Kate's Cuisine

Oct 06 2016

Salted Caramel Popcorn

caramel-popcorn

Is there anything better than caramel? I mean, really, I’d argue that it’s even better than chocolate. After all, we don’t try to get our roasts and vegetables to chocolatize now, do we? No, we want them to caramelize, because only then do you get the buttery, sugary tastiness that only comes from caramel and almost-burnt sugar.

Making salted caramel popcorn is a bit of work, but it’s so worth it. And it’s really more time-consuming than it is manual labour, but at the end of it all you’ll be able to sit back and munch away on a huge bowl filled with salty/sweet snacks. Caramel popcorn balls also make for great teacher’s gifts; not to mention that Halloween is coming up, for those who need to bring party treats. If you want your popcorn to be more caramel-y than salty, just leave out the dusting of salt at the end, and reduce the salt in the caramel sauce to just half a teaspoon.

  • 10 – 12 cups popped popcorn $1.82
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter $1.50
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar $0.19
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract $0.03
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided $0.02
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda $0.01

Total cost $3.57
Cost per serving $0.44

1.) Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.) Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Mix in the sugar and stir until the sugar is slightly moistened. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, boil for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan to ensure the mixture does not burn.

3.) Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the vanilla, 1 teaspoon of salt, and baking soda. The mixture will likely bubbly violently at this point, just keep stirring carefully until a smooth, glossy sauce is formed.

4.) Place the popcorn into a large bowl and pour the caramel sauce over top. Using your hands (if the sauce is cool enough) or two large spoons, stir the popcorn to ensure it gets completely coated with the caramel sauce.

5.) Distribute the popcorn evenly between the two baking sheets. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about one hour, stirring every now and then to break up any clumps.

6.) Remove popcorn from oven and immediately sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir to thoroughly combine. Let popcorn cool completely before serving or storing in an airtight container for up to one week.

7.) Serve and enjoy!

Oct 04 2016

Prime Rib with Yorkshire Pudding and Au Jus

prime-rib-with-yorkshire-pudding-and-au-jus

Okay, so I over-cooked the Prime Rib in this recipe. Trust me, I was much more disappointed than you. Luckily, I already have Prime Rib on the site (just follow the link to see that I can cook it properly!) and so this post was really to focus on the Yorkshire Pudding and Au Jus – two things that any Prime Rib dinner needs.

Before this, I had made Yorkshire pudding before. Or rather, I had made the batter for Yorkshire pudding before – every Thursday morning at the restaurant. Chef Rob was always the one to actually make them, I think he liked the show they put on when they all bubble and sizzle away as you pour the batter into that piping hot pan. When I made mine at home (and was able to enjoy the show myself,) they didn’t rise as much as I would have liked, but they were very tasty and I still think they turned out better than this particular Prime Rib did.

For the prime rib:

  • 1 standing rib roast, about 4 ribs $23.50
  • Lots of salt $0.01
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper $0.01

For the Yorkshire pudding:

  • 4 large eggs $0.80
  • 1 1/2 cups milk $0.44
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt $0.01
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour $0.21
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, or beef drippings $0.12

For the Au Jus:

  • 6 cups beef stock $3.00
  • 1/2 cup red wine $2.50
  • 1 onion, halved $0.47
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed $0.03
  • 2 sprigs thyme $0.50
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $31.62
Cost per serving $5.27

1.) Remove the prime rib from the fridge and leave wrapped at room temperature for about 3 hours. This ensures that the entire piece of meat will come to room temperature, which will ensure even cooking.

2.) Make the Yorkie batter at least two hours before you’re going to make the Yorkies. You can even make it two to three days ahead of time. The point is that the batter needs to be very cold, so that when it hits the hot pan, the Yorkies puff up. To make the batter, place all of the Yorkie ingredients (except for the vegetable oil or beef drippings) into a blender. Blend to fully incorporate all ingredients, scraping down the sides, if necessary. Place the blender pitcher into the fridge and leave for two hours. I recommend just leaving it in the blender, as this will make it easier to pour later.

3.) Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and generously sprinkle roast with salt and pepper. Place the prime rib, fat side up, in a roasting pan and place in the oven.

4.) Allow the prime rib to cook in the extremely hot oven for 15 minutes and then, without opening the door, turn the heat down to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast for 15 – 17 minutes per pound for medium-rare, and 13 – 15 minutes per pound for rare. Remove from oven after cooking time, cover with foil, and let rest for about 20 minutes to half an hour.

5.) When the prime rib is finished resting, carve the meat off the bones and slice as you normally would.

6.) After the prime rib is finished cooking, turn the heat on the oven up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and place about divide the vegetable oil or beef drippings evenly among the 12 cups in a muffin tin. Place in the hot oven and let the fat get very hot (almost to the point of smoking).

7.) While you’re waiting for the oil to get hot, place all of the ingredients for the au jus into a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until it’s reduced by half. Strain and discard vegetables and herbs before serving.

8.) Open oven door and pull out the entire oven rack holding the muffin tin for the Yorkies. Pour the Yorkie batter into the muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 of the way full. The batter will sizzle and hiss – that’s exactly what you want.

