Friday, 30 December 2011

The Perfect Poached Egg

Eggy delight - Dec 2011
Guest post from Jar Head:

Hello, guest blogger here! I've been asked to write about making the perfect poached egg. I think Jesus summed it up best when he stated "There is nothing more holy, more sacred or more heavenly then a perfect poached egg" [citation needed].

But achieving such a result is by no means simple. Dump the eggs into the water too harshly and you get a mess, remove them too soon and you get runny, messy whites. Pull your egg out too late and you end up with a hard yolk - sacrilegious! It can literally drive one mad - it is rumoured that Dante's failure to achieve this perfection what ultimately lead to his vision of hell. Thankfully it also resulted in the Divine Comedy.

What you need:

Fresh eggs - remove from fridge for about 30 min.

Get a pot of water to a good rolling boil. Remove pot from heat and add in about 1-2 TBSP of vinegar and cover. This keeps the whites of the egg together. Place the pot back onto the hot burner, but turn heat off.

Crack your egg into a small bowl
or cup - an espresso cup works best for this. Tip the cup into the water allowing some of the hot water to flow into the cup. After about 10 seconds slowly tip the egg into the bath - it should stay together in a small ball.

Hot sauce, taters eggs and salad
 brunch of champions
Cover and let sit for 3 min. Once the time is up check the whites - the should be opaque and slightly firm - check the last egg that was added. The key here is to have everything else done (toast etc) when the 3 min is up - you want to be able to serve them immediately.

Simplest is best - try over toast or hashbrowns with some salt, pepper and a little olive oil.

Choco bombs - Chocolate Spiced Cookies the vegan edition.

As mentioned previously I self imposed a routine of christmas baking that rivalled the workout regime of any olympic athlete. My favourite cookie turned out to be so delish that I had to make a batch for personal consumption. It's completely different from what you'll find in Martha or Rachel. For one, it's a vegan cookie, and, this cookie is a taste-splosion not made for the bland general public...see that's why they have big money and write recipes for sugar cookies and I blog for free. Greatness sometimes has to wait for the world to catch up, and this cookie surly is great.
look at all them cookies soliders
Part A
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
3 TBSP almond milk
1/4 c maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp chocolate extract
3 TBSP fresh ground ginger - no powdered ginger, fresh only.
1 tsp cinnamon
1 oz. chopped semi sweet chocolate

Part B
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 c. coco powder
1 2/3 c. flour

Sugary Coating
1/2 c white sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
couple pinches of salt

Heat oven to 350 F, and prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix together the Sugary Coating on a shallow plate for later use
Whip together Part A until well mixed
Add the ingredients in Part B in order.
Combine well and start rolling into balls about 2 - 3 inches round
roll the balls in the sugary coating and place on the cookie sheet.
Give 'em a little squash with a fork and send them to the oven for 12 - 15 mins.

dark matter found- Dec. 2011
I know there's this little problem in astrophysics about missing dark matter...fear no more space geeks, I found it. Check out the inside of that cookie, the ultra dense dark matter is all there - yummy, yummy dark matter.
Get yourself a stack of these cookies, a hot tasty drink and a movie involving space travel, leave Martha and Rachel choking on your space dust and fly head long into the future.
Live long and prosper.

Plum & Orange flower jam - the hills are alive with the sound of music

This past summer was a bumper crop for plums here in BC. With a mission of plum jam on my mind, I goose stepped myself down to Santa Barbra Market and loaded up with some of the most juicy and precious looking plums on hand. After trying orange flower water in cake, I knew that summer fruits were better with a blessing of this most holy of waters. I cooked the whole mess outside on the side burner of the bar-b-que and then put it all through a water bath out there too. If that bar-b-que was masculine before, well, it's now wearing tutus, at afternoon tea while belting out show tunes.  "the hills are alive, with the sounds of music"

What you'll need to get in touch with the princess within:
12 cups of cut up juicy plums
1 cup cherries
2 cups of sugar
3 - 4 tbsp of orange flower water
1/16 cup lemon juice
package of certo pectin

Method - slowly cook plums so as to avoid adding any additional water.
Once cooked down use an emersion blender to buzz the fruit and skins, some might consider a food mill instead, to remove the skins and mash the fruit - up to you. However I chose to keep the skins on account of the colour and pectin content.
Add the sugar, flower water and pectin and go back to the heat. Taste and adjust for sweetness and continue heating until the jam sets. 
Once jarred and ready, water bath those precious ruby fruity flowered gems as usual, and for the love of microbe fearing gods, process as per the instructions. 

