Pomegranate Chicken

Now thats its fall I hope to make more frequent updates because I tend to cook more in the fall. I’ve also had to put a lot of my time into my new job and Cotton & Rust.

A few months ago we had a huge sale at our store and I bought a few more “expensive” items I wouldn’t normally purchase because they normally quite $$$ which includes a few Vij’s take home dinners, but I also took home another dinner in a bag concept which was by a company called Feast. They market themselves as making healthy local middle eastern take away dinners. I cooked it up and it was super yummy! Then I suddenly realized I couldn’t buy these all the time because a) they cost $10.99 a piece and I am a decent cook so I should be cooking my own dinners!

Then I decided to look at the ingredients and try to make it myself at home and I came up with an almost exact version of it:

pomegranate chicken

Pomegranate Chicken

2 medium chicken breasts (you can either use bone in chicken or cook it at a low heat for longer with reg. chicken breasts)
1 medium yellow onion
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup diced butternut squash
1/2 cup water
1/4  cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses (I paid too much for this at whole foods, you can buy it cheap at a middle eastern grocery store)
3 medjool dates chopped
2 tbsp canola oil (or coconut oil if you prefer, butter works too)
2 tbsp rice flour
2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground cardamom

Directions

Saute onions in sauce pan on low heat until translucent then add chicken broth, spices, pomegranate molasses, squash and walnuts and continue cooking on low-heat. Add rice flour to thicken (regular flour can be used too). Add in sliced chicken to sauce and cook on low heat for 40 minutes adding a little water when sauce starts to get to thick or boil down.  Those are the amounts I added of the spices; however recipe should be adjusted to taste, add more spices or salt if you want to change the taste a bit.

pomegranate chicken

Serve with basmati rice!

Beet and Avocado Salad with Balsamic Tahini Dressing

This is pretty much my go-to salad recipe most days. The combination of all these items together make for a pretty filling salad, so if you made a big version of this salad you probably wouldn’t have to eat much else. I’m a bit of an avocado fanatic and sometimes I put avocado in too many things…it would likely be on my list of things I would want on a deserted island. I tried this new type of green I hadn’t had before called mache rosettes and they have such a great taste to them so if you can find them in your grocery store they are worth a go!

Billow 7 Brine: Beet and Avocado Salad

Beet & Avocado Salad with Balsamic Tahini Dressing

small bunch of mache rosettes or any mixed greens
small bunch dandelion greens
one small beet boiled and chopped
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 avocado slivered
one scallion chopped

Tahini Dressing

1 tbsp tahini (more if you are making a larger salad, same for below)
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp water
1 tsp lemon juice
pinch of salt

Vegan Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

It has been quite some time since I have posted a recipe! The summer is one of those times when life is a bit more spontaneous and I rarely plan what I’m making or where I’m going. This weekend I decided to make cupcakes for a party we were having. I was a bit skeptical about this recipe because it was a) vegan & gluten free b) I have not made cupcakes in nearly 10 years.  I was optimistic they would turn out well and I was right! They were perfect, including the icing.

vegan cupcakesVegan Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes (GF)
Adapted from Chef Chloe

1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
1 cup sugar
1/3  cup unsweetened cocoa powder (dutch)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water or coconut milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting

1 cup earth balance
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp rose water (optional)
2 to 5 tbsp almond milk

Garnish with fresh sliced strawberries

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans with liners, or grease liners with earth balance or coconut oil.

In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Separately whisk together coconut milk, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Mix together both wet and dry mixes.

Fill the liners or cupcake tins 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 17 minutes. Cool cupcakes before icing them.

Frosting Directions

Using a mixer, blend the earth balance with sugar, vanilla, rose water and non dairy milk, keep mixing until it forms a spread like paste, non drippy. Cut the top layers of the cupcakes off and fill inside with icing and strawberries. Place a blob on top with a piece of strawberry!

If freckles were lovely, and day was night
And measles were nice and a lie warn’t a lie,
Life would be delight,-
But things couldn’t go right
For in such a sad plight
I wouldn’t be I.
– e.e. cummings

Salmon with Avocado and Grapefruit Salsa

I don’t know about everywhere else right not but it has been haawwwttt in Vancouver in the last few days! Whenever it gets hot like this all I want to eat is fruit. I also came across something new in my grocery travels which was arugula micro greens, so I decided to give them a go and add them to my recipe.

arugula micro greens

I had this really great piece of salmon in my fridge I had to cook so I tried to find a nice recipe for it that would also be considerably fresh due to the warm weather. Avocado and Grapefruit make good friends if I do say so myself!

salmon with avacado and grapefruit

Salmon with Avocado and Grapefruit Salsa

1-2 piece wild salmon fillet
olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
ancho chilli powder or smoked paprika
1 large grapefruit
1 small ripe avocado, peeled and cubed
1/2 large jalapeño, minced
3 tbsp minced red onion
2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1 tbsp fresh lime juice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Put fish in a small baking pan and brush with olive oil both sides. Season the fish with ancho or paprika, salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

salmon

potatoes

Cut and Peel your grapefruit and dice into small chunks. Mix in the avocado, jalapeño, onion, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

potatoes

With my fish also came my roasted potatoes! Whenever there are potatoes on our table there is always mayonnaise near by (its a Dutch thing) you just don’t eat potatoes or fries without mayo.

salmon with avacado and grapefruit

Remove the fish from the oven and coat with salsa mix!

