Lazy Jambalaya

Wholly inaccurate, but easy enough on a weekday. A satisfying one-pot meal with plenty of leftovers for lunches. Leftover portions freeze rather well, so that is always a bonus.

Ingredients :
3 Italian sausage (spicy)
1 onion, chopped
3 celery branches, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
2 cups rice
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 table spoon cajun spices
1 table spoon paprika
1 lb shrimp
olive oil
ingredients

1. In a large enamel faitout or dutch oven, warm about a table spoon of the oil. Remove the casing from the sausages and add to the pot.
sausage1

2. Break apart into clumps as it cooks.
sausage2

3. Once the meat is almost fully cooked, add the onion, bell pepper and celery.
veggies

4. Stir in and cook for a  minute or two then add the frozen peas.
peas

5. Give the peas a mine to start thawing then add the tomatoes and garlic.
tomatoes

6. Add the rice. Stir it in, to coat the rice.
rice

7. Add the chicken broth, paprika and cajun spices.
stock

8. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes (to get the rice started)
cook1

9. Add the shrimps, still frozen, in a single layer on top.
shrimp

10.  Cover and return to heat for 5-10 minutes, or until the shrimps are nicely pink.
shrimp2

11. Allow to stand for a few minutes (the liquid will be absorbed). Portion out and enjoy!
serve

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Arroz con Pollo

Well, not a traditional version., but close enough. A nice warm and filling casserole of spicy chicken and savory rice. Reheats beautifully for lunches and has enough depth of flavor that you don’t get bored eating it after a few days.

Ingredients:
1 table spoon apple cider vinegar
2 tea spoon red pepper flakes
2 large cloves of garlic
1 tea spoon salt
1/2 tea spoon pepper
6 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on if you want)
1 onion
2 bell peppers
4 cups chicken stock (1 liter)
generous pinch of saffron threads
1 pint diced tomatoes
1 dried yunnan pepper
1/2 tea spoon cumin
2 bay leaves
2 cups rice
ingredients

***

1. Combine the apple cider vinegar, pepper flakes, minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper.
marinade

2. Put the chicken in a large ziploc bag.
chicken1

3. Pour the marinade over the chicken and massage to coat the meat. Put in the fridge for 1 hour minimum, up to overnight.
chicken2

4. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, chop the onion and bell peppers.
veggies

5. Pour the chicken stock in a large pot and bring to just under a boil.
broth

6. Warm the oil in a large enamel cast iron pot (Dutch oven or French faitout). Retrieve the marinated chicken and add to pot in a single layer over medium to medium-high heat. Allow to cook for a few minutes, just to get some color.
Don’t breathe in the fumes… vinegar and red pepper flames are hard on sinuses.
meat1

7. Flip and color the other side then set aside.
meat2

8. Your broth should be warm by now. Add the saffron, then turn the heat to low and allow to steep.
broth2

9. Drain excess fat from the pot (especially if you cooked your chicken with the skin on).
Add the vegetables to the pot. use the moisture from the onions to scrape up any tasty stuck bits. Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until softened and the onions start turning translucent.
veggies2

10. Add the tomatoes.
tomato

11. Once the tomatoes are bubbling, add the ground cumin.
cumin

12. Add the rice.
rice

13. Stir the rice until it has absorbed the pan juices, about 3-5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot.
rice2

14. Add the saffron broth, bay leaves and crumble in the yunnan pepper.
liquid

15. Bring to a boil. Then lower the heat to a low simmer and cover.
liquid2

16. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes. Then turn the heat off and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
cooked

17. Portion out and enjoy!
portion

Bread and Butter Pickles

And the last of my week-end of canning stuff according to my grand-mother’s recipe (for the first two installments see the Sweet Relish and Fruit Ketchup). These  are crunchy and sweet bread and butter pickles. I made small round slices, but you can make long slices to put on sandwiches.

Total Yield : 7-8 pints.

