Kate's Cuisine

Mar 03 2015

Chinese Lemon Chicken

Chinese Lemon Chicken

Lemon chicken and my family go way back. It was one of the first dishes that I truly conquered when Brent and I first started dating, and after serving it several times, I didn’t want to become Debra from “Everybody Loves Raymond,” where it became the only thing I could make. I think I’ve avoided that (phew!) but do still tend to keep my eye out for new ways to make lemon chicken that are just as tasty as what I used to make, but with a new twist. When I came upon Chinese Lemon Chicken in The Recipe Encyclopedia, I was thrilled to try lemon chicken with an Asian flare. The book calls for a whole 3-pound chicken but chicken thighs were what I had on hand, so that’s what was used. I served it over top of fried rice and the entire dish was a thing of beauty.

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs $6.64
1 tablespoon soy sauce $0.05
1 tablespoon dry white wine $0.16
1 tablespoon lemon juice $0.15
2 teaspoons soft brown sugar $0.01

For the lemon sauce:

2 scallions, finely chopped $0.14
1/2 cup lemon juice $1.32
1/2 cup sugar $0.10
2 teaspoons dry white wine $0.10
1 teaspoon soy sauce $0.02
1 tablespoon cornstarch $0.27
1/2 cup water
Salt and white pepper, to taste $0.03

Total cost $8.99
Cost per serving $2.24

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and place in a casserole dish or, if using a whole chicken, on a rack in a baking dish. Combine the soy sauce, white wine, lemon juice, and brown sugar thoroughly and brush over the chicken.

2.) Bake the chicken for 1 hour or until the juices run clear, basting occasionally with the remaining soy mixture. Remove from oven and cover with foil for 10 minutes.

3.) While chicken is resting combine the lemon juice, sugar, white wine and soy sauce in a small pan set over medium heat. Blend the cornstarch with the water in a small bowl and add to the pan. Whisk until the sauce boils and thickens slightly. Add the scallions and season with salt and white pepper. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary.

4.) Serve and enjoy!

Mar 02 2015

Ginger Chili Pork Chops with Cucumber Yogurt

Ginger Chili Pork Chops

Have I mentioned lately how much I love yogurt? It took me awhile to come around to the plain stuff, but I bought one tub a week ago and have already used it in a ton of recipes. That’s the thing about plain yogurt. While it might cost you a few bucks (it cost me nearly $7 for a large tub of plain Greek yogurt), it does stretch and stays fresh for at least a couple of weeks. This is another recipe from The Recipe Encyclopedia (from which the recipe for Spaghetti Marinara came) although in the book this is actually a recipe for drumsticks – so feel free to use those in place of the chops. The best thing I found about this recipe anyway is that cucumber yogurt, which is cool and refreshing and so, so tasty.

For the pork chops:
6 boneless pork chops $7.53
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger $0.15
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes $0.05
1/4 teaspoon turmeric $0.09
1 teaspoon lemon juice $0.15
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind $0.15
1 cup plain yogurt $1.33
1 1/2 teaspoon of soft brown sugar $0.01

For the cucumber yogurt:

1 cup plain yogurt $1.33
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes $0.05
1 small cucumber, finely chopped $0.99
1/2 teaspoon sugar $0.01
Salt, to taste $0.01

Total cost $11.85
Cost per serving $1.97

1.) Combine the ginger, chili flakes, turmeric, lemon juice, lemon rind and sugar in a large bowl; mix well. Add the pork chops and toss and stir well to cover them completely with marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight, turning the chops occasionally.

2.) When you’re ready to cook the pork chops, preheat the broiler and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil brushed with oil or non-stick cooking spray. Place the pork chops on the prepared baking sheet, reserving the marinade.

3.) Place the chops under the broiler and broil for 6 – 8 minutes per side, brushing frequently with the reserved marinade.

4.) While the pork chops are cooking, make the cucumber yogurt by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mixing thoroughly.

5.) Once pork chops are cooked through, remove them from the broiler and place on individual plates or a serving platter and top with cucumber yogurt.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Mar 01 2015

Get Ready to Go Mad for Mallows!


Marshmallows and I have a sordid history. I love them! I’ll eat an entire bag of them if you put one in front of me. However, something very bad happens when I eat them. To save you the details (and me from being on the verge of TMI), suffice it to say that marshmallows and my stomach are not friends. They used to be, but they had a very bitter breakup sometime when I was in my 20s and I didn’t think they’d ever get back together. Today, I’m so happy to announce that they have made their peace, and it’s all thanks to Mad Mallows.

Mad Mallows is the business started by my friend, Jaime Lyn, in Shelburne, Ontario. According to the Mad Mallows website, the company was created after Jaime wanted to bring something unique and fun to a family get together. Homemade marshmallows were born, and the company soon after. Now, I don’t know how she does it (I’m guessing it’s some sort of “mad” scientist thing going on in her kitchen) but I can tell you that the marshmallows are amazing. I was lucky enough to win myself some through one of the regular contests she runs on Facebook and, although I went into it with some trepidation, the marshmallows were even better than I expected.

