To do with eggplant.

This recipe is for the Feed Feed, enjoy!

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Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Tahini Crema, Pomegranate, and Mint

Rice with Turmeric and Currants

  • 1 c rice, rinsed until the water runs clear then drained (long or short grain are both fine)
  • 1 c filtered water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp dried currants
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  1. In the pot of a rice cooker, combine all ingredients. Add 1 cup of water to the outer pot.
  2. Cook until the rice is tender but well-defined. Fluff with a rice spatula, put the lid back on and keep warm.

Roasted Garlic Tahini

  • 1 c roasted garlic
  • 3/4 c tahini
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • water, as needed
  1. Place all ingredients besides water in a blender and blend until smooth. Add enough water and blend through to adjust the consistency to that of thick yoghurt. Store in a mason jar and refrigerate until needed. Stores up to 3 weeks.

Tahini Crema

  • 1/2 c Roasted Garlic Tahini (above)
  • 1/2 c plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • salt, to taste
  1. Stir together all ingredients until smooth. Use immediately.

Roasted Eggplant

  • 2 small eggplant, washed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Slice each eggplant lengthwise in half, and cut off a thin slice from the rounded side of the eggplant so that the slices have a flat base.
  3. Season both sides of the eggplant and brush generously with olive oil.
  4. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes or until completely tender.
  5. Let cool for at least 10 minutes.

Assembly:

  • 1 cup Tahini Crema (above)
  • 1 cup Rice with Turmeric and Currants (above)
  • Roasted Eggplant (above)
  • arils from 1 small pomegranate
  • 2 tbsp crushed pistachios
  • 1 handful torn mint
  • pomegranate molasses, to drizzle
  • pistachio or extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle
  • sumac, to finish
  1. Place the roasted eggplant slices on 2 plates (as main course) or 4 plates (as starter). Spoon over the tahini crema to cover the eggplant.
  2. Add some clusters of rice around the eggplant.
  3. Scatter all over with pomegranate, pistachios, and mint.
  4. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses and oil, then dust with a pinch of sumac.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature.

backcountry roads

 

Forty years

Forty years they walked, they walked.

They had left, an impossible victory

an impossible freedom

but that was

nothing.

 

Nothing

that was, to them.

08.17.17 Never forget.

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Pita with Hummus, Shaved Cucumber, Harissa Fried Eggs, and Feta

Hummus

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained but save the liquid
  • 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp honey, to taste
  • 1/2 c tahini
  1. In a food processor or powerful blender, add the garlic and lemon juice. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Add tahini, honey, cumin, salt, and drained chickpeas. Add in half of the reserved bean liquid.
  3. Blend on high speed until as smooth as possible, add more of the bean liquid as needed to achieve a light, whippy consistency.
  4. Transfer to a sealable container. Keeps in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Harissa Fried Egg

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1/2 tsp dry harissa
  1. In a non-stick skillet, fry the egg as you normally would on medium-high heat.
  2. When the egg is nearly done, tilt the skillet so the oil pools together. Add the harissa to the oil and spoon the harissa oil over the edges of the egg until crisp.

Shaved Cucumber Pea Shoot Salad

  • 1 medium spiny cucumber (persian cucumbers have too much water)
  • 1 handful young pea shoots
  • squeeze of lemon
  1. Cut off the ends of the cucumber. Slice lengthwise into thin, wide ribbons on a mandoline.
  2. Toss with the pea shoots and dress with a squeeze of lemon. Use immediately.

Assembly

  • 1 pita, lightly toasted
  • 2/3 c hummus
  • 1 harissa fried egg
  • shaved cucumber pea shoot salad
  • 2 tbsp crumbled feta
  • 1 tsp za’atar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. Spread the hummus evenly on the pita.
  2. Add the egg and drizzle the harissa oil all over the hummus
  3. Arrange the cucumber salad on the pita around the egg, top with feta, za’atar, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Enjoy!

 

Green Eggs and Ham

“How dare I tamper

  with a recipe that

  literally breaks every

  Masterchef contender

  and elevates all

  Italian nonnas

  to culinary sainthood?”

