Broccoli Yakisoba

My poor neglected blog! Life has caught up with me lately.  Midterms, essay deadlines,  and family gatherings are certainly an excellent way to eat up your time! I’ve barely had any time to develop new recipes, I cannot count the number of bean burritos I have nuked this last week.

But i am hoping for everything to be back to normal soon enough. That said, I have returned with a treat for you: my delicious yakisoba!

Stuffed full of broccoli and other delicious veggies, what more could anyone ask for?

What you need:

1 head broccoli,  roughly chopped

1 onion

1/2 head of cabbage, roughly chopped

4 carrots, sliced

2 sticks celery, sliced

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tbl hot sauce (I used franks red hot)

2 packets oof dry ramen noodles

What you do:

Combine all veggies in the Sautee pan and heat until everything is cooked to your liking

For the sauce: Combine soy sauce, ketchup and hot sauce. Set aside.

Cook the ramen noodles in boiling water. Discard the seasoning packets they come with.

Pour the sauce into the Sautee pan of veggies, and stir so that everything is mixed evenly.

Add the noodles to the Sautee pan and mix everything together.

Serve.

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The Great Divide + Raisin Chili Pancakes

I love to read, always have. But even more I love food. Combine the two and my favourite thing to read is recipe books, food blogs, and chef autobiographies.

I have most recently obtained a copy of The Flavor Thesaurus by Niki Segnit. This book contains flavour combinations for a number of different ingredients,  some classic and some that are new and slightly obscure.

Reading this book has opened my eyes to new ideas and new combinations i had never tried nor thought of. And it has made me keen to try out flavour combinations of my own.

And the first thing I come up with? Chili and raisin pancakes. An odd sounding idea but it was truly delicious. The cool of the raisins cuts through the heat of the chili flakes. Amazing what you can do with food!

What you need:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup raisins
1 tbe red chili flakes

Combine the flour, sugar, egg and milk. Stir until everything is combined and there are no lumps of flour left in.

Now add the raisins and chili flakes and mix until they are distributed evenly.

Using a skillet or griddle on a medium heat, pour in enough batter for a single pancake.

Cook on the bottom side until you start to see it bubble and the edges go brown.
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Flip and cook through until golden.
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Mouths Wide Shut

I have lost count of the number of times the topic of food has come up and I have essentially been told that because I don’t eat meat, I shouldn’t have opinions about food at all. I remember one time complementing a wonderful green bean casserole and having an aunt reply with “how would you know, you don’t eat anything”.

As it happens, I eat a lot of foods. A lot of different foods. There isn’t much within the plant world that I won’t happily devour. But the fact I don’t eat meat apparently makes me a picky eater.  I have family members that won’t eat anything that is green, others with no gluten,  I have an aunt who is on a new diet every month. But the most inconvenient person at the dinner table always seems to be me.

Why?  If there is a family dinner I always take my own food, I don’t expect anyone to make me anything. I also don’t comment on what everyone else is eating.

I am often told that my diet must be boring but i am far more creative with my food now than i ever was before.  I remember coming home from school and while my siblings were making bologna sandwiches for their snack, I was there sautéing up some peppers and mushrooms with a few chili flakes or some garlic salt, or filling tortillas with hummus and raw veggies.  I remember planning out my after school snack while riding the bus home.  I eat more fresh fruits and vegetables than anyone else in my family. And every big dinner that I’ve been to, I have never taken the exact same thing twice.

I don’t count myself as a picky eater because of my food choices, I’m not picky, I just made a choice.  I don’t feel like it should inconvenience anyone, I don’t expect anything separate or different,  I’m more than willing to bring whatever I need myself.

When I was an omnivore, my diet was a lot more limited than it is now. Partly because I had no idea what kind of foods were out there.  Partly because what my parents always made was never particularly creative so I wasn’t exposed to very many foods. Getting out into the food world myself, I discovered a lot of things that I never knew existed.

Is my diet limited? No.

Day 4: Zucchini Pie

Growing up, my parents were never particularly creative when it came to mealtimes. My Stepmom had the same weekly rotation every single week (with the exception of Christmas and Thanksgiving). The same thing. My Stepmom didn’t enjoy a day spent in the kitchen or learning new recipes. She had a handful of dishes she could make well, and that was all she ever needed to bother with. My Mom on the other hand referred to her kitchen as her quiet space and could happily spend hours stood over the stove tweaking a soup or stew. My Stepmom and my Mom are similar in one thing though, they never like to play with new ingredients.

The first time I saw a zucchini was when my aunt brought some from her garden for my stepmother. My Stepmom was incredibly perplexed, none of her 7 meals ever contained a zucchini. I was 8. Stepmom handed this zucchini to me and asked me to figure out something for dinner. I thought it was a cucumber, and was excited when my aunt told me it wasn’t. I had no idea what I could do with it, but I stuck to something simple and made a soup for the family. It was the first time Stepmom had let me cook anything without help and I remember excitedly throwing in herbs and spices from the shelf I was so rarely allowed to touch. As it turned out, I had managed to throw a little bit of everything from our spice rack into that soup. Yeah, don’t do that. I was so proud of myself when it was finally ready.

Ten people sat at that table, and only my oldest brothers dared to take a second taste of whatever was in front of them. I was so proud of myself I could have happily eaten it all, but no one else felt that way. And I don’t blame them. It was not good. It reminds me now of that one episode of Friends, when Rachel attempts a trifle and fails horribly. I failed at my soup, and my brothers were trying so hard to not let anyone say anything, as to hurt my 8 year old feelings.

My oldest brother David likes to recount that tale often, so I thought it would be fun to make him another zucchini dish. This time hopefully a lot better. And it was a success!

