Saturday, December 6, 2008

White Wine Clam Fettuccini

Hi all,

A family friend of mine owns a very popular Italian restaurant in Calgary and he used to make this dish all the time for me. It was one of the first dishes that I have ever tried to make, and it is still one of my "go to dishes" when VERY important guests arrive for a visit.

Last week, Derek's dad came for a lovely visit, and this was the dish that I whipped up for dinner.

awful picture....this was the day after I made it

What you will need:
4 servings of Fettuccini
plenty of water
1.5 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil

3 bacon Slices, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can of whole baby clams, with juice (142g)
1/2 cup Dry white wine, or alcohol free white wine
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add salt and pasta. Once Pasta is cooked, drain and toss pasta with olive oil
  2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large frying pan on medium heat until crisp.
  3. Add gaelic and onions. Cook until onions appear translucent and soft, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add in the can of clams, white wine and peper. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil on medium heat.
  5. Add in 2 tsp of the chopped parsley, Cook for another 2 minutes for the flavors to blend, then remove from heat.
  6. Add in pasta and toss.
  7. Sprinkle with the rest of the parsley, basil and Parmesan cheese.
  8. Serve with some dark greens or Greek salad. Delicious!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Banana Bread

Again, I am not a particularly good baker, but I decided to bake a small loaf of banana bread one night as comfort food for the two of us. To be honest, I actually had to make the bread twice, the first trial resulted in a banana bread that had a crusty black outside and a soggy inside....I turned the heat down for the 2nd trial, and I conquered those bananas like nobody's business.

I got this recipe from Elise at Simply Recipes. The recipe did not require an electric mixer, so it worked for me as I do not have any fancy gadgets in my kitchen.

This is what you will need:

3 or 4 medium ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

  • Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  • Mix butter into the smashed bananas
  • Slowly add in sugar, eggs and vanilla, then sprinkle in baking soda and salt, mix well.
  • Finally, fold in the flour.
  • Grease a 4 X 8 loaf pan, pour in the mixture and bake for 50 - 60 minutes
  • Enjoy with butter and a glass of milk....yummm

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chicken Cacciatore

Hi friends!

One of my favorite websites to look for recipes is called Simply Recipes, their dishes are, as the name suggests... simple, and therefore perfect for me. I got this recipe from Elise, who (I think) is the main writer for the site. Since Derek is sort of Italian, I thought maybe I should try to make something sort of Italian...with a few tiny modifications, this dish was the perfect candidate. Classic, simple, and finger-licking good!

What you will need:

6 Large chicken thighs with skin
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced onions
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup white wine
2 cups peeled and chopped, firm ripe tomatoes
  1. Rinse/clean chicken and pat dry.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat, add the onions and garlic, cook until onions are soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.
  3. Push the onions to the side. Add chicken pieces, skin-side down. Cook until the chicken skin is golden brown, then turn pieces over and brown on the other side, takes about 8 minutes per side.
  4. Season chicken with salt and pepper, on both sides.
  5. Add wine and simmer until reduced by half. I don't really know when exactly that is, so I usually just wait about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Add the tomatoes, lower the heat and cover the skillet with the lid slightly ajar.
  7. Simmer the chicken for about 40-50 minutes, turning the chicken occasionally so that all parts of the chicken is in contact with the liquid.
  8. Add some water if the liquid dries up, adjust the taste with salt
  9. I usually remove the skin just to be a bit more healthy
  10. Serve with pasta, rice or veggies! DELICIOUS!
  11. The left-overs for this dish are also very very good, as the liquid soaks into the chicken and the chicken becomes more tasty the next day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chocolate Chip Apricot Cookies

A twist on a classic favorite!

