food amongst family and friends

Sweet and sour Brisket in the slow cooker April 17, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — blisteringlydrunk @ 12:59 pm

IMG_8055I have recently had my life changed by a cookbook. It was given to me for Christmas, but I knew long before then that I would love it, I just didn’t know how much I would love it. It’s the Smitten Kitchen cookbook and I have made at least 10 recipes from there with resounding success. I have not taken pictures of everything, sadly, because I wanted to share some mind blowing short ribs with you, but they were consumed before any pictures could be taken. As was the granola, and the maple bacon biscuits. Oh, and the fried egg on potato latkes, and the cucumber dill coleslaw that tasted like a big bowl of  dill pickles, and the flat roasted chicken on tiny potatoes that made surviving a two week cleanse completely bearable. Are you getting the impression that you should buy this cookbook and then go through it page by page and make EVERY recipe? Good, because that is precisely what I am suggesting. But don’t take my word for it, make this brisket, put one bite in your mouth (whereupon it will instantaneously melt), and then go buy the book.

PS Read through the recipe and plan ahead as the brisket needs to rest. The good news is you can make it a day ahead of time for easy dinner parties, the bad news is it’s not going to be tonight’s dinner.


4 -5 lb piece beef brisket

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup beef stock

3 Tbsp tomato paste

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup each, balsamic and white wine vinegars

4 tsp paprika

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/8 tsp red chili flakes

1 tsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp onion powder

1. Season brisket all over with salt and freshly ground pepper. Mix all remaining ingredients together in a medium bowl.

2. Place brisket in slow cooker, pour sauce over and cook for 10 hours on low.

3. Rest the brisket in an oven proof dish with all the sauce in the fridge for several hours. I put the brisket on before bed the night before, popped it in the fridge in the morning and then had it for dinner.

4. While cold, remove the fat from the top of the sauce, then place the brisket on a cutting board and slice into 1/2″-1″ slices. Place back in sauce and heat the brisket, tightly covered, either with a lid or tinfoil, in a 300 degree oven for 1 hour or until the sauce is bubbling at the edge. Serve immediately. We had ours with buttermilk mashed potatoes and fresh veggies.






Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Orange April 14, 2013

Filed under: Mains,Pasta,Pork,Quick and easy,Thrifty — blisteringlydrunk @ 11:45 am
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Pasta is the ultimate treat-night meal to me. I gravitate to pastas that use simple ingredients and are light on the sauce, but big on flavour. Don’t get me wrong, I like a big bowl of saucy spaghetti and meatballs as much as the next person, but I most often seek out recipes that come together quickly and rely on one or two key ingredients to make the meal sing.

I came across this Bon Appetit recipe a couple years ago, bookmarked it, and finally made it last night. It sounds a bit unusual – the two key flavours are orange and prosciutto – but fear not, the result is a salty and ever-so-sweet pasta that tastes interesting rather than unusual.

My tips are this: (1) Go to your nearest Italian market and buy a great quality, egg based tagliatelle. It doesn’t need to be expensive – mine was $2. (2) Find a super ripe, fragrant orange. (3) You want to serve this as soon as it’s ready. Once you get to the last step, call your husband/wife/kids/guests to plant around the table and fill their plates the minute the pasta is done.

Did I mention this is really easy? There’s hardly any chopping, the sauce only cooks for about 5 minutes and all the ingredients are easily sourced. You can have dinner on the table in the time it takes to boil your pasta. Hope you love it!


serves 4

12 oz egg tagliatelle or fettuccine (fresh or dry will work, just get a great quality pasta)
2 T butter
2 oz prosciutto OR 3 stips of bacon, sliced/torn into small pieces
zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup whipping cream
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt, add pasta and cook until 1 minute before al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto/bacon; sauté until browned, about 3 minutes.
To the saute pan, add half the reserved pasta water, orange juice, half of zest and cream; bring to a boil. (Now it’s time to get everyone gathered around the table.) Add pasta and cook, stirring, until the sauce coats the pasta and the pasta is al dente, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Working quickly, stir in cheese and taste – add more salt and pepper as desired. You can add more pasta water to loosen the sauce if needed. Divide among warm bowls and sprinkle with remaining orange zest.

