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What a Jerk!

2010.07.13


This chicken, that is!

Let’s face it. It’s friggin’ crappy outside (if you’re anywhere near Central Alberta anyway). We’re talking wind-gusting, down-pouring, 7°C (yeah, SEVEN. That’s only 3 or 4°C away from snow, for Pete’s sake!) kind of crappy. Some summer!

As of yesterday I had had enough and decided a feast of a tropical sort was in order.

Pretty sure it doesn’t get much more tropical than a righteous jerk chicken topped with fruit salsa and served up right with Carib-style beans and rice.

The chicken is steeped overnight in a marinade that lends a mild heat with hints of warm allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg contrasted by bright ginger and lime. After grilling to perfection, it’s topped with a tropical fruit salsa that is to die for! I’ve actually been known to make up a batch of this salsa just for scooping up with salty tortilla chips. Yum!

The beans and rice are slowly simmered in coconut milk and hit with some thyme and allspice to echo the flavours of the jerk chicken.

So whatever the weather, this meal is just the ticket when you want to transport your taste buds some place tropical.

Seriously, are those steel drums I hear?!

Caribbean Jerk-Style Chicken, adapted from Eat, Shrink & Be Merry;

Serves 6

(Print this Recipe!)

Marinade (enough for 6 chicken breasts) :

  • 1/3 cup chpped green onions
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp liquid honey
  • 1 tbsp grated gingerroot
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced (wear gloves! trust me!)
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  1. Whisk together all marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Place chicken breasts in a large, heavy duty, resealable plastic bag. Add marinade and seal bag. Turn bag several times to coat chicken with marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Preheat grill to medium. Remove chicken from marinade (discard marinade) and place on a grill rack that has been coated with cooking spray or lightly brushed with oil. Grill for about 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until juices run clear.
  3. Serve hot chicken with Tropical Fruit Salsa (recipe following…)

Tropical Fruit Salsa, from Eat, Shrink & Be Merry

  • 1 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup diced fresh mango
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced green bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Combine all salsa ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Carib-Beans & Rice, from Company’s Coming Choosing Sides

Makes 4 cups

(Print this recipe!)

  • 2 bacon slices, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 14 oz-can of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-1/4 cup prepared chicken broth
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • Pinch (to taste) of cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup long grain white rice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp chopped green onion
  1. Cook bacon in large saucepan on medium until crisp. Drain all but 1 tsp drippings.
  2. Add onion, red pepper and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened.
  3. Add next kidney beans, coconut milk, thyme, allspice, and cayenne pepper. Stir. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add rice and salt. Stir. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, without stirring, until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
  5. Sprinkle with green onion.

Mediterranean Chicken Burgers & Simple Greek Salad

2010.07.09

Given the noticeable lack of activity around here lately, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I had given up eating entirely. That, or perhaps I had partaken in the final great dirt nap. Fear not, my precocious readers!  Luckily for you and unluckily for my butt, this is not the case.

What started off as the occasional “hmm-that’s-strange-I-don’t-remember-shutting-my-computer-off” was soon followed by “geez-I-don’t-remember-my-computer-ever-making-that-noise-before” and then one day became, “OHSHIT-my-computer-has-a-mind-of-it’s-fucking-own-and-is-now-self-destructing”. Ordinarily, I’m not one to panic when computer problems set in. I am, after all, Little Miss Back That Shit Up (the t-shirt would have the chuckling cartoon swooning with an external hard-drive in her arms). In fact, given my present computer’s rather pathetic existence following a pre-Christmas glass of wine that went awry (think lap top with external EVERYTHING… it’s like the bubble boy of the computer world) I was casually on the lookout for any excuse that involved Me and a New Computer ever since. Then I got accepted to go back to school this September (Happy Dance!!!!)…. BUT still have not managed to secure any form of employment since our relocation last fall (dang you economy *shakes fist*). WHICH MEANS…. tough shit Ambie, reformat your computer, coddle it if necessary, and move on.

