food amongst family and friends

Ham Lentil Soup with a Cinnamon Twist May 31, 2011

Filed under: Mains,Make Ahead,Pork,Soups — blisteringlydrunk @ 4:36 pm
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OK, I know it’s not exactly soup weather right now, but it was last week, which is when I made this. This is one of my all time favourite soup recipes, along with homemade turkey soup and chickpea, chorizo, and spinach soup (well that’s the top three anyway, but we can’t forget about Cowgirl soup and Roasted Carrot soup). The cinnamon in this adds depth and warmth without taking over, plus it really pairs well with the ham. Even my husband who is anti-lentil is crazy about this one and I find one pot will feed my family at least twice, so I usually freeze half of it for another day. If you can’t find a ham bone, I would use a greater ratio of broth to water and chop up a ham steak to throw in there.

1 fairly meaty ham bone

8 cups water

2 tsp olive oil

3 medium onions

3 medium carrots

3 sticks celery

3 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms

2 1/2 cups green lentils, rinsed and picked over

1 tsp thyme

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

4 cups broth (chicken is my favourite)

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Put ham bone in a large pot (not your soup pot) with water and bring to a boil. Let simmer while preparing the rest of the soup, or for an hour or two if you have time.

2. Chop the onions, carrots, and celery in a food processor if you’ve got one, otherwise finely chop by hand. Heat olive oil over medium heat in your soup pot, then add chopped veggies. Cover and lower the heat to let the veggies sweat (they should cook but not brown) for about 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, finely chop the mushrooms (I don’t use my food processor here, I find it makes for a strange texture) and rinse and pick over the lentils. Add mushrooms, lentils, cinnamon, bay leaf, thyme, broth, ham bone and water to pot and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.




Coffee & Bourbon BBQ Sauce May 30, 2011

Filed under: Make Ahead,Sauces — blisteringlydrunk @ 11:24 am

Yup, that’s right.  Coffee and bourbon.  Perhaps we should have thrown in a little chocolate to make it the triumvirate of sauces.  This little gem was mixed up during one of the cooking nights we, the founders of this blog, had.  It came from A year of inconvenience and I think she got it from The gourmet cookbook…  I’ve been known to mix it in with meat before barbecuing, or just at the end so it doesn’t burn when using open flame.  Cheers!  Ren

BBQ sauce1 cup strong brewed coffee
½ cup bourbon (We used Jack Daniels.  Then drank some.  See name of our blog….)
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Throw all in a saucepan and cook over medium heat (a simmer) for about 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook sauce down to about 1 cup so the flavors can develop nicely – note that sauce will be thin.


Sneaky burgers

Filed under: Mains,Make Ahead,Pork,Turkey — blisteringlydrunk @ 11:22 am

I call these sneaky because we added a lot of veggies to the mix – satisfies the meat eaters in our lives and gets some veggies in there too.  We (Katie, Ky and I) made a whole bunch of these during one of our cooking nights.  They seriously kick butt.  I mixed mine with Coffee & Bourbon BBQ Sauce prior to forming patties.  Cheers!  Ren

Burger on the barbie1/4 of a whole green cabbage
1 c mushrooms
1 egg
1 clove garlic , minced
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped water chestnuts
2 tbsp chopped green onions
2 tbsp teriyaki sauce
2 tsp chopped fresh ginger root
1-1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 lb lean ground pork
1/2 lb ground turkey

Chop up cabbage and mushrooms and cook in a pan until all the liquid is out (you might want to drain it a bit – just make sure it’s not too wet when you add to the meat).  Meanwhile, beat egg in a large bowl and combine with garlic, bread crumbs, water chestnuts, green onion, teriyaki sauce, ginger, mustard, salt and pepper. Mix in pork, turkey, cabbage and mushrooms; shape into six 3/4-inch (2 cm) thick patties. Can be frozen or cooked right away.


Garam Masala Cookies = WOW May 27, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Cookies,Quick and easy,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 5:37 pm
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I have been baking way too much lately, and I had firmly resolved not to bake any more for at least a week, maybe more, until I saw this recipe on ELS, which blew away all of my good intentions. I immediately set about whipping up a batch of these cookies and I was not at all sad that I did. If you are a ginger snap person, you are going to love these. I think the key is having good quality, fresh spices. Also, next time I think I will make them into a slightly smaller cookie; more of a two biter to have with coffee or tea. These are crunchy, sugary, buttery, chewy, spicy goodness; basically all I’m asking for in a cookie that is definitely not good for me.

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour (I used white, but I think next time I will use spelt)

1 (generous) tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp each, salt and ground cardamom

1/2 tsp each, baking soda and cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375. Cream together first 4 ingredients (through vanilla) in a large mixing bowl using your electric mixer.

2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients and then add to the sugar mixture. Beat with mixer until everything is combined but crumbly.

3. Use your hands to form into balls (about a Tbsp of dough each). Place on lined cookie sheet and flatten slightly with your hands. Leave a bit of room, as they will spread slightly.

4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, maybe less if you decide on smaller cookies.



