Sunday, June 8, 2014

Kathy's Mexican Pulled Chicken

Pulled chicken soft-shelled taco with cabbage, radishes, cilantro, feta and siracha mayo

Every person needs one staple dish, for Kathy, who regularly enjoys Mexican inspired food with her husband-to-be, this will be hers. Pulled chicken: for tacos, nachos, quesadillas and lettuce wraps; this sweet and spicy chicken is as tasty as it is versatile. Marinate overnight and throw it in the slow-cooker while at work, or cook under two hours in a covered pot or dutch oven if slow-cooking is not your speed. For Kathy plus one.

Chicken Rub:
This will provide enough rub for two small chickens (approx. 1kg each) 
  • 4 tablespoons of sweet paprika
  • 4 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons of dried coriander 
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons of coarse salt
  • 1teaspoon of fresh-cracked black pepper
Everything Else:
  • 1 small whole chicken (approx. 1kg)
  • 4 tablespoons of your favourite hot sauce (mine is siracha)
  • 1/2 can of Coke, Pepsi, root beer, or your favourite alcoholic beer
  • Juice from 1 whole lime
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil

Combine all rub ingredients in a large enough ziplock bag to toss your chicken in. Close bag and shake all rub ingredients until they're well combined. Unzip, place your chicken(s) in the bag, close the bag and shake well until your chicken(s) is completely coated in the rub. Refrigerate overnight for the most flavourful chicken, although you can cook it right away if time doesn't permit.

When you're ready to cook, pre-heat your oven to 400. Meanwhile on your stove-top in a large pot,  or french or dutch oven, on medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (for about 2 minutes) then place your chicken breast side down into the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Pour your 1/2 can of beer or soda into in the pot along with the lime juice and hot sauce, and simmer for another 2 minutes. Cover your pot and place in the pre-heated oven on the middle rack. Cook covered for 2 hours. 
 Chicken before it goes in the oven

When your chicken is done, remove the chicken from the pot and place on cutting board and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Reserve the sauce in the pot. Once chicken has slightly cooled, with two forks, start pulling the meat off of its bones (it should just be falling off at this point). If some of the chicken comes off in larger pieces, use the forks to shred into smaller pieces. Once you've removed all of the chicken from its bones (and ensured there are no bones in the chicken) put the chicken back in the pot with the reserved sauce and mix. You can save the bones for a stock or  simply discard them. 

At this point your chicken is done and ready to be served, bon appetit!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Where I've Been

To my loyal recipe followers, I'm sorry. I know a number of you have been looking forward to my unique twist on old comfort food classics, but alas I've been focused on other things. For the last two years I've intensively been working towards my diploma in professional writing. I still cook and love food and in my down time, I'm still facebook-ing and added new pictures of my creation on my Instagram account. Additionally, I've been doing a lot of research on another passion of mine, Local Foods. To find out how local foods affect our food systems, please read my latest piece on Pulp Free called Finding the Right Ingredients. In the interim, please enjoy a few snapshots of some home-made treats: banana cupcakes with Oreo cookie buttercream frosting.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Italian Meatballs with Ricotta Polenta, Roasted Rapini and Tomatoes

A little taste of Italy, at home. Meatballs are versatile and can be prepared in advance, frozen and then taken out the day-of for a quick and hearty meal. Or serve them fresh with this recipe for creamy ricotta polenta and roasted rapini and tomatoes. So good, you're grandma will be asking You for this recipe. (Serves 4 ish)

Start with a large mixing bowl. Add ground pork,  beef and veal.

Grate onion, romano cheese and soak bread in milk.  Chop fresh basil,  fresh oregano and fresh garlic. In a separate small bowl, whisk one egg, add all ingredients to meat along with 1 1/2 cups of roasted red pepper tapinade and 3 tablespoons of each sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

Get your hands in there and mix well. Start forming meatballs, I used an ice cream scoop to divide my meat evenly, then with your hands, roll them into balls and place in baking pan.

Brush meatballs with the rest of the tapinade, then chop fresh tomatoes and  add to baking pan. Cover with foil and bake for one hour at 350*C. Remove foil turn heat to 450*C and bake uncovered for 10 minutes, turn meatballs over and bake for another ten minutes. 

While meatballs are cooking prepare rapini. Clean and trim the stems, place on baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add fresh garlic, lemon slices and season with salt and pepper. Place in oven when you increase the temperature for meatballs, on middle rack roast with meatballs during their last 20 minutes of cooking.

Once rapini is in oven, start polenta. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil on high heat, with a steady stream pour in cornmeal while whisking. Continue stirring and reduce heat to med-low, continue to stir periodically, to prevent polenta from sticking. Cook for about 20 minutes, then add 2 tablespoons of butter, ricotta cheese and season with salt and pepper. Mix well, then with a fork fluff polenta a little.