9.) Gently slide the oven door back in and bake the Yorkies for 15 – 20 minutes, until they are golden, crispy, and puffy. Do not open the door while the Yorkies are cooking, or they could collapse. Treat them as you would a souffle and only take peeks through the door!

10.) Serve and enjoy!

Oct 02 2016

Tammy’s Chicken Tortellini Soup

chicken-tortellini-soup

So this week I’ve brought you a couple of recipes that I got from friends – check out Sheila’s Fancy Potatoes and Jaime’s French Onion Pork Chops in case you missed them. So today, I thought I would bring some family in to join in on the fun.

My sister-in-law, Tammy, gave this Chicken Tortellini Soup recipe to me via Recipebook. Uh, I mean Facebook, but hasn’t it turned into just one big recipe exchange? (Something I’m all for, by the way). The soup actually calls to be cooked in the slow cooker, but since I had no chicken stock in the house, I had to make that first and that took up most of my slow-cooking time. I also used chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts, as the day I went to the grocery store they were trying to squeeze $20 out of us for 4 chicken breasts. $5 for a raw piece of chicken?! It’s a good thing everyone in my family prefers dark meat to white anyway.

And it’s a great thing that Tammy’s my sister-in-law! Not only do I get some awesome recipes, but she’s pretty cool, too.

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, chopped into bite-size pieces (about 3/4″) $7.75
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil $0.03
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced $0.51
  • 3 stalks celery, diced $0.33
  • 1 onion, diced $0.47
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced $0.03
  • 6 cups chicken broth $3.00
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme $0.25
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary $0.33
  • 2 bay leaves $0.32
  • 2 cups cheese tortellini $2.99
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped $0.30
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $16.33
Cost per serving $3.26

1.) Preheat a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. When hot, add the oil and after a few seconds of letting the oil heat up, add the chicken thigh pieces. Let chicken cook for a about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2.) Add the carrot, celery, and onion to the chicken in the pan, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

3.) Add the chicken broth, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper and bring the soup up to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, turn heat down to medium-low and simmer for about 20 minutes.

4.) Add the tortellini at the end of cooking time (this will help prevent it from turning to mush) and cook for about 15 minutes.

5.) Remove bay leaves and thyme and rosemary sprigs. Taste soup and adjust seasoning if necessary. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and stir through.

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 29 2016

Jaime’s French Onion Pork Chops

french-onion-pork-chops

I told you my friends give me good recipes, didn’t I? This one came to me from my good friend, Jaime, who’s just as crazy about food as I am, and is one of those people that takes pictures of their food and puts it up on Facebook. Just like I am!!!

When she posted these French Onion Pork Chops, my mouth started watering and I knew I had to make them. The recipe Jaime gave me wasn’t anything like I suspected it would be, but I did follow it to a tee and I suggest you do, too. It’s scrumptious and comforting, and everything a pork chop recipe should be.

  • 4 – 5 boneless pork chops $7.15
  • Big chunk of butter (I think I used about 1/4 cup) $0.22
  • 4 – 5 medium-sized potatoes, sliced thinly as you would for scalloped potatoes $1.05
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced $0.47
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.02
  • 1 package dry onion soup mix $2.39
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded $2.50
  • 2 cups water Free!

Total cost $13.80
Cost per serving $3.45

1.) Melt butter in a frying pan set over medium-high heat. Place pork chops in and fry for about 3 minutes on each side, just until they get nicely seared. Remove from frying pan and place on a separate plate.

2.) Add the potato and onions slices to the same pan and toss, cooking for about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, stir, and cook for another 30 seconds.

3.) Spread the potatoes out evenly in the pan and place pork chops over top of them. Sprinkle soup mix over top of all contents in the pan and add water to the pan (I tried not to splash it over the pork chops so that the seasoning stayed on them).

4.) Turn heat to low and simmer until pork chops are completely cooked through, and potatoes are soft.

5.) Turn heat off and distribute the cheese evenly between the pork chops. Let sit until the cheese is melted (I placed a lid over my pan just to help speed along the melting process).

6.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 27 2016

Sheila’s Fancy Potatoes

sheilas-fancy-potatoes

Most times I hear about recipes directly. My mom will email me a link or really cool video, or someone will post something on my Facebook wall (man the digital age has made recipes exchanges so much easier!) But sometimes, recipes come to me a little more indirectly, such as this dish that I heard about from a mutual friend of a friend.

That friend is Sheila and not only is she a beast in the kitchen, she’s also a little bit fancy. She’s always taking something you eat all the time, like mashed potatoes, and turning them into something constructed of sheer luxury. For this dish, she stuffs those taters with everything good – bacon, caramelized onions, and zingy blue cheese (although when I made them, I had to substitute with Brie, being that that’s what I had in my fridge.) The potatoes come out as deliciously decadent as they sound, and will totally shine a new light on this same-old-same-old side dish.

I love these mashed potatoes almost as much as I love Sheila herself.

