Banitsa with onion and lapad (Patience Dock)

Banitsa
Banitsa

Homemade banitsa with onion and patience dock (sorrel or spinach works). Probably one of the best things I’ve ever made!
Recipe (I added dock and onion)

Homemade sour cream scones with cream cheese, arugula and bacon with maple and jalapeño glaze.

It all started with this 7 ingredient sour cream cookie recipe. The cookies didn’t taste like cookies at all (not sweet) but more like scones…I will disclose that I added more baking soda than the recipe called for but it doesn’t matter, these ain’t cookies. I decided to dip half of them in brown sugar and kept the other half as “savory scones”.

Ingredients:

  • Bacon
  • Onion
  • Brown sugar
  • Maple syrup
  • Jalapeños (fresh)
  • Scones
  • Cream cheese
  • Arugula
  • Orange juice (optional)

Marinate slices of smoky bacon with a little chopped onion, chopped jalapeño, brown sugar and maple syrup for 30 mins or more.

In a frying pan on low heat, cook the bacon with the marinade for about 10 minutes, flipping once, until the bacon is crispy and the sugar and maple syrup turn into a gooey caramel. If you need to slow down the caramelization then stir in a few drops of orange juice. Let cool for 2 minutes.

Assembly:

1- Cream cheese on scone.

2- Arugula and chopped fresh jalapeño.

3- Bacon with some of the caramel.

Tom Yum Roasted Chicken.

I love Tom Yum soup, who doesn’t? I decided to take all the ingredients and famous flavors of the soup and apply it to a roasted chicken.

Ingredients:

• 1 chicken

• 1 cup chicken stock

• 1 can of coconut milk (reserve 2 tablespoons for serving)

• 2 large tomatoes cut in 1/2

• 2 large onions cut in 1/4

• a handful of mushrooms cut in 1/4

• 5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled, left whole

• 1 stick of lemongrass

• 2-3 carrots (to lift the chicken out of the liquids to help it brown)

• a thumb sized piece of ginger cut in 1/2

• a handful of parsley

• 2 big tablespoons of green curry paste

• 2 chilies if your curry paste isn’t spicy (optional)

• salt and pepper

• peppercorns (optional- see “Over the Top!’ section*)

• a handful of chopped cilantro for plating (optional)

• dried chili flakes for garnish (optional)

How to Start

1- Cut the chicken along the backbone, this is called the spatchcock technique.

2- Rub the green curry paste between the skin and the flesh as well as the back/interior of the chicken. Try to keep the exterior skin clean and dry.

3- Cut all the other ingredients and place them at the bottom of a roasting pan. Season the veggies. If your curry paste is very salty, don’t use very much salt. Make sure you place the carrots in the middle, they are used to elevate the chicken and helps you get that beautiful crispy brown skin.

4- Pour the chicken stock into the pan.

5- Lay the parsley on top of the carrots, then place your rubbed bird on top making sure she uses up as much surface area as possible (because we love crispy skin). Brush the skin with some coconut milk and lightly season.

Over the Top!

This step is optional, I just wanted to try out a couple techniques I’ve recently seen.

Optional- With a BBQ skewer or a thin knife, poke holes into the breast and thighs and stuff a peppercorn into each hole. Once the chicken is cooked, the peppercorns are super tender and you can eat them. Also, the meat gets infused with the pepper which is amazing!

Optional- Get out your marinade injector and pump up the chicken with coconut milk!

Cooking

Low and slow. This tiny chicken took just over 2 hours to roast. Start by loosely covering the the bird with aluminum foil, only using the bottom element of my oven.

Baste the bird. Every 20 minutes check up on the bird and baste her with coconut milk.

Uncover. Once the liquids in the pan are bubbling away and have reduced (you will also see that the veggies are cooked and the juices of the bird are running clear), remove the foil and baste again.

Browning. My oven allows me to adjust the temperature of the top and bottom elements separately…I guess set yours to “Bottom element heating with grill” or convection? The top element is now on (keeping the bottom on too) and keep an eye out on the bird. Keep on basting with coconut milk, it makes the skin so sweet and delicious. Tent the areas that are crisping up too fast (usually the wings) with aluminum foil.

Let rest. Once you are happy with the golden brown colour, remove from oven and let rest loosely covered for 10-20 minutes.

Time to eat! Discard the parsley, lemongrass and ginger and transfer the soupy gravy and vegetables into a serving bowl/dish and pour the 2 tablespoons of reserved coconut milk in a circular motion over the dish. Place the chicken on top and garnish with cilantro (I only had parsley), some nice flaky salt and chili flakes.

Juicy, spicy, sweet, salty and wonderful!

Making tofu from scratch in 9 easy steps.

Step 1

Soak 1 1/2 cups of dried soy beans in 4 1/2 of cups water overnight.

Step 2

Blend the beans and water until almost smooth.

Step 3

In a large, thick bottom pot, bring 5 cups of water to a boil then stir in the beany water and reduce to a simmer (stirring often). Within 8 minutes a thick layer of foam will form on the surface.

Step 4

Using a cheesecloth, strain the beany, foamy liquid, squeezing out as much as possible.

On the left:

Soy milk (future tofu).

On the right:

Okara or soy bean pulp (no longer useful for the tofu making process).  I freeze, dehydrate or bake my okara and use it as filler in hamburgers and meatloaf type recipes…you can also us it to make banana or corn bread.

Step 5

Return the soy milk to your large pot (after a quick rinse) and warm the liquid at a very low heat, make sure it doesn’t simmer, yet get it hot enough that it’s almost too hot to the touch. Remove from heat.

Step 6

Mix 1 cup of water with a 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice. Slowly stir in half of the liquid with the soy milk, stirring clockwise about 6 times. Leave the spoon in the liquid and wait until the liquid stops moving then stir (in a figure 8) the remaining water/lemon juice with the soy milk. At this point you will notice fresh curds forming. 

Step 7

Place a lid over the pot and let rest for 15 minutes. At this point the curds should sink to the bottom with water at the top.

Step 8

Carefully remove the curds with a slotted spoon or strainer and let drain in a cheesecloth.

Step 9

Press the cheesecloth with curds with a heavy plate or tofu press (bought mine on eBay) for 15 minutes. Drain the excess water and refrigerate for an hour.

You did it!

Eat right away or cover with cold water and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

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