A very good friend of mine's mom made this for me ages ago, and it's been one of my favorite cookies ever since! My friend and his family lives in Calgary so unfortunately, I rarely get the opportunity to enjoy their amazing baked goods these days... Decker family - I miss you guys!!! (not only for your cookies)

I am not a particularly good baker, but today was a rainy day outside, and I felt that the only way to make it sunny inside our tiny apartment was to bake some warm, chocolaty cookies. I found this recipe to be a tad bit more greasy than usual, so I cut down on the Margarine. I also cut down on the sugar because I don't want cavities...however, if you like sweets, add in 1/2 -1 cup more sugar.

2 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 Tsp Baking powder
1 Tsp salt
5 Tbsp Margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar, not packed down
1 large egg
2 Tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 - 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup apricot chunks, very small chucks

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (I learned this + a big chunk of this recipe from my favorite Bakergirl of life, it's brilliant!!)
  2. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl
  3. Melt Margarine, and once it has cooled, slowly add in the sugars (both granulated and brown).
  4. Whisk egg and vanilla into the margarine/sugar mixture, keep whisking until everything is well mixed
  5. Combine the margarine mixture with the flour mixture
  6. Fold in apricots and chocolate chips
  7. Eat some dough (I mean...taste some for quality control)
  8. Roll the dough into little balls, place them onto parchment paper, and press the balls into a semi-flat, round shape
  9. Bake for 10 minutes
  10. Leave cookies on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then move them onto paper towels or a wire rack to cool
  11. Enjoy!! Makes about 24 cookies.

Friday, October 24, 2008

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandi

Hello everyone!

So in this little family of ours, Derek is the "Carnivore" and I am the "Vegetarian". I usually prefer to eat veggies and fruits, mixed with some Tofu once in a while. The only meat that I eat on a semi-regular basis is Chicken, rarely do I eat/cook red meat.

Usually after a few days of veggies and tofu, Derek would gently make a comment about how he is trying to build some muscle ---- which really means, I WANT SOME MEAT WOMAN! So today, after reading up a few recipes, I decided that I would step out of my comfort zone and make some chunky pork for my lovely partner.

This dish was very very successful, and it was a total fluke! I was absolutely exhausted after a week of school and work, and somehow had 2 recipes completely mixed up in my brain. When I came home from lugging all the grocery home and read the recipe, I realized that I bought half the ingredients for one recipe and half for the other recipe. So I started throwing in random things and crossed my fingers for a tasty result.

What you will need:

3-4 lbs Pork Shoulder Roast, rinsed and dried
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Medium onions, chopped
4 Garlic cloves, roughly diced
1 Small jalapeno peppers, diced, keep seeds
24-ounce crushed tomatoes
18-ounce BBQ sauce (I mixed Diana's Original & Bull's Eye Sweet and Sticky)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tsp Chile powder
1 Bay leaf
8 Scotch bap (any kind of buns will work)

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, saute for about 5 minutes. Add in Jalapeno peppers with seeds, saute for another 2 minutes.
  2. Add in the crushed tomatoes, and then slowly stir in the BBQ sauce. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 10 minutes, and add in brown sugar, Chile powder and bay leaf. (Before you add in any sugar, taste the sauce and see if it is sweet enough. Depending on what you choose, sometimes the BBQ sauces alone are sufficient)
  3. Add the roast into the sauce. Make sure the sauces completely covers the roast by scooping the sauce over the meat. Bring to a low simmer, cover the pot and cook the meat until tender - approx 3 - 3.5 hrs.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat, and when cool, remove pork from the sauce and cut into small slices.
  5. On medium heat, reduce the sauce by 2 thirds. Remove the bay leaf, and add the pork back into sauce for a quick soak.
  6. Serve pork with Scotch baps. makes 8 servings.
The after math...
ENJOY! Make sure you have tons of napkins on hand!


Monday, October 13, 2008

Thanksgiving salt-crusted chicken!

Hello there!

Sorry for taking so long to get this particular installment out. I realize it is well after thanksgiving...

Happy thanksgiving though everyone! I hope you're all enjoying amazing food and time with loved ones.

