Friday, February 13, 2015

What looks like a hot mess but tastes delicious?

Im challenging myself (as Executive Chef of the Graham Household) to use up the contents of our deep freezer and pantry. There is some weird bits and bobs in there. Among them, 50000 tortilla wraps, about 9oz of frozen black beans and a jar of mole sauce bought in Mexico about 3 years ago. A dear friend fed us this amazing budget bytes recipe when we were over for dinner in the summer. We loved it.

The corn tortillas did not thaw nicely, being rather freezer burnt, so they will get used for another round of green enchiladas. Fortunately I had over purchased wraps at Superstore last week  (it was the same price for 2 as for 1), so I used those instead. The mole sauce was a bit of a mess, I kept having to add a ton of water to it as I was making it up because it was too thick. So I didn't use it all... Plus it's too spicy for my delicate white girl taste buds, so I ended up scraping it all off the top before I ate it, leaving just enough kick and mole flavour to keep it from being completely bland.

-added 3 shredded carrots
-1 whole diced pepper (orange if you care)
-1 cup old cheddar (shoulda added more!!)

Wish I had added lime juice to the veggie mix, except that our citrus juicer thing went missing last summer and I only just replaced it yesterday.

I'm eating them on day 5, the avocados are starting to be a bit sad but everything else is doing nicely.

These are a good lunch option as they are nicely contained and can be picked up (unless your sauce is runny) or cut up with a knife and fork.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ferment all the things!

Ive been really getting into a groove with my ferments. They're so crazy easy and I've enjoyed connecting with the anthropological history of what I'm eating. My endeavours are not too adventurous, but the great thing is that it's easy to learn and needs only very basic supplies, so is accessible. I won't expound the virtues of fermenting, but you can learn about it if you're curious.

So! I have been drinking kombucha for a year. Over the spring/summer I got really good at the "2nd fermentation" (or 2F), which is taking the fermented tea and flavouring it, while also locking it into a pressure top bottle (a flip top!) and letting it sit on the counter for a couple of days to make it fizzy. It's like pop, but actually good for you! 

I also started a sourdough starter, which consists of flour and water, a jar and 5 days! So easy and yielded amazing bread. The bread had some learning curves, but it was fun experimenting! 

I also started a new batch of sauerkraut. It took me 5 months to work up the nerve to eat my last batch, which I made in January. I have finally consumed one jar, so have one left. I have two more on my counter which will be ready to hit the fridge in another month or so. 

I also made fermented peppers and garlic! I imagine the garlic is not quite done, brined garlic takes 6+ weeks to be ready, but the peppers are ready, so into the fridge. They taste a little bit like roasted brined peppers, which is delightful! They are still a bit too salty, but they can't sit out anymore (too soft!!). They are, however, very pretty!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

One pot pasta

A little while ago, the one pot "wonderpot" pasta recipe was being repinned, modified and shared like crazy. I fully admit we got on the bandwagon. The first time we made it we were camping in Tofino. In Fogust. In the epic pouring rain and cold. This is an AMAZING camping recipe. It's one pot, quick, and almost impossible to screw up. It has the potential to be modified by any ingredient. It seems hardly possible that this would work, yet it does, and it's delicious!! The quantities will easily feed more than 4 adults (We each had a portion, and then I filled my two giant Pyrex bowls, which are . There is potential for all the ingredients to be dry, and then used as a backpacking food.

Tonight I made a variation of our camp "wonderpot". I actually paid attention when I was adding ingredients and remember the recipe!!

Monday night wonderpot, adapted from this delicious wonderpot
1 bag of GF Tinkyada pasta (I have not tried with other brands!)
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1L chicken stock (preferably not "low sodium", or you'll have to add a little bit of salt)
1 large onion, julienned
One head of garlic, crushed (this made it really nice and garlicky)
500g of mild Italian sausage meat (we can buy it un-cased from our butcher downstairs, if not just use regular sausage).
3 small bok choy, chopped
1 bunch of basil, chopped
Parmesan cheese

Add everything except the bok choy and basil into a stock pot. Simmer until most of the liquid is gone (10-15 mins), then add the bok choy. Once liquid is all absorbed, add the basil and stir. Add parmesan once pasta is served.

Seriously, that's it. There is more liquid in my version thanks to my GF pasta. I love this dish!! Next time I'm going to try lentils and see what happens.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Farro Risotto

I had heard of a grain called Farro (also called emmer), I believe it's an ancient grain, but had never eaten it until we were in Seattle a month ago and I had delicious farro risotto.

I am hooked.

I finally picked some up at the local Planet Organic. I soaked it overnight in water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (breaks down the phytic acid, which blocks mineral absorption and protects the seed from predators). Yesterday I made a new batch of chicken stock. I got smart this time and stored it in 1L, 250mL and 125mL jars instead of the nearly-two-litre buckets I have. Much more usable for the freezer!!

Anyways, faro is lovely. It is not gluten free, but like spelt it is much lower in gluten content than regular wheat. It has quite a dense texture, very nutty. The other benefit of soaking it, is that it makes the grains really soft after you cook them. 

It's small, like rice (farro on the left, brown jasmine rice on the right). But tastes almost sweet and quite nutty.

