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Red Deer Foodie

…getting busy in the kitchen!

Monthly Archives: September 2013

 

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Did you know there is a super easy to make your chicken more flavorful and juicy?   Soaking your chicken in a home-made brine is a simple and inexpensive step you can do with only a few ingredients!  I posted this on instagram a while back (follow me if you’re bored @shannonyac) for more ideas!!

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Ingredients:

1 roasting chicken, cut into pieces (free range is best, but this technique works well with the cheaper grocery store kind)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 bay leaves

6 cloves garlic, smashed

handful of fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, parsley, whatever you have in the fridge

10-12 whole peppercorns, plus a few grinds of freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp sea salt

Method:

Butcher your chicken into about 10 pieces (2 wings, 2 drums, 2 breasts cut in half = 4, 2 thighs).  In a large ziplock bag combine the brine ingredients and smush together.  Add the chicken pieces and then slowly add water to the bag, filling it up so that you can still squeeze air out and also close the seal securely (you don’t want to overfill it b/c then you risk a blow out in the fridge!)

brined chicken

Place the bag in a large bowl and shove in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Time to cook: heat your BBQ to high and then cook the pieces in the normal way!!  Yep it’s that easy and absolutely no need to add any other sauces or seasonings.  I am normally totally grossed out by dark meat, but whenever I brine chicken in this way, I can totally eat the dark meat – such great flavour!

If you don’t want to BBQ, you can also roast your brined chicken in the oven at 425 degrees for about an hour.

 

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This week I had the good fortune to “inherit” my friend’s weekly installment of Steel Pony groceries – plus her co-worker’s bag!   So much produce to use up this week because each bag contained a large bunch of swiss chard, bunch of baby leeks (which at first I thought were green onions – duh!), a kohlrabi, carrots, potatoes, cilantro, and tomatoes!   I will admit I’ve never cooked swiss chard before, so was kind of curious as to what to do with it.  I snooped around on the internet for ideas and came up with this quick and easy recipe that is totally doable on a week night but looks like you slaved over it!!

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Ingredients:

1 Tenderflake deep dish crust

2 slices bacon, chopped

3 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and pale green parts only

3 cups thinly sliced swiss chard leaves (no stems!)

1/4 cup chicken broth

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp flour

1/3 cup whipping cream

2 tbs Dijon mustard

1 large egg, lightly beaten

150g piece of Swiss Gruyere cheese, grated and separated

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees & take pie crust out of the freezer.

In a large heavy skillet, cook bacon until golden – but not too dark!!   Add the leeks to the bacon and rendered bacon fat and cook till softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the swiss chard and chicken broth and cook till the chard is wilted – another 5 minutes.

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In a small pot, melt butter over medium heat and then lower heat before whisking in the flour to create a roux.  Careful here because things can get out of hand quickly – don’t let it burn!  Slowly add the cream and bring to a boil over that medium low heat – till the roux is thickened.

Now add your roux to the leek/chard mixture, and add the mustard and HALF A CUP of the gruyere.  At this point – season with salt & pepper and take a taste – if it’s good and seasoned to your liking then add in the egg.   I don’t say how much salt to add b/c it depends on your bacon and even the cheese you use!

Pour this mixture into the pie crust and then sprinkle with the rest of your cheese.  Chuck in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, until golden and bubbly.  Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Deeelightful!


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Is there such a thing as too many pancakes?  I have posted several recipes for a variety of pancakes on this blog: Rosemary Lemon Pancakes, Coconut Flour Pancakes with Mango Puree, Cottage Cheese Pancakes and Banana Nut Pancakes!  Today I post one more pancake recipe: Ricotta Pancakes with Raspberry Lime Sauce.  I’m beginning to think I should open a Pancake-themed food truck in Red Deer?

Anyways, I freakin LOVE ricotta; I often eat it for breakfast with some fresh fruit and honey – why wouldn’t it kick ass in a pancake?!  I’ve seen a few very similar recipes floating around the interweb, and morphed it into something that utilized ingredients I had kicking around the house.  Give it a try next weekend!

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Ricotta Pancakes Ingredients:

1 cup ricotta

1/2 cup skimmed milk

2 eggs, separated

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp sea salt

zest of one orange

Raspberry Lime Sauce Ingredients:

1 cup fresh raspberries

1/4 cup agave syrup

2 tbsp cherry jelly (or any other jam/jelly you have in the fridge)

2 tsp fresh orange juice

zest of one lime

dash of salt

Method:

In a large bowl, combine ricotta, milk and egg yolks.  Set egg whites aside for now – don’t forget about them yet though!  Add in the flour, baking powder, salt and orange zest and stir until smooth.  Get back on those egg whites again – whisk them until frothy and then gently fold into the batter.  Set the batter aside while you preheat your griddle to medium.

fold those egg whites in!

fold those egg whites in!

While things are heating up, get your sauce on; combine all ingredients in a medium pot over medium-high heat.  Stir to combine and watch as the berries break down.  Turn the heat down to medium and simmer until the mixture has decreased by about half.  This takes about 10 minutes.  At this point you can pour the sauce through a sieve to get rid of those pesky seeds, but Erin and I decided why throw out anything of the fruit, especially if it added fibre, which is something humans are dying to get into their bodies anyways?

Back to the pancakes… so the griddle (or your largest non stick frying pan) is heated up, your batter has had time to froth up a bit and now it’s go time!  Make pancakes as you normally do, flipping once when the tops are bubbly.  I usually heat my oven to 200 degrees to keep my pancakes in while I’m cooking the rest of the batch.

That’s it – it’s that easy – you can do it too!  I served the pancakes with the raspberry sauce, some lovely bacon and an egg, sunny side up.  A perfect brunch after a long Sunday run!!

 

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I know I’ve already posted different recipes for granola on this blog before, but this one is the best – inspired by one of the best cookbooks I’ve ever purchased, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.  It’s super crunchy and sweet and makes a great little gift for anyone who loves maple!  I like to layer the granola between scoops of Greek yogurt and fresh berries – so good and keeps me full all morning!  This recipe is worth heating up the kitchen for!

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Maple Pecan Granola

(inspired by recipe in the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook):

Ingredients:

3 cups quick oats IMG_0695

1 cup large flaked coconut, unsweetened

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup oat bran

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

2/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 large egg white, beaten

Method:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and prepare a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment/baking paper lightly coated with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients, folding in the egg whites at the very end.

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Spread the mixture evenly onto the cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes – take out of the oven, carefully flip – make sure to keep some of those big chunks in tact.  Put back in the oven again for another 20 minutes, repeat the flipping, then back in the oven for another 20 minutes.  The batch should be nice and crispy – let cool completely on a rack.  So easy!

 

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