I got a bag of Cookie and Cream marshmallows and they were incredible. The cream seemed to run throughout, and the crunchy bits of cookie were a nice surprise that I would never expect to find in a marshmallow. Of course, being marshmallows, they were sweet, but they also weren’t too sweet, something my sensitive teeth appreciated. If Cookies and Cream  isn’t your thing, you can check out all the many, many flavours on their website and see everything from Tiger Tail to Neapolitan, Rootbeer, and more. Can you imagine making S’mores with Coconut marshmallows, or dropping an Irish Cream marshmallow into your coffee or hot chocolate? Simply heaven.

As I mentioned, I was a bit wary of trying them simply because I’m all too aware of the history between my stomach and anything that comes in marshmallow form. But, I’m guessing that because these are homemade, they were much better for me and I didn’t suffer at all for enjoying them. Not only  have I have found truly great homemade marshmallows, I’ve found some that I can enjoy both while I eat them, and even after. So now, I can be mad about mallows too!

Feb 28 2015

Spaghetti Marinara

Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce has a very interesting history and it’s one that I had to do a little research on. Like most home cooks, it’s something I’ve made at least a hundred times, but what’s the difference between this and regular old spaghetti sauce? To me it seemed to be that you start with a mirepoix, that delicious mix of onions, celery and carrots that’s the base of so many sauces and dishes. But, when I checked out the Spaghetti Marinara sauce in The Recipe Encyclopedia that Chef Rob loaned me, it called for “marinara mix” as an ingredient, indicating in a note that this mix was “a mixture of seafood pieces (usually including octopus, shrimp, calamari and mussels) sold by fishmongers. So, does that mean that some type of seafood has to be included in order for a sauce to be considered true marinara? I hoped not, or else I’d never be able to try it. Luckily, that’s not the case. Not if you’re one to believe in folk theories, anyway. And in this case, I am.

The most common version of the origin of this dish (that hails from Naples, Italy, by the way) states that the cooks aboard the Neapolitan ships created marinara sauce during the middle of the 16th century after the Spanish people introduced the tomato – up until that time, a New World fruit – to Europe. Because the dish was mainly served on ships, and because those ships sailed the seas before refrigeration was invented, seafood was actually never included because it would simply spoil too easily. The acidity of the tomatoes also helped keep the food fresher for longer, which also made it an ideal dish for long voyages.

Since there were no long treks in our near future, and our fridge was fully functioning, I decided to keep as true to the recipe as I could and include some ground beef as the protein in lieu of the “marinara mix”. But by all means, if you are free of allergies and live near a fishmonger or a couple of good docks, use the mix as indicated in the Encyclopedia. Turns out, it’s not authentic marinara sauce anyway. Doing a little more digging, I found out that the only difference is that marinara is a quick sauce made with only tomato, garlic, herbs, and pepper. If anything else is included (such as mushrooms, meat, or mirepoix) it’s just standard old spaghetti sauce. But I will tell you, this one’s pretty good.

1 tablespoon olive oil $0.03
1 small onion, finely chopped $0.47
1 clove garlic, chopped $0.01
1 large carrot, diced $0.17
1 stalk celery, diced $0.13
1 can whole tomatoes, pureed $1.29
1/4 cup chopped parsley $0.10
1/2 cup white wine $2.50
1 pound ground beef $5.89
1/4 cup heavy cream $0.44

Total cost $11.03
Cost per serving $2.75

1.) Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the ground beef, breaking it up as you do, and cook until all the beef is browned, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. When beef is cooked, drain all but one tablespoon of the oil out of the pan and transfer the beef to a plate or bowl.

2.) Keeping the heat under the frying pan at medium, add the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the ground beef, pureed tomatoes, parsley, and white wine. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

3.) Add the cream, stir to combine, and cook for two minutes before tossing with a pound of cooked spaghetti.

4.) Serve and enjoy!

Feb 26 2015

Caesar on the Lighter Side

Caesar on the Lighter Side

Sometimes we just have to have a Caesar salad, even if we’re feeling a bit heavy and bloated. The good news is that Jamie Oliver is obsessed with eating lighter and healthier, and he’s come up with a Caesar salad recipe that will give you all the taste you’re craving without any of the excess carbs or fat. This lightened up version of the salad doesn’t have any bacon or croutons, but it also swaps out the mayonnaise in the dressing for yogurt. And it’s just as tasty, I promise!

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped and washed $0.99
1 clove garlic, minced $0.01
1/2 cup plain yogurt $0.18
2 tablespoons olive oil $0.06
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for sprinkling $0.74
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce $0.04
Juice of 1/2 lemon $0.16
1 tablespoon anchovy paste $0.30
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $2.50
Cost per serving $0.62

1.) In a medium-sized bowl combine the garlic, yogurt, olive oil, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and anchovy paste. Stir to combine, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

2.) Place washed Romaine lettuce into a large bowl and drizzle dressing over top. Toss to thoroughly coat lettuce in the dressing and garnish with a bit more Parmesan cheese.