12 c. fruit & sugar 
buzz up the fruit and skins 

add orange flower water

jam hot tubbin'
 Warning - this jam will induce your inner girl to come skipping out, twirling about and endeavour to turn everything fabulous and pink. Enjoy the flirtation with femininity with whipped cream and cake and a summery rosa with bubbles, cause pink it so hot right now.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Cocoa and the Black Bean, black bean brownie delight.

This is my first pseudo guest post - a recipe my mom promises produces a rich decedent brownie visa vie the humble black bean. I'm a skeptic - but there is some wisdom in the concept that the humble black bean can piggyback in moisture in a recipe highly dependent on eggs and butter. I'm willing to take a leap of faith, after all it's just a brownie. Be sure to check the icing too - this is a verified recipe that I know for a fact is top notch, tried and true.

Mom's black bean brownie's
Vegan Black bean Brownies

9x13 pan or two cake pans.           

350 F oven for 25-30 mins

1 1/2 c ww or unbleached white flour
1 tsp. baking powder (necessary) and salt (opt.)
2 1/4 c. raw or brown sugar
1 1/4 c. cocoa
4 tsp. coffee powder
1 1/2 c. hazelnuts, chopped or into grinder/blender
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed well and back into can, top with fresh water
1 tsp. vanilla (add chocolate extract for coco kick)
1 c. water

Method: mix dries well. Drain beans and rinse thoroughly. Add beans back to the can and top with fresh water. Puree the beans and water really well. Add vanilla and the extra cup of water. Stir well, dump dries and nuts in and stir again. Pour into the pan or pans (greased or lined in parchment), bake half way and rotate the pan and continue until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool and ice with this frosting:

4 tbsp. cocoa
1/4 c. butter (or canola margerine)
1 c. icing sugar
2-3 tbsp milk or orange juice or water (orange water?)
1/2 to 1 tsp. vanilla

Method: combine cocoa with the butter and heat stirring well, in a saucepan until mixture boils. Stir until smooth and glossy.

Cool completely and pour into mixing bowl. Add icing sugar alternately with the liquid, beating to spreadable consistency. Blend in the vanilla. Spread thickly over top only. (as opposed to the bottom?) Chill brownies in the fridge to set the frosting.

Mom says "Shockingly delicious!!!

Points to mom for over using the exclamation point

my Beans - 2011

Carmalized Onion Relish. Turkey's new BFF

Let's face facts friend, turkey is a bird too large to roast without drying out. All the butter and basting in the world won't change the simple problem of mass to necessary cook time that is essentially baking then ultimately dehydrate that modern day brontosaurus. No matter how complacent the rest of the family might be to this plain as day fact, or how convinced the cook might be that they can roast the perfect bird, a dead turkey is a unrelenting task master hell bent of psychological warfare. Basting and buttering that bird is a futile ritual we attempt to make-believe we could possibly bend the laws of physics. So for the love of turkey, and if you love the cook - make this small offering of salvation.

3 - 4 lbs chopped onions
1/2 cup cranberries or more if you want more
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
water - read the who to and use your horse sense.
1 tsp butter/oil/coconut oil
herbs of your choice if you want them
large heavy pot - preferably enamel coated cast iron

the how to:
1. chop your onions into edible pieces - don't over think it, just cut.
2. start by heating your pot, add the butter and onions.
3. allow the onions to develop colour, at this stage add a couple of TBSP's of water to deglaze and continue the caramelization.
4. repeat step 3 until you like the colour of the onions, then add cranberries and a little water to allow the cranberries to cook and avoid the onions from burning.
5. ensure the cranberries have cooked down and finally add your balsamic vinegar to the pan along with any herbs if you want.

I jarred these and water bathed them for shiny christmas gifts. Hopefully I saved some poor family members from that terrible thunder bird's dusty grip.

Eat and be merry.
When the sun sets at 4:30 - it's nice to look back on the summer bounty

Monday, 12 December 2011

Christmas baking for an army

Is christmas baking about to put you in an early grave...yeah me too.
This is the run down thus far:
Cocoa snicker doodles
 see Choco bombs for recipe.
Niro Panforte - super traditional (vegan)  
Orange Hazelnut biscotti (vegan) 
Lavender tea dunkers (vegan)
Coco snickerdoodles (vegan)
Sugar cookies 
Mustard - if you got some, just know - the  mustard needs to mellow for a while and I was a little low on mustard in each of the jars, but theres an excellent seal, no worries.
Carmalized onion relish with cranberry - turkeys new BFF!

Pictures to come, and if you want recipes lemme know...right now I need to rest my cookie dough mixing hands and kiss my stand mixer goodnight.

