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.

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How about a Green Sriracha sauce?

November 3, 2013

IMG_20131102_025541

When the Sriracha sauce’s factory was threatened with closure, the foodie world went into a frenzy. Like, there are people out there genuinely concerned about the potential shortage of their beloved red Sriracha sauce. The LA Times even published their solution to the potential shortage by sharing their recipe on a DIY Sriracha sauce. Luckily, the court overturned the ridiculous suit and the world is all well again. For now.

The recipe from LA Times was easy enough with only 5 ingredients and 25 minutes from start to finish. I started to wonder, how about a green Sriracha sauce? “Don’t be silly”, my friend tweeted back.

Well, silliness is what got me 2 x 250 ml of green Sriracha sauce. And it’s pretty dang good! I followed the recipe very closely in a way, the only thing different are the proportions of the ingredients and the chilies I used, of course. I had more than 1 pound of chilies to work with so I taste-tested along the way to come up with the measurements below. You’re welcome. My lips are burning and my nose is leaking like something awesome as I’m writing this. Okay, TMI.

Before you start:

  1. Remember to not rub your eyes with your chili fingers.
  2. You don’t have to remove the seeds and stems from the chilies.
  3. You will need a food processor/blender.
  4. Use non-reactive cookware.
  5. This recipe uses serrano and jalapeño but you can use other green chilies as well.

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Leeks and chickpeas soup

September 3, 2013

leeks and chickpeas soup
Today was a soup day in Vancouver.  The sky was cloudy and rainy but it wasn’t dull or gray. It was quite pleasant and welcoming to hear the rain pattering against the glass window by the kitchen. All that was missing was a bowl of heartwarming soup.

This leeks and chickpeas soup that fills your heart with wonder because it’s so flavourful. It’s chock full of goodness filled with aromatic vegetables, chickpeas and some potatoes and a bundle of herbs – that’s it! It is a perfect bowl of soup if I should say so for a day like this or for when you need a little dose love, give or take.

I would recommend that you use dried chickpeas that you would have to pre-soak first but tinned chickpeas will do too. Chickpeas are also called garbanzo beans. And they are delicious to eat. I am sure you’ve had in them in their various incarnations, i.e. hummus, falafel, or chana masala?

For this recipe, you will need two pots; one big soup pot and a smaller pot. If you are using tinned chickpeas, you can make this soup in one pot but if you’re using pre-soaked chickpeas, you’ll need two. You’ll see why in a minute. read more …

Porchetta with proper cracklings

August 25, 2013

porchetta

Since moving to Vancouver, I’ve had the pleasure of eating Meat and Bread’s porchetta sandwich. I saw the guy at the counter chopping up this big hunk of porchetta and that picture stayed in my mind. That was two months ago.

So yesterday, I hosted a small dinner for my friendly neighbours. It was the perfect opportunity for me to make porchetta because in this household where vegetarianism is more of a norm, I rarely get the opportunity to make roasts for dinners (unless it’s roasted vegetables, which I also love but that’s not the point). This was my chance! Merrily, I went to Big Lou’s Butcher Shop to get myself some pork loin and belly. The guy at Big Lou was like, “Ohh..we might have a cut where the pork belly is still attached to the loin”. That is the cut  Meat and Bread uses for their porchetta! I was elated. Five-point-five pounds of porkage later, I was home and ready to start. I realized that the butcher didn’t exactly cut the pork properly for me. The pork belly end’s width was smaller than the loin end so I cut about 70% of the pork belly section out and rolled it as a separate roast.

I had the taste of the M&B’s porchetta in mind but I needed some guidance on the temperature and method. So I found iamafoodblog.com’s porchetta recipe and boy, did her porchetta looked good. I checked out her method, found out the temperature she used and decided I’m going to adapt the recipe a tad bit but keep the same cooking method. It was similar to my aunt’s roast pork method anyway so it made sense.

This recipe feels like it’s a lot of effort but active time is probably only 30 minutes if you get the butcher to score the meat for you and the rest is refrigeration, waiting and cooking the porchetta. It’s slow cooking goodness :)

Before you start

  1. Please note that you need to start preparing the pork 24 hours before serving for the best results.
  2.  You will need twines to tie the pork up (ask your butcher for them).
  3. Paper towels to dry the pork skin.
  4. Toast all your spices first before pounding them.
  5. To maintain a lovely green pesto, blitz the herbs, seasoning and lemon juice first and then stir in the oil.
  6. Make sure your porchetta is not fridge cold when it goes into the oven.
  7. If you have convection setting in your oven, use it.

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Tagliatelle Two Ways: Tasty Vegetarian Ragu vs. Parmesan, Lemon and Zucchini

June 16, 2013

beet-tagliatelle-2ways
I am about to share two very tasty recipe for pasta that I think you should try. They are two very polarizing sauces, one is heavy while the other is light and summery. Both are equally good and completely vegetarian. I really don’t miss the meat on these sauces at all because they are that tasty!

A couple of weeks ago, I made pink tagliatelle using beet root and I made these two sauces to go with it. The vegetarian ragu was tomato based so that kind of hid the lovely pink pasta’s colour a little. If I could do it again, I’d make a creamy meat sauce instead for pink pastas but that’s for another time. Regardless, the flavour definitely makes up for the lack of visual forethought! This vegetarian ragu recipe has been perfected by me for my vegetarian husband over the years. He loves it to bits and as a non-vegetarian myself, I think it’s a pretty decent sauce. I’m tooting my own horn here but it’s really delicious *pats self on the back* :)

I think the secret lies in one particular spice called star anise. When onions are cooked with star anise, something magical happens in the chemical reaction neighbourhood. The reaction increases the umami flavour of the dish. The star anise flavour plays a very complementary role, you cannot tell that there’s star anise in there, you just go “MMmmm”!

The other sauce is a light and summery “sauce” that is perfect for a hot summer day. You will see why I put quotation marks on the word sauce in a bit. I had left over pink pasta and the green and white from the zucchini makes it a lovely dish to look at. And the lemon and parmesan lends a very refreshing tone to the dish, which makes it lovely to eat. Best part is it takes minutes to make. Honestly, pasta is the real fast food. Forget McDonalds and all that nonsense, fresh pasta takes 1-2 minutes to cook and and this dish takes about the same time to assemble.

So, let’s begin.

Before you start:
You will need a large pot for the ragu and a pan for the Parmesan, lemon and zucchini sauce | Remember to have a pot of boiling salt water ready to cook the pasta | You can add minced beef, lamb, pork or chicken into the ragu as well | You can grate the Parmesan with a regular vegetable peeler

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