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls

I have to say the credit for this adaptation for cinnamon rolls has to go to my roommate Em, she has the biggest sweet tooth I have ever seen and happens to love bestowing treats on the rest of us. She also appreciates all of our excessive food limitations, and enjoyed the challenge of making something like cinnamon rolls relatively healthy and delicious at the same time (this can be done!)

gluten free cinnamon rolls

Best Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Gluten Free Yummy

For the Dough:

2.5 cups all purpose gluten-free flour
1 tbsp rapid rise yeast
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup coconut cream powder
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup milk (we used coconut milk) you could use almond milk too
1 egg, room temp
1 tsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla

Filling

2 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar or coconut sugar
1-2 tbsp cinnamon

Topping

In a small saucepan melt 4 tbsp of butter with 1/2 cup of your brown sugar or coconut sugar, stirring until the sugar fully dissolves, add the vanilla extract and coconut milk then pour on the bottom of a greased dish.

gluten free cinnamon rolls

Directions

Mix all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Put the water and butter in a sauce pan and melt the butter, stir then add the milk and egg, followed by the other wet ingredients, then whisk them all together.

With a mixer, mix together the dry and wet ingredients, mixing for about a few minutes. Lay parchment paper out on a cutting board so you will be able to lay your dough out. In a dish combine your tapioca starch and 1/4 cup sugar. Sprinkle half the mixture on the parchment paper. Lay the dough on top and form a square with your dough.

Sprinkle the remainder of the sugar mixture on the dough and put another layer of parchment paper on top. Make a larger square about 8” x ”16 or as large as your dish or pan is.

Remove the parchment paper off the dough and pour your filling on the dough, leave enough space around the sides so the dough can be held together.

Starting along the long end, use the bottom sheet of parchment to wrap to lift the egde of the dough and roll it up. Then use a piece of dental floss and cut the roll into 8 pieces (as wide as you care your cinnamon rolls to be). *Place the dental floss under the roll and cross it above on top and pulling the floss on both sides so it cuts through the parchment and the dough.

Place the rolls in the dish with the cut side up. Allow the cinnamon rolls to rise by setting them aside for 30 minutes prior to putting them in the oven.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F and bake the rolls for about 20-25 minutes, they should look golden brown.  Then allow them to cool for a few minutes, if you can wait that long and serve!

Soho Tea Room

I have a great gluten/dairy free cinnamon bun recipe I’m going to put up in the next day or so, stay posted for that! Until then I thought Id share with you a new restaurant I checked out in Vancouver recently. When I came across this place I was excited to see something similar to one of my favourite restaurants, Guu, in my neck of the woods.

Soho Tea Room

Soho Tea Room hasn’t been open that long however they are frequently packed on a weeknight, and there is a wait list to be seated. One of the reasons for this is that they are open and serve alcohol till 2am (which let me say to outsiders is a luxury in Vancouver). The draw for myself was when my friend told me they served alcoholic bubble tea, now I’m not a huge fan of bubble tea but it sounded different so I figured why not try it. When we got there we had to wait for a seat and ended up starring at their extensively long menu! There is a whole page devoted to hot pot, desserts, and pages devoted to foods from the east and western parts. Needless to say it took us forever to order.

soho tea room menu

There are a lot of things we wanted to try here but out stomachs weren’t up for the challenge at 12am so we decided to get their vegetarian hot pot, salt and pepper chicken and garlic bok choy to share. We all enjoyed the salt and pepper chicken and bok choy but found ourselves adding hot sauce and let over garlic sauce from our bok choy to the hot pot because it didn’t have an awful lot of flavour. I can’t say I’ve had hot pot many times so perhaps this is how its meant to taste? or it could have been because it was vegetarian, the broth was just a bit weak; however it was full of lots of veg which was great!

soho tea room hot pot

Our bubble teas were yummy, we all opted to add some of their more elaborate jellies/pearls and added alcohol. My only tiff here was our drinks were double shots and they tasted like they didn’t have an ounce of alcohol. Free pour drinks do not exist here in Vancouver therefore you get very weak tasting drinks which can be frustrating when your paying 8 bucks for a beverage. Next time Ill probably just get the bubble tea without the alcohol…half the price.

There is only thing we all really wanted to try but knew we didn’t have room to eat, which was one of their house specialty’s called a honey toast box. We saw people eating this in the restaurant and our jaws dropped, this is one crazy looking dessert, so if you go I dare to to eat it. The dessert is literally four pieces of bread toasted with crumbled bread centre covered in ice cream, cookies, honey etc.. The rest of their dessert menu is worth a gander too.

