food amongst family and friends

Chicken Mole November 13, 2012

Filed under: Chicken,Mains,Make Ahead,Quick and easy,Sauces,Uncategorized — blisteringlydrunk @ 12:41 pm
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So I made a deal with myself this fall that I was going to use my slow cooker at least once a week, which I have mostly kept up with, but I have also run out of time to post lately which means that you are only getting the absolute superstars on here and this is definitely one of them. The recipe comes from The Mexican Slow Cooker by Deborah M Schneider, which is amazing, beginning to end, but I’m posting this because I can’t stop making it. It’s super easy, with almost no prep time, so it’s perfect as a weeknight meal but fancy and tasty enough for company. The only real trick is finding the necessary dried chilies, but they are available at any decent Latin market or spice shop, if not in your local grocery store. And don’t feel daunted by the ingredient list; this is what gives the mole it’s complex flavour, plus you just throw everything in the pot; easy peasy.

12 chicken thighs, about 4 lbs
5 chile negros (I couldn’t find these, so I used an extra 3 ancho chilies instead), stemmed and seeded
3 guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded
2 ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
1 chipotle chili, stemmed and seeded
1/2 large white onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 large tomatillos, husked, washed and diced
1/2 firm banana, diced
2 Tbsp each, almonds and peanuts (I doubled the almonds and skipped the peanuts due to allergies)
1/4 cup each, sesame seeds and raisins
1/4 tsp each, ground cinnamon, whole black peppercorns, and dried thyme
3 whole cloves
1 tsp whole anise seed
2 tsp each, dried Mexican oregano and salt
4 cups chicken stock
2 Tbsp crushed Mexican chocolate

Put everything but the chicken and the chocolate in the slow cooker. Arrange the chicken on top. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours. Remove the chicken to a plate and remove skin and bones. Add the chocolate to the sauce and purée the sauce either with an immersion blender, or by transferring to a blender or food processor. Moisten the chicken with 1/2 cup or so of the sauce.

Serve chicken in warm corn tortillas, fold in half and pour mole sauce over top. Top with queso fresco and serve with your favorite salsa/sour cream/guacamole/rice and beans/roasted poblano peppers/etc.





Chicken Meatballs + Veggie Sauce + Homemade Spelt Spaghetti = Dinner Bliss September 20, 2012

I love it when my life manages to work out in such a way that I get to call this a Tuesday night dinner. Last week a few of us got together for an evening of cooking in which we made (possibly) thousands of meatballs, a vat full of pasta sauce and some marinated chickens that should be coming soon to a blog near you. A freezer full of that and a strangely lucid head the night before that inspired me to make the pasta dough before I went to bed and, Voila!, homemade spaghetti and meatballs on a school night. Super Mom Awards, here I come. The chicken meatball recipe comes from Gourmet Everyday (big surprise), which Katie also found on Smitten Kitchen. The sauce is a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution one found on which is full of veggies that your family will never know about, but, more importantly, it tastes lovely, especially over meatballs (though I would add a little more salt than he says – it brings out the tomatoey flavour more). And what meatballs! So that’s the recipe you are getting here; try them in a sauce, make them big and have them with a salad, make them little and serve them as an appetizer with a roasted grape tomato skewered to the top, do what you will, but try them for sure!

Chicken Meatballs

3 slices Italian bread, torn up without crusts

1/3 cup milk

3 oz pancetta or bacon, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped (we used the food processor for this and the garlic)

1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 large egg

1 lb ground chicken or turkey

3 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Soak bread in milk in a small bowl until softened, about 4 minutes, then squeeze bread to remove excess milk and place in a large mixing bowl.

2. Cook pancetta, onion, and garlic with salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat until onion is softened, about 6 minutes.

3. Add pancetta mixture, chicken/turkey, parsley, and a lightly beaten egg to the bread and stir to combine. Divide into meatballs; ours made about 16-18 per batch and were pretty good sized meatballs for having with pasta, but if you want these on their own, 12 meatballs would probably be about right.

4. Bake in 400 oven for 15-20 minutes (depending on size) or until just cooked through. Freeze for later, or serve immediately.




Sliders in gougeres with kalamata olive aioli July 17, 2012

Filed under: Appetizers,Beef,Make Ahead,Sauces — blisteringlydrunk @ 4:19 pm
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This is ones of those things that sounds fancy, looks fancy and tastes amazing, but is actually quite simple. Not to mention that it pleased everyone from my 3 year old, to my foodie sister (and more importantly, me). We actually had these at my husband’s Christmas party way back at the end of November last year and I have been meaning to make them ever since. It was a fantastic, cook your own Christmas dinner party at the Cookbook Company here in Calgary and they sent  home the recipes afterwards. I was in charge of a lot of egg whites for the souffles and didn’t actually get to see how this was done, so I had some strangely shaped gougeres at the end of it, but they tasted fantastic, so all’s well that ends well. Thank you Chef Craig Westhaver for the wonderful recipe!