Pasta with Prosciutto and Orange

close up


Steelhead Trout and Baby bok Choy on the BBQ April 10, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — blisteringlydrunk @ 12:21 pm

IMG_0039I love weeknight dinners that come together in 10 minutes and then leave me with nothing to do for 25 minutes while they cook. By the time I serve it, I always feel like someone else made me dinner. That’s what this recipe is like, except it’s like someone made me a super healthy, tasty dinner that I feel good about both eating and giving my family; yay! This came from my new Epicurious cookbook and all I changed was the type of fish (they used salmon, which would also be lovely). I might try this again in the future with some Napa cabbage leaves instead of the bok choy, just to switch things up, but this is officially on the fish rotation at our house.

12-14 baby bok choy (about 12 oz), halved or quartered if they are fairly large

1 Tbsp each, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and mirin (sake could be used instead of rice vinegar and mirin)

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1, 1 inch pice of ginger, peeled and minced

2 lb fillet of Steelhead Trout (or salmon or artic char, use what you can get)

1. Heat your BBQ to medium high.

2. Whisk together sesame oil, rice vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, garlic and ginger.

3. Lay out a large piece of tinfoil (if it’s not wide tinfoil you may need 2 pieces perpendicular to each other). Place trout on it skin side down and pour over sauce. Arrange the bok choy on top and seal the tinfoil. Place the package on the grill and let cook for 15 minutes.

4. Let the package sit and steam itself for another 10 minutes before opening the tinfoil. Serve immediately, preferably over some nice fluffy Jasmine rice.







Dark Chocolate and Brandy Pots de Creme April 7, 2013

pot de creme This is your fast track to a rich, silky dessert tonight. It took me all of about 5 minutes to whip these up.

Pots de creme are a custard of sorts, traditionally composed of eggs and cream, then baked in a water bath.  This recipe ditches the cream and opts for hot coffee, which you blend with the chocolate and eggs. The heat from the coffee thickens the eggs, giving you the same result you would get whisking the eggs and cream over heat. Did that make any sense? What I’m trying to say is that this is even less work than a traditional pot de creme and the result is still silky smooth deliciousness.

I grabbed the recipe from Pioneer Woman, where you can find step by step photos of the process. I adapted the recipe to suit my preferences – more booze, brandy instead of Grand Marnier, a little more salt and a smaller batch (because it’s dangerous for me to have 12 of these sitting in the fridge). I hope you love them!


makes 6 reasonable sized servings or 4 indulgent ones

6 oz good dark chocolate (I used Lindt), chopped
2 whole eggs
1 T Brandy (or Grand Marnier or whatever you feel like), possibly more to taste
generous pinch salt
1/2 cup HOT strong coffee
unsweetened whipped cream, for serving
optional: candied orange peel or thinly sliced fresh orange peel, for serving

Place the chocolate in your blender. Crack in the eggs, then pour in the Brandy and salt. Blend for a few seconds until the chocolate is busted up and everything is thoroughly mixed.

With the blender running, slowly pour your super hot coffee in a thin stream through the blender lid until it’s all added. Blend another few seconds until smooth. Taste and add more Brandy or salt if desired.

Pour mixture into small cups or jars. Throw them in the fridge until set – it will take about 2 hours. You can easily make these ahead and keep them in the fridge for a day or two.

Top with a big dollop of whipped cream and garnish with sliced orange peel. Dig in!

Tip: I like making these in jars so that I can easily screw on a lid and store them for a few days. Even the whipping cream will stay fresh stored like this for 2 days.



