Saturday, January 28, 2012

Clam Chow-da? Chow-dere? Chowder!

On cold gloomy days I like to sit down in front of a bowl of nice clam chowder. Don't know why but it always hits the spot. I was in Seattle last year and had the best clam chowder from a place called Iver's. It was so creamy, and full of clams and cheap! I was determined to make clam chowder at home, kind of a scary thought actually. Maybe because I've never made any type of chowder before. First time for everything right? Let's get started! It's actually pretty easy! This recipe serves about 8 people.

What you'll need:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 large onion
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3-4 cans of clam with liquid
- 4 (8 ounce) clam juice
- 3 cups half and half cream
- about 1 lb of boiled potatoes, chopped (I use the little potatoes)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp chopped fresh dill weed or 1 tsp dry dill weed

1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and saute until tender. Stir in flour and cook over low heat (it gets rid of the flour taste), stirring frequently for about 2-3 minutes.

2. Add the clams (including the liquid in the can) and all 4 bottles of clam juice to the flour mixture. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.

3. In a pot, put the potatoes in water and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender. Drain and set aside.

4. Once the 15 minutes has passed, add the potatoes to the clam mixture. Mix in the half and half, salt and pepper and dill. Let it simmer for another 5 mins and it's ready to serve!

Happy eating!!!

"If music be the food of love, play on." ~ William Shakespeare

***Please note these pictures here are not mine.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Welcome the Year of the Dragon!!!

Happy Chinamese (Chinese + Vietnamese) New Year Everyone!!

Wishing you all a year full of prosperity and good health! Hope you all receive a lot of red pockets this year! =o)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Oven "fried" chicken with a side of pickles & rice


Yes, you are reading that correctly. Oven "fried" chicken with a side of PICKLES and rice. It's a weird combination but it works! Unless you don't like pickles, or rice or chicken then just move on and read my other blog entries lol. I can understand pickles but if you don't like chicken or rice, what is wrong with you?!

This is a simple recipe, I don't like using recipes where the ingredient list is as long as the Great Wall of China or using ingredients that you can't even find in your local grocery stores. Really who has time nowadays to make fancy schmancy meals?

Chicken is one of my favorite meats, I like it more than beef! I'm a chicken thigh kind of girl, drum sticks are good as well. Here's a tidbit, chicken thighs are just as healthy as chicken breasts if you remove the skin and the best part? Chicken thighs don't dry out like chicken breasts in the oven! Hooray! I love marinading chicken in buttermilk, that extra step just makes the chicken juicy and tender. Mind you I find the smell of buttermilk gross. lol

Things you'll need:
- 8 chicken thighs with skin on
- 500 ml buttermilk, if you're health conscious you can use light buttermilk
- 2 tsp salt and pepper
- 1 - 2 tbsp Cavendar's All-purpose Greek seasoning
- 8 slices Wasa hearty rye crispbread, crushed
- Vlasic pickles w/garlic
- White rice and soy sauce

1. Place the chicken thighs with the skin on into a bowl or a large ziploc plastic bag. Pour the buttermilk on top of the chicken and add the salt and pepper. Make sure every piece of chicken gets some love from the buttermilk mixture. Let this marinade for min of 4 hours to overnight.

2. While the chicken is marinading  you can crush up the dark rye crispbread. This is what you're going to use to coat the chicken. You can either use a rolling pin or a mini coffee/spice grinder. Once the crispbread has been crushed up to the consistency that you like, you can add the Greek seasoning to the bread and mix thoroughly.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Take the chicken out of the buttermilk and shake any excess mixture off the chicken and you're going to roll it in the rye bread mixture. Once the chicken is totally covered you're going to place it on a greased baking sheet.

4. Place the chicken in the oven and you're going to bake this for 40-45 mins. Make sure when you stick a fork in it, that the juices run clear.

5. Serve it with white rice and pickles on the side!

This recipe is great because you still get the crispiness but without all the oil that you would need if you were to fry it. I can't say that it's a lot healthier because you're still leaving the skin and using buttermilk but I can tell you it's better than frying! lol This chicken is still great the next day not as crispy but still tasty, so if you have any leftovers it's great for lunch!  I'm all about the making dinner and taking leftovers for lunch the next day.

Hope you like the recipe! Let me know what you think!

Happy Eating!

