food amongst family and friends

Peanut-Apricot Chicken Skewers: Summer Comfort Food August 22, 2012

Filed under: Appetizers,Chicken,Mains,Quick and easy — blisteringlydrunk @ 9:12 pm
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Peanut butter, coconut milk, yogurt, jalapeno, peanuts, apricots, chicken thighs. What more do you need to know? Make this lovely little meal while apricots are at their prime. Go! Now! Buy some apricots! And don’t forget to grease the grill.


PS – Not only is this crazy delicious, it’s super easy to boot. If you get the chicken in the marinade the evening before, it’s quick enough to make on a week night.
PPS – We had this with my favourite sweet potatoes and a corn and avocado salad. It would also be nice served over rice.
PPPS – I borrowed the recipe from Bon Appetit and made some minor tweaks.

1 cup light coconut milk
1/3 cup 0% Greek yogurt
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
juice from 2 limes
1 T palm sugar or brown sugar
3 garlic cloves
1 t kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 medium jalapeño, with seeds if you like it spicy (go with less if you have kids)
1-1.5 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into thirds
12 ripe apricots, pitted and halved
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup unsalted peanuts, lightly toasted and chopped

1. Blend coconut milk through salt in food processor until smooth. Add cilantro and jalapeno and pulse to combine.

2. Set aside 1 cup of marinade – cover and refridgerate.

3. Add remaining marinade to a large ziplock with the chicken pieces. Let sit a couple hours or overnight. Meanwhile, soak 30 wooden skewers in water.

4. Heat barbecue to medium-high. Before it gets too hot, grease it up really well.

5. Hold 2 skewers parallel to each other and about an inch apart. Thread onto the skewers a piece of chicken, an apricot half, a piece of chicken and another apricot half. Repeat until all the chicken is used.

6. Brush apricots with marinade, then put skewers on the grill for 3-4 minutes a side, leaving for an additional 2 minutes if needed.

7. Serve over rice or sweet potatoes, drizzle with the sauce you had set aside and sprinkle with toasted peanuts.


The best way to eat a sweet potato

Filed under: Quick and easy,Sides,Thrifty,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:43 pm
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I realize there are several delicious ways to cook sweet potatoes. Roasted, mashed, made into yam fries, sliced and baked with apples (that’s my Grandma’s famous method)…I love them all. This just happens to be my all-time favourite way to eat sweet potatoes. You cut them into wedges or rounds before tossing them with a salty/sweet concoction and throwing them on the barbecue to get soft in the centre and crispy on the edges. I make these at least once a week in the summer and nearly as often in the winter. Try them with burgers, sandwiches, pork loin and almost anything. Enjoy!


1 large sweet potato
1 T dark brown sugar
1 pinch kosher salt
A good grind of pepper
1 small pinch dried red chili flakes
A good glug of olive oil
1 t fresh grated ginger (optional) (a shake of dried ginger will work in a pinch)

Toss everything together, then put the wedges onto a hot grill and cook 4 minutes per side, or until crispy on the edges.


Huevos Rancheros – my new easy egg dinner August 20, 2012

I’ve been attempting to hit the gym this summer for the first time since I was about 16, which was when I established that gyms just weren’t for me. Then I had kids, and gyms have babysitting, which yoga and running don’t have, so gym it is, at least while school’s out. The upside of the gym (one of them; it turns out the gym is not as bad as I remember, probably due to a long winded explanation I could provide about a creepy and lecherous gym owner in Sylvan), is that I have had a chance to watch a little Food Network while on the treadmill. Now this particular day, I did not remember my headphones, so I was watching a recipe in progress without actually hearing anything, but this is what I got out of it. Also, not having sound and not knowing any of the celebrity chef’s du jour, I don’t know who to credit for this, but she was blonde and looked like she was from the South, but maybe that was just the Mexican food. Anyway, I think I always thought that huevos rancheros was a great thing to make for yourself, but too much work to get 4 (or more) servings on the table at the same time. This changed that, as it’s done in the oven and you can make as many as you want at once, limited only by how many muffin tins you own. Not to mention, it’s pretty enough to serve to guests, fast and easy enough for an on the run weeknight dinner, and delicious enough to make me a convert my first time ever eating huevos rancheros. Try it!