PS These can easily be vegan if you sub vegan margarine for the butter



Ciabatta bread, straight up May 26, 2011

Filed under: Breads — blisteringlydrunk @ 1:44 pm

I stumbled across this recipe a while ago and decided that, since I’ve been meaning to improve my basic bread skills, I should try it. And it was a hit. We’ve had it with good lasagna and bad soup (don’t ask) and both times the bread was the clear star of the meal. I’m not usually one for white bread, but this is a treaty way to fancy up a meal on occasion. I’m going to write out what I did here, but I would encourage you to go back and read the original post; this guy really seems to know what he is doing and has obviously spent some time perfecting this recipe; the post is well worth reading over.

Before you get started on the actual bread, take a minute to smash some garlic cloves with the side of a knife and pour a 1/4 cup-ish of olive oil over top. The longer this sits, the more flavour it will have and you want to brush the top of the bread with it. I make enough so that I have extra, which I strain and then keep in a jar; it’s great for stir fry or roasting veggies with (or a million other things, I’m sure). And now for the main event:

4 cups flour (I’ve only made mine white so far, but a half and half mix would probably work well)

1 1/2 cups warm water

2 tsp active dry yeast

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp honey

1 Tbsp salt

Sea salt to sprinkle the top with

1. Stir water, honey, olive oil and yeast together in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes or until foamy.

2. Stir in salt and then flour, mixing as long as possible with a spoon and then turning out onto a floured surface to knead.

3. Knead for 10-12 minutes, or until smooth, soft and elastic. I recommend timing yourself, as I usually want to bail on kneading earlier than I should. I found with this bread I really started to notice the texture difference at around 9 minutes, but everyone kneads differently, so keep an eye on the clock and aim to fall between 10 and 12 minutes.

4. Let sit covered, in a greased bowl, for 1 -2 hours, depending on how much time you have, but at least until doubled.  Punch down, form a ball and let rest for 15 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 450. Line a cookie sheet with silicone or parchment and brush with the garlicky olive oil. Stretch your dough out by holding one end at a time and letting gravity do the work, then lay on a baking sheet and use your hands to make sure it is of a consistent thickness. Then use your fingers to ‘dimple’ the bread all over.

6. Brush the top of the dough with the olive oil and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.  Pour 1 cup of water into a small oven proof dish and place in oven with bread. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until golden brown and hollow sounding.

7. Let cool for 30 minutes or so and serve, preferably with way too much butter.




Browned butter cocoa brownies May 25, 2011

Filed under: Baking,Bars,Cakes — blisteringlydrunk @ 5:05 pm
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I don’t have much time, but it occurred to me that this is the second time I have made these and forgotten to photograph the evidence, other than this one sad remaining (and now no longer remaining) brownie. These are (and I had to make my old favourite recipe to confirm this – I take brownies very seriously) the best brownies I’ve ever made and they are very simple. The browned butter is a stroke of genius and using cocoa instead of chocolate makes this fast and simple. If you like brownies, you must try this. Thank you, Bon Apetit! Add nuts is you want, I personally don’t want anything diluting the chocolatey goodness.

10 Tbsp unsalted butter, roughly chopped

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup good quality cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp (generous) salt

2 large eggs, chilled

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp flour

1. Preheat oven to 325 and line a 9″ (or 8″) square pan with tinfoil, leaving an overhang, and then spray with non stick spray.

2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook until it stops foaming and browned bits form in bottom of pan, stirring often.

3. Remove from heat and immediately add sugar, cocoa, vanilla, 2 tsp water and salt. Stir to blend and let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be pretty hot).

4. Beat in eggs vigorously, one at a time, until mixture is shiny and thick. Add flour, stirring to combine, then beat for 60 strokes (your arm should be tired when you are done, unless you are Popeye and you just had your spinach). If you want nuts, now is the time.

5. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 22 – 25 minutes, or until just a few moist crumbs are clinging to a toothpick inserted in the centre. Let cool in pan on rack, then remove using foil overhang and slice.




Banana Oat Waffles May 24, 2011

Filed under: Breakfast,Quick and easy,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 4:42 pm
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If I ever ask my oldest daughter what she wants for breakfast without the usual list attached (“We have cereal, bagels, or oatmeal this morning”), she inevitably requests waffles. Not being a huge breakfast person myself, I don’t often go in for it, but once in a while you have to break down. This is a favourite variation on plain old waffles; I find the banana oatmeal flavour covers for the fact that I have made them whole grain, so no complaints from the kids (or my husband “Can’t you ever just make things the way they are supposed to be?”).  If it’s just our family, I usually cut this in half, but if you like a lot of waffles, go for it.

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 cups milk

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 tsp vanilla

5 Tbsp butter, melted

2 cups spelt flour

1 1/3 cups rolled oats

2 Tbsp sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp soda

1 tsp salt

In a large bowl, stir together the first 5 ingredients (through butter). In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients, then add to wet. Stir until just combined, then cook as you would any other waffle. My waffle maker is ancient and has cast iron plates and a temperature gauge that has 3 settings; warming, bake, and hot. It took some work to master this baby, but 9 years after that thrift store impulse buy and I think I finally have it mastered.