Kate's Cuisine

Oct 06 2017

Spice Mix for Roasted Potato Wedges

Roasted Wedges Spice Mix

I think roasted potato wedges were one of the dishes I first started cooking. It’s a good one to start with, because they are so incredibly easy. But can you believe that I used to just toss them with salt and pepper?! I mean, how boring is that? These days I like to mix it up a little more with different seasonings and spices. And although I do change it up every now and then, I usually come back to this Cajun spice mix. It’s got just a little bit of spice, but not so much that my spice-adverse daughter won’t eat them. And it’s a great way to wrap up Spice Week!

Just like all the other spices posted this week, you can make a big batch and just store it in an airtight container. When it comes time to use, just toss it with potato wedges and some olive oil in a large bowl before tossing them onto a pan sheet and into a hot oven. Almost as soon as you mix it, before they’ve even seen any actual heat, they turn a beautiful golden colour that promises you’re in a for a tasty dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder $0.23
  • 2 teaspoons cumin $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander $0.16
  • 1 teaspoon paprika $0.16
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric $0.37
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon salt $0.01
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper $0.01

Total cost $1.64

Directions:

1.) Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and use as desired.

Oct 05 2017

Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning

So I promised you several posts this week on homemade spice blends, and today’s is all about taco seasoning. I used to buy those little packs you can get at the grocery store and that are filled with all the spices you need; and there is not so much as a stir required. But there are more than delicious spices in those packs. Firstly, the spices have likely turned stale and bland; and you’ll get more than you bargained for when you also consume things like MSG, preservatives and a whole bunch of other nasty stuff. And the chances are, you likely have all the spices contained in those packs sitting in your pantry, anyway.

With this homemade taco seasoning, you can still get all the convenience those little packages would give you. Just whip up a big batch and keep it in an airtight container along with all your other spices. You’ll have to double or triple the batch if you want to do that, as this recipe will give you about 3 tablespoons of taco seasoning; just about as much as you’d get at the store. But the recipe is very easy to multiply, and the next time you go to make tacos, or anything taco-related, you’ll be able to just sprinkle some on and feel good knowing the meal is truly made from scratch!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder $0.23
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder $0.08
  • 1 teaspoon oregano $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon paprika $0.16
  • 1 teaspoon cumin $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon salt $0.01
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper $0.01
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes $0.12

Total cost $1.16

Directions:

1.) Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Place any remaining spice mixture into a spice jar or other airtight container and store at room temperature.

Oct 03 2017

Emeril’s Essence

Emeril's Essence Spice Blend

This week I’m going to have a few different spice blends for you, as the pictures are starting to collect on my phone and not only are they taking up storage, but I want you to have them! And there’s no better way to start it off than with Emeril’s Essence.

Emeril’s Essence is so fitting to kick off what I’m dubbing “Spice Week” because he is really the first celebrity chef that I started watching and that really inspired me to get into the kitchen and start cooking. I’ve tried many different Emeril recipes over the years, and even have several of his cookbooks (which, by the way are also totally inspiring with beautiful pics of his food and stories woven throughout about his different restaurants).

But those who watched Emeril Live know all about Emeril’s Essence, as we waited for him to throw some onto whatever he was cooking and yell “BAM!” So do yourself a favour. Mix together a big batch of this Essence and start kicking things up a notch in your own kitchen!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika $0.96
  • 2 tablespoons salt $0.06
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper $0.03
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder $0.26
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper $0.69
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano $0.60
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme $0.75

Total cost $3.55

Instructions:

1.) Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Store in an airtight container at room temperature and it will last for several months.

Sep 28 2017

How to Build the Perfect Charcuterie Board

When it’s time to host and entertain family and friends, just about everyone I know puts out some kinds of platter. These typically include meats, cheeses, pickles, olives, and the like. To be honest, at my house we love these platters so much that we often have them as lunch when it’s just the four of us. I always just called these ‘platters’, but they’re actually known as charcuterie boards. Maybe I just never called them that before because mine aren’t really fancy. Or maybe because I didn’t even know that word until recently.

But my friend Jules at Shari’s Berries has sent me another dynamic infographic from one of Shari’s Berries sister brands – Gifts.com – and has introduced me to this new word, and the fancy board that makes it up. This one shows the essentials, but you can head on over to www.gifts.com to check out specifics on the perfect cheeses and meats, and the perfect accompaniments to go along with them. I don’t know about you, but my platters just got a big dose of class!

Credit to http://www.gifts.com/ for this graphic.

charcuterie essentials

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!

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