A load of crock-ery

I've recently been enjoying mexican food and have been eating beans  and rice en masse. With a high demand of beans in our household we needed to find an economical way to bake enough beans to feed a (small gasy) mexican army. Solution. On a whim I bought a late 70's electric crock pot from the local second hand store, the kind decorated with 70's brown specs and uses more energy than my current fridge, stove, MacBook, all the lights and street lights on my block combined. Despite it's faults I'm in love with this tough old work horse. Ready set 70's!

1 lbs beans, white navy beans, black beans or even mixed beans.
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 can of tomato paste
4 - 6 cups water - use your judgement
can of tomatoes  or a couple of frozen tomatoes, when you can;t use them immediately, the tomatoes go for a freezer nap.  

flavor flaaaav
1 TBSP mustard
1 TBSP molasses
splash of apple cider vinegar 
corinader, cumin, dried chili and any other spices you so desire.
bacon or liquid smoke would be a reasonable choice as well - but I've managed by without no problem.

Soak the beans in the crock pot in a generous amount of water overnight
in the early am (9-ish) ditch the soaking water and add in all the ingredients to the crock pot
Meanwhile boil up some water in your kettle
add in the boiled water to the crock pot and place those beans on high if your pot has that option
now watch for boiling over...but leave those beans to get good and hot
once the mix has reach a boil - turn down to medium heat and allow to simmer away deliciously
stir the whole mix well every so often to avoid burning on the bottom and adjust the heat to ensure it can be lefted to cook unattended. Add more hot water if necessary to ensure the beans have plenty of liquid to rehydrate with.
at the end of your cook period check the sauce, if it's too liquid, remove the lid and blast up the heat to reduce.
Eat with rice and lots and lots of beer and celebrate that your indulging in some vegetarian fare. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Rice is nice

If there is anything as satisfying as rice pudding, I haven't met him yet.
There are cool drinks on hot summer days, turkey gravy on mashed potatoes and rice pudding in that order of highly satisfying food to dine on.

I used to belong to a fringe group of people who baked their rice pudding, same basic ingredients but blapped into the oven for hours and hours only to get sweet golden baked rice. In the words of so many stereotypical movie side kicks...
"Oh no you didn't"
So no, I don't,
bake rice pudding anymore - it's nothin’ but stovetop for me.

This is the only recipe I've ever purposely used raisins. 
Little know fact: Raisins remain the most unholy of all the dried shrivel fruits,  Eve didn't offer Adam an apple, she offered him a box of raisins. A millennium of re-editing the bible turned the raisins to an apple, but sure as you are reading this blog, the Devil had a "fun sized" box of Sunmaid raisins ready for unsuspecting souls. Why do you think adults hand them to children at Halloween?? They're the food of the devil; adults just follow the tradition of trying to corrupt the innocent through the power of the wrinkly grape.   All true.
"Hey Adam, you wanna box of raisins?"

In this recipe you'll learn the awesome power of rice to counteract the evil lurking in the raisin, just don't deviate...unless you feel lucky punk, well, do ya?

  • 1 c. short grain white rice
  • 1/4 c. sugar or sweet stuff of your choice
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 c. milk or milk substitute
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • Vanilla, extract (ghetto) or 1 scraped bean pod (gourmet) it's up to you
  • 1/4 c. coconut water, milk or cream

Place the first 5 ingredients in a saucepan EXCEPT the vanilla extract and coconut
Say some prayers to the gods of good will asking they protect you from the evils evoked when you pulled out the raisins.
Turn that pan right up and get a boil started - stir often and do not scold the milk...seriously it's sensitive. 
Turn the heat to a low temp and feel free to stir the pudding frequently, remember we're making a pudding so whip those starches up.
When you think it's about done, that's when you introduce the vanilla and coconut. Coconut? But why? It's in ambrosia, ambrosia is the foods of the gods, ergo, and it’ll counter balance the evil raisins.

Remember to hold off to allow this puddin’ to cool before performing a triple twisting double pike in, a direct hit of rice puddin’ immediately after cooking with burn you taste buds off. Take a break; relax and the world will be your pudding.

Eat, in good taste.

It's not easy being green

Too many heads of iceberg lettuce out there blanding the whole world up with their tastelessness. If your in the grocer and your buying iceberg, please for the love of sweet bearded baby Jesus remember this ...
                    you CAN buy good taste.

There is no reason for this leafy treason, it's time to be introduced to the new green in town. Time to give up on the regular leafy ho hum, and approach the greens as an experiment in developing new flavors and combinations. Salads, cole slaws and fresh veggies platter can all be better when your try something new.
Here's a simple chart to help you start your picking, of greens…I don’t even what to think about what else your picking sitting in front of your computer, alone, without anyone watching …ewwwwww.  