Plate polenta, rapini, meatballs and tomatoes. Serve and get ready to be asked for seconds.

  • Ingredients:
  • Meatballs:
  • 1 lb of each ground veal, pork and beef (
  • 1 egg
  • 1 challah bun soaked in 3/4 cup of milk (or any regular bread will do)
  • about 12  fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • same amount of fresh oregano leaves, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of grated Romano cheese
  • 2 cups of red pepper tapinade (eggplant, roasted red peppers, banana peppers, olive oil, salt, vinegar and garlic) can also be purchased from stores such as La Bottega (
  • 1/2 grated onion
  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of sea salt
  • Polenta:
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups of ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoon of butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Roasted Rapini:
  • Rapini about 3 bunches, enough for 4 people
  • 1 fresh lemon, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Monday, March 28, 2011

Strawberries and Champagne Cupcakes

No matter what the occasion, these Strawberry and Champagne Cupcakes, with mascarpone, marshmallow, and strawberry frosting can help you celebrate. These cupcakes call for only a cup of champagne, just enough bubbly left over to have a glass (or two) and truly make your occasion extra special! (makes 24 cupcakes)

  • Cupcake ingredients:
  • Dry Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of maple sugar or regular granulated sugar
  • Wet ingredients:
  • 2 cups of fresh cleaned, trimmed and chopped strawberries
  • 1 cup of Champagne (or sparkling wine)
  • 2 cups of unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 cup of maple syrup (only the real stuff)
  • 2/3 cup of melted butter, cooking oil or melted shortening
  • Frosting:
  • 500ml of whipping cream
  • 1 cup of icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of vanilla( I also used vanilla beans)
  • 1 large container of mascarpone Italian cream cheese ( about 500g or 1lb)
  • about 2 cups of marshmallows
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh grated orange rind
  • 1 cup of fresh strawberries, pureed

  1. In a large bowl, toss strawberries in maple sugar and soak in champagne overnight. If you only have the day, a few hours will do. Cover and keep refrigerated. 
  2. In another large bowl, sift all dry ingredients, except maple sugar.
  3. In a third large bowl, combine apple sauce, maple syrup and butter, slowly add dry ingredients to the mixture while stirring. Stir until all ingredients have combined and no dry spots or lumps are visible. Drain strawberries and pour the liquid into the batter and stir.
  4. Preheat your oven to 385*C and line your cupcake trays. Each cupcake cup should be filled only half way with batter, then evenly distribute the strawberries amongst the cups by placing a few into each half filled cup. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from oven and let cool.
  5. While your cakes are cooking, beat whipped cream until it forms stiff peaks. Sift in icing sugar, add vanilla and orange rind and stir.
  6. In another large bowl, stir mascarpone until smooth. Stir in melted marshmallows while hot ( melt in microwave for about 30 seconds) combine until smooth and a little bit gummy.
  7. Fold your whipped cream into mascarpone mixture, add a little a time, until both whipped cream and mascarpone are completely combined and uniform.
  8. Add your pureed strawberries and stir, the frosting will become nice and pink. Taste and determine your level of preferred sweetness, I don't enjoy frosting when it's overly sweet, so if you need to add more icing sugar or pureed strawberries do so at this point.
  9. With a piping bag ice cooled cupcakes, if you're simply using a knife or spatula to ice your cupcakes, you'll likely need far less frosting, so half all the ingredients and make only half the frosting.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ahi Tuna Burgers with Mango Guacamole and Crispy fried Onions

Sesame marinated Ahi tuna, mango guacamole and crispy onions served on egg buns with chili mayo. Paired with a beet , Asian pear and cabbage coleslaw. This dish is inspired by international cuisines, but is perfectly cohesive. Now, if only we could get such harmony worldwide. So get outside, fire up the old b.b.q and get your friends and family together for a not-so-common cookout. (Serves 6)

Combine all marinade ingredients. You can shake them well in a mason jar or combine in food processor. Pour about 3/4's over tuna and refrigerate, overnight or a few hours before cooking is fine. Reserve rest for coleslaw.

Combine all guacamole ingredients in a medium sized bowl and toss.

Cover guacamole with plastic wrap, press wrap directly onto guacamole and refrigerate for  at least an hour.

In a large bowl, toss all coleslaw ingredients, cover and refrigerate, also for at least an hour.

Mix batter for onions, it should be the consistency of a thin pancake batter. Toss onion in  a little flour, just enough to coat them. Cover a large plate with paper towel, in a small pot, on high, heat cooking oil until it begins to lightly smoke, a few onions at a time, dip onions in batter, then gently place in oil for about 30 seconds, or until it starts to turn golden. With a perforated spoon remove onion and place on towel lined plate. Repeat, until all onions are fried.