 

This recipe is one of my weekday staples for one major reason –  it takes only 5 minutes which coincidentally happens to be what you need to poach your eggs and fry your bacon!

The trick is to par cook your rice in a reduced amount of water so that the center still has some bite. But if you just cook that further in the pan with stock until it becomes creamy, you’ll end up with congee, because the additional liquid means that the rice will eventually absorb more water and lose its perfectly cooked center. To fix this, we want to keep the amount of time the rice spends in the pan as short as possible.

But how do we get the stock to become creamy and “one” with the rice without the 20 minutes of stirring? Oldest trick in the book – corn starch. While I’m usually not a proponent for thickening agents in sauces (I prefer to either go through the pains of reducing it, or I’ll add some sort of ingredient that is meaningful in more ways than just to add body to the sauce), starch is a perfect fit in this case because the creaminess of a risotto comes from the starches released from the rice through relentless stirring anyway.

So there you have it – a risotto that’s essentially been segmented into

a) perfectly cooking the rice, and

b) adding liquid and adjusting the consistency

And how dare I tamper with a recipe that literally breaks every Masterchef contender and elevates all the Italian nonnas to sainthood? I’m a fourth-year UW student who can’t find it in her to shovel out 20 minutes to make dinner after a long day of class, that’s how. So if you want to go all traditionalist/purist/conservative on me, be my guest, just know that I am hangrily jealous of all that time you have on your wooden-spoon-holding, risotto-stirring hands.

Try them, try them, and you may! Try them and you may, I say.

-Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham

Kale and Arugula Risotto with Poached Eggs and Bacon

Arugula and Kale Risotto with Poached Eggs and Bacon

Serves 2 to 4

Herb Puree

  • 2 c lightly packed baby arugula
  • 2 c lightly packed baby kale
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. To make the greens puree, bring a large pot of water to a vigorous boil and add the baking soda. The alkaline baking soda will help intensify the green colour of the herbs.
  2. Blanch the greens for 10-15 seconds, or until wilted.
  3. Fish out the greens with a slotted spoon and plunge into an ice-bath immediately and stir until completely cold.
  4. Drain the greens and transfer to a blender to puree until smooth. Add a splash of water to help the blades grab onto the greens if necessary, and be careful not to blend for too long – the heat caused by the friction from the blades will dull the bright green colour.
  5. Push the puree through a fine sieve and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days until needed.

Note: the water will separate out into a layer on top of the puree after a day in the fridge – I actually prefer to let the puree settle slowly in the fridge for that reason. When I use it, I can just pour out the clear liquid, and I’m left with an ultra-concentrated shot of chlorophyll.

Risotto

  • 1 1/2 c al dente cooked short-grain white rice, chilled**
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp olive oil or butter
  • 1 c vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 batch herb puree (above)
  • Extra virgin olive oil or truffle oil, to drizzle
  • Poached eggs and fried thick-sliced bacon, to serve
  1. In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat the oil and garlic gently on medium heat until the garlic is soft and fragrant.
  2. Add the cold rice and stir to coat each grain in the oil.
  3. Add the stock, stir, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 2 minutes, meanwhile in a small bowl mix together the corn starch with 2 tbsp of cold water until smooth.
  4. Add the corn starch water and salt to the rice and stir until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the herb puree.
  5. Spoon into small bowls, top with a poached egg and a slice of bacon, then finish with a few drops of good olive oil.
  6. Serve immediately!

**to par-cook rice, reduce the amount of water by 25% to 33% depending on how much bite you like in your risotto. For example, 1 cup of rinsed uncooked rice should be cooked with 2/3 to 3/4 cups of water in the rice cooker (with additional water in the outer pot). If you don’t have a rice cooker, reduce the amount of water in your usual stove top recipe by the same amount. Once cooked and completely chilled, you can store the rice in the fridge for up to a week and turn it into risotto in under 10 minutes on any week night (or morning)! You’re welcome.