Ingredients :
8 lbs small pickling cucumbers
4 onions
1/2 cup salt
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
5 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoon celery seeds
2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
5 cups white vinegar
pickles-1

***

1. Wash and brush the cucumbers. Remove both ends. Slice thinly (I used a mandoline). Dice the red and green bell peppers and 4 onions and add to the bowl.
pickles-2

2. Add 1/2 cup salt.
pickles-3

3. Add water to cover the vegetables. Then crack a tray of ice or two over them.
pickles-4

4. Put something over the whole mess then weigh it down (here using a full jug of vinegar as a weight).
Leave to brine for 2 hours, turning over the layers once in a while.
pickles-5

5. Here is after the two hours. I was able to switch my plate after 30 minutes to get better compression.
pickle-6

6. In a large pot, combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seed, cloves and turmeric. Bring to a boil
pickles-7

7. Remove the weight from the vegetables. Drain the brine. Rinse twice with clear water and drain well.
pickles-8

8. Scald 7 jars. Stuff the vegetables into the jar. Depending on how much water you got out of them your yield might be 7 or 8 pints.
pickles-9

9. Cover with the vinegar pickling liquid,
pickles-10

10. Process for 10 minutes then allow to cool fully.
(And yes, I totally lost the light for this).
pickles-11

Sweet Relish

Continuing my condiment making from the Fruit Keptchup. This relish is perfect for burgers and hot-dogs.

Total Yield : 3.5 pints (7 half pint jars)

Ingredients :
2 lbs small pickling cucumbers
2 onions
6 green bell peppers
1/2 cup salt
5-6 cups sugar
2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
4 cups white vinegar
* optional: green food coloring
relish-1

***

1. In a large bowl combine the vegetables.
I ran the onions and bell peppers in the food processor because I’m lazy but diced the cucumber.
relish2

2. Add the salt.
relish-3

3. Cover with cold water. Mix well.
Set aside to brine/macerate for 12 hours.
relish-4

4. When everything had time to make friends in the salt bath. drain everything. Press down on the vegetables to extract as much water as you can.
relish-5

5. Add 5-6 cups sugar (depending on how tangy you like it).
relish-6

6. Add the spices.
relish-7

7. Add the white vinegar.
relish-8

8. Stir to combine. Turn the heat on to a medium-low and allow to reduce for 1-2 hours.
relish-9

9. Once reduced it will look like this.
relish-10

10. Totally optional, but you can add a few drops of green food coloring at this point to bring back the green of the vegetables vs the yellow of the turmeric.
relish-11

11.Scald 7 half pint jars. Distribute the relish into the jar.
relish-12

12. Process for 10 minutes then allow to cool fully.
relish-final

Fruit Ketchup

I did a large batch of canning as gifts for my family. I found (well, ok, asked the gatekeeper of all her old typewritten cards to send me a copy) my grand-mother’s recipe and proceeded to fill the house with steam. It was worth it! This was my set-up at the beginning of the day…

overall

First up is Canadian Fruit ketchup. A classical condiment; I associate it with meat pies at Christmas.

Total Yield : 6 pints (12 half pint jars)

Ingredients :
6 tomatoes
6 peaches
6 pears
6 apples
6 onions
2 green bell pepper
4 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
3 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pickling spices

fruit-ketchup

***

1. Peel the tomatoes.
Carve an X into the bottom of the tomatoes.
peel-tomatoes

2. Dunk the tomatoes into a small pot of boiling water.
blanch-tomato

3. Transfer to a bowl of ice water.
shock-tomato

4. The peel should come right off. Repeat with the rest of the tomatoes.
peel-tomatoes2

5. Dice and put in a large pot.
dice-tomato

6. Same process for the peaches. make a cross on the pointy bottom side.
peaches-1

7. Put in the boiling water for 30 seconds.
peaches-2

8. Transfer to ice water.
peaches-3

9. Remove the skins.
peaches-4

10. Dice the peaches and add to the pot.
dice-peaches

11. Peel, core and dice the pears. Add to the pot. I used Forelle pears, but use what you like.
pears

12. Peel, core and dice the apples. Add the vinegar to stop the pears and apple from turning brown.
apple
13.  Dice the green pepper and add to the rest.
green-pepper