Oh and reformat I did. A total of about 6 times before all seemed to return to normal. So that’s where the whole thing STARTED. This incident was then followed by a complete lack of inspiration in my kitchen, a couple of “it’s-too-hot-to-cook”s and a great big fat “I’m-just-too-lazy”. I’m too lazy to photograph every step of the process, I’m too lazy to go through all the pics after, I’m too lazy to come up with a witty story, I’m too lazy to edit pics. Basically, I was just… lazy. I wanted to blog, I really did; I just didn’t feel like doing any of the work!

And then…

Insert Hubby, who buys me, beautiful, shiny, beckoning, did I say beautiful?, attachments for my Kitchen Aid stand mixer for my birthday last week (Little Miss Kitchen Gadgets much?).

Passion: REIGNITED! Head pats for Hubby!!

The attachments I speak of are the pasta maker (Ballin’!), the meat grinder (Shut Yo Mouth!) and a rotary slicer/grater thingy that makes my mandolin weep (don’t worry my little mandolin, we will always have Microwave Potato Chips)

SO. Shall we get cooking? Now, I’m warning you. I didn’t think to pick up my camera until after all was said and done, so I only have photos of the finished products. And honestly, I really liked doing it this way! It took a lot of pressure off of stopping to photograph each step and allowed me to cook to my little heart’s content and photograph the beautiful product (which is obviously the greatest part to photograph!). This is definitely a style I’m considering switching to in an effort to blog more beautiful bounties of my kitchen to you!

Here it is: Mediterranean Chicken Burgers with a  Simple Greek Salad, a fresh and light summer supper that can be whipped together in a delicious flash! The burgers are simple, juicy and bursting with a prominent citrus note that perfectly complements the rich creaminess of the cheeses. The pepper and onion compote seals the deal. As for the salad, it’s just your basic Greek style salad, except you’re REALLY going to want to write down my recipe for the dressing. It’s kind of amazing.

Mediterranean Chicken Burgers, from Company’s Coming Chicken Now

(Print this recipe!)

  • 1-½ tsp butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ¾ cup roasted red peppers, drained and blotted dry, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 slice of bread, torn into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • ½ teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1-½ pounds (680 g) lean ground chicken (this is where my new grinder came in! Freshly ground chicken thighs = awesomeness); I think lamb would be really great in place of chicken as well!
  • ½ cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
  • ¼ cup light cream cheese, softened
  • 6 fresh hamburger buns or Kaiser rolls, split
  1. Melt butter in large frying pan on medium. Add onion. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until softened
  2. Add red pepper and vinegar. Stir. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft. Remove from heat. Cover to keep warm.
  3. Put bread and lemon juice into a medium bowl. Stir until bread is moistened. Add next 6 ingredients. Stir.
  4. Add ground chicken. Mix well. Divide into 6 equal portions. Shape into 4-½ inch diameter patties (Wanna know a trick? Line a peanut butter or similar lid with saran wrap and use it as a mould for your patty. Simply flip the lid over and voila! Out pops your perfectly formed patty. If you need visuals, check out this link. Take that Perfect Patty!)
  5. Put feta and cream cheese into small bowl. Mash until smooth. Preheat gas barbecue to medium. (*Variation Alert: You could also sub ¾ Cup softened goat cheese in place of the feta and cream cheese!!)
  6. Cook patties on greased grill for 6-8 minutes per side until fully cooked (internal temperature reads 170 F/80 C ya’ll!). Spread cheese mixture on top of patties. Cook for about 1 minute until cheese is softened. Remove to plate. Cover to keep warm.
  7. Toast bun halves on greased grill for about 1 minute, until golden. Serve patties, topped with onion mixture, in buns.

As for the salad, I’ll leave the ratios of veg up to you! Face it: everyone has their preferences when it comes to Greek Salad. We are a lots of feta, cucumber and red onions, a little easy on the tomato and no black olives kinda household. Chances are that you like something completely different, so I’ll let you do your thang. But seriously, use my dressing. I’m not kidding.

Greek House Dressing, from here

(Print this recipe!)

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar

Mix together the olive oil, garlic powder, oregano, basil, pepper, salt, onion powder, and Dijon-style mustard. Pour in the vinegar, and mix vigorously until well blended.