 

Recipe Only: Pan Seared Trout with Pickled Fennel, Grapefruit, and Mustard Creme Fraiche

Today I had a grilled salmon salad with a few of my colleagues at a harbourfront restaurant. It had a small mountain of sweet and bitter lettuces of various textures tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette, a small mound of diced tomatoes, a few spears of smoky charred asparagus, and a haystack of crispy shoestring potatoes and it was delicious. The salmon was well seasoned, with grill marks to put any neighborhood barbecue daddy to shame and cooked perfectly – buttery with the fat between the muscle layers just melted and the flesh itself just turning opaque.

But c’mon guys, it’s 2017, it’s okay to show some skin.

Which brings me to this salad, which screams spring to me and justifies the fact that I’m sharing a salad because it’s 68°F in Baltimore today and also because lunch reminded me. The crispy pan-seared trout has skin you can hear crackle under the pressure of your knife. The sweet fennel-pickled-fennel cuts through the fattiness of the fish and provides a refreshing crunch to the salad. Bright ruby red grapefruit has bitterness that harmonizes with the muted bitter tones of the kale. All of this is brought together with a smear of mustard creme fraiche for tang and because the tiny pops of mustard bring this dish to a new level.

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Crispy Seared Trout with Pickled Fennel, Ruby Grapefruit, and Mustard Creme Fraiche

Fennel Pickled Fennel

  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp toasted fennel seeds
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c white vinegar
  1. Put the fennel seeds, sugar and vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil until sugar has dissolved completely.
  2. Pack the shaved fennel tightly into a large mason jar.
  3. Pour the hot sugar-vinegar liquid over the fennel and seal with the lid.
  4. Cool to room temperature before storing in the fridge for at least 3 days and up to 4 weeks.

Mustard Creme Fraiche

  • 2/3 c creme fraiche, sour cream, or Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp grainy mustard
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days or until needed.

Crispy Seared Trout

  • 2 portions of pin-boned trout fillets, with skin AND scales
  • sea salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  1. Preheat a cast iron skillet until very hot.
  2. Tip the oil into the skillet and swirl it around so the bottom’s evenly coated. The oil needs to look shimmery – it means that your pan is hot enough. Season the skin-side of your trout and lay the skin-side down in the skillet. It should sizzle immediately. Shake the pan a few times to prevent it from sticking, but if it does just be patient – once the skin is ready and crisp it will loosen from the pan.
  3. Season the top side and watch the flesh turn opaque up the sides – this gives you an idea of how cooked the piece of fish is. Once it’s opaque past halfway, and the skin releases from the pan (about 3 minutes), flip it over and cook another 2-3 minutes before transferring to a plate to rest with the skin side FACING UP (we didn’t go through all that tending and watching to have our skin go soggy at the last minute)!

Kale and Grapefruit Petite Salade

  • 3 c baby kale
  • 1 large ruby red grapefruit, segmented and with 2 tbsp juices reserved
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. In a salad bowl, whisk together the reserved grapefruit juice, olive oil, mustard, salt, and pepper until emulsified.
  2. Add the kale and grapefruit segments, then toss gently with your hands to coat and combine.

Assembly

  • mustard creme fraiche
  • seared trout
  • fennel pickled fennel
  • kale and grapefruit petite salade
  1. Plop a dollop of the mustard creme fraiche on a plate and smear it across with the back of your spoon. Top with a piece of seared trout.
  2. Grab a handful of the petite salade with your two hands and lay it down gently beside the trout. Finish with a few pieces of pickled fennel here and there, as you like it.

Enjoy! I think something bubbly would be appropriate, because it’s spring and we’re eating pretty things. Yeah?

the great divide

HE WILL NOT DIVIDE US

Those were the words etched into the pristine white wall of the Museum of Moving Image, in sans serif bold.

Meanwhile, 226.2 miles south congregated in front of the White House is the Women’s March on Washington. Perhaps it is because I have been hardened by the Canadian cold, or that I’ve nested myself too comfortably in this culture of sorries and eh’s. But I’m not one bit partial to this movement.

But you’re a woman?

Of course I’m a woman.

But you don’t care about gender rights?

Of course I do.

