to break the yolks; they won’t sit in the egg whites and just simply won’t look as nice.

3.) Turn the mixer on low at first and when frothy, add the salt. Turn the mixer to a higher setting and really whip those egg whites. You’re looking for stiff peaks here.

4.)Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the surface of the egg whites. Working gently but quickly so you don’t deflate the whites, fold the cheese in.

5.) Equally divide the egg whites onto the prepared baking sheets. Start by simply mounding them and then, using a small spoon, carve out an indent by moving the spoon down and to the sides in a gentle motion.

6.) Place the whites into the preheated oven for 3 minutes.

7.) Remove the egg whites from the oven. Very carefully pour one egg yolk into the space you’ve carved out for it in the egg white. When all egg yolks have been returned to their whites, place the entire thing back in the oven for another 3 minutes.

8.) Serve and enjoy!

Aug 28 2017

Chocolate Substitution Guide by Shari’s Berries

Guys, I’ve got something really special for you today. You all know how much I love substitutions; they’re actually one of the reasons why I started cooking. Because if I ever found myself without one of those essential ingredients, I still wanted to know how to make a dynamite dish using what I had on hand. But what about when your recipe calls for a certain kind of chocolate that you just don’t have? There couldn’t possibly be any substitution for that, right?

Well, if you have certain geniuses within your network, you’ll quickly find out that’s not true at all. You can absolutely substitute one kind of chocolate for another and, in some instances, you won’t even need actual chocolate to do it; just some cocoa powder and shortening or butter and, yes, that’s an actual substitution!

I found this out thanks to Julissa over at Shari’s Berries, the ones who brought us that great Science of Baking infographic, and who were kind enough to share this chocolate substitution infographic with me. So that when a craving strikes, no one ever has to go without chocolate ever again. You can check out the link to the infographic they’ve shared over at their blog, or you can just check it out below.

 

chocolate substitution

Aug 19 2017

Taco Egg Rolls

Taco Egg Rolls

We’re big taco-eaters around here and anyone who’s been following the blog for any length of time knows that this is one food that I love to play around with. But when you put cheese, beef, and tomatoes together, there are truly endless possibilities! This recipe for Taco Egg Rolls does away with the hard shells and the soft tortillas and replaces them with egg roll wrappers that aren’t quite deep-fried, but do bubble away in a glistening pan of oil. I got the idea from a video my sister-in-law shared on Facebook, but now you have the whole thing written out step-by-step. You also have the recipe for my new favourite way to enjoy tacos!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil    $0.22
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef    $10.34
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning    $0.25
  • 1 egg    $0.16
  • 1 package egg roll wrappers (about 20)    $2.19
  • 1 cup pico de gallo    $1.30
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded    $1.25
  • About 3 cups of vegetable oil, for frying

Total cost $15.71
Cost per serving $2.61

Directions:

1.) Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot add the ground beef, crumbling it in your hands as you do. Stir and cook for about 7 minutes, until the ground beef is completely browned. Add the taco seasoning, mix, and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

2.) Beat the egg lightly with about two tablespoons of water. One by one, lay an egg roll wrapper onto a counter or other work surface so that it looks like a diamond with points at the top, bottom, and sides. Place a damp paper towel over the egg roll wrappers you’re not using so they don’t dry out as you work. Lay about two tablespoons of ground beef into the middle of the egg roll wrapper and top with about a teaspoon of pico de gallo and a couple of teaspoons of Cheddar cheese.

3.) Brush all sides of the egg roll wrapper with the egg wash mixture. Starting with the side closest to you, fold the egg roll wrapper over the filling. Lift the ends up over the portion of the wrapper you just folded and press lightly to seal. Continue rolling the egg roll (again, using the side closest to you) until the egg roll is fully rolled and the filling is sealed inside.

4.) Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all egg rolls are assembled. As you assemble each egg roll, lay a damp paper towel across them so they don’t dry out.

5.) Heat the vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the egg rolls, seam-side down, one at a time. Only place four or five in at a time so they all cook and brown evenly. Cook for about two minutes per side, just until nicely browned, then remove to a paper towel to drain any excess oil. You can lightly salt them at this point, if you wish. Continue frying the remaining egg rolls and draining on paper towel.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Aug 02 2017

Prosciutto and Broccoli Quiche

Broccoli and Prosciutto Quiche

Have I ever told you about just how much my kids love quiche? I mean, I love quiche, but every time I make it, I wonder how they’ll react to it. And they always scarf it down. You think I’d learn by now. When it came to this particular quiche, I loved it more so than I have others I’ve made – and my kids both had seconds. So yeah, it’s good.

To be fair, I think the thing we all liked best about it was the crust. I’ve made pie crust before. Only about a hundred times. And it’s always fine. It’s not particularly offensive, you can cut it with a fork. It’s fine. But this crust. Oh my. I had just happened to come across a pie crust from the James Beard Foundation and thought I’d give it a whirl. Oh. My. God. I finally know what people are talking when they talk about light, flaky crusts. It was so good, I could have happily munched on that alone for dinner.

Of course, you can use store-bought crust (something I had done more than not until I found the Foundation’s recipe), or you can use your own favourite pie crust recipe. And while I will be sharing the Foundation’s pie crust recipe soon (it’s not right I keep that all to myself), for now, on with the quiche!

