week 30

FRIDAY corned beef & carrots with marmalade-whiskey glaze + champ
SATURDAY leftovers
SUNDAY cubanos
MONDAY roasted cauliflower, freekeh & garlicky tahini sauce
TUESDAY singapore chicken
WEDNESDAY halibut & yam fries
THURSDAY rebar salad

it’s st paddy’s day! or it was, a week ago. we’ve no irish blood in our family and until a couple years ago would not have considered us big beer drinkers (i’m still not but my hubs and daughter are well enamoured with the local craft brewery scene and therefore do partake) but boy do we celebrate! cue the sinéad, my bloody valentine and cranberries (the band not the fruit)!

so for the past i don’t know how many years I’ve been making this delightful corned beef & carrots with marmalade-whiskey glaze for st patrick’s day altho this year, i decided to corn (cure) my own beef! following david lebovitz’s method, i made the brine and set it sit in the fridge for just over a week. it didn’t look very pink (even tho i found the proper pink curing salt) but lo and behold, once cooked, pink it was!

was it any better than buying the brisket-in-a-bag that i’d been doing for years? not necessarily taste-wise (altho my word, the smell in my kitchen as it was cooking??!?! yumm!!!) but this time i was able to remove pretty much all the visible fat from the brisket before it was cooked. that said, next year, i’m going to buy my brisket from a proper butcher. i don’t know why it is taking me so long to figure this out! anyway, i think i cooked it too long too cos it ended up more like pulled pork as you can see in the top pic. it was hard to tell tho as it was simmering. still tasted amazing!

also on the menu were the best mashed potatoes ever! they’re called champ, pronounced just like it looks. while your potatoes are boiling, bring some whipping cream and butter to an almost boil and dump in a bunch of chopped scallions; remove from heat, cover and let the onions steep in the milk. drain and mash your potatoes, add the hot milk mixture and mash till super creamy. ack, so good! if you waaaaaanted, you could finish your meal with some irish cream chocolate mousse but that’s entirely up to you. but you defs have to make smitten’s homemade irish cream! we’ve already made (and consumed) 2 batches!!

the fellas in this house make fun of me because i like to cook and eat seasonally. who wants roast beef and gravy in the middle of summer? they do. anyway, as soon as the weather starts to warm up, and thankfully it is, they start requesting a bunch of what i deem “summer meals” – cubanos are a big favourite. man alive, the marinade for the pork smells so unbelievable, i almost want to drink it afterward! don’t worry, i don’t. i can’t exactly claim that these cuban sammies are authentic; it is on my travel list to go to miami and try many (for research obvs) but until then, we are happy to make do with these. i made them in individual portuguese buns instead of a giant ciabatta like the recipe says.

is it weird to look forward to eating a meal that you’ve made yourself? i feel that a fair amount, i’ll be honest, but this one always gets me; even typing this now, i’m getting excited even tho we ate it on monday and there isn’t any left. the first of two meatless meals this week: roasted cauliflower, freekeh & garlicky tahini sauce. i should really look for another recipe that features freekeh cos i can’t tell if it’s the almonds in this that make it taste super nutty, or if it’s just a nutty-tasting grain. i just can’t get enough of this meal. i do swap out the raisins but thinly sliced red onions, which i suppose is an odd substitution but, my word, the combo of tahini, feta and red onion is amazing!! that said, there is no feta on mine this time around cos mine went off *wahh* but it’s still rlly rlly good.

so even tho i really enjoy cooking now, there was once a time when it was not my thang. my kids were little, i had zero experience in the kitchen, but was learning. my repertoire of recipes was growing but i only had a few that i made on repeat. singapore chicken was one of those. i made it all.the.time. my husband always requested it. and then i just got sick of it. i found the recipe again when doing my last batch of meal plans and thought, why not? it’s super quick and easy; you just need to remember to put the rice on before you start the chicken. it’s from canadian living magazine (my first food mag subscription!) but i can’t find the recipe online so here it is:

singapore chicken

adapted from canadian living magazine
makes 4 servings

1 cup chicken stock
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
4 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp curry paste (or more, to taste)
4 tsp vegetable oil (i use coconut oil)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into ¾” cubes (i like to season with a bit of s&p)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 each red pepper, orange pepper & yellow pepper, seeded, cored and sliced into 1″ pieces
4 scallions, sliced into 1½” lengths
1 mango, cubed (the easy way — starts at 1:20)
1 Tbsp minced gingerroot
¼ cup toasted cashews

whisk together stock, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, cornstarch and curry paste; set aside.

in wok or skillet, heat 2 tsp oil over high heat; stir-fry chicken & garlic for 4 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside. transfer to plate.

add remaining 2 tsp oil to wok, stir-fry peppers for 60-90 seconds. stir in ginger; cook for 30 seconds. add stock mixture and chicken; cook, stirring for 2 minutes or until sauce is thickened and chicken is hot.

stir in onions and mango. sprinkle with cashews. serve over rice.

i’m thinking this one has replaced the singapore chicken as my husband’s favourite and most requested recipe. and it’s even easier to make — and i daresay, tastier! martha’s very simple but classic halibut with sweet potato fries and lime. so easy! peel and cut potatoes into wedges, toss in evoo and s&p, roast in oven for 20ish minutes. in the meantime, brush more evoo on your halibut, sprinkle with s&p. make room on baking try for fish and bang everything back in fora. further 8 or so minutes, depending on the thickness of your halibut. when it’s flaking easily, bring the pan out, squeeze lime juice all over everything and ditto for chopping parsley. that is literally it! the gorgeous flavour that is halibut absolutely shines in this and i feel like a dork for saying that but it’s true. i boiled a bunch of green beans to go with cos vegetables = healthy.

and last but certainly not least, our second vegetarian meal of the week. and it’s vegan to boot! this is a recipe i created after dining at rebar modern food over in victoria several years ago. such a good restaurant, can’t believe we didn’t pop back in when we were there last month. so many restos, so little time, amirite?? anyway, they serve a bunch of mouth-watering dishes there, so many that my daughter bought me their cookbook, only for me to discover that my faves weren’t in there *sad face* suffice it to say, this one wasn’t difficult to figure out.

quinoa & wild rice salad

as inspired by rebar
served 4 as a main

2 cups water
½ cup wild rice
2 cups vegetable stock (or water)
1 cup quinoa
8 dried apricots, diced
1 cup cooked black beans
1 fresh red pepper, diced
4 cups spinach
2 avocados, sliced
4 scallions, diced
¼ cup toasted pepitas

cilantro-agave-lime vinaigrette
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 Tbsp agave
3 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro

bring two cups of water to boil in small/medium saucepan; add rice, cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes. drain if necessary. let cool.

at the same time, bring vegetable broth or 2 cups water to boil in another medium saucepan; add quinoa, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. stir and let sit covered for additional 5 minutes. let cool.

meanwhile, whisk vinaigrette ingredients together (or shake in jar).

when grains are cool (a little bit of warmth is okay), combine together and and add snipped apricots, black beans and diced pepper; mix thoroughly. pour about ¾ of the dressing into mixture and stir well. toss remaining dressing over spinach.

divide spinach among 4 bowls, top with grain mixture. add ¼ sliced avocado to each dish and sprinkle with scallions and pepitas.

*this is great for leftovers altho only dress the spinach right before serving or it goes all gross and wet and wilty and no one wants that.

well that was a full week! nicely done, me!


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