For the mashed potatoes:

  • 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, rinsed, and halved $1.66
  • 1/4 cup butter $0.22
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream $0.44
  • Lots of salt $0.01
  • White or black pepper $0.02
  • 1/2 cup Brie cheese $2.50
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped $1.99
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley $0.10

For the caramelized onions:

  • 3 onions, sliced $1.41
  • 3 tablespoons butter $0.18
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil $0.06
  • Salt $0.01

Total cost $8.60
Cost per serving $2.14

1.) Start by making the mashed potatoes. Place potatoes in a large pot and fill with water. You’ll need about a thumb’s length of water covering the potatoes.

2.) Generously salt the water and place the pot of potatoes on a burner set on high heat. Cover with a lid and bring up to a boil. Then keep covered, lower heat to medium and gently boil the potatoes just until they can be easily pierced with a fork.

3.) While potatoes are boiling, place butter and cream in a saucepan set over medium heat. Once warm, remove from heat.

4.) Drain the potatoes, dump them back into the pot, and set them back onto the burner that’s been turned off, but is still hot. Stir to help evaporate any remaining liquid left in the pot.

5.) Add warmed butter and cream. Using a ricer or a hand masher, mash the potatoes just until they have completely broken apart; mash slightly, trying to break up as many lumps as you can. Then, add salt and pepper, and stir with the back of a spoon to further mash and incorporate seasonings.

6.) While the mashed potatoes are cooking, make the caramelized onions. Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and oil. When the butter and oil have melted together, add the sliced onions, along with a generous pinch of salt, and toss to completely coat them in the fat. Stir, keep over medium-low heat and let cook for 45 minutes to one hour, until the onions are very soft and entirely brown. The level of caramelization you take the onions to is up to you, but you definitely need to remove them from the heat once they turn dark brown. Stir the onions regularly during the entire cooking time.

7.) While the onions are cooking, make the bacon by simply adding it to a pan that’s been preheated over medium-high heat. Stir the bacon occasionally to turn, and fry until crispy. Remove to paper towels and drain.

8.) When everything is finished cooking, just bring it all together. Add the caramelized onions, bacon, parsley, and Brie to the mashed potatoes and stir to bring everything together. (If any item has gotten cold, dot the entire dish with butter and pop in a hot oven for a few minutes just to warm everything back through.)

9.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 25 2016

Revised Tuscan Chicken

improvised-tuscan-chicken-dinner

So the other day, I had the cheapo cut of meat, chicken legs with thighs attached, sitting in my fridge. The delicious Italian dish, Tuscan Chicken, came to mind and, knowing it has a long marinating time, I quickly set about gathering the ingredients. Just as quickly, I realized I didn’t have many of the main ingredients this chicken dish called for.

Not to be swayed from my Tuscan Chicken dreams, I found whatever substitutions I could and prepared it (mostly) the same way. The result? An entirely different dish. And that’s one of my favourite things about cooking.

  • 4 chicken legs with thighs attached $6.75
  • 1/4 cup olive oil $0.08
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved $1.98
  • 2 carrots, chopped $0.34
  • 1 onion, chopped $0.47
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped $0.35
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped $0.35
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced $0.04
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon $0.33
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary leaves $0.50
  • 1 cup dry white wine $2.50
  • 1 cup chicken stock $1.00
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $14.71
Cost per serving $3.67

1.) Rinse and pat chicken dry and place in a large pot (the same one you will cook the chicken in). In a separate bowl combine the olive oil, carrots, onion, bell pepper, garlic, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, salt and pepper. Mix together to ensure that all vegetables are coated and then pour over top of chicken. Place in the fridge and marinate for 3 or 4 hours.

2.) When ready to start cooking, take the pot of the fridge and bring the chicken back up to room temperature. This will probably take about an hour.

3.) Place pot over medium-high heat and brown the chicken on both sides. This should take about 15 minutes. Add the wine and reduce for 5 minutes. Add the cut cherry tomatoes and chicken stock, then add to the pot, mixing well to ensure everything is combined thoroughly.

4.) Bring to a full boil then lower the heat and simmer for 30 – 45 minutes more, until the chicken is completely cooked through.

5.) Serve and enjoy!

Sep 21 2016

Fire Roasted Tomatoes

fire-roasted-tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of my favourite foods. Whether you give them to me as a sauce, an appetizer, or just in a bowl, I’ll gladly eat them all. Roasting tomatoes over fire makes them even sweeter and juicier, and gives them a hint of smokiness that is perfect in the middle of summertime, or any time. And it also makes for a super quick and easy side dish!

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, washed and patted dry $3.99
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing $0.06
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped $0.55
  • Salt $0.01
  • Pepper $0.01

Total cost $4.62
Cost per serving $1.15

1.) Skewer tomatoes, one at a time, onto steel or wooden skewers (remember wooden skewers need to be soaked first). Brush each tomato with a bit of olive oil.

2.) Preheat an outdoor grill over high heat. When piping hot, place the skewers of tomatoes onto the grill, directly over the flame. Grill each skewer for 5 – 7 minutes, turning the skewers regularly. Tomatoes are done when they are slightly charred and wilted, and just beginning to burst.

3.) Remove tomatoes from the skewers and place them into a large bowl. Add more olive oil, plus basil, salt and pepper. Toss to mix thoroughly.

4.) Serve and enjoy!

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