Meanwhile on med-high, heat your pan, or turn on your b.b.q, cook steaks for 5 minutes on one side, turn over and cook for another five minutes, for med-rare.

Remove steaks from heat and cut to fit buns. Spread a little chili mayo onto buns, place tuna onto bun, cover with a few spoonfuls of guacamole and a few crispy onions. Pair your burger with some coleslaw, and enjoy!

  • Sesame marinade and dressing:
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • juice from 2 fresh limes
  • 1 cup sesame oil
  • 1/2 shoyu (organic soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • cracked black pepper, about 1/2 a teaspoon
  • Mango Guacamole:
  • 1 fresh ripe mango, cut into small cubes
  • 1 avocado, cut into same sized cubes
  • 1 bunch (about 6) green onions, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 handful of chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 chopped chile, seeds removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped, combined with a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, pressed into garlic.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • juice from 2 fresh limes
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • cracked black pepper, about 1/2 a teaspoon
  • Coleslaw:
  • 1 small red cabbage (or 1/2 a large green cabbage) thinly sliced
  • 2 asian pears, 1 grated, other 1 cut into matchstick sized pieces
  • 2 fresh beets, peeled and cut into same sized pieces as pears
  • 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds
  • about half a cup of sesame dressing, or enough to lightly coat salad
  • Crispy onions:
  • 1 large onion, trimmed, peeled, cut in half, then thinly sliced, tossed lightly in flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of homo milk
  • 3/4 cup of cake or all purpose
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • a small pot with about 2 cups of cooking oil
  • Chili Mayo:
  • 1 and 1/2 chopped, seeds removed, red chilies
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • juice from 1 fresh lime
  • 1 teaspoon of chipotle pepper paste
  • puree all ingredients in food processor
  • Everything else:
  • 2-3 large tuna steaks
  • 6 egg buns, from Rideau bakery

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Roasted Chicken and Sausage Lasagna

Most likely everyone has had lasagna, and maybe even made their own. What I like about lasagna is that once you get the process right, you can personalize it and add your favorite ingredients. It doesn't have to be a basic, ground beef, tomato and cheese dish.  This version, has roasted chicken, chorizo sausage, two homemade sauces and lots of fresh veggies. Great for welcoming back a good friend, from the great white north. (For Kathy, and 3 others)

Wash and cut your peppers in half, put in a pan, set oven to broil and put on middle shelf of oven. They should be ready by the time your tomato sauce is simmering, in about half an hour. Keep an eye on them. For tomato sauce, follow directions 2 and 3 from 10 Veg Tomato Sauce, you can begin this once peppers are in.
Meanwhile, once your tomato sauce in simmering, in another small pot, on med high heat melt 3 tablespoons of butter, once melted, add flour and mix well. Then while mixing, slowly add your milk, bring to a boil while stirring continuously. Reduce heat to low and add half an onion, with a bay leaf pinned to it with a clove. Stir to keep sauce from sticking, once the sauce starts to thicken ( in about 15 minutes) remove onion and discard, season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat
Sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon.
While your tomato sauce is cooking, mix ricotta mixture, set aside
Remove peppers from oven, place in bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap, the steam will help the skin come off peppers once they've cooled. Remove skin, seeds and slice. Set aside. 
At this point your tomato sauce is ready to be pureed, do so, then season with salt and pepper and basil. On stove top in a large pot, on med high, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil, skin side down brown chicken and season with salt and pepper, add about 1 cup of tomato sauce and bake at 375*C for an hour (half for boneless), in last 15 minutes of cooking add sausages. Remove chicken, discard skin,  it should just fall off the bone, so it can be shredded. Remove sausages and slice. While chicken is cooking you can saute mushrooms, with butter, salt and pepper, on med high heat until soft. (about 10 minutes) Set aside, then with the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute spinach for about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove as much liquid as possible from spinach. 
 In a large pot bring salted water to a boil, cook just a few lasagna sheets at a time, place them in boiling water and when they begin to float (in about 90 seconds) remove, strain and rinse with cold water. Cut your sheets to fit your pan, and make sure they aren't too wet before assembling lasagna. All your ingredients are now ready, start with a thin layer of tomato sauce on bottom of pan, then lasagna sheets. On each layer, spread sauce thinly and sprinkle with a little bit of mozzarella cheese. The order, and what your put on each layer doesn't matter, make it your own!!

The top layer, again spread your sauce thinly, then add most of mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake at 375*C for an hour. Remove foil, turn oven up to 400*C and bake uncovered for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and beginning to brown. With left over cream sauce and tomato sauce, spoon a little on each plate, cut lasagna into desired sized cuts and place over plated sauce. 