"Sleep 'til you're hungry, eat 'til you're sleepy." ~ Author Unknown

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Chicken boobies with chipotle & green onion gravy

I was on one of my favorite blogs: Food (You can check out the blog under the "Check these blogs out" box.). I was searching for chicken recipes and came across this recipe by Chef John who is the creator of Food, it's so easy and it tastes great. It's so easy in fact that my non-cooking boyfriend was able to follow and make it for dinner one night!

 I'm not a big fan of chicken breasts because it's so bland and it can be really dry. I'm always scared of under cooking or over cooking the breasts but Chef John was able to make the chicken breast so tender and juicy with his recipe below.

What you'll need:
- 2 chicken breasts
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp flour
- 3/4 cup chicken broth, or as needed to adjust thickness
- 1/2 tsp Chipotle powder, or to taste
- 2 tbsp green onion, chopped

You can watch the video here for the directions on how to make this dish!

I love this blog! Chef John is amazing, he's pretty entertaining in his videos and his recipes are so easy to follow and the food is great. He's great at explaining the cooking techniques and what everything is called. For example, all the meat juices that caramelized at the bottom of the pan? Did you know it's called "fond"? I didn't know that! I just called it burnt stuff on the pan. lol

I hope you like this recipe as much as I do. This may sound funny but Kraft dinner goes very well with this dish. No joke! lol Mmmm I love me some KD.

I accidentally made the gravy a bit too thick, but it was still yummy! lol

Happy Eating!

"There is no love sincerer than the love of food." ~ George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Snickerdoodles without the side of anger...

Yes, I made another attempt to bake, but as the title states I was not angry. The recipe to fall victim was Snickerdoodles! Surprisingly, this cookie was easy to make! I found the recipe on posted by Beth Sigworth. I must say her recipe was easy and fantastic!

I first heard of this cookie when I was still working at CIBC. One of the ladies that I worked with was the BEST baker ever! She was the one that introduce them to me and it was like crack, I was hooked! Two years go by and I finally decide to go look for the recipe. lol For this recipe I used a whisk then my hands to mix everything together. You don't really need a mixer.

What you'll need:
- 1/2 cup butter, soften
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C)
2. Cream together butter, shortening, 11/2 cup sugar, eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Shape dough rounded spoonfuls into balls.
3. Mix the 2 tbsp of sugar with 2 tsp cinnamon and roll the ball of dough in the mixture. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheets.
4. Bake for 8-10 mins. Once done remove immediately from baking sheets.

Voila you got yourself some snickerdoodle cookies! When you pull the cookies from the oven don't be fooled by it's appearance. It may look like it's not cooked but give it a couple seconds and it'll harden up! I almost made the mistake of putting them back in the oven, if I did I'm sure I would have become Hulk and probably did a Hulk Smash.

Here is the fruits of my labor.

Happy Eating!

"My favorite animal is steak." ~ Fran Lebowitz

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I was a judge on Cupcake work

Me, my boss (right) and my co-worker (left)
Every couple months or so at my work we would hold competitions. We had a chili cook-off not too long ago. This time it's Cupcake Wars! If you've read my previous blog entry you'll know that I am an angry baker. Sooooo I opted out and became a judge instead. =oD Let's take a look at all the contestants!

# 1 Dark chocolate coffee bean cupcake with marscapone cream cheese icing

#2 Coconut vanilla cupcake with vanilla cream center

#3 Chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing (WINNER!)

#4 Peanut butter chocolate cupcake with cookies and cream icing with Wunderbar pieces

It was a close race but there could only be one winner. The votes were based on texture, taste, appearance and creativity as a bonus point. Contestant #3 the chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing was the winner to much of the owners surprise, he won by 8 points! #2 & #1 were tied for second and #4 came in last. The winner thought it was a joke when we told him he had won! lol The winner was quite creative putting our company logo on the cupcakes, he told us he's been using this recipe since grade 10! Amazing! Contestant #2 & #3 were both very good, the cupcakes was moist and it was a nice pleasant surprise biting into cupcake #2, which had the vanilla cream filling. Although #2 was super delicious #3 had a slight edge in texture.

I had a great time being a judge and let me tell you, I had a major sugar rush for the rest of the afternoon and crashed pretty hard by 4pm. I was ready for a nap! lol I can't wait for the next competition!

Until next time, happy eating!

"Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie." ~ Jim Davis

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mis-steak Marinade

My cheat sheet for steak. 

Every now and then we all like a good piece of steak for dinner. Living in Alberta we have that luxury of getting great beef.