Ingredients:

  • 1 9″ pie crust $0.44 (if homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil $0.11
  • 1 cup of broccoli florets (I like to chop them pretty small for quiche) $0.64
  • 1/2 onion, diced $0.24
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced $0.02
  • 6 slices proscuitto, diced $5.28
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream $2.29
  • 6 eggs $0.96
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded $1.25
  • Salt, to taste $0.01
  • Black pepper, to taste $0.01

Total cost $11.25
Cost per serving $1.40

Directions:

1.) Place the pie crust into a pie pan and trim the edges, if needed. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. When hot add the onion and saute for about 3 minutes, until it begins to sweat and turn translucent. Add the broccoli, stir and cook for one more minute. Add the garlic and a pinch of salt. Give it one last stir and cook for just 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.

3.) In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and cream together with a large whisk. Continue beating for several minutes. This is the only chance you have to get a lot of air into those eggs, which will make your quiche rise up and become magical. Using a large whisk also helps with this because the bigger the end of your whisk, the more air it’s getting into those eggs.

4.) When you’ve had enough of whisking, add the broccoli mixture to the eggs, along with the prosciutto and shredded cheese. Give everything one last whisk and pour it into the prepared pie crust.

5.) Place the quiche into the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 30 minutes or so, just until the quiche is set. You’ll be able to tell this because the quiche will be fairly firm with just a little bit of jiggle in the middle.

6.) Remove the quiche and allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving. This will also help it set and help you keep your quiche in the quiche!

7.) Serve and enjoy!

Jul 24 2017

Rice Balls (Arancini)

Rice Balls (Arincini)

I had my first rice balls about a year ago. My grandma was in the hospital (she’s much better now, thankfully!) and one of the only shining lights was that there was this fantastic Italian grocery store my mom knew about close by. We picked up a bunch of good stuff, along with ready-made rice balls to along with our dinner one night. I bit into my first one, and I was in love. I knew I’d be making these again and again at home. But what I didn’t know was that while I would try and try, it wouldn’t be until nearly a full year later when I finally mastered them. Once you know a few tricks, they’re easy to pull together. But without those tricks, you’ll end up with a lot of rice that’s fallen apart and been left swimming in random places throughout your breading station.

First, start with risotto. Plain old rice is not going to work here; I think it has something to do with the starch content of Arborio rice that other rice just doesn’t have. But even though I don’t know exactly why regular rice doesn’t work, I do know that it doesn’t. It took me a couple of tries to figure that out. If you don’t have left risotto sitting in the fridge, click on the link to find a Parmesan Risotto recipe that would work perfectly. Which brings me to my next point….

The risotto needs to be cold. The dish actually stemmed from Italians simply trying to use up their leftover risotto, which they wouldn’t heat up before preparing the rice balls. Again, I’ve tried to just make risotto and once it cooled enough to be handled, I’d try forming it into balls. Does not work, my friends. It needs to sit in the fridge for at least two hours, or in the freezer for 30 minutes, before it’s cold enough to hold a ball shape.

Third and finally, I’ve seen Giada De Laurentiis make her rice balls using a breading station complete with flour, milk and seasoned bread crumbs. That would make the most sense to me, too, but I find sometimes the rice balls simply don’t hold up to all that handling and this is when they can start to fall apart. Even if you’re using risotto and even if it’s cold when you start. Again, I don’t know why, but I know it happens. I start with this setup, but if I find the balls are a bit delicate, I simply just rolls them in milk and bread crumbs and sometimes even, just bread crumbs alone. The picture above is a mixture of all three and honestly, you couldn’t tell the difference between one or another.

One last word before we get on with the rice balls recipe. Traditionally these are stuffed with meat and sauce (often a ragu) and peas. I was just trying to whip up a quick and delicious lunch so I did away with all of that and didn’t even put a hunk of cheese in the middle (Giada would be so ashamed.) They were still amazing, especially with the quick tomato sauce I made on the side for dunking. YUM!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups leftover risotto $1.21
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten $0.17
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour $0.14
  • 1 cup milk (or a few eggs, if you prefer) $0.28
  • 2 cups bread crumbs $0.84
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese $1.50
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon salt $0.01
  • Oil, for deep frying

Total cost $4.55
Cost per rice ball $0.40

Directions:

1.) Stir the beaten egg into the leftover risotto and place in the fridge while setting up your breading station.

2.) Set up the breading station by placing the flour in a large mixing bowl, the milk in another, and the bread crumbs in another. To the bread crumbs add the Parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, and salt and mix well.

3.) Take about 2 tablespoons of the risotto mixture and form into a ball. Once it holds its shape, dredge it in the flour,lightly shaking off the excess. Drop it into the milk (or eggs) and roll to ensure the entire rice ball is coated. Let the excess drip off and then roll the ball around in the seasoned bread crumbs. Move to a plate and repeat with the remaining risotto.

4.) Heat the oil up to about 375 degrees Fahrenheit over medium-high heat. If you don’t have a fryer thermometer, place the handle of a wooden spoon straight up, but touching the bottom of the pan. If small bubbles rise rapidly along the handle, the oil is hot enough.

5.) Drop three or four rice balls into the oil at one time and let them fry until they are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn with a slotted spoon once during cooking. Remove to paper towels to drain, lightly salt again if you wish, and continue frying remaining rice balls.

6.) Warm up some tomato sauce to serve on the side then serve, and enjoy!

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