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Creamy Chana Masala

December 11, 2013

As a new graduate student, I have been on a budget in terms of going out for dinner. For a week, I was really craving a big bowl of delicious chana masala. Chana masala is one of my favourite dishes. I love the chickpeas, and I love the silky sauce that accompanies them. Unable to go out for dinner, I decided to bring the Indian food to me. We made chana masala along with dum alooo. I have to say, they were very good. A bit time consuming, but delicious and definitely worth it.

I unfortunately do not have a picture of the chana masala, but I can tell you it was delicious!

Creamy Chana Masala adapted from The Gluttonous Vegan
Makes a lot!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1/2 of an onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger or 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp fennel powder
  • 2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon

Directions:

  1. Heat a medium sized pan and add the oil. Sautee the onion until translucent.
  2. Add ginger and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Then add tomatoes, chili flakes, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and fennel powder. Simmer.
  3. Stir in the chickpeas. Then add the coconut milk.
  4. Stir together the ingredients and allow to simmer until mixture reduces a bit.
  5. Add the coriander and garam masala, along with the lemon juice.

This was a delicious chana masala. It was very creamy and as with all curries, was better the next day. This recipe made a very large amount. Left over Indian food is always great in my book. I served this with basmati rice and dum aloo for an excellent feast.

Whipped Shortbread Cookies

December 9, 2013


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Wow! It’s been a while. :) Graduate school is fun but very time consuming. Thankfully, I have still been cooking (and eating) up a storm. The other night my friend came over for some late night hang outs. We thought it would be fun to make some cookies. She doesn’t bake very much, but this was a good beginner recipe to try out.

Whipped Shortbread Cookies from Taste of Home
Makes 16-18 dozen cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of confectioners (icing) sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cornstarch
  • 1 to 2 tsp almond extract
  • Toppings (sprinkles, cherries, etc)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Begin gradually adding flour and corn starch. Beat until well-blended.
  4. Flour your hands and roll dough into 1″ balls. Place balls 1″ apart from one another on the baking sheet.
  5. Using a lightly floured fork, gently press down on the ball to flatten it. Put toppings on the flattened balls.
  6. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until bottoms are golden brown.
  7. Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

The cookies turn out very soft and delicious. They are quite fragile though, so be careful when transferring them from the pan to the rack. I decided to add in some almond extract which I think was a good decision. It gave the cookies a very light taste. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any Christmas specific sprinkles so I just used some stars. I think they still look very cute though!

I will also say that this recipe seemed to adapt well. I realized I didn’t have enough of the ingredients until I already started baking so I ended up having to use 4/5s of the recipe amount. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the yield was 16-18 dozen and thought it was 16-18 cookies. I would have definitely halved, or even  a third, the recipe!

Big Fat Taco Salad

July 18, 2013

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Hey everyone!

I hope you’re enjoying the beautiful summer! Today I made a deliciously simple salad. Best part? No cooking involved!

The recipe is ridiculously simple and zero effort. I think it took about 3 minutes to throw this together. The hardest part was opening the can and rinsing the beans.

Big Fat Taco Salad from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of shredded lettuce
  • 1 15-oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup of salsa (original calls for 1 recipe of salsa dressing)
  • 4 oz of tortilla chips, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. Wash, dry, and shred lettuce.
  2. Assemble your salad (lettuce, beans, salsa, crumbled chips, cilantro).

Like I said, this recipe isn’t difficult by any means. So simple to assemble but it tastes great. The original recipe calls for making salsa dressing and serving the salad with guacamame (guacamole made from edamame) but I didn’t do that. Regular salsa worked just fine for me! I’d also like to add that this recipe is deceptively filling. The black beans add a good punch of protein and fibre which makes it more filling. I also made my salad a bit bigger by using more lettuce than called for (2 cups instead of 1 per person).

The original recipe is vegan but I added some cheese to go with it. Overall this made for an excellent summer dinner. We enjoyed our salad while relaxing on the patio. :)

Pecan and Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

May 31, 2013

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I mentioned previously that I made two different batches of cookies: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters and Chocolate Chip Cookies using a previous recipe. I remade Dorie Greenspan’s Best Chocolate Chip cookies but this time I used a mixture of white and semisweet chocolate and added pecans. :)

These cookies were really easy and quick. Everything comes together pretty fast and it uses minimal ingredients which is nice. If you have the time you can chop your chocolate into chunks (which I did) or if you’d prefer to make your cookies faster you can use chocolate chips. Honestly, I only chopped my chocolate because I didn’t have any chips but had a bunch of baking chocolate. I do like how they look though! The chunks give a nice visual component since they are more rustic looking versus chocolate chips.