Enjoy!

BBQ’d Thai Curry Salmon Skewers

2010.04.25

The wind is no longer threatening to claim exposed flesh, the geese are beginning to reappear and the grass is starting to go from brown to green[ish]. You know what that means, kids — Helllllllo SPRING!!!

Now that the weather is no longer fluctuating between -40°C and sudden blustery snow squalls, I’d reckon it’s safe to say it……  it’s BBQ season baby! (For now anyway…. if you’ve ever been to Alberta, you know what I’m talking about!)

The hubby and I recently gathered up some of the gift certificates we received for our wedding in December (thank you awesome family and friends) and went and got ourselves a shiny new BBQ!

Heck yes!

With visions of steaks and shish kabobs dancing in our heads, we marched on down to the nearest meat counter to select our first victim feast.

With a fantastic “Boom”/”Bang” sticker like this, who could resist?…

Salmon is it! (Dang clever marketing people, you get me every time!).

But what shall we DO with the salmon? Lets think about it, shall we? Ohmmmm…..

I’m feeling… something fresh… cilantro! What about something tangy….citrus maybe? Yes, lime! Annnnnd a hit of heat…..I got it – Thai red curry paste!! Match.made.in.heaven.

Behold, BBQ’d Thai Curry Salmon Skewers…. (uh, you might want a change of pants for this…)

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BBQ’d Thai Curry Salmon Skewers

Adapted from Weight Watchers 20 Minute Recipes (Spring 2009)

Print this recipe!

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste (adjust amt to your desired level of heat. 1 tsp = a nice “twang” of spice)
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1-½ pounds (680 g) salmon, skinned and cut into 1-½ inch pieces)
    Lime wedges

Directions

  • Preheat grill (or broiler).
  • Combine cilantro and next 5 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir well with a whisk.

  • Add fish; toss well to coat.

  • Thread fish onto 4 (8-inch) metal skewers. Give salmon a quick coat of cooking spray and grill (or broil, 3 inches from heat) for approx 3-4 minutes on each side, or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

  • Serve with lime wedges and fresh cilantro.

Yield: 4 servings. Per serving:

CAL FAT PRO CARB FIB CHOL IRON SOD CALC
308 16.6g 36.3g 1.7g 0.3g 87mg 0.7mg 249mg 25mg

Because Sometimes… Healthy & Fresh is Sexy.

2010.04.09

Because sometimes you realize that bathing suit season is approaching faster than you would like to admit, so you plan awholebuncha healthy meals for the week.

Because sometimes you get a text from a dear friend that you haven’t seen in months telling you she’ll be coming through town in a few hours. You are at the supermarket when said text arrived. Bonus!

Because sometimes you own enough cookbooks that if you were to go to the cookbook section of the supermarket, you’d be guaranteed to find at least one book you already own to pick out a recipe for dessert.

Because sometimes you only have enough time before your friend arrives to bath your shaggy puppy (who happened to get into a spinach and berry smoothie the husband forgot was within puppy reach the night before) or clean your house. Guess who won?

Because sometimes you are too busy with fantastic conversation to pay attention to the pictures you are quickly snapping away so you and friend can enjoy your yummy lunch.

Because sometimes catching up with your friend over a healthy and scrumptious Middle Eastern-inspired salad finished with a refreshing bowl of minted strawberries with cracked pepper and lemon syrup is better than having perfect pictures for your blog any day!

Warning: you may find salad so ridiculously rad you may make it the next day again for lunch. Chances of then following up with a similar salad (subbing tuna instead of chicken) the following day after that remains high.

Seriously. Good. Stuff!

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Chicken-and-Chickpea Fattoush

from, Weight Watchers 20 Minute Recipes – Spring 2009

(Print this recipe!)

  • ¼ cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice (please, please, please use fresh lemon juice!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 3 cups mixed baby greens
  • ¾ cup shredded cooked chicken breast
  • ½ cup chopped English cucumber
  • ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 6-inch multigrain pita, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

Directions

  • Combine lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and garlic in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.

  • Add mixed baby greens and remaining ingredients; toss gently.