Black Kale
Brassica-spinach x brocolli
Dark purple to blue often dusty looking
Red Cabbage
X-crunchy slightly sweet, brassica finish
Dark purple, sometimes shiny and sometimes dusty
Bitter & Herby
Dark purple and white, shiny
Beet Greens
mild beet root flavor with boost of grassy
Shiny green and deep purple, stems are deep ruby red leading to red veining.
Green Kale
Like seaweed without that ocean flavor
deep green/blue, should be even in tone. May even look dusty
fresh green grass – cud
shiny vibrant green
Arugula or Rocket
Green + pepper or horse radish
shiny vibrant green
Swiss Chard
green and earthy – same taste regardless of stem colour
leaf is shiny green, stems range in colour form white, yellow orange and red
green and bitter
vibrant green, pale green and white stems
Horseradish and greens
less vibrant green than above, but still grass green
Greens and celery – crispy
Shiny vibrant green and white stems, paler as the leaves go into the centre
Butter Lettuce
tender fresh green, mild
Shiny vibrant pale green
Green Cabbage
so many varities!
mild broccoli lots of crunch
Variable from emerald to pale green to white
mildly bitter
variable dependent of light source white to pale yellow and tinted green
Sprouted Seeds
mild and crunchy
variable dependent of light source white to pale yellow and tinted green
mildly bitter
White to pale green

Time to go out and turn over a new leaf.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Cabbage Slaw - Tart and Tangy

Cabbage Slaw -
I love eating outdoors and if I was spending my time outdoors enjoying the pre autumn sun, I’d be elbow deep in my favorite Cabbage Slaw. This raw cabbage dish has the benefit of a pre-made fresh meal, and is light and tangy, a leap forward from the old cup of creamy limp stuff that came with the fried chicken. 

 BEST PART: These veggies can be cut up for a couple of days and will wait eagerly in the fridge for their final curtain call. If slaw is not ringing your bell, consider something else – use the veggies for stir fry, soup, or added to an omlette, all in tip top shape and ready to rock. 
Cabbage Slaw - outdoors, as it should be 7-2011 

Cabbage Slaw -
 Now cut it up
1 half head red cabbage
Thin sliced and bite sized
Now’s the time to pull out the Mandoline, easy on the fingers.

1 half head green cabbage
3 – 4 carrots                           
3 – 4 celery sticks
Peppers – red, yellow & orange
Green onions
Thin cut – try diagonal


Apple cider vinegar
 1 part
Olive oil
2 parts
Grated Ginger
Thumbs size – but I like a lot of ginger
Orange marmalade or honey
1 – 2 tsp

This Slaw goes to 11

Toasted almonds
Toasting the seeds is pretty much necessity to improve the flavor.
Sesame seeds
Sunflower seeds
Toasted Cashews
Apples or pears - crunchy
Sliced & diced very small
cut up bit sized

Cut these all up and place in large containers – use what you like for dinner and set the rest up for chilling til you need them again.

Mix the dressing in no particular order, in the bottom of a large wide bowl.
Add in the veggies and mix 
Then pile on top everything that brings this slaw to 11.
PS add apples or crispy pears for sweetness instead of honey to the dressing.

Crunch away in good health

Broccoli Bloody Hell

Like ever person walking the earth I have a love hate relationship with broccoli, I love to hate it. But that’s hardly good for any person to hate an excellent dark green veggie. 
According to “Incredible Edibles” (Okamoto – 1994) Broccoli is chalked full of Vit A & C, and calcium. It lowers risk of cancer at both ends of the intestinal track, but note, ensure your broccoli entrance point is still top side… 
and can help prevent cancers in the respiratory track too. Miracle food! This is a must share.
Mom and dad give the thumbs up while on Skype. 7/2011

1 Head of Broccoli cut bite sized
1 Red Pepper – cut in tiny cute squares
2 TBSP pickled red onions (I haven't discussed my new fav fridge pickle yet - next post :)
2 TBSP pickled onion juice
1 lemon zest
1 TBSP of Mayo or Greek Yogurt
crack of pepper

Prepare the dressing in a lovely salad bowl, Mayo/yogurt, lemon zest, pickled onion juice, stir to combine.
Add the broccoli, peppers, & pickled onions, stir to combine and finish with cracked pepper.

Enjoy and feel smug about eating your raw brassica. And go skype with your parents while making it – your mom will be so proud.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

St. Cherry of Golden Saffron Cake

Cherry & Rose Water & Saffron Cake
I recently had the chance to be touched by the new holy trinity and felt it needed to be piously honored,
I get it, your mind is spinning & a whirl wind of thoughts are trying to mend together scent and taste. But be still your cranium jello dusty devil. Just make the cake and trust in what the Persains have been right about all along.  

The Rightious Ingredients
1 Tbsp butter,softened
2/3 cup non-fat milk
1 tsp saffron threads
1-1/3 cups cake flour
1-cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg or 1/4 cup thawed frozen non-fat egg substitute
2 Tbsp rose water 1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup of fresh pitted cherries
Rose/Holy Water Syrup:
3/4 cup sugar 
3/4 cup water 3 tsp rose water - or to taste. 

The Ritual: Prepare a 9-inch cake pan with butter. 
Combine 2 tablespoons non-fat milk and saffron threads in small saucepan. Heat and stir just to simmering. Remove from heat.
Add the dry ingredients together, flour,  1 cup sugar, baking powder and baking soda. 
In a seperate bowl mix your wet ingredients and mix well. saffron/milk, remaining milk, egg, rose water and vanilla. 
At this point I like to asking St. Honorious, patron of bakers to watch over the oven, protect me burns and help divert those pesky pet hairs from finding their way into my batter.
Mix the wet and dry ingredients together. easy on the mixing, spare the rod, save the cake. 
Put your batter in the pan & drop the cherries on top 
Bake at 375 degrees F. until wood pick inserted in center comes out clean.

While the cake cooks add 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water in a pan, heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and add the Rosewater and allow it to cool. 

Spoon the rose water syrup over the cake. Cut in pretty diamond shapes and go ahead and eat this cake on the good china. 

Welcome, you are now converted, baptized in the warmth of a hot oven. 
Now, go convert the masses. 

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Salad? Yes a post about Salad

While writing a post about salad seems like possible as boring as drying paint, WAIT...this will get interesting. Here's why, salad is a terrible overlooked accompanying dish to many lovely entrees that boost about being big and juicy or rich and earthy. Salad appears at the dinner table like your wimpy nerd cousin. Limp, lacking in substance, nothing much to add to the conversation and way to greasy to be allowed at any respectable table.

Rethinking salad as a combo of colorful conversations between polar opposites can create a "rainbow of diversity" that can be the truckasaurus at the dinning monster truck show. 

Now the interesting part - I've devised a mathematical formula for an ass kicking salad.

        {(4xG)+(4xVoC)} + (.5O +. 5Vin+.2H+.2G+.3M)
                  Number of plates     

G=Greens                         VoC+Veggies of multiple Color   
O=Oil            Vin=Vinegar    
H=Herbs       G=Garlic 

This can be too much free will for some. Unlike a regular recipe there is no standard ingredient list, while for others this will elevate the pressure to make a perfect salad. 

With an addition of grains, or pasta, hearty toast, nuts and cheese you'll find your salad isn’t just a side dish - but a show stopping conga line of high kicks to the iceberg shivering in the crisper drawer. 

Now get out there and give it your all. 
Eat in good company

Saturday, 14 May 2011

gods be damned - it's a healthy cookie

There is nothing more ungodly than healthy cookies.
If you'd like to make a human sacrifice (of your arteries) to the gods of sugar and fat, I suggest you investigate the Compost Cookie at Momofuku.

Sweet bearded baby Jesus, those look divine.

The recipe I'm about to divulge is actually not so terribly unhealthy,  tastes better than most granola eatin', patchouli stink, Birkenstock wearing hippie food, and has the food of the Roman god baked directly into it, sweet honey-esque dates.

Putting the fear of the gods
                    into your cookies
Power cookies as they are more commonly known

  • 1 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 
  • 2 TBSP flax seeds 
  • 1/3 cup sugar ...adjust if you like it more or less sweet. 
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt 
  •  3/4 cups dark chocolate chips 
  • 1/2 cups or more of DATES - don't even bother with raisins ... seriously you will regret that till the day you met your maker.
  • 2 TBSP water
  • 2 TBSP molasses 
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup milk or milk like product, soya, almond, coconut's utterly up to you (phft)
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line baking trays with parchment paper.
Combine dry ingredients in one bowl. In another bowl, combine wet ingredients and add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Drop dough by large tablespoonfuls onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Gently flatten cookies. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned. I like these cookies mid morning, they seem to get you through the day when you need a pick me up. 
Eat a cookie than go for a jog? Unadvisable, these cookies are business time, eat & rest in that order.  Be sure to wait an hour before excercise, operating heavy machinery, or firing your side arm. 

Eat and be merry.