1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup cold water

1 cup flour

salt and red pepper flakes to taste

1/2 tsp cumin seed

4 eggs

1 cup crumbled blue cheese

In a medium sauce pan, bring water and butter to a boil. Once all the butter is melted in, add the flour, salt, red pepper flakes (a dash or two), and cumin seeds. Stir together and continue to cook over medium heat until a ball forms and pulls smoothly from the walls of the pot. For me this happened pretty much by the time everything was combined. Remove from heat and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated between each addition. Stir in the cheese. Preheat oven to 400 and line two cookie sheets with parchment. Pipe or spoon onto parchment into the size (keeping in mind how big you want your sliders to be) and shape you want; they will puff up a little, but not a ton, so pile the dough up a bit or you will end up with very flat gourgeres like me. Bake for about 20 minutes without ever opening the oven door. They are done when crisp on the outside but still soft in the middle. This should make about 2  to 2 1/2 dozen. I made mine the day before, kept them in a plastic bag and then just popped them back in a hot oven for 3 minutes to crisp them back up before serving; worked like a charm.


2 lbs lean ground beef

1 egg

2 Tbsp bread crumbs

2 cloves garlic, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together using just the ends of your fingertips, taking care not to squish or squeeze the meat, this will keep it very tender. I made 2 oz patties, which was actually a little too big, I think next time I will aim for 1 to 1 1/2 oz patties, which should make about 22 to 25 sliders. I cooked mine on a hot grill for about 3 minutes a side, which was perfect. Again, I made the patties the day before and then cooked them just prior to serving. I have also frozen some raw, which came out perfectly if you were wanting to get this step done well in advance.

Olive Aioli

1 egg yolk

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1/2 lemon, juiced

4-6 cloves garlic, pureed (I did this with the parsley in the food processor, then added to olives at the end until finely chopped)

2 Tbsp minced parsely

1/2 cup kalamata olives, finely chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

red pepper flakes and salt to taste

1 – 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (optional, taste first as lemon may be enough)

In a non-reactive bowl. whisk together egg, mustard and lemon juice. Then, slowly, in a long, thin stream add in the olive oil while vigorously whisking to emulsify. Add the remaining ingredients, tasting and adjusting salt, vinegar and red pepper flakes at the end. Again, I made this the day before.
To serve, halve the gougeres, add a Tbsp or so of aioli to the bottom, followed by a slider, top with the top of the gourgere. With everything done the day before, the whole platter of these came together in about 15-20 minutes, including cooking the sliders.








Pork Sugo with Cavatappi and parmigiano curls November 29, 2011

Filed under: Mains,Pasta,Pork,Sauces — blisteringlydrunk @ 9:33 am
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I was in the market for a good, cook all day, warm you up, Sunday type dinner when I came across this recipe, which more than got the job done. This is a nice combo of simple ingredients and simple flavours that beautifully compliment each other, and because of that, you want to make sure you are using good quality ingredients; make sure you are using a cut of pork that will break down with slow cooking, butt or shoulder cuts are ideal; use good parmigiano reggiano and slice it off with a vegetable peeler to get long, thin curls that you really taste on top of the pasta, instead of grating it; use a red wine that you really like (you get to drink the rest of the bottle while you are eating this, after all), not something that’s just cheap; fresh thyme, not dried if you can swing it. Oh, and this really does need to be salted to bring out the flavours, so don’t be afraid to add that in here. Should serve 4-6 adults depending on how hungry everyone is.

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 lb pork butt or shoulder roast

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

2/3 cup dry red wine (think big and bold)

3 cups of tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (good quality canned tomatoes would probably work here, but I used frozen ones from my garden)

1 bay leaf

3 sprigs fresh thyme

salt and pepper to taste

1 lb cavatappi or other short, thick pasta (fresh if you can get it)

parmigiano reggiano for serving

1. Generously salt and pepper the pork. Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pot just big enough to hold the roast (I used my 2L enameled cast iron casserole). Add pork and cook until golden brown on all sides.

2. Remove pork to a plate and drain off all but 1 Tbsp of oil. Add garlic, onions, and carrots (I chopped all of mine in the food processor) and cook, stirring, until they have started to brown; this will bring out the sweetness of them, and add to the flavour.

3. Add the red wine and deglaze the pot. Bring to a boil to burn off the alcohol, then add the tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme, along with the pork.

4. Make sure the pork is as submerged as possible, then cover with a lid slightly ajar. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer for 3 hours, turning pork every 45 minutes if it’s not completely submerged.

5. Remove pork from pot and use two forks to shred the meat; it should come apart fairly easily at this point. Use a spoon to take any excess fat off the top of the sauce (I removed a couple of tablespoons, but my meat wasn’t overly fatty, some cuts might require more), leaving a little behind for flavour. Add the pork back to the sauce and, if necessary, reduce to desired thickness, adding salt and pepper to taste at this point.

6. Meanwhile, cook your pasta accordingly to just shy of al dente. Drain and add to sauce (in my case I added the sauce to the pasta pot) and heat through, allowing the pasta to cook the rest of the way in the sauce.