Dorie Greenspan’s Chocolate Chip Cookies from Baking: From My Home to Yours (pg 68)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I used less salt as I used salted butter)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) of salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2  1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 6 oz white chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup roughly chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl blend the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the sugars and beat until well blended (around 2 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, blending for 1 minute after each addition.Beat in the vanilla.
  4. Divide the dry ingredients into three portions and blend one portion at a time into the wet ingredients. Add the chocolate chunks and pecans and either stir in by hand or use the stir mixer on low speed.
  5. If you have time available: refrigerate the dough.
  6. Use a tablespoon to drop the dough onto the baking sheets. Chilled dough will form better. Place each cookie two inches apart from one another.
  7. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, rotating the pan at the midway point. The cookies are ready when they are golden brown and firm around the edges.
  8. Allow the cookies to rest for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

This makes about 45 cookies. I really like how the cookies look! The chunks of chocolate and pecans just look really nice together. I’m glad I mixed the white and dark chocolate together for this cookie. You get the feeling of having double chocolate even though I didn’t use any more chocolate than what the original recipe calls for. Visually the white chocolate chunks create a nice contrast against the brown cookies, dark chocolate, and pecans.

The original recipe calls to use either walnuts or pecans. I actually really hate walnuts but pecans give the cookies a great texture. I thought about adding coconut shreds to these cookies (like I did last time) but felt that it would have been too much going on in one cookie.

These are delicious! Especially when they come right out of the oven and you have a nice cold glass of mik with them. :) Sean prefers these cookies over the Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters but they’re more of your class chocolate chip cookie which I think makes a difference. Either way: they’re delicious!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

May 27, 2013

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WOW! It’s been forever since I last baked anything (maybe sometime last year?)! This weekend Sean went to the cottage with his father for a little guys time. On Saturday I just relaxed and enjoyed watching some “girly” movies that would have bored my fiancee to tears. However, on Sunday I was super bored of watching movies and realized that I wanted to bake! I thought baking some cookies would be great since they’re so easy. As luck would have it, I actually had all the ingredients I needed. No running to the store for me! :)

When I think of baked goods I think of Dorie Greenspan and her Baking: From My Home to Yours cookbook. This such an amazing cookbook. Honestly, it’s a baking bible. Dorie Greenspan is definitely the queen of baking and this book is such a treasure. It’s well written, I enjoy the stories that accompany each treat, and the pictures are drool-inducing. :)

I decided to make two cookies: the Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters and the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, which I have previously made (but I put a new twist on them so look out for a future post of that recipe!).

Dorie Greenspan’s Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters  from Baking: From My Home to Yours (pg 73)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of ground nutmeg (recipe calls for 1/4 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg)
  • 1/8 tsp salt (recipe calls for 1/4 tsp of salt but I used salted butter so lowered the additional salt amount)
  • 2 sticks (8 oz or 1/2 cup) of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup peanut butter (chunky peanut butter would be good, I used smooth)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp of vanilla (recipe calls for 1 tsp)
  • 3 oz of bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped + 6 oz of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped (recipe calls for 9 oz of bittersweet chocolate but I didn’t have enough)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line baking sheets with either parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. Whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, spices, and salt in a separate mixing bowl.
  3. Using either a stand mixer or a hand mixer beat together the butter, peanut butter, and the sugars until smooth and creamy. Blend the first egg for one minute before adding the second egg. After blending for one minute, blend the vanilla.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, beating on low until blended together. Stir in the chocolate chunks.
  5. If you have time: refrigerate the dough. Otherwise the dough can be used immediately.
  6. Drop rounded tablespoons onto the baking sheets about two inches apart from one another. Place one baking sheet in the oven and bake for 13-15 minutes (until cookies are golden brown and the edges are firm).
  7. After 7 minutes rotate the baking sheet and continue to bake until finished. Allow cookies to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

I didn’t chill my cookies so they were a bit difficult to shape but otherwise baked great! These cookies are DELICIOUS. The peanut butter flavour isn’t overwhelming, the oatmeal gives the cookies a great texture, and the chocolate chunks just stud the cookies beautifully. There’s a lot going on in these cookies but they all come together in a harmonious way rather than having one ingredient outshine or overpower the others.

This recipe makes around 60 cookies so you’ll have two baking sheets to deal with. Just bake them separately otherwise you’ll mess with the cooking time. They’re a bit tricky to get off the baking sheet when you pull them out of the oven so I just let mine firm up for about 10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to the cooling rack. They turned out really well and everyone has been quite impressed with them so far. :)

Peanut butter and chocolate is always a winning combination but the oatmeal really knocks this cookie out of the park. If you’re looking for a new chocolate chip cookie recipe this is definitely a winner.