  • Tomato Sauce:
  • 1/2 chopped sweet  large onion
  • same amount chopped carrots (about a cup and a half)
  • 1 chopped leek
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cans of unseasoned chopped tomatoes (800g each)
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • 8 - 10 fresh basil leaves chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
Refer to 10 Veg Tomato Sauce steps 2 and 3 for sauce, puree sauce, season and lastly add fresh basil.
    • Bechamel Sauce:
    • 3 tablespoons of butter
    • 3 generous tablespoons of flour
    • 2 cups of homo milk
    • 1/2 onion
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 clove
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • Ricotta Cheese Mixture:
    • 1 egg
    • 1 and 1/2 cups of shredded Parmesan cheese
    • 1 container of ricotta cheese ( 475g about 1 lb)
    • 8 -10  chopped fresh basil leaves, chopped
    • fresh cracked pepper, about 1 teaspoon
    • Everything else:
    • 6-10 fresh lasagna sheets (once they've been par boiled, cut them to size to fit your pan)
    • 2 Red peppers, roasted and chopped
    • 1 package of cleaned fresh spinach, sauteed with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (once cooked, squeeze out most of the water)
    • 1 package of fresh mushrooms, chopped, sauteed with 1 tablespoon of butter
    • 2 chicken breasts, bone in, skin on is optimal for flavor, but if you must boneless, skinless is fine. A purchased rotisserie chicken, would be great for this as well.
    • 2 chorizo sausages
    • Shredded mozzarella (450-500g about 1 lb)
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    Port and Fig Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Mustard Lentils

    I set out in search of pomegranates for this tenderloin dish. After scouring a few of my favorite grocers and specialty shops, I simply could not find any. Then, at the check-out, feeling a little discouraged, I saw these beautiful, ready to eat figs and I was newly inspired. So here it is; a sweet port and fig glazed pork tenderloin, with smoky warm romaine lettuce and creamy mustard lentils. Prepare your taste-buds because this is a sophisticated dish that's ready in just 45 minutes. (Serves 4)   

    Start by marinating your tenderloin and refrigerate. You can do this the night before, but a few hours before cooking is fine as well.

    In a large pot, on med high heat add 1 tbsp of butter and saute  one whole chopped shallot until softened (about 5 minutes) add rinsed lentils, about 2 cups of chicken stock (enough to cover lentils) and bring to a simmer. Then add 1/2 cup of heavy cream, 2 tbsp of butter, 4 tbsp of prepared mustard and about 1 tsp of each salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover and remove from heat.

    Meanwhile in another large pot, bring 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock, 1 cup of pomegranate juice, 1/2 cup of port, 1/4 cup of maple syrup and 1/4 cup of worcestershire sauce to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 350*C, cover lentils and put in oven.

    Bring 1 tbsp of each butter and olive oil to a sizzle on med high  heat in a pan. Gently put in tenderloin and sear meat. Rotate the meat 4 times and brown each side of the meat for about 2 minutes per side.

    While meat is browning, cut your figs into quarters.

    Remove tenderloin from pan and place in glaze,  spoon glaze over meat , then place figs into pot. Put in oven uncovered and bake for 20 minutes for medium pork. Pork will be a touch pink in the middle, if you're not comfortable with pink pork, cook 5 minutes longer.

    Remove pork from pot, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes.

    While your meat is resting, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil  in a pan on high heat,  when it begins to smoke, remove from heat and add clean, trimmed romaine lettuce, season with salt and pepper. Toss lettuce and remove right away, you just want to warm the lettuce and give it a smoky flavor. 

    Remove lentils from oven and plate, with sliced pork, lettuce and spoon glaze over pork. Be gentle with figs, they are quite delicate. Finally, enjoy!

    • Pork Marinade:
    • 1 tsp chipotle paste
    • 2 tbsps of olive oil
    • juice from 1 fresh lime
    • 1/2 tsp of fresh ginger, chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, chopped
    • 1 tbsp of port
    • salt and pepper about 1 tsp of each
    • Port Glaze:
    • 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock
    • 1 cup of pomegranate juice
    • 1/2 cup of port
    • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup of worcestershire sauce
    • 4 figs, quartered
    • Mustard lentils:
    • 1 cup of red lentils
    • 2 cups of chicken stock
    • 4 tbsps of prepared mustard, I used 2 of maple whole grain, and 2 dijon
    • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
    • 3 tbsps of butter
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 whole shallot

    • Everything else:
    • 1 pork tenderloin, cooked, then sliced.
    • fresh romaine heart , about 3 per person ( with 1 tbsp of olive oil and salt and pepper) you could also use spinach, kale or brussel sprouts.