3.) Serve and enjoy!

Feb 23 2015

Braised Short Ribs Over Celery Root Puree

Short Ribs

I love celery, and there are many things that I love even more about celery root. It’s really like celery on crack, or the freshest celery you will ever smell or taste. But while celery is crisp and delightful to eat raw, celery root needs to be broken down a bit more. It’s quite hard but yet, the texture when you bite into it is also somewhat spongy. If you must eat it raw, make sure that you slice it very finely. I myself prefer it boiled or poached, then churned into this smooth and beautiful celery root puree. Placed underneath these beautiful short ribs, the sauce will run through it like tiny little rivers and if you do it right, you’ll be lucky enough to scoop up a bit of puree with every bite of short ribs. I also sauteed some mushrooms to go with the entire thing, and tucked in some potatoes roasted in goose fat. You need that recipe too, and it’s coming soon.

For the short ribs:
4 beef short ribs $14.85
4 tablespoons vegetable oil $0.08
2 large onions, roughly chopped $0.94
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped $0.39
2 large carrots, roughly chopped $0.34
6 cloves garlic, smashed $0.06
2 sprigs fresh rosemary $1.00
2 sprigs fresh thyme $0.50
2 cups red wine $5.85
4 cups beef stock $2.00
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

For the celery root puree:

1 clove garlic, smashed $0.01
1 sprig fresh sage $0.55
1 sprig fresh thyme $0.30
1 head celery root, about 1 1/2 pounds, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces $1.99
4 cups milk $1.12
4 tablespoons butter $0.12
3 tablespoons fresh chives, sliced $0.25
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01

Total cost $30.39
Cost per serving $6.07

1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.) Season short ribs generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add short ribs (in batches if necessary, to avoid overcrowding) and brown on all sides so that a nice crust forms. Remove ribs from pot, transfer to a plate, and lower heat to medium.

3.) To the pot add the onions, celery stalks, carrots, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Stir to combine and coat all ingredients in oil, and cook until vegetables are just softened, about five minutes.

4.) Turn heat to medium-high and add the red wine to the pan. Let boil for 2 minutes, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan as you do.

5.) Return the short ribs back to the pan, add the beef stock, and bring the entire pot up to a boil. Remove from heat and cover the entire pot tightly with a lid or aluminum foil.

6.) Place the pot into the preheated oven and cook for 3 hours, until the short ribs are cooked through and the meat is just about falling off the bone.

7.) Remove the pot from the oven, uncover and transfer the short ribs to a platter or casserole dish. Cover to keep warm. Strain the sauce in the large pot into a large bowl to remove the large pieces. Pour the sauce back into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and let the sauce boil and reduce to about 1/2.

8.) While the sauce is reducing, make the celery root puree. Place the garlic, sage, thyme, and celery root into a medium-sized pot. Add enough milk just to cover (you might not need all of it). Bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue simmering until the celery root is tender, about 20 minutes.

9.) Strain the mixture into a blender, discarding the herbs stocks and adding the large pieces of celery root to the blender. Add the butter, chives, salt and pepper, and puree until the mixture is smooth but still somewhat thick. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk but be careful because you don’t want it too thin, either.

10.) Spoon a bit of celery root puree onto a plate and place one or two short ribs on top. Spoon the reduced sauce over top of the entire thing.

11.) Serve and enjoy!

Feb 21 2015

Nigella’s Rapid Roastini

Fried Gnocchi

Nigella Lawson is a favourite of mine. Not only is she utterly stunning, but she also specializes in easy down-home cooking. She’s not technically a chef mind you, but she’s got the food knowledge and the know-how to be treated like one. When I first saw her make this gnocchi dish for some of her girlfriends on Nigella’s Kitchen, it immediately became one of those things that stuck in my head and nattered at me until I finally got around to making it. That was just a couple of days ago, and I’m still amazed that something so delicious can come from your grocer’s freezer section, and that it only takes ten minutes (max!) to make.

Now, Nigella does ask that you don’t use frozen gnocchi. Apparently she’s worried that the extra moisture will cause the fat in the pan to splatter and burn you. With frozen gnocchi all I had on hand, I just let mine sit on the counter for a few minutes to thaw. Nigella also served these with just a little salt and pepper but I thought they might need a little something more so I picked up some ready-made bruschetta while at the store and just piled it on top. Of course pesto, roasted red pepper sauce, or any other sauce you fancy would also be just as nice – they sell them all there!

1 package frozen gnocchi, thawed $5.99
2 tablespoons olive oil $0.06
Salt $0.01
Pepper $0.01
Prepared sauce (optional) $2.99

Total cost $9.06
Cost per serving $3.02

1.) Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the gnocchi when the oil is hot, being sure to separate the gnocchi if it’s sticking together.

2.) Season the gnocchi with salt and pepper and cook for 4 minutes on one side. Turn the gnocchi over and cook for another 4 minutes on the other side. The gnocchi should be crisp and golden on both sides.

3.) Plate the gnocchi and, if using, top with the prepared sauce.

4.) Serve and enjoy!

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