Smoky Eggplant and Pickled Beet Sandwich April 4, 2013

Filed under: Mains,Sandwiches,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 8:37 pm
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Eggplant SandwichI have so many new recipes to post! I will try to get them all on here, but today you’re getting a sandwich. It’s simple, it’s vegetarian, it’s packed with fresh herbs, it’s healthy, it’s satisfying….and it’s a fantastic way to use up your pickled beets before the next crop is ready to be pickled! I used golden beets and brioche burger buns – any variety of pickled beet will work and you just need to find a bun or sandwich bread that is soft (a chewy crust would not be ideal here). Potato buns, focaccia, brioche and soft dinner rolls would work well. I also used a tahini sauce in place of the garlic mayo….it worked, but I think the mayo would be better. If you’re mayo adverse, a tapenade with extra garlic would be really nice.


makes 4 hearty sandwiches, barely adapted from Bon Appetit

Eggplant and Mayo:

1 large eggplant (1 1/2 pounds), sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds
1-2 T  olive oil
1/2 t smoked paprika
salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 t Sherry vinegar

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, then spread 1 T oil right onto the foil covered pan. Place eggplant slices on the pan in a single layed and rub the top side of each slice with a little extra oil (or spray with Pam). Season with paprika, salt, and pepper. Roast until golden and tender, 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Whisk garlic, mayonnaise, and vinegar in a small bowl; set aside.

Do ahead: the eggplant and mayo can be made one day ahead and refrigerated.

Beet Salad and Assembly:

6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup mixed tender fresh herb leaves (such as flat-leaf parsley, dill, and mint), chopped
1/2 cup chopped pickled beets
1/4 cup chopped olives
2 T capers, drained
1/2 T olive oil
4 buns or 8 slices bread
6 ounces feta, thinly sliced

Toss scallions, herbs, beets, olives, capers, and oil in a medium bowl to combine.
Spread cut sides of bread with garlic mayo (or tapenade). Top one slice of bread with eggplant, feta, beet salad and a second slice of bread.


Mulligatawny: The All Season Soup April 2, 2013

Filed under: Chicken,Mains,Make Ahead,Quick and easy,Soups — blisteringlydrunk @ 10:03 am
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MulligatawnyThis has quickly become one of my favourite soups to make. It comes together quickly, it easily adapts to make use of ingredients you have on hand and it makes for a thoroughly satisfying meal every time you make it. I don’t think I have made this the same way twice – I adjust the recipe to accommodate my cravings and my pantry. I have used chicken-apple sausage in place of the rotisserie chicken, potatoes in place of the chickpeas, light coconut milk in place of regular…this time around I was craving a big bowl of veggies, so I packed it full of carrots and kale along with a small handful of leftover tandoori chicken pieces. As usual, the flavour was rich, tart, spicy, nutty and exactly what I was craving.

The recipe comes from Spilling the Beans, but I pulled it from Dinner with Julie. The recipe below is the original, but I have noted possible substitutions. I think the key elements to keep intact are the chicken broth, coconut milk, tart apples and peanuts. You can easily use different cuts of chicken, add extra vegetables and substituted beans for the meat. I don’t know how well this would work as a vegetarian soup – it works well to leave out the chicken, but I don’t know if a vegetable broth would hold up well to the richness of the coconut milk and the spices. It’s worth a shot, but the recipe is definitely meant to be chicken-centric.

I hope you love it as much as I do.

serves 6

1 small roasted or rotisserie chicken (sub: chicken sausage removed from casing OR nearly any type of chicken (cooked or raw) + 4-6 cups chicken broth)
1 onion
coconut or olive oil, for cooking
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 T curry paste (I use Patak’s Madras paste)
1 t cumin (I like to use whole cumin, but ground will work)
1-2 cups cooked chickpeas (up to a full can, rinsed and drained) (sub: 1 potato, chopped)
1 t salt
1 14 oz can coconut milk (light or regular will both work)
1 tart apple (such as granny Smith or pink lady), finely chopped

steamed rice, for serving
chopped cilantro and chopped salted peanuts, for garnish

1. Pull the meat off the roasted chicken and put the carcass and bones into a saucepan. Set the meat aside and just barely cover the carcass with water. Peel the onion and add the outer layers of skin to the pan (at this point, you can throw in any veggie scraps you need to use up. Carrot ends, celery trimmings and fresh herbs all work well). Bring to a simmer and cook for at least half an hour. Strain into a bowl or pot and set aside. You should have 4-6 cups of stock.

