Monday, November 28, 2011

fermented update


So to report back - the ketchup and chutney were awesome! I was really quite afraid of the ketchup - the smell of the fish sauce had been so strong, and there were so few seasonings, I expected it to be gross - but the boys requested ketchup for their potatoes, so I gulped, tested the ketchup with a potato, and was pleasantly surprised! The chutney I'd had higher hopes for, and was not disappointed - it was a hit! In the words of my God-son's 8-year-old brother: "What is this brown stuff? It's delicious!"

Both are from Nourishing Traditions - so while I'm at it, I'll add that I've had a substantial amount of ginger ale made from the recipe from the same book today - so overall I am now happy to recommend the book, quirky though it is!

And, okay, the above pictures are not of any of the foods I am describing - but they made up part of the meal on Sunday, and I can't very well post with no pictures, now can I?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

lemon cake

Today we had our house blessed, did the enthronement of the Sacred Heart, and served this lemon cake to celebrate. Sam, who actually took these photos, was present, and requested the recipe. It's a Jamie Oliver, who has it online - check it out! Mine looks nothing like his, for reasons I don't know! Oh well! My only other comment is that I used whole wheat pastry flour and it worked beautifully.

Friday, November 25, 2011

ddukboki. (Spoiler: no duck involved)

So this....

is called ddukboki (떡복이). Think of it like a Korean version of KD Mac and Cheese - quick, delicious, and popular among the lazy, culinary degenerates commonly known as students. Basically, it's chewy rice cake chunks boiled in a sweet, spicy red pepper sauce. It's sold everywhere at street food carts and diners in Korea. The best part about this particular dish - apart from its taste, obviously - is that it's super easy to make. This is the recipe I followed:

So if you managed to make it through the entire thing, with the atrocious soundtrack and all, this is pretty much the standard recipe for ddukboki. There are always variations to the original, of course, depending on your personal taste. I like to add instant noodles to mine, personally, because I'm a staunch believer in healthy eating. Some people add in hard-boiled eggs, whole and peeled.

Basically, if you have red pepper paste (found at your local Korean/Japanese grocery store, but sometimes sold at other places too), sugar, rice cakes (it has to be the type you see in the video, otherwise it won't work), you can make it work. Be careful not to add too much sugar to this! I don't use anchovies like that lady does, though. It probably gives it some kind of a savoury twist, but it's not necessary.

So if you pull it off, it will look something like this:

If it ends up looking like this, though...

Something may have gone wrong. Just sayin'.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

On a Fermenting note...

I heart KEFIR!

Whose with me?

fermented pleasures

Chutney recipe in Nourishing Traditions (Sally Fallon).

I love all things fermented, basically. It doesn't get more interesting, graceful, and healthy. Or more basic, really. I mean, think about it: bread and wine? Fermented. Kimchi? Cheese? Beer? Yes.

So now that we've established that - I am presently fermenting two new things in the kitchen - ketchup and raisin chutney.

I've made stovetop ketchup before, but never fermented ketchup. It involved first making fermented fish sauce. Which was disgusting, fascinating, and a lot of fun. It is not seasoned with as many spices and so on as other kinds I've made, either - just salt, garlic and cayenne pepper. But it is tomatoey, and it looks like ketchup, so hopefully it'll be awesome.

Fermenting fish; fermenting ketchup.

I am more excited about the chutney. We are having sort of a send-off goodbye lunch for my little God-son's family of 5, who are moving to Argentina for at least two years, if not forever (!), and we wanted to make it really special. I spent an obscene amount getting organic pork roasts, and we're planning roasted brussel sprouts and potatoes and apple galette and chocolate pudding. But the meat itself seemed sort of boring, you know? Daniel, the father, is an amazing cook, and always has so many delightful condiments and side dishes and things (like whole artichokes with lemon sauce, home-marinated eggplant, homemade sausages, etc. etc.) so I thought they deserved something a little zesty, yes indeed. So it's raisins, an onion, crushed chilli peppers, garlic, ginger, salt, cardamom, peppercorns, and cumin, along with the water and whey to ferment it, all blended up in the Magic Bullet. It smells awesome, I'm not going to lie. Can't wait to taste it!!

Raisins; chutney.

I'll be sure to let you know how they turn out. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This is Hyun

Me and Amy's baby... I'd say this picture accurately depicts what I'm about... booze and babes. Yup.

Hola, fellow geeks.

I'm relatively new to the cooking game. This has many reasons, among them the trauma of failing an introductory cooking class in high school. It wasn't until my undergrad years that I began to cook regularly, at first, for myself, and then for others, and came to realize that it was actually a lot of fun. And if my roommates could stomach my culinary creations, then by Jeebus, I couldn't be complete crap at it.

But in all seriousness, I'm a real big foodie who's developed quite a love for cooking, and I'd love to learn more from you! Specifically, I'm a fan of simple cooking, with uncomplicated recipes and simple but fresh ingredients.

I'm hoping we'll get better acquainted with thyme! (HAH! You're welcome.)

