Mango salsa.

Who here likes salsa? Who gets there salsa from the store because you’re to lazy to make it?  Me, I love salsa and sometimes yes I’m to lazy to make my own.  It normally happens when all I want are chips…and by chips I mean nachos and it’s also movie night.  However with that being said, sometimes I like making my own salsa and I’m not feeling lazy…it’s normally a pretty exotic salsa though, not like a normal tomato based one.  Which is where this post comes in, get ready mango salsa!  You can use this salsa for almost anything, such as: Tacos, chips, and on top of proteins like fish.  I personally used cod this time, which I baked with chili flakes.
This recipe is very easy, straight forward and doesn’t take very long to do.

Prep time: 10 minutes  Wait time: 30 minutes (depending)  Servings: 6

Equipment:
Small bowl.
Spoon.
measuring spoon/cup.
Knife.
Cutting board.

Ingredients:
1 mango
1/2 small red onion/or 1 shallot
1/4  red bell pepper
1/4 orange bell pepper (you could use any colour bell pepper you want)
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 lime-juiced
1tsp sugar/or honey (I used raw, and you could add more to suite your tastes)
salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Dice the onion into small pieces.  Combine white wine vinegar, lime, and sugar together and place diced onion into liquid.  Set aside till the remaining ingredients are finished.  (This will make the onion have less of a sharp taste)
  2. Peel mango and cut into small pieces, cut the bell peppers into similar size pieces and put them aside.
  3. Peel garlic and finely mince.  There is the option to roast the garlic before mincing, this could give a sweeter taste.  To roast the garlic toss the peeled whole cloves in olive oil, wrap them in foil and place in oven at 250F.  This should take about 20 minutes or until they are golden (keep an eye on them, garlic burns quickly).  Let them cool before adding them to the salsa.
  4. Combine all the ingredients(including the onion liquid mixture) together and season will salt and pepper till it suites your taste.
  5. refrigerate till ready to use, and enjoy!10603636_10153361955348404_253565579615985268_n

Rock fish with jalapeño and lime.

Well it has been a pretty busy and exciting summer.  I’m starting to feel more at home in this new and beautiful city, and I’m finally starting to cook on a regular basis again!  I’m also being more healthy, so a lot more healthier yet really satisfying recipes are on their way.  No need to worry though, I’ll still post desserts and other non healthy foods as well!

This recipe is up anyone’s ally who likes jalapeno and/or lime, it’s right in the middle of tang and spice.  It’s super light,  and easy to make;  Not to mention it’s pretty healthy for you too, it fills you up for roughly 215 calories! (depending on how much butter you put in it, and how big of a fish portion you have)
If you’re worried about other eaters not liking it because of how healthy it is, don’t tell them!  My boyfriend enjoyed this dish the other night and even said it reminded him of his favourite kind of chips, black pepper and lime.  However I did end up putting to much of the “salsa” on top and it was over powering, I’d suggest only putting a heaping tablespoon or so to fully enjoy it.
I used rock fish for this recipe, however you can use any type of fish you like.  A white fish or certain shellfish (ex. shrimp) would be a better match than lets say salmon though.
I paired this delicious fish dish with some baked, garlic sweet potato wedges.  Which I whipped up myself before starting the fish.  I’ll post the recipe for that once I make a better batch!

Before we get started onto this spicy yet tangy recipe, I have an announcement.

Over the course of the summer I’ve had to make a rather hard decision (along with having to move), which I’ll tell you all about within this paragraph or two.  It has come to my attention that cooking professionally may not be my calling anymore, people change right?  Being in a hot kitchen everyday for the last six years has really taken a toll on my body and my mind.  I was starting to feel like I haven’t explored enough options in my life, I felt a need to interact with people other than the 5 folks I worked with.   I was getting angry all the time, annoyed and stressed…No matter where I worked I was always miserable.  Don’t get me wrong I tried my hardest to convince myself “oh it’s just the restaurant” or “I’m probably just having a bad day”.  However as time passed I slowly started to realize, my time is up….It has been long enough, time to find a new career.
The decision was a hard one indeed, within the weeks of starting to realize I felt like failure, a loser. I thought to myself, “why is this happening? I made sure before attending school by working in kitchens, went to culinary school working all through it, and managed to work a few years after that.  What did I do wrong?”
When I fully realized I no longer belonged to the culinary world, the answer to my questions were that I didn’t do anything wrong.  The fact is that personalities change, people switch careers all the time.  I was going crazy and I was tired of not being able to enjoy cooking at home.
So here it is, my cooking career might be over for now, but my love for food is not.  I’m still a foodie at heart, I still like it as a hobby, I’ll still experiment and run this blog.  I just wont be killing myself in an extremely hot kitchen with a bunch of angry, stressed out people, making no money at all.
As for my next career, who knows.  Maybe I’ll be a therapist…or video game designer.  😉

 

Equipment:
Frying pan.
Baking sheet.
Cutting board.
Paring/chefs knife.
Plate (for storing chopped veggies).
Tin foil.
Spoon.
Spatula.