This installment of our lovely food blog is about a delicious little thanksgiving meal for two. As you may or may not know Annie and I live in a little apartment with only a small range and a single sink. Counter space... ha! Anyhow along with this we only have two mouths and as such when it came to coming up with a thanksgiving meal this holiday season we just couldn't justify doing a full turkey. I really like turkey sandwiches but after two weeks I think it would lose it mystique. With this in mind we decided to cook up a chicken instead.

One afternoon I was laying in bed watching the food network (as I tend to do quite often) and a show about French cooking at home came on the Food Network. Needless to say I was very intrigued and continued to watch. The focus of the show was classic French meals to make for families and friends, in particular the host was cooking a salt crusted chicken! Looked soooo delicious! The crust isn't eaten but works to lock in every drop of delectable chicken juice.
The following is how you can accomplish your own salt-crusted chicken. Please note that when I cooked it I didn't use a strict recipe and just went with the flow following the concepts rather than the measures presented in the show. Bon apetit!

  • One full chicken sans giblets.
  • ~ 1.5 cups Sicilian sea salt
  • ~ 2.5 cups all purpose flour, unbleached
  • Splash of baking powder (I would guess about a teaspoon)
  • Enough water to make a proper dough
  • Spices: thyme, rosemary, sage (classic french poultry herbs), here you can add or subtract as desired
  1. Wash chicken thoroughly inside and out. Use paper towel to pat dry.
  2. Lift skin off the chicken and slide the various herbs under. Do this all around the chicken such that the region between the meat and the skin is spattered w/ herbs.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add the entirety of the flour. To this slowly add water and mix slowly by hand. Continue adding water until you have dough that is quite wet.
  4. Pour in the baking powder.
  5. Slowly add in the sea salt working it into the dough. Continue mixing the dough until it appears consistent.
  6. Flour a clean, flat workspace. Transfer dough to that workspace.
  7. Knead dough as you would for bread, adding flour as necessary. Cease kneading and adding flour when the dough no longer sticks to your hand.
  8. Wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.
  9. Preheat the oven 375F.
  10. In a small mixing bowl whisk three egg whites and one yolk together.
  11. Remove dough from fridge. Separate into 40% / 60% portions. Roll both of the pieces out with a rolling pin (or as I did with an empty wine bottle) till .5cm thick or until large enough that they would together wrap the whole chicken.
  12. Place smaller piece of dough in the bottom of the roasting pan. On top of this place the whole chicken. When this is done gently lower the larger portion of dough on top of the chicken.
  13. Now this is the tricky part, you need to connect the upper part of the dough with the lower section. Run your hands under the sink to make them quite wet and use this moisture to connect the two. This part of the process takes some time and a lot of attention to detail. Take your time and make sure there are no holes whatsoever. The moistness of your chicken depends on this.
  14. Using a basting brush (or your hands like I did)to coat the chicken with the whisked egg wash.
  15. Throw that puppy into the oven!
  16. How long do you need to cook the chicken? That really depends on the size of your chicken and the particular oven you're using. For an average 2.5 - 3 lb chicken two hours is a good baseline. Use your good judgement and a meat thermometer (internal temp 185F) to ensure the chicken is done. Nobody likes ecoli... err on the side of safety.
Once the chicken is ready set it on the table still in the roasting pan. The "cracking of the crust" is the most important part of the whole ordeal, it's quite the show!

When your guest have collected and you're ready to dig in use a sharp, serrated knife and cut the crust completely around, close to the bottom. In one smooth motion lift off the crust cap and reveal the beautiful, steaming chicken. I promise you the smell will blow away everyone in the room.

Serve with your choice of classic sides... we did stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce.

Hope this helps if you are in the mood for a lovely festive meal but only have a couple mouths to feed (max 4 people I would say).


Monday, October 6, 2008

A note on language...

As Annie sits across our dining room table creating our first recipe (w/ awesome pictures I might add) I decided to write a small posting on the use of proper cooking terminology, or lack thereof, you will find in our post. In spite of the hours and hours we spend watching the food network every week our cooking 'lingo' is less than stellar. Where some recipes would say "potatoes were quartered" we might write it "potatoes were cut into hunks the size of golf balls." We hope this make our recipes more interesting (and potentially more challenging).

Keep you stick on the ice.


Chicken Pot Pie

The very first food related blog! WOOT WOOT!

It has been raining here non-stop for the past week so Derek and I both were seriously craving for some homemade comfort food. Yesterday, while I was volunteering at Ronald McDonald House, a lovely lady there shared her delicious chicken pot pie with me and made me feel all warm and peachy inside. So last night, Derek and I trekked out to the grocery store in the rain and bought some fresh veggies and chicken to make our very own chicken pot pie. It was the first time I have ever made pie in my entire life so I was a bit nervous about burning the entire apartment down, but to my surprise, it actually turned out to be quite delicious and left the apartment smelling absolutely delightful!

I promise the pictures will get better

Chicken Pot Pie

Tenderflake frozen 9' pie crust (we are lazy bums)
1 can of concentrated cream of chicken soup (I used Campbells)
1 large potato, cubed
1 large carrot, chopped
1/2 cup button mushrooms
1 tablespoon onions, diced
4 chicken thighs, cubed
a small sprig of fresh thyme and rosemary
1 egg
1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
Small pinch of Salt and pepper
  • Take the pie crusts out from the freezer, and let it thaw. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Boil a pot of water with a touch of salt, and throw in the potatoes. Allow them to cook until half done, then drain the hot water and leave the potatoes to cool.
  • In a separate pan, heat up the canola/olive oil on medium heat, then add in onions. Saute for about 2 minutes until the onions are brown and soft. Throw in diced chicken and cook them until they are about 3/4 done.
  • Into the pot with the chicken, add the potatoes, mushrooms, and carrots. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Add in the can of cream of chicken soup, and DO NOT add the 1 can of water the instructions on the can tell you to do (that is for making actual soup).
  • Also throw in the thyme and rosemary, pinch of salt and pepper, and stir. After the cream mixture is heated, turn off the heat and spoon it onto one of the pie shells.
  • Top the 1st pie shell and the filling with the 2nd pie shell, press on the edges gently with a fork to seal the pie (this process is call "fluting" so I learned today by reading the back of the Tenderflake box)
  • Whisk up a egg and brush the top of the pie with it (we did not buy a brush, I used my hands, it was quite an experience), and make about 5 evenly spaced slits on the top to let the steam escape
  • Bake the pie at 375 F for 30-40 minutes, until pie is golden yellow and filling is bubbling.
  • Enjoy! =)
This is a great dish! Derek can't stop raving about it, and even though he tells me everything I cook is good, I know he is not lying this time. hahaha.



Hello and Welcome to our very first ever of life food blog!

(Derek) Annie and I have a tremendous amount of fun both cooking together as well as for each other in the tiny kitchen of our apartment. She's a much better cook than I am but she puts on a big smile when she eats my "masterpieces."

(Annie) To give you a bit of perspective, our kitchen has approx. 4 feet by 4 feet floor space, and Derek can reach everything in the kitchen standing still. We are two 4th year university students with part-time jobs but empty wallets, trying to make our food as enjoyable as possible without going bankrupt.

The inspiration to make this blog came from a friend of mine, who has mastered the art of cooking and have taught me many things through her own blog. Thank you oodles Bakergirl. The drive to start really cooking also came from my beautiful mom, who is an absolute master chef (& my wonderful dad, who is a master eating machine); and from Derek's lovely parents, who from far far away, sent us a huge selection of herbs and spices for our kitchen. You guys are amazing, we love you.

(A & D) We hope that this chronicle of our forays into the wide world of culinary artistry (if you can call our cooking that) will both inspire and assist you in your kitchens, regardless of size. If you happened to have stumbled across our blog and have any creative suggestions to add to our blog, please feel free to leave your mark behind by putting your words of wisdom in the comment sections. We greatly appreciate any feedback.

(Derek) In the words of my hero Red Green: "Keep you stick on the ice."

Annie and Derek