So in concluding having only tried three of the probable list of 100 things you can order from this restaurant, if you feeling a bit experimental and would like to go somewhere with a fun atmosphere then go check this place out! Its also not to over priced either $$

Soho Tea Room
3466 Cambie St
604.873.3686

foodie foodie foodie

Apologies for my lack of updates! I’ve been a bit preoccupied with Cotton & Rust lately, there’s been a lot happening over there working on my shop and the new website finally being up (there’s still so much I need to learn about using wordpress!). Also one of my lovely friends who is a fantastic photographer is designing a great new banner for this site so I’m quite excited to see that soon! I haven’t had a great deal or time to cook nor have I really been out restaurant hopping lately but one of the great things about food is without accessories or tools we wouldn’t be able to eat nor have the exceptional food photography we see today.

I spend a lot of time going through design blogs or finding what I like to call, “objects of desire” through pinterest, key for, I would fill my dream kitchen with these objects. Here are a few things I have been finding on Etsy I would love to share. Help support some of these crafter’s and artisans, they make some truly incredible things.

Image

Julia Paul Pottery

Image

Smith Handmade

Image

The Bocket Store

Image

Zuppa Atelier

Garlic Chili Pasta

garlic chili pasta

My motto with cooking is “keep it simple stupid”. I am an impatient cook, I absolutely love cooking but I have to be in the right kind of mood to make an intricate recipe that has more than 10 ingredients. This pasta recipe is super easy to make and can be altered in many ways to make it vegetarian, vegan or delicious for a meat eater.

garlic chili pasta

Garlic Chili Pasta

1 cup pasta (I used corn pasta) you can use any type you want really!
2 tbsp olive oil
chili flakes to taste (roughly 1 tbsp or more depending on preference)
2 large cloves garlic chopped finely
1 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 small piece of steelhead trout or salmon
salt and pepper to taste

garlic chili pasta

Directions

First boil some water for the pasta, and once the water has boiled add the noodles.
Meanwhile add some olive oil to a pan and sauté the fish until it is nearly cooked then transer to a plate. Sauté garlic and chilli flakes on medium low for one to two minutes then transfer the fish back into the pan. Mix the items together and keep cooking, add salt and pepper. Once pasta is ready add it to the mixture in the pan, add in the breadcrumbs and toss.

You can also add sun dried tomatoes or Parmesan cheese. If your making this vegetarian or vegan just eliminate the fish and it still tastes great!

Miso Honey Glazed Black Cod

I happen to love seafood, probably because its really the only other thing besides chicken I can eat (and yes veggies and proteins for all the vegetarians or vegans out there of course!) So occasionally when something really good goes on sale at my work I buy it. I have had cod quite a few times but I don’t eat black cod very often because it tends to be a bit pricier. The textile of black cod is a little different then regular cod, its definitely a fattier fish.

So of course I asked how I should cook it, and I was told to do some type of miso glaze, thus I turned to the food network website for a good recipe! This was pretty nice and simple and complimented the cod quite well.

miso glazed black codMiso Honey Glazed Fish
Adapted from Food Network
2 tbsp light or white miso ( I had a chickpea miso paste so I ended up using that)
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp Mirin or rice whine vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
4 (6-ounce) black cod or hallibut fillets (I only had one piece of fish, as pictured above so just cut down the amounts on this recipe if you are cooking for one or two, its really just to marinade the fish).

 

Directions

Heat the oven to 475 degrees F.
Whisk together the miso paste, honey, mirin and sesame oil in a shallow bowl. Add the fish fillets and coat with marinade, put in fridge for 30 minutes. Take the fish out of the marinade and lay flat on a baking sheet drizzling leftover marinade sauce over fish. Bake in the oven for 15-20min and serve.

Chocolate Drizzled Gluten-Free Shortbread

My plan was to actually make gluten-free oatmeal cookies today but when I got home I discovered I didn’t have any oats so the next best thing of course is shortbread. Shortbread is one of my favourite types of cookies, but traditional shortbread has never been something my family makes for the holidays (my grandmother makes a lighter dutch version of short bread). I wanted to see what kind of gluten-free/vegan recipes there was out there for short bread. They turned out better than expected, they weren’t dry either, which was my fear using rice flour.  gluten free shortbread cookiesChocolate Drizzled Gluten-Free Shortbread
Adapted from London Bakes  Makes Roughly 20 cookies

1 vanilla bean pod
2 tbsp + 2 tsp maple syrup
1/4 cup icing sugar
a pinch of salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter or earth balance margarine, softened
1 cup gluten free flour mix or 1 cup rice flour and 1/2 cup corn starch
chocolate for drizzling (I bought a lindt cassis chocolate bar and melted it)

gluten free shortbread cookies

Directions

Whisk together the vanilla bean, maple syrup and salt in a food processor, mixer or bowl. Beat together with margarine or butter until it is smooth.
Add icing sugar and continue to mix.
Add your flour mix(s) and blend until a dough forms.
Lay out parchment onto a baking sheet and make your own formations out of the dough (with cookie cutters) or just roll dough into balls.
Put the baking sheet or cookie forms in the fridge for 25 minutes.
Take out and put in oven at 300 degrees F
Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.

Melt your chocolate in a saucepan until it has become liquid, if it is too thick add a bit of milk to thin it out. Drizzle chocolate over top of cookies and let stand for 10 minutes. If chocolate hasn’t hardened put cookies in fridge for 15 minutes.