Ingredients:
1/4 onion-small dice. (you can use any type of onion you please)
3/4 bell pepper-small dice. (any colour you like, I used yellow)
1 jalapeño-small dice.
2 garlic cloves-minced/Puréed.
2 limes-juiced.
1 tbsp honey.
1 tbsp butter.
4-4oz rock fish portions.
Salt.
Pepper.

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Dice onion, peppers, and garlic.  Set aside.
  3. While putting pressure on the limes, roll them against the counter (This allows the juice to easily flow out).  Cut into halves, you may juice them ahead of time if you like.  Set aside.
  4. Prepare your fish by cutting it into the appropriate size you desire, and removing any bones.  Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
  5. Heat your pan, add 1 tsp of butter and saute your onions on medium heat till translucent.  Add all peppers.
  6. At this point in time you may also sear your fish till light brown on each side before placing it in the oven.  This will give your fish a nice flavour. (You may use the same pan as your pepper mixture, just push everything to one side.  Making sure not to burn anything.)
  7. Once the fish is out and the peppers are tender add your garlic and saute till aromatic.
  8. Add 3/4 of the lime juice to the pepper mixture, leaving some to splash over the fish before placing in the oven.
  9. Place fish into the oven for about 10 minutes or until cooked.
  10. Add a little butter to the pepper mixture, let reduce for a minute or two.
  11. Once fish is ready, place a spoon full of the “salsa” on the fish and serve!
  12. ENJOY!

Chicken with spiced coffee rub.

As you all noticed I haven’t posted in a while.  The reason being is because I moved to the other side of Canada! (if you didn’t already know) For the past several months I’ve been: getting ready for my move, doing the move itself, and settling into what seems to be the best looking city I’ve ever seen.  Now that it’s finally less hectic and I have a moment to myself, I can start doing this blog again. (You would think I’d be alone everyday, however I’m hardly alone!)

I’ve decided to start off this month with something every coffee lover should love.  Spiced coffee rub, on chicken.  The reason?  well, because I really wanted coffee today.  It has been a while since I had a nice cup of coffee, and I had finally bought a bag for home brewing.  So to satisfy my craving for caffeine fully I brewed a cup, and mixed ground beans in with spices and sugar.
While I was in culinary school I had made something similar except it had cocoa powder in it as well, making it a mocha spice rub.

You can use this rub for almost anything, such as:  Roasting, braising or grilling with beef, chicken or pork.

Equipment:
1 small bowl.
Measuring spoons.
Spoons.
Frying pan.
Baking sheet.
Tongs/metal spatula (something for flipping chicken).
Coffee grinder (if using whole beans)
Air tight container (for left over rub).

Ingredients: ( adjust to your liking!)
3 tbsp ground coffee
1.5 tbsp brown sugar.
1 tsp cayenne pepper.
1 tsp cinnamon.
1 tsp salt.
1/2 tsp black pepper.
Your choice of chicken. (I used thighs)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine coffee, sugar and spices.
  3. Remove the skin from the chicken.
  4. Sprinkle spiced coffee rub over chicken till you have the desired amount.  Rub the mixture into the chicken.
  5. Heat frying pan on stove, then add the oil.  Place chicken in the frying pan starting with the side the skin was on, sear each side till a nice brown colour.
  6. Place chicken on baking sheet lined with parchment paper (tin foil also works).
  7. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked. (I placed a small amount of brewed coffee on the baking sheet as well, just to help keep the chicken from drying out.  However it is not needed.
  8. ENJOY!!

 

Spicy beef jerky.

My family and I took a road trip home to Campbellton, New Brunswick for Easter weekend;  Where we would see the rest of our family.  As we were planning out the basics like: what time we were going, who’s coming in our car, and what snacks to bring.  I had thrown out the idea of making some beef jerky for the trip.  Everyone loved the idea.  We normally buy it on the road but it’s just so expensive;  It’s so much cheaper to make it yourself and it really takes no effort at all!
So the next day we picked up a roast, sliced it as thin a possible and combined a bunch of sauces and spices together for a marinade.  I let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours (because we really didn’t have that much time)and put it in the dehydrator, rotating every several hours to evenly dry each piece!

