Kate's Cuisine

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!

Jul 19 2017

Air Crisper Fries

Air Crisper Tray

Air Crisper Fries

I recently moved into a new home and my mom came up just a couple of weeks later for a visit. Knowing how much I love to be in the kitchen, and how much I probably loved being in my brand new kitchen even more, she brought me the perfect housewarming present – the Gotham Air Crisper, brought to you by the good people that bring you all good “As Seen on TV” things. This crisper claims to be able to crisp anything from veggies to French fries in one fell swoop. There’s no parboiling, no vats of oil on your stove that could be dangerous, just super crispy fries straight from your oven.

After cooking with it (and doing a bit of research for this post) I quickly learned that there are questions all over the Internet wondering whether this thing is a scam, or if it’s a legit way to get crispy fries with just a fraction of the work. I am here to tell you that while their recipes might need some work, this advertises itself as a crisper. And it is indeed, a crisper. No scam here.

At first, the recipe looked like any fries recipe I’ve made before, scrubbing potatoes and cutting them into French fries and then soaking them to get rid of the excess starch. But my regular fries recipe ends there. Once the fries have been properly soaked, drained and dried, you then just toss them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and throw them into the crisper. Wanting to follow instructions to the tee, but not being exactly sure it would work out, that’s just what I did.

I found that the fries were in fact crisp, both inside and out. While the surface of the fries were nice and brown and crispy, the inside unfortunately was, too. Not to the extent that we couldn’t eat them. I mean, they definitely weren’t raw, but I did get some side-eye from my picky husband who wants his fries *just* perfect. But to be honest, maybe I just overloaded the Crisper and so it couldn’t fully work its magic. With a sleepover going on that same night, there were a lot of mouths to feed and a lot of fries needed.

I will certainly be using the Air Crisper again, even for French fries, but you definitely do need to parboil them a bit just to get the inside fully cooked and soft. I mean, even with this additional step, there’s still no massive amounts of oil needed so they’ll still be healthier and let’s face it, deep-frying on your stove is a ton of work. Work that now I don’t have to do.

If you’re still not completely sold, here are a few of the other great things about the Crisper. It’s non-stick (bonus for those of us who hate buying copious amounts of parchment paper just to cover our sheets!), it’s dishwasher-safe, and it can take heat up to a whopping 500 degrees – so you can even put it under the broiler! Thanks, mom, this new gadget makes my new kitchen even better!

Ingredients:

  • 6 – 8 potatoes, sliced into French fries
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.) Place the French fries into a large mixing bowl and cover completely with water. Let the water take off some of the starch, then drain and refill with fresh warm water. Repeat a few times over the course of 40 minutes. Drain the potatoes one last time and dry thoroughly with a paper towel.

2.) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

3.) Place the French fries into another large mixing bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the potatoes into the Crisper.

4.) Making sure that the fries are in the Crisper basket and the basket is on the accompanying tray, place the potatoes into the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are desired crispiness.

5.) Show everyone at the table your new gadget, then serve and enjoy!

Jul 10 2017

Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding

It has been a busy time lately! I’ve been moving, unpacking, getting a new house organized and of course, working so I can still keep my job throughout it all. Before the big move, there was a lot of takeout going on, as we used up all our food and didn’t want to buy more just so we’d have to move it and risk it all going bad before getting it into the new fridge. Needless to say, after just a few days, I was sick of it.

So when we finally got things a bit settled, I walked into my beautiful brand new kitchen, desperate to cook. But being a bit tired, I also didn’t want to do anything that was particularly labour-intensive. I just wanted to make something that was beautiful, comforting, and of course, delicious. Chocolate pudding seemed to be the answer (because really, when isn’t chocolate pudding the answer?)

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup sugar $0.06
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder $1.33
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch $0.74
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt $0.01
  • 2 1/2 cups milk $0.70
  • 4 large egg yolks $0.64
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces $0.26
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract $0.22

Total cost $3.96
Cost per serving $0.99

Directions:

1.) In a medium saucepan, with no heat under it just yet, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cocoa powder. Very gradually using just a few tablespoons at a time, whisk in milk making sure all the cornstarch is dissolved. Whisk in egg yolks.

2.) Place the saucepan over medium heat and whisk constantly until the first large bubble appears. Reduce heat to low and continue to whisk for 1 minute. Remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine mesh sieve, into a large bowl. I find it easiest to do this using a rubber spatula to push the pudding through the sieve.Stir in butter and vanilla while the chocolate pudding is still piping hot.

3.) Place plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the chocolate pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.

4.) Serve and enjoy!

Jun 23 2017

The Classic Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary cocktail

I have always been fascinated by the classic cocktail, Bloody Mary. It’s not so much about the actual drink, or even the liquor in it, but all of those yummy garnishes that stick out of the top of the glass. Of course, it all started with just a celery stalk but people have taken it to a whole new level, adding pickle spears, asparagus, pepperoncini, cherry tomatoes, and even chunks of cheese and sliders. Yes, little burgers on top of your drink! How fun is that?

Here I’ve kept it to just the classic version. It was my first time enjoying one and so, I wanted to get the full purely authentic experience. And I have to say, while celery is one of my favourite vegetables, the actual drink was pretty good too. If you’re not a fan of vodka, you can substitute tequila, but it then becomes a Bloody Maria (which not only sounds really fun but probably tastes just as good!)

And of course, if you don’t have a severe shellfish allergy you can also substitute the plain tomato juice for Clamato, making it a Caesar. Being that the Caesar originated in Canada in 1969 at the Calgary Inn (now known as the Westin Hotel), it’s a perfect cocktail for the upcoming Canada Day weekend!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup tomato juice $0.64
  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka $0.84
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce $0.06
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish $0.04
  • 3 dashes of hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Frank’s $0.05
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice $0.01
  • 1 pinch salt $0.01
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper $0.01
  • 1 lemon wedge $0.05
  • Celery seed, for garnish $0.75
  • 1 celery stalk, for garnish $0.17

Total cost per drink: $2.63

Directions:

1.) Place about 1/4 cup of celery seed on a plate. Run the lemon wedge, flesh-side down, along the rim of a tall cocktail glass. Turn the glass upside down and place the rim in the celery seed. Turn the glass back and forth a bit to make sure the entire rim is coated.

2.) Fill the glass with ice cubes and then pour in the tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, hot sauce, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Using a straw or spoon, mix the drink very well to distribute all ingredients evenly.

3.) Garnish with a celery stalk and anything else you wish to sit atop your drink!

4.) Serve and enjoy!

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