2. Put your rice on, cook and let sit covered until the soup is done.

3. Meanwhile, chop the onion and sauté it in a drizzle of oil in a large soup pot set over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, jalapeño, garlic and ginger and cook for a few minutes, until soft. Add the curry paste, cumin and chickpeas and cook for another minute or two. If you are using raw chicken, add it now and saute until nearly cooked through. For chicken sausage, you should break it up as it cooks. For raw chicken pieces, you should have them cut into bite sized chunks before adding them.

4. Add the chicken stock, salt and cooked chicken (if you are using cooked pieces rather than raw); bring to a simmer. Cook for about ten minutes, then add the coconut milk and apple and heat through.

To serve, put a scoop of rice into each bowl and ladle the soup overtop. Sprinkle with cilantro and chopped peanuts.


Fresh Spring Rolls and Peanut Dipping Sauce March 7, 2013

Filed under: Appetizers,Mains,Quick and easy,Thrifty,Vegetarian — blisteringlydrunk @ 10:34 pm
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My weeknight meal requirement checklist looks something like this: healthy, delicious, packed with veggies, quick to throw together, cheap enough to make often. I give bonous points to recipes that are vegetarian or feel super treaty. For me, this meal checks off all the requirements while getting bonous points for being both meat-free AND treaty.

I have made these spring rolls in the past, but I’ve always treated them as a side dish and I was never crazy about the idea of packing them full of noodles. This time, I left out the noodles, loaded them with my favourite carrots and cukes from the farmer’s market and served them with what is now my go-to peanut sauce. (Seriously, the sauce is incredible. At first bite, I thought it was okay. As I continued to eat, I fell more and more in love with it. The red curry paste gives it a nice warmth while the toasted peanuts and caramelized sugar make it rich and complex. I want to eat some right now…) The result is a light and crunchy spring roll with a rich, filling, addictive dip.

Four to five rolls make a large and satisfying meal, or you could serve these as an appetizer with this tasty treat and trick your family into thinking you ordered take out. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Spring Rolls Close UpFresh Spring RollsPeanut Sauce, adapted from Fine Cooking:
yeilds 1.5 cups, or roughly 6 servings

1 T peanut oil
1 T Thai red curry paste (this is where all the heat comes from, so be aware of how spicy your paste is)
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, finely ground in a food processor
2 T packed light brown sugar (palm sugar could be used here, but go with the granulated variety, not the solid variety)
1 1/2 cups light coconut milk
1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
3 T fresh lime juice
2 T hoisin sauce
1 1/2 T fish sauce
8 fresh basil leaves, minced

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the curry paste, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the peanuts and stir until they’re just a shade darker, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to stir and cook until melted and lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, broth, lime juice, hoisin and fish sauce. Whisk until smooth and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 1-1/2 cups. This will take roughly 45 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the basil, and cool to room temperature.

Fresh Spring Rolls:
yeilds 10 medium spring rolls

4-5 small cucumbers, julienne
4-5 medium carrots, julienne
1/2 an avodaco, sliced
handful fresh basil
10 rice paper wrappers
green or red leaf lettuce (optional)
bean sprouts (optional)
fresh mint (optional)
shredded chicken or pork (optional)

Get a wide, shallow bowl filled halfway with warm water. Setup a work space with a cutting board,   all your prepped ingredients, the bowl of water, a plate to hold the spring rolls and a damp paper towel to cover the finished spring rolls.

Dip one rice paper in the water for 15-30 seconds until soft and pliable, then place it on your cutting board. On the top 1/3 of the wrapper, place carrots and cucumber (about 1/4 cup total), then add a slice of avocado, a big basil leaf and any other ingredients you are using. Tuck the top of the wrapper tightly over the filling, then roll away, folding in the sides about halfway. (For more thorough instructions, look here.) Place the finished spring roll on your plate and cover with the damp paper towel. Repeat with remaining rice paper wrappers.

Serve 5 rolls with 1/4 cup of the sauce. Dip and enjoy!