Nutritional Info (for ½ of recipe)

CAL 296; FAT 17g; PRO 25g; CARB 42g; FIB 8g; CHOL 45mg; IRON 4.5mg; SOD 735mg; CALC 111mg

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Minted Strawberries with Cracked Pepper and Lemon Syrup

from, Weight Watchers 101 Best Quick and Easy Recipes – Spring 2010

(Print this recipe!)

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 cups quartered strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions


  • Combine sugar, water, lemon juice and honey in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil; cook 3 minutes or until slightly syrupy. Remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes.

  • Combine strawberries, mint, and pepper in a large bowl. Add syrup; toss gently to coat.

Nutritional Info (for ¼ of recipe)

CAL 69; FAT 0.4g; PRO 0.9g; CARB 17.5g; FIB 2.6g; CHOL 0mg; IRON 0.6mg; SOD 2mg; CALC 22mg

Cupcakes in E-aster Minor

2010.04.02

Wanna play a game?

Of course you do. You’re cool like that.

Remember the word association game you would play in grade school? Like, I say a word and then you would say the first word that comes to mind? And then I follow up with the first word that comes to my mind after your word. Confused yet? Nah, I didn’t think so. Ya’ll are smart!

Ok…. let’s GO!

Easter…

bunny…

carrots…

carrot cupcakes…

Shiver me timbers… I just so happened to have made Carrot Cupcakes today!

What started off as this:Magically transformed into this with a little cream cheese frosting and some walnut nibblets…

Darling you say? I’d say so too!

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Back to our game. We’ll just use ‘Easter’ again for good measure…

Easter…

chocolate…

“Mini-Eggs”…

Chocolate Cupcakes with Mini-Eggs…in a nest…of chocolate

Woah woah woah! Hold on a minute. Are you stalking me? Cause I TOTALLY made those today too! No really! Check it out…

Rich, dark, and handsome, just the way I like ‘em…. (cupcakes, you fools).

Now add in a mad city-wide search for Flake bars, a week-long test of my ability to resist temptation (there’s MINI EGGS in the PANTRY for Pete’s sake!), the most delicious chocolate buttercream you’ve ever tasted and a whole lotta lovin’ and you get…

…please, stop licking your computer screen. You look ridiculous.

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Ok last round… seeing as how this whole “Easter” thing is going well for us, we’ll keep running with it!

Easter…

Spring…

Green…

Green Tea (yum!)…

Green Tea Cupcakes… with adorable jewel-coloured paper flowers…

You’re scaring me.

I’m not playing this game with you anymore.

Now that you’re successfully enticed to bake beatiful and delicious cupcakes, wrap them up ever so carefully, and bring them with you wherever you go this weekend (yes, even 5-hour long road trips) so you may deliver them to family and friends. Seriously, you’ll be so loved it’s worth it ;)

Have a FANTSTIC and SAFE long weekend everyone!

Happy Easter!! =)

All recipes are from, or based on recipes from, the amazingly fantasticly wonderously awesome book, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

**Note: I’ve published the recipes as I have made them, not as they are published in the book. Some of the vegan ingredients have been swapped out for non-vegan ones along the way, so none of my cupcakes are actually vegan!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

(Print this recipe!)

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup plain Balkan-style (or just regular would be fine) yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • If you’re one of those I-love-raisins-in-my-carrot-cake kind of people, you can go ahead and add 1/4 cup of them too. But we can no longer be friends.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, mix together sugar, vegetable oil, yogurt and vanilla. Sift in the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices) and mix until smooth. Fold in carrots and walnuts (and raisins, if using. *shudder*).
  • Spray the cupcake liners with non-stick baking spray. Fill the liners two-thirds full. Bake for 26 to 28 minutes, until a tooth pick inserted through the centre of one comes out clean.
  • Whip up the frosting while the cupcakes bake: cream together margarine and cream cheese until just combined. Use a handheld mixer to whip while adding the confectioners sugar in ½ cup batches. Mix until smooth and creamy, then mix in the vanilla. Keep tightly covered and refrigerated until ready to use.
  • Once cupcakes are fully cooled, top generously with cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle edges with chopped walnuts. If you’re feeling super adventurous, you can take a bit of the frosting and place into two separate ziplock-style baggies. Colour one baggie green and the other orange with food colouring and pipe little carrots in the middle of the walnut nibblet ring. CUTE!