I used a standard risotto recipe (1 cup of rice, 1 litre of stock, 1 onion, salt and thyme). I added mushrooms, because I love the creamy mushroom taste. I also added bok-choi from the farmers market.

I used full grown bok choi, next time I'll use baby bok choi, since it's a more neutral flavour. But super tasty!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fish Tacos!

For dinner last night, J requested fish tacos. Since we visit Mexico (specifically Puerto Vallarta, since J's dad lives there half the year) every year, we are taco junkies. When we're in Mexico, we are purists, but at home its a mish-mash of whatever we think is good on that particular day.

Last night, they were exceptional.

The fish we used is rough-eye, which I then covered in a paste made of mexican chilli powder, garlic powder, salt and olive oil, and baked at 350 until it was cooked.  The marinade is optional, you could just cover it with salt, pepper and a little bit of oil.

Rough-eye is a white fleshed fish, we were trying it out because of the price point (it's cheap!), but you could use any fish at all (however, I'm not a fan of salmon tacos).  The marinade will go on any white fish.  Try to buy local and by people whose livelihoods you are actively supporting, farmer's markets are *GREAT* for this (which is where our fish almost exclusively comes from!).

The rest of the ingredients are as follows:
-Sauerkraut (either homemade or store bought, the stuff we used comes from the farmer's market, since the stuff on the counter is not ready yet.  I should mention this is REAL fermented sauerkraut, not the fast version where you cover cabbage in vinegar!)
-"guacamole", but it's not really (just avocado, lime juice, salt, and garlic and cumin powders)
-diced bell pepper
-carrot sticks (soaked in apple cider vinegar and water, with a few onion pieces).
-fresh cilantro

So delicious.  The corn tortillas come from the 7 Seas trading co on Granville Island (right across from the Granville Island Tea company).  It's also an insanely quick meal, since you can pre-marinate your fish and the carrot sicks, so all you have to do for dinner is heat the tortillas (wrapping a clean dishtowel in a steamer is my preferred way, and I have tried them *all*) and make the guac, which takes about 2 minutes.  The fish cooked *really* fast.

We also split a Delicata squash, which I sprinkled on some sea salt and tossed it in the oven with the fish, took about 20 minutes to cook since it's such a thin skinned squash.  But YUM, it's a tasty tasty squash.  Sadly I forgot to take it's picture.

This meal will not travel well (unless you're happy to put in the work of heating your tortillas and assembling all your ingredients).  It also tends to be messy.  I shy away from messy foods at work because I eat on my lap and tend to get food all over me.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Kombucha success!

I'm still on my cleanse, now up to day 5 of week 2.  My eczema is slowly slowly healing.  The kombucha will help, since it's re-populating my gut with good bacteria!  And I finally succeeded!  My first batch when mouldy, but I very fortunately was given another scoby by a lovely friend (hurray social media!).

The recipe I used is here.  I flavoured mine with pomegranate juice, and I've got 500cc sitting on the counter in a jar testing the carbonation.  It tastes absolutely fine on it's own, so I put the rest in the fridge in case I botch the carbonation portion of the program.

Here's the finished kombucha, SCOBY is already removed (it's in a jar back in the fridge, since it finished yesterday and I didn't have time to make a new batch again as I was in the middle of night shifts). 

I seeded 3 pomegranates, a test run last week gave me 1 cup of juice per pomegranate. Yum. 


The kombucha on the left is mixed with pomegranate juice. It all looks so pretty in its glass jars!! :)

Saturday, November 23, 2013


I had a pretty rough week last week, a baby I've been working with for 10 months died (expectedly) and I'm surprised at how difficult I'm finding it.  The day after she died, I was at a (REALLY REALLY AMAZING) workshop all weekend with an adorable baby, who was crawling around and thought my water bottle was the best thing ever (he pushed it over and then all over the room).  I didn't think anything of it until I noticed he was snotting on Sunday afternoon.  Uh oh.  

So, of course, with my lack of sleep and feeling tired and sad, I get a cold.  Right at the same time as our Christmas party, so I felt like a jerk calling in sick the day after.  Oh well, what can you do...

So, I'm taking this opportunity to start my 21 day raw food reset, through the Young and Raw company.  I did a lot of thinking over this one and decided that it would be good for me.  There's no supplements (I did a Wild Rose cleanse several years ago and was so sick during it, it was awful!).  Just lots and lots of unprocessed food.  

Not a lot of blogging about that will happen, since it's a paid-for program ($40), and the material is all copyright.  

Last week I did make a couple of REALLY good meals though, I didn't manage to get pictures of either of them, so you get real live links instead.

I made a really good red lentil carrot coconut soup!  I used chicken stock instead of veggy stock, and added some zested lime, since it felt like it didn't have enough depth.  Oh, and used tamari instead of salt to season it later in the soup.  It was good!  

I also made chana masala, which was *amazing*.  I was epically lazy with my spices though, so just used the curry powder we have on hand.  And cumin.  Because there's never enough cumin.  Served it with rice or quinoa.  Really filling, will make this again.  There was lots leftover and I brought it to work with me one day.  

Hope everyone is having a good weekend/work week/etc.  :)