week 21

FRIDAY garlic shrimp & white beans
SATURDAY fresh pasta with marcela hazan’s tomato sauce
SUNDAY cottage pie
MONDAY enlightened miso power bowls
TUESDAY poached cod with potatoes and leeks
WEDNESDAY thin crust pizza
THURSDAY chicken korma

now that the christmas season is well and truly over, i’m excited to start cooking healthier meals again. let’s have all the comfort foods all the time! vancouver has had an uncharacteristicly massive dump of snow this winter and it is soooo cold outside! cue the warm, comforting, fill-your-belly-with-goodness foods.

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first up is a meal i’ve made twice before: garlic shrimp and white beans from bon appetit, and both times the leftovers next day have been better than the initial meal. don’t get me wrong: it is very tasty, but those flavours need to meld more; next time i will start cooking it an hour or two earlier in the day and let those lovely beans soak up all that yummy garlicky flavour. how good will that sauce be for dunking in your homemade bread?? i found the original new york times article featuring jim lahey’s 18 hour no knead bread and it truly is amazing. dead easy and delicious. this will get made again very soon, mark my words!

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my wonderful children bought me a kitchenaid pasta roller/cutter attachment set for christmas and i have been dying to use it! homemade pasta with our very favourite tomato sauce, none other than marcela hazan’s tomato and onion sauce, amirite?? honestly, i can’t get over how amazing fresh pasta is, fresh homemade pasta! sure I’ve bought “fresh” pasta from the shops before but it’s not the same. it wasn’t so much that it tasted different but it was lighter, fluffier somehow. oof, can’t wait to make some more! i figured i’d check with my go-to for all things cooking: smitten kitchen. she’s featured homemade pasta several times on her website so i pulled from this, this and this recipe to produce one i could use with my new set. i only had 3 eggs so had to scale down the recipe but i found it was the perfect amount for the tomato sauce; every noodle was perfectly coated. absolutely loved this dinner!

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this meal has definitely become a family favourite. cottage pie. i’ve made it loads of times now. it says it serves six but i found our family of four scarfed it down in no time. now i scale the ingredients up to serve nine; are we pigs?? i use a pound and a half of ground beef and twice as many carrots and peas. my husband is a fan of porter beers now but back when i first made this, he wasn’t really and we never had any on hand; i simply used beef broth with large splashes of both dry vermouth and balsamic vinegar in lieu. i debated using beer this time round but was afraid i wouldn’t like it as much! i also learned that traditional cottage pie is supposed to be topped with sliced potatoes to signify the roof tiles on a cottage whereas shepherd’s pie is topped with mashed potatoes to signify the wool on the sheep. who knew?

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this is a meal i’d planned to make at the start of january; after all the rich food and chocolately treats we’d been consuming, i wanted a super healthy meal. enter oh she glows’ enlightened miso power bowls. hoo boy, this is tasty! i keep debating whether i should get her first book; everyone says it’s amazing and is their favourite vegetarian/vegan cookbook but i literally have zero room for another cookbook on my shelf! look at that bowl tho! roasted sweet potato (any recipe that calls for roasted sweet potato pretty much always gets pinned), edamame, julienned carrot, alfalfa sprouts, quinoa (it’s in there, you just can’t see it in the pic), and the most amazing orange-miso-tahini dressing! holy crap, the whole thing is just delicious. the recipe as is makes a ton of quinoa and there’s no way i can (or want) to eat an entire cup and a half of cooked quinoa in one serving so i will scale that back next time. this is such a good get back on track meal tho. yum yum yummmmm!

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i am always in the market for new ways to cook fish. you scroll thru pinterest and it’s literally the same thing over and over again: for one, it’s always salmon. and hey, i do love salmon but c’mon! there are definitely other fish in the sea. and number two, let’s smear some stuff on that salmon, or, if you’re lucky, halibut. no. i want something else! how about poached cod with potatoes and leeks? sounds a bit boring and doesn’t look all that exciting either tbh. well! i could not have been more wrong. holy shitballs, it was fantastic! i could not get over how delicious that infused poaching milk was and how much it flavoured the fish! plus, it was dead easy to make and i felt like a real chef. poaching ftw! cannot wait to make this again!

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i typically make deep dish pizza in the colder months and thin crust pizza in the warmer months (my reasoning makes total sense to me but confounds my family), but i am really trying to eat healthier these days and if you’re going to have pizza, there is no way chicago style deep dish pizza with its half pound of grated mozza is going to win out over neapolitan-style pizza. that said, i find the deep dish ‘za waaaaaaay easier to make, even with the lamination going on there. we’ve made thin crust pizza several times now and i say “we” because it’s always been a two-man project. i mean the first time i made homemade pizza, i did it by myself but it was a nightmare: i think i burned my arm multiple times, it took forever to assemble and cook all six pizzas and i swore the entire time. my daughter lovingly stepped in to help me the next time and while that was better, it was still an ordeal. my word tho, the actual pizza? so good!! so worth it, right?? the more we made it, the better we got; i.e. we learned to make only two different kinds of pizza instead of six, but i still needed either my daughter or my husband to help me with assembly and/or getting these babies in and out of the oven without sticking to the pizza peel and/or landing on the oven door. we had it down pat.

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well. look who made two different kinds of pizza all by herself this week? the dough was ready at exactly the right time, the toppings were all ready to go, and i got the assembled pizzas in and out of the oven all by my own self! without burning my arms!! i made the classic margherita as well as caramelised onion and ricotta with brussels sprouts, three of each. and they were all were delicious!

to make a margherita pizza, you need a can of san marzano tomatoes, which i basically strained and then crushed by hand, plus some buffalo mozzarella/bocconcini (i will confess we did not buy enough buffalo mozz so my husband had to pick up some fresh mozza/fior de latte from the grocery store and it was not as good — too much moisture which resulted in a wet, albeit still tasty, pizza), fresh basil for scattering on top after it comes out of the oven and some nice olive oil for drizzling over the whole thing.

the caramelised onion & ricotta pizza requires a bit more effort in that you need to caramelise the onions and prep the brussels when the dough is rising. i did three onions (i figured one per pie) adding a good splash of balsamic at the end, and shredded six large brussels (you just want a little bit so two per pie would be enough) tossing them in evoo and salt & pepper. and the ricotta is key; we bought italian ricotta from an italian market. the good stuff has way less moisture than the kind found at your local grocery store. save that stuff for lasagne or chocolate ricotta cupcakes. or eating out of the container with a spoon. what?

tip: go light on the toppings, you really don’t need much. cos the key to this pizza is really the dough. bon appetit put out a pizza issue way back in march 2012 that featured jim lahey’s 18hr no knead pizza dough (this guy is famous for his 18 hour no knead doughs!) and it’s the best homemade pizza i’ve ever had. as close to what we’ve enjoyed in our favourite pizza restaurants, if not better sometimes!

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the last meal this week was a new one: hyderabadi chicken korma. this was really good but i found it did not make enough! the three of us ate it all up in one sitting! maybe i didn’t cook enough chicken? her recipe calls for 1 kg of bone in/skinless chicken but we prefer boneless so i got about 600g of boneless/skinless. boy was it tasty tho! all those spices and the pureed cashews? yummmm! will definitely make this one again.

and that’s it for the week! seven out of seven tho! well done, me!

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