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting  and Chocolate “Nests”

(Print this recipe!)

The Most Perfect Chocolate Cupcake

  • 1 cup almond (or soy) milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider (or white) vinegar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Chocolate “Butter”cream Frosting

  • 1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine, softened
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (sift if there is lumps)
  • 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons almond (or soy) milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Garnish

  • 4 Cabury Flake bars
  • Cadbury Mini-Eggs

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line muffin pan with paper or foil liners
  • Whisk together almond milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract, and other extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and beat till foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat till no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are okay).
  • Pour into liners, filling ¾ of the way. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely.
  • Prepare Chocolate Frosting: Cream together the margarine and the shortening until well combined. Add the cocoa powder and incorporate well. Add the confectioners sugar in about ½ cup batches and beat well, adding a little splash of almond milk after each addition. When all ingredients have been well incorporated, add the vanilla and beat until light and fluffy (about 3-7 minutes).
  • To chop Flake bars: cut each bar into 4 even pieces. Take each piece and cut length-wise in half, and then half again (see pics below).
  • To assemble: pipe a swirl of frosting on top of each cupcake (I used a large star-shaped tip for texture). Assemble a “nest” of chocolate using Flake bar pieces. I like to start with 3 or 4 bigger pieces and then add little piece here and a sprinkle of crumbs there. Play around with it! Finish it off with 3 Mini-Eggs in the middle. Ta-da!

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Green Tea Cupcakes with Green Tea Glaze and Paper Flowers

(Print this recipe!)

Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup plain Balkan-style (or regular!) yogurt
  • 2/3 cup almond (or rice, or soy) milk
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 teaspoons pure matcha tea powder (make sure it does not have added sugar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

Green Tea Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated margarine
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure matcha tea powder
  • 1 tablespoon almond (or rice, or soy) milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • Drop of vanilla extract

Garnish (optional)

  • The book calls to make marzipan cherry blossoms. I took the easy way our and found some beautiful 3D paper scrapbooking flowers!

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F and line cupcake pan with liners
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, almond milk, vanilla, oil, and almond extract, beating well to blend in yogurt. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, matcha powder, salt, and sugar. Fill liners two-thirds full and bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted through the centre of one comes out clean. Cool on racks before topping with glaze.
  • Glaze: with a fork, beat margarine to fluff, then mix in confectioners’ sugar and matcha to form a crumbly mixture. Slowly beat in almond milk, almond extract, and vanilla. If icing is too thick to spread, pour in additional almond milk 1 tsp at a time and mix till desired consistency is reached.

An Irish Feast: Guinness-Braised Short Ribs & Colcannon

2010.03.16

If you’re wanting some nibblies for you and your mates to feast upon while getting maggoty on green beer and catching up on the craic this St. Paddy’s Day, quit arsin’ around already and get to making these Guinness-braised short ribs and colcannon.

Fall-off-the-bone and melt-in-your-mouth tender, the ribs are served up with a Guinness gravy made from a puree of the veggies and juices they braised in. Now, when it comes to ribs I’ve got to be honest with you… I’m really more of a “sweet & sour” kind of girl. I just find that a sweet & sour flavor cuts the naturally fatty feel most ribs have. If you’re the same way, you might want to skip the ribs as they are most definitely of the “earthy, rich & savory” variety. But if you’re down with that, braise away my friends. I’m sure you’ll love them (just ask the hubby… he ate all of them!)

The colcannon on the other hand… oh. my. word! If you don’t like this dish I’m sorry but I just don’t know how we could ever be friends! It’s bascially a mashed potato dish on Irish steroids. It’s buttery, it’s bacony, it’s downright delicious! And the cabbage and scallions add a nice hit of green. They’re fan-feckin-tastic!