But you don’t care about the Women’s March on Washington?

Those do not correlate.

Take a read from the following excerpt, extracted from the event’s Facebook page:

The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us–women, immigrants of all statuses, those with diverse religious faiths particularly Muslim, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native and Indigenous people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, the economically impoverished and survivors of sexual assault. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.

This does not look to me to be about advancing the rights of my gender. To me, this is an outlet for the anger that is not getting who you wanted for president. For the frustration that was the Orlando Shooting. For the restlessness that was terrorism. For the disappointment that was Brexit. For all the lost fights of 2016.

I am a woman. I care about gender rights. But I am not with her. At least not in the context of this movement pretending to be for advancing the rights of women.

I will not agree to any single agenda that claims to represent the dreams and goals anyone who is a woman. Because such a thing does not exist. That’s what’s beautiful about being human. I will, however, honour the system that is democracy despite its shortcomings because even with all of these flaws I am still damn lucky to be a part of it. I will recognize that in a society that is priviledged enough to have the opportunity of figuring itself out there will be disagreement, and there will be disunity. And that disunity should be in hopes of achieving unity, and the disagreement in progression towards deeper understanding. These are not excuses for kicking the dog when shit don’t go your way.

In a world where we are increasingly seeing only what we want to see (thanks Facebook), without a doubt we’ll have greater and greater trouble seeing eye-to-eye with anyone who bursts that bubble. It’s easy to believe that something’s wrong with the world and that it needs fixing if the news popping up on your feed looks nothing like the world as it is.

Here’s to you America, and anyone whose hearts are feeling broken: this is your chance to reconnect, to re-evaluate, and truly restart. Not with another post of self-righteousness. Be patient, and do what’s in your power to make positive change starting with those closest to you, those who you care about most. Why should I care what that middle-aged man with a permanent pout and corn-yellow hair thinks? I’m focusing on making an impact on those closest to me, those whose opinions matter to me most.

How are you going to make that change?

Oh, and to whoever said “Don’t forget to set your clocks back 300 years tonight”, it may have been @chrisrock, for the record, we’ve made huge progress in placing our trust in democracy and its results, whatever they may be. If we turned our backs on that now we’d really be turning back our clocks 300 years.

And Obama, you did okay I guess.

It is He who changes the times and the epochs;

He removes kings and establishes kings;

He gives wisdom to wise men

And knowledge to men of understanding.

Daniel 2:21

Tahini Date Truffles
Tahini Date Truffles

Tahini Date Truffles

  • 2 c chopped pitted dates, no need to splurge on medjools for these
  • 1 c raw almonds, ground in your blender or food processor
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 c raw cacao or cocoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 c tahini
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor in the order listed. Pulse until the mixture begins to clump together. If the mixture still appears dry after 2-3 minutes, add a tablespoon of water at a time until it comes together.
  2. Shape into bite-sized balls and roll in cocoa. Shake off any excess in a sieve.
  3. Store in Ziploc bags in the freezer. Don’t worry, they won’t freeze hard!
  4. Enjoy straight from the fridge, with a cup of uber creamy and frothy matcha coconut flat white!
Coconut Matcha Flat White
Coconut Matcha Flat White

Coconut Matcha Flat White

  • 1/2 tsp ceremonial grade matcha powder
  • 2/3 c hot water, about 80 degrees F
  • 1/4 c full fat coconut milk (not the stuff you put in your cereal)
  1. Place the matcha in a mug and add about 1 tbsp of hot water. Use a milk frother (I used this one) to mix it up evenly.
  2. Add the rest of the water and continue frothing for 25-30 seconds.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the coconut milk in another cup piping hot, about 1 minute.
  4. Froth up the coconut milk the best you can, because of its low protein and high fat content it won’t form the nice fine foam you might be expecting.
  5. Pour the coconut milk into the matcha and enjoy!

clay pots

Standing on any major milestone, some of us may gaze on the next mile, most of us will look back to see the stretch of our journeys thus far, reveling at how our own two feet have tread upon gravel, sand, mud, and mire to get to where we are: a place for breath. Almost never, however, do we give thanks for the gravel that put blisters on our feet so our soles would not be rubbed raw and open. Almost never, however, do we celebrate as we walk on the sand which gives strength to our legs first by depleting them. Almost never, however, do we give due credit when we are taught the meaning of examining our steps when we slip and fall in the mud. And almost never do we stand amidst the stench and slime of the mire and know that we cannot help ourselves. Always, we unlearn the wisdom which whispers that stillness is what we needed in order to hear the sound of help all around us.

