Whole Tomato One Pot Meal

April 10, 2015
Picture courtesy of P.

Picture courtesy of P.

This is a one pot rice recipe that you can customize to your heart’s desire, the only exception is that you must always start with a few basic ingredients. This recipe works, it’s really delicious and a time saver. You basically throw everything in the rice cooker, or pot if you cook rice in pot, and your meal is ready when your rice is cooked. I have tried this recipe three times now and each time with a different slant of ingredients and it always comes out beautifully. It’s sort of like a stone soup, if you’ve heard of that story. Except it’s with a tomato. Except it’s tasty even with just a tomato.

When I decided to give this recipe a try, I was tired and hungry after work, there wasn’t much groceries left in the fridge and I didn’t have the energy to get groceries or cook P and I proper dinner. Desperation leads to openness in trying new things I guess, so I eyed that lovely organic red tomato sitting on my kitchen island. Boy am I glad I gave this recipe a whirl.

My only regret? Not taking more pictures. read more …

Muhammara (Syrian Red Pepper and Walnut Dip)

October 25, 2014

muhammara-3The first time I tasted muhammara, I was at my in-laws’ house. My husband’s mother is Syrian, she grew up in Egypt when it was still beautiful and tolerant and modern. It was through P’s family that I was introduced to the flavours of the Middle East and the Mediterranean. It’s truly a unique culture and I’ve found similarities in their conception and appreciation of food  with the Asian food culture I grew up with in Malaysia. Hospitality wise, they’re the warmest of people you will ever meet…:)

Now, the muhammara is usually served as part of a mezze, which are small tapas-style plates usually served with alcohol. I think the preferred aperitif is Arak and it’s quite similar in taste, and effect, as absinthe. Muhammara is like the lesser known, but equally if-not-more-delicious, cousin of hummus and baba ghanouj. Made from a combination of olive oil, spices, roasted red peppers, walnuts, sometimes pine nuts and bread crumbs or bulgur wheat, it has multi-purpose applications. Everyone loves a good hummus but wait till you try muhammara. It’s slightly spicy, nutty and very tasty on top of pita breads, toasts, sandwiches, fresh vegetables, pasta…basically, you can put that <beep> on everything! Every household in the region makes this delicious concoction differently but it originates from Syria with the use Aleppo peppers.

Since Aleppo peppers are hard to come by outside of the Middle East, red bell peppers can be used together with other dried pepper varieties. In this recipe, I found that (surprise, surprise!) Korean chilli powder does the job wonderfully as a replacement for Aleppo pepper. It imparts a lovely bright red and smokiness to the dip. Now you know what to do with your extra chilli powder after making kimchi!

read more …

Basil Pesto with Sunflower Seeds

June 29, 2014

20140622_132738 My basil plant is prolifically producing and I love, love, love the fact that it has tripled in size in this beautiful Vancouver weather. What better way to use basil than to turn it into an all-purpose pesto! You guys are probably used to pesto made with basil and pine nuts but really, pesto can be a combination of any greens/herbs/fruits, nuts, lemon juice, olive oil and grated Parmesan. After all, pesto  just means paste in Italian. With the price of pine nuts going off the roof lately, this is a basil pesto that uses sunflower seeds. If I were you, I’d toast the seeds until they are slightly brown and fragrant but feel free to skip the roasting, if you’re feeling lazy. I don’t like my pesto to be emulsified. It’s a state you’d get if you blitz all the ingredients into a blender. The combination of lemon juice and all the other ingredients turns the paste into a light green cream and I hate that. I want my basil pesto to be a fluid sauce, glistening with oil and with all the finely chopped ingredients visible as you run your spoon in it.  This is my recipe for pesto. 🙂

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Compound Butter Recipe

February 28, 2014

IMG_20140228_013133I love compound butters. A dollop of these flavoured butter goodness can take any dish through the roof. What is compound butter? It may sound fancy but that cannot be further from the truth, it’s basically butter mixed with whatever herbs you have at hand. Garlic butter is an example of a compound butter, and I am sure you know how delicious it is when slathered onto toasts. You can easily make your own flavoured compound butter at home. Store it in the freezer and it freezes well for up to a year and when you want to use it, just open the packaging and cut a few chunks out. In the fridge, depending on what herbs you used, it can last quite a long while too. I just wouldn’t recommend storing your compound butter in the fridge for long periods of time if you used a lot of fresh herbs.

IMG_20140228_013108

This is my version of compound butter, made in a food processor. You can also make it by hand, you just need to make sure your butter is soft and your herbs finely chopped. And you should make a lot of compound butter, especially when butter goes on sale. 😉  read more …

Black bean brownies

December 20, 2013

black bean brownies
I was a skeptic when I first read this recipe at the Minimalist Baker. I was wary about because black bean is not a conventional ingredient in baking but the number of reviews raving about these brownies can’t be lying, right? They’re not liars because these black bean brownies are divine! These brownies are chocolatey, fudge-like in the centre and they are gluten-free; and completely vegan. Eating
them makes this Christmas feel, how shall we put this, like a guilt-free indulgence. Oh, don’t forget to lick the batter off the spoon, it’s safe.

The black bean brownie recipe takes 5 minutes to put together, if you have all the ingredients. If not, I suggest you buy the ingredients because they are multipurpose and great for health too. And you will make the batter in a food processor or a blender. My other brownie recipe is pretty awesome too. If you want something traditional and non-vegan, that’s the one you want make.

read more …

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