7. Serve with big curls of parmesan and that lovely red wine you bought for yourself!




Pesto in a Pinch August 10, 2011

Filed under: Quick and easy,Sauces,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:10 am
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I spent the better part of Saturday making carrot pickles (post to come), including harvesting the 8 lbs of dill that I pulled out of my back bed where I had obviously let some dill go to seed last summer. Anyway, it was one of those days where everything took longer than I thought; more dill to deal with than I thought, forgot to buy the garlic, broke a jar everywhere , etc, etc. So at 6:10pm, when I was finally finished with the pickles, I realized that I had no idea what to feed my already starving children. Thankfully I had picked up my CSA veggies the day before, and had heard tell of the possibility of a pesto made from garlic scapes; they say that necessity is the mother of invention and, in this case, a very tasty invention. Dinner was on the table in 12 minutes flat, and most of that time was boiling water and cooking pasta; the pesto was ready in about 2 minutes and was an unadulterated success with children and parents alike. I can’t believe I’ve never made pesto before, but I know I will be making it again. We had ours with grated gruyere and fresh pepper and sea salt on top. Yummmmm.

1 handful garlic scapes (about 5 or 6)

1 big handful basil

1 big handful pinenuts (walnuts would also work here and possibly pecans. If I wanted to go nut free, I think I might just leave this out altogether and add a little extra cheese)

1 big handful fresh grated parmesan

Drizzle or two of olive oil (probably no more than 1/4 cup total)

1. Throw everything but the olive oil in the food processor. Feel free to add your own flair; toast the pinenuts, add other herbs, try some arugula in there, use roasted garlic scapes instead of raw or just straight up roasted garlic; use your imagination and fridge (or garden) contents. Pulse until fairly evenly chopped.

2. Turn the processor to on and pour olive oil in through feed tube until desired consistency is reached.

3. Toss with fresh pasta (and maybe a little more olive oil), top with cheese, salt and pepper and serve. Or freeze for another day. Or spread on baguette rounds, top with brie and broil for a minute. Or roll it up in puff pastry. Or spread it on a pizza crust and top the way you will. Or, well, you get the point.





Happy 100th post to us and a Rhubarb Vinagrette July 19, 2011

Filed under: Make Ahead,Quick and easy,Salads,Sauces — blisteringlydrunk @ 12:55 pm
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So, here is our 100th post, 2 weeks late and not overly exciting on the surface. Summer has officially taken over my life and not allowed a whole lot of time for posting, although there has still been a lot of cooking, mainly early in the morning, before it gets hot. Once the heat kicks in, all I want to do is BBQ some meat and throw a salad together, hence this post. I saw this recipe on Dinner with Julie the other day and when the temperature inside my house hit 29 degrees yesterday afternoon, I changed my dinner plans and threw this together. Tossed with fresh greens and some dill from my garden, this was easily the best salad I’ve had all summer (and I’m a salad junkie), so good in fact, that I repeated it for my lunch today. I’m currently debating in my head if I could actually can this so that I could enjoy it year round, but the jury is still out – I need to do a little research. For now, one batch should last in the fridge for a week or two, if it lasts that long.

1 large rhubarb stalk, or 3 little ones, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp each, honey and rice vinegar

1-2 tsp Dijon mustard

3 Tbsp olive oil

1. Place rhubarb and about 1/4 – 1/2 cup water in a small pan over medium heat and simmer about 5 minutes, or until water is mostly evaporated and rhubarb is really soft.

2. Put everything but the oil in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Then turn on high and add the oil with the motor running – this will emulsify the oil and make for a thick creamy dressing.

3. Store in the fridge and serve once cool. Dill would also be great right in the dressing, but the color might be a little funky.




Summer Food Bliss June 29, 2011

Filed under: Appetizers,Make Ahead,Pork,Sauces — blisteringlydrunk @ 2:50 pm
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This meal, and all sorts of variations on it, is pretty much my favourite part of summer, aside from the heat. Barbequed turkey burgers with Mango BBQ Sauce, on homemade brioche burger buns, topped with old cheddar and bacon jam (that’s right, bacon jam) with a side of beet and mustard greens straight from my garden, tossed with marinated artichoke hearts, a little feta, and a drizzling of balsamic vinegar. Summer food bliss at it’s best. The question is, which recipe do you want first, the buns or the bacon jam? My guess is bacon jam, which is from Dinner with Julie, so without further adieu . . .

1 pound bacon, chopped (the better the bacon, the better the jam)

1 small onion, diced

4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup coffee (again, I would encourage good quality)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tbsp each, balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard

1. Cook bacon in a heavy pot over medium heat until crisp, but not too crunchy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon, then drain off most of the fat, leaving just enough to cook up the onions and garlic.

2. Add in the onions and garlic and saute until soft and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Then add the bacon back in along with everything else and cook over medium heat for about half an hour or until deep brown and thickened to a jam like consistency.

3. Pulse a couple of times in the food processor to get a finer consistency (if you want).  Serve warm or cold. It was great on the burgers and on goat cheese on some baguette, but I can also see this being fantastic on some stuffed french toast or pancakes. Use your imagination and enjoy!


PS I froze half of mine, but I would be nervous to can it based on the meat. That said, you might have more canning experience then me, so do what feels right.