Yields: 1 whole roast  Prep time: 20 minutes  Total time: 24+ hours

Equipment:
Dehydrator.
Knife.
Cutting board.
Measuring spoons and cups.
Container for marinating.
Container for jerky storage.

Ingredients: **All the measurements really depends on how big your roast is, and how strong you like it.  This is just a basic guideline!!**
Beef roast.
soy sauce.
sriracha.
Chili flakes.
Sprinkle of sugar.
Cracked black pepper.
Garlic cloves-minced.

Method:

  1. Thinly slice your roast; The thinness should be about paper-thin.  Cutting your pieces to thick will cause it to take longer to dry and harder to eat.
  2. Mince your garlic (If you struggle with this you can follow the link to my how to on garlic).  Combine all ingredients and let marinate in fridge for at least one hour or over night.
  3. Plug your dehydrator in and evenly place your meat on the trays.  Place cover on top.  The open space on top of the cover effects how long it will take to dry (bigger space the longer it will take, closed more the faster it will be!); I like to keep mine somewhere in the middle.
  4. Rotate the trays, making sure that each level gets a good amount of heat.  Example would be taking the bottom tray and putting it on the top and continuing this everyone several hours.   As you check your jerky, remove any pieces that have already dried.  This will prevent over dehydration.
  5. ENJOY!!

 

Simple, white sandwich buns.

First I’d like to tell everyone that my brother and I have been watching, and talking about 90’s and early 2000’s cartoons lately…You know the ones people got up on Saturday mornings to watch.  They don’t compare to the really BAD ones you see on television these days.  Some of them include: Johnny Bravo, Teen Titans, T.M.N.T, and Ruby Gloom.  In fact, I just finished watching an episode of Ruby Gloom and I smiled through the whole thing.  It’s so dark, yet so happy!  I highly recommend taking a trip down memory lane via old cartoons, you wont regret it.
Alright so here we go!
Bread, something nobody bakes anymore.  It’s a lost art because of how easy to buy it at the grocery store.  I’ll be honest with you all, I even buy my bread at the store.  However every once in a while I’ll roll up my sleeves, cover myself head to toe in flour, and think to myself “how come I don’t do this more often”.  The smell is what gets me, there’s nothing better than baking your own bread and having that mouth-watering smell waft through your home.  Now add your Saturday morning cartoons and you’re having the best weekend of your life.

Yields: 6-8 buns.    Prep time: 3ish hours.    Baking time: 20 minutes (or until golden).

Equipment:
Stand mixer with hook attachment (Or knead by hand).
Measuring cups and spoons.
Medium/large bowl.
Baking pan.
Dish cloth or plastic wrap.
Pastry brush.
Small bowl.
…and of course an oven.

Ingredients:
3 3/4 cups bread flour (all-purpose can be used).
1 1/4 teaspoon yeast.
2 teaspoons fine salt (I used fine sea salt)
1 teaspoon white sugar.
13 fluid oz warm water. (You can find fluid ounces on a liquid measuring cup)
Butter or coating the pan.
1 egg for brushing buns before going into the oven.

Method:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350/400 degrees.
2. Combine warm water, yeast and sugar together.  Let sit till yeast creates a foamy looking texture on top.
3. In stand mixer bowl combine flour and salt.  Add the water/yeast mixture to the flour on the lowest speed for about 2 minutes.
4. Continue to mix on the second lowest speed for about 5 minutes, or until the dough comes together and is smooth.
5. Knead on counter surface (no flour needed) to create a ball shape. Oil your medium-sized bowl and place dough ball inside.  Place on top of the oven(or in a warm area) to rise, placing a dish cloth on top or wrapping bowl with plastic wrap.
6. Once dough is double in size punch the dough down and knead for a minute or two.
7. Cut dough into even sections and tightly roll into smaller balls.
8. Place small dough balls in a buttered baking pan.  Slightly and gently press each one down (this creates that flatter appearance you need for a sandwich bun).  Cover with a dish towel or plastic wrap again and let rise till double its size (about 20 minutes).  Brushing butter on top of each roll before you put it to rise a second time will help the dough stay moist.
9. Once double in size brush each roll with egg wash, this will help the rolls turn that nice golden colour.
10. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes OR until golden.  Let rest till cool enough to handle.
11. ENJOY!!

**Note, I did not brush mine with egg wash, that is why they look so pale.

Squash- Tips and tricks.

Squash, often overlooked in grocery stores or only used during the holidays.  A lot of the time when I do see a squash in people’s fridges it has been there for weeks maybe months on end looking pretty; Till of course it gets to mouldy and needs to be thrown away.  Even though I love squash, I even find myself passing by the brightly coloured display next to the onions and potatoes.  Why? because they take FOREVER to cook.  You don’t need to keep a constant eye on them, and it surely takes no effort.  However for some reason it taking over an hour to roast seems painful; When I can just eat something at that very moment, or at least sooner.
Lately I’ve been buying squash though.  I’m starting to make myself eat more of a variety while I am at home, instead of waiting till I go to work.