Top culinary influences: My mom. Food blogs. Hunger.
Favorite cook books: Not so much cook books, but blogs and vlogs and things like that..
Favorite 5 ingredients: lemon, green onion, garlic, olive oil, salt/pepper.
Favorite 5 dishes: Fresh sashimi, steak tartare or done medium/rare, fresh bread, all Korean food, a good soup on a cold day.
How did you learn to cook?: Trial and error, watching my mom, internets.
Your week in cooking: I had a Mars Bar and coffee for breakfast today. This doesn't bode well for the rest of the week...
Culinary fascination of the moment: Risotto.. it looks like the stuff I'm left with when I fail at making rice...
Culinary ambitions: To make something that impresses even my mom
Top serving tips: Make sure everyone's had their fill and then some... I generally make enough food so there are leftovers.
Your dream kitchen: A team of trained monkeys who'll clean up the apocalyptic post-cooking disaster.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Introducing Sam

Why yes, I do have a penchant for posing with my produce.

Food Philosophy: COLOURS EVERYWHERE!!!

Top culinary influences: My Egyptian grandmother. My Egyptian Father. Anything South Asian. And ohhh…Asian soups with those wonderfully colourful veggies. And, of course, Coptic seyami (vegan) food. Healthy food.

Favourite cook books: Any cheap cookbook you get from Winners with lots of pictures.

Favourite 5 ingredients:

1) Fresh thyme.

2) Fresh leek.

3) Fresh cilantro.

4) Fresh mint.

5) Freshly ground pepper.

The trend here, if you can tell, is anything fragrant.

I'm not nearly as mean as this vegan dragon bowl from Aux Vivres.

Favourite 5 dishes—in no particular order:

1) My grandmother’s pickled eggplant.

2) Tagliatelle rose from Tre Marie, an Italian restaurant in Montreal that I’ve been going to since the womb.

3) Fried liver with caramelized onions (also from Tre Marie)

4) Koshary with crispy onions and tomato sauce (basically, an Egyptian party of carbs.)

5) My grandmother’s whole grilled sea bass with tahini. Om.

My father's creativity: my 25th birthday breakfast!

How did you learn to cook?: My mother hated cooking by herself, (and dislikes cooking in general) and would always have me as her sous-chef, and have me chop onions and several cloves of garlic for her. When I got older, she kind of left the “preparing” part of the meal to me, as she preferred the “eating” part of the meal.

Your week in cooking:

…Working on making the perfect over easy eggs…I will prevail.

…Burning half a batch of almonds (but in all fairness, I really do have an oven from hell)

…Lots of quinoa

...the victims.

Culinary fascination of the moment: Working butter into flour (thank you Amy!)

Culinary ambitions: Achieving culinary time management. Ie, the ability to not burn anything.

Top Serving Tips: Serving food HOT. And of course, as many colours as possible on the plate.

Your dream kitchen: Bright and cozy, with lots of beautiful leafy plants hanging from the ceiling and herbs on windowsills, overlooking a meadow (or just my backyard. not picky.). Lots of room for guests. Maybe one of those gigantic patio swing contraptions that you see in retirement homes. Fully equipped with a wall-unit oven, an indoor stovetop grill, surround-sound speaker system, and, of course, a triple sink (2 for dishes and one for washing/thawing fish or meat) preferably custom-built by an ebeniste whose pastimes include reading Anne of Green Gables and watching Titanic.


I mean doesn’t this freaking look like an operating room? NO THANK YOU!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

introducing Heather

Ahoy-hoy! I'm Heather.

Unlike Amy, I do not often cook with a baby strapped to my body. I have not mastered this skillful level of cookery.
Food philosophy: I’m definitely not a foodie. And I’m surprisingly lazy when it comes to fixing food for myself. However, I am willing to put more effort into cooking for my friends and family (because I lurrve them). Tea time!!

Top culinary influences: KOREAN! Japanese, Italian, UK (aka Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall), Moroccan
Favorite cook books: Not so many books, mostly Internet & Youtube, like Aeri’s Kitchen, Cooking with Dog, Runnyrunny999,
Favorite 5 ingredients: Couscous, Napa cabbage, green onions, laver, bananas, almonds, raisons, lemon juice (More than 5 Heather? Sorry! I can’t follow the rules.)
Favorite 5 dishes: kimchi, rice with laver, sushi, baba au rum, dolsot bibimbap, tabbouleh.
How did you learn to cook?: Watching my mom, Internet and above all... Youtube.
Your week in cooking: So, what do we have here in the fridge? Mish-mash melosh. Don’t really have a plan - you may have to fend for yourself!
Culinary fascination of the moment: fig trees; miniature tropical indoor fruit trees, aquaponics.
Culinary ambitions: To be more prepared when cooking in the kitchen, and not be afraid to make a mess. (my logic is, no mess = fewer dishes)
Top serving tips: Keep it simple, ask for help and get someone else to wash dishes.
Your dream kitchen: Did someone say dishwasher? I dream of a dishwasher. And a ladder, as I am too short to reach the top shelves. Automatic fresh tea maker, automatic vitamin injector (injectable into all forms of chocolate and other delectable goodies) Hey! you did say I could dream.
But why have a dream kitchen when you can have a dream cook? ♥

My hubby, dream

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

introducing Amy

Hi there! I'm Amy.