For 6 servings

6 small tortillas, edges trimmed (I used flour, but if you had access to some good corn tortillas, that would work well here)

3/4 cup black beans, cooked (I used canned)

2 Tbsp salsa, plus extra for topping

salt and pepper to taste

6 large eggs

1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese (I used a pepper jack which was good for me, but too spicy for the girls, cheddar would work here as well)

sour cream and fresh chopped tomatoes or salsa, for topping

1. Preheat your oven to 4oo and spray a six cup muffin tin, with cooking spray. Slice a line into each tortilla from the edge, about 3/4 of the way into the centre. This makes it easier to form them into nests in the muffin tin. Either brush the tortillas with oil, or spray with cooking spray on both sides, them place in tins, forming nests, or cups.

2. Stir 2 Tbsp of salsa into the black beans, along with plenty of salt and pepper. This is the only seasoning you are adding, so be generous. Place about 2 Tbsp of beans in the bottom of each tortilla cup.

3. Crack an egg into each cup and pop it in the oven. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges of the tortilla are nicely browned and the egg is just starting to set.

4. Take out, top each egg with a Tbsp or so of cheese, then cover the whole thing with tinfoil to prevent over browning the tortillas and pop it back in the oven for another 8 – 13 minutes, depending on how you want your eggs done. You should be able to press on the top of an egg to get a feel for how done the yolk is. We like ours medium, which took a total of about 20 – 22 minutes.

5. Remove from oven when egg is set to your liking and serve with sour cream and salsa or fresh chopped tomatoes (the kids preferred this option).



PS I didn’t price this out, but beans and eggs are always cheap. I would estimate under $7 for the whole meal, and that’s using free range eggs.


Leftovers, anyone? Salmon in Vodka Dill Sauce August 15, 2012

Filed under: Fish and Seafood,Mains,Pasta,Quick and easy — blisteringlydrunk @ 1:56 pm
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I love when I can designate leftovers from one dinner for another one; it makes my week of meal planning soooooo much simpler. And nothing about this feels like leftovers, except for how quickly it comes together. This is a fresh tasting meal, the dill and lemon bringing out everything you love about salmon, and the cream and vodka making it rich and fancier, somehow.  No surprise then that this also comes from my Gourmet Weekday cook book. Keep this in your back pocket for the next time you have some leftover salmon, or be like me and go out of your way to plan on having leftover salmon, just so you can try this!

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup cream (I used coffee cream, but whipping cream would be amazing)

1/2 cup good quality vodka

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

1 1/2 tsp lemon zest

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Fresh ground pepper to taste

2 cups leftover cooked salmon, flaked

Pasta to serve on – I used spaghettini, but if you could find some fresh angel hair pasta, that would be ideal

1. Heat oil in a large (3 quart) heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add broth, cream, vodka, and salt to taste, bringing to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently until sauce is reduced to 2 cups, about 10 -12 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and get your pasta started, timing it to be done when the sauce is – if using fresh pasta, don’t add until after the salmon has been stirred in. Dried pasta will need to start sooner.

3. Remove sauce from heat and stir in dill, lemon zest and juice, and pepper. Set aside 1/2 cup of the sauce to toss with the pasta, then add the salmon to the pan and cook over medium low heat until fish is just heated through, about 2 or 3 minutes.

4. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot and toss with reserved sauce and cooking liquid. Divide equally between 4 bowls and top with salmon. Serve immediately with extra pepper.




Bourbon Smash August 7, 2012

Filed under: Drinks,Quick and easy — blisteringlydrunk @ 9:21 pm
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Bash up 3 stems of mint, half a lemon and 1 t agave syrup. Add 1/4 cup bourbon. Pour into glass, add crushed ice to half full, stir, top with crushed ice to fill glass. Drink up!