fire cracker chicken

i have a confession to make. i like food court chinese food more than the authentic version. there, i’ve said it.

judge me if you must, but i happen to like greasy sauce laden high sodium familiar dishes that i remember from my childhood. sadly for me, we live in a neighbourhood with a plethora of authentic asian restaurants. they’re always busy and the reviews online rave about them. i’m sure they’re great but i’m too picky of an eater, and am too much of a chicken to try the unknown. 

speaking of chicken (ahem), i found this recipe online a year or so ago and fell in love with it. and unsurprisingly it fits the bill of food court chinese food. i’ve made it a couple of times and it was a hit each time. the chicken has a sweet yet spicy flavour combination that i can’t get enough of. it’s permanently made its way into our meal rotation.

  

1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 c cornstarch
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 c vegetable oil
3/4 c honey
1/3 c buffalo sauce (i used frank’s)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

preheat oven to 325 F. lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish.

to make the sauce, whisk together sugar, buffalo sauce, vinegar, salt, red pepper flakes and 1 Tbsp water in a large bowl; set aside.

in a large bowl, season chicken to taste. stir in cornstarch and gently toss to combine. working one at a time, dip the chicken into the eggs.

heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add chicken and cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; discard excess oil.

add chicken to prepared baking dish. top with buffalo sauce mixture. bake, uncovered, until the sauce has thickened (approximatelt 45 minutes) turning over every 15 minutes to evenly coat the chicken.

serve immediately.

bon appetit!

s,b&b

link:
damn delicious, fire cracker chicken

lighter scalloped potatoes 

some time ago, i made delicious swoon worthy scalloped potatoes. as the temperatures have dropped recently, my craving for creamy cheesy potatoes hit me square between my eyes. i was very tempted to make them again but, let’s be serious, it isn’t the most waist-friendly of dishes. so i decided i’d compromise with a lighter version this time around. these potatoes were a hit!

  
the secret to this dish, and what makes it healthier, is it calls for broth and milk instead of cream.. but you don’t miss the cream. promise!

3 Tbsp butter
1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 c beef or chicken stock (i used beef)
2 c 2% milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, divided
4 lbs waxy potatoes, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
1 1/2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 c freshly-grated parmesan cheese

preheat oven to 400 F.
melt butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. add onion and garlic, then saute for 5 to 6 minutes until soft and translucent. stir in the flour until it is evenly combined and saute for an additional 1 minute to cook the flour. pour in the stock, and whisk until combined. add the milk, salt, pepper, and 1 tsp of thyme, and whisk until combined. cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes until the sauce comes to a simmer (not a boil) and thickens. remove from heat and set aside.

meanwhile, grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with oil (i used avocado because i’m terrified of the smoke detector and avocado oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil). spread half of the sliced potatoes in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. top evenly with half of the cream sauce, the sprinkle evenly with 1 c of the shredded cheddar cheese, and all of the Parmesan cheese.

  
top evenly with the remaining sliced potatoes, the remaining half of the cream sauce, and the remaining 1/2 c of cheddar cheese.

  

cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. remove the foil and bake uncovered for an additional 25 to 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the potatoes are cooked through.

remove from oven and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp thyme.

 
now stand in front of the pan staring at it while it cools for 5 minutes or so (this is the hardest part if, like me, you have zero patience or self control .. because it looks and smells delicious. but trust me, you’ll burn your taste buds right off and not be able to taste anything if you dig in before this dish has a chance to cool!).

bon appetit!

s,b&b
link:
gimme some oven, scalloped potatoes

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greenhorn espresso bar

after visiting roedde house museum, my sister and i went for lunch at greenhorn espresso bar. i’ve been wanting to try this place since moving back into the neighbourhood, and i’m so happy that i finally did. the food was amazing! everything we tried tasted like it was made with fresh clean ingredients. you can tell that they take pride in their offerings.

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my only complaint is that there wasn’t enough seating. greenhorn is super popular, but there isn’t enough seating for the amount of table space there is. so some people have to stand to eat which, unless you’re somewhere in europe and going for the whole “do as they do” thing, it’s kind of a pain in the ass to stand while eating your soup. hopefully they get that sorted out.

i look forward to returning though. my mouth still waters every time i think about the deliciousness they serve up.

s,b&b

link:

greenhorn espresso bar

roedde house

my sister and i recently visited roedde house museum, located a few blocks from my house and somewhere i’d been wanting to check out for several years.

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the museum, a late-victorian home in the queen anne revival style, was built in 1893 for the family of gustave roedde. mr. roedde was the city’s first book binder, and the house has been beautifully restored and filled with interesting artifacts reflect the day-to-day life of a middle class immigrant family at the turn of the last century.