The bitter cold of this past winter has left a legacy – a good one of fond memories and gastronomic strangeness. So the tale goes like this:

My food fairy of a mother flies over from the light-jacket-weathered West Coast, and the first weekend in here in Winter Wonderland Waterloo, she insisted that she wanted to go to the market and buy twenty pounds of chicken legs.

And twenty pounds heavier was the car when it pulled back into our parking spot, and we hauled the suspiciously bagged mass of dismembered poultry limbs up to the third floor.

As soon as the bag was set in the kitchen sink, she went merrily to work. I assure you, this is the first time I’ve ever seen her so comfortable around carcasses. She washed them one by one, patted them dry, and rubbed them with rice wine. Then in the wok, she toasted the peppercorns with the salt, waited for it to cool, then applied that to the chicken too.

BeFunky Collage2

Then things got a little crazy – I became an accomplice in her act. I helped her make the cardboard coffin, lined it with a black garbage bag, and placed a steel rack in it. Then, one by one I carefully placed the chicken legs, skin side up, onto the rack. Once that was over with, I carried the whole box out the door, and left it on the deck. The wind was a bone-splitting -20 degrees, and the sun deceptively cold.

And in that weather sat the chicken legs for seven days.

On the seventh day, I flipped them over.

BeFunky Collage1

And they stayed like that for another seven days.

At last, they had finished curing, and winter has served its duty in this household.

Ingredients for the wind-cured quarters:

20 lbs free range chicken legs

1 cup rice wine

1 lb coarse kosher salt

25 g Szechuan peppercorns

To make the cured quarters, follow the story above.

Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.

Jeremiah 18: 3-4

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Obviously, nobody in their right mind would attempt to devour twenty pounds (or should I say ten now that they’ve thoroughly dehydrated) of chicken – however delicious they may be – in one sitting. No worries, that’s what we have Ziploc bags for, then throw them in the freezer (or back outside if it’s still below zero).

Now, when you want some really good chicken claypot rice, take out one bag to defrost, and keep on reading. Maybe I’ll give you a few incentives as to why you want to eat that chicken that’s been banished out along with Elsa for two weeks.

Yes, it looks all dry and dusty, but once you steam it directly on the rice, you’ll taste and understand. The texture of the meat fibers becomes firm, yet supple, like that of a giant seared scallop. The flavour of the bone marrow and peppercorn-infused chicken fat renders into each grain of rice. The salt which permeates throughout the sweet flesh is transformed into a condensed form of umami with the creamy aroma of rice wine.

Ingredients for the cured chicken claypot, serves 1:

90 g white sushi rice

115 ml filtered water

8 thin slices ginger root

1 cured chicken leg (recipe above)

1 scallion, thinly sliced

To make the chicken claypot, rinse the rice in WARM water for three times, draining after each rinse, until the water runs clear. Put the chicken in a small clay pot or ovenproof ceramic vessel.

Add the water and the ginger slices, then place the chicken, skin side up, directly on the rice.

Put the clay pot in the rice cooker**, and pour a cup of water in the rice cooker (not the clay pot), and cook until the switch springs back up. Let it rest for 10 minutes, then repeat this step.

Once it’s done resting a second time, sprinkle on the scallions, and dig in! Enjoy with these sweet, garlicky pickles, and you’ll never want to go out for Hainanese chicken rice again.

You’re welcome.

**If you don’t have a rice cooker, do it on the stove top! Place the deep ceramic dish in a heavy-bottomed pot, fill the pot to 2/3 inch with water. Cover the lid, and steam on medium high heat until the rice is cooked through, add more water to the pot as necessary.