In this entry I’ll be posting: different ways you can cook a squash, different types of squash, and different ways to enjoy it.

There are many types of squash, most can be prepared the same way.  However there is one in mind where roasting seems to be the only way.  The squash I’m talking about is the spaghetti Squash! When cooked it creates a stringy texture which gives it the “spaghetti” appearance.  The best way to cook it I find is by roasting.  Once cooked you can do whatever you want with it.  Saute in a pan with butter and seasonings, put it in a salad…you name it.
A list of some other squash are: Butternut, acorn, buttercup, red kuri, turban, etc..  The list could go on but I think you get the hint there are many.

For roasting you could cut the squash in half, take the seeds out and rub flesh with salt, pepper (whatever seasoning you like) and some oil…sometimes I like to use maple syrup.  Place them on a baking sheet flesh facing down and roast in oven at 350 degrees till somewhat soft. Then turn squash over so flesh is facing upwards.  Place back in often till finished cooking, this will give it a nice flavour and should be slightly golden.
Another way you could roast is by peeling and cutting the squash into chunks, and boiling the pieces in salted water like you would a potato. Once almost cooked, strain water.  Coat in oil and seasonings, place on baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees till golden.
To saute and caramelize them in a pan you would first have to boil it the same way as you were to roast them.

**Tip** By placing flesh face down first it gives a “steaming” effect.  This will allow it to cook before it starts to burn, same goes for boiling first.

There are many things you can put squash into, including desserts and lattes!  One of my favourite ways to enjoy squash is in pasta. A creamy non tomato based lasagna is so delicious when squash is involved, same goes with ravioli. Another way to enjoy it is in salad, caramelized squash with a fantastic vinaigrette based salad can be to die for.  How about a vegetarian sandwich? Soup, everyone loves a butternut squash soup.  It’s also really enjoyable stuffed inside some pork tenderloin with cranberries.   Heck, I even enjoy squash on its own. In fact I ate spaghetti squash today for lunch, with just some salt and cracked black pepper on top. Sometimes it’s nice keeping it simple, that’s for sure.

Well there’s my rant about squash, I hope you learned something from it!

Oh and to everyone in Nova Scotia right now, hope you’re enjoying the blizzard!  …Because I’m not.

images

Some squash for you!

 

Iced ginger green tea.

Lately I’ve been cutting out as many sugary drinks as possible.  I knew that I couldn’t just drink coffee all day, I would be so dehydrated (as much as I would love to). I also knew that drinking water all day could be boring, even though I actually like the taste of water.  So I decided to make my own healthy versions of iced tea.  Green tea is really good for you;  It has antioxidants in it which keep you looking young and fresh, it speeds up your metabolism and helps with your heart.  Ginger is also great for you by helping with stress, has anti inflammatory effects, boosts the immune system and helps with nausea.  Both of these ingredients have way more health benefits and are extremely healthy.  So it just made sense that I would make an iced tea out of them for a refreshing beverage.
Now this doesn’t mean I’ll never enjoy a Dr.Pepper ever again. It’s all in moderation right?

This weeks post as you can see is a little simple and that’s okay.  Every once in a while it’s okay to take it easy and enjoy the little things life has to offer.  Plus I’ve been so busy planning my big move, making sure everything is perfect!  I’ve also been working a lot to save up those dollars.  I’m such a procrastinator that if I don’t go crazy with lists and planning there’s a good chance I will wait till right before I leave.  So whoever is reading this I hope you enjoy it, because this drink has defiantly helped me this past week.

Ingredients:
5-6 bags of green tea.
About 3 ounces of ginger, or whatever your taste buds call for.
Two table spoons of honey. More or less depending on your taste

Equipment:
1 juice jug.
A spoon for stirring.
1 medium pot.
Knife.
Cutting board.
A spoon for peeling the ginger.

Method:
1. Peel ginger and cut into slices.  Combine with 5-6 cups of water in a medium-sized pot.
2. Bring water and ginger to a boil, turn temperature down and let simmer for several minutes; Until ginger is nicely infused with water.
3. Let the water cool just a little, about 5 minutes.  Combine ginger water and tea bags in a juice jug.  Let steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Take tea bags and ginger pieces out and compost it.  Place tea in fridge to completely cool.
5. ENJOY!!

**I accidentally used the wrong tea when I made it again, being tired and all….so the colour is a little off in this photo.

1966786_10152013168273404_872385266_n