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we both enjoyed ourselves and had fun poking around each room learning about vancouver’s history. it’s always nice to see things from our (regular people, that is) perspective. in fact, i enjoyed it so much that i bought myself a membership, and hope to return soon.

if you’re interested in visiting roedde house, i’ve included the link below.

s,b&b.

link:

roedde house museum

sweet potato and chorizo soup

a couple of weeks ago i was trying to decide on a new soup recipe to try when the boyfriend suggested this one. the name didn’t grab me, and i wasn’t really excited to try it. fast forward to the next day, after i had gone grocery shopping to buy what i needed and came home to make it. the light curry smell in our house was amazing and i couldn’t wait to try it. it’s not the prettiest soup, i agree, but the flavour combination makes for a party in your mouth. this recipe quickly jumped into my ‘hug in a bowl’ list of favourites and i look forward to making it again. plus it gives me an excuse to use my immersion blender, which is one of my favourite kitchen tools.

soup1

2 carrots, peeled and roughly sliced

2 celery stalks, sliced

2 medium onions, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

1 3/4 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

7 oz chorizo sausage, sliced

1/4 c fresh parsley (including stalks), finely chopped

1 3/4 litres chicken broth

olive oil

1 rounded Tbsp madras curry powder

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 fresh thai chili

2 Tbsp olive oil

soup2

put the broth in a saucepan and heat until boiling.

meanwhile, put a large pan on a high heat and add the olive oil. add all your chopped and sliced ingredients with the curry powder and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for 10 minutes or so, with the lid askew, until the carrots have softened but are still holding their shape, and the onion is lightly golden. add the boiling broth to the vegetables. give the soup a good stir and bring to a boil. reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the sweet potato is cooked through. season with salt and pepper. using an immersion blender pulse the soup until smooth and scatter over a little finely chopped chili. divide between your serving bowls and dive in.

serves 6 to 8

bon appetit!

s,b&b

mexican pot roast tacos

i’ll do my best to not drool over my keyboard while typing this post.

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last year for the boyfriend’s family birthday dinner i decided to go with a mexican theme. my sister brought delicious salsa and guacamole, and i made these beef tacos. i also made a sort-of deconstructed guacamole salad (lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado and cilantro lime dressing). for dessert i made an amazing chocolate cheesecake, and i’ll share the recipe for when i make it again and remember to take photos.

anyway, back to the tacos. after months of craving them i finally made them this week and, let me tell you, it would be a serious disservice to the public if i didn’t share the recipe. they’re that good. super easy too!

2-3 lbs beef shoulder

salt

freshly ground black pepper

extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 large onion, sliced

1 (28-ounce) can crushed san marzano tomatoes

1 Tbsp ancho chile powder

1 Tbsp cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp ground cumin

3 bay leaves

season all sides of the beef with a fair amount of salt and pepper. in a large heavy pot that has a tight cover, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil over moderately high heat. add the garlic and the beef to the pot, browning the meat on all sides, taking the time to get a nice crust on the outside. add the onion and allow to lightly brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. add the crushed tomatoes, plus 1 tomato can of water, spices, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and add enough water to cover the meat. bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer with a lid for 3 hours until the meat is fork tender. let meat cool in the liquid. shred meat, add enough of the cooking liquid to coat the shredded meat to your preference, and set aside.

to serve: use whichever tortillas you prefer (we like flour), and top with your favourite fixings. one of my favourite finds is queso fresco, but if you can’t find it any cheese would work (jalapeno jack and feta are good substitutes in my opinion). don’t forget cilantro or a squeeze of fresh lime!

bon appetit!

s,b&b

link:

tyler florence mexican pot roast tacos

black bean soup

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this recipe is adapted from budgetbytes (link below), and was super easy to make – and super tasty!

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks celery, grated
2 medium carrots, chopped
3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup medium salsa (store bought is fine)
1 Tbsp chili powder
½ Tbsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
4 c chicken broth
2 c water
combine the garlic, onion, celery, carrots, black beans, salsa, chili powder, cumin, oregano, chicken broth, and water in a large pot. stir well. bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. remove the pot from the heat, and blend the soup with an immersion blender – being careful to not splash hot soup all over yourself. taste, and adjust seasoning as required.
serve with toppings of your choice (sour cream or yogurt, green onions, tomatoes, cheese, guacamole, hot sauce.. the possibilities are endless!)
makes 6 servings
bon appetit!
s,b&b
link: