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.