I often cook with a baby strapped to my body.

Me writing in my new kitchen.

Food philosophy: Whole foods, organic foods, bulk buying, trying to kick it old school and peasant-ly when it suits me but happily using several gadgets to make it happen.
Top culinary influences: Italian, British Isles, and Mexican food.
Favourite cook books: Jamie Oliver's Italy, The Joy of Cooking, Vive Le Vegan.
Favourite 5 ingredients: cheese, tomatoes, garlic, flour, lentils.
Favourite 5 dishes: lasagna, pizza, falafel, stir-fried vegetables with tofu, creamy parmesan chicken.
How did you learn to cook?: Somewhat from my mom, more when I became a vegetarian at 13 and started discovering the world of pulses and spices, more yet when I got into meat again, and then whole foods and seasonal cooking - but generally all from books.
Your week in cooking: I bake bread once or twice a week, make a dessert or sweet snack 1-3 times per week, and use a meal plan for our suppers. We always have soup on Friday and pizza and wine on Saturday. Our produce basket is now every other Wednesday (for the winter season).
Culinary fascination of the moment: cardamom; soaking/fermenting grains.
Culinary ambitions: I would love to get more into pastry, which I mention in part because I've recently decided to take the plunge and get rid of our white flour, switching to whole wheat pastry flour instead. I look forward to figuring out how to work with that. I would also like to get into making beer and wine. Also, there are many herbs and spices I know very little about. For example, I have both tarragon and sumac in my pantry, and have no idea what they smell or taste like! (I don't even remember buying the tarragon!) This needs to be corrected!
Top serving tips: Keep it simple and real. Balance colours. Presentation is 80% of the enjoyment of a meal.
Your dream kitchen: Is functional and beautiful - lots of storage space and knick-knacks, a double sink, and no more stuff than we need - but most of all is a place where people feel welcome, loved, and nourished; a warm, pleasant place where people can just hang out and drink tea for hours and feel like a part of the family.

An icon of the Hospitality of Abraham, written for us by my God-son's father.

Monday, November 14, 2011

apple galette

A supplemental photo tutorial for dear Sam - even easier apple galette.

1. Make your pastry - put some butter in a bowl and then rub some flour in until it is like a dry meal, but not too dry. Add just enough water to form a dough. Roll out on a floured surface. Transfer to a buttered cookie sheet (must have a lip for any rogue juices).
2. Put fruit, sugar, and butter together with some cinnamon in a bowl and mix it about.
3. Plop your fruit on the rolled-out pastry.

4. Now fold 'er up in charming little pleats (or rough big pleats - whatever!).

5. Bake and serve with love to your favourite Samantha

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

chai latte mix

Sam sent me a link to this chai latté syrup, and I'd been meaning to try the recipe from Cynthia Lair's Foods for the Whole Family, so I decided to sorta combine them. It went well! I am thinking this will be one of our mass-production Christmas presents this year, oh joy!

My ultimate quantities were:
4 c water
3 tea bags
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaf
10 peppercorns
10 cloves
10 cardamom pods
2 tsp ground ginger (accident - I'd meant to use 1 tsp - but it was fine)
1/2 pod vanilla, sliced open
4-5 tbsp honey (I used a kitchen spoon rather than a measuring spoon - 4 of those)

I then strained the nearly-spent spices into a small pot with about 1 1/2 c water, 1 decaf tea bag, and about 1 tbsp honey and made a weaker baby chai for Mr. Angel, above. He enjoyed it, can you tell?

All Saints

Last week was busy, but here are some belated photos from our little All Saints celebration. Enjoy!

Tony came home laden with groceries and inspiration - he made us a lovely Italian supper to celebrate. Here he's lighting the candles.

Toasted squash seeds with cayenne and paprika.

Roasted chestnuts - apparently a traditional All Saints treat! (According to The Catholic Cook Book).

Fresh figs for dessert.

White for the purity and blessedness of the saints.

Arabiatta sauce simmering...

...with lots of peppers - some fresh, some frozen.

"Et lux in tenebris lucet, et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt."

greens, glorious greens

I grew up on the very tender greens, edible raw - lettuce and spinach. This is what I thought people meant when they said, "Eat your leafy greens". This summer's produce basket has opened me up to a whole new world - kale, savoy, swiss chard, bok choy, collards - not only can I now identify them, but I can even cook with them! Of course, it took some learning (do I actually remember serving swiss chard with supper raw? Sorry, Tony!), but I think I've made progress.

Last night was collards pan-fried with garlic and ghee, tossed with a bit of tamari and vinegar. This was served alongside enchiladas stuffed with chickpeas and roasted beets, parsnips, and squash (untraditional, I know, but spiced the traditional way, more or less - salt, cumin, coriander, oregano). The sweetness of the vegetables with the spiciness of the salsa was actually very satisfying.