Thankfully as I’ve gotten older I have learnt a little more restraint in the kitchen, though I doubt my family will ever forget the incident with the zucchini soup. But here is to Zucchini Pie!

Zucchini Pie

This recipe fed two people well, with enough leftover for a lunch the following day.

Ingredients

Puff pastry (enough to fill your baking dish on the top and bottom)
2 zucchini, grated
1/2 block feta cheese, crumbled
2 sprigs mint, chopped
1 egg

Grate the zucchini and drain out the liquid. Quite a lot of liquid will come out of your zucchinis. I grated mine in the early afternoon a few hours before I needed them, and I still had a little juice left in my bowl.

Combine the zucchini, feta cheese and zucchini in a bowl.

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Add the egg and mix until combined.

Roll out the pastry so that it can line the bottom of the baking dish. Spoon the zucchini mixture on top of the pastry.

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Put another layer of pastry on top.

Bake at 450F for 20 minutes, until the crust is golden.

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Autumn + Carrot Soup Recipe

Autumn is my favourite season of the year. Perhaps it is because, living in Canada, the seasons go from winter to summer to winter, with only a little bit of spring or autumn in between. Autumn seems to be such a short season here, and almost all of it is spent waiting for and preparing for the snow.
It is always so glazed over. The stores already have their christmas merchandise in. Autumn is like the middle child, forgotten in the rush. Perhaps that is why it is my favourite season. Because people rarely stop to notice the little things, the little changes that come with autumn, and because before they know it winter will have arrived.
I love to see the changing colours of the leaves, the cool of the evening, when it is still warm enough to go out for a midnight stroll without a jacket, but not so hot you feel as though you are stepping into a sauna as you do in summer. I love the crab apples that start to fall from the trees, I can spend hours gathering a bunch to bring home for some baking.
Here, you never quite know how long autumn will last. Snow can arrive anytime between the end of September and halloween. And because it can be so brief, that is why it is so magical.
October brings with it a time of celebration: thanksgiving, halloween, my birthday. Time to spend with friends and family and just enjoy before the stress of the christmas season hits.
The Canada geese start to leave, migrating for warmer climates, and new wildlife start to emerge. The baby deer have antlers now, and you can still spot them in the city as you walk around at night.
Autumn is beautiful.

Autumn also brings with it the cooler air, the lower temperatures, and the joy of fresh pumpkins to roast. And best of all, it brings with it my favourite carrot soup.
During the summer it is too hot for a soup, something that simmers away on the stove for a couple of hours if not my idea of fun when it is 50C+ outside, and pretty close to that inside. But on an autumn evening, a soup is a welcome delight.

When making soup, I like to use two different pans. One for the base vegetables and stock, and one for the extra bits.

Carrot Soup

Ingredients:

1lb carrots, peeled and sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 cup shallots
1 turnip, sliced
1 tbl paprika
1 tbl vegetable spice
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Add 3/4 of the carrots and 1/2 of your turnip. Boil until soft.

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In a skillet, saute the onion, shallots, and the rest of the carrots and turnips. Add the spices and salt and pepper. I generally cook them until the onions and shallots are starting to brown.

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First put the boiled carrot mixture into the blender with a cup of the water you used to boil it in. Puree until smooth. Leave 2 cups worth of the carrot, turnip mixture out and set it to one side.

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Now add the sauteed onion mixture to the blender with another cup of water and puree until smooth.

Add the mixture back into a saucepan and add the  reserved veggies. Serve.

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Day 3: Apple Raisin Breakfast Casserole

Sometimes with cooking I can get stuck in a bit of a rut. I excitedly try out a few new things and inevitably fall back into the same few standbys. I want to get out of that habit and force myself to try something new. I am going to make 60 new to me dishes and hopefully find myself a whole new list of favourite foods.

Day 3: Apple raisin breakfast casserole

Breakfast is always said to be the most important meal of the day, and yet it is the one meal I generally forget. Why? I’m not exactly a morning person, but I am determined to make more of an effort. I also have been wanting to incorporate more oats into my diet so I came up with this. It turned out to be a bit like an apple crisp, but it was still delicious at breakfast time.

 

Ingredients

3 apples, sliced (I used Granny Smiths)
1 cup raisins
2 cups rolled oats
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups milk (I used almond milk for this recipe)
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 egg

 

Line your baking dish with the apple slices, I had enough for about 3 layers of apple. Then top with 3/4 cup of the raisins.

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In a medium bowl combine the oats, cinnamon, baking powder, brown sugar, and the rest of the raisins. Then put all of the oat mixture on top of the apples.

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In another bowl, combine the egg, milk and corn syrup, and drizzle that mixture on top of the oats.

Bake at 375F for 40 minutes

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Day 2. Vegetable Feta Quesadilla

Sometimes with cooking I can get stuck in a bit of a rut. I excitedly try out a few new things and inevitably fall back into the same few standbys. I want to get out of that habit and force myself to try something new. I am going to make 60 new to me dishes and hopefully find myself a whole new list of favourite foods.

Day 2. Vegetable Feta Quesadilla

I generally only ever eat quesadillas when I go out to the local Mexican restaurants. Mostly those ones contain either beans or rice, salsa and cheese. But I have never yet actually made my own, nor have I ever really thought to play around with fillings. So today was the day to try!  Peppers and feta cheese seemed like a good place to start.

Ingredients:

1/2 zucchini, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
Feta cheese
2 tortilla shells

Saute the zucchini, pepper and onion.

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Warm both tortillas on each side and then add the filling, and top with crumbled feta cheese.

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Saute both sides of the quesadilla until crispy.

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