This is my favorite marinade for steak and as the title states it was by mis-steak. Ha ha get it mis-steak? Mistake? *ahem* Anyways. I know I know we shouldn't put anything other than salt and pepper and let the meat speak for itself. But think about it what do we do when we get our steaks? We sauce it up with either mustard or HP sauce, am I right?

I like to pan fry my steaks, that's right I said it P-A-N......F-R-Y. BBQ enthusiasts would call this blasphemy, but I think it's awesome and it tastes great! Each to their own I guess. I usually buy the fast fry steaks which are a lot thinner than your regular steak or I get the prime rib slices. You just need to turn on the stove to med-high heat sear both sides for about 3-4 mins and voila! you got medium rare steak. If you go with the regular cut then you may have to cook the steak at a lower temp then turn it on high to sear it.

Anyways back to the marinade, what you will need (measurements are estimates you can either increase or decrease to your liking):
- 4 steaks
- about 4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
- 4 tbsp Club House Montreal steak spice seasoning (if the steaks are big use a bit more)
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 tbsp Garlic powder

In a big mixing bowl rub the olive oil all over the steak, it helps the seasoning stick to the steak. Add steak seasoning, garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator and let it marinade for min of 20 mins to overnight. Whenever you're ready to eat take it out let it warm up to room temperature and fry!

I usually eat this with rice and side of salad or with mash potato with corn. It's great the next day for breakfast (steak and eggs) or for lunch (steak sandwich)!

Doesn't that look delicious?!

Hope you like it and as always happy eating!

"We think fast food is equivalent to pornography, nutritionally speaking" ~ Steve Elbert 

***Please note the pictures here are not mine, I'll take a picture when I make this again.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Infamous Chicken Salad Sandwich...

Before you roll your eyes and say "not another chicken salad recipe" I'm going to say this you haven't tried THIS chicken salad sandwich. I'll called it Huynh-ner (winner) Huynh-ner chicken salad dinner.  Like the play on my last name? =oD It's so simple and it tastes AWESOME-O. I've had a lot of people ask me for the recipe and when I tell them I always get the same reaction....THAT'S IT?! Yes that's it. Nothing fancy. Let's get to it shall we?! Oh just so you know, I didn't really measure anything I pretty much went by taste.

List of ingredients:
- Hellmann's mayonnaise, it HAS to be Hellmann's, it doesn't taste the same if you use another brand. Just do me a favor and try this first then you can alter it to your liking.
- About 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning, any brand will do
- 1 red onion
- 4-5 celery sticks
- About 2 tsp lemon juice
- Whole roast chicken, the kind you buy from the deli counter at grocery stores.
- Miss Vicki's jalapeno chips, it HAS to be this brand.
- Rye bread, you can use other types of bread but for personal preference I like rye.

Step 1, 1, 1, 1, You can have lots of fun. (For you NKOTB fans out there! =oD)
- Cut up the roast chicken into cubes, skin and all and put it into a mixing bowl. The skin adds a bit of more flavoring to the salad. But if you're a health nut then you can remove the skin, but what a waste! Live a little not like you're eating this everyday.

Step 2, 2, 2, 2, There's so much we can dooooo
- Chop up the celery and onions and add it to your chicken

Step 3, 3, 3, 3, It's just you and meeeee
- Now add the mayo to the bowl, depending on how you like it, add a lot if you like it saucy and vice versa. Add the Cajun seasoning, lemon juice and it's time to get dirty.

Step 4, 4, 4, 4, I can give you moooooore
Mix it all up with a wooden spoon or spatula or my preferred method with your hands! I just find using your hands is a lot easier and you can mix everything up really well. Remember to taste it and add more Cajun seasoning or mayo or lemon juice if you need to.

Step 5, 5, 5, 5, Don't you know that the time has arrived
Now take the mixture and put it on the rye bread, now pay attention to this part; take the Miss Vicki's chips and put a couple of them on top of the salad and then put the other slice of bread on top and enjoy! Trust me it sounds weird but it tastes GREAT. The chips give it a crunchy texture and it also adds a saltiness and a nice kick to the sandwich.

Annnnnnnnnd that's it! I really had to divide it up into 5 sections so I can finish the NKOTB song. lol

Enjoy and I hope you like the recipe. Feel free to let me know how it tastes or let me know what you did to make it your own!

Happy eating!

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside" ~ Mark Twain

***Please note the pictures here are not mine, I'll take a picture when I make this again. This one looks similar to what mine would look like! =o)