Looking for something else to round out your feast? Check out the Irish Soda Bread I made yesterday.

And in case you’re wondering what to do with the rest of Guinness you bought to make the ribs….. duh… bottoms up!

Oh did I mention I’m officially certified to pull a proper pint of Guinness? So is my momma.

God we’re cool.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

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Guinness-Braised Beef Short Ribs, from Sea Salt with Food

Serves 4

(Print this recipe!)

  • 4 lbs (1800 g) Beef Short Ribs
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbsp Canola Oil
  • 2 Yellow Onions, diced
  • 3 Carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 Celery Stalks, diced
  • 6 Garlic Cloves, sliced
  • 2 Cups Guinness

Directions

  • Season the short ribs generously on all sides with salt and pepper. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Working in batches (do not overcrowd), brown the ribs on all sides. Transfer to a plate

  • In the same pan over medium heat, add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

    • Slow Cooker Method: Transfer the short ribs and vegetables to a slow cooker and add the Guinness. Cover and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the meat is very tender, about 6 hours.
    • Oven Method: Preheat the oven to 300˚F. Transfer the short ribs and vegetables to a Dutch oven and add Guinness. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and place the lid on top. Transfer to the oven and bake until the meat is very tender, about 4 hours. (**This was the method I opted for. It turned out great!**)

  • Transfer the ribs to individual bowls and cover with aluminum foil. Skim the fat of the sauce. Using an immersion blender, puree the sauce until smooth. Spoon the sauce on top of the ribs. Serve immediately.


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Colcannon, adapted from Sea Salt with Food

Serves 8

(Print this recipe!)

  • 2 ½ lb Russet Potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • Sea Salt and freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • ½ Cup (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter
  • ¾ Cup Milk
  • ½ lb Bacon, cut into ½ inch dice
  • 4 Large Shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 Large Leek, white and light green portions, halved lengthwise, rinsed well and thinly sliced
  • 1 Small Head Savoy Cabbage, about 1 lb, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Put the potatoes in a large pot, add water to cover the potatoes by 2 inches and generously salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain well in a colander.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and milk and heat until the butter melts and the mixture is hot, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Set a potato ricer over a large bowl and press the potatoes through in batches. Fold in the milk mixture in two additions. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and set over a large saucepan of barely simmering water to keep warm.
  4. Heat a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper tower-lined plate. Set aside.
  5. Pour off all but 3 Tbsp of the fat from the pot. Return the pot to medium heat, add the shallots and leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and toss until tender-crisp, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with nutmeg and add the bacon. Season with salt and pepper. Stir the potatoes into the cabbage mixture and garnish with sliced green onion. Serve warm.

Rustic Irish Soda Bread

2010.03.15

Throw open the windows and fast forward the clocks… it’s SPRING baby!!

Hope everyone is adjusting ok to the time change… it most definitely kicked my arse this year. I’ll be alright though, these bright sunny days and warm delicious breezes helped soften the blow.

As did this rustic Irish soda bread!

Ridiculously easy and slightly sweet with a tender crumb, it’s enough to make your granny cry (…tears of joy of course)! And what better addition to your St. Patrick’s Day feast this week?! Ok, even if you’re not planning a big feast, you’ll at least need something to snack on whilst chugging those green beers, right? Really, you can’t not make this… trust me. ;)

Speaking of feasts, come back tomorrow and check out my Guinness-braised short ribs (yes, I said GUINNESS. Holla!) and Colcannon. What’s colcannon? Guess you’ll have to wait and see :)

Rustic Irish Soda Bread, recipe originally from The Confused Homemaker

(Print this recipe!)

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups buttermilk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together dry ingredients into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the butter and buttermilk. Mix together quickly, just until it comes together (it shouldn’t need more than a minute or so; do not work the dough to death).
  3. Flour your hands and shape dough into a low, round cake. Place onto prepped cookie sheet and carve a cross into the top with a sharp knife.
  4. Bake for approx 38-40 minutes, until golden brown.
  5. Enjoy a fresh, hot slice with lots of melty butter.
  6. Fight family and friends for last of the crumbs (I told you it was good!)

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