Taco Salad

April 16, 2013

Taco Salad

Hey everyone! Long time! I’ve been writing a lot on my other blog though. :) Just haven’t really been cooking. I’m going to get back into the swing of things though and hopefully I’ll be cooking more.

Anyways, today I made a really delicious (and easy) taco salad for dinner. I was inspired by a taco salad that Sean’s step-mother makes, but she wasn’t available to give us the recipe so we winged it.

Taco Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp of EVOO.
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 1 small onion, diced.
  • 1 can of aduki beans, rinsed.
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed.
  • 1 package of taco seasoning.
  • 1 tsp of chipotle chili powder.
  • 1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes.
  • 2 tbsp of salsa.
  • 1 1/2 romaine heart lettuce, rinsed and ripped coarsely.
  • 1 jalopeno, chopped thinly.
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped.
  • green onion, chopped (as much as you’d like).
  • shredded cheddar cheese (any amount you want).
  • nacho chips (as much as you’d like).

Directions

  1. Heat pan on medium-low heat. Once your pan is heated, add a tsp of olive oil.
  2. Saute onions until they are almost translucent. Add your garlic to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Incorporate the taco seasoning to the onion and garlic mixture.
  4. Add your beans (aduki and black beans). Mash slightly and mix well.
  5. Add the chili powder, crushed red pepper flakes, and salsa to the mixture. Mix well. Keep in pan until heated through.
  6. While your bean mixture is cooking, assemble your salad! Layer nacho chips, lettuce, pepper, jalopenos, and cheese.
  7. Add bean mixture on top of the salad base. Then layer again.
  8. Serve with a side of salsa and greek yogurt (or sour cream).

It feels kind of silly to write out a recipe for taco salad, but the bean mixture is more what needs directions. This was really tasty. The aduki beans added a nice contrast to the black beans. I sliced the jalopenos with gloves so that I wouldn’t get the oils on my fingers. I’ve heard too many horror stories and I just didn’t want to risk it! This recipe made enough for two large salads (each salad had two layers) and there’s still left overs. I’m excited for a delicious lunch tomorrow!

Play around with the seasonings. I used the chipotle chili powder because it’s spicier than regular chili powder. I also used hot salsa to add some heat. If you like it spicier you could add more or use more jalopenos. If you like it milder just play it safe with the spices (i.e. 1/4 tsp) and adjust as necessary. :) I hope you enjoy this!

Chocolate Oatmeal

January 21, 2013

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My friend recently provided me a link for Chocolate Covered Katie. I had read her blog in the past, but completely forgot about her blog! It was a nice reminder. :)

I flipped through her recipes this morning and decided to make some breakfast for Sean and me. He’s off to work today, so I wanted to make him a filling healthy breakfast. We’re trying hard right now to stop buying food at work. I also packed him a lunch of Rajmah curry. He may not enjoy kidney beans as much as I do, but my cat Freya certainly does! After I rinse kidney beans I let them drain in a colander, and she always steals some. It’s super cute but also kind of frustrating because you can’t turn your back to her.

Anyways! My dad bought me a giant box of quaker oats from Costco so they need to be used up. Thankfully they’re just plain oats rather than pre-packaged flavoured ones so the sky is the limit for flavours!

I settled on making chocolate oatmeal for us. :)

Chocolate Oatmeal
From Chocolate Covered Katie

Ingredients

  • 80g of cooked oats
  • 1 1/2 cups of almond and coconut milk (SO GOOD)
  • 3 tbsp of cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp of vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 an oz of bitter sweet chocolate, shaved

Directions

  1. Add oats, milk, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla, and banana to a pot. Cook on medium heat, uncovered.
  2. After 5-7 minutes, stir in the chocolate.

I doubled her original recipe (this recipe makes 2 servings). When I first started out I felt really confused about whether the oats were supposed to be pre-cooked or not. I ended up putting everything except the banana and the chocolate in the pot and cooked the oats (i.e. bring to a boil, then simmer for 5-7 minutes). Then I added the banana and chocolate and cooked for another 5 minutes. It ended up working out in the end! Just took a lot longer than I expected.

This recipe was really good! I decided to add chocolate to the pot because I find cocoa powder doesn’t have an intense chocolate flavour and that was what I was looking for this morning. Putting the banana into the oats was really delicious too because they smelled like they were almost caramelized. They also added a lot of volume to the oats which was great as well.

After eating this I felt comfortably full (6-7 on the full scale). Hopefully Sean will stay pretty full so he doesn’t have to buy any food at work today! That’s always a true test.

I think for tomorrow morning I’ll precook some oats for tonight and make some more of her oatmeal options! She has so many, and I’m excited to try them. :)

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