14.  Pulse the onions though a food processor to make sure no large chunk remain. Add to the pot.
onions

15. Add 3 tablespoon salt and 4 cups sugar.
sugar

16. As soon as you start to mix in the sugar it will start drawing water out of the fruits and everything will start to float.
Turn on the heat to medium.
sugar2

17. Time to put in the pickling spices.
If you have cheese cloth of a mousseline bag use that. I didn’t, so I used a tea ball.
spices

18. Stick you spices into the pot.
Allow to stew/reduce for an hour and a half, at least.
spices2

19. It should start looking like this.
reduced

20. Remove the spices and discard.
Scald 7 half pint jars. Fill with warm fruit ketchup.
fill

21. Process for 10 minutes. Allow to cool fully.
Repeat with 5 more jars.
fruitketchup---final

Orzo and tomatoes salad

A nice summer dish, Perfect for a potluck, for a pic-nic or to make easily carried lunches for the office.

Ingredients
500g orzo pasta
1 cup green peas (frozen)
3 bell peppers (varied colors)
1 bundle of green onions
1lb heirloom tomatoes (varied)
1/2 a bundle of parsley
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/4 cup + 2 table spoon olive oil
2 table spoon red wine vinegar
1 table spoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper
water
ingredients

***

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Pour the pasta into the water, stirring to avoid clumping. Cook for 15 minutes or so.
pasta1

2. In the last 2-3 minutes add the frozen peas.
pasta2

3. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
drain

4. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the 2 table spoon of olive oil and allow to cool fully.
cool

5. While the pasta is cooling, cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Grill until softened and nicely charred.
I kept the skin on for a bit of the smokiness, but you can remove it at this stage.
grill

6. Combine the grape seed oil, olive oil, red wine vinegar and dijon mustard.
dressing1

7. Shake well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
dressing2

8. Thinly slice the green onions, both white and green parts and add to the pasta.
green-onions

9. Cut the peppers into a large dice. Add to the orzo.
peppers

10. Chop the parsley and throw it in with the rest.
parsley

11. Cut the tomatoes into quarters (or into eighth if they are on the larger side). Remove the core and add to the bowl.
tomatoes

12. Mix in the dressing in two times to coat evenly.
mix

13. Plate and eat up.
As a side dish would probably feed 10.
As a main meal made for 6 large meals.
plate

Thaï style salad with chicken

I’ve been sick as a dog and I wanted something light but filling for dinner. This was perfect and will probably be joining a heavy rotation this summer.

Ingredients:
2 boneless chicken breast
1 tea spoon curry spices of your choice
1/3 cup cashew
2 cups bean sprouts
1 cup snow peas
1 red bell pepper
1 bunch of green onions
1-2 ripe mangoes, to taste
2-3 tablespoon fish sauce
1 table spoon soy sauce
1 tea spoon sambal olek (or chili sauce of your choice)
2 tablespoon brown sugar
juice of 2-3 limes
1-2 table spoon peanut oil
Sesame oil (to taste)
Thaï basil (optional)
ingredients

***

1. In a small dry skillet, roast the cashew over medium heat until fragrant. Set aside to cool.
cashew

2.  In a larger skillet, heat the peanut oil.
Cut the chicken into thin strip and add to the skillet along with the curry spices.
chicken1

3. Once the chicken is cooked fully, set aside
chicken2

4. Rinse the bean sprouts and discard any flaccid of off-color sprout.
beans

5.  Slice the snow peas on a 45 degree and add to the bowl.
peas

6. Peel the mango and slice into sticks. Add to the bowl.
mangoes

7. Slice the red pepper into sticks and add to the bowl.
red-pepper

8. Slice the green onions (white and green parts) and add to the bowl.
green-onions

9. Mix the rest of the ingredients together to make the dressing. You’ll have way more dressing then you need. I used maybe 5 tablespoon for the whole bowl?
Keep the rest in the fridge for later use.
dressing

10. Toss the salad together and portion out into bowls.
I had some Thaï basil in the fridge so I added some as a garnish, no big deal if you don’t have any.
portion

11. Add the chicken and cashew to the bowls. Enjoy!
serve